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Shunryu Suzuki Lectures

Beginner's Mind


Chapter1 - The Double Moon

 See ATTACHMENT, NON‑ATTACHMENT, p. 118 of Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind
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Beginner's Mind Chapter Index


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Beginner's Mind

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The Double Moon

Already we feel night become shorter and shorter -- when I come here. Dogen Zen-ji says, "Even though it is midnight, dawn is here. Even though dawn comes, it is nighttime." This kind of statement, or understanding, is the understanding transmitted from Buddha to patriarchs, and from patriarchs to Dogen, and to us. We call nighttime daytime; daytime nighttime. Nighttime and daytime is not different. We just call same thing sometimes nighttime and sometimes daytime. Nighttime and daytime is one thing. Zazen practice and everyday activity is one thing. We call Zazen everyday life; everyday life Zazen. But usually we think, "Now Zazen is over, and we will take usual activity, or understanding." But this is not right understanding. It is same thing. We have nowhere to escape. So in movement there should be calmness, and in calmness there should be movement -- activity. So calmness and activity is not different. Each existence is not independent existence. Each existence is depending on something else. And, strictly speaking, there is no particular existence. It is many names of one existence. Many names does not just emphasize the oneness of the existence. Sometimes some people put the stress on oneness, but this is not our understanding. We do not emphasize any point particularly. Oneness is valuable. And variety is also wonderful. Sometimes people may ignore the variety, and emphasize the one absolute existence, but this is one-sided understanding. In this understanding there is gap between variety and unity, or oneness. Oneness and variety is same thing. So, oneness should be appreciated in each existence. That is why we emphasize everyday life rather than some particular state of mind. We should find the reality in each moment, and on each phenomenon. This is very important point.

Dogen Zen-ji says, "Although it is so (although everything has Buddha nature) we love flowers and we don't care for weeds." So, that we do not care for weeds is also Buddha's activity. That we attach to some beauty is also Buddha's activity. We should know that. If you know that, you may attach to something. So, in hate there should be love; in love there must be hate. Love and hate is one thing. We should not attach to love only. We should accept hate. We should accept weed, although it doesn't matter how you feel. If you do not care for it, don't love it. If you like it, you should love it. Love and hate is not different; but usually you criticize yourself for being unfair to your surrounding. This is very subtle difference. In usual way of accepting things -- our way of accepting things, it looks like exactly the same, but there is subtle difference. We have been taught that there is no gap between A and B. There is no gap between nighttime and daytime. There is no gap between you and I. This means oneness. But we do not emphasize even oneness. So, if it is one, there is no need to emphasize one.

To learn something -- to know yourself, he says. To study Buddhism -- to study yourself. That you learn something is not to acquire something which you did not know. That you learn something -- you know before you learn something. You know something before you learn it. There is no gap between I, before we know something, or after we know something. There is no gap between ignorant and foolish. There is no gap. Foolish person is wise person; wise person is foolish person. But usually he is foolish and I am wise. I was foolish, and now I am wise. How can we be wise if we are foolish. So there's no difference between foolish man and wise man. There's no difference at all. This is understanding transmitted from Buddha to us. So there is no gap. It is so, but if I say so people may think, "He is emphasizing oneness." It is not so. We do not emphasize anything. We want to know things just as it is. If we know things as it is, there is nowhere to point at; there is no way to grasp anything; we cannot pick up anything. We cannot put emphasis on any point. But still he says, "Flower falls even though we love it. Weed, which we do not care for will come up. Even though it is so, there is our life." In this way our life should be understood. Then there is no problem. Because of putting emphasis on some particular point, always we have trouble. We should accept things just as it is. This is how we understand everything, and how we live in this world. This kind of experience is something beyond our thinking. In thinking realm there is difference between oneness and variety. But in actual experience, variety and unity (or oneness) is the same. Because you create some idea of unity or variety, and because you are caught by the idea, you have to continue the endless thinking. But actually there is no need to think. And actually -- emotionally -- we have many problems, but those problems is not actual problems, it is something created, or problems pointing out by our self-centered idea, or view. Because we point out something, there is problem. But actually it is not possible to point out some particular thing. Happiness is sorrow; sorrow is happiness. There is joy in difficulty -- happiness in difficulties and the difficulties and happiness, or joy, is not different. Even though it is not different, it is different. The way we feel is different, but actually it is not. This kind of understanding is understanding of "double moon." -Shunryu Suzuki Roshi


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