Causality

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SF-05093-J

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Suzuki lecture 6pm Weds Track 2, continued on Track 3

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Transcript SDH and PF 1/22

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David Chadwick's notes:

File name: 66-08-17N: untitled traffic and weird. [Verbatim transcript not available. (Sound problem.)] Changed "giggles" to "laughs" 1-5-2017, dc.

Transcript: 

The topic about causality -- causality. We believe in causality, but our way of believing in cause and effect -- theory of cause and effect is not the same as people -- ordinary people believe in it.

Before we talk about -- or before we discuss about the causality, we -- we saw two viewpoints of life. One is just mechanical way of understanding of existence. Another is like determinism, to believe in some results. Nowadays, people apply those two view of life, but without any clear understanding of it, so sometimes they believe in determinism; sometimes they believe in a liberation which is quite mechanical.

So those who believe in mechanism, they -- their way of life is very primitive (?), and very literalistic in its ordinary sense -- very naive understanding of our life. So, they want -- here they want vast freedom. They have no time to consider -- to take their -- to take others' liberty. They just insist on their own liberty. This is -- this kind of attitude of life is based on mechanical way of -- mechanical understanding of life. According to mechanical understanding -- the mechanical understanding of life, strictly speaking as we saw, based on time -- idea of time -- discontinuity. And determinism is based on idea of continuity -- idea of time discontinuity -- many things exist -- things exist as one of many.

Here we have no idea -- idea of time, even, you know. If we have continuity of time, we are not free. That time is continuous means the change of things, change of forms and colors in certain way. So, everything -- if everything is changing, in certain way, each existence has no freedom. Each one of them should change into something else, whether they like it or not. [laughs] It is impossible -- impossible to remain obtaining some certain character always. That is impossible.

But actually, things are changing, so we have no freedom. But when we believe in just -- mechanically in this way, we have -- we will find out that we have no freedom, even though we seek for freedom, it is impossible to have freedom. But usually, we do not -- our understanding does not reach so far. They just insist -- tentative freedom. So, they have -- they don't mind what will happen to them later. They want to enjoy their life in each moment, without any consideration of past and future. This is so-called-it misunderstanding of freedom.

But in Buddhism, we do not ignore freedom. At least, at certain moment, we have freedom. But in next moment, we have to change our way, literally. And next time we have to change more. In this way, everything will -- our life, will go and go on -- go. This is Buddhist understanding of our life.

On the contrary, those who believe in teleological understanding of life, or determinism, they sacrifice this present for the future. This is opposite, you know. We have to -- actually, what we should have is happiness in this moment. To sacrifice this moment for the sake of future is upside-down way. This is also wrong.

But actually, if you understand our life, we -- our life should be -- in one hand, our life should be absolutely free. From past and future, from everyone. At same time, we have to have some purpose, some goal to achieve. How this contradictory way of thinking go together is our philosophy.

Originally, this contradiction is the nature -- based on the nature of time, or idea of time. Time is, as I always say, time is continuous and discontinuous. Time is not always continuous. Time is discontinuous. When you say, even, you know, time stops, you know. If it is going, you cannot say, "this is six o’clock or eight o’clock." When you say eight o'clock, it is eight o'clock; it is not a future nine o'clock. It is eight o'clock.

So when you say “eight o'clock”, time stops, tentatively. But actually it is going on – we have to know that actually time is going on and on, but we have to say, tentatively, “it is nine o'clock” or “seven o'clock”. Time is -- from this understanding, time is some point on the straight line from past to future.

But, actually, time is going and going on and on, so there is no point to point at. It is going on; the only way you have to follow that clock, or follow the sunshine, that is the only way we form the idea of time. So when you have idea of time it is -- it means you have idea of time of continuity and discontinuity.

And time of discontinuity will result (in) mechanism. And idea of time continuity will result (in) teleological way of understanding of life. You have some purpose, some goal, and you have some way to attain that goal. It means -- it is actually, if it is true, it is actually a dynamic change of life. When we follow that dynamic change of each -- every being, our goal will be attained. But if we ignore that dynamic change of universe, even though you have plan in your mind, it will not work.

So, if your plan is right, to have some goal in your life means to follow the dynamic change of the world. In this way, our life will go on and on and on endlessly. This is right understanding. Here, people has -- have some misunderstanding. They think, we human beings can attain some purpose … goal. But for the human beings, and for various –- all the rest of the existence there is no limit in achieving things. Things will go on and on and on. We don't know when it will end. But it is -- it should go on and on and on.

Here you will find out Buddhist understanding of causality is both materialistic and spiritualistic. And it is not -- it is endless effort, succession of effort. There is no end, or no beginning. There is no beginning and no end – is our understanding of life.

So, characteristic of Buddhist understanding of causality is: one way it is mechanical, and we do not ignore freedom. On the other hand it is teleological, and we do not believe in any perfection, you know. But people believe in perfection, this is also mistake. So we should be free of those three mistakes: to have idea of perfection as a human being; and to -- just to be bound by causality; or just to try to ignore the theory of cause and effect. These three points, at least, as far as I know, should be understand -- should be understood, as the understanding of causality in its true sense.

My talk seems very dry and logical. But actually I do not mean to say some -- this kind of cold, logical or philosophical idea. We have had very difficult times for three days [laughter], and we did not know how to hide this -- how to sort (?), how to take out the pain we have [laughter]. I think you think very well, and I think you -- some of you actually get through all the problems in sitting. I think so.

When we find real joy of life in pain and in difficulty, that is true joy, according to Buddhism. We say, there is no natural Buddha. Buddha is someone who attained enlightenment with human body, who has break through the human life, and who find -- who found eternal joy in human life -- in immortal life.

There's no Buddha, we say. That is why we say there is no natural Buddha. Buddha is someone who strived -- strived for difficulties faithfully. He -- but he does not strive for difficulties or strive -- suffer from difficulties with dualistic idea or one-sided idea. He was called Buddha because he had wisdom. His wisdom solved the -- those contradictions of our life. We human beings are --by nature has good and bad, half and half.

So, anyway, if there is no difficulty, there is no happiness. If there is no happiness, there is no difficulty. Mechanical -- mechanically you will think -- materially you will think some -- something good, but this is just materialistic idea. But good and bad is not just material -- materialistic. You cannot find, really, true pure pleasure in mechanical way of understanding of your life. Or by static logic. Buddhism is more dialectical than static logic.

Why we have suffering? Because we have happiness or joy, on the other hand. Why we have happy is because we have difficulty at the same time. And you cannot join happiness to difficulties. It is perfect com-- it is completely different quality. It does not mean material -- material quality. But as we feel, when we -- we feel, as long as being conscious, our conscious mind, it is impossible to join unhappiness and happiness. This is, essentially, different quality -- quality of consciousness.

You may say if you get a lot of money, you will be happy, [laughs] but it is not true. If I try hard, we -- I will attain enlightenment, that is not true [laughs]. In its true sense, you know, enlightenment and ignorance is quite different quality. It is pair of opposites, you know. Because it is opposite, it is -- it has value. If it is possible to join enlightenment and ignorance, you know, you may strive for [laughs] attain enlightenment by materialistic way, and with some money or sitting many, many years [laughter]. You may try. But, I don't think it is possible, because it is two complete different qualities.

Ignorance is ignorance, through and through [laughter]. Enlightenment – enlightenment through and through [laughter]. How is it possible to compare enlightenment and ignorance? Materialistically, you can -- psychologically you can compare two, but there is no way to join the ignorance to enlightenment.

According to Buddhism, suffering is valuable, you know, because it is suffering, through and through. Enlightenment is valuable because enlightenment is enlightenment, through and through. So when we say "enlightenment," the rest of things is enlightenment. When we say, “I am ignorant”, everything -- everyone of us ignorant. It means that there's no need -- let me explain a little more about the contradiction.

Past and future is two opposite ideas. You say past, you can -- you may -- you think future is succession of past time, but it is not so, actually. When is the joining of the future and [laughs] past? Present is -- you may say present is the joining of the future and the past. But actually, there is no present. Present is going [maybe gestures - laughter]. What is past and what is present? You know it is impossible, to explain what is past and what is future -- materialistic way.

Past and future exist just in our mind [laughs]. You say “past,” and you say “future,” without knowing exactly what it is. So past means -- when we say “past”, all the rest of time is past. When we say, “future,” past is also future. So time goes from present to future, from future to past. And there may be many and many interpretations of time idea.

But, actually, it means time does not exist. Something which changes is -- time means changing of relationship, or quality, or color, or sights is time. When function of things changes, it is time. When color of something changes, it is time. But actually there's nothing besides actual changing of things.

So, time, we -- we say past -- so in this sense, past is always negating future. The idea of future negates idea of past. When we say “past,” past only. When we say “future,” future only. Future negates past -- idea of past. And when we say “present," present negates past and future.

So, that someone is here means everyone is here -- in its true sense, not material. Materialistic understanding, that is not true. If I am here, there is many people. If I am talking here, many people are listening. But I say “I am talking to you.” It means "I" -- the idea of “I” negates the audience. If you say “I'm listening to you," it is negation of speaker. Do you understand?

Going -- everything has -- when one thing is different, the rest of things will be negated. It is counter-relationship (?) from one to the other, you know. And from the other to one. Things -- relationship is going. The relationship is just, you know -- there is no other relationship. Actual relationship is one. So, this way or the other way is the only way we have -- only interpretation of the relationship. Do you understand?

So, we are negating with each other. Because we are negating on one level, it is possible to attain oneness. Do you understand?

Here is man and woman, one and another (?). But actually -- actually which does exist is the unity of man and woman. The unity of man and woman exist, but if you separate man from woman, there's no -- no more woman or man. Because there is man, there is woman. Because there is river, there is ship. If there is no river, ship is firewood (?) or [laughs] -- it is not even boathouse [laughter].

So actually, the unity of opposites -- two pair of opposites exist. Good and bad -- pair of good and bad exist. But there is no good, besides -- except bad. There is no bad, except -- besides good. We always exist in a pair of contradictory -- we are a pair of contradictory existence. Perfect contradictory existence [laughs]. This is – we are lucky that we are perfect contradictory existence [laughter]. Or else (?), there is no way to attain oneness. One absolute existence.

We cannot overcome suffering. Because suffering and freedom is pair of opposites -- complete pair of opposites, it is possible to attain absolute, unperturbable -- unperturbable way of life. So, here things going as a pair of opposites and --

[RB: In changing tracks a little bit was missed, but I think it's a repetition of what he said – something like present and future are a pair of opposites, or a pair of … yes a pair of opposites and there's no need to change joy to suffering – both exist. Ah... anyway, something like that, but it's a … pretty much a repetition.]

If we realize this part, through and through, and if you realize what is unhappy and what is happy life, through and through, you will realize this fact. That is why Dogen Zenji said, "If one side is light, in light -- one side is bright, the other side is dark. When you say “happiness”, that's all. Happiness only. When you say “unhappiness,” unhappiness is only. You have only unhappiness. And when you accept unhappiness or happiness through and through, in this sense, in this way, you have absolute renunciation.

So when you -- when you accept difficulties with confidence, with big mind, or when you give your difficulty to work in its true function, then you have no difficulty -- that is not difficulty any more. The difficulty is a bird -- like a bird, flying in the sky. Your mind is -- the sky knows what it is, "Oh, bird is flying." [laughs] That is -- that's all [laughter].

Something is good like [laughs] "Oh, reality is good [laughs] people are enjoying." [laughter] That's all. That is the kind of understanding we have. So to know things through and through is the point. Without criticizing what it is. If you like, you can criticize it [laughter], but that criticism has nothing to do with the big mind.

To know things as it is means to let everything act as they want. "Let it free" is to be free from. Because you want to bind it, you have difficulties. It means to have thorough understanding of our life. And our practice should be based on the thorough understanding of our human life, and thorough understanding of all the rest of existence.

Now I -- I think I have my brief talk about the teaching of causality. This is very deep problem, the teaching of causality.

In the Shobogenzo, in the fascicle of Sokushin Zebutsu – what is "Mind Itself is Buddha." What is mind, and what is Buddha. And in conclusion he says, “Mind -- Mind is Buddha, and Buddha is Buddha, and Is is Buddha. Is -- Buddha is -- Mind is Buddha. Buddha itself is Buddha.” There's four characters: “Buddha" "Mind" "Itself" "Is” -- oh -- four. Mind itself is Buddha. And he says, “Mind is Buddha, and Is is Buddha, and Itself is Buddha. Buddha is Buddha.” [laughter] Do you understand this riddle?

When we say “Buddha,” there is no need to say, " Is" or "Mind itself." "Is,"-- when we say “Is", "Is" is being, or suchness or thusness. Being is Buddha. Being -- something which exist as it is, is being. Something in the course of formed and forming. In the past it is form, in the future it is -- in the present it is forming. Those being is Buddha, actual being is Buddha. Reality is Buddha.

And "Itself" is Buddha. When you understand something through and through, that is "Itself." If you understand suffering through and through, that is Buddha. There's no other Buddha. All the rest of Buddha, including Shakyamuni Buddha, is included in that "Itself."

If you pick up one thing, it negates all the rest of. Negate is not -- may not be good word. You can say, “include." It is like a handle of something. If you take hold of something, you have other -- all the machine. If you drive a car, by handle, [laughs] a miracle (?), it means you have your own -- all the -- all of your car. If you point at one point of the earth, you know, you point at whole universe. Whatever it is, it doesn't matter.

So, "Itself" means, because you compare one thing to the other, in materialistic way, you are caught by idea of freedom or idea of restriction. But if you have this kind of understanding of reality, all the being, all the "Is," something what is, is Buddha.

So, Buddha is -- "Itself" is Buddha, and "Mind" is Buddha. And "Is" is Buddha. "Being" is Buddha, and Buddha is Buddha. Buddha is, of course, Buddha – although we don't know what it is! [laughter] And there's no need to know what it is, because we are Buddha! If so, what is the necessity for us to know who he is?

Because we have some particular -- we are caught by some particular view of life, without knowing what does it mean in its true sense. We are caught by those view of life, or teaching or philosophy, whatever religion, whatever it is.

So, as I -- Reverend Katagiri gave you the instruct -- his instruction about our practice, to do something is the only way. To do something is the only way to understand what it is. To be involved in what you are doing completely, without thinking. Then you will understand what it is. If you have difficulty, that is good. If you have pleasure doing it, that is also good. And pleasure is not just pleasure. When you do completely, absorbed in your activity, that is not just experience. It is more than experience; it is more than understanding.

But forgetting this point, we seek for some superficial understanding of our practice, whether you have attained enlightenment or not, whether this practice is right practice or not. Just do it anyway. Then you will find out what it is. It doesn't matter whether it is difficult or easy.

When you wonder why, it means you are already caught by, you know, superficial -- you are trying to understand our practice in superficial way, without any conviction, without believing in this ultimate truth. No-one can deny what I'm saying just now. I'm just saying [laughs] the truths as they are. I have no particular teaching for you [laughs].

Buddha said just how we are that is that what we become (?). So when we completely understand how we live in this world, that is the enlightenment. That is that way to -- to have some meaning in our life in its true sense. It is the actual way of not wasting of our life. We should not waste our time in unnecessary, unnecessary thinking or study. If you want to study, study something [laughs] which is true and real. Don't study something very hard or very deep. The truth is always near at hand.

In sitting, I think some of you must have found out something unusual -- some unusual experience. It means you acquire freedom, whether how you felt about it is pleasant, whether it was sad or whether it was, you know, ecstasy or joy. It is out of question, whatever it is, something what you have found out -- or what experience is -- means you are free from your ordinary framework of your thinking, or way of life. Because we are -- our life is limited, in -- just in materialistic understanding of life.

After Dogen left this kind of teaching, it is seven, no, 900 years, but we are still caught by just materialistic understanding of life, and our logic is static logic. You are counting from, you know, bank book. [laughter] That is static logic. You do not think even in dialectic way, but before Hegel, Dogen Zenji treated -- his way of thinking was very much dialectical. If you practice Buddhism in its true sense, you will have this kind of freedom of our mind.

Because his mind was free from concrete static logic, he could establish his own way of life, and he left immortal teaching for us. So, Dogen Zenji was great, not because of his deep, lofty philosophy, but because of his actual practice, real practice, trans-- transmitted from Buddha through many and many patriarchs.

Our practice -- although our practice is quite simple, but this is the result of myriad of peoples' hard practice and way. They risked their life for this way. And establish this practice, this way of practice and understanding. Negation after negation. Criticism after criticism, we have established this kind of teaching.

So far, our sesshin was very successful under the guidance of Bishop Sumi. I'm very much grateful for him to come and direct our sesshin. Tomorrow morning he will give the final address for this sesshin, so I have to talk this evening.

Thank you very much.