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Remarks on ZMBM at Forty
from Victor Sergeyev - ZMBM cuke page
ZMBM at 40 - with notes and links and a few lines that were cut.

3-10-15 - A note from Victor Sergeyev, Secretary, PH Ligatma, publisher of ZMBM in Russian. Victor and I have been in touch for a few years. I really appreciate his attention to detail and patience with me. I'm going to post answers and comments relating to these points he brings up soon, I hope tomorrow. I've already got a bunch ready. You'll notice this says "Some more remarks." I've asked Victor to please remind of any other comments we should include. (next day) Those are now included at the bottom of this page. - DC

Some more remarks on ZMBM_at_40-notes

(semibold is always mine)


Huston’s comparison reminds me of how once on a bus in New York City when someone asked him if he was D.T. Suzuki, Shunryu replied that no, he’s the big Suzuki, I’m the little one  "He’s the big Suzuki, I’m the little one. DC prior note: " I can't remember the source of this story.

Probably originated from cuke interview with Lolly Rossett:

we were on a New York City bus and Suzuki Roshi was sitting on my right and some stranger was on my left, a younger man and he said is he a Buddhist monk? And I said yes and he said what type and I said a Zen priest and he said the great Suzuki! and Suzuki Roshi turned to me and said, "Tell him I'm not the great Suzuki, I'm the little Suzuki." That was typical of him to say something like that.

The same idea in cuke interview with Mickey Stunkard:

…and I said "You're just like Daisetsu Suzuki." He was just sitting there calmly and he smiled and he said, "The big Suzuki and the little Suzuki."

So, to an unknown person Suzuki answered through a colleague, to Stunkard – directly.

The described situation is neither this nor that and is nowhere recorded on cuke.

DC response: Right. Neither source on has him directly talking to a person on a bus next to him. I just wrote it from memory. Wonder how many times he used that line and in how many settings. Maybe there was one on a bus with no one in between.


And then there was the wealthy lay sage, Vimalakirti, who had his home emptied of all furnishings in order to truly receive Shakyamuni Buddha’s visit. On Vimalakirti's empty home and in this telling it's Manjusri and not Shakyamuni who pays the visit. …

Just a memo of a wrong reference

DC response: At least I didn't report my memory of Suzuki sitting next to Vimalakirti on a bus.



She [M.Derby] talked to Suzuki about taping his lectures and putting together a book. He agreed.

As related in Crooked Cucumber (CC) (and based on Marian’s statements) she first talked to Suzuki about taping only, which was in 1965. And she talked to him about a book a year later, in 1966.

We discussed it in detail already in our emails.

DC response: Yes, once again I was going on my memory from years of many sources including a good deal of conversation with Marian at Tassajara. Add a good deal of imagination encouraged by Joe Galewsky's comment below, and I wrote the way I saw it rather than sticking to actual tangible evidence. And I wasn't completely consious of this. In 66 Suzuki told Marian's father he wanted to write a book, or as I see it, wanted a book of his teachings to be published. I moved that desire back in time and saw him planting the seeds. I still imagine Suzuki thinking of the lectures he was giving at Los Altos being printed for distribution and even maybe used in a book. I see him making a concentrated and brilliant effort to come out with something worthy of that. Don't know if that's actually true and if so how consciously.

Marian Derby Wisberg's account of the creation of Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind.

Marian's cuke page


Although this book contains the earliest of Suzuki’s captured talks... Joseph Galewsky... remarked that these mid-sixties talks from Los Altos, which Suzuki knew were being recorded for a book

the earliest of Suzuki’s captured talks – perhaps so if Wind Bell publications prior to summer 1965 are ignored.

DC response: I meant captured on tape as he said them.

which Suzuki knew were being recorded for a book -- the wording could only come from a person who held the wrong idea that taping of SR talks & composing a book had been decided at one time, not one after another with a year’s interval. Did Joseph really have such an idea that contradicted CC version point blank and was to appear for the first time in print in ZMBM_at_40?

As a matter of fact, more than 20 of 38 chapters in ZMBM are based on talks given before summer 1966, i.e. before Marian had first talked to Suzuki about a book.

DC response: Joseph and I were obviously under a delusion (which I euphamistically call imaginative remembering). I put some of the blame for this on Suzuki because I saw him create wonderful things without doing or saying much so I naturally imagined some mechanation going on other than just the invisible workings of practice and zazen. Maybe it's a sort of romantic tendency to see it as planned at some level. He did have big plans for Zen practice in the US and Japan and himself and us that he'd hint about from time to time.


As Maezumi pointed out, we don’t really know what happened in the past, but as I see it, a team of people heeded their highest angels to create this book.

we don’t really know what happened in the past, but as I see it… – sounds really strange as coming from the author of CC wherein the following points were related by himself mostly in strict accordance with the documents & various testimonies. Why then should he proceed 10 years later with an update version of the same story taken “from the top of his head (or memory)”, without ever mentioning that it differs from CC’s one?

DC response: Because I didn't realize it. Because I didn't have you or anyone to fact check up on what I wrote. I was careless. Crooked Cucumber took five years and had a host of helpers. This piece took more like five days - maybe - I don't remember.

a team… – according to Marian’s reports she neither worked together with Dick nor had personal discussions with him on problems concerning editing SR lectures or the future book, as would be expected in a team.

DC response: Not that type of team. A team working where one reaches in the dark behind ones head to find a pillow - or somewhere like that. I see the whole universe as a type of teamwork, everything interconnected, working together even at different times and places or at odds with one another - not obviously and I don't have duplicable test data to proove it.

heeded their highest angels… – as to Marian & Trudy, both of them worked incessantly until their task was accomplished, and, one would say, giving their all.

Dick’s situation was different. According to Suzuki’s decision he was in charge for more than 3 years since March, 67, after Marian. And next to nothing happened with Marian’s MS. during the first year, until it was forwarded to Trudy in spring of 68. And then, again, there was a period between Dick’s first & second visits to Japan (Oct 68 – Jan 70) during which not much was done, as outlined by Dick in ZC Board Meeting of Nov. 1-2, 1969, p.6 (see more about it below). Cf. Marian words there: “I don’t want to have it drag on” (p.6).

DC response: I wouldn't call those first and second visits to Japan. Dick lived in Japan from the fall of 68 to the fall of 71 and had a visit to America in the middle. Marian saying something in the board meeting just to me shows she was understandably impatient to see her baby graduate into the world. But Dick was in charge then and just reporting now and then. It took time. To me the timing was perfect.

I guess most the work happened between the spring of 68 and when Dick left in the fall of that year. I was in the city from Tassajara that spring for three months and I remember that even though she'd already been diagnosed with cancer, Trudy did a lot of the work in city in the building across the stree from Sokoji. I'd visit her now and then. I recall her being a little frail. I also remember Dick being quite involved and telling me how they were doing a bit of cutting and pasting and going over it with Suzuki. I got a real sense of his involvement then. I didn't think he was working on it as long and hard as Trudy, but a lot more than people realized later.

Marian wrote in her account that she gave Trudy the tapes and her transcripts but I don't think she knew they were all retranscribed to make sure. Trudy and Dick were very close. Marian was not close to them in that way. I remember her and others talking about it and her manuscript being looked at before all that - when I was at Tassajara and I had a sense that Marian had thought she'd be doing it but that it was taken away from her and she was disappointed but understood and didn't fight.

Gloria Coonan MacMillan was one of the re-trancribers and she told me the transcripts were meticulously verbatim transcriptions. Gloria told me this in 2008 when she transcribed onto disc the orginal transcriptions that I'd found in the SFZC City Center library storage closet. Those are the ones now on and [See the ZMBM chart on the latter]. I've never been sure if those were Marian's transcriptions or the ones done for Trudy. That box included the originals, a lightly edited version, and one or more stages in between with hand-written editing indicating changes. I photocopied all of the first and last stages staying up all night at the City Center but didn't do the editing notated stages. A few years ago I asked Connie Cummings, Secretary of the SFZC and in charge of archives, if she'd get Joe Tennis' archiving class to scan the whole box when they were at the City Center next. It was done but so far they can't find it. Must encourage them to look further. [Here's a page I made on that and this material two years ago - am not looking it over now. Surely there will just be more contradictions] I only posted the apparantly verbatim originals.


Marian came up with a manuscript entitled “Beginner’s Mind” in which she had minimally edited most of the lectures she’d recorded.

most of the lectures she’d recorded  -- surely not, just 13 lectures being in her MS. (thanks to your research!). 

DC response: Right. Cut "most" and replace with "some."

By the way, some time ago you had a good idea to put on cuke the story about finding them…

DC response: I plan to do that when I've reached the bottom of this page.


She gave it to him in March of 1967... When he finally read it the following fall, he agreed it was good material for a book—after more work. He worked with it awhile,

Looks as if this description of Dick’s role should be traced to Peter Schneider interview, no other source being available.

When he [Dick] finally read it the following fall, he agreed it was good material for a book—after more work – well, Peter said it about himself (see below).

He [Dick] worked with it a while – contradicts Peter’s testimony (“He had no time”) as well as Marian’s.

From Peter’s interview:

DC: Tell me what you know about Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.

[PS:]  In the summer of 67 I think, Dick gave me the transcripts of [the lectures that went on to comprise] Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind that Marian Derby had given to him. I was Dick’s number one cohort at Tassajara and had been a tech writer. I read part of them and praised them but said I don’t have time for this. Dick didn’t either - he was president of Zen Center, fundraiser, doing the Wind Bell. So he gave them to Trudy…

DC response: Right. I should have said mulled over it. I remember when he first had it and thought he was working on it then but I bet it was just on his desks and in his car - he was going back and forth from Tassajara to the city a lot. And I talked to him some when I was writing this. He's the executor for the book and got me the task of writing this for Shambhala. I have the impression, looking in the vault of shards of memory, of him at first intending to work on it and then giving up after little or no work.  



The result was a close collaboration. Trudy and Richard would each meet with Suzuki to clarify what he meant in particular passages, and they would also meet together to discuss how best to express his meaning.

Again the data must have come from Peter Schneider interview.

However, the phrase gives an impression of Trudy & Dick both scrupulously editing Suzuki talks during Spring-Summer 1968 while Peter stressed in his interview that it was not the case.

From Peter’s interview:

…So he gave them to Trudy who had plenty of writing experience in school. At that time she knew she had cancer, it had maybe even spread. Her mother and maybe grandmother had died of it after having children. Trudy did it. She did all the work. He had no time. He met with her and Suzuki Roshi and he was her editor. It’s not clear how much - some - but she did the hard work day after day. He did some design work and found the publisher, asked Mike for the art [the drawing of a fly is what Mike came up with]. Trudy listened to the tapes - not Dick. I think Dick did considerable editing of Trudy’s work and talked to Suzuki Roshi about it.

According to Marian, Trudy consulted frequently with Suzuki and Dick (Beginner’s Mind, by Marian Derby).

By the way, Peter’s interview of 11\06\96 deals with what was going on with MS. of ZMBM during the three years that Dick was in charge (from March 1967), with no differentiation of the two distinct periods when Dick might have worked personally with Suzuki on editing this or that phrase or passage etc.

This may explain some apparent contradictions there between “He had no time” (Dick himself said the same to Marian prior to turning MS. to Trudy) and “Dick did considerable editing of Trudy’s work and talked to Suzuki Roshi about it”. The first phrase (“He had no time”) surely refers to 1967-68, with Tassajara, fundraising, etc.While the second one (“Dick did considerable editing of Trudy’s work and talked to Suzuki Roshi about it”) could be linked to Dick’s editing & enlarging Trudy’s MS. during the first half of 1970 in Japan, after Weatherhill was approved as publisher (see ZS Board Meeting, Nov. 1-2, 1969, p.10), as well as to his discussions with Suzuki during his next visit to USA in May 1970 (see ZC Board Meeting, May 20-21, 1970: 3) …we will arrange a meeting with Beck and their lawyer and Dick Baker while Dick is here this coming week). It looks it was during that visit that Dick most probably read to Suzuki his Introduction and, as the case might be, Epilogue, as well as discussed with him the proposed title ZMBM and other points in the forthcoming book.

DC response: Well, like I wrote above, I remember Dick working on it before he went to Japan in 68 and doubt he met with Suzuki on it after that. But yes, Trudy surely did most the work then. Peter was at Tassajara at that time and I don't think his saying that Dick had no time should be taken as court-admisible evidence. Dick was always doing many things at once. He had no time to be the main editor but he did have some time for it. And May of 1970 would have been too late to deal with Suzuki on the book which came out not long after then. Dick wrote extensively to Yvonne Rand from Japan and there may have been some questions dealt with earlier than then. I could send an email to the parties involved here and see what they remember but I wouldn't be surprised if there's a train wreck of memory there.  


In October of 1968… Baker sailed for Japan.... with… the nearly completed manuscript. In Tokyo he would find the publisher.

the nearly completed manuscript – it was in Japan that Dick wrote his Introduction & composed Epilogue (both in 1970) that comprised some 10% of the book.

he would find the publisher – compare with Marian's statement of 69-02-05: 

"In August of 1968 Trudy sent me the final draft of the book of lectures she had been reediting. She had written a fine introduction, organized the lectures and polished them. It made a fine collection. She intended to give the book to Dick Baker to take to "Tuttle" publishing co. in Japan. Tuttle's editor had read four of the lectures and had shown interest in the book. Since Dick was going to Japan in October Trudy thought it would be advantageous for him to take the book himself" (A Report on the Peninsula Branch of the SFZC, by Marian Derby).

Dick says it was Marian who started the original negotiations with Tuttle (ZS Board Meeting, Nov. 1-2, 1969, p.6).

DC response: I didn't realize or had forgotten there'd been any contact with Tuttle that far back. But still, only what Dick did was official as far as the business for this book goes. Marian gives the impression in what she wrote that Trudy had some say in who and when and what of the publishing. I think that anything anyone else did or said, including the ZC board, would be strictly informational or to let people feel included. Maybe at one time I knew why Tuttle wasn't the publisher. It might be because he developed a relationship with Weatherby of Weatherhill and there was a better working relationship. I'll ask. There should be a list of questions.


"I read Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind,” Suzuki said once, “to see what the understanding of my disciples is."  DC prior note: I think someone told me - maybe Peter Schneider. Interview with Peter and Jane Schneider. Peter was asked to edit ZMBM before Trudy but he was too busy being director of Tassajara.

As it seems, Peter refers to himself in the following passage, and not to Suzuki:


… I think Dick did considerable editing of Trudy’s work and talked to Suzuki Roshi about it.

Suzuki Roshi said it wasn’t his book. It’s interesting for me to look at Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind to see how students understood him. (From Peter’s interview). 

There seems to be no reason for Suzuki to say “I read ZMBM to see etc.”

DC response: Of course. This is obviously a mistake on my part. The quote from Peter is too close. I do think Suzuki would not have read it. He might have glanced at it some. But it does sound a little like something he'd say. How can I say that I can't see him reading it but can see him saying this? A lot of what he said couldn't be taken literally. I might be making an unfair generalization but to me, at least the older Japanese, didn't seem to me to have a fact-based approach to conversation or use of words. It's not like lying. It's more of a maybe feeling based way of using words. Skillful means too. Exactness of speech was important to him if he was talking about Zen and practice. He worked hard on that. But he didn't pay attention or care enough to correct Dick's errors in the original Introduction. 

Anyway, suppose he would say so.

As he “didn’t write the book”, then who might be “my disciples” whose understanding Suzuki would intend to see in ZMBM?

Perhaps, “those who have written it” (by editing greatly original lectures), i.e. Trudy and Dick.

Well, in 1970 or 1971 Trudy already gone a year or more before, Dick being constantly in contact with him, so whose understanding could be of interest to Suzuki in the book?

Suppose it might be other disciples of his from Los Altos: why should he be so interested in their understanding of 5 years ago!? And even be it so, why to use the book for this purpose instead of transcripts of the original lectures which were available then as well? Thus, there seems to be no reason whatsoever for Suzuki to say this about ZMBM, the more so that no person recalls anything of the kind. 

DC response: Right. I'd say forget it. It was a mistake. It's also in Chapter 17 of Crooked Cucumber. I'll add this to the Errata section of that book.

DC update on this: Emailed Peter and he responded that I had it right in the Afterword and in Crooked Cucumber - that Suzuki said that to him (see above).

"I am happy to report that SR did in fact say that himself and most likely directly to me, which is to say, yes, I heard him say that."

I've sent the whole exchange between Victor and me, above, to him for further comment. Maybe he said it wrong. Maybe I transcribed it wrong. Maybe he remembered it wrong then, maybe now. I think I should have used the word "students" instead of "disciples." I could see Suzuki saying that. Suzuki mainly used "disciples" for ordained priests - but not always. These statements shouldn't, in my opinion, be taken too literally. He didn't write ZMBM and he did write it in that it's very very close to what he said - look at the original lectures. It reflected the understanding of his students, not just those who worked on it - the choice of lectures and the vibe, and it didn't - maybe it did for a moment, or just in his imagination. Or maybe it's just a throwaway statement, a carelessly blurted out thought. He didn't know it would be carved into stone. He might have said, "I didn't say that," another day. To me, Suzuki didn't care about details or even facts. He cared about us realizing the spirit of the teaching. He said Buddha's teaching isn't what Buddha said. Suzuki's teaching isn't what he said.

3-16-15 - Peter writes back: Yes, the me refers to Suzuki Roshi.  What is lacking is quotation marks around the second sentence.  This go around has jogged my memory and I believe that he said it as we were opening the first carton of books in the hall in front of the office of 300 Page. I remember thinking to myself about the discrepancy between Dick being the only possible person and the fact that Suzuki Roshi said “students” but that is in fact just what he said. And of course how could he have said “I read ZMBM” he hadn’t had a chance to read it yet, but think he must have been referring to the period in which Trudy and then Dick were working on it.  So he wasn’t talking about the bound version at that moment would be my interpretation.

DC wrote Peter: Thanks for the clarification. As for not having seen the book, yes he'd seen plenty of it for years when they were working on it. It's also pretty close to what he said. Almost all of the original lectures are on

I edited Peter's comment in the his interview to reflect his comment:

Suzuki Roshi said it wasn’t his book. He said "It’s interesting for me to look at Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind to see how students understood him."



And two more remarks on paragraphs that were cut from the book.

Baker says, “Suzuki-roshi wanted Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind to be entitled just Beginner’s Mind, but Meredith Weatherby who owned Weatherhill said we had to have Zen in the title.  So I modeled the title on Zen Flesh, Zen Bones.” Weatherby took a personal interest in the book and invited Baker to stay in his downtown farmhouse for Baker’s frequent visits to Tokyo to work further on the manuscript and design of the book...DC note: This paragraph was cut in the published version. I did not object

As it looks from ZC Board Meeting of Nov. 1-2, 1969 (p.6), before going to USA in Oct. 1969 Dick had but preliminary talks with Weatherhill & needed the approval of ZC to sign the contract on his return to Japan.

Neither Dick’s Introduction, nor Epilogue (based mainly on SR lectures of Nov. 1969), nor changing the title from BM to ZMBM were discussed at the ZC Board Meetings of Nov. 1969 & Jan. 1970 which seem to imply that the ideas concerning the final version of a book were still to appear later.

DC response: I wouldn't assume any of that. I think he'd just be letting people know what he was doing through Yvonne Rand. Someone might have a comment or suggestion, but, as I see it, he was making all the decisions and keeping others informed. You know the gangsters they say are running their mobs from prison? Some people were complaining that Dick was running ZC from Japan. That wasn't true. People will gripe. But he was the executor of ZMBM and other people wouldn't tend to second guess and if there was a disagreement he'd have gotten his way. He even got his way a lot in disagreements with Suzuki - women at Tassajara, chanting in Engish. I'd say that Dick was up there with Suzuki above the board for a lot of decisions. But that is something that could take up a lengthy discussion. I'll ask Silas Holm what he thinks about all this. He and Yvonne and Peter I see as the three most influential people after Dick but I don't see Silas as being in Dick's camp at that time like the other two. I'll ask.


Not long before he died a year and a half later, he said, "I've put my cookies in the oven, they've come out fine, and now I'm going to crawl in." "I've put my cookies in the oven," Bill Kwong told me Suzuki said this to him on their last visit. See interview with Bill Kwong and link to Genjoji, Sonoma Mt. Zen Center (just a ridge over from where DC lives).

he died a year and a half later  CC doesn’t support the idea that Suzuki said it to Bill so early, without knowing the last diagnosis. And Bill’s last visit to Suzuki is described in CC as being on Oct. 10th, 1971.

DC response: Bill's memory back then in the mid nineties when I interviewed him was not good at all. So that date could be wrong or he could well have seen Suzuki after that. But I trust his memory of this statement. It's memorable and Bill is a man of few words. He doesn't fill in the blanks. Suzuki's gall bladder, removed in the spring of that year, was cancerous. As i see it, Japanese back then (and many twenty years later when I lived in Japan) saw any cancer as a death sentence. Suzuki had been hinting about dying since he came back from Japan in late 1970. I remember talking to him in a dokusan in the summer about whether to stay in ZC or seek another teacher after he died.  There was talk of him retiring with a few close disciples. He might indicate one day that he hoped to live another ten years and on another that we should be prepared to be without him. He would contradict himself a lot. He's say his work was done and he was satisfied as in this quote, and then he'd say he was disappointed that he'd not been able to get his teaching across.

See Part 1, Beginner's Mind link and note - an early draft of ZMBM just discovered. - DC (3-14-15)

DC wrote Victor:

Since the piece from you is entitled Some More Remarks - pardon me for asking - I just can't remember clearly - are there earlier remarks that should be included in this discussion. I'd like to have all your points covered.

Victor replied:

As to the history of composing ZMBM there still remain some documents that we spoke of earlier and which, when located, may provide some additional information. 
These sources include:
— Marian’s letters to Frances Thompson from 1965-70 (if any);
— Trudy’s MS. of BM, with more than 30 talks (one copy sent to Marian, the other with Baker, & there may have been extra copies for sure) and with Trudy’s Introduction(s) (in ZC Board Meeting of Nov. 1-2, 1969, p.10, Baker said she had given him three versions, none of them considered by her as a final one);
— Baker’s correspondence from Japan, from 1968-70, especially from Jan-Aug 1970 (you wrote me on May 31, 2013: Yvonne Rand might have it. I'll ask her. Later.);
— missing notes of ZC Board Meeting from 1967-70 (your idea was Yvonne Rand might have them).

[This posted 3-11-15]

This is as far as I've gotten responding to Victor's comments. There will surely be some additional back and forth and maybe input from others. I must say I am enjoying this and wonder if this mess of facts and fancy can be made neat and clean or if it will all just get more messy and strewn about. - DC - 3-13-15]  

See list with links of All Contributions ZMBM from Victor Sergeyev with Gvido Trepsa.