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About this Research Project
Preliminary Realizations & Conclusions
The Chinese Ch'an Monk P'u-k'o, the Komosō Beggars
& the Imperialistic Catholic Christian Intruders
- the Rōnin Samurai, the Fuke-Komosō, the Komusō
& the Kyōto Myōan Temple - an Unbiased Narrative
The Amazing Fuke Zenji / Fuke Shakuhachi /
Fuke-shū Legend Fabrication Hoax
To be - or not to be: a "Zen Buddhist Priest"?
1549 ... The Catholic Christian Century in Japan
& the Temple Patron Household System
Ascetic Shakuhachi Ideology
and the Realization of The Non-Dual
- Highlighted Quotations
Chronology of Ascetic Shakuhachi
Ideology-related Terms, Concepts & Names
Various Errors, Misconceptions & Loose Ends
Wikipedia: Inaccuracies & Misunderstandings
about 'Komusō', 'Fuke-shū', 'Suizen' et cetera
The Source Collections
The Japanese Written Sources - An Overview
Texts, Quotations & Illustrations
A Chronological Panorama
• INDIA - 1 web page
• CHINA - 2 web pages
• JAPAN - 8 web pages
• The WEST - 1 web page
Research Cases of Particular Significance,
Real Importance & Special Concern
ERA of the KOMOSŌ - The "Mat Monks"
c. 1450 to c. 1550
1470s?: The Dance-kyōgen Play Rakuami
1474: Tōyō Eichō and Ikkyū Sōjun at the
Inauguration of the Rebuilt Daitoku Temple, Kyōto
1494 & 1501: Two Enchanting Muromachi Period
Poetry Contest Picture Scrolls
1512: The Taigenshō Court Music Treatise
ERA of the FUKE-SŌ / FUKE-KOMOSŌ
c. 1550 to c. 1628?
The Komosō & Fuke-sō / Fuke-komosō Sources
1550-1560: The Early Setsuyō-shū Dictionaries
1614: The Keichō kenmon-shū Short Story Book:
The Fuke-komosō in Hachiō-ji, West of Edo City
1621-1625: The Neo-Confucian Scholar Hayashi Razan
on the Shakuhachi, Komosō and Related Matters
1623: Anrakuan Sakuden's Encounter
with a Wandering Fuke-komosō
1627-1629: Takuan Sōhō, the Purple Robe Affair, the
Concept of 'Mu-shin Mu-nen' and the Myōan sōsō-shū
1628: The Kaidō honsoku Fuke-komosō Credo
ERA of the KOMUSŌ
"Monks of the Non-Dual & None-ness"
c. 1628? to 1871
The Early Komusō-related Texts
- from c. 1628? to c. 1750
1628?: A "Fuke Shakuhachi" related Murder Case
in the Province of Tosa on the Island of Shikoku?
1637-1640: The Shimabara Uprising on Kyūshū,
the National "Sects Inspection Bureau", and the
Efficient Extinction of Catholic Christian Believers
c. 1640?: The Kaidō honsoku "Version 2"
1640?: Is a Very Early "Komusō Temple" built
in Nagasaki on the Island of Kyūshū?
c. 1640?: The Strange Butsu-gen Komusō Document
1646: Abbot Isshi Bunshu's Letter to a
"Proto-Komusō" named Sandō Mugetsu
1646 ... The Hottō Kokushi / Kakushin Legend:
"The Four Buddhist Laymen" & the "disciple" Kichiku
1650s?: The Kaidō honsoku "Version 3" Copy
The Kyōto/Kansai Sources
1659?: A Falsely Dated Myōan-ji Document Revealed
1664: The Shichiku shoshinshū Music Treatise
c, 1665-1675?: The Kyotaku denki Fairy Tale:
Shinchi Kakushin, Kichiku & Kyōto Myōan-ji
The Edo/Kantō/Tōkyō Sources
1677: The Enpō 5, 6th Month
Reihō-ji Komusō Set of Rules
1678: The Enpō 5, 12th Month Komusō-ha Oboe
Bakufu Memorandum of January 11th, 1678
1687: The Jōkyō 4, 6th Month
Reihō-ji Komusō Set of Rules
c. 1685-1690: The Yōshū fu-shi
& Jinrin kinmō zu-i - Evidence of Kyōto Myōan-ji
1694: Myōan-ji Founder Engetsu Ryōgen's
23 Rules for his Komusō Disciples
1703 & 1705: The Kyōto Myōan-ji
c/o Kōkoku-ji & Myōshin-ji Interrelationship
1722: The Kyōhō 7, 6th Month,
Reihō-ji Komusō Memorandum
1730: The Kyōhō 15, 7th Month, Ichigetsu-ji
& Reihō-ji Komusō Memorandum
1732: The Shakuhachi denrai-ki
and Early 'Honkyoku' History
1735: Kyōto Myōan-ji Temple Chief Administrator
Kandō Ichiyū's Letter about 'Sankyorei-fu',
the "Three Non-Dual Spirit Music Pieces"
1751: The Keichō 19/1614 Komusō Certificate
The Many Different All Fabricated Versions
1752: Kyōto Myōan-ji Founder Engetsu
Ryōgen's 23 Fixed Rules for the Komusō
1795: The Kyotaku denki kokujikai Source Book
1816: Miyaji Ikkan's Shakuhachi hikki Book
1823: Hisamatsu Fūyō's Hitori mondō a.o. texts
The Kiyū shōran Encyclopedia
on 'Komosō' & 'Shakuhachi'
Post-Edo & Post-WW2 Period History Sources & Matters
The Re-Writing & Re-Falsification
of "Fuke Shakuhachi" Narratives
1 - MEIJI PERIOD till the mid-20th CENTURY
1871? (1843-44): The Komusō zakki
From 1879 ... 1896-1914:
The Koji ruien Historical Encyclopedia
1890: Higuchi Taizan - Teaching, the "Myōan Society",
and the Taizan-ha Tradition of Shakuhachi Asceticism
1902: Mikami Sanji's Critical Article
'Fuke-shū ni tsuite', "About the Fuke Sect"
Early 20th Century Historians & Musicians, Japan:
Kurihara Kōta, Uramoto Setchō,
Nakatsuka Chikuzen, Tanikita Mujiku,
Tomimori Kyozan, Ikeda Jūzan a.o.
1931-1932: Tokugawa kinreikō - A Source Collection
of Tokugawa Period Prohibition Laws
2 - POST-WW2 till TODAY: JAPAN
1950: "The Myōan Temple of the True Fuke Sect"
Inauguration at Tōfuku Temple in SE Kyōto
1950s: Yasuda Tenzan, Hirazumi Taizan & 'Suizen'
1960: Uramoto Setchō's Essay about
'Gyō no ongaku': "Music of Asceticism"
Shakuhachi Historianship in Japan Today?:
The "Traditionalists" and the "Truth Tellers"
The Legacy of the Late Myōan Taizan-ha Teachers
Yoshimura Fuan Sōshin & Ozawa Seizan
3 - POST-WW2 till TODAY: The WEST
1945 ... : Some Early Post-WW2 Shakuhachi Narratives
Written and Published in Western Languages
Translations of Shakuhachi Source Texts
published in the West / Outside of Japan
including the Internet / WWW
- The Translators
Literature / References
Profile / Bio / CV
No-hole Flute Blowing Meditation
Calligraphy signed by Myōan Taizan
In T.O.'s collection
The Duality of the Clear
and the Obscure
By Tanikita Muchiku, 1875-1957
Calligraphy by Ryōkan
18th or early 19th century
(shown in negative)
JAPAN 8 • 1883 ...
A list of references is included at page bottom.
A complete bibliography can be found on this separate webpage: "Literature".
Cordial thanks to Taguchi Shigeo (excellent interpreter & translator) & Kirsten Refsing (PhD, Professor Emerita), Denmark,
for assisting me with the translation and interpretation of essential texts presented on this webpage,
related to the Myōan Taizan-ha tradition of "Ascetic Shakuhachi Practice".
THE REORGANIZATION and CONTINUATION of ASCETIC SHAKUHACHI PRACTICES in JAPAN
1883: The 1871 government ban on religious mendicancy is lifted.
明暗協会 - MYŌAN KYŌKAI
明暗対山派本曲 - MYŌAN TAIZAN-HA HONKYOKU
1890 - THE MYŌAN SOCIETY is FOUNDED
In July, 1890 (Meiji 23), a new shakuhachi society, the Myōan kyōkai,
was established - with the purpose of the preservation and continued practice of original Komusō Shakuhachi music.
A comprehensive repertory of carefully chosen shakuhachi pieces, the socalled honkyoku, had been compiled by Higuchi Taizan, 1856-1914,
who became the first head instructor of a new line of ascetic shakuhachi practice, the Myōan Taizan-ha,
According to Machida Kashō, 1956, p. 375, however, the information is given somewhat differently,
"The Fuke sect had been outlawed in 1871, and the following year the regimen of the mendicant had been proscribed.
This led to great difficulties in the propagation of Buddhism, however, and in 1878 the various sects jointly petitioned the government for permission to revive mendicancy.
In 1881 the request was granted by the Ministry of the Interior.
In 1883 the Meian Kyōkai (Meian Society) was founded with Prince Kujō as its head,
its purpose being to preserve the komusō system, even if The Fuke Sect itself could not be revived. - - - "
MYŌAN-JI SANJŪGO-SE HIGUCHI TAIZAN
Higuchi Taizan - 1856-1914
Chōshi, calligraphed by Higuchi Taizan
A treasure of the Higuchi Family
In: Ikeda Juzan shū. Taizan-fu shūi, 1985, p. 62
NAKAO TOZAN founds the Tozan-ryū of shakuhachi in Ōsaka
Nakao Tozan, 1876-1956
Source: Komuso.com: Nakao Tozan
Kobayashi Shizan and Tomimori Kyozan introduce the expression,
that particular term - that very "idea" ...
Okabe Village: Two komusō walking in the Snow
Tanzaku print, 1930s, by Takahashi Shōtei, 1871-1945
Sources: www.degener.com & www.shotei.com
MYŌAN-JI SANJŪNANA-SE TANIKITA MUCHIKU
Tanikita Muchiku - 1878-1957
'MYŌAN SŌ BŌ'
"Bright-Dark Pair Forget"
Calligraphy in honkyoku ori-hon dated 1941? (Shōwa 16?)
by Tanikita Rōan Muchiku, 1878-1957
Reproduced in Inagaki, 1981
'CHŌ TAN HAKU-UN KŌ - SHŌ TETSU HEKI TAN SHIN
"The Music drinks of the Eminence of White Clouds;
The Voice permeates the Profundity of Blue Water in the Deep"
Chinese poem in honkyoku ori-hon dated 1941? (Shōwa 16?)
by Tanikita Rōan Muchiku, 1878-1957
in praise of a famous poem by Fuke Zenji's
master Banzan Hōshaku, 720-814
Reproduced in Inagaki, 1981
Trsl. by Torsten Olafsson, 2010
宗教法人普化正宗明暗寺 - SHŪKYŌ-HŌJIN FUKE SHŌSHŪ MYŌAN-JI
1950: In March, "The Religious Institution Temple of Light and Darkness of the True Fuke Sect", Shūkyō-hōjin Fuke Shōshū Myōan-ji,
is established and opened in the Zen'ei-in, a small subtemple of Tōfuku-ji, SE Kyōto, as the official head temple of all Komusō/Fuke Shakuhachi branches in Japan.
The gate of Kyōto Myōan-ji, the signboard reading
"Myōan-ji - Fundamental Spiritual Training Center for the Shakuhachi".
Photo by Torsten Olafsson, 1977
吹禅 - SUIZEN
"Blowing a Flute Non-dualistic Contemplation Practice"
This very new term was most certainly invented and introduced into modern ascetic shakuhachi ideology by Yasuda Tenzan,
1909-1994, while he was acting as the first head monk of the modern Myōan Temple during the years 1950 to 1953.
On Saturday August 8, 2009, US citizen Dean Seicho Delbene posted this illustration on his Myoan Shakuhachi Blogspot Website:
Tomimori Kyozan's Statement regarding the origin of the terms suizen/suishouzen, no date
Probably beginning in the early 1950s, various Suizen gyōka shō,
or "Ascetic Shakuhachi Travel Authorization Certificates", were issued by the Myōan Temple,
replacing the former Komusō gyōka shō
of the latter part of the Edo Period.
'Suizen gyōka seiganbun',
"Ascetic Shakuhachi Written Travel Oath." Precise date unknown.
The source of the above given information, it should be noted, is the website of the Kyōto Myōan Temple named Myōan dōshukai,
浦本浙潮 - URAMOTO SETCHŌ
Uramoto Setchō, 1891-1965
Link to source: Uramoto Setchō commemoration webpage
FUKE SHAKUHACHI: GYŌ no ONGAKU: MUSIC of ASCETICISM
"Fuke Shakuhachi was (is) the music of asceticism [gyō no ongaku].
Playing shakuhachi, you blow with your mind, blow with your fingers, like when frost comes down in the shivering cold night.
As a whole, it is "Self" / "Nature" [shizen] without any deliberate consciousness.
Not to mention, let alone any technique, nor finesse [gikō].
Being unresolved in confusion, simply practicing asceticism will nothing but bring about elevation [alt.: improvement, advancement, progress].
Supposingly, when there are people who say that there are also human beings to whom the shakuhachi is only "delicious" [umai]
... that is to detach human beings from the shakuhachi.
Doing away with unresolved confusion, that brings an end to the symptoms of abnormal detachment."
Quotation from Uramoto Setchō's essay 'Zen mondō to satori.'
Essay originally published by Shunjūsha, 1960, 12 pages.
Source of quotation and info: Kikkawa Eishi, 1975, pp. 55-56.
Uramoto Setchō's essay, 12 pages, originally published by Shunjūsha, 1960.
Quotation translated by Torsten Olafsson, 2018.
池田壽山 - IKEDA JUZAN
Ikeda Juzan - 1888-1976
In: Ikeda Juzan shū, 1985
Shakuhachi and 'Ichion jōbutsu' calligraphy
Sumi-e dated 1960 (Shōwa 35) by Ikeda Juzan, 1888-1976,
a prominent student of Higuchi Taizan
Reproduced in Ikeda Juzan shū, 1985
Famous "Suizen" monument erected in June, 1966, at the Myōan Temple in Kyōto.
Photo courtesy of historian Yuki Tanaka at http://yjtanaka.blogspot.com/p/hobby.html.
Kyōto Myōan-ji, Main Hall completed in 1969
Photo by Torsten Olafsson, 1977
禅尺八 - 'ZEN SHAKUHACHI'
修養の尺八 - 'SHŪYŌ no SHAKUHACHI'
"The Shakuhachi of Self-cultivation and Self-discipline"
MYŌAN-JI YONJŪ-SE YOSHIMURA FUAN SŌSHIN
Yoshimura Fuan Sōshin - 1904-1998
1977 - YOSHIMURA FUAN SŌSHIN
"Myōan Shakuhachi can not be likened to the playing of an ordinary wind instrument.
Such thing as a fixed way of playing does not exist.
What I can say is, plainly, that I am only concerned with directing my blowing towards my own Self - with a gentle mind."
It is my opinion that people who trifle with skill of playing and "play well" - who exercise exceedingly intending to impress the listener and the like -
that way of blowing with an egocentric mind represents the worst of human attitudes (that I can think of).
There are people who can produce changing sounds depending on technical skill, but as for the shakuhachi practice of the Myōan Temple,
I believe that the ideal way of Zen Shakuhachi is to let one's true Mind listen to the sounds and to cultivate one's own Self in accordance with those sounds.
I can not easily express this in words but to practice the shakuhachi of Zen Shakuhachi is indeed a way of mental training and self-cultivation that is practiced
with an open and humble mind and does not develop into (mere) technical skill with a selfish attitude.
The accumulation of this daily practice will, eventually, bring about the realization of the true Self of one's Human Nature.
It is, in any case, wrong to act against Nature.
I am devoting myself every day to follow Nature and not to be mistaken about the Way."
Yoshimura Fuan Sōshin, Myōan-ji, August 9, 1977.
Private correspondance. Trsl. by Torsten Olafsson
明暗尺八 - MYŌAN SHAKUHACHI
明暗雙雙 - MYŌAN SŌSŌ - "The Myōan Pair"
法器 - HŌKI - "Instrument of the Buddhist Law"
1978 - OZAWA SEIZAN
Detail of a letter of recommendation for T.O.
written by Ozawa Seizan in Spring, 1978
See translation below ...
"Myōan Shakuhachi is related to the Fuke Sect of Shakuhachi and it has as its purpose to employ the ancient Japanese shakuhachi flute as a Dharma instrument [hō-ki]
in order that one understands the Ultimately Adual Nature of the 'Clear' and the 'Un-clear' [Myō-An] and experiences the Essence of Non-substantiality [kyo]
This practice is called Suizen."
By Ozawa Seizan, 1939-2012, Myōan-ji, 1978, in a letter
of recommendation to the author. Trsl. by Torsten Olafsson.
Ozawa Seizan Sensei, 1939-2012 - Spring, 1978
Not later than Early Spring, 1978
"No Hole Flute - Blow Ascetic Non-dual(istic) Practice"
Calligraphy signed 'Myōan Taizan', the 2nd present times
Myōan Temple chief monk Hirazumi Taizan,
(a.k.a. Myōan Taizan),
inaugurated in 1952, died in 1984 (Shōwa 59).
Signature and stamps deciphered by Kosuge Daisetsu (Komusō kenkyūkai/Hosshin-ji),
and Sato Nakazato, Japan. A present to Torsten Olafsson
given by his teacher Ozawa Seizan in Summer, 1978
Opening pages of a honkyoku folding book (ori-hon)
written by Matsumoto Kyozan,
To the right: 'Suizen godō':
"Suizen Way of Buddhist Enlightenment".
To the left the Sanskrit seed syllable 'A' (Jap.: 'A')
of the Buddha Mahāvairocana, or
Dainichi Nyorai, residing in the center of the
Taizō-kai (Womb Realm) mandala (Skt.: Garbhadātu)
of Japanese Tantric Buddhism (Shingon)
Trsl. by Torsten Olafsson
Link to the next page: The West
Link to the previous page: Japan 7 • 1767-1883
List of references:
Christopher Blasdel & Kamisangō Yūkō:
The Shakuhachi. A Manual for Learning.
Ongaku no Tomo-sha, Tokyo, 1988, 2008.
Available at www.shakuhachi.com.
Andreas Gutzwiller: Die Shakuhachi der Kinko-Schule.
Bärenreiter - Kassel, Basel, London, 1983.
Ikeda Juzan shū. Taizan-fu shūi. Tokyo, 1985.
Inagaki Ihaku, Izui Seizan & Takahashi Ryochiku, editors:
Myōan Sanjūnana-sei Tanikita Muchiku-shū.
Taizan-fu shūi. Tanikita Renzō, Kyoto, 1981.
Kikkawa Eishi: 'Hyōtan namazu to shakuhachi. Shakuhachi ni miru bigaku.'
In: Kikan hōgaku 5, pp. 52-59, Tokyo, 1975.
Kitahara Ikuya, Masumoto Misao & Matsuda Akira:
The Encyclopedia of Musical Instruments: The Shakuhachi.
Ongakusha, Tokyo, 1990.
Kiyū Shōran. Comp. by Kitamura Nobuyo (1784-1856), first publ. in 1830.
Reprint by Seikōkan Shuppanbu, Tokyo, 1933.
Koji Ruien. Ruien Kankōkai, Tokyo, 1896-1914. Reduced size reprint ed.
by Jungū Shichō, Tokyo, 1927-1930. Latest edition: Yoshikawa
Kōbunkan, Tokyo, 1967-1971. Vol. 9: Section on Religion.
Vols. 32 & 35: Section on Music.
Kondō Ichitarō & Charles S. Terry: The Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji
by Hokusai. Heibonsha, Tokyo, 1968.
Kurihara Kōta: Shakuhachi shikō. Chikuyūsha, Tokyo, 1918, 1975.
Riley Kelly Lee: Yearning for the Bell: A Study of
Transmission in the Shakuhachi Honkyoku Tradition.
PhD thesis, Univerity of Sidney, 1992.
Available online at: www.rileylee.net/thesis.html.
Dennis Eugene Lishka: Buddhist Wisdom and Its Expression as Art:
The Dharma of the Zen Master Takuan.
Unpublished Doctor of Philosophy thesis.
University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1976. Purchasable at:
UMI Dissertation Services - www.il.proquest.com. Cat. no.: 7708798.
Tomohiro Matsuda, ed., et al.:
A Dictionary of Buddhist Terms and Concepts.
Nichiren Shoshu International Center, Tokyo, 1983.
Daigan Matsunaga & Alicia Matsunaga: Foundation of Japanese
Buddhism. Vol. I: The Aristocratic Age. Vol. II: The
ment. Buddhist Books International, Los Angeles, Tokyo,
Michel Mohr: 'Imagining Indian Zen: Tōrei's Commentary on the
Ta-mo-to-lo ch'an ching and the Rediscovery of
Early Meditation Techniques during the Tokugawa Era.'
In: Steven Heine & Dale S. Wright, eds.: Zen Classics.
Formative Texts in the History of Zen Buddhism.
Oxford University Press, Oxford & New York, 2006.
Nakatsuka Chikuzen: Kinko-ryū Shakuhachi Shikan.
Nihon Ongaku-sha, Tokyo, 1979.
Nishiyama Matsunosuke: Iemoto monogatari.
Chūō Kōronsha,Tokyo, 1971, 1976.
Nishiyama Matsunosuke: Iemoto no kenkyū.
Yoshikawa Kōbunkan, Tokyo, 1982.
Nishiyama Matsunosuke: 'Komusō no ura-omote'.
In: Kikan hōgaku 5, Ongaku no Tomo-sha, Tokyo, 1975, pp. 26-30.
Torsten Olafsson: Kaidō Honsoku, 1628: The Komosō's Fuke
Shakuhachi Credo. On Early 17th Century Ascetic Shakuhachi
Ideology. Publ. by Tai Hei Shakuhachi, California, 2003.
Includes a CD-ROM with the author's complete M.A. thesis on
the same subject, University of Copenhagen, 1987.
Purchasable at www.shakuhachi.com.
James H. Sanford: 'Shakuhachi Zen. The Fukeshū and Komusō.'
In: Monumenta Nipponica XXXII, 4. Sophia University, Tokyo, 1977.
Shibayama Zenkei: A Flower Does Not Talk.
Charles E. Tuttle Company, Inc. 1970, 1975.
Shūhō Yokō, edited by Mori Hikotarō. Publ. by the Kōkoku-ji,
Yura, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, 1938, 1981.
Daisetzu Teitarō Suzuki: Essays in Zen Buddhism I, II & III.
Rider & Company, London, Vol. I: 1950, 1980. Vol.
II: 1953, 1980.
Vol. III: 1953, 1977.
Daisetzu Teitarō Suzuki: Zen and Japanese Culture.
Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1970, 1973.
Takahashi Tone: Tozan-ryū: An Innovation of the
Shakuhachi Tradition from Fuke-shū to Secularism.
Unpublished Doctor of Philosophy thesis.
The Florida State University, 1990. Purchasable at:
Tomimori Kyozan: Myōan Shakuhachi Tsūkai.
Myōan Kyozan Bōdōyūkai, Tokyo, 1979.
Tsuge Gen'ichi: 'The History of the Kyotaku.'
In: Asian Music, Vol. VIII, 2. New York, 1977.
Available online at:
Royall Tyler, trsl.: Selected Writings of Suzuki Shōsan.
Cornell University, East Asia Papers, New York, 1977
Ueno Katami: Shakuhachi no rekishi.
Shimada Ongaku Shuppan, Tokyo, 3rd impr., 1984.
Ueno Katami: Shakuhachi no rekishi. Revised and expanded edition.
Shuppan Geijutsu-sha, Tokyo, 2002.
Zengaku Jiten, ed. by Jimbo Nyoten & Andō Bun'ei,
Shōbō Genzō Chūkai Zensho Kankōkai,
Tokyo, 1962. Page 1501.