QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Sunday, August 8, 1971
Zen Mountain Center
(The interchange with the last questioner is not included in the audio file)
Tonight I have nothing to talk about [laughs]. Empty hand. No book. I just appeared here [laughter]. But as Yakusan-zenji did, I wouldn’t go back to my room without saying anything. If you ask some questions, I will answer. In that way, I want to spend just one hour with you. Okay? If you have some questions, please ask me. Ask. Okay. Hai.
Student A: Rōshi, I notice that often when I wake up in the morning the first minute or so my mind is sort of unclear. [Remaining 3-6 sentences unclear.]
Suzuki-rōshi: It is because you are [at] Tassajara pretty long time, and you have not much problem to follow our schedule. So you have, maybe—you have time to think [about] something else, you know [laughs]. That is, maybe, the reason. At first, as we—as it is difficult to follow our schedule and to know exactly what we do in zendō. First of all you think about [how?] to go to zendō anyway, you know. That will be the first thing you think about. But more and more, you feel as if you can do pretty well. I think that is main reason. I think that is not so good, but that is—anyway that will be the problem for the student who stay pretty long time here. So if it is so, I must give you a big slap [laughs], but now I—I want to ask you—I have a question, you know. Why do I give you a slap—because your practice is not so good? [Taps stick several times.] What will be the reason for—reason of the slap?
Student A: It seems [1-2 words] to my mind, to—to wake me up right now.
Student A: And I [4-8 words].
Suzuki-rōshi: Mm-hmm. When you just wake up, you know, you have—you don’t have, you know, so many things in your mind. Your mind is clear. And when your mind is clear, you have to come to zendō. And our practice should be continuous view [?] of practice, but that is actually not so easy. So—but if—if something appears already, it can’t be helped, you know. You shouldn’t fight with it. Even so, even [if] you have problem, [and] your mind is not clear, you should come. That is what you should do. To encourage that kind of practice, I give you slap or dōan or ino will, if you are still in bed, you know, for an instance. Someone will go to—to bring you to the zendō.