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Memories of Shunryu Suzuki
10-28-10 - From Mike Dosho Port's blog,
Wild Fox Zen come two Suzuki
stories. Mike is a dharma heir of
First, from this talk (at the end) comes the following story about
One day when Katagiri Roshi was at San Francisco Zen Center with Suzuki
Roshi they were standing together at tea time. A man that Katagiri Roshi
called “hippy man,” came up with tea cup in hand and asked Suzuki Roshi,
"What is the universe?”
Suzuki Roshi said, “Please look in your cup.”
Immediately the hippy threw the cup on the floor,
Suzuki Roshi quietly said, "Poor cup.”
talk (near the
beginning) there's another one.
So its like this story that from a guy who I'll call
George. George is a real American Zen guy whom I like a lot. I heard
George tell this story over ten years ago so the details may have gotten
twisted in my twisted mind but I'll do my best.
In the late 1960's George had just finished his divinity
degree from Yale and was hungry
for some religious experience.
George heard that there was a Zen master in San
Francisco so he drove across the
county to Tassajara to meet the
George had to do a one-day sitting before being admitted to the monastery
and meeting with Suzuki Roshi.
George had never sat for a second so a full day of getting up only to pee
had his mind whirling.
At the end of the day he was ushered into Suzuki
Roshi's cabin. Suzuki offered him
tea and said, "What is your name?"
George took it like, "What is it that thus comes?"
His mind was launched into a swirl. He knew Zen through D.T. Suzuki and
"knew" that there was no self. How could no self have a name? What could
he say that wasn't a lie? What was his true name? Nothing came to mind.
But saying nothing didn't seem to respond to the
Roshi's question so he felt that
he had to say something, but what?
After a long, awkward pause, George gasped out, "George."
"Hi," said Suzuki Roshi, "my