Zen StoriesĀ 

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one often repeated theme this spring has been
be mindful
of the question
is what's happening in your life right now
ah call on
or the that go on
how is what's happening right now reality
turning it around we look at co-owns traditional cohen's and
new columns that are given to us as pawns
we're told that the here's a call on of the tradition of collins
this is a famous cohen has been carried forth for
a thousand or more years
how is this con what's happening right now how is this go on your life and particularly how is how are these coins how are these stories of
buddha's and ancestors how are they actually what's happening right now for you
how are these stories your story and how is your story
a zen story
this is a
i think a wonderful ah pivot
be mindful of and i have been trying to be mindful of it
almost every day
many days for many years i talked to people
i hear their stories they tell me their stories
they'd tell me the stories of their life and then i asked him how do you practice tell me the story of how you practice with your story
and they tell me how they practice with their story
and often by the time there they've told me how they practice with their story
how they practice with their story is how i practice with their story
i don't mean to talk them into
making their story something that can be my story but it turns out often
the person after person by the time they leave the room their stories can like my story it's like i kind of think that the wave that they're talking about practicing in the way that they intend to practice with their life i kind of think well i like to try that
i often feel that way you'll be fun to finished his interview so i can go practice with this do the practice that this person
what's the practice
in the next person comes in and then same thing happens again so they have another practice that i want to go practice
if i see several people i can hardly remember all the different practices that i wanna do
when i want to do mall i want to do everybody's practice
so my my way and maybe your way is that your practice your story is my story
but my practice is not the same as your practice
and my practice is not different from your practice
your practice is my practice your story is my story
when your story is not the same as my story and your stories not different from my story
that's what i mean by your story is my story and my story is not the same as my story and of course my story is not different from my story
in this way no matter what's happening
it's an opportunity for enlightenment it's an opportunity for reality
but it's it's an art to
really be able to see other people story or yours and then not cling to them
to really see somebody else story is your story and not attached to their story or your story
donato statue your story and be different to not attached to their story and be the same
and yet have complete sympathy and
intimacy with other people story and with your own
hi i i gave you a
a list of names
ah a story about a lineage
a story about a lineage of stories
many many many practitioners of the buddha way each one has a story many stories
and as a story that they're related
and so i asked you at the beginning towards the beginning of this session
how about you are are are is their story is the story your story
and one of the people in the list is the great master nog arjuna
and his disciples name was are your deva but also his disciples name was kinda deva are your devil means are you deva means novel
connor deva means one eyed deity
so he also was a great master
one day
a monk asked
his teacher as teacher's name was bawling
what is the school of karna deva what is the school of the one eyed deity
so he asked balding because barling is in the tradition
oh canada of a kind of davis story as history his stories kind of davis story so you can ask balling about kind of diva
so he does what is the school what is the tradition of kind of deva teacher
and volleying said
filling a silver bowl with snow
better darling said and now more than a thousand years later i'm telling you about it
see if you see an opportunity when somebody asks you a question
that where it seems appropriate to say fresh snow filling a silver ball and see if people tell that story to talk about you saying that a thousand years later
another monk as barling
or the meaning or is the meaning of the ancestors
the meaning of the teachings
the same or different

filing said
when the chickens are cold
they climb into the trees
when the ducks are cold they enter the water
this is called
darlings chickens and ducks
barling is praised for speaking beyond say
aimless indifference
the monk gas
or the teachings of the
my ancestors and your ancestors either teaches the same are the different from different from the scriptures of the buddha's
and barling doesn't say same or different he shows freedom from same or different
he shows how to enter the water without seeking anything
like a duck
i don't know if you think it's worthwhile mentioning to anybody ever
that when chickens or cold they climb into the trees and then when ducks are called to go in the water
you might have an opportunity to do that with your grandchildren
see the chickens climbing into the trees and this cold afternoon see the ducks going into the water
but an order for that story to go on maybe your grandchild have to ask you
is the teaching of your school different from the teaching of the buddha's

they have to set up the path for you to make this answer
really precious
they have to be ready with that question
so anyway
i'm setting up balling as a wonderful person
his chickens and ducks
have been waiting for me to tell you about them for a long time so i finally told you
i'm very happy but that
ha zen center we chat something called the harmony of difference and unity or difference inequality
the harmony of them and that the chance starts out the mind of the great sage of india is intimately transmitted from east to west
our west to east
so a monk came to barling and said
what does it mean when it says the mind of the great sage of india is intimately transmitted from west to east
and barling said
are you quoting the words of the third ancestor
and the monk said no i'm quoting the words
of the eighth ancestor sure tone
in barling said oh my bad
i'm becoming
quite a daughter
not a daughter does
a daughter is related to what we talked about last week you will a less we talked about geezers
codgers and coots you notice or
those are three english words for old man
and daughter is also an old man but a little bit more emphasizing being a little senile and week
so the great zen master balling says i'm becoming rather senile and week
like i can't remember which scriptures are which
and maybe he can't
and maybe he doesn't need to remember anymore
that one a monk asked a question
he asked to show he wants to show the monk
that the monks question is the teacher's question
and the monks understanding as the teachers' understanding
and they're not the same and they're not different that's he does not remember that he has become that through long practice so now even though he's senile and week
he naturally expresses
something that doesn't give the monk an answer or not an answer
he didn't give a monk and answer
he wasn't smart he seemed to be dumb but
i wanted to tell you that story
so last weekend this week the great teachers were a little under mild side
and one more story
i have much equipment here i need an attendant
to carry this electronic equipment wherever i go

someone recently asked me if if the interviews that i do with people could be on the internet
just kidding
when you like to listen to these interviews with be nice
here these people's stories and how they're practicing with them

do you this is what's this
it's a staff
this is a staff
it's a fair it's a staff
is a staff ah
in this present position this is an inverted oak tree
some time ago it was like this
in the ground
and then that's a root ball down there but if you'd turn it right side up and look at it you can see is now a dragon
it's a live oak tree
about fifty years old but didn't get very big because
the root ball so the rings are very dense
the staff has given to me in nineteen eighty three
you might say this is my staff
in the a in the old days
when zen monks traveled around china is very mountainous country like japan
japan and china are kind of you know lot like
the california
and i when monks traveler and men monsters are often in the mountains and zen monks often went around visiting different teachers because the teachers were
not the same and not different from the teachings of the buddha so they wanted they read the buddhist scriptures they recited the buddhist scriptures and they went to
ask about the meaning of the ancestors
and they carried sometimes to staff you know like for when they crossed our rivers or we're going down hillsides are climbing up the curious staff and the staff was usually taller than them
someone show me was making a staff for somebody and they showed tomb and i said if not tall enough
there's a nice stuff
it's good to have a staff that taller than you
so this is death and i didn't use it for many years
and then haven't become my staff he was given to me and now i use it
yeah i almost twenty eight years
the great teacher fi un came to
the hall
and said to his monks
if you can understand this staff
you can endure then travels
somebody said a i
and such staffer or the staff of a zen monk is kind of a souvenir of their study
a souvenir in the sense of
that they used it for travel but also a souvenir that might be given to them
you've been practicing for wider quite a while now here here's a souvenir of your practice
but this is not a super superhero
done that getting
who give it their think it's okay thank you this is not a souvenir one could say this is not a symbol
you can't get the staff with your hands
your eyes
your tongue
your ears
are you know it
but you can have this stuff
and if you have the staff you can understand this step and if you understand his staff i would say instead of saying
you can and years and travels i can say you can start years and travels
when i first received this data was quite a bit heavier but it's still
has a good heft to it
so please
have received this staff
in your hearts and take it with you on your travels
take this stack with you
wherever you go
on your journey on the boot away
never forget it
even when you understand it
but without forgetting it don't be attached to it
i give you the staff please take care of it
picking it up putting it down and sang
all the buddhas
achieved awakening
with this staff
all the ancestors attain their realization with this staff

the staff is not the same as their stuff and it's not different from their staff
they use this stuff
which is not the same as their staff
i'm not different from their stuff
please take care of this thing that's not the same
are different that that that transcends sameness and different please take care of it
and you can make it up
a staff
or you can make it i shout or you can make it a song or you can make it water sprinkled over the group ready
don't tell donald
got recorded

so thank you very much is there anything else did did you bring any presents for us
did you care to offer

it's often just like this
but it's not the same as this
or different from this
but i think practice take care of practice and practice take care of
the question what is practice doesn't it
it must
it takes care of all sentient beings so i certainly take care of the question what's practice
it also takes care of the statement this is practice
take care of that statement
by being gentle with it
by not crushing it
by saying thank you for telling us what practices
johnstown now
any other gifts tonight
that dinner
the dinner last week at this time
if the people had what's the name of the place
across the street than a balboa theatre
this is like a big plug it's a very good restaurant
it's like really good and not very expensive
the meal was very delicious
and not very expensive
and i got to pay for it
and i thought wow this is not that difficult

and then the next day
my daughter got married
for the first time
in perhaps last
was i the master of ceremonies as a matter of fact know
as somebody who may know i retired from doing weddings quite a while ago
and i've turned down some my dearest friends so now i could i know if obama asked me to marry him chris
innovations a obama cuffs i don't want him to get divorced but if obama asked me to marry him again
do michelle
i did say well i'm sorry i'd love to you know then i'd finally be famous
but he would hurt the feelings of my friends who i said no to so i can perform your wedding
so no i wasn't the master of ceremonies but my mother my my my daughter did sort of broach the topic of some time are going to say well would you make an exception for your daughter
and i said well maybe
anyway the person she'd married didn't want a buddhist wedding so
the master of ceremonies was grace damn
grace man who
ha you know at it
a miraculous recovery from
a super difficult car accident about three years ago or two years ago three years ago
so she
she wasn't in a wheelchair for the
the ceremony she sat in did a very nice job
any other gifts tonight

while i i confess that when i was young
i thought they were different
i i saw i saw my practice in a certain form and i was let's say i was devoted to it like i sometimes said lazio i gave i was
you know i was ten points for practice and then when i got married and became a father i felt like i was
in a sense eight points per practice but i was four points or five points for something else so my total points was about thirteen so my practice in a sense got bigger but my formal practice and simpsons was reduced in a way
because of the responsibilities
of caring for my daughter so for example the morning she was born i didn't go to the zendo
people wondered will he come to the zendo if even though his dyer's being born
and i i stayed with
with her mother and her in the birth process even though there was as and right next door in the room
that's an example of for i didn't do the form of thing i did the non-formal thing which wasn't really informal just a different form
birth is quite formal actually
you know it's raining and gotta stay is within certain limits is sort of what it's about
how do you work with these major limits in a compassionate and courageous way

so i i
i think i missed some opportunities when i was younger
to give my full attention to formal zen practice and give my full attention to the the formal requirements of being a good father
and so that's one of the have happiness is of being a grandfather is i can show i have a chance now to do it again wholeheartedly without
been caught by sameness or difference
but the first time around i was caught by sameness and difference i think
and i've apologized many times to my daughter
and but with my grandson
i think she's
she's being encouraged by the way i'm wholehearted with him
for most people it takes a long time of practice to get over sameness and difference
lots of
occasions of noticing your caught by this is the same and this is different and then confess and repent and try again

how meeting another person
it takes a lot of practice to not be distracted by sameness and difference
to be present and not
say all this person is the same as me
or this person is different from me to find that middle way monk by moment with with living beings and with buddhas
to find out more by moment it really takes a lot of practice to stay on that been consistently

by being kind to attachment the illness of attachment can be healed and transformed the mind that attaches can be transformed that's practice the proposal
so be kind
and then eventually
you'll be liberated from it
are saved
but we have to be kind first

if you are being kind
you do not
think that what you're doing is the same as kindness
or different
if you're actually being kind
you're not caught by the thought
i'm being kind and if you're actually being caught i mean you for actually being kind you're not caught by the thought i'm not been kind
that to
how's really intimately
we have to learn to be kind
which means we have to learn to try to be kind
without believing that we are but without believing my ipad i have to be try to be kind to example to you without believing my thought hey i'm pretty kind
without believing that mike that that kindness is the same as what i'm trying to do and also without believing that kindness is different from what i'm trying to do real kindness requires that and when in when that balance is achieved
then we are than that's wisdom
that's kindness which is now true kindness
which includes also that i do not think i'm the same as you are different from you
and it includes that if you think it wasn't kind i'm not the same as the person who thinks it's not kind and i'm not a different from the person who thinks it wasn't kind and if you think it's kind if you think i'm being kind i'm not the same as you who think some kind and i'm not different from you
who thinks i'm kind
and if i really don't want to be kind
then it's not kindness either so i want to be kind i really do but i really don't know what that is
but i'm going to try anyway to do what i don't know what it is and i'm going to try to take care of all beings that i don't know who they are but i've heard and i remind myself they are me
everybody's me and everybody is not the same as me and nobody's different
so everybody's me but in a middle way not an not everybody's me and an extreme way like your me in the form of like not being me that kind of me know
sounds like staff here
yes catherine

oh you this is the hardest thing you've ever done
yeah and your wonder is are easier

i like i like that question
the this is the path of ease and the path of ease his most difficult
this is the path of peace and ease this is the way to be at peace with everybody and it is the most difficult way
because in order to be peaceful with beings
i own and others
is very difficult it's like
you know it's like balancing on a tightrope
high above the ground
riding a bicycle and juggling
whenever something and and that's easy then let me come out and start shaking the wire for you
so it's a it's a difficult path
and it's it is the path of comfort and ease and peace
and in the way it's difficult is changing all the time
which is also
difficult doesn't stay in a doctor okay least i got used to the difficult in or keeps changing
which again can't take you back to the practice how is the current change in the difficulty now was just getting used to this this difficulty
and now they changed the difficulty on me so we have to keep remembering that than the new situation is
this is the reality to work with it's not that we have to like it or dislike it it's a this is what is being given to us
and this is what this is art this is a current gift and this is what we practice generosity towards
and again i'm trying to practice generosity with it without saying that what i'm doing his generosity or isn't
first i try to practice generosity is best i can with all the teachers i've heard and then as i get into it i approach not grasping what generosity is
are you know who the giver who is the receiver and who is the gift
and that's that's hard to balance all that
it's hard to learn how to be wholehearted all the time with her with everything
so i shared that new yorker cartoon with many of you
it's from a fairly recent new yorker and the the cartoon goes has a picture of
see i think it's
tommy worm and
i don't know peter caterpillar
they were friends and one day
peter caterpillar
i turned into a butterfly
worms or
worms are
very slow so
one moment it looks like a walk up
caterpillar and then they hardly even notice
this high speed cocoon building and then the butterfly emerging all they see as butter a caterpillar and butterfly
so it was a shocking transformation to tommy worm he went home and asked his mother you know about it and what it said
to most people's eyes
when he told his mother as she said to him
that's not your concern
but i misread it
and i thought you said does that concern you is that your concern he said she said it isn't your concern i thought you said is it your concern
and you know they're both good and good good motherly responses but i like my misreading better
and then then the moral of the story is which i also misread
what the moral of story
is his second more like a more like new york morrow
the moral of the story is not everybody has to know everything all the time
but i thought it said everybody has to know everything all the time
and i actually think that that's true that
that really everybody has to know everything all the time
but that's hard
to know everything all the time in other words it's hard to be a buddha
buddha's know everything all the time and we all need to be buddha

but i know some people think not everybody needs to know everything all the time
and i myself to tell you the truth not the truth but to tell you the story
there's a lot of stuff that i don't know about that's what's going on you know
like a lot of gossip i'm not in on
but even though and i'm kind of okay with that
but i still feel like i need to know everything all the time
i don't necessarily need to hear this piece of gossip but i need to know everything about that piece of gossip
maybe minus hearing it
unless i hear it and
the ninety need to know everything all the time
and this summer i'll come over here and
other kinds of teachings with you because you need to know everything all the time
but the debbie you know just another example of of reality that won't be the same as the reality you know that we had here and it won't be different
but it may look different though in the title of the class is different
the words will be different
but they won't be different and they won't be the same
but when they're different it's it can be difficult
when they're the same can be difficult
but then we have to somehow not fall for that that sameness and difference
and yet not reject the appearance of boy this really sound different he's he's talking different than he did the other day
or how boring is talking the same
so it looks like that sometimes like this is the same old thing
or know what is different this isn't i want the same old thing
i want the same old person
i don't want the same old person well
yes you have a gift thank you
same as
why you were walking past winter winds down
it was carrying
yes it struck me that
the recorders is the new stuff

i was also curious because you started your journey from the south
well that
somebody else

everything on the ah and i'm just curious that been sitting here
and i quickly dried up on the difference about them but i drink your thoughts about this new staff and now that we can listen to these teachings virtually without the this
maybe someday listen to go on areas without being in the room so
if distracts me as if there's something about intimacy in this tradition is based on
and now the interaction is should be
to that staff
somewhat the worse from the three our city
i can be sitting at the beach
this time
you see
is he challenges in this new in this deeper or say reality
with this

see challenges
it isn't it isn't like these things appear and i didn't see challenges before
nic challenges and it's not like i didn't see challenges before releasing show up and or now i have a challenging know
these things are not interfering with the challenging
so the challenge goes on and now these are joining the challenging
these are these are joining the army of challenges
there's a cafe or is the past getting harder
i i don't think it's getting harder
i don't think it's getting harder
and i don't get the pass in the same as it used to be or different so i don't think it's hard to really i think it's always been hard and it's going to continue to be hard for quite a long time as far as i can tell because there's so many beings
and beings are like they're using this equipment and pretty soon i hear that these this equipment's gonna be installed into the flesh
you're talking about pudding microchips into butterflies so that they can spy
so they can they can pipe they can pilot the butterflies to places and then look through the butterfly to see various have a butterfly go into some
some places you can get him to go in and that look around bring and see what's going on there
in some people think that's that wish you know we shouldn't be doing it to butterflies without their permission
but some humans are actually be willing to have chipped putting their head tilting
couldn't you know play better chess or whatever
so that's challenging
so people with or without chips in their body or in their hands are challenging people with this equipment are challenging yes
yes challenge challenge challenge and but i don't necessarily feel it more
and i don't feel less
misty is

i don't so much think that the intimacy is affected i think that the things that are intimate are changing
so now we have to be intimate with with a whole with a whole new
what we got a whole lot this snow you know that's piled the silver bowl it's fresh know
so it's fresh know this is this is this is fresh snow
kind of diverse school is fresh snow in a silver bowl is system is the sports or with the question that led to that
was it
what it was is the t is it is the meaning of the ancestors and the meaning of the teaching the same or different now that was the ducks oh what what is our tradition yeah in our tradition as intimacy what is the intimacy of our tradition
how is hot how we how are you representing is tradition how's your intimacy with people thousand years ago how is that it's like putting what's happening now
working with happening now and seeing that what's happening now is kind of like snow and a silver ball
snow and a super bowl or kind of similar
the but they're not the same and then not really different
so i think intimacy is reality
intimacy is reality or intimacy is that what's what we got to work with now is what we got to work with now and the only way we're going to realize realities by working with this
and there is an intimacy which we can realize and by realizing the intimacy
between this and all of reality it's always the same
the staff is changing all the time and she said now it's
electronic stuff
so i need different types of attendants to carry this stat
from the ones who carry this stuff
some of the attendance think that i'm you know expect that i'm gonna be like a galloping horse but really what they get his olympic turtle
the important thing is that i have somebody to work with
and i do see i've got this which means i've got you
and you've got me
and it's difficult
we have each other
let's see
what i think of intimacy
you think of warmth
you don't
what about today i went swimming in the pacific ocean
i was
i got i went to brimming in the pacific ocean at mere beach
the i haven't this the time i've gone swimming this year so i'm kind of out of shape me in the ocean are kind of like haven't been we haven't been intimate recently so i went in and it was kind of gold and then just got kind of like even colder so i moved away from the super cold back
to the other cold and i just i stayed you know it was a little colder closer to the beach than out in our window did anybody see the ocean today is very like very windy so it was really cold
but i was intimate with that stuff so the intimacy is warm yeah but it's sometimes warm with something called
so yeah intimacy you could say is warm i have no problem with that and then can you be warm with the cold
that what they do yeah and they've got all kinds of advantages over us they've got that oil all over them to insulate them and they got fat you eat a duck they got a lot of flash around everything and they have this hide behind these high tech gloves on their feet
it's the best of is really high tech thermal covering
they can stand you know anyway
chickens also chickens have really good gloves on to
yeah they're also being intimate with a cold but the way that they want to negotiate is by being up in the tree
it is the duck better than the chicken
but although ducks are definitely better than chickens ducks are not the same or different from chickens
i'm just kidding
about everything
how would you like us to use
how would i like you to use them

i don't know how i'd like you to use them i mean i would like you to use them for the welfare of all beings
but it might be best if
if they were not available to you know for anybody to listen to but just you know spread the word that they're that they're they're going to be used for the welfare of all beings you can you can say that that won't be it
they'll be you say rather than it being recorded
so if anybody has any suggestions
to this very kind person but how to use these tapes
do you welcome them
he welcomes your suggestions
any other gifts tonight

which story you talking about there was a cold for tonight

what what it was the third food
whether the age of thirty ancestry
then it wasn't a question the question was what is the meaning of
the mind of the great sage of india is intimately transmitted from west to east what's the meaning of that that was the question
that was one of the questions and the answer was the teacher said the teacher says are you did your asked him back are you quoting such and such and amongst no i'm not quoting that i'm quoting this other thing
so the monk asked him the meeting in the teacher asked the monk
you know what was the source of his quote was
and monks said know you got wrong teacher teaches at all sorry i'm getting a little weak and see now
i'm becoming a doctored
can a daughter be
can a male or female daughter be a zen master
can a daughter be a buddha
some people are nodding and nobody's going definitely know i can see
in berkeley you wouldn't dare

i told you the story right about the famous zen master that i went to visit right eye towards that story tonight
remember that story
he had a very old one
and you know when i looked at him drooling i
i really profoundly wondered what is a zen master like with suzuki roshi eight
i didn't he didn't wonder that much i just thought well this is cool this is a cause and master if this would a zen master is fine
but which is find the way he was a zen teacher was like kind of okay with me and it was okay with most other people too
but i noticed that a few people had a little difficulty with them
but i had like zero and i said to him one time
how can my you know how can i only problems am i missing something he said you will
but then he die

yeah i've had a problem with that for thirty nine years
and that problem is my colon
and yours
michael on you're gone
brahms i have with him dying you have
with him die you can't get away from it anymore than i can
we can't get away from each other's problems and my bomb is not the same as your problem
right and it's not different either
and some of you could think noise the same way as i the same problems which only thing i have different it's okay to think that just don't
fall for that thought
be so kind of that thought that you're liberated from it
i would like to be so kind of the thought that i'm not you that i'm different from you that i'm liberated from that thought i wish to be liberated from the thought that i'm different from you
and i'm the same issue
he said
can i say what you just said because know people bent backward couldn't hear your current bridger
is this kindness
is this kindness a way of practicing equality practicing

yes the practice of ancestors is to harmonize sameness and difference
by not grasping either and not you know not grasping means don't
don't grasp them as true or false just take care of both
that's the practice of the ancestors
that's the mind of the great sage of india
is that way of being
and i seem to be able to remember that
if you hang out with me longer you may notice i forget won't that be something
so you can remind me
you can remind me what the scriptures say when i forget them
please learn them so you can remind me

ha ha
oh yeah don't wait until i'm dead to become
start now
and i don't want to wait to you're dead
before i start being kind to you
thank you very much
eileen gonna give you a report