Give up gaining ideas and just sit

Shunryu Suzuki Transcript

Notes by Tony Artino
Wednesday, November 30, 1966
Old Bush Street Zendo - Sokoji

“Give up gaining ideas and just sit.”


Religion is just for ourselves. We cannot really be religious for others. But neither can we help ourselves without helping others.

The point is to get beyond merely deliberate conscious behavior. To consciously help others is a self-centered activity. Correct helping is an activity without purpose, without self-conscious aim. Similarly, self-conscious zazen will lead to problems - self-created problems. Such problems are natural for beginners, but because they arise naturally is no reason to be acquiescent about them.

Zen practice is not training in the ordinary sense. Ordinary training is to improve ourselves. Zen practice is to be ourselves.

The practice of stopping our minds is not an end-aim in itself. it is a precondition for perceiving reality. When the mind is stopped, reality is there.

It is impossible to completely give up yourself. Even when you consciously give up everything, something is left. What is it?

Real zazen is always with you. It is to give up the idea of attaining enlightenment. Real zazen is nothing. Correct practice is action when you give up the idea of enlightenment. Give up gaining ideas and just sit and enlightenment will come.

You are doing something impossible by trying to become Buddha. Buddha is Buddha and you are you.

You cannot escape yourself. If you give up all your conscious deliberation, then you are left with your true self. It cannot be otherwise since one cannot escape from himself.
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: 66-11-30: Give up gaining ideas and just sit (titled by pf) Moved this back as a separate lecture, 4-22-17, dc.

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