"Memoirs of His Academic Life"*1

by Hisamatsu Shin'ichi*2


         *1  The original article, "Gakkyuseikatsu no Omoide," first appeared in the magazine SHISO ("THOUGHTS"), Iwanami-shoten, October 1955, and was included in the Chosakushu ("Collection of the Author's Writings") vol. I, pp. 415-434.

                Previous English translations: "Memoirs of a Student Life," by Christopher Ives, Eastern Buddhist vol. 18, no. 1 (Spring 1985); "Memories of My Student Life: An Autobiographical Essay," by Jeff Shore, FAS Society Journal summer 1985.

            *2  Hisamatsu Shin'ichi, 1889-1980, was born in a farmer's family in Nagara Village, Gifu Prefecture, as the second son between Oono Sadakichi and Yukino, and at age seven, was  adopted by Hisamatsu Seibei, grandfather on the father's side, who served as chief of the village, and Koito, grandmother. 

               Concerning the personal history of the author, the present translator follows the chronological record made by Kitahara Haruyo, included in the fourth volume, Hisamatsu Shin'ichi Bukkyo Kogi ("Lectures on Buddhism by H.S. "), four volumes, Hozokan, Kyoto, 1991.

               In the present translation, the order of the Japanese names follows the Japanese style, in which the surname comes first.



It is quite doubtful whether he* had anything like an academic life, as ordinary scholars do.  What is meant by a scholar would be one who devotes oneself to purely academic pursuit, considering it one's primary aim, and producing scholarly achievements.  In that sense he has no pretensions to scholarship.  His prime concern all through his life seems to have been in living absolute truth, that is, living the so-called religious life, rather than in being a scholar.  Not knowing what absolute truth was by studying it as in philosophy as a science, but living absolute truth was his chief concern.  Therefore, for him, rather than becoming a scholar proper, becoming a man of religion was his aim.  Concerning religion, too, instead of being a scholar of religion, he wanted to be a religious man.  His learning, if there were any, was not for purely academic purpose, but for living absolute truth.  His concern like this seems to have gradually developed, helped by the perfuming he had received from the religious atmosphere of his home in his childhood.  Of course there were moments of deviation from the original path, but they were passing fancies.  The heart desire to be a man of religion was consistent in him since childhood. 

         * Throughout this article the author keeps referring to himself with the pronoun of the third person, singular, male "kare."           


      His parents who were concerned about his infirmity opposed his wish to go on to a higher grade.  Meanwhile, his grandmother supported his wish most powerfully and substantially.  She had wanted him to be a physician.  But she kept silent about it for fear of binding him on his free will.  Only after he graduated from university she let him know it as a funny story.  She said, "At first I had been thinking of making you a doctor."  It struck him with surprise.  But, even if he had heard it from her, it would have been impossible for him to be a doctor.  Among his friends in the middle-school days, largest in number were doctor-aspirants; next came soldier-, businessman-, and teacher-aspirants.  An aspirant of a man of religion, unless from a Buddhist priest family, was looked down upon as a weak-minded or a lunatic.  Nevertheless, he had no inclination to become a soldier, a businessman, a teacher, or a scientist.  Only political concern shook him at times.  At the time of peace negotiations of Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), anger inflamed him so much that he swore to become a diplomat to the tutelary deity of his locality.  When he dreamt of a political revolution, under the illusion of the fate of imprisonment he collapsed in tears at the mother's knees.  But they were passions of the moment.  Religious concern kept latent in the depths of his heart.


      Religious concern, so-called, was quite passive in his childhood, lacking in spontaneity, for it depended on merely external influences from his home.  He was born and brought up in the orthodox faith of Jodo Shin ("Pureland True") sect, not only of his devout parents but especially also of his grandparents.  A youth of adamant faith, he aspired to be a priest to the extent of expecting admission into the Bukkyo Daigaku ("Buddhist College," predecessor of the present Ryukoku University)  in Kyoto, founded by the Nishi-honganji Temple.  As he moved up to a higher grade in the middle school, he had improved his scientific knowledge, and came to feel his former faith contradictory with it.  He began arousing various doubts on the Jodo Shin sect doctrine.


      He sought resolution of these doubts in the very scriptures of Jodo Shin sect or in the writings by Maeda Eun,* a person of noble character whom he respected and admired.  But the doubts gradually became so complex and deep that around the fourth grade of his middle school he did not know what to do with them.  The adamant faith, of whose inviolability he had been so proud, easily collapsed.  It seems that, in the hindsight, his faith was a mere trust in the Other's hands which alienated doubts, and that his doubts were not so serious as to be fatal. For him in those days, however, the doubts constituted aporia (i.e., unsolvable problems), but this aporia was an inevitable, necessary wall against which any modern man cannot help bumping, if they have been baptized in the knowledge of natural science in the narrower sense, and in human nature in the wider sense.   

         * Maeda Eun, 1857-1930, born in Ise, a scholar-priest of Jodo Shin sect, one of the two compilers of the Dainihon Zokuzokyo (the continued series of the Chinese tripitaka compiled in Japan in 1905-1912), he successively became president of Toyo Daigaku in Tokyo and Ryukoku Daigaku in Kyoto, both private Buddhist universities.

                Hisamatsu, the present author, suffered from a serious illness of pleurisy and had to absent  himself from school from September 1904, at his third year-grade of the middle school, his age  fifteen, to April 1905, and around these days he read Maeda Eun's writings, according to Kitahara's chronological record.


      He experienced a change from the religious life of a medieval type of naive faith, which alienates rational doubts, to the critical life of modern man, which is based on the autonomous judgment of reason and experiential substantiation.  To him what was most certain was not the Buddha or Pure Land that was believed in through giving up "hakarai" (man's intention) and renouncing doubt.  It was self-awakened humanity as the subject of reason or the real, historical world grounded on reason and substantiated by experience.  While the rational awareness of sin deepened in him, and liberation from it was keenly desired, neither did he think of being damned in future nor aspire after being saved from hell and get rebirth in the Pure Land.  No longer, therefore, was he inclined to look for the Buddha to save the one destined to hell by picking him up to the Land of Ease, for such a Buddha was nothing but a falsehood, a roof over a rooftop.


      Then his urgent problem was how to come out of himself of such mythical nature and make a quest for humanity through reason.  Finally he was determined to part with religion and turn to philosophy based on reason.  In a way this was the first step towards his philosophical, academic life.  In those days he had the idea that philosophy formed the basis of religion, and that what religion failed to resolve would be solved through philosophy.  What he meant by religion then, it might be needless to say, was the Jodo Shin sect, as it had passed current, or at least what he had come to understand as such through years of contact with sermons and sacred teachings, while what he meant by philosophy was no more than the learning which might radically solve the problem of life in a rational way.  What attracted him to philosophy primarily was its rational nature.  It was quite natural for him, for he had become a sceptic of religion, and could not help taking a further step towards rejecting religion.


      Upon graduating from the school of his enrolment, Gifu Middle School, he enquired of the principal, Hayashi Hachizo, which university he thought was better for the study of philosophy, Tokyo U. or Kyoto U.  Principal Hayashi was corpulent, a bit stooped and tall, of formidable appearance, with strong glasses, and with a long, beautiful beard already mixed with white growing from cheeks to chin, a man of sturdy physique, quiet, and of composed character.  A graduate from Keiogijuku (in short, Keio) University in Tokyo, Principal Hayashi may have been a direct disciple of Fukuzawa Yukichi,* personally receiving instruction from the latter.  At the middle school Hayashi taught morals for the fifth grade students, and lectured on his gten meanings of personality."  To his question the principal said in answer, "How about going to Kyoto University?"  The reason for his recommendation was as follows: Tokyo University, with its old history, a good staff of veteran authorities, and full equipment, had an established reputation, but its detriment was its lack of freshness.  Kyoto University, on the other hand, though founded not long before, not well-equipped, and still in the preparatory stage, had the faculty of professors young and energetic, full of vigour, and of great promise.  Hayashi further referred to Professor Kuwaki Gen'yoku of Kyoto University, highly renowned as a leading philosopher of the day, who was held in high esteem as the head of the philosophy department.  The principal also referred to "a philosopher of genius named Nishida Kitaro (Hayashi wrongly pronounced the personal name as "Ikutaro"), with uncommon features of a hermit," and commented on him in various aspects, emphasizing this:

   "Though not yet well known in the world, you know, this is a person whose prospect is worthy of seeing."


      He also had heard of Kuwaki Gen'yoku, but "Nishida Kitaro," the name of the hermit philosopher he had never heard of before, was deeply impressed in his ears.  In hindsight, it is a wonder eternally unforgettable that the first person who had let him know about Nishida Kitaro, to whom he owed great obligations for learning, was the principal of his middle school.  For all that, he wondered how Principal Hayashi could predict the future of Nishida Kitaro so exactly in the days when there had been no publication even of the "Zen no Kenkyu (A Study of Good)," the first of his books.  If it had been a merely accidental hit or hearsay or an inspirational divination, it would have been nonsense.  If it had been his conclusion after reading Nishida's writings before the book, "A Study of Good," his keen eye must be said to have been worthy of admiration.  Principal Hayashi, after retiring from the Gifu Middle School, is said to have returned to Keiogijuku University, and later settled in Hokkaido.  It is regrettable that he was never heard of again thereafter.

         * Fukuzawa Yukichi, 1835-1901, founder of the Keiogijuku, a private school for Western studies. The school was opened in Edo in 1858, and given the name in the fourth year of Keio, the first year of Meiji, 1868; it later became a university.  Towards the end of the Edo period, Fukuzawa visited the U.S.A., accompanying the mission of the Tokugawa government, and in 1861 inspected countries of Europe.



He decided to follow Hayashi Hachizo's advice.  After graduation from the middle school, with the intention of entering Kyoto University, and for the purpose of preparing himself for the entrance examination of the Third Higher School, a preparatory course to the university, also located in Kyoto, he went up to Tokyo. 


      Before that time he had never travelled alone; he did not know even how to buy a train ticket, so that he had to ask his father to buy one for him.  In his lodging-house in Tokyo he charred sukiyaki beef, which invited derision from others. A rustic, he had never eaten beef before.  Nevertheless, since this was the first study far away from his home, he had the high hopes of "a boy who had left his native place to realize his aspiration."  He wrote a motto of his study with gold paint on a roll of dark blue paper, "Guiding people of good nature is the cause for my birth in this world of affliction."  He concealed the paper deep in the bosom.


      His middle-school days' classmate and close friend, Kawaji Toshiaki, had earlier come up to the capital, and they encouraged each other for entrance exam.  As the result, he could scrape through it; they were admitted, as desired, into the Third Higher School.*  In those days the name of the school, linked with its liberal spirits, echoed throughout the country.  Indeed, the whole school was influenced by the virtue of the principal, Orita Hikoichi.  Those days, perhaps, marked the climax of the school's liberalness.  Ever since the time when Principal Orita retired and was replaced by Sakai Sao, the school morals were braced, students' military discipline was strengthened, and the school's liberalness was made to be clad in armour.  Thus preparations for the First World War had been being pushed forward unawares.

         * Hisamatsu and Kawaji, whose father had come from Tokyo to serve as Governor of Gifu Prefecture, stayed in Tokyo for two months from April 1908, and were admitted into the Third Higher School in September of that year.  Hisamatsu was nineteen years old. (Kitahara Chronological Record).  


      At the Third Higher School he learned English from Kuriyagawa Hakuson, Shima Kasui, Hirata Tokuboku, Yoshimura Yuuki and others, German from Naruse Mugoku, Hirata Genkichi, Hashimoto Seiu and others; laws and politics from Nio Kamematsu, and economics from Kanbe Masao. It was around those days when Kuriyagawa Hakuson (1880-1923) gave lectures on his "Modern Literature in Ten Lectures" as extracurricular activities. 


      As a Higher-School student he enjoyed reading on philosophy better than attending fixed lessons.  Long before a German primer was finished, at the attached library he attempted to read Windelband's History of Philosophy in the original, constantly looking up a dictionary.  With his poor knowledge of German and understanding, naturally he had extreme difficulty.  As he spent much of his time trying to read it, however, he gradually began to feel he had come to have a faint idea of philosophy.  In January 1911 "A Study of Good," a book by Nishida Kitaro, the very person of whom Hayashi Hachizo had spoken so highly, was published by Kodokan, Tokyo.  He immediately purchased a copy at the fixed price of one yen, and was immersed in it. 


      As he was then at the final, third year-grade of the Higher School, through repeated readings he had come to understand the gist of the book. His interest was focused on the fourth section, "Religion."  Here he found that, unlike the kind of religion which had been made to crumble by reason, there was a religion which did not contradict reason, but which could be convincing even for reason.  After four to five years, thus, there was interest in religion restored in him.  At the same time there began sprouting a spontaneously philosophizing mind, slightly as it was, in himself.  But the concept of "pure experience," which was said to constitute the thought-basis of the book, in spite of repeated readings, was left beyond his comprehension.  He could not help waiting for a time when he was ready for it with better understanding.  The aim of his Higher School life was then to cultivate himself better and acquire education as rich as compost, as well as to have knowledge preparatory to lectures of the philosophy department, which he might take without difficulty when he was admitted into the university.        

         * In September 1909, at age twenty, Hisamatsu had a relapse of pleurisy, suffering from pulmonary apicitis. He went back to Gifu for medical care and a rest cure at home until the next year's summer.  In September 1910 he returned to school, and was admitted into the second year class of the Third Higher School. 


      During almost five years between the second year of the Higher School (September 1910, 21 years old) and the time of graduation from the university (July 1915, 26 years old), he lived in a four-and-a-half-mat room facing north east, on the third floor of a lodging house named Rakuyokan, adjacent to the eastern wall of the Shogoin temple.*  Since part of the north-eastern ground of the temple belonged to Prince Kaya's palace, in early spring the grand princess was seen coming out to the paulownia field within the enclosure, with her lovely grandson and granddaughter to pick up horsetails.  In those days in the area spreading from around there to Yoshida to north-east there were many plowed fields for the noted Shogoin radishes and other vegetables, with scattered cottages.  The low land below the precipice of Kagura-oka (also called Yoshida-yama) was a spacious marshland which fishes inhabited, on which water fowls flew down, and which in summer was a good fishing place for children.  The north window of his room commanded a distant view of Mt. Hiei with northern mountains; the east window, good views of Mt. Daimonji and Mt. Nyakuoji beyond the tower of the Kurodani temple.   He could see beautiful views all through the seasons: fresh green in spring, red and yellow leaves in autumn, and white snow in winter.     


      Among his classmates of the Higher School Class B were: Omodaka Hisataka, Nawa Toshisada, and Nakamura Naokatsu, whom he later unexpectedly joined as colleagues of the Faculty of Letters, Kyoto University, Watanabe Hiroyuki, who entered the business world, Manabe Masaru, who became a member of the House of Representatives, Takakura Teru (Terutoyo, then), who became a novelist, Ooba Yonejiro, now professor at Otani University, Takakura Chikai and Inazuka Takeshi, who died young, and others.  Takakura Chikai, who had set his mind on philosophy, contended with Yamauchi Tokuryu for the top seat in the class.  So regrettable was his early death.  In Class C of the same school year were Takigawa Yukitoki, Kawahara Shunsaku, and others.   Thinking of them now makes his nostalgia almost unbearable.



It was in the third year of Taisho (1912) that he passed full of hope through the gate of Kyoto University, which stood opposite the Third Higher School.  He specialized in philosophy in the Department of Philosophy, College of Literature (the present School of Letters).  His matriculation was in the fifth year after the founding of the Department of Philosophy.  Other students of philosophy course in the same year were: Oikawa Eizaemon, a unique one who became a disciple of Uchimura Kanzo after graduation and who died at middle age, and Morimoto Koji (now, Shonen), who practised Zen at the Shokokuji monastery, Kyoto, first under Hashimoto Dokuzan, then under Yamazaki Daiko, long, and who finally became a Buddhist monk.  In the philosophy course were two students senior to him by one year: Yamauchi (Nakagawa, then) Tokuryu* and Katsube Kenzo.  Students senior to him by two years were also two: Nozaki Hiroyoshi, a bright boy who died a premature death, and Kubo Yoshio.   Kanetsune Kiyosuke, of the first year's philosophy course, and Amano Teiyu and Abe Seinosuke, of the second year's, had already graduated.  Okano Tomejiro and Shinohara Sukeichi were admitted and took the course in the year next to that of his matriculation. In those days the number of students of philosophy course until around the tenth year of Taisho (1921) were no more than two or three.  The situation was the same with other courses.

         * Yamauchi Tokuryu, 1890-1982, professor emeritus of philosophy at Kyoto University, and one of the close friends of the author throughout his life, referred to his visit to the author's residence in the Shogoin lodging house, during his talk in a meeting to talk about the author held in the year after the author's death, 1980, describing it as follows: "When Mr. Hisamatsu entered the Third Higher School and lived in a lodging house near the Shogoin temple, anytime I visited, I saw his room swept clean, provided with a fireplace in the corner like a tea-room.  A wild man I had difficulty in sitting properly, though I tried doing so in front of him."  (BUDDHIST No. 9; vol. 3 no. 3, 1981, published by Tohokai, Tokyo & Osaka)


      The professoriate of the College of Literature, when he was admitted into it, were really dignified, for prominent scholars, young and energetic, occupied their chairs.  In literature course were Ueda Bin, Fujishiro Sadasuke, Fujii Oto'o, Naito Konan, Shinmura Izuru, Sakaki Ryosaburo, and others.  In history course were Uchida Ginzo, Hara Katsuro, Sakaguchi Takashi, Kuwabara Jitsuzo, Ogawa Takuji, Yano Jin'ichi, and others.  In philosophy course were Kuwaki Gen'yoku, Kano Naoki, Matsumoto Bunzaburo, Matsumoto Matataro, Tanimoto Tomi, Fukada Kosan, Nishida Kitaro, Yoneda Shotaro, and others.   All of them were distinguishing scholars of marked individuality both in scholarship and character.


      First by attending the prescribed general lectures and also hearing the optional special lectures, for the first time he perceived the atmosphere of the university as the highest seat of learning, and was quite satisfied.  As every lecture was given pretty fast, inserted with new technical terms, taking notes of them troubled him.  Nevertheless, his experiences at the Higher School of reading some books on philosophy were a great help for rearranging his notebooks by comparing them with reference books and gaining understanding from them. 


      The head professor of the philosophy course in which he specialized was Kuwaki Gen'yoku.  An assistant professor, Tomonaga Sanjuro, was staying abroad to prosecute his studies.  Nishida Kitaro, an object of his long-time adoration, was an assistant professor who taught ethics.  His appearance exactly corresponded with the story Hayashi Hachizo once told him; Hayashi must have seen him somewhere.  Although still as young as forty-three years old, Nishida had a cropped hair, a high forehead bald in front, piercing eyes which glittered through the strong glasses, a thick nose, standing ears, and tightly drawn lips; he was always ill-shaved, slipping a discoloured, crested haori (i.e., kimono half-coat) on Japanese clothes, worn by a body as lean as a withered tree or a cold rock.  He used a stick, stepped firmly in shoes, and walked around, thinking of something.  He looked exactly like a hermit or an arhat (an early Buddhist saint).  This character of his, simple and indifferent to his appearance, so worthy of a philosopher, as well as his bottomlessly abstruse lectures, being peerlessly unique, never failed to captivate the students.  In the second year of Taisho (1913) he became professor, held the chair of the science of religion, and lectured on religion.  The lectures of that year on the science of religion were recorded in the additional volume four of his collected writings.*  They became the only lectures given in his life on the introduction to the science of religion, for in the next year (1914) Kuwaki Gen'yoku was transferred to Tokyo University in succession, they say, to Koeber's post,** and Nishida took charge of the first chair of philosophy and the history of philosophy, so that there were no lectures any longer given by him on the science of religion. 

         *In the collection of works by Nishida, Nishida Kitaro Zenshu, nineteen volumes, published by Iwanami-shoten, these lectures were included in the fifteenth volume, 1952, together with lectures on philosophy; the editor of the lectures on religion was Hisamatsu Shin'ichi himself.

         Nishida's first book, Zen no Kenkyu (Zenshu vol.1) was translated into English by Abe Masao and Christopher Ives: AN INQUIRY INTO THE GOOD, Yale University, New Haven 1990.

        ** Raphael Koeber, 1848-1923, a German philosopher-musician; he was a lecturer at Tokyo University between 1893 and 1914.      


      After entering philosophy course, he listened to various lectures by every professor, and nurtured general, common knowledge prescribed for a student of philosophy course, while for himself he read classics and new books on philosophy and religion, endeavouring to take in mental food.  But, during the three years of his school days, what aroused his strongest and deepest concern was the lecture on the science of religion given only at that time.  That lecture moulded a plastic image for him with somewhat well-defined features out of the foetal clay of inner needs which theretofore had been dormant for many years in the innermost recesses of his heart in a chaotic state but persistently.  The philosophical concern for religion, which had been awakened several years before through reading the book, "A Study of Good," was concretely and more vividly brought to life again from the tongue, or rather, from the whole body of the author who had acquired sharp philosophical thought and deep religious experience.  Through this lecture he had his eye of religion opened philosophically.


      However, on the eve of his graduation he came to face various kinds of living problems, which obliged him to make a self-examining criticism on whether, eight years after setting his heart on philosophy, the expected aim was achieved or not.  After taking up the study of philosophy, he acquired a habit of thinking things not individually but generally, not in minor details but radically.  For him, for good or for evil, individual problems he faced became turning points which successively left their trails. Finally individual problems were deepened to the universal root-source of all problems, while problems were internalized from what was objective to what was subjective.  He came to the point where philosophical cognition, however profound, was completely powerless insofar as it remained objective cognition for the solution of that subjective problem at hand, where there was no other way than to reform himself subjectively, radically. There his grave concern was neither to seek for truth objectively nor to have objective cognition of his own true way of being, but to reform himself existentially, through religious practice.



In that way, he came to despair of philosophy for its being powerless in the matter of his original desire.  He became so indifferent to graduation that, after submitting his graduation thesis* to the university, he neglected it at all.  Days and nights he confined himself indoors to the third floor room of his lodging house, sunk deep in thought.  His conduct in those days apparently seemed abnormal to other people, to the extent that even a senior of his from the same province, who was serving with the medical department of the university, sent a telegram to his father in Gifu that he looked showing signs of mental derangement.  Although fatally abnormal, his mind was not of the nature for which the so-called psychiatry diagnosis and treatment were available.  He kept wondering how to solve that subjective problem, and finally made up his mind to go to Zen, so as to break through that aporia.  At that time, not to speak of giving up its solution, forgetting the aporia, turning his attention to anything else, killing himself, or giving himself up to despair, not even seeking redemption from God or Buddha -- none of them interested him.  They were even detestable.  Although despairing of reason, he could not go back to what could not stand against the criticism of reason.  By "going to Zen" was meant spontaneous working from within of the knowledge of Zen teaching and Zen way of life gained through occasional reading on Zen and listening to Zen talks since the Higher School days, as well as of the Zen-like influence received from Nishida Kitaro, by corresponding with his mental attitude at that time.  For him, who parted with the so-called theistic religion and who despaired of the philosophy of objective knowledge, the path to be chosen had to be neither mere religion nor mere philosophy but the subjective knowledge which was of the nature of religious practice, the religious practice which was of the nature of subjective knowledge.  As something like that, he chose Zen.

       * The graduation thesis, "Time and Space," which the author presented at this time, and which was accepted later after oral examination, has been included in the author's collection of writings, volume one.  It takes up the time-space views by John Locke, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, A.Riehl, and Paul Natorp.       


      As a place of religious practice he chose Obaku, Uji, a location of quietude far distant from the urban noises.  On the sixteenth of June, the fourth year of Taisho (1915, 26 years old), with a firm resolve to go to Obaku, he slipped out of the lodging house at midnight.  On his way, with the thought of telling his resolution only to Professor Nishida Kitaro, the head of the department, who was the most understanding person for such a matter, he called on him.  Nishida's abode was in Tanaka Village in a suburb of Kyoto, just to the north of Saionji Kinmochi's villa, Seifuso.  It was a two-storied, oblong house with many rooms, facing south in the middle of fields.  His study was a most west-side room facing south on the second floor.  Surprised at the reason for the unnoticed call, Nishida admonished him of his impatient conduct, saying;

       "Your state of mind is understandable; but the oral exam for your graduation thesis is just ahead.  It won't be too late to leave after finishing it.  The Way should be sought after calmly.  Being thoughtlessly impatient isn't normal.  As for the place to go to, also, if your choice were wrong, you won't be able to achieve your aim."


      Being baffled at the start, dispiritedly did he return to the lodging house.  On the next day he quietly reflected on his conduct.  Two days after, he wrote the following letter to Nishida, complaining of his mental state:

       "I deeply appreciate your kindnesses, in spite of my unnoticed call the night before last, on no day for reception, for giving your consideration to my personal matter.

          "At that time you told me you wondered if I was not in a morbid excitement.  I felt it might be disastrous if that were true, and spent that night composing myself, thinking quietly.  But the more I becalm my feelings and engage in intimate introspection, the more clearly does a scream ring of the awareness that my life past has been false.  Every time I hear it, I feel horrible and ashamed of myself, and cannot help shuddering.  I entered the university to pursue learning and cultivate character; I wanted to study philosophy, and have been studying it.  But now I wonder if I could definitely say so.  I have spent a rigorous, so-called moral, life.  But, did this arise from the free cravings of my inmost heart?   Was not impure blood circulating within the veins of my hands of acting?  Was not the Satan of Vanity thrusting out a red tongue behind my clothes, cap, and belt?  For what purpose do I fix my hair, shave myself, and bathe and wash my face?  I possess a hand mirror inside my desk; for what purpose was it purchased?  Weren't there cases when I failed to offer a seat in a tramcar to the aged or the weak, though feeling sorry for them, for fear that others might look upon me as displaying good conduct, while on other occasions I did display a good deed in front of others?  When my daily conduct, including such trifling deeds, was analyzed in a test-tube, I wonder if there were any single action that did not show poisonous reaction.

          "Alas!  What a horrible matter!  Unless I removed this poison completely from the components of my conduct, I couldn't gain even a moment of peace.  Haunting me without a moment's separation is this horrible poisonous matter, which is the motive of my deed, the Devil, my false self with the black hands.  It has confined my true self in the depths of an old well.  Iron chains have bound my true self hand and foot.  Freedom for action with me has almost been lost. Only the tongue is free, scoffing, reviling, remonstrating, and scolding.  And now even this tongue is about to be gagged.  Soon the loss of freedom on the part of my true self would leave the false self to behave outrageously.  I must by every means get rid of the chains of this horrible restraint and regain new breathing in a free realm.  Otherwise, I would have the spider of sin choke my throat gradually with its sticky threads it spins out, and would find out my wretched end in a prison.  Now I am incessantly stung with a poisonous fang, am benumbed, and the heavy tread of death is heard approaching.  What a shame this is! Without a moment's delay I must devise a way to escape its scythe.

          "It was when the scream of grief of my true self reached its peak that I paid you a call.  My affliction was more than I could bear.  I thought over graduation.  But at that time for me it was not recognized as anything valuable.  Was I to listen to the pressing appeal of my true self, or to reject it, or to wait for the time of examination?  But I couldn't find any good reason to wait.  I made up my mind just to forsake all of my past and obtain everything new and true.  And even on that occasion the false self shadowed me.  It happened that, my Respected Teacher, your words helped this false self.  Again I smothered up the appeal of my true self.

          "Yesterday I paid a visit to the chief priest of the Senjuin temple (Uemura Horin) to whom you had introduced me.  From him I rather only heard his view on decency, ethics, and morality.  I would like to get rid of such a state early; I would like to have the very life that I live today issue out from the clear water of my true self.  On that occasion, everything I do -- from the trifling daily acts like putting on clothes, wearing a cap, to doing moral conduct, engaging in social service or humanitarian work -- all of them will come to have a new and true meaning, enabling me to live in a noble world of brightness.  Unless I gain freedom, every act of mine will remain a sin.   18 June"


      Soon he was called upon to come by Prof. Nishida, who advised him to read Zen writings so gradually as to prepare for Zen practice.  A few days later he sent a brief letter like what follows to Prof. Nishida:

          "Dear Sir,

           Thank you for taking your time to give me advice the other day.  Besides, on my leaving for home you were kind enough to lend me an umbrella.  I must beg your pardon for my delay in returning it to you.

          The sky of that night was like my inner world.  Dark clouds of self-afflicting passions flew fast east and west.  Violent winds blew hard up and down.  Spears of rain came down in every direction.  The lightening of sin flashed in the four quarters.  The thunder of agony shook mountains and fields.  The road was pitch-dark for stepping ahead.  It was far from the kind of weather a fragile umbrella could shelter me from.  Rather, one might say, clinging to an umbrella deprives one of the freedom of action.  An umbrella is, indeed, useful only in peace time.

           According to your advice, on the next day I bought a whole collection of Hakuin's writings, and read the Orategama ("My Handy Kettle")* and some other articles from among them.  I also bought the Zenmon-hogo-shu ("A Collection of Dharma-Words belonging to the [Japanese] Zen School).**  On reading them I came across expressions I had never heard or thought of, and which were very helpful.  23 June"

            * Orategama is a well-read collection of sermons addressed to different people, written in the kana-style, by Hakuin Ekaku (1685-1768), a Rinzai-zen priest in the Edo period.  It includes five letters; the first three were published in 1749, and the remaining two letters in 1751.

               ** The Zenmon-hogo-shu, three volumes, all in the kana-style, compiled in 1895 and 1921.  Its second volume includes Hakuin's sermons.


      He gave up going to Obaku.  But, having been thrown out in the roadless wilderness, he had to wait for directions from Prof. Nishida, spending hollow days thereafter.  His diaries of those days had running entries such as these:

         "The fire of sin burning, the summer of mind causes this heat."

         "Waiting for the moon to come out, shelter from shower I took in a deity's hall on earth."


      It was in the autumn of that year [when he graduated from the university] that Nishida Kitaro, through his respected friend, Uemura Horin, of the Senjuin temple located in the western part of Kyoto, with whom Nishida had shared his own noviciate at the Myoshinji Zen monastery, entrusted him to the care of the then monastery leader of the Myoshinji, named Ikegami Shozan.*  Nishida, as is well-known, had his lay Buddhist name, Sunshin ("HEART"); he was a long-time lay Zen practiser, who had visited Zen masters one after another, such as [Kobayashi] Kokan of the Myoshinji, [Suga] Koshu of the Daitokuji, both in Kyoto, [Michizu] Setsumon of the Kokutaiji in Etchu (mid-Hokuriku), and others.  Well-informed of the then Zen world around Kyoto, Nishida was cautious, deliberating on whom he could be entrusted to for Zen practice.  Nishida recommended Shozan to him, saying,

         "Among Rinzai-zen masters in Kyoto, worthy of note are Toyota Dokutan and Kono Mukai of Nanzenji, Takeda Mokurai of Kenninji, Bessho Kyuho of Tofukuji, Hashimoto Dokuzan of Shokokuji, Takagi Ryuen of Tenryuji, Kawashima Shoin of Daitokuji, and Ikegami Shozan of Myoshinji.  Of them all, either Shoin or Shozan is good.  For you, however, Shozan seems preferable."

Shoin was like a treasured sword so sharp as to cut a driven feather, while Shozan was like a big hatchet with the blunted edge.  The discerning eye and leadership of Nishida Kitaro really deserved admiration.

            * According to Kitahara's Chronological Record, Hisamatsu shifted his residence in September from the lodging house in Shogoin to a temple named Yogen'in in the compound of the Myoshinji Head Temple in Hanazono Village.


      Finally on the fifteenth of November, through the introduction of Uemura Horin, accompanied by Ueki Giyu, he met Ikegami Shozan* at the Myoshinji monastery.  First as a mere tryout he was granted attendance to the master's Teisho-lecture given by citing passages from the Daio Goroku ("Recorded Words of Master Daio").**  The first impression he received from Shozan was something indescribably complex and of extremely deep significance.  He was sedate on a cushion, like a lump of lead gripping in it, looked hardly affected by anything, carefree, detached, quiet, unconstrained, artless, leaving no traces of learning as a cumulative process or of good of the artificial nature.  He showed the warm friendliness which overflew from within the inviolable dignity and the beauty of dull finish like rusted gold.  It was Shozan's original face which had given him such an impression on the first meeting that was the longed-for idea he had described in his mind.  He saw the actual existence of this idea concretely before his eyes.  But, to be satisfied with merely objectively looking at it, viewing it, admiring it, longing for it, faithfully following it, or imitating it, he was too much fundamentally subjective, autonomous, and independent.  And that happened to accord with the original intent of Zen of not seeking for the Awakened truth or the Buddha outside the self-mind.  Nothing else than he himself becoming the actual existence in whose presence he was, that is, attaining Awakening to Shozan's original face in his own self, had to be his great desire to actualize by risking his life. 

          * The author wrote an article, "A Reminiscence of Shozan roshi," for a collection of reminiscences of the roshi compiled and published by the Myoshinji sodo (Zen monastery) in 1952.  In that article, the author described the person and way of thinking of the roshi with deep admiration.  The passage in which the author describes how he practised under the guidance of Shozan roshi there completely matches the present article, only with the difference that there the author uses the first person singular instead of the third person to refer to himself.  That article is included in the third volume of the author's chosakushu.  The present "Memoirs" was made public three years after that.

            ** Nanpo Jomyo, 1235-1308, a Rinzai-zen priest, first practised under a Chinese master at the Kenchoji temple, Kamakura, named Lanxi Daolong (1213-1278), then, possibly by Lanxi's advice, went across to the Song China and practised under Xutang Zhiyu (1185-1269).  With the latter Nanpo attained Awakening, returned to Japan, and raised excellent practisers under his guidance.  He was posthumously entitled Entsu-Daio Kokushi ("State Master").  


      Zen people's so-called Teisho-lecture, which he had never heard before, was a novelty for him; its manner of presentation as well as its contents was quite different in character from the university lectures.  Giving a Teisho-lecture, unlike the university lectures with their objective explanation, is expressing Zen fundamentally subjectively with the use of citations from Zen recorded sayings.  The true face of Shozan, who vividly expressed himself fundamentally subjectively with citations from the Daio Goroku, never failed to shake up his true nature, which was dormant in the depths of his being.  Immediately after he heard this Teisho, he wrote down his state of mind as follows;

          "On the fifth of November, at the Myoshinji monastery, through the introduction of the two priests, Uemura Horin and Ueki Giyu, I attended to the Teisho lecture by Master Shozan with citations from the Daio Goroku.  I have been lost in the ascent of life's great mountain, got caught in the thorns that filled the road, have had the way barred now by a towering shield-rock and now by an unfathomable ravine, have gone to the left and come back to the right, have advanced and retreated, have hung back, hesitated to move forward, and long felt perplexed. Now, with blood drying up, the heart getting weakened, death is near at hand.  At this very moment "the gate of no-gate"* presents itself before me.  It's a pity that my introspective power is still shallow and weak.  When I want to cross the threshold, the temple gate suddenly vanishes.  Instead, there appears a bottomless abyss at my feet.  Now let me exert my whole energy, plunge myself into the abyss, break through the temple gate, dash forward to the Buddha Hall of the other shore, kill the priests and the Buddha therein, ascend the throne to pick up a stick of incense to burn, and let the smoke go up through the cosmos, and contain the whole universe within it!"

         * The term "gate of no-gate" is from the Daio Goroku.  Therewith Hisamatsu seems to have meant Shozan himself.


      However, remaining a listener to the Teisho was a matter of regret; for him it meant having an itch that he couldn't scratch.  He was unsatisfied with the slow developments.  Then there came the big Rohatsu-sesshin (zazen meeting from the first day through the eighth day morning of the twelfth month).


      On the first day of December he was finally admitted to have a personal interview with Shozan as well as to sit in the zazen hall.  Shozan in the personal interview was completely different from the person of ordinary times.  Now Shozan was as difficult and dangerous of approach as an unfathomable precipice.  He was struck with admiration by Shozan's remarkably thorough way of adaptation to the different situation. 


      It was the first time for him to do zazen in the monastic manner and to concentrate on practice according to the same rules that monks followed in the zazen hall.  Besides, it was the period of practice severest in the whole year.  No wonder the pain he suffered physically and mentally was what he had never experienced before.  The extraordinarily rough, strange kind of strain, unimaginable anywhere else, inside the hall, the constant spurring by the relentless monk on duty, and the chilly wind blowing in through the windows left open, made him shudder extremely.  Pain in the legs unaccustomed to the lotus posture and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, and waist only increased moment by moment.  With distorted face and clenched teeth he could hardly hold his sitting posture.  Such physical difficulty often absorbed his attention to practice. 


      Meanwhile, for the approaching personal interview with the master, conducted either independently by a single member or successively by all the members, the mind was driven to making preparations.  Thus, both physically and mentally he was cornered more and more.  On every occasion of personal interview Shozan transformed himself to an inapproachable silver mountain/iron wall, and the one-eyed Shozan's pure white glare became a deadly ray to him.  


      On the third day he became an endlessly black mass of doubt throughout the whole body, without a way out even of a needle's eye; he was driven literally to the last extremity.  Neither was it that, trying to solve some particular problem, he reached its limits, nor that after he failed to solve some universal, general problem objectively it kept haunting his mind.  It was he himself that was totally transformed into a big mass of doubt.  By a mass of doubt is meant that in which what is doubted and what doubts are one and that which is his whole being.  Like a mouse that entered a coin tube to find no way out, or like one who has climbed up a pole one-hundred feet tall to find oneself unable to make progress or regress, he was completely cornered, unable to move. 


      To his surprise, however, as a saying goes: "When cornered, one is transformed, and, when transformed, one gets through",* the mass of doubt that he was suddenly fell to pieces and melted away; the unwavering silver mountain/iron wall that Shozan was also collapsed completely, and between him and Shozan there ceased to be any space even of hair-breadth.  Here for the first time he could realize the formless and free, true self; at the same time he could first meet Shozan's true face.  Here he knew Wumen did not lie when he said, "He will go together hand in hand with the foregoing masters, and, fastening the eyebrows together with them, will see and hear with the same eyes and ears."**  As a saying goes, "One cut means cutting all; one achievement means achieving all",*** all the problems he had for many years been unable to solve were solved with the eradication of sources of evil.  He attained a great stage of delight he had never experienced, for now he realized the self that was of no birth-death and that went beyond being-nobeing, the self that did not think of good or evil and that went beyond value-novalue.   The following verses are expressions he gave in those days to this scenery of his own:

   "The brighter the moon shines in the sky especially after rainy clouds cleared away."

   "So intimate, after a sheeting rain stopped, is the sound of rapids that breaks the stillness of night." 

         * Possibly quoted from the Case 10 of the Biyan-lu ("Blue Cliff Record"), a collection of one hundred cases that express Chan (Zen), compiled by Yuanwu Keqin, 1063-1135, where the compiler cites it as a quotation by his contemporary Chan master.  The latter's source is a commentary on the Yijing ("the Book of Changes").

            ** From Case 1 of the Wumenguan ("Gateless Barrier"), a collection of forty-eight Chan cases, compiled by Wumen Huikai, 1182-1260.

            *** From an old saying quoted in the foreword of Case 19 of the Biyan-lu.  It goes like this: "In the case of a twisted thread, one cut means cutting all [strands] and one dyeing means dyeing all [strands]."


       In this way he came out of the medieval religion of faith, as it were, into the modern philosophy of reason, and further, having broken through the limitation of rational philosophy that was of the nature of objective knowledge, got awakened to the true self that was free from all hindrances and unrestricted.  Ever since that time he seems to have devoted himself to what follows: To live the life of this true self; by living thus, to practise in the manner of fundamentally subjective knowledge; by practising thus, to express himself in every aspect; by making doing so its contents, to found "the religion of Awakening"; and to establish "the philosophy of Awakening" through the true self getting objectively conscious of itself, objectifying the self, and gaining the objective knowledge of the self.  This accomplishment of the religion of Awakening and the philosophy of Awakening is for him the first concern and the eternal mission. 


      The above is a reminiscence by this nonacademic scholar before he established the religion of Awakening and the philosophy of Awakening.  Of the long-time process since then until today, he could not afford to mention anything here.




After the Academic Life*

by Hisamatsu Shin'ichi


         * Translated from the Japanese text in the Chosakushu vol. I, pp. 435-438.  It originally appeared in the Asahi Newspaper in July 1966, eleven years after the "Memoirs of His Academic Life."

              Here the author uses the first person singular to indicate himself, instead of the third person which he used in the foregoing article.


No matter whether clearly aware of it or not, human beings never stop seeking after what is ultimate.  That is why since ancient times anytime anywhere there have been philosophy and religion.  Philosophy wants to know ultimately, and religion wants to live ultimately.  For the whole man, however, both are one and not two; they are inseparable.  The religion isolated from philosophy falls into ignorance, superstition, fanaticism, and dogma, while the philosophy with religion estranged from it cannot but be deprived of life.  Both religion and philosophy in their present conditions seem to expose such faults.


      I was born and raised in a devout family, and since childhood had access to books on Buddhist teachings, listened to sermons, and had my faith subjected to examination; all that made me feel even proud of the firmness of my faith.  When, however, I was in the fourth or fifth year grade of the middle school, that firm faith easily collapsed.  That was due to the awakening within me of a free, critical power and an autonomous spirit which, together with the scientific knowledge I had been successively gaining, quickened the awakening of modern humanism to develop in me.


     Such a crisis of religious faith cannot be confined to my case alone; it is the crisis possibly any person or any nation must necessarily experience when and where animism, fetishism, or a heteronomous religion that depends on either God or Buddha encounters modern humanism.  As a matter of fact, in the West there took place a religious reformation, far from thoroughgoing as it was.  In Japan also, during the period of less than a century of modernization, how many pre-modern faiths easily went to ruin, or, otherwise, were reduced to formal ceremonies, works of art, or cultural properties appropriate only for museums, and have lost their faith!  However solemn their outward appearances may be, they are nothing but fake religions which continue to exist from mere force of habit or under a mask of religion; they are destined in due time to face criticism in the light of modern humanism.


      It was quite natural that the course I wanted to take after giving up hope in faith was modern philosophy, which was free to question and criticize the religious scriptures, dogmas, churches, and even God or Buddha that were considered sacred and inviolable.  Upon my graduation from the middle school, the principal named Hayashi Hachizo recommended me to enter the philosophy department of Kyoto (Imperial) University on the grounds that it had young and spirited professors, and cited the name, above all, of Nishida Kitaro, who, although not yet well-known, was an unworldly genius philosopher.  The first edition of his book, Zen no Kenkyu ("A Study of Good") was published while I was a student of the Third Higher School (of the old system), and, though difficult to understand, I read it over and over again with deeper appreciation.  Coming in touch with Nishida's profound thought which overflew from between the lines, I admired him greatly, and also highly thought of Principal Hayashi's acute discerning eye.


      While I was a student of the philosophy department at Kyoto (Imperial) University, through the lectures by young and energetic professors I was blessed with learning various kinds of fresh knowledge of the philosophy Oriental and Occidental and of other fields.   Above anything else, however, on my encountering Professor Nishida, I had ample demonstration that his philosophy was not mere speculation by a person of wide information or of objective knowledge, but a complete fusion where knowing and living ultimately were one and undivided.  I strongly felt that the kind of philosophy I had been seeking ought to be like that.


      At the same time I saw through it that in the so-called academic approach not only philosophy but even the studies of religion almost always had a tendency toward objective studies, isolated from living, and had no appeal to and no immediate use for those who wanted to live ultimately.


      Then I gave up that kind of academic philosophy, and, following Professor Nishida's deeply sympathetic instructions, paid a visit to Master Ikegami Shozan at the Myoshinji Zen monastery.  For me, who had despaired of pre-modern religion and academic philosophy, the visit was a fervent search for truth, so as to live in unity with knowing ultimately; it was not because of reactionary concern with traditional Zen or any objective, intellectual interest in Zen. 


      Here, however, I struck the fatal crisis of human nature itself which no modern humanist who was aware of the autonomous or scientific nature of man could get rid of.  That is the fundamentally subjective, ultimate crisis of man, the very root-source in which man's all contradictions, dilemmas, and agonies are one and inseparable; it is man's internal, inevitable "moment," which obliges man to go beyond, negate, and convert man himself.


      That very going-beyond is true religion; it actualized itself with me as the Awakening of the absolutely autonomous, universal, and basic Self, that, being formless Itself, manifests every form ("F").  The Awakened Self is the self-awareness of the "Postmodern" human revolution that comes immediately upon the break-through of the crisis of modern self-awareness.  It is the fundamental subject of the conversional, as it were, true formation of the world ("A" for "All mankind") and creation of history ("S" for "Supra-historical history").   Here is the actualization of resurrection, which is neither myth nor mere postulation; a new life which lives through emancipation from original sin or birth-and-death, the attainment of the absolutely autonomous going-returning aspects.  The so-called absolute negation or absolute affirmation should be, instead of any objective, philosophical idea, the life of the Awakened Self. 


      As for the modernization of religion, also, instead of stopgap measures like the self-defending, external reinforcement or modern repainting of pre-modern religion, or modern, humanistic, theological interpretations, it should be casting off towards the "Postmodern" in a drastic manner with the fatal crisis of modern humanism as its "moment."  The so-called ecumenical movement cannot be radical unless it is a unification based on this casting off rather than a simple collusion of the greatest common denominator among religions.


     By this year (1966) I have lived the F.A.S. up to the worldly age of seventy-seven; irrespective of the worldly age, however, I shall continue living forever.  Here are my impressions in verse:

          "One having spent zero year seventy-seven times,

         I wonder for what merit one is celebrated for the Age of Joy."*

             (This reminds me of the Zen term "Kenchuto". [the final of the "Five Ranks" of Chan, that is, "Having arrived at the non-duality of nirvana and its function"])** 

          "Getting awakened to the formless self, dying with no-death,

         Born without birth, one sports throughout the triple world."

            (By this I mean Attaining Awakening, Nirvana, and Birth.)

* A Japanese term "kiju" ("celebration of the age of joy") is applied to one's 77th birthday since the Chinese character for "ki" (also pronounced yorokobi: joy, delight, pleasure), when written in the grass style, appears as if made up of the characters which represent seven, ten, and seven, respectively.

            ** Cf. Note 30, to Critical Sermons of the Zen Tradition: Hisamatsu's Talks on Linji, translated and edited by Christopher Ives and Tokiwa Gishin, Palgrave Macmillan, Hampshire and New York, 2002.






Hisamatsu Shin'ichi

His Brief Chronological Record

Compiled by Kurasawa Yukihiro*

         * Translated from the Hisamatsu Shin'ichi Chosakushu, an enlarged edition, vol. 9, published by Hozokan, Kyoto 1996, pp. 597-603, with slight corrections made by conferring with the Nenpu (Chronological Record) by Kitahara Haruyo, included in the Hisamatsu Shin'ichi Bukkyo Kogi vol. 4, Hozokan 1991.


1889   Born on 5 June in a farmer's family, devotee of Jodo Shin sect, in Nagara Village in the suburbs of Gifu City (later incorporated into the city).

1907   18 years old.  Through modern thought and science, faith collapsed, and set his heart on studying philosophy.

1908   19.  Graduated from Gifu Prefectural Gifu Middle School.  Heard the name of a philosopher Nishida Kitaro from Principal Hayashi Hachizo.  Was admitted into the Third Higher School; Searched and read Western philosophy books.  Because of sickly constitution, began trying the hygiene recommended in the book Yasen Kanwa ("Idle Talks on the Nightly Navigation") by Hakuin (1685-1768).

1911   22.  Was absorbed in reading Nishida Kitaro's Zen no Kenkyu ("A Study of Good") in the first publication. Had difficulty in the understanding of "pure experience," a central term in the book.

1912   23.  Was admitted into the department of philosophy, College of Literature, Kyoto Imperial University.

1913   24.  Attended the lectures by Professor Nishida on "An Introduction to the Science of Religion."  Was deeply impressed by his personality and learning.

1915   26.  Despairing of the academic philosophy of objective knowledge, graduated from Kyoto Imperial University while cornered fundamentally subjectively, totally, in life.  Through Prof. Nishida's instruction, participated in the big year-end eight-day zazen meeting under the guidance of Master Ikegami Shozan at the Myoshinji Zen Monastery.  Got awakened to the formless self, original to humans, resolved the deadlock, and entered into a new life.

1918   29.  Shifted residence to the inside of the Shunkoin temple, in the compound of Myoshinji Head Temple.

1919  30.  Employed by Rinzaishu Daigaku (later developed into Hanazono University), appointed to professorship, and took charge of the philosophy of religion until 1937.  During that period, guided the students' association for learning the Way of Awakening named "Ichirankai" (One Billow Society).

1920   31.  Held the post of Lecturer at Ryukoku Daigaku, and gave lectures on the philosophy of religion.

1927   38.  Received the title "Hoseki-an" (A Hermitage of the Rock-Embracing) for his residence from Nishida Kitaro.

1929   40.  Appointed to the post of professorship at Ryukoku Daigaku, and continued to take charge of the philosophy of religion.

1932   43.  Received part-time engagement as a lecturer at Kyoto Imperial University until 1933.

1935   46.  Appointed to the post of lecturership at Kyoto Imperial University, took charge of the studies of Buddhism, and gave lectures on "Sokumuteki Jitsuzon" (The Existence That Is At Once Non-Existence).

1936   47.  Gave lectures on "The Philosophical Problem in the Kishin-ron (Dasheng Qixin lun; "A [Buddhist] Treatise on the Awakening of Mahayana Faith," a Chinese version by Paramartha).

1937   48.  Resigned from the professorship at both Rinzaishu Daigaku and Ryukoku Daigaku.  Appointed to the associate professorship at Kyoto Imperial University, took partial charge of the studies of religion and of Buddhism.  Gave lectures on "The Philosophical Problem in the Kishin-ron" (continued) and on "An Introduction to the Studies of Religion."

1938   49.  Gave lectures on "The Zen-Moment in the Culture of Japan."  Organized a Kyoto University students' association for zazen, "Shinnin-kai" (Society of True Man).

1939   50.  The first edition of a collection of articles entitled Toyoteki-Mu (Oriental Nothingness) was published by the Kobundo-shobo, Tokyo.

1941   52.  Founded the Kyoto Daigaku Shinchakai (a student association, "Kyoto University Heart Tea Society").

1944   55.  Founded the Kyoto Daigaku Gakudo-Dojo (a student association, "Kyoto University Seat for Learning the Way of Awakening").

1945   56.  Nishida Kitaro died.  The Second World War ended with the defeat of Japan.

1946   57.  Appointed to the professorship at Kyoto Imperial University, occupied the chair of the studies of Buddhism.  Gave lectures in an intensive course on the history of Buddhist philosophy for the chair of oriental philosophy, at Hiroshima University of Humanities and Sciences, in Hiroshima City that had suffered from an atomic bomb air raid.

1947   58.  Was granted the degree of the Doctor of Literature.  Had the first edition of the book Kishin no Kadai ("The Problem of the Kishinron") was published by Kobundo-shobo, Tokyo.

1948  59.  Had the two books published: Zettai-Shutai-Do ("The Way of the Absolutely Fundamental Subject") and the Athens Library edition Cha no Seishin ("The Spirit of Tea"), by Kobundo Shobo.  Reorganized the Kyoto Daigaku Gakudo Dojo into the Gakudo Dojo.

1949   60.  Retired under the age limit from Kyoto University.  Took office as a professor at Hanazono University.  Received a part-time engagement as a lecturer at Otani University.

1950   61.  Started a newsletter of the Gakudo Dojo, "Gakudo" (later renamed "Fushin" (Seasonal Wind), "FAS", "Postmodernist", and again "Fushin").  Suffered from cholelithiasis.  Murata Kinue came for nursing, and continued to attend on him.

1951   62.  Had two books published: Honto-no Jiko ni Mezameru ("To Get Awakened to the True Self") in the Hanazono Library edition by Hanazono University Press, and Ningen-no Shinjitsuzon ("The True Existence of Human Beings") in the Hozo new library edition by Hozokan.  Began expressing a series of lectures on "The Vow of Mankind" through the activities of Gakudo Dojo.

1952   63.  Resigned from Hanazono University professorship, and accepted part-time engagement as a lecturer.  Appointed to professorship at Kyoto Municipal Fine Arts University, took charge of philosophy and the studies of religion.  Accepted part-time engagement as a lecturer with Bukkyo University, and with Kyushu University (until 1954).

1953   64.  Served concurrently as Director of the Library attached to Kyoto Municipal Fine Arts University.

1956   67.  Served as the editorial supervisor of the Sado-koten Zenshu ("A Complete Set of Classics on the Way of Tea"), and compiler of its fourth volume, Nanboroku ("A Record by Nanbo").  Reorganized the Kyoto University Shinchakai into the Shinchakai.  Started the Shincha, organ of the Shinchakai.

1957   68.  Invited as a visiting professor to the department of theology, Harvard University, USA, and gave lectures on "Zen and Zen Culture."

1958   69.  On his way home from the USA, visited countries in Europe, Egypt, Jordan, Iran, India, etc., during which period gave lectures at the Universities of Freiburg and Hamburg, Muenchen Volkskunst Museum,  Musée Guimet, etc.  Engaged in a dialogue with various university professors: in the USA, Tillich, Sorokin, Niebuhr, Buber, Northrop, Turner; in Europe, Heidegger, Bultmann, Heiler, Jung, Marcel, and so on, and attempted an encounter between Oriental and Occidental cultures.  Had the book Zen to Bijutsu ("Zen and the Fine Arts") published by the Bokubi-sha.

1960   71.  On the basis of the FAS idea for the times that should come after the modern ages, re-named the Gakudo Dojo the FAS Society.  Had the book Yuima Shichisoku ("Seven Cases from the Vimalakirti Sutra") published by the FAS Society. 

1961   72.  Awarded a Purple Ribbon Medal.

1962  73. Shifted residence from the Shunkoin, Myoshinji, to Sagaru (Down Southward), Nakadachiuri, Muromachi, in Kyoto.

1963   74. Retired from Kyoto Municipal Fine Arts University.  Appointed to the professorship at Hanazono University.  Served as an editorial advisor for the compilation of the Zusetsu Sado Taikei ("An Iconographical Outline of the Way of Tea"), Kadokawa-shoten.  Had a dialogue with Heidegger, Kikinagara Egakinagara ("Alcopley: Listening to Heidegger and Hisamatsu"; "Alcopley: Heidegger und Hisamatsu und ein Zuhoerender") (with pictures by L. Alcopley) published by Bokubi Press.

1965   76.  Awarded the Third Order of Merit with the Sacred Treasure.  Suffered from prostatitis.

1966   77.  Suzuki Daisetsu (Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki) died.

1968  79.  Served as an editorial committee member of Suzuki Daisetsu Zenshu ("A Whole Collection of Writings by Suzuki Daisetsu"), Iwanami-shoten.  The September number of Riso made up a special edition, "Hisamatsu Shin'ichi no Zen no Tetsugaku" (Hisamatsu Shin'chi's Philosophy of Zen).   With Nishitani Keiji as a co-editor, had a collection of articles, "Zen no Honshitsu to Ningen no Shinri" (The Essence of Chan and the Truth of Human Beings), as the fruit of comprehensive studies of the FAS Society, published by Zenbunka Kenkyusho (Institute for Zen Studies). 

1969  80.  Had the first volume of Hisamatsu Shin'ichi Chosakushu, Toyoteki Mu (Oriental Nothingness), published by Riso-sha.

1970   81.  Had the fifth volume of his chosakushu, Zen to Geijutsu (Chan and Art), published.

1971  82.  Had the third volume of his chosakushu, Kaku to Sozo (Awakening and Creation), published.  Had the English translation, Zen and the Fine Arts, published by the Kodansha International.

1972   83.  Had the second volume of his chosakushu, Zettai-shutai-do (The Way of the Absolutely Fundamental Subject), published.

1973   84.  Had the fourth volume, Sado no Tetsugaku (Philosophy of the Way of Tea), and the sixth volume, Kyoroku-sho ("Critical Talks on Buddhist and Chan Texts"), published.

1974  85.  Murata Kinue died.  Shifted residence to the native place, Nagara, Gifu City.  Frequented by callers from east and west, which changed an outlying region into a path for literati.  In the Bokubi ("The Beauty of Sumi-Ink") no. 242 appeared a special edition "Hisamatsu Shin'ichi."  Had the eighth volume of chosakushu, Hasoai ("Broken Straw Sandals"), published.

1975   86.  Had the German version of the Characteristics of Oriental Nothingness, Die Fuelle des Nichts, published by Neske-Verlag.

1977   88.  In the exhibition marking the opening of the National Museum of International Arts, "Nihon no Bi" (The Beauty of Japan), a handwriting "MU-AN" (Nothingness-Hermitage) was on display.

1978   89.  In a picture gallery in Ginza, Tokyo, an "Exhibition of Hisamatsu Shin'ichi's Tanzaku (a strip of fancy paper on which usually a tanka or a Japanese verse is written)" was opened. 

1979   90.  Started the Buddhist, a magazine of co-editorship in Japanese by the FAS Society and Tohokai.  Began publication of the reprinted edition of a book in his possession, Daichuji Zen Shitsunai Hisho ("A Treasured Book on the Indoor Transmission at the Daichuji Zen Temple").

1980   91.  On 27 February, died in his house in Nagara, Gifu City.  The verses he left for death were:

            "Getting awakened to the formless self, dying with no-death,

          Born without birth, one sports throughout the triple world."

            "I wonder who might say I died,

         Not knowing me originally unborn."

            "On my death, needless are guiding words and services funeral or

          memorial.  Don't gather ashes after cremation."

           "My tombstone be erected in the azure sky, with

         F.A.S. to be the epitaph carved deeply."

            "If you've died a great death, why need to come?

         Now where you are you'll be with me at my deathbed."

         According to his will, actually there was no funeral service held, no gathering of ashes. His last handwritings went as follows:

            "No funeral service, no call of condolence, by request."

            "Calm extinction is made delight."

            "His last single term: Slay the Buddha; slay the God."

         A memorial special edition appeared in the Riso April Number, Zenbunka No. 97, and Daijo Zen July/September Number.  The seventh volume of his chosakushu, Nin'unshu (a collection of verses, entitled "Let Fortune Go Its Way") was published.  A German translation of the article, "Lectures on Dongshan's Five Ranks") was published by Neske-Verlag.  A dialogue, Kaku no Shukyo ("The Religion of Awakening") was published by Shunju-sha. A magazine Kokindai Taikyu ("The Postmodern Practically Inquired Into") was started.

1981   A special edition on Hisamatsu Shin'ichi appeared in The Eastern Buddhist vol. 14 no. 1.  A Hozo-sensho ("Selected Books of Hozokan") Mushinron ("Atheism") was published by Hozokan.  Zen and the Fine Arts in paperback edition was published by Kodansha International.

1982   Bokkai ("The Sea of Sumi Ink") : Hisamatsu Shin'ichi no Sho (Handwritings)*, was published by Toeisha.  An "Exhibition of Handwritings Left by Hisamatsu Shin'ichi" was opened in the annexe of Kyoto Kaikan in celebration of the publication of Bokkai.

1983   An "Exhibition of Handwritings Left by Hisamatsu Shin'ichi" was opened in the Gifu Prefectural Fine Arts Museum, and an "Exhibition of Sumi-Ink Handwritings by Hoseki Hisamatsu" was held in the annexe of Ehime Prefectural Fine Arts Museum.  The first meeting for presenting tea to Hisamatsu Shin'ichi sensei was held at the Shokokuji Zen Monastery (, which continued until 1994 every summer).  Kishin no Kadai ("The Problem of the Treatise on the Awakening of Mahayana Faith") was published by Risosha.  A collection of articles in Japanese by twenty persons under the late Hisamatsu's teaching, "The Religion and Thought of Hisamatsu Shin'ichi," was published by Zenbunka Kenkyusho. 

1984   In the Shibunkaku Fine Arts Museum, in Kyoto, an "Exhibition of Three Philosophers of Kyoto (meaning Nishida Kitaro, Hisamatsu Shin'ichi, and Yamauchi Tokuryu)" was held.

1985   A collection of reminiscences dedicated to the memory of "True Man Hisamatsu Shin'ichi," was published by Shunjusha.

           An Enlarged Edition : Kaku no Shukyo was published by the Shunjusha.

1987   A critical biography, Zensha (A Person of Chan) Hisamatsu Shin'ichi, was published by the Hozokan.  Other publications: One of the Toei Selected Books, Wabi no Sado ("The Way of Tea of Ripe Poverty") by Toeisha; Toyoteki Mu and Sado no Tetsugaku ("Philosophy of the Way of Tea"), from the Academic Library of the Kodansha.

1990  Hisamatsu Shin'ichi Bukkyo Kogi (Lectures on Buddhism), vol. I entitled "Sokumuteki Jitsuzon", vol. II entitled "Bukkyoteki Sekai" ("The Buddhistic World"), vol. III entitled "Genso no Ronri" ("The Logic of Return Aspect"), were published by Hozokan.

1991   Vol. IV entitled "Jiji Muge" ("In Every Matter No Obstruction") was published.       An Enlarged Edition Shinnin Hisamatsu Shin'ichi was published by Shunjusha. 

1994  The distribution began of The Enlarged Edition Hisamatsu Shin'ichi Chosakushu by Hozokan.

            * The present chronological record is a revised edition of the record appearing in the Bokkai: Hisamatsu Shin'ichi no Sho (Compiler).