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

Proposal for Fiscal Year 2008 for SFZC Support for Shunryu Suzuki Archiving - from the Shunryu Suzuki Legacy Project - 5th draft of suggestions for the final proposal to be submitted to the Board of the San Francisco Zen Center  [Don't know what to call this thing - dc]

[This is not what will go to the board, just my suggestions. - dc]

June 2008

In Brief

* There is vital work to be done to properly preserve and promote the Shunryu Suzuki lecture and other archives, the primary physical treasure of the SFZC.

* Reporting to Steve Stucky, David Chadwick, volunteers, and paid assistants are doing the work, calling it the Shunryu Suzuki Legacy Project.

*Funding for this work has been and will continue to come from outside of the SFZC.

*Request the board allocate $13,000 at this time to support this ongoing work and to continue the momentum.

*SSLP will keep in close contact with specified offers of the SFZC and will report to and be under the authority of the abbot’s department, specifically, Steve Stucky.

* 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.


The primary physical treasure of the San Francisco Zen Center (SFZC) is not the property and buildings of its centers, but the archives of the teachings, especially those of the founder, Shunryu Suzuki. The SFZC is not only the presumed owner of most of the Shunryu Suzuki archives, it is the custodian. It is essential that the SFZC protect and promote this treasure.

Archiving experts agree that archives, like gardens, wither if untended, and that this particular archive is in need of immediate attention in order to be passed on in a healthy and complete as possible state to future generations.

This proposal and its recommendations are the result of 10 weeks of organizing and research made possible by funding raised by Lew Richmond. A recent paper entitled "Report on the Shunryu Suzuki Media Archive with a Focus on Lectures" was submitted by David Chadwick to a focus group that also included Steve Stucky, Lewis Richmond, Ed Sattizahn, and Michael Wenger. The comments and suggestions herein are based on the full report and our discussions concerning it. [See below for how to access this report and more on experts and supporters.]

Key Points and Recommendations

1. Archive room - SFZC needs an archive room and upgrade in the handling and care of all archives – audio, print, moving and still images (film, video and photos). The basic Shunryu Suzuki archive could go into this room which should be secure, have temperature and humidity control, and not be in a wooden building.

2. Archivist - An archivist can get to work immediately implementing cost effective measures that would greatly improve the care of SFZC archives.

3. Tapes and films – to do now

A. The irreplaceable original lecture tapes and films are the most fragile and precious components of the Shunryu Suzuki archive. These should be kept under strict controls and optimum conditions in one place with highest quality duplications stored separately.

B. The master reel to reel tape copies are not in a secure location and should be moved as soon as possible to fireproof storage. The master cassette and other lecture tape copies should be stored securely, in separate places including other buildings and also at distant locations.

4. Transcripts - There is work to be done with the transcripts of these lectures. Some verbatim transcripts still need to be checked against the tapes, especially some tapes that are hard to understand. The lecture transcripts that have no tape to check against need more careful proofing and presentation.

5. Adding to the archive - As work in these archives has been ongoing, there are now over fifty lectures added to the print archive and we are confident we will have more tapes and transcripts as we continue to pursue a vigorous search to add both taped lectures and transcripts not included in the present archive.

6. Master inventory data base - A clear master inventory data base of all materials and relevant information should be created and periodically updated. This is in progress and is including prior notes and cataloging.

7. New materials - We wish to create new, periodically updated, materials for teachers and students in the Shunryu Suzuki lineage and for interested academics such as:

A. Updated CD of lecture transcripts from which printed versions would be made. This would include not only the raw material of verbatim and proofed transcripts in MS Word as has been done in the past, but an easy to search text version (readable by all computers) appropriate for long term archival storage programs. Also included will be light edits for readability, all extant edited versions, updated index, maps, commentary, and other supporting material.

B. Digital copies of the master cassette copies of the master reel to reel tapes of all Shunryu Suzuki lectures to be made by the same company that made the CDs for the Nothing Special set (which means the first forty are already done). This would provide an economic, medium quality, digital transfer of the entire audio archive.

C. Multimedia materials to be made available together - The new digital copy of the audio archive on hard disc with all of the print materials. Film and photo materials could later be made available in the same way.

8. Digital Transfer of Shunryu Suzuki Films

9. Digital Transfer of Photos of Shunryu Suzuki and others from that era

10. Quality improvements to audio archive - Audio archivists consulted for the report concur that by utilizing the latest methods of tape restoration, a much higher quality digital copy of the audio archive is now possible. This would also greatly help with some lecture tapes that cannot be understood without enhancement. We are looking into this further.

11. Diversity and redundancy - Archivists stress the importance of diversity and redundancy in their preservation work. This means to make transfers into various media, digital and analogue, and to keep these copies in various places. No single media can be depended on – digital is more fragile than commonly believed and analogue reading machines are not expected to be available at some not so distant point in the future. This is why original Chinese texts were often carved in stone.

12. Distribution - Various centers can have these archives in their most complete form not only to make these materials available, but also to preserve them.

13. Work already done – A great deal of excellent work has been done in the last twelve years with the Suzuki Archives – the master set of reel to reel tapes made by Mark Watts, the verbatim transcripts of those lectures done by Bill Redican, the Nothing Special set of audio CDs and accompanying verbatim transcript binder of forty Shunryu Suzuki lectures, and the editing that’s been done with the films of Suzuki Roshi – all these projects overseen by Michael Wenger. This does not however mean that the work has been completed and we can forget about it. Archiving is ongoing.

14. The matter of names - David Chadwick for years has given the name Cucumber Project to his work in preserving the legacy of Shunryu Suzuki – not only the media discussed in this proposal but an extensive oral and written history, the roku or teaching stories associated with Shunryu Suzuki. The Shunryu Suzuki Legacy Project is a new name Lew Richmond gave this ongoing work. At present David is the research director,. Volunteers are working with him. A partial list of present supporters and advisors is included below. Through the efforts of Lew and the interest of others, this work has gotten a big boost. We are interested in seeing this momentum continue.

15. Prioritizing Shunryu Suzuki archive preservation – The SSLP staff can consult with and assist the SFZC general archiving; however, considering the value and the age of the materials in the Shunryu Suzuki archive, this work should proceed with single-minded focus and, not be lumped in with overall SFZC archiving plans in ways that hinder its progress.

16. Shunryu Suzuki Legacy Project Funding – The Shunryu Suzuki Legacy Project itself offers to raise funds from a variety of sources. Working with John Nelson of USF we also intend to submit a grant proposal on July 31, 2008 to the National Endowment for the Humanities. This is a big job which has enormous potential. A preliminary budget for one year of this work is in an appendix.

17. What you can do - It is requested that the SFZC contribute $13,000 to this project at this time, equal to compensation for the research director for six months.

18. Organizational Chart - Recommend that the SSLP research director be under the authority of and report to the abbot’s department and coordinate his work with a specified officer or officers of the SFZC such as Dana Velden, SFZC Corporate Secretary (over archives) and Mark Lancaster.

Conclusion - Suzuki Roshi is bowed to and offered food after morning service at Beginner’s Mind Temple and other centers to keep alive his presence. The same  everyday attention is needed to keep alive his physical teachings.

Thank you for your consideration,

Quotes of support

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

Senior Supporters: Elsie Mitchell (founder Cambridge Buddhist Asso.), Huston Smith (UC Berkeley emeritus, Philosophy)

Academic: 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: Lew Richmond, Ed Sattizahn, Steve Stucky, Michael Wenger.

Donors: John Steiner, Charlie Cagnon, Lew Richmond, Tom Silk, Grace (?)

Supporters: Gib Robinson, Dave Joko Haselwood (Cotati Zendo, Suzuki student, ordained by Kwong, transmission from Warner), Michael Katz, Rick Levine, John Tarrant, other names will be added.

Experts (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.

SSLP BUDGET – Projected Expenses for fiscal year beginning June1, 2008

Research dir. fee: $500 a week. $26,000 a year. (@$35 hr.)

Mid level digital copy of SS lecture audio cassette tapes - $4000

Secretarial and organizational help - $3000

Office expenses - $2000

Storage: $2000

Hardware – (computer, printer, scanner, hard drives, DVDs, CDs) $4000

Software - $1000

Tech support - $1000

Fundraising – (mailing, material, postage, lunches) $2000

Travel – $9,000 (Colorado for lecture search, Japan for research and consultation with family, Bay Area, LA for audio)

DVDs, CDs for copies – most to be paid by recipients. - $2000

Total: $56,000


Fee for research director determined by Lew Richmond consulting with Steve Tipton. The value of unpaid work by volunteers and research director – past, present, and future, is not included.

To see the report in full, go to and hit the prominently displayed link, which reads "SSLP Shunryu Suzuki Legacy Project." Although the report runs 25 pages, it begins with a table of contents and lists priorities.

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