Posts Tagged ‘Two Sides’

June 28th, 1968

Friday, June 28th, 1968

Shunryu Suzuki Lecture – 68-06-28

Esalen Institute

First of two lectures

Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 68-06-28

I find it’s difficult to keep contact with you when I, whenever we talk, I talk, especially when I think of difficult…very difficult to talk with some because I [several words unintelligible due to tape problems] our own study? students? but anyway I try to communicate.

First of all I am supposed to talk about our teaching.  Zen is, Zen is, for you, some special teaching.  But, for us Zen is, Buddhism is and not special teaching from the other schools of Buddhism. So, if you ask me to talk about our teaching I have have to, what I will talk is mostly teaching of Buddhism started by Buddha and developed by their teachers in India, China and Japan.

Buddha’s teaching put the emphasis on selflessness because even Buddhism it’s, is not special culture heritage.  It is part of Indian thought.  And so before Buddhism there must be some similar teaching or some opposite teaching which form a pair of opposites with Buddhism.  As you see in Upanishad there are many similar teaching based on selflessness.  Why, I think, why he put the emphasis on selflessness is because people at that time had very difficulty because of the strong idea of self, ah self.

So Buddha on the contrary put emphasis on selflessness so that there you have more balanced understanding of our life.  And for the people who find, who were trying to find out something a pleasure of life in this actual modern world, he put the emphasis on suffering so that they can understand their life from both sides.  So naturally even so his purpose of sitting or his teaching is through or form some harmonious teaching.  So, sometime he put emphasis on self, you know, instead of put the emphasis on selflessness.  He sometime rather emphasis on self.


December 4th, 1967

Monday, December 4th, 1967

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi


Monday, December 4, 1967


Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 67-12-04

Our study—the more you—we study our way, the more it is difficult to explain it.  But Dōgen-zenji thought there must be some way to make his descendent understand the true way.  And he made a great effort to express this kind of subtle truth.  In [Fukan] Zazen-gi—as in Zazen-gi, he says, “If there is slightest gap between the perfect enlightenment and practice, the difference will be heaven and earth.”  Because it should not be any gap between practice and enlightenment, or reality and seeming.  We think whatever we see is—something we see is reality, but it is not so.  And what we feel is reality, but it is not so.  The reality and something which is observed by our six senses is one, you know.  So what—what we see—just what we see is not true without background of the reality.  I will stop [laughs] this kind of, you know, interpretation.

Dōgen-zenji found out a very good Chinese word to express this kind of truth.  In Chinese—Chinese word [is] inmo[1]inmo—or I don’t know—know this—how they pronounce it.  But inmoinmo has two meaning.  One is positive meaning:  “suchness,” you know.  The other is the interrogative meaning:  “What is it?”  [Laughs.]  What—what is inmoHow is inmo?  You know, what is it when geese [laughs] came?  Horsemaster asked Hyakujō, “What is it?”  That “what,” you know, what is inmoInmo is interrogative, and it is affirmative too.


September 27, 1967

Wednesday, September 27th, 1967

Rev Suzuki

September 27, 1967

The more you understand our thinking, the more you find it difficult to talk about it, because the purpose of talk is to give some idea of our way, but originally our way is not for something to talk, but something to practice.  So best way is just to practice without saying anything.  When we talk about our way we are apt to create some misunderstanding of our way.  Because true way is always…has at least two sides, negative side and positive side which is opposite.  So when we talk about negative side, the positive side is missing and when we talk about the positive side the negative side is missing, and it is impossible to talk positive way and negative way at the same time.  So we don’t know what to say.  So not to say anything, and to do it, is the best way.  Showing one finger or drawing a round circle may be the best way, or bow.