OLD - Not Always So

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August sesshin 1969 Suzuki Roshi Side B: Thurs lecture - transcribed - copied ZC

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Side A Recording starts after beginning of talk; 69-08-07: 69-08-06


Buddhist scripture. There is a famous story. Water is the same, but water for a human being is water. And for a celestial being, it is dew. And for a fish, it is their home. And for people in hell or hungry ghosts, it is blood or maybe fire.


If they want to drink it, the water changes into fire, so they cannot drink it. Same water. Looks like. Very different. But you may say, our understanding of water is right. It should not be home, or house, or jewel, or blood, or fire. It should not be so. Water should be water. But Dogen Zen says, you know, even though you say water is water, it is not quite right.


It is not right. I think most people think water should be water. And that is right understanding of water. It cannot be anything else. Water is something to drink, not to live in it. Or it cannot be fire, you know. But he says, that is not right, quite right. He doesn't say it is wrong. But he says, it is not quite right. I think we practice Dogen, you know.


And this is right practice. And the attainment we acquire is something right and perfect. But if you ask Dogen Zenji, he may say, not quite. This point should be, this is maybe a good point for you to work on two more days. Or three, two and a half days more. Ah.


Ah. I don't know how to explain or how to explain why. You know. The answer, water is water, is not quite right. At least not much different. If you say, if human beings say water is water, it is not much different from to say water is fire, or blood, or jewel. Not much difference.


Don't you think so? You know. It may be, you know, actually for angels, it may be actually jewel, you know. And he may, they may like it because it is beautiful. But we like it because it is cool, nice and cool, and not tasty but, you know, help our thirst. If so, to say water is jewel, there is some reason. And to say water is water is also some reason.


Not much difference. Buddhist has been explaining this point in various ways. For instance, teaching of selflessness, or teaching of interdependency. Those teachings, or teaching of emptiness. There are many teachings which will intellectually explain why the answer water is water is not perfect. When we say water is water, we understand substantially, you know, here is water.


But what we say water is maybe H2O. This is not actually, may not be actually water. So, under some condition, you know, H2O became liquid. But under some condition it may be vapor, you know. So you cannot say this is, here is water. Because water is not constant, so it is changing. And because it exists under some condition, it is something which exists. The rules of interdependency, or rules of causality.


So, because of some reason, some cause, water just tentatively became water, that's all. So we cannot say water is water. Tentatively, you know, for convenience sake, you can say water is water. But it is not always so. We, you may understand in this way. But when Dogen Zenji says that is not complete answer. But, we should actually, you know, appreciate the water in its true sense. Water is something more than just water.


It should not be a kind of, you know, drinking. You know, one of the drinking of many liquors. When we drink water, water is everything to me, you know. And the whole world is water. Nothing exists besides water for me. When we drink water with this understanding and attitude, that is water, but that is at the same time, it is more than water.


So he says, water is water, that's right, but not quite. Next, this explains what is Shikantaza. We say, just sit. Just water is like water. We should just sit or to settle ourselves on ourselves.


It means to become we ourselves, you know. We should not be anything else. Something else, we should be just ourselves. And when we become just ourselves, we cover everything, we include everything. There is nothing else but you. That is Shikantaza. So, by practice, what we acquire is ourselves.


To become ourselves, we completely ourselves, ourselves we practice. That is Shikantaza. We have everything. We are fully satisfied with ourselves. And there is nothing to gain or nothing to attain. This is maybe a very verbal interpretation of true practice. Anyway, this kind of gratitude or joyful mind we must have in our practice.


I understand, I think I understand why you practice Zazen. But I think most of you are trying to seek for something, something true, something real. Because the world is too much unrealistic and too many, you know, too many things is told and we hear too many things which we cannot accept or believe in.


So, I think you seek for something true and real. And you don't seek for even something beautiful. Something beautiful is not, to you, I think, is not true or real, you know. It looks like beautiful, but actually you don't think that it is really beautiful. Some, something, you know, it is just outlook of something.


It is just ornament for someone who is not honest enough. So, justice doesn't mean anything or beauty doesn't mean so much to you. Some virtue, you know, doesn't mean so much. Virtuous person, mostly, you know, maybe, I forgot the word. Hippocrates, I think you feel in that way.


Because so many beautiful things, so many things was told something like true. And so many virtuous person appeared, but who didn't convey you real, you know, gratitude. You couldn't trust him. So, what is real to you is big problem, I think, for you. What is real? What do you, you know, you don't know.


You don't have any person to trust, any teaching to believe in, to follow. So, I think that is most people nowadays, you know, have inner idea in our mind. And this kind of feeling is universal feeling for many people. That is why, I think, you came to Zen Center.


Real reason is, that is the reason. But, you know, even though you came here, you know, I myself, you know, don't believe any special thing, you know. I don't say that water is water, or water is jewel, or bride, or house. I don't say so, you know. But, really, according to Dogen Zenji, you know, this water is something more than that.


We stick to righteousness, or beauty, or virtue, but there is something more than that. So, I can, you know, I don't feel so bad, you know, even though you seek for something. First of all, I will tell you, you know, it is not appropriate, or it is not wise to seek for something like that. I noticed that you like trip, you know, very much.


Today, Alaska. Next day, India. And Tibet. I don't think that is wise, too, you know. You are seeking for something, bride, or jewel, or something like that. But, because we come to the time when we cannot believe in those things, we should, you know, change our way in seeking the truth.


Yes. We have to change our way of trip. Instead of going to moon, we must make some other trip. I don't mean acid trip. We have to change our way of trip. That is, you know, Dogen Zenji suggested. The trip he meant is something different. Yes.


Yesterday, I talked about something about freedom. Real freedom is, you know, to feel freedom, bearing law, this kind of, you know, troublesome law. Instead of, you know, bothered by this busy life, we should wear this, you know, civilization. Without, you know, being bothered by it, without ignoring it, without being caught by it.


So, without going somewhere, without escaping it, we should. We should have composure, you know, in this busy life. You shouldn't laugh at people, you know, who are engaged in busy activity. We shouldn't laugh at them. But, or we shouldn't follow them. As Unmon says, following wave and drive wave, follow the wave and drive wave.


It means that, you know, to follow the wave. And actually, you should drive the wave. Or Dogen Zenji says, we should be like a boatman. A boatman is on the boat, you know. But actually, a boatman is carried by boat. But actually, a boatman is handling the boat. This is how we live in this world. We know how, now, if I explain in this way, you feel as if you understood how you live in this difficult world.


But actually, even though you understand how, you know, like a boatman. But it does not mean you are able to do it. To do it is very difficult. That is actually why you practice Zazen. I, you know, yesterday I said, however painful your legs are, you know, you shouldn't move. I, you know, maybe some people understood in that way. But I, I talked about the confidence, determination to practice Zazen.


It should be like that. But there is no need, you know, for you to do it literally. If it is too painful, I think you can change your posture. But your determination should be like that, and should be also, you know. When I say it should be, it's, you know, that is a good example. But it is not always, it is not necessary to be so always. When I say something, you know, you understand like a fish or like a, you know, angel.


You know, you understand it literally and digitally. This is house, our house. This is, this is world. Forgetting all about how human beings feel. So even though you live in water like a fish, you know, you should know this is for human beings, something to drink. So we should be very careful not to be drunk by human beings like a small fish. This kind of consideration is necessary. That means to have freedom from everything.


The secret of Soto Zen is, you know, just two words. Not always so, three words. In English, in Japanese, two words. Not always so. This is secret teaching. If you understand things in that way, you don't ignore, you know. It may be so, but it is not always so. If you understand things in that way, and without being caught by words or rules, without too much...


preconceived idea, we should actually do something. And doing something, you should apply your teaching. Then that teaching, which was taught by our ancient people, ancient masters, will help. Actually, you know, to take something rigidly is laziness. Because, you know, because you want to understand it before you do something difficult, so you are caught by some words.


But if you are, you know, brave enough to accept your surroundings, without saying which is right or wrong, then, you know, a teaching which was taught to you will help. If you are caught by teaching, you will have, you know, double problem. Whether you should follow this teaching, or whether you should go your own way. This is, you know.


This problem is created by the teaching which was taught. So, practice. Practice first. And apply teaching. Then, you know, a teaching will help you. So, to seek for some good teaching, like Buddhism,


you know, it's, you know, to seek for something correct, good, anyway, whatever it may be. It's sightseeing people. Even though you don't take a trip by car, but spiritually you are making sightseeing. Oh, good teaching. This may be true teaching. We say, yu san gan sui. Yu san means to, with prayerful mind, you know, to go to mountain, or to go to river or ocean.


Some place where you can enjoy the view of things. Yu san gan sui. Yu san gan sui. This is a danger, danger for Zen practice. Yu san gan sui. Don't, you know, be careful. So, that you may not be involved in practice of yu san gan sui. It doesn't help at all. It doesn't help. It doesn't help. If you have right understanding of yourself,


and right understanding of practice, then, yu san gan sui will help. But if you don't know the actual way of practice directly, whatever you study doesn't help at all. Or, we say, you shouldn't be fooled by things. Fooled by things. Fooled by something beautiful. Fooled by something it looks like, true. Don't be involved in pre-game.


No. This is also Dogen Zenji suggested. You should trust Buddha, trust the Dharma, and trust the Sangha in its true sense. Because that is the ultimate goal you will reach anyway. You shouldn't be fooled by things. Thank you. So, we should practice zazen.


Like someone who is almost dying, for him nothing to rely on, nothing to depend on. When you reach this kind of situation, you will not be fooled by anything. Because you don't want anything. Because you are dying, you know.


Money? Or a wife? No. No more wife? No more children? You have. You cannot be fooled by anything. But you may still want to know who you are, without being fooled by anything. That is why we put emphasis on the feeling of evanescence of life, so that you may not be fooled by anything. But most people, you know,


not only always fooled by something, but fooled by himself. Very silly, you know, fooled by himself. When you are fooled by something else, you know, the damage will not be so big. But when you are fooled by yourself, it's better. No more medicine. No more medicine. I think we should know whether we are fooled by ourselves or not.


Here there are many students, but I think most of you are fooled by yourself. Most of you are fooled by yourself. By your ability, by your beauty, you know, or by your ability, or by your confidence. And by your outlook, it is all right, you know, to feel some resistance to this kind of way of life. But we should not.


We shouldn't be lost in fight, in resistance. Do you understand? You know, if you are deeply involved in resistance or fight, you will lose yourself, as you are a human being. Not so strong, and very emotional. Not much reason you have. You will be easily lost. Even though you are young, you will be lost. You will lose your strength,


and you will lose your friends, lose your parents. You will lose everything. And you will feel lonely. And what will you do? You lose your, you know, brightness of your eyes. You lose your confidence. You are dead body. And no one will say, oh, I am sorry. No one says so. Actually, many people, you know, are lost, I think.


Look at your face into the mirror. If you are still alive or not. If you don't change this kind of, this sight-seeing practice, even though you practice, it doesn't help at all. Do you understand? It doesn't help. We have three, two and a half days, no, two days more.


So let's practice hard while we are still a little bit alive. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.