You may remember that back in 2012 we reported that a Japanese Buddhist monk was competing in the Equestrian Individual Eventing at the London Olympics. Kenki Sato was from the Myoshoji temple in the mountains near Nagano, where his father, Shodo, is the 25th master of the 460-year-old temple and adjacent horse-riding club.
He says his religious discipline helps him when he’s riding: “Before the competition starts I concentrate. I’m behaving more like a monk.” Kenki followed his younger brother Eiken, who also trained as a priest and rode at the Beijing Games.
Now another Japanese Zen monk, Kazuki Yazawa, is entering the Rio Olympic games. Kazuki is a Buddhist priest at the ancient Zenkoji Daikanjin Temple in Nagano prefecture. He is a slalom canoer who has competed since the mid-2000s. At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, he was eliminated in the qualifying round of the K-1 event finishing in 18th place. Four years later at the London games he was able to qualify for the final of the K-1 event where he finished in 9th place.
He became a monk in 2013 but in Zen that does not preclude one from secular activities and interests, (even including marriage and having a family).