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徹通義介 Tettsū Gikai (1219-1309)

 

Born to a branch of the Fujiwara clan in the province of Echizen, Gikai was originally one of the disciples of Ekan of the Daruma-shû school. When that school was persecuted, Ekan and several of his disciples, including Gikai, joined Dogen's community at Kôshôji. Later, at Eiheiji, he occupied the key monastic role of temple cook (jap. tenzo), and there received transmission from Ekan in 1251. After the death of Dôgen, Ejô conferred his own transmission on Gikai in 1255. Gikai may have then traveled for a few years, including to China. On his return to Eiheiji, he erected new buildings and introduced new rituals. In 1267, Gikai succeeded Ejô as third abbot, but a conflict emerged with his fellows concerning his duel lineage. Finally, Gikai was forced to depart after five years spent as the head of Eiheiji. He lived many years thereafter with his mother, in a hermitage not far from Eiheiji. Later, he converted a monastery of the Shingon school into a Zen monastery, Daijôji, which was officially opened in 1293.
http://www.treeleaf.org/articles/TreeleafTheLineage.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetts%C5%AB_Gikai

 

 

TETTSU GIKAI
Richard Bryan McDaniel: Zen Masters of Japan. The Second Step East. Rutland, Vermont: Tuttle Publishing, 2013.

Ejo recognized Gikai as his own heir because he believed that Dogen would have wanted him to do so. However, although Ejo was aware of the respect Dogen had had for Gikai, Ejo himself had some reservations about him. He suspected that, like many of the former Daruma School members, Gikai held beliefs, in particular about the so-called esoteric or ritual practices, which were inconsistent with what Ejo understood to be Dogen’s Zen. Ejo reminded Gikai that zazen was the singular focus of Dogen’s teaching. Ejo knew there were members of the sangha at Eiheiji who did not believe that zazen was necessarily the only appropriate form of practice, so he questioned Gikai about where he stood on the issue. Gikai admitted that, while he valued the practice of zazen, he believed there were other disciplines that could be just as valuable to one’s religious development. Ejo pressed the issue, and Gikai at least gave the impression that his opinion was swayed.

To deepen Gikai’s understanding of Zen, Ejo encouraged him to go on a tour of other monasteries in Japan. Gikai went even further and, on his own initiative but with Ejo’s permission, traveled to China as well. He was impressed by the depth of the established Zen tradition and its trappings in the Land of Song and was awed by both the architecture and the furnishings of the temples he visited. He made detailed copies of the architectural designs of these sites and collected cultic items to bring back to Japan.

When Gikai returned to Eiheiji, Ejo appointed him abbot and retired. Ejo settled in a hermitage not far from the temple, hoping to pass his final days in solitude; however, some of his former students, uncomfortable with Gikai, visited Ejo on a regular basis. It soon became clear that there was a division between a group of monks who supported Gikai and another group that wanted Ejo to return. Gikai, this latter group complained, was less interested in the spiritual development of the monks than he was in transforming Eiheiji architecturally and making it a place of elaborate shrines. He also had never wholly given up his belief that zazen was not necessarily the only appropriate practice, and ritual elements were gradually being introduced into the monks’ daily schedule of activities. There were also questions raised about a subsidiary temple he had built for the care of his mother.

In 1272, the faction that opposed Gikai persuaded Ejo to return and resume the position of Abbot. Gikai withdrew his claim to the post rather than cause further divisions within the community, although he remained at Eiheiji and continued to work with Ejo.

Ejo tried to reconcile the divisions that had arisen at Eiheiji, but went to his death feeling that he had failed to do so and, thus, had failed in his responsibilities to his teacher, Dogen.

Just before he died, Ejo commanded his students not to build a memorial pagoda for him but simply to bury him at the foot of Dogen’s pagoda.

 

After Ejo’s death, Gikai was returned to the position of Abbot, but the divisions within the community remained unresolved. For the traditionalists, the final straw came when Gikai complied with a government request that Shingon rituals be carried out at Eiheiji for the benefit of the country.

The Government directive had come about because they sought divine aid in their efforts to resist the intentions of the Mongol leader, Kublai Khan, to add Japan to his vast conquests. The Khan had already taken control of both China and Korea. Eight years earlier he had sent a number of delegations to the Japanese isles demanding that they too acknowledge his leadership. After hearing what the first messengers had to say, the Japanese prevented later delegations from landing on the island of Honshu.

In 1274, when Ejo was serving his second term as abbot of Eiheiji, the offended Khan mobilized a fleet of more than 500 ships and an army of 40,000 soldiers to conquer the impudent Land of Wa. The Japanese defense force was considerably smaller, estimated at no more than 10,000 samurai.

When the Mongol forces landed in November, the samurai fought valiantly in what was clearly a hopeless cause. After the first day of battle, the samurai withdrew from the beachhead to rest and recover their strength. They fully intended to resume the fight in the morning, although it was almost certain they would be annihilated.

However, during the night, the Mongol forces reboarded their ships and sailed out into the bay because the sailors were afraid that the high winds that had arisen might drive their ships onto shore and ground them. That decision was a grave error; the Mongol fleet sailed directly into the path of a typhoon that sank a third of the boats, drowning their crews and passengers. The remaining vessels were heavily damaged and forced to retreat back to China.

The Japanese believed that the wind—which they termed “Kamikaze” or “divine wind”—was evidence that the old Shinto gods still protected the isles. Seven years later, during Gikai’s second term as abbot of Eiheiji, the Japanese learned that Kublai Khan was preparing a second invasion of their homeland. This time the Khan had amassed a force five times larger than the previous one—two fleets of more than 4000 ships and an estimated 140,000 soldiers. In the face of this armada, government officials ordered all Buddhist Temple to perform rites for the protection of the country. The rites probably had little to do with it, but once again the Khan’s forces were destroyed by a typhoon. After this second defeat, he gave up his intentions to subjugate the archipelago.

In spite of the national emergency, the traditional forces at Eiheiji resisted the inclusion of Shingon rites at their temple. Gikai, on the other hand, believed that not only should they comply with the government request but that by adding these ritual elements the Soto School would be likely to become more popular with the Japanese laity. Those in disagreement with him, however, held that Master Dogen would never have approved of these changes. There were strong feelings on both sides of the issues, and violence broke out between Gikai’s supporters and his opposers. Gikai fled the temple in remorse over the conflict he had caused and possibly in fear of his own safety.

 

 

Everyone bound by karma,
speaking of a Buddha-mind "within".

Tied up by this
I couldn't find it.

Finally tracked it down,
showing itself as me.

Translated by Yasuda Joshu and Anzan Hoshin