Soen taught me how to move like a fish one day, as we were walking on the crowded Fifth Avenue sidewalk in Manhattan, being elbowed and whammed. In front of my eyes, he actually changed himself into a fish! Wiggling from side to side, he showed me how to move forward smoothly and quickly without ever touching anyone or anyone touching us!


As is well known, Soen loved to recycle.

We were walking in Manhattan one day when I quickly noticed that his shoes were at least five sizes too big for him. I said: "Roshi, where did you get these shoes? They don't fit you !'' He replied, simply: "In a trash bin, on the street," and kept walking.

I, and many others, would gladly have bought him new shoes but we knew it was useless to even bring it up.


Soen was always curious about American culture. It was the 70's. Someone had told him about a punk rock concert that was soon to take place in Manhattan. He asked to go and several people from the New York Zendo took him there. He came back from the concert totally disturbed by what he had witnessed. The aggressive, outrageously offensive behavior of the musicians and of the audience may have suggested to him the approaching deterioration of our society. Upon his return to the New York Zendo, he went upstairs to his room, shut the door and did not come out for three weeks. The residents left his food by his door; he did not shave; he did not talk to anyone during all that time.


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