In the 1990s Leonard Cohen spent a few years practicing Zen and serving as Zen teacher Joshu Sasaki’s personal assistant in Mount Baldy Zen Center. In an interview, Cohen said the following about his relationship with his teacher:

“I still don’t have much interest in Buddhism, in any formal way. I bumped into a man in California who impressed me. His name was Joshu Sasaki Roshi, and he happened to be a Rinzai monk. I often say that if the man I met had been, say, a professor of physics in Heidelberg, I would have learned German and studied physics, but he happened to be an old monk, so I began to study with him in his own terms.”