Grace McLeod, world traveler, potent advocate for Buddhism
- 9-27-2006 - Seattle Times
Notes on talk with Grace McLeod
- undated but says she was 89 so, c. 1997
From the notes:
She was quite friendly and spoke affectionately of Shunryu and Mitsu Suzuki.
Said her husband Hugh had a meditation group in their home and that he was quite
interested in Suzuki. He had a large collection of the periodical, the Eastern
Buddhist. He'd long been a Buddhist. She became one in 1940 when she studied
Buddhism in a Theosophy class with her husband. Suzuki visited them in Seattle
and signed their datebook September 18, 1960. She had earlier met him at Sokoji
but said that Suzuki mainly visited with her husband who had the Zen interest.
Likely Suzuki came with an Arthur Engleheart whod signed the datebook on the
same day with a 704 Bush Street, SF, address. Sokoji is 1881 Bush St. Other
names in notes. She said many local Japanese Americans came to meet Suzuki.
She took him to see the Japanese Gardens and the Seattle Art Museum. She later
met with Mitsu Suzuki and did tea ceremony with her and then Mitsu visited her
on 9-22-1962. Suzuki gave Hugh McLeod "a beautiful drum and a set of Bodhisattva
pictures." Hugh died in 1978.
They both gave talks on Jodu Shunshu at Buddhist Churches of America in Seattle
and San Francisco. She had funded a Buddhist nunnery in India and became
close with the Karmapa and Sister Palmo.
Grace McLeod gave Ted Pirsig the early draft of Beginner's Mind which went on to
be the prototype for Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. Ted is going to send a PDF of it
to us but I imagine it's one of the early versions in the
Cuke ZMBM section. He did it:
PDF of early
manuscript for Beginner's Mind Grace McLeod gave to Ted Pirsig.
Thanks for scanning it Ted. He sent this note with it: I love the rough
quality of if, frankly. It was obviously done on different typewriters, with
different spacing, some crooked on the page, and pages 13-14 in the book are out
of order, they follow page 18.
Originally Ted wrote:
Just checking, do you have or need a copy of this? See the attached photos.
It's a collection of talks that look to be an early draft of ZMBM, titled
95 pages / single sided, with nothing else (no intro, etc.). The pages are
photocopies of typewritten sheets, some with handwritten corrections. Looks
like a Kinko's binding job.
Given to me by Grace MacLeod in 1980 or so.
I was referred to Grace via my karate teacher in Seattle, told him I was
looking for a Zen teacher. There weren't any around at that point, so he
steered me to her. We met once a week for a year or so and she taught me all
the basic Buddhism stuff that one doesn't get when your only prior exposure
was Katagiri and you're 14-18 years old. In other words, four noble truths
etc. Very little Dogen :)
She had a sweet little-old-lady demeanor but was sharp as a tack. Her path
was Tibetan but she tried to round me out with stuff from various schools. I
gave her a modest donation each time, which she said she would forward to a
nunnery being built in Dharamsala (I think).