Shundo Aoyama

‘The most important thing, as I often say, is that Basho used the words “unchangeable” and “fashionable.” “Unchangeable” means that things should not change, and “fashionable” means that it’s fine that things can change rapidly. I use the analogy of the axle and the periphery of a wheel. There are these two words: “unchangeable” and “fashionable.” No matter how many thousands of years pass, no matter how many countries change, from America to Europe to Japan, there is one point that must never change. If this one point is not maintained, the Buddhadharma will cease to be Buddhadharma. 

With this one point in mind, we can develop in an infinite number of ways, such as in China, Japan, Europe, and the United States. Or we can respond in an infinite number of ways depending on the other party. This is the so-called “Thousand-Armed Avalokiteshvara.” We have to keep in mind both aspects of the “fashionable” and the “unfashionable.” For example, in Japan, there is the development of the Japanese way of doing things. Or, if we go to the United States, there will be the development of the [way things are done in the] United States. However, what I want to keep in mind first and foremost is the one point that must not change. This is the axle of the wheel, and how we should develop on that basis.’ (from the Soto Shu Journal)

I was touched to see a conversation in the journal between my namesake and Konjin Gaelyn Godwin, who gave me my name nearly twenty years ago.

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