ZEN Aluminati Updates
OUR MOTTO: Remembering friends, visiting the old, the sick, those in need and in time of trouble - even when we don't feel like it - at least now and then.
2-10-12 - Della Goertz passed away on February fifth.
More on her cuke link page.
7-11-11 - Happy 99th Birthday Della Goertz!
Visited with Della at a residential home in Napa yesterday. She feels fine and only has a smidgeon of short term memory left, but she loved having me go over names from people in her past: Betty Warren, Ananda Claude Dalenberg, Jean Ross, Bill and Laura Kwong, Philip and JJ Wilson (she asked a couple of times if I was Philip), Grahame Petchey, Richard Baker, Mel Weitsman - and from the more recent past, Barbara and Michael Wenger, Jana Drakka, Blanch and Lou Hartman - and others. Read her granddaughter's note at the bottom of Della's link page. - dc
6-07-09 - Della Goertz has moved in with her grandaughter Helen and grand-son in law and three grandchildren in Napa where she's been in a retirement home for years. If you know her give her a call. The number is on the card. It's a great photo. I see Della every few months. She's getting where she forgets most things but she still remembers me and appreciates her old ZC friends giving a call. She'll be 97 this July.
Della Goertz link page
3-02-09 - Lew Richmond has a new blog - Aging as a Spiritual Practice.
2-26-09 - I still visit Della at a retirement home in Napa. She'll be 97 this year. She still remembers me but is forgetting I've been there before and each time I see her have to remind her that Ananda and Betty have passed on.
Michael is under hospice care now at Green Gulch Farm. An article by Zenshin Florence Caplow is planned for the May issue of Tricycle.
2-18-08 - Ananda
12-13-08 - New update on Ananda.
2-12-08 - (photo by Diane Dalenberg) Several days ago Ananda Claude Dalenberg asked that he be given no more food or medicine. Read more.
Ananda in the Zen Aluminati who - photo
Cuke interview with Ananda - with a new brief history at the top
Read “Parting with Claude Dalenberg” by Gary Snyder
11-06-07 - Rene `Pettit, who's been reading to Ananda while I'm gone, suggests:
7-15-07 - See the Early Tassajara Alumni Home Page
7-09-07- Andrew Main's letter to Ananda including the Tisarana and how he changed the cover of What the Buddha Taught. Plus, a suggestion of how to communicate with Ananda.
7-30-06 - Betty Warren died this morning.
10-29-05 - Zen Alumbrella proposal of 10-25 Overview.
In this proposal is included a letter to the SFZC Elders' Committee sent by DC in early July of 2005.
10-16-05 - David Cohen, Darlene's brother, is going into Marin General tomorrow to have some neck surgery done. Ouch. He'll be there Monday and Tuesday - operation Monday morning if all goes as planned. If you know him go say hi. He's a major supporter of cuke.com as senior tech advisor. Check out his website - www.marindot.com/home. He's had a lot of neck pain and let's pray this works and he has no more - though I'm kind of in a sick way half hoping he's one of the one in 200 who have major voice change afterwards. It would something to tease him about.
10-07-05 - An article on aging and The Ties that Bind from David Brooks in the October 2nd NY Times.
9-18-05 - Who Are the Zen Aluminati?
8-30-05 - The Monk with Dysentery
8-05-05 - Aluminati update by DC on Ananda and ruminations about the need to enclose the work I do within an Alumni organization outside of the SFZC.
7-24-05 - Ananda, Della, Betty, and Jack are about the same but Chuck's fine now. After all he just had a broken leg.
I've been going in to read to Ananda pretty much once a week. We're in the middle of chapter nine of the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. He was never heavy into Tibetan Buddhism and it's so guru-centered and he's always been so independent. His wife Vera was there last Friday and we talked about this. Ananda can talk a little better now but it's mainly moved from a whisper to a louder whisper. He does his speech therapy though. They've got him to sing. He sang me a short quiet song a couple of weeks ago. Ananda has always been keen on Jodo Shinshu. Before his strokes I was visiting him back in the late summer and he told me that he recited something - Namu Amida Butsu I guess as one of his main practices. The Buddhist Churches of America headquarters (which is Jodo Shinshu) is just on the other side of Japantown from his nursing home. He has gone to services there now and then for many years. The Bishop of BCA in America is Rev. Koshin Ogui. Hit that link and you'll see how I know Rev. Ogui. I went over there to visit with him a couple of times before going to see Ananda and Ogui said he remembered Ananda well and the second time he joined me to visit him and made a page of calligraphy beforehand and put it on the wall where Ananda could see it. Ogui'd had enough presence of mind to bring both thumb tacks and cellophane tape with him. I remember it was Nyorai, Nyo...(gyo?) something else and he wrote "has come, has gone," an unusual translation. "Thus come, thus gone" is what I would have expected.
The first time I dropped by BCA Headquarters Rev. Ogui was out so I went into the Buddhist Book Store. and talked with Jerry Bolick who runs it. It turned out that he was an old friend of Ananda's who'd been reading to him at the Davies Hospital over by the Castro but had been busy with grandchildren and didn't know Ananda was now just a few blocks away. So as a result Jerry's been going over there and reading to him and visiting. One day he brought some photographs that Isao Tanaka sent to Ananda.
Later I borrowed these photos and made the copies that may be viewed by hitting that link. It cost $30 which was three tenths of my entire cash reserves at the time. Now I've got them on the site here I'll pass them on to Zen Center for their photo archive the next time I go there. Tanaka has had strokes himself and so I can't contact him but Jerry Bolick is going to talk to his sister to see if that's all he has that should be in the ZC photo archive. As I write this I think of the need for me to do fundraising and marketing to support this site and these activities and wish to share these thoughts with you oh noble reader.
The last time I went to see Ananda my son Clay (14) came with me and stayed the whole time. Clay's used to Buddhist stuff and dutifully listened while I read - I only read for thirty minutes so that helped. Vera and I talked for half an hour beforehand with a few contributions from Ananda who was lying down between us and Clay had some comments too. Oh yeah, Vera said that Art Atkinson had visited and was coming back today to read to him. I wonder how that's going to work out. Art doesn't want to read anything Buddhist. He had some play in mind. And Silas Hoadley visited with with Ananda two times recently Vera said. Ananda corrected to "three." I'd called Silas in Port Townsend a few weeks back and told him about Ananda's condition and it turned out that he was just getting ready to come down. Vera said they hadn't talked in 25 years. I remember so well the two of them together back in the sixties standing talking by themselves at Tassajara and in the city. Ananda was very pleased.
I tried to get back Sunday to read the rest of the chapter to Ananda but couldn't fit him in and just saw Chuck Gould instead. I'd stood Chuck up on Friday because a propane truck had gotten stuck in a ditch blocking my in at Clay's school for three hours (where I'd been participating in the morning work by weedeating along the road). Another propane truck had to come and take all the gas out of the stuck one before a giant tow truck pulled it out. Nothing I could do but sit there and enjoy it - the trees, the lush greenery, the birds, and mainly the trucks and tires and chains and mud. It was driving Chuck nuts not to be able to get out or even get around in his apartment so easy with his broken leg, ankle? and crutches. But he's doing pretty well and even had a little party last Saturday night.
I also want to mention that I've seen Della Goertz a few times at her retirement home in Napa. My friend Katrinka went with me a couple of times and I've gone by myself too. The first time she was in bed and seemed pretty weak but since then we've met in chairs outside the dining room and outside her apartment. She asks about everyone and loves to hear news and always talks about returning to her apartment in the city but she's so well taken care of where she is. I doubt if she'll go back. And she's got a daughter and grandchildren there who visit her.
That's enough for today. Next time I'm going to tell about the day back in September I think when Ananda went to the hospital, the day I'd brought a documentary film maker to his house to interview him about DT Suzuki and Alan Watts and Zen and Jodo Shinshu - the last easily audible (though hardly normal) conversation he had. I'll also discuss progress in his will to live.
3-20-05 - Michael Wynne passed away last night.
3-19-05 - Our dharma sister Iva Jones has melanoma and is need of financial assistance. [later - Iva Jones was diagnosed with melanoma in February of '05. She was treated for it then, with western medical and natural methods and is fine now]
Dharma brother Michael Wynne is on his deathbed. Those already with him wish for no other visitors.
3-9-05 - On Saturday, Rene Pettit and I visited with Ananda Claude Dalenberg at the nursing home he's just moved to (see Whom we're thinking of for details). Also there were two others whom I chanced upon - Al Robles and his nephew. Al is a white-bearded Pilipino American poet who used to sit with Suzuki and before that Tobase at Sokoji. I hadn't taken the address of the nursing home with me and all I remembered was that it was on the corner of Laguna and Ellis and so when I saw hip-looking Al crossing the street walking toward me, I asked if he knew where it was and then asked if he knew Claude and he said yes he did, that they were friends back in the days of the East-West House. Rene drove up on his motorcycle and we all chatted for a while and then went to see Ananda who remembered Al well. After a while Al and nephew said farewell and Rene and I stayed there for two hours, communicating with Ananda but mainly talking with each other - catching up, gossiping. Ananda nodded that it was alright for us to do that but shook his head no when I asked if I could interview Rene there. Ananda was able to whisper and nod in answer to questions. The facility he's in is populated with very very old bedridden people and some in wheelchairs and walkers. It seems like a pretty nice place to me with a dedicated staff. I thought of Buddha leaving the confines of his palace and seeing old age, sickness, and death for the first time. Possibly due to a good deal of past experience, Rene seemed to be interested in helping Ananda to escape, but Ananda whispered, when Rene asked if he wanted to leave, "No choice."
Rene and I both agreed to come back when we could to read to Ananda. Rene works in the city, is doing construction, and says he's known Ananda 40 years and can't forsake him. It's going to be hard for me to get there often but I've gotta try to do it.
I asked Ananda if he'd like to be read to and he nodded yes. Rene asked if he wanted to Buddhist books and again Ananda nodded. Rene asked if he wanted to be read stuff about dying and Ananda nodded yes. Rene asked Ananda if he could read and Ananda didn't know. Rene put a magazine in Ananda's left hand. He can raise his left arm. It was too hard. He's had a series of strokes. I asked if I could read The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying and Ananda nodded. I said great, that I was really interested in reading it. I've borrowed a copy from the house here and plan to start tomorrow.
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