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Robert Aitken Roshi is dead

Robert Aitken Roshi

Robert Aitken Roshi died last night. He was 93 years old. This is a sad moment for American Zen.

Here is the official notice from his blog.

James Ford wrote a wonderful post on Aitken Roshi reflecting on his history and impact.

Aitken Roshi, through his books and example, has had a profound effect on my perception of Zen and my desire to practice this path. He has been one of the stalwart examples of an ethical teacher that, as far a I can tell, lived up to the principles of our faith. His writings were and are incredibly inspirational to me.

I believe he will be remembered as one of our most important Western teachers of the 20th and early 21st centuries.

Jack Daw posted the following quote from Aitken Roshi’s book, “Miniatures of a Zen Master”:

"Old age ain’t no place for sissies. Yes, that’s 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 don’t mourn my loss 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."