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Uchiyama became abbot of Antai-ji following Sawaki's death in 1965 until he retired in 1975 to Nokei-in, also near Kyoto, where he lived with his wife. Following the death of his teacher he led a forty-nine-day sesshin in memorial of his teacher. In retirement he continued his writing, the majority of which consisted of poetry.
Opening the Hand of Thought
Opening the Hand of Thought was published in 2004 in English, translated and edited by Jish? Cary Warner and Thomas Wright (who helped with the book's earlier editions in 1973 and 1993), as well as Uchiyama's Dharma heir Shohaku Okumura. The book attempts to describe Zen and zazen. Uchiyama compares Buddhism and Christianity. His summary is:
which refers to his own formula: two practices of "vow" and "repentance", and three minds: "magnanimous mind, nurturing mind and joyful mind". He says his book covers butsud?, the effort of an individual to actualize their universal self.