About this Research Project
Realizations & Conclusions
Wikipedia: Inaccuracies & Misunderstandings
regarding Komusō, Fuke-shū, Suizen etc.
Errors, Misconceptions & Loose Ends
To be - or not to be: a "Zen Buddhist Priest"?
1549 ... The Catholic Christian Century
and the Temple Patron Household System
Fuke Zenji, Komosō, the Catholic Invasion,
Rōnin Samurai, Komusō and Kyōto Myōan-ji
- a Factual & Unbiased Chronology
Ascetic Shakuhachi Ideology
and the Realization of The Non-Dual
- Highlighted Quotations
A Select Chronology of Ascetic Shakuhachi
Ideology-related Names, Terms & Concepts
Texts, Quotations & Illustrations
A Chronological Panorama:
• The West
The Source Collections
The Written Sources
Research Cases of Special Significance:
c. 1470?: The Kyōgen Play Rakuami
1494 & 1501: Two Unique Muromachi Period
Poetry Contest Picture Scrolls
1505: Kōrin's Shakuhachi Essay
1512: The Taigenshō Music Treatise
The Komosō & Fuke-komosō Sources
1614: The Keichō kenmon-shū Story Book
1628: The Kaidō Honsoku Document
1628: The Kaidō Honsoku Thesis
The Early Komusō-related Texts
- from c. 1640 to c. 1752
1640s?: The Butsu-gen Komusō Document
1646: Abbot Isshi Bunshu's Letter
to the Komusō Sandō Mugetsu
1646 ... The Hottō Kokushi/Kakushin Legend
The Kyōto/Kansai Sources
1664: The Shichiku shoshinshū Music Treatise
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
1680s?: The Kyotaku Denki Tale:
Shinchi Kakushin, Kichiku & Kyōto Myōan-ji
1687: The Jōkyō 4, 6th Month
Reihō-ji Komusō Set of Rules
c. 1685-1690: The Yōshū fu-shi
& Jinrin kinmō zu-i Myōan-ji Evidence
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 Admin
Kandō Ichiyū's Essay about Sankyorei-fu,
the "Three Non-Dual Spirit Music Pieces"
1751: The Keichō no okitegaki Fabrication
The Many Existing Different Versions
1752: Myōan-ji Restorer Engetsu Ryōgen's
23 Fixed Rules for the Komusō
1795: The Kyotaku denki kokujikai Source Book
1812 - A Literary Curiosity: "Two Komusō"
- a Shakuhachi-inspired Story Book
1816: Miyaji Ikkan's Shakuhachi hikki Book
1823: Hisamatsu Fūyō: Hitori mondō a.o.
1830: The Kiyū shōran Encyclopedia
1871: The Abolition of the Komusō Fraternity
and of the Practice of Religious Begging
1950: The Myōan Temple of the True Fuke Sect
is Opened at Tōfuku-ji in Kyōto
Noteworthy Early Post-Edo Period
Source Examples - Commented Links:
c. 1875?: The Komusō zakki Source Collection
1892: Suzuki Jisuke alias Higuchi Taizan's
Shakuhachi shian Study Book
1894-1912: The Gunsho ruijū Source Collection
1896-1914: The Koji ruien Source Collection
1902: Mikami Sanji's Critical Essay
About Fuke-shū-related Matters
1915: The Shakuhachi dokushū annai
1918/1975: Kurihara Kōta's Investigations
Into Shakuhachi History
1931-32: The Tokugawa kinreikō
Prohibition Law Collection
1936-39 & 1979: The Legacy of Pioneer
Shakuhachi Historian Nakatsuka Chikuzen
1899/1910 ... Translations of Source Texts
in Western Shakuhachi-related Publications
including the Internet/WWW
Profile / Bio / CV
WELCOME ☺ INTRODUCTION
Verifying the Origins & Secrets of Ascetic Shakuhachi Traditions & Practices
Introduction & Critical Guide to the Study of Early Ascetic Shakuhachi History, Ideology & Practices in Particular
- by Icelandic/Danish Torsten Mukuteki Olafsson, Elsinore, North Sealand: Multimusician, composer, music editor, graphics designer, japanologist, shakuhachi historian & writer.
As of July, 2018 ...
The main menu has been updated with a number of new research cases and topics.
The planned case material for those new web pages will soon be added appropriately.
Cheers ☺ Torsten O.
Also see this newly further updated web page:
Realizations & Conclusions, 2018
The most important - some might think: controversial, heretic, provocative, maybe even somehow insulting? findings and conclusions at the present time of writing are the following:
• There existed nothing like an "established Zen shakuhachi tradition" during the Japanese Middle Ages, the Muromachi Period, nor before that time.
• There were no so called komusō,
虚無僧, "Monks of the Non-Dual & None-ness",
in action in Japan before the 1640s - that is plain and clear.
• Nothing, no one, nor any "group", such as specifically a so called "Fuke Sect", Fuke-shū,
普化宗, was "officially approved" in 1677-1678.
In fact, that never happened, even later. Period ☺
• The earliest possibly reliable written evidence of anything like a "Fuke Sect", Fuke-shū,
is dated 1687 - produced by the Edo temple Reihō-ji,
That particular document, in the version of it that has been preserved till today, however, may well have been somehow "falsified" in that respect / to that "effect" at a later date.
• The so called Fuke-shū - if ever it existed as any "unified organized religious congregation" on a nation-wide basis at all - was definitely not "a sect of Rinzai Zen Buddhism".
There are no surviving documents or other evidence at all that can be seen to support such a belief or even claim.
The only "temple" that appears to have enjoyed if only some however limited degree of "connection" with the established Rinzai Sect organization was the Myōan Temple in SE Kyōto - see entries 1703 & 1705.
None of the early extant Myōan Temple documents mention any Fuke-shū at all in their contents. In fact, dated even as late as 1752, a very central and comprehensive Myōan Temple document refers to the "congregation" as Komusō shūmon, 虚無僧宗門, i.e. "Komusō Sect / Creed / Doctrine" - not Fuke-shū, or Fuke-shūmon.
Not even Fuke Zenji himself is mentioned in this text at this quite late date, for that matter.
• The oldest convincingly dated existing pictorial representation of a typical long and heavy root-end bamboo flute of the komusō is dated 1690.
• The earliest written mention of the term honkyoku,
is dated 1694 - in the oldest reliable Kyōto Myōan Temple document, that we know of.
• The earliest fully trustworthy reference to actual honkyoku music piece titles is dated as "late" as 1732.
• The term sui-zen,
was not known and used in Japan before 1950.
• The terms zen shakuhachi,
and shakuhachi zen,
were not "invented" and spread in the world before the 1970s, at the earliest.
The ESS Summer School Vejle 2017 "Pictures & Quotations Exhibition"
On the European Shakuhachi Society chair woman Kiku Day's invitation,
Danish Torsten Olafsson designed a
"Zen Shakuhachi Truth Research Pix & Quotes Exhibition"
for the ESS Summer School Vejle 2017 event ...
Yes, oh certainly so, "Dear child has many names" ... ☺
'Bù-èr / Fu-ni shakuhachi', 不二尺八: "Non-Dual(istic) shakuhachi"
'Fushō fu-metsu no shakuhachi', 不生不滅尺八:
"Shakuhachi of the Non-appeared Non-disappeared"
'Mushō Mu-metsu no shakuhachi', 無生無滅尺八:
"Shakuhachi of the Non-born Non-perished"
'Fushō no shakuhachi', 不生尺八:
"Shakuhachi of the Non-appeared"
'Mushō no shakuhachi', 無生尺八:
"Shakuhachi of the Non-born"
'Ki no shakuhachi', 氣の尺八: "Vigorous Breath shakuhachi"
'Hara no shakuhachi', 腹の尺八: "Strong Abdomen shakuhachi"
'Tanden no shakuhachi', 丹田の尺八: "Diaphragm Center shakuhachi"
'Dō / Michi no shakuhachi', 道の尺八: "Shakuhachi of The Way"
'Shin-kokyū shakuhachi', 深呼吸尺八: "Deep Breath(ing) Shakuhachi"
'Bukkyō shakuhachi', 佛教尺八: "Buddhist shakuhachi"
'Me-yami hōshi shakuhachi', 目闇法師尺八: "Blind (lay) monk shakuhachi"
'Ubasoku shakuhachi', 優婆塞尺八: "Male lay Buddhist shakuhachi"
'Hijiri shakuhachi', 聖尺八: "Holy man shakuhachi"
'Zoku-hijiri shakuhachi', 俗聖尺八: "Lay Buddhist/Holy person shakuhachi"
'Darani shakuhachi', 陀羅尼尺八: "Sanskrit Magic Spell shakuhachi"
'Nenbutsu sanmai shakuhachi', 念仏三昧尺八:
"Saying Amida Buddha's Name Samadhi shakuhachi"
'Kannen nenbutsu shakuhachi', 観念念仏尺八:
"Keeping the image of Amitabha Buddha in Mind shakuhachi"
'Ryōtō o setsudan shakuhachi', 両頭切断尺八:
"Dissolving/Cutting off Duality shakuhachi"
'Mujōshin no shakuhachi', 無常心尺八: "Impermanent Mind shakuhachi"
'Sokushin jōbutsu no shakuhachi', 即身成仏尺八:
"Buddha Enlightenment in this very body/in this life"
'Kanjin-hijiri shakuhachi', 勧進聖尺八:
"Temple solicitation lay Buddhist/Holy Man shakuhachi"
'Komosō shakuhachi', 薦僧尺八: "Mat monk shakuhachi"
'Musha angya shakuhachi', 武者行脚尺八: "Warrior pilgrimage shakuhachi"
'Fuke-sō shakuhachi', 普化僧尺八: "Fuke monk shakuhachi"
'Kojiki shakuhachi', 乞食尺八: "Beggar shakuhachi"
'Rōnin shakuhachi', 浪人尺八: "Wave man/masterless samurai shakuhachi"
'Fuke-komosō shakuhachi', 普化薦僧尺八: "Fuke mat monk shakuhachi"
'Shugyō shakuhachi', 修行尺八: "Ascetic practice shakuhachi"
'Isshin Bodai-myō no shakuhachi', 一心菩提明尺八:
"Clarity of the Enlightened, Adual Buddha Mind shakuhachi"
'Mushin-Munen shakuhachi', 無心無念尺八:
"Non-dual Mind Non-dual Thought shakuhachi"
'Koji shakuhachi', 居士尺八: "Lay monk shakuhachi"
'Komusō shakuhachi', 虚無僧尺八:
"Non-duality None-ness monk shakuhachi"
'Hansō-hanzoku shakuhachi', 半僧半俗尺八:
"Half-monk half-commoner shakuhachi"
'Takuhatsu angya shakuhachi', 托鉢行脚尺八:
"Mendicant pilgrimage shakuhachi"
'Kyo-mōsō no shakuhachi', 虚毛僧尺八:
"False/Imitated Hair Shakuhachi"
'Mushin shakuhachi', 無心尺八:
"Shakuhachi of the No one-mind"
'Hon-kyoku shakuhachi', 本曲尺八: "Original/Pristine music shakuhachi"
'Mushōshin no shakuhachi', 無生真尺八: "True Reality of the Non-born shakuhachi"
'Kyo-taku shakuhachi', 虚鈴尺八: "Imitated (or, False) Bell shakuhachi"
'Kyorei shakuhachi', 虚鈴尺八: "Imitated (or, False) Bell shakuhachi"
'Ko-kū shakuhachi', 虚空尺八: "Non-duality Non-substantiality shakuhachi"
'Ichi-on jōbutsu shakuhachi', 一音成仏尺八:
"One-sound experience of Buddhanature shakuhachi"
'Onsei seppō shakuhachi', 音声説法尺八:
"Buddhist lecture in sound shakuhachi"
'Kadozuke gyōkotsu shakuhachi', 門附行乞尺八:
"Door to Door Religious Beggar shakuhachi"
'On-en mumami ni naranai shakuhachi', 音艶むまみに為らない尺八:
'Fuke shakuhachi', 普化尺八: "Fuke shakuhachi"
'Hōki no shakuhachi', 法器の尺八: "Dharma instrument shakuhachi"
'Suizen shakuhachi', 吹禅尺八: "Breathing asceticism shakuhachi"
'Gyō no (shakuhachi) ongaku', 行の音楽:
"Mental training/ascetic practice (shakuhachi) music"
'Shūyō no shakuhachi', 修養の尺八:
"Self-improvement, Self-discipline, Self-cultivation practice shakuhachi"
'Shingon Ajikan shakuhachi', 真言阿字観尺八:
"Tantric Setting one's mind on the letter 'A' shakuhachi"
'Shakuhachi Zen', 尺八禅: "Shakuhachi ascetic practice"
'Zen shakuhachi', 禅尺八: "Ascetic practice shakuhachi"
'Suizen godō shakuhachi', 吹禅悟道尺八:
"The Way of attaining enlightenment ascetic shakuhachi"
'Muku-teki suizen shakuhachi', 無孔笛吹禅尺八:
"No hole(s) flute ascetic shakuhachi"
'Honsei no shakuhachi', 本性の尺八: "True Nature shakuhachi"
'Honnin no shakuhachi', 本人尺八: "Original nature person shakuhachi"
'Sunao na kokoro no shakuhachi', 素直な心の尺八:
"Honest/Humble Mind shakuhachi"
'Kubi-furi sanjūnen shakuhachi', 首振り三十年尺八:
"30 years to "master" 'swinging the head'" shakuhachi
'Koro-koro sanjūnen shakuhachi', コロコロ三十年尺八:
"30 years to "master" 'koro-koro' trill shakuhachi"
'Horo-horo sanjūnen shakuhachi', ホロホロ三十年尺八:
"30 years to "master" 'horo-horo' trill shakuhachi"
'Gikō ni naranai shakuhachi', 技巧に為らない尺八:
"Non-sophisticated/beyond technique shakuhachi"
'Myōan shakuhachi', 明暗尺八:
"Beyond Light vs. Darkness Duality shakuhachi"
Shunyata / Wu / Kū / Mu shakuhachi ...
"Ascetic shakuhachi": "Non-dualistic shakuhachi" ...
Non-Dualism / A-Dualism ...
Advaita Vedanta Non-Dualism ...
"Advaita Shugyō Shakuhachi": "Non-Dualistic Ascetic Shakuhachi" ...
Yes, again: Oh certainly so, "Dear child has many names" ... ☺
Who were the komusō, 虚無僧,
the "Monks of the Non-Dual *) & None-ness" **)
and their predecessors, their "forerunners", the komo-sō,
薦僧, the so called "Mat Monks"?
[ *) or, Non-Substantiality - **) or, Egolessness)
What do the many surviving written Japanese source documents and plentiful pictorial evidence de facto clarify to us
about early "Komusō Shakuhachi"
and "Zen Shakuhachi" history and ideology - in particular?
That is what these "Zen Shakuhachi Truth Research Web Pages" are all about.
Please enjoy ☺ All the Best
Torsten 無穴笛 Olafsson - Helsingör/Elsinore, North Sealand, Denmark - January, 2018
The most recent notable updates ...
A major update and upgrading process of this shakuhachi research website keeps progressing.
Many new necessary web pages have been prepared and added together with a much expanded and reedited main menu and a slightly enlarged web page layout.
Some of the new web pages are so far still more or less "empty", but the planned contents and information is ready for future display and shall be presented properly the very soonest possible.
The new material - texts, more illustrations, references, interpretations, comments and possible potential conclusions - is planned and intended to be added and uploaded more or less in accordance with and along the chronological order presented in the new main menu.
Do note that some of the texts for which new individual web pages have been created are already being preliminarily introduced in the section
Texts, Quotations & Illustrations
A Chronological Overview
On the new web pages those texts in classical Japanese and kanbun, resp., will be presented in full documentation with relevant and appropriate comments.
I do apologize in case something might initially "go wrong", if only temporarily, that is ... ☺
All the best - Torsten Olafsson - January, 2018
The so called "Fuke Sect" of the shakuhachi playing Komusō
Fuke Zenji sculpture, Matsudo City Museum, Chiba, Japan.
Artist & dating unknown. Photo by Ron Nelson, 2015.
Fuke Zenji, in Chinese: P'u-k'o Ch'an-shi, was a contemporary of Rinzai Zenji,
in Chinese: Lin-chi Ch'an-shi, both of whom lived and practiced in China
during the first half of the 9th century AD.
For that reason, quite logically so, Fuke never was, in any way, a "Rinzai Zen monk".
That school/branch/lineage & transmission of Ch'an/Zen Buddhist philosophy thought only formulated and eventually established itself
after the death of Master Lin-chi/Rinzai - and of Fuke, too, for that matter.
Was the so called "Fuke Sect" of the Komusō ever properly, officially - and in actual preserved writing - recognized and approved by the supreme Japanese shōgunal authorities?
The answer is, definitely so: "No"!
Do remember, by the way, "You can never prove a lie to be true ... " ☺
Previous Update of Some Pretty Serious Significance ☺
You are now welcome to study a full English translation of the mysterious komusō document commonly referred to as the "Enpō 5 Edict", dated January 11, 1678 - certainly not 1677-12-18!
Click in the photo to enlarge.
A reproduction of the 1678-1-11 Empō 5 Oboe memorandum on display in the Komusō Collection, Matsudo City Museum, NW Chiba, Japan.
Photo by Ron Nelson, President of The International Shakuhachi Society, Summer, 2015.
Direct link to the webpage in question: 1678, January 11: The Komusō-ha Oboe Memorandum
Fabrication, Falsification, or Forgery?
Left: The 1678-1-11 Enpō 5 Oboe document reprinted in the monumental source collection Koji Ruien, 1880 edition.
Right: The 1678-1-11 Enpō 5 Oboe document reprinted in the Koji Ruien, 1938 edition.
To the very left in the original, handwritten document above you read these characters: 虚無僧諸派,
Komusō shoha, "(To) All Komusō Factions [or, Branches]".
In both of the two Koji ruien reprints we see these characters: 普化宗門諸派,
Fuke shūmon shoha, "(To) All "Fuke Sect" Factions [or, Branches]".
Obviously, both of the Koji ruien reprints of the Oboe must be rejected as "falsifications" compared with the handwritten version of the memorandum shown above them.
We can only conclude and respect that there was in fact so far no "Fuke Sect" in existence at the time the document was originally issued/dated, namely: January 11, 1678.
Moreover, oboe, 覚, is nothing but a "memorandum", a minor "regulation".
It is not a okite-gaki, 掟書, meaning "law", "regulation", "rule", "code", "law", "agreement", "arrangement".
Neither is it a hatto, 法度, meaning "law", "ban", "prohibition", "ordinance" .
And, it is certainly not a so called kō-nin, 公認, meaning "official recognition", "authorization", "license", "accreditation".
Direct link to the webpage in question: 1678, January 11: The Komusō-ha Oboe Memorandum
尺八 - SHAKUHACHI
That Fundamentally Fantastic, Fairytale-like Flute - with the Forged Faith and that Funnily Falsified "Filosophy" ...
Significant Friendly International Collaborations☺
Kiku Day who is now a longtime permanent resident of beautiful rural Mid-Western Denmark has been a dear snd very respected friend of mine for many years.
With her superb PhD degree in Ethnomusicology from SOAS in London, Kiku took the courageous steps and necessary initiatives to establish the European Shakuhachi Society
while still acting prominently in the capacity as that very important community's most energetically event-making, inspirational chairperson.
Read much more here on Kiku's personal homepage
I was enthusiastically assisting and supporting Kiku Day in preparing for the forthcoming ESS Summer School 2017 that took place in Vejle, Jutland, Denmark.
The European Shakuhachi Society - founded by Kiku Day in January, 2008
Click here to link to the European Shakuhachi Society's official homepage
July 2017: ESS Shakuhachi Summer School in Vejle, Mid-Western Denmark ☺
In 2003, Mr. Monty H. Levenson of Tai Hei Shakuhachi in Willits, N. California, USA, generously printed and published my Kaidō honsoku,
海道本則, MA thesis (1987) - still available from www.shakuhachi.com.
You may click in the photos to study a presentation of the publication:
I am the very happy and grateful owner of several exquisite professional shakuhachi flutes of Monty H. Levenson's unique making
Read more about Monty H. Levenson on the web page "The West", entry "1970".
Mr. Ronald Nelson, president of the International Shakuhachi Society (ISS, at www.komuso.com) has supplied to me both numerous scannings of essential rare Japanese texts
and, not least, most valuable photos of his taken in the "Komusō Room" of the Matsudo City Museum in NW Chiba and at the Tokyo National Museum.
Please do visit the outstanding art photographer's no less than breathtakingly amazing picture website and appreciate his numerous photos
from the trips of his all over East and South Asia - and elsewhere:
Link to the "Ronald Nelson Photography" homepage
Photo: Japanese tōrii gate. Source: Ronald Nelson's personal Facebook page.
Mr. Kishi Kiyokazu, 貴志清一, Japan, has contributed prominently
with so far two very important historical Fuke Shakuhachi texts/documents generously made readable here in modern Japanese,
transcribed from the Kanbun and classical Japanese originals, respectively.
Do visit Mr. Kishi's comprehensive and impressive Japanese website via this link:
Link to 尺八吹奏研究会HP
- The Shakuhachi Performance Research Society HomePage edited by Kishi Kiyokazu
Links to recent 2016 updates on the homepage can be found page bottom on this newly updated web page:
Link to The January 11, 1678 Komusō-ha Oboe-gaki web page
Kishi Kiyokazu's fine work on Hisamatsu Fuyō's Hitori mondō dated 1823 can be appreciated here:
Link to the 1823 Hitori mondō webpage
1.8 Myōan Taizan-ha shakuhachi made by Ozawa Seizan, 1939-2012