“Go out and breathe God!” – instructed Sasaki Joshu Roshi. That’s precisely what i’ve attempted to bring to the Westerners notion of Personal Fitness.

Although i could wear my Naropa monks robes for you,
i find that if i wear them, too many people bow superficially and it sets up difficulty with
my SvaDharma of bridging Western Fitness to the Eastern Enlightenment Sciences…

…so i dress in the robes of a what a Western Fitness Monk should wear; breath and elegant posture in all circumstances…

…the robes of a Western Fitness Monk should change with the multi-disciplined application of Big Mind, Small Ego, and Tons of Sweat, Stillness, Focused Fun,and most of all: Inspirational Kindness To All Beings In All The Realms. Sometimes we can inspire others to breathe and move just by going for an inline ski skate!

i hand over the DL Dharma Pulpit to my MOST BELOVED and BRAVE and BEAUTIFUL Shishya Leslieh whose Engaged Practice in every moment that i am near Her, is a radiant ember of Roshi’s Gleaming Dharma Sword…

Dear Coach,
I find myself deeply pondering your teaching today. Although, you are “dressed” as Teacher Ilg, I found myself “hearing” the actions of many of my early “old” zen teachers attempting to get through the intellects of students like myself. My “first” teacher Sasaki Joshu Roshi is now 100 years old. He kindly, ruthlesslly, methodically worked decontructing my intellect for many years – a thankless task I am sure- I remember the day (actually it after midnight) at a seven day practice period under Sleeping Ute Mountain- four times a day we came into Roshi’s interview room and did our thing….intellectually trying to impress him with our understanding of our koan…finally with me, Roshi began ringing the dismiss bell BEFORE I even got in there. I can still here him laughing and ring the bell More zazen he bellowed. Finally, my intellect could stand it no longer and I gave up trying to have an answer for Roshi that was slick, clever, cute. I arrived at Roshi’s door fully expecting to be rung away. He invited me in, and I will never forget his eyes looking into mine. Gone was the laughing bellowing chastising Roshi. he said to me ( that evening he had spent an hour talking about there being no God), The bell rang and I walked out into the night and the stars poured into me like molten diamonds.

That may have been my first “teaching” outside of the alter of western learning. I bow in gratitude for Roshi’s patience willingness to begin over and over with me. That small taste changed the direction of my thinking not thinking whatever we want to call it ever since that night.

Steve, you remind me of Roshi, yes dressed differently, using perhaps a different set of skillflul means to meet your students at the doorway – but meet them you do with the same kindness, ruthlessness, and methodicallness. Over and over again and again you chip away at your students cleverness and intellectual prowness untill there is nothing left but to go out and breathe God.

A deep bow in gratitude. student LH


Most Cherished and Beautiful Yogi LH,

molten diamond sky (5)
your metta dances inside (7)
know nothing Teacher (5)

photos by Ananda of coach during an inline ski skate session, Sunday.

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