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


1614: Keichō kemmonshū/kenmonshū

Two very early Edo Period anecdotes recorded
about two different shakuhachi-playing "Fuke komo-sō" monks

This webpage will soon be further expanded ...

慶長見聞集 - KEICHŌ KEMMON-SHŪ

"Anthology of Observations/Seen & Heard During the Keichō Period" (1596-1615)

Authored by Miura Jōshin, 三浦浄心, 1565-1644

The most well known of these two anecdotes was first presented in Kurihara Kōta's 1918-publication Shakuhachi shikō, on pages 183-184 in the 1975 reissue version of the book.

Very interestingly indeed, Kurihara Kōta (or his editor) changed one especially significant Japanese character in a way so as to literally blur and thereby seriously forge shakuhachi and komo-sō/ko-mu-sō historical chronology for an entire century or so, by now ...

This is a noteworthy example of however quite common falsification of original text sources in the field of shakuhachi history research.

The other anecdote actually opens Volume 3 (Maki 3) the Keichō kemmon-shū as Chapter 1.
More about that text the soonest possible.

Also, direct links to various reliable internet online version of the texts will soon be added.


Anecdote No. 1: Ōtori Ippei and a "Fuke komo-sō" in the town of Hachi-ōji.

大鳥一浜衛組の事 - ŌTORI IPPEI SO no KOTO

"The Matter of Ōtori Ippei"

This anecdote is contained in chapter 2 of Volume 6 (Maki 6).

It is essential to observe that the original text features the character compound 古無(僧), and not 虚無(僧), as given everywhere in Kurihara's 1918/1975 version.

Key name and terms regarding the present text:

古無僧 - KO-MO-SŌ? / KO-MU-SŌ?
古無殿 - KO-MO-DONO? / KO-MU-DONO?
普化薦僧 - FUKE KOMO-SŌ
大鳥一兵衛 - ŌTORI IPPEI
浪人侍 - RŌNIN SAMURAI
修行 - SHUGYŌ

Did the below reported incident ever take place, possibly so? Maybe not, actually, however ...

The narrator of the present anecdote being rendered in the Keichō kemmonshū, named Ōtori Ippei, was a figure affiliated with the early kabuki theatre.
Born in 1588, Ōtori was executed by the bakufu in 1612, only 24 years old.
More information about this background will be added the soonest possible.

古無僧

Do note:
The Fuke Shakuhachi player being quoted in the following text was not a 'KOMU-SŌ'!

The shakuhachi-playing lay monk in this anecdote, of samurai heritage, is described phonetically by Miura Jōshin as a ko-mu-sō, 古無僧, "old+noone-ness+monk", the reason simply being that the author did not know how to write the term komo-sō correctly.

The confusion of the phonems mo and mu is certainly not uncommon at all, as those two syllables are virtually homonymous.

At this very time in history a mendicant shakuhachi "lay monk" would rightly still be known as a Fuke komo-sō, not a komu-sō.

There were definitely no komu-sō, 虚無僧, in existence and action in Japan before sometime after the Shimabara Rebellion on Kyūshū in Southern Japan in 1637-38, at the earliest.


First, here follows a presentation of the central part of this very significant text, in which the Fuke komo-sō proclaims the shakuhachi "credo" of his.

- - -
われいにしへは四姓の上首たりといへ共、
今は世を捨人となる。
然共先業をかへり見、貧賎をなげかずして、
仏道の縁に取付、宗門に思ひをすまし、
内に所得なく、外に所求なく、
身を安くして、普化上人の跡をつぎ、
一代教門の肝心出離解脱の道に入、
修行をはげますといへ共、
悪逆無道の一言にわれしんいの
ほのほやみがたしすがたこそ。
- - -


" - - - Although many years ago I held a high position, now I have become one who has abandoned the world.
But when I recall my former occupation, I do not grieve over poverty and lowliness but hold on to the fate of the Way of the Buddha and reserve all my considerations for the Doctrine. I have no inward possessions, no outward desires, and I calmly follow in the footprints of Priest Fuke and have entered upon the way of True Detachment and Spiritual Deliverance.
But even though I strive hard in ascetic discipline, I find it difficult indeed to maintain a peaceful mind when I am confronted with an atrocious word. - - - "

     Miura Jōshin (1565-1644) quoting a travelling Fuke monk
     being characterized in his kanazōshi book 'Keichō Kenmon-shū',
     'Seen and Heard during the Keichō Period', 1614.
     Trsl. by Torsten Olafsson.

The full text of the anecdote reads and translates as follows:

Links to online versions of the Keichō kemmonshū will be added before long.

The below English translation (here with but a few slightly refining adjustments) first appeared in my 1987 Copenhagen University Japanology thesis on the Kaidō honsoku document, dated 1628 - published internationally in 2003 by Tai Hei Shakuhachi, California, USA.

Do note that the story is being reported by Ōtori Ippei, here retold by Miura Jōshin.

われ武州八王寺の町酒屋にありて酒をのみしに、古無僧壱人尺八を吹て門にたつたり。

In the town Hachiōji in the Musashi Province, while I was drinking sake in a wine shop, a kom*-sō, 古無僧, came up to the gate while blowing a shakuhachi.

我此者を呼入、あらありがたの修行や、
御身ゆへある人と見へたり。


Dear me, I called out to him! You are an auspicious practitioner of asceticism, I suppose.
You seem to be a devoted person, I said.

世におち人にやおはすらんと、酒をもてなし、
此一兵衛も若き頃は尺八を吹たり。


If it is your intention to be scattered in the world, sparing a home for ordinary humans, please let me entertain you with some wine.
I myself played the shakuhachi when I was young.

古無殿の尺八一手望み也といへば、この者曲を一手吹たり。

When I said, I would like the kom* master, 古無殿, to play a melody on his shakuhachi, he played a tune.

我聞て打わらひ、「しりをくりあげ、尻を打たゝきて、
古無殿の尺八ほどは、われ尻にても吹べし」 と云へは、
古無(僧)大に腹を立, 


While I was listening, slightly smiling I rolled up my kimono so as to uncover my buttocks, and when - tapping my rump - I said,
I can play better than you with my arse,
the kom*(-sō), 古無(僧), got very angry and exclaimed,

「無念至極の悪言かな。
われいにしへは四姓の上首たりといへども、
今は世捨人と或る。


What an inconsiderate and most uncomplimentary remark!

Although many years ago I held a high position,
now I have become one who has abandoned the world.

然れども先業をかへり見、貧賎をなげかすして、
仏道の縁にとり付、空門に思ひを済し、
内に所得なく、外に所求なく、
身を安くして普化上人の跡をつぎ、
壱代教門の肝要、
出離解脱の道に入
修行をはげますと云へども、
悪逆無道の一言に、
われしんいのほのをやみがたし。


But even so, when I recall my former occupation, I do not grieve over poverty and lowliness,
but hold on to the Fate of the Way of the Buddha and reserve all my considerations for the purpose of the Doctrine.
I have no inward possessions, no outward desires, and with a tranquil Body I follow in the footsteps of Priest Fuke
and have entered upon the Way of True Disattachment and Spiritual Deliverance.
But even though I am striving hard in ascetic discipline,
I find it difficult indeed when I am confronted with an atrocious word.

すがたこそ替れども、所存におゐて替るべきか、
是非尻に吹せて聞べし」 といふ。


Even if that might be changed, could I possibly alter my way of thinking?
At any cost, I shall have to hear you play with your rump," he said.

此一兵衛も,尤(もっとも)しりにて吹べし」といへば、互に懸物を好みしに、
古無僧云けるは、「親重代に伝る吉光の脇差一腰持たりとて」 座中へ出す。


Certainly, I said, I shall play with my arse, and then we discussed our bets
while the words that the kom*-sō, 古無僧, had spoken were written down for successive generations.
The kom*-sō, 古無僧, drew out in the open the sword he was carrying by his side, proclaiming that it was a genuine Yoshimitu.

この一兵衛も、腰の刀を出すべし。

I myself was obliged to draw my sword, too.

此刀と申はわれしたはら鍛冶を頼み、
三尺八寸のいか物作りにうたせ、
廿五迄いき過たりや、
一兵衛の名を切つけ、一命にもかへしとおもふ一腰を出す。


This so called "sword" was one I had ordered from the swordsmith Shitahara,
forged as an imitation 3 feet 8 inches long and probably no more than 25 years old.
I also shouted out the name of my sword and drew it as if ready to pay back with my life.

町の者共両為のかけ物を預り、一兵衛尻にて吹尺八きかん」といふ。

A townsman took charge of the stakes, and I exclaimed: Well, now, would you like to hear me play the shakuhachi with my arse?

其時われ古無が尺八をおつとりて、さかさまにとり直し、
尻にて吹ければ、皆人聞て、
「実々古無(僧)口にて吹たるより、一兵衛か尻にて吹たるか増りたる」 といへば、
われこのあらそひに勝たり。


At that moment I grasped the kom*'s, 古無, shakuhachi and when I succeeded in playing it, holding it underneath me, everybody could hear it, I said,
Believe me, it is better that I played with my arse than that the kom*(-sō), 古無(僧), played with his mouth!
And than I was the winner of the dispute.

「若々(もし)かやうの事にそ人あらば、八王寺町のものに尋給へ」 と云。

If there is anyone who does not believe any of this, just ask the people in Hachi-ōji, I said.

皆人聞て、「扨(さて)こそ一兵衛木石にてもあらず、物をいひそめけるぞや」 。 Everybody heard [or, Listen, everybody] -
Ippei was certainly not made of wood nor stone. He told the most colourful stories [Miura concludes].


Here follows the anecdote as originally printed in 1614, now preserved at the National Diet Library in Tokyo, Japan:

Keichou kemmonshuu Outori Ippei chapter

Keichou kemmonshuu Outori Ippei chapter

Keichou kemmonshuu Outori Ippei chapter

Keichou kemmonshuu Outori Ippei chapter


Here you can, yourselves, be truth witnesses to how specifically Kurihara Kōta, publishing in 1918
(his book reissued in 1975, becoming an important however problematic source of Western shakuhachi research, also),
changed but one or two Japanese characters in a source reprint so as to actually thereby
not only falsifying the wording of a certain document but also fundamentally forging the chronology and overall history
of the komo-sō versus ko-mu-sō and of the so called Fuke Shakuhachi tradition of Japan:

Keichou kemmonshuu Kurihara quotation

Keichou kemmonshuu Kurihara quotation




Here, for your even further information and revelation, you can study and appreciate an academically genuinely reliable printed 1969 presentation of the original text in question:

Keichou kemmonshuu quotation published in 1969

Keichou kemmonshuu quotation published in 1969



Anecdote No. 2: A kom*-sō" practices asceticism "for the benefit of mothers".

古無僧母の爲めに修行の事 - KOM*SŌ HAHA no TAME ni SHUGYŌ no KOTO

"The Matter of a Kom*sō Practicing Asceticism for the Benefit of Mothers"

This anecdote is contained in chapter 1 of Volume 3 (Maki 3).

A further introduction to the subject matter of this text will be presented soon.

Keichou kemmonshuu anecdote 2 printed in 1906

Keichou kemmonshuu anecdote 2 printed in 1906

Keichou kemmonshuu anecdote 2 printed in 1906

Keichou kemmonshuu anecdote 2 printed in 1906

Keichou kemmonshuu anecdote 2 printed in 1906

Keichou kemmonshuu anecdote 2 printed in 1906

Keichou kemmonshuu anecdote 2 printed in 1906

Keichou kemmonshuu anecdote 2 printed in 1906

Keichou kemmonshuu anecdote 2 printed in 1906



--> Bibliographical data and links to online sources will be be added soon.



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ko-mu-sou-no-shaku.-hachi

Furui
Nashi

no
Shaku-
hachi

Old
None
Monk
's
Shaku
hachi