Posts Tagged ‘Acceptance’

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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December 21st, 1969

Sunday, December 21st, 1969

Suzuki-roshi offering the kyosaku during Zazen at Sokoji

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

FUNDAMENTAL BUDDHIST POINT:

TO ADJUST OURSELVES TO OUR SURROUNDINGS

Sunday, December 21, 1969

San Francisco

 Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 69-12-21 1st talk

 

Since I moved in this building,[1]  people ask me how do you feel [laughs].  But I haven’t find myself in this building.  I don’t know what I am doing here [laughs, laughter].  Everything is so unusual to me. So actually I haven’t [laughs]—not much feeling.  But I am thinking about now how to adjust myself to this building.  And first of all, what I felt seeing people, you know—seeing our students bowing in this way or cleaning our building, I found special meaning of putting—our putting hands together like this.

 

Wherever we are, this, you know, putting hands together is very suitable posture.[2]   You know, this is pretty universal way of expressing our sincerity, I think.  So wherever we are, if our behavior is based on this putting hand together, we will be beautiful wherever we are.  And our—we will suit to the surrounding.

 

As a Buddhist, I think fundamental Buddhist way is, I think, how to, you know, adjust myself—ourselves to the surrounding rather than changing our surrounding.  So when, I think, Buddhists moved in, you know—when Buddhist which was developed in Eastern culture moved in Western culture, if possible—as much as possible, without changing the furniture or building—how to adjust ourselves to the building or the culture will be the most important work for us, you know.  I think in that way now.

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September 1st, 1969

Monday, September 1st, 1969

Suzuki-roshi at Rinsoin (1940s)

SUMMER SESSHIN

SECOND NIGHT LECTURE

September 1969

Tassajara

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 69-09-00 B

 

We have been talking about—discuss—discussing about reality, actually, and how we practice our way in our zazen and in our everyday life.  And Dōgen-zenji talked about the reality in—by using the Japanese or Chinese word, inmo.[1]   Inmo means—inmo has two meaning.  It is—it means like this, you know [probably gestures]—and also it means question:  “What is that?”  Or it is, you know, “it,” you know.  “It” means—sometime it is question mark, and sometime “it” means—pointing at something, we say, “it.”

 

In English, you know, you say, “It is hot.”  That “it” is the same words—same meaning when you say, “It is nine o’clock,” or “It is half-passed eight.”  You know, it—you use [“it” for] only time or weather, you know.  Time or weather is “it.”  But not only time or weather.  Everything should be “it”—can be “it.”  We are also “it,” you know, but we don’t say “it.”  Instead of “it” we say “he” or “she,” or “me” or “I.”  But actually it means “it.”  So everything is—if everything is “it,” you know, it is—at the same time, question mark, you know.  When I say “it,” you know, you don’t know [laughs] exactly what I mean, so you may say, “What is it?” [laughs] you may ask.

 

“It” is not—it does not mean some definite, special thing, as it does not mean when we talk about time, it is not—it does not mean some special time, or meal time, or lecture time.  We don’t know.  So “it” is—it means also ques- [partial word]—it may be question mark for everyone.  If I say “it,” you know, you may say, “What time is it?” you may say.

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December 14th, 1967

Thursday, December 14th, 1967

Rev S. Suzuki

December 14, 1967

It’s been a pretty long time since I saw you.  I am still studying hard to find out what is our way.  Recently I reached the conclusion that there is no Buddhism or there is no Zen or anything.  Yesterday, when I was preparing for the evening lecture (in San Francisco) although I tried to find out something to talk about, I couldn’t find out anything so I was just reading.  And I thought of the story which I was told in Obon Festival when I was young.  The story is about the water or the story is about the people in Hell.

Although they have water, the people in Hell cannot drink it because the water burns like a fire, or water which they want to drink looks like blood, so they cannot take it.  While the celestial beings…for the celestial beings it is jewel and for the fish it is their home and for the human being it is water.  You may think, if you think water is water (if you understand that water is water, as we do ) is right understanding the water sometimes looks like…although water sometimes looks like jewel or house or blood or fire that is not real water…you may think in this way.  As you think that zazen practice is real practice and the rest of the everyday activities is the application of zazen, but this (zazen) is fundamental practice.  But Dogen zenji, amazingly said, ‘Water is not water’.  If you think water is water your understanding is not much different from the understanding of fish’s understanding, and hungry ghost’s understanding of water, or angel’s understanding of water.  There is not much difference between our understanding and their understanding.

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August 19, 1966 2nd Talk

Friday, August 19th, 1966

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Friday, August 19, 1966

SESSHIN LECTURE:  Friday Morning during Zazen

Lecture B

Soko-ji Temple, San Francisco

Tape operator: This lecture is Friday morning during zazen, and it begins “We have one more day.”

Suzuki-rōshi: Don’t be attached to your attainment as a result of—as a result of past effort.  Or don’t be attached to the refreshed stage you attained mechanically.  Open up your mind wider and more—be more subtle, ready to accept things as it is, and practice—continue your practice.  This is the meaning of sesshin.  The mind you attained is not even quite newly refreshed mind.  It is nothing itself—itself, free from all attachment.

I am very much grateful to sit with you in this way and to have more chance to sit.  Let’s make this sesshin more meaningful one. (more…)

January 26, 1966

Wednesday, January 26th, 1966

January 26, 1966

Rev. S. Suzuki

In our scripture it is said that there are four kinds of horse – an excellent one and a not so good ones and bad horse.  The best horse will run before it sees the shadow of the whip – that is the best one.  And the second one will run just before the whip reach his skin – and that is the second one.  The third one will run when it feels pain on his body – that is the third.  The fourth one will run after the pain penetrates into his marrow of the bone – that is the worst one.  When we hear this story perhaps everyone wants to be a good horse…the best horse; even if it is impossible to be the best one, we want to be second best.  That is quite usual understanding of horse.  But actually when we sit, you will understand whether we are the best horse or the not so good ones.  Here we have some problem in understanding of zen.  Zen is not the practice to be the best horse.  If you think so, if you understand zen as a kind of practice to be a best horse you will have, if you have this kind of idea, you will have problem.  Big problem.  That is not the right understanding of zen.  Actually, if you practice right zen, whether you are best horse or worst one is not…doesn’t matter.  That is not the point.

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January 13, 1966

Thursday, January 13th, 1966

Suzuki-roshi on his way to the US

Suzuki-roshi on his way to the US

January 13, 1966

Rev. S. Suzuki

Buddhism is, maybe, rather difficult to understand for you because Buddhism is not monotheism or pantheism.  This is….Buddhism is something different from your understanding of religion.  It may be better to consider…to accept Buddhism something quite different from your understanding.  It looks like pantheism, but in Buddhism also there is several ways of believing in our life….

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December 30, 1965

Thursday, December 30th, 1965

SRC0009

December 30, 1965

Rev. S. Suzuki

I found out that it is necessary…absolutely necessary to believe in nothing.  We have to believe in something which has no form or no color…something which exists before every form and colors appear.  This is very important point.  Whatever we believe in…whatever god we believe in….when we become attached to it, it means our belief is based on, more or less, self-centered idea.  If so, it is….it takes time to acquire….to attain perfect belief or perfect faith in it.  But if you always prepared for accepting which we see.…is appear from nothing, and we think there is some reason why some form or color or phenomenal existence appear, then, at that moment we have perfect composure.  When I have headache, there is some reason why I have headache.  If I know why I have headache I feel better, but if you don’t know why, you may say, “Oh, it’s terrible I have always headache– maybe because of bad practice.  If I…if my meditation or zen practice is better, I wouldn’t have this kind of trouble.”  If you accept things….understand things like this.  It takes time.  You will not have perfect faith in yourself, or in your practice until you attain perfection (and there’s no…I’m afraid you have no time to have perfect practice) so you have to have headache all the time.  This is rather silly practice.  This kind of practice will not work.  But if you believe in something which various….which exist before we have headache and if we know just reason why we have headache, then we feel better, naturally.  To have headache is all right because I am healthy…healthy enough to have headache.  If you have stomach ache your tummy is healthy enough to have pain, but if your tummy get accustomed to the poor condition of your tummy, you will have no pain.  That’s awful.  You are coming to the end of your life from your tummy trouble.

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September 16 1965

Thursday, September 16th, 1965
SR0007

Suzuki-roshi in the dokusan room at City Center

September 16, 1965

Rev. S. Suzuki

Thursday morning lectures

Change

The basic teaching of Buddhism is the teaching of transcendence or change.  Everything changes is the basic teaching.  And this truth is eternal truth for each existence.  And no one can deny this truth.  And all the teaching of Buddhism will be condensed in this teaching.  This is the teaching for all of us and wherever we go this teaching is true.  This teaching is also interpreted as the teaching of selflessness because our self nature of each existence is nothing but the self nature of all existence.  There is no special self nature for each existence.  And this teaching is also called teaching of nirvana.  When we realize this truth and when we resume, when we find our composure in the everlasting truth which is everything changes, we find ourselves in nirvana.  Or if we cannot accept this teaching, that everything changes, we cannot be in composure…perfect composure.

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July 29 1965

Thursday, July 29th, 1965

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

SESSHIN LECTURE: 9 AM

Thursday Morning, July 29, 1965

Lecture A

Soko-ji Temple, San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 65-07-29

Tape operator: Nine o’clock instruction, Thursday morning.

Suzuki-rōshi: Purpose of practice is to have direct experience of buddha-nature.  That is purpose of our practice.  So whatever you do, it is—it should be the direct experience of buddha-nature.

We say—in fifth precept we say, “Don’t—don’t—don’t be attached”—not “attached,” but—”don’t be—don’t violate even the precepts which is not here.”  [Laughs.]  It is rather difficult to understand.  In—in Japanese it is not so difficult, but in English it is rather difficult to understand.  It means, anyway—we say when you sit, you say I have something—something occurred in your mind which is not so good.  Some image come.  Something covered your wisdom or buddha-nature.  When you say so, you have the idea of clearness, you know, because you have—you think you have to clear up your mind from all images; you have to keep your mind clear from various images which will come to you, or which you have already—you have—which you have already should be cleared up.  This—so far you understand it, but Dōgen-zenji says:

Don’t—don’t even try to clear up your mind, even though you have something here.  Don’t want to be pure.  If you want to be pure, it means you have attached in—to pureness—purity.  That is also not so good.  Don’t attach to purity or impurity.

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