Funeral Service for Suzuki Roshi

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This is a full recording of Suzuki Roshi's funeral, held nine days after his death.

AI Summary: 

During the funeral service for Suzuki Roshi, various speakers and participants commemorate his life and teachings. This event acknowledges the profound impact Suzuki Roshi had on the dissemination of Zen Buddhism outside of Japan, as well as his establishment of a thriving Zen community in the United States.

- **Significant Individuals Mentioned:**
- Gyokojun So-On Daiosho
- Kishizawa Roshi
- Renpo Niwa Roshi
- Katagiri Roshi (?)

- **Ceremonial Components:**
- Chanting of the Dai Hi Shin Dharani
- Chanting of the names of Buddha
- Chanting of the Sandokai and Maka Hannya Haramita Shin Gyo

- **Statements of Condolences and Remembrances:**
- Yvonne Rand
- Eido Tai Shimano and New York Zendo Sangha
- Philip Kapleau and the Rochester sangha
- Hozan Fuji
- Huston and Kember Smith

Renpo Niwa Roshi and other speakers and participants reflect on Suzuki Roshi’s teachings, emphasizing his understanding of Buddha, dharma, and sangha. His inclusive approach and profound influence are highlighted, noting his ability to blend his Japanese cultural heritage with Western insights to enrich the practice of Buddhism. The speakers convey deep respect and gratitude for Suzuki Roshi’s life work, teaching, and the personal impact he had on many individuals, ultimately shaping the Zen Buddhist community in America. The funeral also includes traditional Zen Buddhist rituals like incense offering and chanting, underscoring the spiritual and communal aspects of the ceremony.

AI Suggested Title: "Honoring Suzuki Roshi: A Legacy of Zen in the West"


For more details about the ceremony, you can read the edition Wind Bell that was published in 1972:
Transcript of English portions by SDH 12/21 - Japanese portions still need transcribing.; #please-transcribe


Katagiri Roshi (?) in Japanese [may be the same announcement that follows below in English]

[Bells for prostrations]

Speaker: Suzuki Roshi has been given the high third rank of Soto Zen Buddhism, on the third of December 1971. Signed Shinsho Iwamoto Zenji, Primate of the Soto Zen School.

Richard Baker: Suzuki Roshi had two great teachers: one, Gyokojun So-On Daiosho, a leader of the Soto Zen Buddhists in Japan, and the other, Kishizawa Roshi, a great scholar and Zen master, and his disciple, Renpo Niwa Roshi, has come from Japan to lead this ceremony. Renpo Niwa Roshi and Suzuki Roshi were for many years friends. This ceremony brings us together with our great teacher, Suzuki Shunryu Daiosho, to offer incense and to chant. Each moment we are reborn with him endlessly; our natures interpenetrate; all beings without exception are Buddha; thus we do this ceremony.

[Bells and chanting of the Dai Hi Shin Dharani. Dedication and chanting of the names of Buddha]

(13:55) Renpo Niwa in Japanese.

(19:08) Katagiri Roshi (?): You have the dharma eye of Buddha. You have nirvana mind of Buddha. Without discrimination, everything thoroughly interpenetrates. This eye and mind extend beyond past and present. This very moment, great satori is endless. Endlessly its no-trace must be relinquished.

(26:11) Renpo Niwa in Japanese.

(34:40) Speaker [dedication]: Deeply we know that Suzuki Shogaku Shunryu Daiosho, the founder of Zen Center, has left this transient life for his final nirvana. He dwells in the bright fire of samadhi, dispelling the darkness in ten directions. Let us chant the names of Buddha.

[Chanting of the names of Buddha and dedication]

(38:30) Speaker [dedication]: We have now chanted the ten names of Buddha. Suzuki Shogaku Shunryu Daiosho mastered the Buddha's way. Not even a hair's breadth is missing. Through his compassion, the door to enlightenment is open. Now his transient body is one with emptiness. We offer tea and incense for the purchase of funds (?) in this ceremony. Sandokai~ [introducing chant]

[Chanting of the Sandokai twice; Maka Hannya Haramita Shin Gyo twice - some announcements made over chanting, identifying participants]

(58:53) Speaker [dedication]: We chant the sutras for Suzuki Shogaku Shunryu Daiosho. May this ceremony deepen endlessly his great vow to save all sentient beings.

[Closing dedication chanted; bells for prostrations; ceremonial exit procession bells]

--Tape stops and restarts--

(1:01:53) Renpo Niwa (?) proclamation in Japanese [mentions Zen Center, Sokoji and Sotoshu]

(1:05:09) Speaker in Japanese [mentions Sotoshu, Eiheiji, Sojiji and other places - presumably reading statements of condolence]

(1:09:57) Female Speaker (Yvonne Rand?): "Please accept condolences and sympathies all here on passing of Suzuki Roshi. May his spiritual legacy grow and flourish" - Weatherhill. "Please accept our most sincere sympathy and condolences. Today on Bodhi Day we held a memorial service for Suzuki Roshi. Gassho" - Eido Tai Shimano and New York Zendo Sangha. "The members of the First Zen Institute send their deepest sympathy at this time." "Whatever strength grows from us in this Rohatsu sesshin is with you all" - Philip Kapleau and the Rochester sangha. "This message is sent with deepest sympathy and understanding, to give you courage in your hour of sorrow" - Hozan Fuji. "Rinsing our mouths with praise for a good man, we join in unspeakable presence of Suzuki Roshi" - Huston and Kember Smith.

(1:11:31) Richard Baker: Niwa Roshi and Katagiri Roshi, Moriyama Roshi, domo arigato gozaimas. There is no easy way to be a teacher or a disciple though it must be the greatest joy in this life. No easy way to come to a country without Buddhism and leave it having brought many disciples well along the path - priests, laymen and thousands of persons throughout this country whose lives have been changed by him in the last thirteen years. And started and nurtured by him, a monastery, community, and practice centers in California and many other places in the United States.
He brought us Buddha - himself, and an understanding of Buddha which included us. There was room for everyone. He knew himself that well. He brought us dharma - such a thorough understanding and living of the teaching that grasses, trees, flowers, tables did actually teach us. He brought us sangha - the traditional, ancient Buddhist community, with a full sense of how to live through Buddha's tradition, learning from his own Japanese culture, and including our culture, through which Buddhism must find its expression. But this "no easy way", this extraordinary accomplishment, rested easily with him, for he gave us, from his own true nature, our true nature. In Hazel Paget's funeral ceremony, and Trudy Dixon's funeral ceremony, he spoke of three minds: joyful mind, the joy of Buddha's mind in all conditions; compassionate mind, which includes all of us without any idea of self; and big mind, as big as a mountain, deep as an ocean, without discrimination, penetrating fully and exactly, one with everything simultaneously.
Through the intimate and unconditioned relationship of teacher and disciple, he left us intimate with Buddha and ourselves. He left as much as any man can leave, everything essential, the mind and heart of Buddha, the practice of Buddha, the teaching and life of Buddha. He is here - he is her in each one of us, if we want him, and in the life here, which was his life work, to allow us to continue. Let us do everything possible to allow his passage, in many forms, to be complete, treating each other as Buddha. Let us each be reborn now, let us realize our own true nature.
At the beginning of Buddha's nirvana sesshin, just after the bell and the first period of zazen beginning, our great teacher, Suzuki Shunryu Daiosho joined Buddha. He passed with decision and gentleness. A few days before he died, when it was difficult for him to speak, I asked him, "Where will we meet you?" A small hand came out from underneath the covers, made a small bow, and drew a circle in the air.


--Tape stops and restarts--

Speaker [describing the forms for the assembly offering incense]: The students will be coming up in two rows to these boxes. One row will start from this side, will come down here, and go up (?) The other row will start from here and go up here. And you will pass around, begin the incense thing (?) and go out the back door. [Various people talking] People who are sitting in chairs and meeting with the elders of Sokoji who have shoes on (?) will offer incense here, and the incense offer (two or three words unclear). There is coffee, tea and some refreshments in the dining room. If you leave (two or three words unclear), please leave through that door.