Lost Password

Yale menu

Daily News

Martin Mosko

Martin J. MoskoThe blazing fire that was the life of Martin J. Mosko (Roshi Hakubai Daishin) has been extinguished.

Martin’s nature was fire: wild and unpredictable. Though born in Denver, he explored far-away places in his life and mind. His family was Jewish and he had a Bar Mitzvah, but he also secretly practiced yoga and meditation starting as an eight year-old. He graduated from Yale, where he switched his major from Spanish to physics to art, and began a Master’s degree in the study of languages because he wanted to read ancient Indian poetry in Sanskrit. He served in the Peace Corps in India, where he first discovered the power of a garden project to inspire people and bring them together. Later in his life he lived and studied in Japan. He was rooted in but never contained by Colorado.

He once said, I may not be a great monk but I’m a pretty great gardener. (He was both.) He started Marpa Landscaping with his first wife, Sabine Mosko, using a wheelbarrow, some tools, and an old truck. Now his legacy of superbly-designed gardens scattered across Colorado, America, and elsewhere in the world will live long beyond him. There are spaces that were featured in magazines and newspapers and those that won him numerous awards, and there are small jewels of gardens known only to those who care for them; he loved them all. Photos of them are featured in the books he co-authored with his second wife, Alxe Noden, that try to explain these sacred spaces.

Fatherhood was immensely important to Martin. He used to bemoan the degenerate dark age we live in, but seeing the brilliance of his three children (Sophie Joy, Raymond Basho, and Daphne Jean) and the different ways they manifest goodness and joy in the world, convinced him there is hope for humanity.

He was the abbot at Hakubai Temple, in Boulder, CO, and was one of only 40 recognized International Soto Zen teachers in North America. He gave generously of his knowledge, wisdom, and experience to anyone who asked.

Like a wildfire, he could scorch, and it was generally better to stay out of the way when he was determined to do something. But he also created great warmth and vivid illumination. He lived fully and intentionally. His life was a torch held up in the darkness, and that light lives on in those who knew and loved him.

See more about his life and work on his web site: www.martinmosko.com.