Suzuki Roshi

‘In the zendo there is nothing fancy. We just come and sit. After communicating with each other we go home and resume our own everyday activity as a continuation of our pure practice, enjoying our true way of life. Yet this is very unusual. Wherever I go people ask me, “What is Buddhism?” with their notebooks ready to write down my answer. You can imagine how I feel! But here we just practice zazen. that is all we do, and we are happy in this practice. For us there is no need to understand what Zen is. We are practicing zazen. So for us there is no need to know what Zen is intellectually. This is, I think, very unusual for American society.’ (Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind)

All I can add to this is that it is just as true now as it was when Suzuki Roshi spoke the words (or the pre-edited version of them, to be pedantic) fifty years ago. With perhaps the difference that more Americans are exposed to Buddhism, and the idea of acquiring something – meaning, benefit, enlightenment, relief from stress – through practice may be even stronger. We always need to be reminded of the value of letting go of these concepts.

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