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A Brief History of Archiving Shunryu Suzuki's Legacy


Cuke Archive page - not a page that's been active for years - DC, 3-17

Brief and Incomplete

The earliest lecture in the transcript list is dated December 1961, file name 61-12-00, Title: Teacher and Disciple. This apparently full lecture transcript (1105 words) surely edited and elaborated on with Suzuki from hand written notes by I guess Richard Baker or Trudy Dixon will be followed for some time with brief lecture summaries or teachings edited with Suzuki consultation recorded in Wind Bells.

The first Wind Bell was also December 1961. - All Wind Bells

Suzuki had been in America a year and a half giving talks from the first so likely the Wind Bell arose at least somewhat out of early attempts to write down summaries or main points of some of his talks to share with members and others.

All Suzuki transcripts for the next three years and eight months have as their source the Wind Bells. Then comes transcript 65-07-08. That's when Marian Derby started, with Suzuki's permission, to tape record his lectures and transcribe them in order to make a book.

Before long they were recording lectures in the city. We don't know how many were recorded and lost. The purpose of the recording appears to be mainly in order to transcribe, not to have an audio for listening. There's a note on one tape box indicating that it has been transcribed and can now be recorded over.

Tony Artino took hand written notes of some Suzuki lectures at the City Center in 1966 to May of 1967, many of which are the only surviving record of those lectures.

By the time Suzuki was lecturing at Tassajara from spring of 1967, students it appears were recording or intending to record all of his lectures. Around that time the switch was made from reel to reel to cassette recorders. At some point cassette copies started being made. There were cassettes at Tassajara and in the city. Not all lectures were transcribed. That seemed to happen mainly for including in a Wind Bell.

In 1968 Marian Derby shows Suzuki and Baker her manuscript for Beginner's Mind, turns it over to Baker who works with Trudy Dixon to get it finished.

In 1968, 69, and 70 films were made at Tassajara which gives.

1970 spring ZMBM published. ZMBM link.

During this time, the Wind Bells recorded a good deal of the basic history of what was happening at Zen Center - in the city and Tassajara and some of what was happening beyond with other teachers and lineages. There was a small amount of cultural reporting. Peter Schneider wrote about the history of Zen Center and Zen in the West interviewed Suzuki and encouraged him to talk about his life to students. LINKS. Peter also interviewed some senior students. LINK

As Suzuki was dying Peter with Jane, Carl and Fumiko Bielefeldt translating interviewed Suzuki's son Hoitsu and temple members, then later in Japan Noiri and Hoitsu again.

Some people started collecting, doing more than needed for book or WB. Students transcribing on their own.

Suzanne Swarez who wrote down many of them by hand.

Grahame Petchey brings 16 mm film from Suzuki's English teacher in Japan, Nona Ransom whom Grahame had visited in England, adding film of Suzuki from the 1930s.

About 310 Suzuki lectures have audio. How much audio was lost is unclear but we tended to record every lecture back then in the city and Tassajara and there are many gaps in the audio archive. Les Kaye handed over all but two reel to reel audio from Los Altos lectures to a woman who did not deliver them to the City Center. I, DC, should have looked into this years ago, like 1995, when I first learned it but I didn't even though I had a couple of leads.

Under BR audio archiving beyond cassette copies started. ??? was first and then Michael Katz came from Lindesfarne Inst. on Long Island where he was their AV guy. Got a number archived on reel to reel tape.

BR asks students to share memories of SR and Wind Bell posts this request in two issues. LINK

Wind Bell publishes student memories and continues to be a source of history and publishing Suzuki lecture transcripts.

ZC makes a few lecture cassettes available. There was talk of doing this years before. What year?

1994 Thank You and OK: an American Zen Failure in Japan published with a good deal about Suzuki and more about Katagiri. Since 1988 I started the oral and written history work related to Suzuki and those who were around, students and visitors. In 94 started seriously recording interviews for Crooked Cucumber and collecting Suzuki lectures - everything that could be found on paper and disc.

Brian Fikes, Barry Eisenberg, and others transcribing lectures and making light edits. Brian makes a collection in loose leaf binder. Tom Cabarga

In 96? or so Jose Escobar, professor and student of Pat Phelan in Chaple Hill, starts transferring existing transcripts to disc as a volunteer. He gets everything on paper done. I sent him a transcriber and he was just getting ready to start transcribing all the audio.

During this time Michael Wenger was VP (I think) of the SFZC and in charge of archiving and he and I were in frequent touch. At a lunch at Greens he got me together with Bill Redican who also had a great interest in archiving. Bill started getting involved.

Jose heard that there were people at the City Center concerned about his transcribing Suzuki lectures. There had long been an idea at the ZC that only people authorized, and best if they were Suzuki disciples, should work with the lectures. I told him to forget about what he'd heard, that that sort of talk is normal in a bureacracy. But he was upset. Jose wrote to the SFZC asking permission to continue. He received no answer - even after I personally lobbied for it. Jose started working on Katagiri lectures and that was the end of his involvement.

me giving flopy disks out of SRL to priests in SR lineage and some ZC officers and board members concerned.especially because Richard Baker was one of the recipients.

Crooked Cucumber published.

I send out fundraising letter to 400 asking for donations to the SFZC for SR lecture archving only. Big response. Visit Elsie Mitchell and Ned Johnson who give 20k and 40k.

Under Michael Wenger's direction Bill Redican does a sterling job with volunteers creating the verbatim transcript archive. Mark Watts. Me consulting. 2002

Mike Dixon gives me some tapes.

Printed lectures and audio for listening available in City Center, Tassajara, and Green Gulch Libraries,

Shinshu does 2004

The 2006 Nothing Special selection of 41 lecture PDFs with 40 audio CDs done by Jean Selkirk and Celeste West . See Shunryu Suzuki Digital Archive March, 2009 Guide.


USF films and Wenger's One Particle of Dust

guy who did first audio online

The LA Box

Steve Stuckey promotes Cuke Archive work. Lew Richmond, Ed Sat, Wenger, me.

Digitizing audio and video. 2008

Peter Ford.

Digitizing 2013

OA 2016


to be continued