Five Points in Buddhist Practice – Shosan’s deepest wishes regarding practice

“The Buddha is infinite grace and perfection.  If you practice without aiming at infinite grace, you are not a disciple of the Buddha.  Now, without the ripening of your fearless mind, you won’t be able to make use of this infinite grace.  Infinite grace can be used to the degree that your fearless mind has matured.  That’s why I hope you will practice with this aim in mind.  Using this infinite grace involves detaching yourself from ego.”

Suzuki Shosan (1579 –1655)

Five Points in Buddhist Practice – it means nothing

The Master spoke again:  “Although I’ve written about these five stages, it means nothing.  I wrote about them because I will die soon, and I wanted to have people understand these teachings thoroughly.  But they cannot be applied in this way all at once.  It takes many lifetimes of continual practice before you can understand them and make a true vow to apply them in your life.  Don’t think you will make full use of them in one lifetime or even two.  Even though I have thoroughly understood these teachings and clearly grasped the seed, I’m still not able to use it freely.  You may discover gold, but if you don’t actually take it from the ground, you can’t make any use of it.

Suzuki Shosan (1579 –1655)

Five Points in Buddhist Practice – destruction of evil passions

The fifth point in Buddhist practice is the destruction of evil passions.  Here, the luxury-seeking mind, the flattery-seeking mind, greed, and the fame-and-profit-seeking mind all disappear.  I wrote about this mind and called it ‘the jewel used to pass through this life’ because people today mistakenly think that Buddhism is of no use to society.

Suzuki Shosan (1579 –1655)

Five Points in Buddhist Practice – discard the mind that analyzes knowledge

As the fourth point in Buddhist practice, you discard the mind that analyzes knowledge, free yourself from attachment to objects, and, arriving at a mind of selflessness, let things happen as they will without any personal intention to be free.  This mind is the jewel used by all performing artists.  Artists skilled in their trade should know this.  Strategists in the art of combat, in particular, should be keenly aware of it.

Suzuki Shosan (1579 –1655)

Five Points in Buddhist Practice – divorce yourself from personal views

Third, in Buddhist practice you divorce yourself from personal views and refuse to distinguish between self and others, while making use of the six harmonies.  Arriving at the true Mind, you repay the four favors from above and save ordinary beings in the three realms of existence below.

I wrote about this mind and called it, ‘the mind that makes correct use of the five relationships’ because people were saying that Buddhism did not include these relationships.  Can you say that a Buddhism that discards the personal self attains a non-discriminating mind, repays the four favors from above, and saves all ordinary beings from below fails to include the five Confucian relationships?  All ordinary people, moreover, are considered to be the children of the Buddha.  Confucianism, on the other hand, stops at the five relationships.

Suzuki Shosan (1579 –1655)

Five Points in Buddhist Practice – uphold the precepts

A second point is that Buddhist practice firmly upholds the precepts and does not act contrary to the teachings of the Buddhas and the patriarchs.  It controls the tendency to twist things and corrupt them; therefore, the mind becomes virtuous.  Clearly understanding the true Way and the false and transcending the true, you make special use of a meaning beyond discrimination, saving all beings uprightly and with compassion.  This Mind, the jewel that makes use of the laws of the realm, practices justice and reason, yet transcends them, clearly distinguishing the true Way from the false.  Simply entrust yourself to the manifestations of this Mind and all its actions will be in accordance with the law.

Suzuki Shosan (1579 –1655)

Five Points in Buddhist practice – dwell in this diamond mind

Provided you dwell in this diamond mind, applying it even in sleep, it will ripen thoroughly.  You will no longer discriminate between inner and outer, and you will fully rout the karmic-generated knowledge-ridden demon soldier.  Suddenly you will wake from your dream, destroying the citadel of reality.  You will cut down the enemy, birth and death, and residing in the capital of wisdom, protect the peace.   This diamond mind is the jewel that functions when a warrior displays valor.

Suzuki Shosan (1579 –1655)