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#1 2010-08-11 06:26:29

Rick Riekert
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Registered: 2008-03-13
Posts: 100

R.I.P. Robert Aitken

Robert Aitken, one of the pioneers of Zen in America, has died in Honolulu at the age of 93.


Mastery does not lay in the mastery of technique, but in penetrating the heart of the music. However, he who has not mastered the technique will not penetrate the heart of the music.
~ Hisamatsu Fy

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#2 2010-08-11 08:58:58

Kohl
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Registered: 2009-05-21
Posts: 91
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Re: R.I.P. Robert Aitken

Here's a link to an obit: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/aug/10 … n-20100810
A link to the Diamond Sangha page: http://diamondsangha.org/
Learned of his passing at our memorial service for him this past Sunday. Such a remarkable teacher. An embodiment of right action. A true pioneer of the socially-engaged Buddhism that is taking deep root in this country. For me, a model to study and emulate. Every day. Many many bows.


"I begin to feel the depths of a bamboo path..."
                              Meng Hao-Jan (689-740)

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#3 2010-08-11 09:40:37

radi0gnome
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From: Kingston NY
Registered: 2006-12-29
Posts: 1030
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Re: R.I.P. Robert Aitken

Just to make sure nobody jumps to conclusions, there are several Robert Aitkens notable enough to at the least get a wikipedia entry. One of them is a well-known silver flute teacher, musician, and composer. Another is the noted Buddhist teacher who recently passed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Aitken


"Now birds record new harmonie, And trees do whistle melodies;
Now everything that nature breeds, Doth clad itself in pleasant weeds."
~ Thomas Watson - England's Helicon ca 1580

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#4 2010-08-11 09:43:38

Rick Riekert
Member
Registered: 2008-03-13
Posts: 100

Re: R.I.P. Robert Aitken

Mr. Aitken was in frail health for several years after suffering a stroke in 2004. He had this to say a few years ago:

"Old age aint no place for sissies. Yes, thats true. One must cope with a range of afflictions from incontinence to macular degeneration, not to mention peripheral neuropathy, strokes and cancer and memory loss! Yet I dont mourn my lost youth. What a confused mess I was! What time I wasted! All in all, I am really quite comfortable in these last years. Pass the marmalade."

Yes, he was quite a guy.


Mastery does not lay in the mastery of technique, but in penetrating the heart of the music. However, he who has not mastered the technique will not penetrate the heart of the music.
~ Hisamatsu Fy

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#5 2010-09-12 21:42:34

Moran from Planet X
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From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
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Re: R.I.P. Robert Aitken

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/35/72308690_1c047b1d6f.jpg
doso by aaponivi, on Flickr

I believe this was Aiken Roshi sitting in the background while Watazumi performed (possibly at L.A. Zen Center).


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#6 2010-09-12 22:15:07

Tairaku 太楽
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From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
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Re: R.I.P. Robert Aitken

I love that picture. I think it was taken at the monastery in upstate NY.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#7 2010-09-12 23:04:41

Kohl
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Registered: 2009-05-21
Posts: 91
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Re: R.I.P. Robert Aitken

Thanks for posting such a great picture. As to its origins, I'll ask my teacher. He was in residence (Zen Mountain Monastery) when Watazumi came to play there while he was visiting Woodstock. Unfortunately, the background is a bit too fuzzy for me to be sure if it's the dining hall there or not. Chris, do you mean it might be ZCLA? Could it be Dai Bosatsu?


"I begin to feel the depths of a bamboo path..."
                              Meng Hao-Jan (689-740)

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#8 2010-09-13 16:44:46

Moran from Planet X
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From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
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Re: R.I.P. Robert Aitken

Kohl wrote:

Chris, do you mean it might be ZCLA? Could it be Dai Bosatsu?

The Soto center in the flatlands, no the Rinzai center on Mt. Baldy. But I think it has already been established here that it was a center in upstate New York. I got the picture off of Alcvin Ramos' site a long time ago. I don't know where he got it from. It has been uncredited as long as I've seen it.

Watazumi was at L.A. Zen Center for a visit in the 1970s or 80s. I've told the story elsewhere that Yoshizawa Masakazu told me about the experience, but I'll refrain from repeating it here, out of respect.

Aiken Roshi's book The Dragon Who Never Sleeps is one of my favorite books and a selection is appropriate in a memorial thread about him:


When sometimes precious things get stolen

I vow with all beings

to acknowledge that soon I'll release

all things to the king of thieves.


pg. 28

Last edited by Chris Moran (2010-09-13 16:55:54)


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#9 2010-09-19 14:04:52

Kohl
Member
Registered: 2009-05-21
Posts: 91
Website

Re: R.I.P. Robert Aitken

After checking with some long time residents of ZMM, it's highly uniikely the picture is from there; thus, must be Dai Bosatsu. Another info tidbit...apparently the picture will appear in a forthcoming book about Soen Nakagawa. Doubt the photographer had any idea that he or she had just taken such a picture that would become so well-traveled.

Chris Moran wrote:

Aiken Roshi's book The Dragon Who Never Sleeps is one of my favorite books and a selection is appropriate in a memorial thread about him...

While I've read and re-read "Mind of Clover" and "Taking the Path of Zen," I was unfamiliar with this book. I took your quote as a suggestion that I needed to check it out. Bought it for 2 bucks at a store around the corner and felt like I was stealing. It's excellent. The book is like a box full of well-honed tools. Practical, skillful and creative use of gathas. It's also an intimate glimpse of Aitken Roshi's practice. It's unlikely I'd have sought it without the quote. Much obliged.


"I begin to feel the depths of a bamboo path..."
                              Meng Hao-Jan (689-740)

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#10 2010-09-20 01:29:29

Moran from Planet X
Member
From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
Website

Re: R.I.P. Robert Aitken

Kohl wrote:

After checking with some long time residents of ZMM, it's highly uniikely the picture is from there; thus, must be Dai Bosatsu. Another info tidbit...apparently the picture will appear in a forthcoming book about Soen Nakagawa. Doubt the photographer had any idea that he or she had just taken such a picture that would become so well-traveled.

Sorry I led you astray. W**W @%$^# I hope at least you enjoyed your conversations with the old ZMM residents.

I didn't know where Dai Bosatsu was until five minutes ago. I assumed it was here on the Left Coast, as I do with most things.

Okay, that makes sense now as far as Aiken Roshi being in the picture!

Thank you for helping me paste it all together.


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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