|About the Book
About Suzuki Roshi
A comment in
9/10/99--from Steve Cartmell in England:
Thank you so much for taking the considerable time and effort to portray Shunryu Suzuki Roshi's life. There is a feeling of having known him due to your clear depiction and it is without doubt that he was a great Zen Master. Shunryu Suzuki was clearly one who was able to cut through this dual world and bring unity in place of opposition; typically his ability to see the folly of Japan's war movement and one-sided views; also his encouragement of Japanese and American students to learn from each other, instead of the usual partisanship which presides in many religious groups. His talks were profoundly deep and yet had a simple clarity. The achievement during his lifetime was quite phenomenal and I sincerely hope that all his hard work has continued to bear fruit? It would be very interesting to learn how the Zen Mountain Center has progressed since Shunryu Suzuki's life and how Richard Baker Roshi fared.
I have for some years practiced Rinzai Zen Buddhism at the Zen Centre in St John's Wood, London, under the very trustworthy guidance of Venerable Myokyo-ni, who trained for 13 years in Japan under Zuigan Roshi until his death and then Sesso Roshi at Daitoku-ji monastery. It has been my very great privilege to have been able to meet and receive Teisho from Soko Roshi who came from Japan to the Buddhist Society Summer School in England over many years until his death in 1996. He was a much-loved teacher who was affectionately known as 'Uncle'.
On reading your book it has become clear that the wisdom imparted by Shunryu Suzuki is the same wisdom imparted by Soko Roshi and Venerable Myokyo-ni. Their admonishing not to get caught up in ideas but to practice wholeheartedly without any gaining idea. I know Rinzai and Soto schools may not always have agreed with each other's training methods but in practice they both work very well. It is extremely good fortune to come into the sphere of a genuine teacher and it seems we have both been blessed in this way. Due to your book, although it has not been possible to travel widely to different Zen groups, it has made possible the exchange of teaching and practice that is so helpful in order not to become stale.
Are you still connected with the Zen Mountain Center and do you practice Zen regularly anywhere? I go to London from Abingdon (a journey of three hours round-trip) on a Monday during term time (roughly following school terms). The commitment to the journey is also good practice.
With deepest gratitude for your book and very best wishes,
[ZMC is definitely flourishing. My son Clay (8) and I were just there for ten days. And I'm going to Baker-roshi's wedding in Germany soon. (passage paid) He's got a group in Germany and in Colorado and has had some ups and downs but keeps pluggin away. He and I are close. He has a lot of enemies, himself included. But he has a lot of friends too. I sit at home. I like being with a group but it's nice being here. I guess I'll write a book about what's happening. Take care--DC]
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