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MEMORIES OF SUZUKI Roshi FROM WIND BELL AND DC FILES
Letters on Suzuki Index - with more on these letters
Molly Jones MacGregor
Recently someone from Zen Center sent me the latest copy of the Wind Bell with lots of stories about Suzuki Roshi in it. I enjoyed reading it very much, and appreciated having it sent to me. I am enclosing my own account of my interactions with Roshi, during the years 1969, 1970 and 1971,before he died. I am not sure if you are going to include any more stories in future issues, but in case you are I thought I would send it in.
I would like to subscribe to the Wind Bell, but couldn't find any mention of a subscription rate in the issue. Is this because you have to be a formal supporter of Zen Center in order to get the magazine? I would appreciate knowing if I can subscribe, and what the cost is.
The first time I talked formally with Suzuki Roshi was during my first sesshin, in August, 1969. I had just turned 20 years old. I came into the room downstairs at Sokoji for dokusan. When I sat down he asked me to write down my name and age on a piece of paper. After I did that he asked me if I had any questions. I was experiencing a lot of fear during the zazen periods. This fear was centered in my solar plexus and chest. It was almost overwhelming my ability to sit. I said, "I feel fear." He looked at me and raised that one eyebrow, and told me that the fear wouldn't last that long. Then he asked me what I did when I felt the fear and I told him that I practiced counting my breathing. He said that was very good. The fear in fact did dissolve when I entered a samadhi of the descending current later in the week.
After this sesshin I got confused in my sitting and became manipulative in terms of my breath, posture, legs, and so on. During another dokusan Roshi told me that I shouldn't seek any "so called enlightenment experience."
Months later he told me I was afraid of the "emptiness from which you come." He said, "don't be afraid."
Roshi was very beautiful looking to me. I could see a clear light which surrounded his body. His nature was like clear water. Whenever I had any personal contact with him he was always extremely warm and compassionate with me. He made me feel like a million dollars. We lost a very special one when he died.
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