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"The Great Silence enfolds the world. Who could have guessed Its tenderness?"*
I knew him as one of several monks from Shasta Zen Abbey who has been a dental patient of Bob's for decades. To my sorrowful regret, I was unaware of the scope of his work and spiritual attainment -- until now.
Through the other monks we heard that while on his biennial tour of Order of Buddhist Contemplatives temples in Europe December, 2002, Rev. Daizui was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer. Due to complications from this disease during March, after a three-week hospital stay, he died at his quarters at Hotei House, Shasta Abbey, on April 4, 2003.
The community of Shasta Abbey held a week of meditation and ceremonies for Rev. Daizui, followed by a public funeral ceremony on Sunday, April 20. I was privileged to attend this public ceremony and attest to the very high honor given to Rev. Master Daizui MacPhillamy in the festival memorial that lasted for two hours and featured nine celebrants.
Since that day much about Rev. Daizui's work has come to my attention. In recent years he edited two volumes of Roar of the Tigress, collections of Rev. Master Jiyu's lectures. He completed the second volume only a few weeks before his death. He edited and co-edited a number of other treasured volumes, authored a series of pamphlets on the Eightfold Path, and articles for the Order's quarterly Journal.
Last year Rev. Daizui completed writing a book which has just been published by Shasta Abbey Press, Buddhism From Within, which takes a plain-speaking, intuitive approach to the basic principles of Buddhism. This is not an academic work. It is a common sense portrayal of what it's like to see the world through Buddhist eyes -- a precious, admirable piece of writing.
Shasta Abbey is a Buddhist monastery established in 1970 by the late Abbess, Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett, who died on November 6, 1996. Rev. Kennett studied in Japan from 1962 until 1969 and was the disciple of the Very Rev. Keido Chisan Koho Zenji, formerly the Chief Abbot of Daihonzan Sojiji Head Temple (1957-1967). She received Dharma Transmission from him in 1963. In accord with Koho Zenji's wishes, Rev. Kennett returned to the West in 1969 in order to teach and train Western disciples in the Serene Reflection Meditation tradition.
Shasta Abbey is located in the mountains of far northern California at an elevation of 4000 feet. The immediate vicinity of the monastery is an area of coniferous forest, three miles north of the town of Mt. Shasta. The mountain after which the town is named lies six miles to the east of the monastery.
Those who are interested in exploring Shasta Abbey's web site,
including in depth information about Serene Reflection Meditation, the
Order of Buddhist Contemplatives, and Shasta Abbey's current calendar
may view it at
The monks at Shasta Abbey and the lay community miss Rev. Daizui so much. We wish he could have been with us a little while longer to impart, as the ceremony booklet says, "his bright kindliness, generosity and practical approach to practice" as "he very much embodied the Bodhisattva vow of training for the good of all and the Zen ideal of just doing that which needs to be done." We acknowledge through his passage into Eternal Meditation the impermanence of all that we appear to be here in this realm, and how important it is to cherish every moment we have left.
*This verse was written by Rev. Master Daizui.
~Lily G. Stephen, April, 2003
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