Organized Panel Session
Donggao Xinyue (Jp. Tōkō Shin’etsu, 1639-1696) is perhaps the most overlooked émigré Chinese Chan master who absconded to Japan from Hangzhou to later establish not only a novel branch of Sōtō (Ch. Caodong) Zen at Tentokuji temple in Mito with sponsorship from Tokugawa Mitsukuni (1628-1701), but to also become one of the most influential teachers to educate Buddhist monastics and other “Sinophiles” (shōkasha). In just over a decade (1683-1695) at Tentokuji, Shin’etsu applied novel philological research techniques (kaozhengxue, kōshōgaku) to teach monks (especially Dokuan Genkō, 1630-1698, and Kantetsu Kakumon, d. 1730), doctors (Hitomi Chikudō 1620-1688, and Sugiura Kinzen 1671-1711), and various literati patrons about how to mine Chinese classics, commentaries, encyclopedias, histories, and current instructional manuals about how to play the lute and interpret the concepts of dao, de, and wuwei to regard to historical, philosophical, ritual perspectives in relation to Zen Buddhist studies. In this paper I first introduce Shin’etsu, his books, and several students who learned from him how to read and use Sinitic sources. Then I discuss several aspects of Zen works situated at the intersection of the theory and practice of self-cultivation that are indebted to Shin’etsu and his perceptions of late Ming/early Qing philology. Finally, I address how Shin’etsu helped shape the intellectual and religious world of seventeenth and eighteenth century Japan in ways that scholars otherwise presume to be based on Confucian (jugaku), Daoist, or Nativist (kokugaku) thought when careful philological scrutiny is overlooked.