religion is a cultural-social phenomena as well as a personal experience

Shunryu Suzuki Transcript

Tony Artino notes
Wednesday, May 31, 1967


It is so that religion is a cultural-social phenomena as well as a personal experience. But even if one is concerned with societal ills within religion or other aspects of social life, religion should be through and through personal.

One should not follow the dictates of their culture like docile sheep, but it is also unhealthy to feel disdain for one's society, and just to mouth noble platitudes while neglecting one's own real problems. If one acts upon their notions of the correct society without working to solve their own dilemmas, they add to their own to the society's problems.

True religion is within ourselves. Buddha nature being the same in all of us, when we various humans feel religion we feel the same. If you feel in yourself the truth of Buddha's teachings, that is inhaling Buddhism and exhaling Buddhism becomes really possible, telling your friends of your feelings of truth, of the reality and reasonableness of Buddha's teachings.

If we want to really help someone, we should have some experience ourselves.


Nothingness is when we practice zazen in a concentrated yet natural and easy manner. Nothing is being in perfect harmony with all of our activity. If we were walking, it would mean harmonious consciousness of the feel of the floor, movement of the limbs, breathing.

There is no inborn Buddha. There is no natural Buddha. Similarly we humans cannot be natural without sincere practice. Also you cannot have nothingness without practice.

As long as we live we cannot avoid being dualistic. So, on one side we are all fools. When we realize this, we are enlightened. When we make efforts in the face of this, we are Bodhisattvas.

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

File name: 67-05-31: religion is a cultural-social phenomena as well as a personal experience (titled by pf)

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