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Shunryu Suzuki Lecture Transcripts in Progress

Shunryu Suzuki Lecture Transcripts 2012 --- INDEX - with notes to transcribers

Working with the most difficult tapes in the Suzuki tape archive


Shunryu Suzuki lecture
Problem set
67-09-12
CM's 2nd pass -see JG's 1st pass

In the last lecture you studied two Prajnaparamita of the six Prajnaparamita which is the bodhisattva practice.  And?? bodhisattva ... I didn't explain what is bodhisattva.

And?? bodhisattva is a little bit different from Buddha.  A Buddha is the perfect one.  And?? bodhisattva is the one who is... a?? hidden purpose is... his?? motto?? is to help other before he ??? help ???.  And this idea, bodhisattva, is very deep and wide.

Through comparison to the idea of the bodhisattva, we have some other idea: Theravada.  Theravada is the Hinayana Buddhists.  The difference between Hinayana and Mahayana is the Hinayana Buddhist is concentrated on his personal practice to [attain or obtain] arhatship.  That is Hinayana's way of practice, and Mahayana practice is to help others rather than to help themselves.  This is Mahayana way of practice, and those six practice are Mahayana practice, or... or bodhisattva practice.

We count here six, but those six Prajnaparamita will be formalized in three.  Fear?? observation, and practice of Zen, and wisdom.  And those are more popular way of counting it numbering.  But... ??? 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.  So those two will be included in practice of Zen, or observation of fear??.

But 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 teacher 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 patiency??, 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.  And this constancy or patience... observation is the opposite of the observation of the constancy or patience is to be angry anger.  And he... he?? says, "Let?? me become angry, all the virtue will be not?? all at once. [It will vanish??."

??? is a treat, you know.  To be angry, anger is the most... most... dangerous thing.  ???, you know, feel your head, you know.  ???... [laughs] [the feared head??.  To be angry is like... white cloud.  Like lightning, which come out of the white cloud.  ??? the lightning comes from black [laughs] ???.  Black cloud [laughs].  ??? that black cloud [laughs].  It won't be black cloud.  But some of you are red cloud, or golden cloud.  But... and you should, you know, feel your head.  ???.  Other priests push ??? said head.  To be angry is to [feel or see] the lightning from that white cloud.  [Laughs].

But... white cloud is supposed to be peaceful and calm, but if lightning come out from the white cloud, no, there's no virtue of the white cloud.  It ??? to become angry [laughs], all the virtue of the priest will vanish, all at once.

Anyway, for everyone, it is necessary not to be angry and to be patient.  This is very important thing.

When we become angry, we lose everything.  We lose our way.  To?? comes in Tassajara for you is to study our way.  But if you become angry if someone?? you lose your way.  You lose your point why you came in?? Tassajara.  And you receive... [to leave?? Tassajara, all at once.  One look before.  You have no idea of going back to San Francisco, but one move here?? ??? [laughs].  You're mind change.  "Oh, I must go back to San Francisco.  There's no point to be in Tassajara any more!"

???, you lose your point already, because of [guest or just] anger. [laughs].

We know how foolish this is, to become angry [laughs].  But when we become angry, it is never hard to stop it.  And if it's too late, you know, try to stop to... anger when it appears....  ??? constant practice is necessary.  Indifference?? practice.  In your mind, there should not be any fear??.  From one practice, to ???.  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.  So everyday activity and zazen is ??? different ??? one practice, so there's no gap, there should not be any gap.  In this way we should understand our way.

 To??... in Japan, I don't know how many years ago.  Maybe two more than 150 years ago, almost ???, 70... 170 years ago there were very famous Zen master... and he had very good disciple, called ???.  And his master was ???.  This is very famous story.  ??? wear one [ring of?? ???.  White sock.  White tabi.  ??? thirteen years.  One pair of ??? tabi ???.  ??? fourteen?? year.  Fourteen?? year.  He did not, you know, have any other pair.  He had just one pair, and he wear it for thirteen years.  Very taken ???, no one can be more ??? than that.  Thirteen?? years.

And we have, you know, ???.  We can see ???.  Of course, ... what do you call it?  Patch?  Yeah.  Patch over patch.  And... it doesn't look like tabi any more.  He was a famous Tenzo, cook, in the kitchen.  And his ??? master was very good.  He had many disciples.  Many... not disciples, but many students, who practiced our way with him.  But as he was so poor, he couldn't afford to give them enough food.  But student... his ???, so naturally they had very, very poor food.  And Tenzokyo, the cook of the monastery, have very, very difficult time to prepare food for them.

But ???.  Everyone was very hungry, of course.  Some of them were sick.  But late at night, someone many people saw him in his room cooking something thicker, late at night... when the night bell rung??, he was cooking something.  And some student told his master that he was cooking something after everyone went to bed.  But his teacher didn't... did not believe him... believe that he's cooking something special.  ??? disciple.

So he... the students have a conference one morning, and discuss what to do with him, because his master did not believe that they were right.  He always said, ??? say, "That ??? mistake, he is not that kind of person.  And in discussion, there were many people who saw him cooking late at night.  So... and they... some several people went to his master... went to their master and told them??, so many people saw his cooking late at night.

So his master one night went to his room late at night, and well?? something from inside, from inside, so he... he ??? and he... he became very mad, and... but he had to open the door.  And he saw him cooking something.  And he asked him, the master asked him what is he doing?  And he said, "I'm cooking something here," he said.

And... but he said, "I'm not cooking anything thicker."  But his master said...

[Tape cuts, repeats??]

"I'm not cooking anything thicker."  But his master said, "Let me see what you are cooking."  ??? he has to open the roof.  And ??? to taste what it is, but ???, "This is not for you.  You cannot eat it," he said.  "You cannot eat it."  And the teacher he become rather angry, you know, because he ??? heating something.  Even though he's actually doing something wrong, ??? he had to offer some... little bit of the food he was cooking.  And he took it.

??? it was most?? [laughs] food ???, he cannot tell what it is!  ???, you know, he ???, what do you call it?  ??? [Laughter].  "That was it is," he say.  ??? food ???.  "Everyone says I'm cooking something thicker.  Yes, I'm cooking something thicker.  This is thicker food for me??.  Because there, you know, we haven't not much to eat.  So everyday I keep the leftover.  And... and cooking ???.  Some of them is not... is already, you know, gone bad, but I'm eat... eating ???."

So, his master, you know, he didn't know what to say.  The next morning the master went to his room, and bowed his disciple.

[Tape cuts, repeats??]

...and bowed his disciple.  His master says, "I'm sorry.  I couldn't practice."

This is the good example of the patient priest, ???.  It is pretty difficult to trust someone, and it is ??? we practice ???.  ???.  Whatever happen to us.  So we should not do our way just by some ???.  ???.  Like [some thing?? between people.  ??? it is always know why we are here.  This is the most important point in our practice.

We should know, we should have, always, the purpose of practice.  That to cook something good is not all of of our practice.  It is a part of practice, but the more important thing is to do it completely.  Through and through, whatever happens is ???.  So we should not bebop??. If you point to whatever happens to us, we cannot give up.

We see many student.  If you don't understand me, I leave??!  [laughs].  This is very serious, you know?  Whatever happen to us ??? is sad?? or something.  This?? is not.  Leave??.  And theory??, we prove here our ??? without dictate, you cannot practice our way.

Zen is not some technique, to obtain something.  When you are doing something, they in that ???, they the way.  When you do it something with some purpose, what's?? immutable... sit, that is to practice.  That is your duty.  And that is is the practice. 

So to do something, or to cook something good, is not the ultimate goal.  To give people something good, always is the responsibility of the cook in the kitchen, in the monastery.

So Dogen Zenji say??, "Cook in the monastery is quite different from the cook in the hotel."??  We should not compare our cook to the cook in that hotel.  Or restaurant.  The cook in the restaurant: it is necessary to make something good.  For the cook in the restaurant, and that is all what he should do.  But in the monastery, for a cook, there some more responsibility.

And what is cook, in the kitchen?  If?? so, in the monastery, Chinese, in China or in Japan, the cook in the kitchen supposed to be the most great man of spirit.  Without great patience, you cannot work in the kitchen.  You cannot have good your?? responsibility in the kitchen. 

The other day, I talked about the... the gardener.  Tonight, I'm talking [laughs] about cook.  But whatever we do, that is practice when we have, when you realize our position through and through, and when we deport ourselves?? completely ??? and involved in it completely.  Forgetting all other thing, other... in particular... things.

And this this kind of spirit, when you do something with this kind of spirit, whatever you do, that is Zen practice.

There are many interesting story about the cook in the kitchen.  [Laughs].  I think I have told you about this story.  Tonight we had something interesting, you know do you know what it was? Black... thing??, black... like... ??? black ???.  In?? call it in Japan, we call it gobo.  It is the root of the plant, as thick as this.  It is rather troublesome to cut, [you know??. [Cutting sound].?? ???, like that.  But head of the gobo is as big as this.

???, in the monastery, in one monastery, ???, a cook, was a that??... he was very good cook, but [out there?? had... hadn't not much food, so he had... he had also some vigor?? in preparing for us??... for people.  So?? others, the other students drank him?? up?? ???, you know, ??? up?? food, ??? food.  And people wanted him to resign his post.  If someone there to take his place, they thought, await?? very happy some more good food. 

Someone, you know, throw... someone caught a snake, and cut off his head, and put it in that miso soup.  [Laughter].  Miso soup not bad?? ???.  [Laughter].  And, as the leftover pieces??, he picked up ???.  [Laughter].  And the ??? called the, you know, head of the pieces?? ???. "Come here!"  "What is it?"  And?? picked up... picking up the head of the snake!  But he didn't do ???, you know, he didn't do anything?? ???.  He??... [in that?? frog ??? on his... in his hands, and he realized that... in that part, you know, head of the snake.  But he wasn't afraid of anything, and he... "[Let me see...?? what it is?"  Pretending he couldn't understand what it was.  And the master gave it to ???, the head, "I'll put it in recipe."  [Laughter].

And, oh!  This is something funny?? ???.  "I know, this is the head of gobo!"  And he eat!  [Laughter].  ???.  ???, you know, ??? of gobo... [Laughter].  ???.  ???, you know, although, ??? difficult all the plant can ??? the ??? effort, all the effort they made ???.  That kind of, you know, attitude is necessary for the people who work in the monastery.  That always?? ??? kitchen??, but also for everyone this kind of spirit is necessary.

While usually we are, you know, enjoy ???, and, you know, giving water to the plant, and watering on that, and everything!

But it is not always so!  Something will happen to us.  In the world, what will happen to us?  When it will happen to something will happen to us??.  With that case?? we sit now, but we are doing actually....

When nothing happens, to enjoy happening, and stay here, [it is not?? our way.  Whatever... we're?? may look like, a journey, doing ??? here.  But, actually, this is not so.  ??? something, what we are doing, don't run away from Tassajara.  ??? happy??, to us??.

When the big ??? ... we have big ???, ???... there were many interesting stories.  Someone, who is supposed to be a?? value ???, they good?? ???.  ???.  And someone who did not say anything, and he looks like very common Zen master, ??? Zen?? and perfect... their duty.  And, they do what they to do in... in that case??.

This is not because you practice zazen that you obtain enlightenment. 

??? practice just to attend?? enlightenment does not work.

It is exactly the same to enjoy hot spring and a?? taking a cross-legged position every morning and evening, you know.  And in one or two months, after one or two months, he?? may say, "I studied Zen for two months, or for 60 days, but nothing happened, to me!"  [Laughter].

[Laughing] I think this is the time to go back to San Francisco!

This kind of Zen does not work.  It means nothing.

When you don't practice it, it ??? it.  It is not Zen.

When you have this kind of spirit, how can you be arrogant so easily?  It is.. it is not so easy to be angry.  Because your sit?? is not there [knocking], so you become angry.  Because your mind is caught by something too?? particular trivial things, you become angry.

When your effort is concentrated on the true treetop??, ??? true way of things, it is not so easy to be angry.

??? ... ??? when I was at school, the head of the ??? always told us, "You should not be concerned about what people do.  You should be concerned about what is ???."

You should be a friend of ???.  And you should not be friend of your practice for your friend.  "You should not be friend of human being," he said.  I couldn't understand, you know, it??.  "You should not be friend of human being.  You are friendly, ???," he said.

Now I understand what he meant.  When your practice is their?? practice, including ???, which includes ???, that is true practice.  We should not be ???.  Confusion.  [Which we'll?? have in our human world.  This is very serious?? ??? for us.  To be completely caught by some trivial things which we'll?? ... which we don't... do not know when it will happen to us.  If we became angry, ??? some... some ??? thing, like that, you know, we?? have no time in?? practice of our way.  ???, this kind of thing is happened to us.

This point, should be remember??.  And we should not ??? some trivial thing??.  ??? constancy??, or patience, or taking?? of ??? way of practice.


Source: 67-09-12 digital audio archive from DC.  Problem set.  Thanks to audio work by AW, transcribed March 2012 by Judy Gilbert. Further preparation to post by DC. More editing and transcription by CM middle of October 2012 using the enhanced audio.  Audio mainly understandable but seems to get worse, particularly around beginning of sentences.  Maybe 70-85% is clear, and talk isn't outright straightforward.  Tape cuts and resumes almost exactly after the halfway mark.

??? denotes at least one muddled word, or just a stretch of bad audio.  ?? denotes a guessed word, with an added open bracket meaning a guessed phrase or sentence.  Ambiguous words (such as homonyms or where an "a" might be an "un-") stated in closed brackets.

Shunryu Suzuki Lecture Transcripts in Progress

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