SUMMER SESSHIN LECTURE: 6:00 PM
Friday, Thursday, July 30, 1965
Soko-ji Temple, San Francisco
Suzuki-rōshi: Do you have some question?
Student A: Sensei, D. T. Suzuki wrote that “Zen was religion of the will,” is what he said. What do you think about that?
Student A: Of the will, he said.
Suzuki-rōshi: Oh. I—I haven’t read it. What does he say?
Student A: Oh. He just said—I just remember this sentence. He said Zen is the religion of the will.
Student A: Will.
Suzuki-rōshi: I don’t understand.
Several Students: Willpower. Will.
Suzuki-rōshi: Uh-huh. Yeah, I know [laughs, laughter] what is. Wheel. No?
Suzuki-rōshi: Uh-huh. [Laughs, laughter.]
Student: “I will do it.”
Student: “I will.” Willpower.
Suzuki-rōshi: Yeah. It is—he may say [laughs] religion of will. But willpower is not only power we have, you know. Will, and emotion or feeling, and moral—morality. Willpower may be the driving power, but in contrast with European religion, they say emotion is deepest. They think it is—emotion is deepest, and willpower is not so deep. And intellect is most superficial [laughs].
But Zen is not just willpower—religion of just willpower. Sōtō is more—more, you know, maybe emotional. And religious feeling is something like emotional, but just emotional power—emotion [is] blind. The willpower is also sometime [laughs] blind. So that is why we want rational power. But rational power will correct the mistake of—will blind [blend?] or help blend willpower and feeling or emotional power. I don’t exactly figure out why he said so, but because in practice we want big willpower. Zen is religion of practice, so he must have said Zen is religion of will. But I don’t think Zen is just will, religion of will. [It is a] religion of whole mind. Some more question?