Tao Te Ching

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Crooked Cucumber: the Life and Zen Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki

By David Chadwick

A penetrating and personal look behind the philosophy and teachings of the great Zen Master Suzuki Roshi as well as an insightful reflection into our own culture and the beginnings of an authentic American Buddhism. For example, Chadwick points out how Roshi was asked more questions by his American students every day than he was asked during 30 years as a Japanese priest. Also illuminating was the description of the consternation felt by the Japanese priests when they saw the respect and devotion felt by the Americans for this low-ranking and humble village priest. For them, all was based on status and credentials rather than realization. Chögyam Trungpa talked about a dream that his students would understand the teachings enough that they would eventually be able to go back to India and Tibet to teach an authentic dharma to those confused and dulled by cliché, convention, and the words rather than the sense. The same could be true for Japan.

Quotes from Crooked Cucumber: the Life and Zen Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki

“Be like a child who draws things whether they are good or bad.”

Chapters: 20. Unconventional Mind

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“But Zen can be dangerous to innocent minds…that may easily see Zen as something good or special by which they can gain something. This attitude can lead to trouble.”

Chapters: 68. Joining Heaven & Earth

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“Mitsu asked if he could tell her in a few words what Buddhism was all about… ‘Accept what is as it is and help it to be its best.”

Chapters: 16. Returning to the Root, Meditation

Themes: Buddhism

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“There was nothing Suzuki Roshi liked more than working in his garden.”

Chapters: 59. The Gardening of Spirit

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“To do something without thinking is the most important point in understanding ourselves… when you just do something, and when your mind is just acting as it is, that is how you catch your mind in the true sense.”

Chapters: 29. Not Doing

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“When you are fooled by something else,the damage will not be so big. But when you are fooled by yourself, it is fatal.”

Chapters: 33. Know Yourself

Themes: Know Yourself

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