Posts Tagged ‘Pain’

May 2nd, 1970

Saturday, May 2nd, 1970

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Sesshin Lecture, No. 1


Saturday Evening, May 2, 1970

San Francisco


Right now you—your feeling has changed from the feeling you had in your sitting.  This is important.  When you start a two-day sesshin you think, “I must sit two days continuously.”  But that is not the way you should practice [laughs].  If you, you know, think in that way, you may feel—you may be very much discouraged:  “Oh my!  I have to sit two days or seven days.”


It is actually better to sit one period after one period:  “Okay, I will sit one period.”  Then, after kinhin, you must say to yourself, “I must sit one more period.”  [Laughs, laughter.]  And then, you know, you start kinhin.  And after kinhin you think “one more period.”  In that way, if you practice zazen, you don’t feel so bad.  [Laughs, laughter.]  I think—if I say so, you may say, “You are fooling me” [laughs].  But actually, it is not so.  That is, you know, how things is going—how things are going always.  And so, you know, according to our teaching, time is like, you know, like a circle of fire, you know.  This is, you know—here there is burning fire.  This is actually—time is going, you know.  It looks like one red circle, but—it is not so—actually it is continuation of, you know, each fire.  It looks like so.  This is famous, you know, parable:  senkarin.[1]


Usually you understand time something continual from past to future.  But actually it is the successive, continuous—continuation of events—each events.  One after another, events take place.  So it—one after another, it takes place—things take place.  You naturally think, you know, there is something—there is some—something like time which is always continuing—continuously exist.  Or you have idea of some line which, you know, [extends] from past to future, you know.  But this is just abstract idea from each event.


February 22, 1970

Sunday, February 22nd, 1970

Suuzki-roshi at Tassajara

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi


Sunday, February 22, 1970

San Francisco

 Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 70-02-22


I think most of you participate one-week sesshin from tomorrow.[1]  So far, we have been practicing counting breathing or following breathing.  But maybe tomorrow—from tomorrow, in one-week sesshin, we will, you know, practice shikantaza.


I want to explain, you know, what is shikantaza.  Shikantaza is, as you know—excuse me—just to sit, you know.  We say “shikantaza.”  Just to sit.  But there is—if you, you know, it is not proper or it is not enough to say “just to sit.”  For an instance, you know, everything is just there, you know.  Things are just where they are.  But that is not enough.  If we say just things are just where they are, the relationship between things is ignored.  When we think about the relationship between things, we will reach the idea of one whole being, you know.


We say “things,” but actually things are already some divided materialistic and idealistic being.  So before we have—when we have idea of things, you know, we actually have the idea of one whole being.  And one whole being exist in the state of divided being.  That is actually how things exist.


And things are incessantly, you know, changing.  So, you know, time span—things is not just things as they are.  It is changing as a one whole being.  This point is—should be understood when we practice zazen.  So Dōgen-zenji says, “If your practice does not include everything, that is not right practice.”  That is why we, you know, bow to Buddha and why we, you know, call our practice—practice of Buddha’s—Buddha’s practice, not your practice.


July 26th, 1969

Saturday, July 26th, 1969

Suzuki-roshi at Tassajara

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi


Saturday, July 26, 1969


 Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 69-07-26


A monk asked Tōzan—Zen Master Tōzan[1]—can you hear me?—


“It is so hot,” you know.  “How is it possible to go somewhere where it is not hot?”[2]


Tōzan asked to the monk:  “Why don’t you go,” you know, “somewhere it is not so hot?”


And Tōzan said—Tōzan asked him—told him, “Why don’t you go somewhere it is not so hot?”


“But wherever I go, when it is hot, it is hot,” he said—the monk said.


Tōzan answered the question and said:  “When it is hot, you should kill the hot; when it is cold, you should kill the cold.”


To kill cold or hot—it—I don’t know how you understand it.  Maybe for beginner it is pretty hard to sit when your legs are painful.  I think it is more difficult for the—for someone to sit with painful legs in hot weather.  But how you, you know, practice zazen in such a difficulty—with such difficulty, is something you should understand.


Whenever I had some pain in my legs I used to think about this kōan, and I try—try not to move, even though my legs are painful.  When it is hot, I—when I went to tangaryō—entered tangaryō—it was summertime.[3]   So it is very hard for me to sit, although I practiced zazen before I go to Eihei-ji monastery.  But still it was pretty hard to sit all day long in crossed-legged position.  When it is very painful and when I felt very hot, you know, the big cryptomeria[4]  tree started to swing [laughs].  That is—it is not the big tree that started to swing.  My mind started to swing this way [probably gestures].  All the big trees started—started to move like this.  And I found out that I didn’t—I couldn’t allowed to see my watch in tangaryō, but I—I thought in every—in ten—every ten minutes, you know, peak of the pain comes [laughs], you know, like this.  And—and the cryptomeria trees start to move like this.