Archive for January, 1971

January 23rd, 1971

Saturday, January 23rd, 1971

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Saturday, January 23, 1971

San Francisco

 Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-01-23

 

Most of us, maybe, want to know what is self.  This is a big problem.  Why you have this problem, you know, and is—I want to understand [laughs] why you have this problem.  I’m trying to understand.  And even though, it seems to me, even though you try to understand who are you, it is, you know, it is endless trip, you know, and you will never see your self.

 

You say to sit without thinking too much is difficult.  Just to sit is difficult.  But more difficult thing will be to try to think about your self [laughs].  This is much more difficult.  To do is maybe easy, you know, but to have some conclusion, you know, to it is almost impossible, and you will continue it until you become crazy [laughs, laughter].  That is, you know, when you don’t know what to do with your self.  Or when you don’t know, when you find out it is impossible to know who you are, you know, you become crazy.

 

Moreover, your culture is based on the idea of self and science and Christianity [laughs].  So those element, you know, idea of Christianity or sinful idea of Christianity or, you know, idea of science, scientific-oriented mind, makes your confusion greater.  You try to always, when you sit, you know, perhaps most of you sit to improve your zazen.  That idea to improve, you know, is a very Christian-like, you know, idea and, at the same time, a scientific idea:  to improve. You acknowledge some improvement of our culture or civilization.  We understand our civilization, you know, improved a lot.  But, you know, when we say “scientific” in sense of science, you know, or “improve” means before you went to Japan by ship, now you go to airplane or jumbo [laughs] plane.  That is improvement.

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January 16th, 1971

Saturday, January 16th, 1971
Suzuki-roshi and Katagiri-roshi in the old zendo at Tassajara

Suzuki-roshi and Katagiri-roshi

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Saturday, January 16, 1971

San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-01-16

 

Something valuable [laughs]—not jewel or not candy, but something which is very valuable.  You recite right now, you know, a verse on unsurpassable, you know, teaching.  What is actually—how to, you know, receive this kind of treasure is, you know, to have well-oriented mind.  I have been talking about self for maybe three lectures—what is self and what is your surrounding, what kind of thing you see, how you accept things, and purpose of zazen.

 

Purpose of zazen, why we practice zazen is to be a boss of everything.  That is why you practice zazen.  If you practice zazen, you will be a boss of your surrounding—wherever you are, you are boss [laughs].  But if I say so, it will create some misunderstanding:  you are boss, you know, you are boss of everyone or everything.  And you is, you know, also, in your mind, you are boss of everything, you know.  When you understand in that way, you know, you are enslaved by idea of you and, you know, your friend, or everyone—all the people surrounding you.  You are, you know, you know, you exist in your mind as a kind of idea, and also people exist in your mind as a member of [laughs] delusion [laughs].  I say “delusion” because when those idea is not well-supported by your practice, then that is delusion, you know.  When you are enslaved by the idea of “you or others,” then that is delusion.  When real, you know, power of practice is supporting those idea, at that time, you know, I say you are “you” who is practicing our way is boss of everything, boss of you yourself, you know.

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January 10th, 1971

Sunday, January 10th, 1971

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

RIGHT CONCENTRATION

Sunday, January 10, 1971

San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-01-10

 

[1]  were given about our practice referring to Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva?  What is, you know, who is Avalokiteshvara?  I don’t mean a man or a woman [laughs].  He is, by the way—he’s supposed to be a man who take sometime figure of a woman, you know.  In disguise of a woman he help people.  That is Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva.  Sometime, you know, he has one thousand hands—one thousand hands—to help others.  But, you know, if he is concentrated on one hand only, you know [laughs], 999 hands will be no use [laughs].

 

Our concentration does not mean to be concentrated on one thing, you know.  Without, you know, trying to concentrate our mind, you know, without trying to concentrate, concentrated on something, we should be ready to be concentrated on something, you know.  For an instance, if I am watching someone, you know, like this [laughs], my eyes is concentrated on one person like this.  You know, I cannot see, you know, even it is necessary, it is difficult to change my concentration to others.  We say “to do things one by one,” but what it means is, you know, without [laughs]—ah, it may be difficult—maybe not to try to explain it so well [laughs].  Nature [of] it is difficult to explain.  But look at my eyes, you know.  This is eyes, you know, I am watching someone [laughs].  And this is my eyes, you know, when I practice zazen.  I’m [not] watching anybody [laughs], but if someone move, I can catch him [laughs, laughter].

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January 3rd, 1971

Sunday, January 3rd, 1971
Suzuli-roshi conducting a lay ordination ceremony at City Center.

Suzuli-roshi conducting a lay ordination ceremony at City Center.

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Sunday, January 3, 1971

San Francisco

 Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-01-03

 

Last Sunday I remember I talked about our surrounding, which is civilized world and busy world, and world of science and world of technique.  Although I couldn’t talk about fully about those things, but I tried [laughs] anyway.  And I talked about something about practice or why we practice zazen.  But I did not talk about self—who practice zazen—who practice zazen.

 

What is self is a big problem, you know.  Unless we don’t understand what is self, unless we don’t reflect on our self, whether our everyday life is self-centered or a life of selflessness, we cannot, you know, have right practice:  the practice to settle oneself, you know, on self.  That is, you know, [Dainin] Katagiri-sensei’s [laughs] word:  “to settle oneself on the self.”  You cannot understand what does it mean.

 

So most people, I think, you know, especially the people who are here, are the people who knows who, you know, who has pretty good prospective [perspective] to our surrounding, to our modern life.  But, you know, I don’t think you understand what is self fully.  And those who are more, you know—in Zen Center, I think, there are two kinds [laughs] of students, if I classify, you know.  One type of the student is a student who practice a hermit-like practice [laughter], and other is, you know, the other group of people are the people more radical and intellectual.

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