- Shunryu Suzuki Index  - WHAT'S NEW - table of contents

the Human Be-in
January 14, 1967


One of three Lisa Law photos of Shunryu Suzuki at the Be-in

Human Be-in - Wikipedia        Peter Coyote on Human Be-in

On January 14, 1967, Ginsberg and Suzuki met again. Some students had brought Suzuki to the Human-Be-In in Golden Gate Park, where tens of thousands of hippies, fellow travelers, and the curious gathered to celebrate, dance, get high, and enjoy the sunshine. As usual, Okusan had tried to stop him, saying he should rest, but it was a free Saturday afternoon and some students were begging him to go, so he did. Suzuki was welcomed on the platform, where he sat with Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, Gary Snyder, and the poet Michael McClure, among others. A young woman handed him a god's eye, a multicolored, hexagonal religious symbol on a stick, allegedly American Indian in origin. After a while he passed it on, and someone else gave him a flower. He sat there with the flower and enjoyed the flower children, the music, and the idealistic speeches. He was there when Owsley, the manufacturer of Clear Light Acid, parachuted in. After a while Suzuki excused himself and was taken home. Gary Snyder told Ginsberg it was significant that he'd come, a recognition that there was more to the aspirations of youth than hedonism and foolishness.

--- from Crooked Cucumber: the Life and Zen Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki, Chapter 16, p. 309


Around 1966 I saw Suzuki Roshi for the first time at the Human Be-in, an early rock concert held in Golden Gate Park just past Speedway Meadows in the Polo Fields.

Beneath the billowing skydiver's chute he seemed an elfin, compact, Oriental, sitting quietly near the front edge of an impromptu stage created with a flatbed truck trailer, with one giant exception: he was surrounded by 10,000 dancing hippies tripping on LSD!

--- Rene Pittet


There were also a few genuine seers and artists like poet Gary Snyder, back from ten years of studying Zen in Japan; his old crony, Allen Gins-berg; and Zen master Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, abbot of the nearby San Francisco Zen Center, solid as a rock, smiling and enjoying himself.

--- Peter Coyote - more at excerpt from his book, Sleeping Where I Fall


"A Gathering of the Tribes for a Human Be-In," announced on the cover of the new issue of the San Francisco Oracle, would feature Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Richard (Ram Dass) Alpert, Dick Gregory, Lenore Kandel, Jerry Ruben, and All SF Rock Bands January 14, 1967, 1 to 5 pm in Golden Gate Park 30,000 people showed up. The Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service and others called the tune. Leary, in his first San Francisco appearance, uttered the sound bite of the decade: "Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out." Oracle publisher and Be-In co-organizer Allen Cohen characterized the event as a necessary meeting-of-the-minds, bringing together the philosphically opposed factions of the late 1966 San Francisco-based counter culture: on one side, the Berkeley radicals, who were tending toward increased militancy in response to the U.S. government's Vietnam war policies, and, on the other side, the Haight-Ashbury hippies, who, with the help of psychotropic compounds and various spiritual guides, saw the cosmic karma in it all, and urged peaceful protest and ongoing joyful celebration. The Be-In focused the key ideas of the 1960s counter-culture: personal power, decentralization, ecological awareness, consciousness expansion. More encompassing than a war protest movement, the counter culture "questioned authority" in regard to civil rights, women's rights, and consumer rights, shaped its own alternative media - the "underground" newspapers and radio stations, and spawned new directions in music, art, and technology. In the 1970s, the dynamic San Francisco area milieu, blending Silicon Valley with Haight Ashbury and Berkeley, gave birth to the personal computer - the ultimate gesture of personal power, "counter" to the then-prevailing main frame computer paradigm that implied centralized authority.
 - from

7-25-17 - Dennis McNally asked: As far as you know, did Suzuki Roshi speak from the stage at the Be-In?  Mel thinks maybe, Gary Snyder thinks not…  you’re the authority!

DC responded: No. Definitely not. I'm sure I'd remember but I've been sure of other things. I'd like to know if someone says they remember him saying something which would have been I imagine a few syllables if he'd been handed a mike. It wasn't his scene. He was a guest surely enjoying the amazingness of it as many others.

Wikipedia page on the Human Be-In

The above posters from Columbia U oral history Be-In page

Top left poster advertising the 'Human Be-In' designed by Michael Bowen using the photograph of artist Casey Sonnabend.

The one below is a fake.

That poster is bogus. Santana and The Steve Miller Band did not play nor were they advertised, and in fact the Santana band didn’t even exist at that time (and the photographs of the bands used on the poster both date to 1969). Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service did play. And the photo of Tim Leary on the poster is actually a photo from the event the poster is allegedly promoting! Just letting you know. I did hear Timothy Leary announce “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out”. I went back to the 8th grade the following Monday. - A guy named Peter from here

Shunryu Suzuki bottom slightly left - photo by Jim Marshall - posted 3-17
Thanks Layla Bochhorst Smith for alerting us to this photo and articles in the SF Chronicle from which it came.

click on thumbnail above to see Layla's scan from the article now available at the SF Chronicle's Summer of Love page

Gary Snyder, Michael McClure, Allen Ginsberg at the Be-in.

Photo: Gene Anthony / Collection Of The California Historical Society 1967 / Gene Anthony / Collection Of The California Historical Society 1967

I was there. - dc
So was Brigid (Barbara) Meier
Tim Buckley
Loring Palmer
John Palmer

many others - send names. - dc

DC on Shunryu Suzuki and the Beats

 Photo Gallery