The Zazen of the Buddhas' Is Great Compassion

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The zazen of the buddhas is great compassion.The most common type of compassion is compassion towards suffering as it appears to us. It sees living beings and their suffering as independently existing beings and wishes them to be free. The second type of compassion sees sentient bengs in the light of the teaching that nothing exists independently and it liberates us from the first but it is not free of the view of substantiality or nonsubstantiality of the teaching. Great compassion does not apprehend beings or suffering or compassion as substantial. It is the intimacy of buddhas and sentient beings and it liberates the first two types.  It's not that the teacher is over here and the teacher is over there. It is the intimacy of the teacher and the student and the intimacy doesn't belong to either of them.  Zen practice is communion, an active intimacy.  The Han says "Carefully listen everyone, BIrth and Death are a great matter"...,   The teaching is not to skip over the world of suffering, the world of birth and death.  We live in intimacy but we have a tendency to try to skip over birth and death. The buddhas practice is to listen to the cries and not to skip over it.  In intimacy we're all calling for compassoin and we're all listening with compassion. That's reality.  If I try to skp over birth and death, I'm sorry.  Reality is intense and this practice is to not turn away from it and to not touch it.  "On Dec 10, 1068, I went to visit Suzuki Roshi and ask him about going to Tassajara. I was there and he was there and it was's one of the moments in my life that I will probably never forget."   There is a story about a humble sage (note: Pukkasati) who wondered about the limits of his understanding and started on a journey to meet Shakyamuni Buddha. The Buddha knew this  and went to meet him in the guise of a humble monk. They both found shelter in a potting shed but the monk didn't recognize the Buddha. After a while the buddha asked the monk if he would like to hear some teachings and while the buddha was teaching the monk realized this was the buddha and apologized for being so causual in the beginning of the meeting.   The Buddha is with us all the time but we have to be alert to it. This is hard to do because the meeting is intense. 



description by Karen Mueller

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king and place
today is
called december tenth around here
and ah
almost every year on december tenth i remember
in december tenth
in nineteen sixty eight
when i went to suzuki vs office as so called your temple
in the afternoon
to ask him
if i could go to the practice period at tassajara
which is going to start in january
and he was scheduled to be the teacher for that practice true
i suppose someone said it would be appropriate for you to go and asked the teacher if you can go to the practice period
so it was one of those moments
that i remember
and he said okay
and i said thank you and that was it
oh as it turned out
not too long after that request was made
he became infected by what was called at that time the asian flu
and so ah i went to toss a hero for the practice period but he did not come
maybe after about two months of the practice period he tried to come to tassajara but the road had washed out in the reins and he turned back and he never came to that practice frame
so my first practice period which i went to toss a hard in practice with him he was not able to come
and we're that practice frederick then rick martin per was that that practice period
so this fall
here and
had over the hill and green gulch and and other venues i bent emphasizing that what is called what
there's to say what i call zazen when i use the word zazen
what i mean is great compassion
i even go so far as to propose
that the zazen of the buddha's
the zen practice of the buddha's
our buddhist practice in the zen lineage is great compassion
and i'm just now again the fog comes to my mind
you might not be surprised if someone said the buddhist practice is great compassion you might say well of course buddhist practice as great compassion and how about great wisdom yes
in great compassion
there is great wisdom
but i emphasized great compassion
all fall in these different meetings
in addition i brought up the great compassion is
or i say great compassion does not have objects
there are other types of compassion which have objects like for example
the most common type of compassion is compassion toward directed towards living beings as objects
somebody other than myself
compassion towards living beings as they appear to me
compassion towards the suffering of living beings as it appears to me
this is the normal way for the practice of compassion to start
but this compassion have the problem of seeing living beings as substantial
independently existing living bags
i see the and i see them and i see their suffering and else also see their suffering is substantial and independently existing
and i wish for these beings who i see as substantially existing separate from me i wish them to be free of suffering and i wish their suffering too
be liberated
this is a kind of compassion
which is called compassion which has sentient beings as objects
seen as substantial
the next kind of compassion which i brought up is seeing sentient beings
still as objects but also really seeing them in the light in the light of the teaching that nothing is substantially existing
so i look
i care for sentient beings
and also remember that the sentient beings i care for our non substantial they do not exist on their own even though they might appear that way to me

and they're suffering which also might appear to be substantial might appear to be substantial is not a substantially independently existing thing
and and the compassion which i wish for that from for living beings to receive it is not a substantial thing
it's not an independent day
for example it depends on the suffering and it depends on living beings it doesn't have a substantial thing being so i bring that teaching to my
compassion practice
great compassion
does not
apprehend beings as substantial
by the way the second type of compassion
which is compassion in light of the dharma teaching that compassion liberates us from the first type and all the problems of the first time
the second type however does hold onto the image or the idea of non substantial holiday so it's not yet great compassion great compassion embraces the first two types
without them being on without those types being objects or any beings being objects and doesn't hold any views of substantially witty or even non substantial energy
it doesn't hold onto the teachings of the dharma about beings and it doesn't hold on to the appearance of beings the great compassion is
intimacy among all beings intimacy of buddha's and central banks as great compassion and great compassion liberates the first two types
and includes them and liberates them
doesn't push him away it doesn't push anything away because nothing's out there to be wash away it is it is not separate from beings great compassion is the in separability of all beings it is the interdependence of all beings
it is the intimacy of our bags

zazen is the intimacy of all beings
zen practice
it is mature form
is the intimacy of all beings
it's not the zen masters over here and the zen students over there
it includes zen masters and it includes and students and it includes all beings and all things zen practice does
but it is what it is it's the intimacy of of the zen master and the zen student is the intimacy of them and intimacy doesn't belong to the zen student and doesn't belong to the sand teacher doesn't belong to anybody or you can sit
it equally belongs to everything

and then another way of talking about great compassion another way to talk about
zen practice is that it is communion
so it's an intimacy and is also a communion
it's a communion it's a communication it's a meeting
it's an active intimacy
and we
have the opportunity
to make everything we do
in every moment an offering
to this communion
right now i'm rubbing my
little fingers together and this action and move it rubbing these little fingers together
is an offering
to the communion of all bags my hand gestures my voice my posture my all my actions
i wish and i vow to make all my actions offerings tis a great communion which is great compassion riches zen practice

something that recently came up in this little temple was as someone came to see me and
they told me that they read that the words on that wooden block that's hang in there
which we suck cause sometimes in japanese record han which means wouldn't block
on that wooden block she said it says at the top carefully listen everyone
another translation would be great assembly carefully listen

and the next line says birth and death are a great matter
a great affair
or you can say a great business birth and death are on are the great business
and this person told me that they ah they should they kind of realized that what that was saying was
carefully listen
do not skip over birth and death
do not jump over to great compassion or two or two grey wisdom or to great buddhahood don't skip over the birth and death
this person said that they had a tendency in the past to try this jump over birth and death to the land of perfect wisdom
which sounds good but this is saying don't do that
don't skip over birth the suffering of birth and death don't jump over the cries of the world which are in your own body and mind and coming from everybody else
don't skip over it awake awake pay attention
for three times

we are
actually our actual life is communion with all beings that's reality
but we have another part of our life which is included in that communion is that we are
air to or heiresses to but also air in the sense of e r are we are hair to try to skip over birth and death
we're living in an intimacy and we're trying to skip over the birth and death part of the intimacy
we have that tennessee
and when i try to skip over birth and death at that moment i have a lack
in faith
what faith birth and death are not to be skipped over when i try to skip over my face is not very strong
and also my practice is it when i try to skip over is not being applied to this suffering
so if we notice that we're trying to avoid any birth and death
any suffering than we have a practice which we just chatted which is to reveal and disclose any lack of faith and not skipping over birth and death
any lack of practice of not skipping over birth and death
any lack of practice
i'm listening to
and giving compassion to all the cries inside
usually start inside
because that's the closest don't skip over was closest
and then everybody else
i'm in pain
and i'm listening to that pan
and i am joyful to listen to this pen cause that is the buddhist practice is to listen to this pain and this pan and this pan and this ban and not skip over it

and if i do skip over it or try to skip over it
or even if i try and fail still if i try to skip over this pain then i have a practice and that practice is the pure and simple color of true practice it's the true mind of faith which is
i believe in not skipping over birth and death and also i believe in acknowledging that i just tried
and i am embarrassed that i tried to skip over birth and death
that i'd tried to skip over my pain
when i acknowledge it than the faith is alive
when i tried to skip when i acknowledge my of trying to avoid suffering and closing my ears to suffering when i acknowledge it and say i'm sorry in the presence of the buddha's who are inseparable from me and the body sought was who are inseparable from me and all beings who are in
separable from me that melts away the roots not a suffering it melts away the roots of trying to avoid suffering
kim and avoiding so when we stop trying to avoid suffering and listened to it than we don't get rid of suffering we liberated not we liberated them put the compact the true compassion
the intimacy the the communion liberate bags
and the communion doesn't skip over any of the suffering it embraces all of the suffering

someone told me about 'em
practice opportunities that they had
a little assemblies that they attended to study buddhist teachings
and why they were telling me about all is good opportunities
i thought of of doctors
a nurses
i have opportunities
the so and what i was thinking of is that sometimes maybe often when people go to see a doctor or nurse they're actually open to
and requesting compassion
and they're gonna let the doctor or the nurse be compassionate to them they're going to say yeah i got a problem how would like some compassion
now they might also be thing i want you to fix my problems
and the doctor or the nurse or the mood i will god
nurse practitioner or the physician's assistants all these people might put a stethoscope on urge on their heart or might put up a tongue depressor on their tongue and say ha and say say are they might do that
but when i was thinking is a purchase an opportunity where people are gonna let your be kind to them
and sometimes if we go to us these these these people who are gonna help us
and they and they and they do their thing which we allowed them to do if there are if they don't do it kindly we sometimes feel
as something was missing they didn't test our blood a dentist and you know they did check us out
but maybe we didn't feel like basically what they did was they loved us
and in some situations people are not so open for us to love them which is which is sad
doesn't mean you can't do it it just means they don't this they save it a wanted but the nice thing about
a dime a study group is the people kind of home sank would you have people who are here help me
would you listen to me

somebody told me
that they had some
i'm in encounter with someone and after the encounter they felt
a pain
and guilt and they also had a thought
something's wrong
and i send to the person
that pain was calling for compassion from know that pain was cooked that pain was calling for compassion and he said well how is it calling
he calls i just pain
that thought
something's wrong is calling for compassion how was the for compassion something's wrong
something's wrong i wish somebody would listen to me say something's wrong
pain guilt
so i'm proposing to you that every experience is calling for compassion
every experience wants to be listened to including the experience of the thought i don't want you to listen to me
don't want you to listen to me which is sometimes shouted
of course people also say i do want you to listen to me
or you're not listening to me but when somebody says you're not listening to me they're actually saying
listen to me
right now i'm talking to you and i'm saying to you please listen to make with compassion
i don't feel like i'm in excruciating pain but i'm still saying
listen to me listen to me listen to my voice listened to my body listen to my words with compassion i want that
but not only do i wanted but my voice wants it
everything about me wants to be listened to
also everything about me is listening
that's reality in intimacy
we're all calling for compassion and we're all listening with compassion
now if i miss
the opportunity to listen to something with compassion then i have a practice called i confess i got distracted and i miss the opportunity to look with compassion and listen with compassion and i'm sorry
and i so joyfully practice being sorry and so joyfully practice
revealing that i missed a beat
that i'd tried to skip over birth and death i'm sorry i know it's foolish but i tried it

i tried to skip over birth and death i forgot that it's the big job
i went to sleep somewhere else and or
the in the rendition is that person had of this of this thing she said i'm just saying birth and death is the great matter awake awake she added don't go to sleep
why did you hear birth and death as the great matter don't go to sleep it's okay to go to sleep at night but when you go to sleep at night don't go to sleep
in your dreams paulison
and even when you're not dreaming who'll listen

so again
the health care professionals they have this great opportunity
observing whoever comes to see them with eyes of compassion and listening with tears of compassion to have this great opportunity and these people who come and also animals that come
they kind of a lot of mercy yeah go ahead go right ahead and look at me with compassion
it's such a great opportunity
but also the more difficult ones are when we are need people who are not open to it that's another great opportunity it's equally great is just
where you could say
anyways equally great the people who come to us and say i'm in pain and i don't want you to listen to me
or they come to you and say i hate you
and they don't know they're saying i'm in pain
did you say i hate you or your so unkind when somebody tells me that i'm so unkind they're actually saying would you please listen to that with your whole heart when i tell you here on kind would you kindly listen to that
they want me to kindly listen to them telling me that i'm not kind don't you think so
of course the everybody wants me and you to listen to them kindly
that's going on all day long
and is so intense that you might try to get away from it because jump over that to that intensity that birth that birth birth of what birth of intensity what's the intensity i wanted you to listen to me and the way i'd to ask you that
is by saying don't look at me
i often tell the story
about my grandson
when he was about six i was visiting and be live in l a and i was visiting him and it was breakfast time and he was eating his cold cereal with milk
and and his grandfather was you could say staring at him
i was adorning him as usual
i was whole i would wholeheartedly looking at him i wasn't i like well i wish i had something better to do them look at him
i was happy to look at him eat his breakfast
and and
that i notice his his forehead was furrowing his brow was thoroughly and and he said would you please stop staring at me
and i said okay and looked at the ceiling
i do not leave the room i just stood there looking at the ceiling
and i think that was good enough for him
this heat my grandson
just like everybody else is calling to me for compassion whenever we meet he is calling for me from compassion
and i have easy time most of the time giving it to him
in this case he was calling for me to compact getting compassion i heartedly gave it but i could understand the intensity and said give me a break and i said okay
i listened to him and looked took these eyes away from him up to the cia and then with that little break from the intensity he gets taken talk to me again and i so i fit in he could stand for me to look at him again he just needs to know that he can take a break
egg from the intensity if he needs to
and he can
i didn't say when you said we just help lucky am i didn't say i'm just looking at your whole heartedly loving you i didn't say that i said okay i listened and i responded by doing the smooth looking at ceiling
i know i must confess to you when i looked at the ceiling i was not thinking all the sale is golden for compassion i didn't know that at the time i'm sorry
i just stopped looking at you look at something else is it
birth and death is intense birth is intense death is intense
life is intense it is the communion of all beings that is like intense the intimacy of all beings is intense
reality is intense
this practice is to learn how to not turn away or touch the intensity because it's like a massive fire
are trying to learn how to not touch it has no good too hot or run away from as to pulled how did they with it
and when we're not oh
oh buddhas and bodhisattvas please witness my confession i tried to get away from the intensity of birth and death i'm sorry

somebody told me i was kind
in a very intense way and i tried to get away i'm sorry somebody told me i was not kind and i tried to get away i'm sorry
but when eyes when i'm present with it when i'm president with it what with the suffering
inwardly and outwardly when i'm present with it
i feel joy that's what i'm here for and that's my that's my that's life is wrong were present physician intense come here again

i went to angela on on december tenth nineteen sixty eight i went to visit this priest named should shinrykio suzuki ever heard about that meeting
i went to see him to ask him about going to toss a horror
i think i said something like i'd like to go to tell us our may i and he said something like okay

i i i i don't feel like i don't feel ashamed of that meeting
i don't feel like i turned away from asking him and looking at his face and listening to him when he said okay
i was there
he was there it was intimate
when nobody saying it but this young man saying i'd like to go to touch the horror may i okay that intimacy i did not turn away from and it's that's one of the moment in my life which i probably will never for
forget and i'm sharing with you that moment of meeting of communion with the teacher nothing fancy was said
but we were together in that room on that evening
and i want every moment to be just that simple
being present with whatever of course is harder when somebody screams at you are slaps you are when a pay a great pain shoots up in your body or mind is harder to just say
may i go to practice period
may i may i practice may i learn to be with pay with this pain
yes you can

so i think guy of the thought here's a thought the thought is i think everybody wants to be in accord with reality
i think so
in other words everybody wants to be in accord with great compassion i think so and otherwise everybody wants to be in accord with this communion which is reality
i think so
and i think
to the extent that we're veering away from it
we missed the great joy of the communion and we experience a range of misery
so we missed the great opportunity and we don't feel good about it
however however however however if we embrace that not feeling good about it
we enter the communion again we that practice realizes that community communion
the great bodhisattvas when they turned away from the communion they confessed it and said they're sorry
i'm laughing because there's this funny story by sharkey mooney which i told many times
which is kind of funny
and i think i had time to tell it but
maybe i'll save it for later what do you think
okay until know so
there was a a yogi an adept yogi
why i think had many students
and he was like meditating one night i thought arose in his mind i wonder if my understanding is actually correct i wonder if my understanding of reality is authentic
and he was blessed with a visitation
in the scriptures it says a deity came to him said no it's not
however there is somebody
on this indian subcontinent who does have authentic understanding his name's galerkin a buddha
he can help you so this humble
who wondered about the limits of his sagacity
and was told yes it is limited but you can get help he headed in the direction where he heard that the buddha was living
and somehow the buddha
having certain powers understood that this person this sincere person was coming to visit him to meet him to have communion with him
so the buddha
it's a funny story so the buddha told his assembly i'm going to take a walk and i don't want you all to come with me
and the border took off
took off what
his glamour
the part of his glamour is to be for walking around with a huge group of followers that kind of a glamorous safe no followers and he took off his personal body body glamour so he's walking along and he looks like a monk but you can't tell if it's the buddha
as is no golden aura and no great assembly is walking a long walk in long and he walks a long ways to am
to a city called raja greyhawk which is where he gave some of his talks
and he he knows that this guy's going to be in the town so he's meeting them halfway from where he was in this town and when this guy got to
to the town he searched around for a place to stay
and the one of the places he went to ask for shelter was a potter and the potter says oh yeah i guess the an indian people would give wandering monks they would give them places to stay he said can i stay and do have place like a stadium
the potter says and you can stay in the potting shed so i went and stayed in the potting shed
and then the buddha came to the city and somehow the buddha found his way to the same potter shed
he went to the potter said a place like is day and the says i do but there's already somebody staying there
but you can ask him for it's okay with him you can bolster their so the buddha went to see this person
and yeah and the buddha said excuse me monk
would it be okay if i stayed here with you and the monk said whatever man fine and so the buddhist stayed with them
here's here's this guy you know why we say he's quite well trained but he's not yet ready for the intensity of intimacy for communion so when the buddha comes he's not ready for them communion that the buddha just came to bring to him
he didn't see it
so says okay whatever man
and then they sit together
and after they sit for quite a while into the evening the buddha's impressed by the meditation practice of this person
he asked the person
under whom have you gone forth onto the holy path
and this sage says under shakyamuni buddha undergo him a buddha
he's on his way to meet go to reboot that's he's gone forth on the path to meet the buddha that's who is that's who is teacher is and then the buddhist says to have you ever met this person
and the monk says no was you recognize me if you saw him
the monk says no
in other words this is an honest person
he is looking for his teacher who has not yet met now he's many his teacher but it doesn't recognize his teacher because he's not yet ready to open to who this person is
the ball hits a
is a lot to open to what a buddha is it's a lot to open to this communion
and the buddha the stability and a former jimmy don't you realize who i am he
is your teach her have you met him
he didn't say what you like to meet him and the magog good he said well yes that's why here is he didn't do that
he just said
would you like the to hear some teachings
perhaps you'd like to hear some teachings he didn't say well i'm the person you your company just study was was your to here's a teach so would you like to hear some teachings in the guy didn't say teaches what mean teachings he didn't say that i'm a teacher who are you to give me teaching he said yeah
and that boat again in teaching and in that teaching
this very noble student started to open to the intimacy
the border give him this nice teaching
and he started to open and then before the buddha was done talking
he opened to it and realized this is the buddha
but he didn't interrupt opponents into hey i he just kept listening and enjoying the communion and then the buddha finished to talk and then he said i found my teach
i was looking for my teacher and i found my teacher my teacher came to me which is here but he couldn't see it at the beginning
the buddha's with us all the time
but we have to open to it
and as hard to open to it because it's intense
but he did open to it
and then he agreed have reset and rejoiced in meeting the person he was wanted to meet and really meeting have not just seeing a person
but seeing the dharma
and the song
and the border
then he said i'm sorry that when you have to stay here i've said kind of and formerly sherman rather than
welcome teacher thank you for coming
there was some mistake and the buddha didn't argue said
that was an appropriate but you didn't know any better but not here and now you're acknowledging it and saying you're sorry and this terms the dharma wheel
when we notice our shortcomings and we acknowledge them
and say we're sorry the dharma wheel turns were doing the buddha work when we had met our shortcomings that's a buddha work that's body sought the work
so you ask for that story and you got it
so is there
is that enough for this morning and maybe we could have question and answer this afternoon
how about is that okay
and maybe to that question and answer will be sooner than usual because of the rain will see
but i wanted to tell you that one of our dharma sisters and in this little community who also a member of gringos community and so on named marie marie
she passed away last night right
so she came to it she came here quite quite a few times
i listened to her here quite a few times
she listened to me quite a few times and now she's passed away
so if if it's okay with you after we conclude this time to talk perhaps we can do up a memorial ceremony for her

she was very dear person very dear dharma dharma stir and she loved buddha dharma is syrah he really did
and she also loved her grandchildren
and her husband's
and all of us
the saga