We are not perfect

Shunryu Suzuki Transcript

Saturday, July 23, 1966

Before, we have been discussing about what is bodhisattva-mind, how to help others before we help ourselves. And this practice is for, for firstly it is to give something, which is Dana Prajna Paramita. And, through kind word, through, to be kind, to ourself, to others, and through other kind words. And, to help others through various things. To give some teaching is also to help others. But, when here we emphasize to help others by various way, not only several ways, we pointed out, but also various way. So, here he says, Even to participate industrial work for two periods[?] at least for others. Various human activity we take is to help others, that is the third one. And, the last one is sympathy, or to become one with others. But, a bodhisattva's practice is not just four, and there are many and various other practices.

When we have bodhisattva-mind, whatever we do is for everyone. And, actually, we are helping with each other. And, to realize this act, and to behave like that, is to help others. But, when there's will be some misunderstanding, when we say, "help others." But, actually, the point is to help others, not only, to give some aid, material aid, or spiritual aid, but also to give some spirit, to help others before we help ourselves.

Our friends we have this spirit. We will be completely act by others and by themselves. So, the most important way to help others is to give some perfect understanding of how, how to help others, and how to help themselves. When you help themselves, others, in which true sense it means to help our, our self. And, this is the most important point, and this is, how to help others.

Actually, the material help, is not perfect way to help others. But, when we realize we are helping always, we will know how to help others. When we do not realize, how to help others in its true sense, we occasionally try to help others. But this is very silly policy, idea, without being aware of what we are doing always. To try to help others occasionally (laughs), this is opposite. We should help others all day long. Even though you are sleepy, and you should help others. Because you do not, you do not feel you are helping others always, you try to help others occasionally. (Laughs) this is very silly way of helping others.

In this help, by this help you mean some material help, to make someone happy. But, happiness, it needs, to in a sense is not, temporal, tentative happiness. The true happiness should be with you always, even though you are in adversity, there is happiness. So this kind of happiness is true happiness we mean. So, when we realize, the oneness of all living beings, oneness of inanimate and animate being, we will more helping, help others. And, at the same time you can properly accept[?] your future control yourself, and you will be a good Buddhist. This is what we mean to arise[realize?] bodhisattva-mind.

And, so, when you try to be some particular person, or particular character, or when you want, try to do some act or some good things especially, you will lose your way. That is why we should have bodhisattva-mind as well as Buddha-mind, perfect mind, or idea of nothingness, idea of nothing. As well as to believe in nothingness or Buddha. We have to believe you. We have to find the Buddha-mind in to everywhere[?], activity we take always. So, to, to know, what is Buddha-mind, is to know the meaning of to live your activity in faith. There's no other way for us to know what is Buddha-mind. The absolute, you know, mind should be founded in reality world. But, without having absolute, idea of absolute, or idea of God, or Buddha, to try to help with each other is, means nothing, literally ending various able[?]. You know, without, without the idea of supreme reality or powerful reality, to help others means nothing because your activity has no root to it. So, as long as you have the idea of perfect being, you have to be considerate on your everyday life, on your trivial activity. So, eternal life should be obtained in our short sixteen years or eighty years, or lifetime. So, when you acquire, when you obtain this understanding life, it means you obtain the valued life. When you find out eternal life, you ??? in trivial, ???, you find that the eternal life, it still exists. So, to find out the eternal life is to find out the meaning of your life, the meaning of what you are doing.

So, first of all, when we say to help others, we should find out the meaning of our imperfect life. And, we should know that there's no other way to be in contact with the absolute or the truth[?], he say[?]. But, sometime when we try to attain some perfection in your work, you will be lead in evil. This is very important point. The, only religion puts or emphasize this point is for Buddhism. Within our reach, there's no perfection. Even though you develop yourself there's a truth forever. Now, the effort, right, we cannot attain perfection because perfect one is not attainable. Because it is not attainable, we say, it is perfect, it is God. If it is attainable, it is not perfect. We should know this fact. When we know this fact, this rule, this produce, we will be, become very much sincere with what you are doing right now. And, you will have enough encouragement to continue your imperfect life. So, friends, as you parent and trees[?] and friends, are away from you when the spring come, we should, you know, deliver[?] ourselves. We should improve ourselves, forever.

It looks like we are ready to do the same thing over and over again, which is not actually so. It should not be so. When you become a perfectionist[?], you know, you think you are repeating same thing (laughs). But, if friend will give up through become perfect mind, you know, you have, you will, you will become more subtle, and you will find out the meaning, subtle meaning of the changes in universe, changes in human life, so we say.

We, you know, sing same calendar, you know over and over. And, generally the first time (laughs) it is always generally the first. But, ????? are not ????. We think, you know, our calendar is all repeating the same thing. But, actually, everything in our nature does not repeat same thing. So, when we realize this fact, you will find out what is true, in its true face[?]. When you are occupied by, when your mind is occupied by some problem ???, you will try to be a perfect one. Your mind is like a rock, like a corpse which will not decay, and which will not develop. This is a very important point. Why I emphasize this point is, I now pretty sure about why we have war between countries always, and why they fight. Because you think your way is perfect, so you fight, and they fight. That is because you are the enemy. To, for, for perfect one, there is an enemy. Who are not perfect (laughs), well, there's no enemy (laughs).

We are not perfect. At the same time, they are not perfect (laughs). So, there is no reason why we should fight (laughs). But, actually they are fighting because of the idea to further peace. There is no perfect peace for human beings. There must be some trouble. Because we have trouble we enjoy our life with bravura[?]. (Laughing.) Try not to, you know, achieve perfect peace. That is how to bring about peace in this world, we needs to assess[?].

At this point it's very important to achieve the true understanding of our life. So, without having true understanding of life, it is impossible to have true understanding of the absolute good. So, we put this idea in this way: The perfect one always encourage us through various path[?] we see. Sometime a flower opens, and sometime a flower die. But, through dying flower, through coming, flower coming back, we will realize, we will be encouraged. Through when you have some difficulty in your everyday life, you will be encouraged by the difficulties.

So, a perfect one is always helping us, through everything we see, and through everything we do. And, so we should help others through we, through our everyday practice. Not only Zen practice, but also today ???, but to get up, to eat. This is how to help others. And, so our activity is, will be continue as long as human being exist, and as long as something is going in this world. Even though all human being dies out there will, something will be going, where something is going there activity. As long as something is going somewhere.

Now, always, the true spirit of Buddhism are, our way is many. So, so there is no message to worry. When you think there's nothing to worry, there's no destruction, there's no void[?]. When you become worry about your own life. ????? particular way of life or your particular understanding of death. Democracy or communism[?]? Because of that means suffering. Actually, when there's no such thing like communism or democracy, when you really realize this truth, there's nothing to worry. When we are completely released from everything, we will have complete, we will have, we say always complete ??????? (laughs) human word, or complete or obsessed[?]. I sometimes say complete, but after I say complete or absolute, you know, I assume that ??? (laughing). Nowadays, it's the age of absolute, and age of complete, but without knowing what is complete, that is absurd. But, when you realize what is absolute, what is complete, you will, you will not say. There is nobody could be, or absolute. We have proof, me[?] (laughing), sometimes. It's not fit I think talk about some, something, some problem which we have right now. Because we know what is absolute, but some people just try to escape from difficulties without knowing there's nothing to worry. This is another ???. This is. Those people have to know of our true understanding of life.

So, if you understand what I'm saying, I think you will have more deeper understanding about young generation. Well, in a sense, our way of life, we call Zen ???? (laughs). There is no such future as future exist. Only when they become[?] in existence are real[?]. There are called they try to escape from existence[?]. Actually, the situation you have. But whenever you go, you have, you will have same difficulties. Even though you will, together you will discuss our life and your fleeing away from zazen and prejudice[?], soon you will have same difficulties, which all the human being have. The difficulty we have is always same. It is the difference in its aware of happiness or in its degree of suffering. But, nature is always same. When you do not realize the point within our needs[?], there's no perfection. Within our human needs, there's no perfection. Then will the fact[?] always some difficulties. That is absolutely true. For this point it's emphasized in Buddhism, has been emphasized in Buddhism. So some people say Buddhism is very negative. It is negative because when you have just positive idea[?]. For people, you know, for it's just pointed without knowing what is actual strength. There's no other way to emphasize ???? a path of bliss[?]. So, for Zen it provisionally looks like reality, but it is not so.

So, to, to enter our way is to have this kind of understanding of life. This understanding of life is, may be quite opposite to your usual understanding of life. It means we are so far away from perfect. We have come finally to realize we took opposite direction in our effort. So, I think we will realize which way we will, we have been taking. But it is time to go to our home, and make another, take another direction for us for, and for human being. Thank you.


Transcribed by Peter Ford, January, 2020.


File name: 66-07-23: We are not perfect (titled by pf) Audio of this lecture came from https://suzukiroshi.engagewisdom.com/talks/yyyymmdd-serial00093

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