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#1 2008-05-29 10:54:40

-Prem
Member
From: The Big Apple
Registered: 2007-03-27
Posts: 73

Shinchi kakushin, Kennin-ji and Myoko-Ji

Hello All-

I thought I would share with you some of my experiences and information I have gathered concerning Kakushin, Kennin-ji and Myoko-ji.

First, here is some good historical info on Kakushin from the Rinzai-Obaku Zen - The Official Site of the Joint Council for Japanese Rinzai and Obaku Zen. I hope they don't mind I am posting it here. Here is a link to their site http://zen.rinnou.net/whats_zen/history.html :

"Shinchi Kakushin 心地覺心 (1207–1298), also known as National Teacher Hatto Enmyo 法燈圓明國師, was a native of Shinshu (present Nagano Prefecture); his family name was Tsunezumi. He became a monk at eighteen, and at twenty-nine received the full precepts at the temple Todai-ji 東大寺 in the ancient capital of Nara. Following this he studied esoteric Buddhism on Mount Koya 高野, headquarters of the Japanese Shingon 眞言 school, where he met the Rinzai Zen master Taiko Gyoyu 退耕行勇 (1163–1241), under whom he trained from 1239 to 1241 at the temples Kongo-zanmai-in 金剛三昧院 on Mount Koya and Jufuku-ji 壽福寺 in Kamakura. In 1249, after further training with other masters, he embarked for China to study under Wuzhun Shifan 無準師範 (1177–1249). Finding that Wuzhun had died, Kakushin visited various important Buddhist centers until a fellow Japanese monk named Genshin 源信 directed him to the Zen master Wumen Huikai 無門慧開 (J., Mumon Ekai; 1183–1260) of the temple Huguo Renwang si 護國仁王寺, near the city of Hangzhou. In a well-known story, Kakushin, when asked by Wumen, “My place has no gate; how did you get in?” answered, “I entered from no-gate (wumen).” After a mere six months Kakushin received dharma transmission, along with the gifts of a robe, a portrait of Wumen, and the Wumen guan 無門關 (Jap., Mumonkan), a collection of koans compiled by Wumen that has remained a central text in Japanese Rinzai koan study. Following his return to Japan in 1254, Kakushin first resided on Mount Koya, then became abbot of the temple Saiho-ji 西方寺 (later called Kokoku-ji 興國寺) in Yura, present Wakayama Prefecture. He often lectured before the emperors Kameyama 龜山 (r. 1259–74) and Go-Uda 後宇多 (r. 1274–87), and received from Kameyama the honorary title Zen Master Hotto 法燈禪師; following his death he was designated National Teacher Hotto Enmyo 法燈圓明國師 by Emperor Go-Daigo 後醍醐 (r. 1319–1339). Kakushin is regarded as the founder of the influential Hotto 法燈 (also Hatto) line of Rinzai Zen and of the Japanese Fuke school 普化宗, a tradition of largely lay practicers who wandered about the country playing the shakuhachi 尺八, a bamboo flute whose music was regarded as an aid to enlightenment."

When I arrived in Japan I had, through a couple connections, an opportunity to meet with my now current teacher Tsukamoto Chikuzen. I had a friend in Tokyo who was studying with a Myoan player/teacher by the Name of Suiko Takahashi. Suiko Sensei is an extremely kind and generous man. There was to be a Suizenkai at Kennin-ji in Kyoto where I was supposed to be introduced to Tsukamoto Chikuzen. Kennin-ji is the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto. Here is the link to the official website of Kennin-ji http://www.kenninji.jp/english/index.html. I had spent some time with Suiko Sensei in Tokyo and he was going to meet me in Kyoto to make the introduction. The introduction is ALL IMPORTANT, especially in regards with private groups and traditional studies. Anyway, I arrived at Kennin-ji and was handed a shakuhachi by another player and was told that I was playing right after lunch. I was very surprised as I was told that I could not play at this gathering. During the event I was introduced to Tsukamoto Chikuzen, who was actually the organizer of this Suizenkai. He was not so interested in me at the time, but due to Suiko Sensei's constant pushing and convincing the connection was made. Here are some photos from Kennin-ji and from the restaurant afterwards. I am sitting next to Tanikita Issei, the grandson of Tanikita Muchiku:
Suiko Sensei
http://www.hotchiku.com/images/Suiko.jpghttp://www.hotchiku.com/images/mekenninji.jpghttp://www.hotchiku.com/images/kenninjiparty.jpg

I began my lessons at Myoko-ji which is affiliated with Kennin-ji. It is about a 20 minute bike ride from my house. It is a small temple and at the time I had no idea of its history. It turns out that Myoko-ji is where Kakushin first stayed when he returned from China with miso, shoyu and shakuhachi, among other things. Later Kakushin went on to Wakayama prefecture where he founded Kokoku-ji, the first shakuhachi temple. Kokoku-ji still had an active shakuhachi dojo until about 40 years ago. It was headed by my current teacher's father, Tsukamoto Chikuho. Myoko-ji is a VERY private temple and shakuhachi players gather there sparsely throughout the month. I would arrive, listen to a few players play in the Hondo, usually Tsukamoto Sensei, Tanikita Issei(Grandson of Tanikita Muchiku) and one other player. They would play some pieces then I would have my lesson in a different room. After some time I asked Sensei if I could be his student. This took some major convincing! But a close friend of mine was able to convince Sensei of my seriousness and sincerity. After he accepted me I was allowed to play in the Hondo. I was asked to play there only one time. I played Choshi. I have been very fortunate to find my teacher as he is not interested in having students, nor is interested in being known. He is the current and fourth head of the Taizan Ryu. Here are some photos of Myoko-ji:

http://www.hotchiku.com/images/myokoji1.jpghttp://www.hotchiku.com/images/myokoji2.jpghttp://www.hotchiku.com/images/myokoji3.jpghttp://www.hotchiku.com/images/myokojisensei.jpg

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#2 2008-05-29 11:19:24

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
Historical Zen Mod
From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
Website

Re: Shinchi kakushin, Kennin-ji and Myoko-Ji

Thanks Prem for sharing your Info and Story with us.

Now as far as the Kakushin story goes its pretty much the stuff I have from various Books and sources in Japanese and English as the usual names, Places and Dates not much more than that. So this leads me to think that what was the whole Shakuhachi as a spiritual thing in and out of Fuke-Shu was really only about the music itslelf.

If something was written it was either lost due to not being spread around or accepted as standard Buddhist practice within the Fuke/Rinzai or other known schools. Japanese were very meticulous at keeping all their stuff and with all the research that has been done if there was deeper stuff than only the History related to the people connected with Shakuhachi something would have popped up way before in Japanese then in English.

Anyway it is nice to hear that you have found a teacher that is in the field that you want to study and that he accpeted you so please keep us posted whenever you have the time.


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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#3 2008-06-06 21:30:17

Moran from Planet X
Member
From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1521
Website

Re: Shinchi kakushin, Kennin-ji and Myoko-Ji

It is very gratifying seeing a Western person "inside" of this school. Fantastic pictures. I think you should make the one of you and Tanikita Issei into a T-shirt! <wink><wink>

If you know, who is the person in the last bottom/right picture? That is one amazing looking shakuhachi. Were you able to get any info on that particular instrument?

Thanks for sharing your journey with us on the Forum.

Very secularly,

Chris Moran


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." —Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#4 2008-06-07 01:11:58

-Prem
Member
From: The Big Apple
Registered: 2007-03-27
Posts: 73

Re: Shinchi kakushin, Kennin-ji and Myoko-Ji

Hello Chris-
The person in the last bottom/right photo is my Sensei, Tsukamoto Chikuzen. He makes all the shakuhachi that he plays. That is one of his shakuhachi. For my lessons I do not use 1.8; only long shakuhachi. The length in the photo is the size we use for lessons. I think it is about 2.45. Big Bore. Great sound!

-Prem

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#5 2008-06-07 02:19:46

Kiku Day
Shakuhachi player, teacher and ethnomusicologist
From: London, UK & Nψrre Snede, DK
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 917
Website

Re: Shinchi kakushin, Kennin-ji and Myoko-Ji

Prem,
if you can, go to the fire ceremony at the end of the obon festival (festival of the ancestors) in August at Kokoku-ji (the Fuke temple that Kakushin is supposed to have founded). The abbot of Kokoku-ji is very positive towards shakuhachi players, and plays himself. There is a particular building there for shakuhachi players to stay.
At the fire ceremony where they burn the last year's amulets etc, there should be a whole group of komuso playing. I was supposed to go last year, but got so busy writing the speech I did at the Museum for Modern Art in Kyoto about my research, so I never went - unfortunately. The group of komuso are members of Kokoku-ji's komuso group. They should be quite active, but I'd never heard about it before last year when I was in Japan.
The graveyard of Kokoku-ji also have many well-known shakuhachi players' graves.

As you wrote, Kokoku-ji is in Wakayama prefecture, which is an amazing part of Japan. It is less developed and if you have an opportunity to drive there you can visit several amazing temples and shrines in the mountains. The mountains of Kie peninsula are deep and wild. When I visited a temple together with Josh, Simura sensei and Izumi san (all shakuhachi nerds - you all know Josh, of course), we were recommended to go to Tamaki-jinja, which was an amazing experience. We were supposed to touch some stones and by doing that we were able to face our previous lives, we were told... but we weren't sure where these stones were. Next time I have to go a little better prepared. Not only is the shrine far from everything and in the middle of the mountains, but the vibes there hits you!

Here are some photos from my trip to Kokoku-ji and Tamaki-jinja among other places:

Here are the shakuhachi nerds, from left Dr. Simura, Josh, me and Izukawa. We are standing in front of a temple where there was a shakuhachi that belonged to the komuso Ozaki Shinryu.
http://i284.photobucket.com/albums/ll13/kikuday/IMG_0941.jpg

Here is Kokoku-ji:
http://i284.photobucket.com/albums/ll13/kikuday/IMG_1331Copying.jpg

Simura hounoring the deceased shakuhachi players:
http://i284.photobucket.com/albums/ll13/kikuday/IMG_1340Copying.jpg

The place to stay for shakuhachi players at Kokoku-ji. Note all the tengai. The sign says: Kokokuji Fuke shakuhachi dojo:
http://i284.photobucket.com/albums/ll13/kikuday/IMG_1343Copying.jpg

On the way to Tamaki-jinja (note I am teh only one who dared to leave my shakuhachi in the car!
http://i284.photobucket.com/albums/ll13/kikuday/IMG_0956.jpg

Just imagine this scenery in the grounds of Kokoku-ji. This is just a concert in Kyoto last year:
http://i284.photobucket.com/albums/ll13/kikuday/summercon07024.jpg






Thanks for your tales from Kyoto, Prem! Keep up the good work, and please, say hello to Suiko sensei if you speak with him.
PS. Sorry I didn't make the pictures smaller.... I am just learning! smile

Last edited by Kiku Day (2008-06-07 03:33:18)


I am a hole in a flute
that the Christ's breath moves through
listen to this music
Hafiz

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#6 2008-06-07 07:14:45

Moran from Planet X
Member
From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1521
Website

Re: Shinchi kakushin, Kennin-ji and Myoko-Ji

-Prem wrote:

Hello Chris-
The person in the last bottom/right photo is my Sensei, Tsukamoto Chikuzen. He makes all the shakuhachi that he plays. That is one of his shakuhachi. For my lessons I do not use 1.8; only long shakuhachi. The length in the photo is the size we use for lessons. I think it is about 2.45. Big Bore. Great sound!

-Prem

It looks reminiscent of  a Kodama or Taimu. Very fine. Probably should say that Kodama and Taimu are reminiscent of this flute. smile

Last edited by Chris Moran (2008-06-07 19:45:34)


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." —Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#7 2008-06-07 09:16:18

Josh
PhD
From: Grand Island, NY/Nara, Japan
Registered: 2005-11-14
Posts: 305
Website

Re: Shinchi kakushin, Kennin-ji and Myoko-Ji

Oh Kiku, it sounds so much better to be called a shakuhachi otaku/enthusiast, although I guess the translation is often nerd, huh smile By the way, I think the name of the group was called the Hotto-kai.
Yeah, we'll have to head down to Wakayama before Shikoku. This time we should get the stones right, last time I think I accidentally touched your stone and faced your previous lives wink

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#8 2008-06-08 07:20:23

udo.jeromin
Member
Registered: 2007-05-07
Posts: 72

Re: Shinchi kakushin, Kennin-ji and Myoko-Ji

-Prem wrote:

I thought I would share with you some of my experiences and information I have gathered concerning Kakushin, Kennin-ji and Myoko-ji.

Hi Prem,

thanks for posting your findings here --- this is very interesting indeed!
Also I love the photographs (as well as yours, Kiku).

I will be in Japan soon; more specifically, I'll be visiting Kobe this summer (and again over christmas).  During those times I'll certainly visit Kyoto and Nara and would be delighted to get together for some tea and rice cakes if you have time and are interested.  Please email me on googlemail (same user name as here --- I haven't figured out how to send private message to forum members, sorry).

Cheers, udo.

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#9 2008-06-09 23:00:42

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
Historical Zen Mod
From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
Website

Re: Shinchi kakushin, Kennin-ji and Myoko-Ji

Thank you very much Kiku for those noce pictures!

Will make sure to stop by this place next time I am around Wakayama. You said they do a fire ceremony at that temple what type of fire ceremony is it? Do you know what school this temple belongs to? T


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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