In Best Of Zero: Leonard Cohen’s Fragment from a Journal & Death of a Lady’s Man

I lit a stick of incense. I sat down on a small cushion crossing my legs in a full Lotus. For over an hour I thought about how much I hated one of my ex-wives. It was still dark when I began writing a metaphysical song called “Letter to the Christians,” in which I attempted to exaggerate the maturity of my own religious experience and invalidate everyone else’s, especially those who claimed a renewed spiritual vitality.

Excerpted from Fragment from a Journal
By Leonard Cohen

In 1978 Leonard Cohen became a financial backer of and contributing editor to  ZERO: Contemporary Buddhist Life and Thought,  A couple of his contributions, Fragment from a Journal and Death of a Lady’s Man, are available online at The Best Of Zero

Best Of Zero also includes pieces by or about other individuals of interest to Cohen fans:

Joshu Sasaki Roshi

  • On the Nature of Zero
  • Who Pollutes the World?

Joni Mitchell

  • Interview

Allen Ginsberg

  • Collage of Haiku, Kerouac, etc.
  • Two Poems

John Cage

  • The Music of Contingency – An Interview

Steve Sanfield

  • Two Poems

“You need this love to be grounded, until there is no difference between you and your love, or what you love or what you are. It’s just the one thing.” Leonard Cohen

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My old teacher told me that the older you get and the lonelier you get, the deeper is your need for love. Like everyone else, I have looked for such deep love. And as you get older, you need this love to be grounded, until there is no difference between you and your love, or what you love or what you are. It’s just the one thing.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen als Zen-Mönch, a video shot during one of the several visits Leonard Cohen and Roshi made to a Zen Center in Austria from 1990 to 1996. Quotation interpreted and, in part, translated by Rike.

Note: “My old teacher” is Roshi. The words quoted are from a videotaped interview that is overdubbed in German. This quotation as represented comprises Leonard Cohen’s words in English except portions obscured by the overdubbing, in which case a translation of the German overdubbing is used.  In this quotation, for example, the phrase “be grounded” is an English translation of the German narration.

A similar Leonard Cohen quotation can be viewed at Leonard Cohen on being asked “What is the best advice you have ever received?”

“My teacher’s [Roshi’s] school places much emphasis on work and ordinary life, and is very structured, severe and strict. What happens is that you stop thinking about yourself. It worked for me.” Leonard Cohen


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My teacher’s school places much emphasis on work and ordinary life, and is very structured, severe and strict. What happens is that you stop thinking about yourself. It worked for me. I never really understood the Zen philosophy. What kept me coming back was my friendship with Roshi. Like all great teachers, he accommodates all students who come to him. Some seek a teacher, others discipline. I needed a friend and he gave me a great deal of affection. He did not try to give me spiritual instruction, but a solution to the pressures of my life, and it didn’t matter to me if it passed for religion, the kitchen or philosophy.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From An Intimate Conversation With…Leonard Cohen by Elena Pita. Translated by Marie Mazur (using translation software) and aided by Guadalupe Baquero. Originally posted in Spanish at Magazine, Sunday Supplement to El Mundo: September 26, 2001.

Note: Originally posted June 13, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“[Roshi] became someone who really cared about-or deeply didn’t care about who I was. Therefore, who I was began to wither. And the less I was of who I was, the better I felt.” Leonard Cohen

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From Being True Love- Sasaki Roshi, a founding father of American Zen, turns one hundred by Sean Murphy (Tricycle, Fall 2007). Originally posted July 28, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

The Articulate Silence Of Leonard Cohen: Jikan & Silence

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When I was ordained as a zen monk, Roshi gave me the name Jikan…I have asked him what Jikan meant many times, at the appropriate moment over a drink, and he says ‘Normal silence’ or ‘Ordinary Silence’ or ‘The silence between two thoughts’.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen1

Silence is a concept Leonard Cohen often addressed. The Articulate Silence Of Leonard Cohen is a collection of posts comprising the poems, songs, quotations, and other works by Cohen focusing on the absence of sound. Today’s offering, the first in the series, features his explanation of the name Roshi gave him when he was ordained a Zen Monk (for more detail, see Interpretations of “Jikan,” The Name Given Leonard Cohen As A Zen Monk By Roshi)

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  1. The silence between two thoughts by Sylvie Simmons (sylviesimmons.com) []