Obituary of Richard Hunn (Upasaka Wen Shu) By Adrian Chan Wyles (Upasaka Heng Yu) (Appeared in The Middle Way Journal of the Buddhist Society Nov 2006 Vol. 81 No. 3 - Page 188)
Richard Hunn passed away on 1st October 2006 Kyoto. He had been suffering from cancer. He spent much of his adult life propagating and preserving the spiritual essence of life. Part of this immense task was the practice of Ch'an Buddhism, whose method was very close to his heart. He had met Charles Luk (Upasaka Lu Kuan Yu) in Hong Kong in the 1970's, and worked tirelessly to keep the Ch'an and Zen Teaching Series 1, 2 and 3 in print along with translations from Chinese into English of Luk's other texts. One of these, Empty Cloud, the biography of Master Xu Yun, was edited by Richard in the 1980's, when he lived in Norwich. His Foreword to it emanates a peaceful compassion and reflects a deeper, underlying perfection.
At this time, the Norwich Ch'an Association was functioning. Richard held Ch'an weeks (times of intensive meditation), and he kept in contact with many people around the world through the written word, which is how I came to know him. In the late 1980's and early 1990's, we exchanged a number of letters. I enquired about the 'true essence of the mind', and he gently but firmly showed me my mind. The, suddenly, and for almost a decade, we lost touch with one another. His life changed rapidly, and so did mine. I never stopped thinking about him, however, and eventually I managed to track him down. He was remarried, immensely happy and living in Kyoto. From 2000 to 2004 he brought groups of Japanese students on visits to England for a month or so. After they had returned to Japan, he visited his parents in Norwich and then spent a week at my home in Sutton, South London. During these blissful times, we would discuss life, laugh a lot and meditate intensely. But from 2005, his health started to decline.
Richard's wife Taeko, and his son Charles, have asked me to convey the sad news of his passing to those who may have known him. To the last, he kept his mind bright and clear.
'Licchavi Vimalakirti came to the foot of that tree and said to me, ’Reverend Sariputra, this is not the way to absorb yourself in contemplation. You should absorb yourself in contemplation so that neither body nor mind appear anywhere in the triple world. You should absorb yourself in contemplation in such a way that you can manifest all ordinary behavior without forsaking cessation. You should absorb yourself in contemplation in such a way that you can manifest the nature of an ordinary person without abandoning your cultivated spiritual nature.' Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra