Archive for June, 1969

June 22nd, 1969

Sunday, June 22nd, 1969

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Sunday, June 22, 1969

San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 69-06-22


Dōgen-zenji says:  “Everything is encourages us to attain enlightenment.  Mountains and rivers, earth and sky:  everything is encouraging us to attain enlightenment.”  So, of course, a purpose of lecture is to encourage—to encourage you attaining enlightenment.  So we call our lecture, you know, teishō.  Teishō means “with teaching—with kōan,” to help people to attain enlightenment.


And usual lecture—sometime to explain the context of teaching—like to explain philosophy—to understand our teaching in philosophical way is more a “lecture”—a kōwa.[1]   Kōwa is more philosophical.  And purpose of to listen to kōwa is to have intellectual understanding of the teaching.  While teishō is to encourage students to attain enlightenment, or to have perfect understanding of—to have real experience of—to have real Buddhist experience.


So same thing will be subj- [partial word]—topic of our everyday life in its ordinal [ordinary?] sense.  And same thing will be kōan [definitely said “kōan” here] to encourage—to encourage us to attain, to have direct experience of our life.  Even though you think you are studying Buddhism, actually, you are, when you are just reading, you know [laughs]—it is—it may be—it may not be true or it will not help to have direct experience of Buddhism but just intellectual understanding of it.


June 17th, 1969

Tuesday, June 17th, 1969

Suzuki-roshi in the dokusan room at City Center

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Tuesday Evening, June 17, 1969

San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 69-06-17


[1]  Just to—just to practice zazen, you know, will not be perfect enough.  So more and more I want to make our rule strict and maybe formal and rigid, or else [laughs], you know, you will waste your time, I think.  How should we establish our system of practice in San Francisco is—will be our future subject.


I started to explain, you know, the way upward and way downwards—or to help others or—and to—or help yourself:  to climb up [to] the top of the pole and to come down from the top of the pole.  This is rather fancy, you know, more advanced practice.  So it may be—it may not be necessary for you actually to explain this point, but it may be important for us to understand or to know what kind of practice you will have after you enter our practice hall.


And only when you actually started our true practice in our zendō, that practice will be extended in your everyday life.  And this evening I want to, you know, explain this point more:  how to develop our everyday zazen—our zazen practice to our everyday life, because to follow rigid practice does not mean Zen is always, you know, to—to follow rigid rituals or rigid practice is Zen.


It is necessary for you to get through that road—that door, but that is just door.  So to make—I want to explain what I—kind of practice you will have after you enter the door, or else no one will come to Zen Center [laughs] if I—if you say, “Just to follow the rigid practice is the—Zen.  And Zen Center way is just to sit—come and sit at certain time and to follow teacher’s instruction, very formal—which is very formal.”  Then no one will come to Zen Center, I am afraid.  So I want to explain little bit, you know, about this point, as much as possible.


June 1st, 1969

Sunday, June 1st, 1969

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

June 1969


Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 69-06-01

A famous Chinese Zen master, Yakusan,[1] did not give lectures for a long time.  So his student asked him to give a lecture.  So he came to lecture hall and mounted the altar, and sitting on the altar for a while, and came back to his room without saying anything.  And his jisha asked him why he didn’t give them lecture—some talk.  Yakusan said:  “I am a Zen master.  So if you want—if you want to listen to lecture, you should go to some—some other master, like some Buddhist philosopher or someone who knows many scriptures.  But I am Zen master, so you should know that I am Zen master,” he said.

Last night Reverend Katagiri[2] was talking about how we should make our effort.  When we say “to make some effort,” [it] means to make effort with some goal or with some aim.  For many hundreds of years, especially after Renaissance, we human being are involved in how to make our life easier and happy.  So we are involved in scientific research.  And to make effort means to find out some—to be involved in some scientific research, or to make freeway, or to work, to find a job, to earn some money, and to make our life happier—mostly in materialistic way.

So “to make effort” means, I think—mostly, we understand in that way.  But to make effort or to study something means—does not mean that kind of study like the student of Yakusan who asked him to give some lecture.