04 – Suzuki’s ground

A dharma teaching by Shunryu Suzuki (1904-1971):

Usually we are not interested in the nothingness of the ground. Our tendency is to be interested in something that is growing in the garden, not in the bare soil itself. But if you want to have a good harvest the most important thing is to make the soil rich and to cultivate it well.

The Buddha’s teaching is not about the food itself but about how it is grown, and how to take care of it. Buddha was not interested in a special deity or in something that was already there; he was interested in the ground from which various gardens will appear. For him, everything was holy.

Buddha was great because his understanding of people was good. Because he understood people he loved them, and he enjoyed helping them. Because he had that kind of spirit, he could be a Buddha.

Suzuki, Shunryu: Not always so;
practicing the True Spirit of Zen. New York 2002, p. 48