Zen Meditation on Our Original Nature, Class 8

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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. 

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This recording is intended to be shared with class members only


In reviewing what we have said and listened to for the last seven weeks, we have said that our original nature is conversation. Conversation between each of us and all beings. That's our original nature as proposed here. Our original nature is an intimate communion between ourselves and all beings. It is a direct transmission. And being this way, it is the mind of Buddha.


The Buddha way is like that, and it also, the Buddha way is practicing and realizing our original nature. It's practicing and realizing conversation. Unlimited, unhindered, wholehearted, genuine conversation. We are conversation. We are our original nature. And yet, we have to make a big effort with our whole being to realize it. When I say we, I mean you, each of you, and me,


and the grasses and trees, and the mountains and rivers, the friends and enemies, all sentient beings and all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. The entire universe is involved in this conversation. With the entire universe. All the parties involved in this original nature conversation include each other. And are included in each other. All the parties constitute each other. We are constituted by others. And others by us. We are constituted by all others.


And all others by us. We are constituted by the whole universe. And if I may, in brackets say, this seems to be perhaps what's now called quantum entanglement. Close brackets. All parties in this conversation are non-dual. As I said earlier, each moment and everything is speaking and listening. Each moment is stimulating and responding. Each moment is teacher and student.


Each moment is teaching and being taught. These are simultaneous and no different. And it is our responsibility to realize this. It is everything's responsibility to realize this. For the sake of realizing this great conversation of our original nature, we contemplate it, we remember it, we speak of it. We listen to it. We take our seat in it. We practice it and we're practiced by it. For me, these meetings, these eight meetings,


are meditation on this great original nature mutual transmission. They are the practice of it, the expression of it, and the realizing of our original nature. Each moment of our meetings includes all of past and present. We have this original nature. It is our responsibility to take care of it and realize it. If we do, that will be good. If we don't, that will be painful.


But even if we don't and it's painful, we can confess and repent and then we're back into the practice again. Even if we forget our original nature, which is given to us in each moment, we can remember, we can recover from our forgetfulness, from our ignorance. Now, I invited you. Did you get an invitation from me? To briefly say something about everything. To briefly say something about our meetings, about what you've learned. Anything that you care to offer.


But please be brief so that everybody has an opportunity to be brief. And wholehearted. And genuine. Which you will be. Welcome Great Assembly to express yourself wholeheartedly. Okay. Gay, can you orchestrate this event? Yes. I will ask you to raise your hand and then I'll just call on you in the order. And I'll keep track of who's already spoken. So be sure to raise your hand or I'll call on you anyway. Okay. Thank you.


Sarah. Hello Great Assembly. This morning I went to visit my mother who's 95 years old. And she can't remember a lot of things, but what she said to me was, Thank you for being here. And thank you for being wonderful. And that's exactly how I feel about the Great Assembly and about you. Thank you, Sarah. Thank you. Hello, Rev.


Good evening, Angela. Hello, Great Assembly. I'd like to, may I start by just expressing my gratitude for these past eight weeks. And how inexpressively amazing they have been. And the only word that's coming to me is permeate the rest of my week. And if I may confess, I don't listen to the beings that come to visit me. And I really noticed that over the last eight weeks, it's become more clear to me that I don't listen to them.


And, and I confess that I don't and, and I'm sorry that I don't. And I truly wish to listen to them when they come to practice silence and stillness and be there for them. Thank you. I wish to do that for all beings. Thank you. Thank you, Angela. Stephen. So I, I hope this is less than a minute. So, ah, for a few full seconds, a yellow Oriole flibberting the light green bows, banking the sand where I have sat me down the muddy Minnesota River sky blue and backless.


The family tragedy strangely touched and changed. Back in the freshly laid parking lot of the city park. Some street guy sodden. Certainly, but anguished or bewildered. I don't know. Smirno say uptrudes the middle of our way. There between my folks Prius handicap park with their ID and the commodious commode flushed with the same property taxes which paid my shock be high school substitute crazy day. With the grace of gods and men angels and insects mountains and rivers. Go I got a got a par got a par some got a bodhisattva. Thank you so much homage to Shakopee. Jeremy.


Good evening. Good evening all responsibility. You raised the issue of responsibility this evening. And that's going to require some thought. These, these weeks have been very helpful, very helpful indeed. And can we ask questions. Back to the, the third truth, and I keep thinking of the middle way is the third truth. Yeah. Yeah. But it's, it's helped me thinking about that that's been very helpful. And I've also


noticed the power of what you've been saying on other people, it's easier to see it on others than myself. But it has it. Yes, this has been good. Thank you very, very much. You're so welcome. Thank you. Homage to the middle way. Thank you. And again. Hello Rob. Hello. Hello great assembly. I, what I'm most grateful for is this new awareness that I have that when I meditate, I am in communion with all of you, and everyone that has come before us for eons, and it has meant a tremendous amount to my practice.


So, thank you Rob and thank you great assembly. Thank you again. Again, Rob. Thank you. [...] Greetings Rob, and greetings great assembly, and gratitude to both gratitude to the great assembly. Part of the thing I've been contemplating on for the last eight weeks is the importance of sangha, and, and, and the definition of sangha starting with those of us who are here and then, of course, extending to the grasses and the trees, and thank you to Rob also I feel so grateful that I have a Dharma teacher, such as you in my life and, and now especially with zoom it's been unbelievable the last three years for me to be able to hear so many of your teachings.


I wanted to thank you. And as part of my offering today I actually wanted to include two quotes of yours from this, this last eight weeks that have just been resonating over and over in my mind and are sort of like Zen Cohen's but the first one is, please correct me if I have it wrong. Original nature is deportment, without hearing and seeing that really struck me. And then this one is two lines, Buddha and tell me if this is wrong Rob. Not what you said, Buddha's you suffering to realize Buddha hood. We use Buddha's to realize suffering. Does that sound like what you said, and if so, I'd love you to say a little bit more about realizing suffering so that that's part of our goal to realize suffering and realizing to me has the two meanings of understanding, and also making real.


And I'm wondering if you're thinking of both of those and if you could just say a little bit more about that and then I have two quick things I'm finished with. Go ahead. Okay. You want to come back to that. All right. So then the other part when I thought of what I had to offer to this great assembly that would be maybe of interest and value to everybody such a diverse group. And I thought back to a gift that I got 50 years ago from the San Francisco Zen Center when I used to attend Green Gulch. Every Sunday for the sitting and listening to Baker Roshi, so he had two quotes about meditation about Zazen that I've found so helpful over these last decades that I thought I'd offer those to the group. And the first one is Zazen or meditation is cutting the storyline of your own personal narrative.


That was a part of it. And then these weren't definitive. These were suggestive. This wasn't like the one thing he would say about it. And the other one was Zazen is like falling through space, holding a flower. And actually these last eight weeks have helped me understand that second one even more than the fact that in spite of all the groundlessness and all the diluted karmic consciousness, there is still something very beautiful and very precious at the core. That flower that even though there's the groundlessness, there's a flower. So I wanted to share those two things and we can go back to that. My question. Thank you, Peter. Warren.


Hello, Rob. Hello Great Assembly. I have been completely delighted these whole eight weeks and confused, which is delightful. I really. I love seeing your face so close, Rob, and I love going through each person and saying hello. It really makes the evening. The other thing I thank you, I'd like to say is to the people who come up and sit on the seat frequently are a great inspiration to me. And I appreciate that effort and the questions that are raised and the opportunity for the teacher to speak through them.


So, may all be well and thank you so much. Thank you so much. Sandra. Thank you so much. Thank you for teaching the Dharma. Thank you, Great Assembly. So appreciated being able to be in your presence and be here with the Great Assembly. I think for me, there's been some confusion and also some radiance, some brilliance.


And to always remember, I can confess and repent and come back. So thank you that and so much more. Thank you. Thank you, Sandra. Thank you. Surprise. Welcome Gloria. Thank you, Rob. Thank you, Great Assembly. This has been an amazing series. Every time that I can be here has been a delight. And the big takeaway being able to talk with one of my sons at length about this and how it relates to his own life he chooses he wants to know.


So that's been a great thing. The biggest takeaway for me is hearing that being intimate with all beings. In my own words is unavoidable and constant. The communication. I love that. Being aware of it is the hard work, realizing it is the hard work, and that is oddly comforting every moment. My thank you for that. Thank you, Gloria. Thank you, everybody. And thank you, Rob. For me, it was also a great pleasure to get up in the night and to listen to all of you and talks.


And I really appreciate your request that everybody speak some words, so that we can even see the ones that we don't see usually don't speak up so often. And I take away with me your word of the perfect fit. And I vow to have it so I will keep it in my hands. As somebody said before, like the flower. Very gently. Thank you. Thank you, Nicola. Good evening, Rob.


I just wanted to express the happiness and wonder I feel in finding so many people in one place here, studying and investigating our true nature, the mystery of our true nature and who we really are. And I think I felt so supported through all this and supportive, just being here. And I think my takeaway from this is, I'd like to learn how to manifest this true communion in my daily life. And that's what I'm, I'm really concentrating on. So thank you very much for your teachings. That's our responsibility. Yep. And also, if I could just make a little joke about when you said who we really are. Who we really are, yes.


I always remember that. Who is an acronym? World Honored One. Oh, thank you. Good evening, Rob. Good evening. Who? Assembly of who's? So, yeah, thank you for this wonderful eight weeks. It was such an incredible transformation for me. I started with a troubled mind of trying to still come to terms with the world and its rapid changes, as I see it, in some strange directions and struggling with that.


And really suffering. I wrote a poem. Maybe I'll read a little bit of it. Just expressing the struggle. Let's see. I titled it very simply, Polarization, Ideological Division and the Teaching. Now we are seeing polarization and division of humanity. People stop talking to each other. Hold on. Why won't you go to the other side? Okay. People stop talking to each other. They either fight or run away or freeze in fear of bursting out into anger.


No communication. Wisdom is blocked. Flow of inquisitive energy stifled. Marriages fail. Friendships flop. Families fall apart. Communities disperse into conflicted divisions. The world is on fire. I look around, asking myself, who is doing this crime on humanity? I keep looking for the culprit. My paranoid and suspicious mind is on full alert. There must be someone to blame. There must be answer to this terrifying puzzle. There must be wrongdoers at whom we can point a finger so that the problem of polarization and division could be solved at last. In attempt to fight the arising fires, to cope with growing fears about the future of humanity and dread of the tragic consequences that could materialize from this massive division rooted in conceptual constructs about reality, not reality itself,


my mind is striving to produce some elegant theories that would find the cause and explain the maladies so that appropriate treatment could be found. Like a dog chasing its tail, or a rat running after a fake mouse, or a bull charging a red cloth, I get duped by arising ideas of enemies and allies, of truths and falsities. Constantly running into self-created roadblocks, fearing self-constructed monsters, like modern Don Quixote, I go on fighting windmills, mistaking them for monsters. I am deluded into thinking that I'm fighting for world peace and safety, of my fellow beings clinging to interpretations and pet theories.


I go on trying to explain the ailments of reality. When I meet people of strong views, I try to educate and convert. And I want to open their minds to opposing views, to raise the consciousness of humanity. I think I'm on a mission, a peace worker, struggling to fight this schism by freeing minds from fixed views. Yet, I was not seeing that I myself, although believing to be free of hard beliefs, did harbor such undetected, unaware, expecting others to do what I myself couldn't master yet. Thank you so much. Marjorie. You're still muted.


Looking under the lamp for the keys when they're actually in front of it, right in front of me in the middle of the screen. I didn't prepare for tonight, but I knew that I wanted to say something that expresses what we all learn before or when we reach 80, as I have fairly recently, which is that everything that helps us with Dharma, everything that helps me, I'm so grateful for it. And the people in my life who have focused on it the most and are able to make it simple through old lady mind, I'm so deeply appreciative. 50 years ago, when I was working hard, but very disturbed, you were working so hard.


I don't know if you were working so hard, but you were being so very careful and exact. Not overdoing, not underdoing, etc. Right in the center of everything. They made jokes about it. What that becomes finally 50 years later. And I say this, I feel sure that lots of people in the Great Assembly here and wider whom I greet. If I'm seeing it, I'm guessing a lot of others are seeing that truly now, when you look out at us, there is nothing extra. And so when you tell us that it's meeting each other and that is, I don't know if you use the word perfect, but that is complete. Then it becomes really like being spoon fed by grandmother.


And that's something we can take with us. And may we all live a very long time to practice Dharma, but we could die anytime. Some of us may know that we will, some of us may not know that we will, but I don't want to lose the opportunity of thanking you for everything. In terms of nothing extra. Another person in my life who did not do it intentionally, that is not in a religious way, is my grandmother, whom I was with from 1972 until 1973 until she died at almost 101. Here she is at 99. I was able to catch this moment. She was the sort of very gentle person where, just as with you, my brother's grandmother, you met my brother, when one eyebrow would raise, you would catch that something, some kind of gentle meaning or some kind of gentle, friendly question, but always nothing extra.


So, thank you so much for your lifelong example. May it go much longer. Thank you so much, Marjorie. Hello, Rab, and hello, Assembly. Hello. I want to express my deep gratitude for years of teaching me how to listen and how to learn to listen and how to sit and how to learn to sit. Every time I came to you for the docusongs or in courses like this or know about, every time my experience was, this is it.


This is it. And without the Assembly, without you, it would have been impossible. Thank you so much. Thank you so much. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. for me, for your generosity, Rep, and the whole Assembly, for your speaking and listening so carefully. It feels very connected. And the two things that resonate most from the last weeks are intimate transmission. We did not only seem to talk about it, but we practiced it, we still practice it in this forum we are meeting here. And the second thing is simultaneity of


things. Simultaneity of things also in a world that seems to be marked by so many cracks of wonderful things and difficulties, war in front of our door, and the Ukraine, and spring coming up. So it seemed to be difficult for me to express all this right now. And last night, there was a haiku coming by. And it seemed to express very well where I'm right now with all this, and I wanted to offer it to the Assembly. And the haiku is from Yosa Busson. The canola flowers, the moon in the east, the sun in the west. Thank you so much.


Good evening, Red. Good evening, Great Assembly. Good evening, Jennifer. I have noticed over these last weeks, feeling such joy and lightness in our sessions together, this remembrance. There's such simplicity available, I think, as I've sort of meditated upon this intimate transmission. It just occurs to me how unnecessary all my worry is. And I also want to just say too, I've come out of a period or have been transitioning out of a period of very heavy, dark times in my personal life. And so I've thought about what is the difference between these moments where I feel so light, and vibrant, and joyful, and those moments where I was so dark and heavy, knowing


that really nothing has changed substantially. There are some differences, but it's the same reality. And I have thought of practice and community as the sort of through lines to kind of help me be a little friendlier with all that is. So it's a very sweet and precious time. I'm very grateful to have been here with all of you. Thank you. Thank you, Jennifer. The darkness and the light are intimately communing. Yeah. Thank you, Webb, so much. And thank you Great Assembly. I'm just honored to be present.


And I gained so much. And I want to remember that my late husband, Dan, asked you when he met you, he said, what do you teach? And you said to him, I teach the same thing every time. And I always remember that so fondly. And I want to thank you so much for inviting me and encouraging all of us to have intimate conversation with all beings. And I've been practicing that with great joy. And I thank you so much. Thank you, Lynn. Thank you. Good evening, Webb.


Good evening. Thank you to everyone for speaking and being here. And I seem to have witnessed a more wondrous sort of Buddha Sangha listening to all of you and witnessing this intimacy amongst us. And I can kind of understand scientifically how everything is in everything. But I hope to understand that effectively in my heart. And you've raised many interesting questions.


And this whole conversation, I have lots of questions that I'm glad to have, because I will be engaged in these very vital questions for me. And for all of us. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Good evening, Rev. and everybody. Thank you. Thank you. I felt so nourished and inspired. By you, Rev. and all of you. This, you know, there are astonishments that have arrived.


Just like that. And one of them is the offering that I would like to give this evening. It has to do with conversation. And with, as you look at the word, there is verse, which is, you know, the flowing and the rhythms, the sounds, and so, of a poem. And so, this came as speaking and listening. Speaking and listening. The whole practice of being like this. And relationship. So, this poem starts with a word that actually I just made up this morning,


because I wanted to change the title. The word is unsquelchable. That's the title of the poem. And it takes place in a very nourishing place, in my kitchen. So, here is unsquelchable, and it has an epigraph, which is a quote from Suzuki Roshi. What we are doing here is so important. We'd better not take it too seriously. The knife and the cabbage being chopped in large chunks, keep close together. Singing, cheerful, cheerful, cheerful.


The leeks, scrunch, shrink away, scoot off the board, and squeak, eek, eek, eek. My vegetables give me an earful. We're already in the same soup. The red onion knows when I'm tearful. I stand firm on my two bare feet. My hand softens around the old wood handle. The knife is one that we use all the time at Tassajaran Green Gulch in the kitchen. That big familiar. And mine is not as old as I am almost, but it's quite old.


And that sense of the familiar speaking to me, I mean, it was just such a surprise to be so listening that I heard those, actually heard those, those vegetables. And to be that close and intimate. I love that with people, that conversational, who knows what you're going to get. What I will say next, or how you're listening will bring us together. And I feel very much, you know, huge openness to that more and more. And this continuity that you give us. Surprise. One moment. Here we are. Just this moment. Thank you. Thank you.


I love the moment when you talked about finding the words of Suzuki Roshi on a scrap of paper as you were going through the past. And he spoke directly to you and what we're talking about now. When you invited us to speak, I remembered Kategori Roshi and his book, You Have to Say Something, which I was a little intimidated by, but I think to be invited to say something is encouraging. But it made me remember a story. Kategori Roshi was giving a lecture and we were discussing how in the world does one become one with the cosmos? And he said, well, it's really not. It's not that difficult. I feel like I did. Did I disappear? No. Oh, good. That would have


been good. He said, for example, if you're eating your breakfast, if you have your breakfast, it's not hard to become one with your breakfast. You just eat it. And then he laughed with this wonderful face that he made like that, laughing. So when I eat my breakfast, I often think of him. And one time we were with you at Mount Madonna, and I think the title of the weekend was Zen Stories and Our Stories. So here's a story, a rewriting of the story or telling of the story of Avalokitesvara. Here's calls of all beings and listens and sometimes weeps intimacy with all beings. And yet, when deeply communing with wisdom of Buddhas, she knows the intimacy of all being and joins in this very awakening.


No one said this would be easy. Thank you, Susan. Love to everybody. Thank you. Yeah, thank you. Hello, Rob. Hello, everybody. First of all, I want to thank you and also to thank Gay for being creating the circumstances where we could come together like this and have these conversations and teachings. Really grateful to both of you for what you've done to make this happen. So thank you. And also thank you, Rob, for these wonderful teachings. I find myself very


curious about where these seeds will go and how they will sprout. And, you know, what will come from them. Very curious about that. I'm looking forward to discovering some of that. And I also wanted to say, I too was struck by the word conversation tonight. And so I looked up actually to see where it comes from. And what I discovered is that it has a Latin origin of two words, one of which means together, and the other means turning. So conversation is a turning together. And I feel like that's what we've all been doing. Through this, we've been turning together. And it's just kind of a miracle. And thank you. Thank you, everybody. I pray to remember that we turn together. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you, Karen.


Hello, Rob. And hello, Great Assembly. Welcome, Fran. I just want to express my appreciation for the eight weeks of your teachings, and to everyone who spoke and to those who didn't speak. And I especially liked that we, as you have many times before, focused on intimacy. And there were a couple of moments that particularly spoke to me this time. One of them was when you brought up Suzuki Roshi, saying that we listen, not just from the word to the words, but from the tummy. This is his word. But that week, I started trying to listen to people with my whole body,


which I had heard the concept and known the concept of before, but something about how it came together was just very different and really impacting my being present, being more present with people. And that was wonderful. And the one other time was sitting with all that all Buddhas are with us when we're sitting, and just thinking about that more and bringing that more into my being as I'm sitting, instead of feeling like I'm just sitting, I'm sitting with myself, and I'm practicing the teachings with myself. But I'm actually doing it with others, with the Buddhas, other Buddhas, and they're helping. And that's very, that was a very nice feeling. And both things just create more peace and tranquility and presence.


So I thank you for those. And for bringing us all together and creating this Sangha that we have for many years now, many of us anyway. So, thank you. Thank you, Fran. Good evening, Great Assembly. Can you hear me? Yes. And I want to especially thank the Great Assembly for all this time, for everyone's presence and effort and our mutual support on this path. For me, it's really, it's an environment that supports me. And I hope it supports you as well.


And for Rev, I'm so appreciative of this teaching of intimate communion. It's opened a door for me, and a new way of understanding these things. I particularly understand things in space as geometry, as physical space interactions and energetic interactions. And this way really is a way I can feel relating to another person. In a more, in a mutually participatory way, understanding what that's about. Whereas form is emptiness, emptiness is form.


This is a new way for me that's really goes in deeper. And I appreciate that you offer this deep teaching to all of us. I trust it to carry it forward. Please do. Can you hear me okay? Yes. That didn't work the way I hoped it would. It was blurry. It looked blurry. But this is Rev's book,


Warm Smiles from Cold Mountains. On page 13 of my edition, you say something that I find thrilling. You say, you write, you're writing about Zazen, and you call it a formless practice that we cannot do. Rev, when I hang out with that, I feel relief. Oops, can't hear you. You accidentally muted yourself. Okay, you're back. Okay, thanks. We heard a formless practice that we cannot do. Wow, I love that. I'm distracted because I keep seeing the people who have previously spoken show up. But I want to


say, Rev, that I feel relief. I feel joy. I feel hope. And I feel unafraid. Thank you, Mike. Thank you, Rev. Okay. Like Marjorie, I didn't prepare for tonight. I just don't think I quite understood the email. But anyway, regardless, what's come to me is, this weekend, we were with family, including three very intelligent granddaughters. And they were talking about


AI. And the man had just left Google for, he was worried about bad people doing bad things with artificial intelligence. You accidentally got muted. How did that happen? Okay. We heard you say, he was worried about people misusing artificial intelligence. Yes. So, the three granddaughters were pretty interested and excited about the concept of the worry about artificial intelligence being a sentient being. And, you know, like they were just beginning to think of that concept of a sentient being. And I could have said a lot. I didn't. I was quiet and listening. But inside, I was thinking,


oh, I'm so glad that I have this, my people, this feels like a home base to me, to have this sangha that, and you lead a hopefully more thorough discussion of what sentient being is. And I looked up this kind of the root today. And the Latin, it came from the root word Latin, meaning a feeling, trying to distinguish feeling from thinking. And I just thought to myself, well, it's both. And that's what I like, love about the teachings.


So, that in terms of future, I would look forward to more discussion, always, whatever it is. But tonight, you said, when you said, well, before I say that, a friend had sent me quote from woman about 83. And she said, the question is, how to live now that this life is almost over, being in my demographic, the 80s. And when you said tonight, realize and practice our original nature. I thought, well, that's how to live your life all along from whether you're, you know, eight or 80. So, it feels like


tonight has been kind of a, in a way, nice completion of this series. And I am so deeply appreciative. So, thank you all. I too want to give thanks to the Great Assembly and to you, Reb, for all that you teach. Thank you, Jack. And I'm reminded of a poem that I shared in Mount Madonna. Some of you've heard it. It's about learning and understanding. Lotus most beautiful, dances in daylight stardust, floats through moon shadows, roots and muddy waters. So true for our life. Thank you.


Thank you. The roots in communion with muddy water. Christiane. Oh, where did you go? I get to see myself. I'm not sure what other people can see. Well, I guess I'll just keep going. Oh, now there you are. That's better. Okay. So, I'm full of emotion right now and gratitude for you, my dear teacher, and for this class and the Assembly.


It's really such a gift to be able to hear from everyone today. I mean, I enjoy the class every week, but I'm really reveling and everybody's just being themselves. And it's just so wonderful. And I really appreciate this opportunity. Ah, the class has been wonderful. And the thing that I think is most with me is, well, it's just kind of intimate communion. Intimate communion. Yeah, that's happening. And now I feel like in my life, I'm actually trying. I don't know if I'm trying. I don't know what's happening. But I'm not trying to understand with my mind and just trying to


understand in some other way. And it's just, it's really beautiful. And we talked the other day, and I just, I'm feeling so moved by life right now. And it feels like intimate communion is happening. And I don't know, it's a wonderful thing. I have a poem. I don't think it's too long, but it's really, it was very moving to me. And I feel like it speaks to intimate communion, if I may read it. It's called Famous, and it's by Naomi Shehab Nye. Okay. The river is famous to the fish. The loud voice is famous to silence, which knew it would inherit the earth before anybody said so. The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds


watching him from the birdhouse. The tear is famous briefly to the cheek. The idea you carry close to your bosom is famous to your bosom. The boot is famous to the earth, more famous than the dress shoe, which is famous only to floors. The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it and not at all famous to the one who is pictured. I want to be famous to shuffling men who smile while crossing streets, sticky children and grocery lines, famous as the one who smiled back. I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous or a buttonhole. Sorry, not because it did anything spectacular, but because it never forgot what it could do. Good evening, Red. I don't see me, but that's okay. I feel me.


And actually, thank you for laughing. My first comment is thank you for laughing. Your sense of humor is truly a gift, and I accept it with all of my heart and being. Often I take notes during your talks, and there are lines that are very poetic for me, so I just write them down. And I was going to read a poem that I love, and then tonight you said quantum entanglement, and I thought, oh, I should take notes, and I'm not home, and I left my notebook that I write these notes. I have one notebook for Zen notes, so instead I wrote it on my phone, and I'm hoping I won't lose it. So it's called quantum entanglement, and it's from all of us and from


you. Quantum entanglement, original nature in conversation with the whole universe. Each moment includes all past and all present. Invited to say something at once about anything. This teaching together in silence, in stillness and silence. Gratitude for intimate transmission. Beautiful. She made that up. I wrote that tonight while you spoke, so it's, it was a, it was a, you know, a mutual transmission. Jeff's next, and I'm not next to him, so I can't, like, elbow him. I'm across the country.


Is it Jeff or Tracy? It's Tracy. Okay, it's Tracy. Well, I would like to say, hearing from everyone tonight is blowing my mind. Just these pearls. Anyway, I'm a little speechless, and I wanted to say to you, Reb, that on Saturday at Noah Abode, when you read us a poem, I was charmed, delighted, and I had the thought, God, I wish I could read, Reb, a poem, and so I am right now. And this is by a former U.S. Poet Billy Collins, and it's called Forgetfulness. Oh, God. This is dedicated to anyone for Home at Rings. Okay. The name of the author is the first to go, followed obediently by the title, the plot, the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel, which suddenly becomes you have never read,


never even heard of. As if one by one, the memories you used to harbor decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain, to a little fishing village where there are no foams. Long ago, you kissed the names of the nine muses goodbye. I watched the quadratic equation pack its bag. And even now, as you memorize the order of the planets, something else is slipping away, a state flower, perhaps the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay. Whatever it is you are struggling to remember, it is not poised on the tip of your tongue, not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen. It has floated away down a mythological river, whose name begins with an L, as far as you can recall, well on your own way to oblivion, where you will join those who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle. No wonder you rise in the middle of the night to look at the date of the famous battle in a book on war. No wonder the moon in the window


seems to have drifted out of a love poem that you used to know by heart. Hmm. Thank you so much. Thank you so much. Hello Great Assembly and Rev. Hello Athena. Hi, and Tyler's going to speak next, so whoever the VJ is, he wants to share as well. I just want to say thank you to everyone for every week showing up. It feels so incredible to connect with you consistently and to see you all in your respective homes or places


that you are, and just realizing that some people are all across the globe, and there's just something really tremendously connecting and grounding for me in being part of that circle. Yeah, thank you for all your shares and vulnerability and presence. And Rev, over the weeks, I've been taking you and the shares and everyone with me as I encounter the world, internal sentient beings and external beings, and it just adds a little extra courage and support and a moment to just reflect on how do I want to show up right now, and how do I make the most of this moment? How do I recognize that there is communion here, or how do I generate that communion


and that I am part of it? And I really appreciate having that focus. And the topic of intimate communion was a gift for me. I was asked to write a toast and present a toast at a dear friend's wedding, and that was the theme of my share for my dear friends, and it felt really like the perfect theme and base to leap off of and make that offering to them. So I am thanking the whole community for being part of that experience. And this is all improv. I didn't know we were sharing today, but I have a little improv, I guess, movement poem. For my part, thank you, Reb, and thank you Great Assembly for a great and very enlightening


eight weeks. And, Reb, thank you for teaching the same thing every time I've ever seen you teach. And for all of the years that you've been teaching the same thing, somehow it's always the same, but always different. Somehow it's a multifaceted or infinitely faceted teaching. So thank you for the patience and for the years of teaching that. And I found that over the course of these last eight weeks, I've connected some dots in that teaching that had not previously been connected. So I am grateful for that. And I found that in my regular sitting, I had often thought about how Zazen is, within the teaching of Zazen, as I understand it, this is the teaching of Suchness. And the fact that you've been teaching us about how Suchness is Zazen, and it is Buddha's mind,


and it is intimate communion, and it is our authentic self. And I had not understood that Suchness was those other things until this class. And so that's something that I have found myself sitting with regularly, and that has opened a new door in my practice. So thank you for opening that door, and for all the doors that you have opened over all these years. So thank you very much. You're welcome. Dots are inexhaustible. I vow to discover their connection. Good evening, Jeff. I want to say a couple of things. First, I think the idea of tonight, of inviting everyone,


especially those of us who don't usually speak, to speak. It's a wonderful idea. And I found all the comments that people have made enlightening in and of themselves. It filled me with a great sense of joy, and almost makes me cry, which is unusual for me in general. So I want to thank you for that. But more than that, as always, in the many times I've been part of these yoga room and teachings of yours, what you're presenting is always quite thought-provoking. But I realized something this time, probably more than I have before, which is quite apart from what you said when you're giving the teaching. Your interactions with everyone in the group, to me, are the best teaching of all, regardless of your words. Because when I watch you


listening to people and interacting with everybody, the meaning of intimate connection and conversation and intimate communion becomes very clear. You not only are kind, nonjudgmental, empathetic, but you also take great joy in the interactions. It's just obvious from watching your face. So as a very judgmental person who struggles with that, I find that the best teaching of all. So I just want to thank you for that. Thank you, Jeff. Andrew, I just wanted to tell the assembly that I notice we're at the usual stopping time, but tonight I'd like to hear from all the yellow hands. So please accept us going over our usual time. And if you have to leave, we understand. But I'm going to stay to the sweet end.


Andrew. You're muted, Andrew. Thank you, Red. Thank you, Great Assembly. I've managed to miss most of these teachings. I got the first one and that was enough for a few weeks. But I thought I'd pop in at the end and I was trying to think of something that I wanted to ask, and I did, which was about responsibility and how we might think about that and so on. But then, and I will be brief, the thing that's really struck me was the silence at the beginning of the meetings and the emptiness of that, which is great. It's hard to find it, isn't it? So thank you and


see you next time. Thank you, Andrew. Thank you. Sally. Hello, Red. Hello. Hello, Great Assembly. I did miss, I think, two meetings and I'm glad they're recorded. And I think, I know what I'll remember the most is, is the night that you told us you had a rough day at Green Gulch. And you said that you'd been suffering and that you had been depressed. And I know I and many others just had huge compassion for you at that moment,


because we all have so much gratitude. And my gosh, didn't seem like there was much we could do through a screen. But you know, when you told us that, it was, I just felt a forever lesson of we're all in the same boat, no matter where we're at. And it's very comforting to be in the same boat with you, always. And truly every day of my life, I do feel that way. And with the Great Assembly. And, and that was also a day I had had great suffering. So


it's very comforting to hear you talk about that. And then you said, and somebody had some concern for you. I forgot who it was. Maybe green? I'm not sure. But he's, she had real concern for you. And you said, I also had moments of joy. So that's my takeaway from the last eight weeks. Thank you. Thank you, Sally. Hello, Rev. And hello, the Great Assembly. This is also an improv improv.


Um, throughout hearing you guys sharing this evening, something came to me, which says, you are practicing for the sake of me. And then like questioning or self doubt occurs, some beings occur saying, Oh, you're so entitled. Like, oh, that's too much to ask. And then I'm like sitting with those beings, and in communion and conversations with you all. And like, I'd like to share that my prayer is that I keep remembering that you're practicing for the sake of me. And I continue to practice for the sake of you, like to offer that tonight. Thank you. Thank you. Good evening, Rev. Good evening, Great Assembly. I, these last eight weeks have been really


profound. And what has been so profound was, Rev, you're teaching me and all of us present to listen. As each person who did speak, I was observing how you, you really listen. And I, it made me each week, I would think, Am I listening in my life? And whether I'm walking, whether I'm gardening, whether I'm talking to my family, friends, you know, teaching class, you know, am I listening. So I think that was the biggest gift. And also how the Great Assembly was listening and the power of being in a sangha and how it is everything. And I am so grateful


that I was able to attend these eight weeks. Thank you, Rev. Thank you, Great Assembly. This morning, I was in a little group of people who are your students. And we were at the very end of reading the Platform Sutra. You can hear me, right? My voice sounds like nothing to me. At the very end, you know, he says, I'm going to give you this poem now and then I'm going to die. And the line out of that poem that keeps coming up for me


as we all say hello, goodbye, this evening is, it's near the beginning of the poem, he says, well, when you have the poisons, then Mara is at home. Mara is at home with you. And then he says that Mara becomes the Buddha. It's not like the Buddha gets free of Mara. But Mara, I've had lots of dark and harsh, you know, thoughts and distractions during this class. A lot of the times I felt like I wasn't hearing what you're saying, couldn't even hear what you're saying. And I was remembering just now tonight about a long, long time ago in a session with Jogobek,


I had this actual dream where I saw a huge ship, it was the Mahayana, and I was thrown off of it. I mean, like I was, because I was so incapable of practicing, I was thrown off of it into this Black Sea. And I actually believed it, I was like going crazy. I believe that was true that I could be and was being thrown off the Mahayana, the great vehicle. And so I can say that I don't believe that anymore. And this Mara being Buddha is kind of a radical way I'm thinking of what you've been teaching. Good night. Thank you, Linda. You're muted, Jeff.


So I've always felt these yoga room nights to be sort of like an oasis. You know, I get off the BART train and go over to, it's like a, literally go through an oasis. And it's certainly sort of like in that sense of water, like being dunked in some water, and maybe even a baptism. So that's very nice, it's been very nice for me. And it's funny, it's just these eight sessions this time, but it's like three times a year, and 10 years, and 20 years. I'm just, I'm so impressed with your ability to give. So thank you so much. And you know, I couldn't do it without you. Thank you.


Good evening, Reb. Good evening, Timothy. Good evening, Great Assembly. You are the bomb, man. I feel like, I don't know, I'm so amazed that, thank you, Linda, for the analogy to the Mahayana as the boat. Because I've often felt like the Mahayana was like this ocean cruiser that I couldn't afford tickets on. It was all these just really classy, intelligent, really bright people. I see them all here in the Great Assembly. I've never seen such a collection of so many just incredible people who are just so intuitive, and perceptive, and bright. And it's just amazing. And I just want to thank you all for accepting me into the group, and me accepting you. And Reb, it's just, I don't know, I often want to slip into my old


vernacular from growing up on the street and start using swear words about how incredible this whole experience is. But I'm not going to do that because I don't want to get thrown off the ship. Everybody's so, the politest is, it's a very polished group, and I don't want to make it too rough. But I'm just, it's just amazing. And I often felt that I wasn't, the meetings were always two parts. There was an A and a B. The A was you giving the teaching, and I'd be sitting here going, what? And then you would open it up and go, now let's hear from you about what, what do you think about that, Subuti? And I'm like, what? And then it would be one after another, you would, everyone would come on. And it was great. And that's where I learned so much. It was in those interactions.


And went away with the delusion that I thought I understood part A. And would sit with that all week. But anyway, I just, the biggest thing I wanted to thank you for, Reb, was the teaching that I finally got, you repeat it over and over again, somebody has to say it, to just sit with what's, what is, with what's going on. And I can't believe how long I've tried to get somewhere with this stuff, thinking there was some place I was supposed to be, or go to, or get some understanding. There's something that was going to happen. And getting that, no, it's happening. It's happening all the time, you know, just pay attention. And everything I need, that I've been looking for is right here in the moment. And it feels like, it feels like home. And it's really great. And this sangha feels like home to me. And


I'm deeply grateful to you all for being here. And especially to you, Reb, thank you. Thank you, Timothy. Charlie, can you put on your video, your camera, so I can spotlight you? Is it my turn? Now it is, I couldn't spotlight you. Thank you. Thank you very much, Reb. I, I have a musical offering on the theme of intimate communion. Thank you so much.


Leslie, can you turn on your camera so I can spotlight you? Thank you. All night I've been turning my camera on and off because I didn't know where my teenage daughter was, calling a lot of different people. And just now heard she's safe. This whole, this, for whatever reason, this, I've been very confused most of the time, and it felt very stupid. And, um, and one question I asked, because I was trying to teach my daughter to be a good person. And you said, it sounds like you want your daughter to be somebody else. And that's been the biggest gift. It's just been this one nugget, because so much of this,


I feel like I'm stumbling around in the dark, but then I was thinking, like, I could say the same thing to myself and stop beating myself up for being so confused and just say, I don't have to be somebody else. And in the company of everybody, I assume other people are feeling confused and stumbling. And that's great comfort. So thank you. They're feeling confused too. And we're here to love them. And love you. Thank you. Okay. Okay, we did it. That was, we did it, and you were there when we did it. Congratulations. And stay in the boat together, okay? The water's rough, you know, don't expect to be a smooth ride,


but we're on the boat together, all right? Right. We vow intimacy. Afflictions are inexhaustible. We vow intimacy. Dharma gates are boundless. We vow intimate communion. Buddha way is unsurpassable. We vow intimate communion. Thank you so much, everybody. Bye-bye. Until next time.