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(See Zen Training section, below.) Suzuki lived and studied several years with the scholar Paul Carus.Suzuki was introduced to Carus by Soyen Shaku (also written Soen Shaku), who met him at the World Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893.
In 1921, the year he joined Ōtani University, he and his wife founded the Eastern Buddhist Society.
Suzuki maintained connections in the West and, for instance, delivered a paper at the World Congress of Faiths in 1936, at the University of London (he was an exchange professor during this year).
In Illinois, Suzuki began his early work Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism.
Carus himself had written a book offering an insight into, and overview of, Buddhism, titled The Gospel of Buddha.
Still a professor of Buddhist philosophy in the middle decades of the 20th century, Suzuki wrote introductions and overall examinations of Buddhism, and particularly of the Zen school.
He went on a lecture tour of American universities in 1951, and taught at Columbia University from 1952 to 1957.
Suzuki was especially interested in the formative centuries of this Buddhist tradition in China.
A lot of Suzuki's writings in English concern themselves with translations and discussions of bits of the Chan texts the Biyan Lu (Blue Cliff Record) and the Wumenguan (Mumonkan/Gateless Passage), which record the teaching styles and words of the classical Chinese masters.
Suzuki and his wife dedicated themselves to spreading an understanding of Mahayana Buddhism.
Until 1919 they lived in a cottage on the Engaku-ji grounds, then moved to Kyoto, where Suzuki began professorship at Ōtani University in 1921. Hoseki Shin'ichi Hisamatsu, a Zen Buddhist scholar, and they discussed Zen Buddhism together at Shunkō-in temple in the Myōshin-ji temple complex.