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      'Shugyō Shakuhachi' rekishi-teki shōko no kenkyū hōmupēji -

The "Ascetic Shakuhachi" Historical Evidence Research Web Pages

Introduction & Guide to the Documentation & Critical Study of Ascetic, Non-Dualistic Shakuhachi Culture, East & West:
Historical Chronology, Philology, Etymology, Vocabulary, Terminology, Concepts, Ideology, Iconology & Practices

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


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1474: Tōyō Eichō and Ikkyū Sōjun at the Inauguration
     of the Partly Rebuilt Daitoku Temple, Kyōto

1474 - IKKYŪ SŌJUN is appointed ABBOT of DAITOKU-JI

明頭来 明頭打 - MYŌTŌ RAI - MYŌTŌ DA
暗頭来 暗頭打 - ANTŌ RAI - ANTŌ DA

Ikkyuu Soujun. Abbot of Daitoku-ji, 1474.<BR>
Artist so far unidentified. 15th century.

Ikkyū Sōjun. Appointed abbot of Daitoku-ji in 1474.
Artist so far unidentified. 15th century.

'If a bright-head comes, strike the bright-head;
If a dark-head comes, strike the dark-head.
Whatever direction it comes from
Strike it like a whirlwind.
And if it comes from emptiness, cut it down with a scythe.'

'Hey, Mr. Abbot, dirtiest monk in the world,
Give me a Katsu!'
'No one came to ask after Hsiang-ju's thirst [katsu],
So he broke a plum branch and drank frozen dew,'
I struck back."

     Inauguration poem recited by Ikkyū Sōjun when he took the seat
     as abbot of the Daitoku-ji in Kyōto in 1474,
     on the 16th day of the second lunar month (trad. calendar).
     Preserved in the 'Kyōun-shū'.
     Trsl. by James H. Sanford, 1981.


Late 15th century: TŌYŌ EICHŌ & 'SHŌRIN MUKUTEKI'

Portrait of Tōyō Eichō, late 15th century

Portrait of Tōyō Eichō, 1428-1504
Anonymous. Owned by Daisen-ji, Gifu Prefecture


Mukuteki mottomo fukigatashi.
"A Flute with No Holes is the most difficult to blow."

     Trsl. by Torsten Olafsson.
     Source: Hori, 2003, p. 72 & p. 252.

The renowned Zen monk of the Myōshin-ji line of Rinzai Zen Tōyō Eichō, 東陽英朝, 1428-1504, was among the first to collect socalled "capping phrases" for kōan study.
The above cited phrase is but one among numerous such capping phrases presented in the Zenrin kushū collection by Ijūshi (n.d.), published in 1688.
It remains so far undetermined whether that particular capping phrase may actually have been contained in Tōyō Eichō's capping phrase collection Kuzōshi dating from the late 15th century.

In any case, Tōyō Eichō was the author of a most impressive literary work entitled Shōrin mukuteki, "The Shōrin Flute Without Holes", which was, eventually, published in 1709 (Hōei 6) in 6 volumes, edited by Ueda Shōshin.
A copy of that work is preserved at the Komazawa University Library.

The term mukuteki does in fact appear in quite a number of old Chinese & Japanese Buddhist texts - link to the SAT Daizōkyō Text Database

By the way, in Volume 1 of the Shōrin mukuteki, one finds a very interesting passage that mentions both Ikkyū Sōjun playing the shakuhachi - and: the grandeur of Priest Fuke whose Myō-An poem Ikkyū is known to have recited at the inauguration ceremony at Daitoku-ji in 1474.

Acc. to Tōyō Eichō, he actually witnessed Ikkyū Sōjun playing the (hitoyogiri?) shakuhachi in the Zen temple Daitoku-ji in Kyōto on that very day, in late 1474, when Ikkyū entered the Abbot's Quarters of the temple to become its rebuilder and restorer.
Tōyō Eichō recorded as follows,

- - -

"In the not cold Winter,
after the offering ceremony held on the third Day of the Dog after the Winter solstice [12th month, 1474],
I saw Abbot Ikkyū as he entered beneath the sign board of the Founder's Hall [of Daitoku Temple in Kyōto]
after its destruction [in the Ōnin War, 1467-1477].
- - -
Kyōun [Ikkyū's literary name] blew forth [the tune] Hōsanten, "Summit of the Treasure Mountain"."

Link to the full text in question: Shōrin mukuteki, Chapter 1.
That particular passage is so far awaiting a complete, final and fulfilling translation and commentary.

Daitsū-in, Shōkoku-ji, Kyōto

The Zen temple Ryūkyōzan Shōrin-ji in Kakamigahara, Gifu Prefecture
Tōyō Eichō who founded the temple in 1493 (Meiō 2)
lies buried here. Meiji Period drawing

By the way, the term mukuteki also appears in a literary work entitled Shakuhachi mei narabi ni jo, date 1505, "Shakuhachi Makers' Seals and Introduction", by the Rinzai Zen monk Kōrin (died 1536, Tenmon 5, 6th month, 14th day).
The text is reproduced in Nakatsuka, 1979, pp. 204-206.


Tōyō Eichō, 1428-1504, is appointed jū-ji, 住持, or "chief administrator" of the Zen temple Daitoku-ji i Kyōto.

      Source: Louis Frédéric, 2005, p. 170.

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