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Shunryu Suzuki Lecture Transcripts 2012 --- INDEX

Working with the most difficult tapes in the Suzuki tape archive

Thanks to Judith Gilbert for transcription and AW for Audio work - DC, 4-05-12

Yellow words are ones where Judy guessed.

Shunryu Suzuki Lecture
Audio Problem set
JG's first pass - see CM's 2nd pass

Someone asked me this evening, if our teaching is a special teaching, which was transmitted from Buddha, or if Buddha's enlightenment is some special enlightenment, which no one else could attain, could attain before Buddha or after Buddha.

What is the relationship between the usual teaching and our special teaching​? This is the question – the point of the question.

We are studying right now teaching of Buddhism in general. Not only Zen – teaching of Zen but the teaching of all schools of Buddhism. We do not study each one of them. But my lecture is concentrated on some important teaching which we have.

We have lineage from Buddha to us. The Chinese … the Chinese first fedrick Bodhisattva … from Buddha to Chinese first master. And from Bodhidharma to Dogen Zenji we count 51, and those names are clearly literary. And in our lineage we have 80 or 81 or 85 master's 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, but by special we do not mean some different teachings from other teachings.

So if you think our teaching is completely different from teachings of other schools it is misunderstanding.

And Buddha's enlightenment is what 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 teachings, it should be understood completely.

The difference between Buddhism, or characteristic of Buddhism, that Buddhism is the teaching which it is possible to include various kinds of understanding. All kinds of understanding – enlight or brown, 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 scientific knowledge, by including all the ... all kinds of culture – effort of human beings. This is the most important characteristic of Buddhism.

It is not the best teaching in comparison to other teaching, but it is the teaching which have, which will give meaning to every teaching. Which will give deeper understanding of various religion. Which will give proper use of various results. Or which will organize various … our various cultural efforts.

This is the characteristic of Buddhism. Especially Zen is beyond all even all those human efforts. But then will give right meaning to our human activity. This is our enlightenment, transmitted from Buddha to us. And there 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 teachings, 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 a matter of lofty or common teaching. Our teaching is lofty teaching, of course, but on the other hand it is very common teaching.

And our teaching is teaching how to attain enlightenment and how to help others, and 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 does not matter deeper or shallow teaching. This is the main difference between Buddhism and other teaching.

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 helps ourselves and can help others.

In this way, we have been practicing our way from Buddha to us. Sometimes, many teachers will say, Zen is special teaching, or Buddha attained enlightenment – the only one who found out the ultimate truth which no one can attain. But what it means is not matter of good or bad.

So, if you believe in Buddhism, you have no problem believing of what kind of religion you chose to believe in. All the religions 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 – 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 … if you think your religion is good but the rest of the teaching is not so good, it means you ignore the rest of the truth.

And clinging to your religion, you have no eyes to see, or no ears to hear true others' actual experience of religion.

But if you have the eyes to see; the ears to hear to what others may say, all the religions will be your religion. When you have this kind of ears to listen to various religion, then you are Buddhist.

In this way we understand our way. Especially in Zen we put emphasis on the practice in each moment. Moment after moment we continue this practice, and moment after moment the meaning of this practice will develop through 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 in comparing our religion with other religion, and which religion you should believe in – 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 experiences, which sometimes were good for your and sometimes which you did not feel so good. But anyway, you found something new. You had some kind of new experience.

What kind of experience will be the best experience? Will be your problem, and actually, you will … if some special experience was good, you will want to continue that kind of experience or state of mind which you have had.

This is my future, you know. Many students who attained enlightenment and some teaching, who say, “I attained enlightenment one year 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 had that kind of experience again. What is wrong with my practice?

This kind of question is a question you will have.

And the next night we.... [Audio ends]


Source: digital audio archive from DC. Problem set. Transcribed March 2012 by Judy Gilbert. Work in progress. Further preparation to post by DC

Shunryu Suzuki Lecture Transcripts in Progress

Working with the most difficult tapes in the Suzuki tape archive

Thanks to Judith Gilbert for transcription and AW for Audio work

Suzuki lectures blog on SFZC site or Shunryu Suzuki dot com-the whole archive

Shunryu Suzuki Lectures on cuke