Given on Wednesday, August 12, 2009
About this talk
Visiting the Apple Store; visiting with Maureen Stuart Roshi; dealing with our problems.
Sorrow is. For me a lot like coming home. Since I spend so much time here in my youth I guess I'm not young anymore I like to think I am. So every so often you know I remember the story about they monk who said to his teacher or what about the people who leave the monastery and don't come back and the teacher said well they are ungrateful asses. And the monk said well what about the people who leave the monastery and return and he said they remember the benefits and the monks sued. What are the benefits. And the teachers said heat in the summer and code in the winter. It's hard to remember these things you know. How bless it are like this. We were here at all. So anyway tonight I wanted to talk with you about some of the benefits of practice. And. You know for instance. Because it's been about a year and a half now I am my computer my P.C. was breaking down and. One of my students. Gives advice about computers and fixing them and how to use them and so it was kind of nice because I could call him up and then he had it set up so my computer so he could use my computer from his computer. So there is something was a way with my computer he could be doing my computer you know at a distance. And fix it that was pretty nice but there came a point where it seemed like it wasn't going to work anymore and he said you might think about getting an apple. And if you're going to get an apple. You might want to go but the store the Apple store in court today or in the shopping mall. I spent twenty years that this ends and. You know proteins and. He returns to her and green goats in the city center and you know I haven't spent much time and molls. And after you know like after I'd been here and talk to her. For a number of years and then I you know he would go out and then go into a store and there's like. Toilet paper. Pretty much as far as the eye can say and when to what kind do I buy and people said Ed you're not what you know television. But this is so I don't spend much time in malls. But I went to the cordon Adair mall and I eventually found the Apple store and you did and you you get find one of those signs that say you are here and it shows you where the stores are and you figure out where to go but there was construction you know so I got a little bit lost but eventually I got over to the Apple store. And even from outside the Apple store it's pretty intense and the window is that window was OK and it pink. Pink balloons or something and it was because they have a pink nano i Pod. And you might want. Eventually I got a pink nano i Pod. So. I went into this store and in this store. It's there's a lot of energy in this story people are so excited and there's all these people that you know they have these demo machines in there and they have that big screen because now you can get your television over your apple or movies downloaded from Apple and so they had a big say you know high definition or whatever it is television that shows you what you could be watching at home and and everybody is so excited and they're they're just there's you just feel it in the steward just like. And I'm like. And. I don't know what to think I don't know what I'm doing there you know my computer person told me to go in and have a look around. So. After a while I'm walking around the store. And it woman comes up to me and she says may I help you. And I said oh I don't know I'm I'm I'm I'm actually feeling rather overwhelmed by the energy in the store. And she said Have you tried meditation. It's really helped me she said. And said you know I've been doing meditation for you know forty years at that point or forty two years or whatever I said Yeah I've done a little meditation. Maybe I haven't done and. I said so and who do you study with and she started telling me about her teacher and various things. Anyway I managed to get out of the store and then a little bit later. My computer really did break down and I needed the computer so my computer. I think of him his computer guru you know came with me and he said I will go with you to the Apple store. And you know sit with you and be with you we go through this and so we went to the Apple store together and then there's a bench outside the up a store and he said Now let's sit down here on the bench before we go into the store we can kind of get ourselves together OK and get center and. You know let's think about what we want to do when we were in there. So we made a plan. And with his help I ended up buying I did. And Apple Computer and a big nano ipod. A monster. That's the thing that tape thing that goes in your separating your car so you can plug your nano i Pod into your tape in the car because the CD player in my car was broken anyway so rising. So that's one example of you know the benefits. And one of the benefits of a addition apparently is that it makes you unsuited for modern American life. And spending very much time at malls. I don't know maybe there are other meditators that it's hoped being would do because. So well we were and anyway I could go on about this but let me go on to my second story about the benefits of meditation This one's a little more. You know complicated but the more real life and. So a number of years ago I met Maureen Stuart Ritchie and I think I met her here at times to her. I gave her a ride into town to her I was with my daughter like in and like it was about eight and Maureen's husband was with her Maureen and I was sitting in the front seat of my Honda Prelude It was sober sober grader who you know and Maureen was were you sitting on the right it's a kind sporty car and her husband are sitting right behind her on the right and my daughter was in the back seat on the left and. I could to look in the rearview mirror he was not happy. Coming over the toaster road and at one point my daughter said to him. You don't say you don't say much do you. And he didn't say much. But anyway I got to know more in Stewart from that visiting with her in the car in the drive in here and then she gave a lecture or two here and. And then I would go and visit her and she was at that point head of the Cambridge produced you know the Cambridge anyway in Cambridge as in center spark street and I would visit when I was in Boston and it wasn't very far actually from the new you know the institute which. Anyway. I only had been to nine twenty so excuse me. So visit more rain there and Maureen was you know not only Zen teacher but she was had been in her life an extraordinary concert pianist and actually had toured in Europe and various things so sometimes she would There was one time especially that I was kind of depressed and she said and let me play for you. And she played this incredible you know piano concertos and things. Anyway. At one point. Rain and I were visiting and she said. She was telling me about how she had finally gotten divorced and she said that her husband had been a an art professor at like Vassar or Smith or women's college and that he. Kind of had a tendency to have affairs with his students. Rather breaking really. And she was not particularly happy about this. But he would say to her Marine purists in Priest. You know you should be compassionate and understanding and you should be accepting. And you know this really shouldn't disturb you. You know since you've meditated as much as you have. And she would tell him you know I'm not always going to put up with this. And then one day she said I'm not putting up with this anymore we're getting divorced and he said what. And she said I told you. It's going to a number of years now and I've decided we're getting divorced. And he said Marine you know your your your percentage or how you need to be more compassionate and understanding and accepting of me and you know my human nature and and you should be happy for me that. So he would she he was busy telling her what she should see Okan siddur in that she was a Buddhist priest and had been practicing Buddhism for all these years. And she said it's because I'm a Buddhist priest that I know what I feel. And I don't like this and I find it upsetting. I'm not happy with it and because I practised as much as they have I know what I feel. And I also know that it's not up to you to tell me what I should be feeling we're getting divorced and you know eventually he said Oh I've stopped and you know please and raise things anyway. So well composed and. Practiced must be good for something or they wouldn't continue to study with you. So please tell me. How this can be a help and the Buddha said well once in awhile for some people it's a help with the aid for the problem. But then. Course as you might be wondering you know being a person said and and and what is that eighty four the problem. And the Buddha said the eighty fourth problem is that you don't want to have any problems at all. And it's you know there's a before the problem that's especially challenging. I don't know about you but I'm special. So maybe it's OK for other people to have a three problems but. What I want with eighty three Romes. This is. And you know we. Actually can in Zen practice one of the. Most you know if not the most this is the most important you know you find out how to have problems how to have difficulties. And how to work with your problems so to work with your difficulties how to live with them how to see them through how to. You know have the problem family. Rather than. Them saying you know I'm fine they say that I was reading an article in The Atlantic Monthly Licht recently which was about this study that somebody started with Harvard men who were in their twenty's back in their thirty's or forty's or something they're now in their eighty's and ninety's the ones that have lived. And they've been studied the exhaust of the over the years. And so has been this so they've studied you know what you know what leads to happiness and. But at one point it's said that. You know lots of times Americans won't take knowledge to problems how are you fine. And people can have cancer or you know have a death in the family and they're not going to tell you. Because you don't you don't want to upset other people who want to protect them from your pain. Or you want to protect yourself from your pain and in so much of the time society is saying get over it what's wrong with you why do you have a problem so there's not a lot of support to actually have problems and difficulties and sand can be a wonderful place to have problems and difficulties it's not easy to sit. And you will have some problems doing that. Anyway it's said that some of the happiest people in the world are in Denmark. And if somebody says how are you they say. Things could be worse. So then as time goes on it's always better than that. Apparently it works for them. But. I'm going to get out my wife so I so you don't go back to him. So there's different ways this man affair as. You know one of the things. We do is to try to establish. You know. We hear that it's possible to. You know somehow. Be dad should we it's detached or you can have a good image tea or they'll be some way that your problems will not be quite so annoying. Or difficult or painful. And then we tend to set up some kind of strategy or plan to. You know make this come true for us. And one of the common ways to do this is to imagine. A mind that's unaffected by these things and by the problems unaffected. Through this is like untouched by them or you know it's a kind of and it's oftentimes especially if you do spiritual practice or yoga you can believe if I do spiritual practice or yoga I can I will be immune and you know I won't have the problems that other people have who don't do this. Special practice that I do. Is this true. Certainly your husband. Is faith because you're doing spiritual practice. So we set up this kind of mind it's going to be immune or safe for secure and then. You know we want to see how well we do in it that you know over seventy check is my mind still. At ease and you know so pretty soon you know we tend to make we want to keep the problems under way. Because otherwise they might actually get to us and upset us and then we wouldn't have our our Eason's wellbeing and you know good nature. In order to do that unfortunate you know you need to be kind of on guard and watchful and suspicious about what might get to you and what you know what's lurking so you've already lost your composure. And then when you when something does get to you it's a terrible blow because you weren't going to this was going to happen to you I don't know but this. So. Big sections of my life I've found you know that I still have problems and it was sort of distressing what's wrong with me. And you know I get after twenty years approach that sense and I'm out in the world and I try to earn a living and I have to have a car and groceries are one hundred dollars a bag and. You know there's traffic. And I couldn't enter I don't know how people do it and I've been meditating I don't know how you how do you people do it out there you know I don't get it. And for about ten years after their sense and I thought I should just go back to terms of. I'm not suited for this world I don't belong here so eventually I decided to have problems little by little. I'm. And then people were also telling me Ed if you had already spent twenty years at this and center we would be suggesting to you to go to one. You are a mess. And maybe I still am I don't know you know. The right men into the birth and death but it isn't sentient beings Dogan says when when all things. Are Buddha Dharma. When you see the true nature of things there is birth and death but it isn't sentient beings practice realization and delusion This is the world we live in this is reality. And is it possible to sit with them it is my time up already. Oh. OK. Yeah oh. Yes please sure. Any expression is not a complete one. And I shared something no as I said in the notes something of my passion. And something of my understanding and what the note didn't. EXPRESS Was thank you for your effort thank you for your sincerity your good heartedness. And here are some things I would like to bring up with you so it was not as. Carefully. And. You know written as it. Could have been. And another piece of that is that I've been practicing sand and cooking for forty four years and it's. The first thing this many times that anyone from Zen center that sincere asked me could you would you work with us would you share something of your passion and your understanding and you know your skills with those Would you share something with which you come and work with us since center does not ask me to do that. And I don't know how to say you know if you wanted I could you know I would love to come and work with you. And to and you know be and good. Harmonious relationship with you. And so you know at some point I feel. So what you also hear in that then is you know that I'm heard. Yeah I know. But is part of it is thank you. This year and. I come I am often sort of struck you know by. If I'm in the kitchen I almost don't want to go in the kitchen because I feel so strongly about not wasting food and. When I'm at home I clean out every dish every pot it was a rubber spatula. I washed the pot was a little tiny bit of water it all goes into soup it goes into bread I often have in the morning for breakfast leftover soup everything is eaten almost nothing gets discarded I use every piece of every bitch to go except for that I cut out the tiniest bit of the end for the stem the tiniest bit of the end for The Root. I cut it very close I I I use my hand I guide the knife. I do all these things so precisely I go to Europe. And I teach people this I say this is for me Zen This is not wasting this is caring for food this is caring for food is that it was your own I said. And people in Europe invite me they say please come and teachers. And censor doesn't invite me and some point I wish I could say something and I don't know how to say something always so skillfully or kindly so I was trying to share something of my passion. And something of my wish to work with people and share what I had to offer. And I do you know and I as I said you know. When I'm here it turns to her. I I feel like I'm in the midst of tremendous you know good heartedness sincerity. People are working so hard people are and this year especially. People are bringing up questions and interests and folks you know and. As you did people are asking me but things and it's it's very gratifying So if there's other ways in which I can be of service or benefit I'd be happy to do that. OK. Now in twenty thank you.