Marking the Passing of an American Zen Master

I just learned recently retired San Francisco Zen Center abbot Steve Myogen Stucky died about two hours ago. The echoes of the bell at the San Francisco Zen Center, which rang one hundred, eight times at the moment of his death are still reverberating…

As I write these words his community is preparing his body. He asked to be cremated wearing an okesa sewn by his friends.

I didn’t know Steve well. But, I did know him. And I really, really liked him. Among those who’ve risen to prominence within our North American Zen community, Steve was one of those who were never distant, never gave people a sense the Zen dharma was for anything other than you and me, ordinary people.

He was ordinary in a most extraordinary way.

He showed what Zen is really about. Something sadly many of us have lost sight of in recent years.

Steve started the study of Zen in 1971 studying with many teachers and masters of our way, including Richard Baker, Dainin Katagiri, Robert Aitken, & Tenshin Anderson. He received Dharma Transmission from Sojun Mel Weitsman in 1993. And was elected co-Abbot of the SF Zen Center in 2007, then during re-organization becoming Central Abbot. After his cancer advanced to the point he felt he could not serve adequately, he stepped down at the beginning of this month.

Steve is survived by his spouse Lane Olson, three adult children, four grandchildren and a wide community of friends and admirers.

One of the good ones.

One of the good ones…

All I can sing is endless praise for a life well lived, and a showing forth of how I would live mine…


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