Although born in America, Rev. Gyomay M. Kubose spent the early part of his life in Japan where he undoubtedly absorbed a heritage rich in Buddhist influence. Returning to America, he attended the University of California at Berkeley, graduating with a degree in Philosophy in 1935. Then he went to Japan and studied under his teacher, Rev. Haya Akegarasu, at his Dai-Nippon Bunkyo-kenkyu-in at Myotatsuji Temple in Ishikawa Prefecture. Accompanying his teacher on lecture tours, he traveled extensively in Japan, Korea, China, and the US.He returned to the US in 1941 just prior to World War II and spent two years in the Heart Mountain Relocation Camp in Wyoming. Then he came to Chicago in 1944 and founded the Buddhist Temple of Chicago. In 1949, he accompanied and interpreted for the Abbot and Lady Kocho Otani of the Higashi Honganji, the Eastern Headquarters of Buddhism in Japan, on their US tour. Over the years he helped establish various organizations affiliated with the Temple; such as Boy Scout Troop 515, later followed by Cub Scouts, Explorer Scouts, and Girl Scouts; a Japanese language school; and in 1955, the American Buddhist Association.In 1966 he went to Japan for three years to do special studies in Buddhism at Otani Buddhist University in Kyoto. On his way home from Japan in 1969 he made a world tour. He visited Buddhist historical places in India, toured southeastern countries, and attended the World Buddhist Conference in Malaysia. He visited the Holy Land in Israel, and also went to Rome, Athens, and other European countries.He started the Buddhist Educational Center in Chicago in 1970, which offers courses in Buddhism and Japanese cultural arts. He also established a meditation group. He has lectured widely throughout North America, Peru and Brazil, and in Japan. Throughout his life, he emphasized and taught non-sectarian Buddhism for all. He passed away in Chicago on March 29, 2000
Rev. Gyomay M. Kubose's lifework was dedicated to promoting Buddhism in America.
In his words:
"I have always dreamed of establishing an American Buddhism - different from Indian, Chinese, or Japanese Buddhism - a uniquely American Buddhism that could be easily understood and practiced by Americans and that would contribute to American life and culture. This Buddhism can be explained in simple, everyday language and practiced in every aspect of our daily life. Yet, it is a unique Buddhist life-way, non-dichotomized and non-dualistic, that will bring about a peaceful, meaningful, creative life, both individually and collectively."