New York Times Leonard Cohen Returns to the Road, for Reasons Both Practical and Spiritual is about a musician whose songs have influenced me deeply, especially “Suzanne” and “Hallelujah.” Now I learn that he is deeply grounded in Zen Buddhism to the point of spending five years in a monastery.
Roscoe Beck, Mr. Cohen’ s musical director, says that even on the longest flights Mr. Cohen sits cross-legged and straight-backed in his seat, in a monk’s posture. Asked whether he also does yoga to build strength and agility for his stage shows, Mr. Cohen, his demeanor courtly but reserved, smiled and replied, “That is my yoga.”
So now I have a reason to explore the music archives for Cohen songs, and to listen for the intention that inspired them and moved him towards Zen discipline in the latter years of his life.
By the way, the Times journalist Larry Rohter, author of this profile, is an old Latin America hand whom I met in my days in Peru. That goes back 30 years.