January 4, 2007

"Not Always So"

Practicing the
True Spirit of Zen
by Shunryu Suzuki

From the book jacket:
In Not Always So (long awaited companion volume to Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind) Suzuki voices Zen in everyday language, with humor and good-heartedness. While offering sustenance much like a mother and father lending a hand, Suzuki encourages you to find your own way. Rather than emphasize specific directions and techniques, his teaching encourages you to touch and know your true heart and to express yourself fully. Suzuki's words do not seem to come from outside, but awaken a voice arising from your own being.

Meaningful Quotes:
When you are not thinking that you have another moment, then naturally you can accept things as they are, you can see things as they are.

What makes your practice go deeper and deeper is the day-by-day effort of sitting.

"Hitting the mark is the result of ninety-nine failures." Dogen Zenji

So the secret is just to say "Yes!" and jump off from here. Then there is no problem. It means to be yourself, always yourself, without sticking to an old self.

The kind of life you have is not so important. The most important thing is to be able to enjoy your life without being fooled by things.

Instead of galloping about, we walk slowly, like a cow or an elephant. If you can walk slowly, without any idea of gain, then you are already a good Zen student.

When you see plum blossoms or hear the sound of a small stone hitting bamboo, that is a letter from the world of emptiness.

And ordinary mind is not something apart from what is holy.

Please take care of your practice. Be very kind with yourself.

When our life is based on respect and complete trust, it will be completely peaceful.

Our practice is to help people, and to help people we find out how to practice our way on each moment.

With big mind and with pure sincerity and respect, love can really be love.

Words by themselves are not good enough to actualize (Buddha's) teaching, so it is transmitted through activity or through human relationships.

...in our busy life we should wear (like a robe) this civilization without being bothered by it, without ignoring it, without being caught by it. Without going anywhere, without escaping it, we can find composure in this busy life.

From ancient times the main point of practice has been to have a clear, calm mind - whatever you do.

"I go my own way. Wherever I go, I meet myself." Tozan

Yet wherever you are, you are one with the clouds and one with the sun and with the stars that you see.

In short don't be involved in making too many homemade cookies, your ideas of big or small, good or bad. Make only as many as you need. Without food you cannot survive, so it is good to make cookies, but don't make too many.

When you laugh at yourself, there is enlightenment.

Not Always So available at Powells and Amazon

Other books by Shunryu Suzuki:
Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness
Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind