Excerpted with permission from "Thank You and OK! An American Zen Failure in Japan" (Penguin/Arkana).
Once I was driving Suzuki Roshi to [the San Francisco] Zen Center from Tassajara [a Zen retreat center in the mountains of Big Sur]. After we'd stopped at the original Thunderbird Bookstore in Carmel Valley and he'd had three cups of coffee and I two, we got back into the car and I was all jacked up and driving down the road and I said, "Suzuki Roshi, may I ask you a question?" and he said, "Yes," and I proceeded to beg him to tell me what it is that I should do to understand reality, to get enlightened. I told him that I was totally dedicated to the Way and that whatever he told me, I would do, no matter what it was. I went on and on making sure that he was thoroughly aware of my sincerity and devotion. I turned to him for an answer. He was sound asleep.