Life at SMC, Mind-Body

A Letter from the Director on the Passing of Shibata Sensei XX


Dear Friends,

At the passing of Onyumishi Kanjuro Shibata XX, I want to take this opportunity to express my deep sadness and heartfelt appreciation.

Shibata Sensei was an exemplar of warriorship. In the last year of his life, he visited Shambhala Mountain Center on a number of occasions in response to a request from the staff to teach warriorship and revitalize the practice of Kyudo at the mountain center. Despite his obvious frailty and need for oxygen at the higher elevation, he came and shared his profound teachings with us. He also invited the staff to his dojo in Boulder, to take first shot with him. This was a warrior for whom there was never a moment of holding back.

This Friday, Sensei will be cremated at Shambhala Mountain Center. We are grateful for this opportunity to pay our respects and support Sensei and the family during this transition. We will be sending further details on Thursday.

Yours in the dharma,

Michael Gayner
Executive Director
Shambhala Mountain Center

Details of Cremation Ceremony at SMC on Friday, October 25th

The cremation ceremony will start at noon, please arrive half an hour early prepared to walk a half mile on rocky mountain paths and be outside for several hours in the mountains (warm hat, gloves, coat).  Parking close to the site will be restricted to family.  Limited shuttle service will be made available for those that cannot walk.
Light refreshments and sustenance will be available, but full meals will not be available due to the number of guest and nature of the event.  We recommend that you bring snacks if you are concerned.
We will be asking for donations to cover the cost of the ceremony and refreshments.  We recommend each person donate $25 for themselves, and if they are able to contribute more to cover the cost of those who are less fortunate, it is appreciated. This will cover the family’s costs for the cremation. Any donations beyond the costs of the ceremony will be offered to Shibata Sensei’s dojo.

Please see the comment below for further information on the ceremony in Boulder at the Zenko Iba on Friday morning.


  1. Aimee Miracle says

    I feel so greatly blessed to have the opportunity to be taught a kyudo lesson along with my oldest daughter by Sensei. We will honor the moments spent with him.

    Thank you,

    Aimee and A’esha Miracle

  2. Johanne Jensen says

    Thank you, thank you dear Master for teaching me Kyudo and a profound way of life. I will always be in depth to you. May you swiftly return and teach more.

  3. Doria Cross says

    Our family was able to meet Shibata Sensei and his wife Carolyn during our tenure at Shambhala Mountain Center. From the moment we met, a deep heart connection arose and grew throughout the years. Allan became a devoted kyudo student and I followed. Kyudo is a big part of how we maintained our hearts open and our minds fairly sane during our time on the mountain. We are so appreciative of Sensei and Carolyn. Their generosity to us and our staff was tremendous. It has been difficult to form words around his passing. His example of devotion, love, being ever present, timelessness, and fortitude has marked our lives. We so wished to have traveled to SMC to physically say farewell. However we are confident in his undying presence in our hearts. This life and the ones to come will be the better for having met the Master Warrior, Kanjuro Shibata XX. We offer a deep deep bow to you Sensei and to you his precious wife Carolyn. With love and appreciation , Allan and Doria Cross

  4. Patricia Pace says

    Sensei was of course a great Warrior, Master and Teacher.
    He was also a comedian, a poet and a beautiful singer.
    I was fortunate enough to hear his beautiful song in Ojai, California a few years ago. Barely able to stand, he stood before us and opened his heart and voice in the most moving song. Sensei had the ability to make us laugh and cry all at once. He had the gift of mirroring us with great compassion and unconditional love. I know Sensei is at peace. He is truly an evolved soul, and he gave us all a gift that will last an eternity. My sincere aloha and deep respect to Sensei’s family. My deep gratitude to Carolyn, who cared for Sensei with humility and great warrior spirit. Also I want to extend my appreciation to all of the Kyudo family and friends who surrounded and supported Sensei over the years. Their names are too many to mention, but they hold a place in Sensei’s heart forever. Sensei was like the great eastern Sun itself. We could not help but turn our eyes and hearts toward him, for all that he emanated was of the very highest and noblest way. Mahalo and aloha hui hou Sensei (Until we meet again, may you know all peace and love) Patricia Pace, Maui

  5. Donna Plaisted says

    I have never met him, and only heard of him through my son, his caretaker, but upon hearing of Sensai’s passing, my heart immediately sank into deep sadness. Two-thousand miles away during meditation, I felt his presence enter my spirit and I was lifted and filled with strength and love for this man. How Sensai could have affected me from such a great distance, I do not know. I can only feel that we are all connected and he has graced me with his spirit even if only for a short time.
    Please accept my most sincere sympathy for your loss.

    Words to Calm the Spirit

    Ametsuchi no musubi no naka ni chihayaburu
    Kami no mioya no oyaoya to tsutae mashite
    Chichihaha no atae tamahishi wake mitama.
    Life originated with great vigor when heaven and earth took form, the genesis of the universe. The mitama of the kamisama has divided and been transmitted to us through our ancestors and parents.

    Kono utsushiyo o makari naba
    Towa no mitama no furusato no kami no mikado ni kaeru nari
    When we pass from this visible world, we return to the resplendent abode of the kami, the origin of the enduring mitama.

    Kami no mikado wa
    Ametsuchi no nagaki inochi ni kotonarazu
    Mimi ni kokoezu me ni mienu
    Kiyoki nagisa ni shiki nami no yosuru tokoyo no kuni to yu.
    The kamisama realm of eternal life remains inaudible and invisible. It is said: in the eternal land of the kamisama, waves gently lap on a beautiful, endless shore.

    Tokoyo no kuni ni shirakumo no chie o oshi wake akanesasu
    Hi no wakamiya ga tatsu to yu
    It is said: in heaven the white clouds are pushed away, and there stands a shrine of the sun which shines a brilliant crimson color.

    Hi no wakamiya no takadono ni
    Yoyo no mitama wa akaru tae teru
    Tae mochite mi o yosohi mizu no magatama
    Torikakete yasuku odahi ni masu to yu
    It is said: generations and generations of mitama radiate extraordinarily brightly, residing in the calm, tranquil sanctuary of the Sun Shrine, wearing exquisite, beautiful jewels.

    Yasuku odahi ni masu koto o aogi kohinomi
    Utsusomi no ware mo ukara mo hitosuji ni
    We who are living in the present world
    Earnestly look up in prayer, pleading for abiding peace and tranquility for the Departed.

    Kami no mamichi no masamichi o ukegahi matsuri tsutsushimite
    We sincerely believe in the true, straight path of the kami.

    Oyako harakara mutsumajiku ie o totonoe
    Mi o osame kiyoku akaruku urehinaku
    Ikuru makoto o ame kakeri kuni kakerishite misonahashi
    Parents and children, brothers and sisters—all strive to live clearly and brightly, in happiness and without grief. See how this truth flies through the heavens and soars across the earth!

    Mitama wa takaku yasurakeku
    Iya tokoshie ni shizumarite
    We pray that your mitama abide nobly, in peaceful tranquility for all time.

    Ie no sakae o mamori mase
    Ie no sakae o mamori mase
    Protect the prosperity of our livelihoods.
    Protect the prosperity of our homes.

    Mu jo rei ho shin ju bu gyo
    Ten jo mu kyu mei un ryu sho
    Bu nan nyu shin ka sho an raku
    Not/above/spirit/treasure sincerity/receive/serve/go
    Heaven/earth/not/distress life/fate/flourishing/bright
    Not/distress/enter/kami changing/life/peaceful/ease

    Myo ho ji gen dai i jin tsu riki
    We follow kannagara, the way of the universe,
    that the kami will manifest divine power in our being.

    Harae tamae kiyome tamae mamori tamae
    Sakiwae tamae terashi tamae michibiki tamae
    Sweep the impurities from our being and purify our spirits
    Grant us protection; grant us happiness;
    Restore brightness to our spirits and give us guidance.

    Sugasuga shiku sukoyaka ni
    Higoto yogoto o arashime tamae
    We implore the kami, that we may know health and strength, every day and every night.

  7. Eric Spiegel says

    Dear Carolyn, and family and friends of Sensei,

    I send my heartfelt love and appreciation for the beauty and dignity of Sensei’s life. I feel so fortunate to have known him.

    With love,
    Eric Spiegel

  8. Dale Asrael says

    Dear Carolyn,
    My heart goes out to you at this time. I am so grateful for the many ways you have made it possible for Sensei to teach. He was one of the most important teachers of my life. Please let me know if there is ever any way I can be of support.
    With deep bow and gratitude to him and you,

  9. Mikayla Sanford says

    Dear All,

    Thank you for your countless expressions of appreciation and love. This is to briefly update everyone on the schedule, as best we know it right now.

    Starting this evening at 5:00pm we will be welcoming anyone who would like to come and practice quietly with Sensei’s body in the Iba. This practice environment will continue 24/7 until Friday morning.

    The ceremony at Zenko Iba will take place at 7:00am on Friday morning.

    Directly following this, we will head to Shambhala Mountain Center for the cremation ceremony, scheduled for noon on Friday.

    We welcome anyone who wishes to come and pay respects and make a connection with Sensei’s passing. Members of the family and I will be sleeping in the Iba throughout the nights. So, if you enter at a late hour, please simply come in, feel free to approach and greet him, then take a seat and know that there may be a few family members stretched out sleeping quietly nearby.

    With love,


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