photo by Lisa Law

Brief Memories
of Shunryu Suzuki,
Zen Center
back then, etc.


3-21-11 - Edward Brown on his shaking and Suzuki

A related post, Edward's praise of Jack Elias' method

Edward's other Suzuki stories

Edward Brown link page

DC comment: Edward used to shake a lot in zazen. It was pretty extreme. See more comments from me on this here. Edward told me the following.


Suzuki Roshi said to me (speaking of his shaking): "If I'd known you were going to go on doing this so long I'd never have let you get started."

And one time that was very nice for me - I was having trouble sitting still and he came up to me in the zendo when there wasn't much time left in the period and said, 'Do kinhin.'  And I said, 'What?' cause I had this idea like, when you do zazen, you do zazen.  You don't do kinhin and I said, 'What?' and he said, "Do kinhin.' and so I was really mad to have to do something different than everybody else so I got up and I did kinhin for a few minutes while everybody else was sitting.  Another thing that was interesting for me was that that exact period earlier on I had thought, 'Why don't I see what happens if I just go along with the movement instead of trying to stop it.  So I was sitting there seeing if I could just go along with the movement.  And he said, 'Do kinhin.'  And then later on I went to him and I said, 'You know, I was upset about your telling me to do kinhin and one of the reasons is that I had just decided that period that I would try to find out  about the movement and kind of go along with the movement instead of trying to stop it.'  And he said, 'Oh, oh, that's very good. In that case that's okay then.  That's very good.  I'm so glad you told me.'"

I had a feeling about him that comes from that kind of experience where he'd told me one thing then I told him another and he went 'oh' like, 'if that's what you were doing, I didn't understand.'  And it was like he didn't have to have been right to tell me to do kinhin like he knew that was the best thing for me to do or anything.  He was just trying something.  But then he was immediately willing to try something else.  'Oh.'