In his recent Tricycle Online Retreat on Green Meditation, Clark Strand told the story of his friend Mark Rogosin. A one time patent attorney in New York City, Rogosin suffered a mental breakdown and retreated to a simpler life in Woodstock, NY. Often referred to as “Silent Mark,” he was a man of very few words, and whether it was due to his wild scraggly beard or the fact that he once dug a massive perfectly circular hole in the ground for no apparent reason, he was viewed by many as quite the eccentric. Nevertheless, Mark became famous in Woodstock for inscribing Buddhist characters onto thousands and thousands of stones and promptly gifting them to whoever would accept. He did this for over twenty-five years until his death this last February. These deeply cherished “mani stones” can still be found all throughout Woodstock and beyond.
Today, we at Tricycle were very happy to learn that Mark is to be honored in a birthday memorial service tomorrow (April 30th) in Woodstock where community members will be painting stones of their own to pass on.
The following via The Woodstock Times,
“Mark didn’t want to get entangled in words. Silence was his way to express the universal language of friendship and compassion. He often greeted people silently just by offering stones. People have tales about how he would go on ‘talk fasts’ for indeterminate periods of time, and then they would say, ‘But he always talked to me.'”
Clark Strand, local author and former Zen monk, is accounting for the frugal speaking habits of Mark Rogosin, the gentle, long-bearded Woodstocker often called “Silent Mark”, who wandered the town handing out stones inscribed with the Buddhist “mani” mantra, “Om Mani Padme Hum”, or sometimes simply “Om”. Strand and other friends of Mark, who died in February, will honor his memory on his birthday, Friday, April 30, by inscribing and distributing “mani stones” at the Woodstock green.
“People intuited that the stones Mark gave out were some form of blessing or gesture of friendship,” says Strand, “but they didn’t realize was it was ancient practice going back 2000 years. It was considered a very meritorious practice in Tibet, Nepal, and northern India, a way of offering blessing or good karma to others. Lama Yeshe [a Tibetan master who taught in the West] used to teach students that even if you don’t want to develop compassion, reciting the six-syllable mantra will nevertheless cause compassion to grow within your mind.”
Read the entire article here.
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