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木菴性瑫 Muan Xingtao (1611-1684)

(Rōmaji:) Mokuan Shōtō

Portrait of Muan Kita chobei Inscription by Muan Triptych hanging scrolls color on paper Kobe City Museum
喜多道矩 (長兵衛) Kita Dōku (Chōbei) (active ca. 1657-63), Portrait of Muan Xingtao.
Right scroll of a triptych with Yinyuan Longqi (1592-1673) and Jifei Ruyi (1616-71). Self-eulogy. Seal: “Chō.”
From a set of three hanging scrolls, ink and colours on paper, each 112.5 x 44.9 cm. Kobe City Museum.

 

木庵性瑫禅師

Mu’an Xingtao. (J. Mokuan Shōtō; K. Mogam Sŏngdo 木菴性瑫) (1611–1684).
Chinese CHAN master, calligrapher, and pioneer of the ŌBAKUSHŪ in Japan.
He was a native of Quanzhou in present-day Fujian province. After his novice
ordination at the age of eighteen, Mu’an received the full monastic precepts from
the monk Yongjue Yuanxian (1578–1657) on Mt. Gu (present-day Fujian
province). Mu’an visited the eminent Chan master MIYUN YUANWU before he
returned to Yongjue, under whom he is said to have attained awakening. Later,
Mu’an continued his studies under FEIYIN TONGRONG and his disciple
YINYUAN LONGQI at the monastery of Wanfusi on Mt. Huangbo (present-day
Fujian province). Mu’an eventually became Yinyuan’s disciple and inherited his
lineage. In 1655, Mu’an arrived in Nagasaki, Japan, and began his residence at the
monastery of Fukusaiji. In 1661, Mu’an followed Yinyuan to his new monastery
of MANPUKUJI in Uji. Three years later, Mu’an succeeded Yinyuan as the
abbot of the monastery, and the next year he oversaw the ordination of monks at
the triple-precept platform ceremony (sandan kaie). In 1670, he received the
purple robe, and later with the support of the shōgun Tokugawa Ietsuna (1639–
1680), he established the monastery of Zuishōji in Edo. In 1675, he turned over
the administration of Zuishōji to his disciple Tetsugyū Dōki (1628–1700) and that
of Manpukuji to Huilin Xingji (1609–1681).

The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (2014)


PDF: Muan Xingtao: An Obaku Zen Master of the Seventeenth Century in China and Japan
by Shyling Glaze
The University of Arizona, 2011

Muan Xingtao was a prominent Chan master of the seventeenth century. This study attempts to examine his religious and cultural legacy and his numerous accomplishments. Among his many achievements were his successful consolidation of the Obaku headquarters of Manpukuji in Japan and cultivation of many Japanese dharma heirs which greatly expanded the Obaku's territories. He was praised for his artistic abilities in painting and calligraphy which led to the Japanese designating him as one of the “Obaku sanpitsu 黄檗三筆”. He earned the highest religious honors of the purple robe and obtained the patronage from the shogun and Japanese elite. He characteristically manifested the virtues of filial piety and loyalty and transmitted the Ming style of Buddhist teachings, which placed more emphasis on the lay believers, nenbutsu and monastic discipline to Japan. His life represented the religious influence achieved through the interconnection between nations.