Bells Toll

Photo of Robert Aitken by Tom Aitken

Robert Aitken: Zen teacher, social activist, founder of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, author of a number of good books on Buddhism, translator of haiku by Basho, a pioneer of Western dharma. I did not have any personal interaction with him but I understand that he was a man of integrity.

He passed away on Thursday in Hawaii at the age of 93, apparently after a brief bout with pneumonia .

You can read his obituary here. Haven’t found one. Strangely, none of the major newspapers or news outlets have a word about his passing.

Bobby Hebb

Also this week, the death of Bobby Hebb. Some may remember him for the 1966 hit song, “Sunny”. He was 72. According to his obituary, he wrote the song “in response to the slaying of his brother outside a Nashville nightclub and to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy a few days before.”

I was going to post one of Aitken’s translations of Basho, but I think the lyrics to “Sunny” are more apropos:

Sunny, yesterday my life was filled with rain.
Sunny, you smiled at me and really eased the pain.
The dark days are gone, the bright days are here,
My Sunny one shines so sincere.
Sunny one so true, I love you.

Sunny, thank you for the sunshine bouquet.
Sunny, thank you for the love you brought my way.
You gave to me your all and all.
Now I feel ten feet tall.
Sunny one so true, I love you.

Sunny, thank you for the truth you let me see.
Sunny, thank you for the facts from A to C.
My life was torn like a wind-blown sand,
And the rock was formed when you held my hand.
Sunny one so true, I love you.

Sunny, thank you for the smile upon your face.
Sunny, thank you for the gleam that shows its grace.
You’re my spark of nature’s fire,
You’re my sweet complete desire.
Sunny one so true, I love you.


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