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

Working with the most difficult tapes in the Suzuki tape archive



Shunryu Suzuki Lecture
Tassajara
October 1968

68-10-00-X

Word "jaku." "Jaku" is nirvana, harmony, respect, and calmness and nirvana. That is four . . . three. O.k. Begging by order, and amount of the food, and how often … once or twice each day. In scriptures it's once. Once, not twice.

Student: They begged once a day?

S: Once a day. And amount. One is, you know, always you should support yourself by begging. That is one. When you beg, you should do it in order to . . . without choosing good family or wealthy family, by order, one … one by one. You should change. You should not change your order with some greedy feelings. So it means that you should not be greedy. So, to support yourself by, only by begging and by order, you should do it and . . . you should not do it more than once a day. And you should not have it more than you want. You should think how much you want. That's four already about food.

The wearing is … should be this robe or that kind or more . . . this is seven. Seven pieces robe. But you can . . . you will have robe made of more than seven: nine or thirty. But you should always live on it. And the material is . . . should be the material which you collected from city. (In low voice says something in Japanese.)

And where you live is under the tree. Or if you become attached to the feeling, good feeling under the tree, you should go to cemetery. (Laughter.) You know, this is the spirit, you know. You should be very strict with yourself. You should not develop your . . .. You should not spare yourself. You should have always renunciation. So, if under the tree, is so . . . if you become attached to it you should go to cemetery. Or you should go to some place, open(?) , where nothing, where you have nothing to protect you. Everyone see if you're lying down. Everyone see you lying down. "Oh, he is there, lazy monk." People may say, so you have to be always sitting.

And you should not lie down, even though you sleep. This is not asceticism, you know. This is how to keep up your good spirit. And you should always live . . . the first . . . the first one was, you know, you should always live in "arranya" (sp) . . . forest or wood, like many religious people who give up, who retire from life.

Something like that. I don't know how many you have. Nine or ten. (Student says we have nine now.) Very interesting.

Student: Roshi, if that's not asceticism, then how do we understand just the . . . our practice is to live everyday life? That our practice is to live in the world?

S: Live in the world . . . even though you live in the world you may live, you know, according to Bodhisattva's way. To help people you should live in the world, in the city. And you should help them. But way you help them is the same way, same spirit. You can practice this kind of practice in the city too. Not literally, but modifying your practice. With same spirit you can do it.

Student: Seems like we'd have to modify those twelve entirely.

S: Yeah! There's no need to attach to those things literally. You will find some way to . . . if you have this kind of feeling, you will know this is, you know, whether you are spoiling yourself or encouraging your spirit. You see. So at that time you can change your attitude a little bit. Just a little bit works very strong. To buy a lot of vegetables . . . just a little bit . . . this much. When they are interested in, you know, they are . . . they won't . . . even they drive one mile or ten blocks . . . after ten blocks work . . . walk, they may go to the vegetable store and vegetable . . . .When they are doing so and someone choose most vegetable. But . . . no sense to . . .. This is just, you know, not much practice . . . just . . . little bit change. Little bit different from usual way, but it works. And it helps you, yourself, and it will give people some teaching. You can do that.

Student: Yesterday on the town trip at one of the large grocery stores we shop at, there were, kind of in the back where we buy our vegetables, there were three very big cardboard boxes full of sort of like you've been describing of what they were going to throw away … of lettuce and old oranges and apples and so forth. What would you think if, if we were actually, to , to take that. I mean to ask the manager if we could use that food, say on the next town trip, and bring it back to Tassajara? Would you think that would be practicing the spirit of these?

S: But for the, you know, head of the kitchen to buy . . . worst one will not be so good. But if we have that kind of spirit, you know, I think a grocery store and farmers will help you a lot, you know. They may give you, even though you don't expect them to give you. But if your real spirit is there . . .

Student: I don't understand what you mean.

S: Well, what was your point of question?

Student: My question was, do you feel we should bring back to Tassajara those three large boxes of food which the grocery store didn't feel it wanted to have on its shelves but which was still, you know, quite edible.

S: Yeah, I think so.

Student: We should bring it back to Tassajara?

S: Yeah. And we should make best use of it. If it is possible to eat. If it is not then we can't take it.

Student: We should . . . we should pay them for it, though, shouldn't we? The regular price?

S: No I don't think so. Will . . . they for in . . .

Student: No, they would give them to us.

S: (laughing): We will not pay for that. As a head of . . . as . . . you are working for Tassajara so at that time it is not just your practice.

There is this kind of story from Zuimonki. You know. What Dogen teach and what Dogen said was described by his disciple and we have still that record called Zuimonki. There are many stories something like that. Some of them is very difficult to understand. Why did he say so is very difficult.

S: Some more question?

Student: Getting back to the question of asceticism . . . with the cold coming on, I was thinking about putting a heater in my cabin … small heater. And a question that came to my mind was . . . I knew that the people that were here through the last winter . . . a lot of them didn't have heaters in their rooms, and they, they, they're here now . . . but. I wonder if you think it will be, you know, I guess it's hard to make a general rule, but do you, do you think it would hurt your practice too much to . . . to . . . you know, have a warm room to go to? (Laughing.)

S: I . . . I think in this way. We have, we are tendency, some tendency . . . we will be more and more luxurious and you will be more and more spoiled. And we are finding some excuse for it. Always, you know, we are . . . our minds working in that direction. (Laughter.) So it is necessary to know that İİ what is our tendency. So not to be . . . we should remember some word, like liable to . . . apt to. We should remember that two words: we are "apt to" do something. So, not to fall into the same hole is very important.

In Japan we have, there is some, what do you call that, spider-like animal, small animal who dig big, oh not big . . . for him it is big. (People say, "ant lion.") Ant killer? (They say, "lion" again and all laugh.) Good name! Ant lion. You know, all the ant may fall into same hole, and we human being fall into the same hole. We have some . . . we are on the edge of the hole of ant lion, so if you fall into the same hole like ant it may be very silly. . . . So, so this kind of . . . when we, you know, if you want to protect, try to protect human being, you know, we should be . . . we should be guard of the hole . . . you may fall. You may be eaten by ant lion. (Laughing.) And at the same time you should be very careful for yourself, too. But still, we should not be afraid of our nature. We should develop our nature as much as we can. But we should . . . if you want to develop your   , then you should know the tendency you have.

So, this kind of practice is absolutely necessary if you, when you want to help yourself and help others. This point should be . . . this word, you know, "apt to" or "liable to" should be remembered, always. Or else you cannot do anything. And you should be always, you know . . . you will be always rigid and afraid of something may happen to you, or scared of something which someone will do to you. Why you have no this kind of practice; you don't know how to protect yourself and protect others and how to help others. If you know you are . . . if you know the word "apt to" completely, then you are quite safe and you have always confidence in yourself and . . and helping others. So without this kind of practice Mahakasapa could not manage Buddha's disciples. This is very important point, and with this spirit I think we should practice zazen. Just to practice zazen to, to acquire something is not our way. O.k.? Do you uinderstand? Hai.

Student: Where do we find the determination and the perseverance to continue to live a life or to carry on in a way to keep ourselves from wanting to spoil ourselves? Where does this determination come from?

S: Determination comes from zazen. Even though you are painful, you know. We are apt to, you know, give up zazen when you are painful. Always you have, you should train yourself in that way, with our practice, until you have full confidence in yourself. Not to fall into ant lion's hole. And with determination you see edge of the hole. Without complaining, "Oh, this is dangerous!" That is not zazen. In that way you should always make yourself strong, strong enough to go to city, and strong enough to help people, and strong enough to have some candy if, when you want it, sometime, not always. But you should know if I eat candy I may want one more. "NO!" Okay? That kind of point if very important point. In your zazen and in your everyday life. Not, don't try to find out where, but try to strengthen yourself maybe stronger. So that you can do it quite easily.

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This transcript found in the nineties and put on disc by Bill Redican. There are notes about it between him and DC - one of us found it. It didn't get into the digital archive back then.

It's at the end of 68-10-00-J problem tape transcribed 4-12 by JG.

Need to compare versions..

[68-10-00-X - entered into digital archive as separate lecture 12-20-12 by DC]

Shunryu Suzuki Lecture Transcripts in Progress

Working with the most difficult tapes in the Suzuki tape archive


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