‘Since I moved in this building, people ask me how do you feel [laughs]. But I haven’t find myself in this building. I don’t know what I am doing here [laughs, laughter]. Everything is so unusual to me. So actually I haven’t [laughs]– not much feeling. But I am thinking about now how to adjust myself to this building…
We should put things in most– in the most natural way. And next thing will be to clean, you know, our surrounding. This is very important effort to fit ourselves to our surrounding. At Eiheiji they say zazen– they do not say zazen first– they say “cleaning first and then zazen.” Clean our surrounding, making, you know, suitable surrounding for us. Then we should sit. So cleaning first and zazen next.
I think it makes sense. You know, I didn’t know the meaning so well, but, for an instance, it is rather difficult to sit before you clean your floor and altar. It is not so easy because you will have various dust, you know, in your mind too. So in Zen students, most important thing is to arrange things in proper way or in the most natural way, so that we can make best of our effort and best of– best use of them, and to clean it– to clean them so that we can have good practice. Then, I think, without changing, you know, our way of life so much, we will have quite Buddhistic feeling in our life, I think.
So fundamental point will be to make effort to suit ourselves to the surrounding– to adjust ourselves to the surrounding, instead of adjusting surrounding to our convenience. This kind of effort is, right now, very important, I think. And if we start to making effort on this point, we will have here wonderful, you know, life, and this building will be– without changing so much– I think we will have quite good Buddhistic feeling.’ (from the Suzuki Roshi archives)
These are Suzuki Roshi’s words having moved into City Center, a couple of years after Tassajara opened, and a couple of years before his death. Fifty years on, I think Zen Center has thoroughly adapted itself to the building.