Zen Meditation on Our Original Nature, Class 4

Audio loading...

Welcome! You can log in or create an account to save favorites, edit keywords, transcripts, and more.

This talk will not appear in the main Search results:

In this series of gatherings we will explore and perhaps realize our original nature, and how to apply such a discovery to all of our daily activities. 

AI Summary: 



This recording is intended to be shared with class members only


original nature. And tonight, I also want to extend the metaphor and say that these meetings are meditations on the precious mirror. the precious mirror of our original nature. Also, I extend the metaphor again and say that we're meditating on the harmony of difference and unity. So our ancestors have written poems about the precious mirror,


about meditating in a concentrated way on the precious mirror. And they've also written about the harmony of difference and unity. So these are different ways of talking about meditating on our original nature. And I also would say tonight that this harmony of difference and unity is the harmony, can be seen as the harmony of the true truths, of the two truths, the conventional truth and the ultimate truth. When we are meditating on our original nature,


when we are contemplating our original nature, we are contemplating the precious mirror wherein there is harmony between conventional truth and ultimate truth. In Buddhism, there is a teaching of two truths, conventional truth and ultimate truth. Conventional truth is the way things appear to ordinary dualistic consciousness. Most everything we see is a conventional truth. Ultimate truth is the selflessness of all things.


Those are the two truths. Now, in China, a very strong movement occurred wherein there was a proposal that these two truths were actually very intimate, that they were in harmony, that they were non-dual. And this non-duality of the conventional and the ultimate became a third truth. The intimacy of all ephemeral, conventional appearances and ultimate truth, the intimacy, the non-duality of that became a third truth. I was looking through some transcripts


of Suzuki Roshi's talks, and I was looking through them partly with an intention of recycling them, because now all of his talks are available online. And I have so many transcripts of them. And I came upon one transcript, which I have many copies of, but which struck me as very intimate with our meditation in this series. This talk was given supposedly in Tassajara in June of 1969. So, he said, supposedly, what exists in the true sense is mutual understanding between one another.


I think that this is true Buddhism. This mutual understanding between one another is the mutual understanding between you and I, and between you and Buddha. There is a mutual understanding. There is also some different understandings. Different understandings between us, and different understandings between sentient beings and Buddhas. Many sentient beings, their understanding is that they inherently exist,


and that other things inherently exist. And those beings who have those kinds of understandings also have an intimacy with those who do not have that understanding. Those who believe in an independent self have a shared understanding, a mutual understanding, with those who do not believe in an independent self. And this is true Buddhism, according to Suzuki Roshi. And I don't remember him saying that in 1969, but when I read it, I thought, hmm... He seems to have been teaching what we're studying in this series.


So, once again, I'm putting forward for your consideration that throughout Buddhism, two truths are recognized, but that in Chinese Buddhism, and therefore in Japanese and Korean Buddhism, and now I would say here, for our consideration, we have three truths that are being put forth. The earlier two truths, and the non-duality of the two truths. And in this non-duality, the conventional truth is raised to a level of equality with the ultimate truth. And there still is the teaching that we need


to be very friendly and familiar with conventional truths. For example, with our own mind. In which, as I said earlier, there may be discrepancies appearing and disappearing. Discrepancies between ourselves and others. Discrepancies between ourselves and perfect awakening. Such illusions may appear in our mind. But that mind in which these discrepancies appear has no discrepancy with the mind which does not have any discrepancies appearing in it. A mind which is the intimacy among all discrepancy producers. What just flashed in my mind was


something that Freud said that we humans are powerful, isolated fantasy machines. And when I heard that I thought I agree with him that our bodies and minds are powerful fantasy machines. But I don't understand, I don't agree that we're separate. But I do agree that our powerful fantasy machines do fantasize isolation and separation. We who are not separated powerfully imagine our separation, our difference from each other and from perfectly awakened Buddhas.


And again, as I mentioned before, a young person said to me, nobody's perfect. And I said, right, but there is perfection. And the perfection is that all imperfect beings are in perfect intimacy with great compassion. Great compassion and deluded minds perfectly fit together and are not dual. And again, it has been proposed that the essence of the Lotus Sutra is that


or the essence of the Lotus Sutra embodies the truth that the conventional teachings, the provisional teachings and the ultimate truths that are involved in our helping and transforming others are precisely the conventional, provisional truths and teachings and ultimate truths involved in our own practice. So, in our own practice, we have the opportunity to work with conventional truths, conventional teachings, like the teachings I'm giving you right now are conventional teachings because they're in words. They're conventional teachings about the intimacy of conventional teachings and ultimate truth.


The way I work with conventional teachings and ultimate truths in my own practice is precisely the way I work with the conventional truths and the conventional teachings and ultimate truths in relationship to others. And as I said earlier too, practicing meditation for a bodhisattva practicing meditation is caring for others and caring for others is practicing meditation for a bodhisattva. And again, I found an interest


and one of the implications of this non-duality of the conventional teachings and ultimate truths is that ultimately, you cannot say anything about anything. But conventionally, you can say things about things. But you can't ultimately say anything about anything. But because of the non-duality of the conventional teachings and ultimate truths, you can say anything about anything and it's an ultimate truth. And so another little scrap


of paper I found in my notes was from a session also in 1969 given by Suzuki Roshi. And he starts off by saying it's already 3.30. I have 30 minutes more. 30 minutes more. And then he says, Actually, Zen is not something you can talk about. And also, it is something you can talk about. If you understand Zen in this way, your understanding will be perfect.


If someone asks you, What is Zen? You may say, Whatever you say, that's Zen. Or you may say, Whatever you say, that's not Zen. Both are true for us, Suzuki Roshi says. Then he says, So this kind of paradoxical statement should be understood in your tummy. And then he patted his tummy. This kind of paradoxical understanding should be understood by your tummy. Pat, pat, pat. By your zazen. Or else you don't understand.


That's how we communicate with each other without sticking to words. Again, he said without sticking to words. We can use words to communicate with each other. But we're not allowed. I shouldn't say we're not allowed. But we're not really sticking to our words. We're just using our words to communicate. You, Zen students, should directly communicate with each other. Not just by words. That's very important. So again, I felt like I discovered Suzuki Roshi teaching this intimate communion


teaching this intimate communion which is our original nature. Teaching this intimate communication which is the precious mirror. Encouraging us to stay present and contemplate this intimate, direct communication. Which is our nature. And which is not the slightest bit different from all other sentient beings' original nature. And all Buddhas. So, our two most famous poems in our school The Song


of the Precious Mirror Contemplation. We often say Precious Mirror Samadhi which means concentrated contemplation of the precious mirror. It's a song. It's a song about concentrated contemplation of the precious mirror of our true nature. And at the beginning of that poem it says it says the teaching of suchness, the teaching of the way things are intimate communion. The way things really are is intimate communion. This is what we concentrate on. This is what we're devoted to. And this is what we are. We are concentrating on what we really are. We're not concentrating


on somebody else, like Buddha. We're concentrating We're contemplating in a concentrated way on the way we are not the slightest bit different from Buddhas or each other. And again, we and some other people too may notice appearances of difference between ourselves and others. Have you ever seen such a thing as a difference between yourself and somebody else? Yes. But even though there are these differences, these discrepancies appearing, there's not the slightest discrepancy between us and other beings who have similar ideas


and Buddhas who are completely free and hold none of those ideas. However, the Buddhas are not the least bit difference between us who do have such ideas. The Harmony of Difference The harmony the harmony of discrepancy and unity, or sameness, the non-duality of diluted difference and awakened sameness.


This is what we hold up again and again to contemplate. Perhaps there's something you'd like to bring up in the Great Assembly? If so, you're welcome to bring forth. I see Stephen's yellow hand. So, when Xue Feng was walking with Shan Shang, Xue Feng said, each of these apes carries an old mirror on its back. Now, that seems to me like what might be called an absolute truth.


And how would you discriminate that from a relative truth? The relative truth is the words that he spoke. And the words he spoke were a perfect vehicle for the ultimate truth. But those words are not about ultimate truth. Those words are just about other words. Those words are conventionalities about conventionalities. But they're expressing the ultimate truth, the absolute truth. Just like these conventional expressions.


They are intimate with ultimate truth. And they're being used to express ultimate truth. And they are completely conventional, relative, mental constructions. And so, to pick up on that great exchange a couple weeks ago about the crucifixion, so then would, you know, Father, why have you forsaken me? That would be conventional truth. Yes. Mm-hmm. Thank you, Stephen.


Cha Ying. Hi, Rev. I need some help. I'm struggling with this. Thank you for struggling. When you're speaking, I keep trying to think up analogies, and maybe that's thinking too much. But then I have two analogies that came to mind. Okay. Yeah. One of the analogies is, is it like when you say the ultimate truth and relative truth are exactly the same thing? Is it in a sense like two sides of the same coin? Or is it in a sense of like five fingers, but they're all the hand? Or it's something even more intimate, even more same than that? That seems pretty intimate, though. They're the same experience, looked at in different ways, seen in different ways.


I see. But they completely include each other. Okay, so there's still some differences there, right? Because the two different sides of the same coin are... They're not really different. They're not different. But you can see them differently. But there are two different ways of seeing things. But they're not actually different. They're just seen as different. So as we are speaking right now, I'm noticing that exactly what you're saying is that when I started to say they are two different sides of the same coin, that is my discriminating mind. Yes. And I'm trying to see they are the same thing. That is another way of seeing the same. And that other way is right there at the same time. And it's not different from what you're doing.


Because different from what you're doing is the same as what you're doing. Oh, you're saying this part again. What you're doing is different. You're making a verb differencing. You're differencing. Right. You're making differences. Right. So then if you make a difference between what you're doing and not doing that, that's just another kind of differencing. But there's a way of seeing what you're doing which isn't making any difference from the way you're doing. It's completely intimate with the way what you're doing. It's not different. But again, the mind making differences can make a difference out of that. That's the mind of difference. But there's another mind which doesn't make a difference. And it is completely not different from the one that makes differences.


And now I come up with a third analogy. It's kind of like the moon. The bright side is maybe like the thinking differentiating mind. And the dark side is more quiet. But it's still there simultaneously. Yeah. Okay. Okay, thank you. I feel more relieved. Thank you. Thank you. Huma. Hello, and hello assembly. I'm wondering and really questioning, what makes the seer see at times and not see at time?


Well, causes and conditions. Still, the question is, what makes the seer see cause and conditions at times and not see cause and conditions at times? Causes and conditions. Thank you. So therefore, the seer is, from what I hear and what I see myself as well, is the seer is always somehow seeing cause and conditions. And then the question comes that, why is this seer, which is seeing cause and conditions all the time, why is this seer wants to be free from its seeing, which is cause and condition?


Causes and conditions. So, are you saying freedom is the cause and condition of all cause and conditions? Yes. Thank you. Evening. I may be taking this out of context somewhat, but I have been kind of haunted for the last little while by the line in the Heart Sutra that says, no suffering, no origination, no path, and no attainment.


I'm taking it out of context right now, but I don't hear the relative truth in that statement. I hear it as a statement about ultimate truth. So, can you help me see where the true truth might be in that statement? Or is it just that I'm taking it out of context? I think it's saying, in that sutra it's saying, in the context of ultimate truth, there's no Four Noble Truths. In that context, you can't find them. But then, it's not saying, therefore, they don't exist. It's just saying, okay.


In that context, they aren't there. It's only in that context. In other contexts, like in the context of ordinary language, we have Four Noble Truths. And the Buddha gave Four Noble Truths in the conventional truth world. So, in conventional truth, we have Four Noble Truths. But in ultimate truth, we don't have anything. But that doesn't mean those things don't exist. It's just in that context. It's kind of like, in the context of this class, there's no bad students. Well, then it goes on to say, thus the mind has no hindrance, and without any hindrance, no fears exist.


And that sounds, I don't know, that line gives me hope about the relative world. But again, I'm taking it out of context, probably. What are you taking out of context? And the mind has no hindrance. Without any hindrance, no fears exist. So, in emptiness, the mind is not a hindrance. So, in other words, with emptiness, the usual negotiations of the mind, which create obstructions and hindrance, we're liberated from them. But not by getting rid of them, not by pushing them away. Just changing context and getting liberation from these things,


which we wouldn't need liberation from them. It wouldn't be an issue that the mind's not a hindrance if we didn't have a mind. So, we do have a mind, but in the context of emptiness, it's not a problem anymore. It's not a hindrance. We don't take it as real. We take it as conventional. That doesn't make it less important. Well, it actually, you know, as things evolve, it raises it up to the level of the ultimate. It promotes it to equality with the ultimate. It's like the context in which we experience the liberation from it. That which is hindering us is the context in which we experience freedom from hindrance.


But it doesn't mean that it stops. It just means that we're free with it. Is that correct? It doesn't mean that it stops. As I just said, it now is the context for experiencing the freedom from clinging to it. But in this Heart Sutra, the emptiness is given the credit for liberating us from clinging to the hindrance, to the conventional world. But then, again, becoming free of clinging to it doesn't mean to get rid of it. Just like you become free of clinging to your friends, but you still have friends. You become free of clinging to Zen, but you still have Zen as an opportunity to demonstrate to people that you're not clinging to Zen.


So for Zen people, Zen is one of the main things we use to demonstrate our non-attachment. Just like I said earlier, Zen is not something you can talk about, and also Zen is something you can talk about. And saying that Zen is not something you can talk about is a way of talking about Zen. And also a way of enacting the emptiness of Zen, and enacting Zen not being a hindrance anymore. It seems kind of like the Heart Sutra is a teaching that privileges emptiness over the conventional,


and you're bringing forward teachings that talk about them as equal. Or you could say, I'm bringing forth teachings that bring out that Heart Sutra's saying, though. Well, that's where I'm kind of stuck. I don't see it in the Heart Sutra. I don't hear it in the Heart Sutra so much. That's why I'm saying it. Thank you. Thanks. You're welcome. Jennifer. Good evening, everyone. Good evening, Rev. Good evening. I'll say first, I have not studied Dharma much, so I don't know if my question is going to come across as a very obvious, rudimentary, whatever.


But what I'm hearing from these teachings is this simultaneity of that which I have thought of as essential, and that which is conventional. That idea that it's all one, what changes only is sort of my view or my ability to see or perceive. And I'm curious, like, whatever is the point in that, that I'm in this body that is seemingly designed so perfectly for the conventional perspective? When we could all just be living in this state of knowing our interconnectedness all of the time?


I don't know if that question comes across clearly. Yes, clearly. It is clear. Yeah, it's quite clear. The last part was something about, you didn't quite say, why can't we just live in the state of knowing our interconnection? Yeah, oneness. Why can't we just live in that all the time? Yeah. Well, so the teaching is we are living in that all the time. We're always in it. And we fully possess understanding that we're always in it. And understanding that we're always in it has great virtue, and we have those virtues. But because of our misunderstandings and attachments, we don't realize it. But we are always in it. So it's a question of how to practice in a way to realize our original nature.


It's not to make ourselves that way, because we're always that way. It's to wake up to that. So as I said last week, it's like, first, let's open to the possibility that we're always that way. Just consider kind of with an open mind and listen to the possibility that we have an original nature, which is that we're not the slightest bit different from each other, even though we can think that we are. We know that. We're being told to open to that we're not different. We're not separate. You and I are not separate. The way my mind is right now and the way your mind is right now, we're not the least bit different. And we're not different from Buddha right now. Open to that. Now, the next thing is to demonstrate that. And we demonstrate it, for example, right now with this conversation.


This conversation is kind of devoted to understanding that we're not different. Without getting rid of our mind and body, which is built to make difference. And without trying to get it to stop that. Let it be a normal difference generator. And let that mind open to that we're not different. That we're not the least bit different from each other or from Buddha. And let's discuss that and discuss that and become really familiar with that teaching. And also with our mind, which is struggling with that. Which is struggling with ordinary differences. And it is struggling with these teachings. And let's just keep studying and demonstrating this teaching until we awaken to it.


But we're going to awaken to what's already the case. We're going to awaken to our original nature, which we had long before this series of classes started. And long before we started studying Buddhism, we had the same original nature. It's also called our original face, before our parents were born. Yep. Hello. Good morning to you. Thank you. I'm listening to you, to your words tonight and to the last lectures about intimate transmission and our true nature.


And also witnessing the conversations about it with the big assembly. And there often came up an echo in my mind without being able to explain it. And it was like a song you sometimes remember and you don't know why does this come up in my mind. And it was just the three words Buddha, Dharma, Sangha always returning. And after a while I started to think about it as Buddha, Dharma, Sangha. As I understand it, not as three different things, but as three aspects of the same thing. And actually as the same thing. And I started to think about it of Buddha, Dharma, Sangha as intimacy, intimate transmission and as our true nature. So I was wondering when we take refuge in the three things, is it taking also refuge in intimacy and in our true nature?


Does this make sense? Yeah. And sometimes people say there's really only one treasure. But people don't understand that one treasure includes other treasures. There's really only one treasure, but they don't necessarily think it includes a teaching and a community. But it does. The one treasure is a community. It's all living beings is the one treasure. But also that one treasure is called Buddha, which is to awaken to that treasure of the community. And also somebody has to tell us about this treasure of the community, which is the Buddha. So we have the Dharma. But it's really one reality, which we are trying to return to and be devoted to, to wake up to it.


But it's already what's going on. And the Buddha can be called intimacy. Community can be called intimacy. The Dharma can be called intimacy. Or our original nature. So in this sense, this type of study is kind of ironic in the sense of how strange it is that we need to do something to be what we already are. But that's the kind of creatures we are. It's that we have to do something to be... It's a big job to be us, even though we can never be the least bit different. It's a big job to be still, even though we can't really move. To be still with all the appearances of movement.


Even though no matter how much we're moving, we're still. It's difficult to learn that. Yeah, and I think it's also difficult to see that it's not a me thing. It's a we thing. So I was very grateful when you pointed out that our true nature or true nature is not singular. It's always a plural in a way. And yeah, it's nothing I can fix, actually. It's something to be open to. It's a plural which embraces all singulars. So there's plenty of singulars. And our nature is the intimacy of all the singulars, which means all the delusions that there really is something singular. Thank you.


Thank you. Hello, Reb. Hello, great assembly. Good evening. Good evening. I think you've already answered this question in some of the previous questions, but I wanted to ask it a different way just to make sure that I was understanding, which is, would you say that I'm correct in saying that the individual self exists in conventional reality, but in the ultimate reality that the individual self is not an individual self, doesn't exist in the ultimate nature? Is that correct? Yes, and I'm also saying that the non-existence of the self in the ultimate


is not better than the existence of the self conventionally, and that the ultimate, where the self does not exist ultimately, is not the least bit separate from where the self is existing conventionally. And that's the third truth that we were talking about, is exactly what you were just describing, the fact that those two things are essentially the same. They're not so much that they're the same, but they are the same moment, they're the same experience. They are the experience of our life. That's what our experience is. Those two things simultaneously. How our experience would be impoverished to be one of the other. Thank you.


You're welcome. Evening, Reb. Evening all. This is the stuff of comedy. This is the comic spirit at work. And two mutually exclusive conceptions. Well, the ultimate truth isn't even a conception. But there is a conception of the ultimate truth. But a conception of the ultimate truth. I'm pondering this third truth, and perhaps that's the laughter. I can hardly wait for the laughter.


Okay. I don't have to wait anymore. Okay. Thanks, Reb. Thank you. Hi, Reb. Hi, everyone. Hi, Leslie. Why is this so hard? It just feels so hard. It's so hard so that you can be so beautiful. And if it's our original truth, why don't we just go from there? There's another irony right there. Why do we have to suffer so much to realize how beautiful we are? Why? No. But we seem to.


We seem to have to wholeheartedly suffer in order to wake up to our beauty. But is there a reason in terms of evolution? You can say the reason is beauty. Beauty is the reason. Or truth is the reason. No, I mean, is the reason that we make our life so hard and that it's so hard, and it's so hard to understand this, is it... You could say it's called the causes and conditions of biological existence have made it helpful to be deluded. And therefore, to awaken to the truth, which is not necessarily beneficial to evolutionary success, but is beneficial for becoming free of suffering, it's really hard. We're working against the stream of our conditioning. For thousands of years.


Yes. And so it's hard. It's not easy to be you. We're like, what is it? Was it Kermit the Frog? It's not easy to be green, did he say? It's not... You can say it's not easy, but there's nothing harder than being completely what you are, which is a living being. So it is normally hard. If it's easy... One time I wasn't having a hard time, and I thought something was wrong with me, because I'd been struggling in my practice for quite a while, and I wasn't having a problem with my difficulty, because I thought Zen was supposed to be hard. A lot of other people were having a hard time. I heard stories about Zen people having a hard time, so I wasn't surprised that it was hard. And it was hard. And then it wasn't.


And when it wasn't, I thought, wait a minute, am I hallucinating? Am I going into denial? So I went to talk to Suzuki, and he said, it's not hard anymore, you know. Am I missing something? And he said, sometimes it may not be hard. And he took a piece of paper and showed me about how to do origami. And he said, when we make a fold of the paper, after we make the fold, we press on it, so that the crease settles down. But after you make the fold, pressing on it is easy. So it's not always hard practicing. Occasionally it's not hard. But making the folds is hard.


And so it's not, if people... I don't know how many hundreds or thousands of people have said to me, why is it so hard? At least I'm not alone. You're not. And I'll say it's normal. The thing we have to do now is how to settle into the hardness and completely accept and wholeheartedly exert the hardness. Then we'll become free. Wow. The hardness is the hardness of being ourselves. Yeah. I sit here thinking most everybody here, 90% understands all this. And that I'm like, what's wrong with me? I don't understand what everybody's talking about. But I keep coming back because... Maybe you don't understand what you're talking about, but you do seem to understand that something's hard.


You do seem to understand that. And you're asking why. And I'm saying it's normal. I don't know exactly why, but it's normal. And I'm saying that you're in good company. Not just with these people, these nice people, these sincere people, these kind people, but with the ancestors. They had a hard time too. And they went to their teacher and said they're having a hard time. And their teacher says, that's normal. Keep settling with the hard time. Don't try to make it easier or harder. Just accept the way it's hard tonight. And tomorrow, your hair will be sunshine bright. Thank you. You're welcome. Hello.


Hello. I'm appreciating so much the hardness that we all... And I for sure, I'm still after all this time. You know, I just feel like, oh, this is just really too hard. And you, you can remember how I was in Sachine, maybe. Whoa. I mean, that was just about the hardest ever. But what I'm, what I also know, I just want to say is that there's this other word called ease. There is the Dharma gate of ease and joy. And maybe I'm not the only one who has gone through that gate. And having, having those times when you go through that gate


after having been just totally in hardness. And it's such a surprise. It's like, whoa. You know, sometimes it's right the last tiny moment before the bell rings in the sitting period. It's right then. And then everything just, you know, how did that happen? I'm not sure what I'm saying, but I just say courage. Everyone on courage. So appreciate you and all of you. Yeah. Thank you everybody for helping us do this hard practice. Rob, I'm intrigued by


what you said that, Suzuki Roshi said that Zen students should communicate without words. No, he said not just with words. Okay. So... And not to stick to words. Yeah. Is there anything you can say in words about that? Or you can say in not words about that? Well, I thought that was enough words. Don't communicate just with words. Okay. Well, I feel like we've done a good job tonight of communicating with words. And I'm just curious about what... How the not with words... I don't even know how to think about that. What communicating among Zen students without words would be beyond sitting Zazen inside it? I'm communicating with my face. I'm communicating with my abdomen. I'm communicating with the silence.


I'm communicating by listening. And I'm listening to words and I'm listening to silence. But I think you're communicating with listening right now. And you're nodding your head. And you're smiling. And you're lifting your eyebrows. After tonight's talk and how hard it is and how hard it is and how hard it is, I just thought, I want to hear about that other part of the not talking part. Is there a way to touch on these topics without all these words, these hard topics? Well, intimacy is... It's already going on. It's right in front of us. Intimacy is not words and it's not silence.


It's just being with what's happening. And it's effortless. And it's available all the time. However, if we shirk the responsibility of being who we are, we back away from the intimacy. But the intimacy isn't hard. Difference is hard. And difference is calling to us to embrace it fully. Not too much, not too little. And that's hard. And again, and again, and again. Thank you.


You're welcome. Okay. Hi. Hi. Something tells me I shouldn't be doing this. I know where this is starting, but I don't know where it goes. They say that, you know, Ananda was very close to the Buddha, but that he didn't get enlightened for a really long time. Isn't that what they say? Like he was just kind of one of the last ones, or if ever? Is that what they say? Yeah, he... When the Buddha died, he hadn't yet had so-called personal awakening. He wasn't yet an arhat.


He had some awakening, but he wasn't an arhat yet. And then they're going to have a meeting. And all the arhats were going to have a meeting. And they needed him to come to the meeting, but he wasn't in the arhat club. So there was a considered effort for all the teachers got together to try to get him to wake up before the meeting happened. That's funny. It's kind of funny. It's really quite funny. It was this huge program to get this very essential person to come to the meeting because he's the one who remembered everything. And they needed him at the meeting to recite the teachings. So anyway, all this pressure and then he wasn't yet awake and just sort of in... I could say fatigue. He just sort of threw himself into his bed without even putting his hand on the bed


to get in bed. He just fell into his bed and as he was falling into his bed, he became an arhat. Okay. You know, when I... It was the beginning of Zen humor. So why did I bring up Ananda? Like, oh, what was his problem? I mean, this was kind of thought that I was having. Like, do you understand like how he could be hanging around with the Buddha for decades and be pretty sincere and still like couldn't happen? Well, one fantasy is he was a bodhisattva and he postponed his awakening because he was taking care of the Buddha. Well, that's a beautiful explanation. But I might as well say


that I'm asking this because I have some, you know, that I'm imagining some connection between me and him, which I don't think actually exists, but I'll just say about me, I'm hanging around too, you know? I'm hanging around you and I'm hanging around all these. I'm also good at remembering things, but leave that out. But here I am hanging with you on a Tuesday evening, just hardly even hearing, having floods of fear. I think you gave somebody some advice that applies to what I'm saying already. It was like, if it's hard, then just, what was that advice again? If I... Well, fully settle into it. Yeah, but what, but settling isn't even a,


doesn't seem like an option. Settling into unsettledness. Yeah, give me a word for that. Settling into unsettledness, a word for that? Yeah. Just, not just a word, just like blowing me a kiss or something. That sounds good. When you're full of, you know, fear and parts of you are separated and you're not being able to listen very well, tell me. Yeah, blowing that a kiss sounds good to me. Yeah. Love it. Love it. And not love it into extinction, love it into non-separation. Love it into hearing the teaching that there's not the slightest bit of difference between you and those sentient beings


you just told me about. Not the slightest bit of difference. Okay, well, I, I haven't anything to say. I'll try to remember what you just said. Hello, Reb. Hello, Assembly. Hello, Basia. Happy Easter. Thank you. You have delivered such an Easter talk today. Do you realize that? Of course I do. So, I'm going to say it. It's so amazing, like, your talk, your profound talk of the third truth


is really coinciding with the teaching of Christ, the crucifixion. Oh, Christ. Christ being the Son of Man and Son of God. The conventional truth and the ultimate truth. The marriage of the two. And the point of crucifixion is actually interesting because this is the hard point of practice. The grinding that has to happen for us to experience that fully experience every opportunity when we encounter difference. The obsession with conventional to enter and connect to the ultimate through that gate. And I don't know.


I really enjoy meeting people in different groups in my community and in different roles. But I'm sometimes terrified because when I speak, I'm afraid to say that I'll say something that people will not be able to handle. There is such a vast hardening around certain conventional truths these days. Right. As we know, they are very much passed by the media into people and really modeled that rigidity around those topics. And we know there are a few of them. So I'm sometimes terrified that I'll just say something and it happened that way. Because it's really right now. The hardening of conventional truth is so immense


that there's not really room for anything else. Even neutral is dangerous. Even showing neutrality can be taken negatively. So I often feel like I'm going to be crucified. Crucified. Right. If I only open my mouth in an unconventional way that is conventionally accepted right now, I may be crucified. So there is this. I'm experiencing a lot of dread in human interactions. And sometimes I leave a meeting with that dread under my skin. And I have to process it for quite a while to somehow enter with intimacy into that experience. Yeah.


And part of the intimacy is that compassion perfectly fits that dread. Compassion fits it just perfectly. Compassion and also recognizing. I think we started today the conversation of the precious mirror samadhi. The mirror. I think like I started to reflect that I was dreading the rigidity of the people that I met. Not realizing that there was also rigidity in me. Of their rigidity. So once I saw that reflection, then there was a relaxation. Yeah. So happy Easter.


Happy Easter. Thank you, Rab. And thank you, Great Assembly. And thank you for this profound teaching on the third ultimate truth. And the idea of like a marriage or the combination of the two. The really hard, the relative and the absolute is actually really wonderful. Thank you. I can't say it good. I can't find the words, but thank you. It was profound. And I deeply appreciate it. And hoping I can listen to this again


and ponder it some more. But thank you very much. You're welcome. Yeah, I think you're okay. Good evening, Rab. Good evening, Great Assembly. Good evening. I thank you so much for clarifying in so many different ways. Each one helps me begin to understand a little bit more. And then again, maybe not more and more,


but again and again to understand a little more. In my childhood and younger adulthood, as you know, I had maybe some impediments, nothing unusual in our times, but impediments to being able to feel okay. And some pretty serious ones. And so much better now. I happen to live, as I think many of us do, but I happen to live in a place where a lot of people nearby take their dogs to walk. And I don't afford to have a dog by my life arrangements and financially, but some of the best times in my life were when I recognized some feeling of intimacy


in someone I met. And so I would try to understand and be with that person as much as I could to begin to feel that kind of intimacy and have a chance to be around it and internalize it. Somebody in high school, somebody in college, but Trudy Horton was one of them, Trudy Horton Dixon. And early this evening, I remembered just incidentally that I know she was at Sokoji in May of 1969. And I'm not quite sure what the timing was, but I think part of June, she was down there in Tassajara. And I feel sure that Suzuki Roshi was, as she lay in the zendo, was addressing her suffering with and for her. And so I like to think of that as well. But now I'm down to what may seem mundane, but it's wonderful for me.


Always the human tendency to at times feel alone. Nobody likes me, or they don't like me here, or they don't like me there, or I'm separate, or something like that. I mean, it's a habit. And I'm shameless now about practicing for my own benefit and enjoyment and happiness and sense of intimacy, and also as a way to meet other people where they are already kind of open to feeling intimate with strangers. You know, the dog that they're walking or then who's walking them. And asking if I may relate to their dog, get permission for it. And except if they're a few, very few people trying to train their dog to be fierce and mean, for the most part, almost always, they're willing to stop for a moment or so. And I get to experience the dog's very strong practice


of being intimate and friendly. And then also, there's sometimes often a chance to relate just a little bit to people who may be very different from me in some ways that way. And so I recommend it for those who are feeling lonely, sad, separate, is find a place where they're walking dogs. Thank you. May our intention equally extend to every being and place with the true merit of Buddha's way. Beings are numberless. We vow to realize intimacy. Afflictions are inexhaustible.


We vow to realize intimacy. Dharma gates are boundless. We vow to realize intimacy. Buddha way is unsurpassable. We vow to realize intimacy. Good night, Great Assembly. Good night, everyone. Thank you, Rev. Good night, Rev. Thank you. Good night, everyone. Thank you, Rev. Good night, everyone. Thank you for a beautiful evening. Thank you. Thank you very, very much. Thank you. Good night. Thank you. Good night. Good night. Thank you.