A search for a genuine life led to India and Zen Buddhism and ended in Christian community

Suzanne Quinta

Suzanne Quinta 1945 –

Suzanne was born in San Francisco to a naval family and traveled the world as a child. She met her husband, Tom, in college and together they embarked, like so many other young people in the sixties, on a search for what she calls “a life that was real. We felt that so much of what we saw around us was not genuine.” 

In 1967, after traveling to India to see if ancient Indian culture could hold answers to modern issues, they read about the Bruderhof, and visited for several months. “We loved the people there, and felt loved by them, but we weren’t ready to give our lives to Jesus.”

For the next seven years, the Quintas lived in a Zen Buddhist community in Maine, meditating five hours a day, baking their own bread, and raising the first two of eight children. Eventually, they left: “We didn’t have much more in common with the group than our times of meditation, and there were tensions among us, and we didn’t feel we were growing in love, or moving forward.”

In 1976, they visited the Bruderhof again. “As we came up the drive, we knew we were coming home,” Suzanne says. “I cannot tell you how strong that feeling was.”

We met with a pastor, Heinrich, and told him, “Look, we’re not Christians, but we want to seek Jesus with you here.” (As a child, I had had an experience of Jesus that never left me.) Heinrich listened like a Zen master. He leaned back in his chair and just smiled. Finally he said, “So come.” And that’s what we did. As people who had done a lot of talking and reading and thinking, we had come to the conclusion that what really mattered was how you actually lived. And what we saw spoke to us. We’ve been trying to follow Christ here ever since.

You cannot prove to me that you have a father!” says the blind sage, reasoning with the little child. “Why should I prove it?” answers the child. “I am sitting on his knee! If I could prove it, that would not make you see him; that would not make you happy like me! You do not care about my father, or you would not stand there disputing; you would feel about until you found him!
George MacDonald, author and pastor
Karen teaches Daralyn the art of sign carving in the Danthonia Designs workshop.

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