When a human life comes into being, a unique form comes together, like a drop of water when it is separated from the wholeness of the river as it hits a rock or falls down a waterfall.
Shunryu Suzuki always admitted his own difficulty with the English language, but also addressed the deeper problem of human communication, namely that ‘when we say something, our subjective intention or situation is always involved.’
Shunryu Suzuki on our inability to accept the truth that we and everything around us are in a state of constant flux.
Mitsu Suzuki was the wife of Shunryu Suzuki who accompanied him when he moved to the United States from Japan in the 1960s. After her husband passed away in 1971, Mitsu stayed on at San Francisco Zen Center where she taught tea ceremony and haiku poetry for another two decades. This excerpt is from a… Continue reading Mitsu Suzuki on Teaching Tea Ceremony
This biographical snippet, taken from the introduction of Tenshin Reb Anderson’s book Being Upright, tells a bit of the story of how he met his teacher, Shunryu Suzuki, and what the first days of their teacher-student relationship were like. Anderson says of the drive he had to be near his teacher, “I would make myself… Continue reading Being Intimate with the Essence of the Teacher’s Practice
The koan of the 100-foot pole is frequently invoked to expose our ideas and misconceptions about Zen practice, namely the idea that there is some kind of apex that can be reached and from where a great vista can be seen. According to Shunryu Suzuki in this talk featured in the book ‘Not Always So‘,… Continue reading Jumping off the 100-Foot Pole
The kind of happiness Buddhism proposes to us is not of the sunny, skipping-through-a-field-of-daisies variety, but rather a readiness and a sense of composure in facing whatever feeling might come up, be it pleasant or unpleasant. In this chapter from his book, Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness – which is based on a series… Continue reading Suffering, Crying, Happy Buddha
In an extraordinary essay that features in Rebecca Solnit’s ‘Infinite City – A San Francisco Atlas’ – Genine Lentine brings together the lives of salmon in the Bay Area and the patterns of the burgeoning Zen community that co-exists, sometimes in very close proximity, to the fish. Of the many things the two species have… Continue reading Playing With the Veil: Of Salmon and Zen Masters – Genine Lentine
E.E. Cummings’ short missive to young poets in which he urges confidence in oneself and authentic expression. We must distinguish between thinking, believing, knowing and feeling, the latter being the territory of real art and poetry.