Shunryu Suzuki Roshi

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi on the corner of Page and Laguna

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi on the corner of Page and Laguna, circa 1960’s

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi
May 18, 1904 – December 4, 1971

Shunryu Suzuki-roshi, a Japanese Soto Zen priest, came to San Francisco in 1959 at the age of 54. With his Western students, he founded the San Francisco Zen Center in 1962. Author of the classic Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Suzuki-roshi was one of the most influential Zen teachers of his time. He died on December 4, 1971.

I don’t want to die. I don’t know what it’s going to be like when I die. Nobody knows what that’s going to be like. But when I die, I’ll still be a buddha. I may be a buddha in agony, or I may be a buddha in bliss, but I’ll die knowing that this is how it is.

—Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, quoted in Crooked Cucumber

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