Written by Jan Phillips and Narrated by Marie T. Russell.
We don't have faith because we understand. We have faith because we hear the echo from the Depths. -- Oshida Shigeto
I first heard about Father Oshida from the Sisters of St. Joseph in Tsu-shi. They told me about his visit with the Dalai Lama, where both men sat together in silence for an hour. At the end of the hour, the Dalai Lama asked if Father Oshida would return again one day and honor him with another meeting.
After hearing the story, I wanted to meet the man. He lived far away in the Japanese Alps, the sisters said, on a small retreat that he built with a few others. Legend had it that as a Dominican priest in Tokyo, he was a social activist, always advocating for the poor, insisting that the church dedicate more funds on their behalf. In general, a thorn in the side of the hierarchy.
So they missioned him in the mountains on a small patch of land and sent him a few seminarians. He was to be their Novice Director. Together they built Takamori, a ragtag monastery of crooked thatched huts that was designed for simplicity, communal living, contemplation, and hard work in the rice fields.
The sisters of Tsu-shi were enthusiastic about me visiting Takamori. They tracked down the phone number. They brought out a map of Japan so we could see...