Archive for the ‘Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind Transcripts’ Category

December 8, 1966

Thursday, December 8th, 1966

At Zoun-in, c. 1930. (Left to right) Shunryu's father Butsumon Sogaku, Shunryu (squatting), Hino-san (Tori's husband), Shunryu's sister Tori Hino and baby, temple caretaker, and Shunryu's mother, Yone.

Rev. S. Suzuki lecture

December 8, 1966

I am very glad to be here the day Buddha was born … when Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree.  When he attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree he said, “It is wonderful to see Buddha nature on everything and in each individual.”  What he meant was when we practice zen…zazen we have Buddha nature and we are all Buddha himself.  By practice he did not mean just to sit under the Bodhi tree or to sit in cross-legged posture.  Our cross-legged posture is the basic posture or original posture for us…most fundamental way of being here.  But what he meant actually was that mountain is or trees are or flowing water or flowers and plants and everything as they are is the way Buddha is.  (more…)

November 30, 1966

Wednesday, November 30th, 1966

Rev. S. Suzuki

November 30, 1966

We should establish our practice where there is no practice or no enlightenment.  As long as we practice zazen in the area where there is practice and enlightenment there is no chance to make perfect peace for ourselves.  In other words we must firmly believe in our true nature.  It is beyond our conscious realm…conscious experience.  There is good or bad or practice or enlightenment only in our conscious experience but whether or not we have experience of it what exists actually there, exists.  In this way we have to establish the foundation of our practice.  To…even it is good thing to have it in your mind is not so good.  You may be…it is a kind of burden for you.  You do not feel so good.  Even you have something good in your mind.  So to have something in your conscious realm you do not feel, or you do not have, perfect composure.  The best way is to forget everything.  Then your mind is calm and your mind always wide enough or clear enough to see things and to feel things as they are without any effort.

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June 23, 1966

Thursday, June 23rd, 1966

June 23, 1966

Rev. S. Suzuki

When we sit in this way our mind is calm and quite simple.  But usually our mind is not so calm and our mind is very complicated.  When we do something it is difficult to be concentrated on what we do and because, before we do (something) we think and when we think the thinking leaves some trace, and the thinking not only leave some trace but also it will give us some particular notion to do something.  That notion makes our activity very complicated.  When we do something quite simple we have no notion, but when we do something difficult, or when we do something in relation to others…other people, or in society, we will have many convenient idea for ourselves, and that makes activity very complicated.

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March 3, 1966

Thursday, March 3rd, 1966

March 3, 1966

Rev. S. Suzuki

The precept today is giving, the joy of giving.  Everything is something which was given; every existence in nature, every existence in human world, every cultural work we do is something which was given to us or which is being given to us, relatively speaking.  But actually everything is originally one.  So it may be better to say we are giving out everything.  It is the same thing.  Relatively speaking everything is something given to us but actually we are giving everything…giving out or expressing out moment after moment we are creating something, moment after moment.  This is the joy of our life.

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February 24, 1966

Thursday, February 24th, 1966

Suzuki-roshi

Suzuki-roshi

February 24, 1966

Rev. S. Suzuki

My master passed away when I was thirty three.  So after his death I became pretty busy.  I wanted to devote myself just to zen practice, but I couldn’t stay at Eihieji monastery because I had to be the successor of his temple.  For us, it is necessary to keep constant way…not some kind of excitement, but we should be concentrated on usual every day routine.  If one become too busy and too much excitement our mind will become rough…rugged.  This is not so good for us.  So, if possible, try to be always calm and joyful and keep yourself from excitement.  That is most important point…thing for us.  But usually we are…we become more and more busy, day by day, year after year.

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February 17, 1966

Thursday, February 17th, 1966

February 17, 1966

Rev. S. Suzuki

The message for us for today was ‘cultivate your own spirit’.  It says there on the calendar…Cultivate your own spirit.  This is very important point and this is how we practice zen.  When…for us to hear lecture, to give lecture or to recite sutra, or to sit, of course, is zen.  Each of those activities should be zen, but if you do not…if your effort or practice is not…does not have right orientation it does not work at all… not only it does not work…it may spoil your pure nature.  The more you know something about it the more you will get spoiled…you will have just stains on your mind, and your mind will be filled with rubbish.  That is not…that is quite usual for us…gathering various information from various source, and you think you know many things, but you don’t know anything at all.  That is quite usual.  So we should not be…our understanding of Buddhism should not be just gathering many information and knowledge.  Instead of gathering various knowledge we should accept it as you listen to something which you have already known, or you have already knew.  This is so-called emptiness or you may say omnificent self…you know everything.  You are like a dark sky…some time a flashing come through the dark sky and you forget all about it.  After flashing gets through it there is nothing, but the sky will not be surprised even though thunderbolt break out all of a sudden.  It does not make…it will not cause any surprise for the sky.  But when the lightening hits though we will see the wonderful sight of it, but we do not…we are not…we are always prepared for watching the flashing.

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February 9, 1966

Wednesday, February 9th, 1966

Suzuki-roshi at Tassajara

Suzuki-roshi at Tassajara

February 9, 1966

Rev. S. Suzuki

In India there were many schools.  We count major school….we count six major schools, but the most….we can divide those schools into two…we can classify those schools into two.  As you know there were four classes in India, and the first class was the Brahman class and they believed in some different existence which is called Atman.  And our world in terms of phenomenal world was supposed to be the unfolding of divine being, and it reveals itself through sages.  So in nature divine nature reveals itself through everything.  It is rather pantheistic….looks like pantheism, and in human world, divine world will reveal itself through sages.  This is the Brahman teaching.  But on the other hand there were public religion or public sort.  They postulated many elements, and this world is the integration and disintegration of the elements.

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January 26, 1966

Wednesday, January 26th, 1966

January 26, 1966

Rev. S. Suzuki

In our scripture it is said that there are four kinds of horse – an excellent one and a not so good ones and bad horse.  The best horse will run before it sees the shadow of the whip – that is the best one.  And the second one will run just before the whip reach his skin – and that is the second one.  The third one will run when it feels pain on his body – that is the third.  The fourth one will run after the pain penetrates into his marrow of the bone – that is the worst one.  When we hear this story perhaps everyone wants to be a good horse…the best horse; even if it is impossible to be the best one, we want to be second best.  That is quite usual understanding of horse.  But actually when we sit, you will understand whether we are the best horse or the not so good ones.  Here we have some problem in understanding of zen.  Zen is not the practice to be the best horse.  If you think so, if you understand zen as a kind of practice to be a best horse you will have, if you have this kind of idea, you will have problem.  Big problem.  That is not the right understanding of zen.  Actually, if you practice right zen, whether you are best horse or worst one is not…doesn’t matter.  That is not the point.

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January 20, 1966

Thursday, January 20th, 1966

January 20, 1966

Rev. S. Suzuki

Thursday lecture

The purpose of zazen is to attain the freedom of our being, physically and mentally.  According to Dogen Zenji…Dogen…every being…every existence is flashing into the vast phenomenal world, and each activity of the being…each existence is another understanding, or expression of the quality of the being.  I say many stars in the car when I’m in the car this morning….in my car this morning.  The stars I saw in the car was nothing but the light from the heavenly bodies which traveled many miles.  But for me all the stars are calm and steady and peaceful being…for me at least it is not so speedy being…it is just calm and serene existence.  So, we say, in calmness there should be activity…activity…in activity there should be calmness.  Calmness and activity is not different.  It is same thing.  It is different interpretation of one fact because in our activity there is harmony.  Where there is harmony there is calmness.  And this harmony make the sense of…quality of the being, but quality of the being is nothing but the systematic speedy activity of the being.  Because there is some harmony in the speedy activity there is some quality.

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January 6, 1966

Thursday, January 6th, 1966

January 6, 1966

Rev. S. Suzuki

Thursday morning lecture

Already we feel night become shorter and shorter.  When I come here Dogen Zengi says, “Even though it is midnight dawn is here.  Even though dawn comes it is night-time.”  This kind of statement, or understanding is our understanding transmitted from Buddha to patriarchs, and from patriarchs to Dogen and to us.  We call night-time day-time; day-time night-time.  Night-time and day-time is not different.  We just call same thing sometimes night-time and sometimes day-time.  Night-time and day-time is one thing.  Zazen practice and everyday activity is one thing.  We call zazen everyday life; everyday life zazen.  But usually we think, “Now zazen is over” and we will take usual activity, or understanding.  But this is not right understanding.  It is same thing.  We have nowhere to escape.  So, in movement, there should be calmness and in calmness there should be movement….activity.  So calmness and activity is not different.  Each existence is not dependent…independent existence.  Each existence is depending on something else.  And strictly speaking, there is no particular existence.  It is many names of one existence. Many…one existence…Many names does not just emphasize the oneness of the existence.

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