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Shunryu Suzuki Lecture Transcripts 2012 --- INDEX

Working with the most difficult tapes in the Suzuki tape archive

Thanks to Judith Gilbert for transcription and AW for Audio work - DC, 4-05-12

Yellow words are ones where Judy guessed.

Shunryu Suzuki Lecture
Audio Problem Set
JG 1st pass


… that is second point.

The third point was that Buddha agreed to Shariputra's warning. And when Buddha knows that Shariputra has no more idea of self, no idea of … no idea of other things, or located, he allowed him, he agreed, he acknowledged his wisdom in its true self: to observe things as it is.

And to accept his former karma, and what he will be in the future. And he said that after studying Buddhism under 200,000 Buddhas, he attained this state. And in the future he will be a Buddha.

And actually what he meant was because he could see things –  Buddha any idea of self, he was not – his understanding of his past, or his present is not any more bound by the idea of … the things which he actually see by his naked eye. His understanding is not limited by intellectual understanding in the sense of right or wrong, or deep or shallow, or common or rough.

And he said, “You will attain enlightenment after many hundreds of kalpas” or millions of lives. That is actually the moment after moment with everything, you are studying our way. You know, the things he related. Things to … related to him is neumona. He is always studying with neumona, or the Buddha.

So actually, you know, many kalpas of time is not actually many kalpas of time. It is one thing related to many Buddhas. And if one related being is Buddha, and if one related being practices this way for one hour, it may be eons of time. So it means actually, in this moment you are Buddha.

In this moment, you are Buddha. That is what he meant, and moreover for him, near those times, or in this moment, it doesn't make any difference!

That is the stage Shariputra attained.

And in the next chapter, the parable … he refers to the [j g1] white vehicle. Once there were … there was an old wealthy man. This is rather interesting. There were very old, old house in which the old, old  man, aged man lived. But his children were interested in this old, old home, but that house is actually on fire. From all sides of the building, fire is devouring the house.

And in the house, there were many creature, you know, who were sleeping, or sit off for many beings. Like here it is described: … oh I have it....  branches.. And as the house was actually burning, all of the, you know, creatures in that house were in great confusion. Maybe rat, you know, and cat, and maybe dogs, and badgers, and wild cat, and many birds … some various kinds of birds. And there were snakes, you know, and usually they were fighting with each other. Although they were fighting with each other, there was some order when it was not a house on fire. So, they were in great confuson.

But the children there couldn't see, this is very interesting. They enjoyed this old house – their own house very much. That is actually, you know, we human beings. Actually this world is on fire, but as we do not see this world thoroughly and as we do not know our former karma and future karma, we enjoy this world. So we are not interested in true teaching of Buddha.

And that is actually what was happening to this … to his old home. But the old man knows, you know, old man who knew that his house is already, you know, very old. Old enough to be destroyed by the (: [j g2] caljur wind, or by the weight of slight snow.

Moreover, right now, the house is burning. (Giggles) So, he didn't know what to do with his children. He did care … treasure in the house or house itself. But he wait, because he love his children so much, so he wanted to save from the fire. So he, you know, prepared three, you know, interesting things outside of the house.

To the house there was only one entrance. In front of the entrance, he prepared deer toys – deer vehicle. And sheep vehicle – vehicle pulled by sheep. Vehicle pulled by bull.

Because children were very much interested in those vehicles pulled by deer, pretty deer .. and sheep, which they like …  and big, white bull. So they came out from the house, and he could save all those students.

That is the story.

And the explanation in this sutra says that small or big, or pulled by deer will be vehicle of sravaka. And vehicle pulled by the sheep, may be the vehicle of pratyeka. The white vehicle pulled by bulls may be the Bodhisattva vehicle. But because of all those vehicles, he could save his children.

From this standpoint, there is no difference between the sravakas,[j g3] , and no difference between the vehicles pulled by deer, or sheep, or white bull. They are all the same.

And since all of them get out of the burning house, the old man gave them the same vehicle, pulled by the white bull. He did not give them three vehicles any more. He gave them only white … vehicle with white jewels and pulled by white bull. This is the parable.

And what it means is … the interpretation of what does it mean, actually, by this parable is explained in the chapter [j g4] four.

And, for a long time, there were various disputes about this parable. The point was, after they came out of the burning house, the old man gave the white, you know.... the old man gave them the same vehicle, made of jewels and pulled by white bull.

Whether that cart was the same the third, same as one of the vehicles the old man gave when they were … which the old man gave them when they are escaping, you know, the house, or some special … special vehicle, which is different from, even from the third vehicle pulled by white bull when they were escaping from the house, burning house. Because in this sutra, there is no, or it is difficult to know whether the vehicle the old man gave them was same vehicle or special vehicle, which is different from the three vehicles with pulled by bull vehicle.

This is rather … I don't think this is very important point, but if you understand what is … if you understand there was no difference between the three vehicles.... actually they are three vehicles, but the purpose of providing those three vehicles just to save his students.

So, there should be no … or we should not say that the third one is best, the second one is second best and the third one is worst, you know. This kind of understanding is not the point. There was no difference between the three vehicles, you know.

Actually, they are different vehicles, but the purpose of giving those … providing those vehicles was just to save his children. So there should be no … or we should not say the third one is best, and the second one is second-best and third one is worst. This kind of understanding is was not the point.

But anyway, the people who recited this sutra over many hundreds of years in India, in China, and in Japan, had confidence in the meaning of this parable, which is for the Buddhist, whichever the teaching is, they are the same. But if you attach to some special teaching, it is not … even though they are reciting, they do not understand what it means, actually.

And this sutra from this viewpoint, supports for them, was the best sutra, and that is why they called this sutra, “King of the Kings”... “King of All Kings”.

Kumarajiva, you know, computed … translated the concluding words for body of four, the fourth: “You should know that the old Tathagathas, by means of this experience, by means of good experience, provided three teachings in one understanding of one Great Teaching.”

So it looks like three, but fundamentally there is no difference in these three teachings – in the teaching of sravakakaya, pratyekakaya, and bodhisattvakaya. There.

Do you have some questions?

Q: After accepting our bad karma, is there any way to notice what is going on, to stop repeating it?

Excuse me?

Q: Is there a way to stop the karma that you've got from proceeding? Stop the harm from proceeding?

Is there a way to stop it?

Q: Yeah. {Laughter}


You know, the karma, you know, we joke about it usually. But karma, in its true sense is completely different. Because you understand karma, you know, in its ordinary sense way, it is literally for you to stop it. But if you see the karma in its true sense, there is a big difference.

So, you will not try to stop it. When you don't try to stop it, it means that you can accept it. And you see it as it is, and you do not try to escape from it. So you see it as it is. But, why you try to stop it means you are seeking escape, in your own way. Which, I should say, [j g5] every version I could, that is why you are trying to escape from it. And be my version karma, we should be … our life should be more … we should talk about more, we really talk of life. You know, you will talk about basic nature of human beings.

But all those things are not true version of reality. It is partially true, which you see from one viewpoint, some special viewpoint. But it is not  – it doesn't cover full understanding of karma.

That is why, you know, when we have … are unable to sit, and when our practice, when we can sit stopping our idea of good or bad, long or short – at that time, because you are free, you are abandoning those one-sided ideas or understanding.

There you have the real, or you are in the position to accept things as it is. In that way, there is no such karma that you have had. So, in this sense, you may say that you can stop your karma. In that sense, what is going is the same. But when we are … we cannot practice our way, or when we cannot experience this kind of practice, or when you are, you know, involved in … simply involved in the [j g6] dialog that drives you, it is necessary for you to stop the karma. That … that is why, you know, sometime when you say, when you practice our way, you can stop your karma. But the subject will stop. Whether you go is the faith … completely.

So I want to stay here, on this point. But if a single day a needle was tree, it would create various problems to the river, to the woods, and we don't know which way the tree will go. Because of that one tree – even, you know, chopstick in the river, will change the whole direction, you know, of the stream, sometimes. So that is the karma.

I am not saying … I'm not blaming you, you know. That was a very important koan for Zen student. That was … that kind of problem was very important koan for us.

Excuse me. I'm not blaming you, so....

Q: Who knew the chopstick in the water ….


Q: Who knew the chopstick changed the water?

Excuse me?

Q: [j g7] When you move the chopstick, it's not going to be moving.

Is not?

Q: Perhaps the chopstick is not changing the water.

Is not moving? It will change. I say sometimes, not always, sometimes little change the whole direction of the stream, I say.

Don't you think so?

Even one storm, if it doesn't move. Ah, that is just parable, so. I don't want to argue about.... I don't want to involve in discussion of physics! (Giggles)

But, once in China there was monk named Sosan Konin. He was a very good Zen master. But a monk asked him, … Sosan Konin wants to talk about “actually everyone has Buddha Nature. And there's no need for him to have even teacher, or Buddha – because everyone is actually Buddha. And there is no need to respect even Buddha, or even your teacher.”

He was talking about this kind of truth. “And with this confidence we should practice our way, he said – the master said.

A disciple, a monk, you know, stood up and asked him, “I have some, you know, question. I have some different understanding about it.”

So the teacher said, “What is your understanding?”

The monk said, “If you, you know, give your seat to me, and bow three times to me, you know. If you give … if I give you instruction as a teacher, and if you listen to me as a disciple, and bow three times to me, I will give you my own interpretation about it!” (Giggles)

And the master said, “Okay, I will do that.” And he gave his own understanding

And after listening to it, “Okay, what do you say it was right. Very correct understanding – right. But I'm sorry to say that you will have, you know... you will suffer the same sickness for twenty years more. And you will have nothing to … you will not be given any food or any fire. And you will have hardly something to support yourself.” He said to him.

And he said, “Okay, if it is so, I'll accept that. I shall be … I shall have same stomach ache for twenty years. That is all right,” he said. And he left. And after two years, he understood what the teacher said, and he was very ashamed of his, you know, understanding. His own understanding – that he stick to his own understanding.

And since then … he had understood what he had said in three years, and for seventeen years, he had pretended to be a sick man! (Giggles) Each time he …. (Giggles) He did not think it was necessary for him to do so, (Giggles) but he was ashamed of his stubborn, stubbornness, or rigid understanding, or his confidence in his understanding.

So, he pretended to be sick for seventeen years after he understood completely what his teacher said.

This is a famous story.

And in this way, he attained complete understanding. So it is necessary, even though you think, “Thisis absolutely true.”

But as Buddha said, “Because you think you attained enlightenment, Shariputra, you don't understand what I say, but now, you don't think you have attained enlightenment. You are not bound by that kind of a thing – idea or image. So you will be able to understand what I will say.”

That is what he said,

I'm not blaming you. I was very much stubboorn, and ah … but even though I say so, it doesn't mean you have to change your attitude until you really feel something you should go and go on and on.

And I think you should try your best, and you should always be faithful to your own confidence and understanding. That is all right.

But tonight, you know, I am talking about Shariputra, so I have to say it in this way. For tonight's lecture (Giggles) to say so.

Thank you very much.

Judy's notes

 [j g1]5:28

 [j g2]10:18 California Jurisprudence – can't be.... (:-)

 [j g3] pratyekas, and Bodhisattvas

 [j g4]Three of Lotus Sutra – fact check...

 [j g5]25:46

 [j g6]29:25

 [j g7]32:42



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 - lecture note reads: [Tape turned over. But nothing follows in transcript. Check SR-68-12-24 to see if it is the tail end of this lecture.-- WKR]  Formatted 8/28/00.] - dc

Shunryu Suzuki Lecture Transcripts in Progress

Working with the most difficult tapes in the Suzuki tape archive

Thanks to Judith Gilbert for transcription and AW for Audio work

Suzuki lectures blog on SFZC site or Shunryu Suzuki dot com-the whole archive

Shunryu Suzuki Lectures on cuke