MR. Shibata: condensed report—Oct. 14, 1976 by Sabira
Mr. Shibata said he met Murshid before the war; didn’t react to question of whether he remembered Murshid saying that Japan would be destroyed.
I showed him the Xeroxed copy of Men of Yamato from “Book of Cosmic Prophecies.” He was very interested in reading it, but had no comments.
Mr. S. is a very quiet, reserved man with very intelligent and perceptive eyes. He said that Murshid used to come in often before Mr. Okuda went to Japan, and that they talked about Zen, Nyogen Senzaki etc. He showed me a book given to Okuda by Murshid, “The Gateless Gate.” (Mr. Okuda and Murshid talked together; Mr. S. was just there).
Mr. S. said that after the war Murshid had changed, and the change was that he was very quiet, and just looked at things without saying much. He agreed that Murshid was probably looking at things from a more internal point of view.
Mr. S. said that the last time he saw Murshid was about a year before he died, when he had the beard, but that he always wore a brown suit and a tie when he visited his Gallery.
He kept reiterating that Murshid was a very quiet man—so this must be the way Murshid was with Mr. Shibata.
Shibata’s son, who speaks better English than his father (the father is very, very hard to understand) said the same thing. While we were taping he had several customers; he spoke to me briefly as I was going out the door.
Mr. S. spoke a lot about Zen and the Way of Life saying that the Tao was more limited, and Zen was "millions of ways"; that even the atomic bomb could be thought of as a "way." He did not discuss Murshid in this respect, except to say again that his "way" was one of quiet.
He said that Murshid never sent him any art treasures from Japan, and never bought anything at the store. He said that Mr. Okuda died around 1958, or about two years after Murshid was there.
He really appreciated the book, “Jerusalem Trilogy.”
My feeling about the interview is that Mr. Shibata is a very special person, like the things he sells in his store—that Murshid "collected" these gems like Mr. Shibata collects art—I get the impression that each of his old friends were like his early disciples, each one brought something to Murshid’s life that he needed, and vice-versa. I have a feeling that Murshid was very discriminating as to whom he picked as a friend.