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.

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

Postby admin » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:45 am

Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen
by Shunryu Suzuki and Edward Espe Brown
Copyright 2012 by San Francisco Zen Center





• Introduction

Shikantaza: Living Fully in Each Moment

• Calmness of Mind
• Express Yourself Fully
• Freedom from Everything
• Jumping off the 100-Foot Pole
• Changing Our Karma
• Enjoy Your Life
• Walk like an Elephant

Letters from Emptiness

• Letters from Emptiness
• Brown Rice is just Right
• The Zen of Going to the Rest Room
• Caring for the Soil
• Everyday Life is like a Movie
• Resuming Big Mind
• Ordinary Mind, Buddha Mind

Practicing Zen

• Supported from Within
• Open Your Intuition
• Find Out for Yourself
• Be Kind with Yourself
• Respect for Things
• Observing the Precepts
• Pure Silk, Sharp Iron

Not Always So

• Not Always So
• Direct Experience of Reality
• True Concentration
• Wherever I Go, I Meet Myself
• The Boss of Everything
• Sincere Practice
• One with Everything

Wherever You Are, Enlightenment is There

• Wherever You Are, Enlightenment is There
• Not Sticking to Enlightenment
• The Teaching Just for You
• Stand Up by the Ground
• Just Enough Problems
• Sun-Faced Buddha, Moon-Faced Buddha
• Sitting like a Frog
• Notes about Editing the Lectures
• Further Reading
• Acknowledgments

Inside Cover:

The way to study true Zen is not verbal. Just open yourself and give up everything. Whatever happens, study closely and see what you find out. This is the fundamental attitude." -- Shunryu Suzuki

Shunryu Suzuki's first book, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, published in 1971, continues to be one of the world's most valued books on Buddhism. Now the long-awaited companion volume, Not Always So, has arrived.

Chosen and edited by Edward Espe Brown, bestselling author and student of Suzuki's, the lectures are taken from the last three years of Suzuki's life. His maturity as a teacher with a deep commitment to conveying his message is warmly and fully expressed.

In Not Always So, Suzuki voices Zen in everyday language, with humor and good-heartedness. While offering sustenance much like a mother and father lending a hand, Suzuki encourages you to find your own way. Rather than emphasize specific directions and techniques, his teaching encourages you to touch and know your true heart and to express yourself fully. Suzuki's words do not seem to come from outside, but awaken a voice arising from your own being.

Topics in this volume include living in each moment, being kind to yourself, and "wherever you are, enlightenment is there." Whether speaking about changing your karma or walking like an elephant ("Slowly, without any idea of hasty gain"), Suzuki's guidance empowers freedom rather than prescribes thought. This extraordinary new collection allows Suzuki's presence to enter your life in the form of a wise, warmhearted friend. Not Always So is a wonderful gift for anyone seeking spiritual fulfillment and inner peace.

The Zen master Shunryu Suzuki was an unassuming, much-beloved spiritual teacher. Born the son of a Zen master in 1904, Suzuki began Zen training as a youngster and matured over many years of practice in Japan. After continuing to devote himself to his priestly life throughout the Second World War (when priests often turned to other occupations), Suzuki came to San Francisco in 1959. While some priests had come to the West with "new suits and shiny shoes," Suzuki decided to come "in an old robe with a shiny [shaved] head." Attracting students over several years, Suzuki established the Zen Center in San Francisco, with a training temple at Tassajara -- the first in the West. After a lengthy illness, he died of cancer in December 1971.

Edward Espe Brown was ordained as a Zen priest in 1971 by Shunryu Suzuki, who gave him the name Jusan Kainei, "Longevity Mountain, Peaceful Sea." While a student at the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, he wrote two bestselling books, The Tassajara Bread Book and Tassajara Cooking. His most recent book is Tomato Blessings and Radish Teachings.

To learn more about Shunryu Suzuki and the San Francisco Zen Center, please visit their Web site at

Jacket photograph copyright 1969 by Rowena Pattee Kryder

Back Cover:

"So the secret is just to say 'Yes!' and jump off from here. Then there is no problem. It means to be yourself in the present moment, always yourself, without sticking to an old self. You forget all about yourself and are refreshed. You are a new self, and before that self becomes an old self, you say "Yes!' and you walk to the kitchen for breakfast. So the point of each moment is to forget the point and extend your practice." -- Shunryu Suzuki
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Re: Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen, by Shu

Postby admin » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:46 am


Always with You

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi died on December 4, 1971. His students at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center had begun a sesshin, a weeklong meditation intensive, on December first, while in San Francisco where Roshi was staying, a sesshin began at 5:00 A.M. the morning of the fourth. As his students settled into the first period of zazen [sitting meditation] in the zenda [meditation hall]' upstairs in the company of his chosen successor Richard Baker Roshi, his wife Mitsu and son Otohiro, the master left this world. He had waited to depart until most of his students were meditating and would be meditating for several more days. That was a parting gift.

Hundreds of people crowded into the Zen Center for his memorial service, and the next day, I believe, about eighty people journeyed to Colma for a final good-bye. Before the casket disappeared into the fire, we had a ceremony: each person placed a red rose in the casket while all of us chanted. Watching people offer their roses, I was struck by how much everyone loved Suzuki Roshi. Whatever other feelings -- calm, sad, frightened, proud, discouraged -- may have characterized a person, the gesture of extending an arm and releasing the rose was suffused with love. That was another parting gift.

The first book of his lectures, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, popularized Suzuki Roshi's expression "beginner's mind" as a metaphor for awakening, a paradigm for living. Keep finding out, don't stick to what you already know: "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Thirty years later, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind continues to be one of the world's best-selling books on Buddhism. Now we have edited a few more of his lectures to share his simple yet powerful teachings. "The teaching," he said, "is just for you." Perhaps as you go on your way you will feel Suzuki Roshi's presence in your life: a wise, warm-hearted friend, an unseen companion in the dark. This is what his words have to offer, an opportunity to awaken the teacher in you, your own aware inwardness, "You are Buddha, and you are ordinary mind."

What is most difficult for any teacher, especially a Zen teacher, is to teach without teaching anything. "If I tell you something," Suzuki Roshi said, "you will stick to it, and limit your own capacity to find out for yourself." But, as Katagiri Roshi said, "You have to say something," because if the teacher says nothing, the students wander about sticking to their habitual ways of being. So the temptation is to be brilliant and give out answers, yet that may simply be "gouging a wound in good flesh," as the saying goes. Now, instead of being self-reliant, the students turn to the teacher all the more, and the teacher wonders why the students are so needy and so slow to figure things out. However, in the presence of those teachers who give us nothing to stick to, we sense ourselves awakening. What will we do? It is called "freedom" or "liberation" -- we are profoundly on our own -- and profoundly connected with everything.

Quite possibly Suzuki Roshi's struggle to speak English invigorated his teaching. Did he, for instance, really mean to say things as it is? Was that improper English or was it a teaching? That the expression appears several times in this volume points to the latter. What, then, was his teaching? The more we try to pin it down, the more elusive it gets, yet as disciples and students, as fellow seekers, we often attempt to see if we "got it." Can we express it? Can we speak it? What are the words which will turn our lives in the direction of realization? in the direction of benefiting others?

Would enlightenment help us? Suzuki Roshi dismisses the idea of aiming for some special experience, which will change our lives forever, as "a mistake," as "sight-seeing practice." Yet he does not dispense with enlightenment. This, he says, is "to forget this moment and grow into the next." "Wherever you are," he says, "enlightenment is there." And how are we to experience that?

One thing Roshi keeps mentioning is to "practice shikantaza. " Commonly translated as "just sitting," it could also be described as "not suppressing and not indulging thinking." But Suzuki has various ways to express it: "Live in each instant of time," or "Exhale completely." It is one of those expressions that can be endlessly explained and not explained at all, and certainly if you ever stop to wonder if "this" is shikantaza, it probably isn't. On the one hand, shikantaza points to "this" not "that," as in "Exhale completely, disappearing into emptiness. This is shikantaza." It is exhaling rather than inhaling, disappearing rather than appearing. On the other hand, it points to non-differentiation. To "live in each instant of time" is "to express yourself fully, to expose yourself as you are." Perhaps we could see this fullness as another form of disappearing, a wholeness of being which covers everything. One side is clearing away the monkey mind, the other side is realizing yourself, making yourself "real." So how will we recognize shikantaza, and should we aim to attain it? "Stand up on the ground. Stand up on emptiness." "Shikantaza is just to be ourselves."

The Roshi's way was unfathomable. His teaching was not to stick to anything, and in his teaching he did not stick to anyone way. Here are some stories by way of example.

One day Suzuki Roshi told me to sit right in front of him in the meditation hall "so when you fall asleep and start nodding, I will notice right away and I can get up and hit you." He would use his short wooden stick for the hitting, and I would wake up. At least for a few moments the air and my mind would be clear, still, and quiet, yet vibrant and awake. I felt honored that he cared enough to get up from his meditation and hit me. I would have been sitting quite straight and alert for about thirty minutes before nodding off, and then he would be there: Wap-wap! Wap-wap! As a Zen student, he said, "you should try to meet someone who is as sincere as you."

Everything would drop away. Before his double striking of the shoulders, his stick would rest briefly on the shoulder just to the right of the neck, and we would place our palms together and bow, leaning forward with our head tilted to the left. Then after he had struck the right shoulder, we would lean to the right to receive his blows on the left. The blows themselves were inconceivably sudden and striking, not in the sense that they were physically intimidating, but they could not be anticipated or timed, so no thought, feeling, or sensation could stand up to them. Rather than knocking some sense into you, it was more like knocking the floor out from under you. This could be quite unsettling, but on the other hand quite grounding. For a few moments one could taste freedom from everything, a sense of spaciousness. "Don't stick to anything," he said, "not even the truth." "When you practice as though this were your last moment, you will have freedom from everything." Then sooner or later there would be a groping around for something to grasp, something to focus on, something to do something about. The world of things would reappear -- something to deal with and obsess about. How's it going?

Other times when I struggled to sit still, Suzuki Roshi's hands would rest motionlessly on my shoulders, touching me through and through. My breath would soften and lengthen. Tension would release, and my shoulders would start to radiate with warmth and vitality. Once I asked him what he was doing when he had his hands on my shoulders, and he said, ''I'm meditating with you."

It's quite rare to be touched like that, receptively and openly, with kind regard. Most touch says, "Go over there" or "Get over here," "Straighten up" or "Calm down." This touch said, "I'll be here with you wherever you are. I'm willing to touch whatever it is." That was the spirit of his meditation, the spirit of his teaching, "Sit with everything. Be one with everything." Innumerable people were touched by Suzuki Roshi's presence and by his teaching, each of us in our own way responded to his kind and upright regard, his meditating with us.

On yet another occasion, after months of struggling with involuntary movements during meditation, I finally decided to "go with the movements" rather than trying to stop them by "getting a grip on things." For most of a period of meditation I sat swirling around this way and that, sensing a spiral of energy rising from the base of my spine. Then with about ten minutes left in the period I heard Suzuki's voice in my ear, "Do kinhin." I was annoyed that he had asked me to do walking meditation while everyone else was sitting, so I whispered back, "What?!" Again he simply said, "Do kinhin." So I got up and practiced walking meditation for the rest of the period, calming down to some degree.

Later I went to speak with him. He had never before asked me to do kinhin during zazen, so I thought that perhaps "going with the movements" was not a good thing to do. I told him that I was no longer trying to stop the movements; that I had decided to see what I could find out about the movements by going with them. But that morning, the first time I tried this out, he asked me to do kinhin. So was it okay to find out about the movements or should I go back to trying to stop them? "Oh," he responded, "that's a very good idea to see what you can find out about the movements. I didn't realize that's what you were doing. That's quite all right." A flood of relief washed through me, and I thought, "I can do this. I'll figure it out."

So I leave it to you to find your way, to explore the range and scope of Suzuki Roshi's teaching, to encounter his firmness and fierceness, his devotion and tenderness, his wisdom and humor. And now and again we can remind ourselves that anything we say about Suzuki and his teaching we are saying about ourselves. We are extraordinary people living extraordinary lives, with innumerable everyday opportunities to practice enlightenment or to enlighten our practice. And let's not forget "the most important thing." It was a phrase Suzuki Roshi used often, and since we never knew what was to follow it, it caught our attention and made us sit up and take note. "The most important thing" that comes to mind right now "is to be able to enjoy your life without being fooled by things."

May all beings be happy, healthy, and free from suffering.

May all beings live in peace and harmony.

Jusan Kainei
(Edward Espe Brown)
Fairfax, California
May, 2001
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Re: Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen, by Shu

Postby admin » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:46 am

Calmness of Mind
Shunryu Suzuki Lecture
Sesshin Lecture No. 2
Sunday, June 7, 1971
San Francisco
(title from book: Not Always So, p. 5)

Shikantaza, zazen, is-- our zazen is just to be ourselves. Just to be ourselves. We should not expect anything, you know, just to be ourselves. And continue this practice forever. That is our way, you know. Even, we say, even in, you know (what do you say?) [laughs], even in, you know [snaps fingers], [student: “Snap of the fingers?”] [laughs, laughter], you know, in snapping your fingers there are millions of kalpas-- no, cetanas. The unit of time. You know, we say “moment after moment,” but in your actual practice, moment is too long, you know. If we say “moment,” you know, or “one breathing after another,” you still involved in-- your mind still involved in, you know, following breathing, you know, to follow breathe. We say “to follow breathe,” “to follow our breathing,” but the feeling is, you know, in each, you know-- to live in each moment.

If you live in each moment, you do not expect anything. With everything, you know, you become you yourself. If you, you know, feel strictly yourself [your self?], without any idea of time even, you know, in smallest particle of time you feel yourself [your self?]. That is zazen.

Why we say so is if we are involved in idea of time, various desires will, you know, start to act some mischiefs [laughs]-- they will become mischievous, you know. So-- but if you, you know-- when you have no idea of time, with everything, you know, you bec- [partial word]-- your practice will go on and on.

So this practice is not so easy. Maybe you cannot continue this practice for even for one day, one period. If you try to continue it one period, you know, you must make a big effort. So what will you do, then, rest of the time of your five days is to extend this feeling for each period, or to prepared for, you know, for this shikantaza. Maybe that is what you can do, and this preparation, or to extend the practice to another period of time, eventually will be extended to everyday life. So everyday life-- how you practice or how you extend our practice is to expose yourself as you are, you know. You shouldn't try to be someone else [laughs]. You should be very honest with yourself, and you express yourself fully. And you should be brave enough to express yourself, whatever, you know, people may say, you know. It is all right. You should be just yourself, at least, at least for your teacher, you know. You should be just yourself.

Until your teacher may say, “Okay, in that way you should continue your practice,” you know. Until your teacher say so, you should try hard. And after your teacher said, “Okay, now you should continue that practice,” you know, “forever. You don't need me anymore,” you know. That is, you know, actual practice, actual life of you. This is, you know, rather difficult unless you trust your teacher. Rather difficult, you know. But if you find out your teacher's spirit is the same spirit as you have, then you will be brave enough to continue this kind of practice.

Sometime you have to, you know, argue with your teacher-- [laughs] sometime. That is okay. You should do that. But you should be ready to give up your argument, you know, when you are wrong, when you find out yourself, you know, sticking to some viewpoint [laughs] foolishly, you know, sticking to only one viewpoint. Or when you are making some excuse, you should give up. That is how you should-- how to be honest with yourself. You should give up, you know: “I surrender. Okay.” [Laughs.] “I am sorry.” [Laughs.]

If you cannot accept what he says, you know, until you can accept him you should try to understand your teacher. For teacher and for you, what we should do is to perfect-- to have perfect communication, you know. We should try to have perfect communication. So for a teacher, you know, the important point is, you know, always ready to surrender [laughs] to your disciple, you know. If teacher thinks, you know, he was wrong, he should say, “Oh, you are right. I was wrong.” [Laughs.] If, you know, your teacher has that kind of spirit, you should have same spirit, you know. That is not so easy. You may think it is easy. If you continue this kind of practice, sometime people may think he is crazy [laughs]. Something wrong with him [laughs]. But doesn't matter.

We are not same, you know. Each one of us [is] different from the other. So each one has, you know, each one's problem. So, you know, it is okay. Anyway, you should be yourself. You should not, you know-- Fortunately, you have Zen Center here, you know. Advantage of Zen Center for you is-- Zen Center is not shade for you, shade which will protect you, you know. It is-- it is not umbrella [laughs]. But, you know, there you can, you know, you can have, you know, real practice, you know. You can express yourself fully.

And you should open your eyes to, you know, appreciate other's practice, you know. You should, you know, you should be able to communicate with each other without words. Your mind-- your eyes should be open to see other's practice. It does not mean to criticize others, but to appreciate or to know others.

That is why we have, you know, rules or rituals. You may say, you know, if you are practicing zazen, no one knows, you know, no one understand your practice [laughs], but, you know, when you are practicing, it-- you know, for me, it is, you know, easiest chance to understand you. Especially from the-- if you-- if I see from your back, you know, it is very easy to understand what kind of practice you have. So that is [why] sometime walk around [the zendo], not to hit-- not to hit you [laughs] but to see you [laughs]. Very interesting [laughs, laughter].

If you are, you know, dancing or talking [laughs] or making big noise, it is rather difficult to understand you [laughs]. If you are reciting sutra, you know, each one has each one's own voice [laughs] and in the way you recite sutra is different. And it is, you know, easy to know with each other, even though you are not trying to understand. But if you practice together, eventually, you know, naturally you will be a good friend. Sometime because you know with each other [laughs], you know too well [laughs], so you-- there your have some difficulty because of your small mind. But as long as your mind is big enough to expose yourself and to accept others, if you practice, you know, zazen or rituals together, then you will be a good friend.

And another point is already we have free from idea of time. You shouldn't, you know, try to be ordained, or you shouldn't worry how long you should, you know, stay layman. Or if you become priest, you shouldn't worry what will be your next step. When you are lay student, as a lay student you should, without expecting to be something, you should, you know, [be] honest with yourself. Because you try to be someone else, you lose your practice and you lose your virtue. When you try to be-- when you are faithful to your, you know, position or to your work, your true being of you is there. This is a very important point.

Zen Center is, you know, community, and those who come and sit is also, actually even though they are not a member, actually they are our member. We do-- even though we do not call them “member,” but in its true sense they are also our member. When they come for the first time to Zen Center it may be difficult for them to know what we are doing. But more and more, they will feel what we are doing and join our practice. So those who knows, who are practicing our way, should give them some idea of practice or feeling of practice. The best way to, you know, to give the feeling of practice is to have the feeling to-- each one have our feeling fully. Then naturally people who come will feel it. But if our practice is wrong, you know, they will-- what they will feel is something completely, you know, different from the proper feeling a Buddhist must have.

Why wrong feeling is created is because we, you know, we have-- we are involved in selfish practice. I said don't have no idea of time, you know. Why I say so is if you [are] involved in idea of time-- today or next year, you know, or tomorrow-- idea of, you know, selfish practice will start from there. It is all right to have idea of time, but that is the extended practice of non-selfish practice on this moment, to express ourselves.

We don't know what will happen in-- on each moment. So if you fail to express yourself fully, then you will regret [it] later. Because you expect some other time, you fail to express yourself fully. And you will be misunderstood by your friend. So you should be always express yourself fully. That is why we observe-- we eat in some certain way. You may think, you know, in that way you cannot express yourself, but it is not so, you know. Because you have some way to, you know, serve, you know, you can express yourself-- how much sincerity you have.

If there is no way, you know, the way is-- if you have many ways of expressing yourself, you know, you don't know how to do it. So if you know how to do it, you know, you can express yourself in that way. It is big mistake if you think you cannot express, you know. If you want to express yourself, it may be, you know, the best way is to do something whatever you want to do. You may, you know, do, you know, exactly how you feel, you know, superficial feeling, you know, just choosing some way, you know. Because you or when you don't know what to do. Oh, you know, this is not [laughs], you know, you are not expressing yourself. If you know what to do exactly and you do [it] then you can, you know, express yourself fully.

So in that way, strong person express himself [in a] very strong way [laughs], and, you know, kind person will express himself, you know, very kindly, doing same thing, you know. When you pass [out] the sutra card, you know, from this end to the other end, you know, each one, you know, pass it [laughs] each one's own way. So if I see it, you know, it is easy to see, you know, because they do it same way. If they do it different way, you know, it is very difficult to know. Because you do, you know, it-- all of you doing same way from this corner to the other [laughs], it is easy to see [laughs]. And because you repeat, you know, same thing over and over again, so everyone can understand, you know, your friend's way, you know. Eventually, though you shut your eyes, if you [laughs]-- ”Oh,” [laughs] “that was Katherine.” [Laughs, laughter.]

That is advantage of, you know, having rules and rituals. Or else, you know, your understanding or your relationship with people-- without this kind of understanding, your understanding of people will be very superficial, you know. If someone wear beautiful [rubs own robe], you know, robe you think he is a good priest [laughs]. You know, if someone give you some beautiful thing, you think he is very kind to you [laughs], you know. That kind of understanding is very superficial. If he think [bring?], you know, a beautiful thing, you know, you think she is good person [laughs]. That kind of understanding is not, you know, good understanding. Very superficial.

Usually, you know, our system of the society is built up [in] some superficial, frivolous way, you know, always changing. What, you know, the controlling power will be money or something, you know, a big noise [laughs, laughter]. That is, you know, controlling power because our eyes, our ears are not open, [not] subtle enough to see things, and we are-- our feeling is very, you know, dull.

Most people who visit Zen Center may feel Zen Center is very strange place [laughs]. “They do not talk so much. They do not even laugh.” [Laughs.] “What are they doing?” [Laughs, laughter.] But we, you know, actually, you know, without talking so much, we can communicate. We don't say, you know, we don't smile always, but we can feel others' feeling, and our mind is always open, and we are behaving exactly, you know, behaving-- expressing ourselves fully. Actually, you know, even though you are not trying to express yourself, you are expressing yourself anyway [laughs]. If your mind is open, you can see. Those who are accustomed to, you know, big noise, you know, cannot see anything here-- that's all.

We should extend this kind of practice to city life, and we must have more friend, so that we can be-- all of us can be a good friend of each other, of others. It is not difficult thing when you decide to be honest with yourself and to express yourself fully, without expecting anything. Just to, you know, be yourself and ready to understand others-- that is how you extend our practice to everyday life.

But it is not so easy to be free from the selfish practice. So even for one hour a day, we should try to sit shikantaza, without moving, without expecting anything, as if you are, you know, in the last minute. Moment after moment, you know, you feel your last minute. Inhaling-- in each inhaling and in each exhaling there is countless, you know, units of time, and you should live in each unit of time.

And smoothly exhaling first, and then inhaling. When you, you know-- Calmness of your mind is beyond the end of your exhaling. And if you exhale in that way, smoothly, without even trying to exhale, you are going to the, you know, complete calmness of-- you are entering into the complete perfect calmness of your mind. You do not exist anymore, you know. And if you enter the complete calmness of your mind, then naturally, you know, your exhaling will start from there. And all the blood you have will be, you know, cleaned, catching every, you know, everything from outside, and that fresh blood carrying everything from outside and pervade your body and refresh your body. You are completely refreshed. And you start to exhale, to extend that fresh feeling to the emptiness. You exhale. So, moment after moment, without trying [to do] anything, you continue shikantaza.

Complete shikantaza may be difficult because of your pain in your legs. But even though you have pain in your legs, you can do that. Even though your practice is not good enough, you can do that. So you-- your breathing-- with your breathing, you know, you will vanish gradually. You will fade into the emptiness. And natural inhaling --

[Tape turned over.]

-- bring back to yourself with some color or form. And your exhaling, again, with your exhaling, you gradually fade into emptiness-- empty white paper. That is shikantaza.

I'm just explaining, you know, the feeling of shikantaza. So when you-- important point of shikantaza will be, you know, in, you know, in your inhaling. You, you know-- important point is-- excuse me-- exhaling. Instead of trying to feel yourself, but try to fade in emptiness when you exhale.

When you have this practice in your last moment, you have nothing to [be] afraid of. You are actually, you know, aiming at emptiness, empty area. There is no other way for you to have a feeling of immortality-- or mortality, oh, excuse me, mortality. You become one with everything after you exhale-- completely exhale-- with this feeling. If you are still alive, naturally you will, you know, inhale again. “Oh” [laughs, laughter], “I'm still alive!” [Laughs, laughter.] “Fortunately or unfortunately!” So you start to exhale and try to fade into emptiness. This is, you know-- you don't know, maybe [laughs], what kind of feeling it is. But some of you will know it. By some chance you must have felt this kind of feeling.

When you have this practice, you know, you cannot be angry so easily [laughs]. Because you are interested in inhaling, you know, more than exhaling [laughs], you become angry quite easy [laughs]. You are trying to [be] alive always, you know. My friend, you know, wrote on newspaper the other day. He had heart attack, and what he could do was just exhaling. He couldn't take inhale. That was terrible feeling [laughs], he said. But if he, you know, could try to exhale, you know, at that moment as if we exhale, you know, aiming for emptiness, you know, then I think he didn't feel so bad. To have exhale is great, you know, joy for us, rather than inhaling. But he, you know, he tried to, you know, inhale-- take another inhale, you know. He thought he cannot take inhale anymore-- inhaling anymore. But if he could try to, you know, exhale as we do, then, you know, more easily I think he could take another inhaling.

So exhaling is very important for us. So to die is more important than to try to [be] alive. Because we always try to [be] alive, so we have trouble. Instead of trying to [be] alive or active, if we try to be calmer and die or fade away into emptiness, then, you know, naturally we will be taken care of. Buddha will take care of us. Because we lose mother's, you know, bosom [laughs], we are not anymore her children, you know. So if we like, you know, the emptiness like we, you know, like we, you know, feel your mother's bosom, then mother will take care of you. The moment after moment, you shouldn't lose this kind of, you know, practice when you practice, you know, shikantaza.

Various secret of religious practice is in this point. When they [Jodo-shu] say, “Namu Amida Butsu, Namu Amida Butsu,” you know, they wanted to be Amida Buddha's children. “Namu Amida Butsu, Namu Amida Butsu,” you know. That is how they repeat Amida Buddha's name in their practice. Same thing is true with our zazen practice. Zazen practice is not different from their practice. If you know how to practice shikantaza, and if they know how to practice-- how to repeat, excuse me, Amida Buddha's name, cannot be different, you know, as long as Amida Buddha's, you know, their practice is Buddhism. As a Buddhist, we have same practice in different way.

So we can, you know, enjoy, we are free, you know. We feel free to express ourselves, because we are ready to fade, you know, into emptiness. If you are trying to, you know, to be active and special and trying to do something, you know, you cannot express yourself. Small self will be expressed, but big self does not appear from the emptiness. From the emptiness, only great self will appear. That is shikantaza, okay? [Laughs, laughter.] Not so difficult [laughs] if you try, if you really try.

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 3:47 am

Express Yourself Fully

"It is a big mistake to think that the best way to express yourself is to do whatever you want, acting however you please. This is not expressing yourself. If you know what to do exactly, and you do it, then you can express yourself fully."

When you live completely in each moment, without expecting anything, you have no idea of time. When you are involved in an idea of time -- today, tomorrow, or next year -- selfish practice begins. Various desires start to behave mischievously. You may think you should get ordained, or you worry about what your next step will be. Trying to become someone else, you lose your practice and lose your virtue. When you are faithful to your position or your work, your true being is there. This is a very important point.

Without any idea of time, your practice goes on and on. Moment after moment you become you yourself. This practice is not so easy. You may not be able to continue it for even one period of meditation. You will need to make a big effort. Then you can practice extending this feeling moment after moment. Eventually it will extend to your everyday life.

The way to extend your practice is to expose yourself as you are, without trying to be someone else. When you are very honest with yourself and brave enough, you can express yourself fully. Whatever people may think, it is all right. Just be yourself, at least for your teacher. That is actual practice, your actual life. Unless you trust your teacher, this is rather difficult, but if you find out that your teacher's spirit is the same as your spirit, then you will be brave enough to continue practicing in this way.

Sometimes you have to argue with your teacher. That is okay, but you should try to understand him and be ready to give up your argument -- when you are wrong, when you find yourself foolishly sticking to one point of view, or when you are making some excuse. That is how to be honest with yourself. Then you can give up: "Okay, I surrender. I'm sorry."

You and your teacher are aiming to have perfect communication. For a teacher the important point is always to be ready to surrender to his disciple. When a teacher realizes he is wrong, he can say, "Oh, you are right, I was wrong." If your teacher has that kind of spirit, you will be encouraged to admit your mistake as well, even when it is not so easy. If you continue this kind of practice, people may say, "You are crazy. Something is wrong with you." But it doesn't matter.

We are not the same. Each one of us is different, and each one of us has our own problems. Fortunately you have the support of others who are practicing with you. This is not an umbrella to provide shade to protect you but a space where you can have real practice, a space where you can express yourself fully. You can open your eyes to appreciate the practice of others, and you will find that you are able to communicate without words.

Our way is not to criticize others but to know and appreciate them. Sometimes you may feel you know someone too well, and you have difficulty appreciating them because of your small mind. If you continue practicing together, and your mind is big enough to expose yourself and to accept others, naturally you will become good friends. To know your friend is to know something beyond yourself, beyond even your friend.

You may say that when you are practicing zazen, no one can know your practice, but for me that is the best time to understand you. When you sit facing the wall and I see you from behind, it is especially easy to understand what kind of practice you have. Sometimes I walk around the meditation hall so that I can see you. This is very interesting. If you are dancing or talking or making a big noise, it is rather difficult to understand you. But when we are sitting together, you each sit in your own way.

It is a big mistake to think that the best way to express yourself is to do whatever you want, acting however you please. This is not expressing yourself. When you have many possible ways of expressing yourself, you are not sure what to do, so you will behave superficially. If you know what to do exactly, and you do it, you can express yourself fully.

That is why we follow forms. You may think that you cannot express yourself within a particular form, but whet. we are all practicing together, strong people will express themselves in a strong way and kind people will express themselves kindly. When we pass the sutra cards along the row during service, you each do it in your own way. The differences among you are easy to see because the form is the same. And because we repeat the same thing over and over again, we can understand our friends' ways eventually. Even if your eyes are shut, you know, "Oh, that was so-and-so." This is the advantage of having rules and rituals.

Without this kind of practice your relationships with people will be very superficial. If someone wears a beautiful robe [here he rubs his robe and laughs], you will think he must be a good priest. If someone gives you a beautiful thing, you will think she is very kind, that she is a wonderful person. That kind of understanding is not so good.

Usually our society works in a superficial, frivolous way. The controlling power is money or some big noise. Our eyes and ears are not open or subtle enough to see and hear things. Most people who visit Zen Center find it a strange place: "They do not talk so much. They do not even laugh. What are they doing?" Those who are accustomed to big noises may not notice, but we can communicate without talking so much. We may not always be smiling, but we feel what others are feeling. Our mind is always open, and we are expressing ourselves fully.

We can extend this practice to city life and be good friends with one another. This is not difficult when you decide to be honest with yourself and express yourself fully, without expecting anything. Just being yourself and being ready to understand others is how to extend your practice into everyday life.

We don't know what will happen. If you fail to express yourself fully on each moment, you may regret it later. Because you expect some future time, you miss your opportunity, and you are misunderstood by your friend. Do not wait to express yourself fully.

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 3:48 am

Freedom from Everything
Shunryu Suzuki Lecture
Sesshin Lecture, Day 5
Wednesday, June 9, 1971
San Francisco
(title from book: Not Always So, p. 12)

I think you, you know, have understood-- (Can you hear me? Yeah? Not so well. Okay? Mmm?) You have understood what is zazen as your practice. But I didn't explain how you sit-- I didn't give you instruction how you sit in detail, but I told you, you know, how I practice shikantaza-- or zazen. Maybe that is my way, so I don't know how another teachers will, you know, sit, I don't know, but that is anyway my shikantaza.

I started this practice, actually, maybe two-- two years ago, after I went to [2-4 words unclear; one earlier transcript states, “cross the creek at Tassajara”] [laughs, laughter], not because I saw many good place to sit, you know. There's two [or] three caves where you can sit. But not because of that. Perhaps some of you were swimming, you know, with me at that time. Some beautiful girl students [laughs, laughter] and Peter [Schneider?] was there [laughs, laughter]. And as you-- I cannot swim, actually [laughs], but because they were enjoying swimming so much, so I thought I may join [laughs]. But I couldn't swim. But there were so many beautiful girls over there, so I tried to, you know, go there [laughs, laughter], without knowing I couldn't swim [laughs], so I was almost drowned [laughs, laughter]. But I knew that, you know, I will not die, I will not drown. I shall not be drowned to death, you know, because there are many students. So someone will help [laughs]. But I was not so serious.

But, you know, feeling was pretty bad, you know. Water is, you know-- I am swallowing water [laughs]. So feeling was too bad, so I stretch my arm, you know, so that someone catch me [laughs]. But no one [laughs, laughter]-- no one helped me. So I decided, you know, to go to the bottom [laughs, laughter], to walk, but that was not possible either [laughs, laughter]. I was, you know, I couldn't reach to the bottom, or I couldn't get over the water. What I saw is beautiful girls' legs [laughs, laughter]. But I couldn't, you know [laughs], s- [partial word]-- take hold of their legs, you know. I was rather scared [laughs, laughter].

At that time I realized that we will never have good practice, you know, unless we become quite serious, you know. I knew that I was not dying, you know, at that time, so I was not so serious, so I-- because I was not so serious, you know, I, you know, had very difficult time. I thought if I, you know, knew I was, you know, anyway, I was dying, you know, I will not struggle anymore. What I could do is to stay still, you know [laughs], if I am dying, you know. Because I thought I had, you know, another moment, so I couldn't become so serious.

Since then, you know, I started shikantaza expecting, you know, another moment, moment after moment I tried to sit, you know, as if I am dying, you know, in the water. That helps a lot, you know. Since then my practice improved a lot. That is why, you know, and I tried so long time, and I think I am quite-- I have good confidence in my practice, so I told you, you know, how I sit my shikantaza.

It was very interesting experience, you know. I was, you know, I was among beautiful girls [laughs], you know, and that sort of thing, you know, reminded me of Buddha's overcoming demons, you know [laughs, laughter]. I am sorry, you are not evil, but, you know, beautiful [laughs] demons [laughs, laughter]. But if I am dying, you know, those beautiful girls will not help, you know. If I am really dying, not because of water, but because of my, you know, sickness or something, it will not help.

So we can sit, you know, with demons and beautiful girls, and, you know, or demons or snakes. You know, snakes is okay, you know [laughs]. When I am dying, you know [laughs], it will not hurt me, you know. Anyway, I am dying, so it is okay. And they are with me. They will be happy to be with me, and I am very happy to be with them. In that situation, everything is with us, and, you know, we are happy to be with them, by not being hurt or helped or disturbed. But usually it is difficult to feel in that way because we have always involved in gaining idea, expecting something in future. So usually it is very difficult. But when you-- at least when you practice zazen, you should not be caught by, you know, you shouldn't be involved in gaining idea.

The most important thing is to confront with yourself and to be yourself. Then naturally, you know, you can accept things as they are, and you can see things as they are. You will have perfect wisdom at that time. That is why I told you my way of zazen.

Now, as Katagiri Sensei told you last night, you know, you awaken, you know, from the dream. By “dream,” you know, he means, you know, our usual everyday life, which is involved in gaining idea. And when you expect things, you know, in various selfish way, that is actually the dream you have. But after awakening from the dream, you know, what you mean [need?] is another to come back, you know, to actual life, which include your dream, you know.

Your dream is actually, you know, in your everyday life. Actually, you cannot stop dreaming, and you will have also-- your life will not be so different from the life you have in your dream. A dream is something you-- in dreams, something you experienced, you know, appears. So actually [laughs], not much difference, you know. What you do is maybe same. But when you realize that this is dream, it is our life from Buddha's viewpoint.

When you, you know, when you are able to sit, you know-- practice shikantaza-- and when you experience shikantaza, and when you understand the meaning of shikantaza, the meaning of your everyday life will [be] completely different. [Laughs.] Do you understand [laughs] how different it is [laughs]? If you don't understand, maybe you are not yet practicing shikantaza, maybe.

What will be the difference? You have freedom, you know, from everything. That is, you know, the main point. Usually you have no freedom from things you have or you see, you know. But if you experience, you know, or if you understand the experience of shikantaza, you will have freedom from things. And you will enjoy, you know, your life in its true sense because you are not attached to anything.

We say always do not attach to anything, but, you know, literally it does not mean, so much, attachment or detachment. Detachment is not actually opposite of attachment. Attachment can be detachment, you know. Detachment can be attachment too. So words [laughs] doesn't mean so much, you know. “Detachment,” you know [laughs, laughter]. “Attachment” [laughs]. Doesn't mean so much, you know.

Anyway, you know, if you become really happy, you know, really happy, and if that happiness, you know, continues, maybe that is detachment, you know, what we mean. Most of the happiness you have is a kind of happiness which you, after having that happiness, you will be [feel] regret, you know. “Oh,” [laughs], “it was,” you know, “at that time,” you know, “we are very happy, but now [laughs] we are not so happy,” you know. You will feel in that way.

But real happiness will last in your mind always and encourage you when you are not-- in your adversity or in your happy life too. When you are successful, you will be, you know, you will enjoy the success, and you, you know, even though you fail, it is also good [laughs]. It will encourage you. Not encourage, but, anyway good. You can feel, you know, the feeling of-- you can enjoy the feeling of failure: “Oh, this is pretty good.” [Laughs, laughter.] “Not so bad as I thought,” you know. That kind of feeling you will always have.

So you have always satisfied with things. So you have always enough. You don't want too much, you know, as you wanted before. Even though, you know, you start one-hundred-day sesshin from next morning, you can do it [laughs]. You will not be discouraged. You will not say, “I cannot do that,” after five days [of] sesshin, “It is too much,” you know [laughs]. You don't say so. “Okay, let's do it,” you may say, you know, because you know you can do it.

In your life, you know, if you come to a great difficulty, you know, like you came to big mountain-- not like Tassajara. Tassajara has many ways to go through [laughs], but big mountain doesn't have any passage, you know. Looks like so, actually, but, you know, even though you go Nepal, you know, there is way to get through. One-hundred [-day] sesshin is difficult if you, you know, do it. You can do it. Even though you die, nothing happens [laughs, laughter]. It is okay, you know. Something will happen anyway [laughs]. So you are always, you know, happy, and you will not be discouraged.

Dogen Zenji explained this kind of feeling, you know, in “Tenzo Kyokun,” “Instruction to the Head Cook,” you know. Even though you think, “I cannot cook with this kind of poor material,” but there is way to cook. If you really want to, you know, want to make your friends happy you can do it anyway. If you have big mind, kind mind, and joyful mind always. That kind of mind arise from shikantaza. As long as you expect, you know, anything in future, you know, you cannot, you know, do things well. When you don't expect anything and just do it, something will happen there. That is actually shikantaza.

The kind of life-- and the kind of life-- next point is, kind of life you choose will, you know, will be different. Before you may like something great, big, and beautiful [laughs]. Number one, you know, in California [laughs, laughter]. Number one Zen Center, and Zen practice, you know, Zen practice monastery in America, in the world. Even better than Japan [laughs]-- Japanese monastery [laughs]. That will be, you know, what you want before you have right practice. The things you choose will be different and way of life you take will be different.

Your life, you know, from your age of hippie [laughs], is very different, I think. Time of hippie, you know, [is] different. Very Buddhist-like. That is why you like Buddhism, maybe. But if you become a Buddhist, your life will change more-- more-- you will be super-hippie [laughs, laughter], not usual one. Your style of, you know, your lifestyle is-- looks like very Buddhistic, but not enough. And, you know, when you have that kind of, you know, strict practice and when you ignore your practice, your weak point of practice, then eventually you will have good practice. More and more you will understand what, you know, Zen master said and appreciate their life more and more.

After my lecture, I thought about what I said, you know. Usually I forget, you know [laughs], what I said quite easily, but [laughs] the lecture I gave you was pretty serious one, so [laughs]-- result of actual experience, you know. So I thought about it, you know, and I thought-- I think I put emphasis on some hard, you know, practice, you know, difficult, hard practice: “Don't expect,” you know, “next moment,” or something. “Don't move!” [Said with mock seriousness.] [Laughs, laughter.]

But I am sorry but I have to say so, you know, because your practice looks like too weak, you know. I want it [wanted?] to make you stronger, you know. But actually what I meant was you need, you know, even though your-- that your practice is not so good is okay, but that you move is maybe okay, but, you know, if you lack confidence, you know, zazen cannot be zazen. If you, you know, are not strict enough with yourself, and if you have-- if you [have a] lack of confidence, then it doesn't work. That is why I said so, but what you will-- what makes your practice deeper and deeper, and the experience, you know, better and better, is usual effort, you know, usual effort-- day-by-day effort to sit. That makes your experience, you know, better and better.

In China and in Japan there are many teachers who attained enlightenment, you know, like this [laughs] [snapped fingers]: Chht! [Laughs.] Like this [snapped fingers again] [laughs, laughter]. You may think so, but actually that was the result of many years practice or many times of failure. This is Dogen Zenji's famous words: “That you hit,” you know, “a mark,” you know, “is the result of ninety-nine times failure.” [Laughs.] The last arrow hit the mark, but that is after ninety-nine times failure. So failure is okay actually. But each time you, you know, hit the mark, each time you shoot you do it, you know, with confidence, you are sure to hit the mark. That is, you know, important. So Dogen Zenji said, “Ninety-nine failure is okay.” [Laughs.] So anyway, I will [laughs] continue to try to hit the mark that doesn't work.

So each time you sit, you know, it is necessary for you to do your best in your practice. Anyway, if you only sit, you know, [in the] cross-legged position for forty minutes, “That is zazen,” you may think. But that is not zazen. If it is preparation, it is okay. Like you practice yoga, it is okay. But, you know, the most important point should be, you know, done-- all your effort, physical and spiritual.

That is why, you know, we must have good breathing. Anyway, when you do something physically, breathing follows. And if your way of breathing is not appropriate, you know, you cannot do any physical work. Even [when] you sew, you know, breathing should be-- should follow. When you lift some heavy things, you know, breathing should be completely, you know, controlled, or else you cannot lift heavy thing. You may say, breathing-- anyway you can take breathing, but breathing-- if you want to, you know, have good breathing, you know, it is not so easy. Your posture should be right, and your mudra should be right because your mudra is a symbol of your, you know, mentality. If spine is not straight, your breathing will not be deep enough.

So if you think about those point-- how to make, you know, how to control all of your mental and physical, you know, effort. Of course it takes time, you know. Enlightenment does not come when [until] you are in perfect control of your mind and body, you know. You cannot accept it. You don't feel you have enlightenment. Or, in other word, when your mind and body [are] completely one, then enlightenment is there actually. Whatever you hear, whatever you think, that will be enlightenment. So it is not the sound of bamboo hit by a stone or color of plum trees that makes them enlightened, but their practice, you know, is there. So they attained enlightenment. So enlightenment could be many-- so in your everyday life, you know, you have, you know, always chance to have enlightenment. Whatever you do, you know: If you go to restroom, there is, you know, chance to attain enlightenment. If you cook, there is enlightenment. If you clean floor, there is enlightenment.

I think we are very fortunate to have various teachers. It is not just, you know, happened in this way, but previous, you know, human effort came to this point. Your culture, you know, is, you know, came to this point where you want to study Zen. Japanese Zen tradition came to the point that we need some revival. It is not-- this kind of feeling didn't happened-- arised in Japan just, you know, ten or twenty years. But pretty long time, this kind of, you know, movement was there.

So far as I know, Oka Sotan Roshi, you know, was the-- all the source of-- source of all the teachers, you know-- source of power of all the teachers. Tatsugami Roshi, you know, studied under Harada Roshi. Harada Roshi's, you know, teacher was Oka Sotan. My teacher was Kishizawa Roshi, and my master was Suzuki So-on, and their teacher was, you know, Oka Sotan Roshi. Yoshimura Roshi's teacher, you know, is Hashimoto Roshi. Hashimoto Roshi's teacher is Oka Sotan Roshi, you know.

At Komazawa [University] there were, you know, good scholar of Buddhism-- Eto Sokuo. He was my classmate-- my teacher's classmate-- master's [Gyokujun So-on's] classmate when they were studying at Komazawa. At that time, Oka Sotan Roshi was head of Komazawa.

So if we, you know-- things didn't happen, yeah, to Zen Center just by chance. If we don't know what to do, if we study, you know, Oka Roshi's teaching, Kishizawa Roshi's teaching, or [Kodo] Sawaki Roshi's [?] teaching, you know. Answer is there.

[Sentence finished. Tape changed.]
-- you know, came from one source. He was a really great, you know, teacher. Not only he was a great teacher for his disciples, but also for laymen who studied under him he was a great, you know, teacher.

I wanted to tell you, you know, something about how to extend our shikantaza to your everyday life, you know, today, right now. But-- and I-- I, you know-- I take out the interpretation of precepts by Oka Sotan Roshi. And I read, you know, preface of it [laughs], preface, which was written by Kishizawa Roshi. And in the introduction of, written by Kishizawa Roshi for Oka Sotan Roshi's interpretation of precepts, he referred to Oka Roshi's, you know, precepts lineage, which was wrong [laughs]. Which was wrong.

Kishizawa Roshi knew, you know, under the, you know, many-- after many years study under Oka Roshi, what is right lineage. Lineage should be like this, he knew-- Kishizawa Roshi knew what-- how it should be. But Oka Roshi's, you know, his teacher's lineage was wrong because Dogen Zenji's lineage consist of two lineage: Rinzai and Soto. And came to Dogen Zenji one from Nyojo-- [from the] Soto lineage. Another is from Myozen-- Rinzai master, disciple of Eisai.

But his lineage is just Soto, you know-- Oka Roshi's. So, you know, Kishizawa Roshi have to ask him why. “Why is this, you know? It is wrong,” you [he] said, “But your lineage is wrong” [laughs]. “What is that?” you know. When he asked him, you know, Oka Sotan Roshi, you know, his face changed, and tears came down from his eyes. “Yes, it is wrong.” And he started to talk about his lineage.

When Oka Roshi was young, he wanted to go to Komazawa University-- Komazawa College-- you know, to study Buddhism. He wanted to go there. But his master Token did not allow him or could not afford to send Oka Roshi to school, so he didn't say yes so easily. So, you know, he said, you know, “I want to study hard and become a good teacher and give precepts, you know, jukai-- ojukai-- having ojukai-e and precepts to many people, so let me study more.” And his master Token was pleased: “Okay, then you can go.”

But after he finished schooling, he came back. At that time he was making, you know, wood print, you know, for lineage, you know, to make, you know, lineage paper, okechimyaku. Some of you already received my okechimyaku when you received, you know, rakusu. His master was making which is wrong, so Oka Roshi explained, you know, in detail, it should not be like this, you know. It should not be just lineage of Soto, it should be Rinzai and Soto.

His teacher agreed: “Okay, maybe I was wrong, but,” you know, “this lineage is the lineage which Kankei Zenji had”-- also famous teacher-- ”Kankei Zenji had. So according to Kankei Zenji's lineage, my lineage is not wrong. But if Dogen Zenji's lineage is like that, it should be like that,” you know, he said. So-- and then-- and he said, “I will make another wood print.”

But Kishizawa Roshi-- you know, when he came back and saw him-- when Kishizawa Roshi-- Oka Roshi saw him again, he, you know, he had-- he was making-- he finished half of it already, which was quite good. And his-- Token-- his teacher-- Sotan Roshi's teacher went to some specialist to make it and studied how to make it and, you know, tried to do it again.

But as Oka Roshi came back, you know, he made it although it was not complete. But he made it. And show it to him. At that time, you know, Oka Roshi ag- [partial word] now-- his face changed again, and tears came down, especially when he said, “This is the okechimyaku,” you know, “lineage paper for you when you have big,” you know, “ojukai-e. This is for you.” When he said so, he almost cried and teacher and disciple cried, you know-- what do you say-- hugging and cried.

And then teacher said-- Oka Roshi said, “This lineage paper is okay, although it is not,” you know, “exactly [as] Dogen Zenji had it. It is okay. As long as,” you know, “this wood last, I will use it.” So that is why Oka Roshi's lineage paper is wrong. Because it was wrong, Kishizawa Roshi accused [him], you know, why [that] it is wrong. So when he was accused, again he [Oka] cried. Oka Roshi was that kind of person. It is not usual, you know, scholar or usual great Zen master. Not usual at all-- very unusual. When, you know, why we say Dogen Zenji is so great is not because of Shobogenzo maybe, but because of his sincere practice, not only as a Zen master but also as a man, you know, as a human. He was the most sincere student of Buddhism. Oka Roshi was that kind of teacher, you know.

I didn't know actually, you know, what we should do with our old okesa after, you know, Yoshida Roshi show us which-- how should be right traditional okesa, you know. I didn't know what to do. But, you know, when I took out [Oka Roshi's book on the precepts], I didn't know idea of solving this problem, you know, by Oka Roshi's help. But when I, you know-- I wanted to know what will be the interpretation of precepts not to act [do] unchaste act, you know. So I wanted to know about it. But what I found out is that, you know, preface [by Kishizawa Zenji], you know, I haven't read that part. It was just, I thought, it is just introduction [laughs]. But, you know, when I need it, you know, it appears in front of me like that. You may say that is just by chance, but I don't feel in that way [laughs]. If you say things happen just by chance, you know, all the things happen just by chance [laughs]. When we don't know, we say, “Things happen by chance.”

Katagiri Sensei and I, you know, discussed very hard about that point-- what should we do? [Laughs.] We had no answer for that. It is not things-- not that kind of thing we can ask Yoshida Roshi or someone else [about]. We should solve this problem just between us, who are responsible for this.

You think, you know, things happens, you know, in this way in America, at Zen Center, you know, but it is not just by chance. It is, you know, result of many years of many peoples' hard work, sincere work. It is not just, you know, way of propagating Buddhism. To us there is no idea of Buddhism. What is the truth will be always our, you know-- main point is what will be the truth.

As Katagiri Sensei said, you know, last night, breathing should be upright to the sky. And we should sit on black cushion without moving, so that we can, you know, grow to the sky. That is, you know, how you practice zazen, how I practice zazen, how Katagiri Sensei practice zazen-- as a priest, as a layman, you know. There is no difference in its-- in the virtue, whether you are layman or a priest, if we know what is the purpose of practice and how we should grow-- what will be our way of life as a Buddhist, you know. Only difference is, you know, we put more emphasis on the truth. Usual people do not respect truth so much, you know-- little bit different [laughs].

But, you know, eventually you will find out which is more important, as you have already found out. We cannot be fooled by anything so easily, you know, and we shouldn't fool anyone. We must “settle ourselves on ourselves,” as Katagiri Sensei says, you know. Excuse me [laughs]. “To settle one's self on one's self,” you know, that is very important point. How you do it is to be yourself on each moment. Whatever you do, you must do it, you know. You shouldn't expect someone's help. You shouldn't be spoiled by some shelter, you know. You should protect yourself, and you should grow upright to the sky. That's all, you know. That's all, but little bit different, you know. Maybe we are crazy [laughs, laughter]. According to them we are crazy, but we think they are crazy [laughs]. It's okay [laughs]. We will find out pretty soon which is crazy [laughter].

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

Postby admin » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:48 am

Jumping Off the 100-Foot Pole
Shunryu Suzuki Lecture
Sunday Lecture
Sunday, April 20, 1969
(title from book: Not Always So, p. 16)

It's-- it is pretty difficult, but I will try-- try to speak about purpose of our practice.

Before I try to explain our practice, I think I should explain why we practice, you know-- why we should practice Zen when we have buddha-nature. And this is the great problem Dogen Zenji had. And he worked for this question before he went to China and met with Nyojo Zenji.

And this is not, of course, so easy problem, but if you understand what do we mean when we say everyone has buddha-nature, and everything has buddha-nature. What does it mean? And he explained very carefully in Shobogenzo, on the-- in the first chapter.

When we say “buddha-nature,” you know, you may think buddha-nature is some innate nature, you know, because we say nature. In Japanese we use same words-- nature-- buddha-nature. But actually it is not nature like nature of human being or nature of plant-- or nature of cats or dogs, you know. It is not, strictly speaking, it is not that kind of nature.

“Nature” means something which is there whatever you do. Whatever you do, there is nature. Nature is not something which is there, you know, before you do something. When you do something, you know, at the same time, nature appears. That is nature, you know. What he meant.

You know, you-- you think, you know, we have buddha-nature within ourselves or innate-- as a innate nature. And because of this nature, you do something, you know. That is usual understanding of nature [laughs]. But that is not his understanding. Or it is not like some seed, you know, which is there before plant come out you know. “That is not the nature which I mean,” Dogen Zenji said. That kind of understanding of nature is, you know, heretic understanding of nature [laughs]. It is not correct understanding of nature.

That kind of nature is some idea, you know, you have in your mind. “Here is plant,” you know. “So there must be-- before this plant appear-- there must be something-- seed or within the plant, there must be some nature which promote the-- its activity. Because of that nature, some flower is red and some flower is yellow.” Most people understand in that way. So why we practice-- when we think why we practice zazen is, you know, because we have nature-- buddha-nature.

“So after,” you know, “after practice-- after training-- after eliminate various selfish desires, that buddha-nature will,” you know, “appear.” That kind of understanding is based on unclear-- unclearness of your understanding of observing-- observing things. According to Dogen Zenji-- he, you know, worked on this problem for a long time, so his understanding is very clear.

Only when you, you know-- when something appears, there there is nature, you know. So nature or outlook of things is two names of one thing, one reality. Sometime we say buddha-nature. Sometime we say enlightenment or bodhi or buddha or attainment. But those are just-- those are the two side of one reality. So not only we call it from those two side, but also we call it, sometime, “evil desire.”

“Evil desires,” we say [laughs], but it is another name of buddha-nature [laughs]. You say, you know, “evil desires,” but for Buddha, that is buddha-nature, you know. There is of course, layman and priest [laughs], but usually you understand in that way, but actually there is no particular person to be a priest, you know. You may be-- each one of you can be a priest and I could be a layman, you know. Because-- just because I wear a robe I am priest. Because I behave like a priest maybe-- like way, I am a priest. That's all, you know. There is no special person for priest or for layman.

So whatever you call it, that is another name of one reality. Even though you call it mountain or river, that is another name of one reality. So we should not be fooled by words of “nature” or “result” or “buddhahood.” We should see thing itself with clear mind. In this way, we understand buddha-nature.

Then why we have evil desires at the same time is, as I explained, that is another name of buddha-nature. Then why we practice zazen-- where-- from where that evil desire [laughs], you know, come up [”out”?]-- there is actually no place for evil desires. But actually, you know, we have so-called-it buddha-nature-- evil desires which should be annihilated. Why is that? And where should I, you know, should we-- after you eliminate, you know, buddha-nature-- evil desires from us, you know, like this-- here is evil desire [probably gesturing]. Where do you throw this away [laughs, laughter]?

You know, when we start to think in this way, we are already [laughs] started to understand things in heretic way [laughs]. That is just name, you know. Just name of one thing. There is no such thing to pull out, like this, and to throw away.

You may feel as if you are fooled by me, you know, but it is not so [laughs, laughter]. It is not a laughing matter. You know, we are seriously confronting with our selfish desires, and we are always observing things in wrong way. When we come to this point, it is necessary for us to understand our practice-- our practice of shikantaza.

I said, where should I throw evil desire? There is very famous koan, you know. A man who climb up to the top of a pole. If he stays here [tapping on stick, probably held to represent the pole], he is not enlightened one. When he jump off from the top of the pole, he may be a enlightened one. This is koan.

How we understand this koan is how we understand our practice. Why, you know, we have something which should be take out from us is because we, you know, stay here, you know [probably tapping the top of his stick]. Because you stay at top of a pole, you have problem, you know. But actually there is no pole for a-- no top for a pole-- for actual pole is continued, you know, endlessly forever. So you cannot stop here, actually.

But you think when you have some experience of enlightenment or something, you think we can rest here, you know, observing various sight at the top of a pole, forgetting all about to climb up-- to continue climbing up a pole. We say, you know, this is-- because this is koan, if-- we say “usually,” but “usually”-- people think, you know, on the top-- on the top for the pole. Usually we think in that way. But there is-- actually there is no top for anything. Things are continuously growing or changing to something else. Nothing exist in its own form [”home”?] or color [”corner”?]. So actually there is no top. But when we think, “Here is a top,” that is already misunderstanding.

So accordingly, you have problem whether we should jump off from here [laughs], you know. Actually you cannot jump off [laughs] where we-- it is not possible. And even though you try to, you know, stop on the top of the pole, you cannot stay here because it is growing continuously [laughs]. So you will be continuously, you know, higher and higher. You cannot stop here. But you think it is possible.

That is the problem, you know. That is why you should practice and you should forget all about the top of the pole. If so, you know, where should I forget or throw our misunderstanding is right here [taps three times on table with stick], you know. Not this way or that way or past or future. Right here. You should, you know, forget all about the misunderstanding when the place where you are right now. Do you understand? You should, you know, forget this moment, and you should grow to the next-- you should extend yourself to the next one. That is the only way. I think you must have understood our practice.

For an instance, you know, my wife [laughs]-- every morning, when breakfast is ready, he hit, you know-- what do you call it?

Student: Clappers.

SR: Clappers? Yeah, clappers-- like this. If I don't answer for it [laughs], you know, I-- he-- she may continue to hit it [laughs, laughter] until I feel rather angry [laughs, laughter]. Why we have that kind of problem is quite simple. Because I don't answer, you know. If I say “Hai!”-- that's all [laughs, laughter]. Because I don't say “Hai!” she, you know, continue to-- she has to continue because she doesn't know whether I heard it or not [laughs].

Sometime she may think: “He knows but he doesn't answer.” Eei! [Probably imitates a mock attack by Okusan.] [Laughs, laughter.] That is what will happen. When I don't answer, you know, I am, you know, on the top of the pole [laughs]. I don't jump off from here. When I say “Hai!” you know, I jump off from here. Because I stay at the top of the pole, I am-- I have something to do-- something important to do [laughs, laughter]-- something important at the top of the pole: “You shouldn't call me! You should wait!” So before I say something I determined to shut up-- not to say anything. “This is very important! Don't you know that?! [S.R. and students laughing.] I am here [taps on stick], on the top of the pole! Don't you know that?” So she start to-- [Probably gesturing.] That is how we create problem.

So the secret is just to say “Hai!” you know, and jump up from here. Then there is no problem. It means that, to be yourself-- always yourself, without sticking to old self. When you say “Hai!” you know, you forget all about yourself and [are] refreshed into some new self. And before new self become old self, you should say another “Hai!” or you should work to the kitchen. So the point is on each moment, and to forget the point and to extend our practice, forgetting ourselves.

So, as Dogen Zenji says, “To study Buddhism is to study ourselves. And to study ourselves is to forget ourselves on each moment.” To forget ourselves is-- means to be yourself on each moment. Then everything will come and help you, and everything will assure your enlightenment. That is enlightenment, you know. When I say “Hai!” you know, my wife will assure my enlightenment. “Oh, you are a good boy!” [Laughs, laughter.] But I stick to the “good boy”-- you know-- ”I am good boy.” [Laughs, laughter.] I will create another, you know, problem. “Oh, you are good boy. Then you have to help yourself,” she may say. So I shall not be good boy any more. I shall not be enlightened one.

So on each moment [laughs] you should be concentrated yourself, and you should be really yourself. At that moment, where is buddha-nature, you know? Buddha-nature is actually when I said “Hai!” That “Hai!” is buddha-nature itself, in its true sense. Buddha-nature which you have proudly within yourself is not buddha-nature. Actual buddha-nature is when you say “Hai!” or when you become you yourself, or when you forget all about yourself. There is another name-- you will have another name of Buddha or buddha-nature.

So “nature” is not something which appear-- which will appear in future. Buddha-- true, real buddha-nature should be something which is actually [taps on table with stick] here-- there. If you cannot see actually what is buddha-nature [taps], it doesn't mean anything [laughs]. It is rice cake or painted rice cake. It is not actual one. If you want to see the actual rice cake, you should see it when it is there. So purpose of our practice is just to be yourself. When you become yourself in that way, you have really-- real enlightenment is there. The enlightenment you have in your mind, you have attained-- you attained long-- you attained long time ago is not actual enlightenment.

Back and forth when we-- you understand our practice, you will enjoy your practice, thinking about what kind of practice you had had before you attained actual enlightenment. Sometime you will have pity on someone who has-- who is involved in wrong practice. And sometime you will laugh at yourself, you know, when you fall in-- when you are involved in wrong practice. “Oh, what are you doing?” [Laughs.] You will, you know, laughed at you-- you will tease yourself: “What are you doing?” You will have various feeling. All the real compassion or real love or true encouragement or true courage will arise from here. You will be not only courageous person but also you are very kind person when you reach-- when you understand yourself in that way.

So one practice include various virtue, and one feeling of practice will result [in] various feeling like a wave on the sea. So we say, “One practice covers everything”-- various virtue. And when you practice your practice in that way, you may be a piece of stone, you may be a tree, you may be a star, you may be a ocean. So you cover everything.

That is how we practice zazen when-- before you attain enlightenment. Actually, enlightenment is, you know-- will be there only before you attain enlightenment, or just before [laughs]. You will say-- if you say, “I attained enlightenment,” you know, it is too late to say [laughs, laughter]. You should say, you know, you should say before smallest particle of time imaginable, if you want to say [laughs]. But if you cannot say, maybe better to be silent. Better not to say anything.

So to talk about enlightenment is rather, you know [laughs], foolish-- rather foolish. But sometime we have to talk about it in this way until we lose our, you know, “eyebrow” [laughs]. You know, to talk about it is to lose our eyebrow, you know-- to lose ourselves. Instead of being ourselves. In this sense, we say “be yourself” to be natural. If you say, “This is the way to be natural,” you know, that is not natural [taps table]. Only when you are you in its true sense, on this moment, at this place, that is “naturalness.” So there will not be any particular way to be “natural.”

For me, you know, to be here right now is naturalness. And to wear robe is naturalness. And to shave my head is naturalness, as a priest [laughs]. In this way, we should-- our practice-- we should practice our way and we should remember this. It is not so easy [laughs] to be natural. Not so easy.

If we have, you know-- in our practice if we have a smallest gap, you know, we will, you know, fall into hell. So our practice should be, you know, continued. Continuous practice is necessary. And we should not, you know, rest. We should continue it, if possible, without trying to, you know, continue it. Just, you know, to have generous mind and big mind and soft mind is how to continue our way. And we should be always flexible, you know. We should-- we should not be-- stick to anything.

I will not repeat same thing over and over again [laughs, laughter]. I think this is enough. To change our topic or angle of understanding, if you have some question, please ask me. Hai.

Student A: You said when we had the smallest “something,” we will fall into hell. I didn't understand--

SR: Smallest. Yeah.

Student A: -- what word you used.

Student B: It sounded like “cup.”

Audience: “Gap.”

Student B: “Gap.”

SR: “Gap,” yeah. Gap, yeah. But gap between our effort, rather-- rather than gap-- our gap of our-- gap between our efforts. It is, you know, to be more-- we say “soft mind,” you know. It is, at the same time, it is big mind, you know, because we do not stick to anything. We do not see things objectively as something good or bad, or strong or weak because, you know, we are strong enough to accept things as it is. So for us who have big mind there is no need to be afraid of anything. But we do not ignore anything. That is strictness of the way.

When we are not afraid of anything, that will be unperturbability [imperturbability]. And the effort-- when the effort is understood by him, you know, to the point that is simplicity, there is no need for him to make his effort in various direction, you know. The only way is just to be yourself on each moment. Our only way is to be concentrated on what you do, completely. [Sentence appears to have been finished. Tape turned over.]

-- whatever it is, you know. In that way, if you understand our way in that way, that is simplicity. And if it, you know-- when the feeling of practice could be extended various way, that is the, maybe, the beauty of the practice. Here we have simplicity and variety of feeling of practice. Simple and rich. Strong and weak. Strong and kind. This is, you know, our practice. So you cannot say what is our practice-- it-- because it could be various virtue. It is not-- it should not be so difficult [laughs], but it is difficult, you know. That is our way. So you cannot say our way is quite easy [laughs]. Or you cannot say our way is very difficult. It is not difficult at all. Everyone can do it, but to continue it is rather difficult. Don't you think so? [Laughs, laughter.] You agree with this point [laughs, laughter].

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 3:49 am

Changing Our Karma
Shunryu Suzuki Lecture
Tuesday, March 9, 1971
San Francisco
(title from book: Not Always So, p. 21)

One day a Chinese famous Zen master was making a trip with a-- with his disciple. A [flock of] geese, you know, fly-- were flying over-- passed, you know, over their head, like this [probably gestures].

And disciple [teacher] said, “Where are they going?” or “What are they?”-- oh-- teacher said, “What are they?”

The disciple said, “They are geese.”

“Where they are going?” [laughs] the teacher asked.

Disciple say, “I don't know,” disciple said quite honestly because he didn't know [laughs].

Disciple [teacher] twisted his disciple's nose, like this [laughs, probably gestures].

As a disciple of Buddha, we should know what we are doing, you know, especially, you know, when we, you know, we are with his teacher, you know [laughs]. We should extend our practice, you know, in our everyday life, as you know. That is our practice. So if you know secret of your, you know, life, you will understand, you know, the meaning of practice. And if you know the meaning of practice, you can extend our practice to your everyday life. That is why-- must be why the teacher twisted his disciple's nose. [Laughs.] “What are you doing now?” Actually, he was not talking about geese.

We feel very serious-- we become [laughs] very serious when you-- when you have problem, without knowing that you are creating problems always. And even though you, you know, you have a lot of trouble, somehow, you know, you can manage-- you think you can manage it. “Oh, this is not big trouble,” you know. “I can manage it quite easily”-- without, you know, knowing how you should cope with the trouble.

The other day, you know, when we had shuso ceremony at Tassajara, someone asked shuso, Peter [Schneider], that kind of question, you know. And after many question and answer finished, Yoshimura-- I thought it was Yoshimura-- Yoshimura Sensei said-- no-- Tatsugami Roshi said, “A tiger,” you know, “catch a mouse with his whole strength,” you know. Whht! [Laughs.] A tiger does not, you know, ignore or does not slight any small animals. The way he catch a mouse and the way he catch or devour a cow is same way, you know. But usually, although we have many problems, this is minor problem. So you don't think it is necessary to-- to treat it, you know, in relationship with our practice. But in this way, to treat our problem in that way is the-- the way many countries treat their international problems: “This is minor problem. [Laughs.] So as long as we do not violate international treaties, it may be okay. [Laughs.] Unless we do not use atomic,” you know, “weapon, we can fight,” you know.

But that kind of, you know, small fight will eventually, you know, result [in] a big fight. It is same thing, you know. So even [though] the problem we have in our everyday life is small-- may be small, but we should know how to solve those problems or else you will have big, big difficulties because of the law of karma, you know. Karma starts from small things, but it will result-- it will accelerate your, you know, bad karma. And you should know how to cope with, you know, with those small difficulties or suffering.

Before Buddha's Nirvana Day, I read some of his teaching about fundamental Buddhist way:

Admonishing our many wishes, yea brethren, in receiving all food and drink, you ought to accept them as medicine.

You must not accept or reject what you like or dislike. Just support your bodies, and avoid starvation and thirst.

As a bee in gathering flowers takes only the taste of-- taste of them but does not harm their color or scent, so brethren, you may [?] accept just enough of people's offering to avoid distress.

Don't have many demands and thereby break their good hearts.

Wise men, for an example, having judge the amount of capacity of his ass' strength, does not wear out its strength by overloading.

“Admonishing our many wishes”: Oh-- this is-- ”many wishes” means, you know, “many wish-- many desires.” “Many wishes”-- it does-- it-- it is-- in Chinese translation, it is-- ”small wishes,” it says, you know. Small wishes.

The many wishes means, you know-- many wishes or small wishes, or many desires and small desires-- few desires-- it is not matter of so many or so few, you know. It is-- it is, you know, not to-- the idea is to get rid of desires or to be-- to go beyond desires. But to have, you know, little wishes means, you know, not to divide our concentration [on?] too [to?] many things. That is actual meaning, you know.

To do things, you know, with one true-hearted way, you know, with oneness of the mind-- that is to have few wishes-- many-- or many wishes-- to be restrained from many wishes. Many wishes looks like, you know, to have various desires-- to eat or to sleep, you know. But [laughs] we cannot live-- we cannot, you know, restrict or we cannot-- it is almost impossible to get rid of some of many wishes, you know. All the wishes should be-- we should have, but we should not divide our focus of activity. That is what it means.

“In receiving all food and drink, you ought to accept them as medicine,” you know. When you accept-- when you receive food, you should be concentrated, or you should accept it with your whole body and mind. That is what it means.

And at the same time, it means you should not accept it in dualistic idea of “you” and “food.” You know, we say “we receive” or “we accept” food. We do not say “we take” food-- maybe [laughs]-- ”as we take food and drink [laughs],” we say. That is, maybe, wrong translation. “As we accept food and drink”-- we should say so, you know. Acc- [partial word]-- ”to take” and “accept” is different. “To take” is more dualistic, you know. “To accept” is more, you know, more complete activity. You know, to-- you may say [laughs] “to take” is more complete, you know, action. But to accept is m- [partial word]-- you know, not so complete, you know.

When you take something, you will grasp it like this [probably gestures]. This is complete [laughs]-- complete concentration on your activity is there. But according to Buddha's teaching, you know, this [probably gestures] is not, you know, to grasp some food or to take food is not complete acceptance-- it is dualis- [partial word]-- because it is dualistic.

And in that way, we will create karma, you know. When you grasp it-- when someone grasp it or someone may grasp it because some other person want to take it, you know. So you must be very quick [laughs, laughter]. That is activity, you know-- dualistic activity which will create many karma [laughs]. But when you receive it, you know, you have it already here [probably gestures], so-- and if you accept it with, you know, with great appreciation-- ”Thank you very much,” you know-- that is more-- it is-- the activity-- Buddha-- it is the true activity or small wishes-- not “wishes” or small desires-- Buddha meant. You ought to accept them-- ”accept them” is right. You ought to accept them as medicine, you know, with full appreciation of it, without not much dualistic mind.

“You must not accept or reject what you like or dislike,” you know. Like or d- [partial word]-- you must not accept it-- accept it because-- or reject it, you know-- accept or reject is also dualistic. You ought not to accept-- you must not accept or reject what you like or dislike.

“Just support your bodies, and avoid starvation and thirst.” “Just support your bodies, and”-- it means that you should not take it with a dualistic idea of good or bad or enough or small [not enough]. So this kind of, you know, teaching does not mean to con- [partial word]-- to have controlling power over your desires. If it is so, you know, it is difficult to know how much you should accept, you know-- how much-- to accept how much food is, you know, appropriate for you. It is difficult to know the limit of the desire or to make some b- [partial word]-- some limit to-- to limit your food, you know.

If you want to control-- [have] controlling power over your desires, you know, how much you should control is-- will be the next problem. And in that way, you will make more problem, one after another. And you will make-- maybe you will make some good excuse, you know, to have more food [laughs]. In that way, you know, you will lose your way.

The point is, you know, again, come back to the zazen practice. How much you-- how you accept things is how you take care of your body and to know yourself, you know, like you sit in zazen with many desires and problems. If-- to feel, you know, your problem as your own problem is our practice. So when you eat, you know, eating is a part of your practice, you know. To eat food as you practice zazen is how to accept your food. So “to accept” is not-- the word “to accept” is not-- has not any dualistic concept.

“Just support your bodies, and avoid the starvation and thirst.” So if you know how you practice zazen, then you will know, you know, how much food you should take. And there is no danger of eating too much or eating too less.

“As a bee in gathering flowers takes only the taste of the flower but does not hurt their color or scent-- ” This is a very famous, you know, parable. “As a bee in gathering flowers takes only the taste of honey but does not hurt their color or scent-- ” It is-- it means that-- to take-- to have true taste of the flower is, you know, not because-- to take it not because flower is beautiful or scent is nice, but because, you know, to take care of you and flower. So to have, you know, to have direct feeling of flower and taste the honey from it. So there is no-- like a bee, we have not much, you know, desire as we have in dualistic sense. So--

So it is not possible, you know, to extend our practice in our everyday life without, you know, knowing what kind of difficulties we have. What is the usual attitude to take care of our problems in our everyday life? We are not so careful, you know. You know, we may be like a carpenter bee sometime [laughs] and may violate many beautiful flowers. But sometime we may be a[n] ant, you know. Even though they do not, you know, destroy the flower, but they-- because of the ant, the flower may die. They are too, you know, sticky [laughs], and stick too much always in the same flower. Purpose of flower having honey [nectar] is, you know, to-- to help the plant in some way, you know, inviting bees, you know. To invite bees they have some honey [nectar]. But if-- maybe they are expecting honeybee or something, not carpenter bee [laughs] or ant. So it is necessary to-- to know whether we are like a carpenter bee or sticky small ant or what was-- [laughs]. It looks like very gentle and kind [laughs], but eventually, if too many ants come to a flower, flower will die. So in, you know, in our everyday life, we should not, you know-- our minds should be more careful, you know, or our mind must be more, you know, cautious, or attentive, or more reflective.

You may think, you know, our way is too-- we have too much rules [laughs] about way of treating things, or way of speaking, or in various way we have various rules. But we should know that-- before you say that is too much, you should know what you are doing, you know. You should know whether you are creating problem in your everyday life or creating bad karma for yourself and for others.

And you should know also why you suffer right now. There must be some reason you suffer. And if there is some reason to suffer, it is, you know, not possible [laughs] to escape from it. If there is some, you know-- some reason, it is not possible to escape from it. Only way is to-- by treating in some way, to change the function of the karma from bad to better. That is only way.

How you do that-- how you can do that is-- only when you are very attentive or when you know the nature of karma very well you can do that. It is not so easy to kick a stone by the [laughs]-- on the roadside. If-- because we have various, you know, karma we have now is created in some way, and law of karma cannot be, you know, changed. How you-- according to the, you know-- when you follow the karma and drive the karma in good direction [laughs], you know, you can, you know, avoid the destructive nature of the karma. How you can do that-- you-- is to be attentive to the nature of karma and nature of your desires and activities.

So, as Buddha pointed out, cause of-- to know cause of suffering is to know how to avoid suffering. Why you suffer: If you know why you suffer, you know, you will know the cause and effect of the karma. And if-- when you understand cause and effect and how it-- how bad thing result-- bad-- bad cause result [in] bad effect-- then, if you know that, you can, you know-- in the same way, you can avoid the destructive power of the karma.

And there is some ways to make the power weaker. The best way is, you know [laughs], to make karma work on the voidness of the air. It-- it will [not] create any harm to anybody. But mostly that is-- looks like difficult for us because of-- because we have-- we exist here, you know, which is idea of self, you know. As long as we have idea of self, the karma has some object to work on. If you have no idea of self, you know, karma doesn't know what to do [laughing, laughter]. “Oh, where is my partner, where is my friend?”

But that looks like very difficult, and we know that. But some people, you know, try hard to banish [it] [laughs], you know. But I don't think that is possible. The best way is to treat them well, you know-- to tame it. And that is how we control ourselves. And that is possible when we know-- knowing the strict rule of karma, and work on our karma immediately.

Did you go to Dr. Lancaster's [seminar]? I think some of you went to Dr. Lancaster's seminar the other day. [One word] was making good point about, you know-- good explanation to-- how to take care of things. If you know something [is] wrong with your car, you should immediately [laughs], you know, stop your car and work on it. That is good point. But usually we don't. “Oh, this is minor problem of my car. [Laughs, laughter.] It doesn't stop,” you know. “Let's go.” That is not our way, you know. We should take care of our car very carefully, even though we can go on and on. But if you go on and on with many problems, the problems, you know, is constantly, you know, working on your car until it will create some destructive harm to your car.

Student A: Roshi?

SR: Yes.

Student A: What if-- what if you know there is something wrong with your car, so you drive very slowly and you try to find out where the problem is? Can you do that? Or do you have to stop completely?

SR: Well maybe you can drive slowly [laughs]. Well, anyway you should take care-- immediate care is necessary, which you don't [laughs]. Perhaps if it-- if you think it is minor problem, you don't do that, and you don't realize how dangerous it is, you know, to take care of-- to have minor care of things. This is, I think, big problem for our society, you know. This point is missing, you know.

So as long as you [don't] violate your state law or federal law, you know, you feel you are [not] doing anything bad, you know. But even [though], you know, you do not violate your rules, you know, you are doing something which will result [in] some big result. And when you find-- until you find yourself in some immediate, you know, necessity to violate your law when it is too late.

It looks like-- you may say this is-- it-- our way is too, maybe, too timid or something. But this-- when you find out-- when you think, you know, when you understand this teaching is just about our desires, you may understand in that way. But if you understand this way of-- this kind of practice include our zazen practice and all-- whole area of Buddhist teaching. One teaching covers whole teachings we have.

[Sentence finished. Tape turned over.]

way. It covers whole area.

If you think, you know, how to apply Buddhist teaching to your everyday life, you know, if that is, you know, why you practice zazen, that is wrong practice, you know. Buddhist-- Buddha's teaching is here, and your life is here, you know, and you are borrowing some-- you are-- you are asking some aid from Buddha, or you-- you ask Buddha's advice so that you may feel better, as if, you know, you think if you don't violate your law it is okay whatever you do. You-- you have some excuse, you know: “I am not,” you know, “doing anything wrong with our-- with our society. I am not in- [partial word]-- creating any-- we are not creating any trouble between our countries,” you know. But if you, you know, push your policy to the limit, what will happen? And when you find yourself-- ”Oh, we cannot,” you know, “we have [to] stop our car.” Maybe that is too late, you know. And it takes quite a lot of strength to stop it. So everyday care is very important.

You may always say “Rinzai way” or “Soto way,” but there is no difference between Rinzai or Soto. But we are-- we have, you know, we are just more-- more careful, you know, in our everyday life and in our practice, that's all-- in our way of practice. When we have this kind of idea of practice, according to the person's ability, you know, we can help with each other. Everyone has a good position, you know. Everyone will be very useful person in our society when-- only when we try to take care of things with, you know, complete attention. When we rely on some, you know, strong way, then, you know, people needed will be limited. Unless you have strong, you know, physical power or sharp, you know, mental power, you cannot help people. But when we have very-- various-- when our way is very cautious, cautious enough not to leave anything behind, then everyone will have their own position in our society, and everyone can have good practice. I think this point should be aware of more. Do you have some more questions? Hai.

Student B: What do you mean by “good karma” and “bad karma”?

SR: Karma is, you know-- karma is a kind of, you know, succession-- link of, you know, like a chain of cause and result which has-- which is not bad or good, you know. But because-- because we have-- because of the viewpoint we take, it can be a good karma or bad karma. But anyway, karma is going. Hai.

Student C: In our actual life, what does it mean to stop?

SR: Excuse me?

Student C: In our actual life, what does it mean to stop?

SR: Stop?

Student C: To stop to take care of--

SR: Stop? [Laughs.]

Student C: -- some minor problem.

SR: Oh, I--

Student C: Some [?] reaction of “stop.”

SR: I-- I don't mean to stop and wait or escape from it. Yeah? You cannot escape from it. Actually you cannot stop. [Laughs, laughter.] Even though you look like stop [laughs], you are, you know, still going to prepare for something-- to go ahead-- to go on. That was, maybe, you know-- Hai.

Student D: Does the “stop” mean that you try to withdraw from too much involvement in what happens so that you can detach yourself enough from it to really see what's happening? I want to see what I'm doing, yourself.

SR: Uh-huh.

Student D: It like a-- it's like-- it's a kind of a slight[ly] diminished involvement.

SR: Mm-hmm.

Student D: Does it mean something like that?

SR: Mmm. What I mean, you know, is more intuitive things, you know-- not to think or, you know-- but what I'm talking about is, you know, how, you know, how much misunderstanding you have or how much deluded you are, you know, in your own idea of good or bad, you know, good practice or bad practice, or in dualistic thinking mind. To get rid of those, you know, understanding of life I am talking-- this kind of things-- to know what you are actually doing.

Student D: Actually one can attempt to know one's motivation, but one can't really know what is good and what is bad--

SR: Uh-huh.

Student D: -- because sometimes you think you do a good thing and it turns out to have been a bad thing after all [1-2 words unclear].

SR: Yeah, at the same time. So, you know, in-- when-- only when you practice, you know, zazen without having-- without being bothered by idea of good or bad-- good sound or bad sound-- you-- when you accept it, when you have oneness of-- you-- subjectivity and objectivity, then, you know, that is the way how we are-- we should go. That is the point of, you know-- the point. And what you should do to find out some way thinking about which way we should take-- that is not what I mean. It is confusing because I am talking-- because I use the word “good” or “bad” or “to stop” or “go ahead,” you know. But if you know what is your practice, you know, how you take care of yourself in zazen, you know, that is the way you take care of yourself. That is the point [laughs] of my, you know, my talk. Why you cannot completely agree with me [laughs] maybe is you take my word literally, losing the point of my talk. So-- Hai.

Student E: Sometimes after sitting I-- I will sit, and it will be very-- I'll feel very good about it. And then after I've finished sitting I get up, and for a while afterwards I'll be-- I'll find myself being irritated or nervous--

SR: Mm-hmm.

Student E: -- about any little thing--

SR: Mm-hmm.

Student E: -- and I'll--

SR: Yeah.

Student E: -- lose my temper or--

SR: Mm-hmm.

Student E: -- be very--

SR: Yeah.

Student E: -- irrational--

SR: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Student E: -- for, you know, half hour or so after I finish sitting.

SR: Mm-hmm. But--

Student E: It's like, one minute I'm sitting very quietly and then--

SR: [Laughs.] Yeah. That is very much so.

Student E: -- for a half hour--

SR: Yeah.

Student E: -- I'm very intimate [?]. I'm-- not quiet, but jumpy and angry.

SR: Mm-hmm

Student E: And I was wondering what--

SR: What you should do. [Laughs, laughter.]

Student E: Yes. What should I do. [2-4 words unclear] if that's okay-- if maybe that will go away. I don't know.

SR: Yeah. At that time, you lost your practice, you know, like you lost your counting breathing when you are, you know, practicing counting-breathing practice. So even though you are counting, you know, you may lose your practice, you know. So if you, you know-- so why I say instead of counting breathing or following your breathing, I say [be] more attentive to what you are doing, or to take care of yourself, or, you know, to take care of things, you know. In your practice, if you are following breathing, you know, or counting breathing, you think you are practicing zazen. But it is not always so. Even [laughs] though you are sitting very straight without, you know, sleeping, but sometime your zazen is not there. If you [are] really practicing zazen, you know, you have no second notion or no second thought. All the thought you have will be only direct thought which will come over-- no second thought of good or bad-- what it is, you know:
“I shouldn't be bothered by it.”

So delusion is-- may be divided-- there are two kinds of delusion: the delusion itself, you know-- delusion which, you know, which can be understood various way, but-- delusion itself is same but, you know-- which can be many things-- delusion which arise simultaneously. But delusion is one, you know-- which is not [laughs]-- when we are not in oneness of the mind, that is delusion. And delusion which will arise as a second notion or second thought is also delusion. Because of that, our practice will be divided in various way because of the second notion of good or bad, agreeable or disagreeable. When it comes to you, you know, it is not good or bad.

So after [laughs], you know-- so only way is when you, you know, eat, you should eat: “Oh, thank you very much.” [Laughs.] That is our way, based on pure practice. And if you practice long enough and attentive enough to your practice, you will easily, you know, find out where you are in your everyday life. And if you find out yourself where you are, there is no problem any more because only way is to resume your own way. So you have no one to be mad at [laughs].

So I am-- actually I am giving you some material to test your practice, you know, as I told you, from other angle, you know, to encourage your good practice. So this is not just-- what I'm talking about-- small desires or something like that is not-- not as a[n] art of life, you know, but what is the right practice. Hai.

Student F: Sometimes we speak of pure practice.

SR: Mm-hmm.

Student F: Sometimes we speak of good practice.

SR: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Student F: Are they the same, exactly?

SR: Yeah, pure pr- [partial word]-- same, I-- pure practice, good practice, yeah, real practice, yeah, same.

Student F: But-- but we sometimes also say that real practice goes beyond good and bad.

SR: Mm-hmm.

Student F: So-- so good practice is actually-- I don't know. If it's good, it should be good, but if it is beyond good, then it should be bad too.

SR: Beyond [laughs]-- it is just words, you know [laughs, laughter]. Your mind is very, you know, very fancy. His mind is very fancy [laughs, laughter].

Student F: Okay. [Said in a humorous tone of resignation.]

SR: Yeah. [Laughs, laughter.] Some other questions?

Student G: Roshi?

SR: Hai.

Student G: I don't exactly how to tell you-- can you do two things at a time--

SR: No.

Student G: -- and stay healthy through them [preceding five words uncertain]?

SR: No. [Laughs, laughter.] That is not possible.

Student G: Not even if you do one just a little bit?

SR: Mmm. No. That is not possible, you know. That is why, you know, it is easy, you know. If you can do two things at the same time, we will [laughs]-- we will have a big trouble, you know. It is good, you know, that we can do-- we can choose some-- only one things, you know. We cannot choose two, anyway. Only when you fool yourself and you, you know, you are making excuse for yourself, you can do it. If you become very sincere with yourself, you cannot do that.

Student G: Well, if we live here and have a job outside, that's kind of like doing two different things.

SR: Uh-huh. Looks like [laughs, laughter] Zen Buddhists cannot eat or drink. [Laughs, laughter.]

Student H: Roshi, how can you tell if you are doing two things or one thing?

SR: Two things or one thing.

Student H: Is it not always one thing if you do it in the right spirit?

SR: Yes. It is one thing, actually. But after you did something-- or before you do something, you may say [it is] two things. But actually, when you start involved in something, it is-- it cannot be two. So if you do things, you cannot do bad things, you know. So easiest way to do, you know, something [is] to choose something more appropriate to do at that time. I don't say [?] “something good” [laughs] because you will raise some other questions [laughs, laughter]. Some-- some more questions?

Student I: Roshi? Sometimes there is “do not waste time”--

SR: Mm-hmm.

Student I: -- and other times it's “to be patient.”

SR: Mm-hmm.

Student I: But-- and they seem as if there's two different ways.

SR: Mm-hmm.

Student I: So if I do this, I'll be not wasting time. If I do this, I'll be impatient.

SR: Uh-huh. Yeah.

Student I: But shouldn't one-- shouldn't they be the same?

SR: “To waste time” means, you know, to waste time is-- means without, you know, making-- without having oneness of your mind with something else is to waste time in its-- what-- according to what we mean, you know. To waste time is to-- to be involved in dualistic thinking only, without, you know, having the root of the practice. That is “to waste time.” When we do not practicing our way, it is waste of time.

“To be patient,” you know-- it doesn't matter whether you are doing things quick or slow, okay? And that is also renunciation, you know. Renunciation means to refrain from dualistic world. Even though you are doing something in dualistic world, you know, we should be free from-- on the other hand, we should be free from the idea-- dualistic idea. Or you may say if you do one thing only, you know-- if you make best effort on something you do, that is renunciation. That is non-duality. That is, you know, to be patient sometime. When your full effort [is] on your practice, that is, in short, not to waste your time. Okay? Yeah.

Student J: How about making plans for the future-- what about working for a goal in the future?

SR: For future. Future, you know-- you say “future,” you know, but future is-- in-- at the same time, right now. It is just word, you know. You project your activity in framework of past and present and future. There is no actual future, you know. Future will be different even though you, you know, have some plan or some idea about your future activity based on your present, you know-- based on things you are doing right now. But-- but [if] the plan is not related on your present situation, it is not-- it is daydream. So sometime you will be involved in just daydream, you know-- the typical type of [laughs] dualistic mind.

Student K: Roshi?

SR: Hai.

Student K: Does that mean that to think about what you want to do in the future is an entirely useless activity?

SR: No, I don't think so.

Student K: You can think about what you want to do in the future without involving yourself in delusion?

SR: If it is really future plan, you know, the future plan should involve present situation, or present situation should involve future plan. They must be-- that-- that future plan is a kind of possibility, you know, which is included-- which is already in present situation. There may be various possibility, you know. Present possibility [is] not something which exist in future, or else [laughs] you will not [would not be able to?] think about it, you know. If there is no possibility, you don't think.

Student L: Is the future now in possibilities, or is it--

SR: Future?

Student L: -- actually something that actually is just occurring now, along with the past? And can we realize that there is no passing time and survive like [sounds like student snaps his fingers twice].

SR: [Laughs.] Ahh [like a sigh].

Student L: How do you cope with the world as it appears--

SR: C- [partial word]-- appearance.

Student L: -- as everyone else seems to see it appearing?

SR: Appearance. Future appearance. It-- it is question of reality, or appearance and reality, or phenomenal, you know, things and some ontological being, or a problem of present and future, or--[?]

Student L: Excuse me?

SR: [Laughs, laughter.] I don't, you know, I don't catch my-- my frame of [laughs]-- framework of my mind does not catch your, you know, question, so that is why I am asking.

Student L: Well, I was wondering if the future exists as possibilities now, or does it exist as--

SR: Mm-hmm.

Student L: -- well, to me it appears as if, in the future, I'll be in another place and time, which I had read is illusion. But I don't see the same that-- I don't see all the events of my life as simultaneous. It seems like if I saw them as simultaneous, I'd be very confused, or, you know, I wouldn't be able to cope with each event. Do you understand what I'm asking?

SR: [Probably makes some gesture. Loud laughter.] Hai.
I am sorry.

Student M: He said if there is no past or future, then everything's happening in his life at the same time, so that makes for one big confusion because then things wouldn't be happening before and after each other. [Laughter.]

SR: No. You know, the present has various meaning or face, you know-- angle. But actually it is one, you know, interp- [partial word]-- many interpretation of the present fact-- event you have. As a possibility, there may be many possibility in, you know, in this present moment, but before it happens, nothing happens. So there is nothing to worry [about]. There is no confusion.

Is it okay? Yeah. [Laughs, laughter.] Yeah, it is-- you are right. It is rather difficult to accept, you know.

Student L: Well, I hear certain things said and then I--

SR: Uh-huh. Yeah.

Student L: The world still appears--

SR: Yes.

Student L: -- as time to time [?].

SR: Uh-huh. Yeah.

Student L: And I'm just asking you about how it really is.

SR: Mm-hmm. [Laughs, laughter.] Unfortunately, I am not so interested in [laughs], you know, some fancy idea [laughs] or many interpretation of things, you know. Oh. Some more question? Hai.

Student M: I was reading Trung- [partial word]-- what's the guy who wrote Meditation in Action? [Laughter.] He said-- Trung- -- Trungpa?

Student N: Chögyam Trungpa.

Student M: He said that-- he made this comment-- we have images of ourselves, you know, like sometimes you get the image that I'm-- when you sit in meditation you have a fine image of how you sit-- ”I want to sit real good,” you know.

SR: Mm-hmm.

Student M: He said that you should examine you--

SR: You should examine yourself?

Student M: -- examine in close.

SR: Closely.

Student M: Yeah. And I was wondering the best way to do that. [Laughter.]

SR: To examine?

Student M: Well, I have the image of myself as-- when I walk, say--

SR: Mm-hmm.

Student M: -- I see myself. It's impossible to lose, you know.

SR: Yeah. [Laughs, laughter.]

Student M: I wondered the best way to deal with it-- deal with these images.

SR: Uh-huh. To have feeling of Zen when you are walking or something-- when you are eating.

Student M: To feel it rather than see it.

SR: Mm-hmm. What I mean is not, you know, to feel-- to see yourself objectively. I don't mean so. Or to-- to examine yourself, maybe, does not mean to, you know, to, you know, to see your mudra or, you know, to see your posture [laughs, laughter]. I don't think so, you know. If you are in perfect meditation or not will be the point. So when you walk, walk. What you should realize is, you know, when you are out of practice, then, you know, you will realize, “Oh, I lost my practice.” In that way, rather than t- [partial word]-- I, you know-- to-- to check yourself whether you are perfect or not, to check yourself whether you are-- you lost your sitting or not. It is easy to find, you know, yourself when you lose your meditation. It is very easy. Then, you know, I think you have-- you will have good practice eventually.

Student O: Excuse me, Roshi? Earlier Pat said something about dualistic practice. I experienced that. Is that bad practice? A lot of times, when I'm away from the building I practice chanting to [?] Buddha, and when I--

SR: Out of building.

Student O: Yeah.

SR: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.

Student O: -- as part of my practice.

SR: Uh huh. Yeah. Uh-huh.

Student O: Is that a bad practice?

SR: [Laughs, laughter.] Yeah, we have that kind of tendency, and I understand that, you know. After doing something seriously, you know, you may, you know, feel: “What I-- what have I been doing [laughs] all those days?” [Laughs, laughter.]

Student O: I just-- my involvement with the people here-- I get completely involved. I'm meeting all kinds of fascinating people.

SR: Mmm. Yeah, but-- we cannot be al- [partial word]-- completely-- we cannot continue practice always, you know. But you-- if you know what is good practice, you know, then that will be a great help. And, if possible, you know, to-- to have good practice when we are liable to lose our practice, that is very important. For an instance, after you sit for a long, long, long time, you know, [you may think] “Oh, sesshin is finished! [Laughs.] Rrrr!” [Laughs, laughter.] That will be almost all the people want to do. But that is not so good, you know. If you know that, you know, you should be careful. It is not so difficult, you know. If you are a little bit careful, you know, you can continue your practice. My policy was-- before-- with my-- my policy with myself was, you know, to be-- to remember the word “apt to” or “liable to”-- to be so or to do so “liable to.” That helps a lot. “We are liable to be so, but be careful.” [Laughs.] That kind of thing is not so difficult, you know. Just to be-- to know that-- just to remember that word is-- may be good help. Hai.

Student P: Sometimes we-- we have an attitude of practicing, and sometimes we don't.

SR: Uh-huh.

Student P: What-- what do we do when we don't have an attitude of practicing?

SR: Yeah. That [is a] good question. [Laughs.] You know, if I use the word “liable to,” you know, people [are] liable to try not [to] practice zazen when you don't want to, you know. In such case, you should practice [laughs] zazen, you know. That will be the very good practice, you know. When you practice zazen when you want to, you know, then that practice has various danger or various wrong possibility. But when you do practice zazen when you don't want, you know, not much danger in your practice.

Student P: [3-4 words unclear.]

SR: Do you-- hmm?

Student Q: I don't know if that was your question.

Student P: I don't know if that's the question that I asked or not.

SR: [Laughs.] Yeah, maybe so. [Laughs, laughter.] Your question, you know-- almost all our questions will be answered [laughs], you know, in some other way [than] you want to ask me. For an instance, what will be how we should, you know, get out of birth and death, you know? What you may, you know, what you expect from him [a Zen master] may be, you know-- even though you die, you know, you will have next life, you know, so it may be okay, you know. But almost all Zen master believe in-- who believes in next life will not give you that kind of answer [laughs]. His answer will be, you know: “The life is such-and-such,” you know. He will not answer-- he will not give you the answer which you want. [Laughs, laughter.] And he will [be] very much concerned about your question: Why you make such a question, you know? And he will stick to the, you know, reason why you make question. [Sentence finished. Start of second tape.] -- to ask question. Maybe it's better to think, “Why do I make that kind of question?” Then question will be answered.

Student R: Roshi, you said that if something was wrong that we should stop and fix it. And in my life, if I feel something is wrong--

SR: Mm-hmm.

Student R: -- one of the ways that I try to do what I do is to sit zazen.

SR: Mm-hmm.

Student R: But I can't see what it is. I can't find it. And no matter how I try, I-- what should I do?

SR: Mm-hmm.

Student R: How can I see it to fix it [?]?

SR: How-- yeah. Maybe, you know-- how long, by the way, have you been practicing?

Student R: Two years.

SR: Hmm?

Student R: Two years.

SR: Two years? Excuse me. [Drinks water.] I think you will-- you will understand pretty soon.

Student S: I've been practicing five years. When will I understand? [Loud laughter.]

SR: You don't understand-- do you know why? [Laughs.] Do you know why?

Student S: No.

SR: Oh. [Laughs.] Maybe you-- because you are trying to practice good practice. Maybe that is the reason. Hmm. Yeah. This is very good question. That will be the question almost all students will have, I think. [Laughs.] But, you know, you shouldn't be disappointed. The only way is to continue your practice because there is no other way, you know, to solve our problems. Just to continue our practice-- there is no other way.

Student T: When you said there is no other way, what do you mean? There is no other way from what?

SR: From-- from practice of zazen.

Student T: There is no other way from-- other than practice of zazen to find out who you are?

SR: I don't think so.

Student T: Then [SR laughs, laughter]-- then what is meant by-- when-- when-- when it is said that there are many, many different ways, and that--

SR: Yeah. Many--

Student T: -- zazen isn't necessarily the way--

SR: Yeah.

Student T: -- for that individual?

SR: Uh-huh. Yeah. What it means [is] there are many and many ways, you know. But it looks like it means-- it looks like there are many and many ways, but that is-- if it is, you know, really, actually-- actual way, that is various name of zazen practice. It means, you know-- it looks like many and many ways, but actually it is one way if it is actual practice. If it is not daydream or, you know-- whatever you do, it looks like different, but actually it is one practice of Zen. And you may say--

Student T: Yoga is a different way than Zen.

SR: Looks like. [Laughs, laughter.]

Student T: Well, okay. Okay. But I--

SR: Yeah. Oh, I see. Yeah.

Student T: [2-3 words unclear.]

SR: Okay. 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 3:49 am

Enjoy Your Life
Shunryu Suzuki Lecture
Sunday, July 20, 1969
(title from book: Not Always So, p. 25)

If you go to some library you will see many books. And those-- in those books, we will find out our achievement, our human knowledge, which is almost impossible to study out. And now we are going to arrive to the moon. 1 And [laughs] actually I don't know anything about, you know, how they reach to the moon and what kind of feeling they may have when they arrive at the moon. To me it is not so interesting a thing.

When I reflect on myself, especially when I feel, on this occasion, I have to speak about the moon trip [laughs, laughter], I have no time to study about those things. So if I try to speak about it, it is nothing but to tell you how foolish I am, you know. That is what I can do, you know. If I talk about the moon trip you may think, “Ah, he is so ignorant about [laughs, laughter] the moon trip.” And I think I may see many people today or tomorrow to speak about the moon trip as if he knows everything about it [laughs]. When I hear them speak about the moon trip, you know, how I feel is-- maybe because I don't know or he has-- he is interested, actually really interested in the moon trip, you know. And because I know that, I may not respect him so much.

The first-- even the first one who may arrive at the moon-- I don't think, you know, if he is very much proud of his achievement. How I feel is I cannot think he is a great hero. I don't know how you feel, but I don't feel he is a great hero. But on television, you know, he may be, you know, for some time, a great hero. At least he will be treated like a great hero.

And why we treat him a great hero is, you know, quite different reason, you know. He may be very proud of his experience, but reason why he is treated by the people as a hero is quite different. If we think in this way, we immediately know how important it is to practice zazen.

Instead of seek for objective world, in its usual sense, we, you know, try to make our life or make our every moment of life, deeper and deeper. That is purpose of zazen. Someone said-- I-- I remember what someone say-- as someone said-- one of your student-- our students said: “The more we see many things changes, the more we find out the similarity in it.” Nothing changes, you know. Even though things looks like changes, but actually we do not find anything new. I think that is very true.

Nowadays-- when I came to America, you know, first feeling I had is-- I-- before I came to America I thought America may be the quite different country from Japan [laughs]. But when I came to San Francisco, I was amazed because San Francisco was not-- there was not much difference, you know, in Tokyo and San Francisco. I think if you make your trip all over the United States, still, you know, you will-- I don't think you will find out something different. You will not be interested in the way of life in different states.

And I remember one experience when Marian [Derby], you know, show me-- showed me a small stone. I like the stone very much. And she picked up the small-- not stone-- sand, actually. And she gave it to me. She gave it to me. “This-- those are very interesting stones [laughs],” she said. But that was just, you know, a pick of sand. And she asked me to see it through a glass, you know, small glass like this, which-- which you use to see jewels or something. And those small stones are not-- nearly-- nearly the same as interesting stones I have in office, you know, although the stone is-- stone I have in my office is big [laughs]. That is the-- difference is just the size of the stone. But I found much more interesting stones in the sand. And I think even though you go to the moon, the moon-- the rocks they will bring to us [laughs] may be the same, I think.

If you say, “This is the rock from, you know, the moon,” you will be very much, you know, interested in it because it is-- it was [laughs] on the moon. But actually I don't think there is a great difference between the rocks we have on the earth.

Maybe in ancient time, long, long, long time ago, the earth and-- the moon may be the piece of the earth. I don't know. I think, even though you go to the Mars [laughs], you will find out the same rocks. I am quite sure about it [laughs, laughter].

If you find out something very interesting, you know-- if you want to find out something quite interesting, only way is-- instead of hopping around the universe, you know, like this-- to enjoy our life in every minute, you know, and to-- to see-- to observe things which we have now. The surrounding-- or to live in the surrounding, in its true sense.

Yesterday I went to see an island where there were many kinds of animals: birds and fish and maybe shells, which owned by-- which is owned by Natural Conservancy group. It was very, very interesting place, this place. If you live in that, you know, area and really start to see things-- see the plants and animals in that area, you will-- I think you will stay whole life. It is so interesting place. But we human beings, you know [laughs], what we do is hopping around or driving around the states, you know, by highway, losing [laughs] many interesting things. And that kind of trip will be extended to the moon and to the Mars [laughs, laughter]. It is rather foolish, you know. If you stay that place, you know, you will enjoy your life completely. Ev- [partial word: even?]-- that is more, I think, human life, you know.

We are now-- I, I don't think we are even human, you know, now. We are just, you know-- I don't know what it is [laughs]. Dogen Zenji said when he received the purple, you know, robe from the emperor-- although he refused it second time-- but the emperor said, “You must receive it.” So he at last received it. But he didn't wear it. And he wrote to the-- wrote back to the emperor saying, “If I wear this, the birds and monkeys in this mountain will laugh at me [laughs, laughter].” That was what he said to the emperor. “I am very appreciate,” you know, “your purple robe, but I am afraid I don't wear it. If I wear it,” you know, “birds and monkeys will [laughs], in this mountain, will laugh at me.”

I think there we find-- find spirit of zazen, you know-- way of life we should follow as a human being. In other word, we should not be fooled by things, you know-- fooled by some i- [partial word: idea?]-- some particular idea.

Now we are practicing counting-breathing, you know, practice-- in comparison to use-- using various machine or computer, you know, to count your breathing [laughs]. It is very silly [laughs] to count your breathing from one to ten, making, you know, mistake-- ”Oh! [Laughing.] Six or seven?”

If you use computer, you know, you will not make any mistake [laughing]. But is very silly to count your breathing just because of this is traditional way of practice. Why it is so-- it looks so silly is the, you know, underlying spirit, or thought, or understanding of our life is quite-- is the same, you know. If we count our breathing in practice-- in our practice-- in its-- in ordinal [ordinary] sense, as you count the distance from earth to the moon, you know, our practice doesn't mean anything. But it-- our-- when we count our breathing, you know, in each number we find limitlessly deep meaning of life.

Not only we count our breathing by our whole mind and body, we count each number with the power of whole universe. That is, you know, counting-breathing practice. So when you ex- [partial word: experience?]-- when you have-- when you experience really the counting-breathing practice, the gratitude you have in your practice is more than to arrive at the moon, you know. [Laughs.] You will not be so interested in, you know, something great, in its usual sense, or something limitlessly small, in its usual sense.

Of course, you may-- you may be very much interested in to have some new experience like a small-- like a baby. But like a baby, you know, you will-- you-- you are comp- [partial word]-- your basic attitude towards things will be the same as-- same-- always same.

Babies founds many things, you know. And he is-- she is very much interested in things, always. But if you watch her, she is always, you know-- she has always same joy. She will not [be] fooled by things, you know. She is always aware of it. And she al- [partial word: always?]-- she will be always enjoying her life.

But we, you know, adult has too many ideas-- many preconceived ideas because we are not completely free from objective world. Or we are not one with objective world. So sometime we [are] interested in something, but some other time we will not be interested in so mu- [partial word: much?]-- things so much.

Yesterday, you know, I experienced-- I could see myself quite clearly when I went to the island where there is-- there were many birds, you know. Young people are very much excited [laughs], but I was not so much, you know. That is just because I am old [laughs].

Even though we see things, you know-- same things, the way-- the life we have is quite different. Even though I didn't enjoy so much, but I was not discouraged [laughs], you know. I know why I am-- I was not so much interested in it, you know. One of the reason is because I am old, you know. But that is not just one reason. There-- there must be many and many reasons. So I was not discouraged. And I think I had some other joy which is different from young people may have.

So, you know, if you observe things and everything is changing, you know, that is not what I meaned when I say everything is changing. Everything is changing-- when I say everything is changing, I don't-- I don't see the similarity in change. I feel always difference in change, instead of similarity. So to say: “The more we see the changes the more we find out the similarity of things”-- it may be so, but what we mean or what we find out in the things which changes is to find out complete change, you know, in everything. In other word, to enjoy our life moment after moment [taps stick on table after each of previous three words] in its true sense.

The life we have cannot be the same. The life I had yesterday is-- cannot be the same as my life today. And we-- we will enjoy completely new life in each moment. Before you become Buddhist, you know or-- most of us become Buddhist because we find out evanescence of life, and we seek for the life which is more stable or which is more meaningful.

So things changes, you know. For usual person [it] is very much discouraging, you know. You cannot rely on anything. You cannot have anything. And you will see which you don't want to see. You will meet someone whom you don't like. If you want to do something, you know, you will find out it is impossible to do something.

In this way you will be discouraged by the, you know, the w- [partial word]-- by the things-- by the way things go-- is going-- are going. That is why most people, you know, become Buddhist or seek for religion. It means that actually you are trying to, you know, change-- you are trying to change the foundation of your life-- or understanding of your life.

Before you have-- when you haven't right effort to enjoy-- right understanding or right effort to enjoy your life, you know, things-- that things changes will be the reason why you suffer in this world or when you are-- why you are discouraged by the change-- by the evanescence of life. But after-- when you change the understanding of life or way of life, then the evanescence of life is the reason why you enjoy your life.

So the point is, you know, to change your understanding of life. And the point of practice is to practice our practice with right understanding of it. To arrive at the moon may the great-- the historical event, but if we don't change the understanding of life, it doesn't make much, you know, meaning. It doesn't make much sense. What we should do right now is to have deeper understanding of life-- to make effort with right understanding of life.

You may say “Rinzai way or Soto way” [laughs], you know, “Hinayana practice and Mahayana practice.” Whether it is Rinzai or Soto, you know, if you practice it as you drive your car or as you hopping around whole universe, you know [laughs], it doesn't-- it is same thing, you know-- Rinzai or-- there is no Rinzai or Soto. Mostly people, you know, who say Rinzai or Soto are the people who want to practice zazen as they drive their car-- as they choose their car: Chevrolet or Ford [laughs] or-- you know-- I, you know-- that is their understanding of zazen. A train or, you know, airplane.

If you understand-- if you have right understanding in your practice, you know, that doesn't make much difference, you know. Train or airplane or ship or-- doesn't make much difference. You can enjoy, you know, trip-- your trip anyway.

If you go to Japan by boat, it may take ten days. But you will-- and by airplane, maybe ten hours. But if the point is to enjoy your trip, you know, it doesn't, you know, make much difference. Time is not the point because you don't-- even though you make a trip by airplane, you cannot live a thousand years [laughs]-- same thing. You only live, you know, maybe one hundred years at most. So it-- it-- it is the different way of enjoying your life. It is. And you cannot repeat your life, you know. So you cannot compare your life to someone-- some other's life. You have your own life.

So the only way is to enjoy our own life. So even though you are practicing zazen, you know, counting breathing like a snail [laughs], you can enjoy your life, you know, maybe much better than to make a trip to the moon.

That is, you know, how-- why we practice zazen. And we should-- whatever-- what kind of life you may have is not important. The most important thing is to be able to enjoy your life, without fooling by things.

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 3:50 am

Walk like an Elephant and Sitting like a Frog
Shunryu Suzuki Lecture
True Practice As Expression Of Buddha-Nature
Sesshin Lecture No. 2
Sunday, August 2, 1970
San Francisco
(title from book: Not Always So, p. 29)

In Japan, a terrible fire broke out, and some hotel was burned down, and many sightseeing people killed in the fire. And recently in Japan, they had many sightseeing people even to Eiheiji, where monk-- only monks practice our way. Uchiyama Roshi-- Uchiyama Roshi said in his book-- if you open the book, he says recently, “Everything is going like that” [laughs]. Because we have so many sightseeing people, [laughs], so many years of hotels is built as one building after another. So the building is very complicated. So once something happens [laughs], they don't-- it is difficult to figure out which is entrance and which is fire escape [laughs]. [Coughs heavily.] Excuse me.

I am very much interested in Uchiyama Roshi's remark, and it-- it is something like that happening to us too [laughs]. Zen Center become bigger and bigger [laughs], and people-- students who come here will find it very difficult which is entrance and which is fire escape [laughs]. I, you know, I thought maybe he is teasing me [laughs]. But what he said is very true, I think. The world situation is something like that.

But we should know, you know, the right entrance for zendo. Dogen Zenji says in Shobogenzo, right entrance for the Buddha hall is zazen. Zazen practice is right entrance. So everyone should, you know, enter the big right-- from the big wide entrance. Because no-- no Buddhist-- there is no Buddhist who does not practice zazen. So all the teaching comes out from zazen, and what we obtain by practice of zazen is transmitted mind from Buddha to us. So when we practice zazen, all the treasures transmitted to us will come out from our transmitted mind. And how to open up our transmitted mind is practice of zazen.

So to talk about-- to discuss about transmitted mind or true mind, or to express our true buddha-nature is through our practice. That is “Sesshin sessho,” about which I talked last night. Why, you know, streetcars and bus and airplane is so crowded is there are too many people who seek for, you know, some special sightseeing place. Why we-- our way is mixed up or confused is because we are practicing sightseeing zazen [laughs].
There is actually-- this is not word I made up-- ”sightseeing practice.” Some Chinese people say “sightseeing practice” [laughs]. Or Dogen Zenji says, “Why do you give up your own seat and wandering about various countries?”

So we should not involved in hasty idea of attainment. We should not practice to achieve something-- to attain something. Step by step, appreciating, you know, our everyday life-- day by day, step by step is our way. When we cannot see what we are doing, where we are, it is useless, you know, to put ourselves in hard practice.

If you, you know, if you invite, you know, some kabuki player [laughs]-- kabuki-- how do you say?-- kabuki dancer or player from Japan, it costs a lot of money [laughs]. If you-- even though you invite a first-class monk, you know, or even you can invite archbishop from Japan [for] the same amount of money [laughs].

So many people, you know, go to Japan and to study something about Zen, but it is rather difficult, you know, to study Zen in Japan. Many people ask me, “Could you introduce me to some monastery?” But I have no idea, you know. So I may say, “Maybe why don't you stay at Zen Center?” [Laughs.] And almost all the people say that, “I thought that will be your answer.” [Laughs, laughter.] He knows very well. They know very well but, you know, why they go to Japan is to encourage [raise?] hotel, you know, money [laughs] to build some more new buildings.

They may be very happy to see you, but it is the waste of time and money for you. And you will be very much discouraged because, you know, you couldn't see any good Zen master. It is almost impossible to-- even though there is-- there are good Zen masters, but it is difficult to meet him. And it is difficult to underst- [partial word]-- study under him. You may figure out why it is so quite easily.

But practice of zazen and watching our step-- steps, one after another, this practice is actually true zazen practice. We say our practice should be like, you know, a cow, you know [laughs]. Our practice should not be-- our steps should not be like a horse. You-- you cannot gallop, you know. You should walk slowly, like an elephant or like a cow. And if you, you know, if you can walk slowly, without not much, you know, gaining idea, then you are already a good Zen student. There is no other way to follow our way.

At the end of Sung dynasty, we have many Zen masters. And most Zen masters encourage people to attain-- to have enlightenment experience. You know, that is, you know, why they encourage, you know, people to attain sudden enlightenment, with some psychological, you know, way, is to meet the people's-- student's desire-- to satisfy student's, you know, desires. They provided that kind of technique or trick [laughs]. It may not be trick-- I shall be scolded if I say “trick.” [Laughs, laughter.] But I-- I feel-- my feeling about, you know, that kind of practice is, you know, something like a trick, you know.

So Zen masters will be a good friend of psychologist [laughs]. And they will help with each other [laughs] how to, you know, explain-- or how to explain enlightenment experience. And psychologist will explore some new field in psychology, but Zen or-- Zen is, you know, originally Zen is completely different from that kind of practice.

Actually Dogen Zenji, you know, point up-- point out this point very sharply. In “Sesshin sessho,” in Shobogenzo-- in chapter of “Sesshin sessho,” he referred to another story. Tozan-daishi, the founder of-- actual founder of Soto school-- oh, no-- I [already] told you about the story between Tozan-daishi and Mitsu Shihaku.

He referred to another story about First Patriarch of China and the Second Patriarch in China. The First Patriarch, Bodhidharma, told the Second Patriarch, Eka-- he said: “If you-- if you want to enter our practice, you should stop-- or you should cut off your self from outward objects. And you should stop your emotional and thinking activity within yourself. And when you become like a brick or stone wall, you will be-- you will enter. That is how you enter our way.”

That was what, you know, Bodhidharma said to the-- to his disciple Eka. But it was actually-- for him, it was very difficult practice, as you must have experienced [laughs]. Even to stop your mind is [laughs] difficult enough. It is so for the Second Patriarch. So he, you know, tried very hard, but he couldn't, you know, understand what he meant actually.

So the Second Patriarch, after trying very hard, he thought, you know, he could, you know-- he could understood what he meant, at last. So he said to him, “Perhaps I understood what you meant.” When he said so, Bodhidharma thought, “Oh, this student must have understood what I meant.” So he did not ask any questions. “Okay, you must have understood.” [Laughs, laughter.] That is what-- all what Bodhidharma said to him.

But he said, “Is it,” you know, “Is it-- is there cessation in your,” you know, “way? Is-- is there a break,” you know, “in your sesshin?” [laughing]-- twenty minutes' break or thirty minutes' break. “Is there some break in your practice-- in your sesshin?” he said-- Bodhidharma said.

And Eka said, “No break, no cessation in our practice.” Bodhidharma said, “Then who are you? [Laughs.] Who has,” you know, “constant practice? Who are you?”-- just, he said-- ”Who are you?”

Eka said, “Because I know myself very well, so it is difficult to say who I am. [Laughs.] Because I understand myself so well, so I cannot say who I am.” And Bodhidharma said, “That's right. You are my disciple.” Do you understand? [Laughs, laughter.]

Our zazen practice is not-- is not to attain enlightenment actually-- rather to express our true nature. Even though, you know, you don't feel you are expressing your true nature, but actually you are expressing your true nature when you practice zazen. And that something is, you know, according to the Tozan-daishi, it is someone in front-- back of the building [laughs]. Someone is talking something-- backyard of the across the street. What are they talking about, you know?

That someone is actually not a particular-- not any particular person. That someone means, you know, our true nature. So always, you know, true nature within ourselves is talking about Buddhism-- discussing about Buddhism. And whatever we do actually [is] expression of buddha-nature.

So at last, you know, the-- Eka-- the Second Patriarch, understood, came to this point. So he said, you know, “I think I understood what you meant-- what you meant by to become a stone wall [laughs] or brick [wall]. I understand. The stone wall itself is buddha-nature, and brick are also-- bricks are also buddha-nature. Everything is expression of buddha-nature, so now I understand what is buddha-nature. Before, I thought after attaining-- after I attain enlightenment, we will know who is in backyard of the-- of a-- of the house. But there is no special person who is talking some special teaching. There is no special person,” you know, “but all things we see, all what we hear about, is expression of buddha-nature.”

When we say buddha-nature, so buddha-nature is everything. We say buddha-nature is our innate true nature which is universal to every one of us, or even to various being: sentient beings or animate or inanimate being. [Sentence finished. Tape turned over.]

-- special nature which you can understand. How you understand the universal nature is through everything. There is only one way to-- to have approach to the universal, so to say universal nature. So only way, you know, to-- to realize our true nature is to know who I am-- who is doing constantly something.

So he said, when Bodhidharma asked him, “Is there cessation in your true practice, after you enter or even before you enter, or before you join our true practice-- is there any cessation?”

He said: “No,” you know, “even before Buddha there is no cessation in the prac- [partial word]-- in our practice, because our practice is Buddha's practice, which has no beginning and no end.” So he says “no cessation.”

“Then who is practicing that kind of practice, or who are you? Which is,” you know, “which join this kind of practice?”

You know, he-- he may be-- he may be Eka-- personally he may be Eka, but actually what he-- he is doing is constant, permanent, ever-lasting practice which was started beginningless time to-- and end in endless time. So, you know, it is difficult to say who-- who is practicing [laughs] our way.

So Bodhidharma said, “Various-- every patriarchs practicing same way as you do. I am practicing that way, and you are practicing that way.” First of all, you know, when we practice zazen-- when you practice zazen, you should know this point clearly. So you cannot waste your time. Even though your zazen is not so good, but it's-- but that is zazen. Even though you will not-- you may not understand what it is even, someday, sometime, you know-- someday and someone will, you know, accept your practice. Only when you practice, you know, right here without wandering about, without being involved in sightseeing zazen, so I say why don't you sit here, you know.

It-- it does not mean, you know-- what I mean is, if you don't give up sightseeing zazen [laughs], you have no chance to join our practice. If you understand this point, you know, even though make a-- make a big, big trip, that is not sightseeing zazen. That is real practice for you.

So point is to have-- to have good start and to join the real practice which is always true and which has-- which has no danger in your practice. So our practice, you know, not-- is not necessary be hard one, you know, or good one. Good or bad doesn't matter [laughs]. If you sit with this understanding, and if you do not waste your time, or if you have conviction in your buddha-nature, then sooner or later you will find yourself in-- in amidst of great Zen masters.

When you read, you know-- especially young ambitious people read Zen books, you know, or when you listen to various Zen masters talk, they will talk about-- about their masters who is very strict with him, or hardship he had in their-- in his young age. And, you know, and he may say it is very difficult to be a good Zen master [laughs]. And we haven't so-- so many good Zen masters so far, and maybe more difficult to have Zen masters-- good Zen master in future.

So, you know, you will be very discouraged, you know. It means that you cannot be a Zen master [laughs]. But when you understand real practice-- what it is, you know, this is-- you will never be involved in such a foolish, you know, problem like Sengai. When-- maybe 6–7 [years ago?]-- 2–3 years after I came to America, I went to Fields Bookstore, and I saw Sengai's picture, you know. And, you know, it was something like calendar [laughs]. And frog was on the calendar. And Sengai said, “If frog,” you know, “if someone can be a buddha, I-- maybe I can be a buddha too.” [Laughing.]

Frog was sitting like this [probably gestures] [laughs, laughter]. “If people can be a buddha by practice of sitting, then I can be [laughs]-- soon I will be a buddha” [laughs]. For the people who knows what is actual practice, you know, even though they don't experience enlightenment experience, if he sees someone who, you know, who is sitting to attain enlightenment [laughs], we think he is like a frog sitting [laughs].

Actually their sitting is much better than [laughs, laughter] our zazen. I always admire, you know, their practice-- much better than my practice. They never get-- they never be sleepy, you know. Their eyes is always open. [Laughs, laughter.] Tatsugami Roshi will admire him very much, I think. “Open your eyes!”-- you know. But there is no need, you know, for him to say so if we are like a frog [laughs, laughter]. And they do something very, you know, appropriate intuitively and [in an] appropriate way. You know, when something-- when something come, they go like this-- chomp! [Laughs, laughter.] [Sounds like he is snapping at something with his mouth, like a frog catching a fly.] Never-- they never miss anything, but they, you know, are always calm, you know [laughs, laughter], and still.

I always think “I wish I could be a frog.” So Sengai says, you know: Moshimo-- Zazen shite moshimo hotoke ni naru naraba, you know: “If by practice,” you know-- ”If by practice we can be a buddha-- ” you know. He doesn't say anything more [laughs], and he draw a frog [laughing]-- sitting frog.

This kind of, you know-- if you understand what Sengai is feeling when, you know, you see a picture of a frog, you are already, you know, Zen-- you have already understood what is Zen. There [is a] lot of humor in it, and there is good understanding of our practice. Even though our practice is-- is not better than frog, you know, we will continue to sit. And we can accept a frog as our good example of practice.

I think that is a kind of enlightenment, but if-- you should know how you, you know, actually understand a frog. Sengai, you know, drew-- after, you know, practicing pretty long time [laughs], you will, you know, partly laugh-- laugh at someone who is involved in wrong idea of practice, and partly you will, you know, laugh at yourself [laughs] who is sitting always [laughs] without doing anything-- without making not much progress. You will laugh at yourself. When you can laugh, you know, at yourself, humorously, then there is, you know, enlightenment. But still, your zazen is beginner's zazen or sometimes worse than beginner's zazen [laughs].

Sometime I [am] ashamed of myself when I see someone-- some student's practice which is very good. “Oh, he is very good.” You know, I think-- I wish I could be as young as-- as he is once more. But it too late.

But anyway, our practice cannot be better than sitting of a frog. So it is okay. But to see someone who is practicing good zazen is very impressive, not only to me but also for everyone. I think that is-- if your zazen is good enough to give good impression to others, your zazen is pretty good. Even though you don't think so, it is actually very good zazen. But even though you think your zazen is very good, and you think you [are] proud of your enlightenment experience like this, you know, if he doesn't impress anyone [laughs], his zazen may not be-- wrong practice.

I think, you know, there are several important points or factor in our practice. One is to-- not to-- we should not [be] involved in hasty gaining idea in our practice. We say, you know, we should not practice zazen for sake of others or sake of yourself. Just practice-- just practice zazen for zazen. It means you should just sit. You should not sit for fame or profit. Just practice zazen.

We, you know, we say many things-- not to do this, you know-- or we talk about precepts, but the point of practice-- observing precepts is there is no need not to do something bad. There is no need to try not to do something bad, but if you do good thing like zazen, you cannot do bad thing at the same time [laughs, laughter].

So if you, you know, continue, you know, positively something-- continue to do something good, that is how you observe our precepts. So the point is just to sit, forgetting all about fame or profit. Just to sit for sake of zazen. That is one point. And that-- that kind of attitude is also the attitude to-- to have real way-seeking mind. Way-seeking mind means, you know, to find out inmost desire.

At first, you know, maybe you will-- first step will be, you know, to know what is good and what is bad. Like when you go to shopping, you know, you will-- it may be difficult to know what-- which material you choose. For an instance, if you go to draper's shop, you know, all the materials-- there are various color-- there are various quality of material in various color, and it is rather difficult to choose, you know.

Starting from that kind of practice, you know, you should brush up your intuition. How to buy or get something good is, you know-- if you try to compare one to the other [laughs], you will-- even though you spend two–three days, you will not get something appropriate for you. And after trying two–three days [laughs], what you will get will be something which is not at all appropriate to you, and you should visit the same store again. If they change it for someone or something else, you are lucky [laughs].

Don't say this kind of practice is useless. It is actually first step to our way. But how you, you know, get-- how you practice good practice and how you buy something appropriate to you is same. When you are not involved in it, you know, shopping too much, you can get something appropriate.

So what-- after you know the secret of intuitive, you know, activity which is free from various restriction, you will, you know, find our way in your everyday activity. Until, you know, you, you know, you understand why we practice zazen and what is actually true activity, intuitive activity, free from various desires and restrictions, it is difficult to figure out, you know, what is good practice, what is, you know, what kind of-- how you practice zazen. But it is okay. If you continue it, eventually, little by little, without knowing how you acquired that kind of intuition-- intuitive activity, you will-- anyway you will get it.

So it is rather foolish, you know, to-- to be involved in some particular hard special practice. Our practice is hard enough [laughs], so don't, you know, seek for some special enlightenment, and don't seek for some special practice-- way of special practice. Dogen Zenji said there is no Buddha who attained enlightenment-- real enlightenment, who gave up our zazen practice. Only through our zazen practice various teachers attained-- there is no other word, so I say “attained enlightenment” [laughs]-- became Buddhist, real Buddhist.

[Sentence finished. Tape changed to Tape 2.]

By the same way as you do something else, our pra- [partial word]-- the-- our practice is very different from usual practice. You know, you have book Zen and Archery, you know, but when you understand our practice, you know-- because the author understand real practice, archery can be, you know, Zen, but only for him it is Zen [laughs]. If you don't understand how [to] practice archery in its true sense, even though you practice very hard, that is-- that-- what technique you acquire is just technique. It doesn't help-- help you through and through. You will be-- you can hit a mark without fail, but without bow and arrow you cannot do anything. If you understand the author's point, when archery is-- could be Zen, then maybe, you know, without bow and arrow the archery will help you. How you get that kind of, maybe, power or ability is only through right practice.

So, you know, we should make, you know, right practice-- we should have right understanding of practice so you should have-- to have right understanding of practice you should have right teacher who has right understanding of practice. So you should not have any gaining idea in our practice. And follow your teacher. And you should understand completely what is right practice. So Dogen Zenji says, you know, right practice and sanshi monbo. Sanshi monbo is “to have good teacher” and, you know, “to receive right guidance in your practice.” Or else you will not understand, you know, what is Zen.

And one more thing is, you know, maybe, we say Sozoku ya tai nan. Sozoku is-- ”to continue our practice is very difficult thing,” maybe the most difficult thing. If you continue it, having right understanding by good teacher, and if you practice it without any gaining idea, and continue right practice or fundamental practice-- the only one practice, which is fundamental to various practice is the most important thing.
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Re: Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen, by Shu

Postby admin » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:50 am

Letters From Emptiness
Shunryu Suzuki Lecture
How to Understand the Idea of Emptiness
Sunday, March 8, 1970
San Francisco
(title from book: Not Always So, p. 35)

Whatever I say, I am actually talking about what is emptiness, because this emptiness is something which we must understand literally and completely through experience. But if it is difficult to experience it through experience, you can tentatively understand it as a kind of idea in comparison to your way of thinking or in comparison to the idea you have, [the] various idea you have.

And we classify our idea in two: one is idea of emptiness, another is idea of being. And when we say, usually, idea it is idea of being. And the idea of-- your way of thinking belongs to the idea of being, and idea of emptiness makes a pair of opposite with your idea you-- ideas you have. So whatever the idea may be, you can say those idea is idea of being. So we should know that.

Besides the ideas about things you have, there is another-- another ideas which is not same as-- same-- which is not same idea you have and which is not brought about in your concept. Actually that is why we practice zazen, you know. You cannot reach the idea of emptiness with your thinking mind or with your feeling as an conception. And to practice-- to actualize the emptiness is shikantaza.

This morning I want to point-- I want to point out some points in our usual understanding what kind of mistake there is and how different idea Buddhists have. We say emptiness is-- in Japanese or Chinese is ku. Ku is, of course, a noun, and it is-- sometime we use it as a verb, kuzuru. Kuzuru means-- is verb and maybe-- so you can say “empty”-- you can use words “empty” in two ways. One is noun and the other is verb. “To empty.” To empty is-- to empty a cup is to empty, you know, maybe.

But when we say “empty a cup” or “empty water” does not mean to drink it up [laughs]. It means that keeping the water in it, and still we do not think there is water. That is to empty the water. When we have no idea of water, even though we see is, that is to empty a cup.

So to empty everything means to have no idea of anything, or to go back to the situation where no idea of anything arise. We may, you know, think of some koans-- to hear a bird before bird sing, or-- this is also difficult word: shosoku. Shosoku means some [laughs]-- it is also still difficult-- I don't know how to express it. Shosoku, you know-- when you receive a letter from your, you know, from your home, that is shosoku, you know. Receive a letter, receiving a letter, and to know something about your home is shosoku: what are they doing [laughs] now, or what kind of flower they have now, what kind of things they are involved in. That is shosoku, you know, to-- without any actual, you know, actual picture of it, to know something about it is shosoku. So, you know, we have no letter from the world of emptiness [laughs, laughter]. We have no letter, but to know, you know, what is going on in the world of emptiness [laughs], that is shosoku.

To communicate with the world of emptiness is to, you know-- that is maybe enlightenment, you know. When you see the plum flower, or when you hear the sound of bamboo which hit by a small stone, and, you know, that is a letter from the world of emptiness. And to know [laughs], you know, the world of emptiness through this sign is, you know, shosoku. So it is not actual written communication, but it is something, you know, some hint or some suggestion. Through this kind of suggestion to know what is going on in the world of emptiness is maybe so-called-it enlightenment.

There is this kind of world, you know, besides the world which we can describe. Originally, all the description of reality is limited-- should be limited expression of the world of emptiness, but we are so attached to the description, you know, and we think this is the reality. There there is some mistake, because what is described is not the actual reality. And when you think this is reality, there is your own idea involved in it. There, you know, there is some idea of self. Idea of self is involved in it when you say “this is it”-- that this is a description and this-- some description is it when you say so, already your idea is involved in it.

When Buddhist study was not completed, many Buddhists, you know, made this kind of mistake. That is why they attach to the written scriptures or Buddha's words. And they thought this is the most valuable thing and the way to preserve the teaching is to remember what Buddha said.

But actually what Buddha said was the letter, you know, from the world of emptiness. So letter is just suggestion, you know, or some, you know, help to think of his home. But if you read-- if someone else read it-- some other person read it, it doesn't make any sense, you know. That is-- that is the nature of Buddha's words. How to read-- or if you want to read a letter from the Buddha's world, it is necessary to be ready for understanding what is Buddha's world. So to understand Buddha's-- what is Buddha's world, it is necessary not to rely on usual thinking mind.

And I have to go back to the verb “to empty.” “To empty” means without relying on the form or color of being, to have direct, pure experience of it is kuzuru or to empty. To-- what should be empty is our preconceived idea, or our idea of being, or our idea of big or small, round or square. This kind of, you know, round or square, or big or small is not reality, you know. It doesn't belong to the reality. Round or square or long or short is some idea.

The idea is when we analyze our experience. When we analyze our experience, you know, this kind of time or space or big and short or heavy and light-- this kind of, you know, scale is necessary. And with those scale in your mind, you actually, you know, experience things. But thing itself is-- has no scale or no weight. It is something, you know, we add to the things-- reality. So the idea is analyzed-- when you analyze your experience, there is, you know, idea of time and space. And because we use this kind of a scale always, you know, and we depend on the scale so much that we thinks this kind of scale is, you know, exist, but [laughs] it doesn't exist. It is, you know-- if it exist, it should exist with things, with being. Things itself is mother of the scale in itself. Actually it is so. Or you may say, you know, scale is mother of being, you know. Both is true. If both is true, then scale and being is one being. It is actually one thing, you know, one reality. One reality could be analyzed as some entity, some substance, and the idea we have-- the sense of big or small.

So this kind of-- when we have idealize something, when we conceptualize something, it is already, you can-- it is already dead experience. It is not actual experience. And why we, you know, why we empty things-- being-- what we empty is not actual reality, but the idea of big or small, or good or bad. This part should be empty because it is some measurement we have. And that measurement [is] usually based on-- usually used in a selfish way. When we say “good” or “bad,” you know, scale is in yourself. That scale is not always same. According to the person, the scale is different.

So there is-- I don't say that is always wrong, but mostly we are liable to use our selfish scale when we analyze-- when we idealize something, when we have idea of something. That part should be emptied. We must empty this part. How we empty this part is to practice zazen, and we-- we should be more got accustomed to accept things as it is without any idea of big or small, good or bad.

If some artist or some writer to, you know, actualize something or to actualize his, you know, experience, it isn't-- they may use-- they may write something, they may paint, but if his, you know, experience is very strong and pure, you know, he will give up [laughs] description. “Oh.” [Laughs.] “Oh my.” That's all. [Laughs.] He-- he will give up, because his, you know, experience is so pure and so realistic that-- realistic I don't know [laughs] this words is correct or not-- so actual that he sh- [partial word]-- he have to give up: “Oh no-no-no-no.” [Laughs.]

You know, I like to make some, you know, miniature garden, you know, in-- around my house, but if-- if I go, you know, to the stream and seeing wonderful rocks and water running, I give up [laughs, laughter]. “Oh no!” [Laughs, laughter.] “I shall never try to,” you know, “make rock garden.” When my friend who was a gardener, you know-- he is very much proud of his, you know, art. And when he came to Tassajara, he said: “I shall never [laughs] work on rock garden” he said. “It is much better to clean Tassajara stream, you know, picking up if there is some paper-- picking up paper and cigarette. That is much better. I shall never work on -- ”

[Sentence not finished. Tape turned over.]

We copy nature, you know, in the small area. That is maybe Japanese garden, but in nature there is, you know, actual beauty which is beyond beauty. If you-- because you see a part of it, you may think this rock should be, you know, moved this way [laughs], and this rock should be moved that way. Then it will be a complete garden, you may say. But if you see from the distance, you know, and if you see more wider area, you know, without moving anything, that is complete garden.

Because you, you know, limit the actual reality with small self, there is “good garden” or “bad garden,” and you should change some stones. But if you see the things itself as it is with wider mind, with wider view, there is no need to do anything.

So things itself is emptiness, actually. But because you add some, you know, something to it, it-- it doesn't-- actually you spoil the actual reality. So if we don't spoil anything, that is to empty things. So if you sit-- when you sit in shikantaza, we say don't [be] disturbed by sound, don't operate your thinking mind. It means that don't rely on any sense organs or thinking mind and just, you know, receive the letter from the world of emptiness. That is shikantaza.

So to empty-- usually when we deny something, we, at the same time, we-- we replace some-- something else, you know. That I deny, you know, a blue cup means I want-- that I want white cup. That is [laughs] usually what is happening. When you discuss something, when you argue, you know, that you deny someone's opinion means [laughs] to force your opinion to others. That is usually what we are doing, but in-- our way is not like that, you know. We just correct the, you know, some added, you know, element in your observation of things, and-- and we purify this kind of selfish idea. To see, to accept things as it is is our way. So we d- [partial word]-- there is no need to replace, you know, something.

So to deny is to make it clear and to make it more actual. That is what we mean by empty things. If we empty things and let things be as it is, then things will work. Originally things are related, and things are originally one. So as one being, it will extend itself. So how let things extend itself is, you know, why we empty things.

This kind of practice is missing in our religious practice. So religion naturally will become like a sometime opium, you know, because of lack of this kind of practice. If we have this kind of practice without any idea of religion we have religion. So to purify our experience and to observe things as it is, is to have-- to understand the world of emptiness and to understand why Buddha left so many teaching for us.

So naturally in our practice, in our shikantaza, we do not seek for anything because when we seek for something there, there is, you know, our idea of self. Our idea of self is involved in our practice. So that practice is-- will not work to purify our experience, to purify our life. So how, you know, we get rid of this kind of tendency is the point we make effort.

When we say “to make our effort,” you know, means to push, you know, the idea of self to achieve something. That is [laughs], you know, actually what you are doing when you make some effort, but we make our effort to get rid of this kind of self-centered effort or self-centered activity.

You know, for an instance, you know, if you are writing-- reading something, someone may say-- your wife or husband [laughs] may say-- may say something to you: “Why don't you have a cup of tea?” [Laughs.] You may say, “Oh, I am busy! [Laughing.] Be quiet!” That is not-- when you are, you know, reading in that way, I think you should be careful [laughs, laughter]. You should be ready to say, “Yes, that may be wonderful. Give me a cup of tea.” And having a cup of tea or stop reading, and after having a cup of tea you should continue your reading.

That kind of attitude is more like our attitude. “Now I am very busy!” [Laughs.] I shouldn't say so, you know, but I always say, “I am busy now. Right now I am busy.” [Laughs.] That is not so good, because my mind is not actually in full function. A part of my mind is working hard, but the other part is-- may not be working so hard. Anyway, I may be losing balance in my activity.

If it is reading, it is o- [partial word]-- it may be okay, but if you are, you know, making calligraphy, you know [laughs]-- calligraphy, you know, express yourself, you know, completely. If your mind is not in a state of emptiness, you know, your work tell you, “I am [laughs] not in state of emptiness.” So you should stop. If you are a Zen student, you should be ashamed of making [laughs] such calligraphy. As a Zen student, you know, calligraphy-- to make calligraphy is to practice zazen actually [laughs]. Your practice should be there. So when you are working on calligraphy, if someone say, “Please have a cup of tea.” “No, I am making calligraphy!” [Laughs, laughter.] Then your calligraphy will say, “No! No! No!” [Laughs, laughter.] You cannot, you know, fool yourself [laughs]. That is our practice, you know.

I think you must understand-- you may-- you might understand what we are trying here in Zen Center. Sometime it may be all right to practice zazen as-- as a kind of exercise [laughs] or training, you know, to make your practice stronger or to make your breathing smooth-- smooth and natural. That is, maybe, a part of practice, but when we say shikantaza, you know, our practice is not that kind of practice. So we put more-- we put more emphasis on this point. Only when you have this point, various practice will work.

Thank you very much.
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