Shakuhachi



禅尺八 真理研究 ホームページ

The Zen Shakuhachi Truth Research Web Pages

Introduction & Critical Guide to the Study of Early Ascetic Shakuhachi History & Ideology in Particular

Torsten Olafsson • 無穴笛オーラフソン トーステンデンマーク • Denmark

 



Introduction

About this Research Project

Realizations & Conclusions

Highlighted Pictures

Highlighted Quotations

Texts, Quotations & Illustrations
A Chronological Overview:

 •  India
 •  China
 •  Japan
 •  The West

To be - or not to be:
     a "Zen Buddhist Priest"?


Errors, Misconceptions & Loose Ends

The Source Collections

The Written Sources

1470?: The Kyōgen Play Rakuami

1505: Kōrin's Shakuhachi Essay

1512: The Taigenshō Music Treatise

The Komosō & Fuke-komosō Sources

1614: The Keichō kemmon-shū

1628: The Kaidō Honsoku Evidence

1628: The Kaidō Honsoku Thesis

1640s?: The Hotoke-gotoba Evidence

1646: Isshi Bunshu's Letter
     to the Komusō Sandō Mugetsu


1646 ... The Hottō Kokushi Legend

The Early Komusō Texts

The Kyōto/Kansai Sources

The Edo/Kantō/Tōkyō Sources

1664: Shichiku shoshinshū

1677: The Empō 5, 6th Month
     Reihō-ji Ordinance


1678: The Empō 5, 12th Month
     Komusō-ha Oboe Memorandum


1687: The Jōkyō 4, 6th Month
     Reihō-ji Ordinance


1694: Engetsu's Honsoku deshi ...

1703 & 1705: The Myōan-ji
     c/o Kōkoku-ji Interrelationship


1732: The Shakuhachi denrai-ki

1735: Myōan-ji's Kyorei-zan engi ...

1740?: Keichō no okitegaki -
     Existing Reprint Versions


1795: Kyotaku denki kokujikai

1816: Miyaji Ikkan's Shakuhachi hikki

1823: Hisamatsu Fūyō's Hitori mondō

1848: Bakufu Government Decree
     re-administrating the "Fuke Sect"


1871: Bakufu Government Decree
     bans & dissolves the "Fuke Sect"


1890 ... The Legacy of Higuchi Taizan

1930s: Uramoto Setchō Credo

1970s: Myōan Taizan-ha Thought & Credos

Honkyoku Music History
     Ascetic Shakuhachi Titles


Miyagawa Nyozan's Honkyoku 'Ajikan'

Myōan Taizan-ha Notation

Literature

Links

Profile / Bio / CV

Contact Info


1640s?: Hotoke-goto(ba)

佛言 -

Anonymous - Mid- to Late 17th century?

Apart from paragraphs I-2 and III-16, still pending while awaiting clarifications,
the translation of this marvellous text has now been completed, as of April 30, 2015.


I have copied/digitalized this quite mysterious document from pages 427-428 in Nakatsuka Chikuzen's (中塚竹禅, 1887-1944) 'Kinko-ryū shakuhachi shikan', Nihon Ongaku-sha, Tōkyō, 1979, wondering whether the title should perhaps rather be pronounced Butsu-gon?

Nakatsuka had nothing to state regarding any possible authorship and dating of the text which he described as being printed as the first chapter of twenty-nine in a small 50 page soft-cover pamphlet made of quarter-sized Minō [美濃] paper with neither a title page nor a list of contents.

After a preliminary investigation of the subject matter and style of the text, I believe that it may well be quite old, and - possibly - rather closely related to both the Kaidō honsoku and Isshi Bunshu's Letter to Sandō Mugetsu which are both dating from the second quarter of the 17th century.
That is so, indeed, in terms of actual, inherent subject matter.

Nakatsuka explains in his short introduction on p. 426, that the original text may have been incomplete (missing or incorrect kanji, f.i.), and he added punctuation to facilitate the reading of the reprint.

He also notes that the text contains "many difficult Buddhist terms" and recommends that the document should be studied by people who are attracted towards matters of value.

Any feedback regarding the translation and interpretation of this fascinating text is most welcome!


佛言

HOTOKE-GOTO(BA) - "Buddhist Statement(s)"

I-1:

凡尺八者、三国有伝、天竺七節、
大唐五節、日本三節、


"As for the shakuhachi, in general, there are traditions in three countries:
In India it has 7 joints [or, nodes], in China [it has] 5 joints, in Japan [it has] 3 joints."

I-2:

用事口伝有之、虚無僧尺事目録、
尺八之地也。


Pending final translation - possibly, one or more kanji may be missing.

However, these are the apparent "elements" of the text:

"Affairs/business + oral tradition + has it (that) - Komusō + measure + matter + catalogue/inventory - (that is the) True Nature of the Shakuhachi."

II-1:

夫尺八者、無中進理忘相、解説之音楽也。

"As for that shakuhachi, it is Music which Explains the Promotion of Truth and The Forgetting of One's Destiny, within 'Mu', 無中, [= "No-one-ness"]."

II-2:

意趣如何、止衆生悪、為仏邪念也云々。

"How about Malice, stop The Evil of Mankind, affecting [?] the Buddha is a wicked idea, and so and so on ... " [?]

II-3:

尺八之円形成者、法界遍満之儀也。

"The rounded shape of the shakuhachi symbolizes the Omnipresence of the Buddhist Universe."

II-4:

上之切口金剛天也。

"The upper opening represents the Diamond Heaven [i.e.: Kongō-ten - the one of the two principal mandalas of Tibetan Tantrism & Japanese Shingon Buddhism]."

II-5:

下之切口胎蔵界也。

"The lower opening represents the Womb Realm [i.e.: Taizō-kai - the other of the two principal mandalas of Tibetan Tantrism & Japanese Shingon Buddhism]."

II-6:

地節抜事、邪正一如、抜一節尺八者、
三世不可得義也。


A quite probable and meaningful translation:

"As for the removing [or, "passing through"] of the basic node(s) [i.e.: inner membrane(s)] - Right and Wrong are but "two faces of the same coin" - the shakuhachi with no inner divisions [or, "compartments"] carries The Meaning of the Un-obtainability of The Three Existences."

II-7:

表之四孔者、顕春夏秋冬之四時、
又標地水火風四、
又裏之一穴、則空義、
合地水火風空之五体也。


"The four fingerholes on the front express the Four Seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter, as well as The Four Elements of Wood, Water, Fire and the Wind.
Furthermore, including the single hole on the back which represents the Void [lit.: the 'Sky'], altogether [the five holes] signify The Five Forms [or, 'Elements'] of Soil, Water, Fire, Wind, and Void."

II-8:

故五音五調子、音声五智之如来説也。

"Therefore, the voice [or, sound] of the 5 (musical) tones and the 5 (musical) scales represent The Doctrine of the Dainichi Nyorai Buddha's 5 Wisdoms."

II-9:

取於尺八、吹入息、根本出生金風也。

"When one holds the shakuhachi and blows air into it, that corresponds to the Golden Breeze of One's Original Being."

II-10:

又吹出、永言現在安楽吹也。

"And, when the blowing stops, that is the Playing of Eternal Words and Current Ease."

II-11:

又吹止、則一息断命処也。

"Also, when one seizes to blow, then - in one breath - that is The Conclusion of Destiny." [?]

II-12:

又而仏前吹時、道含識、
草木国土森羅万象悉皆成仏吹也。


"Furthermore when blowing in front of the Buddha, the Buddhist Way contains Consciousness [Vijnana], and one blows [shakuhachi] for the Attainment of Buddhahood for all plants, all lands, and the whole creation [or, all things in Nature]."

II-13:

又而知識吹時、上求菩提吹也。

"Then, when playing in front of educated persons, that is to play for The Increased Wish for Enlightenment."

II-14:

対平人吹時、下化衆生吹也。

"When playing in front of ordinary people, that is to play for A Decrease in Human Mediocrity."

II-15:

依之尺八聴聞人者、減三身口意業障、
除逆闇無明之煩悩、 自化平等利益也。


"Consequently, in persons who listen to this shakuhachi, it will reduce the Karma of Action, Speech and Thought, remove the Evil Passions of (opposite) Darkness and Ignorance [Avidya], and bring about Impartiality and (Buddhist) Grace."

II-16a:

凡尺八者、三国相伝来、

In general, there are shakuhachi traditions [lit.: inheritances] in 3 countries.

II-16b:

於天竺、無定辺菩薩、
七節之尺八吹、則表七仏、


In India, Mujōe [?] Bodhisattva played a shakuhachi with 7 nodes; that expressed The Seven Buddhas."

II-16c:

於大唐者、普化和尚、
五智五節之尺八吹、則表五節、


"In China, because Abbot Fuke played The Shakuhachi of The Five Wisdoms [of both Dainichi Nyorai Buddha and Amithaba Buddha] with five nodes, therefore that expresses The Five Seasons [Spring, Summer, Mid-Summer, Autumn and Winter]. "

II-16d:

或三節之尺八、則是三節三身、

"The particular shakuhachi [of Japan] has 3 nodes; consequently, the 3 nodes represent the 3 Bodies of a Buddha [Kāya]."

II-17:

日本山城国宇治之里、
虚無僧一代秘蔵之切紙、仍所録如件。


"In the village of Uji in the Kyōto Vicinity of Japan [Gokinai] [there is, or was] a precious piece of paper ["a document"] about the origin of the komusō.
Accordingly, it is written like this [in a paragraph]:"

   Comment, T.O.: This may very well be a reference to the 'Kaidō honsoku' of 1628?

II-18:

表之穴者、春夏秋冬、地水火風也。

"The holes on the front symbolize The Four Seasons [lit.: Spring, Summer, Autumn & Winter], and The Four Elements [Soil, Water, Fire & Wind]. "

II-19:

裏之穴者、空之義也。

"The hole on the back symbolizes The Concept of Non-Substantiality [Jap.: : The Void - lit.: the Sky]."

II-20:

踏翻生死一忌帰羨、江湖雲水身、
十地街道吹尺八、


"While striving steadfast towards spiritual purification Beyond Life and Death, the itinerant [Zen?] monk is blowing the shakuhachi on his (predescribed) path towards the attainment of Bodhisattvahood."

II-21:

東西南北自由身、普化禅師居常入市、振鐸曰、
明頭来 明頭打、
暗頭来 暗頭打、
四方八面来 旋風打、
虚空来 連架打。


"Moving freely in every direction, Fuke Zenji often went into town and proclaimed, while waving his hand bell,

'Bright comes; Bright hits;
Dark comes; Dark hits;
Four Corners Eight Directions come; Whirlwind hits;
Non-Dual Non-Substantiality come; Scythe hits.'"

II-22:

凌霄峯頂看雲人、普化堂中第一祖。

"Being a person who watched The Peak of the Chinese Trumpet Vine Mountain over the clouds, Fuke was the first founder of the Buddha Hall."


III-1:

夫尺八者、沙門四十八道之具之一也。

"The shakuhachi is the principal of the (wandering) monk's [Shramana] 48 Dharma implements."

III-2:

或三尺雖隨気分、因得寸長尺短不理也。

This is a somewhat mysterious sentence with several variables:

"Although [the tightness of?] a certain waistband [san-jaku] obeys one's mood,
therefore [or, still?], it is irrational to 'obtain' the 'length of an inch'
and the 'shortness of a foot'."

III-3:

是尺八一本之虚象虚道也。

"That one shakuhachi is the Secret Way of all Non-dual [lit.: Empty] Phenomena."

III-4:

上下截口天地也。

"The upper and lower openings are Heaven and Earth, respectively."

III-5:

亦現金胎両脚奥穢也。

"Furthermore, in actual fact the pair of the Diamond and Womb Realms reside in the Inner Murkiness."

III-6:

五歌口、空風火水地、 亦空眼耳鼻舌身是也。

"The five soundholes are the Void, Wind, Fire, Water and Soil, and the Void is equivalent with the Eyes, Ears, Nose, Tongue and Body."[?]

III-7:

地魚皆帰空、中虚比鼻耳舌身是也。


"Land and fish all return to the Void, amidst Emptiness [Non-duality] that is the Nose, Ear, Tongue and Body."[?]

III-8:

名加守護五如来、吹之則除異念、去邪路、

"The name(s) add to the protection of the Five Tathāgatas [Jap.: Go-nyorai, of Tantric Shingon Buddhism], blowing it [the shakuhachi] removes Wrong Ideas, and eliminates Evil Morals and Conduct."

III-9:

此時上至有頂天、 下金輪水際、

"At that time one rises to ecstacy and descends from the Gold Wheel [Jap.: konrin - Heaven] to the Water's Edge [Jap.: mizugiwa - Earth]."

III-10:

皆是徹妙音声、

"[In] everything, this penetrates [or, clears] the Voice of Exquisite Music."

III-11:

無間堅辯、両手横技、是則又手当胸裡也。

Pending translation.

III-12:

是亦禅定三昧也。

"This is also similar to the Intense Absorption in Meditative Concentration
and the Mountain Asceticism [of the yamabushi/Shugendō], respectively [zentei sammai]."

III-13:

坐禅是亦安楽之法門也。

"Zazen, that is also the Comfort of the Buddhist Teaching [an-raku no hōmon]."

III-14:

一張弓、両段箭駕、是禅定三昧也。

"One bow, a 'litter' of many arrows, thast is the Intense Absorption in Meditative Concentration
(as well as Mountain Asceticism)."

III-15:

行亦禅、 坐亦禅、語黙諍休、安全吹尺八、

"'Moving' is 'Zen', 'Sitting' is 'Zen'; Speech or Silence, Quarrel or Rest,
safely blow the shakuhachi (!)."

III-16:

則更自無他無、魚唯是虚用也。

Pending translation.

III-17:

天地同根也。

"Heaven and Earth have the same root. "

III-18:

普化禅師禅宗僧、日本国中、
吹尺八者、東西南北自由身、
諸所関所番所、 在々町々一通岐修行。


"Zen master Fuke's Zen Buddhist monks, all over Japan,
those who are blowing the shakuhachi, freely in all directions,
here and there, everywhere,
at check points and guard houses,
in the countryside, and in the towns:
the practice of straight-forward asceticism
[lit.: one-way traffic street shugyō]."

III-19:

是異議有間敷候、

"This extraordinary philosophy [lit.: thought, opinion] has (both) Time and Space."

III-20:

如前書之趣、東照宮之御印ヲ加故、
御用判ト名附タリ。


"As it is being stated in the above text,
because of the approval by the Tōshū-gu
[the mausoleum of the 1st Tokugawa Shōgun Ieyasu],
his monogram [alt.: emblem, signature] has been applied."

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