Suzuki Roshi Transcripts

Sunday, January 04, 1970

What is Our Practice?

San Francisco

In our zazen practice, we stop our thinking and we must be free from our emotional activity too. We don't say there is no emotional activity, but we should be free from it. We don't say we have no thinking mind, but we should not be-our activity, our life activity should not be limited by our thinking mind. In short, I think we can say [we trust ourselves completely, without thinking,][1] without feeling anything, we-without discriminating good and bad, without saying right or MORE ...

Sunday, January 11, 1970

Ordination Ceremony: Bill Kwong and Silas Hoadley

San Francisco

We have ordination ceremony for Bill Kwong and SilasHoadley after this lecture-immediately after this lecture. I wanted to talk about ordination ceremony, but I think it is pretty difficult to explain it, you know, because even-because you have no idea of, you know, Buddhist priesthood. And what you have in your mind is priest in America, you know, so [laughs] I have no word to communicate.

[Hum on tape for several minutes. Then Suzuki-roshi MORE ...

Sunday, January 18, 1970


San Francisco

In Japan now it is a season of typhoon. And recently, on the 16th, a typhoon arrived at San Francisco from Japan [laughs, laughter]. And now typhoon has left San Francisco to Tassajara [laughs, laughter]. Now it is the time when we have clear, blue sky again. Typhoon was so strong that I stayed in bed for two, three days [laughs, laughter]. I think you are also stayed in bed [laughs, laughter].

Each time some-at first, I came to America alone. And two years after, my wife came. And I had to share some difficulty we had-I had when I arrived San Francisco and culturally where I experienced MORE ...

Sunday, January 25, 1970

Mahayana and Hinayana Buddhism

San Francisco

The difference between so-called-it Theravada Buddhism and Sarvastivadian or Hinayana and Mahayana is very important and directly, you know, concerned with our present problem. We are supposed [laughing] to be Mahayana Buddhist, but I think most of us are Hinayana, actually. There is not much Mahayana students. Almost all of us may be Hinayana or sectarian Buddhists because we study Buddhism as something which is already given to us, like Hinayana Buddhist thought Buddha already gave us-have given us-the wonderful teaching. So what we should do is to preserve his teaching as you like-as you put food in refrigerator [laughs]. That is Hinayana MORE ...

Saturday, January 31, 1970


San Francisco

Our-our effort in our practice is quite different effort you make in our usual life. This point should be very clear for you, or else, you know, you-your practice doesn't work.

And spiritual effort is, at the same time, is very poisonous for us. Spiritual attainment is very, you know-sometime like a-like-will result ecstasy or sometime will result arrogance. And in this kind of, you know, spiritual arrogance or ecstasy is worse than materialistic arrogance, you know. You can easily [be] fooled by people by talking about something spiritual-so-called-it "spiritual," you know. If you-"This is very spiritual thing." If you say so, that is already very powerful, you know. And there is MORE ...

Sunday, February 01, 1970

Morning Sesshin Lecture

City Center

How do you-how do you like zazen? [Laughs, laughter.] And maybe-maybe better to ask you how do you like brown rice? [Laughs, laughter.] I think this is better question, you know. Zazen is too much. [Laughs, laughter.] Brown rice, I think, just right. [Laughter.] But actually not much difference. [Laughter.] Zazen has strong f- [partial word]-zazen is strong food like brown rice. And I was very much interested in the way you eat brown rice. [Laughs.] I'm-I'm very much impressed, you know, the way you eat brown rice.

Can you hear me?

MORE ...

Afternoon Sesshin Tea Lecture

Sunday, February 1, 1970

Sesshin is almost-sesshin has almost completed. In this sesshin, we have learned many things. I want to-can you hear me?-I want to, you know, say something about what I noticed.

Here we are-each one of us is a cook. In turn we work in the kitchen, and here, you know, in zendo we take care of this zendo by ourselves mostly. Right now, we carrying our stick in turn, and I want-I explained, you know, how to eat brown rice, you know. The more you chew it, you will have the taste of the brown rice. And in zendo, you are food [laughs]. You are rice and vegetables from various states, and we must cook ourselves [laughs], you know, some MORE ...

Sunday, February 08, 1970


Each time we-we start lecture, we recite "an unsurpassed, penetrating Buddha," and so on. This is the essential-pointing at essential teaching of Buddha. And it is not just opening of the [laughs] lecture. It is-this gyata[1] itself is perfect dharma.

When we start-before we start lecture, or when you-when someone start lecture, and when you listen to it, and when we speak and listener start to study Buddhism, we-we must have this understanding-perfect understanding. Only when we, you know, we give up the idea of "we," you know, and when we have converted in-"we" in its true sense, this dharma, whatever it is, MORE ...

Sunday, February 22, 1970

The Background of Shikantaza

San Francisco

I think most of you participate one-week sesshin from tomorrow.[1] So far, we have been practicing counting breathing or following breathing. But maybe tomorrow-from tomorrow, in one-week sesshin, we will, you know, practice shikantaza.

I want to explain, you know, what is shikantaza. Shikantaza is, as you know-excuse me-just to sit, you know. We say "shikantaza." Just to sit. But there is-if you, you MORE ...

Monday, February 23, 1970

Sesshin Lecture #1

Selflessness, Being and Non-Being: The Background of Shikantaza

San Francisco

In this sesshin I suggested to practice shikantaza. For-anyway for beginner, you know, it doesn't make much difference [laughs]. I am sorry to say so, but shikantaza or counting breathing-it doesn't make much sense. But anyway, you know, to have strong determination to sit, you know, for seven-six days is enough, you know. If you have that much conviction in your practice I think that is pretty good.

MORE ...

Wednesday, February 25, 1970

Sesshin Lecture #3

Non-Dualistic Practice

San Francisco

Yesterday I talked about how to, maybe-two ways of practice: one is zazen practice under the guidance of the right teacher, and the other is how to extend our practice in our everyday life. And the-it-our teaching mostly-especially Mahayana Buddhist teachings-mostly directed how to extend our practice to our everyday practice.

The teaching of emptiness or teaching of interdependency-those MORE ...

Saturday, February 28, 1970

Last Lecture of Sesshin

Practice to be Like a Stone

San Francisco

Before we sit, six-day sesshin was too long. But after we completed, it was too short [laughs, laughter]. I think you feel, you know, quite different feeling. For an instance, when you walk, you know, you have quite different feeling. You feel as if you-your legs have become shorter [laughs, laughter], and your legs stick to floor, you know, and you feel very heavy [laughs] in your walking. It should be, you know, great joy for you, you know, when you completed such a long torch,[1] you know. But, you know, it is strange, you know, not to MORE ...

Sunday, March 01, 1970

Lecture to Professor Lewis R. Lancaster's Visiting Class


Actually, because of my bad throat, I don't speak for people outside, you know. I o- [partial word]-I hardly manage to keep my lecture in Zen Center. But this time, because of Dr. Lancaster, whom I met at dinner, I was very much encouraged by him. And hearing hard [hardship?] of-name of Senzaki,[1] you know, who is, I think, pioneer of MORE ...

Sunday, March 08, 1970

"Letters from Emptiness"

How to Understand the Idea of Emptiness

San Francisco

[Recently my thought is concentrated on the idea of emptiness.][1] Whatever I say, I am actually talking about what is emptiness, because this emptiness is something which we must understand literally and completely through experience. But if it is difficult to experience it through experience, you can tentatively understand it as a kind of idea in comparison to your way of thinking or in MORE ...

Sunday, March 15, 1970

Our Everyday Life is Like a Movie

San Francisco

I think most of you are rather curious about what is Zen. But Zen is actually our way of life, and zazen practice is actually as-like as you set your watch-alarm, maybe. Unless you set your alarm, alarm clock will not serve the purpose.

So it is necessary for us to start our activity from some standpoint-to some ground or we must have-every day we must have starting point. Where to start is most important thing. The sun arise at certain time and setting at certain time. And the sun, you MORE ...

Saturday, March 28, 1970

March Sesshin: Way-Seeking Mind

San Francisco

[First 1-2 sentences of lecture may be missing.] Way-seeking mind is the most important. This kind of chance is-usually in some difficult situation-when you have some difficulty in your everyday life, I think you will have, you know-there you will have chance to arise way-seeking mind. Once you arise the way-seeing mind, your practice is on the track.

Watanabe-Watanabe Genshu-zenji,[1] who passed away several years ago, arise way-seeking mind when famous Arai-zenji "_ftnref2" title="">[2] came to his temple. He [Watanabe] was-he was a chest-maker or what do you call?-he was making, you know-he is-he is not a carpenter-was not a carpenter, but he was-hmm?-[comments from students]-oh, cabinetmaker. He was cabinetmaker. And he-when he went to his temple, you know, to hear Arai-zenji's lecture or to-to see him, maybe [laughs], to see the zenji-famous zenji, he arosed way-seeking mind. And he made up his mind to follow him, and asked his family to let him go. And he joined Arai-zenji's order.

He [Watanabe] had-when he was young, he had a very difficult time at his home always. But he didn't complain about it. He rather enjoy his-to make cabinets. But Arai-zenji was so great Zen master that he, you know, made up his mind to follow him. And so, you know, he doesn't forget his-his life in his-when he was young.

When he became archbishop of Soji-ji temple, he still had a big saw, you know, and tools on tokonoma.[3] And he-he didn't forget, you know, his difficult time when he was young. And he was very grateful for, you know, having difficulties in his early days. Because, you know-because of that he could join the order, and study our way, and practice zazen until he become archbishop of Soji-ji temple. He was unique archbishop.

Of course, when he became Arai-zenji's disciple he went-he has some more schooling. He graduate a college called Toyo Daigaku,[4] but that was maybe-I don't know exactly when, but maybe when he was pretty old.

The most Zen masters, you know-great Zen masters are the monks who had difficult time in his early life. In Meiji period, or, yeah, late Meiji period, our most famous zenji-Zen master is-are Nishiari-zenji[5] and Morita-Morita-zenji, Morita Goyu.[6] Nishiari-zenji became a archbishop of Soji-ji Temple. Morita-zenji became a-became archbishop of Eihei-ji temple. They were the monks who had very difficult time when they were young.

Morita-zenji joined-or went to Eihei-ji Monastery to practice when he was very young. And his-when he was leaving his temple, his father was very ill, but knowing that his boy-he cannot take care of his boy, he persuaded his boy to go to Eihei-ji monastery. As you know, Eihei-ji-life in Eihei-ji Monastery is not so easy, especially for a little boy maybe thirteen or fourteen. His father must be a very good-must have been very good teacher to know how important it is to continue his practice. But he had not much money for the boy, so only way is to send him to Eihei-ji Monastery. When he was going, he said:

The first duty you will have at Eihei-ji Monastery will be to, you know, collect rubbishes or garbage, and to-or to hit, you know, big bell. You-you should know to collect garbage is the most important duty in the monastery. The older students will sweep the garden and collect the leaves and garbages at certain time-certain place. So young priest or monks should, you know, collect it.

We are told, you know, that even though you sweep the garden, if you don't, you know, collect the garbage in-or take it to the garbage can, you know-in Japan we had no garbage can but we had some place to burn the papers and-or leaves. If we don't take it to the place-to some certain place, you did, you know, half job, not complete job. Fifty percent [laughs]. Another fifty percent is to take it to the place where they burn it. So his father told them-told him to-"If you take the garbage to some certain place, you-that means you-you are doing half of the work, even though you are just one or three people. If you do it, you are doing half of the work, and many-rest of the monks with many heads [laughs] and hands will do half of it. So you must be proud of your duty," he said to him.

"And to hit a bell means to hit-to, you know-to give a birth to Buddha. So each tine you hit the bell, you know, Buddha will appear. So when you, you know, at Eihei-ji-if you go to Eihei-ji you should-monks bow each time they hit big bell. So with that spirit you should hit the bell."

And he give him-give the boy various instructions like that. And knowing-without knowing his father was almost dying, he went to Eihei-ji monastery and he started monastic life. The first morning, he hit the great bell, Ekido-zenji,[7] who was at that time the abbot of-or archbishop of Eihei-ji monastery, asked his jisha find out who hit the bell this morning.

I don't know how old Ekido-zenji was at that time. Maybe he was more than 80.[8] Maybe almost 90. And he was sitting in his room and hearing the b- [partial word]-unusual bell, he asked his jisha to find out who it was. And there came the small boy. Ekido-zenji rather amazed to see such a small boy. He thought some good well-trained monk will appear [laughs], but small boy appear.

So he wondered how he could hit such a-hit a nice good sound, so he asked him, you know, the boy-how did you hit it, and with what kind of, you know, feeling did he hit the bell? And he told him, "To hit one bell means to give a birth to a buddha. That was what my father told me when I was leaving my home for Eihei-ji monastery." Of course, Eikido-zenji was very much impressed by the boy, and he took care of-he took good care of the boy until he become a famous Zen master.

Nishiari-zenji is famous for his study of Shobogenzo, and Morita-zenji is very famous for his zazen practice. There are many stories about his zazen practice. For an instance, when he was crossing the narrow[s] between Hokkaido and Honshu Island, they met a big tornado or typhoon. The ship was almost wrecked. All the seamen, all the passengers, and even seamen including the, you know, captain of the boat was-became seasick, but Morita-zenji in the corner of the room was sitting zazen [laughs, laughter]. He didn't become seasick, and the captain was very much amazed, you know, to see him. And he could eat, you know, and after eating he went to his cabin-and practicing zazen [laughs]. Since then, captain became a very good, you know, student of Morita-zenji [laughs]. But all those-wonderful practice is a result of his difficult practice in his early age at Eihei-ji Monastery.

Our life in monastery, you know, is very simple and monotonous, you know. We are repeating same thing [laughing] every day, over and over. There is nothing to enjoy. So sometime we do something very foolish, you know, to enjoy-how foolish we are! If we find ourselves very foolish, you know, we, you know, we enjoy [laughs] our foolishness, to, you know-to eat radish, you know, without cooking [laughs, laughter]. Just, you know, when we are carrying radish, you know, without washing, without even washing. Bring out the radish and scratch the dirt out [laughs, laughter]. Sometime that is not interesting enough for us [laughs, laughter], so late at night when there are, you know, when they are fast asleep, you know, we, you know, cook it by bucket or something [laughing] outside of the monastery. But once you cook radish, smell is awful! Whole monastery will, you know, [be] filled with the smell of the radish.

Of course, we know, you know, we will be easily found out, but, you know, to do it is most important part. And if we are scolded that is another, you know [laughing]-something, you know-we have something more. They may scold us. "Okay, let's do it!" [Said in a mock conspiratorial voice.] [Laughs.]

Our life in the monastery is so simple and so monotonous, we cannot work fast, you know. We should always work slowly without making noise. We cannot talk loudly. If you enter someone's room, the head of the room will see your-you from your feet to your-up to your head [laughs]. He will check you, you know. If you have some reason it is very difficult to stay. Maybe recently, you know, their masters want-want them to be a priest-good priest. So even though they don't want-they themselves don't want to stay at Eihei-ji, because their teacher, you know, or their master want them to stay at Eihei-ji, so that is maybe why they stay there for one year or so. But no more-not more than that [laughs]. Most people feel in that way.

So I think we have so many students here, but I don't know how many of you will stay with-with us. I don't know how many. If you have good reason to stay here, you will stay. But if you haven't not much reason, I don't know. What I am saying right now is when you have-when you want to be a Buddhist, it is necessary for you to see your-our everyday life more carefully. [Sentence finished. Tape turned over.]

This-this is something-we say ordinary life but it is not ordinary life. It is very, you know, very dangerous and precarious life. We cannot trust people in city so much. Nothing is permanent or reliable in our society. If so, you know, someone should be-should become reliable person, you know-trustworthy person. Or else, you know, whole society will be lost. If it is-if it is hot, when it is hot we need big tree under which we have cool wind. When it rain, we need someone who has umbrella. When you see our human life carefully, you will find out how important it is to become trustworthy person. It is not necessary to be a great man, but we should be good enough to help our neighbors.

So purpose of Buddhism, we say, [is] to help themselves and to help others. Why it is so is-it is actually our neighbor wants some help in some way. I said to carry-to collect the garbage to the garbage can is half of the job, whole job, you know, but we are liable to, you know,

ignore to carry the garbage to the garbage can. We are liable to ignore something which is some duty which is dirty, which is not pleasant. We are liable to ignore cleaning the corner of the room. If everyone ignore to clean the corners of the room, the room will be filthy pretty soon. Because someone do it, our room is always clean, and we feel very good in a clean room. There is many, you know, liable to [laughs] tend to in our human life, you know, we are liable to do this, to be like this, to be like that. Many liable to [laughs]. Many apt to. Someone must work hard so that we-all of us can enjoy our life.

Maybe our zazen practice is the practice which most people do not like so much [laughs]. We shouldn't try to attain even enlightenment. You should be there on the black cushion for two days [laughing] without any reason why. There is no "liable to." Just to be there, that is why you practice zazen. When you can do this kind of practice-if you can do shikantaza without expecting anything, I think you can do almost everything which is necessary.

With this spirit-when you have this spirit, you will attain enlightenment, but without this spirit the enlightenment you will have is one of the "liable to." [Laughs.] You will expose your weakness, that's all. There is no true, you know, human nature appear. What you will have is just, you know, false-superficial attainment which is not true.

So final strength will be attained by just sitting. After experiencing-started-starting from various difficulties, the difficulties we have is not actually difficult enough. Just to sit on the cushion is the most difficult thing, as you experience [laughs]. I think you know how difficult it is just to sit on the black cushion. Without true spirit you cannot do that.

So if you, you know, have a chance to arise real way-seeking mind, we should start shikantaza. So for people who has no way-seeking mind, who want some encouragement, who want some candy, we have to give some candy [laughs]. But it is, you know-we should be ashamed of being fooled by candy, you know. Our world is not so easy, you know, and we are foolish enough to be fooled by candy. We are critical with others, and mostly with ourselves very critical. We cannot accept ourselves so easily. That is why we practice zazen.

This time I started some-I started dokusan, but maybe, you know, better to be concentrated on just practice of zazen. Anyway I don't think I can finish dokusan for all the students in two days, so I almost gave up! [Laughs.] I think it's much better to-to just sit with you.

Thank you very much.


Source: City Center transcript. Entered onto disk by Jose Escobar, 1997. Transcript checked against tape and made verbatim by Bill Redican (10/19/00). Miyagawa Keishi-san kindly provided assistance with the translation of Japanese terms.

[1] Watanabe Genshu-zenji (1869-1963): 17th dokuju (successive) abbot of Soji-ji.

[2] Arai Sekizen-zenji (1864-1927): 5th dokuju (successive) abbot of Soji-ji.

[3] tokonoma (Jap.): alcove.

[4] Toyo University, Tokyo.

[5] Nishiari Bokusan (1821-1910): the most prominent Meiji scholar of the Shobogenzo. He was a teacher of Oka Sotan-zenji and Ian Kishizawa-zenji, eventually becoming abbot of Soji-ji Temple and head of the Soto-shu.

[6] Juko Morita Goyu (1834-1915): 64th abbot of Eihei-ji. Called the "Double Founder" because of his work in restoring Eihei-ji.

[7] Morotake (Sengai) Ekido-zenji (1805-1879): 1st dokuju (successive) abbot of Soji-ji. According to Zengaki Daijiten (The Great Dictionary of Zen Studies), Ekido was abbot of Ryukai-in, not Eihei-ji, when Morita Goyu would have been a novice. But Ekido and Goyu may also have studied at Eihei-ji for some period of time.

[8] Ekido died at age 74.

Sunday, March 29, 1970

Zazen is Like Going to the Restroom

San Francisco

How do you feel now? [Laughs.] Excuse me. I thought of funny thing right now [laughs]. I feel as if, you know-I don't know how you feel, but I feel as if I-I have finished, you know, things in restroom [laughs]. As I am pretty old, you know, I go to restroom so often. Even when I was young, I went [to] restroom more than, you know [laughs], usual person. I had, I think, some advantage, you know [laughs, laughter], because of that. When I went to tan- [partial word]-Eihei-ji and sit in tangaryo,[1] for seven days [laughs], I could go to restroom without any guilty MORE ...

Sunday, April 12, 1970

Buddha's Birthday Lecture

San Francisco

The April-April the eighth is the day we celebrate Buddha's birthday in China and Japan. As you know, Buddha was born as a prince of Shakya tribe-a king of Shakya tribe. And when he was born in the Lumbini Garden,[1] nagas[2] poured sweet tea. That is why we pour the sweet tea. But actually we don't know the historical origin about this because we have not much record about the sweet tea.

But-but we have record about the festival we have-we had right now. Maybe in Japan they started to mix this kind of tea for the MORE ...

Saturday, April 25, 1970

Remarks at the Ceremony Officially Opening Beginner's Mind Temple

San Francisco

Suzuki-roshi (speaking formally): On this day of the opening of Mahabodhisattva Zendo and main office of Zen Center, we arranged this altar, making offering of fruits and vegetables which were produced in this land of Mahabodhisattva, reciting sutra of Daihi-shin Darani, the Sutra of the Great MORE ...

Tuesday, April 28, 1970

How to Have Sincere Practice

San Francisco

Since Tatsugami-roshi[1] came, you must have heard Dogen-zenji's name so many times. But Dogen-zenji may not like to hear his name so many times [laughs]. But unfortunately he had a name like Dogen, so [laughs] there is no other way to address him. So we call him Dogen-zenji or Dogen.

As you know, he didn't like to say "Zen" even, or Zen-in China they called monks who sit in zazen, called [them] "Zen monks," but MORE ...

Saturday, May 02, 1970

Sesshin Lecture #1

On Breathing

San Francisco

Right now you-your feeling has changed from the feeling you had in your sitting. This is important. When you start a two-day sesshin you think, "I must sit two days continuously." But that is not the way you should practice [laughs]. If you, you know, think in that way, you may feel-you may be very much discouraged: "Oh my! I have to sit two days or seven days."

It is actually better to sit one period after one period: "Okay, I will sit one period." Then, after kinhin, you must say to yourself, "I must sit one more period." [Laughs, laughter.] And MORE ...

Sesshin Lecture #2

Helping Others

San Francisco

First of all, a sincere-our practice-sincere practice-our sincere practice is not, you know, practice just for himself. This is not so difficult to understand. Bodhisattva practice is not just to help himself, but to help others. We put more stress to help others. That is bodhisattva practice.

I think because you are not so considerate in your everyday life, you have that question: you know, why we have to practice zazen, or what is sincere practice? If you find out how difficult it is to help others, with bodhisattva mind, with mind of MORE ...

Sunday, May 03, 1970

Sesshin Lecture #3

Sincere Practice and Way-Seeking Mind

San Francisco

To have-to have sincere practice means to have sincere concern with people. So our practice is actually based on our humanity. So Dogen-zenji says to accomplish humanity is to raise-to hold up Buddhism and help people.

So what is the way to establish humanity? That is the way to establish humanity is tao or practice, he says. By practice we can establish humanity, and our practice is based on humanity, so human being practice true human nature is our zazen. And he says the way is not something which was established by Buddha or some MORE ...

Tuesday, May 05, 1970

Negative View, Positive Practice

City Center, San Francisco

Once a time of one thousand or two thousand is not so long time in comparison to our idea of time. It is just, you know, one thousand or hundred years of time, maybe, one month or less than one month.

We came to the point where we must study Buddhism from various direction, and here we are started to study Buddhist way from various angle. And this is not so easy task. I think that is why we must have Buddha or Dogen-zenji, because each one of our effort-by each one of our effort cannot be satisfy.

Our purpose of studying Buddhism-in Japan this kind of study started, maybe, from Meiji period-early part of Meiji period. Of MORE ...

Sunday, May 10, 1970

Zen Center and City Practice

City Center, San Francisco

This morning I want to reflect on our long, long practice, which we started maybe more than ten years ago. The purpose of Zen Center is, as you know, to provide a Zen meditation hall or whatever it is, you know: some place to practice zazen, and practice with some teacher, was the original intention of Zen Center. And with this purpose we organized non-profit organization. And now, here, when we, you know, acquired this building, we named this building Mahabodhisattva Zendo. It is-reflecting on our practice that was, you know, nothing but the bodhisattva way: to help others and to help ourselves.

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Sunday, May 17, 1970

How to Observe Precepts

San Francisco

This morning I want to talk about Zen-Zen precepts. As you know, precepts is not-real meaning of precepts is not just rules. It is rather our way of our life. When we, you know, organize our life, there you see something like rules, you know. Even though you are not intending to observe some particular rule, but there you see some rules.

As soon as you get up, you know, to wake you completely up, you wash your face, you know. That is our precepts-one of the precepts. And at a certain time you eat breakfast, when you become hungry. That is, you know-it looks like you are observing some rules to eat MORE ...

Sunday, May 24, 1970

Money and Labor

City Center, San Francisco

Good morning. Actually this morning I asked Yoshida-roshi[1] to give some talk to you, but as he-as she has just arrived from Japan, and she said she is not ready to speak yet, so I am going to speak [say] something.

I introduced her already to you, but some of you here may not know her, so I think I have to introduce Yoshida-roshi first. [Aside of 1-2 sentences in Japanese.] Yoshida-roshi. [She answers briefly in Japanese. Suzuki-roshi then whispers Domo arigato.]

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Wednesday, May 27, 1970

Sandokai Lecture #1


[This is the first in a series of lectures on the Sandokai

(Chin. Cantong qi or Tisan-tiung-chii), a poem by Sekito Kisen.

Historical details of the series are appended to the end of this lecture. Japanese transliteration in all lectures is by Kazuaki Tanahashi (1999). English translation in all lectures is by Suzuki-roshi.]

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Saturday, May 30, 1970

Sandokai Lecture #2


[The following lines of the Sandokai are discussed in this lecture:

Line 2 tozai mitsuni aifusu.

Line 3 Ninkon ni ridon ari,

Line 4 do ni namboku no so nashi.

Line 2 was handed down closely from west to east.

Line 3 People may discriminate the dull from the keen,

Line 4 but in the true way there is no Patriarch of North or South.]

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Monday, June 01, 1970

Sandokai Lecture #3


[The following lines of the Sandokai are discussed in this lecture:

Line 5 Reigen myoni kokettari.

Line 6 Shiha anni ruchusu.

Line 7 Ji wo shusuru mo moto kore mayoi.

Line 8 Ri ni kano mo mata satori ni ara zu.

Line 5 The true source is pure and stainless.

Line 6 The branch streams flow in the dark.

Line 7 Clutching at things is delusion.

Line 8 To recognize the truth is not always
MORE ...

Wednesday, June 03, 1970

Sandokai Lecture #4


[Lecture starts 3/4 of the way through Side B of the original tape.]

[The following lines of the Sandokai are discussed in this lecture:

Line 9 Mommon issai no kyo,

Line 10 ego to fuego to.

Line 11 Eshite sarani aiwataru.

Line 12 Shikara zare ba kurai ni yotte jusu.

Line 9 The five sense gates and the five sense objects

Line 10 are interdependent and absolutely independent.

MORE ...

Saturday, June 06, 1970

Sandokai Lecture #5

Lecture to Professor Weller's Visiting Class


[Note. This lecture was given-as a general introduction-to Prof. Jack Weller's visiting philosophy class following Lecture IV in Suzuki-roshi's series of lectures on the Sandokai.]

Purpose of study of Buddhism is to have perfect understanding of things, and subjectively to understand ourselves, and especially what we are doing in our everyday life-what kind of activity we are involved in, [to] know why we suffer, [and why] we have such a conflict in our society or in our, you know, family, or within ourselves. So to understand with good understanding of subjective MORE ...

Wednesday, June 10, 1970

Sandokai Lecture #6


[This lecture is concerned with the following lines of the Sandokai:

Shiki moto shitsuzo wo kotonishi,

sho moto rakku wo kotonisu.

An wa jochu no koto ni kanai,

mei wa seidaku no ku wo wakatsu.

Things have various natures, various forms.

There is good and bad, taste, sound, and feeling.

In darkness, superior and inferior cannot be distinguished;

MORE ...

Saturday, June 13, 1970

Sandokai Lecture #7


[The following lines of the Sandokai are discussed in this lecture:

Line 17 Shidai no sho onozukara fukusu,

Line 18 ko no sono haha wo uru ga gotoshi.

Line 19 Hi wa nesshi kaze wa doyo,

Line 20 mizu wa uruoi chi wa kengo.

Line 17 The four elements resume their nature

Line 18 as a child has its mother.

Line 19 Fire is hot, wind blows,

Line 20 water wets, and earth is solid.]

MORE ...

Wednesday, June 17, 1970

Sandokai Lecture #8


[The following lines of the Sandokai are discussed in this lecture:

Line 21 Manako wa iro, mimi wa onjo,

Line 22 hana wa ka, shita wa kanso.

Line 23 Shikamo ichi-ichi no ho ni oite,

Line 24 ne ni yotte ha bumpusu.

Line 25 Hommatsu subekaraku shu ni kisu beshi.

Line 26 Sompi sono go wo mochiu.

Line 21 For eyes there is color and form, for ears there is sound,

MORE ...

Saturday, June 20, 1970

Sandokai Lecture #9


[The following lines of the Sandokai are discussed in this lecture:

Line 27 Meichu ni atatte an ari,

Line 28 anso wo motte o koto nakare.

Line 29 Anchu ni atatte mei ari,

Line 30 meiso wo motte miru koto nakare.

Line 27 Within brightness actually there is utter darkness;

Line 28 but you should not meet someone just with darkness.

Line 29 Within darkness there is brightness

Line 30 but you should not see others only with the eyes of MORE ...

Thursday, June 25, 1970

Sandokai Lecture #10


[This lecture is concerned with the following lines of the Sandokai:

Meian ono-ono aitaishite,

hisuru ni zengo no ayumi no gotoshi.

(Transliteration by Kazuaki Tanahashi.)

Darkness and brightness stand with each other

like when one foot is forward and the other is behind in walking.

(Translation by Suzuki-roshi.)]

Now we are still talking about the reality from the light of MORE ...

Saturday, June 27, 1970

Sandokai Lecture #11


[The following lines of the Sandokai are discussed in this lecture:

Line 33 Bammotsu onozukara ko ari,

Line 34 masani yo to sho to wo iu beshi.

Line 35 Ji sonsure ba kangai gasshi,

Line 36 ri ozure ba sempo saso.

(Transliteration by Kazuaki Tanahashi.)

Line 33 Everything--all beings--have their own virtue.

Line 34 You should know how to apply this truth.

Line 35 Things and emptiness are like a container and its

MORE ...

Sunday, June 28, 1970

Whole-Body Zazen


You should sit zazen with your whole body; your spine, mouth, toes, mudra. Check on your posture during zazen. Each part of your body should practice zazen independently or separately; your toe should practice zazen independently, your mudra should practice zazen independently; your spine and your mouth should practice zazen independently. You should feel each part of your body doing zazen separately. Each part of your body should participate completely in zazen.

Check to see that each part of your body is doing zazen independently. This is also known as shikantaza. To think, MORE ...

Saturday, July 04, 1970

Sandokai Lecture #12 "It Is Not Always So"


[This lecture is concerned with the following lines of the Sandokai:

Koto wo uke te wa subekaraku shu wo esu beshi.

Mizukara kiku wo rissuru koto nakare.

Sokumoku do wo ese zumba,

ashi wo hakobu mo izukunzo michi wo shiran.

(Transliteration by Kazuaki Tanahashi.)

If you listen to the words, you should understand the source MORE ...

Monday, July 06, 1970

Sandokai Lecture #13: "Don't Spend Your Time in Vain"


[This lecture is concerned with the following lines of the Sandokai:

Ayumi wo susumure ba gonnon ni ara zu,

mayote senga no ko wo hedatsu.

Tsutsushin de sangen no hito ni mosu,

koin munashiku wataru koto nakare.

(Transliteration by Kazuaki Tanahashi.)

The goal is neither far nor near.

If you stick to the idea of good or bad,

MORE ...

Wednesday, July 08, 1970

Eko Lecture #1: The First Morning Eko


[This is the first in a series of six lectures by Suzuki-roshi

on the four ekos chanted at the conclusion of morning services

at San Francisco Zen Center and other Soto Zen temples and monasteries.

The lectures were delivered from July 8 to July 15, 1970.

MORE ...

Friday, July 10, 1970

Eko Lecture #2: The Second Morning Eko


[This is the second in a series of six lectures by Suzuki-roshi on

the four ekos chanted at the conclusion of morning services at

San Francisco Zen Center and other Soto Zen temples and monasteries.

The Second Morning Eko:

Choka ogu fugin

Line 1. Aogi koi negawakuwa shokan, fushite kanno o MORE ...

Saturday, July 11, 1970

Eko Lecture #3: The Second Morning Eko, Part 2 of 3


[This is the third in a series of six lectures by Suzuki-roshi on

the four ekos chanted at the conclusion of morning services at

San Francisco Zen Center and other Soto Zen temples and monasteries.

The Second Morning Eko:

Choka ogu fugin

Line 1. Aogi koi negawakuwa shokan, fushite kanno o MORE ...

Sunday, July 12, 1970

Eko Lecture #4: The Second Morning Eko, Part 3 of 3


[This is the fourth in a series of six lectures by Suzuki-roshi on

the four ekos chanted at the conclusion of morning services at

San Francisco Zen Center and other Soto Zen temples and monasteries.

The Second Morning Eko:

Choka ogu fugin

Line 1. Aogi koi negawakuwa shokan, fushite kanno o MORE ...

Monday, July 13, 1970

Eko Lecture #5: The Third Morning Eko


[This is the fifth in a series of six lectures by Suzuki-roshi on

the four ekos chanted at the conclusion of morning services at

San Francisco Zen Center and other Soto Zen temples and monasteries.

The Third Morning Eko:

Choka sodo fugin

Line 1. Aogi koi negawakuwa shokan, fushite kanno o MORE ...

Wednesday, July 15, 1970

Eko Lecture #6: The Fourth Morning Eko


[This is the last in a series of six lectures by Suzuki-roshi on

the four ekos chanted at the conclusion of morning services at

San Francisco Zen Center and other Soto Zen temples and monasteries.

The Fourth Morning Eko:

MORE ...

Sunday, July 19, 1970

Japanese Way, American Way, Buddhist Way

City Center, San Francisco

After-after forty days of my leaving from here I feel I am a stranger to the building, not to you but [laughs] to the building and my cups and [laughs, laughter]. I forgot where is my-where was my things. Each time I need something, I have to try to think about "Where is it? Oh! There." [Laughs.] Something like that.

I am thinking about now, at the same, time Dogen-zenji's teaching: "There are people who is in enlightenment over enlightenment and delusion in delusion." You know, enlightenment over enlightenment [laughs]. It does not mean after attaining enlightenment he lost himself, and he-that he became a hermit or MORE ...

Sunday, July 26, 1970

Mudra Practice And How To Accept Instructions From Various Teachers

San Francisco

This morning, I want to talk about our practice, as usual [laughs], as-especially when we have various teachers. So far we had Tatsugami-roshi[1] and Yoshida-roshi.[2] And you will be-you will have-your practice must be confused a little bit [laughs], this way or that way [laughs]. But actually for you there is only one practice. There is no need MORE ...

Tuesday, July 28, 1970

How To Understand Rituals And Precepts: Zazen, Rituals And Precepts Cannot Be Separated

San Francisco

This evening I want to talk about some problems you have when you come to Zen Center. And you understand why we practice-zazen practice, pretty well. But why we observe this kind of ritual-rituals, is maybe rather difficult to understand why. Actually, it is not something to be explained [laughs] so well. If you ask me why we observe or why I observe those rituals, you know, without much problem is difficult to answer.

But first of all, why I do it is because-because I have been doing for a long time [laughs]. So for me there is not much problem MORE ...

Friday, July 31, 1970

Sesshin Meeting

San Francisco

... [laughter]. What he-she meant is if you stand up, you know, with painful legs or sleeping legs, you will [laughs]-it will be dan- [partial word]-dangerous [laughs, laughter]. That is why she said so-so, you know. I think that is very important, you know, and even though you feel your legs, okay. But it is better to make it-make them sure [laughs], rubbing, you know, your knee.

Student A: I thought what she was saying was that once we stood up, we were supposed to stand there without-before we started walking.

Suzuki-roshi: Excuse me, I don't-

MORE ...

Saturday, August 01, 1970

Sesshin Lecture #1

San Francisco[1]

In this sesshin, I have been explaining the context of our practice and, at the same time, the meaning of rules and precepts. But for us, precepts-observation of precepts and practice of zazen is same thing, you know, not different [just] as our everyday life and practice, zazen practice, is one.

After sesshin, we will have ordination ceremony for Paul [Discoe] and Reb [Anderson]. And-and then we will have lay ordination ceremony for the students-all the students who has been practicing zazen who-who has practiced zazen for three years before MORE ...

Sunday, August 02, 1970

Sesshin Lecture #2

True Practice As Expression Of Buddha-Nature

San Francisco

In Japan, a terrible fire broke out, and some hotel was burned down, and many sightseeing people killed in the fire. And recently in Japan, they had many sightseeing people even to Eihei-ji, where monk-only monks practice our way. Uchiyama-roshi[1]-Uchiyama-roshi said in his book[2]-if you open the book, he says recently, "Everything is going like that" [laughs]. Because we have so many sightseeing people, [laughs], so many years of hotels is built as one building after another. So the MORE ...

Monday, August 03, 1970

Right Teaching and Right Practice

In our practice two important practice is zazen practice and to listen to pure teacher, or right teacher. This is just like two fields of _________. Without practice, you cannot understand teaching. You cannot listen to your teacher and without practice, without listening to your teacher, your practice will be, cannot be right practice. Right practice, by right practice we mean practice, fundamental practice from which you can start ... from which various teaching will come out. So from right practice, if you have right practice you have already right teaching there. So right practice is the foundation of all Buddhist activity. Right practice. It is--it cannot be compared to various practice or MORE ...

Tuesday, August 04, 1970

Sesshin Lecture #4

San Francisco

In-in everyday life, to observe precepts and, in our practice, to continue our zazen looks like different, but actually it is same. In actual zazen, whether-even though your practice is not perfect, if you practice our way, there there is enlightenment because originally, you know, our practice is expression of our true buddha-mind.

Because you-your-because of your discrimination, you say your practice is not good. But if we do not, you know-if we do not MORE ...

Sunday, August 09, 1970

Priest Ordination Ceremony: Paul Discoe And Reb Anderson

San Francisco

Suzuki-roshi (speaking formally):[1] ... Paul Discoe and [1 word unclear] Reb Anderson, who have come here to be ordained as a disciple of the Buddha. Listen to-listen calmly and attentively.

Due to surpassing affinities, this ordination ceremony become possible. As Buddha's disciple, you have acquired the opportunity to receive the teaching transmitted from Shakyamuni Buddha through the patriarchs to me and to manifest the Buddha's way forever.

Even the buddhas and patriarchs cannot help but admire you who MORE ...

Sunday, August 16, 1970

Open Mind

San Francisco

[The first part of the lecture was not recorded.]

... restore the Buddhist teaching in its original way.

So that you don't know anything about Buddhism is very good [laughs]. We have no trouble to-to make you piece by piece [laughs].

So here, you know, and-American people has very open-minded-is very open-minded. So for you, it is accept the teaching, you know, without trouble. That is my feeling.

And one more point is because your mind is open, and we have not much prejudice, you know, you know-you see things clearly. And if MORE ...

To Be Honest And Sincere In Its True Sense It Is Necessary To Push Yourself Into Some Very Strong Hard Rule

San Francisco

[This is the second of two lectures with this date. This lecture began mid-way on Side A of the original tape after a prior lecture ended. It appears to be complete.]

The meaning of our practice [is compassion?] way of life-way of life, or your life ... [inaudible] ... because you like to sit on the floor more ... [next few paragraphs inaudible]. Instead of sitting on chair, Buddha said please sit down here and relax and MORE ...

Sunday, August 23, 1970

Lay Ordination Ceremony

Sunday, August 23, 1970

San Francisco[1]

[Sound Problem]

Tape operator (possibly Yvonne Rand): First part of Roshi's address here is inaudible on the original tape.


... and obtain similar to result according to [1 word unclear] MORE ...

Tuesday, August 25, 1970

Leaving for Japan

[One of two lectures for this date.]

San Francisco

As some of-some of you may know, tomorrow I am leaving San Francisco for-for a while and coming back December first or second. I'm not so clear yet, but for three months I shall be in Japan.[1]

I feel very sorry for-for you-not to be with you, but there there is something I must do for Zen Center. First of all, Dick Baker will receive transmission.[2] And I am hoping that we can-Dick and me-can do something, you know, for-even a little bit of important-important teaching. If we can translate it into English, it may be one step MORE ...

Lay Ordination: White Bird In The Snow

[No tape.]

I am so grateful to have this ordination ceremony for you, our old students. This is actually the second time ... the second ordination ceremony for Zen Center. Because why we didn't have lay ordination ceremony more often was because I didn't want to give you some special idea of lay Buddhists. Bodhisattva way, according to Bodhisattva teaching, every ... actually every sentient beings are Bodhisattva, whether or not they are aware of it they are actually disciples of the Buddha. As this is our conviction, we didn't I didn't want to give you some special idea of lay MORE ...

Sunday, December 13, 1970

Lecture After Trip To Japan: Zazen As Our Foundation

In this trip,[1] I studied in Japan [laughs], you know, and I found out many things, and many things happened. Many things has happened since I visited Japan four years ago.

Can you hear me? [Laughs.]

Japan changed a lot. Not only various food and materials now is very high. Transportation changed, and the road is pretty good now. And people there are very busy, and they-their life is more now Western-style and busy. If you go from here to America [Japan?], MORE ...

Sunday, December 20, 1970

What Is Self? What Is Our Practice?

San Francisco

In my last trip to Japan I found out many things. The feeling I had there was-they were-you know, Japanese people nowadays are trying very hard, but according to Uchiyama-roshi,[1] you know-do you know him? He is in Kyoto, and he is practicing with students. And many Caucasian students were there. And when I went there they asked me to speak something [laughs], so I just saw them and talked a little.

Japanese people now-group, group-bo-kei: MORE ...

Wednesday, December 23, 1970

Come Back to Emptiness

Introduced by Jakusho Kwong-roshi

Mill Valley Zendo

Zazen-zazen practice, for us, more and more become important. Nowadays, as you may feel, we are human being. We came to the point where we must start-maybe it is too late but, even so, we must start some new movement. In America it is not MORE ...

Sunday, December 27, 1970

Sickness and True Practice

San Francisco

Dogen-zenji said sickness does not, you know, destroy-destroy people, but no practice will destroy people. Sickness does not destroy people, but no practice destroy people. What do you mean [laughs]? What does it mean? "No practice destroy people."

If, you know, we have no idea of practice, sickness-even sickness does not mean anything, you know, because when we cannot practice, we call it sick- [partial word]-sickness. But, you know, if you have no idea of practice, what is sickness? Maybe for the people whose purpose of life is to enjoy life, you know, when he cannot enjoy his life, it is sickness. But it is-that idea is MORE ...


Verbatim transcripts of lectures by Shogaku Shunryu Suzuki, Roshi, 1962-1971

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