Suzuki Roshi

‘People may think Zen is a wonderful teaching, you know. “If you study Zen, you will acquire complete freedom (laughs). Whatever you do, if you are in the Zen Buddhist robe, it is alright (laughs). If you wear a black robe like this, whatever you do will be alright. We have that much freedom in our teaching.” This kind of understanding looks like observing the teaching that form is emptiness, but what I mean by “form is emptiness” is quite different. Back and forth we practice, we train our mind and our emotions and our body. And after those processes, you will acquire the perfect freedom. And perfect freedom should be only — will be acquired only under some limitation.’ (from the Suzuki Roshi archives)

I’ve been reading more of the talks from the first sesshin at Tassajara in the summer of 1967, to see what Suzuki Roshi wanted to transmit to those students who were inspired to jump into monastic training. There is a lot of subtle stuff about the different permutations of form and emptiness, and also some insights into the Genjo Koan. Look out for more posts soon.

One thought on “Suzuki Roshi

  1. We have taken on human form. Within that human form are so many things. We must train our minds and discipline our emotions like Roshi said. When we sit in zazen all the systems of the body simmer down and we are still and quiet. Then we could say form is emptiness and emptiness is form.


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