D. T. Suzuki: The Supreme Spiritual Ideal
"I remember D. T. Suzuki's
address to the final meeting of the 1936 World
Congress of Faiths at the old
Queen's Hall in London. The theme was "The Supreme
Spiritual Ideal," and
after several speakers had delivered themselves of volumes
of hot air,
Suzuki's turn came to take the platform. "When I was first asked,"
"to talk about the Supreme Spiritual Ideal, I did not exactly know what
Firstly, I am just a simple-minded countryman from a far away corner
world suddenly thrust into the midst of this hustling city of London,
and I am
bewildered and my mind refuses to work in the same way that it does
when I am in
my own land.
Secondly, how can a humble person like
myself talk about such a grand thing as
the Supreme Spiritual
Really I do not know what Spiritual is, what Ideal is, and what
Spiritual Ideal is."
Whereupon he devoted the rest of his
speech to a description of his house and
garden in Japan, contrasting it with
the life of a great city. This from the
translator of the Lankavatara Sutra!
And the audience gave him a standing
— Alan Watts, "The
from Masao Abe (Editor)
A Zen Life : D.T. Suzuki
Weatherhill, New York & Tokyo (1986), page 191