by Mark Chmiel

Shunryu Suzuki  Roshi was the first person I ever met for whom I felt immediate and total trust. It was something which I had never expected to experience. Every sense, every brain cell and nerve fiber in me suddenly woke up. I felt alert, and watchful, and euphoric, all at once.  … It was that he was so simple and utterly there, standing in that dim room, looking at us. There was a nakedness about it. No cover-up, no attitude at all. His gaze was flat, and extraordinarily deep. I felt he saw into and through me, and in spite of, or perhaps because of that seeing, he was totally kind.

–Diane di Prima, Recollections of My Life as a Woman