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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Why We Help Others

Why we help others is not only to help others but also to try not to have a regretful life. 

Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture 65-07-27-B as found on -  - Excerpt edited by DC 

Wonder What That Was

Morning market. Waiting for a woman in her fruit stall to fill the four glasses with snapping lids full of coconut water and then to prepare some jackfruit - extracting the slimy pieces with clear plastic bags on her hands to avoid direct contact with the persistant glue-like substance around the edible. Walk to another stall to get some jeruk nipis, limes. A woman makes a whooping sound. Then another. I turn around to face the room and listen to many women whooping from their tables and stalls. It subsided soon. Very nice - but what was that about? I didn't ask.

Herding Flies at Tassajara

We used to herd flies at Tassajara. There used to be a lot more flies there. Just regular houseflies.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Ruth Denison RIP

Ruth Denison (that's a Wikipedia link) passed on yesterday - first to lead an all woman Buddhist meditation retreat. Searching cuke archives only find she studied with Charlotte Selver and is mentioned in passing in a letter from Anagarika Govinda to Richard Baker. - DC

Misunderstanding Zen

This misunderstanding you have about Zen: Zen, oh, Zen is wonderful [laughs]. Whatever you do, that is Zen [laughing]. Even though you are doing something wrong, that is Zen. Whatever you do is Zen. That is why I like Zen. This kind of misunderstanding I think you will have about Zen. But what we actually mean is quite opposite. 

Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture 65-07-27-B as found on -  - Excerpt edited by DC 

Hard at Work

At the Art Cafe on Jalan Danau Tamblingan (street) in Sanur doing hours of vital work on my Zenbook laptop. Overcaste. Cool breeze. Loose leaf black tea followed by mixed juice - no sugar, no ice. Music of contemporary Gus Teja playing. A tiny preying mantis just landed on my left hand index finger - never saw anything like this before - maybe a sixteenth of an inch. Obviously an interloper from a parallel miniature universe. I'm siting by a wall with plants on the other side and moved my hand to a leaf and it hopped on.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Paradoxical Expression

There is always paradox in philosophical study. It cannot be helped. And there, there is truth. Where there is paradox there is truth - if you have eyes to see [laughs]. But as long as you are confined in philosophical study, you will have no eyes to see through the paradoxical statement. Philosophy is good because it is paradoxical. So we Buddhists apply paradoxical expression as philosophers do. And we do not think that is paradoxical.

Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture 65-07-26 as found on -  - Excerpt edited by DC 

From Thunder to Trudging

There was so much thunder and lightning last night. It lit up the sky toward the sea and the land and didn't go away. Hours.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Inmost Nature

We have true nature. Whatever you do, even though you not do anything, your true nature is in incessant activity. Even though you are sleeping, it is quite active. Your thinking, your sensations are superficial activities of yourself, but your inmost nature is always working. Even though you die, it is working. I don’t mean some, you know, soul, but something always in incessant work. Whatever you call it, spirit or soul, I don’t mind. You can put many names to it, or give it various interpretations. That is intellect. Whatever you call it, inmost nature itself doesn’t mind.

Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture 65-07-15 as found on -  - Excerpt edited by DC

A Perfect Fit

Took our self-prepared visa extensions in to the Immigration Office today and they were accepted as is with a kind request that I get Katrinka to sign hers next time.

Monday, February 23, 2015


The only way is to give up all the appeasement, all the medicine, all the way which is supposed to be effective, and to give up our desires even. When we give up everything, we will have direct insight of the hunger, direct insight of our instinct. When we know what is our inmost request, then all the things you eat, all the things you do, or see will serve as an appeasement -- to appease your inmost request. That is why we sit.

Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture 65-07-15 as found on -  - Excerpt not edited by DC

Tropical Entertainment

We watched daytime TV - the Academy Awards. Didn't plan to but I went on BBC and saw that JK Simmons won best supporting actor and since that was the only comment immediately recognized that it was just starting. Yep - the time was almost 11am here Monday in Bali, so that's 7pm in CA Sunday night so we turned on the TV and it was on HBO Asia. Afterwards a couple of little geckos jumped on Katrinka and scurried down and away when she reached for a towel in the bathroom.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Science, Mind, and Matter

The conclusion science will give us will not help us if we do not know that matter and mind are one. Actually there is no matter without our mind. There is no mind without matter.

Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture 65-07-08 as found on -  - Excerpt edited by DC

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Oliver Sachs on Approaching Death

On being terminal - My Own Life

Oliver Sachs has made a great contribution - check him out if you don't already know. - DC

Joyous Continuous Effort

Practice vitalized by our inmost request is self-joyous practice. This practice covers everyday dualistic life. Duality should be realized as oneness, and oneness should be manifested as duality. The joyous continuous effort to realize the oneness of duality is the way to obtain vital religious freedom. Only when we find ourselves actualizing this freedom by practice do we find the incessant shedding forth of Buddha light in our life.

Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture 65-07-00 as found on from an edited lecture in an early Wind Bell -all Wind Bells and Suzuki lectures from Wind Bells.


Oh my gosh. Wrote a while back that there were no storms here like on the Pacific Coast in California. Think we've been hit by the edge of a tropical storm that got Australia. Yesterday it rained like crazy and today, having lunch at the beach with Ken Ireland and his mate Ash, there was rain and wind so fierce that I wondered if we'd have to go seek shelter. Didn't. It was great. Branches down on the way home.

For images and more on our saunters, friend Katrinka McKay on Facebook. Tell her cuke sent you. - dc

On the Cause and Cure of Addiction

Chasing the Scream - from the Huff Post - A great contribution to Harm Reduction - reducing the harm from drugs and the war on drugs.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Do Not Say

Do not say, "I practice zazen for a certain time, in a certain place and posture." If you have no time to spare for Zen practice, if you have no zendo, or if you lose your legs, what will you do? Zen is the practice of all existence with everything else — stars, moon, sun, mountains, rivers, animate and inanimate beings. Sometimes the pain in our legs practices zazen. Sometimes our sleepy mind practices zazen on a black cushion, on a chair, or even in bed.

Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture 65-02-00 as found on from an edited lecture in an early Wind Bell -all Wind Bells and Suzuki lectures from Wind Bells.

Rain Like Crazy

Rained like crazy today, more than we've seen before. Hours hard with lots of lightning and thunder. Over a foot of water in front of our porch - almost up to the porch. Katrinka paused yoga (we do it to a Bikram audio) to get stuff on the porch up so it wouldn't wash away - sandals and stuff. After yoga I put on a swim suit and waded out to the street in the continuing downpour. Lake on the soccer field beyond the field across the street. Schoolgirls walking in the rain without umbrellas. I wondered how hard rain can get.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Happy Chinese New Year!

Lots of Chinese here - they didn't kill them all in 65 and 66. Also - Bali is a favorite destination for Chinese from China. Bet there will be lots of fireworks for a while.  


The constituents of every existence are supposed to be the five aggregates (skandhas): matter (rupa), feeling (vedana), ideas (samjna), volition and other faculties (samskara), and pure sensation and consciousness (vijnana). Each existence is spiritual as well as material because these constituent elements are sense data itself or the so-called five doors. These elements are not substantial or idealistic, but are pure momentary flashes (of appearance) in the phenomenal world.

Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture 65-02-00 as found on from an edited lecture in an early Wind Bell -all Wind Bells and Suzuki lectures from Wind Bells.

Human Extinction or Almost and Archiving

Just read this downer from Dmitry Orlov about the fate of the US and the whole world as we know it. Don't read it if you get discouraged by the thought of the not so far away collapse of civilization and a lot of extinction.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Actual Fact

Our traditional way of understanding is not different from being concentrated on the actual fact which we face on each moment.

Excerpt again from Shunryu Suzuki lecture 64-11-00 as found on from an edited lecture in an early Wind Bell -all Wind Bells and Suzuki lectures from Wind Bells.

Drug War and Capital Punishment Global Issues

An articulate young woman from Surabaya in Java sat next to us at the night market last night and before parting we discussed the upcoming executions of two Australians. Without getting into the details of which each of us said, I was reminded of the importance of not putting the execution or drug law issue solely in terms of the Indonesian situation. Most people don't like to hear their country criticized, especially by foreigners. All the issues can be discussed and any opinion can be expressed much more successfully if couched in terms of a global situation. Or by discussing the drug war and capital punishment in the US. I will bite my finger here, not letting it type more or I'm liable to go on another tirade. - dc

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Beyond the Negations

When we practice zazen in the right way, this acceptance takes place. In the realm of Zen-mind, transmitted from Buddha to Buddha, from patriarch to patriarch, there is no noumena or phenomena, no subjectivity or objectivity, no object to be criticized or subject to be critical. Here we come to the true understanding of the so-called non-attachment or oneness-of-duality. In its true sense the Middle Way, which is beyond the Four Negative Propositions and One Hundred Negations, is not different from the transmitted way of zazen. This is the so-called 'Intention of Bodhidharma's coming to the West' or Shobogenzo Nehanmyoshin.

Excerpt immediatly follows yesterday's from Shunryu Suzuki lecture 64-11-00 as found on from an edited lecture in an early Wind Bell -all Wind Bells and Suzuki lectures from Wind Bells.

Executing Justice

Monday, February 16, 2015

Everything As It Is

Here everything as-it-is means everything as-it-should-be, because everything as-it-is-in-the-usual-sense always should be negated, one thing after another—even though we are concentrated on one thing. The result of the practice of negating everything-as-it-is-in-the-usual-sense is what we mean by everything-as-it-is. The-way-everything-should-be should be accepted as the-way-everything-is. This acceptance should be the most important point in Nagarjuna's Middle Way.

Excerpt immediatly follows yesterday's from Shunryu Suzuki lecture 64-11-00 as found on from an edited lecture in an early Wind Bell -all Wind Bells and Suzuki lectures from Wind Bells.

Corruption and Incompetence Surrounds the Bali Nine Death Penalty Decisions

Abbott cites 'legal options' amid Bali Nine corruption claims

Look for recent prior posts January 27th and Feb. 3rd on this subject in Saunters here on cuke blogspot. - DC

Sunday, February 15, 2015


Negation after negation, we turn over and renew our perception and pre-conceived ideas: in other words, wiping our mirror-like mind in each moment, we can observe everything as-it-is.

Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture 64-11-00 as found on from an edited lecture in an early Wind Bell -all Wind Bells and Suzuki lectures from Wind Bells.

Valentines Poem 2015 (for Katrinka)

Valentines Poem 2015 (for Katrinka)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

RIP Tony Johansen

Just learned that early Shunryu Suzuki student, Tony Johansen, died recently. Tony and his wife Toni sat at Sokoji and at Los Altos and both of them frequently drove Suzuki to Los Altos and back for his talks there. In later years Tony was a founding or early member of the Santa Barbara Zen Center

Here's a brief memory of Suzuki from Tony with more entered today on that page and a link to an interview with his former wife, Toni which has a lot about him and them and Suzuki and those times.

Tony and Toni and their kids spent a lot of time at Tassajara in the summers and they were at the first practice period in 1967. They started sitting with Suzuki in 1964 and were lay ordained in 1970. Their kids also took part in a kids lay ordination.


Brahmavihara Arama Buddhist temple and meditation center is located above Singaraja (lion king), the 2nd largest city in Bali. It's on the north side of the island, a four hour drive from here in Sanur.

Their website  and here are photos and stuff 

I'm looking into doing a Vipassana retreat there in March. They have a lot of meditation retreats listed at their site. Just learned that one in March is cancelled. Oh well. I can wait. - dc

Friday, February 13, 2015

Helping Others

So practice is not just to come to the zendo and sit in meditation posture; it is everything you do in your everyday life. It is, for example, to anticipate the wish of someone and bring a bowl of water, if such an activity is done with true zazen spirit (without thought of self). If your attitude is right, when you help another, you help yourself and vice versa. Sitting in zazen is the easiest, safest way to help yourself and others. It may be pretty hard to help others by kind words, by giving some good gift, or in some special way. Trying to help often creates more problems than it solves.

Excerpt from Trudy Dixon's summary of some Shunryu Suzuki lectures, THE TRADITIONAL WAY, 64-08-00 as found on from an edited lecture in an early Wind Bell -all Wind Bells and Suzuki lectures from Wind Bells. 

Pura Besakih - Bali's Mother Temple

On the way home from Sidemen, Katrinka and I visited the mother temple, Pura Besakih, at the base of Agung, the largest mountain in Bali. We walked a long way in the rain with a guide from where we parked and up and up around and through the sprawling complex of pagodas and temple buildings. Check it out here. Typical of Bali, few statues and those not of central import. The guide said it was Buddhist as well as Hindu.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Congo Rainforest Elephants

Congo rainforest, seeds, elephants, and rain around the world

Monday and Thursday 8am doubles. Had a spill on the tennis court this morning, falling forward splat on the court. Acupuncturist Aussie Ken ran to help me as I barked to him to stop the ball from rolling into a puddle on the side. No scrapes. Refused to sit out some but could hardly hit the ball afterwords. Light-headed. Hip joint hurt a little. Finally did sit and watch. Walked home sort of groggy. Ate some of Katrinka's well roasted fresh musli. Went to sleep for a couple of hours. Lacking the usual urge to get things done, a little nauseous, now am browsing BBC articles. Above is a brief film accompanying one. Got the ball back in but still lost the point.

Reminiscences of Suzuki Roshi from Wind Bell

Today's Tassajara News email brought a post with the above heading, the following text:

"One day I complained to Suzuki Roshi about the people I was working with. He listened intently, carefully. Finally, he said, 'If you want to see virtue, you have to have a calm mind.'"

--Ed Brown, Zen teacher and author of The Tassajara Bread Book

something on Suzuki for a newcomer to Suzuki (it's also for Tassajara guests) and then this link:  Read More which goes to a page on with some of Ed's memories. Lots from Ed on cuke. Check it out.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

When You are One with What you are Doing

When you are one with what you are doing, there is no idea of self. The transmitted way of practice is to become one with what you are doing, and to practice without cessation to express this oneness.

Excerpt from Trudy Dixon's summary of some Shunryu Suzuki lectures, THE TRADITIONAL WAY, 64-08-00 as found on from an edited lecture in an early Wind Bell -all Wind Bells and Suzuki lectures from Wind Bells.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Good Memory

It is important to have a good memory and to be able to go into every detail of activities so that effective decisions can be made. Yet one's mind cannot respond to the coming of new objects into the consciousness if it is full of the traces of former thinking. It is useless to remember everything. There is no point in remembering things just so we can cry, be jealous, or be proud. The mind should be spotless so that everything may be observed as it is. If the mind is free from the traces of past thinking and is always clear, without tainted ideas or desires, then mind will always be calm and natural like the flowers that come out in Springtime or the red leaves that turn in the Autumn. Your mind and your nature will have the same peace.

Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture 63-11-00 as found on from an edited lecture in an early Wind Bell -all Wind Bells and Suzuki lectures from Wind Bells.

Sawah Indah

Sawah Indah - beautiful rice terraces. The green rice is high. Some has been harvested leaving muddy pools with clumps of green. Sheer walls green or black wet earth curving around the hillside. At sunset a young guy barefoot comes with a long thin bamboo pole with blue cloth tied in places, sweeps it across the top of a paddy. Movement underneath before it. Ducks emerge. He follows them down paths, through standing water to out of sight. At night sounds of frogs, insects, geckos, birds, running water. In the morning light comes on with roosters. A crane sits high above a tall tree still - must be a nest. Men moving in the paddies here and there across the panorama. One meticulously spraying a terrace. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Poem by Uchiyama Kosho


Water isn't formed by being ladled into a bucket
Simply the water of the whole Universe has been ladled into a bucket
The water does not disappear because it has been scattered over the ground
It is only that the water of the whole Universe has been emptied into the whole Universe
Life is not born because a person is born
The life of the whole Universe has been ladled into the hardened "idea" called "I"
Life does not disappear because a person dies
Simply, the life of the whole Universe has been poured out of this hardened "idea" of "I" back into the universe

Uchiyama Kosho

- thanks Kaveh

My Birthday Present from Katrinka

Thanks Katrinka for this - three days and two nights at Sawah Indah ("beautiful rice paddies") in Sidemen. [Paddy from padi is also (like sawah) Indonesian for rice field. From the Malay which Indonesian is based on.]

Nice birthday present. Big 70. Feel better than when I was 60 or 50 or 40 and so forth. That's also thanks to Katrinka.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Species Extinctions and so forth

Species Extinctions, Human Chronic Disease on the Rise, as Climate Disruption Mounts - from Truth Out - thanks Taigen Dan Leighten - will be posted in Climate Change on

Pat Lang (Tara Treasurefield) asks Shunryu Suzuki

From shosan, question and answer, ceremonies at the end of sesshin at Tassajara.


Pat Lang: Docho Roshi, could you explain what it means to be a serious Zen student

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Cultivating our Mind

Zen may be said to be the practice of cultivating our mind to make it deep and open enough to accept the various seeds of ideas and thoughts as they are. When this kind of perfect acceptance takes place, everything will orient itself according to its own nature and the circumstances. We call this activity the Great Activity. Reality can be said to be the bed that is deep and soft enough to accept everything as it is.

Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture 63-04-00 as found on - from an edited lecture in an early Wind Bell - all Wind Bells and Suzuki lectures from Wind Bells.

Writing Links for Tara Treasurefield

Shunryu Suzuki student Tara Treasurefield died a couple of days ago. Details in yesterday's post. Here are some links relating to her writing.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Nothing Outside Mind

Usually our mind expects something from outside -- our mind is ready to accept something from outside, but that is not true understanding of our mind. According to our understanding, mind includes everything. Nothing comes from outside. Our mind has everything, and when you think something comes from outside it means your mind -- in your mind something appears. In this way you accept things. If your mind is related to some other things, that mind is small mind, limited mind.

Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture 67-01-12 as found on -  - Excerpt note edited by DC  This lecture became Mind Waves in the book, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, p. 34

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Karmic Spinning

The Buddhist life should not be karma life. Our purpose of practice is to cut off the karmic spinning mind. So our practice should be quite different from our karmic practice. Even though you are trying to attain enlightenment, that is a part of karma. You create karma, you are driven by karma, and wasting time on black cushion.

Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture 67-01-05 as found on -  - Excerpt edited by D

Harm Reduction rather than Hypocritical Brutality

They're going to firing squad some more poor saps who were too far down the controlled substance chain to matter. Why doesn't Australia whose ignorant kids got caught expose who is really making the money there and maybe mention what percentage of substance deaths is caused by illegals - last I read was 2% with tobacco, alcohol, prescription all well ahead. And why not bring up Harm Reduction, the approach aiming to reduce the harm from substances and government policies. Actual effective policies would, of course, reduce the income of many well-placed people not only here but in America and all over the world, but it would also improve their karmic dilemma.  Harm Reduction Coalition - for those who really want to reduce deaths and suffering.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Zenbook Back

Got my computer back. The Windows and files were saved but all the programs are new and so much has to be done. It was an interesting experience but would rather get back to work on this stuff than tell it. Except I'll say that the bill of 510,000 rupies ($48) for all the work he did was so low that I'm so relieved and glad I wasn't in the States - or Europe - or Japan. We both made mistakes that cost us days and he apologized for his and didn't mention mine. Got a big tip (for here). Love Bali. - DC

Cutting Down Habit Power

Student: How can we avoid creating more habits?

SR: The purpose of practice is to cut completely [laughs] down the habitual power, you know. To be completely from our habitual, you know, energy or whatever it is-- habits-- habitual power or so-called-it karma. At least we should not doubt we are intrinsically free from karma. Karma is something which we create-- we create karma, and we suffer from it. So pure religion is in the realm of-- there is no creation or no-- no -- what is opposite of “create”?

Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture 65-07-29-C as found on -  - Excerpt edited by DC 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Right Effort

When you cannot believe in the meaning of the practice which you take in this moment, you cannot do anything. You are just wandering about -- around the goal -- with monkey mind. You are looking for something always, and without knowing what you are doing. If you want to see something you should open your eyes. Instead of opening your eyes you are trying to look at something with your eyes closed. That is what we are doing actually if we do not know the important point which Bodhidharma pointed out. We do not slight the idea of attaining enlightenment, but the most important thing is in this moment, not someday. We have to make our effort with right effort in this moment. This is the most important thing for our practice. 

Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture 67-01-05 as found on -  - Excerpt edited by DC (One word changed)  This lecture became Traditional Zen Spirit in the book, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, p. 99

Arctic glacier’s galloping melt

Read about Arctic glacier’s galloping melt baffles scientists in Climate News Network

Will post this in Climate Change on when get computer back. - dc