Suzuki Roshi

‘Someone may ask us how this kind of practice will benefit our everyday life. The answer may be no benefit, as Bodhidharma said, “no merit.” But we mean by merit: merit and no merit. Beneficial and not beneficial. Mahayana Buddhists emphasize the saving of others and the saving of ourselves. To save others is to save ourselves. It does not mean to save others after we save ourselves, or to save others before we save ourselves. Our way is “to save others is to save ourselves.” To hear a sound is for the sound to arise. It is one activity. We practice this kind of practice because for us there is no other way to appease our inmost desire. Until we attain this way of life, our inmost desire will not be appeased.

So Dogen Zenji always emphasized “beginner’s mind.” We should always remain in beginner’s mind. It means our experience should always be refreshed and renewed. It means always have the joy of discovering something. The same joy as children discovering something new. This kind of experience is not possible to attain just by training through which you expect some result.’ (from the Suzuki Roshi archives)

This is from a one-day sitting talk from 1965; in talks before this, there are several mentions of ‘inmost desire’, and in a talk less than a month later, he talked about ‘beginner’s mind’ again…


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