Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I probably won't last the week

Sorry friends,
The end is coming much sooner than predicted. I won't horrify you with the graphic details; let's just say none of my plumbing is operational. I tried and tried to find a remedy that would allow me to make a farewell tour---even ordered t-shirts :-) All to no avail. I now have 24 hour nursing care which provides a nice break for Paula. I remain as committed as ever to helping Windhorse finish their building. So if you want to help write to aaliyah.haqq@stagen.com

Over the past decade, especially, it has been my honor to serve you in a spirit of mutuality. I learned lot.

I love you all,



  1. Phil,
    My brief encounter with you as a coach and mentor was one that made an everlasting impression on me. Whenever I "catch" myself activly listening I see your face and hear your voice. You have left a small part of yourself with so many. Not to mention you have a great name.

    Peace be with you and yours.
    Phil Lansdowne

  2. Dear Phil,

    You teach through example right up to the finish line, my friend. I suppose there are no right ways or wrong ways to handle such deeply personal and challenging circumstances, but you are evidence that there are ways that have the power to inspire. Your luminous spirit hasn't faded one bit, your wit is in tact, and you are full of the thing we call life. Hemingway would have said you exhibit, "grace under pressure." My God, but what grace you do exhibit!

    You remind me of a favorite passage from Nepo's Book of Awakening: "We are often called further into experience than we'd like to go, but it is this extra leap that lands us in the vibrant center of what it means to be alive." As beautiful as they are, these are but words on a page until a brave soul proves them to be true. Thank you for doing that, Phil. Thank you for everything.

    God Bless, and may your journey be a peaceful one.

    - A friend in Dallas (signing anonymously because I know I also speak for so many who read your posts and simply cannot find words).

  3. Phil,

    You inspired when you were my coach, you inspire me now and you will continue to inspire me as long as I live and beyond. You are brave, loving, peaceful and full of equanimity. Thank you for the year we spent together and giving me your unconditional support, guidance and insight. As you helped me, I am happy help Windhorse on your behalf. I will send my contribution in your favor. Peace be with you, Paula and your loving extended family. I love you, Phil.

    From a very special place in my heart,
    John Martini

  4. Dear Phil,

    I want you to know that I am very grateful that I have had the chance to know you, and to learn from you. I am inspired by your perspective on life, on how to live life, and how to transition from this life as we know it.

    I’m so glad we had a chance to chat briefly last week – hearing your voice reminded me of the times I listened as you guided discussion of Buddhist readings.

    Loving wishes to you, to Paula, and to your family as you continue on your journey. Thank you for being you, and for sharing yourself with others, including me, in so many ways.

    Love, Cindy

  5. Phil,

    I'm sorry I won't get to see you in Dallas. I'm deeply grateful for your friendship and my life is immensely richer for having known you. I'll miss you.

    Love to you and Paula,

  6. Dear Philip Koso,

    I had just begun zen practice at Austin Zen Center in December 2009 after years of thinking about it, and was fortunate to attend your ordination ceremony in January. Seirin Barbara Kohn returned to Austin to ordain you, and friends and colleagues came from out of town too. I remember Paula speaking simply, to the point, and of her love for you. The love and respect that your friends and colleagues have for you shined brightly that day. Today I read about Kyudo Nakagawa Roshi, a Rinzai priest in NYC who died in 2007. Someone posted a remembrance, saying, "When someone like this dies, everyone sees him, suddenly, with their hearts. No longer a great Zen Master from a great monastery in a great tradition, instead, an old man cooking you lunch, helping you out, showing you how. He was a true man." I think you are such a man, the kind who jumps in alongside and helps out and shows how. The example you have been for everyone you've touched by living your life mindfully with Paula will ripple on forever, even as you leave this realm behind. I bow to you as you now show us how to die.

  7. Phil Gien Koso Ju Gable!

    I could not be there in person.

    But in a way, I carried you with me from the days you started out at Mt. Equity Zendo, so bent you were to become a Zen teacher! I conferred on you your first lay Precepts and the Dharma name Gien. In your move to Texas came the opportunity to lay ordain with my colleague Rev.Barbara Seirin Kohn, which then led, at last, to your priest ordination. Despite your kind invitation, I could not gain permission to be there in person, sequestered behind temple gates for a 90-day winter practice period to lead others. But you have been in my/our daily prayers since you first contacted me.
    With no outside communication possible,I lost your contact information, and after briefly connecting afterward, you then lost the way to contact me. After a phone call from Paula, through an unexpected notice, I have the last pieces before me. I have shared this news of your physical departure with your old Sangha members here. And we will continue our prayers daily up to a 49th day memorial service, and then annually.

    We monastics are taught that there can be no higher calling in life than to become a Buddhist priest. That calling of yours was accomplished. Your journey will fare very well. We are greatly solaced by that. May Paula, and all your family and loved ones find peace in a new way of being with you in their hearts. I have no doubt how well you endeavored to prepare them.

    I could not be there in person. But I am there. We are all there with you, much loved one in the Dharma.
    With deep bows from Dai-En Bennage