It isn’t every day that you get to turn one-hundred and fifty.
You fasted, you reached enlightenment, then stubbed your toe, and became the teacher of us all.
So many people are honouring you tonight, but all I can do is chuckle at the fact we only have two images of you, and let’s face it, the one not on my altar tonight is the one I like the very best because it makes you look oh-so pregnant.
Like seriously, watermelon sized pregnant. Like 9 months extended and ready to pop!
I say this humbly because I know you and I have that kind of relationship. You poke fun at me, and I poke fun of you; but seriously Sensei, some days I wonder if you took the Buddha’s teaching of “nothing survives without food,” a tad bit too seriously.
The fact of the matter is, there was no waist-watcher’s in the 1920’s but I guess we all know how you survived for 21-days up on that mountain, or what patterns you either resumed or created once you came back down.
All jokes aside though, we do honour you tonight. You have offered so much wisdom over the past 150 years, and we would all be remiss if we didn’t. So, my birthday present to you is as such since you so very much loved waka poetry:
Not everyone dies quietly, some go out with a laugh.
Not everyone dies longingly, some go out with a fight.
Not everyone dies honourably, some go with a bed pan underneath their bottom.
Not everyone dies gracefully, some go as you went:
with comfort, a full heart, and of course
a pair of worn chopsticks somewhere nearby.
Merry birthday to you and that Buddha Belly.
May you continue to inspire us all as the years go by.
Keibyaku (with humility)
Your number one fan,
Healey Sensei, “Derek-san”