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February 23, 1971

Tuesday, February 23rd, 1971

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Tuesday, February 23, 1971


Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-02-23


It is more than six months [laughs] since—  Is it working?


Student:  Yes.


—since I came to Tassajara, and I was very much impressed, you know, of your practice at this time. And I am now thinking about, you know—not thinking about—but actual feeling I have now, you know, and some, you know, prospect for the future—future life of Tassajara.  I feel something right, and I want to talk, you know, a little bit about my feeling and my hope.


I don’t know if you have actual feeling of true practice.  I don’t know, because, you know, why I say so is because I didn’t know [laughs], you know, when I was practicing zazen.  Even though I was practicing zazen when I was young, I didn’t know exactly what it was.  But although I had some feeling of practice, but, you know, it was pretty difficult to talk about the feeling I had.  But now, you know, the feeling I had makes some sense right now for me, right now [laughs].  But at that time, it doesn’t make much sense, although I had some feeling, and sometime I was very much impressed by our practice at Eihei-ji or some other monasteries.  Or when I see some great teachers, listening to their teishō, I was very much impressed.


But it was difficult to organize that kind of experience—to put some order in those experience.  Maybe because I wanted to put some order, you know, it was not possible.  This way is to have full experience and to have full, you know, feeling in every practice.  Then that is, you know, that was our way.  But maybe it is true with you.


April 19th, 1969

Saturday, April 19th, 1969

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi (with Ryogen-sensei)

Afternoon Sesshin Lecture

Sunday, April 19, 1969

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 69-04-19

(The first 20 minutes of the audio is Yoshimura Ryogen-sensei which is not transcribed below.)

Ryogen-sensei: Good afternoon.  Are you very tired in sesshin?

Suzuki-rōshi: [Whispers 1-2 sentences in Japanese, presumably to Ryogen-sensei.]

It is already 3:30.  I have twenty minutes more.  [Laughs.]  Twenty minutes more.

Actually, Zen is not something to talk [about], and also it is something to talk [about].  [Laughs.]  If you understand Zen in that way, your understanding will be perfect.  If someone ask you, “What is Zen?” you may say, “Whatever you say, that is Zen.”  [Laughs.]  And you may say, at the same time, “Whatever you say, it is not Zen.”  [Laughs.]  Both is true for us.

So this kind of paradoxical statement could be understand just by your tummy [?] [making a gesture—possibly rubbing his stomach], you know, by your zazen, or else you don’t understand.  That is, you know, how we com­municate with each other, without sticking to words.  You should directly communicate with each other, not by words.  This is very important.

So Zen is not something to study, maybe, you know, like you study science or philosophy.  Zen is something to listen to.  “Listen to” means, you know, to—with empty mind, to accept the truth without seeking for what your teacher says.  Just, you know, listen to it with empty mind.  Then his words will penetrate into your mind.  So whether you understand it intellectually or not is not point.  We say if you attend a lecture, even though you are sleeping, it is all right, we say, you know.  [Laughs, laughter.]  It is all right because, you know, the teaching will come right into your home, through your, you know, through your nose, or—what do you call, you know?


June 22nd, 1967 2nd talk

Thursday, June 22nd, 1967

Rev S. Suzuki

June 22, 1967

Los Altos

Tonight, perhaps I was supposed to explain the chapter in the Platform Sutra of the thirty-two pairs of opposites; right and wrong, there he points out thirty-two pairs of opposites.  This is very interesting points.  Originally in this sutra, what is essence of mind is the point of the sutra, and the various pairs of opposites are the two sides of the one essence of mind.  So that is why he referred to various idea…opposites ideas.  Because of the opposite idea we have our study do not result in anything.  When your understanding is always in realm of good or bad there is no end in your study.  But when your understanding reach the point where there is no opposites, where you find oneness of the two opposites when you are in perfect renunciations.  And the characteristic of Buddhism is to attain oneness within this kind of opposite idea.  So in opposite idea we should find the oneness of the opposites.  Without rejecting bad to attain oneness is to attain the goal, is our purpose.  Usually rejecting flesh under ( ?  ) spiritual attainment, or rejecting bad nature resume good pure nature is the purpose of religious effort, but ours is quite different.  We find both good and bad in oneness.  So the essence of mind or original mind is actually something, sometime which is…which looks like good and sometime looks like bad is the original nature.  (more…)