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Zen And The Regent Generals Of The Ho-jo Period








No wonder, then, that the representatives of the Samurai class, the
Regent Generals, especially such able rulers as Toki-yori, Toki-mune,
and others noted for their good administration, of the Ho-jo period
(1205-1332) greatly favoured Zen. They not only patronized the
faith, building great temples[FN#88] and inviting best Chinese Zen
teachers[FN#89] but also lived just as Zen monks, having the head
shaven, wearing a holy robe, and practising cross-legged Meditation.


[FN#88] To-fuku-ji, the head temple of a sub-sect of the Rin Zai
under the same name, was built in 1243. Ken-cho-ji, the head temple
of a subsect of the Rin Zai under the same name, was built in 1253.
En-gaku ji, the head temple of a sub-sect of the Rin Zai under the
same name, was built in 1282. Nan-zen-ji, the head temple of a
sub-sect of the Rin Zai under the same name, was erected in 1326.

[FN#89] Tao Lung (Do-ryu), known as Dai-kaku Zen-ji, invited by
Tokiyori, came over to Japan in 1246. He became the founder of
Ken-cho-ji-ha, a sub-sect of the Rin Zai, and died in 1278. Of his
disciples, Yaku-o was most noted, and Yaku-o's disciple, Jaku-shitsu,
became the founder of Yo-genji-ha, another sub-sect of the Rin Zai.
Tsu Yuen (So-gen), known as Buk-ko-koku-shi, invited by Toki-mune,
crossed the sea in 1280, became the founder of En-gaku-ji-ha (a
sub-sect of the Rin Zai), and died in 1286. Tsing Choh (Sei-setsu),
invited by Taka-toki, came in 1327, and died in 1339. Chu Tsun
(So-shun) came in 1331, and died in 1336. Fan Sien (Bon-sen) came
together with Chu Tsun, and died in 1348. These were the prominent
Chinese teachers of that time.


Toki-yori (1247-1263), for instance, who entered the monastic life
while be was still the real governor of the country, led as simple a
life, as is shown in his verse, which ran as follows:

Higher than its bank the rivulet flows;
Greener than moss tiny grass grows.
No one call at my humble cottage on the rock,
But the gate by itself opens to the Wind's knock.

Toki-yori attained to Enlightenment by the instruction of Do-gen and
Do-ryu, and breathed his last calmly sitting cross-legged, and
expressing his feelings in the following lines:

Thirty-seven of years,
Karma mirror stood high;
Now I break it to pieces,
Path of Great is then nigh.

His successor, Toki-mune (1264-1283), a bold statesman and soldier,
was no less of a devoted believer in Zen. Twice he beheaded the
envoys sent by the great Chinese conqueror, Kublai, who demanded
Japan should either surrender or be trodden under his foot. And when
the alarming news of the Chinese Armada's approaching the land
reached him, be is said to have called on his tutor, Tsu Yuen, to
receive the last instruction. Now, reverend sir, said. he, an
imminent peril threatens the land. How art thou going to encounter
it? asked the master. Then Toki-mune burst into a thundering Ka
with all his might to show his undaunted spirit in encountering the
approaching enemy. O, the lion's roar! said Tsu Yuen.

Thou art a genuine lion. Go, and never turn back. Thus encouraged
by the teacher, the Regent General sent out the defending army, and
successfully rescued the state from the mouth of destruction, gaining
a splendid victory over the invaders, almost all of whom perished in
the western seas.






Next: Zen After The Downfall Of The Ho-jo Regency

Previous: The Courage And The Composure Of Mind Of The Zen Monk And Of The Samurai



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