Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

November 16th, 1969

Sunday, November 16th, 1969

Suzuki-roshi performing a ceremony at the Pagoda in Japan-town (San Francisco)

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Sunday Morning, November 16, 1969

San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 69-11-16

This morning, I want to talk about our practice.


And here in America, something special is happening:  that is our group.  Our students cannot be categorized in the same way we define Zen student—Zen Buddhist in Japan, because you are not—you are not priest and you are not complete—completely layman.  I understand it this way.


That, you know, you are not priest is easy to understand, but that you are not completely layman is—I think you are special, you know, people in our society.  [Laughs.]  Not hippie.  [Laughs.]  But something like that.  [Laughs, laughter.]  So I don’t know what to say.


So—that is, I think you want some special practice, you know:  not exactly priest practice, not exactly layman’s practice.  And—but we are on the way to have special, you know—to have some different way of life for us.  That is our Zen community, I think—not community, but our group.  And—and so we have to have some—some appropriate practice for—for us.


Before I talk about our special way of practice, I think it is better to understand—better to understand what is original—what is Dōgen’s practice.  He says, “Some may,” you know, “attain enlightenment.  Some may not,” he says.  This is, you know, the point I am very much interested in.  “Some may attain enlightenment and some may not,” what mean—which means although we practice same way, same fundamental practice, but some may attain enlightenment and some may not.  It means that even though we do not have enlightenment experience, you know—experience, as long as we sit in proper way, proper right understanding of practice, that is Zen.  The main point is to have right understanding of practice and practice our way seriously.  And what is important point in understanding of our practice is—we say “big mind,” or “small mind,” or “buddha-mind,” but that kind of, you know, words means something—something we cannot—something we should not try to understand in term of experience.


November 7th, 1969

Friday, November 7th, 1969

Suzuki-roshi in the Buddha hall at City Center with Katagiri-roshi

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi


[Third Lotus Sūtra Series]

Friday Evening, November 7, 1969

Zen Mountain Center

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 69-11-07 part 1

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 69-11-07 part 2

In this sūtra in Chapter II, “Skillful Means,” he—he is correcting our misunderstanding about the vehicle of shrāvakas and vehicle of pratyekas.  You know, why we call pratyeka vehicle or shrāvaka‘s vehicle “Small Vehicle” is because their understanding is not right.  When you understand those teaching is the—just skillful means of Buddha, to suggest the only one Great Vehicle, which is the perfect teaching—so-called-it perfect teaching or teaching which Buddha had in his own mind before he, you know, explain it, that is the teaching which is complete.  And this is—development of the Buddhist thought is always concentrated on this point:  how to get approach to the perfect teaching.  The Mahāyāna Buddhist tried to treat the Buddha’s teaching which was told by him already, so that we can understand what he meant actually.  But as Zen student says, all those teaching are the finger to point at the moon.  And what will be the perfect teaching was the problem which we have had since Buddha.


May be better to explain it more complete way.  Although it is difficult to explain it, so accordingly for you it may be difficult to [laughs] understand what I say.  But—not only teaching but also this is the understanding of life and understanding of reality.  When you think there is something—in this chapter from Page 25[1]  is referring to this point.  When, you know, they think this is the final teaching, or when they think, “I understood completely what Buddha said,” or when they think they attained final stage, which is for arhat—the arharship, then that is not final stage because—just because he thinks this is final stage.  If he doesn’t think in that way, and if he [is] continuously striving for the final stage, he—he is said to be a good disciple of Buddha.  But when he said—when he say, “I attained arharship,” or when they think this is the complete teaching, you know—when you listen to four noble truths or eight holy paths, then that is already mistake.


And this is also true with Mahāyāna Buddhist.  Mahāyāna Buddhist thinks, you know, the—all the teaching is, in one word, emptiness.  A teaching of emptiness is the true teaching.  But if you think in that way, that is also wrong.  Then what is the real teaching is—real teaching is teaching which could be, you know, verbal teaching, and which could be teaching of emptiness, and which is not just verbal teaching, and which is not just teaching of emptiness.  That is real teaching [laughs].  You know, I—you—you already studied, “Form is emptiness, and emptiness is form, and form is form, and emptiness is emptiness.”  That is real teaching.