He became a successful Army nurse but was injured by a rock thrown from a lawn mower when he was 30 and invalided out. With his severance (redundancy) pay he started a medical equipment transport company, but that went bankrupt and he had a severe nervous breakdown. He lost his wife and family as a result, and when he was discharged from the hospital he became involved in New Age philosophies and alternative medicine.
With his second wife he established a refuge and healing center for traumatized people, near Bath, and he gradually found his way to Shingon Mikkyo Buddhism. He went to Japan to study and there became the first European head priest of the sect in 1998. His path to the priesthood included two thousand-mile pilgrimages without money, an eight-hour meditation under a waterfall and a hundred-day fast on rice water, during which he lost 112 pounds (51kg) and all the fillings in his teeth.
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