Zen Is Right Now

This will be where folks going to <cuke.com/zirn> land. ZIRN is an acronym for Zen Is Right Now: More Teaching Stories and Anecdotes of Shunryu Suzuki which was released by Shambhala Publications on July 13, 2021. It's a sequel to Zen Is Right Here: Teaching Stories and Anecdotes of Shunryu Suzuki. From this page one will be able to access more material related to those two books. One may check out the first book at the ZIRH section.

Zen Is Right Now on Shambhala

at local indie bookstore | on Amazon - hardcover

Zen Is Right Now - Browse Inside (preview)

Buddhistdoor Global book review (note a couple of corrections: the opening vignette was from Katharine Thanas, and Zen Is Right Here is now published by Shambhala)

Zen Is Right Here on Shambhala - new hardcover - prior paperback

the new hard cover - at local indie bookstore | on Amazon

Kindle ebook - ZIRN --- ZIRH

Audiobook - ZIRN --- ZIRH

San Francisco Zen Center Bookstore

Introduction to Shine One Corner of the World (the original name of Zen Is Right Here)


Outtakes from Zen Is Right Now



Publisher's Weekly

Spirituality and Practice


The Tattooed Buddha


Watkins Mind Body Spirit featured Zen Is Right Now, and also mentioned Zen Is Right Here, in the New Books section of their Summer issue. Didn't have a lot to say and it's not on their website anymore. It's in the summer 1971 issue of their British magazine.


Midwest Book Review - scroll down the page some




Errata - In the introduction to ZIRN, I wrote that the original version of ZIRH came out a year after Crooked Cucumber. Nope - it came out two years after it. Right in the first sentence. What was I thinking? Or not thinking.

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All Reviews saved here on cuke for if those links above go bad

Publisher's Weekly
Reviewed on : 05/04/2021
Release date: 07/13/2021
Genre: Religion

Zen Is Right Now: More Teaching Stories & Anecdotes of Shunryu Suzuki

Shunryu Suzuki, edited by David Chadwick. Shambhala, $14.95 (160p) ISBN 978-1-61180-914-5
Buddhist writer Chadwick (Crooked Cucumber) collects vignettes from the life of Shunryu Suzuki (1904-1971), an influential figure in 20th-century Zen Buddhism in this insightful appreciation. Most of the accounts come from Suzuki’s students at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in San Francisco and occurred during shosan, a formal question and answer ceremony with the teacher. While the stories relate only brief exchanges between teacher and student, they convey the depth and humor of Suzuki’s teaching. The snippets are often only a few sentences and never longer than a page, with many beginning “Suzuki said” or “a student asked.” Speaking to these nameless students, Suzuki challenged them to open their minds and face the reality of death—while also making space for laughter and playfulness. He urged students to see the meaning present in everyday life, but to avoid getting attached to one’s thoughts, preferences, and even one’s practice. For Suzuki, the point of Buddhism was not so much about enlightenment, but about sharing in “the joy of practice” and in learning how to “die well.” Buddhist readers both new to or already familiar with Suzuki’s teaching will find disarming simplicity and great wisdom here. (July)


Spirituality and Practice

Book Review by Jon M. Sweeney

This is a collection of anecdotes and short teachings of the Zen master Shunryu Suzuki, author of one of the most influential spiritual books of the twentieth century, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. It is compiled by David Chadwick, a student of Suzuki’s since the 1960s, who also wrote his biography (Crooked Cucumber: The Life and Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki) in 2000.

An earlier collection of similar short teachings, To Shine One Corner of the World, appeared in 2001. We liked it so much that we gave it one of our annual book awards that year. That collection has now been republished by Shambhala Publications under a new title: Zen Is Right Here.

Zen Is Right Now is perhaps even better. Most of these teachings are from memories of Chadwick and other students of the former Roshi at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, the first Japanese Buddhist Sōtō Zen monastery in the West, which Suzuki founded near Carmel-by-the-Sea, California in 1967. For example:

“I asked Suzuki Roshi, ‘When I work in the kitchen, I feel like I’m in the heart of practice. Why do I have to sit so much?’ He answered, ‘To open your mind wider and wider.’ ”

“A student said she did not understand the meaning of her life. Suzuki answered, ‘Eternal meaning is in your everyday life. So there is no need to figure out what is the meaning of life.’”

“What zazen [Zen meditation practice] is has been explained in many different ways. One day Suzuki Roshi put it very simply: ‘It’s just to be ourselves.’ ”

This teaching on Being Present is one of our favorites:

“When we first moved into the City Center, the neighborhood was pretty wild. Not long after the move, a student was sweeping the front steps. A teenage girl across the street had put her radio in the second-floor window, pointed out and blasting. She was boogying and hollering out the window to the rhythm of the music. Suzuki Roshi was in the front hall and stepped outside to see what was happening. I was just walking up the steps. The student with the broom shook his head and said to Suzuki Roshi that he couldn’t see how to fit this into his practice. Suzuki laughed and roared up at the girl somewhat with the beat, spun around on his heels, and went back into the building.”



The Tattooed Buddha

Review of Zen is Right Now

by Daniel Scharpenburg

A student asked what kind of practices Suzuki could advise us to do in order to keep ourselves pure.

He said, “Zazen practice. There is no secret.”

I didn’t know what to expect when this book came in the mail: Zen is Right Now by David Chadwick and Shunryu Suzuki.

Suzuki has been dead for 50 years and he has a new book.

Who is Shunryu Suzuki Roshi? He was a Zen teacher who came to the United States at the end of the 1950s and taught here until his death at the beginning of the 1970s. He only lived and practiced here for 12 years, but he left a big impression. He founded the San Francisco Zen Center and he had many students. He wrote a book called Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind and it’s considered a classic. It is an important book and one that still gets recommended as the best introduction to Zen Buddhism even though around 50 years have passed since it’s publication.

That’s not exactly right. His students transcribed his talks and turned them into a book. This is what happened with several of these old teachers. People like Chogyam Trungpa, Seung Sahn, and the Dalai Lama have all had books that were put together by their students.

This book is the same situation. David Chadwick put this book together, and also wrote a biography of Suzuki Roshi called Crooked Cucumber.

This book is a collection of quotes and very short stories about Suzuki Roshi. It can easily be read in a single afternoon.

If you want some light zen reading, I think it’s a good book to get. If you want just to get some information on what it was like to be around this great master, I think it’s a good book for you too. It’s especially made for the super-fan. Even now, I suspect, there are people who have never met him who think of Suzuki Roshi as their teacher. That’s the way things are sometimes when a teacher has an incredible impact. Anyone that feels that way should buy this book. They’d probably feel very moved by it.

There are some stories in this that I had heard before and others that I hadn’t.

A student said to Suzuki that it seemed to them we need to have some amount and asked, “But how much do we need?”
Suzuki answered, “just enough so that you don’t step in front of a bus,”

This simple question and answer tells us a lot about Suzuki Roshi. A student that was clearly overthinking about zen and what it all means asked a question. The response contains wisdom, but also Roshi is clearly having fun with it.

Here’s another one:

A student asked Suzuki, “What is enlightenment?”
“Enlightenment?” Suzuki said. “I think you won’t like it.”

The student really wants an easy answer, but there’s not one. But Roshi can show him some wisdom anyway.

Here’s one more:

A student asked, “When does my life express the dharma and when does it not?”

Suzuki answered, “Your life always expresses the dharma.”

That’s a really important message. Sometimes we tend to think we’re doing our spiritual practice when we’re on the cushion or at the temple. But our practice isn’t limited to that. The spiritual journey is a part of our whole lives, even when we think it’s not.

So, this book is little, easy to carry around, and there is a lot of wisdom in these short stories and quotes. I highly recommend it to anyone that’s interested in Zen. Rare is the teacher that no one has anything bad to say about. Shunryu Suzuki Roshi was that teacher and we can still learn a lot from him 50 years after his passing.



Midwest Book Review

Zen Is Right Now
David Chadwick, editor
Shambhala Publications, Inc.
300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115-4544
9781611809145, $14.95, HC, 160pp


Synopsis: Shunryu Suzuki (May 18, 1904 - December 4, 1971) was a Soto Zen monk and teacher who helped popularize Zen Buddhism in the United States, and is renowned for founding the first Zen Buddhist monastery outside Asia (Tassajara Zen Mountain Center). Suzuki founded San Francisco Zen Center which, along with its affiliate temples, comprises one of the most influential Zen organizations in the United States. A book of his teachings, "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind", is one of the most popular books on Zen and Buddhism in the West. (Wikipedia)

The teachings of Shunryu Suzuki have served for innumerable people as the gateway to Zen practice and meditation. In "Zen Is Right Now: More Teaching Stories and Anecdotes of Shunryu Suzuki", devoted student and biographer David Chadwick sheds new light on Suzuki's presence and teachings through selected quotes from his lectures and a variety of stories told by his students.

"Zen Is Right Now" offers a joyful bounty of anecdotes and insights, revealing a playful and deeply wise teacher who delighted in paradox and laughed often. Each of the stories and quotes presented here is an example of the versatile and timeless quality evident in Suzuki's teaching, showing that the potential for attaining enlightenment exists right now, in this very moment.

Critique: An extraordinary, thought-provoking and highly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Zen Buddhism collections and supplemental curriculum reading lists, "Zen Is Right Now: More Teaching Stories and Anecdotes of Shunryu Suzuki" must be considered essential reading for all students and practitioners of Zen Buddhism. It should be noted that "Zen Is Right Now: More Teaching Stories and Anecdotes of Shunryu Suzuki" is also available for personal study in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

Editorial Note: David Chadwick began his Zen study under Shunryu Suzuki Roshi in 1966. Ordained as a Zen priest in 1971, he later wrote Suzuki's biography, "Crooked Cucumber", as well as "Thank You and OK!: An American Zen Failure in Japan". With a great deal of help, Chadwick is poo-bah of Cuke Archives, preserving the legacy of Shunryu Suzuki and those whose paths crossed his -- and anything else that comes to mind. He has two informative web sites: www.cuke.com and www.shunryusuzuki.com.