Sōtō Zen Teachings

soto zen

Suzuki Roshi

Shunryu Suzuki (鈴木 俊隆 Suzuki Shunryū, dharma name Shōgaku Shunryū 祥岳俊隆, often called Suzuki Roshi (1904 –1971)) was a Sōtō Zen monk and teacher who popularised Sōtō Zen teachings in the United States and the West. He founded the first Zen Buddhist monastery outside Asia (Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in California).

Sōtō Zen emphasises the practice of zazen (or ‘just sitting’) which is an attentive, open, and natural approach to meditation. The practitioner is encouraged to discover themselves deeply through this practice of quiet and patient observation.


Suzuki founded San Francisco Zen Center in 1962, which, along with its affiliate temples including Green Gulch Farm and Santa Cruz Zen Center, comprises one of the most influential Zen Buddhist organisations in the United States. It is because of the spread of his teachings that we now have Twining Vines Zen Centre, the first organisation affiliated with this lineage in Australia. 

A book of Suzuki Roshi’s teachings, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, is one of the most popular books on Zen and Buddhism in the West.


Kokyo Henkel and Neti Mushin


“What we call ‘I’ is just a swinging door
which moves when we inhale and when we exhale.”

—Suzuki Roshi

“Bowing is very serious practice. You should be prepared to bow,
even in your last moment.”

—Suzuki Roshi

“The point we emphasize is strong confidence
in our original nature.”

—Suzuki Roshi

“If you lose the spirit of repetition, your practice will become quite difficult.”

—Suzuki Roshi