Monday, July 03, 2006

Zen gem

The following account was written by Jonathan Greenlee, who was in the audience at a lecture on Zen Buddhism which Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki (1870-1966), the renowned Zen monk and teacher, had been invited to deliver:

“While I was at UCLA, DT Suzuki (the famous Zen scholar, writer, master, etc) came to visit. They set up the Regents auditorium for him. So we were all there, the audience all excited, and out came the head of the Oriental department. The audience all quieted down. The Head introduced "Here is DT Suzuki, world class Zen scholar, writer, master, etc. Here he is!"

We all sat in silence. This little guy comes out to the mike. Adjusts a pair of glasses. This is him, we've seen pictures of him before, but he looks smaller. He reaches out and taps the mike. A hollow ping sounds through the hall. He says 'Zen Buddhism, very hard understand, thank you' and walks off the stage.

The audience went crazy! There was a mad struggle backstage, and then the Head lead Suzuki back out, a couple of the department professors with him. They set up some chairs, sat Suzuki down and asked him questions for an hour so everyone would be satisfied.

But I can still hear his voice 'Zen Buddhism, Very hard understand'."

Erich Fromm (1900–1980), the practicing psychoanalyst, social psychologist and committed and insightful social theorist, was a student of Suzuki. His article “Memories of Dr D.T. Suzuki” is available here.


Sam Guha said...

I agree. Zen is slightly confusing..But if it's peace of mind, I want it now

Arsenic said...

This is what I got as a feedback after Googl(ing) on ZEN :----


What is Zen? (the real question)

This question basically asks "What is the essence of Zen?". It appears in various guises throughout Zen literature, from "What is the meaning of Bodhidharma's coming from the West?" to "Have you eaten yet?". The question cuts right to the heart of the matter and can only be answered by you. Perhaps the best answer is "practice".


I got further confused, to be honest!

Anonymous said...

I say briefly: Best! Useful information. Good job guys.