Yoga Room Class - March 16th, 2021

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enlightenment, or we can go through the door into liberation. So one side of the door is awakening, the other side of the door is delusion, and we're at the door, and we can go through the door of liberation. But what I'm suggesting now is more like we're at the threshold where liberation and bondage meet. And we can live at that doorway, at that threshold. Every step is at the threshold where delusion and awakening meet. And that the conversation between delusion and awakening at this threshold, that's where there is the true understanding of reality. Tonight I'd like to


say a little bit more about life at the threshold, or life at the doorway. Another part of the doorway being open is that we eventually could see both sides, and we could see them in relationship with each other. And there's many two worlds, there's many worlds that are in a dualistic relationship, or apparently dualistic relationship with each other. Another one would be the relationship between sense organs and sense objects, or sense fields.


So we're living at a threshold where sense objects, sense organs, and the field of those sense organs meets. We live at that engagement. That's where we live. And in early Buddhism, the Buddha taught early on that when a sense organ plays with or interacts with a sense field, that interaction gives rise to consciousness. Or you could say experience. For example, when the eye organ interacts with the field of electromagnetic radiation


of a certain wavelength, that interaction gives rise to what we call, we name the awareness after the organ, is called eye consciousness. And eye consciousness is aware of, for example, colors. So the awareness of a color is said to arise from the meeting of the eye organ and the field of colors. And again, that's the way it usually said is that the awareness, the experience arises from this engagement, from this conversation between the eye organ and the field, the visual field. But I think it's worthy of contemplation to say rather than the organ arises


from the interaction, that the awareness arises from the interaction as though it's afterwards, to say the awareness co-arises with the interaction. The awareness of colors co-arises with physical wave, electromagnetic waves interacting with living tissue. And the same with the sense of hearing, the hearing organ and sounds. The experience of sounds arises and so on with all the other touch and tangibles gives rise to a sensation of body sensation, tactile sensation, an experience of the skin organ.


And then with mind, mind objects like ideas, feelings, judgments, opinions, fear, confusion, greed, hatred, and so on, faith, lack of faith, shame, lack of shame, all those mental phenomena, those are the objects of the mind organ. And when they are in interacting, we have the arising of an experience. And this, I'm suggesting that this interaction is occurring right now with all of us at the threshold in this experience that we're having right now is occurring at the threshold where these two kinds of materiality meet or two kinds of mentality meet, like where mind organ


meets mind object. So when these fields meet at the threshold, that's an experience and that's the early Buddhism. Then in the Mahayana, and for some people who are in so-called Zen lineages, they ascribe to this teaching is that when the eye organ meets the eye object, that is actually the whole universe in the form or in the particular case of the eye organ meeting the whole universe in the form of a color. Our experience of color, our awareness of color, is actually the whole universe


meeting the whole universe, giving rise to the whole universe as the experience of color. This teaching was inspired by the Lotus Sutra, the teaching which includes the earlier revelation that awareness arises when organs and objects meet or when subject and object meet, that that is the arising of an experience. Now we're saying that when the universe as a subject meets the universe as an object, we give rise to the universe. Another way to say this is we live at the threshold where our body


is in conversation with other bodies, where my body is in conversation with your body. And the meeting, conversation of my body with your body is experience. You could say in this particular case bodily experiences. We have a verse which is done when bowing, and one line of the verse is my body, other body, not two. So if I bow to you like I did tonight, this body, the other body, are not two.


Because experience is, the experience is of my body meeting your body, that's the experience. The two sides of the experience can never be separated. Just my body cannot be experienced. It's my body in relationship to other bodies, that is experience. It's not that my body in relationship to other bodies can be experienced, it's that that is experience. Another point of review is that this is another way to talk about only a Buddha together with Buddha. And also I emphasized earlier that


this only a Buddha together with a Buddha, that the only Buddha side, well let me just say it this way, that this only a Buddha together with the Buddha is what the Lotus Sutra says, that's the situation for understanding reality. And that only a Buddha together with Buddha could be put together with the Zen teaching, which is wholehearted sitting, and going to meet with another. Those two together are only a Buddha together with a Buddha. And then I talked, and then the practice of receiving and remembering remembering and practicing stillness and silence is a practice of realizing only a Buddha.


It's, you know, if it's your part, it's you're doing your job of being a solitary Buddha when you remember silence and stillness and practice it. And I also think I mentioned that confession and repentance, tell me if I, I don't remember how much I said it in this venue, in this assembly, but practicing confession and repentance is a way to settle into silence and stillness, is a way to settle into being a solitary Buddha. Once we have settled into being our self, then we can meet another. Our sense organs normally do settle into being themselves.


And I've heard that sense organs only operate when they're resting. So sense organs, when they operate or they're activated, they're activated and then they function, but they're activated when they're at rest. Once they're activated, they cannot be activated again until they rest. I remember in college, I read an article in Scientific American about these, I think they were physicists, or engineers, and they designed this device that could sit on top of a, what do you call it, a contact lens.


So we have many, many people now wear contact lenses, and this physicist or engineer designed a device which could be set on top of the contact lens, so that when the eye moved, oh, excuse me, it was a device, it was a light. It's not a camera, but a light, a small tiny light installed on top of a contact lens, so it could shine a light on the retina at the same spot, so that when the retina moved, the light would not move, it would point at the same spot. And if you point light at the same spot on a retina, which you usually can't because the eyeball's moving all the time, but if you shine the light on the same spot in the retina, it activates it, but then it doesn't go on again until you move the light off the spot. So in fact, it is the nature of our organic being, of our organs, that when our organs are at rest,


they can be activated, they can be engaged, you can have conversations with them, but then they have to rest again in order to be reactivated. So remembering silence and stillness is a way to stay in touch or to re-engage, to re-encounter experience. Once again, at the threshold where the two worlds meet, by remembering silence and stillness, we re-engage with having secrets told to us, we re-engage with the arising of experience, we re-engage with creation. Now, it goes on anyway, but if we forget the silence and stillness, we miss it. Well, I think that's a lot, and if you have any questions or comments you'd like to make,


I'm ready. Hello. Hello. When I watch your face a lot, I have kind of a paranormal experience. I have seen I've seen you, I've seen faces move through your face a lot. I've seen lights flicker through your face, and like once you were moving a glass and I saw a trail of like light go from the glass down, and I guess I want some way to understand. I don't guess everybody sees it this way, and so I don't think I'm crazy, but what do you make of that? How does that fit in all this?


Well, here's a theory. You want a theory? I'd love a theory. And the theory is partly generated by data. Here's the data. Many people tell me what you just told me. So either many people are crazy with you, or maybe none of you are crazy, and maybe what you're talking about is that I think when people look at me, I think when people look at me, the theory is that when they look at me, they remember silence and stillness. Whether they've heard me say it or not, they remember silence and stillness, and when you remember silence and stillness, unusual things are allowed to happen. Silence and stillness allows a lot of stuff to happen.


It allows the breeze of dawn to arise. So the theory is that when you're looking at me, and also when you're listening to me, you're remembering, whether you're conscious or not, you're receiving and remembering stillness. And so in stillness, your body and mind let unusual things happen. For example, people see me as a baby, as a little baby. And when I was young, they used to see me as an old man. And now people see me, I think, as a super old man. They still see me as a baby sometimes. And yeah, people see me in a lot of different ways, and they tell me that they're surprised how different I see, and they see me changing. In one meeting, they see me changing to different things during the meeting. And that's one theory,


is that people, when they're with me, they're actually not running around in circles, jumping up and down. They're quiet and still. Or even if they're not, even if they're talking or moving a little bit, they're remembering it. That's my theory. So do you think that's closer to seeing reality? Or do you think, yeah. Closer to seeing reality, to see that I'm not a fixed thing. Yes, because I'm not. To see the impermanence of me, but also to see the impermanence of the way you see me. I don't stay the same, but some people, they want me to be the same. So like children often, they look at their parents, but they cannot tolerate their parents changing much. And there's reasons for that. And they're very active and noisy, and they want to keep their mommy and daddy being exactly the same person all the time.


So in a way, they don't let their parents change much in their own view. So it's a combination of I'm changing, which is reality, but also the way you see me is changing too. And when you're relaxed, and harmonious, and remembering silence and stillness, you get to see that I'm changing, but you also get to see you see me different ways. Thank you. You're welcome. Hello, Ralph. Good evening, Yuki. I wanted to ask you about that description of experience. Is it sense organ, sense object, experience? It seems to me that when experience happens that way,


a sense of self arises along with it. Normally, when human consciousness arises, and it can arise in a moment of awareness of a color, usually human consciousness has a sense of self arising in it. Yes. Is that inevitable? I think I think I would say basically, it's inevitable. Yeah. Not to go into more detail, I will in a minute. But for the time being, the sense of self arises with consciousness. And this teaching about how consciousness arises, namely, it doesn't arise, consciousness doesn't make it itself. And the self that's in consciousness doesn't make the consciousness. The consciousness doesn't arise by the self and the consciousness making the consciousness. The consciousness, which has a self in it, arises because of the interaction of


sense of subject and object, that interaction gives rise to it. So, when the consciousness arises with this, with the sense of self in it, it often arises with various delusions, along with the sense of self. For example, there's a sense of self and there's a delusion that the self is in control of various things that are going on in the consciousness. Like the self, there could be the sense of self, and there could be a delusion that the self made the color come, or the self made the consciousness of color arise, or that the self is in control of the various intentions and karmic activities of the consciousness. But those are deluded afflictions, and they arise with the self.


With study of this situation, which I'm doing with you right now, it is possible that we will no longer be fooled by these delusions, that we can have experience in which there's a sense of self and in which there's delusions about the self. For example, there can be the delusion that the self is in control of what's going on in consciousness. And even while that delusion is there, we can learn that it is just an illusion. It's not true. But there is that thought. Like, I don't know what, what just came to my mind was, my grandson used to come out to Green Gulch to visit, and when he was a little boy, and there was an area of Green Gulch that had lots of, of lots of toys in it.


And he told me once that those toys were his. Like what the first time he came to Green Gulch, he told me those toys were his. He told me he came sometime in the past and put those toys there. We actually think that way in our, that you know, we think that what's in our consciousness, we, we ourselves put that stuff in there. But it's not true. However, if you, if you study your consciousness, you can see, you can see how silly that is. But you have to study it. Well, the thing that comes up for me is that the illusion that that self will persist even though the experience subsides. The, the experience, the, the, the, a moment of experience, one of, one of the delusions in a moment of experience is that this self will continue. Yeah. That's an, that's an illusion. The self doesn't continue. However,


the self does arise again in the next moment of experience. So if, if I now in my consciousness think that probably in the next consciousness there will be a self, that's, that probably will be verified in the next consciousness. However, I do not have to get rid of the sense of self in order to be free of believing that myself is in control of what I'm thinking. Because it's not. What I'm thinking, when, when subject and object come together, when object and organ come together, either, either physical object, when physical sense and physical objects, mental sense and mental object come together, there is an arising of consciousness. It has a sense of self in it. It has delusions in it. And, and, and, but the self is not in control of any of that. However, there is the afflictive


thought that the self is in control. And by listening to the teaching and contemplating consciousness, you can see that that is simply an erroneous idea and you can let it be there. You don't have to get rid of it. Matter of fact, it's useful because you can have it in your consciousness and you can be talking to other people who have it in their consciousness. And your understanding that it's not true, you can help them see that it's not true in their consciousness either. So they have the same delusion, but they, they have the same illusion, but they believe it, therefore it's a delusion. But you can talk with them and you can point out to them how to look in their consciousness and find out that those are not true. So it's useful. It's a skillful device to have these afflictions in your consciousness. All these afflictions are, are actually skillful means that you can use to teach other people who have these afflictions, how to deal with them and become free of them without getting rid of them.


It's like a magician who maybe when, when she first saw the magic trick was fooled by it, then she became an apprentice of the magician and she learned how these illusions were created and she continues to see them created, but she knows that they're just a trick. And she can teach other people to see that they're just a trick. Now they're in a time when there's no more consciousness because consciousness has been completely transformed into wisdom and then there's no consciousness anymore. They're just radiant wisdom. So there is that stage of development. But prior to that stage where we don't even have consciousness anymore, where there's just wisdom, which illuminates all, all other consciousnesses, prior to that, we can be free of these, these afflictions by studying them, which, which we're doing right now in this conversation.


Thank you. You're welcome. Sean. Would you be able to share a couple examples of when Suzuki Roshi helped you to remember stillness and silence? Well, first of all, let me use an example where Suzuki Roshi helped me realize that I'd forgotten stillness and silence. Okay. So I know many of you have heard this story before. I went to Zen Center partly to find a Zen teacher. I wanted to study Zen and I met him and I quickly accepted him as a Zen teacher. And I had a great opportunity to spend time with him. And I set up


my life so that I would be available if he ever was willing to spend time with me. And so he noticed that I was there all the time. So he did offer me chances to be with him. And then sometimes when he gave me a chance to be with him, which is what I really wanted, right? I mean, I arranged my life so that I could be with him and then he offered me the chance to be with him. And then I wanted to get away from him because it was so wonderful to be with him. So he showed me, he showed me him, you know, in a way he showed me an embarrassing thing about myself, how I was having trouble just being there with him. And another example of where he showed me how I wasn't able to be silent and still with him was what we went to do a session in Portland, Oregon.


And on the way back, and during the session, he became very sick. And we found out later that he was having a gallbladder attack. And he was in tremendous pain. And then we went back to San Francisco on the plane together. And I was seated next to him. And he showed me, he and his pain showed me how I was really having a hard time sitting in my seat next to my teacher. And I knew I should be sitting next to my teacher and should be there for my teacher. But I was noticing that part of me was trying to get away from my seat and go to Hawaii. So he showed me those two cases and others. What he showed me was my lack of accepting the opportunity


to be silent and still. So one way to teach somebody something is to show them that they don't know how to do it. But in my, and when he showed me that, I knew that what I wasn't doing, I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to be there, silent and still with him. I was doing the silent part, okay. But I wasn't really still. And he showed me that I wasn't. And by showing me that he wasn't, he helped me remember what I wanted to be, namely sitting completely next to him. So yeah, so he showed me by showing me how I wasn't and in a way that I could accept that I wasn't. And by accepting that I wasn't, I was. And I don't usually tell this part of the story,


but I think I eventually did settle into my seat next to him. I think I did stop trying to run away. And it's not a very long trip from Portland to San Francisco, but I think by the time we got back, I was kind of like there with him. But he helped me find my place next to him by first of all showing me that I was having trouble finding my place next to him. Which is the normal, usually when you teach somebody something, they start out not knowing how to do it. So he taught me about how to accept and remember stillness by showing me where I lacked in that practice. And by accepting his teaching, I settled into the practice. Okay. Good evening, Rev.


Good evening, Gayathri. So good to be here again with you and the rest of the assembly. So there were many things that you said and others said in leading up to this, not question, I just wanted to share something that was interesting and kind of related to some of the things we've been talking about here. On the second night of the Lotus Sutra intensive, when we did the three week intensive, on the second night, I had this dream of you. And it was a very interesting dream. So I was in what was supposed to be your office with somebody else. And there was somebody else in the dream. Oh, I don't know who it was. But there was two of us in your office. And you weren't there. And then you walked in and you didn't look like you. So this is about the changing forms, you know, we were talking about. But I knew it was you in my dream. You were a black


man. I mean, you are African American kind of and you but you were bald. But you had a little bit of hair at the end. I mean, so you didn't look like you. But I knew in my dream that it was you. And so you, so I greeted you. And then you said, Have you been here before? And I said, No. And I was kind of feeling a little confused. And like, I wanted to get out of there, like, just like you and Suzuki Roshi in a way, like, you know, I didn't want to really be there. I wanted to kind of leave. And then you looked at me and you said, Well, why not? You know, the doors always been open. And I'm, you know, and so and then, and then, and then you said, sit, and you pointed to a chair and you said, sit. And that was the end of the dream. But the next morning when I was doing my practice, I mean, your words, I mean, it was so it was so real, the dream was so vivid. Your words were so like, the way you said sit was so


firm, and yet kind. And it kind of rang in my mind throughout my meditation practice, you know, it was just kind of like, you know, every time I'd go somewhere, it's like, okay, sit, you know, just sit, sit, you know, just be in silence and stillness, you know. So it was a very interesting dream. I just wanted to share that because it was because there was the door, you know, this thing of a door coming into a door kind of and saying, Well, it's always been open. Why did why not? Why didn't you come before? It was like, it was it was that kind of, it was it was a very beautiful dream. And I've been kind of contemplating it a little bit since then. So I did. Thank you. Yeah, you said it was interesting. But I think your second comment was more to the point. It was beautiful, beautiful dream. Yeah. And when I was a young priest, I used to tell people to sit. But then I stopped. Now, I'm much happier that you find that message in your own


mind. Yeah. That, you know, that I can help you, that my life can help you hear that in your own mind. Yeah, that's what you want. Yeah. And that you can say it to yourself. Or that, you know, in a kind, settled way. Yeah, that's wonderful. When you said that said, I didn't feel any coercion. No, it was. But I felt goosebumps. Uh huh. It was so it was so moving to hear that. Sit, sit. Yeah, it was very beautiful. And there's one other thought I just want to share before I say bye. The the, the what you're talking about today about the sense organs, meeting sense objects, and the self arising or co arising along with the with the sense and the sense objects.


And there's a very beautiful word verse by composed by Narayana Guru, who was a saint who lived in the in the 19th century, and early 20th century. And he and the verse goes like this. It says, in and beyond the knowledge or awareness that shines at once within and without the knower is the kadu. It's a word. It's not it's not translated. It's just says kadu to that with the five senses withheld, prostrate again and again with devotion and chant. And so what you said kind of reminded me of that verse in and beyond the knowledge which shines at once within and without the knower to to that is the kadu. He calls it the kadu. He could call it


Buddha nature or sorry, good stuff. Yeah, good stuff. And to that with the five senses withheld, prostrate again and again with devotion and chant. So anyway, it just came to me. I wanted to share that. Thank you. And that's similar to the to the bowing chant that I said earlier. So when bowing to the Buddha, we have a chant which says this nature oh no one one bowing the one who's bowing the one who's bowed to their nature no nature this body the other body the one I'm bowing to not to we're bowing to is not so much to the other we're bowing to the other but really we're bowing to the not to of the bower and the bowed to


we plunge into that space of the the non-separation the bowing and the bowed to yeah yeah thank you and uh uh were you born in India? Yes, I was born in India. So are you are you Indian? Are you an Indian person? I am. I identify as Indian. I'm an American citizen now. I came here for my graduate studies in uh so I've been here for 25 some odd years in the U.S. So uh so you're Indian and I just thought of a Sanskrit word which I was going to mention earlier. The Sanskrit word is ayatana and the Buddha used that term which we translate in English as door of arrival. Ayatana is translated as door of arrival or door of arising


and the Buddha taught 12 of them and the 12 ayatanas are eye organ field of visual field, ear organ, auditory field, nose organ, nose and so on. They're the five sense organs and the five sense objects and then mind organ and mind objects that makes 12 and they're called ayatanas which means doors of arrival or doors of arising and in the Heart Sutra it says no eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, mind, no colors, sounds, smells, touch, taste or mind objects. So in the Heart Sutra it says it goes through and says


in emptiness there are none of these these doors of arrival aren't there. In emptiness these two these two these things where where consciousness arises they aren't there. So this interaction occurs but the things the things interacting have no substantial existence because again there's no sense organ without sense object. If there's a sense organ isn't a sense organ until it's touched and when sense organ and sense object are touched we have sense consciousness. But there's no sense consciousness separate from sense organ touching sense objects so none of these elements in this arising none of them have any substantial independent existence. And therefore are empty and therefore are empty. Therefore they're empty and in emptiness we don't have them.


Beautiful yeah very beautiful yeah I would part of the while I was while I was also in the in the intensive in the Lotus Sutra intensive I learned how to sing the I was also meditating on the Heart Sutra and the way I was doing it was I learned how to sing it in Sanskrit the whole Heart Sutra and it was a very beautiful way to meditate on it to just sing it and then and uh you know in in Sanskrit which I copied from somebody else who was on YouTube or something and um so it was a very beautiful way to meditate on it so I had a little bit of a Heart Sutra going and then the Lotus Sutra going at the same time it was my season for Buddhism. The Lotus Sutra was kind of born from the from the Prajnaparamita and many people I think would love to learn how to chant the Heart Sutra in Sanskrit but we haven't quite got there yet in the West maybe sometime in the future. Yeah it's very beautiful thank you thank you.


Hi Reb. Hello Mei. Should I say Mei or Meishu? Mei it's okay. Mei it's okay. Wow um well I don't know um so great to meet everyone and I feel like somehow I was in gender intensive right now I feel like I'm in a I'm in a dream which is which is I'm I am in the butterfly's dream or butterflies is dreaming me I have no idea but um but I just now this is the third okay I'm back I'm back and now this is the third night and um I really deeply appreciate your your prayer for for for silence and then stillness um I think when I when I contemplate it when I do my teaching I feel like I feel like your your prayer just like rain you know your [...] moisture our our store conscious you know kind of like making that you


and I I didn't hear you mention about store conscious often but you always mention conscious and then um also apologize because I'm very analytical person you know uh I hate to use my analytical thinking to cut reality into pieces but it is uh something about alaya you know monas you know or consciousness also consciousness to me is is almost like a show directed by ego right so if ego is director so so ego get in but but when we're in this silent and stillness are we in alaya you know I'm I'm I'm just curious because alaya we don't have judgment we just we just no no no no no there's no duality right um and I I think there's a there's something always in my in my experience um I I'm also come from


scientific world as well because and then there's a scene like okay when you watch a flower when your mind it doesn't rise the concept of flower and you and the flower is the same thing is together but when you somehow you say oh this is a flower boom quantum classed you know so so now just like I think I think I still try to figure out I should try to figure out even though I you know hopefully that was even but word when we meet when this two world meet something arrive so that's something come from alaya or the light and also when you talk about consciousness so that consciousness is already uh filtered by by okay um before you bring up too much for me to deal with can I stop talking sure so uh when the buddha gave this teaching


he was talking about the arising of consciousness he was not talking about the arising of alaya and the the buddha the the phase of buddhism where um the the disciples of buddha developed this teaching of alaya was was developing what the buddha didn't really say much about the buddha mostly was talking about when these two things to come together that's the arising of consciousness where there's a sense of self now the later teaching is that the foundation of the arising of consciousness when these subject and object meet the foundation of it is the storehouse consciousness is the alaya and there is not as far as we know there's no sense of self in the alaya however


the alaya the storehouse which is the unconscious the embodied unconscious that that supports the arising of the consciousness where there's an idea of self and the idea of self in the consciousness one of its consequences is that it puts usually puts down seeds in as cause as effects into the storehouse consciousness again so there will be more consciousness arising with a sense of self so again the early buddhism the buddha did not explain in detail about the storehouse consciousness he did he did say a few words about it yes in heart in heart sutra there is something beyond consciousness there's a verse in the heart sutra it says that in emptiness there's no consciousness


there's no feelings no perceptions it talks about the five aggregates one of them is consciousness then it goes through and talks about the six sense consciousnesses then it talks about the the 18 elements which which has again six consciousnesses all those consciousnesses you cannot find in emptiness because none of them can be found because they have no substantial definitive existence yeah the heart sutra is saying teaching us about wisdom and wisdom sees the nature of consciousness wisdom sees that consciousness is something that basically is arising because of things that are not it coming together so consciousness has no independent existence it just arises with these other things and it's nothing in addition to them


and and the wisdoms understands that and i would be happy to if you keep if you want to bring this up again to integrate discussions of how the storehouse consciousness plays into only a buddha together with buddha how how the storehouse consciousness plays a role in zen meditation because it does but i have not been talking about the storehouse consciousness but once again the foundation of the storehouse consciousness is the embodied unconscious and the activities that occur in consciousness is at the very moment that they occur they transform the unconscious wow and then the next moment has an unconscious which gives rise to a new consciousness so part of the consequence of karma is the constant transformation of the storehouse consciousness


that's why in consciousness we should study what's going on and also study and understand our confusion about the relationship between the self and the activities of consciousness by studying that relationship we can become free of these misunderstandings and then the consequences of consciousness will be positive transformations of its foundation which is the storehouse consciousness um wow thank you for bringing it up um thank you hmm linda hi yeah i i was waiting for for sonia to ask her question and i was gonna raise my hand after that but then sonia's hand went away so um if you want to what


invite sonia's hand back i'm inviting sonia's hand back but i quickly put my hand up so you wouldn't end the meeting um so i have a question um you said that the self does not control what we think right that's right i did say that does the self control what we do the self does not control anything so um then you you talked again about how you learned from being with suzuki roshi how he showed you that you were not present with him silence and stillness and then at some point you he showed you so well that you accepted to be there and um is there somebody who accepts well yeah no there's somebody there when the acceptance occurs


is that just like a mysterious event that happens the acceptance you could say i'm okay with mysterious and i could tell a story about it but that story isn't isn't necessarily the way it happens so i'm with him right yeah but i'm not with him and i noticed that and i'm embarrassed because i know enough about zen to know that you're supposed to be with your teacher when you're with your teacher that i knew i knew i wanted to be with him i was very happy to go to portland with him i would it was an honor to be his attendant it was and and the job of the attendant is to be is to be with the person he's attending to but and i wasn't really wholeheartedly doing it and i noticed it but he also helped me notice it if he wasn't there i wouldn't have noticed that i wasn't really there right so he helped me so just noticing it was that i didn't make myself notice it right


he helped me but he could he he there was somebody sitting on the other side of him in the seat too but they may not have been there either but maybe they didn't think hey i'm not present in my seat next to this japanese guy they may i don't know what they thought but anyway i did think that and he also helped me i would say except that i wasn't doing my job and i think when i accepted that i wasn't doing my job of being there i started to be there but but the self was not in charge of this process it was something i was doing with him so i was there all those moments of consciousness there was a there was an eye in those consciousnesses but the eye was not in control of that process i did not make myself not be feel present i did not make myself want to get away i didn't i didn't make myself want to be there i didn't make myself want to be uh embarrassed but us being together i i i did learn to accept


i mean i i did accept my situation and i finally accepted being in this very painful situation with him but it wasn't it wasn't my doing but i was there so and yes and and in the consciousness there is the idea although the self is not controlling what is being done in the consciousness there is the idea that the self does control so that's an illusion if i if i accept this idea i'm not at all uh i don't at all mind accepting the idea that the self doesn't control it but my question is around how does that arise or why isn't that happening or you know but i i just have to keep living with that question and hanging out with you and friends and people do sometimes say say to me they say why did you say


that why did you do that you know like for example why did you go to zen center you know and i usually at this point in my life and it's been this way for a while i say i do not know why i did that i do not know but i can tell stories i can tell you a story about why i did like earlier uh sean asked me i told some stories i do not know again why did you do that and i would say actually i think the question is misplaced i think it better to say why did how did that happen yeah that's what i'm asking how does that happen how does it happen and i do not know how it happens however i can tell stories i can tell stories of how it happened and by studying these stories it isn't that we're going to find a story that actually tells how it happens but by studying these stories we will discover how it happens it is a mystery but we


can understand this mystery and the buddha said that the actuality of dependent co-arising from the point of view of sentient beings consciousness is inconceivable dependent co-arising is an inconceivable process and the buddha taught the 12 links of causation but that's a conceivable version of it that's a skillful means that the buddha gave to us but the actual way it happens is dependent on this this depending on the arising of this the arising of that but how does that happen the buddha saw it but it's inconceivable from the point of view of ordinary consciousness but ordinary consciousness by studying itself can become free of itself and wisdom sees it and and it's okay to tell stories in the process before i go can i tell a funny story


okay so you heard a very beautiful inspiring dream from Gayatri when i first went to zen center it was 1974 and i in a very soon i had a dream where i was sitting on the threshold of the of the zendo i've never told this dream in public i was sitting on the threshold of the zendo and a dentist was looking into my mouth and the dentist said you have way too many categories way too many categories wow that's not cavities category right right right it was a it was a pun i'm glad that you told that story and now it's in public and everybody it's part of the zen lore that's a good okay yeah you have way too many categories and i'm a bodhisattva and i'm not going to pull them out okay i'm going to let you study them


that's what's been happening okay sonia thank you linda um i had a couple questions some of them you've gone over but i wanted to tell a story when sean asked you for a story a story that you've told came to my mind that has been really important to me that i love and i think it's the portland trip but i'm not positive where you were sitting next to suzuki roshi and was that when he taught you how to count people shorty futari signing going on and on that was on the trip up to portland oh that was before the gallbladder attack i okay so i thought i i i thought about that story a lot


and i i really loved it and i memorized i don't know if i could still do it but i memorized the counting and then as you told the story uh you thought he went to sleep and then he said story and you had to start again through the whole trip counting people is that did i yeah and i felt like that was i'm pretty sure he did go to sleep but then he woke up to remind you yeah i think i think he can be i think in his sleep he could be aware that i'm stopped yeah and i felt like that was how i have used that story is a way of inviting continuous practice or presence like you just because somebody goes to sleep or they do go to sleep but anyway you just keep counting you go around and around and around and so anyway i love that story and probably you can tell it a little better than i did but it was


when sean asked the question that's the story that came to my mind and maybe it's like you're reminding us in different ways but it's almost like a mantra that helps you be present somewhere to keep return re returning your mind so i want to say i don't know if it was the same thing but that was the story well i think it's another example yeah so sean asks are you there sean this is for you he's here so i'm i'm uh i'm so i'm flying to in the airplane with suzuki roshi and actually i think maybe even before we took off he said he was going to teach me how to count people in japanese so he taught me how to count from one to ten because there's special counters for people so he taught me story toddy sunning yoning goning so on he taught me how to count


and then he and then he i mean he said it to me and he said now you say it so i said it back to him and uh i don't know how many times we went back and forth before i could got the whole 10 and after i could do the whole 10 he said now you continue right so then i just continued and i did it out loud and so i continued quietly counting story toddy sunning yoning goning rokunin chichinin hakunin kunin to and so on over and over and then we took off and he fell asleep and then uh and then i stopped counting when he fell asleep but then when i stopped counting he woke up and said story and i started counting again and uh he fell asleep again and then when he fell asleep i


stopped counting and then when i stopped counting he woke up and said story and i started again but then uh and i just continued and he went to sleep but then after he went to sleep i just continued the rest of the way i didn't stop counting when he went to sleep but when we're asleep sometimes and there's some sound when we go to sleep and we're used to the sound if the sound stops it often wakes us up so the so anyway that was on the way up and so he did teach me in a way to stay at my seat my conference seat in that case i think that's a really not by shaming me but by reminding me that on the way home it was a really different situation now he was in a lot of pain and he wasn't going to sleep thank you sonia i really love that story i think it's a really important beautiful story and um i just want to say i had some other questions but one of them


and i think you answered it so i'm kind of checking myself of why you thought it was important to change you said the to move from subject object to the universe meeting the universe i think that's how you said it yeah that's like the mahayana version is it's not just your sense organ meeting some sense object i think i think what it says to me is that this point that you were making before is we don't really know it's so vast like i didn't even want to just commit it to two things meeting we do know know the sense organ but that's that's the like tip of the iceberg to say the least right that's the that's the coherent that's like the coherent part of what the real meeting is so the real meeting is this little thing here this little eye organ but really behind that whole eye organ is the whole universe


right so your your your sense organ is the whole universe in the form of your sense organ but you can't see the whole universe which is coming as your sense organ but you can see the whole universe as your sense organ so it's like the coherent meeting the coherent but really there's an incoherent background that's also meeting right yes thank you that's that resonates for me thank you and thank you for the story story early early buddhism did not make that point this is uh drawn out by the lotus sutra and i'll say more about that next week another comment for tonight hello yeah i thought i have another question on the story that you told about the flight back


back so because i heard that you said uh kind of told the story that suzuki helped you be in your seat and and my mind sort of told the story that well really you helped you stay in your seat or that you were able to remember being in your seat during the flight i agree i helped me i helped me and he helped me both okay so so both are because both seem to be valid stories about it really the whole universe helped me be in my seat and the whole universe helped me realize that i was having trouble being in my seat however if he hadn't been sitting there or even if he had been sitting there and in really comfortable


i might not have felt so ashamed that i wasn't present for him but when your teacher's sick and you you and you're his attendant you you feel you know that it's your responsibility to be there for to help your teacher right and i was not completely there but if he hadn't been there if i'd just been riding on the airplane by myself and you know daydreaming i might not have felt like well it's my job to be in this seat but he helped me remember that even if your teacher isn't there still your job to be in your seat but he but him being there especially him being there in pain did make me really feel like yes i really have a an essential responsibility to be here in this seat for him and everybody else he helped me that his his suffering helped me


first of all realize that i wasn't really present and then to be and then to be present but i helped me i helped me but i didn't control me he helped me but he didn't control me he didn't make me be present i didn't make myself be present but he and i and everybody else came together to help me be present and then i think and then i think i finally was present but i don't know how that happened i remember a story i read when i first started practicing zen in san francisco i read this book by carlos costaneda do you know carlos costaneda tillman he wrote about a mexican woman hmm so he's studying with this mexican teacher this mexican shaman named don carl don don juan and his first assignment was to find his place you could say to find his seat


so don juan said tonight i want you to find your place and uh so the student spent the whole night looking for his place and uh he really had a hard time he was looking [...] and he couldn't find his place but he was aware he wasn't finding his place and finally i guess he just gave up and went to sleep someplace the next morning the teacher don wong said did you find your place and he said no i didn't find it and don won said well where did you go to sleep and carlos showed him where he went to sleep he said this is your place so i was aware when i didn't find my place and i felt embarrassed about it but now looking back i realized i did find my place but i didn't even notice that i found my place but i stopped running away from being with my teacher


and that's you know that's my happiness my happiness is when i stop running away from buddha and before i run away from being buddha i help myself feel uncomfortable about that and also buddha helps me feel uncomfortable and you help me if you see me running away from buddha you help me also be embarrassed that i'm running away from buddha in other words that i'm forgetting to be still when we run away we we forget stillness we can walk away and remember stillness so i pray that we that we walk that we walk and walk and walk back and forth on the threshold with all beings where the two worlds meet that we walk and remember stillness


thank you everybody may our intention equally extend to every being and place and may the merit of our meeting together with all beings realize the buddha way beings are numberless i vow to save them delusions and afflictions are inexhaustible i vow to cut through dharma gates are boundless i vow to walk back and forth in front of them the buddha way is unsurpassable i vow to become my thank you thank you thanks thank you