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November 11, 2014

15

Denis Rodriguez, Employee, Alumnus and Friend, Passes Away

April 8, 1947 – November 9, 2014

San Francisco Zen Center grieves the loss of Denis Rodriguez, who was a student in the early days of Zen Center and who lived and practiced at all three centers.  In recent years Denis was an employee in the Accounting Department. Denis was one of the first workers at the original Tassajara Bakery on Cole Street in San Francisco.

Denis Rodriguez circa 1980

Denis Rodriguez circa 1980

Denis received the precepts from Richard Baker and was given the dharma name Myozen, Wondrous Zen.

Denis was a well-known artist who contributed pencil drawings, watercolor and other paintings, as well as Native American art on gourds. His calligraphy graced many invitations to events at Zen Center.

Denis passed away in the early morning hours of Sunday, November 9. He was 67. In recent years Denis’s health worsened, and complications connected with his having had polio as a child further contributed to his death.

The densho bell was rung at all three of San Francisco Zen Center’s temples on Monday. Affiliate groups also held services remembering Denis this week.

bodhidharma_by_drogriguezPeople have remembered Denis as a kind man who never spoke ill of others and was always a good friend, co-worker and dharma brother. He exemplified a quiet, uncomplaining nature and was dignified and wise.

Plans for a funeral ceremony are being discussed, and details will be forthcoming from the City Center Practice Committee.

Denis will be greatly missed at Zen Center by staff, residents, alumni and sangha members.

denis

15 Comments Post a comment
  1. Julia Sommer
    Nov 12 2014

    When I lived at City Center 2003-04, Denis was unfailingly kind, calm, and attentive. I found his presence reassuring and steadying. What a dear man.

    Reply
  2. Loretta Howitt
    Nov 12 2014

    Denis and I fell in love when I was a guest student at Tassajara in the summer of 1980. We were together for several years…He’d laugh at me teasingly, often pointing out “sinking mind” or “monkey mind” or some such thing.
    He could draw anything I requested, and could fix anything too!
    We enjoyed many a beef burrito at Tacqueria La Cumbre in the midst of those vegetarian ZC years.
    Denis was one of the most gentle people I’ve ever met. May he live on in all the good he did on this earth, and my hs memory be for a blessing.

    Reply
  3. Myoki
    Nov 12 2014

    Denis was such a dear, sweet man. It was an honor and privilege to work with and near him during my time on staff at City Center. Kind. Wise. Steady. Dear. Teacher and Friend.

    Reply
  4. Lynn Hennelly
    Nov 12 2014

    I remember Dennis from the 70’s. Remember him pretty much as he has been described in this obit… i.e. kind, quiet, uncomplaining, etc. Am sorry to hear of his passing, but glad to know he was in the midst of a caring sangha at the time. RIP Dennis! You will be fondly remembered.

    Reply
  5. virginia arnone
    Nov 12 2014

    I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Denis Rodriguez. Especially since I just chatted with him a few weeks ago as he was leaving City Center after work in his car. He was a very sweet and kind man. He had a great sense of humor and was a talented artist.
    I will miss him.

    Reply
  6. Sarah Hummingbird
    Nov 13 2014

    Once when I was due some sort of small payment from the accounting office I received an envelope with my name written in stunningly graceful calligraphy. It was a mystery for a long time before I learned who had taken the time to present my name so beautifully.

    Reply
  7. Nov 14 2014

    Oh Denis, where have you gone? Who comes and goes and who is abiding nowhere? You had such a big car and such a big heart and a good hand for writing and drawing. You were friendly and sweet and so many shall miss you. With a deep bow at the news of your passing and a clear, deep BONG.

    Reply
  8. Rita Cummings
    Nov 16 2014

    I’m so saddened to hear of Denis’s passing. We worked together when I was in the Development Office, and living at City Center. He was funny, talented, kind and gentle. His beautiful calligraphy was seen on our name tags for events – not part of his job description in accounting, but he would do this for often over 100 guests. He was just a charming and lovely man. I’m glad though that he will be celebrated by the sangha for all that he contributed. And I love the photo of the early Denis! That joyous face says it all. Gate gate parasamgate bodhi svaha.

    Reply
  9. Eric Sergee
    Nov 16 2014

    I also had a chance to work with Denis when I worked in the accounting. Our desks were very close that we would chit-chat throughout the day. He was always so kind and patient with me. I heard so many wonderful stories about his practice journey, zen center history, his family and childhood. He also enjoyed showing me the pictures of zen center and old timers from back in the day.
    Besides his artistic side, he was also well educated and informed about so many topics such as the world affairs, politics; and had sincere care and curiosity about languages and different cultures. He liked talking about the time he spent in Mexico, France, Spain, and Nicaragua; and he always would send me links about Mongolia that he read online.
    I will miss him.
    Rest in Peace, Denis.

    Reply
  10. Lisa (Rodriguez) Mertz
    Nov 16 2014

    Denis was my father for which I never met and just recently found. I am so blessed to know he touched so many lives. I am envious that I wasn’t part of his life. It calms my heart knowing what kind of a man he was. I thank each and everyone for the kind words.

    Reply
  11. Soren Leaver
    Nov 18 2014

    Dennis was an excellent person. I had the chance to work with him in the ZC accounting department and found him to be really personable and caring individual.

    Reply
  12. Gita Gayatri
    Nov 18 2014

    Denis was always willing to help. Working in the front office of City Center, I got to know him more closely. From fixing the Postage machine, to fixing a broken Mala, Denis surprised me with his expertise in every little thing. Thank you Denis for your magnanimous heart which will continue to live on. Gassho ~ Rest in peace dear friend and Dharma brother.

    Reply
  13. michael gelfond
    Nov 22 2014

    What a sweet and kind man! I’m so sorry to hear of Denis’ passing.
    He had a warm and uncomplaining nature, and was a great inspiration.

    Reply
  14. Joe Beckett
    Apr 17 2016

    I worked with Denis in the accounting dept during my time at ZC (98-03). I was always struck by how light-hearted and quick to joke he was. I miss his bright smile. A lovely guy.

    Reply
  15. Russ
    May 12 2016

    I guess I must have seen Denis shortly before he died, and have not visited this section of the website ever since. So I am shocked to learn only now, in May of 2016, that Denis died a year and a half ago.

    What a beautiful soul he was! We were kind of pals and even a little bit sweet on each other for many years. I feel blessed to have known him some. <3

    Reply

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