Saturday, August 30, 2014

Yinyuan's Family and Relatives

Yinyuan's nephew Lin Rumo's epitaph, photo by Jiang Wu

Yinyuan became an eminent monk and a poet who wrote more than five-thousand poems in his lifetime. But in total, he only had one year of elementary schooling. This must have something to do we his family tradition.

According newly discovered sources, his family can be traced to Lin Mo 林谋 in the late Tang who came to Fujian with the Min ruler Wang Shenzhi 王审知. Yinyuan's lineage derived from Lin Guan 林关 who moved to Fuqing during the early Ming. Yinyuan's secular name is Lin Zengbing 林曾昺 and his courtesy name is Zhifang 子房, as recorded in his chronological biography. Rarely known is that he has at least two brothers, one of them called Lin Zichun 林子春, who also became a monk. I gleaned a few fragments of his relatives from his poems: this brother Lin Zichun could write poems as well. He had a son called Lin Rumo 林汝默 (dharma name Daofu 道甫). Yinyuan had quite a few poems written for him because he also came to Nagasaki for living. Apparently, he was not prosperous without permit to stay in Japan and wanted Yinyuan's help. But Yinyuan refused and urged him to go back to China. On his way back to China in 1675, he died on the boat and was buried in Sofukuji cemetery. I didn't find his tomb when I visited Nagasaki in the summer of 2013. But in Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture, I found the rubbing of his epitaph as shown in the photo. He was indeed buried in Nagasaki.

Yinyuan's poems also reveal that he had another nephew called Lin Fuzhong 林孚中, who also had trouble and sought assistance from Yinyuan. This nephew became a monk as well. A poem mentioned that Yinyuan has a uncle called Lin Guchu 林泒初. Yinyuan's mother was surnamed Gong 龚 and there were a few people named Gong mentioned in his record as well. I gave a brief account of Yinyuan's family background in Chapter 1 of my book Leaving for the Rising Sun. But more needs to be done.

Friday, August 15, 2014

First Proof Arrived!

Today, the first proof of my book has arrived, as anticipated. I am supposed to review it for the final time and then it will be finalized. Soon after, I will be asked to make index for the whole book.

The production of the book has been taken care of by Newgen Knowledgeworks based in India. So far, I am very satisfied with their work. I was informed about the whole production process and all important deadlines in the beginning. These deadlines have been kept punctually. I start to believe that outsourcing might be the most efficient way to do business in the future.

I have spotted major mistakes in typesetting, especially the positions of illustrations. The typesetters do not know Chinese and it is typically for them to put the images upside down. There must be other typos and mistakes. An author can not take it for granted as these mistakes will be easily overlooked and become a shame after being printed.

Friday, August 8, 2014

What is the Authenticity Crisis?

The reason why this book project has lasted for such a long period of fifteen years is simply that I don't know what I am arguing about. I was fascinated by the life story of Yinyuan and the Chinese monks associated with him. But I don't know what they represented and why they were important until the very end of this project.

I need a sound argument to make the manuscript survive the harsh peer review. My first submission simply failed because my initial thought was to write a biographical account of Yinyuan only. Finally, after reexamining the evidence I have, I came up with the idea of the Authenticity Crisis, which became the subtitle of this book. To put in a nutshell, I regard the concept of authenticity as defining the relation between ideal and reality in human experience, cultural, politics, and society. The Authenticity Crisis is then the situation when the correspondence between the ideal and reality becomes problematic and undermined.

There is no better example than religion to illustrate the idea of authenticity and the situation of the Authenticity Crisis, since faith requires the principle of authenticity from all levels as its foundation. In my book, it is interesting to note that Yinyuan, a Buddhist monk, had become a symbol of spiritual, political, and cultural authenticity in the turbulent seventeenth century. Meanwhile, the authenticity of the Sinic civilization, represented by China, had been seriously undermined by events such as the Manchu invasion. Of course, such a crisis was not a issue of China alone. Rather, all other East Asian countries faced the same question and coped with different means. Although it is not elaborated in this book, it is my view that the Authenticity Crisis is a on-going process and China may not yet overcome it.

Despite the fact that it took a much longer time than I expected, I am happy that this book did not start with a premeditated argument.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Yinyuan and Sakai Tadakatsu

Portrait of Sakai Tadakatsu with Yinyuan's Inscription on the Top
Yinyuan's success in Japan has to do with a bakufu senior councilor Sakai Tadakatsu 酒井忠勝 (1587-1662), who supported Yinyuan and secured the land in Uji for building Manpukuji. He met Yinyuan during Yinyuan's visit of Edo in 1658. He liked Yinyuan very much and invited him to his family temple Choanji 長安寺 and conducted a mourning ceremony for his ancestors. When I visited Tokyo in 2011, I tried to locate this temple. Unfortunately, the Sakai residence has been removed and the only relics I could find is a stone sink which is now preserved in Shinjuku Historical Museum.

Actually when they met, Tadakatsu just retired from his post of senior councilor. However, we can imagine he still had considerable influence in the bakufu politics. He was in particular experienced in the area of foreign affairs. He had a dharma name "kuin" 空印 which was given by Yinyuan. (Some sources disputed it.) After they met, Tadakatsu served as the major liaison between Yinyuan and the bakufu. Manpukuji preserved a few letters he wrote to Yinyuan to inform him about the bakufu decisions. His interaction with Yinyuan only occurred in the last few years of his life. The Obaku sources claimed he was Yinyuan's lay disciple. So far, I have not seen substantial studies on this figure and his role in the formation of early bakufu foreign policy except a few reference to his role in diplomatic events such as dealing with the Dutch in the Nambu incident. Tadakatsu deserves at least a Master Thesis.