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Eulogy Given at Paul's Funeral

July 20, 1994

There were several eulogies given at Paul's funeral service, including one by Jon Kabat-Zinn, one faxed from Texas by Walter Crockett and read by Steve Rodman, and this one:

I was fortunate to have shared with Paul a very special experience recently, and I'd like to share it here with all of you.

A few months ago, the decline in Paul's health subsided for a few days and he experienced a sudden renewal of energy. This blessing happened to coincide with the arrival in New York of Paul's dear friend, and ex-employer, His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, Tibet's 14th Dalai Lama. Paul decided to make what was for him an arduous journey to reunite with His Holiness. We conspired together to make the trip and, after 23 years of arguing, he finally let me drive.

We arrived early in the afternoon at the Manhattan monastery where His Holiness ("H.H." to Paul) was in dialogue with a group of western scientists. We hoped that, with any luck, we'd get a good spot in the reception line. Instead, we were ushered directly into the midst of the conference.

Everywhere Paul went that spring afternoon, Buddhist monks whispered the same word: “Bodhisattva.” In the Buddhist world view, a Bodhisattva is someone in the process of Awakening to Enlightenment. A being who dedicates their life to the elimination of all suffering. A pre-Buddha. A kind of cross between saint and guardian angel. As I wheeled Paul through groups of well-wishers, "Bodhisattva" echoed behind us.

All the attending monks, scholars, and celebrities treated Paul with the deference due a holy man. Paul himself was stunned by his reception
he had no idea of the magnitude of love and respect in which he was held. We were soon ushered backstage Paul always seems to get backstage and into H.H.'s private quarters.

When the Dalai Lama entered he broke protocol and tradition
to the dismay of some members of his delegation and immediately sought out Paul. While dignitaries and attending scientists waited on the reception line, and His Holiness's entourage retreated in respect, the two men sat together oblivious to all around them. I'll always hold in memory the glow in Paul's face as the Dalai Lama sat there, hugging him like a long-lost brother.

When His Holiness finally went to greet the waiting dignitaries, more of Paul's friends surrounded him. When the Dalai Lama returned, he presented us with white cloth kata's. He took one and tied a knot in its center, and draped it around Paul's neck. Then, in a long, emotional forehead-to-forehead embrace, he held Paul, saying "this knot unites you and I together forever."

That kata lies draped around Paul's shoulders as he rests here today.

Paul, confined to a wheel-chair, and the center of so much attention, characteristically grew uncomfortable. Eventually, when we found ourselves alone for a moment in the Dalai Lama's rooms, we snapped out of our reverie. You always knew when Paul was coming in for a landing: he'd get the munchies. We scrounged for food
there was no ice cream, but we did grab some orange juice and Paul turned to me in urgency and said "let's get out of here while we can."

So, with no goodbyes, I wheeled him to the back elevator and out the rear lobby. Paul's rented wheel-chair was too small, and he had to balance precariously on a wooden plank across it's arm-rests. We tried to look as inconspicuous as possible sneaking out. We made it to the front door unheeded, and, except for a fortuitous and warm encounter with Jon Kabat-Zinn, managed to slip out nearly unnoticed.

Last Sunday night, Paul again managed to characteristically slip out unnoticed. Avoiding emotional goodbyes, he gracefully dropped his body while pieces of comet fell on Jupiter.

I'd like to imagine that Paul decided to step out for a closer look. I know he loved fireworks, and I suspect he's been to Jupiter often.

Finally, to you Paul, my friend, we've shared many adventures together. But this adventure, in the words of one of your favorite songs, is for your steps alone. I feel a little left-out that I'm not going with you. I do so look forward to catching up with you farther on down the road.

As you used to laugh and say, "death is just the price of admission."


Steven Rodman

last modified: May, 2010

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