Shunryu Suzuki, “Don’t Spend Your Time in Vain”

“I don’t know why, you know, I am [laughs] in Tassajara [laughs]. Not for you or for myself, or not even for Buddha or for Buddhism. I am just here laughs . I cannot- You know, I don’t feel so good if-even when I think I have to leave Tassajara in two-three weeks, I don’t feel so good. I don’t know why [laughs]. I don’t think that is just because you are my students. I don’t think so. I do not have any particular person whom I love so much [laughs]. I don’t know why I have to be there. I have not much attachment to Tassajara. It is not because of I attach to Tassajara.

Hmm. Anyway, I am not seek [partial word]-I am not, you know, expecting anything in future or in term of monastery or Buddhism. But I don’t want to, you know, live-I don’t want to live in the air. I want to be right here. I want to stand on my feet, you know. The only way to stand on my feet is when I am Tassajara I should be at Tassajara [laughs]. That is the reason why, you know, I am here. I want to be here. That is the most important thing for me: to stand on my feet and to sit on my black cushion. I don’t trust anything but [laughs] my feet or my black cushion. This is my friend, always. My feet is always my friend. When I am in bed, my bed is my friend. There is no Buddha, or no Buddhism, or no zazen. If, you know, you ask me, “What is zazen?” you know, my answer will be, “To sit on black cushion is zazen,” or “To walk with my feet is my zazen.” To stay at this moment on this place is my zazen. There is no other zazen.

When I am really standing on my feet I am, you know, not lost. So, for me, that is, you know, nirvana, for me. So there is no need to travel, to cross, you know, mountain or river, for me. I am right here on the dharma world. So I have no difficulty to cross mountain and river. That is how, you know, we do not waste our time. Moment after moment we should live on this moment, right here, without sacrificing this moment for the future.”


(Excerpt from David Chadwick’s “Suzuki Roshi Transcripts”, July 6th, 1970)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *