OBITUARY> Shohei Ichimura (1929-2018)

A. Charles Muller's picture

Dear Colleagues,

It is with deep regret that I convey to you the news of the passing of Shohei Ichimura, Zen monk and scholar of Indian Buddhist philosophy. His son Elliott has provided us with an outline of his life and works, which I pass on below. -- Chuck

Shohei Ichimura:


  • Born: November 23, 1929
  • Died:  January 23, 2018
  • First born of 5 children to Yoshie (mother) and Hakuho Ichimura (father), head abbot of Dairinji in the town of Nakajo in Niigata prefecture
  • Completed monastic training at Eiheiji temple
  • Traveled extensively in India following graduation from Komazawa university (undergraduate degree 1955)
  • Master's degree from Harvard Divinity School in 1960
  • Doctorate from University of Chicago in Påli, Sanskrit and Buddhist Studies, 1972 - Thesis: Nāgārjuna's Philosophy of Śūnyatā and His Dialectic
  • Founded North American Institute of Zen and Buddhist Studies (NAIZBS) in 1993 as a vehicle for delivery of Buddhist translations and publications
  • Major publications (beyond BDK translation works):
    • 1993:  Translator of "Zen Master Eihei Dogen's Monastic Regulations" - NAIZBS "Institute Series 1"
    • 1994:  Translator of "Zen Master Keizan's Monastic Regulations" - NAIZBS "Institute Series 2"
    • 1995:  Editor for Bruno Petzhold's work "The Classification of Buddhism. Bukkyo Kyohan: Comprising the Classification of Buddhist Doctrines in India, China and Japan"
    • 2001:  Translator of ETO Sokuo's work "Zen Master Dogen As Founding Patriarch" - NAIZBS "Institute Series 3"
    • 2001:  Author of "Buddhist Critical Spirituality: Prajna and Sunyata" - NAIZBS "Institute Series 4"
  • Survived by:
    • Wife of 49 years, Jeanne A. Ichimura; son, Elliott Ichimura and daughter-in-law Shelagh Gibbons-Ichimura
    • By a prior marriage, a son, Andrew Ichimura, his wife and two granddaughters
    • Two younger brothers (Takazo and Hiroshi) and a sister (Chieko Yamada)
  • Selected photographs:  ShoheiIchimuraProfile