Suzuki Roshi

‘When truth is actually fill your body, you think that something is missing [laughs]. Do you understand what does he mean? Something is missing– ”something is missing” means if you understand truth, you know, actual truth, truth is not– truth is– truth reveal itself in eternal present. Not only this moment, but also eternally it will continuously reveal itself through our activity. So what we do just now is not enough. We have to take another, you know, activity in next moment. So what we– just what we do is not enough.
If someone ask you what is truth, you know, you may say, “I don’t know”– you can say, “I don’t know,” or you can say, “What is it?” [Laughs.] What is it? “What is it?” means you stop and think, or you appreciate life in that moment. We are– we live in eternal present, but we even know that we do not aware of present even– present time even. We are just doing– continuously doing things one after another.
So you don’t know– you are not aware of your life even. But if someone ask you what it is, you may say, “Oh, what will it be?” [Laughs.] That is the answer, you know. “Oh– oh, I am doing something [laughs]. What am I doing [laughs]? This is the answer. What are you doing? “Oh my! I am watching the fish!” [Laughs, laughter.] That is the answer. Do you understand? “What am I doing? Oh, I’m practicing zazen.” That is true practice. That is true answer. “What is it?” is the answer, you know. “Oh, I don’t know” is also. “What are you doing? “Oh, oh my– I don’t know!” [Laughs, laughter.]
When you are actually one with truth, things happens on your life in that way. That is true life. When you discuss about the truth, what it is [laughs]– the more you discuss, the more [laughs] you will be separated from the truth. But when you know that, it’s all right– if you are answering to the question– someone’s question who do not know what is the truth. So you are trying to answer. Just you say, “Don’t be silly, I am just eating.” [Laughs.]

I copied this from an unedited transcript of a Suzuki Roshi talk, such as you can find here. I neglected to add the date or the actual page where I found the material, but since I can tell he is talking about the Genjo Koan, it was not hard to track down (and you can hear the talk here). In all the circularity of his expression, he is trying to elucidate the point that anything we think is happening necessarily does not encapsulate what is actually happening. More pertinently, there is a lot of laughter, which is also the essential point.

Suzuki Roshi

‘There is no end to our practice. Because there is no end to our practice, your practice is good. Don’t you think so? But usually you expect your practice could be effective enough to put an end to hard practice. If I say, “Practice hard for just two years,” you will lose interest in our practice. If I say, “You have to practice your whole life,” then you will be disappointed. “Oh, Zen is not good. Zen is not for me.” But if you understand what practice is, and if you are interested in practice, the reason you are interested in practice is that practice never ends. That is why I am interested in Buddhism. There is no end. Even if human beings vanish from this earth, Buddhism exists.’ (Genjo Koan – Three Commentaries)

Suzuki Roshi

‘Our practice is not just effort. You come here and study or practice zazen so that you can understand what is Buddhism. I’m making an effort to give you some understanding of Zen. That is true. That is actually what we are doing here. I shall be very much disappointed if you come to zazen thinking, “Now I know what Buddhism is.” If you think there will be no need to practice zazen, to study Zen, I shall be very disappointed. I want you to come here even though you understand what Buddhism is. I am not selling you something, but I want you to be my customer. And I want to live with your support and I shall be very glad if you have some joy in practicing here. This is actually Buddhism. It is not a matter of enlightenment or understanding.’ (Genjo Koan – Three Commentaries)

Suzuki Roshi

‘When you do something with a purpose based on some evaluation of what is useful or useless, good or bad, more or less valuable, your understanding is not perfect. If you do things that need to be done regardless of whether the results are good or bad, successful or unsuccessful, that is real practice.’ (Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness)

Suzuki Roshi

‘Without students, no teacher. And the students encourage the teacher. It is very much so. If I have no students I may goof off every day. Because I have so many students watching me, I must do something; I must study so that I can give a lecture. If there is no lecture, I will not study. But at the same time I shall be very much ashamed of myself if I study just to give a lecture. So usually, when I study for a lecture I go off in another direction, following something interesting, and most of the time I don’t study for the lecture. But still, if I don’t study, I don’t feel so good. Because I feel it is necessary to prepare for the lecture, I start to study. But as soon as I start, I go off on my own and study for the sake of studying, not just for giving the lecture. Things are going on in this way endlessly. And it is good, you know.
Someday what I study will help students. I don’t know when. Just to feel good we study, and just to feel better we practice zazen. No one knows what will happen to us after sitting one, two, or ten years. No one knows, and it is right that no one knows. Just to feel good we sit zazen, actually. Eventually that kind of purposeless practice will help you.’ (Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness)