In Memoriam: Jed Appelman

Our Dharma brother Tokusan Jakusho Jed Appelman passed away in his home on February 26, with family and a few friends present. Sojun Roshi presided over a simple bedside service. Jed had chosen a Green Burial at Fernwood Cemetery in Mill Valley in keeping with the simplicity of his life—just returning to the earth.

Jed had been a Quaker for many years prior to coming to BZC and maintained a concurrent practice at the Strawberry Meeting. He came to Buddhism through the Vipassana tradition and later found Zen by sitting with James Baraz, an early member at BZC, and spending time at Tassajara, where his son Soren was a resident student for ten years.

Jed was a clinical psychologist and also worked in the early days of Silicon Valley. His last employ was at Kaiser, supporting research in strokes and other conditions that he himself had lived with for much of his seventy years.

At BZC Jed was on the Board and held many of the usual practice positions of a devoted student, including and especially Head Server. Jed loved serving us, as anyone receiving his offerings could attest. He embodied metta practice.

He had polio as a child but carried that pain and challenge with equanimity. His deter­mi­nation to practice was evident, and in the remain­ing months of his life Sojun Roshi ordained him as a priest. The BZC and Quaker sanghas, along with his family, witnessed this event. Jed wore the robes as if he’d been a priest for a very long time.

Jed was our foremost welcomer of new­comers. After programs, he sat on the Zendo steps and took the time to have unhurried conversations, getting to know people well. He remembered his new friends and found ways to integrate them into our practice.

This poem (by Mary Elizabeth Frye) was read at Jed’s burial by his brother Dan:

Do not stand at my grave and weep,

I am not there. I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow,

I am the diamond glints on snow,

I am the sun on ripened grain,

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awake in the morning’s hush

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circling flight.

I am the soft star-shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,

I am not there. I did not die.