- Shunryu Suzuki Index  - WHAT'S NEW - table of contents

Suzuki Stories

This is a Kishizawa Ian story

Kishizawa Ian and His Teachers

To aid you in your work, this story from Reb Anderson and Susan Moon’s book, Warm Smiles from Cold Mountains, comes to mind:

…When Kishizawa Ian, Suzuki Roshi’s second teacher, was a young monk, he was sitting in meditation on a rainy day and heard the sound of a distant waterfall. Then the wooden han was struck. He went to his teacher (maybe Oka Sotan) and asked, “What is the place where the sound of the rain, the waterfall, and the han meet?”
His teacher replied, “True eternity still flows.”
And then he asked, “What is this true eternity that still flows?”
“It is like a bright mirror, permanently smooth,” said his teacher.
“Is there anything beyond this?” asked the young monk.
“Yes,” responded his teacher.
“What is beyond this?” inquired the young monk.
And his teacher replied, “Break the mirror. Come, and I’ll meet you.”

Kishizaza Ian Roshi was a dharma brother of Sawaki Kodo and Hashimoto Eko. Together they trained with Oka Sotan, a very important Soto Zen teacher and Dogen scholar in the early 20th Century, and the three went on to revitalize Soto Zen. This is flavorless talk and is how people of the Zen way thaw – Rinzai, Soto, Minnesotan, Japanese, whatever.