Kōshō Uchiyama

Kosho Uchiyama
Religion Zen Buddhism
School Sōtō
Education M.A. (Waseda Univ.)
Nationality Japanese
Born 1912
Tokyo, Japan
Died March 1998 (aged 8586)
Senior posting
Based in Antai-ji
Title Rōshi
Predecessor Kodo Sawaki
Successor Koho Watanabe
Shohaku Okumura

Kosho Uchiyama (内山 興正 Uchiyama Kōshō, 1912 – March 13, 1998) was a Sōtō priest, origami master, and abbot of Antai-ji near Kyoto, Japan.

Uchiyama was author of more than twenty books on Zen Buddhism and origami,[1] of which Opening the Hand of Thought: Foundations of Zen Buddhist Practice is best known.

Education and career

Uchiyama graduated from Waseda University with a masters degree in Western philosophy in 1937 and was ordained a priest in 1941 by his teacher Kōdō Sawaki.[2] Throughout his life, Uchiyama lived with the damaging effects of tuberculosis.[3]

Uchiyama became abbot of Antai-ji following Sawaki's death in 1965 until he retired in 1975 to Nokei-in, also near Kyoto, where he lived with his wife.[1] Following the death of his teacher he led a forty-nine-day sesshin in memorial of his teacher.[2] In retirement he continued his writing, the majority of which consisted of poetry.[3]

Opening the Hand of Thought

Opening the Hand of Thought was published in 2004 in English, translated and edited by Jishō Cary Warner and Thomas Wright (who helped with the book's earlier editions in 1973 and 1993),[4] as well as Uchiyama's Dharma heir Shohaku Okumura. The book attempts to describe Zen and zazen. Uchiyama compares Buddhism and Christianity.[5] His summary is:

"one zazen, two practices, three minds"[6]

which refers to his own formula: two practices of "vow" and "repentance", and three minds: "magnanimous mind, nurturing mind and joyful mind".[7] He says his book covers butsudō, the effort of an individual to actualize their universal self.[8]



  1. 1 2 Uchiyama, 201
  2. 1 2 Ford, 139
  3. 1 2 Wright & Warner
  4. Uchiyama 2004, p. 202.
  5. Uchiyama 2004, pp. 110–111.
  6. Uchiyama 2004, p. 158.
  7. Uchiyama 2004, pp. 158–161.
  8. Uchiyama 2004, pp. xxxv–xxxvi.


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