no gaining idea

February 6, 2010

Practice without an idea of gaining is called Buddha’s practice. If we become attached to enlightenment or to the profundity of the teaching, we will lose the point. When we just practice zazen as a human being without any idea of gaining we have the universality of the teaching, and also its individuality and validity. If we attach to some idea of perfection, we will lose the validity of the teaching, although we may have its universality. But this is no longer religion: it is philosophy or science.

So the point is to practice our pure way as human beings with sincerity and without an idea of gaining. That is pure practice. It is not important whether it is the first stage or the second stage or the third one, that is not the point. Just to practice with a pure-way seeking mind, that is true Zen and true Buddhism.

– Shunryū Suzuki, from an early afternoon lecture in November, 1965

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