Tim was only 20 years old and a student at Stanford in 1964 when he met his teacher, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. At that time there was only one small Zen center in northern California and the practice of meditation was considered “kind of odd.” Then the wildly successful Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind was published. Tim heard firsthand the talks that later appeared in that book, which has sold more than any other book on Zen Buddhism.
In Tim’s new book, he tells of the struggle to raise money for the now famous Tassajara Monastery, the first Zen monastery outside of Asia. He tells the story of when Suzuki took the stage after Janis Joplin at the Fillmore Auditorium during a fund-raiser. And he remembers Suzuki’s empathy for his long-suffering student, Trudy Dixon, and his tearful “lion’s roar” at her funeral.
Tim also talks about intimate moments with two other early Japanese teachers who came to America: Katagiri Roshi and Chino Roshi. And he talks about his own life after he moved to Northern Minnesota where he worked on the Nett Lake Ojibwe Reservation as a social worker. In his book, Zen’s core teachings unfold within the ordinary comedies and tragedies of everyday life. He uses poems, Zen art, parables, and koans to show how we realize our interconnected nature through the small things that we do. In his book, as in his life, Tim reveals how to live in the world with a deep joy that comes from embracing the work and play of this very moment.