- an archival site on the life and world of Shunryu Suzuki and those who knew him.

home        what's new        bibliography         interviews        stories     and more if you look around

Shunryu Suzuki letter to Helen Walker 66-05-17

Suzuki Correspondence 

PDF of this letter

Dear Helen Walker

I am so sorry that my letter did not reach you. Since I came home I have been so busy that at last, while I was reading a scripture with other priests, I lost my senses. I did not fell down from my chair or feel dizzy but perspiration was bad enough to call the attention of the chairman who came to me and asked something, to whom I said "all right." The scripture that we were reading was the one of the most familiar ones to us all, but strangely enough, my mouth did not go on. I tried to follow the characters but I was unable to do it. My mind feaded in the memories of my boyhood when I was trying hard to follow the difficult chinese characters and reciting voice of my master. In those experiences, I use to be so scared of my master rather than feeling ashamed of myself in front of the many people who might have been watching me. If I died at that moment, I would have banished in this memory.

I think I know that I was always so sure that even though the experiences I had under my master was very very hard ones, but they are all beautiful and unselfish true ones, and I think that is why I loose myself in it.

Your question of "who is you?": This question will be answered when you ["intellectually" crossed out] recognize that there is no self besides the temporal union of verious factors, objective and subjective, physical and mental e.t.c. Moreover body or brain are just temporal existence. Although they are temporal they exist in the smallest particle of time but strictly speaking they are constantly changing to one being to another. If so our body and mind is the non-graspable. Only way to have full experience of it is to follow the being ["which has no name" crossed out] as the two hands of a watch follow the reality. To follow your breathing is to follow the reality. This is how to have the direct experience of being, the absolute being which is more than objective or subjective, mental or physical.

It is wonderful that you had been following your breath successfully. It means that you are completely free from interectual problem (result of thinking what is body and brain or emotional lonlyness. Do it with more conviction untill you find composure within your self.

All the experience you have had and you will have will be absorbed in your practice, no matter how difficult they may look like, because when your are completely concentrated on breath you are not just emotional or interectual being.

The more you practice this practice as many people did, the more you are able to free yourself from verious problems.

I am waiting for your visit

With gassho

S. Suzuki

Suzuki Correspondence                               Go to What's New