Just a word of gratitude to Miyazaki Ekiho Zenji, Chief Priest of Soto-shu and Abbot of Eihei-ji, who died this morning at age 106. He was a very nice man, and was actively teaching until very very recently, even when well over age 100.

Deep Bows, J

FUKUI, Japan, Jan. 5 (AP) - (Kyodo)

Ekiho Miyazaki, abbot of Eiheiji Temple in Fukui Prefecture [and Chief Priest of the Soto Sect], died of natural causes Saturday morning at a hospital in Sapporo, officials said. He was 106.

A native of Hyogo Prefecture, Miyazaki became the 78th abbot of Eiheiji Temple, one of Japan's oldest Zen Buddhist temples, in September 1993.

Miyazaki, the oldest religious leader in Japan, had been hospitalized since last month.

Eiheiji Temple, a head temple of the Soto sect of Zen Buddhism in the Sea of Japan coast prefecture, was established in 1244 by Dogen (1200- Dogen founded the Soto sect, one of Japan's two major Zen Buddhist sects along with the Rinzai sect.