Gudo Toshoku (愚堂東寔)

Gudo Toshoku (May 5, 1577 - November, 1661) was a high Buddhist monk of the Rinzai Sect of Zen sect. He was the 14th Juji (head priest) of Myoshin-ji Temple of Daihonzan (head temple of a Buddhist sect). His father was Kinai ITO, and his mother was the daughter of a vassal of the Saito clan.


He was born in Omori, Ijira Village, Mino Province (the present-day Yamagata City, Gifu Prefecture) and became a Buddhist priest when he was 15 years old at Toko-ji Temple (Yamagata City), so as to study under Zuiun. He went on a pilgrimage to various provinces, in which he visited Motsugai of Kozen-ji Temple in Utsunomiya City and Nanze of Sanyu-ji Temple in Ako City, Harima Province, and studied under Keiyo YOZAN of Shotaku-in Temple of Myoshin-ji Temple before being given the go (Buddhist title) of Gudo and inka (certification of spiritual achievement) (on three later occasions he served Myoshin-ji Temple as Juji (head priest)). He opened Seiden-ji Temple of Mino Province (Yaotsu City, Gifu Prefecture) and Nakayama-dera Temple of Ise Province (Ise City, Mie Prefecture) in order that the Rinzai Sect might once again flourish. He also traveled to Edo. He passed away at 85 years of age at Hokkesan-ji Temple of Yamashina Ward, Kyoto Prefecture. A year after his death, he was given the posthumous title of kokushi (the most reverend priest) to be called as Daien Hokan Kokushi.

He converted many kuge (court nobles) and buke (samurai families) such as Emperor Gomizunoo, Iemitsu TOKUGAWA, Masayuki HOSHINA, Michimura NAKANOIN and KASUGA no Tsubone, into believers. Musashi MIYAMOTO, in his age of adolescence, also practiced Zen meditation (in the temple) under Gudo in Myoshin-ji Temple.

[Original Japanese]