In this new collection of quotes from Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and stories from his students, the presence, wisdom, and humor of a great Zen teacher come alive once more.
The teachings of Shunryu Suzuki have served for innumerable people as the gateway to Zen practice and meditation. In Zen Is Right Now, devoted student and biographer David Chadwick sheds new light on Suzuki’s presence and teachings through selected quotes from his lectures and a variety of stories told by his students.
Complementary to another collection about Suzuki, Zen Is Right Here, this book offers a joyful bounty of anecdotes and insights, revealing a playful and deeply wise teacher who delighted in paradox and laughed often. Each of the stories and quotes presented here is an example of the versatile and timeless quality evident in Suzuki’s teaching, showing that the potential for attaining enlightenment exists right now, in this very moment.
Buddhist writer Chadwick (Crooked Cucumber) collects vignettes from the life of Shunryu Suzuki (1904-1971), an influential figure in 20th-century Zen Buddhism in this insightful appreciation. Most of the accounts come from Suzuki's students at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in San Francisco and occurred during shosan, a formal question and answer ceremony with the teacher. While the stories relate only brief exchanges between teacher and student, they convey the depth and humor of Suzuki's teaching. The snippets are often only a few sentences and never longer than a page, with many beginning "Suzuki said" or "a student asked." Speaking to these nameless students, Suzuki challenged them to open their minds and face the reality of death while also making space for laughter and playfulness. He urged students to see the meaning present in everyday life, but to avoid getting attached to one's thoughts, preferences, and even one's practice. For Suzuki, the point of Buddhism was not so much about enlightenment, but about sharing in "the joy of practice" and in learning how to "die well." Buddhist readers both new to or already familiar with Suzuki's teaching will find disarming simplicity and great wisdom here.