Posts Tagged ‘Transmission’

July 13th, 1970

Monday, July 13th, 1970
Suzuki-roshi participating in a ceremonial procession (in Japan)

Suzuki-roshi participating in a ceremonial procession (in Japan)

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi


Monday, July 13, 1970


Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 70-07-13

[fixed audio uploaded on 9/25/2013]


[This is the fifth in a series of six lectures by Suzuki-rōshi on

the four ekōs chanted at the conclusion of morning services at

San Francisco Zen Center and other Sōtō Zen temples and monasteries.



The Third Morning Ekō:


Chōka sōdō fugin


Line 1.  Aogi koi negawakuwa shōkan, fushite kannō o taretamae.

Line 2.  Jōrai, Sandōkai o fujusu, atsumuru tokoro no shukun wa,
















July 8th, 1970

Wednesday, July 8th, 1970
Suzuki-roshi in front of San Francisco Zen Center

Suzuki-roshi in front of San Francisco Zen Center

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi


Wednesday, July 8, 1970


Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 70-07-08



[This is the first in a series of six lectures by Suzuki-rōshi

on the four ekōs chanted at the conclusion of morning services

at San Francisco Zen Center and other Sōtō Zen temples and monasteries.

The lectures were delivered from July 8 to July 15, 1970.

The Japanese transliteration and English translation of the ekōs

are based, with minor changes, on David Chadwick’s

“Ekō Study Book:  A Tassajara Project,” December 1970

(unpublished manuscript, San Francisco Zen Center).



The First Morning Ekō:


Chōka butsuden fugin


Line 1.  Aogi koi negawakuwa shinji, fushite shōkan o taretamae.

Line 2.  Jōrai, Maka Hannyaharamita Shingyō, shōsai myō kichijō

                   darani o fujusu,

Line 3.  atsumuru tokoro no shukun wa

Line 4.  daion kyōshu honshi Shakamuni Butsu;

Line 5.  Shintan Shoso Bodai Daruma-daioshō;

Line 6.  Nichi-riki Shoso Eihei Dōgen-daioshō;

Line 7.  Daishō Monjushiri Bosatsu no tame ni shi tatematsuri.

Line 8.  Kami jion ni mukuin koto o.



Morning Service Buddha Hall Sūtra


Line 1.  May Buddha observe [see?] us, and may we receive his true


Line 2.  Thus, as we chant the Maha Prajñā Pāramitā Hridaya Sūtra

and the Dharani for Removing Disasters,

Line 3.  we offer the collected merit to

Line 4.  the great kind founder, the original teacher, Shākyamuni


Line 5.  the First Patriarch of China, the great Bodhidharma;

Line 6.  the First Patriarch of Japan, the great Eihei Dōgen;

Line 7.  and the great sage Mañjushrī Bodhisattva.

Line 8.  Let us reflect their compassion and mercy.]



I want to explain ekō.[1]  The ekō is—after reciting sūtra, we—[it is] a sort of explanation of why we recite sūtra.  And this sūtra is for such-and-such buddha, or next sūtra is for arhats, or third one is for our patriarchs, and fourth one is for disciples and students who is related to this monastery and the ancestors or relative who passed away.  Those are ekō.


May 30th, 1970

Saturday, May 30th, 1970

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi


Sunday, May 30, 1970


Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 70-05-30


[The following lines of the Sandōkai are discussed in this lecture:


Line 2          tōzai mitsuni aifusu.

Line 3          Ninkon ni ridon ari,

Line 4          dō ni namboku no so nashi.


Line 2          was handed down closely from west to east.

Line 3          People may discriminate the dull from the keen,

Line 4          but in the true way there is no Patriarch of North or South.]



I explained in last lecture about the title of this scripture, Sandōkai—what does it mean by San-dō-kai and Chikudo daisen no shin.  Tonight, maybe, it is necessary to explain about the background of this poem—why Sekitō-zenji—Sekitō Kisen-daioshō, wrote this poem.


As you know, under the Fifth Patriarch[1]  there were outstanding teacher who is called Jinshū,[2]  and when the Fifth Patriarch announced that he will give transmission to someone, and everyone thought that, of course, Jinshū will receive the transmission.  But actually Enō,[3]  the Sixth Patriarch—Enō who became the Sixth Patriarch—Enō who was pounding rice in the corner of the temple received the transmission.


But Jinshū was a great scholar.  So later Jinshū became—went to the northern country and became a great teacher.  And Jinshū’s school was called Northern—Hoku Zen—Northern School of Zen, Hoku Zen, Hoku Zen.[4]  And the Sixth Patriarch, who went to south, spread his teaching in southern countries, and his school was called Nan Zen, Southern—South Zen.[5]


Later, as you know, Jinshū’s school became—after Jinshū, his school became weaker and weaker.  But in north, the Sixth Patriarch’s school became, after the Sixth Patriarch, stronger and stronger.  But at Sekitō’s time, you know—Sekitō is the Eighth Patriarch, Enō is the Sixth Patriarch, and Seventh Patriarch is Seigen.[6]   And Seigen’s disciple is Sekitō.  Sekitō is the author of this poem.  In Sekitō’s time, Hōkō-shū or Northern Zen was still powerful.  But there were another disciple.  Of course, Sixth Patriarch had many, many disciples.  Maybe more than fifty.  We can count fifty, but there must be more disciples under the Sixth Patriarch.


December 2nd, 1969

Tuesday, December 2nd, 1969

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

Winter Sesshin Lecture No.  4



Tuesday, December 2, 1969

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 69-12-02


To accomplish something is difficult.  And, you know, the difficulty you have moment after moment, which you have to work on, will continue forever [laughs, laughter].  I thought if I say so, if I say so, I thought you know, you may laugh [laughter].  And you are, you know, entrapped [laughs].


We say—we have saying:  to—to attain enlightenment may not be so difficult, but to continue our practice is difficult.  So after all, you know, why we practice zazen is to continue our practice.  Or else, I think, our practice doesn’t make much sense.  We say we have to live on each moment, and we have to make our best in each moment.  And moment after moment, if, you know, our practice continue with pain, with difficulties, it doesn’t make much sense.  Even though you have wonderful practice moment after moment [laughs], what will become of it?  What is the purpose of life, then?


The purpose of life is not, actually, to accomplish something, but to continue our buddha way.  So to continue our buddha way forever is to accomplish our way.  “To accomplish” does not mean to reach some stage where we don’t need to work anymore.  So the most important point and most difficult thing is to continue our way and to have good successor for us who may, you know, succeed our way.  That is the meaning of the transmission.


October 25th, 1969

Saturday, October 25th, 1969

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi


[Third Lotus Sūtra Series]

Saturday Evening, October 25, 1969

Zen Mountain Center

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 69-10-25

(note: the audio speeds up as the recording goes along)


Last night[1]  I explained the most important part of this chapter [II], which runs:




This is another translation,[2]  translated from Chinese text[3]  comparing to Sanskrit original text.


“Shāriputra, the Thus-Come One—Thus-Come One can by a variety of distinction skillfully preach the dharma.  His word are gentle, gladdening many hearers.  Shāriputra, to take the—to take the essential and—to take the essential and speak of it.  As for the immeasurable and unlimited dharmas that have never been before, the Buddha has perfected them all.”


And here—this is most important part:


“Cease, Shāriputra.  We need no more speak.  Why is that?  As for the prime, rare, hard-to-understand dharma which the Buddha has perfected, only a buddha and buddha can exalt [exhaust?] the reality of the dharma—namely,

the suchness of dharma,

the suchness of their marks,

the suchness of their nature,

the suchness of their substance,

the suchness of their powers,

the suchness of their functions,

the suchness of their causes,

the suchness of their conditions,

the suchness of their effects,

the suchness of their retribution, and

the absolute equality of their beginning and end.”


And here there is important words.  Reality of these dharmas—reality of these dharmas—reality of these dharma I explained last night:  how things exist, and namely suchness of the dharma, and the suchness of their marks, and suchness of their nature, suchness of their substance.  But all those things in word [are] another version of “things changes and things has no self-nature.”  And things are originally organic:  one whole being, which makes one whole lives [life?].  That is the fundamental teaching of this sūtra.


And to have this kind of understanding—view of life, view of nature—is the Buddha’s wisdom.  And, in this chapter—in this sūtra they—Buddha put emphasis on this point.  And I refer to the—and I refer to Shōbōgenzō:[4]   “Only dharma—only buddha and buddha can exalt [exhaust?] the reality of these dharma.”  “Only buddha and buddha can exalt [exhaust?] the reality of dharmas.”  This is very important.


October 23rd, 1969

Thursday, October 23rd, 1969

Suzuki-roshi at the wind caves in the ventana forest near Tassajara

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi


[Third Lotus Sūtra Series]

Thursday Evening, October 23, 1969

Zen Mountain Center

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 69-10-23


[The recording starts with Suzuki-rōshi reading from:  Saddharma-Pundarika or The Lotus of the True Law, translated by H. Kern, New York:  Dover, 1963 (an unaltered reprint of the 1884 edition of “The Sacred Books of the East,” Vol. XXI), Chapter II, “Skillfulness,”
p. 30.  He is continuing from approximately the point where he left off in SR-69-10-20.]



out things difficult to understand.


The mystery of Tathāgata is difficult to understand, Shāriputra, because when they explain the law (or phenomena, things) that have their cause in themselves, they—they—they do so by means of skillfulness, by the display of knowledge, by argument, reasons, fundamental ideas, interpretations, and suggestions.  By a variety of skillfulness they are able to release creatures that are attached to one point or another.  The Tathāgata, Shāriputra, have acquired the highest perfection in skillfulness and the display of knowledge; they are endowed with wonderful properties, such as the display of free and unchecked knowledge; the power; the absence of hesitation; the independent conditions; the strength of the organs; the constituents of Bodhi; the contemplation; emancipations; meditations; the degree of concentration of mind.  The Tathāgata, Shāriputra, are able to expound various things and have something wonderful and marvelous.  Enough, Shāriputra, let it suffice to say that the Tathāgata have something extremely wonderful, Shāriputra.  None but Tathāgata, Shāriputra, can impart to a Tathāgata those laws which the Tathāgatas knows—Tathāgata knows.  And all ways [laws], Shāriputra, are taught by the Tathāgata, and by him alone; no one but he knows all laws, what they are, how they are, like what they are, of what characteristic and of what nature they are.


And on that occasion, to set forth the same subject more completely [copiously], the Lord uttered the following stanzas:



This chapter is, for us Sōtō students, a very important chapter.  If you understand this chapter so far as I read, you will understand what is our transmission, what is our practice, what kind of life we have as a Sōtō Zen priest or Sōtō Zen children—disciples [laughs].  It is so important.  But usually they don’t think this chapter is so important, and the most explanation of this chapter is very superficial.  So I want you to, you know, read it over and over again [during] study period.  I will take time and Dick [Baker] one line after one line very deeply and very widely.


July 30 1965 3rd Talk

Friday, July 30th, 1965


Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi


Friday, Thursday, July 30, 1965

Lecture D

Soko-ji Temple, San Francisco

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 65-07-30 3rd Talk

Suzuki-rōshi: Do you have some question?

Student A: Sensei, D. T. Suzuki wrote that “Zen was religion of the will,” is what he said.  What do you think about that?

Suzuki-rōshi: Religion?

Student A: Of the will, he said.

Suzuki-rōshi: Oh.  I—I haven’t read it.  What does he say?

Student A: Oh.  He just said—I just remember this sentence.  He said Zen is the religion of the will.

Suzuki-rōshi: Will?

Student A: Will.

Suzuki-rōshi: I don’t understand.

Student: Willpower.

Suzuki-rōshi: Will?

Several Students: Willpower.  Will.

Suzuki-rōshi: Uh-huh.  Yeah, I know [laughs, laughter] what is.  Wheel.  No?

Student: No.

Suzuki-rōshi: Will.

Student: Will.

Suzuki-rōshi: Will.

Student: Yeah.

Suzuki-rōshi: Uh-huh.  [Laughs, laughter.]

Student: “I will do it.”

Suzuki-rōshi: Yeah.

Student: “I will.”  Willpower.

Suzuki-rōshi: Yeah.  It is—he may say [laughs] religion of will.  But willpower is not only power we have, you know.  Will, and emotion or feeling, and moral—morality.  Willpower may be the driving power, but in contrast with European religion, they say emotion is deepest.  They think it is—emotion is deepest, and willpower is not so deep.  And intellect is most superficial [laughs].

But Zen is not just willpower—religion of just willpower.  Sōtō is more—more, you know, maybe emotional.  And religious feeling is something like emotional, but just emotional power—emotion [is] blind.  The willpower is also sometime [laughs] blind.  So that is why we want rational power.  But rational power will correct the mistake of—will blind [blend?] or help blend willpower and feeling or emotional power.  I don’t exactly figure out why he said so, but because in practice we want big willpower.  Zen is religion of practice, so he must have said Zen is religion of will.  But I don’t think Zen is just will, religion of will.  [It is a] religion of whole mind.  Some more question?