Daitsū Tom Wright, born and raised in Wisconsin, lived in Japan for over forty years. He practiced and studied under Uchiyama Rōshi from 1968 until the latter’s death and was ordained as a priest in 1974. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, he taught as a professor in the English Language and Culture Program at Ryukoku University in Kyoto. He was a teacher for the Kyoto Sōtō Zen Center until 1995, and then conducted zazen gatherings with Rev. Dōyu Takamine in Kyoto and Tamba. Rev. Wright has worked on the translation and editing of several works on Zen, as well as writing on Zen, the Holocaust from a Buddhist perspective, and Japanese gardens (Samadhi on Zen Gardens—Dynamism and Tranquility, with Katsuhiko Mizuno, Suiko Books, Mitsumura Suiko Shoin, 2010). Retiring from the university in 2010, he now lives with his wife in Hilo, Hawaii, where he continues to work on translations and teach at Alaneo Zendo (Abbot Myoshin Kaniumoe) in Hilo.
Books, Courses & Podcasts
Opening the Hand of Thought
For over thirty years, Opening the Hand of Thought has offered an introduction to Zen Buddhism and meditation unmatched in clarity and power. This is the revised edition of Kosho Uchiyama’s singularly incisive classic.
This new edition contains even more useful material: new prefaces, an index, and extended endnotes, in addition to a revised glossary. As Jisho Warner writes in her preface, Opening the Hand of Thought “goes directly to the heart of Zen practice. . . showing how Zen Buddhism can be a deep and life-sustaining activity.” She goes on to say, “Uchiyama looks at what a person is, what a self is, how to develop a true self not separate from all things, one that can settle in peace in the midst of life.”
By turns humorous, philosophical, and personal, Opening the Hand of Thought is above all a great book for the Buddhist practitioner. It’s a perfect follow-up for the reader who has read Zen Meditation in Plain English and is especially useful for those who have not yet encountered a Zen teacher.
Deepest Practice, Deepest Wisdom
Famously insightful and famously complex, Eihei Dogen’s writings have been studied and puzzled over for hundreds of years. In Deepest Practice, Deepest Wisdom, Kosho Uchiyama, beloved twentieth-century Zen teacher addresses himself head-on to unpacking Dogen’s wisdom from three fascicles (or chapters) of his monumental Shobogenzo for a modern audience.
The fascicles presented here from Shobogenzo, or Treasury of the True Dharma Eye include “Shoaku Makusa” or “Refraining from Evil,” “Maka Hannya Haramitsu” or “Practicing Deepest Wisdom,” and “Uji” or “Living Time.” Tom Wright and Shohaku Okumura lovingly translate Dogen’s penetrating words and Uchiyama’s thoughtful commentary on each piece. At turns poetic and funny, always insightful, this is Zen wisdom for the ages.