Archive for August, 1965

August 28 1965 Second Talk

Saturday, August 28th, 1965

Suzuki-roshi in Japan in traveling monk garb

Suzuki-roshi in Japan in traveling monk garb

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi


Saturday, August 28, 1965

Lecture B

San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 65-08-28 2nd Talk

Tape operator (Richard Baker): This is the end of the one o’clock lecture.  There may be another lecture later, which will follow immediately if there is.

[Recorder stopped and restarted.]

Suzuki-rōshi: [Laughs.]  I have nothing in my mind.  [Laughs.]  I don’t know about what should I talk.  So will you give me some topic—topics to talk about?  Or question?

Student A: You say that we shouldn’t be critical of our practice.  But you say that if all of us [3–4 words] the part of us that desires to express our buddha-nature is the part that we should [1 word] on.

Suzuki-rōshi: Um-hmm.

Student A: Well, I don’t know how to say it, but [laughs].  When—when we’re learning to be practicing [?], we’re not supposed to be critical of our own practice, right?

Suzuki-rōshi: Mm-hmm.

Student A: But, at the same time—

Suzuki-rōshi: Yeah.

Student A: —it’s the part of us that is critical—

Suzuki-rōshi: Uh-huh.

Student A: —that is the—that’s what makes us practice.


August 28 1965

Saturday, August 28th, 1965

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi


Saturday, August 28, 1965

San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 65-08-28

Tape operator: This is the beginning of the—it will be that we missed this morning’s lecture at 9, which was a good one, and this lecture is at—will be at one o’clock, and it’s the—this is a one-day sesshin, August 28.

Suzuki-rōshi: Confucius said the most visible is the something invisible.  There are many proverb—Oriental proverb the same kind in Japanese:  “A firefly, without voice, burns its body with enthusiasm, rather than cicada, which is noisy.”[1] This is the same—same meaning.  Firefly burns itself by its enthusiasm, rather than noisy cicada [laughs].  Do you know insect cicada?

This kind of idea is very Oriental.  You say Japanese culture—shibui.  Shibui means “not conspicuous,” just common, and not colorful.  And it express deep taste.  I think those idea is originated our practice.  Any tradi- [partial word]—if you want to keep the tradition or culture or heritage, this point is very important.  We say this kind of effort is to accumulate unknown virtue or unknown merit:  to do something where nobody notice it; to do something fundamental; to devote ourselves mostly [to] the fundamental work.


August 26 1965

Thursday, August 26th, 1965

Suzuki Roshi in the courtyard of Beginner's Mind Temple (City Center)

Suzuki Roshi in the courtyard of Beginner's Mind Temple (City Center)

August 28, 1965

Rev. S. Suzuki

Thursday morning lecture (26th – DC note 2008)

In zen poem says, ‘after the wind stop I see the flower falling….I see a flower falling.  Because of the singing bird I find the mountain…mountain calmness’.  When something happens in the realm of calmness we find the calmness.  Before anything happens to the calmness we do not feel the calmness.  In Japanese saying it says, ‘for the moon there is the cloud.  For the flower we have wind’.  Actually….usually it means the effervescence of life which we find it very difficult to live in it – effervescence of life.  But in effervescence of life we should find….we can find the joy of eternal life.  When you see the moon covered by cloud…a part of it covered by cloud…you will find the roundness of the moon.  If you…when you see the moon…clear moon without any cloud over…anything…trees or sun or weed…you do not feel the moon so round as you see it through something.


August 19 1965

Thursday, August 19th, 1965

August 19, 1965

Rev. S. Suzuki

Thursday morning lecture


If you go to Japan and visit Eiheiji monastery….before you enter the monastery you will see the small bridge called Han Sak Kyo.  “Han Sak Kyo” means half dipper bridge.  Half dipper bridge.  Whenever Dogen Zenji used (dipped) water from the river, after he used half of it he returned the water to the river again without throwing it away.  That is why we call that bridge Han Sak Kyo – Half dipper bridge.


August 8 1965

Sunday, August 8th, 1965

Suzuki-roshi sitting in the old Tassajara Zendo (now the student dining area)

August 12, 1965

Rev. S Suzuki lecture

Lecture on Posture

I want to explain about our posture we take.  When you sit left foot is on your right side, and right foot is on your left side.  This is full lotus posture.  When we cross our legs like this, although we have right and left foot, it is actually become one.  So it means oneness of the duality.  Not two, not one.  This is the most important teaching.  Not two and not one.  Our body and mind is not two and not one.  If you think our body and mind is two that is wrong.  If you think your mind and body is one that is also wrong.  Because our mind and body is two and one.  We call it oneness of our duality.  In…usually, if it is not one, it is two or four.  If it is not singular it is plural.  If it is not plural it is singular.  But in actual experience of life, our life is not plural, not only plural, but also singular.  Each one of us are independent and dependent.  We…after some years we will die.  That will be the end of our life but if we just think that is our end of life that is wrong understanding.  And if we think we do not die, that is also wrong understanding.  We die and we do not die and that is right understanding.


August 5 1965

Thursday, August 5th, 1965

August 5, 1965

Rev. Suzuki’s talk on Great Prajna Paramita Sutra

I want to give the conclusion to this Prajna Paramita Sutra this morning.  In short, this sutra suggests to us how everything exists.  Everything exists in two ways, visible and invisible.  Something visible is not invisible.  Actual existence has two faces, visible and umm…invisible.  Something visible is not visible.  Something not visible is visible.  That is true.  Because you think only something visible is only existence so you attach to something visible.  And when you think only thing exists is something visible you become attached to some particular thing.  If you understand something visible is not …is at the same time invisible, and something invisible…is something invisible actually exists, there will be no need to be attached to something visible only and there will be no need for you to be afraid of losing your existence in visible realm.  If you understand two faces of ultimate existence there is no more fear and you own everything.

The practice… practice of zen you will have actual feeling of this feeling.  So in this sutra says… “Form is emptiness”.  Form is something visible and emptiness is something invisible.  If I say in this way it is too abstract, so it may be rather difficult to understand.