Tim Zentetsu Burkett

Tim Zentetsu Burkett
Tim was only 20 years old and a student at Stanford in 1964 when he met his teacher, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. At that time there was only one small Zen center in northern California, and the practice of meditation was considered “kind of odd.” Then the wildly successful Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind was published. Tim heard firsthand the talks that later appeared in that book, which has sold more than any other book on Zen Buddhism.

In Tim’s new book, he writes about the struggle to raise money for the now famous Tassajara Monastery and the story of when Suzuki took the stage after Janis Joplin at the Fillmore Auditorium during a fund-raiser. And he remembers Suzuki’s empathy for his long-suffering student Trudy Dixon, and his tearful “lion’s roar” at her funeral.

Tim also writes about intimate moments with two other early Japanese teachers: Katagiri Roshi and Chino Roshi. Tim was Chino Roshi’s attendant when he first arrived from Japan, and he writes about having tea with him every evening at Tassajara.

In his book, Nothing Holy about It: The Zen of Being Just Who You Are, Zen’s core teachings unfold within the ordinary comedies and tragedies of everyday life. He uses poems, Zen art, parables and koans to show how we realize our interconnected nature through the small things that we do. In his book, as in his life, Tim reveals how to live in the world with a deep joy that comes from embracing the work and play of this very moment.

Tim is the former CEO of the largest non-profit in Minnesota for the mentally impaired and chemically dependent. He is a psychologist, a Zen Buddhist priest and the guiding teacher of Minnesota Zen Meditation Center.