Shunryu Suzuki Lecture
CM's 2nd pass - see
JG's 1st pass
Someone asked me this evening, and that... if our
teaching, and it's special teachings, which was transmitted from Buddha,
or if Buddha... Buddha's enlightenment it's some special enlightenment,
which no one else could attain, could obtain before Buddha or after
What is the relationship between the usual teaching
and our special teaching?? This is the question – the point of the
We are studying right now teaching of Buddhism in
general. Not only Zen – teaching of Zen but also the teaching of all
Buddhism... all schools of Buddhism. We do not study each one of them,
but we're... my lecture is concentrated on some important teaching which
We have lineage from Buddha to us. The Chinese ...
the Chinese first patriarch bodhisattva-- from Buddha to Chinese first
master. And from Bodhidharma to Dogen Zenji we count 51, and those
names are clearly written. And in our lineage we have 80, or 81, or 85
master names written. Those are the masters who transmitted the true
spirit of Buddhism. And also, this is the essential point of Buddhism.
But because it is essential teaching, we call it special teaching, but
by special we do not mean some different teaching from other teachings.
So if you think our teaching is completely
different from other teaching, of other school it is misunderstand.
And Buddha's enlightenment, of course, was...
happened to Buddha, after studying many schools of ... many kinds of
religion at that time, and after trying hard, every possible way, he
found out his own way of practice. So, in this sense, it is different,
quite different from another religion. It is so.
But why it is special or his teaching is different,
how his teaching differs from other teaching, it should be understood
The difference between Buddhism, or characteristic
of Buddhism, it's the Buddhism is the teaching which it's possible to
include various kinds of understanding. All... all kinds of
understanding – and right or wrong, good or bad, high, or lofty, or
common. The Buddhism has some possibility to put every teaching in
right order, and to have understanding of each experience or knowledge,
which we have – not only religion, but also scientific knowledge, by
including all the ... all kinds of culture – effort of human being.
This is the most important characteristic of Buddhism.
It is not the best teaching in... in comparison to
other teaching, but it is the teaching which include... which have...
which will give meaning to every teaching. Which will give deeper
understanding of various religion. Which will give proper use of
various research. Or which will organize various ... our various
This is the characteristic of Buddhism. Especially
Zen is beyond all... beyond even all those human effort. And that then
will right meaning... will give right meaning to our human activity.
This is our enlightenment, transmitted from Buddha to us. And there
were no teachers before Buddha or after Buddha like him.
This is the main ... this is the difference between
Buddhism and other schools.
So, even though you compare ... if you compare
Buddhism to other teaching, you cannot find out true, why we believe in
our way. Because it is not matter of comparison, or it is not matter of
which is better, or it is not matter of lofty teaching or common
teaching. We're... our teaching is lofty teaching, of course, but on
the other hand it is very common teaching.
And we... our teaching is teaching how to obtain
enlightenment and how to help others, and how to... how to help
ourselves. And our teaching is, at the same time, how to help others,
and how to forget all what we have. No; how to be common.
So, our teaching is very upward and very downward,
at the same time.
So, our teaching is not a matter of lofty teaching
or common teaching. So it is not matter of deeper or shallow teaching.
This is the main difference between Buddhism and other teachings.
Usually I find people seeking for something good,
only. Something lofty, only, but they are not interested in something
common, and something usual. But we do not stay the stage of Buddha,
because true Buddha is always someone who help ourselves and who help
In this way, we have been practicing our way from
Buddha to us. Sometime, many teachers will say, Zen is special
teaching, or Buddha attained enlightenment – Buddha is the only one who
found out the ultimate truth which no one can attain. But what that...
it means is not matter of good or bad.
So, if you believe in Buddhism, you have no problem
of believing what problem of what kind of religion you should believe
in. All the religion you will believe in, at the same time, will be
Buddhism, if you understand it properly. But because of... if you bring
to one teaching only, forgetting all the rest of the teaching, or if you
cling to the teaching, because your teaching – just because your
teaching is lofty teaching, then you will lose the true meaning of the
teaching. Even though you have lofty... your religion is good, but ...
if you think your religion is good but the rest of the teaching is not
so good, is not good, it means you ignore the rest of the truth.
Agreeing to your own religion, you have no eyes to
see, or no ear to hear true others' actual experience of religion.
But if you have the eyes to see, the ear to hear
to... what others may say, all the religion will be your religion. When
you have this kind of ears to listen to various religion, then you are
In this way we understand our way. Especially in
Zen we put emphasis on the practice on, or in, each moment. Moment
after moment we continue this kind of practice, and moment after moment
the meaning of the teaching, or content of the teaching, will develop
according to the circumstances.
And our practice in each moment will include every
teaching possible. This is our practice of Zen.
Now, if you understand in this way, there's no
problem of comparing our religion to other teaching, and which religion
you should believe in – of whether or not you accept other teaching.
And another question to which I should answer is:
What kind ... during our training period of two months, including our
training after training period, we had various experience, which
sometime which is good for you and sometime which you did not feel so
good. But anyway, you found something new. You had some new
Not "what kind of experience will be the best
experience" will be your problem, and actually, you will ... if some
special experience is good... was good, you want to continue that kind
of experience or state of mind which you have had.
This is [by teacher??, you know. Many students who
attained enlightenment, and some teacher will say, “I attained
enlightenment one years ago... ago or two years ago.”
"But I want to have, and I want to have this kind
of experience always, or I want to have that kind of experience,
whenever I want to have. But, this then, I haven't that that kind of
experience again. What is wrong with me, or with my practice?"
This kind of question is a question you will have!
And the [rest right??, we.... [Audio ends].
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 October 2012 using the enhanced audio.
??? 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.