Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen, by Shunryu

Every person is a philosopher by nature; however, we are quickly dissuaded from this delightful activity by those who call philosophy impractical. But there is nothing more practical than knowing who you are and what you think. Try it sometime.

Re: Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen, by Shu

Postby admin » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:54 am

Respect for Things
Shunryu Suzuki Lecture
What Is Our Practice?
Sunday, January 4, 1970
San Francisco
(title from book: Not Always So, p. 81)

In our zazen practice, we stop our thinking and we must be free from our emotional activity too. We don't say there is no emotional activity, but we should be free from it. We don't say we have no thinking mind, but we should not be-- our activity, our life activity should not be limited by our thinking mind. In short, I think we can say [we trust ourselves completely, without thinking,] 1 without feeling anything, we-- without discriminating good and bad, without saying right or wrong, we should trust our life activity. Because we respect ourselves, because we trust completely, put faith in our life, we do not think, we do not discriminate, and we sit. That is, you know, our practice.

Tentatively, this morning, my version of our practice is like this because I want to extend this kind of understanding to our everyday life. Between -- human relationship, for an instance, should be based on this kind of understanding. If our love between us is not based on this kind of understanding, respect, and complete trust, we will not have completely peaceful life.

And relationship between ourselves and nature should be like this. We should respect everything, especially something which we are related directly. This morning when we were bowing, you know, in zendo, we heard big noise here, you know, because everyone fling chair [makes noise by moving a chair along the floor] like this, you know [laughs]. I thought this isn't-- may not be the way how we should treat chairs [laughs]-- not only because it may cause disturbance to the people who are bowing in the zendo, but also fundamentally this will not be the way to-- how we should treat things.

This has a wheel [castors?] here [moves chair again], you know. Wheels, you know, it has. This is very convenient. So I, you know-- sometime I don't like something too convenient, you know. It gives us some-- some lazy, you know, feeling which does not accord with our spirit of practice. And this kind of laziness, you know-- I think our culture is started this kind of lazy idea. And, you know, eventually we-- because of this, we should eventually fight with each other. And we have our cultural background, East or West, nowadays, is something, you know. This kind of lazy idea. Instead of respecting things, we want to use it for ourselves. And if it is difficult to use it, we have idea of conquering something. I think this is not-- this kind of idea does not accord with our spirit of practice.

We are thinking about rituals and how to decorate our buddha hall-- having some beautiful buddha and offering some beautiful flowers, you know. But Zen Buddhists says with a leaf of-- with a blade of leaf we should create buddha-- joroku-konjin-- golden body of buddha which is sixteen inches-- feet high. With, you know, blade of leaf, we should create big buddha. That is our spirit.

But here, you know, to create sixteen-feet-high buddha with a blade of, you know, leaf need a great effort [laughs]. I don't mean to accumulate many leaves, and [laughs] grain [?] it, and make a clay and big buddha. I don't mean that. But anyway, to see-- until we see the big buddha in a small leaf, we need a great amount of-- I don't say how-- how much effort we need. I don't know. For someone it maybe quite easy, but for someone like me it [laughs]-- it needs a great effort.

It is much easier to just to see a great golden buddha. It is much easier. But when you see a great buddha in a small leaf, that joy may be something special, I think. But we need a great effort.

My teacher, Kishizawa Ian, you know, did not allow us to shut amado-- to draw amado more than one [at a time]. We should, you know, draw it one by one. Do you know? Perhaps you don't know amado, the door outside of shoji screen. There is-- outside of shoji screen there is wooden wood [shutter] to protect shoji from storm or rainstorm. It is, you know-- the end of the building there is a big box for the amado, and one by one we put it in the box, you know. It is sliding doors, so one by one we, you know, put it in that box.

So one priest is there, and another priest is there, and if you pull-- if you push [laughs] five or six doors, you know, like this [probably gesturing]-- another one can be wait there and put it in the box. But he didn't like it. He told us to do it one by one [laughs], so if you-- so one by one-- so one person can do it, you know, and push it-- put it in, and next one. That is how he told us to do it. And it is more-- I think, anyway, it may be in that way we will not make much noise, of course, but the feeling is quite different when you do like this, you know [probably gesturing]. The feeling we receive from it is something, you know-- lack of respect. But when you do it one by one carefully, without making much noise, then we will have there the feeling of practice there.

So there we have feeling of zazen practice. So even you carry, you know, even you arrange your chair-- [drags chair back and forth]-- if you do like this, you know, there is no feeling of practice. If you do it one by one [moves chair in one motion], then you have complete feeling in dining room. I don't feel good to practice zazen in the first floor where we eat-- no, under-- under the dining room.

When we practice zazen we are Buddha himself. And Monjushiri is there. When we recite, maybe, sutra, you know, we are reciting sutra underneath kitchen. I don't feel so good [laughs], but if we have this kind of feeling in each corner of the building, I think that is much better because we-- our practice is beyond the idea of the first floor or the second floor. But that is pretty difficult.

But we should know that, you know, even though we have this kind of beautiful building, there is difficulties in our practice. If it is easy when we have complete building with nice buddha hall and zendo we can practice zazen, that may be mistake, I think. But, at the same time, I know how [laughs] difficult it is to practice with this spirit in this kind of building because building is so good that there is-- on the other hand, there is difficulties.

Because I know, you know-- I know that anyway to practice our way is not [laughs] easy. It is anyway-- it is difficult. And what kind of difficulty we will have is-- I know what kind of difficulty we will have-- which way we may take. As this is, as you know, city zendo-- city zendo where everyone come and practice our way, not only old student but also those who don't know anything about Zen, there is double difficulties, you know, for new student and for old student too. I think old students have double duty, you know, and new students will have difficulties which they do not ever dream of-- dreamed of.

So we must-- old students must make their practice easier, you know. How to make them easier is, without telling them this way or that way, you should do this or you shouldn't do that, you should lead them so that they can practice our way easier. There may be various way, but I think our traditional way-- we say “traditional way”-- is set up with this idea: how to help people to practice right practice.

We say in our practice is “ornament of buddha-land.” Our practice itself is ornament of buddha-land-- bukkokudo shogon. You know, even though they don't know what is Buddhism, if they come to some beautiful, you know, buddha hall then they will-- naturally they will have some feeling. That is, you know, the ornament of buddha-land. But essentially for Zen Buddhist, ornament of buddha hall is the people who are practicing there.

Each one of us is-- should be beautiful flowers, and each one of us should be Buddha himself who lead people in our practice. So whatever we do, there must be some way of doing it. And we should always think-- consider about this point. Of course there is no special rules for, you know, to treat things, to be friendly with others-- there is no special rules. But how we find out the way we should do at that time is to think about what will be the way to help people to practice religious way. If you think-- if you don't forget this point, you will find out how to treat people, how to treat things, how to behave yourself. And that is, at the same time, so-called-it “bodhisattva way.” You know, our practice is to help people. And how to help people is how to practice our way on each moment, and how to live in this world, and how to practice zazen.

To stop thinking, to be free from emotional activity when we sit is not just to have concentration in our mind. It is not just for concentration, but there we have complete reliance for-- to ourselves, to find absolute, you know, refuge in our practice. That is why we do not have emotional activity or thinking activity in our practice. We are just like a baby who is on the lap of mother, you know. That is zazen practice, and that is how we should extend our practice to our everyday life.

I think we have very good spirit here in this zendo and Tassajara. I was rather amazed at the spirit you have. But how you should extend this spirit to our everyday life is-- will be the next, you know, question. And how you do it is to respect things, to respect with each other. When we respect things, we will find the true life in it. When we, you know, respect plants, we find-- there we find the real life of, you know, life power of flower and real beauty of flower. So love is important, but more important element will be respect. And sincerity and big mind. With big mind and with pure sincerity and respect, the love could be real love. Just love separated from those factors will not work.

Let's try hard how to take big buddha [laughs] with, you know, with our effort.

Thank you very much.
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Re: Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen, by Shu

Postby admin » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:55 am

Observing the Precepts
Shunryu Suzuki Lecture
June 29, 1968
Esalen Institute
Second of two lectures
(title from book: Not Always So, p. 85)

Last night I talked about construction of teaching and our practice in one word, how to, you know, organize, organize, this realistic, you know, teaching or this paradoxical teaching into our actual life. It's the purpose of practice, zazen practice. In zazen practice, as I explained symbolically what does it mean to put this leg here and this leg here. [Demonstrates?] This is supposed to be our activity, this is. More or less this is openness, this is calmness of mind and this is activity. If this is wisdom this is practice. And when we put one leg, left one, on the right side, it means we don't know which is which. [laughs] So here we have, you know, already oneness, symbolically. Here this side is, you know, already activity and wisdom and hand and our posture. Our posture is vertical without tipping right or left back or forward. This is also expression of the perfect understanding of teaching which is beyond duality of the teaching.

I want to explain this kind of idea into our rituals and/or precepts. When we extend this kind of practice into relationship between teacher and disciple naturally we have there precepts, idea of precepts, how to observe our precepts and what is the relationship between teacher and disciple. This is also extended idea of, extended practice of zazen practice. Zazen, this posture, is not only, not originally maybe a kind of training or something but it is not just training it is more the actual way of transmitting Buddha's way to us. Through practice we can actually transmit Buddha's teaching because words is not good enough to actualize its teaching. So, naturally how we transmit it through activity or through contact, through human relationships. Here we have relationship teacher, between teacher and disciple. Disciple, of course, can, will, must choose his teacher. Teacher should accept disciple when he wants job, when he's job should accept him as a disciple. This is sometimes teacher may recommended some other teacher for, you know, disciple. Or else, you know, human relationship will not be perfect. So if a teacher think, think his friend is maybe more perfect teacher for him, he may recommend him as a teacher. But, between teacher there's there should not be any conflict.

So, it is quite natural for some teacher to recommend some other teacher for some disciple. Once he become a disciple he should try hard to devote himself to study his way. At first, and because he maybe he, disciple like him, you know, just because, not just because he want to study Buddhism but for some other reason he may want to study under him, but it doesn't matter, you know, anyway if he devote himself completely to the teacher he will understand, he will be his dis.. teacher's disciple and he can transmit our way. And teachers should be, should know what, how a teacher should be. And teacher, relationship between teacher and disciple is very important and at the same time it is difficult for both teacher and disciple to be teacher or disciple in its true sense. On this point, both teacher and disciple should make their best effort. And this is relationship between teacher and disciple. If, when we have our teacher or our disciple there we have various rituals. Rituals is not just training, it is more than that.

Through rituals we communicate in its true sense and we transmit the teaching in its true sense. That is the meaning of ritual. And we have many precepts. Precepts of the relation is also based on this idea of relationship between teacher and disciple or between disciple and disciple. Rituals, true of all ritual or precepts its to understand our teaching in it's true sense. We put the emphasis on selflessness so teacher and disciple, as long as they have their observation of rituals or precepts it's, is not selfless then that is not true ritual. For instance, when we observe one thing together, we should forget, you know, our own practice, we should practice when we, when we practice something with people it is partly each individuals practice and it is partly it is also, it is also others practice. So, we say, for instance, when we recite sutra, we say, recite sutra with you ear, really?, you know, to listen, you know, to some other chanting. So with my mouth we practice our practice and with my ear we practice, we listen to other's practice. So, this kind, here we have the complete egolessness in it's true sense.

Egolessness does not mean to annihilate or to give up our own practice, you know, individual practice. Egolessness, you know, true egolessness should forget egolessness too. So as long as you understand my practice is egolessness, then it means you stick to, you know, ego too, ego practice too, you know, practice of giving up ego center practice. So, When you practice your own practice with others true egolessness happen. That egolessness is not just, you know, egolessness, it is also maybe ego practice. And at the same time it is practice of egolessness. So this egolessness is beyond ego or egolessness [laughs]. Do you understand?

This is also true in observation of precepts. If you observe precepts you know, that is not true observation of precepts. When you, when you observe your precepts without trying to observe precepts, then, you know, that is true observation of precepts. So, we say, in observation of true precepts there is positive way of observation and negative way of observation. And true (two?) of that and not true (two?) of that, there must be, you know, for our ways. But those four ways, should be, should not be different. To observe precepts should be, not to observe precepts at the same time. Not to observe precepts means not just observing precepts but when you do not try to observe it then there you have both observation of truth and not observation, not observing precepts. So, one is positive and one is negative. Looks like so, you know, but in its true sense, anyway we have to observe it and out inmost nature, you know, help us to observe precepts.

So, when we understand our precepts from our, from some point of inmost nature that is not observation of truth precepts it is, you know, the way as we want, or way as it is and there, there is not precepts, you know. Precepts is not necessary. So, we are not observing any precepts. But, on the other hand, inmost nature is so, but we have on the other hand, the opposite nature, we are double nature, so on the other hand we want to observe precepts or we, we fear we have to observe it, you know, and we fear the necessity of precepts which will help us, you know.

So when we are helped by precepts that is the coming of the, the blossoming of the, blossom of the true nature. And when we understand precepts in a negative sense, spiritually, as a, spiritually sense that is also expression of true nature but that is negative way of expression of our inmost nature. So precepts observation has two sides, one is negative and the other side positive. And we have choice, you know, to observe it and not to observe it. This is some of the different way of analyzing the way of observing precepts.

When we cannot observe, ten or more precepts, then we have to chose some precepts which is possible to observe. And we have this choice, it doesn't mean precepts observation is not some set up, is not ruled, set up by someone, you know, it is the expression of our true nature. And so if something wrong with our expression of the true nature, you know, Buddha will say that is not the way. That is wrong way. Then you have precepts.

So, rules is not path, but the actual event or[?]so this the nature of precepts, so we have chance to choose, you know, our precepts. If you go this way, you know, you will have some precepts and if you take the other way you will have some other precepts. So weather you go this way or that way is up to you. So if you go this way you have some if you go the other way you have some other precepts, because precepts is not something set up is not set up rule by Buddha. So, this is actually the extended practice of our zazen practice.

Not rules, in its true sense. When we say rules, rules is for everyone. But our precepts is not for everyone. It is the precepts is his own way of observation of practice. This is a characteristic of Buddhist precepts.

We have chance to choose, you know, choose precepts. And precepts observation is both negative and positive. Both expression of our true nature. And it has prohibitory meaning too. To prohibit, you know, some conduct is up to your teacher. Teacher, you know, knows whether his way is good or bad, which way is more appropriate to him (you?). Before you are not familiar with our way you should depend upon your teacher, [laughs] that is the best way. So, in this case we have prohibitory precepts. But when you become familiar with your way you have more positive, you have more positive observation of precepts.

If we start to talk about precepts I think we have to explain our, you know, sin or guilty conscious too. This guilty conscious or idea of sin is, I don't know, Christian way of how you think about things, but Buddhist thinks our by nature as we say Buddha Nature, Buddha Nature is birth? a nature to everyone, that is more good nature, not sinful nature. That is our understanding of our nature. And, in its true sense it is not either good or bad, that is complete understanding. But, in its usual sense it is more good nature rather than bad nature.

And, how sinful or guilty conscious appears in our mind because of karma, you know, because of our accumulation of personal or social karma, activity. Accumulation of inappropriate way of observing our way, will result some power, you know, which drive us to wrong way. That it is our idea sin or karma. And karma is not just, you know, what you did, but also it is more personal. One way it is social and on the other hand it is more accumulated. It is not just created by our body, this body, but our ancestors or our before like, you know, created by our former life.

If when we understand sin or karma in that way it is rather difficult to surmount to[?]it just by our confidence or decisions. It is more than that. So in this point I think there is some similarity of Christian sin and our idea of sin. Both for us and Christian this idea of sin is something inevitable and something impossible to get out of it. This is, you know, the idea of karma or sin for us.

And how to get out of it is to best answer is by our practice. But before we go to the best answer, where we have no idea of good or bad, I think or -- not simple. There we have to go pretty [laugh] long way in our practice, which is little by little we should improve ourself. Even though you attain enlightenment in something but you cannot change your karma as long as you live here. So, we have long way to go.

So, this impossibility of solving our problem or sin we have vows as a bodhisattva. Even though our desires are innumerable we vow to cut it, you know, put and end to it. Some thing like this, you know. Even though our way is [not?] attainable, we want to attain it. This is the vow we should have forever. In this way, Buddhist way, will have its own life. If Buddhism is some teaching which is attainable, you know, if you attain it that's all, there's no Buddhism, there's no need to study Buddhism. But fortunately, I didn't attain anything, so we have to strive, to attain it. And here we have double structure, one is, it should be, you know, we should attain it, but on the other hand it is something attainable [not attainable?]. And, how to solve this problem is to practice our way, day by day, moment after moment, to live on each moment is the best answer.

When we satisfy with our attainment moment after moment, with some improvement, we have there composure of life. We have satisfaction. So in our way, there is no idea of complete success, you know, complete enlightenment. And yet we are aiming at, you know, we have some ideal, but we should note that, we, ideal is something which you can't reach, you know, because you cannot reach that ideal. So, ideal is ideal and reality is reality. Now, we should have both reality and ideal, or else we cannot do anything. So ideal and reality, both ideal and reality will help our practice.

And we should not treat ideal or reality something desirable or something not satisfactory. We should, you know, accept ideal as ideal and reality as reality. So even though our practice is not perfect, you know, we should accept it, without forgetting, without rejecting ideal. How to do that is to live on each moment. On each moment we include reality and ideal. So everything is included on each moment. So, there's no other way to be satisfied with what we have on each moment. That is only approach to the ideal.

And we have, we understand Buddha as the ideal, as a perfect, you know, one. At the same time we understand him as one of the human beings, you know, although we have ideal there is no need for us to be bound by ideal. The same thing is true with rituals and precepts. There is no need to be bound by precepts and there is no need to be bound by, to observe, you know, our rituals as some formality.

And in Soto practice, you know, we do not put too much emphasis on enlightenment, you know. When we say enlightenment I. we mean something perfect, perfect stage, you will have, you will attain. But actually [laughs] that is not possible, you know.

End of tape -- and end of Shinshu's transcription [See note at end]

Rest of transcription is from Ed Brown's version which is slightly edited

-- as long as you experience it in term of good stage or bad stage, high or low stage. That is not perfect enlightenment. So we do not you know expect anything perfect, but we do not reject it. We have it, always have it, but ideal is ideal and reality is reality, and in our practice we have to have both side again. This is original nature of Buddhism.

It may be necessary to talk about repentance when we start to talk about precepts. Repentance you know or teacher you know -- let's understand in this way -- teacher will point out you know some mistake of a student. The way he point out the student mistake is very difficult one, you know, how he points out -- uh -- its mistake ..because teacher does not understand that is his mistake you know. If a teacher something what his student did is mistake he is not a true teacher. He should understand on the hand it is the expression of his true nature, so we should respect. If we respect our students true nature we should be careful how to point out. In scripture five points is pointed out.

One is you have to have -- you have to choose the chance(chuckles), know. point out to the student. At least it is not so good to point out his mistake in front of many people. If possible he should point out his mistake personally in appropriate time. This is the most ... this is the first one. And second one is -- uh -- he should be -- just a moment, last one is -- he should be ... uh ... truthful to his disciple. He should not point out ..uh ... his mistake ..uh ... just ..uh -- he himself think you know that is his mistake, but he should respect why, he should understand why he did so, so he should be truthful to his disciple. That is the second point.

Uh -- and there ... uh ... there are three more -- I will, ... uh ... umm. say what I'll say will not be in order, but the fifth one is to ... uh ... point out his mistake by compassion. He should be uh ... one with ... compassion means to be friend of disciple, not as a teacher, as a friend he should point out, he should advise, he should give some advice. That is the last one.

And ... uh -- and the fourth one is he should ... uh -- umm -- I forgot -- uh -- you know -- very similar but little bit different (everyone laughs) How different is very you know ... very delicate. Excuse me. chuckles. ... I went maybe wrong direction -- and he should when he talk about his disciples mistake he should use most gentle and most calm mind. With his calmest mind, with low voice he should not shout (audience chuckles, Suzuki chuckles) very delicate, something like truthfulness, but here -- uh -- uh -- the scripture ... uh you know put emphasis on ... um ... calm gentle attitude of talking about someone's mistake. So here you will understand the relationship between teacher and disciple ... Teacher is also his friend and his teacher. And the fourth one (chuckles, laughs) fourth one is very different trouble (laughs) trip. The fourth one is for the sake of you know to help student we should give him advice or point out his mistake. So even though he want to talk about you know his student wants to talk about his mistake or some um even though he make some excuse you know for what he did -- we should not treat it ... you know -- uh -- easily. Teacher should be very careful how to treat it, and if teacher thinks he is not serious enough then you shouldn't listen to him. You should ignore it until he become more serious. That is to give advice for sake of, only for sake of helping student. So we should not be always easy with student. Sometimes we should be very tough with the student or else we cannot help him in its true sense. This is the fourth one, and it is described in this way. To help student we should give some instruction.

So it is not so easy problem you know ... uh ... to be a teacher, to be a student, is, is not at all easy and we cannot rely on anything, even precepts. We should make our utmost effort to help with each other. And in ritual observation ritual too this is also true. We do not observe our precept just to, uh, for sake of precepts, for perfection of rituals. There were famous Zen master maybe about 70 years ago he passed away -- maybe fifty ... maybe -- umm forty years ago , and he had very good disciples and they were so sincere students that when he lived with students in poor monastery in near Odara city near Tokyo. Odara city is not so big city and they were very poor, but disciples wanted to buy bell you know to chant and asked him to buy some bell for the temple and he was very angry when his students asked him the bell. Why. What is the intention of reciting the sutra. It looks like you recite the sutra because people in the town may appreciate our practice. If so, that is not my way. We have to practice for our sake not for others. So if you can only chant sutra that is enough. there is no need to buy bell so some others can hear it. That is not necessary. but by rules. We have some rules in our chanting. Without bells that is not perfect ceremony. But if our intention is not right, even though form is perfect it is not our way. There is rules but actually there is no rules. Rules is like precepts. We have precepts, but no precepts. Precepts should be set up according to the circumstances. That is why we chance to choose our precepts in small monastery there is suitable precepts for the monastery. So you may say our way is very formal, but there is some reason why we should be so formal. It is not just formality and even though we have 250 or 500 precepts it doesn't mean we should observe one by one all of them. This is our way of observation, our way of practice.
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Re: Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen, by Shu

Postby admin » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:55 am

Pure Silk, Sharp Iron
Shunryu Suzuki Lecture
Sunday, September 14, 1969
(title from book: Not Always So, p. 89)

Sunday school-- a Sunday-school girl saw me in sitting, and she said: “I can do it.” And she crossed her legs like this [gesturing], and then said, “And what? [Laughing, laughter.] And what?” She sit like this and said, “And what?” I was very much interested in her question because many of you have same question [laughs, laughter]. You come every day to Zen Center and practice Zen. And you ask me, “And what? [Laughs.] And what?”

I want to explain this point a little bit. I cannot-- I don't think I can explain it fully because it is not something to be-- to ask or to be-- to answer. You should know by yourself. We-- why we sit in some formal position is through your body you should experience something, you know, by doing-- by formal sitting-- something you yourself experience not by mind-- by teaching, but by physical practice.

But to be able to sit in some form and to attain some state of mind is not perfect study. After you have full experience of mind and body, you should be able to express it in some other way, too. That happens quite naturally. You don't stick to some formal position anymore, but you can express same feeling-- same state of mind, or you can convey your mind to others by some way. And even though you do not sit in some certain form-- for an instance, in chair, or in standing position, or in working, or in speaking, you can-- you will have same state of mind-- state of mind [in] which you do not stick to anything. This is what you will study through our practice. That is the-- what you will, you know-- that is the purpose of practice.

Yesterday [visitor] Yasunari Kobata was speaking about something about Japanese literature. Of course, Japanese people studied Chinese culture maybe from 600-- six-- 700 [CE], maybe. For a long long time, Japanese people are studying Chinese culture through Chinese characters. And then, as you know, Kobo Daishi started kana hiragana, and then Japanese people established some [of] their own culture. You know, that is how-- it is-- same thing will happen in our practice. After stopping sending any students to China officially, one hundred years after stopping sending official student from government to China to study Chinese culture, at Fujiwara period, especially in Michinaga's time, we had exquisite Japanese culture.

Anyway, we established Japanese-- beautiful Japanese culture in literature and in calligraphy too. After that period, the literature and calligraphy was not so good as we had at that time. He said some of them were too formal, and some of them is too-- this is something which you may not understand-- too-- anyway [laughter] we could see [laughs]-- we can see his ego in his writing or in his work.

Through practice we, you know, get rid of-- for long long practice we get rid of our ego, you know, by training. Training means-- like, you know-- actually, to train in Chinese or Japanese means neru. Neru is, you know-- to refine silk, you know, we wash it many times so that it can be white enough and soft enough to weave. That is neru. This part is thread, you know. To, you know, to refine the material is neru.

Or if we-- sometime we use iron, you know. We-- sometime the character consist of two parts. One part is just pronunciation. The other part is iron. To, you know, train-- not train-- how do you-- what do you say? Hit iron when it is hot-- while it is hot you hit iron like this. And--

Student: “Forge.”


Student: “Forge.”

Forge? No-- forge is different. Forge is to--

Student: To hit the iron and you mold it or shape it-- shape it.

Forge? Oh. To shape. Not to make shape. Just to make iron strong. Forge is to put something iron-- melted iron in something.

Student: Temper it.

Yeah, temper. Yeah. That's the word.

We should hit it and it should-- we should hit it when it is hot, you know. After [laughs] it is cold, even though you hit, it doesn't work [laughter]. Training is something like this, you know. When you are young, and when you have a lot of ego [laughs], when you have a lot of desires-- evil desires, so-- so to say. Even though, you know, evil desire, if you, you know, rub it, you know, and wash it, you will be quite soft, pure white silk. Even though, you know, you have various desires, and too much strength [laughs, laughter], if you hit, you know, if you temper it enough, you will have strong, you know, sharp iron like Japanese sword. This is, you know, how we training-- train ourselves. He said-- I was very much interested in what he said.

After that, there-- after Fujiwara period, in comparison to Emperor Saga's work or Kobo Daishi's work or Tachibana Hayanari's work-- not so good, you know. Some of them is too-- too much ego in it, you know, and some of them are too formal. You cannot see anything-- any characteristic-- any personality in calligraphy. The personality we see in their work should be well-trained, you know, personality-- not much ego in it. The difference between-- you may-- I think you may understand this point: the difference between personality and ego. Ego is something to-- which covers your good personality. Everyone has his own character, but when that character is-- if you don't train yourself, your character is covered by ego and you cannot see-- you cannot appreciate your personality. So in their work, you know, he said, we cannot completely accept-- appreciate their work as he appreciate the calligraphy in Fujiwara period.

That was, maybe, because of war-- civil war. Or too heavy control over people like Tokugawa government. To control people by force-- by some policy or force, is not the way how to train people. The people themselves, you know, try to train themselves, not by government or force or policy.

Fujiwara period we had a lot of freedom. But at that time, there were various scholars and artist who studied arts and philosophy or religion in various way. They tried various way, and they had pretty good teachers. Anyway, this is why we practice zazen. By ourselves and for ourselves we should practice zazen. To give more pressure on yourself, you know, we say-- as Dogen Zenji said: “We settle ourselves on ourselves.” [Laughs.] Actually, Dogen Zenji was born 1200-- right after the Michinaga's time. And he did not care for any fame or profit. And he devoted himself just to the truth. And he thought it may not be possible for people at his time to understand his way. But some other day, in future, someone may understand his spirit and his way. And he-- that is why he wrote so many books for his descendant.

This kind of thing is not something I should talk about, but something I must show you [laughs], you know, by my everyday life, which is not so good [laughs]. And I am afraid you will study only my, you know, weak point [laughs]. I think Zen Center is developing pretty well, but we are not, you know, not yet completely on the track. We should know why we should practice zazen, and we should be able to acknowledge something really good from something which looks like good [laughs]. There is a big difference something which looks like good and which is very-- really good. Unless you train yourself by hard practice, you have no eyes to see; you have no feeling to appreciate something which is very good. Only when many people have this kind of eye to see or feeling-- to feel something good, will we not [sic] have really good teachers and students. This is a mutual practice, as Buddha said. That Buddha was great is because people were great. When people were not ready, there will be no Buddha [laughs]. That is very true. I don't want every one of you to be a great teacher [laughs]-- I don't. But most of us must have to [two?]-- must have eyes to see which is good and which is not so good. This kind of mind will be acquired by practice.

Another thing he said was-- no, he didn't, you know, say actually in this way, but-- he said perhaps even in Fujiwara period Japanese people did not completely-- were no so good as Chinese people-- Chinese culture in calligraphy. He was talking about-- mostly about calligraphy. As you know, Chinese people, you know, use always brush more than Japanese do. And Chinese people-- in China they have various brush. And we Japanese has-- have no material to make good brush. We have many bamboo [laughs], but we have not much sheep or various animal --

[Tape turned over. Sentence was probably not finished. Original transcript continued with: “from which to make brushes.”]

-- of it.

So our-- Japanese people's training in calligraphy cannot be so good as Chinese people. That will be the reason-- main reason. But before-- before [Japanese] people master Chinese calligraphy completely, they started already some unique-- unique calligraphy to Japanese people-- Japanese-- as a Japanese calligraphy. This point is very interesting point. Before Japanese people completely study Chinese way, Japanese people already started his own way too-- Japanese way too. Maybe that is the destiny of the, you know, some people who was born in some particular place.

But Buddhist has been-- have been very sincere about his point. That is why we have transmission. Especially Chinese master put strong emphasis on transmission. And Japanese people-- Zen students or teachers-- put emphasis on transmission. That is a reason why is to master, you know, teacher's way completely. And-- and then you should be free from it. That is very hard practice. That is why it takes so long time to be a Zen master. It is not knowledge. It is not some power. The point is whether he is trained enough to make himself pure white material and very sharp iron. At that time, without trying to do anything, you will have-- you can express your true personality in its true sense. If we cannot see any personality in his work, or in his personality, means that he is not yet eliminated his habitual way.

You know, my habit [laughs], you know, is absentmindedness [laughter]. So naturally I am very forgetful [laughs]. Something wrong with my, you know, with my brain, maybe, or this is my inborn tendency. I worked on it pretty hard. I started to work on it for-- when I went to my teacher. Thirty-- I was thirteen years [laughing, laughter]. I was very forgetful, even when I was thirteen. It is not because of old age that I am so forgetful. Not because of my memory, you know; that is my tendency. I worked pretty hard on-- on this, but I couldn't do anything about this. But while I am doing this, you know, I became more and more-- I could get rid of my self, you know-- selfish way of doing something. If the purpose of, you know, practice-- training is just to correct our weak point, I think it is almost impossible to renew or to correct your way-- habit or way. It is almost impossible. But it does not-- even so, it is necessary [laughs], you know, to work on it, because if you work on it, your character will be, you know, trained and your ego will be got rid of.

People say I am very patient, but actually I am very impatient character, you know. My inborn character is very impatient. But while I am working on my forgetfulness, now I don't try to [laughing]-- to correct it. I gave up. But I'm-- I don't think I-- my effort was in vain, because I studied many things. I have to be very patient [laughs], you know, to correct my habit. And I must be very patient when people criticize me, you know, about my forgetfulness. “Oh! He is so forgetful. [Laughing.] We cannot rely on him at all. What should we do with him?” And teachers scold me, you know, every day: “This forgetful boy!” [Laughs, hits stick on table several times.]

But I didn't like to leave him, you know. I want-- just I wanted to stay with him. I-- I was very patient whatever-- with whatever he says-- he said. So I'm-- I think I am very patient with some others' criticism about me. You know, whatever they say, I don't mind so much. I am not so angry with them. Actually, if you know how important-- how important it is to train yourself in this way, I think you will understand what is Buddhism. And this is the most important point in our practice.

As Buddha said: Nin-- nin is patience, endurance, virtue of endurance-- is greater than virtue of observing all the precepts we have. The virtue of endurance is greater than the merit of asceticism. That was what Buddha said. I think this point is very important for our practice, especially, I think, for American students.

Thank you very much.
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Re: Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen, by Shu

Postby admin » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:55 am

Not Always So
Shunryu Suzuki Lecture
August Sesshin Lecture
Thursday, August 7, 1969
San Francisco
(title from book: Not Always So, p. 95)

[In] Buddhist scripture, you know, there is a famous story. Water is same, but-- water is, for human being, is water [laughs], and for celestial being-- for celestial being it is jewel. And for fish it is their home. And for people in hell or hungry ghosts it is blood or maybe fire. If they want to drink it, the water change into fire. So they cannot drink it [laughs].

Same water [laughs, laughter], you know, looks like very different. But you may-- you may say, you know, our understanding of-- of water is right. It-- it should not be “home” or “house” or “jewel” or “blood” or “fire.” It should not be so. Water should be water.

But Dogen Zenji says, you know: “Even though you say 'water is water,' it is not quite right.” [Laughs.] It is not right. I think most people think water should be water, and that is right understanding of water. “It-- it cannot be anything else. Water is something drink [laughs], not to live in it.” Or, “It cannot be fire,” you know. But he says that is not right-- quite right. He doesn't say it is wrong, but he says, “Not quite right.”

I think we practice zazen, you know, and this is right practice, and the attainment we will acquire is something right and perfect. But if you ask Dogen Zenji, he may say, “Not quite.” [Laughs.] This point should be-- this is, maybe, good koan for you to work on two more days or three more-- two and a half days more.

I don't know how to explain-- or how to explain why, you know, the answer “Water is water” is not quite right. At least not much different if you say-- if human beings say “Water is water,” it is-- it's not much difference from to say “Water is fire or blood or jewel.” Not much difference. Don't you think so?

You know, it may be, you know, actually for angels, it may be actually jewel, you know. And he may-- they may like it because it is beautiful. But we like is because it is cool-- nice and cool and not tasty, but, you know, help our thirst. If so, to say “Water is jewel,” there is some reason. And to say “Water is water” is also some reason. Not much difference. Buddhist has been explaining this point in various way. For an instance, teaching of selflessness, or teaching of interdependency-- those teaching, or teaching of emptiness, you know. There are many teaching which will expl- [partial word]-- intellectually explain why the answer “Water is water” is not perfect.

When we say “Water is water,” we understand substantially, you know, here is water. But what we-- we say water is maybe H2O [laughs]. This is not actually-- may not be actually water. So by-- under some condition, you know, H2O became liquid. But under some condition it may be a vapor, you know. So you cannot say “This is-- here is water,” because water is not constant. So it is changing, and because it exist under some condition, it is something which is-- which exist the rules of interdependency or rules of causality. So because of the some reason, some cause, water just tentatively became water, that's all. So we cannot say “Water is water.”

Tentatively, you know, for convenience sake, you can say “Water is water.” But it is not always so. We-- you may understand in this way. But when Dogen Zenji says that is not complete answer, we should actually, you know, appreciate the water in its true sense. Water is something more than just water. It should not be a kind of, you know, drinking, you know-- one of the drinking of many liquors.

When we drink water, water is everything to me, you know. And the whole world is water. Nothing exist besides water for me. When we drink water with this understanding and attitude, that is water, but that is, at the same time, it is more than water. So he says: “'Water is water,' that's right. But not quite.”

This explains what is shikantaza. We say “just sit.” “Just water” is like water. We should just sit. Or to “settle ourselves on ourselves.” It means to become we ourselves, you know. We should not be anything else-- something else. We should be just ourselves. And when we become just ourselves, “we” covers everything, “we” include everything. There is nothing else than-- nothing else but you. That is shikantaza.

So by practice-- so what we acquire is ourselves. To become ourselves, we-- completely ourself-- ourselves, we practice zazen. That is shikantaza. We have everything. We are fully satisfied with ourselves. And there is nothing to gain or nothing to attain. This is maybe very verbal [laughs] interpretation of-- of true practice. Anyway, this kind of gratitude or joyful mind we sh- [partial word]-- must have in our practice.

I understand-- I think I understand why you practice zazen. But I-- I think most of-- and I think most of you are trying to seek for something-- something true, something real because the world is, you know, too much unrealistic, and too many, you know-- too many things is told. And we hear too many things which we cannot accept or believe in. So I think you are s- [partial word]-- you seek for something true and real. And you don't seek for even something beautiful. Something beautiful is not-- to you, I think, is not true or real, you know. It is very-- it looks like beautiful [laughs], but actually you don't think-- you don't think that is really beautiful. Some-- something, you know-- it is just outlook of something. It is just ornament for someone who is not honest enough.

So justice doesn't mean anything, or beauty doesn't mean so much to you. Or some virtue, you know, doesn't mean so much-- virtuous person. Mostly, you know, maybe-- I forgot the word-- hypocrist [hypocrite], you know. I think you feel in that way because so many beautiful things-- so many things was told something like “true.” And so many virtuous person appeared but who didn't convey you real, you know, gratitude. You couldn't trust him.

So what is real to you is big problem, I think, for you. What is real? [Laughs.] What do you-- you know-- you don't know. You don't have any person to trust, or any teaching to believe in to follow. I think that is most people nowadays, you know, have inner idea-- in our mind, and this kind of feeling is universal feeling for many people.

That is why, I think, you came to Zen Center. Real reason is-- that is the reason. But, you know, even though you came here, you know [laughs], I myself, you know, don't believe any special thing, you know [laughter]. I don't-- I don't say “the water is water” or “water is jewel or blood or house or”-- I don't say so, you know. But really, according to Dogen Zenji, you know, this-- water is something more than that. Our-- we stick to righteousness or beauty or virtue, but there is something more than that.

So I can, you know-- I don't feel so bad, you know, even though you seek for something. First of all I will tell you, you know, you are-- it-- it is not appropriate or it is not wise to seek for something like that. I noticed that you like trip, you know, very much [laughs]. Today Alaska, next day, India [laughs, laughter] and Tibet. I don't think that is wise too, you know. You are seeking for something-- blood or jewel or something like that. But because we come to the time when we cannot believe in those things, we should, you know, change our way in seeking the truth. We have to change our way of trip. Instead of going to moon [laughs], you must make some other trip. I don't mean acid trip [laughs, laughter]. We have to change our way of trip. That is, you know, [as or what] Dogen Zenji suggested. The trip he meant is something different.

Yesterday I-- I talked about something about freedom. Real freedom is, you know, to feel freedom wearing robe-- this kind of, you know, troublesome robe. Instead of, you know, [being] bothered by this busy life, we should wear this, you know, civilization without, you know, being bothered by it, without ignoring it, without being caught by it. So without going somewhere, without escaping it, we should-- we should have composure, you know, in this busy life. You shouldn't laugh at people, you know, who are engaged in busy activity. We shouldn't laugh at them. But-- or we shouldn't follow them. As Ummon says: “Following wave and drive wave. Follow the wave and drive wave.” It means that, you know, to follow the wave, and actually you should drive the wave.

Or Dogen Zenji says: “We should be like a boatman.” A boatman is on the boat, you know, but actually a boatman is carried by boat. But actually boatman is handling [laughs] the boat. This is how we live in this world. We know how, now, if I explain in this way, you feel as if you understood how [laughs] you live in this difficult world. But actually, even though you understand how, you know, like boatman, but it does not mean you are able to do it [laughs]. To do it is very difficult. That is actually why you practice zazen.

I, you know-- yesterday I said, “However painful your legs are,” you know, “you shouldn't move.” I, you know-- maybe some people understood in that way. But I-- I talked about the confidence or determination to practice zazen should be like that, but there is no need, you know, for you to do it literally [laughs]. If-- if it is too painful, I think you can change your posture [laughs, laughter]. But your determination should be like that-- and should be also, you know. When I say “should be” is, you know, some-- that is a good example, but it is not always-- it is not necessary be so always.

When I say something, you know, you understand-- like a “fish” or like a, you know, “angel”-- you know, you understand it literally and rigidly. “This is house, our house. This is-- this is WATER,” [thumps table for emphasis at each word-- especially at “WATER”], forgetting all about how human being feels. So even though you live in water like a fish, you know, you should know: “This is, for human being, something to drink. So we should be very careful not to be drunk by human being, like a small fish.” [Laughs.] This kind of consideration is necessary. That means to have freedom from everything.

The secret of Soto Zen is, you know, just two words: “Not always so.” Oh-- oh-- three words [laughs, laughter] in English. In Japanese, two words. “Not always so.” This is secret of the teaching. If you understand thing in that way-- you don't ignore, you know. “It may be so, but it is not always so.” If you understand things in that way, and without being caught by words or rules, without too much pre-conceived idea, we should actually do something, and doing something, you should apply your teaching. Then, the teaching which was told by our ancient people-- ancient masters, will help.

Actually, you know, to take something rigidly is laziness, you know [laughs], because, you know, you-- because you under- [partial word]-- because you want to understand it before you do something difficult [laughs]. So you-- you are caught by some words. But if you are, you know, brave enough to accept your surrounding without saying which is right or wrong, then, you know, a teaching which was told to you will help.

If you are caught by teaching, you will have, you know, double problem: whether you should follow this teaching or whether you should go your own way. This is, you know-- this problem is created by the teachings which was told-- which was told.

So practice-- practice first, and apply teaching. Then, you know, teaching will help you. So to-- to seek for some good teaching like Buddhism [laughs], you know, is, you know, to seek for something good anyway. Whatever it may be is the “sightseeing people” [laughs]. You-- even though you don't take a trip by car, but spiritually you are making sightseeing: “Oh, beautiful teaching! [Laughs, laughter.] This may be true teaching!”

We say yusan-gansui. Yusan means “to-- with playful mind,” you know, “to go to mountain or to go to river or ocean”-- someplace where you can enjoy the view of things. Yusan-gansui. This is the danger of-- danger for Zen practice. Yusan-gansui. Don't, you know-- be careful so that you may not [be] involved in practice of yusan-gansui. It doesn't help at all [laughs]. It doesn't help. If you have right understanding of yourself and right understanding of practice, then yusan-gansui will help. But if you don't know the actual way of practice directly, whatever you study doesn't help at all.

Or we say: “You shouldn't be fooled by things.” Fooled by things: Fooled by something beautiful. Fooled by something it looks like true [laughs]. Don't be involved in play game, you know. This is also [as, what] Dogen Zenji suggested. You should trust Buddha, trust the dharma, and trust the sangha in its true sense because that is the-- those are ultimate goal you will reach anyway. You shouldn't be fooled by things.

So we should practice zazen like someone who is almost-- almost dying. For him nothing, you know, to rely on, nothing to depend on. When you reach this kind of situation, you will not be fooled by anything because you don't want anything, because you are dying, you know. Money [laughs] or wife? No [laughs]. No more wife, no more children. You have-- you cannot be fooled by anything. But you may still want to know who you are, without fooling-- being fooled by anything. That is why we put emphasis on the feeling of evanescence of-- of life, so that you may not be fooled by anything.

But most people, you know, not only always fooled by something, but fooled by himself [laughs]. Very silly, you know. Fooled by himself. When you are fooled by something else, you know, the damage will not be so big. But when you are fooled by yourself [laughs], it's fatal. No more medicine [laughs].

I think we should know whether we are fooled by ourselves or not. Here there are many students, but I think most of you are fooled by yourself [laughs]. Most of you are fooled by yourself: by your ability, by your beauty, you know, or by your ability, by your confidence, and by your outlook. It is all right, you know, to feel some resistance to this kind of way of life, but we should not-- we shouldn't be lost in fight [laughs], in resistance. Do you understand? You know, if you involved in-- deeply involved in resistance or fight, you will lose yourself. As you are human being, not so strong and very emotional-- not much reason you have. It is-- you will be easily lost. Even though you are young, you will be lost. You will lose your strength and you will lose your friend, lose your parents. You will lose everything. And you will feel lonely. And what will you do?

You lose your, you know, brightness of your eyes. You lose your confidence. [Laughs.] You are dead body. And no one will say, “Oh, I am sorry.” No one say so [laughs]. Actually many people, you know, are lost, I think. Look at your face into the mirror-- [see] if you are still alive or not.

If you don't change this kind of-- this sightseeing practice, even though you practice zazen, it doesn't help at all. Do you understand? It doesn't help.

We have three-- two and half day-- oh, no-- two-- two days more, so let's practice hard, while we are still little bit alive.

Thank you very much.
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Re: Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen, by Shu

Postby admin » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:56 am

Direct Experience of Reality
Shunryu Suzuki Lecture
Sunday, June 22, 1969
San Francisco

Dogen Zenji says: “Everything is encourages us to attain enlightenment. Mountains and rivers, earth and sky: everything is encouraging us to attain enlightenment.” So, of course, a purpose of lecture is to encourage-- to encourage you attaining enlightenment. So we call our lecture, you know, teisho. Teisho means “with teaching-- with koan,” to help people to attain enlightenment.

And usual lecture-- sometime to explain the context of teaching-- like to explain philosophy-- to understand our teaching in philosophical way is more a “lecture”-- a kowa. Kowa is more philosophical. And purpose of to listen to kowa is to have intellectual understanding of the teaching. While teisho is to encourage students to attain enlightenment, or to have perfect understanding of-- to have real experience of-- to have real Buddhist experience.

So same thing will be subj- [partial word]-- topic of our everyday life in its ordinal [ordinary?] sense. And same thing will be koan [definitely said “koan” here] to encourage-- to encourage us to attain, to have direct experience of our life. Even though you think you are studying Buddhism, actually, you are, when you are just reading, you know [laughs]-- it is-- it may be-- it may not be true or it will not help to have direct experience of Buddhism but just intellectual understanding of it.

That is why we, when we study Buddhism, it is necessary to have strong conviction and to study it with mind and body, not just, you know, not only just mind but also body. So if you attend lecture, you know, even though you are sleepy, you know, and unable to listen to it, just to attend the lecture [laughs] in spite of the drowsiness will be, you know-- will bring you some experience of enlightenment. And it will be the enlightenment itself.

So intellectual understanding is necessary, but it will not-- it will not complete your study. Through-- by actual practice you can study it in its full meaning. So intellectual study, we say, doesn't make much sense [laughs], but it does not mean to ignore intellectual understanding or-- enlightenment experience is quite different thing from intellectual understanding. And the true, direct experience of things could be intellectualized. And to intellect- [partial word]-- to have to try some intellectual explanation to our direct experience is necessary to help your-- to help your direct experience. So, for us, both intellectual understanding and direct experience of it is necessary.

Sometime even though you think that is-- you think this is enlightenment experience, it may be just, you know, intellectual, extended explanation of-- or extended experience of intellectual things, and not true experience-- direct experience. That is why you must have true teacher who knows the difference between extended experience of common experience in its dualistic sense. Direct experience will come when you are completely involved in your practice, or when you are completely one with your activity, and when you have no idea of self-- not only when you are sitting, but also when you are-- your way-seeking mind is strong enough to forget your selfish desires. Or to forget selfish desire when you do something, study something with your whole mind and body, you will have direct experience.

That you haven't-- that you have some problem means your practice is not good enough. When your practice is good enough, whatever you see, whatever you do-- that is direct experience of the reality. This point should be remembered. And if you know that, it is not so easy to say “this is right” or “this is wrong”; “this is prefect” and “this is not perfect.”

Anyway, [for] most of us, it is not possible to say “good and bad” or “right or wrong.” Usually we, you know, without knowing this point, you say, “this is right, this is wrong.” [Laughs.] That is, you know, ridiculous when we know what is real practice. Because you are just involved in usual judgment of good or bad, right or wrong, you can easily say, “this is right, this is wrong.”

We Buddhists-- you may say, for Buddhists there is nothing wrong. Whatever you do, you know, “Buddha is doing it, not me.” [Laughs.] And so, “Buddha is responsible for it, not me.” But [laughs] that is, you know, also a kind of misunderstanding.

When we say we have buddha-nature, that is, you know, the statement to encourage you to have actual experience of it. To encourage your true practice we say, “we have buddha- [partial term]-- you have buddha-nature.” It works only to attain enlightenment, you know, to encourage your true practice. Purpose of the statement is just to encourage true practice, not to give you some excuse, you know, [for] your lazy practice or your formal-- just formal practice.

People misunderstand the true meaning of, or true purpose of our words, and you abuse and-- or you make excuse for your lazy practice, referring to Buddha's words, understanding the statement in relative sense. This kind of mistake is everywhere. “It works,” you know, “only this way and not that-- the other way.” [Laughs.] Do you understand?

Everyone has buddha-nature. Period. No more. You shouldn't say, “so” or “but” [laughs, laughter]. You should put “period,” you know. “Everyone has buddha-nature.” [Hits stick on table once.] No more statement. If you say something, you know, you will be-- you will get big slap. Whap! [Laughs, laughter.] You have to put “period” here. If you don't, you know, your teacher will put big “period” [laughs, laughter].

So we say, you know, in China, people carry something on their head. Honey or water in big jar. Sometime he may, you know, falled [dropped?], you know, of course, by mistake. But if you do not, you know, look back, like this [laughs]-- it is all right. You should go on and on [laughs], even though there is no more honey or water on your head. If you go on and on, that is, you know, that is not mistake. But if you [say]: “Oh! I lost it! Oh, my!” If you say so, that is mistake. That is not our true practice.

When skillful martial artist use their, you know, sword, he could be able to-- he should be able to cut fly [laughs] on your friend's nose, ffft!-- [laughs] without cutting off your [his], you know, nose. It means that, you know, if you have some fear of cutting his nose, that is not true practice. When you do it, you know [laughs], you should have strong determination to do it! Whei! [sound of sword cutting air]-- without any idea of skillful or not, or dangerous or not. You should just do it when you have to do it.

When you do it with this kind of conviction, that is true practice. So when you do-- do it with this conviction, it is true enlightenment at the same time. Not just because of the skillful-- skill. It is necessary to have strong conviction to do it, conviction beyond “successful or not successful.” Beyond any feeling of fear. You should do it. That is real practice, and that is the way-seeking mind, which is-- which goes beyond the idea of-- dualistic idea of good and bad, right or wrong.

Now-- can you hear me?

So if you should do it, you should just do it. We shouldn't mind whether it is-- whether you will be successful or not. That is our vow, you know, four vow. We-- we must do it. We must help people just because we must, you know. Sentient being are numberless, so we don't know whether we can help completely all of our sentient being. That is out of question. Our practice should go beyond it-- the idea of numerous sentient being or some limited number of sentient being. A part of it or all of it-- it doesn't matter as long. As we are here, we should continue our practice. That is true, you know, practice.

Of course, there is no limit in our understanding of the-- our teaching. The meaning of Buddha's teaching is limitless, but we should do it. Whether you understand it or not, we should try to understand it. This kind of conviction is necessary when you-- once you started to study Buddhism. Then that teaching --

[Sentence not finished. Tape turned over.]

-- has the teaching, valuable teaching which you will not encounter even [in] a thousand kalpas of time. That is the absolute teaching-- incomparable teaching to any teach- [partial word]-- any other teaching. That is the most valuable teaching.

“Incomparable teaching” or “supreme teaching” does not mean this is the best of all or something like that, in its comparative sense. When you have right attitude in your study, the teaching you study is the absolute teaching. So, as Dogen Zenji says, “We do not discuss the meaning of teaching in its comparative sense, but we should practice it in its-- our practice should be right.” With right practice we should study. As a right practice we should study the teaching. We should try to accept teaching with right attitude. Whether teaching is profound or lofty is not the point. But the point is our practice, our attitude to study it. So whatever the teaching is, we do not, you know, we do not discriminate teaching in Zen. Kegon Sutra or Lotus Sutra or Agama Sutra, we don't mind. Whatever the sutra is, the sutra is-- all the sutra is our fundamental teaching. We do not discriminate: “This is tea- [partial word]-- this is scripture for Soto.” Or “This is the koan for Rinzai.” Or “This is scripture for Nichiren Sect.” Or “This is the scripture just for Pure Land School.” And all the sutra is our sutra.

Whatever the teaching is, if we have right attitude towards the-- in our study, that is our teaching. This is characteristic of Zen and characteristic of true Buddhism. We do not set up any system of Buddhism, but we put emphasis on true practice.

In this sense, we say “Zen school.” Zen means “right practice.” It means to extend Buddha's practice, you know, day by day. That is, you know, how to be Buddha's disciple. That is why we started Zen Center here, or Tassajara Mountain Center: to practice our way in its true sense. It may be rather difficult to study our way in the city, but if you understand, you know, this point, you have no excuse for not practicing zazen. All the rules we have-- but all the rules we have here is just to make your practice easier. Not to make our door narrow, but to open up our door for everyone.

Maybe Tassajara door is narrower, you may think, but wider. To have rules is to help your study. Because we know, you know, how difficult it is, so we set up some rules to help your practice. That is the purpose of having rules in Zen Center. If there is no-- no pole, you know, to climb up, it is rather difficult for you to experience what kind of feeling you will have when you jump off from the pole. If a baby has no toy, you know, it is rather difficult to-- to have actual experience of human being, as a human being. We have-- we must experience many things, but if there is nothing, you know, even though whatever things may be-- things in our room could be, you know, devices to experience human experience. But if we have, you know, special toy for babies, it is easier to experience our human-- develop our human experience.

The, you know, rules we have is just a kind of toy to help your experience as a Buddhist. But toy-- it does not mean toy is always necessary, you know. When you are young it is necessary, but after you know how to handle a cup or how to work, it is not necessary for you to have some wheel to, you know, push, or to have some cup or toy made of, you know-- miniature, you know, cup made of plastic. If you want to have taste food better, plastic, you know, cup is not so good, you know [laughs] . It is better to use some ceramic, you know, or cups made of-- mud? How do you say it? Clay. You taste better.

So you don't-- it is not necessary for you to stick to toy always. And you should extend your way of life deeper and wider. But it is-- even so, you know, beautiful, you know, ceramic is not necessary. If you have, you know, if you are ready to appreciate things, and if your practice [is] always encouraged by things you see, things you eat, you know, any special things is not necessary. Whatever it is, things will encourage your true practice.

If you can enjoy your life in its true sense, even though you lose your body, you know, it is all right. If you are not conscious of your mind, it is all right, you know. Even you die, it is all right. If-- when you can-- when you are encouraged by everything, you know, and when you realize everything is always helping you, then there is no difference whether you are dead or alive. It doesn't make, you know, any sense. It is all right, quite all right [laughs]. That is complete renunciation.

And your practice will be vigorous-- enough to continue this kind of practice forever, regardless of life or death. In this way, our enlightenment should be-- could be explained. And how to, you know, have this kind of practice is up to you. I cannot, you know, explain your understanding of Buddhism. You should explain your way of life as a Buddhist in your own way.

So, you know, my talk is just to encourage your practice, but even though you memorize what you say-- what I said, it will not help you in its true sense. Maybe it will give you some suggestion.

Tomorrow I-- I will go to Tassajara and stay there maybe more than ten days or two weeks. So I must say sayonara, you know [laughs, laughter], for ten days or more.

Thank you very much.
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Re: Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen, by Shu

Postby admin » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:56 am

True Concentration
Shunryu Suzuki Lecture
Right Concentration
Sunday, January 10, 1971
San Francisco
(title from book: Not Always So, p. 103)

-- were given about our practice referring to Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva? What is, you know, who is Avalokitesvara? I don't mean a man or a woman [laughs]. He is, by the way-- he's supposed to be a man who take sometime figure of a woman, you know. In disguise of a woman he help people. That is Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva. Sometime, you know, he has one thousand hands-- one thousand hands-- to help others. But, you know, if he is concentrated on one hand only, you know [laughs], 999 hands will be no use [laughs].

Our concentration does not mean to be concentrated on one thing, you know. Without, you know, trying to concentrate our mind, you know, without trying to concentrate, concentrated on something, we should be ready to be concentrated on something, you know. For an instance, if I am watching someone, you know, like this [laughs], my eyes is concentrated on one person like this. You know, I cannot see, you know, even it is necessary, it is difficult to change my concentration to others. We say “to do things one by one,” but what it means is, you know, without [laughs]-- ah, it may be difficult-- maybe not to try to explain it so well [laughs]. Nature [of] it is difficult to explain. But look at my eyes, you know. This is eyes, you know, I am watching someone [laughs]. And this is my eyes, you know, when I practice zazen. I'm [not] watching anybody [laughs], but if someone move, I can catch him [laughs, laughter].

There is your-- so-- mmm-- from old time, the main point of practice is to have clear, calm mind. In short, that is our practice, and that is our, maybe, faith, you know, belief. By “belief” we don't mean to believe in something. Our practice should not be something like fanatic, you know, practice. Or infatuation is not our practice, you know. Just, you know, to always to have calm, serene mind, whatever you do, you know. Even you eat something good, your mind should be very calm to be ready to appreciate, you know, the labor of making food and the effort of making, you know, dishes, and chopsticks, and, you know, bowls, and everything. And we, you know, we should appreciate each vegetables, you know-- one by one-- its own flavor. That is, you know, how we make food, you know, and how you eat food. So we don't put so much seasoning or flavor to food. We rather appreciate each, you know, food. That is, we say, “calorie.” Calorie is not flavor. Flavor is, you know, something you put, you know, is flavor.

So, you know, to know someone is to sense someone's flavor. Flavor [laughs] is not smell [laughs] but something you feel from someone. And each one has some, you know, particular flavor-- or not “flavor” [laughs]-- personality from which many, you know, feelings comes out, and each one has each one's own flavor. Then we have, you know, good relationship with each other. We are really friendly with each other. To be friendly does not mean to occupy someone or to stick to someone, you know, or try not to lose your friend, but to have full appreciation of his or her own personality or flavor, you know.

So to appreciate things and people, we should be-- our minds should be calm and pure or clear. So to have this kind of mind, we practice zazen. So when we practice zazen, we just-- that is what do we mean by “just sit,” “just sit,” without not much gaining idea-- to be you yourself-- or to “settle oneself on oneself.” That is, you know, our practice.

“Freedom,” you say, but maybe freedom you mean and freedom we Zen Buddhists mean may not be exactly the same. Maybe same, but not exactly. For an instance, you know, to attain freedom [laughs] we cross our legs [laughs] and we keep our posture straight, and we keep our eyes in some certain way and we open our ears, you know, to everything, even without trying to open. Let our eyes open to everything. But there is some way to have this readiness, to have this openness, because or else by nature we are liable to be, you know, go extreme and to stick to something, losing, you know, our calmness of mind or mirror-like mind. So there must be some way, you know, to obtain this kind of calmness of your mind, of clearness of your mind. That is zazen practice.

So it does not mean-- it looks like, you know, to force something physically, you know, some form physically on you and to create, you know, some special state of mind. Is maybe-- you may think that is Zen practice, and you may think this kind of state of mind is, you know, Zen practice, you know: To have mirror-like mind is Zen practice. It is so, but [laughs]-- but [laughs]-- if you practice zazen, you know, to attain that kind of, you know, mirror-like mind, that is not already the practice we mean. There is slight difference. If you practice zazen to obtain, you know, a kind of state of mind, it is already art of Zen. Art of Zen.

The difference between art of Zen and true Zen [laughs]-- do you, do you-- oh. What is the difference, do you think? Art of Zen and Zen. Actually, you have it, you know, when you do not try. Because you try to do something, you lose it. When you try to do something, you know, it means that you are concentrated on one hand of one thousand hand, you know [laughs]. You lose 999 hands. So that is why we say just to sit, you know. It does not mean, you know, to stop your mind altogether, you know, or to be concentrated on your breathing completely. It doesn't mean that. But it is a kind of, you know, help, you know, to have better practice. When you count your breathing, you don't think so much. You don't have so much gaining idea. Counting breathing doesn't mean much to you. So that is why, maybe, someone get bored about [laughs] counting breathing. “It doesn't mean anything.” But when you think so, you know, your way of understanding of real practice is lost. Why we, you know, practice-- why we try to be concentrated or let our mind go with breathing is not to be, you know, involved in some complicated practice in which you will lose yourself. So to have calmness of your mind, or pure mind, or open mind, we apply this kind of practice.

Art of Zen or, you know, is-- I don't know so much about art, but art of Zen is, you know, skill of Zen or skill of practice. You know, to be like Zen master [laughs], you know, skillful Zen master who have big strength and who have good practice. It may be your, you know-- some of you may practice zazen to be like someone like, you know, [Sotan Ryosen] Tatsugami Roshi, for an instance [laughs]. “Oh, I want to be like him. I must try hard,” you know [laughs]. You are learning art of Zen [laughs, laughter]. You are not practicing true zazen [laughs]. That is how you [laughs] study art, you know: How to draw straight line [laughs] or how to, you know, to control your mind, that is art of Zen. But Zen is for everyone, you know, even though he cannot draw a straight line. If he can [in] any way draw a line, that is our Zen. And if that is very natural to a boy, even though it is not straight, it is beautiful [laughs]. Maybe that is, you know, art-- or more than art so, you know, people like some work done by children rather than done by, you know, famous artist. There is some difference. I don't know how to explain it.

So whether you like [laughs] cross-legged position or not, or whether you can do it or not, if you know what is true zazen, you can do it. Somehow you will figure out if you watch Tatsugami Roshi's practice carefully, with openness of your mind, then you learn something from it, or when your mind is based on gaining idea [laughs], what you learn is art of Zen, not true Zen.

So, you know, the most important thing in our practice is, you know, just, you know, follow our schedule and to do things with people [laughs]. Again, you know, this is, you may say, “group practice” [laughs]. It is not so [laughs]. Group practice is quite different thing. It is a kind of art. You know, in wartime, when we are practicing zazen, some young people who were very much encouraged by, you know, militaristic, you know, mood of Japan told me that in the [Soto-shu-kyokai-] Shushogi, you know, it says, “To understand what is, you know, birth and death is main point of our practice.” [Laughs.] “But even though we don't know anything about Shushogi,” you know, “I can die easily in [at the] front” [laughs]. That is group practice, I think, you know. Encouraged by trumpet and guns and war cry (WRAAA) [laughs, laughter], he is normal [?]. It is quite easy to die. That kind of practice is not our practice. We practice with people, you know, first of all. But goal of practice is to practice with mountain, and with river, and with trees, and with stones-- with everything in the world, in the universe-- and to find ourselves in this big cosmos. And in this big world we should intuitively know which way to go.

When, you know, your surrounding show some sign, you know, to go this way or that way, you should intuitively go this way or that way. Show a sign, you know. When they show some sign, we should intuitively follow it. I am very much interested in the word “show a sign.” “Show,” you know. “Sign” is something which is shown, you know, by something else to you, and even though you have no idea of following sign, you know, if some sign is shown, you will, you know, go that direction. This is the real practice Dogen Zenji meant. If your practice does not go with everything, with-- he doesn't say with your friend-- with everything, it is not real practice.

How you can practice with everything is to have, you know, calmness of your mind. So how you, you know-- so to come to Zen Center and practice our way is good, but you should not make a big mistake. Maybe you [laughs] already made a mistake [laughs, laughter], but you should know that you are making mistake. But [you say] “I cannot help coming here” [laughs], you know. Then your practice have quite different quality. Meaning is different. “You,” in that case, means you which is involved in wrong idea, you know. That is you. So I think you have to accept it: “I am involved in wrong practice,” you know. Then your practice include your wrong practice and “you,” in that case, means you which includes some wrong practice.

But, you know, we should accept it, because it is there already. You cannot do anything about it. There is no need to try to get rid of it. But if you, you know, open your eyes, true eyes, and accept it, there there is real practice [laughs]. Do you understand? It is not matter of right or wrong, but how to accept frankly, with openness of your mind, what you are doing. That is most important point. Then you will accept “you” thinking something else in your practice, you know [laughs]. “Ah, something came over already.” And you should accept that “you” too. You should not try to, you know, to be free from the images you have: “Oh! Here they come” [laughs, laughter]. That is, you know [laughs], this kind of eyes [laughs]. You are not watching any special thing. Someone is moving over there. “Oh, he is moving [laughs].” But if he stop moving [laughs], your eyes is, you know, same. In that way, if your practice include everything, that is, you know, one after another, if your real practice, if you do not lose some kind of, you may say, “state of mind,” that is, you know, your practice.

So this is, you know-- this kind of practice is a practice which is unknown to most of the people and which is very important for us-- which is transmitted from Buddha to Bodhidharma and Dogen Zenji. So our practice is not group practice or, you know-- by means of, you know, people we practice, so it looks like group practice but it is not so, actually. Maybe group practice with everything in the world. Then [laughs] that is not group practice any more [laughs]. You know, group exist in big society: this group, or that group. That is group practice. Our practice is not, you know, Soto practice, you know. Rinzai, Soto, or Obaku, you know: That is group practice, but our practice is to practice with everything. If there is someone else, you know, we should include that person too. We should practice with that person. So our measure of practice is limitless-- we should have -- [Sentence not finished. Tape turned over.] When we have this base, we have real freedom.

Each one of our being means [needs?] something. But when you measure or evaluate your value of being, you know, good or bad, or right or wrong, or black or white [laughs], that is, you know, comparative value. You will not have absolute value in your being. When you evaluate yourself by measure of limitless measure, each one of us is really will be settled on real self, you know. To be just you is enough, you know. Because you have short, you know, limited measure, you know, or a dualistic measure, you lose your value.

Hmm. Black one should be just black, white [laughs] one should be just white. That is enough, you know. What do you need more than that? Why do you need more than that? Because of your, you know, small measurement. We must know this point, and we should know what is real practice for human being and for everything. And for everything.

Thank you very much.
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Re: Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen, by Shu

Postby admin » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:57 am

Wherever I Go, I Meet Myself
Shunryu Suzuki Lecture
Saturday, January 23, 1971
San Francisco
(title from book: Not Always So, p. 107)

Most of us, maybe, want to know what is self. This is a big problem. Why you have this problem, you know, and is-- I want to understand [laughs] why you have this problem. I'm trying to understand. And even though, it seems to me, even though you try to understand who are you, it is, you know, it is endless trip, you know, and you will never see your self.

You say to sit without thinking too much is difficult. Just to sit is difficult. But more difficult thing will be to try to think about your self [laughs]. This is much more difficult. To do is maybe easy, you know, but to have some conclusion, you know, to it is almost impossible, and you will continue it until you become crazy [laughs, laughter]. That is, you know, when you don't know what to do with your self. Or when you don't know, when you find out it is impossible to know who you are, you know, you become crazy.

Moreover, your culture is based on the idea of self and science and Christianity [laughs]. So those element, you know, idea of Christianity or sinful idea of Christianity or, you know, idea of science, scientific-oriented mind, makes your confusion greater. You try to always, when you sit, you know, perhaps most of you sit to improve your zazen. That idea to improve, you know, is a very Christian-like, you know, idea and, at the same time, a scientific idea: to improve. You acknowledge some improvement of our culture or civilization. We understand our civilization, you know, improved a lot. But, you know, when we say “scientific” in sense of science, you know, or “improve” means before you went to Japan by ship, now you go to airplane or jumbo [laughs] plane. That is improvement.

So when you say “some improvement,” it include idea of value. And that is at the same time, you know, base of our framework of our society-- economy. Now I understand you are rejecting that kind of, you know, idea of civilization. But you do not, you know, reject the idea of improvement. You still try to improve something.

And I think in Christianity, you know, all the improvement or civilization should be, you know, end. When the Last (what do you call it?) Last [Judgment], you know-- when you are judged, you know, when what you have done is judged by God [laughs], you should go to hell [laughs, laughter]. You have done-- you have made a atomic bomb, so you should go to [laughs] hell. You invented, you know, jumbo jet plane, so you should go [laughs, laughter] to hell. And when you go to-- that is the end of everything. So our society has some end, you know. When we have end, you can say “improvement.” You are improving our civilization just to go to hell [laughs]. That is, you know, improvement according for the Christian.

My friend [George] Hagiwara has very Christian-oriented mind. He criticize always, you know, people, scientists, who are trying to go to the moon, you know. Someday all of us will be, you know, must go to hell [laughs] by trying that kind of thing [laughs, laughter], he always says to me. At first I couldn't understand what he meant, actually. Now, you know, I have some clear understanding, you know, how he feels. He believe in, you know, Last Judgment of God.

What I am talking about is the idea of improvement, which we Buddhists do not, you know, have so much. Nowadays, you know, in Japan or in China, all the people are trying to improve their way of life. We are deeply involved in the idea of improvement of something-- to improve something. This kind of element, you know, of idea of to practice-- when you practice zazen, you maybe try to improve yourself, and you want to know yourself more, you know, psychological way. That is why you are involved in-- interested in psychology so much.

But psychology will tell you about your psychological things, but psychology will not tell you exactly who you are [laughs]. It is one of the many, you know, interpretation of your mind. One of the many. So if you go to, you know, psychologist or psychiatrist, endlessly you will have new information about [laughs] you [laughs]. Endless. So as long as you are going, maybe you feel, you know, some release. You feel as if, you know, all the psychological burden you have, you know, you will be released [from] the burden you carry by a psychologist, by a psychiatrist. But, you know, the way we understand [laughs] ourselves is quite different from that kind of understanding.

This morning I want to introduce Tozan's, you know, famous saying. Tozan, the founder of Chinese Soto school, he said, “Don't try to see yourself,” maybe, “objectively.” Maybe we can say scientific way. He didn't say so, but, “Don't try to see something which was given to you,” you know. In other words, don't try to see, you know, some information about you which is given to you by some objective truth. That is information.

He says real you is quite different from the information you will have. Real you is not that kind of thing. “I go by myself my own way,” he says [laughs]. “I go by myself in my own way. Wherever I see, I meet with myself. Wherever I go, I meet myself.” When you [laughs]-- so, you know, he reject that kind of effort to try to be, try to cling to the information about yourself. But you should, he says, but you should go, you know, alone with your legs. Or you should, you know, in other word, you should practice our way, you know, with people. Whatever people may say [laughs], you should go your way, and you should practice with people.

This is, you know, another point. “With people” is another point. It means to meet yourself is to practice with people. To meet yourself. When you-- you will see yourself-- someone's practice, you know, if you see someone practicing hard, you will see yourself. You say, you know, if you are impressed by someone's practice, “Oh, she is doing very well,” you know. That “she” is not she or you. Something more than that. “Oh, she is doing very well,” you know [laughs]. What is “she”? After thinking, you know, for a while, “Oh, she is there [laughs], I am here.” But when you, you know, struck, when you are impressed by her practice, you know, that “her” is not you or she. When you see it, when you're struck by it, that is actually real you [laughs]. “You” is, you know-- tentatively I say “you,” but it is-- that “you” is pure experience of our practice. As long as you are trying to, you know, improve yourself [laughs], you know, having some core of idea of self, you know, trying to improve yourself, that is wrong practice. That is not practice we mean.

When you, you know, empty your mind, you know, when you give up everything and just practice zazen with your open mind, whatever you see, that is to meet yourself. There there is “you,” you know, you which is beyond she or he or me. So as long as you are cling to the idea of self and trying to improve your practice, trying to, you know, to find out something, or to see, you know, improved self, better self, or to find better practice, then your practice, you know, is in [has gone] astray. You have no time to, you know, to reach the goal, so eventually you will be tired out, or and you will say, “Zen is no good. [Laughs.] I practiced zazen for ten years, but I didn't [laughs] gain anything!” [Laughs, laughter.] But if you just come here and sit with sincere student and find yourself among them, and, you know, then that is, if you continue in that way, our practice. That is our practice. And this kind of experience could be everywhere. As Tozan said, “Wherever I go, I meet with myself.” If he see water, that is he himself. Even though he cannot see himself in the water, you know, to see water is enough for him.

I think it's a, it-- I don't want to, you know, criticize someone's religion, Christianity or anything, but if you do not understand the nature of the religion, you know, you believe in, you will be lost. Even though you are a very good Christian, you say you are a very good Christian, or-- even though people say you are good Christian, but, you know, you will be lost if you don't understand how to be a good Christian. Teaching is good, but when you don't understand the real teaching, you will be lost. So actually for a Christian, you know, if you go to church and do this or [laughs] you don't do this [probably making a gesture] [laughs, laughter]. I don't know this way or that way or [laughter]-- that is enough [laughs], you know. There is, you know, complete liberation. You are saved at that time. Because you, you know, pray for [to] God for something, you know [laughs], you cannot save yourself. Actually, you know, when you are already saved, you know, you say, you know, you pray for His help [laughs]. That is why, you know, you cannot be a good Christian.

So how you understand yourself is not to understand yourself objectively or try to cling to the information, you know, from various source. If people say you are crazy-- ”Okay, I am crazy.” [Laughs.] If people say you are bad student, “Okay, I am-- maybe so I am bad student, but I am trying, you know, pretty hard.” That is enough, you know. In this way, when you, you know, continue or when you sit in that way, accepting, you know, yourself and accepting everything with yourself, when you are involved in various, you know, silly problem, you should sit with the problem you have. You know, that is you, you know, at that time. When you try to get out of it, out of them, you know, that is already wrong practice. If you cling to, you know, some idea created by you, like self or some objective world, you will be lost in objective world which you created by your mind. So you are creating one after another [laughs], so there is no end. There-- maybe there many kinds of world, and, you know, you are creating. To create it may be very interesting-- to see many things is very interesting, but you should not be lost in it.

Another side of, you know, our practice is we, you know, we try to think and we try to act. We do not try to, you know, to be like a stone, you know. We-- for us, our everyday life is our practice. Instead of being enslaved by thinking mind or imagination or emotional activity, we just, you know, think, in its true sense. Thinking mind, thinking activity, comes out, you know, from true self, which include everything.

Before I-- we think in our practice, trees are [thinking] and birds [are thinking] and everything is thinking, you know. And when they think, they grow-- they-- they sing, you know. That is their thinking. There is no need for us to think, you know [laughs], more than that. You know, if you see things as it is, that is thinking. Already we are thinking. This kind of pure thinking is the thinking mind we have in our practice, so we have always freedom from ourselves too. And we can see things as it is. At the same time, we can think about things.

For us there is no truth or no falsehood because we have no particular, you know, standard for our thinking, standard to which we cling to. [The preceding sentence was finished by Suzuki, but the rest of the lecture was not recorded on tape. A handwritten note was enclosed with the original tape containing a summary of the missing conclusion: Before you ask for dokusan with me, start your own practice. Stand on your own feet. Then I can help you. If you want to find out about yourself, maybe better to go to someone else. They will tell you many interesting things.]
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Re: Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen, by Shu

Postby admin » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:57 am

The Boss of Everything
Shunryu Suzuki Lecture
Saturday, January 16, 1971
San Francisco
(title from book: Not Always So, p. 111)

Something valuable [laughs]-- not jewel or not candy, but something which is very valuable. You recite right now, you know, a verse on unsurpassable, you know, teaching. What is actually-- how to, you know, receive this kind of treasure is, you know, to have well-oriented mind. I have been talking about self for maybe three lectures-- what is self and what is your surrounding, what kind of thing you see, how you accept things, and purpose of zazen.

Purpose of zazen, why we practice zazen is to be a boss of everything. That is why you practice zazen. If you practice zazen, you will be a boss of your surrounding-- wherever you are, you are boss [laughs]. But if I say so, it will create some misunderstanding: you are boss, you know, you are boss of everyone or everything. And you is, you know, also, in your mind, you are boss of everything, you know. When you understand in that way, you know, you are enslaved by idea of you and, you know, your friend, or everyone-- all the people surrounding you. You are, you know, you know, you exist in your mind as a kind of idea, and also people exist in your mind as a member of [laughs] delusion [laughs]. I say “delusion” because when those idea is not well-supported by your practice, then that is delusion, you know. When you are enslaved by the idea of “you or others,” then that is delusion. When real, you know, power of practice is supporting those idea, at that time, you know, I say you are “you” who is practicing our way is boss of everything, boss of you yourself, you know.

That is why we say, or Buddha say, you have to control yourself, you know, control yourself. When, you know, you have something you have to control, that is, you know, deluded you, not real you. “You” are in your mind as an idea, you know [laughs], and you are deluded by the idea of you, and [laughs] you are enslaved by the idea of people, so, you know, you have difficulty or confusion between idea of you and idea of your friend. That is confused [laughs] mind. But when you have, you know, you support or you are supporting in its true sense-- not encouraging [laughs]. I don't mean to encourage, but you are. Those idea are well controlled by your power of practice, then, you know, that “you,” you know, is boss of everything. So even confused mind will be supported by your practice.

That is how, you know, how things, you know, how sound of motor car or various sound, you know, come to your ear when you are practicing zazen. Even though you practice zazen, you may hear various voice. Sometime you may have various idea, you know, in your mind, but if your practice is good, you know, it is, you know-- it is supported-- not “supported”-- your practice obtains, you know, those things from outside. It is not actually from outside, but, you know, are things you have at that moment. At that time, you know, things you see or you hear is a part of you, you know. You include, actually-- your practice owns or include the things you hear, images you have, but your practice is strong enough to obtain it, to have it, to own it, without being enslaved by it, as if you have your own hands, your own eyes.

You know, it doesn't create any trouble, even though it looks like, you know, you know, creating problem, you know. Sometime, you know, this hand and this hand will fight [laughs]-- not fight-- it looks like fighting, you know, when you [laughs] holding, you know, something like this. [Probably made a gesture with hands.] It looks like this hand is fighting with the other hand [laughs]. But, you know, it is not problem for you. They are trying to do something, that's all [laughs].

When you are really boss of everything, even though it looks like confusion, you know, it is not confusion. Even though it looks like confusion, you know, it is not confusion. Even though you look like doing something wrong, you know, some bad thing [laughs], people may say, “Oh, he is doing something bad.” [Laughs.] But, you know, that is, you know, their understanding. For you it is not bad. You are not doing anything bad. It is, you know-- because “you” owns everything, and you manage things as if you manage your hands. So it is not bad. So, you know, “don't do something bad” means let yourself be, you know, with everything and let everything as they want to. That is the power of practice, and that is quite different from doing something wrong. And by doing something wrong, by doing something wrong, you may suffer, you know, but for him there is no suffering. He is just, you know, managing things in some way, as his own. So it is a part of practice you do in your everyday life.

The precepts also should be observed in this way, you know. You observe precepts not because you have to follow Buddha's words, but because to extend or to have true practice in our everyday life or to settle yourself on yourself. That self, you know, include everything.

You know, sometime we say, you know, you have to extend our practice on everyday life is to be completely involved in your activity, or to be one with, you know, what you have or what you do. That is how you extend our practice, you know, in your everyday life. But that is not, you know, so clear. Then you may ask, you know, to be caught by baseball mania [laughs] is, maybe, our practice [laughs]. To be infatuated in some, you know, gambling [laughs] or something, may be practice [laughs], you may say, but that is not our practice. Do you know why? Why that is not practice? Because you are enslaved by it [laughs], you know. You are not boss of, you know, gambling. Gambling is boss of you [laughs]. Your practice is not working. You are enslaved by something which you create in your mind. You know, the machine is just going [laughs] without thinking or without doing anything [laughs], but your mind works on it, you know, and you create some delusion on the machine. And, you know, your gaining idea or your playful speculative idea, you know, makes machines, you know, gambling, that's all. So you are enslaved by yourself and by machine too. You are not practicing zazen at all. You are not boss of, you do not own the machine, you do not own your legs, you know, so, you know, as soon as you get up, your legs [laughs] wants to go to Reno. [Laughs, laughter.] You don't own your legs even [laughs]. There is no practice, you know, which support your legs. That is the difference, you know.

So to be one with something, you know, does not mean to be caught by something. Why you caught by something is you become a member of something, you know, in your idea. You already create some, you know, something interesting in your mind. And as a member of, you know, the group, you, you know, become very insuggestic [suggestive], you know. You feel some zeal to be a member of, you know [laughs], to be a member of the group you have in your mind. And you are enslaved by it, and you have nothing but something which you create in your mind. There is no practice-- nothing which is supporting you. You are not boss, and you even lose yourself, you know. That is the difference.

So we say you have to practice zazen without any gaining idea, gaining of idea, without any purpose [laughs] even, we have to practice zazen. Let things work as they go, supporting everything, you know, as your own. So you have always-- real you have-- real practice has orientation. It has orientation or direction. But it has no purpose or no gaining idea. We do not practice zazen because of something which is in your mind, but because, you know, your real “you,” you know, [is] well-oriented, and, you know, and always extending itself. It has some direction, you know, direction, which works always outside and at the same time inside too. It has some, you know, always some feeling or direction. That direction does not work, you know, will not be realized, will not happen to be active, but when something come, at the same time it includes everything. So whatever it is, you know, it will work on it. Whether it is good or bad, it doesn't matter. Something bad come, “Okay, you are [laughs], you know, a part of me.” Something good come, you know, you will say, “Oh, okay.”

We do not have any special goal or special object or purpose of practice. It doesn't matter whatever it is. That is why we call it “Big Mind,” because it include, you know, include everything. So we call it “Big Mind.” Because it is great we do not say “Big Mind.” Whatever it is, it include within us, and we own it, so we call it “Big Mind,” “purposeless purpose,” or we say “tongueless tongue” [laughs] “tongueless tongue.” Even though I talk [about] something, there is no purpose [laughs], you know. I am talking to myself [laughs], you know, because you are a part of me, so I have no purpose of [laughs, laughter]. I have no purpose in my talk. Something is going, you know, that's all. How it goes is, you know, because of the real joy to share the joy of, you know, practice.

So maybe you practice our practice to share our practice with everything. So when one is practice zazen, everything [is] practicing zazen. When you practice zazen, everything you have, you know, is practicing zazen. Buddha practice zazen, Bodhidharma practice zazen, and everything practice zazen with you. And you share the practice with everything. So, you know-- it happens in that way. Our real life happens in that way. Our real bodhisattva way happens in that way. That is how you help others, you know. Help others. “To help others,” means to share the practice with people. With children, you know, with people on the street. We have to share the practice, even though they do not practice zazen, you know, like this, you know [laughs], we can share the practice because if I see people, you know, people is already here. And I practice zazen with him, with the sound of the car, with everything.

So to have well-oriented mind is, you know-- if someone ask me why you practice zazen, I may answer to have well-oriented mind I practice zazen. Without any purpose we practice zazen. Without any special purpose. So point is not to lose this kind of, you know, well-oriented mind. In Japan, you know, in Japan, children has, you know, Bodhidharma toy, you know. Do you know the paper toy, made of paper? And it, you know-- even though you toss it, it will stand up [laughs]. Well-oriented [laughs, laughter] practice. People enjoy the toy, you know, tossing around, because it stand up, wherever it goes, it will stand up like this. It doesn't matter where it goes. That is, you know, good example of our practice.

So our practice should be with everything, you know, with everything. Without being enslaved by it, we should be able to share the practice with everything. That is how you establish yourself, you know, on yourself. And we should know that “the self,” we say, but it include everything. It is ready to include everything. And it is not even “it,” you know [laughs]. It is something which include, you know, everything is real self. We don't know where it is [laughs]. If you say, “Here is my mind,” that is already some idea of, you know [laughs] self. It is here instead of here [laughs]. When you say, “Here. Here is my self,” you know, but actually, at that time, the self is here [laughs], not here [laughs, laughter]. And your brain is up here too [laughs, laughter]. Where is it? No one knows. [Laughs.] The only way is to participate [in] the practice, Buddha-practice, and to share the joy of practice. That is, you know, so-called-it, anraku no homon-- ”easiest and most,” you know, “easy and joyful practice.”

Thank you very much.
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Re: Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen, by Shu

Postby admin » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:57 am

Sincere Practice
Shunryu Suzuki Lecture
How To Have Sincere Practice
Tuesday, April 28, 1970
San Francisco
(title from book: Not Always So, p. 115)

Since Tatsugami Roshi came, you must have heard Dogen Zenji's name so many times. But Dogen Zenji may not like to hear his name so many times [laughs]. But unfortunately he had a name like Dogen, so [laughs] there is no other way to address him. So we call him Dogen Zenji or Dogen.

As you know, he didn't like to say “Zen” even, or Zen-- in China they called monks who sit in zazen, called [them] “Zen monks,” but he didn't like to call “Zen” even. And he said if necessary you should call us “Buddha's disciple.” Shamon, you know, he called himself Shamon Dogen-- ”A Monk Dogen.”

In China, there were many various schools like Rinzai, Soto, Ummon, Hogen, Igyo. But Nyojo Zenji's-- Nyojo Zenji, who was Dogen's teacher then, was not, according to Dogen, [from] one of the five schools of Zen or seven schools of Zen. His Zen is just to practice zazen, to realize-- to actually realize by his body Buddha's mind, Buddha's spirit. That was his Zen. That was why Dogen accepted him as his teacher.

Before he-- Dogen went to China, he studied Hiezan [Onjoji?]-- Tendai-- main temple of Tendai school. And after Tendai, he went to Eisei-- Eisai Zenji-- Yoshinji [Kenninji?], and then he went to China because Eisai Zenji passed away when he was very young. So he went to China to continue his practice with good teacher.

He may have-- according to Kenzei-ki, he already attained enlightenment under Eisai, but he wanted to continue his practice with right teacher. So he went to China with Myozen, who was also one of the-- Eisai's outstanding teacher-- no, disciple. But he couldn't accept-- although he visited many temples and saw many Zen teachers, but he couldn't accept them as his teacher until he met with Nyojo Zenji. And when he saw Nyojo Zenji, without studying under him, when he saw for the first time, he accepted him, Nyojo Zenji, as his teacher. And Nyojo Zenji also thought, “This is my disciple. This is my disciple who will carry my practice.”

And when he was practicing with Nyojo Zenji he attained-- he-- someone-- Nyojo Zenji was scolded someone who was sleeping in his practice. And at that time-- the feeling or experience he had at that time was submitted by Dogen to his teacher. And he became a completely-- he transmitted-- he received the transmission from Nyojo Zenji and came back to Japan.

The first thing we should notice here is Dogen was a monk who wanted to be sincere-- one of the sincere good monks of Buddha or disciple-- disciple of Buddha. That's all. And he has nothing in his mind when he went to-- he saw Nyojo-- Eisai Zenji, he already gave up scholarly study of Buddhism which he was-- he had been involved in for long long time.

But his problem is how to be a good disciple from the bottom of his heart and mind. So for him to have this spirit it was the most important point. He was so sincere student that he couldn't accept teachers who is not so sincere as he was. Already he gave up scholarly study, so he couldn't accept someone who is talking about Buddhism. Already he experienced what is Zen, so he couldn't accept someone who is just talking about what is Zen. But what he wanted to see is a man who [is] really practicing Zen in its true sense. So when he saw Nyojo Zenji, who is practicing his way, he accepted him as his teacher. And when Nyojo Zenji saw him, he could acknowledge his sincerity-- his sincere practice. And-- the next question will be what is sincere practice? What is the way-seeking mind?

Perhaps, you know, you want to know what is sincerity in your practice. First of all, when you become very sincere you cannot accept which is superficial. But bef- [partial word]-- when you are not so sincere, it is difficult to know what is sincerity, who is sincere student. It is difficult and almost impossible. Only when you become very sincere, you can-- you will know what is sincerity.

It is like to know-- to appreciate art. You know, when you see-- first of all, if you want to appreciate good art, the most important thing is to see the good work. If you, you know, if your eye-- if you see a good work always, if you-- in case you see something which is not good enough, you will immediately know this is not so good because your eyes is already sharp enough to know what is bad, you know, what is good work. And when you know what is good work, you will know what is bad, you know-- what is not-so-good work.

That is why Dogen Zenji always put emphasis on the teacher. If you want to know what is sincerity, you should have good teacher. Only when you have good teacher you will know-- by him you will know-- by seeing him you will know who is good teacher-- what is good teacher. When you see sincere person, you will know what is sincerity. That is not something which I can describe. That is something you will feel by your intuition. That kind of intuition will be gained by seeing good teachers always.

And next thing which is important is to give up or to be ready to give up everything, including your understanding of teaching or your knowledge about, you know, Buddhism. Most of you may think, you know-- may accept some teacher who say-- whose knowledge-- whose knowledge is understandable-- acceptable for you. You will say he is good teacher [laughs], you know.

But the standard is-- you cannot judge your teacher by your low, you know, standard. Only when you have well-polished-ups, you know, eyes or standard of judgment, you will understand-- you will see-- you can tell which is good and which is bad. To have-- but as long as you have some standard, that standard may be your own, you know, standard which cannot be perfect.

So best thing is, you know, to give up everything. Many teachers, you know, give up-- burned all the sutra they study and practiced zazen only. In that case, he had-- he did not rely on anything, but he just practiced zazen to purify his mind. To accept true teaching-- teaching can be-- any teaching can be your good teaching for you, but because of your foolish judgment, you know, teaching does not make much sense. You-- you are spoiling good teaching by your own judgment. But when you have no judgment, and when you see or accept teaching as it is, that is, in other word, good teaching.

What he-- what Dogen transmitted from his teacher is this acceptance-- giving up everything. Great spirit-- to-- to be ready to give up everything. Especially when he is practiced zazen, he has nothing in his mind. He was just practicing zazen. That, you know, purity of practice strucked [struck?] him.

When you are, you know, trying to give up everything, you don't-- you haven't give up everything yet. When you become tired of foolish, you know, discussion or foolish study of, you know, foolish mind-- to seek for something which is called truth or true teaching, you will be completely involved in pure practice, giving up everything.

My teacher, Kishizawa Ian, he was a-- actually a great scholar. But his study was started after when he give up everything [laughs]. He didn't care for position or fame or, you know, reputation. Whatever people may say about him he doesn't care. And he continued his study and his practice just to meet some ancient teachers who devoted themselves to the-- to our teaching. When we, you know, realize this point, there is no Soto or no Rinzai, you know. Before you give up everything, you have Soto or Rinzai. When you give up everything, there is no Soto or Rinzai.

In Dogen Zenji describing various teachers' ways of practice, among them there are Rinzai teachers, Soto teachers, and some other schools-- teachers of many schools. He just, you know, wanted to see him through books. That was also true with my teacher. Whenever he meets some student or some scholar, what he ask is-- give me some record you have. Whatever record it may be, he was very much interested in to see it, to read it. He was seeking for his friend always, his teacher always. Whether he is famous or not, it doesn't matter for him. Only when you give up everything, you can see true teacher.

Even name of Buddhism is already dirty spot on our practice. It is not teaching but the stu- [partial word]-- but their character or their effort. When you seek for even enlightenment, his mind is not big enough. He is not sincere enough because he, you know-- he has some purpose in his study. To, you know-- for us I think everyone want to see a great man. That is not, you know-- that is not a selfish desire. It is the desire which everyone has. But desire to accomplish something or even to propagate Buddhism is not pure enough. Just to-- just to see someone who is holy and great and pure is our purpose of studying Zen or Buddhism. [Gap in tape: Recorder stopped for unknown period and restarted on same side.]

-- on what point your teacher could be strict. First of all, when you are lazy [laughs] he will be very angry. If, you know, good, intelligent student, you know, always involved in something which is not pure enough, he may be angry. He is wasting his time.

As much as possible, we should follow our inner voice, rejecting useless things and how-- sometime, you know, we will think something is necessary to support yourself. But Dogen says if you study hard-- pure-- if your practice is pure enough, you will be anyway supported by Buddha. You should[n't] worry who will support you or what will happen to you. You shouldn't worry about this kind of thing. Moment after moment, you should completely devote yourself which you-- listening to your inner voice. That is to see someone who is great in its true sense. To see someone who can accept-- who you can accept-- that is the most important point for Zen student.

So if you cannot accept a teacher as your teacher, you should seek for someone-- someone else as your teacher. Without this kind of spirit, it is almost impossible to study our way.

With this spirit, or to polish up our way-seeking mind, we practice zazen, you know. How you practice zazen is, you know, to have right posture. He s- [partial word]-- Tatsugami Suzuki said [laughs] very interesting remark, you know, “How about your mudra?” “Hai.” [Laughs.] That was very good!

“How about your eyes?” “Hai.” [Laughs, laughter.] In short, zazen is, you know, “Hai.” That is a [laughter]-- “How about your,” you know, “spine?” “Hai.” [Laughs.] “How about your chin?” “Hai.” [Laughs.]

It is, you know-- actually you are not checking your posture. You are, you know, just, you know, accepting your posture: “Hai.” [Laughs.] That is zazen. There is no more activity in your practice, and that spirit is the greatest of all the spirit you may have [laughs]. Even though, you know, you are like this, you know [probably gesturing], “How is the posture?” [Laughs, laughter.] “How is your breathing?” “Okay” [said in a humorous, laboring voice] [laughs, laughter].

There is no other secret in our practice. If you have something more than that, that is heresy [laughs, laughter]. You have some extra. When you have some extra fancy practice, you know, your practice will not reach to the point. I think everything is-- may be the same.

Today I was mending someone's broken cup, you know. If I fix it-- Chht-- [laughs], that is okay, you know. If I-- after fixing it, if I do like this [probably gesturing] [laughing], you will, you know, break it. So the work you do will not be so good. If you-- if you just do it [laughs], that is zazen. But usually, you know, you do like this [probably gesturing] [laughs, laughter]. That is extra, you know, and waste of time, and you are spoiling yourself by doing this. “Hai.” [Laughs.]

“Don't kill,” you know. It is same thing with precepts. “Don't kill,” you know. You may s- [partial word]-- you may think, “No, I cannot survive [laughs] if I don't kill anything. No, that is not possible.” That is you are doing this way [probably gestures]. “Don't kill.” “Hai.” Whether it is possible, or not is it is out of the question. “Don't kill”-- we don't want to kill. So someone-- if someone said, “Don't kill,” “Mmm. [As in “yes.”] That's right.” [Laughs.] “I will not kill.” Then you have perfect buddha-nature at that time.

Because you say, you know, “that is not possible,” or “impossible,” “right” or “wrong,” and because you compare Buddhist precepts to, you know, Christian commandment, so you lose the point. When you say “okay,” whether it is commandment or our precepts, it doesn't matter. There we have buddha-mind or perfect mercy of God-- of the god.

So if we notice this point, there is no other secret. Rejecting everything, giving up everything. When you listen to your inner voice directly, without even trying to listen to it, whenever you chance-- you have chance to hear it, there there is the way. There there is a voice of Buddha. 1 [Sentence finished. Tape turned over.]

So when-- when you see or when you listen to your teacher, you will not think about his nationality or his sex or whether he is old or young-- it doesn't matter. That is what Dogen says. Even a-- a-- a girl of seven years old may be your teacher. If you know this point-- secret of practice-- that is pure practice which you can apply to your everyday life.

Our instruction of practice-- pull in your chin, or keep your spine straight, or mudra-- about mudras-- are concentrated on this point. This is the front door to the various religion. There is no other doors. As Dogen Zenji said, “Don't hang around”-- hang around [laughs, laughter]-- ”hang around the gate. You should directly enter the gate.” Hai. Okay. Then you are inside of the gate, you know. If you sit [probably gestures] [laughs, laughter]-- and if you peek in the inside of the gate, wondering what-- what is going [on] there, you have no chance to, you know, practice pure practice. It is quite easy if you have-- if you say “Hai!” That's all. No other secret.

My teacher had many disciples [laughs]. Not so many, but pretty many. And he was always angry with us-- always [laughs]-- because we are lazy. We are always pretending, you know-- we were always pretending to study, you know, Dogen's way. But actually, we were not. So he was very angry with us.

But he cannot be always angry with us, so he start to speak something to the audience, you know-- many people in lecture hall. He [laughs]-- instead of angry with us, he was angry with people-- all the audience. Rrrr! [Laughs, laughter.] Ohh.

So I was-- we were listening to him, you know-- we feel as if we are scolded. And, you know, when he was not, you know, scolding us, we realized, you know, what we are doing, and we become-- became very sorry.

“The first precept-- 'Don't kill.'”

This is a precept transmitted from Buddha to us.

“Can you keep it or not?”

And he said, “Yes! I will keep it!”

This is the way you keep precepts, you know. He was almost screaming [laughs]:

Dai-ichi husessho-kai, nanji yoku tamotsuya inaya?

Yoku tamotsu! [Laughs.]

“This is the way you keep precepts!” you know.

We have-- we don't have that kind of spirit. When you say, “Yes I will!” there there is Buddha's voice. When you hesitate, you are always, you know [laughs], you are always saying nothing happened to you. Only when you say, “Yes I will!” and feel how you feel it when you said “Yes I will!”-- when you fix your mind to do so, whatever happen. Without spirit-- without this spirit, you cannot, you know, extend our way, especially in America, I think.

I may be difficult to accept Tatsugami Roshi's way, you know. I know that [laughs]. I know very well. But, you know, you should try, and you should say, “I will do it!”-- not because it, you know, Buddha's teaching or Japanese way or American way or appropriate to our society or not. You should say it-- you should do it-- and feel what it was.

[Laughs.] Did you see the movie 2000? [Laughs, laughter.] That is what you are doing. 2001-- or what it?-- 2001-- square, I am. All the monkeys, you know, hanging around [laughs, laughter]. [Probably gestures like a hominid.] That is, you know [laughs], what we are doing. If you feel it-- if you, you know, seize it, nothing happen. It is yours. Maybe that is the key point of practice and way to save all sentient beings.

Thank you very much.
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Re: Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen, by Shu

Postby admin » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:58 am

One with Everything
Shunryu Suzuki Lecture
Zazen Talk
Tuesday Evening, July 20, 1971
(title from book: Not Always So, p. 120)

I wanted to see you earlier, but I was too busy so I couldn't come.

Can you hear me? Can you hear me?

Student: Yes.

Oh. Okay.

Anyway, it is very good to see you and Tassajara, which has improved a lot since I left here. Tonight my-- I didn't have any idea of giving talk, but I-- as, you know, we have many guests and some of you may leave tomorrow, so I decided to talk a little bit-- maybe I said ten minutes [laughs]. But it is rather difficult to say something in ten minutes, so I don't know how many minutes my lecture last.

What I want to talk about tonight is something-- some idea or some understanding of Buddhist which is not-- may not be unfamiliar to you.

We observe things in two ways. We understand things has two-- two side. One is phenomenal side; the other is, maybe, more ontological side. Something-- some-- most of us, you know, understand things from the light of difference, like big or small, black or-- black and white, material or spiritual.

Usually, maybe, spiritual-- If we say “spiritual,” usually it is something which is not material. But, according to Buddhism, even though you say “spiritual” that is, you know, not much different from-- different of physical or materialistic side. “Spiritual” or “materialistic” we say, but those are, according to Buddhism, not much different. It belongs to the understanding of phenomenal side of the reality-- spiritual too, spiritual understanding too include phenomenal understanding.

The other side is, [as] I said, you know, tentatively ontological side-- a noumenal side which we cannot see, you know. Before you [existed], something exist in dharma: big or small, black or white, heavy or light, spiritual or material. Then something, you know-- before something looks like-- looks like, something looks like spiritual and material. Things looks like spiritual sometime material, looks like, but there is-- there is some, you know, something before it can be spiritual or material. Let's think [about] this point more: spiritual and material.

When you think something material is quite different from something which is spiritual, that is not Buddhist understanding. We understand spiritual and material is also, you know, it belongs to one side, you know. There is partition here [laughs], and spiritual and material also belong to this side. The other side is, you know-- it doesn't belong to the other side.

So we say spiritual and spiritual things, spiritual being and materialistic being is one, not different. It belongs to this side. [Sighs.] Let us-- let's think [about] this very carefully. If you think spiritual being is something different from material, then your life will be split in two [laughs]. One side of you want to be very spiritual [laughs]. The other side of you want to be material or physical or emotional. The other side of you may want to be more calm and good. So there is some separation. That is why you have-- you feel that kind of separation. Is-- your understanding is not clear enough.

For an instance, while you are alive, you know, you think you-- as long as you have body, you are physical being and after, only after you die, you will be a spiritual being, you know. That kind of understanding is very usual understanding. You may understand in that way. That is why you have problem after this, you know. Or, even though you are still alive, if you lose your friend, then you feel very lonely because you think, you know, as-- so long as your friend [is] alive, he is with you, which is material or physical. But after your friend die, he changed into spiritual being, leaving physical body behind. People may call it “soul” or “spirit,” but that is not our understanding. That is still the understanding you have in your mind-- understanding of your mind or brain [laughs] in term of, you know, spiritual or material, because no right or wrong. Something, you know, something understandable and you cannot-- you don't know the other side of something which you don't understand, which is not possible to understand. We do not-- even though we do not understand what it is, but, you know, it is, you know, you cannot deny things which is not understanding by your small mind. And you will know that to understand things in term of big or small, black or white, man or woman, you know, is to put limitation to actual being. Actually. I am not just physical. I am spiritual too. But even though I say I am spiritual and physical that is also I put myself in limitation of spiritual and physical. But actual “me” is something more than spiritual and more than material.

So as long as you are trying to understand what is actual reality, what is actual “me,” you don't-- it is not possible to understand who you are. That is our way of understanding. If your-- If your understanding can reach this point, there is something, you know, more than spiritual and more than material, more than right or wrong, more than man or woman, and that is reality, and that is actually each one of you. Then you will have renunciation from good or bad, life or death. You will be free from the idea of good or bad, life or death.

Even though you try very hard to be very spiritual, still you exist this side, ignoring the other side of yourself. That is why you suffer. If you really want to be-- want to attain enlightenment and realize what is real you, you know, then you have to try to go beyond the idea of good or bad, life or death.

And how we can go beyond the idea of life or death, physical or spiritual, is zazen practice [?]. So in our practice we should not-- our practice should not be involved in “good practice” or “bad practice.” You should be just you, and you shouldn't think anything. If something come, let it come. But don't, you know, think about it in term of good or bad. Let it come and let it go away [laughs]. Don't say “this is good” or “this is bad.” Or don't think “it is not good to think”-- to have something in your mind while you are practicing zazen.

That is actually, you know, our zazen practice: to go beyond various ideas and to be just yourself. And that is possible. If you think about yourself or if you think about someone, you or he is not spiritual or physical. You cannot say he is good or he is bad. Even though he looks like [he is] doing something wrong, it looks like so to you or to the people it looks like so. But who say so? People say so, you say so [laughs]. But he is not good or bad.

This, you know, standard of society-- this society-- our people have some kind of moral standard. Tentatively we have some moral code and say “this is good” and “this is bad.” But it may change. If the moral code or standard of judging which is good and which is bad, then someone which was bad may be-- may be good, and which-- someone who is bad can be good tomorrow [laughs] or in one or two years. It is as you must have experienced. So our world is changing rapidly.

When I was young there were many moral codes, many idea, you know, [of how] we are involved in good and bad, idea of good and bad: “You shouldn't do this or do that.” But more and more we have less moral code. As Dogen Zenji said, “There is-- actually there is no good or no bad. There is no good and no bad. No good or no bad. No good; or, good is up to the time. Time makes-- makes things good or bad; but things itself is-- things-- things themselves is not good or bad,” he said.

It is actually how things go, that's all. And-- by some rule, or there is some-- It is just matter of cause and effect, you know. Things, you know, goes. Things exist now will result [in] some effect, and that effect will cause another effect. Things going in that way, that's all. Actually there is no good or bad. What is going that way is the point. What is going in that way? Something which is not good or which is not bad is going [laughs]. That is the reality. Things going in that way. Anyway, things is developing itself. By itself it is going. That's all.

So if we notice that who is developing, what is going in that way, something which is not good or bad is going in that way. And we-- we say this is good or bad, that's all. We do not realize this point, and we say this is good or this is bad. I'm not talking about something, you know, invisible. I am talking about something actually we are-- we have with us always. [Laughs.] Do you understand? But the difference between your understanding and my understanding is you understand things in term of good or bad. You think there is a good person and bad person, but we don't-- I don't understand in that way. Things [are] just going in that way. Anyway, things are going in that way, and you call it “good” and “bad,” that's all.

If we realize this point, we have already realization [?]. So when you sit in zazen, you are you. You cannot say, you know, “My practice is good.” Or you cannot say, “I am bad person.” Nor you can say, “You are-- I am good person. My practice is perfect.” [Laughs.] You cannot say so.

Anyway you are perfect [laughs] from the beginning. It is not necessary for you to say you are perfect. You are perfect, even though you don't realize you are perfect. That is why we say we are all buddhas and we have buddha-nature. And buddha nature [is] developing itself constantly. We understand things in that way. We say, “I am here, and you are there.” It is okay, you know, to say so, but actually, you know, without me you don't exist. Without you I don't exist. [Laughs.] It is very true. Since I am here, you are there. Since you are there, I am here. [Laughs.] You may say even though I don't come to, I don't come to, you know, Tassajara you exist here and waiting for me. That is [laughs], you know, maybe so. Maybe so, but that is not perfect. I am at-- at-- I have been at 300 Page, and you-- with everything. I couldn't say goodbye to-- to the building which is related to other things: freeway [laughs], and trees, and air, and everything, stars and the moon, the sun. If I was related to the sun and moon as you are related to the sun and moon, how is it possible to say I am there and you are here when we are always related? But just your mind says you are here and I am there, that's all.

So originally we are one with everything. That is very true. And if someone die, you may say he is no more. But is it possible for something to vanish completely? That is not possible. Is it possible for something to appear [laughing] all of a sudden from nothing? Because there were something, you know, it appears in that way. Something which is here cannot vanish completely. It can change its form. That's all.

So we are always one. It is just your superficial feeling to feel you are lonely. So if you are very sincere, and if you really, you know, give your-- give up your small mind, then there is no fear and no emotional problem. Your mind is always calm, and your eyes is always open, and you can hear the birds as they sing. You can see the flower as it opens. And then nothing to worry, actually. And if there is, some-- something to worry [about], it is a kind of, you know, treatment [laughs]-- special treatment for you, as if you see, as if you read some interesting novel; as if some writer, you know, write [2-3 words unclear] about human life. It is interesting maybe, and to read it is very interesting. But it is not something to be afraid of or to be-- to feel lonely. So we can enjoy our life fully when we understand things in that way. That is Buddha's-- Buddhist way. [Sentence finished. Tape turned.]

[Note.-- Side B of the original tape was blank. The early transcript continued with the rest of the lecture. The following was superficially edited but could not be checked against the tape.]

When I was flying back from the east the other day, I saw beautiful sunset. Sunset lasts pretty long time if you fly from the east. If you leave, for an instance, New York or Boston six o'clock, you will arrive at here nine o'clock, up in the air more than three-- you know-- 13 or 15,000 or more-- sometime 30,000 feet high. You know, when people think it is dark and there is no more sun. But still, if you are flying high up in the air, you have still sunset and you can see beautiful clouds. It is wonderful to see. But someone may feel very lonely, you know. But if you think you are-- wherever you are, you are one with cloud and one with the sun and one with the stars you see, even though you jump out from the airplane, you don't go anywhere else. You are still with everything. That is very true. More than I say-- more true than I say, or more true than you hear.

I am [not] talking about something which is very strange or very mystical. You are mystic and I am not mystic. Your understanding is strange, but my understanding is not strange. Don't you think so? But it is you who feel in that way, just your superficial feeling feel in that way. It means that you are not truthful enough to the truth. Your feeling was not deep enough to feel something true. As Dogen said, people like which is not true-- people feel which is not true, but they do not feel something true. [Laughs.] They like something which is not right. And they do not like which is true. That is very-- what he said is very true. Don't you think so?

We must be ashamed of-- to feel something very superficial. If you [are] ashamed of yourself you should practice hard. You should be sincere enough to be yourself. That is our practice and that is our effort-- our direction of effort. We are-- our practice heading to that way. But usually your practice is heading to wrong way. Again, Dogen said you shouldn't try to go south heading to the North Pole, heading to the dipper. You see-- after lecture when you are going to your cabin you will see dipper. Heading to dipper it is impossible to go south. But people are heading to-- trying to go south heading to north. And he says also, if you want to attain renunciation from birth and death, you shouldn't try to be out of birth and death-- problem of birth and death. And the birth and death is our equipment for our life. Without birth and death we cannot survive. It is our pleasure to have birth and death. That is how I-- we understand truth.

So don't be-- in short-- don't be involved in making too much home-made cookies [laughs] in term of big and small, good or bad. You should make as much, just as much as you need. Without cookies, without food you cannot survive, so it is good to make home-made cookies, but don't make too much. It is good to have problem, and without problem we cannot survive. So it is good. We must have problem. But not too much. You don't need to create problems for yourself when you have enough problems. You have just enough problems to survive. Any more than you need, you have just enough problem; the problem you have us just enough for you. That is so-called-it “soft-minded practice-- soft-minded practice.” Because your mind is too -- [Sentence not finished. Transcript says tape turned over here, but that is not correct. Maybe just a gap in the tape.]

After all, you can create you and big problem and for your children and for your wife. If some husband enjoy making home-made cookie, your wife will be upset [laughing]. Don't make so much. But that is not usually what we are doing. So if you really understand your life, it is not necessary to practice zazen even. It is not necessary for me to come or stay in America. If you just make home-made cookie just enough for you. It is okay for me to come back-- back to Japan and to eat Japanese cookies. As you make too much cookies I have to eat [laughing]. I have to help you. It is not always so good job to eat home-made cookies. Actually that is what we are doing. If we realize this point and enjoy just enough home-made cookies, that is Buddhist way. And just-- that is how to enjoy life and that is why we practice zazen.

We do not practice zazen to attain special enlightenment. Just to be ourselves and just to be free from useless effort or tendency of human nature we practice zazen.

Thank you very much.
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