Stuart Lachs

Creating this page 11-09-14 with links to some interesting material from a decade ago and lots elsewhere on the web. A lot of stuff that shouldn't be brushed aside I think. - DC

Zen Perspectives: Commentaries on Zen and society - by Stuart Lachs - includes some links below, other writings, and a good bio.

Podcast with Stuart Lachs 🔊 - posted Dec. 26th, 2023. That's a link to the podcast on Cuke Podcast home, Podbean. For links to the podcast on other platforms go to the Cuke Podcast page or search for “Cuke Audio Podcast” in your favorite podcast app.


Stuart Lachs' letter or email to DC posted 1-28-03 in Interviews

A brief memory of Shunryu Suzuki from Stuart's email of 1/28/03 and is a memory of from Tassajara's first practice period in 1967. That letter has more memories from then and some critical analysis of some traps we tend to fall into - including Suzuki. - DC

Stuart Lachs page on Terebess site.

Stuart Lachs page on the Zen Buddhist Order of Hsu Yun site

see Lach's The Zen Master in America (2006) - which has a section on Shunryu Suzuki with a few minor corrections by DC below.

11-13-14 - An excerpt on Shunryu Suzuki from The Zen Master in America: Dressing the Donkey with Bells and Scarves by Stuart Lachs.

See the Shoes Outside the Door Page for more background on Lach's email. Lifting the Lachs material below from that page

Check out this article on the  Myth of the Zen Roshi , by Stuart Lachs based somewhat on Shoes Outside the Door but also his own experience - from Dark Zen at -  wherein people's silly assumptions about transmission and the SFZC and Suzuki and Baker get bopped about. There are some inaccuracies and stuff I disagree with that I'll try to get to and I hate to see people's feelings get hurt but this bit of axe grinding and bubble bursting is to me good for the health of Zen institutions and the path of us poor pathetic practitioners of Zen and whatever. And give us some feedback - Contact Me  here at if you feel so inclined. [from What's New of 12/09/02]

Since so much of the Lachs' article had to do with transmission, I put together some things that Shunryu Suzuki had to say about transmission. I'll do more on this too. - DC

DC reply to Stuart Lach's comments on about Suzuki, Baker, ZMBM, war and peace and his reply to DC then some DC replies back.

Comments by Andrew Main on Lachs and DC discussion

Letter from Stuart Lachs commenting on DC's comments

posted 11-07-14 - Emailing Terebess about a few subjects, read Stuart Lachs' letter posted on cuke again. Check it out. I do sympathize with his comments toward the end about Shunryu Suzuki's comments from Crooked Cucumber on meeting with Soen Nakagawa in the summer of 1971. Here's the chapter he referred to - 19-Final Season - it's right at the first. Am slipping a link in there to this part of Stuart's letter - one of the only notes in the empty note side of Notes on the book. - dc

11-13-14 - A few DC notes on The Zen Master in America (2006) none of which contradict any of Stuart Lach's points.

Richard Baker received transmission from Suzuki on Dec. 8, 1970 in Japan. The Shinsanshiki, Mountain Seat Ceremony installing Baker as abbot of the SFZC was on Nov. 21, 1971. After that ceremony Suzuki told us to use the title "roshi" for Baker.

Tatsugami came to Tassajara at Richard Baker's request. He told me that Suzuki never forgave him for that but I disagreed with him and said that there were two sides to Suzuki's feeling about Tatsugami, one being that his contribution was important and necessary.. Tatsugami led three practice periods at Tassajara and almost did a fourth - till a board meeting I attended convinced Katagiri to do it. He said he'd do it if Suzuki helped him. Suzuki agreed. In a few minutes we went from Tatsugami back to Suzuki. It was great.

Suzuki did not spend 15 years in close, intimate contact with Baker. He'd been sitting at Sokoji for seven and a half years when he went to Japan, spent a couple of months with Suzuki during that time, and less than two month at the end of Suzuki's life.

Shunryu Suzuki left Tassajara for the last time near the end of July, 1970. That occurs in chapter 19 of Crooked Cucumber which is identified as Autumn because most of that chapter takes place then.

Note 34 not from ZMBM I don't think, but I do think it's true - that Suzuki wanted to give Baker transmission as early as 67. My understanding is that Suzuki wanted to do it at Tassajara during the first practice period but Baker said no).