Thursday, December 18, 2014

The place Yinyuan stayed in Xiamen

Immortal Cliff (Xianyan) in Xiamen, photo by Jiang Wu

Before leaving for Japan, Yinyuan first arrived in Xiamen 厦门(Amoy) from Fuqing in 1654. He didn't meet Zheng Chenggong there. But he met his brother Zheng Cai  鄭彩, who used to control Xiamen before Zheng Chenggong took it. In July 2012, when I had conference at Taipingyansi 太平巖寺, I came across Tianjiesi 天界寺, where Yinyuan stayed while waiting for the ship to Japan. It is referred to as Immortal Cliff 仙岩 in Yinyuan's record.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Ryokei's Dharma Transmission Certificate

Ryokei's transmission certificate
 In the recent conference on Buddhism After Mao in Paris, an interesting question has been raised about the continuous use of dharma transmission certificate as a way to authenticate a Buddhist lineage in China. It is interesting to note that this practice is still alive in China today. In the Song time, the certificate was called “sishu” 嗣書, in the late Ming and early Qing, it became "yuanliu" 源流, and the late Qing and Republican era, "fajuan" 法卷 as Homles Welch has studied extensively. Today, it is still called "fajuan." I discussed its use in my Enlightenment in Dispute. Also, Yinyuan brought this practice to Japan as well. He wrote a yuanliu to his Japanese disciple Ryōkei 龍溪, who was the retired emperor Gomizunoo's 後水尾 teacher. This one looks like exactly the one Yinyuan received from his teacher Feiyin Tongrong. Compare with Figure 5.1 (page 139) in Enlightenment in Dispute.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Wei Zhiyan 魏之琰 and Weishi yuepu 魏氏乐谱

Wei Zhiyan 魏之琰 , a Chinese silk merchant between Vietnam and Nagasaki who also hailed from Fuqing where Yinyuan was born, kept a family music band and had presented a concert of Chinese music to the retired Gomizunoo. Weishi yuepu 魏氏乐谱 was compiled by his son Gi Shimei 魏子明(魏皓).

He was one of the Fuqing patrons who welcomed Yinyuan to Japan. His brother was the famous One-eye (Itchien) Chinese merchant in the Dutch sources. For Wei's life, Anthony Reid's student Iioka Naoko 飯崗直子 has a wonderful dissertation on him. See also her article in Offshore Asia (2013). I have a paragraph about him in chapter 3, page 107.

Plaque dedicated to Sofukuji by Wei Zhiyan © Jiang Wu

 See also

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Exhibition of Obaku Calligraphy at St. Louis Art Museum

I am so glad meeting Philip Hu on Facebook. He pointed to me an exhibition of Obaku calligraphy at St. Louis Art Museum which he is curating. It will be there until Feb. 22, 2015. Go to see it. Here is the weblink to the exhibition and a few shots Philip sent to me. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Yinyuan and Chinese Music in Edo Japan

A few weeks ago, Prof. Yang Kuei-hsiang 楊桂香 from Taiwan kindly shared with me her published  paper on Weishi yuepu魏氏樂譜, which was a collection of music notes by the Wei (Gi) family in Japan, commonly known as Mr. Gi's music book in the West. (See Britten Dean's article "Mr Gi's Music Book: An Annotated Translation of Gi Shimei's Gi-shi Gakufu.").

One theory is that this collection represented the repertoire of late Ming literati music sung by students in Confucian Academies, as stipulated by Wang Yangming 王阳明 and his followers when they revived the tradition of Confucian education. In her article, Prof. Yang argues that it represents the best of Chinese court music and has overlaps with Zhu Xi and Zhu Zhaiyu's works. The music was brought to Japan because the Wei family was closely connected to the Southern Ming court in exile. Prof. Yang's paper is entitled 魏双侯は日本に齎した中国の宮廷音楽を再考察:
―『魏氏楽譜』六巻本と朱載堉『楽律全書』と朱熹『儀礼経伝通解』との関連を踏まえて, which is published in Obaku bunka 黄檗文化, 2014.

This reminds me about Yinyuan's connection with Chinese music in Japan. In Yinyuan's poems, there are many allusions to music. Of course, he did not play music. However, because of his connection with the Wei family, he must have opportunities to attend one of Wei's concerts. I briefly discussed the Wei family's connection to music in page 107 in my book.

Because of this connection, couple years ago, we tried to revive some of the music preserved in Weishi yuepu. We picked Xin Qiji's 辛弃疾 Green Jade Cup (Qingyuan 青玉案) for trial. It was not a great performance. But this is truly the late Ming music of elegance and we love it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Zheng Chenggong Cult in Japan (1)

Because the connection between Yinyuan and Zheng Chenggong, I went to Hirado last summer to visit Zheng's birth place. Unfortunately I missed a major festival honoring Zheng. However, I was lucky that a new memorial museum just opened to the public a few months before. There appears to be a strong interest in the local area.

Zheng Chenggong festival in Hirado, photo by Jiang Wu

Statue of Zheng Chenggong and his Japanese mother in front of Zheng Chenggong memorial museum, photo by Jiang Wu

Friday, October 24, 2014

Yinyuan's Secret Mission to Japan

Was Yinyuan a secret envoy to Japan on behalf of Zheng Chenggong to request military aid? Chapter Four of my book seems to be a crucial because I tried to offer a new explanation of his role in Sino-Japanese relation. I wrote a short abstract for this chapter.

This chapter offers a new interpretation of Yinyuans success in Japan by situating his arrival into the bakufus agenda of establishing a Japan-centered world order. The first part of the chapter analyzes the coincidental meeting between Yinyuan and the 1655 Korean embassy at Osaka and the relation between his audience with the shogun and the rejection of Zheng Chenggongs request for military aid in 1658. Highlighting a series of measures the bakufu took to promote Manpukuji, such as requesting Chinese abbots regular audiences with the shogun, this chapter argues that Yinyuan and his Manpukuji had been institutionalized as representing the role of China in a Japan-centered world order.

 I first published this chapter in Journal of East Asian History as "Taikun's Zen Master from China: Yinyuan, the Tokugawa Bakufu, and the Founding of Manpukuji in 1661", which is downloadable from the journal's website. This paper is also translated into Chinese and will be incorporated in a conference volume based on a meeting at Fudan University in 2013. Recently, I presented this chapter in the summer of 2014 at Institute of World History of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Prof. Xu Jianxin 徐建新 is so nice to write a report for it. (He is an expert of Gwanggaeto Stele 好太王碑.) The original report can be accessed from the following link. But I pasted the Chinese text below for those who can read Chinese.

Lecture at Institute of World History of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

2014年09月22日 14:07 来源:中国世界史研究网 作者:徐建新

  吴疆指出,隐元于1654年到达长崎。仅仅一年之后,他便被邀请到现在大阪附近的普門寺。这一举动明显违反幕府将华人限制在长崎的法令。在普门寺几年后,也就是1658年的冬天,隐元被请到江户(东京),受到第四代将军德川家纲和大老酒井忠胜的接见,成为德川幕府建立以来正式接见的第一位中国人。两年以后,也就是1660年, 在酒井忠胜的斡旋下,幕府允许隐元常驻日本,并在京都宇治太和山赐地建立萬福寺。从此以后,中国僧人担任萬福寺住持成为惯例。他们与当时朝鲜通信史和琉球使节一样,在将军即位时奉令到江户觐见祝贺。
  吴疆认为,不应把隱元的角色局限在禅学佛教世界,而应将他置于一个更为宽广的政治和国际的环境背景中来加以观察。为了解释隱元非凡的成功, 必须要仔细地探討早期德川幕府官僚政治的转变和以“日本为中心的世界秩序”的形成。
  在十七世纪,“日本型华夷意识”的新心态开始在日本的政治家和知识份子之間显現, 这种意识以排斥中国为中心的朝贡体系的统治为特征。这个新世界的秩序 主要是以日本和朝鮮的外交关系为主,其次是以和琉球虚构的“外国”关系为基础。为了这个目的, 在对邻近国家所有的外交文件中, 幕府创造了一个新的外交名词来称呼将军: 那就是“大君”。这个“大君外交”的意识形态基础是僭夺了中國“华夷之辩”的论述话语并將中国中心主义的意涵剥离,而代之以 “神國”的日本民族主义理念。在这种形势下, 在幕府的眼中, 隱元不单单只是一个有成就的禅師,同時也是一个来自中国的代表, 如果考虑到自从16世紀中期以後, 中日之間已經沒有正式的外交关系的事实, 他的存在對日本来說是象征性的寓意。可以看出,中国在幕府的潛意识中佔有非常重要的地位,日本在它所想要建立的新世界的秩序中需要有中國的存在和參與。

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Portrait of Buddhist Monks of the Obaku Sect at Cleveland Art Museum

Portrait of Yueshan Daozong

Recently, Prof. Susan Huang at Rice University pointed to me an interesting group portrait of Obaku patriarchs in the collection of Cleveland Art Museum. I immediately examined the image posted on their website and ordered a print for study. According to the website, this group portrait was acquired in 2003. The inscription has the painter's name Nanyue Yueshan 南嶽悅山  and two seals: Yueshan 悅山 and Daozong 道宗. It is clear that this work was painted by the Chinese monk Yueshan Daozong (1629-1709), who was the seventh abbot of Manpukuji and a dharma heir of Mu'an Xingtao 木庵性瑫. He was known as a good calligrapher. But it is rarely known that he was good at portrait painting as well. It is still not clear who were these monks, Chinese, Japanese, or mixed? I have to wait until I receive a better image of this interesting picture. His name was mentioned in my book but only in a passing way.

Portrait of Buddhist Monks of Obaku Sect from Cleveland Art Museum

Friday, October 10, 2014

The New Release day of my book is Nov. 15

Today, the project manager at Newgen KnowledgeWorks informed me that my book Leaving for the Rising Sun now goes to production and the new release day is Nov. 15, a month earlier than the projected release day. A few months ago, the promotion department at Oxford University Press had told me that the book is going to come out earlier and will be available at AAR. This turns out to be true. I must say I now have a very positive view about outsourcing publishing works to companies such as Newgen KnowledgeWorks, which is very professional, punctual, and transparent. The author was informed in the beginning about the publication plan which had been followed exactly. This is not the experience I had with other university presses. I only wished they could have hired a copyeditor who knows more about East Asia.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Japanese Youth who Loves Koxinga 国姓爷 (Zheng Chenggong)

A Japanese fan of Zheng Chenggong, Hirado, Japan, ©Jiang Wu 
Last summer (2013), I went to Hirado 平户 to visit Zheng Chenggong's birth place. Although Yinyuan and Zheng Chenggong never met, Yinyuan was escorted to Japan by Zheng Chenggong's ships from Amoy. Zheng was aware of Yinyuan's success and mentioned him in one of his "state letters" to the Japanese shogun. Yinyuan never went to Hirado. But before moving to Nagasaki, Chinese settlers congregated in Hirado, as the English and the Dutch. Zheng was born here and traveled alone to China at the age of seven.

Unexpectedly, I met a Japanese youth who was a fan of Zheng Chenggong. In such a mushiatsui weather, he wore a Ming-style robe and hat, holding a folding fan with Zheng Chenggong's name on it. He said he came with his uncle from Kumamoto to see the sites related to Zheng Chenggong. His uncle perhaps never spoke to a Chinese and kept saying that Japanese do not like guns, perhaps in fear of a possible Chinese invasion someday. I kept laughing.

I said I want to take a picture of him and he posed very well. I am sorry that I posted his photo in my blog without his consent. The date is August 16, 2013. The location is in front of St. Francis Xavier Memorial Church at Hirado.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Was Yinyuan a Chinese Spy?

Prof. Chen Jinhua at British Columbia recently asked me if Yinyuan was a Chinese spy. It is an interesting question. I have seen similar speculations in some works on Yinyuan. Indeed, the Japanese were alert about possible espionage attempts from China especially during their persecution of Christianity. The bakufu kept an effective intelligence program to collect information on China during the Ming-Qing transition.

Yinyuan was asked to stay in Fumonji 普門寺 in Osaka for six years. One explanation for this long detention was that he was suspicious of being a Chinese spy. However, I didn't see any primary sources directly accused of him or providing any evidence. My personal view is that it was highly unlikely that he had this secret mission. The first question is who he worked for. He could not work for the Manchus. Then he must have worked for Zheng Chenggong 鄭成功 whose ships escorted him to Nagasaki. Then why Zheng Chenggong wanted to spy on Japan.

This spy theory may have something to do with Mukai Genshō 向井元升 who criticized Yinyuan in his Chishihen 知恥篇. I analyzed his essay in Chapter 6 of my book. He knew that Yinyuan had sent his disciples to contact his teacher Feiyin Tongrong who was in the Hangzhou area around that time. He surmised that because the Hangzhou area was occupied by the Manchus, their frequent communication must have divulged information about Japan. Kumazawa Banzan 熊沢蕃山 shared a similar view. (For this discussion, see my book, Leaving for the Rising Sun, page 182.)

However, in the eighteenth century, when the Qing dynasty secured its power, both Kangxi and Yongzheng sent spies to Japan. Kangxi sent a certain Manchu official Mo'ersen 莫爾森 from Hangzhou Silk Manufacturing Office 杭州織造. (Prof. Lynn Struve was very curious about his identity and is researching on him.) Yongzheng's Zhejiang governor Li Wei 李衛 sent Zhu Laizheng 朱來章. The suspected spy ship according to Oba Osamu is the Siamese Vessel no. 2 of the year Kyoho 14 (1729). Oba did mention a Chinese monk who was an informant and Zhu Laizheng obtained useful information from him. (Oba, Books and Boats, pp. 234-235.)

Chinese monk Quanyan Guangchang's tomb at Fukusaiji © Jiang Wu

This monk's name is Quanyan Guangchang  全巖廣昌, the sixth abbot of Fukusaiji 福濟寺. I mentioned him briefly in my book page 224, and his possible espionage activities in page 295, note 30. We know quite a bit about him because Ka'i hentai 華夷變態 has preserved the affidavit he submitted to the Nagasaki officials when he arrived at Nagasaki from China. His full biography can be found in Obaku bunka jinmei jiten 黃檗文化人名辭典, pages 185-6. I visited Fukusaiji during the summer of 2013. Although the old temple structure was completely destroyed by the A-bomb, Quanyan's memorial pagoda remains there.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Index and list of Chinese characters

Today, I finished reviewing the typeset index. There are a few minor mistakes. Because I have to delete all Chinese characters in the text in order to save space, I list the Chinese characters in the index as much as I can. So the index is partially the glossary of Chinese characters. There are still some minor Chinese characters I decide not to include. Anyway, I hope this is the last job I have to do and the typeset PDF is ready to be printed.

Friday, September 19, 2014

blurb and backcover of Leaving for the Rising Sun

I am glad that the backcover is ready for the paperback edition. Thank Prof. Lynn Struve for her kind words.

Back cover
“In this wonderfully informative study, Jiang Wu extends the significance of his previous, groundbreaking book, Enlightenment in Dispute, from China into the greater East Asian sphere of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Through the career and legacy of the eminent monk Yinyuan Longqi (1592–1673) in China and Japan, Wu penetrates the crisis of cultural legitimacy that beset East Asia, particularly Tokugawa Japan, after the demise of the Ming dynasty.”—Lynn Struve, Professor of Chinese History, Indiana University, Bloomington

In 1654 Zen Master Yinyuan traveled from China to Japan. Seven years later his monastery, Manpukuji, was built and he had founded a new tradition, called Obaku.  In this sequel to his 2008 book, Enlightenment in Dispute, Jiang Wu tells the story of the tremendous obstacles faced by Yinyuan, drawing parallels between his experiences and the broader political and cultural context in which he lived.
Yinyuan claimed to have inherited the “Authentic Transmission of the Linji Sect.” After arriving in Japan, he was able to persuade the Shogun to build a new Ming-style monastery for the establishment of his Obaku school. His arrival in Japan coincided with a series of historical developments, including the Ming-Qing transition, the consolidation of early Tokugawa power, the growth of Nagasaki trade, and rising Japanese interests in Chinese learning and artistic pursuits. While Yinyuan’s travel is known in scholarly circles, the significance of his journey within East Asian history has not been fully explored. Leaving for the Rising Sun provides a unique opportunity to reexamine the crisis in the continent and responses from other parts of East Asia. Using Yinyuan’s story as a bridge between China and Japan, Wu demonstrates that the monk’s significance is far greater than the temporary success of a religious sect. Rather, Yinyuan imported to Japan a new discourse of authenticity that gave rise to indigenous movements that challenged, and led to the eventual breakup of, a China-centered world order.

Jiang Wu is an associate professor in Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Arizona. His research interests include Chinese Buddhism, especially Chan/Zen Buddhism and the Chinese Buddhist canon, Sino-Japanese Buddhist exchanges, and the application of spatial analysis tools in the study of religion and culture. He is the author of Enlightenment in Dispute: The Reinvention of Chan Buddhism in Seventeenth-century China (2008).

Friday, September 12, 2014

cover design of Leaving for the Rising Sun

I am glad that the cover design is ready to go and it was approved by Manpukuji as well. I showed it around and people liked it. When my first book was published, I asked for three designs to choose from. I posted them in my office and asked everyone passing by to vote. People chose the one which was not my first choice. But it turned out great. For this one, although it is the only design, after discussion with colleagues and family, this might be my best choice.

Today, I also finished the index. So officially, this book project is completed.

Cover Design for Jiang Wu's Leaving for the Rising Sun by Oxford University Press

Friday, September 5, 2014

Yinyuan's Hometown Fuqing 福清

Recently, a Fuqing native who is a Ph.D student in Hong Kong contacted me after reading my paper "Taikun's Master from China." He was amazed by Yinyuan's achievement. Yes. All Fuqing people should be proud of him. Not only Yinyuan, his teacher Feiyin Tongrong also hailed from Fuqing.

Fuqing map

I have been to Fuqing only once, during my research trip in the summer of 2001. In recent history, Fuqing is famous for legal and illegal immigration during the 1980s. There are a lot of Fuqing people in Japan. (People from its neighboring country Changle 长乐chose to go to New York, according to local sayings.) However, this is not a remote and culturally impoverished place. It is rich in culture. The Song New Confucian thinker Zhu Xi came here at least twice to spread his teaching. Another Song scholar Lin Xiyi 林希逸  was a Fuqing native. His family clan still thrived in the late Ming. One of his descendant became Yinyuan's disciple, the famed Jifei Ruyi 即非如一 in Nagasaki, who published his ancestor's work in Japan. Fuqing produced many jinshi degree holders throughout history. The late Ming prime minister Ye Xianggao 叶向高 was a Fuqing native and it is evident that Ye introduced the Jesuit missionary Guilio Aleni 艾儒略 to Fujian, who temporarily resided in Fuqing. Therefore, Fuqing had a small Christian population in Ming and Qing. Jesuit archival materials in Rome proved it.

Local gazetteer also says that the soil in Fuqing was so poor that many became salt workers, fishers, sailors, or even pirates. Japanese wako pirates sacked Fuqing at least twice and Qi Jiguang fought them with a big victory. It is clear that the land is not rich enough to support its population. I read the local gazetteer of Jianyang country in norther Fujian, where its magistrate complained that monks in his territory often came from Fujian and were often family members and relatives.

Remember that Fuqing is also called Futang 福唐 and Yurong 玉融 in historical sources.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Yinyuan's Family and Relatives

Yinyuan's nephew Lin Rumo's epitaph, photo by Jiang Wu

Yinyuan became an eminent monk and a poet who wrote more than five-thousand poems in his lifetime. But in total, he only had one year of elementary schooling. This must have something to do we his family tradition.

According newly discovered sources, his family can be traced to Lin Mo 林谋 in the late Tang who came to Fujian with the Min ruler Wang Shenzhi 王审知. Yinyuan's lineage derived from Lin Guan 林关 who moved to Fuqing during the early Ming. Yinyuan's secular name is Lin Zengbing 林曾昺 and his courtesy name is Zhifang 子房, as recorded in his chronological biography. Rarely known is that he has at least two brothers, one of them called Lin Zichun 林子春, who also became a monk. I gleaned a few fragments of his relatives from his poems: this brother Lin Zichun could write poems as well. He had a son called Lin Rumo 林汝默 (dharma name Daofu 道甫). Yinyuan had quite a few poems written for him because he also came to Nagasaki for living. Apparently, he was not prosperous without permit to stay in Japan and wanted Yinyuan's help. But Yinyuan refused and urged him to go back to China. On his way back to China in 1675, he died on the boat and was buried in Sofukuji cemetery. I didn't find his tomb when I visited Nagasaki in the summer of 2013. But in Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture, I found the rubbing of his epitaph as shown in the photo. He was indeed buried in Nagasaki.

Yinyuan's poems also reveal that he had another nephew called Lin Fuzhong 林孚中, who also had trouble and sought assistance from Yinyuan. This nephew became a monk as well. A poem mentioned that Yinyuan has a uncle called Lin Guchu 林泒初. Yinyuan's mother was surnamed Gong 龚 and there were a few people named Gong mentioned in his record as well. I gave a brief account of Yinyuan's family background in Chapter 1 of my book Leaving for the Rising Sun. But more needs to be done.

Friday, August 15, 2014

First Proof Arrived!

Today, the first proof of my book has arrived, as anticipated. I am supposed to review it for the final time and then it will be finalized. Soon after, I will be asked to make index for the whole book.

The production of the book has been taken care of by Newgen Knowledgeworks based in India. So far, I am very satisfied with their work. I was informed about the whole production process and all important deadlines in the beginning. These deadlines have been kept punctually. I start to believe that outsourcing might be the most efficient way to do business in the future.

I have spotted major mistakes in typesetting, especially the positions of illustrations. The typesetters do not know Chinese and it is typically for them to put the images upside down. There must be other typos and mistakes. An author can not take it for granted as these mistakes will be easily overlooked and become a shame after being printed.

Friday, August 8, 2014

What is the Authenticity Crisis?

The reason why this book project has lasted for such a long period of fifteen years is simply that I don't know what I am arguing about. I was fascinated by the life story of Yinyuan and the Chinese monks associated with him. But I don't know what they represented and why they were important until the very end of this project.

I need a sound argument to make the manuscript survive the harsh peer review. My first submission simply failed because my initial thought was to write a biographical account of Yinyuan only. Finally, after reexamining the evidence I have, I came up with the idea of the Authenticity Crisis, which became the subtitle of this book. To put in a nutshell, I regard the concept of authenticity as defining the relation between ideal and reality in human experience, cultural, politics, and society. The Authenticity Crisis is then the situation when the correspondence between the ideal and reality becomes problematic and undermined.

There is no better example than religion to illustrate the idea of authenticity and the situation of the Authenticity Crisis, since faith requires the principle of authenticity from all levels as its foundation. In my book, it is interesting to note that Yinyuan, a Buddhist monk, had become a symbol of spiritual, political, and cultural authenticity in the turbulent seventeenth century. Meanwhile, the authenticity of the Sinic civilization, represented by China, had been seriously undermined by events such as the Manchu invasion. Of course, such a crisis was not a issue of China alone. Rather, all other East Asian countries faced the same question and coped with different means. Although it is not elaborated in this book, it is my view that the Authenticity Crisis is a on-going process and China may not yet overcome it.

Despite the fact that it took a much longer time than I expected, I am happy that this book did not start with a premeditated argument.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Yinyuan and Sakai Tadakatsu

Portrait of Sakai Tadakatsu with Yinyuan's Inscription on the Top
Yinyuan's success in Japan has to do with a bakufu senior councilor Sakai Tadakatsu 酒井忠勝 (1587-1662), who supported Yinyuan and secured the land in Uji for building Manpukuji. He met Yinyuan during Yinyuan's visit of Edo in 1658. He liked Yinyuan very much and invited him to his family temple Choanji 長安寺 and conducted a mourning ceremony for his ancestors. When I visited Tokyo in 2011, I tried to locate this temple. Unfortunately, the Sakai residence has been removed and the only relics I could find is a stone sink which is now preserved in Shinjuku Historical Museum.

Actually when they met, Tadakatsu just retired from his post of senior councilor. However, we can imagine he still had considerable influence in the bakufu politics. He was in particular experienced in the area of foreign affairs. He had a dharma name "kuin" 空印 which was given by Yinyuan. (Some sources disputed it.) After they met, Tadakatsu served as the major liaison between Yinyuan and the bakufu. Manpukuji preserved a few letters he wrote to Yinyuan to inform him about the bakufu decisions. His interaction with Yinyuan only occurred in the last few years of his life. The Obaku sources claimed he was Yinyuan's lay disciple. So far, I have not seen substantial studies on this figure and his role in the formation of early bakufu foreign policy except a few reference to his role in diplomatic events such as dealing with the Dutch in the Nambu incident. Tadakatsu deserves at least a Master Thesis.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Feiyin Tongrong's 费隐通容 calligraphy

Feiyin's Calligraphy: "Eyeball of a Blind Donkey" 瞎驴眼 at Manpukuji ©Jiang Wu 2014
Yinyuan's immediate dharma teacher is Feiyin Tongrong. We know him because he was defeated in a famous lawsuit about dharma transmission and his book was burnt as the result. However, little known is that he was also an excellent calligrapher. We can still see samples of his work at Manpukuji. I heard one of the Japanese tourists besides me was marveled at the calligraphy: 

すごい, she said.

Mr. Tanaka Chisei told me that Feiyin's calligraphy was unique because he actually wrote in his left hand. His right hand was chopped by bandits during the turbulent Ming-Qing transition. I never read any references in his biography about this accident. However, Tanaka san pointed to his portrait, in which his right hand is not shown, but hides inside the long sleeve.
Feiyin Tongrong's Portrait at Manpukuji

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Yinyuan and His teacher Miyun Yuanwu 密云圆悟

When Yinyuan was young, he traveled to Zhejiang and visited Putuo Island. At that time, he did not know about Chan Buddhism at all. All he wanted was to become a monk at Putuo Island. Although he was later ordained in Huangbo monastery in his hometown Fuqing, he went to Zhejiang again and became Miyun Yuanwu's student.

Portrait of Miyun Yuanwu at Manpukuji
Reading Ming and Qing Buddhist sources, you can't miss Miyun Yuanwu. Many eminent Chan teachers in the Qing period can trace their dharma transmissions to him. He was the fountain head of dharma transmission on the Linji side. 

Portrait of Miyun Yuanwu in Jiaxing Canon
I have discussed him extensively in my previous book Enlightenment in Dispute. Here, in this new book, I examined his relationship with Yinyuan. My conclusion is that Yinyuan absolutely wanted Miyun's transmission but Miyun did not give him. He only offered to 12 people in his whole life. But according to Yinyuan, he experienced enlightenment under Miyun and was greatly influenced by him.

There is very few thing to talk about his teaching though. Miyun's trick was to do beating and shouting: he hit people really hard. I came across several cases when students were hurt severely. His first dharma heir is Poshan Haiming 破山海明. Because he returned to Sichuan shortly after he received dharma transmission, he was not known very well in South China. However, his dharma heirs spread all over southwest China, especially in Chengdu region. This is perhaps why we can still see his statue erected in Baoguang monastery in Chengdu. The spread of Miyun's transmission in Southwest China is going to be a really interesting subject.

Statue of Miyun Yuanwu at Baoguang Monastery in Chengdu

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Official Publication Date for Leaving for the Rising Sun

Recently, I have been working on copy editing and just finished answering the final queries sent by copy editor. The whole production job has been undertaken by a company in India and so far I am very satisfied with the production process.

I have been told the official publication date is going to be Dec. 12, 2014. But the book should be available at this year's AAR for sale.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Why is Yinyuan important?

Sanmon of Manpukuji ©Jiang Wu 2014
Although Yinyuan is somehow important, he is just ordinary if compared with many famous monks in Tang and Song. Then why study him? Here is the need to do some more research into the specific time period he lived in. In contrast to the common view about him, my book reveals he is extraordinary in several areas:

First, he lived at the end of the Ming and early Qing, thus witnessing the significant social and cultural changes in China.

Second, he not only successful landed in Japan, but also went beyond Nagasaki, where Chinese were confined.

Third, the high status the Japanese bakufu gave to Yinyuan and his Obaku tradition is unprecedented.

Finally, the transformation of Japanese Zen and the rise of Hakuin only occurred after Yinyuan's arrival.

All these seem to have suggested that he was very important during his time. We can only reveal his significance when we put him back in the complicated religious, cultural, and political situation in the seventeenth century.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

How to deal with "garbage sources" 垃圾史料 in Ming-Qing Chinese Buddhism?

Some books were born with important topics and self-evidently significant sources. Readers will know that. The field expects the book and acclaims its contribution. The authors were lucky to work on them, mostly likely at the suggestion of their mentors or some wise people.

Unfortunately, the sources I worked with, for both of my books, can not be said to have any real significance at the first glance. And for the most time of my research, I didn't know what I was arguing for. Even the topics were blurring......religion? intellectual history? political history? I genuinely did not know until the very last moment of research and book making.

My first book Enlightenment in Dispute (Oxford, 2008) deals with Buddhist polemics in the seventeenth century. The sources are polemical essays written by monks. I will not recommend these sources to any one, including my students, because they are very dry, tedious, and tasteless, full of personal attacks and senseless accusations. Of course, the prominent Chinese historian Chen Yuan had worked on these sources. But the truth is that after he wrote his book Qingchu sengzheng ji 清初僧诤记, no one wrote anything significant on the topics and the sources and the knowledge and figures he introduced were so obscured that a Japanese scholar had to write an annotated translation of his book in the eightieth. This tells you how unattractive these sources are. Also, his grandson Prof. Chen Zhichao told me that when his grandfather wrote the book, he had an assistant going to the Forbidden City to copy for him the sources in Jiaxing Canon 嘉兴藏 which was stored there. (This edition is still there.)

My second book deals with a prominent Zen teacher whose collected work amounts to twelve volumes in modern binding. I confess I read all of them. But I have to say there are not of the best of a Zen collection. He was a poet and wrote about 5,000 poems. However, not all of them are of the high quality and clerical writing was always not well received in literary circles in China.

I finally realize that in the study of Chinese religion, history, culture there exist a large number of "garbage sources," especially in the area of religion. The same might be said about Korean and Japanese studies. Basically, they are numerous, boring, repetitive and we don't know how to make sense of them. No one what to touch them. One example is the first fascicle of local gazetteer which usually starts with "star constellation field" 星野. Another example in literature is the collection of "imperial decrees" in the beginning of hanlin literati's wenji collections. Most of them had been the officers 制诰 to draft these imperial documents. But a lot of them had lost their context and their meaning became obscure. In Chinese Buddhism, there are a lot of scriptural commentaries 注疏科判 awaiting for further exploration. If you want to find more, go the Chinese Buddhist canon 汉文大藏经, which is another topic I am working on, for "garbage." (A collection of essays co-edited by Lucille Chia and me will be published from Columbia University Press very soon.)

If you are the one of the unlucky researcher who happen to work on these "garbage sources," the tricky part is going to be how to read them and make sense of them. I believe that a selective reading of sources only with obvious significance might have obscured our understanding of history. Without fully processing these garbage sources, it is hardly true that we have a fair and objective view of the past.

Why most people know about Yinyuan but do not think he was important?

I am perhaps one of the few researchers who always think the subject matter I am studying is not that important.

Chinese style railing overseeing Soindo in Manpukuji © Jiang Wu 2014

One of the reasons is that in my research I always deal with marginal figures in obscure time and place about which a lot of "garbage sources" 垃圾史料 exist. Of course, Yinyuan has founded a new tradition in Japan. But so what? 

First of all, he is not an original thinker and all the teaching and practice he advocated had already been there since the Song time. He merely regurgitated those slogans such as the joint practice of Chan and Pure Land, or animal releasing ritual.

Second, in China, he hailed from a monastery in Fuqing, Fujian province which has no major role in Buddhist history, except the temple name was associated with Huangbo Xiyun. 

Third, even in Japan, the Obaku tradition is the smallest among all Zen sects. During its heydays, Obaku had about a thousand and seven hundreds temples in Japan and now only four hundred. This is significantly lower than a sub-tradition in some temple systems such as the Myoshinji lineage. Its influence in nowadays Japanese Buddhism is not discernible.

Some may wonder that calling it the third tradition in Japanese Zen might be a misnomer because this tradition is in fact part of Rinzai. All in all, there is nothing special about Yinyuan and his tradition.

But this is exactly what intrigues me....... 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Table of Content: Leaving for the Rising Sun

The following is the final version of the table of content for my forthcoming book:

Statue of Yinyuan Riding a Lion at Manpukuji
©Jiang Wu 2014

Introduction: Yinyuan as a Symbol of Authenticity
1. In Search of Enlightenment: Yinyuan and the Reinvention of the “Authentic Transmission” in Late Ming Buddhist Revival
2. Building a Dharma Transmission Monastery: Mount Huangbo in Seventeenth-Century China
3. Leaving for the Rising Sun: The Historical Background of Yinyuans Migration to Japan in 1654
4. The Taikuns Zen Master from China: Yinyuan, the Edo Bakufu, and the Founding of Manpukuji in 1661
5. The Multiple Lives of a Chinese Monk: Yinyuan as Zen Master, Literary Man, and Thaumaturge
6. Authenticity in Dispute: Responses to the Ideal of Authenticity in Edo Japan
7. “Where Are the Authentic Monks?” The Bakufus Failed Attempts to Recruit Chinese Monks
Conclusion: Yinyuan and the Authenticity Crisis in Early Modern East Asia
Work Cited


Monday, June 23, 2014

Who is Yinyuan?

Portrait of Ingen Ryūki by Kita Genki.jpg
Who is Yinyuan? This is a question I always asked myself during the long period of research for this book. If you look up in a standard encyclopedia such as Wikipedia, it will give us a standard introduction to him.

"Ingen Ryūki (traditional Chinese: 隱元隆琦; pinyin: Yǐnyuán Lóngqí; Japanese: 隠元隆琦) (1592—1673) was a Chinese Linji Chán Buddhist monk, poet, and calligrapher.[1] He is most known for founding the Ōbaku school of Zen Buddhism in Japan. Ingen's name in Chinese was Yinyuan Longqi."

This introduction is rather lifeless. In fact, there are much more to be said about him. His chronological biography details his yearly activities and his complete collection in twelve volumes tell us much about who he was. Personally I feel he is an extraordinary man with many talents. One purpose of this book is to reveal his personality and answer the question who he is. The following picture, copied from Wikipedia, will be used for designing the cover for my book, Leaving for the Sun.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What is this book about (Leaving for the Rising Sun)?

Sanmon 三门 of Manpukuji ©Jiang Wu 2014

This book investigates the intellectual, social, and religious background of Chinese Zen master Yinyuans move to Japan in 1654 and the founding of Manpukuji in 1661. Fully immersed in the Late Ming Buddhist revival, Yinyuan followed a syncretic Buddhist practice but claimed to inherit the authentic transmission from the Linji sect. He arrived in Japan during the Ming-Qing transition and was quickly installed by the bakufu as  symbol for representing China in a Japan-centered world order. His presence in Edo Japan engendered various responses from Japanese Buddhists and intellectuals who sought the meaning of authenticity from Yinyuan. However, the image of his authenticity was questioned and the symbolic presence of Chinese monks was disrupted during the early eighteenth century when China and Japan tightened their control over the Nagasaki trade. Situating Yinyuan and the religious events related to him in a broad understanding of the “seventeenth-century crisis” in early Modern East Asia, this book explains the success and fall of Yinyuan and his tradition in terms of the Authenticity Crisis, meaning that Yinyuans claim of religious, political, and cultural authenticity was facing challenges at the wake of a rising Japan-centered identity in Edo Japan. Through the case of Yinyuan, this study seeks to interpret the intellectual and cultural transformation in early modern East Asia as manifestations of the Authenticity Crisis. This book provides new perspectives for rethinking the symbolic role of Buddhist monks in the process of intellectual, political, and social transformation.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Why do I want to create a blog page for my book on Yinyuan?

This is a blog page for my forthcoming book Leaving for the Rising Sun: Chinese Zen Master Yinyuan and the Authenticity Crisis in Early Modern East Asia from Oxford University Press. It sounds strange to have a blog page for the book rather than the author. However, there is really nothing interesting to blog about the author, who is simply an agent of a series of ideas, coming down from some mysterious places. The reason I want to keep a blog for a book at the time of its completion is simple: the book has its own life and its story has to be told. Here are a few reasons I think this blog page is worthwhile:

First, as I said in the preface, this book took me about fifteen years to complete. It is unusual to spend such a long time of period for a book project. This is simply because of my lack of confidence in handling the vast number of materials. My research experience, retrospectively, is an interesting journey which is worthy of reflecting and documenting.

Second, during the course of writing and researching on the topic, the manuscript was rewritten several times in very dramatic ways. I wanted to write a biography first and then changed back to standard academic narrative. An early draft has twenty chapters and now I have only seven. Many portions and details were cut but may be revived in the form of blogging.

Third, during such a long period, I have accumulated a lot of interesting sources and documents about this monk called Yinyuan in Chinese and Ingen in Japanese. However, many of them did not get into the book. I am afraid that I won't be able to publish a second book on the subject but these sources need to be shared with people for further studies.

Finally, for a long time, I have been an armchair researcher without going to Japan and Manpukuji where this monk became prominent. I justify myself for being distanced from possible influence of any contemporary perspective. The subject I study has to be put back in early Edo period. Too much exposure to its contemporary situation will limit historical imaginations. This is a healthy skepticism but may not be complete without reliving the presence of this Chinese monk by visiting the actual places. Eventually, I was lucky to have received support from Japan Foundation and Chiang Chingkuo Foundation to complete the book in 2013. Japan Foundation funded my summer research in Japan in the summer of 2013 and CCKF founded me a year of full time writing. During my stay in Japan, I visited many places and would like to report findings which can not be put in this book.

Of course, I can't hide the motivation to promote this book. My publisher suggests me creating a webpage for the book. As a newbie in the field of social media, let me try to meet their expectations. I am just told that the book is going to be out in November 2014.