Crooked Cucumber

The Life and Zen Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki

Changes from 1st to 2nd Edition of Crooked Cucumber

Changes to CC for the 2nd edition (page numbers from 1st edition).

Text removed from the 1st edition is formatted with strike-through.

Text added to the 2nd edition is formatted with bold.

Text added after the audiobook was made is formatted with bold.

Global changes –

Respectful use of titles eliminated except in indicating others use that form. “was referred to as Bozo-roshi…” or in quotes. There was just occasional use of titles anyway. Thus -san was eliminated from a few people like Suetsune who for some reason I got into the habit. And Miss was eliminated from Miss Ransom except at first and in SR quotes. It took some getting used to for me because I’ve always called her Miss Ransom, but it had to go. Otherwise she’s getting special treatment as a distinguished white lady whereas all Asian women are just Aiko etc.

Okesa changed to kesa except in writing that they say that.

McNeil changed to McNeill.

Philip Wilson changed to Phillip Wilson.

Wako changed to Kazemitsu.

Hyphens were eliminated from temple names. Rinso-in became Rinsoin. Either way is okay in romanization. None is smoother.

So-on became So’on which it should have been from the first.

Double hyphen -- became em dash — which was always intended

Most semicolons were changed to an em dash or a period. The ones indicating sequence separation remained and a few others.


Front Matter

p. ii

Also by David Chadwick

Thank You and OK!: an American Zen Failure in Japan

Zen is Right Here: Teaching Stories and Anecdotes of Shunryu Suzuki (Ed.)

Zen is Right Now: More Teaching Stories and Anecdotes of Shunryu Suzuki (Ed.)

A Brief History of Tassajara” from Native American Sweat Lodge to Pioneering Zen Monastery (Ed.)

To Find the Girl from Perth

Color Dreams for To Find the Girl from Perth (illustrations by Andrew Atkeison)

The, the Book

p. viii Chapter Thirteen Journeys   1963–1964 1965

p. xi


Before us the founder of the first Zen Buddhist monastery in the Western Hemisphere, Shunryu Suzuki-roshi, had concluded a lecture from his seat on the altar platform.

"Suzuki-roshi, I've been listening to your lectures for a couple of years," I said,


p. xii Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, a skillfully edited compilation of his lectures published in 1970, has sold over a million copies in a dozen over thirty languages.

p. xiii From the time he was a new monk at age thirteen, Suzuki's master, Gyokujun So-on Suzuki, called him Crooked Cucumber. Crooked cucumbers were useless. Farmers would compost them. Children would use them for batting practice. hebo kryuri, Crooked Cucumber. As explained to me by his son, Hoitsu, hebo kyuri were the useless tiny bent runt cucumbers at the end of the spiraling vine.

 Mitsu Suzuki-sensei was the person on my mind.

 p. xiv Hojo-san is what she always called her husband. Hojo is the abbot of a temple. San is a polite form of address. Hojo is the abbot’s quarters. Hojo-san is the abbot of a temple.

p. xvi Hakusan Kojun Noiri was a colleague of Suzuki's, a strict and traditional priest, now old and revered.

Chapter 1

p. 3 Czarist Tzarist Russia

p. 4 village of Tsuchisawa Shimokichisawa

All the other boys at school had short-clipped hair


p. 6  They were vegetable-like things, not exactly vegetables! [laughing]

p. 9 He told us how on New Year's Eve temple members and neighbors would come

 p. 11  "throwing out Buddha, breaking Shakyamuni" (Buddha's given name).

if they were eta Burakumin (untouchables),


p.12  His father's historical explanation of the disrespect for Buddhism helped him to understand why he was treated badly by some of his friends schoolmates.

p. 13 His father, though very dear to him, seemed a little weak. He often complained about losing his temple, saying he never should have left. And he was too attached to his son, too sentimental. Toshi just couldn't see him as a teacher.

p. 15 "If you love your child, send him them on a journey."

Chapter 2

p. 17 seiza, sitting in a kneeling position on the shins with bottom on heels.

p. 19 Once he knew how, he never stopped went back. It became a lifelong practice and teaching of his: "When the bell rings, get up!"

p. 20 He also received a set of black robes to go over his Japanese kimono: a koromo, the Chinese outer robe with long sleeves; an okesa a kesa, a large rectangular cloth with finely sewn sections in seven rows resembling rice fields, which is the sacred robe of the monk; and a rakusu, a miniature and less formal okesa kesa with straps, which is worn on the chest and over the shoulders like a bib.

So-on had taken to calling him Crooked Cucumber, a private razzing, taunting nickname for his absent-minded, idealistic, quirky little disciple. 


p. 22 meet him on the dharma (teaching) ground.

p. 23 Shunryu reached down and caught a little goldfish and noticed that there was a tiny worm water flea attached to it. He had learned about this worm creature in school. He held the fish up, pointed to the worm water flea, and proudly said for all to hear, "This is mijinko!"

So-on brought in a special dish—the rotten pickles back from the dead! So-on ate the pickles with them. Shunryu gathered his courage and took the first bite, then the next. He found that he could do it if he didn't think about it.


p. 24 This subtle and indirect way of communicating is what Suzuki-roshi later called "learning to listen to the other side of the words."

 p. 26 So-on noticed Shunryu's resistance and told him that from that day, instead of bowing three times to Buddha at the end of in the services, they would bow nine times.

 p. 27 Enjoying himself, he forgot the time till he saw So-on crossing a bridge on a jinrikisha.

 p. 30 The residents of Takakusa Sakamoto village, immediately below Rinso-in

So-on's nephew, Soko, had come and taken his uncle as his master. A youngster named Soko from So’on's hometown had come and taken So’on as his master.


p. 31 At the Rinzai temple, they studied a completely different type of Zen,

p. 36 At school Shunryu's favorite subject was English. He excelled at it. He'd always been interested in foreign things, true to his crooked nickname. The cucumber is *kyuri in Japanese, the barbarian gourd. He did so well in English that a doctor named *Yoshikawa in Mori asked him to tutor his sons in English.

p. 37 He walked all the way, about forty miles, arriving that night. Shunryu's youth was full of walking. In that respect he had more , something he had in common with his ancestors than with modern people.

Shunryu liked to tell a walking story about his father. One Saturday while Shunryu was at Rinso-in, one of the most dramatic and tragic events in modern Japanese history occurred.


Chapter 3

p.40 Shunryu switched on the light for the basement, then went to for the storage room. He went in, closing the door behind him. Beneath the low ceiling were shelves filled with tubs of tofu, barrels of pickles, boxes of vegetables, fish, meat, and fruit. He picked a nice ripe melon by the wall at the end. Then he froze:footsteps were coming down the stairs. There was no place to hide. A voice called out. Silence.

p. 41 Then a click and another click, and Shunryu was holding a melon in total darkness.

The hook had gone in through the eyelid and out over the eyebrow.

So-on had sent him to be initiated as head monk under the guidance of Dojun Kato-roshi.

At Kenko-in there were only Dojun Kato-roshi and a few novices, and Shunryu had to continue going to school during the day.


p. 43 The emperor was an a developmentally disabled invalid and mentally feeble,

Fifty years prior, Tokyo had been Edo, the capital of a feudal, closed Japan.

A little over fifty years prior, 1868, Edo had been renamed Tokyo when Emperor Meiji moved the capital there from Kyoto. Edo had been the de facto head of government though since 1603.


p. 44-45    A number of professors at Komazawa were taking a new look at the teaching of their the Soto sect and how it might be presented to a wider audience. The president of Komazawa, Nukariya Kaiten, had just published a book on Buddhism for laypeople which created some controversy because of its simple explanation of Soto Zen and its popular appeal. Nukariya had been to Europe and America and had also written the first popular book on Zen in English, *The Religion of the Samurai. Also at Komazawa, Shunryu met a professor of Pali named *Shundo Tachibana, who published *The Ethics of Buddhism in English that year. The first book on Dogen's thought for the general public, *Dogen Shamon (Dogen the Monk) by *Watsuji Tetsuro, was also published in 1926 in Japan.  had been to Europe and America and had written the first popular book on Zen in English, The Religion of the Samurai, published in 1913. In 1926 a book he wrote for laypeople, Shoshin Mondo (Questions and Answers about True Faith), was published. It created some controversy because of its simple explanation of Soto Zen and its popular appeal. Also at Komazawa, Shunryu met a professor of Pali named Shundo Tachibana, whose English language The Ethics of Buddhism was published that same year. Also published in 1926 in Japan, Dogen Shamon (Dogen the Monk), by Watsuji Tetsuro, the first book on Dogen's thought for the general public.


p. 46 His presence had further inspired Shunryu to take on this lowly duty task. But if his Nukariya’s light was on, Shunryu would get flustered and make an escape.

So I was enlightened, you know! [laughing]


p. 47 Shunryu kept up his early morning cleaning of the lavatory, but now with a more lighthearted approach.

and for "a long, “for a long, long time go round and round in the same area until you get tired of trying to understand."


p. 48 On August 21, 1926, in a private ceremony at Rinso-in, Shunryu Suzuki received shiho, dharma transmission, from So-on. He was twenty-two. In shiho the disciple receives his master's robe “receives the master's robe” and his their place in the lineage.

Though Shunryu could now wear the brown robes instead of the monk's black, he would not yet change colors. That would be presumptuous. And though he was now his own man, he was still called Crooked Cucumber by So’on, who would continue to be in charge of his life for many years to come.

This was a big event for his father Sogaku as well.


p. 49 One last An important event in his life and in the lives of all Japanese would transpire at the end of that year. On December 25 the invalid emperor Emperor Taisho died, and his son Hirohito eldest son, Crown Prince Hirohito, became the new emperor.


p. 50 Shunryu tactfully pointed out that she already had Kundo and another boy student living there, and they were both her English students. She said that the other boy would leave soon and that she'd like Shunryu to consider taking his place.

On the first of August he moved into the room with the other boys, in, and soon there were only Kundo and Shunryu.

It had soon become clear to him why the other boys others didn't stay long.


p. 51 They both walked erect, energetically, Shunryu in his school uniform and she in her subdued dresses and heavy overcoat as winter set in.

p. 52 She was still his teacher, landlady, and employer, and he treated her with a level of respect that satisfied her proper English  British standards.

She was the ninth child, hence Nona, born in Bedford, England, on October 5, 1887.

When the former emperor of China, Pu Yi, and his wife, Empress Wan Jung, fled the Japanese legation in Peking in 1925 and escaped to Tientsin, Yoshida arranged for Miss Ransom to be companion and English teacher to the former empress and subsequently to the former emperor as well.

She was also the "Teacher of the English Language and Foreign Etiquette under the Imperial Household." Among her students was Jiro Jigoro Kano, the founder of modern judo and president of the school attended by members of the royal family.

He came back later with a bag and told her, "I got some very big daffodil bulbs, here they are." Then he got scared and sneaked away. He handed them to her and then quietly sneaked away.


p. 53 Then he burst out laughing in his hiding place, and she came at him with the bag of onions held high.

Christianity was said to be like Amida Buddhism, more   faith oriented, relying on "other power" as opposed to the so-called "self power" of Zen.

Jesuits in Tokyo had founded one of the first university universities in Japan, Sophia in Tokyo, and some of them had a keen interest in Rinzai Zen. Japanese Christians had known periods of persecution and favor, but they never made as much progress as Christians in China and Korea. Miss Ransom had no respect for Catholicism or Buddhism.


p. 54 Ransom had no respect for Catholicism or Buddhism. She had been born into a Quaker family.

p. 54-55 The statue was in the tokonoma, an alcove in the sitting room, a small attractive space with tatami floors floor and smooth clay walls between dark brown wooden posts. Extending half the length of the wall opposite the entrance was an alcove called the tokonoma. The statue sat in the tokonoma. The tokonoma is in some ways the center of a Japanese home; it is not an altar, but a nook on the floor recessed area for a flower arrangement in a treasured vase, possibly a special stone or an antique, and a hanging scroll. The tokonoma is the family's aesthetic altar homage to nature, art, and wisdom. 

p. 55 It embarrassed him when she'd come home from school and slip off her shoes and put them right next to the Buddha statue.

One morning, before he went to school, Shunryu quietly entered the sitting room where Miss Ransom sat drinking her black tea and cream milk.

The shoes were always straight, as they were in Japanese entryways, and he lined them up from the left so that they'd be as far from the Buddha statue as space would allow.


p. 56 Shunryu would not deny the statue, but and included it as part of his practice and as a way to get through to Miss Ransom.

p. 57 The nature of our existence is not something we can know or remember so easily. Buddha is not a god or a being who can be easily described.

Buddha is not a god. You can't put your finger on what buddha is, but Buddhism does have various teachings.


p. 58 He taught her how to sit practice zazen. She made the acquaintance of Buddhist professors at Komazawa who could speak some English and she set about studying Buddhism.

This affair of the Buddha statue was momentous for Suzuki, literally changing the course of his life. He would later call it the turning point of his life.


p. 59 The monks got to know the English lady, as did all the people in the villages of Mori below Zoun-in and Takakusa Sakamoto below Rinso-in.

Their relationship was the first thing people would mention when Shunryu-san's Shunryu’s name came up.


p. 60 One day Shunryu and several other monk students went to the docks of Yokohama harbor to see off a priest named Daito Suzuki, who was leaving for Los Angeles. There he would assist Hosen Isobe-roshi, the founder of Zenshuji, a founder at Zenshuji, a Soto Zen temple for Japanese-Americans. Isobe had plans to start another temple in San Francisco, and Daito would eventually take charge of Zenshuji.

On January 14, 1930, an important public ceremony for Shunryu at Zoun-in, called ten'e, “to turn the robe,” gave permission to wear the yellow or brown kesa and acknowledged Shunryu Suzuki's dharma transmission from So-on.


p. 61 The next day he left by train for the two head temples of the Soto school, Eiheiji and Sojiji, for zuise, ceremonies in which he was honorary abbot of each for a day.

Sogaku was old but still in good health, and his Shunryu’s dharma brothers and fellow disciples of So’on,

At the late age of twenty-five, on April 10, 1930, Shunryu graduated from Komazawa University, second in his class, in Buddhist and Zen philosophy, with a minor in English. His A graduate thesis, written under his academic advisor and the school's president, Nukariya Kaiten, focused on the relationship between master and disciple, as discussed by Dogen in an essay of the Shobogenzo emphasizing submission to the master. (It is called the Raihai tokozui, a chapter in which Dogen also forcefully asserts the equality of women.) It is called Raihai Tokuzui, bowing and acquiring the essence. It's a chapter in which Dogen also forcefully asserts the equality of women. When asked the topic of his thesis, Suzuki said it was on bowing. In his thesis Shunryu leaned toward Nukariya's "religious experience" point of view rather than Buddhism as philosophy.  

On the recommendation of Shundo Tachibana, a dean of the school, he received government certification to be, as he translated it, a "Teacher of the English Language and Ethical Conduct for High School Boys," a respected and almost professorial status, since high schools then were roughly equivalent to today's junior colleges.


p. 62 He'd been building up his courage for this encounter. They sat facing each other. A moment of silence then Shunryu described his experience with Nona Ransom and what it had meant to him.

He described told about seeing Daito Suzuki off at Yokohama harbor.

"Here!" he yelled, smashing his fist on the table tatami.


Chapter 4

p. 63 But So’on, the man of many growls and few words, hadn't mentioned that there was more training to look forward to—at Eiheiji in Fukui Prefecture, one of two daihozan daihonzan, "great root monasteries" of the Soto school (along with Sojiji).

p. 65 He learned precisely how to put on and put away his robes, how to roll up the futon on his tatami in the zendo, how to brush his teeth, how to clean the pots in the kitchen, how to eat in the zendo with oryoki, the wrapped, nested bowls that were the forerunner of the tea ceremony.

You had to walk and work slowly efficiently and silently;


p. 66 Morning began with zazen. The outer okesa kesa robe was not worn but was kept in its case on the tatami. Zazen ended with a four-line verse proclaiming what a wondrous opportunity it was to wear the okesa kesa,

Then, with hands clasped at the solar plexus, they walked slowly off to morning service and the recitation of sutras


p. 67 The abbot of Eiheiji and archbishop of the Soto school was an old priest named Gempo Kitano-roshi.

Kitano had been the head of Soto Zen in Korea for a number of years and had been one of the founders a founder of Zenshuji, the Zen temple in Los Angeles.


p. 68 He Kitano was the supreme example of heart and will.

p. 69 Wherever you go you will find your teacher, as long as you have the eyes to see and the ears to hear

p. 70 He Kishizawa was sixty-five years old, thirty-nine years older than Shunryu and twelve years So-on's senior.

p. 72 It was in such undistracted sitting in China that Dogen had dropped body and mind and later received the mind-seal, dharma transmission, from his teacher, Nyojo.

p. 73 She brought photos from her visits to Korea, where she had stayed at temples with Shunryu's monk friend Sugioka, who had become her houseboy after Shunryu left.

Chapter 5

p. 77 His mother Yone had been sickly for years.

p. 78 He didn't want to wear the more colorful robes for ceremonies, and he especially didn't want to wear a fancy okesa kesa, respectfully called okesa, the outer robe that drapes over the others.

Kesa was originally a Sanskrit word meaning subdued color, and for his okesa kesa he preferred black, indigo, and brown, as worn by the monks at Eiheiji.

In keeping with his philosophy, Shunryu wore a black robe with a brown okesa kesa.


p. 79 Tatsuzo Uchiyama-san, a priest who was to marry Aiko, thought Shunryu was a terribly sincere priest,

My master Kishizawa-roshi used to say that we had to have a vow or aim to accomplish.

p. 80 Seison Suzuki, a local potter in Mori, liked to tell told a story about Shunryu, a little girl, and a train ticket.

He Shunryu lined up his own geta, wooden platform sandals, at the bottom of the steps in the entryway in the spot where So-on, and only So-on, left his.


p. 81 Even though Buddhist priests had been getting married since the previous century, 1872, it was still controversial.

So to Shunryu, both his father and his master were married. As the Japanese say, “Kaeru no ko wa kaeru. (The child of a frog is a frog).”

He wanted to take care of her but was bound by duty—as a priest first, a family man last. He would seldom speak of this wife. Her name and the dates of the marriage are forgotten.


p. 83 When he Shunryu was a boy, it had seemed like some convenient logic and he had not felt encouraged, just confused.

He was getting a glimpse of that the way is to have "a complete experience

p. 84 So-on's sudden death created a vacuum at Rinso-in. He had appeared to be grooming his nephew Soko to be abbot

So’on could have remained the abbot of Rinsoin absentia for years while at Eiheiji

P. 85   An old priest named Ryoen Risan Daian Ryojun was trying to take over Rinso-in. [Ryoen to Daian 3 more times on that page, once on p. 86, once on p. 88]

Some of these backed Soko to be the abbot. But he was still in Komazawa, Teidai, the Imperial university,


p. 86  He was thirty, and Rinsoin had an unbroken a tradition of having abbots over fifty, reputed to be unbroken until So’on had become abbot at forty-two.

Finally, a venerable elder of the Soto school, Shunko Tettsu-roshi, put his stamp of approval on Shunryu's three-year trial.


p. 88 Now that Shunryu had two temples, he resigned from his considerable duties of guiding monks at Kasuisai and DaitoinDaito-in. He had his hands full.

Founded in 1493 1471, Rinso-in had a long history. 


p. 89 Yasuko was nearly two and a half in 1938 and her father was almost like a stranger

Chapter 6

p. 92 In 1940 Miss Ransom wrote to Shunryu Suzuki that she could no longer stay in Tientsin in northern China.

p. 95 He'd heard about Rinsoin and the priest Suzuki-san from students at his school.

p. 96 ; then they. They had to walk another half hour to get to school.

p. 97 Since 1942 the informal fraternity of Shunryu's students had called themselves the Takakusayamakai—the High Grass Mountain Group, after the terraced and forested mountain that rose above Rinso-in, and Takakusa, the village below.

He didn't oppose the war publicly,


p. 99 Some communists were going to jail for not supporting the war effort, but no Buddhists took that strong a stand  effort.  A few Nichiren Buddhists took that strong a stand, but in their case it was less opposition to the war than their opposition to imperial Buddhism which put the Emperor above Buddha.

Soldiers and naval engineers took over the far right wing of Rinso-in and eventually even part of the family quarters as their residence.


p. 100 In addition to the Suzuki family, the students, soldiers, sailors, and Korean laborers, there were now more than sixty children living there, evacuated from Tokyo to escape the bombing and subsequent firestorms.

Some cities, such as nearby Shimizu, had been shelled by ships. There was fear of that in Yaizu as well, but it never hadn’t happened.


p. 102 ...he was a great admirer of the Chinese and, especially the Manchurians, and a student of their history and poetry.

p. 103 He also regularly visited a leper colony and wrote a book on the eta Burakumin, the Japanese untouchables—a subject that was virtually taboo.

...the Japanese had a much more positive relationship with the Manchurians than with the other Chinese.


p. 104 prewar pre-war

p. 107 After a few days they went to Harbin, the capital of largest city in Manchuria.

They had a high time seeing the sights and meeting various dignitaries, completely unaware that hideous biological experiments were being conducted in that very city by Japanese army doctors on captive soldiers and civilians – without anaesthetic.


p. 108 From there he could take care of the needs of the Japanese from Shizuoka Prefecture and also build a training temple where he could practice and teach the way he had learned from his masters teachers.

He could make a fresh start and the temple would be open to Manchurians Chinese as well as Japanese.

Okinawa had fallen. Germany had been out of the war since its surrender in April May, and the Americans  Allies could now concentrate on the Pacific front.


p. 109 Shunryu asked for tickets going south along the coast: "That's where the boats are," he said.

p. 110 When they reached Sanroshin they were told to go to nearby Fort Mason at the harbor. the fort at Mason by the harbor. A boat from there would be taking divisions of the Kanto army back to Japan for the defense of the homeland.

On the night of July 15, having been away for two months, they arrived at Shizuoka station during an air raid. Since they had left, Shizukoka City, the capital of Shizuoka Prefecture, had suffered major bombing. Once again the duo escaped that wrath from the sky.


p. 111 The ultimate foolishness would be to not to surrender.

p. 113 The shoji to the family area were open and a number of soldiers and navy men sat in the large open genkan (entryway) and wide hall. Some of them were smoking and even chatting with each other, showing, as usual, no respect for anything or anyone. The Koreans in the zendo listened on their own radio; it would be very hard for them or any person not well educated to understand all the special, formal words the Emperor would use, but they would get the essence. All Japan was still and waiting. The most unifying and heart-tearing event in the history of Japan was about to take place. The recording began with formalities and moved slowly to the subject. The Emperor spoke in a formal, courtly Japanese, difficult to follow for all but the classically educated.

The Emperor said went on to say that Japan had accepted the Potsdam Treaty.

Our subjects. However, it is according to the dictate of time and fate that We have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come, by enduring the unendurable and suffering what is insufferable."  The Emperor’s message was immediately followed by an announcement in language easy to understand that Japan would surrender, a term which the Emperor had not used.

As the last words of the Emperor's voice recording echoed through the halls of Rinso-in, Shunryu and his family wept openly.


p. 114 In Okinawa hundreds of women had jumped leaped off cliffs rather than face the invaders.

Chapter 7

p. 118 Masao Nishinakama was involved in negotiations with the Americans and was said to have pushed successfully to see that Japan was not required to pay unreasonable reparations to countries it had occupied and fought with.

p. 121 Wherever you go, if If you have a flexible attitude you can help people quite easily.

On December 31, 1945, the temple was buzzing with enthusiastic preparation preparations for the New Year.


p. 123 At the ceremony was a disciple of Kishizawa's named Hakusan Kojun Noiri.

p. 128 Shunryu met Mitsu at her school the next day and escorted her to a large home in Yaizu where a doctor named Ozawa lived with his family.

p. 126 They agreed it was a good idea and asked him to please take care of it. Called Tokiwa Kindergarten, it was the oldest such school in the prefecture. The priest who had founded it in 1924 1925, Zen'an Aoshima Zen'an, was now eighty and the abbot of a small neighboring branch temple of Rinso-in.

p. 127 Soon after it opened Zen’an died Zen'an’s health began to fail and Shunryu needed to find a qualified principal.

p. 129 On January 1, 1950, she was installed in her new position at the Tokiwa Kindergarten, and she did a great deal more than just stand there.
Zen'an died later that month knowing that the school he’d founded was in good hands. 

Her father was a councilman, worked at city hall, and her family was Buddhist,


p. 130 Shunryu told her not to worry., "Just sit there with your ears on your head."

p. 132 No sooner had they returned than Shunryu was back down in the creek working with the stones, his arm in a sling, with Chie scolding him and telling him to come inside.

Gido was in his sixties and had a little temple near Rinso-in, but spent most of his time at the Soto headquarters. , where he He was head of the international section—educational section which included Soto Zen abroad.


p. 134 At home he occasionally spanked Hoitsu, almost never on the head as they had done in his father's time, but often enough so the boy knew it was an option.

Chapter 8

p. 140 Sugiyama, who had assisted at Rinso-in since 1937, said that the first time Otsubo had shown up at his temple, he heard someone calling from outside. When he went out, Otsubo was on the ground rubbing his head into the dirt saying, "Please be good to me," a customary greeting delivered in an uncustomary manner.

p. 146 It is said that Zen is the way beyond words and letters. Shunryu would always hold even that to be a half-truth after his experience with Kishizawa.

p. 151 Hoitsu had been ordained as a monk by his father and would soon go to Komazawa University.

Chapter 9

p. 153 An Opening
1956—1959 May 21, 1959

p. 154 Shunryu was going to Tokyo to meet with Gido, but first he wanted to spend some time with his oldest boy older son.

p. 156 She said t  There was no thought about whether she wanted to or not, that Obaa-san had asked her and she would do it.

p. 158 In the spring of 1958 the work on the main building —the *founders', ancestors', and sutra halls—and the bell tower   at Rinsoin with the founders', ancestors', and sutra halls, and work on the bell tower, was finally completed.


p. 159 His appreciation for So-on had continually deepened over the decades. "When I offer incense to my father, I feel sad," he later said, "but when I offer incense to my master, tears stream down my cheeks."

His appreciation for So-on had continually deepened over the decades.

When I offer incense to my father, I feel sad, but when I offer incense to my master, tears stream down my cheeks.

p. 160 Many of Shunryu's fellow priests came to say farewell: Gido, who had found his priest for America; Kishizawa's heirs Kojun Noiri and Rempo Niwa; his helper, Sugiyama from Zuioji; Sugiyama from Zuioji who had frequently assisted him at Rinsoin; Kendo Okamoto from Zoun-in; and others, none of whom would want to trade places with him. 

p. 161 As the western eastern sky turned pink in Yaizu on May 21, Shunryu stood by his pond in the chilly morning.

Chapter 10

p. 165 Saturday, May 23, 1959, 

p. 167 Entering through the small, high-ceilinged lobby, they went Kato led Suzuki up a stairway with a mahogany railing,

Kato and some of the members had cleaned it up in preparation for Suzuki's arrival, but he Kato still was not proud of its appearance.

p. 170 Ananda said, "Excuse me, oh honorable one, but are you not giving a talk today?" "Oh, but But I just did,"

Then with stick in hand he put his palms together, gasshoed, and thanked the congregation softly said, "Arigato gozaimashita."


p. 171 He asked Suzuki if this was a Zen temple and if he was a Zen master. There was that term again.

p. 172 His early students came to him following their fascination with Eastern culture and religion, many from the loose subculture of artists, nonconformists, and beatniks in the Bay Area, where interest in Asian thought was high.

Kato had been associated with the Academy from the mid-fifties, ever since the former director, Alan Watts, had asked him to join the faculty. Kato had been a key assistant to Watts with Watt's popular book, The Way of Zen.


p. 173 Tobase, Suzuki's predecessor at Sokoji, had taught calligraphy at the Academy and at Sokoji as well, and was well loved by his students, one of which was the artist Gordon Onslo Ford.

p. 174 Watts criticized the old-fashioned Japanese monastic way as "square Zen." He also put down "Beat Zen" and made a case for what he dubbed "Zen Zen." Whalen called Beat Zen a hallucination but wondered if there could be any Zen Zen without checking out the "squares" in Japan.

Watts criticized the old-fashioned monastic way as square Zen. He also put down Beat Zen and made a case for what he dubbed Zen Zen. Whalen called Beat Zen and the Beat Generation a hallucination and wondered if there could be any Zen Zen without checking out the squares in Japan.

A few of the hip crowd, like Bill McNeill and Joanne Kyger, had joined the morning zazen.

Kato invited Suzuki to join his class on Zen Buddhism


p. 175 The little zazen that had been taught by Japanese priests in America had mostly been done in chairs,

p. 176 Betty picked up Della on her way in from Sausalito and the two joined the few others at Sokoji. After zazen they were invited to tea with Suzuki at a long wooden table in the kitchen, just behind the shrine room altar.

Like Bill McNeill, he had become enamored with the man, his Suzuki’s simple lifestyle, and the experience of sitting zazen with him.


p. 177 Daiju Hosen Isobe had come to San Francisco from Los Angeles in 1933. On Buddha's Enlightenment Day, December 8, 1934, he founded Sokoji. The name he gave the abandoned synagogue had a simple meaning: Soko stood for San Francisco and the ji meant temple. Daito Suzuki, whom Shunryu Suzuki had seen off as a young man in Japan, moved from Zenshuji in L.A. to become the third head priest of Sokoji, again on December 8, Buddha's Enlightenment Day, 1941—the day after Pearl Harbor. He was abbot-in-absentia through the years of the Japanese internment and continued after the war, until 1948. Through great effort he and others had managed to keep the temple in the hands of the congregation. A Hindu temple had helped them by taking over the deed during the war, although a Christian group used it as a church. In 1948 Daito returned to L.A., where he became the abbot of Zenshuji and Soto Zen bishop of North America until he died on July 9, 1959. At that time Suzuki was asked by his friend Gido at Soto headquarters in Japan to become the bishop and to move the North American Soto headquarters to San Francisco. He refused.


p. 178 How he had wished back then that he could be the one starting a new life in America. Now, thirty years later, he was.
Suzuki was asked by his friend Gido at Soto headquarters in Japan to become the bishop and to move the North American Soto headquarters to San Francisco. He refused.

p. 180 He'd hit each student twice on the muscles between the shoulder blade and the backbone

p. 182 Kato liked to hear enjoyed Suzuki's English-language version of classic Zen stories

p. 183 Suzuki chanted quietly, Nakagawa strongly. After the service Kato blew out the candle and tended to the altar.  At that moment he feared the harmony between the priests was over.

Nakagawa asked to see a sutra book that was on the altar. He looked at it, then suddenly exploded, stamping his foot on the floor and shouting, "This is not Zen!" He tore the book in two and threw it on the floor. Kato froze with shock. He feared the harmony between the priests was over.


p. 184 She was heavy and had a hard time sitting on a cushion on the floor, but she could accept the difficult regimen when it came from Suzuki.

"The harder it is for you to sit, the deeper your realization," he always said.


Chapter 11

p. 187 Suzuki had walked right over to the cage, opened the little door, and let the bird fly out.

p. 188 It was a tradition in China and Japan to let birds go at temples as a symbol of liberation.

p. 195 After the war they had scrubbed the floors of the whites for a dollar and a half an hour.

p. 195-6 Suzuki thought the children might help solve these problems in the future. The McNeill children were spending time with the Japanese-American children in the Sunday school. Some children from Suzuki's zazen group were joining the Sokoji Sunday school.

p. 197 Kato always remarked how nothing ever bothered Suzuki

p. 198 People came prepared to sit persevere from early morning till six in the evening, Saturday through Monday.

p. 199 At first she was uncomfortable, feeling in awe of Suzuki, within with his undeniable presence.

People were not encouraged not to talk about what happened to them in dokusan.


p. 201 In Japan three is enough, but here in America we are so stubborn, it is better to do nine bows" -– echoes of a practice he received when he was young from his master Gyokujun So’on.

p. 202 McNeill, always so positive, did not look happy. His wife, and children, who were  , his wife, staying behind, were sad to see him go.

p. 204 Suzuki sat in a hard wooden chair in the kitchen, looking into the darkness toward the balcony over the auditorium, tears running down his cheeks welling in his eyes.

Chapter 12

p. 205 But now he was lost, having run into a wall in his attempt to find the true way in the land of Zen.

What they had encountered was more like an obstacle coursean impenetrable language barrier, endless reprimands that they couldn't understand, no way to read the ritual chants, hours of painful seiza, sitting on the shins, almost no emphasis on zazen, nothing at all that was relevant or nourishing.


p. 206 Alan Watts was giving one of his freewheeling talks at the Berkeley Buddhist Church on a Tuesday evening in May, piecing together Zen, Taoism, psychoanalysis, and Christian mysticism into a fascinating mosaic. Attending the lecture were Watts and Suzuki's colleague Wako Kato, a man named Iru Price, and a formally dressed young couple, Grahame and Pauline Petchey. Over refreshments, Price presented his card, listing numerous positions and ordinations with Buddhist groups in Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, and America.

On a Tuesday evening in May, at the Berkeley Buddhist Church, Iru Price was giving a talk linking the ancient Buddhist scripture of the Pali Canon to the faith-oriented practice of Jodo Shinshu, the Japanese sect housed in the Buddhist Churches of America. Attending the lecture were Kazemitsu Kato and a formally dressed young couple, Grahame and Pauline Petchey. The Petcheys were pleased with all the thought-provoking nourishment they were discovering in the San Francisco Bay Area. They had recently heard Alan Watts give one of his freewheeling talks piecing together Zen, Taoism, psychoanalysis, and Christian mysticism into a fascinating mosaic. Over refreshments, Iru Price, who wore a toupee, presented his card, listing numerous positions and ordinations with Buddhist groups in Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, and America.


p. 207 His father had been in the Palace Coldstream Guards, the elite corps that protects the royal family, surrounding them with solemn ceremony.

p. 208 That first day He followed Suzuki into the zendo where he made it through thirty minutes sitting cross-legged, upright, and still as a palace guard.

Christmas Humphreys, founder of the London Buddhists Buddhist Society,

"I'm a married man, man!" Grahame responded with shock. Married and employed. “Married and employed!”


Photo Section
Shunryu and Mitsu Suzuki (Okusan) at a Tassajara wedding reception, 1970. (Photograph by Alan Marlowe Frank Espe Brown.)


p. 209 Grahame went every morning, every evening, every Sunday, to every lecture.

Richard and his friend had just come from a Japanese restaurant and were on their way to see a samurai movie.


p. 210 He decided to start going to zazen immediately "in order to stop the wandering of my mind."  in order to stop the wandering of his mind.

p. 211 He moved into an apartment rented by Don Allen, an editor of the Beats he’d come to know  the prominent editor of The New American Poetry. He’d come to know Allen back East while working at Grove Press.

p. 211-212 Not long after he came to Zen Center Sokoji, Richard met Virginia Brackett, a student at the Art Institute. In May 1962 Suzuki married performed a marriage ceremony for them.

p. 213 Like Suzuki when he'd first arrived, Mitsu and Otohiro were amazed with the opulence and magnitude of the cityand shocked at the austerity of their living quarters.

Mitsu's new bed next to his own. Later She confided to a student that he did not invite her to his bed for six months. She felt that this was because he had been so affected by the attentions of other women.


p. 214 She did his laundry and bought him some long johns. He’d never seen long underwear.

p. 215 She would show the students how to wipe their feet before they stepped on the tatami into the room.

p. 217 even though he'd been there for only two a few months.

First the treasurer had to explain what checks were; there was no such thing in Japan.


p. 219 First thought, best thought.

Hense was never the same after his nervous breakdown. One day he dropped by Sokoji and bid his teacher of two-and-a-half

p. 220 "I'll name it," said Suzuki, and he went upstairs. Twenty minutes later he came down with a piece of paper. The words "Wind Bell" were written on it with a brush in black sumi ink, beside a drawing of the same. Below the drawing was his translation of Dogen's poem "Wind Bell."      Wind Bell.

[image added]

Soon his arms and torso were covered in purple ink, and he proudly held the first dripping copy.


p. 221 The second Wind Bell, in January 1962, reported on a visit by Philip Kapleau to Sokoji. He had given a talk on an old Japanese master named Bassui. Afterward he met with students and talked about his nine years of study in Japan with Sogaku Harada-roshi and Harada's heir, Haku’un Yasutani-roshi, renegade Soto teachers who were using koans like Rinzai teachers.

p. 222 Shunryu Suzuki was all decked out in red robes with a yellow brocade okesa kesa and pointy hat.

He was being installed as the abbot of Sokoji in a Mountain Seat Ceremony, shinsanshiki.


p. 223 So-on Daiosho [great priest]

p. 225 Yamada gave lectures on the great Indian sage Nagarjuna and the semi-legendary China’s first ancestor, Bodhidharma

After bowing three times to the floor prostrations, she sat on the cushion facing him.


p. 227 "It's just like the Catholic Church," he said. Little did he realize how close he was to the truth. Soto Zen was full of hierarchy and ceremony in Japan, but considering Japan. Considering the autonomy of individual temples and priests, and the growing role of the membership in making decisions, maybe the Baptist Church would have provided a better analogy.

Someday they would have their own Buddhist forms. “Transmitting Buddhism to America isn't so simple. …”

Transmitting Buddhism to America isn't so simple. You can have your own way someday, but first learn mine. And don't be in too big a hurry. It's not like passing a football.


Chapter 13

p. 228 1963-1964 1965

p. 229 He saw his old friend Gido at Soto-shu headquarters, Shumucho headquarters,

Rosen Takashina-roshi, the abbot of Eiheiji whom Suzuki had helped when he was abbot of Kasuisai, had ordained her, not as his own disciple but as Suzuki's.

Fujimoto was the teacher of Suzuki's friend Elsie Mitchell, who founded the Cambridge Buddhist Society Association.


p. 230 Jean and Suzuki talked about the monks she'd met who might be suitable to come to America. Her teacher at Eiheiji, Sotan Tatsugami-roshi,

But one particular event in 1963 deeply moved Suzuki and his students.

In July June of 1963 Quang Duc, a highly respected senior Vietnamese Buddhist monk, burned himself to death to protest the escalating war there. His death brought to light the horrors of the conflict in Vietnam. persecution of Buddhists by the US-supported South Vietnamese Roman Catholic government.


p. 231 No one could forget the image of the monk sitting zazen, burning, falling over, and then righting himself while in flames to sit straight, then falling a final time upright unmoving in flames till his body collapsed.

In October Rosen Takashina, abbot of Eiheiji who’d ordained Jean at Eiheiji, came to San Francisco as part of a worldwide tour for peace.

There is a limit to physical pain, but there is no limit to mental pain.

Let painful legs be painful [laughs]. That is how you practice zazen.

August rolled around and with it the In August there was a seven-day sesshin.


p. 232 Some people went with it: following the breath, counting the breath, letting go, not fighting.

p. 236 My dear Tokujun, [Italicize whole letter]

p. 237 Grahame returned to San Francisco in mid-December. Suzuki appeared shocked to hear about his negative experiences there, not letting on that he'd been well informed by Pauline.

Priests don't arrive late! You're no priest! You have no right to wear that okesa!" Grahame was mortified and started to take off his okesa kesa. "What are you doing?" said Suzuki. "No one has the right to tell you to take off the okesa."


p. 238 (He kept them tied to him so he wouldn't lose them.)

There were a hundred cases in the Blue Cliff Record, and one by one he was getting through themreading from R.D.M. Shaw’s 1961 translation of the Hekigan Roku.


p. 239 Settle the self on the self - Dainin Katagiri

Yamada had wanted Katagiri to help him with his Japanese monk's training program


p. 240 He immediately got involved with the project to refurbish the zendo and enlarge the sitting area on the balcony, used on a daily basis for latecomers and during sesshin for overflow.

p. 241 After the war he met his master, Daicho Hayashi, got ordained, went to Eiheiji, and had an awakening experience in tangaryo, which whetted his appetite for more zazen. At Eiheiji he had served and been inspired by Eko Hashimoto-roshi, famous for his monastic discipline. Katagiri had a tiny temple, Taizoin, on the coast near Eiheiji which had been his master's, but he spent most of his time at Soto headquarters, or at Eiheiji, dealing with Westerners or guests.

p. 242 Suzuki learned quickly and seemed to do everything well (in contrast to the youthful Crooked Cucumber).

p. 244 Jodo Shin priests don't usually practice zazen.

p. 245 After she left they could no longer contain themselves and laughed themselves silly.

p. 246 Suzuki was sending his bull into the china shop. But first he had to be a monk. You can't practice in the zendo at Eiheiji if you're not a monk. Phillip and his wife, J.J., sat in Suzuki's office.

As the day of Phillip's departure drew near, he noticed that Suzuki was not his usual radiant self, but was seemed distraught.


p. 248 Before Grahame left, Suzuki gave him the names of six venerable old Soto Zen priests to look up in Japan. Fujimoto was on the list, as were Katagiri's second teacher, Hashimoto, the widely revered "hHomeless" Kodo Sawaki at Antaiji in Kyoto, and Shodo Uemoto, the abbot of Koshoji, Dogen's original temple near Kyoto in Uji. They were all priests in the Nishiari Bokusan/Oka Sotan lineage.

p. 249 Koshin Ogui, the Jodo Shin priest, had continued to sit zazen at Sokoji and developed a unique relationship with Suzuki.

p. 250 Katagiri's wife, Tomoe-san, had finally come over with their little boy, Yasuhiko, and they were poor as temple mice.

On Memorial Day there was a Buddhist memorial service for all Bay Area Japanese-Americans at the cemetery in Colma, south of San Francisco.


Chapter 14

p. 252 At 3:45 In the early dark on a summer morning in 1965, a grey Volkswagen bug sat running beneath the streetlight in front of Sokoji.

For over a year Suzuki had been Suzuki was now making periodic visits to three satellite zendos—Mill Valley over the Golden Gate Bridge to the north, Berkeley across the Bay Bridge to the east, and especially Los Altos, south on the peninsula.


p. 253 Arriving in Los Altos just before 5:00 am ,still in darkness, Toni and Suzuki walked into a comfortable suburban living room lined with people sitting silently on cushions facing the walls.

p. 254 Once Toni and Tony took the Suzukis to Yosemite—one of the Suzukis' rare vacations. Suzuki Shunryu stood up through the sunroof of the Volkswagen as they drove toward the mountains, his sleeves fluttering in the wind.

p. 256 Back in 1963 1962, just before Suzuki's Mountain Seat Ceremony, Richard had had a terrible bicycle accident in which his forearms were severely injured.

p. 258 At the American Academy of Asian Studies, he met D. T. Suzuki, Wako Kazemitsu Kato, Gary Snyder, and a whole raft of Asian scholars, poets, and philosophers of the Beat generation.

Claude appreciated the Japanese-American congregation,


p. 259 Mel Weitsman had been a regular at Sokoji since Phillip Wilson had told him about Suzuki in 1964.

At the Art Institute Phillip Wilson told Mel Weitsman about sitting with Suzuki and suggested he come, but it was the lion-maned founding director of the Floating Lotus Magic Opera, Daniel Moore, who escorted Mel there in 1964 for morning zazen after a musical all-nighter. Mel was an artist and a flutist in his mid-thirties who drove a cab to get by.

As Suzuki walked back to the altar, Mel's life took a different changed course.


p. 261 Bob said that he had sat for a year with the Rinzai teacher Joshu Sasaki-roshi in L.A. He had just completed a sesshin in Mill Valley with Hakuun Yasutani-roshi, at which Taizan Maezumi-sensei translated. Yasutani was the Soto priest who used koans in the Rinzai fashion and who emphasized pushing oneself hard in sesshin to have an awakening experience, whether concentrating on a koan or just sitting zazen. Yasutani was giving sesshins on the West Coast and had attracted a following

p. 263 Sesshins usually last a maximum of seven days, but Grahame sat at Antaiji for almost the entire forty-nine days,

p. 264 After a few miles that road turns to dirt and twists into wooded mountainsides, ascending to about five thousand feet at Chew's Ridge before going back down to fifteen over sixteen hundred. At the end of this fifteen fourteen-mile dirt road lies Tassajara Springs.

Ever since the 1860s late 1800s Tassajara had been the most remote and pristine resort in Monterey County.


p. 265 The right place had come along at the right a time when there was enough maturity

Different people had mentioned this old resort to Suzuki and Richard a few times through the years. Fred Roscoe, briefly a Tassajara co-owner with the Becks, had mentioned it to Richard more than once at his Discovery Bookstore in North Beach. San Francisco historian Margot Patterson Doss told Suzuki it was the only place he should consider for a retreat.

Tassajara is nestled in the Los Padres National Forest inland from Big Sur, four to five hours' drive south of San Francisco.

But after passing through breathtaking views on the more than an hour-long drive over the precipitous dirt road and arriving at Tassajara, he fell in love with it immediately.


p. 266 Two couples, the Becks and the Roscoes, owned Tassajara. Bob and Anna Beck were in the process of buying the Roscoes' share and weren't willing to part with Tassajara yet. Bob Beck showed Richard a 180-acre parcel of undeveloped land nearby called the Horse Pasture, which he would sell to the Zen Center for a retreat. Suzuki hiked in to the Horse Pasture with Richard. It was beautiful, but it was Tassajara that caught his fancy. Suzuki
Tassajara was awfully expensive though. Bob and Anna Beck had owned it for six years. Bob showed Suzuki and Richard a 160-acre parcel of undeveloped land nearby called the Horse Pasture which they reached by hiking in on a trail off the road. It was beautiful, but it was Tassajara that caught Suzuki’s fancy. He

Suzuki was astounded at impressed with his commitment to getting this land and his obvious skill at going about it

The Kwongs held a fund-raising party; a benefit art sale was planned.

Spending a whole afternoon on a cushion at the low table in his office, at the request of his student, Mike Dixon, Suzuki drew an enso, a sumi circle, for a poster announcing a benefit art show, drawing one incomplete circular stroke after another, going through sheet after sheet of rice paper, till he got a stroke that satisfied him. He didn't do a voluminous amount of calligraphy, as is common among Japanese priests, but this simple enso would come to greet countless gazes.

Among those who lent their enthusiastic support early on were a number of philosophers and writers who knew Buddhism well, including Alan Watts, Gary Snyder, Huston Smith, Nancy Wilson Ross, Paul Wienpahl, Allen Ginsberg, Joseph Campbell, and Michael Murphy from nearby  of Esalen Institute.


p. 267 But his closeness to Suzuki as a student and his dominance in the fund-raising and planning for Tassajara tended to overshadow other people and created create some resentment and jealousy among the older students.

It was infuriating to others to hear Richard say things like this, but he’d do it in front of Suzuki and Suzuki would not contradict him.


p. 268 "These sincere Americans have made up my mind," he told his friend Reverend Ogui.

To Grahame, who had attempted attended three painful practice periods there as a novice monk, visiting was a pleasant alternative.

Next they met with the abbot and head of the whole Soto sect, the elderly Taizen Kumazawa-roshi.


p. 269 "How about the name Zenshinji?" (Zen heart/mind temple Mind Temple), Suzuki asked.

p. 270 He considered Kosho Uchiyama, whom Grahame was studying with, and Rempo Niwa, Kojun Noiri, and Yuho Yokoi—all the latter three Kishizawa's heirs.

"In terms of Japan, he's just a typical country priest," Yokoi said when asked what he thought after Suzuki had visited him at Komazawa University. But Yokoi was impressed with how much Suzuki had evolved in America, and said it must be due to his interaction with his students.

In Japan people often grow up sitting seiza quite a bit. Phillip contended that it molded their tendons and bones. He'd sit two hours at a stretch in Tatsugami's chanting classes till his legs were on fire. On his first day there they made him sit like that for eleven hours in an office, the most painful experience of his life--worse than football he said.


p. 272 Suzuki's American students also met his old friends—godfather Amano, Seison Suzuki, the potter, and those in his High Grass Mountain Group who had survived. Claude was surprised there weren't any priest disciples—only Hoitsu, his son. There was a constant stream of visitors, but they were colleagues, friends, teachers from the kindergartens he'd started, lay students, members, villagers.

p. 274 He wondered why were there were no real students or monks who could fulfill this role.

More and more it seemed as if Suzuki was just an ordinary Soto Zen priest. There must be fifteen twenty thousand of them.

Shoko had not studied with Suzuki, but was the disciple and son of his old dharma brother Kendo Okamoto.

This was done in accordance with an old agreement between Suzuki and Kendo Okamoto and it assured that Shoko would inherit the temple in Suzuki’s lineage.

"Don't you have any monk students disciples who studied with you?"


p. 275 And Hoitsu wasn't attracted to the whole American thing. If his father hadn't given up his temple, he told Phillip, he could still be at Eiheiji.  “If my father hadn't given up his temple,” he told Phillip, “I could still be at Eiheiji.”

He cleaned up the grave and offered incense to his master, Gyokujun So-on, to his father, Butsumon Sogaku, to his mother, Yone, to his second wife, Chie, to So-on's lover, Yoshi, and with great sadness to his daughter Omi, who had hung herself two years before.

He also talked to Phillip about going to the East Coast to assist a zazen group in Vermont that he had close ties to. Suzuki had made several trips to the East Coast in recent years – New York, Massachusetts, Vermont—and had a number of students and supporters from there.


p. 276 When Suzuki returned to San Francisco in on November 6, 1966,

the San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen had dubbed them "hippies." hippies.

In the winter spring of 1966 I came to San Francisco.

As a result of these experiences I decided to leave the drugs I should soon leave the psychedelics behind, find a guru, and learn to meditate.


p. 277 More than anything, it was in small, seemingly insignificant, nonverbal exchanges that Suzuki established contact with students and guided us along our invisible paths. We were almost entirely on our own.

When Suzuki returned from Japan, To Suzuki’s surprise, now almost everyone was addressing him as Suzuki-roshi.


p. 278

Response to the brochure had been enormous. Money poured in from all over the country. As Suzuki had hoped, at the last moment the Becks agreed to sell Tassajara Springs, for twice the price of the undeveloped Horse Pasture, three hundred thousand dollars. The board quickly authorized Richard to put the twenty-two thousand dollars that had been raised for the Horse Pasture toward purchasing Tassajara, which was ready to move into. The first payment was made in December. But now there was another payment of twice that amount due in a few months. A second brochure was sent to eighty thousand people. A few months earlier, Zen Center had been known only to a small, esoteric group of Buddhists, scholars, and artists. Now, for better or for worse, it was on the map.


     So many people had helped. There were a number of benefits and a "zenefit," where the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and Quicksilver Messenger Service played at Chet Helms's Avalon Ballroom. Ali Akbar Khan gave a concert. Charlotte Selver and Charles Brooks offered a body/mind awareness workshop. Alan Watts gave a talk. Gary Snyder and many other poets, artists, and musicians donated time, readings, performances, and works. Suzuki showed up at the zenefit and waved to the crowd, who cheered him.

Response to the brochure had been enormous. Money poured in from all over the country. So many people had helped. There were a number of benefits and a Zenefit, where the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and Quicksilver Messenger Service played at Chet Helms's Avalon Ballroom. Ali Akbar Khan gave a concert. Charlotte Selver and Charles Brooks offered a body/mind awareness workshop. Alan Watts gave a talk. Gary Snyder and many other poets, artists, and musicians donated time, readings, performances, and works. Suzuki showed up at the Zenefit and waved to the crowd, who cheered him.

The twenty-two thousand dollars was raised, and, as Suzuki had hoped, at the last moment Bob Beck and Richard Baker came to an agreement on a price for Tassajara - $300,000 – twice the price for the Horse pasture but less than Bob thought they could sell it for to others. "But we wanted the Zens to have it," he said. And he and his family would be welcome there and they'd be with people they had come to admire, people who would take good care of their beloved springs, so exhausting for them to manage with so few people.

The board quickly authorized Richard to put the money that had been raised for the Horse Pasture toward purchasing Tassajara, which was ready to move into. The first payment was made in December. It was great news, exciting news, and then frightening news – for now there was another payment of twice that amount due in a few months. A second brochure would be sent to eighty thousand people. A few months earlier, Zen Center had been known only to a small, esoteric group of Buddhists, scholars, and artists. Now, it was on the map.

Many people were giving all their spare time to fund-raising, helping out in the office, going down to Tassajara to get it ready. 

Richard was taking Suzuki to the East Coast to give talks, to visit Zen groups and friends like Elsie Mitchell of the Cambridge Buddhist Society Association, and to meet potential donors.


p. 279 Amidst all this activity Suzuki still focused on being at zazen and keeping the temple clean, never losing sight of the purpose for the whole exciting venture. Spending a whole afternoon on a cushion at the low table in his office, Suzuki drew a sumi circle for the cover of the second brochure, drawing one incomplete circular stroke after another till he got the one he wanted..

Suzuki further appealed to Grahame by writing out a quote from the brochure, turning its intent toward Grahame: 

The establishment of a Zen monastery in the wilderness area near Carmel Valley is an important event in the history of religion in America. You are urged to join this oldest of ventures—the establishment of a community for the cultivation of the spirit. Only your support will make it possible.

Paul Lee, Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Santa Cruz 

The establishment of a Zen monastery in the wilderness area near Carmel Valley is an important event in the history of religion in America. You are urged to join this oldest of ventures—the establishment of a community for the cultivation of the spirit. Only your support will make it possible.

Paul Lee, Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Santa Cruz 


Chapter 15

p. 281 Waco Kazemitsu Kato also came up from L.A., as did Maezumi.

p. 282 The practice period would run for two months. In order to allow more people to participate, it was divided into two parts. Many of us would be there for the whole summer, but some could only spare a month so there were those who attended only the first part and those who came just for the second. Taizan Maezumi would assist Suzuki in leading the practice for the first month.

Kobun Chino Otogawa had arrived from Japan

For the first time, for an American, Suzuki did a priest ordination that wasn't private and extremely brief.


p. 283 He conferred with others, of course, like Claude, Silas, Bill, Jean, and Mel.

p. 284 Suzuki had talked about precepts a little in lectures, but on that day he gave them in public for the first time since the lay ordination of fifteen people in 1962. Suzuki had talked about precepts in lectures, and precepts were given in weddings and funerals, but on that day he gave them in public for an ordination for the first time since the lay ordination of fifteen people in 1962.

p. 285 Fifteen minutes later, when When Shunryu Suzuki walked in during the third round of the han, students were to be on their zafus, with a few in chairs, seated erect, chins in, eyes half-open.

Suzuki, and Kobun, and Richard sat facing out; everyone else sat facing the century-old walls built of mountain stone.

following their breaths, counting their breaths, just sitting, looking, with no props and no beliefs, some sleepy, some with chattering minds, some with legs already aching.


p. 286 Then he walked out, followed by his attendant Louise, Kobun, and Richard.

Four-and-nine days were almost days off; then there were with only two zazen periods, one periodsone in the morning and one in the evening.


p. 287 At eleven in In the morning Suzuki was in his baggy black monk's work clothes, using an iron bar to shift a big stone with Phillip.

p. 288 Once he said, "A tiger catches a mouse small fish with all its attention and strength."

p. 292 Suzuki told an old Chinese folk tale about the difference between heaven and hell. In hell everyone has very short arms. They sit around tables full of sumptuous food, trying to eat with very long chopsticks, but they can't get the food in their mouths because the chopsticks are too long and their arms too short. They try in agony to feed themselves, to no avail. In heaven everyone also has short arms and long chopsticks, but everyone is feeding each other across the table and having a lovely time.

p. 293 Others had resisted the authority of government in civil disobedience or had broken the law by taking psychedelics laws against cannabis.

p. 294 There was a morning tea called chosan, held in Suzuki-roshi's cabin after breakfast

They sat in seiza on the tatami in silence while Suzuki's attendant made tea.


p. 295 I kept my eyes down, and my occasional winces must have seemed more the result of my headache than what anyone was saying.

p. 297 "Don't tell me," he said, averting his eyes.

[Add image]

How do you like zazen? How do you like brown rice? 


p. 298 Ed had worked in the Tassajara kitchen during the previous summer, before Zen Center had purchased the resort,

p. 299 Bob Halpern A student who’d been a strict vegetarian for two years drove him into Carmel, making a special effort to sit up straight and not to talk for the first few miles, but then he started asking Suzuki about Buddhism and vegetarianism. Suzuki promptly went to sleep.

Walking past the Carmel boutiques, Suzuki said to Bob, "Let's eat, I'm hungry." Bob The student started looking for a restaurant where they could get a vegetarian meal. "Let's eat here," said Suzuki, going into a little hamburger joint while Bob the student mumbled, "But, but…"

Bob The student studied the menu with horror.


p. 300 "I don't like mine," Suzuki said, "let's trade." With that he picked up Bob’s the student's sandwich and replaced it with the double-meat hamburger. "Um good. This is good. I like grilled cheese."

The student surrendered.

At the height of the energy, sweat, and excitement, Suzuki and Bob I were watching the cabin slowly creak over the bridge. No one was enjoying it more than Suzuki. He turned to Bob me. "I love work trips," he said, wiping his brow. "I hate food trips, but I love work trips."


p. 301 I Bob went to Suzuki's cabin unannounced after dinner one night and was invited in. Never known for moderation, I he was, at this time in his life, alternating between periods of austerity and indulgence. I felt guilty. I Bob told him I he couldn't stop snacking in the kitchen. Sometimes I'd he’d sneak into the kitchen at night, eat leftover guest desserts, and drink their half-and-half.

While we were working  But then I asked him a question about Zen.


p. 302 Maybe I am a very smoky kerosene lamp [kerosene lamps were used to light the zendo]. When I start to talk about something, it is already a smoky kerosene lamp.

p. 303 He jumped leaped off his cushion and stormed down to the zendo floor and began hitting the student with his short teacher's staff while shouting more.

p. 304 Students were excited to learn suddenly that Soen Nakagawa-roshi and Yasutani-roshi were among eight teachers coming to visit.

They brought some of the ashes of Nyogen Senzaki, who had died in L.A. in 1958, to be scattered at Tassajara.

All eight teachers used koans with their students. Yasutani especially was and were critical of Suzuki's less aggressive style of Soto Zen, calling considering it sleepy and unproductive.


p. 305 Nakagawa gave a dynamic lecture, strutting back and forth across the altar platform. The talks went on and on, but no one minded—it was such a treat. There were questions and answers. Richard Baker said this is an excellent opportunity to ask these great teachers a question. Les Kaye's hand went up. He I asked what was the best way to establish Buddhism in America, and everyone had an answer: Yasutani, Nakagawa (both translated by Maezumi), Shimano . One by one the visiting teachers gave eloquent and dramatic answers--Yasutani, Nakagawa, Shimano, Maezumi, and then it was Suzuki's turn. "I have nothing to say," he said, getting up and going out the side door. Everyone roared in delight, and it was over.

It was because I felt a separateness. Now when I hear it I feel complete." (Yasutani was Soto but he used koans, like the Rinzai.)

     In a ceremony with all students present, Suzuki received a portion of Senzaki's ashes from Nakagawa and placed them on the Tassajara altar. The only rain of the summer fell that morning, and a double rainbow met people as they walked out of the zendo into the early morning light. Two weeks later Suzuki, Kobun, and some students went up to the ridge and cast Senzaki's ashes to the wind.

     On the last morning of the teachers' visit, everyone sat zazen. Bob was carrying the stick and sporting a down-turned samurai scowl to let his old teachers, Maezumi and Yasutani, know that he hadn't gotten soft, and that Soto Zen wasn't sleepy. He stopped before a dozing student, placed the wide stick on her shoulder, and gave her a whack on each side. They bowed together and he went on. Walking slowly down the maroon linoleum aisle, he lifted his gaze to see in the kerosene lamplight the historic cast of dharma transmitters on the platform: Suzuki, Yasutani, Nakagawa, Shimano, Maezumi, Aitken (from Hawaii), Richard, Kobun. Every one of them was nodding, sound asleep.

On the last morning of the teachers' visit, everyone sat zazen. Bob was carrying the stick and sporting a down-turned samurai scowl to let his old teachers, Maezumi and Yasutani, know that he hadn't gotten soft, and that Soto Zen wasn't sleepy. He stopped before a dozing student, placed the wide stick on her shoulder, and gave her a whack on each side. They bowed together and he went on. Walking slowly down the maroon linoleum aisle, he lifted his gaze to see in the kerosene lamplight the historic cast of dharma transmitters on the platform—Suzuki, Yasutani, Nakagawa, Shimano, Maezumi, Aitken (from Hawaii), Richard, Kobun. Every one of them was nodding, dozing on their cushions.

The day before, a group of us had gone up the road with Nakagawa and Shimano to the ridge and spread a pinch of Senzaki's ashes. Before leaving, Soen Nakagawa decided that half of the ashes he brought from Japan should be on the west coast and half on the east coast with Shimano. In a ceremony with all students present, Suzuki received a portion of Senzaki's ashes and placed them on the Tassajara altar. The only rain of the summer fell that morning, and a double rainbow met people as they walked out of the zendo into the early morning light. Two full moons later Suzuki, Kobun, and students went up to the ridge and cast Nyogen Senzaki's ashes to the wind.


Chapter 16

p. 309 Allen Ginsberg had come to be recognized as the poet laureate of the Beat Beats

He was delighted with this first experience of zazen and a little miffed at Snyder for not introducing him and Kerouac to zazen years before, when they visited Snyder's Marin-an, Horse Pasture Grove Hermitage in Marin County, one of the first zendos in the West.


p. 310 A young woman handed him a god's eye, a multicolored, hexagonal religious symbol on a stick, allegedly American Indian in origin. After a while He passed it on, and someone else gave him a flower.

He sat there with the flower and enjoyed the flower children, the music, and the idealistic speeches. He was there when Owsley, the manufacturer of Clear Light Acid, parachuted in. After a while Suzuki excused himself and was taken home.

In Kyoto he visited Ruth Fuller Sasaki's temple and sat zazen with his old buddy Gary Snyder for six weeks at Sesso Oda-roshi's temple in the Daitokuji complex.

An enthusiastic new arrival told Suzuki-roshi he wanted to move into the temple to be closer to him.


p. 316 Ironically, in Japan Buddhism had never been pacifist, and all Buddhists Buddhist sects had supported the government's wars as had all organizations, religious or secular.

p. 317 In the early fifties Suzuki had told his young neighbor Yamamura that he longed to go to America to teach about peace and internationalism. But his American students were already politically conscious, some of them active, and he was clearly sympathetic with the peace movement.

In 1960 Suzuki had enthusiastically supported the decision of a student named Barton Stone to join a yearlong peace march from San Francisco to Moscow. In 1964, in response to a letter from Barton, Suzuki visited him twice in prison, where he was serving a year for trying to obstruct nuclear testing in the Pacific.


p. 323 He took with him the completed manuscript for Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, which he had further edited and gone over with Suzuki.

p. 324 One day after zazen at Bill Kwong's Mill Valley zendo, Betty Warren visited Trudy.

On Mondays Suzuki visited Trudy at her home after giving a talk to Bill’s zazen group. One day after such a visit he One Monday after giving a talk to Bill Kwong's Mill Valley zazen group, Suzuki visited Trudy at her home. He returned to the car with Bob Halpern.


p. 324-5

Go, my disciple. You have completed your practice for this life and acquired a genuine warm heart, a pure and undefiled buddha mind, and joined our sangha. All that you have done in this life and in your past lives became meaningful in the … - [entire quote changed to italics] 

p. 326 He said that the Issei, the first-generation Japanese-Americans, had a Meiji Buddhist approach. They admired the progress of the West, yet clung to a type of Shinto nationalistic Buddhism focused on making offerings to the spirits of ancestors.

p. 327 He wanted to send a letter of resignation and but didn't know what to say. 

p. 329 Marian Derby and Chester Carlson, a founder of Xerox and the single largest donor toward the purchase of Tassajara, provided the down payment, and the Bank of Tokyo offered generous financing. Starting with the first month, all payments were met by modest resident’s residents’ rents and members' dues.

p. 330 The room was covered with tatami, except for an aisle of the original reddish magenta tile around the edge.

Over a hundred students now resided in the neighborhood of Page and Laguna, and people drove in from around the Bay Area for zazen and visits lectures.

There were four zazen periods a day, three services, two meals in the dining room.


p. 331 Whom he had also reluctantly allowed

p. 332 In Japan the title "roshi" was a formality, but good teachers were known by reputation or personal experience.

p. 333 Suzuki: Maybe so. It doesn't make much sense though.

Chapter 17

p. 335 There was a rule for students against skinny-dipping at the Narrows, which most students many ignored unless in larger mixed groups.

p. 336 After eating, almost everyone but Suzuki jumped in the cold mountain water.

Suzuki saw some good places to sit on the opposite bank in the direct sun and decided to go there via the deep pool where his students were enjoying themselves.


p. 337 Whatever their problems in zazen—pain, confusion, sleepiness, frightening or seductive images—the students were to join Suzuki in counting their exhalations from one to ten, over and over. "We're not advanced enough students for koans or shikantaza,  [Dogen's term for just sitting].

He used the American phrase, "Can't live with her, can't live without her."


p. 338 Suzuki knew that when he talked too much about enlightenment, people tended to get fixed ideas about what the word meant, and got get obsessed with it as a goal.

p. 339 Zen Center seemed to be short on enlightenment, indeed, a little sleepy compared to practice with the other teachers with their vigorous styles.

p. 340 Sotan Tatsugami-roshi, who had kept Jean, Grahame, and Phillip under his wing at Eiheiji, had come to lead the spring practice period at Tassajara.

Now the last of the winter's heavy snowfall was melting away on the ridge.


p. 341 Because during the practice period Tatsugami had spent so much time teaching chanting and ceremony, there was a great deal of catch-up work to do on the buildings during that guest season.

There was a brief chant at the prompt of a small bell, then a pause that would magnify the sounds of the creek, frogs, crickets, and guests walking by on the road outside.

He was lecturing on the Sandokai (The Unity of One and Many)


p. 345 Not always so. In Japanese it's two words, three words in English. This is the secret of our teaching.

p. 347 To look for that, you we must take the board off your our shoulder.

p. 348 Suzuki-roshi always made clear that the first principle is beyond discrimination or knowing in the ordinary sense, in the way that relative truth is known.

p. 349 The next day Grahame and Suzuki talked about Miss Nona Ransom.

[Miss removed 10 times, sometimes replaced with Nona.]

p. 350 Ransom wrote to her former houseboy, English student, translator, and mentor of Buddhism.

p. 352 It was nice to have a little book of Roshi's  Suzuki’s lectures that could be sent to friends and family.

Okusan was irritated at the picture on the back cover, a black-and-white close-up of Suzuki's head and shoulders, a picture taken at Tassajara by Robert Boni shortly before he shaved his head and face

Later he said, "I read Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind to see what the understanding of my disciples students is."


p. 353-4 Transmission is the final stage of ordination, in which a priest receives the master's blessing to be an independent teacher in the lineage started by Shakyamuni Buddha. Richard called it the passing on of signless states of mind. At that time no one at Zen Center knew of any Westerner who had received transmission in the Japanese Zen tradition.

p. 354 Suzuki had also talked about his way as transmission Zen "transmission Zen" since he arrived, and he insisted on the importance of the master-disciple relationship.

I told him I had no interest in going to Texas to start a group. I felt completely unworthy and couldn't imagine I ever would be qualified to do that. I wondered if many any students were ready for that.


p. 355 It irritated Richard when, as soon as Kobun arrived, Suzuki's students treated him with such immense respect, much more than afforded to Suzuki’s senior students and asked him questions about the dharma. Richard would point out that many of Suzuki's students had been studying longer than Kobun.

From Richard's ordination in 1967 to the fall of 1970, Suzuki had ordained nine students as priests. He ordained a young couple in the summer of 1968, before they went to Japan to study in monasteriesRon and Joyce Browning. Mel Weitsman, the head of the Berkeley Zen Center, was ordained in 1969. Bill Kwong and Silas Hoadley received their robes early in 1970. Silas had given up his importing business and was involved full-time with Zen Center. Peter Schneider and Dan Welch took their vows together in 1970. Paul Discoe the builder and Reb Anderson came later that year. Reb was the newest of the bunch, exceedingly concentrated and devoted to Suzuki. Suzuki had also ordained a young couple early in 1970, before they went to Japan to study in monasteries—Ron and Joyce Browning. And on New Year's Day of 1971 he was going to ordain a longtime IBM employee named Les Kaye at the Los Altos zendo.


p. 356 By now the six original priests ordained before Richard were gone or on the periphery of Zen Center.

p. 357 By the summer of 1970, six priests had been head monks at TassajaraRichard Baker, Phillip Wilson, Claude Dalenberg, Jean Ross, Silas Hoadley, and Mel Weitsman. Soon Peter, Bill, and Dan would follow.

p. 358 Zen practice is to get to our True Mind true mind

p. 359 In Kyoto, Richard practiced a year at Antaiji, with with abbot Kosho Uchiyama, then sat at Daitokuji with Nanrei Sohaku Kobori, a Rinzai teacher.

p. 360 According to Uchiyama’s disciple and translator Tom Wright, Ssome of the Japanese students who went to the English discussion as well said it was only then, when they heard Suzuki speak in English, that they realized why he had so many students.

p. 361 For instance, after receiving transmission, there is a ceremony in Japan called ten'e, wherein a priest receives recognition of transmission from the Soto school. In this ceremony in Japan, following recognition of transmission from the Soto school, there is zuise wherein the priest is "abbot for a day" of both Eiheiji and Sojiji and carries an ox-hair whisk.


Chapter 18

p. 364 On March 12 Suzuki flew to Portland to visit a group of Reed College students associated with Zen Center.

p. 365 Back at Page Street, Reb knew things were really bad when Suzuki took off his robe and just let it drop to the floor, something he had never done in front of Reb, who was always watching and copying his teacher.

p. 366 Dianne went over to Suzuki-roshi's bed and, after inquiring about how he felt, reminded him that he'd seen her scar for a dime.

p. 367 This surprised the doctor, because gallbladder cancer is very rare.

p. 368 It took him a couple of years to recover from the trauma of what he experienced there. After a couple of years of depression and recovery, he went to work for Japan Airlines.

p. 371 Someday soon he would go and not return, except to occasionally visit his wife and son, to whom he would leave his temple in Japan. But none of that was to happen. Soon Tatsugami would get the letter withdrawing the invitation, which surely would break his tough heart.

The wife did fine at a nunnery, but her husband was forcibly sedated and shipped out of Eiheiji did not do well at Eiheiji, and Hoitsu had to go there to pick him up and bring him back to Rinsoin.


p. 372 But Others went later, and in time the exchange did begin to become more fruitful, mainly with those who established lives primarily outside of Zen temples.

p. 373 Then he laughed. Nobody had the faintest idea what he was talking about. He was talking about Trungpa.

Trungpa and Suzuki met at Tassajara in June the spring of 1970, and they immediately made a strong connection.


p. 374 After that he Suzuki asked Trungpa to come to Page Street and lecture, which Trungpa did.

After that he asked Trungpa to come to Page Street and lecture when he was in the city, which Trungpa did.

Suzuki's relationship with Trungpa disturbed some people, maybe because Trungpa, in addition to being a brilliant, inspiring speaker and the beloved teacher of many disciples, was also an outrageously heavy drinker who slept with some many of his female students.

Later a A number of Suzuki's students started studying with Trungpa.


p 375 That is not the point, you know. This kind of big spirit, without clinging to some special religion or form of practice, is necessary for human beings.

Everything you do is right, nothing you do is wrong, yet you must still make ceaseless effort.
First thought, best thought. —Chogyam Trungpa and Shunryu Suzuki

In his first talk Suzuki-roshi said, "Our practice is just to sit."


p. 376 Buddha's whole teaching is just for you, something you can taste. Not something to believe in but to discover, to experience.

p. 377-8 Summer 1971, Tassajara: Hojo and I stay in Tassajara during the month of August. Dharma talk evening after evening. There's blood and sweat. Hojo and I write haiku together.  [This paragraph follows haiku in book.]

Along the creek
we look for tea-room flowers
dew-moistened trail

from Temple Dusk by Mitsu Suzuki


p. 379 But she would show Maggie his perspiration-soaked, robelike undershirt, wring it out and say hyperbolically, "Look, he's sweating blood. He must rest more," as if Maggie might be able to control him.

Once at morning tea Suzuki was discussing the menu with senior students. At the request of the head cook, he agreed to demonstrate how he made udon, thick Japanese noodles. Before long he had a whole batch of people mixing rice flour and water and rolling dough while cooling breezes came through the screened windows.

     Some people worked the flour into dough on the long sycamore worktable, others kneaded away on bread boards on the tile floor, while Suzuki kept adding more flour. Okusan came into this chaos, and they snapped at each other in Japanese till he pushed her out of the kitchen, laughing and undaunted. More people joined in—some preparing lunch, one making bread for guests, another washing pots in the corner, another passing around cups of tea and coffee. Suzuki kept adding more flour and water to give the new arrivals work to do.

at morning tea Suzuki was discussing the menu with senior students. He turned to Janet Sturgeon and said, “I heard you used to make udon noodles for Tatsugami Roshi.”

“Yes. I learned to make them by hand,” she said. “And all the officers came one by one for the noodle dinners with him on four and nine days.”

"I want to see what they’re like,” Suzuki said. “Can you make them for me?"

Early afternoon Janet was in kitchen making noodles. Suzuki dropped by. He watched a little then got out his own bowl, flour, and eggs. He seemed to her just like a kid stirring up the dough. At one point he picked up a huge wad of dough and threw it on a bread board on the floor. Then he took off his zoris and walked around on it, looking at Janet as he was doing it with an ecstatic expression on his face.

Okusan came in and wanted him to leave, but he wouldn’t. She tried to take over his task but he didn’t let her, so she started making her own. For a while the three of them were making noodles together. Then others noticed and joined in. Some people worked the flour into dough on the long sycamore worktable, others kneaded away on bread boards on the tile floor. Suzuki kept adding more flour--while cooling breezes came through the screened windows.

The dinner crew arrived. The head cook adjusted the dinner menu. In the big new kitchen there was room for all. As the noodling continued, vegetables were cut, pots were washed, cups of tea were passed around. Suzuki kept adding more flour and water.

"Who's running Tassajara?" asked one of the officers sticking his head in. "We have a guest season going on."

"You go run it!" laughed Suzuki. 

After some hours, a As the dough was being rolled out thin and cut into strips, Okusan returned, fuming. Suzuki waved goodbye, all smiles, as she dragged him out the door. What had started as a meal for a dozen older students the Suzukis and a few students, ended up as dinner for sixty people, with seconds and thirds--two nights in a row.


p. 380 Suzuki nodded, not saying much.

p. 380-1 Several A number of Zen Center's major generous donors at the time of toward the purchase of Tassajara had come through Watts and his East Coast connections. Though he loved rituals, Watts had scorned discipline, zazen, and the institutions that reminded him of the stuffiness of British boarding schools.

p. 381 Suzuki sat with him and Jano that night on the back porch of a century-old the three quarters of a century-old end stone room overlooking the creek.

He had regained his composure and was standing tall with a toga, goatee, and a staff.

One day, while walking in the vegetable garden at Tassajara, Suzuki noticed a student who was sitting on a stone looking at a sunflower growing nearby. He went over and sat by her.

Before Watts left, Suzuki gave him and Jano a tour of Tassajara. Walking in the vegetable garden, they noticed a student who was sitting on a stone looking at a large sunflower.


p. 382 "What are you doing?"

"Meditating with the sunflower," she said. "It rotates with the sun."

Suzuki sat with her for a long time.

"What are you doing?" Watts asked.

"Looking at the sunflower," she said. "It rotates with the sun."

Watts said, oh that is an ancient meditation technique and gave it an erudite name. She motioned for them to join her.

That night in his lecture Suzuki referred to his their garden visit.

p. 382 ??? You stick to naturalness too much. When you stick to it, it is not natural any more.

"You mean like you can't ride a horse on a horse?" I asked, referring to another proverb that Suzuki sometimes had mentioned,


Chapter 19

p. 386 After leaving Tassajara that day, Suzuki-roshi asked Yvonne to pull the car over when they reached the ridge.

p. 390 Mel had driven in from Berkeley and Bill Kwong came in from Mill Valley Tassajara where he was shuso, head monk. Also present were Silas, Reb, Lew, and Angie, all of whom lived in the building. Claude came from his home in San Francisco. Claude came from his home in San Francisco. Also present were Silas, Reb, Lew, and Angie, all of whom lived in the building.

p. 392 "Thank you," Suzuki said, going on to make a point about their roles as priests and about the priest's responsibility within the larger Buddhist community.

p. 393 Wherever you go you will find your teacher, as long as you have the eyes to see and the ears to hear.

When I am sick, I may be the moon-faced buddha [laughs]. When I am healthy, I am the sun-faced buddha. Whether I am ill or healthy, still, you know, I am practicing zazen. There is no difference. So you shouldn't worry about my health. Even though I am in bed, I am buddha. So don't worry about me.


p. 394 There was Taizan Maezumi, the teacher of the L.A. Zen Center, who'd known Suzuki since 1959, and Bishop Togen Sumi from Zenshuji in L.A. Eido Shimano, Soen Nakagawa's disciple and the teacher at the Zen Studies Society in New York, dropped by to pay his respects one day—as did Stephen Gaskin, and Gary Snyder with poet Nanao Sakaki.

Bob Halpern visited. He had been studying with the Tibetan teacher, Trungpa, Chogyam Trungpa in Boulder.  

Instead of a note, he had drawn a picture of Trungpa's altar, which had a Buddha in the center, Trungpa's Tibetan guru on the left, and Suzuki-roshi on the right.


p. 395 But there were others. He was thinking of giving transmission to six to twelve disciples.

She and Claude agreed; and after they told Suzuki how they felt, he gave up and didn't mention it again—not even to Richard.

She and Claude agreed and told Suzuki how they felt. He gave up and didn't mention it again—not even to Richard.


p. 396 Richard Baker returned with Virginia and their daughter Sally. As soon as they arrived

p. 400 He Suzuki was thin, soft, and open to her.

She could finally forgive him for the death of her mother and saw his accomplishments in America not only as atonement for, but as partially motivated by her mother’s death.

He too had cancer and trouble with his bowels; and though. Though he wasn't dying or sick like his old friend, it was difficult for him to stay.


p. 401 Many of the key figures in Suzuki's life in America were there: Kazemitsu and Emi Kato, Reverend Koshin Ogui, George Hagiwara, and many from the Japanese congregation of Sokoji.

p. 402 The rumble of the deep buddha taiko drum echoed in the halls

There he was, his reddish-brown okesa kesa draping over a yellow koromo.


p. 404 Twenty or so of us sat on the tatami in his sitting room.

"Daijobu. Daijobu" (It’s all right. It’s all right).


p. 407 A hospital bed was put in a second-floor room overlooking the courtyard. There Suzuki could have a sense of the rhythm of the building and some time in the sunlight. The buddha hall was right below

Okusan would wash his face, and he'd have a glass of orange juice. He said that was his service.

His skin was dark, almost the color of the brown okesa kesa robe.


p. 409 Otohiro breathed loudly and slowly, and his father's breath slowed down till they were both breathing together at the same slow rate.



p. 412 December 4, 1998

 His photo is on altars and bureaus all over America and beyond, but there is no cult of Shunryu Suzuki.


p. 413 Suzuki-roshi had wanted to start a Buddhist farm, and the year after he died the San Francisco Zen Center acquired one, just north of San Francisco. One day in April of 1995, I sat in the guesthouse of Green Gulch Farm in Marin County with Taizan Maezumi-roshi, founder of the Los Angeles Zen Center.

In the fall of 1993 she returned to live with her daughter Harumi in Shizuoka City, not far from Rinsoin.