Posts Tagged ‘Beginner’s Mind’

December 29th, 1968

Sunday, December 29th, 1968

Suzuki-roshi with students at Tassajara

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Sunday, December 29, 1968[1]

Next Tuesday we will have no lecture, so this may be—will be the last one for this—at the end of the year we clean up our house and we throw [out] old things which we do not use anymore.  And we renew our equipment, even things in the—furniture we renew it.  And after cleaning our room we—we put new, new ______ ___ ____ and which is distributed from temple like this.  We take off old mats and put new ones, like this.  This is—when in temple we have prayer for the—to control fire, this is what you call it ___ ______ ____ __ “taking care of fire,” it says in Japanese.

And this is—in temple at end of the year we have ceremony to read Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra—600 volumes of Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra.  But actually we cannot read 600 pages of sūtra, so the priest conducting the ceremony read one—one volume of the 600 sutras.  Then we have one volume, one of 600—[inaudible]—just to turn it instead of reading.  And so the most important volume will be recited by the priest who is conducting, and we—and you receive this kind of prayer card from the temple.  That is what we do.

And end of the year is the most busy days.  We have to clean up our rooms, and if you have some debts you should pay.  For someone to collect the money he lent, and for the most people it is time to pay the debt.  And then we—after cleaning up everything, spiritual and physical, we decorate New Year’s decoration so old times [?].  Those should be done before twelve o’clock.  And after twelve o’clock there is no need for you to pay—pay back the money you owed, so the man who—who wants to collect his money ___ __ __ ___ even after twelve o’clock, if he had chosen [inaudible].


January 18th, 1968

Thursday, January 18th, 1968

Rev. S. Suzuki

January 18, 1968

In (Agama) Sutra there is a funny story.  A man who had…There was a man who had four wives.  One wife always lived with him and he complied with everything that she wanted, providing good furniture for her rooms and everything.  Whatever she wanted he bought it for her.  And the second wife was…he did not like the second wife so much, but when she was not with him he missed her very much and when he did not see her he felt very uneasy.  That was the second wife.  The third one was almost like the second, but the difference was that whenever something serious happened to him he would go and talk to her about what had happened to him.  And once in awhile on New Years Day or Christmas, he would visit her or she would visit his home.  That was the third one and the fourth one was like a servant.  She was with him always, and helped him like a servant but he never said, ‘Thank you’ to her.  That was the fourth one.

I was rather interested in this story.  Moreover, when the man was going to die he felt so lonely that he asked the first wife to die with him.  But the first wife refused.  And so he asked the second one to go to heaven or hell with him, but she said, “Why should I go with you when the first wife refused.  So I won’t go”.  And the third one said…the third one, who had not much relationship between them, of course refused him, but when he asked the fourth one to die with him she said, “Of course I will.  When I was…when I came to you I already fixed my mind to be with you forever, so I will die with you.”


April 2nd, 1967

Sunday, April 2nd, 1967

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

April 2, 1967

(From Dogen) We originally were and are Buddha nature. But the instant we attach something, we “lose” our nature. As analogy, consider the transparent nature of my eyeglasses. Attachment is like pasting images on them; in such a case they cannot function according to their true and original nature.

When we retain our transparency (and do not attach to ourselves), we are Buddhas. When we attach to something (most commonly our “selves”) we are ordinary people.

When we are Buddhas, we manifest the sunshine. That is, because we are objects or obstacles to sunshine; the sunshine “is” or means something. If we did not exist, sunshine would be a meaningless concept. Still, even though it is ourselves (as “objects” or obstacles) which allows Buddha nature to be meaningful, we should not become attached to ourselves.


November 11, 1965

Thursday, November 11th, 1965



November 11, 1965

Rev. S. Suzuki

Thursday morning lectures

Beginner’s Mind

People say to study zen is difficult but there is some misunderstanding why it is difficult.  It is not difficult because to sit in cross legged position is hard or to attain enlightenment is hard, but it is hard to keep our mind pure and to keep our practice pure in original way.  Zen become more and more impure and after zen school established in China it is development of zen but at the same time it is…it become impure.  But I don’t want to talk about Chinese zen or history of zen this morning.  But why I say I want to talk about why it is difficult is because just you came here this morning, getting up early is very valuable experience for you.  Just you wanted to come is very valuable.  We say ‘sho shin’.  Sho shin means beginner’s mind.  If we can keep beginner’s mind always that is the goal of our practice.  We recited Prajna Paramita Sutra this morning only once.  I think we recited very well, but what will happen to us if we recite it twice, three times, four times and more?  Then we will easily lose our attitude in reciting – original attitude in reciting- the sutra.  Same thing will happen to us.  For awhile we will keep our beginner’s mind in your  (blank space in transcript).  If we continue to practice one year, two years, three years or more we will have some  (blank on transcript) and we will lose the limitless meaning of the original mind.


October 16 1965 2nd Talk

Saturday, October 16th, 1965

Suzuki-roshi at Tassajara


Shunryū Suzuki

October 16, 1965 (Wind Bell, Nov.–Dec. 1965)

Transcribed by Trudy Dixon

Late Afternoon Lecture:

We have finished sesshin with unusual results. We have practiced in our own way and our Patriarch’s way, expressing our true nature, transmitted by Buddha to us. Our responsibility as Buddha’s disciples is to manifest his way according to time and age, according to circumstances. Although how we express his way is not the same, that which is expressed is one true nature, which is universal for everyone and every existence.