Famous Quotes & Sayings

Shunryu Suzuki Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 100 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Shunryu Suzuki.

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Shunryu Suzuki Quotes 734620

And we should forget, day by day, what we have done; this is true non-attachment. And we should do something new. To do something new, of course we must know our past, and this is all right. But we should not keep holding onto anything we have done; we should only reflect on it. And we must have some idea of what we should do in the future. But the future is the future, the past is the past; now we should work on something new ... This is "dana prajna paramita," to give something, or to create something for ourselves. — Shunryu Suzuki

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From True Emptiness The Wondrous Being Appears — Shunryu Suzuki

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Bowing helps to eliminate our self-centered ideas. This is not so easy. It is difficult to get rid of these ideas, and bowing is a very valuable practice. The result is not the point; it is the effort to improve ourselves that is valuable. There is no end to this practice. — Shunryu Suzuki

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Everything is perfect, but there is a lot of room for improvement. — Shunryu Suzuki

Shunryu Suzuki Quotes 1379532

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. — Shunryu Suzuki

Shunryu Suzuki Quotes 2201780

Do not be too interested in Zen. — Shunryu Suzuki

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Wabi means spare, impoverished; simple and functional. It connotes a transcendence of fad and fashion. The spirit of wabi imbues all the Zen arts, from calligraphy to karate, from the tea ceremony to Zen archery. — Shunryu Suzuki

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Instead of criticizing, find out how to help. — Shunryu Suzuki

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

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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 by anything ... if you are not bothered by the waves, gradually they will become calmer and calmer. — Shunryu Suzuki

Shunryu Suzuki Quotes 1982680

Leave your front door and your back door open.
Allow your thoughts to come and go.
Just don't serve them tea. — Shunryu Suzuki

Shunryu Suzuki Quotes 1551164

Meditation opens the mind to the greatest mystery that takes place daily and hourly; it widens the heart so that it may feel the eternity of time and infinity of space in every throb; it gives us a life within the world as if we were moving about in paradise. — Shunryu Suzuki

Shunryu Suzuki Quotes 434538

When you listen to someone, you should give up all your preconceived ideas and your subjective opinions; you should just listen to him, just observe what his way is. We put very little emphasis on right and wrong or good and bad. We just see things as they are with him, and accept them. This is how we communicate with each other. Usually when you listen to some statement, you hear it as a kind of echo of yourself. You are actually listening to your own opinion. If it agrees with your opinion you may accept it, but if it does not, you will reject it or you may not even really hear it. — Shunryu Suzuki

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We must make some effort, but we must forget ourselves in the effort we make ... So it is necessary for us to encourage ourselves and to make an effort up to the last moment, when all effort disappears. — Shunryu Suzuki

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Those who can sit perfectly physically usually take more time to obtain the true way of Zen, the actual feeling of Zen, the marrow of Zen. — Shunryu Suzuki

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When you try to attain something, your mind starts to wander about somewhere else. When you do not try to attain anything, you have your own body and mind right here.
In Buddhism it is a heretical view to expect something outside this world. We do not seek for something besides ourselves. — Shunryu Suzuki

Shunryu Suzuki Quotes 2013015

Let your ears hear without trying to hear. Let the mind think without trying to think and without trying to stop it. That is practice. — Shunryu Suzuki

Shunryu Suzuki Quotes 1542651

When we sit in the cross-legged posture, we resume our fundamental activity of creation. There are perhaps three kinds of creation. The first is to be aware of ourselves after we finish zazen. When we sit we are nothing, we do not even realize what we are; we just sit. But when we stand up, we are there! That is the first step in creation. When you are there, everything else is there; everything is created all at once. When we emerge from nothing, when everything emerges from nothing, we see it all as a fresh new creation. This is nonattachment. The second kind of creation is when you act, or produce or prepare something like food or tea. The third kind is to create something within yourself, such as education, or culture, or art, or some system for our society. So there are three kinds of creation. But if you forget the first, the most important one, the other two will be like children who have lost their parents; their creation will mean nothing. Usually — Shunryu Suzuki

Shunryu Suzuki Quotes 1186282

The teaching which is written on paper is not the true teaching. Written teaching is a kind of food for your brain. Of course it is necessary to take some food for your brain, but it is more important to be yourself by practicing the right way of life. — Shunryu Suzuki

Shunryu Suzuki Quotes 783714

In other restless positions you have no power to accept your difficulties, but in the zazen posture which you have acquired by long, hard practice, your mind and body have great power to accept things as they are, whether they are agreeable or disagreeable. — Shunryu Suzuki

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There is no gap between the ignorant and the wise. A foolish person is a wise person; a wise person is a foolish person. — Shunryu Suzuki

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If it is raining out, do not walk fast, because it is raining everywhere. — Shunryu Suzuki

Shunryu Suzuki Quotes 1763926

When you listen to a lecture, you should not have any idea of yourself. You should not have your own idea when you listen to someone. Forget what you have in your mind and just listen to what he says. To have nothing in your mind is naturalness. Then you will understand what he says. But if you have some idea to compare with what he says, you will not hear everything; your understanding will be one-sided; that is not naturalness. When you do something, you should be completely involved in it. You should devote yourself to it completely. — Shunryu Suzuki

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Time goes from present to past. — Shunryu Suzuki

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When you do something, if you fix your mind on the activity with some confidence, the quality of your state of mind is the activity itself. When you are concentrated on the quality of your being, you are prepared for the activity. — Shunryu Suzuki

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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. — Shunryu Suzuki

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Real Freedom is to not feel limited when wearing this Zen robe, this troublesome formal robe. Similarly, in our busy life we should wear this civilization without being bothered by it, without ignoring it, without being caught by it. — Shunryu Suzuki

Shunryu Suzuki Quotes 211069

In order not to leave any traces, when you do something, you should do it with your whole body and mind; you should be concentrated on what you do. You should do it completely, like a good bonfire. You should not be a smoky fire. You should burn yourself completely. If you do not burn yourself completely, a trace of yourself will be left in what you do. You will have something remaining which is not completely burned out. Zen activity is activity which is completely burned out, with nothing remaining but ashes. This is the goal of our practice. That is what Dogen meant when he said, "Ashes do not come back to firewood." Ash is ash. Ash should be completely ash. The firewood should be firewood. When this kind of activity takes place, one activity covers everything. — Shunryu Suzuki

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It is not after we understand the truth that we attain enlightenment. To realize the truth is to live - to exist here and now. — Shunryu Suzuki

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The practice of Zen mind is beginner's mind. The innocence of the first inquiry - what am I? - is needed throughout Zen practice. 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. It is the kind of mind which can see things as they are, which step by step and in a flash can realize the original nature of everything. — Shunryu Suzuki

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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. — Shunryu Suzuki

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To take this posture itself is the purpose of our practice. — Shunryu Suzuki

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But if you make your best effort just to continue your practice with your whole mind and body, without gaining ideas, then whatever you do will be true practice. — Shunryu Suzuki

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Concentration is not to try hard to watch something ... Concentration means freedom ... In zazen practice we say your mind should be concentrated on your breathing, but the way to keep your mind on your breathing is to forget all about yourself and just to sit and feel your breathing. — Shunryu Suzuki

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Or you may say, "This is bad, so I should not do this." Actually, when you say, "I should not do this," you are doing not-doing in that moment. So there is no choice for you. When you separate the idea of time and space, you feel as if you have some choice, but actually, you have to do something, or you have to do not-doing. Not-to-do something is doing something. Good and bad are only in your mind. So we should not say, "This is good," or "This is bad." Instead of saying bad, you should say, "not-to-do"! If you think, "This is bad," it will create some confusion for you. So in the realm of pure religion there is no confusion of time and space, or good or bad. All that we should do is just do something as it comes. Do something! Whatever it is, we should do it, even if it is not-doing something. We should live in this moment. — Shunryu Suzuki

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The best way to control cow and sheep is to give them a big grazing field. — Shunryu Suzuki

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We do not exist for the sake of something else. We exist for the sake of ourselves. — Shunryu Suzuki

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It is when your practice is rather greedy that you become discouraged with it. — Shunryu Suzuki

Shunryu Suzuki Quotes 140697

The most important thing is to express your true nature in the simplest, most adequate way and to appreciate it in the smallest existence. — Shunryu Suzuki

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Because all existence is founded upon the ever-present state of union, everything already exists in a state of tranquility. However, this state of tranquility is masked from us by our assumption that there is a separation, that there is a problem. — Shunryu Suzuki

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If you want to read a letter from the Buddha's world, it is necessary to understand Buddha's world. — Shunryu Suzuki

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If you take pride in your attainment or become discouraged because of your idealistic effort, your practice will confine you by a thick wall. — Shunryu Suzuki

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If I tell you something, you will stick to it and limit your own capacity to find out for yourself. — Shunryu Suzuki

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We must exist right here, right now! — Shunryu Suzuki

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If you receive things just as an echo of yourself, you do not really see them, you do not fully accept them as they are. — Shunryu Suzuki

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If you can just appreciate each thing, one by one, then you will have pure gratitude. Even though you observe just one flower, that one flower includes everything — Shunryu Suzuki

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When you do things in the right way, at the right time, everything else will be organized. — Shunryu Suzuki

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Only when you understand people, they may understand you. So even though you do not say anything, if you understand people there is some communication. — Shunryu Suzuki

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Not to be attached to something is to be aware of its absolute value. Everything you do should be based on such an awareness, and not on material or self-centered ideas of value. — Shunryu Suzuki

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The seed has no idea of being some particular plant, but it has its own form and is in perfect harmony with the ground, with its surroundings ... and there is no trouble. This is what we mean by naturalness. — Shunryu Suzuki

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The way that helps will not be the same; it changes according to the situation. — Shunryu Suzuki

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The world is its own magic. — Shunryu Suzuki

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Even if the sun were to rise from the west, the Bodhisattva has only one way. — Shunryu Suzuki

Shunryu Suzuki Quotes 661506

It is necessary to remember what we have done, but we should not become attached to what we have done in some special sense. — Shunryu Suzuki

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Zen is nothing to get excited about. — Shunryu Suzuki

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To give your sheep or cow a large, spacious meadow is the way to control him. — Shunryu Suzuki

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Nothing we see or hear is perfect. But right there in the imperfection is perfect reality. — Shunryu Suzuki

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When the restrictions you have do not limit you, this is what we mean by practice. — Shunryu Suzuki

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Our way to practice is one step at a time, on breath at a time. — Shunryu Suzuki

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If you cannot bow to Buddha, you cannot be a Buddha. It is arrogance. — Shunryu Suzuki

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You will find the worst horse is the most valuable one. In your very imperfections you will find the basis for your firm, way-seeking mind ... But those who find great difficulties in practicing Zen will find more meaning in it. So I think that sometimes the best horse may be the worst horse, and the worst horse can be the best one. — Shunryu Suzuki

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You will always exist in the universe in one form or another. — Shunryu Suzuki

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When he bowed to all those buddhas, the buddhas he bowed to were beyond his own understanding. Again and again he did it. — Shunryu Suzuki

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To renounce things is not to give them up. It is to acknowledge that all things go away. — Shunryu Suzuki

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The point we emphasize is strong confidence in our original nature. — Shunryu Suzuki

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Preparing food is not just about yourself and others. It is about everything! — Shunryu Suzuki

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Concentration comes not from trying hard to focus on something, but from keeping your mind open and directing it at nothing. — Shunryu Suzuki

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When my master and I were walking in the rain, he would say, 'Do not walk so fast, the rain is everywhere.' — Shunryu Suzuki

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Most people have a double or triple notion in one activity. There is a saying, "To catch two birds with one stone." That is what people usually try to do. Because they want to catch too many birds they find it difficult to be concentrated on one activity, and they may end up not catching any birds at all! — Shunryu Suzuki

Shunryu Suzuki Quotes 1340538

For Zen students the most important thing is not to be dualistic. Our "original mind" includes everything within itself. It is always rich and sufficient within itself. You should not lose your self-sufficient state of mind. This does not mean a closed mind, but actually an empty mind and a 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 Suzuki

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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 ... No matter what god or doctrine you believe in, if you become attached to it, your belief will be based more or less on a self-centered idea. — Shunryu Suzuki

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To die is more important than trying to be alive. When we try to be alive, we have trouble. Rather than trying to be alive or active, if we can be calm and die or fade away into emptiness, then naturally we will be all right. — Shunryu Suzuki

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A Zen master once said, "To go eastward one mile is to go westward one mile." This is vital freedom. We should acquire this kind of perfect freedom. — Shunryu Suzuki

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Each of you is perfect the way you are ... and you can use a little improvement. — Shunryu Suzuki

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You should rather be grateful for the weeds, because eventually they will enrich your practice. — Shunryu Suzuki

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We die, and we do not die. — Shunryu Suzuki

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People say that practicing Zen is difficult, but there is a misunderstanding as to why. It is not difficult because it is hard to sit in the cross- legged position, or to attain enlightenment. It is difficult because it is hard to keep our mind pure and our practice pure in its fundamental sense. — Shunryu Suzuki

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People who know the state of emptiness will always be able to dissolve their problems by constancy. — Shunryu Suzuki

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Now it is raining, but we don't know what will happen in the next moment. By the time we go out it may be a beautiful day, or a stormy day. Since we don't know, let's appreciate the sound of the rain now. — Shunryu Suzuki

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Just remain on your cushion without expecting anything. — Shunryu Suzuki

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This is also the real secret of the arts: always be a beginner. Be very very careful about this point. If you start to practice zazen, you will begin to appreciate your beginner's mind. It is the secret of Zen practice. — Shunryu Suzuki

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When your life is always a part of your surroundings - in other words, when you are called back to yourself, in the present moment - then there is no problem. When you start to wander about in some delusion which is something apart from you yourself, then your surroundings are not real anymore, and your mind is not real anymore. If you yourself are deluded, then your surroundings are also a misty, foggy delusion. Once you are in the midst of delusion, there is no end to delusion. You will be involved in deluded ideas one after another. Most people live in delusion, involved in their problem, trying to solve their problem. But just to live is actually to live in problems. And to solve the problem is to be a part of it, to be one with it. So — Shunryu Suzuki

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Without ignoring the objective side of the truth, it has to be subjective as well, Buddha's whole teaching just for you, something you can taste. Not something to believe in but to discover, to experience. — Shunryu Suzuki

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A garden is never finished. — Shunryu Suzuki

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Our mind should be free from traces of the past, just like the flowers of spring. — Shunryu Suzuki

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For Zen students a weed is a treasure. With this attitude, whatever you do, life becomes an art. — Shunryu Suzuki

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Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine. — Shunryu Suzuki

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To live in the realm of Buddha nature means to die as a small being, moment after moment. — Shunryu Suzuki

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As long as you seek for something, you will get the shadow of reality and not reality itself. — Shunryu Suzuki

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In the zazen posture, your mind and body have, great power to accept things as they are, whether agreeable or disagreeable.
In our scriptures (Samyuktagama Sutra, volume 33), it is said that there are four kinds of horses: excellent ones, good ones, poor ones, and bad ones. The best horse will run slow and fast, right and left, at the driver's will, before it sees the shadow of the whip; the second best will run as well as the first one does, just before the whip reaches its skin; the third one will run when it feels pain on its body; the fourth will run after the pain penetrates to the marrow of its bones. You can imagine how difficult it is for the fourth one to learn how to run! — Shunryu Suzuki

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Actually we do not have any particular name for our practice; when we practice zazen we just practice it, and whether we find joy in our practice or not, we just do it. — Shunryu Suzuki

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When you do something, you should burn yourself up completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself. — Shunryu Suzuki

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It is a big mistake to think that the best way to express yourself is to do whatever you want, acting as you please. This is not expressing yourself. If you know what to do exactly, and you do it, then you can express yourself fully. — Shunryu Suzuki

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Treat every moment as your last. It is not preparation for something else. — Shunryu Suzuki

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But the way of practice is just to be concentrated on your breathing with the right posture and with great, pure effort. — Shunryu Suzuki

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When you try to understand everything, you will not understand anything. The best way is to understand yourself, and then you will understand everything. — Shunryu Suzuki

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In Hinayana Buddhism, practice is classified in four ways. The best way is just to do it without having any joy in it, not even spiritual joy. This way is just to do it, forgetting your physical and mental feeling, forgetting all about yourself in your practice. — Shunryu Suzuki

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A student, filled with emotion and crying, implored, "Why is there so much suffering?"
Suzuki Roshi replied, "No reason. — Shunryu Suzuki

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So the secret is just to say 'Yes!' and jump off from here. Then there is no problem. It means to be yourself, always yourself, without sticking to an old self. — Shunryu Suzuki

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I think you're all enlightened, until you open your mouths. — Shunryu Suzuki