I was Marc's Zen Teacher, but I honestly don't know what I taught him. I think sometimes my role was simply to recognize and appreciate him ---and perhaps help him fashion a new channel in which to express his overflowing talents, energies and compassion. I do know however many things he taught me. In Zen, one of the core ethical precepts is called "Not Sparing the Dharma Assets" --- it means, essentially taking a vow of wholeheartedness, of totally giving yourself to the Dharma, to life and to the awakening of all beings –though Marc was known to say his personal vow was to awaken all lawyers. Marc, as you all well know was a natural when it came to wholeheartedness. His enthusiasm and compassion overflowed from his personality just as his belly overflowed his pants. He gave his energy to life and took his joy from life in equally generous portions. Now, he would be the first to admit that he could sometimes overdo it especially when it came to overeating. But one of things I particularly admired about Marc and one of the qualities that I think made him such a good Zen teacher is that he made you feel it wasn't a problem to have problems. It was human, not shameful to have problems and we are all working with and in the midst of our problems. Being a Zen teacher wasn't an assertion that one had solved all of one's problems, wasn't setting oneself up as an ideal figure –it meant a willingness to really look in the mirror and say "That's me" with acceptance and compassion –and resolve, not resignation. And then to extend that mind of deep acceptance and resolve to everyone else.
In this past year, Marc and I co-wrote chapters for a book on Zen's approach to the Mindfulness Movement that is becoming what most people imagine meditation to be all about. Marc could be delightfully, witheringly critical of the modern tendency to turn everything into a project of self-improvement and bring that work-a-holic mind into the meditation hall itself, seeing nothing wrong with turning a religious practice into a spiritual "work out." Together, we wrote about how meditation is actually useless – and might be the only truly useless thing any of us does in our driven, means to an end, are we there yet way of being. For useless is another way of say NOTHING is just a means to an end, a way of getting somewhere else ---it means instead a deep appreciation, a reverence and a joy–in Life just as it is. That's what I saw in Marc and what I know so many of you saw in him as well.
In the version of Zen Buddhism Marc and I shared, we say we don't know what happens after death. But we do know that each life has an effect on all other lives and on all of Life itself. Each of our lives sends out ripples into the whole of Life. Marc was a man who made a big splash and the ripples of his life will continue for a long long time.