Zen Meditation as the Bodhisattva Precepts

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So the Zen master Tore says, when I, a student of the Dharma, observe the true form of the universe, I see that everything is the unfailing manifestation of the miraculous light of the Buddhas. And at the end he says, even if


someone's cruel to me, even if someone that I've been kind to is cruel to me, I should extend a mind of great compassion to them. And by extending this mind, we may have maturity in Buddha's wisdom. And the mind extends, in a sense, from us out to all beings, and from all beings to us. The extension is from us outward and from others into us. So we say embrace and sustain all beings, but that expression, which is translated embrace and sustain, can also mean be embraced and sustained.


So I vow to embrace and sustain all beings, and I vow to be embraced and sustained by all beings in both directions. Extend this mind, and let the mind be extended into you. And when I, a student of Dharma, see the way things are, I see that that's the way they are. But I don't see it with my perception. This extending the light of Buddha, and this outward and receiving it, this mutual illumination, is imperceptible. So there's a little world where we perceive things,


but as Suzuki said, even in the little visible world where we perceive things, it's big enough to have problems. It's big enough to be afraid. So we practice zazen in a perceivable world, where we have a body that sits cross-legged in a zendo with other human beings, and so on. But we also sit zazen in an invisible world, an imperceptible world. And the two worlds are inseparable. The imperceptible and the perceptible are inseparable. And we sit with our perceptible world, and our perceptible world is totally intimate with the imperceptible world. And I don't know if the imperceptible world surrounds the perceptible world, or completely interpenetrates it, or is inside of it.


The imperceptible is beyond such judgments. So it can be inside, outside, and totally interpenetrating. We sit in both those worlds. We sit in the perceptible, and we practice compassion with the perceptible. And we practice compassion with the perceptible. And we practice compassion with what we can't see, too. And we receive compassion from what we can't see. The way we're being helped, we can see in a small, perceptible way. But the way we're actually being helped is inconceivable. And also, the way we're helping, we can see in a perceptible way.


Like, I'd like to help you, and then I do, and you say, thank you, that was helpful, and everybody's happy about that. That's fine. But sometimes I might try to be helpful, and people say, that was not helpful, and I hear, it was not helpful. And I maybe say, I hear you. And I might feel sorry, but I might not feel sorry. I might feel like, well, I tried, and I was unsuccessful, and I accept that, that maybe that was a good lesson for me. Sometimes I feel like, well, I didn't do what I wanted to do, and I'm sorry because I didn't do what I wanted to do. But anyway, there I am, in the perceptible world, making an effort. Me making an effort. I accept that. I see things that way sometimes. Like Suzuki Roshi said, I don't like it, but my mind seeds two kinds of students. But really, there's only one kind of student.


And that one kind of student is the unfailing manifestation of the light of Buddha's wisdom. The one kind of student is a student who is being supported by everybody, who is an unfailing manifestation of the light of Buddha's wisdom. And that one kind of student is supporting all beings. That's the one kind of student there is. But that is imperceptible. And how that one student, that one kind of student, is what we all really are, how that's so, is imperceptible, inconceivable, and unstoppable, and unceasing. And so on. It's one of the contexts of our practice, and the other is the perceptible. And the understanding of one manifests the other, and the understanding of the other makes the one liberated.


We don't have to liberate the way we're helping each other. Well, in some sense, maybe we do. We have to liberate it so that it can penetrate the realm of the perceptible. So in the realm of perception, thank you very much for making me a delicious lunch. In the realm of perception, thank you very much for getting those cards ready for Barbara's family and Fraser's family. Thank you. In the realm of perception, thank you for doing the ceremonies today. In the realm of perception, thank you for taking care of this temple. In the realm of perception, thank you. And in the realm of imperceptible assistance,


I don't know what you're doing, but thank you. I can't see how you're doing it, but thank you. I don't know who I'm thanking, because I don't know who you are in your imperceptible, inconceivable manifestation. But thank you for being the light of Buddha's wisdom. Thank you. And in the realm of imperceptible, thank you for being whoever you are. Yeah, and thank you for however I get to be the way I am. Thank you. And that's my name that Suzuki Roshi gave me. Tenshin means Reb is Reb, he said. When he gave me that name, Tenshin, he said, that means Reb is Reb.


And he said, that may be a problem for people, but it can't be helped. And the second part of the name is the whole works. Reb is Reb is the whole works. The whole universe works to make Reb. And it's not that Reb's the whole universe, it's Reb being Reb is the whole universe. It's not like there's Reb being Reb and then the whole universe. It's not like there's Elisabeth being Elisabeth and the whole universe. Vlada being Vlada is the whole universe, and it is the working of the whole universe. That's my name. My name is the teaching of our practice. But it's hard to be a self in karmic consciousness.


It's hard. Because before we can be totally the self, before we're totally a self, it seems like there's something other than the self. And that's hard. Before we're totally our self, it's not clear. We aren't proving that this self being a self is due to the support of all beings. So we're training to be totally our self. And see how everybody's helping us, and that we cannot be totally our self by our own effort. We can make our own effort because everyone's supporting us. That's our practice. In the realm of the perceptible, thank you for taking care of this temple.


All of you are doing so much for this temple. Thank you. Is there anything you wish to tell me? Thank you. You're welcome. I asked someone, Is there anything you want to tell me? And she said, All there is, is an empty mind. And I think I may have said, Does the empty mind want to say anything? And I don't remember if the empty mind said anything. All there was, was an empty mind. And I asked if the empty mind wanted to say anything, but I didn't hear anything.


The empty mind does want to say something. The empty mind says, Embrace and sustain the forms and ceremonies. The empty mind says, Practice all the Bodhisattva practices. The empty mind says, Embrace and sustain all beings. The empty mind says, Be embraced and sustained by all beings. The empty mind says, Be embraced and sustained by all wholesome practices. The empty mind says, Be embraced and sustained by all the forms and ceremonies. Thank you very much, and I have no complaints whatsoever.


The empty mind says, Thank you very much, I have no complaints whatsoever. It uses human beings to let us know that. The empty mind also says, Aooooww! And we can hear, we can hear the empty mind talking if we listen to Aooooww. So we have to train our listening to Aooooww! And then we'll be able to hear, Oooooww, I know who's saying that, how wonderful. And I don't know if the person who said Aooooww understands that or not, but I want them to.


One time a monk went to visit a friend, and the monk said, How is your venerable health? And her friend said, I'm really sick. Or, I'm really sick. And the visiting monk said, You're really sick. And the other monk said, I'm really sick. I hear that I'm really sick, finally. I've been waiting all this time to hear that. Thank you for helping me. Does the empty mind have anything more to say?


I've been puzzled today about the fifth precept. About the what? Fifth precept. Number five. Number five, if I have the number correct. It prohibits the selling of intoxicants. The fifth major bodhisattva precept is not selling fermented liquor. That was written a long time ago, before other drugs were invented. Now we maybe say, intoxicants. You're puzzled by that. Yes, I'm wondering why it isn't consuming the intoxicants as opposed to the selling of them. After the ten major bodhisattva precepts, come 48 minor bodhisattva precepts. And I believe maybe number one on the list of the 48 minor is not consuming intoxicants. Consuming them is considered to be less harmful than to sell them,


try to make money off other people by selling them to them. So it's a more serious thing to sell and try to make profit off other people's intoxicants than to intoxicate yourself. So both are included. But in modern day America, I don't know who exactly was involved in re-wording this, but at Zen Center we say, not to intoxicate oneself or others. So we put the minor together with the major into one. Because Americans may say, oh, so selling, I don't sell drugs. I just use them. So no problem, I guess. Well, so we put them together and say it's still kind of a problem. Did that solve that problem? For now? Yes. So it also seems like the original wording that you said, fermented liquor,


was very narrow because many, many things can be intoxicants. And intoxicants can be intoxicants. Intoxicants can also be a subjective matter. One can become intoxicated with things or experiences that don't affect others in the same way. Would the current interpretation of that be that broad? That it's not a matter of just liquor or drugs, it's intoxicating oneself in any way? Yes. Yes. I've heard you in various ceremonies say this precept in different ways.


So for example, there was one priest training that I sat through where you said, I vow not to intoxicate self or others. Yeah. And then at my jukai, you said, I vow not to consume intoxicants. I don't remember that, but that's what you heard. My sons immediately said, I can get you a wine cellar, because they heard it too. Exactly like that. And I felt kind of disappointed in your wording. Yeah. Maybe I didn't say that, what you think I said. But anyway, I didn't mean to change it to just consume. And you can't sell your wine to your kids either.


Okay. They wanted it for free, right? Right, they sure did. So actually you should raise the price to an inconceivably unpayable level. And when they pay it, they'll understand the precept. The price of my wine is saving all sentient beings. After you save all sentient beings, you can have my wine. These are expressions from the empty mind, to help people understand the empty mind. So, I don't think I said consume, but maybe sometimes I should say consume, to help people understand the empty mind. Maybe sometimes the empty mind says something different


from what we usually expect, in order to help people open up to the inconceivable realm of Buddhist wisdom. So that children can come and try to get their mother's wine, and offer an opportunity for imperceptible mutual assistance to be realized in that relationship. That's the point, which we can't see, that we have to remember, to keep listening to the inconceivable Dharma, even though we can only hear it in its transformation into the conceivable. So, I don't think I said that, but maybe I was possessed by the Buddha's wisdom, and I said it the unusual way, for the sake of Buddha's work,


to use me to get your children interested in Buddhism. I wasn't interested until I found out that my mother's receiving the precept meant I got a whole wine. And I thought Buddhism was really cool. And I gave her a car, too, because the one before that, up the line a little bit, was not being possessive of anything, even your car. So can I have your car, Mom? And it's not so much that the kids get the car, but that the kids get interested in the Dharma. And you first get interested by the perceptible, to think, hey, there's something cool here for me. Before, I wasn't interested in Buddhism, but now I see that actually I could use this to my own advantage. So it's actually not so bad after all. So I'm going to go in. Use my mother's devotion to make some gains here.


And then you, as they try to abuse you this way, you extend great compassion to them, as they try to play on your vulnerability through the precepts. And through this relationship, we mature Buddha's wisdom. That's the point. But we have these forms, we use these forms. These precepts are forms, and we use the forms to verify that we're not attached to them. So, I'm not attached to the story that I didn't say what you said, but I still don't think I said it. But I could very well have said something, just like you said. Yeah, I'm open to that. I'm open to that. I said just what you said I said.


All of you. Thank you for helping me live my life. Thank you for letting me help you live yours. May our intention equally extend to every being and place with the true merit of Buddha's way. Beings are numberless. I vow to save them. Delusions are inexhaustible. I vow to end them. Dharma debates are timeless. I vow to enter them. Buddha's way is unsurpassable.


I vow to become it.