|About the Book
About Suzuki Roshi
2/25/2000 -from Bob Simon: I just finished your biography of Suzuki
Roshi. I was really inspired to put more effort into my practice. Thanks
for writing it. Also, thanks for inviting me to Zen Center. I count my
stay at City Center in 1976 as my official start of sitting zazen.
I am sitting regularly with two different groups in Albuquerque, now. One group is affiliated with an Episcopal Church and the other is affiliated with Joko Beck's Ordinary Mind San Diego Zen Center. I wanted to let you know that you did plant some of Suzuki Roshi's seeds in Texas and how blessed and profoundly thankful I am to you and Suzuki Roshi.
3/3/2000 - [I answered Bob's letter and he then wrote this:]
. I guess I have a householder practice. I sit two nights a week with two different groups as mentioned and one or two additional times a week. I don't know how to judge my level of commitment but I would say that I am wholly committed to meditation and Buddhism.
I do not have a teacher or commitment to any particular school other than the Soto practice that I learned at the City Center. That is why your book sprinkled with bits of Suzuki Roshi's philosophy was so welcome. I got "Moon in a Dewdrop" but have read no more than a couple of pages yet.
One of the questions that is in my mind a lot is whether it would be interesting to see if Baker Roshi is teaching in the Santa Fe area and perhaps to sit with his group some. What do you think?
[Baker Roshi has a center in Southwest Colorado named Crestone Mountain Zen Center. He's there about half the time and at his center in Germany half the time. See Related Groups for more info on Baker Roshi's centers.]
The other thought I have had that I would be interested to have your opinion on is the interdenominationalization of meditation. There is Jewish group meeting Taos at the end of the month that will discuss and practice meditation. It seems as if lots of religious communities are turning toward meditation. I think of Suzuki Roshi as being one of the first to emphasize meditation, although I first meditated at UT in 1967 at a Phillip Kapleau lecture. Thereafter I meditated irregularly with groups in Dallas and Fort Worth and alone until 1976 when I spent the week at City Center in San Francisco. I have only been meditating with groups in Albuquerque that seem like sanghas for the last three or four years, but have enjoyed the structure of meditating with a group on a regular basis.
[I don't have anything particular to say about the interdenominationalization of meditation other than I like it and think it is natural, will continue, and will find it's place in the scheme of things as time marches on.]
I also enjoyed reading about your experiences in Japan in your first book. I am a corporate and business lawyer and write restaurant reviews for a local paper, so I think I understand the challenge of clear, interesting description and I really enjoy the clarity of your writing and reporting.
I have been actively communicating on the internet for only about a month and this is the first time I have initiated or renewed a long dormant fleeting friendship by e-mail. It still feels a bit odd, but at the same time quite satisfying. A New Yorker comment not long ago said, "Who would have thought a couple of years ago that short commentary and correspondence would come back into vogue as it has through the internet." Also, as you quoted in your book Suzuki Roshi' s comment to you that the essence of Zen is "Everything Changes", so I shall be pleased to take our communication as an opportunity to more fully join the internet culture.
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