Shunryu Suzuki Lecture
Audio Problem Set
JG 1st pass
This sutra is divided into two parts. And one is
so-called Shakumon. Shakumon is … In the first part, we should
understand the oneness of the … the oneness of the reality. We should
understand aspect of being and aspect of mountain; aspect of subjective,
how do you call it? Objective; Buddha and sentient beings are one, not
This sutra put the emphasis on more … rather than
emptiness, but on forms, forms. So, for … for this reason, how we
understand absolute reality in term of differentiated, objective world,
and how we live, we should live with Buddha's life, you know, which is
The last .. second part is how we should appreciate
Buddha as the source of our life. Dharmakaya Buddha – when we appreciate
Dharmakaya Buddha, it means that Sambogakaya Buddha.
So it means the first part is the way upward, and
second part is way downward. Starting from Buddha nature, you know.
Feeling appreciation of Buddha nature, we should found out the meaning
of our life.
And so, various problems we have in our life, in
term of duality: good and bad, life and death. Then it's good devices of
Buddha to show us the oneness of good and bad, right and wrong,
subjective world and objective world.
Buddhism … so, in this sense, through and through,
has double structure: oneness and duality, and upward and downward. The
first part, duality – the first part of the sutra is also dualistic –
subjectivity and objectivity, Buddha with sentient beings, and the first
principle and second principle, oneness of the second principle and the
And in this way, we will understand what is our
life, from two viewpoint. When we understand our life from two viewpoint
we say, “Things as it is.” First part is about Shoho Jisso, things as it
is. And the second part is about eternal Buddha. Buddha as eternal life,
in which we are included. To live in this world is to appreciate
Buddha's eternal life, which continues forever. And this is … for
Sambogakaya Buddha and Nirmanakaya Buddha …
Nirmanakaya Buddha. Trikaya – Sambogakaya....
Sambogakaya Buddha is the bridge to the Dharmakaya
Buddha, and Nirmanakaya Buddha. If we have just Nirmanakaya Buddha, and
Dharmakaya Buddha, truth and phenomenal world – absolute world and
phenomenal world, or Dharma body and Form body, we cannot accept the
Nirmanakaya Buddha is very important. As I
explained, Nirmanakaya Buddha appeared for the first time from after
Buddha passed away. Buddha was understood as a Nirmanakaya Buddha.
And Sambogakaya Buddha, you know, itself was … is
Dharmakaya Buddha. So Sambogakaya Buddha is actually … actually we
experience Buddha actually we experienced. And when we experienced
Sambogakaya Buddha, we … in contrast with historical Buddha, we had the
idea of Dharmakaya Buddha.
So Dharmakaya Buddha is more – not concrete idea,
but more idea of truth.
So, that which is important is Sambogakaya Buddha.
Sambogakaya Buddha – closely related to our practice, to our everyday
life. This idea originated from how … how Buddha attained enlightenment,
how he acquired that kind of result, or boundless merit and virtue and
wisdom. That is actually Sambogakaya Buddha.
When we have Sambogakaya Buddha, and Nirmanakaya
Buddha, we have to Dharmakaya Buddha, idea of Dharmakaya Buddha.
In China, there were … there were a kind of
dispute, you know, discussion. Svabhavikakaya Buddha, and Dharmakaya
Buddha, Sambogakaya Buddha, Nirmanakaya Buddha, and to analyze
Nirmanakaya Buddha in two: Nirmanakaya Buddha and Sambogakaya Buddha. To
open, to analyze Nirmanakaya Buddha in two, where we have Sambogakaya
Buddha and Nirmanakaya Buddha.
Historical Buddha, you know, when we think about
historical Buddha, he is also Sambogakaya Buddha – divided but … by
practice. That is one idea.
And we contrasted those two to the Dharmakaya
Another idea is to open Dharmakaya Buddha in two:
Sambogakaya Buddha, and to contrast with the Nirmanakaya Buddha.
So, to analyze – one is to analyze Nirmanakaya
Buddha in two: Sambogakaya Buddha and Dharmakaya Buddha … Sambogakaya
Buddha and Nirmanakaya Buddha.
And the other is to analyze Dharmakaya Buddha in
two, to contrast with Nirmanakaya Buddha.
And here we have Dharmakaya Buddha, Sambogakaya
Buddha, and Nirmanakaya Buddha. And the other is Nirmanakaya Buddha and
to analyze in two: Sambogakaya Buddha and Nirmanakaya Buddha. And up
there we have Dharmakaya Buddha.
But the more appropriate … I think it is more
appropriate to analyze Nirmanakaya Buddha in two – Nirmanakaya Buddha
and Sambogakaya Buddha. And Dharmakaya Buddha is up here, is always up
here, as a condition of one.
So, there is no need to discuss about Dharmakaya
Buddha, but the important thing is to discuss what is Nirmanakaya Buddha
and what is Sambogakaya Buddha.
If I say … if you just say … if you have just two
idea of Dharmakaya and Nirmanakaya Buddha, this is just philosophy.
There is no relationship. Nothing to do with our actual life, you know.
If you understand Buddhism in that way, that is so-called naturalism.
Whatever you do, that is Buddha's activity. So there is no need to
practice zazen or to study this kind of teaching.
But, you know, for us, we cannot … we can
understand that kind of philosophy but we cannot satisfy … we cannot be
satisfied by that dry philosophy, which has nothing to do with our
actual life, where we have various problems.
Even though we are, you know, whatever it is, and
whatever we do, our life is based on the truth of … there should not be
anything to worry. But, actually, you know, we have problem. Why we have
Only when we are … reflect on ourselves – the
Nirmanakaya idea of Sambogakaya Buddha become important.
When Buddha was still with us, you know, he was
Nirmanakaya Buddha and Sambogakaya Buddha.
We could accept what he says as a Dharmakaya
Buddha. And what he did as a Nirmanakaya Buddha. So he was Sambogakaya
Buddha. He had both sides.
While he has some quality, he was not just usual –
he was not just our friend. He had some quality. That quality was
acquired quality by practice.
Do you understand?
There may be, you know, in our firend, some of them
will be very intelligent. Some of them are not so intelligent! But if
intelligent person is, you know … even though … sometimes, even though
he is intelligent, you know, he will not be good friend of you. Or he
will not be accepted by, as a good friend or good person. Or people will
not sometime respect him, even though he is good, and he is intelligent.
Even though someone is not so intelligent or
clever, sometimes people may respect, you know, respect him. There is
some quality in our personality.
So personality,, inborn, you can't help it,
personality, and acquired personality. By the effort, human effort to be
more human. To be more … human-like, you know. That kind of effort give
us some quality, some different quality from the part you have had
before you practice our way.
Do you understand?
Even though you practice zazen all right, stupid
person is always stupid. He cannot be intelligent man.
[j g1] Aratpero.
Do you understand? If you say, if you practice
zazen, in two years you will have bright (Giggles) you will be a bright,
intelligent person, you will be successful in business, (Giggles), that
is not true!
Even though you practice zazen ten years, stupid,
forgetful one is always forgetful like me. It is not possible for me not
to forget anything. But what you acquire by practice is some quite
That quality is that quality as Sambogakaya Buddha.
Quality which will be acquired by practice, by right practice, by right
thinking, by right speech. By unselfish practice. By unselfish
understanding of the world. To things as it is. And to accept things as
To accept “things as it is” means to observe things
from two sides. Usually we observe things from one … one side only. To
accept things as it is means to observe things two ways – both, from
For us, to observe, to accept things from both
sides, it's not possible unless we practice, you know, our way. Only
when you practice zazen, when you train your activity, you can,
you know, see things as it is from both sides, without being caught by
one-sided viewpoint. That is selflessness.
Even though you are very intelligent, you know, or
the more you are intelligent, the more you can be caught by his own
viewpoint, and he is wise enough to insist his viewpoint, ignoring the
other viewpoint. So that is why, sometime, intelligent one … so that is
why, sometimes, intelligent one cannot help people so much, while the
dull, stupid one can help people better.
So this kind of person Sambogakaya Buddha has this
kind of a point. For this reason we put emphasis more Sambogakaya
Buddha, and Buddhists find out … found out why Buddha was so great after
his death. And the point we should remember is when they were very much
… when they missed Buddha, they found out true Buddha. When they found
out how miserable they were when he lose, when they lose Buddha – in
other words, when they, we, when they cannot satisfied with themselves,
and when they need some help, they found out the Sambogakaya Buddha.
There were many people … there must be many people
that were almost intelligent enough as Buddha, but they missed him –
they missed Buddha, and they found out why he was so great. He was not …
he is not hero, religious hero or saint who has some supernatural power.
But Buddha has some other quality.
We can understand how difficult it is for human
being, to be, to see things as it is, and to have selflessness … to have
the life of selflessness. He could understand people.
So that kind of qualty is something which is
possible to acquire only through experience, not by thinking. It is not
matter of profound teaching or lofty teaching or beautiful teaching, but
the matter of sympathy or compassion, which will be acquiired by
experience – actual experience of life. That is, you know, Sambogakaya
Buddha, and that is actual Buddha we have.
So this sutra is the sutra of Shoho Jisso or things
as it is. Our life as it is. And sutra of … sutra which gives us good
example of how we appreciate our life, which is one, which is universal.
That is for every being.
This is structure of the … of this sutra.
So, this sutra is the sutra for the, you know,
people in suffering, and for the people who appreciate suffering as our
practice. So for the people who is suffering, this sutra will be
And for the people who appreciate our life, this
sutra will give firm background for that appreciation, and for the joy
of life, because just to enjoy our life is not our way.
[j g2] We cannot enjoy our life in its true sense without
any background. When our life is firmly established, in perfect
background, we can enjoy our life, because there is no fear of losing.
Is it time?
Q: It is fifteen, twenty minutes left yet.
I will continue a little bit more. I will go
further. We, we studied about the sixteen Bodhisattvas, Bodhisattvas.
This morning someone asked me about those Bodhisattvas. Those
Bodhisattvas, the interesting point about those Bodhisattvas,
Bodhisattvas: the more distinguished ones – I don't know all of them,
but at least some of them, it's already known as a historical character,
characters. But there are
[j g3] Buddharavara.
He is … he was the … he looks like leader of the laymen Bodhisattvas –
16, we count 16 Bodhisattvas, but there must be many laymen
Bodhisattvas. And those are, I think, the most .. evident ones, because
of the question, because of his wonderful character …
Badhavara. And it is said, that
their were six big cities, and those are the most influential people in
those cities and Badhavara was
the most influential in those cities. And we know who is in what city.
Natonacara. Natonacara was a relation.
Naradhata was a siddhi, but a relative.
Starva was in city of Naja …
no, Saravasti. And Chinese rendering of those names suggests by their
characters what kind of people they were.
Tathanacara in Chinese
rendering, his name is treasure, natural treasure Bodhisattva.
Or to live with treasure here. So he must be very
strict Bodhisattva of the
the Chinese rendering of this Bodhisattva is a leader. He was a leader,
you know, of local Maghada. And he had, at that time, as you know, a …
there were many people who go to another city, or another country and
get some treasures by carrying. And he must be the leader of those
magin. And some people say he
was the same person who donated
[j g4] Green sociality
garden for Buddha.
You know, mistake. I thought about already, I
thought but you know that already. When Suddhana, Buddha's disciple
wanted him to come, which he found out, and when he found out that that
garden was owned by this, owned by some wealthy leader of the characters[j
g5] . He refused to give it to Buddha. So he said, “If you
pay my land with coin.” And Suddhana was also wise, so he started to
take his life. And so he said, “Oh, okay, okay! I'll give it to you.”
That was … it looks like that Bodhisattva was the same person. As
Some of those … some of the 16 named Bodhisattvas
appears in some of the parts of, some of the chapters of this sutra, and
some haven't. Most of them appear there.
It's time until?
Q: We are five minutes late.
Oh, Do we have someplace urgent?
Q: You didn't mention Vairojena.
Vairojena? Vairojena? Vairojena? Vairochana is
Dharmakaya Buddha. It is characterized … characterized by light – the
sun – light, which is universal.
When we say light, light has no problem, but it is
natural light which is personified, you know. Vairochana as personified
as Buddha of a long time ago, and accordingly is absolute. So he is also
Sambogakaya Dharmakaya. As way of virtue, he is light of the future, of
understand this word
Grove? Jetavana Vihara
Source: digital audio archive from DC. Problem set.
Thanks to audio work by AW, transcribed March 2012 by Judy Gilbert. Work in progress. Further
preparation to post by DC