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Shunryu Suzuki Lecture Excerpt

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Saturday, December 21, 1968
San Francisco
from 68-12-21

Posting this excerpt on Thanksgiving November 22nd, 2012
After searching for the word "Thanksgiving" in Suzuki lectures, this is the only one that had that word. - dc


When-- after-- when I came to America, I found very, you know-- I found-- special, some special food for me and I enjoyed it, I enjoyed it very much-- that was potato. Potato was delicious to me, but I don't know if it is so for you or not. I don't know what kind of nourishment potato has, I haven't studied anything about potato, but I like it very much. The reason why I like it is-- I don't know why-- when I was in Japan, of course, I liked it, but I didn't think I liked potatoes so much! 

But after I came to America, having very-- various foods and I haven't not much chance to eat potatoes: maybe once a month or so. When I was invited for Thanksgiving, I had mashed potatoes-- that was delicious. But usually I haven't mashed potatoes, or even baked potato. At Tassajara I told Ed I like potato [laughs]. Sometimes, as we have various food-- various kinds of food, so Ed cannot give me always potato. So only once in a while I had potato. 

As soon as I come back from Tassajara I go to the grocery store and buy three or four potatoes. And as it takes pretty long time to cook it, I cut it and fry it. My boy doesn't like it, but I like it. My wife doesn't like it much. So I cook it just for myself. Do you know why? Potato was-- when I was young I-- my hometown produced a lot of potatoes, so I was eating potatoes always when I was a boy. So that is why I like it. When I was eating I didn't like it so much because I had it almost not everyday, but four times or more a week. 

This kind of experience characterized our character. I think you may not like zazen so much, but you think this is good, so you may practice it. But you may not realize how much progress you made in your zazen practice. Some may do, but most of you don't, I am afraid. But that is all right. This kind of experience which is not just reading or listening to lecture and something which you experience, both physically and spiritually, without thinking about it. Without trying to find out the meaning of it, beyond our intellectual understanding, to practice our way without any gaining idea. To practice our way is valuable and you will have real power of digesting things.