Visiting with Soen Roshi, Ryutaku-ji, 1982
Muryo Peter Matthiessen, Chido-sensei, Soen Roshi and Bernie Tetsugen Glassman.
©Photo Peter Kuku Cunningham

"Greeting us one by one around the circle, Soen Roshi smiled, then laughed aloud in childlike pleasure. When my turn came he took both of my hands and squeezed them three times very hard, tears in his eyes, then rose to his knees and gave me a great hug. He laughed with Tetsugen, gazed at his old friend Chido-sensei with a happy smile. Then he went back around the circle, touching our heads in blessing, after which – just as he used to do – he commanded us to slap his shaved head hard to knock some sense into it. By now, remembering his tricks, we were all laughing in delight."

Peter Muryo Matthiessen
From the book Nine-Headed Dragon River,
Shambhala Publications, 1998

" ..... He suddenly appeared and greeted each of us with three hard, very hard forehead to forehead butts – immediate intimate contact, a Tibetan tradition, I'm told. I was surprised, amazed and concerned for the health of his head which, it turned out, was much less delicate than my own."

Peter Kuku Cunningham

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