D. T. Suzuki (1870 - 1966) arrived in West: 1897

Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki was born on October 28th, 1870, in Kanazawa, Japan. He was a Japanese Buddhist scholar and thinker who was the chief interpreter of Zen Buddhism to the West.

Suzuki studied at the University of Tokyo. Early in his youth he became a disciple of Soen, a noted Zen master of the day, and under his guidance attained the experience of satori (sudden enlightenment), which remained of fundamental importance throughout his life. He stayed 13 years (1897-1909) in the United States, collaborating with Paul Carus as a magazine editor and pursuing his Buddhist studies on his own. He attracted interest by a translation, The Discourse on the Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana (1900), and the publication of Outline of Mahayana Buddhism (1907). The latter half of his life he spent in teaching, writing, and lecturing both in Japan and abroad, mostly in the United States, and contributed substantially to the understanding of Buddhism in Western countries.

D. T. Suzuki According to Suzuki, the basic characteristic of the Eastern mentality may be found in its emphasis on nonduality, while the Western spirit, as embodied in modern sciences, is based upon dualistic distinctions. Although this Western spirit is prerequisite to daily conduct, it fails to grasp the ultimate reality, which, in Suzuki's philosophy, is an object of intuition or experience rather than of logical inquiry and must therefore be approached by religious experience of nonduality, especially as it is expressed in the tradition of Zen Buddhism.

Watts & Suzuki With a young Alan Watts.

Suzuki died on July 12th, 1966, at Kamakura in Japan.


Suzuki wrote voluminously despite believing that Zen cannot be explained in books. Titles include:

Introduction to Zen Buddhism
Manual of Zen Buddhism
Essays in Zen Buddhism, First Series
Zen Doctrine of No Mind
The Awakening of Zen
Zen and Japanese Culture
The Zen Koan As a Means of Attaining Enlightenment