Zen Under The Toku-gana Shogunate

Peace was at last restored by Iye-yasu, the founder of the Toku-gana

Shogunate (1603-1867). During this period the Shogunate gave

countenance to Buddhism on one hand, acknowledging it as the state

religion, bestowing rich property to large monasteries, making

priests take rank over common people, ordering every householder to

build a Buddhist altar in his house; while, on the other hand, it did

everything to extirpate
Christianity, introduced in the previous

period (1544). All this paralyzed the missionary spirit of the

Buddhists, and put all the sects in dormant state. As for Zen

it was still favoured by feudal lords and their vassals, and almost

all provincial lords embraced the faith.

The So To Sect was not wanting in competent teachers, for it

might take pride in its Ten-kei (1648-1699), whose religious insight

was unsurpassed by any other master of the age; in its Shi getsu, who

was a commentator of various Zen books, and died 1764; in its Men-zan

(1683-1769), whose indefatigable works on the exposition of So To Zen

are invaluable indeed; and its Getsu-shu (1618-1696) and Man-zan

(1635-1714), to whose labours the reformation of the faith is

ascribed. Similarly, the Rin Zai Sect, in its Gu-do (1579-1661); in

its Isshi (1608-1646); in its Taku-an (1573-1645), the favourite

tutor of the third Shogun, Iye-mitsu; in its Haku-in (1667-1751), the

greatest of the Rin Zai masters of the day, to whose extraordinary

personality and labour the revival of the sect is due; and its To-rei

(1721-1792), a learned disciple of Haku-in. Of the important Zen

books written by these masters, Ro-ji-tan-kin, by Ten-kei;

Men-zan-ko-roku, by Men-zan; Ya-sen-kwan-wa, Soku-ko-roku,

Kwai-an-koku-go, Kei-so-doku-zui, by Haku-in; Shu-mon-mu-jin-to-ron,

by To-rei, are well known.

It was about the middle of this period that the forty-seven vassals

of Ako displayed the spirit of the Samurai by their perseverance,

self-sacrifice, and loyalty, taking vengeance on the enemy of their

deceased lord. The leader of these men, the tragic tales of whom can

never be told or heard without tears, was Yoshi-o (O-ishi died 1702),

a believer of Zen, and his tomb in the cemetery of the temple

of Sen-gaku-ji, Tokyo, is daily visited by hundreds of his admirers.

Most of the professional swordsmen forming a class in these days

practised Zen. Mune-nori(Ya-gyu), for instance, established

his reputation by the combination of Zen and the fencing art.

See "Zen Shu," No. 151.

He is known as Ta-jima, who practised Zen under Taku-an.

The following story about Boku-den (Tsuka-hara), a great swordsman,

fully illustrates this tendency:

"On a certain occasion Boku-den took a ferry to cross over the Yabase

in the province of Omi. There was among the passengers a Samurai,

tall and square-shouldered, apparently an experienced fencer. He

behaved rudely toward the fellow-passengers, and talked so much of

his own dexterity in the art that Boku-den, provoked by his brag,

broke silence. 'You seem, my friend, to practise the art in order to

conquer the enemy, but I do it in order not to be conquered,' said

Boku-den. 'O monk,' demanded the man, as Boku-den was clad like a

Zen monk, 'what school of swordsmanship do you belong to?' Well,

mine is the Conquering-enemy-without-fighting-school.' 'Don't tell a

fib, old monk. If you could conquer the enemy without fighting, what

then is your sword for?' 'My sword is not to kill, but to save,'

said Boku-den, making use of Zen phrases; 'my art is transmitted from

mind to mind.' 'Now then, come, monk,' challenged the man, 'let us

see, right at this moment, who is the victor, you or I.' The

gauntlet was picked up without hesitation. 'But we must not fight,'

said Boku-den, 'in the ferry, lest the passengers should be hurt.

Yonder a small island you see. There we shall decide the contest.'

To this proposal the man agreed, and the boat was pulled to that

island. No sooner had the boat reached the shore than the man jumped

over to the land, and cried: 'Come on, monk, quick, quick!'

Boku-den, however, slowly rising, said: 'Do not hasten to lose your

head. It is a rule of my school to prepare slowly for fighting,

keeping the soul in the abdomen.' So saying he snatched the oar from

the boatman and rowed the boat back to some distance, leaving the man

alone, who, stamping the ground madly, cried out: 'O, you fly, monk,

you coward. Come, old monk!' 'Now listen,' said Boku-den, 'this is

the secret art of the Conquering-enemy-without-fighting-school.

Beware that you do not forget it, nor tell it to anybody else.'

Thus, getting rid of the brawling fellow, Boku-den and his

fellow-passengers safely landed on the opposite shore." The

O Baku School of Zen was introduced by Yin Yuen (In-gen) who crossed

the sea in 1654, accompanied by many able disciples. The

Shogunate gave him a tract of land at Uji, near Kyo-to, and in 1659

he built there a monastery noted for its Chinese style of

architecture, now known as O-baku-san. The teachers of the same

school came one after another from China, and Zen

peculiar to them, flourished a short while.


In-gen (1654-1673) came over with Ta-Mei (Dai-bi, died

1673), Hwui Lin (E-rin died 1681), Tuh Chan (Doku-tan, died 1706),

and others. For the life of In-gen: see Zoku-ko-shu-den and


Tsih Fei (Soku-hi died 1671), Muh Ngan (Moku-an died 1684),

Kao Tsuen (Ko-sen died 1695), the author of Fu-so-zen-rin-so-bo-den,

To-koku-ko-so-den, and Sen-un-shu, are best known.

This is a sub-sect of the Rin Zai School, as shown in the

following table:


1. Bodhidharma.

2. Hwui Ko (E-ka).

3. San Tsang (So-san).

4. Tao Sin (Do-shin).

5. Hung Jan (Ko nin).


6. Shang Siu (Jin-shu).


6. Hwui Nang (E-no).


7. Nan Yoh (Nan-gaku).

---10. Gi-ku.

---11. Lin Tsi (Rin-zai).

---21. Yuen Wu (En-go).

---22. Fuh Hai (Bukkai).

---28. Kaku-a.


42. In-gen.

---25. Hti Ngan (Kyo-an).

---26. Ei-sai.


7. Tsing Yuen (Sei-gen).

---8. Shih Teu (Seki-to).

---11. Tung Shan (To-zan).

---23. Ju Tsing (Nyo-jo).

---24. Do-gen.

The O Baku School is the amalgamation of Zen and the worship of

Amitabha, and different from the other two schools. The statistics

for 1911 give the following figures:

The Number of Temples:

The So To School 14,255

The Rin Zai School 6,128

The O Baku School 546

The Number of Teachers:

The So To School 9,576

The Rin Zai School 4,523

The O Baku School 349

It was also in this period that Zen gained a great influence on the

popular literature characterized by the shortest form of poetical

composition. This was done through the genius of Ba-sho, a

great literary man, recluse and traveller, who, as his writings show

us, made no small progress in the study of Zen. Again, it was made

use of by the teachers of popular ethics, who did a great

deal in the education of the lower classes. In this way Zen and its

peculiar taste gradually found its way into the arts of peace, such

as literature, fine art, tea-ceremony, cookery, gardening,

architecture, and at last it has permeated through every fibre of

Japanese life.

He (died 1694) learned Zen under a contemporary Zen master

(Buccho), and is said to have been enlightened before his reformation

of the popular literature.

The teaching was called Shin-gaku, or the 'learning of

mind.' It was first taught by Bai-gan (Ishi-da), and is the

reconciliation of Shintoism and Buddhism with Confucianism. Bai-gan

and his successors practised Meditation, and were enlightened in

their own way. Do-ni (Naka-zawa, died 1803) made use of Zen more

than any other teacher.