1976 Santa Barbara News Press article about Rev. Masao Nippashi

A retyped Santa Barbara newspaper article about my first Nipponzan Myohoji teacher friend, Nippashi whose name in English means "sun bridge" (rainbow) and whose first name Masao sounds like the Hopi word for the Great Spirit who rules the Earth, usually spelled Massau:

[Photo captioned:]

A Buddhist monk from Tokyo, Japan, Rev. Nippashi has hopes of building a "peace pagoda" in Santa Barbara.

--- News Press Photo

Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara News Press

Thursday Evening, November 11, 1976

Buddhist Monk on peace mission

For the past several days, the Rev. Nippashi, a Japanese Buddhist monk, has walked the streets of Santa Barbara, beating a drum and chanting a mantra.

Nippashi is one of several monks from the Nipponzan Myohoji sect of Buddhism who joined the Bicentennial summertime "peace walk" from the West Coast to Washington, D.C. The sect's mission is to further the cause of worldwide peace.

He and two fellow monks, the Rev. Kato of India and the Rev. Tshushiya of Japan, arrived in Santa Barbara last week. Nippashi said that his religious leader, Master Nichidatsu Fujii, gave him permission to settle anywhere in the United States for the purpose of constructing a "peace pagoda," one of the first of its kind in this country.

The others were on their way elsewhere for similar purposes, one to New England and one to San Francisco.

Nippashi said he chose Santa Barbara because of its beauty and because he felt this community would support his endeavor. The monks have taken vows of poverty and must depend on the community to provide them with funds.

Walter Boye, a local supporter of the movement, said that some 50 peace pagodas have been built elsewhere -- in Japan, India, Switzerland, and Sri Lanka -- by the monks "concentrating their energies for the cause of peaceful coexistence." He said that Nippsahi plans to walk five hours a day, covering 15 miles, to carry his message here.

The mantra is "Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo," which NIppashi says stands for "peace, nonviolence, respect for each other and make salutations to everyone."

On December 1, he is to be established in rented quarters at 308 W. Yanonali and he plans to have a ceremony declaring the beginning of his mission January 1.

"We hope that the energy of the people in Santa Barbara is enough to have him stay here until the project is completed," Boye said.

--- Sharon Diriam

-------end article (Nippashi did fasting and drumming and chanting December 1-7, 1976 in a tipi near the tent where I was living in Santa Barbara and encouraged us to join, which I did the last few days and got the "message" and took up the drum

David Crockett Williams