Archive for December, 1965

December 30, 1965

Thursday, December 30th, 1965

SRC0009

December 30, 1965

Rev. S. Suzuki

I found out that it is necessary…absolutely necessary to believe in nothing.  We have to believe in something which has no form or no color…something which exists before every form and colors appear.  This is very important point.  Whatever we believe in…whatever god we believe in….when we become attached to it, it means our belief is based on, more or less, self-centered idea.  If so, it is….it takes time to acquire….to attain perfect belief or perfect faith in it.  But if you always prepared for accepting which we see.…is appear from nothing, and we think there is some reason why some form or color or phenomenal existence appear, then, at that moment we have perfect composure.  When I have headache, there is some reason why I have headache.  If I know why I have headache I feel better, but if you don’t know why, you may say, “Oh, it’s terrible I have always headache– maybe because of bad practice.  If I…if my meditation or zen practice is better, I wouldn’t have this kind of trouble.”  If you accept things….understand things like this.  It takes time.  You will not have perfect faith in yourself, or in your practice until you attain perfection (and there’s no…I’m afraid you have no time to have perfect practice) so you have to have headache all the time.  This is rather silly practice.  This kind of practice will not work.  But if you believe in something which various….which exist before we have headache and if we know just reason why we have headache, then we feel better, naturally.  To have headache is all right because I am healthy…healthy enough to have headache.  If you have stomach ache your tummy is healthy enough to have pain, but if your tummy get accustomed to the poor condition of your tummy, you will have no pain.  That’s awful.  You are coming to the end of your life from your tummy trouble.

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December 23, 1965

Thursday, December 23rd, 1965

December 23, 1965

Rev. S. Suzuki

In our practice we have no special object of worship.  If so, our practice is something different from the usual practice.  If we say we have no purpose in our practice, you will not know what to do.  If there is no purpose, no goal, in our practice we don’t know what to do.  But there is way.  Joshu said, “Clay Buddha cannot cross water; bronze Buddha cannot get through furnace; wooden Buddha cannot get through fire because it will burn away.”  So whatever object you have, if your practice is directed toward some particular object, that practice will not work …like clay Buddha, bronze Buddha, or wooden Buddha.  So as long as we have some particular goal in our practice, our practice will not help you completely.  Your practice will help you as long as you are directed to the goal….it will help you….but when you resume to your everyday life it will not work.  Then, how to practice our practice without having any goal is to limit our activity, or to be concentrated on what we are doing at that moment.  Instead of having some particular object, we should have….we should limit our activity.  If you limit your activity to the extent you can do it just now, in this moment, then you can express fully the universal nature, the universal truth.  When you’re wandering about you cannot….you have no chance to express yourself, but when you are concentrated on some particular…when you limit yourself….when you limit your expression of the universal nature, then there we have the way to practice.  This is our way.

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December 16, 1965

Thursday, December 16th, 1965
SR0124

Suzuki-roshi appears to be offering incense as part of a wedding or ordination ceremony

December 16, 1965

Rev. S. Suzuki

The purpose of my talk is not to give you some intellectual understanding but just to express appreciation of our practice.  To sit with you in this way—very unusual.  Of course whatever we do in this life should be unusual; it is so unusual anyway.  As Buddha said, “To appreciate our human life is as rare as soil on your nail.”  You know, soil on your nail is so little.  Our human life is so rare, and so wonderful, and when I sit I want to remain in this way forever, but I encourage myself to have another practice, for instance, to recite sutra or to make bow.  And when we make bow, I think, “this is wonderful”, but we have to change our practice for reciting sutra.  And when I recite sutra I don’t feel to talk after reciting sutra …. So the purpose of my talk is to express my appreciation, that’s all.  Our way is not to sit for something; it is to express our true nature.  That is our practice.

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December 11, 1965 2nd Talk

Saturday, December 11th, 1965

Shunryū Suzuki Rōshi

One-Day Sesshin EVENING LECTURE

Saturday, December 11, 1965

Sokoji Temple, San Francisco

Lecture B

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 65-12-11 2nd Talk

Buddhism has many annual layers like big trees.  And traditionally we respect those efforts which our patriarchs did for more than 2000 years.  We have made a great effort to develop Buddha’s way, and this point is very, very important for Buddhism as a religion.  Without this point – without appreciation of the efforts of our patriarchs – I think it is difficult to have religious feeling in Buddhism.

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December 11 1965

Saturday, December 11th, 1965

Suzuki-roshi in traveling monk garb

Suzuki-roshi in traveling monk garb

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

One-Day Sesshin AFTERNOON LECTURE

Saturday, December 11, 1965

Soko-ji Temple, San Francisco

Lecture A

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 65-12-11

[Not Verbatim]

Most of you are beginners, so it may be rather difficult for you to understand why we practice zazen or meditation in this way.  We always say “just to sit.”  And if you do, you will find out that Zen practice—just to sit—is not easy.  Just to sit may be the most difficult thing.  To work on something is not difficult; how to not work on anything is rather difficult.  When we have the idea of “self,” we want some reason why we work on something.  But if you do not have the idea of self, you can remain silent and calm whether or not you work on something.  You will not lose your composure.  So to remain silent and calm is a kind of test we receive.  If you can do it, it means you have no idea of self.  If your life is based on the usual idea of self, what you will do will not be successful in its true sense.  There will be success in one way, but in another you are digging your own grave.  So to work without the idea of self, is a very, very important point.  It is much more important than making a good decision.  Even a good decision based on a one-sided idea of self will create difficulties for yourself and others. (more…)

December 9 1965

Thursday, December 9th, 1965

December 9, 1965

Rev. S. Suzuki

Thursday morning lecture

Here we recite the sutra just once but in Zen Center we recite three times.  The first one is for direct disciples of Buddha.  We call them arhat.  Arhat means the disciples who completed their way.  Arhat.  But Mahayana Buddhists called them Hinayana which means small vehicle.  Small vehicle means Hinayana.  They called themselves great vehicle while direct disciples of Buddha was called Hinayana or small vehicle.  That is not so fair but actually they called themselves great and called other Buddhists small vehicle.  But in Soto way we respect the direct disciples.  So first of all we recite the sutra for the Hinayana Buddhists.  This is one of the characteristics of Soto way.  And our way is not Hinayana or Mahayana.  Our way is Buddha’s way – not small vehicle or great vehicle.  There’s no vehicle in Buddha’s way.  Our way is not only Buddha’s way, but also it is, maybe, we, human beings way.  So before Buddha we count seven Buddhas.  Buddha is the seventh one.  Buddha is not the first one.  But this is another characteristic of our way.  So teachers of Buddha is also…we should respect them, but….so Dogen Zenji did not like to call Zen…to call themselves Zen.  He says, “We are just disciples of Buddha”.  So some people say Soto zen….zen which transcend zen is Soto zen.

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December 2 1965

Thursday, December 2nd, 1965

Suzuki-roshi bowing (outdoor ceremony)

Suzuki-roshi bowing (outdoor ceremony)

December 2, 1965

Rev. S. Suzuki

Thursday morning lecture

(After demonstration of Buddhist bow)  To bow is very important—one of the important practice.  By bow we can eliminate our selfish, self-centered idea.  My teacher had hard skin on his forehead because he bowed and bowed and bowed so many times and he knew that he was very obstinate, stubborn fellow, so he bowed and bowed and bowed and he always heard his master’s scolding voice.  That is why he bowed.  And he joined our order when he was thirty.  For Japanese priest to join the order at the age of thirty is not early.  So his master always called him ‘You lately-joined fellow’.  He said, …… ‘[Japanese phrase missing in transcript]’….  It means priest who joined our order when he is old.  When we join order when we are young we have little….it is easy to get rid of our selfishness.  But when we have very stubborn, selfish idea it is rather hard to get rid of it.  So he was always scolded because he joined our order so late.  To scold does not mean slight people, or it does not mean to…actually his teacher was not actually scolding him.  His master loved him very much because of his stubborn character.

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