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Monday, October 14, 2019


We call the nature of our teaching double construction, or double nature of Buddhism. And actually without paradoxical or opposite, two opposite understanding, we cannot think things clearly. -------------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-06-28 as found on Edited by DC

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Self and Not

Buddha on the contrary put emphasis on selflessness so that there you have a more balanced understanding of our life. And for the people who were trying to find out something about pleasure of life in this actual modern world, he put the emphasis on suffering so that they can understand their life from both sides. So naturally even so his purpose of sitting is through some harmonious teaching. So, sometimes he put emphasis on self, you know, instead of put the emphasis on selflessness. -------------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-06-28 as found on Edited by DC

Friday, October 11, 2019

No Self

Buddha's teaching put the emphasis on selflessness because even Buddhism is not a special culture or heritage. It is a part of Indian thought. And so before Buddhism there must be some similar teaching or some opposite teaching which form a pair of opposites with Buddhism. As you see in the Upanishads there are many similar teachings based on selflessness. Why he put the emphasis on selflessness is because people at that time had great difficulty because of a strong idea of self. -------------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-06-28 as found on Edited by DC

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Closing Words from the 2nd Practice Period

In spite of my lack of effort, you fulfilled this training period very well. I am satisfied. Katsuzen-san [Phillip Wilson] did it very well, supported by many students who are here with us today.

We say, “Before spring has gone, the summer comes.” This practice period we had spring training. And right here, we will have the next sesshin.

If we take a pause for a while, I cannot help but be amazed at seeing things, including you. You developed very well, and the same time Tassajara became more and more mature. This may not be the right words for congratulations, but it's exactly how I feel. So we should try not to be lost in our practice, and Tassajara also should not be lost from this world by your efforts. Like various unknown flowers near the stream, we should keep up with the world of transiency.
Thank you very much. -------------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-04-23-C as found on Edited by DC

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Concluding words for Shosan Ceremony

The points all of you presented were like a jewel and gold. But we should make jewels and gold in its true sense. Something special. When we say “something special” that may be jewels and gold. When we say “something common,” that is also jewels and gold, to which usual people attach. When we attach to them, that is not true jewels and gold.

Monday, October 7, 2019


Student SS [Richard Baker]: Docho Roshi, to many of the questions, you've answered, “Don't do anything,” or “Forget about.” I have difficulty with this point. I feel that's too, maybe, selfish. It helps us and it helps our people who practice with us. But I'm not sure it helps others so much. I feel we have to go beyond accepting everything. Sometimes Zen practice seems too much like the poem of the bamboo, the shadows don't disturb the dust on the stairs. I think the dust on the stairs has to be disturbed sometimes.

SR: Yeah [laughs].

Richard: And grass doesn't always grow by itself.

SR: Uh-huh.

Richard: What do you think?

SR: We should take care of grass, and we should always be disturbed by-- or at least possible to appreciate the shadow of the bamboo. If we ignore this point, our practice doesn't mean anything. Pain [?]-- big great constellation [?] through everything. And to have renunciation in it is our way, which is pretty difficult. This is the point many of our Zen masters had difficulty in their true practice, because it is not matter of successful or unsuccessful, you know. It is matter of how to handle themselves or how to understand the way to work on it. This is very subtle point. No one else but you can help you.

Bruce McAllister photos

Rick Levine sent in two Bruce McAllister photos and a story to go with them. See it on Bruce's memorial page. Here he is with Tom Giradot and two unknowns in a photo by Rick.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Issan Dorsey Record

Ken Ireland made this record, or collection, of pieces relating to Issan - memories and a lecture by Issan Tommy Dorsey.

Issan Dorsey cuke page


Student RR: Docho Roshi, melting into rivers of gold--

SR: Excuse me?

Student RR: Melting into rivers of gold, tasting the bitterest dregs at the bottom of the teacup, I feel I am a more complete person for having these experiences because I find a world that is not measured. However, I don't want to become attached to this world, but want to give it its proper place so it will have its own existence.
SR: You understand, you know, very well. But still your understand is not real because idea of ego is-- too much idea of ego involved in it. So don't think so much. Instead of thinking, you should forget-- try to forget yourself by all means. Okay? -------------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-04-23-B as found on Edited by DC

Friday, October 4, 2019


Student QQ: Docho Roshi, first our teacher became ill, and then someone passed away. What is the meaning of this?

SR: [Laughs.] Oh. I didn't think of the meaning of those, but nothing happens just by accident. There must be deep meaning to it. But I don't think I am, you know-- you will have my funeral service so soon. [Laughter.] I don't think in that way, but there is many things to think about.
 -------------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-04-23-B as found on Edited by DC