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Grieving that the poets of his time had begun to
prefer affectation and elegance to sincerity and simplicity, he
withdrew to a secluded villa on Mount Ogura, and there selected, a
hundred poems by as many of the ancient authors. These he gave to the
world, calling the collection Hyakunin-isshu, and succeeding
generations endorsed his choice so that the book remains a classic to
this day. Teika's son, Tameiye, won such favour in the eyes of the
Kamakura shogun, Sanetomo, that the latter conferred on him the manor
of Hosokawa, in Harima. Dying, Tameiye bequeathed this property to
his son, Tamesuke, but he, being robbed of it by his step-brother,
fell into a state of miserable poverty which was shared by his
mother, herself well known as an authoress under the name of
Abutsu-ni. This intrepid lady, leaving her five sons in Kyoto,
repaired to Kamakura to bring suit against the usurper, and the
journal she kept en route--the Izayoi-nikki--is still regarded as a
model of style and sentiment. It bears witness to the fact that
students of poetry in that era fell into two classes: one adhering to
the pure Japanese style of the Heian epoch; the others borrowing
freely from Chinese literature.

Meanwhile, at Kamakura, the Bakufu regents, Yasutoki, Tokiyori and
Tokimune, earnest disciples of Buddhism, were building temples and
assigning them to Chinese priests of the Sung and Yuan eras who
reached Japan as official envoys or as frank propagandists. Five
great temples thus came into existence in the Bakufu capital, and as
the Chinese bonzes planned and superintended their construction,
these buildings and their surroundings reflected the art-canons at
once of China, of Japan, and of the priests themselves. The same
foreign influence made itself felt in the region of literature. But
we should probably be wrong in assuming that either religion or art
or literature for their own sakes constituted the sole motive of the
Hojo regents in thus acting. It has already been shown that they
welcomed the foreign priests as channels for obtaining information
about the neighbouring empire's politics, and there is reason to
think that their astute programme included a desire to endow Kamakura
with an artistic and literary atmosphere of its own, wholly
independent of Kyoto and purged of the enervating elements that
permeated the latter.

This separation of the civilizations of the east (Kwanto) and the
west (Kyoto) resulted ultimately in producing asceticism and
religious reform. The former, because men of really noble instincts
were insensible to the ambition which alone absorbed a Kyoto
littérateur--the ambition of figuring prominently in an approved
anthology--and had, at the same time, no inclination to follow the
purely military creed of Kamakura. Such recluses as Kamo Chomei,
Saigyo Hoshi and Yoshida Kenko were an outcome of these conditions.
Chomei has been called the "Wordsworth of Japan." He is immortalized
by a little book of thirty pages, called Hojoki (Annals of a Cell.)
It is a volume of reflections suggested by life in a hut measuring
ten feet square and seven feet high, built in a valley remote from
the stir of life. The style is pellucid and absolutely unaffected;
the ideas are instinct with humanity and love of nature. Such a work,
so widely admired, reveals an author and an audience instinct with
graceful thoughts.

In the career of Saigyo--"the reverend," as his title "hoshi"
signifies--there were episodes vividly illustrating the manners and
customs of the tune. Originally an officer of the guards in Kyoto, he
attained considerable skill in military science and archery, but his
poetic heart rebelling against such pursuits, he resigned office,
took the tonsure, and turning his back upon his wife and children,
became a wandering bard. Yoritomo encountered him one day, and was so
struck by his venerable appearance that he invited him to his mansion
and would have had him remain there permanently. But Saigyo declined.
On parting, the Minamoto chief gave him as souvenir a cat chiselled
in silver, which the old ascetic held in such light esteem that he
bestowed it on the first child he met. Yoshida Kenko, who became a
recluse in 1324, is counted among the "four kings" of Japanese
poetry--Ton-a, Joben, Keiun, and Kenko. He has been called the
"Horace of Japan." In his celebrated prose work, Weeds of Tedium
(Tsure-zure-gusa), he seems to reveal a lurking love for the vices he
satirizes. These three authors were all pessimistic. They reflected
the tendency of the time.

RELIGION

The earliest Buddhist sect established in Japan was the Hosso. It
crossed from China in A.D. 653, and its principal place of worship
was the temple Kofuku-ji at Nara. Then (736) followed the Kegon sect,
having its headquarters in the Todai-ji, where stands the colossal
Daibutsu of Nara, Next in order was the Tendai, introduced from China
by Dengyo in 805, and established at Hiei-zan in the temple
Enryaku-ji; while fourth and last in the early group of important
sects came the Shingon, brought from China in 809 by Kukai, and
having its principal metropolitan place of worship at Gokoku-ji (or
To-ji) in Kyoto, and its principal provincial at Kongobo-ji on
Koya-san. These four sects and some smaller ones were all introduced
during a period of 156 years. Thereafter, for a space of 387 years,
there was no addition to the number: things remained stationary until
1196, when Honen began to preach the doctrines of the Jodo sect, and
in the space of fifty-six years, between 1196 and 1252, three other
sects were established, namely, the Zen, the Shin, and the Nichiren.

THE TWO GROUPS OF SECTS

In what did the teachings of the early groups of sects differ from
those of the later groups, and why did such a long interval separate
the two? Evidently the answers to these questions must have an
important bearing on Japanese moral culture. From the time of its
first introduction (A.D. 522) into Japan until the days of Shotoku
Taishi (572-621), Japanese Buddhism followed the lines indicated in
the land of its provenance, Korea. Prince Shotoku was the first to
appreciate China as the true source of religious learning, and by him
priests were sent across the sea to study. But the first sect of any
importance--the Hosso--that resulted from this movement does not seem
to have risen above the level of idolatry and polytheism. It was a
"system built up on the worship of certain perfected human beings
converted into personal gods; it affirmed the eternal permanence of
such beings in some state or other, and it gave them divine
attributes."* Some of these were companions and disciples of Shaka
(Sakiya Muni); others, pure creations of fancy, or borrowed from the
mythological systems of India. It is unnecessary here to enter into
any enumeration of these deities further than to say that, as helpers
of persons in trouble, as patrons of little children, as healers of
the sick, and as dispensers of mercy, they acted an important part in
the life of the people. But they did little or nothing to improve
men's moral and spiritual condition, and the same is true of a
multitude of arhats, devas, and other supernatural beings that go to
make up a numerous pantheon.

*Lloyd's Developments of Japanese Buddhism, "Transactions of the
Asiatic Society of Japan," Vol. XXII; and Shinran and His Work, by
the same author.

It was not until the end of the eighth century that Japanese Buddhism
rose to a higher level, and the agent of its elevation was Dengyo
Daishi, whom the Emperor Kwammu sent to China to study the later
developments of the Indian faith. Dengyo and his companions in 802
found their way to the monastery of Tientai (Japanese, Tendai), and
acquired there a perception of the true road to Saving Knowledge, a
middle route "which includes all and rejects none, and in which alone
the soul can be satisfied." Meditation and wisdom were declared to be
the stepping-stones to this route, and to reach them various rules
had to be followed, namely, "the accomplishment of external
means"--such as observing the precepts, regulating raiment and food,
freedom from all worldly concerns and influences, promotion of all
virtuous desires, and so forth; "chiding of evil desires"--such as
the lust after beauty, the lust of sound, of perfumes, of taste, and
of touch; "casting away hindrances;" "harmonizing the faculties," and
"meditating upon absolute truth."

Now first we meet with the Buddhas of Contemplation, and with a creed
which seems to embody a Father, a Son, and a Holy Spirit. Such, in
briefest outline, was the doctrine taught at the close of the sixth
century by a Chinese bonze at the monastery of Tientai, and carried
thence to Japan two hundred years later by Dengyo, who established
the Tendai sect on Mount Hiei near Kyoto. Dengyo did not borrow
blindly; he adapted, and thus the Tendai creed, as taught at
Hiei-zan, became in reality "a system of Japanese education, fitting
the disciplinary and meditative methods of the Chinese propagandist
on the pre-existing foundations of earlier sects."

"The comprehensiveness of the Tendai system caused it to be the
parent of many schisms. Out of it came all the large sects, with the
exception of the Shingon," to be presently spoken of. "On the other
hand, this comprehensiveness ensured the success of the Tendai sect.
With the conception of the Buddhas of Contemplation came the idea
that these personages had frequently been incarnated for the welfare
of mankind; that the ancient gods whom the Japanese worshipped were
but manifestations of these same mystical beings, and that the
Buddhist faith had come, not to destroy the native Shinto, but to
embody it into a higher and more universal system."*

*"The Buddhists recognized that the Shinto gods were incarnations of
some of the many Buddhas and Bodhisattvas brought from India and
China, and then the two faiths amalgamated and for centuries
comfortably shared the same places of worship."--Every-Day Japan, by
Lloyd.

THE SHINGON SECT

It was not to Dengyo, however, that Japan owed her most mysterious
form of Buddhism, but to his contemporary, Kukai, remembered by
posterity as Kobo Daishi.



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