June 22nd, 1967Originally offered: June 22nd, 1967 | Modified October 1st, 2010 by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi
Rev S. Suzuki
June 22, 1967
I am so grateful to introduce to you Kobun Chino, sensei. He was appointed to Zen Center to be a teacher of you. I hadn’t met him before. I was told about him but yesterday I met him for the first time and I felt as if we were old friends. I was so happy to see him. It was quite a long time since I saw you…maybe three weeks, but I feel as if it is almost one year or so but actually it is just three weeks. In this three weeks this zendo, Haiku Zendo, made a big progress under the guidance of Katagiri, sensei. As Dogen-zenji said, “Don’t think what you have attained will be known by you.” Perhaps, I think, you don’t know how much progress you made, but actually it is like a plant. If you do not see it for two or three days you will be amazed how the plant grows. The same thing happens in our practice. Even though we don’t know at all what we are doing…we are repeating the same thing over and over again, sometimes making mistakes, but actually by repeating same thing, without knowing what we are doing, something results. That result…when you think or when you wonder what you have done all the merit will be vanished all at once, but when you don’t know, you have it. At Tassajara the same thing happens. As we have rather hasty minds, so sometimes we wonder what we are doing, having poor food, working hard every day…what we are doing. And someone may ask me why do we do this kind of thing? Why must we bow so many times? Why do we take such poor food? This kind of thing may be asked. At that moment we have no merit. All what we have done is vanished. Before he asked…before those things were asked the things we do have full meaning, but when it is asked all the merit will vanish from it. When there is gap between one act from another act there is question. When you are doing things constantly without any gap between one and another, there we have full meaning of your activity. When something is being asked…’Why then… in other words, why you asked it…because in your mind there is big hole. So you put in…insert ‘what are we doing?’ without knowing the hole you have in your mind…big hole, and you put it inside it, but actually someone may see the big hole in your mind. So we should not make any hole in our practice. When your mind is filled with spirit there is no question. To study Buddhism in intellectual sense is, of course, important, but when we lose our spirit of practice, all what you have studied will cause some trouble rather than helping you.
This morning I felt a great joy of practice with you, and I am quite sure that our practice will be continued forever.
To all members of this Haiku Zendo. I received now introduce about me from Reverend Suzuki. Thank you very much. I am Kobun Chino. I came from Japan last 19th (of June) morning. I am very younger than. I must study the true way of human being myself and with you. Please help me and please good health for me for development of this Haiku Zendo and widely all of this member of Zen Center and its branches. Thank you very much.