Jakuhitsu Genkō

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Jakuhitsu Genkō (1290–1367). Japanese Zen master of the Rinzai school. He became a monk at the age of 15 and was taught by Yakuō Tokken in Kamakura. When he asked Yakuō for his matsugo (his final, dying word, and also the word which will lead to enlightenment), Yakuō slapped him and he immediately experienced enlightenment. He went to China, 1320–6, where he was acknowledged as a master of Chʾan. On his return to Japan, he became an itinerant, seeking realization of truth in mountains and solitude. When Eigen-ji was built in 1361, he became the first abbot, and contributed decisively to the rinka or ringe style of Zen monasticism, ‘under the forest’ or ‘thicket’, in which the ideal of simplicity and non-attachment was maintained.