December 24, 2013
December 24

Dear Friends,

I have not provided an update since before the Stepping Down Ceremony on December 15th, and I am having a surprisingly difficult time calling Steve not Abbot Steve but Senior Dharma Teacher Steve. Although this is the title normally given to abbots who step down, it just does not have the same ring. In the ceremony the moment of change happens when the person who is holding the whisk transfers that to the other hand, takes up the fan and puts down the whisk. It takes but a moment, ceremonially. It seems a much more complex process outside of that defining ceremony. So I’m working with the new title as I continue to struggle with this disease.

Cancer is a hard bedfellow to love. It breathes with rotten breath, steals all the covers, pushes one into the lumpy part of the bed, and then right out to the edge. It may not always have final or clear cut results, but then again it often does. Any degree of equanimity in this situation seems so difficult. And yet I watch as Steve continues to put his effort in studying this body/mind and working with staying with his particular experience of pancreatic cancer. I am witness to his commitment to finding that unlikely and changeable place where mental clarity and pain control meet. I see his effort to show up and appreciate it. And in all of this Steve is getting weaker, losing weight, not able to stand unsupported or eat much, and not sleeping for long stretches. It is hard—cancer is hard, this is hard.

May all beings find a place of ease and comfort during this (often emotionally complicated) time of year.




  1. John Renwick

    Thank you, Mary, for your being a loving witness

  2. Barbara Banthien

    Thank you for posting this very difficult and honest report. I appreciate your effort to stay in communication with us. My best to you, Steve, Lane and all his family.

  3. Pat Hendricks

    Your words, Mary, bring to us the incredible continual teaching from Senior Dharma Teacher Steve Stucky. As well, your are an unflinchingly honest and courageous witness to what you are seeing.
    May you as well find peace and comfort at this time.
    All my blessings are yours,
    Pat Hendricks

  4. Lee Lipp

    Dear Mary,

    As I read your words to us yesterday about Senior Dharma Teacher Steve (it is hard to drop the word Abbot) I realized that your assistance to Steve has widened and widened as you’ve assisted all of us to find our way with this difficult process of transition.

    With gratitude, Lee Lipp

  5. Dai Nin Marsha Angus

    Dear Mary
    Your open hearted words bring us all with no separation to meet this moment with you and our beloved Senior Dharma teacher Steve. I smile every morning as the birds bathe in the little waterfall pond that Steve made for me. Thank you so much for including us all in these tender sacred moments.
    With much love, many blessings and deep bows,

  6. Judy Friedsam

    What a very difficult time this is for so many…especially Myogen Steve, his family, friends, students, and all those Steve has touched along this path. Deepest bows of gratitude Mary for another heartfelt update… Much appreciated !

  7. Carol Lingman

    Thank you, Mary. Your clear and loving narrative is very helpful as we continue to hold Steve and Lane in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.

  8. Baika

    Sending love and gratitude from the Empty Nest New Year’s Retreat.
    Great comfort. Baika

  9. Elise and David

    Thank you Steve and Lane for helping us to launch our coupleship into the world in 2002.
    We have been thinking of you since we found out about your cancer from Eleanor just after Thanksgiving.

    With much love and gratitude,
    Elise and David

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *