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So, I have a tape recorder here. I was recording last night, and someone noticed, maybe it was Till, and he said, well, can we get copies of the recording? And I said, yes, but, you know, I'm not, you know, I am not technologically savvy, and my student who is technologically savvy is now living at Tuscarora without a computer, and no telephone, and so she's not going to do it. So then Edith said that, oh, she had a recorder, and so now if we have an email list, and if you want copies of the things that are recorded, it sounds like she might be able to, you know, zap them to you, or whatever the idea is. So, tomorrow we can start, one day we can start an email list, which would be nice to have for various reasons, if you're willing to be on an email list. And then, you know, for instance, I may, once


again, I have three times now written up the Qigong instructions, and they keep disappearing. And also, one of my students has videotaped the Qigong, so maybe we can get her to put that on my website, and then they could let you know that, oh, that's there. So anyway, we'll do an email list. Okay. And I brought my little stick tonight. But this isn't really the one for hitting people. This is, it goes by different names. One of the names in Japanese is Nyoe. Nyoe is translated, the mind that reaches everywhere. So, for this reason, it's shaped like a backscratcher. Backscratching part. But other people say, no, no, no, that's


not the true meaning. You know, Zen and other spiritual practices started with mushrooms. And there's a mushroom which comes up, and then the head of the mushroom goes over like this. And the people who took those mushrooms, they're the ones who got the idea to have, you know, these religions. So, this is the symbol still for the mushroom, and it comes up and over. Simple. And some of the old style of these, they actually do look like they could be mushrooms, because instead of just a little curl here, there's a whole kind of flowery thing curling down from the top. So, there might be some truth to that, that this is actually a mushroom lineage. Which is, coincidentally, what I wanted to talk with you about tonight. I wasn't planning this, you know. I brought in a copy in English


of Dogen's Instructions to the Cook. And Rolf has explained to me that he has a copy of the Instructions to the Cook in German, after which, and may be able to make copies. And if you want a copy, and it's also in Uchiyama Roshi's book. There are two copies in the bookstore, which there's the Instructions to the Cook in German, and then Uchiyama Roshi's commentary about the Instructions to the Cook. But tonight, I thought I would read you a couple of the mushroom stories. So it's fitting that I have my mushroom stick. So, Zen Master Dogen, we've mentioned a number of times, lived in the 13th century. The 13th century was a pretty auspicious time, isn't it? Also like Saint Francis. Does anybody know? Anyway.


But I think like Rumi, I think that's 13th century. So, pretty auspicious time. And Dogen, another interesting point is that Dogen's forget exactly when. He was pretty young, a boy, five or seven years old, and his mother died. And the story is that at his mother's funeral, he watched the incense smoke. And it said that he had a profound sense of the transiency of life. And I think his, I can't remember exactly, about the age of nine, he went to live with


an uncle and his father may have died as well. And he had an education in Chinese classics and, you know, writing. And he lived, I think actually in one of the fairly royal situations, in somebody's little palace. And at a fairly young age, he decided to become a monk. And he became a Tendai monk and began practicing meditation. And then later he studied with a Zen master in Japan named Eisai. And Zen master Dogen seems to have been someone who had a very deep passion or interest in spiritual life. And he was the kind of young man who would


sometimes ask questions that the teachers couldn't answer. Some questions that the teachers can't answer, as far as that goes. And apparently one of the questions that Dogen had, which stayed with him, was, all of Buddhism teaches that we all have Buddha nature. Each person has Buddha nature. Why do we need to practice? If you know you already have divine nature, then what's the problem? Why don't we understand that? Why don't we see that or appreciate that or know that? Why do we need to do something in order to understand that or know that? It's a little bit like asking,


why do we have a whole life to figure things out? It takes as long as it takes. You know, if you knew the end of the story when you were 20, why go on living? You need to have something to keep studying as you grow older. Suzuki Roshi described Zen as mountain, range after range of mountains. So sometimes you are climbing up the mountain. It's long and arduous. You have a nice view for a little while. Then you go down the other side. And you're in a valley for a bit. And then you start up again. And our life is like this, with peaks and valleys. And we don't stay so long usually on level ground. That's a different story.


So maybe Dogen's question is as simple as, why do we have a whole lifetime to sort this out? But we don't know. And even in a murder mystery, if you find out who did it, the first part of the book, then you need to know how did they find that out? Or is it a mistake that they found out who did it? So you still need the whole book. Or if you knew the answer before the end of the book, then you don't read it. So we don't know what's going to happen to us. And each day we're finding out what will happen to us today. And as you know, some pretty, you know, all kinds of things happen. You know, just two weeks ago, I have a little studio outside my house where it's for zazen. And


then my ex, Patricia, asked, well, can I come back and do yoga classes at your house? It was so nice to do yoga classes there. So on Thursday mornings, Patricia comes in and has a yoga class for two hours or so. And two Thursdays ago, and then I go out and sweep the walkway. And I was out and then a woman came, Carolyn. Carolyn didn't look very good. And I said, hi, Carolyn, how are you? And she looks at me like she doesn't know what to say. How are you? You know, it's usually, you know, fine. How are you? And she was trying to decide, what do I say? And then she said,


do you know that little girl that was killed last week by the drunk driver in this town, not so far away in Nevada? That was my granddaughter. How sad is that, to have your granddaughter killed by a drunk driver? And she said, and my son, Aaron, is in the hospital. He's in very bad condition. And he's had a one leg amputated. And we haven't yet told him that he no longer has a daughter. Sometimes it's hard to know how to live through these things.


So, each day I offer some prayers for Aaron and his daughter, Grace, and my friend, Carolyn. I'm getting a little bit away from the mushroom store, so we'll get back there. But just to say a few words about my idea of prayer in Buddhism. Usually people, you know, understand prayer as, you know, you pray to someone or something. Hey, could you do me a favor? Usually the idea of prayer is you find somebody who's got more power than you do, who, if you ask him nicely enough or sincerely enough, this higher power will help you out. I've read two books. There's a man


named Larry Dossi, who's written some books about prayer and he's studied prayer quite a lot. He was a physician for many years. And he said one of the best kept secrets in Western science is that prayer works. And it's a secret because, well, you wouldn't want to rely on it. You'd still want to go see the doctor. And we don't want you thinking that prayer is better than our medicine and our drugs and everything. So, you shouldn't know about this. But prayer works. And he says the most powerful prayer in Christian terms is, Thy will be done. Not, I want, I don't want. It's Thy will be done. And that actually, you know, they've done studies. Like, they took


alfalfa seeds and cloned them. And they took a mold that grows on alfalfa plants and cloned it. And then they have alfalfa and mold, alfalfa and mold, alfalfa and mold, different batches. And one of them they don't pray anything for. And one of them they say, may the alfalfa grow big and tall and strong and robust. And overcome all mold. And that's what we want. And please, help us out here. That's what we're praying for. And the third one they pray, Thy will be done. That one grows the best. Isn't that interesting? Thy will be done is, grows the best, alfalfa. And the next best is the one that made this alfalfa grow tall and big and strong. And the one that nobody prays for one way or another, it grows okay, but less than the other two. So interesting. And in Buddhism, you know, so you could understand meditation as a kind of formless prayer.


You don't have to be thinking anything, but you're sitting, and your heart's intention, you know, is there happening. And you're allowing yourself to just be with everything, so to speak. And in Buddhism, you could say, instead of Thy will be done, you say, may the best results occur. Or you can say, I like to say homage to the perfection of wisdom, the lovely, the holy. The perfection of wisdom, you know, I would have to tell you a bit about, too. But it's in Sanskrit, or Japanese, they use a very similar pronunciation, prajna paramita, the wisdom that's gone beyond. And this is also, oh, in Japanese, it's hanya haramita, instead of prajna paramita, it's hanya haramita.


And, you know, there's a whole, there's sutras in 8,000 lines, in 25,000 lines, in 100,000 lines, talking about the perfection of wisdom. There's also a sutra that is 208 Chinese characters, which is then called the Heart Sutra, because it's the heart of the Perfect Wisdom Sutra. And then there's a mantra at the end, which is considered to be like the heart of the heart. And sometimes people then just chant the mantra. And this sutra, the Heart Sutra, is chanted every day in temples. So Zen people have often this strong affinity or feeling for the perfection of wisdom. So, in my own way, you know, I've been teaching you about the perfection of wisdom.


You know that there, by saying, you know, you don't need to follow a book, you follow your study, you follow your own body, your own being. So it's actually not very wise to follow a book and abandon your own capacity to find things out, to taste and to know for yourself, and to try to do what somebody else says is the way to do it, and the right way, and the best way. And why would you think to even do it any other way, and just do what I tell you and you'll be okay. This is not wise to abandon, you know, your own capacity. Do you understand? You give up. You say, well, I don't know. Tell me what to do. So finally, there's nothing that we can rely on. So in the Heart Sutra it says, a bodhisattva depends on prajnaparamita, depends on the perfection of wisdom. And the prajnaparamita is that, you know, the perfection of wisdom is that there's nothing to depend on.


There's nothing you can count on. Finally, what you can count on is showing up. I will show up. I'm going to show up here, and I will see what I can about, study what I can about what's going on here, and how to work with it. And I may not do this very well, but it's what I can do. It's the best I can do. Show up. Respond to what's happening. It's like theater improvisation. You say show up. Accept the offer. Somebody says something to you, accept it. Talk to them. Accept the offer. Start anywhere. Start where you are. Don't think you need to be an advanced person. Start where you are. Work on it. Show up. Accept the offer. Start where you are. Make some mistakes. Go for it. Take care of your friends. And instead of saying, you should this, and you shouldn't that, and what?


You're going to keep this whole list and be checking off which ones you're doing and which ones you aren't doing? And then pretty soon you're so busy with your list, you're not responding to anything. You don't even hear what people are saying. It's not on your list. So, the perfection of wisdom is another way of... And then when you say homage to the perfection of wisdom, the perfection of wisdom is personified as a deity. The lovely, the holy. She herself is a source of light. From all beings she removes the darkness of delusion. She brings light, so that all fear and distress may be forsaken. So, you know, we're not in charge, but we can show up.


And my friend Carolyn, a few days later, called. She said, I'm going to the hospital today. We're going to tell Aaron about his daughter. And there's, you know, the big illusion about our life. A mistake we make is, you know, in spite of everything, in spite of things like an accident like this, you know, we think, if I live the right way, I can avoid the painful and difficult things. If I have pain and difficulty in my life, I must have done something wrong. It's not true. We have pain and difficulty, we have joys, happiness, you know.


We have pleasure and pain. Homage to the perfection of wisdom. And, you know, to life being what it is. And there's nothing to say, you know, for me to say to Carolyn. I just, you know, all I can say is, Carolyn, that is so painful, isn't it? That's so sad. So deeply distressing. And she said, please pray. So, my prayer is homage to the perfection of wisdom.


And love me wholly. I'm not in charge, it's, you know. But I allow my energy to be part of the energy of, say, pastness. This is a little bit like saying, you know, which is also Buddha's teaching, you know, that the total number of minds in the universe is one. Nobody is, you know, Western idea is this stuff comes along, you know, an embryo, from this other stuff, and at some point this stuff comes along enough that it starts creating consciousness. Do you believe that? Nobody has ever shown how material could possibly create consciousness. Buddhist idea, and the Dalai Lama, you know, says that science is coming around to this,


and he keeps up on science, and he says, you know, consciousness first. Consciousness creates matter. Not matter creates consciousness. But anyway, you know, many scientists are now coming to understand that anybody's, any particular brain or mind, you know, is like a receiver and transmitter of a particular version of the one consciousness. So why wouldn't we share our consciousness with one consciousness? And it's a kind of trust. I trust in consciousness. The choice not to trust in consciousness is so painful. You know, if as you sit, and you begin to relax, and you begin to soften,


and you begin to be in touch with your own experience, and then you had to defend yourself against it, because you couldn't trust it, oh, it's so painful. So Buddhism, along with other traditions, you know, assures you that as you soften and relax and meditate, and begin to let go, and you breathe, and that you can trust what you find. Because the basis of our life is what in Buddhism is called Buddha nature. But, you know, in other words, divine. You know, one with creation. And we can trust that even, you know, our I never thought I'd say this sort of thing, but you know, even our difficulties and pains are, you know, part of it. And especially, of course, when you're little,


and that, you know, we all get wounded at the start, and then we spend the rest of our lives. That's our character, is our wounds, is our character. The word blessing is to sanctify with blood. You got wounded, you got bloodied, you came into life, sweet newborn, and you got bloodied. And now you have some character. It is your blessing and your curse. You know, and you have stuff to work on and work through, and you have some gifts and things to share and offer, and you do what you can, and we don't know the end of the story yet. We'll see where it happens. Ongoing. So, mushroom stories. So Zen Master Dogen went off to,


decided, finally, as a young man, he was about 20, I guess, he decided to go to China, where they were really practicing Zen, and get the real Zen, and bring it back to Japan. And he went to China for four years. You know, that's a big deal, in boat, across the China Sea. And he went with another of his teachers, students, Miao Zen, who then died in China. And Dogen studied with various people, and he met a Chinese Zen Master at one point, named Ru Jing, who became his teacher. And he studied at Ru Jing's monastery. And as far as that goes, the story is that, when they first met, Ru Jing said, you know, pleased to meet you.


And I see, you know, it's something like, I see how clear you are, and how you're, one of the expressions in Zen, body and mind has dropped off. You know, the fixed body and mind, that we hold on to. If it hasn't been. Anyway. And Dogen said, not so fast. I don't want you to recognize me so easily. So, and then Dogen joined his teacher's monastery. And after some number of months, or maybe even a couple of years, one night, and they would sit late at night. And the story is, the monks would doze. I mean, you know, three hours sleep, you doze a little bit. And his teacher, Ru Jing, would sometimes take off his slipper.


Apparently he didn't have a stick. He'd take off his slippers, and hit the monks. Wake up. Don't waste your time. I laugh because, you know, none of that stuff ever seemed to help me. You know, getting too little sleep. I don't know. But maybe it did. But just at the time it didn't seem like it was helping me. Anyway. And one night, the teacher was hitting the student next to Dogen, the monk next to Dogen. And hitting him and saying, Zen is dropping off your body and mind, letting your body and mind drop off. And something happened to Dogen, and he felt like his body and mind had dropped off. Something had dropped away. And he went to see his teacher, and his teacher acknowledged this.


And then, so he received recognition from his teacher. And then he came back from China to Japan. And one story is that somebody said, And what did you learn in China? And he said, I learned that the eyes are horizontal. The nose is vertical. But then he started teaching Zen in Japan, and eventually was now considered to be the founder of the Japanese Soto Zen School. And he started a monastery which is called Eheji, which is, Eheji was Dogen's first name. E-he-do-gen. And ji is the word for temple, so E-he-do-gen. E-he-temple. E-he's temple. E-he-ji. And it's in the mountains in Ejizen province. So it's close to the Japan,


the China Sea, Japan Sea, whatever that is. It's on the east coast of Japan, not right on the coast, but in the mountains from the coast, about an hour by train, and north of Osaka. And they have one of the most amazing things I've ever seen, which is the hallways are wood. It's a lot of snow there, so the hallways are all covered with roof. And then the hallways are about five foot wide, and the steps are pretty wide. And then they don't go down very much, but they're going up and down the hill. And every day now for you know, since 1240, or 1245, every day someone's taken a damp towel and wiped the wood. Do you understand?


A towel, wet, wring it out, and wipe for 800 years. And that wood is now like glass. You can pretty much see yourself reflected in the wood. And it's from, it's not because it's waxed, it's not because it's polished, it's hand, it's a hand moving over it each day with a damp towel. So it's so shiny, so shiny. You walk and things are reflected in it. It's astounding. And then, you know, from 800 years. Wow. And you know, the Western idea is let's do something to it so we don't have to relate to it.


Do you understand? Do you understand? Let me fix it so I don't have to pay any more attention to it. So, you're not going to pay attention to the floor? Let's just wax it. Let's verathane it. You know, in English. Paint it with plastic or shellac so that you don't have to relate to it. And then we don't have to pay any attention to it. So part of the Western idea is happiness is happiness is never having to pay attention to anything. Do you understand? And then there's advertisements like this. Where I live there's a digital telephone company, Comcast. Comcast says, you know, and they provide a telephone, television, and internet. Get all three


for $100 a month. And you know, watch what you want when you want to watch it. And then the hamburger is have it your way. Burger King or something, they say have it your way. We will make it the way you want. And, you know, if you go to the grocery store then you can have food. This is and the food, you know, says why should I buy you? You know, I look, I get in the grocery store sometimes and it's like there's walls and there's collars and it's, especially if you've been like in Tassajara for six months, meditating, facing the wall. You walk into these huge grocery stores and then


you look at a box, you know, you know, there was a big, you know, there was one of the original ones is Rice-A-Roni. Or, you know, macaroni and cheese comes in a box. Or you can have, you know, a meal frozen. And then you say, excuse me, but why would I buy you? And then the package says to you, I'm quick, I'm easy. You won't have to relate with me at all. And I'll be there just the way you want me to without you having to relate with me at all. Won't that be nice? And then because I'm there for you like that then you will be happy. This is how to be happy is you don't have to relate. I'm just there for you when you want me. Put me in the oven, I'll be there.


And, you know, isn't it an amazing world we live in? So, and then if you say, oh, I don't think I'm interested and then, you know, the package will say, what, you can't afford me? What kind of loser are you? What, are you thinking you're actually going to do something with your hands? Are you sure you belong in this store? You're so below class, aren't you? So, you know, we look down and I'm doing stuff with your hands and then this is all about relating. Can you actually relate to something? Food is about relating to something. So when you go to the produce department and then who are you? What are you doing here? Oh, you know,


well, we could hang out together and see what we'd like to do. Why don't you take me home? We'll see what happens, won't we? And then, but it's, you know, we could get to know each other and I have this idea like, well, before I put something in my mouth, I should get to know it first. That's one of the most intimate things you could do is put something in your mouth that would disappear inside you when you want to get to know it first. Where does it come from? How did you get here? Tell me about yourself. You know what I have? Anyway, so, and then, you know, you start getting ideas and then you're in the produce department and then, you know, the potatoes, you know, that are wrinkled across the way looks pretty nice. We could, you could make a salad with this and these things start occurring to you just in the company with these things, you know, with this, with the produce. It's a whole different experience


than all the packages. But anyway, food is, and cooking is actually relating with something. You bring your, you show up, you're present with something and who are you? What are you? Why are you here? What would you like to do with me? What can we do together? And, oh, it's time to stop talking. We may have to do the mushroom stories tomorrow. Alright, there's only going to be time for one mushroom story tonight. But, do you know, in America, and I don't know how bad it is here, but in 1985, when I was first starting cooking classes, there was an article in the Wall Street Journal that said less than 30% of American families were actually eating together. Do you understand? Families were not eating together. That's 30,


what is it, 20, 25 years ago. Less than 30 or 25% of American families were eating together. And what they said was typical was often each member of the family has a television in their own room. Somebody buys a bunch of products that are in the refrigerator or the cupboard that you can microwave or do during station breaks. People do not have to talk with each other even about what to watch on television because everybody has their own television. Why would you talk about what to watch? And now, people have their own computers and then they have their own Game Boys. So we don't need to talk with each other and everything just comes to you. Huh? Easy. You don't have to relate to anything. It should just show up. So it's a very strange world we're living in. And all the studies that they've done and now in America they've done in three or four huge university studies which show that families and families


that eat together that children grow up healthy. And they have friends. They do well in school. They get better grades. They have way fewer drug problems, way fewer alcohol problems. And they're pretty happy and healthy. And it's just the families that eat together. I do think by the way I don't I don't want to belabor this. It's just it's interesting things. I thought it was very


you know Schumann's the restaurant I mentioned to you in Munich. It's very interesting because sometimes you know restaurants become like you know home away from home. It's like family. And Schumann's is like that. The second night the second night that I was there we met one of Christina's old friends Eric. And Eric is also an old friend of Martin's and Doris's. And he said oh when you know when he was first starting out as a young man he used to go to Schumann's. And they let him sign for the meals. And I think he's in the movie business now like Doris and Martin. And he said that sometimes he would run up a bill of three or four thousand Deutschmarks. And and they but it's that we know one another


we trust each other we're a family. And then he told us a long story about how they there was a man who was very difficult and annoying to all kinds of people but he was a regular customer at Schumann's and when he ran out of money they went on feeding him for another year or two before he died. And they let him sleep there and had his shoes there and he could take a shower there. This is maybe the old Schumann's maybe it's a little different now. I think it's a different generation but anyway it's interesting that sometimes you know restaurants or things you know there's other places that become like family. Anyway one mushroom story. Interesting how mushroom stories can go in so many different directions isn't it? I thought I'd actually bring it in and read to you what Dogen says about this. During my stay


at Mount Tien Tong a priest named Yong from Qingyuan Prefecture held the position of Tenzo Head Cook. One day after the noon meal when I was walking along the eastern covered walkway to a sub-temple called Chao Ran Hut. He was in front of the Buddha Hall drying some mushrooms in the sun. He had a bamboo stick in his hand and no hat on his head. The sun was very hot scorching the pavement. He looked very painful his backbone was bent like a bow and his eyebrows were as white as a crane. I went up to the Tenzo and I asked him how long have you been a monk? 68 years


he replied. So he's got to be in his 70s if he's been a monk that long. Maybe even in his 80s. Why don't you let a helper do it for you? I asked him. Others are not me he said. Others are not myself. Reverend sir you follow regulations exactly but right now the sun is really hot so why do you work so hard now why not do it later? That wouldn't be now. Until when should I wait? So I stopped


talking. As I was walking further along the covered walkway I thought how important the Tenzo's position is. How important and you know of course in Zen this is not just the Tenzo this is each of us how important your position is. And we always are encouraging ourselves to take our position. No one is going to be you for you. It's up to you to be you and to live your life. Maybe it's not mushrooms in the sun but coming to this moment with your good heart. Others are not you.


Others are not going to be able to live your life for you. And there's no other time but now to see what is happening to watch your life to study your life. And you know we learned how to be with unpleasant things how to be with painful things how to be with joys how to be with sorrows. And you know everything is not quick and easy. And you know


I also want to make sure you understand that you know we are all doing this already. You've come to the workshop you've come to the class we do the work we listen we talk we do the work we do the dishes we wash the pots we put away the food we clean so this is you know the Zen way. Recently


at the I keep thinking I'll talk not so long and then I think more things to tell you. So one last short story. In May we had the 50th anniversary of Suzuki Roshi coming to America. He came to America in 1959 and this is 2009 he came in May so we had a weekend. And so I was part of I was invited one day to say with two other of Suzuki Roshi's disciples to talk for 15 minutes here. And and the question


for our talk was why did Suzuki Roshi come to America? If you know Zen you know there's a history to this because they sometimes ask about Bodhidharma the first teacher in China why did Bodhidharma come from India to China? Why did Bodhidharma come from the West? So this is why did Suzuki Roshi come from the West. So Zen test. So people say various things about Suzuki Roshi and why did Bodhidharma So when I was talking I said well first of all you know it's impossible to answer why questions. I told them


briefly about my friend George Lane who was a street therapist among other things and actually in 1983 which I was telling you about this afternoon he came and did communication skills workshops at the Zen Center for us. He had no idea what he was getting into. He said what's with you Zen people can't you have a slight preference? Everybody says oh it's okay whatever you think. Everybody's being dying. Anyway but George used to say I don't answer why questions. Because you know somebody says why are you talking to me like that? Well because I'm an idiot obviously or because what? What can you say to explain yourself? When somebody says why there's no answer to it. Because


anyway and then I said you know Suzuki Roshi came to America so that we could all sit here tonight. So we could all be here and sit here and settle into our bodies and into our hearts. And let go for a little bit you know the rush of our everyday life and our normal preoccupations and be a little quiet and inside and know the sweetness that's in our hearts. That's pretty nice. I think that's a good reason for Suzuki Roshi to have come. So we're gonna get up and we'll do the walking like we did yesterday last night for a few minutes


and then I sit for a few minutes facing each other.