June 9th, 2004, Serial No. 04081

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intention

evening
pretty nice to see all of you see me
ha
he always were kind enough to bring water and i always forget to drink it so i read your ticket

in a lecture that
he may have given it tassajara we may have given in this room
suzuki roshi said this
a monastery is not some particular place whether you can make tassajara a monastery or not is up to you it may be even worse than city life even know you are in tassajara but when you have the wisdom of the president park media sutra even though you
we're in san francisco that is the perfect monastery this point should be fully understood
kind of interesting
that this was interesting he said this you know bank and sixty seven
let me read it again
a monastery is not some particular place
whether maybe he was a tessa sahar whether you can make tassajara a monastery or not is up to you
so
the monastery is not exactly the physical place at tassajara something else
what is that
it may even be worse than citywide even though you are in tassajara well that's kind of discouraging
im having have you have been to trust her
okay so i'm talking to them to the initiated here
so you could have been saying this to you at her and here you are in the city so i suspected they might be a crew of you that for whom this would be relevant but when you have the wisdom of the project part of me to sutra the heart sutra
even though you are in san francisco that is the perfect monastery

actually what i wanted to talk about tonight is another lecture on a similar topic that secure as she gave on a story important as and story every day mind is the dow
this is one of about forty or forty three by my account
colin commentaries that suzuki roshi gave that we have know about that we've recorded
so i consider these the oral teaching of this lineage of this house
about the tradition and in my sense of teacher training
some of what you have to master these forty four forty five cases and some other things but this is one of the most important an important for suzuki roshi but before i get to that
let me give you a little context
he starts the lecture not about that a suzuki roshi issues way part of what this story
elucidates his way of teaching cause
and
you never know it can be getting to the extra that it's going to go that way the lecture starts out he's talking about some particular person at tassajara the first thing we hear about him is that it was winter and he came to the zendo in a very thin shirt
can they have you tried this
nobody's admitting to it i did
it's important to try everything exam and that's one of the things you try you know you you read this and literature and you hear stories about people who have braved the heat and cold you have stories like tucson's
heat so anyway this this person came in the wintertime with no almost no clothing and suzuki roshi asked him why he was doing that
and it's not clear that part of the story but anyway this is the person
this person and then a little later on he comes to suki roshi and asks if he can leave tassajara and this is what suzuki or as she says about it

now i want this is his english so i'm going to kind of help him along here now i want to come back to the discussion between a student and me he said he wanted to have vacation or go to see someone and he wanted to leave tassajara for one week he doesn't say
this but the senses the guy was very upset about having to leave his practice that he will be leaving
real zen practice in having to take this unfortunate
detour from real practice and suzuki roshi said i wanted to know why why feels that way and at last i found out he he had a a rigid or strictly he was strictly attached you are strictly observing the tassajara way
he he observed the strictly with the idea that tassajara ways the right way and not even two for one day not to be at tassajara as some laps or some mistake you get the feeling of this
so suzuki roshi said he his practice in other words was involved in right or wrong right practice or wrong practice
so
that's the prelude to his beginning to talk about everyday mind is the down so the cohen emerges
it comes to mind in the teachers talk out of an actual encounter that could have been with any one of us any one you very familiar ah kind of practice issue what is right practice what what is practice anyway what is doing good practice
it's and and so it sounds like as the lecture goes on that he's turning to talk about some zen story but actually present story has already happened it's already in in the situation and the actual is and stories about nonsense the teacher and joe shoe as a young a student
it just like this tassajara student but the actual story is the young tassajara student and
suzuki roshi

let me read this initial passage just one more time i think it's very interesting a monastery is not some particular place whether you can make tassajara a monastery or not is up to you
well as to stop and consider that per minute
when you go to tassajara sahar as you know there's very careful strict way of doing everything the schedule how you do things how you eat with our yogi there's lots of regulations and lots of forms so it may seem as though if you can just managed to master
those details of monastic life that should be good monastic practice but somehow it's not quite so into zucker oh she's mine he says whether or not you can make tassajara monastery or not is up to you it may be even worse than city life even though you are in tassajara but when you have the wisdom of
of the project part of me to sutra even though you were in san francisco that is the perfect monastery well you're all in san francisco so i asked you have you found this perfect monastery of which he speaks clearly the point here is the actual monastery
is not something external it doesn't depend on exactly on the situation although if we take that
if we start sticking to that side then why is it important to go to tassajara why should it matter should be able to just do it here or anywhere but know obviously tassajara is extremely important it's a great treasure and suzuki roshi was very put a lot of energy into making that monastery happen and spent most of his time
they're so obviously it's very important to be there and and yet
it may be even worse than city life i found this passage from go again from the zooey monkey
that i'll also read because it speaks to this similar point
dogan says
although the precepts and the eating regulations should be maintained you must not make the mistake of establishing them as a primary importance and of basing your practice on them nor should they be considered a means to enlightenment since they suit the conduct of the zen monk and the style of the true disciple
they are observed to save it they are good however does not make them the most essential teaching this does not mean that you should break the precepts and become dissolute but if you attached to them your view is wrong and you depart from the way
very similar i think to what suzuki roshi said little more like dogan in the way dog and speaks but still
there's something about the true monastery that isn't exactly fully contained in the external features of the monastery
i think that it's important as we develop a buddhist practice and buddhist understanding in the west that we are conscious and remain conscious of our own heritage and our own deep assumptions which let's face it are basically judeo christian and k
there is although it's almost extinct a very old tradition of christian monasticism to
the benedictines for example still practice a monastic tradition
and
one of the three main principles of benedictine monasticism is stability that means you don't leave the monastery you take a vow to stay there and you never go so it's really the place that you practice in becomes essential to your monastic life i don't think
it would make sense to say that i've been addicted mug can be a benedictine monk anywhere they have to be in the in the cloister
obedience is another important christian principle you have to strictly obey the rules and regulations of the monastery
i'm in poverty is the third grade brow for christian monastics suzuki roshi said more than once that he was concerned i think the way he put it was if you left us alone too long we turn this into some kind of christianity that's what he said so
he had his own sense of what christianity was and i never really got a chance to hear in detail what it was he was married to a christian who became a buddhist when she married him but i mean certainly there was christianity in japan and he was very familiar with it so maybe he was speaking a little bit too
the kind of you know we'd bring
very few of us are born into xin although my son was but we mostly were not so we come to this with
already some fairly established assumptions based on are reading our heritage and actually our psyche the way we look at things in the way we understand things so getting back to this encounter between the strict ah sahara student and suzuki roshi
on
suzuki roshi felt there was something not quite developed or not quite right about the person's understanding of tassajara and i'll read you in a minute what he says but i think it would also be a mistake to criticize this person too much
the spirit is very good mean when i i probably knew the person i don't know who it was wish i did and there were several people who did the thin shirt thing and other sorts of aesthetic stuff seeing on the big rock all night out by the creek they're behind the dining room that was a favorite thing to do
i won't tell you some of the things that i did
anyway you probably have all done things to it's part of the mischievous and also intense quality of monastic life and actually it's pretty okay that's part of what it's therefore and you can try those things out and i would venture to suggest that probably when suzuki roshi was young
as a monk he did those sorts of things to so he's partly speaking about himself
this notion that well if i'm at tassajara i'm really doing practice but if i'm not something has slipped ah
this triggers in suzuki roshi his mind the more formal teaching part of his lecture which all now
read

anyway he said i'm going to explain this on now you can read this go on its case nineteen of memon khan but i like to read it the way suzuki she told him it's always interesting to see it told orally rather than to read the way it is because it originally was just an oral story
joe shoe asked his teacher nonsense what is the doubt what is the way
and his teacher answered everyday mind is the way
and joe you asked again how do i accord with the dow how do i follow the down that was joshua question in nonsense said if you try to follow the dow the more you try to follow the dow the more you will lose the dow
then he last
and an onsen continued the true power of practice does not belong to the matter of attaining it the matter of whether you are aware of it or not aware of it or whether you attain it or not attain it if your practice goes beyond the manner of attaining or not attaining
your mind will be like the boundless blue sky
and you will have no problem in your everyday life
what is the dow in nonsense answered every day mind is the dow
it's very important in studying these coins not to be too
a vassal about the language
it's important to read enough commentaries to understand was really being said
well there's a couple of ways this story is usually understood one of them is oh well just the ordinary way i am is the dow so everything's okay i can just live my life be who i am
that i don't need to waste too much time on that understanding because i think most of your beyond that but that's one way to understand it is a kind of
ah beat san or something you know everything's okay everyday minus the dow a more yogic way to understand the story is
oh it's every day mind not some samadhi mind or not some specials as in mind or some enlightened mind just ordinary mind so this speaks more reason i say it's yoga is because ah
those of us who practice zazen
particularly in the early years you go to the zendo you sit sessions and you feel different there than you feel you'd go out into the world and so you think well that in the world that's my everyday mind and how i experience in zazen or says she and that's my zazi in mind so what he's saying is the dow is
is that every day mind as opposed to the zazi and might as though there were some difference that's a common understanding or misunderstanding of the story too

in the
she'll be on the commentary on this muon con case ah he says that more literally the chinese means ah
the every day mind that isn't involved in discrimination maybe a better translation might be basic mind or fundamental mind or
mine in its in its
ordinary in the sense of just fundamental before you start thinking about something so
every day mind every day mind in the sense that
the mind it's always with you every day
not ah
just you're distracted or emotional mind but some
well you know it
zucker she gives us some guidance about how to look at coins he said and this is his particular i think way of approaching these stories so i think it's important to understand that the koran on he said is not something to explain why we talk about it is to give some suggestion about how to practice
as zaza it is a suggestion we don't talk about what the on means directly we give you just a suggestion and then you work on the con that is how we explain cohen and how you listen to the call on so you must not think if you remember what i said or if you understand what i said there's no
no need for you to solve the con i'm not trying to explain what everyday mind is or what is down but through this con i want to give you some suggestion about how to practice she can tasa
so suddenly she can cause that comes up you will know this term means usually translated just to sit she can
is a compound word in chinese that means just are only and za means sit like saas in and ta doesn't mean anything at tommy's tar it means like ah means to hit or something it's it's usually in the dictionaries that says it's an intensive
so tom just makes it more like that so taj eyes like wow you know really saw in i'm not just regular som but really saw so taza but we have to be a little careful because
i know some of you are studying some of the meditation texts like for cons is anti this practice period is that right yes no yes
the text that i like the most is the zazi mg which is a much simpler shorter text that the dogan later expanded it into the for kinds of sankey there is a line in both texts which says that zazen is beyond sitting or lying down you can
nerd that that wine remember that maybe it isn't in the for cons of thank you but it's in this sng it is okay good beyond sitting or lying down what this is referring to is that you know in in care about buddhism very the for postures sitting standing or
walking and lying down which essentially are supposed to describe the entirety of human life you're always in one of those or posture so
the troop disciple of a true practitioner is thoroughgoing in practice in each of the for postures but dogan says essentially zazen is not one of the for postures
she contacted is not referring to za of she contessa doesn't refer to one of the for postures so what is that all about obviously if you are sitting were all sitting were sitting not standing so how can it not refer to one of the fort for pastures so something about this story
of everyday mind is the dow is the path is the way to practice it relates to this sense of
zazen is not one of the for postures are not sitting or lying down

i think suzuki roshi felt that this you know he had certain
the early zen masters and certain stories that kept coming up in his teaching again and again and this was one of them
he talked about dogan alive and
i know we're not in tassajara now
and he
often sounded like a regular sodo priests talking about dogan in japanese and but actually when he really lit up is when he was talking about the first three or four generations of zen
from the ivy from the six patriarch so joe shoe so the horse master he loved his on the cook he loved
ah
and non-gaap coup and he talked about those people at like they were his family and like they were his buddies are cousins or something he was very keen and it's a even says it's in mind beginner's mind that after the sixth patriarch is an became more and more impure and how if you remember that passage from his
and so he really liked the pure quality of these early teachers and so this story appeal to him greatly because it is universal and it comes up in the wife of zen practice universally so this story about the student at tassajara is everybody's story it's your story all have you been there
even though he's been dead for thirty years he's speaking to you directly he didn't give this lecture in japan he didn't give it a in india he gave it here in this center in this place so he's talking directly to all of you and
it sounds very relaxed and very kindly but actually there's some some strictness and some real fire underneath the surface of this talk if you can feel it
it's actually rather tough medicine to say that
as he does that even if you're it in the city maybe to tassajara can be worse than than the city and even if you're in the city you can have a perfect monastery it really puts it much more on you and the the story about the guy with the to with the thin shirt
what happens in the actual course of practice is that over and over and over again we form some notion of what it is
now when you think oh gosh you know last year i didn't have any i was totally wrong but now i've really i'm really settling and now i've really got it you know
and then the next year you think oh well i thought i had it but you know that was i was so diluted now i'm really getting it you know and that happens over and over again we're trying always
to turn it into something conceivable and it's natural it's human nature to do that
i remember once myself maybe it was second or third year of practice i got a few moments alone with category since a at that time you
teacher it's and center and i poured my heart out to him and said oh kind of gary i just don't know what to do and i don't i don't have everything i thought about practices collapsed and i'm totally confused and i just i don't have any idea about anything and i don't know what's going on something like that
non anyway
if none of you have ever said or thought anything like that then okay but anyway that was but that was what but pretty much what i said and he just smiled at me
and that was all but it was a specific kind of smile
it was a like
good
okay now you're starting to get somewhere kind of thing and maybe a little bit
i know exactly how you feel you know yep that's the way it is keep at it it's going to happen again it's okay you know so there was some i mean it was it was a very complicated smile and part of it was searched thoroughly my projection but there was a quality of appreciation
one of my effort there was a quality of you silly boy
there was a quality of
ah
encouragement
and also the fact that he didn't try to add anything to my confusion or trying to clear it up
all of that you know just
yeah
like that and it was very encouraging i felt i felt like after i left you know how it is your first few joke signs you feel all charged up and then you leave it takes you a while to figure out what happened
i felt pretty encouraged and i felt like basically
what i did expressed was just okay the way it was and of course that was only in the first couple of years as time went on
that experienced to happened many many times over and over so this is a story like that too
zucker she's fairly explicit actually about how he felt it out the person

so he said this person was involved in right or wrong right practice or wrong practice
ah

this is not the right place

i didn't agree with his idea suzuki roshi said or i didn't agree with his rigid practice what is true practice through practice is not in the realm of this is true practice and this is not true practice to practice is beyond the idea of right and wrong beyond experience
beyond any human suggestion

it is not something to describe maybe we call it emptiness or sometimes toilet paper
there's a call on about that you know
someone once asked to mine about buddha and he said it was toilet paper who are actually what he said was pretty much more raw than that
he secure as she said sometimes cats sometimes spots whatever it is you know it's another name of something which cannot be described that is true enlightenment when
when you have it you may say everyday life is the true way even toilet paper may be true way so
part of what this story in this coin is about is about
the conceivable in the inconceivable
i'm beginning to feel more and more as i see the world and see our country and see how people think and feel and how they respond to things that there's basically two ways to go in religion the conceivable where the inconceivable
and most people go for the conceivable
because it's conceivable
and
it's almost impossible to even talk about the inconceivable but sometimes we try sometimes nonsense try sometimes suzuki roshi try sometimes i try sometimes you'd try
xi'an is squarely on the side of the inconceivable
but as a consequence of that we're constantly falling off that narrow cliff
into some form of conceive ability maybe something fairly elementary like tassajara good city bad i mean it comes across that way a little bit but you know when you live there i remember the first time i came out from tassajara after the practice period and
sure many of you have the same experience it was unbelievable
to drive out that road after three months in those in that valley
and noticed that there was smog and cars and noise and the twentieth century and the whole show and you know i absolutely fell the way this person did i'm leaving
the most marvelous place in the world and i'm coming back into big time some sora and i just want to go back
this is what he's talking about that's a kind of big mistake actually but it's okay to i mean there's something very beautiful about that and we start the with the reason there is tassajara is because it's very hard to even have that experience or have that feeling to make that kind of necessary mistake if there isn't some place
like tassajara
so it's absolutely necessary and to say it's a mistake is even a mistake
it's just a
one of the
one of the terrains of practice that you go through

i want to come back a little bit to this question about
the feeling in the zendo into feeling on the street
ah it's a similar kind of issue
you have the feeling well the feeling in the zendo is the taste of practice and if i could just bottle that feeling and be able to sip it when i'm on the street you know you get it back or if i just said sauce and enough i
be able to be that way all the time and i wouldn't have to you
go in and out of that you know just if it were more stable i can
then it would be perfect but maybe one way of understanding this lecture is to think oh what he's saying is that if your practice is strong enough if your zazen is strong enough you can bottle it and carry it on your back and douse yourself with it every so often and be okay
not quite so not quite so
the everyday mind
the the basic mind let's call it basic mind the basic mind that you always everyday mind means the basic line that you always have every day
doesn't need to be bottled
you are the bottle
ah and so you're always walking around inside that mine wherever you go
ah
so that's why she can taza which looks like it says just to sit doesn't really have anything to do with city per se it has to do with the basic mind
which it just so happens
and begins begins to emerge when you cross your legs and straighten your back and put the tongue on the roof of your mouth
it's not that anything emerges there comes out is that the other things that are distracting you from the dow that are taking you far from the dow can drop away and you can come to rest in the place you already are and that is the perfect monastery
if you need to be in tassajara to have the perfect monastery what will you do when you're dying
what will you do when you're in great pain what will you do when someone you love is in great pain what will you do when you have a stroke and you can't think straight i mean
this is worth thinking about
so
you might say maybe tassajara is a
practice gym
further for the main event and the main event
doesn't take place in the practice gm necessarily it takes place where it takes place so we should honor the the great opportunity a lot of people work very hard and don't need though a lot of labor money and all sorts of things for tassajara to exist
and in all likelihood it will exist for a long time but it may not it may burn down tomorrow it almost did wants and we should be prepared for that we should prepare be prepared for anything to happen and
if it disturbs us if we feel so it's something's being taken from us that's just a good signal that we need to have
release more of our
conceivable notions about practice and come to rest in the inconceivable
but even though i say so and if i were listening to myself talk
in saying these things on i wouldn't get it
there's no way to you in the end there's no way to express her describe this realm accept like category did with me just as smile and encourage you to go forward
dead encouragement is basically ah
wow what i think zucker she was trying to do in this talk and i guess what i'm trying to do as well here

it's hard to recapture after all this time how much he cared for all of us in how much he respected us and what i feel in even though he supposedly criticizes the student with a thin shirt you couldn't bear to leave tassajara i can sense the deep respect
act that the teacher had for him just like you can sense in the story of nonsense and joe shoe it looks like maybe joe she doesn't know and nonsense does that's one way of looking into store but that's not exactly right either
so i think at this point i'd like to hear from some of you
i've met many of you and i've talked to you but not in this way so do any of you have anything you'd like to bring up her ad or
discuss
yes ren
keeping is there a difference between
can
she asked about zazen and she can taza
well
she controls it is it comes from the chinese and tradition dogan didn't make it up
and he didn't actually use that term very much
he liked another term better which is usually translated as dropping a way of body and mind

the first sentence of zheng jie says the practice of zen as sauce
now it's easy to skip by that and not notice that it's a very interesting opening gambit the practice of zen is as in
what does the word zan in that statement what does he mean he's in something different from size in and the word zazen is just the word to sit and then the words in so sits in so the practice of zen and sauce and it doesn't actually say anything if you look at closely
ha ha so he's using the word xin almost like the way that in this story they use the word dow dow you know they took that from chinese spirituality down means the way or the path but
it actually means something more like bodie or nirvana or enlightenment or something like that down so that the chinese buddhists took their own spiritual worried and kind of crafted it re crafted it to translate words that in sanskrit seem too abstract to them or to intellectual and
dow down means like the water flowing down the way water flows you know it means a path like a gully or something you know so to practice in is zazen it's like
the dow the practice of the dow is is zazen but the more he starts to open up and it's true and that pecans is sangeet to the word zazi and also starts to disappear and it ends up meaning something like down also it doesn't just mean
you know it's not just the sitting posture it means something inconceivable you know so i don't know if that approach is that she can taza also doesn't mean anything it just means really truly completely utter we really sick but now not sitting posture which is
to really sit so if these words are kind of their joy see and their kind of almost playful when you actually penetrate them and i think what it really means is
it just encourages you to go do it and the doing of it is it not the the words so none of these words mean anything outside of the of the actual experience of doing it and then when you do it if somebody asks you to talk about it
it's hard
you know the deeper you go the harder it is to actually say you know what your experience is and that's part of why the the the entire colon literature is a kind of
ah you know it has a flavor you can't quite get your are your hands around you know in that flavor is the language that emerges when you sit first and talk later rather than trying to talk about it and then come to sit i don't know if that makes any sense but you know
something like a poem you know you can't really understand a poem and less you are willing to enter the inner space of the poet in kind of replicating your own
the body or something what the ceiling was it's something we give what's that phrase from ts eliot about shoddy tools
ah yeah rarely separates the poetry
was like
i said
trying to reach into the inconceivable with shabby
right
i think that it's very good
shabby equipment
my even language
where it shabby equipment i mean you know shabby equipment can be very beautiful too you know like an old car or something
somebody else you had a something
i was struck me what you said missouri exchange of category and that's just because i am
hubspot and wondering
i'm wondering if you said that haven't during that kind of state many times sure
you asked me reliable
yeah yeah the
reliable
she one lines of it's true monastery
the baby
the disorient and

i'm not sure exactly some something
i don't live on can
fundamental
get the person
that's just stand
all times
what this oriented is kind of interesting actually
what does that what does that mean i mean what is oriented what would you what would you think of is oriented
i don't know
well i mean think of a time in your life where you fell oriented just kind of say what that felt like i guess
school in other as gradually car has a direction it was clear that happen
right and so disoriented is not being like that

well it's really okay
this orientations of a lot more reliable than you might think that actually you know so i guess part of what i'm saying is
learn to be comfortable with it because there's a lot in it
there's something
deeply true about being disoriented and
you know our tendency is to want to come back to orientation because that's where we feel we've got some place to stand but maybe you could going back to rennes question you could say that one of the way she could discuss or to find zazen is the willingness to be disoriented
more and more
anyway disoriented oriented to what you know it's worth pursuing her investigating that i think more
so someone else
yes
how about that
oh no i get
mean it he developed me know what kind of what are those living
if you a hand with that
right and wrong yeah
right and wrong i think that and before were too critical about that we need to remember that there's something very
orienting about right and wrong and without any sense of right and wrong people were monsters their killer rapes they do terrible things
beyond belief you know so right and wrong i think has been a very important stage of human consciousness into very important stage in a buddhist understanding to that's why we have precepts
you know it helps you understand
kind of how to behaved
but
this whole story is about i mean he explicitly says this student was caught up in some notion of right or wrong right practice wrong practice tassajara good world bad you know that kind of thing
i think that
it's important for us to realize how deeply deeply embedded that sense of right or wrong or cognitive thinking is in our psyche has western people
the difficulty we have with ambiguity with this orientation with gray zones with not quite knowing what's going on with
shadows and fog all of that you know
this is the this is the realm where buddhism emerges from you know and i think that
if you go to an asian country or go to a place where buddhism spin for a long time
you just have to go there and you get a sense that they put things together differently and there isn't quite that same sense of will we know what's right and we know what's wrong you know maybe that's okay for a child four year old child needs to know no or a dog may be no yes do it this
the way to certain stage but you know we're not practicing conceivable religion anymore here were practicing inconceivable religion and so that sense of right and wrong we we have to work with that and and get a feel for it so something like that you know ah
it's easy to criticize our own tradition or think it's it's
it's wanting or shallow but it's not
you know there there are strands within our own tradition that are very much like this in in there are strands within buddhism that are very much like christianity if you go to most buddhist temples in the world what you will see or people praying to amitabha buddha for a better life just like people would go to church here
so what we're doing here is unusual in any religion so that's kind of what i was thinking i said

no one else
he sent me look like you're almost going to say something kid
now