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A comment in Readers' Comments
10/01/99--A message from fellow Buddhist archivist, Carolyn Gimian:

 You may remember that we spoke a few times when you were just starting an archive for Suzuki Roshi's tapes and looking for help finding someone to copy the original tapes. I have retired, so to speak, as the director of the Shambhala Archives but continue to keep an interest in things archival. David Schneider occasionally has sent me letters from you about the Zen Centre archive and work on Suzuki Roshi's material, which I enjoy very much. Post archives, I've gone back to editing and writing. Most recently finished editing two books by Chogyam Trungpa that are just coming out: The Essential Chogyam Trungpa and Great Eastern Sun: The Wisdom of Shambhala. I'm now working on a book proposal with Trungpa Rinpoche's widow to co-author an autobiographical book on her life with him. This is all by way of introduction I've wanted to write to you for some time to tell you how much I love Crooked Cucumber. I have always felt that Suzuki Roshi was like a grandfather I'd never met. Reading your book, I finally met him and it was a wonderful experience. I've only read the book once, but I genuinely expect to read it several times over the next few years. I don't feel that way about a lot of books. Very few, in fact. Among the many, many things that I loved about the book was how selfless it felt to me. You really removed yourself so that what one felt was Roshi not Chadwick, and that seems so admirable to me. I also appreciated the nonjudgmental and inclusive quality of how you told the story of his life and teaching. As a student of Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, I very much appreciated the openness of the way you described the meetings between Rinpoche and Roshi. Their mutual affection came across in what you wrote. It's shocking to me how few times they met. I wondered if you had thought about putting something in the book about how much Trungpa Rinpoche's teaching in America was influenced by his meetings with Suzuki Roshi. The emphasis on sitting practice, for example. You mention letters back and forth. I'm going to look for correspondence with Roshi in the Archives, but I don't think any have survived. Are there letters from Rinpoche at Zen Centre, do you know? For the project I'm working on, I would love to get copies if there are. I hesitate to do this, but I did want to say one small thing that I didn't like. Considering how careful you were not to insert bias into the book, I thought it unnecessary for you to refer to Trungpa Rinpoche as "an outrageous alcoholic." (p.174) As someone who was fairly close to Rinpoche for a number of years and witnessed him many times as a serious drinker, I never felt that he was like any alcoholics I've ever met, in terms of the state of mind of alcoholism. He just didn't have the psychological problems or profile of an alcoholic, although he drank a tremendous amount. I realize that my opinion is not very pc these days and that even a number of Rinpoche's students would characterize him as an alcoholic. However, as someone who drinks very sparingly and also as someone who pretty much calls a spade a spade, I never experienced him that way. Physically falling down, granted, but mentally lucid, always right there. So that's my little rant. It's a small point but one that comes up often -- as you are obviously not the only person to use that label. I wouldn't even bother trying to discuss this with the average writer who never met Rinpoche and would just think I'm an overly-devoted student with stars in my eyes. But given your relationship with Suzuki Roshi and what an extraordinary person he was, I'm sure you appreciate that the mind of enlightenment is not always or necessarily contained within a pc frame of behavior. I don't have any problem with the reference to Rinpoche drinking a great deal. It's just that the label "alcoholic" carries with it so much baggage and presumption about the person's state of mind, psychological problems etc. So enough on that. It's really a very minor point. David Schneider said he thought you wouldn't mind feedback, so I thought I'd just do it! The book is a triumph. I'm sure you are very proud of it -- in a Zen way of course. But truly it is something to celebrate. Thank you so much for having written this.-- Best wishes, Carolyn Gimian

[There are no existing letters that I know of between these two men. They may have written, but the communication that I know of was either in person or through students. Part of this letter is also posted in the "Discussion on one sentence (P.374, #3, L.3-4.) in CC pertaining to Trungpa Rinpoche's indulgences. I wrote back to Carolyn to check that out. She was familiar with but had missed that ongoing discussion and was happy to be a part of it.--DC]

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