A Letter from David Chadwick
On a summer day in 1966, at the age of 21, I
decided to check out one last meditation group
before heading to India
to seek a guru. I rang the bell of San
Francisco Zen Center's
temple on Bush Street and soon forgot my plans for
India. I marvel now at how fortunate I was to have
walked through that doorway, met Shunryu Suzuki
Roshi, and all the inspiring fellow students,
friends, and teachers in the times that followed.
Two decades after Suzuki's death, I started to
collect and organize the stories and lectures from
which was born Crooked Cucumber: the Life and Zen
Shunryu Suzuki. Twenty years since then, this effort
continues - adding to and working with the archive
of his life and teaching, collecting the memories of
those who knew him and of that unique and amazing
Now at the beginning of my 67th year, I begin to
wrap up my contribution to preserving the legacy of
Shunryu Suzuki. My intention is to create a more
complete, better organized, more easily accessed and
shared presentation of the Crooked Cucumber Archives
over the next 3 years, by the time I'm 70 .
- Overhaul and integrate the websites cuke.com and
shunryusuzuki.com for a clearer presentation of the
material including talks, photos, audio, video, and
links to complementary resources.
- Find and make available more Suzuki Roshi
lectures, quotes, and teaching stories, as much as I
can before our memories and lives have vanished.
- Create a companion volume to Crooked
Cucumber and another book of vignettes to
follow Zen is Right Here.
In order to accomplish all this I need your help.
This project requires not only resolve and focus,
but money as well. As of the new year I lost the
serendipitous, rent-free living situation that had
supported me for nearly a decade. Now I need
your support: for work space, tools to work with,
technical and clerical assistance, website
development, storage, transportation, and basic
on my mailing list, most likely you're someone who
has been touched by Suzuki Roshi and by the results
of this work over the years. I've asked for very
little support in the past, but now I'm asking with
The goal is to raise $4,000 a month for 3 years,
$2,500 for living and working expenses and $1,500
for other project expenses, for a total of $144,000.
We are trying to raise this money all at once,
although both one-time and recurring tax- deductible
donations will help keep the work moving through
a fund administered by John Tarrant and Michael
Katz. Please be a part of this project. Click
here to help provide the financial support.
For more on the people involved, tasks and goals,
schedule of work, progress reports, supporters and
statements of support, budget, and status of
fundraising, go to
Thanks and a deep bow,
David Chadwick and the Legacy of Shunryu
by Michael Katz
Please join me in supporting
the work of David Chadwick on the legacy of his
teacher, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. David recently lost his
rent-free living and working situation, but he has
been doing work of great value without name,
description, or paycheck for many years.
David continues to seek out and
interview every person Shunryu Suzuki knew or
practiced with long after his books stopped supporting
him. Heís had occasional help from individuals and
Zen centers in Suzukiís lineage, but, basically, he
runs on a frayed shoe-string.
Naturally suited to this task by his
gift for forming connections with people, David
follows his subjects and dharma friends wherever they
go. He bridges all of the groups which practice
Suzukiís teaching, stays in touch with early sangha
members, regularly visits them in old folks homes and
hospices, ensures that none feel, or are, forgotten,
recording and adding their latest recollections to the
More than an oral historian, David is
unofficial guardian angel of Shunryu Suzukiís lecture
archive, bringing his indispensible long-term
familiarity. Davidís continuing devotion as
chronicler, archivist, and storyteller reveals an
ever-greater teacher. The record of Suzuki Roshiís
life and teaching is an inexhaustible source for any
David has put online the larger record
of Suzuki Roshiís life and teaching, completely free.
His many layered website, Cuke.com, is full of
treasure, and David has begun to overhaul the site to
make it easier to use. Also, David will publish in
book form the best new stories from the interviews as
well as further notes to Crooked Cucumber.
Please help me support Davidís
activity. I know that the community of those
interested in Shunryu Suzuki is large and generous
enough to accomplish this. A few people can give
thousands, some a few hundred, and many can give small
recurring payments. We can make this work. As a start,
letís see David through the next three years'
projected work that he describes in his own letter.
Thank you for giving this matter your kind attention,
here to donate.
There are many ways to donate.
(or above) to donate or set up a
recurring payment using PayPal.
-You may send a check to the Crooked Cucumber
Archives Fund, administered by Michael Katz and John
Crooked Cucumber Archives
PO Box 151471
(new box #)
San Rafael, CA 94915
-You may contact the treasurer John Rauck directly at
or phone him
All donations are tax deductible through Pacific Zen
Institute which is a 501C3 tax exempt organization.
(you can click
this image too)
This appeal was designed by Rachel Boughton and
sponsored by Pacific Zen Institute
When we do something we should do it completely,
with our whole body and mind. Like a good
bonfire, you should burn yourself completely so
you will have no trace of yourself in what you
did. This is the goal of our practice. -Shunryu
Suzuki Roshi, 1966
by John Tarrant
Pacific Zen Institute
Because Suzuki Roshi shaped
the coming of Buddhism to America.
Because all the Buddhist
lineages in the West were touched by
Suzuki Roshi's work.
Because David Chadwick is
himself a living treasure-a passionate
historian who has worked tirelessly to
collect anecdotes, writings, and interviews
and everything Suzuki Roshi.
Because David Chadwick is
one of those people who knows and stays in
contact with vast numbers of people, in
his case, everyone to do with Suzuki Roshi
and his world, and has made this his
Because David Chadwick's
work makes people happy by showing us how to
live beyond selfish concerns: David takes up
any necessary task with both humility and
glee. He is as inspiring with a broom in his
hand, or looking after the sick, as he is
preserving Suzuki archive materials and
writing notable books.
Because at this unique
moment in time we have a chance to make a
contribution to something wonderful.
Please send your contribution today. Do
it now, as Suzuki Roshi was fond of
With deep appreciation and affection,
John Tarrant, Roshi
Sweet Pleasure in the Teachings
by Jack Kornfield,
Spirit Rock Center
It is a sweet pleasure to write this letter in
support of David Chadwick. David's work, both as
an author and an archivist, has for over 20
years shaped the way we understand the genesis
of American Buddhism. His humor and compassion
and personal honesty touch my heart. His
meticulous documenting of the life and times of
Roshi helps us all to appreciate the profound
beauty of Suzuki Roshi's work, and his Dharma
which is both simple and deep.
Suzuki Roshi's teachings show how to practice
clarity and kindness in human life. They
encourage us to help each other and make it easier
for all of us to be Bodhisttavas. Suzuki's work
as David shows, is a treasure, an invaluable
part of the modern Buddhist Canon, and the talks
are as alive today as when they were first
given. I heartily encourage you to
support David's dedication and work to
preserve these teachings for generations ahead.
Spirit Rock Center