「禅尺八」歴史的証拠 研究   ホームページ

The "Zen Shakuhachi" Historical Evidence Research Web Pages

Introduction & Critical Guide to the Study and Substantiation of Early Ascetic Shakuhachi Historical Chronology,
Terminology & Etymology of Concepts, Ideology, Iconology & Practices in Particular

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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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"?

Highlighted Illustrations

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


     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

     "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" Copy

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
     Source Collection

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


     1945 ...

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 ...

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

Contact Info

To Be - or Not to Be: a "Zen Buddhist Priest"?

虚無僧 禅宗? - KOMUSŌ and the ZEN SECT?

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

     Were the 'komusō' ever real "Zen monks"?

     Was the "Fuke Sect" ever anything like a "Zen Buddhist sect"?

禅と尺八 - 関係全然無い!

"Speaking about 'Zen' and 'Shakuhachi' - there is absolutely no connection!"

In early 1977 I was introduced to a prominent professor at Kyōto University.
I had just been enrolled as a "foreign special research student" at the university, you see.

Having explained to the professor that I was very interested in studying the possible (at least so claimed) relationship "between Zen and the bamboo flute shakuhachi", the professor plainly replied,

"There is no connection whatsoever!"

In very straight and direct Japanese: Zen to shakuhachi: kankei zenzen nai!

Much surprised, as I was - honestly, I recall to have answered something like,

"Oh, I had better then look a lot more into that problem!"

Which is, in fact, certainly and very much "exactly" what I have been doing ever since then.


Clarifying Statements

Acc. to Wikipedia, Japan:


"The socalled komusō were monks of the Fuke Sect, a branch of the Zen Sect; they lived a life as half monks, half lay Buddhist practitioners [han-zō han-zoku] who did not shave their heads [teihatsu shinai]."

     Link: Wikipedia, Japan: 虚無僧

Acc. to Yamato Hōmei, 山戸朋盟:


" ---
Summing up, to say that "komusō temples were Zen temples" and that "komusō were Zen monks" is inconvenient [lit.: "circumstances are bad"].

Likewise, if one should not [say] that Myōan-ji was a "Fuke temple", and that the komusō were "Fuke monks", there would be a lot which could not be explained to the public.

To cut a long story short, the komusō did not shave their heads [i.e. take the tonsure; become monks].
Also, although they did not wear a sword in public, they were "armed" with a dagger or a shakuhachi.

In addition, they did not engage themselves in the ascetic practices of an ordinary Zen monk, such as rising early in the morning and chanting sutras, doing seated meditation [zazen], performing Zen question-and answers sessions [Zen mondō; Kōan] and the like.

Furthermore, neither did the "Fuke temples" have any patron households [danka], nor did they perform Buddhist funeral services.

Moreover, they do not appear to have been doing any earnest studies - in fact, they did not even preach to the masses, nor did they, basically, live any life of propagating the faith.

On the contrary, within the "Fuke temple" precincts, they both drank alcohol unscrupulously and engaged in gambling.

As an extreme example, there were some [komusō] who even pledged the temple's land or treasures, furniture and utensils.

From the standpoint of the komusō, that might perhaps be expected?

The reason was, as for them, that their social status as monks was [but a] "temporary refuge", and that they were proudly conscious of themselves as being essentially "brave warriors".
- - - "

     Link: Hōmei's Homepage: 朋盟のホームページ

Acc. to the official homepage of Izu City, Shizuoka Prefecture:


Komusō gravestones at Rōgen-ji


"Komusō gravestones at Rōgen-ji

[The members of] the Fuke Sect, while not having their heads shaved, wore a sacred shoulder scarf [kesa] (over their shoulders) and concealed their faces under braided basket hats [tengai/amigasa].

The sect of the komusō who blew the shakuhachi while travelling (as ascetics) all over the country, are said to have been a branch sect of the Rinzai Sect.

Together with the Shugendō (of the yamabushi) and the like, as the Fuke Sect did not perform funeral ceremonies, the (komusō) monks of Rōgen-ji were patrons [danka] of the Kinryū-in (temple), and it seems that the Buddhist priests of Kinryū-in performed their funeral rites.

However, judging from the location of the graves, we understand that these were placed inside the precincts of the Rōgen-ji (itself)."

     Links: Izu City Official Website & モリリン日記 weblog

     Acc. to Nakatsuka Chikuzen (1979, p. 97),
     Rōgen-ji was a subtemple of Anraku-ji, the
     head temple of which was Reihō-ji near Edo.
     Rōgen-ji was located in the vicinity of Izu City
     on the Izu Peninsula, southwest of Tokyo.

Acc. to the weblog of Makihara Ichiro, 牧原一路: 尺八と一休語りの虚無僧一路 , August 10, 2007:

「禅宗には、臨済宗と曹洞宗、黄檗宗、そして普化宗の4 つがあり、 虚無僧は普化宗の僧侶です」と中学の教科書にまで書いてある。

「虚無僧は、中国の普化(フケ)という禅僧を祖とする普化宗で、 日本には、鎌倉時代、紀州由良興国寺の法灯国師心地覚心が 伝えた」と。
- - -
虚無僧は、剃髪もせず、得度受戒もせず、僧籍も無いのだから、 僧ではない。

"It is written in Japanese junior high school textbooks that (quotation)
"Within the Zen sect, there are 4 sects, namely the Rinzai Sect and the Sōtō Sect, the Ōbaku Sect, as well as the Fuke Sect;
the komusō are Buddhist priests [sōryo] of the Fuke Sect."

Also, when looking at related internet sites, it generally reads as follows:
"As for the komusō, the founder of the Fuke Sect was the Chinese Zen monk Fuke;
the tradition was transmitted to Japan by Hottō Kokushi Shinchi Kakushin of the Kōkoku Temple in Yura in the Ki Province [present Wakayama Prefecture]."

This is all wrong, a big lie [ō-uso].
- - -
Because the komusō neither shaved their heads [teihatsu mo sezu], were not initiated into Buddhist monastic life receiving the precepts [tokudo jukai mo sezu], nor were members of the Buddhist priesthood [sōseki mo nai], they were not Buddhist priests.
"Being a priest, or not a priest."
That is, in everything, a Zen paradox [Zen mondō]."

     Link: 尺八と一休語りの虚無僧一路

Acc. to the weblog of Makihara Ichiro, 牧原一路, 尺八と一休語りの虚無僧一路 , August 10, 2007:


"Originally, the komusō temples were places for masterless samurai to gather [rōnin no tomariba].

They neither conducted funerary services, nor did they have cemeteries [bochi mo nai]."

     Link: 尺八と一休語りの虚無僧一路

Acc. to the weblog of Makihara Ichiro, 牧原一路, 平成の虚無僧一路の日記 , October 24, 2007:

もともと仏教界には普化宗など存在しませんし、虚無僧は出家得度を受けた僧では ありませんので、本物の僧侶ではありません。

"From the outset, the Fuke Sect and the like did not exist within the world of Buddhism [bukkyō-kai ni wa ... sonzai shimasen], and - because the komusō were not monks who had been initiated into Buddhist monastic life receiving the precepts [shukke tokudo o uketa sō de wa arimasen] - they were not real Buddhist priests [hommono no sōryo de wa arimasen]."

     Link: 平成の虚無僧一路の日記

Acc. to Yamaguchi Masayoshi, 2005, p. 187:

一般の寺院と異なり、経典らしきものもなく檀家もなく従って仏事も行なわない 。

"What, possibly, constituted the financial basis of the Fuke Sect temples and the komusō?

In contrast to the ordinary Buddhist temples, they had nothing similar to Buddhist scriptures [kyōten], nor did they have any patron households [danka] and, therefore, did not perform Buddhist funerals and memorial services [Butsu-ji]."

Acc. to Yamaguchi Masayoshi, 2005, p. 128:

普化宗の虚無僧の特徴は、まず普通の禅僧のように座禅や禅問答、民衆への説法 などは一切行わず、また檀家を持たないので法事などを行うこともなかったこと である。
- - -
つまり禅宗側から 「禅宗の一派」であると積極的に認めた形跡は全く見えず。

"As for the distinctive features of the komusō of the Fuke Sect, they did above everything not at all - like ordinary Zen monks - engage in practices such as seated meditation [zazen], Zen questions and answers [mondō], or preaching (the Dharma) to the populace [seppō].

Furthermore, as they did not have any patron households [danka], they did not perform Buddhist funerals and memorial services [hōji]."
- - -
"In the final analysis, from the viewpoint of the Zen Sect there is not at all to be seen any positively recognizable evidence of (anything like) "a branch of the Zen Sect" [Zenshū no ippa] whatsoever."

Acc. to Dr. phil. Oliver Aumann,

"Die Komusō zogen durch ganz Japan und die Tempel, die ihnen Unterkunft gewährten, und ihnen als Ausgangspunkte für ihre Bettelgänge (takuhatsu) dienten, werden heute allgemein Komusō-Tempel (komusō-dera) genannt. Streng genommen handelte es sich dabei jedoch nicht um Tempel im eigentlichen Sinne, denn sie hatten weder eine buddhistische Gemeinde (danka) noch erfüllten sie die Funktion von Familientempeln (bodai-ji), sondern sie unterhielten sich zunächst ausschließlich von den Almosen, die von den Komusō auf ihren Bettelgängen gesammelt wurden. Sie werden in den historischen Quellen als Badeplätze oder Bade-Tempel (furo-ji) bezeichnet. In der Edo-Zeit (1600-1867) dienten diese "Tempel" dann generell als Herbergen und finanzierten sich auch durch diese Einkünfte. Mit unserer heutigen Vorstellung von einem Tempel als Ort religiöser Übungen hatten diese Bade-Plätze nur wenig gemein. "
- - -
"An den Badeplätzen wurden, da die Komusō eine Art Zwischenstatus zwischen Laien- und Mönchsstand (hanzō-hanzoku) einnahmen, keine buddhistischen Zeremonien und auch keine Bestattungen durchgeführt und auch die Komusō selbst wurden nach ihrem Tod nicht dort, sondern in ihren jeweiligen Familientempeln beigesetzt. "

     Links: & Oliver Aumann


Nakatsuka Chikuzen: Kinko-ryū Shakuhachi Shikan
     (A Historical View of Kinko-ryū Shakuhachi).
     Nihon Ongaku-sha, Tokyo, 1979.

Nam-lin Hur: Death and Social Order in Tokugawa Japan:
     Buddhism, Anti-Christianity, and the Danka System.
     Harvard East Asian Monographs 282, Harvard University Asia
     Center, Cambridge, Mass. & London, 2007, 550 pages.

Yamaguchi Masayoshi: Shakuhachi-shi gaisetsu
     (An Outline of Shakuhachi History).
     Shuppan Geijutsu-sha, Tokyo, 2005.

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