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Cuke Heart Sutra Center
5/25/02 - I got this letter today - DC
i am trying to find the heart sutra translated by shunryu suzuki, and i believe chogyam trungpa. i think i even have it here in my house, but am not sure what book or magazine. i tried a google search, but was only led on many dead ends. i almost have no eyes, no ears....etc. from searching. allen ginsberg mentions it on your webpage in the interviews, although he does not mention trungpa in that interview where he asked suzuki permission to chant it to music. one other question if i may. i know from reading letters from gary snyder in the sixties he used to use the salutation "nine bows" at the end of his letters. does that relate to the story in crooked cucumber where suzuki roshi said we americans are more arrogant so we need nine bows instead of three? or does the saying nine bows go way back before that?
peace, love, etc.
Here's my answer - DC:
I think that so-called translation, which was just him putting the meaning of the words below the Japanese, is on my web site. Here, let me look for it. Got it. Like so many things on this web site, it is hidden, not intentionally, but just because it's not included and linked in a way that anyone can easily find it later. This brings up to me that I've got to reorganize the site so that it's more useful. Of course, this is something that I need to either make money in some way to do or raise money to help me do it which I hate to do so it may take time. Anyway, for now, here's a link to what you want -a Heart Sutra chant card with Suzuki's English below the Japanese made for the May 20, 1962 installation of Shunryu Suzuki as the abbot of Sokoji, his old temple on Bush street where the original Zen Center (founded in 1962) was.
I'm not sure where the "nine bows" comes from but I think it's probably not from Suzuki's practice of doing nine bows at morning service. It may be a traditional sign off. I'll ask around. But I bet like you said it goes way back.