zazen is not for gaining a mystical something

Shunryu Suzuki Transcript

Tony Artino notes ,
At Old Bush Street Zendo - Sokoji
Wednesday, November 16, 1966


Many people mistakenly believe that Zen Buddhism is mystical. The practice of zazen is not for gaining a mystical something. Zazen is for developing or allowing, a clear mind, as clear as a bright autumn sky.

Zen practice is to get to our True Mind, the mind not accessible to thinking. This mind cannot be consciously known by ordinary efforts. An unusual effort is necessary -- this effort is zazen.

If we give up our foolish measuring of our zazen as good or bad then we can be free, and will attain Buddhahood. If we practice zazen in a true sense, we will know a clear sky.

Question Period

We usually see with dead eyes,” focus our mind on past thoughts or feelings (or feelings and thoughts of past occurrences. We have to learn to see things as they are. “Even without eyes we can see things as they are. To empty the mind means only not to be distracted by trivial thoughts.”

An experience under LSD may be psychologically similar to a Zen experience, but the way the experience is regarded differs between the Buddhist and ordinary. Zen Buddhism doesn't attach to special experiences but values equally all ordinary experiences. That is why Soto Zen doesn't lay great emphasis on kensho.

There is nothing absolute for us - but when nothing is absolute, that is absolute.

[Roshi suggested practicing with others to avoid "selfish zazen”.]

As long as we are alive we are attached to something. Complete detachment doesn't exist in this life.

True Mind is beyond the ordinary faculties and also beyond the ordinary feeling and emotional faculties.
Tony Artino notes on Shunryu Suzuki lecture. This transcript is a retyping of the existing City Center transcript. It is not verbatim. No tape is available. The City Center transcript was entered onto disk by Jose Escobar who received the notes from DC, 1997. It was reformatted by Bill Redican (11/5/01). Edited by DC 4-17-17

File name: 66-11-16: zazen is not for gaining a mystical something (titled by pf)

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