Posts Tagged ‘Bowing’

December 3rd, 1969

Wednesday, December 3rd, 1969

Suzuki-roshi monitoring Zazen at Sokoji

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi


Wednesday, December 3, 1969


Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 69-12-03


I explained briefly about bodhisattva mind.  And we have also bodhisattva practice—bodhisattva practice—we count six and sometime four [bodhisattva practices].


Of course, [1] most important one is zazen practice.  That is the most important one, maybe.  And [2] to keep precepts and [3] to—to practice almsgiving—almsgiving, to offer something or to Buddha or to people to help, and to keep precepts, and [4] to vigorously practice all those practice, and [5] endeavorance to be patient, and [6] wisdom—to have wisdom.  Those are six practice of bodhisattva.


And Dōgen-zenji might [?] count four practices:  [1] and one is dāna-prajñāpāramitā, which is to give something; and [2] to give kind words; and [3] to benefit others; and [4] last one is to be friendly with others.  Those are four bodhisattva’s practice.  I want to explain it according to Shōbōgenzō.


The “to give something” does not mean just to give something—some words or some dharma.  Those are, you know—so, it may be divided, classified into:  one is material, the other is spiritual giving.  But when we practice this, we must not have any idea of selfish—self.  So it means that something—according to the nature of something, you know, if rice or food is something to eat, you know, let them eat the food.  Let the food go to something hungry—someone who is hungry [laughs].  That is—according to him, that is almsgiving.


So, you know, without any idea of “me” or “you,” you know, to give—let the things goes where the things want to go [laughs].  That is almsgiving.  That is bodhisattva spirit.  In this way, we treat things, we practice bodhisattva way.


May 17th, 1967

Wednesday, May 17th, 1967

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

May 17, 1967

You may think that the various religions of the world will, as a natural course of events, tend to become unified, until a single religion answers to the whole world. But this is not so, because such a tendency towards unity is not the natural way a religion develops.

In Buddhism for example, there are many different sets or schools. These differences arose from the same teachings because of the differences in the way of life e.g. “national character”(?) of those who studied the Buddha’s teaching. In this way the one religion of Buddhism of the Buddha’s time developed into the range of schools existing since then.

It is not possible for a true religion to be limited to one school; when one school develops, it is at the same time the beginning of further divisions. This is not surprising since each one of us is unique; and religion strictly speaking is for yourself.

Realizing the naturalness of different schools, etc., there is harmony among the various sects of Buddhism.


December 2 1965

Thursday, December 2nd, 1965

Suzuki-roshi bowing (outdoor ceremony)

Suzuki-roshi bowing (outdoor ceremony)

December 2, 1965

Rev. S. Suzuki

Thursday morning lecture

(After demonstration of Buddhist bow)  To bow is very important—one of the important practice.  By bow we can eliminate our selfish, self-centered idea.  My teacher had hard skin on his forehead because he bowed and bowed and bowed so many times and he knew that he was very obstinate, stubborn fellow, so he bowed and bowed and bowed and he always heard his master’s scolding voice.  That is why he bowed.  And he joined our order when he was thirty.  For Japanese priest to join the order at the age of thirty is not early.  So his master always called him ‘You lately-joined fellow’.  He said, …… ‘[Japanese phrase missing in transcript]’….  It means priest who joined our order when he is old.  When we join order when we are young we have little….it is easy to get rid of our selfishness.  But when we have very stubborn, selfish idea it is rather hard to get rid of it.  So he was always scolded because he joined our order so late.  To scold does not mean slight people, or it does not mean to…actually his teacher was not actually scolding him.  His master loved him very much because of his stubborn character.


July 22 1965

Thursday, July 22nd, 1965


Rev. Suzuki’s talk

July 22, 1965

We are studying now the sutra of the sixth patriarch, in the evening lecture, and PRAJNA (this is of course Sanskrit word) we mean, wisdom, but this wisdom is not intellect, or knowledge.  This wisdom is so-called our inmost nature, which is always in incessant activity.  Zazen practice is to….wisdom seeking for wisdom is zazen practice, if I use technical term.  Wisdom seeks wisdom is zazen practice, and our everyday life is wisdom.  Realization of our precepts is our everyday life.  When wisdom…When our everyday life is based on wisdom we call it percepts.  When we sit, we do not do anything; we just sit.  There’s no activity of our mind.  We just sit and all what we do is taking inhaling and exhaling.  Sometimes you will hear some birds singing, but that is not actually….you are not hearing.  Your ears will hear it.  You are not hearing it.  Just, you know, sound come, and you will make some response to it, that is all.  This kind of practice is called “wisdom seeks for wisdom”.


August 1964

Saturday, August 1st, 1964



Summary of Reverend Suzuki’s Sesshin Lectures


Nota bene.-Trudy Dixon

Zen Center’s annual week Sesshin (concentrated period of meditation) was held this year from August 10 through August 15th.  During the Sesshin, the main theme of the daily lectures given by Master Suzuki was The Traditional Way of Buddhism transmitted from Buddha down through the Patriarchs to the present day.  His opening talks concerned the sutras and rituals which are part of the daily zazen practice in the zendō of Soko-ji Temple.  The following is a rough paraphrase of some of what Master Suzuki said.

To understand what the “Traditional Way” of Buddhism is and to actualize it in one’s own life are the most important points in being a sincere Buddhist.  The Traditional Way of Buddhism, although it is dependent upon no particular form for its expression, the sutras and rituals handed down to us from the Patriarchs are a great help to us.  A part of the ritual which may be particularly difficult for Americans to understand and accept is the bowing.  After zazen (sitting meditation) we bow to the floor nine times in front of Buddha’s altar, each time touching the forehead to the floor three times and lifting the palms of the hands.  (The story of the origin of this practice is that during Buddha’s lifetime, there was a woman who wished to show her respect for Buddha, but who was so poor that she had no gift to give.  So she knelt down and touching her forehead to the floor spread out her hair for him to pass over.  The deep sincerity of the woman’s devotion inspired the practice of bowing to this day).  (more…)