didn't say a word

Shunryu Suzuki Transcript

Sunday, May 24, 1959

Suzuki's first talk at Sokoji to the Japanese congregation, translated from the Japanese by Kazemitsu Kato.


Ohayo gozaimasu [Good morning].

When Shakyamuni Buddha first started to teach twenty-five hundred years ago in India, he lived in the forest and would at times give talks to all who came: monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen. Many, many people came to hear him, since he was so great and his talks were so wonderful and liberating. When he stepped up on his dais, a monk would hit a tree stump with a mallet and his disciple Ananda would say, "We are now going to hear Buddha's talk, so please listen carefully." And Buddha would deliver his lecture. When he was finished the monk would pound the stump again, and Ananda would say, "The Buddha's gracious talk is finished.

One day the people came, Buddha arrived, and a monk hit the tree stump and Ananda said, "We are now going to hear Buddha's talk, so please listen carefully." But that day the Buddha just sat, and didn't say a word. Then he stood up.

Ananda said, "Excuse me, oh honorable one, but are you not giving a talk today?" "Oh, but I just did," Buddha answered, and he descended his dais and walked away.

[Suzuki stood silently for a moment. Then with stick in hand he put his palms together, gasshoed, and thanked his new congregation.]
Source: This transcript is from Crooked Cucumber: Chapter Ten. There is no audio available.

File name: 59-05-24: didn't say a word (titled by pf) (Not Verbatim)

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