February 1964

Originally offered: February 1st, 1964 | Modified October 27th, 2009 by korin



Commentary by Reverend Shunryū Suzuki

Master, Zen Center

February 1964

Attention!  Kyo-sei asked a monk, “What is the sound outside the door?”  The monk said, “It is the sound of raindrops.”  Kyo-sei said, “All sentient beings are deluded by the idea of self and by the idea of the world as subjective or objective (as permanent).


Kyo-sei has seen through the monk, who thinks he is not caught by the “objective” sound of the raindrops, but he who actually is caught by the sound of raindrops in his subjective world.

The monk said, “How about yourself?”  (In other words, “I have the raindrops in my clear mind.  How about you?”)  Kyo-sei said, “People may say I am not deluded by myself or by the raindrops.”  (Original text says:  “I am almost not deluded myself.”)


Kyo-sei is just listening to the sound of raindrops.  There is nothing but raindrops.

The monk said, “What do you mean by: you are regarded not to be deluded yourself?”  The monk cannot understand why Kyo-sei doesn’t say definitely that he is not deluded by himself and that he hears the raindrops clearly in his mind.

Kyo-sei said, “Even though it is not difficult to be free from the objective world (and to make a clear statement) it is difficult to express reality fully on each occasion.




When my master and I were walking in the rain, he would say, “Do not walk so fast, the rain is everywhere.”

Appreciatory Word:

When the voice of the raindrops covers the whole world, even an expert cannot give any answer (because he himself is also the raindrops).

Even though you say the voice of raindrops is nothing but your mind, that is not a perfect answer (of full understanding). Southern and Northern mountains, all over the world, are covered by the heavy rain.


This transcript is a retyping of the existing City Center transcript (thought to be based on notes by Baker-rōshi).  It is not verbatim.  No tape is available.  The City Center transcript was entered onto disk by Jose Escobar, 1997.  It was reformatted by Bill Redican (10/27/01).

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One Response to “February 1964”

  1. korin Says:

    Here is the Cleary & Cleary translation of Case 46 of the Blue Cliff Record:

    Yuanwu’s Introduction:
    With a single stroke he completes it and passes beyond ordinary and holy. His slightest word can break things up, untying what is boud and releasing what is stuck. As if walking on thin ice or running over sword blades, he sits within the heaps of sound and form, he walks on top of sound and form.
    For the moment I leave aside wondrous functioning in all directions. How is it when he leaves that very instant? To test I’m citing this old case: look!

    Main Case:
    Ching Ch’ing asked a monk, “What sound is that outside the gate?” The monk said, “The sound of raindrops.”
    Ch’ing said, “Sentient beings are inverted. They lose themselves and follow after things.”
    The monk said, “What about you, Teacher?”
    Ch’ing said, “I almost don’t lose myself.”
    The monk said, “What is the meaning of ‘I almost don’t lose myself’?”
    Ch’ing said, “Though it still should be easy to express oneself, to say the whole thing has to be difficult.”

    Xuedou’s Verse:
    An empty hall, the sound of raindrops. . .
    Hard to respond, even for an adept.
    If you say he’s ever let the streams enter,
    As before you still don’t understand.
    Understanding or not understanding–
    On South Mountain on North Mountain, more and more downpour.

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