Archive for April, 1970

April 28th, 1970

Tuesday, April 28th, 1970


Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi


Tuesday, April 28, 1970

San Francisco

 Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 70-04-28


Since Tatsugami-rōshi[1]  came, you must have heard Dōgen-zenji’s name so many times.  But Dōgen-zenji may not like to hear his name so many times [laughs].  But unfortunately he had a name like Dōgen, so [laughs] there is no other way to address him.  So we call him Dōgen-zenji or Dōgen.


As you know, he didn’t like to say “Zen” even, or Zen—in China they called monks who sit in zazen, called [them] “Zen monks,” but he didn’t like to call “Zen” even.  And he said if necessary you should call us “Buddha’s disciple.”  Shamon, you know, he called himself Shamon Dōgen—”A Monk Dōgen.”


In China, there were many various schools like Rinzai, Sōtō, Ummon, Hōgen, Igyō.  But Nyojō-zenji’s—Nyojō-zenji,[2]  who was Dōgen’s teacher then, was not, according to Dōgen, [from] one of the five schools of Zen or seven[3]  schools of Zen.  His Zen is just to practice zazen, to realize—to actually realize by his body Buddha’s mind, Buddha’s spirit.  That was his Zen.  That was why Dōgen accepted him as his teacher.


Before he—Dōgen went to China, he studied Hiezan [Onjō-ji?]—Tendai—main temple of Tendai school.  And after Tendai, he went to Eisei—Eisai-zenji[4]—Yoshin-ji [Kennin-ji?], and then he went to China because Eisai-zenji passed away when he was very young.  So he went to China to continue his practice with good teacher.


April 25th, 1970

Saturday, April 25th, 1970

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi


Saturday, April 25, 1970[1]

San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 70-04-25

[This audio file is a recording of the entire ceremony. The transcribed text below begins at 41:47.]

Suzuki-rōshi (speaking formally):  On this day of the opening of Mahābodhisattva Zendō and main office of Zen Center, we arranged this altar, making offering of fruits and vegetables which were produced in this land of Mahābodhisattva, reciting sūtra of Daihi-shin Darani, the Sūtra of the Great Compassionate One.


With this merit, we want to express our way-seeking mind with our deceased friend Trudy Dixon, Baiho Sesshin [1 word],[2] and Zenkei Dosaku Koji, Sōtō Sanjō,[3] and Sister F. Carlson, and all those who helped our activity by the spirit of Buddha or by various kinds of offering.


Hereby, we want to practice bodhisattva way step by step, so that our practice of step by step was paying back the mercy of Buddha and great bodhisattvas in India, China, and Japan.


Hereby, now, I have one statement which has been in my mind for more than ten years:  Even on top of the mountain of great merit, we should try not …  [Tape recorder stopped!]




Source:  City Center tape first transcribed verbatim by Katharine Shields (6/19/00).  Checked against tape by Bill Redican (9/28/00).

 [1]  The tape on which this transcript was made was a compilation tape numbered SR-70-08-09.  The original tapes appear to be SR-70-04-25A
and -B.  The original tapes may contain the complete lectures, but they are afflicted with sound problems that must first be remedied.

 [2]  Two Buddhist names were given to her at her lay ordination in 1967:  Baiho Sesshin (“Fragrant Plum, Pure Mind”).

 [3]  Sanjō may mean “delegate” or “visitor”:  e.g., delegate from the Sōtō-shū (school) headquarters.

April 12th, 1970

Sunday, April 12th, 1970

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi


Sunday, April 12, 1970

San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 70-04-12

The April—April the eighth is the day we celebrate Buddha’s birthday in China and Japan.  As you know, Buddha was born as a prince of Shākya tribe—a king of Shākya tribe.  And when he was born in the Lumbinī Garden,[1]  nāgas[2]  poured sweet tea.  That is why we pour the sweet tea.  But actually we don’t know the historical origin about this because we have not much record about the sweet tea.


But—but we have record about the festival we have—we had right now.  Maybe in Japan they started to mix this kind of tea for the infant Buddha.  And in China and in Japan, the infant Buddha statue is very lovely and very tiny.  The largest one in Japan is maybe fifteen inches high, which is in Todai-ji Temple, where the big Buddha is.[3]   As the Vairochana Buddha in Todai-ji is big, the infant Buddha is also big.  But usually infant Buddha for this ceremony is as small as this [gestures?].


In Japan, right n- [partial word]—nowadays we celebrate around eighty—around eighth of April on Sunday.  Here in America, Japanese people celebrate his birthday mostly also around eighth on Sunday.  The other day when we have meeting, we had, you know, beautiful cake for the birthday, and then some of them celebrated Buddha’s birthday right here, singing “Happy Birthday” [laughs, laughter].  I think that is the first, you know, happy birthday song for the Buddha [laughs, laughter].  Many things is happening here!  [Laughter.]