Tokusan and The Old Lady
===== Awakening the Archive - Tape #10, by Shundo David Haye =====
This is another track from the same problematic reel as the previous two talks in this series. Initially, it seemed to be a talk of Katagiri Roshi - the first twenty or so minutes are of him speaking (this portion has been edited out). Suzuki Roshi's voice appears mid-sentence, so presumably the talk of Katagiri was recorded over the beginning of this talk, leaving only the last fifteen minutes before the tape operator announces the date and time of the talk (it was followed by another announcement for a separate talk on the same day - https://suzukiroshi.engagewisdom.com/talks/study-selfpm).
Once again, the quality of the recording is very poor, with a great deal of interference, and Suzuki Roshi's voice comes and goes. We can establish that he introduces the story of Tokusan and the old lady - which he then refered back to in the last talk of the day (https://suzukiroshi.engagewisdom.com/talks/tokusan-and-old-ladypm). It is not totally clear why he chose this particular story on this particular day, since it was a story he did not use at any other time, according to the records we have.
The earlier part of the talk revolves around typical themes for Suzuki Roshi's sesshin talks of the time: not being idealistic, finding one-hundred percent spirit for sitting. Perhaps Suzuki Roshi was using Tokusan as a warning example of someone who prided himself on his scholarship, but could not find an answer to the old lady's question about the Diamond Sutra, and was thus denied the rice cakes he was asking for. The suggestion is that if we are totally present, we can answer the question sincerely without recourse to extensive scholarship, and we can satisfy our hunger in that moment.
Our aim is always constant, and same -- same way. But I should -- I would like to sit with you ?? one-hundred percent that acquired ?? from our sesshin. Our practice is I think, very good but, maybe seventy percent is not so good, not ninety -- ninety-nine. Ninety-nine and a half percent spirit is not true. And seventy percent spirit is not also good. Our practice should be one-hundred percent spirit; if it is not there is no one-hundred percent spirit ?? that is not our way (?)
I always say step by step, coming back (?). Step -- one step should be perfect, and next step should be perfect - that is what I mean. My -- our way is not idealistic at all. When your practice is idealistic -- your practice if you try -- if you will ?? idealistic ??, you will be -- your practice will be effort (?), will become stagnant (?) ?? and there will not be anything ?? And if you try to escape from ?? rules (?) what you do, your practice ?????? That is not enlightenment. In enlightenment -- in practice there should be ?? to actualize sesshin (?) to do something which you yourself ?? with real activity, with sincere effort (?). With our mind (?), with our head (?), with our legs (?), don't try to gain one more thing, or better thing, or stronger arm (?) or better ?? ??
When we act when you connect fully (?) with your full -- if you act with your hand, with your legs (?), in place of (?) effort, there is enlightenment.
(5:44) When you control your body you control everything. When you control your body, you control the universe (?) Surrounded by difficult ??, all of a sudden that may be you control you yourself. Here we have understanding, here is ?? Because our activity is not dualistic we can actually ?? achieve. People may say you do something, but it is not that you do something (?) I don't think so (?) they don't feel the same way, when ???? Here we have ?? In short ??? is wanted. When it is like this always ?? may be somebody whose practice will be dualistic.
(8:22) As soon as your practice becomes dualistic and ?? you cannot escape, you cannot gain actually enlightenment. When you finally have ?? to manage yourself, you can practice forever. So you should not expect more. You should do something as if you have food when you are hungry. This is Zen. When you get accustomed to this kind of activity, no evil come to you because there is no gap for evil to come.
(10:18) Tokusan -- Tokusan said -- the famous Zen scholar (?) When he was young he was very proud of his understanding of the Diamond Sutra. "If you have some question about the Diamond Sutra, I will answer," he said -- he always said. When he heard that some famous Zen master came to ?? southern China, he went to the south, his books on his back. While he was resting at some inn (?) and wanted a rice cake, the lady serving him asked him, "What do you have in your bag?" He said, "Don't you know, I am ?? Tokusan. Do you have some question about the Diamond Sutra - ask me."
So that old lady said, "In the Diamond Sutra, I heard, the present is -- cannot be grasped, future cannot be grasped, past cannot be grasped. If so, with what mind do you eat? Present mind, past mind, or future mind? With what mind do you take my cakes?"
He couldn't answer [laughs] He could not ??, he could not ?? what is ?? future mind. That is how we eat rice cake. It is not a matter of future, present, past. For us there is no future, no past. There is ?? present. But we eat cake when we are hungry. That point-- that is hunger ?? -- when hunger comes we have to eat. That present mind are not past (?)
(13:59) People may say you are thinking in present time, [laughs] they may say so, but for us that is not just present. That present includes past and future. If so, that is not even present. That is absolute past (?), absolute. The absolute self ?????? when you're hungry. That is how we practice that. So if you practice true Zen, you can practice it as if you will eat when you are hungry.
This is how we practice.
Tape operator: Reverend Suzuki's February 19th sesshin one o'clock lecture.
--- Tape stops ---