of Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Center back then, etc.
photo by Lisa Law
Tozen Akiyama remembers almost meeting Shunryu Suzuki
Tozen writes: I don't know why you were interested in what I talked about while you were driving to Aroma Roaster. Anyway here it is.
I did not know anything about Zen but my interest in studying Zen became stronger while I was teaching Japanese at the University of Hawaii. I heard there was a famous Japanese Zen priest in San Francisco so I visited him during the winter vacation of 1971. I met the priest’s wife. She said, "Today is the seventh memorial day of my husband. He chose an American disciple as his successor before he died." Needless to say, the priest was Shunryu Suzuki Roshi.
Tozen further said that Ms. Suzuki then told him that if he wanted to study Zen there, he'd have to study with Richard Baker, an American. He flew back to Japan to seek a Japanese teacher.
Tozen now lives in Santa Rosa, CA. He refers to himself sometimes as Hopeless Tozen.