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Excerpts from Shunryu Suzuki lectures - 2014-5
[laughs] = Suzuki laughs [laughter] = students laugh

Circles on the Blackboard

Here's a lecture that could have used a photo or video of the blackboard with circles drawn in chalk that he's referring to. That's not the sort of thing that Suzuki would do but, as I recall, Yoshimura was in San Francisco at this time and he used to make geometric drawings to represent different Buddhist concepts or teachings. I recall one that had a tube. This might be something he learned at Komazawa, the Soto Zen university in Tokyo. I don't know, but what I imagine is that Yoshimura was drawing something on the blackboard and that Suzuki used it. So - please submit your drawing of circles and what they represent so that we may understand the following better. Go to bottom of page to see how to access whole lecture. - DC

On the blackboard I see many circles. When we realize each one of us or observer of the circles is empty-- we are actually empty. I don't exist -- actually, we don't-- I don't exist. You may say, "When you see," you know, "I am here," that is some idea of you. But it is not actual you. Actual you is you which says, “I [laughs]-- this is me.” That is real you [laughs, laughter]. And “me” is object, you know, object of “I.” So “I” is not something like that-- something you understand “I.” Something you understand “I” as “I” is already someone else [laughs, laughter]! So you don't exist, you know [laughs, laughter]. This is not tricky words. True words, you know. No one can deny this fact.

So there are many circles, you know. And when I don't exist, I understand the circles. I or, you know, “true I,” will understand the relationship between those many circles. If we understand-- if we discuss something in that way, there is no problem.

That relationship between those circles is the same for everyone. You see, the relationship between the circles, and relationship for you, and relationship between circles for us is always-- is safe. Why it is so is big self is observing it, you know. When you are involved in, you know -- but mostly when we start something about this organization or future plan of Tassajara, immediately you have big idea of self. And you insist on your own idea without seeing the actual problem we have right now as we see those circles. This is so-called-it, in Buddhism, selflessness.

From 70-02-08. For more go to this entry on the Suzuki lecture archive found on Shunryu Suzuki dot com. - Edited by DC, posted 1-13-15