Suzuki Roshi

‘Almost all of you have not practiced Zen so long, but I think you have made great progress. This result is more than we expected. As I always say, for the beginner the most important point is posture. While you are working hard on your posture you will study many things besides your physical training. Physical training always follows mental training, even though you do not try to train your mentality. To put your mind in the right way is one interpretation of Zen. Or to resume your right mind is called Zen. Samapati means to resort to the right state of mind. Another interpretation is to put our mind in the right place. Physical training will result from the right orientation of your mind. If you are determined to overcome your pain your mind will follow your pain. But if your determination is not strong enough your mind will be in agitation. Zen is not struggling. When you practice Zen your mind should be calm – even though you fight with your pain your mind should always be calm. It means your mind follows your pain like water, as water always follows the lower place. If your determination is strong enough, your mind becomes calm: following your physical condition and finding out many things. As long as you are struggling with your physical condition your mind will not find anything; your mind is shut; your mind is occupied so it will not be anything. When your mind is calm enough, even in your pain, you will find out many things. When your mind is in this state it is called a “well-oriented” mind. To put your mind in the right way is Zen.’ (from the Suzuki Roshi archives)

This talk is from November 1965 – just two days after the Beginner’s Mind talk – and given during a one-day sitting, though sadly the audio is now lost.


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