What is Cuke Archives?
Cuke Archives is much more than an archive. It is the living story of a teacher and a wide community, a vast oral and written history in multi-media focusing on Shunryu Suzuki and those whose paths crossed his, of the early days of Zen Buddhism in America, of the people and influences that paved the way, and where the waves from that time have rolled. We keep up with many of those who were there, who followed, and who want to learn more and share in this communion.
We preserve and make easily available Shunryu Suzuki's teaching through his words and the memories of those whose lives touched his. Like the ripples extending out from a pebble thrown in a pond, the reach of this archive extends beyond just us. There's a good deal of extraneous material and playfulness too. Cuke Archives is in printed matter and has an online presence, both of which are extensive and growing. Cuke is not the work of one person. It is a compilation of the efforts of a great many people through the years. Material from the San Francisco Zen Center and other groups and resources is found throughout it, and material from Cuke is found in their resources as well.
Online - Cuke's online presence has been greatly improved in recent years. The basic locations are linked to at the bottom of the key pages of cuke.com such as this one. They include:
cuke.com (since Dec. 1998) which you're on now - for the oral/written history of our larger community and more. Originally created as an adjunct to DC's biography of Shunryu Suzuki, Crooked Cucumber. The home page has more explanation and guidance. The dropdown menus on over fifty key pages open up various realms of cuke. The site search box on all key pages is a great help in finding what one is looking for.
shunryusuzuki.com (2009) - the most complete collection of Suzuki's spoken word, transcripts (verbatim and edited versions), letters, calligraphy, audio, video, photos. With methods of searching the lectures through keywords, date, and subjects such as Blue Cliff Records and Questions and Answers.
zmbm.net (2010) - for the book Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind - including links to original and draft lecture transcripts, info on the making of ZMBM and its impact, with corrections for errata in ZMBM, the Afterword by DC for ZMBM's 40th and 50th anniversary editions.
Cuke What's New Blog (2015) - for daily (except Sunday) minimally edited Suzuki lecture excerpts and other Cuke posts which automatically show up on Facebook Cuke Archives and can be received via email.
That's most dear Robert Lytle c. 1990. Click on the photo you'll go to the post announcing his passing this January with a link to a page for him on cuke.com.
YouTube Cuke Video (2015) - for film to video also found on shunryusuzuki.com where it's more complete and with hundreds of stills taken from the video.
A few examples of what's in cuke.com:
All the SFZC Wind Bell publications 1961 - 2012 with hundreds of excerpts and other publications and printed matter not widely available.
A list of over 500 people - with links to pages for most of them, interviews, memories, what they're up to now.
Zen Aluminati - encouraging us to keep up with each other, especially those who are ill or isolated.
Shunryu Suzuki at the Human Be-in, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, 1967- from this page on cuke.com with other Lisa Law Be-in photos
A few examples of what's in shunryusuzuki.com:
All extant Suzuki lectures presented in every form we could find: verbatim, minimally edited, Wind Bell versions, audio original and enhanced. Links to SFZC presentations. Includes some recorded and print material other than lectures.
Original transcripts of lectures from Los Altos including all but two of those edited for Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. Marian Derby's original manuscript she called Beginner's Mind. [accessed also from zmbm.net]
Suzuki's voice from audio tape synced with a film of a lecture he gave on the Sandokai. Produced by Timothy O'Connor Fraser, Michael Wenger - (c) 2005 - SFZC.
Five SF State student films combining archival ZC film with other material such as interviews with Bill and Laura Kwong at Sonoma Mt. ZC.
Film of Suzuki in Japan c. 1935.
Over 1000 photos
Through the years, we have shared floppy discs, CDs, DVDs, hard drives, thumb drives, and hard copies of the archives in various forms and states of development. This was not only to share the material with interested students, teachers, and scholars, but to assure its preservation through duplication and distribution. Archives have tended in the past to be concentrated in one place and were difficult to access. Many such archives have disappeared.
In 2016 and 2017 we created two generations of a Shunryu Suzuki Offline Archive, joining key material from cuke.com and shunryusuzuki.com, distributed several hundred thumb drives, mainly in the US and Europe, then made it available for download.
Print - Books
Where Cuke got its start, and one way it will continue.
Crooked Cucumber: the Life and Zen Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki, Broadway, 1999. The research done for this book is the heart of the archive. That work included gathering together all of Shunryu Suzuki's lectures that could be found — transcript and audio. In German for years and now in Japanese.
Zen is Right Here: Teaching Stories and Anecdotes of Shunryu Suzuki, was published in 2007 by Shambhala, a new title for To Shine One Corner of the World: Moments with Shunryu Suzuki published by Broadway in 2001. This is the cover for the pocket edition which came out in 2019. In German and Japanese and some others.
Cuke Press (LLC) was established in 2018 to publish A Brief History of Tassajara: from Native American Sweat Lodges to Pioneering Zen Monastery, based on a scrapbook created by Marilyn McDonald, a Tassajara guest. Produced by a team of Marilyn's son Lawrence Burns, former SFZC student Andrew Main, Cuke Associate Peter Ford, and DC. Lawrence Burns is now the treasurer of Cuke Press.
DC recently did an Afterword for the 50th Anniversary edition of Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind for Shambhala. It's an update of the one for the 40th.
More Cuke Press books - In 2019 three non-Zen DC books from earlier years and Moneyya Chronicles, a collection of poems and musings by an American Theravadan Monk friend were published. We are open to publishing more material POD (print on demand). Cuke Press has no budget for promotion other than our usual postings. We just make the books available and list them.
In November, 2019, Crooked Cucumber was published in Japanese by Samgha. A great deal of work went into that on this end and theirs. They also publish translations of Zen Is Right Here, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, and Not Always So.
See DC Writings for heaps of other material Zen and non, some of which has been pubished as articles and some which may make it into print.
We have usually turned them over to the SFZC after scanning. There are thousands on cuke.com and shunryusuzuki.com including a good presentation of around 400 with Shunryu Suzuki. Hundreds of stills from films are presented there too. There's a giant treasure trove of photos at the SFZC and with other groups and individuals. Barbara Wenger, whose photography can be found all over cuke.com and the SFZC's output, wishes to archive her 70,000 photos. Some work has been done in this vein. We'd like to see all those images be preserved and made available online, and will encourage and lend moral support toward that goal.
That's Shunryu Suzuki on the left in the 1930s.
Taken by Nona Ransom, his English teacher.
I do other stuff too - and for the last few years have moved some of this non-Zen material from cuke.com to the places listed below and been placing such new posts there. - DC
Cuke-Annex (2016), a hub for non-Cuke related sites and DC activities such as my musings, songs and poetry, concerns about the environment, non-Zen books, DC miscellaneous.
Cuke nonZense Blog (2016) is a What's New relating to Cuke-Annex. Automatically posts on Facebook Cuke nonZense. For posts not related to core Cuke matters such as personal posts, random thoughts. For serious and silly stuff.
More than ever, Cuke Archives needs financial support in order to continue.
To help us keep going, go to the Donation page to make a tax deductible contribution of any size via PayPal or check. There is also a PayPal option to become a subscriber and make an automatic monthly donation. We still have a few from the 2012 appeal that range from $2 a month up.
A gift for a gift - For a donation of $100 or more, we'll send you a copy of A Brief History of Tassajara: from Native American Sweat Lodges to Pioneering Zen Monastery, a $20 value.
Here's a page for the book on cuke.com
If you haven't yet, I urge you to read my opening message and the Statements of Support to see what others have to say about the import of continuing this work to nail it all down as well as we can—in the time that we have left before the last person who lived through this marvelous era has passed. - DC
Our Fiscal Sponsors
Pacific Zen Institute, founding teacher John Tarrant, has been the main fiscal sponsor since 2012.
The Institute for Historical Study - Was Cuke Archives first fiscal sponsor back in starting back in 2001 and is still one if we need a non-religious fiscal sponsor or if someone prefers to donate through them. I've been a member of IHS since 2001 as well. - DC