Shelterless Shelter

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good morning i'm very happy to introduce today's speaker evolution andrea thatch who is a as and priest ordained by surgeon roshi and a long time gcc practitioner she was she sell in two thousand and nine nice
and of she is also a physician at the over sixty health clinic is part of lifelong medical care i also know her to be on a great lover of the earth and of animals and a person with an extremely mischievous edgy and very funny sense of humor we'll see what manifests itself think it reaches if if
thank you kristen
good morning
it's a perfectly beautiful morning to be sitting here together practicing the dharma
this is the first week of our fall practice period we have a small fall practice period in which this year we're studying the sodas and chance that are typically done in in american temples using a commentary by chicago or governor book called living by val
and along the theme of exploring one of these i'm going to be talking today about refuge and taking refuge
as i've been ah
and the title of this talk is something like shelter lists shelter
as i've been preparing for this talk and just over the last ten days or so i have found that i've been a very much in the presence in the teaching of yoga and steve stookey who is one of the abbot's at san francisco zen center and as some of you know he was die
i've noticed recently just a couple of weeks ago with advanced cancer
steve is a big boned
big guy who grew up in kansas is a farmer who followed up the wheat harvest up through the midwest every year when he was a kid he was the person who ran the horse plowed green gulch farm when they first opened and he
some of us who did the practice period with him a couple of years ago have memories of him riding his bicycle at full speed up the steep are unpaved road out of tassajara steve's larger than life in a certain way and i would say in the our full july harvest of his dharma wisdom
has been
sad for many of us
still gave a talk laugh about ten days ago in which he talked about gratitude and i found that what he had to say had a lot of residents with what i was working with as i was thinking about this talk
steve says that he wakes up every morning and he gives gratitude he doesn't know what for as he doesn't know what the day's gonna bring but he just expresses his gratitude
and he said
i guess today it's cancer that i'm grateful for
the foundation of our teaching is that touches that everything touches our life is our life and nothing can be excluded
steve spoke about health is wholeness and indeed wholeness means that we keep everything
when we take refuge we accept everything is buddha dharma and sangha even the ending of life
so if you hear nothing else in this talk
think you've heard the main message and steve's teaching there
when lori and i were talking about him a little bit she said you know it's such a crap shoot you don't know what's gonna happen doesn't depend on whether he did something good or bad things just happen in life you don't know
and i think we have to take refuge as a result of that not because bad things can happen and we need some kind of protection but because is laurie said you'd better know where you stand
you'd better know where you stand
so that's my introduction
now we're a weekend of the practice has been really wonderful to hear different ones to the senior students talk about the relationship with the forms or chanting or the robe shan't particular to have conversations because i understood we all understand that we have different relationship to ah
to the forms as we practice them and that they mature over time that they've changed and how we started are some resistance sir
relationship that we had has metamorphosed sized and i chose to speak about refuge because it's actually been something that has been quite difficult for me it's a little embarrassing to say as a priest that i haven't really felt comfortable with the notion of taking refuge until fairly recently so that's why i wanted to see
speak about it
we the refuges are very simple we say i take refuge in to the i take refuge in sanga excuse me i take refuge in dharma and i take refuge in sanga and we take the refuges whenever we do a ceremony of any kind we did it today before the meal
chant we do it in the body bodhisattva the ceremony every month we do it with our precepts where we received precepts see there's a lay practitioners of we also do it at the end of the sheen the first time ever heard the refuges i have been just started for possono practice
and the positive practice you sit very silently for the entire day there's not a now so maybe there's a dharma talk but there's really no other noise and the practices vary internal so there's not a lot of our relationship that's that's manifesting your minds fairly quiet we all stand up
the end and we chant the beautiful poly chance boulogne sur sorry long got ah yi dong on saw on god's on me
song on so long got on me and the feeling of that first night ever when i stood up and heard those chance said those chance for the first time the still with me

blanche hartman says that the foundation of our life is practitioners in buddhism is fit our faith valve and practice practice was kind of obvious is the fuel the sun the water the soil that grows our faith it's a necessary
sorry condition that makes the accident of enlightenment more possible
wow is something i think there's a little easier for us to relate to bow usually perhaps as an intention how we start to come to practice an aspiration as it matures into something that we hold for wish for and practice and eventually i think a kind of attitude way in which
we enter a life and it fuels the activity of our life vow is choosing to enact positive karma
the face side is maybe a little bit more difficult to to understand that this is a part of practice but i i understand faith to be the heart of taking refuge
and i'll come back to that at the end of the talk
i also see refuges kind of the flip side of valve
we're studying the book living by valid just seemed obvious to focus their of second
i think of bow you bow is a the great activity that we see it's the bodhisattva activity that we want a manifest but i see refuges kind of the man behind the curtain and the wizard of oz it's what really really
fuels or allows us to manifest our vow and i am coming to find that the strength of wow that is the ability to fulfill these decidedly impossible vows is related to how i take refuge and by that i mean to the sincerity of my surrender of my egoistic
so the greater to the greater the extent that i can actually ah
release into accepting taking refuge and buddha dharma and sangha the more i can come forward in ah selfish selfless activity to be of help when of touch on that again little bit and in a minute
indeed the second dogan century said that the essence of the true transmission of buddha dharma is in taking refuge in the triple treasure
it's the foundation of the precepts and how we live our lives actually how our life naturally manifest when we're in harmony with it so that means that everything we do here in the zendo all the forms that were studying how we chant bow eat together sit sauce an hour listening to luck
sure right now everything is taking refuge
it also means that everything we do in everyday life is taking refuge being sick since i was recently returning home returning back to work from a vacation and finding a condolence card to sign with the name of a patient i was very close to surprise
that's taking refuge
i was doing the laundry
we think of refuge a place to run to but refuge is not running to or away from anything it's not looking for a place to hide as from bad weather or wild geese
when we have the wake up call by that i mean we all are here because worse looking to make our lives better in some way were suffering or were uncomfortable or we know that what we were chasing after with is not it or maybe we look around us
and we say you know what's going the way society normally works it's not where i find my meaning and when we start to pursue that we really recognize that there is no place to hide there's only more to be revealed more light to shine even if that reveal
meals are dark sides
the word we translate as refuge is taken from the japanese term namo pa
when namo and sanskrit normal means full devotion or throwing oneself away in body and mind
he a consists of two characters
hey means he a means to unreservedly throw oneself into no holding back no way out no safety net know harnessed no rope
that's the way apparent rescues a child whose endanger the parent doesn't think about himself or herself parent doesn't hesitate for a second just throws herself in
the second cat character yea literally means to rely upon and the way that a child leaps into a parents' arms trusting unequivocally
f usually take refuge we throw ourselves into buddhists arms or as blanche says you throw yourself into the house of buddha
suzuki roshi says that taking refuge is the full devotion or adoration and it's with that spirit that we take refuge it's like the out breath and zazen when you sit new breathe all the way out letting go of everything you give your
full devotion to that experience that's how you take refuge
taking refuge is grounded in accepting karma
now we're always creating karma's volitional action and our actions are always creating effect and often times that effect is not so positive
sometimes it is but often times it has something something sticking to it something that has and a a an effect that maybe we didn't intend or maybe we maybe we did and certainly that we don't necessarily know about
meeting we don't always know the impact of our actions and so we have to take refuge we have to take refuge because we're always falling short
and whenever we do the ceremonies the precepts ceremonies to the bodhisattva ceremonies the very first thing we do after we have our karma as we take refuge in buddha dharma and sangha
so what are buddha dharma and sangha
not some statue upon the altar or a stack of books that are on your shell or even just the people here in this room
we take refuge first in the example of a of buddha shakyamuni buddha but of anyone who behaves in a way that is inspired and is transformative
the greatness of buddha is beyond good and bad and beyond the confines of our ordinary experience of our lives beyond the way that we usually imagine our lives
that's us were buddha we take refuge in our own inherent capacity to respond in that way and a way that's not sell center in a way that meets what's happening each of us has that a capacity each of us be here
waves that way
when we're out of the way
so we take refuge in our own inherent buddha nature that means by the way that we take refuge and all of us all of it meaning even those parts of as us which we wish would go away there's nothing in our practice that says that we will become something that we're not
already so taking refuge really means and accepting all of yourself and understanding that all of that is a part of buddha activity
everyone will be buddha that's the teaching of the lotus sutra everyone in this room even david doctor even the person who betrayed the buddha buddha predicted would become a buddha
so we can be no exception to that even arousing the thought of enlightenment the thought of coming here and wanting to wake up fast a manifestation of our buddha nature
but let me say it again it's not about running away from yourself but turning toward and accepting all of yourself
it means to live your life is it's been given to you
taking refuge in dharma that means taking refuge in the teachings were they make sense to our lives are good medicine new we have we read we come and listen to talks we read ah
different commentaries we read the sutras we say this is this is good medicine this helps me i understand my life and how to proceed a little more clearly
we also take beyond that we take refuge in the truth of the teachings and by that i mean how we actually see them and experienced them in our everyday lives how we noticed them we take refuge in the four noble truths we take refuge in the reality that so
suffering is created by the activities of our mind of greed hate and delusion and that there's a way out of it
that's what we take refuge in we take refuge in the
codependent arising of activity we recognize that there is cause and effect and that we can have an impact that we can have effect and how the world manifests our own and those of people around us and we do it in a way that
ha promotes our humility are knowing of our proper place a few years ago i went to one of my teachers i want to him and i said you know i've been a vegetarian since the time i was nineteen and now my health isn't so good and i'm feeling like it would be helpful to have a little bit more
a little animal protein
and he looked at me and said that's right that's what the meal chance says may my virtue and practice deserve it
that was his answer to me he gave it back to me he said look at what you're doing and why you're doing it understand your place in the cycle of cause and effect of life and death and examine that and take care of yourself
may my virtue and practice to serve it
i took refuge you're not teaching
we take refuge in the sanga we're all here today we're really happy to see each other and be with each other and have tea and cookies in a few minutes and know that there's a group of people around who care about similar things that we do
we help each other sometimes we help each other materially ah ah ah by providing a ride or food when someone's sick
we help each other in actions and sometimes we help each other in ways that may not seem quite like they're helpful some years ago i was in a conflict with someone else i think we were both considered problems here at that point in time and at some point as
after a after a while this person came up to me and said thank you very much for your help and she sincerely meant it
and i think her practice was very sincere practice so she looked at what came up between us and she saw herself in it and she used that in order to
find a different way
we help each other that way that's one of the aspects of community life that so important that we're all committed to living according to buddhist teachings and when things come up we don't just turn to and blame the other person or think the problems outside we look
at what has arisen between us and examine it and do our own practice see what it is about our own behavior that we can learn from and change and because we're all committed to a certain stability and presence and how we approach our lives we help each other
we don't entangle more deeply at least eventually we untangle
and we help each other suzuki roshi said it's like called a potato practice you know how you clean potatoes you put them all in a sack and you shake them and they rub off get against each other and the dirt drop cloth that's that's what we do here together
so we take read when we take refuge we we
we're making a statement that were willing to take a risk to be seen to set aside our secrets and to become visible
i think part of the song of taking refuge at least it has been for me is taking refuge in my teacher
not as a father or a savior or an unblemished being but as someone who's willing to continue to practice with whatever is given to him or her
no matter what with humility and integrity so in the example of her teacher and he a good teacher
continues to learn from their students and students from him or her
we also take refuge in every one is our song category said we have to accept ourselves in every one to be a disciple of son a son or daughter of buddha means that we are people who accept the lives of all sentient beings as the contents of our own life
the f what what passes in everyone else's life is also a part of my life and so their distress their behavior their point of view or attitude even if they're obstructing ah law
laws and congress that's a part of my life somehow to and i have to accept that
that means our families our communities our nation and every one in our world is part of our sanga when we take our vows we vow with all of them that means we can only wake up with all of them we vow and take refuge with everyone
so what does taking refuge really mean in our life i think it's an expression of faith
it's like a buddha on his enlightenment night
touching the earth and remember in taking refuge is a kind of remembering of who we are
it's coming back to know our truth that our wholeness knowing that we are buddha
taking refuge though is not found in any place in a safe place in particular some years ago i had been i've been here for a relatively short time but i had settled enough and found really some ease and comfort being with people here
the ah i i felt delighted i want to my first teacher may lee scott and i said i'm so happy i realized i can depend on practice like i've found something i can rely on that's one way you might think of taking refuge and she said you
can't rely on anything
oh ha so what's that so what does that mean to take refuge
trump of rubbish a says by taking refuge we become homeless refugees
the meaning of taking refuges that you're goin you are the one who's going to do it you commit yourself as a refugee to yourself no longer thinking that some divine principle that exists in the holy law or holy scriptures is going to save you it's very personal you experienced
a sense of loneliness or aloneness the sense that there is no savior had no health but at the same time there's sense of belonging you belong to a tradition of loneliness where people work together
so here we are fast what's taking refuges
and so
we take refuge in a spirit of appeal to superior attitude of asking without knowing the answer without looking for something specific but knowing that something you need or want is missing
something is missing you don't really know what that is that your incomplete without it
it's the triple treasure as the expression of your own life your own best self your own vest understanding your own best presence
i think it's something like prayer
in christianity people pray to god and shin buddhism they've prayed a army tava
in sodas and we take refuge in best are fun of
so the meaning of taking refuge is not found in words i think we all know that don't we when your bereft and you have nowhere to turn you just sincerely give your self over to something
please help you don't know what that is but please help because there's nothing else to do
you also take refuge out of joy or deep gratitude whether it's at your college graduation or the birth of your child
you give gratitude to your teachers your parents the circumstances everything that brought this forward that's another way of taking refuge
it's not intellectual to talk about
it's a connection
it's a communion
we think of as a semi heel state of mind or groups of people are beautiful place but it's not it's right here in the middle of our messy lives
how does that happen
it's actually in the simple task of bringing our attention to what we do
i was thinking the other day of surgeon at the altar people often comment that he goes up there and he rearranges things and i think sometimes people think that he's correcting them on my god and seven things i just think that many mistakes
but actually what he's doing his his lining up his mind
he's coming into alignment
that's what we do when we bow and chance that's what we do when we fold the laundry and set the table and chop the onions where we show up we come into alignment and in that we take refuge
so bringing our awareness to the relationship of buddha dharma and sangha grounds us and guides us in our everyday lives taking refuge is being in the here and now it's really that simple
taking refuge in this present moment accepting all of it no matter what it is

some of you know i have a very old dog she's actually twenty this month and she's been frail for a long time
we're in a routine these days where i can count on her being up at night several times she doesn't always know what she's up at night for sometimes it's to drink water again
if again
and sometimes it's to relieve herself or sometimes she's just off and ah
one night a couple of weeks ago we were in one of those nights where it had been about every hour or so that we were up and i woke up in the the kitchen was filled with stool she had been incontinent and i just picked her up she's fifty pounds it wasn't
easy and carried her out to the backyard to finish down the steps picked up the chuck's wiped up the floor roll them up put them out took a damp towel and a bunch of these around like down the floor through it in the washing machine rearranged her
and went back together and i i actually didn't think anything about it now those of your parents probably had this experience many times i didn't think anything about it it was just what was happening i was just so connected i'm so connected with this routine
and with her i just responded to her
and it was i realize it was taking refuge there is nothing else i would have done there's i might have wanted to be in bed but actually there's no other place i would have wanted to be but to get here of what was happening
dogan says we take refuge because it's the final place to return to
there's nothing else to do actual besides just that
refuges like the invisible umbrella in the storm
and so steve and his talk said
this practice will sustain me until the last moment of consciousness
and i think that's right when we're really able to accept our circumstances causes and conditions coming together and open to the reality of our lives this practice was the things
so that's what i have to say
i liked him share of sojourn roshi does anything he'd like to ask
and i'd love to hear from other people their relationship to refuge what came up for them in the talk anything else that you might want to add or experiences you have i see lots of familiar faces and lots of new faces tubes and swimming pool
lauren please of he said that it was that you have difficulty put you to have ever mention what your difficulties were you said the recently kind of
heard the beginning you said he has seen a movie about i had a resistance in a i think i took my these words to heart and that i had a resistance i'm thinking that i needed to rely or depend on anything so what is this buddha dharma and song i just do lie on practice
but that's opened up
for me to see the different nuances of in my life that connects me with component different way and i think that really has to do with a certain willingness to let go of the protestant bootstrap pulling
striving self
so he felt that you you didn't want to be offered something to to take refuge in and or any of that he didn't wasn't
oh thank goodness there are some disadvantages like why would i want to do that or something why i shouldn't have to need to do that is more left side of idea which i should know as the virtues good fit and

what's it like for you to take refuge
kate luminary much food as fuck
i it reminds me when i was brand new all of this in about nineteen seventy one
hi and ed brown was sitting on like way to talk to him he's also very new and recovered so i'm still very fragile and i don't remember what my question was do exactly that i never said
sturdily he said there's no salvation yet i felt love drop that movie because where i was at that time there than association of i we have to you know how i i am a very different and
understanding that now move but at the time i needed something to rely on
ah and i think we are on there is a sense of reliance on the universe's and way i'm not really sure on puppet so let me ask you yeah i think that i think that you really gotta hit the nail on the head of some of my resistance
listen and pull also that the teaching of the practice the kind of hard edge teaching of the practices that you you don't rely on anything you've you find your strength within your own experience in this practice and yet
the truth it is that work completely supported by everything and when you wake up you are you see you understand when you come up when we let go of our and of the world is this close up and everything i see as me kind of point of view we recognize that everything is cooked is
supporting our lives and that
and that we support everyone else's lives is that there's that flow that's there
but you have to be out of a certain amount of pain in order to be able to receive that i think
yes yolanda
i didn't initially have to say of uncharacteristically agree
you know
when i leave out the you know he said was taking refuge like greece sorry say something about that and also got what you just said you just said that you can experience that everything is supporting us and i go to me
sometimes mom and that's also sometimes the world there's something really there things that are so horrible happening that would be hard to experience says everything supporting us or others so there's a kind of gap that we work with but i wanted to
add about like my experience of taking refugees to years you've talked about a kind of like com and very those moments will we understand quite a good understanding of refuge i'm sometimes what i would do something like that when i've been a really what am i really difficult states to stay
gifts that are just so provigil lanka and it's a kind of breaking the spell
it's a kind of say
opening up the door of not known
i'm not sure i can attract out the in a more turbulent states of mind you come to take refuge in you find the door of not knowing as that yeah turbulent compulsive our control
i don't have that com weiss understanding taking refuge that you talked about in that sometimes and then if i just say it even though
i don't get it it helps to break the spell of that state you know that i understand that very clearly from this point of view of something's always missing we take refuge in part because something's always missing in one we're kind of bound up in a not around something there's something else
us there what isn't help what is it
i know you're out there
as also wanted to say it it dismays the too facile and answer so so push back to me if it is but when
unthinkable things are happening and as those things that make it hard to to actually see how is this supporting my life how much supported by this i recognize that those healthy up those help me stay connected that whatever is going on actually as a part of my world and my
circumstance somehow to and it's easy to fall asleep especially in northern california white middle class museum life that some of us have

well they thought the reactions people have
all seem like familiar easy territory the deficit hi
and in some ways so fairly new buddhism how never shake that
there's nothing to separate
as and but in all of the that shirts and i'm sorry if i may every requirement for to scripture as a me our a frame of reference but i think of of all of the assurance of how to find salvation the scripture is number i have no idea
chapter that has always resonated with he says and child is that you must work out your own salvation with fear and trembling who and to me that has always pointed to play so i emptiness and also fullness of
presents one with whatever is and that to me this is the first time i've heard a talk about refuge or hundred reference to it in the practice discussion on thursday was looking for it very night but thank you very much for talking or kind of bring together those efforts
yeah you're welcome you i was raised methodist to and every night until every night from the time i could do it until sometime in my teens i said the lord's prayer and of went to church i don't know scripture as well as you but i do know that those early teach
things and experiences still inform me and that that's not a bad thing or a non buddhist thing it's part of who you are finding your own truth in those words of working out your own difficulties with fear and trembling over time it'll be interesting to see
how you relate to what that means yeah yeah
you talk a little bit about how daily practice hidden prevent
all you sleep and comfortable with

when things aren't
from ah
how'd you wind up coming today
slept in is the buster the the bark to san francisco
i'm sorry a that amount of your instead
there's so many years in you came there's some reason that even though you miss the bus she didn't roll over and go back to bed or go off and get your latte for the day yeah yeah so there's falling asleep but somewhere inside your you are awake
and ah
a daily practice allows you a chance to see that to have that come to the surface again and again and again and again

and after a while it becomes irresistible the you think you want to fall asleep for go off and do something else in you really have no choice
but to come here even though you miss the bus
i don't know if that meet you for that yeah yeah
yeah so and system is set such it and informative talk and i can find myself thinking oh well that's really good point i went into that that she still talking
huh sarcasm the new role on provide us a transcript get
oh thank you think he has a problem i have jamming too much into islam talks a thank you
yes please for longing for as soft reset
i think it's a refuge of years ago i had cancer has gone to high madness was used years ago and they riches not really hearing me have to be there for three four five months and finally found out about it and somehow that you talk you say something back everything happened in over here
but actually i'm kind of i prefer
i so i mean no branches out with mac and humility from that you're just completely changed my life and i just want to tell you that i thought we were nervous i didn't know the years later he guess what that person if you look at these not a nurse but you've never told we were
five hundred and first food
a look at africa
and the work to say that
the fits so that says so sweet of you you know as she started to talk i thought well there's me being pointy headed and and carrier like with things again and in i probably created some waves and clearing the way for you so you know you know
you know your bad behavior can have some snyder
well time for sanga taking refuge in sovereignty and