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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Five Shunryu Suzuki Lecture Excerpts


Alby Fisher, from USA in Sao Paulo, Brazil, has been listening to all of the Suzuki lecture audio on shunryusuzuki.com. He sends these lecture excerpts he edited slightly and included the original below each. There's a note from him at the bottom. - dc


%Title of entry: 
%Two kinds of knowledge (from 65-07-26-A; slightly edited)


We say we have two kinds of knowledge: intuitive knowledge and thinking, discriminating knowledge. Scientific knowledge and philosophical knowledge is  dualistic thinking knowledge. As long as we use words and  think by words, it is impossible to reach the absolute conclusion. When we just resume to our own nature, which is universal to everyone, we can realize our true nature. And that is why in Zen practice we stop our mind. We do not put any consideration to our senses or thinking. Whatever image comes, you just accept it and let it go out. And whatever sounds you hear, you let them come in and let them go out. When you do not pay any attention to outward objects, you will find out your true nature.

.........


original:

We say we have two kinds of knowledge: intuitive knowledge and— and thinking, discriminating knowledge. The scientific knowledge and the philosophical knowledge is the dualistic thinking knowledge. As long as we use word and we think by words, it is impossible to reach the absolute conclusion. When we just resume to our own nature, which is universal to everyone, we can achieve—we can realize our true nature, which is universal to human being and even for animals, and plants, and everything—existence. And that is why in Zen practice we stop our mind. We do not put any consideration to our sensitivity or thinking. Whatever image come, you just accept it and let them go out. [Laughs.] And whatever sound you hear, you let them come in and let them go out. When you do not pay any attention to outward object, you will find out your true nature.

............


% True nature takes the form of pain  (from 65-07-26-A; slightly edited)

And that is why in Zen practice we stop our mind... Whatever images come, you just accept them and let them go out...
This true nature, when you are healthy and practice zazen in this way, it is just calm and some inexplicable thing, itself. But when you have some actual problem—when you have pain in your legs, you will have a direct experience of your true nature. But, you know, don't mistake  that for your true nature. That is true nature plus something—plus your painful legs. Something is added to your true nature, and true nature takes the form of pain. This relationship is very important, and if you understand this relationship—your true nature and your pain—there is a key to solve all the problems of life. Through problems we will realize our true nature.

.........

original:

And that is why in Zen practice we stop our mind. We do not put any consideration to our sensitivity or thinking. Whatever image come, you just accept it and let them go out. [Laughs.] And whatever sound you hear, you let them come in and let them go out. When you do not pay any attention to outward object, you will find out your true nature. 
Page 2/5 SR-65-07-26-AV
This true nature, when you are healthy and practice zazen in this way, it—it is just calm and some inexplicable thing itself. But when you have some actual problem—when you have pain on your legs, you will have direct experience of [laughs] your true nature. But, you know, don't [make the] mistake [that] that is true nature. That is true nature plus something—plus your painful legs. Something is added on true nature, and true nature takes the form of pain. This relationship is very important, and if you understand this relationship—your true nature and your pain—there is a key to solve all the problem of life. Through problem we will realize our nature—true nature.

.................

rest from 71-08-21, all slightly edited


%Falling down by the earth, getting up by the earth: Problems are your zendo.

Someone who fell on the earth, maybe by stumbling on a stone, will stand up by the same earth. Because of the earth you fell; earth is the problem. Because of the problem, you hurt. But because of the earth, you can support yourself again, and you can stand up.

So you feel as if because of the problem, you fell. But that is a great help, you know, which was given to you by the earth.

So because of the mother of earth, you can continue your practice. You are practicing in the zendo of the great earth, which is your problems. Problems are actually your zendo. That is very true.

........
original:

Someone who—who—who fell on the earth—on the earth, maybe by stumbling [on a] stone or something, you know—fell on the earth will 
Page 4/7 SR-71-08-21V
stand up [laughs] by the earth—same—by the same earth. Because of the earth you stumble, you fell, you know. Earth is the problem. Because of the problem, you hurt, you know, you hit against the earth. But because [laughing] of the earth, you can support yourself again, and you can stand up. 
So you complain—you have complained because you think because of the earth you fell [laughs], but without earth you will not fell. And at the same time, you cannot stand up. So because you have problem, you know, you feel as if because of the problem, you, you know, you fell. A fell or stand up is, you know, a help, you know—great help which was given to you by earth. 
So problem itself is your mother, you know. Because of the mother of earth, you can continue your practice. You are practicing, you know, so zendō of the earth—great earth, which is the problems. Problems are actually your zendō. That is very true.

.............


%What is delusion, what is enlightenment?
%The city is a monastery.

So what is delusion, what is enlightenment? When you are deluded about truth, that is delusion... When you enlightened of the earth, of problems, that is enlightenment. When you stand up by the earth, that is enlightenment. When you fell, you feel: it was because of the earth; and then that is delusion. So you have chance to attain a great enlightenment when you have a problem.

Usually you talk about Tassajara practice and city practice. But that is not the point of practice. The point of practice is the problems you have here, or in the city, or at Tassajara; that is the earth. So if Tassajara is a monastery, the city zendo is a  monastery, and the city is also a monastery-- in its wide sense.

Our way is not to get rid of all the stones from the earth which could be a stumbling stone for you. It is good to have many stones on the earth which could be, you know, stumbling stones. It is good. And when you stand up, if you have a high, big stone, it may be easier to stand up.

.........
original:

So what is delusion, what is enlightenment? When you, you know, deluded of truth, that is delusion. When you are deluded of—of earth, that is delusion. When you enlightened of the earth, that is enlightenment. When you stand up by the earth, that is enlightenment. When you fell, you know, because of the earth—you feel in that way— that is delusion. So you have chance to attain a great enlightenment when you have problem. 
Usually you talk about your surrounding. You talk about Tassajara practice and city practice. That is, I think, very good. [Laughs.] But that is not the point of practice. The point of practice is—the problem you have here or city or Tassajara is the earth. So if Tassajara is monastery, city zendō is monastery, and city is also monastery in its wide sense. 
Our way is not to get rid of all the stones from the earth which could be a stumbling [laughs] stone for you. It is good to have many stones on the earth which could be, you know, stumbling stone. It is good. And when you stand up, if you have a high, big stone, it—it may be easier to stand up.

...........


Title:
%The first stage is just the first reel of the movie: just to solve our problems is not the purpose of %studying Buddhism

So if you understand our life, our problems in this way, then will get through the first stage.
But if you understood our problems of our life in this way, then you may feel that is, you know, the end of the whole picture. But it is just the first series of the movie. Why it is so is, you know, something we should think about.

This first stage is a  very interesting stage, so you may want to stay in this stage a little bit longer. But that is too selfish, you know. You may enjoy the first stage very much, actually. In in the city, when you come to zendo, if you have a good Zen practice, then you will enjoy city life, with a kind of leisurely mind, you know. You will have some space or some room to accept the difficulties of city life. Because of this wisdom of understanding our human nature, we can have time, or room, for accepting the problems. We are ready to accept our problems. Like you sit in zazen, and many, many things come up: “Okay. I have enough room here or here or here for you to come. Please come.” But, you know, it is interesting to see how they go away. “Oh, nothing to see here, there's nothing to eat,” so they go out again. It is very interesting.

But, you know,  Zen is not something to play games with.  We shouldn't play  a game with it. If you practice zazen because you enjoy your practice, that is not Buddha's practice. Buddha  is very strict. His mercy is so deep, so clear, and so wide. We selfish human being always want something good to eat, something good to hear, something good to see. Knowing this fact, Buddha became more and more strict with us. Yes, it's something, you know, which you must think about. And when you study religion, you know,  you must learn something more than this. Just to solve our everyday problems is not purpose of studying Buddhism.

original:

So if you understand our life, our problem in this way, then will you have—you will get through the first stage.
I don't think I have time to explain the next stage. But you may feel, Page 5/7 SR-71-08-21V
you know, if you understood our problems of our life in this way, then that is, you know, end of the whole picture, you know. But it is just a first series of the movie. Why it is so is, you know, something we should think about. 
The—in the first stage, you are—very interesting stage, so you may want to stay the first stage [laughs] a little bit longer. That is—but again, that is too selfish, you know [laughs]. Buddhism is very strict, you know, very strict. You may enjoy the first stage very much, actually. In—in the city, in zendō, you know, when you come to zendō, you have, you know, a good Zen practice. When you go to city, you will enjoy city life, you know, with a kind of—what do you?—leisurely mind, you know. You—you have some space or some room to accept the difficulty—difficulties of the city life. Because of the wisdom of understanding of our human nature, you know, we can—we have time, or we have room for accepting the problems, you know. We are ready to accept problems. Like you sit zazen, you know, in zazen, many, many things come: "Okay. [Laughs.] I have enough room here or here or here for you to come. Please come." [Laughs, laughter.] But, you know, it is interesting to—to see how they go away. "Oh, nothing to see, nothing to eat," so they may go out [laughs]. It—it is very interesting. 
But, you know, Zen is not something to play, you know, to play with—to play game with—with our prac- [partial word]—we shouldn't play game with it. If you practice zazen because you enjoy your practice, that is not Buddha's practice. He is very strict. Buddha's mercy is so deep, so clear, and so wide. When we selfish human being always want something good to eat, something good to hear, something good to see. So if someone give you something to hear, or something to eat, most human being will stay. Knowing this fact, Buddha became—become more and more strict with us [laughs]. Yeah, it's—it's something, you know, which you must think about. And when you, you know, study or when you want to learn religion, you know, you must learn something more than this. Just to solve our everyday problem is not purpose of studying Buddhism. [Sentence finished. Tape turned over.]
-- 



PS I think it's obvious, but what I noticed when listening to the tapes is that there are so many gems, nuggets of wisdom, but when reading the transcript, it'seasy to miss them: simply because SR wanders between topics, and starts and stops and restarts phrases, changing the wording slightly. Verbally, this is charming and does not interfere, but when read, this makes the eyes skip around or wantto give up- it is too hard to concentrate. So the idea is to pull out these nuggets for the blog, to inspire, and also to  encourage people to either listen to the tapes, or read the transcripts to see what he said in its entirety. And the "headline" is there to focus the reader's mind on some key phrase or thought. - AF