Suzuki Roshi

‘You may say Buddhism is very negative [laughs] because we say your teaching is not teaching [laughs]. In this sense, Buddhism is very negative. But we would say your — your teaching may be good, but it is not only wrong — not only wrong, but also, you know, create big problem. Although it is — it looks like good, it looks like complete, it looks like [laughs] — but actually it isn’t. Usually the teaching we understand is not perfect — is not good. At least good enough to help us. But, when you do — do not do anything, when you do not observe it, it looks like good. But when you observe it, when you do it, when you follow it, it, you know, turn its back to you. It is not because teaching is wrong, maybe your way of understanding is wrong. So if you practice something according to teaching, you should have right attitude towards the teaching. You should know how to, you know, manage the teaching [laughs]. That is the point.

So we are very negative, but by being negative, every teaching will — when the every teaching reduced to nothing — no value, then the teaching will start work. It is necessary to reduce everything to nothing. It means to reduce every worldly aspect to nothing, and by pure mind, we should start religious life. That is so-called-it pure mind.’ (from the Suzuki Roshi archives)

This is a talk that we digitised a couple of years ago, from 1966, when Suzuki Roshi gave a few talks on the Shushogi. In the archive listings, it was not labeled as a talk by Suzuki Roshi, and when I listened to the beginning of it, I did not think it was, as he was reading from a translation of the text, which he did in a way that is different to his usual teaching voice. Going through all the photographs of the reels the other day, I thought to listen to it again, and discovered a tremendously rich hour-long talk.

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