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Hakuin Studies

Summaries of Hakuin’s Writings in Japanese (Kana hōgo)
by Yoshizawa Katsuhiro  

Yaemugura #3: Takayama Yūkichi monogatari

『八重葎』 巻之三 「高山勇吉物語」

One of the most unusual of all Hakuin’s writings, this section of the Yaemugura discusses the case a certain Kojima Sōtsuke, a student of Hakuin who, after receiving the master’s sanction of enlightenment (inka), absconded to Kyoto with funds collected for him by the community. As a result Hakuin’s koan Zen came under attack by other Buddhist schools in the Takayama region.

At that time there was in Takayama a boy named Yūkichi who, becoming possessed of a spirit, divined the location of Sōtsuke and, furthermore, delivered sermons justifying Hakuin’s approach to Zen. The episode is so strange as to seem a complete fiction, but apparently it was an actual event that was considerably embellished in the telling by Hakuin.

The theme of this section of the Yaemugura is the importance of gogo no shugyō, “after-enlightenment training.” Just because one has one’s achievements in training recognized and receives the “reward” of inka shōmei, one mustn’t rest on one’s laurels. After-enlightenment training is a never-ending process, an endless practice in the spirit of “above, to seek enlightenment, below, to liberate all sentient beings.”

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  Last Update: 2003/12/19