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Joel Weishaus

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Joel on Marian Derby Wisberg and Tassajara below.

9-09-14 - Joel Weishaus on meeting Soen Nakagawa

from Soen Nakagawa Roshi dot com - Remembering Soen Nakagawa Roshi

3-24-14 - Joel Weishaus, Artist-in-Residence at the Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, shares his Beginner's Mind Project with us:

The Introduction - Then hit the links to Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter to the left to read the rest.

Digital Archive of Joel Weishaus

Joel has letters in, his name comes up in Ananda Dalenberg's Newsletters 1983 #3, 4, 5; 1984 #8, 10, 11; 1988 #27; 1990 #30-31 - thanks Joel Weishaus for scanning and sending this last one in

Books by Joel Weishaus - Amazon list.

There's a poem in Feels Like Home Again, Collected Poems, from Ryutaku-ji where he practiced with Soen Nakagawa.

Joel collaborated with Arthur Okamura on two books with Arthur. "Oxherding" and "The Healing Spirit of Haiku," which has just been reissued and did a book on Bolinas writers. Maybe he and I met when I lived there 76 through 85 with Arthur's ex-wife Liz Tuomi. - DC

8-16-14 - Have been corresponding with Joel Weishaus about Marian Derby Wisberg whom he met at Tassajara in 1969. He recently wrote:

Reading around your site today, I came upon Fran Thompson's piece on Marian Derby, and was shocked to learn that she'd passed away. We met at Tassajara, and stayed in touch for several years, during which she helped me through some psychologically difficult times. So this news came as a shock. I will burn some incense and meditate on her renegade spirit.

DC responded: I have more to put on from Frances and a large box of their years of correspondence.

JW: I'll look forward to seeing more. Her letters to me are in my archive at The University of New Mexico's Zimmerman Library, so I can't get at them until I get to Albuquerque, and I don't know when that will be.

DC: [Asked for what more Joel might remember]

JW: Here's the passage from my autobiography (with the, what I call "invagination," in it), and the link to the entire page below:

Zen Mountain Center,Tassajara, CA. Late one night, sleeping on the floor of a detached guest room black as a puddle of India ink, I was jarred awake by two sharp claps of a hanthick pieces of wood used as a call to meditation—, which there was no reason to strike so late at night. Near the door, I saw a monk, glowing white, seemingly another set of questions is raised if you believe that these entities are nonphysical and autonomous. Are they related to us beyond the fact that we can share the same communication space? Are they somehow related to our own existence, not in the sense of being dependent upon it, but floating above the floor. He looked at me for what seemed a long time, then disappeared. The han was used to call my attention, but by whom? When I told this story to the monks, they just laughed.

On my first day at Tassajara, a woman with long dark hair had walked past me. There was something unusual about her, a graceful strength, a mysteriously intelligent air. She didn't appear again until I was waiting for a ride in the laundry truck to Monterey. Her name was Marian. I told her I was a poet, and she said she wrote poetry too. She asked if we could stay in touch. This we would do for the next twenty years.

With a need to be a hermit, not a monk, Marian Mountain became somewhat of a legend at Tassajara, living alone in the misty hills of Big Sur—

The east wall of the Pacific Ocean beat on the west wall of the Santa Lucias. With nothing to protect me from my environment, it was not difficult to be at one with it. Many mornings I sat enveloped in cool clouds that drifted  in and out of the small hut I named Half-Dipper Hermitage.

I think it was 1969, and I was there only for a few days. Actually, two years before, I asked Dick Baker if I could join the community (I had known him from Berkeley), but he didn't answer my letter. So, by that time, my physical life at least, had moved in another direction.

The links in there are important to make sense of it.

DC wrote back: I was there the first half of 69 - through June - then took a sabbatical to study Japanese in Monterey. So maybe we met if you were there then. If it was 69 and you wrote two years before about going to Tassajara, that would be 67, our first year, and it was really easy to get accepted then. I think your letter got lost in the shuffle.

JW responded: Yes, it was 1967. I was living in the Haight, and was the Literary Editor of UC Berkeley's Daily Californian. That my request got lost is interesting, because if it hadn't my life would have progressed much differently! However, I don't regret a moment of it. I did get to Japan in 1968, visited Nakagawa Soen at Ryutaku-ji, and he's been my Zen teacher ever since, dead or alive. But my practice now is as a writer. (I told this to Stephen Mitchell [We lived at the Cambridge Zen Center, in 1974, at the same time], and his eyes lit up. "Me too," he said.

DC wrote back and ask Joel if he'd met or seen Suzuki Roshi.


JW: It must have been around fifty years ago, so I hardly remember. A room, and zufus, A hallway. Suzuki talking in rather broken English. It's all misty. - this memory posted in Brief Memories of Shunryu Suzuki