Shunryu Suzuki Roshi was one of the most influential teachers of Soto Zen Buddhism in American history.
Zen Buddhism was transmitted from China to Japan in the twelfth century, and was distinguished by the direct transmission of profound insight into the nature of Reality, from master to disciple, rather than through reliance on words and scriptures.
“Zen” is the Japanese pronunciation of Chinese chán, “meditation”. Chán in turn comes from the Prajhna, (Sanskrit dhyanam), also meaning “meditation,” and from the Sanskrit root dhya “to see, observe”.
International interest in Zen began in the 1950’s and Zen was popularised in the West by Alan Watts and DT Suzuki. As a result of the growing interest in Zen in particular and Buddhism in general, many Westerners travelled to the East to immerse themselves in the teachings and practice of Buddhism. Many of these people returned to the West to found temples and monasteries which have thrived in the ensuing years due to the flourishing interest in Buddhist teachings.
I asked the boy beneath the pines
He said ” the Master’s gone alone
Herb-picking somewhere on the mount
cloud-hidden, whereabouts unknown”
– Chia Tao
What happens after death? Master: I don’t know. Student: How can you not know, You’re a Zen Master. Yes, but I am not a dead one.
Eyes horizontal, Nose vertical. Essence of Buddhism.
If you are unable to find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?
To study the Buddha way is to study the self.
To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand things.
Happiness is simple. Everything we do to find it is complicated.
Wisdom is free. What we pay for is foolishness.
Zazen is the self being itself by itself.
When the mind does not dwell on any one thing, true mind appears.
Zen is not some special state, it is our normal condition, silent, peaceful, awake, without agitation.
You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.
The only Zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there.
The bird of paradise lands only on the hand that does not grasp.
No matter how many years you sit doing zazen, you will never become anything special.
Throwing away Zen mind is correct Zen mind. Only keep the question ‘What is the best way of helping other people?
As long as you seek for something, you will get the shadow of reality and not reality itself.
Daily life becomes our Zen training.
For Zen students a weed is a treasure. With this attitude, whatever you do, life becomes an art.
In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.
Life is like stepping onto a boat which is about to sail out to sea and sink.
Our ‘original mind’ includes everything within itself. It is always rich and sufficient within itself.
Our way is to practice one step at a time, one breath at a time, with no gaining idea.
Preparing food is not just about yourself and others. It’s about everything!
Q: How much ego do you need? A: Just enough so that you don’t step in front of a bus.
The mind of the beginner is empty, free of the habits of the expert, ready to accept, to doubt, open to all possibilities.
The most important point is to accept yourself and stand on your two feet.
To study Buddhism is to study ourselves. To study ourselves is to forget ourselves.
We dedicate ourselves to sincere practice, with no thought of gaining anything special.
We should appreciate what we are doing. There is no preparation for something else.
What we call ‘I’ is just a swinging door which moves when we inhale and exhale.