Manifested Three Treasures
I want to continue my talk about precepts-- Buddhist precepts. And last time I talked about the indivisible three treasures, which is buddha, and dharma, and sangha. But we have three-- we say “three treasures,” but the three treasures could be understood by you in three ways. It is indivisible, three precepts, because it is one: buddha, and dharma, and sangha are actually one. It is not three. So we say indivisible three treasures.
The next one is, actually, since we have Shakyamuni Buddha who attained enlightenment, realizing the indivisible three treasures. And what he told was dharma, which was-- as he realized what is the indivisible three treasures, he talked about it. That is dharma. And his disciples are sangha. So this is-- we call this three treasures, is called “manifested three treasures.” And right now we have, you know, temples, and in temple we have buddha, you know, big or small, or bronze or wood, or gold or wood, wooden buddha, bronze buddha, buddha image. That is buddha, you know, for us. And we have scriptures, you know, many scriptures, piled up somewhere [laughs], sometime in library [laughs]. Those are dharma too. We call it dharma. And sangha-- sangha is priests and-- priests or nun-- priests, nuns, and laymen and laywomen. They are, you know, all sangha. Those are, you know, also three treasures. Three treasures, maintaining, which maintains Buddha and Buddhism as a religion. So those are called, maybe, juji sanbo -- ”maintaining three treasures,” the three treasures which maintain or sustain Buddhism, which protect Buddhism.
Tonight I want to talk about Buddha's-- excuse me-- three treasures, manifested-- the manifested three treasures. It is not different, but the difference-- difference is, difference between indivisible three treasures and manifested three treasures is-- Buddhism which was told by Buddha is the manifested three treasures, manifested buddha. And Buddhism which exist, you know, before Buddha, even before Buddha, that is indivisible three treasures. After Buddha, you can say “he is Buddha,” you know; he can say “this is Buddha.” And this is the teaching which was told by Buddha. That is dharma. And those are Buddha's sangha, which include priest, and laymen, and laywomen-- Buddha's sangha.
So we can tell by our eyes, you know, which is buddha, and which is dharma, and which is sangha. But indivisible three treasures cannot say this is dharma, or this is buddha, or this is sangha. This is the difference. And-- and for us it is very important to figure out the difference between Buddhism which was told by Buddha and Buddhism which actually exist, whether Buddha, you know, came out on this world.
But because you don't-- most people thinks if Buddhism is the teaching which was started by Buddha. Maybe most people thinks in that way. And some people may say before Buddha there were many sages, and Buddha is one of the sages we have had-- we had before. Those sages, you know, in-- we have had besides Buddha is also-- we include those sages. Where [laughs]-- where are they [laughs] now? They are not, you know, they are not indivisible three treasures; they are not included there. And they are not manifested, you know, three treasures, because [laughs] manifested three treasures are Buddha, and the teaching he told us, and his sangha. Those are manifested three treasures [laughs]. Where are they now [laughs]? For an instance, here is Amida Buddha, you know [probably pointing to the statue of Amida Buddha in the buddha hall]. Where is he? We-- it looks like they have no place-- Buddhism has no place for other sages [laughs]. Very sectarian, maybe, you may say. But we have actually [laughs]-- we reserve-- they have reserved seat [laughs, laughter]. You must think, you know. That is a koan for you. Where are they?
There are many questions. If you think more, you will have many questions. And as a Buddhist, it is necessary to figure out those questions clearly, and you have to answer for this kind of question [laughs]. What you should study now or tonight after listening to my last lecture is, first of all, to have full understanding of indivisible [pronounces it “individible,” laughs]-- indivisible three treasures. Unless you understand this indivisible three treasures, you cannot be perfect Buddhist. This is very important point for us to understand. Even, you know-- of course, to have full understanding of it, it is necessary for us to practice. Actual practice is necessary. You cannot, you know, understand it, you cannot figure out by your mind. Actual practice is necessary. What you understand, you know, will be-- if it is not buddha or sangha, it will be law of the Buddhism or law of the universe. Or if it is not the law of the universe, it may be something, you know, which exist in this universe: trees or mountains or river.
And it is almost impossible to know what is dharm- -- what is buddha. The buddha is so-called-it “emptiness” or “nothingness.” That is actually buddha. And if you think you can figure out what is nothingness, what is emptiness [laughs], if you say “I know what is emptiness,” that is not emptiness. [It is] somethingness-- some idea or something. How you can figure out-- how you can tell what is emptiness is to full understanding of mountains or river or each one of us. What is a stone? What is a cat? What is a dog, you know? When you know actually what is a dog, what is a cat, you know yourself, you know. Only when you know yourself you will understand what is mountain, what is a dog, what is a cat. And you will understand cat is not just cat. Cat is you too. You are cat. [Laughs] At the same time, you are a dog too [laughs, laughter]. And if you think it is ridiculous for you to be a dog [laughs, laughter], then that is, you know, usual understanding. It is not indivisible-- indivisible truth. That is why, actually, we must have practice. Unless we have practice, we cannot reach this, you know, core of the teaching.
People may say Buddhism is atheism because we do not have any particular, you know, buddha to worship. So they may say Buddhism is atheism. Or they-- it is not monotheism. People knows about this point. But many people say Buddhism is pantheism, but it is not so. Atheism or pantheism or monotheism is the religion which you can teach by-- by your thinking mind. You can figure out what is, you know, what is god.
But Buddhism is beyond our understanding. It should be so. Every religion actually should be so, but Buddhism puts emphasis on this point. Because-- I think Buddhism is very good religion for American people [laughs, laughter] because you like something, you know, you like something which you can figure out, you know. If we say you cannot figure out what is buddha, you will be discouraged: “Oh, Buddhism is no good.” [Laughs, laughter.]
At least for you, religion should be some mystical-- mystic religion will be pretty good for you, but not exactly [right?]. Religion should be some religion which will give you some advantage in your life. That is most appropriate religion, not only for American people, but for almost all the human nature-- human being. Or else no one will not be-- no one will [be] interested in religion. But we, you know, we Buddhists [are] concerned about this point very much, because of the weakness we have-- weakness, which weakness that we cannot satisfy with nothing. That is the [reason] why we suffer, why we have difficulties in our life. Only when we can [be] satisfied with ourselves and with what we have and with how we are, then we will have complete freedom from everything. And that is how we, you know-- how we-- how we become completely-- how we have complete renunciation.
You may say that is almost impossible, you know, or utterly impossible; but actually it is not so. There is some way. Because you think so, it is not possible. When you say it is not possible, you stick to your gaining idea, and you still continue to play game with things. You are not-- you are not serious enough with yourself. You need something, you know, some-- something to make [you] feel good. We Buddhist feel very sympathetic with people who cannot [be] satisfied without anything when they are already buddha. Because they nee- [partial word-- ”need”?]-- they want something more, they cannot be a buddha. That's all. So it is [a] pity, you know [laughs, laughter], isn't it, you know? Having, you know-- being well-qu- [partial word-- ”qualified”?]-- completely qualified buddha-- for some completely-- for a completely qualified buddha, just because he needs something more, a little bit more, he cannot be a buddha [laughs]. How silly, you know [laughs, laughter], we are if you really know yourself. This point is not, you know-- this is the point we do not notice. And this is the point why Buddha appeared in this world.
So Buddha's enlightenment is just to be himself, you know, and when he become he himself, he found everyone to be a buddha, and everything was buddha. When just knows-- when just-- when he just know who he was, then everyone were buddha. Everyone is buddha. That is how he attained enlightenment. And his teaching was how we, you know, his teaching is actually let everyone know why we are not buddha, why we cannot be a buddha. So actually it is mostly about human nature.
So his teaching is about our human nature. So that is why we say if you study Buddhism, you will be a good human being. And when you are good human being, then you are also-- when you know your bad points, means you know you are originally Buddha. Same thing. At least if you listen to his teaching, you will know why you are, you know, you have suffering as a human being, and how-- that is how you can [be] free from suffering. The same teaching will work in two ways.
Actually he was talking about himself-- about himself as a person who was born at certain time, at certain place. If so, what is Buddhism [laughs]? Where is Buddhism? Buddhism is each one's own nature. In this sense, that each one's own nature is called also “buddha nature,” because it is about how we-- how Buddha lose himself and how a buddha stays himself. So it is all about each one of us.
So if you say Buddha attained enlightenment or Buddha started Buddhism, it is so. But even though he didn't start, he didn't appear in this world, Buddhism is there as long as we are here. So there is nothing new, you know, for us to study. But Buddha's teaching will give you some light, some light to know yourself. So in this sense we have dharma-- the light by which we can see ourselves like a mirror is Buddha's teaching. But all what we will know is about ourselves.
So here in manifested three treasures, same thing is true. Buddha, and sangha, and teaching is one. We are buddha. Or “sangha,” we say, but each one of the sangha-- member of the sangha is buddha. And his teaching we say, but that is just light, you know, to know ourselves. So actually there is no special teaching which we should remember, which we should recite. There is no need to recite sutra [laughs], in its true sense, but it will help anyway [laughs, laughter]. So if you-- if you should respect, you know, pay homage, you should pay homage to yourself, and it means to pay homage to buddha and to the dharma. That is the structure of Buddhism.
So same thing is true with the manifested three treasures as three treasure indivisible-- [having trouble pronouncing it; laughs.] In-di-vi- [Students help with pronunciation.] Okay anyway. [Laughs, laughter.] Better not to, to bite my lips. [Laughs, laughter.] Anyway, same, not difference. Not different. But because our mind is not so clear, so we must to give good understanding of Buddhism, we have precepts. So precepts is not something to observe literally. Through precepts we should know the structure of Buddhism, and point of Buddhism, and core of Buddhism, and spirit of Buddhism. That is why we accept precepts.
And the maintaining Buddhism, three treasure of-- which maintain Buddhism, like scriptures, or priests, or bronze Buddha. You-- if I-- you don't, you know, you don't-- I think you do not find much meaning in bronze Buddha or scriptures, maybe, you know; especially you don't [aren't] interested in bronze Buddha at all [laughs]. You say it is idol, you know, idol worship. Buddhism is idol worship because all of us, you know, every day bowing to Buddha. Right now we bow to Buddha nine times. It is-- Buddhism is nothing but idol worship. [Laughs, laughter.] Yeah, that is maybe your feeling.
But, you know-- buddha-- in this category of maintaining buddha include various sages who are actually-- actually helping people, whether he is Buddhist or not. That is for us also buddha. It is not because we are so generous [laughs], but because we have clear understanding of buddha-- who is buddha. Each one of us is already buddha. Why various sages who are, you know, helping people are not buddha? They are all buddha. We say “buddha in other world.” “Other world” is-- means, you know, not in this society, or not for Buddhists. Other world-- other world can be Christian world or some other religious people's world. This point should not be, you know, missed. We really pay homage to those sages.
This is a brief explanation of the triple treasures we have-- precepts of triple treasures. Maybe to have-- having clear understanding of triple treasures, our triple treasures, and to have right practice, we should make those points very sure, through practice, and through intellectual understanding, and through discussion. If we do not discuss this point fully, we will not have good practice in its true sense, and we will be lost. Even though you, you know, practice hard and you make great effort, you will be lost. So that you may not lose yourself in your practice, in your religion, we should accept those treasures which was transmitted from Buddha to us. Actually, Buddha realized this point, and [it was] carefully discussed by various teachers and patriarchs so that we might not lose our way.
You can criticize, you know, Buddhism from various angle. That is necessary. If it is not necessary for you, it will help someone else, you know, even though [laughs] you end up in your criticism. It will help people-- someone else. For your own sake, for other's sake, you should criticize Buddhism. And you can fight with Buddhism, even. If you don't fight with Buddhism strongly enough, all human being will be lost. Only when you fight with Buddhism, then actually you are helping --
[Sentence not finished. Tape turned over.]
You should study Buddhism on those points by all means and from various angles. But as long as you are fighting with it, you are not-- not yet [laughs] Buddhist-- you are outside Buddhism. But from Buddha's viewpoint, he is Buddhist, and even though he feel he is not Buddhist. Buddhism is, you know, this kind of religion. You should know what is Buddhism very clearly. And if you [are] going to be a Buddhist, you should be prepared for this kind of problem which you will have because you became a-- only because you became Buddhist. If you, you know, were not Buddhist, you will not have any problem, maybe [laughs]. Only because you became a Buddhist you will have many problem [laughs, laughter]. Fighting, you know-- through fighting-- this kind of fighting, you can help people in its true sense. If you want to be protected by the Three Treasures, it is not the way to accept the Three Treasures. This is the spirit we receive our precepts. This is why you become a Buddhist. [Sighs.]
Maybe I think better to have a question-and-answer time for, maybe, how many minutes? Twenty minutes? Do you have some question? Hai.
Student A: What do you mean “fight with Buddhism”?
Student A: What do you mean “fight with Buddhism”?
SR: Buddhism. [Laughs.] Buddhism. In its wide sense--
Student B: Roshi?
Student B: Did you hear, Roshi?
Student A: To fight with Buddhism.
SR: Oh, “fight with Buddhism.”
Student B: Fight with Buddha.
SR: To-- to have doubt-- you know, to wonder what it is, to have many questions about Buddhism. That is mostly what I meant. We-- we do not use any weapons, so it is impossible for you to fight with gun or-- [laughs]. Yeah. Hai.
Student C: I've come here off-and-on, but the people that seem to be studying here the longest never seem to ask any questions. [Laughter.]
SR: Hmm? Asking-- what did he say?
Student B: He said the people here-- that practice here the most never ask questions.
SR: They do. Yeah. [Laughs, laughter.] Will you ask question then? You can ask question. [Laughter.]
Student D [Ed Brown?]: It's because our legs hurt so much where we live [?] [laughter].
SR: Do you have some question? You have-- you must suffer eighteen minutes more. [Laughter.] Do you have some question? Did you have some outline of my talk? Hai.
Student E: Could you say something more about emptiness, or void, or pure nothingness?
SR: Mm-hmm. [Laughter.] Who said? To wondering why? [?] [Laughter.] Because I cannot say anything about this, I talked so long time [laughs, laughter]. It is impossible to say something about it, you know, but it is possible. The only way to know what is emptiness is to be you, you know. Then that is emptiness. Do you understand? We have-- nothing has its self-nature. So if you-- the only way to have it is to be a part of it. It is not good. If I say “part of it,” it is already creating some question or [laughs]-- a question for you, but to be a part of it, to be one with everything. Then, when you are actually a part of everything-- all things, you are all thing. When you think you have your own way, or you have your own self-nature, then you are not part of all things. So you are something. When you are completely a part of everything, you don't exist anymore. [Takes a drink of water.]
When you dip a water by this cup, you know, and when you say, “this is water,” you know, this is not water anymore. When you empty it to the river, it is really water. It is flowing endlessly. It doesn't stay anywhere. If it stay someplace, it may not be true water anymore. But actually it is-- it cannot stay anywhere that is water. We think it can stay here, but this is just because I think, you know, “here is water in the cup.” But it doesn't actually staying here; it is going, you know, away. So when water is really water, it is nothing, you know; no self-nature. There is no water. You cannot catch it. So, in this sense, we can say “nothingness.” Water is nothingness. Nothingness-- because it is nothing, it is water, true water. When it is true water, it is nothingness. So everything is nothingness, and everything is everything, just everything. Anything can be everything, and everything can be nothing. This is a kind of technique [laughs, laughter] to talk about-- nothingness. When you know, when you become familiar with this kind of technique, you may say, “I understand what is nothingness.” [Laughs, laughter.] Then you don't understand. So when you don't know anything, you really have Buddhism. So better not to be concerned about nothingness too much. [Laughs, laughter.]
Do you have some-- did you understand what I am saying? No? [Laughter.] That was good. If you say “understand,” you understood-- maybe you have understood something else. That is your own understanding. Don't ask question about nothingness, you know. You will be-- you must surrender, anyway, if you ask question about nothingness. Maybe I have to surrender too [laughs]. Some other question?
Student F: You say it is necessary to have doubt.
Student F: What about-- is it necessary also to have faith, to be able to try out Buddhism?
SR: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
Student F: So sometimes-- sometimes you need faith and sometimes you need doubt?
SR: Yes, but doubt-- big doubt should follow, you know, the confidence to try out. But actually we are trying out, you know, even though we die, we are still trying in some way [laughs]. Isn't that true? Even though we have no physical, you know, body, we are still trying. Physical body seems to act quite easily. But, you know, true-- my true nature cannot cease to act. It is going. Even though there is no more earth, still something is going on, endlessly [laughs]. If you, you know, if you [are] discouraged by something which may happen to us, it is lack of understanding of our true nature. If you know, really, what we are, we cannot [get] discourage[d]. Even though your small mind may be discouraged, but your big mind is still going [laughs]. It is okay, you know. Some more question?
Student G: Is it possible to study Buddhism without doubt?
SR: Without-- ?
Student G: Without doubt.
SR: Without doubt? Yeah, if possible, that is better.
Student G: Why?
SR: If that is possible-- if you have some-- if you on the-- on the track, you know, maybe you can go without doubt. That is why we have various, you know, practice: So that you can go on and on without much difficulty we have, you know, various rules and rituals.
Student H: If you doubt, when you doubt, pretty soon you're doubting so much that-- how do you know that you're on the track, if you're doubting all the time? How do you know for sure, you know, when the right thing?
SR: It is not necessary to be sure. Anyway [laughs, laughter], you will not be lost. That is very true, you know. You think you will be lost. When you think you will be lost, then you have something wrong with you. You know, you may be-- you may have very small mind.
Student H: Okay, that's the case with certain people who are called schizophrenic. What happens to them? They go off and then something happens to them, and what, what is it?
SR: So I think if our society, you know, is supported this kind of big mind and spirit, we will not have so many, you know, mentally disturbed people. The-- why they feel they afraid of being lost is, you know, they are not fully supported by big mind. They are, you know, always confronting with his own small mind and some other small mind, like his parents' or his brother or sister, his neighbor. They are all, you know, involved in small mind, so he has to confront with small mind always, so he will be always discouraged. His mind cannot be so broad and big. And when he has big mind he feel as if he was lost, you know, something wrong with himself-- with him, when-- because everyone has small mind, you know. When everyone has small mind, and he-- even though he have big mind, he feels as if he was lost. That is, you know, the trouble-- trouble of the society who has not supported with this kind of big mind.
Student I: Why have all this weakness, and desire, and struggle? What is the sense in it?
Student I: Yeah, why is it-- what is the sense in all of this-- these-- having small mind, having weaknesses and desires? Why?
SR: Reason why is, you know, not to-- actually, we do not have small mind, so-called-it “small mind” to suffer, but to support ourselves we have small mind-- to know what actually we are doing, inch by inch. That is small mind. If you call it small mind, but if it doesn't cease to act, you know, going on and on, that is actually big mind. So if you lose the background of the small mind which is big mind, then small mind end up in small mind for you. It is actually going, but you don't feel so, and you are always afraid of something will happen to you. That is fear, you know. That is why we suffer.
Student I: I know; but my question is why was all this created in the first place?
SR: Which practice?
Student I: Why was all this created, all this--
SR: Yeah, that is--
Student I: -- you're given that, kind of, climb out [?] of small mind. The whole process. Why? What's the sense of this?
SR: Oh. Why we have that-- why this kind-- why we are created in that way?
Student I: Yeah.
SR: Uh-huh. It is something which is difficult to answer [laughs, laughter]. But actually it is, you know-- we are-- the purpose of Buddhism is not to answer that kind of question, like Christianity. Who created, you know? Your question is something like, “Who is responsible for?” [Laughs, laughter.] What if? But no one is responsible for that. If you say someone should be responsible for that, you should be responsible for that because you change your mind little bit, you know. If you have little bit right understanding, you will be free from that kind of problem and you can and even enjoy the problem. So, actually, you are creating and you are responsible, but we are not talking about whose responsibility it is. But actually things is going in that way. That is nature of Buddhism; that is the nature of Buddha's teaching. He didn't, you know, say anything definitely, and he did not pick up any special cause.
It is impossible to answer when this earth or when this universe started, you know, when we are going, you know, and what is the limit of the universe. Is that possible? Not possible. This is important point also. If there is some limit, you know, or if we think there is some limit, it is not absolute anymore. Because we-- there is no limit in universe, and things started [from] beginningless beginning and going to endless end. That is why, you know, we can believe in our destiny. If there is, you know, beginning and end, like Christian teaching, you can believe in God, but you cannot believe in our-- each-- each one of us. We can believe in our destiny. That is very important point.
And if Buddha have answer to that question, he is not Buddha anymore. He is not Buddha. Because he didn't-- he was great because he didn't answer that kind of question. That we don't know anything about it is very important point. That we cannot answer for this is very important [laughs]. When you say “this is very important,” it is not important anymore. You can compare, you know, to some other thing, and you can say which is important, then this is not absolutely important. You cannot depend on that kind of thing, which has some limit, which has some beginning and which has some end, because, you know, emptiness, which has no limit and no start-- beginning, we can believe in it. Isn't that so?
This is very important. I am not fooling you. [Laughs, laughter.] [Sighs.] Okay? If you really, you know, understand this, tear will come out. [Makes sound like crying.] You will really, you know, feel happy to be a Buddhist. Just now, we are-- this is question and answer, so you don't have this kind of feeling. But if you struggle bad enough [laughs], you will, you know, feel how important point this is. Why-- how you can struggle with this struggle is you-- you are supported, you know, by something, something you don't know. But as we are human being, there must be that kind of a feeling, you know. You must live in such city or village or community. That is, I think, very important. So whatever community it may be, it is necessary to have community to-- which have this kind of spiritual support.
That is why I respect Trungpa Rinpoche. That is a point, you know. He is supporting us. You may criticize him because he drinks like I drink water [laughs, laughter]. That is minor problem. He trust you completely. He knows if he is always supporting you, in its true sense, you will not criticize him, whatever he does. And he doesn't mind whatever you say [laughs]. It's not point, you know. This kind of spirit is necessary for-- for human being, without clinging to some special, you know, religion or form of practice. [Sighs.]
[Laughs, laughter.] You have ten minutes more [laughs, laughter]. You have to sit ten minutes more, okay? Some more questions?
Student J: Yes. A change of pace: Why do you carry that wooden appendage?
SR: This? Yeah. Uh-huh. When you find it difficult to understand me, I whack you! [Laughs, laughter.] Okay, I [probably making gesture; laughs, laughter]-- it's much better not to have this, you know. I am very short-tempered [laughs, laughter], so I may rely on this too much, you know. When I cannot express myself-- whack! [Laughs, laughter.] If I haven't this, I must try hard to make verbal communication. So it may help without this, but as I am pretty old, I must have-- depend on this a little bit.
Student K: Does anyone ever hit you with it?
SR: [In a whisper.] Don't ask me. [Laughter.] I [am] ashamed of myself [laughs, laughter]. Hai
Student L: I know by the way I feel when I come to Zen Center that it's very important to be with people who are practicing zazen--
Student L: -- who are practicing kinhin and practicing eating silently.
Student L: But I have to spend a lot of time away from Zen Center, and with people who listen to music [3-4 words unclear] who never think that there's anything else but small mind. And while I keep trying to remind myself that I'm a Buddhist, I feel very different from them--
Student L: -- and it causes me-- causes me a lot of problems.
Student L: It's difficult for me to be myself outside of the sangha, outside of the Buddhist community.
SR: But then you mean that, you know, what you mean is if you are always in city, without knowing Zen Center or some religious group, you know, then you think you will feel good, your life will be good?
Student L: I-- I-- I don’t--
SR: I think-- what I'm saying is if you don't know Zen Center, if you live in the city without knowing Zen Center or religious group, then do think you will be happy?
Student L: No, I [one unintelligible word-- ”really”?] like Zen Center. But there's a lot that isn't Zen Center. I can't spend all of my time here.
SR: But that is why we are here and you come here. Even though you have difficulties, it is good to come here, and you shouldn't be so impatient. It takes time. We, we started Zen Center quite recently, not so long time ago, and it is quite natural for us to have various problems. Even though we have problem, the problem we have is very important problems for human being. That is why you come here. I don't think we are-- I can help you, you know, I can help you so much. As much as I can, I shall be with you, that's all. And I am-- I shall be very glad if you carry on this kind of work-- that's all, you know. Don't think you can, because you come here you can solve-- you will have very good, you know, everyday life. Whether you have a good everyday life or not is out of question. We should not be concerned about it too much, so much. But we should know what is right and what kind of life we must have. That is more important thing for us to know, you know. To-- that much confidence we must have, even though we cannot help people so well.
Okay? I'm sorry I cannot help you, but-- but I can help, you know, you to have big confidence in your way of life. And if you have confidence in your life, you will have, you know-- the rest of difficulties you may have is not so big problem for you.
Thank you very much.