‘The monastery is not some particular place. Whether you can make Tassajara a monastery or not is up to you. It may be worse than city life even though you are in Tassajara. But when you have wisdom of Prajnaparamita Sutra, even though you are in San Francisco, that is perfect monastery. This point should be, you know, fully understood.’ (from the Suzuki Roshi archives)
This was the most recent talk that I have written an article about for the archive. I have been very interested in how Suzuki Roshi laid out his vision for teaching at Tassajara in the first sesshin held there, and the early part of this talk is given over to his ideas about work practice. But, as he points out in this closing paragraph, what he is hoping to instil is a mindset.
I remember a more senior student telling me that he felt it was okay to leave Tassajara when he could feel that walking the streets of New York was the same as being at Tassajara. I didn’t understand it at the time, but I came to see exactly what he meant.