Archive for the ‘No audio source’ Category

June 19th, 1971

Saturday, June 19th, 1971

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Sewing and Wearing the Buddhist Robes and

How It Relates to Our Practice

19 June 1971

San Francisco Zendō

 

Last Sunday I told you that, whatever religion you belong to, it doesn’t matter when you to come and sit with us.  That is because our way of sitting, of practice, is for you to become yourself.  Katagiri-rōshi always says, “to settle oneself on oneself.”  To be yourself.  When you become you, yourself, at that moment your practice includes everything.  Whatever there is, it is a part of you.  So you practice with Buddha, you practice with Bodhidharma and you practice with Jesus.  You practice with everyone in the future or in past.  That is our practice.  But when you do not become yourself, it doesn’t happen in that way.

 

So if you come here and sit with us, you’re not only sitting with us, but you are also sitting with everything, including animate and inanimate beings.  Dogen Zenji said, if your practice doesn’t include everything, that is not real practice.

 

It is not that after practicing for long time, you attain enlightenment and your practice includes everything, and you can practice with everyone.  When you join our practice, your practice includes everything.  And if you think that in two or three years, after your practice improves, that your practice will be perfect enough to include everything, that is a mistake.  Something is missing in that practice.  The sincerity is missing.

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March 12th, 1971

Friday, March 12th, 1971

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

LECTURE:  REED COLLEGE, PORTLAND, OREGON

Not Verbatim                                          

March 12, 1971

[No Audio Source]

 

It is not so easy to say what actual practice is, what Zen is. But anyway, I want to try. First of all, why we practice Zen may be the question most of you have. As you know, Buddha’s first teaching is the Four Noble Truths. According to him, our life is a life of suffering. And if you know the cause of suffering, you will know how to go through our suffering, and you will attain Nirvana or enlightenment.

 

Tonight maybe it is better to explain why we suffer. Suffering includes various kinds of confusion or fears we may have because of our lack of understanding of our life. The reason we suffer, according to the Buddha, is because we have desire. Desire cannot be broken, because we have too much desire-there is no limit to our desire. That is why we suffer-because we have interest in strong desire. So our suffering will be limitless, deep and long. The suffering you feel is as deep as a night when you cannot sleep is long. When you cannot sleep, the night maybe very very long for you. That is why we suffer. The root of desire is so-called “ignorance” or “darkness.” Ignorance means ignorance of our life, ignorance of human nature. If we know human nature and how we live in this world as a human being, then we will know why we suffer and how to go through suffering. I don’t say that you will go beyond it, or that you eliminate suffering. But if you know the cause of suffering, which is ignorance of our life, then maybe this knowledge will be a great relief for you. Moreover, you will find out how to cope with our suffering. For instance, if you sit in a cross-legged position like this, at first you will have pain in your legs, as some of you must have experienced already. It is not so easy to deal with the pain you have in your legs as you sit. If some of you sit thirty or forty minutes, without any instruction, you will know how you can deal with suffering. The way to deal with, or to overcome your suffering is actually the precepts which the Buddhists observe. But the precepts still will not be good enough, because you don’t know how to limit your original ignorance. So to work on the source of suffering and also to hunt the many big branchings of suffering is the true way to cope with the suffering you have. That is actually zazen practice. Through the practice of zazen you can cope with original sin, original ignorance, or darkness, and with the weaker branchings of suffering. I think the everyday lives of all of us are actually involved in this kind of suffering which originates from the source of ignorance.

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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 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 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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June 28th, 1970

Sunday, June 28th, 1970

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

A SHORT TALK BY SUZUKI RŌSHI

Sunday Morning, June 28, 1970

Tassajara

[No audio source]

 

You should sit zazen with your whole body; your spine, mouth, toes, mudrā.  Check on your posture during zazen.  Each part of your body should practice zazen independently or separately; your toe should practice zazen independently, your mudrā should practice zazen independently; your spine and your mouth should practice zazen independently.  You should feel each part of your body doing zazen separately.  Each part of your body should participate completely in zazen.

 

Check to see that each part of your body is doing zazen independently.  This is also known as shikantaza.  To think, “I am doing zazen” or “My body is doing zazen” is wrong understanding.  It is a self-centered idea.

 

The mudrā is especially important.  You should not feel as if you are resting your mudrā on the heel of your foot for your own convenience.  Your mudrā should be placed in its own position.

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December 21st, 1969, second talk

Sunday, December 21st, 1969

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

TRUE HAPPINESS AND RENEWAL OF PRACTICE AT YEAR’S END

December 21, 1969       

San Francisco

 

 

Everyone seeks for true happiness, but happiness cannot be true happiness if the happiness is not followed by perfect composure.  The—usually happiness does not stay long.  Happiness is mostly just very short time and it will be lost in next moment when you have it.  So, sometimes we will think rather not to have it because after happiness usually followed by sorrow and this is, I think, everyone experiences it in our everyday life.  Buddha, when he escaped—can you hear me?—when he escaped from his castle, he felt this kind of—he had this kind of happiness in his luxurious life in the castle, he at last forsake all of those, this kind of life, so we say he started his religious trip because of evanescence, because he felt evanescence of life.  That is why he started study of Buddhism.  I think we have to think about this point more.  I think everyone seeks for happiness, that is alright, but the point is what kind of—how to seek for happiness is the point.  But whether our way, whether the happiness we seek for is something which we can … it is something which is possible to have it .…  Surely there is—we have to seek his teaching more carefully.  He taught us the Four Noble Truths and first of all he taught us this world is world of suffering.  When we seek for suffering—happiness—to say this world is world of suffering is very, you know … you may be very much disappointed with your teacher.  World of suffering.  This world anyway is world of suffering, he says.  And he continues.  Why we suffer is this world is world of fantasy, everything changes.  When everything changes we seek for some permanent thing, we want everything to be permanent.  Especially when we have something good or when we see something beautiful or we want it to be always in that way.  But actually everything changes.  So that is why we suffer.  So if we seek for happiness even though we seek for happiness it is not possible to have it because we are expecting something to be always constant when everything changes.  So naturally we must have suffering.  So far, according to this teaching, we are—there is no other way for us to live in the world of suffering—that is the only way to exist in this world.

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December 29th, 1968

Sunday, December 29th, 1968

Suzuki-roshi with students at Tassajara

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Sunday, December 29, 1968[1]

Next Tuesday we will have no lecture, so this may be—will be the last one for this—at the end of the year we clean up our house and we throw [out] old things which we do not use anymore.  And we renew our equipment, even things in the—furniture we renew it.  And after cleaning our room we—we put new, new ______ ___ ____ and which is distributed from temple like this.  We take off old mats and put new ones, like this.  This is—when in temple we have prayer for the—to control fire, this is what you call it ___ ______ ____ __ “taking care of fire,” it says in Japanese.

And this is—in temple at end of the year we have ceremony to read Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra—600 volumes of Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra.  But actually we cannot read 600 pages of sūtra, so the priest conducting the ceremony read one—one volume of the 600 sutras.  Then we have one volume, one of 600—[inaudible]—just to turn it instead of reading.  And so the most important volume will be recited by the priest who is conducting, and we—and you receive this kind of prayer card from the temple.  That is what we do.

And end of the year is the most busy days.  We have to clean up our rooms, and if you have some debts you should pay.  For someone to collect the money he lent, and for the most people it is time to pay the debt.  And then we—after cleaning up everything, spiritual and physical, we decorate New Year’s decoration so old times [?].  Those should be done before twelve o’clock.  And after twelve o’clock there is no need for you to pay—pay back the money you owed, so the man who—who wants to collect his money ___ __ __ ___ even after twelve o’clock, if he had chosen [inaudible].

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December 21, 1968

Saturday, December 21st, 1968

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

TRUE HAPPINESS AND RENEWAL OF PRACTICE AT YEAR’S END

Saturday, December 21, 1968

San Francisco

[No audio]

Everyone seeks for true happiness, but happiness cannot be true happiness if the happiness is not followed by perfect composure.  The—usually happiness does not stay long.  Happiness is mostly just very short time and it will be lost in next moment when you have it.  So, sometimes we will think rather not to have it because after happiness usually followed by sorrow and this is, I think, everyone experiences it in our everyday life.

Buddha, when he escaped—can you hear me?—when he escaped from his castle, he felt this kind of—he had this kind of happiness in his luxurious life in the castle, he at last forsake all of those, this kind of life, so we say he started his religious trip because of evanescence, because he felt evanescence of life.  That is why he started study of Buddhism.  I think we have to think about this point more.  I think everyone seeks for happiness, that is all right, but the point is what kind of—how to seek for happiness is the point.  But whether our way, whether the happiness we seek for is something which we can…it is something which is possible to have it.

Surely there is—we have to seek his teaching more carefully.  He taught us the Four Noble Truths and first of all he taught us this world is world of suffering.  When we seek for suffering—happiness—to say this world is world of suffering is very, you know—you may be very much disappointed with your teacher.  World of suffering.  This world anyway is world of suffering, he says.  And he continues.  Why we suffer is this world is world of fantasy, everything changes.  When everything changes we seek for some permanent thing, we want everything to be permanent.  Especially when we have something good or when we see something beautiful or we want it to be always in that way.  But actually everything changes.  So that is why we suffer.  So if we seek for happiness even though we seek for happiness it is not possible to have it because we are expecting something to be always constant when everything changes.  So naturally we must have suffering.  So far, according to this teaching, we are—there is no other way for us to live in the world of suffering—that is the only way to exist in this world.

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September, 1968

Sunday, September 1st, 1968

Suzuki-roshi

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Shōsan Ceremony

Fall 1968[1]

Tassajara

Suzuki-rōshi: On this occasion, if you have some question [or] comment, present it to me.

Student A [Claude Dalenberg]: Dōchō-rōshi, questions come into my mind; none of them seem to be good questions. My heart comes into my throat and I do not know what to say, nor what to ask.

Suzuki-rōshi: When you have no questions, and when you have nothing to ask about, there you have true way.  Thank you very much [for] all of your effort, all through this training period.  [The student then gives formal bows and spoken thank-you.  I will omit the thank-you unless it seems important to the question-answer … i.e., if it is a part of it.][2]

Student B [Bill Shurtleff]: Dōchō-rōshi, you have said, “Just listen to the Dharma.”  And you have said, “The instant the ‘I’ appears, it (or It?) (or eye?) vanishes.”  When you speak, to whom am I listening?  When I speak, to whom are you listening?  When thoughts seem to speak, to whom are we listening?  When the stream seems to speak, to what are we listening?

Suzuki-rōshi: To listen to Dharma; to speak about Dharma—all of those practice should be Buddha’s practice, which will continue forever without leaving any trace of them.  You should not try to follow the trace of it.  Just let them go and let them come.

Student B [Bill Shurtleff]: As a person speaks to us each day?

Suzuki-rōshi: You should react with single-mindedness.  But don’t leave any trace of it.

Student C [Alan Rappaport]: Dōchō-rōshi, what are you doing here?

Suzuki-rōshi: Nothing special.

Student C [Alan Rappaport]: Dōchō-rōshi—  [Silence.]

Suzuki-rōshi: Yes, I am here.

Student C [Alan Rappaport]: Thank you very much.

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