Born in Tokyo, Mr. Shinozaki had an isolated childhood, living as a hikikomori (shut-in), seeking meaning for his existence. After reading “Philosophy For Kids”, by Hitoshi Nagai, he acknowledged his uniqueness and his place in the universe. He went on to study philosophy in university, and later took a job in sales. He encountered zazen through his kyudo (Japanese archery) teacher, where he also met his future wife. His wife is of the family of the local Zen temple, Jizoin, and when his father-in-law fell ill, he started zazen training in earnest, to be able to fulfill the role of successor.
He came to Zenpoji for his training in March of 2011, and had to immerse himself in zazen – calmly meditating in the half-lotus seated position – through the aftermath of the 3/11 Tohoku Earthquake. He was unable to check on the welfare of his family and friends, and unable to pray for the victims. At that difficult time, and onwards, the words of Ryokan Taigu, an eighteenth century Soto Zen hermit and poet, consoled him – “let natural disaster hit you when it has to, you will die when it is time to die” – meaning that we should all accept whatever might happen, it’s the only way we can accept whatever happens to us.
Message to participants in the Zen at Zenpoji Experience:
“Ever since I started practicing, zazen always refreshes my spirit. I often practiced when I struggled in my career in sales. Zazen is open to everyone, there is no difference between beginners and the experienced. I would love to help you find your lightness and calmness through zazen, by learning how to accept ‘this moment, this place, yourself’ which is uniquely yours, with an open heart.”
Hobby: kyudo (Japanese archery)
Favorite Book: “Zen Lectures in Modern Society” by Issho Fujita
Zenpoji Temple, Tsuruoka City
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Yabase, Tsuruoka, Yamagata, Japan
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Megurun aims to support sustainable rural communities. To achieve these aims, we gained a travel agency license registered with the governor of Yamagata Prefecture: Region 282.