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Shunryu Suzuki Lectures on cuke


The word Precept
as found in Shunryu Suzuki Lectures

Part II ---
69-10-25V - 71 and misc
go to Part I --- 63-01-00 - 69-10-20

To read the lecture or greater context of these excerpts, go to links below entries to
Suzuki lectures blog on SFZC site or Shunryu Suzuki dot com-the whole archive
These excerpts have been selected a Nov. 2011 version of the All file of Shunryu Suzuki lectures.

 Thanks Jenny Wunderly for preparing this series.

Comments by Jenny Wunderly   ---   Jenny Wunderly cuke page


69-10-25V
Zen Mountain Center

[Shunryu Suzuki is reading here]

"The multitude of the Buddha's disciple--"

Maybe Buddha's--"hearer of the Buddha's teaching," especially shravakas and pratyeka--shravakas and pratyeka.

"Formerly made offering to the buddhas.

All their outflow now exhausted--"

This is actually arhat, who has no evil desires.

"They inhabit this last body."

So those who have fruit of practice--

"Such men as these,

Their strength is irresistible--"

Although, you know, their strength is wonderful--irresistible, even so, they will not understand it as long as they have dualistic idea, or as long as they try to attain something.

"Even if they filled the world,

If all were like Shariputra--"

Shariputra is now the--now representing all, you know, disciple who have--who had dualistic understanding--

"If all were like Shariputra--

And if, exhausting their thoughts, all together calculated,

Could not fathom the Buddha's knowledge."

The Buddha's knowledge, in its true sense, is not knowledge who can understand in term of words or sign.

"Even if they filled the ten directions,

All of them like Shariputra

And the remaining disciples,

If, further, filling the kùetras of ten directions--"

Kùetras means "area" or "country." kùetras (San.): literally, "field"; buddha-field.

"--filling the kùetras of ten directions

And exhausting their thoughts, they were to calculate together--

they were to calculate together,

They still could not know it.

If pratyekabuddhas of sharp intelligence,

Inhabiting a final body without outflows,

Are to fill even--were to fill even the zephyrs [spheres?] of the

ten directions,

In their number like to bamboo groves,

And if, putting their minds together

For millions of incalculate kalpas,

They wish to think on the real knowledge of the Buddha,

They [there] would be none who could know the slight--

slight portion of--thereof."

"Inhabiting final body without outflows"--this is actually means arhat. "Without outflows"--"outflows" means, you know--this is a kind of special term--who have no desires--who have no--who keep precepts perfectly--who keeps perfect precepts without--without outflows. They are not like basket [laughs], you know, or they are not old container which has many--which leaks a lot [laughs]. That is actually what it means.

*****

69-10-30V

Zen Mountain Center

All the disciples and peoples and animate beings, you know, wanted to--something from him because they have doubt--especially Shariputra, you know, had a great doubt. After waiting for him for long, long time--after receiving--after attaining arhatship, which is the last stage to attain for--for them, you know, if--Buddha said there is more important things to say which is difficult to understand. Only Buddha and bodhisattva could understand it, but rest of the people--voice-hearers and pratkekabuddhas will not understand it. So, you know, there is no wonder. At least they--they were very curious about his last teaching--Buddha's last teaching--teaching which has in Buddha's head--mind. So in this way they are asking Buddha to talk about it.

And there is several words--important words, which I have to explain. The four--one, two, three, four--four line: "strengths." "Strengths" means, you know--we--here we count five strengths. Sometime we say ten strengths, you know--ten or--as we chant, you know--to attain ten power. This is five or ten. Sometime we count ten, sometime we count five.

Ten powers are--it may take long long time if I explain it:

[1] no outflow, you know--no outflow--power of no outflow;

[2] power of, you know, controlling birth and death: he can have a choice in birth and death--he has a choice in birth and death;

[3] and he has--he knows his former life, and he knows everything like a great--like a great teacher of geography, he knows everywhere that is;

[4] and he knows the result of various practice;

[5] he know--he has precise and deep understanding of teaching;

[6] and he know how to help people;

[7] and he knows how to calm down his mind;

[8] and way to liberation;

[9] and how to keep precepts--

He has those power.

[10] he has power to change his karma--he can--he is possible to change his own karma.

Those are ten powers. And next one is fearlessness. Next in the sequence of Line 4: "Strengths, fearlessness, samadhis." Fearlessness mostly means when he give statement, when he talk about dharma, he has no--he--he has nothing to fear because of his wisdom. And his wisdom is so perfect that he has nothing to fear because he has no danger: no danger of persecution, or no danger of enemy--from enemy. Most, you know, fearlessness is mostly means fearlessness in his spirit to give his talk. Of course, some other fearlessness is included, but mostly when we say "fearlessness," fearlessness is something like this.

Those are the virtues or powers only buddha and bodhisattva has. We count eighteen powers. In some other scriptures we count different virtues, but anyway those are the power limited to buddha and bodhisattvas.

---

*****

69-11-07V

Zen Mountain Center

---

And no idea of obligation, or no justice, or no duty. And they--when people does not behave. And when people does not afraid of the result of bad conduct. When people has no wisdom to see things as it is. And when people has not much virtue. And when people do not observe precepts so much, like eight precepts: no taking life, no steal, no sex, no deceive, no intoxicant materials, no perfume [laughs, laughter], no dancing, no theater [laughs], no television, maybe [laughs, laughter]. No [laughs, laughter] [1 word] don't chair or bed. No eat after noon [laughs, laughter]. If people doesn't observe--do not observe those, you know, pure precepts, then air will be polluted [laughs].

[DC note: obviously this is stated within some other context - go to original lecture on shunryusuzuki.com for that.]

---

*****

69-11-11V

San Francisco

Student E: In the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha seems to make a distinction between nirvana, or the stopping of pain, and complete perfect enlightenment--

Suzuki Roshi: Mm-hmm.

Student E: --which is also tathagata [1 word].

Suzuki Roshi: Mm-hmm.

Student E: Could you talk some about the difference between these two things?

Suzuki Roshi: Nirvana is more, you know--it is same kinds of words as "no leakage," you know. Extinction of all desire is nirvana. No leakage, no outflow is nirvana. And enlightenment or anuttara-samyak-sambodhi anuttara-samyak-sambodhi (San.): the Buddha's or the highest enlightenment or wisdom. is enlightened stage more in a positive expression of same stage. But one is more Mahayana way, and the other is more Hinayana way. For an instance, arhat--before--arhat keeping various precepts and following Buddha's teaching, he may attain arhat. The practice of arhat is more passive and more negative. And the other is more active, you know, more positive--to have Buddha wisdom. And here there is many words for that. For an instance, we have term--or technical term like issai-shu-chi. issai-shu-chi (Jap.): one of the three types of wisdom; the wisdom of the Buddha. Issai-shu-chi is "various wisdom." The difference between our wis- [partial word]--our knowledge and Buddha's knowledge is our knowledge is accumulation of, you know, various knowledge. Not much, you know, not much relationship between one knowledge and the other knowledge. Not much system between various knowledge we have, you know. Suzuki Roshi: Hmm?

---

We should trust our own, you know, feeling and our own intuition. Maybe more physical one rather than--rather than some idea or some thought or some moral code or precepts. Hai.

Student I: Sometimes I have been very aware of--that the moral faculty in me or the moral part of me. I'll be doing something and--

Suzuki Roshi: Yeah.

Student I: --Doug once expressed this to me as kind of a very gray feeling, and a little voice in the back of your head saying, "Why you stupid" or--or this is--"What are you doing? This is terrible. You--you're being very bad now."

Suzuki Roshi: Mm-hmm

Student I: It's sort of a--

Suzuki Roshi: Voice.

Student I: Yeah, a voice that when you're walking into the kitchen toward the bread box [laughter] begins as very small. Sometimes it's very small [laughter]. Sometimes it gets so big that it's actually screaming at you, "Stop!" [Laughter.] But there you go doing it anyway. It's very difficult to sit through experiences like this with any composure [laughs, laughter].

Suzuki Roshi: No composure [laughs].

Student I: I mean, except--except that the moral part of human being, because people have that thing in them that says, "This is right and this is wrong"--or I do. Most people do.

Suzuki Roshi: Yeah. Most people, you know--I don't know what to say, but I don't know why is--why do we have that kind of feeling. But we know, you know, pretty well. We can trust ourselves pretty well without any teacher [laughs] maybe. But if you have teacher, you know, you will--you will not be fooled by anything, and you can put more faith in yourself--in your feeling. This is very--this kind of way of thinking or way of study is very different from other religion maybe, which put more emphasis on some moral code, or something you should do, or you shouldn't, or precepts. Hai.

Student J: Could you say something about mindfulness?

Suzuki Roshi: Mindfulness?

Student J: Mindfulness on breathing?

Suzuki Roshi: Oh, mindfulness--it is, you know--

Student J: Mindfulness on breathing.

Suzuki Roshi: Breathing--mostly breathing--you cannot have good breathing unless you have good posture. And good breathing means, you know, to have, in zazen practice--to take inhaling and exhaling with your whole body and mind. Do you understand?

Student J: Yes.

Suzuki Roshi: That is--that is good breathing, you know, so if you practice in this way, naturally your breathing will be deeper and deeper actually. That is good breathing. Mindfulness means to--to--to have--to obtain the oneness of mind and body. If you have oneness of mind and body, or if your mind pervade all--whole--all parts of your body, that minds pervades, you know--that mind is at the same time buddha-mind which include everything.

---

*****

69-11-16V

San Francisco

---

You say, "Oh, how beautiful this flower is!" When you say so, that is already sex. [Laughs.] We understand in that way. Our version of, "Don't be immoral," you know, means, "Don't say this is wonderful," you know. That is--our understanding--our version of the fourth precept.

---

*****

69-11-22V

OPENING LECTURE AT PAGE STREET ZENDO:

AMERICAN PRECEPTS

San Francisco

---

I want to express my gratitude and--and my confidence or my--I want to express my confidence in practicing with you. Whether we will be successful or not is, for me, out of question. I--if we [are] bothered by that kind of idea, we cannot do anything because our practice is always concentrated on present moment. If our practice in this moment is good, then next moment we will have good practice. And in this way, if we continue our practice, naturally we will have good practice forever. That is, as you know, our confidence in our practice.

Our group is now pretty many. We have many students now. When Hyakujo Zenji Hyakujo Ekai (Baizhang Huaihai): 720-814. Ch'an master of T'ang period. Dharma successor of Baso Doitsu.--Hyakujo--established monastic life in China, many people came to monastery and wanted to practice with him. So Hyakujo Zenji set up Hyakujo Shingi. Hyakujo Shingi means--I--because Hyakujo established the rules of monastery, we call it--shingi is monastic--"pure rules." And because he established, for the first time for the Zen monk, the "pure precepts" or "pure rules." We call it Hyakujo Shingi.

Since then, in China, Buddhist or Zen Buddhist started to practice zazen according to--mostly according to the Hyakujo Shingi. In India they have precepts, but in China, before Hyakujo, they--Zen Buddhist did not have special precepts for themselves.

Precepts is, you know, two sides. One is, you know, prohibitory, negative pa- [partial word]--side, and the other side of it is to--how to generate our spirit--how to do something good. It is more positive side of the precepts. So the positive side is called sazenmon sa (make); zen (good); mon (gate or entrance). --to do something good. And the negative side is shi-akumon. shi (impulse); aku (evil); mon (gate or entrance). Cf. shi-akushu (four evil worlds). Shi-akumon means to, you know--prohibitory side. There are two side.

I think we will have--we will naturally need some way of life as a group. It may be difficult to set up all at once, but if we try hard, we will find out our precepts which include both side--will be established. This is very important point for our practice and for our practice to help others and to help themselves--to help ourselves.

That we have our own way of life means that you encourage people to have a more spiritual and more adequate way of life for human being--not only for ourselves, but also for people we must study our way. It is something which we must create or something which we must establish as it is--as our rules are actually for ourselves, for human being.

As a Chinese, Hyakujo Zenji established Hyakujo Shingi. I think we must establish, maybe, American shingi. I'm not [laughs]--I'm not saying this jokingly. I am pretty serious. But I don't want to be too serious [laughs]. If you become too serious, you will lose your way. If you are playing game of [with] it, we will lose our way. So little by little, with patient [patience] and endurance, we must find out our way for ourselves.

On this occasion, I want--I want to introduce you one [of] Hyakujo's word. The Blue Cliff Record (Pi Yen Lu, Hekiganroku), Case 26. A monk asked, you know--a monk asked Hyakujo, "What is the special practice?" "What is the special practice?"

And he said, "To sit on the summit of Daiyuho." "Sublime Peak": Daioho, Mount Baizhang, Ta Hsiung Mountain, or Hyakujo-san Mountain. Daiyuho is the name of his mountain. "To sit on the top of mountain Daiyuho."

After all, various way of practice is just to sit on the top of mountain Daiyuho, you know. If you want to sit well, you must organize your life. So Hyakujo tried to help his people to organize their life so that they can sit on the top of mountain Daiyuho with him. Tokusan Possibly a Japanese form of Ta Hsuing, or the name of the monk Tokusan Senkan (780-865). --Daiyuho: to sit on top of the mountain Daiyuho.

Let's practice hard. And let's concentrate our life on zazen practice and organize our life so that we can sit well.

Thank you very much.

*****


69-12-03V

WINTER SESSHIN

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.

The "to give something" does not mean just to give something--some words or some dharma.  Those are, you know--so, it may be divided, classified into:  one is material, the other is spiritual giving.  But when we practice this, we must not have any idea of selfish--self.  So it means that something--according to the nature of something, you know, if rice or food is something to eat, you know, let them eat the food.  Let the food go to something hungry--someone who is hungry [laughs].  That is--according to him, that is almsgiving. 

So, you know, without any idea of "me" or "you," you know, to give--let the things go where the things want to go [laughs].  That is almsgiving.  That is bodhisattva spirit.  In this way, we treat things, we practice bodhisattva way. 

So where a bridge is needed, to cross the bridge is also dana-prajñaparamita.  Or to provide a ferry where we should--where people need, you know, is also dana-prajñaparamita.  Or to cultivate the farm or garden is also dana-prajñaparamita.  So even one word, if you know something about it, as soon as you hear something good, you should, you know, talk--tell people about it.  When you--when you think, "that is wonderful," then you--immediately you should tell people about it.

So--and even [if] you have nothing to give or nothing to know [laughs], you know, you don't know anything and you don't have anything, you can practice dana-prajñaparamita.  How you do it is to enjoy someone giving something to someone else [laughs, laughter]:  "Oh!  You did very good thing."  [Laughter.]  Then, you know, his practice will be as good as someone who give something to others.  So, you know, it is not matter of you know something or you don't--you have something.  Even though you have nothing, you can practice dana-prajñaparamita, he says.  I think this is very true. 

But usually, if you see someone [laughs] doing something good [laughs], someone may not feel so good [laughs, laughter]:  "Oh, he has a lot of money, so it is all right" [laughs, laughter].  "He knows many things, so that’s--that is why he is--he talks about many things, but we don’t know so much [laughs].  That’s just words--nothing to do with me."  That is usual, quite usual.  But if we have bodhisattva mind we can practice bodhisattva way.  That is dana-prajñaparamita.

The next one [is] to give kind words is like a mother, you know, speak to her baby, you know.  We should give--always give kind words to people.  And this kind--kind words, he says--if you give kind words in front of people, directly, he will be very grateful, of course.  And if you give kind word indirectly, you know, not to direct to someone but to--to talk about someones kindly with someone, you know, and he eventually he may hear it.  That kind of kind words will, you know, penetrate into his heart, right to his heart.  And that kind word sometime will, you know, he says, will turn over the heaven [laughs].  Kind words--one kind words will turn over all the heaven and earth [laughs, gestures], like this.  That is kind words.  And, in Japanese, he describe very beautifully, so almost everyone knows that words.  I cannot, you know, ex- [partial word]--translate it so well, but--

And third one is to do something good, or to benefit people.  That is the third one.  And he says foolish people may say, "If you work for others," you know, "you will not have no time to work [for?] yourself."  If you always helping others, you will not be helped.  You have no time to help yourself.  But actually it is not so.  To--to help others is to help yourself, because there is no--if you think [it] over--there is no difference between you and others.  Others is you and you are others.  And you are part of all society.

So to--even [if] you think you help yourself, it means that you are helping others [laughs].  Do you understand?  It is others, not you.  Where is you?  [Laughs.]  There is--there is no "you," actually.  But foolishly we think, "This is me and that is you" [laughs].  But no one knows who is you, you know, as I explained the other day.  Eyes cannot see themselves, you know.  You--you think this is eyes [probably pointing to his eyes], but eyes doesn't know themselves.  So when you say "eyes," eyes is not you any more.  That is some object about what you are thinking.  And you say, "This is me and this is--that is him," but that is not right. 

So [laughing] anyway, we are helping others.  So you shouldn't say:  "Now I am helping myself, and someday I will," you know, "after I help myself, I will help others."  That is very poor understanding. 

And the last one is rather difficult:  to be friendly with others.  To be friendly [laughs] with others, you know.  If I--if I, you know, say "There is no me or no you," that's all [laughs].  But he explained more carefully about it.  To be friendly with others means to--to accomplish oneness of everything:  in bodhisattva practice, oneness of all things.  That is to be friendly with others.  And how, you know, this practice could be done is when you say "I," you know--"I" include everything.  When I say "you," at that time, "you" include everything.  Actually we are practicing always this way.  We say, "I am here and bowing to Buddha."  We say so.

But when you say "Buddha," there is no you; when you say "I," there is no Buddha.  You know, I am--when--when we put our hand together and bow to Buddha [bows] carefully, you know, that is you or that is me, not Buddha.  Buddha is me.  When you open your eyes and see the Buddha, there is no you [laughs].  You are forgotten at that time, if that is real practice.  When you feel, "I am here and I am practicing--I am--I am bowing to Buddha," that is very superficial bow.  There is no sincerity in it.  So it is all right when you bow to Buddha with utmost care to bow to Buddha [bows], then Buddha is here, right here.  And when we bow to Buddha and when you lift your hand, and when you feel Buddha, you know, then Buddha is right here and there is no me.  We--we cannot, you know, say, "This is me or this is Buddha," because in--in one second, in each moment, "Buddha/me.  Buddha/me."  And we don't know which is which [laughs].  It is foolish to say, "This is me, or "This is Buddha."

When you see Buddha in your eyes, there is no you.  When you feel Buddha, there is no you.  So mostly, when you bow to Buddha, the world is world of Buddha only.  When you bow to Buddha with utmost care, that is you, you know.  Buddha is not here--there.  So when you practice bow you are Buddha, and, at the same time, you are practicing bodhisattva way in the realm of Buddha, the world of Buddha only.  This is, you know, complete oneness:  when you don't know which is which.

---

*****

69-12-04V

Thursday, December 4, 1969

Tassajara

---

Rules we have in zendo is called "pure rules." Pure means oneness--oneness of the rules and who observe rules. And the students and rules should be always one. That one student--where one student is, there should be rules. And rules should be taken care of by all of us as if you take care of your zazen. That is why we call it pure precepts--pure rules. So rules we have in zendo is not some rules which is set up by someone for some purpose.

So the difference between the usual rules and our rules is [that] our rules has freedom in it. The rules which has no freedom in it is not pure rules. The restricted side and freedom side in our pure rules is one. And how we take care of rules is how we take care of our practice--zazen practice.

---

*****

70-01-25V

San Francisco

---

And buddha-nature is not some special nature which only human being has. In Buddhism, when we say "sentient beings," it include, you know, plants and stones and mountains and stars and the sun and everything. That is sentient being. So, in short, it is emptiness, you know. The ground from which everything comes out: stars and moon and everything comes out--that is, you know, emptiness. That is why we call--we put emphasis on emptiness. So emptiness could be sometime, tentatively Zen Center or America or Japan or this world or this cosmos, from which everything comes out. So purpose of our practice is how to take care of Zen Center, how to take care of America, how to take care of this world or this cosmos, and enjoy things from which appears.

I said we are mostly Hinayana Buddhists [laughs], you know, although we call ourselves--we think ourselves Mahayana Buddhist, maybe because we don't mind [laughs] so much about precepts, or we eat feed--meat and fish. That is why we, you may think--because we don't mind as a Mahayana Buddhist to eat meat and to eat fish, Mahayana Buddhist is not so lazy, you know.

---

*****

70-04-28V

San Francisco

---

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

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

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

---

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

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

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

"The first precept--'Don't kill.'"

This is a precept transmitted from Buddha to us.

"Can you keep it or not?"

And he said, "Yes! I will keep it!"

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

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

Yoku tamotsu! Suzuki Roshi is speaking in a loud, ironic, and formal voice--probably imitating his teacher Kishizawa Ian Zenji--presenting a short dialog of two voices. Dai (great); -ichi (number one); hu (not); sessho (kill); -kai (precept); nanji (thee [older form of Japanese]); yoku (well); tamo (keep); -tsuya inaya (or not [makes the sentence a question]). Yoku tamotsu! (I must keep it well!) [Laughs.]

"This is the way you keep precepts!" you know.

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

---

*****

70-05-17V

San Francisco

Part 1

This morning I want to talk about Zen--Zen precepts.  As you know, precepts is not--real meaning of precepts is not just rules.  It is rather our way of our life.  When we, you know, organize our life, there you see something like rules, you know.  Even though you are not intending to observe some particular rule, but there you see some rules. 

As soon as you get up, you know, to wake you completely up, you wash your face, you know.  That is our precepts--one of the precepts.  And at a certain time you eat breakfast, when you become hungry.  That is, you know--it looks like you are observing some rules to eat breakfast at some certain time.  But it is actually the way of life you follow or you are doing, you know, naturally in that way.  So if you practice zazen, you know, there is some rules in your practice.  So zazen practice is, at the same time, precepts--one of the precepts.  So zazen and precept, if you really understand how we--how Buddhist get the idea of precepts, you will understand the relationship between Zen and precept.  The precept is just the way of life.

As a Zen students, we rather, you know, put emphasis on our everyday practice, including zazen practice.  But when you think about how to, you know, cope with the problem you have in your everyday life, you will realize how important it is to practice zazen.  The only power of practice will help you in its true sense.

For an instance, you know, when you hit mokugyo [laughs], if you try to, you know, control chanting, you know [laughs], by here:  "Please face this way," you know.  "Oh, that is too fast.  So I must make them--make them--make their chanting slower."  Or, "That is too slow.  I must make their chanting little bit faster."  That is--but actually, how you do it is not by here.

If you try to do it by your hand [laughs] or your mind, it doesn't work.  Only when you do it by your hara, you know, the feeling--by the feeling you have in zazen practice, then [laughs], you know, you can do it.  Just by your mind or by your hand, you cannot do anything.  It doesn't work.  Student will not follow your mokugyo.  Only when you do it, you know, with your zazen, you know, power, then you can control it.

When you can control yourself very well, you know, without having any idea of controlling anything, you know, when you do in right pace, then you can control yourself.  And when you can control yourself like you sit in zazen posture--zazen, then you can control the chanting perfectly.  This is true with your everyday practice, you know.

When you do something, just, you know, by your skill or just by your mind, you know, you cannot--you will not be supported by people, and you--so you cannot help others.  Only when you do it with zazen mind you can help others.  And you will be naturally supported by people.  This is also--so, if--if the precepts, you know, is some moral code which you have in your mind, that precepts doesn't work at all [laughs].  When you forget all the precepts and, without realizing--without trying to observe it as you eat when you are hungry, you know, then there is--naturally there is precepts.  So when you forget all about precepts, and when you can observe it quite naturally, there is precepts, and that is how you keep our precepts.

---

*****

70-05-17V-2

San Francisco

Part 2

So how you keep our precepts is how you organize your life. And how you organize your life is how you practice zazen. This point is explained in various way. When we practice zazen, you know, there is nothing outside of us. Everything is--all--whole being is included in our practice. So the merit of practice is just for yourself. Because there is only one whole being, there is no "you," you know, or no objective world. Objective world and subjective world is same in our practice--is one in our practice.

We, you know, explained in this way, but it is explanation of our zazen practice. It is so when you just sit without involved in thinking mind or emotional activity. When you just, you know, remain on your black cushion, then that is the practice we mean--which is explained in various way.

So, you know, what Bodhidharma said, "No merit." [Laughs.] "No merit." What will be the merit of practice? No merit [laughs], because there is nothing but practice. So there is no merit to give to anyone or to have--to own it for yourself. No merit. Merit itself is zazen. Zazen itself is merit. So no merit--zazen--just zazen.

If you say "merit," there is no zazen. If you say zazen, there is no merit. So, he said, "No merit." Whatever you do there is no merit. If there is merit, that is, you know, dualistic practice. If you observe precepts in that way, that is, you know, heresy [laughs]. If you have--if you think, "I have to," you know, "observe this precept and this precept and ten precepts, one by one," that is wrong practice.

For a long, long time, many Buddhists tried to observe our precepts with great effort, you know. So--but that kind of practice is, for us, a violence [violation?] of the precepts [laughs] because, you know, you--your precepts became--fall into dualistic precepts. "Here is precept. I have to observe it." That is not the way we practice zazen.

The Mahayana Buddhists said, you know, dualistic practice is the violence [violation?] of practice for Mahayana students. Why is it? Because when we observe rigidly, you know, or when we are caught by precepts, that is violence [violation?] of precepts. Then, if we have no idea of precepts what will happen? [Laughs.] That may be also a violence [violation?] of the precepts too.

There is precept, but, you know, the precept should be observed without any idea of observing it. That is how you practice--how you observe precepts. In short, when you observe precepts in the same way as you practice zazen--and that is perfect precepts transmitted from Buddha to us.

So as a Buddhist, whether you know the each of the sixteen precepts or two hundred fifty precepts or not, you know, we should be able to practice--observe precepts. And when we practice zazen we should not just, you know--we should not practice our way just "this is zazen." This zazen include, you know, various study of Buddhism.

This morning when I join you, you know, I felt a deep feeling. I think that is because you were sitting just before you coming. This kind of feeling is important. This is the real sangha, you know. With this feeling I think you should carry on our practice and our life in this building.

Thank you very much.

*****

70-06-01V

Tassajara

---

When Buddha--first five hundred years--this is not exactly--cannot be exactly so--but the first five hundred years, when Buddha's direct disciple or grandson of--grand-disciple--anyway, the first five hundred [years] will have good sages like something like Buddha. And next, you know, hundred years--so it means after--one thousand years after his death--we will have, you know, people who practice zazen and who study, you know, Buddhism. That is the people after the first five hundred to one thousand. The last time [laughs]--this is interesting--last time, which is after one thousand year [laughs], they will not observe precepts [laughs, laughter]. It is exactly so [laughs, laughter]. They will not observe precepts. But they will read sutras [laughing] and they will chant sutras. They will not [be] interested in zazen so much. And those people we had in the first thousand years--people like arhat or people who practice zazen or people who understood his teaching--difficult to find out, or no one can be like that. And the people will be involved in just, you know, idea of emptiness or, you know, somethingness [laughing]--somethingness or emptiness.

---

I borrowed, you know, a book from--from--from Gary [Snyder]'s wife, you know--Mas--Masa--Masa--and about Sangai-kyo, you know, a small Vajra school of Japan: Sangai-kyo. And in that book, you know, it said--it says, the people in the last--in after one thousand year after Buddha's death--they will [laughs]--people will--may be classified in two [laughing]. Very appropriate, you know. You know, it explains what we are doing here and what they are doing here in Japan [laughs]. Good contrast. And, you know, it is explain very well, you know. Anyway, we do not observe precepts [laughs, laughter]. In Japan, you know, we eat fish, we kill animals, and in America too, you know. In its strict sense we don’t observe--that is very true.

And, you know, one is very innocent [laughs], because, you know, you don’t know about what you are actually doing [when] you violate precepts. But in Japan, even though they know what they are doing, you know, they still do it because they are shameless [laughs, laughter]. They have no idea of shame, you know. I thought "You have no idea of shame," but if I think more, you know, they do not--knowing that what they should do, you know, to do not observe is real shameless, you know. You know, innocent people looks like shameless, but it is not, you know, real shameless [laughs]. So I was very interested in the description of the people in our time. And anyway, we will just--we will be involved in, you know, this idea--ji--only.

So you may ask, you know, "What is real teaching of Buddha?" you know. If you don't, you know, understand it you will keep asking someone, you know, "What is it? What is it? What does it mean?" You are just seeking for something which you can understand. That is mistake, you know.

---

Dogen Zenji says, "There is no bird who flies after the limit of the sky," you know. "There is no fish who swim after knowing the end of the ocean." [Laughs.] We don't exist in that way. We exist in limitless world. And sentient being is, you know, numberless, and our desire is limitless, but still, you know, we have to, you know, try--we have to continue to make our effort like fish flies [laughs]--swims--like bird swim [flies]. So Dogen Zenji says, "Bird fly like a bird; fish swims like a fish." That is bodhisattva's way, and that is how, you know, we observe our practice.

---

*****

70-06-13V

Tassajara

---

Student C: I see a situation in which it looks to me as if one person is hurting another person. And I become upset in that situation.

Suzuki Roshi: Oh, I see.

Student C: The question is: Is that--I'm becoming upset because I'm not seeing the situation as it actually is, and that if I were seeing it as it actually is, I wouldn't be emotionally upset. That's my question.

Suzuki Roshi: Oh, I see. But that is very difficult question to answer, you know, because, you know, it is difficult to know whether one is helping the other with--in some appropriate way or not, you know? So if it is not appropriate, you will be upset, you know. At least you will worry, you know. When one is helping appropriate, you know, when you upset--sometimes that happens, you know. If, you know, you--if someone is helping your girlfriend in proper way [laughs], you may be--anyway you will be upset, you know. [Laughs, laughter.] That kind of thing happens pretty often, so it is very difficult [laughs, laughter] to answer.

Student C: Roshi, my question is more that a person who really sees things clearly--is there no situation that would upset him emotionally?

Suzuki Roshi: I don’t think so, you know, emotionally, you know. But "upset" I say, or you say, but that feeling--there is big difference, you know, in that feeling too. Maybe Buddha will be upset, you know, easily--quite easily. But when he is upset, you know, even though he's upset he's not upset because--just because of him or because of his attachment or anything like that. And sometime he will be very angry [laughs], you know. Anger is al- [partial word]--allowed when that is Buddha's anger, you know, when he is angry when he should be angry. But that anger is not exactly the same anger we will have, usually. You know, that is, you know--if he is not upset when he should be upset, you know, that is also violence [violation] of the precepts. When he should be angry, he should be angry. He must be angry. That is how the difference between Mahayana precepts and more, you know--that's a characteristic of Mahayana way of observing precepts.

We say it is--sometime anger may be like a sunset, you know. It is beautiful. Red. [Laughs.] It is--anyway, it--although it is red and, you know, bright and red, but, you know, even though it looks like anger, but it is actually a beauty. So there is, you know, that kind of difference. But so how--you know, if--if anger comes, you know, from purity like a lotus, it is good, I think. From pure mind. Hai.

---

*****

70-06-17V-1

SANDOKAI LECTURE VIII

Tassajara

Part 1

---

Usually, you know, non-Buddhists why, you know, they become attached to objective world or something they see, is they understand only one way, you know. "Here is something very good," you know, "or sweet. I have to eat," you know. And we understand something exist here without, you know, us--whether we try to eat it or not, the cake exist. That is normal way of understanding. But cake is--become cake because we want to eat it. So we make cake, you know. There is no cake, actually, without us. When we understand in that way, we are not--we are seeing cake, but we are not seeing cake [laughs]. That is how we keep our precepts, you know.

We, you know, we kill some animal. Maybe we may kill some animal or worm or insects or earwigs [laughs, laughter]. But when we think, you know, "I am killing earwigs are here," you know, "many. So this is very harmful one, so I have to kill this one," you know. When you understand in that way, you understand things only dualistic way. So-- But, you know, actually earwig and human being is one--not different. Even it is impossible to kill, you know, earwigs. Even though we think we killed it, you know, actually we cannot. It is not possible, even though you smash it [thumps fist on floor or table, laughs], it is still alive. That tentative form of earwig may vanish, but actually whole world--as long as, you know, whole world, including us, is exist, we cannot kill it. When we come to this understanding, we can keep our precepts completely.

But even so [laughs], you know, we should not kill, you know, anything without any reason or with some convenient reason--making some reason why I should kill: "Because," you know, "earwig eats vegetables, so that is why I must kill them." And "It is nothing wrong to kill animals," you know, "so I am killing the earwig."

With this-- With some reason, you know, you kill an animal, that is not our way. Actually, when you kill animal, you don't feel so good. That should be, you know-- That is also included in your understanding. "Even though I don’t feel good, I have to kill. Even though it is not possible," you know, "tentatively I am killing animal." In this way, whole world, you know--something is going in the big world.

So without sticking to any idea of killing or not killing, or without, you know, with some reason why we kill or why we don't kill--if you observe our precept in that way, that is not actual way of observing precepts. How you observe precepts is to have complete understanding of reality is how you don't kill. Do you understand? In other word, how you understand, you know, my lecture is how you don't kill [laughs]. How you practice zazen is how you do not kill animal. In other words, you should not, you know, live in the world of duality only.

We should observe our world in two ways: from--one is from dualistic, you know, way; the other is from the viewpoint of absolute. So, "It is not good to kill," is right. It is not impossible--and "Even though you think you kill, you didn't kill." That is another side. So, you know, even though you break your precepts, you are violent [have violated] your percepts--after doing it, if you feel very sorry, you know--"Oh, I am sorry" [laughs]. If you say "I am very sorry" to the wigs--earwigs, you know, then that is Buddhist way.

In this way, our practice will go on and on and on. You may think, you know, if you--if there is precepts we should observe it literally, or else we cannot be Buddhist. Or, you know, if you feel good when you observe some precepts, that is not Buddhist way--our way. Our way is, you know, sometime we may kill animal. But to feel sorry, that is our way. To feel sorry is included in our precepts. That is how we observe precepts. And, you know, this kind of activity will go on and on and on. And everyone is, you know, involved in this kind of activity. Everything is doing this kind of thing. But way they do--the feeling they have may be--may not be same. One will be, you know-- One has no idea of precepts or attainment. The other has trying to make themselves feel good [laughs] by some religion or precepts--observing precepts. That is not Buddhist way.

Buddhist way is, in one word, jihi. Jihi is to--to encourage, you know, to encourage people when they have good feeling and to get rid of their suffering. To help to get rid of their suffering. That is true love. It is not just to give something, or to receive something, or to observe precepts, or to attain something we do not practice our way. We practice our way as things, you know, naturally is--are going. And to follow people, and to suffer with them, and help to relieve their suffering, and to encourage people to go on and on and on. That is Buddhist way. That is how we observe precepts.

---

*****

70-06-17V-2

SANDOKAI  LECTURE VIII

Tassajara

Part 2

---

In one of the--in Bonmo-kyo--Bonmo-kyo  is the important scripture of precepts.  In Bonmo-kyo  it says, "To see--to see is not to see [laughs], and not to see is to see [laughs]."  Do you understand?  "To see is not to see.  And not to see is to see."  You know, that is how we, you know, observe "don't act in unchaste," you know, act, you know. 

To see a woman [laughs], you know, is not to see the woman [laughs].  To see the woman is not to see the woman.  Not to see the woman is to see the woman [laughs].  Do you understand?  To eat fish, you know, or meat--to eat meat is not to eat meat.  And not to eat meat is not to eat meat [laughs].  To--  You understand precepts only one way.  "Not to see--not to eat meat" is how you observe precepts.  But not to eat, you know, meat is to eat meat [laughs].  You are eating meat.

There is two monks, you know, once travelling together.  And there were a big river, where there was no bridge to cross.  So they were waiting on the one side of the bank.  While they were waiting, a beautiful woman came [laughs].  So they were very much encouraged to cross the river with her.  And, at last, one of them, you know, decided, you know, one of them carried her on his back and crossed the river.  The other monk, after crossing the river and on the way to somewhere, the other monk became furious [laughs].  "You are," you know, "you are a monk!  You violate precepts", you know, "not to see or--a woman.  As a monk, it is not so good.  Why did you do that?"

The monk who helped [laughs] the lady said, "You are still carrying [laughs] a woman.  I forgot about her long long time ago.  You are still carrying--you are still violating the precepts" [laughs], he said, you know.  Maybe to, you know, it is not completely right to help her, you know, as a monk.  It may be, you know, it may not be perfectly right.  Even so--even so, as a man--as a--as a--as all human being are our friend, we should help them, you know, even we violate Buddhist precepts we should help her.  But if you think about it, you know, uselessly, you know, when there is no need to think about, to think about it, you know, is--is actually violating the precepts. 

So to see--to see a woman is not to see the woman.  To help her actually is not--actually he is not helping her, you know.  When--  Just because to help her if you cross [with] her on his back is--actually he is not, you know, helping her.  Do you understand?  He is not helping her.  So not to help her, you know, is to help her in its true sense.

When you are involved in dualistic sense of violating precepts, or man and woman, or monk and layman, that is violating the precepts and [is a] poor understanding of Buddha's teaching.  That is why--how we sit, you know.  We just sit, without any idea of attain--any idea of attainment, without any idea of doing anything, just to sit is our way.  To be involved--completely involved in sitting meditation is our zazen--without any idea of attainment, any idea of waste of time or meaningful, you know, practice.  Just to sit is our way.  And this is how you keep our precepts

Sometime we will be angry, and sometime we will smile.  Sometime we will [be] mad at people--your friend.  Sometime you will give a kind words to them.  But, you know, actually what we are doing [is] just to observe our way. 

 -----

*****

70-06-17V-3

SANDOKAI LECTURE VIII

Tassajara

Part 3

---

Student D: In killing the earwig, there is no words or memories or anything. There is just the experience of killing the earwig. Is that the teacher that leads to the source--that leads you the experience of the source?

Suzuki Roshi: Yeah.

Student D: Is the experience of killing the earwig, not the talk about it, the teacher?

Suzuki Roshi: Yeah. You know, and at that time, you know, you shouldn’t feel like Buddhist or good monk or sinful monk, you know [laughs], or violating your precepts. You should, you know--when you are working in the garden, you know, for some purpose you should be involved in that activity completely. Sometime you can--you may be mad at the earwigs [makes humorous growling noise, laughs], you know. But no one can blame you if you, you know--no one can say anything--criticize you. You should have that much confidence, you know. If you are expelled from Tassajara because you killed a--a lot of earwigs [laughs, laughter], you should go, "Okay. I will go." That's all. You--you--you must have, you know, not confidence--it is more than confidence, you know. You don't have to fight with anyone. If you have that much, you know, understanding in what you are doing, that is good. That is our way.

Student E: When we say that we don’t harm sentient beings, or earwigs, or anything else, do we say that because it's impossible to harm them, or because it's wrong to harm them, or both?

Suzuki Roshi: Both, yeah. We should know that is not possible, you know. Why it is not possible not to kill is because that is words. Words cannot reach so--that area. But only when you [are] caught by words, you know, you say "possible" or "impossible." That is how, actually, you live, you know, every day--killing something, sacrificing something. You just apply Buddha's teaching to give you some good excuse, that's all. And you feel good, you know: Very superficial understanding of Buddhism. So both is true, you know. You--We super [partial word]-- Even though it is superficial understanding, we cannot help feeling bad when you kill something. You don't feel so good.

But even though you don't feel so good, that does not mean that you are doing something wrong--because you are not killing, actually. But if you, you know, say, "Because I am not killing anything, so it is okay to kill" [laughs], that is wrong because you stick to the words or precepts, which is just words. It is not true heart of Buddha's--true feeling of Buddha.

Student F: Roshi, every animal has a way of living, of eating, of raising its young, of relating to the world, that is in keeping with its particular dharma or the dao of its being. Does not man have a specific and particular way of living, and eating, and raising his young, and relating to each other that is in keeping with his dharma or his dao?

Suzuki Roshi: Yeah. Not absolutely, but, you know, we have to make best effort to keep, you know, dharma. That is, you know, those words. Words is necessary. Even though it is necessary, you shouldn't think this is complete, you know. We should make constant effort to produce new dharma, one after another. Produce new dharma, new precepts.

We say, "this is human life," you may say. But that human life is for today, not for tomorrow. Tomorrow we must have more improved, better way to live. This kind of effort should be continued. That is why we have bad feeling, you know. If we have some bad feeling, it means something. So we should improve our way. And--but you should not expect any perfect dharma, you know, in term of "you should do" or "you shouldn't."

So there is--no one can insist [on] their own way, but we should appreciate their effort to improve our dharma. That is Buddhist way. Does it make some sense [laughs]? Hai.

---

*****

70-06-25V

SANDOKAI LECTURE X

Tassajara

Part 1

---

We don't need to have any special teaching or idea of God because, strictly speaking, everything is God for us. When we observe things, you know, in this way, everything can be a god for us. So we don't need any special God. Moment after moment we are facing to the God. And each one of us [is] also God or Buddha. So we don't need any special idea of God. That is, you know, maybe the point. Hai.

Student H: Roshi, that sounds very good to me, but then how come we take vows? Like when Ed and Meg got married--

Suzuki Roshi: Mm-hmm.

Student H: --you said that they should take refuge in the triple treasure and the, you know, the ten cardinal precepts. And things seemed [1-3 words inaudible].

Suzuki Roshi: Yeah, yeah. We take vow or we observe precepts. We read sutra. But sutra or precepts--understanding of sutra or precepts should be right understanding like this. If we don't-- Even though you read, you know, scriptures or observe precepts without right understanding, you know, that will be the precepts, which is brightness or darkness. So when you are caught by, or when you rely on precepts or scripture, it is not Buddhist scripture any more.

Student H: But then, if-- I mean, if I say, "Okay, I'm not going to speak ill of others."

Suzuki Roshi: Mmm?

Student H: Suppose I take a precept that says I won't speak ill of others.

Suzuki Roshi: Mm-hmm.

Student H: And, you know, if I follow that precept--

Suzuki Roshi: Mm-hmm.

Student H: --it seems like [aside inaudible]-- If I don't follow the precept, it seems like there's no reason for it at all, you know, and if I do follow the precept religiously, it seems like, you know, I am being caught by it.

Suzuki Roshi: Mmm.

Student H: I mean, I'd be happy to take the Sandokai as precepts that-- You know, I just don't understand. If they're not rigid, they don't seem to be any use at all. And if they are rigid they don't seem to be consistent with the Sandokai and things like that.

Suzuki Roshi: Uh-huh.

Student H: I mean, it-- I always wondered about that part in the meal chant where we say, you know, "to practice good and avoid evil."

Suzuki Roshi: Mm-hmm.

Student H: And I asked you about that once, and you said something to the effect that that means just, you know, pay attention to what we're doing. Don't look around, don't, you know, don't get caught by it.

Suzuki Roshi: Mm-hmm.

Student H: But if that's so, I mean, why don't we say that? Why don't we say, "I practice-- I vow to," you know, "practice zazen in my everyday life and not be caught by rules"?

Suzuki Roshi: Mm-hmm.

Student H: You know, why go through this "good and evil" thing, you know? It doesn't seem-- It seems kind of phony.

Suzuki Roshi: Nooo. [Laughter.] You are trying to argue with me, that's all [laughs, laughter]. You need precepts, actually, you know, even though, you know, you shouldn't, you know [laughs]. It is not possible to violate precepts actually. You know, you cannot. But you feel, you know, as if you are violating precepts, you know. Actually, you feel in that way. So, if you actually feel in that way, you should accept your feeling and, if you accept that feeling, then you have to, you know, say something: "Excuse me," or "I am sorry," or something. That is also quite natural. This is, you know, working precepts. This is, you know, dead: "Don't kill" is dead precepts. "Excuse me" is actual working precepts, which is, you know, not foot behind or foot before. Do you understand? If you read precepts [and say or think], "Okay, I will do that," you know, that is precepts. And when you feel you violate it, you may say, "Oh, excuse me." That is quite natural, you know.

Student H: If it were natural--and I feel very natural about some of the precepts--

Suzuki Roshi: Mm-hmm.

Student H: You know, I feel just naturally that I shouldn't, you know, talk nasty things about people.

Suzuki Roshi: Mm-hmm.

Student H: But sometimes, mmm-- [as if to say, "I don't know"]

Suzuki Roshi: [Laughs, laughter.]

Student H: If you said to me, like, not to take harmful drugs? At least sometimes it seems natural to take those things, because they don’t seem so harmful. But, you know, I mean, if the precepts were all natural, and, you know, if I just wanted to do it like that--

Suzuki Roshi: Yeah. Yeah.

Student H: --and if it works [?], you know, that's a different thing.

Suzuki Roshi: When you say so, you know, you may say, "It is quite natural for me to live in this world, to be born in this world." You know, it means that. You see? But is it natural? [Laughs, laughter.] [Students commenting off-mike.] Hmm? [Laughter.] You are already accepted, you know, which you shouldn't accept. Why did you come here? That is already maybe big mistake [laughs, laughter].

Student H: They didn’t say [1-2 words inaudible] when I came here.

Suzuki Roshi: Excuse me?

Student H: They didn't ask me about precepts. They just wanted to know if I had $2.50 a day.

Suzuki Roshi: [Laughs, loud laughter.]

Student I [David Chadwick?]: You know, maybe the office should say, "You have $2.50, and are you willing to follow their precepts?" [Laughter.]

Suzuki Roshi: Good bargain. Good deal. But it cannot be so, you know, simple. So we-- Anyway, you know, you should say, "Oh, I am sorry." That is necessary. If you, you know-- When you are born, you cannot say so [laughs, laughter]. But now you can say so [laughs]. So you should say, "Oh, I am sorry to be your daughter or to be your son. Oh, excuse me." [Laughs, laughter.] "Oh, I am sorry I caused you a lot of trouble for you. Oh, excuse me." You should say so. That is actual precepts, you know. Hai.

---

*****

70-06-25V-2

SANDOKAI LECTURE X

Tassajara

Part 2

---

Student M: Do I understand you to say that the problem is how to be aware of all these opposites and polarities and precepts without being conscious of being aware? The consciousness sort of fixes things--

Suzuki Roshi: Yeah.

Student M: --and that is not real either. It fixes the chain.

Suzuki Roshi: Yeah. Chain will be, you know, fixed, and you cannot move, you know. But still you should move, you know. And time doesn't wait for you. So you should go on and on and on following the reality. If you think about this point, you already started to walk, you know. If you [are] just thinking about it, you know, it doesn't work, and you are not walking forward. But if you think, you know, "The world is going on and on. We are becoming older and older, you know. Today will not come again, and tomorrow I have to go to somewhere," you know. If you think in that way, you know, you cannot think same thing always, one after another. You should go on and on and on. At that time you do not--you cannot stop and thinking.

So anyway, you should go on and on and on, making best effort. When you make best effort, that is actually you are walking. So, you know, left foot sometime may be, you know, behind. Sometime may be forward--ahead. Sometime you feel as if you are doing something good, and sometime you feel as if you are doing something bad. But, you know, in that way, you are going on and on and on. That is, you have to accept it. If you have to accept it, and if you have to live on each moment, actually you are living on each moment. Then you should do something. You should say something. "Say something!" [pats the table with his hand three or four times gently] [laughs, laughter], a Rinzai master maybe say. "Say something now!" [hits the table with his stick once for each syllable]. What do you say? That is, you know, the point.

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70-07-08V

EKO LECTURES, No. 1: THE FIRST MORNING EKO

Tassajara

After arriving [in] China, Dogen spent three months in the ship. During [that] time, he was very much discouraged in one way--to see bad practice of Chinese famous Zen masters [laughs]. I think this is always true [laughs]. If you go to Japan to study Buddhism, you will be also discouraged to see many famous Zen--famous Zen masters. According--he described--Dogen Zenji described in Shobogenzo what kind of experience he had at that time, good and bad. Shobogenzo fascicle(s): [Names of fascicles?]

He also. you know--he respected--after he received transmission because of Nyojo Zenji, Tendo Nyojo: Tien-tung Ju-Ching (1163-1228). he respected Chinese priests very much. But before he met with Nyojo Zenji, he was pretty critical with Chinese monks. For an instance, he said Chinese monks did not know even precepts, you know, which is described in Kegon Sutra or many other precepts--book of precepts--sutra of precepts. They didn't know [them] at all.

They--they had long fingernails [laughing] and long hair. Very interesting. And dirty clothing, and he did not--they did not know even to--how to rinse their mouth. That is why he wrote Shobo-[partial word]--in one of the fascicle of Shobogenzo, how to clean up our face and body after--when you go to rest room or when you get up. He may have been referring either to Shobogenzo "Senjo" ("Rules for the Lavatory") or "Senmen" ("Washing the Face"). And he says, you know, their breathing had strong smell [laughing] from too--when he talk with some famous teachers [laughter], he--he could hardly stay with him because his--their, you know, breath exhale is too bad--smells too bad [laughs, laughter]. And, you know, even in great China, there is not much good teachers, and he was very much discouraged. And they did not know even what is precepts.

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*****

70-07-28V

HOW TO UNDERSTAND RITUALS AND PRECEPTS

ZAZEN, RITUALS AND PRECEPTS CANNOT BE SEPARATED

San Francisco

Part 1

 

This evening I want to talk about some problems you have when you come to Zen Center.  And you understand why we practice--zazen practice, pretty well.  But why we observe this kind of ritual--rituals, is maybe rather difficult to understand why.  Actually, it is not something to be explained [laughs] so well.  If you ask me why we observe or why I observe those rituals, you know, without much problem is difficult to answer. 

But first of all, why I do it is because--because I have been doing for a long time [laughs].  So for me there is not much problem [laughs, laughter].  So I--I tend to think that because I have no problem in observing my way, there must not be problem--so much problem for you [laughs].  But actually, you are an Amer- [partial word]--you are Americans, and I am Japanese, and you have been--you were not practicing Bud- [partial word]--Buddhist way, so there must be various problems [laughs]. 

So this kind of problem is almost impossible to solve.  But if you, you know, actually follow our way I think you will reach--you will have some understanding of our rituals.  And what I want to talk about is actually about precepts, you know. 

But precepts for me is also include rituals.  And when we say "precepts," it--it is actually another name of our zazen practice.  For us, zazen practice and observation of rituals are not different--two different things.  How to observe our rituals is how to observe our precepts.  The way we observe, and the idea of observing practice or rituals are actually same.  And our practice, especially as a--as Soto school, put emphasis on our everyday life, including rituals, or eating, or way of going [to] restroom, or bathroom [laughs] too.  All those things are included in our practice. 

So the way we practice zazen, the--the way we practice rituals, and the way we--way of life as a Buddhist or Zen student is fundamentally the same.  But when we talk about our way of life or rituals, you know, actually you face to some rules.  Rules of life will be, you know, rules of observing prec- [partial word]--ceremony is rituals.  And rules of--in our everyday life is our precepts

So we--we have, you know, here we have the idea of rules.  When we say "precepts," precepts means some rules usually, but that is just a superficial understanding of rituals--preceptsPrecepts is actually--expression of our true nature is precepts.  And how we express our true nature is always according to the place or situation under which you live.  So to practice zazen is to be yourself, you know, on your black cushion, and to observe our precepts is just to be yourself.  And how we observe our rituals [is] to be with people in Buddha hall. 

So as you have some way of sitting in--on black cushion, you know, we have some way of observing our rituals or ceremony.  And spirit of, you know, in our prac- [partial word]--in zazen practice, the point is to get rid of thinking mind--to be free from thinking mind, or to be free from emotional activity.  In short, that is the practice of selflessness.  And in our rituals observation, the point is to be free from selfish idea--or the rituals--practice of rituals is practice of selflessness. 

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***** 

70-07-28V

HOW TO UNDERSTAND RITUALS AND PRECEPTS:

ZAZEN, RITUALS AND PRECEPTS CANNOT BE SEPARATED

San Francisco

Part 2

---

First of all you enter, you know, you bow. The bow means to--we say gotai-tochi. From gotai (Jap.): "the five body (members)"--head, two arms, and two legs;

tochi (Jap.): "prostrating one's body." Gotai is "our body." Our--to- [partial word]--tochi is "to throw away our body." It means that, in short, practice of selflessness, you know, to throw away our physical and mental being. And--or we offer, you know, ourselves to Buddha. That is our practice of bow. To bow--when you bow, you bow and lift your hand. That means to lift Buddha's feet, which is on your palm, like this, and you feel Buddha on your palm. So in this way, you--when you practice bow, you have no--or you shouldn't have--you are supposed not to have any idea of self, you know. You give up everything.

When Buddha was begging, his follower, you know, spread his hair on the ground, muddy ground, and let Buddha pass that place. That is--is supposed to be the origin of why we bow. And in ritual, you know, you bow and work. You do everything by some sign [laughs], you know, that is, you know, that kind of thing is--maybe the things you may not like so much [laughs]. Just--it looks like very formal, you know, to--to--to do everything by sign, by bell. Whether you want to do it or not, you must do it [laughs]. But it looks like very formal. And actually you--as long as you are in Buddha hall--hall, you should observe our way according to the rules we have here. But why we do it is to forget ourselves and to become one--to feel or to be, you know, Zen student actually in this Buddha hall. That is why we--we observe our rituals.

And this is very important point. To feel your being here, right in this time, is very important practice for us. And actually, that is the point of observing precepts and observing rituals and practice of zazen. To feel or to be yourself at certain time, in certain place. For that purpose, we practice our way.

So actual feeling cannot--could not be understood without observing it. When you observe it, you feel actual feeling of rituals. As long as you try to know what does it mean or why you do it, you know, it is difficult to feel your actual being on that place.

Only when you do it you will, you know, feel your being. To be a Buddhist is to do things like Buddha, like your friend do. That is actually, you know, to--how to be a Buddhist [laughs]. It does not mean, you know, when you are able to observe our rituals as your friend do, then you will be--you will have no problem in your everyday life. That kind of feeling or practice will be extended in your everyday life.

You will find yourself in various situation, and you will intuitively know what you should do. And you will react--you will have right reaction to someone's, you know, activity. When you, you know, you have--when you lack, or when you are not able to respond to the people without, you know, thinking how to--without wondering what he has in his mind or what--what is the reason why he, you know, force something to you [laughs], you know, then it--maybe sometime you can. But most of the time I don't think you will have right--you cannot have right respond, or you will not have most intuitive, you know, respond to the people.

So why we--you do it is, you know, I want you to do it until I think, at least, you know, he is--until I think--quite sure about his respond, you know, to other people. How he respond to others is very important point. As a teacher, you know, when we teachers see our students, you may be trying to be, you know, [to] act right, and try to understand people, but most of the time it is rather difficult to have--to be very--to have some kind of intuition. And for--if you have this kind of, you know, if you start to have this kind of intuition, you have big confidence in yourself, and you can trust people, and you can trust yourself. And so, all the problem--problems which is created by yourself will be no more. You will have no more problem--something, you know, almost all the people may have. That is why, you know, we have training or practice.

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*****

70-07-28V

HOW TO UNDERSTAND RITUALS AND PRECEPTS:

ZAZEN, RITUALS AND PRECEPTS CANNOT BE SEPARATED

San Francisco

Part 3

---

My, you know, master Gyokujun So-on. used to say to us, you know: "If you stay with me for," you know, "for several years, whether you become a priest or not," you know, "if you become a priest, you will be a good priest, and you--if you stay--remain layman, you will be a good," you know, "layman or good citizen," he always said, "and you will have no problem in your life."

And I think that is--that was very true, you know. I was the six[th] youngest disciple when [laughs] I became my master's disciple. And--and two of us become a--became a priest, but rest of the disciples became, you know, remain laymen. And they are very good, you know, actually. When they come to my teacher they were, you know, some [laughs]--they had some trouble, you know. But all--most of--one disciple who passed away, you know, is exception, but rest of the people has been doing pretty well, although they are not priest. You may--so I think that is very true.

Anyway, this kind of practice is very--very good practice for you. You may think our practice is like a army practice or something [laughs], but actually it is not so. The idea is quite different. Maybe Japanese army, you know, copied our practice, you know. Maybe looks like so, but they couldn't copy [laughs] our spirit.

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.

So in this way, I think, we can carry on our schedule. And how we carry on our schedule is how we observe our precepts.

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*****

70-07-28V

HOW TO UNDERSTAND RITUALS AND PRECEPTS:

ZAZEN, RITUALS AND PRECEPTS CANNOT BE SEPARATED

San Francisco

Part 4

---

Precepts started by Buddha, you know, when he said "Don't do this--that, or don't," you know, "behave like that," you know. That was the origin of precepts. So in India, at Buddha's time, they have Buddha's precepts. And in China, they have more Chinese--they have precepts which is based on Chinese way of life. We have sixteen precepts, you know, but those precepts is the essential, you know, precepts which we should observe as a Japanese, as an American, as a--a--an Indian priest, you know, or layman. That is sixteen precepts.

And those precepts are the precepts which you can apply, you know, to various--apply to your everyday life. We say "Don't kill," you know, but "Don't kill" does not mean just don't kill flies or insects, you know. Actually it is too late [laughs], you know. If you--"Oh, here!"--if you say, "Here is a fly," whether you should kill it or not, it is too late! That problem is always with us, you know. Before you see fly, we have always this kind of problem. When you eat, what you will say, you know: "Seventy-two labors brought us this rice," you know. When we say so, you know, "Seventy-two labors" include, you know, to keep grains from various insects, you know.

So, you know, it is not just--not to kill insects. When you eat, when you say, "Seventy-two labors brought us this rice," you know, it include already the precepts--precept of "not to kill." But actually, you know, after making a great effort to protect corns--corn from insects, we can eat. So at that time we, you know, the way you, you know, observe--ho- [partial word]--the feeling you say "Seventy-two labors" is, you know, should be, you know, related to the precept "not to kill," you know. So "not to kill," precept "not to kill" is not any special--special precept.

To be--to exist here in this way is the result of, you know, sacrificing many animals and plants [laughs]. You are always sacrificing something for your being. So as long as you are involved in dualistic concept, you know, it is not possible for you to observe our precepts.

So the point is how to be--how to get out of this kind of dualistic concept and fill our being with gratitude is the point of practice. So it is very foolish to say, "not to kill," you know, actually. But why we say "not to kill" is to point out or to--to understand our life from various point-- pointing up at, you know, various points. "Not to kill," "not to steal," you know, "not to speak ill of others." Each of those precepts include the other precepts. And each practice or rituals we observe include the other. So if you know--if you have actual feeling of your being here, then it is the way--that is the way you observe precepts and the way you practice zazen.

So if it is not--if you understand how you observe our precepts, even one of them, you can observe the rest of the precepts and you can practice our zazen, you can observe our rituals. Zazen practice and observation of rituals or precepts cannot be separated. How to experience this kind of, you know, feeling, is, you know, why you--is how you understand our precepts.

So, actually, if you say it is difficult, it may be very difficult. But, you know, it cannot be so difficult thing if you say, "I will do it." That's--that's--that is how you observe precepts, even without thinking, you know, whether I can con- [partial word]--observe it or not, you know. "I will do it" means, you know, "don't kill animals." "Yes," you may say--you can say, because originally it is not possible to kill anything [laughs]. You think you--you killed [laughs], but actually, you--you cannot. Even though you think you killed, but they are still alive [laughs]. Even though you eat, you know, something, it is still alive in your body. If something leave your body, they are still alive.

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*****

70-07-28V

HOW TO UNDERSTAND RITUALS AND PRECEPTS:

ZAZEN, RITUALS AND PRECEPTS CANNOT BE SEPARATED

San Francisco

Part 5

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It is not possible for anything to be killed. So only way is to--to be grateful for everything you have [laughs]. That is how you, you know, keep our precepts without, you know, having dualistic understanding of precepts.

Then you may say, "If so, there will not be no need to have precepts." But unless you make yourself quite sure, you know, you cannot feel your presence, you don't feel your being, you do not feel you are alive here. You do not have any gratitude of--or joy of life or gratitude for everything. So, you know, you may--you can easily say: "No, I wouldn't. I wouldn't kill anything." But it means that you will not sacrifice anything--sacrifice yourself for anything. You will be just you. You will not be caught by dualistic, you know, understanding of yourself, and you will feel yourself, as you feel yourself in your zazen.

It is rather difficult to explain [laughs], you know, but that is actually how we observe precepts. So Dogen Zenji says: "Even though we do not try to observe precepts," you know, "and like a--like a--scarecrow [laughs]," you know, "no evil come to you." It is strange, you know [laughs]. When you have, you know--when you feel your being, you know, in its true sense right here, no, you know, evil come. You cannot viola- [partial word]--violate any precepts, and whatever you do, that is expression of your true nature.

You will not say: "I shouldn't say so" [laughs] or "I shouldn't do that." You will be quite free from that kind of regret or arrogance of observing something--observing some special precepts. That is how you observe precepts.

To--to repeat precepts is to knock [?], you know, or--or to chew your brown rice [laughs]. Without chewing your brown rice, you cannot eat it, you know. Only when you chew, you know [laughs], for pretty long time, like this, you will, you know, you will appreciate the taste of brown rice. When you say, "Oh this is awful! [Laughs.] How many times should I," you know, "chew it before I swallow it down?" That is, you know, very foolish way of chewing brown rice or eating brown rice. If you say, "Oh, sixteen precepts!" [Laughs.] "Awful," you know, "to be a Buddhist!" [Laughs, laughter.] Then, you know, you have no chance to have a real taste of Buddhist way. If you do it one by one, that is how you chew it--how you chew brown rice and how you practice our way.

And pretty soon you will have … [Sentence not finished. Tape turned over.]

… you may say.

Hmm. I have not much things to say for tonight, but as you may have various, you know, not doubt, but you may have many questions on this point, I try to explain why we observe our rituals and our precepts.

Precepts observation is just to say HAI! [Loudly.] [Laughs.] That is how you observe precepts, you know. You--you shouldn't care--"Hai!" [Said without pause between "care" and "Hai!"] [Laughs.] Shut your eyes. "Hai!"--you should say. That is how you observe your precepts.

When flies come, you know, you should, you know, kill him--kill them. Wsht! [Laughs, laughter.] But you are always prepared, you know, for doing something wrong, maybe, you know. Even though when you are eating you are prepared for it, you know--"uh-oh" [?] [laughs]. You are not eating your rice carelessly, you know. You, you know, you are reciting from your bottom of heart, "Seventy-two labors" or "Sevent- [partial word]--[laughs]--"Seventy-two labors" or something incredible [laughs, laughter]. Anyway, you will say: "Seventy-two labors." That is actually how you bow here, you know. There is no other way [laughs], as long as you live here.

If your practice doesn't reach, you know, so--so far, it is not real practice. That is how you feel, you know, eternal life in, you know, in--with the mortal body. When you say "Seventy-two labors," there is, you know, Buddha, already, where there is nothing happens, you know, even though many things happen. But that is a part of, you know, Buddha's mercy.

Thank you very much.

*****

70-08-01V

SESSHIN LECTURE No. 1 The date of this lecture is uncertain. It may or may not be the first lecture of the sesshin.

San Francisco

Part 1

In this sesshin, I have been explaining the context of our practice and, at the same time, the meaning of rules and precepts. But for us, precepts--observation of precepts and practice of zazen is same thing, you know, not different [just] as our everyday life and practice, zazen practice, is one.

After sesshin, we will have ordination ceremony for Paul [Discoe] and Reb [Anderson]. And--and then we will have lay ordination ceremony for the students--all the students who has been practicing zazen who--who has practiced zazen for three years before 1967. And so that is why I explained the meaning of our practice, zazen practice, or way of our zazen practice, referring to the precepts and rules--rules which you may like [laughs]--you may not like so much [laughs].

But if you know what is the precepts and what is rules, you--whether you like it or not, it is something with you, always, before--even before you are born--you were born. So we say: "If there is something, there is rules about it or in it." [Laughs.] There is nothing without rules, you know. That something [is] there means that some rules is there. That is rules. But before we, you know, know our true nature or some truth or rules which is always with you--you, you know, you think when--when someone explain how you exist or what is, you know, your true nature, then that is Buddha's teaching, not mine [laughs]. Nothing to do with me.

"If I am Buddhist [laughs], maybe we have to observe Buddha's precepts. But I am not Buddhist," you know, "I am not yet Buddhist, so that rules is nothing to do with me. But fortunately or unfortunately, if I go to Zen Center, you know, to listen to lecture [laughs] we have to, you know, behave like other students be- [partial word]--behave. That is rules." You may understand in that way. But where Zen Center exist, there is Zen Center's rules.

As you have your true nature, and, you know, to--to be ordained or to become a Buddhist disci- [partial word]--Buddha's disciple is to receive precepts. But that precepts, as I explained--actually precepts you have--which you have essentially--which you essentially have, originally have. But before you know yourself, you know, through practice pretty long time, you don't know your true nature.

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70-08-01V

SESSHIN LECTURE No. 1 The date of this lecture is uncertain. It may or may not be the first lecture of the sesshin.

San Francisco

Part 2

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When you--for an instance, when you cook rice for the first time [laughs], there is rules how you, you know, cook rice. So according, you know, to the way or rules, you know, to cook rice you can, you know--first you wash rice, you know, rice and--soaked in water maybe four, five hours or--no, no--wash it and take it in basket to get rid of water, and keep in the basket, you know, for--for [four?] five hours, and adding 20% more water to the rice, and burn it for maybe twenty minutes or more [laughs, laughter]. Then [laughing] you will have a beautiful, you know, well-cooked rice!

So we know that, you know, if you practice zazen [laughs], if you observe precepts, you will be a good person, you know, like Buddha [laughs]. But the--but if you have no experience of cooking rice, you know, and on--even though you know how to cook it, but when you cook it for the first time, if I--if you--you dip it in--if you, you know--after you wash it--is it--to wait twothree hours before you cook, oh, that's terrible! [Laughs.] To wait twothree hours before we start to cook!

And even though you start to cook, you know, you will worry, you know--you know, before you see well-cooked rice. And is it--is the water enough? May- [partial word]--maybe [laughs], and it may want more water, you know. Or then someone will tell him--tell you: "No, don't add any more water. That is okay." "No! Water [laughs] is not--I think water is not enough, so maybe I want to add some more water. " Yes, no, yes, no. [Laughs, laughter.] That kind of problem arise.

It is same thing with our practice, you know. If you just practice zazen, you know, according to the instruction, you will be a good person anyway [laughs]. But because you have no experience of, you know, perfect prac- [partial word]--practice, you worry, you know. That is, you know, you will have some doubt in your practice, and if your teacher says, "Don't move." [Laughs.] "Continue practice," you know, then you may say, "Oh my! That's awful!" [Laughs.] That is same thing [as when] you, you know, feel uneasy before you see the well-cooked rice.

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*****

70-08-01V

SESSHIN LECTURE No. 1 The date of this lecture is uncertain. It may or may not be the first lecture of the sesshin.

San Francisco

Part 3

---

So for a student, as I said, something which looks like rules, or precepts, or prohibitory rules is not, Dogen Zenji says, true Buddhism. At first, all de- [partial word]--all the precepts looks like rules, but we must have it, you know.

So ordination ceremony is to trust Buddha. Or trust--to trust Buddha's precepts. Or to trust your teacher, even though you don't--because you don't know exactly, you are not yet through Buddha's practice.

So it is necessary for you [to be] trusting Buddha, and for some gurus to you. That is necessary, for you, for a student. But Buddha may say, "I am not forcing anything," you know. "The rules you should observe is essentially--something you have essentially. Originally you have rules." That is what Buddha may say.

We say: "If you practice zazen, there is, you know, there is Buddha nature, true nature. That is just expression of true nature." To observe--when you observe precepts, there is your true nature. But if someone, you know, watch--see our practice, it looks like teacher is forcing some rules to many students. Here is, you know, bamboo sprout, you know, growing every day. Before bamboo become bamboo, you know, it will be a bamboo sprout two feet long or three feet long. It is growing very rapidly. But even though, you know, bamboo sprout is completely--looks like completely different, very, very different from bamboo, but bamboo is--even though it looks like very different, you know, bamboo sprout is really bamboo, and when--before it become bamboo, it should be in that shape, you know. It cannot be big, perfect bamboo, as you use.

But if you don't sit, you don't know bamboo through and through, you know. You may say--someone may say, you know, "He is fooling us," you know [laughing], "telling us this is bamboo. But this is not bamboo. Bamboo is more taller and with leaves. But this ha- [partial word]--this has no leaves! [Laughs, laughter.] Moreover, it is covered by something, some funny thing. [Laughs.] This cannot be a bamboo!" [Laughs.]

But when it is young, you know, there is--there must be some form, you know, even though--which is different from the mother bamboo. But no one actually forces bamboo sprout in that way, you know. Naturally it is in that way and growing in that way. But most people say, without understanding bamboo through and through, they have some idea of bamboo. We have some idea about our way of life and human nature, but unfortunately most of us do not know human nature through and through, like Buddha understood human nature.

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70-08-01V

SESSHIN LECTURE No. 1 The date of this lecture is uncertain. It may or may not be the first lecture of the sesshin.

San Francisco

Part 4

You may say Buddha's teaching is the teaching of human nature. He will be a man or sage who had enormous understanding--unusual understanding about our human nature. So that is why, you know, he set up that kind of precepts. So from Buddha's side, it is our true nature. But from our side, it looks like something funny, you know: Buddha treating us, you know, forcing us to be a [laughs] bamboo sprout. [Laughs.] You may understand in that way. That is the trouble. How we solve the pro- [partial word]--this problem is for us, you know, to trust the precepts, and to join his practice. And for Buddha, you know, acknowledging student's quality or true nature, which is same as Buddha. And help students to be a Buddha. That is, from Buddha's viewpoint, that is his way.

Actual--our zazen practice is called practice of--practice [of being] one with enlightenment. It means that from Buddha--from Buddha, it is enlightenment. From us, you know, it is practice. But actual practice is--actually, for us it is training. For Buddha it is expression of true nature. Actually it is so.

That is, you know, the--if we say, "our practice is expression of practice," you cannot agree with that. But if you say, "our practice is training to be a Buddha," Buddha will not agree with your understanding. And both is true, you know [laughs]. For you, it is training, that is true. For Buddha it is expre- [partial word]--expression of Buddha-nature, and he accept our practice whether it is perfect or imperfect.

When you--so for you, how to become a Zen student is--even though it is not so, you should, you know, receive precepts. You--even though you cannot accept it through and through, trusting him you should accept it. As you cook a rice according to the, you know, instruction. If you can do it just, you know, according to the instruction, that is best. But even though you, you know, you are confused, you know, while you are cooking, it can be--it i- [partial word]--it may be okay.

But anyway, you should start our way, and you should try to, you know, try to trust our instruction, our precepts, our zazen practice. This is, you know, actually to--how you join our practice, why you receive our precepts.

---

In ordination, when--when you join our order, you know, we--you will receive a robe which was designed by Buddha and which was worn by Buddha. And to receive this robe means to trust him. It is so important that to have Buddha, that we, you know, to encourage our way-seeking mind, to be free from our doubt, to have strong faith in our way, or to encourage our way we wear robe, which is set up by Buddha and used by Buddha. But nowadays, it is a symbol: symbol of teaching, symbol of his precepts, spirit, and--and it express by its color and by the material we use and size we decide, you know, we express Buddha's teaching too. Not just symbol, but to understand teaching, which is expressed in robe, is also necessary. So for--for us it is the teaching itself, and it is the Buddha's spirit itself, even though we cannot use it to protect us from cold or from hot weather.

---

*****

70-08-02V

TRUE PRACTICE AS EXPRESSION OF BUDDHA-NATURE

San Francisco

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

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

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*****

70-08-03U

---

Right practice is also foundation of precepts. Precepts. When you do not have right practice, you will hesitate to accept precepts, but if you have right practice you can accept precepts. Whatever precepts may be, you can accept. So precepts for the people who have right practice is called "bodhisattva precepts," in comparison to some other so-called-it "Hinayana precepts," which is quite different. The way of observing is quite different. Last night I talked about--little bit about it. I said if you do something good, you cannot, you cannot--you have no time to do something bad. That is how you keep precepts.

Why we say "bodhisattva precepts" is--it is based on bodhisattva mind. As you know, bodhisattva mind is to save others, all sentient beings before you save yourself. That is bodhisattva mind. To save others is first and to save ourselves is next. Or we say, bodhisattva mind, bodhisattva mind ... bodhisattva mind is spirit, to devote ourselves in serving others.

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*****

70-08-04V

SESSHIN LECTURE, No. 4

San Francisco

Part 1

In--in everyday life, to observe precepts and, in our practice, to continue our zazen looks like different, but actually it is same.  In actual zazen, whether--even though your practice is not perfect, if you practice our way, there is enlightenment because originally, you know, our practice is expression of our true buddha-mind. 

Because you--your--because of your discrimination, you say your practice is not good.  But if we do not, you know--if we do not discriminate [in] our practice, that is really the expression of the--our true nature, which is buddha-nature.

And in our everyday life, if we observe precepts even for a moment with this--with our mind--with our mind which is changing always, then the momentous change--on the momentous changing mind, real, you know, moon of the buddha-mind will appear:  bodhi-mind will be there.  So actually there is no difference.

---

The precepts is also very clear.  There is no precepts to observe, you know, or no one who is observing precepts--no problem at all.  Precepts--if you say "precepts," you are precepts itself.  And if you say "you," you know, you have, you know--"you" are already precepts.  And there is no precepts or no one who observe precepts.  In this way, we have to observe our precepts, and we have to arise bodhisattva-mind, and we have to practice our way. 

It is not, you know--Dogen Zenji says it is not because of your power of practicing zazen or power of, you know, bodhisattva-mind that you attain enlightenment, that you become buddha.  It is not [through] power of practice or it is not, you know, power of arising bodhisattva-mind that you become buddha.  And he says even though you attain enlightenment, you have to practice zazen.  Even though you attain--you become buddha, you have to have--you have to extend bodhisattva-mind.  Even though you become buddha, you have to observe precepts.

That is actually, you know, why he said before you save yourself, you should save others.  So, you know, this idea is beyond the idea of attainment--to be buddha or to observe precepts.  Usually, you know [laughs], you think, you know, why you practice zazen is to attain enlightenment, why you arise bodhisattva-mind is by power of bodhisattva-mind, [and] you will, you know, be a buddha.  By observing precepts you will--you can practice zazen and you will become a buddha.  You will understand in that way.

--- 

*****

70-08-04V

SESSHIN LECTURE, No. 4

San Francisco

Part 2

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So we transmit, you know, bodhisattva precept to you [laughs]. We do not say, you know, "buddha precepts." We say "bodhisattva precepts." We--I don't want to discriminate, you know, Theravada way or Mahayana way--so-called-it "Mahayana way," but true spirit of Buddha is actually in Mahayana way. And by Mahayana practice we could--Buddhism could survive for a long time.

So four vow we recite every day is very important. "Beings are numberless; I vow to save them.

Delusions are inexhaustible; I vow to end them.

Buddha gates are boundless; I vow to enter them.

Buddha's way is unsurpassable; I vow to become it." And the precepts we transmit from Buddha to us--transmitted from Buddha to us is very important. And to express the meaning of Buddha's truth--meaning of Buddha's precepts, we call it, you know, "bodhisattva precepts" instead of calling [it] "buddha precepts." We can say "buddha precepts," but if we say--to make this point clear--non-duality of--idea of non-duality and idea of true duality, we use "bodhisattva precepts."

Even though we say "bodhisattva way," we do not discriminate bodhisattva way or Hinayana way. But if we call it--call our precepts "bodhisattva," you know, then you will have much clear[er] understanding of precepts. And you will find out easier to observe. And you will find the deeper meaning of observing precepts.

So for us, even though we have, you know, we are the son--all of us is descendant of Buddha--son of Buddha, but we call, you know, all successive patriarchs "bodhisattva," you know. Buddha is a bodhisattva. And for us, you know, we understand in that way. Bodhidharma is a bodhisattva. And Eka Dazu Huike (Taiso Eka): 487-593. Second patriarch of Zen in China. Dharma successor of Bodhidharma. is bodhisattva. Dogen is bodhisattva. And the precepts you will have, you know, in lay ordination is called "bodhisattva transmission of precepts."

For several nights, I am concentrate--my talk is, you know, concentrated on this point of, you know, why you have--you receive bodhisattva precepts when you, you know, are [receive] lay ordination. Recently I did not put emphasis on Dogen Zenji's zazen practice, which is shikantaza. But shikantaka--we do not say even "shikantaka." But we just say "zazen."

In comparison to the zazen, to attain enlightenment, we call it shikantaka because we have no gaining idea in our practice. And in our practice, practice and enlightenment is one. When you practice our zazen there is enlightenment. We rather put emphasis on, you know, practice rather than enlightenment. Front, you know--front gate is--for us is practice. And, you know, our precepts--Zen precepts is, you know--all Zen precepts is bodhisattva pre- [partial word]--is called "bodhisattva precepts."

And precepts you will receive in lay ordination--precepts transmission you will receive in lay ordination is [one] in which it says there is no difference between Rinzai precepts and Soto precepts. It is bodhisattva precepts. This is very important point. Not dualistic precepts. And the precepts always one with you. And always should be kept by you. Even though you do not try to keep it, it is there.

So that is why I said last night SR-70-08-03. you should say "yes." There is--you cannot say "no." [Laughs.] My lecture was, you know--the point of my lecture was this point: bodhisattva practice--bodhisattva precepts.

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*****

70-08-04V

SESSHIN LECTURE, No. 4

San Francisco

Part 3

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Student G:  Roshi, would you say something about shila--the Bodhisattva concept of [1 word].

Student H:  That was Sanskrit.

Suzuki Roshi:  Bodhisattva?

Student G:  Shila--morality.  [6-8 words] bodhisattva way.

Suzuki Roshi:  In contrast to--in Sanskrit [laughs, laughter]?  I don't know Sanskrit.  "Bodhisattva" is Sanskrit, I know, but--  I am sorry.

Student G:  The bodhisattva concept of morality.

Suzuki Roshi:  Ah, concept of morality.

Student G:  Yeah.

Suzuki Roshi:  Morality--morality is, you know--it is more than morality.  Morality is--if you underst- [partial word]--if you see our precepts, it is exactly morality, which you should observe as a human being.  But bodhisattva way is more than that.  That is why I have to explain it, you know, why I explained so far.  If it is morality, you know, if you read the precepts, you know:  "Don't kill," you know.  "Don't steal."  Or, "Don't speak ill of others."  If you read in that way, literally, that is morality.  And actually, we are observing--most people are observing morality to some extent.  That is morality.

---

You--you will not say, "I cannot observe this precepts.  But this is very good precepts [laughing, laughter].  Very convenient for me."  To criticize someone--we use precepts to criticize someone, you know:  "'Don't speak ill of others.'  You see?  What did you say now?  You shouldn't criticize me  [laughs, laughter], because precept says don't criticize anyone."  That is not how we observe precepts

---

In its true sense, buddha-mind--there must not be any difference between bodhisattva-mind [and] buddha-mind, you know.  Should be same.  But, you know, for a long time, you know, Buddha--Buddha's--Buddhism was mistaken or misunderstood.  And, you know, when--after a long time they found out the true meaning of precepts--sutra.  And they started to use "bodhisattva"--word "bodhisattva" instead of "buddha."  They put emphasis on bodhisattva stage rather than buddha stage, which is perfect.  Bodhisattva stage which is not perfect.  But in bodhisattva--in idea--idea of buddha is also fully included--maybe more advanced buddha [laughs] in term--in--the meaning of words is--may be deeper when old Buddhist called Buddha "Buddha."

--

*****

70-08-09V

PRIEST ORDINATION CEREMONY:  Paul Discoe and Reb Anderson

San Francisco

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Suzuki Roshi (speaking formally):  Do you want to receive Buddha's precepts?  You should make confession.  There are two ways--there are two meanings--two meanings in confession, but there is a way for confession transmitted from the Buddha through the patriarchs to us.  Recite after my words.

Suzuki Roshi (chanting):   All the karma ever created by me--

[Clappers 1X.]--

Ordinands (chanting):  --since of old, on account of greed, anger, and self-delusion, which have no beginning, born of my body, speech, and thought, I now make whole open confession of it.  [Clappers 1X.] 

---

Suzuki Roshi (speaking formally):  In the Buddha realms, in all directions, the earth trembles and flower fall--flowers fall.  What is the meaning of such an extraordinary sight?  Buddha says in this world of [2-3 words], for us [?] who want to receive the precepts, having received true [?] discourse on bodhisattva's precepts, revealed [?] by their teacher who had previously received them from his teachers, are allowed to receive the Buddha's precepts, and now they are sure to be buddha.  Therefore, the universe manifests such a joyous omen.  From hearing this, the bodhisattva bow to them and said [?], if so, we have now accepted the precepts and by keeping them with the spirit of Shakyamuni Buddha, the great teacher and sage.

Our study and practice are accompanied by innumerable bodhisattvas.  This is due to the perennial and diamond-like element of the bodhisattva's precepts.  Due to ripening [?] of this great opportunity, their bodies are resting in the dharma world.  And all the world are involved in those bodhisattva precepts.

In the realm of the great observance of bodhisattva precepts, who are practicing the precepts for whom [?] as the great precepts practice--to whom it may [?] are going, the observance of the pure bodhisattva precepts, there is no subjectivity or objectivity and no merit--it--no merit even in pure practice.  Thus, our practice continues forever.  We should preserve the good fruit of those true merit of bodhisattva precepts and mutually share the true buddha way with all sentient beings.

Here we have Zengyu and Tenshin, and bodhisattva's precepts have been transmitted to them, and they have joined our order of Buddha.  It is our heartfelt desire that they will be mindful of those precepts and manifest the precepts in their everyday live.

*****

70-08-23V

LAY ORDINATION CEREMONY 

San Francisco

If you want to practice our precepts, you should start with pure practice of confession. There are two ways and two meanings in the Buddhist way of confession. However, you have the way of confession transmitted from the Buddha through the patriarchs to you. Reciting after my words:

Suzuki Roshi (chanting): All the karma ever created by me--

All ordinees (chanting): --since of old, on account of greed, anger, and self-delusion, which has no beginning, born of my body, speech, and thought … [Tape recorder was stopped and restarted after an unknown interval.] The following text appears to be the original lecture upon which the edited Wind Bell lecture was based. Earlier fragments printed above were not included in the Wind Bell lecture.

Suzuki Roshi: … and pure [1] and pure heart. This ordination ceremony is [2-3 words]. This is actually the second time--second ordination ceremony for Zen Center, because while we didn't have lay ordination ceremony [2-3] because I didn't want to give you some special idea of Zen Buddhist. Bodhisattva way--according to bodhisattva teaching, every--actually every sentient being is bodhisattva. Whether or not they are aware of it, they are actually disciples of the Buddha.

---

*****

70-12-20V

San Francisco

If you--but as a Buddhist, if you think of, for an instance, Ten Grave Prohibitory Precepts, you know, you will understand what kind of understanding of life we have. "Don't kill," you know. We have to encourage our spirit to follow Buddhist way. We shouldn't be killed or we shouldn't kill real Buddhist spirit. We should not steal anything, you know, which does not belong to us. Why we steal something is because we don't know what is real value of things. Whether it belongs to me or to others does not make much sense.

When you steal something, you, you know, you--it means that you know your ego, but you don't know what the materials or things are. Don't behave or don't be indulge[d] in something, or don't act unchaste acts. It means that you should not be indulge[d] into something. You should not be caught by something.

I like old art objects [laughs], and my teacher would say "Don't--don't act unchaste acts." [Laughs.] To him it is unchaste act to be attracted by something, some antique or old art object is unchaste act [laughs] to him. It may be so.

So one by one, if you think of--think about what the Ten Grave Prohibitory Precepts are, you will know what is Buddhist life. Knowing this, you know, tendency of human life, I think you will find out what is zazen practice. To find or to realize what we are and what things are in its true sense is the main purpose of our practice. On your black cushion, if you find yourself, you know, in its true sense, you exist there. But that you exist there means that everything exist as you exist. Even though you do not observe things, you know, one by one, the way you exist on your black cushion is the way things exist on each position. So there is no need for us, when we sit, to be greedy or to be involved in useless competition.

When you act, you know, if your life is based on zazen practice, you will have always good harmony with your family, with your neighbors, and things you treat. You will not make, you know, excessive effort or you will not be idle. You will do exactly, you know, [what] you needed. That is, you know, feeling of zazen. You sit. So that you exist here is that Buddha exist, and that Buddha exist means that you exist here. There is no difference between Buddha and you. Buddha exist in that way, and you exist in that way.

So, if you are Buddha, Buddha is, of course, Buddha and everything could be Buddha. Buddha is someone, you know, who attained buddhahood after making a great effort for many--six years. Before he make--attain buddhahood--before he realize this point, he was Buddha. But he realize what is Gautama Buddha himself. And when he found out himself, he realized everything exist in that way. So for him there was no problem. And according to the tendency of human being, he left his teaching because we make many mistakes. So the teaching was, you know, expressed--left, "Don't do that, don't be that way!" Because you are originally, you know, you will be happy if you are exactly as you are. So don't be that way or this way too much. That was Buddha's teaching, which is called Middle Way.

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*****

70-12-23V

Mill Valley Zendo

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You should know what is pure zazen, what is true zazen transmitted from Buddha to us, which include Buddha’s teaching which is the foundation of various teaching of Buddha, which is a way to observe our precepts.  When--only when you practice true zazen it is possible to observe Buddha’s precepts.

---

*****

71-01-16V

San Francisco

---

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

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

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*****

71-02-07V

SESSHIN LECTURE NO. 3

Sunday Afternoon or Evening

San Francisco

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It is, you know [laughs], pretty hard to practice our way without any, you know, expectation, without any gaining idea. It is actually very difficult. So that is why we have various rules, you know, in zendo. Because of those rules, you know, just to follow the rules, just you follow the rule without any idea of self, you know. Or giving up your idea of self, you can practice, you know, real practice which is not based on self-centered idea. Unless you give up your self-centered practice, idea of self-centered practice, you cannot follow your pract-[partial word: "practice"?] [laughs] [our] rules, you know. So rules will help you to give up your self-centered practice which wouldn't work, but rather encourage you to practice real practice. So rules will help you to have good practice.

In Lotus Sutra, you know, we have one chapter, you know, in which Buddha is talking about our rules. Why we observe our practice is just to help ourselves to keep our practice and make us easy to help ourselves. It is the practice, you know, easy practice, you know. You may think to follow rigid rules is difficult practice. Someone said, you know, "Oh, I wish I hadn't start this, you know, kind of difficult religion [laughs] like Zen [laughs]." Maybe we feel in that way. Our small mind will feel in that way. But if you know what is real practice, you know, then various precepts and rules of Buddhist way will help us, you know. And we find it easy to follow bodhisattva way because of the rules set up by Buddha.

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*****

71-03-12U

LECTURE: REED COLLEGE, PORTLAND, OREGON

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If we know human nature and how we live in this world as a human being, then we will know why we suffer and how to go through suffering. I don't say that you will go beyond it, or that you eliminate suffering. But if you know the cause of suffering, which is ignorance of our life, then maybe this knowledge will be a great relief for you. Moreover, you will find out how to cope with our suffering. For instance, if you sit in a cross-legged position like this, at first you will have pain in your legs, as some of you must have experienced already. It is not so easy to deal with the pain you have in your legs as you sit. If some of you sit thirty or forty minutes, without any instruction, you will know how you can deal with suffering. The way to deal with, or to overcome your suffering is actually the precepts which the Buddhists observe. But the precepts still will not be good enough, because you don't know how to limit your original ignorance. So to work on the source of suffering and also to hunt the many big branchings of suffering is the true way to cope with the suffering you have. That is actually zazen practice. Through the practice of zazen you can cope with original sin, original ignorance, or darkness, and with the weaker branchings of suffering. I think the everyday lives of all of us are actually involved in this kind of suffering, which originates from the source of ignorance.

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*****

71-06-05V

SESSHIN LECTURE NO. 1
San Francisco

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Don't stick to your own karma you created. You should be free from the karma, you know, and plunge into the practice on each moment. Then, you know, there is no karma, you know, who will control you. You are free from karma in our practice. And if your everyday life is based on this practice, then your life is not karmic life. It looks like, you know, the way of life of non-Buddhist and Buddhist [is the] same, but it is completely different. One is karmic life, and other is the life, you know, free from karma.

In short, you know, if you can say, "Hai" [laughs], at that moment you are free from karma. If you can say, "Hai! Yes I will!" you know, then there is no karma. When you say "bad" [laughs], nevertheless, wait a moment [laughs, laughter]. At that moment you will, you know, be bound by your own karma. Quite easy [laughs]. "Yes, I will," you know. That is how you keep our precepts.

When you receive precepts, you know, I may say:

"Can you," you know, "are you sure to keep this precepts?" you know [laughs].

If you think:

"Oh, 'Don't kill.' I may kill many things [laughs]. Better not to say 'yes,'" you know [laughs].

Then you cannot receive precepts. Anyway, you should say, "YES!" [laughs]. Then you can--you are keeping precepts--you kept precepts. When you keep precepts, at that moment, you know, whole world are keeping precepts in its true sense. You know, scientific mind will not accept what I say [laughs], but, you know, as Buddha said, as you accept it or not is, you know, my problem--your problem [laughs, laughter], you know, so ideal [?] say, if you say, "Yes, I will," you know, then you are free from karma.

Even though, you know, you shouldn't say--even though you say "Yes," you know, you don't mean "Yes" [laughs]. That will be--someone may say, you know, but, you know, actually, if you say "YESSS" [laughs, laughter], if your mind is tender enough to say "YESSS" [laughs, laughter], I may look very, you know, look like, you know, children-like, maybe [laughs], but that is the way, you know, that is the way how you keep precepts.

So after giving various precepts to you one by one in this way, and after you accept--various precepts, maybe 250 or 500 [laughs] you know, one by one, and what I should say after is, "You should keep our precept always in that way," you know. The way we keep precepts should be like that, you know. You say our, you know, ceremony to give precepts is, you know, just form--formal practice. It is not so. First of all, you know, I may say, if you receive precepts, you will be a son of Buddha and you will sit with Buddha. You will be sitting with the Buddha if you receive precepts. If you don't, you know, if you are always involved in, you know, karmic life with superficial understanding of subjective or objective side of the truth, you know, you are not Buddha. But receiving precepts or practicing zazen--true zazen, true precepts--and when you actually receive it from me, from teacher, then you are Buddha, and, you know, there is no difference between, you know, accepting precepts and practicing our zazen. There is no difference.

So, you know, your teacher may say, "You should," you know, "keep our precept in this way." So when you practice zazen, your teacher may say, "You are really Buddha." It is so. And your teacher may say, "You should practice zazen always in that way." That is the way you practice zazen. So it is not just form. It includes, you know, truth, and attainment, and, you know, progress in your practice. You have, you know, all kinds of, you know, virtue in your practice.

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*****

Inquiring as to why there's no part 2 of the above. - dc

*****

71-06-09V

SESSHIN LECTURE, Day 5

San Francisco

---

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

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

Tendo Nyojo (Ch. Tiantong Rujing): 1163-1228. Chan master of Dogen. --[from the] Soto lineage. Another is from Myozen

Myozen Ryonen (also Myozen Butsuju), 1184-1225: early master of the Oryo school of Rinzai Zen; dharma successor of Eisai Zenji. Dogen Zenji's teacher.--Rinzai master, disciple of Eisai.

Eisai Zenji (also Myoan Eisai or Zenko-kokushi), 1141-1215: early master of the Oryo school of Rinzai Zen; dharma successor of Chinese Oryo master Kian Esho.

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

When Oka Roshi was young, he wanted to go to Komazawa University--Komazawa College--you know, to study Buddhism. He wanted to go there. But his master Token

Token Mitetsu Roshi. did not allow him or could not afford to send Oka Roshi to school, so he didn't say yes so easily. So, you know, he said, you know, "I want to study hard and become a good teacher and give precepts, you know, jukai Ju-jukai: the Ten Major Precepts; jukai is the ceremony of administering and receiving these precepts. The letter o- is an honorific prefix. The suffix -e possibly means "realization." --ojukai--having ojukai-e and precepts to many people, so let me study more." And his master Token was pleased: "Okay, then you can go."

But after he finished schooling, he came back. At that time he was making, you know, wood print, you know, for lineage, you know, to make, you know, lineage paper, okechimyaku.

okechimyaku: a genealogy of Zen succession. Some of you already received my okechimyaku when you received, you know, rakusu. His master was making which is wrong, so Oka Roshi explained, you know, in detail, it should not be like this, you know. It should not be just lineage of Soto, it should be Rinzai and Soto.

His teacher agreed: "Okay, maybe I was wrong, but," you know, "this lineage is the lineage which Kankei Zenji

Koga Kankei Zenji: 61st abbot of Eiheiji. had"--also famous teacher--"Kankei Zenji had. So according to Kankei Zenji's lineage, my lineage is not wrong. But if Dogen Zenji's lineage is like that, it should be like that," you know, he said. So--and then--and he said, "I will make another wood print."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Okay. Thank you.

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71-06-12V

San Francisco

Part 1

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But anyway, at Zen Center, anyway, you know, I can accept students from various religion without any discrimination.  That is why I must explain--I feel I have to explain why we sew rakusus, you know, why we keep our precepts, you know, Buddhist precepts [laughs].  If I say "Buddhist precept," again you will not--some of you will not feel so good:  "Buddhist precepts." you know.  You think, you know, Buddhists have some particular precepts, but our precepts is not like that.  So it is necessary for me to explain what is Buddhist precepts, why you sew rakusu, you know, why you wear rakusu.

I cannot, you know, or I have no intention to explain precepts in its traditional, you know, way, but I want to explain it as much as possible in some way who--in some way which you can understand, and which I, in some way, which I feel, you know, saying truthfully how I feel about precepts

First of all, precepts, we say, or explanation of precepts--for an instance, Dogen Zenji or some other teachers--Bodhidharma--it's the precepts is, you know, something which everyone has, you know, as its--as his own nature.  That is precepts.  It is not, you know--precepts is not something which was decided by Buddha.  Precepts is originally--precepts is something which makes Buddha Buddha, you know.  Because of precepts he became Buddha.  So precepts is first, and Buddha appeared, you know, next. 

Before Buddha appear there were precepts.  And so in this sense, before, you know, Bodhidharma appeared--came to China--there were precepts.  So before everyone, you know, come to this world there is precepts.  Everyone has the precepts in its true sense.  When you come out, you know, you may be already, you know, male or female [laughs], so accordingly, you know, as soon as you take some form, there is some reason why you became--appear--in this world as a man or as a woman.  And naturally women has their own way, and men has their own way.  So, naturally various way of life will appear, and between boys [?], you know, according to his character, inborn character, or his physical, you know, condition, there must be various way of life.  That is actually our precepts

So, woman--a woman--who has more complicated physical, you know, body, has more precepts, and that is quite natural [laughs], you know.  You--a woman has more complicated--emotionally and physically, they are more complicated [laughs, laughter], so naturally a woman must have more precepts than [laughs] a man has.  That is quite [laughs]--if you say, you know, that is not fair [laughs, laughter], it doesn't make sense, you know.  It shouldn't be like that.  If a woman has same precepts as a man has, that is not fair [laughs, laughter].  That is how precepts, you know, become written-down precepts.

And, you know, if so, you know, why should we say, you know, Buddhist precepts or Christian commandment or precepts, you know?  According to the way of life, there are various interpretation of our true nature, our way of life, but originally it is, you know, just, you know, human nature. 

According to the human nature, we have various precepts, and according to the condition we live, we have various precepts, that's all.  When we, you know, transmit the precepts, we put emphasis on this point, you know, not each of 250 precepts, you know, but the, you know, original, you know, universal point which is, you know, universal to everyone, which is available to everyone, which, in some way, which everyone can accept it.  We transmit our precepts.  So instead of emphasizing--put emphasis on various, you know, precepts, one by one, we put more emphasis on our original human nature or buddha nature. 

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71-06-12V

San Francisco

Part 2

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To realize what is our human nature beyond various way of life is, you know, our way of transmitting precepts. So explanation of each precept is how, you know, each precept appeared, or why we must have, for an instance, sixteen precepts, and how we can accept, you know, the precepts as their original, you know, nature is how you study precepts. And if so, intellectual, you know, study does not make sense. If you stick to--if you want to study, you know, precepts just by your head, you know, sixteen precepts, you can, you know, compare one precept to the other. And you--

But it is difficult to accept as just one precept, you know, which is the source of all precepts. It is not possible to understand, to accept precepts in that way by your mind only, so physical practice should follow. And if you, you know, come to the point where you should observe precepts one by one, then you will see what is the true meaning of the precepts. Before you, you know, face to the problem, precept is there, you know, and you are studying precepts.

But if you face to each problem you have, then, you know, just study of precepts doesn't work, and you should, you know, make some decision which way you take, you know. Usually there is good, you know, promising way, and, you know, maybe there is dark way and there is, you know, promising way. You can see some light ahead on you, you know, so you should make some choice. Then there is actual precepts, you know. So that kind of precepts could be found out when you face to real problem. That is actually how you observe precepts, how precepts make sense, you know, how precepts help you.

It is big mistake, you know--precepts show you, you know, always, you know, some certain way for you before you try to go, you know. When you try to make trip, you know, the sign will make sense, you know. If you--when you do not drive [laughs], sign does not make any sense. If you study sign, you know [laughs], from San Francisco to Los Angeles, you know, there could be various sign from San Francisco to Los Angeles, but [laughs] to study the sign doesn't make any sense. But if you drive a car from [laughs] San Francisco to Los Angeles, you know, what you do is just to follow the sign, and sign make sense.

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.

There is no name. Sign is just a sign--which way to go, you know. If you understand in that way, if you--if your way of life is concentrated on that point, there is no need to, you know, think about if this is Christian science or Buddhist--Christian precepts or Buddhist precepts. It doesn't matter. And what Christian people think is right is right for Buddhists too. If there is two ways, you know, something is wrong [laughs] with precepts. There is only one way for you to go.

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71-06-12V

San Francisco

Part 3

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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.

When Oka Sotan Roshi Oka Sotan Roshi (1860-1922): a professor at and ultimately president of Komazawa University in Tokyo, where Suzuki Roshi graduated. He was the first in a series of lecturers on the Shobogenzo at Komazawa [Carl Bielefeldt, Sati Conference, MS p. 3]. His early master was Token Mitetsu, from whom he received dharma transmission. His later teacher was Nishiari Bokusan, the most prominent Meiji scholar of the Shobogenzo. He was teacher or master of Ian Kishizawa, Eko Hashimoto, Gyokujun So-on, Sawaki Kodo, and Harada Sogaku. He served as abbot of Daijiji and was named as the first abbot of Antaiji temple in Gentaku, northern Kyoto, Japan. (One of Oka Sotan's disciples, Zuirin Odagaki, was the second abbot of Antaiji and is informally considered its founder. It is traditional to name one's teacher as the titular founder.) Shohaku Okumura stated that Sawaki Kodo and Eko Hashimoto studied with Oka Sotan at Shuzenji. was young boy [laughs], his teacher, Token Roshi, Token Mitetsu Roshi: told him to buy bean curd, you know. So he went to the store. On the way, he saw, you know, picture for advertising acrobatic [laughs] theater, and he was standing, seeing the various picture in front of the building. And while he was watching it [laughs], he heard, you know, bell of his own temple. It was sign of meal time [laughs]. He was supposed to come back to the temple with bean curd and cook [laughs]--finish cooking before meal time, but he was watching the picture so long time without knowing what time it was. Hearing the bell, he noticed, you know, his duty--what was his duty. So he, you know, dashed in the store. "Give me tofu!" [Laughs.] As soon as old [laughs] man gave it all to him, he dashed back. But on the way what he noticed was he left his hat [laughs] in the store. So he ran back again to the store. "Give me! Give me! Give me!" And the old man said--old woman said, "What?" "Give me!" He didn't s[ay], you know--he meant his hat, but, you know, he was so--his mind was so busy [laughs, laughter] and the word "hat" didn't come out. "Give me! Give me! Give me!" "What? What? What?" [Laughs, laughter.] And at last he could say "my hat." "Oh, your hat is on your head! What is matter with you?" [Laughs, laughter.] Again he dashed back to his temple with his hat. That was the story, you know [laughs].

The precept is something like his hat. Precept is always on his head [laughs]. Because he tried to find out, you know, because he wanted to say "hat" or "precepts," you know, it doesn't work, you know. If he has always, you know, his hat, then nothing to, you know, think about it. That is actually how we should keep our precepts. So we rather put, you know, an emphasis on actual practice or zazen, how to be concentrated on what we do, moment after moment.

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71-06-12V

San Francisco

Part 4

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So real teaching is not, you know, outside of you; it is not inside of you.  It is--when you do something, there is real teaching, and there is real practice.  If you miss, you know, real practice in your everyday life, you will be regretful later, you know.  If you are doing your best, that is only way to, you know, to be yourself and to be with everyone.  When you are with everyone, you are keeping our precepts, you know, without knowing, you know, whether you have your cap on your head, you know.  Even though you don't notice it [laughs], your cap is here.  If you become you yourself, and if you--if your practice include everything, moment after moment, you know, precepts--more explicit precepts is always with you.

That is, you know, another point maybe which is more important than verbal transmission of [or?] verbal precepts.  If I tried to explain those precepts, it takes time.  But how you keep it, in short, is to live in each moment, to be sincere with yourself always, without looking around.

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71-06-12V

San Francisco

Part 5

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You know, how is it possible for Buddha to exist forever? The only way is to exist with us. That is only way how he can exist. How is it possible to various sages to exist in our human history? Actual, you know, history is with you, and there is no need to think about it, because you have it. You are with them always. When you think about him, he is, you know, with you with some form. When you do not think about it, still he is with you. And that point should not be forgotten. You think if you--when you--only when you have his image with you he is there. That is, you know, not real, you know, being. Real being is always with you, when you do not even think about him. That is very--actual truth, you know. I forgot, you know, who said so, but when you think about him, he is always with you [laughs]. That is very simple, you know, words and very beautiful words. There were some more, you know, words like that, you know: "When you think about him, he is with you, but if you do not think about him, where is he?" [Laughs.] Where is he? You don't--you think he is not there anymore. That is very shallow, materialistic, you know, understanding. You are not sincere enough. You put him--put them in some book and put them in bookcase, that's all. That is why he suffers [laughs] in bookcase. If you do not put them in bookcase, he is always with you. Can you deny this fact? No one can deny this fact.

If you understand, you know, various sage in that way, you know, can you be just Buddhist? Or can you be just, you know, Christian? You cannot. You say, "I am Christian," but actually you are not only Christian but also Buddhist. That is very true. When you become you yourself, when you do not put them in bookcase, you know, how is it possible to say, "I am Christian" or "I am Buddhist"? Maybe next question will be, "Then why you wear Buddhist robe, and why you sew Buddhist, you know, robes?" That will be next question, but I don't have time to [laughs, laughter] talk about it right now.

But more important thing this spirit, you know, this practice, this sincerity, you know. Even though, you know, you may laughed at what Oka Roshi did when he was just a boy, but he was good priest [laughs], even though he was so small. He was very good. He must be scolded by master when he came back to [laughs] his temple, you know. They had to wait maybe another thirty minutes [laughs] before they ate, so he must be scolded. Even though he is scolded, he was a good boy, you know. There is no wonder about that point [laughs]. You cannot say he was--he didn't--he was not observing precepts. He faithfully observed, you know, precepts, and he put his hat always on his head. But sometimes [laughs] he forgot about his hat, that's all.

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71-06-20V

San Francisco

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If you really be a Buddhist, you know, then there is no--not necessary to have rules if you wear robes. But I say until you can forget all about what you are wearing, you know, eventually you will not, you know--you will forget all about what you are wearing, you know. If you come to that point, you know, robe is not, you know, always necessary. You see? It is not--after you become real Buddhist and wear robe. That is wrong [laughs]. And before you become real Buddhist, you should wear robe [laughs]. Before you have--you can take care of yourself, you should follow, you know, you should be incubate--incubate [laughs, laughter]. When you are strong enough, you should be--get out of hospital [?], where there is no rules. I don't know when you can do that [laughs]. Do you understand the point? If you have point, you know, it is okay, you know. [See MK comment on this]

Student D: I still don't understand. It seems as--it seems like you say even though we have a rule, if you really understand yourself and sometimes even though the rule says use old material, you can use either old or new material. Doesn't make any difference, which is fine from the point of view of somebody who understands themselves. But from the point of view of somebody who, you know, is trying to follow the rule, let's say. You know, I mean, when I see a rule that says "okesa should be made of old material," then it seems--of course, you know, any--whatever material I get, I'll take, but it seems that if I were going to actually make it on my own, I'd go out and get old material. Otherwise, it just--I can be very lazy, then, with all the precepts. I could say, "Well, uh, there's the precept that says don't kill, or a precept that says don't speak ill of others," let's say. But I say, "Well, in terms of real understanding, of course I can. It doesn't make any difference." So that--that--that--that intellectual understanding of precepts sometimes is just an excuse for my being lazy, you know, and it's very difficult for me to know when I am having a broad mind, you know, when I'm having a big mind, and when I'm just being lazy.

Suzuki Roshi: Yeah. I--I understand. You are feeling, you know, that something is missing [laughs]. That is, you know, what I want--really what I want to say, you know. You know, I don't want to say--maybe I'm--if I say I will discourage you, so I don't want to say, but if you, you know, really feel in that way, I have to say [laughs]. The point is, you know, in comparison to Buddhist in Japan, you know, you can practice or you can--you can be--you are [in an] easier situation to practice Buddhism. Maybe, you know, we should know this point.

I--I know what kind of difficulty Japanese Buddhist has and what kind of life Zen Center students have, you know. If you compare, you know, Japanese students to Zen Center student, you know, I don't know what to say. It is so different, you know. You may criticize Japanese, you know, young Buddhist. You may criticize them because they do not practice zazen as you do in Zen Center. But maybe Japanese young Buddhist may criticize us, you know, [for] having too easy [a] practice [laughs]. You know, you--you--if you want to--if you want to practice, you can do anything here, you know. You are well supported. You don't have to, you know, worry about anything. And so, you know, maybe for you it is too easy to practice our way.

You say--you said, you know, it is better if we do not try to find old material and make robe. Just buy old [new?] material. But actually it is much more easy to buy something. Under this circumstances, you can also can collect old material. Also it make long, long--it take [laughs] long, long time [but] you can do. But if you must support yourself by working, you know, on the city--in the city, if you are always collecting old materials [laughs] for your robe, you cannot work on the--in the street--in the city. So you lose your income. It is, you know--same thing is true in our management, you know. We--you can sew your okesa, but actually when you live--Japan is not any more poor, but [laughs] if you were born in some poor country where you should work all--always that is not possible. You know, it is much better to buy some material at the store. It is hard--it is very hard even to buy new material, but that will be what you can do. In poor country, even though you want to find out some old material, you cannot find, because they use it [laughs]. You see?

Student C: Actually, Roshi, that--that was--what I meant though was that, like, you just go down to the basement of this building in the laundry room, there is a [one word unclear: "corner"?]--

Suzuki Roshi: There are a lot!

Student C: --where everybody throws away their clothes.

Suzuki Roshi: That is--that happens only in America! [Laughs, laughter.]

Student C: But there's--there's enough material down there for about at least five okesas. And it wouldn't take very long to put it together.

Suzuki Roshi: You do it! [Laughs, laughter.] You just do it, you know? When you can do it, you know, when you know how to exactly--after learning, you know, exactly how to do it, you can do it. You see? But to learn it already very difficult, you know. Unless you don't use new material, you know, it is almost impossible how to teach you, you know. When someone--when you teach how to sew rakusu some other people--there's maybe paper [pattern] is much better--best, you know, when you take pattern, when you learn how to measure. Old--buy old material, it is not possible.

So in some way, your practice is very luxurious. I feel in that way. You are, you know, children who were born in rich family. Whatever you want to do, you can do it. But that doesn't happen [laughs] in some poor country. American cannot be always rich, you know. It is not fair! [Laughs, laughter.] You--you lose; you do not notice this point. So I am afraid, you know, if you could be a real good Buddhist. I am stuck--I am, you know, I am thinking [about] this point a lot. That is my worry.

So maybe [laughs] that is--that is reason why I couldn't support okesa sewing in the practice so much before, you know. It is too luxurious practice. Only in Japan--only [in] Heian Period and people who were born in noble family could do this. They did it before Kamakura Period, but because of that, Buddhists were lost in their practice, because it was too aristocratic practice, you know. Even though you gather old material and spending, you know, a lot of time in each stick--stitch, aft- [partial word: "after"?]--when you make one stitch they bow many times and took up the needle and, you know, sew okesa stitch by stitch in that way. That was good practice, they thought, but because of that, Buddhists were lost. How about that! [Laughter.]

So, after that, you know, in Kamakura Period, Zen--Zen Buddhist, Nichiren, and Shingon was angry about that kind of luxurious practice and stood up and, you know, open new Buddhist way to, you know, city people. That was how new Buddhism arised in Kamakura period, after losing, you know, their practice, in Heian Period. So sometime I feel as if I [laughs] we are practice, you know, [in] Heian Period practice [laughs] instead of Kamakura Period practice.

So you shouldn't be lost in that--that kind of practice, you know. You feel very good. You feel you are very devotional, good student, but that is your feeling. Do you understand? So we must see what we are doing, you know, from various angle, and we must feel the crisis of the world, you know, by your skin. Then you are not Buddhist. Okay? To be, you know, to feel resistance to the old culture is--I can agree with that, but to be lost from this world is terrible mistake.

Anyway, we are born--you are born in this country, and this is your motherland. You shouldn't be--you should not be lost from this motherland. I am not nationalist [laughs]. I feel terrible, you know, if you--if you are lost from this world. Okay [laughs]? That is, you know, my feeling.

Student D [?]: I understand how it applies to the rule about material, but I'm not quite sure how--how it applies to other precepts as given [?].

Suzuki Roshi: Yeah. Maybe, anyway, you are trying your best, you know. And we are trying our best, so something will result. Don't be too idealistic or too luxurious [laughs], okay?

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71-06-22V

San Francisco

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I think most of you have wrong idea, you know, about freedom or things-as-they-are [laughs]. When you say "freedom" or "things-as-they-are," is not what I mean, at least. You are not, you know, seeing things-as-they-are, because you have some special glasses, and through them you are seeing things. And each person has different glasses, so your opinion will not meet, you know [laughs]. So the more you has to, you know, manage our group, the more you will be get in confusion [laughs], because you stick to your own, you know, eyes, your own understanding. And if, you know, you see things without glasses, things--if the picture you have is things-as-they-are, then, you know, naturally everyone will agree with what you see, and you have to agree with some other person’s understanding. But even so--even you cannot agree, you know, because you have on your glasses, you know, even though you cannot agree, sometime, you know, you should take off your glasses. "Oh!" [Laughs.] "But I need this glasses," you know. "As a teacher, I must have this one." [Laughs.] So excuse me. I must wear this. Maybe what you said is right. If you, you know, realize what kind of glasses you wear, then you can easily agree, you know. Without knowing that you have special glasses--as a student, as a teacher, as a officers, as a rokuchiji rokuchiji: by tradition, the six operations officers of a Japanese Zen monastery. [laughs], so, you know, it is--things become very difficult. So when, you know, with this understanding, many good virtue will result, you know: humbleness, soft mind, or clear understanding, or sometime sharp judgment, you know.

[Laughs.] By the way, we like bamboo very much. We Japanese like bamboo [laughs]. Someone said, you know, when I came to America, "That is Japanese bamboo bonsai." I couldn't figure out what did he meant, you know. "That is Japanese bamboo bonsai." Anyway, most people knows we Japanese like bamboo. Actually, what he means--Japanese bonsai is very expensive [laughs]. That was what he meant. "Oh, that is Japanese bamboo bonsai." [Laughs.] But for us, bamboo is not something very expensive, you know. Bamboo, first of all, has very good nature. If you want to cut it in two, it will be--you know, if you--before you cut it [completely], you--it will split in two. Ffft! You know. If you want cut it [in] four, it will exactly split in four. And, you know, even though bamboo is ten, maybe thirty feet long, you can split in just--you can split just in two, you know, from the root to the [laughs] top. It will go in that way. No other plant can be spread--split so nicely, you know. That is, you know, nature of bamboo.

But if you have that kind of wisdom, you know, to see things-as-they-are, even though it is not bamboo, you can split right in two, as Nansen Nanquan Puyuan (Jap. Nansen Fugan), Dharma successor of Mazu Daoyi (Jap. Baso Doitsu). cut the cat right in two--Whack! [Laughs.] Students amazed. "Oh!" [Laughs.] They didn't have, you know, they didn't have time to criticize his killing cat or violating the precepts. Whack! It happened in that way, and when they realized, you know, the problem is all gone. [Laughs.] That kind of, you know, activity or wisdom will appear only when you can see things-as-it-is without trying to see, or when you solve the problem without trying to solve the problem. How you can do that is just to sit.

*****

71-07-02V

City Center

"Real Precepts Are Beyond Words"

Part 1

Today I would like to… lecture about precepts. I--when I say "precepts," the first thing you will think of is something like Ten Commandment or ten grave prohibitory precepts. But Zen precepts is not like that. The Zen precepts is--to study Zen precepts means to understand zazen. So it is--another interpretation of zazen is precepts. Using words--word "precepts" we explain what is Zen actually.

The purpose of receiving precepts, observing precepts, is not just to remember what we should do or what we shouldn't do. And how we observe precepts is to practice Zen or to extend our practice to our everyday life. So the idea of precepts is completely different from the usual understanding of precepts.

The precepts, you know, which is--or foundation of precepts or--true meaning of precept--precepts is various way of understanding of one reality, one reality which is always with you--reality, which cannot--which is not dividable in three, or in sixteen, or in ten. Tentatively we divide--we explain it from various angle, but that is just words. Real, you know, precept is beyond word. We cannot--if we talk about it, it is not real precepts already. So if you think precept is just to observe some various rules is precepts, it is very different or very far away from the true understanding of the true prac- [incomplete word: "practice"?]--precepts.

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.

We understand the precepts in various ways. Science--scientists understand his own way, and various people understand religious way. There must be various way of understanding of it, but the--what we study, what we observe is the one precept. That is the precept you will receive--when you receive precepts, sixteen precepts. You will understand then, you know, how you receive precepts. How you receive precepts is just practice zazen, just to be yourself. Then you can observe the precepts.

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*****

71-07-02V

City Center

"Real Precepts Are Beyond Words"

Part 2

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Ahh. It looks like I'm talking about something [laughs] about heaven [laughs], but it is not so. I am talking about each one of you and myself [drinks water], and about the water and about the stuff [laughs]. When, you know, stuff is really stuff, this stuff include everything. When you just practice zazen on your black cushion, your practice include everything. And you practice zazen with Buddha, with various patriarch, and with all sentient beings. That is, you know, what I always repeat over and over.

Whether your practice is good or bad, it doesn't matter. If you accept your practice as your own, then that practice include everything. At that time you have precepts which include everything as the absolute being include everything. We say, you know, something which include everything is the absolute. But it is actually it is more than that. It is beyond our understanding. You may--you may think if you add, you know, all of you and all the being which exist in this universe, then that is the absolute. But it is not so, because that absolute can be understood by your mind, you know. Something which you understand is not already absolute, you know, because your mind limit the real understanding of the absolute. When you understand, it is not so. When you don't understand and when you just sit [laughs], when you become just a stone or stuff, you know, then you include everything. That is, you know, our zazen practice.

This is so important point for us. If we lose this point, you will be easily caught by some idea or some experience in your, you know, practice. "My practice is good, very good. Recently I saw Buddha in zazen. [Laughs.] Various buddhas--all the buddhas came to me [laughs, laughter] and admired my practice." [Laughs, laughter.] You are laughing, but it is actually that kind of practice exists. And they practice this kind of practice very sincerely. But even so, it is good practice-- But even so, compare--comparing to the practice "just sit," you know, you can't--it is beyond comparison [laughs]. Just to sit is much better than to see all the buddha in the world [laughs]. Do you [laughs] understand why is it?

That is the point, you know: to know how important practice it is just to be yourself. When I couldn't read Zen book in English, you know, Alan Watts said, you know, "When a stone is completely stone [laughs], that is real stone," he said, you know. That is what he put, you know, our--that--Zen into word. When a stone is really stone, that is, you know, when a stone is stone through-and-through. That is really a stone.

Not only that is really stone, or when it is really stone, the stone include everything. The stone cannot be, you know, picked up by anyone when a stone is really stone. When--because it is not stone, you know [laughs], so someone may kick it. But when a stone is really stone, you cannot do--you cannot do anything with it. When a stone is really stone, you cannot, you know, pick up. Even though you think you picked up, still, you know, it is a part of the universe. It is you that--who thinks you could picked up, but actually you didn't, you didn't. It is still a part of [laughs] the universe. You cannot pick up whole universe. If you say so, "I picked up whole universe," where are you? [Laughs.] You are ghost. You are outside of the universe. That is just delusion. Nothing exist outside of the universe. All what exist is inside of the universe, you know.

So, that you say you picked up a stone is big delusion. Stone is still stone. You cannot do anything with it. If you understand this point and sit, that is how you receive precepts. This is--

Only one way to observe precepts, perfect precepts. There is no other way to observe precepts. This precept is called--I don't know what, how to interpret--precepts which is--which is not dividable in three. Why we say three is there's two more.

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*****

71-07-02V

City Center

"Real Precepts Are Beyond Words"

Part 3

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Another point of this precepts is you say, you know--as you know, we say "dharma" and--no, "buddha, dharma, sangha." I am talking about--I have been talking about dharma [buddha] precepts, which cannot be divided in three.

And next one is dharma precept. Dharma. It is, you know, law of the universe. There is--in some way, you know, always things is going. If you throw something, you know, away it will eventually come to the earth because, you know, things, because of the theory of the gravitation. So what--there is some rules, you know, in the way of things exist. So if we say "rule," that law or theory, that theory or rule include everything. There is nothing--nothing exist out of--free from the law or theory. That is dharma.

When we say "freedom" [laughs]--even though you have complete freedom, you say "I have complete freedom from everything." But if you exist outside of the law or theory, you are ghost [laughs]. You are, you know, you are--that is your own delusion. Actually nothing exist outside of the rule. And that is called--the second one is called pure--pure law or pure precepts.

Why--"pure" means not dualistic. When something is in duality, it is not pure, we say. When we--when things is not dualistic it is pure. Usually, you know, when you say "pure," pure is opposite of impure. And when you say "good," good is opposite of bad--a pair of opposite. Good and bad is pair of opposite. Then there is already pollution. Good air [laughs] or pure air. So, when we say "pure," it means non-duality. Non-duality.

When you sit, you know, if you say, "My practice is good," it is already dualistic. Whether you say "good practice" or "bad practice," you are right there and sitting [laughs]. You cannot say "good practice" or "bad practice." There is some reason why someone's practice is like this or someone cannot sit with her back straight. There's some reason, and you cannot say "good" or "bad." That is how she practice zazen. For her there is no other way to sit for two days' practice. She is making her best effort, and she practice zazen just to, you know, make her effort--complete effort. To be complete being, she is sitting. Not to attain enlightenment or not to keep her from being fall into the hell [laughs]. He is just sitting. She is just sitting. No one can criticize her practice. If she criticize her practice, you know, she is not making her best effort. When she is making her best effort, you know, she cannot criticize. She will not be regret about is--about her practice. That is her own practice, and day after day, if she continue this kind of practice, that is how we exist or how we live as a good Buddhist. That is how we keep our prac- [incomplete word]--precepts.

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*****

71-07-02V

City Center

"Real Precepts Are Beyond Words"

Part 4

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Anyway, there is some rule, you know, some reason why each person exist here. There is some reason why plant is plant and stars are star. So when we say "dharma," dharma include everything. And dharma is another name of the Buddha, the Absolute One.

The third one is sangha. "Sangha" means to keep harmony, to be harmonious. You know, when Buddha and the law of the universe is not two. And when someone who is practicing zazen and Buddha and his law is one, that is complete harmony. It is more than harmony [laughs]. It is actually one.

So, after all, we say, after all, one undividable … [Sentence not finished. Tape turned over.] … the precept which is undividable in three, or which is undividable. We say "three precepts," but it is not three. We cannot divide in three. So we say "precepts which is not dividable in three." But we can, you know, explain it in three ways. "My practice is, you know--my zazen is precepts itself." That is one interpretation--one way of understanding the precepts.

There's rules, you know. If I do something good, result will be good. You cannot [laughs], you know, escape from the law of karma. If you understand that way, then that law includes--that rule or law--includes everything. We say "law of karma," but you cannot escape from karma. Nothing can, you know, escape from the karma. There's some rule--always rule. Rule is following you--not following you, you know. It is how everything exist. So, you know, it is same thing with Buddha himself. When we say "Buddha," Buddha, you know, acts with karma, by karma, or for karma. So karma and Buddha is same. And we, you know, Buddha's disciple, is always one with Buddha. We cannot escape from him. So we say "undividable" precepts. We cannot divide in three.

Now you are listening to my lecture; or you may, to study Buddhism, you will read many books. The books you read is not Buddhism itself but explanation of this, you know, truth. "Form is emptiness; emptiness is form." If we explain it like this, it is Prajñaparamita groups--study of Prajñaparamita group--sutra of Prajñaparamita group. If we put emphasis on how to be buddha, why we are buddha, then that is study of Lotus Sutra. What is the--if we study koan, what do we study? What you study by koan is what is the relationship between our practice and the reality. How we, you know--why we--how we have a glance of the truth or enlightenment or Buddha, which is always one, which is not dividable, which cannot be explained in words. That is, you know, how you study koan. Through koan, or through koan practice, you will have a glance of the truth. "Oh, this is reality!" That is koan practice. Whatever you say, whatever you write, it is a kind of way--it is one of the way to put the reality into words. If you are an artist, what you work on is how to, you know, convey your understanding of the truth.

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*****

71-07-02V

City Center

"Real Precepts Are Beyond Words"

Part 5

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To--so to study Buddhism, of course, include--is included in our study of preceptsPrecepts is not just to observe ten prohibitory precepts:  Do not kill; do not steal, you know, that is not [laughs]--that is, you know--  It is precepts.  It is really precepts, but that is not--even though you observe ten precepts completely, it is not how you observe our real precepts

So we are not interested in to explain 250, more than 250--a little bit more--I don't know how many more, three or four [hundred] more precepts for [laughs] for a man and for a lady more than 500.  I'm sorry to say.  Each time I say [laughs], I--some of you maybe may not like it.  But, you know, as I always say, female has more complicated [laughs] spiritually and physically complicated, you know, activity.  So the rule should be more complicated.  That is, you know, quite natural [laughs].  So man is more simple, and--"too simple" means, maybe, not so good [laughs].  Simpleton?  Simpleton.  [Laughs, laughter.]  So, you know, I am not proud of, you know, having half of the precepts as a lady has, you know.  I'm not proud of it.  I'm so simple [laughs].  I'm so foolish, maybe.

But anyway, it is not the point to observe those precepts one by one--one after another.  The point is how to be yourself, how to be a lady--a lady.  Then you have precepts.  You have complete precepts.  When you are just lady, you keep more than five hundred [laughs] precepts.  Actually, even though you keep written precepts--five hundreds of written precepts--you may not be completely a lady.  But when--the best way is just to be yourself.  Then precepts are with you always.

People may ask, "What are you doing," you know, "in Zen Center?  What kind of practice you have in Zen Center?"  There are many ways, maybe, but, in short, to be one's self is the purpose of our practice.  How to be one's self, one's self is our point of practice and how to keep the precepts--Buddha's precepts.  And this--those are the three precepts--the three undividable precepts

And next one, I'm [laughs]--I'm not continuing my lecture any more [laughs], because you may hungry--you may be hungry if I continue [laughs, laughter].  The another three is the three collective pure precepts.  Collection of all the goodies [laughs, laughter].  That is another three precepts [laughs].  How about it?  "Collection of all the goodies precepts."  [Laughs, laughter.]

And ten--we have ten more:  that is ten [grave] prohibitory precepts.  You shouldn't eat too much, you know, even though we have the three collective good [pure] precepts.  That is sixteen precepts.  And we tentatively, you know, explain the framework of Buddhism by the explanation of the precepts.  So it is not just precepts.  It is not just rule.  It is direct explanation of our life and Buddha's teaching and zazen practice.  That is why it is important for you to receive precepts

Thank you very much.

*****

71-07-06V

San Francisco

Part 1

I want to continue my talk about precepts--Buddhist precepts.  And last time I talked about the indivisible three treasures, which is buddha, and dharma, and sangha.  But we have three--we say "three treasures," but the three treasures could be understood by you in three ways.  It is indivisible, three precepts, because it is one:  buddha, and dharma, and sangha are actually one.  It is not three.  So we say indivisible three treasures. 

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Buddha, and sangha, and teaching is one.  We are buddha.  Or "sangha," we say, but each one of the sangha--member of the sangha is buddha.  And his teaching we say, but that is just light, you know, to know ourselves.  So actually there is no special teaching which we should remember, which we should recite.  There is no need to recite sutra [laughs], in its true sense, but it will help anyway [laughs, laughter].  So if you--if you should respect, you know, pay homage, you should pay homage to yourself, and it means to pay homage to buddha and to the dharma.  That is the structure of Buddhism. 

So same thing is true with the manifested three treasures as three treasure indivisible--[having trouble pronouncing it; laughs.]  In-di-vi-  [Students help with pronunciation.]  Okay anyway.  [Laughs, laughter.]  Better not to, to bite my lips.  [Laughs, laughter.]  Anyway, same, not difference.  Not different.  But because our mind is not so clear, so we must to give good understanding of Buddhism, we have precepts.  So precepts is not something to observe literally.  Through precepts we should know the structure of Buddhism, and point of Buddhism, and core of Buddhism, and spirit of Buddhism.  That is why we accept precepts.

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***** 

71-07-06V

San Francisco

Part 2

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This is a brief explanation of the triple treasures we have--precepts of triple treasures.  Maybe to have--having clear understanding of triple treasures, our triple treasures, and to have right practice, we should make those points very sure, through practice, and through intellectual understanding, and through discussion.  If we do not discuss this point fully, we will not have good practice in its true sense, and we will be lost.  Even though you, you know, practice hard and you make great effort, you will be lost.  So that you may not lose yourself in your practice, in your religion, we should accept those treasures which was transmitted from Buddha to us.  Actually, Buddha realized this point, and [it was] carefully discussed by various teachers and patriarchs so that we might not lose our way.

You can criticize, you know, Buddhism from various angle.  That is necessary.  If it is not necessary for you, it will help someone else, you know, even though [laughs] you end up in your criticism.  It will help people--someone else.  For your own sake, for other's sake, you should criticize Buddhism.  And you can fight with Buddhism, even.  If you don't fight with Buddhism strongly enough, all human being will be lost.  Only when you fight with Buddhism, then actually you are helping ….  [Sentence not finished.  Tape turned over.]

You should study Buddhism on those points by all means and from various angles.  But as long as you are fighting with it, you are not--not yet [laughs] Buddhist--you are outside Buddhism.  But from Buddha's viewpoint, he is Buddhist, and even though he feel he is not Buddhist.  Buddhism is, you know, this kind of religion.  You should know what is Buddhism very clearly.  And if you [are] going to be a Buddhist, you should be prepared for this kind of problem which you will have because you became a--only because you became Buddhist.  If you, you know, were not Buddhist, you will not have any problem, maybe [laughs].  Only because you became a Buddhist you will have many problem [laughs, laughter].  Fighting, you know--through fighting--this kind of fighting, you can help people in its true sense.  If you want to be protected by the Three Treasures, it is not the way to accept the Three Treasures.  This is the spirit we receive our precepts.  This is why you become a Buddhist.  [Sighs.]

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*****

71-07-17V

San Francisco

Part 1

[In my last lectures] (The opening words were not recorded on tape. The phrase in brackets was inserted by the transcriber. Suzuki Roshi was probably referring to lectures SR-71-07-02 and SR-71-07-06.) ... I explain about our precepts. As you must have found out, "the precepts," we say, but it is nothing so unusual--it is just about the things as they are and about what we are. And that is precepts. You may wonder why then is it necessary [laughs] to accept precepts. But this is very important point. I want you to understand. It is very very common understanding which you can accept quite easily.

You know, what I say--what I said was there are three--the three kind of precepts. One precept is--first one is indivisible three precepts. Even though we say "three," but that three is one. So it is not possible to--cannot be three. It is actually to repeat one precepts three times from various angle. That is the first one.

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So as a Buddhist, it is very important to accept the three precepts and not to forget about how important it is-- the three precepts which is very common. This is the point.

So we do not call you "Buddhist" if you do not accept precepts [laughs]. If you do not accept precepts-- Even though you accept precepts, it doesn't make any difference. Although it doesn't make any difference, it is necessary to remain very common. To remain very common and usual, you accept precepts [laughs]. So that you--you are not involved in--involved in topsy-turvy idea, we say, you know, you should accept precepts. And you--if you are--if you decide not to be uncommon, not to be interested in something unusual. And we must study ourselves. Then that is Buddhist precepts.

And this is, for Buddhists, this is very important. Not only for Buddhists, but also for human being this is very important point. Important thing is not always interesting. Important, even though key is very small and usual, but without key you cannot live. Key is not usually--is not called; but key is very important. Without key, even though you have diamond [laughs], you cannot use diamond. But usually, you know, if you are not--when you are not mature, when you are young children, which is important, which do you like, key or diamond or something, you know, [like] candy? Which do you like? Children may take sweet candy rather than key.

Unless you--you are very sincere about your life, it is rather difficult maybe to be interested--to be interested in Buddhism, which is very common. That is why we have precepts. And this precepts--our precepts include the three treasures. But the three treasures [are] after all about yourself and about your practice--pure practice of zazen. So precepts and zazen practice is not different. It is all about ourselves.

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.

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71-07-17V

San Francisco

Part 2

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How to be a good student is how to himself, and ready to understand the true teaching.  That is why we accept precepts--we receive precepts from Buddha.  Buddha says in Lotus Sutra, people, you know, talk about something, which is very convenient for them always [laughs].  But if--if I say Buddha said in Lotus Sutra "you should not be interested in mixing medicine, seeing stars, by practice of strange power, you should not attract people" [laughs].  Buddha said so.  I think you will understand what he meant.  Before you are interested in something unusual, you should be usual first, and you should have strong confidence in yourself.  And you should always try to be usual.

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To know human nature is good, but we should not abuse the understanding of human nature.  So if you, if you know this point, and if you are strong courage or confidence, then you can help people wherever you are, because wherever you go there is lot of mistake and lot of things you should correct.  Maybe you need a lot of stick, wherever you go.  Or you must talk [to] them:  "What are you doing?!"  [Laughs, laughter.]  If you only have calm, open mind, you will see what we are doing.  When you are interested in some special, interesting thing, and when you are lost in it, you cannot see anything.  That is why we practice zazen, and that is why we receive precepts--we have to receive precepts from Buddha.  After all, precepts are all about ourselves.

I wanted to tell you next--the next three--about next three precepts, but [laughs] before I started, I wanted to make it sure about your, you know, to make sure about your understanding so far I talked about.  [Sighs.]  Okay?  If you have some question, please ask me.

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71-07-17V

San Francisco

Part 3

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Student A:  Roshi?

Suzuki Roshi:  Hai.

Student A: Can we--can we rely on anything?

Suzuki Roshi:  Hmm?

Student A:  Can we rely on anything?

Suzuki Roshi:  On anything? 

Student A:  Mm-hmm.

Suzuki Roshi:  As Buddha said, why don't you rely on yourself?  There is nothing, you know, you can rely on.

Student A:  Can you rely on--  You can rely on yourself?

Suzuki Roshi:  You can--  The only thing you can rely on is you yourself.  If you try hard to rely on yourself, you will, you know, rely on big self.  When you rely on someone else, it means that you are relying on small self.  The "someone" is projected small self, you know.  When you say "he's bad," you are bad actually [laughing].  If you think more about it, you know, it is very--most of the--not always, but most of time it is you which is bad, not him.  So to rely on, in other word, to rely on zazen, rely on nothing!  [Laughs.]

Student A:  When you feel, you know, when you feel he is bad, should you ever say anything, or should you always not say anything until you feel everything is okay?

Suzuki Roshi:  Yeah [laughter].  I think so. 

Student A:  When should you be honest?  [Question unclear.]

Suzuki Roshi:  Honest!  Yeah.  People say maybe I'm dishonest because I don't say so much [laughs], but it is not so.  [Laughter.]  I try--I'm trying to be honest, so I can not say so easily.  I must see myself, you know, first.  Uh-oh.  [Laughs.] 

Student A:  Better not say?  [Question unclear.]

Suzuki Roshi:  That's--  Yeah, that is--  We say if someone ask you, you should answer.  If someone don't ask you, you know, don't say.  It makes sense, because someone ask you--when someone ask some question, then I have something to talk about.  But if no one ask me any question, I have nothing to talk about, because I should accept things as it is, as they are.  So it is nothing--it is much more than to talk about.  So may be better not to say anything. 

This kind of practice is very important--to be silent.  To be silent means to be open and calm.  That is how to be silent.  Like zazen.  To be silent does not mean to do this.  [Sounds as though he is covering his mouth.  Laughs.]  To open our mind, and to open our big mind, and to see things as much as we can--that is how to be silent--how to have--how you have--you obtain yourself--true self.  Hai.

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71-07-17V

San Francisco

Part 4

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Student B: Roshi, without the experience, what does it mean to accept precepts or have confidence in usual activity?

Suzuki Roshi: Mm-hmm. Without experience--without experience, you know, without special experience, but usually we have many difficulties in our everyday life. And we have many problems. And how we--why do we have this kind of problem is something you should think [about]. And that kind experience--usual experience of difficulties will help you to have this kind--to accept this kind of precepts.

Student B: Paying attention to our usual difficulties is included in what you mean by accepting precepts?

Suzuki Roshi: Pay- [partial word: "Paying"?]--no.

Student B: Is the word "accept"? I don't--I mean, you accept the precepts on one basis. I would have to accept it on another. And for me, confidence comes from experience--some kind of understanding or something. So without it, I'd have to accept ….

[Sentence not finished. Tape turned over. Original tape case stated that a "student question" was asked as the tape was turned over.]

Suzuki Roshi: Mm-hmm. Yes, that-- If a teacher is very good, he will help.

Student B: Apart from a teacher?

Suzuki Roshi: Apart from teacher? Apart from teacher?

Student B: Apart from [?] practice of truth. Accepting the precepts--truth or--

Suzuki Roshi: "Truth," you--we say; but truth usually, maybe, usually is one-way, you know, street. "Go! Anyway, go this ways"--that is truth, usually. But the truth--when we say "truth," truth can be, you know, various truths. So if you try to follow, you know, some direction only, or if you always depend on the, you know, sign, you will not find out the--your own way to go. So the best thing is to have eyes to read the sign.

I have this kind of experience when I was in Manchuria at the end of the war. The sign said, "We will not sell ticket. And there is no boat to Japan" [laughs]. That was sign. When I read it, there is ticket, we can buy a ticket [laughs], and there is a boat. [Laughs, laughter.] I understand in that way. [Laughs, laughter.] So I--because I didn't depend on, you know, railway transportation only, or some line or some company only, there is boat. I am quite sure about it. But the boat which does not belong to special line or … [2 words unclear], or some special line. So whatever it is, it will give you some information. I rather rely on the carpenters' information who is working in harbor. "Is it dangerous to go to Japan right now? And how many--how many ships were, you know, damaged, and how long does it take until it get repaired?" They know much better than officers in station--railway station.

So whatever it is, you know, it will give you good information. But if you depend on something, some special thing only, and depend upon something which usual people may depend on, it means that as long as you, you know, you are not strong enough to go by yourself, you cannot find out your way.

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.

---

***

71-07-22V

SAN-PACHI-NENJU

Tassajara

Part 1

---

Each layman accepts Buddhists precepts. If usual person accepts precepts, we become Buddhist. And I have been explaining what is precepts. So tonight I will not speak--talk about it; but if you become Buddhist, what kind of practice you will have is next thing--is the thing I want to talk [about]--to study.

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.

To, you know, to, in short, to receive the three refuges is to have right understanding of our life. It is same thing, you know, to have right understanding of our life and to receive three refuges is same thing. So if--when you have right understanding of human life as it is, then you are said to be accepted, to have accepted Buddha’s precepts. Nothing special--nothing special practice, but usual practice. And you will have right understanding about, you know, our life.

---

***

71-07-22V

SAN-PACHI-NENJU

Tassajara

Part 2

---

Not only observing the rules [?], you know, studying Buddhist precepts. We have school of precepts, you know--precepts and doctrine [?] of zazen school. They are only studying precepts, so Dogen Zenji studied precepts--various precepts, precepts texts--texts of precepts, and he carefully set up non-dualistic way of life for monks and laymen.

He said as long as you are Buddhist, whether you are layman or monk, it is necessary to observe the first principle first, the next principle--the second principle--next [laughs]. Do you understand? The first principle goes first; and second principle follows. Value [?] of first principle. First principle means non-dualistic way. The second precept--the second principle is--is good means to lead people to the first principle. So it is a little bit more dualistic.

When you don't know which way you should take, which way should be more important, then you should put more emphasis on the first principle, not the second principle--principle of the duality.

---

We will find out our own treasure, and that is our precepts too. With it is nothing but treasures you have. But when you receive it, you receive it as if you receive something special [laughs] from Buddha. But actually, more and more--"Oh! This is a treasure we have had." That is how you feel when you have attained enlightenment.

---

*****

71-07-25V

Tassajara

---

At first, you know, when you fear Buddhism, it looks like there are many precepts to observe; there is many rules to follow; there are many buddhas to worship.  It looks like so.  But if you worship Buddha, according to Buddhist way, more and more, you yourself will become Buddha and you don’t need Buddha.  You don’t feel you need Buddha.  Whenever you come to Buddha, naturally you will bow to Buddha without trying to anything.  That is not--that is more than worship.  Just bow to Buddha.

---

*****

71-07-26V

Tassajara

---

Day after day, moment after moment, we are creating bad karma. I have to accept it. Even [at] Tassajara we ate eggs--eggs, you know. It is living being. Eggs are not dead. Even though you eat grain, that is living being. You are killing them. But you have to eat it, knowing that it is not dead. Because of the big mind we have to do it. Because we do not--we choose big mind rather than small mind to discriminate: "This is good or bad." Whether we are following Buddha's precepts or not, that is, you know--small mind say--say so--but big mind will accept things as it is. If we have to, we will do anything.

---

*****

71-07-29V

RYAKU FUSATSU LECTURE

Zen Mountain Center

Part 1

---

All the year round, you know, dosojin--that god go--lived in various part of the village, and [knows] who observe good precepts and who don't. He has--he is supposed to keep the record, as ino also does [laughs], in Tassajara zendo or City zendo [laughing]: who attend zazen and how many times someone didn't come. He has that kind of responsibility.

---

And if someone didn't observe good precepts, then that evil spirit will visit his home [laughs].

---

Eighth--eighth or fourteenth, fifteenth is the day we observe precepts. Laymen observe the eight precepts, which is--the eight precepts is the same precepts priests observe, but on those days, eighth and fourteenth and fifteenth, is the day lay--layman observe same precepts as priest observe, or Buddha's direct disciple observe. Those precepts are called hachisai-kai. Hachi--hachi--"eight." Sai is--sai means "same"--sai, you know. If this shoulder and this shoulder is, you know--this shoulder and this shoulder is same--sai. Very balanced, hachi-sai-kai. Hachisai-kai. Why we call sai means--sai means "equal," like your left-hand shoulder and right-hand shoulder is equal. Sai means "equal."

So on that day--fourteenth, or eighth or fourteenth or fifteenth--is the day when laymen and monks observe same precepts. Kai is "precepts." Hachi is "eight." And the rokusai, roku: "six"; sai: "same" or "equal." rokusai is--rokusai, it was six--sai--mmm--it is rather complicated.

Sai in America--we use it with precepts--sankai, saikai [?]--so sai is more and more changed--its meaning changed. And sai later, you know, meant--or nowadays means "pure," but original meaning is "same."

We have rokusai. Rokusai is--before fifteenth we have three days, after fifteenth we have three days. So we have six days to observe pure precepts. And in those six days we observe hachisai-kai--eight pure precepts, which is equivalent to arhat precepts, or Buddha’s disciples' precepts. And eight precepts--four precepts of eight--eight precepts is the nature of precepts, and other precepts is prohibitory precepts.

---

***

71-07-29V

RYAKU FUSATSU LECTURE

Zen Mountain Center

Part 2

---

In Mahayana precepts, we put emphasis on nature of precepts. But in Hinayana or Theravada, they put emphasis on prohibitory precepts. Before Buddha, it is some--something--some observation to keep themselves from evil spirit by doing something good. Dana precepts was the very old precepts, both for Buddhist and pre-Buddhist people. Dana precepts. If you observe dana precepts, you will be born in some good land after you die--after you die. That is why they observed dana precepts before Buddha. And why Buddhists observe dana precepts is different: not for to have good future life, but to accomplish buddhahood in this life. That is Buddhist way of--or spirit of observing precepts and dana precepts.

Anyway, this kind of observation of--by observation of the precepts, they--before Buddha, they tried to keep themselves from evil spirits, to protect themselves from evil spirits. After Buddha, they also gathered laymen and monks and Buddha's precepts stick [?] together, and recited precepts, Buddha precepts. And those who did not--those who failed to observe the precepts mays--may make confession of it. And those who do not say anything is the people who are supposed to observe the precepts. In that way, they recited precepts.

So the most important part of the Fusatsu ceremony is to recite Bommo-kyo, Bommo-kyo (Bommo Sutra, Brahmajala Sutra, Fan-wang-chin): a sutra containing the ten major and 48 lesser Mahayana precepts. 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.

---

***

71-07-29V

RYAKU FUSATSU LECTURE

Zen Mountain Center

Part 3

---

Nature of precepts is to encourage good practice and to stop evil desire, or to--to continue good practice, good precept observation, and to put an end to bad delu- [partial word] deluded observation. That is the idea of precepts. Fusa--fusa-da--fusa: "to do something." Something we have. To continue something good, and to stop something good, something bad, or to stop something bad karma arise. That is the meaning of stop. Fusa--fusatsu. In that way, Buddhists have been observed Fusatsu.

Fusatsu is in Japanese or maybe in Chinese too, but it is--character doesn't mean anything, but it is transliteration of "posòadha"--Sanskrit. So with this spirit, we should observe Fusatsu. And when your everyday practice is good--when you observe, you know, this Fusatsu, you--you feel real spirit of zendo. Fusatsu.

And Ryaku Fusatsu--Ryaku means "abbreviated observation," not full observation, because we have so many precepts, you know, and so many scriptures. So if we, you know, read all of it, it takes long, long time.

So we, in Japan or in China, instead of observing six times a month, we just observe fifteenth and the last day of the month. And the things we--we--Mahayana school of Buddhism, like Zen or Shin or someone Tendai or Shingon, we--we read Bodhisattva precepts--Bodhisattva precepts, Mahayana precepts only. That is why we say Ryaku. Ryaku. Ryaku is what we say. Not full but a part of it.

If we--if this okesa is, you know--if we wear small okesa that is simplified okesa--ryaku. Spirit is there, but more simple. Why we say so is because we do not read all the precepts, one by one, because it takes too long time. Maybe in comparison to Bodhisattva precepts, we should--I should refer to eight hachisai-kai, eight precepts.

The first one we say, "Don't kill." And don't take which is not given to you--don't steal. "Don't steal" means to take something which is not given to you. And do--do not be, you know--do not cling to the nature of man or woman, or nature or--don't cling to the difference of--difference, you know. If it is different is pretty good [laughs]. You cling to it more than that. Man and woman is--you don't understand in the difference of the nature. It is--if you understand, woman is the form and nature is little different from a man, and then it is [1 word] to understand, nearer to understand. But if you say, you know, man and--nature of man and woman is like water and [laughs] flame, or plus and minus, that is not our understanding. Do you understand the feeling?

---

***

71-07-29V

RYAKU FUSATSU LECTURE

Zen Mountain Center

Part 4

---

Our minds should go, you know--should have freedom from this kind of concepts. Because you are not free from those concepts, you lose, you know, you lose your freedom. You are enslaved by it. Nature is the same, but function is different, and that is, you know, Buddhist understanding about various existing being. There is--we, anyway, we possess everything, you know, possess everything. But difference is something is right, you know, with you. Something is beyond my reach right now. That is the difference. But anyway, by nature, everything belongs to you then. By nature, everything is same. It looks like different from one to the other. This is the third precept: "Don't be sexual." [Laughs.]

Fourth one is, you know--[he says the series to himself out loud in Japanese, then comes to the fourth precept]: "Don't tell a lie." You cannot tell a lie.

First four precepts are the nature of human being. It express how human being--how everything exist. It means that everything has buddha-nature and everything is the same, is one. When your mind is clear, you will understand in that way. When your mind is, you know, confused, you do not understand those men and women, [1-3 words] or other sentient, or something to cure [3-4 words unclear]--someone who cure [2 words], or something true or something which is not true. That kind of duality doesn't exist.

Dualistic understanding is anything, you know--anyway, [1-2 words] is not good understanding. When we--we are free from dualistic understanding of precepts or of being, then you have--you understand what is buddha-nature. So we call it sho-kai--nature of precepts--nature.

---

***

71-07-29V

RYAKU FUSATSU LECTURE

Zen Mountain Center

Part 5

---

And the rest of the [precepts]--the rest--we have three more, and the three is not just three--many, many, many. You shouldn't sleep because of high bed or something like, you know--you shouldn't decorate your, you know, your--you shouldn't use something too beautiful [laughs] on your ears, or on your eyebrows, on your lips, or you shouldn't use too strong incense. [5-7 words, laughter.] Incense has [2-3 words] okay.

Many, many precepts, not just there are three. But tentatively we count just three. Four--five--six--seven--eight--six--seven--eight [1 word], you know. Six-seven is something like that: Don't sleep in high bed. I am a Zen priest, you know. We sleep on this way--this part is [?]--my grandfather used to sleep [probably gestures, followed by S.R. and students laughing]. It looked like needles [?] [laughs, laughter]. He [2-3 words]. So the real spirit [3-4 words]. [Laughs, laughter.] Don't sleep [laughs] on such a grand [3-5 words]. That kind of precept--so many precepts, but tentatively we come--they come to "Don't sleep in high bed." That is next one, maybe seventh--sixth--seventh. I don't--I don't remember. Anyway, something like that.

The last one was very important one. "Don't eat after [laughs]--after twelve, afternoon." That is why John and Jisho, you know, at lunchtime while we--while we are eating before the second service start, we come to the Mañjushri and take back his flower to the kitchen because he doesn't [2-4 words]. That is sad. So maybe I shouldn't [1 word], you know. I shouldn't remain like this, but I--I feel it, you know. Mañjushri is a spirit of a body [?] of precepts.

[Laughs, laughter.] Excuse me, I need to ask a [3-6 words]. I was--I am not, you know, [3-5 words].

That--that is very important--that precept. That is independent precept, and before Buddha set up precepts, you know, for Buddhists it is a very important precept are the four precepts which means our Buddha nature. That is our buddha-nature. How to realize buddha-nature. Don't kill; don't steal; don't be--don't act with unchaste acts, --or that is not literal understanding precepts--don't be sexual, don't tell a lie. Those are very important precepts. But don't eat after twelve is--means Buddha's or Buddhist activity or Buddha's everyday life. So as long as we put emphasis on our everyday life--not only, you know, everyday life is very important. So that is one independent precept, especially in--in Theravada and before Buddhists.

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***

71-07-29V

RYAKU FUSATSU LECTURE

Zen Mountain Center

Part 6

---

Don't eat, you know, after noontime is a very good and very important precept. It is a direct expression of Buddha's practice, like takuhatsu. Don't observe takuhatsu. In one word, it means--it include our everyday--Buddhist everyday life. Same thing: don't eat after noon, after twelve o'clock, and don't--and practice takuhatsu, same thing. And this practice has been long, long practice for other Buddhists, even from before Buddha. For spiritual people this is very important practice.

And more and more in Bodhisattva precepts, is buddha-nature precepts became more important, and three refuges, and the Three Collective [Pure] Precepts was added. So we have sixteen precepts, three refuges, three treasures. We take refuge in the three treasures, and the Three Collective Pure Precepts. Is that six?

And Ten Grave Prohibitory Precepts. "Prohibitory precepts," we say, but it is the precepts of buddha-nature. So Bodhidharma's expl- [partial word]--according to Bodhidharma's explanation--explanation of precepts, we--buddha-nature is pure and clear, you know, each, you know, precept have, we say, buddha-nature is clean, pure, and clear. And the other words [?] follows when he explained the Ten Grave Precepts. That is Zen precepts or Mahayana precepts.

---

***

*****

71-07-30V
Tassajara Zen Mountain Center
Part 1

---

So if we study what Buddhists observe, then we will find out various elements. Last night I explained about it. Better to, you know, to see various kinds of flower in a basket, you know. There are--there--there is many kinds of flowers. Some of the flower is about the precepts about--about our human nature, or buddha-nature. And some--some of them is to--to stop doing something bad. And some of them is about life style of Buddhists--like the last one: "Don’t eat after twelve o’clock [noon]." This is, you know--it means--it is the life style of Buddhists at that time. And we are still--we Buddhists, even though we eat three times a day, we have this kind of spirit. And when we chant and you read meal chant, you will find out this kind of spirit.

And tonight [unfolds paper], I want to explain Mahayana precepts in comparison to the precepts they observed in early days of Buddhism. Here--this is the precepts they observed in sixth day of the month--eighth, fourteenth, fifteenth, and twenty-third, twenty-ninth and thirtieth, or some time--yeah, thirtieth--instead of thirty-first day observed it. Thirtieth or twenty-ninth.

One is "Don’t kill." The first one is "Don’t kill." This is old precept. If you can see it in Agama Sutra or Kihara or Daibuddhasara. Suzuki Roshi cites three different sutras. The Agama (San., lit. "Source of the Teaching") is the Mahayana name for the Sanskrit canon that correspond essentially to the Pali term Nikaya. Kihara and Daibuddhasara are ________. In old scriptures, [Precept Number] One is not to kill, "Don’t kill." Second is "Don’t steal." Don’t take. This is not--it was not given to you. Don’t be involved in sexual activity. Don’t tell a lie. Those are so-called-it bussho-kai, bussho

"buddha-nature"; kai

Buddhist rules of moral conduct. Buddha-nature as large as the ocean. (See Shobogenzo "Bussho.") you know. Something about buddha-nature--precepts about buddha-nature.

The explanation of those precepts is to don’t be dualistic--or is the--in one word, don’t be dualistic. Because you become dualistic you kill something, you steal something, and you are deeply involved in sexual activity, and you tell a lie. And fuakku Japanese name for the fifth precept, which prohibits intoxication and/or malicious speech. Suzuki Roshi may have used the other term for the fifth precept, fuinshu. (Phonetically, it sounded like "fukushan.") is about laziness, lazier, easier practice, like to drink or to take LSD. And [laughter, laughs] lazy [laughing] practice.

And the last one is about the life style. And sixth precept includes various prohibitions not to, you know, use powder or perfume, you know. Don’t play with geisha doll, do you know? [Laughs, laughter.] There are lot of "don’t, don't, don't," you know [laughs]. Don’t use a beautiful, you know, hair--hair--what do you call it?--comb or hair pin.

Student: Ornament.

Hmm? Ornament. Oh. And don’t sleep in big bed [laughs, laughter]. That kind of precept.

So those are--if you kept the, you know, the precepts, they observed it is very interesting. Later, you know, the Buddhist precepts more and more became positive, and they put emphasis on precept number one to four. "Don’t be dualistic." Actually, you know, that is the purpose of Buddhism. If you just see the--each precept, it is still very dualistic.

In short, if your mind is calm and clear, you will not be involved in dualistic idea too much. And when you follow your buddha-nature, which is always clear, then it is not possible for you to do something bad, you know. If you follow buddha-nature, you cannot do anything bad.

---

***

71-07-30V
Tassajara Zen Mountain Center
Part 2

---

The Sixth Patriarch said, "I have something which has no front or no back or no top or no bottom."  That is actually emptiness -- the absolute being which include everything.  And yet it has no form or no color.  That is Buddha.  It is the law of causality, in short.  But it can be all the teaching and precept.

---

Sangha in the original Triple Treasure is to be in harmony of the voidness and somethingness -- of voidness and truth.  Truth covers everything.  And where there is something there is truth, and truth and law of causality and voidness isn't different.  It is always in harmony -- in complete harmony.  So that is why we call it harmony -- harmonious sangha.

If you -- after Buddha appeared, the people who followed his way was sangha, because they understand the law of causality in Buddha's teach -- or Buddha's teaching.  And they could -- one -- become one with the teaching -- Buddha's teaching.

---

You can be a great Zen master or real [?] teacher of Buddhism if you just understand what is Triple Treasure.  And this is one of the triple you accept when you become Buddhist.  [3-5 words:  "It is understood that you say (?)]  "I take refuge in the Buddha.  I take refuge in the dharma.  I take refuge in the sangha."  Words is very simple, but meaning is very deep.  And this is the precepts we received first of all.

The next three is the Three Collective Pure Precepts.  The first Pure Precept is precept which is the source of all good deed.  That is the first.  The next -- next one is precept which include all good deeds is the next one.  And the third one is the precept which include all sentient beings -- the third one. 

---

There were some precepts which you cannot understand by your mind -- by your thinking mind.  The first one, Buddha, is something voidness.  It is beyond your thinking mind.  And the source of the -- all the good -- all the precepts, next one, is also something you cannot have any approach to.  Unless you realize by yourself what it is, not by listening to dharma talk or not by reading, but by yourself through your practice.  That is why we practice zazen.  Zazen practice is -- zazen practice is source of all the precepts.  So if you practice zazen, it means that you've got the source of all the precepts

So to have good practice means to have good precept observation.

---

*** 

71-07-30V
Tassajara Zen Mountain Center
Part 3

---

I am just telling you the framework of the Mahayana precepts.  If you really focus [?] strict, I think little by little you will understand what you are [1 word].  But we must have time to know the whole picture of -- framework of Dogen Zenji, like you see it, you know, a map of the world.  You will make a trip -- anyway, you enjoy your trip and enjoy the mountains you see and the ocean you cross.  But if you are always making trip, you know, by -- even by airplane, it is difficult to have whole picture of the world.  That is why I am, you know, giving you a kind of outline [?] with which you can enjoy your trip. 

This, you know, map includes various trips, too [laughs, laughter].  There is big trip in it [laughs, laughter].  Very big trip.  And Dogen Zenji's outline, you know.  Very big map. 

The best map so far we have is Dogen Zenji's Genjo Koan.  He explained every corner of the universe [laughs].  It is revealed over and over again.  You will not be discouraged in your -- whatever experience you have in your everyday life.  Anything you experience in your everyday life makes sense, you know, according to his Genjo Koan. This is -- this kind of study is included in our precepts

This kind of precepts in this life is very different from the precepts -- Prohibitory Precepts.  This is Mahayana -- so-called Mahayana precepts in comparison to Theravada, you know -- the first kind, you know. 

And last precept is fulfilling Prohibitory Precepts.  That is also explained by Mahayana teachers, especially by Dogen in [title?] explanation of the precepts.  How you really understand the prohibitory precepts from the life of buddha-nature we have.  So it is -- this kind of understanding of precepts is started by Bodhidharma.  Bodhidharma's Ju-jukai [?].

So how you observe precepts is to -- to try to be non-dualistic and try to -- to extend our pure practice to everyday life.  That is why we, you know, give our -- that is the way to teach our precepts.

Hmm.  Okay?  That is, you know, brief explanation of the precepts.

---

*** 

71-07-30V
Tassajara Zen Mountain Center
Part 4

---

[SR appears to read a quotation.]  "Our self-nature is pure and clear.  There is dharma of non-attachment.  Do not have attachment.  Do not cling to anything.  There [?] is called not to be sexual."  Do you understand?  "Self-nature is pure and clear.  In dharma world, there is nothing to attach to."  Without "arising"?] -- do not arise.  Let it arise cleanly.  Mind is -- the precept of not to be (difficult [to translate]) -- or not to be sexual.

---

Student C:  Suzuki Roshi, if we break the precepts, what form of suffering will we experience?

Suzuki Roshi:  Grave suspicions [?]. 

Student C:  [1-2 sentences.]  Will we suffer because of it?

Suzuki Roshi:  Well, physically, first of all, you will suffer.  That is obvious, you know.  That is direct result, and you -- if you do so, why you will feel bad is you will lose your reason of life, you know.  That is pretty, you know, difficult thing to accept.  Maybe especially about women [?] [laughs].  If you lose your original fight [?].  So that is why we have the precepts:  Don't eat after noon, you know, after noontime.  It is a kind of reason of life.  The old, you know, Indian teacher had -- it is -- reason of life is very important.  Why you don’t feel so good if you do not come to zazen is because you lose your way of life.  That is very [?] -- and why you come back to the, you know, more domestic life again is -- domestic way of life again is you, you know, you miss everything like that you had.

--- 

*****

71-07-30V
Tassajara Zen Mountain Center
Part 5

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Student C:  What about for laymen? Should the precepts be adapted to their way of life, you know, they are involved so heavily in an outside world -- very much involved in the --

Suzuki Roshi:  For layman --

Student D:   -- small mind?

Suzuki Roshi:  Yeah.  Layman -- there is precepts, maybe, still.  They have, usually, laymen -- even laymen observe precepts [that] priest observe and monks observe.  And that will give you -- give them some -- some -- not strength, but some release.  Even though just once in a while they observe -- if they come, you know, monastery, and spend several days having same food and practicing zazen, that will be a great help.  Even though their usual -- everyday life is not so quiet [?].  Mostly [laughs], layman likes much better [to observe precepts?] than even priest or monks like.  I don’t know why, but it does not mean that layman's practice is better than monk's practice.  But anyway, they feel very good.  Much better than monks, you know, maybe.

---

*****

71-07-30V
Tassajara Zen Mountain Center
Part 6

---

Student E:  Is it possible to become attached to those precepts?  Kind of bound to them.  [2-4 words.]  You can't always say, "No, I won’t do that." 

Suzuki Roshi:  Mm-hmm.  Yes, but precept is not, you know, set up in that way.  That is precepts -- why precept is good.  If you think something [2-3 words], you will be easily bound by.  But it is -- no one is bound by -- will be bound by precepts.  It is difficult to be bound by the precepts.  The more you observe precepts, you will -- the more you will have freedom from it.  Precept is not something which you can stick to [laughs].  And our, you know, [1-2 words] is Zen Center, you know.  It is very difficult to stick to the same way as you stick to something worldly -- in the same way you stick to something -- you stick to some extreme.  In China and also in India and in Japan, Buddhists call it "precepts," but layman like Confucius -- you know, Confucius -- Taoist or Confucian -- call it "lay."  Lay is the set of some behavior -- how -- how we should behave.  Those kind of behavior is separate so that we will not go the extreme.  That is the main point of [1-2 words] chu-yo -- chu-yo.[1]   Middle Way. 

It is different from Buddhist understanding of -- little bit different from our understanding of Middle Way, but they also put emphasis on Middle Way or lay behavior. 

So it is -- it is not possible to be -- to go to the -- to go -- to be dualistic as long as you are observing some precepts or some rule of behavior.  And this is, maybe, I don’t know Christian, you know, Commandments so well.  But Zen [?] or in India or in Japan, we have this kind of culture, but --

If it -- if you have time, you can study about those things in comparison to, you know, Western, you know, culture.  Okay.

---

*****

71-08-17V
Zen Mountain Center

---

Rules is not something which we create, which someone -- some special person create for sake of Buddhism or for sake of Zen or for sake of the leader to have, but something which we need.  That is rule.  So we can -- we can change if it is not right, so we are improving our rules.  Maybe we are spending too much time, you know, in discussion about our rules, you know.  I feel in that way.  But still, I appreciate your effort to establish some rules for us.  You try to be very fair to everyone.  So, on the other hand, our rules become more and more strict, you know, because we spent so much time in establishing your rules.  After establishing some rules, you cannot [laughs] -- cannot, you know, change it so soon.  That is the nature of, you know, nature of precepts.  Buddha didn't establish precepts.  Disciples established precepts, in some [3-4 words] monastery [unclear].  Buddha said you shouldn't run away from the temple [1 word] when you are listening lecture.  That is one precept.  [Laughs, laughter.]  For very good students there is no rule.  Rule is necessary, but students make so many rules.  That is, you know, projected, you know, rules, projected human nature.  We need it, you know, not buddhas, or not universe, or not [1 word].  Whether this earth vanish from the universe, it is not big problem [laughs].  It is okay for the universe.  If we want to protect this earth, maybe we should study more about how flying [?] planes [?] are going [laughs].  Then, you know, maybe our planet is just one of them.  That kind of study is, you know, our study. 

Before, I don't know why, you -- you do not like rules, you know.  There must be some good reason why you don't like it.  But here I don't think so, because it is you who are creating rules, not me.  Buddhist rules is not like that. 

So that is why you have to have good understanding of the first principle compared -- comparing to the second principle or human principle -- human rules.  Then -- then, you know, you will find out why you have to have this kind of practice -- the meaning of practice.  Okay?

---

You know, I think Buddhist way is pretty good, because they -- from -- after Buddha's time, Buddha -- idea of Buddha's precepts is way of life, and the rules belongs to human being, not Buddha.  Buddha has the first principle, but human being has second principle for themselves.  So this kind of understanding is, you know, very suitable idea of rules.

---

 

_ [1]  Chu-yo is a Confucian concept and sutraChudo is Japanese for the Middle Way.  Suzuki Roshi may have been referring to either term.  - BRedican note

***

66-01-21-B

Part 1

[problem audio - yellow words are guesses]  

 

---

 

And so when in our practice, there is no trace of practice, and no shadow of the rules, no trace of rules. No shadow of rules. To have shadow of rules means “I must do this!”

That is shadow.

Sometimes you are scared of the shadow, only yourself. That is shadow.

We should not have shadow of the rules. When you do, that is not rules. When you did, that is rules. When Buddha did something, that is rules. There is no shadow for the Buddha, or there is no obligation for the Buddha. We should not [have] shadow of the rules, or trace of the rules.

If you did, that's all. That is the real rule. We should not be caught by what we did. Even so, it is right. You shouldn't say, “What I did was right.” We should do in the same way that means you leave a trace of the teaching or trace of the precept.

Dogen says, “Fish swim like a fish. Bird flies like a bird.” That is Buddhist way. Fish swim, but there's no trace. Birds fly, but there's no trace of bird. There's no settle or trace for bird.

 

---

 

*** 

 

66-01-21-B

Part 2

[problem audio - yellow words are guesses] 

---

 

So pure mind, interpretation of pure mind is purity of the mind, and patient mind. It should be when you study with the patience, inevitably it is absolutely necessary. Because we do not talk about, too much, about the advantage of Buddhism. Until you find out, we wait. If so, best for the teacher and the student. The most important thing is endurance – to wait for the chance, which will come between [us].

If you dig up, you will have no chance to understand it, in midst of life. Because Buddhism is not some marriage or intellectual understanding. That is why we say, “Do not sell Buddhism. Do not sell anything! Do not take anything. Cover your ears and bar your mouth, and wait for the chance which will come to you.”

You understand.

I cannot talk. You cannot listen. You cannot smell.

That is how you study Buddhism. That is observation of precepts. So whatever zazen is, the most important thing is a kind of authentic. This element is very important for every religion. I don't know other religions, but the authentic is very important.

When you limit your life to a certain extent, it is easier to find out the truth. If you do too many things you will be dust in your activity, but if you limit your activity, you can see it.

That is why we observe precepts. The precept observation is very important.

 

---

 

 ***

67-09-12
Part 1
[problem audio]

---

It’s convenient for us to understand this teaching in six ways, which is precepts observation, or dana Prajnaparamita, almsgiving or giving some teaching and then precepts observation, and constant practice or effort, to make effort, to make bigger effort.  And practice of Zen and wisdom, those are the six Prajnaparamita.  Oh, and one more important one is constant patience practice.  But patience practice, or vigorous practice, will be included in Zen practice or in fear?? observation or precepts observation.

It is necessary to be patient, or to be vigorous when you practice Zen, or when you observe precepts

 

---

 

***  

67-09-12
Part 2
[problem audio]

 

---

 

Our original way of counting is to count ... to name six practice, and we already explained precept observation, and difference?? our observation of precepts and pre-Buddhistic observation version of the precepts.  And the difference was, as we studied, pre-Buddhist observation of fear?? to be born in heaven.  Or to [attain or obtain] something was the purpose of precepts observation.

But for us, Mahayana Buddhists, precepts observation is certifiable?? – it is not to [attain or obtain] the way to [attain or obtain] means of to [attain or obtain] something.

And, not only for Buddhists, but also all the religious people, it is very important to observe precepts.

 

??? this observation of precepts is to write it, and know it, but this is not extended to ... When religion, or especially Buddhism become more and more philosophical, and more and more observation of the teachings become more and more elaborate and politic, glory, [laughs] actual precepts observation... many favorite teachers left here, and deformations of the Buddhism happened.

 

??? from deformation was Hakuin, and precepts observation was emphasized.  In Kamakura period in Japan, there were many famous teachers in various schools: ???, or Eisai Zenji, or Dogen Zenji, or Nichiren... ??? or ???.  Before those famous teacher appeared, there were many teachers who emphasized the precepts observation.  And after those unknown, or pretty well-known teacher who emphasized precepts observation in... [many or very] famous teachers appeared.

 

Anyway, as studied already precepts observation, it is very important.

Tonight I want to... we want to study about constancy, or vigorous, practice of our way.

And patience – our... it is important to be patient when we study our way.

As Buddha says, observation... observation of this wisdom of patience is more important than even precepts observation.  Here he comes... here he speak of precepts... observation of constancy.  And he says the precepts observation and he... he says observation... to be patient, or constancy is the even more important than precepts observation. 

 

---

 

 ***

67-09-12
Part 3

---

If you have right understanding of our practice, there is no gap between your practice – observation of zazen, observation of precepts, or dana Prajnaparamita.  All those practice is, ??? many many cases of one practice.

So, you know, dana practice and precepts observation is not two – is?? just one.

And so... and Zen practice is also another side of that one practice.  If so, there can... cannot be any gap between one practice to the other.

But you ... your understanding is piece by piece.  Here: precepts observation, here is zazen, here is dana [or other teaching??, you know, here.  So, you have, you know, many practice, one by one.  And if your understanding is like this, one by one, understanding, even in your practice there is gap.

But if you understand, if you are practice?? many side of one practice, there should not be any gap.  You gain one practice, different??.  This is so called constancy, or patience-- patience.  [To be different?? ???, when actually there is no need to be patient, if you, if your practice of Zen is right, naturally you will be patient.  So there's no need to be... to try to be patient if your practice is good.  And if your practice is good, right, there is no gap between one action to the other.  One practice to the other practice.  Zazen practice and everyday activity.

 

---

 

***

 

68-10-00-E
Part 1

[problem audio - yellow words are guesses]

---

And Shingon School puts the emphasis on, very much, on precepts. Vairochana Buddha is the Buddha who has the version of precepts from the viewpoint of results. We say “cause and results”. Because he practices something, that practice results in a Buddha body. From the viewpoint of result, he has virtue of, practice of, virtue of precepts. When he practice...because of.... first practice of precepts, he attained ... he attained Sambogakaya Buddha for us.

So when we take the viewpoint of result, it is Buddha, when we take the viewpoint of practice, it is Bodhisattva who practices results. Vairochana Buddha has virtue of precepts, and he has, also, has virtue of wisdom, wisdom who knows sentient beings, and he also helps sentient beings by virtue of wisdom and precepts.

 

---

 

***

68-10-00-E
Part 2

[problem audio - yellow words are guesses]

 

---

 

Zen has no viewpoint. We have no viewpoint. When we practice zazen, you know, we are Buddha, which could be Dharmakaya Buddha or Sambogakaya Buddha or Nirmanakaya Buddha, or Pratyeka Buddha, or Arhat. That is our viewpoint.

 

That is Zen school.

 

Those are the disciples, and after 49 days, he … 49 days of practice, he told Kegonsu, but he thought that this is too difficult for people. So he had charge chosen several teachings to tell the five disciples that is:  Four Noble Truths and all it passed and teaching of Dana Prajnaparamita, and Sila Prajnaparamita, and he told so that zennai, the five disciples, may understand him, he taught why you practice Sila or precepts.

 

The reason why you should practice Sila is to be, to acquire the better life in the future. Actually, that was the teaching which works, that supports … that was taught by Buddha at that time. But, actually, what he meant is precepts, observation is prior, but not because of this observation, we will have a better future life. By practice of Sila, we will go to, we will have better life.

 

This idea is the idea of pre-Buddhist teaching. But he applied pre-Buddhistic understanding of Sila, when he taught Sila Prajnaparamita [to] those five disciples.

 

---

***

68-02-21-f

Tassajara

 

---

 

"Betaken themselves to the guides of the world..." The "guide of the world" is of course Shakya­muni Buddha. "Betaken themselves to the guides of the world to ask for the most excellent law, for the sake of bliss; they put on reddish‑yellow robes." "Kesa"--we call this robe o-kesa, okesa, and this is koromo. And "red­dish‑yellow robes," means "law." Kesa is a trans­literation of the Sanskrit ­kesa. It means "subdued color." By "subdued color," mostly we mean black. You know, a black and bluish color, some­thing like ­navy blue. At Eiheiji some monks wear a bluish‑green or blue‑like color, or black, or what we call a "red leave color," or like a yellowish‑brown color--like this. Those colors are called subdued colors. Our robes should be those colors. And there are many other colors which we are allowed to use. Any­way, those colors are the "subdued colors" according to the scrip­tures or precepts.

 

 ---

 

"Others, again, who have retired to woody thickets, are saving the creatures in the hells by emitting radiance from their body, and rouse them to enlight­enment.

 

There are some sons of the Gina who dwell in the forest, abiding in vigour, completely renouncing sloth, and actively engaged in walk­ing; it is by energy that they are striving for supreme enlightenment."

 

This is Shojin prajna paramita. The bodhisattva has six prajna para­mitas. Dana prajna paramita, and precepts...prajna paramita. Alms‑giving and precepts observation, and vigourous practice, and patience, and zazen practice, and wisdom, prajna paramita. Those are the six. Here, this is the vigorous practice prajna paramita.

 

---

 

***

 

68-02-00-C-f

Lotus Sutra No. 3
Zen Mountain Center

Part 1

 

---

 

Vidyacarana­sampanna [myogyo‑soku] is one who can see through things, who knows his former life, and who has perfect enlightenment. This is also an attainment of the Arhat. In the morning we pray to have three wisdoms or powers, the Arhat's power. Nowadays we have science instead of those three powers, so maybe that is why he translated it as "science". Myogyo­‑soku or "conduct" means precept observation; his mouth and body and mind are perfectly enlightened. Sugata [zenzei] means a man who has great knowledge, can say things nicely, and who has deep, great sama­dhi. The sixth one, lokavit [sekenge], one who knows this world [loka­dhatu] completely, who understands human life com­pletely from both sides, the mundane way and the enlight­ened way. Annutara, [mujoshi] is the so‑called incomparable one, who has supreme Nirvana. As his attainment is supreme, he is the supreme, incomparable one. "Tamer of men," purusadamyasarathi [jogo‑jobu], who has great means of helping people with great mercy. Shasta devamanusyanam [tenninshi, "teacher"] of human beings and celestial beings. And the last one is Bud­dha and Lord, lakanatha or Buddha‑bhagavat. Those are the ten names.

 

"He showed the law; he revealed the duteous course which is holy at its commence­ment, holy in its middle, holy at the end, good in substance and form, complete and perfect, correct and pure." This should also be counted as ten elements of the quality of the teaching, but it is very difficult to figure out with this translation. "Holy at its com­mencement, holy in its middle, holy at the end" is a rather stock term for us. "Sho chu go zen" [?], we say. "Good in substance" should be good in meaning or contents, "form" should be "words". Good in meaning and good in words. "Complete" and "perfect" should be two elements. Complete doesn't include any other meaning; in this sense, it is complete. It also means pureness of the elements of the teaching. "Perfect" here means suffi­cient. One teaching suffices for every teaching. In this sense it is perfect. "Correct" is one element and "pure" is another. "Correct" means nothing is wrong with it, and "pure" means pureness of practice, or precepts observa­tion.

 

----

 

***

 

68-02-00-C-f

Lotus Sutra No. 3
Zen Mountain Center

Part 2

 

---

 

     "...and to the Bodhisattvas he preached the law connected with the six Perfections, and terminating in the knowledge of the Omniscient, after the attainment of supreme, perfect enlightenment." So far the teaching was for sravakas and pratyekas, and now the teaching is for the bodhisattvas. For the bodhisattva, Buddha gave the teaching of the six paramitas. I think I ex­plained them already. Dana Paramita, bestowing of material and teaching; Sila Paramita, keeping the precepts; Ksanti Para­mita, the practice of patience; Virya Paramita, zeal and progress (shoji [?] paramita); Dhyana Paramita, the practice of meditation; and Prajna Para­mita, wisdom paramita, the power to discern truth or reality.

 

     Thank you very much.  

 

 


The word Precept
as found in Shunryu Suzuki Lectures

Part II ---
69-10-25V -
go to Part I --- 63-01-00 - 69-10-20

To read the lecture or greater context of these excerpts, go to links below entries to
Suzuki lectures blog on SFZC site or Shunryu Suzuki dot com-the whole archive
These excerpts have been selected a Nov. 2011 version of the All file of Shunryu Suzuki lectures.

 Thanks Jenny Wunderly for preparing this series.

Comments by Jenny Wunderly

A U in this file name means un-verbatim, that there was no tape to check against or that it wasn't checked against the audio. Usually this means an older transcript of which the audio is lost. A V at the end of a lecture file name means verbatim. If there is neither it just means it was taken off when the file name was entered here. One could check against the data base list of all lectures at Shunryu Suzuki dot com for the present official lecture name. - dc


8-10-12 - This excerpt project has been most revealing of the constant emphasis Shunryu Suzuki placed on precepts and how to understand and implement precepts in one's life and practice. Want to repeat a comment from April: Amazing how much of the entire lecture archive is in these excerpts. I remember Niels Holm (RIP) saying once, "Suzuki Roshi taught precepts, his whole teaching can be seen that way." - dc