Your Life is Right Here

Description

When you really stop disapproving of your life, and think maybe, “what if I’m living the right life, right now, with
everything I’m complaining about?” If I’m living the right life, right now …. Hey, it’s not so
bad!

Instead of treating what’s going on in your life as something to get through, [something
skipped?] it’s here. And however you disapprove of it, it doesn’t really matter; it’s still
here. So your disapproval is really disapproval of your own life. When you really stop
disapproving of your life, and think maybe, “what if I’m living the right life, right now, with
everything I’m complaining about?” If I’m living the right life, right now …. Hey, it’s not so
bad! [Laughs] [:36

I was in the zendo [??inaudible] recently and somebody was saying
how terrible her life was. I noticed that she had incredibly good nail polish, and her toes
especially were splendid. I just said that to her: “Hey, you’ve got really great nail
polish!” I just said that to her, and she just laughed, because, you know, that’s it, right?
What we call emptiness in Zen, you know, where things fundamentally don’t rest on
anything. Including our complaints! [laughs]. It’s not such a bad day, I’ve got good nail
polish!

And so Hakuin’s great koan path — which he really made sure to revive and hand down
to us, just as we are making sure to revive so that we can hand it down to other people
now – was about that, that there’s a life and a joy here, now. It doesn’t wait until you’ve
improved yourself, improved your partner, improved your enemy, lived in a different
colored state. [laughing]

The joy and the light is here, with what we have. And that’s
really something, eh? Not only are you not living the wrong life, you’re not doing the
wrong meditation, — and what’s interesting. If meditation is fundamentally about
showing up, and not finding fault with what’s here – that means not finding fault with
what’s in your mind – then something will happen, you’ll start noticing, “Well, there’s
nothing wrong with what’s in my mind; I’m not fighting with it.” And then it will naturally
do things I wasn’t expecting, like joy might appear in spite of my efforts to be depressed
and worried. Or I might just be restless, and then there’s the thing of, well, I guess,
restlessness is here, and it’s still not the wrong life, and it’s still not the wrong
meditation.

And what do you do, in meditation? Basically, you just come back to your koan.
Actually we gave you a whole smorgasboard of koans, [2:80] in the ending ceremony.
What are they? “Does a dog have Buddha-nature or not?” and the teacher said, “NO.”
[Students respond, not audible] What else; who is next? [students, mostly inaudible
suggestions of koans: “Step by step in the dark, if my foot’s not wet, I’ve found the
stone”]

So there they are, take your pick! The great koan “NO” is a good one to start with. Just
“NO.” Whatever comes up in your mind, “No.” “I’m not doing this right, am I?” “No.” “I’m
doing it right.” “No.”

So you get beyond good and evil; you get beyond… and underneath that, there’s life
and there’s you, and there’s a texture and feeling of your own life. You’ll be okay
because you’re here. Everything in a retreat is set up to support us. The sounds are
set up, the quiet. And the sunrise is set up, after the long nights. The companionship of
just sitting with friends is such a deep, deep thing. And you know,…you know how you
can tell how a friend is feeling – you know, the permeability we have as humans, that
our psyches pick each other up. We’re supporting each other in that way, you know.
Even without words, we’re supporting each other. And there’s a kind of love in just
being here together, and we’re just holding each other up in that way.

So, I guess that is what we are walking into. Those great koans that have just been
mentioned: “The well that has not been dug. Someone with only a shadow of form is
drawing water.” Things like that. Or, “Quickly, without thinking good or evil, before your
parents were born, what is your original face?” “Step by step in the dark, if my foot’s
not wet, I’ve found the stone.” [6:00] Hide in a pillow? “Everything shines with a great
light.“ “Hide in a bell.”

And so, you can tell that these are the great gifts that Hakuin and Hakuin’s friends
handed down to us. So they are a treasure for you, and they’ll keep you company.
Don’t worry about how you’re doing it. It doesn’t actually matter how you’re doing it. It
is doing you, and the koan world is doing you, and the light is doing you. It’s going to be
okay, and the light will appear and dawn in your own heart.
Thank you [bows].