Fumon S. Nakagawa Roshi was born in Kyoto on the 23rd of December, 1947.
When he was 16, he met Soko Morinaga Roshi and received his first teachings from him. At the same time, he studied in depth the Dharma lectures by Kodo Sawaki Roshi. Nakagawa Roshi studied Western Philosophy at Keio University in Tokyo. He was drawn towards the works of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven which touched him deeply and he eagerly practised the Shakuhachi (Zen bamboo flute) himself.
Aged 18, whilst in Tokyo, he met for the first time, Tokugen Sakai Roshi, who was later to become his teacher. At the same time, he practised under Kosho Uchiyama Roshi in the Antaiji Monastery in Kyoto.
At the age of 21, the first big spiritual experience led to a deep crisis and the clear and profound insight: “All people are suffering. Despite of that they continue to hurt each other without knowing it.” This insight sparked the important question to be put to Tokugen Sakai Roshi: “If one feels compassion for all beings in one’s heart and lives according to that, is that the way of the monk? And if that is the case would you then please grant me the ordination?”
In 1970 he received the ordination as a monk from Tokugen Sakai Roshi in the temple Myogen-ji in Nagoya. This was the temple where Kodo Sawaki Roshi was active till the end of his life.
Following the tradition, the first part of the monk’s education was given under the supervision of Tokugen Sakai Roshi and Genko Kawase Roshi, abbess of Myogen-ji in Nagoya. They were both, like Uchiyama Roshi, important students with Kodo Sawaki Roshi. Nakagawa Roshi finished his studies at Komazawa Soto University with a Master degree in Zen Buddhology.
At the age of 27 he entered the main Soto monastery Eiheiji to complete the second part of the monk’s education. The three main abbots Sato Zenji, Hata-Zenji and Miyazaki Zenji were important personal teachers for him.
In 1979, his Dharma way led him to Germany, where he began to lead seminars and sesshins in various centres. His first own small temple Jikishin-an was an old mill in the Allgäu region. There he practised intensely with some students.
1985 brought a turning point to his life. After very intense years of practice, he realized the “Awakening to the Life of Vows” in the mill in Allgäu.
Fumon Nakagawa Roshi founded in 1987 the training centre Jikishin-Kai in Munich, which existed in this way till the year 2008.
In 1994, a meeting with Thich Nhat Hanh led to the opening of a new dimension that he had carried in his heart for a long time: it has long been his vision to walk the Buddha way not only in the shape of an austern Zen education, but also to find a genuine and gentle way towards healing that would be open to everyone. He was deeply impressed by the practice of loving mindfulness to transform suffering in people, that was developed by Thich Nhat Hanh.
In 1996 he encountered his life-task in the shape of an old country inn in Eisenbuch/Erlbach. There his vision of a “Centre for a Wholesome Living” would come into being.
In 1997, Ekiho Miyazaki Zenji, the 78th Patriarch Head Abbot of the main Soto Monastery Eiheiji, became honorary founder of the Zen Centre Eisenbuch, Daihizan Fumonji.
In 2003, Fumon Nakagawa Roshi began to build the “Centre for a Wholesome Living” together with Myochi R. Wecker, who had been practising with him since 1981.
In 2006, the monastery Daihizan Fumonji was officially founded with the inauguration of Fumon Nakagawa Roshi as abbot and the blessing of Miyazaki Zenji.
Image © Thule G. Jug