Posts Tagged ‘Refuges’

July 30th, 1971

Friday, July 30th, 1971


Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Tassajara Zen Mountain Center

Friday Evening, 30 July 1971

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-07-30


This evening we observed—this evening is called Fusatsu.  As I explained last night,[1]  this ceremony actually started even before Buddha.  And after Buddha, the ceremony more and more include more positive elements:  just, you know, to observe—not only just to observe, to keep their life, human life, from evil spirits, observing some good, and acquiring some strength—and throughout [?] protecting themselves from the evil.


That also—to attain the perfection of human practice, Buddha started—observed this ceremony.  The form is merely what we must do, and more and more exactly.  But must be nearly the same.  But meaning changed little by little.


So if we study what kind of [1 word unclear:  sūtra?] [in] Buddha’s time—Buddhists observe, then we will find out various elements.  Last night I explained about it.  Better to, you know, to see various kinds of flower in a basket, you know.  There are—there—there is many kinds of flowers.  Some of the flower is about the precepts about—about our human nature, or buddha-nature.  And some—some of them is to—to stop doing something bad.  And some of them is about life style of Buddhists—like the last one:  “Don’t eat after twelve o’clock [noon].”  This is, you know—it means—it is the life style of Buddhists at that time.  And we are still—we Buddhists, even though we eat three times a day, we have this kind of spirit.  And when we chant and you read meal chant, you will find out this kind of spirit.


July 6th, 1971

Tuesday, July 6th, 1971

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Tuesday Evening, July 6, 1971

San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-07-06 Part 1

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 71-07-06 Part 2

I want to continue my talk about precepts—Buddhist precepts.  And last time I talked about the indivisible three treasures, which is buddha, and dharma, and sangha.  But we have three—we say “three treasures,” but the three treasures could be understood by you in three ways.  It is indivisible, three precepts, because it is one:  buddha, and dharma, and sangha are actually one.  It is not three.  So we say indivisible three treasures.


The next one is, actually, since we have Shākyamuni Buddha who attained enlightenment, realizing the indivisible three treasures.  And what he told was dharma, which was—as he realized what is the indivisible three treasures, he talked about it.  That is dharma.  And his disciples are sangha.  So this is—we call this three treasures, is called “manifested three treasures.”  And right now we have, you know, temples, and in temple we have buddha, you know, big or small, or bronze or wood, or gold or wood, wooden buddha, bronze buddha, buddha image.  That is buddha, you know, for us.  And we have scriptures, you know, many scriptures, piled up somewhere [laughs], sometime in library [laughs].  Those are dharma too.  We call it dharma.  And sangha—sangha is priests and—priests or nun—priests, nuns, and laymen and laywomen.  They are, you know, all sangha.  Those are, you know, also three treasures.  Three treasures, maintaining, which maintains Buddha and Buddhism as a religion.  So those are called, maybe, jūji sanbō[1]“maintaining three treasures,” the three treasures which maintain or sustain Buddhism, which protect Buddhism.


Tonight I want to talk about Buddha’s—excuse me—three treasures, manifested—the manifested three treasures.  It is not different, but the difference—difference is, difference between indivisible three treasures[2]  and manifested three treasures[3]  is—Buddhism which was told by Buddha is the manifested three treasures, manifested buddha.  And Buddhism which exist, you know, before Buddha, even before Buddha, that is indivisible three treasures.  After Buddha, you can say “he is Buddha,” you know; he can say “this is Buddha.”  And this is the teaching which was told by Buddha.  That is dharma.  And those are Buddha’s sangha, which include priest, and laymen, and laywomen—Buddha’s sangha.


August 1st, 1969

Friday, August 1st, 1969

Suzuki-roshi with students at Tassajara

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Friday, August 1, 1969


Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 69-08-01

As a Buddhist, of course, the most important precept is to—to believe in Buddha and his teaching and his disciples.  Buddha, you know, for us is someone who attained enlightenment—not only historical Buddha but also Buddha’s disciples who attained enlightenment is buddha.  And still this is its—in its narrow sense.  In its wider sense, whether we attain enlightenment or not we are buddha—not only human being but also various beings, animate and inanimate.  Even something like stone is buddha, in its wide sense.  So everything is buddha in its wide sense.


But the religion is mostly for human being who saw—when we said “buddha” usually someone who attain liberation is buddha.  It may be better to understand in this way to avoid the conflict.  And “his teaching,” we say, but when we say “his teaching” we do not mean something which is written in scriptures.  Mostly, you know, even though you read so-called-it king of the scripture Lotus Sūtra, it may be difficult to understand for you because it is written pretty, you know, in ancient times.


And we know that it is not directly told by Buddha, so this point makes us more difficult to—to have faith in that scripture.  So nowadays or from ancient time, when we say dhamma,[1]  dhamma is truth in its wide sense.  So which is written by—written in scripture is not all the dhamma we mean.  It is a part of dhamma, or it is dhamma in its narrow sense.  In its wide sense, truth is the dhamma, especially in Zen, you know.  We believe in no teaching [laughs].  [Coughs.]  Excuse me.


July 15th, 1969

Tuesday, July 15th, 1969

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Tuesday, July 15, 1969

San Francisco

 Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 69-07-15 part 1

 Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 69-07-15 part 2

Again, I have nothing in my mind [laughs, laughter].  I think I want you to hit my head, you know, like this, and try what kind of sound I make—my head make—makes.  Would you hit my, you know, head like this?  If possible, you know, hit my head with long, long talk, maybe one hour long.  It will be a great help.  Do you have some long, long stick to hit my bell?  If you have some long stick—longer the better.  Do you have some question?  Long, long question [laughter].  No question?  Some question?  Hai.


Student A:  [4-6 words unclear] on shikantaza?


Suzuki-rōshi:  Shikantaza?  Oh.  Practice of shikantaza or—?  We say there is no such thing like shikantaza, you know, actually.  But in comparison to kōan practice, we—because we don’t use, you know, kōan, people say that is shikantaza. 


Shikan means, you know, to be involved in zazen completely.  That is shikan.  Taza is zazen.  So to—if you practice our way, even without any gaining idea, or even without any idea of enlightenment, that is shikantaza.  So sometime it may be actually—kōan practice may be also shikantaza.  When you are completely involved in kōan practice, that is actually shikantaza.


And there is—there may be various misunderstanding about shikantaza.  If you think shikantaza is just to sit, you know, without making not much effort, you know:  just sit, like this, is shikantaza.  And we say, when, you know—sometime we say when some im- [partial word]—you have some image, you know, let it come and let it go away.  That is shikantaza, we say.  It looks like, you know, if you just sit with some idea in my mind, or without some idea in my—in our mind—if you just sit, you know, that is shikantaza.  But that is not actually shikantaza.


June 11th, 1967

Sunday, June 11th, 1967

Suzuki-roshi with students at Tassajara

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Sesshin Lecture:  THREE TREASURES

Sunday, June 11, 1967

[Rōshi seems to be commenting on Shi Sho Ku (?) of Dōgen.

When this is evident, Dōgen’s words are in quotation marks.]

Today I will explain Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.  Originally, Buddha is, of course, the one who attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree and became a teacher of all the teachers.  Dharma is the teaching which was told by Buddha, and Sangha is the group who studied under Buddha.  This way of understanding Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha is called the “manifested three treasures,” or as we say in Japanese, Genzen sanbōGenzen is “to appear.”  Of course, whether Buddha appeared or not, there is truth.  But if there is no one who realizes the truth, the truth means nothing to us.  So in this sense we say the manifes­ta­tion of truth:  the manifestation of truth is Sangha.


January 21, 1966

Friday, January 21st, 1966

Suzuki-roshi with Kobun-roshi standing behind him

Suzuki-roshi with Kobun-roshi standing behind him

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi


SHUSHŌGI: Sections 11–17

Friday, January 21, 1966

Soko-ji Temple, San Francisco

Lecture A

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 66-01-21

Tape operator: Sesshin lecture in January 20th—21st, I think, one o’clock.

Suzuki-rōshi: The next chapter[1] which we will learn is about precepts.  And this is pretty difficult one, so before we study how to recite it, and I want to explain it beforehand.

The precept observation is very important for Zen practice.  If we eat too much, we cannot sit.  If we do not have enough sleep, we cannot sit.  So your—physically and mentally, you have to adjust your life so that you can sit.  This is very important point.  Zen or Buddhism is actually the way of life, and way of life is the precepts.  [Possible gap in recording.]  To live is how to observe precepts.  It is not some rules of 16 or 250 or 500.  There must be innumerable number of precepts.  And—so it is necessary for us to have full understanding of precepts and to make effort to observe precepts.  So whenever a great Zen master or religious hero appears, precepts observation is emphasized by him.  Or before someone appears—some great teacher appears, precepts observation always have been emphasized by many precedent masters.  Before Dōgen, there were several famous masters who emphasized precepts.