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Many Japanese unconsciously regard the renunciation of the world to take Buddhist vows as inherently tragic. I myself had largely subscribed to this view. But after coming to Eiheiji, it struck me that there wasn’t necessarily anything tragic about it at all. People like Keikou, who’d chosen the monastic life for positive reasons, altered my thinking and inspired me. A serious, sober young man who devoted himself quietly to Zen practice, he had fully earned the honor and responsibility of being named head monk, and all of us held him in high regard.