What is Zen?

Given by Suzuki Roshi at Sokoji on Thursday, February 1, 1962
About this talk
(published February 1962, Wind Bell #3)
Checked by Gordon Geist 1999 *** File name: 62-02-00: What is Zen? Changed "or purpose" to "our purpose" 1-11-2017, pf.
To study Zen is to particularize the Essence of Mind which is transmitted from Buddha through patriarchs to us all. The transmitted Essence of Mind is water in a river. A river originating in a deep mountain may come down through a ravine into a lake. According to the place we dip water we want different kinds of dipper. The water itself is the same, but the dippers are not the same. Although the water in the dippers is the same, we must dip it with a special dipper, in accordance with the place we dip. Just to talk about dipper is not our way. Just to talk about water is not our purpose. What is the benefit of a dipper or water?