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Memories of Zen Master Daiki

Kawaraban No. 85


by Kenji Shimizu Sensei

The other day we heard from Watanabe Shihan that in the latest newspaper issue was an article about the Zen master Tachibana Daiki, who painted the Kakejiku (hanging scroll), which is hanging at the Shomen of our Dojo (front side of the Dojo). The topic was a refined tea party in 1975. “Because of such people we lost the feeling of our heart, they are too materialistic, and it is their duty being straight”, reprimanded the authority in the Buddhist world from the Daitokuji (in Kyoto), the late master Tachibana Daiki, personally Mr. Konosuke Matsushita (the founder of Panasonic), who attended the party at that time. Although he seemed to be under mental strain, it is reported that Mr. Matsushita kept his friendly face but looked very thoughtfully. This episode was cited by Mr. Michitaka Kondo, at that time director of the Hakuhodo (an advertisement agency), who was also attending, in his book ‘Cha no yu gatari, ningen gatari’ (‘Stories about the tea ceremony, stories about humans’). About four years later the private school Matsushita Seikei Jyuku (The Matsushita Institute of Government and Management) was founded (by Mr. Matsushita).

Zen master Daiki’s lament:” The feeling of heart is missing“ has not yet changed until today. When a certain person introduced me to Zen master Daiki, I was one of the few members of a group, who was permitted to attend his lectures. The name of the group was Fukudakai (Fukuda group), because they met in the Japanese restaurant ‘Fukuda Ya’ in Kioicho (Tokyo), and there was a lecture once a month (about one hour), which was mainly about Zen, but not at all restricted to this theme, and the Zen master fascinated us with extensive talking. He was 84 years at that time.

One day we moved to a private room after the meeting at Fukudakai, and the three of us including the gentleman, who introduced me, were able to talk to Master Daiki. During this conversation I was asked, ”What is your profession? ”, and I explained about Aikido. As a consequence the conversation continued further to the Japanese strategy of non-aggressive national defense politics. And when we talked about the issue that Japan does not attack others and will use own military means to protect her own territories only after being attacked, the Zen master mentioned that Japan was not able to defend herself within the frame of her strategy of non-aggressive defense as Japan would have to develop superior missile technologies to catch attacking missiles launched by an enemy. He said it would be sufficient if Japan would use her own technology. It is reported that even the former Prime Minister, Mr. Fukuda Takeo, who reached a deadlock in his politics, asked him for advice.

The conversation came to an end, and at that place Zen master Daiki slowly took a brush and personally painted the Tendo characters. ‘Tendo’ is the name of the town, where I was borne and where I grew up.

© translated by Ichiro Murata / Dr. Peter Nawrot, November 2011