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Crooked Cucumber: The Life and Zen Teaching…

Crooked Cucumber: The Life and Zen Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki (1999)

by David Chadwick

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Beautifully written and very inspiring. Shunryu's teachings and the stories of his encounters and teaching in the West are fascinating. I also enjoyed the parts related to the relationship between student and teacher. Definitely recommended for anyone interested in Buddhism and how Buddhism 'really is' in both a Japanese and American setting.
  zbrntt | Jan 2, 2010 |
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"Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)"
Walt Whitman from Song of Myself
The teachings must not be stock words or stale stories but must be always kept fresh. That is real teaching.
To Shogaku Shunryu Suzuki-roshi
and all sentient beings,
"wisdom seeking wisdom"
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One night in February of 1968, I sat among fifty black-robed fellow students, mostly young Americans, at Zen Mountain Center, Tassajara Springs, ten miles inland from Big Sur, California, deep in the mountain wilderness. The kerosene lamplight illuminated our breath in the winter air of the unheated room.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0767901053, Paperback)

"He's big Suzuki, I'm little Suzuki."

In the literary world, Shunryu Suzuki has always played second fiddle to D.T. Suzuki. With David Chadwick's biography of this extraordinary man, Shunryu Suzuki will take his rightful place as one of the progenitors of American Buddhism. Chadwick, a long-time student of Suzuki's, takes us back to Suzuki's childhood, his entry into monastic life at age 13, subsequent trials with his ornery master and in the notoriously strict Eiheiji Monastery, as well as life as a houseboy with a British tutor to the Chinese emperor, marital tragedies, and the political minefield of World War II while he served as abbot of his own temple. The overarching theme of Suzuki's teaching is practice--in a community setting--and when he takes over a temple of aging Japanese Americans in San Francisco, his practice begins to attract younger Americans. The second half of Crooked Cucumber relates the phenomenal growth of the San Francisco Zen Center and becomes a biography of the growing community and its members, inasmuch as the center was Suzuki's life. A monk who was thought to be as useless as a crooked cucumber, under the pen of Chadwick turns out to be a brilliant, witty, tireless patriarch of American Zen. --Brian Bruya

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:30 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Shunryu Suzuki is known to countless readers as the author of the modern spiritual classic Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. This most influential teacher comes vividly to life in Crooked Cucumber, the first full biography of any Zen master to be published in the West. To make up his intimate and engrossing narrative, David Chadwick draws on Suzuki's own words and the memories of his students, friends, and family. Interspersed with previously unpublished passages from Suzuki's talks, Crooked Cucumber evokes a down-to-earth life of the spirit. Along with Suzuki we can find a way to "practice with mountains, trees, and stones and to find ourselves in this big world."From the Trade Paperback edition.… (more)

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