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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractShidō Munan (至道無難, 1602-1676) was an early Tokugawa Zen master mostly active in Edo. He was the teacher of Shōju Rōjin, who is in turn considered the main teacher of Hakuin Ekaku. He is best known for the phrase that one must“die while alive,”made famous by D.T. Suzuki. Other than this, his work has not been much analyzed, nor his thought placed into the context of the early Tokugawa period he inhabited. It is the aim of this work to analyze some of the major themes in his writings, the Jishōki (自性記), Sokushinki (即心記), Ryūtakuji ShozōHōgo (龍沢寺所蔵法語), and the Dōka (道歌). Special attention is paid to his views on Neo-Confucianism, Pure Land thought, and Shinto- traditions which can be shown through their prevalence in his writings to have placed Zen on the defensive during this time period. His teachings on death are also expanded on and analyzed, as well as some of the other common themes in his writing, such as his teachings on kōan practice and advice for monastics. In looking at these themes, it is possible to both compare and contrast him from some of his better-known contemporaries, such as Bankei and Suzuki Shōsan. Additionally, selected passages from his writings are offered in translation.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
East Asian Studies