Tuesday, August 3, 1971
Zen Mountain Center
I want to explain why we become Buddhist [laughs] or why I myself became a Buddhist. Perhaps here in America, because you have some wish, you know, hope in your future life—future life of a—future—personally your own future life. and sociologically you’re concerned about your future society. But to tell the truth, we Buddhists do not have any hope [laughs]. We do not have any hope for our human, you know, life because we understand this life is originally full of suffering. That is, you know, how we understand our society. From the beginning we understand that our world is world of suffering. And we understand why we suffer, you know, is because we expect too much. We always expect something more than you will obtain or acquire.
For an instance, everyone knows that we cannot stay young, but we want to be always young [laughs]. Once in a while, you know, when—even though you are young, once in a while you may feel, “Oh gee, I am twenty-five now [laughs]. Oh, I am not anymore young.” [Laughs, laughter.] You may feel in that way. That is, you know, good evidence that you want to be always young. But that is not possible, you know. We want to experience what you have, but that is not also possible.
Things are changing always, so nothing can be yours. So whatever you want—you want to be or you want to have, nothing can be possible for you to obtain or to have it. That is actually how our human world is. Actually it is so. But still, we want to be fooled by [laughs] something. That is maybe why we say human beings do not like something real. But human being like something unreal. That is very true. You don’t like anything real. So after, you know, give up all the hopes you have in mundane world, we become Buddhist.