|About the Book
About Suzuki Roshi
Jake Fishman 2/11/98--I can't remember
if I got this by mail, email, or over the phone. I remember Jake's stories
of his Sicilian East Coast (New York I think) background. He's an artist,
doing painted prints and stained glass now. He almost died a few years ago
when his liver failed due to Hepatitis. Luckily he got a transplant and it
took. Jake's a darn good pool
player and he's got a couple of good stories here. I get a lot of good
stories from people who start off with how they didn't know Suzuki-roshi
very well. And a lot of people say that. But then they tell something
I wasn’t close to Suzuki-roshi. Went to Tassajara for the first time in 69. I got to work around him on rocks and I'm physical and appreciated being around him that way - it stuck in my head. I remember him encouraging me in dokusan but there are two main memories I have of him.
When we were working in summer Ed Brown's stone wall below SR's cabin - Alan Marlowe, Silas - SR just loved it among rocks - he’d feel all around. We had to put in a cornerstone, had to chip off a piece of it. I had a big 10 lb. sledge. He perched on rock like a fly, picked up chisel bigger than his wrist. I didn’t want him to hold it but I had no choice. I lifted the sledge hammer up, realized I had this tiny man's life in my hands, and therefore everyone else’s there - the chisel he held was bigger than his wrist. I hesitated, then wham! wham! hit it a couple of times - SR vibrated from it and his face broke into the most gleeful expression.
He and I were walking down path with the old cabins to left - by the hill with a small slide of sandstone and granite and he said, "There's a rock I like," - it was not river rock like he usually got - "come on let's go get it" - and he ran impetuously up the slide kicking loose rocks down on me - I followed and we went up a ways and then lost our footing and were dancing downhill in a slide - he lost his sandals in the slide. I couldn't understand why he'd do something like that - the suddenness of it.
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