1705: The Kōkoku Temple Ordination Platform
and Kyōto Myōan-ji's Fake "Chief Monks" -
In the Words of Makihara Ichirō, August 10, 2007
(aka Shin-Ichirō) is a "modern" 'Komusō' of the Myōan Tradition,
however also rather critical regarding 'Komusō' history and practice as a whole.
Makihara Shin-Ichirō. Source: Facebook, August 29, 2020
On August 10, 2007, Makihara-san published an important clarification and statement on his weblog titled
"Ichirō, the Komusō, Talking about Shakuhachi and Ikkyū" - find link below, page down:
Documents discovered and published by Nakatsuka Chikuzen,
October 3, 1887 - May 5, 1944, during the period 1936-1939 (reprinted in 1979), testify that, in 1703,
the Kyōto Myōan Temple petitioned in formal writing addressed to the Kōkoku-ji Temple in Yura, Kii Province, present Wakayama Prefecture,
to be granted status and privileges as its sub temple, or "child temple".
Kōkoku-ji was (and still is) a sub temple of the Myōshin-ji in Kyōto, head temple of the Myōshin Branch of Rinzai Zen Buddhism.
This is the title, the headline, of Makihara-san's article:
'Fuke-shū no Nihon kaiso Hottō Kokushi mo shakuhachi o fukenakatta.'
"Hottō Kokushi, Japanese Founder of the Fuke Sect, could not even play the Shakuhachi."
Here, first, follows Makihara-san's text in Japanese, then the English translation down beneath:
- - - "
Here, the English Translation:
"The Kōkoku Temple in Yura, Wakayama Prefecture.
Seemingly, the common talk [also: "rumour", "gossip"] that the [temple's] founder Hottō Kokushi (aka Kakushin),
was the "Japanese founder" of 'Fuke Zen' (‘komusō’) was created early in the Edo Era that followed after the "Warring States Period"
[of the 16th century].
However, at the Kōkoku Temple, absolutely no such sources [to confirm it] exist.
Suddenly, [about] halfway* through the Edo Period, a letter arrived from the 'Komusō' Myōan Temple in Kyōto
expressing a wish to become a sub temple [of Kōkoku-ji's].
As for Kōkoku-ji, although reluctantly, after several appeals [from Myōan-ji],
the request for sub temple status and privileges was granted*, [however only] on the condition that
"an annual amount of money (should) be paid" [by the Myōan Temple].
Thereupon, a "claim" [Jap.:
クレーム] followed from the head temple of the Rinzai Myōshin-ji Branch,
namely the Myōshin Temple [itself], inquiring in a threatening tone:
"We have not at all heard about when Kōkoku-ji became a mother temple for the Myōan Temple!"
In reply to this, Kōkoku-ji responded,
"The temple was devastated by fire so there are no records; anyhow, it seems that there was some [mutual] relation in its past,"
the problematic explanation goes.
"Myōan-ji is in a good state, though."
Every year, it pays money, and in spite that "Komusō who are to become ‘jū-shoku’,
住職, [head monks] are having their heads properly shaved at Kōkoku-ji,
and ordained to enter the priesthood, nevertheless, there is nothing more involved."
As for mother-child temple relationships, times are hazily passing by ...
The reasons why Myōan-ji wanted to become a Kōkoku-ji sub temple are the following:
The Bakufu [Tokugawa Government] management and control of the masterless samurai [the 'rōnin']
and the Bureau of Religious Sects Inspection [Shūmon aratame-yaku] effectuation of the ban on Christianity
and the prosecution of Christian converts.
Komusō temples were, by nature, gathering places for 'rōnin', masterless samurai.
Neither did they hold funeral ceremonies, nor were there [any] graveyards [at their temples].
- - - "
* The accurate time is the period 1703 to 1705.
Link to Makihara Ichirō's weblog with the article online
Internal link to Nakatsuka Chikuzen's chapter on the Kōkoku-ji/Myōan-ji relationship