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

Running into a Wall

With this sort of title, one might imagine that in this excerpt Suzuki is going to talk about the problem of our practice running into a wall. Read on.

If you go to monastery in Japan, you will see the big notice: Dojo daishuni ichini. “Whatever you do, you should do with people at the same time.” That is our basic practice: “When they sit, you sit.” So we do not practice zazen just to attain enlightenment but to practice zazen itself is the realization of the truth. And to realize this point, we practice zazen. To get up when you hear the bell, you know, is the most important practice for us. The moment you hear the bell, you should get up and you shouldn't need to feel rested [laughs]. “Two minutes more, three minutes more.” You shouldn't stop a lot. Okay? If you do so, you are not practicing our way. But you should not run into a wall [laughs, laughter].


I have now in my room three mats. At first, to enjoy the spacious room of three tatami, I slept using all three mats [laughs, laughter]. I felt I am a giant, you know. Like a giant I slept using all three tatamis. But if I do so, I have to sleep east and west. And someone told me that is not so good. You should sleep south and north [laughs, laughter]. So I changed my way of sleeping. Last night I got up all of-- this is my habit, you know-- if alarm or if I get up, immediately I wake up, I get up, and [laughs] I lost my place. Usually if I get up and walk this way [gesturing] [laughing, laughter], that is to my rest room. But last night, that was not so good, but this kind of habit - usually it is good, but sometimes it is not so good.


I've already edited this all I feel comfortable with and still it's not completely clear to my test subject what he's saying. I think this is a case where it's better to restate his story. Just in case a reader doesn't get what Suzuki is saying, he'd been sleeping east west then changed to north south and then when he got up to pee he walked into the wall because he wasn't used to sleeping in that direction. So the point is to get up right away when the bell rings, but don't walk into a wall.

From 69-08-18 . For more go to this entry on the Suzuki lecture archive found on Shunryu Suzuki dot com. - Edited by DC, posted 1-03-15