Suzuki Roshi Transcripts

Sunday, August 01, 1971

Words and Zen Teaching


At the time of Yakusan-Yakusan Igen-daiosho[1]-we-every morning we recite chant names of Buddha. DaikonEno-daiosho.[2] DaikonEno is the Sixth Patriarch. And SeigenGyoshi-SeigenGyoshi is the Seventh Patriarch. And Eighth Patriarch is Sekito Kisen. And [the Ninth Patriarch is] Yakusan.

At this time, Zen Buddhism was very-became very popular or-and stronger. Every master-there were lots of students. But in Yakusan's monastery there were only twenty, you know. He-he was total [?] strict teacher. And one day, the temple-a monk who is MORE ...

Translation Of Unknown Text

San Francisco

Assistant:[1] ... to make it record [verb].

Suzuki-roshi: Mm-hmm.

[Gap, scattered fragments of words and sentences.]

Assistant: ... like that.

[Gap, scattered fragments of words and sentences.]

Assistant: ... push it hard enough so the buttons stay down.

Suzuki-roshi: Mm-hmm.

[Long silent gap in tape.]

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Tuesday, August 03, 1971


Zen Mountain Center

I want to explain why we become Buddhist [laughs] or why I myself became a Buddhist. Perhaps here in America, because you have some wish, you know, hope in your future life-future life of a-future-personally your own future life. and sociologically you're concerned about your future society. But to tell the truth, we Buddhists do not have any hope [laughs]. We do not have any hope for our human, you know, life because we understand this life is originally full of suffering. That is, you know, how we understand our society. From the beginning we understand that our world is world of suffering. And we understand why we suffer, you know, is because we expect too much. We always expect something more than MORE ...

Wednesday, August 04, 1971

On Bodhidharma's Day

Zen Mountain Center

Tomorrow is the Bodhidharma's Day. We will have-we have special ceremony this evening, and tomorrow also we will have special ceremony for him. As you know, he is the twenty-eighth patriarch from Buddha, [not] counting Buddha as the first, and he is twenty-eighth patriarch. I should like to introduce how he became a successor of Hannyatara,[1] the twenty-seventh patriarch, and then I want you [to] ask some questions. I will briefly introduce you [3-8 words unclear] twenty-eighth patriarch.

Hannyatara-sonja, [2] the MORE ...

Thursday, August 05, 1971


Zen Mountain Center

If you want to practice in its true sense so that you may not regret what you have been doing, it is necessary for you to-to have good confidence in your practice. This is very important, or else it is not possible for [you to] practice true way. There may be many great teachers in various countries, but even though there are great teachers, if your way-seeking mind is not strong enough you cannot study. Even though you meet him, you don't know who he is.

Tonight I want to introduce the story between Bodhidharma and Butei in China.[1] MORE ...

Saturday, August 07, 1971


Zen Mountain Center

I want to discuss with you about, you know, how you study Zen. Zen is actually, in short, maybe, communication-communication-communication between your friend, and communication between your teacher and disciple-

Can you hear me? Oh.

-communication between teacher and disciple, and communication between we human being and our surrounding-communication between man and nature. This is, in short, Zen. To have perfect communication-wherever you are-to have perfect communication and MORE ...

Sunday, August 08, 1971

Question and Answer

Zen Mountain Center

Tonight I have nothing to talk about [laughs]. Empty hand. No book. I just appeared here [laughter]. But as Yakusan-zenji[1] did, I wouldn't go back to my room without saying anything. If you ask some questions, I will answer. In that way, I want to spend just one hour with you. Okay? If you have some questions, please ask me. Ask. Okay. Hai.

Student A: Roshi, I notice that often when I wake up in the morning the first minute or so my mind is sort of unclear. MORE ...

Thursday, August 12, 1971


Zen Mountain Center

Tomorrow-tomorrow is the thirteenth, is it? In Japan tomorrow is-tomorrow-13th, 14th, 15th, 16th-is Obon[1]-Obon days. We say Obon. At some place, we observe it July 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th. Thirteenth is the-thirteenth-[on the] evening of the thirteenth, old souls are supposed to visit their family-old family. And 16th is the day old souls leave their old family.

Why we observe two months? Before we observe it in the moon-by the moon calendar [July], but recently we observe it by your calendar [August]. That is why we observe, you know, sometime-in MORE ...

Friday, August 13, 1971

Special and Equal

Zen Mountain Center

Last night,[1] when we have question and answer, we came across the very important point. In the-in Japanese, we say [phonetic] sabetsu-soku-byodo, or shinku-myou.[2] Sabetbu-soku byodo. This is-sabetsu means "speciality," and byodo means "equality." Speciality means, you know-speciality means various being which is special. Each being are special, and each being has its own meaning of existence. When something exist, there is some reason why something exist. That is speciality. And equality is even though things is different-different, but strictly speaking MORE ...

Sunday, August 15, 1971

"When-when wind stops, flowers fall"

Zen Mountain Center

When-when wind stops, flowers fall.

When a bird sings, mountain become more calm.

That is a kind of Zen poem. My translation is not so good. [He recites the poem in Japanese, saying each line twice.]

Kaze yande hana mae otsu.

Kaze [Tori] naitei yama sarani yunari.[1]

Kaze yande: When wind stops, but still flower falls. No-there is no wind. If there is no wind, flower should stay, but flower-after, you know, there is no wind, still flower falls. If a bird sings, it is not calm. But if you hear a bird sing in the MORE ...

Tuesday, August 17, 1971

Sun-Faced Buddha, Moon-Faced Buddha

Zen Mountain Center

In-in my lecture, sometime I say everyone has buddha-nature, and whatever you do, that is, you know, Buddha's activity, I say. But on the other hand, I say you must follow the rule, and when you practice zazen you should practice in some certain way: Keep your spine straight, cross your legs, and pull your neck as if you are supporting something. And pull in your chin. There are many, you know, instructions.

So you will be confused when I say, you know-it looks like contradiction to say to rule-to put emphasis on rules and to follow our schedule. If it is-if whatever you do that is, you know, Buddha's activity, then why we must have rule? This kind of, you MORE ...

Saturday, August 21, 1971


San Francisco

Excuse me. [Laughs.] I feel rather stiff. Maybe I worked too hard.

Since we have Tassajara and the city zendo, we are-our practice is rather concentrated on city practice or Tassajara practice. But the most important point is to know what is Zen practice, which is not only city practice, but also Tassajara practice, and city zendo practice. Wherever you are, we have Zen way of practice. No matter where you are, you must have proper understanding of our practice.

In Shobogenzo "Genjo-koan," Dogen-zenji says, referring to this point:

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

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