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Book Review of Crooked Cucumber

Library Journal 2/15/99
by David Bourquin, California State Univ., San Bernardino

"Highly recommended."

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. 

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