Interview Fragments below are from old files and could be from various interviews and dates. Uploaded 1/13 - 1/18/2024.

Hoitsu: He told us she had to be hospitalized, and we put in the hospital. Then Suzuki-roshi had to go to America. So he went off to America, and I was in Tokyo at Komazawa, and my older sister was married. So she was left alone. But my elder sister often went to visit, and on vacations I also went to see her. She was in an unlucky situation. One day she hung herself in the hospital. It was 1961. No, it must have been the summer of 1963. I was at Eiheiji then. I got a phone call and came back without knowing what had happened, and learned that my sister had died. Suzuki-roshi was busy in America and couldn't come back so the rest of us did the funeral.

And anything that he decided that he would do... No matter what happened... And I don't mean that he was inconsiderate about it... I mean that he would not give up hope even over long periods of time. Once he had seen something from afar... Once he had seen something, no matter how many years it took, he would accomplish it in the end...

No matter what other people said, no matter how they criticized him, once he thought "this is it..." And I don't mean that he refused to listen to others' opinions... Until everyone around him said, "there's nothing left to be done, let's give up..." Well, once he saw something from afar... he would just continue on, without looking at things from a nearby perspective... He was like that, he certainly was...

Amano : The fact was that his job wasn't one predetermined activity. He was like an observer. [Yasuko agrees] And there are many task in which he helped from the shadows.

Amano : It was based on something different. By "based on something different," I mean that it wasn't like he would explode into an argument. That wasn't his kind of stubbornness. He would keep something in mind, and gradually work towards achieving it. Will power... He wasn't the kind of person who would argue against another's criticism to win an argument.

Yasuko : But at the same time, if you had an argument with him, in the end your argument would start to seem ridiculous. Once you've spent some time with him, you probably realize that you don't have a chance in trying to beat him in an argument (kanawanai).


Hoitsu: Well, ever since he came here, it's true that he did change. By changed I mean that his heart became more open. He probably felt happy. He felt happy. Because everyone [around him] sat zazen. so much. That made him so very happy all the time. That's what I think. When he was in Japan all the things that he was always trying to do didn't go so well.

But when I was home it was "Otou-sama." Even if you just take the words themselves into consideration, I think you can feel a kind of wall there. But as he got older, and as I grew, and we developed a.... a deeper bond of the heart. It wasn't a superficial thing. It couldn't be noticed from the words we used or anything like that... I began to feel like we were connected at a more profound level. And so... What were we talking about, anyway? I seem to have wandered into a strange area here...

Hoitsu: Well he has changed. [inaudible] There are noticeable things, and there are also... Master is doing different things that he was when he was in Japan. He has also grown older. All those things have made him more kindly (yasashii) over the years.

Hoitsu: He used to be another way, but now he is more kind. But even now, sometimes is seems that his eyes will show a bit of fire, though. Sometimes. [inaudible] And in this way he has not changed from before. He scolds with his eyes and not with his mouth--I suppose you could say. He has that side.

Hoitsu: A while ago, last year, he went back to Japan, do you remember? And my room, I had it... When I work I have a lot of books open and out... Books are left around, and papers too... And before I know it, the room is all messed up. And there are all sorts of books piled on top of my desk... If he had seen such a scene years ago, he would have said: "That's no way to work! What kind of work are you going to accomplish in such a messy room?" He would have scolded me. But the other day when he was back in Japan, he put all the books away in my room. And cleaned it up very well. And he put out the trash. And when I came back, I say my room all cleaned up. When I asked who cleaned it up, he said, " I did." That's how he has changed. He's different from before. But the way he is now has more effect than the way he used to do it. Having it cleaned makes a deeper impression.

Hoitsu: He didn't used to be that way. He never would have done anything like that in the past. He would get angry.

Hoitsu: Yes, I thought he was really angry. I wanted... I wanted him to be more kind. Sometimes I even cursed him for it. [laughs] Kind... I never thought he was trying to train me, ever.

Hoitsu: Our father had a short temper. I was afraid of him. He had a short temper. [pause] But to other people, when I went some other place, they would tell me that I had a kind, wonderful father. But what I was feeling about him and what they thought about him was so different, I couldn't help but wonder why.

Fumiko [in English] : Here... Hoitsu: When he was in Japan too, in my temple, Philip was there, and once Philip did something to get scolded for. And there was big Philip, with his arm over his head like this. And he was running away. And there was the short Roushi going after the larger Philip... "Hey you!" [Houitsu obviously finds humor in the scenario]

Hoitsu: He can't bear to watch him, he sees the danger. Even though he himself is loose about things, he can't bear to see others that way. So I think that Kazumi and Philip understand that.

Who is Kazumi?

Hoitsu: The old way...? Well, I was spoiled... Considering the way that priests were raised in the old days, you might say that it was almost as if I wasn't trained at all, I was spoiled so. I think you can say that. But I think that he did want to raise me the old way to a certain extent. But he never, ever, hit me on the head, even when he did hit me. At the worst, he spanked me. I understand that that is the western way. [laughter] So... but whether it we are talking about Master, or anyone else, I don't think you can really call anything "old" or "modern," when it comes to raising children. Sometimes... well, he would not hit me on the head. He did spank me, though. And, like [Japanese] parents used to do, if I didn't do what I was told, he would throw me out of the house at night. That is the old way. And he wouldn't let me inside even if the mosquitoes were biting or if it was cold. He did that, and that was an old way of disciplining children. So he did use ways that were old. He did things to us that were done to him. But compared to the way children used to be raised, I did what I wanted and I was raised spoiled. So don't get the wrong idea...

Hoitsu: Kids didn't used to argue over who was right and who was wrong. At such at times, and when he would just scold me, I might be thinking that I was in the right that time. It was times like those that I couldn't accept his scolding. But in most cases, I had done something wrong and was being scolded for it. But I didn't want to get hit, so I would run away. Or... His eyes are so frightening. His eyes scared me. So I would try to run away so as not to have to look at them. But I never got angry at him on my part. [inaudible]

Hoitsu: Well... Now when I think of it... He could have been even more strict... I'm talking about my feelings, now, you understand... He could have been stricter and it would have been all right. And, when I was small... If had been a bit older, and able to understand different ways of thinking... I wanted him to teach me more about the different ways of looking at the world. ...Well, what I learned from Master was to look at deeds... to look at one's own deeds. That was his way of life. So he never used words to talk about the world being this way or that, and the Buddha having said this or the other thing. He wasn't that way. I think I might have wanted him to talk more about things. [inaudible]

Hoitsu: No, I don't think that he ever chose his actions out of a feeling that he had to make his first son into a priest. ...The thought that he would have to make his first son a priest [was not on his mind]... From the beginning he said that it didn't matter what I decided to be. I don't think that he ever had it in mind to treat me in a special way [like that].

[text below added 1/18/2024]

Hoitsu: So, there was two aspect (to Suzuki) as well. From our point of view he was always living for the sake of michi (the way), and wasn't an ordinary father. Often he was warm, but it's difficult to find the proper words. Anyway he had this aspect. We don't feel any complaint. We don't feel any complaint, but compared with an ordinary family, we realize some difference. But we were brought up in this way so we didn't notice the difference, but when my wife pointed out that I was not domestic, I thought perhaps it was so. What's natural for us is not so for an ordinary family.

Aiko: This is true with all priests' families.

Hoichi: Perhaps so. That's probably why priests formerly didn't get married. Because it's very difficult to be both a good family man and a good priest. There are very few people who can manage the subtle balance between the two. You have to choose one or the other. So they gave up one to realize the other. It's difficult to be good at everything.

Fumiko: But it so strange that Suzuki-roshi went to America, and was considered a father by hundreds of students.

Hoichi: Yes. I think I told this before, but when I went to America, both at the time of his death and just before his death, seeing what he had achieved, I was able to accept his death. I cried, not because of his death, but because I was so moved by the sincerity of all his students. Even after he had died I didn't feel much emotion, because I was brought in that way. Also I had already experienced the deaths of my mother and my sister. So I didn't feel so much.