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Ananda Page

More On Ananda from the cuke email basket

don't miss Philip Whalen's comment

2-23-08 - dc wrote the following to Gary Snyder today:

What used to be telegrams, emails from afar were read at the funeral. Steve Stucky, one of the present abbots, read yours – not reading the Daihishin but saying you’d sent it and reading what you had to say at the end. Then he read your poem, "Parting with Claude Dalenberg." Dick Baker also read it in his service in Crestone Colorado. John Bailes read it at a Bellingham, WA, service. It was sent from Berkeley and Germany. Taigen Dan Leighton will read it at a service in Chicago on Monday.

Others mentioned Gary's poem as well including Dan Welch, Brit Pyland, These are mentioned in the post on the day of the ceremony and in the ceremony.

Taigen in Chicago on Monday

The following were read to Ananda if they arrived before he died.

Read to Ananda toward the end - from Lew Richmond (part of this was read at the funeral)

David has kept me up to date about your illnesses and many difficulties, and most recently about your decision to take command of your life and life span in the way that you have. I wanted to let you know that since your stroke I have thought of you often--your seminal role in helping Suzuki Roshi establish himself and his practice in America, and even before that your contributions to American Zen when it was still just an idea.

I want you to know that I think of you as a most courageous, dedicated person and Buddhist practitioner; you are one of the founders of our Suzuki Roshi lineage and will always be honored as such. I am sorry that things did not go so well for you or for many of us after Roshi's death, and that your connection to Zen Center did not continue in the way that it was in the early days. Nevertheless your presence is still felt, certainly among us old-timers, but in some subtle way by everyone. You hold a particular place in the pantheon of our founders--always someone who opted for honesty, directness, and straight talk when others were obfuscating or unclear.

Now it appears you may be approaching the final act of your practice life in this life. It is your decision, and I honor it. May you have clarity, and ease, and freedom from discomfort and pain. All the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are with you. And should your mind change or turn some different way--well, that is good too. None of us ever know what is going to happen. How can it be otherwise?

Greetings and salutations to you, old friend. May your journey be easeful and filled with light.

Yours in Dharma,

Lew Richmond

From Tensho David Schneider in Germany.

Not knowing what else to do really, I wrote out Ananda’s name in calligraphy on a stiff card, put it on my shrine, did some bows and chants and hoped he would have liked it, and that it might in some way ease his journey.

My strongest memories of him are from the Library, and the early days of the Study Center. I worked with him as his assistant during those days (72, ‘73, ‘74 -ish) and he was really helpful. I owe him quite a bit of gratitude.

It was hard when he changed his name, because "Claude" seemed to fit so well. Much about him was, in fact, "clod"-like – his handwriting, in dull pencil on yellow legal pads, his manner of dress, his walk, the way he moved his hands and talked. But I think he was much smarter than most of us know – thus, possibly, that twitchy eye.

In an interview for the Issan book, he told me things about working with Suzuki-roshi, and the early days of Zen Center and about Buddhist practice in San Francisco generally, things I’d never heard from anyone.

He also did that thing one time during a lecture of his, not only of wearing an okesa over street clothes, but then, of putting his rakusu on over the okesa. This was to signify his solidarity with the lay folk - "Good old Ananda," he said, with a kind of idiot smile, and serious intent.

It was tempting but on the card, I wrote "Ananda "


learned Ananda was not up for a visit when I went by yesterday, now I know why. Saw your posting on the webpage. I am saddened. Ananda was one of the first people I met and connected with at SFZC. I remember him often saying 'five minutes of zazen is five minutes of buddha.' I long admired his dedication to the Path over 25 or more years when I first met him and his refusal to fit into the ZC mold.

I have no doubt that his pain is now over, although the pain for his family and those who knew him isn't. Thanks for all you did for him and for other zen alluminati.

Dan Kaplan

My thoughts are with Ananda as he lets go of his body. May his pure awareness dissolve peacefully and easily into the vast space of the dharmata.

Cheryl Foltos

Sorry to learn about Ananda's funeral. Hope he will sleep in perfect peace forever. Gassho,

Tozen Akiyama

To Ananda Dalenberg, a friend in Dharma

Several years ago, shortly after he settled into the nursing home in San Francisco, Ananda looked out at me from his bed and said "You’re the one who’s not moving." It was classic Ananda, delivered with a wry smile and a glint in his eyes.

Two days before he died, when speaking was no longer an option for him and when my words were beginning to sound hollow, I chanted nembutsu at his bedside, something he had always enjoyed. After a few minutes, he waved me quiet; "enough" he seemed to be saying.

In this few short days since his death, I’ve thought of this often and have begun to feel that slight movement of his hand was not meant so much to wave me off, but to wave me on, to encourage me, yet again, to move beyond where I was clearly stuck. Stuck trying to do something, trying to add or accomplish something, where in fact everything was already being done.

I see here now no finality in my dear friend’s passing. There is instead a sense of the call to continue moving on…

So true to the point,
could only turn mute, back turned
heavy, smile a grim presence and wonder,
the weighted inadequacy laid bare, staring back,
before me now wordless

useless and brittle,
yet reluctantly dropped, falling
more their own accord, me watching falling,
lifeless words rattle
to their rightful return,

we two then there together
in breath, listening,
at one within the luminous embrace
of true voice…

Namo, Namo, Namo

Jerry Bolick, 2/23/08

Philip Whalen Aug ¹77 on Ananda - these are notes sent by David Schneider who's working on a book on Philip.

Commenting in a class at Naropa about a theory which Snyder was "laying out these days" on the virtues of oral transmission of poetry. Whalen shifts from talking about that to a consideration of the oral transmissions of Buddhism; he tells a funny story on himself and Ginsberg trying to remember some lists, and then:

"...I studied Buddhism for many years, before I one time took a class - participated in a class being given by a friend of mine, who¹d been at the Zen Center for many years. The class was about the six paramitas, the six perfections that a bodhisattva is supposed to cultivate. Now I knew what those things were - I¹d read about them for years - but the effect of hearing him tell about it, personally, was quite, quite different from the effect of reading about it, and the recollection of reading it. I still can¹t remember them any better, I¹m sorry to say, but it meant something different to me, having him tell me, having him explain the things one at a time, crossing back and forth through a lot of other material. It all made more sense - and also there was more feeling to it. some kind of "feeling tone" (I guess people call it these days,) is radiated from it, which you¹d have a hard to writing down.

"If you wanted to write it down, and do a book on the six paramitas, and do in it all the things that Claude did with it, you¹d end up with like all of Remembrance of Things Past you¹d have two volumes about this thick to tell, on paper, what he got out of that list of six, abstract, Sanskrit words..."

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