A Candle in the Dark

Audio loading...

Welcome! You can log in or create an account to save favorites, edit keywords, transcripts, and more.

Auto-Generated Transcript

it's my pleasure
these are statements to a fair shake any ass areas a long time said student and has practiced here is a scene from a red years
she is held a variety of positions here and his lead study groups and type classes
she was ordained by sojourn she and i think she thousand five
and was she seventy two thousand nine
outside of the gate here she practices as of position as the over sixty clinic and is currently than medical director to
and we're looking for to hearing her chair words determined
honestly i don't know if this is a little bit too loud films that of of here
so good morning everyone on this beautiful bright day after black friday
function with mythic way has spend and some anecdotal time and a wonderful day all said all turn out and celebrate our dear friend hans landa for fence
watch will happen right after the talk talking
the title of this talk as a candle in the dark

whenever in our lives we run across something that has power for us something that we read or something that happens to us
and it is at least for me a very fruitful place to stay awhile and to understand what that connection is
and ah
not long after surging russia gave his talk in which he reference to a book of collections of remembrances of of cohen chino who was one of the people who brought the forms and practice to toss a hard on the nineteen sixties seventies may down
coburn gina hiroshi i was able to read that book and there was one story particularly that stood out for me and sell this talk is my ah my offering to you have my understanding and relationship to to that story some variant
get into coven chino and carol atkinson his student who relate it
this talk is also an expression of my gratitude for saw sam
and i have come
i need extra the midst of it but i've been in a of kind of fallow period my relationship disaster and and and a pilgrimage but i took recently to a number of temples of are in or again and in texas and arkansas i have the opportunity to sit in a very rural very remote very to
tiny monastery that's completely devoted to the practice of zazen and i found my wool his eyes and heart rate awakened and open so i wanted to offer this is a kind of
expression of gratitude and also maybe something will you'll find out on a minute why
because the subtitle and you will have the talk is why do we sit zazen
why do we practice
so you know she says that why the why isn't really the question it's what and i think that's my experience to except here i think the why was underneath our motivation our intention is a very powerful place to stay close to and i think
that why has as its force yearning
it's a yearning for freedom or salvation connection truth only at its heart hold us is that kind of yearning that brings us here he keeps us here i think
are different seasons and relation in our relationship to saas then
there times we have pain in my body in the find a lot of joy and ease of times of stagnation and dullness times when we're totally free
the times we wonder why we're here what's the allure of that white wall
some of these prepare us for others some of these seasons of sitting prepares for others but i don't want either i don't want to encourage you to hear the talk as a kind of progress of experiences through saas and think and i recognized as i was
of thinking about it again there are echoes of tucson's five ranks and here but please don't hear is that either just relate to it out of your experiences and saws them
so how we usually come to zazen probably everyone in this room is here because ah
like category roshi she says zazen is the basic practice of human life that is connected to the problem of life and death
that just like sidharth of before hurricane shocking morning we've had some experience of sickness whether it's physical sickness or sickness that our minds disquiet this new suffering up their minds old age and definitely need to do something about it we need to read
respond to have some way we need to ah to need it in some way i'm are looking for that way
so we usually come here because we're suffering some way or were seeking the truth
and when we start often it's hard isn't it
it physically hurts to do it no wonder one that next bellows gonna run because your knee just hurt so bad and you're sure that you're gonna tear a muscle if you stay in this position any longer
or if you're a little bit settled navy your emotions drive you crazy you don't know whether you can stay in the anxiety or the restlessness or just face to face with the person that you're seeing
but always i think if you're able to just quiet enough there's just a little bit of space around that or maybe there's a startling discovery of the bell actually does rain or actually able to stand up and
the catastrophe didn't happen after off and that's just enough to hook us
and we start cutting back
because we see that
in the darkness of our experience there's a little bit of light that shines and we have seen that little bit of light through are sitting themselves awesome
and then pretty inevitably we have the experience of some kind of disillusionment or disenchantment we'd look around and wait
see that not everyone who comes to a zen center as a buddha right
why they don't all line their shoes up perfectly or fatal not talk until they get off the zendo porch after saturday how could people behave in such a way in practice yeah and we realize cheese
since centers are just communities of diluted beings and it's not gonna be such an easy fix just showing up here
but as we continue to sit again we start to see actually that it's the way in which may relate to what's happening that's part of the part of the picture here it's part of the discomfort that we have it's the line that seems too much in judges it for example that
causes is kind of irritation or disquiet and we start your recognized well there's something inherently there's something in here that actually as related to my yearning for freedom
only a start to realize that we can just do our own practice it was the some of you heard me say and instruction i got my very first retreat and it served me man really good stead whenever something's powerful are stronger i think there's a problem out there some
where the first place to look as right here too right here to come back to it in zazen and with a sense of space around it and then something else is inevitably there besides what i thought was there
that kind of willingness to come back to and be quiet word that we start to generate samadhi we really start to develop a kind of concentration and presence to whatever is coming up in our mind in our body and out of that kind of stillness of presence stability
ourselves and we find joy
joy and likeness like a feather on the breath of thought you know just floating in space that kind of eames and lightness can happen pretty good stuff
right where it really keeps us coming for that kind of luminosity i think you know has a week
i'm just realizing the same as none of these are experiences that you need that happen size then of the necessarily are going to act in zazen they're just things that can come up saw their touch can touch points they're just experiences and encouragements and it was encouragement
it's if it's rather like if you've ever read the lotus sutra of the other time sokka sutra and their pages and pages of of fan fantasia fantastic descriptions of flowers ranging from the skies light shining everywhere in the world being the street
that's being made of all the different jams and it's cut up like that experience of of brightness of freedom of really being able to be present to what is
and so we make a commitment to this awesome you make a commitment to do this and we keep showing up and maybe we decided to take the precepts because we're really committed to this way of life
in one of the his talks through really well now and chin or she says that we practice in order to be a transmitter of light
this life that we have experienced that when we when we really take this practice to heart and we find it's an enormous encouragement in our lives and so we want her are we want to offer that out of our lives in whatever way manifest for us
we become a transmitter of light
it's very beautiful very complete
and of idealistic
everything is possible
so maybe at this point we think we've had some kind of were some kind of taste of enlightenment and ah
ah maybe we have has some kind of taste of complete freedom and clear seeing but sometimes we can get stuck at the idea that the we know something and ah and we revolve around that kind of stuck idea that we we know some plots
something or the best place to go and stay and that we can we can stay in reside there
and so on
we realize that the southern isn't because we we can you know we don't and we recognize that to we know that this this thousand is not always in this practice is not always exactly what we think it is
if we sees us as we sit zazen isn't necessarily what happens is this lovely experience all the time and there can be another kind of a won't say disillusion and or disappointment maybe maybe confusion or just kind of getting lost because
cause we practice and yet something may not happen or we're looking for some kind of target nickname for but there's really no place that we can hit you do our forms he said suzanne which hand is an incorrect way to do a top
talk even and you find that there's not there's no place to land not actually there's no way to get it right because it's not about getting it right it's about showing up and doing it there's another wonderful story that i that some of you will know about coventry
you know he was an archery student a kyoto student and quite accomplished data maybe some of you know that know that about him and you may also know the story that he was at the pacific coast at es salaam with his teacher and
his teacher was a great master
and ah his teacher they're doing a little exhibition for the people there in the future polls and pulses bow and he aims and his a bullseye right there you know it's there's no other more perfect place in the dead center of that that circle and
confidence next what's he gonna do what are we gonna do when we there's no perfect place to hit it's it doesn't exist for more
he pauses both turns to the ocean
and since both i
when we realize on some level that's our practice to but but what is that
what is that
and sometimes in this period with our size then there were were waiting for something to happen now i've had this these deep experiences or i'm really practicing sincerely and i mean these positions are that position but nothing seems to change
i'm the same old person that i've always been we see the same old problems in our dharma friends we even see that are teachers are no longer perfect and we get confused about what this practices about you know what it
why we're here to knows it really going to answer our questions are yearning
and then sometimes is kind of like middle life we realize we've got better things to do meaning it's a nice day outside where is everyone
leading you have a family terrains and a job to do and it's really hard to work zazen into your schedule unless you're really committed to it and so we can loosen our relationship does and conclusive during this time period
but if we keep sit in
if we keep sitting and returning to this posture returning to this breath and really a point where we have some stability and some experience of encouragement
are sitting becomes more subtle it becomes more settled you may find remember during this time period something shifted in the way that i held my boudreau
something opened and it was like all the sudden my city was so much more settled than ever had been there was a kind of energetic flow you just keep coming back and settling in settling in in the midst of these questions about is it worth it what do i see half
in how do i get it right and just keep coming back to sitting zazen and not know
and there can be the experience of our relationship to pens and it may come by surprise this relationship of interdependency nothing happened to see that everything else in the world they're supporting you to it might be that the knife just license from the care just so
how did that happen or your sensitivity to the way with fresh the skins just slide off a fresh beets right into your hand when they're dipped into ice cold water not five minutes after you pull them on the on them but ten minutes and you just see the relationship between all the elemental for
factors and then the mind opens and sees the relationship to a little bit of smile on the face and a sense of open heart in an interaction changes the way in which he passed the street with someone who you might have otherwise been afraid of
all of those subtle changes become an awareness the rise out of the experience of just improve seven
and then you may notice that this kind of magic happens in your life know these things that you used to just call kind of well that's a this kind of surprising that that happen when that hat that that someone so called me today
that ah
or that i thought that i needed to take care of something and and someone was there and took care of it for me
maley scott who was at a teacher here used to say that the deeper into practice you go the more serendipity there is and that's what i mean during this if there's an awareness of how there's a kind of flow of things that just kind of fall into place to say
well to be but there's a natural kind of harmony and flow of the way that things happen that work that nothing is out of place absolutely nothing
is that of course
and you begin to have some faith in there and some joy some joy because as a force that so much greater so much
sees you know no-one sees but there's something that's happening that you can't see and that it's really all okay and that your job my job is to show up to it to recognize that to take off the filters which is our in
it's ours was then that gives us that helps us that helps us drop away the the
vail from our eyes and see
so dark becomes light and life becomes dark the unknown becomes most beautiful the truth the darkness is the light illuminating our lives the relative that we see the light is revealed in the mysterious that we cannot know
a strange and wondrous faith and this ordinary life is affirmed and we know it to be something so much bigger
and so we keep sitting we keep showing up for zazen keep coming to sessions and it's a good thing that we've had those experiences because i think it's pretty common at some point to have a dry period
what norman fisher calls a dry period
nothing's happening
in our i and nothing seems to happen you get up he do it by road is kind of fruitless
course it's a moons fruitless
but it really doesn't feel like anything is happening
i think in this time it's it's kind of like showing up and going to work everyday and a job that's kind of routine or when your family life has become kind of the same old thing day and they are you just keep doing it because that's where there is to do in at me
moments you can wake up to the question of why am i here what is this and you open out a little bit more widely you put a little bit more energy and connecting and it's not that anything's gonna happen
but you connect with years awesome and i come in i've come to see this kind of time period i think it's like the farm field when it's salamander actually something is happening the dirt is being the mulch the insects are turning
it over thought
debris the earth is breaking down and the bulbs and seeds and there are germinating somehow but we can't see any of that we don't necessarily feel any of it and we don't know what it is that something is going to manifest itself but we just here
he sitting in it we just keep going on and living our lives and it's also in this time period that we recognize you know all these all this light and sense of inner connection it's it's
beautiful and it's real and it it still is one place that we live they couldn't hang out there we can't hang out in the space of emptiness we have to live in kind of the dirt of our everyday lives and i don't mean just what we do bringing the dirt of ourselves the dirt of who he ah
our as a person when we are being human when we're being completely human and i don't mean the human side that's naturally buddha nature i mean the demand side that gets tripped up on its ideas about how things should be what it wants and it
no this time period
maybe marked by a kind of complacency you know how to do things you do them made you have a as you know a senior position and you're you're doing them in your proficiency you've been around for a long time and you you know the show and know it it feels like good and it looks like good and
an okay place to live in or you might be kind of bored bored with what it means that you're doing you're kind of lazy and read your relationship to sauce and all of those things might be going on
and maybe for many of us don't know this is this is actually
i don't know if it's every one i think norman fischer thanks that it's everyone but at least for salvage their sphere
there's a fear that canada
it's like a layer of ice that keeps us from breaking through something else that kind of layer of ice where there's a part of ourselves i think this i do think this is my experiences kind of a layer of ourselves that's really really hard to be intimate with
if it's really hard to come to go down through we don't see it oftentimes you don't see it completely or it's too painful to to see maybe some old experience or maybe just some constellation he knows this
difficult job can't see
so and i think also maybe some of that fears or recognition that there's nowhere to land
no this one there's no perfect life you're going to wind up with
and i see that kind of transformation take place in a lot of the patients and i take care of i work mainly with older people
and i work a lot with people who are very challenging physical conditions or life-threatening diagnoses certainly life changing diagnosis and the people who are able to actually go on living their lives are the people who can completely
accept what's happened and they can completely accept how that has has had a a modifying effect on how they need to leave live their lives but they keep on being themselves with and stop it
so that loneliness to say you know i'm going to have to it's gonna have to be different now
or it's gonna end
it's gonna end or it's not it's never gonna be the life that i thought i was gonna can i have no of only you know tomorrow wake up and give the person i wanted to be right it's never actually gonna be like that and people who can see that say okay so what is it what where am i what am i looking
working with now of the people who actually do
are quite successful the fewer they're able to hang on
whole little
i think this is really for me this is the kind of fear or one of the ways in which this kind of gosh i'm really gonna have to accept things as they are now suzuki roshi after when he said
that it's really all about just accepting it as it is it's very sad versa
so many years ago and i was a newbie to and a longtime practitioner said to me andrea whatever you do don't ever stop sitting zazen
and i didn't really appreciate what he meant but i get it now
i think that no matter what's happening it's not something to get something out of it's not that you necessarily going to notice how much your life is changing
he's talks a western article in they would think that i'll tell you another story i was i was ah recently had a reconciliation with one of my family members who had this only thirteen years ago and this family member asked to be back and touchingly weeks
spoke on the phone and have a wonderful just totally connecting conversation as if no time had passed it off and i and i knew she'd have a little bit about what had happened in my life and these thirteen years and i i said with this is about being honest with each other and connecting i'm saying to myself says that aunt mary
yeah i do you know i think you know that i've been no various very seriously involved with my faith community and that i'm a priest now and she put on her her best accepting voice and said how one wonderful dear i've heard your muscle
some fanatic
and she said you've changed a lot of here in your horse
how you changed your a lot
when something happens

we're not free from our ordinary lives but were actually drawn to be more internet with them into the whole mess of our lives to integrate in with our family our work are outside the gate life the whole mess of our life
that means a radical acceptance and it means accepting all of it all of our limitations
the leg bit shorter than the other are color blindness the families that were born into
all of our limitations that will mean that will always be here and not there
the chronic anxiety are fears that we may have the experiences in our life that cast us in a certain stream of our life the school we went to the one who didn't the personally married instead of the one that we thought we should have
the life that we wound up living instead of the life that we thought we were going to eventually get around to
we have to accept all of it and as we do that and we peel back the layers of the onion of our life and see become more and more internet with the kind of gristle that were made out of and really be willing to digest all of that and access
kept all of it
being big enough in a psychological term means being able to accept all of it and being a success i think means being able to fully accept that were a failure first and then that strong language for some what i mean by that is you have have to come
completely accept your governess the part that is
the part of you that food or that requires another buddha to complete the part of you that is not complete by itself and never actually
are actually only is if you fully recognize that and inhabit it
so we drop our embarrassment and our ideas with what we can and can't do and just be ourselves i think that's why in our practice we always say yes whatever will whatever we're asked to do no matter what it's our practice to just showing up to whatever it
is and saying yes yes i will
except all of it the civil-rights the renunciate of the kind generous compassionate the self protective and judgmental the silly was sexual the serious
mix them all together you mix it all together and i realized well that's the color brown is enough and brown is what the buddha touched when he sat closer and you realize that his life he realized that all of our lives are about this connection
it's accepting all of it and it starts with accepting all of the right here and then it gets really not so hard to accept all of it out there and by accepting all of it i mean being able to connect with
all of it to see all that to bear all of it to know how to respond to all of it
i want to read trying to figure out the timing of this exactly so i
i'm in a finished by reading something at some of corbyn's words so what that means since it's time get real just do it make your bucket list know the yearnings that you have when you were at him the things that you knew were most internet that meant the most
do you
make your list to him now don't wait be yourself
yourself don't be afraid set out on the possibilities
polish your little corner of the world sookie roshi was right polish a little corner of wizard it's not that it's not only enough but actually it's the only thing that we can do
and don't ever stop sitting zazen

so this is a story
cobain's last teaching with a number of his long long time students of course they didn't know what was going to be was less driven rehearses those who don't know he died tragically in sudden one
and it was his distillation of an answer to this question of why do we sit zazen why do we practice yeah
this is what he said in his last talk to them
we sent to make life meaningful
the significance of our life is not experienced and striving to create some perfect thing we must have we start with accepting ourselves
sitting brings us back to actually who and where we are
this can be very painful
self acceptance of the hardest thing to do
if we can't accept ourselves we're living in ignorance the darkest night
we may still be awake but we don't know where we are we cannot see
the mind has no light
practice is this scandal in are very darkest room

so that's what i was gonna say and think there are few minutes for questions
her observations or experiences
celebrations bucket purse
the nails that you a lot this week because i saw this film i am familiar with it occur as how contract year
and after case i have a very powerful film
i find your life

the some issue will you say something about what the films about and how how it moved you i have some very profoundly moving moving to me the navy enough
two from maybe the same way and neighbor them
that's just happy
a young man who goes off to
he expects become a doctor famous wealthy man for his said after
can extremely impoverished area japan and where he encounters
grammy experiences poverty suffer death
any resists driving stubbornly refuses to
participate by long time
he's eventually rock one over his experience
and by is very powerful doctor
i guess found a clinic
anyway just as many as many levels of it
that i think it's just thinking along that
caring for the elves
why does of me
and dying game with them
i'm fat
to me
at one point he said
the doctors don't really know anything it really don't know how they can do this witness
what's happening

the to a certain thing like atmosphere yeah that is very beautiful thank you very much for now everyone can go on and
if not only that it's just extremely beautiful gov

make you with this cock andrea
i'm very taken with your expression the color brown
in and it make a wonderful tide of for book lecture
in round a if we consider the very ill color
and it can also be considered a very rich color because of all that it contains
and maybe it's a wonderful thing that your robes of transmission are brown
beautiful observation our lives can feel like they're very dull and ordinary and mundane and i loved one hand they are but as killing a often take care of people at the very end of their lives and they
it looked like little old lady and little old men where i can even say have a nineteen year old dog nineteen year old dog is very old she doesn't move very fast isn't see very well
she's kind she's really and we ran across someone who had owned her ones recently and that person said that doesn't look anything like meta that's nothing like the dog i that happen
but i know if she's still in there i know that whole life of experience and beauty and complexity of the game was right there and that that's kind of like to say
please i thank you so much luck with your laptop
i was struck by the image of learn as a child i was concerned with very contrary cluster telephone system and i refuse to layer i only wear brown says if possible
brown shoes
i wonder what that was about i to fight for one with nature and was it heals i've been learning in my life and through the process of sometimes very resistant process to practice but i practice and is
to let go of collusion and lives delusions recently it has been that would be difficult to give up drinking wine
and i gave up drinking wine
just to see if now that's true of yacht
and it wasn't difficult as it was like such a reservation and what what it was funny it was being with your hearing
than the ordinary his way of easy
so to me that's part of the practices to allow yourself the guests
we have this constructed that we are what we need what it's supposed to be like you know what's that like just to tell the can do something that you think is
totally off your radar once possible what you're about was right and that it's because it's part of a lot of of social
experience with many of the people that i socialized which it was going to be difficult i was sure but amazingly us it's not worth it
so much is not he congratulations easy
i think that's it
okay thank you very much for your attention