Mitsu Suzuki is the widow of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, the Zen monk who founded the San Francisco Zen Center and helped popularize Zen Buddhism in the United States. A White Tea Bowl is a selection of her poems, written after her return to Japan in 1993. These 100 haiku were chosen by editor Kazuaki Tanahashi and translated by Zen teacher Kate McCandless to celebrate Mitsu’s 100th birthday on April 27, 2014. The introduction by Zen poet and priest Norman Fischer describes with loving detail a meeting with Mitsu at Rinso-in temple in 2010, considers the formative impact of war in Japan and social upheaval in America on her life, and places her poetry in the evolution of haiku as an international form.
About A White Tea Bowl
A White Tea Bowl is a selection of 100 haiku written by Mitsu Suzuki, the widow of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, and published in celebration of her 100th birthday. The compelling introduction by Zen priest Norman Fischer describes the profound impact on her life and work of war in Japan and social upheaval in America.
Part I: 100 Haiku presents a kaleidoscope of poems by Mitsu Suzuki that touch all aspects of her being: her dedication to the Buddha way, the loneliness of a widow’s life, her generational role as “Candy Auntie,” her sensitive attunement to nature, and her moments of insight into the dharma. The more you read these haiku, the more their wisdom will emerge.
Part II: Pickles and Tea contains reminiscences and anecdotes about Mitsu Suzuki by those who lived and studied with her at the San Francisco Zen Center; often these meetings took place in Mitsu’s kitchen where she provided countless cups of tea, cookies, and homemade pickles as well as sage advice.
Mitsu Suzuki is the widow of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, founder of San Francisco Zen Center. After he passed away in 1971, she remained at Zen Center where she taught tea ceremony and began writing poetry. Her first collection of haiku, Temple Dust, was published in 1992.