A Knowing Smile

He died 15 years ago yesterday, our late Head of the Order Rev. Master Daizui MacPhillamy. Many people who follow Hounmugo on Facebook have been leaving comments with personal memories of their encounter with this ancient monk. He left a lasting impression on so many of us. In memory here is a short verse he wrote.

The Great Silence
enfolds
the world.
Who could have
guessed its
Tenderness?

Daizui MacPhillamy

My memories are many and varied spanning over 20 years from the time of my ordination to his struggle with cancer early in 2003 and his death that April. A senior monk at the hospital in Redding California where Rev. M. Daizui was undergoing treatment called me in Cornwall, England. ‘If you want to see Daizui alive you had better get on a plane now’, and I did. The call came at 2.00 am and having caught a flight from Heathrow I arrived at his bedside late afternoon the same day. He smiled a greeting, ‘THERE you are Mugo’! Pleased to see me. That was the 20th March the day the USA invaded Iraq. The news broke as I was mid Atlantic. So that was my international dash to be by his side during the last days of his life.

He had many great qualities, for example while he cooked a meal he would wash up dirty dishes as he went along, leaving few for after meal clean-up – an admirable practice for any cook. I was particularly grateful for his compassionate acceptance of me. Memorably the time I came back from a walk by the ocean in Southern Oregon dripping wet! He said not a word, asked not a question! He just smiled a knowing smile. Showing his acceptance of our humanity, and his own.

Note: I’d lost my footing on a path and fallen into the ocean below! Thankfully I was in no danger, just thoroughly soaked.

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7 thoughts on “A Knowing Smile”

  1. I’ll always remember going on a Retreat at the Hermitage. Right after I got there I asked if we could talk. He said sure..give it a couple days.. I’m like “what? ..a couple days..holy crap! “. When we finally met up I said to him….”I don’t feel normal… “He was quiet for a bit …looked at me …then said after a bit.. “Get use to it!” That was reassuring .

  2. I remember Rev. Master Daizui with great fondness. I listen to his recorded dharma talks frequently. I am especially attracted to the talk, Spiritual Simplicity, and listen to it every 2 months or so to keep me on the path and read sections of Buddhism From Within from time to time. I remember attending a workshop at The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology when he and RM Jiyu taught together. A wonderful experience.

    I hope you are well.

    1. Thanks Charles. Are you able to point me to where that talk can be found please? I’ll link to it so others can hear it. Buddhism from Within is available on Amazon. Rev. Master Daizui came to Cornwall in early 2003 to visit me and to do some Order business. Each afternoon, without fail, he would sit in my mobile home and work on finishing his book. I see it was published in June 2003 just months after his death.

      1. The recording can be found on Shasta Abbey’s teaching on menu pull down then archives and under Daizui’s name. Let me know if you are unable to access it.

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