A message from DC and Cuke Archives: doing our part to preserve the legacy of Shunryu Suzuki and those whose paths cross his - and anything else that comes to mind.
Periodically I send out an email reminding you about Cuke Archives and giving a general idea of what we’ve been up to with a few highlights. So here’s another one.
Cuke.com, focusing on the oral/written history, has thousands of pages, 991 of which have been updated or added in the last 12 months. In that time there have been 538,000 visits to cuke.com. One of the many resources on cuke.com is what we call the “people pages.” Work is ongoing on these personal cuke pages which cover a good deal more than a single page of info on one person. Over 20 have been added since January. There are a total of over 400. But there is a great deal of material about and from many others on the pages of cuke.com and shunryusuzuki.com as well.
Shunryusuzuki.com, this Shunryu Suzuki archive, lecture transcripts, audio, video, photos and more, now contains 6,141 files. In the last 12 months there have been over 69,000 visits to shunryusuzuki.com. As always, the presentation of materials there is constantly being improved. We have added or significantly updated 15 lectures in the past year. New verbatim lecture transcripts have been added and many others gone over to improve accuracy (working with Shundo David Haye of Engage Wisdom). More minimum edits (for smoother readability) of Suzuki lectures are joining the verbatim and other edited versions such as those from the Wind Bell publication of the San Francisco Zen Center. Here’s a link to a page with all the minimum edits listed.
There are now some Shunryu Suzuki lecture audio files that have been minimally edited to remove his coughs, extraneous sounds, sentence fragments, and long empty spaces. There will be many more of these to come. They will be added to the archives and not replace the original audio versions.
The video section of shunryusuzuki.com has all extant Suzuki film in whole and parts with many stills. Cuke Archives YouTube has almost all. All nine pages in the video section have recently been updated to our newer layout to fit better on both large screens and phones.
Over 700 Cuke Podcasts have been created in the last four years, over 150 of them with guests, almost all of whom are from the Shunryu Suzuki lineage, many who practiced with him. These podcasts have greatly enhanced the vast oral and written history of our wide community. Transcription of podcasts has started this year. They’re useful to facilitate reviewing the podcast discussion to note places to cut and edit, and to locate stories and memories for the archives in other ways such as material for Brief Memories of Shunryu Suzuki. They are transcribed by AI and have to be gone over to make presentable. For more go to the Cuke Podcast page.
Both Crooked Cucumber (2nd edition) and Thank You and OK! audiobooks produced and narrated by yours truly have been published by Shambhala and join audiobooks of the Zen is Right Here and Zen is Right Now Shunryu Suzuki vignette set (not narrated by me). See DC Audible Audiobooks.
Before long I will finish a book I’ve been working on (and off) for years, working title: Tassajara Stories: the Early Years with Shunryu Suzuki. In an effort to have more time for it, I’ve reluctantly paused working on editing the lecture audio and reduced producing new podcasts to one a week.
Shunryu Suzuki lecture excerpts continue to be posted daily on Cuke Archives Instagram, Facebook, and the What’s New blog. The What’s New blog frequently has other posts that also appear on Cuke Archives Facebook. Some follow it online and some subscribe to it.
Daily we get questions and requests: to fact check a book or article, for information, how to find something or someone on one of the sites, or how to connect with someone. One service we provide is to check on the source and authenticity of a quote attributed to Shunryu Suzuki. Sometimes it can be found in exactly or approximately the same wording. Others all we can say is it sounds like him but can’t find a source, or we might say it doesn’t seem to be from him. Sometimes we find another source. There are a few examples at Dubious Quotes.
More and more these days we post an RIP for someone dear to us. The Memorial Index on cuke.com contains a long list of names, many with links to a cuke.com page for that person. Work on the memorial page is ongoing including a chronological presentation. Recently I have begun to see Cuke Archives as a sprawling memorial to us all – teachers, students, friends. A memorial to the legacy of Shunryu Suzuki and those whose paths cross his and for those to whom the baton has been and is being passed.
Here is the enso, or sumi circle, drawn by Shunryu Suzuki for a 1966 fundraising art show organized by his student, artist Willard Mike Dixon. The funds acquired were for the purchase of land for a Zen Mountain Center in the Los Padres National Forest in Monterey County California near Tassajara Springs. Only at the last minute was the deal changed and the raised funds used for a down payment on Tassajara Springs itself. Here’s a downloadable image of the poster for that event with the first use of Shunryu Suzuki’s famed enso. Also, there’s a downloadable image of the enso by itself. On cuke.com they are found on the Posters and Brochures for early Tassajara Fundraising page which was created this year. All of them are downloadable. The page itself is one way to look at the story of Tassajara Zen Mountain Center becoming a reality.
We ask for your support that this work may continue and these materials may continue to be freely available to the public.
To contribute to Cuke Archives please go to our Donate page and write a check or make a donation through PayPal—or become a monthly subscriber. (PayPal also offers the option of using a credit or debit card.)
Thanks and take care.