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
When you do something, you should burn yourself up completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.
When your mind is calm enough to follow this movement, there is nothing, no world, no mind nor body, just a swinging door.
Without accepting the fact that everything changes, we cannot find perfect composure. Because we cannot accept, we suffer.
You and I are just swinging doors. This kind of understanding is necessary.
‘You’ means to be aware of the universe in the form of you, and ‘I’ means to be aware of it in the form of I.
You stick to naturalness too much. When you stick to it, it is not natural anymore.
Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.
Time is not a line, but a series of now-points.
To receive everything, one must open one’s hands and give.
The fundamental delusion of humanity is to suppose that I am here and you are out there.
Do not insist upon your own fixed ideas. If your mind is broad it can easily embrace the entire world.
Not-knowing is OK. You can’t make certainty happen.
Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water, after enlightenment chop wood, carry water.
If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.
Knock on the sky and listen to the sound!
Knowledge is learning something new every day. Wisdom is letting go of something every day.
Man stands in his own shadow and wonders why it’s dark.
Move and the way will open.
No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place.
One moon shows in every pool; in every pool, the one moon.
Ride your horse along the edge of a sword; hide yourself in the middle of flames.
Sit quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.
Stand up to your obstacles; do something about them. You will find that they haven’t half the strength you think they have.
The infinite is in the finite of every instant.
The more we attune to peace, the more radiant our lives become.
The opposite of a great truth is also true.
The tighter you squeeze, the less you have.
The water flows, but back into the ocean. The moon sinks, but is even in Heaven.
Time passes quickly and opportunity is lost. Each of us must strive to awaken. Do not squander your lives.
Touch the hole in your life, and there flowers will bloom.