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Quotes and excerpts from Suzuki Lectures --- Posts pertaining to Shunryu Suzuki lectures

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

Object of Worship

I thought for a while about the meaning of the word worship. It's one of those terms with a lot of baggage from religious approaches I found unappealing. We never used it my home where the emphasis was on knowing that mind, as in big mind, is all and perfect. But I knew there had to be a meaning for the word that made sense to me. I determined that it could only mean something in the realm of to be aware and thus not lost in thought. Suzuki said that we worship whatever it is we're doing. I liked that. Here are some comments from Suzuki using the phrase "object of worship."  - DC

from 65-12-23

In our practice we have no special object of worship. If so, our practice is something different from the usual practice.
When we practice zazen we limit our activity -- our practice in the smallest extent -- just to keep right posture and to be concentrated on sitting -- this is how we express the universal nature, or true nature. Then, you become -- you, yourself become

Buddha, you yourself, express Buddha nature, or true nature, or universal nature. So instead of having some object of worship we limit -- we concentrate our activity on some activity which we tackle. So when you bow you should just bow. When you sit you have to sit. When you eat you eat. If you do so, the universal nature is there.


Now this from ZMBM- Limiting your Activity

In our practice we have no particular purpose or goal, nor any special object of worship. In this respect our practice is somewhat different from the usual religious practices


When we practice zazen we limit our activity to the smallest extent. Just keeping the right posture and being concentrated on sitting is how we express the universal nature. Then we become Buddha, and we express Buddha nature. So instead of having some object of worship, we just concentrate on the activity which we do in each moment. When you bow, you should just bow; when you sit, you should just sit; when you eat, you should just eat. If you do this, the universal nature is there..


from 66-01-13

Buddhism is, maybe, rather difficult to understand for you because Buddhism is not monotheism or pantheism. This is -- Buddhism is something different from your understanding of religion. It may be better to consider -- to accept Buddhism something quite different from your understanding. It looks like pantheism, but in Buddhism also there is several ways of believing in our life -- [blank] -- something like pantheism because we say everything has Buddha nature so in this point Buddhism is pantheism, but we do not emphasize -- concentrate -- our religion is not concentrated on object of worship rather than subject of worship so … I don’t know what to say -- it may be better to forget all about idea of atheism or pantheism or monotheism -- because we don’t know what to say -- what category Buddhism can be put. In our belief we do not emphasize the object of worship rather we -- and we emphasize the subject of worship. We, ourselves, is Buddha and Buddha is not some particular object of worship. We, ourselves, are Buddha. This is the main point. Buddha put emphasis on subject of worship does not mean to emphasize ego centered idea.


from Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind  - Bowing (don't find this in the lectures)

When you forget all your dualistic ideas, everything becomes your teacher, and everything can be the object of worship.

For more go to this entry on the Suzuki lecture archive found on Shunryu Suzuki dot com. - not Edited by DC, posted 1-09-15