Gasho Eidō Rōshi

By Ohashi

On April 24, 2018, my son Kazuhiro and I left New York Shobo-ji on East 67th Street in New York in the early morning by school bus. We were on our way with some 40 other people to the funeral and memorial services for Kongō Sōken Mui Shitsu Eidō Tai Zenzu Dai Oshō, also known as Eidō Rōshi.

Kongō Sōken Mui Shitsu Eidō Tai Zenzu Dai Oshō at the Ohashi Institute. 1997.

As the bus was heading for Dai Bo Satsu Zendo in the Catskill Mountains, all of my wonderful experiences and encounters, my blessing and happy endless memories with Eidō Shimanō Rōshi came to me.

Dai Bo Satsu Zendo in the Catskill Mountains.

It was March 19, 1975 the day I met and was introduced to Eidō Rōshi. That day was the 68th birthday of Sōu-én Nakagawa Rōshi, who was a mentor to Eidō Rōshi. One of my shiatsu students, Harry McCormick, asked me to come and give an old Japanese man an Ohashiatsu treatment as a birthday gift. We went to Shobo-ji, a Zen temple in New York City. A younger monk came out and welcomed me saying “I’m Eidō Rōshi. Welcome Mr. Ohashi.” That was my first time to meet him. Then I gave a treatment to Sōu-én Rōshi, who didn’t utter any words, and I didn’t ask anything.

Eidō Rōshi and Ohashi at Zendo. 1995.

After this experience, I started visiting Eidō Rōshi many times and asking for his advice. One day I asked him, “How did you establish two temples on such a big scale?”  He replied, “Ohashi — I just sit.” Then I asked, “Just sit?”

He said, “In order to ‘sit’, I need a temple, but without sitting the temple doesn’t come — because I can not do what I needed to do. If you don’t do what you need to do, nothing comes to you.”  

He continued, “Do whatever you want to do now. Don’t ask how to do what you want or what you want to do in the future. Do what you want to do now. I just started sitting, then the way how I should make the temples came to me.”

Ohashi gives an Ohashiatsu treatment to Edio Roshi by the lake at Zendo. 1979.

Immediately, I followed Eidō Rōshi’s advice. That evening I started teaching without any students, without knowing anything I’m teaching, without any plans, without any place to teach. Eventually, I achieved my school with many branches in the U.S. and Europe.

On January 2, 1977 Bonnie and I married at Shobo-ji. Eidō Rōshi officiated and conducted a beautiful ceremony for us and our friends, who chanted with us to encourage our union.

Ohashi and Bonnie on their wedding day. 1977.

Later, I asked Eidō Rōshi to allow me to start a summer program for our students at Dai Bo Satsu Zendo, which had been built a few years before. He accepted our request. Our first Ohashi Institute Program at Zendo started in July 1979, and continued every year for more than 20 years. From practically all over the world, from many different nationalities and from all corners of life, people came to attend. This 10-day program was a profound and meaningful experience for the all the people who participated. Former students still thank me for putting them in touch with Zen Buddhist philosophy, and specifically the temple in New York City and in the Catskills.

Dai Bosatsu Zendo in the Catskills Mountains.

I believe more than 1000 people came to Zendo through our program over the years. Eidō Rōshi gave us speeches about Zen, and all the Zendo residents helped our  program run smoothly. Without this summer program, I don’t think the Ohashi Institute would have prospered as much as it did.

A large group at Zendo in the Catskills. Students in the Advanced, Intermediate and Beginning courses. 1996.

I believe more than 1000 people came to Zendo through our program over the years. Eidō Rōshi gave us speeches about Zen, and all the Zendo residents helped our program run smoothly. Without this summer program, I don’t think the Ohashi Institute would have prospered as much as it did.

Morning tea ceremony with Ohasi and Eidō Rōshi. 1995.

All the memories of Eidō Rōshi and our experience of Zendo came back to me when I attended the ceremony. My deepest gratitude will continue to go to Eidō Rōshi forever.

Gasho

Ohashi

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3 comments

  1. Drew Youngson · May 18

    Thank you so much for this nice experience.

  2. Drew Youngson · May 18

    Thank you so much for your experience

  3. Drew Youngson · May 19

    Thank you so much for sharning this nice experience.

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