Tag Archives: experience

Leonard Cohen offers some insights


“You can visit that world; you can’t live there.” — Leonard Cohen, interviewed in 1997 about his time in a Zen monastery; CBC television (7 min. 6 sec. Well worth it. You’ll see.)

… in 1994, following a tour to promote his latest album The Future, he [Cohen] sought sanctuary in the Mount Baldy Zen Buddhist monastery in the rattlesnake-infested San Gabriel mountains behind Los Angeles.

Cohen had been a regular visitor at the monastery for more than a decade, sometimes spending three months at a time there. But this time it looked as though the world had lost him for good. He shaved his head, donned black robes and devoted himself to the study of Zen Buddhism.

“I wasn’t looking for a religion,” he says. “I already had a perfectly good one [his Jewish faith]. And I certainly wasn’t looking for a new series of rituals. But I had a great sense of disorder in my life, of chaos and depression, of distress. And I had no idea where this came from. The prevailing psychoanalytic explanations of the time didn’t seem to address the things I felt. Then I bumped into someone who seemed to be at ease with himself and at ease with others …”

That someone was Kyozan Joshu Sasaki Roshi, the monastery’s founder.

Source: The Independent (a British newspaper), 15 June 2008