Subtle Eye Blog
Remembering Myogen Steve Stuckey - That's a link to the SFZC memorial
page for Steve and announcement of a memorial ceremony tonight and
tomorrow for him. He was a dear friend and former chief abbot of the SF
Zen Center who died on New Year's Eve last year. His illness and death
came about quickly, disturbingly, a matter of a few months. He was
especially well loved and appreciated. He was also a strong supporter of
the work represented on this site and shunryusuzuki.com. He called me
right after becoming abbot in February of 2007 to offer his support and
set up a meeting. After a half year of this work being regarded as an
abbot's project, he came to agree with me that it's best for the cuke
archives etc to be independent of any connection to the SFZC other than as
a no strings contribution - as this work always has been. Everyone's
happier that way. Shunryusuzuki.com was in no small way an outcome of his
persistent encouragement and support. Right up to his illness I sent him
regular brief reports and Ccs of key interactions. His personal monthly
financial contribution was also significant. Our friendly and social interactions were
mainly in prior decades and I remember them fondly. He had that quality
Shunryu Suzuki had of being strict with himself in an easy-going way - and
tolerant of others. I miss him. - DC
3-23-14 - Video interview with
Steve Stucky on Vimeo - thanks Elizabeth Sawyer
Saying Farewell: A Record of the Funeral for Myogen Steve Stucky -
with a link to video of the ceremony.2-13-14 - At Steve Stucky's funeral on February 9th, Edward Brown left
the following message from Katrinka and me on the Green Gulch altar with
Farewell Steve. we will miss your friendship, support, humor, and
teaching in everything you did. Gone way too soon. Too soon but well
comment on this at
8-25-14 - Shunryu Suzuki lecture from the 1975 Wind Bell volume
14, issue 1.
In the new presentation
All Shunryu Suzuki lectures, lecture notes, and comments
from the SFZC's Wind Bell publication
1961-2012 now combined with links to the complete Wind Bells with
cover images added - also links to the page on shunryusuzuki.com where
audio, verbatim transcripts, other edited version can be found. Today
featuring # 61 of 111 selections (approximately). - dc
This is the Wind Bell with Steve Stucky on the cover. I miss Steve and
many people miss Steve and the SFZC misses Steve and cuke.com misses
Steve. He was a steady, wise person and a strong supporter of the cuke
archives and all this work and made a considerable monthly donation - was
a subscriber.- DC
Funeral for SFZC Central Abbot Steve Stucky set for 3 pm on Sunday,
February 9 at Green Gulch Farm. Go to that website to see it live.
Funeral for SFZC Central Abbot Steve Stucky set for 3 pm on Sunday,
February 9 at Green Gulch Farm.
1-07-14 - Steve Stucky Cremation
yesterday - from Elizabeth Sawyer
San Francisco Chronicle obituary for Steve
- thanks Steve Tipton
1-03-14 - Steve Stucky Death Poem
- thanks Elizabeth Sawyer
In Memoriam Steve Stucky - from the SFZC
12-31-13 - Farewell Steve Stucky who died at home this morning at
4:03. A life well lived. A man who will be missed. Love and condolences to
It is with great sadness that we pass
on this news from the SFZC website. SFZC
Abbot Steve Stücky Diagnosed with terminal cancer -
Letters from President Susan O’Connell and Steve
(on SFZC.org) for SFZC Abbot Steve
Stucky who is now in the hospital. All our prayers for Steve's well
being and for Lane in this most difficult and challenging time. (on
Messages can be sent to Steve through that page and private
messages should be sent to Steve's assistant: Mary Stares<centralabbotassist[at]sfzc.org>
Stucky talk given at Green Gulch Farm on Wednesday October 2.
SFZC.org bio page for Steve
Dharma Eye Zen - Steve's group that, among other things, meets in San
Rafael Monday eves
Steve's dharma talk page
on SFZC site, now
a 2008 talk on Tassajara Fire
YouTube from Sky Creek Dharma Center -
The Zen Teachings of
Suzuki Roshi from Abbot Steve Stucky
Tassajara Fire cuke page - much on
Steve here as he was a pivitol character in the 2008 fire at Tassajara
that led to the book Fire Monks featured on this page.
Lane Olson is married to Steve.
Steve with Dan Welch at
Dan's Mt. Seat
Ceremony in Crestone - thanks MK
At a gay pride day event in SF
Steve Stucky Death Poem
This human body truly is the
Each breath of mine, is
equally one of yours, my darling
This tender abiding in "my"
Is the fierce glowing fire of
Linking with all
Flashing to the distant
From "right here now" to
Now the horizon itself
- thanks Elizabeth Sawyer
Steve Stücky, abbot at S.F. Zen
Francisco Chronicle - January 2, 2014
Steve Stücky, an abbot at the San Francisco Zen Center who
once risked his life to help defend a temple from a wildfire, died New
Year's Eve at his Rohnert Park home after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
He was 67.
As the Zen Center's central abbot since 2010, Mr. Stücky
oversaw a large community of monks and other Zen students at the
organization's locations in San Francisco, Marin and the Ventana
Wilderness, east of Big Sur. Hours after his death, each temple rang the
temple bell 108 times, a number that in Buddhism symbolizes the banishing
of worldly desires and worries.
Diagnosed in September with stage four pancreatic cancer,
Mr. Stücky endured a lot of pain and stepped down from his role as central
abbot in December. Yet the wisdom that endeared him to many remained
intact in his final days. In one of his last conversations with Susan
O'Connell, the president of the Zen Center, he reminded her of the
importance of sticking to decisions that were necessary yet painful.
"He was actually someone who was extremely kind, but also
very strong and wise and willing to have difficult conversations,"
Born in Chicago, Stücky grew up in Kansas, according to
biographical information provided by the Zen Center. His interest in
Buddhism took root in 1971, when a friend gave him a book about Zen
practices. The following year, he hitchhiked to San Francisco and started
sleeping in Golden Gate Park in order to go to meditation at the Zen
There he stayed and studied for eight years. By the 1980s,
he had a family, and he supported them for two decades as a landscape
He temporarily left the Zen Center but continued to be
active in the Buddhist community, co-leading a meditation group at San
Quentin State Prison and serving as board president of the Soto Zen
Buddhist Association in North America. He returned to the Zen Center as a
co-abbot in 2007.
His dedication was perhaps most visibly challenged on July
9, 2008, when a giant wildfire threatened to overtake the Zen Center's
monastery at the former resort of Tassajara Hot Springs near Big Sur. All
the residents left at the urging of firefighters, but Mr. Stücky and four
other monks stayed and ended up keeping the flames at bay.
Colleen Morton Busch interviewed Mr. Stücky for her book
about the event, "Fire Monks." "It was really Steve that was the turning
point" she recalled. "But he didn't speak about that moment in any kind of
dramatic or self-important way. He was completely humble about it and just
felt like he was making a necessary decision in that moment."
Mr. Stücky is survived by his wife, Lane Olson; his son,
James Asher; daughters Hannah Dominguez and Robin Williams; and four
grandchildren. A funeral service will be held soon at the Zen Center's
Green Gulch Farm. The family is accepting donations made to the Zen
Center's Widening the Circle Capital Campaign ( http://imagine.sfzc.org).
Stephanie M. Lee is a San Francisco Chronicle staff
writer. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: @stephaniemle
Steve Stucky Cremation from
Dear Family, Friends, and
Just returned from the
cremation of beloved friend and my heart teacher Myogen Steve Stucky which
was held at Pleasant Hills Mortuary in Sebastopol at 10 am. It was three
years ago January that we attended to the cremation of Darlene Cohen (at
the same place). Many of the same people were present.
The ceremony was satisfying and
powerful as we chanted and offered incense/flowers/herbs, and lavender
buds that Wendy Johnson brought from Steve's own gardens to offer to the
body in the plain pine box that Steve requested. Some of us stayed in the
rectory while family, disciples, and close friends accompanied the body in
a procession chanting "May you be happy, may you find peace" over and over
again to Steve on the way to the crematorium.
Steve's wife Lane Olson and
James, Hannah, and Robin (Steve's children) put their hands on one
another's hands and pushed the button on the oven to start the process of
burning the body "back stage". Then we recessed back to the rectory and
ended the ceremony and said our good byes as we were gently shooed out to
make room for the next funeral!
Steve's teacher, Sojun Mel
Weitsman led the ceremony in the rectory and Linda Ruth Cutts The next
Central Abbess led the procession and ceremony at the crematorium. In the
beginning of the ceremony Steve's Brother spoke as did Lane's sister, and
two of Steve's disciples Ren Shin Bunch and me (Elizabeth). A note from
Victoria Austin was read.
Then everyone offered chip
incense of the flowers and herbage to the body in the casket as we chanted
the Ennmei Juku Kannon Gyo over and over again.
Ken was the doan (chant leader
with bell and small wooden drum on a stick). Mary Stares (Steve's
assistant) and Chris Fortin bookended the procession with bells on a stick
we call inkins. Bruce Fortin was the jisha (attendant) for Mel during the
offerings at the altar.
There will be a public ceremony
at Green Gulch Farm at a later date TBA.
this page created 10-18-13