Interview with Huston Smith  

Huston Smith link page on cuke - much more here.

Huston Smith

photo by Anne Hamersky

9\30\95 - phone interview by DC

[Huston Smith is widely considered one the leading authorities on world religion. His book "The World's Religions" put him on the map back in 1958. Of it Stephen Mitchell says "This is not only the best book of its kind, there is nothing else in its league." He has written and edited many books since. Just go to and search under "books" for his name to get a better idea of the scope of his work. The Bill Moyers' interviews with him made a wider audience aware of him. He's also and old friend of the SF Zen Center, Richard Baker Roshi (who asked him to write the introduction to Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, and met Suzuki Roshi on a few occasions. He also is a fan of Crooked Cucumber, sent me several blurbs to use for it (see the main page herein under Reviews), and asked if there was any other way he could help. He's a gentle, humble man that I feel honored to have known. Here is the text of a brief interview I conducted with him over the phone. - DC]

In my introduction to Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind I allude to my experience with Suzuki Roshi. Any way to be affiliated with Suzuki Roshi is a joy as you understand. That happened about two years before his death. You walked me out of Tassajara in the snow - that was a marvelous experience. I wish I had more to add but I was with him two or three other times and I remember nothing but the wonderful aura, the peace and presentness of the man, but I don't remember any specifics except for his impact upon me. His contribution was immense and as I indicated in that intro, the two Suzuki's, Daisetsu accomplished a major major achievement by bringing Zen and, in a way, Mahayana Buddhism to America, not single-handedly, but as far as the general public was concerned, almost that. And then Shunryu Suzuki comes in in a different mode, because far from the public figure that Daisetsu was, partly because of the novelty and partly because of the volumenousness of Daisetsu's writing - very public. But Shunryu was quiet, low key, low profile, but he was a master and Daisetsu was the first to say that he was not. And I do think that the two Suzuki's had the most impact. It's hard to generalize because there was Nyogen Senzaki in LA, and then there was the 1st Zen Institute in NYC too with Mary Farkas. Perhaps because Shunryu and Daisetsu were the ones that I knew best that I think of them as complimenting each other in a very wonderful way. 

See Huston's link page