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Preface to the 2nd edition

Just the Teacher Talking was written in 1987 and what follows is an
eBook format including the reviews for the first 61 recordings.
Thanks to Johanna von Fischer for undertaking the transcription of the
original text.

The Talks of John Garrie Rshi


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Concepts of time and space /Rebirth 1978/1980


Thinking and listening 1980
Recollections for the future 1980
Human versus being 1979
Body zones 1980
Professionalism 1980
Philosophical approach to Satipatthna 1980
Healing and selflessness 1974
Separation suffering and sensation 1979
Letting go. The knowing versus the knowing about 1978
Sexuality and identity 1977
Mind expansion and the Zen of confusion 1979
Cabbages and roses. On feeding the potential 1977
Of all things most precious/tea and toads 1977
Assumption and projection 1979
Insulations 1979
Devices 1978
Dynamic stillness 1978
Everyday mindfulness 1977
What is zen 1979
Accentuate the positive 1978/1977
The appropriate energy for the moment/percentages 1978
Who are you now 1979
Perfection and pathways 1980
Here and now the unimpeded 1978
Priorities and consistency / the nature of transmission 1977/1979
Stillness intuition and relaxation 1979/1977
The Berry Hill talks 4 CDs 1978

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Identity things and the nature of sensation 1977


The sole way 1980
The relationship of Buddhist philosophy to the sati exercises 1979
Personal magic 1980
Transformations 1980
A biological approach to meditation, 1982
The philosophy of meditation seminar six tapes 1980
The wheel 1980
Three stories from the internal forest 1980/1985
The revelation of freedom / seeing things as they really are 1981
The pursuit of excellence 1981
Exercise and function 1981
The myth of practice 1982
The elements
Basics and attitudes 1982
The missing peace 1980
Peace to all beings 1982
Survival safety and submission 1982
The Zen moment / love
Singularity duality and confusion 1985
A sense of humour 1985
This is it 3 tapes 1985
The influence of Satipatthna on communication 1985
The broken pearl of truth 1985
The noble art of dying 1985
The way is without flaw 1985
The diamond in the dustbin 1986
Shikantaza 1986
Fingersnap Zen 1986 (missing recording)
Ulterior motives 1986
Trying on the future for size 1986
New beings for old 1986)
The alien 1986

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Roshi in everyday life / Satipatthna in everyday life


Survival and service / AIDS a planetary view
Satipatthna the revelation / blind spots and blocks to the practice
Satipatthna, practice and purpose / reading the meters (missing recording)
The inner ideal and everyday life
Relationships and dependencies
The cup runneth over
Time and space, no limits (missing recording)
Stillness / the ways of zazen
Empty
Empty
Empty
Empty
Satipatthna the Art of attention
The nature of old Beings
Are you the 10,000 unnecessary things?
Minding your own business
Bare attention workshop 1991
The treasure within/what is speaking

Section 2

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Bow to it as it goes by
Communion and communication
Introduction to Bare attention 1992 (2 tapes)
Pacing sitting stretching workshop 1993
Pacing sitting stretching workshop 1993
Habits and rituals, introduction to guided retreat. 1993
Magical and mystical 1994
Taliaris New Year 1995
Acquisitive and averse 1995
Two kinds of truth 1995
The four abodes, wisdom and compassion 1995
Being at ease, minding your own business, the judge in the inner teacher 1994
The beautiful journey 1994
Turning away from the light 1995
Pain, doubt, change, old beings 1995
Identity suffering and world suffering 1995
Ki workshop; introduction 1995
Ki workshop; just this/sparrow droppings 1995
Ki workshop; Mujibo 1995
Ki workshop; laughable and lovable 1995
Ki workshop; what not to who 1995
More and more of less and less
On interesting and enlightening things
More interesting and enlightening things
Looking at our practice
10,000 unnecessary things, no limits
Mindfulness weekend introduction 1996
Mindfulness weekend finale 1996
Easter workshop 1993
Ceasing to exercise 1993
Expansion in activity 1993
What the practice is
Philosophical questions
Easter workshop in 1993 Introduction
Easter workshop 1993 tape two unimpeded action
Easter workshop 1993 Finale
New years Eve 1995 clear comprehension
Peace and love and comfort and ease 1
Peace and love and comfort and ease 2
Unnamed 26/04/96
Bodies

Just the teacher talking

A guide to the recorded talks of John Garrie Roshi


Copyright Sati Society 1987

Are you sitting comfortably?

I am happy to talk and talkfrom a place


which has no need to talk, in order to help
people to the point where they stop talking,
and realise that there isnt any future in
words.

Introduction

It is particularly pleasing to be able to introduce this publication,


because it fulfils the most basic of all formulas of enterprise that of
observing a need, and then supplying it.

For some years now Paul Taylor has recorded (or received recordings
of) my talks and lectures and has edited out every kind of extraneous
noise and probably miles of tape representing hours of talking much
of the latter being relevant only to the context of the occasion and
inappropriate for publication. In the past we have given names to the
tapes which are at best coded reminders of what the tapes contain.

One result of this has been that cassettes which bear code names such
as Sexuality and Identity, some mention of Zen and so on, have
attracted more attention than others which might well deserve and
indeed warrant attention as sources of essential philosophical and
instructional material.

It was appropriate, therefore, that the idea for a booklet, which offered
a review of each tape available, should come from him. Perhaps it was
partly in self-defence that this publication idea was conceived because
he was continually being asked to locate and remember occasions and
quotes from workshops or talks from his vast experience of editing and
producing copies. His contribution to my work in this respect cannot be
fully appreciated unless one has actually sat for hundreds of hours
with headphones, listening to the same voice (over and over again)

entering the head from two directions on collision course at the centre
of the brain.
Thus I am happy to explain that his occasionally startled expression is
not due to a remote hallucinogenic substance to which he alone has
access not so it is the result of several years of hard work, and
devotion to these tapes, and I record here my admiration and thanks
to him.
Apart from, as it were, supplying the raw material my role in this
project was merely to say Go ahead, do it when the idea was first
presented. I suggested the reviewers who represent a very fair input
of varied experience and attitudes, and I am aware of the pressure
involved in listening to sometimes already familiar tapes in a new way
for the purpose of reporting their contents in a comprehensive
paraphrase.

I hope that this publication will not only serve its initial purpose of
information to help you to select tapes for your collection or as
appropriate to a particular need: but also that it could become a pillow
book for browsing through and perhaps stimulating a thought
sequence or some inner recognition of commitment to the practice of
Satipatthana.
The project was Co-ordinated by Paul Taylor and the reviews were
written by: Peter Batty, Bill Craster, Joan Crawford, Jenna Kumiega,
Peter Stevenson and Philippa Wackerbarth.

The book design and production was by Bill Ball; the front cover was
by Dave Potter and the word-processor typing was done by Ella
Preece.

To everyone involved I offer my warmest thanks and appreciation on


behalf of all who will benefit from this booklet.
It is a beautifully produced and valuable publication. Well done!!
- John Garrie

1
Concepts of Time and Space / Rebirth

Side one / Concepts of time and Space / Berry Hill, September 1978

A conversation with a student in which the practice of Sati or


recollection is described. If, before one goes into the next moment,
one sees the origins of what one is about to bring to that moment,
then one can go into that moment free rather than conditioned by the
past. The concept of Time is seen to be delusion, since it is dependent
on the idea of continuing me which is also a delusion.
We begin to see why and how the Ego tries to claim each moment for
itself, and why we are afraid of the Infinite Present (an experience
which is unthinkable for the dualistic mind)
Side Two / Concepts of Rebirth / York, January 1980

Rebirth is distinguished from Reincarnation. Again it is seen that the


latter is a concept which is based on the delusion that there is a fixed
entity, me, which continues. In fact what passes from one moment to
the next is Energy or Potential, potential for freedom. The Practice,
therefore, does not involve the catharsis of releasing tensions in the
belief that they are permanent features to be got rid of; rather it
involves letting go, which requires awareness, compassion and
forgiveness, in order to discover the appropriate energy for each
action.

And, when an individuals awareness begins to grow, it is the Teachers


job to guide them through all the fears, so that they emerge sane and
whole

2
Thinking and Listening
Thallatta, April 1980

The Roshi responds to a number of questions: he defines relaxation;


he discusses hallucination and reality; he explains the difference
between personality and quality; he talks about transmission.

On thinking: a step-by-step explanation of the processes by which


physical sensations lead to thought patterns including an
examination of the technique of Bare Attention and of the hazards of
associative thinking. Discussion of the sub-stream, or stream of
consciousness, and how we dip into it selectively in order to confirm
our identity or habits. What is meant by letting the tapes roll. How
You cant stop thinking with thinking only with breathing. And:
When walking, just walk. When thinking, just think.
On listening: usually, rather than listening to other people, one is
listening to ones personal responses. Which is why the Roshi Can
repeat all the usual stuff time and time again

Forward planning is an insurance that


theres going to be a YOU there to do it!

3
Recollections for the Future
York, January 1980

On New Years Eve About the necessity and urgency of living skilfully
during the next ten years, i.e. during the Eighties. And examination of
what is happening on a Global level, which brings our Society to its
present-day circumstances, and an account of what, in this context, is
required at a personal level of practice.

It is a time of Remembrance, when our present now idea of ourselves


can provide a gate through which the many, many hosts of beings
which we have been in the past can be liberated, and their skills be
put to use. Theres nothing more pathetic than a jailer who cannot let
his prisoners be free because he would be out of a job if he did

Compassion is clearing the decks


And Just Being

The ultimate perversion is:


I think, therefore I am.

4
Human versus Being / The Hua Tou (On Losing Things)
Berry Hill, September 1979

This tape examines the delusion of human nature. The Roshi


emphasises the need to progress from human nature to human being,
from self consciousness to consciousness.

A core theme of the tape is the limitations of our normal dualistic


modes of thinking. For example, asking questions like how the
delusion arises is like trying to measure steam with a tape measure
dualistic thinking is not adequate for the job. We use concepts because
concepts are all that people understand. In the end the only true way
to understanding is by coming into the moment. It is not a question of
a truth to be found but of an untruth to be lost (i.e. let go of).
The Hua Tou is the place that all sensations and words go to before
they come out as answers. Thats where thought takes place nonverbal, non-talkative thought. The challenge is to know the nature of
thinking without thinking about thinking!

Stop the talking, stop the thinking


and theres nothing youll not understand.

5
Body Zones
Oxford, May 1980

The proposition is that the characteristics of the developed multicellular organism are in essence the same as those of a primitive
single cell organism.

The tension patterns for which form the bases of all body language are
identifiable with the chemical and electrical activities in primitive
organisms.

The simple three characteristics of the Acquisitive: the Averse: and the
Confused, and their attendant distinctive signals, postures and
expressions, are the basic observations of what is a broader
understanding, encompassing embryology; the mechanism of
conception; and the central axis of tension in the human being.
An examination of the body zones demonstrates that the acquisitive,
the averse and the confused go deep into the biological roots. The
usual translation of the Pali terms Lobha, Dosa and Moha as
greediness, hatred and delusion does not get down to the guts of the
matter.

6
Professionalism
London, February 1980

Sadly, the world is full of amateurs incompetent and out of control of


their organisms. In contrast, the practice is a path towards a
professional level of proficiency in the living of our lives.
What is required is the training and skill to see our lives clearly and
compassionately. With regard to the past, we should merely sit back
and watch the documentary of our lives with the understanding of the
professional technician i.e. seeing (without emotional identification
and without jumping up out of our sets to rewrite the script) the
mistakes and above all the mechanisms. Once we have seen the
mechanisms, they can never have the same hold over our behaviour.
Then we will be able to observe our lives unfold before us from a point
of ease and clarity.
But, some words of caution: the watching itself can become a selfindulgence, a mere knowing about. To be truly effective it should be
tempered with understanding, compassion and forgiveness, and
combined with the skill that knows how to deal with whatever arises.

7
A Philosophical Approach to Satipatthna
York, February 1980

A comprehensive explanation of the origin, definition and practice of


Satipatthna, covering areas such as: why the only freedom is in the
moment; what living in the moment means; why it is an error to
separate Mind and Body; what tension actually is, and how it relates to
the way one wishes to be seen in the world i.e. ones personal
advertisement; how basic moralities stem from basic biology (the
averse and the acquisitive).
Though this is an introductory talk (for the people preparing to do a
Basic Workshop), it is an invaluable reminder for everyone.

Where attention is, Mind is.

Where Attention and Understanding is,


there is Spirit.

Living in the moment is not about going from


impulse to impulse, or from emotional spasm
to emotional spasm

8
Healing and Selflessness
London, October 1974

Healing is the restoration of the natural


process of change.

Health is the relationship of past


conditionings to present circumstances.

An important tape for anyone wishing to know more about the nature
of healing (of oneself and others) and of health. Healing is seen to be
a simple, direct and natural act of giving and of love, which may
happen initially by accident and later by skill.

We see the role of meditation both in terms of its ability to free the
healer from conditionings and limitations, and in relationship to ones
state of health: The most profound influence on health is the level of
mans ignorance or understanding about his own true nature.

And the Roshi talks of the shadow (of the Ego the nature of mans
deludedness) and of the light (of the truth of ones nature, which is the
nature of the universe).
Every single person is just an impediment in the universe, that is all
we are! We are just sore thumbs sticking up, we are little swirling
vortexes of force, irritations nothing more.

Separation, Suffering and Sensation


Lieden, November 1979

We cause ourselves suffering by placing our identity in external


objects, events and people, and by our attempts to possess them. In a
primitive way, we blame the world for what is happening to us,
without realising that it is we who create our world by our opinion of it.
We separate ourselves from things which we find uncomfortable. In so
doing we deny ourselves the knowledge which could come from
understanding what lies behind our words and our opinions. Where
there is no such separation a sense of freedom and of calm will arise.
By becoming fully responsive we can, rather than relating to our
opinions about sensations, relate directly to the sensations
themselves, and ultimately to the four elements continually in motion.

The Ancient Wisdom is always available in


the world, and wherever it appears people
gather around it and try to possess it

10
Letting Go / The Knowing versus the Knowing About
Side one / Letting Go / Berry Hill, July 1978

One of the core teachings of the practice is that it is necessary for us


to let go of everything that prevents us from just being in the
moment. The ultimate goal is to just be in the moment, unencumbered
by either emotions from the past or hopes or fears regarding the
future; unencumbered also by our opinions about the moment we are
in.
Letting go, as opposed to getting rid of, is gentle. This talk examines
letting go of physical tensions; attitudes; opinions of who or what we
are, or should be; our images of ourselves; our need to find security in
people or objects. This letting go and relaxation beneficially influences
our meditation, our behaviour and our relationships.
Side Two / The Knowing versus the Knowing About / Berry Hill, July 1978

Looks at the contrast between pure knowing, which is reached through


insight, and knowing about in the mind, thinking about. Our

attempts to understand, to analyse merely clutter up the inner


knowing. We are encouraged to let the self that knows about get out
of the way, so that the self that knows may be born and direct our
lives.

At the heart of human nature is ignorance ignorance of its own


nature! The tape examines how human nature depends on sensations
to establish relationships with things This is Here and That is
There. From this process ego arises a sense of I-ness and Mineness. This fabricated ego is the central delusion of human nature. It
inhibits us from practising a way we know to be more true, loving and
free.

11
Sexuality and Identity
Berry Hill, 1977 / Buxton, 1980

A perennial favourite!

This tape looks at the relationship of sexuality to sensuality. Sensuality


is the direct and immediate and, therefore, honest contact between a
sense organ and a sense object without the interference of the ego
which seeks to claim the object for its identity.
Within this talk:

How our identity is defined, conditioned, limited by our sexuality.

What we are looking for is the fusion of male and female (internally
through meditation and externally through sexual activity).

What gets in the way of insight or orgasm are the barriers of sexuality,
intellect and fantasy. When these barriers are removed, our normal
forms of relationship, which involve the acquisitive and the averse,
fall away and a moment to moment relating becomes possible, in
which there is space and giving.
An emphasis that no one action is any more important than any other
(e.g. making love or making an omelette).
And much more!

12
Mind Expansion / The Zen of Confusion
Berry Hill, September 1979

A pointing to the confusions, contradictions and limitations and to the


duality which we rationalise as normal. But these are the source of
our suffering; they confine us to established and familiar patterns
rather than permitting mind expansion.

The nature of Zen to expand our consciousness into new dimensions,


to get out of the constrictions that we put into both our minds and our
bodies; we are limited by our concepts about our own nature and
about the world.
A central confusion and delusion: the idea of an I, a self, an ego
which is unchanging and continuing. The self is the delusion; not-self
is the reality. Yet this selfness may be relinquished dying in the belly
in each moment and then the Rebirth without asking of what.

There is continuity
but no thing that continues.

13
Cabbages and Roses / On Feeding the Potential
Side One / Cabbages and Roses / London, July 1977

This image of cabbages and roses, often used by the Roshi, has many
resonances.

If you have a field full of cabbages and you decide you dont want
cabbages in your life, its no good trying to yank them up by the roots.
Leave the cabbages be, go into the next field and plant some roses.
You grow what you plant if youve spent your life planting cabbages,
dont be surprised if you have a life full of cabbages. If you plant
cabbages, we cant expect roses to grow.

At the heart of this talk is the question: Do you identify yourself as all
the beings you have been in the past, or as the potential for all the
beings that you are yet to be?
Side Two / On Feeding the Potential / London, July 1977

Sometimes the fear of freedom is so strong that we run straight back


to our cabbage patch, our familiar games. Yes this talk emphasises the
value of re-affirming our beliefs and aspirations, even though we
might not always succeed in living them as fully as we might wish. If
we continue to feed and nurture the potential within us, the roses will
blossom.

14
Of All Things Most Precious / Tea and Toads
Side One / Of All Things Most Precious / Berry Hill, November 1977

Many seek something different from the dissatisfactions they


experience in their lives. The Roshi talks of trust in the spiritual heart,
of the essence, the inner Knowing right at the centre of each being
and the great joy of certainty flowing from this Knowing with no
further need to know about. On how to permit this inner knowing to
direct and enrich your life, your everyday life. Honour this essence
and it will never let you down
On breathing out and letting go: And then that fire of the need for
sensation which burns through the body and lights other candles life
after life after life will eventually go out. And the smoke will rise up to
the mountain top and the teacher will sniff it and smile because
another student has learned to breathe out.
Side Two / Tea and Toads / Berry Hill, November 1977

and how we are possessed and manipulated by the


Ghosts of who and what we have been in our Past, by our
conditionings and compulsions.

On questions such as what is the beginning of things; what is the end


of things; what is the reason for things; if there is something eternal
what is it that is eternal; what is the essence of the sub-stream or
dream

15
Assumption and Projection

Haverstock Vihara, October 1979 / Berry Hill, September 1979

The sad tale of Prince Llewelyn of Wales and his faithful hound Gelert
from Beddgelert, a small town in North Wales. A powerful tape for
those of us whose speciality is making judgemental assumptions and
holding preconceived notions about ourselves and other people. Tittletattle in the mind. The only place we can honestly meet each other (in
complete fusion rather than confusion) is now.

Included on Side Two: A fresh and clear presentation of the philosophy


and practice of the basics and how they are applied to each individual.
The nature of the relationship between teacher and student: contract,
commitment, transmission, support and responsibility.
If I thought that I was essential to the performing of exercises and
that people could not perform exercises without being in contact with
me, I would stop teaching immediately and set up in a little temple
and sell blessings.

16
Insulations
London, April 1979

Important. Both inspirational and practical.

About skills for living. Describes fully the essential practice totally
simple, immensely far-reaching and our many ways of missing the
point, of insulating ourselves from freedom.

One such way: becoming entangled in special names Zen,


Buddhism, Sati, Enlightenment and gaining status from our doing of
it. Another: having it as a goal.
The way lies in doing everyday things with quality, with no thought of
the result, no barrier between you and what is happening in the
moment, leading to the delight of being the light itself, not having to

exist in the shadows cast by our ego, our words, our ideas, our
preconceptions of what it is our many insulations.

17
Devices

Berry Hill, September 1978

An invitation to investigate the credibility gap between what we


actively do in our lives, and what we keep in a compartment and call
an exercise. Its partly a question of how we view ourselves. Do we
identify ourselves fully with our best quality? Or do we regard
ourselves as basically unliberated, but possessing a rather
inconvenient better part that we listen to providing its comfortable
and doesnt conflict with our priorities?

All forms of practice and all meditation systems are but devices they
help us fulfil our contract with ourselves, our birthright and our very
best potential. But devices have to be used regularly in order to be upto-date with relevant information. Theres no point in waiting until
youve solved all confusion before you start practicing!
The second side of the tape deals with topics ranging from human
ecology and our pollution of the species to the breeding habits of
thoughts and ideas.

18
Dynamic Stillness
London, January 1978

An uncompromising and inspiring talk about love and wisdom, faith


and understanding and their place in a spiritual practice.

Within each of us there is a core of stillness, which is gentle, loving,


positive, and understanding. We all want to be these things, but, to
have them only as ideals of behaviour toward s the world, is of no use;
indeed it is an avoidance of the primary task which is to apply these
qualities to ourselves, to all those parts of us which are not still and
are in need of love and compassion. Whatever we fill ourselves with

will, it is true, overflow into the world, but that need not be our
primary concern. Let us simply be still, and in that allow the best of us
to come into existence.

19
Everyday Mindfulness

A formal lecture at the Chiswick Buddhist Vihara, February 1977

A special tape. Dense and inspirational, covering many core aspects of


the practice and the philosophy. It highlights some essential
weaknesses in the Western approach to this thing called meditation:
for example, a reluctance to absorb spiritual practice into our lives on
the habitual level, a tendency to keep practice for special moments
(thus enabling us to get the most sensation out of it?). There is also
the powerful Western habit of making a split between mind and body
then rejecting the body and trying to solve everything in the mind.
On the other hand here is the gentle and middle way described by the
Roshi. Here there is a full attention to the physical base as the
foundation of meditational activity. If we take care to let go skilfully of
what there is to let go of in each moment the contents of the lungs,
the blood in the muscle fibres or thoughts in the mind then we will
be purified and come to freedom. It is all so very simple!

Almost any idiot can become free sitting up in a cave on the


side of a hill. But eventually one must leave the cave and
descend to the forest, where there are wild beasties, who
may not be able to read your little notice that says I love
animals.
20
What is Zen?

Berry Hill, August 1979

A very rich tape which deals with a number of important concepts.

Zen: We try to make sense of things in dualistic terms pasts and


futures, rights and wrongs, likes and dislikes etc. Zen requires that we
let go of all these views and opinions and come to centre, where there

is no sense. We have to pass through the terror of no sense into the


joy of nonsense.

Joy: is a sensation which follows a gap in the search for relationship


with things. It is not necessarily delight or ecstasy or even pleasure,
but it can produce profound changes in the being.

Freedom: comes as a result of total boredom with the things that are
causing us suffering.

The meaning of submission: To relinquish all the beings one has been
in the past in order to come to who you are in the moment.

Death in the belly: Spiritual, psychological and cellular death in any


moment. Letting go of the breath in order to be reborn. Anything that
inhibits the letting go of the breath is in chains.

You have beauty, all you can do is foul it up;


you have authority, all you can do is lose it:
you have freedom, all you can do is put it in
chains.

21
Accentuate the Positive / Past Beings
Side One / Accentuate the Positive / London, November 1978

Looks at the way we are brought up in a world of negatives, and how


we contribute to the negativity that pollutes the world by our
attitudes and by our needs for security and identity. Habitually, when
we think or talk about our lives, we concentrate on whats going wrong
or what we find difficult this way we energise the things that are
wrong.
However, if we were to look at ourselves with approval and love, and
to look for the things that felt good, then suddenly our world would
change! And this is the pivot of all practice
Side Two / Past Beings / St Johns College, August 1977

By our nature we tend to reject past beings, old conditionings.


However, the very act of rejecting them, paradoxically energises them,
and they bounce back. We may also try to construct new images for

ourselves; this will not bring about newness either because the images
we construct are inevitably conditioned by the past.
We learn to be grateful for past beings, and to scrutinise them as they
arise in order to see their origins, and to discover whether they are
still relevant to our more spontaneous and up-to-date being.
We are encouraged to use aspiration and faith to set the ground
rules of our life, which is how we wish to be.

22
The Appropriate Energy for the Moment / Percentages
Side One / The Appropriate Energy for the Moment / London, November 1976

A student arrives before a teacher and asks to be enlightened. The


teacher says:
Have you had food? Then go and wash your bowl.
Just to wash the bowl because that is the next thing to do is to be
enlightened.

That is all there is to do the next thing. And if we totally focus on


that activity, unencumbered by ideas and opinions, pasts and futures,
then we will have the appropriate energy for the moment. More often,
however, we try to manipulate what is happening in any given
moment in order to make it fit in with what we want out of it.
Side Two / Percentages / London, May 1977

How much do we really look at, and see as if for the first time? And
how much do we merely assume? The difference between our
assumptions and seeing what is really there, is the difference between
unhappiness and contentment, between being confused and being
clear.
Within our relationships, how much do we see another person? How
much do we give or take? And how much is fantasy? We aim for the
ideal of the one hundred percent relationship rather than recognising
that, in the nature of things, if there is, say, 30% compatibility, one is
on to a good thing! We should celebrate the percentage that works
rather than regretting the percentage that doesnt work. If we
manipulate, complain and fret at the areas of incompatibility w may
destroy the areas of harmony.

23
Who are you now?
Thallatta, May 1979

Why are you here?


What is it that meditates?
Who are you now?

These questions are posed during a talk introducing a six-day


workshop. Opening to the accompaniment of a thunderstorm, which, is
taken as a promising omen, the group is asked Why are you here?
This leads into a deep study of the experience of meditation, and the
posing of the central question: What is it that meditates?
The quality and poise experienced on a workshop are contrasted with
the unbalanced postures that we assume in negotiating and resisting
change in everyday life. And it is everyday life, not workshops that is
the real testing ground. These postures are identified with beings
projected either from the past or into the future, effectively masking
the being in the present moment.

The group is invited to stand up and change places and in doing so to


let go of names, roles, pains, problems and ideas and so finally, in the
absence of these encumbrances, they are asked:
Who are you now?

24
Perfection and Pathways

Side One / Perfection / Dorchester, June 1980

The great adventure in life is turning inwards to discover the perfection


within. It is a matter of integrity, having seen that perfection, to seek
to express the very best one can in every moment and not to make do
with anything less. This honouring of the inner light is what we have to
give to the world that changes the world, rather than demanding that
the world changes to suit our convenience. Being concerned with what
perfection we can attain for ourselves may appear selfish but, in fact,
it is an act of universal love.

An excellent guide to the loving kindness meditation (the four persons)


which is a complete system of psychotherapy.
Side Two / Pathways / London, June 1980

A description of the eight different pathways: the pathways of devotion


and of selfishness; the pathways of clarity and of confusion; the
pathways of the impressed and the unimpressed, and the pathway of
those who seek to make themselves fit for the practice and the
pathway of those who seek to fit the practice into their lives when it is
convenient. Each one of these pathways must be transcended to find
the true essence and each one will lead to the way to transcend it, if
followed with awareness.

25
Here and Now The Unimpeded
Approx 1978

The essence of quality is to Flow. Lack of flow leads to dis-ease. On


the need to permit the quality residing at the essence of the being to
flow into the mundane everyday world. The Only Way is mindfulness in
the moment; giving to what is happening in the moment with attention
- gently, almost casually, but lovingly.

An examination of all things which impede this simple living in the here
and now ego, striving, desire to achieve results, out-of-date
opinions, grabbing, rejecting, words, ideas, pasts, futures. When these
are let go of what is left is your quality in the world.
On how one may identify oneself in the world either by work,
occupation or some other exterior activity or by being a student or
practitioner of life skills.
There is ease and flow in the world be with it.

You dont push the river, you dont dam the river,
You dont swim up it, you dont swim down it,
You float Thats the Beautiful Journey.

26
Priorities and Consistency / The Nature of Transmission
Side One / Priorities and Consistency / London September 1977

Within what is often called reality, there is in actual fact madness. We


suffer because our concept of reality is based on the possession of
things, the rejection of things, greeds and hates and on comparisons
of the present moment with a previous or future moment. In contrast,
the reality of the Moment is full of delight and clarity. This reality we
call the Zen Madness.
The way of Sati leads to the true experiencing of the Moment. We may
choose to make this practice the priority around which our life is built
and fashioned and thereby changed, rather than merely taking out of
the practice what is compatible with our way of life.

Just do the simple thing in the simple moment without any thought of
why it is being done it is action without attachment to result.
Side Two / The Nature of Transmission / Berry Hill, August 1979

Transmission, either between teacher and student or between different


aspects of ourselves, feeds in direct Knowing at centre, which is then
available for our use if we contact that inner place. A commentary on
how to build up that inner bank account of quality both in everyday
and on workshops.

27
Stillness, Intuition and Relaxation
Berry Hill, September 1979 / London, December 1977

About these three and so much more. A rich tape.

Looks at the things we often do to get rid of tension rather than


coming to stillness. Within stillness there is the solid voice of intuition
and there is relaxation; this is not passive and apathetic, but alert
and dynamic, leading to true rather than frenetic activity.

To what do we habitually relate in the world? To things? (objects,


people, events) or is it to the names of things, believing the words
are themselves the things? or do we relate rather to our attitudes to

things, our attachments to the sensations we get form our relationship


with them?
A rich account of how we may relate to objects and events freely,
without attitudes and attachments: a gentle spontaneous fusion with
things in the world in each moment and in the next moment letting
go so we can relate to the next thing.

Valuable section on Decision Making, especially when comparisons and


alternatives come up. On attitudes to the future: how to be selective
and skilful about what we want to happen in the future.

The most courageous and wise and beautiful thing you can ever do in
your life is to let go an out-breath and face the new moment with love
and trust to stop all the words, conversations and decisions and just
breathe out with responsibility for what you are in the moment. And it
is to that moment of skill that all devices of meditation and religion are
devoted.

28
The Berry Hill Tapes
Berry Hill, May-August 1978

This is a series of four tapes, which deal with the question of intimate
group working with the Teacher. The first tape contains a very clear
exposition of the Four Noble Truths. The First Noble Truth is then
explained in detail. Suffering exists; it is our conditioning and the
crusts built up by that conditioning that interfere with a clear knowing
of each moment.

The Second Noble Truth that there is a cause or origin of suffering


is the underlying theme of the second tape. It is our preference for
sensation that distracts us from truly coming into the moment. This
separation creates the duality which we experience as suffering.

The next tape examines the Third Noble Truth that there is a way to
end suffering. The initial contact with a Teacher is the first step to an
end to suffering. The tape expands upon the relationship with the
Teacher.

The final tape explores the Fourth Noble Truth the Nature of the
Path. In addition, this tape includes questions arising from an exercise
in which each person was given a meditation object to visualise. This

device, which at one level is a method to become centred and calm, is


ultimately the symbol of the Inner Teacher.

29
Identity, Things and the Nature of Sensation
St. Johns College, August 1977

This tape looks at our vain quests for identity. We seek identity in the
things we do our work, our relationships, our holidays abroad. But
identity, who we are, is to be found not out there in the things we do
but in the way in which we do them, the quality with which we do
them.
We are creatures of sensation this includes our feelings, emotions,
ideas, thoughts. So long as we are alive our need for sensation will
persist. However, rather than rejecting or repeating sensations, or
being at the mercy of our need for them, we may learn to relate to
them with skill and quality.

Side Two includes a powerful account of Satipatthna. Through


practice of this great Teaching we may choose to change the way we
live our lives, to change the level of our consciousness to one which is
more at ease, more calm. All you have to do is change the posture,
the breathing, the facial expression and the gesture with practice, with
devotion and attention and energy and you shall be free this is the
promise of all the great philosophies thats all there is to it.

30
The Sole Way
Buxton, April 1980

Under the general heading of The Sole Way this tape presents two
aspects of Satipatthna. The Roshi says I regard this cassette as
being extremely important and useful in support of meditation practice
in everyday life. The material on this tape is taken from the six tapes
which constitute ZR35 The Philosophy of Meditation Seminar.
Side One, a lecture in two parts:

i)

ii)

Side Two

The aspect of Satipatthna known as the Only Way or Sole


Way, which is the need to live away from the crowd of old
associations and the habitual, and to relinquish the
companion of craving, of need and of identity. A way of
acceptance that the only being in this world that one can pay
a priority of maximum attention to is this being, this sole
being, this alone being.
In any relationship there is quite a considerable degree of the
averse and the acquisitive otherwise it cannot be a
relationship. Actually what we are looking for is within us it
is that part of ourselves with which we have not yet fused. By
living a life that is sole and care-ful, the radiation of our
quality will lead us to other people to whom we can relate,
not as a habit and as a necessity, but rather as a preference,
as a joy and as a priority at times when we can fully savour
the pleasure of compatibility.

Starts with a simple and clear exposition of the four foundations of


mindfulness. It develops into an important extract from Santidevas
Compendium of Spiritual Training in which twelve aspects of mindful
living are presented for the guidance of meditators in everyday
behaviour. It refers to the avoidance of fruitless waste i.e. the
avoidance of activities which do not lead to spiritual progress and
contentment.

The actual verse of which this discourse is an extension is:


How does one guard oneself?
By shunning what is base.
And how is this achieved?
By shunning fruitless waste.
And how can this be done?
By constant mindfulness,
Which gains in keenness by devoted zeal.
And zeal arises if one comes to know
The greatness that in inner stillness lies.

The last ten minutes is devoted to a helpful analysis of the elements in


a psychoanalytical and therapeutic context.

31
The Relationship of Buddhist Philosophy to the Sati Exercises
Berry Hill, January 1979

This is an extremely helpful tape in linking the physical exercises,


which are central to Satipatthana as taught by John Garrie Roshi, with
the more formal teaching of Buddhist philosophy.

Whenever the word philosophy comes up in connection with meditation


there is an apparent conflict because the one word suggests
conceptual thinking and the other direct experience.
The Buddhist view that all layers of consciousness are specifically
related to the physical base provides a conceptual basis from which to
view the Sati exercises. A central aim of the exercises is to bring the
attention to focus on the body, and, therefore, they are exercises in
mindfulness.
Once a degree of mindfulness is established then it is possible to
develop Bare Attention and Clear Comprehension, which are the
central aspects of the Satipatthana practice. As Clear Comprehension
is practised and becomes a familiar state of being, the Buddhist
philosophy, in all its conceptual complexity becomes a support to the
direct experience of meditation.

32
Personal Magic
Ilkley, June 1980

Although we all describe it in different ways, fundamentally we are all


looking for the same thing the ease and freedom that comes from
absorption and fusion with the moment. The route to this fusion is
through the understanding and the training of all the energies in the
organism. Posture, breathing, facial expression and gesture are the
true keys to understanding what this being really is, and what effects
it has on the world. From that understanding we may learn the skills to
change the way we live our lives. Skilful living is meditation, and in
that meditative absorption in the moment we may find a completely
new identity, our own personal magic.

33
Transformations
Thallatta, August 1980

I want to tell you all not to be afraid of


anything that is happening to you, or of
anything that some being within you fears
may happen to you.

By the very act of coming to the teacher, we are permitting a process


of change to begin. The gradual transformation that takes place is the
coming to awareness within each of us of the Inner Teacher, of whom
the Roshi is only the external representative. It is to that Inner
Teacher the potential of what we can be that the Roshi talks, to
support its growth and remind us of what and who we are.
Questions on Side Two cover bowing, insanity, sacrifice and analysis.

34

A Biological Approach to Meditation (missing recording)


Wyckham House, March 1982

Know Thyself is an age-old exhortation to those engaged in a spiritual


practice. But this knowing must be on a biological level, not a
psychological one. Usually we think of ourselves as a bundle of
emotions, personality traits and psychological characteristics. However
the talk challenges this traditional view of ourselves.

It introduces us to ourselves as sets of interrelated biological activities


and patterns which are fundamentally no different in behaviour from
those of the simplest, single-cell organisms. The Roshi often provides
the analogy of dismantling at car and examining its inner workings.
Once one has done this, one can never drive the car in the old careless
manner again. By the same token, if we explore our organisms and
behaviour on this level we can never act in the same unskilful way
again. We can only come to peace through an act of biochemical skill
letting go.
This broad-ranging talk also focuses on the way we derive reassurance
/ identity from the physical and biochemical sensations in the
organism. It looks at the way clothing reinforces posture and
behaviour patterns and how minute changes in posture, breathing,
facial expression and gesture can change the whole being and thus the
identity.

35
The Philosophy of Meditation Seminar
Often known as The Buxton Tapes recorded in Buxton, April 1980

This set of six tapes provides and encyclopaedic introduction to the


philosophy behind bhavana usually translated as meditation, but
perhaps more accurately as the culture of the whole being. It explains
many of the fundamental Buddhist concepts the Four Noble Truths;
the Six Kinds of Character; Anatta, Anicca, Dukha, Sila, Metta,
Paticcasamuppada and it discusses sensation and identity, rebirth,
sexual energy, the process of death and relationships. Throughout, the
concepts, however rarefied, are clearly explained and always related to
the ground of actual practice. The talks are comprehensive,
entertaining and profound essential listening for anyone interested in
the philosophical background of the practice.

The set includes two printed sheets one providing a tape-to-tape


summery of contents, the other a diagram depicting the processes of
recollection and dependent origination.

Selected material form this set of tapes is available on ZR30 The Sole
Way
Diagram below is useful with side eleven.

36
The Wheel

London, November 1980

Peace and enlightenment are within the Wheel of Life, not apart from
it.
In this talk the Roshi draws an analogy between the movement of a
wheel and the way in which we function in our lives.

A human being, like a wheel, has a still point at centre and an outer
rim which is in contact with the world, where the sparks fly. If we
move from point to point on the rim, never making contact with the
still point at centre, we are merely going from emotional spasm to
emotional spasm. We are equally mistaken if we keep the Quality at
centre, secret and tight at that centre; rather we should allow it to
move consistently through the spokes, inspiring all the activities of our
life. Then the things that we do no longer matter only the way that
we do them.

Within the hallucination of human nature you may fashion your own
freedom but the moment you say this is my freedom and try to
possess it youre back in the hallucination. Just concentrate on being
free in any given moment with no reference to the next or to the last
therell be quite amazing freedom, joy and ease and no questions of
decision or policy will then arise they just dont happen all the
objections and problems that you think may arise wont they never
do they cant

37
Tales from the Eternal Forest
Various locations, New Year 1980 & 1985

An inspirational tape consisting of three fables or parables.


Fellowship Towards the Further Shore:

In legendary times, many thousands of years ago, a vast fire raged in


the Eternal Forest. As creatures great and small fled to the river
towards the safety of the further shore, many unlikely alliances and
relationships were formed. When the animals settled down in their new
territory they returned to their habits; the leopard didnt lose its spots

nor did the monkey stop its chatter, but each was changed in a subtle
but fundamental way by the experience they had shared.

This fable illustrates the nature of fellowship. People of different


temperaments, environments and habits are drawn together by their
shared need to avoid being consumed by the fires of human suffering.
The sharing of skill and awareness enables them to cross the river
and, having crossed, the understanding they have gained permits
them to live within society.
Goldilocks and the Three Bears:

Goldilocks, a graceful and radiant being from a Distant Land, visited


the Great Forest Meditation Centre in which were found all trappings of
witchcraft, ritual and devotion. Full of consternation at the corruption
of the three bears, Goldilocks proceeded to instruct them in the pure
ways of Satipatthana and the punch line is very Zen!
Catanape:

The story of a legendary creature who was born with two heads a
lions and a monkeys. One day the King of the Lions told him that he
would have to give up one head and that he must choose which one.
One day we all have to choose between being a monkey and being a
lion. This is a story without end

38
The Revelation of Freedom / Seeing Things as They Really
Are
Side One / The Revelation of Freedom / Oxford, February 1981

Powerful, inspirational talk on the essence of the practice. The secret


revealed of the ultimate magic, the ultimate peace, the coming to
freedom.

Permit all the things you regard as you all the sensations by which
you identify yourself and excite yourself and depress yourself to die
in the belly so that in the next moment that which is to be reborn may
be reborn, free from all conditionings of the past and from all
aspirations for you of the future.
Side Two / Seeing Things as They Really Are / Ilkley 1981

When talking of things the Roshi includes events, emotions and


oneself. In this important talk conventional, dualistic truth, which
relies on comparisons and opposites is contrasted with absolute truth.

In absolute terms no thing exists which can be truly called a particular


thing, e.g. a hand. Any thing exists only by virtue of the things
which comprise it, which, when examined, go back and back into an
infinite regress. We are encouraged to see the origin of things,
including our emotions, right down to their constituent elements.
But it is within conventional truth that we have our being and our
suffering, freedom from which requires seeing things as they really
are, uncluttered by our opinions, ideas, prejudices and manipulations.
As regards the thing called me we learn that there is no continuing,
abiding entity truly going on except that which lies in our concepts,
opinions and ideas of ourselves and the world.

The Way is without flaw


It is completely helpful
For those who seek the way out
There is the way in
And for those who follow the way in
There is the way out.
What more could we ever need?
John Garrie 1974

39
The Pursuit of Excellence
York, October 1981

An inspiring tape.

Why depart from the peace of meditative stillness, out in to the noisy
world of ideas, concepts and negotiations?

This talk challenges us to consider the gap between what, on the one
hand, we believe and aspire to, and what, on the other, we actually
manifest in everyday living. When there is nothing left to do but to live
the practice, bringing quality and insight into every action, there is a
great resistance from old beings. The possibility and necessity of

making this conscious choice, in every moment, to manifest quality,


rather than to repeat old patterns, is the subject of The Pursuit of
Excellence.

40
Exercise and Function
Othona, October 1981

The end point of exercises is that one no longer does them, because
the quality of the movements has been absorbed into our activities
and the influence of the practice has expanded into all aspects of our
lives. The exercises are designed to fit every daily movement we make
and therefore we must understand their purpose, the way in which
they correspond to those daily movements. Once we have seen those
connections we can exercise the doing rather than do the
exercises.

This applies not only to the physical exercises but to all aspects of the
practice. For example, the quality of attention that we exercise in
pacing should be applied in any daily task we perform. If we dont seek
to incorporate the practice into our lives in this way but simply
substitute an addiction for exercises for some other addiction, then we
are completely missing the point.

If you dont link exercise with function you


are constantly cooking but never eating.
Youll end up dying of malnutrition in a
kitchen full of food.

41
The Myth of Practice
Dorchester, July 1982

This tape begins with the provocative statement that any kind of
spiritual practice is an avoidance of enlightenment and freedom.
Whenever we set ourselves a goal, whatever it is, we project ourselves
into the future and thereby neglect the reality of the moment. In the
case of practice, we put the goal which is right in front of us some

distance ahead, so that we may progress towards it. That way we can
enjoy our sufferings along the way!

It is true that the practice of life skills is more wholesome than other
practices but it is simply the lesser of two evils. The best thing we can
do is to absorb the practice into our lives as much as possible so that it
is fulfilled and therefore no longer needed. Once we have let go of the
idea of practice or any spiritual goal then there is the possibility of
accepting the freedom of each moment.

42
The Elements

A compilation of various talks

In this selection of talks on a much discussed subject, the Elements


emerge as the very stuff of our being at every level.

The simple elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Space are identified
with the Five Spiritual Faculties of Energy, Wisdom, Concentration,
Faith and Awareness (Sati).
Thus the whole range of equations are presented: physical and
metaphysical; material and spiritual; psychological and psychic.

The elements are discussed at all levels, particularly in terms of


personality. They are a profoundly simple way of perceiving and
understanding the strengths and weaknesses of human nature in both
everyday and therapeutic terms.
In meditation one plants the seed of what one is to become at the
centre of the being in space resting in the crucible of the Earth
Element. It is warmed by the Sun at the Heart; irrigated by the Water
Element of Faith and the emotions, and aerated by the Air Element of
Knowledge.
Thus the seed of potential is nurtured and you watch it grow into the
symbol of your true being the Inner Essence.

43
Basics and Attitudes

Dorchester, November 1982

It is very easy to become diverted from the simplicity of the basic Sati
exercises and to seek sensual experiences in other less confronting
activities Chi Kung, Tai Chi, Massage etc. The basics are not
elementary; they are the foundations of the practice and, if done
properly, influence every movement we make in our lives. People
frequently do the basic exercises superficially, letting go of certain
tension patterns but maintaining others, particularly in the transitions
between the positions. It is only when one does the basics in some
depth that one begins to see the connections between the muscular
tension patterns and ones ideas, emotions and opinions. What one is
letting go of is not merely the arm or the pelvis or the chest box.
These are only the route; what one is letting go of is the attitude or
the identity.
If we explored the exercises fully and profoundly, all our attitudes,
conditionings, statuses and identities would be revealed. The privilege
of going deeper and deeper right down to the basics of human nature
is what liberation is all about.

One of the basics is


admitting youre confronted.

44
The Missing Peace
York Meeting, August 1980

This is the tape most frequently recommended to those first coming


into contact with the Roshis work. But it is also highly pertinent for
anyone at any stage of the teaching.

Apart from the obvious meaning, the title refers to that feeling we all
share that there is a missing piece of the jigsaw, a mysterious lacuna
in our lives, and that if we could only find it, our lives would be made
whole, complete.
The Roshi speaks clearly and simply about the search for a different
way of being (maybe already glimpsed in fleeting moments); the
fragment of the shattered pearl of wisdom we each carry within; the
pool in the forest we can only really experience through a willingness
to immerse ourselves. And how all of this relates to a system of

training and teaching which can release the individual from selfimposed limitations.

There are beginners questions and answers: about the significance of


the teaching in other cultural and social contexts, and the relationship
of this teaching to other systems, therapies and philosophies.

45
Peace to All Beings
Dorchester, December 1982

Peace to al beings
May all beings be well and happy
And free from fear

Peace to all beings


Whether near or far
Whether known or unknown
Real or imaginary, visible or invisible
Born or yet to be born
May all beings be well and happy
And free from fear

These are the opining phrases of the Peace to All Beings meditation.

On side one the Roshi talks us through the Peace to All Beings
meditation, phrase by phrase, and examines some attitudes to
meditation and to spiritual paths. When we finally transcend our
comparative attitudes to spiritual practice, we find ourselves on the
single path that leads to the top of the mountain the simple path of
life skills, awareness, and celebration of the moment.
The second side is for accompanying sitting in meditation. The Roshi
guides us into and out of a half hours sitting.

A good meditation is when you create the gap, in which reality shines
through the ignorance and has an immediate effect on the organism.

46
Survival, Safety and Submission
St James College, December 1982

We are not teaching you to let go of muscles,


we are teaching you to let go of attitudes.

This is the fiery inspirational introduction to a weeks workshop about


the nature of our resistances to revelation. In order to preserve our
safety and comforts we set up limitations, barriers beyond which we
will not go all to serve the survival of identity.

But through submission there is a greater safety waiting for us, the
safety of having revealed and understood our weaknesses. By offering
all that one has and is in each moment with hope, enthusiasm and
goodwill we will discover the treasury within, and our world will be
totally transformed by joy and delight.

Logic and reasoning are the mere puppets


and tools brought up to prove an already
pre-determined emotional concept or need.

47
Zen Moment / Love

A beautiful and moving tape.


Side One / Zen Moment

When we are fully in the moment we have the appropriate energy for
that moment. If, emotionally, we are in some past moment or some
future imagined moment, then the energy of the present is corrupted.
When we are clear in the present old skills or characteristics take on a
new value. A fresh, loving energy can energise an old skill and the
whole behaviour pattern related to that skill will be uplifted. If what is
happening at centre is clear it is impossible for us to act in an
ungracious, discourteous or brash way.
Side Two / Love

Love occurs not in an action that is performed towards something or


someone, but in the chemistry that takes place within an organism

long before that action is executed. We are, above all, consistent: if


we do not express loving gentleness in simple actions, such as pulling
a lavatory chain, then that quality will not be present in our
relationships with people. In those relationships there can be
sympathy, sentiment, joy, delight, ecstasy all sorts of different
sensations but the act of love is different it is singular. It comes
from letting go. Only the holding on to status, self-image, identity,
ideas of separateness prevent the act of love taking place in each
moment. We start with mundane things and that love spreads through
the universe.

48
Singularity, Duality and Confusion
St James College, Easter 1985

Human nature has created for itself a dualistic universe, in which


reality is viewed in comparative terms by the intellect. And yet, at the
same time, we seek singular, absolute truth.

The Teacher can help us in that search for the singular by encouraging
us to let go of the need for an answer that is comfortable to the
intellect. Although confusion inevitably arises when we relinquish
dualistic thinking, if we wholeheartedly embrace that confusion, clarity
can be found.
Side two: Questions and answers on non-sense, sideways thinking,
Zen madness and the nature of questioning dont expect
consistency; what were trying to demonstrate is confusion.

Dont expect that it is going to get easier.


Only expect that your capacity for going
more deeply into your own nature and into
the nature of the world will increase.

49
A Sense of Humour
St James College, Easter 1985

The twin aspects of Zen are represented by the stern gaze of the
Bodhidharma, which turns to compassion, and by the humour and
laughing nature of the Hotei, which, by the sheer brilliance of the
humour, becomes the most deadly serious Zen madness because it
pushes aside all concepts and ignores and fails to acknowledge any
rules.

This tape could equally be entitled A Sense of Gravity. When


situations arise of such gravity that we have trouble moving through
them, then a sense of humour will reveal the absurdity of our attitudes
and behaviour and lighten the load.
The tape examines the role of humour it can either be used with
warmth and compassion, bringing joy and fun into our lives, or it can
be used cruelly and complacently. The Roshi points out that, at the
heart of much humour there often appears a streak of cruelty as
illustrated by the story of The longest pee in history.

50
This Is It

St James College, Easter 1985

These three tapes comprise an excellent summary of the full range of


the Teaching.

A late night, marathon question-and-answer session, in which the


Roshi talks of really opening up and letting out whats there. Many
heart-felt questions fear of death, the likelihood of nuclear war,
personal responsibility relative to the famine in Ethiopia to which the
Roshi responds with explanations, anecdotes, stories and biblical
references all of which draw us back to the importance of knowing
where youre coming from and not where youre going to, and coming
into the moment.
I am happy to talk and talk, from a place which has no need to talk,
in order to help people to the point where they stop talking, and
realise that there isnt any future in words.

Compassion sees things as they truly areit stands leaning on its stick, with tears of
understanding rolling down its facebut
remains unmoved.
Meditation is not a positionits a state of being.
51
The Influence of Satipatthana on Communication
St James College, Easter 1985

How can there be clear channels of communication between two


beings in any moment when neither of those beings is in the moment;
when, in fact, there are only two puppets or zombies, manipulated by
their emotional responses to memories of past events?
This is where Satipatthana comes in.

If we can but take that first step of goodwill towards freeing our old
beings not having an attitude of I am or I have but of there is
we permit the superior view and maturity of the present moment to
guide us. Then, instead of imposing and taking, there is offering,
listening, receiving.

One does not have to devour another being


in order to have some security in life.

52
The Broken Pearl of Truth
St James College, Easter 1985

Mere suffering exists, but no sufferer may be


found
The deed exists, but no doer may be found
Nirvana exists, but there is no person who enters
it

The path exists, but no traveller may be seen.

This verse from the Buddhist Pali Canon forms the basis of this talk.
Right at the heart of the practice there is the paradoxical perception
that whilst there is experience, there is no definable one who
experiences.

Just as the nuclear physicist, in his search for the smallest particle of
matter, finds at the core only energy; equally if we penetrate further
and further into our being, ultimately we find there is no thing that can
be called me. On the contrary, we discover that we are merely
patterns of light and heat revolving in space.

An old Middle Eastern story tells of the wise men up in the heavens
tossing the pearl of truth down into the earth. People grabbed different
pieces and claimed they had the whole truth. This story is enacted
every moment, every day. The Ancient Wisdom is always available
somewhere but people try to rearrange it, to possess it; at that point
the Ancient Wisdom moves on leaving a shell behind called religion.
Side Two contains an extensive discussion on the nature of
compulsion, and concepts like rebirth, reincarnation and
transmigration are explored in depth.

53
The Noble Art of Dying
Watercombe Farm, December 1985

In what state of mind and body, of all those you have experienced,
would you choose to die?

Would you be prepared to die, or would you be taken by surprise by


some old pattern?

Are you counting on some memory of peak experiences to get you


through, or is your practice well enough established to support you in
this moment of maximum vulnerability?

The Roshi then challenges us with: How would your practice change if
you only had a year to live? The moment we consider this question a
sense of urgency arises to get the feet in the stream that moves
towards the coming to freedom in order to realise our true nature.

In a very real sense every aspect of the being is


dying and falling away then rising and
being born in every moment. The death in
the moment is a reality, so the best thing to do
is to learn to live with it.

54
The Way is Without Flaw
Watercombe Farm, November 1985

The Way is without flaw


It is completely helpful
For those who seek the way out
There is the way in
And for those who follow the way in
There is the way out.
What more could we ever need?

Side One: It is not until we arrive at the critical point of understanding


that we are totally responsible for everything that happens in our
world and our responses to it that there is a fusion between the
inner and outer path. At that moment our practice becomes
spontaneous. Then the gates to the past are opened up and old skills
and understanding can flow through. At that point too, we have access
to our heritage of teaching. But this requires subscription (i.e.
commitment of time and energy) or else we are just using the
teaching.

Side Two: We usually choose to pick our way daintily through the
minefield of our memories and impressions of self ignoring anything
that challenges our dearly-held view of ourselves. We wander around
in a state of voluntary partial blindness. What prevents us from casting
a compassionate light into every corner of our lives and minds is that
were scared to death or rather scared of the death of who we think
we are. But going through the threat, danger and confusion to the
clarity and peace on the other side is a much easier step than we
might think. For those who follow the way in, there is a way out

55
The Diamond in the Dustbin
St Pauls College, Easter 1986

A special tape. A powerful, inspiring talk in which the Roshi tells of the
bright light at the centre and of the need for each person to decide
who they truly are. We may choose to identify with that bright point as
our true being this is me, this is what I hold to; it is my potential, it
is my destiny and we may let it inspire our ways.

Examines how much of our present, apparently adult, behaviour is in


fact our behaviour and impulses from round about the age of fifteen,
covered up with a veneer of sophistication. It can be quite sobering to
see what emotional age is operating in many situations. Also looks at
how we all wish, consciously or unconsciously, to be known and
recognised as a particular kind of person, manipulating others and
ourselves to achieve this aim.
We are told of our privilege and obligation to act as educator,
comforter, counsellor and healer to our old beings and of many ways
in which, rather than being taken over by them, we may lift our old
beings up to the superior viewpoint of the present moment, freeing
them and ourselves.

The superior view gets on with the job of being in the moment and
the next moment and the next moment, with a little bright point in the
centre inspiring it all that is your practice, that little bright point at
the centre, the diamond in the dustbin.

56
Shikan-Taza

St Pauls College, Easter 1986

A compilation describing this precise and dynamic meditation method


and its relationship to other aspects of the practice. Shikan-Taza,
which is not just a sitting form, involves a magnified and pure quality
of attention and awareness, and is a valuable base for life skills of all
kinds.

Shikan-Taza is alert, fully with it, involving a precise singlepointedness of mind. The picture often given of Shikan-Taza is of two
samurai, swords drawn, facing each other in a hot, dusty village
square. A crowd gathers to watch the fight. Distractions abound but
for the samurai the central point of attention is two pairs of eyes
meeting. They take in all the sensations, all the information at the
periphery, but the central attention never wavers. This is the quality of
attention of Shikan-Taza.
Shikan-Taza cuts out the activities of old beings and ego-concerns,
permitting our full skills to come into operation and allowing us direct
communication with the world, unimpeded by thinking about things,
worries and attitudes.

57
Fingersnap Zen (missing recording)
Watercombe Farm, January 1986

In the context of an informal conversation, the Roshi propounds the


philosophy of Butty-dhamma or just eating the sandwich

The tape is punctuated by the frequent sound of the Roshi snapping


his fingers. He challenges us with the proposition that we can be free
in any moment. We dont have to prepare ourselves for years for the
magic, special moment any moment will do. It is available, here and
now, at the snap of a finger.
To have nothing to live for is not a negation, but an affirmation of
living to need a reason for living is the negation. When hungry, eat.
When thirsty, drink. And so enlightenment may be no more than the
fulfilment of being human, and of being human skilfully.
It is human nature that avoids this by avoiding the threat of total
clarity that awaits us in each moment, if we are willing to enter freely
into that moment. The whole thing is so incredibly simple and so
incredibly immediate. In that sense there is only one answer to any
observation, question or anything else. Thats to do what is in that
moment.

58
Ulterior Motives

St Pauls College, Easter 1986

Even when we believe that we are operating from wholesome and well
intentioned motives, in fact, if we are honest and examine our
behaviour more closely, we discover that we are seeking to get
something out of the situation for ourselves. An ulterior motive lurks
beneath the apparently wholesome motives which we seek to
persuade both the world and ourselves are the reasons for our actions.
Not only do we manipulate the world, but we ourselves are
manipulated by our ulterior motives.

These ulterior motives have as their source old and unresolved


compulsions. These compulsions are so deep rooted that whole
lifetimes may be devoted to dissolving them, and the question is posed

whether it is the compulsion or the need to dissolve the compulsion


that brings us to birth. The answer is that, as beings, we are
compounded of two parts: there is clear impersonal consciousness at
the centre, but this is surrounded by the compulsions of many former
existences. This combination gives rise to human life.

59
Trying on the Future for Size
St Pauls College, Easter 1986

If you dont have a picture of what you want to be like when this
practice fulfils itself, what on earth is driving you on to practice?

We are invited to try on for size a new way of being. . A way of


maturity, of ease, of responsibility; a way in which our practice has
been fulfilled and our true nature developed.

We are encouraged to feel our way into what it would be like if we


committed ourselves to this new lifestyle: how our faces would look,
how our bodies would feel, what kind of relationships, environment
and occupation we would have.

What gets in the way of our embracing this new way is our
attachments to our old patterns of behaviour. But we must recognise
that these attachments are our choice at any moment we may make
a different choice, we may choose the new way, the way of freedom,
peace and clarity.

60
New Beings for Old (missing recording)

The First Talk Given on the Completion of the Conservatory at Watercombe Farm, April 1986
Also St Pauls College 1986

Answers to the question: How do I deal with this? It is screwing up


my life.

At a certain point we come to recognise that our lives are being


influenced in a painful manner by old beings. These are our traditional
ways of behaving, our habitual emotional responses to people and
situations.

This talk looks at the errors of entering into battle with our old beings,
of trying to get rid of them. Like a tennis ball that is pushed away, the
old being will bounce back with renewed energy. The talk also reveals
the error of trying to achieve or grasp at some new being, some future
ideal. Rather we should have no goal except that of being skilful and
exercising our best quality in the moment; content within ourselves,
content within the activities of the moment.
This state of being will be encouraged by a basic disbelief in self-ness
and by non-entanglement with our sense of self-importance. We are
encouraged to let go of our dependence for our identity and happiness
on things and people out there, nurturing instead an inner being of
quality and ease as our identity.

Nourish the thought: I am this bright point, this diamond at the centre
which shines brightly despite the rubbish surrounding it, because it is
the nature of the diamond to shine.

61
The Alien

St Pauls College, Easter 1986

This is the traditional Zen encounter. The Roshi, posing as an Alien


from another planet, inquires of the group, What is this thing you do
called thinking? The group thinks about it, and the subsequent
attempts at an explanation demonstrate amply the futility of
investigating thinking with thinking.

Amidst the morass of mystifying explanations the Alien receives, he


discovers a common thread: that there is something called
consciousness, and that this peculiar human species is corrupting the
nature of this consciousness by using it to construct personal systems
of defence known as identities. The Alien explains that it is his
mission to put a stop to this corruption before it spreads throughout
the Universe.