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Shunryu Suzuki Lecture Transcripts in Progress

Shunryu Suzuki Lecture Transcripts 2012 --- INDEX - with notes to transcribers

Working with the most difficult tapes in the Suzuki tape archive


Shunryu Suzuki lecture
Audio Problem Set
Sunday, June 29, 1969
San Francisco


In our practice, which include everyday life, which I call this the right understanding part. Man and nature. It is necessary to have constancy, to follow the truth, and to continue our practice.

Because, truth is something which is beginningless and endless. So our practice should be also beginningless and endless. Endless life.

And forever ever we call we should continue our practice. That is the first stage, first step, for your for entering Buddha hall or Zazen hall.

That is the stage. The form is emptiness. Form is emptiness needs two halves. Strong belief or constancy in emptiness, which is the form itself. It is a mirror word. So form may be real form. Form is emptiness. So form is directed towards emptiness. Which is Buddha nature or emptiness or enlightenment. Form. This is the first step to the Buddha Hall.

And next one is emptiness is form. This is more advanced, maybe more difficult. You know, to understand and to accept. Form is emptiness. Or, emptiness is form. Emptiness is form.

It is easy, you know, to have direction and start a practice towards emptiness. Form is emptiness. Form is going to that, emptiness. That it easy because you have some direction. You know. Even though it is difficult. As long as we have direction, it is easy.

That emptiness is form is more, maybe more difficult. And stronger confidence is necessary. Because emptiness is form. When you say emptiness is form. Whatever it is. You know. Everything is emptiness itself. It means that. Not only evil. You know, everything. Not only something good. But, also everything. That is more difficult to accept.

Because you know, for usual people like us there is something good and something bad. There is something, which we donít like. And there is something, which we care for. There is common people and sage. Unless you stop your analyzing mind or thinking mind, it is rather difficult to accept it. You know, that is which we experience in our everyday life.

You see that is, but but frankly canít see, emptiness is form. You have stronger constancy in your practice. You have actualized. You can do it. We are, you know, practicing right now. In San Francisco thereís a company breaking practice. Just to come here. Thatís all.

And we may say, it looks like very easy. But, actually it is difficult. But, you should know why it is so difficult. As one instance, sometime, most of the time, in your everyday life. You will have something something which you donít like at all. And, it is difficult when you forget all about it. Even though that is not your problem. Your business. But you, you know, cannot help but to think about it.

You know that you have this kind of experience. Sometime you will be very angry. But, someone else will just do it. But that is not actually your business. But if you spend your valuable time to think about something, which is nothing to do with you. Maybe something to do with you. But, not directly? You cannot say. Nothing can happen with that. Some relationship with you. But may have something to do with you. But even though youíre thinking, it doesnít help at all. You cannot help someone, which is not there to relate it to. It begins, you know. As a word, as a diminishing a word. It is almost impossible to help him.

But is but, we donít know why. We donít know why we have to. It is so difficult to stop thinking about it. Donít you have this kind of experience? It is very so friend, actually. That is the world now. That is a relative world. We say world of good and bad. World of right or wrong. But in there if we. But if we can always practice counting. Really practice completely. You know, actually you can stop being worried about it. You can stop. You can cut off the relationship, unnatural. A wrong relationship with someone.

So I say to be able to count from one to ten is very fortunate. So if you, when you go from one to two. Or, two to three until you count to ten. You should bow to Buddha. Thank you very much. And then you start count one, two, three. And that you can count in order. Without mistake means mirror practice is complete.

The stage you can do it over and over again is the stage that emptiness is form. Emptiness is form. If itís more, you know, advanced stage, then that first stage you can count. You may think, "I must count." Anyway I have to count from one to ten. But you make some mistake. And you will do it your counting. It means that you have some gap in your continuity of your practice. So, it means you have gap. So, some worry will, you know, come to you through the gap. So, when the time you forgot you are counting. The various (insult ??) will come over through the gate. Even when you donít know when. But when it does (insult ??) is already here. That is really the more the state. That you have direction. Only you have direction. But the practice is not of it. In your practice there is some gap.

So to be able to count from one to ten means a lot. It means more than (insult ??). The thought of counting from one to ten is very powerful. And that is the first way to be free from various confusion. Which you may be easily above this.

So, I think if you go back to sitting. You have many things to think. But you donít think just because you have to think. But, because you are not able to stop thinking about it. Most of the thinking is because in that way. Most of the activity you take is not because it is necessary. But because you can, you are not able to stop doing it. And there are too many things, which you shouldnít do. But most people are doing something they shouldnít do. But, to be able to stop doing it and be able to waste enough thinking about it. Doing it. Is very important. When you are able to do it. It means that your wisdom is up. Your mind is up. And your mind is a clear as the Buddha.

Mirror may be, mirror is active and emptiness. So, in that mirror everything will reflect emptiness. Various images will appear as it is. So we may say that emptiness is form. And, the purer polished mirror. Everything in various forms. That will be deeper, and maybe difficult. But, deeper. More polished. So counting will be an exercise. Maybe the exercise for beginners. And, exercise for more advanced.

The third one: form is form, emptiness is emptiness. But here if I keep order to them. The emptiness is emptiness is. Form is form is more advanced. Emptiness is emptiness is will practice. Next emptiness is form. I think so. You would know, but I donít. Form is form means, later Iíll explain in some other way. But emptiness is emptiness means everything appears in the form of emptiness. Or it means that for people who practice that is a stage when we can say everything equal as emptiness.

Emptiness comes to us when we are empty, you know. When we stop thinking. When we are able to stop our emotional thinking. When we are not involved in any of that. When you are just sitting, some certain form. So in that stage, you know. That stage is more the stage you have when you stop thinking when you stop thinking and stop feeling somebody is thinking things. Thatís going to be the continuity of anything emptiness. Anything emptiness.

But, form is form is the practice which you will have in your everyday life, more. Form is form. When we say emptiness is emptiness or form is form. It means that emptiness only. Form only. Word form only. We donít think about emptiness when we say form is form. When we say emptiness is emptiness, we donít think about it, form. We have no idea, form. Just emptiness. And form, when we say form is form, you know, youíre ... you are able to do it. Form is form. Should be very strong. That is practice. Even though we donít aware of it.

If you have strong practice. Power of strong practice. Even though you donít aware of it. You donít know whether you have that kind of strength, or knowledge. That is why we call it emptiness. Which was if you say, "I have this kind of power." That is not emptiness anymore. That is already form. You know. If you say, "I understand what is emptiness is emptiness," then that is not emptiness anymore. That is the power you have even though you are not aware of it.

That power is a power which will be gained, acquired by everyday practice. By continuous practice. If you sit. If you just sit everyday at (satting ??) time for one hour or more. You will have more and more power of practice. Or, for you it is this kind to rule your power. That is a stage when you have this kind of power. Whatever you see, you know, the scenes. Itís the scene itself. You can see things as it is. So you, when you can see things as it is. It is the world of form is form. That is how we help others, you know. When, you know, when a scenery come you will be able to see.

Man. When all an old man come. You will be an old man. That will, that stage or (diafault ??) Form is form. And when you have this kind of practice. As I said, thatís right. That is the right form. But it is. You donít know who you are. You may be a child. You may be an old man. You may not be aware. Because you will be man. Man. And you will not. And you know you donít know. It will appear as if you know everything. But you donít know actually. It appears, you know. As if it has some form. But, you know.

But Iíve seen it appear and vanish. Since in the end it exists in that way. As soon as it appears it vanish. The lesson which doesnít vanish. Everything that appears will vanishes. Like this is the time, you know, you sat and you cook. That is it disappears. There is no proof that it doesnít vanish. Thereís no rules that will die. Thereís no way proof that doesnít vanish. So it appears. To appear you or not to appear. Or to vanish. So we donít know what it is. Anyway, to take care of this one by one. Like you come here maybe. Itís a life form. What is it?

So we donít try to figure out what it is, you know? We donít want any answer for that. Question is at the same time answered what it is. That is OK. But we have to take. We cook every dish one by one. Bread is bread, and soup should be soup. We even thought it maybe mixed up when youíre eating. But, thereís no one who eat, you know, who prepare food which mix up. You should prepare each one, one by one. Like when you count your breathing, like you count one, two, three. So like you count your breathing, itís the way you cook. This is, or the way you walk. Step by step. That is to have full appreciation of life.

We sit seated be as led by anything else. You know, we should always be the better. And we should be free from everything. And we should be first of everything. Always. We donít trying to control. By doing things one by one carefully. So because it is kind of difficult task for us. So we should be able, we should be very grateful. Even you count from one to two. That is enough. If you can count from one to, you know if you reach five. You should bow to Buddha. Or be very grateful for you. Let me count from one to five. In this way, you can count from one to ten. And which that can bring great joy. We continue. If you continue, again from one to ten. And over and over again. That is the last stage. You will acquire by counting breathing successfully or by practice. For it is not at all just practice just for beginners.

Last night Jack asked me the question. What kind of character we use, you know, for form is emptiness? Emptiness is form. And, form is form and emptiness is emptiness. [ ??? ]

Anything form, anything empty. There are four characters. Form is form. Emptiness is form. Emptiness is emptiness. Form is emptiness. [ ??? ]


[69-06-29-bh] - Source: 69-06-29 digital audio archive from DC. Problem set. Thanks to audio work by AW, transcribed October 2012 by Bill Hackenberg. Further prep by DC.

Most of the last two minutes were unintelligible and indicated that in the transcript. I think Shunryu Suzuki was perhaps going into the four Japanese characters for form is emptiness, emptiness is form, form is form and emptiness is emptiness. He may have been writing at a board and got far away from the mike? Some of the audio seemed to indicate he was referring to aspects of the Japanese characters. Someone who understands Japanese may have better luck with the last two minutes. It would still be very hard to hear, but maybe worth a shot. - Bill

Shunryu Suzuki Lecture Transcripts in Progress

Working with the most difficult tapes in the Suzuki tape archive


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