- an archival site on the life and world of Shunryu Suzuki and those who knew him and anything else DC feels like - originally a site for Crooked Cucumber: the Life and Zen Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki - not

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Notes on Crooked Cucumber (CC) - Front Matter

Crooked Cucumber home page    Notes on CC index page   Notes on Notes on CC  Next: Introduction


0 What's Shunryu Suzuki looking at in this photo by Pat McFarlin? He's an artist now living in Santa Fe - that's his art website. Here's his cuke interview.

What he's looking at.

He's just looking at a minaret on a building from the courtyard of the City Center. Pat had told me he's looking at a dancer so I had the contest and finally announced that but later in looking at a sheet of proofs that this photo came from realized that he's looking at the top of a building as it seems and Pat was just remembering that Suzuki was there to watch a dancer who is in other photos.

Japanese for title if "crooked cucumber" is used, could be "hebo kyuri" or "magata kyuri" with the former looking like the culprit - see cuke page on this nickname and more on this in the Introduction that follows





Crooked Cucumber

photos of Suzuki boarding plane in Tokyo for US  
ii   blank page  

Also by David Chadwick

 Thank You and OK!:  An American Zen Failure in Japan


Since then, also:

Zen Is Right Here: Teaching Stories and Anecdotes of Shunryu Suzuki (formerly To Shine One Corner of the World)

To Find the Girl from Perth

Color Dreams for To Find the Girl from Perth

The by Chavid Dadwick

but most of what I write is on or or - dc


Crooked Cucumber

The Life and Zen Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki


David Chadwick

Broadway Books   •   New York

* - an asterisk in the text is an internal note of mine indicating a foreign word - did it for a translator and decided to leave it because this is the most up-to-date version of the book. There are a few other marks like = here and there. - dc  

Crooked Cucumber:  The Life and Zen Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki.

Copyright 1999 by David Chadwick. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without writ-ten permission from the publisher. For information, address Broadway Books, a division of Random House, Inc., 1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036.

Broadway Books titles may be purchased for business or pro-motional use or for special sales. For information, please write to: Special Markets Department, Random House, Inc., 1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036.

broadway books and its logo, a letter B bisected on the diag-onal, are trademarks of Broadway Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Chadwick, David, 1945–Crooked cucumber: the life and Zen teaching of Shunryu Suzuki / David Chadwick.

p.   cm.

isbn 0–7679–0104–5

1. Suzuki, Shunryū, 1904–1971.  2. Priests, Zen—Japan—Biography.  3. Priests, Zen—United States—Biography. 

I. Title.

bq988.u9c47  1999


[b]                                  98–46707


Visit the Web site


first edition


Sequence of photos on page i: Shunryu Suzuki at Haneda

Airport, Tokyo, departing for America on May 21, 1959.


Designed by David Bullen

Line drawings by Frances Thompson


99  00  01  02  03  10  9  8  7  6  5  4  3  2  1


This is the copyright page.

We can thank Bill Redican, former SFZC archivist extraordinaire for getting the whole of CC on file at the beginning of the century - every page including this one plus the errata up to that point.


Haneda Airport



To Shogaku Shunryu Suzuki-roshi

and all sentient beings,

"wisdom seeking wisdom."





sentient beings

vii   blank page  



Introduction                                            xi


part one                          JAPAN 1904–1959


Chapter One                    Childhood   1904–1916                              3

Chapter Two                    Master and Disciple   1916–1923              16

Chapter Three                 Higher Education   1924–1930                 39

Chapter Four                   Great Root Monasteries   1930–1932       63

Chapter Five                    Temple Priest   1932–1939                      77

Chapter Six                     Wartime   1940–1945                              92

Chapter Seven                 The Occupation   1945–1952                 116

Chapter Eight                  Family and Death   1952–1956              137

Chapter Nine                   An Opening   1956–1959                       153


part two                          AMERICA 1959–1971


Chapter Ten                    A New Leaf   1959                               165

Chapter Eleven                Bowing   1960                                     187

Answers to Questions from Rinsoin

Great Root Monasteries (Daihonzan)


Chapter Twelve               Sangha   1961–1962                             205

Chapter Thirteen             Journeys   1963–1964                           228

Chapter Fourteen             Taking Root   1965–1966                      252

Chapter Fifteen               Tassajara   1967–1968                          281

Chapter Sixteen               The City   1968–1969                            306

Chapter Seventeen          One and Many   1969–1970                   335

Chapter Eighteen             The Driver   1971                                 362

Chapter Nineteen             Final Season: Autumn   1971                386

Epilogue                                             412


Notes on the Text and Pronunciation         416

Acknowledgments                                 417

Sources                                              420    

Bibliography                                        424

Glossary                                             427



Do I contradict myself?

Very well then I contradict myself,

(I am large, I contain multitudes.)


Walt Whitman from Song of Myself

xi   blank page  

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