Master Dogen’s Shobogenzo has ratings and 6 reviews. Brandon said: I studied this book (and the other 3) for a decade and it is one that still travel. Gudo Wafu Nishijima has 16 books on Goodreads with ratings. Gudo Wafu Nishijima’s most popular book is Master Dogen’s Shobogenzo. Gudo Wafu Nishijima PDF: How to Practice Zazen (), with Joe Langdon. This page book gives an introduction to Buddhist philosophy and explains how.
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My ordaining teacher, Gudo Wafu Nishijima, died on January 28, He was 94 years old. People have been sending me condolence messages ever since I posted this on Facebook yesterday. What did I lose? He never shared much of that stuff.
Gudō Wafu Nishijima
I know he was born in November of He was a track runner in high school, apparently a pretty good one. He wrote a bit about that in this blog posting. He was conscripted during World War II but was lucky enough never to have seen any action.
He later was very emphatic that it was right that Japan was defeated in that war, even saying that the atomic bombing of Hiroshima was necessary because, he said, the Japanese would never have surrendered otherwise. People would argue with him about this point. But he was there, so I give his opinion a little more credibility than that of people who were not serving in the Japanese Imperial Army when the bomb was dropped.
He said eating sugary stuff helped him get through long periods of writing. He used to smoke, but gave it up when he realized it was a bad habit. That was long before I knew him.
He was married and had one daughter. But he may also have had two other children who did not survive to adulthood because he had two memorial plaques on his dresser and once told me they were for his children.
He did not elaborate. He worked very hard on his many books, but regularly described himself as lazy. He once told me he translated Shobogenzo into English by going directly to his study every day after work and working on it until it was time for bed, with a brief break for dinner. He learned English by purchasing a set of tapes from a door-to-door salesman. His English was extremely good.
I can only recall one conversation with him in which I spoke Japanese because I thought he might not be following what I said in English. But even then, he answered me in English. Most of the people he associated with were years his junior. He seemed to be very comfortable talking to people much younger than him. He received his Dharma Transmission permission to teach as a lineage holder from Rempo Niwa but he spoke much more often about his other teacher, Kodo Sawaki.
He talks a little about both of them in this post on his blog. Rempo Niwa was the abbot of Eihei-ji, the temple founded by Master Dogen in the s, and the head of the Soto-shu organization, who claim to derive their institutional authority from Dogen himself.
Yet he ordained Nishijima Roshi who very rarely had anything nice to say about Soto-shu and actively discouraged his students from studying at Eihei-ji. To me that connection is fascinating.
Yet I do not really know just why Rempo Niwa chose to transmit the dharma to someone who was so profoundly different in his approach to institutional authority. During the years we spoke a lot.
nishinima I used to come to his office or his room on a more-or-less weekly basis and have long philosophical discussions with him.
I taped a few of these. But Watu noticed that when I switched on the recorder, something subtly changed about our conversations. They were never as deep as those we had without that electronic eavesdropper listening in. He was a happy person. Gkdo always seemed extremely cheerful and optimistic under even the most trying circumstances.
Nothing ever seemed to make him sad or depressed. But then again, would he have expressed that to me? He was very good about nisgijima in touch via email after I moved back to the US in His last post on his blog is dated September 15 of that year. That would be around the time I stopped hearing from him. What happened to him after that is a bit of a mystery.
Apparently he niishijima some time in a hospital and in a convalescent home before returning to live with his daughter. His daughter did not allow any visitors after that, saying that she wanted us to remember him as he was. But none of them came from anyone who had direct information so I tend to safu them. This was the project that really tore up his group.
Two of his closest students attempted to help him with it but both quit, stating that his translation of Sanskrit was incorrect. He insisted that he got it right. I ended up helping him make the book that he wanted to. I sent him a copy when I got one some time in the fall of I never heard back as to nlshijima he received it.
I knew that if he were able to communicate with me or had a desire to do so, he would. I knew that nishijjima was being taken care of. That would only upset people who must already have been plenty upset enough without me barging in there.
The night he died when I did not yet know he was dead he showed up in a dream and mildly criticized me for trying to do too many things.
He said I should just stick to teaching Zen. I talked to him about death on a number of occasions. Many people who have read my stuff are already familiar with the fact wfu he very strongly denied that the theory of reincarnation had any legitimate place in Buddhism. But I also know that his view of what happened after a person died was more nuanced than one might expect from knowing only that he denied reincarnation as well as rebirth, transmigration, etc.
Once we were talking about something I do not recall. We were in the room he stayed in during retreats at Tokei-in temple, just the two of us. Whenever I wavu to him he was right there with me in a way that no one else has ever been. I used to think so too until I started paying nishijiam attention. In the video at the end of this post he also talks about death in a way he usually did not. You might find it intriguing. The simile he uses is actually a pretty standard Buddhist description.
Nishijima Roshi will always be with me. No matter where I go or what I do, he will always be a part of it.
Gudō Wafu Nishijima – Wikipedia
I will not be able to attend either. But we will do a memorial service for him this Saturday at Hill Street Center beginning after our usual zazen at 10 am. The memorial will start around The address is Hill St. Wear whatever you like. As always, this blog is supported by your donations.
I recommend watching Ikiru first though. A common theme connects all three though. I used to own the Critereon DVD. I recommend the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation.
Like a blade of grass, My guvo body Treading the path to Kyoto, Seeming to wander Amid the cloudy mist on Kinobe pass. Just when my longing to see The moon over Kyoto One last time grows deepest, The image I behold this autumn night Leaves me sleepless for its beauty.
If you liked those poems Dogen wrote wafi dying, which I quoted in my post above this one, then you can watch The Mirror here:. I definitely recommend getting a hold of Pevear and Volokhonsky translation of Death of Ivan Ilyich too.
I recommend reading alongside manuscript: In the linked blog post where Nishijima talks about his teachers he mentions attending a sesshin led wxfu Sawaki in the s. Was this the first occasion? Is there any more information about their relationship besides that sesshin? How long did Nishijima study under Sawaki? Or was waf more of a one-sided relationship where the student sees someone as their teacher, but the teacher is not really aware of it?
So they did talk to each other. And at that time, even though he did not teach me especially with words, I was able to gain so much knowledge simply by watching his behavior.
Wafuu showed me at that time that there were so many teachings in his behavior.
From the blog post you linked to, Brad, referring to Rempo Niwa. Backs up what you and Koun Franz are saying about the student-teacher relationship. I feel a sense of loss reading your post, my loss in not having known Gudo Nishijima personally.
The wind blows over the trees, and anyone with any sense has long since left, but I am here with the memory of who I was. After that, I will take a rest forever.