Archive for January, 1966

January 26, 1966

Wednesday, January 26th, 1966

January 26, 1966

Rev. S. Suzuki

In our scripture it is said that there are four kinds of horse – an excellent one and a not so good ones and bad horse.  The best horse will run before it sees the shadow of the whip – that is the best one.  And the second one will run just before the whip reach his skin – and that is the second one.  The third one will run when it feels pain on his body – that is the third.  The fourth one will run after the pain penetrates into his marrow of the bone – that is the worst one.  When we hear this story perhaps everyone wants to be a good horse…the best horse; even if it is impossible to be the best one, we want to be second best.  That is quite usual understanding of horse.  But actually when we sit, you will understand whether we are the best horse or the not so good ones.  Here we have some problem in understanding of zen.  Zen is not the practice to be the best horse.  If you think so, if you understand zen as a kind of practice to be a best horse you will have, if you have this kind of idea, you will have problem.  Big problem.  That is not the right understanding of zen.  Actually, if you practice right zen, whether you are best horse or worst one is not…doesn’t matter.  That is not the point.

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January 21, 1966

Friday, January 21st, 1966

Suzuki-roshi with Kobun-roshi standing behind him

Suzuki-roshi with Kobun-roshi standing behind him

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

JANUARY SESSHIN LECTURE: 1 PM

SHUSHŌGI: Sections 11–17

Friday, January 21, 1966

Soko-ji Temple, San Francisco

Lecture A

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 66-01-21

Tape operator: Sesshin lecture in January 20th—21st, I think, one o’clock.

Suzuki-rōshi: The next chapter[1] which we will learn is about precepts.  And this is pretty difficult one, so before we study how to recite it, and I want to explain it beforehand.

The precept observation is very important for Zen practice.  If we eat too much, we cannot sit.  If we do not have enough sleep, we cannot sit.  So your—physically and mentally, you have to adjust your life so that you can sit.  This is very important point.  Zen or Buddhism is actually the way of life, and way of life is the precepts.  [Possible gap in recording.]  To live is how to observe precepts.  It is not some rules of 16 or 250 or 500.  There must be innumerable number of precepts.  And—so it is necessary for us to have full understanding of precepts and to make effort to observe precepts.  So whenever a great Zen master or religious hero appears, precepts observation is emphasized by him.  Or before someone appears—some great teacher appears, precepts observation always have been emphasized by many precedent masters.  Before Dōgen, there were several famous masters who emphasized precepts.

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January 20, 1966

Thursday, January 20th, 1966

January 20, 1966

Rev. S. Suzuki

Thursday lecture

The purpose of zazen is to attain the freedom of our being, physically and mentally.  According to Dogen Zenji…Dogen…every being…every existence is flashing into the vast phenomenal world, and each activity of the being…each existence is another understanding, or expression of the quality of the being.  I say many stars in the car when I’m in the car this morning….in my car this morning.  The stars I saw in the car was nothing but the light from the heavenly bodies which traveled many miles.  But for me all the stars are calm and steady and peaceful being…for me at least it is not so speedy being…it is just calm and serene existence.  So, we say, in calmness there should be activity…activity…in activity there should be calmness.  Calmness and activity is not different.  It is same thing.  It is different interpretation of one fact because in our activity there is harmony.  Where there is harmony there is calmness.  And this harmony make the sense of…quality of the being, but quality of the being is nothing but the systematic speedy activity of the being.  Because there is some harmony in the speedy activity there is some quality.

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January 13, 1966

Thursday, January 13th, 1966

Suzuki-roshi on his way to the US

Suzuki-roshi on his way to the US

January 13, 1966

Rev. S. Suzuki

Buddhism is, maybe, rather difficult to understand for you because Buddhism is not monotheism or pantheism.  This is….Buddhism is something different from your understanding of religion.  It may be better to consider…to accept Buddhism something quite different from your understanding.  It looks like pantheism, but in Buddhism also there is several ways of believing in our life….

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January 6, 1966

Thursday, January 6th, 1966

January 6, 1966

Rev. S. Suzuki

Thursday morning lecture

Already we feel night become shorter and shorter.  When I come here Dogen Zengi says, “Even though it is midnight dawn is here.  Even though dawn comes it is night-time.”  This kind of statement, or understanding is our understanding transmitted from Buddha to patriarchs, and from patriarchs to Dogen and to us.  We call night-time day-time; day-time night-time.  Night-time and day-time is not different.  We just call same thing sometimes night-time and sometimes day-time.  Night-time and day-time is one thing.  Zazen practice and everyday activity is one thing.  We call zazen everyday life; everyday life zazen.  But usually we think, “Now zazen is over” and we will take usual activity, or understanding.  But this is not right understanding.  It is same thing.  We have nowhere to escape.  So, in movement, there should be calmness and in calmness there should be movement….activity.  So calmness and activity is not different.  Each existence is not dependent…independent existence.  Each existence is depending on something else.  And strictly speaking, there is no particular existence.  It is many names of one existence. Many…one existence…Many names does not just emphasize the oneness of the existence.

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