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Friday, May 31, 2019

Reading the Lotus Sutra

"Who, with avoidance of any distraction of thoughts and with attentive mind, during thousands of kotis of years have meditated in the caves of the wilderness; these strive for enlightenment by dint of meditation." 

Attentive mind is very important. From the beginning it always has been important point for our practice. Attentive mind: as a practice counting breathing is a very old and traditional way to always have an attentive mind. -------------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-02-00-A as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Wet

If you want to practice zazen, it is necessary to choose your friends, to have good friends. To be in good contact with your friends, good friends. Then naturally you will have good practice. Dogen Zenji says zazen practice is like going through the mist. If you go through the mist, your robes will be wet; even though you don't notice it, your robe will be naturally wet. When you go out in a sudden shower, even though you feel your robe is wet, it doesn't get through your robe. But when you get wet in the mist, even though you don't feel it, the moisture will penetrate into your body, even. That is how we should practice zazen. -------------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-02-00-A as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Reading Lotus Sutra

"Further, I see Bodhisattvas, who have forsaken all wanton pleasures, shun unwise companions and delight in having intercourse with genteel men (Aryas)."

This is supposed to be a very important practice: to choose your friends and to live in a suitable place for practice. It doesn't say zazen practice, but actually it means zazen practice.

-------------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-02-00-A as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

More Lotus Sutra reading and comment

The bodhisattva has six prajna paramitas. Dana prajna paramita, and precepts...prajna paramita. Alms giving and precepts observation, and vigourous practice, and patience, and zazen practice, and wisdom, prajna paramita.

"Some sons of the Gina, whose strength consists in forbearance, patiently endure abuse, censure, and threats from proud monks": Proud monks will give various critical words, and sometimes blame their conduct. But the bodhisattvas should not be disturbed by those words or treatment. They try to attain enlightenment by dint of forbearance. "

This is the third prajna paramita, prajna paramita of endurance. -------------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-02-00-A as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC

Monday, May 27, 2019

Purify (continuing with comments on Lotus Sutra)

To purify our own self is to purify our surrounding. In this way we are supposed to obtain the five transcendent faculties. One is mystic power, and next is clairvoyance, or the ability to see through things; next is the ability to know others' minds; and then the power to know one's own past lives, and one's own karma. And Arhats have six faculties. The last one is the perfect knowledge faculty. After extinguishing all the physical and mental feelings, they will have perfect wisdom. That is the last one. But for Bodhisattvas they have five. So here we may count five faculties. -------------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-02-00-A as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC

Rick Levine shares a story

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Reading from the Lotus Sutra

"Others who have renounced all sensual desires, by purifying their own self, have cleared their sphere and obtained the five transcendent faculties, live in the wilderness, as (true) sons of the Sugata."

This is so called "Arhat practice." To attain Arhatship they have to purify their own self and they have to extinguish their sensual desires.
First of all, we should not stop thinking, but we should be free from thinking. Thinking desires and mental joy and physical joy. In this way we should purify our own self.  -------------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-02-00-A as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC

Jane Hirshfield lecture on Youtube

Here's a Buddhist lecture Jane Hirshfield gave last month at Smith College. (The others in the same "Putting Pen to Palm Leaf" series should also be there-- Norman Fischer, Kate Wheeler, Ruth Ozeki.


Love that photo of Jane from a few years back.

Friday, May 24, 2019

On the Okesa

As you know, the okesa is made of material which people are not using any more. And Buddha collected that material and purified it, and sewed it together, like this (with many rectangles like a rice field). The most important robe for us is the okesa, not the Chinese or Japanese dress (which are underobes for Japanese monks). And there are traditional, strict rules about how to make it. Joyce, you know, is studying how, is actually making her okesa by hand, stitch after stitch, reciting the Sutra in Japan. That is how we do it. You are laughing, but you will do it, you know. Now you are laughing.  [Joyce Browning was ordained as a priest by Suzuki with her husband Ron before they went to Japan to enter Soto Zen monasteries. It's interesting he makes a point here that we'd be sewing our robes because that wasn't his trip - it was Katagiri's]-------------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-02-00-A as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Kobun Chino at the Opera

Hideko Oga wrote, "I am a member of SF Opera for a  long time (smallest donor) and receive the new season catalog. There is a new opera titled Steve Jobs with four singers. The roles are Steve Jobs, his wife and co-founder, and the 4th person is – Chino Kobun Otogawa."

It reminded her of the movie (and book), The Parrots of Telegraph Hill with a parrot named Shunryu after Suzuki Roshi.

Kobun  Chino was her late husband Grahame Petchey’s senior at Eihei-ji and she wondered if that could be part of the reason why he came to California.  

She and Grahame saw him in Santa Fe in 1986 or 7.  He recognized Grahame’s voice at a small Japanese restaurant and came over to their table.  That was the only time Hideko saw Kobun.

The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs comes in June 2020 to the San Francisco Opera.

Suzuki continues reading from the Lotus Sutra

"Some give their heads, others their eyes, others their dear own body, and after cheerfully bestowing their gifts they aspire to the knowledge of the Tathagatas."

In this case, you know, we put emphasis on practice, rather than on what we will gain by it. We should understand the value of practice, rather than what we will gain by this kind of almsgiving practice.
 -------------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-02-00-A as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Reading from the Lotus Sutra

"Some, again, give their children and wives; others their own flesh; (or) offer, when bidden, their hands and feet, striving to gain supreme enlightenment."
SR: This may sound very funny, but at that time it was...for me it looks very funny because I feel as though I cannot understand it, you know. -------------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-02-00-A as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Suzuki's reading from the Lotus Sutra

"There are some who charitably bestow wealth, gold, silver, gold money, pearls, jewels, conch shells, stones, coral, male and female slaves, horses, and sheep." This is one of the Bodhisattvas practices, dana prajna paramita. The slaves are also a kind of fortune or wealth.  -------------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-02-00-A as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC

Monday, May 20, 2019

Virtue Value

Men and woman are different, but we Buddhists understand them to have the same virtue. Or, we say, because we are not the same, we have the same virtue. Each one has their own special value which you cannot compare with some other value. What we talk about is absolute value for each being. So, because we are different, we have absolute value. This is an important point. --------------------------------------------------  Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-02-00-A as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Harmony

Without right posture you cannot take right breathing. Without some deep breathing your bodily activities will not be one with your mental activities. When you are one with your mind and body your physical effort should be controlled in perfect harmony. This is how we practice our way. --------------------------------------------------  Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-01-18 as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC

Friday, May 17, 2019

Tummy

In your practice, if you want to make some effort, your effort should be directed to keeping your posture right, or to have deep breathing, or to put some strength in your tummy. This is all that you should do, but as you have experienced, to have right posture, and to have right breathing is not different thing. It is the same practice. --------------------------------------------------  Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-01-18 as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Astray

Anyway the big mind is always with you so there is no need to seek for the big mind, which you have always with you. The only thing you should do is that you should be grateful for the big mind. That is actually our pure practice. In this way we should continue our pure practice and we should be very careful not to lose the point of practice, not to go astray. --------------------------------------------------  Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-01-18 as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Thank You

If you have gaining idea in your practice, that is not pure practice. So whether or not you are aware of the big mind, we should say, ‘Thank you” for the big mind. That is our practice. --------------------------------------------------  Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-01-18 as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Famous point - for him

Pure practice should be renewed everyday. When you practice our way this morning, you should forget all about the practice you have had, and you should practice it as if you had started your practice this morning. That is so-called beginner’s mind. We should always be a beginner or else our practice is not pure. --------------------------------------------------  Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-01-18 as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC

Monday, May 13, 2019

Lose the point

Even though you continue our practice for a long time our practice tends to lose the point of practice. We don’t know when we start the wrong practice but if you are not sincere, or faithful enough, or if you are not careful your practice will go astray. If you continue your practice for one year you will continue it anyway but in that case what we should be careful about is whether we are continuing because we have been practicing for one year. In that case your practice is not pure; because the reason why you continue your practice is based on past practice. You have some idea -- some substantial idea about the practice that you have had. But pure practice should be renewed everyday. --------------------------------------------------  Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-01-18 as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Same?

Student J: Is our community here different from the original Buddhist community? Or is it the same?

SR: I don't know exactly [laughs, laughter]. This is a big subject to study, you know. Anyway, in Buddhist community there were four: layman, and laywoman, and monk, and nun is four. We count four. We have, you know, four kinds of disciples or-- in our community we have few or no nun yet [laughs]. But laywoman and layman.
We will have precepts too, you know, more and more. “You should respect Buddhist thought,” and, “You shouldn't trip based on Buddha.” This kind of precepts we will have-- new precepts [laughs, laughter] created by you. If Buddha says, “Don't do that,” that is one precept [laughs]. After they have household life, they became a Buddhist, you know, at that time. But there are many young disciples of Buddha. So may be the same.  --------------------------------------------------  Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-01-12 as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC [He seems to mean the same in spirit. Of course there is so much difference between Buddhism as he taught it and we practice it, that those practicing original Buddhism today, often have a hard time seeing that it's Buddhist. - dc]

Friday, May 10, 2019

Ten Directions

Student I: And what are the ten directions?

SR: [Laughs, laughter.] There is past and future, but we say “three worlds,” and myriads of kalpas of time or something like that, you know. We should know what does it mean actually. The Indian literature is very -- scale is very big, and they repeat descriptions over and over again. And Buddhist scripture is not exception. But we should know what does it mean actually.

Student I: Are there supposed to be ten directions?

SR: Eight directions, and up and down-- ten directions [laughs, laughter].

Student I: Like north, south, east, west?

SR: And, you know, east and north, east-south.

Student I: Okay.

SR: Yeah. Eight and up and down. And there are a few this way [pointed at angles between horizontal and vertical - laughs, laughter]. So I don't know how many. 
 --------------------------------------------------  Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-01-12 as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC

Thursday, May 9, 2019

He gets an A on this one

Student H: What are the three worlds?

SR: Hmm? Three worlds?

Student H: Yes, that you mentioned tonight.

SR: Oh. Past, present, and future.
 --------------------------------------------------  Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-01-12 as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Mudra

Student G: Just a small question on posture. What your hands-- should your fingers be together?

SR: Yes, fingers together. And you should not cross too deep or too shallow. See? Here, you have two joint here. And this joint and this joint will make one line-- two lines.

Student G: Your first joint should be with your middle joint, and the middle joint--
SR: Yeah. Yours is right. If your mudra is not right, we correct your mudra. --------------------------------------------------  Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-01-12 as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

One

Student F: Dogen Zenji said that the mind and body are one and the way is attained through the body. What did he mean by that?

SR: Through? Not “through.” To-- mind and body is one, so if you practice physical practice, the mind is there, you know. True mind is there. 
 

Student F: Thank you.

SR: So what we should do is to sit in right posture. 
 --------------------------------------------------  Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-01-12 as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC

Unmasking the Guru

Tricycle Interview with Bernhard Pörksen 

whom I've met at Tassajara and Dharma Sangha's Johanneshof.  

Monday, May 6, 2019

Title correction

I meant to title the prior post: Posture - one of not so many or pretty many points
but as is not unusual with me, the words in my head don't get down right cause I did it fast and didn't check. That's typical Suzuki saying something and then in mid sentence reconsidering what he'd said and changing direction. - dc

Posture - one of not so many or pretty many points

There are not so many, you know, points -- pretty many, but, in one word to keep your [laughs] posture right, and when your posture is right your mind is also right.   --------------------------------------------------  Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-01-12 as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Mudra

 “Don't lose your mudra,” means you should practice our way with all of your mind and body, in one word.  --------------------------------------------------  Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-01-12 as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC

Windy Wind Wind

It sure has been windy here in Sanur and, from what I hear, all over Bali and out at sea. Nyoman driver says that it has whipped up the waves so much that the fishing boats and surfers aren't going out. Tennis pal Elliot who lives with his family very close to a beach east of here says they can't wait to go on a trip to the States they'd planned, just too windy to do anything outside. I guess we're somewhat protected, maybe by our distance from the beach but we're enjoying it. This is the coolest Usually we think of July and August being Windy but it's early this year and strong. Not like the 500 tornadoes in the States last month.

An Aesop tale with sun and wind impressed me as a little boy. The sun and wind argue over who's more powerful and vie to see who can get a traveler to take off his coat. The wind blows hard but the traveler just holds tight. The sun gently shines and the traveler takes off his coat. Gentleness wins the day. I think in our story though it might turn out that the sun and wind join forces without being so considerate of those below.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Hara

To put some strength in your hara means to take natural, deep breathing and to have calm mind. To be concentrated on your breathing or counting of breathing does not mean if you are just concentrated on your breathing I don't mind your posture or your wandering mind. You see? The point you are concentrated on will be different, but the various instructions should be followed. Do you understand? --------------------------------------------------  Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-01-12 as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Limit

When you limit the true meaning of zazen, or when you become critical with your zazen, or when you are proud of your good practice, that is not true zazen. Do you understand? --------------------------------------------------  Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-01-12 as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Even though

Even though you count your breath and you cannot do it properly, you should not be worried about it. Just do it. That is our way, you know. Even though your posture is not perfect, it is all right as long as you are practicing hard. You should not criticize your practice. Even though I recommend you some particular way, it does not mean if you cannot do that, that is not zazen. Even though you can do it almost perfect, you know, it does not mean that it is true zazen. When you limit the true meaning of zazen, or when you become critical with your zazen, or when you are proud of your good practice, that is not true zazen. Do you understand? --------------------------------------------------  Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-01-12 as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC