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.