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An email from Aleta Drummond on Phillip Wilson

Phillip Wilson main page

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8-10-14 [posted 11-06-14] - Phil Wilson taught me how to sit zazen in the busy gym at Sonoma State University in 1976. I asked him to teach me when I saw light flowing out of his eyes. He gave me the gift of my life. We lost touch until 1997 and then visited once and corresponded for a few years. I found out that he died when I was attending a vipassana retreat at the Sonoma Mountain Zen center several years ago. (From Roshi Kwong)


I am sorting through a drawer and found letters from Phil to me. Here is a quote that sounds like a teaching on Metta practice:


"I just wrote a letter suggesting that we all give him the merits of our meditation. Merits can be given to anything or anyone. You just say to  the Buddha, or God or your deity. 'Please give the merits of my meditation to ....'Then do your meditation. You can do it to your friends who are sick, your children, your friends, Patients (I'm a psychiatrist)-a group- people you don't trust. You can give it to God or the unborn."


Here is one from April 1999:


"The crooked cucumber is ok, but be careful. The book is arranged to give a pleasant impression of Rev, Suzuki & that time. But it doesn't express what really happened with Rev Suzuki and myself. Some of these experiences were bitter. The sweet & bitter experiences, in past, shaped part of my character. I am continuing to expand this bitter side. When experienced with stillness and loving compassion there is spiritual growth. The condition of bitterness in other people can be helped by experiencing it in stillness & love. The same can be said for viewing one's own bitter conditions when they arise up within oneself or are evoked in relationship." 


Phil was the real deal as far as I am concerned. He is still teaching me in death. Maybe he also had mental illness. But he was a bodhisattva for me. 


I enjoyed reading other's experiences of Phil, and thought I would share this. 


With warm feelings for you, 


Aleta Drummond


DC responded:


Thanks a lot for contacting me and sending those quotes which I'll certainly add to Phil's section on which you seem to be aware of. I'll also forward this to JJ, his long ago wife who you may know taught and I think founded Women's studies at Sonoma State.


I'd like any further quotes you'd feel comfortable sending  - or pages or whole letters or scans or whatever - or your memories of Phil or impressions or anything you want to share including your own take on things, especially any details on the bitter memories which I'd include if I knew what they were [with the already posted extensive material from Phillip which he told me over the phone].


All the best to you.




[Didn't receive response to this but that doesn't mean that we won't at some point]