Zen Training

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same thing
for presidency

he said
thank you peter has the sound said okay okay

welcome good morning and i'm happy new year ah we all woke up this morning with a blessing
and it's raining another blessing
this is the time of year when i have quite a long break between semesters in my work as a community college instructor and so it's a time of rest for the mind from things like planning lessons and writing
lessons and reading and grading countless stacks of essays and thinking about students both individually and collectively so it's really am
restful time still i take the time to think about kind of what worked what my training as a teacher was and has been and what work to the past semester and what i might want to keep a tweaker ch
change in the in the next semester and i think that's true here in our temple in our practice that the beginning of the years a good time to think about what our training is what are packed deserves how it's been going and how we can
dedicate recommit ourselves to sitting together for another year
ever since i was a a small child i always liked being in really high places i liked being at the top of hills or mountains or at the top of a fire tower or the top of a ladder or in a tree or on the roof and when
i was in college i had the opportunity to on
parachute out of a plane to learn to do that
and i was very excited about that and the training was
i would say thorough and specific we learn to jump from various heights of solid boxes to the ground to simulate the impact of what it would be when you land and bend and role as you are supposed to and i'm
on what to do when you jumped out he were supposed to yell out these numbers and then look up to make sure that the parachuted actually come out it was
it was honor
you know a kind of static line you didn't have to pull the chute as a beginner but you had to look to make sure that it did what it was supposed to that is actually there and if it didn't then you had to pull your spare which was packed and arrange tied to the front of your body and chest
and we learned how to steer and we practice that and we learned how to
navigate the terrain look at the terrain look at the landscape where we were supposed to land was the large field with flags and all sides so it would be obvious but there were problems around the perimeter of the field if you ran into trouble and that we learned what to do if we met those problems like the
power lines how to avoid the power lines and a busy highway with lots of traffic and beyond the highway on the other side was a forested area wooded area with lots of trees so i jumped from the plane and did this
shouting and looked up and the parachute was there but on the shoot that was on the front of me somehow had risen up on my body and on i was concerned because i felt like it was choking me and so i started to push it down get it away from my
throat and when i did that i wasted precious seconds floating away from where the target was where i was supposed to land so as i looked out over the landscape i suddenly realized i wasn't gonna land in the field and i screamed at the top of
my lungs something like where am i gonna land and then the very next thing that happened was i returned to the training
and i remembered the training and i looked out over the landscape and i knew i could avoid the power lines i knew i didn't want i want to land on the highway and i thought my best bet for my own safety would be the land and the wooded area land in a tree
so i steered towards the forest and i got myself down close enough so that i could land in the words and the training was think think light think small think agile keep your legs tucked
gather keep your arms close to your body but lower your head and cover your face so i did all that and i came right down into the woods and the shoot you know hit the trees and i landed safely in trees

sometimes our training has a wave coming back to us
it becomes obvious to us in situations in which we can rely on it and i was very grateful for the training that i have had and i think it's the same way here that we have the opportunity in the beginning of the year to think about our training
and to ask ourselves what is it what is then practice what is and training is and practice the training and if it is what is the training as for or what is a trading us to do
so let's see what suzuki roshi has to say about that i found this wonderful lecture online that suzuki roshi gave on september fourteenth in nineteen sixty nine
and there's it just starts right in with this little story that he tells about a little girl that a little church school your girl but he met and it doesn't say how that happened whether suzuki roshi went to church or the church came to suzuki roshi but here goes
sunday school a sunday school girl saw me in sitting and she said i can do that and she crossed her legs like this in suzuki roshi gestures and then said and what
and what
she didn't like this and said and what i was very much interested in her question because many of you have the same question
you come to zen center every day to practice sin and you ask me and what and what
i want to explain this point a little i cannot i don't think i can explain it fully because it's not something to be or to ask or to answer you should know by yourself we why we sit in some formal position is through your body you should experience something
thing you know by doing formal sitting something you yourself experience not by mind by teaching but by physical practice so this seems like suzuki roshi his first important point that he always points toward is that this is a physical practice that were not it does
doesn't matter if we're intellectuals are not that it's very important to practice physically with the body and mind but to be able to sit in some form and to attain some state of mind is not perfect study after you have full experience a body and mind
mind you should be able to express it in some other way to that happens quite naturally
you don't stick to some formal position anymore but you can express the same feeling some state of mind or you can convey your mind to others by the same way so i think you know here in our practice we have so many practice position small and large and in between and all of these pro
practice positions give us the opportunity to bring the practice of zazen into activity
so our practice is not just about meditation though meditation may be at the practice centers as i may be the center of our practice
but we bring that that spirit of zazen into activity
and even though you do not sit in some certain form for instance in a chair or standing position or in working or and speaking you can you will have the same state of mind state of mind in which you do not stick to anything
so i like that phrase you do not stick to anything we hear the phrase letting go but somehow the image of not sticking to anything
i like it came to me recently when i was i was making fried rice and you know with fried rice you have to keep all the ingredients moving all the time at home i have a big walk that i do it in and you have to in a big spatula and you have to keep everything
ing moving lightly you have to be serious about it and pay attention but you have to have a very light movement with your arm to keep all the ingredients moving if you leave it it'll stick and it'll burn and it won't be so good so i like this image ah
the state of mind in which you do not stick to anything
that is what you study through our practice that is what you will you know that is the purpose of practice
so he doesn't say it but that takes a long time for us to a lot of practice how to not stick to anything because we like to stick to all of our ideas and our feelings and our our notions about things
that is what you will know that is the purpose of practice
part partner he says after you have the full experience of mind and body you should be able to express it in some other way to that happens quite naturally i think that happens quite naturally means like when we get out of the way
you know we all have that experience when we get out of the way of sticking to something then the things work
pretty well
and on it reminds me of of a story from go a long time ago when i was quite young i practiced a certain kind of basket making and i had the opportunity to ah take a class with this elder
a native american basketmaker up in yolo county and she'd been making baskets all her life and i was pretty accomplished with my hands by then but
she said you know it's really important to have a plan and it's really important to think through what you're gonna do when you make this basket and it's really important to pay attention and you should train yourself in all these ways but at some point the basket has a life of its own and it's goal
and what you think you're going to make might not really be what comes out
and so you need to be aware of that so that you can let that spirit of the basket work and i think that's kind of what suzuki roshi is saying is when we get out of the way things happened quite naturally

through practice we you know we get rid of for a long long practice we get rid of our eco you know by training training means like you know actually to train in chinese or japanese means nehru an e are you
nehru is you know to refine silk you know we watched it many times so that it can be wide enough and soft enough to weave that is nehru you know to refine the material so we can be the material
this is our training to refine the material to refine ourselves i looked up that word negro and some other synonyms or to need like kneading bread to work over and topology as of those are all kind of nice images of what
we're doing
training is something like this you know when you're young and when you have a lot of ego when you have lot of desires evil desires so to say even though you know evil desire if you know if you rub it and wash it you will be quite soft like pure white
silk even though you have various desires and too much strength if you temperate enough you will be strong this is you know how we train ourselves so that that word or that phrase if you'd temperate i think of
tempering something as i'm kind of like improving its consistency or more like reese building resiliency in a substance by adding other things particular things to it and really that's what our practices doing
in it's adding resiliency to what we already have through through all of the activities that we do here through sitting zazen
of course at the center of our practice is suzanne
and so not sticking to anything in zazen is returning to breath and posture we do that over and over again that's our zazen instruction and that's how we train ourselves
when the mind and body is active when the mind and body are doing what they do we remind ourselves we remembered to come back to breath and posture and that's our training that's it
but i think it's really hard to remember to come back to breath and posture it takes a long time for us to practice remembering to come back to return
to are upright position and i like to think of that process of remembering or coming back as mindfulness
the problem kind of that i have with that word proud on mindfulness is that it's a noun and i think of it as a as an action or as a as a
yeah is an action as a verb
i'm to remember to come back to breath and posture that's a mindful moment it's not the breath and posture that's the mindful part at least that's not how i see it in my
my limited experience but the action of returning to breath and posture is a is a mindful moment
and we may lose it and then we return again
and that's what our training is

it's a kind of experiential approach to our lives according to suzuki roshi and i want to read you something else that he says in his book zen mind beginner's mind i'm reading towards the very end of the book
it's called experienced not philosophy
although there are many people in this country who are interested in buddhism few of them are interested in its pure form most of them are interested in studying the teaching or the philosophy of buddhism comparing it to other religions they appreciate how satisfying buddhism is intellectually
but whether buddhism is philosophically deep or good or perfect is not the point to keep our practice in its pure form is our purpose
to practice thousand with a group is the most important thing for buddhism and for us because this practice is the original way of life without knowing the origin of things we cannot appreciate the result of our lives effort our effort must have some meaning to find the meaning of our effort is to fight
find the original source of our effort we should not be concerned about the result of our effort before we know its origin if the origin is not clear and pure our effort will not be pure and the result will not satisfy us
when we resume our original nature and incessantly make our effort from this base will appreciate the result of our effort moment after moment day after day year after year this is how we should appreciate our live
those who are attached only to the result of their effort will not have any chance to appreciate it because the result will never come
but if moment by moment your effort arises from it's pure origin all you do will be good and you'll be satisfied with whatever you do
thousand practice is the practice in which we resume our pure way of life i think sojourn roshi she tells us often that zazen includes all of life not just meditation so zazen practice is the practice in which we resume our pure way of life beyond
any gaining idea and beyond fame and profit by practice we just keep our original nature as it is there's no need to intellectualized about what are pure original nature is because it's beyond our intellectual understanding and there's no need to appreciate it because it's beyond our appreciation
so there's some mystery there
about not sticking to anything
and there's no so just to sit without any idea of gain and with the purest intention to remain as quiet as or original nature that is our practice
so is the emphasis is on experience

we have many positions here in our centre and we rotate our positions so as not to get
stuck on any one position so as not to be territorial about any position
so as not to think it's my job or my position
and all of the positions are designed in that way

it's easy for us to see as we practiced together in the various positions our likes and dislikes come out
probably any one of us could name a few likes or dislikes that we have here around the temple things like i don't like to chant or i don't like to chant and japanese or the chance or too long or the chance or too slow
or i wish we didn't have to chant in english or what else
i don't like the size of the cups on the t table because they're so small and i need more coffee than they hold
what else
i don't like the chance in japanese i don't like the service i don't like to bow i mean it's endless right
not liking us a good one
so what have we do with that while we do the same thing we do in zazen we come back to breath and past do we have that opportunity we don't follow our thoughts when we fall down we stand back up again

we have the opportunity after we practice with this way for a long long time to do the same thing outside the gate right we have lots of likes and dislikes outside the gate and it occurs to us
to come back to breath and posture it's not that we shouldn't think about things but just doing that for one moment
can create a gap of stop
a kind of still moment
that can be very powerful and can uncover any number of possibilities
and so we begin to see that at work in our lives and it's part of the training
of course along the way as we practice we make a lot of mistakes and i like to think about as part of the training or i'd like to think that i guess because i work as a teacher mistakes seemed to me to be the stuff of life for the stuff of learned
ing or very important
as personalities we may not like making mistakes but mistakes can show us where we are they can show us where the mind is they can show us where the body is they can show us what we see in what we don't see
you know i practice on monday mornings as the dough on and on
i can remember one morning i
rang an extra bell and i'm at the end of service surgeon came to me to to say that i had read i had sounded one more bell than was necessary and i said oh the minute i rang it i knew it was wrong and he said oh that's really
good i said what do you mean that's really good and he said the most important thing is to recognize our mistake and i've found that really encouraging right the most important thing is to recognize our mistake i think you know culturally or as personalities we put a lot of
focus on the mistake itself but really are practices about writing ourselves you know we fall down we fall off the software we just get back on we make a mistake we just come back
where where training ourselves for that upright position in our life
years ago when i did practice basket making there is a particular kind of basket making that i taught and there is a woman who came to take a class she was middle aged and he had tried many different crafts and she wanted to learn
iron basket making it had never found someone close by her home so she was really excited about taking this class and she was so diligent and put so much effort into the first project and had a wonderful plan and on a great
sense of what she wanted to do kind of like beginner's mind i guess he can say and the first basket that she made was almost perfect it was just beautiful and i was kind of worried about that i didn't tell her that but i knew that she wouldn't be able to
repeat that as a matter of fact i used to bring a lot of my failed baskets to classes the ones that had lot of mistakes in them and people would say why do you bring these and i said because i want you to see that no-one is just good at basket making out of the blue like it too
takes a long long time to learn to make good baskets consistently and you're gonna throw out a lot before you ever you know keep one and ah i knew she wouldn't be able to repeat it not because she was intelligent but because
you know when we have that kind of immediate success we kind of can relax or we don't have the experience to know what might go wrong and many things can go wrong when you're making a basket so on i knew that she
he wouldn't be able to repeat it and i encouraged her and worked with her but her second basket was not so good and the third basket was not so good and she got very discouraged and she stuck with it for a while but she stopped making baskets and
and i think when i think about our practice i think you know when to suki row she said it's important to practice in sanga it's because we have one another
as support as encouragement as inspiration so when when we may be in some situation when things aren't working we are
we have many people we can go to we have our teachers and docusign and we have practice discussion and we have dharma friends and even if we don't want to talk we can simply witness on the people around us and it's always in
in that way encouraging in that way i remember
wait long long time ago when i first started sitting on maybe a few years into it i had some physical problem i don't remember when it was but i went to run nestor who was one of the practice leaders and talked about it and i river that i don't really remember much about it but i just remember him saying how
many years to be sitting and i said how many years i've been cities is oh yeah i can remember that happening around that time and just that was so encouraging you know just as effort to
encourage one another to stick with it
our song goes really a great blessing in that way

i'm we don't talk a lot about the benefits of our training because we're really instructed not to seek after gaining mind and we say that we don't we don't sit in order to get something we do
i'm sit for the benefits that it may bring us but i'm of course there are benefits and those benefits also encourages and inspire us and on i think for example when i first
started sitting i was not apparent at that time and i certainly didn't sit in order to be a better parent but when i became apparent it was shocking to me actually that this training really was great practice for being a parent
i'm and i can say that same thing about as my parents aged and ah as they both died in those years leading up to their deaths this practice was of great benefit and i i remember in part
articular certain teachings or phrases that a surgeon roshi would say along the way like do what's right in front of you and do the very next thing i've heard him say those things over and over again would come to me it would be available to me when
when i was for example going back and forth and ah trying to help it ah a parent who is sick
so there's a great benefits probably each of us can think of and talk about something in our life that's happened and the and and practice has been a great benefit to that

we also have 'em
sanga members who have met with i'm terrible illnesses and diseases and have ah
i'm met with their eventual deaths and we've been able to witness how their practices have really arm
let them through the situations that they're walking through and that's a great inspiration to all of us and a great benefit to our own practice and encouragement to continue to practice the tools in the and and the ways that we learn to know
as we age i'm
and then we see right here in the zendo and around the property and in the kitchen ways benefits to our practice in the ways that we work with one another on the way that were able to harmonize with one another
i'm here in the zendo when we chant sometimes the harmonizing a body and mind in our song guys that go on and co-ceo and the mercutio and all of the chanters is quite quite wonderful and sometimes it's not but when it's not we can see that
that ah
last month was rojas zoo and on the last day of rojas zoo i was that the head cook and i have decided i would ah
plan to cook our japanese breakfast traditional japanese breakfast brown rice cereal miss those soup and he jiechi with carrots i hadn't cooked that in a long time and it's not that it's a difficult breakfast but there are a lot of moving parts all three bulls are hot dishes so
it takes some planning and organizing with the stove in the oven and
i asked hose on if he would be willing to be put in the kitchen because i wanted somebody who knew the menu had done the menu and he said sure so ah andrea henderson and hose on and i were in the kitchen together and we were cooking for forty
and on
i told them that i was going to make the coffee and do the tea table and cook the serial we had i think five parts of that was the big job and i told allen that i wanted him to be in charge of the misa of soup i made the stock the night before but
i gave him all the ingredients and the recipe and we had a workstation set up and i told andrea that she would be his assistant and together they would make the soup and then when that was finished they would put it in the pots and put it in the oven by then i would be working on the key and
the carrots and on alan would come and help with that i wanted him to flavor the that dish and andrea would work on the the lunch ingredients and work on the salad greens so we went through all the instructions and then i said to alan
you're in charge of the soup and it was this wonderful feeling of trust and faith and knowing that the job would get done and i didn't have to interfere and on the two of them worked and i worked and it was very quiet because we had all the instructions set out
out ahead of time and it was kind of like for me like we were skating around the kitchen you know on ice skates around each other just gliding around and nobody had to say anything like one person would see their dishes and would do the dishes and then go back to their task and then suddenly allen said oh
okay i want you to taste this you know so there was this checking in so it was relational as as our practice practices and arm then we went on and did the other ingredients and at the end i think we had a little check-in when we bowed out and allen said
you know i really liked being in charge of the soup and not having to on watch over the whole breakfast and i felt exactly the same way with great to hand it off and that was my job to oversee the meal and
i'm an andrea was right there doing all of the tasks along with alan and it was just on
a kind of harmonious time as we we all have experienced from time to time
it made me think of when i was young sometimes my mother would give me jobs to do chores or tasks and i would ask her how do you want me to do it and she would say do it anywhere you want and i would think okay great and i will start to do something and then she would say well that is before
hey i will have do didn't do it
and that's not satisfying you know it i mean it's ok to say do it anyway you want to as long as you are willing to then handed off and do that and if you're not that it's not fair right because it brings do
no for me on it i didn't feel confident and i didn't feel on
yeah i guess that's it i didn't feel confident so i'm

so i think i want it and by saying that i'm i think the word training gets a kind of bad rap like their connotations connected to training like you know village stern and strict and disciplinary
three and on
i don't think of it that way on and i think suzuki roshi is saying through the training there's a spirit of practice that comes out and that it's our spirit of practice is actually the most important thing
and through that spirit of practice we can learn to stop sticking
not stick to things practice not sticking to things remembered to come back to practicing not sticking to things when i was just starting this practice i had a practice discussion with our dharma sister lee scott who's no longer alive
and i sent her you know there's only one thing that i'm kind of worried about in this practice and that's that i'm not really a group person like i've never really been so group oriented and this seems like such a group practice it's kind of paused and she looked at me and she's
said well you're resting spot might be solitary and that was the phrase use resting spot you're resting spot may be solitary but there's no reason at all why you can't with practice learn to find your comfort in l
any situation in which you find yourself and i found those words so encouraging i mean i've thought of them so often over the years and i think she was pointing accuracy to the very same thing that suzuki roshi is saying is like stops ticking
the to this idea that you have about yourself
and when you do that you can find your comfort
so if i'm not mistaken i think we have ten or twelve minutes ten minutes okay so i'd like to stop and
sojourn is there's something you'd like to say about our training
ah okay you're just started the top of the list of the bottom of the lives


yeah join ah
with the river
the brighton
the report

zhou around


the retarded about the kitchen
no so

them went wrong
it's also fun when it's like that
thank you i like that word recollection yeah
thank you hassan do you have something you'd like to say about training
recollection as a more accurate
but interested
things for some reason to give up his
you know we we talk about the sixth leading scholars
our perception information that big one call ourselves but i was thinking just visually says like velcro
since it's like there's little focused on one side a little eyes
reality we've got worse and things will come up against a little ties and label on it for you know better
that's just an illusion course but it's a very powerful
you know receive receivers face or
to get unstuck because nature of days is stiff but really that's just an idea yeah
so we're working with the kitchen has been working
two fence it's hard
sometimes it's tensions but sometimes it's just that kitchen samadhi encourages you're losing without having to kill a lot of instructions and that can stop
that's wonderful
moment except the entirety of our practice but it's a wonderful moment
thank you thank you for the commenter
charles get down on the tree
well that was kind of embarrassing you know the suit was stuck in the teary right so yeah somebody had the common undo me
i think i could swing because of the piano swing over to a trunk another as i didn't hit a trunk i came down the issue did well it just dance right so he got caught up and i swung over to a trunk and somebody came in unfastened and i climbed down the tree
peter i think therefore either
that cooking fried rice i thought there was a wonderful metaphor for practicing difficult situations of continually find yourself yeah just a lot of heat can just keep me those a lot of heat your vowels and flowing
this seems like great
for practices
yeah kind of counter to what we often think of doing where we can just hunker down right here thank you
the party healthier to thank you this topic
i think about how
it has over

shit that
washington comes out his wife
some kitchen practice taking care of her answer
assistance way
yeah yeah takes a while for that to happen or did for me you know there's open a wave separating the practice from the rest of life but
a wonderful moment when we realized that we can carry it right out there with us i i mean as the teacher i often feel that in i'm giving some form of czars and instruction in the classroom without ever talking about zen and it's a good feeling
what he said
oh maybe we can talk about it out there later i think we're running out of time may be one andrea
likewise as a pet

the worried about the fact that

just a resident
said that i was worried
someone southern africa
i think things are just
sounds pretty good to me
yeah don't stop teaching
i'd love to be in your clothes
likewise eighteen
oh no linda hi
oh come on i believe if er sagen

yeah get to it
how about training in spirit

know that

but that's our misconception right

a kid's change

ah can be our new mod throne we see each other

good thank you i think it's time thank you all very much enjoy your weekend