I don't know if you will remember me, but I seriously remember you.
Long ago you and others used to crash at my house in Monterey on your way
in and/or out of Tassajara. Alan Marlowe was my brother-in-law.
A while ago I joined a meditation sangha with Ed Sattizahn (and am good
friends with Marsha Angus and her partner Christine) and in our readings
and talks your name and website was mentioned so I decided to try and
connect with you. I realize I was pretty "background" during those
visitations, but that is when and where my desire to study Buddhism
began. I now, finally, have a place to begin that long ago wish. In
between then and now I searched for the right place and finally found it
with Ed, with stops at Siddha Yoga, and a few other places.
So here I am, and hi! If you would like to connect that would be great,
if not that's ok as well.
I hope you are well and happy. The last few times I saw you was at
Greens, you seemed to remember me then, or you were very polite.
I am also wanting to try and connect with Diane Di Prima if you know how
and where. [Diane was married to Alan Marlowe]
Looking forward to hearing from you.
DC wrote back giving Diane Di Prima's contact info and letting her know
about the fund to help pay Diane's medical expenses posted in
What's New on April 19th
and in the Ads section, and asking Jeri
for any memories she had of Suzuki Roshi or anything else back then. She
So nice to hear back from you! Yes I met Roshi a few times, both at
Tassajara and Zen Center (no Green Gulch yet).
First, memories of you from 1970 or so! You, Alan, Tommy Dorsey and
others would frequently show up at my house in Monterey on the way out (or
in) of Tassajara. There was always a secret key left outside for you all
should you need a place to crash. At that time, you had taken a 2 year vow
of silence, and I remember laughing because, while you did not talk you
still were the noisiest silent person ever! My then 5 and 7 year old
kids were baffled by your not speaking. I did not have an answer that
they really understood about why you didn't talk but I remember my oldest
trying to get you to talk to him, and coming away frustrated. But I always
knew where you were in the house because of your noise!
Additionally, It was always such a pleasure to have you all there as it
gave me the opportunity to spend time talking and learning from each of
you about Zen. When we moved from Monterey to Hawaii I looked for a place
to learn more, but no Zen Center existed there at that time so I did TM,
which was a terrible experience as I felt like a robot, so I quit. I
learned about other ways of meditating as time went on.
My first contact with Suzuki Roshi was at Tassajara, watching him direct
Alan to endlessly move rocks, really big ones. Alan would have to move the
same rocks over and over, at Roshi's direction and discretion. We (Roshi
and I) did not speak really, just an introduction. Later on that day I
remember sitting at lunch with Alan, Roshi, and others. I stayed silent,
but could not move my eyes from Roshi's face. I felt something
indefinable, just sitting there. And I loved Roshi's smile, and his
generosity of spirit. As I was getting ready to leave I thanked Roshi for
lunch and the beautiful day at Tassajara. We bowed to each other. His
smile was radiant and went from the top of his head all through his body.
I moved away from the SF area for 5 years or so and when I returned I met
Alan at Zen Center to spend some time together. His brother and I had
divorced but I tried to have Alan and his kids remain in our (my kids and
I) lives. I was once again invited to lunch. This time with Roshi, Dick
Alpert, Dick Baker, Alan and others. Again, I sat in silence during
lunch, wondering why I had been invited but again focused on "feeling"
Suzuki Roshi's calm presence. They were talking about "big" events, most
of which I did not understand. I asked Alan but, as I am sure you know,
he lived on some other planet and his explanation was not clear to me. I
often wondered why, when he was dying, Alan was in Colorado with Trungpa,
rather than in Zen Center. I had lost touch with Alan for a long time but
when I learned that he was dying I called him and in typical Alan form he
brushed away my sadness and said the only thing he regretted was dying
from lung cancer rather than AIDS," which was much more fashionable". I
tried calling him the following week but he was no longer taking calls.
He died shortly after that last call.
So, David, take from this anything you'd like but mostly remember that,
while we did not really know each other well, I always thought of you
All the best to you, and keep in touch
Yes, that's me. It was a six month vow of not talking that Baker Roshi
put me on in 1972 after Suzuki had died. Everyone always says it was the
noisiest vow of silence they ever heard.
I'm going to post your comments tomorrow. I love unique observations like
I completely forgot that Alan had a brother. Remind me where you lived
would you? I mean what street and what your house looked like.
I kept up with Alan till I moved to Japan. I talked to him about safe sex
- he was coming on to everyone after a sesshin with Kobun Chino and I
asked what, in light of the fact that his lover had just died of AIDS,
what he was doing for protection and he said that his attainment was so
great that he could neither get it or pass it on,
He died in Kobun's arms and his dying words you may not have heard,
confirmed by several people, were, "The udambara taxi has arrived."
There was too Zen in Hawaii. The Diamond Sangha started there in Maui in
the sixties and I'm not sure where else - Honolulu I guess.