We should sit in the middle of our problems

Shunryu Suzuki Transcript

Sunday, March 12, 1967
Tony Artino notes


“We should sit in the middle of our problems.”

The world of thinking is that of our ordinary mind. The world of consciousness is that of buddha mind. Phenomena in the world of thinking are constant naming or labeling by our minds as we experience phenomena. The world of consciousness mind does not label or name, it only reflects.

The Buddhist way then of understanding phenomena is by accurate unbiased observation followed by reflection of a similar nature.

In the world of thinking, subject and object are two, are separate, and act thus upon another. In the world of consciousness, the subject and object are assimilated. Linguistically the world of thinking links subject and predicate with a transitive verb. In the world of consciousness, the predicate is the subject and linked to it by an intransitive verb - the predicate-object extends and clarifies the subject via a verb like is.

Viewed from the world of consciousness, we as subjects, as buddha minds, include our objective world and our problems. Our problems are then no longer external and cease to be problems in the usual sense. Now there is no point possible. Hence the wisdom in accepting or yielding. Neither do we lose ourselves in our problems or in our world of objects because we are larger than them. We should sit in the middle of our problems.

In the world of consciousness, sounds and sights are meaningless, not related to any other things or ideas. You may have already experienced such sounds while practicing zazen. Sometimes a noise occurs and we immediately think “car motor.” But sometimes we are only conscious of sound. That is all there is with no recognition of the sound. The world of consciousness thus includes together the opposites of the world of thinking.

In reflecting on our problems, we should include ourselves together with the problems. Then we are reflecting from the perspective of the world of consciousness.
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

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