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  • Dharma Talk by Heigaku Talus Latona : Great Expectations - Or Not So Great

Dharma Talk by Heigaku Talus Latona : Great Expectations - Or Not So Great

  • Friday, April 28, 2023

Heigaku Talus Latona speaks to beginners mind, practicing with our expectations in life, and much more.

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Talus' talk notes:

Great Expectations - Not So Great

start recording • Talk title

A close friend talking with friends of 15 years they decided to starting over for positivity, a reboot. Any relationships you would like to? Consider why you would like to do that. Consider what are the challenges. Maybe because it's hard to overcome expectations we have of each other.   •  This retreat is billed as

Beginner's Mind

reference to Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind - Shunryu Suzuki Roshi

aspect of beginner's mind to focus on today is expectations

(No Dualism)

We say our practice should be without gaining ideas, without

any expectations, even of enlightenment. This does not mean,

however, just to sit without any purpose.

Sitting meditation is opportunity to study our mind in a simplified container. What does it mean to sit without expectations? What do you expect? Pain. Boredom. If you find there are expectations as you sit, does that mean you're meditating wrong? No. Opportunity to let go of creating the conditions.

Nothing Special

While you are continuing this practice, week after week,

year after year, your experience will become deeper and

deeper, and your experience will cover everything you do

in your everyday life. The most important thing is to forget

all gaining ideas, all dualistic ideas. In other words, just prac-

tice zazen in a certain posture. Do not think about anything.

Just remain on your cushion without expecting anything.

Then eventually you will resume your own true nature. That

is to say, your own true nature resumes itself.

The true self is not the self I build, the self that makes expectations about who I should be or how people should treat me.I recognized the expectation of self recently doing laundry ... anger at Kamchatka - that's more about me than you


After you have practiced for a while, you will realize that

it is not possible to make rapid, extraordinary progress. Even

though you try very hard, the progress you make is always

little by little. ... This is the Soto way of

practice. We can say either that we make progress little by

little, or that we do not even expect to make progress. Just

to be sincere and make our full effort in each moment is

enough. There is no Nirvana outside our practice.

...  ... fully aware, letting go

and, of course, our whole life becomes our practice - Nirvana


Talus's 4 steps to meditation

Sit with excellent posture

Bring your attention to a focal point, such as the breath and notice what is present

Notice when you mind has wandered elsewhere

Return attention to the focal point

vipassana - meditation naming • invite you to extra attention to expectations

seals of buddhism: non-self, cessation of suffering, and impermanence

non-self is difficult to think about - cessation of suffering - we all agree on impermanence - things don't stay as they are - but we don't act that way

even when notice planning while sitting, planning is expecting this is where I will be. maybe with good reason, but it's still expectation

empty mind looking for something to fill itself when notice recalling conflict, remember that probably mistaken in our expectations of what the other person's perspective and motivations

Letting Go

Natalie Goldberg at Upaya Zen Center teaches Haiku as zen practice because it often contains a leap, a little sensation of space, before we are brought outside of our expectations

My boss was honest with me today. He pulled up to work with his sweet new car this morning and I complimented him on it. He replied, "Well, if you work hard, set goals, stay determined and put in long hours, I can get an even better one next year."

Maybe that joke isn't funny, but the ones that are funny trigger something in us because they take us beyond our expectations.

A reading from The Hidden Lamp:

Master Langwe WueJu had a woman disciple who came to him for instruction. The master told her to examine the saying “Let it be.” He said that if she faithfully used this sentence as a scythe, she would cut down illusions and reap enlightenment.

The woman followed his instructions faithfully. One day her house burned down and she said, “Let it be.” Another day her son fell into the water and when a bystander ran to tell her she answered, “Let it be.”

One day she started to make fried cakes for dinner as her husband lit the fire. She prepared the batter and heated the oil, then poured a spoonful of batter into the hot oil.

When she heard the sizzling sound, she was immediately enlightened. She threw the pan to the ground and jumped up and down, clapping her hands and laughing. Her husband shouted at her, “What are you doing? Have you gone mad?” She answered, “Let it be.”

Then she went to WueJu and he confirmed that she had indeed harvested the holy fruit.

In her commentary on this story, Tamara Myoho Gabrysch says

At first glance, this phrase might look like the perfect excuse to do nothing, or a justification for complacency. Don’t be misled! Letting things be doesn’t mean that we cease functioning, stop thinking, or get rid of the self once and for all (as most of us

erroneously seem to hope). In fact it is quite the opposite. It is like awaking from a stupor to find everything is very much alive and buzzing.

Let it be, and in that moment our attachment to self can fall away, and appreciation for this life as the life of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha—as one mind—can’t help but express itself. A simple grain of rice left in the rice cooker is as valuable as a nugget of gold.

Maybe, when her home burned down, this disciple found herself looking forward to a fresh start. Maybe her son was an enthusiastic swimmer who was diving into the water every free moment he had. Maybe seeing her fried batter fly through the air and land on the floor was thrilling. Who knows? When we actively let things be, surprises can happen.

letting go of expectations when my wife Dianne died - one thing I did right. I listened to friends and counselors who told me Grief expresses itself differently for everyone, and differently for anyone from one moment to another. Letting go of expectations about how the process should be allowed me to open to my passions and to directly witness the transcendental beauty of our love in new ways.

fear of letting go of expectations. Where we manage to let go of fears and expectations that leaves us facing emptiness Teacher Jane Schneider "the one thing we can do for comfort about the state of the world and the state of our lives is mainly to take comfort in our spiritual friends because they're all going through the same things right now, and their delusions are falling too. And we're starting to grow weeds we hadn't actually planned on. So we can get together. We can laugh about our shared delusions. We can take comfort that each of us grows through these delusions even before they fall off. " "after we take comfort in our friends, we turn our attention to others who delusions are also falling to the ground."

Last week Tim quoted Buddha's instructions for correcting people, one to ask "Is the heart of goodwill, free from malice, established in me towards my fellow wayfarers in the holy life" - love wayfarers, it highlights the adventure

letting go of expectations doesn't mean shouting them down. Jane Schneider again "The first thing we have to do is stop justifying our delusions. And when they're ready to fall away, we let them fall away."

Have you experienced sitting in meditation thinking you were relaxed and then realizing you are holding some muscle tensely? It happens to me a lot, do you know what I'm talking about. It's like [gesture]. Our mental habits are the same way. work on letting go, work on relaxing, think - I've let that thought go, why does it keep coming back.

Or sometimes we don't know what releases it. One day at samish last year I had a thought that kept arising ... patience and persistance went through this process about every 15 seconds for most of the period, about 25 minutes in so that's 60/15*25 = well about 100 times. And then, all of a sudden, you know what? It didn't arise.

So, fellow wayfarers in the holy life, take note of your expectations today, name them as you meditate and see if you can let them go. When they're ready to fall away, they will. I will practice with this too.


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