Quotations by Suzuki, Shunryu


When you can laugh at yourself, there is enlightenment.

Shunryū Suzuki (1905-1971) Japanese Zen Buddhist master
“Sitting Like a Frog,” Not Always So [ed. E. Brown] (2002)
Added on 23-Jun-09 | Last updated 23-Jun-09
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Hell is not punishment. It’s training.

Shunryū Suzuki (1905-1971) Japanese Zen Buddhist master
(Attributed)
Added on 12-Nov-07 | Last updated 12-Nov-07
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As soon as you see something, you already start to intellectualize it. As soon as you intellectualize something, it is no longer what you saw.

Shunryū Suzuki (1905-1971) Japanese Zen Buddhist master
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Sep-09 | Last updated 1-Sep-09
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All descriptions of reality are limited expressions of the world of emptiness. Yet we attach to the descriptions and think they are reality. That is a mistake.

Shunryū Suzuki (1905-1971) Japanese Zen Buddhist master
Not Always So, “Letters from Emptiness” (2002)
Added on 2-Feb-15 | Last updated 2-Feb-15
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Nothing we see or hear is perfect. But right there in the imperfection is perfect reality.

Shunryū Suzuki (1905-1971) Japanese Zen Buddhist master
Not Always So, “Wherever You Are, Enlightenment Is There” (2002)
Added on 9-Feb-15 | Last updated 9-Feb-15
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For Zen students a weed is a treasure. […] You should rather be grateful for the weeds you have in you mind, because eventually they will enrich your practice.

Shunryū Suzuki (1905-1971) Japanese Zen Buddhist master
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, ch. 1 “Right Practice” (1973)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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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.

Shunryū Suzuki (1905-1971) Japanese Zen Buddhist master
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Prologue (1973)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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To have some deep feeling about Buddhism is not the point; we just do what we should do, like eating supper and going to bed. This is Buddhism.

Shunryū Suzuki (1905-1971) Japanese Zen Buddhist master
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind (1973)
Added on 12-May-04 | Last updated 18-Oct-09
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So it is not a matter of whether it is possible to attain Buddhahood, or if it is possible to make a tile a jewel. But just to work, just to live in this world with this understanding is the most important point, and that is our practice. That is true zazen.

Shunryū Suzuki (1905-1971) Japanese Zen Buddhist master
Lecture in Los Altos, California (1 Sep 1967)
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Added on 2-Jul-20 | Last updated 2-Jul-20
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The highest truth is daiji, translated as dai jiki in Chinese scriptures. This is the subject of the question the emperor asked Bodhidharma: “What is the First Principle?” Bodhidharma said, “I don’t know.” “I don’t know” is the First Principle.

Shunryū Suzuki (1905-1971) Japanese Zen Buddhist master
Lotus Sutra No. 6 lecture, Tassajara, California (Feb 1968)
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Added on 10-Jul-20 | Last updated 10-Jul-20
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