Thursday, December 14, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Shunryu Suzuki (1904 – 1971)


Japanese Zen master of the Soto school, who played a major role in establishing Buddhism in America.
Shunryu Suzuki
When we do not expect anything we can be ourselves. That is our way, to live fully in each moment of time.
Suzuki quotes
So I say, ‘Oh, I am sorry but soon you will see the bright sunrise every morning and beautiful sunset in the evening, every evening, but right now perhaps you…under your situation it may be impossible to see the beautiful sunset or bright sunrise, or beautiful flower in your garden, and it is impossible to take care of your garden, but soon you will see the beauty of the flowers and you will cut some flowers for your room.’ When you start to do this kind of thing you are alright. Don’t worry a bit. It means when you become you, yourself, and when you see things as they are, and when you become at one with your surrounding, in its true sense, there is true self.
Suzuki
After you have practiced for a while, you will realize that it is not possible to make rapid, extraordinary progress. Even though you try very hard, the progress you make is always little by little. It is not like going out in a shower in which you know when you get wet. In a fog, you do not know you are getting wet, but as you keep walking you get wet little by little. If your mind has ideas of progress, you may say, "Oh, this pace is terrible!" But actually it is not. When you get wet in a fog it is very difficult to dry yourself. So there is no need to worry about progress.




Suzuki Shunryu quotes
When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.
Suzuki Shunryu
"The basic teaching of Buddhism is the teaching of transiency or change. That everything changes is the basic truth for each existence. No one can deny this truth and all teaching of Buddhism is condensed within it. This is the teaching for all of us. Wherever we go this teaching is true. This teaching is also understood as the teaching of selflessness. Because each existence is in constant change, there is no abiding self.
Shunryu Suzuki quotes
Nothing we see or hear is perfect. But right there in the imperfection is perfect reality.
Shunryu Suzuki
It is a big mistake to think that the best way to express yourself is to do whatever you want, acting as you please. This is not expressing yourself. If you know what to do exactly, and you do it, then you can express yourself fully.
Suzuki Shunryu quotes
What is true zazen? What do you mean by Zen becomes Zen and you become you? You become you is a very important point. You become you. When you become you, even though you are in bed, you may not be you most of the time. Even though you are sitting here, I wonder whether you are you in its true sense. So to be you is zazen.
Suzuki
You should rather be grateful for the weeds you have in your mind, because eventually they will enrich your practice.
Suzuki Shunryu
Instead of respecting things, we want to use them for ourselves and if it is difficult to use them, we want to conquer them.
Shunryu Suzuki
You may say you attained some stage in your practice. But that is just a trivial event in your long life. It is like saying the ocean is round, or like a jewel, or palace. For a hungry ghost the ocean is a pool of blood; for a dragon the ocean is a palace; for a fish it is his house; for a human being it is water. There must be various understandings. When the ocean is a palace, it is a palace. You cannot say it is not a palace. For a dragon it is actually a palace. If you laugh at a fish who says it is a palace, Buddha will laugh at you who say it is two o'clock, three o'clock. It is the same thing.




Shunryu Suzuki quotes
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's there are few.
Shunryu Suzuki
Zazen practice is the direct expression of our true nature. Strictly speaking, for a human being, there is no other practice than this practice; there is no other way of life than this way of life.
Suzuki quotes
Real Freedom is to not feel limited when wearing this Zen robe, this troublesome formal robe. Similarly, in our busy life we should wear this civilization without being bothered by it, without ignoring it, without being caught by it.
Suzuki Shunryu
The purpose of studying Buddhism is not to study Buddhism but to study ourselves. You are not your body. You are the Big Activity. You are just expressing the smallest particle of the Big Activity. That is all. But when you become attached to a temporal expression of the Big Activity, it is time to talk about Buddhism.
Suzuki Shunryu quotes
Practice does not mean that whatever you do, even lying down, is zazen. When the restrictions you have do not limit you, this is what we mean by practice….
When you sit, you will sit. When you eat, you will eat…. If you say,”It doesn’t matter,” it means that you are making some excuse to do something in your own way with your small mind. It means that you are to some particular thing or way. That is not what we mean when we say, “Just to sit is enough,” or “Whatever you do is zazen.” Of course, everything you do is zazen, but if so, there is no need to say it.
Shunryu Suzuki
There are, strictly speaking, no enlightened people, there is only enlightened activity.
Shunryu Suzuki quotes
The true purpose of Zen is to see things as they are, to observe things as they are, and to let everything go as it goes. Zen practice is to open up our small mind.
Shunryu Suzuki
If you take pride in your attainment or become discouraged because of your idealistic effort, your practice will confine you by a thick wall.
Suzuki Shunryu
So it is not a matter of whether it is possible to attain Buddhahood, or if it is possible to make a tile a jewel. But just to work, just to live in this world with this understanding is the most important point, and that is our practice. That is true zazen.


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