“I would ask, ‘Do you think I should go to Japan to study and practice? Do you think I should get to know Japanese monastic life?’ He would always tell me, ‘There is no place to go.’

“At other times I would ask, ‘Is there something you would like me to do?’ He would say, ‘There is nothing to do. You can do anything you want. Just be yourself.’ I kept those words in mind, almost like a mantra: ‘There’s no place to go; there’s nothing to do.’

“I asked Suzuki if he would explain the Heart Sutra to me, so I could answer the questions my friends were sure to ask.

“ ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘but let’s do it later. Look at all the sweeping we have to do. Help me with the sweeping first.’

“We did the sweeping. Then he was off doing something else. It seemed he’d forgotten.

“Another day, at breakfast I said to Suzuki, ‘This would be a good time to tell me about the Heart Sutra, so I can answer my friends’ questions.’

“ ‘Yes, I’ll do it, but I need to clean up the dishes first. Okusan is gone, and we have people coming later. So help me clean the kitchen.’

“We finished up the dishes and then he rushed off.”