July 21st, 1971

Originally offered: July 21st, 1971 | Modified October 18th, 2014 by korin
Suzuki-roshi at Tassajara

Suzuki-roshi at Tassajara

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Wednesday Evening, July 21, 1971

Tassajara

(audio not available at this time)

 

We discussed already last night[1]  about what is something which we can experience or which we can understand, and what is something which we cannot understand.  I was trying to explain, you know, the difference [between] something which you can understand and something which you cannot understand, and how you, you know, have an approach to something which you cannot understand is by practice.

 

But it is necessary for us at the same time to have understanding of Buddhism.  It is necessary to read, and it is necessary to listen to lecture, and it is necessary to think about what is Buddhism.  That is also important.  And most important thing will be to have actual, you know, difficulties in our human life.  That is very important.

 

But as I told you, the problem—you have enough problem already [laughs, laughter].  So don’t make home-made problems—cookies.  That was what I told you last night.  We are practicing zazen, so it is a great help.  And those things—those points are very difficult and very important for our prefect understanding of Buddhism.  If you mix up—mixed up those points, you will never understand what I am saying.

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July 20th, 1971

Originally offered: July 20th, 1971 | Modified October 10th, 2014 by korin

Shunryu Suzuki-rōshi

ZAZEN TALK

Tuesday Evening, July 20, 1971

Tassajara

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-07-20

I wanted to see you earlier, but I was too busy so I couldn’t come.

Can you hear me?  Can you hear me?

Student:  Yes.

Oh.  Okay.

Anyway, it is very good to see you and Tassajara, which has improved a lot since I left here.  Tonight my—I didn’t have any idea of giving talk, but I—as, you know, we have many guests and some of you may leave tomorrow, so I decided to talk a little bit—maybe I said ten minutes [laughs].  But it is rather difficult to say something in ten minutes, so I don’t know how many minutes my lecture last.

What I want to talk about tonight is something—some idea or some understanding of Buddhist which is not—may not be unfamiliar to you.

We observe things in two ways.  We understand things has two—two side.  One is phenomenal side; the other is, maybe, more ontological side.  Something—some—most of us, you know, understand things from the light of difference, like big or small, black or—black and white, material or spiritual.

Usually, maybe, spiritual—  If we say “spiritual,” usually it is something which is not material.  But, according to Buddhism, even though you say “spiritual” that is, you know, not much different from—different of physical or materialistic side.  “Spiritual” or “materialistic” we say, but those are, according to Buddhism, not much different.  It belongs to the understanding of phenomenal side of the reality—spiritual too, spiritual understanding too include phenomenal understanding.

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July 17th, 1971

Originally offered: July 17th, 1971 | Modified October 3rd, 2014 by korin

SR0225

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Saturday Morning, July 17, 1971

San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-07-17

 

[In my last lectures][1] … I explain about our precepts.  As you must have found out, “the precepts,” we say, but it is nothing so unusual—it is just about the things as they are and about what we are.  And that is precepts.  You may wonder why then is it necessary [laughs] to accept precepts.  But this is very important point.  I want you to understand.  It is very very common understanding which you can accept quite easily.

 

You know, what I say—what I said was there are three—the three kind of precepts.  One precept is—first one is indivisible three precepts.[2]   Even though we say “three,” but that three is one.  So it is not possible to—cannot be three.  It is actually to repeat one precepts three times from various angle.  That is the first one.

 

There’s—  In—  Where things exist, there is some rules.  And rules, we say, but it is nothing but way of—it is nothing but the function of great being which we cannot understand.  It is something which is beyond our reach.  But that something [is] always doing something, or has some function.  So there is some rule in the way of—the function of the great being.  But the function and the great being is one, not two, in Buddhism.  But in Christianity, God is here, and it gives some rules to everything.  That is more Christian understanding.  But in Buddhist—according to Buddhism, it is not two.  So this point is called “harmony.”  Harmony does not mean harmony between each being, but harmony between the function and the great being.  Those are one.

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July 6th, 1971

Originally offered: July 6th, 1971 | Modified September 26th, 2014 by korin

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Tuesday Evening, July 6, 1971

San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-07-06 Part 1

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-07-06 Part 2

I want to continue my talk about precepts—Buddhist precepts.  And last time I talked about the indivisible three treasures, which is buddha, and dharma, and sangha.  But we have three—we say “three treasures,” but the three treasures could be understood by you in three ways.  It is indivisible, three precepts, because it is one:  buddha, and dharma, and sangha are actually one.  It is not three.  So we say indivisible three treasures.

 

The next one is, actually, since we have Shākyamuni Buddha who attained enlightenment, realizing the indivisible three treasures.  And what he told was dharma, which was—as he realized what is the indivisible three treasures, he talked about it.  That is dharma.  And his disciples are sangha.  So this is—we call this three treasures, is called “manifested three treasures.”  And right now we have, you know, temples, and in temple we have buddha, you know, big or small, or bronze or wood, or gold or wood, wooden buddha, bronze buddha, buddha image.  That is buddha, you know, for us.  And we have scriptures, you know, many scriptures, piled up somewhere [laughs], sometime in library [laughs].  Those are dharma too.  We call it dharma.  And sangha—sangha is priests and—priests or nun—priests, nuns, and laymen and laywomen.  They are, you know, all sangha.  Those are, you know, also three treasures.  Three treasures, maintaining, which maintains Buddha and Buddhism as a religion.  So those are called, maybe, jūji sanbō[1]“maintaining three treasures,” the three treasures which maintain or sustain Buddhism, which protect Buddhism.

 

Tonight I want to talk about Buddha’s—excuse me—three treasures, manifested—the manifested three treasures.  It is not different, but the difference—difference is, difference between indivisible three treasures[2]  and manifested three treasures[3]  is—Buddhism which was told by Buddha is the manifested three treasures, manifested buddha.  And Buddhism which exist, you know, before Buddha, even before Buddha, that is indivisible three treasures.  After Buddha, you can say “he is Buddha,” you know; he can say “this is Buddha.”  And this is the teaching which was told by Buddha.  That is dharma.  And those are Buddha’s sangha, which include priest, and laymen, and laywomen—Buddha’s sangha.

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July 2nd, 1971

Originally offered: July 2nd, 1971 | Modified September 18th, 2014 by korin

SR0193

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Thursday, July 2, 1971

City Center

“Real Precepts Are Beyond Words”

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-07-02

 

[Today I would like to][1]  … lecture about precepts.  I—when I say “precepts,” the first thing you will think of is something like Ten Commandment or ten grave prohibitory precepts.  But Zen precepts is not like that.  The Zen precepts is—to study Zen precepts means to understand zazen.  So it is—another interpretation of zazen is precepts.  Using words—word “precepts” we explain what is Zen actually.

 

The purpose of receiving precepts, observing precepts, is not just to remember what we should do or what we shouldn’t do.  And how we observe precepts is to practice Zen or to extend our practice to our everyday life.  So the idea of precepts is completely different from the usual understanding of precepts.

 

The precepts, you know, which is—or foundation of precepts or—true meaning of precept—precepts is various way of understanding of one reality, one reality which is always with you—reality, which cannot—which is not individable in three, or in sixteen, or in ten.  Tentatively we divide—we explain it from various angle, but that is just words.  Real, you know, precept is beyond word.  We cannot—if we talk about it, it is not real precepts already.  So if you think precept is just to observe some various rules is precepts, it is very different or very far away from the true understanding of the true prac- [incomplete word:  "practice"?]—precepts.

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July 22nd, 1971

Originally offered: June 22nd, 1971 | Modified September 12th, 2014 by korin

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Tuesday Evening, June 22, 1971

San Francisco 

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-06-22

 

I don’t know where to start, you know, my talk, but anyway what I want to discuss with you tonight is how to, you know, apply our practice in your—to your everyday life.  That will be the point of my talk.

 

Whether you are a layman or priest, you know, we are all bodhisattvas, you know.  We are taking bodhisattva vow and we are practicing bodhisattva way.  And as you know, bodhisattva way is to help others as you help yourself, or to help others more—before you help yourself.  That is, you know, bodhisattva way.  We put so much emphasis on helping others.  This point is very important when you try to figure out what will be your everyday life, you know, what will be the relationship [between] zazen practice and your everyday life.  Because you forget this point, you cannot extend your practice to everyday life.

 

Because, you know, as a Buddhist we should see things-as-it-is, you know [laughs], to see things-as-it-is, to observe things-as-they-are—that is the most important point.  When you practice zazen, you know, actually you don’t see anything, you don’t think about anything.  But even though you do [are] not aware of what you are doing, you are actually one with everything; even though you don’t see, but you are actually with everything.  So you knows everything.  You see things, you know, not with our naked eye, but our true eyes, you know.  Even though we don’t hear, but [laughs] actually we are with everything.  We are practicing with everything, you know, actually.  When you don’t think, when you [are] one with your practice, you know, at that moment, even though you don’t see, you are already with everything and you are actually seeing things, you know, and you have perfect understanding of everything.  That is our practice.  And we feel in that way when we don’t think.  I said “feel” but [laughs] maybe “to feel” is not correct word.  That is, you know, our practice.

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June 20th, 1971

Originally offered: June 20th, 1971 | Modified September 4th, 2014 by korin
Service at City Center

Service at City Center

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Sunday, June 20, 1971

SESSHIN LECTURE

San Francisco

 

This sesshin—we call it “sewing sesshin“—sesshin and, actually, rakusu sewing—okesa-sewing sesshin.  Our okesa is not just—just symbol of our teaching, but it is actually dharma itself.  But unless you have proper understanding of it, the rakusu is something which you wear as a symbol of Buddhist.  But that is not proper understanding.

 

The proper understanding of our zazen or rakusu is same, not different.  Proper understanding of zazen is, at the same time, proper understanding of rakusu.  So unless you have real experience of zazen—zazen experience, rakusu is not actually rakusu; it is just something which you wear.  It is not dharma itself.

 

You may think I told you yesterday[1]  about rakusuokesa, and okesa Buddha made—okesa.  Gathering various material and sewed together and design it in this way after the shape of paddy field.  But here[2]  Dōgen-zenji says, refer to the ten—ten names of okesa.

 

By the way, Dōgen-zenji wrote more than 95 fascicles of teaching about transmitted teaching.  And two of them is about okesa, two of—two fascicles about okesa.  “Kesa-kudoku” nomaki and “Den-e” nomaki.[3]   So you may understand how important okesa is for us, you know, and those two fascicles are very long in comparison to other fascicles.

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June 19th, 1971

Originally offered: June 19th, 1971 | Modified August 26th, 2014 by korin

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Sewing and Wearing the Buddhist Robes and

How It Relates to Our Practice

19 June 1971

San Francisco Zendō

 

Last Sunday I told you that, whatever religion you belong to, it doesn’t matter when you to come and sit with us.  That is because our way of sitting, of practice, is for you to become yourself.  Katagiri-rōshi always says, “to settle oneself on oneself.”  To be yourself.  When you become you, yourself, at that moment your practice includes everything.  Whatever there is, it is a part of you.  So you practice with Buddha, you practice with Bodhidharma and you practice with Jesus.  You practice with everyone in the future or in past.  That is our practice.  But when you do not become yourself, it doesn’t happen in that way.

 

So if you come here and sit with us, you’re not only sitting with us, but you are also sitting with everything, including animate and inanimate beings.  Dogen Zenji said, if your practice doesn’t include everything, that is not real practice.

 

It is not that after practicing for long time, you attain enlightenment and your practice includes everything, and you can practice with everyone.  When you join our practice, your practice includes everything.  And if you think that in two or three years, after your practice improves, that your practice will be perfect enough to include everything, that is a mistake.  Something is missing in that practice.  The sincerity is missing.

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June 12th, 1971

Originally offered: June 12th, 1971 | Modified August 20th, 2014 by korin

SR0179

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

SUZUKI-ROSHI LECTURE

Saturday, June 12, 1971

San Francisco

[The audio of this talk is not currently available.]

 

We say “Zen Center student,” you know.  Or, we say “Zen Center.”  But it is—tonight—today—I want to make this kind of idea clear, you know, as much as possible.  Although, you know, I say, “You are Zen Center students,” and although you say, “You are Zen Center students,” you say, “I am Zen Center student.”  I don’t know!  [Laughs.]  I am not so sure who you are.  But to me, as long as you are here, you know, to me you are Zen Center students.  [Laughs.]  That’s all.  And if you go out from this building, I don’t know who you are.  [Laughs.]

 

Do you know who you are?  [Laughs.]  Is there any particular, you know—do you belong to some particular, you know, religion?  Are you member of some particular church, or member, you know—do you strictly belong to some group?  I don’t know.  Perhaps not.  Most of you does not belong to any group in its strict sense.  But some of them [you] may belong to—strictly belong to Zen Center.  And if someone belong [laughs] to Zen Center in its strict sense, and some of you do not belong to any school and yet practicing our way in the same building, you know, how that is possible [laughs], you know?  How is it possible to practice, you know, same—some certain way, you know, with someone who strictly belong to some group.  How is it possible?  If that is not possible, you know, should I accept student who belong to Zen Center in its strict sense?  Should I do that?

 

Maybe some student thinks in that way, but, you know, I accept, you know, students from various religion.  Some of you may be Christian.  Some of you may be Rinzai students.  Some of you may be, you know—may, you know, still, you know, have some other teacher in your mind—always, maybe.  But still I accept them.  Why is it possible for me to accept students, you know, from various religion as a Zen Center student without any discrimination?  It’s, you know—we, you know—I or we (same thing [laughs])—if I say “we” [laughs] you will be very much concerned about word “we.”  If I say  “I,” it may be okay, you know, but if I say “we,” [laughs] it looks like, you know, there is some, you know, group, and so-called-it “Sōtō” or “Rinzai” group or, you know, Sōtō group.  So if we say “we,” you know, you may not feel so good, but to me it is same thing, you know.  “We.”  “I.”  Same.

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June 9th, 1971

Originally offered: June 9th, 1971 | Modified August 1st, 2014 by korin

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

SESSHIN LECTURE, Day 5

Wednesday, June 9, 1971

San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-06-09

 

[I thought there was another day of sesshin, but today is our last day.][1]

 

I think you, you know, have understood—  (Can you hear me?  Yeah?  Not so well.  Okay?  Mmm?)  You have understood what is zazen as your practice.  But I didn’t explain how you sit—I didn’t give you instruction how you sit in detail, but I told you, you know, how I practice shikantaza—or zazen.  Maybe that is my way, so I don’t know how another teachers will, you know, sit, I don’t know, but that is anyway my shikantaza.

 

I started this practice, actually, maybe two—two years ago, after I went to [2-4 words unclear; one earlier transcript states, "cross the creek at Tassajara"] [laughs, laughter], not because I saw many good place to sit, you know.  There’s two [or] three caves where you can sit.  But not because of that.  Perhaps some of you were swimming, you know, with me at that time.  Some beautiful girl students [laughs, laughter] and Peter [Schneider?] was there [laughs, laughter].  And as you—I cannot swim, actually [laughs], but because they were enjoying swimming so much, so I thought I may join [laughs].  But I couldn’t swim.  But there were so many beautiful girls over there, so I tried to, you know, go there [laughs, laughter], without knowing I couldn’t swim [laughs], so I was almost drowned [laughs, laughter].  But I knew that, you know, I will not die, I will not drown.  I shall not be drowned to death, you know, because there are many students.  So someone will help [laughs].  But I was not so serious.

 

But, you know, feeling was pretty bad, you know.  Water is, you know—I am swallowing water [laughs].  So feeling was too bad, so I stretch my arm, you know, so that someone catch me [laughs].  But no one [laughs, laughter]—no one helped me.  So I decided, you know, to go to the bottom [laughs, laughter], to walk, but that was not possible either [laughs, laughter].  I was, you know, I couldn’t reach to the bottom, or I couldn’t get over the water.  What I saw is beautiful girls’ legs [laughs, laughter].  But I couldn’t, you know [laughs], s- [partial word]—take hold of their legs, you know.  I was rather scared [laughs, laughter].

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