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Interview with Tim Aston

12-10-08 - Larry Hansen reports on Tim Aston's memorial service.

On the second of this month we receive the following notice:

I am very sad to report the death of Tim Aston. He succumbed to a heart attack last Thursday, he was 66. His wife Jean, and children Mellisa, Ramona, and Gabe are on Quadra Island. We will have a memorial for him on Saturday.

Yours with radiant gratitude

Larry Hansen

Here is what he sent about the memorial service for Tim:

My wife Masami, my daughter Liv, and I traveled to Quadra Island on Saturday to Tim’s memorial. Tim’s family and I set up an altar with a large picture of Suzuki Roshi. Upwards of 70 people packed themselves into what had been Tim’s favorite coffee shop where he played chess daily. I had made copies of our English version of the Prajna Paramita which we all chanted accompanied by mokugyo and bell. I read my poem (below), and invited whoever would like to come to the altar, light incense which I had brought from Eiheiji, read a poem, tell a story, or just light a candle. We had a table full of small candles burning through the night. I accompanied two Island musicians on my banjo in Will the Circle Be Unbroken, and everyone sang. We closed with three bows for Tim.

The ceremony meant a lot to Tim’s wife, Jean, his daughters Ramona, Melissa, son Gabe, and all his old friends whose lives have been enriched by Tim’s gentle sincerity. Tim had been building a cabin on his property with his son when he passed away.

Gasho, Larry

Yo Tim


Formless form    Svaha

Seawashed ears    Svaha

Sawdust brain , same as mine,     Svaha

You knew the blues before me

Soft touch      Kitten in the rain

We built shelter in the mountains,

Drifted together beneath carpets of stars,

You never sailed far without me,

Awash with tears of gratitude

Listening for the wind.

Kozan said:

“ Empty-handed I entered the world

Barefoot I leave it

My coming, my going…

Two simple happenings

That got entangled”

 Larry sent this message before the ceremony:

The memorial will be this Saturday evening on Quadra Island. I will lead the Prajna Paramita on my old mokugyo. Whoever wants can tell stories or speak from the heart. I am bringing my banjo, and with a few local musicians will play will the Circle Be Unbroken and maybe get rowdy afterwards, Tim always liked a party (remember my story about EB serving Sake in the Zendo) [I'll put that on tomorrow - dc]

If any of the old crowd wants to e-mail me with a story or poem, I’d be happy to include it. I don’t think Silas can make it, I have told him, and Bill Benz in Portland. I will be sitting with Silas mid December in Pt Townsend.

If anyone wants to know where this memorial is, email me and I'll give you Larry's cell phone # -

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