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SSLP - To Preserve and Deliver                 Supporters and Advisors - past present and future

Proposal to Establish the Shunryu Suzuki Legacy Project

[approved by SFZC board 6-25-08]

Submitted to the Board of the San Francisco Zen Center

By Co-Abbots Myōgen Steve Stücky and Ryūshin Paul Haller

June 25, 2008

The Abbots of SFZC recognize that our office holds responsibility for leadership in insuring that the Shunryu Suzuki lineage legacy is cultivated and protected as a healthy living body. Suzuki Roshi is bowed to and offered food regularly at Beginner’s Mind Temple and other centers to keep alive his presence. The same everyday attention is needed to care for the records of his teachings. The archival material of audio, written, and visual materials are important features of this legacy. While the circle of lineage holders and sanghas may happily expand widely, it is appropriate that the original Zen Center founded by Shunryu Suzuki be a natural locus of The Founder’s legacy materials.

We have instituted a simple organizational structure, namely the Shunryu Suzuki Legacy Project (SSLP) Committee, to initiate, guide, and support the following endeavors:

complete the collection of archival materials

set an appropriate standard of care of archives and research archival technologies

maintain the archives at an appropriate standard of care

foster publications, promote access, and organize dharma teachings and their dissemination

sponsor/coordinate symposia/conferences

initiate/plan/organize memorials and celebratory events

inform lineage holders of SSLP archival developments and include their suggestions

fund-raise for the above activities


The members of this committee are appointed by the Abbots of SFZC and are accountable to and serve at the discretion of the Abbots. The current members are Lewis Richmond (chair), Steve Stücky, Michael Wenger, and David Chadwick. Two or more members will be added: Valorie Beer as SSLP Administrative Secretary, and the Archivist (when the position is filled.) The charge of the committee is to address the endeavors described above and to work with SFZC Abbots and Administrators to accomplish them. The committee will meet as frequently as deemed necessary by the chair, and will submit quarterly reports to the Abbots’ Group, SFZC Board, and President. Reports will briefly describe activities and finances and will reference access to more detailed information.


The SFZC Treasurer will maintain the existing restricted archive fund for all contributions to SSLP and will disburse monies from this fund at the written request of the SSLP administrative secretary. The SFZC Treasurer’s office will maintain an accurate record of all income and disbursements and make these records available to the SSLP committee members, the Abbots, SFZC Board, and the President.



This proposal and its recommendations follow 10 weeks of organizing and research by David Chadwick that was made possible by funding raised by Lew Richmond. A 25-page "Report on the Shunryu Suzuki Media Archive with a Focus on Lectures" was submitted by David to the SSLP Committee and is being reviewed by Michael Wenger. The full report will be available from Valorie Beer, SSLP administrative secretary.

Archives, like gardens, wither if untended, and this particular archive is in need of immediate attention in order to be passed on in a healthy and complete state to future generations. Therefore, we submit the following "Scope of Work." The results of this work will be that the Shunryu Suzuki archives will be more secure, in improved condition, be more available to teachers and students, and have established procedures to assure long-term preservation.



1. Establish Archival Storage and Work Space – for handling and care of all archives – audio, print, moving and still images (film, video and photos). Storage needs to meet basic standards of security, temperature and humidity control, etc.

2. Archivist – Create a half-time staff position. (It may be best to have a full-time archivist position that combines this with responsibility for the "Fourth Practice Center" internet archives)

3. Transition Archival Consultant – Continue to employ David Chadwick as Archival Consultant for this first year of establishing archival procedures and training the staff archivist.

4. Focus on Immediate Archival Work – This includes establishing secure storage of tapes and films, completing transcripts and cataloging, securing master copies, make digital copies, etc.

(a more detailed checklist is available and is being prioritized)

5. Complete the Collection – continue research to locate and collect taped lectures and transcripts

6. Distribution – clarify appropriate protocols and make archives available to those who would benefit from this dharma resource

7. Fund-raising – coordinate with SFZC development office to raise the funds for this project. It is understood that David Chadwick will devote some significant attention to fund-raising.









SSLP BUDGET – Projected Expenses for fiscal year beginning May 1, 2008

Staff Archivist (Level 2-4 $6,600/yr beginning September) $ 5,000

Research Consultant: (David Chadwick– part-time –15 Hrs/wk@ $500) $26,000

Travel (Domestic and Japan) $ 7,000

Secretarial / Admin Assist & Technical Support (temp or part-time staff) $ 3,400

Equipment (Rental and Purchase of Hardware and Software) $ 5,000

Office Expenses & Archival Storage: $ 4,000

Fund-raising/Misc. $ 1,500

Total: $51,000


NOTE: The value of unpaid work by volunteers and research director – past, present, and future, is not included.


Supportive Statements:

Thanks for the comprehensive report. You are spelling out the preservation of the heritage of the Zen Center and I salute you for your work and vision. – Lew Lancaster

To the Zen Center board members and officers: I would like to strongly encourage the San Francisco Zen Center to support David Chadwick in all that he does to keep alive so many memories of Suzuki Roshi and his teaching. I greatly appreciate what David has done and is doing as do others as will many more in the future, who will be able to know themselves better through studying this valuable vibrant history of Suzuki Roshi and his students. I am also grateful that David keeps in touch with so many people from the early days of the Zen Center. Please help David. He is doing the Zen Center's work. – Elsie Mitchell


Supporters and advisors of the SSLP:

Elsie Mitchell (founder Cambridge Buddhist Asso.), Huston Smith (UC Berkeley emeritus, Philosophy), Lew Lancaster (UC Berkeley emeritus, Asian Cultures and Languages, president, University of the West), John Nelson (University of San Francisco, Theology & Religious Studies), Steve Tipton (Emory University, Sociology), Taigen Dan Leighton (Loyola University Chicago, Religion), Richard Jaffe (Duke University, Religious Studies)

Consulting Archivists (see report online for more): Barkley Ogden (founder and head of the Conservation Lab, Bancroft Library, UCB) and Terry Delsing (audio archivist LA who’s restored over 1000 album masters for Warner Music Group) are the key audio experts consulted. Lew Lancaster is also widely considered the leading Buddhist digital archivist.

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