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Shunryu Suzuki Lectures on cuke    Shunryu Suzuki dot com - the whole archive   Suzuki lectures on SFZC.org

These excerpts have been selected from a  2011 version of the All file of Shunryu Suzuki lectures.

The phrase “most important” as found in Shunryu Suzuki lectures.

There are 224 instances found in the 2010 collection of his lectures, 85 of "most important point" and 87 of "most important thing." Ten years ago or so I quickly compiled a list with a macro that captured "the most important thing" along with the line above and below it. SFZC abbot Steve Stucky wanted to see that list for a teaching he was doing so I went back and did this wider search and included the phrase in context, more carefully than before. Above each selection is the file name of the lecture from which it came and the location. The name indicates the date or approximate date. The complete lectures, or in some cases notes from a lecture, may be found at Shunryu Suzuki dot com. You may email me to get the username and password. Enjoy. - DC <dchad@cuke.com>

wb (in the file name) = from the Wind Bell, publication of the San Francisco Zen Center]

Putting these up lecture by lecture starting 6-29-11

Excerpts taken from verbatim versions when possible.


#1 -

61-12-00-wb

Sokoji, San Francisco

Once when Yakusan-zenji was asked to talk about Buddhism he said:  "There is the teacher of scriptures, there is the scholar or philosopher of Buddhism, and then there is the Zen master.  Do not acknowledge me."  Day after day, from morning until night, he behaved like a Zen master.  "Why don't you acknowledge me" is what he meant.  To practice Zen with disciples, to eat with them and sleep with them is the most important thing for a Zen master.  So he said, "Why don't you acknowledge me?  I am a Zen master, not a teacher of the scriptures or a philosopher."

*****

#2 -

63-04-00-wb

Sokoji, San Francisco

In Japan we call this era civilized life the "instant age" because of the prevalent idea that quick solutions to problems are possible without difficulty. This idea takes many forms-instant coffee, instant Sukiyaki, operations for physical disease, pills for mental illness. In spite of all the benefits from our civilization, it is difficult for people to remain strong enough to be happy physically and mentally. Why? Perhaps because a most important point is missing.

Support from without is sometimes too strong, sometimes too weak, sometimes only partial, and sometimes harmful to other parts. The operation must be successful and in addition the patient must survive.

The important point is to arrange ourselves from inside. Orientation from our inmost nature is wanted. The problem is how to make use of our civilization and not be ruined by it. The solution to this problem is Zazen; by sitting we have to resume to our own nature and by Great Activity we should acquire absolute freedom.

*****

#3

64-05-00-wb

Sokoji, San Francisco

In China, one of the most important practices for a Zen student was physical labor or to work on building a temple. This kind of work was thought to be wrong activity for monks in India. These Chinese monks must have appreciated a cup of tea after their hard work. It was from this practice and the certain deep way in which their appreciation was expressed that the tea ceremony developed.

*****

#4

64-08-00-wbW

Sokoji, San Francisco

Summary of Reverend Suzuki's Sesshin Lectures

By Trudy Dixon

To understand what the "Traditional Way" of Buddhism is and to actualize it in one's own life are the most important points in being a sincere Buddhist.

One of the most important phrases in these chants is:  "May I, along with all sentient beings, achieve renunciation of the three attachments."  "Renunciation" can also here be translated "emptiness" or "detachment."

*****

#5

64-11-00-wb

Sokoji, San Francisco

Here everything as-it-is means everything means everything as-it-should-be, because everything as-it-is-in-the-usual-sense always should be negated, one thing after another-even though we are concentrated on one thing. The result of the practice of negating everything-as-it-is-in-the-usual-sense is what we mean by everything-as-it-is. The-way-everything-should-be should be accepted as the-way-everything-is. this acceptance should be the most important point in Nagarjuna's Middle Way.

Bodhidharma's intention in coming to the West cannot be understood by people who seek Buddhism without knowing Buddhism is everywhere. Salt is white chemical, nearly the same as sugar in appearance. If we do not know which is which, we try a little on some food. We do not take the salt alone, but always with food, as something other than a white chemical, as, maybe, the most important seasoning in our actual life. It is in oceans, rivers, plants, trees, in everything. It is in every food we take. Without salt nothing exists. We say a pickle is salty and that cake is sweet, but in cake there is salt, it makes the cake more sweet.

*****

#6

65-07-08U

Los Altos

So, scientific truth will help us a lot, but we should know that it is not perfect, and perfect knowledge of our life is already... already we have, but we don't know. It is difficult to give some interpretation of our life, so we should study science... not to escape from the difficulty we have. So, in our study, the most important point is self-confidence to live in this world, to survive in this world as a human being. This is most important point. Not as a... as some supernatural being, but just as human being. This is the most important thing to practice right zazen, transmitted. from Buddha to us. 

*****

#7

65-07-26-DV

Sokoji, San Francisco

Recently I find many problems concerning to religious problem, such as psychology or LSD or the problem of how to bring about complete peace.  Those problems are most important problems in present day, I think.  In our system of Zen—Zen philosophy—I'm not emphasizing philosophy, but when we have discussion, there must be some system or else our discussion will [not] result [in] anything.  So I just want to present you some system.

As you know, our problem—the most important basic construction of culture may be science.  Science is very important.  And—but science just study or treat outward object, as a object of study. 

--

So science will bring you some universal truth, which is like a telescope.  You will have a vast sight of mind which is universal, as if you see San Francisco from Tamalpais [laughs].   You can see everything in the—you can see the best sight of the San Francisco from Tamalpais.  But that—that kind of study—of course it helps you, but [laughs] you will not be so interested in the science—your mind in—as a general na- [partial word]—general—your mind in general.  We—our—the most concerning problem for us is what is mind.  [Laughs.]  What should I do with myself—with my mind is the most important problem.  So—and religion only will give you the answer: What should you do with your mind?  This kind of mind is the mind we—religious people is concerned very much—are concerned very much. 

--

Suzuki Roshi:  But that "you" is problem, you know?  Small "you" or big "You."  [Laughs, laughter.] 

Student D:  I know.  Who is using it.

 Suzuki Roshi:  This is the most important point.  If you do not know what is "you," to use something is, you know [laughs, laughter]—is crazy.  So this point is very—very, very important.  And this point is missing.  So it is necessary to make this point very, very clear because almost all people mixed up many things.  So they will waste their time a lot—not only waste of time, but also it is suffering [laughs] actually.  Don't you think so?

*****

#8

65-07-27-BV

Sokoji, San Francisco

Which way to go is our—up to us.  And yet, for—for us there is no other way than to take good.  This is way-seeking mind.  So to pursue good and truth and beauty is also our way-seeking mind, although there is some difference from ethics.  This mind is the mind—traditional mind transmitted from Buddha to us, and for Zen students this is most important spirit. 

--

Student K:  Could you say that again?  I didn't understand.

Suzuki Roshi:  Oh.  Try—to try not to have regretful life for us—that is most important point.  Don't you think so?  You—you say, "I must help others" for sake of others [laughs].  But if, you know, you become regretful later, that is not so good.  So the—first of all, you should do it from your inmost heart. 

*****

#9

65-07-28-CV

Sokoji, San Francisco

As someone asked me last night,  how do—how is it possible to help others, or what is the right way to help others?  To help others—the most important point in helping others [is] to actualize bodhisattva's way in its true sense.  So you can actualize bodhisattva's way in your management of Zen Center, or in your management of a monastery or a temple.  If you actualize his way, that is also dana-prajñaparamita.   That is to help others, to give something, to give most valuable things to the society.  If you actualize our way in your actual life, that is the most valuable contribution to the society.  Even though you give something, if you give it, you know, something in wrong way [laughs] it will create more trouble.  So just to give something is not our way.  It was given—everything was treated in right way in bodhisattva's way.

--

So the most important point is not to be one-sided.  Practice and study is both important.  But it is not possible for anyone to, you know, achieve many things.  So, as I said, to have same cover, you know [laughs], is very important point.  Cover should not be used.  When you do something you should take off the cover [laughs].  If you want to boil something by cover [laughs], you will get it—into confusion.  Cover is, you know—for us, cover—the cover is the Shobogenzo.  This is perfect understanding of our way.  But perfect understanding will not work [laughs].  It's too perfect [laughs].  So—but it will keep dust from [laughs] the pan, and if you put cover on your pan you can use it whenever you want to use your pan.  So it is very important to have a cover to it.

*****

#10

65-07-29-AV

Sokoji, San Francisco

So the most important point is to acknowledge exactly what is buddha-nature.  The buddha-nature is not small ego; it is big ego which is observing what you do and accepting what you do always.  Whatever you do, he will say, "Ah, that's good."  [Laughing.]  "Nothing wrong with it," he—he may say.

*****

#11

65-07-30-BV

Sokoji, San Francisco

So the most important thing is to understand our true mind or inmost nature in our practice.  How we understand our actual mind is the most important point—should be the most important point.  That is why Zen emphasize to live on each moment. 

*****

#12

65-07-30-CV

Sokoji, San Francisco

Student G:  Does it matter when you want to communicate, when you want to try to help the other person who is obviously [1-2 words]?

Suzuki Roshi:  It is—it—most important thing is to understand you yourself is most important thing.

Student F:  Fine.  And after that?

Suzuki Roshi:  After that?  After that I don't know!  [Laughs, laughter.]  You know after that—you will know after that.

--

Student I:  Should one who is studying Buddhism have a relation to the world?

Suzuki Roshi:  I think Buddhist should have deep concern about those movement.  Buddhist should concern if it is, you know, right.  But we should not be mixed up, you know, just—organization itself and our true desire to help others.  And the best way may be to allow true spirit of a peace movement for people is the best way, I think—

Student I:  How do you—

Suzuki Roshi:  —in its true sense.  So the most important things is to spread Buddhism—to make them known what is Buddhism is the best way.  We cannot do it by number.  We cannot use everyone's right—we cannot abuse everyone's right by number.   This is very delicate question, I think. 

But the most important thing is to realize the oneness of the human being.  This problem should not be cut off from other problem.  Sometime, you know, people do two opposite things.  Some- [partial word]—in one hand [laughing], they work for civil rights, and on the other hand, they are doing something opposite.  This kind of mistake is pretty common.  So even something good should not be cut off from our life as a whole.

*****

#13

65-08-05U

Los Altos

So, if…those who can sit in right posture, in right way owns everything and has no difficulty in our life.  That is why we emphasize “Form is emptiness.  Emptiness is form”.  Form is emptiness.  Emptiness is form.  The most important point of this sutra is those eight characters.  Form is emptiness.  Emptiness is form.

*****

#14

65-08-12U

Los Altos

I want to explain about our posture we take.  When you sit left foot is on your right side, and right foot is on your left side.  This is full lotus posture.  When we cross our legs like this, although we have right and left foot, it is actually become one.  So it means oneness of the duality.  Not two, not one.  This is the most important teaching.  Not two and not one.  Our body and mind is not two and not one.

--

If you try to be …if you try to keep this posture you will find some difficulty in taking your natural breathing, but by the time you get accustomed to the right posture you can take natural deep breathing.  And pull your chin in.  This is a very important point.  If you sit in this way (head tilted up) you will never gain strength in your posture.  This is a rather dreamy posture.  You are dreaming of something.   The most important point is to own your physical body.  If you take this posture (slumping) you will lose your body.  Your body is somewhere else and your mind too.  Your mind an body is wandering somewhere.  This is not the way.

We must exist right here.  The key point is this.  You must have your mind and body --- Everything should exist in the right place.  When every existence in right place in right way there is no problem but if this (the microphone) exists some where else it doesn’t serve its own purpose.  So every thing should be located in the right place in the right way.    That is the conclusion of Buddhism.  

How every thing exists in the right place is when we have our body and mind everything else will exist in the right place.  So the point is to have our body and mind is the most important point.  There is no need to change the place they exist.  The most important point is for us to exist in right place in right way.  If we exist in right place in right way, everything exists in right place in right way.

*****

#15

65-10-07U

Los Altos

To practice zazen in this way, with group, is the most important thing for Buddhism and for us.  There is nothing so important than this practice for us because this practice is the original way of life.  Without knowing the origin of things we cannot appreciate the result of our effort. 

*****

#16

65-10-14U

Los Altos

The most important thing is when you practice zazen it is necessary to forget all gaining idea, all dualistic idea.  In other words just practice zazen in certain posture.  This is very good point.  Don’t think about anything.  Just remain on your cushion without thinking, without expecting anything.  Then you will….or true nature will resume its own nature and eventually you will resume to your own nature.  You resume your true nature when the true nature resumes to its own nature.

--

When there is no Buddha nature, everything is not everything.  It is just delusion, which do not exist.  It may exist in you mind but actually such thing does not exist.  So even though you do not do anything you are actually doing something.  You are expressing yourself.  You are expressing your true nature.  Your eyes will express.  Your voice will express.  Your demeanor will express.  So the most important thing is to express our true nature in the most simple way, in the most adequate way, and to appreciate the true nature in smallest existence.  This is the most important thing.

*****

#17

65-10-16AU

Sokoji, San Francisco

In zazen practice, the most important point is straightforwardness, as the Sixth Patriarch emphasized. According to him, if we always remain in straightforwardness we have our Way and we are expressing our true nature.

*****

#18

65-10-21U

Los Altos

So to say this is for others or this is for myself is poor understanding of our life.  Because of poor understanding we uselessly discriminate our activity.  Here the most important thing is to do something from the bottom of our heart.  That is the most important point for purity our impetus of doing something.  Straightforwardness is wanted, as the sixth patriarch emphasized.  Whatever you do, if you do it with straightforwardness that is the most important point we emphasize.  In this way Mahayana Buddhism developed after the Hinayana Buddhism became more formal and rigid.

--

So, if you have time (I think you have already been through D. T. Suzuki’s work and you are through already D. T. Suzuki’s work, but his Zen is, for you especially you who are very much interested in psychology, so his work is concentrated on psychological interpretation of Zen, but that is not perfect, you know.)  Of course he knows about it—not perfect.  Zen is not just psychological state of mind.  Zen is based on, the most important thing, for Zen is the way-seeking mind or our sincerity or constant effort.  Our constant effort will result some, you know, psychological state of mind, but the most important thing is transmitted spirit from Buddha to us.  Our constant effort which will last forever.   So the most important point for us is to acquire the spirit of practicing Zen, or to realize your true nature, or to make your effort to appease your inmost request, or to attain vital freedom is our—the most important point.  If you want to attain vital freedom- to attain vital freedom is to realize our inmost request – to realize our inmost request is to make your mind peace.  Without realizing your true nature, it is impossible to make yourself peace.   So by peaceful mind we mean to have eternal practice based on our inmost nature.  So far, Zen practice is the most, is the best way to appease our inmost request.  That is why we practice zazen.  Zen practice is not for sake of attaining some state of mind.  It is rather….to practice it to appease ourselves.

*****

#19

65-11-00-BU

Sokoji, San Francisco

Almost all of you have not practiced Zen so long, but I think you have made great progress. This result is more than we expected. As I always say, for the beginner the most important point is posture. While you are working hard on your posture you will study many things besides your physical training. Physical training always follows mental training, even though you do not try to train your mentality. To put your mind in the right way is one interpretation of Zen. Or to resume your right mind is called Zen. Samapati means to resort to the right state of mind. Another interpretation is to put our mind in the right place. Physical training will result from the right orientation of your mind.

*****

#20

65-11-11U

Los Altos

In beginner’s mind we have many possibilities, but in expert mind there is not much possibility.  So in our practice it is important to resume to our original mind or inmost mind which we, ourselves, even we ourselves do not know what it is.  This is the most important thing for us.  The founder of our school emphasized this point.

--

When we lose our beginner’s mind we will lose all the precepts and for Zen students the most important thing is not to be dualistic or not…we should not lose our self-satisfied state of mind.

*****

#21

65-12-11-BU

Los Altos

As I said this afternoon, it is necessary to have an aim in our life.  The most important aim of a Buddhist is to be a successor of the patriarchs.  If you do not understand this aim you are studying Buddhism from the outside.  For outsiders Buddhism is nothing.  When you accept Buddhism as your own and try to develop it as your own, then Buddhism will have tremendous meaning to us.

*****

#22

66-00-00-AE

Los Altos

From p. 113 of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. {Can’t find other version}

In the Prajna Paramita Sutra the most important point, of course, is the idea of emptiness. Before we understand the idea of emptiness, everything seems to exist substantially. But after we realize the emptiness of things, everything becomes real--not substantial.

*****

#23

66-01-21-AV

Sokoji, San Francisco

If you—when you are lazy, or when you are not sincere enough in your practice you are killing [laughs] Buddha.  Buddha will not manifest itself.  You are keeping Buddha within yourself without doing anything [laughs].  That is actually to kill Buddha or to kill something.  "Not to kill" means to do something with sincerity.  That is fundamental way of observing precepts.  So precepts observation is to do something with your utmost effort.  That is how you observe those ten prohibitory precepts.

So negative precepts and positive precepts observation is not different.  This is the most important precept.

--

So pure mind is—interpretation of pure mind is purity of the mind and patient mind—patient mind.  It should be, when you study Buddhism, the patience, you know—endurance is absolutely necessary, because we do not talk about—too much about the advantage of Buddhism.  Until you find out [laughs], we—we will wait.  If so, both for the teacher and student, the most important thing is endurance—to wait for the chance to—which will become between us.  If you give up, you will have no chance to understand it in its true sense because Buddhism is not something—some knowledge or intellectual understanding.  That is why we say do not sell [laughs] Buddhism.  Do not sell anything.  Do not take anything.  Cover your ears and eyes and mouth [laughs, laughter], and wait for the chance which will come to you [laughs].  Do you understand?

I cannot talk [said as he was covering his mouth with his hand] [laughs, laughter].  You cannot listen [laughs, laughter].  You cannot smell, even.  That is how you study Buddhism.  That is observation of precepts.  So whatever the religion is, the most important thing is a kind of austerity.  This element is very important for every religion.  I don't know other religion, but the austerity is very important.  "Let alone" [?] is not good.  When you limit your life to certain extent, it is easier to find out the truth.  If you do too many things [laughs], you will be lost in your activity.  But if you limit your activity, you know, you can see.  That is why we observe precepts.  The precepts observation is very important. 

Thank you very much.

*****

#24

66-02-09U

Sokoji, San Francisco

Mountain is mountain.  Subject and predicate should not be the same.  There must be some difference, but we…the difference cannot be expressed.  The statement of ‘mountain is mountain’.  But we understand, ‘mountain is mountain’.  That is good enough for us.  Meaning of the…intention of the statement is involved between and mountain.  Mountain is mountain.  The most important thing is hidden.  It is not…it doesn’t take a form of statement. 

*****

#25

66-02-24U

Los Altos

My master passed away when I was thirty three.  So after his death I became pretty busy.  I wanted to devote myself just to Zen practice, but I couldn’t stay at Eiheiji monastery because I had to be the successor of his temple.  For us, it is necessary to keep constant way…not some kind of excitement, but we should be concentrated on usual every day routine.  If one become too busy and too much excitement our mind will become rough…rugged.  This is not so good for us.  So, if possible, try to be always calm and joyful and keep yourself from excitement.  That is most important point…thing for us.  But usually we are…we become more and more busy, day by day, year after year. 

*****

#26

66-03-03U

Los Altos

When we sit in cross-legged posture we resume our fundamental activity of creating.  There is, maybe, three steps.  The first step of creation is to be aware of ourselves after we finish zazen.  When we sit we are nothing.  We are ‘just sit’; we do not even realize what we are.  We just sit; but when we stand up, you are there.  That is the first creativity.  You are there.  When you are there everything is there.  Everything is created all at once.  When you act you give.  When you create something…food, or tea, or coffee (which we will take soon) this is secondary creativity.  The third one is to create something within ourselves; that will be education or culture creativity or artistic creativity, or to give…to provide some system to our society.  Those cultural creativity.  So there are three steps but if you forget most important one, (holding up three fingers and then hiding thumb) those are children (the two fingers remaining) who lost their parents.  It means nothing.

*****

#27

66-03-13-AV

Sokoji, San Francisco

Good morning. This lecture is for advanced student in his practice, but I think this lecture will help you even though you haven't advanced practice. And at least some day you will understand this lecture. This is the gist of Dogen's teaching, and various offshoot are the 95 fascicle of his work. This is basic teaching of Dogen.

And we have finished the first paragraph, anyway: Suzuki Roshi is reading and commenting on Shobogenzo "Genjo-koan."

When all things are Buddhist … [gap in tape of 21 sec.]

Tape Operator: Testing. [Blows on microphone.]

Suzuki Roshi: [phenomena, we have enlightenment and ignorance, studies, life and death, buddhas and people. When all things are without self, we have no ignorance, no enlightenment] The missing segments quoted here are from Eihei Dogen's Shobogenzo "Genjo-koan," following the translation by Kazuaki Tanahashi with Robert Aitken that appeared in: (1) Shobogenzo Genjo Koan: An Analytic Study (unpublished manuscript, San Francisco Zen Center); (2) Wind Bell, 1967, VI (2-4), pp. 60-62, and (3) the [Honolulu] Diamond Sangha [Newsletter]. In the fragments that are audible on the tape of this lecture, Suzuki Roshi is clearly following the Tanahashi/Aitken version. … no buddhas, no people, no life and [no] death. The Buddhist way … [gap in tape of 18 sec.]

[Operator blows and taps on the microphone.]

Suzuki Roshi: [is beyond being and non-being. Therefore we have life and death, ignorance and enlightenment, people and buddhas. However, flowers] … fall with our attachment, and weeds grow with our detachment.

I can visualize Dogen Zenji, you know, who is just standing watching some flowers. He liked plum blossom very much. [Gap in tape of 15 sec. See SR-66-08-15-A, p. 4, for a similar comment.]

[Operator blows and taps on the microphone.]

Tape operator: One, one, two, three, four, five, one six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve.

Suzuki Roshi: … in wheat, which is strong enough to come out through frost and snow. He is just watching it. And he is this statement covers all of our life, and all of our history human history, and Buddhist philosophy. This fascicle, from beginning to end, [is] based on this paragraph, so this is the most important point the point of whole fascicle.

*****

#28

66-06-19-AV

Sokoji, San Francisco

This understanding bring our—brings our practice into everyday life.  "When we understand one side, the other side is dark."  So for us the most important thing is to carry our activity on with sincerity.  That is the only way to attain enlightenment.  Because when we absorb in our activity, there is enlightenment whether or not we realize it.  So this point is very important. 

*****

#29

66-07-00

Los Altos

The mind sometimes exists and sometimes does not exist.  Whatever you say the mind is mind.  It doesn’t matter whatever you say.  Whether we believe in it or not is out of question when we put our faith…trust…absolute trust in the mind we mean.  So we do not talk about the mind only.  When we say ‘mind’ we also…it means…it includes or it means our attitude towards the mind.  It is not just matter of the mind that exists or not.  The most important thing is how we observe…how we observe the mind.  Even though the mind exists if we do not see…or if we ignore it, if we cannot put our mind to it, it does not mean anything. 

*****

#30

66-08-15-AV

Sokoji, San Francisco

Suzuki Roshi:  The second paragraph [of the Genjo Koan]:

among many instructions about how to sit:  to keep your back straight, pull your chin, and about mudra in your hand.  The most important thing is, we say, to stop thinking or to keep your mind on your breathing.  Dogen Zenji says, "Think non-thinking.  Think non-thinking."  This is a very important point, and at the same time this is very difficult practice because your mind will be easily carried away.  Sometime I—when you feel very good, but as soon as you feel you reached a certain stage, your mind will be carried away because you felt something [laughs], and your mind is not on your breathing any more [laughs].  So if you want to concentrated on your breathing, you should not mind even the state of mind you are in your practice. 

--

So not only to stop thinking but also we stop some emotional contrivance.  When we sit we just sit, keeping our mind on breathing.  We have to live, so we have to take breathing.  So this is absolutely necessary for us.  So we just sit and keeping our mind on our breathing.  We do not prepare anything.  We just sit.  And here the important thing is to have conviction, to have selflessness.  This is most important thing.  Without this conviction, you cannot stop your thinking, or you cannot stop your emotional activity.  If you want to stop your emotional activity and thinking activity, you remain in your selflessness. 

--

In monastery, the most important teaching is Dojo daishuni ichini. 

It means:  Do is "movement."  Jo is "calmness" or "to stop activity."  "Our activity should be with people."  That is the most important teaching in monastery.  You may think in big monastery there must be some rules to control people [laughs].  I thought, when I saw the notice in the monastery, "Oh, of course it is necessary to do things with people at the same time, or else they cannot control us," but the more you think about it, the more you will find out the mean—true meaning of it.  It means selflessness.  It means not to move your watch, your clock ahead of the time.

--

When you have zazen, zazen become zazen.  When you have zazen, zazen makes sense.  So when you become you yourself, zazen become true zazen.  When you are omitted from zazen, zazen does not become zazen.  Zazen is not to polish a tile [laughs].  Zazen is—excuse me, zazen is not some way to make tile a jewel.  When you polish a tile, that is zazen.  So your—how you polish it is the most important point.  Whether it is tile or jewel is not the point.  What kind of, you know, attainment you will have is not the point.  Have you faced—confront the problem is the point.  How to confront the problem in our practice is to open up ourselves and to see—to accept—accept things as it is, is the fundamental way.  Do you understand?

*****

#31

66-08-15-CV

Sokoji, San Francisco

And today I want to talk about—this is—I want to talk about cause and effect—theory of cause and effect or causation.  The Buddhism is—the most important teaching of Buddhism is causation.  This is very important.  If you do something good, you will have good result, you know.  This is—this kind of idea or teaching is pretty important for us. 

*****

#32

66-08-19-AV

Sokoji, San Francisco

Our practice is based on this kind of understanding.  So we do not find any description in out practice, even though we are just observing some formality, but actually it is not so.  People, you know, [are] ignoring the rules of things, or ignoring—try to ignore the causality or old-fashioned way of life.  But no development, no life exist without their former life.  Because you have former life, you have this life.  Because you have parents, you are here.  You cannot ignore your former life—former type of life.  So development take place—your life is just, you know—[laughing] I forgot the most important part—I think you must have understood it.  It doesn't come out [laughter].  This is how people, you know, suffering [laughter].  Anyway [laughter], you will—you have understood before I say something.  It is very discouraging [laughter].

*****

#33

66-11-30U

Los Altos

But if you try to do…if you try to be beyond your conscious activity or if you try to stop your mind that will be another burden for your mind.  “I have to stop my mind in our practice but I cannot.  My practice is not so good.”  That is also wrong way of practice.  So don’t try to stop it but leave everything as it is.  Then there will…things will not stay in your mind so long.  Things go as they go.  Things come as they come.  That is…this kind of things will go in your mind in that way.  Then your clear, empty mind eventually last pretty long.  So to have a firm conviction of empty mind in your practice is the most important thing.  That is why in Buddhist scripture we use some astrological description.  We describe the empty mind in various ways.  Most of the time we calculate the big mind is some astrologically great number…so great that we cannot count.

*****

#34

66-12-08U

Los Altos

So we say, although we have Buddha nature, if you do not practice it, in other words if you try to understand it some other way, you do not understand it but just when you practice it you will understand what is our way.  This point is very important for Buddhists.  We do not talk so much, but through our activity we communicate with each other…intentionally or unintentionally and we should be always alert enough to communicate without words or with words.  If this point is lost we will lose the most important point of Buddhism.  So wherever we go we should not lose this way of life.  That is so-called to be Buddha, or to be boss.  Where-ever you go we say you should be the master of the surroundings.

*****

#35

66-12-17-AV

Sokoji, San Francisco

In the first instruction of ten instructions in Gakudo-yojin-shu, Dogen Zenji emphasize to arise the way-seeking mind.  And way-seeking mind, according to him, is the mind to—the mind to—to have direct feeling of evanescence of life.  When we feel the evanescence of life directly, we will not have any more ego-centered idea.  And our practice will be quite pure and strong.  And on each moment, we will do our best in our practice.  That is the most important point in our way.

And in the second instruction, he emphasize the immediate respond [response] to the teaching.  And according to him, even listen to the teaching is the practice—not only zazen practice.  It is not actually—after you hear the teaching and practice zazen and attain enlightenment.  The attaining enlightenment and to practice zazen and to hear the instruction is one, and three takes place simultaneously.  That is his understanding of to here.

So he emphasize the training when encount[er]ing the true law.  To meet the true law is also a part of training.  It is the training itself.  That is what Dogen Zenji meant.  But usually in Buddhism, we have order, you know.  To hear, we say mon-shi-shu:  mon is "to hear"; shi is "to think"; and shu is "to practice."  This order does not happen to us one after another, or one by one.  It happens simultaneously.  This is a very important point. 

*****

#36

66-12-17-BV

Sokoji, San Francisco

So the most important thing is to practice zazen in its true sense, in the transmitted way from Buddha to us.  In Buddhism or in Zen, we have had various problems to discuss.  But after all, we came to the conclusion that this practice is the most fundamental practice for—to underst- [partial word]—for understanding of profound meaning of Buddhism. 

*****

#37

67-01-05U

Los Altos

Because you have Buddha nature in your practice there is enlightenment.  That is our practice.  The point we put emphasis on is not the stage we attain, but our strong confidence in our original nature which is nothing different from Buddha nature, and to practice Zen the same sincerity with Buddha’s.  The transmission…to transmit our way is to transmit our spirit from Buddha.  That is the most important point we have.  So we have to harmonize our spirit with the traditional way, or we have to harmonize our physical posture or activity with the traditional way.  That is the main point in our practice.

--

If you want to see something you should open your eyes.  Instead of opening your eyes you are trying to look at something with your eyes closed.

That is what we are doing actually.  If you do not know the important point which Bodhidharma point out.  We do not slight the idea of attaining enlightenment, but the most important thing is in this moment, not someday.  We have to make our effort with right effort in this moment.  This is the most important thing for our practice.

*****

#38

67-02-02U

Los Altos

To be quite natural…to ourselves, and to follow what others say or what others do in the most appropriate way is pretty difficult.  So…but we cannot adjust ourselves, in some way.  It is impossible.  If you try to adjust yourself in certain way you will lose yourself.  So without adjust yourself, without any artificial, fancy way of adjusting yourself, to express yourself quite freely is the most important thing to make you happy and to make others happy.  And how we acquire this kind of ability is why we practice zazen.

*****

#39

67-03-26W

Sokoji, San Francisco

Tony Artino notes

Ideas of good and bad, or ideals of right or wrong, will not help. The most important point is to find your place, in its widest sense. This requires experiences other than (or more than) narrow egoistic or provincial ones.

*****

#40

67-04-06U

Los Altos

To do some thing, or to live in each moment means to take temporal attitude, on activity of Buddha’s activity.  To sit in this way is to be Buddha as the historical Buddha was.  The same thing will be true whatever you do.  That is Buddha’s activity.  So whatever you do, or you do not, there is Buddha.  Because people have no such understanding of Buddha, they think what they do is the most important thing, without knowing who is doing, actually.  They think they do it but actually Buddha is doing it.

*****

#41

67-04-22-AV

Sokoji, San Francisco

This three points are the most important points.  He wrote some more points, but those points are very important.  But we—I don't say we should observe those words of Dogen literally right now, but why we study Buddhism will be understood by those instructions. 

This—those points are the most difficult points for you American people.  You know, you are very ambitious, and you are trying to do something good always, and try to be successful [laughs] always, you know, without knowing the true meaning of it.  So even though you come here and study Buddhism, you know, to me, you know, you are going the other direction [laughs].  It looks like so.  I hope this is my misunderstanding, but I am very sorry, more and more [laughs] I found you going [in] the other direction. 

[Read the whole lecture to clarify what the most important three points are.]

--

Hmm?  Oh.  Love of another person?  Worldly desires?  Yeah, sometime.  Or most of time it may be so [laughs].  But true love is not, you know.  But true love is, you know, it is same thing with Buddha's teaching, you know.  Something which is very exciting is not, you know—there is—many things will be involved in it, so you have to know which is the most important element, you know—basic element of the love.  It is like love may be a—like a beautiful building, you know, very beautiful.  But if the foundation is not good it will not last long.  So we sh- [partial word]—you should find out what kind of foundation is necessary for the building of love.

*****

#42

67-04-22-BV

Sokoji, San Francisco

I think that is why everything is going so well.  But as I said in previous lecture, the most important thing to do for others is not to—is not to build something beautiful for others or to help them in some materialistic way or formal way, but to help others by giving true spirit of how to live in this world and true understanding of our life. 

*****

#43

67-04-26W

Sokoji, San Francisco

Tony Artino Notes

Through practice we should understand the true nature of our emotional power. By this understanding we should give up concern with our superficial emotional levels. Understanding the true nature of emotional power should lead to transmutation of this power into will and the way-seeking mind. Thus what was once described as anger toward others becomes anger at one's own stupidity, and increased will-power.

Its relationship to emotional power is the most important part of our practice. Our practice should be directed toward our basic emotional problems, not toward our superficial emotional concerns and hang-ups.

--

Although the personal is the most important element in religion, the social element is also evident and important.

*****

#44

67-05-17W

Sokoji, San Francisco

Tony Artino Notes

The most important point is selflessness. That is the most important thing to give or to attain. If selflessness is reached everything else will follow naturally, "Everything will be taken care of." 

*****

#45

67-05-18U

Los Altos

The most important point in our practice is to have right effort.  The right effort which is directed to right direction is necessary.  Usually our effort is making towards wrong direction.  Especially, if your effort is making…your effort is directed towards wrong direction without knowing it means so-called deluded effort.  Our effort in our practice should be directed from being to non-being, from achievement to non-achievement.

*****

#46

67-06-11U

Sokoji, San Francisco

We should revere the three treasures and make offerings to them.  Veneration of the Buddha, the law and the priesthood is in accordance with a precept handed down from the Lord Buddha in India to the patriarchs of China.  These are the most important precepts handed down from Buddha to us.

DC note: Ouch. Priesthood? Come on. I remember Suzuki interpreting the meaning of Sangha as being the teacher also. I never liked that, thought it too narrow - seeing Sangha as meaning ordained monks. We, meaning most people I know who are Buddhists or into Buddhism, see Sangha as meaning the community of practitioners widely considered, everyone on the path - and who's to judge who's on the path. And Suzuki also had this more inclusive view as can be seen in his talks on who's priest and who's lay and more - it would be an interesting subject to pursue in his lectures - but also very inclusive in the way he related to people.

*****

#135 [entered later]

67-08-00WB-A

Wind Bell Vol. VI Nos. 2-4, P.4

SUZUKI ROSHI WRITES ON THE PRACTICE PERIOD

Through the practice period Buddha's way will be known in America. The practice period originated with Buddha's sangha (community of disciples) during the rainy season in India when the monks could not go wandering from village to village begging and teaching. In Japan only certain Zen temples are given the privilege of being able to hold practice periods. Now this indispensable practice has begun in America and it must not be discontinued. Each year we must have at least one practice period; it is indispensible for the students at Zenshinji and for the existence of Zenshinji itself. Strict observation of the practice period with qualified teachers and qualified students is one of the foundations of Zen Buddhism and is the most important reason we started Tassajara.


#47

67-08-00U

Los Altos

So Dogen Zenji explained this precept; don’t be intoxicated, or do not violate this precept; even before the intoxicating liquor comes.  How is it possible to violate precepts…to violate the precepts of not selling liquor when you have no liquor?  Do you understand?  When you have nothing to sell how can you sell it?  But he says do not sell liquor when you have no liquor.  But we are selling liquor which we haven’t got.  I am very ashamed of myself, sometimes I sell liquor.  Because of being priest, when I come to Los Altos I think I must say something.  So Dogen Zenji says do not sell liquor when you haven’t any.  This is a wonderful interpretation of the precept, of the fifth precept.  So actually when…try not to drink liquor when you have it…that is too late.  If you have it here you will drink it.  But the most important point is do not create the idea of liquor when you haven’t.

*****

#48

67-08-02U

Tassajara

So the most important thing is to [first stage] believe in our Buddha nature and then [second stage] to understand intellectually how to study our way. It is not one way. There are many ways. Back and forth we have to view life.

--

But whichever way you take, the most important thing is the practice of Zen.  Either way, if the process of attaining the actual meaning of life does not follow practice, it is impossible.  The problem you have will not be solved, so your life will not be your own life.  It is like food: even though you take food, if your tummy doesn't digest it, it doesn't work.  So the important thing is to digest the things you have had.  That is practice.  By practice you will attain oneness of intellectual understanding and emotional understanding.

--

The most important belief we should have is belief in nothing. To believe in nothing is to believe in everything. First of all, we should believe in nothing. Don't feel lonely. You exist just by yourself. We must have this kind of spirit and then practice our way. And then read scriptures or see your teacher. Then you will have the true meaning of your own life. Religion is through and through a personal thing. Religion is just for yourself, not for others.

--

If you say you cannot practice any more because of this or that, that is the opposite of what I mean.  Because of this or that, you have to practice!  Do you understand?  Because you are busy, you have to study.  Because your mind is occupied by some particular thing, you have to practice. Because you've become interested in something recently, you have to practice our way or else you will be lost. Otherwise, whatever you do, it won't work; you are not you. When you want to leave you, you should practice zazen. That is the most important thing for you. 

*****

#49

67-08-24-BU

Shosan Ceremony

Tassajara

Student (Silas Hoadley?):  Docho Roshi, on the mountain-top, how would desire?

Roshi:  On the mountain-top, where you can see everything, there should be no desire, but there is.

Student:  How coming down?

Roshi:  Coming down will be your desire. You cannot, you should not, you cannot stay even on top of mountain. That is not fair. So to come down is the most important practice actually. That is so-called form is emptiness and emptiness is form. Up and down, back and forth, while you are doing this, as if you are every week coming to Tassajara and going back to San Francisco. Back and forth, while you are doing your way, your practice will be matured enough.

Student:  I am deeply grateful.

*****

#134 [numbered this way cause entered later]

67-08-24CU

Tassajara

Always realize this point: your practice, your world is your own practice. Some others will practice in some other way; that is practice also. When we devote ourselves completely with mind and body, this is the important force, the most important point. When you concentrate on your practice, the practice itself is the most important point. Concentration is a part of practice but not all of it. So if you think that just to be concentrated on something is Zen, that is not true understanding. You have to accept your practice and at the same time the practice of others. Then you will not be so attached to your own practice. Here you will have true freedom from your practice, and will accept many worlds in the same way and develop your practice to the innumerable worlds until you can sit in your own position in your own way with your whole mind and body. There is your true zazen. When we are discussing zazen, we are discussing our zazen only, without accepting the frog's zazen, or tile-polishing zazen, or jewel maker's zazen.

*****

#50

67-08-31U

Los Altos

So it is not a matter of whether it is possible to attain Buddhahood, or if it is possible to make a tile a jewel.  But just to work, just to live in this world with this understanding is the most important point, and that is our practice.  That is true zazen.

*****

#51

67-09-00AV

Tassajara

Student C:  Pretty soon I'm sitting in the kitchen, and eating and eating and eating, you know?  Well what do you do?

Suzuki Roshi:  Ohhh.  [Laughter.]  You soon will realize your nature by negative practice.  For all religion, negative, you know, practice is necessary.  We sh- [partial word]—you know, we should not always pick positive attitude only.  Positive and negative—both attitude is necessary, but negative one is the most important practice.  This is very true.

*****

#52

67-09-08-BU

Tassajara

So when you want to see, or be sure of, your mind, you cannot catch it.  But when you just do something, and when your mind is just acting as it is, that is how you catch your mind in the true sense.  Anyway, it is rather difficult to see "things as it is," because seeing "things as it is" is not just the activity of our sight or eyes.  This is why we put emphasis on practice.  To do something without thinking is the most important point in understanding ourselves.  Since it is difficult to see "things as it is," we should practice our way. 

*****

#53

67-11-06-IV

KPFA RADIO INTERVIEW WITH ELSA KNIGHT THOMPSON

KPFA/KPFB Studio, Pacifica Radio, Berkeley,

First of all, I think it is necessary for everyone, not only American people or Japanese people.  It—for everyone the most important thing is to have more flexible mind, you know, which you can observe things as it is and accept things as it is without any prejudice or one-sided idea.  This is—when I say like this, it is—looks like quite easy, but actually it is not so easy.

*****

#54

67-12-06-AV

Tassajara

Food is very important—to prepare food is very—may be the most important work in the monastery.

*****

#55

67-12-07V

Shosan Ceremony

Tassajara

Student X (Ed Brown):  Docho Roshi, I have many questions.  But they seem to come and go, and they don't seem very important.  And everyone seems to have worked very hard during sesshin.  

Suzuki Roshi:  The question is not—should not be about whether it is right or wrong.  Right now, the most important thing is to find what is the most important thing.  Still, your question is directed to wrong direction.  You are asking yourself for others, which is not important.  The most important thing is to find—to be involved in what you do—what you are doing now, without thinking "good" or "bad."  Stop asking—stop thinking, and devote yourself to your kitchen work.  Whatever people say, or whatever you yourself say, you should not be concerned about it. 

*****

#56

68-01-11BV

Tassajara

… without expecting anything.  Just you can enjoy things outside of your home.  Sometime you can—if it is something good, you can take—take it to your home [laughs].  But home is the most important [laughs] thing, not something which you—you have brought.  That is zazen.

*****

#57

68-04-23-BV

Tassajara

As your teacher, I am trying to help you in various way, but at the same time I know I cannot help you [laughs].  But as a disciple and teacher, this kind of effort should be always continuing.  That is why I am trying pretty hard with other students.  I appreciate your effort and the way of working on your own problem too.  This is very much true with everybody, but we should make more effort to know how to work on ourselves, how to help ourselves, how to take care of our practice.  This is the most important point.  So let's—let's have—let's do more effort on this point.  Each one of you are making pretty good effort on this point, but not enough in comparison to the—to our teachers and masters who attained perfect enlightenment. 

*****

#58

68-07-24V

Tassajara

Even though you don't study it [laughs], you know, that is actual truth, you know.  That everything changes is actual truth, and it is not Buddhism.  This is interpreted [?] [laughs]—outward [?] truth for Buddhist—for Buddhist and as well as for everyone.  So this is not, you know, just—this is not—those teachings are not just our teaching, but the teaching for everyone.  Even though Buddha didn't tell it—talk about it, that is truth.  That is a truth which I—we, you know, are observing every day.  So there is no need to depend on teaching.  But the most important thing is to practice and realize our true nature is the most important point [laughs].  This is, you know, Zen.  If so everyone has, you know—as long as we have buddha-mind, Buddhism is for everyone.

In this way, Zen school established without depending on any teaching, any particular teaching.  So Zen student use various scriptures, you know.  We do not say this is the most important scripture or this is not so important.  We do not say that.  Whatever the teaching may be, that teaching will help at least someone.  Not all or—it may not be for all of them, but it will help someone.  So it is like a medicine, you know, medicine or prescription, you know.  For some patient some particular prescription is necessary, but we cannot say this is better prescription or this is not so good.  If it is appropriate—if you use it in appropriate way, that is the test of prescription.  We understand in this way.

*****

#59

68-08-25V

Sokoji, San Francisco

And it takes time, you know, until you actually practice our way and extend our way in our everyday life.  So there is no reason—no reason why you—why you should try to attain something.  Anyway, to continue our practice, you know, without giving up [laughs], that is the most important thing for you. 

Thank you very much.

*****

#60

68-10-00-CU

Tassajara

Q:  You speak of our existence in only an instant, but at each instant, that existence should make its best effort.  And the more I think about this idea of best effort, the less I'm able to understand at all what it means.  I think I've asked you this before, but maybe I'm ready to hear it again.  What do you mean by making your best effort on each in­stant?

Suzuki Roshi:  I don't mean to sacrifice this moment for the future, and I don't mean to be bound by past life and try to escape from it.  This is the kind of effort you usually make.  But there's a more important point in your effort.  What is it?  To stand on your own two feet is the most important thing.  To sacrifice this moment for your future, even for your ideal, means that you are not standing on your own two feet.  So the most important thing is to accept yourself, to have subjectivity in each moment.  Or, don't complain—accept things as it is and satisfy your­self with what you have right now.  You should think, this is the only reality, the only Buddha you know, the only Buddha you can see, experience, have, worship.  And then if you want to do something, at that time you are Nirmanakaya Buddha and Sambhogakaya Buddha and Dharmakaya Buddha.  

*****

#61

68-10-00-BU

Tassajara

Figuratively speaking, the Sambhogakaya Buddha may be like the sun.  Instead of observing things objectively, he understands his Buddha Nature, which is always in activity within himself, figuratively speaking of course.  So, like the sun, although he is not trying to illuminate everything objectively, he is actually illuminating every­thing.  He is actually helping others without trying to help.  He can illuminate everything because originally he has that kind of power or potentiality.  But the most important thing for the Sambhoga­kaya Buddha is to attain enlightenment inwardly, or to illuminate himself, instead of illuminating the objective world.

*****

#62

68-10-20U

Tassajara

This idea of Buddha as a superhuman being was supported by his teaching.  One of the most important teachings of Buddha is the teaching of cause and effect, the teaching of causality.  If you do something good, naturally you have some good effect.  So his disciples wondered how he could have acquired such a lofty character, such a good character.  Buddha told them that if you do something good, you will have a good result.  If you practice hard, you will acquire good character.  Since his character was incredibly high, his former practice must have been an incredibly hard, long one.  So, since their adoration for Buddha extended limitlessly, his practice before he attained enlightenment, or Buddhahood, became limitless.  It follows that, if Buddha is a limitlessly lofty person, the time he practiced his way must also have been limitlessly long.  In this way, the historical Buddha became more and more something like Absolute Being.

*****

#63

68-10-21U

Tassajara

To be enlightened does not mean to be aware of it.  Do you understand?  To be aware of it would be for him to observe himself objectively.  When he attained enlightenment, that was being aware of himself.  But to enlighten himself means to have confidence in himself, to accept himself as he is, to accept "that I am here".  And, in this way, when you do not care for anything, you know that "I am here" already.  That is the most important point, to stand on your own two feet before you observe yourself objectively.  "Who am I, and what am I thinking?  What kind of experience did I have?  What kind of enlightenment did I have yesterday?"  That is not true realization of oneself.  To realize oneself is deeper than that kind of superficial observation of oneself.  Before we objectively observe ourselves, we should be one with ourselves.

*****

68-11-11V

#64

Shosan Ceremony

Tassajara

Claude Dalenberg:   Docho Roshi:  Incessant change and evanescence everywhere.  Life is so short.  What is the most importantmost important thing to do?

Suzuki Roshi:  To continue everyday practice forever.

Claude:  Thank you.

Suzuki Roshi:  Good point.

 

--

Sally Block:  Docho Roshi, you have told us that we are not alike at all, and also you tell us that we should develop consideration for each other.  How can we develop a feeling for what goes on in other people's minds, or how they think, how they react, why they react, and how they live, so that we can develop consideration for them?

Suzuki Roshi:  To be able to understand reality from various angle—even though it is not possible to understand things from various angle, we should reserve always some understanding for someone else and try to understand other's feelings, other's understanding.  Other's understanding may not be always right:  sometimes wrong, sometimes right.  As you understand is sometime right and sometimes wrong.  But without being caught by the idea of right or wrong, we should try to understand something which is something wrong as well as something which is right.  This is—if you try to do it, this is very difficult.  But the only way is to practice zazen—to be concentrated on your zazen practice, not—the way you practice zazen and the way you do something in your everyday life is not the same.  Your everyday life will be good when your practice is good because your everyday life will be supported by your power of practice.  So best way for us is to be concentrated on our zazen practice.  This is, anyway, the most important point.  Something everyday practice will be taken care of if you—if your everyday life is concentrated on your zazen practice.

*****

#65

69-03-09V

Sokoji, San Francisco

Of course it is difficult.  That difficulty is not some difficulty to—like to carry some heavy things, or to work on mathematics, you know.  That difficulty is that very [everyone?]—wants some special effort.  How you can do it is to be concentrated on your posture, or breathing, or perfect physical practice.  That is the only way to—to have right reaction.

That is why, you know, Zen and samurai, you know, is not—in Japan samurai practiced zazen to master, you know, sword martial art.  Martial art is not just physical things.  It is, you know, the matter [of] whether he k- [partial word]—he is lose or win.  So [laughs]—so long as you are—you are afraid of losing their life [laughs], they—they will be—their, you know, ability—they cannot act in his full ability.  When—only when he is free from "to kill or to be killed," you know, and only when he react [to] his enemy's activity, he will—that is only way to win.  If he try to win, he may lose.  [Laughs.]  So, you know, if he—how he can act without this kind of fear, which will—which will keep himself in limited activity is the most important thing.  Because they had this kind of problem, they practiced Zen very hard.  It is matter of, you know [laughs], whether he can survive or he cannot in battlefield.  So he fought his fight in zendo, not in battlefield [laughs].

--

And we are almost reaching to the moon now, but we cannot, you know, create human being in its true sense.  We can create robot, but we cannot create human being.  Human being is human being.  We can enjoy our life only with our limited body and limited life.  This limitation is vital element for us.  Without limitation nothing exist, so we should enjoy the limitation.  Weak body, strong body; man or woman.  We should—the only way to enjoy our life is to enjoy the limitation which was given to us.

Whatever it is, you know, the limitation has some meaning—not some meaning—it has absolute meaning in it.  It—that is most important point:  for us to know [the] limitation.  So, "the sun-faced buddha, the moon-faced buddha" does not mean, "I don't care the sun-faced buddha or the moon-faced buddha."  It means that the sun-faced [hits table with stick] buddha, the moon-faced [hits table with stick] buddha, you know.  We should enjoy the sun-faced buddha, the moon-faced buddha.  It—it is not indifference.  It is the more than attachment—strong, strong [laughs] attachment to the moon-faced Buddha or the sun-faced buddha.  But usually our attachment—we say "non-attachment."  When our attachment reach to the non-attachment, that is real attachment.  So if—if you attach to something, you should attached to something completely [laughs].  The sun-faced buddha, the moon-faced buddha!  "I am here," you know, "I am right here."

*****

#66

69-03-30V

Sokoji, San Francisco

[The point of]… my talk is just to give you some help in your practice.  So it is just help, you know.  So there's, as I always say, there is no need for you to remember what I said as something definite, you know.  I'm just trying to help you, so it is just support of your [laughs] practice.  So if you stick to it, it means that you stick to the support—not, you know, tree itself.  You know, a tree, when it is strong enough, it may want some support.  But the most important one is the tree itself, not support. 

*****

#67

69-04-08V

Tassajara

So [there is a] difference between mortification of asceticism in pre‑B- [partial word] [?]—Buddhistic practice and asceticism.  Our way is different.  And the way to control our desire looks like same, but actually completely different.  This is the most important point, and I didn't refer to this point on this lecture—when I give lecture at Tassajara.

--

To take vow is very important.  To believe in Buddhism means to take vow.  If you don't take vow, life will be life of karma.  Only when we take vow, we—our life is life of Buddhist.  And how to take vow is with—should be ex- [partial word]—may be the most important point.  How to take vow. 

*****

#68

69-05-18V

Sokoji, San Francisco

And especially older student—old students is not so good for their practice—zazen practice.  This is serious [laughs] matter for Zen Center.  The reason why is not because our practice is not mature, but we are not sincere enough for—in our practice.  So every one of us—for every one of us, the most important point should be our practice.  As long as they enter zendo, they should practice our zazen sincerely.  And we should be involved—we should devote ourself for beginner's practice like counting breathing.

*****

#69

69-06-00V

Tassajara

Of course, we must work as long as we live in this world, which is organized in very materialistic way.  It is necessary to work with this—in this sense.  But more important thing is to find ourselves physically and mentally in right position.  You may say to sleep on bed—in bed is not work [laughs].  It is most important work for us, in its true sense.  To, you know, to work—to walk on the floor, you know, is very important work.  You will find out important it is, you know, when you are hardly walk [work?].  To go to rest room is very important thing.  If you cannot go to rest room, what will happen to you?  The most important thing.  But you don't think that is so important:  those activity like to cook something in the kitchen, or to rinse your mouth as soon as you get up, or to get up at right time in right way.  Those activities are ignored, or we don't pay any attention to those activities.  Zen students put empha- [partial word]—put—pay mostly, you know, attention to those things.  And, moment after moment, to find ourselves physically and mentally, is how to attain liberation.

*****

#70

69-06-17V

Sokoji, San Francisco

The horse, you know, which will run at the shade of the whip—before he get the whip.  And the next one is—as soon as the whip reach to its hair, you know, he may start to run.  That is the second one.  And third one is, you know, when he felt the pain on his skin, he will run.  That is the third one.  The fourth one is—fourth one will not run until the pain penetrate into the—into the marrow of the bone.  Shht!  [Makes sound like a whip cracking, laughs, laughter.]  Then he will start to run [laughs.]  That is, you know—the whip, by "whip" we mean the teaching of evanescence of life—teaching of evanescence of life.  Or teaching that everything changes.  There is nothing to stick to.  There is nothing to care for, in its true sense, because everything is changing.  That is, you know, the Buddha's—the most important teaching.

But—many Buddhists from ancient times, to understand this teaching, they studied various scriptures and practiced hard.  But Dogen Zenji says, you know, that is not something to study [laughs], he says.  It is actual fact which you see every day.  No one can stay always young.  Nothing is always same.  Everything is changing, including you.  That is actual fact you see.  That is not something which you will study after reading many books.  So if you really, you know, suffer—if you have a lot of suffering in your everyday life, you will actually, you know, feel the most important teaching of Buddhism—that everything changes, there is nothing to stick to.

--

And how you apply our practice—our practice in your everyday life is, in short:  in your everyday life, the most important thing is to be involved in—completely involved in what you are doing.  And to do something—just to—to do something as a means of gaining something else—you should do things for sake of—as a practice, as you practice zazen.

*****

#71

69-07-00V

Sokoji, San Francisco

I think it is necessary both for Rinzai and Soto to have this kind of clear understanding of our practice or Buddhism.  Forgetting all about the fundamental teaching of Buddha, just to put emphasis on Rinzai or Soto means nothing.  As you know, in all religion the most important point is to have conviction to follow the truth.  That is, in other word, faith, or to believe in, or to trust in the truth whatever happen to us.  That is our basic attitude of—basic attitude for human life. 

*****

#72

69-07-20V

Sokoji, San Francisco

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.

*****

#73

69-08-01V

Tassajara

As a Buddhist, of course, the most important precept is to—to believe in Buddha and his teaching and his disciples.  Buddha, you know, for us is someone who attained enlightenment—not only historical Buddha but also Buddha's disciples who attained enlightenment is buddha.  And still this is its—in its narrow sense.  In its wider sense, whether we attain enlightenment or not we are buddha—not only human being but also various beings, animate and inanimate.  Even something like stone is buddha, in its wide sense.  So everything is buddha in its wide sense. 

*****

#74

69-08-12V

Sokoji, San Francisco

Student O:  Does [1-2 words?] clear things up when you talk about death?  I—I think about death a lot.  But, you know, like I [4-6 words] the longer I think of [4-6 words].  Birth and death are cycling and always options [?].  I—I guess I'm not phrasing this in the form of a question, but there is a question that I'm asking.

Suzuki Roshi:  Birth and death, you know—the—the most important point of problem of birth and death is, you know, the idea of self, you know.

Student O:  Isn't talking about—speaking of death as this gentleman was speaking of it, in the sense saying the body is less than the mind?  That it is a separate entity from the mind?

Suzuki Roshi:  We understand, you know, oneness of mind and body.

Student O:  They are one?

Suzuki Roshi:  Yeah.  We don't understand "here is body, and mind is floating in the heaven and come [laughs] to my—our mind.  And after death it will go out from our body and enter again into our body."  We don't under- [partial word]—we have not—our understanding of mind and body is more than that.  The—we put emphasis on the point that mind and body is one.

*****

#75

69-08-18V

Tassajara

If you go to monastery [in Japan], you will see the big notice:  Dojo daishuni ichini.   Dojo daishuni ichini.  That is Chinese and Japanese.  "Whatever you do, you should do with people at the same time."  That is [1 word].  Basic practice:  "When they sit, you sit."  So zazen practice is not actually—we do not practice zazen just to attain enlightenment but to practice zazen itself is the realization of the truth.  And to, you know, to realize this point, we practice zazen.  To get up, you know, when you hear the bell, you know, is the most important practice for us.  The moment you hear the bell, you should get up and you shouldn't feel rested [laughs].  "Two minutes more, three minutes more."  You shouldn't stop a lot [?].  Okay?  If you do so, you are not practicing our way.  But you should not, you know, run into wall [laughs, laughter] or into door, you know.

Student A:  Rules and teaching and schedule.  What—what good do we do with all of that?

Suzuki Roshi:  [Laughs.]  Yeah—I [laughs]—without words or, you know—I mean, we have to see our schedule or we have to remember our names, you know.  That much effort—words or rules—may be necessary.  But rule is not the first, you know.  Just to observe our rules is not—is not the—is not the most important thing.  Do you understand?

*****

#76

69-08-28V

Tassajara

So to be concentrated on something like tummy or like your palm means—it is like, you know, if you are sitting, you know, for an instance, I may go, you know, for an instance, you know, check your posture.  And I see your mudra and back, your neck, you know, and breathing.  If something is missing—some—even though your mudra is right, you know, your [laughs] neck is like this [gestures], you know, that is not practice, you know.  Even though your mind in on your palm, if you are watching like this [gestures, laughs, laughter], whether there is your mind on your palm, that is not what I mean, you know.  This is very—I don't think you are—you understand in that way. 

But mostly—there is some danger of mistake, you know—to understand our instruction in that way.  So why we say so is—this is the most important point or center of your practice.  So that is why we say so.  But center is center when all of your body is participating [in] the practice.  So, in short, with your mind and body—whole mind and body, you should practice zazen.

--

Student N:  Does this mean that we practice just to practice?  I've been worrying about this a little bit [?].

Suzuki Roshi:  [Laughs.]  You know, when you are not afraid of anything, you know, whatever happen to you, that is all right, you know.  You will not be killed by it [laughs].  Even though you are killed by it, it is all right.  You know, we should—our practice is not—we should not practice our way in some personal reason or selfish gaining idea.  We cannot escape from this world, you know [laughs].  So, that you are afraid of something means you have some—something.  So the purpose is to get rid of that something.  And that is possible.  And most important point is to understand our buddha-nature or absolute nature in—from various angle, you know—to observe our life from various angle.  Not just the selfish angle, but various angle, good and bad. 

*****

#77

69-09-00-AV

Tassajara

In our practice, the most important thing [is] to—to know—to know.  "To know" is that we have buddha-nature.  Our practice—real practice happens when realization of buddha-nature take place.  Intellectually we know that we have buddha-nature, and that is what was taught by Buddha.

--

If you—when you know—when you know why you practice zazen and what is the most important point in our practice, you can practice our way even though your practice is not perfect.  You have direction.  And you know how to do it.  So you will not—you will not be mixed up. 

*****

#78

69-09-00-CV

Tassajara

But the point is to be like a child and to imitate something.  Even though you don't know what it is, you should imitate.  In short, that is best way to study.  When you receive transmission, you know, you practice, actually you practice baby, you know—baby-like practice.  It looks like very, you know—very foolish or very silly to practice our way in this way—in that way, but that is the most important thing when you really want to study our way.  Okay?

*****

#79

69-09-00-EV

Shosan Ceremony

Tassajara

Student R:  Docho Roshi, although no one ever touches the bell, yet sound constantly issues forth from it.  How is this possible?

Suzuki Roshi:  That was—that happened [1-2 words] from beginningless beginning, and maybe [1-2 words] beginningless—endless end.  That is how things exist.  How to know—once you know how things exist, you know, [is] the most important point for us to work on rather than what will become of it [?] or how it start.

Student R:  What do you mean "how things exist"?

Suzuki Roshi:  How things exist is how you survive [?], and how you [1-2 words], and how to be kind to others, why don't you feel so good or feel good. 

Student R:  To understand the causes and the—?

Suzuki Roshi:  "Causes" means not substantial causes.  How it goes, you know, is what we mean by "cause."

Student R:  How the process goes?

Suzuki Roshi:  Yeah.  Because there is no substantial thing exist.  Only thing we can know is how one whole big being goes.

Student R:  Thank you very much.

*****

#80

69-09-14V

Tassajara

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

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

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

Thank you very much.

*****

#81

69-09-16-IBU

Interview of Suzuki Roshi by Peter Schneider

Sokoji, San Francisco

P:  So you decided to have the school because most of your first students were scholars.  You thought that to become Zen students you'd have to give them something—some candy?  Candy for the mind?

S:  Not candy.  Anyway, all that we are doing is candy.  Everything . . . candy is the most important food, actually.

P:  I don't understand.  Why is candy the most important thing?

S:  Because that is purpose—not purpose of Zen—the first principle without any actual activity doesn't mean anything.  Sambhogakaya is the body of bliss.  And that's candy.  May not candy but food.

*****

#82

69-10-14V

Sokoji, San Francisco

I think this is—I don't think this is best way, but we rather emphasize the spiritual practice rather than physical practice—which food has more power, or which food is more rich or stronger.  I think this side should not be forgotten.  How to make best use of food will be the point, without throwing away—without—with some respect for our food will be the most important point.  Hai.

--

Student J:  And then after we accept that there, I guess, will always be some kind of war, then we can go on and try to make our best effort to stop war. 

Suzuki Roshi:  Uh-huh.  To stop war means to, you know—for someone it may be a war, you know, or—most of people making effort to fight [laughs], to me it looks like so.  They may not actually [be] using a gun, but by words and by everyday activity, everyone creating a kind of, you know, war.  And result of, you know, our everyday life, I think, is war in its big scale.  That is a kind of karma, human karma.  So, you know, how to get out of karma, or how to get out of war may be the most important point.  And to accept things as it is means not to accept, you know—to have right understanding of our everyday life.  Those who has—those who do not have right understanding of our life, you know, [are] creating war. 

*****

#83

69-10-23V

Sokoji, San Francisco

I—we must be very grateful for Dogen Zenji to make—to find out the profound meaning of this sutra [Lotus Sutra], especially this chapter "Skillful Means."  You know, usually skillful means or devices is something secondary, not the most important thing, but something secondary.  But it is not so. 

*****

#84

69-10-28V

LOTUS SUTRA, LECTURE NO. 5

Tassajara

And they had later a second meeting to—to—to unify Buddha's teaching.  But, at the same time, some group had another meeting [laughs], you know.  In this way, there were Buddhist—Buddhists divided in two.  The conservative ones are mostly the ones who remembered Buddha's teaching and who has—who had some record, and who had some complete traditional texts.  Radical ones more put emphasis on Buddha's intention to leave his teaching:  why Buddha, you know, left this kind of teaching.  That was the most important point for the radical ones.  They didn't, you know, stick to scriptures only.  And the conservative ones, you know, who wanted to oppose radical ones, more and more systematized Buddha's teaching, you know, and analyzed Buddha's teaching in various way.  That is so-called-it Hinayana teaching. 

--

As you know, you know, Buddha's teaching originally—the most important teaching for Buddhist is—everything changes is the most important teaching [laughs].  It is rather difficult, maybe, but if you hear it over and over again, naturally you will understand—eventually you will understand.  Everything changes is the fundamental teaching of Buddhism, as you know.  Nothing has self-nature.  But when conservative Theravada students [were] interested in more and more analyzing Buddha's teaching, and trying to authorize his teaching [as] something which was given to them, and because the teaching are something valuable, they wanted to protect it.  While they are doing—making effort in that way, they—after all those effort, they set up something which does not change [laughs], you know—teaching—teaching does not change!  Teaching—"dharma" mean sometime "teaching," and sometime "various being," and it—it sometime it means "various element produced by analyze."  And they—they put—they s- [partial word]—after all they said, those teaching does not change, and, at the same time, those elements which teaching denote does not change.  And there is actually some elements—some entity. 

--

So if you say so, it—it is too much—too far [laughs], when you don't know what—what kind of thing it is—whether there is mind or not.  Before you know that, you say here is—there is mind, and that—or soul.  And that soul or mind is always some substantial thing.  And it does not change.  It is—it was like that in past time, and—and it will be like this.  It will exist in future as it exist right now.  So they said hottai—"everything exist in past and present and future."  They reached this kind of conclusion after trying to authorize Buddha's teaching in various way.  They went too far, and they forgot original—the most important teaching of Buddha. 

*****

#85

69-12-02V

Tassajara

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

Transmission—we say "transmission," but there is nothing to transmit.  But if we say there is something, that is the spirit of practice, to find someone who may, you know, continue our way.  You know, my teacher, when he mend the one of the building, he didn't mend the main building, but he just mend kitchen and zendo. And he—at that time he said:  "If I try I can do it, but I must leave something for my disciples to do" [laughs]. 

I couldn't understand what he meant exactly.  You know, to—it—the purpose of mending building or building something is not just to have some facility for us.  The most important thing is to continue that kind of practice and to have successor who may take our responsibility, who may share our responsibility. 

--

Our practice is not just for ourselves.  It is for everyone.  And so, you know, it doesn't matter whether you are successful or not.  It doesn't matter.  If you—if—if you have, you know, good disciples and if you have good practice, that is the most important point

And everyone can have good practice, you know.  This kind of spirit is the spirit everyone has.  This kind of spirit is not just for selected people.  It is every—for everyone.  The important thing is to continue it, you know, to continue the good practice.  Then someone will do it.  Do you understand [laughs] this point? 

*****

#86

69-12-03V

Tassajara

I explained briefly about bodhisattva mind.  And we have also bodhisattva practice—bodhisattva practice—we count six and sometime four [bodhisattva practices]. 

Of course, [1] most important one is zazen practice.  That is the most important one, maybe.  And [2] to keep precepts and [3] to—to practice almsgiving—almsgiving, to offer something or to Buddha or to people to help, and to keep precepts, and [4] to vigorously practice all those practice, and [5] endeavorance to be patient, and [6] wisdom—to have wisdom.  Those are six practice of bodhisattva. 

And Dogen Zenji might [?] count four practices:  [1] and one is dana-prajñaparamita, which is to give something; and [2] to give kind words; and [3] to benefit others; and [4] last one is to be friendly with others.  Those are four bodhisattva's practice.  I want to explain it according to Shobogenzo.

*****

#87

69-12-21-AV

City Center, San Francisco

As a Buddhist, I think fundamental Buddhist way is, I think, how to, you know, adjust myself—ourselves to the surrounding rather than changing our surrounding.  So when, I think, Buddhists moved in, you know—when Buddhist which was developed in Eastern culture moved in Western culture, if possible—as much as possible, without changing the furniture or building—how to adjust ourselves to the building or the culture will be the most important work for us, you know.  I think in that way now.

--

I think it makes sense.  You know, I didn't know the meaning so well, but, for an instance, it is rather difficult to sit before you clean your floor and altar.  It is not so easy because you will have various dust, you know, in your mind too.  So in Zen students, most important thing is to arrange things in proper way or in the most natural way, so that we can make best of our effort and best of—best use of them, and to clean it—to clean them so that we can have good practice.  Then, I think, without changing, you know, our way of life so much, we will have quite Buddhistic feeling in our life, I think.

So fundamental point will be to make effort to suit ourselves to the surrounding—to adjust ourselves to the surrounding, instead of adjusting surrounding to our convenience.  This kind of effort is, right now, very important, I think.  And if we start to making effort on this point, we will have here wonderful, you know, life, and this building [SFZC City Center] will be—without changing so much—I think we will have quite good Buddhistic feeling.

*****

#88

70-01-25V

City Center, San Francisco

You know, we are not usually, you know, as a human being, we are not interested in nothingness, you know, nothingness of the ground [laughs].  If you—you have something on—in the garden, you will be interested in something which is on the—in the garden.  That is our tendency.  But we are not so much interested in—usual person, at least, is not interested in the bare, you know, soil.  But if you, actually, if you want to have good harvest, the most important thing, of course, is to make rich soil and to cultivate the soil and to weed the soil.  That is the most important thing

--

When—I am not blaming [laughs], you know, anyone who is in the position of officer, but I am a, you know—as an example, I'm talking about this matter, but don't misunderstand me.  When you become officer, you know, when you become officer you think you are some special person.  [Laughs.]  That is also very un-Buddhist—Buddhistic idea.  We—each one of us comes out of the ground of Zen Center, you know.  The ground [laughs] is the most important thing from which everyone of us comes out.  So it is the ground, you know, which should be taken care of—not the plant, you know.  If the ground is good, naturally good officers will appear.  So we should respect all of the members of the group.  Take care of Zen Center and you yourself, as a member of Zen Center. 

*****

#89

70-01-31V

City Center, San Francisco

So anyway, the most important point is to live on each moment in the area—in some given area—in the area you live in.  You should live with things you have right now and to find new meaning in it.  That is our actual practice.  The good example is our two-day sesshin [laughs].  In that way, you know, we continue our everyday life.  Buddhist, you know, when we started—when Buddha started our practice, to not concerned things which we cannot see, you know.  We are doing everything within the—within our reach, you know.  That is world for us.  There is no other world for us.  You may say, you know, "this world or the other world—future world or this world," but there is no such world.  Because you say, you know, "this world or that world," Mahayana Buddhist started to talk about that is the result of, you know, delusive substantial idea. 

*****

#90

70-02-01-AV

City Center, San Francisco

So the most important point is, you know, to deny yourself and to establish yourself in its true sense without establishing yourself on your delusion.  So we say, "Establish yourself on yourself, not on your delusion."  And without—but without delusion we cannot live, we cannot practice.  So delusion is necessary.  But delusion is not something on which you can establish yourself.  It is like a, you know, stepladder, you know.  You can use it, but you shouldn’t stay on stepladder [laughs, laughter].  But without it you cannot, you know, climb up. 

*****

#91

70-02-08V

City Center, San Francisco

So as a Buddhist, the most important thing is to realize the evanescence of life.  And things changes, always, incessantly.  And we must realize that nothing is permanent.  Nothing exist in the form we see or color we see.  To understand things like this is called "emptiness."  So with emptiness of mind, we should start, you know, realize the tentative form and color of things, and how things are going.  Then we will have actual reality.

*****

#92

70-03-15V

City Center, San Francisco

I think most of you are rather curious about what is Zen.  But Zen is actually our way of life, and zazen practice is actually as—like as you set your watch—alarm, maybe.  Unless you set your alarm, alarm clock will not serve the purpose. 

So it is necessary for us to start our activity from some standpoint—to some ground or we must have—every day we must have starting point.  Where to start is most important thing.  The sun arise at certain time and setting at certain time.  And the sun, you know, always repeats same thing.  And we do too [laughs, laughter].  But we do not feel in that way, you know.  We—our life is not so organized, and we don't know even how important it is to—where to know where to start our life.  Zen student start our life from zazen practice.  We come back to zero and start from zero.  We have various activity, and how our activity arise from zero is most important thing to know, to feel, or to realize. 

Usually, I think, most people practice zazen to attain something, to achieve something.  But more important thing is to start, you know, to start our everyday activity—to know where to start to everyday activity and to know how to practice zazen.  When we—before actually you practice zazen, you know, or at the moment you decided to sit, it means that you, you know, already started to set your alarm.  And when you have that kind of confidence or you have made that kind of decision and start to zazen, that is zero. 

--

If you know what is zazen, you know, what is the practice, you will accept things as you accept various images in your sitting zazen.  So in our zazen the most important thing is to have big mind and to accept things in your practice.  And even try not to, you know, observe things how it happens to your mind. 

If you practice zazen to attain some stage or enlightenment, that zazen—like—the man who practice that kind of zazen is—will be the same as a man who is, you know, using alarm without setting it.  It will go anyway [laughs], you know, go and go and go, until you—until it comes to—to some, you know, its end.  It will go anyway [laughs], but, you know, it doesn't make much sense. 

When you sit every morning it makes sense.  You know what time it is.  To know what time it is is the most important thing for us in our everyday life.  To know what you are doing is the most important thing.  What kind of effort you are doing and what kind of situation you are now—that is the most important thing

Our everyday life is like a movie, you know, which is going on wide screen, you know [laughs].  But most people may be interested in screen—picture on the screen without realizing there is a screen [laughs, laughter].  So, you know, when, you know, you don't see anymore, you don't—when the movie stops, you will be, you know— when the movie stops, before it come to end maybe [you may say], "I must come again tomorrow evening" [laughs].  "I will come and see it."  And in that way, what you see is, you know, just, you know—what you are interested in is the movie on the screen.  And because you think it, it stops.  You have, you know, some—sometime you expect something for tomorrow or if—or you will be discouraged because you don't know the screen.  But if you realize—if there is a screen, because there is screen in the movie theater—anyway—someone come and show you some more picture.  So, you know, the most—most important thing is to have screen in your mind [taps on something repeatedly], and that screen should be white. 

The scr- [partial word]—if the screen is colorful [laughs], you know, colorful enough to attract people [laughs, laughter], screen will not, you know, serve for the purpose.  But most important thing is to have screen and to have—not colorful—to have plain screen, white—pure white screen.  That is the most important thing.  But most people are not interested in pure white screen [laughs, laughter].  It is, I think, good thing to be excited by seeing movie.  It is good, you know.  But why you can enjoy the movie is, you know, to some extent you know that is movie.  That is not actual, you know—actually that kind of thing is not going. 

--

But that is just movie, you know, something which you should enjoy.  But if you want to enjoy the movie, you should know that is the combination of, you know, film and light and white screen.  And most important thing is to have plain white screen.  That is actually not something which you should attain, but which you have always.  But why you don't have it—you don't feel you don't have it is your mind is too busy, too busy to see, to realize it. 

*****

#93

70-03-28V

City Center, San Francisco

 [First 1-2 sentences of lecture may be missing.]  Way-seeking mind is the most important.  This kind of chance is—usually in some difficult situation—when you have some difficulty in your everyday life, I think you will have, you know—there you will have chance to arise way-seeking mind.  Once you arise the way-seeing mind, your practice is on the track.

--

The first duty you will have at Eiheiji Monastery will be to, you know, collect rubbishes or garbage, and to—or to hit, you know, big bell.  You—you should know to collect garbage is the most important duty in the monastery.  The older students will sweep the garden and collect the leaves and garbages at certain time—certain place.  So young priest or monks should, you know, collect it.

--

Our life in monastery, you know, is very simple and monotonous, you know.  We are repeating same thing [laughing] every day, over and over.  There is nothing to enjoy.  So sometime we do something very foolish, you know, to enjoy—how foolish we are!  If we find ourselves very foolish, you know, we, you know, we enjoy [laughs] our foolishness, to, you know—to eat radish, you know, without cooking [laughs, laughter].  Just, you know, when we are carrying radish, you know, without washing, without even washing.  Bring out the radish and scratch the dirt out [laughs, laughter].  Sometime that is not interesting enough for us [laughs, laughter], so late at night when there are, you know, when they are fast asleep, you know, we, you know, cook it by bucket or something [laughing] outside of the monastery.  But once you cook radish, smell is awful!  Whole monastery will, you know, [be] filled with the smell of the radish. 

Of course, we know, you know, we will be easily found out, but, you know, to do it is most important part.  And if we are scolded that is another, you know [laughing]—something, you know—we have something more.  They may scold us.  "Okay, let's do it!"  [Said in a mock conspiratorial voice.]  [Laughs.] 

*****

#94

70-03-29V

City Center, San Francisco

And in monastic life, the most important thing will be—or the most good practice—the best practice will be to clean restroom.  So wherever you go, whatever monastery you may go, you will find out someone—some special person who is cleaning restroom always.  We do not, you know, clean our restroom just because it is dirty.  Whether it is clean or not, you know, we should clean, you know, restroom until you can continue it—you can do it without any idea of, you know, clean or dirty.  If so, that is actually, you know, our zazen practice. 

*****

#95

70-04-28V

City Center, San Francisco

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

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

--

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

--

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

#96

70-05-02-AV

City Center, San Francisco

Originally, we cannot rely on moral code, or idea of right or wrong.  Because we cannot rely on any rules or moral, we must practice zazen so that we can be both very strict and very generous, always ready to help others.  So our zazen is not just matter of a form.  The spirit we practice is the most important.

*****

#97 was a mistake.  - dc

*****

#98

70-05-05V

City Center, San Francisco

So now what we want is—what we should do here is to develop our study from your bottom of your heart.  That is the most important point.  You must be very faithful to yourself.  And even though you cannot accept a teaching of Buddhism, you should try best effort to understand it and accept it.  That does not mean, you know, I'm forcing Buddhism to you.  But from your side, you should make more effort and—to accept or to think over and over what Buddha is suggesting for us.

*****

#99

70-05-10V

City Center, San Francisco

If you want to know who is Buddha, it is, you know, necessary for us to know—to have some understanding of his culture background.  This is always true.  And for most of us, because of various reasons, it is difficult to study our way in Japan because of language difficulties and some peculiar, you know, development of Zen in Japan.  So as much as possible we want to practice Zen in the most original, you know, more original, you know, form of Zen.  So it may be quite natural for us to go back to Dogen and to know his way—and forgetting, you know, everything developed after him—and to go back to Dogen, or to go back to Bodhidharma or Buddha, will be the most important point for us.

It is not so easy to, you know, to establish Dogen Zenji's way or Bodhidharma's way or Buddha's way, but we—at least we should try.  It is much better, even though it is not perfect, it is much better than trying to, you know, introduce something else [laughs], you know, we—that is also up to our effort. 

But most important thing will be how we practice so-called-it bodhisattva way—to help ourselves and to help others.  This point is missing in Japan.  Original bodhisattva way is to help ourselves is simultaneously to help others.  In Japan, when we help, you know, others, we forget [laughs], you know, to help ourselves.  We, you know—it is—sometime it is good—it should be like that, but if, you know, our zazen practice—when zazen practice does not follow, you know, we lose our way.  We will be—easily become a—will be—we will be easily enslaved by people [laughs].  That is not bodhisattva way. 

*****

#100

70-05-24V

City Center, San Francisco

You know—you—you think food is very important, so you study food.  But the way you study food is not always right because you put emphasis on yourself, you know, ignoring the value of food, you know.  We have very selfish discrimination about food [laughs].  I think that is a kind of selfish attitude of human being.  According to Buddha, everything has buddha—buddha-nature.  If so, we should respect everything as you respect yourself.  That is, you know, main point.  So how you, you know, appreciate food is the most important point—before you have discrimination about food. 

--

You know, in our society we respect labor, you know.  Labor is [laughs], you know, the most important element when you value things.  But before you, you know, count, you know, value [of] the labor, there must be something you should think, you know—something which was given to us.  There is something here, and if you work on it, you know, it will serve your purpose. 

--

But to rely on the power of the money is wrong.  That is the—that is the way Buddha did not like at all.  At that time, the money system was not so strong, so he said, "Don't accumulate things.  You should eat," you know, "you should live on the food you—food which was offered just before you eat.  And you should not beg [for] more than the food which will suffice next meal," you know.

This is, I think, big—I think Buddha was big scholar of economy [laughs].  That is, you know, the most important, you know, point of economy, I think, you know.  Why we have money is to exchange things.  We should not, you know, stop the current of the money.  So in this sense, you know, we say everything changes.  That is Buddha's, you know, first principle.  Everything changes, including, you know—money is the—not symbol, but, you know—money express the value of or—value of things, which change.  If the value, you know, if things is valuable because we can eat, you know, or we can live on it, then money also should—should not stop.  If money stops, it—that is business depression [laughs].  If money is going smoothly all over our—in our society, our society is healthy.

*****

#101

70-05-27V

Tassajara

I am so grateful to have chance to discuss about or to talk about Sandokai.  This is one of the most important teaching for us.  And meaning is so deep, and the expression is so smooth, that it is, you know, pretty difficult to have some feeling, you know, when you read it.

*****

#102

70-05-30V

Tassajara

And the most important point is, you know—you yourself rather than your teacher, you know.  You yourself study hard.  And what you receive from your teacher is the spirit of study, you know, to spirit to study.  That spirit will be, you know, transmitted from warm hand to warm hand, you know.  You should do it.  That's all [laughs].  There is nothing to transmit to you.

*****

#103

70-06-01V

Tassajara

But actually, who is suffering?  Zendo doesn't mean anything [laughs].  It doesn’t mean anything.  Whatever you give him, he will not accept it.  "No, I don't need.  I suffer a lot.  I don't know why.  Right now, you know, to get out of suffering is most important point.  Nothing can help me.  You cannot help me," he may say.  When you hear that, like Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, you should be someone—you should be like someone who is suffering, and you should suffer as he suffers.  Actually, you will feel in that way, you know.  You—if you see someone who is in suffer[ing], you will suffer too.  That is because of your love, you know [tapping chest], your innate love, your instinct of love, you share the suffering.  That is love in its true sense.  So ki  may mean not only "possibility" or "potentiality," but also "relationship."  This is second interpretation of ki.

*****

#104

70-06-10V

Tassajara

Student B:  When I am fully awake I have, maybe, a little control over my desires, but in the mornings [laughs, laughter]—

Suzuki Roshi:  That is what I am saying.  In the morning you have trouble.  I know that [laughs, laughter].  So that is why I say, "Get up!"  [Pats on table four times.]

Student B:  And how do you do that?

Suzuki Roshi:  How you do that?  Just do it.  Or else someone will go and hit you.  [Picks up stick.  Makes a sort of humorous growl.  Laughs, laughter.]  Okay?  [Laughter.]  Great—

Student B:  I "just got up" I think a couple of times, you know—

Suzuki Roshi:  That is good.

Student B:  —jumped out of bed.  But it was really—  It was such a big thing that—  [Laughs, laughter.]

Suzuki Roshi:  Yeah, that is big thing [laughter].  So if you can get up, you know, pretty well, I think your practice is almost okay [laughs].  That is very good chance to practice our zazen, you know.  Just get up.  Okay?   That is the most important thing.   

*****

#105

70-07-04V

Tassajara

Time is always going on and on.  We have not much time to say "good" or "bad" [laughs].  You know, moment after moment we should follow the flow of the time.  You should go with the time goes.  We don't have time to say "this way" or "that way."  When we become tired of, you know, doing something, you may say, "this way" or "that way" just to kill time.  But [laughs] actually when you see the vegetables in the garden which is almost, you know, dry up in the hot weather, you have not much time to [laughs] say what will be the appropriate thing to do for us, you know, for today [laughs].  While we are discussing we are becoming more and more hungry.  So kitchen people should go to the kitchen and prepare some food for next meal [laughs].  That is the most important thing

*****

#106

70-07-06V

Tassajara

Hmm.  Anyway, I am not seek [partial word]—I am not, you know, expecting anything in future or in term of monastery or Buddhism.  But I don't want to, you know, live—I don't want to live in the air.  I want to be right here.  I want to stand on my feet, you know.  The only way to stand on my feet is when I am Tassajara I should be at Tassajara [laughs].  That is the reason why, you know, I am here.  I want to be here.  That is the most important thing for me:  to stand on my feet and to sit on my black cushion.  I don't trust anything but [laughs] my feet or my black cushion.  This is my friend, always.  My feet is always my friend.  When I am in bed, my bed is my friend.  There is no Buddha, or no Buddhism, or no zazen.  If, you know, you ask me, "What is zazen?" you know, my answer will be, "To sit on black cushion is zazen," or "To walk with my feet is my zazen."  To stay at this moment on this place is my zazen.  There is no other zazen.

--

Student A:  When I—I mean, when I don't—it seems cheating, you know.  I mean, when I promise to do something, it seems, you know, I need to have some meaning.  If it doesn't have any meaning, I won't say it.  If it doesn’t have any meaning to me, I can't say it.

Suzuki Roshi:  Your arrogance.  That is your arrogance.

Student A:  I don't know.  Maybe.  But—

Suzuki Roshi:  Even though you cry, that cry doesn't make any sense.  You're still—your practice is still based on some selfish practice.  You don't give up yourself.  You have to suffer more and fight more with yourself.  With yourself.  No one to fight with—nothing to fight with.  Fight with your selfish practice until  you give up.  That is most important point for real students.  You shouldn’t fool yourself.  He doesn't want to be fooled by our teaching, or Zen, or something like that.  That is right. You shouldn't [be] fooled by anything.

*****

#107

70-07-11V

EKO LECTURES, No.  3: 

[an EKO chant which is a brief recitation offering the merit of the prior sutra]

Tassajara

And how he attained this kind of power is power of practice.  And this kind of practice is called, in Chinese, shuzen.  Shuzen means practice to attain some supernatural power is shu- [partial word]—a kind of practice which is called shuzen.

But the last one—the—to know, to extinguish all the cause of the karma, is the more Buddhistic practice and only Buddhist—the power only Buddhist have.  The Buddhist, you know—purpose of Buddhist practice is to be free from karma is the—why Buddhist practice Buddhist way. 

And the last one is the most important one.  So there is some koan about this.  Some, you know, arhat—some sage or hermit called [on] the Buddha and said, "We have five supernatural powers, but I heard that you have six, you know, supernatural power.  What is the last one?"  [Laughs.]  And the gedo, or, you know, the hermit or sage asked Buddha.  Buddha didn't say anything, but he said—the hermit said in this way:  "What is that—what is that power which we do not have?"—he asked—sage asked—hermit asked. 

*****

#108

70-07-12V

EKO LECTURES, No. 4: 

[an EKO chant which is a brief recitation offering the merit of the prior sutra]

Tassajara

So to clairvoyance or to hear something, you know, through or from distant, is just a part of our power—unrestricted power.  Our power should be always with all beings, and our everyday life should be protected—that kind of power which pervade everywhere—which is everywhere.  That is, you know, the last unrestricted power of arhat and the most important unrest- [partial word:  unrestricted?]—power of arhat.

*****

#109

70-07-13V

EKO LECTURES, No. 5: THE THIRD MORNING EKO

[an EKO chant which is a brief recitation offering the merit of the prior sutra]

Tassajara

So the center of—the third dedication is actually the most important dedication for each one of us. And first one and second one is—first one is for, you know, Buddha as, you know, as we are one of the schools of Zen, so-called-it Soto—Soto school. And as a—as a school of Buddhism, we have some special—we have object of worship, which is Buddha. And, you know, Buddha, and Dogen Zenji, and Keizan Zenji in Japanese Soto.

--

And next is for the arhats—Buddha's disciples, which is the arhats in primitive Buddhist—Buddha's age—original Buddhist time—Buddha's time. But this one, the third one, is directly related to—to us—actually, each one of us, having dedication for ourselves. And the third one is, I think, you know, the most important dedication for each one of us. What we say is quite simple, you know. With the merit of reciting Sandokai I—we dedicate to our patriarchs, and we recite names of the patriarch. That is what we do.

*****

#110

70-07-15V

EKO LECTURES, No. 6:  THE FOURTH MORNING EKO

[an EKO chant which is a brief recitation offering the merit of the prior sutra]

Tassajara

And offering is—there are two kinds of offering:  alms-offering, you know, alms-giving, and dharma-giving.  Those are two, you know, two kinds of offering.  To give sermon, or to—to give—to recite sutra or to practice zazen is a kind of offering to the people and to the deceased too.  And the best alms-offering was supposed to be to offer something—to offer—to make alms-offering to priest was the best offering.  And for the priest to give in such an occasion, they would—Buddha would—give them—give them some sermon.  And later, we have, in alms-giving, we have ince- [partial word]—our offering of incense, offering of flower, and offering of light, and offering of food.  And those are, you know, most important offering to Buddha. 

*****

#111

70-07-28V

City Center, San Francisco

As you trust your innate nature, which is called buddha-nature, you should trust your innate nature.  That is the most important point.  And if you trust, you know, your true nature, you should trust your teacher too.  That is very important.  Not because your teacher is perfect, you know, but because his innate nature which is same with—with you.  The point that—point of practice between teacher and disciple is to get rid of, you know, selfish idea as much as possible and to trust each other.  When you—only when you trust your teacher, I think you can practice zazen, and you can practice ritual, and you can act as a Zen Center student. 

So to be always, you know, to remain always as a Zen Center student is very important point for you.  And how you, you know, become a Zen Center student is to trust your true nature, and to trust your teacher, and to trust your zazen practice without, you know, saying why [laughs].  I think you should do it, as long as you come here.  And if you don't want to do so—you do not want to do so, you shouldn't come here, I think.  As long as you come here, you should follow our way, or else maybe you will waste your time and you will have regret, you know.

*****

#112

70-08-02V

City Center, San Francisco

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.

[I wonder if the Japanese if right here. I'd think it was taihen. But I'm not checking this stuff now. Later. - dc]

*****

#113

70-08-04V

City Center, San Francisco

So on okechimyaku [lineage chart]  it says, "Busso shoden bosatsu daikai."   Bosatsu is "bodhisattva" in Japanese.  And after you receive it, you know, the most important thing is to continue it, you know.  Moment after moment, you should say, "Yes—yes I will."  [Laughs.]  Moment after moment.  And you should continue our practice, even though you experience enlightenment experience.  You should continue it.  That is golden rule for all Zen student, whether you are Rinzai student or Soto student.

*****

#114

70-08-09V

City Center, San Francisco

If—but if one attains enlightenment, all the sentient beings will be enlightened.  The—there is this kind of truth which we—which is difficult to accept, but that is very true.  And to have a disciple who will attain enlightenment is the most important thing for our society.  Your parents raise you so that you can contribute some good element for our society.  First of all, we all should be very grateful for Zengyu-san's parents and for Tenshin-san's parents, who raise you with this spirit.

[Sounds like an ordination. Zengyu is Paul Discoe and Tenshin is Reb Anderson. - dc]

*****

#115

70-08-25AV

City Center, San Francisco

So for us the most important thing is practice.  And to practice with people is the motto of Zen Center—not just priest.  With, you know, everyone to practice zazen is the most important point of our practice here, especially in city.  And that is also bodhisattva way.  And that is the only way to—only way for religion to survive. 

*****

#116

70-12-23V

Mill Valley Zendo

We—how we create karma is because of the ego.  So we should try to—try to get rid of ego as much as possible.  So, as Buddha says, egolessness is the most important point for our practice, for our life.  When you have not much ego, we feel eternal life for us.  Even though we create ego, that ego is strong enough to support yourself, not more than—create problem—unnecessary then.  In other word, if we go back to emptiness it is okay.  Even though we create something bad, that karma should be reduced to emptiness [laughs] as soon as possible, as soon enough for human being to live on this earth.

[This paragraph could be made more clear by editing. But that's not for now. - dc]

*****

#117

71-01-10V

City Center, San Francisco

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

--

But, you know, we should accept it, because it is there already.  You cannot do anything about it.  There is no need to try to get rid of it.  But if you, you know, open your eyes, true eyes, and accept it, there there is real practice [laughs].  Do you understand?  It is not matter of right or wrong, but how to accept frankly, with openness of your mind, what you are doing.  That is most important point

*****

#118

71-03-12U

Reed College, Portland, Oregon

The Bodhisattva way is many ways, but the most important point is to become one with others, to be kind and to have a warm feeling for others, with your mouth or with your life, to give teaching or to give materials things without any idea of giving or receiving, just giving with a warm heart. To help people in various ways, making tea or scrubbing the floor, or cleaning the restroom, without any idea of, "This restroom is dirty," is the Bodhisattva way. Just with a warm, good feeling you clean the restroom. In that way you can help people, and you have no confusion or suffering. This is how you extend zazen practice to your everyday life.

*****

#119

71-06-09V

City Center, San Francisco

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.

--

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.

*****

#120

71-06-12V

City Center, San Francisco

So life is first, you know, your actual life is—way of life is first.  And to accept various things which may happen to you in your future as it is and try to make some trip, you know, is the most important thing for you.  So in this sense, you know, whether you are Buddhist or Christian, you know, for us it doesn't matter.  Each one has each one's own problem, and that, you know, that problem, there is no diffi- [partial word]—no problem—Christian problem [laughs] or Buddhist problem.  Because if, you know, you uselessly compare Christian precepts to Buddhist precepts, you know, you create problem.  But if you are concentrated [on] actual life, moment after moment, and if you are sincere and honest on your life, you know, then there is no difference between Christian precepts or Buddhist precepts. 

--

Another point is when you observe precepts in your everyday life, if you—if you really, you know, want to know what is precepts, you should be concentrated on what you do.  You shouldn't even think about precepts, you know.  Then naturally you will, you know, find out your own way.  That is something, you know, practice, you know, closely related to Zen practice.  If you know—if you make trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles every day like driver, then, you know, you don't have to think so much the way you go to—about the way you go to Los Angeles.  The only thing is to go to Los Angeles without having accident [laughs].  That is more important thing, you know, for a man, you know, who is driving car always.  That is the point, you know:  not precepts, but to be concentrated in each time, in each moment, in his driving.  That is the most important point.

*****

#121

71-06-20V

City Center, San Francisco

You know, you should know [the reason] why he refers to this kind—many kinds of robe is [that the] robe should be always with you, you know.  He put emphasis to wear or to have robe always with you, you know.  It is not some special thing you wear, you know.  That is wrong idea.  That is something which you have always with you, like the Third Patriarch in India's robe.  He was born with robe, so for him it is not possible to take it off [laughs].  His skin is already robe.  Those are the most important point when you have—when you want to have proper understanding of okesa.

*****

#122

71-06-22V

City Center, San Francisco

Because, you know, as a Buddhist we should see things-as-it-is, you know [laughs], to see things-as-it-is, to observe things-as-they-are—that is the most important point.  When you practice zazen, you know, actually you don’t see anything, you don't think about anything.  But even though you do [are] not aware of what you are doing, you are actually one with everything; even though you don't see, but you are actually with everything.  So you knows everything.  You see things, you know, not with our naked eye, but our true eyes, you know.  Even though we don't hear, but [laughs] actually we are with everything.  We are practicing with everything, you know, actually.  When you don't think, when you [are] one with your practice, you know, at that moment, even though you don't see, you are already with everything and you are actually seeing things, you know, and you have perfect understanding of everything.  That is our practice.  And we feel in that way when we don't think.  I said "feel" but [laughs] maybe "to feel" is not correct word.  That is, you know, our practice.

--

[I have to go get the question for this next one but not now, maybe tomorrow. Until then the answer will do - or go to the lecture and find it at shunryusuzuki.com. - dc]

Suzuki Roshi:  Mm-hmm.  Yeah.  Uh.  You know, anyway, I understand your feeling, but you have to check your feeling more, you know.  First of all, you should check, you know, whether that kind of feeling arise from some selfish, you know, idea or arrogancy, or, you know, because of not enough, you know, effort.  Maybe sometime it may be because of laziness, you know, lazy idea.  So if you don't, you know—if you are not involved—if you cannot do with people [who are] right now with you, then it is a kind of arrogancy, you know.  "You people do not know what is most important thing.  What you are doing is not so important."  You should do things, but you don't have enough courage, you know, to convince them to follow you, you know, or you have not enough courage to be responsible for that, you know—what you will do.  And you are thinking, you know, your mind is wandering.  That is not so healthy practice.  Do you understand?

*****

#123

71-07-02V

Tassajara

So, the first precepts of sixteen precepts we observe is—how can I [laughs] put into English word one reality which is not—which cannot be divided in three or sixteen—one reality, precept of one reality.  You may call it "emptiness," or you may call it "the absolute."  That is one reality, you know.  That is the first precept we receive—we observe.  So [as] you may know, this is the most important—maybe most—I cannot say the most important [laughs], but this is the m- [incomplete word:  "most"?]—

Anyway, all the precepts start from this precept.  Without understanding this precepts, our precepts doesn't make any sense.  One reality which we cannot divide [by] three or six or sixteen.  It can be understood in great scale; whatever there are in this world or in this universe, or what kind of rule we have, or what kind of truth we can observe in various way, or moral code, or rules, or theory we scientist observe, are all those truths is included in this big scale of the precepts. 

*****

#124

71-07-17V

Tassajara

So we say when we give precepts, we say, "Don't be involved in, don't be lost in other practice—other practice of other different, you know, practice of religion—religious practice."  [Laughs.]  Do you understand?  But what we mean is very different.  Don't practice; don't be involved in other religion, we say.  Literally, if you understand it literally, Buddhism is not different from other religions which is very sectarian.  Do you understand the difference?  Don't be involved in some other practice.  It is so important to be just ourselves, without being involved in something curious, something mystic, something strange.  This is very important for us.  To be ourselves, to be free from everything is the most important point.  If we are strong enough, when you are strong enough not to lose yourself, then you can practice various way, practice.  But before—there is something for you to do before you do many things.  Without foundation, without strong, you know, without, without establishing your freedom, or if there is some danger in you, danger of being lost in you, then we want you to accept precepts and practice more.

--

So first of all, to know yourself and to be strong enough to live without any sign, without any information, that is the most important point.  Right now, what your question is, you know, about which way you go, but that doesn't help so much.

[Obviously this would be better with the question. Go to the lecture at shunryusuzuki.com and find it if you wish - dc]

*****

#125

71-07-21V

Tassajara

We discussed already last night  about what is something which we can experience or which we can understand, and what is something which we cannot understand.  I was trying to explain, you know, the difference [between] something which you can understand and something which you cannot understand, and how you, you know, have an approach to something which you cannot understand is by practice. 

But it is necessary for us at the same time to have understanding of Buddhism.  It is necessary to read, and it is necessary to listen to lecture, and it is necessary to think about what is Buddhism.  That is also important.  And most important thing will be to have actual, you know, difficulties in our human life.  That is very important. 

--

"My" is delusion, you know.  It is no such thing like "my."  But it looks like [laughs]—I—we feel like we have "my something" or "me".  It is, you know, because of this "me" or "mine" we have—we cannot—we have to know something.  The most important thing is to think by clear mind and to keep our physical body strong—strong enough to help others and to be helped [by] others.  So then what you should do is very clear.  You will find out what you should do.  If you eat too much it will hurt you.  If you think same thing over and over, you—eventually you hurt yourself mentally.  So you will know how to take care of yourself and how to help others and how to have good relationship with someone else.  Then there is true "me" or "mine."  It is not just delusion but more actual reality which is happening around yourself.  That is how you figure out what you should do moment after moment, and that is our practice. 

So, the important point of Buddhism is to forget all about "me" or 'mine," and to see our surrounding more clearly.  So, if you realize this point your problem will be solved naturally.  Okay?  [Laughs.]  Does it made some sense?

*****

#126

71-07-22V

Tassajara

For layman to receive the precepts—precepts it is necessary for you to keep precepts.  The most important one is—precepts is the three refuges.  I take refuge in the buddha; I take refuge in the dharma; and I take refuge in the sangha.  And you repeat this practice in your everyday life.  But it is too much [laughs] to explain tonight about it—three refuges. 

*****

#127

71-07-25V

Tassajara

But both—both—both priests and laymen—-the most important point is to develop our buddha-mind instead of small self.  Know—you know—it is not so difficult to know what is small self and what is big self.  If you know that, you should try hard to develop the big self.  That is our practice.  Until you can intuitively choose the right path, we should continue our practice.

*****

#128

71-07-26V

Tassajara

So, as I said last night, the most important point of our practice is always trying to do something with big mind, not by small mind.  If you—when you do something with big mind, if there is no need to do it, you will not do it.  Only when you have to do it you will do it.  That is big mind.

--

In short, we shouldn’t bothered by—we shouldn’t be bothered by so much about:  "This is good or bad"—the idea of this is good or bad.  But we should—we should be concerned about your real practice, whether your practice is sincere practice or not, whether your practice is supported by big mind or not.  This is the most important point

--

So you shouldn’t mind what will happen in the future so much.  But we should worry about this moment—what you are doing.  Whether you are happy or not happy is the most important point.  If you are doing—if you are following right path, then the quality of your life doesn't different from the quality of Buddha's life.  Of course, there is some difference in—in its bigness or in its loftiness [?] or in its maturity—there is difference; but the quality of the practice is the same.  Like whether it is big or light, big or small—the flame is flame, you know, even though you may be small, you know; even though I feel cooler [?] in this way [laughter], flame is flame.  Same quality.  So our practice may not be so good, but the quality of the practice is the same.

*****

#129

71-07-29V

Tassajara

So the most important part of the Fusatsu ceremony is to recite Bommo-kyo,  the precepts, you know.  Bommo-kyo is the Mahayana—about Mahayana precepts.  And when, for an instance, I recite those precepts, you should think about, you know, what you did.  And if you didn't observe good precepts, you should say, "I didn't.  I am sorry."  Then, you know, by the power of confession, you—your—your bad karma will—will be weaker.  In that way, to purify our mind and to keep Buddha's way, we will observe Fusatsu.  Fusatsu is—fusa—fusa—fusa-da—fu—fu—fusa or [1 word] means to do something good—do something good—to increase good or positive side.  Da is to stop—to stop doing bad.

*****

#130

71-08-05V

Tassajara

But actually it is not so.  The most important point is to have good confidence in your eyes—dharma eyes.  When you trust your eyes' understanding of Buddhism, then that, you know, that will eventually bring you good practice—good confidence in you—and you, more and more, your dharma eye will open.  Dharma eyes is not something which someone will give you, you know.  You should—you yourself should open your dharma eyes, you know.  Actually, I am talking about how to open your dharma eyes, and how you can practice your way in its true sense wherever you go.  That is, you know, what I am trying to [do]. 

*****

#131

71-08-12V

Tassajara

So purpose of—most important point of practice is to experience things directly, one by one.  And one experience should be whole universe.  To experience one—one right now—to experience one right now on this moment is to experience whole world.  So this is the only approach to the emptiness.  This is very important point.  That is why we practice.  This is the point of practice.  Okay?  Very important point.  Maybe you—you must think about it over and over, you know, over again [laughs].  It is comparatively easy to realize things are one.  It is comparatively easy, or easy to accept, you know. 

*****

#132

71-08-13V

Tassajara

I know you—you have various, you know, obstacles.  So to get rid of those obstacles from your mind is my purpose of lecture.  Do you understand?  Because you may have so many ideas, you know, so that is not what I mean—that is not what I mean.  This is—this is wrong, and you take off, you know, various obstacles from your mind, so that we can [be] concentrated [on] more—most important point, so that you can trust yourself, trust your buddha-nature which you have.  Okay?  I am not trying to give you any idea, but I—I am explaining something by your words [laughs]—not my words, by your words.  I am using your words, but what I mean is something more than that. 

Thank you very much.

*****

#133

71-08-21V

City Center, San Francisco

Excuse me.  [Laughs.]  I feel rather stiff.  Maybe I worked too hard. 

Since we have Tassajara and the city zendo, we are—our practice is rather concentrated on city practice or Tassajara practice.  But the most important point is to know what is Zen practice, which is not only city practice, but also Tassajara practice, and city zendo practice.  Wherever you are, we have Zen way of practice.  No matter where you are, you must have proper understanding of our practice.

--

So you don't have to solve that problem.  The point is you should continue that practice of difficulty.  That is the point.  So you should know that is, you know, only the first stage of your practice.  So you—you cannot solve the problem at—only at the first stage.  If you struggle at the first stage, you will lose your practice.  That is why we say, you know, "Great patience is the best of virtues.  [Laughs.]  To continue it is most important practice.  Without struggling with it, just continue it.  Then you will have chance to—to have the second stage or the third stage."  It means that.  It means—I—I forget where I, you know, found out that statement.

***

The phrase “most important” as found in Shunryu Suzuki lectures.

There are 224 instances found in the 2010 collection of his lectures, 85 of "most important point" and 87 of "most important thing."  Ten years ago or so I quickly compiled a list with a macro that captured "the most important thing" along with the line above and below it. SFZC abbot Steve Stucky wanted to see that list for a teaching he was doing so I went back and did this wider search and included the phrase in context, more carefully than before. Above each selection is the file name of the lecture from which it came and the location. The name indicates the date or approximate date. The complete lectures, or in some cases notes from a lecture, may be found at Shunryu Suzuki dot com. You may email me to get the username and password. Enjoy. - DC <dchad@cuke.com>

wb (in the file name) = from the Wind Bell, publication of the San Francisco Zen Center]

Putting these up lecture by lecture starting 6-29-11

Excerpts taken from verbatim versions when possible.




Shunryu Suzuki Lectures on cuke    Shunryu Suzuki dot com - the whole archive   Suzuki lectures on SFZC.org


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