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With his shaven head, straight back and deep, calming voice, Sokun Tsushimoto, a newly qualified physician who started practicing at a Tokyo clinic in April, clearly betrays evidence of his long and rich life experience.

Until he set out on his eight-year study/training path toward becoming a medical doctor in 2000, Tsushimoto practiced in an altogether different field — that of Zen Buddhism — in which he had held one of the highest positions in the Rinzai School, one of Japan’s two major schools along with the Soto School.

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