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Support the Crooked Cucumber Archives Project

Postby Carol on Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:20 pm

I received this by email this morning from my old friend David Chadwick. I'm posting this as a notice, not a discussion topic. Please follow the web links in the text below to learn more about this wonderful project.
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

Crooked Cucumber Archives Project

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 Teaching of 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 time.

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 .

I will:

- 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 complimentary 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 needs.

If you're 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 forthrightness. 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 cuke.com/do-it.

Thanks and a deep bow,
David Chadwick

David Chadwick and the Legacy of Shunryu Suzuki

by Michael Katz

Literary Agent

I'm writing to ask you to join me in supporting David Chadwick's work on the legacy of his teacher, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. The immediate need stems from the recent loss of David's rent-free living and working situation, but this effort is long overdue; he has been doing work of great value without name, description, or paycheck for many years.

The only part of David's work that has been remunerated is the remarkable biography, Crooked Cucumber, but David's interviewing and further research continues, long past the time when the book supported him. He continues to seek out and interview every significant person Shunryu Suzuki knew or practiced with in the United States and Japan. Uniquely suited to this task by his gift for forming connections with people, David follows his subjects and dharma friends wherever they go. He is the only person I know who bridges all of the groups that have formed over the years to practice Suzuki's teaching. He stays in contact with people as they age and are forgotten by most of us, regularly visiting at bedsides in old-folks homes and hospices.

Since the time Crooked Cucumber came out, David has been making available everything he's discovered, completely free, through his massive, many layered website, Cuke.com. This site contains libraries of undiscovered treasure, and David intends to give it a major overhaul.

In addition to his work as oral historian, David is the unofficial guardian angel of Shunryu Suzuki's lecture archive. His continuing devotion as chronicler, archivist, and storyteller is bringing to light an even greater teacher than we thought, and gives us a means to reinvent Shunryu Suzuki's way for ourselves and for our times.

Please help me to support David's activity. He's had occasional help from individuals and Zen centers in Suzuki's lineage, but, basically, he runs on a frayed shoe-string. I know that the wider community of those interested in Shunryu Suzuki is large and generous enough to accomplish our goal. Some people can give thousands, some hundreds, and many can give smaller recurring payments. We can make this work. As a start, let's see David through the next three years' projected work. Please send a check or click here to donate.

thanks for your kind attention,
Michael Katz


by John Tarrant Director
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 life's work.

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 saying.

With deep appreciation and affection,

John Tarrant, Roshi

Sweet Pleasure in the Teachings
by Jack Kornfield, Founder
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 Suzuki 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.

With Metta,
Jack Kornfield
Spirit Rock Center

How to do it
There are many ways to donate.
-You may click here (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 Tarrant, at
Crooked Cucumber Archives
PO Box 151521
San Rafael, CA 94915
-You may contact the treasurer John Rauck directly at johnrauck@gmail.com or phone him at 415-892-7554

All donations are tax deductible through Pacific Zen Institute which is a 501C3 tax exempt organization.
Practitioners who cultivate the personal realization of buddha knowledge dwell in the bliss of whatever is present and do not abandon their practice.
~Lankavatara Sutra
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