August 16th, 2nd Talk

Originally offered: August 16th, 1970 | Modified December 11th, 2013 by korin
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.

You may say the practice of zazen—you will understand why we practice—which pretty well, but you don’t understand why we use our oryoki.  But actually when we use oryoki many people find some feeling about _______ __________ and some feeling of paying attention to many things you have or you handle.  In ______________, that is the way we clean up, but if you use oryoki, you wash one by one, carefully, without making noise—that is our practice.  Then we have a kind of feeling of engagement [?] in this world, with everything.

 

Our desires may be extended more __________ _____________ even in our physical feeling.  In that way then you ________ _____________.  In ritual, when you recite sūtra you should find out, and you should hold sūtra card in some certain way …  ________ _________.  This kind of practice in comparison to your usual practice is—to sit wherever you want and reciting whatever you want to do, you may feel good in that way, but feeling-when you feel in that way, you don’t have much chance to feel your (being).  When you find yourself at some exact-that is already to feel your being.  And to do something in some certain way, you will feel the feeling of your teacher, and patriarchs and Buddhas.  Doing something in the same way, you can really have the feeling our teachers had, our ancestors had.  It means that you truly find yourself in the history of long, long practice.  And to practice with people in the same way you will feel yourself in the …  _______________.  You will find yourself (time and space this time).  That is being one with everything.

 

If you sit and—if you sit and realize yourself, that is enlightenment.  Realize yourself on this point right now, all the Buddhas will attain enlightenment with you, and all the teachers will attain enlightenment with you.  That is what we said and what we meant.

 

To practice our traditional way—in that way—you may think that you will be enslaved by the tradition of ________ _________ traditional way.  But actually, purpose of practice is realization of our being.  If you lose this point, our practice doesn’t mean anything and your everyday life doesn’t mean anything.  As I said, even though we are in Tassajara or even though you practice in the big mountain, you cannot separate it from this world.  You are all—you are in the destiny [?] of being enslaved-by our practice …  As human being has particular nature as a human being-we must have, we must think about what is our nature.  By _______ __________, we will not find out our way, that is actual Buddha way.

 

Actually the Buddha was the one to notice this point and to establish this kind of practice for us.  But Buddha said before you—there was the Six Patriarch, maybe—time-wise we don’t know … [inaudible] … it means that this is … to find yourself right now means to find many beings in ______ ________ and to find many ancestors—many descendants after him.  So his confidence was—I already met the teacher who—whom I met, and I already saw the people who will appear in this world even though I haven’t met them.  I haven’t met them, yet I save all sentient beings.  If—or whether I save them or not, actually they are saved.  Actually they are living with us, with you.  It is very simple teaching and the fact that he points out-the enlightenment he attains is very not special, very _________ _______ ____ and plain.  But as Zen teachers say—if you do not practice your enlightenment doesn’t make any sense.  If you do not use your oryoki, and push forward, pushing backward [?] this world does not make much sense.  We cannot feel our being in this world.

 

At Tassajara, here, you know, my teeth was not so good.  So I didn’t like to chew brown rice or some hard vegetables.  But by chewing—after [unclear] my teeth completely, and chewing them carefully, and—I found some special, you know, taste.  I feel as if I have perfect kitchen, you know [laughs, laughter], within my mouth.  And I appreciate to put something in my mouth—after cooking it very well and carefully, I ate it.

 

But this kind of [2 words] usually I—I thought—my wife is cooking—someone else is cooking—and my way is just to eat [laughs, laughter].  That was my way of life, I thought.  But now I have and I am cooking my food by myself.  Because I cook by myself, I appreciate the taste of the food.  That is actually how I feel, you know. …

 

So I think what we are doing is—something great is coming out from our life in Zen Center.  And so I think if you observe your practice or your way of life and observe your feeling, against this ____________ world …  the feeling you have is a more (precious) life.  You will find out many treasures for human being.  We should rather to walk slowly and understand … If possible we should fly with our arms [laughs].  … If you fly big airplane as I  … more feeling of …

 

[Sentence not finished.  End of Side A.  Tape turned over.] 

 

… if I could fly, you know, with—with my arms like this, that is wonderful.  When I studied at Eihei-ji with my teacher, you know, this is—I forgot [i.e., SR forgot train of thought]—any—anyway, if I were a bird, this is fantastic [laughs, laughter].  I wish I were a bird.  This is fantastic!  Right now we are flying by big birds—airplane, but according to the earth, you know, there is many—you can appreciate moving.  You will have big sail [?].  …  And you will enjoy many things and beautiful. [inaudible].  It doesn’t make much sense [laughs, laughter].

 

We are so serious, you know, in one way.  Why don’t you try to fly by your arms, you know?  Even though you cannot, you should work, I think.  Then you will feel your being completely.  Even though you
are … , if there is some way of feeling yourself even though you do not think or because you do not think anything you have full feeling of your being on the practice.  Usually because you think of some philosophical thing—I think, therefore I am—you as—I don’t think, therefore I am!  Even thought your own practice there is a way to feel completely—that is not religion or mysticism.  It is actually thought.  When you find out the way how to live …  When you practice our way—we should forget everything and try to find out—try to find yourself in your __________.  That is why actually we must be strict—we have strict rules.  Unless we have—our human nature is very sneaky.  Without some strict way we will go this way and that way.  Even though [inaudible] …  we are very sneaky.  We are ________ very clever.  To be very honest and sincere in its true sense, it is necessary to push yourself into some very strong hard rule.  Maybe that is not good enough.  Unless you want to find yourself in it …  you find out yourself in such a strict, such an iron box, maybe easiest way to feel yourself end in everyday life to feel yourself is more, much more difficult.  But the first step may be to find yourself in strong iron box.

 

But as long as you are trying to force into iron box, it is not possible—it is like to read instruction about practice.  There are many instructions about our practice.  But if you actually do it, it will take just one minute.  For an instance, if you want to describe how I drink a cup of water, I don’t know whether you can describe it very accurately.  But if I—maybe better in this sense—we put emphasis on strong _________ trust you to be ready to do it and to ______ _________ actual experience of practice, getting rid of _________ complications.  We will have more practice under Tatsugami-rōshi or some other teacher, some others teachers from Japan.  But the point of our practice is how to feel under various situations and circumstances—how to adjust yourself to the  ___________, and how to make right effort as human being for many centuries, several centuries.  Making wrong efforts, so we should resume right efforts in developing our human life.

 

Thank you very much.

 

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This transcript is a retyping of the existing City Center transcript.  It is not verbatim.  No tape is available.  The City Center transcript was entered onto disk by Jose Escobar, 1997.  It was reformatted by Bill Redican (10/31/01).

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