”When you dip a water by this cup, you know, and when you say, “this is water,” you know, this is not water anymore. When you empty it to the river, it is really water. It is flowing endlessly. It doesn’t stay anywhere. If it stay someplace, it may not be true water anymore. But actually it is– it cannot stay anywhere that is water. We think it can stay here, but this is just because I think, you know, “here is water in the cup.” But it doesn’t actually staying here; it is going, you know, away. So when water is really water, it is nothing, you know; no self-nature. There is no water. You cannot catch it. So, in this sense, we can say “nothingness.” Water is nothingness. Nothingness– because it is nothing, it is water, true water. When it is true water, it is nothingness. So everything is nothingness, and everything is everything, just everything. Anything can be everything, and everything can be nothing. This is a kind of technique [laughs, laughter] to talk about– nothingness. When you know, when you become familiar with this kind of technique, you may say, “I understand what is nothingness.” [Laughs, laughter.] Then you don’t understand. So when you don’t know anything, you really have Buddhism. So better not to be concerned about nothingness too much. [Laughs, laughter.] Do you have some– did you understand what I am saying? No? [Laughter.] That was good. If you say “understand,” you understood– maybe you have understood something else. That is your own understanding. Don’t ask question about nothingness, you know. You will be– you must surrender, anyway, if you ask question about nothingness. Maybe I have to surrender too [laughs]’ (from the Suzuki Roshi archives)
When I come across passages like this, I am incredibly grateful that they were recorded, and I can only imagine what it must have been like to be in the assembly that day.