- Shunryu Suzuki Index  - WHAT'S NEW - table of contents

    Shunryu Suzuki quotes and excerpts from lectures and memories
Shunryu Suzuki Lectures on cuke --- (all lectures and more)

Shunryu Suzuki on Paradox

On 9/5/2014 5:16 PM, Luke wrote:


Subject: Suzuki quote and internet arguing


Dear Mr Chadwick,


This quote was posted on the Soto Zen Facebook page.

"If it's not paradoxical, it's not true."


And attributed to Shunryu Suzuki.

Some people decided it was fake, but it is referenced in "Zen is right here":

"A student remembers a lecture where Suzuki Roshi said, "If it's not paradoxical, it's not true."


This caused many people to state that it must have been translated incorrectly or just be wrongly remembered.


Any thoughts on this?


Sorry to bother you with something so trivial.


DC responded:

Hi Luke.


Good for you.


In the first place, it wasn't translated. He said it in English. Shunryu Suzuki only taught in English unless he was speaking to native Japanese speakers. In the 2nd, it's typical Suzuki - quite representative.


Incidentally, there IS a page for bogus Shunryu quotes.


I'm going to link to this letter from there and I just thought of another story I could add.


I just went to and searched for "paradox" and came up with a dozen or so lectures. Maybe I'll make a list of such quotes to post on but for now anyone can do it for themselves there by using the nifty site search function in the New Search Form. I'd be pleased if someone put together a collection of what he had to say that includes the word "paradox."


Bother me anytime. I love trivia.


Take care.




Luke Responded


I tried searching for paradox too, I liked this:


"Zen is not something to talk [about], and also it is something to talk [about]"


and this:


"There is always paradox in philosophical study. It-- it cannot be helped. And there there is truth, you know. Where there is paradox there is truth if you have eyes to see, you know [laughs]. But as long as you are confined in reli- [partial word]-- philosophical study, you-- you have no eyes to see though the paradox-- paradoxical statement. Philosophy is good because it is paradoxical, you know. So we Buddhist use the be- [partial word]-- paradoxical expression. It should be paradoxical, so we use-- we apply paradoxical expression as philosophers do. And we do not think that is paradoxical."


Thanks you also for making all of this material available online.