Leonard Cohen, Sasaki Roshi, & "Love Itself" video

Debate on Leonard Cohen's poetry (and novels), both published and unpublished. Song lyrics may also be discussed here.
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Leonard Cohen, Sasaki Roshi, & "Love Itself" video

Post by HPK »

Hi there,

I've just posted Shinzen Young's interpretation of Leonard's gorgeous song "Love Itself", from Ten New Songs. Shinzen is a fellow longtime student with Leonard (and translator) of Sasaki Roshi. In this video we see Shinzen sharing with his own meditation students during a dharma talk in January 2009 in Santa Barbara. Enjoy. :D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSv5ELuu ... rofilepage

Blessings, Har-Prakash.

Re: Leonard Cohen, Sasaki Roshi, & "Love Itself" video

Post by Diane »

Thanks so much for bringing that video teaching of Shinzen Young's here, Har-Prakash.

Love Itself, even among the other fine songs on TNS, has a special resonance. So it's fascinating to learn that it is directly based on Roshi's dharma talks, and exactly how, and including explanation of the 'shimmering dust (you seldom see)' experiences that eventually lead to (a special kind of) nothing, where even love itself is gone.

One of the reasons Leonard chose Byron's Go No More a Roving for DH may be because 'love itself, resting' is mentioned. Also, the lament of The Faith is concerned with the persistence of love. And as his relationship with Roshi goes back to the 70's, Dance Me to the End of Love may also refer to the 'true love is zero' concept.

Mat James had some relevant thoughts on Love Itself, from a mystical perspective, in this thread:


mat james wrote:
"Love itself was gone"

We have two concentric circles of differing diameters
when the centres of both are connected
which one is centred best?
How could one differentiate the centres?

The circumfrences may differ (may occupy different space)
but the centres are identical;
undifferentiated unity
I am Who Am

...and love itself; was gone

as Leonard enters the mystic
becomes mystical union
drops back into Being

and love itself was gone.
We look forward to part two, if you get permission to upload it.


Re: Leonard Cohen, Sasaki Roshi, & "Love Itself" video

Post by Diane »

I was listening to Love Itself, and wasn't sure whether anyone had mentioned on here before the relevance of the lines:

And I was tumbled up with them
In formless circumstance.

The Heart Sutra, (or Perfection of Wisdom Sutra), is a very popular Buddhist text. The most quoted lines from the sutra are:

Form is emptiness
Emptiness is form
Emptiness is not other than form
Form is not other than emptiness

The Heart Sutra, stating that there is no form or emptiness separate, one from the other, in English translation retains the Sanskrit "supreme" mantra:

gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha

meaning: gone gone, totally gone, completely gone beyond, enlightened, it is so!

If anyone is interested in knowing more about the Heart Sutra, there is a very readable 2007 book called An Arrow to the Heart by Ken McLeod. It's a western, non-traditional and poetic commentary. McLeod describes the Heart Sutra as being "about the perfection of wisdom, an understanding of life that is experiential, not conceptual or intellectual." One of the quotes in the book is from Leonard, and also from TNS: "You lose your grip and then you slip / into the masterpiece."
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Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 9:08 pm

Re: Leonard Cohen, Sasaki Roshi, & "Love Itself" video

Post by HPK »

Here's part two.

From the description of the Leonard Cohen, Sasaki Roshi, & "Love Itself" youtube video:

"Thanks Leonard for permission to use the song - glad you liked what I had to say (in part one), Shinzen."

Shinzen Young has Leonard Cohen's "Love Itself" played for retreat participants to end the last Dharma talk on the final evening of a 14-day intensive. Here we see Shinzen enjoying the song, then looking out at his students in a nice demo of his Positive Focus technique, in this case sharing loving kindness. Since most of the students were meditating with eyes closed at the time, they can see in this clip what they might not have seen then - Shinzen sending them his blessings. Filmed Jan.10th, 2009 at La Casa de Maria Retreat Center in Santa Barbara.

http://www.youtube.com/user/expandcontr ... 3MgjpMbADA
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mat james
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Sasaki Roshi, & "Love Itself" video

Post by mat james »

You may like to take a look at the link below (2/3 down the page) where "Love itself (is gone)" is discussed on the same level, but from a slightly different perspective.
The outcome is much the same.
It is all fun.
I enjoyed Youngies clip. I followed it up with part 2. He knows his stuff ;-)

Regards, Mat.
"Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart." San Juan de la Cruz.
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