Suzuki Roshi

‘Rinzai, an early Chinese Zen master, analyzed how to teach his disciples in four ways. Sometimes he talked about the disciple himself; sometimes he talked about the teaching itself; sometimes he gave an interpretation of the disciple or the teaching; and finally, sometimes he did not give any instruction at all to his disciples. He knew that even without being given any instruction, a student is a student. Strictly speaking, there is no need to teach the student, because the student himself is Buddha, even though he may not be aware of it. An even though he is aware of his true nature, if he is attached to this awareness, that is already wrong. When he is not aware of it, he has everything, but when he becomes aware of it he thinks that what he is aware of is himself, which is a big mistake.’ (Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind)

I remember a shuso at Tassajara saying, years ago, ‘You are so much bigger than your ideas about yourself,’ which took me a long time to parse correctly, but which now seems to align exactly with what Suzuki Roshi is saying here.

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