Archive for August, 1970

August 25th, 1970

Tuesday, August 25th, 1970

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

LAY ORDINATION

WHITE BIRD IN THE SNOW

Tuesday, August 25, 1970

[No audio.]

I am so grateful to have this ordination ceremony for you, our old students.  This is actually the second time … the second ordination ceremony for Zen Center.  Because why we didn’t have lay ordination ceremony more often was because I didn’t want to give you some special idea of lay Buddhists.  Bodhisattva way, according to Bodhisattva teaching, every … actually every sentient beings are Bodhisattva, whether or not they are aware of it they are actually disciples of the Buddha.  As this is our conviction, we didn’t I didn’t want to give you some special idea of lay Buddhists, but time has come for us to strive for more sincerely to help others.

 

As we have so many students here, inside and outside of Zen Center, we need more help.  And I decided to have Lay Ordination for you just to help others but not to give you some special idea of lay Buddhists, because all of us are Buddhists actually.  This is not conceited idea, this is idea of spirit transmitted from Buddha to us.  Accordingly, our way is like Avalokiteshvara Buddha, Bodhisattva.  When he wants to save ladies, he took, he takes the form of ladies; for boys, he takes form of boys; for fisherman, he will be a fisherman.  More sophisticated Chinese expression is to be like white bird in the snow—white bird in the snow.  When people are like snow, we should be like snow.  When people become black, we should be black.  And being always with them without any idea of discrimination, and we can help others in its true sense without giving anything, any special teaching or materials, this is actually Bodhisattva way.

 

And now … how we actually … this kind of freedom from everything, and this kind of asking, and this kind of soft-minded spirit is to practice our way.  You may think we are forcing you in same form, forcing some rituals on you or forcing some special teaching on you and forcing you to say, “yes, I will.”  But, those things are provided for you just to be like a white bird in the snow.  When you go through those practice, and when you practice zazen in this way, you have point of zazen and point of practice and point of helping others.  This is why we had ordination ceremony today, all of us, including various great teachers. It is not at all easy to be like white bird in the snow.

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August 25th, 1970

Tuesday, August 25th, 1970
Suzuki-roshi conducting a ceremony at City Center

Suzuki-roshi conducting a ceremony at City Center

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Tuesday, August 25, 1970

[One of two lectures for this date.]

San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 70-08-25

 

As some of—some of you may know, tomorrow I am leaving San Francisco for—for a while and coming back December first or second.  I’m not so clear yet, but for three months I shall be in Japan.[1]

 

I feel very sorry for—for you—not to be with you, but there there is something I must do for Zen Center.  First of all, Dick Baker will receive transmission.[2]   And I am hoping that we can—Dick and me—can do something, you know, for—even a little bit of important—important teaching.  If we can translate it into English, it may be one step for Zen Center practice.

 

Those, you know, teachings is not—is not something which we talk about for—for people in general.  Only, you know, who is ready to receive transmission, you know, can study because it is pretty difficult to study.  But at—it is, I think, it is important for us, you know, for you to know what kind of idea we have in—about our practice, or about our everyday life, or about our zazen.  Without this kind of fundamental understanding, it is pretty difficult to make the purpose of our practice clear.

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August 23rd, 1970

Sunday, August 23rd, 1970

SRC0077

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

LAY ORDINATION CEREMONY[1]

Sunday, August 23, 1970

San Francisco

SOUND PROBLEM

 

Tape operator (possibly Yvonne Rand):  First part of Rōshi’s address here is inaudible on the original tape.

 

Suzuki-rōshi:

 

… and obtain similar to result according to [1 word unclear] like our [1-2] bodhisattva way.  [2-3] bodhisattva spirit.  [3-4] of our practice.  And how you, you know, actually practice may be in [1-2].  You say “Hai!”  That is the point of practice.  When you say “Hai,” you are one with your “hai.”  One with your Zen.  One with your [1].  And one with your [1].

 

So when you say Hai!—or when you say “Yes, I will!”—then there is true mind of helping, you know.  And if you cannot say “Hai!” from the bottom of heart, with all of your strength, that practice doesn’t work.

 

[5-7] start with this practice of “Yes, I will!”  That is the fundamental practice of bodhisattva practice.  And to have complete perfect understanding of how important it is to say “Hai” is your whole life’s practice.

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August 16th, 1970 (Evening talk)

Sunday, August 16th, 1970

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Sunday Evening, August 16, 1970 

San Francisco

Lecture A

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 70-08-16A

 

[The first part of the lecture was not recorded.]

 

… restore the Buddhist teaching in its original way.

 

So that you don’t know anything about Buddhism is very good [laughs].  We have no trouble to—to make you piece by piece [laughs].

 

So here, you know, and—American people has very open-minded—is very open-minded.  So for you, it is accept the teaching, you know, without trouble.  That is my feeling.

 

And one more point is because your mind is open, and we have not much prejudice, you know, you know—you see things clearly.  And if the teaching is not pure enough, and—then you will not accept it.  But there is—of course there is some danger.  The danger is, you know, you will easily, you know, [get] caught by some wrong teaching too.  You—you—someone said, you know, American people are like a sheep [laughs].  There is that—that danger.  And if you meet with some ambitious person, you will be easily, you know, involved in wrong activity.  That is one danger.  But for sincere teacher, American people is maybe the best friend.

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August 16th, 2nd Talk

Sunday, August 16th, 1970
Suzuki-roshi in the old Tassajara zendo

Suzuki-roshi in the old Tassajara zendo

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

TO BE HONEST AND SINCERE IN ITS TRUE SENSE IT IS NECESSARY TO PUSH YOURSELF INTO SOME VERY STRONG HARD RULE

Sunday, August 16, 1970

San Francisco

Lecture B

 Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 70-08-16B

[This is the second of two lectures with this date.  This lecture began mid-way on Side A of the original tape after a prior lecture ended.  This lecture appears to be complete. The transcription is not verbatim because the audio recording has problems.]

 

The meaning of our practice [is compassion?] way of life—way of life, or your life …  [inaudible] …  because you like to sit on the floor more …  [next few paragraphs inaudible].  Instead of sitting on chair, Buddha said please sit down here and relax and talk more with calmness of mind and ______ carefully.  Let’s sit on the ground or floor.  It is of course easy or convenient to live on chair.  If you sit on the floor, you should adjust yourself to the ground and you should make effort, physical effort, to sit down, to stand on the floor.  If you use chair there is not much ___________ in sitting or in standing up.  Moreover, you have wheels.  I am very interested in the chair with wheels [casters?].  It is very easy to fall.  I thought it was too convenient.  In that way we will become, we will lose our faculty of adjusting ourself to the nature.

 

Recently, maybe the basic idea of our way of life, basic thought, or philosophy of our modern life is to conquer nature.  And another element will be to develop our desires.  To achieve something, and to gain something by something may be like (war) …  when that something develops some technique to conquer nature, so …  to extend our _____________, to conquer nature.  Instead of adjusting our self to the nature or appreciating nature, or to become one with nature.  We, most of the people, I think, you realize already how human beings have been living in this world, that may be ________ ________.  But one more thing that is missing is how we should develop our desires.  That will be the ________ _________, and maybe already realize that we have to go back to a more primitive way of life than civilized way of life.  That is what we have realized already.  But, here there is something which is—which our long practice suggests.  That is how we adjust ourselves to that nature.  Here there is something which our Zen practice suggests—that is how we adjust our self to that nature.  Nature … [inaudible] …  And which direction our desires should be directed.

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August 9th, 1970

Sunday, August 9th, 1970
This photo of Suzuki-roshi and Tenshin Reb Anderson appears to be of the ordination ceremony at City Center transcribed below.

This photo of Suzuki-roshi and Tenshin Reb Anderson appears to be of the ordination ceremony at City Center transcribed below.

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

PRIEST ORDINATION CEREMONY:  Paul Discoe and Reb Anderson

Sunday, August 9, 1970

San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 70-08-09

 

Suzuki-rōshi (speaking formally):[1] … Paul Discoe and [1 word unclear] Reb Anderson, who have come here to be ordained as a disciple of the Buddha.  Listen to—listen calmly and attentively.

 

Due to surpassing affinities, this ordination ceremony become possible.  As Buddha’s disciple, you have acquired the opportunity to receive the teaching transmitted from Shākyamuni Buddha through the patriarchs to me and to manifest the Buddha’s way forever.

 

Even the buddhas and patriarchs cannot help but admire you who are earnestly seeking the Buddha’s path in this world.  With sincere belief in—in his dharma and practicing his way with [2-3 words] for all sentient beings.

 

It is rare indeed to receive a human body in this cosmic world.  However, since we cannot avoid the reality of birth and death, we must deeply and gratefully appreciate how meaningful and marvelous this present existence is.  There indeed is the opportunity to listen to the dharma, and the appearance of Buddha in this world is our great joy.

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August 4th, 1970

Saturday, August 8th, 1970

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

SESSHIN LECTURE, No. 4

Tuesday Evening, August 4, 1970

San Francisco

 Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 70-08-04

In—in everyday life, to observe precepts and, in our practice, to continue our zazen looks like different, but actually it is same.  In actual zazen, whether—even though your practice is not perfect, if you practice our way, there there is enlightenment because originally, you know, our practice is expression of our true buddha-mind.

 

Because you—your—because of your discrimination, you say your practice is not good.  But if we do not, you know—if we do not discriminate [in] our practice, that is really the expression of the—our true nature, which is buddha-nature.

 

And in our everyday life, if we observe precepts even for a moment with this—with our mind—with our mind which is changing always, then the momentous change—on the momentous changing mind, real, you know, moon of the buddha-mind will appear:  bodhi-mind will be there.  So actually there is no difference.

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August 3rd, 1970

Monday, August 3rd, 1970
Suzuki-roshi at Tassajara

Suzuki-roshi at Tassajara

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

LECTURE

Monday, August 3, 1970

 

In our practice two important practice is zazen practice and to listen to pure teacher, or right teacher.  This is just like two fields of _________.  Without practice, you cannot understand teaching.  You cannot listen to your teacher and without practice, without listening to your teacher, your practice will be, cannot be right practice.  Right practice, by right practice we mean practice, fundamental practice from which you can start … from which various teaching will come out.  So from right practice, if you have right practice you have already right teaching there.  So right practice is the foundation of all Buddhist activity.  Right practice.  It is–it cannot be compared to various practice or training.  There are many ways of Zen practice.  There are many practice, zazen practice, meditation practice, but our practice is, cannot be compared to other practice.  I don’t say which is important or which is better but anyway without foundation various practice does not work.  So if you practice some particular practice which has no foundation, your practice–you will eventually, you know, fall into a pit hole.  You will be caught by it and you will lose your freedom.  But if you have–if you have the foundation to your various practice, the various practice will work and will help you.  Right practice we mean that kind of foundation of practice.  It is not–it is more than practice.  So when you have foundation to your practice even though your practice is not perfect, it will help you.  That is right practice.  And what is–if you want to know actually what is right practice, as I told you, it is necessary to practice with right teacher, who understands what is right practice.

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August 2nd, 1970

Sunday, August 2nd, 1970

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

TRUE PRACTICE AS EXPRESSION OF BUDDHA-NATURE

Sesshin Lecture No.  2

Sunday, August 2, 1970

San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 70-08-02

 

In Japan, a terrible fire broke out, and some hotel was burned down, and many sightseeing people killed in the fire.  And recently in Japan, they had many sightseeing people even to Eihei-ji, where monk—only monks practice our way.  Uchiyama-rōshi[1]—Uchiyama-rōshi said in his book[2]—if you open the book, he says recently, “Everything is going like that” [laughs].  Because we have so many sightseeing people, [laughs], so many years of hotels is built as one building after another.  So the building is very complicated.  So once something happens [laughs], they don’t—it is difficult to figure out which is entrance and which is fire escape [laughs].  [Coughs heavily.]  Excuse me.

 

I am very much interested in Uchiyama-rōshi’s remark, and it—it is something like that happening to us too [laughs].  Zen Center become bigger and bigger [laughs], and people—students who come here will find it very difficult which is entrance and which is fire escape [laughs].  I, you know, I thought maybe he is teasing me [laughs].  But what he said is very true, I think.  The world situation is something like that.

 

But we should know, you know, the right entrance for zendō.  Dōgen-zenji says in Shōbōgenzō, right entrance for the Buddha hall is zazen.  Zazen practice is right entrance.  So everyone should, you know, enter the big right—from the big wide entrance.  Because no—no Buddhist—there is no Buddhist who does not practice zazen.  So all the teaching comes out from zazen, and what we obtain by practice of zazen is transmitted mind from Buddha to us.  So when we practice zazen, all the treasures transmitted to us will come out from our transmitted mind.  And how to open up our transmitted mind is practice of zazen.

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August 1st, 1970

Saturday, August 1st, 1970
Suzuki-roshi in ceremonial robes.

Suzuki-roshi in ceremonial robes.

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

SESSHIN LECTURE No. 1[1]

Saturday, August 1, 1970

San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 70-08-01

 

In this sesshin, I have been explaining the context of our practice and, at the same time, the meaning of rules and precepts.  But for us, precepts—observation of precepts and practice of zazen is same thing, you know, not different [just] as our everyday life and practice, zazen practice, is one.

 

After sesshin, we will have ordination ceremony for Paul [Discoe] and Reb [Anderson].  And—and then we will have lay ordination ceremony for the students—all the students who has been practicing zazen who—who has practiced zazen for three years before 1967.  And so that is why I explained the meaning of our practice, zazen practice, or way of our zazen practice, referring to the precepts and rules—rules which you may like [laughs]—you may not like so much [laughs].

 

But if you know what is the precepts and what is rules, you—whether you like it or not, it is something with you, always, before—even before you are born—you were born.  So we say:  “If there is something, there is rules about it or in it.”  [Laughs.]  There is nothing without rules, you know.  That something [is] there means that some rules is there.  That is rules.  But before we, you know, know our true nature or some truth or rules which is always with you—you, you know, you think when—when someone explain how you exist or what is, you know, your true nature, then that is Buddha’s teaching, not mine [laughs].  Nothing to do with me.

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