We are home from a wonderful memorial service for Jikan Leonard Cohen at the Rinzai-ji Zen Center.
Though Leonard and I belonged to the same Zen center and the same synagogue in Los Angeles for many years, lived in the same neighborhood in eastern LA, and both of us hailed from the same Canadian city (Montreal) and the same university (McGill), we never really connected.
I saw him often, but when I did, it was because we were in the same place to medicate, study and pray. It never seemed like quite the right time to approach him.
I did tell him once that his music is always rattling around in the back of my head. And it still is.
Once I shouted out to him from the audience at one of his many concerts that we attended about his high school in Montreal and he was kind enough to shout a joke back.
The Zen service was gentle, full of traditional Sanskrit chants, his music and personal stories of his humility, generosity, grace, and friendship.
He was at once ordinary and extraordinary.
His final gift was his graceful exit from this realm. In a letter to a friend read at the service, he shares that even with his horrible pain and his medications and his pending death, he had never been happier.
Always teaching to the last moment.
I will miss him as I remain greedy to hear more, to learn more from this wise fellow seeker.
Rest in peace, dear Leonard. You have given me and so many so much.
Labels: Death memorial service, Leonard Cohen, Zen