Jakushitsu Genko



Neither seeking fame
nor grieving my poverty
I hide deep in the mountain
far from wordly dust.

Year ending
cold sky
who will befriend me?

Plum blossom on a new branch
wrapped in moonlight

寂室元光 Jakushitsu Genko (1290 - 1367)
Tr. Arthur Braverman

He was a Japanese Rinzai master, poet, flute player, and first abbot of Eigen-ji 永源寺, constructed solely for him to teach Zen. His poetry is considered to be among the finest of Zen poetry. He traveled to China and studied Ch'an with masters of the Linji school from 1320 to 1326, then returned to Japan and lived for many years as a hermit. It was only toward the end of his life that he decided to teach Zen to others.
source : wikipedia

CLICK here for PHOTOS of his temple!

Eigen-ji 永源寺
Mountain Name: Zuisekizan 瑞石山
41 Eigenjitakano-cho, Higashiohmi-shi, Shiga-ken, 527-0212

Eigen-ji was founded in 1361 by the lord of the omi domain, Sasaki Ujiyori 佐々木氏頼 (1326–1370), with the ascetic Zen master Jakushitsu Genko 寂室元光 (1290–1367) serving as the founding abbot. Jakushitsu practiced Zen widely in Japan under a number of masters, notably Yakuo Tokken 約翁徳儉 (1244–1320) of Kennin-ji and Yishan Yining 一山一寧 (J., Issan Ichinei; 1247–1317) of Nanzen-ji, before traveling in 1320 to China.

There he trained under the famous master Zhongfeng Mingben 中峰明本 (J., Chuho Myohon; 1263–1323), then visted a number of masters on pilgrimage before returning to Japan in 1326. In Japan he continued his ascetic, wandering lifestyle until invited by Sasaki to take up residence at Eigen-ji. Jakushitsu is renowned not only as an accomplished Zen master but also as one of the best of the Zen poets. He has been honored with a number of posthumous titles, including Enno Zenji 圓應禪師, by Emperor Go-Kogon 後光嚴 in 1369, and Shoto Kokushi 正燈國師 in 1928.

During the disturbances of the Onin War (1467–77) many of the most eminent monks of the Kyoto Five Mountain monasteries moved to Eigen-ji seeking safer and more tranquil surroundings, and it was said at the time that “culture is now centered in omi.” A series of fires during wars in the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries reduced Eigen-ji to ashes. In 1643 the Zen master Isshi Bunshu 一絲文守 (1608–1646) became abbot at the request of Emperor Go-Mizunoo 後水尾 (r. 1611–1629), and worked to restore the temple; he is honored as the second founder.

Eigen-ji has been head temple of the Eigen-ji branch of Rinzai Zen since the Meiji Period(1868-1912), with over 120 affiliated temples and a training monastery (sodo 僧堂) for monks.
It is famed for the beauty of it autumn scenery.

source : zen.rinnou.net

CLICK for more autumn photos


Memorial stone with a haiku by Matsuo Basho

in the temple compound

こんにゃくのさしみもすこし 梅の花
konnyaku no sashimi mo sukoshi ume no hana

just a few
slices of konnyaku -
and some plum blossoms

Matsuo Basho

Basho was very fond of this kind of vegetarian food.
The temple Eigenji is famous for its konnyaku dishes.

. WASHOKU - Devil's-tongue (konnyaku)  
- - - and more translations of the haiku by Basho.


. . . Read my Haiku Archives 2010


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