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Being free to make our own choices, following recipes or not; trying to make a difference in a world full of violence.

AI Summary: 

The talk delves into the theme of personal liberation and choice, exploring how adulthood presents opportunities to redefine oneself beyond early childhood decisions and societal expectations. A key focus is the distinction between merely following preset guidelines and genuinely making personal choices, highlighting the potential emotional consequences and fears related to deviating from societal norms. The talk also incorporates a Zen poem to illustrate these themes, emphasizing the internal journey of discovery and expression.

- **References**:
- Albert Camus: Mentioned in the context of personal responsibility for one's state of being beyond childhood influences.
- Zen Poem by Ru Jing: Utilized to underscore the concept of inner liberation and spontaneous expression.
- John Kabat-Zinn and Myla Kabat-Zinn: Their interaction is described in the context of handling personal explosiveness and emotions.
- Larry Dawsey: Discussed in relation to scientific studies on the efficacy of prayer.

The concepts of choice and responsibility are explored through personal anecdotes, illustrating the challenges and liberating aspects of making decisions that authentically reflect one's desires rather than conforming to external expectations. The conversation also touches on the coping strategies and implications of living authentically in a world bound by social and personal constraints.

AI Suggested Title: "Redefining Self: Choice and Authenticity in Adulthood"


Okay. Good evening. Thank you for coming. So, on one hand, I want to talk a little bit more about what I was talking about this morning. And then, I also thought it might be useful to share a Zen poem with you and talk a little bit about the poem. Again, to review what I was talking about this morning, I mentioned the story, the monk asking the teacher, how do I obtain liberation? And the teacher saying, who is binding you? And this is such an important


point, who does bind you? It's easy enough to say, you know, my mom, my dad. But, you know, we, by the time you're an adult, as Albert Camus and others have said, you're responsible for your face. And, you know, we, anyway, we come here and here we are on earth and finding our way. But, we become bound by, you know, decisions we made in childhood and the ways of going about things that we came up with, often before we even had language. And, it's a challenge, then, to be able to make, you know, to have choice. And choice, again, it's different than, choice is different than doing what you should. Being kind


according to some picture or description you've heard. Rather than, you know, having kindness is something that comes, something from inside comes alive. And, there's something from inside coming alive is, you know, is, we could say, you know, for tonight, liberation. And that's what we carefully keep bound, because we can't trust, we don't trust that what's coming from inside is going to be adequate, good enough, loving enough, kind enough. So, we better do it, our life, according to some formula, according to some recipe, according to some scheme we came up with. And, you know, again, as children and as young adults, it's useful to know how to behave in the world so that you get along with others, and you get along in your family. And then, as we become mature, there's the


possibility that we could become free of our unconscious childhood decisions and learn to make adult choices. And when you make a choice as an adult, it's not like, a choice is a choice. It's not actually a decision, it's a choice. And we make choices. And if you make a choice, you know, you have the idea, uh-oh, this might be the wrong choice. But what are you going to do? And would it be possible, and how would you know whether a choice was the right one or not? Because you can only live one life at a time, and you can't go back and say, well, if I had made this other choice, then this would have happened. And which would have been better? So which was a better choice? And often, so we don't know. And as I was also


mentioning a couple of days ago, oftentimes people who are doing spiritual practice, the choice they make is to try not to make any choices. Because it seems like any choice you make, you're going to get in trouble. You know, if you start to do what you really choose, or what's in your heart, it may not look like what other people want to see. Or they might be disappointed or upset or unhappy with you. You chose what? But also, you know, once it's your choice, and not just doing what you're supposed to be doing, you're responsible. You know, this comes up all the time in cooking. People want to have a recipe, because if you follow the recipe and do what you're supposed to, if it doesn't work out, it's not your fault. I followed the recipe, I did what I was supposed to do.


I guess it's a bad recipe. Sorry about that. So I'm not to blame. I'm not responsible for this not working out. So as long as you're doing what you're supposed to be doing, or what you think is the right thing to be doing, anything that goes wrong, it's not your fault. You did what you're supposed to. You followed the rules. Everybody should be following the rules. I'm following the rules, you know. So if you actually make a choice, now you're suddenly responsible, and somebody may not like it, and then they may, you know, look at you and be upset with you or disappointed. And one of the big things that also happens then is when you're actually making a choice in your life, and you choose to do something that is not following your childhood rules and your childhood decisions, you will feel like you're going to get hurt. Because what happens if you


don't do what you should? You're going to get punished. They, the mysterious and amorphous they, will punish you. The world will see to it, will punish you. If you do not follow, you know, your childhood rules. My big example about this is, you know, a couple summers ago, my friend from high school came to visit, from Portland. He called me. He said, I'm coming to visit. I'm getting in my car. I said, I don't have time to see you. I'm getting ready to go to Tuscarawa. I have all kinds of stuff to do. I'm getting ready for three workshops. I don't have time to see you. Well, I'm coming to see you. Are you not hearing something that I'm telling you? I'm bringing you some books. Okay, you may be bringing some books, but I don't have time to see you. I just don't. I mean, sorry, you know, I'm


busy. I'm stressed. I have all kinds of things to do before I leave. I've got to get all my stuff together for the workshops and the classes. I do not have time. But I'm driving 600 miles to see you. Well, okay. Well, maybe. And then I call him back. Well, you know, really, I don't have time. Sorry. And then he says, well, okay. Well, I'm going to come and drop the books off anyway. All right, all right, you know. And then I got to thinking about this, and I started thinking, he's probably going to come and burn my house down. Because I'm not doing what he, you know, you're supposed to, you know, to be friendly. It's my oldest friend from high school. It's my oldest friend. You're supposed to say, yes, of course I can see you. I will make time for you. I will set aside all of my responsibilities, and I will be there for you, dear friend of many years. And I'm not doing this. I'm not doing what I'm supposed to do. So I started thinking, he's going to burn my house down. He's going to come, and I'm going to be here. He's going to start a fire. He's going to, you know, he's going to trash my place. And, you know, I got really worried.


I talked to my neighbor, who's kind of level-headed about these things, you know. I talked to my neighbor, Jennifer. She'd been, I'd been consulting her about this. Is it okay if I just say I don't have time? And, you know, that's the way, that's what happens in life, you know. People, sometimes they don't have time. And, you know, and you have choices. You can make a choice here. This is a choice you have. I know, but he, you know, wants me, and she said, Ed, is there some history of violence here that you're not telling me about? And I said, well, no, but, you know, guys sometimes do this. They, you know, they will follow a woman who's, you know, that they've disappointed or upset with, and they'll track them down. And they will, you know, attack them and, you know, do terrible things, you know, to, because they, you're not doing what they want you to do. You're not doing what somebody wants you to do, so they will come after you. This is what, you know, could happen. She says, Ed, usually when that happens, there's a history of violence. Do you know any history here? But anyway, the point of this is, anytime you don't follow your rules, and you don't do what you're supposed to do, you will start to feel like, oh, I'm in danger now. I could get hurt for this.


I could get punished. Something could go, something could happen. So, now I don't, I'm not, that was kind of the first time I was willing to disappoint a friend. You know, I'm 60, now I'm 64. That's how I go to 61 or 62 years old. Is it okay to disappoint somebody? What's going to happen? Yeah, and then it's like, this is like, you know, it's your parents that you're disappointing. And, no, don't disappoint me. And then, but you feel like, you know, when you break the rules, you don't follow, and you start to do what actually, you know, makes sense for your life. You're going to choose something, you start to worry, you start to, you know, stress. What's going to happen to me? I could get hurt for this. And you don't know how it's going to come out. We don't know how our choices are going to come out. But, you know, we can make choices.


And the poem I mentioned this morning, there's those lines, you know, the wooden man gets up to sing, the stone woman gets up to dance. So, this is the understanding in Zen that there's, you know, there's a person inside who's been, you know, wooden. There's a person inside who's been frozen in stone and doesn't dare, whether it's sing or dance or speak or act, doesn't dare because they could be, you know, criticized. So, this is also the understanding that, you know, rather than be criticized by someone else, I will censor myself better than they ever could before they have a chance. Before anybody else has a chance to criticize me, I will censor myself better than they possibly could. So, there's no chance that I could get, you know, called on the carpet.


And, you know, this is one of the... So, this will manifest, this kind of tendency in our life, you know, will manifest in various ways where we start to feel, at some point, we can start to feel pretty dead, you know, pretty wooden, pretty stiff, pretty stone-like, and not much as we don't have much capacity for what's inside. How do I express this? How do I express, you know, and basically, you know, what we're talking about is heart. You know, how do I express my heart? My real care and concern and, you know, something real. How do I express this something real? And it's also some, you know, and it's also, you know, feelings. And can I know what I'm feeling when I feel it? And can I find a way to express it that is not attacking, hurting, harming others by expressing it? I'd like you to know this is what I feel. And sometimes, you know, we... I certainly am not able to do that, and I can be explosive at times. At one point, you know, John Kabat-Zinn's wife, Myla, and John Kabat-Zinn and his wife, Myla, were over at my house for dinner, and they said, oh, do you get explosive? Well, you probably should read that book by Green, you know, on the explosive child. Then you could learn how to live with yourself, you know.


But I got the book on the explosive child, and it says you need to be the grown-up. I need to be the grown-up? No, I'm the explosive child. I think this is going to take two people. I can't be the explosive child and the grown-up. But anyway, things have gotten better. I'm not generally explosive anymore. A large part of my explosiveness was, it turns out, you know, from type A behavior, trying to do too much. So there's less of it now, but it happens sometimes. So this is about, you know, is there a way to have what has been frozen or stuck or stiff inside, you know, how does it, you know. So for me, this is very important. This is about, you know, having a life, coming alive, and it has something to do with, you know, to be flexible.


So, you know, we have our whole lifetimes to do this, you know, to find out how to appear, you know, rather than hide what's actually going on with this so that nobody can see what might be a problem. And we won't have to face the possibility of disapproval. And we'll go along with things that we don't really choose to go along with. Okay, I'll see you, and I'll resent you for it, but I'll pretend that it's fine and I'm enjoying my time with you. I'll do the best I can to pretend that it's great to see you, but actually, I'm pissed and I have stuff to do. So, it's very interesting to me, I don't know, you know, I found cooking to be a place where I can express myself.


And I think we, you know, we can find places in our life where we can express yourself, and little by little from cooking, I've worked up to seeing if I can express myself with people. And again, as I was mentioning earlier, part of, by the way, you know, why we get explosive is because, you know, we're trying so hard to be contained and to stay within the parameters that we believe are the parameters that a human being should stay within in order to be an acceptable human being and to have people like us and not have disapproval and etc. And the more, the more you lock yourself up, the more another part of you will explode. And one aspect certainly of, you know, one possibility for why we get depressed sometimes is, you know, being so shut down and not being willing to actually express or manifest what's inside and then that's depressing at some point.


There's a lot of energy there. And sometimes if you can't, especially if you're not willing to be angry, you can't, you know, be a lot of other things. You can't have passion and determination and intensity and creativity, a lot of other aspects if, you know, you have to be sure to contain yourself. And if you can't contain yourself, that means containing a lot of other things besides just the things that, you know, like anger. The simple understanding of that, you know, is that it takes certain muscles to express your anger and then you can't use it for anything else either. So, I think it's important, you know, to find something. And, you know, people say, you know, it's possible to do with sitting. With sitting you can, with meditation, you know, it's something you can do with passion, you know, it's something you can do with, [...] you


know, it's something you can do with, you [...] know and it doesn't have to be, you know, there's no, and then how useful that there's something that you, or something can come from inside. Doesn't mean everything in our life can be like that, but at least there's some areas like that, that's so refreshing for us. So, I think I'm ready to bring up this Zen poem. This is a poem by a Dogen, Zen Master Dogen's teacher, Ru Jing, and it goes like this.


The Great Road has no gate. It begins in your own mind. The breath has no fixed pathways, yet it finds its way to your nostrils and becomes your breath. Somehow we meet. Like misfits or bandits of the Dharma. Somehow we meet. Like misfits or bandits of the Dharma. Ah, the great house comes tumbling down. Astonished maple leaves fly and scatter. It's the right time of year where you can say, maple leaves fly and scatter. In the spring, it's better to say, you know, astonished the iris, pop into blossom.


You know, the tulips appear. So, you know, again one thing I want to point out about this poem, you know is, he's not telling you if you're a real poet. you just do this, then you know you'll get it right. And, you know, the idea of sitting is not so much that you get it right, but that you have a way to observe things carefully. A way to see what's going on without getting distracted about getting something done, finishing the dishes, getting the meal cooked, and you can just see, how does my experience go? There's thoughts and feelings, and how do things work? And also, of course, in sitting, something that we


haven't, you know, talked about so much, but as you sit and you start to just sit and breathe, you're going to start finding, your breath will start finding the places inside where you've kept things in storage. The difficult thoughts or painful feelings or the memories that you weren't going to have anything to do with, did you think you could just get rid of them? They're there, and you have to know where you hid them so that you don't go there. You know where you've got stuff hidden inside so you know where not to go, and then you start sitting, and it's like, and then you have, you know, sadness and sorrow and grief and memories and stuff starts surfacing. And this is, you know, part of clearing the way for somebody to come alive. And oftentimes, you know, mythologically, by


the way, and this point is not so much, you know, Zen people don't seem to mention this much, but, you know, often, you know, what's going to melt the stone and soften the wood is some tears. Oh well. And you, you know, the tears are often the first thing that arises too, which is, you know, something inside coming alive. And the stone is no longer, you know, so petrified. The wood is no longer so stiff and dry. Something can move because of the tears. And so many feelings and memories and thoughts that we've had, and you start to breathe and just sit, and then this can come to the surface, and then you don't have to


spend the rest of your life avoiding it, being careful not to do anything that might touch any of that stuff that you didn't want to, you thought you were done with, and you didn't want to acknowledge or look at. So this is sometimes considered to be, you know, cleaning out the basement or the attic or, you know, a little housekeeping, a little clearing step away. But then you have a different kind of possibility of energy in your life, and then, and at some point, you know, what do you, what are you going to do with it? What will you, and there's work and there's relationship, but then there's so many other things, you know, writing and painting and cooking and gardening and walking and birding and, you know, so many activities. A theater, you know, teaching.


So the great way has no gate. There's nothing, you're already on the path. Dogen says, you know, later Dogen Zenju said, the first thing if you're going to trust Buddhism is to trust that your life is already on the path. To trust in Buddhism, and to trust Buddhism is to trust that your life, that you are already on the path, that your life is the path, that this is the only path that there is. There's not some other path. And you think, well, why is it, why doesn't it work any better then? Well, that's the path. Is finding, you know, your way along this that's not working very well, and in what direction to go from here? And making some choices. Where do I go from here? There's no gate like you have to get through or past or, you know, our life, you know, it's another way of saying, you know, if you


were, you know, if you're a Christian, you know, you know, it's your, it's part of God's plan or something. The first thing is to believe, you know, to trust that your life, you know, your life is the way. There's not some, so sometimes people think, well, no, I want to be on the Buddhist way, where there's not all these little roadblocks and, you know, where there's things where you have to go around detours. There's not so many roadblocks and detours. No, I want the path where you just kind of, it's just kind of smooth. No speed bumps and, you know, and I want the kind of path that's kind of like those culverts instead of like the creek with all those rocks. Actually, you don't want the culvert. You don't want the life that's smooth. You know, you want


the life with the rocks and where you keep bumping up against things and find your way around them. Or there's some erosion and the water, you know, the water will find its way, your life will find its way. And you don't need a smooth way. You need some problems. We need issues. We need something to do with ourselves. And often the something to do with ourselves, you know, is the wounds we got in our childhood. We need to heal them. You know, you're here so you get wounded. That's the way it starts. You get wounded. That's your character. Your character is the marks from the scars of your wounds. And then you spend time working through all that stuff, working on those things, finding your way. That's the path. There's not some special Buddhist path that doesn't have the issues that you've got where you get away from your issues and your problems and have a nice Buddhist, pristine,


spiritual, enlightened, magnificent, easy. People are holding parasols over your head. Wearing fans and you're like, oh, are you hot? No. So the great way has no gate. It begins in your own mind. So we've been talking about this. How this path begins in your own mind. We're making childhood decisions that, you know,


could become adult choices. And this is what, you know, minds do is to... Suzuki Roshi and others have said, you know, Buddhism understands there's two aspects to reality, the relative and the absolute. And, you know, one of the main problems we have as human beings is we confuse the relative and the absolute. And we hear about, you know, composure is possible and calm is possible and stillness is possible. And we take it literally. I'm going to still the relative world. But stillness and calmness and quiet, this is the nature of consciousness. It's


the nature of the absolute. So, you know, to find that stillness is actually when your awareness is moving exactly with things. That's when there's stillness. It's that, you know, it's like the example of the two trains going. And when the two trains are moving at the same speed, then, you know, the other train doesn't seem to be moving. So when your consciousness is exactly with your breath, exactly with your thinking, exactly with what you're feeling, it's very still. But we think in order to have stillness, I need to have everything completely quiet. I need to not have any thoughts coming up. I need to not have any feelings coming up. I need to pave over my consciousness so that nothing arises. And of course, this is where, you know, the old Chinese Zen master would say, this is an obstruction to the way. When I say not to think, some of you


are making your minds like stones. This is not what I meant. So sometimes we try to do some literal kind of, I will do that stillness literally. And Wen Ning, at least in one translation of that sutra says, this is an obstacle to the path. And when I say not to think, I mean if you have a thought, think nothing of it. Think nothing of it is, you have a thought, and your mind is exactly with that thought, and then you don't, it's not like, then you start thinking, how do I get rid of this thought? How do I get rid of this thought is now what's causing the disturbance, not the thought itself. So we set out to do, anyway, we can go on about this. The great way has no gate,


we're on the path, begins in your own mind. It's not something from outside, it's something that, you know, you start out for yourself. The breath has no fixed, the air has no fixed pathways, yet it finds its way to your nostrils and becomes your breath. So much of our life is, you know, happening without our having to worry about it. And nobody's figuring it out, and nothing's figuring it out, it's, we're in the midst of it. Somehow we're made like misfits or bandits of the karma. Misfits or bandits. You know, these Chinese Zen teachers are so refreshing sometimes. It's not


somehow we made like wonderful saints and spiritual people finally getting together in love and light and manifesting their Buddha natures so superbly and magnificently and sweetly with one another. Isn't it beautiful? So somehow we're made like misfits or bandits of the dharma. You know, we're not, you know, this is like, you know, Solzhenitsyn said, wouldn't it be great if you get to identify what's evil from what's good, and then you could eliminate the evil? Wouldn't that be wonderful? And he said, but unfortunately, you know, the line between good and evil, it runs right through the middle of each person's heart. And who'd want to eliminate half of


themselves? So this is another way of saying, you know, the road, the great road has no gate, it begins in your own mind. So how are you going to do that? So we think I can identify this, but we're misfits. We're, you know, we're good and bad and, you know, and depending on who's looking and what day it is, you know, something looks good, it looks bad. We're just not, you know, you know, going to be able to get it all right. And, you know, I thought I could. I spent years trying. I'm sorry. I'm a failure. I'm a misfit. I thought, you know, I could actually learn how to present myself in a way that was just good and everybody just loved. Why can't I do that? It just doesn't seem to work like that. Misfits, bandits. And how are you going to say no to your


friend, you know? But I'm driving 600 miles. I have some books for you. But it's also true that his demented mother was living at the Redwoods and he needed to go see her. It wasn't all on me. You know, I sort of try to be a decent person, but, you know, I'm just not always such a decent person. We're humans, you know. I'm in a movie, you know. Is it good to be in a movie? I'm in a movie and Doris told me, you're in a movie because you're not chicken and honey and you're not the Dalai Lama. You're you and you've got problems. And people get to see you having problems. And she


said, I think that's going to encourage people. And they're going to listen to you because you've got problems. They're not going to listen to you if you're so spiritually better in advance than they are. Who cares what you have to say? Why would anyone listen to you then? You know, because that person, what did they know about you? The misfit and that you're the bandit. You can't get it right. You can't, you know, be such a great person. Yes. You brought up good and evil. For some reason lately, it's been kind of, because I'm Jewish, it's been the background of my life, but the Holocaust has been coming up to me lately. It's kind of, I don't agree with that context. And, you know, I can get behind the metaphor of the bumpy road where, you know, we kind of all end up at the party at the end and, you know, it's like all the dragons turn out to be princesses. But then that seems like how it is for most of us.


What about like hell on earth? I mean, you know, it seems like we live in a pretty bubble-wrapped existence here in the 21st century. But then there's like these people in Darfur and I don't know. What's going on for them? I don't know. In fact, it happened to them. Can't I walk out through the door one day and get mowed down? I don't know. I know that in the absolute it's all, you know, the peaceful scene. But, you know, can we really depend on things to sort of work themselves out here? I don't know. So, I think this is a case where, no, I think, you know, have the wooden man get up and sing,


have the stone woman get up and dance. And it's mystifying what to do, you know, in the face of that. You know, apparently in Sarajevo, I saw a picture one time of a man sitting there in this devastation, you know, playing his cello. And apparently he would play his cello there every day at a certain time. Does it make all the difference? Probably not, but, you know, do something. We do what we do and, you know, we go on cooking and eating and, you know, seeing what it is we want to do to share what we have to share, offer what we have to offer, and, you know, connect in ways that we, you know, endeavor to connect and meet and share and


relate and study together, work together, and, you know, take care of something in our world. Larry Dawsey has done all this study of prayer, you know. Does prayer work? And it turns out that, you know, there are dozens of scientific studies that show that prayer works. He considers it one of the best-kept secrets of Western science, that prayer works. But that's sort of like saying, you know, the placebo effect works. And when people study which drug to give you, they're trying to eliminate the placebo effect, when actually the placebo effect is one of the most powerful things you can do to heal anybody. But they have to eliminate that so that their drug works better than


the placebo effect. So prayer works, but does it work absolutely? No, apparently not. But, you know, it works. And then the best prayer, he says, he describes, you know, they did this scientific experiment. They cloned alfalfa seeds and cloned a mold that grows on alfalfa seeds. And they have it in three different areas, and there's one that nobody prays for, one that people are praying that the alfalfa grows big and tall, and the third one, everybody's praying they will be done. Or as a Buddhist, you can say, may the best results occur. And that one grows the best. The one where you just say, like if you're a Buddhist, homage to the perfection of wisdom, the


This is like it is, isn't it? Praise be. And when you start thinking that, then things work better. This is very mysterious. How does that work? So some people find it useful to pray. And so when you're praying, in that sense, in a zazen, a zazen is a formless prayer. You're not praying for anything, it's just, hey, may things be the way they are. How about that? And may the best come of all of this. And you're not even saying it, but your intention is to be with things and to let your life flower, to let the best come of this, and however it might manifest itself, you don't know. You're feeling your way along in the dark. And then that's very powerful, it turns out.


And no, it doesn't solve everything. It doesn't take care of everything. And there's just some things that are beyond any of us to do much about. I have, you know, friends in Germany who tell me, you know, it's really painful that the way that the West, especially America and Hollywood, make this a German problem. Because it's not a German problem. You know, the Russians did it, the Turks did it in Armenia, the Russians did it in Ukraine. We killed 100 million Native Americans. We killed Native Americans. We go to Iraq, you know, we've killed hundreds of millions of people in Iraq. You know, we've made a mess of Iraq. So it's not just a, you know, so this is, you know, people.


And the amazing thing is that, you know, and then with all of that, you know, we're actually as a human race, we're successful enough to, you know, bring about climate change and possibly our own demise through our success. Anyway, there's no, it's hard to know what to do with all of that because so much is at work in so many forces, you know. In other words, it's so impossible, I would say, to know what to do that's going to make all the difference. Like, and so then, if you're trying to make all the difference, you can get completely paralyzed and not do much of anything because I can't make all the difference. So we kind of find a place, like Suzuki Roshi said, to shine one corner. You know, we find a place and in our own life and in our own hearts and our relationship with the world and the things around us and nearby us, let's study how to be with things


and how to be in the midst of our life and have something wake up inside and, you know, manifest. Playing the cello in the middle of the devastation, you know, whatever it is. I forget to remind myself not to often, but it's basically kind of what I want to do next year, next semester. I don't want to do this at all, but do what's obvious. Oh yeah, do what's obvious, yeah. Start somewhere, start anywhere. Be ordinary, do the obvious. So, in Yujing's poem, then there's, ah, the great house comes tumbling down. And the great house is this whole structure that we've created and, you know, we thought needed to be maintained and fixed up and improved.


Our whole construct of what our life needs to look like, you know, is in ruins. Who's poem? Hmm? Who wrote the poem? Oh, the poem, Ru Jing. Ru Jing is Dogen's teacher in China. I may just be making this up, you know. I know, and it's hard to find. It's hard to track down. I've tried sometimes, but I still think, you know, every so often I come across it and I think, oh yeah, that is Ru Jing, but I could be wrong. I might have just made this poem up and, you know, you credit it to Ru Jing and you recite it like it is. And probably, you know, it could be. But, you know, if you memorize a poem and you recite it, now it's yours. So that's where, if you memorize it and recite it, then you get to change the lines you want to change. That's why, at the end of the poem, sometimes, you know, if it's spring, it's not astonished maple leaves fly and scatter.


You know, it's astonished the ivorices, the plum blossoms, the jasmine. My version is. Okay. And so this also reminds me of another short poem. A Japanese Zen teacher was, you know, practiced for many years. And one morning he was offering the incense and bowing and he looked up and the light was coming through the window. And he'd never seen it before. That's the maple leaves fly and scatter. And he said, for 30 years I've tried to sweep away the dust. You know, quiet my mind, you know, get rid of the kind of problematic things that are happening.


For 30 years I've tried to sweep away the dust until I realized that the sweeping was creating more dust. Now I look up and the morning light shines through the window. Everything is completely new. That's when the great house, you know, the great house comes tumbling down. So we, you know, we make choices and we give ourselves to things and then we can choose something else. We can say yes, we can say no. And we can keep going. Okay, thank you.


Thank you.