2021-09-03-Patience (6 of 6) Patience in Practice
3:00PM Sep 3, 2021
Today I want to talk a little bit about patience with the practice. When we really settled down to doing meditation practice, Buddhist practice, I think it's done best, most efficiently. If we don't try to be efficient, we try to be sincere and dedicated to it. But to be in a hurry to be impatient, goes in the wrong direction from the freedom from compulsion that we're looking for, that we're trying to develop. And so, there has to be caught in impatience is to be caught in a world of clinging. And in moving towards non clinging, we want to kind of learn how to be patient with the ongoingness of the path of practice. And there's a very touching for me story that I heard secondhand from someone who was there, a few people who were there, Dalai Lama, many years ago, and, and a big amphitheatre in Arizona apparently, was giving teachings, weekend teachings. And it's a question sometimes in person stood up in the middle of the auditorium and, and, and asked for the quickest way to enlightenment. And as the story was told, the Dalai Lama paused for a long time, just stood there without responding. And then at some point, a tears started going down his cheek. And then he said something like, How sad he felt about this strive to be quick, in the practice to try to get something to be, you know, to. And I don't know what was going on for the person who asked the question. But I wonder if the Dalai Lama felt that there was some kind of greed or selfishness or some kind of acquisitive relationship with the Dharma for someone to ask that kind of question. And to settle and do the practice, patiently. In a sense, inefficiently is often the most efficient. There's a story also that I've told him, kind of a fairy tale story of a person, very capable person comes to the monastery to practices is dedicated to practice is quite accomplished in the world has high degrees, very, very smart, clever, skilled, lots of lots of native ability to manage things. And the person comes to the monastery and says, I'm here to practice. And if I practice, well, how long will it take for me to become enlightened? And the Abbess says, oh, it'll take you about 10 years. And then the person says, Wait a minute, you know, I'm quite capable, and I can really know how to apply myself I really be diligent and and it really kind of work hard. And how long will it take then, and the ABA said, Oh, then it'll take 20 years. So there's something about the patience of just accepting the situation, accepting how things are, including the challenges in practice. And then a steady ongoingness the patience that allows us to go step after step two, to sprint in the practice to go really hard and push and then have to kind of recover and stop practicing. You know, or you go off and do something else you think might be efficient, is very different than just the mundane, ordinary, step by step, this breath, this mind act of mindfulness, just to be this is what we do step after step after step. And, and to practice that sincerely. And the patience for me, allows for sincerity allows for offering ourselves to the practice more fully, without it being an exchange without being a transactional thing. If I do this, the practice will give me this back. We're just in here willingly to allow it to unfold as it wants to. I very much like the idea that that the Dharma knows better than I do. What I need to experience what I need to practice with now today, anytime and, and I've seen that over and over again that I might have one idea of what I suppose
doing what's supposed to happen in practice. But something else comes along and I practice with that. And, and that seems to in the long term it you know, eventually they say, Oh, that was really great. Immediately, I don't quite understand how it's beneficial. But I've learned to trust how things unfold as I practice, and just practice with it practice with a practice with this with this, patiently, patiently. And there's a story that I'm very fond of, and I'm sure some of you heard me say it. And that is a friend of mine was a student of Shunryu. Suzuki, Suzuki Roshi, the founder of the San Francisco Zen center, Zen master and, and my friend asked us, azuki Roshi, once if I practice then will I become enlightened. And Suzuki Roshi answered, if your practice is sincere, it's almost as good as it used to be if your practice here, it's almost as good. So rather than rushing and forcefully and demanding or expecting these, you know, enlightenment, to just practice patiently, sincerely, and it's pretty good. And maybe you'll become enlightened. But if not, it's almost as good. So this is part of that benefits of patients to settle in for long term willing to practice with what is not being ahead of yourself not being protesting by what the Dharma offers you what your hips, what's what arises for you in the practices, the challenges that come the joys that come just steadily, very steady, ongoingness practice, practice, practice. And then at some point, that when when, when the impatience disappears, when compulsions quiet down when greed and clinging and and anxieties settled, and abate, then there's a wonderful, kind of higher special kind of patients. And, and that's the patients, which is not it, which is non patients. And I mean it in this way, that if two people are coming into the same very trying difficult situation, that's very stressful and, and one person kind of sits down and puts on the seatbelt or something and really kind of bears down into doesn't react and stay still. But it's a lot of work to, to, you know, stay patient, they have to really work at it, then hold and check their their obsessive compulsive kind of reactivities. And people say, oh, that person managed to be patient with a difficult situation. The other person is in the same situation. But none of their buttons are pushed. They're stressful, it's difficult, but they're not reacting to it. There's no inner compulsions obsessions, no reactivity to the situation. And so the person has no reactivity just sits there calmly and from the outside. So one might say this, both people look like they're both equally patient. But on the inside, one person is doing patients. And the other one is, you could say maybe being patient, but you could say that it's, it's, the other person has no need for patients. It's a pitch to non patients, that allows them to be kind of present for a situation without being reactive. So as practice deepens, as we follow this path, patiently, the time will come where you start recognizing that, Oh, I'm patient without being patient, and patient without needing to do anything, that I can be here. And I'm not reacting, I'm present, I can know what's happening clearly, I can let it register and see what's happening clearly. And, but I'm not reacting. And when that happens, then there's more, lots more room and space, for us to care. To be aware in a caring way, sympathetic way and to maybe if it's appropriate, to act in caring ways to care for the world. So patience, to be patient.
It's, I think, one of the great gifts that we can give ourselves when we do this practice. And it's also a gift we can give the world because to be impatient is not a gift for anyone. So thank you for this time and this chance to talk about patience. And I look forward to Monday when we'll start a different topic. I don't know what it is yet, but we'll still do something. Thank you.