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An Interview with Melissa Llarena


Jun 17, 2020

Joining me on the podcast this week is Kuniatsu “Coonie” Suzuki. Coonie has been a Buddhist monk since 2002. He once worked in the oldest temple Shitennoji-temple in Japan for 12 years practicing zen meditation. In 2015, Coonie decided to become a freelancing Buddhist monk. Consider our dialogue to be a conversation you would have with a Buddhist monk who sees life more simply and less seriously. 

This conversation is broken up into two parts. First, I want to set the stage by sharing with you some of the questions I asked Coonie where he shares his lighthearted thoughts on his career, peppers in some of his Buddhist teachings, and thoughts on meditation through his work as a freelancer Buddhist monk in this digital age. Then, I offer you a chance to sit for a 10-minute meditation using some of the insights that I think merit more thought and time.

Here’s some more about Coonie: Coonie provides forest, candle, and morning meditations in Osaka, Japan where he is based. He has freelanced with Airbnb for many years in two capacities; hosting guests and providing meditations (offline first then online today). He is a wonderful Airbnb guide. Coonie is well-known by his 4K-plus Airbnb guests who’ve raved about him in their reviews. Once a Super Host from his Osaka home, Kuniatsu “Coonie” has offered experiences to tourists from around the world. He makes you feel at ease with his great sense of humor and understanding of meditation Kuniatsu’s philosophy is that meditation is one of the best ways for people to enjoy a better life paired with both a healthy body and mind. Today, as the world continues to evolve given the need for social distance, Kuniatsu is even providing meditative experiences by way of Airbnb’s new virtual Zoom meditation packages. I personally had the opportunity to attend one of his Zoom meditations. As a guest, I felt welcomed and included. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Kuniatsu “Coonie” Suzuki today. 

Tune in to hear Coonie’s thoughts pertaining to:

  • Coonie shares his journey to becoming a Buddhist monk - from music therapy to becoming a Buddhist monk and his desire to search for a direction. (4:45)
  • The thought that monks should be born in temples, but the reality is about 10% of monks come from the outside. (6:08)
  • What is a freelance monk? (9:00)
  • How meditation has helped Coonie manage his emotions. (10:22)
  • We discuss courage: We need to be open to taking action, being passive is not going to work. (20:13)
  • Buddhism is the wisdom of how to survive not to believe. (22:00)
  • Coonie shares his intentions for doing the work that he does: “I do this to have fun and to learn.” (22:07)
  • Thinking of meditation like a meal...when you are hungry you eat. (25:12)
  • Always being prepared for a disaster. (26:17)
  • People in general always tend to forget, yet we don’t tend to forget bad habits. And a reminder that there are things we must remember as to not repeat. (29:00)
  • Conveniences vs. inconveniences. (30:51)
  • Coonie answers this question, “How can we be open enough to let good thoughts in vs. keep the bad ones out?” (34:25)

Don’t miss the 10-minute meditation at the end of this episode:

I provide a ten-minute meditation to help settle your mind and your soul. Here are the questions I ask you to contemplate. As you listen, be sure to have a notebook nearby. 

  1. How ready are you for the changes/disruptions that will occur next?
  2. Where must you be more courageous in your life right now to be more ready for what’s next?
  3. What conveniences have done you more harm than good when it comes to feeling prepared for future changes?

Coonie and I both agree that it is not enough to contemplate life and become aware of your thoughts. You will not become more courageous through osmosis. You will not be ready for what’s next without action. So use this moment to plan. Plan how you wish to pull through when another change or disruption enters your life:

  1. Who will you need as a friend? 
  2. What resources will you need to pull through? 
  3. Where will you go for refuge? 
  4. When will you know that you’ve prepared enough? 
  5. Why must you be ready?

Check out the links below: