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Letters on Suzuki Index - with more on these letters

Richard King

Baker Roshi ‑‑

Here is something I scratched down a couple of weeks ago. Although I only knew Suzuki Roshi from a few short meetings with him, there are a couple of things I remember.

About three years ago in June ‑‑ when I told him that I wanted to belong to Soto as a religion he answered that there were very few such as myself. I answered that to me belonging to an organization was like a security blanket. He laughed and said, "I like that ‑‑ a security blanket!" And he consented to do a scroll for my obutsuden. During that same June, one morning he was in the zendo and when the kyosaku began to crack I realized that Roshi himself was the monitor. As he came to me I raised my hands in gassho and he gently adjusted my head and gave me a whack. About this time everyone else must have realized also, because he must have used the kyosaku on at least half the people in the zendo that period! My last meeting with him was that same week. He had me to his room to explain the scroll to me. We also had a small ceremony in front of Kannon to renew my Upasika vows. Then he went downstairs to join a group which was sewing their okesas. That day I returned to Wichita. I came back to Zen Center that December to pay my respects during the Memorial services and left the next day.

Next comes the part I hesitate to mention ‑‑ perhaps it is only makyo. I rarely remember dreams but early last fall, after I had been to the BCA seminar at Asilomar, I had a vivid dream. I was evidently back at Zen Center and the Roshi, facing me directly, asked, "Don't you still want to be a priest?" Before I could answer, I woke up. This December I strangely ran into Reb Anderson at the BCA bookstore. Because of this meeting I visited for a Saturday morning zazen and teisho.


Richard King

P.S. I loved Suzuki Roshi. Please understand me.

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