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The Awakened PodcastLeaving Home – Coming Home

Student: So I’ve had a challenge.

Zen master e: Hi!

Student: Hi! So I haven’t been here for a couple of weeks.

Zen master e: Welcome back. Welcome back (singing). Remember that show?

Student: So it’s around what I texted you. So now it’s just become a part of me – whatever “me” is – coming to the sangha and so now, I’m challenged with getting other people to know that this is something that is that I’m passionate about. That is a must for me. And so not scheduling things in on those days – my understanding that it’s something that it’s a must for me, I guess is the best way to put it. So that’s a challenge I’ve faced for the last little while. You know, some people have been Yeah, no problem. But then there’s many layers to a family – like an onion. So it’s just been – not overwhelming like running around frustrated or hot hotted about it, but just just trying to communicate that in a way that can be received.

Zen master e: And this is a challenge that all of us face. Anytime that we’re trying to take up anything new in general, let alone while we’re trying to set up Dharma practice, right and carving out, let alone time to come here on Wednesday night – let alone time to practice at home. Right? Let alone time to dedicate for reading Dharma texts, right? For studies, you guys are doing the Dharma teacher training program – for studying. Right?

Right, because a lot of things, right. A lot of things go into play in regards to it, right. And a lot of it is almost like, like the precepts, right because our energy is going a certain way, and we need to take that energy and we’re trying to bring it to another way that’s more healthy, more skillful, more beneficial for us and ultimately for the world around us. And Everyone we meet, right?

And like people have – so this is a this is a hot topic.

Like there’s so many different ways and angles to come at it, right?

Some of the biggest is that you’re going to start to see the people that do not respect your practice. That do not believe that it is worthy, that it’s more worthy for you to binge watch Netflix for the night and to be there for that binge watch than it is to come here for two hours. This is a fact. This is going to be what we’re going to face. Right?

There’s gonna be people in our lives that put down the practice, right? Make fun of it. Get in our face about the practice, right? Yeah.

It’s hard enough for us to deal with ourselves. Right? It’s hard enough for us to deal with ourselves, and especially Right –

So we have to remember that everybody in our life has put us in a box. Right? In a box, we look a certain way, we sound a certain way, we do certain things, right? They have you – you’re all figured out so I don’t need to worry about you because this world is a bundle of chaos. And I need to, I need to control some things, because everything is out of control, but I don’t want to admit it. And I’m terrified. And I’m going to pretend like I got it all going and figured out, but I don’t. Right.

And so if you throw into a monkey wrench into people’s lives, in essence, that’s sort of what you’re doing, just because you are choosing you. Really, you’re choosing them, you’re choosing all of us, right? But they can’t see that yet. Right, because they value a certain outlook, certain things and values are changing, right? Which is going to have you bump up against values that are different than you or your own.

And the tough part too is that we’re lay practitioners. So we have countless responsibilities, countless responsibilities, right?

So in a lot of the traditions, they talk about right like eventually you come to the point where you see the most important thing in your life is this – and that if they want you fully present and the best of you to show up for them, you need to take your medicine.

Yeah, if you needed to go to a doctor’s appointment, they’d be fine with it.

The Buddha is the biggest doctor and the Buddha is referenced as a physician. Because he looks at the illness, your suffering (you are suffering), he looks at the causes of that, right? He he looked – does a prognosis.

“Yep, I see it – suffering sentient being These are the causes – greed, hatred and delusion. Don’t worry, I know a way out. I have a cure. And here’s what we can do.”

But people don’t see what you’re doing as medicine. Right?

All they see is you not being there for them in the way that they want for them. Right?

And this is just a matter of fact. Right?

But we need to see it with clear eyes and open heart that this is going to be part of the challenge.

Part of the thing with us is diligence. dedication, discipline, right? Right. Open heartedness, communication, steadfastness, all these things, all these things that you’re trying to embody in your life. Your family shows up and challenges you to the occasion, rises up to the occasion to help you stand strong in these things Right, to stand strong for what you believe in. Right?

But sometimes standing strong isn’t enough.

We have to go soft, sometimes. Right?

And maybe we need to take a softer approach right?

To bring them into that world.

To show them, to open our hearts, to bleed for them a little bit to say look,

“This is important to me. This is important to me because I love you. And I want the best for us. I want the best for our family. I want the best for my community. I want the best for the world. And the way that I see it – the best medicine that I can see it – that I could be the best husband, father, wife, daughter, sister, lover, best manager best everything, anything that you’re doing, anything that you touch will be improved tenfold by your practice, by the Dharma, by coming here on Wednesday night.”

And we have to figure out a way to be able to have people see that. And it might be a challenge. And it might be a fight because we’ve already seen that challenge and fight within us. And we have to bring it back here first(point to his heart).

Now, we’ve been hanging out for a little while. Two years now come know, a year and a half year and three quarters. The two years in February. That’s what I want to do the celebration. Yeah. Right.

And when if you look back at that person, how often were they meditating?
How often were they reading Dharma text?
How often were they investigating their own life?
Their own actions, their own thoughts, their own intentions, right?


You were covered in – head to toe – greed, hatred and delusion.
You couldn’t even see straight, talk straight.
Hear – You couldn’t even hear properly because you were hearing what you wanted to hear, right?

And the Dharma, the teachings, the community (makes the motion of wiping the mirror clean)Clear. “Oh, geez, I’m a little bit of a jerk. I see this now. I get triggered over these things. It’s just traffic. Why am I yelling at a stop sign? What is going on?” Right?

Now we start to see, but we have to come back and see at the beginning, I was just like them. I, I thought I valued it but I really didn’t. Right?

And then the proof starts to emerge, right? That’s why if somebody like we talked about at the beginning, right, if somebody says Ian, I want to go for refuge and take precepts. Whoa! Are you still yelling at stop signs? Right. Like, Do you know that you yell at stop signs?Are you starting to look at yourself, at the words that you use, the actions, right? Your intentions when you go into a situation, right?

Because once you can start to see yourself with open heartedness then you can go for refuge, then you can take on the precepts, right?

Because you’ve started to take on yourself. Right? These energies and these patterns of ourselves, right?

So, if we go back to our own journey, right, our own process then we see, right, you guys and the thing, the Buddha came up with the flack others imagine how much flack that guy got, it helped that he was the prince and they were loaded. And it can be like, what’s the big deal? Like people can take care of my wife and everybody like this right.

He made a big choice the Buddha. His story in the background, he woke up one day and he had had all the sex that he could have, all the food that he could eat, right? All the games that he could play, right? And he had like this existential crisis like, “Is that it? Is that it to life?

And his father had created this illusion of a world, keeping them free from pain, free from illness, free from the sight of old age or death. It’s like a fairy tale land. This guy (the king – Buddha’s father) he went crazy to keep his – because Buddha there was a prediction either one of two ways. He would be the best Kingdom ruler that anybody had ever seen. Or a Buddha. And the king was like, “Hell no, this guy is not going to be a Buddha. No way look at everything that I built up for them done for them. For him. He’s just gonna throw it away. No.

So he created this fairytale land for the Buddha to play in, right.

And then he had this existential crisis. And then he just so happened to see sickness, old age and death. And then one final thing. In the midst of all – he started to see the suffering of the world – the crack, the gig was up. He started to see like, “Oh these servants aren’t very happy. These people aren’t very happy. And he started to hear people get sick (makes coughing and sneezing sounds) and then they would get shuttled off, go – back to the other house, he (the Buddha) can’t see you get sick, and he started to see the suffering. And this is our story as well. We start to see the suffering.

And then the fourth thing he saw, like the gig was up. There was a kink in the armor and he started to see the facade, the masks everybody was putting on. Right? And, he knew, oh, this is actually people are just putting on a big show for me. And he became sensitive enough to know that they were hurting. And everybody was hurting and then he stumbled across sickness as person that was sick, like really sick. He had never seen sickness before. Old age, he had never seen an old person.

“What’s that? It’s an old person, my lord. Am I am I gonna get old? Yes, my lord, we all get old.”

What the?!?!

He thought it was gonna be vibrant and alive and beautiful for his whole life. This rocked his world, these three things sickness, old age and death. Right.

That’s why we take these things onto the path for us. Right, because they’re beautiful wisdoms.

And this this fourth one (the fourth sight) – he saw a sage a wandering mendicant – who’s just at ease within the world. That had nothing – nothing. Happy, free, alive. And he because he was really torn up about those three things, “What can I do about this? How can I help?”

That Bodhisattva heart burst open in this moment.

What can I do to help?

And then he saw that guy (the wandering monk). Out of all his options, everything – this seems like the only thing that compared to all of this, that might help everybody.

This is the same choice point that you’re at.

That’s why it’s very interesting – when you go back to the Buddha’s life, the Buddha’s life is our life. It’s like a mythic journey that we start to see ourselves in.

He had to let them go (his family).

They couldn’t see what he saw. But eventually they did. They came and became part of the sangha.

I can’t imagine that moment.

I can’t imagine…

And then he did it – (he left home).

He’s just like us.

Your kids are young too. “Daddy where you going? Oh stay with me. Read me this story.”

It pulls at your heartstrings, you know?

You’re not alone.

We all have to do it.

The Buddha had to do it.

It goes back right back to the lineage.

He had to let go.

Even if we don’t take that literally that he left his family – He left greed, hatred and delusion behind. The poisons. To figure out a way to bring back something this quest, right? The hero fights the dragon and brings back the treasure and the stories to the people. He fought the dragons, three headed dragon, greed, hatred and delusion. And he brought back liberation and awakening.

At that time period, the only solution was to leave it all behind as the only apparent thing that he could see and do.

And we’re always leaving things behind.

It’s a constant, leaving things behind – your selfishness, you’re craving, your aversion, your delusions, your ignorance.

You’re continually leaving home.

This is the leaving?

Yeah. So we have to see that and it’s tough. If it wasn’t tough, then this path isn’t for you.

Because this path is full of heart and if your heart doesn’t break, we got a problem. Yeah, if you don’t have a struggle, then we have a problem, right?

We’re all on our own quests, right to bring back the treasure, to fight the dragon, to bring back the treasure and the stories and we meet new friends, right?

The Wizard shows up.

Sets you off on a quest.

“There’s a secret treasure. Do you want to know where it’s hidden?”
And the teacher says, “Within you. The place that you never thought to look!”

It’s right inside.

And the teacher keeps coming back, “Go within. The treasure’s within.”

But we have to continually let go.

We’re continually letting go.

Continually leaving home – leaving the safe comfort of the known and venturing into the unknown.

And we hate it because we’d like to know it.

We talked a little bit last week a little bit about it – the not knowing, right?

I talked to you hard about that outside there.

We get comfortable in the “not knowing”. And in that “not knowing” everything is known. And everything is revealed. This is where we get..

When we we start to bear down with knowledge and rules – we’re losing it, because we’re scared of leaving home. Leaving that comfort of what we know.

And sometimes we need like the lay of the land, right? Here’s the map. Right? And it looks like oh, yeah, I just got to get from here to there. No problem. Right? We see even just driving here tonight. Right? If I looked at the map on waze it was easy peasy, right? It’s little blue line – it was smooth sailing, no problem, right? Nothing. Next thing I know I’m making a left. I’m hopping on the 400 – I’m coming up this way. It’s looking pretty convoluted. But on this little map, “Oh, that’s controllable. Right. Well, I feel good I can make this journey. I get the confidence to do it.”

And we need this confidence right? This is the teacher and the Sangha and the teachings gives us that confidence.

The confidence to do what?

To leave home.

Right? We’re continually leaving it behind. The Buddha’s life is our life. Right? And he faced challenges, ridicule everything like this, right?

Yeah, he left his whole kingdom behind. He was probably hated. I can’t imagine like come across some of his people he probably (got spat on with disgust for leaving his wife, child and kingdom behind), “How dare you!”

You don’t hear that part of the story. I just see how it cannot have happened. You know, it must have. How dare you?

We don’t hear that – but we should – we should hear about those challenges, right?

Because we take these people we put them up high and so high, that they no longer seem like they’re part of us – on our level right?

They become mythic people.

And this is this is not good. Right?We like to build idols – towers in the sky, right? Not good.

So we have to come back.

Everything about this is about coming back. Coming back, coming back home.

We leave home to come back home.

That’s interesting, right?

So yeah, you’re gonna face challenges, right and especially – yeah man, because they’re just everybody’s just so caught up in their stuff right? They’re so caught up in their stuff right and that you’re gonna face resistance – resistance to the unknown.

Even if the person that is emerging is great.

You’re still taking “you” away from “them”.

You’re leaving them.

So how do you make them feel?

So that’s why like when, so I only see my kids every other (weekend), right? But at the end of that weekend, they’re full. Such that the time period from this time to this time, it’s like daddy is never away from them – that their well is full – completely.


And maybe that’s the thing we have to look at.

“When I’m here with them am I here with them? Am I racing around? Am I on the phone? And all ‘We need to get the dishes done! And blah blah blah’ and I need to do it.’”

Team, right.

You have a home sangha.

Together action.

How do they feel – that they have you fully during this time?

We give them that gift of our presence.

This is the greatest gift that we can give our loved ones. Right? Non distracted. Fully, “Hey, I see you fully.”

That’s it. Full presence. I feel them.

And then as well – this is one level of presence.

But do they know about Chris?
Do they know about Daddy struggles?
Daddy’s fears?
Daddy’s world?

Because right now, here’s daddy, and then he leaves and then he comes back. I don’t know what’s going on in this magical world that daddy goes to.

Student: He’s sees the wizard.

Zen master e: Yeah, exactly right. What’s happenin, right?

“Guys, I have to go see the wizard tonight.”

“The wizard!!!”

Then it’s a whole different thing, right?

Yeah, that’s a whole it’s a whole different thing.

And sometimes we have to figure out the language right? What’s their (language)?

Avalokitesvara – He shows up. If he says oranges, but orange means bazooka. He needs to know that.

“Oh man, I should know for them oranges because it sounds like I’m gonna blow him up. I got a bazooka you want, right?”

Like we don’t know – we need to become sensitive. Right?

That’s why Avalokitesvara is beautiful. Shows up – he’s saved countless worlds, countless beings. He shows up – he doesn’t bring any of that with him.

“What do they need? I don’t assume to know.”

Avalokitesvara and Quan Yin have the full right to assume that they know – wisdom and compassion totally.

But they don’t.

Every moment is fresh.

Every moment is different.

Every person is different.

Every person within that person is different.

There’s multiple layers, right?

There’s mom, Protibha?

There’s lots of other ones…

And certain people only see certain Protibha’s show up, right?

The trick though is then how do we be natural – Protibha – in every momen?

So that mom Protibha, teacher Protibha, helpful to be on the board of advisors Protibha – all the same person.

This is the goal.

This naturalness.

And it’s the same person right throughout.

We need to invite them into our world as well. Right? Because they don’t know about where you’re going, why are going, what is it? Why is it so important?

For the older people, you can even still say you’re seeing the wizard.

That might help because they may, right. Okay. All right. All right. We don’t know.

But you’re, you’re going to face resistance. You’re gonna face resistance. Right?

And it’s just an opportunity for you to see differently. To let go of your fixed notions, and to respond to them, they obviously need something.

Right? Why?

Why do they feel like they need to cling so hard to this?

What are they afraid of?

What haven’t I given them?

How, how can I show them?

And even if it’s, if it’s the showing them that, “You know what? Even if you don’t understand – I don’t need you to understand it. I just need you to love me. I just need you to love me. And if you love you don’t say these words if you love me then I love your fight. I was like, nice thing right? Like round one. You’re never gonna win that fight. Right?

But yeah, if we come from a place of love, right. That’s why I like I like that scene where they talk about Mara started throwing all that stuff at the Buddha. And he just right – earth touching mudra – just stay grounded. And everything, daggers whatever was coming – came into his field – poof flowers, right.

He just stayed, “Yep, I know. I know. I know. I know.”

And he just looked at these things.

“I know. I’m just gonna stay ever present and grounded in the truth. The truth of who I am in the Dharma. Right? In wisdom and compassion. I’m gonna stay here. And he said, that’s an interesting thing too what he says right at the tree, “I will stay here for as long as it takes.”

He didn’t say, “Oh, you know what, if it’s not in the next three days, I give up.”


It’ll unfold in its own time. Your karma needs to unfold and soften.

And we just keep open heartedly.

“Why is this such a big deal? You know, like, like, what’s going on that you feel that? Like you feel like…?”

And then maybe you can put the words out there for them. When you start to be sensitive, right?

(You can ask sincere questions like)
“Do you feel that that we don’t get enough time together as a family?”

Be open hearted and curious.

All of life is a relationship and a flow.

Once it gets crystallized we have a problem. Right?

Open it back up.
Open it back up.

And this opening back up is welcoming.



Soft is hard.

But yeah, it’s not going to be fixed overnight – because whatever that energy pattern, that habit pattern that you’re coming up against is old. Is deep grooves. So that energy is going to flow and you might have to work with them for a while. And we do. What else you got?

Whatever’s in front of you is the practice right.

This is it.

“Oh, what do I need to see here? How do I need to open up to this even more fully?”

Because our tendency is to bear down, I need to protect, keep safe. And we do the opposite. Right? And we open up, we stay stable, “Okay.”

And like you were saying, if we have emotions that arise, I see – I’ve gotten used to and comfortable seeing from this place. I can see emotions arising, thoughts arising, wants arising, not wants arising. Right? So I’m just gonna abide here with an open heart. And I know that they’re not against me. Right.

I know it may appear. Like I may appear like an adversary to them.

Sometimes when we stay strong, we appear like an adversary, right?

That’s why then we have, oh, we put, here’s our fixed point and that fixed point is wisdom, compassion. Right? And then from there, then we can – we’ve already staked that claim. Then we unfurl the flags.

Unfurl the flag.

Boom, they put up the banner of love, surrender, togetherness.

“Oh, hey, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, I know, like I’ve had to go strong for a second. But whoa I got you, I got you. We’re all in this together.”

And sometimes that strong power – because strong goes up. Right. So sometimes it brings us distant, right distant. Right.

Even in like Shiva and Shakti. Shakti is the only person to entice Shiva out of his distance.

Right? And he softens and the whole of life celebrates because now the story is dynamic and alive, right?

The dynamic of lovers and the play of love and energy of love flowing around.

So maybe that’s it.

We soften.

This part of your story. When they’re talking about Buddha Chris, when you’re writing about Buddha, Chris – they’ll be talking about that story.

It’s all just a story.

And at that point of the story right now, tune in next, we’ll see what happens right?

But we hold the vision. We know we know what’s going to happen.

It’s gonna be beautiful. Gonna be beautiful.

A fully awakened Chris, which means fully awakened father, fully awakened lover, teacher, everything like that.

This is the greatest gift that we can give the world and everyone.


We hold that vision. We hold that vision and then the scene might take a little while to catch up.

But it’s not fixed – it’s not fixed.

That answer the question?

Thank you.

You guys want to meditate?