Liberty and Restriction

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March sesshin, only 1pm lecture. Evening lecture goofed up during recording.
SR 007

Saturday, March 26, 1966


This is a newly processed version that should be a little clearer to transcribe.
Transcript SDH 12/21
File name: 66-03-26-BN: untitled [Verbatim transcript not available. (Sound problem.)]


[Various unclear voices, including SR for a few seconds]

SR: Yeah, restriction. Our liberty is a liberty which will be found out in restriction. Not ideal but --

[Tape goes dead for a few seconds, followed by tape operator blowing into the mic]

[00:45] SR: In this moment, it's restricted, even -- or liberty, which is attainable under some restriction. It's real liberty. That's all. That is what I meant.

Student A: Is that part of you which you restrict, the same part of you that is liberated?

SR: Yeah. Some restric-- restriction necessary or arbitrary ?? is necessary to obtain liberty.

Student A: What are you to restrict, or what am I to restrict?

SR: According to the -- we're some kind of -- under some kind of circumstances always, different circumstances. So our way -- way is not always same. The actual liberty is not always the-- always same. That is realization of liberty, or to create liberty, actual liberty, in this world. We understand in this way. We do not understand it -- restriction. We understand the means of realizing the liberty. Not as restriction. Do you understand?

Student A: Uh-huh.

SR: For your -- for your husband, husband is restriction, but because of your husband, you can express your affection. Restriction and -- it is -- it gives you some chance to express your liberty of life. For me to -- for me as I'm Japanese, to come and live San Francisco is very big restriction [laughter] ?? does express my freedom. Because of my freedom to be traveling I came to the United States (?) And this is -- but at the same time, later (?) I accept big restrictions (?) being here. It's the same thing. It is another paradoxical fact. In restriction there is great liberty.

Sometimes we say no liberty is strong liberty - no ??. When I get accustomed to San Francisco, I have no restriction -- or I have -- at the same time I have no idea of liberty. So when there's no liberty there is truly -- there is no restriction.

Student B: ?? a lot of people ?? very strong limits. ???? certain types of awareness that have very clear limits

SR: Mm-hmm

Student B: and destruction.

SR: It may be just as you feel. This is perfectly real, not just an idea, for you.

Student C: Reverend Suzuki, I think often it's hard to know what restriction should we take into ??

SR: Enough (?) Very good.

Student C: I was a tough ??, said things that were unacceptable, I think they ???? I didn't even know just what to to restrict. They think they notice what ?? But in talking about this, it's really-- it's really hard because -- what do you do there, I mean you have to find your own way, and yet you have to -- sort of you have to break that way as soon as you make it.

SR: Mm-hmm. Sit -- like this for a few -- strict -- fixed way of seeing something of our way. But we have to be completely -- this kind of spirit. We are trying to, maybe -- it is, I think -- you are very conscientious what you are doing now with it, whether you are good bodhisattva or whether you are ?? You will find some difficulty in orientation to restrict your views. This kind of problem is -- the problem seeing our way of life or precepts.

And something is missing, I feel, in our way of life - whether you are Japanese or American, something is missing, I realize this point. We are -- our -- we are caught by idea of liberty too much and we -- Buddhism is not asceticism. Or, we do not emphasize too much ??. But I think some intention is necessary for our desires or instinct - some control of it. So if you practice Zen -- that you can practice Zen anyway means you have some deep way of life -- or because you have to organize your -- some part, and some restriction is necessary for your life. If you want to get up at half past five o’clock to come sit here, you have to go to bed early. This is all restriction this is a kind of obstacle. Not us! So if you are concentrated on everyday practice of zazen, there's -- there should be some restriction, for our sake (?) Not as a restriction but some system or organization is necessary (14:25)

Student D: Long ago you said we recognize our deep liberty - is that recognizing deeply involved in binary question ?? Is that life ??

SR: Life-- inner request (?)--

Student D: The inner request --

SR: Inner request --

Student D: ?? you've spoken of ??

SR: Inner request. By inner request I don't mean the desires. Inner request involves various -- includes mostly our liberty ??

Student D: I think what I was trying to get at is that recognizing that the liberty ?? hindrance or restriction might be a fundamental drive in our country. Is that true?

SR: Yeah, I agree (?)

Student D: If not perhaps the fundamental drive.

SR: But, you know, if you consciously drive your fundamental request it will cause energy in that direction (?) So you have to deny liberty, when you have ?? Which means--

Student D: I suppose I was trying to establish that most things have a cause and factor (?) and people recognize it That is why I listen to your talks (?) ?? and here you are saying very clearly ??, I think, if I understand that ??, you're saying very clearly this is the fundamental law (?) ??

SR: So-called-it fundamental is not -- true fundamental desire, according to Buddhist way of understanding fundamental desire which is very superficial understanding fundamental desire

[Sound of microphone being moved]

Dealing with delusion (?) is some random mix -- mix-up with morality.

Student D: I just feel too ??? I feel it - the unconscious need ?? spiritual frame of being (?) This is just -- this is just one of the drives among many drives? (?) ?? ??

SR: Well, you know - all of that (?). So-called-it fundamental drive leads to dead end (?) [laughs]. True fundamental drive. ??? basic fundamental drive. Then, to follow the drive -- pursue some goal. The goal is found out (?) You will find out the goal -- ?? The goal you will find out is ?? point of your effort. You have to start it again. It's like ?? ?? True fundamental drive. Do you understand? You are driven by some idea of perfection, or goal. You are caught by it, because you are caught by some idea. Again that is fundamental drive. So you make your effort all the way to the goal.

And as soon as you arrive at the goal, you found yourself. What a big mistake. [puts on voice] "Oh, I make a big mistake, awful mistake. I wish I didn't [laughter] make big mistake. I have to start my life again" It is preposterous (?) ??? [laughs] But I have to cope with I have been doing was not perfect -- was not right. But, the rest of your life will be devoted to the right way. For a long time I thought I made big effort to the goal. I have nothing to be proud of -- no. Never ?? to just come to this world. So please help him (?). That is our way.

And when we are angry with ??? time, when we have some wrong conflicts in your way, or when you are caught by some wrong idea, [whispers] that is not the way. Don't fool yourself [Laughter]. Do you understand? [Laughs].

[Long pause]

After the Second World War, in Japan, the textbook of history completely -- completely changed. The study of history is a part of study of sociology now. And that sociology is based on some, you know, idea -- or some idea framework of society. And almost all the teachers in Japan become a robot -- robot? [laughs] -- robot of framework -- idea of framework on the society. And that framework liable to be more socialistic. This is big (?) mistake. It is much better to be some robot, or to see some drunk. Or, to see some cooks (?). [Laughter]. Future robot will not so ?? -- no, maybe interesting for a new generation of Japanese, because ?? is Suzuki now. [Laughter]. ?? children are very much interested ?? comic. We call it ?? ?? comical. ?? It is a kind of power. This is age of robot, what? ??

Student E: I can't hear the word - robot? ??

SR: No, way of speaking, just machine (?) [Laughter].

Student F: Would -- would that be dualistic at all, that the robot would be ???, someone else is talking ?? moving around like a machine?

SR: Machine?

Student F: Robot is a machine.

SR: If you want to be a robot, this is another matter [laughs]

Student G: It's an imperfect idea of socialism (?)

SR: Yes. I believe so (?) But unfortunately, for socialist, socialism is perfect. Not imperfect idea. The perfect is something ?? Big ?? big question mark. [whispers] perfect -- samadhi, prajna, sila(?)

Student H: I heard you say, unless you can stop your mind, then the sutras really won't help too much. You won't be able to understand non-duality (?)

SR: Stop your mind? There's no need to stop your mind. When you practice Zen, you have ?? -- [long pause - demonstrating posture perhaps?]

In other words, we must not be confined in physical (?) world. We must not be confined in terrible, terrible (?) world. That is why we are caught -- some idea of perfection.

What is perfection? Perfection is nothing but you yourself. You exist in perfect way. Exist as a perfect existence. This is perfection. There is no imperfection.

You say harmony, what is harmony? What is the center of the harmony? Can you pick up something perfect? Harmony. What is harmony? Harmony exists between us. You cannot pick up just harmony.

[Long pause].

Harmony -- so harmony is something you should make for ?? It is some jewel in your sleeve. You have already got some jewels in your pocket . Before you notice you -- you have it. Harmony is something we have already -- before we say "harmony."

[Long pause].

Student I: Can one be caught, or not caught by, ideas or images in daily affairs, and still ?? help to others is to help one's self - to save others before one saves oneself? Can I sort of divide an effort in any way that's --

SR: Do you have -- do someone have same problem as he has? For insight we practice zazen, and we bow to Buddha, Buddha's image. How do you understand our practice and to bow to Buddha's image?

Student I: I think it's -- my first reaction is an acknowledgement of sincere effort. There's that.

SR: In what way?

Student I: Well -- as yet misdirected effort.

SR: Hmm. You want to know that your effort that you are making is right effort, or wrong effort? Is that so?

Student I: Well...

SR: The effort you make is -- it means that you are caught by the idea of -- hmm -- Buddha, or image. That you read scriptures is -- means that you are caught by the teaching -- written, the written teaching. Is that so? If so, you think that is wrong. Is that what you mean?

Student I: Umm..

SR: Or to--

Student I: I'm -- There is still seems to be a division between philosophical and emotional understanding and expression.

SR: Yeah. Where you are, you know -- a problem is ??, not philosophical understanding of Buddha's image or Buddha's teaching literally in the scripture. But philosophy of practice, why we practice, or philosophy of practice of zazen, maybe so. And you are not... you do not understand. You have no sufficient intellectual understanding of your practice. You will solve it (?)

Student I: It's possible a lot people understand ??? every day, but no-one worries about it. In one way it seems critical--

SR: Yeah. That is --

Student I: That sounded dualistic, but--

SR: That is [laughs] -- that is the main point of the lecture [laughs] tonight.

[pause] That is the point. In short, if you do not have -- if you do not understand why I am angry -- [laughs]

Student I: I --

SR: I am -- I am quite different -- I am quite someone who is nothing to do with you. That is your attitude. Strictly [laughs] it is not exactly so, but I can -- ?? I emphasize or exaggerate your problem. It may be so. That is why I am angry, very very angry. You will know my passion [laughs]

In short, "If Buddhism is right, or if zazen practice is right, I will practice zazen. If zazen is -- is wrong, I will not do it. Or if the leader of practice is good one, I will practice. If not, I will --" that is what you are saying. It look like so, at least.

Student I: Not so much --

SR: [laughs]

Student I: -- but what you said is -- it's true in my case that I think that -- quite often in terms of a special freedom, or a special condition--

SR: Mm-hmm

Student I: -- even though I can't conceptualize it, it's somehow opposite to what I ??

SR: So?

Student I: -- certain kind of extension.

SR: My lecture is directed to that point. Anyway, you are a philosopher, [laughs] kind of philosopher. So some philosophical explanation to our practice is necessary. So I spoke of a rather philosophical way tonight. And Buddhist philosophy is the denial of Buddhist philosophy. If you study philosophy you will acquire absolute freedom from Buddhist philosophy.

To intellectualize our understanding is to intellectualize our intellectuality. What is your intellectuality? What is philosophy? And if you study, if you push that philosophical way, through and through, philosophy will reach in dead end.

So we -- tonight I try to push the idea of freedom, idea of perfect social structure or freedom, to that point where you will find that there's no more perfect social structure.

In short, our life is real in the sea of samsara. That is absolutely true. Absolutely true.

Student J: Your life is?

SR: Hmm?

Student J: Your life is in the sea of what? (?)

SR: Samsara - sea of suffering. We say in the monastery, after Buddha passed away -- it is 2,050-some years ago that Buddha passed away. If today is pass, our life maybe -- may become shorter. We are like a fish in a small pond -- muddy pond [laughs]. Small, shallow, muddy pond. How is it possible to attain perfection in such a muddy pond? [Laughter]. But, we have to strive for it.

That perfection Buddha has strived for, and we have to be successor Buddha That is our way. Do you understand? And you want to find out some pure water in small pond -- pond [laughs] -- small muddy pond.

Every three-and-eight day, before four-and-nine day, we receive this kind of big stick on our shoulder. You are big man [grunts - miming hit on shoulder with stick]! [Laughter]. How is it possible?

To have idea of perfect is such a fire (?) -- when you are in that small pond and you cannot get out of it. That is true. That is an eternal truth that Buddha found out. Compared to this teaching, through your action to practice zazen here, you think you will find out how angry Buddha would be [laughs]. Do you understand?

If all of you understand this point, there will be no war. What is the meaning? It is like ??. [Laughter]. like a crab or leaves or catfish [laughter]. It is better something ??

Student K: Does it make sense?

SR: Does it make some sense? But catfish is catfish because it is catfish through and through. [Laughter].

Student K: ??

SR: There (?) catfish is something more than catfish. [laughs] When he walked with it, where? [laughter] How unusual [laughs] ?? is. [Laughter]. That is our way. So because catfish is catfish through and through-- big puddle (?) he's more than big catfish. He can move whole world. This is Zen! [laughs]

Student L: If the catfish wants to be a whale, isn't the desire to want to be a whale part of the catfish?

SR: [laughs]. If he want to be [laughs], maybe [Laughter]. If you were to be a catfish, you will have [laughs]some desire to become a whale, but you are sure big (?) [Laughter] Unfortunately! [Laughs, laughter].

Thank you very much.