Suzuki’s Curriculum Vitae

Shunryu Suzuki Transcript

Tuesday, September 16, 1969

[I dated this 69-09-16 because it was made by Shunryu Suzuki with Kobun Chino’s assistance in order to help Suzuki with his interview with Peter Schneider dated that day. - DC-3-09]

[Is this in his hand? Who made the notes?] [get original for clarification of tough to read words and words on margins that didn't get copied -- DC-circa 1996]


Name in Full: Shunryu Suzuki
Date of Birth: May 18, 1904 (age at time of filling out - 65)
Family Relation: First son of Sogaku Suzuki
Permanent Domicile: 1400 Sakamoto, Yaizu-shi, Shizuoka-ken, Japan.
Present Address: 1881 Bush Street, San Francisco, California (Zen Soto Temple Sokoji)

Education & Training: 192426, Junior & Senior years of High School.
April 10, 1930, graduated from Komazawa University in
Philosophy of Buddhism and Zen.

From Sep 17, 1930 to Sep 2, 1931: Head temple Dai Honzan (Big Root Mountain), Eiheiji Temple

From Sep 18, 1931 to Mar 31, 1932: Daihonzan, Sojiji Temple

From March 1, 1932 to Jun 30, 1952: Studied Zen under Ian Kishizawa Roshi, who was one of the most excellent Zen Masters at that time in Japan.
(”Let no one compare as is unnecessary? practice? -- always?)

Ordination (tokudo): May 18, 1917, 13 years old. Ordained by So-on Suzuki, Suzuki, disciple of father who was adopted by him, at Rinsoin Zen Temple and lived there until 1924(?)

Shuso Risshion(?) (risshion - standing body[?]) (not boy - priests think of him as young new friend):
From Nov 15, 1925 to Feb 18, 1926, at Kenkoin Zen Temple, Shizuoka City, during the full practice period under Dojun Kato Roshi.

Dharma Transmission (private ceremony): Aug. 21, 1926, from Soon Roshi (robe handed down to him from his dharma master), at Rinsoin Zen Temple in Shizuoka (bonger?) (given so he could become head of Zouinin where his father was, and father kept[?] job. Zen master consider his disciple as Zen Master, Tathagata knows Tathagata, Buddha meets Buddha.

Ten'e (Okesa): Jan. 14, 1930: Public determination (?) consent from Soto Zen sect. Public ceremony. Robe handed down, his name is listed by headquarters as one who can become chief priest of temple. After this ceremony he goes to Eiheiji to “meet” with Dogen Zenji and to Sojiji to meet with Keizan Zenji (founder of Sojiji temple) for beautiful ceremony (2 days) to go to vow to be good teacher after this ceremony he is Zen Master and can teach anywhere & have a temple. After this time he can teach others.

Experiences: From May 7, 1932 to Apr 31, 1936, Zen Teacher (koshi) in Bansho Zenrin (job belongs to Rinsoin), Kasuisai, at Fukuroi, Shizuoka-ken. Roshi didn't live here but just visited to give lecture, at that time he was chief priest at Rinsoin.

From Mar 1, 1942 ([can't read this well, top cut off in copying:] -- monastery[?] or something and at that point he formally became Roshi, though only for ceremonies apparently. Some politics.) to Mar 31, 1947. Roshi - Zen Teacher (Official Director) Shike (Daho), Tokeiin Temple of no. 10th Monastery (Zenrin?of Soto sect - high. Like Chino Sensei's duty at Tassajara & Katagiri Sensei's duty in SF. Just monks. Resigned because busy and zenrin[?] stopt[?].

From Jun 3, 1947 until now (1958)[?] The teacher of Zen Practice dojo (practice place for both monks and laymen), Monastery, at Takakusa, Shizuoka-ken - at Rinsoin.
(Just something at Rinsoin. New idea, layman practice.)

From Jun 30, 1952 until now (1958)[?], Chief Director of Dokan[goes here?] Takaogan Senmon Sodo Docho. Zenrin[?] again - Takashima[?] Roshi. Only monks.

Through this period his teacher was Ian Kishizawa Roshi. His dharma master was another person. [what does “2 is missing.” note on bottom right of page mean? Nothing maybe - there's a “2” on the next page]

Experiences (2): * March 1938. Ordination ceremony for young female Buddhists of Higashi Eki (Mashi or Masu?) tenmura, Shita-gun, Shizuoka-ken.

March 1947. Big ordination ceremony for lay members (Ian Kishizawa Roshi)
* Kishizawa jukai not here.

Also marriage in 1936, two years after master died, when 33 or 34. But after entering Rinsoin, more confusion as to whether wife can stay at temple. His master's wife [lover] had in her old age and Roshi won argument. Roshi was too young for that they figured. Married 15 years. She died in 1951 [1952] and he stayed unmarried until 1958 when condition for coming to America was priest with wife. He married Okusan who everyone thought he would marry in 1952-3 when she ran kindergarten. He told Okusan this but it was just a matter of finally getting around to it. Both were too busy before. Didn't pick first wife. Friend of his master's did. Roshi reluctant but finally accepted sight unseen. (Reluctant about marriage, not “sight unseen.”)

Two dharma heirs: Roshi's son and the son of his older [dharma] brother?
[his eldest son Hoitsu and the son of his older? Dharma brother? -- Okamoto, Shoko Okamoto.

Experiences (3): Entering as chief priest, Jan. 22, 1929, at Zounin Temple, Otorie[?], Mori-machi, Shizuoka-ken.

Apr 23, 1936, at Rinsoin Temple, 1400 Sakamoto, Yaizu-shi, Shizuoka-ken. (master actually died in 1934 but took years of struggle to get accepted. Roshi was 31.) Took temple to prevent a greedy and ambitious faction from coming to power, to protect Soto school and the people. So families of congregation resigned and Roshi said, “Don't criticize, wait two years - and they all came back.”

May 22, 1959, appointed head priest of Soto Zen Temple Sokoji, 1881 Bush Street, San Francisco, California, U.S. [that's not true, is it? - later. That's when he arrived.]

Founder? -- 1967. Opening of Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, Zenshinji.

Oct. 1, 1969: Appointed Gondaikyoshi. 10 daikyoshi & rest gondaikyoshi.

Experiences (4): On Buildings and their Repairing.

March 1932. Kannondo, where Avalokitesvara is enshrined, and Seppin (Kuri) not main building, but important building for guests & practicers in temple. (New.) of Zounin.

April 1944. Kaisando (Founder's Memorial Hall), Ihaido (Priests' and Laymen's Memorial Hall) (new = Roshi made new buildings) of Zounin.

March 1, 1958. Rebuilt the main structure of Rinsoin (rebuilt = tore down old building and made new one [? No it was not torn down I don't think - Hoitsu said it has original beams]). Continued repairings of Kaisando, Ihaido, Bell Tower, and Sutra Store Hall (library) (kyozo) until May 1958. (refused not to have exactly in old style, cost more and everyone thought he was crazy. Always studying architecture at the time Rinsoin was built - maybe 300 years old.)

Experiences (5) on other works.

May 5, 1948. Founded the Tokiwa Nursery School (21 years?) at Shinya (or Nii-ya)(Nie-ya?), Yaizu-shi. (Not really founded no official title except responsible for religious education.)

April, 1954. Branch of Tokiwa Nursery School at Nishi-machi, Yaizu-shi.
Interpreter for Miss N. Ransom from Aug 1, 1927 to May 30, 1929.
(Roshi is very grateful over this job - this training helped him a lot)
(When Roshi was at university he lived in one room of her home with 2 other boys - he was the best to help her and she became earnest Buddhist.)
And by the introduction of Shundo Tachibana, Principal of Komazawa Univ. he got the application [says application - Japanese writing this?] of teacher of English Language from government.

June, 1931 - He got the license of Ethical Teacher for high school boys. (As a result of this work as Mrs. Ransom's interpreter, the principal of university recommended him for license to teach English

Presidents of Sokoji Temple.
1. Mr. Yaichi Michida 2. Mr. Jota Handa; 3. Mr. Gihei Komiyama; 4. Mr. Saburo Yakai; 5. Mr. Nisaburo Komiya; 6. Mr. George Hagiwara; 7. Mr. Sakai Kawashiri.

Presidents of Laywomen's Association:
1. Mrs. Fuyuko Kawashiri; 2. Mrs. -- Yamaguchi.

Founder of Sokoji:
Rev. Hosen Isobe Roshi (Daiju Hosen)
Dec. 8, 1934 to summer 1940. He came to SF in 1933 from Los Angeles, Zenshuji. He went back to Japan.

Successors of Sokoji:
2. Rev. Kenichi Sato, Aug. 1940 to Apr. 1941. (went back to Japan)
3. Rev. Daito Suzuki (Sogaku Daito), Dec. 8, 1941 to 1948.
4. Rev. Rien Takahashi, 19481950
5. Rev. Hodo Tobase, 1950 to Apr. 1959. [Went back to Japan 1958. - dc]
6. Rev. Shunryu Suzuki, Mar. 4, 1959 [?]


File name: 69-09-16-W: Suzuki’s Curriculum Vitae ss curriculum vitae Changed "older brother" to "older [dharma] brother"; "19523" to "1952-3" 3-6-2015 by DC. Changed "[no, didn't he leave a year earlier?] Went back to Japan" to "[Went back to Japan 1958. - dc]" 12-11-16.

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