|Shunryu Suzuki, (1905-1971) was a direct spiritual descendent of the great thirteenth-century Zen master Dogen. Already a deeply respected Zen master in Japan, Suzuki-roshi came to America in 1958, intending only a short visit. But he was so impressed by the quality of “beginner’s mind” and the seriousness he found among Americans interested in Zen that he finally became a permanent resident, making his home in San Francisco. Through people wanting to join him in his practice, the meditation group called Zen Center came into being, and under his abbotship, grew to three major locations, including Zen Mountain Center the first Zen training monastery outside Asia. He was undoubtedly one of the most influential Zen teachers of his time. He died at Zen Center in December, 1971, a year after Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind was published.
Shunryu Suzuki was the author of what I feel to be the best all around text on Zen, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. I deeply regret that I never had the opportunity to meet this great man.