Nyogen Senzaki

‘An ideal Buddhist should wash off all kinds of dirt and walk freely in naked truth. The perfect garment shows no seams, inside or outside; it is one complete piece, and nobody can tell where the work began and how it was woven. In true Buddhism, there ought not to be any trace, there ought not to be any trace of self-admiration after giving alms, much less the thought of compensation. An ideal Buddhist may keep the precepts, but will forget what has been done. Every act will unite with ethical laws, harmoniously and gracefully. An ideal Buddhist will never use the term Buddhist. As nature’s beloved child, no name is necessary. You may be a monk. You may be a layperson. It makes no difference as long as you enjoy your emancipation, and your heart beats regularly. You will not cling to the world; therefore you will not try to escape from the world. You will be contented as a happy, peaceful dweller in this world, and will desire nothing else.’ (Eloquent Silence).

This is from a talk Senzaki gave in San Francsico in 1931 – a whole generation before Suzuki Roshi arrived. Can you imagine how it must have sounded to the audience?

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