Archive for June, 1968

June 29th, 1968

Saturday, June 29th, 1968

Suzuki-roshi and Yvonne Rand at City Center

Shunryu Suzuki Lecture – 68-06-29

Esalen Institute

Second of two lectures

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 68-06-29

Last night I talked about construction of teaching and our practice in one word, how to, you know, organize, organize, this realistic, you know, teaching or this paradoxical teaching into our actual life.  It’s the purpose of practice, zazen practice.  In zazen practice, as I explained symbolically what does it mean to put this leg here and this leg here. [Demonstrates?]  This is supposed to be our activity, this is.  More or less this is openness, this is calmness of mind and this is activity. If this is wisdom this is practice.  And when we put one leg, left one, on the right side, it means we don’t know which is which. [laughs] So here we have, you know, already oneness,  symbolically.  Here this side is, you know, already activity and wisdom and hand and our posture. Our posture is vertical without tipping right or left back or forward.  This is also expression of the perfect understanding of teaching which is beyond duality of the teaching.

I want to explain this kind of idea into our rituals and/or precepts.  When we extend this kind of practice into relationship between teacher and disciple naturally we have there precepts, idea of precepts, how to observe our precepts and what is the relationship between teacher and disciple.  This is also extended idea of, extended practice of zazen practice.  Zazen, this posture, is not only, not originally maybe a kind of training or something but it is not just training it is more the actual way of transmitting Buddha’s way to us.  Through practice we can actually transmit Buddha’s teaching because words is not good enough to actualize its teaching. So, naturally how we transmit it through activity or through contact, through human relationships. Here we have relationship teacher, between teacher and disciple.  Disciple, of course, can, will, must choose his teacher.  Teacher should accept disciple when he wants job, when he’s job should accept him as a disciple.  This is sometimes teacher may recommended some other teacher for, you know, disciple.  Or else, you know, human relationship will not be perfect.  So if a teacher think, think his friend is maybe more perfect teacher for him, he may recommend him as a teacher. But, between teacher there’s there should not be any conflict.


June 28th, 1968

Friday, June 28th, 1968

Shunryu Suzuki Lecture – 68-06-28

Esalen Institute

First of two lectures

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 68-06-28

I find it’s difficult to keep contact with you when I, whenever we talk, I talk, especially when I think of difficult…very difficult to talk with some because I [several words unintelligible due to tape problems] our own study? students? but anyway I try to communicate.

First of all I am supposed to talk about our teaching.  Zen is, Zen is, for you, some special teaching.  But, for us Zen is, Buddhism is and not special teaching from the other schools of Buddhism. So, if you ask me to talk about our teaching I have have to, what I will talk is mostly teaching of Buddhism started by Buddha and developed by their teachers in India, China and Japan.

Buddha’s teaching put the emphasis on selflessness because even Buddhism it’s, is not special culture heritage.  It is part of Indian thought.  And so before Buddhism there must be some similar teaching or some opposite teaching which form a pair of opposites with Buddhism.  As you see in Upanishad there are many similar teaching based on selflessness.  Why, I think, why he put the emphasis on selflessness is because people at that time had very difficulty because of the strong idea of self, ah self.

So Buddha on the contrary put emphasis on selflessness so that there you have more balanced understanding of our life.  And for the people who find, who were trying to find out something a pleasure of life in this actual modern world, he put the emphasis on suffering so that they can understand their life from both sides.  So naturally even so his purpose of sitting or his teaching is through or form some harmonious teaching.  So, sometime he put emphasis on self, you know, instead of put the emphasis on selflessness.  He sometime rather emphasis on self.