Saturday, September 16, 2006

Email from Gudo, 30 March 2005

> Dear Ven. Mike Cross,

Recently I received a letter from James Cohen, who is also my Dharma
Heir, to send me the following letter, intending to get our copyright
of Shobogenzo too.
Because when I solved the problem of Windbell Publications, I relied
upon his help enormously. Therefore after solving the problems I wanted
to reward his enormous efforts for solving the problem, I presented my
copyright of my two books, that is, "To meet the real Dragon" and "The
conversation between Gudo and Sekishin.' Then he published them on the name of
Windbell Publications already.

In such situations recently I felt necessity to publish our Shobogenzo
by ourselves, and so ask the preparation of the publications to my
students called Ven. Peter Rocca and Ven. Eli Kravez utilizing a new name of
Publisher, for example Doge Sangha Publications. But I received James
Cohen's letter on 30th March, and I think that he has idea that he want to publish our Shobogenzo by himself by the name of Windbell Publications. In such situations there is possibility that even our copyright has also possibility to belong to himself eventually utilizing the name of Windbell Publication. It was
impossible for me to guess such situations before, and so I would like to tell you such facts first, and I think that it is necessary for us discuss the solution further. I am very sorry that bother you in such a secular job,
but we will have talks together to find a good solution.

Therefore fast of all I would like to tell you such a very bad
situation first and I would like to solve the problem with you and
Peter and Eli too.

With best wishes Gudo Wafu Nishijima


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you the Chot Cross who translated the Shobgenzo with him? Is this what it is about?

Saturday, September 16, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

The name that Gudo Nishijima gave me when I received the precepts from him in 1983, was Chodo.

Gudo Nishijima has said many times that he translated Shobogenzo into English, and I re-wrote his Japanese-style English into my exact English sentences. That view has not changed since 1986, when I first began working directly from Master Dogen’s Japanese text. In Gudo’s mind, he is the translator into English, and my role was as his native-English-speaking assistant.

About 20 years ago, I tried to explain to him the real situation as I saw it using the metaphor of building a house. I told him that it was not a question of repairing his house, but of building a totally new house, under his guidance, upon foundations which he had laid down. But Gudo could not accept that then, and he has never been able to accept that view of the translation process.

But that is how it really was. It was a joint effort, as the bringing of a child into the world by a man and a woman is a joint effort. He couldn’t have done it without me; and I couldn’t have done it without him.

As a man, how can I imagine the anger of a mother whose baby is stolen by the baby's father? I can't. And there is nobody who can imagine my anger at Gudo's recent behaviour. To have a wrong view is one thing. I put up with his wrong view for 20 years. Gudo’s blindness was infuriating but I always felt he couldn’t help it. But to act on that false view is a more serious matter.

Legally, we are joint copyright holders and so the situation is not clear. But morally I feel what he has done is outrageous -- firstly in 1997, when he asked the publishers to make changes to Book 3 without consulting me, and secondly, more recently, in the way he has used James Cohen to destroy the goodwill of the original publishers, Windbell, and to go ahead on his own with new publishers.

Saturday, September 16, 2006  

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