Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Professor/Bishop Ichishima's Father

The story of Ven Ichishima Shinryu illustrates one aspect of Buddhist karmic connections, called EN in Japanese. Ichishima Shoshin and myself have a strong connection going back 40 years, due in large part to the strong relation between his biological father and my spiritual father, Ven Enami Kakusho ('Gozen-sama').  Both fathers were special among the 400+ disciples of Enami Soken, all of whom trained in Kaiohogyo. In the book "Marathon Monks of Mt Hiei," author John Stevens relates that, "Enami was intent on restoring Tendai Buddhism as a force in the contemporary world . . . He realized that if Mt Hiei ceased to be a center of training, all was lost. He began his 1000-day kaihogyo in 1938. Enami Soken trained over 400 disciples and virtually all of the top Gyoja of the modern period were his disciples." Among these many disciples, Shinryu was the first, doing the 100 days in 1938, and Gozen-sama became the top disciple and successor to Soken. This strong relation then was passed down to their sons.

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