Given by Suzuki Roshi on Thursday, August 13, 1970
About this talk
This is the end part of 71-08-13.
Transcript:Okay? Maybe [laughs], I think-- does it make some sense to you? Student B: [2-3 words] I can see the idea that [4-6 words]-- SR: Yeah. Yeah. That is enough. Student B: -- the idea of a vacuum-- SR: Yeah. Student B: [1-2 words] the fact that I am even telling you about it-- SR: Yeah. Uh-huh. Yes. Student B: -- it would take a lot of discussion, first of all. I don't know if [1-2 words]. SR: Yeah, I know. Anyway, old fox appeared [laughs], right here. So we have to discuss about the old fox. It appeared last time and still, you know, almost vanished [laughs]-- almost. If you practice zazen tomorrow evening, it will go [laughs, laughter]. Something like that, okay? It is impossible to, you know, to explain it fully. It is not something which is possible to explain from the beginning. Some-- some question? Hai. Student C: Roshi [4-6 words]. SR: Uh-huh. Student C: -- and in my mind I get some pictures and they're [4-6 words]. SR: Uh-huh. Student C: -- and I try to get rid of them so that I don't have any picture of what it is. SR: Mm-hmm. Student C: Then I don't feel that I have any understanding of what it means when you say “emptiness.” SR: Yeah. Student C: So both ways it seems like there is not right or not left. Is there some other way? SR: Mmm. [Laughs.] Some other way, you know, is practice. You have to, you know, you have to be trying to figure out intellectually what it is from various points, you know, comparing one understanding of emptiness to another understanding of emptiness, because we use many words, you know: symbolic words, first principle, buddha-nature, or emptiness. Each time, why we apply that various words is to destroy various idea of, you know-- special idea of emptiness. So real understanding of emptiness is-- you should be-- you should experience what is emptiness rather than idea, you know. That is, you know, in Rinzai that is kensho. Even though it is not so big, once you have kensho, you know, you have taste of it, which is not words. And shikantaza-- in shikantaza you have also taste of emptiness by actual-- through actual experience, or else it doesn't makes much sense, you know. If I talk about it, it is already a kind of philosophy. Our teaching should be philosophical, but philosophy doesn't reach to the reality; it is still words, and result of thinking mind. But if you understand this kind of thought-- Buddhist thought, your practice will be more and more concentrated on important point, or else you-- your practice will be, you know, lost in various direction. You will go round and round same place, or you will go in wrong direction. And there are so many directions, so you will be lost. So, in that way, for long, long time-- long, long time ago, Indian philosophers, teachers, you know, discussed about our religious experience: What is real religious experience? And those people were called ronji. So Zen priests or teachers of various schools of Buddhism were at the same time a kind of ronji-- a kind of philosopher who can discuss-- who can discuss the truth with various schools of teacher-- teachers of-- of various schools. And they tried to-- to be concentrated on some important core of religious experience. That is something what I am trying here with you. Okay? You may be confused, I know, because maybe you are trying to understand-- trying to-- maybe you are-- instead of thinking, you know, by yourself, you try-- you depend on, or you are trying to understand what I mean. But what I am trying is to destroy your, you know, various wrong idea of practice. That is the difference. I know you-- you have various, you know, obstacles. So to get rid of those obstacles from your mind is my purpose of lecture. Do you understand? Because you may have so many ideas, you know, so that is not what I mean-- that is not what I mean. This is-- this is wrong, and you take off, you know, various obstacles from your mind, so that we can [be] concentrated [on] more-- most important point, so that you can trust yourself, trust your buddha-nature which you have. Okay? I am not trying to give you any idea, but I-- I am explaining something by your words [laughs]-- not my words, by your words. I am using your words, but what I mean is something more than that. Thank you very much.