Suzuki Roshi

‘We are Buddha. This is rather difficult to accept. So we say, Zen Buddhism is very easy to understand intellectually. It is not difficult to understand, but it is difficult to believe in it completely. We cannot accept ourselves as Buddha. This is very difficult point. But intellectually each one of us is Buddha. That is quite true. But emotionally or actually we cannot accept ourselves as Buddha, or we do not like to accept ourselves as Buddha. If we are Buddha, we think we should behave. It is rather inconvenient for us, but intellectually it is quite true. We can accept it intellectually but it is not so convenient for us to accept it actually. We want to escape from it always. So, this is our weak point ….’ (from the Suzuki Roshi archives, via

In my archive browsing, it was wonderful to come across this original type-written transcript, reminding me of the effort that typing used to take before word processors came to be. I wondered about the care and attention that was taken to produce even these two pages from a scratchy reel-to-reel recording. Then I discovered that cutting-and-pasting from the pdf provided a less than perfect copy of the typed words, so that, to turn that into smooth English, I was doing just what the original editors would have done with Suzuki Roshi’s less than perfect idiom.

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