Tail Of The Ox

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so ah continue even though this is being recorded
one of the last of questions i got to ask sojourn roshi was in one of our thursday night gatherings i'm not gonna go to a straight line i'm going to poland different things and just we'll see how that could what that cooks up for us
mm thursday night i questioned him i was ah i had have for a long time been studying him
how is it that is such a good teacher how is it that he knows what to say to people in a way that's direct and gets at something
please no i'm not thinking he was part of perfect in his answers but he really had a knack of understanding what was useful
i wanted to know his secret
and what he said to me courses answers are specific to the person but we can all learn from them when he sent me was i care about the stories
care about the stories people tell me
we won't go into his history about that ah you've heard that other places
his ability to hear the wish behind the story the deeper functioning behind the story was uncanny was intimate and real came from a helping place
this chick not han says real healing comes from deep listening i was i would add real healing comes up empty presence doesn't it
on going watch my time cause i can go on tangents here
so what about this story thing
i feel like on one side i've been told stories are a problem right just forget the story know when you're lost in thought in zaza just come back to the breath just forget about the story stories that we tell about each other our problem
mes they can be gossip the prejudice they can reinforce an idea of what is instead of creating possibility or having your curiosity about not knowing what's happening now what is this in front of me right now
the kind of therapy that i did over the years of not knocking therapy at all i think it's critical for part of what i'm talking about for some people but a part of the therapy for me was to get behind the story so i could see through it and move on that least that's how it felt to me back on the days
my wife on
like there's something wrong for having certain stories and it's it said that are all our problems come up with having a story that's gone wrong in some way but the truth is stories are good stories are essential they make us human
they connect us to community to family to our ancestors buddhists and otherwise and to place we can't live without storms
stories make us human
they give meaning to our lives
we find the inner hero of our own story which can give us direction and hope
sometimes it can hold us back in some idea of what exactly that looks like
so of oil already said in a certain way we'll get to the palace is just hope we'll get to help since just part of my story today i'm is that
have i feel like sometimes in our sons' and instruction was all about being in the present moment all about showing up right here right now how do we relate that to the stories that we are carry along or the history that we have
we transform those stories
why is it that a good spiritual teacher cares deeply about the story
is it somehow but the deeply listening and remembering the details the life stories and the current conundrums that are important and understanding of a person reveals what their affinity to practice with their way seeking mind is

does it help us know who that person really is think maybe that's the wrong buddhists term but i think maybe it points to a kind of orientation of how will we each individually find the way in our life when you take lord and play ordination you're given a waning
took me awhile to understand that way name is about what is it wears where is the bright light of practice that and of was the awakening of your bodhicitta and your orientation to practice missing my mediterranean gestures here
so people know that they are where they want to be and they're able to stand on the ground get up from the ground and stand on the ground and suzuki roshi says in
i'm not always so
and so does a spiritual path involve finding the correct story or getting rid of stories are learning stories in a new way is there a way to transform the story and what's the relationship of the story to the stories we tell ourselves about who we are we can and cannot be
be our internal ones and the external ones that may be applied on us for cultural historical economic familial et cetera et cetera our ideas of what it means to be of who we are
so now i want to introduce another strand to this talk and it's a favorite cohen of mine from the mormon call on the tail of the ox kim's thirty eight
when i had this video visit with daniel and had this kind of brush of recognition of something in this person i haven't seen before i thought about the tail of the ox and it's not because i had untangled with go on
but i just knew that there was a connection and so he gave me the opportunity to chew on this for a while and i want to throw it out for you to consider to
a little time and not gonna do the colon and great detail but i'm just gonna give you enough to cut of follow the train of where our what's been going along for me with it so the call on itself as the story about go so our would sue and it's just simply this it is like
it is like a buffalo that passes through a lattice window it's head horns and all the legs pass through why can't its tail pass through
one more time it's like a buffalo that passes through a lattice window it's head horns and four legs all pass through why can't its tail pass through
occluded the cohens always are reside in the teachers start turning story so let's just say a thing about our loose sues wake up story
that was a big opening for him
you may have already received your big become story
so his turning story was an exchange between another student and his teacher and the other students says of subject and object or of one how can the fact be realized like if you're not outside of that how can you see what's really happening
and the teacher whoo since teacher said it's like drinking water and knowing it is cold or hot
and would sue knew that though he understood cold and hot he did not understand it personally
he did not really understand it personally and that was the quest of his dharma that led him to tell us that our lot up him to ask us why the tail can't get through
to know something personally really thoroughly i think as the same as game joe cohen
being like a tiger when she takes to the mountains and a dragon when he enters the water
it's like the grizzly bear that i saw on kodiak island fishing the kodiak bear was an entire was entirely kodiak bear fishing for the fish in the stream
totally new his place
so just a little bit more on the water buffalo
the water buffalo for or water ox is us
it's the farm animal who puts the plow through the muddy rice fields
this noble ox is considered part of the pantheon of buddhist animals which includes some de banderas elephant and manjushri is lion is something someone for us really to pay attention to
and the oxus the sidekick and the ox hurting pictures of course some of you will know the oxford and pictures as up up up the original graphic novel maybe the original up a series of pictures that are
point two different aspects of maturation and seven practice and ah as i remember them i haven't studied them as i remember them one of the last ones is the monk writing back off with ah what you see as the ox tail is he rides
so this is a good image for us
so once again you might say that the buffalo is plowing the fields of the self of mind or of our lives
so lucky cotto one of my favorite quotes of him is that we practice to become a mature person
so what love is doing that we're doing that for bottle how do we do that well we sit down we take one of the four noble positions
suzanne is the field where we plant the question
to which we perhaps unload knowingly bring our inmost request and layer by layer from com usually eventually
ah and are eventually a non discerning mine he attention
the attention to what's happening in our experience completely
put another way we put the mind and neutral opening up our thinking and discriminating mind to be with what is and from that place where with would whatever happens we have the opportunity to have the experience and
sometimes we do
do it look at
as we sit we become aware of the activity of our mind
i think early on for many of us we realized we have a body in a new and different way and it's capable of producing sensations in different ways that we knew of how many says she's have you set that drill maybe today with a pain in your back knee
what harm you might be doing to yourself and wondered whether you should move or not
sometimes maybe you should for your well-being but oftentimes the mind has gotten tense or is responding to a sensation that's unpleasant
and little by little by ah some attention pang and hanging with it you realize that that sensation might actually change of its own that you don't need to do anything to it and that's i think a kind of first reassurance that ah no but what seems like
a an important experience may be as more mutable than what we think
and then that's a little harder we become a pretty quickly aware of feelings ah feelings come up in the mind as we sit they can be a pretty attractive
they can ah the last fall or ah create of they can be irritated they can really grab our attention they can seem like really what's happening
this again
referencing sojourn a lot here but an early teaching that i saw the zendo was a person i didn't actually realise had a issues with anger i was relatively new and she read raised her hand after elections said but what do i do about my anger and he rose up
up it seemed like he rose up and he sat in a strong loud voice be the anger
and i went oh my god
anger has been one of my issues to i just couldn't imagine opening to it in that way is frightening
but it stood out now somehow somehow i felt like he was trustworthy and though that seemed like really are unsettling instruction to be given
over time are being able to sit just with whatever feeling comes in and i kept up to are tapped into ah anxiety and anxiety is it has been a driving force also and to my amazement one day as i was dry
giving away my my car i'm going someplace i had one of those feelings of terrible anxiety and i allowed myself just to thoroughly be it and something shifted
not turning away from not getting caught up in it not on some subtle measure judging it trying to excluded are trying to make nice with it just thoroughly being in the body with the sensation of anger anxiety last
rum can be very helpful
ideas come up in sauce and to all the time they may seem as innocuous as balancing your checkbook and making your grocery list or can be as troublesome as spending a thirty days says sheen rehashing the same old issue that happened with someone
right at some point again going around and around you get bored with it you see through it you have another experienced that somehow that you know it wasn't at all when she thought it was and something shifts
formations the some cara
the formations i think there were are really ingrained habits lie
now and the way i wanna talk about them for this talk or i'm trying to talk about them from this talk looking at the time again or those stories that we tell about ourselves that seem more personal than our views
more personal than our idea that where the center of all activity
but i'm that they're somehow permanent the there is somehow a permanent fix self that has nice particular qualities that we've internalized and that's a really hard one to shift i think ah
the wheat farmer who grew up to be a success and tech and ecology whose face to the young age with a cancer that's going to kill him out of that happen
and i believe that they change in a similar kind of way
we can't cut them out or pushed them away the story line that says i'll always be this way
i've been
you name it i've been sensitive by been irritable i've been successful i've been attractive i've been strong my whole life i've been better than i've been worse them hadn't those stories change
how do we reconcile them with the dissidents of whom on
the six ancestors way not in the platform sutra as a hassan sensations often pointed at us to says we take care of them stories
take care of i think means to give them our full attention
it's the same kind of care that sojourn gave us that is to trust the story crust it don't make a go away don't try and transform it
don't reapply it but trusted this story occurs in you trust the story and explore it
grapple with it what is this about it wrestle with the feelings that come up around it
sit quietly with it don't turn away with a know it completely like hot and cold know it completely who's their what's their really does it really not change isn't really the way you think it is
is there some moment perhaps with the story of what happened when
often times it's in our childhood that we see through it when we get really intimate when we listen really closely when we accept it as it comes up here and now maybe it's shifts
maybe it chefs i feel like it shifts
though some parts of our lives are immutable it's a given in buddhism the buddha said that were some things that aren't karmic there are basic personalities i hate to tell us some basic personalities of different types he enumerated three the natural disasters and the way
either although we can say that he didn't know about climate change back then bomb that was part of his teaching
so you just
the some cars can transform
the transformation is a mystery and a gift of grace when that happens
oh realizing i'm telling a lot of my stories but that's what i know so thick of your own as i'm saying this be in touch with your own here's mine
as many years ago now i was on my waiter or to toss a horror to do a practice period and i had made very excruciating like careful plans to take care of my aged and beloved dog
and at the very last minute literally hours before i was due to leave something happened that and that something that happened i felt had great effect on the planet made and put my dog at some risk
and i came unglued
i started i was enraged know i had that kind of range of me i was enraged i made more noise i screamed and yelled and
i just was the fury just rose off of me like sheet offer with sidewalk in new york when it's a hundred and ten degrees was terrible
and then i fell apart i started sobbing sobbing sobbing sobbing uncontrollably sobbing i hadn't cried like that since i was a child
and then i stopped and i pulled myself together and i went inside and i picked up the phone and i called surgeon
and i told him what had happened and he said to me that's not so good
now that may sound like it was unkind but after so many years of practicing together he knew me he knew i was ready not to indulge my story but to bring me to the present when it happened he trusted practice in me and that episode for
which i may great apologies and for which i am still in front of your repenting for having had that happen in a certain way
oh shame and also insight to go to a place that i'd never had the stability or the understanding of the capacity to go to
don't do this in your own home without practicing with someone and someone should never do this without other kinds of support but this was a great turning of somehow being ready to open to the story in a different kind of way that set a stage for other slow kind of like climate change
change in temperature goes up a little bit things start her shift and before you know it time goes on and part of the avalanche falls off his kind of i think this kind of spiritual change for us as it happens for us all of us as we practice i'm speed
aching for all of you as we practice is imperceptible mysterious we don't know how it happens and a grace so i think
that ah in the end
gan understood his life
in a way that he'd never understood it before in fact he became his life he was his life
usually we live in a small life know like small mind small mind the ideas that constrict us the data day worries the things that we get tangled up with ah the the things we make first world problems out of the few well at least the minor ones will may occur on
usually we live from that place i'll speak for myself normal en route from that place pretty consistently but he had found his big life
he had found how to live in the present out of the essence for who he was
i thought i could see it on the screen i can see it with his family was very moodle
this is true of the grizzly bear
you didn't even have to practice it was true at many times for sojourn motion
i often see it and maybe you have to and people who had to overcome great barriers usually of external projection
beard for their sexual orientation their race their disability place they've been putting their family people done the deep work and so they can take their place surgeon used to say that arm
we should take our place neither too small
more too big not inflated but to take our place for who we really are
think i'll skip that one
and just say is an ongoing process it goes deeper and deeper know before we know it will all be swimming in an ocean that's a lot higher ones on that dorm doormat that school and once climate change not so much
so what happens to our stories
what happens to me we think we know when we see through them what is ours to keep
we can't give away our personalities or form or energy the basic things we come with these are the i first fought five of the ten such nurses and the lotus sutra the basic way we come into the world personality formed ain't energy and kind of our orientation of the thing
that were drawn to do with our lives
we can't
exactly changed the causes and conditions that affect us we can't exactly changed the immediate effects we have some impact on later effects but we certainly can transform our orientation the way in which they affect us
that come somewhat by cognitive understanding but i think it comes from this much more subtle
relationship with ourselves
and isn't it not true that to know yourself well as not to know yourself at all
to have that complete flexibility and freedom
the the lakota people say or a lakota elder was asked why do people tell stories the answer was in order to become human
the question then is aren't we all human beings already and the answer was not all of us make it
so what is that pesky tail
woman's verse on this call on his passing through filling a ditch turning beyond all is lost this tiny tail what a wonderful thing it is
to study the buddha way is to study yourself to study the self as to forget the shelf to forget the self is to be confirmed by the myriad things to be confirmed by the myriad things as to cast off body and mind the self as well as those of others no trace of realism
mission remains of this no trace continue and honestly
with that is truth in what is the tale
for you
to encourages robert akins says when you look upside down
look at the tail from that point of view having exited the window the part that is missing in to discern a clearly is to see the reality of our lives in oneself with bear awareness just for what it is now on this moment as best we can
as far as we can see and her experience right now
of course that's an endless process internet
so i say we practice to become full humans and some of us if we keep up with it make it
i asked ron nestor who's been working are on the
autobiography now biography the such roshi was making up until he died what he thought some of surgeons pivotal teachings were and ah some of them seem to focus on not giving up
just to practice harder
it's continuous don't give up and he said that that practices like long japanese noodle you know the kind that you slurp that never answered young jet fuels of japanese and japanese style
and it's tastier and tastier and taste you don't give up keep slipping up your life
come may be just a little bit more here
does a spiritual path involve finding the correct story are getting rid of stories are learning stories in a new way
maybe it doesn't matter the tail flick itself back and forth to circumstance
so thank you very much for your attention i didn't get to click through and see if anyone on the other screens have fallen asleep but thank you very much for your intention of allowing me to prepare and share this talk with you ah before we open it up mary beth has sent me some questions ah
i think we have a couple of we have a little bit of time for that that before i do that i wanted to ask who's on sensei if you wanted to add ah a turning word to this talk
thank you thank you for the talk hub
and i think it's good to remember that this is a year of the ox
believe it is believed the here the arts has just begun is at zero right let's not right she knew the metal ox you entered it anyway
to take a one point you spoke about sauce and instruction
ah and for the last
number of years of headed something to my as an instruction and the instruction i give myself every time a sit down
which is
the simple raising of bodhicitta
ah so it's it's not just creating this is open receptivity but ah i say to myself
may i be awake that others may a week
and so in the may i be awake in both parts of that sentence on there's a piece of a story
you know what does it mean to be awake
which i which am constantly curious about ah and what would it mean
together ha all of those are those are part of the visions and stories that we have but i do think it's it's really good at that little piece two years as an instruction ha at the beginning because it gives
gives us a way of
a practicing ten and looking even though it's gold list looking at the functioning of zazen which is awakening
thank you very much for that i really appreciate you adding that while i'll say tried and true to it's been an important part of my practice from the beginning to bring a question on that thank you
so it's time for q and a raise your digital hand i think most view through the reactions ah bedroom
and send a message i will call on you thank you
susan marvin you can unmute yourself

thanks for your talk andrea really thought provoking what came up for me over and over throughout your talk and especially at the end when you talked about slogan saying don't ever give up his arm
our faith in the long view
and i'm as you talked about stories and you talked about in of the ideas the fixed ideas we have about ourselves seems like that she's in a developing a faith in the long view is what
opens up possibility in our lives and also that faith in the long view kind of to me means like don't ever give up on anyone you know like and the story is told of the patient daniel
is the kind of fine example of that but it could be anyone you know we just we just never know
right up until the last moment what possibility may emerge thank you very much and i really appreciate your comment ah don't get up an interest in what you don't know meaning that there's a there's so much the effects of karma
and the backs of how we came to this moment or so nor noble we don't know what shifts or hell not get on polled we can't we can't go there in a straight line we can look for it exactly although we can we can practice
thanks so much thank you
sue oh sir would you like to unmute yourself please
dragon hearts so wonderful to hear your talk thank you thank you him
oh you used the phrase or that struck me out of all the many phrases ah cause i just started looking at it can you tell me what it means to have a relationship with yourself
well how do you have a relationship with someone else
i pay attention
i get i let go of my snarky comments and opinions before i save him
and try and understand that person you know
silly me and if you're if you're friends with them you accept them probably no matter what you may not always agree with them you may have some things that you need to work out but you are you're willing to meet them complete
lee be willing to meet yourself completely with the same kind of openness and curiosity
our enjoyment and care that you do to your friends
i'm still working on that one
thank you
fury arnhem would you please unmute yourself
hi andrea hey gary it's great to see you with to see you on i wonder how your costs a higher and your dog and then worked out and i don't think he really said oh like it did a nanda do okay yeah and
okay i'll let you speak for her is is that what you're asking and and did you go to a
ah cause harm i did go to tassajara and it turned out that a someone who used to sit a pc see rosie cisco on appeared at the last minute and stayed at my home and a nanda couldn't have been happier
thank you
you're welcome thanks for asking
peter overturn which you unmute yourself please
andrew thank you very much for your talk i was especially taken with the part where you described and actually showed us how to relate to the constantly emerging experience which is the sort of stuff of our lives have done
i've been leader in targets i thought oh that's where the towers
oh how nice it is to serve know that i cannot deal with desperate
i can do with it i can hang out and a turtle you need the tail if you need to tell without the tale where where does our connection with being human come from river it isn't that wonderful isn't that wonderful and isn't it wonderful not to know exactly what that to
tail is shred is just the sources
something wonderful who knows right
yeah the tail is part of why i love you
others serratus with you and mute yourself please
i andrea hey heather leave wherever you are to here
they are great i think you select this was such a beautiful talk
i have a reflection and i just wonder if you have any thoughts to further the reflection but i love this inquiry around stories and what they mean for our lives and where they catch us and where they propel us and am i'm i've been
ah exploring
the way that stories live between people
as opposed to just to myself so for example my best friend died five years ago and i feel like the vast majority of my stories evaporated when she died and some of them i can't remember as well as i used to or maybe not at all
all in some of them if i told them to you or to someone else wouldn't be the same story as if i were sharing or reliving that story with her so i'm i'm interested in
stories are the words and narratives but there there's so much more than that there's a certain magic in l l chemical factor to it so i wonder if you have anything to say in that regard what came up for me is a quote from rocha a true friend is the protector of our
solitude as solitude are those whose deep stories like who who we were really about somehow some people are true friends really seen him and a way that that other people don't
so the stories still there but it's not reveal by beloved the attention of someone else to it making so perhaps that's your own turning towards
an exploration and opening to those places again
wonderful thank you
jeff taylor would you please on mute yourself and ask your question
thanks so much for a great talk andrea but it called so many things from a very nicely and i wasn't quite sure where what i'm one of my com to settle but it's a sort of like this practice has changed the way that i relate to my story it changed the way that i'd tell my story where my stories become a jewel that
turns and and i'll tell it one way one day and i'll tell differently and another day and living that shift and loving that move is is is part of the liberation the practice has given me i ran across i was cleaning out and i ran across some journaling i had done years ago and i was horrified
the as i looked at that person who was telling that story in that way at that time and i rushed to destroy it
i rushed to get rid of it because it was anchoring a person that doesn't exist anymore
it was tying me to to to a person that had existed at that point in time that isn't here anymore and a way
in a way jeff i wanna say too bad in a way i wanna say that because it's a problem to throw away any part of herself without having it goes away on its own it doesn't need to be thrown away it finds its it's proper place in our
life on its own
right and that's immense that's why i got rid of the right way
that's that's why i moved to get rid of it because it was an anchor to a different place in a different time with different so i appreciate what you're saying i'm i'm responding to the emotional reaction it's a familiar one but i'm responding to the emotional reaction is oh my god i wasn't that way
no i was that way i'm not anymore
anyway so i'm there there's there's another phrase that comes up for me and i'm not quite sure how this relationship with student enters the mountain and the student disappears from the mountain wakes up
that's a moment by moment thing and when i think about the idea of of know before and now after that also gives me freedom to relate to my story in a number of different ways some days it's a relationship and understanding of have difficulty some days it's an enormous gratitude and all of these things are true
all of them at the same time rain yeah yeah and so that's that's kind of what you called forth for me and and talking about an he told daniel story i found it so poignant cause for what it called it for me was a surprising of today my story sounds different day my story is a story of gratitude and the hope and end of and of
great liberation rain it's such a gift to have that freedom chef thank you know thank you
and we have to questioners do you want to take them or close to the end here and love if it's all right with you sushi director i have always interested in what people people have to say out of their own experience or contributions
linda has pleased on mute yourself and ask a question
morning hey linda ah
what heather said made me think of this
you know why my favorite littles pink bits of present story is where ah the monk ananda ananda who was probably the earlier incarnation of your dog ananda
he says you know to the buddha lord him like i just i just realized this he said friendship is half of the holy life right most you know their strengths and then the buddhist as don't say that and under do not say that please friendship is the whole all of the holy life and i i was
really like that when heather was not only liked it i love it i
dive into it and when heather
raised with when you raise what you did heather
i just thought that actually the stories that happened with a with in relationship with others
are more are dynamic and alive and more
a doorway to something deep
maybe more sometimes then stories that we're just in the habit of telling ourselves over and over and over again if they're isolated in us than they can get sort of fossilized anyway i just wanted to save those stories and relationship really a deep portal hill
thank you so much for that i really i really appreciate that i think in relationships something alive and catalytic can happen in a way that we can't do it our own
gradients making something happen

so moon please on mute yourself and ask a question in andrea for your multi layered talk so many elements in it and and thank you linda for that idea to and house to or stories are about relationship to i just am
adding that the in camberley have a very good story if there's only one person in it and you can bet it's kind of thin anyway i'm so i just had a question about i also love to buy a brought nail into your talk and wove his teachings and so beautifully and and particularly them
i'm thinking about don't give up and makes me also think well
sometimes it's appropriate to give up and in the sense of letting go or sometimes you know i i might stubbornly be trying to make something happen that's not gonna happen and i i can't give up the idea that i'm gonna make x happen or a have a certain may my cousin who hasn't spoken to me for three years
as gonna finally call me back if i keep sending him the right message or sometimes i just
don't give up when i should give up how do you how do you know
how'd you know when i think i think what suzuki roshi and sojourn were saying as a different kind of dark given yeah don't give up on practice a hobby products the data in practice it's makes them his answers the question yeah yeah don't do
don't think that nothing is happening just because just because was that you'd rather just because this person
come sunday
just because someone is is a
something's not moving with a person or within yourself doesn't mean that it won't yeah just give up means keep doing your practice keep warm and into yourself in this situation that makes a lot of sense thank you and that don't give up on yourself or the other person either but yeah it's the be
life she's expressed in the big life and keep practicing
thank you that using radically a tough yeah thank you so