From death row inmate Koson

Death Row inmate at Arkansas-Tucker Max Prison, Koson Damien Echols Koji about Shodo Harada Roshi and his teaching:

“You feel this tremendous sense of discipline that almost comes off of him in waves. The only word I know how to use to even come close to articulating it would be beauty. There is some sort of beauty in that discipline that makes you feel awe. Whenever I was around him, it was almost like being speechless. The reason I don't say “connection” is because it implies almost an equality in status, and I didn’t really feel that with him. He was shorter than me physically but you still have that feeling that you’re almost looking up at someone. Even now, coming up on nine years later, whenever I think of it, it really inspires me and makes me want to dig in my heels and try even harder… My practice prevents me from becoming lost… See for yourself. Get firsthand experience. That’s what I love about Zen. It didn’t require me to surrender my ability to think. It gave me techniques I could use that actually benefited my daily life.”

From: Doing Justice to Life; A conversation with Damien Echols. Parabola, New York; Winter 2008   

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