Myogen Steve Stücky passed away at home in Rohnert Park, California, on December 31 at the age of sixty-seven. Steve had many lives, or like a well-shaped jewel, many facets—Zen priest, husband, father, landscape designer, pastoral counselor, singer of songs. A Zen student since 1971, his teachers included Richard Baker, Dainin Katagiri, Robert Aitken and Tenshin Anderson. In 1993 he received Dharma Transmission from Sojun Mel Weitsman. Steve served as an abbot of San Francisco Zen Center from 2007 until his stepping-down ceremony in December 2013.
            I have always thought of Steve as a “stand-up” guy. Honest, kind, caring, smart and awake. Practicing and teaching with him in a three-year priest training program (SPOT, Shogaku Priest Ongoing Training) confirmed the heart quality and steadiness of his understanding, which is mirrored in his students. Steve’s illness and decline was sudden and difficult—for him, for his family and for those who loved and respected him. But he kept teaching through it all. In a talk he gave right after his diagnosis Steve said, “Each of us can do something, right up to the last moment.” This final poem, written a few days before his death, shows that he meant just that. And he is teaching still.

— Hozan Alan Senauke    
Guest Editor (Spring 2014)

 

DEATH POEM

This human body truly is the entire cosmos
Each breath of mine, is equally one of yours, my darling
This tender abiding in “my” life
Is the fierce glowing fire of inner earth
Linking with all pre-phenomena
Flashing to the distant horizon
From “right here now” to “just this”
Now the horizon itself
Drops away—
Bodhi!
Svaha.

Myogen
12/27/13

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