Quote Archives: Shunryu Suzuki

Death comes suddenly ~ Shunryu Suzuki

One morning at the end of zazen, Suzuki spoke to the students still facing the wall, repeating an old theme with a new twist: “When you hear the wake-up bell, you should jump out of bed right away. You shouldn’t lie there. Otherwise, how can you ever face death, which always comes suddenly? But don’t […]

The quality of zazen will express itself ~ Shunryu Suzuki

If you think you will get something from practicing zazen, already you are involved in impure practice. It is all right to say there is practice, and there is enlightenment, but we should not be caught by the statement. You should not be tainted by it. When you practice zazen, just practice zazen. If enlightenment […]

The posture itself ~ Shunryu Suzuki

These forms are not the means of obtaining the right state of mind. To take this posture is itself to have the right state of mind. There is no need to obtain some special state of mind. Shunryu Suzuki

Open to all the possibilities ~ Shunryu Suzuki

The mind of the beginner is empty, free of the habits of the expert, ready to accept, to doubt, and open to all the possibilities. Shunryu Suzuki

The way to study ~ Shunryu Suzuki

We have to study with our warm heart, not just with our brain. Shunryu Suzuki

Belief based on a self-centered idea ~ Shunryu Suzuki

I discovered that it is necessary, absolutely necessary, to believe in nothing. That is, we have to believe in something which has no form and no color, something which exists before all forms and colors appear. That is a very important point. No matter what god or doctrine you believe in, if you become attached […]

Little by little ~ Shunryu Suzuki

After you have practiced for a while, you will realize that it is not possible to make rapid, extraordinary progress. Even though you try very hard, the progress you make is always little by little. It is not like going out in a shower in which you know when you get wet. In a fog, […]

Our scales ~ Shunryu Suzuki

When we analyze our experience, we have ideas of time or space, big or small, heavy or light. A scale of some kind is necessary, and with various scales in our mind, we experience things. Still the thing itself has no scale. That is something we add to reality. Because we always use a scale […]

That is why we practice zazen ~ Shunryu Suzuki

Shikantaza is to practice or actualize emptiness. Although you can have a tentative understanding of it through your thinking, you should understand emptiness through your experience. You have an idea of emptiness and an idea of being, and you think that being and emptiness are opposites. But in Buddhism both of these are ideas of […]

The weeds you have in your mind ~ Shunryu Suzuki

You should rather be grateful for the weeds you have in your mind, because eventually they will enrich your practice. Shunryu Suzuki

Do not be bothered by anything ~ Shunryu Suzuki

When you are practicing Zazen, do not try to stop your thinking. Let it stop by itself. If something comes into your mind, let it come in, and let it go out. It will not stay long. When you try to stop your thinking, it means you are bothered by it. Do not be bothered […]

Nothing outside yourself can cause any trouble ~ Shunryu Suzuki

Nothing comes from outside your mind. Usually we think of our mind as receiving impressions and experiences from outside, but that is not a true understanding of our mind. The true understanding is that the mind includes everything; when you think something comes from outside it means only that something appears in your mind. Nothing […]

Bowing ~ Shunryu Suzuki

Bowing is a very important practice for diminishing our arrogance and egotism. It is not to demonstrate complete surrender to Buddha. This practice is to help get rid of our own selfishness Shunryu Suzuki

The awareness that you are here ~ Shunryu Suzuki

When you are sitting in the middle of your own problem, which is more real to you: your problem or you yourself? The awareness that you are here, right now, is the ultimate fact. Shunryu Suzuki

Empty and ready mind ~ Shunryu Suzuki

You should not lose your self-sufficient state of mind. This does not mean a closed mind, but actually an empty and ready mind. If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few. Shunryu […]

Trusting ourselves completely ~ Shunryu Suzuki

In short, we can say that we trust ourselves completely, without thinking, without feeling, without discriminating between good and bad, right and wrong. Because we respect ourselves, because we put faith in our life, we sit. Shunryu Suzuki

Our way of observing things ~ Shunryu Suzuki

It is because our way of observing things is deeply rooted in our self-centered ideas that we are disappointed when we find everything has only a tentative existence. But when we actually realize this truth, we will have no suffering. Shunryu Suzuki

Enlightened activity only ~ Shunryu Suzuki

There are, strictly speaking, no enlightened people, there is only enlightened activity. Shunryu Suzuki

Calmness in Activity ~ Shunryu Suzuki

It is easy to have calmness in inactivity, it is hard to have calmness in activity, but calmness in activity is true calmness. Shunryu Suzuki