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The "Zen Shakuhachi" Reality Research Web Pages

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

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



About this Research Project

Realizations & Conclusions

The Amazing Fuke Zenji / Fuke Shakuhachi /
     Fuke-shū History Fabrication Scam

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

Highlighted Illustrations

Wikipedia: Inaccuracies & Misunderstandings
     regarding Komusō, Fuke-shū, Suizen etc.

Miscell. Errors, Misconceptions & Loose Ends

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

Chronology of Ascetic Shakuhachi
     Ideology-related Terms, Concepts & Names

Texts, Quotations & Illustrations
     A Chronological Panorama:

 •  India

 •  China

 •  Japan

 •  The West

The Source Collections

The Written Sources

Research Cases of Special Significance and Interest:

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

1680s?: The Kyotaku Denki 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 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 ("Empty")
     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

1795 & 1816: Two Original Komusō
     "Fuke Temple" Lists

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

1848: The Fuke Monk Affair Government

1871: The Abolition of the Komusō Fraternity
     and of the Practice of Religious Begging

1950: The Myōan Temple of the True Fuke Sect
     Inauguration at Tōfuku Temple in Kyōto

Noteworthy Early Post-Edo Period
     Source Examples - Commented Links:

1871 (1843-44): The Komusō zakki
     Source Collection

1890-1895 & 1930-1932: The Tokugawa kinrei-kō
     Prohibition Law Source Collection

1892: Suzuki Jisuke a.k.a. Higuchi Taizan's
     Shakuhachi shian Study Book

1894-1912: The Gunsho ruijū Source Collection

1896-1914 & 1967-1971: The Koji ruien
     Source Collection

1902: Mikami Sanji's Critical Essay
     About "Fuke Sect"-related Matters

1915: The Shakuhachi dokushū annai
     Self-study Book

1918 & 1975: Kurihara Kōta's Investigations
     Into Shakuhachi History

1936-39 & 1979: The Legacy of Pioneer
     Shakuhachi Historian Nakatsuka Chikuzen

1899 till today: Translations of Source Texts
     in Western Shakuhachi-related Publications
     including the Internet/WWW



Profile / Bio / CV

Contact Info

Highlighted Illustrations

Especially warm thanks to:

Yuki Pallis & Tim Pallis, Kyōto, Japan/Copenhagen, Denmark -

Kirsten Refsing, Copenhagen, Denmark -

Joan Hornby, The National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen -

Taguchi Noriko & Taguchi Shigeo, Copenhagen, Denmark/Japan -

Sato Nakazato, calligrapher, Japan -

Kiku Day, The European Shakuhachi Society, Denmark/London, Great Britain/Japan -

Kosuge Daisetsu, Komusō Kenkyūkai c/o Hosshin-ji, Tōkyō, Japan -

Martina Binnig, Köln, Germany -

Kishi Kiyokazu, Shakuhachi suisō kenkyūkai, Japan -

Ronald Nelson, President of ISS/The International Shakuhachi Society, USA -

Monty H. Levenson, Tai Hei Shakuhachi, Willits, California, USA

for contributing to the (either/or) editing, illustrating, translating, interpreting, continued improvement and further completion of this "Highlighted Illustrations" webpage as well as other of this sites' webpages.


c. 2600 BCE:

Yogic Seal from Mohenjo-daro in the Indus Valley, N. India

Square seal depicting a nude male deity with three faces,
seated in yogic position on a throne.
Harappan Bronze Age Culture, c. 2600-1900 BCE.
Dimensions: 2.65 x 2.7 cm, 0.83 to 0.86 cm thickness.
Excavated at Mohenjo-daro, present-day Punjab, Pakistan.

Now in the Islamabad Museum.


Around 750 A.D.:

Musicians pictured in a wall painting in Cave 25, 'Yulin', at Tun-huang on the Silk Road in W. China

Musicians pictured in a wall painting in Cave 25, 'Yulin',
at Tun-huang on the Silk Road, in W. China.
The player at the top appears to be blowing a very long, quite thin flute that quite much

resembles the modern Chinese 6-holed 't'ung-hsiao', 洞簫, Jap.: 'dōshō'.
Source: Izumi Takeo, 2016, p. 5

Around 970 A.D.:

Female Chinese musicians performaing in the emperor's palace

Female Chinese musicians performing in the T'ang Emperor's palace, mid-8th century.
In the backgrouns to the right we see a musician blowing a medium long vertical flute - maybe a 't'ung-hsiao', 洞簫, Jap.: 'dōshō'.
Scroll painting on silk attributed to the Chinese Imperial court painter Chou Wen-chü, ca. 970.
Source: Werner Speiser, 1961, p. 176


Around 700 A.D.?:

Bodhisattva playing a shakuhachi

Small sculpture of a bodhisattva playing a shakuhachi look-alike.
Discovered in 2009 during a restoration of the canopy overhanging the Shaka Triad being housed in the Hōryū-ji Kondō.
Source: Yatō Umiosa's Komusō website

Hōryū-ji Kondō, Nara - 7th century

Hōryū-ji Kondō, Nara - Photo: T.O. 1977

Bodhisattva playing a shakuhachi

Hōryū-ji Kondō, Nara - 7th century

Hōryū-ji Kondō, Nara - Photo: T.O. 1977

8th century A.D.:

Bodhisattva musician playing the shakuhachi, Todai-ji

Bodhisattva musician playing the shakuhachi, Tōdai-ji, Nara.
Detail of a large bronze lamp standing in front of the Great Buddha Hall.
One of the very few remains of the original 8th century temple.
Source: Wikipedia, Japan

c. 1480 to c. 1550: ERA of the 'FUKE KOMOSŌ'



Komosō in Sanjūni-ban shokukin utaawase emaki

'Komosō' "mat monk" in 'Sanjūni-ban shokukin uta-awase emaki'
Date of original: 1494. Kōsetsu-bon edition, detail.
Suntory Museum of Art, Tokyo.
Source: Wikipedia, Japan


Two komosō in Kyōto, c. 1530

Two 'komosō' playing vertical flutes in a Kyōto street
Detail of the folding screen 'Raku-chū raku-gai zu byōbu',
"Pictures from In and Around the Capital",
Machida-bon edition.
Dated to between 1521 and 1532.

Two komosō in Kyōto, c. 1530

Close-up detail of the folding screen 'Raku-chū raku-gai zu byōbu',
"Pictures from In and Around the Capital",
Machida-bon edition.
The National Museum of Japanese History, Sakura City, Chiba Prefecture


The Spanish Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier lands in Kagoshima and begins movement to spread Christian teaching in Japan.

Francis Xavier - 1506-1552

Japanese portrait of Francis Xavier (1506-1552)
Kōbe City Museum, Kōbe, Japan

c. 1550 to 1640: ERA of the FUKE-KOMOSŌ


c. 1550-1560

普化僧 - FUKE-SŌ synonymous with KOMOSŌ: コモ

節用集 - SETSUYŌSHŪ DICTIONARY VERSIONS: Guides to Character Readings

'Fuke-sō/Komosō' in Ryūmon bunko no Setsuyōshū     'Setsuyōshū, title

Details from the 'Ryūmon bunko no Setsuyōshū'
Library of Nara Women's University - precise date unclear

When, approximately, did the komosō of Medieval Japan adopt Fuke Zenji as their idol of shakuhachi asceticism?
A few late Muromachi Period versions of the popular dictionary Setsuyōshū", "Economical Collection" or "Collection [of Words] for Everyday Use", do actually present noteworthy evidence in that respect:

'Fuke-sō' & 'Komosō' in the Setsuyōshū

Readings for the kanji 'Komo-sō' and 'Fu-ke(-sō)'
in three different early versions of the 'Setsuyōshū'
- second half of the 16th century

After 1560 - Late Muromachi Period:

Komosō playing the hitoyogiri in a street

'Komosō' playing a 'hitoyogiri' in a street (center)
Detail of section 4 of the folding screen
'Tsukinami fūzoku-zu byōbu'
"Screen with Genre Scenes of the Twelve Months"
Anonymous, late Muromachi Period (2nd half of 16th century). Tokyo National Museum

Tsukinami fūzoku-zu byōbu full view

Komosō playing the hitoyogiri in a street, close-up

Do we actually see the komosō above wearing a long sword, possibly made of wood (?),
the tip of which is protruding from his left side, appearing just beneath the bed roll

that he is carrying on his back?

Link to an online, inter-active website presenting the complete screen:
Tokyo National Museum - E-Museum online


Two komosō in Kyōto

'Komosō' playing a vertical flute in a Kyōto street
Detail of the folding screen 'Raku-chū raku-gai zu byōbu',
"Pictures from In and Around the Capital",
Uesugi-bon edition. Commissioned by Oda Nobunaga.
The Yonezawa City Uesugi Museum, Yamagata Prefecture


The Twenty-six Martyrs of Japan

"The Twenty-six Martyrs of Japan"
Painting by unnamed Japanese artist, probably early 17th century

On February 5, 1597, 26 Christians - missionaries and Japanese followers alike -
were crucified at Nishizaka in Nagasaki,
on the order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, then the absolute ruler of Japan.


The Sekigahara Battle

The Sekigahara Battle

Source: WikiMedia

Late Momoyama Period? (1573-1615) - Early 17th century?

Yet unidentified and undated quite early 17th century komosō picture   Matching folding screen section for komosō picture

Yet unidentified and undated early 17th century komosō picture

Yet unidentified, so far undated, quite early 17th century 'komosō' picture.
Apparently part of a rather typical Azuchi-Momoyama Period gold-leaf decorated folding screen
with everyday scenes, dating from the early 1600's?

OBS: Dated 1735, this picture is indeed a curiosity - sort of an "anachronism":

Painting of a Komosō, begging in a street

Very similar in theme and execution as the picture above, this is one of 12 illustrations on a folding screen being dated to 1735 and entitled 'Shokunin zukushi-e byōbu', 職人尽絵屏風,
"Pictures of People of Various Occupations in Their Workshops".
One would not term it "a copy", however, but rather an anachronism, as the shown mat-carrying 'komosō' type of mendicant flute-player had been replaced by the 'komusō' many decades before 1735.

The art historian Kazuko Kameda-Madar has described the screen in this article (link) at
"Pictures of People of Various Occupations in Their Workshops"


The Siege of Ōsaka Castle

The Siege of Ōsaka Castle

Source: WikiMedia

1624-1630 - Early Kan'ei Period:

Painting of a Parasol-maker & 2 Komosō

Painting of a Parasol-maker & Two Komosō
Hanging scroll by Iwasa Matabei, 1578-1650
An "important work of art" dating from the early Edo Period,
17th century, before 1630, according to Japanese art experts.
Owned by the Nezu Art Museum, Tōkyō.

Close view of two komosō in Picture of Parasol-maker & Komosō

Close view of two 'komosō' in Picture of Parasol-maker & Komosō

Very early Edo Period (early 17th century) komo-sō, 薦僧/菰僧, style mendicant miyo-giri shakuhachi, 三節切り尺八, flute player

Close view of two komosō in Picture of Parasol-maker & Komusō

This is a modern Japanese painting depicting a very early 17th century 'komosō' "mat monk"
- NB not a 'komusō'! - Website source (possibly broken link): randokku


The practice of fumi-e, 踏み絵 - the forced trampling of Christian images - is introduced and kept in constant national execution and effect turough the year 1858.

The religious authorities of the Tokugawa shōgunate requires suspected Christians to step on images of Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary in order to prove that they are not members of that outlawed religion.

Fumi-e   Fumi-e

Fumi-e: Jesus Christ & the Virgin Mary

Fumi-e inquisitional ceremony in the early 19th century. Painting by Keiga Kawahara, around 1826

Painting of a 'fumi-e' inquisitional ceremony by Keiga Kawahara, created sometime during 1800-1829.

Source: National Library of the Netherlands. Link:

Most probably 1630s:

Painting of Three Komosō

Painting of three 'komosō'
Attributed to Iwasa Matabei, 1578-1650.
Possibly dating from the 1630s or 1640s.
Owned by the Shingon Sect temple Tōya-san Fumon-ji Taishō-in near Matsudo City in NW. Chiba Pref. Source: Yamaguchi Masayoshi, 2005, p. 176.

Painting of Three Komosō

Painting of three 'komosō'
Acc. to Kakizaki Shōhō this picture dates from the Genroku Period, 1688-1704.
If that were so, Iwasa Matabei cannot be the artist.
Link (possibly broken): "Genroku Period komusō figures"

Most probably 1630s:

Picture of a Komosō in a Kyōto street

Picture of a 'komosō' in a Kyōto street.
Detail of a yet not fully recognized and identified version
of a 'Raku-chū raku-gai zu byōbu'.
Possibly dating from the 1630s or 1640s.
Source: Izumi Takeo, 2013, pp. 82-83.

Picture of a Komosō in a Kyōto street

You find the detail in the very bottom of the screen, right above the Japanese character, 'zu', .
The screen is a treasure of the Tanabe City Fine Arts Hall.
Source: Izumi Takeo, 2015, p. 81.

Most probably 1630s:

Yet not fully identified and dated early 17th century komosō picture

Yet not fully identified and dated early 17th century 'komosō' picture.
Possibly dating from the 1630s or 1640s?
Exhibited at Matsudo City Museum, Matsudo-shi, NW Chiba Pref.

Yet not fully identified and dated early 17th century komosō picture


Yet not fully identified and dated early 17th century komosō picture

The above picture photographed at the Matsudo City Museum in Chiba
by Ronald Nelson, summer 2014.

Postcard purchased by Bandō Jirō's companion

Acc. to Bandō Jirō's weblog, however: From a (yet obscure!) 17th century art work entitled
Jidai fūzokuga-fuku", 時代風俗画幅, "Scroll with Pictures of Customs of the Day".

Postcard purchased by a companion of Bandō Jirō's at Matsudo City Museum in Autumn 2012

Link: Bandō Jirō's weblog


1637: Christian farmers, warriors, rōnin (masterless samurai) and others revolt against the authorities on the Shimabara Peninsula in Kyūshū.
When the uprising was put down in 1638, tens of thousands had been killed. All surviving rebels, numbering in the thousands, were decapitated.
Christianity was now strictly outlawed in Japan and informers were encouraged.

Folding screen depicting the rebellion at Shimabara

'Shimabara ran-zu byōbu'
"Folding screen depicting the rebellion at Shimabara".
Source: Wikipedia.

After 1640: ERA of the KOMUSŌ



c. 1640-1645/1646: The terms komu shizen, 虚無自然, and komusō, 虚無僧, are invented/introduced

Isshi Bunshu - 1608-1645/46

Isshi Bunshu, 一絲和尚, a most renowned Rinzai Zen abbot whose master was the great Rinzai Zen master Takuan Sōhō (1573-1645), lived from 1608 to 1645 (or 1646).
Portrait preserved at the temple Hōjō-ji in Kameoka City, Kyōto Prefecture.

A letter from Abbot Isshi to a certain hermit named Sandō Mugetsu Anjū, 山堂無月庵主, presumably written shortly before Isshi's death in 1645/1646, presents the oldest known, surviving mention of the term 'komusō', 虚無僧, "Monk of the Non-Dual & None-ness".

There definitely were no 'komusō' in existence before a. 1640!

Here is a carefully retouched scanning of a xerox copy of the original hand-scroll, supplied to me in April, 1985, by the Kōkoku Temple in Yura, Wakayama.

View a full reproduction of Abbot Isshi's Letter to the komusō Sandō Mugetsu as PDF file: 1 MB

Go to this webpage to study a full translation of Abbot Isshi's letter til Sandō Mugetsu:
Isshi Bunshu's Komu Shizen & Komusō Letter


浮世物語 - "Tale(s) of the Floating World"

Picture of two komusō in the Ukiyo monogatari

I have copied this particular, though still questionable, illustration from the early Meiji Period publication
entitled 'Komusō zakki', "Komusō Notebook" - dated realistically in the mid-1870s.

Strangely and inexplainably so, one does actually not find that very picture in the online version of the
Ukiyo monogatari presented here, online, care of the Waseda University Library

Probably no later than 1683:

Komusō in Tohi zumaki

A komusō playing a root-end shakuhachi in a Kyōto street
Detail from the 'Tohi zumaki', 都鄙図巻, "Town & Country Picture Scroll".
A very long and impressive picture scroll painted on silk. By Sumiyoshi Gukei, 1631-1705
Originally a treasure of the Konbu-in in Nara, now exhibited at (link) Tōkyō National Museum

Sumiyoshi Gukei was born and lived in Kyōto until 1683 when he moved to Edo,
present day Tōkyō, where he died in 1705.

In: Izumi Takeo, 2013, p. 93.


Two komusō in Jinrin kinmō zu-i, 1690

Two komusō playing root-end shakuhachi
In: 'Jinrin kinmō zu-i', 1690 - Maki/Vol. 2
By Makieshi Genzaburō & Atsuo Masamune
The Library of Kyōto University
Link to Kyōto University's online presentation of this volume

Two komusō in Jinrin kinmō zu-i, 1690

Two komusō in Jinrin kinmō zu-i, c. 1690

1695 - an entry about 'komo-sō', mat monks, in a Genroku Period encyclopedia:

Komusō in Kashiragaki zōho kinmō zu-i, 1695

A mendicant shakuhachi player wearing a pointed 'ami-gasa' straw hat
In: 'Kashiragaki zōho kimmō zu-i'
("Enlarged Elementary Encyclopedia with Illustrations"), 1695

A first edition, 'Kimmō zu-i', was published in 1666.
A third edition, 'Kashiragaki kinmō zu-i taisei', appeared in 1789.

Here, to the right of the flute player, the two kanji for 'komo-sō', 'mat monk',
are given. In the text block above, 'komo-sō' is explained
with the archaic terms of 'bo(n)ron', 'bo(n)ronji', 'kanji', and 'boro'.

The text concludes that a 'komo-sō' is using the shakuhachi for 'shugyō",
修行, "ascetic practice"
- which is, certainly, not only limited to Zen Buddhist traditions, however.

Shimane University Library Digital Archive #1316
Direct link: Volume 4-7, go to frame 8


2 'komusō' in the E-hon Azuma no hana

Book print of two 'komusō', 1768.
In: 'E-hon Azuma no hana', "Picture Book of Flowers of the East"
Illustration by Shigemasa Kitao, 1739-1820
Ritsumeikan University, Kyōto.

Two 'komusō' in the E-hon Azuma no hana


This is, so far, the oldest known 'komusō' picture the accompanying text of which
features the name of Fuke Zenji, 普化禅師, at the top, right.

The text at the top reads as follows:

Right side text:

尺八支那(しゃくはちハもろこし)の普化禅師にはじまり 本朝にては筑紫(つくし)の宮これを学び給ぶひけるにより 世々たへず行(おこなハ)るゝ。

"Shakuhachi began with Zen monk Fuke [P'u-k'o] in T'ang China [Morokoshi]. In our country [this dynasty] it was studied and taught in the Palace of the Nara Province [the Tsukushi Palace]."

Left side text:

名ある人ハ安田城長(やすだじやうなが) 大森宗勲(おおもりそうくん)等(とう)なり 今これを製 (ひらく)に 琴虎(きんこ)もって精(せい)とす。

"Famous people [who played it] were Yasuda Shironaga [Jônaga?], Ômori Sôkun and others. Nowadays it is being finely made strong with the use of 'kinko' [? lit. 'zither+tiger']."

Trsl. by Torsten Olafsson, 2017


Komusō in Kashiragaki zōho kinmō zu-i taisei, 1789

A shakuhachi player wearing a bee-hive-shaped 'tengai'
Do note that the Japanese characters to the left of the fluteplayer
reads 'komo-sō', not 'komo-sō'.

In: 'Kashiragaki zōho kinmo zu-i taisei'
('Enlarged Elementary Encyclopedia with Illustrations,
Complete edition'), Kansei 1, 1789, volume 4: "People".
Author: Nakamura Tekisai (1629-1702). Illustrator: Shimokawabe Shūsui.
The first edition, 'Kinmō zu-i', was published in 1666.
The second edition, 'Kashiragaki kinmō zu-i, appeared in 1695.


A 'komusō' receiving alms

Woodcut print of a 'komusō' receiving alms
In: 'Yamato meisho zue', 大和名所図絵, "Pictures from Famous Places in Japan"
Illustration by Takehara Shinkei, 1791
The National Museum of Denmark, Department of Ethnography, Copenhagen
Photo reproduction by John Lee.

Link to the Waseda University Library online archive - go to picture 43:
Woodcut print of a komusō receiving alms, 1791


A 'komusō' by Katsushika Hokusai

Wood cut print of a 'komusō'
No. 53, 'Kusatsu', in: 'Tōkaidō gojūsan tsugi',
"53 Stations of the Tōkaidō", 1806 edition.
Ukiyo-e print by Katsushika Hokusai, 1760-1849.

Possibly the late Edo Period during the 1800s:

Horizontal scroll depicting the Edo Period Myōan Temple in the Echigo Province, right section. No date given

Right section of the scroll. Click in the picture to enlarge and open in a new window.

Horizontal scroll the Edo Period Myōan Temple in the Echigo Province, left section. No date given

Horizontal scroll depicting the Edo Period Myōan Temple in the Echigo Province. No date given.
Printed on the inside of the hardcover of Tomimori, 1979.
Left section of the scroll. Click in the picture to enlarge and open in a new window.

Possibly the late Edo Period during the mid-1800s:

Gate of the Edo temple Ichigetu-ji during the 1800s

Gate of the Edo temple Ichigetu-ji in Machido, NW Chiba, during the 1800s.
In the illustrated news publication 'Fūzoku gahō', 風俗画報, No. 279, 1889.

1860s? - The Final Days of the Edo Period komusō

Ichigetsu-ji komusō - late Tokugawa Period

Ichigetsu-ji komusō - late Tokugawa Period
Photograph in the collection of the Matsudo City Culture Hall, Tōkyō
Name of photographer unknown. In: Kikan hōgaku 5, 1975


The former Myō-ji in Shirakawa, E. Kyōto

Gate of the former Edo Period Myōan-ji in Eastern Kyōto
Source: Tomimori, 1979

With the abolition of the so called Fuke Sect of the komusō in late November, 1871 (Meiji 4),
all of its temples were closed and komusō mendicancy was prohibited.

Myōan-ji's precious statue of its legendary founder Kyochiku Ryōen Zenji was, together with various especially important Myōan-ji documents, entrusted to the Zennei'in, a small subtemple of the grand Tōfuku Zen temple in SE Kyōto.


Higuchi Taizan

Higuchi Taizan - 1856-1914
Founded the Myōan Kyōkai and the Myōan Taizan-ha stradition of ascetic shakuhachi practice in 1890.
Time and photographer unknown.


Oil painting by Sakaki Teitoku

Oil painting by Sakaki Teitoku, 1858-1939: "Concert by Japanese and Western Instruments"
Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum, Japan

After 1890: 1910-1920? - Early modern Myōan kyōkai komusō

Myōan kyōkai komusō after 1890

Myōan kyōkai komusō, possibly 1910-1920
Name of photographer unknown.

Ozawa Seizan Myōan 1.8 shakuhachi

1.8 foot Myōan Taizan-ha shakuhachi made by Ozawa Seizan
not later than early Spring, 1978. Photo by Christoffer Askman

Ozawa Seizan Myōan 1.8 shakuhachi

Ozawa Seizan sensei, Spring 1978.
Photo: T.O.

Mu-ku-teki Suizen      Myōan Taizan signature & seal

"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

The Tantric symbol 'A' & 'Suizen godo'

Opening pages of a honkyoku book (ori-hon)
written by Matsumoto Kyozan, dated 1985.

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, who resides in the center of the
Taizō-kai (Womb Realm) mandala (Skt.: Garbhadātu)
of Japanese Tantric Buddhism (Shingon).
© T.O.

Taizō-kai mandala, Tō-ji, Kyōto

Taizō-kai (Womb Realm) mandala - Tō-ji, Kyōto, 9th century
Source: Wikipedia, Japan

Vairocana Buddha

Vairocana Buddha (Jap.: Dainichi Nyorai) - Tōdai-ji, Nara, 8th c.
In Sino-Japanese Buddhism, Vairocana is seen as the embodiment
of the Buddhist concept of 'shunyata': "emptiness" - or rather: "non-duality".
Vairocana is a central figure in Japanese Shingon Buddhism.
Source: Wikipedia.

Daibutsu-den Tōdai-ji, Nara

The Great Buddha Hall (Jap.: Daibutsu-den) - Tōdai-ji, Nara
in which the Great Vairocana Buddha is seated.
Source: Wikipedia, Japan

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