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Crooked cucumber : the life and Zen teaching of Shunryu Suzuki
Chadwick, David
Adult Nonfiction BQ988.U9 C47 1999

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From Publishers' Weekly:

From 1959 until his death in 1971, Zen master Shunryu Suzuki taught the principles and practice of Zen Buddhism to receptive audiences in San Francisco. In 1961, Suzuki founded the San Francisco Zen Center, where he taught hundreds of students hungry for the master's words on Zen. Chadwick, who studied with Suzuki from 1966 to 1971, collects stories from the master, or roshi's, many students about Suzuki's life and work and weaves them into a lively biography. Chadwick follows Suzuki's life from childhood in Japan to the tumultuous '60s in San Francisco. Drawing upon archival material in Japan and America, he peppers his account of Suzuki's life with generous quotes from the roshi's lectures, many of which are published here for the first time. When Chadwick asked Suzuki's widow for permission to write this book, she exhorted him to "tell many funny stories" about her husband. For example, when Suzuki became a monk at the age of 13, his master called him "Crooked Cucumber" because he seemed too scatterbrained and dull witted to be a Zen priest. Suzuki's master once remarked that he thought Suzuki would have very few disciples, and, as Chadwick notes, it was only when he came to America that Suzuki began to attract a large following. Another "funny story" Chadwick tells is that when people would confuse Shunryu Suzuki with the Harvard professor D.T. Suzuki, the roshi would say simply, "No, he's the big Suzuki, I'm the little Suzuki." Chadwick's biography provides a generous glimpse of the humanity and message of one of the great spiritual teachers of the modern world. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Shunryu Suzuki's Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind (LJ 11/1/70) has become a classic for those interested in Zen Buddhist thought of the Soto tradition. This wonderful biography by a Zen practitioner who was ordained by Suzuki is very welcome. Beginning in 1904, Chadwick describes Suzuki's childhood, education, the Zen masters he studied under at various temples, his time as a temple priest, and his attitude and actions during World War II. In 1959, with his wife and children still in Japan, Suzuki arrived in the United States to become the head of the Sokoji, later known as the Zen Center of San Francisco. Chadwick's presentation of Suzuki's teachings and their effects from the perspectives of the members of the center as well as Suzuki himself provide some of the highlights. The book is a wonderful resource for understanding both Suzuki and important aspects of Zen, based on Chadwick's memories of conversations with the master, his lectures, archival material, and interviews with those who knew him. Highly recommended.‘David Bourquin, California State Univ., San Bernardino (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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