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Sangha News     Zen Aluminati   Death&Dying

Interview with Jerome Peterson

Messages about Jerome Peterson


From Erik Storlie

Eric Storlie link page

i have always thought of jerome peterson most fondly ever since i haunted sokoji and tassajara summers in the sixties and lived at the page street center in 1971-1972. jerome was from lake benton, minnesota, which amazed me. i'm from minnesota also, my roots in the prairie norwegian traditions of my father's people, farm people. so i saw in jerome something very familiar - and yet strange. here he was at zen center, of all places, a man then in middle age, while i was still young and experimental. we never spoke much, altho we talked about lake benton. sometimes he joined philip whalen, alan marlowe, myself and others playing hooky on weekend work periods after lecture to go down toward market street to a coffee shop where we got sweet rolls and such. he was physically awkward, yet somehow perfectly serene in his skin. he puzzled me, intrigued me, and i liked being around him. when i think of him i think of lonely lake benton, minnesota, and when i think of lonely lake benton, minnesota, i think of jerome.

erik f. storlie
author:  Nothing on My Mind:  Berkeley, LSD, Two Zen Masters


From Barrie Mason

Once when I was living in an apartment across from 300 Page street Michael Gilmore and Jerome and I were sitting on the floor having some sort of a meal. Jerome was looking at the advertising in the Chronicle. Michael asked Jerome what he was looking for. Jerome said that he wanted to buy a trunk. Someone asked if it was for the bodies of the young women who he lured into his room at Z.C. Jerome said, "No it is for their zories."

I always remember that when I think of Jerome, and now Michael has also joined the ancestors.


From Elizabeth Sawyer:

I sent Baker-roshi the account of the exchange between him and Jerome at the 1973 shosan ceremony. He sent back a nice reply. Said that Jerome was the first person he ordained. Here is the quote from a shosan ceremony circa 1973 Jerome was his anja:

Reb says he remembers Jerome yelling "Unprecedented! Never before seen! Matcha-flavored snow cones!" Then Baker Roshi says, "Jerome, what are we here for?" Jerome yells "Buddha!" Baker Roshi says again, "Jerome, what are we here for?" Jerome yells "Buddha!" And Baker Roshi again says, "Jerome what are we here for?" Jerome yells "Buddha!"


From Jim Bay

Living in Oregon now, I just received the news of Jerome’s passing.

In 1969 I was living in a huge ‘hippie palace’, as we called it, at California and Scott.

I discovered Sokoji and began sitting there one Saturday, not even knowing what meditation was, and did the whole morning with Mel Weitzman as the attendant new priest at the work period and the Zazen instruction after the mornings service was over.

I began sitting every morning and immediately found my self walking back into the same neighborhood area on California St. with Jerome every morning.

I immediately liked his big gawky self and easy accepting way with me.

We would chat about Zazen or work or just walk along together.

Over the next 40 years we always remembered and acknowledged each other when crossing paths and it has been a few years since I last saw him.

I will miss his being.

A very good man.

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