Merit Gathas by Robert Aitken: The Dragon Who Never Sleeps

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Rohatsu Day 4


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the morning
i love the a number of things let him cross my mind since yesterday
i may or may not get to all of him
about a first
i'm like you continue with
hassan talk yesterday and he
hello i gotta that he you that he likes to use could could you say they gotta again
a ip awake
and you use that when
as i established my after
wants to clarify
i want to talk about ah i got us and about first i want to clarify or muddy and natural which
i have a james
a lament
about the
the word a merit do you remember merit
as the foot the merit discretion well ah i've been thinking about married when it means i looked it up actually wikipedia
don't you know
it gave me a headache
about them it's very good actually because clarifies alert that dumb
word marriage with when has always been very important in buddhism ah
it has to do with
when did i say he remains according to my definition the result of an accomplishment
basically if the result of an accomplishment payment
i love it
used throughout the world in every country in every age and ah
and it means different things at different times
as the go on the first call and the booklet record ah
bodhidharma and never will
and emperor wu asked bodhidharma
he says
i have a
supported monks build monasteries and then really lot of good things for buddhism yeah and what about the for that and i i has no merit
so let's go on road
so we'll be careful here
people say yeah there's no merit doing those safely just not so
it's very meritorious work
whatever you do you accomplish something so ah if you do evil you accomplish the merit of eagle right which is painful this
if you do good you accomplish the merit a and it's it's
connected to karma
definitely connected tacoma if you do good deeds you review
attain the merit and good deeds and that's what the course with the emperor was talking about
ah so yes so everybody thinks well yes
what's the problem there
the emperor's june great deal with his treasure is distributing his treasure it was the problem with a problem is that
he thinks she's doing good deeds
for bodhidharma the problem is but at the gives you cancer had the problem is but the to emperor
aware that is doing good deeds or he's he wants to feel that is important
so he's expressing his ego the this good stuff versus know you know but
this is a story and so we have to remember that the story is narrowed down to its essentials
so that you could discuss it but that's not that's not what we could discuss it but i don't want to
it's tainted merit basically
they did merit because the the emperor's is thinking what's the reward
what's the reward so you know in in generosity true generosity is just giving him forgetting
never mind merit
some merit has this problem
problem is
are you aware of the marriage or or are you simply doing what you need to do
and that an american be very tricky thing because if it can ensnare you rebind you
very tempting you can use it for self aggrandisement or you can use it a for all kinds of safe but true merit is no merit
but no merit doesn't mean there's no merit

this is what makes it a nice co on the first one
we own nothing
we actually own nothing
suzuki roshi to say
a these are my glasses but they don't really belong to me somehow they got to be
through through the kindness of people but i'm ah
i don't really own oh man i appreciate you letting me use them and akin roshi went said
predator i use it to write all kinds of stuff
ah and although it doesn't really belong to me
i want to use it they don't want you to take it
it's mine in the sense of i need a needed to work so so
this is a really good in buddhism in a in all
history buddhism and and various schools of buddhism and thought of in various ways
and we we also have it in our zen practice
in the a
southern buddhism
and a lot actually japan china to it it's a sit in the sense merit pledges collected your good deeds is offered to your family your deceased family members because after they die
according to this understanding
they need help
after they die and so the merit
of your actions helps your family members and as you offered to them it's called transference of merit your good deeds
i support for their after
coming rebirth to actually
attain buddhahood
for that story in zen practice in our practice we've inherited several
several gutters that refer to this we say as a merit of this practice
pervade everywhere
so that's interesting because it actually means the marriage of this chanting i chased it to this practice
we don't chant
click to
to transfer merit
we hope that if there is any merit to this practice that was the shared with the whole universe that any specific person or group or relative or anything about simply
so ah
we don't keep it for ourself as the self aggrandizement but
quickly get relevance and that we we don't get burdened by it but it's a ours or expression of a whatever we're doing we offer it to the world basically gutted it means it's are offering on practices are offering
ah in typically in version
the monks are supported by the light people
the monastic monks for by liberals milk has nothing no money three bulge in a robe and sewing kit and water bottle
and everything is given a if am
if people don't want to support you than you just simply die of hunger and thirst
that's the plan
so and might you do it for their shake because that's your payment for that your payment for the supporting you
are you your practice has to be virtuous and the virtue of your practice is what you're offering to everyone that's called
so we say this in our meal chat made the merit of is know we say i'm do we deserve
how do we say that
yes do we deserve it
does my practice deserve this offering because you know we pay for our meals before doing sixteen
but nevertheless
the ah
the cook for the shopper to all that effort that goes into making our meals is served to us as much when we're even overlay people
nevertheless were at when we should love and like this in the than they were monks i didn't say where priests were monks were all the same priests and lay people other thing in the when we're doing this so
any merit as a crude
we offer to the universe or to and to those people who support us
ah so the amongst the ship and simply supported through there
virtuous practice and so you basically bringing virtue into the world as you offering
and your offer an n the merit accrued from that is offered to the people that are supporting you and to everyone had an ill
you know we have siddiqi which is our halloween you know it's a
the practice of a placating the hungry ghosts
which we all are
the and as and same but i'm in japan is cause for gawky
and a hungry ghost but it refers actually to their relatives to ceremony for for their relatives and so it can change to gp which means more universal not any specific people that are up that we
from a that the marriage is offered to
a mover and professional era when i was in japan and the professor naira who wonderful guy he was at one time ahead of the the president luiz gonzaga university and he understood as very well and he said it should be said cheeky not
forgotten because the japanese people are very much
oriented toward the ancestors
it's a kind of ancestor worship but for us it's not for us is to be subjective which means more
offering a universally without any intentions
so offer universal university the any intentions or without leave a feeling of
we owned
ah any merit but simply whatever it is that if there is produced by our practice is offered to the world we can't retain anything
we retain nothing
so that's kind of meeting a merit
my understanding

so i am one more thing to say about that there is that he was kinshasa
i'm a monk asked ganesha was
well known master in china downtown street
and the question came up what
what do you do with a mirror
and can just you smash it into a thousand pieces
show mirror here means something like
what do you do with when you are enlightened
when you have enlightenment
and you should smash smashed into a thousand pieces
me and each piece reflects though the whole
but just kind a net of indra each piece ah
each not of the the net
is like an eye which reflects on the other eyes but this is like
enlightenment is your merit
for you practice from your breakfast so what you do you smash the mirror another would you give it all away
we'll tell you about this yesterday i think
i remember talking about is packed with where and when ah
if your enlightenment who i am right away you don't hold onto anything even your a enlightenment
it's like
when you
if your gardener
your work is to work the ground
and the with you work the ground in supports the flowers
but you will the flowers away
you don't keep the flowers for yourself you give them our way and you retained nothing even your enlightenment
you just started over over again every moment
this is true enlightenment this is art
ah ah true true enlightenment people will run bragging about the enlightenment is that delusion
jul enlightenment is no enlightenment

no i go
laughing to keep guess
and the more you have more there's nothing to keep for more there comes
the more you give away tomorrow comes
when you have a rosebush you trim it down there is a garlic pizza dancer so far you know you're gonna run the rosa but it's actually a freeze the rosebush and then the rosebush flourishes that's the nature of roses
yet to come our way down and then they flourish that's like that
photo thumbs
it was gutters they are to as as i said yesterday has a young
a long history we we have lots of gutters that we am
use i'm remember back in their sixties we had this little book
gutters you may have seen it i think something about it
and the and would if you go to a haiti that you see the the much would they go to the bathroom they have a gotta for brushing their teeth and brush and a data for going to the toilet in all these things
and this is a gotta call after you wake up
you wake up this morning
as i wake i vow the all sentient beings to attain awakening to everything without throwing up the world
so this is a good gutter for a monk
because it's easy to
get so involved you know in your monkish practice that you forget about the world
so subtle than very
this is very important part of our vin practices
ah not to forget that we're living in the world and where our practice is actually to help people in the world even lower it were secluded secluded is like you up on top of the mountain
and it's where you gather yourself and gather your understanding and practice
in any kind of isolation
then you come down the mountain
and show yourself with the world
to this is two aspects of practice
when you come when we come to the sheen this is up the mountain top of the mountain that at the end we go out into the world that's the other side practice and daily we do the same thing when we set it doesn't weep
isolate herself from the world and there will be stand up we go back into the world if you're physique or she's very adamant about
you know ways to sufficient in some people would wanna we'd get down off the town and start doing kill him
and ah somebody would just keep city like new guys after good in but i can just stay there forever because i'm concerned student but you should get off the time when we meet with zazzle we all desire then when we get off the time we are to kill him
you don't know to some special
heroic practice by yourself well

and in a monastery
get everybody the weapons the somebody reads the builder but he gets up because she's zendo
and sometimes people will get up an hour earlier he said when we get up we all get up at the same time
so the teaching is the teaching of amid all this meritorious in a sense you know a doing something extra that he should we don't do something extra we learn how this is how we learn how to let go of our ego
extra stuff can be egotistical
we don't know arrigo
until we come up against practice test what's so wonderful about our practice in so difficult that's that's the difficulty in practice is our ah

this verse of the cancer which we do every morning before you put their robin
and i resurrected this
that damn we used to say it touched her
police the says gotta when we had tea
now as i take food and drink and well with all sentient beings to partake with the pleasure of then and to fully enjoy the dharma
and then at the end of key we used to say now i have taken food and drink and vow loss and she begs to be full of pure practice and filled with a ten powers
there are various lists ten powers but i don't want to go into them
we talk about him sometime
then there's a verse of the bath as i bathe his body i vow all sentient beings to watch from body and mind out as to confusion and feel healthy and clean within and without
actually this is if you ever went to zahra i've been to an to the baths when you walk in there is an altar and then there's a picture of that sixteen body shot was in the bath and an innocent little saying which is this

probably could be that could be that when i have the picture of the of the sixteen body surface in the bath in my bedroom here
as i

yeah i was gonna read that to you but
they got me that's good i thank you it's great that you could remember that i don't remember anything
like you
and then we have the luggage on opening the sutra or the girl
one will wear
to a lecture format and before bed tonight before i sleep i vows all sentient beings to still all things and declared the mind of confusion
that's very good
i have to say can i do that but i don't do it on purpose when i go to sleep i just go
by the way i don't know why
luck is pure luck
so here are some a rubber they can roll
in times past and of akin roshi and offer take no harm
images of i'm writing gutters you know we'd have a kind of class and will also downright gutters you know which was fun unfortunately unfortunately
the that can it it's there and then color fades off you know if if we were doing if it was
an assistant will probably remember to do that
but i can read you some of akin r-mo shoes
and one start with

he says waking up in the molding i vow was all beings to listen to those whom i love especially those those things they don't say
yeah after them
ah awareness and intuition about what's going on with another person very important
how we read people you know words will convey something but actually to read the meaning behind the words
and the meaning of no words

i'm so preparing to enter the shower
i felt the obese
to cleanse his body of buddha and go naked into the world that's pretty get it like fresh everything's gone
that's a hard to do carry stuff around in the in the
a ordination ceremony you know if we confess our we don't really confess our transgressions but we acknowledge our karma
and let me say no you are free of all your cover and then we don't get right back into it was before obama or for it

so this one is about bells which i like to
it isn't
i forgot i want to write some guidelines about bells because i'm so you know fuzzy
and i have a hot a bus i'm really fussy about it as a college guys you know
but sounding a bell it's a temple i vow with all things to ring as true in each moment mellow steady and claire
steady and clear
i remember
suzuki roshi talked about this
i'm a master who has a little boy lived with his father and his father couldn't take care of him so he turned him over to the a monastery and may be thirteen or fourteen and that's what people used to them
the monsters had lot of orphan boys you know and they bought 'em up kind of isn't like much and dumb
ah listen they will ask you to ring the bells when do you go to the monastery
he thought about that
and then a true enough he was asked to ring the bells and the m
the abbot was talking with is
and he heard the bell and he said that's an unusually wonderful sound of the bell
i like you to go and see who's who rang that bell
he's attendant went out and than they look oily brought him back to the
abbott and davidson
that's was a wonderful bell what were you thinking when you rang the bell and
the boy should well my when my father had said that i was gonna have to ring the bells he said every time you ring a bell you produce a buddha this is what should be in your mind when you ring the bell
that's actually true story
so i would like all of you when you ring the bell to
i how can i
producer buddha
not now it's time for something dig
change the subject thing
oh well as how can you produce most beautiful sound every single time that you should be thinking
how it doesn't matter whether and termina it doesn't matter whether it's in time or not
but if you ring beautiful bells they will be in time
more likely than when you're trying to read them in time
so the bells like you know that bells made by hand they both are they're not just manufactured by pouring into a mold
and then they have certain qualities which should be brought out how do you bring out the inherent qualities of the voice of the bell does the voice in there waiting to be sounded and how you bring out of the most beautiful part of that voice definitely should be
talking about
not just ding dang dong
bol lands are capable of doing that to build the voices there
in a little do know wow wow wow more to the difference between the two sounds too basic sounds in each bill one is the sound of the beater hitting the bell and then the sound has produced closer to sounds what you want air
the sound is produced
and a minimum of the sound of the bill of the beater hitting the bell
often just that the beater heading the bell is most dominant as if edna the voice isabel is
harden there
so while we heard bang bang
that's the sound of the
well to of the voice is bom bom
we here at once in while we heard is like insistence outages produced but as no sound of the beater hitting the bell
the that's what them
the impossible task
the fifth
there's another one sounding a bell of the temple i vow are beings to remember i'm reading the dharma for the saga and of all who can hear
with the sound of the temple bell i vow with all beings to offer my skull as a bill in the echoing your cousins
what's really important lesson is to think of the bill as a your own head
or as the head of your lover
depending on how you're feeling about your love

your new lover
that was you have inquired with yet
no coyly
so how are you treat somebody how do you treat your own head
ah beginning our such service i vowed all beings to join my voice with our voices and give life to each word as it comes
thank you

oh when joining others for sharing
i are being to give my report on the whether that's your weather report
the her

oh alexander meeting for business i felt all beings to drop my plan in the chopper and let the process evolve
that's me the garden it is
for akin russia's understanding of these cutoff is that there every day gutters about everyday life about all have our activities are not just special gotta have so to speak but everything special
everything we do has a special and not and not special
oh i have a note here that somebody gave me many years ago i just found in here it says
the phrase nothing special
keeps coming up for me could you please talk about it it's meaning or meanings thank you
suzuki roshi use the term nothing special all the time
there was a met with match cover when time in a desert
ah words
i have to pair for instance that it can't remember exactly but i'm brilliant splendor something like that is nothing special it was a kind of caught a matchbook that guy came from somebody who heard something but from suzuki roshi
so everything is very special and nothing is special everything everything will do the appears and disappears there is nothing special but at the same time every that appearances special well it's here so we should treat every
that a special but with great respect
not everything is special
this is soto zen practice

when i was when suzuki roshi
we said we were hell of a number of people shitting your circle and somebody had given him a present of way i think it was a cop and he helped a cup
well aware of it was my turn now i was looking at the cup in the past the cup around and i was like the illicit know is it hot down here hold it another damning don't hold it up here
cause you wanna be careful that it if it fell you wouldn't want to be responsible
to say you would not want wanted to fall
if his teaching was that you should always find the most stable position
when you're doing something to find the most stable of visit when you serving and you're observing the people on the floor if she got down on your knees you shouldn't squat because if you glad somebody come i'm just push you over right
you're bouncing on you've be in use cloning and
find that the most stable position of time because everything is constantly changing
and it falling out of balance and regaining his balance so in regaining your balance you should always find the most stable position
don't fall down
we know
when i asked my fall to the server i and i have to do my stop this is required stability and
i relied like that of now
we are challenged to that more than sitting and standing why there's so many places in in when you're being served and in serving that requires stability that's a great place to practice survey easy it is a great
practice activity so will we get our balls
we don't
hold him up here we put him down how that
when the other person's being served or when we're being served
you like a shit especially being so and then you being so and then you get your
your ball filled and you're waiting for the other person and you hold him in your lap not up here
so this is a visit the fundamental position where you won't drop everything and you have since this is a kata point between
your legs in your body
so stability is all down here
and this is all balance
so we're always thinking about it whenever you move or do something you always review you where where's the stability here and the balance here all the time that's a practice and the practices of stability so if you think about all out of the movements that we
make when we're actually doing
receiving mail and serving the meal you know when we serve the meal
with a step forward and hold the the part out
an overbearing
we don't hold it at or under our nose you know but we we hold it out and you find your balance by there
so and then
all this is like what is my balance on observing my leaning too far over and
so and she's a girl she taught us this
and his movements and in his ah
resuming their own a balance in oliver actions

i'm kimberley a i cannot go through this whole book but this is a good example

so i will suggest
if you have some
something you really wanna remember to do to make a gotta
and look at it every day you know it's a great practice the here's an here's a guy to that i just gotta wrote down
as i crossed my legs reserves in i vote as sit with warm feet and cool head
that's the other that's also am
a balancing
a prescription alice is a a
a sort of than practice
cool head and warm feet
one feet means i don't know hundred at and i can explain it you don't understand already
won't read and cool head