Crooked Cucumber

The Life and Zen Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki

the unabridged Audiobook for Crooked Cucumber read by the author - Audible/Amazon link -
It's all there in good order now.

This is the home section for the second edition and audio book (2021).

Japanese edition - Nihongo de: Magatta Kyuri:-PDF

book cover

Notes - Changes from first edition

Chapters - all the text from either edition

Photographs in the book

Suzuki Audio Transcription - At the end of each chapter of the audiobook, there's a brief audio excerpt from a Shunryu Suzuki Lecture. Here you can read it and hear it again.

End Matter

Pieces cut from the book to meet page number requirements

Introduction to the Audiobook for Crooked Cucumber

Welcome to the Audiobook for Crooked Cucumber: the Life and Zen Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki—2nd edition

Hi. I’m David Chadwick and I wrote Crooked Cucumber which was originally published in 1999. I will be narrating the book as well. It’s a production of Rumah Putih Studio located upstairs in our home here in the town of Sanur on the edge of Denpasar in Bali. I don’t need to tell you anything more about myself because I’m in the book and you’ll learn enough there.

I’ve done a lot of things since the book came out but I never stopped working in this area, collecting and making publicly available material from various sources—and doing so with a great deal of help from others. This ongoing project we call Cuke Archives: Preserving the legacy of Shunryu Suzuki and those whose paths crossed his—and anything else that comes to mind. As the years have ticked by since the book came out, we have learned a good deal more.

So what’s different about the 2nd edition. With a few exceptions, there aren’t new stories added to this narrative, but some had to be rewritten in the light of what we’ve learned. There are many corrections and clarifications gathered from those who were there back then and keen-eyed readers, and from what was learned working with the team that translated the book into Japanese. Also in-depth fact checking and further inquiry is a lot easier now than it was before the turn of the century thanks to the ever-expanding Internet. Not all the changes are corrections. Some things I just wanted to say a little differently—or not say. Mainly though it sticks to the book.

The differences between the printed book and this 2nd edition audiobook can be found by going to and choosing Notes. The most important one being the meaning of the nick-name Suzuki's master called him which became the title of the book. You’ll learn about that in the introduction and in the second chapter.

Also at is the back matter for the book, greatly enhanced for the 2nd edition—an index, maps, photos, supplemental material such as pieces cut from the book due to a length restriction, glossary, bibliography, and many many people acknowledged as sources of information or for helping to create the book. Like this audiobook, it was a team effort.

For assistance with the audiobook I’d like to thank my co-conspirator Michael Katz for suggesting to me that it might be a good idea to do this audiobook. Bill Redican for extensive helpful notes resulting from careful listening to the audio while checking against the book and the 2nd edition draft transcript. And for their considerable contributions, I’d also like to thank my longtime associate Peter Ford, ever vigilant Wendy Pirsig, Japanese language culture wizard Fred Harriman, energetic Soto Zen and Japanese language scholar Susanna Duerr, audio advisor Rick Sanchez, and my beloved wife and partner, Katrinka McKay. And the hardworking folks at Shambhala Publishing who are getting this audiobook out to you via Audible—with a special nod to president Nikko Odiseos for his initial interest.

A bonus herein not found in the book will be to hear a brief audio excerpt from one of Suzuki’s lectures at the end of each chapter. They are of varying audio quality, having been recorded fifty or more years ago by random students, sometimes on cheap little office cassette recorders. But they are nonetheless gems. One nice aspect of hearing his voice now and then is that it truly conveys his warmth, humility, and sense of humor. But I edited out his frequent coughs. In case you didn’t understand something he said or just want to see these excerpts in print, they’ll all be at

There are bells used for pleasant punctuation. A deep bell begins and ends each chapter. Two high bells surround my reading of short excerpts from Shunryu Suzuki lectures, these high bells used unless the quote is part of the flow of a paragraph in which case it will be obvious he said it. These bells were recorded in 1959 by John and Elsie Mitchell at Eiheiji monastery in Japan where Suzuki trained as a young man. Elsie appears in the book a couple of times and there’s a good deal more about her in the supplemental material at

The Way of Eiheiji: Zen Buddhist Ceremony is a two record box set put out by Folkways Records in 1960 with a 25 page booklet. The bells were taken from side one, which is all one track, in the lead up to the monks chanting the Hannya Shingo, the Heart Sutra. In the deep bell sounding you may hear the thump of the mokugyo, the enormous hollowed-out wooden fish drum carved from one piece of wood, possibly camphor, indicating that the chanting now begins. This album is still available through Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, track 101, catalogue number FW08980, FR 8980. Provided courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. © 1960. Used by permission. Further details at

If you notice any glitches in the audiobook or wish to comment, again, just go to

The 2nd edition for Crooked Cucumber is available, at least so far, only in this audiobook. It was done just for you. I sincerely hope you enjoy it. Please pardon me for laughing sometimes and getting a little emotional at others, but I couldn’t help it. So here we go. Throughout I’ll be there with you reliving the life and Zen teaching of Shunryu Suzuki.

May all beings be happy.
May all beings be healthy.
May all beings be free from harm.
May all beings love life.
May all beings awaken.

David Chadwick

Sanur, July 10, 2021


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