Recalling Nichidatsu Fujii

Editor-at-Large Andrew Cooper

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In 1982, I was one of a small group of Zen students who were invited to an audience with Nichidatsu Fujii. Guruji, as he was affectionately known, was making a short visit to Los Angeles on his way back to Japan following that spring’s historic nuclear disarmament activities in New York, which he and his order had devoted themselves to for at least a year prior to the actual events. He had given a twohour lecture in a house in South Central, sitting in a chair by the front window of a large living room packed mainly with what might well have been the greater part of all the Nipponzan Myohoji monks and nuns in the world. At the conclusion of the lecture, one of the monks, apparently sent by Guruji from an adjoining room where he was resting, asked if we would like to meet him. We said we would of course be honored but, as he had obviously begun to weaken toward the end of the talk, we didn’t want to impose.

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