Academic journal article Japanese Journal of Religious Studies

Leaving for the Rising Sun: Chinese Zen Master Yinyuan & the Authenticity Crisis in Early Modern East Asia

Academic journal article Japanese Journal of Religious Studies

Leaving for the Rising Sun: Chinese Zen Master Yinyuan & the Authenticity Crisis in Early Modern East Asia

Article excerpt

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Jiang Wu, Leaving for the Rising Sun: Chinese Zen Master Yinyuan & the Authenticity Crisis in Early Modern East Asia Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. 384 pages. Hardcover, $105.00; paperback, $36.95. isbn 9780199393121 (hardcover); 9780199393138 (paperback).

THE NARRATIVE set forth in Leaving for the Rising Sun is ambitious and comprehensive with a breadth of methodological analysis and a depth derived from meticulous archival research. It cover events leading up to the arrival of Chinese Chan master Yinyuan Longqi ... (Jp. Ingen Ryüki, 1592-1673) in Japan in 1645; the establishment of Manpukuji ... in Uji, as the head monastery of a new, Japanese Zen tradition, Öbakushü ... via temples in Nagasaki serving Chinese immigrants, many from Fuqing county ... in Fujian province ... in 1661; and the influence eleven Chinese abbots exerted in Edo-era (1603-1868) Japan until 1740 or 1768. In several respects, Leaving for the Rising Sun is a follow-up volume to Wu (2008), and the research in both monographs is derived from Jiang Wu's 2002 PhD dissertation. The title, Leaving for the Rising Sun, is somewhat misleading because, strictly speaking, only two chapters out of seven, plus a dynamic introduction and thoughtprovoking conclusion, concern the life, times, and impact of Yinyuan Longqi in China before he left to embark upon a legendary career in Japan. The main goals of this book are: 1. to investigate Yinyuan "and delineate the contour of his Zen mission in the context of early modern Sino-Japanese history"; 2. to place Yinyuan's Zen mission "within multiple religious, political, and cultural contexts as spiritual leader, political representative, and writer of belles lettres" (243); and 3. to demonstrate that "a complete subversion of a China-centered world-view only happened after both countries were challenged by the intrusion of Western powers," even if "the seed of the changes was already planted in the early modern time" (266-76).

What separates Leaving for the Rising Sun from Japanese secondary studies of the history of Zen Buddhism (for example, Ibuki 2001) and Helen Baroni's two excellent books (2000; 2006) on the subject of Öbaku Zen Buddhism and Tetsugen Dökö ... (1630-1682) is expressed in the subtitle: Chinese Zen Master Yinyuan & the Authenticity Crisis in Early Modern East Asia. Rather than emphasizing the significance of converts or disciples who promoted novel Öbakushü practices in Japan-recitation of buddha Amitäbha's name (nembutsu ...), southeastern Chinese, Ming-style pronunciation of scriptures and spells during a regulated recitation regimen (Minchöfü bonbai ...), and even vegetarian diet (fucha ryöri ...) or drink (sencha ...) at Manpukuji or other Öbakushü temples-this book focuses on Chinese abbots.

Between 1661 and 1740, eleven Chinese abbots of Manpukuji were welcomed by the bakufu twenty-one times at Edo castle. At least one intellectual, Ogyü Sorai ... (1666-1728), was delighted to practice his colloquial Chinese (3-5) with these individuals. Yinyuan Longqi and his Chinese disciples, therefore, influenced both Edo-era Japanese Zen Buddhist monastics with their claim to have conveyed to Japan an "authentic transmission" of Rinzai Zen Buddhism-through the publication of Feyin Tongrong's ... (Jp. Hiin Tsüyö, 1593-1661) Strict Transmission of Five Chan Lamps (Ch. Wudengyantong; Jp. Gotö gentö ...) in Japan in 1657- and, perhaps more significantly, because Yinyuan and Chinese abbots of Manpukuji stimulated intellectuals to attentively engage with what Benjamin Elman has called "an East Asian community of textual scholars who specialized in empirical research and philological studies of the Chinese classics" (2008)-connected through the Nagasaki book trade or what Wang Yong (1999) calls a "book road"-to respond to an "Authenticity Crisis" that challenged classical Chinese notions of universal discourse, which still sets the center (China) apart from the periphery (so-called "barbarians"). …

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