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Joshua Lerner
12th August 2003, 17:02
I have a question (or series of questions) to ask about Daoism in the Japanese martial arts, but it is a little complex. I'll try to break it down into relatively simple components, but I apologize if it remains too broad, weird, or unanswerable.

The basic question

How much Daoism exists in the koryu, and in what form?

Here is what I am *not* asking about

a) things that are considered Daoism in the west (or even in Asia) but are that are more accurately described as being generally Chinese, such as yin and yang, qi/ki, the five phases/wuxing/gogyo, feng shui, use of the Yijing/I Ching/Zhouyi or Bagua/Pa Kua symbolism, etc.

b) things that are Buddhist (or Hindu, etc) but that were also adopted by Daoism in some form or that otherwise have parallels in Daoism, such as the image of Marishiten/Marici/Doumu, or rituals that are Tantric Buddhist but that include many Daoist ritual elements, such as some Shingon rituals I've heard about

Here is more of what I *am* asking about

a) transmitted texts within koryu that are Daoist texts, meaning they show up in the Daoist cannon, (excluding the Buddhist texts that also show up in the Daoist cannon); or at least significant Daoist quotes within texts transmitted within koryu. I'm not thinking of the occasional Chan-influenced use of Zhuangzi or Laozi I'm thinking more of ritual, alchemical/meditative, astrological or other types of texts.

b) rituals, meditations or other practices that are specifically (and religiously) Daoist and not also Buddhist, using Chinese Daoist imagery.

c) self-identification of a koryu with a specific Chinese religious Daoist lineage, whether provable and historical or not.

I hope the question(s) I'm asking are clear. My assumption is that very little, if any, of this kind of influence exists, for both social and historical reasons. If it does, I would assume it would occur in ryu centered in towns with a large Chinese population.

Thanks for any insights or information,

Josh

Finny
12th August 2003, 17:22
Dont have anything to offer personally, but...
The only peice of writing I recall reading dealing at all with Taoism in the koryu was a reply written by Prof. Bodiford on this board regarding the Itto Ryu.

IIRC, the neo-Taoist practices and "magical Sword" teachings were held by Prof Bodiford to be an essential and undeniable component of true Itto Ryu (hope my memory serves me... any faults are mine and not Prof Bodifords i can assure you).

I would not be surprised if the majority of cases where a koryu transmits Taoist influenced teachings are from the "younger" group of koryu, to which the Itto Ryu belongs. Though I don't know why exactly that would be the case.

Hope I haven't muddied the water too much... (or do I?):p

kokumo
12th August 2003, 21:37
Originally posted by Joshua Lerner
The basic question

How much Daoism exists in the koryu, and in what form?

1. Here is what I am *not* asking about

b) things that are Buddhist (or Hindu, etc) but that were also adopted by Daoism in some form or that otherwise have parallels in Daoism, such as the image of Marishiten/Marici/Doumu, or rituals that are Tantric Buddhist but that include many Daoist ritual elements, such as some Shingon rituals I've heard about

2. Here is more of what I *am* asking about

a) transmitted texts within koryu that are Daoist texts, meaning they show up in the Daoist cannon, (excluding the Buddhist texts that also show up in the Daoist cannon); or at least significant Daoist quotes within texts transmitted within koryu. I'm not thinking of the occasional Chan-influenced use of Zhuangzi or Laozi I'm thinking more of ritual, alchemical/meditative, astrological or other types of texts.

b) rituals, meditations or other practices that are specifically (and religiously) Daoist and not also Buddhist, using Chinese Daoist imagery.

Josh

Josh --

There is a substantial body of material that falls into category 1b.

To the extent that there is material of types that fall into your category 2a and 2b, it was unlikely to be made public, and very likely to be changed just enough to fit into category 1b.

Although the trio of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Shinto has long found official favor (though the particular strand of the three emphasized has varied from period to period and ruler to ruler), Daoism has, for the most part, been regarded as a BAD THING and not to be tolerated.

During the period when Kukai and Saicho introduced the Daoist-influenced Mikkyo to Japan, the penalty for engaging in unauthorized Daoist practice was often a sentence to hard labor on an Imperial road building project, if you were lucky. Those who were unlucky were likely to find themselves pressed into military service fighting the aboriginal peoples of Japan in the northern badlands.

On the other hand, it was equally possible to engage in Daoist practices which had been transvalued into acceptably Buddhist or Shinto forms while avoiding the period equivalent of the draft board; needless to say, in the past, this provided a major motivation to turn just the kinds of things you are looking for into just the kinds of things you say you are not.

To the extent that you wish to find your way to such texts now, you are very likely looking at an extended period of study and academic research in the archives someplace like University of Hawai'i, UC-Berkeley, Columbia or Princeton on the one hand, or sufficient engagement in basic initiations and strong enough relationships with the appropriate people in either Tendai or Shingon traditions that you are given access to internal archives within those traditions.

Of course, at that point, you are unlikely to be given permission to publish your findings. ;)

If you do it academically and don't need permission to publish your findings, then you will be dismissed within the Buddhist and Daoist traditions as lacking the requisite initiations and oral instruction and having misconstrued much of what you discuss as a result.

You pays your money, you takes your pick.

That said, I'd be interested in whatever you turn up.:)

Best regards,

Fred Little

Joshua Lerner
12th August 2003, 22:04
Brendan,

Thanks - that's an interesting nugget. I think Prof. Bodiford is on holiday at the moment, so he might respond later.

Fred,

Thanks for the reply. No surprises in what you said. But, having said that, my assumption is that there must be a few things buried and encased in amber. Even when I was in graduate school, I doubt it would have been a research topic my advisor at the time would have been very thrilled about. Too eclectic and multidisciplinary. It will have to stay an amateur endeavor for now. It's probably more fun without the pressure anyway.

Josh

cybermaai
13th August 2003, 00:11
Joshua, according to something I've read, (I can't remember the source, have to look it up) Japanese tea rooms were originally constructed along Taoist geometric lines. They were a walk-in mandala, so to speak. Perhaps a few dojo were built using the same principles.

Joshua Lerner
13th August 2003, 14:21
Hi Ted,

Not quite what I'm looking for, but thanks for the response anyway. I've read the article you mention - it is by Dave Lowry, entitled "The Tao in the Dojo", and it is on his website, which I think is hosted by or somehow connected to Wayne Muramoto's Furyu.com . Here is the article for anyone who is interested -

The Tao in the Dojo (http://www.furyu.com/wayne/Dave%27sF/S1Tao1.html)

It's a good article, but what he is describing (basically feng shui) falls under the category of things that are popularly considered Daoist but are more accurately described as being generally Chinese.

Something interesting to consider that does make your suggestion somewhat appropriate, however, is the possibility that Japanese tea rooms were loosely modeled on a building called a Jingshi ("Pure Room"), which was a small, usually detached hut used by some Daoists to perform private rituals. I don't know if this connection is actually true or provable, it's just something I heard a few years back that I haven't been able to confirm. But it is an intriguing idea at least. So the fact that the original idea of the tea room was possibly modeled on a building used for Daoist religious purposes could be relevant, but the principles used to design it are not strictly Daoist as such.

Thanks,

Josh

Joseph Svinth
14th August 2003, 00:33
Lagerwey's book on Taoism in Taiwan should get you started. But, for fuller bibliographies, try http://www.algorithms.com/users/belascot/bibliography.html , http://helios.unive.it/~dsao/pregadio/tools/daozang/dz_1.html , and http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/gthursby/taoism/introbib.htm .

cybermaai
14th August 2003, 00:53
Josh,
Actually the article to which I referred is called THE EPIC OF TEA and was written by Daniel Kane for the first issue of Kyoto Journal back in 1987. He includes but goes beyond mere feng shui. Of course this is about the chashitsu and not koryu but you may get some insight there.

Joshua Lerner
14th August 2003, 01:47
Hi Ted,

My mistake. It sounds like a good article - I'll see if I can find it. Thanks. And upon rereading Dave Lowry's article, I realized that he only made passing mention of tea rooms.

Joseph,

Thanks for the links. Pregadio's site has been a favorite of mine for years.

Josh