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Online: D.T. Suzuki Interview with Huston Smith
November 22, 2020 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
In celebration of the 150th birthday of Dr. Daisetz Teitaru Suzuki, at our Threefold Sangha meeting on November 22 we will show a film of a 1960 dialogue between the great Buddhist practitioner and scholar and Dr. Huston Smith, then a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), who later taught in the religion department at Syracuse University. It was to support Dr. Suzuki’s work in bringing Zen Buddhism to the West that the Zen Studies Society was established in 1956 by Cornelius Crane. Dr. Suzuki, a disciple of Soen Shaku Roshi along with Nyogen Senzaki, was the author of more than 100 books on Buddhism.
Dr. Suzuki traveled all over the world, teaching and participating in East-West Philosophers’ and Eranos conferences. In 1957, he retired from Columbia University and spent seven months in Cambridge, Massachusetts, teaching at Harvard, M.I.T., Wellesley, Brandeis, Radcliffe, and Amherst before returning to Kamakura. On December 16, 1959, Dr. Suzuki reported to George Yamaoka, then treasurer and secretary of the Zen Studies Society, on his latest endeavor:
“I am at this moment working on one of the greatest Zen masters, Daie Soko (Ta-hui Tsung-kao, 1089-1163), who left perhaps the most extensive literature on Zen full of insights, deep and penetrating and covering the whole field of Zen study. He was a great reformer who may be said to have modernized Zen.
“A number of books on Zen are being published in America and Europe,” Dr. Suzuki continued. “Unfortunately, none of them are authoritative. It is up to our Society to produce reliable works and supply the general public with materials which will help them to understand Zen properly. My remaining five years (I expect to live until I am ninety-five) will be devoted to this kind of work.” Dr. Suzuki turned 95 in 1965, and died in Tokyo the following year.
We are very pleased to have been able to make arrangements for a private showing so that our Sangha can see this historic 1960 film.
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