This book was originally published in Japanese by Tankosha under the title Zen no Seikatsu.
First English Edition, 1972
The Tradition and Creativity of Zen
Zen has its origin in India and was introduced to China where it united with the thought of Lao-tsu and the realistically oriented world outlook of the Chinese, stressing as it does the value of human labor. Zen further developed by incorporating the Confucian emphasis on etiquette and culture, reaching its zenith in the period from the T'ang through the Sung dynasty (618-1279). It was transmitted to Japan in the Kamakura period (1185-1336) where it not only contributed to the disciplining of the spirit of the emotionally prone Japanese people but also deeply influenced the military and fine arts as well as daily life in general.
Professor Hajime Nakamura of Tokyo University, in his Gendai Zen Koza (Lectures on Modern Zen), has made a study of the way in which the life of monks changed when Zen was brought to China from India. In the India of the Zen sage Bodhidharma's day, around the sixth century A.D., it was the general practice for monks to live through mendicancy, just as it still is in the countries of Southeast Asia to this day. Even after Zen was brought to China, it is thought, this Indian way of life was generally followed until at least the time of the third successor, or patriarch, after Bodhidharma, Seng-ts'an. The fourth patriarch, Tao-hsin, after having wandered for ten years, settled down to live in one temple for a period of more than thirty years during which time seekers of the Way came to train under him from every part of the country, numbering generally more than five hundred at any one time. This number further increased to a thousand under the fifth patriarch, Hung-jen, producing new conditions for Chinese Zen. That is to say, if such a large number of monks were to study Zen in the mountains, as was the Chinese practice, it is only natural that they would try to become self-sufficient since there were no cities nearby that could supply their needs through mendicancy. In the hot climate of South Asia both food and clothing are no problem, since one can sleep almost naked under the trees and sustain oneself by eating wild fruit. In the severe climate of North Asia this is impossible. As the priests in South Asia do not do any manual labor, they are able to make do with only one meal a day, but in China this system is impossible.
Even in the collection of regulations of the Zen sect written in the T'ang dynasty (618- 907) by the Chinese Zen master Pai-chang, provision is made for two daily meals: breakfast, consisting of rice gruel, and lunch, consisting of vegetables and rice. Later on, even an evening meal known as yaku seki (baked stone)1 came to be tacitly permitted.
At any rate, as Zen became popular in China and was united with that country's culture, it came to place a high value on manual labor and productive activities, both of which had become necessary for its continued growth. By the time of the sixth patriarch, Hui-neng, it is recorded, monks were polishing rice as well as cutting firewood. That is to say, at this time manual labor had become an essential part of Zen training. The Zen master Pai-chang (720-814), whose Ching-kuei (Monastic Regulations) forms the model for Zen communal life, set the example himself for this kind of life by participating in manual labor with the other monks even in his old age. This was in accordance with his famous expression, "If one does not do any work for a day, one should not eat for a day." The Zen goal of living life with an "ordinary mind" may be said to have been developed through a life such as this.
The rules and regulations to be followed in a monastery were transmitted to Japan at the same time Zen was. Dogen-zenji (1200-53),2 the founder of the Soto Zen sect in Japan, particularly made these clear in such works as the Tenzo Kyokun (A Guide to the Kitchen Supervisor), Bendoho (Rules for the Practice of the Way), Chiji Shingi (Regulations for Monastery Officials), Fujuku Hampo (Rules for Preparing Food), and Shuryo Shingi (Rules for the General Body of Monks). All of these works have as their foundation the Soto Zen teachings of shikan-taza (themeless zazen) and igisoku buppo (one's bearing is the Buddhist teaching). The Soto Zen tradition has been transmitted fairly faithfully down to the present day.
The Rinzai Zen sect, on the other hand, has undergone a number of changes since it was first introduced into Japan, these changes being fully recorded by Shikyo-osho in his work, Ganshin-dojo Shishu (The Purpose of the Ganshin-dojo). As a disciple of Byakuin it was he who was responsible for the construction of monastic facilities at Empuku-ji, which were open to anyone who desired to study the Way. Rinzai Zen, which had also been transmitted to Japan in the Kamakura period, had originally established itself with five main and seven subsidiary temples under the protection of the emperor and the Hojo and Ashikaga families. In a short period of time there came to be hundreds of monks living at these temples and the various rules and regulations were being followed in a very rigorous manner.
This expression came into being in the period before evening meals were served and refers to the heated stones the monks held against their stomachs to overcome feelings of hunger and cold.
Zenji, kokushi, osho, daishi, and roshi are all honorific titles given to Japanese Zen priests.
By the end of the Ashikaga era (1392-1573), however, the five main temples were only ghosts of their former selves, the Rinzai Zen tradition continuing to flourish only at Daitoku-ji, and Myoshin-ji, under the respective leadership of Daito and Kanzan and their descendants. But even though the tradition continued in medieval times, facilities for training monks disappeared at even these two temples and their head priests served on the basis of a yearly rotation system. Although the Zen masters in these two temples were superior to those in the provinces, because their facilities were quite limited it was impossible for them to give training to the novice monks who assembled from all over the country. It was in such circumstances that the Zen master Shikyo-zenji decided to invite virtuous monks, in whom various Rinzai Zen masters placed high hopes, to gather together. According to his plan such priests, without regard to their backgrounds, would then undergo training in a monastery where the head priest would have a tenure of three to five years and the discipline would be the strictest in the Rinzai Zen sect. Finally Shikyo's plan bore fruit, and, revering Daio-kokushi as the founder of the temple, monastic facilities were reestablished at Empuku-ji.
There are some people who think that the reason monastic facilities fell into such a sad state of disrepair in medieval times was because Rinzai Zen put so much emphasis on practicing zazen while using koan and because it was so organizationally divided, with its priests continually engaged in making pilgrimages to visit various masters. But according to Shikyo Purpose: "If only one has the correct aspiration, one should be able to practice zazen even in a noisy crowd. However, there are those in the present age who, although they cannot be said to be particularly excellent, will awaken to a desire for the Way if they see a monastery where the rules are being strictly observed. There are also those in whom a desire to realize the Truth will be brought about through the collective strength of the community of monks in their earnest practice of the Way. The nature of what one sees and hears in a monastery is like that of walking through a mist. That is to say, it penetrates through one naturally, leaving a deep impression. Especially in the present degenerate age of mappo3 the merit arising from this nature is not to be taken lightly. With these reasons serving as the core, and putting particular emphasis on ancient practices, I would like to establish a monastery."
Tradition says that the Buddhist Law will go through three periods, the last of which, mappo, the age of degeneration, will last for ten thousand years.
Because of Shikyo the facilities of Rinzai Zen monasteries gradually improved, but it can be said that the rules and regulations followed there are today, in comparison with those in Soto Zen, somewhat simplified and practical in nature.
The Zen life is not something which remains unchanged in spite of changes in customs, time periods, nationalities, cultures, and traditions. On the contrary, it is exactly in its adaptation to such changes that Zen expresses its creativity. It is for this reason that there is room left for new growth on the part of Zen in the present age as well.
The Monastic Training of Past Zen Masters
In order to understand monastic training thoroughly it is necessary to study not only its history but also to look back upon the life of past Zen masters. At this point, by way of recalling past Zen masters, I would like to recount several episodes from the lives of Nantembo-roshi, who initiated Zen training at Empuku-ji at the end of the Edo period ( 1603 1868 ), and Sogaku Harada-roshi, a Soto Zen master who trained at Rinzai Zen monasteries in the latter part of the Meiji era (1868-1912).
Nantembo-roshi was born in the reign of Emperor Ninko (1817-46) and died in 1924 at the age of eighty-four. He was a man of magnificent physique with great force of character, who became famous for working havoc on the monasteries of his day, even going so far as to suggest the reexamination of fellow Zen masters. This notable priest, under whose guidance General Maresuke Nogi, of Russo- Japanese War fame, is said to have practiced zazen, began his own training at the age of eighteen. It was then that he went to Empuku-ji, and after waiting two full days in the entry- way he was allowed to enter the tankaryo waiting room, where his desire to participate in Zen training was further tested for a period of one week. Finally he was allowed to enter the Zendo, and he was given the Mu koan1 to solve by his master Sekio-osho.
This koan concerns Chao-chou, a famous Zen priest of the T'ang dynasty. One day some monks asked him in all seriousness, "Does a dog have the Buddha-nature?" Chao-chou answered, "Mu (nothing)." The "solution" to this koan consists in comprehending what is meant by this answer.
In the spring of the same year, to commemorate his entry into Empuku-ji, Nantembo planted a pine tree by the side of a well located between the Hondo and the hall to commemorate Bodhidarma. He is said to have made the following oath: "The question is whether or not I will die before this pine tree withers away. Even if this pine tree should wither away, I am determined not to die before I reach the age of eighty." He lasted longer than that, and the pine tree remains healthy to this day. In 1911 a group of interested people built a fence around it and erected a stone memorial marker.
Three years after the oath taking Sekio-osho died, and Nantembo transferred to Bairin-ji (in Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture), where he trained under Razan-osho. There were more than 128 unsui in training there, and it is said that for the next six years Nantembo never slept on his futon. At night, after the officials of the monastery had made their inspection, he would quietly put his futon away and steal off to the gravesite of the Arima family, which was located on the mountain behind Bairin-ji. There he would continue zazen in winter as well as summer. Sometimes, while sitting in the zazen position in the winter, snow piled up like a miniature mountain on the palms of his hands, but he took not the least heed of it, thinking of how the second Chinese patriarch, Hui-k'o (487-593), had been willing to cut off his own arm in order to study the Way. It is also said that Nantembo did zazen for three years near a well called Bottomless Well. After practicing zazen in this way for a number of years, Nantembo-roshi said, "Simply doing zazen in one place is not sufficient. As one step in Zen training it is necessary to go on a pilgrimage to visit various Zen masters, otherwise one's training cannot be considered complete. Experiencing various difficulties in the course of one's travels is also something which is very valuable. I don't think I am a particularly outstanding priest nor is my understanding of Zen unsurpassed throughout the land, but I can say that the reason I came to be held in high esteem by society in general is that I made a pilgrimage to visit twenty-four Zen masters."
Sogaku Harada-roshi was a master of the Soto Zen sect who was the head of Hosshin-ji (near Obama, Fukui Prefecture). I had heard about the severity of the training at this monastery from an American professor of philosophy, Dr. Bernard Phillips, and had hoped to have the opportunity to visit it. At Hosshin-ji a distinctive type of guidance was being given in which Harada-roshi used the koan of Rinzai Zen as well as that sect's emphasis on realizing enlightenment. According to the roshi's autobiography, Daiun Sogaku Jiden, the first real Zen monastery he entered was Shogen-ji, (near Ibuka, Gifu Prefecture). After having trained there for three years he entered what is now the Soto Zen sect's Komazawa University and, upon graduation, became the head priest of a small temple. Six years later, however, he returned to his alma mater as a research student and studied under such famous Soto Zen scholars as Sotan Oka and Kodo Akino. But because he could not find satisfaction in such scholarly study, he once more entered a Rinzai Zen monastery, this time Nanzen-ji (in Kyoto), where he trained for three years under Dokutan-roshi. At the end of this period he was called back to Komazawa University and there he spent the next twelve years as a professor. At the request of the residents of his home province he became the head priest of Hosshin-ji and built monastic facilities there in 1922. At its most flourishing time, between about 1929 and 1941, there were always between sixty and seventy monks in training. During the intensive periods of zazen known as sesshin a large number of priests and laymen from throughout the country would come to Hosshin-ji; one year, during rohatsu dai sesshin,2 numbering more than 120 persons. Among the products of this monastery are such distinguished priests as Haku'un Yasutani and Horyu Ishiguro.
Rohatsu dai sesshin, commemorating the enlightenment of Sakyamuni, the historical Buddha, is held yearly from the first of December to the morning of the eighth.
In 1961, at the age of ninety-one, Harada- roshi passed away. Before continuing with this account of his life, however, I would like to quote a long passage from his autobiography, in which he describes his life at the Rinzai Zen monastery Shogen-ji, where he first began his training as a priest. He writes, "I went to Shogen-ji accompanied by my monk friend, Ryokai Kuritani, whom I had invited to go along with me. New arrivals are usually kept waiting in the entryway for a week, but in our case we were allowed to enter the tankaryo after only three days, perhaps because we had come from another Buddhist sect. Our time in the tankaryo was also unusually short, being only five days. The head priest was Daigi Ummuken-roshi, and the monastery was flourishing with about ninety-five unsui in training. I had heard about this monastery's reputation for severe discipline and had come prepared for the worst. After seeing it for myself, what surprised me more than anything else was the simplicity of the meals. I was raised in a poor temple and was quite used to plain food, but here the morning and evening meals consisted of gruel and tsukemono (Japanese-style pickles). The gruel was known as 'ceiling gruel' because it consisted primarily of barley and was so watered down that the ceiling was reflected in it. In order to prepare it, water was first boiled in a large pot into which barley that had been dried and ground into flour with a stone mortar was mixed. The result was a smooth, almost drinkable substance that looked just like muddy water. Served with this were a few pickled vegetables.
"In the fall, when daikon were abundant, the neighboring farmers would make generous donations of them to us. Our pickles were made either from the leaves of these daikon or those which the farmers threw away. These leaves were put in vats and sprinkled with salt at several different stages in the pickling process. When they were ready to be eaten, the monk in charge of this work would take them out beside the Zendo and carefully cut up a week's supply for the monk community, piling the pickles up in a large basin. Because of their saltiness they would last a whole week without growing moldy.
"Lunch consisted of cooked grain that was actually almost all barley rather than rice, although there were times when rice, amounting to about ten percent of the total, was mixed in. In addition, there was miso (bean paste) soup into which vegetables grown in the nearby fields were put. . . .
"There is an instructive anecdote about the vegetables used in our soup that I would like to tell. This episode occurred before I underwent Zen training and concerns the famous Settan-roshi, who is better known as Thundering Settan. Every night without anyone knowing how they got there, vegetables for the next day's miso soup would appear washed and nicely cut in a bamboo basket in the kitchen. Settan-roshi thought that there was no doubt that whoever was doing this was one of the unsui in training at the monastery, but he wondered who this commendable person might be. By disguising himself as a monk going out to practice night zazen in the monastery grounds, he discovered that a monk by the name of Tairyo was going to a nearby river and collecting the leaves which the local farmers had discarded in the process of washing their daikon. These Tairyo secretly brought to the kitchen. At that time Settan-roshi thought to himself, 'This is the person who should be my successor.' Later on, Tairyo did, as Settan had hoped, succeed him. This is a famous episode, which is told even today as proof of the fact that Zen training by itself is not enough: it must be accompanied by development of character as well. Young novice priests of today should take care to remember this point."
In The Training of the Zen Buddhist Monk, Daisetz Suzuki called one of his chapters "Life of Service" (in Japanese, intoku, literally, "secret goodness"). This "secret goodness" means to do acts of goodness of which others are unaware. To do good for the sake of goodness, to do good while forgetting goodness-- this is Zen training.
Let me return to Harada-roshi's autobiography, for he also has something to say about this subject. "I would like to relate an episode I experienced at Shogen-ji concerning one expression of secret goodness on the part of a novice monk. At that time if a monk simply left his dirty clothing in the washtub, before he knew it someone would have washed them quite clean and dried them. One could not help being deeply appreciative of this, especially since it didn't make any difference whether the dirty garments were underwear or whatever. In addition, after it became dark there were monks who, taking care that they were unobserved, would be striving for the honor of cleaning the toilets."
Relating an account of the severity of his monastic training (which was no less than that administered during the Edo period of Nantembo-roshi's time), Harada-roshi says, "Some of the other monks and I would go out into the monastery grounds to practice zazen every night. Sometimes I would sit in the snow, and other times I would sit in a mosquito-filled bamboo grove or a similar place. It might be said that I underwent severe training; but, actually, if you put your whole heart and soul into it, then even if it's cold or you are being bitten by insects it isn't a hardship."
Harada-roshi has also written an interesting account of his own experience of satori (enlightenment), but I think it would be better to refer to it later on. Since we have now deepened our understanding of monastic life, I would like, at this point, to return to a discussion of the monastery itself.
Entering a Zen Monastery
With the exception of Kennin-ji, which is located near the central Gion district, Kyoto's Zen temples, such as Nanzen-ji, Daitoku-ji, Myoshin-ji, Tenryu-ji, Tofuku-ji, etc., are all located in what used to be the suburbs of that city. It is thought that in the past the precincts of these temples were much larger than they are today, that the surrounding area was not crowded with houses, and that although they may not have been exactly secluded spots they did at least maintain a certain tranquillity. Recently, however, their precincts have become quite confined, they are crowded in by houses, and they are becoming ghosts of their former selves.
An exception to this is Empuku-ji, which was rehabilitated by Shikyo-osho in the middle of the Edo period. This monastery, located at the foot of Mount Nan, approximately three and a half miles from Yahata Station on the Keihan Railway Line, has been able to preserve its peaceful atmosphere. Leaving the main road one passes through bamboo groves, and after walking uphill on a narrow path for fifteen minutes one comes to the Sammon Gate. On each flank of the Sammon is a statue of a Nio (Guardian King), glaring fiercely at monastery visitors. One is reminded of Shozo Suzuki, who began his study of Zen after having been a samurai and who taught Nio Zeit, a form in which one does away with all laxness, giving oneself over completely to the strenuous practice of zazen. Standing in front of the entryway to the monastery complex, one notices the modern-looking patchwork design on the tightly closed shoji (paper sliding doors). This design is not something that was planned, rather it is the natural result of the Zen tradition of attaching great importance to even a small piece of paper. That is to say, when the shoji need to be repaired, only the section where the paper has been damaged is replaced, not the entire covering of the door frame.
Cautiously opening the shoji one notices that the entryway is well cleaned, with not a speck of dust to be seen. At the bottom of a wooden pillar there is a sign which reads, "It is forbidden to leave straw sandals in a disorderly manner." "Watch your step" is another sign that is also seen in the entryway of Zen temples. The day we visited Empuku-ji we were amused when, standing in the entry- way asking for permission to enter the monastery, a deep voice answered us, saying, "Who is it?" using words spoken in a traditional Japanese play. If it is someone like us, we simply give the priest who comes to greet us one of our visiting cards and explain to him that we already made an appointment by telephone to meet the roshi. When a novice monk desires to enter Empuku-ji to train there, however, it is not such a simple matter. First of all he must undergo a severe examination.
A Zen monastery is not a place where just anyone may train, but rather its doors are open to only those who earnestly aspire to study the Way. Zen masters take the attitude that "it is quite sufficient to train a single person only or even one-half a person who has truly understood the essence of Zen and is fit to be their successor." Bodhidharma did not consent to instruct his eventual successor, Hui-ko, until the latter had shown his strong desire to study the Way by cutting off his own arm. In Japan this incident has become well- known through the famous paintings of Sesshu, the best known Japanese artist-priest of medieval times.
As has already been mentioned in the foregoing descriptions of the training of various Zen masters, the entrance test which novice monks must undergo in modern monasteries consists, first of all, in being kept waiting in the entryway and, second, in being placed in the tankaryo, where the monk does nothing but zazen under the constant surveillance of senior monks.
Tsuguo Miyajima, a writer who entered the Buddhist priesthood at the age of forty-five, has vividly described his entrance into a Zen monastery in a number of books he has written, particularly Zen ni Ikiru (Living in Zen) and Unsui ga Kataru (A Novice Monk Speaks). In the latter he writes: "After stepping into the entryway, the unsui stands his wicker hat up against the wall in a corner of the room. Then he sits down on the wooden step of the porch and places his baggage, containing his robes and personal effects, in front of him. Next, after taking his entrance application out of his pocket, he inclines his body forward, placing his forehead on top of his hands which are already resting on his baggage. Having thus readied himself, the unsui at last makes his presence known to the monastery officials. After a voice from inside the monastery building asks, "Who is it?" a monastery official comes out to the entryway and, kneeling on the floor, asks, "Where have you come from?" The unsui gives the official his entrance application and says, "I came from such-and-such temple and am a disciple of so-and-so roshi. I have come with the desire to train here.""Wait just a moment," the official answers and disappears inside the monastery building. Assuming his original position the unsui must wait without making the slightest movement until another official comes out and says something like, "As this monastery is completely filled now, we can't take any more trainees" or "Since the discipline here is very severe it would be better for you to go somewhere else." Being refused in this way is a traditional Zen practice, and if the unsuigives up at this point, he will never be accepted as a trainee anywhere he may go. There is no other way for him but to continue earnestly requesting admittance by remaining seated, head down, on the porch step. This is known as niwazume (being kept in the garden).
If, during the period of niwazume, the novice monk asks any questions or acts Imprudently, the monastery official will say, "How dare you think of training here when you act in such a manner. Get out!" and then proceed to throw the unsui, bag and baggage, out of the entryway, closing the shoji tightly behind him. At any rate, if he really wants to enter the monastery there is nothing for the unsui to do but maintain the same bowing posture. However, It is the general practice for him to be given meals during the time he is waiting, although after he finishes eating he must resume his original position. At times during his waiting period one of the monastery officials will come out to heap abuse on him and try to throw him out of the entryway. When evening arrives he will be told that he can stay in the tankaryo for the night, although he will have to leave early the next morning. He will also be provided with supper.
Early the next morning the unsui resumes the same bowing posture as on the previous day. As time passes his body begins to hurt all over, and his face, legs, and other parts of his body gradually become swollen. On the evening of the second day, after subjecting him to abusive language once again, the monastery official will say, "As you seem to be earnest in your desire to enter, we will put you in the tankaryo. However, if you think that everything will be all right now and relax your effort, you can be thrown out at any time." For the next three to seven days, depending on the earnestness shown by the unsui in doing zazen, he will be kept in the tankaryo. It is only after successfully completing this probationary period that he is allowed to become a member of the monastic community.
The hardest training that takes place in a Zen monastery during the year is known as the rohatsu dai sesshin, an intensive period of zazen lasting from the first of December to the morning of the eighth, that commemorates the enlightenment of the historical Buddha, Sakyamuni. The word "sesshin" means to concentrate one's mind. This is accomplished through day and night practice of zazen and private interviews with the roshi during the week-long period. In addition to rohatsu other sesshin are held every month from the first to seventh, eleventh to seventeenth, and twenty-first to twenty-seventh day during the summer and winter ango (training periods). During the intervals between ango the monks are allowed to make pilgrimages or return to their home temples. During the training periods the Ist, 3rd, 6th, 8th, 11th, 13th, 18th, 21st, 23rd, 28th, and 31st are set aside for lectures on Zen; from the 2nd, on every third day is for mendicancy; and the 4-9 days (i.e., those in which the figure 4 or 9 appears) are for bathing and head shaving.
The normal daily routine varies somewhat according to the monastery, but, taking Kyoto's Sokoku-ji as an example, the monks schedule generally follows this pattern. The monks rise at 3 A.M., quickly rinse out their mouths with one scoopful of water, wash their faces and immediately begin the morning sutra recitation. Following this they have an opportunity to have a private interview with the roshi; those monks not doing so practice zazen. Breakfast is next, followed by zazen and daily cleaning. On days set aside for them, lectures begin from 7 A.M. in the summer and 8 A.M. in the winter. On days for mendicancy, the monks leave the monastery immediately after the daily cleaning. The midday meal is served at 10 A.M. on lecture days and at 11 A.M. when the monks have been out practicing mendicancy. Following lunch the monks may do zazen individually until 1 P.M., when the manual labor period begins. This manual labor, continuing until 3 P.M. in winter and 4 P.M. in summer, is followed by the evening sutra recitation. The evening meal is eaten at 3:30 P.M. in winter and 4 P.M. in summer. As dusk falls, evening zazen begins, and the monks once more have the opportunity to visit the roshi in his room. The day formally ends at 8 P.M. in winter and 9 P.M. in summer, although not until 10 P.M. during sesshin. Truly, a monastic day is a full and earnest one.
The following episode happened more than forty years ago when Dr. Shigenao Konishi, former head of Kyoto University, was living very near Sokoku-ji. At that time he often visited this monastery to hear Daiko Yamazaki-roshi give lectures on Zen. One day, however, an unsui asked Dr. Konishi of what use it was to him to listen to a lecture by someone like Yamazaki-roshi, who lacked an academic education. The doctor answered that he thought that there was something very precious in the way in which the roshi put his body and soul completely into his lectures with overflowing compassion, hoping that he would be of assistance in opening the aspirant's "mind's eye" to the Truth. He also said that he found something very valuable in the monastery's severe rules and regulations, its atmosphere, and the unsuis' truly polished and well-regulated practice, something that he could not experience at the university. He went on to say that he felt grateful that he lived close to Sokoku-ji and had been given the opportunity to study Buddhism. Dr. Konishi was the same age as Yamazaki-roshi, and they enjoyed a close relationship with one another. When the doctor passed away shortly after the end of World War II Yamazaki- roshi keenly felt the loss of this good friend.