Archive for December, 1967

December 14th, 1967

Thursday, December 14th, 1967

Rev S. Suzuki

December 14, 1967

It’s been a pretty long time since I saw you.  I am still studying hard to find out what is our way.  Recently I reached the conclusion that there is no Buddhism or there is no Zen or anything.  Yesterday, when I was preparing for the evening lecture (in San Francisco) although I tried to find out something to talk about, I couldn’t find out anything so I was just reading.  And I thought of the story which I was told in Obon Festival when I was young.  The story is about the water or the story is about the people in Hell.

Although they have water, the people in Hell cannot drink it because the water burns like a fire, or water which they want to drink looks like blood, so they cannot take it.  While the celestial beings…for the celestial beings it is jewel and for the fish it is their home and for the human being it is water.  You may think, if you think water is water (if you understand that water is water, as we do ) is right understanding the water sometimes looks like…although water sometimes looks like jewel or house or blood or fire that is not real water…you may think in this way.  As you think that zazen practice is real practice and the rest of the everyday activities is the application of zazen, but this (zazen) is fundamental practice.  But Dogen zenji, amazingly said, ‘Water is not water’.  If you think water is water your understanding is not much different from the understanding of fish’s understanding, and hungry ghost’s understanding of water, or angel’s understanding of water.  There is not much difference between our understanding and their understanding.

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December 7th, 1967

Thursday, December 7th, 1967

Suzuki-roshi giving a talk in the old zendo at Tassajara

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Shōsan Ceremony

Thursday, December 7, 1967

Tassajara

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 67-12-07

Buddha—although Buddha started teaching at Paranasi,[1] but actually when he attained enlightenment under the Buddha—Bodhi tree, he started his teaching for the people now.  After sitting for seven days, I want to see and I want to hear your true teaching.  Now come and show me your teaching.

Student A: My heart is full of joy.  This zendō at Tassajara is like my own home.  Sitting in zazen, eating with my fellow monks, trying to follow the way of my rōshi.  Word by word, moment by moment, feeling by feeling, my delusion and my feeling is expressed in this moment.

Suzuki-rōshi: Yes.  “In this moment” is right.  Don’t live in future or past.

Student A: Thank you very much.

Student B (Dan Welch): Dōchō-rōshi, as the sun enlightens our daily life, as the stars never cease to shine, how is it possible to forget?

Suzuki-rōshi: To—excuse me?

Student B: Forget.

Suzuki-rōshi: To forget it.  Originally you do not forget it.

Student B: Thank you very much.

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December 6th, 1967 2nd talk

Wednesday, December 6th, 1967

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Evening Sesshin Lecture

Wednesday, December 6, 1967

Tassajara

Lecture B

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 67-12-06 2nd talk

We say everything has buddha-nature, so we have to treat as a buddha.  To say “everything has buddha-nature” is not appropriate, because if I say—to say—if I say everything has buddha-nature, then [?] buddha-nature and everything is dualistic.  Actually, everything itself is buddha.  “Buddha-nature,” we say, but this word is not so appropriate.  Buddha-nature, you know—if I say “buddha-nature,” it looks like we have many nature:  human nature, buddha-nature, and nature of animal.  But buddha—by—what we mean by buddha-nature is some special nature in comparison to other nature, or human nature—human nature itself, buddha-nature.  So there is nothing but buddha-nature.

So, when we say “buddha-nature”—”everything has buddha-nature,” this is already wrong.  But tentatively, we must say everything has buddha-nature.  In Japanese, for an instance, I have, you know, two eyes.  You say I have two eyes.  But we do not say I have two eyes.  We say, “There is two eyes.”  The meaning is different, and in Chinese character, “I have”—the word “have” means “skin,” you know, which is part of our body.  So when we say “I have two eyes,” it means our eyes is a part of ours.  Or we do not say even “I.”  “There is two eyes,” we say.  So I is—we do not say I, you know:  Mega futatsu arimas.  Mimiga futatsu arimasKuchiga hitotsu arimas.[1] “There is one mouth.”  “There are two eyes.”  And, “There are two ears.”  It means, you know:  “I have two eyes.”  And, “I have one mouth.”  And “I have one nose.[2]”  And that “have” is—means a part of us.  It means “flesh” or “skin.”  So when we say “I have—everything has buddha-nature,” what we mean is not so dualistic.

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December 6th, 1967

Wednesday, December 6th, 1967

Suzuki-roshi conducting a Precepts ceremony in the Buddha hall at City Center

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Afternoon Sesshin Lecture

Wednesday, December 6, 1967

Tassajara

Lecture A

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 67-12-06

The mind which [we] will acquire or obtain by our pure practice is, as I said, something which is not graspable—which is beyond our words.  But at the same time, the mind will respond to everything.  So positively speaking, our mind is like a mirror which reflects various object on it.  But when there is no—no object, the mirror is something which you cannot even see.  This is the mind we will obtain by our pure practice.

This afternoon I want to make the relationship between our big mind and everyday activity.  In everyday life, how the big mind reveal itself will be the point I will talk [about] right now—or the function of—you may say the function of the great mind.

Dōgen-zenji explained this mind in his Tenzo Kyōkun.[1] Tenzo Kyōkun is the instruction for the monks who works in the kitchen.  Those who work in the kitchen must have this mind.  And work in the kitchen is the extended practice of zazen, or their way should be—their way working in the kitchen should be based on our pure practice or big mind.  Especially [for] those who work in kitchen, it is necessary to have big mind because they will have various difficulties.

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December 5th, 1967, 2nd talk

Tuesday, December 5th, 1967

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Tuesday, December 5, 1967

Evening Sesshin Lecture

Tassajara

Lecture B

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 67-12-05 2nd talk

As the nature of our practice is, like I told you over and over, and the point [of] our effort is directed—is like this, for beginner it looks like very discouraging and frustrating.  Someone said it is [laughs]—Zen is like standing on—on your head [laughs], you know.  It is simple [laughing], but to keep standing is very difficult.  In dokusan someone said.  I think that is very true, but to stand on your head should not be difficult.  But to keep standing is too difficult.

But if you don’t know what is true practice, and where you should put your effort, and nature of our practice based on the human nature or nature of culture—human culture, we cannot make appropriate effective effort in helping ourselves and others.  This kind of instruction given by Dōgen-zenji is like a lighthouse in the stormy ocean.  When the sea is very calm, you should rather expect—you should rather to have—like to have a storm [laughs].  And most—most of the young people has this kind of feeling—this kind of resistance.

When we have this kind of resistance, to observe something quite common is difficult because it is not so encouraging thing.  But if you are under a very critical situation, you will have—you will have to have, or you will find out your true nature.

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December 5th, 1967

Tuesday, December 5th, 1967

Suzuki-roshi in the dokusan room at 300 Page St.

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Tuesday, December 5, 1967

Afternoon Sesshin Lecture

Tassajara

Lecture A

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 67-12-05

In previous lecture, I compared zazen practice and usual everyday activity.  In usual activity, as you know, our effort is directed to outside, and our activity is concentrated on some particular things.  This activity of particularize something create many things.  But this kind of creativity is—at the same time creates some fear.  This creativity will result some feeling—whether it is good or bad—a good and bad feeling we have—we will have.

Before—before you do—if before the concentration happens to you, your mind is just big and something—your mind is something which you don’t know.  You do not have any feeling about yourself.  But once you have involved in something or you are concentrated on something, there your mind will crystallize, and you will have some clear idea of yourself—subjectively and objectively.  That subjective crystallized self reflect—project itself to the objective world, and you have some clear objects within your mind.  There you have various feeling about the object.  But as that object is the projected of mind of yourself, that—that you do—if that feeling is good or object is good, you will naturally cling to it.  That—when you cling to some object, it means you are clinging to yourself at the same time because that object is the projected self.  And if it—that attachment will result you some fear, if it is good.  Because you attach to it, you try not [to] lose it.  But nothing is permanent.  Everything is changing.  So even though you cling to it, that object will change even though you know that you have fear of losing it.

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December 4th, 1967

Monday, December 4th, 1967

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

EVENING SESSHIN LECTURE

Monday, December 4, 1967

Tassajara

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 67-12-04

Our study—the more you—we study our way, the more it is difficult to explain it.  But Dōgen-zenji thought there must be some way to make his descendent understand the true way.  And he made a great effort to express this kind of subtle truth.  In [Fukan] Zazen-gi—as in Zazen-gi, he says, “If there is slightest gap between the perfect enlightenment and practice, the difference will be heaven and earth.”  Because it should not be any gap between practice and enlightenment, or reality and seeming.  We think whatever we see is—something we see is reality, but it is not so.  And what we feel is reality, but it is not so.  The reality and something which is observed by our six senses is one, you know.  So what—what we see—just what we see is not true without background of the reality.  I will stop [laughs] this kind of, you know, interpretation.

Dōgen-zenji found out a very good Chinese word to express this kind of truth.  In Chinese—Chinese word [is] inmo[1]inmo—or I don’t know—know this—how they pronounce it.  But inmoinmo has two meaning.  One is positive meaning:  “suchness,” you know.  The other is the interrogative meaning:  “What is it?”  [Laughs.]  What—what is inmoHow is inmo?  You know, what is it when geese [laughs] came?  Horsemaster asked Hyakujō, “What is it?”  That “what,” you know, what is inmoInmo is interrogative, and it is affirmative too.

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December 2nd, 1967

Saturday, December 2nd, 1967

Suzuki-roshi at Tassajara (I am not sure who is sitting with him)

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

ZENSHIN-JI WINTER SESSHIN

AFTERNOON LECTURE

Saturday, December 2, 1967

Tassajara

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 67-12-02

Our inner power of practice will appear according to the situation and accor- [partial word]—will respond to the situation you have like a bell.  If you hit strong, the sound will be strong.  If you hit it soft, the sound will be soft.  But our true nature or—or true power does not make sound, but actually whatever you do, the power is there—should be there.  In this way, we should understand our Zen practice power.

It is not something to acquire, or it is—but it is something to appreciate.  When you sit so—just to sit [is] to be ready to [for] various activity or stimulation from—which will come from outside.  But if your mind is caught by something you will lose your true mind.  So without being caught by anything—just to sit without thinking—even thinking is our true practice.

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December 1st, 1967, 2nd talk

Friday, December 1st, 1967

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

EVENING SESSHIN LECTURE

Friday Evening, December 1, 1967

Zen Mountain Center

Lecture B

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 67-12-01 2nd talk

This afternoon, in my lecture[1] I told you why we should practice zazen and what is our practice.  After all, our practice is quite different from other activity we have in everyday life.  Of course, according to some schedule, we practice zazen at certain time every day.  So you may think now it is time to have to have meal, and it is time to recite sūtra, and it is time to sit.  So you think there is not much difference between zazen practice and other activities we have.

Actually if you understand the true meaning of zazen, there is no difference.  Whatever you do, that is zazen practice.  As long as we have innate buddha-nature, what we do is expression of our true nature.  And if it is so, whatever we do that is practice—true practice.

But usually, because we do something with some aim and we want to do something [in a] more perfect way, sometime you do not—you are not satisfied with what you do, and sometime you will be pleased with what you did.  When this kind of discrimination happens, that activity is not anymore true activity—at least your understanding of the activity you have done is not true activity itself.  It is already a dead idea within your mind.  And actual limitless activity is no more.  So if you think zazen practice will be the same as our usual practice, there there is big misunderstanding.

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December 1st, 1967

Friday, December 1st, 1967

Suzuki-roshi and Katagiri-roshi at Sokoji

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

AFTERNOON SESSHIN LECTURE

Friday, December 1, 1967

Zen Mountain Center

Lecture A

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 67-12-01

In this sesshin, as I said this morning, our practice will be concentrated on putting power in your hara[1] or tanden.[2] This is not just a technique of practice, but the underlying idea is very deep.  Our practice—zazen practice should not be compared with any other practice or training.  It does not mean, even [if] I say so, Zen is something special or Zen is superior to any other teaching.  But there is a reason why we should not compare our practice to other—many kinds of practice.

As Dōgen-zenji said, in his Fukan Zazen-giRecommending Zen Practice to Every One of UsFukan Zazen-gi—he recommends this practice [to] every one of us.  And he said, first of all, whatever you do, that is zazen.  There is not something—some special training or some special way of practice.

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