Posts Tagged ‘Genjo Koan’

August 23rd, 1967

Wednesday, August 23rd, 1967

GENJŌ-KŌAN NO. 3 [2?]

Wednesday, August 23, 1967

Sesshin Lecture No. 4 [sic]

Zen Mountain Center, Tassajara

Edited by Brian Fikes (Not Verbatim, the tape is no longer available)

Buddhism is not any special teaching, and enlightenment is not any particular stage that you attain.  When you understand your life completely, that is enlightenment.  So though the approach to it is not the same, as long as you study sincerely, you will reach the same goal.  You may think you have discovered a new teaching, but almost all the teachings we discover have already been discovered by Buddhist teachers.  You may say Buddhism is the accumulation of our human experience.  So whatever you make effort on, there is the way.

Some people are always trying to discover some particular way for themselves.  That is not the true way to study; this kind of idea is utterly wrong.  So we say, “Don’t seek for any particular enlightenment.”  Enlightenment is not something particular.  When you start to study Buddhism, thinking that it is good to expect that Buddhism will give you some particular teaching, if you cannot satisfy your expectations, you will give up.  This is not how we study.

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August 21st, 1967

Monday, August 21st, 1967

Suzuki-roshi and Lama Govinda

GENJŌ-KŌAN NO.  2 [1?]

Monday, August 21, 1967

Zen Mountain Center, Tassajara

Edited by Brian Fikes

There is a slight difference between your usual activity and the activity in our monastery.  Of course, we do our best in our everyday work in order to support our activity.  The work you do should be done with your very best effort and to the best of your ability.  But you should not be too attached or take pride in your ability.  Forgetting all about your ability and the result of your effort, you should still do your best in your work.  This is how you work in a monastery as a part of practice.

And everyone has their own responsibility.  We should work within our responsibilities; we should not invade someone else’s responsibility.  This is also the teaching of “form is emptiness and emptiness is form.” We are working on something right now, and we do not know what we will work on tomorrow.  But right now, what you are working on is your practice, and when you work, just work in your position.  In your posi­tion and in your work there is meaning.  So each one’s responsibility or position is very important for us.  If this is the case, we should not invade someone else’s work.  Each of us should work on our position.  When you do so, there is our practice.  Form is emptiness and emptiness is form.  When you work on the form which is your responsibility, which is your work, there is empti­ness.  But the form, or the position, you have right now is not a permanent one.  Right now you are working on it, and right now you should work on it.  Through your position, you can attain your own enlightenment.  We should work in this way.

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August 20th, 1967

Sunday, August 20th, 1967

GENJŌ-KŌAN NO.  1 [3?]

Sunday, August 20, 1967

Morning Sesshin

Zen Mountain Center, Tassajara

Edited by Brian Fikes

(Note from Brian Fikes:  The first portion of this lecture was not recorded.  This is the first [sic][1] in a series of [three] lectures on the Genjokoan given      during the sesshin ending the first training period at Tassajara.)

There are four ways of understanding the relationship of form and emptiness: form is emptiness, emptiness is form, form is form, and emptiness is emptiness.  “Form is emptiness” may not be so difficult to understand, but it will be misunderstood by some advanced, hasty people.  “Yes, form is emptiness.  There is no need for us to attach to some particular thing.  Form is emptiness.”  This looks very clear, and this view of life is better than attaching to some particular form or color, because in it there are actually many, many views of life.  And this view of non‑existence is deeper than the view of seeing many things which actually look per­manent and which look like they have some self‑na­ture.  But as we explained already, and as you have already understood, there is no special self‑nature for anything, and everything is changing.  As long as everything is changing, nothing is permanent.  So this [form is emptiness] may be a more advanced view of life.

But “emptiness is form” is rather difficult to understand.  The empti­ness which is the absolute goal we will attain, which is enlightenment itself, is form.  So whatever you do is enlightenment itself.  This is rather difficult to understand, or to accept, because you think emptiness is some unusual thing.  Something unusual is something very common.  This is rather difficult to understand, especially when you practice zazen.  Even though your practice is not perfect, that is enlightenment.  This statement is very difficult to accept.  “No, my practice is not perfect.”  But when we under­stand form is emptiness, and emptiness is form, back and forth in this way, and form is form, and emptiness is emptiness, when emptiness comes, everything is emptiness, and when form comes, form is form, and we accept things as it is.

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June 19, 1966 4th Talk

Sunday, June 19th, 1966

Suzuki-roshi holding a flower

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

GENJŌ-KŌAN:  PARAGRAPHS 11-13

Sunday, June 19, 1966[1]

Lecture D

Sōkō-ji Temple, San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 66-06-19 4th talk

When the truth—

—the last paragraph in Page 2.[2]

When the truth does not fill our body and mind, we think that—we think that we have enough.  When the truth fill our body and mind, we know that something is missing.  For an example, when we view the world from a boat on the ocean, it looks circular and nothing else.  But the ocean is neither round nor square, and its features are infinite in variety.  It is like a place—it is palace—it is like a palace.  It is like a jewel.  It seems circular as far as our eyes can reach at the time.  All things are so.  Though there may—there are many features in the dusty life and the pure life, we only understand what our study can reach.  And in our study of all things we must appreciate that although they may look round or square, the other features of oceans or mountains are infinite in variety, and universes lies in all squares [quarters].  It is so not only around ourselves, but also directly here—even in a drop of water.

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June 19, 1966 2nd talk

Sunday, June 19th, 1966

Suzuki-roshi in the wilderness near Tassajara

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

GENJŌ-KŌAN: PARAGRAPHS 7-9

Sunday, June 19, 1966[1]

Lecture B

Sōkō-ji Temple, San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 66-06-19 2nd talk

[Now it is specifically taught in Buddhism that life does not become death.] [2] For this reason, life [is] called “no-life.”  It is specifically taught in Buddhism that death does not become life.  Therefore, death is called “no-death.”

Life is a period of itself; death is a period of itself.  They are like winter and spring.  We do not call winter the future spring, nor spring the future summer.

Here he talks about life and death.  But this life and death does not just mean the problem of life and death.  By “life and death” he means understanding of existence and non-existence, or unconditionality and conditionality.  When you practice Zen, our purpose of religion or goal of the religion is not in—to attain some state of mind non- —called non-existence.  We want to attain enlightenment in realm of—both in realm of non-existent and existent.  This is a Buddhist way of understanding—Buddhist way of practice.

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June 19 1966

Sunday, June 19th, 1966

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

GENJŌ-KŌAN:  PARAGRAPHS 1–11

Sunday Morning, June 19, 1966

Lecture A

Sōkō-ji Temple, San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 66-06-19

Suzuki-rōshi: Someone has my—my paper.[1]

Student: [4-6 words unclear.]  Wednesday night—[6-8 words]—Wednesday night.

Suzuki-rōshi: Wednesday?

Student: Yeah.  Finish the whole thing.

Suzuki-rōshi: Hmm?

Student: Wednesday night we finish the whole thing.

Suzuki-rōshi: No, Wednesday we do Shushōgi.[2] Do you finish until the bottom part of Page 3?

Student: No, I think we finished the whole thing.

Suzuki-rōshi: Whole thing.

Student: Wednesday night we did it.

Suzuki-rōshi: Oh.  [Laughs.]  Wednesday night?  Oh.  [Laughs, laughter.]  Oh.  Big mistake.  Okay.

Student: Maybe there are some here Sunday morning that weren’t here Wednesday night.

Suzukirōshi: Mm-hmm.  All right.  Then—paragraph—in each paragraph, I—I think you want some brief comment so that you can understand—

Aside by Suzuki-rōshi: It’s all right.

—so that you can understand all the—whole part of—whole [laughter] fascicle.

The first paragraph is the framework of whole Buddhism.  First paragraph:

All—when all things are in Buddhist way or Buddhist phenomena, we are enlightenment and ignorance, something to study, life and death, buddha, and people.  When all things are without self, we have no ignorance, no enlightenment, no doubt, no buddha, no people, and no life and no death.  The Buddhist way is beyond being and non-being.  Therefore we have life and death, ignorance and enlightenment, people and buddha.  However, flowers fall with our attachment, and weeds grow with our detachment.

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May 26 1966

Thursday, May 26th, 1966

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

May Sesshin Lecture:  GENJŌ-KŌAN, PARAGRAPHS 5-13

Thursday, May 26, 1966[1]

Sunday Morning

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 66-05-26

Page 2:[2]

Firewood turns into ash, and it does not turn into firewood again.  But do not suppose that the ash is after and the firewood before.  We must understand that firewood is at the stage of firewood, and there must—and there we find—there we find its before and after.  And yet with this past and future, its present is independent of them.  Ash is at the stage of ash, and there we find its before and after.  Just as firewood does not become firewood again after it’s—after it is ash, so does not ret- [partial word]—so a—so man does not return to life after his death.

In this paragraph, he [Dōgen-zenji] taught us the absolute independent—independency of our various existence, which covers everything.  Because it include everything, it is independent being.
So here we find the absolute liberation.  When we practice zazen, concentrating ourselves on each breathing, we are absolute independent being.

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May 25 1966

Wednesday, May 25th, 1966

Suzuki-roshi in Japan

Suzuki-roshi in Japan

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

May Sesshin Lecture:  GENJŌ-KŌAN, PARAGRAPHS 1–2

Wednesday, May 25, 1966[1]

1 PM or 6 PM LECTURE

Sōkō-ji Temple, San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 66-05-25

The secret of all the teaching of Buddhism is how to live on each moment.  Moment after moment we have to obtain the absolute freedom.  And moment after moment, we exist in interdependency to past and future and other existence.  So in short, to practice—if you practice zazen, concentrating yourself on your breathing moment after moment, that is how to keep precepts, how to have the actual understanding of Buddhist teaching, and how to help others, and how to help yourself, how to attain liberation.  Why we call true Zen the capital city of religion is we have actually m- [partial word]—gist of teaching and secret of practice—to understand various religion and various way of practice through and through.

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March 13, 1966

Sunday, March 13th, 1966

Suzuki-roshi at Tassajara

Suzuki-roshi at Tassajara

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Sesshin Lecture:  GENJŌ-KŌAN, PARAGRAPHS 1–3

Sunday Morning, March 13, 1966

Lecture A

Sōkō-ji Temple, San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 66-03-13

Good morning.  This lecture is for advanced student in his practice, but I think this lecture will help you even though you haven’t advanced practice.  And at least some day you will understand this lecture.  This is the gist of Dōgen’s teaching, and various offshoot are the 95 fascicle of—fascicles of his work.  This is basic teaching—basic teaching of Dōgen.

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