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Bright Dawn Center

of Oneness Buddhism
 

 

Universal teachings for everyday living.

Reverend Haya Akegarasu

Reverend Haya Akegarasu was a dynamic and revolutionary individual, and his influence is lasting in the world of Buddhism and thought. He was born in 1877 at Myotatsuji Temple in Kitayasuda, Dejiromura, Ishikawa-gun, Ishikawa-ken, Japan. The young man grew up to be a very sincere and puritanical person. At the age of 23, after graduating from the Shinshu College in Kyoto, he went to Tokyo to join Reverend Manshi Kiyozawa.His life was filled with many troubles and sufferings. When he was 31, he was attacked by tuberculosis, and when he was 36, his wife fell ill and died after severe illness. During her illness, and due to the events surrounding it, he underwent a great many personal discoveries of a deeply troubling nature to such a puritanical person. Searching for an answer, he read many books, until he came to the Great Eternal Life Sutra, or Dai Muryojukyo (in Japanese), Sukhavativyuha (in Sanskrit). Then a great change took place in his life. He read and studied the sutra, and a new life for him began; his true life emerged.Events of his life were such that he continued to experience many hardships, not the least of which was his steadily worsening eyesight that lead to eventual blindness.Before his eyesight failed, he was an avid reader of books: eastern, western, ancient and contemporary, and had an active curiosity about all things in life. His private library contained 60,000 books. After his mother passed on in 1927, he began traveling the world. It was in the US that Rev. Akegarasu met Rev. Gyomay for the first time.Although he was an outstanding scholar, he believed that Buddhism was meant to be lived and breathed, and it was in this spirit that he trained his students.

First Meeting

From Rev. Gyomay Kubose's memoirs

 

When Rev. Akegarasu came to the US in 1929, while staying with Rev. Hata (one of his disciples at a temple in Oakland, CA), he met Masao Kubose (Gyomay). Rev. Akegarasu planned to travel through the US speaking and touring. Rev. Hata planned to accompany him since, by this time, his teacher's eyesight had failed considerably. But on the eve of their departure, a church member died."It's okay, Sensei," Rev. Hata assured Rev. Akegarasu, "I'll make arrangements so that I can still accompany you." Rev. Akegarasu said, "No, no, where is that young man Kubose? He can go with me." And so it was that young Kubose traveled with him as his personal secretary throughout the United States for 45 days. A deep personal affinity had manifested itself upon their first meeting, and this continued to deepen and grow. By the end of their travels together, it was arranged that Kubose would finish college in the US, then go to Japan to be his disciple.

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