Best quotes by D.T. Suzuki

D.T. Suzuki

D.T. Suzuki

Pioneer of Zen Buddhism in the West

D.T. Suzuki, born Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki on October 18, 1870, was a Japanese philosopher and writer known for his significant contributions to the introduction of Zen Buddhism to the Western world.

Suzuki's writings, including books like "An Introduction to Zen Buddhism" (1934) and "Zen and Japanese Culture" (1938), helped bridge cultural gaps and deepen understanding of Eastern philosophy in Western societies.

His insights into Zen philosophy and his efforts to promote cross-cultural understanding left a lasting legacy, influencing the fields of religion, philosophy, and spirituality.

D.T. Suzuki quotes by category:

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HappinessSelf-ReflectionAnxietyWhen we start to feel anxious or depressed, instead of asking, "What do I need to get to be happy?" The question becomes, "What am I doing to disturb the inner peace that I already have?"

SufferingThe more you suffer the deeper grows your character, and with the deepening of your character you read the more penetratingly into the secrets of life. All great artists, all great religious leaders, and all great social reformers have come out of the intensest struggles which they fought bravely, quite frequently in tears and with bleeding hearts

PerceptionCreationRealityThoughtThought creates things by slicing up reality into small bits that it can easily grasp. Thus when you are think-ing you are thing-ing. Thought does not report things, it distorts reality to create things, and as Bergson noted, "In so doing it allows what is the very essence of the real to escape." Thus to the extent we actually imagine a world of discrete and separate things, conceptions have become perceptions, and we have in this manner populated our universe with nothing but ghosts.

Personal GrowthAuthenticityKnowledgeSelf-DiscoveryOwnershipUnless it grows out of yourself no knowledge is really yours, it is only borrowed plumage.

TeachingZenZen teaches nothing; it merely enables us to wake up and become aware. It does not teach, it points.

FreedomPersonal GrowthSufferingLiberationUnless we agree to suffer we cannot be free from suffering.

ComfortTravelSpiritualityWhen traveling is made too easy and comfortable, its spiritual meaning is lost. This may be called sentimentalism, but a certain sense of loneliness engendered by traveling leads one to reflect upon the meaning of life, for life is after all a travelling from one unknown to another unknown.

LifeArtWorkLivingI am an artist at living - my work of art is my life.

Emptiness which is conceptually liable to be mistaken for sheer nothingness is in fact the reservoir of infinite possibilities.

Personal DevelopmentOvercoming ChallengesSelf-ImprovementYou ought to know how to rise above the trivialities of life, in which most people are found drowning themselves.

The waters are in motion, but the moon retains its serenity.

UnderstandingPerceptionPerspectiveEnlightenmentZenWe have two eyes to see two sides of things, but there must be a third eye which will see everything at the same time and yet not see anything. That is to understand Zen.

InspirationTruthZenThe truth of Zen, just a little bit of it, is what turns one's humdrum life, a life of monotonous, uninspiring commonplaceness, into one of art, full of genuine inner creativity.

EternityEternity is the Absolute present.

CreativityProductivityIntuitionMindfulnessGreat works are done when one is not calculating and thinking.

TimeLifeSpiritualityIn the spiritual world there are no time divisions such as the past, present and future; for they have contracted themselves into a single moment of the present where life quivers in its true sense. The past and the future are both rolled up in this present moment of illumination, and this present moment is not something standing still with all its contents, for it ceaselessly moves on.

WisdomSelf-DiscoveryLetting GoIf you have attained something, this is the surest proof that you have gone astray. Therefore, not to have is to have, silence is thunder, ignorance is enlightenment.

Personal GrowthSelf-ImprovementSelf-AwarenessEgoThe ego-shell in which we live is the hardest thing to outgrow.

PhilosophyPerceptionMindfulnessMeditationWho would then deny that when I am sipping tea in my tearoom I am swallowing the whole universe with it and that this very moment of my lifting the bowl to my lips is eternity itself transcending time and space?

ArtCreativityGrowthKnowledgeTechnical knowledge is not enough. One must transcend techniques so that the art becomes an artless art, growing out of the unconscious.

SatisfactionContentmentGratitudeExistentialismTo live - is that not enough?

Personal GrowthSelf-ImprovementIntrospectionSelf-ReflectionSelf-AwarenessFundamentally the marksman aims at himself.

AppreciationMysteryImplicity, there should be something mysterious in every day.

LifeActionTruthReflectionZenThe truth of Zen is the truth of life, and life means to live, to move, to act, not merely to reflect.

IdeasRealityThoughtsFormAs soon as you raise a thought and begin to form an idea of it, you ruin the reality itself, because you then attach yourself to form.

Living In The Present MomentLife, according to Zen, ought to be lived as a bird flies through the air, or as a fish swims in the water.

Self-DiscoveryBecause since the beginningless past we are running after objects, not knowing where our Self is, we lose track of the Original Mind and are tormented all the time by the threatening objective world, regarding it as good or bad, true or false, agreeable or disagreeable. We are thus slaves of things and circumstances.

LovePhilosophyCompetitionWinningThat's why I love philosophy: no one wins.

TimeSpaceEnlightenmentZenMysteryZen opens a man's eyes to the greatest mystery as it is daily and hourly performed; it enlarges the heart to embrace eternity of time and infinity of space in its every palpitation; it makes us live in the world as if walking in the garden of Eden

MindfulnessEnlightenmentMeditationSelf-RealizationWe do not realize that as soon as our thoughts cease and all attempts at forming ideas are forgotten the Buddha reveals himself before us.

LanguageCommunicationThe contradiction so puzzling to the ordinary way of thinking comes from the fact that we have to use language to communicate our inner experience, which in its very nature transcends linguistics.

LifeZenNot to be bound by rules, but to be creating one's own rules-this is the kind of life which Zen is trying to have us live.

EnlightenmentSelf-RealizationEnlightenment is like everyday consciousness but two inches above the ground.

MindfulnessMeditationZen has no business with ideas.

FreedomZenZen in it's essence is the art of seeing into the nature of one's being, and it points the way from bondage to freedom.

MortalityDesireThe worst passion we mortals cherish is the desire to possess. Even when we know that our final destination is a hole not more than three feet square, we have the strongest craving

NatureChangeExistenceHuman BehaviorThe rocks are where they are- and this is their will. The rivers flow- and this is their will. The birds fly- this is their will. Human beings talk- this is their will. The seasons change, heaven sends down rain or snow, the earth occasionally shakes, the waves roll, the stars shine- each of them follows its own will. To be is to will and so is to become.

LifeRepetitionZen abhors repetition or imitation of any kind, for it kills. For the same reason Zen never explains, but only affirms. Life is fact and no explanation is necessary or pertinent. To explain is to apologize, and why should we apologize for living? To live—is that not enough? Let us then live, let us affirm! Herein lies Zen in all its purity and in all its nudity as well.

ZenThe basic idea of Zen is to come in touch with the inner workings of our being, and to do this in the most direct way possible, without resorting to anything external or superadded. Therefore, anything that has the semblance of an external authority is rejected by Zen. Absolute faith is placed in a man's own inner being. For whatever authority there is in Zen, all comes from within.

UnderstandingWisdomKnowledgeEnlightenmentForgettingOne has not understood until one has forgotten it.

RecognitionWisdomIntuitionRealityThe intuitive recognition of the instant, thus reality is the highest act of wisdom.

Self-AwarenessMindfulnessMeditationThe mind has first to be attuned to the Unconscious.

UnderstandingPersonal ExperienceKnowledgeEnlightenmentZen BuddhismPersonal experience, therefore, is everything in Zen. No ideas are intelligible to those who have no backing of experience.

SpiritualityAmong the most remarkable features characterizing Zen we find these: spirituality, directness of expression, disregard of form or conventionalism, and frequently an almost wanton delight in going astray from respectability.

ZenZen wants us to acquire an entirely new point of view whereby to look into the mysteries of life and the secrets of nature. This is because Zen has come to the definite conclusion that the ordinary logical process of reasoning is powerless to give final satisfaction to our deepest spiritual needs.

FrustrationMeditationDhyana is retaining one's tranquil state of mind in any circumstance, unfavorable as well as favorable, and not being disturbed or frustrated even when adverse conditions present themselves one after another.

IdentityIntuitionRealizationWhen the identity is realized, I as swordsman see no opponent confronting me and threatening to strike me. I seem to transform myself into the opponent, and every movement he makes as well as every thought he conceives are felt as if they were my own and I intuitively...know when and how to strike him.

IdentitySelf-AwarenessSelf-RealizationZen BuddhismUntil we recognize the SELF that exists apart from who we think we are - we cannot know the Ch'an ( ZEN ) MIND

To point at the moon a finger is needed, but woe to those who take the finger for the moon.

Self-DiscoverySpiritualityZenWe can see unmistakeably that there is an inner relationship between Zen and the warrior's life.

Personal GrowthSelf-DiscoveryUnless we die to ourselves, we can never be alive again.

FreedomSufferingZenLiberationSelf-RealizationZen, in its essence is the art of seeing into the nature of one's own being, and it points the way from bondage to freedom. By making us drink right from the fountain of life it liberates us from all the yokes under which we finite beings are usually suffering in this world.

ArtLearningThe right art is purposeless, aimless! The more obstinately you try to learn how to shoot the arrow for the sake of hitting the goal, the less you will succeed in the one and the further the other will recede.

ChallengesGrowthPerseveranceWhen mountain-climbing is made too easy, the spiritual effect the mountain exercises vanishes into the air.

WorkThe meaning of service is to do the work assigned ungrudgingly and without thought of personal reward material or moral.

MeditationZen BuddhismZen purposes to discipline the mind itself, to make it its own master, through an insight into its proper nature. This getting into the real nature of one's own mind or soul is the fundamental object of Zen Buddhism. Zen, therefore, is more than meditation and Dhyana in its ordinary sense. The discipline of Zen consists in opening the mental eye in order to look into the very reason of existence.

SpiritualityZenZen professes itself to be the spirit of Buddhism, but in fact it is the spirit of all religions and philosophies.

TimePhilosophyEternitySpiritualityZenTo Zen, time and eternity are one.

Personal GrowthSelf-DiscoveryEnlightenmentZen BuddhismWe teach ourselves; Zen merely points the way.

FocusDeterminationThe fighter is to be always single-minded with one object in view: to fight, looking neither backward nor sidewise. To go straight forward in order to crush the enemy is all that is necessary for him.

SpiritualityZen is the spirit of a man. Zen believes in his inner purity and goodness. Whatever is superadded or violently torn away, injures the wholesomeness of the spirit. Zen, therefore, is emphatically against all religious conventionalism.

NatureSimplicityMindfulnessZenA simple fishing boat in the midst of the rippling waters is enough to awaken in the mind of the beholder a sense of vastness of the sea and at the same time of peace and contentment - the Zen sense oof the alone.

ArtCreativityExpressionInterpretationArt always has something of the unconscious about it.

ArtPhilosophyZenZen Makes use, to a great extent, of poetical expressions; Zen is wedded to poetry.

Self-DiscoveryZenIf I am asked If I am asked, then, what Zen teaches, I would answer, Zen teaches nothing. Whatever teachings there are in Zen, they come out of one's own mind. We teach ourselves; Zen merely points the way.

MusicArtPoetryPaintingThe greatest productions of art, whether painting, music, sculpture or poetry, have invariably this quality-something approaching the work of God.

SpiritualityThough perhaps less universally known than such figures as Einstein or Gandhi (who became symbols of our time) Daisetz Suzuki was no less remarkable a man than these. And though his work may not have had such resounding and public effect, he contributed no little to the spiritual and intellectual revolution of our time.

SimplicityMindfulnessLiving In The Present MomentZenI raise my hand; I take a book from the other side of this desk; I hear the boys playing ball outside my window; I see the clouds blown away beyond the neighboring woods:-in all these I am practicing Zen, I am living Zen. No worldly discussion is necessary, or any explanation.

LifeEnlightenmentZenZen approaches it from the practical side of life-that is, to work out Enlightenment in life itself.

ZenZen has nothing to teach us in the way of intellectual analysis; nor has it any set doctrines which are imposed on its followers for acceptance.

LifePerceptionConnectionUnitySubjectivityThe mistake consists in our splitting into two what is really and absolutely one. Is not life one as we live it, which we cut to pieces by recklessly applying the murderous knife of intellectual surgery?

Living In The Present MomentLet the intellect alone, it has its usefulness in its proper sphere, but let it not interfere with the flowing of the life-stream.

ExperienceZen BuddhismTo be a good Zen Buddhist it is not enough to follow the teaching of its founder; we have to experience the Buddha's experience.

ExperienceFormZenFacts of experience are valued in Zen more than representations, symbols, and concepts-that is to say, substance is everything in Zen and form nothing.

Copying is slavery. The letter must never be followed, only the spirit is to be grasped. Higher affirmations live in the spirit. And where is the spirit? Seek it in your everyday experience, and therein lies abundance of proof for all you need.