Posts Tagged ‘Windbell’

October 16 1965

Saturday, October 16th, 1965

OCTOBER SESSHIN LECTURE

Shunryū Suzuki

October 16, 1965 (Wind Bell, Nov.–Dec. 1965)

Transcribed by Trudy Dixon

Afternoon Lecture:

It is a great joy to practice sesshin with you in this way. I think this is quite unusual to be practicing zazen with many students in this room. Even in Japan I don’t think this is always possible. Japan and America are not so far away today, although the ways of life are quite different from each other. I have studied many things in America which I could not study in Japan. And I think that you will study many things from us which you cannot study in America. In this way our effort will bring some result if we keep our straightforward way in practice.

(more…)

July 1965

Thursday, July 1st, 1965

MODEL SUBJECT NO. 86

FROM THE HEKIGAN ROKU

“UMMON’S ‘STORE-ROOM AND TEMPLE GATE‘”

Translation and Commentary by Master Shunryū Suzuki

Roku:

Ummon Bun’en (?-949) was a disciple of Seppō and founder of the Ummon School, one of five schools of Chinese Zen Buddhism (Rinzai, Igyō, Ummon, Hōgen, and Sōtō).

During the political confusion at the end of the Tang Dynasty all the major schools of Chinese Buddhism (Tendai, Hosso, Ritsu, and Shingon) were in decline, except Zen, which was strengthened by the persecutions and the difficulty in traveling to escape persecution and to visit various Zen masters.  The hard practice of Seppō and Ummon during that time has been and still is a good example for all Zen students.

Introductory Word:

Introducing, Engo said:  To control the world without omitting a single feather, to stop all the streams of passion without losing a single drop, this is the great teacher’s activity.  If you open your mouth (in a dualistic sense) in his presence, you will fall in error.  Hesitate and you will be lost.  Who has eyes to penetrate barriers of this kind?  Ponder the following.

(more…)

April 1965

Thursday, April 1st, 1965

SRC0076

MODEL SUBJECT NO. 84

FROM THE BLUE CLIFF RECORDS

YUIMA’S “THE LAW GATE TO THE ONE AND ONLY”

The Hekigan Roku, translated into English by R.D.M. Shaw under the title of the Blue Cliff Records,[1] is a famous collection of 100 kōan stories compiled by Setchō Juken (A.D. 980–1052), who added an “Appreciatory Word” to each one.  A later Zen Master, Engo Kokugon (A.D. 1063–1135) added his “Introductory Word” as a kind of Preface to each Main Subject.  The following is a translation and commentary of Main Subject No. 84 by Reverend Suzuki.

YUIMA’S “THE DOCTRINE OF ATTAINING NON-DUALITY”

This Model Subject is about the Yuima-gyō (the Vimalakīrti-nirdesha Sūtra). This sūtra is as famous as the Shoman-gyō (the Srimala-simhanada Sūtra). Both sūtras relate stories reputed to have taken place during the time of Shākyamuni Buddha, and both have great Mahāyānistic spirit. The hero of the Yuima-gyō, Yuima, was a koji (a householder or lay Buddhist), while the heroine of the Shoman-gyō was a daughter of King Hashinoku (Prasenajit) and empress of a king in a neighboring country. She became an adherent of Buddhism and received juki (recognition as one who will achieve Buddhahood), and gave her people a sermon about Mahāyāna Buddhism in the presence of Buddha.

(more…)

February 1965

Monday, February 1st, 1965

MODEL SUBJECT NO. 82

FROM THE BLUE CLIFF RECORDS

DAIRYŪ’S IMMUTABLE LAW-BODY

Translation and Commentary by Reverend Suzuki

Introductory Word:

Introducing, Engo said:  Only a man with open eyes knows the catgut line of the fishing rod.  Only an advanced mind catches the true idea of the extraordinary procedure.  What is the catgut line of the fishing rod and the extraordinary procedure?

Main Subject:

Attention!  A monk asked Dairyū, “The physical body is disintegrating, but what about the immutable spiritual body?”

Note:

As you may see, this monk is apparently asking a question based on a dualistic idea: an immutable spiritual body and as a disintegrating physical body. However, not speaking of Zen experience or pure Enlightenment, according to the Buddhist philosophical canon: every existence has the same essential nature which is spiritual and physical, permanent and impermanent.

(more…)

December 1964

Tuesday, December 1st, 1964

SR0027

MODEL SUBJECT NO. 75

FROM THE HEKIGAN ROKU

(BLUE CLIFF RECORDS)

December 1964

Introductory Word:

The treasure sword always is present (beyond oneness and duality). It is a life-taking sword and yet a life-giving sword. Sometimes it is here (in the teacher’s hand) and sometimes there (in the student’s hand); but this make no difference. gaining or losing it and its positive and negative use are at each other’s disposal. Just consider! How do you make good use of the Treasure Sword without attaching to the idea of host and guest, or integration and disintegration?

Note by Reverend Suzuki:

In the last Wind Bell, in the discussion of Model Subject No. 73, I explained the Middle Way or negative aspect of life, which provides us with the full meaning of life in various circumstances. In this Introductory Word, En-go presents the same aspect under the name of Treasure Sword.

These subjects are kōans to which Zen students devote themselves with great effort. It is important to confront yourself with the experiences of the old Zen students by reading these stories over and over again. I shall be very glad if you will give my writing your critical attention. (more…)

November 1964

Sunday, November 1st, 1964

MODEL SUBJECT NO. 73

FROM THE BLUE CLIFF RECORDS

BASO’S FOUR PROPOSITIONS,

ONE HUNDRED NEGATIONS

November 1964

Engo’s Introductory Word

Introducing, he said: The true preaching of Dharma goes beyond preaching or not preaching (true preaching is not preaching). True listening to Dharma is not only a matter of listening or not (true listening is no listening). If the true word is beyond perception (true preaching is no preaching), it may be better not to speak. If true listening is something other than listening or not (true listening is not listening), it may be better not to speak.

However, to speak of Dharma without saying anything about it, and to listen to it without ideas about it are perfect ways to transmit right Dharma. This no-preaching and no-listening is all that is needed.

Well, you are in my monastery and listening to my words. But how can you avoid the difficulties to have perfect understanding of right Dharma by words?

If you have the wisdom to get through these difficulties, I will introduce you to an example to ponder.

Notes by Reverend Suzuki on the above translation.

1.  I gave a free but faithful rendering of the original text according to the instruction of my Master, Kishizawa Ian-rōshi.

Usually no is negative, but no at the same time is a stronger affirmative than yes. It means emancipation from yes and no. No word means right word under some circumstances, and at the same time, under other circumstances, it means that the connotation of the word should be denied. Saying no form, no color, should be understood in the same way. (more…)

August 1964

Saturday, August 1st, 1964

sr0172

THE TRADITIONAL WAY

Summary of Reverend Suzuki’s Sesshin Lectures

by

Nota bene.-Trudy Dixon

Zen Center’s annual week Sesshin (concentrated period of meditation) was held this year from August 10 through August 15th.  During the Sesshin, the main theme of the daily lectures given by Master Suzuki was The Traditional Way of Buddhism transmitted from Buddha down through the Patriarchs to the present day.  His opening talks concerned the sutras and rituals which are part of the daily zazen practice in the zendō of Soko-ji Temple.  The following is a rough paraphrase of some of what Master Suzuki said.

To understand what the “Traditional Way” of Buddhism is and to actualize it in one’s own life are the most important points in being a sincere Buddhist.  The Traditional Way of Buddhism, although it is dependent upon no particular form for its expression, the sutras and rituals handed down to us from the Patriarchs are a great help to us.  A part of the ritual which may be particularly difficult for Americans to understand and accept is the bowing.  After zazen (sitting meditation) we bow to the floor nine times in front of Buddha’s altar, each time touching the forehead to the floor three times and lifting the palms of the hands.  (The story of the origin of this practice is that during Buddha’s lifetime, there was a woman who wished to show her respect for Buddha, but who was so poor that she had no gift to give.  So she knelt down and touching her forehead to the floor spread out her hair for him to pass over.  The deep sincerity of the woman’s devotion inspired the practice of bowing to this day).  (more…)

June 1964

Monday, June 1st, 1964

A DISCUSSION OF MODEL SUBJECT NO.  51

FROM THE BLUE CLIFF RECORD (HEKIGANROKU)

Translation and commentary by Rev.  S.  Suzuki

Zen Master, Zen Center

1964

SEPPŌ’S “WHAT IS IT?”

Seppō was a good example of a well-trained Zen Master.  “Three times a visitor to Tōsu and nine times an attendant to Tōzan” became one of the catchwords of Zen practice signifying Seppō’s hard discipline.

He was born in 822 and died in 908 near the end of the Tang Dynasty.  The Emperor was killed by Shuzenchu in 904.  The next and last Emperor of the Tang Dynasty, supported by this traitor, lasted for only four years.  A dark restless period followed the Tang Dynasty.  A severe persecution occurred when Seppō was twenty years old (845).  Metalware throughout the land was turned into coin, including temple bells and images of Buddha.  4,600 temples were destroyed, 26,500 priests and nuns were cast out of the order along with 2,000 priests of other religions except Taoist.

The other principal character of this model subject, Gantō (828-887), was killed by a mob.  He was a good friend of Seppō, and they had both been born in the province of Fukien.  Both went on long, hard pilgrimages from northeast to southeast China, visiting many famous masters.  As stated, they are said to have visited Tosu Daido three times and Tōzan Ryokai (Sōtō School) nine times.  You may imagine how hard they practiced. (more…)

May 1964

Friday, May 1st, 1964

src0031

MODEL SUBJECT NO. 53

FROM THE HEKIGAN ROKU

(BLUE CLIFF RECORDS)

May 1964

Introductory Word by Engo

Introducing Engo said, “Obtaining the sole existing independent body, the total free activity takes place.”  (When you become one with an object, your activity is omnipresent, the activity of one existence.)  “On each occasion, an enlightened mind is quite free from intercourse with the world.”  (This is called intuitive free activity.)  “Only because he has no idea of self are his words powerful enough to put an end to ordinary mind.”  (Baso’s powerful way in this main-subject.)  Think for a while.  After all, from what place did the ancients get the ultimate restfulness.  Ponder about the following subject.

Main Subject

Attention!  Once, when Baso was walking with his disciple Hyakujo, wild ducks were flying over them.  Baso, the great teacher, said, “What are they?”  Hyakujo said, “They are wild ducks.”  Baso said, “Where are they going?”  Hyakujo said, “They are flying away.”

Baso gave Hyakujo’s nose a great tweak.  Hyakujo cried out with pain.  Baso said, “Did they indeed fly off?”

(more…)

April 1964

Wednesday, April 1st, 1964

MODEL SUBJECT NO. 52

FROM THE HEKIGAN ROKU

(BLUE CLIFF RECORDS)

JOSHU’S “DONKEYS CROSS, HORSES CROSS.”

With an Introduction and Commentary by Reverend Suzuki,

Master of Zen Center

April 1964

Introduction by Reverend Suzuki:

Jo-shu (Personal name: Sramanera) of this subject was a native of Northern China. When he was ordained (at quite a young age), he visited Nan-sen with his master. “Do you know the name of this monastery?” asked Nan-sen, who had been taking a nap in his room. The boy said, “Sacred Elephant Monastery.” “Then did you see a sacred elephant? asked Nan-sen. The boy replied, “I did not see any sacred elephants, but I saw a reclining bodhisattva.”  Nan-sen raised himself up and said, “Have you your own master now?” “yes, I have, said the boy. “Who is he?” asked Nan-sen. To this the boy Sramanera made a formal obeisance which should be given only to his own master, saying, “Spring cold is still here. Please take good care of yourself.” Nan-sen called up Ino-osho (who took care of the monastery) and gave him a seat.

One day Nan-sen allowed Jo-shu to meet him in his room. Jo-shu asked Nan-sen, “What is the true Way?” “Ordinary mind is the true Way,” said Nan-sen. “Is it something to be attained or not to be attained?” asked Jo-shu. “To try to attain it is to avert from it.” said Nan-sen. “When you do not try to attain it, how do you know the true Way? asked Jo-shu. To this question, Nan-sen’s answer was very polite. “The true way is not a matter to be known or not to be known. To know is to have a limited idea of it, and not to know is just psychological unawareness. If you want to achieve the absolute, where there is no doubt, you should be clear enough and vast enough to be like empty space.” Hereby Jo-shu acquired full understanding of the true way of Zen. (more…)