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Ōbaku school


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A school of Japanese zen Buddhism that entered Japan from China with the arrival of the master Yin-yüan (1592–1673) in the year 1654 at the invitation of the government. Known in Japanese as Ingen, this master took up residence in the Genjū-ha Zen temple in Uji, which he refashioned as a replica of a Chinese Ch'an temple of the Huang-po line (‘Ōbaku’ is the Japanese pronunciation of ‘Huang-po’). For the first thirteen generations, masters of this temple were all native Chinese, and even after that the abbacy alternated between Japanese and Chinese masters. Consequently, this lineage retained a very Chinese flavour: in opposition to the typically Japanese concern for sectarian purity in lineage and practice, this line incorporated practices other than pure Ch'an meditation into its programme, including Pure Land meditation and tantric practices. In addition, the head temple has retained Chinese as its official language and emphasized Chinese cultural arts as well as Buddhist practice, to the extent that visitors have been known to comment that a trip to the Genjū-ha Zen temple is like a tour of China. Recognized as an official Zen school in 1876, it now includes over 500 subsidiary temples.

Subjects: Buddhism.


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