Our Practice And Our Everyday Activity
Saturday, August 30, 1969
Newly uploaded recording should be clearer to transcribe
David Chadwick's notes
Source: 69-08-30-II-t.mp3 digital audio archive from DC. Problem set. Thanks to audio work by Angus Atwell, transcribed
Transcribed by CM 09/05/12-09/10/12. Audio quality fair, largely audible and fair distance from speakers. Audio grade generally C, with probably something around 70% audible, but with some worrisome flucuation. Some crickets but not many which muffle speech or affect sound being picked up. Unfortunately, a large enough amount of the audio is unclear, causing inconclusive meaning. Tape cuts twice: once it resumes (and is "relooped"), but the second time an unknown period has passed, possibly even a different lecture.
??? denotes at least one muddled word, or just a stretch of bad audio. ?? denotes a guessed word, with an added open bracket meaning a guessed phrase or sentence. Ambiguous words (such as homonyms or where an "a" might be an "un-") stated in closed brackets.
File name: 69-08-30N: our practice and our everyday activity 1 speeds up 2 is new lect or 1 is 2 an 2 1 [?Transcript in progress. Problem set. Needs further work, checking. Many words in doubt. Notes on transcription methodology follow transcript.]
Tonight, I want to... to discuss with you ??? our practice and our everyday that... our everyday activity. Our everyday ??? ??? and help [a new fear?? about in your life. It doesn't... practice help your empty life ???. This kind of thing discuss the saving??. Of course, Buddhist believing?? our... [in it? complete nature. And when we realize our nature ??? finally?? practice zazen?? it is possible for us to... to understand [what is?? our true nature. Nothing can??... good nor?? bad nature.
When we realize our nature we says?? we our, according to Dogen-zenji??, we our...
??? and it means, is that... [might is?? a kind of question. ??? a kind of ??? what??, like what or how, and it also means "suchness" or "thusness". It has two meaning. When we are just as we are, and when we find that we are just as we are, it means that when we practice zazen and [stop sinking?? and stop our feeling of pain are... discovers?? by distracting?? then that leaves... "Suchness"! And when we experience this "suchness" then even my?? pain in the?? legs is also "suchness". And it is another way of experiencing our true nature. So?? why we... why [Dogen-zenji used to describe it??. Whatever that experience may be, when we realize our... when we experience our true nature then whatever that experience may be, that is another way of experiencing "suchness". So not only zazen practice, but also ??? the experience of "suchness". So it is not just zazen practice, but also whatever we do [that is?? the experience of... real experience of our true nature. And so, whatever, you know, in this case, we do not point at it, some special experience, but.... That is why we use inter-interoritive?? words whatever it is, or what is it. Or how is it. What kind of experience and??... did you have. Nor?? how was that experience. No??. So, that house?? can be many things, many different things, and whatever ??? experience may be that is... ??? experience?? muddled??... "suchness" or our true nature. In this way, we understand our everyday life. And in this learn? ???, if you have some question, I want you to ask me??.
Student: As we our counting our breath in zazen...
Student: ...a certain state of mind is created. Living our everyday lives, should we concentrate on maintaining that state of mind or should we continue counting our breath?
SR: No, in everyday life there may be, you know, in everyday life sometime you can count your breathing, or, you can be concentrated on what you do, or even you can count your breathing, you know. But when you are... you are doing something bad??, using your thinking?? mind, you know, you can not do that. So, at that time, you should be concentrated on what you do nor?? what you think. Whatever it is, you know, you shouldn't?? be concentrated on what you do. That is, you know, there is also some difference between the concentration of [a usual person?? and concentration of a?? Zen student. But, usually, the concentration is just concentration, that's all. It does not mean so much. But for us, you know, that concentration, it's more flexible, you know? That is why Dogen-zenji used two words, you know, the words which means ??? and the... the other... on the other ??? words. This is it, but, it can be many things, you know, you can substitute it for some... some of the experience, or some of the activity. Now, when you eat you should be concentrated on eating, and when you... even in concentration you will... if someone ask you to come or, you know, ask... if... someone ask you to help, you know, to help ??? the you can easily stop your practice and concentration on some particular thing and you... you can concentrate on some other thing quite easily and it is more flexible. That is... meaning... that is why we say, "What?" So, you know, just to concentrated on one thing is not our way. The concentration should be one of the many ways of concentration and each activity, each practice, should include everything. So, he says, "If your practice does not include everything, that is not true practice." When your practice includes everything; whole universe, maybe, then that is our practice. Whatever the?? practice may be, you know, if that practice includes all universe, you know, that is the?? only one practice. Many different, but actually, it is, one practice. Zen student understand concentration in this way. But unusual?? people to be concentrated on one thing, is... does not... just concentration. And that which is, on?? practice, and that includes some other's?? practice, or some other practice of his own, some other practice [of him??. We understand?
Student: Is all practice of "suchness" of equal value? For example, if you experience "suchness" with an attitude of gratitude is that more valuable than if you don't?
SR: If you don't, you know, your life will be... will be life of ["piece by piece"??, you know? There's no ??? and there's really?? not to be no Sanskrit?? and your... your mind will not be in... your mind will to be always [centered or sacred].
Student: You mean, if we practice "suchness", but with... without an attitude of gratitude as if it's the way ??...
SR: Gratitude--Yeah, maybe so. Gratitude?? is including everything; breath?? is a ???. Breath?? is perfect composure. Breath?? is practicing something with Buddha. Buddha, you know, Buddha and you... your practice includes Buddha's practice. And Buddha's practice is your practice. So it may be a great job??, more than job??...
Mack??, do you have some other question?
Student: I don't understand "effortless effort". When I do effort, [laughs] I have to use a lot of effort.
Student: Is there something, like counting your breaths, that will make that possible? W--Well not really zazen following, I mean, ordinary life.
SR: ["In ordinary life?"?? In zazen counting breathing is?? a lot, but in ordinary I don't think ??? helps [a lot or so much]. Actually, you cannot count [or you?? do some other things.
Student: Is there something we can do, to make the effort effortless?
SR: Effortless? No, but then ??? saying is to... to be completely involved in what you do; to become one with what you do. [Not in dualistic sense.?? But, you know, [new, dual, or your] experience is not yours. ??? experience, you know, that's with the existing "something". Objective and subjective, no, no... no subjectivity or objectivity, but that's with the existing... the act or practice you do [at that time??. You... I know that trouble means in your zazen is pain in your legs, but pain is, you know, very helpful, you know, if you appreciate fully what is pain. It is best way to forget about yourself and.... Pain mostly stronger than the idea of self. If you depend?? ???, you know and [you're pain??. It continues, you know, and your practice ??? naturally continues. Don't you think so? And it is, you know, as long as you fear, you know, you have legs here, I have legs here which is painful, then it is impossible to... [and here are?? some pain. When it is very painful, ??? we wear is perceptual [laughs]. And tried to become one with pain, that is: Don't you run away! [Do or Dual] and dual. ???. So when you completely become with pain and it is ???, you know, to become pain. You said it is difficult but, actually, it is not so. It is not easier to become with pain than become with something else. And because it is so strong and so actual, [laughs] so you can not escape from it. If you tried to move it, you know, ???, but if you determined not to move it??, and endure the pain. [The one?? ??? is to, you know, to give up my legs or some other legs. Or, to give up the intention to cut off his legs [laughs]. Keep it on your ??? and become one with it, with your whole [buzzing or buzzard] mind we should endure the pain. [Learn the ways to forget yourself?? and to ???.
Student: ??? one does that? I don't... helpful?? is that? If one does that, so... so what?
SR: Hmm? [So what? or So what!]
SR: You experience the ???. You, and pain... that is very important in our?? practice. Because we can not do that, we have various problem??. ??? [program it is??, "What is the cause of problem?? ? ??? cause of the problem is, maybe, so-called ignorance. What is ignorance? Ignorance is not to know that we have [no self or no-self]. ??? actual experience ???, and actual experience to become one with all beings. Then you have no choice, you know?
Student: But, is it, is it better to become one with something that's harder than someone-hood??, like [candy? or canned beef?], than to be become one with something that?? is either, like, like, ??? ? [Laughter].
SR: To become one with eating? You... you think you become one with eating, but actually, you are not! No, when you... there's?? something, you know, you would be easily fooled by something. If something is Japanese??, you can not be fooled by it. And if you become completely with... one with it, you know, you cannot have composure in it, you know? I know someone who has this experience, fully, completely, and who ??? forget his ??? completely, you know? All of sudden, all the pain stopped and he lost ??? weight??. She didn't know who she was, and she forgot pain??, also. Because when there's all the pain that is not pain, anymore. Because you are here, you know, and pain is here: that is pain. There's no difference between pain or, you know, pain or [pause, thinking] complete??. It is, you know, an actual experience you may have if you determined to do it. So, you know, that question like, "So what?" [Laugh]. We'll balance, also. ???, you know. ??? how to become, or how to accomplish our practice. How to obtain oneness. ???. Actually, you know, you can do it.
Student: Is that ??? practice... confused? I find things that I used to feel and experience I don't feel and experience with the intensity... emotional intensity that I used to...
Student: ...and it looks like this is a direction, possibly, of... of losing maybe some emotional coloring and...
Student: ...there are times when I don't experience, at all...
Student: ...and that's... it's rather frightening.
Student: And... I... I've been wondering whether this is just a Western idea, we have concepts to that... to experience fully...
Student: ...is good.
Student: And if you're not feeling and you have a new kind of, almost a "blankness"...
Student: ...and, yet, I do realize I see ??? see things a little more clearly than when I was emotionally involved [in it??.
Student: Is this more of a Western difficulty, do you think, than... than ??? as a Japanese... or Chinese... oriental... cultural conditioning or ??? religious??...
SR: I don't think so, actually. It is too, you know, deep experience with... with the... the... beyond, you know, cultural background.
Student: ...conditioning or ???, religious??...
SR: I don't think so, actually. It is too, you know, deep experience with... with the... the... beyond, you know, cultural background. Pain is, you know, pain [for us??. Pain. You have pain; I don't think there's a difference between your pain and my pain.
Student: But, does you... do you recognize this feeling of fear, of losing ???...
SR: I hear many people say, you know, when you... when he experience blankness ???, you know, or experience to sit at the top of the mountain, you know, where he commands various sight... various view of the world, you know, he... he's quite lonely. Lonesome ???, it is a kind of fear.
For [us to or us, too]... Dogen-zenji also describe this kind of sorrow or, you know, yeah. Sorrow??... Sorrow??... ???. Sorrow very likely to ???. So... ???... some enlightened person ???, he says, ???, such a person. Such a person is, you know, maybe everyone, but everyone can be such a person. But, when he becomes nearly?? such a person, who felt this... to have this experience. ???, [with its different?? from that [usual sorrow??. But, you know, bottomless sorrow.
But here, also, is... and... and he says... he says, sorrow?? self??, sorrow?? self is actual experience ???, our true nature. So, that... that sorrow?? is different from usual sorrow; when we lose someone. Or when we are going to death?? or something. [It is?? completely... it is not kind of, and this?? is not the same kind, but it is actually a kind of, you know, ???. I think this kind of feeling, though it is hard, this kind of feeling...
That is why [he hates or eats], you know, all this humor??. [laughs]. Like some chameleon [laughs]??, but?? he, himself... self is not so happy. He can make... he can make people, you know. [Incomplete or in complete] ???. ??? [coughing] ???. [Foreign language??. [It is not like that??.
But, if anyway, he's happy and he's... his mind is almost perfect??, always open, and wise, and deep, and Sanskrit??, very Sanskrit??, very ??Sanskrit. He can be very fancy??, sometimes. But??.
Excuse me, do you have some other questions?
Student: Roshi??, sometimes, I get very discouraged about my practice in... in my life and losing?? my energy and... and my determination and I just feel bad [all the time??. I feel bad in my body and in my mind. How could I approach this kind??.
SR: First of all, you know, in your practice, you know, you should experience this kind of experience. That is, you know, the shortest cut. You can not be always, you know... you can not be always in such a state as you have [in your?? ??? practice. But, if you have... if you experience this kind of experience even for 10 minutes, or 5 minutes, you know, ???. You have some hope, [you already know the?? direction; which way to go. And then, you know, whatever happens, that is the chance to... to... to go back, to actual practice. Dogen-zenji, you know, described this kind of thing very well. He taught?? the story [of the king of the?? highest [heaven or heavens] Japanese??. The sixth heaven is the Japanese?? and he was the king of that sixth... sixth Japanese??, and he was very much proud of his magic power, so he wanted to disturb Buddha's disciple by his magic power, but he thought, maybe, "What will be the best way?" [foreign language?? [to disturb or disparage] his?? by some... in?? disguise of some beautiful lady, and to give him something, to.... So he went... he went in disguise of beautiful lady, to his disciple, and he presented beautiful... [What is called?? ? Necklace? Necklace. For the Buddhist disciple it's not so good. ???. But??... But the Buddha disciple said, "I don't want such... such a little?? thing, but, anyway, I'll ???, and instead I'll present you something good, too." And he acquired something like ???, you know? So the king of the sixth world??... sixth world?? had to... had to leave and to do ???, so ?? [he solved that debt?? which was given to... to him. And that was while they made up in a nasty human battle. And... snake, dead snake, dead ???. Dead duck made of ???. And ???. But... he found it very difficult to... to get out of it. As he was the king of the sixth heaven-world, he... he cannot find anyone powerful enough to help him. So, he had to go to ???. Hope?? someone ?? [with his?? ??? sixth world. And he [act or ask] [Brahman or Brahmin] to ???. But that [Brahman or Brahmin] said, "I cannot do that. Maybe you better go to the ??? disciple of Buddha, especially if you go to Sanskrit??, he will get?? ??? of??". But, he was very reluctant to go to Buddha's disciple again. But he had to to so he went to him and asked him. And he helped... the disciple helped and he could get rid of [foreign language or name??. And at that time [foreign language or name??. But,?? and Buddha's disciple [foreign language or name?? gave him a poem and said, "Who... Someone who fell, you know, on that land should stand up by the ground. Someone who fell, you know, who stumbled. By that ground, you know, ??? or something. Zhaozhou's?? ??? at the stone and fell on the stone should stand by the ???, you know. And ??? no reason to seek or some other ???. It means that you, you know, made a mistake [which or with] Buddha disciple, so should you go to the Buddha disciple and you should stand up there by... by help of Buddha. It means that, you know, if you make some mistake or whatever it is, if you happen to do something ??? bad, if it is bad... if it is good it will be a great help, and even though it is mistake or it is some difficulty, but... When you determine try to stand up and when you stand up, you know, and there's no other place for you to stand up, [the or that] place you make mistake will be the place you [find that?? [? or .] And?? the way to stand up. So whatever you experience you have that is, you know, place where you should practice our way. And that practice is to stand up by... to stand up by [it is??... to become one with it, and to be free from it, and to accept it. And?? to find complete composure in it.
Do you have some... some more [question or questions]?
Student: Dogen said that, "You should continue to practice zazen all of your life..."
Student: "...that you should not stop."
Student: Suppose you get to the point where whether you are searching or doing some other activity...
Student: ...you're doing everything the same way.
Yeah. Same way.
SR: Same way, but the way you do may be different, you know. But the point is [that way??. Because it is the same, we... he says, that is it... this is it. And the way we practice the... is not always same, you know, that ??? practice may be different??. [Its value?? practice ???. So, it?? must be fought?? or [have or habit].
Student: You... although the zazen looks the same, it is always different?
SR: Although it looks very different, it is same. [Laughter].
Student: Then if it is the same, why do zazen?
SR: If it is, you know, you can not have that kind of experience in some other practice. You would be easily fooled by something, you know, if you, you know, if you practice zazen, even though you practice zazen you find it's pretty difficult even to count breathing??, you know, that is because you are always [getting or going] to be fooled by something. While you divert?? counting it's different. ???. You know, that is a kind of...
SR: [Where's or yes?].
Student: ...that we then keep the schedule than not have that defeat, [as well??.
SR: Well, you know, if you, I think, you know, our schedule is made in that way. ???. We are little ??? want of sleep, you know, and we don't eat not much strong food, you know, and, you know, we are under some orders want of some sleep. But it's easy to practice our way rather than to have enough sleep and enough food, and... Sufficient.
Student: So and that tiredness becomes part of... a part of the practice...
Student: ...something that will always be...
Student: ...with us?
SR: Yes. A part of practice??... [Laughter]. And, [that'll help or something about health], you know.
SR: It's because... [Laughter]. If you are not, you know, tired, you know, you may know what'll happen to you. [Laughs]. Because when you are [little, little bit, literally, tired or inspired], you can?? practice zazen. Because you have not much, you know, enjoyment in monastic life?? you can sit, you know, if you have various enjoyment in monastic life?? [laughs] you will never sit. [Laughter].
Student: If I'm too tired in the morning I can count my breathe maybe to three... [laughter] and then I fall asleep and I start over.
SR: Mm-hmm, yeah.
Student: And sometimes I can arrange my sleeping schedule so I can count to ten [laughter], or maybe even seven. Should I push myself to the point where it is hard to count? [Laughter]. Or should I...
Student: ...maybe get a little more sleep until I can count to ten? [Laughter].
SR: Yeah, you... anyway, you have to do your best, you know. [Laughter].
Student: Sometimes there's choice...
SR: No, no choice. [Laughter]. That?? choice is, you know, [not anymore??... Anyways...
Student: Is what?
SR: In... Anyway, our practice.
Student: ???. [Laughter].
Student: It?? seems to be some... harder to make choices, ??? think it become easier if you had good practice.
SR: ??? ?
Student: Well, choices seem to come harder at Tassajara ??? than they do down there.
SR: Uh-huh. [Laughter]. No, we change our schedule so many times... [Laughs, laughter]... So that we can practice our way, you know? I don't know how many times we change our schedule; usually this is too [much or my] ??? ???. It is not our ???, by that which sleep more. That kind ??? looks like very small things, but not so ???... very ???. [Laughs]. One more question, please.
Student: Roshi??, what could we do when we can't stray away from zazen?
SR: "Stay away"?
Student: When we can't stay away.
SR: From what?
Student: When we can't count beyond three, how can we encourage ourselves as we sit? Since we have to keep to the schedule? [Laughter].
SR: Don't ask me! [Laughter]. If I, you know, say "yes" or "no," you know, it will be easy to entrapped by my words, you know. So I... I don't want to say "yes" or "no" for that question. It is better?? for us, for me and to you, to practice our way. Thank you very much.