Suzuki Roshi

‘First of all you enter, you know, you bow. The bow means to– we say gotai-tochi. Gotai is “our body.” Our– to- — tochi is “to throw away our body.” It means that, in short, practice of selflessness, you know, to throw away our physical and mental being. And– or we offer, you know, ourselves to Buddha. That is our practice of bow. To bow– when you bow, you bow and lift your hand. That means to lift Buddha’s feet, which is on your palm, like this, and you feel Buddha on your palm. So in this way, you– when you practice bow, you have no– or you shouldn’t have– you are supposed not to have any idea of self, you know. You give up everything.

When Buddha was begging, his follower, you know, spread his hair on the ground, muddy ground, and let Buddha pass that place. That is– is supposed to be the origin of why we bow. And in ritual, you know, you bow and work. You do everything by some sign [laughs], you know, that is, you know, that kind of thing is– maybe the things you may not like so much [laughs]. Just– it looks like very formal, you know, to– to– to do everything by sign, by bell. Whether you want to do it or not, you must do it [laughs]. But it looks like very formal. And actually you– as long as you are in Buddha hall– hall, you should observe our way according to the rules we have here. But why we do it is to forget ourselves and to become one– to feel or to be, you know, Zen student actually in this Buddha hall. That is why we– we observe our rituals.

And this is very important point. To feel your being here, right in this time, is very important practice for us. And actually, that is the point of observing precepts and observing rituals and practice of zazen. To feel or to be yourself at certain time, in certain place. For that purpose, we practice our way.’ (from the Suzuki Roshi archives)

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