Daisetsu Suzuki Museum   鈴木大拙館

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The "water mirror" contemplative space Suzuki museum in Kanazawa.

The Water Mirror Garden, a contemplative space at the D.T. Suzuki museum in Kanazawa.

Daisetsu Suzuki (1870 - 1966) helped popularize Zen philosophy in the West.

Daisetsu Suzuki (1870 - 1966) helped popularize Zen philosophy in the West.

DT Suzuki is the museum dedicated to the life and work of a major figure of Zen Buddhism in the twentieth century.

DT Suzuki is the museum dedicated to the life and work of a major figure of Zen Buddhism in the twentieth century.

Calm and beautiful

This soberly beautiful museum pays homage to the life and work of D. Suzuki, one of the greatest Zen thinkers of the 20th century.

The great thinker Daisetzu Suzuki (1870-1966) may be a native of Kanazawa, but it was in Kamakura, meditating at the Engaku-ji temple (where he lived for a time), that he made Zen Buddhism a principle of his life and spirituality.

Writer, professor (notably at the prestigious Columbia University in the 1950s), monk and philosopher, Suzuki was one of the great specialists in Mahayana Buddhism (known as the Great Vehicle), in particular chan, Chinese Zen, and the way it spread to Japan and forged mentalities there. He significantly contributed to disseminating and popularizing Zen in the West through conferences and books including his Essays in Zen Buddhism (1927).

Suzuki will be read, appreciated, and commented on by many European philosophers, for example, Jung or Heidegger, but also artists, like the composer John Cage or the poet Allen Ginsberg.


Also read: Shinshoji Zen Museum and Gardens


Contemplative visit

This museum (2011) pays tribute to this immense figure of Japanese Buddhism.

An minimalist building of a surprisingly simple white and gray concrete designed by Yoshio Taniguchi, the architect of MOMA in New York. Three spaces (entrance, exhibition, contemplation) are linked together by corridors, embodiments of the Suzuki philosophy, and the wabi sabi aesthetic so dear to Zen (discretion, naturalness, patina).

Visitors can experience Zen in this museum, which is less than an exhibition space more of an awakening of Suzuki's beliefs and values through his writing, photos, interactive videos. Three gardens make up the museum's exterior, including the "water mirror", the most well-known part of the museum. 

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