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Shunryu Suzuki Lecture Transcripts in Progress

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 transcribed

[This one was transcribed but marked as being partial because of sound problems so it was redone to make sure. The two versions are being compared.-dc]

This morning I want to continue the explanation of the ten powers. Those ten powers are … that are for Bodhisattva ten powers.

One is the devotion to the Buddha's teachings and no attachment to anything else.

The second one is increasing one's devotion.

The third is to experiencing ability to instruct people and alter their conduct.

The fourth one is understanding what people think.

And fifth is satisfying people with what they want.

And sixth is a cessation of anxiety.

The seventh one including all vehicles, or teachings... teachings, without abandoning – without giving up Mahayana way. Mahayana? Way.

The eighth one is mysterious power of showing of the appearance of the Buddha in every word, in each  pores of, pores of the body.

The ninth one … the ninth is making people turn towards Buddhism, and leading people to perfection.

The last one is satisfying all kinds of men with even the things great.

So that is the ten powers.

I explained that yesterday – the first one … and the second one … and the last one: satisfying all kinds of men with even that thing of grace....

And ninth one, or eighth one: the mysterious power of showing the appearance of the Buddha in each word – in each pores of the body.

And the second one, yeah.... and the first one: devotion to the Buddha's teaching, and no attachment to anything else.

This is our practice, which cannot compare with any other activity we have, or any other import we make.

So all that we do, or all that we think … is not absolutely so.

So, there's no reason to attach to it. The only thing we should … observe it as an absolute is the emptiness, you know, which is the absolute in its true sense – which is quite different from something. All that you do is “something”, and you cannot understand emptiness, so that is why it is called “emptiness”. And emptiness is unusual activity. It is not goal of practice, or purpose of activity, or aim of activity. This much I explain. The only way to … realize the absolute is through our practice in its true sense.

And I explained the eighth one: the mysterious showing the appearance of the Buddha, in each world, in each world of life, world of life. That is actual zazen practice.

Another … ah, this is explanation of our shikantaza. When you, you know, practice zazen in its true sense. Actually you are Buddha himself, and in each follicle of your body, you have, you know, so many words: 15 though[j g1] t words. Each word of the words, they is Shakyamuni Buddha – the explanation of our shikantaza.

And when you practice our way as one unified activity – mind and body – and each part of your body, from the end of your nail to the tip of your head, top of your head. And I always explain how you do it, you know. To have right posture; having some strength here; and having perfect mudra. Like this, and you feel as if you are trying to open your arms … little bit. Do you see?

When you do this, on the control … your arms – you open your arms and on the contrary you fold your legs. Pull in your chin, as if you are supporting something on your head.

And you have point here which is special: when you hear … in other words when you are in hearing, come to the bottom of your body. Other times you hear as if you open your arms. Actually, it shouldn't move, but you know. And you should hold your neck.

And when you exhale, without losing your power here, in your tandem, and putting some more power on your exhale.

So your mind pervades all over your body, and all the parts of your body are participating in one activity. So we say gotsu … ah, Dogen Zenji said in his Fukanzazengi, “Gotsu-gotsu toshite zajo shite.”

“Gotsu-gotsu toshite” means like a mountain, you know – which one your body should be. Like one big mountain. And, he said, “Think non-thinking.” Think non-thinking. When you do this, you cannot think, you know. But your mind pervades every part of your body. So, that is think non-thinking. Not usual thinking, in terms of good or bad. But your mind is in every and is part of every part of your body. When you think … when you practice zazen in that way,[j g2]  relatively speaking, the manifesting, manifesting the Buddha.

In each word, in every pore of your body – that much I explained yesterday.

Would you bring that blackboard?

That thing, you know, when you … assuming your zazen practice is perfect, you know. (Giggles) That same (knocks twice). When you start practice, quite relative. Each person has it, mind – or we say mind and body. That realitively speaking, and relative unifies with zazen, with the absolute, the relative within zazen – where you have one goal or unity of practice.

This is … excuse me, this is the … this is blackboard! {Laughter from all} This is black, and this is white, as you see. This is relative, as you see. But for me, this is white, and … black, you know! {Laughter} Black signify the absolute. And white signify the relative. This is nighttime and this is daytime. Nighttime, you cannot see anything. But in daytime, you can see everything, in relatively.

But actually, you don't see, you don't hear, you don't think. That is the absolute.

So, when you … when your practice is like black, or here, when you, when your everyday activity become one with black – then that is … the stage when … when a manifestation of ah... black or the absolute. This is the realization of root and black.

Also there is black and white – those are two sides of the one coin. If you see from one, it may be the black. Black, including all black something. So may be something interesting or spiritual awakening … umm.... usually called kensho. But this is actually black (hits the board) and white (hits the board) that make up the reality (hits the board). And this is stage, there are stages where you acquire the practice of  shikantaza.

And there is also some difference in way of practice in the, in Rinzai and Soto. Soto puts the emphasis on this one. And Rinzai puts the emphasis on insight. So Rinzai put emphasis on enlightenment practice. And we put emphasis on which part of the part here, which part is best?

With the practice of the absolute. So that is why we, you know, concerned about Buddha, or point here, or every all the [j g3] mandala of your activity. So we put the emphasis on white. Every activity or each part of your body mind. But Rinzai emphasize on the black, which is the perfect enlightenment. But perfect enlightenment – realization of perfect enlightenment is possible when each part of your life work to attain oneness of each part … every part.

But, actually there is no difference. When you attain....

And now, I must explain the third power. Like expedient ability to instruct people and alter their conduct. This is, you know, this stage is special effort. Experience ability. In Mahayana Buddhism, experience is more important, you know. Rather than the original way, or black, or the absolute. Without, you know, relative, the absolute does not mean anything. Emptiness, just emptiness

And when you say just emptiness, that is ideal emptiness, not actual emptiness. When we attain emptiness,  by all parts of our body, that is real emptiness. You know, actual emptiness. When everything exists in its own way, and express … and express the absolute, we call it true emptiness.

So emptiness … because of something, emptiness makes sense. So we rather put the emphasis on something, or everyday activity. Without sticking to some idea of emptiness. But it is, you know, interesting to talk about emptiness (Giggles). Whatever you say – that is emptiness! (Giggles)

If you have good friend to talk about emptiness, you know, you can talk about the emptiness – whatever you like! (Giggles) Whatever you say, that is emptiness (Giggles), and you can enjoy the discussion of emptiness! {Laughter by all}

But that is not, you know, the emptiness we mean!

But this kind of understanding helps our study, of course. And we should not say, you should not write anything about Buddhism, or talk anything about Buddhism. Whatever you say, that is not emptiness itself, but it is good expedient, or good devices to instruct and alter their conduct.

If someone is too rigid, or someone is too person of some idea of emptiness or relative, or some kind of teaching, we can correct their understanding by the expedience. So whatever the teaching are, those teachings are just devices. And good devices is very important.

To have power of good devices is one of the important points for us. So whatever you do, that activity should be good devices to instruct people. You should be good example of … example for the people.

So, expedient ability – why you have expedient ability, because you do not think that is what you are doing is the absolute itself. You know this is expedient. But this is something you should do with kindness. With the same mercy as Buddha's mercy.

That is the actual power we have as a Zen student.

But this experience, or good devices, is not usual devices, you know. This is devices – this is all the activity. Each activity … ah, which we do moment after moment. That is all what you do, is good devices. And to express a realization of the absolute.

When you understand the third power in this way, this is nothing different from the ninth one, or eighth one: mysterious power of showing the appearance of the Buddha in every word, in each pores of, in each pore of the body. You know, the meaning is the same.

And I think I explain the fourth one, which is: understanding what people think. The first one is: satisfying people with what they want. When you are doing something with calmness of your mind, with good concentration, without being involved in any prejudice, or without sticking to your own viewpoint, you know things, you see things as... So you know what people want, like Bodhisattva Avalokitesva.

So, satisfying people with what they want – this power naturally will appear.

And the sixth one: no cessation of exertion. And this no cessation of exertion takes place when the tenth power – when you obtain the tenth power, which is: satisfying all kinds of men [sic] with even things great. And devotion to the Buddha's teaching and no attachment to any thing, to anything. You know, when you devote yourself to your practice, you will have the power of understanding through everything and through various teaching. Barbara's teaching and [j g4] non-Barbara's teaching

So, you will have incessant practice, when you are here, because you see all the truth through Barbara's teaching and non-Barbara's teaching.

You increase, and because you, in this way, have devotion, having devotion of Buddha. So, in this way, back and forth, you will practice our way indefinitely. And as Dogen Zenji says, without any pressure, you know. This kind of practice will continue; this kind of field of practice will continue forever, endlessly.

This is the power we obtain through our practice.

Using all vehicles, all the teachings, with abandoning Mahayana. You try to make our teaching, our teaching in widest sense all the teachings in its widest sense. In its narrow sense, teaching something was taught by something in some state. That is the teaching in its narrow sense.

But in its wide sense, everything is the teaching for us. The color of the mountain; the sound of the river; or sound of your mother, even. Big Buddha. We understand in this way.

So, including all teachings without abandoning the Mahayana. When we understand our way, and when we practice our way, we cannot, you know, whatever teaching you observe, that is our teaching. Our Mahayana teaching. So you cannot abandon Mahayana way – our way. When you have a true understanding of our practice, that is including all vehicles, without abandoning the Mahayana vehicle.

Those are the ten powers.

When we understand our teaching or our practice in this way, actually, there is no teaching or no Buddhism, because whatever you do, that is Buddhism itself. But that does not mean, you know, but it does not mean, you know, if everything is good, there's no need to practice our way. That is wrong understanding.

We can … only when we get through those practices, we can see and understand. At first, it depends on a kind of belief, you know. For the beginner, you know, this is a kind of belief. And for the people who get through all those things, it is the competence, actual competence.

So, you don't understand when you want to study zazen, it is literally to have some belief in, you know, or understanding of our way. Understanding with complete understanding, so that you can believe in it. So that there's no doubt in those explanation of the teachings. You can believe in it, even though your understanding is not perfect. I mean, not perfect, you know.

You understand completely, but when you understand completely, you know, you find out that this is just an intellectual understanding.

So, I have to actually obtain those teachings, not just an intellectual understanding. And until I have no doubt with it, until we can deeply ... in deeply know what is our way.

Then, ah, in this way, you will expend your way, until you come up to here. So, starting from here, and to attain in its true sense, where there is no Buddha, because you completely have it. No one, no knowing, no ears, no eyes, because you have it. It's you. You are not aware of your ears, you know.

Even though you don't know, you are not aware of when you hear or see something. When you see something, what you see is something mysterious out there. But you cannot see your own mind.

So, our practice is to like this, you are not aware of your practice. That is Hinayana school. Where you will attain, where there is no feeling of attainment. No feeling of the ten powers of mind.

No feeling of suffering, or no feeling of joy. You just practice, without any problem. Without any pain. That is the fifth power.

And all those ten powers, could be this one, could be this one, and so.

But to make our understanding clear, so that we can devote ourselves to the true practice, this kind of analysis is helpful.

Judy Notes

 [j g1]8:20

 [j g2]14:33

 [j g3]22:23

 [j g4]36:57 Barbarian? Really can't guess this



Source: digital audio archive from DC. Problem set. Thanks to audio work by AW, 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