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Monday, June 29, 2020

Continuing with Lotus Sutra Lecture

 This may be a difficult thing for you to understand. Do you know of the Nirmanakaya Buddha, Sambhogakaya Buddha, and Dharmakaya Buddha? The Nirmanakaya Buddha is the historical Buddha. But the historical Buddha has two elements. One is a human being, and the other is a superhuman being. These are the two elements of the historical Buddha. Historically, such a character exists. As you know, Buddha was not God Himself, but was a human being. But for his followers, he was a kind of Perfect One. He attained enlightenment and reached to the bottom of our human nature. He was enlightened in human nature, which is universal, true nature. His human nature is universal to everyone and every being. And he subdued all the emotions and the thinking mind. He conquered all of this, and all of the world, and became a World Honored One. He had this confidence when he attained enlightenment, and his followers listened to him as to a teacher who is also the Perfect One.  ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-20 as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC  - Going through Suzuki lectures and posting anything that can stand on its own. Not looking for zingers or "the best of." I find that following these excerpts daily provides another way to experience Suzuki's teaching. - DC

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Lotus Sutra Lectures

A few days ago started putting up Suzuki's first lecture in his second series of three on the Lotus Sutra in 1968. These lectures were rather tedius to listen to. There's no verbatim transcript of this one and likely a number of them. The editing work done by Brian Fikes on them makes them much more palatable. Back in the pre internet days Brian made a loose leaf booklet out of these Lotus Sutra Lectures. All his material is now here on shunryusuzuki.com. This lecture series was also edited by Tim Buckley into a presentation that took up a whole Wind Bell. That was featured here on What's New recently. Suzuki also did a third round of lectures on this subject. All which have survived can be accessed at shunryusuzuki.com on the Lecture Search Form by choosing Lotus Sutra in the Subject dropdown. Back in my early years of trying to organize the Suzuki lectures, no part of that lecture archive seemed as chalenging as getting all the Lotus Sutra lectures down in good form. We should still get them all in verbatim form for the record, but for reading and appreciating them, what is available now will remain the go to place. Thanks to coming across Brians work and with the patient perserverance of Peter Ford, they are now well presented and in good order on line. - dc 

Continuing with this Lotus Sutra Lecture

So it is necessary for us to know first of all what the Nirmanakaya Buddha, the Sambhogakaya Buddha, and the Dharmakaya Buddha are, and how those aspects or understandings of Buddha developed from the historical Buddha. Without this understanding, this sutra does not mean much. It is just a fable, like a fairy tale which is very interesting, but doesn't have much to do with our life. Accordingly, I have to explain the three aspects of Buddha and how the Buddhism which was told by the Nirmanakaya Buddha developed into the Mahayana Buddhism which was told by the Sambhogakaya Buddha.   ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-20 as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC  - Going through Suzuki lectures and posting anything that can stand on its own. Not looking for zingers or "the best of." I find that following these excerpts daily provides another way to experience Suzuki's teaching. - DC

Friday, June 26, 2020

A unique look at ZC and Sokoji

Sokoji and Zen Center
a paper for the Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley, June 6, 1969 by Rumi Kawashiri

Continuing his talk on the Lotus Sutra

This sutra was not told by the Nirmanakaya or historical Buddha, but by the Sambhogakaya Buddha. According to this sutra, it was told a long, long time before Buddha. And Buddha, knowing that there was this kind of sutra before him, talked about the sutra which had been told by the Sambhogakaya Buddha. The sutra was attributed to Shakyamuni Buddha, but he told this sutra the way Vairocana Buddha told it a long, long time before.   ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-20 as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC  - Going through Suzuki lectures and posting anything that can stand on its own. Not looking for zingers or "the best of." I find that following these excerpts daily provides another way to experience Suzuki's teaching. - DC

Thursday, June 25, 2020

The Trikaya

Just started posting excerpts from Shunryu Suzuki 2nd round of lectures on the Lotus Sutra - because that's what came up next as we go through all his lectures day by day snipping out this and that. The late dear Tim Buckley took this series and made a whole Wind Bell out of them. It's nicely done - and not easy - as these were not easy lectures to follow. Tim called it the Trikaya, the three bodies, as that's what Suzuki was focusing on, the three bodies of Buddha (and us all), the Nirmanakaya (historical person), and the body of bliss Sambogakaya and gone beyond Dharmakaya. Here's a page for the Trikaya plus links to that Windbell and the individual lectures.

On Shakyamuni Buddha

Buddha was not God Himself, but was a human being. But for his followers, he was a kind of Perfect One. He attained enlightenment and reached to the bottom of our human nature. He was enlightened in human nature, which is universal, true nature. His human nature is universal to everyone and every being. And he subdued all the emotions and the thinking mind. He conquered all of this, and all of the world, and became a World Honored One. He had this confidence when he attained enlightenment, and his followers listened to him as to a teacher who is also the Perfect One.   ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-20 as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC  - Going through Suzuki lectures and posting anything that can stand on its own. Not looking for zingers or "the best of." I find that following these excerpts daily provides another way to experience Suzuki's teaching. - DC

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Forgot

Gosh - I got so involved in what I was doing yesterday I forgot to post here so it's going up late but it's still the 24th in Hawaii so that's close enough. One rather demanding task I'm into recently is doing these podcasts. Katrinka is still trapped in the States, though enjoying being with her son and family - his wife and daughters, and in a nice coastal Oregon town. So while she's away I'm trying to get as much done as I can on the podcasts. There are six a week. This Tuesday was chapter nine of Crooked Cucumber with comments and next Tuesday chapter ten. Thursday is Life in Bali, this week with Sustainable Suzy Hutomo. Last Saturday was a phone chat with Mel Weitsman and this one with Vanja Palmers. M-W-F are mini podcasts reading vignettes from Zen Is Right Here; Teaching Stories and Anecdotes of Shunryu Suzuki - and making pithy comments. Check em out at Cuke Audio Podbean - or Youtube, iTunes, Spotify, and Tumblr. 

On the Lotus Sutra

This sutra titled Saddharmapundarika Sutra was supposed to be told by Buddha, but actually this sutra appeared maybe after two or three hundred years after Buddha passed away. So historically we cannot say Buddha spoke this sutra. If you ask if all the sutras were spoken by Buddha, the answer may be that only parts of them were spoken by him. And they will not be exactly as he said them. Even the Hinayana sutras were not handed down by Buddha's disciples exactly as he told them. Since even the Hinayana sutras were not told by Buddha, the Mahayana sutras could not have been told by him.    ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-20 as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC  - Going through Suzuki lectures and posting anything that can stand on its own. Not looking for zingers or "the best of." I find that following these excerpts daily provides another way to experience Suzuki's teaching. - DC

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Complete

As some Zen masters say, our way is like to walk step by step. This is our practice. When you stand on one leg you should forget other leg. This is step by step. This is true practice. If you stick to the right leg or the left leg, the left foot or the right foot, you cannot walk [laughs]. This is how we practice our way. This is complete freedom.    ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-12-B as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC  - Going through Suzuki lectures and posting anything that can stand on its own. Not looking for zingers or "the best of." I find that following these excerpts daily provides another way to experience Suzuki's teaching. - DC

Shunryu Suzuki at the early ZC board meetings

Shunryu Suzuki in the early board notes

Della Goertz Notebook

Della's notebook
is full of little jewels


She started sitting with Suzuki within a week or two or so of when he arrived.

Monday, June 22, 2020

ZC Way

I am not emphasizing Soto way instead of Rinzai way, but as long as you practice zazen in Zen Center, you should practice Zen Center's way, or else you will be involved in personal practice. You will be carving your own dragon, always, thinking this is the true dragon. That is a, you know, silly [laughs] mistake. You shouldn't create this kind of problem for your practice.   ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-12-B as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC  - Going through Suzuki lectures and posting anything that can stand on its own. Not looking for zingers or "the best of." I find that following these excerpts daily provides another way to experience Suzuki's teaching. - DC

Tassajara First Practice Period

Student work period list - and here's another one

Made by Bob Watkins. Don't see everyone. I'm not there. Don't see Ed Brown and some others.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Tassajara first sesshin - schedules

Back when we had work periods in sesshin

sesshin schedule-1

sesshin schedule--2

Interesting thing to say

You should not listen to the various instruction in detail.The instruction will help you only when you are ready to practice zazen according to the place you practice, forgetting all about the old way of practice you have been making.    ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-12-B as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC  - Going through Suzuki lectures and posting anything that can stand on its own. Not looking for zingers or "the best of." I find that following these excerpts daily provides another way to experience Suzuki's teaching. - DC

Friday, June 19, 2020

Tassajara First Practice Period Schedules

They were changing. Here's one.  Here's another one.

That first practice period, the only one in ths summer, was divided into two parts, roughly, July and August. Here's an August schedule.

Practice

If you only have freedom from yourself, you will have complete freedom from everything. How we attain this freedom is our practice.   ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-12-B as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC  - Going through Suzuki lectures and posting anything that can stand on its own. Not looking for zingers or "the best of." I find that following these excerpts daily provides another way to experience Suzuki's teaching. - DC

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Freedom

To talk about freedom is quite easy. But actually to attain it, to have it, is not so easy at all. Unless you are able to have freedom from yourself, you will never have freedom from everything.   ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-12-B as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC  - Going through Suzuki lectures and posting anything that can stand on its own. Not looking for zingers or "the best of." I find that following these excerpts daily provides another way to experience Suzuki's teaching. - DC

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Officially getting Tassajara up and running as a Zen monastery

Tassajara, Zen Mt. Center, Zenshinji, Opening Program - July 3, 1967. It says "preliminary opening." I don't remember any other.

I prefer calling Tassajara a practice center to monastery, the later being a place for monks to be monos, alone. But on the other hand, a lot of words don't quite express what they originally meant. - dc

Another Tassajara fundraising brochure

Zen in America
- written by Richard Baker who was hustling round the clock to assure we kept the place

x Your Dragon

Instead of carving your own dragon, just sit. That is how you carve your own dragon, actually. How you have complete freedom from everything, including you, yourself.  ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-12-B as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC  - Going through Suzuki lectures and posting anything that can stand on its own. Not looking for zingers or "the best of." I find that following these excerpts daily provides another way to experience Suzuki's teaching. - DC

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

1967 Tassajara Fundraising Brochure

Four pages that brought in a lot of support - written by Richard Baker


thanks Bob Watkins for saving this and other early ZC stuff and sharing it, and while where at it, RIP.

No Problem

When you practice your own personal practice, you have problem. When you just sit, being absorbed in the feeling we have in our zendo, there is no problem at all.  ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-12-B as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC  - Going through Suzuki lectures and posting anything that can stand on its own. Not looking for zingers or "the best of." I find that following these excerpts daily provides another way to experience Suzuki's teaching. - DC

Monday, June 15, 2020

Vipassana Retreat chant manual

Manual that retreatants receive
 at the temple where I've gone for Vipassana retreats - Brahmavihara-Arama  - in the Theravadin tradition with a Bali twist. It has all the chants we recite at the beginning and end of the day in Indonesian and English.

Brahmavihara Arama (BVA) Bali Buddhist temple for Vipassana Retreats plus retreat reports

The new Blogger interface has a bug in it regarding images. They keep disappearing. Cuke eagle eye Peter Ford is monitoring them and switching them back to seeable but they sometimes go blank again. All those were available via links to them on the web. I would have done that with this book-cover image but since its home is my hard drive, I had Blogger download it from there. Peter thinks that might work. It's more trouble though so I'll also keep just linking till Google fixes that bug. - dc

Create

 If they sit one year, most students will actually have calmness of mind, have this quality of practice. But when you try to figure out what is your practice, you have there a problem, or you create problems which do not belong to your practice. If you just sit, there is no problem for most of our students, but sometime you create problem, that's all. And you fight with the problem, that's all [laughs]. You are creating it, actually. In your zazen there is no problem.  ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-12-B as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC  - Going through Suzuki lectures and posting anything that can stand on its own. Not looking for zingers or "the best of." I find that following these excerpts daily provides another way to experience Suzuki's teaching. - DC

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Universe

Actually--there is no problem for us. But as a human being who lives in this world in this way, the constant effort to keep up the way whole universe is going and practice our way is necessary, as long as this universe exists. With this feeling, with this complete calmness of our mind, we should practice our way.   ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-12-B as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC  - Going through Suzuki lectures and posting anything that can stand on its own. Not looking for zingers or "the best of." I find that following these excerpts daily provides another way to experience Suzuki's teaching. - DC

TDL interview on BBC

Good brief, timely interview with the Dalai Lama

Friday, June 12, 2020

Images Not Happening

Blogger has a new interface on this end, the creation end, and maybe that's why images did not show up in the last two attempts. I'm going to keep using images so I can see if they start showing up. There's some glitch somewhere - here or there or in cyberspace. Let me try one I just posted on my other blog, cuke nonZense, which is more personal and varied stuff than here on Cuke What's New. This is something that oldtime bud David Cohen posted on his special Facebook page, Abandon Trump All Who Enter Here. As soon as I saw it I realized that it expressed quite nicely a core principle of my way. It is to me true in more ways than one and self-negating at the same time - like the Diamond Sutra. Here tis. I hope it shows up.



Yes it did show up. Good. Maybe those other two are being blocked for some reason - but they're both from my archives so they're not infringing on anyone else's intellectual property rights.


No Beginning

Actually we are practicing Dogen's way day by day, but for us there is no time to figure out what he meant completely. And even though we human beings continue his way forever, we will not be able to say this is his way. The only thing we can say is this is the way which has no end and no beginning.  ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-12-B as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC  - Going through Suzuki lectures and posting anything that can stand on its own. Not looking for zingers or "the best of." I find that following these excerpts daily provides another way to experience Suzuki's teaching. - DC

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Can you guess what word Suzuki is saying?

In the SFZC board notes for 69-07-15 where they're talking about tangaryo, the day or days of non-stop zazen one has to do before being a student, in this case at Tassajara, we can't figure out what word Shunryu Suzuki is saying on line 15 below: "Perhaps we need a ??? in summer." Can you help us?

Here it is on the page for 1969 SFZC board notes

Escape

Dogen's practice is something beyond formal practice or spiritual practice, or even beyond enlightenment. The more you try to figure out, the more you feel distance from your practice and from his practice, and yet there is some practice which cannot be escaped from.  ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-12-B as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC  - Going through Suzuki lectures and posting anything that can stand on its own. Not looking for zingers or "the best of." I find that following these excerpts daily provides another way to experience Suzuki's teaching. - DC

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Crooked Cucumber - chapter seven


The Occupation - with comments - Tuesday, June 9ths, Cuke Audio Podcast.

Involved

Usually, you know, when you become very much attached to something, you have no freedom from it. But for us, because of complete freedom, we-- for us it is possible to be involved in or to be attached to something completely. That is shikantaza, true shikantaza.  ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-12-B as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC  - Going through Suzuki lectures and posting anything that can stand on its own. Not looking for zingers or "the best of." I find that following these excerpts daily provides another way to experience Suzuki's teaching. - DC

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

A Great Brief Interview

With Masao Yamamura in 1994 in Sakamoto, Yaizu, just below Shunryu Suzuki's temple, Rinsoin. I'm so glad now that we have this for the record.

Involved

Usually, ichinyo-zammai is understood to mean to be completely involved in some kind of practice. It is so, but at the same time, even though we are deeply involved in a kind of practice, at the same time we should have complete freedom from it. Do you understand [laughs]?  ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-12-B as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC  - Going through Suzuki lectures and posting anything that can stand on its own. Not looking for zingers or "the best of." I find that following these excerpts daily provides another way to experience Suzuki's teaching. - DC

Monday, June 8, 2020

Early SFZC Heart Sutra chant card

This is a four-sided two page Heart Sutra version used in the early sixties at Sokoji. Later they changed to a two-sided one page version which is what was being used when I arrived in 66. It was fine and didn't seem crowed. Oh I see on the bottom of the card it says "For the memory of Shinsanshiki - Zen Center." That's the ceremony in the spring of 1962 when Shunryu Suzuki officially became abbot. We call it the Mountain Seat Ceremony where Suzuki stepped up to the mountain seat, to be abbot. 

Sunday, June 7, 2020

With form and color or without? You choose.

For Buddhist, we understand reality in two ways: by form and color and, without form or color. ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-12-B as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC  - Going through Suzuki lectures and posting anything that can stand on its own. Not looking for zingers or "the best of." I find that following these excerpts daily provides another way to experience Suzuki's teaching. - DC

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Read the booklet, listen to the sounds

The Way of EiheijiZen Buddhist Ceremony
Elsie and John Mitchell - 1959
Amazing what Elsie and John did back then.

Snake

Recently, if you read books written by many scholars, you know, you will find out various opinions about Zen literature or Zen thought, or what is Bodhidharma's way, whether Bodhidharma was historical person or not, what is shikantaza, what is koan practice? But, in short, most of them -- I don't say all of them [laughs] - but most of the teachers and scholars are talking about their own dragon. It is easy to, you know, to analyze or to compare one dragon to the other. Because it is a carved one it is some form already. So, you know, ”Ah-- ah-- this is Soto dragon [laughs], or this is Rinzai dragon [laughing].” But Soto way is not so easy to, you know, figure out what it will be [laughs]. Looks like Rinzai, looks like Soto [laughs, laughter]. Maybe Soto [laughs].
In this way they write many books about Zen. But it is not true, you know. True dragon is very difficult to figure out. “What is it? Is this a dragon or a snake [laughs]? Looks like snake. No good,” some scholar may say. But true zazen sometimes looks like a snake instead of dragon. So, you cannot say true zazen is dragon, or true dragon, or miniature dragon. It is not possible to figure out if it takes the same form always, that is not true dragon. ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-12-B as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC  - Going through Suzuki lectures and posting anything that can stand on its own. Not looking for zingers or "the best of." I find that following these excerpts daily provides another way to experience Suzuki's teaching. - DC

Friday, June 5, 2020

Moneyya's Wayseeking

Last Thursday, May 28th (at 46:00), and this Thursday, yesterday, June 4th (at 33:34), parts one and two of a phone chat with Bhikkhu Moneyya were featured in Cuke Audio Life in Bali podcasts. At Cuke Audio Podbean

Layin' Down the Law

Sometime I allow people who stick to their old way to do that, but strictly speaking those who come and practice zazen here should be completely involved in the feeling we have in this zendo, and practice our way with people according to my instruction. That is what you should do. But people who do not know what is real emptiness or dragon may think he is forcing his way [laughs] on us. And, “Sokoji is a Soto Zen temple. I have been practicing Rinzai way.” But that is not true. We are practicing our way transmitted from Buddha to us. We are Buddha's disciples. And we practice zazen with Buddha, with patriarchs.  ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-12-B as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC  - Going through Suzuki lectures and posting anything that can stand on its own. Not looking for zingers or "the best of." I find that following these excerpts daily provides another way to experience Suzuki's teaching. - DC

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Priest's Tale


by David Barrow - transciption and original in the author's hand

Written in the 1930s about Shunryu Suzuki by a young man who was traveling in Japan and China with Nona Ransom, Suzuki's English teacher in college. There's lots on her in cuke. Nona's adopted son, Harry Ransom Rose sent me this piece. He said that David Barrow is the only Westerner who traveled with Nona or knew her that he knew of, that Barrow was a general's son, and that he died in WWII. Harry Ransom Rose was so helpful. 

Involved

I'm talking about Shobogenzo. And this is also, maybe, a carved dragon. But at least when we do something, you know, there must be something which is supposed to be a true dragon. I know that [laughs]. This is supposed to be a true dragon. In this way we practice zazen, you know.  You come and practice zazen in this zendo where there should be true dragon. But the instant you think, “This is the true dragon,” that is a mistake, you know. If you come to this zendo, you should practice zazen with people, forgetting all about your carving or your painting. You should practice zazen with people, with your friend, in this zendo, completely involved in the atmosphere we have here.   ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-12-B as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC  - Going through Suzuki lectures and posting anything that can stand on its own. Not looking for zingers or "the best of." I find that following these excerpts daily provides another way to experience Suzuki's teaching. - DC

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Wartime

Cuke Audio Podcast of Crooked Cucumber - chapter six - Wartime - with comments - posted June 2nd. 

Continuing from Yesterday

Usually, we understand that zazen practice is formal practice. Or shikantaza is formal practice, and koan practice is spiritual practice or more mental practice. But this kind of understanding is not complete. This kind of understanding is the understanding of blind men or Seiko [who loved paper dragons]. True practice is not formal practice, or so-called it shikantaza, or koan practice. None of those. Those practices are just the practice to whip the ox.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Whip the Cart

Leaving this whole exchange in mostly as is:

And after this story, Nangaku told Baso, “When a cart-- a cart does not go, do you whip a horse-- the horse or a cart? Which do you whip?” [Laughs.]

And he explained about this koan. Should we hit, a cart or a-- the horse? The cart or the horse?

Email on DC Books

Someone just wrote me a nice note and in it they said:

I have been a fan of two of your books over the years. I read Crooked Cucumber every year or so and get much new out of it every time. Coincidentally, I am now reading I'm OK Thank You right now for the second time.

Wow. - I'm OK Thank You.

It's so interesting to me to see this dear reader call the book, Thank You and OK!, --- I'm OK Thank You. They are not alone in doing that. I thought for sure that Thank You and OK would be a catchy title - - using the two most widely known and used English phrases - but it's anything but that, maybe because it goes against the grain for those two phrases to be used together. It's not my original phrase though. It's from a Japanese advertisement on a large box of matches that plays a key role in the book. Over and over through the years people have referred to Thank You and OK by some hybrid name, often mixing it up with I'm OK, You're OK. I think I've lost incalculable sales through the years because the book is well received by those who've read it - and I still hear about it like in this email - fairly regularly - like once every month or so. Mainly people get the title mixed up in speech, but in writing sometime also as in this example. But then when someone who heard about it goes to Amazon or a store and asks for some name that's only somewhat Thank You and OK they'll not find it.


Now I like the title because of this phenomena which accompanies it through the decades. It's been a most curious experience.  And isn't the cover a masterpiece. - dc

Cuke page for Thank You and OK!: an American Zen Failure in Japan

Monday, June 1, 2020

A Story about Suzuki from the Thirties

Priest's Tale by David Barrow - transciption and original in the author's hand

Sent to DC in 1996 by Harry Ransom Rose, the adopted son of Nona Ransom. the transcription includes Harry Rose's introduction to the story Priest's Tale which is under the heading Crooked Brim. This use of crooked is unrelated to Suzuki's moniker we think. Rose suggests it may have been the title of various pieces he was writing about his trip to Japan and China. Here's what Harry wrote me about him before he found that story.

The only person I can identify who went to Japan with Nona, before the war, was a British Army Officer called David Barrow, the son of an Army General, who was killed towards the end of the war in Europe. I had met him and also his Father in England. I believe David had met Suzuki. There was no direct relative of Nona's in China or Japan in her lifetime.
3rd February 1996.

Nona Ransom page with link to letter from Rose about her.

Suzuki tells a polishing story

Nangaku -- Rinzai belongs to Nangaku's lineage-- branch. Dogen Zenji talked about  Nangaku's famous story of polishing tile. You know that story.

When Baso was practicing zazen, Nangaku, who passed by, asked him, “What are you doing?” [Laughs.]

“Of course, I am practicing zazen.”

And Nangaku asked, “Why do you practice zazen?”

And Baso said, “I want to attain buddhahood.”

And Nangaku did not say anything, but he picked up a tile and started to polish it. This time, Baso started to wondering what he started to do, and asked him, “What are you doing?”

“I am making a tile into a jewel.” [Laughs.] 
 ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-12-B as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC  - Going through Suzuki lectures and posting anything that can stand on its own. Not looking for zingers or "the best of." I find that following these excerpts daily provides another way to experience Suzuki's teaching. - DC