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Thursday, 12 May 2022

Thomas Hand

Thomas Hand was an American Jesuit working in Japan who studied Zen with Koun Yamada. At the first formal meeting between student and teacher, the student is asked to present his aspiration in taking up Zen practice. When Yamada put that question to Hand, the Jesuit admitted he wasn’t entirely sure. He was, he explained, a Roman Catholic priest, and he had no intention of becoming Buddhist or to change his vocation. Yamada smiled and told him that was quite all right. There were two types of Zen practice, Yamada said. “The first is really strict Buddhist Zen. You have all the statues and everything else like that, you follow all the Buddhist teaching and everything, and then there is just pure Zen. You will follow that, and that will make you a better Catholic.”

Catholicism and Zen: 9, 55-62, 63, 65, 66, 142, 143, 144, 172, 193, 197

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