Adirondack Wilderness trainees have been imprinted with his mangled and marvelous version of the Voyageurs’ song: “Oooohh preddy mae blondae, kae fae bon fae bon fae bon . . .,” which he would launch into around the campfire or whenever the canoes faced a particularly difficult passage. He would give each camper a quasi-French or quirky Native name, (as in Hojin’s “No Man Tepee Woman” . . . yes, there’s a story there.). All of it basically working to make it impossible to be stopped by fear, even amid four foot waves on a fog-filled lake with no shoreline in view.
In addition to the impressive, well-known dharma catalogue of videos, books and other media offerings, Roshi also produced the private-label “Dogs and Cats Know It; Zen Students Do Not,” featuring his son Asian’s tabby cat, his dog Lobo, and himself disguised in a fake moustache fashioned of dog hair conducting interviews, and making perhaps the most killing presentation of the ancient koan ever . . .
And there is also his underground video “Zen Fang” in which the monastery compost heap is rid of an infestation of giant rats, the community is saved from certain doom, and Roshi awards Lobo, the rat killer and film’s hero with kisses on both “cheeks” and a Legion of Honor Medal as the dog sits posed, confused, in front of the vanquished rat pack.
Tears and laughter.
The profound and profane.