Posts Tagged ‘Desire’

August 3rd, 1971

Tuesday, August 3rd, 1971


Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Tuesday, August 3, 1971

Zen Mountain Center

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-08-03 Part 1

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-08-03 Part 2

I want to explain why we become Buddhist [laughs] or why I myself became a Buddhist.  Perhaps here in America, because you have some wish, you know, hope in your future life—future life of a—future—personally your own future life. and sociologically you’re concerned about your future society.  But to tell the truth, we Buddhists do not have any hope [laughs].  We do not have any hope for our human, you know, life because we understand this life is originally full of suffering.  That is, you know, how we understand our society.  From the beginning we understand that our world is world of suffering.  And we understand why we suffer, you know, is because we expect too much.  We always expect something more than you will obtain or acquire.


For an instance, everyone knows that we cannot stay young, but we want to be always young [laughs].  Once in a while, you know, when—even though you are young, once in a while you may feel, “Oh gee, I am twenty-five now [laughs].  Oh, I am not anymore young.”  [Laughs, laughter.]  You may feel in that way.  That is, you know, good evidence that you want to be always young.  But that is not possible, you know.  We want to experience what you have, but that is not also possible.


Things are changing always, so nothing can be yours.  So whatever you want—you want to be or you want to have, nothing can be possible for you to obtain or to have it.  That is actually how our human world is.  Actually it is so.  But still, we want to be fooled by [laughs] something.  That is maybe why we say human beings do not like something real.  But human being like something unreal.  That is very true.  You don’t like anything real.  So after, you know, give up all the hopes you have in mundane world, we become Buddhist.


March 2nd, 1971

Tuesday, March 2nd, 1971

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Tuesday, March 2, 1971

8 am Tuesday Morning

San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-03-02


There are various kinds of religion, but why we have to [have] religion—this question is answered not only by religious leaders but also by psychologist.  So the understanding of religion nowadays become more and more deeper.  And I think—I don’t know not much about psychology, nowadays psychology, but so far I understand, as you know, just as purpose of religion is to save [solve] our difficulties, the psychologist is working hard to save or to solve the problems of our life.


Why we have, you know, so many problems in our life is, you know, because of, you know, our social structure, which is not so good, or human relationship, you know, which is not also good.  So that is why we have difficulties, and if the difficulties become too much, it will result [in] a nervous breakdown or some mental, you know, disorder.


But why we have this kind of, you know, problem in our society or in our individual life is, according to Buddhism, our problems is based on, you know, our structure of, you know, way we live, you know.  The foundation is something wrong [laughs]. Our way of living is something wrong.  That is so-called-it “leakage,” you know, leakage.  Or you may call it “break” or you don’t say “breakage” [laughs], but maybe, you know, something like that.  Something is wrong with our fundamental framework of life, you know.  Something is wrong.  This point is already pointed out by Buddha.  What is wrong is, you know, according to Buddha, because we have various desires, you know.  But that desires are limitless, you know, as well as Buddha’s teaching [laughs].  It is limitless, you know:  no limit in our desires.  But actually the things which will satisfy our desire is not limitless, you know.  It is limited.  So there is already, you know, big gap between your desire and things which will suffice your desire.  Even so, our way of life is, you know, based on our desires:  to, you know, to have complete satisfaction of our desire, which is not possible.


February 27th, 1971

Saturday, February 27th, 1971


Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Saturday Morning, February 27, 1971

San Francisco

 Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-02-27

The purpose of our practice is, of course, to maybe to have full enlightenment.  Why we cannot have enlightenment is because of our, you know, delusion or mumyō,[1]  we say.  Or—because we are not—we don’t have clear picture of this world, or we do not have eyes to see, you know, clearly, to see clearly, or to have clear understanding of this world.  That is, you know, so-called-it called mumyōMumyō is delusion.  Mu is “no.”  Myō is “clear.”  “No clear light.”


We are—maybe we are—we Buddhist or we student or someone, you know, who do not have clear eyes to see, you know, what is the true way—which way to go [laughs].  So naturally you are wondering about, you know, to find out some truth, or to have—because you are wondering about, so you want to have some clear map, you know, which way to go.  And that is why you must have teacher who, you know, give you some map or some instruction or which way to go.


Even though you have map, if you have a map or, you know, and you have teacher, there is still, you know, difficulty in your practice.  The difficulty may be, you know, you have no—if you have—if you—as long as you trust your teacher, you know, you don’t have to worry about the way, you know, you take.  But because you have, you know, no worry, you know, you, you know, you are liable to, you know, to see something else, you know, because you have—you don’t have to, you know, try to find out which way you should take.  So you just follow [laughs] your teacher.  When he goes fast, you go fast, and when he goes slow, you go slow.


April 8th, 1969

Tuesday, April 8th, 1969

Suzuki-roshi wearing traditional monk's traveling clothes

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi


Tuesday, April 8, 1969

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 69-04-08

[Recently][1] I was talking about denial of, you know, desires.  This is very confusing, you know—may be confusing.  Our way is not asceticism, but actually, what we—if you read, you know, our precepts literally, there is no difference [laughs].  But what it means is completely different.  What is the difference is what I want to talk about tonight.  Or what is the difference between “to study” and “to listen to.”  “Go to the master and listen to what he says” and “to study.”  Or why you started to study Zen.  There must be some reason why so many people come and—come to Zen Center and practice Zen and study Zen.

I think this is because of the—because our culture—our civilization—came [laughs] already [to a] dead end, and if you realize that you cannot go any more—any further more.  So someone who notice—people who notice that this is the dead end may come to Zen Center [laughs, laughter] to find out some way to go further.  That is, you know, your feeling, you know, whether or not you understand what is dead end or why we came to the dead end.

The foundation of our culture is based on individualism.  And individualism is based on, you know, idea of self, you know.  And from the time of Renaissance, we awoke in our human nature, and we started to put emphasis on our human nature rather than, you know, something which is called “divine nature” or “holy nature.”  We put more emphasis [on] how—what we are and what is human nature.  And we wanted to express our human nature as much as possible.  But—and, you know, the human nature—holy nature, you know, or buddha-nature, were replaced by human nature.  And that human nature is not what we mean by buddha-nature.  This is, you know, starting point of mistake.  So whatever the—whatever sort may be—communism, or capitalism, or individualism—all those sorts are based on individual right, or individual power, or individual—supremacy of individual.


October, 1968 3rd Talk

Tuesday, October 1st, 1968

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi


Fall, 1968

Zen Mountain Center

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 68-10-00 D

What is told in this sūtra is the view of the Dharmakāya world, Sambhogakāya world and Nirmānakāya world.  We say shoho jisso [the real state of all elements or dharmas].  Shoho means various dharmas or various beings.  Jisso is reality.  So this is the right view of life and the world, in which various famous disciples of Buddha and arhats and various Sambhogakāya Buddhas and Dharmakāya Buddhas and Nirmānakāya Buddhas would appear.  I think it’s better to start little by little.

The first chapter is an introduction to the whole sū­tra, and it describes the scale of the sūtra.  “Thus have I heard.”  All sūtras are started with these words.  Nyoze gamon [evam maya shrutam], “Thus have I heard.”  At the meeting of the compilation [of the sūtras] after Buddha passed away, the leading disciples decided on [the correct form of] Buddha’s words.  So they started with, “Thus I heard.”  All the sūtras are supposed to have been spoken by Buddha, but it is not actually so.  It is a kind of formal way of starting sūtras.