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

From Shunryu Suzuki lectures
[laughs] = Suzuki laughs [laughter] = students laug

Since January 17, 2015 Suzuki lecture excerpts on cuke blog

Starting a page for quotes from Shunryu Suzuki lectures (12-14-14) as I read through them. And I'll be editing these excerpts a little when necessary to make them easier to read and understand. If you want to see the original just go to the verbatim transcript on Latest post on top. Posting these now on cuke blog here. Also can find them by clicking on What's New above.

1-16-15 - Talking about Unrelated Stuff

1-15-15 - On Attracting New Members

1-14-15 - On a Trudy Dixon memorial

1-13-15 - Circles on the Blackboard

1-12-15 - Killing

1-11-15 - Bowing

1-10-15 - Buddha Seed Etc.

1-09-15 - The phrase "object of worship."

1-08-15 - The Spirit of the Lotus Sutra

1-07-15 - Breath Counting - After all, What is it?

1-06-15 - The "all will be lost" quote

1-05-15 - An excerpt from Peter Schneider Interview one with Shunryu Suzuki - here talking about his English teacher Nona Ransom - with comments by DC and a link to the Shunryu on Shunryu page and a bit on what's there.

1-03-14 - Running into a Wall

1-02-14 - War and Peace

1-01-15 - Big Mind

12-31-14 - Shunryu Suzuki answers a question on Christianity.

12-30-14 - Interdependency

12-29-14 - What to do about anger

12-28-14 - A curious beginning to this Shunryu Suzuki lecture

12-27-14 - Stealing your teacher's wife?

12-25-14 - Christmas, New Years, Beginner's Mind

12-24-14 - Fire Seeking Fire with a humorous interruption

12-23-14 - Docho Roshi, who are you?

12-22-14 - Things as they are as it is

12-21-14 - Buddha Buddha Buddha Buddha

12-20-14 - The Four Noble Truths in an unusual order.

12-19-14 - What do you mean by making your best effort on each instant?

12-18-14 - Shunryu Suzuki's use of the word "should."

12-17-14 - Shunryu Suzuki tells a story about Ian Kishizawa.

12-16-14 - Statement at end of Sesshin, Apr 1968 [68-04-23-C]

Tuesday, April 23, 1968



In spite of my lack of effort, you fulfilled this training period very well. I am satisfied Katsuzen-san did it very well, supported by many students who are here with us.


We say, “Before spring has gone, the summer comes.” We had spring training. And right here we will have the next sesshin.


If I pause for a while, I cannot help being amazed at what I see, including you. You developed very well, and at the same time Tassajara became more and more mature. These may not be the right words for congratulations, but it is exactly how I feel. So we should try not to be lost in our practice, and Tassajara also should not be lost from this world by your efforts. Like various unknown flowers near the stream, we should keep up with the world of transiency.


Thank you very much.


Edited by DC with this comment: Suzuki's reference to his lack of effort is because he missed most of the practice period due to a lengthy flu. "Katherine" was replaced with "Katzuzen," shuso, head monk, Phillip Wilson's Zen name. The seasonal comment reflects the Japanese view of each season hinting at its coming in the prior one. I wrote about this in Thank You and OK. This is the entire lecture or comment.

12-15-14 - File name: 68-02-00-A: Lotus Sūtra No. 1.

Does someone know what "meditation" means? "To meditate" looks like "contemplate on something," but I don't know what "meditate" means. But someone said it can be translated as "to be attentive to something." So if we understand meditation, and if we use the word "meditate" in that sense, I think it is a good translation, but usually by "meditate" we mean to "dwell on something," or to "concentrate on" something. "Contemplation" is also meditation, but the more fundamental attitude or practice, is attentiveness.

The six Lotus Sutra lectures from February of 1968, sources for yesterday and today's excerpts, were included in the archive by DC in 2012 and only now getting to fixing some glitches in scanning and OCR and a few corrections here and there. Corrected versions should be on in a while. - DC

12-14-14 - From 68-02-00-C: Lotus Sūtra No. 3

Suzuki's lecturing on the Lotus Sutra which he did three times in 68 and 69, a number of lectures each time. A lot of it was him reading from the sutra which was full of hyperbolic description and lists and he's explaining the meaning of terms and names of Buddhas and so forth. It seriously bored almost everyone. In the fall 68 series, I went to him and urged him to stop. Offered alternatives like having us read the sutra in study and then meeting with him to discuss it so he didn't have to slowly read it to us. I was persistent but unsuccessful. Here we go - the part in quotes he's reading:

"That is to say, to the disciples he preached,"--he means Kandrasuryapradipa--"the law containing the Four Noble Truths, and starting from the chain of causes and effects, tending to overcome birth, decrepitude, sickness, death, sorrow, lamentation, woe, grief, despondency, and finally leading to nirvana." The first one is, as you know, the four noble truths for the Theravada Buddhists or sravakas. And the teaching of causality or interdependency of birth, old age, "sickness, death, sorrow, lamentation, woe, grief, despondency, and finally leading to nirvana" is the teaching of the Pratyekayana. Here, as you heard, there is no distinction between the teaching for the sravakas and the teaching for the pratyekas. From the viewpoint of the Lotus Sutra, which is a Mahayana teaching....


Oh, I'm sorry. Maybe it is too tedious for you. (lots of laughter from students) I almost gave up already, so I can imagine how you feel. When I was young, I would go to school by train. As long as the train was going, I was sleeping, but when the train stopped, I woke up. I woke up suddenly because I had to get off. As long as my tedious lecture is going, you may sleep. If I stop my lecture, you should wake up.

12-13-14 - Some people believe in evil spirits, you know [laughs]. But no evil spirit can exist in the same way forever. They are changing. Whatever existences may be, they are changing. There is nothing that does not change. To believe in some permanent one deity is also based on the idea of existence. That is not spiritual life. It is another form of material life. - Shunryu Suzuki (edited by DC) from 68-01-11B in - That file name will change to 68-01-11-B. - Suzuki Lecture page on cuke.

Since I'm reading through Suzuki's lectures, thought I'd post quotes here regularly. Will start a page for them tomorrow. - DC