In 1969 I went to Japan in search of Zen. There I met Kosho Uchiyama, abbot of Antaiji Temple. It was neither my first meeting with a Japanese Zen teacher nor was it my first stay at a Zen temple in Japan, but it was a special meeting for me because it was my first meeting with a Zen teacher who seemed to have none of what I will call ‘Zen posturing’. Our discussion was informal and I walked away feeling that I had met someone who could be a friend as well as a teacher. Uchiyama invited me to stay at Antaiji and I did.
During my stay at Antaiji I came into contact with five teachers of Zen. Three, I met, and two I learned of through their heirs and their writings. All of these teachers were, in some capacity, connected with Antaiji, a small poor temple in Kyoto that seemed to be a magnet for Zen figures who did not mind breaking with tradition. The most unique of these teachers was a poet monk named Sodo Yokoyama. (more…)