Hakuun Yasutani

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Template:Clone2Template:Vetted Template:Infobox religious biography Template:Zen Buddhism Template:Western Buddhism Template:Nihongo was a Sōtō rōshi, the founder of the Sanbo Kyodan organization of Japanese Zen.


Ryōkō Yasutani (安谷 量衡) was born in Japan in Shizuoka Prefecture. His family was very poor, and therefore he was adopted by another family.Template:Sfn When he was five he was sent to Fukuji-in, a small Rinzai-temple under the guidance of Tsuyama Genpo.Template:Sfn

Yasutani saw himself becoming a Zen-priest as destined: Template:Quote

Yet his chances to become a Zen-priest were small, since he was not born into a temple-family.Template:Sfn

When he was eleven he moved to Daichuji, also a Rinzai-temple.Template:Sfn At the age of thirteen he was ordained at Teishinji,Template:Sfn a Sōtō temple and given the name Hakuun.Template:Sfn When he was sixteen he moved again, to Denshinji, under the guidance of Bokusan Nishiari.Template:Sfn

Thereafter he studied with several other priests, but was also educated as a schoolteacher and became an elementary school teacher and principal. When he was thirty he married, and his wife and he eventually had five children.Template:Sfn

He began training in 1925, when he was forty, under Harada Daiun Sogaku, a Sōtō Rōshi who had studied Zen under both Sōtō and Rinzai masters. Two years later he attained kensho, as recognized by his teacher. He finished his koan study when he was in his early fifties, and received Dharma transmission from Harada in 1943, at age fifty-eight.Template:Sfn He was head of a training-hall, but gave this up, preferring instead to train lay-practitioners.Template:Sfn

To Yasutani's opinion Sōtō Zen practice in Japan had become rather methodical and ritualistic.Template:Sfn Yasutani felt that practice and realization were lacking. He left the Sōtō-sect, and in 1954, when he was already 69, established Sanbō Kyōdan (Fellowship of the Three Treasures), his own organization as an independent school of Zen.Template:Sfn After that his efforts were directed primarily toward the training of lay practitioners.

Yasutani first traveled to United States in 1962 when he was already in his seventies. He became known through the book The Three Pillars of Zen, published in 1965.[1] It was compiled by Philip Kapleau, who started to study with Yasutani in 1956. It contains a short biography of Yasutani and his Introductory Lectures on Zen Training. The lectures were among the first instructions on how to do zazen ever published in English. The book also has Yasutani's Commentary on the Koan Mu and somewhat unorthodox reports of his dokusan interviews with Western students.Template:Sfn

In 1970 upon his retirement Yasutani was succeeded as Kanchõ (superintendent) of the Sanbokyodan sect by Yamada Kõun. Hakuun Yasutani died on 8 March 1973.[2]


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  • Dōgen Zenji to Shūshōgi (道元禅師と修證義). Tōkyō: Fujishobō, 1943

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Page is sourced from

www.encyclopediaofbuddhism.org Hakuun Yasutani