Saturday Evening Lecture
Tape VIII (?) Side 1 Sat eve lecture (1 - 60); Side 2 Sat eve lecture (1-15?)
Tape operator (Richard Baker): Saturday night lecture, beginning at 6:15, by either Reverend Suzuki or Bishop Sumi.
SR: (opening words missed) Bishop Sumi for this sesshin. As we did last night, maybe good idea to ask you some questions and I will answer briefly for the question, and after that you may ask some more questions, you know. In this way we can extend our discussion wider and wider. I think this is, maybe we -- our discussion will be more successful I think. So if you have some question, please ask me. And then we will have many questions after my answer and we'll ask Bishop Sumi to answer for your questions.
Student A: Sensei, if our eye moves to the clacker before it sounds, is it already too late?
SR: Excuse me?
Student A: If our eye moves...
Student A: If our eye moves to the clacker...
SR: Eye moves to the cr --
Student A: ... to the clacker, follows the clacker before it strikes...
Student A: ... and it anticipates it, is it already too late?
SR: Already too late? [laughter] Maybe this is a question for Bishop Sumi [laughter].
SR: Do you mean, before -- listen to the sound before it is hit you mean?
Student A: Yes. Does that express wrong understanding to be listening for the sound of the clacker?
SR: Mmm, now I understand what you say. Where -- where your mind is you know, where -- whatever you think, there is something, and that something includes you yourself, your big mind or true nature. So it is already there. That sound you mean I don’t know what do you mean by the sound, but ... i think by sound you mean symbolically the true nature, or big mind, or true you. So if you listen to -- if you want to listen, to your -- to you -- listen to yourself, your own voice, watch the bell before it rings -- it is hit. Is that my answer -- do you think my answer is right? What did you meant? [laughs]
Student A: I don’t know.
SR: You don’t know! [laughs, laughter]
Student A: I think its right. but that’s a matter of faith.
SR: Yeah, that's good. Some more question?
Student B: Is zen a method of achieving enlightenment is that what it is, generally? Zen, or zen buddhism is a method to achieve enlightenment. do you know if it can be achieved through other religions such as Hindu and ... the Tibetan lama type thing? Do you know if it can be achieved through those as a vehicle...
SR: Yeah, ah...
Student B : ... and if it can, what makes zen buddhism exclusive?
SR: Yeah, exclusive, yeah that's right [laughter]
Student B: What makes it exclusive?
SR: That kind of understanding of zen is very narrow understanding of zen. Soto Zen is not so wide (?) -- narrow, you know. Our practice is quite different, as we always discuss about our [traffic noise] Can you hear me?
SR: As we discuss our way, always our way is where you practice it, there is enlightenment you know. But our -- even though you do not expect enlightenment. enlightenment is there. Or we can say, if you expect enlightenment, enlightenment will not be there, and you will never attain enlightenment if you practice that kind of zen, that kind of exclusive zen, because that is -- that is maybe zen practice, we cannot say that is not zen, but that is one of the five school, or one of the eight schools of zen. That is not original zen, transmitted by Bodhidharma or Buddha.
You know, before Bodhidharma there was no zen master; all the -- all the buddhists practiced zen. But more and more --Bodhidharma's zen was not that kind of zen, and after Bodhidharma we have many and many types of zen, many schools of zen. And each school they all kept family -- we call family characters (characteristics), and this kind of zen is one of the five families' motto(?) of zen. But original zen is to practice zen as a disciple of Buddha, to practice zen as he -- as Buddha, is our practice. That is not just to attain some certain master's type of enlightenment.
Strictly -- strictly speaking enlightenment may not be the same, you know, according to the master. It’s fundamentally the same but there is personal character in it. Without some particular way, original way cannot be expressed, you know, because there is something -- because I am here, I can express the original way through me. (That) Which is expressed through me is some particular type of zen.
If people thinks "my particular zen is zen," what -- how others' zen you know. So there must -- there is clear distinction from true fundamental practice of zen, and exclusive -- some particular schools of (zen). So we -- if we go back to the origin it is the same. And at the same time, by studying more and more philosophically and various ways, we can improve the idea of zen - like Shobogenzo, you know.
That kind of effort is to make it clear -- make the original idea of zen clear, and make clear distinction from some exclusive and particular zen. To make original zen, to make clear original zen from various types of zen. Do you understand? That is our effort. That was not -- I cannot say "our effort," but Dogen Zenji's effort. So by Dogen we could resume to our original zen. So here we have no exclusive idea of zen and at the same time, we have many possibilities. There’s many possibilities of expressing original idea in various ways: you can express Dogen Zenji's spirit in your own way, because we have no exclusive pattern (?) of zen.
What was your question?
Student C: What is satori?
SR: Satori? As I said, you know satori is... It is -- I don’t know what you mean -- what do you mean "what is?" you know. "What is satori?" is a very difficult question to figure out what you -- what kind of answer you expect. "What is satori?" Because satori is, as I explained -- as I explained in various ways, there is no other way to explain some kind of -- various kind of answers to your question. There’s many -- various kinds of answers will be -- should be prepared, you know, from scientific viewpoint, or psychological viewpoint, or from religious viewpoint. You know we cannot say what is satori just from one viewpoint.
Psychologists may say "such and such state of mind is satori," you know, that is psychology -- psychologist may answer in that way. And scientist may say, you know, "satori is the answer which is -- which science cannot answer." That is, to figure out -- to throw apart (?) the problem which science cannot answer is satori - they may say. So, for them it is some -- hypothetical probability is satori.But we cannot believe in scientific probability. So you may -- you will not be satisfied with the scientists' answer. Philospohers may say various ways, you know. So your question is very difficult to answer. So the only way, is, as I talked in this sesshin, to point out the problem -- or our most concerning problem, from various viewpoints. And if those viewpoints -- answer from various viewpoints is not -- are not enough, then what we should do is answer. So according to zen, to -- satori should be attained by practice, you know, by practice. This is true, as you have understood. Intellectual effort will not satisfy, will not (be) goood enough, will not help you. And scientific effort is not enough, or it is quite different effort from -- from the point you want.
If so -- if intellectual, or mental function -- by mental function, it is impossible to attain enlightenment, then to -- by practice or by action -- by actual activity we take, by actual activity, to realize our true nature is the only way which is left. So satori is, anyway, in our -- by our -- will be attained by our practice. Then, how much practice we want to attain satori will be your question [laughs] - one year or two years, or how hard [laughs] will be your question, maybe, or may not be, I don't know.
Student C: Is satori the same thing as enlightenment? Is it another word...
Student C: ... for enlightenment?
SR:Yeah, enlightenment and satori is the same thing. Enlightenment - I don't know whether it is a good translation or not.
Bishop Sumi: I would say, mostly, awareness. Enlightenment must be from Christianity. So mostly say it's the best awareness (one or words unclear).
Student D: Bishop Sumi, what is written on your stick? The words calligraphied (?)
Bishop Sumi: On this?
Student D: Yes.
Bishop Sumi: This is a different calligraph. Means?
Student D: Yes.
Bishop Sumi: You ask what this means?
Student D: What it means, yes?
Bishop Sumi: Er... [laughter] You can read it?
Student D: No.
Bishop Sumi: Nothing to hold one. Nothing -- nothing -- nothing hold on. If you catch something, it must be (tries to say separate?)...
Student D: separate, yes.
Bishop Sumi: Be rid of, from everything (?) So, this is it. If we use this, we rid of (?) Must we change over something? Don't you know?
Student D: Thank you
Bishop Sumi: So very famous zen word, our ancestor (?)
Student D: Thank you.
Student E: Did he tell him (loud traffic) did Bishop Sumi tell him these words, the meaning. (To Bishop Sumi) Did you tell him the meaning of those words now?
Bishop Sumi: You can't understand?
Student E: Did you give him the meaning of those words now?
Bishop Sumi: Yes.
Student E: Did you? [laughter]
Bishop Sumi: And how about to you? And how about to you?
Student E: Me? I don't know.
Bishop Sumi: You can't understand the meaning? You can't understand me?
Student E: But did you give him the meaning of them? I don't know.
Bishop Sumi: Oh, you can't understand?
Student E: You told him the words, but the meaning into it (?) Did you convey your meaning to him?
Bishop Sumi: Yeah.
Student E: Yeah? [laughter]
Bishop Sumi: I already explained.
Student E: Can you convey enlightenment? Can you give -- can you give him your meaning of enlightenment, then?
Bishop Sumi: Oh, this is another question like... [extended laughter] If you are concerning only enlightenment, it must be free of everything. Isn't it?
SR: [laughs] Did you understand? [laughter]
Student E: I got the meaning.
Student: Very good!
Student F: How many different types of zen buddhists are there?
SR: How many different schools?
Student F: Yes.
Bishop Sumi: Fifty-three schools in Japan. Each school has sect. It must be organization. According to famous (?) it must be organized. Not only Buddhism. First time start one unique zen garden(?) and it became (perhaps gestures here) -- so we needed some school and sect, it must be organization....
Student F: What are these schools?
Bishop Sumi: ...on the way to development. You know -- (aside) Excuse me? -- You know in the sutra is one explanation like this: Buddha himself explained one word, but there are many disciples. They accept by his knowledge, and his experience -- through his experience -- each different explanation (?) must be right, do you think so? So one word -- only one word Buddha speak, but disciple accept as he like it or not. This is the same meaning. Organization must be some -- something hateable (?) for you. But it's not fit to me (?). You like, I dislike, like that. Everything must be. So how (to) choose? (At) what point we standing, like Reverend Suzuki explained. So Zen is the same (?) But there is needed some organization. It must be development as a school.
Student G: (mostly inaudible with traffic noise) have a relationship with (?) What part does it play to have a relationship (?)
SR: Pardon me?
Student G: I said what does it mean, I hear ?? talking about the relationship betweeen ??? And I was wondering what exactly is meant by that, and what vows we would chant ??? Or how does it ?? your life ???
SR: I couldn't -- I cannot hear you.
Student G: What do you mean when you say one has this relationship ?? and what...
SR: Could you speak
Student H: Religious
SR: Religious experience? You can...
Student G: And what part does this fulfil in a person's life?
SR: (Aside) Excuse me
Student I: What does it mean to have religious experience - what part does that play in one's life?
SR: Religious experience? What part?
Student J: Yeah, this kind of place (?) is different from what we mostly do (?) [laughter] Like we don't have a religious experience ??? [laughter]
Student G: I mean some people seem to have apparently no need for religious faith or experience (some words lost). And what is religious experience ??
SR: Hmm. [laughs] (aside) Let's see (?)
Bishop Sumi: I would say, life itself is mostly ironical - you say? That's the mean face (main faith?) to religion. It's the direct way to entering one gate. Mostly the gate is all -- always opening. But one could enter. How he want to -- willing to it -- this is a very serious viewpoint for religion. (Aside) You can't understand Japanese poem (?) Door always open, but who enters in? If you willing to enter - or not, it's the important point, extremely important point. Someone called it's religious or not - it's the problem of yourself, no? Your problem is always your problem - it's not mine [light laughter]. You must resolve yourself this point. It's the Zen way. So, sound of Zen meaning oneness includes everything. But we must sort it (?) - chosen - what is ritual for me or not. It meets with my intellectual part or practical part. It's the same need. Generally it will be knowledge itself come outside, but wisdom but be arisen from in the heart of my -- our -- through some experience, or understanding, or realization. This is a separate point, religious or not, isn't it.
Word is very difficult to explain, so that point -- it's not openly we must discuss. To face to face. Sometimes need is some explanation, but sometimes need no one word. Yesterday one gentleman come to my temple and asked me "What is satori?" - that person said enlightenment. He'd read many koan problem, but he don't understand satori itself. He only guess intellectual, through the novel or some sutra. But it is not real. His intellectual point must be preferred (profound?), but his daily life never changed.
It used to say our knowledge in the human life, or theoretical world, already brought out the earth, and our knowledge reached the moon-world -- some spacemen walking maneuver the space world (?) But once we developed our surrounding position, there -- is there many happiness ways (?) or happiness worlds (?) same time arising? No, more ?? or suffering arising surrounding us. What is it? We must ?? right with this point. What is real or not? It is not -- your own question, religious or not?
It's very, very -- always we are running the circle, sure? The starting point is not different, that is. Zen itself must be concerning our daily life - not only idealistic.
Oh, excuse me - Reverend Suzuki [laughs] Please give question, Reverend Suzuki [laughter]. A long time waiting.
SR: Yeah, I've waited for a long time [laughter].
Student K: I have a question, to the question you answered before. You said that we must have organization. And yet American experience is that organization has cut off the search. So the question is, what rules must we apply to the organization... in order to keep going?
Bishop Sumi: (aside) Reverend Suzuki will answer this, okay? [nervous laughter]
SR: What rules?
Student K: Yeah. In other words, if you say we must have organizations, then how -- what principles must we apply in building the organization so that it does not become rigid.
SR: Our organization, you mean, or various schools' organization?
Student K: Yes. You see American -- I'm thinking more of the American situation, where Americans say, we must have organization, and we have lots of organizations [laughter], but no growth.
SR: No growth.
Student L: Remember when you were talking about the Christian church, and you said perhaps it's just ethics, because its dogma cannot be -- because you have to follow this dogma so closely. Well, that's the extreme of organization. Where is the point where, where -- where is the balance between organization and still...
SR: Organization and teaching?
Student L: Well, between organization and still having the flu -- still having the spirit of Buddhism? Not letting it deteriorate into a bunch of rules and...
SR: (Asides in Japanese?) I have (some words unclear)
Bishop Sumi: The Buddhist organization, you don't know, not yet? Oh sorry, you must study more [laughter].
Student M: Does Zen include everything?
Bishop Sumi: Yeah, mostly say (?)
Student M: Does Zen change anything?
Bishop Sumi: Pardon?
Student M: Does Zen change anything?
Bishop Sumi: I couldn't hear.
Student M: Does Zen change anything? Is (name?) still (name?) [laughter]
Bishop Sumi: Oh, you mean the physical or mental?
Student M: Both.
Bishop Sumi: Both. It needed more study both sides [laughter] Then you can realizing how you want.
Student M: It's hard work
Bishop Sumi: Please continue more [laughter] Never stop, never, okay.
Student N: I understood yesterday that Buddha nature pervades all, therefore you can't kill, is this right? I mean you can actually not kill anything, because -- well if that's true, then do Buddhists have a particular idea of re-incarnation? What is it? Re-incarnation - do you believe in it?
SR: Yeah, most of them believe it.
Student N: In what form?
SR: What for?
Student N: How does it occur, the re-incarnation? I mean do they have past lives that they can remember?
Student N: Oh [laughter]
SR: No no.
Student N: No?
SR: No we cannot. I don't, at least [laughter]
Student N: Then they don't believe in re-incarnation, is that right?
SR: Yeah, that's, you know, somewhat scientific, you know, not curiosity, but research. This kind of understanding is -- this kind of ounderstanding of religion is more -- rather scientists who have. For us, those problems is not so serious problem. For instance, we do not talk about "Before this earth" like this, "What was here? What was there? What changed into this earth?" or "What will become of this earth?" This kind of research or question -- the question which scientific mind will have -- to answer those questions is not our -- is not our point. And actually that is -- that is just your intellectual request, or intellectual project.
Student N: Then...
SR: As soon as we start to talk about organization, we will have this kind of problem, you know. "What is the teaching?""What is your rules?" [laughter] But we do not want those rules, you know. Actually we do not have such kind of rules: "As a Buddhist you have to believe in re-incarnation." We don't -- we have no such rules. But Buddhists - most Buddhists - believe in re-incarnation, I think. I am not so sure. This kind of rules is not fundamental rules, and as Zen -- for our sect, the most important thing is the system of the teaching - our system of teaching.
Student O: Isn't your system an organization? (words unclear)
SR: Organization is to -- will be just to help operate those systems of teaching. It is exactly the same as Zen Center, you know. Zen Center helps to operate our teaching. This is our organization.
Student P: You mean it isn't necessarry to ring the bell at a certain time? But it is, for functional purposes?
SR: That is -- that kind of rituals and forms is set up already, and we are observing it - the same way, wherever you go. Even you go to China we can -- you will understand what does the gong mean, and you can do it, as you do in Japan. If you understand -- if you can practice zazen here, you will have not much difficulty. You have, but [laughs] it will help you, at least, because we have the same rules and rituals. This is very important, this kind of thing.
Student P: Supposing I can't hear?
Student P: Supposing I am deaf?
SR: You are deaf? No, no problem, even though. It is not so, you know. There are many deaf teachers, you know, masters.
Student P: But I won't be able to hear the bell though.
Student P: I won't be able to hear the bell, or the teaching.
SR: (words unclear) Everyone goes so you can follow [laughter]
Student Q: But how does the teaching -- how does the bell help? (words unclear)
SR: That's too much to answer...
Student Q: That's too much, yeah
SR: That's too much to answer for me just now, you know. Anyway, you have no problem [laughter].
Of course I think you have no such - I don't want to say tradition but, you have no experience of living in certain tradition. It helps us very much, you know, in some ways.
Student R: Reverend Suzuki, what does it mean to be free of everything?
Student R: (words unclear) ... to be free of everything.
Students (speaking together): To be free.
SR: Free? To be free
Student R: The mind does not stick (?)...
SR: Stick, oh.
Student R: ... free of everything.
SR: Free everyone.
Student R: Free of everything, to not get caught.
Student S: Reverend Suzuki, I made a mistake. He said, free of everything and I thought he said breeze (breathe?)
SR: Free. Oh, free of everything, yeah. [laughter] Free of everything (words unclear)
Student T: That's a good question also: how can you be free of everything, and still carry out your responsibilities moment by moment?
SR: You are doing it [laughter].
Student U: Is she free?
SR: Yeah, you are free - of everything [laughter]. You say you are not free on purpose [laughs]. If you are not free of everything you cannot live. As long as you live, you are free of everything.
Student V: What's living?
SR: That is living.
Student V: What is being free of everything?
SR: That is how to live [laughter].
Student V: What is living, though?
SR: Everyone is living in that way. So if you realize it, you have no suffering.
Student W: Reverend Suzuki, would you explain (words unclear)?
SR: Passivity. I seldom use the word passivity. That's too, you know, too -- that word [asides in Japanese] too negative expression. Passivity is -- when you react better, when you want to react better, passivity wants it. When you are always aggressive, you cannot react. You will not be alerting (?) to react. Reaction -- so that you can react alertly and you can be more positive, you should be passive, and alert, and calm.
Student W: It's not long meditation? It isn't ??
SR: No, no.
Student W: How do you become positive ??
SR: Huh? Oh, you are positive. By nature we are very, very very positive. And when you leave - just positive. When you are left --just positive way, you will not responde to your surroundings so well, because your life will be one-sided. It is like if you [asides] -- it is like ship, on which many people ride. These people ride one-side only, the ship will be [laughs] turned over. So balance this boat, but
Student: Are those people free?
Student: Are those people free if they are one-sided?
SR: You are not free if you are one-sided.
Student: Well, you just said that we're all free - you said I'm free, and she's free. Well supposing I am one-sided.
SR: Oh, yeah, you are one-sided [laughter]
Student: Then I'm not free, apparently.
SR: Oh, you are too free [laughter]
Student: I'm over the edge.
SR: Yeah, you are on the edge. Be careful [laughter]
Student X: Reverend Suzuki, today when Bishop Sumi went around with his stick, I'm sure you all noticed that he hit people two times on each shoulder, whereas you usually do one time on each shoulder, but occasionally two times on one and one time on the other. Is there any symbolic significance to this, or is it a matter of what monastery you come from, or is there any deep meaning in this?
SR: I don't answer. Deep meaning is in it [laughter] Deeper than we can talk.
Bishop Sumi: Is there some story (?)
Student X: Is there a difference in two times and one time?
Bishop Sumi: Both is okay [laughter] It's not wrong. That's all ?? [laughter]
Student X: It has no symbolic significance?
Bishop Sumi: Sometimes it's symbolic - sometimes emphasizing or stressing encouragement. How you accept it, only nervous, strictly (?) No.
Student: Would it be any more symbolic if you hit me five times?
Bishop Sumi: If you like it, I will do it [laughter]. Basically we beat thirty times.
Student: How many?
Bishop Sumi: Thirty times, as a punishment.
Student: As a punishment.
Bishop Sumi: So we have many black spots on the shoulders [laughter]. I didn't aware like that, when I was very young age, elementary school, mostly inspection for health. ?? black point. Doctor surprised, "why temple boys so have many black spots on the shoulder?" Every morning I accept hitting three - thirty times usually. So sometimes cry, but never stop this beating going on. So my knowledge of childhood. Sometimes we used like this [moves away from mic] when we come back [to] the temple we [laughter] but sound must be changed, so master know well what's inside. He grabbed me [laughter] and it's added thirty times more [laughter]. Sixty or ninety times beating [gasps] never never losing. So why don't you feel only one time or two times? No [laughter].
Sometimes we use the Japanese ?? It's a little like a nail combined with -- It's hit inside the flesh! We used it, so I must cry and cry, but beating is going on [laughter]. It's so much we struggle, in the mind, and outside is severe hardness, always struggle with. So at least my tears dry up -- couldn't cry. But it's a nice memory to me [some laughter]. Very very emphasized and distressed (?) to me, after my master died. I don't know why my master did like that, but after his passing away, gradually I growing older, I can face many troubles surrounding us. I -- many many long memory point during my child age. My master hit me so severe. It's something like my answer a question, why twice or one time you beat?
According to my -- to our growing responsibility not to others, we do more responsible to each other, and for all society, the nation, not only to me. Responsibility is mostly needed. It -- many problems must be realizing -- realistic. To result, there's no time to concern to others. When our -- were young, my father and mother covered, but other ones' social life, responsibility directly belongs to me, or to you. So we must decide directly, not to others. In that case, what do you think of? So it's very needed to resolve ourselves when we're facing very serious problems. When willing -- are willing sometimes -- like that point sometimes confused, sometimes confront, but it is my responsibility, or not? So this hard practice, you are feeling particularly most disheartened (?) but after deep training, how you can feel ?? It's not real joy? This is the experience, a very nice experience.
So each -- encourage you, when you face some trouble, which to -- to resolve yourself. That's beyond others. Our future always facing, and we always standing, this one point. The way is always opening two sides. We are sometimes "which way we should go? Right way, left way? There we can find a rule which [Tape ends here]