Zazen Is World Transformation

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Koans, using consciousness to go beyond consciousness; the path which can be spoken is not the true path.

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Sarah, could you move that way an inch or two? Thank you. I wanted to say something that we can go into more on another occasion, but we have these many Zen stories, and some of them are called koans, and sometimes they're like a book and the book's got, we say, lots of koans in the book, these public cases of public reality. And so another aspect of this would be that you have this story that you can look at,


and that the story actually is an idea that somehow, by reading the story, this idea comes into your consciousness, and this story has the potential, within your limited consciousness, to exceed the capacity of the consciousness. But the consciousness has let something in that is set up to have something inside the consciousness that the consciousness cannot contain.


And then the consciousness can develop this relationship with something inside of itself that's greater than itself. And the transition from the story when it first comes in, which you may think is interesting or meaningless or difficult to understand, the transition from this thing in your mind and what it can become, how it can become greater than the capacity of what holds it, that is facilitated by a conversation with another. And part of the conversation is some kind of opposition, or some real being met by something that really meets you, and in that conversation the story becomes something which you could


never have let into consciousness in the first place. So part of consciousness is that we bring in the rest of the world in a kind of diminished or reduced form, because consciousness can't let undiminished things inside. So it actually lets a diminished version of itself. So something very big touches the consciousness and the consciousness makes this kind of unjust reduced version of this thing which the consciousness can deal with. Like our digestive system, there's no hamburgers moving through the bloodstream, right? But you can eat a hamburger and then the hamburger can be chewed up and broken down and converted into stuff that can go in the bloodstream. So in the world, we break down the world into these ideas, these thoughts in consciousness,


but some of them are set up, once they get inside, to open up to show that they're actually infinite, but in such a way that it doesn't make you go unconscious. Maybe I use the word overwhelm, it doesn't overwhelm the consciousness and make you faint. Through the conversation you can tolerate the vastness of what's in your mind. And you can do that with anything, I should say you can do it, that can happen with anything, but in order for this thing that came in in a reduced form to be unreduced and to start to include all that it is, we come to that by conversation. So traditionally these stories are discussed in conversation.


And the same with, for example, our sitting practice. So we have this body, and in our mind we have a reduced version of our body in our mind. We have various little pictures of what our body is, which isn't really fair to our body, but we have these pictures and we deal with these pictures. And so we have a picture of ourselves sitting up in meditation, and that's based on our body, which is sitting up in meditation, but it's sitting up in meditation in a way that can't get into consciousness because it's too big. So we make this little kind of stick figure of ourselves with arms and legs and stuff. Our body doesn't really have arms and legs like that. Or the arms and legs are like infinite, really, but we can't imagine that,


so we make this imaginary version of our body sitting upright, meditating. And then by conversation we can start to realize the actual body that's sitting, which turns out to be the same body as the person sitting in everybody else's body. Be open to that, and then learn from that. So I just wanted to introduce that and maybe bring it up again and again in the future. And I also wanted to ask you, it was suggested that we end today at five. So, did you hear about that? Yes. So today we're going to end at five as an experiment, and I'd be interested to see if you like ending at five, or if you want to go back to ending at 5.30. It's up to you, I think.


I hear you, so it's up to you that it's up to me? Or is it up to me that it's up to you that it's up to me? Anyway, I asked for your feedback and you gave it, thank you. I honor what you wish. Oh, there you go. I honor what you wish, too. I vow to honor what you wish. Anything you wish, right now? No. No? No wishes at this time? That's a standing offer. You can make a wish, really, for your well-being. I honor your wish for our well-being. With the roads being the way they are right now, for people going back to Green Gulch for dinner, maybe it's a little easier ending at five. And after the roads are repaired, let me know.


If there can be an evaluation, it'd be after the roads are fixed. Okay, thank you. Thank you, thank you for the feedback. I know that sometimes there's not enough time in the day to see all the people that you might like to see for dokasan, so if there were more time, then maybe that would make it easier on you and other people. I don't know, that's a thought. Thank you for the feedback. Thank you for another day. I was uplifted by your support, so I was able to stay with you all day. Thank you. A man is reaching for her bell striker. Yes? When I was in dokasan today with Rev,


a thought arose towards the end of our meeting, and it was, you should kiss this great teacher's feet, and this country that he represents, and this example that he represents. And he looked at me and he said, not in here, I think, something like this, not in here, but could you do it out in the other room? And I said, yes, I could do that. And so I would like to do that. Could you... My feeling, I don't know what will happen, but my feeling is one kiss. Can you bring your feet together? Yes, Linda. I'm waiting to hear your wish. I...


So she disclosed that there's no private kissing here. Yes. Only public kissing. Yes, I thought about the liability. But then I thought, oh, it's for the welfare of all beings. Yes. Do it like the young priest in the series, he raises his foot like that, for it to be kissed. You say, the young priest in what? You know that series I was talking about, it's called The Young Priest. Oh, I thought it was called The Young Pope. Young Pope. And he raises his foot? Oh, yeah. Oh, really? The cardinal is like, kiss him. Wow. Are there any cardinals here? Are you a cardinal? I don't know. I don't think I am. Well, I'm deeply touched that you want to spend your time


doing that kind of thing. And I think I'd like to bring it to the abbots of Zen Center and see what they think of this idea. Very well. And I'll let you know what they say. Who knows what they might say? You can imagine. Is a painted kiss and a kiss kiss the same? A painted painting of a kiss? Actually, the kiss kiss is actually a painted painting of a kiss. So it's already happened. It's already happened. Yes, Miss Anderson? I was wondering if you could remind us what the symbol is on the chalkboard in the kitchen. It's a Chinese character,


and in Chinese it's pronounced dao, in Japanese dou, and it means a path or the path, like in Taoism or in Confucianism. But in Taoism it's the dao, as in dao de jing. So it means a path or the way. But also in Buddhism it means enlightenment. And it also means to speak in regular Chinese. So it means to speak, the way, and enlightenment. In January you handed out a sheet that you did some calligraphy on, and the first caricature is face-to-face.


And what was the second? The first caricature wasn't face-to-face. The first caricature was face. Oh, face. Meeting, not meeting. It means face. The next caricature is to give. So it literally says face-giving. But in Zen we usually translate that as face-to-face, which is shorthand for face-to-face transmission. Face, giving your face, in the process of fully responsible meeting. In the Japanese way of pronouncing it is menju. So the Buddhas do this giving of their face to their students, and the students give their face to the teacher.


That's the way the Dharma is living, is giving our face to each other. And you've got to have a face to give a face, so your job is to have a face, you know, fully have your face, which is a big job. A lot of hands raising up. I'll just say the names of the people who have their hands raised. Karen, Homa, Jackie, anybody else? Okay, Karen, Homa, Jackie. In answer to your question, you said the character was the way, the path, and I think the conversation? Enlightenment. Enlightenment. I heard something really different on the third one. To speak. You said it before. You said it also meant to speak. To speak, the path, the way, and enlightenment. So to speak isn't intuitively, for me, in the same category as the other three.


Once again? To speak doesn't intuitively fit for me with the other three. Isn't that wonderful? Well, I wonder. And also at the beginning, have you heard of the Dao De Jing? It's one of the main scriptures of Daoism. Attributed to the ancient sage Lao Tzu. So it starts out something like this. The way, I'll just say it, I'll say it more, I'll just say it in Chinese. The Dao which can be Daoed is not the true Dao. So it uses that character three times. So one way it's often translated is the way that can be spoken is not the true way. But you can also say the way which is the way is not the true way. And you can also say


enlightenment which is spoken is not true enlightenment. And the speaking which is speaking is not true speaking. You can potentially play with it all these different ways. You usually wouldn't say the speaking which is the Dao is not the true speaking because I think that's actually... The speaking which is the Dao is the true speaking. When our speaking is enlightenment, that's true speaking. So even though they translate it into English as usually the path which is spoken is not the true path, really the Chinese has all three in each place. The speaking, the enlightenment and the path which can be spoken enlightenment and the path


is not the true spoken enlightenment path. So it's one of the wonderful things about Chinese is these characters have all these meanings and when they're translated in English you sort of sometimes have to choose between one of them. So that's why they have sometimes footnotes. This character also means all these other things but we can't translate it that way. And I also mentioned at that lecture that this term which we're quite familiar with called Dojo. So you have Judo Dojos, Karate Dojos, Aikido Dojos, Kendo Dojos. In that case Dojo means place for the Dao. So it could be place but also place for enlightenment. So it's the place to practice this particular form like Judo or Karate, but it's also in Buddhism referring to the place


where you're sitting all day long which is where you're practicing enlightenment. Homa? I forgot what I was going to say. Do you want me to come back later? No, I'd just like to finish. Just thank you, Rev. Just thank you. You're welcome, Homa. Jackie? So the Christians talk about the silent god and that he's within us. And the Buddhists talk about silence. And oftentimes I don't know what god or Buddha is really.


Is it one that sometimes reveals itself through me? Yep. Can you amplify that? Yep. Yep. And also, I think in Christianity also, and also maybe in Hinduism, there's a discussion of meeting God face to face. So there's that similar language in the Buddhism, in Hinduism, in Christianity. I don't know about Judaism, if they have meeting God face to face. Does anybody know? There's a notion of I and Thou, but it's not quite the same. I think I and Thou is similar. There's a story of Abraham,


and then later Israel, Isaac, wrestling with God, meeting God. And did Mohammed meet God face to face? I don't know. So anyway, there's this thing among the humans that it's possible for a little person to meet something really, really beyond measure, and that we don't have to get rid of or blow our brains out to have the meeting. We can leave our mind that way and be open to this relationship and learn about whatever this reality is. Meet reality face to face, a reality which is really beneficial to meet


and learn from. And we can do it right the way we are. We don't have to be somebody different. We just have to be more fully who we already are, and that's really hard, but not impossible, if you want to. And you've got reality working for you already because you already are who you are, and part of who you are is somebody who has some ambivalence about it. It's so hard. It's so scary. Do you want to meet Buddha face to face? Do you want to meet reality face to face? And including that reality is not the reality


that you think it is, do you want to meet the reality that's beyond and other than any reality you can think of? So, if you think about this, you might say, I'm not so sure. I'll think about it. Do I really want to meet reality, real reality, face to face? I think the ones who have met reality face to face, they don't want to not see reality face to face anymore. All they want is to see reality face to face. So, my thought is that if we haven't seen it,


then we are afraid, but it's not afraid of the truth. We're not afraid of that. If we're afraid of the mind that we're afraid of, but seeing the truth, I don't think anybody's afraid of seeing the truth. Once again, thank you so much for your great kindness today, and I hope we can meet again and again. And, I hope I don't get too healed for you. May our intention equally extend to every being and place with the true merit of the Buddha's ways.


Beings are numberless. I vow to save them. Illusions are infallible. I vow to end them. Dharma debates are boundless. I vow to enter them. The Buddha's way is unsurpassable. I vow to become it.