When small mind finds itself in big mind

Shunryu Suzuki Transcript

Sunday, March 26, 1967

Tony Artino notes


“When small mind finds itself in big mind, there is peace.”

To transmit buddha-mind is to transmit our practice. There is then no small mind or small self. Our small self is included in our big self. When small mind feels it is big mind I think we are then troubled by its assertiveness. When the small mind finds its correct place in our big mind, then there is peace - everything is our large mind. Transmission of this big mind occurs with no loss "of even a speck of dust” (Dogen) by the master, and no gain “of even a thread” by the now awakened disciple. This is because everyone is already within his big self.

It is very important in our practice to find our place. When everyone and everything has thus found their right home, we call it Nirvana or Tathagata's Way. But our own practice area is as wide as the universe, and until we find our own place in the universe, we have not yet arrived. (Suzuki's explanation of this was a person finding his place in his family, in society, and the family's place in society, and in the world, and society's in the world).

Ideas of good and bad, or ideals of right or wrong, will not help. The most important point is to find your place in its widest sense. This requires experiences other than narrow egoistic or provincial ones.

Before one can be a good master, one must become a good disciple. This means more than just knowing how to correctly perform a particular ceremony. One should be able to perform the activity without any dualistic conflicts.

People who are very good often are very egoistic. This big ego is not good. Hence people who are very good often are not good. (Suzuki said Eka may have been first refused by Bodhidharma because Eka was too good).

If possible we should just follow our way but it is not possible for everyone. Some people have a very difficult time with our way while some find it easy. But we cannot say which of these circumstances is good. So everyone should just try to practice as they can.

Mu. “How can you measure or grasp mu? There is no way. Try to just let go for a while.” (Dogen)

When we are always looking for something very good, our minds constantly wander. But our having religion is when we are willing to accept something common or bad or very bad. When our minds are open to what is bad, then they are really open.

Ninety-nine percent of common life is bad for us. No, I would say that one hundred percent is bad when you are looking for something unusual and wonderful.

Kitchen monks were so busy that they had no time for study. Dogen admired them, saying only a good disciple could work in the kitchen. “If a man cannot see the four seasons in a plate, he cannot cook.”

True religion is revealed by those who like something bad. Once we see the truth, it is hard not to be buddha. We have to be so.

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: 67-03-26: When small mind finds itself in big mind (titled by pf)

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