Shunryu Suzuki (1904-1971)

Remembering today one of the great Buddhist teachers, Suzuki Roshi,  Shunryu Suzuki, influential Soto Zen priest and founder of the San Francisco Zen Center and the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center (the first Soto Zen training monastery in the United States and one of the very first Buddhist training monasteries to be established outside of Asia)

Suzuki was also the author of the hugely popular Zen Mind, Beginners Mind  (1970). a key book from a key figure in the spreading in the West of the dharma.

Here’s Allen – from an interview, circa.1996, with David Chadwick: 

DC: Can you remember the … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 57 (Some Mahayana Ground)

 

AG: Okay, the Bodhisattva Vows and the Prajnaparamita Sutra or statement are the basis for ZenBuddhism, which is Mahayana, and Tibetan Buddhism, which is Mahayana. (The Prajnaparamita Sutra) probably should be understood both as a piece of poetic literature, which it is, and also a general philosophy, and also a basis to understand this area of poetic mind. It’s the Prajnaparamita or Highest Perfect Wisdom, no less – highest perfect wisdom. Does anybody else have the chutzpah? Yeah, it’s actually an insight akin to much poetic insight that you’ll run … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 127 (Morning Meditation – 1)

[Philip Whalen in ceremonial Zen garb at the Hartford Street Zen Center, San Francisco, circa 1991]

Allen Ginsberg’s Spontaneous Poetics/Improvised Poetics class continues,  August 6 1976.

[Original transcriber’s note – “As in all tapes from this summer, this is recorded by a not-very-attentive teacher’s assistant somewhere in the middle of the lecture hall. The windows are open, it’s summer, the students are restless and the dialogue between Ginsberg and (Philip) Whalen is often (regrettably) lost in the mix”]

[Whalen arrives in the classroom, partially attired in ceremonial robes]

AG: (Oh! the) glory! Philip Whalen:  This is only part

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Nanao Sakaki – How To Live On The Planet Earth

 So we’re delighted to announce the publication of Nanao Sakaki‘s Collected Poems from Gary Lawless and Beth Leonard’s estimable Blackberry Books ((Blackberry Books, 617 East Neck, Nobleboro, Maine 04555. USA) – How To Live On The Planet Earth. An essential book.

See our last year’s posting on Nanao here.

Here’s a brief glimpse of footage of Nanao and Allen

– and here’s Nanao in Venice in 2001 (including Italian translation – and song!)

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(More) Perfect Wisdom Sutra (for Arthur Russell)

The Perfect Wisdom Sutra, the Heart Sutra, the Prajnaparamita Sutra – “Form is not different from emptiness, emptiness, not different from form” – We posted, last year, a post spotlighting several readings of this by Allen (notably, this one, at a memorial gathering for Carl Solomon) – along with reproduction of the text (Allen’s own pioneering translation, authorized and validated by Shunryu Suzuki).
We now add another one. This is Allen, at a memorial for Arthur Russell (sic), succinctly and clearly, and compassionately, reciting the sutra (“It’s one that Arthur and I performed, touring, very … Read More

Perfect Wisdom Sutra (ASV#19)

Here’s Allen recorded by Mellon Tytell in 1993, on the occasion of Carl Solomon‘s passing, at a memorial event at the St Mark’s Church, reading the Prajnaparamita Sutra (the Perfect Wisdom Sutra, the Heart Sutra), in the translation that he had adopted (and adapted) from Shunryu Suzuki (with the roshi‘s consent).

His accompanist here, the man standing next to him, is, of course, poet and Fug, Ed Sanders.
Allen chants the Sutra also in a noisy New York City nightclub, around the same time, in recordings made by Jill Abrams, (here and, continuing, here)
There’s … Read More