of Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Center back then, etc.
photo by Lisa Law
Bruce is the founding teacher of the Occidental Laguna Sangha in Sebsatopol, CA.
In 1970 I was practicing with a large group of people in San Francisco whose practice was "verbal encounter" (telling other people what you saw of their conditioned self). I ended up at Zen Center to attend a lecture by Suzuki Roshi (the only thing I remember about the lecture is how Suzuki Roshi picked up and set down his tea cup during his lecture). After lecture a large group of people were gathered in the courtyard at 300 page street. Suzuki Roshi was standing all by himself, no one talking to him, very unlike the teacher I had been studying with who was always surrounded by students. I walked up to him and asked if I could talk to him. Not unkindly he simply replied with one word, "No".
Being an attorney and fond of the use of the words, I learned something about the limitation of verbal teaching and about boundaries in that exchange.