Not Seeing Snow: Musō Soseki and Medieval Japanese Zen

Author: Molly Vallor
Not Seeing Snow: Musō Soseki and Medieval Japanese Zen offers a detailed look at a crucial yet sorely neglected figure in medieval Japan. It clarifies Musō’s far-reaching significance as a Buddhist leader, waka poet, landscape designer, and political figure. In doing so, it sheds light on how elite Zen culture was formed through a complex interplay of politics, religious pedagogy and praxis, poetry, landscape design, and the concerns of institution building. The appendix contains the first complete English translation of Musō’s personal waka anthology, Shōgaku Kokushishū.

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Molly Vallor, Ph.D. (2013), Stanford University, is Junior Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law at Meiji Gakuin University.

List of Figures

Introduction: Zen in the Generations before Musō: The Growth of the Gozan System in Medieval Japan
 1 The Life of Musō Soseki: A Critical Reading
 2 Musō’s Early Life: A Turn to Zen
 3 Practice and Enlightenment
 5 Recluse and Abbot
 6 Building a Line Under Emperor Godaigo
 7 Association with the Ashikaga and the Northern Court
 8 Death and Legacy
1 A Master Defined: Musō Soseki in Muchū mondōshū
 1 Muchū Mondōshūand the Tradition of Kana Hōgoon Zen
 2 Playing Teacher
 3 A License to Critique
 4 Calling Little Jade
 5 Conclusion
2 Beneath the Ice: Musō Soseki and the Waka Tradition
 1 Shōgaku Kokushishū: An Incomplete Textual History
 2 Musō and the Way of Waka
 3 Affirming the Arts: Musō Soseki and Buddhist Discourse on Waka
 4 Ambivalence and Abstraction: Literal and Figurative Representations of Reclusion in SKS
 5 New Takes on Old Tropes: Mind Over Lament
 6 Rarefying the Pine Wind
 7 Elegantly Unconfused
 7 Conclusion
3 Blossoms before Moss: Medieval Views of Musō Soseki’s Saihōji
 1 A Long and Sacred History in Saihōshōja Engi
 2 The Temple and the Blossoms
 3 Blooms After Death in Shōgaku Kokushishū
 4 When the Shōgun was at Saihōji after the Blossoms had Fallen
 5 Zen in Bloom in Musō’s Chronology
 6 The Musō Renovations: Musō and Medieval Landscape Design
 7 Saihōji as Musō Memorial
 8 Harmonizing Pure Land and Zen at Saihōji
 9 Conclusion
4 Changing Agendas at Musō Soseki’s Tenryūji
 1 Tenryūji: From Imperial Residence to Commercial Center
 2 Taiheiki’s Tenryūji: Appearance of an Onryō
 3 Tenryūji in 1345: Reunification and the Rise of Buddhism
 4 Multiple Reconciliations
 5 Securing Imperial Support for Tenryūji
 6 Enlightening Godaigo and Other Objectives
 7 Tying Tenryūji to Ashikaga Takauji in
 8 Conclusion

Appendix: Shōgaku Kokushishū
This book will appeal to readers with an interest in medieval Japanese history and culture, Zen Buddhism, Japanese poetry, and garden design.