An Intimate Picture Of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi with Tim Burkett, Ph.D.

Tim BurkettAfter experiencing a spontaneous transcendent mystical experience, Tim Burkett sought spiritual instruction in Buddhist meditation. This was in 1964 before meditation was even on the American radar and there were hardly any Buddhist teachers on the scene. Looking in a San Francisco phone book he found a listing for a Zen Center. He says, I went up to the door and knocked on it and this little Japanese man opened it and introduced himself as Reverend Suzuki. I went up to his office, told him about my [mystical] experience expecting him to say, ‘wow,’ but instead he said, ‘Oh, that is good, very good, but that’s not Zen.” This was the beginning of a long and fruitful path for Burkett who later, himself, became a Zen teacher. Giving us numerous insights into the way Suzuki Roshi would teach, here Burkett shares many poignant and revealing memories of being a student of Suzuki Roshi who was one of the most revered and renown Zen teachers in the West. An example of a teaching story was when Burkett was considering going to Japan to study Zen for a year and was trying to evaluate the most perfect Zendo. He was doing a bit of “comparison” shopping. When asked for advice, Suzuki pointed to a collection of Raku teacups, each handmade and unique. He said, “If you try to pick and choose the best teacup, you will not appreciate any of them.” Burkett confided, “That was a big help to me and as a result of it I didn’t go to Japan at all and worked and stayed with him.” Burkett also shares with us that “kind attention” helps our mind open up to stillness. “If we’re not kind in our meditation, pretty soon our meditation is just as competitive and just as judgmental as all these other things we do. That competitiveness and judgmental attitude blocks our natural openness, our spontaneous quietness.” These are only a taste of what you will enjoy in this special dialogue.

Program 3558 Description

See the full description for this guest’s background, their books, topics covered in this dialogue, and more.

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