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Kobun Chino and Kyudo
from Robert Halpern

Kobun Chino page    Robert Halpern page

It's always a pleasure to hear from you, even if it ends up reminding me of how much I've forgotten. However, concerning Kobun and his Kyudo practice, what I once knew still seems clear.

Kobun was studying European literature at Kyoto University. While there, he heard about Shibata sensei, went to meet him, and became his devoted student. Even after he came to America, when he returned periodically for short stays in Japan, he would visit Shibata sensei at his home in Kyoto. Occasionally at Tassajara, I heard him casually refer to Kyudo and, thinking back to how he approached chopping wood, his Kyudo studies influenced some of his activities just as his study of calligraphy influenced some other of his activities.
Fast-forward to Kobun's 17 year friendship with Trungpa Rinpoche. He was so happy with Rinpoche's appreciation for Japanese culture and he helped, in many ways, to introduce it to the Shambhala community. Kyudo didn't really come up much because it needs special bows and because he didn't consider himself a Kyudo teacher. Around 1980, I went to Japan to get miles and miles of brocade to decorate Shambhala shrine rooms and to get a few hundred oryoki sets so they could become part of Shambhala practice. Before I left for Japan, I visited Kobun to make sure I remembered how to do oryoki and to help me figure out where I could buy them in Japan. While I was visiting him, Shibata sensei's son Nobuhiro (currently Shibata Kanjuro XXI) was visiting Kobun and he invited me to stay with Shibata sensei's family when I went Kyoto. I got to know the Shibata family very well and could see that there was a very close teacher-student relationship between sensei and Kobun.

I brought back a bunch of bows and other Kyudo equipment and also brought sensei himself where he became an integral part of the Shambhala mandala at the highest level. After Kyudo had been introduced by sensei, Kobun would occasionally practice with the students, especially when he visited Rocky Mountain Dharma Center (but I wasn't at RMDC for that so that would be very believable hearsay)

There, that's what I know about Kobun and Kyudo. I hope you're well and I'm very glad to see that you're happily remaining busy. on Kobun and Kyudo