Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki (1870~1966) was one of the 20th century’s most important writers and thinkers. During his long and extraordinarily fruitful life Suzuki became the first voice of Japanese Buddhism, especially Zen, to the Western World.
He traveled and lectured around the world and has had a major impact on religious, artistic and philosophical thinking that continues to this day. D.T. Suzuki’s landmark books, “An Introduction to Zen Buddhism” (1934) and “Zen and Japanese Culture” (1959) changed the world of arts and letters profoundly.
More than 30 of his books remain in print. A Zen Life is the first documentary film to present the extraordinary life of D.T. Suzuki. This vivid portrait of the man and his times includes rare footage of Suzuki himself and reminiscences by many whose lives and thinking he influenced.
Interviewed in A Zen Life are poet Gary Snyder, religious philosopher Huston Smith, author Donald Richie, psychiatrist Albert Stunkard. and Suzuki’s long-time assistant Mihoko Okamura and many others.
Numerous important figures of the 20th Century acknowledged Suzuki’s impact on their work and thought including Carl Jung, Erich Fromm, Martin Heidegger, Merce Cunningham, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, John Cage, and Alan Watts.
English, and Japanese subtitled in English
A film by Michael Goldberg.
"Anyone interested in the impact of Zen Buddhism in the West, or the life of one of its most distinguished representatives, will be intrigued and affected by the film’s alluring intersection of biography, history and transformative ideas." - San Francisco Film Society and Indie Wire, 2006
"His teachings were traditional but radical, and influenced many, including Jung, Fromm, Ginsberg, Merton and Heidegger. And Suzuki’s long life, explored through archival footage and interviews, exemplifies a path of both inner stillness and answering life’s call." - Tikkun Magazine, 2006
"A Zen Life portrays the late Suzuki through archival footage and photographs. But what is most touching and possibly most profound about the doc is the way he lives on in the memories of his students and friends. The interviewees show themselves to be extensions of Suzuki’s teachings by describing the grains of knowledge he provided them – and explaining how the seeds took root." - San Francisco Bay Guardian
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