Jan 20, 2018

Excerpts from the introduction of "not always so"

The introduction of not always so has some good bits.

On p. viii of my copy:

What is most difficult for any teacher, especially a Zen teacher, is to teach without teaching anything. "If I tell you something," Suzuki Roshi said, "you will stick to it, and limit your own capacity to find out for yourself." But, as Katagiri Roshi said, "You have to say something," because if the teacher says nothing, the students wander about sticking to their habitual ways of being.

So the temptation is to be brilliant and give out answers, yet that may simply be "gouging a wound in good flesh," as the saying goes. Now, instead of being self-reliant, the students turn to the teacher all the more, and the teacher wonders why the students are so needy and so slow to figure things out. However, in the presence of those teachers who give us nothing to stick to, we sense ourselves awakening. What will we do? It is called "freedom" or "liberation" – we are profoundly on our own – and profoundly connected with everything.

On p. xii of my copy:

And let's not forget "the most important thing." It was a phrase Suzuki Roshi used often, and since we never knew what was to follow it, it caught our attention and made us sit up and take note. "The most important thing" that comes to mind right now "is to be able to enjoy your life without being fooled by things."