Reminders of Impermanence

In my quieter moments I am still spending time keeping Zen Center’s dharma talk offerings up-to-date, as well as trying to fill in some of the gaps from the past few years when people were not doing this so reliably. The other day I decided to look through the website’s listings from previous years – the drop-down menu goes back to 2007, although of course the archive of cassettes and reels goes back to the 1960s (and I am still a part of a project to get all those digitised and available to everybody).
What struck me most forcefully was how many people on the list have died: the first four names on the 2007 list are Jordan Thorn, Steve Stücky, Blanche Hartman and Jana Drakka… there is also Darlene Cohen, Lou Hartman, Daigan Lueck, Lee Lipp, Marvin Mercer.
In a way this is inevitable; in a large community with many senior teachers, some will die over the course of years, though it could be said that most of the above died too soon. I also think of names not represented on that list – Hal Papps who was not a teacher, but a long-time resident when I first arrived, David Coady, and Jerome Petersen, who didn’t give talks in my time, all of whom died in the building while I lived there.
Some of the names on the list are well-known in the zen world; others are not. Marvin was an incredibly unassuming man who completely embodied service without a fuss, David a sweet man who was a pleasure to be around even if he didn’t believe it himself. All of them impacted my practice in some ways, and of course, that means they still do, and in that, they live on.

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