Linda V. Lewis

I met Basia in 1972, renting a room in Marcia Usow's home a block up from the Turzanskis. I was almost broke and through Marcia got a job cleaning the Turzanski home...which lasted one day, as everyone laughed when i said, "I just tried not to dirty the already clean, spotless house!" When I was PG in '73 I became Natasha and Ciel's after-school nanny. Really, Natasha didn't need a babysitter, she just watched "Bewitched" etc. on TV, but Ciel and I would play on the kitchen floor, and I'm afraid we did things like going through quite a few coffee filters making designs on them w/ food colouring. Basia and Marcia were my first MIs and I learned so much from their different but complimentary approaches to dharmic life. When I became a teacher at Vidya, and had both Natasha and Ciel in a delightfully rambunctious 7th-9th grade class of very bright second-generation buddhist teenagers, it began to feel like I was part of a crazy family. Fast forward to the 1985 Seminary in what was still the Rocky Mt Dharma Centre, Basia was head of practice and I a 3 yana transcript teacher. How wonderful to share that buddha realm together!--the Vidyadhara's last full seminary. And Ciel was one of my meditation students. Moving to Nova Scotia in 1992, I soon discovered how many American buddhist had already arrived and were actively contributing to the city of Halifax and environs. The Turzanski's Great Ocean was one of those bright new places. And in true Turzanski style, they offered their staff free Shambhala Training Level I weekends! Then there were the many glorious summer Khenpo programs at KCL where we found ourselves together in a big, open Shambhala buddhist world, the Turzanskis usually finding ways to serve Khenpo R. with grace, humour, and patience. A few years later, by coincidence Basia, Ludwik, and I found ourselves in training at Gampo Abbey for 3 year retreat, I going into a room in Group C, and Basia taking that room in Group D--and while the Turzanski's were "in", I rented their lovely home on Parkhill Rd. and Natasha and Ciel came to stay w/ me there for a brief visit. The strong friendship and family feel continued between us even after Basia and Ludwik returned to Colorado to live in Niwot. Every year when I'd come to visit my son Waylon, I'd visit the Turzanskis, and it really did feel a bit like a homecoming. Dear sangha friends with whom we share so many dharmic experiences too many to tell are precious. Their life is precious, and their dying a profound teaching.