December 2020

Dear Friend,

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. And this includes you of course. I pray that you and yours are safe and comfortable and able to get out and do whatever you wish—within the limitations of the universal precept of: Do as little harm as possible. I've been doing podcasts this year since April 1st—no fooling—and I start them off with those thoughts. To me those sentiments don't get old. In these podcasts so far I've read and commented on all chapters of Crooked Cucumber, 90 of the vignettes from Zen Is Right Here in mini-podcasts, and random pieces for a work in progress, Tassajara Stories. There has been a guest a week from our Zen circles, mainly people who were around in the early Shunryu Suzuki era of the San Francisco Zen Center. And one day a week there’s a podcast called Life in Bali featuring a guest from where I live with my wife Katrinka. You can check it all out at Cuke Audio Podcasts. And in this year of on-line connecting, I’ve been honored and edified to meet with a number of Zen groups on Zoom.

Here's some more that's happening in the Cuke Archives world and beyond.

Shunryu SuzukiMinimal edits of Shunryu Suzuki verbatim lectures to render them easier to read. A number had already been done through the years but many had not, so we're on course to create a complete set. Listening to the audio and reading the transcripts, Wendy Pirsig is doing the original pass, and then Peter Ford is doing the second. I'm available to consult and deal with difficult passages that come up. As they're completed, they go up on the New Minimal Edits page on shunryusuzuki.com.

Audio book and 2nd Edition for Crooked Cucumber. Bill Redican, who oversaw the verbatim Shunryu Suzuki lecture work a couple of decades ago, is carefully going over the recently created audio and updated transcripts for the book. Crooked Cucumber came out in 1999, and through the years little mistakes continue to be found and new facts come to light, some from what was learned in helping with last year's Japanese translation. So the audio book will reflect these changes as will the second edition of the book. And, while we're at it, we'll add an index. Suzuki student William Shurtleff and his Soy Info Center co-founder Akiko Aoyagi generously offered to help with maps. The publisher hasn't been contacted yet, so we'll just see what happens. One way or another, we’re committed to making a new edition available.

Tassajara Stories: the Early Years with Shunryu Suzuki, a work in progress. If it doesn't get finished this year, there will still be the podcast readings with comments.

Happy 50th year to ZMBM—Earlier this year, Shambhala published the 50th Anniversary Edition of Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. "Featuring a preface by religious historian Huston Smith, an introduction by Suzuki's dharma heir, Richard Baker, and an afterword by Suzuki's biographer, David Chadwick, this fiftieth anniversary edition will preserve Suzuki Roshi's teachings for years to come." At present, the SF Zen Center and Lion's Roar are presenting an online course, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, "a celebration of Shunryu Suzuki's timeless teaching."

In July of next year, the fiftieth anniversary of Shunryu Suzuki's passing, Shambhala will publish Zen Is Right Now: More Teaching Stories and Anecdotes of Shunryu Suzuki, edited by yours truly, a sequel to Zen Is Right Here (formerly To Shine One Corner of the World).

Mel Weitsman, with assistance from Jiryu Rutschman-Byler, is putting the final touches on Blue Mountain, White Cloud, a new collection of Shunryu Suzuki lectures he’s edited, plus The Grinding Stone, a personal memoir. We’re looking forward to the Counterpoint Press publications of both.

Meanwhile on Cuke What's New Blog there are daily posts (except Sunday) of brief excerpts from Suzuki's lectures and other news—plus the more far afield posts on Cuke nonZense blog. Cuke.com and shunryusuzuki.com will continue to develop and a myriad of outreach and communication efforts will be tended to, to fulfil the intent of Cuke Archives: preserving the legacy of Shunryu Suzuki and those whose paths crossed his—and anything else that comes to mind.

 

A suggestion to give A Brief History of Tassajara: from Native American Sweat Lodges to Pioneering Zen Monastery for the holidays or, possibly, one of the other books available from Cuke Press such as:

 

And in the coming year Cuke Press will also be listing David Schneider’s Goods which he describes as “fictional stories from the practice world.”

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Check out the Who We Are page in the updated 2020 Presentation to see our noble crew. And the presentation itself gives a more extensive view of the landscape of Cuke Archives with a number of testimonials from our friends.

At Zen Center there are brief unaccompanied chants dedicating the sutra just recited by those assembled. I recall some words from one that went in the Japanese, ni rin tsune ni tenji, meaning “May the two wheels turn forever.” The two wheels, as explained to me by a priest named Kobun Chino, are the dharma wheel and the economic wheel. The dharma supports us but so do food, clothing, and shelter. The dharma wheel of Cuke Archives is constantly being turned by Shunryu Suzuki and those whose paths crossed his. Nine bows to them and another nine to those who have helped to turn the wheel of economic support for Cuke Archives. We are most grateful to those who contribute so that this work may continue. ------ To send a check, make a PayPal donation, or become a PayPal subscriber for as little as one dollar a month, just click on this donate link.     

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Before we go, let us remember some Shunryu Suzuki students we've lost recently:
 

•   Loring Palmer, November 11, 2020

•   Diane Di Prima, October 26, 2020

•   Yvonne Rand, August 19, 2020

•   Bruce McAlister, Aug 18, 2019

 

A few other dharma siblings:

•   John E. Nelson, February 5, 2020

•   Robert Lytle, January 20, 2020

•   Bill Sterling, December 1, 2019

•   Michael Canright, February 25, 2019

•   Robby Pellet,  August 29, 2019

•   Peter Zipser, July 10, 2019

•   Lee de Barrros, March 6, 2019

 

And some notable friends:

•   William Irwin Thompson, November 8, 2020
Robert Gnaizda, July 11, 2020

•   Harada Seiki, August, 2020

•   Michael McClure, May 4, 2020

•   Ram Dass – December 22, 2019

And those I've neglected to mention.

Gya te gya te parasamgyate – Gone, gone, gone beyond…

Thank you and take care.

David Chadwick