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Brief Memories
of Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Center back then, etc. 

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photo by Lisa Law

 

Jerry Halpern - from a March 21, 1999 message to cuke.com


1)In the fall of 1968 before I had come to stay at Tassajara, Roshi, I, and at least one other were, near the place at the beginning of Grasshopper Flat where it begins to widen, pruning some trees. About dusk and as the end of work period sounded, we gathered up our tools and had almost started back to the zendo area when he couldn't find his knife. I was self-conscious and in awe of him. He was in a much better position to retrieve his knife, there was little (so far as I could see), that I could really do to help, and I felt it would be insincere, a disreputable show, something not truly respectful of him, to begin beating the bush for his knife. He searched around for a short time and declared his knife found. We then returned to the zendo area. Some years latter during a time that I had begun to feel warm toward myself and others, and felt grateful, for the first time I suddenly remembered this incident.

2.On another occasion, we were again pruning trees. I was on the ground. Roshi was in the tree almost as high as I could reach. One branch was in a difficult position to cut. There was no place for him to get the right stance to make the cut. I reached up to use my hands against the trunk as a place for him to put his foot. Without hesitation he stepped into my hands with his full weight.


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