Stanley White
c.1920 - December 16, 2016

May 1, 2017 - Just learned from Brigid Meier that Stan White died in Taos earlier in April. She sent photos (See below) of a memorial service for him and Bob Watkins who died on December 8th, 2016. Brigid said that Stan was 96. I visited Stan many times in Taos and nearby Arroyo Seco where Hokoji is. Often he was living like a hermit. He told me in '92 that he could count on one hand the people who've visited him there. He was somewhat a curmudgeon, his stories where awful good and sometimes suspected he was elaborating for the sake of the yarn - but mainly they rang true. Vanja Palmers was most generous and kind with Stan through the years. The last time I passed through there in July, 2013, we missed each other due to an unfortunate communication problem. Farewell Stan - what a character! More on him from me below. - dc

Vanja wrote: we had a nice ceremony at Hokoji yesterday (April 30, 2016). The weather played along nicely, and there was an assorted crowd of maybe 80 +, … the old Zennies, Bob’s adopted Indian family, Stan’s friends from Taos… Yoshiko (Kobun's daughter) also attended.

Both Bob and Stan passed on last December. I was not aware of their crucial situation, but somehow happened to be here at the time. Sandy (Watkins) had just flown in from Hawaii, and we chanted the Heart Sutra and did Shasui at Bob’s bed, after which he peacefully stopped breathing.

Stan fell sometimes during summer and was brought to a hospital and then sent to a closed psychiatric institution. Some efforts were made by the sangha to know about his whereabouts, obviously with no success, since only family members are given any information. In December, I was able to locate him in a retirement home in Santa Fe, and he got quite some visitors and there were actually three folks with him when he took his last breath on December 16th (three days after I had flown back to Europe).

Interview with Stan by DC

Stan begin sitting at Sokoji in the mid sixties, spent years at Tassajara and at the SFZC, was ordained by Kobun Chino, and was a priest for years at Kobun's Hokoji near Taos. He's in his nineties now and in a convalescent home in Taos. still irascible. - DC, 2-02-17

From the Hokoji website: Esteemed Teacher:  Stan Butan White a long time diciple of Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi's. He moved to Hokoji in 1988. Butan sama was head priest for many years at Hokoji.

From Sweeping Zen: Butan Stan White was a temple priest of Hokoji, a Buddhist community near Taos, New Mexico established by Kobun Chino and Bob Watkins in 1983. He is a Dharma heir of Vanja Palmers.

Stanley Suzuki story in Zen Is Right Here

Another anecdote from Stan in ZIRH

Letter from Stan to DC after he'd read the interview with back of envelope below and below that his sign off doodle which is once again most appropriate since it was sent twelve years ago. And his address is there, might still be good.

A poem for Stan White by Leatrice Asher

The Art of Stan White - collected by Vanja Palmers

A six page collection of Stan's Zen ink drawings

The Zen Drawings of Stan White by Donnalynn Chase

in Shop here

This is the first collection of Stan White's ink drawings to ever be published. The drawings chosen by the editor, Donnalynn Chase, capture the essence of Soto Zen practice. Not only are his sumi-e "cartoons" skillfully composed, they are insightful tidbits of the early days of Zen in America. The forty-two black and white drawings by Stan White contained in this book span from 1978 to 2008 and depict numerous aspects of practice. Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi, White's teacher, helped to establish the majority of the temples reflected in the drawings . Whether or not you are a Zen student, chances are that you will enjoy the candor and spirit of Stan White's Zen drawings.



The above from a letter Stan wrote DC


Got the above off summer 2002 Wind Bell. See my note written on the page. I emailed Vanja Palmers and he confirmed it's Stan's not Philip Whalen's. Later found the next Wind Bell corrected that error.

One can always use the site search box on the Home or What's New page to look for more on him on cuke. - dc

5-02-17 - Here it is - a collection of Stan's Zen ink drawings

Photos of Stan White and Bob Watkins memorial at Hokoji in Arroyo Seco above Taos, New Mexico - April 30, 2017 - thanks Brigid Meier




                                                        Thank You, Stan!

                      For: Stan White

      Bundled up against the biting wintry sea

currents of the Pacific,

                                      I asked Stan how he could amble about

the monastery grounds in short sleeves

                                      and flip-flops sans socks.

                                      The cold won’t hurt you, he said,

                                      scrambling my brain waves! 

Wonderstruck with this new reckoning

that I could unbutton my coat,

let the outside in,

and whenever possible

                                      pass along the good news

to anyone shivering needlessly—

there is more of life that can be taken.

 from Leatrice Asher

I was homeless back in 2013/14 and used to meet up with Stan at The World Cup in Taos. He'd push his way through the patrons, bent and budging his body between people till he was at the counter.
He'd demand two coffees, not pay, and come outside and give one to me. He did the same with cigarettes. He'd pester someone who smoked out on the curb till they gave him one. I don't smoke, but he'd ask if I wanted one sometimes.
I'd ask if I could study Zen with him. He'd say: "No, but what do you want to learn?"
I'd reply: "From you? Nothing.''and we'd both laugh. 
It was our routine, our Hope and Crosby.
I'd been a commercial diver, an underwater welder. Stan had been a welder too. I was an artist, so was Stan. We'd read the same books on Zen. He'd been in the Army, me too, but for less time. 
I kept my rucksack tight and tidy. I'm not a bum. He seemed not to notice or care that I was homeless. 
I've been practicing Zazen over 20yrs, still sober, still grateful for his company. I live indoors now. Have a studio, still paint to make my way. 
Thank you for posting some of Stan's words.
-Will Crow


Thinking back on it, knowing I was homeless, Stan drew a silly picture of a bald monk with big ears on a napkin along with his phone number in case I needed a place to shower. So it was a mistake to suggest that he neither cared nor was aware of my situation.
I called him once when I reached Santa Fe. We spoke briefly, sharing a laugh, and I only recently heard about his passing.
That adage about ''when the student is ready the teacher will appear'' comes to mind, even if he's only there for a moment, and to offer coffee and conversation. (a place to clean up, etc)
Thanks again David.
Will Crow