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Friday, July 31, 2020

Aware

To be enlightened does not mean to be aware of it. Do you understand? To be aware of it would be for him to observe himself objectively. When he attained enlightenment, that was being aware of himself. But to enlighten himself means to have confidence in himself, to accept himself as he is, to accept “that I am here.”  --------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-21 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  

Esselen Tribe gets land in Big Sur

Little Bear Tommy Nason is quoted as chairman of the tribe in this Guardian article and in this from KTLA 5  about the Esselen getting back ancesteral lands. Little Bear is an old friend of Tassajara and has frequently come in to do work there. He grew up in a ranch on the Tassajara Road. Tassajara is part of traditional Esselen land. Congratulations Little Bear! Wonder if he still has Katrinka's old Honda Passport.
thanks Katrinka and LRC.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Same

For Buddha, after he attained enlightenment, to save others, or for others to help themselves, to be enlightened in himself or to cause other people to become enlightened, was the same thing. To help others and to help himself was the same thing.  --------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-21 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  

Mike Dixon and the Painting on the Wall

Last Saturday's Cuke Audio Podcast
we had early Shunryu Suzuki student Mike Dixon as a guest. Mike is still practicing zazen every day and is a highly successful artist. I wanted to end the podcast with some of Mike's jazz group's music but all he had was a CD from some years ago. They still are jamming so I hope we can get some of their current riffing to post. So the podcast ended with a song I wrote back in 1978 for a painting of Mike's I'd bought in 1966 at an art show to benefit the purchase of Tassajara. This is that painting and here's a link to the song - the Painting on the Wall. Read more about the painting at the bottom of the song page or Mike's cuke page.

Thanks Ethan Okamura for the photo of the painting

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Tokudo prep sheet from way back

DC priest ordination ceremony prep pages fall of 1971 - what I was given to read to explain ceremony and prepare me for it. That word "faith" hasn't been used much in translating like here. - dc

Not talking about beings here


The Sambogakaya Buddha is not the Buddha who will, or will not, attain enlightenment. He is the truth itself. But people may say the Sambogakaya Buddha is, at the same time, the Nirmanakaya Buddha. People see the truth in many ways, but the truth is always the same. Do you understand? If we understand his background in this way, that understanding is also the Dharmakaya Buddha, truth itself. For the Dharmakaya Buddha there is no need to attain enlightenment. He is already enlightened. From the beginningless beginning to the endless end, he is always enlightened. Only the Nirmanakaya Buddha attains enlightenment and becomes Buddha.--------------------------- Excerpt
 from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-21 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, July 28, 2020

Jiryu on Nishiari

Jiryu Mark Rutschman-Byler's 
thesis on Nishiari Bokusan. ----------Nishiari Bokusan cuke page

The subtle body of limitless form

After Buddha was acknowledged as truth itself, then as long as truth exists and as long as we care for truth, we can remain as Buddhists. This Buddha is called the Sambogakaya Buddha.  ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-21 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, July 27, 2020

Lew Richmond's new book comes out in November

EVERY BREATH, NEW CHANCES: HOW TO GROW OLD WITH HONOR AND DIGNITY is due to be released on Nov. 3--a book about aging for men (and the women who love them).  Watch a 3 minute video of Lew describing the book and check out his website for more info about Lew and his work.

I know that's a long lead time but I'm sort of amazed at Lew's output.

And look at his page with music
you can listen to from his Melanthium Ensemble
and books by him on the right side.

Various teachers

The Sambogakaya Buddha incarnated into the Nirmanakaya Buddha. So the Sambogakaya Buddha is the Perfect One, and truth itself. When he is seen by people as truth, he may be a teacher. Even plants and animals, mountains or rivers, can also be our teacher when we have eyes to see this.  ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-21 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, July 25, 2020

Koshin Ogui

He went on to be the bishop of Jodo Shin Shu in the US, but back in the day, he was a young priest around the corner from Sokoji who got close to Shunryu Suzuki. Check out the Koshin Ogui page.

Isn't that a great photo?

Sambhogakaya - continuing

I started this kind of long lecture to explain who spoke this Lotus Sutra. This sutra was supposed to have been spoken by the historical Buddha, but actually, what was recorded here is the Sambhogakaya Buddha, not the historical Buddha. Because this sutra was told by the Sambhogakaya Buddha instead of the historical Buddha, it is valuable.

Last night we had a very interesting lecture and discussion, and I was very interested in your questions and the lecture. How Buddha would feel about the idea of the Pratyekayana or shravakayana is a very interesting question, I think. In my last lecture we explained what the Nirmanakaya Buddha is, and this morning I want to explain the Sambhogakaya Buddha, the one who is actually telling this Lotus Sutra.
 
----------------------------- Excerpt
 from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-21 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, July 24, 2020

RIP Huey Johnson

Image: Bruce Wolfe, courtesy RRI

Huey Johnson was a good friend of the earth and the SFZC. He first came to California, if I remember correctly, to head the West Coast office of the The Nature Conservancy. Johnson's connection to the SFZC started when Bill Lane and Barrie Mason were caretakers in 1969 or so on a Nacture Conservancy preserve named Tubbs Island. Huey was so impressed with what a good job they did and how honest and frugal they were. In 1970 Johnson contacted Bill Lane and told him how George Wheelwright was looking for a non profit to take over Green Gulch Farm. Thus Bill and Barrie went to take a look. Here's what Barry wrote about that. Johnson suggested to Wheelwright that he consider the SFZC and that worked out well. 

Johnson founded The Trust for Public Land back then. I just learned that Fu Nancy Schroeder came to Zen Center as the result of having filmed the opening of the Page Street Koshland Park while working for TPL Zennie John Nelson worked with Johnson for years. It's hard for me to write "Johnson" because we always called him Huey. He became Secretary of Resources for California in the first Jerry Brown administration and after that founded the Marin based Resource Renewall Inst. He told me that that was one of the only two government jobs he would have wanted or accepted. The other being the Secretary of Interior of the US. Huey was a fighter, dedicated to doing what he could for the environment. He had many friends and admirers and his share of detractors because of his assertive nature. I heard him say, "I don't get heart attacks, I give them." His allies in the struggle were often people whom he respected but didn't want to socialize with that much. He said once he preferred going to a coctail party with conservatives. His ability to relate to people with quite different approaches seemed to me to be one of his key attributes. When I was host at the SFZC's Greens Restaurant for the first two years, I'd see him come in with some with deep pockets. I recall Gordon Getty for one. That's enough about Huey for today from me. Below is from the SFZC email I got today letting me know he'd died. It includes a good piece Fu Nancy Schroeder wrote about him. And here's the link to that page.

Continued from yesterday

When the meeting was held in the big cave, there were many people who did not join it. And there were many good disciples and followers among the people who did not join the meeting. Those people naturally got together and formed a group. That is the origin of the Mahayana School. So Buddha's followers divided themselves into Theravada or Joza-bu [or Sthavira] and the common followers, called Daishu-bu in Japanese [or Mahasamghika]. Daishu means “assembly,” a group of people or followers. Among them were many good teachers. One century after Buddha passed away, this group established an understanding of Buddha and his teaching. At that time the difference between the Jozabu and the Daishubu was not so great. But later, after Mahayana Buddhism was established, the other group acknowledged the more traditional and more fundamental teaching of Buddha. That is actually Mahayana Buddhism. ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-21 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, July 23, 2020

Cuke Audio Podcast Phone Chats

Thursdays is Life in Bali and so far they've featured a guest. Saturdays the Zen related phone chats go up. Last Saturday's guests were Peter and Jane Schneider who were both at the first Tassajara practice period. They spent 22 years in Japan and now have the Beginner's Mind Zen Center in Northridge.  Cuke Audio Podcasts coming your way (if you're somewhere with connectivity) six days a week from sleepy Sanur. - dc

A Religeon of Priests

When they discussed the precepts, Upali was the head of the group, and he recited what Buddha had said. When the Sutras were discussed, Ananda, who was Buddha's jisha, discussed what Buddha said. In that way, they set up some teaching: “This is what Buddha told us, and these are the precepts Buddha set up.” Naturally, they became rigidly attached to the teaching, and, of course, those who studied this kind of teaching had a special position among Buddhists. Buddha's disciples were classified in four groups: laymen, laywomen, nuns, and priests. And the distinction between laymen and laywomen and priests and nuns became more and more strict. Buddhism at that time already had become a religion of priests, not ordinary people or laymen. ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-21 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, July 22, 2020

What to say instead of Hinayana


Myles Cowherd at the SFZC has brought up the use of the term Hinayana, the small vehicle. That's what Mahayanans who ride the big vehicle have called those who practice in the original tradition. It's not really the original tradition because it's evolved but that's not the point here. The point is what to call those practitioners.

Gil Fronsdal wrote in response to Myles request:

Some of the alternatives are:

Early Buddhism

Nikāya Buddhism - refers to the 18 schools (nikāyas) prior to the rise of the Mahāyana)

Theravada Buddhism - for the entire lineage leading to modern Theravada Buddhism (this leaves out other early lineages)

Pali Buddhism - for the early lineage that led to Theravada Buddhism

Savakayana (Sanskrit: Shravakayana), i.e., the yana of the early disciples of the Buddha; this works well with the ideas of Mahayana and Vajrayana

Myles had sent tthe ZC leadership and Gil this post from Cuke 2014

Transmitted

His teaching was transmitted by so-called Hinayana Buddhists, or shravakas, because they were the disciples, or followers, who tried to preserve his teaching by memory and discussion or meetings. No one is sure when this kind of meeting was held, but it is said that seventy-five years (? see below) after his death they had a meeting where they chose various good disciples to compile his teaching.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

RIP Bob Gnaizda

Discovered dear old friend Bob Gnaizda died through Peter Coyote's Facebook page. Read Peter's tribute to Bob, an obit he shares below, and a number of comments of praise below that will tell you a little more about Bob. It begins thus: Robert Gnaizda was a man you've probably never heard of. But he was a friend, champion of the Diggers and so many social-change folks. He died on the 11th and I thought this remembrance did a good job so I want to share it.
Robert Gnaizda
Aug 6, 1936 - Jul 11, 2020
Robert Gnaizda, a pioneering civil rights lawyer, died on July 11, 2020 in San Francisco, surrounded by loving family.

I wrote the following comment on Peter's FB post: Thanks Peter. I'm linking to this on Cuke What's New Blog and saving it in the archives. I met Bob in the 1970s at the urgining of Charlie Page, a prominant Monterey County lawyer who was a good friend of Tassajara. Charlie had been involved with Bob in California Rural Legal Assistance. He said Bob had won some important cases for the Farmworkers. Next thing I knew, he was a regular part of Baker's salon and was always a good friend of Zen Center. I had a periodic contact with him through the years, often in conjunction with his close friend Michael Philips. He was always up for helping out a soul in need, whatever scheme Michael or even I had and came up with some far out ones himself. The last time I saw him was at Michael's about ten years ago. He had so much energy it was hard for him to sit still but he directed it with practical compassion and brilliance. - dc

Static

At first [after Buddha was gone] his disciples were attached to his character, or to what he said and did. So his teaching became more and more static and solid. ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-21 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, July 20, 2020

More thoughts

Thinking about Saturday's Suzuki lecture excerpt where a student, me I am pretty sure, asked Suzuki a question I'll not repeat because it's the excerpt post before this one. I put in a DC comment at the bottom that, judging from his question, either he didn't understand my question, or he just wanted to make another point. Now I see it that he did understand the question but didn't want to be manipulated into agreeing with me or answering it the way I wanted him to, not letting me be satisfied with a pat answer. That's one of those questions that's really a statement. So he just went on to make the point that he was making before I asked it. That's how I see it now. -dc

Historical

The Lotus Sutra was not told by a historical Buddha. Some people may be disappointed who believe in historical Buddha. This is not a characteristic of any religion except Buddhism. Only Buddhism went through a long history before having a complete understanding of the historical Buddha. It took a pretty long time for us to understand who he was. ----------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-10-21 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, July 18, 2020

Snail Zen

A few pages of Marian Derby's Snail Zen. She died before sending it to me which she'd communicated with me about a number of times. I said I'd make sure it was available. She sent some others out to Ed Brown and a few people but Ed doesn't know where his is. I should deal with this. - dc 

Mind

Q: When we read this sutra, are we reading about the historical Buddha and his times, even when we read about the thirty-two marks, or are we reading about our own mind right now, is it all about existence right now?

SR: Yeah. You know, when we say thirty-two marks, you understand that he had beautiful blue eyes, beautiful hair, very crinkled feet, good feet, or things like that, but it also describes how he acquired these kinds of marks. If you read that part, it says it is not at all easy to be a Buddha. That is the teaching. We are not just describing something good. And Buddha's teaching is very strict. Even though they are describing his teaching in a fancy way, it is actually very simple and very strict. In one way, you can describe his teaching, if you understand it, as very simple and very fancy, including many things good and bad. So to exist in this way, like a lotus in muddy water, is not so easy. But without this kind of strict, profound, and rich understanding of life, we cannot be disciples of 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  

DC comment: That's me asking this question I'm pretty sure. He didn't answer me directly, either because he didn't understand the question or because he didn't want to. I think he understood the question.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Fifty-eight years ago on May 21st

1962 SF Examiner article about ZC and Shunryu Suzuki 

Photos don't come through. Someone want to see if they can get a better copy from the online archives of SF Examiner? I'd just put it on a to-do list and get to it maybe in the next century. - dc

Continued from yesterday

In the first chapter, in which the scale of this Lotus Sutra is described, you will find many people who described Buddha's way, such as Devadatta, who tried to kill Buddha, or his wife and son as a nun and priest. And there is much spoken of mountains and trees and flowers. This way of describing it is very poetic, but it actually points out many elements of Mahayana Buddhism, all the problems we have, all the furniture or ornaments of this sutra. ----------------------------- 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, July 16, 2020

Back when the Becks owned Tassajara

Early Tassajara Springs brochure

Nirvana

Q: In what way, Roshi, was it like that when Shakyamuni Buddha entered nirvana?

SR: Shakyamuni Buddha entered Nirvana. Finishing his task, he became a Perfect Supreme Buddha, which is more than a Nirmanakaya Buddha. Those questions are very important. They will be the key to understanding Mahayana Buddhism. So to give an answer to your questions means to give you a chance to better understand Mahayana Buddhism.
 
----------------------------- 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, July 15, 2020

Cuke Audio Podbean breaking news

This photo used as a banner for Cuke Audio Podbean page has been resized so that the bottom  row of folks is not cut off.  - thanks Peter Ford - See the photo with names

And while we're at it, today's offering is a mini podcast with vignette #20 from Zen is Right Here. Yesterday was chapter 12 of Crooked Cucumber, tomorrow's Life in Bali (a Thursday regulater) will have guest Virginia Helzainka, co-founder of Unspoken Bali Poetry Slam, Firday is another mini podcast and Saturday we have guests, former Suzuki students and founding teachers of the Northridge Zen Center in LA, Peter and Jane Schneider.

Vow

Q: Roshi, is there a vow of a bodhisattva not wishing to enter nirvana until all sentient beings have entered nirvana?

SR: Yeah. “Until all sentient beings enter Nirvana, I will not enter Nirvana.” Some bodhisattvas take this kind of vow. If you take that vow, at that time, you are Buddha himself. 
----------------------------- 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  

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Vairocana

 Q: What is the essence of the term “Vairocana”?

SR: Vairocana means Dharmakaya Buddha. I'll explain it in the next lecture.
----------------------------- 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  


Vairocana (also Mahāvairocana, Sanskrit: वैरोचन) is a celestial buddha who is often interpreted, in texts like the Avatamsaka Sutra, as the dharmakāyaof the historical Gautama Buddha. In East Asian Buddhism (Chinese, Korean and Japanese Buddhism), Vairocana is also seen as the embodiment of the Buddhist concept of Śūnyatā. In the conception of the Five Tathagatas of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism, Vairocana is at the centre and is considered a Primordial Buddha. - Wikipedia

DC comment: So Vairocana Buddha as depicted in various statues is dharmakaya, therefore formless. Don't tell the statues and paintings of Vairocana. And don't tell us either cause all that stuff is describing our true nature. Might freak us out. 

Chronicles of CTR feature on Cuke

Oh - just stumbled on this April post in the Chronciles of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. I knew they were going to do it but I forgot and missed the post. And while you're there, check the site out. It's full of good stuff. - dc

Monday, July 13, 2020

Philip Whalen's Scenes of life at the Capital

Go to City Lights Live to sign up for Online reading of new edition of Phil Whalen’s Scenes of Life at the Capital - thanks Brit Pyland

Q and A on different wavelength

Q: If someone makes a tape recording of a person's words and takes photographs of the person, there is still something left that he hasn't got. How is he going to describe and communicate to the other people this part that he hasn't been able to record? I think that perhaps about the only way to express it is in a symbolic way.

SR: Yeah, very symbolic. But the scriptures include the good and bad parts of human nature. They are very realistic, actually, but the scale is so big that it includes various elements, good and bad, right and wrong. So the scale should be very great and extravagant, or else you cannot accept this kind of teaching which includes the good side and the bad side.
 
----------------------------- 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, July 11, 2020

Podcast Alert

The podcast that went up on Saturday at 1am West Coast time features Danny Parker as a guest. Danny got transmission from Ed Brown and has a group in Florida. He edited a book of Ed's lectures called Tha Most Important Point that came out not long ago and which I've heard only good things about. Go back a week and the guest was Paul Rsoenblum and before that was Vanja Palmers. Go to Cuke Audio Podbean or Cuke Audio Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Tumblr, and YouTube Cuke Video.

Numerous

Q: In the meal chant it says “numerous Nirmanakaya buddhas.” Is there more than one?

SR: There is more than one, you see? A kind of, perhaps, romantic idea created this kind of profound, more realistic Buddha. If you ignore one side of our life, you will not have a good understanding of human life. Nirmanakaya Buddha is the tentative form and color of the true Buddha. Then, “What is the true Buddha?” will be the next question.
 
----------------------------- 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, July 10, 2020

This Lotus Sutra stuff is hard to follow

Q: [We solve our problem of understanding this sutra] by giving in to it?

SR: No, by knowing that. That is wisdom. You understand if I explain Sambhogakaya Buddha and Dharmakaya Buddha but so far, how Buddhism developed, a kind of history. And as a true teaching. If we want to treat him as a historical character, it is necessary for us to understand what a historical character is. A historical character has a deeper background. There is no character which just appears without any background. So a more realistic understanding is possible if we understand the background of the Nirmanakaya Buddha. So if we say this is just the Nirmanakaya Buddha, that means, in one sense, “superficial,” because this is Nirmanakaya Buddha. I'm not talking about the Mahayana Sambhogakaya Buddha or Nirmanakaya 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

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Four Suzuki Stories

Dearly departed Rick Fields edited the Yoga Journal for some time. In 1975 he put these four brief stories about Shunryu Suzuki in the magazine. Some of the details are off but no matter. Posting cause I"m emembering Rick as much as anything. - dc

Question from student on Lotus Sutra

Q: But should we believe it because they were romantic? It sounds very superstitious to me, Roshi. You know, flowery and full of things that are not so real.

SR: Yeah, maybe that is your understanding. [Laughter.] Which is realistic? I don't know. You have to think more. We are naturally pretty romantic beings, you know. So perhaps we are too romantic and too emotional. That we don't want to be so romantic and emotional and want to be more realistic, is our desire, but we have romantic and emotional being. That is very true. So I don't argue about whether we are romantic or realistic. But the purpose of religion is to solve this kind of problem.
 
----------------------------- 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, July 8, 2020

Zentatsu Teisho

Richard Baker lectures from the SFZC Wind Bell

Big Adjective

Student A: You said that there is some reason why people should apply a “big adjective” to the Buddha. What's the reason?

SR: Because when Buddhism was the teaching between Buddha and his followers, there was already a kind of poetry. For us, who actually do not know who Buddha is, he is just a historical character. But for his disciples, he was a greater than historical character. That was the reason.
 ----------------------------- 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

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Sokoji

A page for Sokoji, the former Jewish temple which became a Soto Zen temple and where the SFZC was born. Needs more work but there's still a bit there.

More Lotus Sutra

This kind of Buddha, who made a vow to save people, starting from his training as a bodhisattva, and who appeared in this world as a buddha, is called the “incarnated body” or Nirmanakaya Buddha. So far, all of this kind of teaching is called Hinayana Buddhism. But if you look closely at those teachings, there is already the Mahayanistic understanding of the teaching. I said just now “incarnated body.” If there is an incarnated body, there must be an “essential body,” the mother of the incarnated body. When our understanding reaches this point, the more profound teaching will be understood as Mahayana teaching. ----------------------------- 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

DC comment: This is our body he's talking about - yours, mine, that person over there.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Paul Rosenblum was our Guest

On Saturday July 4th's Cuke Audio Podcast. Check him out at Cuke Audio Podbean - or Cuke Audio YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, or Tumbler.

Living by Vow - Continuing with Lotus Sutra

We usual people appear in this world, according to Buddhism, because of karma, and we die because of karma. But Buddha appeared in this world with a vow, the Mahayana vow. The first of the four vows we recite is to “save all human beings.” He appeared in this world with this vow instead of karma. Karma and vow are actually the same thing, perhaps, but our attitude changes when our understanding changes. Karma changes into a vow. Instead of living by karma, we live with the vow to help people who live in karma. That is Buddha's teaching. This kind of teaching is supported by what Buddha taught when he was alive, you see? So for them, this is not just a story-- this is the actual story we see through the example of the Buddha. In this way, Buddhism survived for a long time. ----------------------------- 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

DC Comment: Why'd he say that? We don't vow to "save all human beings" but to save all beings, the implication being all sentient beings, not all human beings. Another way to see what Suzuki is saying is that if we turn our karma into a vow, we become Buddha.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

SR apologizing for boring Lotus Sutra lecture

This is an excerpt from 68-02-00-C that was posted a while back when we were taking excerpts from a prior series of Suzuki's lectures on the Lotus Sutra. I think these were the ones that I asked him if he might like to curtail or present differently or let us read and then riff on. I found this excerpt by just searching for "I'm sorry." But anyway, check this out:

Continuing with Lotus Sutra

But actually, he was a human being. When he was 80 years old, he passed away. At this point he was not a supernatural or superhuman being anymore. But how should we understand his death as a superhuman being? If he were a superhuman being, there would not be any need to enter nirvana. Whether to die or to remain alive would have been his choice. For an ordinary person, it is not possible to have this kind of choice. They say that he took Nirvana because he had completely finished giving people a chance to attain enlightenment. He gave a full teaching for helping people to attain enlightenment, so there was no need for him to live any more. That is why he entered Nirvana. They understood his death in this way. ----------------------------- 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, July 3, 2020

Back when Suzuki gave these Lotus Sutra Lectures.

Shunryu Suzuki gave three sets of lectures on the Lotus Sutra. Four of them, including this one, from this second series were edited and made into the contents of an entire Wind Bell by Tim Buckley. Brian Fikes did minimum edits and got them all together in loose leaf binders for the libraries. They can be accessed together by going to shunryusuzuki.com's Suzuki Lecture Search Form and selecting Lotus Sutra in the Subject dropdown and hitting Enter. I am not advising anyone to do this, just letting you know. 

Continuing with the Lotus Sutra lecture

It is the same with us. We appeared in this world, but we appeared in this world with a limitless background. We do not appear all of a sudden from nothing. There must be something before we appear in this world. And there must be something before Buddha also. That he was so great means that he had a great practice. This point is very important for the development of the idea of Buddha.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

How to Read these Lotus Sutra Lectures

I've received some messages from readers turned off by the idea of a superhuman being and so forth that Suzuki presents in this and other lectures on the Lotus Sutra. He's explaining what sort of picture the Lotus Sutra paints of Buddha. Here's how I see it. It's an ideal picture of Buddha in the extreme, perfect, superhuman as he says. If one takes this all literally, various emotions and misunderstandings will arise, the worst of which would be to believe that it's historical fact, literally true. Think of it as myth. Myth tells a story that can't be told literally, about that which can't be understood in a usual way. It's not something to believe in, more to swim in or to have it pured over us. It points to something, gives a hint. Remember, Suzuki says it's the Sambhogakaya Buddha speaking this sutra. The Sambhogakaya Buddha is not part of the gross phenomenal realm we are in, is not a sentient being. It's the body of bliss, the body of realization, the subtle body of limitless form. It's our potential, our divinity. So when the sutra says one could never be as great as this, that only Buddha is this great, it's not talking about something outside of our own mind. It's saying that small mind can't reach this, that we need to invoke big mind to realize the truth. It's all about the nature of mind or our true nature. It's not the "chop wood, carry water," or "Buddha is a shitstick" approach. (That was an old way to wipe oneself.)  The later may be more palatable but it shouldn't be taken literally either. Not sure what should be.  - DC

Continuing with Lotus Sutra Lecture

This idea of Buddha as a superhuman being was supported by his teaching. One of the most important teachings of Buddha is the teaching of cause and effect, the teaching of causality. If you do something good, naturally you have some good effect. So his disciples wondered how he could have acquired such a lofty character, such a good character. Buddha told them that if you do something good, you will have a good result. If you practice hard, you will acquire good character. Since his character was incredibly high, his former practice must have been an incredibly hard, long one. So, since their adoration for Buddha extended limitlessly, his practice before he attained enlightenment, or Buddhahood, became limitless. It follows that, if Buddha is a limitlessly lofty person, the time he practiced his way must also have been limitlessly long. In this way, the historical Buddha became more and more something like Absolute Being. ----------------------------- 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, July 1, 2020

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind 50th Anniversary Issue

Shambhala just released this recently. I, your humble servent, wrote an updated Afterword for it. Here's a link to the SFZC blog very nice annancement of it's release.

Continuing with Lotus Sutra Lecture

 So the historical Buddha has two elements. The vital element for the idea of Buddha was this superhuman element. If he was just a historical character, or one of the great sages, then Buddhism could not have survived for such a long time. The reason Buddhism could survive for such a long time is this element of superhuman being in the historical 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