Zen: NOTHING

This post contains two and a half pages from the book “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” by Shunryu Suzuki. In this short chapter Shunryu gives us a sense of what the Buddhist term “Nothing” means. I find this term very similar to the view in quantum physics of the Field or the Plenum. For David Bohm, one of the leading quantum physicists of our age, the Plenum is an “immense background of energy”.

(At the bottom you will find the YouTube video of Peter Coyote reading this chapter.)

Shunryu Suzuki-roshi:

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. This is a very important point. 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. You strive for a perfect faith in order to save yourself. But it will take time to attain such a perfect faith. You will be involved in an idealistic practice.
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Zen: Shunryu Suzuki

suzuki2I have been immersing myself in the teachings of this modern Zen master and have posted some of these already on this blog in the last week or so. Here is some information about Shunryu Suzuki-roshi which I feel will help the readers deepen their appreciation for his teachings. This post today and the short video (4:05) below of Shunryu Suzuki speaking to his students is preparation for a longer post I am working on and hope to publish tomorrow or Sunday. I can confirm that I gain more insights into such teachings when know more about the teacher and also have the opportunity to taste the flavor of their speech to their students. There is a kind of direct transmission that helps to unlock their written words even more. Therefore I warmly recommend that those interested in joining me to explore zen in this way take the time and watch the video below. Thank you! Continue reading