December 31: The Great Leap

Steve in Eiheiji Rakusu NEF_RenshinBunce_closeup
Photo: Ren Bunce

Steve died this morning at 4:04, peacefully at home with family. At City Center beginning at 6:00 this morning, we rang the densho (bell) 108 times, followed by a service. Similar services were held at Green Gulch and Tassajara, and we are all sitting with his memory today.

Family and sangha members are preparing the body and dressing him in an okesa that had been sewed for him over the last several months.

All are invited to come and sit with the body at his home beginning at noon today until late afternoon Thursday, including through the night hours. No appointment is needed. The address is 335 Alden Ave., Rohnert Park, CA 94928. Enter through the garden gate at the front.

The following is an account of the last hours of Steve's life by his son, James Asher.

There will undoubtedly be a formal announcement but I wanted to share with you that your friend and teacher and brother and my father Myogen Steve Stücky has passed on early this morning. He was in some pain throughout the night but had beautiful periods of calm and translucence. As I left him about 3 hours before he finally let go he had the most beautiful smile on his face. His pain had stopped and he seemed to be communicating something - a "yes" is what it felt like to me. His smile was truly peaceful and it looked to me almost a secret smile as if he had confirmed something he had long suspected and it filled him with happiness and love and peace. I know all of you cared for him so much. Know that he is most certainly in peace and in your hearts.

With love and admiration and appreciation for all your support and love."

Also, below is the eko, or dedication, from this morning's service at City Center:

In Buddha’s diamond realm
The sun of wisdom shines without ceasing.
The sweet sound of Dharma soothes every troubled spirit
Like a draft of cooling water.

With full awareness we have chanted the En Mei Juku Kannon Gyo.
May Buddha with infinite compassion
Illuminate this endless field

­For our great, abiding friend and teacher
    Myogen Steve Stücky
   Who is passing from this world to the next.
   He is taking a great leap.
   The light of this world has faded for him.
   He has entered solitude with his karmic forces.
   He has gone into a vast Silence.
   He is borne away by the Great Ocean of birth and death;

May he, together with all beings, realize the end of suffering,
And the complete unfolding of Buddha’s Way  ~

More information will be posted here as it becomes available.  (Meanwhile, additional sharings and information may also be found on this Facebook page.)


1,265 thoughts on “December 31: The Great Leap

  1. Nonin Chowaney

    Steve was one of the good ones, a really good guy and an excellent teacher. I knew him for quite a long time, and we had some good times with each other over the years. I'll miss him.

    Nine bows to him and my condolences to his family and friends,

    Nonin Chowaney

  2. Lu Rehling

    Goodbye, Steve, and thanks always for your memorable, encouraging smile.
    Wishing comfort to all of the so many who will miss Steve being among us,

  3. Such sad news today, as was Myogen Steve's announcement of his diagnosis three months ago. We have been chanting for Steve here in Chicago, and will include a memorial dedication at our New Year's morning sitting tomorrow morning, and perform a Memorial Service next Monday evening. We recall fondly Steve's visit here and talks a few years ago. Steve's example in facing his death and life these past three months has been a great encouragement. With Love to Lane, and to all our SFZC family at this time of loss.
    deep bows,
    Taigen Dan Leighton
    Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, Chicago

  4. Robert Hall

    Thank you for Kanzeon! Your lecture years ago was an inspiration.
    My most profound bow to you and all you represented in the Zen community.

  5. michele casazza

    To Abbot Steve and family,
    Abbot Steve you where my teacher and my mentor for seven going on eight years. You stood by me when I had no one and was alone had no direction and didn't want to live. By both example and your words you taught me stength, indorence, to find the true beauty within myself and that in the stillness of all there was healing, peace, joy and happiness as we settle into the oneness of the pain it becomes part of us but not who we are. The biggest blessing to me I was telling Josho at the Zen center her in North Carolina is what a true example you are to all of us that we your students where so blest by your teacherings that have changed both our hearts and our lives, showing us not just the ture beauty within ourselves but in others and everything around us.
    I stand in the beauty and stillness of your as you desend you will always walk in the hearts of all of us who will carry out your teachings in the present moment of each day. You bless our lives with the gift of new found beginings. Util are paths meet again. You are not leaving us because your teachings will always continue to enrich our lives and our hearts.
    With Deep Graditude Big Bows and a Smiling heart filled with love,
    Michele casazza
    Your Student
    Michele Casazza

  6. David Silva

    This inarticulate love
    without beginning or end
    hopeful and always

    Thank you for your living example of presence and love.

  7. grace schireson

    Myogen was a terrific teacher in our SPOT program for developing Zen priests and a fine human being who was honestly interested in hearing and exploring even the most difficult situations. He was a terrific role model who exemplified strength and sweetness together without compromising a shred of his authenticity.
    He loved teaching in SPOT, and all my students, now here for a New Year’s sesshin, today shared their remembrances of his contribution to SPOT and to Zen in the Central Valley. Blessings for his safe travels were offered, and 108 bells rang out here this beautiful, shining morning in the Sierras.
    I am particularly grateful to him for our poignant conversations after his diagnosis, and my participation at his side in Christine Palmer’s most exquisite recent Dharma Transmission (on Dec 4th). I will never forget how he remained himself—deeply composed and tender—through it all.
    With many bows and condolences,

  8. Dave

    Thank you for giving me the privilege of witnessing Steve's process over these months. I have learned and benefited greatly. I hope my passing can also be of benefit when my time comes. Deepest condolences and gratitude to his family.

  9. Shoen Brian Ferrell

    I'm sad, but I'm also relieved. Now he is in a peaceful place. One of the hardest things the past couple of months has been to hear how excruciating the pain was for him. In the blog post his son James said he was peaceful at the end, had a knowing smile on his face. So with the sadness there is gratitude, that the pain and the fight is over, gratitude that he found peace and acceptance in the end.

  10. Shoen Brian Ferrell

    He was an amazing teacher who had a profound impact on my life. A part of me feels like there is this incompleteness between us, that I'm not ready to go on without his guidance. But then I look back on one of the main teachings he gave me, the teaching of responsibility. In a shosan ceremony I asked him "what's all this about?" And his response was "it's about growing up." Those words have stuck with me ever since. The koan of "what is it to be a mature adult in the world?" So in a way, I see it as he was getting me ready for this day. Too soon? Yes. But it's always too soon, there is never enough time. But may that be the motivating factor to make the most of the little time we have left on this amazing planet.

  11. Fran and Wayne

    Our thoughts of love for Steve's family and thanks for sharing this time of his passage. It was been a hard journey but there is a feeling of gratitude and hope that other loved ones will take this journey with the same calm grace that Steve showed us.

  12. Michael Maher

    Last night
    There was the softest snowfall
    This morning
    Conditions were such
    That it could no longer be sustained
    And it is gone.
    Where did it go?

    Infinite bows of Gratitude.

    Oh young folk-
    If you fear death,
    die now!
    Having died once
    you won't die again.

    Peace and comfort
    to those who remain...

    So much love
    So many tears
    And then:
    Singing ...

    There is a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in.

  13. Eli Block

    I loved Steve Stucky. I will remember the gratitude I felt for him after he played a hand in saving Tassajara. Profound, sweet, gratitude. I don't know if I've ever felt so grateful before. And I will remember how he embodied so beautifully the Way and Steve all at once. Easeful, kind, brave transmission. I love you Steve and I'll miss your blues singing.

  14. Jane Wickman

    my loving thoughts for Abbot Steve's family.
    deep gratitude to Steve for keeping us close these past few months and teaching us , so simply, how to live.

  15. Sara Spaulding-Phillips

    When I die, survive me with such great force
    That you waken the furies of the pallid and the cold.
    From south to south lift your indelible eyes,
    From sun to sun dream your singing mouth.
    I don't want your laughter or your steps to waver,
    I don't want my heritage of joy to die.
    Don't call up my person. I am absent.
    Live in my absence as if in a house so vast
    That inside you will pass through its walls
    And hang pictures on the air.
    Absence is a house so transparent
    That I, lifeless, will see you living
    And if you suffer, my love, I will die again. Pablo Neruda

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