Radical Acceptance

Audio loading...

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

Auto-Generated Transcript

so in fact yesterday i was up in sacramento
when i was celebrating the birthday of my longtime very best friend
and sometime in the afternoon she and i were talking a little bit of that a question that i had had a head about how to best support sojourn general she during these years fifty years of being plus kind of loud as little worm yes if you fail to fifty years of
being engaged in so many different aspects of
oh maintaining our temple is a long time ah of consistent practice and i've been thinking about ways that i could support him
and be of some help as he is a different to do the same job after you've been doing it fifty years than what it is when you're fifty years younger
anyway we have that conversation and about an hour or so later i got an email on my iphone please call me much to my surprise from sodium roshi and i called him back and he said i have a terrible cold would you do the talk tomorrow
and knowing that i wouldn't be home until quite late and not have my usual long period of time to study and prepare i hesitated
called him back and said yes
so here i am you never know what it is that the answer to your question is gonna be
and that's kind of the topic of the talk actually
so as i was thinking about about this he knows talks i think or maybe at their best or or zen talks because they come really out of our experience of going to talk about what's really been on my mind for the last a period of time it
it's not done yet it's not thoroughly digested to work in progress
ah it's impromptu
it's of this particular moment sitting here in front of you of the things that have been on my mind and it's one facet of the topic of radical acceptance
i realized radical acceptance in some ways as a distilled version of mahayana of a four noble truths i thought they could actually be three novel truce that there is suffering inherent in the human condition
and ah that
jeans i just lost number two
suffering is virtually no no no it's different
the it it's it's own twist he knows it's kind of emptiness twist
but the love that the solution to an o number two of this three is
things are what they are
things just aren't what they are
and ah the anecdote or the medicine is to thoroughly accept that
so that's what i'm gonna talk about
ah the problem if you will the suffering is ah how we resist things as they are
we want them a certain one
when i was lay ordained a long time ago when i really didn't have much idea about what this particular practice was i wrote a poem i don't write poems very often this one just appeared out of nowhere
now and it has more meaning for me now than when i wrote it it goes rock and air this mountain seat has no place for this burning
boat to reach
no place for this burning boat to reach
i think that's what this is about
we all find that we have circumstances that we don't like very much some basic on satisfactory ness of life
what we want you know what we want that we don't get basically it's not the way we like it
and sometimes they stick with us for a while i have spent many a long tour of on retrieved thirty days or more than once
a recounting over and over ago again some slight the ah i had had we'd probably have all had that experience and associate or visiting our own minds with a friend of boss or co-worker something that didn't go our way
where we didn't feel was right
a break up something like that and usually those get resolved over time they don't stick and we move on something else replaces that want
ah something else grabs our attention
but occasionally there are really big ones
and what i mean by big ones is it really comes the core of the way that we have constructed our lives
and ah that might be something that you've experienced in your life maybe it's the unexpected breakup of a marriage
or ah the loss for a home to a fire
in my case recently in part of what is kind of cracking this topic open for me in a different deeper level as a kind of trivial and a certain way but it's something that's affected a number of us in this room i think which is of the way and watch the world has changed and
and ah i constructed my wife very carefully to avoid the insecurities
of ah that my parents faced financially and for the security of their home i did that by getting a profession where i knew i could take care of myself and embed myself in the middle class
and ah
it's different now isn't it
as i look for a new home
i find that being
here in a way as not as easy as i thought it was gonna be and being able to retire and how the kind of wife i had hoped for and maybe buy some constructs and entitled to
if you will class entitlement that also i've done good work with my life and been frugal anyway on and on it's a story line the point is there was a self that was constructed very solidly around that and now that's not true it for now
no fault of well we can't say that that was just say now it's not true
and when i realized that
the barrier you know the safety net but also certain kind of impermeability between me and the rest of human existence
has dissolved
a kind of invulnerability has dissolved in a profound way
and that's obviously painful and i'll say been a few nights in the middle of the night where and spin off anxiety producing
and in other ways it's so
and so alive and so real
and that's the kind of interesting place that i've been working at
so when
these kinds of circumstances come into our lives whether it's something relatively small that will pass like a slight break up the loss of the job the one it's gonna mean it can't pay the mortgage but even those kinds of changed
usually we experienced it in the body we experienced as of physical sensation
a tightness the constriction and overwhelming sensation of anxiety fear anger compulsion but it's a physical sensation first and one of the first places to live are open to it is to be really willing to
bear the discomfort of that disquiet
can be willing to really completely settle and be present to it in the body
being in the body the mind and quiet
the story lines become clear in story lines story lines of who i am in this situation what my attachment if you will to it is how i construct myself around it and it because
comes more and more subtle over time i think you open more deeply the level of ah willingness i have now is quite different level of willingness i had sixteen years ago and both of my parents died back to back and i was in transitions and g
job and living place that was a completely different kind of experience than me in one person's but the insight into my place in the world if you will
why i'm
complete grounded ah
some the world is quite different
this time past time period like i said i've had some sometimes of being really quite over the top and more neurotic than i thought i was still capable of being it's very humbling
and as my dharma sister lori to knock he said to me she said well under the right conditions anything is possible
we never escape that day
so one of the beauty is about being under the right conditions no matter what you know the than anything being possible under the right conditions is that ah
it's a natural part of living
it's a natural part of ah being in the flow of the unfolding of things of being a part of all the causes and conditions that come together and a person's life at any moment
and that's natural natural organic it's ah it's real
and that's a very whole and wholesome and grounded place to be
that rock and air is not that mountain see isn't some dharma idea guess how to live your life is the ground that you stand on when there is the ground is always moving
so many of you to hear now the story of chiesa to gummy the stroke he said a gummy and the mustard seed
she was a lay a woman not a particularly privileged person who was are given to an arranged marriage that was a very unhappy arranged marriage she herself was not a particularly come layer desirable person
and at some point she had a son
and having a son changed her life not only because of being a mother and how transformative that can be first for many women
but also because it gave her some status and ease within her family structure
and then that child died
and she couldn't accept it she couldn't believe it she wailed and sobbed and carried her child around going to all of her neighbors and le village that she lived in begging people for the medicine to cure her there must be something to bring my
child back to life
and all that came to her was mockery for ah her stupidity of not seeing that this child was dead in her arms
if someone taking pity on her suggested that should go talk to the buddha
and the buddha said to her i have medicine for you but first i need a mustard seed now mustard seed is the cheapest of spices and in here every house hasn't he says go and find a home where you can
yeah get me a mustard seed but do it from a home where there has not been loss
well you know what happens when the story them she knocks on every door and everyone says yes we have mustard seeds you can have them but of course someone here has died
and in that recognition she had a transformation
she understood her life as part of a human web of the natural coming going of things
now wanna say in that too
it's natural for us to feel profound he likes
ah a few years ago my dharma sister sue oh and i were walking up and tell him park when anatomy to whip snake
captured a up a little baby mouse
and i was gonna swallow it suffocating in a joke it and swallow and the mother kept coming out onto the trail screaming
an instinctual cry don't think she cared that she wouldn't have status anymore and she didn't have
an idea about that child and who then
child and what his life would be
it was an extinction or response and that to is completely human it's completely mammalian to have that kind of suffering
it's part of how we are who we are and how we make our relationships in the world
everything arises and everything passes away everything is turned and the wheel of living and dying
everything is turned the wheel of change
i think we feel at most when we have a profound loss of a loved one particularly a child particularly suddenly or under threat tragic or unexpected or violent
a faxes we all here have experienced in recent months
or in our own bodies the diagnosis for his sudden catastrophic illness or a declined and are a sit at our ability and our recognition that we don't go on forever and we don't continue to same form
radical acceptance is the i think it is the emptiness teachings of the mahayana school to see that everything changes and is shaped by causes and conditions outside of our control
not just a product of our volitional action or karma
and that these causes and conditions are neutral
they don't have a moral valence they're not personal they're not divine for us were intended to get us
i'm not touching on karma and this talks so i'll just say it's not that that doesn't have a role it's not what i'm focusing on
no wanna give you a couple of examples again out of my own life you know we can all think of the randomness of violent acts
the bombs dropping for your house being of a way of the open fire flames
i walked onto the pound that's how i spend my time and i recently got trained to walk the red dot dogs the red dog dog to the toughest dogs and the pound the ones who are ah have more problematic behavior
and when i was trained the the volunteer coordinator said at ah i noticed someone hadn't been walked in she said that's because that dog's gonna be euthanized soon i hadn't the year i've been at the pound i haven't the shelter to public shell
three may take every one euthanasia rate very low and i haven't been involved with that
i walked her any way you know and i found her to be a really
remarkably smart
easeus dog on a leash i walk there
very responsive
and when i went back and talk to ask why
i and i saw her walk in and out of the candle i could see why
that for her being a dog around other dogs and a closed space brought out her most aggressive behavior around other dogs it being in the pound
and not being able it to be adopted into a single dog family that knew how to work with the dog like that was a death sentence
and if she had wound up in some none of situation under some other conditions this perfectly
joyful sweet
lovely dog would still be here
causes and conditions wrong place wrong time wrong set of circumstances it's like some of us have personalities are skills that make us successful in life and some of us not so much
that are of value
it's not a matter of value everything is of equal value
some just fit in more with what works in society and others less
we do of course have our own causes and conditions that kind of tendency we have to look backwards sometimes at all my mistakes my life would be like this if only i hadn't
if one i had
passionately an idealistic lee locked up ah the rental house i'd lived in an albany for ten years and my landlord offered to sell it to me below market
i be retired now
and not able to give you this talk
but i was who i was passionately i had for years wanting to want to go back and
finish up something that i felt like i needed to that's who i was at the time can't have regrets about that
it can't they can't regret who i am
it is what was what made sense of the time
we do have our own causes and conditions in our own life we also have a certain certain form and life force with which we work a certain form were male or female whereof a certain racial background we grow up in certain circumstances
we have certain dispositions the buddha himself stuck there are certain things you can't change that are outside of karma and some of it is your disposition
one huge opening for me was a little over a year ago
i found on information about my birth mother who had died never met her she never wanted to do that i knew some facts about her and my birth father but i actually didn't know so much about her other than what i could infer found one of her good friends who had a copy of a
biography her husband had written about her that had many many pictures
and a few stories
the pictures were indistinguishable from me if you look in my photo albums and you look at her as the only differences the dress a little bit the haircut but not even that so much really quite stunning and i knew from the expression on her face in a little bit of the story that a lot of my prom
albums and personality and i got from her actually and there was something about that that was marvelously frame
it's not a fatal flaw you know it's not something i did warn that i should be able to correct it's the way it is a red rose as a red rose
you know
a daisy as a daisy not good not bad it is what indians

so each
it's human to suffer dissatisfaction with things as they are it's as natural as a mouse crying for its offspring it is the source of compassion and i would say it as a source of impersonal joy to really understand and accept the wheel
of life that we live on
what happens is that anxiety gives way to com
helplessness gives way to stability
outrage gives way to clarity in action
we radically accept who we are in our life
we radically accept ourselves
i think we become more intimately in touch with our inmost request that yearning for the truth of great satisfaction in our lives and we have confidence in it because we know who we are
we have competent in a in it to lead us even under the most radically of difficult situations
i'm thinking of the lovely article oliver sacks wrote in the opinion section of the times about two weeks ago
i'm also thinking of all the people whose lives i get to touch over the last years before their death and for how all of them are almost all of them there's some increasing burden of illness and disability that for ah
rob them of being the person
doing the activities having the ease and activities and independence than they used to have and yet so many of them find a way to continue to be themselves their core
there are very essence
what is your essence
what is it the defines your life and gives it meaning
i think this was buddha's enlightenment action
how causes and conditions impermeable impersonally create this moment and how our perception is the coming together and passing away of our own sense perceptions of it and to see it as that for what it is supported by the whole world he know he
touched the ground
i together with all beings wake up
i just want to say a word of what radical acceptance is not it's not an acquiescence
it's not an acquiescence to circumstance it's not an acceptance of what is in just cruel or harmful
it is seeing conditions and circumstances which arise
and the humanity
humanity the suffering the naturalness of it and it's out of that clarity find a place to act to not make it personable but to respond to a wholesome energy of your in most request to action
rock and air this mountain seat
this burning boat has no sure to reach
thank you very much for listening
yeah we have
some time for your experiences and thoughts
before we go out for tea and cookies
yeah produced so much for will be to see your per
it's always beautiful see because you're so open you share so much bother you walk i find myself in that
rob ears for each other events
what the things that we're doing is trying to tag huge focus i'm really might be helped
what we do
help and i find that question to to kind of be on the heels of everything that i felt and do if he was withdrew one what would you do you frame so nicely both ends of radical acceptance that abuse suit
just see this is what's around me and this is who i am but also saying no
not this i was having a conversation with someone yesterday about how to jump start the conversation about social justice souter
in the question she asked me she said one thing happened to social justice where she decried as as a term right should that's just so lepers bourgeoisie it was like okay whatever the ideal match
oh the idea was how do we awaken people to the possibility of how we participate in each other's lives of who are we in community support each other in in being here now and your frame that for me so so with such
beauty and with such grace i am so grateful to get to know who you are there i was here always making you have thinking from your friendship and for your ah
your ongoing effort know you're sincere examination with your life and how you bring back to other people your question bat your internal questions with questions back to them
thank you
really talk i wondered if you can say a little bit more that radical acceptance
in know he talks a little bit about how are they haven't that were faced with is sometimes it manifests in not getting what you want to get something you don't want
but i wanted to say something about radical acceptance of respect wanting few respective know apart from not getting their good night
how's radical acceptance transformative nephew
great question i focused on ah
what i what i was port trying to point to any way about
the experience of the mouse
and loss being wholesome and normal and complete by itself nothing to be done about that that just is what it is grief just is what it is it's a human experience though
just is what it is it's a part of being a human being to ah aspire
top i would say i haven't examined the to have desires
even to have things that you don't need but you want
getting caught up on meeting the habit and have a certain way as where we suffer but the experience of just wanting know
accepting wanting i think is the issue
an accepting not being able to have you seen a ship
is my favorite talk of years of overhaul leaders have heard that navy so that you do with the fun today and shortest over there is of that the call
so roses arose and or ross is a roth
and i regret my grandmother is that when people watch
ross to be a ralph
for a luxury and hobbies as a death what how do you reflect on your own life is where you sit back turn it is such a way that you can naturally express something the that if the needs of others
rs while still maintaining your own put a view your own integrity grow history
complicated question and away has a couple of aspects that i hear in it you know
if ross has a question about whether he should be a ralph he knows there's something in that person's wanting me to be a ralph that's instructive for me that is there some information i may not be seeing is being reflected to me that's the first
aspect that i'd look out if i'm completely comfortable with being a ross if i know or an andrea i know myself really well i know the places where i tend to mess up and get in the way and ah i accept them
that doesn't tend to bother people so much or it just is what it is and it doesn't bother me it doesn't raise the question because i i know you now i'll always be irritating that way to certain kinds of people because it just it just is
yeah yeah yeah walter
it is
joyful mind before or after this radical acceptance

i'm neither
what's your experience or kind of congestion new the question
hi i'm wanting to understand where your question more about where your question is coming back and ask new question
joyful mine in my experiences grace
before after
it's available any time
but it's probably more accessible
as one accepts one's life more
yes please come as it too
so say or ask something ah well i seen in my life that's odd
it's not as a
dramatic whenever there are points where you know the the person i thought i was going to be used that's not going to happen
then the it's sort of distressing but also as used to be freeing that you can't push yourself along that path so it's like somehow everything else
so opens up panda
who says that the acceptance you seem to be talking about it's not a is not an action is not something like this is okay with me now it's a it's a letting go of what you had grabbed onto before
it's not some people will do so much as relax from
the that's a that's a wonderful way of putting it to relax from i think the the it's a deep accepting of yourself and circumstances yeah
so so angry he left us in detail of the mouse and the snake
a key point and that one with a little mouse it did you guy saved a little garrison he grew up to the and healthy
that's a really important point is that there are happy endings
for the mouse
somebody i asked to out
no danger to third they're endangered species as though they probably have a happier ending of short term
yeah there's no hot there's no ah
just because i've done everything right it's gonna turn out okay this this movie was not made in hollywood
my question is you mentioned something very personal on your life not try to stay at last says no
circumstances are the question is we put a lot of our identity into strike for something
that seems to me that accepting
how things actually are
can can take away from that identity and also take away from that strike which it away when i think about the things that i strive for i want to strike
someone or you could just speak about well you know that's that's
oh that's an interesting question i think when i was talking about this sense of yearning one how's that
it's a whole some kind of striving if you will it's the striving without an egotistical effort that one needs to have a particular outcome that
i don't need to have a particular outcome that i have in mind in order to be okay in my life
it's an absence of that but what it is is
following something for its own good for your own call relationship to it for your own life force draw to it
it's like when we're young we do things we love to do i love to play softball there's nothing that made me happier than throw on a softball and i was a teenager i didn't do that because it was good i didn't do that for for anything other than a chest was left made me
so we can live our lives that were fortunate enough to be able to live our lives drawn from that to that life force him and i were out of time i can't tell you another story about one of my patients who just exemplifies that to the the fullest but there's clearly
attach terminating something for her life to be okay
thank you all very much for your to