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SSLP - Shunryu Suzuki Legacy Project

A brief and incomplete history of Shunryu Suzuki Archiving

3-29-09 - Here's the Shunryu Suzuki Digital Archive (March 2009) Guide which went with the CD/DVD sets and the Hard Drives, both of which contain pretty complete collections of audio and transcripts of Suzuki lectures, video, and photos. Just getting them out to teachers and groups as donations come in to pay for the hard drives, mailing, gas, etc. Please donate. Inquire as to how it can get to you <>. Been working on this so much haven't gotten to cuke. Sorry. - dc

Shunryu Suzuki Digital Archive March, 2009 Guide

3-31-09 - Photo of the March 2009 Shunryu Suzuki Digital Archive housing. See it larger.

There are two ways in which this first comprehensive digital Shunryu Suzuki archive is preserved.

1 – On six CD/DVD sets – 343 CDs for the lecture audio (plus some duplicate copies for safety purposes) one CD for print (transcripts), eight DVDs for the video section, and one DVD for the photos. These sets go to the SFZC City Center, Green Gulch Farm, Berkeley ZC, Chapel Hill ZC, Dharma Sangha Crestone or Germany, and one for the SFZC archives (currently with me, DC). There were many errors on he CDs corrected with CD marker. Some were at first corrected with regular permanent markers and those have had "safety copies" made and, in this case, both the original and the copy are included in the archive. The professionally made CDs are said to have a longer life expectancy. The audio CDs are two channel 41.1k 16bit wave files.

2 – On hard drives for various teachers and groups. It is about 180 gigabytes and growing.

There are four major folders on the hard drives

1 – ss audio archive 3-09

2 – ss print archive 3-09

3 – ss photo archive 3-09

4 – ss video archive 3-09

The audio archive is 145 gigabytes and has 347 files. Some lectures have two audio files (if it was too long to fit on a CD) and a smaller number of audio files have two lectures.

The print or transcript archive has the following subfolders:

1 – 2002 ss transcripts

2 – 2004 ss transcripts

3 – 2009 ss transcripts

4 – 2009 ssl all together

5 – geist edits

6 – misc files

7 – nothing special pdfs

The first folder is a copy of the CD sent out in 2002 that Bill Redican put together. There’s an index of first lines for each year both with the transcripts and in the Guide which has other valuable assets such as a glossary and chronology. There is a general index though I think it may be the same as the one Shinshu Roberts did for the 2004 CD. There are some duplicate files of an earlier format left in for safety purposes. They were cut from the 2004 collection. These lectures are presented in eight chronological folders, one folder with all the transcripts, the Guide folder, and General Index file.

The second folder dated 2004 is from Shinshu Roberts’ work and is almost identical to the 2002 collection. I think there are only two new lectures included: 61-12-00 and 68-09-00U. There are 316 files including three or so which don’t have Shunryu Suzuki in them. These lectures are presented in eight chronological folders, one folder with all the transcripts, the Guide folder, and General Index file. Because I (and Bill and Shinshu) don’t really know what differences or other data there might be in the 2002 and 2004 collections, they are included herein.

The 3rd, a 2009 folder has 360 files. There are about 50 new lectures – two talks given at Esalen in 1968, the verbatim transcript (needs checking) of Peter Schneider’s interviews with him plus his curriculum vitae, and a number of lectures that Trudy Dixon used when working on Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.


The folder marked "2009 ssl all together" is a collection of the lectures in one file five ways.

1-all ssl.doc – copied straight out of the 2009 archive unchanged.

2-all ssl no-format.doc – has the formatting removed

3-all ssl no-macrons.doc – formatting and macrons (long marks over vowels) and some other marks removed. Many hyphenated titles were changed as from Suzuki-roshi to Suzuki Roshi. Some other hyphens were removed such as temple names from Eihei-ji to Eiheiji. There are many Japanese and Chinese names that I’d like to dehyphenate for the next edition of the archive. Ma-tsu to Matsu. Keep this in mind when searching for examples of one of these names. 1-3 are MS Word files.

4-all ssl.rtf – This is #3 saved in Rich Text Format

5-all sll.txt – This is #4 saved as plain text.

Each lecture is separated by a line with five asterisks. *****

There’s also one file for each of the eight chronological folders: 61-41, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, and 71. These are all in MS Word with formatting and macrons.

The "geist edits" folder has four sub-folders. These are lectures that Gordon Geist in Norway worked on. Gordon was at Sokoji with Suzuki, has lived in Norway several decades, translated ZMBM and Not Always So into Norwegian, and has worked on light edits and corrected versions of a number of Shunryu Suzuki lectures.

1 – bcr-geist – This has 21 lectures or lecture fragments about the Blue Cliff Records. Gordon used the same Shaw translation Suzuki used and cleaned these lectures up. He found a number of small errors.

2 – early wb ssl – These are the earliest snippets from Suzuki lectures as found in the first Wind Bells. Gordon cleaned them up a bit. With a little double checking, both his BCR and early Wind Bell versions should replace the versions in the archive. These are not edited but corrected versions.

3 – geist-light-edits – Twenty-four "light edits" of Suzuki lectures "for readability" in which the minimum number of changes are made such as removing Suzuki’s frequent "you know"

4 – nas-le – Light edits of the lectures that were used for Not Always So.

A file named "Changes" shows some of the edits or corrections made by Geist. There’s another changes file with the BCRs.

The "misc files" is for some odds and ends which are self-explanatory. I need to work on the PDF of Della’s notes but include it anyway – with the tiff files made from the photocopies made from the notebook of Della’s Richard Baker found in his storage. The data base Excel file for this work is included. It’s a bit of a mess and needs lots of work but someone may benefit from it’s being included.

Nothing Special PDFs – PDF transcripts of the lectures from the Nothing Special collection of Suzuki lectures put together in 2006 by Jean Selkirk and Celeste West. See Intro for more details. This collection of 41 lectures were the first to be digitalized – 40 of them. One had no tape. A number of CD sets were made. Following this lead, the whole audio archive was digitalized in this 2008-2009 project under the name of the Shunryu Suzuki Legacy Project (SSLP).

For the Nothing Special project, Richard Haefele made the original CDs and the copies were made by Hi Speed Duplicating Company in San Francisco. In the fall of 2008 Hi Speed made CDs of the rest of the audio from the master cassette copies of the archival reel to reel copies of the originals. Hi Speed also made a set of audio wave files for hard drives. Many adjustments, corrections, additions, subtractions, and other changes were made to the six CD sets and the hard drive files to get the audio archive in the state it’s in today which still surely has an error rate which I hope is no more than 1% but it might be higher.

The ss photo archive 3-09 contains several hundred photos of Shunryu Suzuki in a number of folders. Almost all of these were scanned by Shinshu Roberts up in Washington State a few years back as I understand it, using some sort of high quality scan. Of course we should have more exact info and that would be a good thing to include in the next edition of this archive or on in an online archive site. There are more photos to archive as well from this period. It would be good to include photos of students and so forth. It would be good to go through the photos with people from back then and identify those in the photos. This would be an especially good thing to do with Hoitsu Suzuki.

The ss video archive 3-09 has eight videos in six or so formats. Most of the footage is at Tassajara.

1-ZMC – Zen Mt. Center, the KQED documentary

2-Sandokai – Suzuki lecturing on the Sandokai – b&w, no audio.

3-Sunseed – the section of that guru movie on Suzuki

4-Five Shorts – films made by SFSU students.

5-One Particle of Dust – a composite made at SFZC with impressive synching of the #2 film and audio from Suzuki’s lecture. Kudos to Timothy O’Conner Fraser and Michael Wenger.

6-Present Shunryu – Mel Van Dusen put this together for his TV show using Sandokai video and audio with new footage and interviews at Tassajara.

7-Ransom SS – Nona Ransom film from the 30s in Japan with a few fleeting shots of a young Shunryu Suzuki.

8-Ransom Travel – Japan, China, even a bit of what looks like Greece. No Suzuki it seems.

9-DC SS Archive Intro – a brief video wherein I show the physical housing of the hard drive and a few of the CD/DVD sets.

#4,5,6 use footage from 1,2,3 (maybe 7), photos, interviews.

#3 was color, 35 mm. #1 was 16 mm and I guess so were 2, 7, and 8.

All but #6 are in the CD/DVD set. Mel VD has promised to send a DVD for future use. The one in this archive now was taken as a flash drive off YouTube. DVDs were made from " VHS, Beta, and regular VHS copies of the films. The DVDs are TS files. The hard drives also have copies in TS format, WMV,AVI, M4V high quality, mid quality, and low for the web. There are high quality WMV files of the videos. The five shorts (#4) as one file or one video is not divided correctly into chapters. It is presented as five separate videos in WMV and MP4 formats. The others are also in FLV or flash format. PAL format for Europe for DVDs and hard drive is being looked into.

More details on these films available in the credits and it would be good to have these details written down in a file in the archive as well.

This is Step One of the present digital archive project, mainly aimed at preserving the archive as is in CD/DVD and hard drive formats with multiple copies distributed to a number of teachers. It is not the best quality but is what could be done quickly and with the money available. There are many tasks to do in each section of the archive for Step Two in which it is hoped the archive will be presented better and become more useful and easy to work with. For instance, there should be a better guide and data base so one can see which lectures are in the audio and print archives. The audio should be trimmed to eliminate minutes of clunking and chanting – noise reduction can be applied. I’ll be elaborating on this in a subsequent update. Archiving must continue with variety and redundancy.

No CDs, DVDs, or hard drives are dependable. This archive is only Step One, what was affordable and expedient, and is not the best we can do. Advice and assistance welcome. Anyone wishing to access Suzuki lectures etc via the Internet please contact me.

David Chadwick -

To see what was added to this site in earlier months and years, go to  What Was New:  1999, 2000-2001,  2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, what's new this year

There's a lot of old material that's as good as new if you haven't read it. -DC

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