Archive for February, 1971

February 27th, 1971

Saturday, February 27th, 1971

SR0024

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Saturday Morning, February 27, 1971

San Francisco

 Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-02-27

The purpose of our practice is, of course, to maybe to have full enlightenment.  Why we cannot have enlightenment is because of our, you know, delusion or mumyō,[1]  we say.  Or—because we are not—we don’t have clear picture of this world, or we do not have eyes to see, you know, clearly, to see clearly, or to have clear understanding of this world.  That is, you know, so-called-it called mumyōMumyō is delusion.  Mu is “no.”  Myō is “clear.”  “No clear light.”

 

We are—maybe we are—we Buddhist or we student or someone, you know, who do not have clear eyes to see, you know, what is the true way—which way to go [laughs].  So naturally you are wondering about, you know, to find out some truth, or to have—because you are wondering about, so you want to have some clear map, you know, which way to go.  And that is why you must have teacher who, you know, give you some map or some instruction or which way to go.

 

Even though you have map, if you have a map or, you know, and you have teacher, there is still, you know, difficulty in your practice.  The difficulty may be, you know, you have no—if you have—if you—as long as you trust your teacher, you know, you don’t have to worry about the way, you know, you take.  But because you have, you know, no worry, you know, you, you know, you are liable to, you know, to see something else, you know, because you have—you don’t have to, you know, try to find out which way you should take.  So you just follow [laughs] your teacher.  When he goes fast, you go fast, and when he goes slow, you go slow.

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February 23, 1971

Tuesday, February 23rd, 1971

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Tuesday, February 23, 1971

Tassajara

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-02-23

 

It is more than six months [laughs] since—  Is it working?

 

Student:  Yes.

 

—since I came to Tassajara, and I was very much impressed, you know, of your practice at this time. And I am now thinking about, you know—not thinking about—but actual feeling I have now, you know, and some, you know, prospect for the future—future life of Tassajara.  I feel something right, and I want to talk, you know, a little bit about my feeling and my hope.

 

I don’t know if you have actual feeling of true practice.  I don’t know, because, you know, why I say so is because I didn’t know [laughs], you know, when I was practicing zazen.  Even though I was practicing zazen when I was young, I didn’t know exactly what it was.  But although I had some feeling of practice, but, you know, it was pretty difficult to talk about the feeling I had.  But now, you know, the feeling I had makes some sense right now for me, right now [laughs].  But at that time, it doesn’t make much sense, although I had some feeling, and sometime I was very much impressed by our practice at Eihei-ji or some other monasteries.  Or when I see some great teachers, listening to their teishō, I was very much impressed.

 

But it was difficult to organize that kind of experience—to put some order in those experience.  Maybe because I wanted to put some order, you know, it was not possible.  This way is to have full experience and to have full, you know, feeling in every practice.  Then that is, you know, that was our way.  But maybe it is true with you.

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February 20th, 1971

Saturday, February 20th, 1971
At Tassajara. Suzuki-roshi is in the front low on the left and Tatsugami-roshi is standing next to him.

At Tassajara. Suzuki-roshi is in the front low on the left and Tatsugami-roshi is standing next to him.

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Saturday, February 20, 1971

Tassajara

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-02-20

 

Buddha’s practice goes first.  Our practice goes.

 

We say, “our practice,” but it is actually Buddha’s practice.  We should know this point.  This is the key point of our practice.

 

I don’t know how many people want to practice zazen, but as long as their practice [is] involving personal practice, it is not true practice.  If we practice selfish personal practice, it means that we are accumulating our karma more and more instead of releasing our previous karma.

 

Because of many bad choice–things you accumulated in previous life–you are right here and practicing under [Sotan Ryosen] Tatsugami-rōshi.  In spite of his difficult situation, Tatsugami-rōshi is here.

 

Again, when Buddha’s practice goes first, real practice will be ours.

 

The more you know what is practice, the greater your practice will become.

 

We must be very, very grateful to join this practice–day by day, moment after moment.

 

Sorry to disturb your practice.

 

Thank you.

 

__________________________________________________________________

Source:  Original tape SR-71-02-20 transcribed by Bill Redican 9/12/99.

February 13th, 1971

Saturday, February 13th, 1971

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Saturday Morning, February 13, 1971

San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-02-13

Good morning.

We have been practicing sesshin, so I feel I didn’t see some of you for a long, long time.  We actually—”sesshin” means, you know, to, in one sense, to calm down, to have more calmness of mind in our activity and in our practice.  But what does it mean, by “calmness of your mind.”  It’s maybe pretty difficult for you to understand.

 

The calmness of mind is, you know, for instance, you may think if you seclude yourself in some remoted mountain or seclude yourself in zendō, you know, and practice without saying anything, without taking some good food or some food which will give you some pleasure or excitement [laughs], or without hearing someone’s, you know, opinion, in this way you will have calmness of your mind.  But that will help, but it is not the calmness of mind which we mean, because real—if, you know, that is calmness of mind, you will have worry to lose the calmness of your mind, you know.  When you feel so, calmness of your mind is not already there.  If you think—if you afraid of losing the—or being disturbed by someone, you know, that is not already calmness of your mind.

 

So real calmness of our mind is, you know, as I told you in sesshin time, to have, you know, oneness of the mind with your surrounding.  That is real calmness of your mind.  You are not, you know, you are—  You are not him, but he is you, I said, you know, as Tōzan-zenji—  I referred to Tozan-zenji’s words, you know.  “You are not him,” you know, when you say, “I am,” you know, when you say, seeing yourself in the mirror when you say, “This is me,” you know [laughs].  But that is not you, because that is not you in its true sense because you think, “This is,” you know, “This I me.  This is me.”  Dualistic.

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February 12th, 1971, Second Talk

Friday, February 12th, 1971
Suzuki-roshi in the City Center courtyard

Suzuki-roshi in the City Center courtyard

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

SESSHIN LECTURE, 7th DAY:  CLOSING WORDS

Friday Evening

February 12, 1971

San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-02-12 second talk

[Note: The audio for this lecture starts at 23:50 of the mp3 file.]

 

The Sixth Patriarch[1]  said:  “To dwell on emptiness and to keep calm mind is not zazen,” he said.  Or he said, you know:  “Just to sit in squatting—sitting position is not Zen.”  But we say, you know, you—you have to just sit [laughs].  If you don’t understand what is our practice and stick to those words, you will be confused.  But if you understand what is real Zen, it is quite usual warning, you know—a kind of warning for us.

 

Now our sesshin is almost [at an] end.  But—and some people, maybe, you know, go back to their home and participate or involved in previous everyday activities.  But if you practice—if you have been practicing true zazen, you will not, you know—you may be happy to go back to your everyday life.  You may be encouraged, you know, by our practice to—in going back to your everyday life.  But if you feel, you know, if you feel hesitate [hesitant] to go back to your or—go back to your city life or everyday life, it means that, you know, you will still stick to zazen.

 

So that is why the Sixth Patriarch said:  “If you,” you know, “dwell on emptiness and stick to your practice, then that is not true zazen.”  When you practice zazen, moment after moment, you accept what you have now and what you have in that moment, and satisfying with everything you do, and you don’t—you do not—you don’t have any complaint because you just accept it, then that is zazen.  Or even though you cannot do that, you know what you should do.  Then sitting zazen will encourage you to do some other thing.  Just as you accepted your painful legs, you accept difficult everyday life.  Because city life may be more difficult than your zazen practice, so zazen practice will encourage you to have more difficulties.

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February 12, 1971

Friday, February 12th, 1971

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

SESSHIN LECTURE, 7th DAY:  PAGE STREET APPLES

Friday Morning

February 12, 1971

San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-02-12 first talk

 

This is the seventh day of the sesshin, and you came already too far.  So you cannot, you know, give up [laughs, laughter].  So only way is to stay here.  And I feel I had a very good crop [laughs].  You may feel you are not yet ripened.  But even though you are still ripening, but if you stay in our storehouse anyway, it will be a good apples [laughs]—Page Street apples, ready to be served [laughs, laughter].  So I have nothing to worry [about], and I don’t think you have any more worry about your practice.

 

Perhaps some of you started sesshin because you have too many things to solve, or some of you must have thought if you come and sit here, maybe your problem will be solved.  But, you know, the problem which you—which is—any—whatever problem it may be, something which is given to you could be solved anyway because Buddha will not give you anything—any more than you can solve and you need.  Whatever it is, whatever problem it may be, the problem you have is just enough problems [laughs, laughter] for you.

 

So I think you should trust him, you know, just enough—not too much.  And, you know—and his—if it is not too much, Buddha is ready to give you some more problems [laughs, laughter] just to survive, you know, just to appreciate problems.  Buddha is always giving you something, because if you have nothing to cope with, you know, it may be terrible life—as if you are, you know, it is like—problem without life [life without problems] is to sit in this zendō for seven days without doing anything.

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February 9th, 1971

Tuesday, February 9th, 1971

SR0229

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

SESSHIN  LECTURE NO. 5

Tuesday, February 9, 1971

San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-02-09

 

I think, as Yoshimura-sensei[1]  told you the other night, Zen masters has some humorous [laughs], you know, element in their life.  And, you know, even after death [laughs], or even more, we, you know, know how humorous [laughs] they were if you know them.  Humor is, you know—  Only when he has real, you know—he has some understanding more than real, you know, then he could be humorous, you know.  So humor is more real than [laughs] reality, you know.  Reality is not so real.  But if you see [laughs, laughter] comic, you know, you know, that is more real than [laughs] usual pictures, you know.

 

So I think because they have something real, you know, so at the same time they can be always humorous, you know.  When they say, you know, something usual, you know, not [laughs]—  The way they say, or in his mind, you know, he is always expressing it in some [way] as if he is drawing some comic, you know [laughs].  But for us, for him, maybe, it is comic, but for us it is very real and serious thing.

 

When I was young, or when I was at Eihei-ji, Kumazawa-zenji,[2]  you know, Kumazawa-zenji—at that time he was kannin.[3]   In sesshin he gave us a talk when we are tired out [laughs].  It was third day or fourth day.  And he started to talk about something, and he said, “Suzume—a sparrow,” you know, “sparrow has broken a tori’i.”  Do you know tori’i?  Shrine gate, you know, like this [gestures].  A sparrow [laughs] broke [laughs, laughter] tori’i made of stone [laughs, laughter].  And he started to explain how a sparrow did it [laughs].  But, in Japanese, you know,  “Kosuzumega.” [4]   I still remember:  “Kosuzumega ishi no tori’i o fumiotta.” [5]   And he said, “Do you understand?”  [Laughs, laughter.]  And he repeated several times, but no one laughed, you know [laughs, laughter], because he was so serious.  But “fumioru” sometime means “funderu.” [6]   It is, you know, “stepping on the stone,” that is “fumioru—fumioru—funderu,” you know.  It’s “stepping—stepping” you know, “on the stone,” and at the same time it mean “to break” [laughs].  How is it possible [laughs] for a sparrow to break a stone gate?

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February 7th, 1971

Sunday, February 7th, 1971

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

SESSHIN LECTURE NO. 3

February 7, 1971

Sunday Afternoon or Evening

San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-02-07

 

This morning I said you must find yourself in each being.  That is actually what Tōzan [Ryōkai]-zenji said:  Don’t try to seek yourself.  Don’t try to figure out who is you.  “You” found out in that way is far away from real you.  He is not anymore you.  But if I go my own way, wherever I go, I see myself.  You know, if you, you know, take your own step, it means bodhisattva way.  Wherever you go, you will see yourself. You will meet with yourself.  And, he says, the image you see in the water when you want to figure out who is you is not you, but actually just what you see in the water is you yourself.

 

In Sandōkai we have same statements:  You are not him, and he is you, you know [laughs].  It is paradoxical, you know.  It is to catch your mind, they use some paradoxical, you know, statement like this.  You are not him, but he is you.  It means that when you try to figure out who is you, even though you see yourself in the mirror, he is not you.  But if you just see your, you know, figure in the mirror, without any idea of, you know, trying to figure out what is you—  Why it is not you when you figure out who is you [laughs] is, you know [laughs], because of your self-centered mind, you know, limited mind, you cannot see.

 

A self-centered, you know, practice doesn’t work [laughs].  You know, if you try to attain enlightenment, or if you want to be some great Zen master, you cannot be actually great Zen master.  When you don’t try to be so, you know, or before you try to do so, or before you practice our way, you are buddha.  But because of your limited practice, self-centered practice, even though you practice your way, you cannot have real practice.  You will miss, you know, yourself, lose yourself in small, self-centered practice.

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February 5th, 1971

Friday, February 5th, 1971
Suzuki-roshi in a gathering of Buddhist leaders

Suzuki-roshi in a gathering of Buddhist leaders

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

SESSHIN LECTURE NO. 1

Friday, February 5, 1971

San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-02-05

 

Purpose of sesshin is to be completely one with our practice.  That is purpose of sesshinSesshin.  Sesshin means—  We use two Chinese characters for setsuSetsu means to treat or, you know, like you treat your guests or like a teacher [student?] treat his teacher, is setsu.  Another setsu is “to control” or “to arrange things in order.”  Anyway, it means to have proper function of mind.

 

When we say “control,” something which is controlled is our five senses and will, or mind, Small Mind, Monkey Mind which should be controlled.  And if—why we control our mind is to resume to our true Big Mind.  When Monkey Mind is always take over big activity of Big Mind, you know, we naturally become a monkey [laughs].  So Monkey Mind must have his boss, which is Big Mind.

 

And when we say “Big Mind,” then while we practice zazen, it is the Big Mind controlling the Small Mind.  It is not so, you know, but only when Small Mind become calm, the Big Mind, you know, start to start its true activity.  So in our everyday life, almost all the time, we are involved in activity of Small Mind.  That is why we should practice zazen and we should be completely involved in this kind of practice.

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