Laurence Philippsen 1955-2020: Mein Buddha

Three eclipses, a global plague and a new comet. Recently someone on a comment thread claimed to be only a ‘plague of frogs’ from completing his 2020 Apocalypse Bingo card.


On June 29, 2020, my brother undertook an ambitious climb in Strathcona Park to conquer three peaks in as many days.  He has not returned nor has his body been recovered in spite of extensive efforts to do.

“You see that life will become a thing made of holes. Absences. Losses. Things that were there and are no longer. And you realize, too, that you have to grow around and between the gaps, though you can put your hand out to where things were and feel that tense, shining dullness of the space where the memories are.”   (Helen Macdonald)


When he was born I was not yet two, first spoke German and could not say Bruder. To everyone’s amusement and worth a note in my baby book I called him mein Buddha.

The great Zen teacher Hakuin wrote: All beings are intrinsically Buddha. Nirvana is right here, before our eyes. This very place is the Lotus Land; this very body, the Buddha.


Eric Whitacre was one of Laurence’s favourite composers.

Schlaf süß, mein lieber Buddha.


Update: Laurence’s body was found mid-August.


Image credit: Copyright 2019 TrueBlueDesigns. All rights reserved.

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