An Appeal to help keep Cuke Archives Thriving
A Message from David Chadwick
Back in 1966, at the age of 21, I rang the bell of Sokoji, a Soto Zen temple and the original home of the San Francisco Zen Center. I marvel now at how fortunate I was to have walked through that doorway, met Shunryu Suzuki, Dainin Katagiri, and all the inspiring fellow students, friends, and teachers through the years that followed.
Two decades after Suzuki’s death in 1971, I started to collect and organize stories and lectures which became material for Crooked Cucumber: the Life and Zen Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki. This effort has continued through the years—adding to and working with the archive of Suzuki’s life and teaching, collecting memories of him, of those whose paths crossed his, of that unique, amazing time—and sharing all this with anyone interested.
Cuke Archives’ two principle online outlets are cuke.com, which concentrates on the oral and written history, and shunryusuzuki.com for the archive of Suzuki’s lecture transcripts, audio, video, and photos.
Take a look at the photograph below, taken in the fall of 1967 at Tassajara, Zen Mountain Center, the first Zen Buddhist Monastery in the West. It’s the oldest Tassajara group photo we have.
In the thousands of pages of cuke.com, there are memories from and of almost everyone in this photo.*
It’s been almost eight years since the last fundraising drive for Cuke Archives (called Crooked Cucumber Archives back then). I much prefer doing the daily work and giving it all away, supporting this endeaver with my own funds and what blessed donations come in unsolicited. But we have arrived at the point where we must appeal for support in order to continue.
In 2013 my mother died in her 99th year. I was with her the last few months, an inspiring experience. Later that year, my wife and mate of sixteen years, Katrinka McKay, and I left for Asia where we knew our limited resources would stretch much further. We settled in Bali. We live around good people, meditate, do yoga, swim, walk a lot, don’t own a vehicle, and have a small footprint. She helps people with substance abuse problems. I’m just as in touch with family, friends, and fellow-travelers of the way as before, and I find our simple life conducive to focusing on work.
Hozan Alan Senauke, Vice Abbot of Berkeley Zen Center, has the following to say about what we’re doing.
Over the last twenty years cuke.com has evolved as a priceless archival resource for Zen practitioners around the world. Beyond offering the extensive teachings of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi in a variety of audio, textual, and edited formats, Cuke.com has been a crossroads for teachers and students who continue to sustain Suzuki Roshi’s legacy. I cannot count the occasions when I have turned to the site to find a particular teaching, commentary, or photograph to illuminate my own work. Cuke.com involves the labor of many people, but it’s driving force has been the vision and work of David Chadwick. David has another lifetime of Suzuki Roshi projects in the works, but he needs our support to move ahead. He certainly has all of my support.
More than ever, Cuke Archives needs financial support in order to continue.
To help us keep going, go to the Donation page to make a tax-deductible contribution of any size via PayPal or check. There is also a PayPal option to become a subscriber and make an automatic monthly donation. We still have a few from the 2012 appeal that range from $2 a month up.
A gift for a gift – For a donation of $100 or more, we’ll send you a copy of A Brief History of Tassajara: from Native American Sweat Lodges to Pioneering Zen Monastery, a $20 value, published by Cuke Press.
Why Cuke? Crooked Cucumber was what Suzuki’s master called him as a young monk.
To me, above all, this activity is a wonderful way to say hello to each other, to acknowledge our mutual divinity—as it has been from that day in 1966 when I first arrived at the Zen Center.
Thanks for your consideration.
Feel free to pass this message on to anyone whom you think would be interested.
Please visit the Cuke Archives 2020 Presentation on cuke.com with our Goals, an Overview of Cuke Archives, Who We Are and the Statements of Support to read what others pictured below have to say about the import of continuing this work.