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

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photo by Lisa Law



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Email from Pat Phelan October 11, 1994

Pat Phelan is the head priest at Chappell Hill ZC, one of the most told.

The "event" I remember most about Suzuki Roshi was the February, 1971, sesshin when Mel rang the wake up bell an hour early. As we began getting up & going to the bathroom, Mel realized his mistake and went up and down the halls telling everybody to go back to bed. I guess he forgot to tell Suzuki Roshi. He went to the zendo and began sitting. An hour later another wakeup bell was rung, we went to the zendo and sat down. Suzuki Roshi began speaking in a way which became stronger and stronger until he was shouting. It was something about "who is lay and who is priest" and of course, something about when the bell rings, get up, don't stop and try to figure things out. Before his speech was over, he hit everybody twice on each shoulder in place of the morning jundo. There were a lot of people there. I don't know how many -- 80 or more?

I had very little contact with him. You know better than I do who did.

There is a written transcript of his lectures which he shared with Yoshimura for that sesshin.

What I was trying to say yesterday, was how much I appreciated the warm-heartedness of your descriptions in the book. The poetic way you express your perceptions lead me to feel how much I didn't know about you.

Best wishes,


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