So we have a guest on the altar for this week. It's Kuan Yin cannon Avalokiteshvara different names. And I left it there yesterday morning for the Sunday morning talk because I wanted to give a talk for the new year coming new year. And so I gave a talk I called it the calling this the year of care. And so talked about care and compassion. So I wanted Kuan Yin to be there. And now she's there. I left her there. And I thought of giving the same talk, spread it out over five days, these mornings but this morning I woke up with a different idea
begins with a story. In the monastery there was a hallway and a door that went out doors into a garden. And, but they're all kinds of other places, that offshoots, other passageways, they went off from that hallway. But when you went straight down the hallway, you came to the door, big door, big wooden door. But it was a kind of a special door, maybe a magical door. And the only way to visit this special garden was to go through that door. And many of the monks and nuns the monastics wanted to see this garden, they'd heard rumors about how wonderful it was, and peaceful it was. And they really wanted to see it. And some of them were depressed or angry or upset, somehow disturbed. And they wanted to go someplace away from everyone where they could be safe. And they took what they really wanted to do. And some just wanted to see beauty and some wanting to get away from the work and the monastery. And many of the monastics stood in front of that door and tried to open it, and it wouldn't open, they wouldn't open. And the store only opened under very particular circumstance, for each for the monastics Discover, How does it how to open this door? And because they really wanted to go to see this garden, or they wanted to get away from what they were doing, and how do you open this door. And and because the door didn't open, some of them ended up going down the side hallways, into the labyrinth of the different places in the large monastery, and some of them forgot about the door, it took a long time before they came back to that door. But every once in a while, some people would stand in front of the door long enough that they would and try all the different things to open the door that they would just stand there and handle and not have any more wish for the door to open, stand there without any desire. And when that happened, then the door opens. The door only opens for people who have no craving, no clinging, who are not caught in the grip of desire where then the door opens. So this subtle story is you know, represents a huge possibility for us. That door that's always standing in front of us, ready to be opened. When we meet it meets reality without projecting and asserting our desires. Our craving, the strongest desire that Buddhism talks about is craving. And craving is a desire which has the better of us kind of it. It directs us it's it's compulsive, and we can't put it down easily. Die um, desires are a dime a dozen that come easily and easily. Like go over. There's no big deal. But the cravings are the ones we can't put down that kind of a force within us like I have to have this. And as long as that force is there, there's a door that won't open door to reality to our to our heart or to our minds. There's a door that won't open then only opens when we put down our craving when we stop desiring to for a few moments at least. Now it's a hard thing to do because you desires are. Some people identify with desires. I desire therefore I am. Desire is me, they have a desire, it's my desire, it's part of me, it's an important part of me and to deny my desires to deny myself in some way. And of course, there's some truth to that. Not all desires are a problem. But the desires of craving, the desires of their compulsive, the desires that have the bad take, the better of us. Those are the desires Buddhism is learning to or learn to address. And,
and when we identify them stock strongly, and we follow them and go into them, and try to understand our life through them. Sometimes it's, the metaphor for it is that of a ball of a tank, big tangled ball, ball of string. And it's like word it's like more than it's a two dimensional labyrinth or maze. It's a three dimensional maze, labyrinth that, you know, it's very hard to find. Find your way out when you go into the world who desires and wants and not wants and cravings and versions, then try to understand and find your way and navigate and understand it and find the right one and it's kind of like can be a labyrinth, you never come out of all these side hallways and trips you take for a long time. And then there's the the Gordian disord that cuts through that, that Gordian knot, that big knot of entangled desires. And it's a very simple thing. It's to putt very, very hard both to do, but maybe even harder to appreciate the value of it. And that is to crave nothing, in a sense to be present, in a sense, without any compulsive desire whatsoever, maybe with no desire just here, just present and what opens then. And what then we just stand if the door opens, we just stand there. Some people don't like to have no desires, because then they feel like then they're don't do anything. But then there's a next instruction. And then the monastery if the door finally opens for you, there's a rake, just the other side of the door and begin raking in the garden, cleaning it. It works to have no craving. If it doesn't work, we've have no craving, if we're couch potatoes, but no craving, no compulsion, nothing, no real desire is driving us. And then take you know, start raking, sweep the kitchen floor, when's the last time you clean the shower? Clean the refrigerator. Take out the trash
go say hello to the neighbors. Call a friend. Start doing the simple things of life. But the ones that are kind of in front of you and LPs, but don't do nothing. Have no craving and start caring for this world in the simplest possible ways. And then that grows and develops and can become the whole world. The danger that challenges how to engage with the raking the caring for the world without then succumbing back into the world of craving into the world who desire. And one of the ways to do that to avoid that is to meditate every day, to find a way to be present that allows you to shed put down the burdens of desire. The weight of craving and aversion and the force the contraction in meditation to discover or get close to a way of being where you put down desires put down craving, even healthy ones and good ones that good to pick up again after meditation. But to kind of come to a kind of place of it diminished quiet, calm, diminished desires and have that as a reference point, then to understand what are the healthy desires to act on, when we come out, if we come out of the door, if we stand in front of the door and we have no desires and we just stand there, very quickly that becomes a desire it's a natural thing, follow the natural pool into the garden, the rake is there starts raking the leaves. When I was a Zen monk, I, there was a very formal way of eating in the meditation hall. And we have these three bowls are nestled inside each other one is, you know, the big one, middle one, a small one. And usually the rice are going the big one, the super go in the middle wine and salad vegetables go in small one. And, and I thought, well, I just eat the most efficient way there is I don't have any desires for anything, it just, I'll just eat everything from the first bowl, then everything in the second bowl, everything in the third bowl, and there'll be done. But I was eating in the meditation hall where we ate in silence next to the abbot. And at some point, he saw what I was doing. And he told me kill, just eat naturally. And and then I noticed that if I hadn't, if I kind of stopped my kind of drive to eat efficiently, simply because it's not post heavy desires. I noticed that I would take a few bites of the rice, I'd put it down, I would naturally pick up the soup. And I always put it down, you know, to go back and forth and kind of you know it. And there was almost almost as if there was no desire, it was just kind of this natural thing to do to go through and eat different from different bowls at different times.
What is your natural inclination when you have no craving, when you have no desires. And maybe to clean the kitchen floor, the refrigerator or the bathroom or go visit a neighbor or it's all kinds of things this world calls us or calls on us to do. And so to have no desires that'll be desirelessness desirelessness, certain kind of way craving lists in a way that allows us to care for the world. And then do please do engage or be careful you don't get too caught up then back in the world of craving. So that's my thoughts for today. And thank you very much