Myogen Steve Stückey

SteveStucky_RenshinBunce_withPhCredit_colorbalMy friend Myogen Steve Stückey Roshi, abbot of San Francisco Zen Center passed away this morning. I will miss him.

Steve was a good guy and not at all like what one expects from a Zen master type, especially one who is the abbot of a major American Zen center. He was always really straight forward and unpretentious, highly approachable. I can’t say I knew him well. But I always liked him a lot.

I don’t have much more to say than that. A whole lot has been going on that I’d like to blog about but haven’t had the time. I ordained four priests, I got robbed on Christmas Day, stuff like that.

We’ll hold a small memorial for Steve at our usual zazen thing this coming Saturday at Hill Street Center at 10 am (237 Hill St., Santa Monica, CA 90405).

35 Responses

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  1. Alan Sailer
    Alan Sailer December 31, 2013 at 12:05 pm | |

    Sorry to read about the death and the robbery. It’s good to hear about his basic approachability and unpreteniousness.

    Personally speaking I’d be pretty leery of a pretentious zen master….I like my zen simple.

    I’m assuming that the ordination worked fine. If not, sorry about the ordination…

    Cheers.

  2. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 31, 2013 at 12:16 pm | |

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvEcAkKMqBo

    “On The Beach”, Neil Young

    “The world is turnin’,
    I hope it don’t turn away,
    The world is turnin’,
    I hope it don’t turn away.
    All my pictures are fallin’
    from the wall where
    I placed them yesterday.
    The world is turnin’,
    I hope it don’t turn away.”

    Sorry to hear about the robbery, Brad. I did hear about Steve Stuckey, though I didn’t know him. You description makes me miss him, just the same.

    1. Jan Abnormal
      Jan Abnormal January 1, 2014 at 10:14 am | |

      Great song! Thanks for posting Mark.

  3. Mumbles
    Mumbles December 31, 2013 at 6:29 pm | |

    Happy Weird New Year, Y’All!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yghe3A2wANo

  4. AnneMH
    AnneMH December 31, 2013 at 10:06 pm | |

    What a way to end the year, so sorry for your losses. yeah sucks and I know you know that it is what it is. Thinking of you

  5. Jan Abnormal
    Jan Abnormal January 1, 2014 at 10:11 am | |

    Geez, not the nicest way to end the previous year and start the new one! Sorry to hear about all these happenings. Wishing you a good new year despite it all.

  6. jiesen
    jiesen January 1, 2014 at 10:56 pm | |

    Who decides where one year ends and another one starts? Where one life ends, and another one starts? If a Teacher or Patriarch visits you in meditation, how can you say there are really “real”; but then how can you say they really aren’t Real?

    I say, if you find the guy who robbed you, load him down with more of the stuff we drag through life, hopelessly attached too. Then watch the little prick try his best to crawl away while you laugh at him!!!

    A Happy New Year comes from the Mind.

  7. jiesen
    jiesen January 1, 2014 at 11:35 pm | |

    The Brahmin transmigrates through life and death,
    His soul always suffering decay and old age.
    Even reading a hundred imperial books,
    He can’t avoid beatings and chains.
    But uttering Namufo even once,
    And altogether attain the Buddha Way.
    -HanShan

  8. jiesen
    jiesen January 1, 2014 at 11:39 pm | |

    And All together attain the Buddha Way.

  9. anon 108
    anon 108 January 2, 2014 at 11:16 am | |

    Please excuse me. I’ve nothing to say about Myogen Steve Stückey or the Buddha way…not in so many words. I just want to let those of you who’ve visited my blog (thank you) know that the annoying soundfiles have been deleted from the first post. You can now go here – http://malcolmmarkovich.blogspot.co.uk/ – should you fancy, without let or hindance.

    Happy New Year to Brad, to Brad’s blog’s readers, and to Brad’s comment section’s commeneters.

    Malcolm

  10. Fred
    Fred January 2, 2014 at 3:26 pm | |

    Mac, I saw your hippy pictures. You were on tour with Yes? Fantastic.

    There’s no zen on your blog. Happy new year, brother.

    1. anon 108
      anon 108 January 2, 2014 at 5:13 pm | |

      Yes, Fred.

      No Zen on my blog? That’s what you say. But thanks!

  11. Fred
    Fred January 2, 2014 at 4:05 pm | |

    Andy I really like your poetry ” The Straw Man Looks Forward To A [Zucchini] Pants New Year And A Mumblesome Semiotics.”

    That’s if you wrote it; if you half plagiarized it, feck you.

  12. Andy
    Andy January 3, 2014 at 4:40 am | |

    Thanks, Fred. And so, here’s one dedicated to your skeptical appreciation.

    The Straw Man Fondles His Host

    relieved by the passive voice to distract
    rebarbatives from your enlightened sweat
    now that we’re so warm and tender and spent
    we can drift like the musks of a tomcat
    along the Ganges’ roiling sky-born rat
    infestation that’s free to be god-sent
    or found beatific by an outsourced death
    rebirthing like barley these ‘vulpine bats’

    who, in threes and threes, were thrown to deploy
    spores of nonsense, ripples, a kitchen sink
    into ‘once misquoted, thrice a mutant’,
    yet finesse this sonnet with a decoy
    two-part, mafia snog: foxy brat-shits
    are but bulging my straw-bag/O Moment,

    1. Andy
      Andy January 3, 2014 at 5:30 am | |

      …and the 1st stanza (and final) upgrade comes free with a WordPress account.

      relieved by the passive voice to distract
      rebarbatives from your enlightened sweat
      now that we’re so warm and tender and spent
      we can drift like the funk of a tomcat
      along the Ganges’ roiling sky-born rat
      infestation that’s free to be god-sent
      or made beatific by outsourced death
      rebirthing like barley its ‘vulpine bats’

      who, in threes and threes, were thrown to deploy
      spores of nonsense, ripples, a kitchen sink
      into ‘once misquoted, thrice a mutant’,
      yet finesse this sonnet with a decoy
      two-part, mafia snog: foxy brat-shits
      are but bulging my straw-bag/O Moment,

  13. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote January 3, 2014 at 7:36 pm | |

    Down along the Ganges
    I spied my little bundle of joy
    Down along the Ganges
    We walked together, ashes band
    Everybody watching her go by says
    she’s not there, and yes, he’s her man

    I get confused, Andy. Was you is, or is you was, what you ain’t? You write better poetry when you do, rather than when you don’t, and Fred is just straight on board with that stuff, what does his boiler plate anyway, pass the solder and hold the semantics. Semibiotic, I gotta have it.

    1. Andy
      Andy January 4, 2014 at 1:20 am | |

      Folk sometimes create their own confusion. The Idea Of Zucchinipants at Keyboard West was a doing of mine clearly using a well known source text by Wallace Stevens. The Straw Man ones are doings of mine without using a modified source text. None are examples of plagiarism, while all are reliant on past texts, as all writing is. It’s just that the Wallace Stevens edit employed a lightly satirical strategy employed more often in other art forms than with a poem.

      Plagiarism is passing off other folks work as your own – something I charged Fred with a while back, which is why he chose to use that word when expressing his doubts.

      The Straw Man Talks To the Mirror

      What in God’s hoary armpit was that?
      No sooner do I settle down to some peace
      or quiet and the bastard tears vibratos
      of Guernica from the wood-chip wall paper.

      Hold on to your powder-puff cheeks, sly
      light, that heart-breaking Rothko serenity
      he’s after’s predicated on Jackson time.
      All bukkake party, with you eating carpet.

      Prepare for some back-to-the-wall, seat-
      of-the-pants DIY rage-at-the-machine
      before painting commences, dear space.
      Your ekphrastic plagiarism’s an eye-rhyme.

  14. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote January 3, 2014 at 7:40 pm | |

    Wish I could ramble but I gotta roll!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4x06FnP1OQ

  15. Fred
    Fred January 4, 2014 at 6:48 am | |

    A strawman is the identity foisted upon us when we are popped into this mortal
    coil. Looking into the mirror the strawman ignores the true reality of what is
    seen while he arranges his coif to meet the needs of the day.

  16. Fred
    Fred January 4, 2014 at 7:11 am | |

    “Prepare for some back-to-the-wall, seat-
    of-the-pants DIY rage-at-the-machine
    before painting commences, dear space.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QU1nvuxaMA

  17. Mumbles
    Mumbles January 4, 2014 at 7:13 am | |
  18. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote January 4, 2014 at 10:18 am | |

    “One of the surest of tests is the way in which a poet borrows. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different from that from which it was torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion. A good poet will usually borrow from authors remote in time, or alien in language, or diverse in interest.”

    (T. S. Eliot

    1. Andy
      Andy January 5, 2014 at 2:26 am | |

      Always nice to read some of Eliot’s donnish clarity. Those words have been floating around in my head for years. They can only usefully be applied to the Straw Men pomes though, as the Wallace Stevens edit was something else altogether – not a poem of mine, but a deliberate ‘defacement’ in an informal context used for satirical effect. One would have to refract Eliot’s (modernist) perspective into a post-modern understanding of that kind of textual strategy, for any insights or claims to hold any water. And like reading zen books without some grounding in practice, Eliot’s judgement calls are likely to limit understanding rather than liberate the processes of reading and writing.

      From a c21st perspective on poetry, if we ‘get’ what Eliot is saying we’re already going beyond it – if not, our understanding is incomplete. Poetry like so much else is what we discover it to be, before we set up la regle de jeu to consolidate what we have discovered for the next generation to embark from, or burrow deeper into.

  19. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote January 4, 2014 at 10:20 am | |
  20. Andy
    Andy January 5, 2014 at 3:05 am | |

    [em]“A strawman is the identity foisted upon us when we are popped into this mortal
    coil. ” [/em]

    [em] Time present and time past
    Are both perhaps present in time future
    And time future contained in time past.
    If all time is eternally present
    All time is unredeemable.
    What might have been is an abstraction
    Remaining a perpetual possibility
    Only in a world of speculation.
    What might have been and what has been
    Point to one end, which is always present.
    Footfalls echo in the memory
    Down the passage which we did not take
    Towards the door we never opened
    Into the rose-garden. My words echo
    Thus, in your mind.
    But to what purpose
    Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
    I do not know. [/em]

    [em] “Looking into the mirror the strawman ignores the true reality of what is
    seen while he arranges his coif to meet the needs of the day.”[/em]

    [em]All life is but a figment; conversely, the tiny
    Tome that slips from your hand is not perhaps the
    Missing link in this invisible picnic whose leverage
    Shrouds our sense of it. Therefore bivouac we
    On this great, blond highway, unimpeded by
    Veiled scruples, worn conundrums. Morning is
    Impermanent. Grab sex things, swing up
    Over the horizon like a boy
    On a fishing expedition. No one really knows
    Or cares whether this is the whole of which parts
    Were vouchsafed–once–but to be ambling on’s
    The tradition more than the safekeeping of it. This mulch for
    Play keeps them interested and busy while the big,
    Vaguer stuff can decide what it wants–what maps, what
    Model cities, how much waste space. Life, our
    Life anyway, is between. We don’t mind
    Or notice any more that the sky is green, a parrot
    One, but have our earnest where it chances on us,
    Disingenuous, intrigued, inviting more,
    Always invoking the echo, a summer’s day. [/em]

  21. Andy
    Andy January 5, 2014 at 3:16 am | |

    The quotes were meant to be in italics, but I used ‘[ ]‘ instead of ”. The first is from The Four Quartets by Eliot, and the second is from Daffy Duck In Hollywood by John Ashbery

  22. Fred
    Fred January 5, 2014 at 4:28 am | |

    “I see the boys of summer in their ruin
    Lay the gold tithings barren,
    Setting no store by harvest, freeze the soils;
    There in their heat the winter floods
    Of frozen loves they fetch their girls,
    And drown the cargoed apples in their tides.
    These boys of light are curdlers in their folly,
    Sour the boiling honey;
    The jacks of frost they finger in the hives;
    There in the sun the frigid threads
    Of doubt and dark they feed their nerves;
    The signal moon is zero in their voids. ”

    Dylan Thomas

  23. Fred
    Fred January 5, 2014 at 4:34 am | |

    Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water.
    The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken.
    Although its light is wide and great, the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide.
    The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in dewdrops on the grass, or even in one drop of water.
    Enlightenment does not divide you, just as the moon does not break the water. You cannot hinder enlightenment, just as a drop of water does not hinder the moon in the sky.
    The depth of the drop is the height of the moon.
    Each reflection, however long or short its duration, manifests the vastness of the dewdrop, and realizes the limitlessness of the moonlight in the sky.”

    Dogen Zenji

  24. Fred
    Fred January 5, 2014 at 4:45 am | |

    The signal moon
    Manifesting in all things
    Reflecting in life and death
    Semiotic for those that see
    Shining through disorder
    And order at Key West
    Through unbridled passion
    Of honey curdlers
    And the the zero point
    Of this Void.

    1. Andy
      Andy January 5, 2014 at 8:29 am | |

      Heat up the signal moon of ruin
      Curdle the honey of a frigid void
      Nerve that zero of its cargoed tithe
      And set sour to barren
      Finger to frost
      Fetch boys of folly
      To doubt appled love in its frozen hive

  25. Fred
    Fred January 5, 2014 at 9:43 am | |

    Myogen Steve:

    Dr. Zhang believes that if left untreated, I could expect to live three to six months. Effective chemo-therapy should improve quality of life and perhaps double life-expectancy.

    My extended family has already been informed of the situation and I look forward to your support as I rearrange my planned activities to take the best care of this body and all the relationships that are so important and rewarding . . . especially those with each of you.

    Please address any questions to my assistant, Mary Stares, and we’ll do our best to respond. Perhaps we’ll set up a a site for regular updates.

    to what shall I liken this life?
    moonlight, reflected in dewdrops
    shaken from a crane’s bill
    —Dogen

    I got trouble in my mind lord, I believe I’m fixin’ to die
    I got trouble in my mind lord, I believe I’m fixin’ to die
    Well I don’t mind dyin’, I just hate to leave my children cryin’
    —Blind Lemon Jefferson

    Love to each of you,
    myogen steve”

  26. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote January 5, 2014 at 10:31 am | |

    When Shinzen talks about a deeper purification, a deeper enlightenment, I lose him (2:00).

    Thanks for the poems and the Dogen.

    And now:

    http://vimeo.com/2909820

  27. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote January 5, 2014 at 6:32 pm | |

    Two of my good friends have reported that they are grappling with “the great matter” in their lives. I am grappling with breathing in and breathing out.

    Folks that die of Alzheimer’s forget how to breathe; at least, that’s what I’ve read.

    All I have to do, it seems, is get down to where I remember how to breathe, yet like waking up from a dream or settling down to sleep it’s always a little outside of what I can do.

    I believe I’ll take a walk.

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