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Monday, January 14, 2019

Dependency

Student O: Docho Roshi, as I accept you as my teacher more and more, I find more and more a growing dependency on you in that role, and I'm afraid of this. What can I do about it?

SR: There is no need to be afraid of being a part of me. Don't be afraid of me, and try to study hard.

Student O: But what happens if something happens to you, and you can't be our teacher any more?

SR: That cannot be happen. I am always with you forever. 

DC comment: This is the 2nd time in this shosan ceremony that Suzuki has said this sort of thing. It's a common way that spiritual teachers express themselves but not very common in Zen. Here, when he says "I," he's referring to the absolute and not to the person who is born and dies, or, to use his terminology, to big mind. This approach is reassuring and I think it's true, that what's real about him is the unborn, but it also seems to me to be conducive to misinterpretation, thinking that some being who's called Suzuki now will stay with you forever. Jesus in the Bible used that approach as in, "I am the way, the truth, and the light, and it was turned into deifying him as an individual by the vast majority of Christians, though I was fortunate to be raised on New Thought Christianity which is among a number of approaches that didn't do that.

 --------------------------------------------------  " Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki shosan ceremony - 67-12-07 as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC