like a child who draws pictures

May 17, 2016 – month of daily flower & buddha photos – Day 17

photo May 2016 ©


faux triad

triad of funky buddha figures; origin & material unknown (faux stone, art-resin). Local antique/junque shop, has this item labeled “Krishna.” Fair enough. I like the earnest angle of the left figure’s neck. The shoulder-cowelled robes seem modeled somewhat on Sino-Japanese images of Quan-Yin / Kannon, the buddha Avalokiteshwara. Photo May 2016  ©

Rules are only needed when we don’t have much time, or when we cannot help others more closely in a kind way. To say, “This is the rule, so you should do it,” is easy, but, actually, that is not our way. For the beginner, maybe, instruction is necessary, but for advanced students we don’t give much instruction, and they try out various ways. If possible, we give instruction to people one by one. Because that is difficult, we give group instruction or a lecture like this. But don’t stick to the lecture. Think about what I really mean.

I feel sorry that I cannot help you very much. But the way to study true Zen is not verbal. Just open yourself and give up everything. Whatever happens, whether you think it is good or bad, study closely and see what you find out. This is the fundamental attitude. Sometimes you will do things without much reason, like a child who draws pictures whether they are good or bad. If that is difficult for you, you are not actually ready to practice zazen [sitting meditation].

This is what it means to surrender, even though you have nothing to surrender. Without losing yourself by sticking to a particular rule or understanding, keep finding yourself, moment after moment. This is the only thing for you to do.

Thank you very much.

—Shunryu Suzuki Roshi (1904-1971), not always so: practicing the true spirit of Zen.

2002 (Harper, New York).

Suzuki Roshi was a dear friend and “auxiliary” teacher.