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All societies have laws to prevent physical and verbal violence, but what about the violence we create with our thoughts? Daido Roshi states that our minds are incredibly powerful, and they create a force that shapes the reality around us. We can only bring peace and healing to ourselves and others if we first have peace in our minds. But we can't quiet the mind until we see how much time we spend talking to ourselves, and until we let go of our almost constant inner chatter. Roshi also discusses how meditation reveals how we use our minds and also provides a means to quiet our thoughts. It is possible to bring this quiet mind into our everyday activities, and to create nourishment for ourselves and the world we live in.
Zen Buddhism emphasizes zazen, or seated meditation, as the means to study the self and understand who we truly are. Dharma talks are an essential aspect of Zen training and take place in the context of zazen. Said to be "dark to the mind and radiant to the heart", a dharma talk is one of the ways in which a teacher points directly to the heart of the teachings of the Buddha. In our meditation practice, it is easy to get lost in self-doubt, fantasy, numbness, and emotional agitation. Dharma talks help to ground our practice, providing inspiration and an essential recognition of exactly where we find ourselves, so that we can learn to face difficulties and obstacles with a free and flexible mind. This talk was given at Zen Mountain Monastery or the Zen Center of New York City of the Mountains and Rivers Order of Zen Buddhism, founded in 1980 by the late American Zen Master John Daido Loori, Roshi (1931-2009).