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Where Do I Start?

Where Do I Start? Transcribed

Okay, so we’re doing live Dharma talks.
So is there any insights, revelations, challenges, frustrations since the last time I’ve seen you guys?
Come on – I know all of the above?
Yeah go ahead? Let’s do it.
Student: I just want to know where to start?
Zen Master E: You already did – you already started.
Student: Okay.
Zen Master E: But – clarify. What do you mean? Why do you feel like you haven’t started? And What is it starting mean to you? Yeah.
Student: I guess – what does starting mean? I think I have a thing in my mind of what it looks like and I’m not like doing that.
I’m like not good.
Zen Master E: You’re a terrible person. You’re a terrible practitioner. A terrible human being.
Well, you gotta let that shit go. You carried that all the way here. You okay?
Student: Yeah
Students husband: We drove
Zen Master E: You drove? Of course – that was heavy (to carry that burden) the car must have been leaning.
What does it look like for you?
Student tries to answer: Ummmm…
No! From your heart. Not from your head.
What does practice mean for you? Right? You need to clarify that because I mean, like, you feel like you want to sit more?
Student: Yeah.
Zen Master E: Okay. So do it. But what does that look like then? Right. Is it a morning sit? An afternoon sit? An evening sit?
You’re busy lady.
Student: Yeah, I’m like bogged down by all of that. Yeah. And then I just don’t do it.
Zen Master E: Oh, that’s, that’s terrible. You’re a terrible person.
But this is our story. All of our story, right?
Yeah. Raise your hands if this is your story. (All the people there emphatically raised their hands)
Right? And I’m not hard enough. Not long enough. Not frequent enough. Everything. Right?
So we have to see. And that’s why for us in our tradition, we use multiple…
Okay, so couple things. Okay.
You know, that fundamental presence that you guys experienced in meditation right there?
Students: Yeah
Zen Master E: That’s your fundamental natural state – available to you at all times.
Doesn’t matter.
You’re running, sleeping, having sex, everything.
It’s always there, permeates and penetrates everything.
No matter what you do – sinner or saint.
It doesn’t matter.
It’s always there. Right?
We believe that it’s not.
These practices do not generate awakening, enlightenment, whatever you want to call it. actualize Buddha. No. They remove all the obscurations, so that you can see what’s naturally present.
So that natural presence is your natural state,
Always available to you.
Right now it’s listening to me. It’s seeing me, You don’t have to do – sinner or saint it doesn’t matter.
It’s always there.
We believe that it’s not.
These practices DO NOT generate awakening, enlightenment, whatever you want to call it – actualized Buddha.
No.
They remove all the obscurations so you can see what’s naturally present.
So that natural presence is your natural state.
Always available to us.
Now it’s listening to me. It’s seeing me.
You don’t have to do anything right now for all of this to arise for you.
In moments throughout the day – we call it snap back right?
Notice it aright?
And it’s good, when you’re having an emotional charge, the moment that you notice that you’re off your throne, getting whipped around by karma, by emotions, whatever it is, that noticing, who is it that’s noticing?
Who’s that?
Hmm…
So cool, just snap back into that presence, into that spaciousness.
The energy and the patterns and whatever is still going to be rolling through the body – but boom there it is.
(Zen Master E gives other upaya for those who are having trouble with the Resting in the Radiance)
Even the single breath, the breath is the medicine. Right? The breath is with you everywhere. Right?
This body, Right?
Come back to the breath.
We have to let go of our fixed concepts of what practice is.
In the Zen tradition we say there’s multiple gates.
Are you a meditation gate?
Chanting gate?
Bowing gate?
What’s your gate?
Maybe in one day, you’ve gone in and out of 62 different gates.
Who cares?
For us – so a lot of things right – so we have a lot of (upaya) skillful means at our disposal. Right? And we are all lay practitioners. All very busy. Right?
So we need – we have different medicines for different environments, Right? Yeah.
When I’m in the car, I play the mantras. I play Mantra practice all the time, Right?
Sometimes I give myself a target, Right? I want to do X for – say we’re doing a teaching – when we’re in a series, right?
Because we’re going to do OM MANI PADME HUM.
So for us – to bring that power and blessings I did 100,000 of those for us. Right. So that when you guys get the empowerment for OM Mani Padme Hum, you get the power.
BOOM!
I did that for you guys. Right?
Boom, they get a kickstart, you know to get you going. Right. Yeah. Again, right.
You have to get clear, right?
Clear motivation (Bodhicitta) right.
Your practice right now is just for you.
This is part of the problem, too. Right?
When it’s just for us, then it’s easy for us to call in sick.
Right? Yeah, You know, this as a mom.
I never realized how much power this body has until I hadn’t slept for four days and the kid cried in the middle of the night and next thing I know, I’m up – I’m not fully awake, but I’m there.
Talks in sweet voice – “Hey there – it’s OK. You want the bottle? (Knocks the bottle to the floor) You don’t want the bottle. OK – I’ll pick that up later.”
It’s amazing, right?
As parents, we need to see that too. Right?
You already have it innate within you. Right?
When “the practice” is just for us then – no.
When my practice switched to like, “Yeah – why can’t we all be free?” and “I’m going to, I’m going to do it! I’m going to awaken and then I’m going to awaken all of us.”
My life, in that moment, was no longer my own.
I made a promise right then and there, I’d taken the Bodhisattva Vow a couple times by that time – didn’t matter – that’s when I really took the Bodhisattva Vow – it was four or five in the morning in the middle of a grocery store I was working nights. Right? No more of this (a life of pleasure and selfishness) As I was getting clearer and clearer and clearer on the true purpose of my life. And it hit me – at that time was delirious, exhausted. I was listening to a Dharma podcast at that time period.
I had already been steering my life that way. Steering I knew it – or getting back on track to that.
Because at a certain point, I started to believe in the “should’s”
Terrible. That guy’s terrible. This guy’s way better.
So – my practice was already pretty good. Right? Because I’m, I’m a meditator. Right? But then it just like, (makes explosion sound).
Then it’s no longer my practice.
Why do I do this?
For you.
He’s hurting… (points to one of the students) And – of course I need to do this now.
There’s no question.
So when we move it out of us, for the benefit of all beings.
Why do I do that? Why do I wake up at five in the morning to do this?
Go upstairs, start the coffee and go over and you guys saw my the altar right?
I start, I start every day I offer incense to the Buddha, to my personal teacher on the physical realm (Zen Master Hwasun Yangil) Padmasambhava on the Sambhogakaya, the energy realm let’s say, then the Dharmakaya, well, and the lineage – you see that little blue book that’s the lineage book. So my name’s in there and I’m part of that lineage and I thank all of those people for all that they’ve done for us, because they’ve done tons. Sacrificed way more than I can ever imagine. To make sure the Dharma got to us here. I thank those people. I thank the fundamental nature of mind, Right?
I pray for you guys.
I do prostrations.
I ask for things, right. Blessings, wisdom, compassion, whatever the thing is for that day, usually it’s a certain things, I thank and I accept.
By that time coffee’s done.
Then I go fill up the coffee’s for me and Andy. And then by that time period she’s usually finishing the shower. And I know I have a little coffee cup for her. I bring the coffee cup downstairs for her. That’s how she likes it. There you go. And then I get in the shower.
I don’t have time to sit in the morning.
And I don’t beat myself up for that. I’ve adapted my practice. Right?
Then I hop in the car and mantras come on. I do the mantras, whatever the mantra is for that time period or whatever I’m working on or teaching that we’re going to come to right?
Oh, then I get to work.
At work I got a mobile practice.
What’s my mobile practice? ATHA – I chew on the Koan – Alllllll day long.
When I’m not engaged as Ian manager guy, people need me, I need to do stuff, I’m chewing on the Koan.
There’s that.
Then again, my job is my temple too, you need to start to look at this too. I was telling the kids this this weekend. I was like guys, we need to – the house is the temple.
When you’re at the temple – because they’ve been coming to temple with me more and more now because they’re older. Thursdays I go and I train with my teacher. But then every so often I go for the big ceremonies when my teacher wants me there. So “hey guys”, when they’re with me, I bring them with me.
And so yeah, so when we’re at Temple it’s so easy, right? When you guys go to clean this (points to the tea set), you don’t even think about it you just do it. Right? But when you go to clean the dishes at home, “Oh my god – the dishes – why doesn’t anybody ever help me with the dishes?” Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah dishes story. Story. Whoa is me, Right?
Notice. Listen to that. You just created suffering world for yourself.
(Make poof sound like a magician creating something)
It just arose.
Shut up.
Do the dishes.Because the dishes are the practice then right? And then Okay, no problem. So then I got a stereo in the kitchen now and I played the mantras and I got the whole family into the mantras now.
But if it’s just me I just feel and see the soap and the bubbles and everything. There’s no “Ian” doing the dishes there’s dishes getting done. There’s no “Ian” “doing” “the” “dishes”. There’s just the dishes getting done. I’m just watching it all happen. Look at this.
You walked from the car into the place – how many steps did you take?
How many steps go up and down your house?
Right. It’s interesting, right?
Do you remember putting on your shoes this morning?
Interesting, Right?
Our whole life is the practice – if we drop what we believe the practice is.
Everything is the practice.
Everything that you’re doing is the practice. Every conversation that you have is the practice, right?
I like it within the Christian tradition where Jesus is like, “Hey, yeah, yeah yeah you love me? That’s great. But now see everybody like me.”
Can you do that? Can you see the Buddha in everybody?
They showing up – they’re being a jerk to you, that’s the Buddha, “Oh yeah you said earlier that you want to be more compassionate and patient eh?”
Baka Baka Baka Baka (person being annoying)
Thank you Buddha.
Right.
That’s the Buddha just showing up there. You think it’s Henry or whoever but no – the Buddha went into that person and made that guy a puppet for you to show you.
So drop what you think it is – drop this pressure that you have on yourself.
Yeah, man.
Even to just distill it simply that’s why I love Maitreya’s practice. Maitreya, the coming Buddha, they say that he did one practice to awaken – loving kindness.
He was just loving and kind to everybody, everything and himself.
Maybe that’s your practice.
Because it looks like you need some love and kindness for yourself.
Too hard for yourself. Okay?
(student starts to cry)
Good. It’s good.
Feel that hurt.
That’s the thing, right? We’re messy practitioners. Okay. Life is messy. And we love the shit out of it. That’s what we do. We just love. And we see and we know, “Oh god why are you holding this? Stop holding it. Give me it. Put it here, I can carry it. Okay?
That’s why in the Buddhist tradition, we remember refuge, right?
I can’t hold it – I give it to Buddha.
I give it to my teachers I give it to the lineage, I can’t hold – this little tiny (holds heart), trying to hold all the sorrow of the world in this little heart.
I can’t do that. I need to increase my capacity and the only way I can do that is to surrender myself. Completely.
That’s The beautiful thing about the Christian tradition – give it up.
The hell man.
Why are you holding all this stuff?
Just let it go.
Just release it. Right?
Because if not, look at all those hell worlds that you created for yourself.
That’s why in the Zen tradition they just point right back at your mind. Right?
Just look, you’re creating all these different realms.
The human realm is the best. It’s the sweet spot. Because it’s the Goldilocks. You’re not like a god. Right? But we see even see it right? People with money and money and money.
They can just build a giant moats right around themselves and they never even need to know that the world exists. Right.
But that can only last so long.
‘Till the money runs out. Fortune favor and then next thing you know, one moment it’s here, one moment it’s gone.
The practice is important.
But we have to lose what we believe “the practice” is.
You’ll see different different people “No this is the practice. This is the practice. And this is the practice.”
Here, how many practices have given us already tons, right? Even just in this talk right here. There’s tons, you just ride one of those to the end. Right. And that’s the thing, right? We pick this up and you pick this up.
You resonate with something, some sort of practice – just pour yourself into it.
The best practice, is to Rest in the Radiance. That’s the best. But sometimes it’s hard. Because it’s so simple. That can’t it – Come on Ian. That can’t be it.
Okay, All right, then do some mantras and do that thing. Alright alright – I’m tricking you, you know,
Resting in that presence in the radiance – that’s the practice because that’s the great remembering.
When we’re in that space, like the word I used, familiar, used to it, such that when life comes crashing at you, “Oh look at that! It’s like watching a picture show.”
Sometimes even still, the body will have reactions, “Wow – look at that – that’s interesting.”
Just to be staying on the throne, Right?
So this – when we’re in this posture, whatever the comfy, stable posture is, what we’re doing isn’t meditation.
It’s actualizing your Buddha nature. Period.
So until we get familiar completely, then yeah, we do these other things, too.
But we have to see we are so busy, right? We have to remember we’re lay practitioners, Right? We we have jobs, kids, bills, commitments, all this stuff.
Right?
So we need an adaptive and fluid practice. Right?
The fundamental is the great remembering.
Always there ever present.
Nothing you can do can make it any better, or any worse. Yeah.
Sometimes we got to work the energy through.
Prostrations are great for that. Anybody done prostrations work? You’ve done it some? Little bit.
Prostrations right where you do bowing.
Yeah. And full right out. Oh, you haven’t done the full one. Yeah.
It’s really good. Right?
Like, if you feel like you have a lot of kinetic or a lot of emotion, or a lot of things trapped in here that you’re working through?
Do some full on bows, man, you’re going work that stuff out. Yeah, give it over. Right?
If it’s not the Buddha, then give it to wisdom, to compassion, to the universe, whatever the word is, put whatever you want in there, I don’t care.
Give it up, give it away. It’s too much for you to hold on to.
It’s obvious. It’s too much – our limited capacity.
Just adapt, adapt, tweak, tweak your practice. And if it’s no longer, You know, it’s no longer the mantra work, then it’s no longer the mantra then.
Thank you mantra.
We just move on.
Yeah. Well, that’s a good thing about our tradition is that we’re not fixed.
Right? It’s not a fixed form. We have a messy form.
Why though?
Because we trust the innate Buddha Nature in each and every one of us.
This is the trick.
I trust the innate wisdom within you. Right?
When you show up here, that’s all I keep magnetizing out of you. That’s it.
Right.
You come – bring problems, whatever I don’t care about those.
Yeah, you think – problems are infinite. Just when you think one finishes another, and another and then another, another another.
OK. So the problem is not the problem. Right?
The problem is, you can’t see your own potential.
I can see it.
That’s why I cry for you guys.
I pray for you guys.
I beseech all the Buddha’s, my teachers, the lineage and the fundamental nature of mind itself.
“Please watch over them, care for them, guide them. Help them swiftly and easily awaken.
This is a big thing lately: Give up the hard lessons.
Stop asking for it to be hard.
Just smooth. Easy.
“Please bring me the support, the guidance and the wisdom that I need. The grace and the understanding the patience. Thank you.”
It’s one thing to ask. But we have to thank, Right? You need to own that stuff. Right? You’re gonna suck at it. Yeah, come on.
Come on, you’re not that good. Come on, right.
Just be real man. This is the this is the other thing with our practice, Right? Like people, some people that are caught in, like, what the practice looks like, are going to have trouble with our group and our style and everything like this. Right?
We fundamentally believe in the fundamental good in each and every one of us.
Sometimes it’s really hard to see. Right?
But we, we see it in them. Which means guess what? We see it in ourselves.
So we keep trusting it, seeing it.
When we come here we get more and more familiar.
Confident is good word in it, Right?
Doubt is the mind killer, is the heart killer really, as the awakening killer, Right?
And the teacher, the teachers, biggest job is to give you confidence again, in yourself and the fundamental goodness of each person.
Right? We were talking about this last week, where where did the Buddha come from?
What is the fundamental ground of Buddha’s?
Sentient beings.
Where do they come from?
Everyone you’re looking at is Buddha’s.
That’s why in one of the pieces that I wrote down as “It’s so funny to see Buddha’s looking for Buddha’s.”
This is crazy.
This is nuts.
And when we’re resting in the radiance, when we’re deep within that practice, when we continue to soften, letting go right in that state – come on – are you gonna do anything, anything bad? You gonna hurt anybody? You gonna say any crazy shit that’s gonna wound somebody deeply? No!
So that’s why we just get familiar here.
Here.
At the seat of Buddhahood, which is your Buddha hood, Right?
The fundamental nature is the same for each and every one of us. Right?
When we go on a retreat, I’m probably going to try to do an experiment where when we’re in the meditate, we’re gonna describe the meditation.
And you’ll see, we’ll write it down somewhere and I’ll be like, “You just described Buddha.”
You think you’re not. It’s crazy.
But when Buddha gets off this chair to go out into the world – Protibha Buddha, Sally Buddha, Mary Buddha, Christina Buddha, Greg Buddha.
So then the practice is to be authentically and fully you. To allow the Buddha juice to flow through you. As you. Is you.
I don’t have your life.
So just live your life for me.
Fully, freely. Right? And that’s what the teacher wants for you to be open and free and to laugh and to love again to dance as well.
To dance again.
Mary posted a videos and she was dancing in the middle of the house.
Just to be free to be freely ourselves. Oh my god. What is that like?
Right? That’s the thing with my kids, man. I just keep telling them, “This is your dad guys. I’m gonna pretend to be somebody else.”
A dad.
Like they screwed up the other day somethin bad amd I was like, “Hey! Okay. I don’t want to be that guy. So this is practice time. And I said, in the world, people are going to lose their minds if you did this to them. Right? Because they didn’t come home.So I had to go out and find them. Right. I said you had one job – you made a promise to me. This is practice, Okay. This is Practice. There was no remorse? None nothing. I said why are you guys beings asshole right now. Come on, lead with your heart. You feelin bad? Yea we’re feeling bad. Then why didn’t you just lead with that? I said, this is practice for the “real world”. Because you come up showing up like that and the “real world” is going to hack you down. Because the real world is suffering. They’re gonna want to get vengeance on you because you’ve spurned them and you’ve done them wrong, whatever the story is, right? And they got to dominate you with power. So I was like this is practice you guys. Okay. Alright? So we just lead with our heart next time okay? You screwed up. We’re all gonna screw up. I was like Daddy screws up all the time. Let’s just be authentic. Natural.”
What does that look like?
Vulnerable.
We think we need to be something else.
Drop it. Just put it down.
So much better.
Student: So much better.
Put it down.
Because once you do that, then you’re free.
You can see again, hear again, feel again.
Everything just flowing free.
And this is the practice too right?
Because everything is locked. In certain traditions they say like the biggest thing that happens is there’s like this giant heart knot and we just keep unraveling it.
Unraveling it.
And then again, there’s like a big BOOM but then there’s still – just when you think it’s over.
Holy jeez.
Because you don’t even know how much you’ve stuffed down deep in there. This life, let alone whatever else you brought into this life.
So just give up the ghost man. You know?
Put it all down.
What you think the practice is supposed to be. What you think awakening is supposed to be. Right? What you think all of it is supposed to be.
What you think being a mom, being a dad is supposed to be like, Just keep showing up and be naturally you.
That’s the practice.
Right?
That’s the practice.
That’s why I gave you that name (taps one of the students whose Dharma name starts with Sahaja which means natural)
Because once that clicks – oh my god!
(Makes the sound of being in awe)
It’s the whole universe. Right there.
Everything makes so much sense.
It’s just easy then.
Because it’s always been.
But we believe we’re a sentient being.
And we bear down on it.
To open it up. To keep keep unfolding it. And just when you think – there’s more and more and more.
People don’t even understand
It’s crazy.
It’s nuts.
And honestly it just gets easier.
We mess it up man.
It’s so crazy, right?
We mess it up.
But like the fundamental practice is just look at yourself.
Just look.
Look at what you’re creating for yourself.
You’re getting angry, you’re creating anger world.
Sad, sad, world.
Frustrated, frustration world.
When rest in the radiance then you create Buddha world all around you.
At first it’s just tiny and small. Just keep it right here (close to your chest).
Keep it safe.
Create Buddha world for yourself.
I remember one time I was carrying something, I was being stupid and carrying something in my heart, oh my god, it was crazy. I called the Buddha, right? Just call – whatever – you guys maybe resonate with Jesus, maybe more than than Buddha – call Jesus, man. Who cares? So he comes down (the Buddha) and (now Ian demonstrates – the Buddha looked lovingly at Ian – tapped him on the chest and said, “Give this to me.” and the Buddha just went off into the sun and then Ian just describes being free of it and crying with release)
It was amazing.
Why am I holding this?
I don’t know what to do with this.
Why do I keep thinking I know what to do with this.
No. You don’t. You don’t.
That’s why we go for refuge. Right? You guys took the precepts.
You don’t understand the power of refuge.
Give it up. Just give it up.
Go to the Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha.
Remember we give our squishy and tender hearts over.
Give it to the teacher.
that’s it. Give it up.
You don’t know how to take care of it.
Not yet.
So give it to somebody that knows.
Because when you get it back, you’re gonna be like, “That’s how it works???”
Wow.
It’s all spit shined and tuned up.
Yeah.
You don’t even know.
So what was the question?
But it started practice something.
So out of all of that, blah blah blah – whatever stuck for you. Okay.
But maybe it’s loving kindness.
Maybe that’s the practice.
Just to be loving and kind.
You don’t need to be formal about it. May I be loving and kind to myself. May be loving and kind to this moment, to this person, the situation.
What does that even look like?
Imagine the world just doing that (loving-kindness) not even a full blown awakening.
But supposedly that’s what Maitreya did, he just poured himself into that practice.
Poof! Awwwwww (like a choir of angels)
Just took it all the way to the end.
Just find the Dharma gate that you go through and then it opens up, right?
I didn’t know I’d be so devotional like we talked about until like, until I met my teacher and had my breakthroughs.
Now I’m just a fuckinig gusher like Oh, my God. Life is so! Thank you soooooo much!!!
Mary’s a Bhakti type (devotional).
Reverence and love and all “Come on, guys. We can do this!”
They just keep loving the shit outta everybody.
But the difference is with wisdom and compassion and understanding and insight.
That’s the difference, right?
The hippies they had a pretty good, right.
Like, Almost there.
Almost.
What needs to be they need to mesh together – wisdom and compassion – on the bedrock of stability,
But we’ve already seen the fundamental nature of your mind is immovable
Everything rises in it.
See the mirror like – you can see it right now right?
It’s almost like a mirror like. There’s a mirror. Right?
The mirror is unaffected by what arises within it.
That’s The pointing out instructions.
That fundamental nature is always there and always been there.
You can go run around the block – you look, it’s still the same thing. When you walk down the stairs is still the same thing.
Always there, you’re never separate from it. Okay.
As you become more and more familiar in that space, boundaries start to dissolve, and then you tell me what happens after that you’ve come to tell me. Okay?
Oh, looks like it worked.
What should we call this Dharma talk?
Student: Where dp I start?
Oh, yeah.
Where do I start?

Categories
Zen

Catching the Zen Bird

Catching the Zen Bird
So many people hear of the Zen Mind or Buddha Mind or Truth or Suchness or Enlightenment or the Great Way or the Absolute or the Unborn or the Fundamental Nature – there’s a million different names for it – and they know they want it for themselves.
It’s like hearing of a magical mythical royal bird – like a phoenix.
And theres a story that whoever may catch it will be given great power and riches and the knowledge of the universe.
So we go off searching for it.
Hunting for it
Scheming for it
And maybe we catch sight of it flying high in a certain place
So we go there again and again
And we lay traps for it
Hoping to snatch it for ourselves
And in those traps
We catch all kinds of different birds
Brown birds blue birds red birds
Even a chicken
And we shew them all away
And we wait and wait and wait
Dreaming of the day we catch the phoenix. We fantasize about it. It consumes us.
Then one day we check on the trap and we discover a hurt little baby bird
Our heart breaks open a little bit and we are moved by it’s innocence it’s helplessness and a great remorse comes over us as we watch it struggle to breakfree of the pain that we ourselves have caused it from our own selfishness
And something in us moves us to help it
Then the momma bird comes and attacks us
And we take those attacks
We endure her piercing beak because we know she is only trying to protect her baby and maybe she’s feeling bad too that she couldn’t keep it safe
So we care for that baby bird
We nurture it
We help it
We feed it
We gently love it
We strengthen it
We watch it grow
This whole time we’re still thinking of the royal magical bird
But less and less
We just see the matter at hand and do our best
We start to really see and know that it was because of our own greed hatred and delusion that this little innocent bird has been hurt
We vow to change
To be different
To be better
The baby bird finally gets strong enough to walk and fly on it’s own and we rejoice we celebrate it we clap and dance
In this moment we forgot about ourselves
And finally we bring it back to it’s mother strong and alive
We apologize to the mother and say we will change or ways – we have changed already and promise to do even better
We bow to her and we wish them the best bird life possible
And we realize in that moment that we have forgotten about the royal bird
We’ve forgotten about our goal our dreams our wants
And when we look to the place where we used to lay our trap – right there fast asleep is what we have sought so long ago
The royal bird – the radiant phoenix in all it’s spledour and glory is just sleeping peacefully there
We experience great awe reverence and we stop right there in our tracks our breath caught in our chest
And we sit there in the grass not moving a few feet from the phoenix
Not wanting to disturb this moment and the beauty of it
And we watch with an open heart
And something has changed in us because we don’t chase after it we don’t grasp it at – if this is the closest we get to it then that’s fine – more than fine – it’s the most magical thing we’ve ever experienced
And every day we do this
We tiptoe quietly to the spot hoping not to disturb the royal bird and scare it away with our own blunderings and some days we do and some days we don’t
But we keep going back
And now something else changes
We hear the forest
We feel the breeze
We look around us and somehow start to see the magic of life again
We praise the tree
We dance with the wind
We feed the birds
And care for the land
And easeful joyous heart begins to arise in us
The simplest things become marvellous
How could you have never seen this before
Heard this before
Tasted this before
Smelt this before
Touched this before
You even see the beauty in the “dark” things
In the decay
In the struggle
In the pain of the process
And even in death
You begin to bear witness to it all
The miracle of it
You have a reverence for it
You see that you have a great privilege and rare chance here and you do everything you can to help it
And everything is smooth
Everything is easy
Mountains are no longer mountains
Streams no longer streams
Everything is the great way
Then one day you realize that you haven’t thought of the royal bird in a long time
And you go check in on it’s normal place and it’s not there
And you’re fine
And you sit
And the you that’s sitting disappears
Words cannot get to it
To say you are oneness is not correct
To say anything really is not correct
But everything is correct
All words are silence
All actions are non-actiom
All thoughts are non-thought
All and all
Everything is perfect just as it is
How foolish you were before
Now you’re the greatest of fools
It’s…
Just this
And that’s saying too much
The crickets chirping
The sun setting
The wind blowing
The water softly cresting on the shore
How can you truly describe the great way – to say anything is to miss the mark but to not say anything is to break your hearts vow to help all beings
And right then looking down there’s the discovery
Of the royal bird – the blazingly radiant phoenix sleeping in your lap and you’re not shocked or elated or anything really
It’s just this and nothing else
And though nothing’s been said you hear it’s wisdom nonetheless
And somehow you know that the royal bird, the great beautiful phoenix had been there the whole time
Guiding you
Loving you
Calling you
To awaken
It’s all the great phoenix
And you laugh and laugh
And the royal bird smiles
The crickets chirp
The sun sets
The wind blows
And the water softly crests on the shore
A rumble in your tummy
You getup and cook the rice
Clean the dishes
And sleep when you’re tired
You and the forest are not two – not one either

Mountains are mountains

Streams are streams

The great blazing phoenix soars through the vast open sky unhindered and completely free.
Zen Master e
Please read:
https://zenawakened.com/zen-pointing-out-instructions/
https://zenawakened.com/dont-know-mind/
https://zenawakened.com/mu/
https://zenawakened.com/the-great-light-of-illumination/
Artwork by Louis Dyer – www.louisdyer.com
The amazingly beautiful and transcendent artwork of the Golden Phoenix is by the gifted artist Louis Dyer.
Please checkout his work and support him in his visionary art.
https://www.digitalvisionaryart.co.uk/digital-painting-courses/

Categories
Zen

Just This Is It

Ancestor Dongshan Liangjie (807-869).
After some period of practice with Yunyan, just before departing to visit other teachers, Dongshan asked Yunyan,
“Later on, if I am asked to describe your reality, how should I respond?”
After a pause, Yunyan said, “Just this is it.”
Dongshan departed without further comment.
Later while wading across a stream, he looked down, saw his reflection, and awakened to the meaning of the previous exchange.
Comment by Master e
Where else are you going to find it?
Why are you searching for it anyways? How funny to see a Buddha looking for a Buddha.
Dongshan finally saw it in his own face. Right there in an instant.
Not thinking about it and there it was.

Categories
Podcasts

Better For Being Broken

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The poet teacher and lawyer John Shawn Doyle had this to say about Kintsukuroi,

“In Japan there is an art form called kintsukuroi which means “to repair with gold”. When a ceramic pot or bowl would break, the artisan would put the pieces together again using gold or silver lacquer to create something stronger, more beautiful then it was before. The breaking is not something to hide. It doesn’t mean that the ceramic bowl is ruined or without value because it is different than what was planned. Kintsukuroi is a way of living that embraces every flaw and imperfection. Every crack is part of the history of the object and it becomes more beautiful, precisely because it had been broken and people are the same way”

This is a poem about Kintsukuroi

“I’m like one of those Japanese bowls
That were made long ago
I have some cracks in me
They have been filled with gold

That’s what they used back then
When they had a bowl to mend
It did not hide the cracks
It made them shine instead

So now every old scar shows
From every time I broke
And anyone’s eyes can see
I’m not what I used to be

But in a collector’s mind
All of these jagged lines
Make me more beautiful
And worth a much higher price

I’m like one of those Japanese bowls
I was made long ago
I have some cracks you can see
See how they shine of gold.”

― Peter Mayer

A lot of times in our world, in our lives, we don’t believe that we’re better for being broken.

We believe that we are flawed beyond repair. We believe that if people would see the truth of who we are that they wouldn’t love us, talk to us, connect with us, care with us.

That the story of who we are – we need to filter and post only the best parts. Show the world only the most beautiful moments and those other parts that aren’t so beautiful we push down deep. We hide away and we repress and we think that they’re gone but they’re not. They are not. They are stuck deep within you. Deep within you.

Two weeks ago I had a person and I knew it, they had posted something that just seemed innocent but I knew something was wrong in their lives.

And I was like oh I need to call I need to call cuz everybody else might think everything’s ok but I know this was a cry for help.

And they ended up calling me which was a big thing cuz a lot of times if you’re calling me you’ve hit the bottom and you need somebody that can see you and hold you and be close.

And they – they knew something wasn’t right. There was something. They felt off and every so often when no one was looking the pain would seep through.

“But I’m fine Ian. I’m fine.”

I was like, “Oh dear, no you’re not. You’re not fine. You’re hurting. You’re in pain. The pain that you haven’t dealt with for ten years, that you’ve pushed away because you’ve been too busy, there wasn’t the right time or the right moment, the right situation to sit with it.

You’ve pushed it away because the world tells us that we need to be positive and keep a stiff upper lip and hold our heads high…

And that had helped her – got her to a certain point she was able to get stuff done.

There was a whole aspect that she had locked away, suppressed, pushed down deep – pushed down deep – because it wasn’t beautiful.

It was an ugly truth.

Pain.

To live in this world means many things
And one of those things is that we shall be wounded and we shall wound.
We will be hurt by others and we will hurt others
You will not get through this life without being scarred in some way and without scarring others.

Anybody heard Leonard Cohen? I’m not a big fan of Leonard Cohen but he has this one set of lines…

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There’s a crack a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

Ring the bells that still can ring that harkens to like, “Yeah – you’ve been hurt, you’ve been wounded, there’s some pain there but there’s still beauty and there’s still much more of this story ahead so ring the bells.”

Feel the vibrations
Hear the sounds

And if in that moment those sounds are full of sobs then that’s what they are. That’s what they are.

Just so happened I stumbled upon a TED talk recently by this psychologist Susan David she said

“Being positive has become a new form of moral correctness. In a survey I recently conducted with over 70,000 people I have found that a third of us – a third of us judge ourselves for having so-called “bad emotions” like sadness, anger, or even grief and actively try to push those feelings aside. We do this not only to ourselves but also to the people we love like our children. We may inadvertently shame them out of emotions seen as negative and jump to solutions and fail to help them to see these emotions as inherently valuable.”

The other day – I have kids a boy and a girl – my son he’s 10 and something was happening and he started to cry and then he realized he was crying and (he pushed down those feelings) and I was like, “Hey hey. No. Just let it flow man. These are feelings that you have inside that were triggered by this thing and we can’t just suppress them and push them down. We have to see them let them unfold and let them go.”

She says (Susan David)

“Normal natural emotions are now seen as good or bad but when we push aside normal emotions to embrace false positivity we lose our capacity to develop skills to deal with the world as it is not as we wish it to be.

I’ve
had hundreds of people tell me what they don’t want to feel. They say things like ‘I don’t want to try because I don’t want to feel disappointed.’ or ‘I just want this feeling to go away.” and I and she says and “ ‘I understand’ I say to them but you have dead people’s goals. Only dead people never get unwanted or inconvenienced by their feelings. Only dead people never get stressed, never get broken hearts, never experienced a disappointment that comes with failure. Tough emotions are part of our contract with life. You don’t you don’t get to have a meaningful life, a meaningful career, raise a family or leave the world a better place without stress and discomfort. Discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life.”

Remember back back back back – ten weeks ago – the four sufferings?

The Four Sufferings
Physical suffering
The suffering of unbearable things
The suffering of change
The great underlying suffering

So part of the Four Noble Truths right so usually they’ll say like the first noble truth is suffering but it’s actually this word called dukkha and dukkha has means a lot of different things right, physical suffering, stress, unease, disappointment. Lots of different things.

And some some traditions break it out into four different types

The Four Sufferings

Physical Suffering
this is the inescapable suffering that we experience because we are mortal beings with an impermanent body. In this category is the suffering of sickness, old age and death. This is the pain of stubbed toes, belly aches, and migraines. We go through life believing that it should be all rainbows and unicorns that this body should be doing what we want all of the time in a perfect optimal fashion. How dare it get a migraine. I don’t have time for a migraine.

The suffering of unbearable things
This is the suffering of having to put up with things we don’t like. Everyday situations like traffic, our boss, noisy neighbors and annoying people and of not getting what we want like that promotion, an ideal partner, or that new car.

The suffering of change
Even when life is totally awesome when everything is going our way we know deep down inside that this will not last forever. But even though we know this – that all external situations and conditions will change – no matter how blissful and perfect they are we try and control situations and people in order to keep things from changing and we expect everything to stay the same. But life is changing changing changing changing

The great underlying suffering
That is the great existential suffering. People have given words to it like, “There’s got to be something more to life than this?”

And it’s true – that that no matter how many trips we take, how much good food we eat or how ever much money we make none of this will ever truly make us feel fulfilled and satisfied. What we truly desire and longed for is within and as long as we’re not exploring, tapping into and expressing our spiritual potential we could become the ruler of the world but even this wouldn’t truly make us happy.

I call this , “Welcome to being human!”

You’re gonna have the body – it’s gonna fall apart right.
You’re gonna have a boss.
You’re gonna be stuck in traffic.
Things are gonna change all the time and you will question everything – including your existence here.

But we push all of that away cuz it’s uncomfortable. Right? It is uncomfortable – to talk about these things so we don’t. And we don’t know how to. We’re not equipped. It’s not something that comes up in everyday conversation.

Within the Vajrayana traditional Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche said this,

“To be a spiritual warrior one must have a broken heart. Without a broken heart and the sense of tenderness and vulnerability that is in oneself and all others your warriorship is untrustworthy.”

Yeah Kintsukuri – We don’t value the pain that we’ve been through. We don’t value the struggle. We want to push it away and that we believe that life is only good when it’s easy breezy beautiful. Pina coladas on the beach…

You have to see the beauty,,,

This is another poem – this is by Janine Sanderson…

Wrapped in my weakness
I found my truth strength
Wrapped in my perceived flaws
I found my greatest beauty
Wrapped in my fear
I found my unconquerable spirit
Wrapped in my foolish moments
I found great wisdom
Wrapped in my sorrow
I found the depth of my true joy

I have found some of my most valuable gifts
Wrapped in adversity

But we don’t believe that that pain, that terrible moment, that loss is a gift – that softens us, that connects us, that opens us up, helps us explore what it means to be who we are.

I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for all the terrible beautiful catastrophes of my life and now I’m in the ideal situation where I can share those and that because of all these terrible things I’m able to connect with so many different people and understand them, see them, feel them, be with them – because they are me, I am them.

Here’s another poem…

For this one here let’s go into a little bit of meditation…

I’m gonna get you to close your eyes – take a deep breath in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth – breathing in and breathing out

Breathe My Dear Breathe
(by zen master e)

Breathe my dear breathe
Hold that tender and broken heart close
Stop pushing away your pain
It’s actually a portal to your own potential
It may not seem like it now
When your heart feels like it’s been shattered into a million tiny pieces
And tears fill your eyes to blurring

But breathe my dear breathe
Hold that tender and broken heart close
You will be better for being broken
More beautiful from this burden you have bared
These wounds and they’re winding paths
Which seemingly have taken you far away from all that you love
Have actually brought you home

So breathe my dear breathe
Hold that tender and broken heart close
Because it’s the rarest of jewels
And soon you’ll reluctantly realize
That it’s preciousness and power
Can only be discovered
By opening up
Letting go
and giving it away
Again and again

So breathe my dear breathe

Take a deep breath in through the nose and breathe out through the mouth.

Kintsukuroi

The poet, teacher and lawyer John Sean Doyle had this to say about Kintsukuroi,

“In Japan there is an art form called kintsukuroi which means “to repair with gold”. When a ceramic pot or bowl would break, the artisan would put the pieces together again using gold or silver lacquer to create something stronger, more beautiful than it was before.

The breaking isn’t something to hide. It doesn’t mean that the ceramic bowl is ruined or without value because it’s different then what was planned.

Kintsukuroi is a way of living that embraces every flaw and imperfection. Every crack is part of the history of the object and it becomes more beautiful, precisely because it had been broken.

People are the same way.”

I’m Like One of Those Japanese Bowls

“I’m like one of those Japanese bowls
That were made long ago
I have some cracks in me
They have been filled with gold

That’s what they used back then
When they had a bowl to mend
It did not hide the cracks
It made them shine instead

So now every old scar shows
From every time I broke
And anyone’s eyes can see
I’m not what I used to be

But in a collector’s mind
All of these jagged lines
Make me more beautiful
And worth a much higher price

I’m like one of those Japanese bowls
I was made long ago
I have some cracks you can see
See how they shine of gold.
― Peter Mayer

To Live in This World

To live in this world means many things
And one of those things is that we shall be wounded
and we shall wound
We will be hurt by others
and we will hurt others
You will not get through this life without being scarred in some way
and without scarring others

Forget Your Perfect Offering
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
~ Leonard Cohen

The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage – Psychologist Susan David Ted Talk

Being positive has become a new form of moral correctness.

In a survey I recently conducted with over 70,000 people I found that a third of us, a third, either judge ourselves for having so-called bad emotions like sadness, anger or even grief or actively try to push aside these feelings.

We do this not only to ourselves but also to people we love like our children. We may inadvertently shame them out of emotions seen as negative jump to solutions and fail to help them to see these emotions as inherently valuable.

Normal, natural emotions are now seen as good or bad but when we push aside normal emotions to embrace false positivity we lose our capacity to develop skills to deal with the world as it is not as we wish it to be.

I’ve had hundreds of people tell me what they don’t want to feel. They say things like I don’t want to try because I don’t want to feel disappointed or I just want this feeling to go away

I understand I say to them

But you have dead people’s goals.

Only dead people never get unwanted or inconvenienced by their feelings.

Only dead people never get stressed never get broken hearts never experience the disappointment that comes with failure. Tough emotions are part of our contract with life. You don’t get to have a meaningful career or raise a family or leave the world a better place without stress and discomfort  Discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life.

“Write what you’re feeling. Write like no one is reading.”

To Be a Spiritual Warrior

To be a spiritual warrior,
one must have a broken heart;
without a broken heart
and the sense of tenderness and vulnerability
that is in one’s self and all others,
your warriorship is untrustworthy.
~ Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

The Gifts I Have Found

Wrapped in my weakness
I found my true strength.

Wrapped in my perceived flaws
I found my greatest beauty.

Wrapped in my fear
I found my unconquerable spirit.

Wrapped in my foolish moments
I found great wisdom.

Wrapped in my sorrow
I found the depth of my true joy.

I have found some of my most valuable gifts
Wrapped in adversity.
~ Jeannine Sanderson

Hold That Tender and Broken Heart Close by Ian Paul Marshall

Breathe my dear breathe
Hold that tender and broken heart close

Stop pushing away your pain
It’s actually a portal to your own potential
It may not seem like it now
When your heart feels like it’s been shattered into a million tiny pieces
And tears fill your eyes to blurring

Breathe my dear breathe
Hold that tender and broken heart close

You will be better for being broken
More beautiful from this burden you have beared
These wounds and their winding paths
Which seemingly have taken you far away from all that you love
Have actually brought you home

So breathe my dear breatheHold that tender and broken heart close

Because it’s the rarest of jewels
And soon you’ll reluctantly realize
That it’s preciousness and power can only be discovered
By opening up, letting go
And giving it away
Again and again

So breathe my dear breathe

Like the Video? Support the Work!
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(Dana) Giving: The practice of giving is universally recognized as one of the most basic human virtues, a quality that testifies to the depth of one’s humanity and one’s capacity for self-transcendence. In the teaching of the Buddha, too, the practice of giving claims a place of special eminence, one which singles it out as being in a sense the foundation and seed of spiritual development.

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Categories
Zen

Be Soft Like Water

[et_pb_section bb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.0.101″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.0.101″ use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”750″ background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” background_size=”initial”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_video admin_label=”Be Soft Like Water” _builder_version=”3.0.106″ src=”https://youtu.be/MDfc3JzBtls” image_src=”https://zenawakened.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/be-soft-like-water.png” /][et_pb_blurb _builder_version=”3.0.106″ title=”Be Soft Like Water Dharma Talk” url_new_window=”off” use_icon=”off” use_circle=”off” use_circle_border=”off” icon_placement=”top” use_icon_font_size=”off” background_layout=”light”]
Video of the Be Soft Like Water Dharma Talk
This is the second talk of the Awakened Heart Series and this talk looks at softening.
https://zenawakened.com/awakened-heart/
Be Soft Like Water
Nothing in the world
is as soft and yielding as water.
Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible,
nothing can surpass it.
The soft overcomes the hard;
the gentle overcomes the rigid.
Everyone knows this is true,
but few can put it into practice.
― Lao Tzu
Like the Video? Support the Work!
→ Click here to give
(Dana) Giving: The practice of giving is universally recognized as one of the most basic human virtues, a quality that testifies to the depth of one’s humanity and one’s capacity for self-transcendence. In the teaching of the Buddha, too, the practice of giving claims a place of special eminence, one which singles it out as being in a sense the foundation and seed of spiritual development.
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Categories
Zen

What is the Way?

Joshu asked Nansen, “What is the Way?”
“Ordinary mind is the Way,” Nansen replied.
“Shall I try to seek after it?” Joshu asked.
“If you try for it, you will become separated from it,” responded Nansen.
“How can I know the Way unless I try for it?” persisted Joshu.
Nansen said, “The Way is not a matter of knowing or not knowing. Knowing is delusion; not knowing is confusion. When you have really reached the true Way beyond doubt, you will find it as vast and boundless as space. How can it be talked about on the level of right and wrong?”
With those words, Joshu came to a sudden realization.