Hosshinshu (Tales of Awakening) is a collection of Buddhist tales compiled in the early Kamakura period. It was compiled and written by Chomei KAMO (1155－1216) who is known as the author of "Hojoki" (An Account of My Hut) in his later years. It was compiled before 1216.
It is also called 'Chomei Hosshinshu.'
It is a collection of anecdotes of hermits who pursued the path of Buddhism. It had some influence not only on collections of anecdotes including "Kankyo no Tomo" (Friend in a Quiet Life) and "Senjusho" (Notes on Selections), but also on "Taiheiki" (the Record of the Great Peace) and "Tsurezuregusa" (Essays in Idleness). This is what should be called the true nature of collection of anecdotes.
The rufu-bon (widely circulated edition) consists of 8 volumes and 102 stories, however the sankan-bon consisting of three volumes, which does not remain, is seemed to be the most similar edition to the original. In addition, there is an alternative version consisting of five volumes and 62 stories. Among den-pon (existent transcriptions and published books), there is no old manuscript, as for block printing rufu-bon, there remain a katakana-bon (book in Japanese katakana character) published in 1651 and a hiragana-bon (book in Japanese hiragana character) published in 1670. The Jingu Library edition consisting of five volumes is a manuscript of the Edo period.
It emphasizes Honcho (Japan) more than Tenjiku (India) and than Shintan (China), and contains anecdotes related to Busshism including hosshin-tan (tale of religious awakening), tonsei-tan (tale of seclusion from the world), gokurakuojo-tan (tale of salvation), bukkyoreigen-dan (tale of Buddhist miracle) and koso-den (tale of high-priest). It contains a lot of words quoted from the biographies of Buddha. Major characters are hermits (Saigyo is famous) including Chomei himself. It describes various people's lives very vividly including the tales about a high priest who did not desire fame and chose seclusion (such as the opening story on Genpin Sozu), about a high-ranking priest who failed to reach Ojo (birth in the Pure Land) due to hesitation, and about the common people in this world who devoted themselves to arts and reached Muga no Kyochi (the state of no-self); the writer also wrote his comments in each tales. It has some freshness which cannot be found in other old collections of Buddhist tales, since it describes people's rip currents and the depth vividly.
This book was collected in 'Shincho Japanese Classics Corpus' with the revision and annotation by Sumito MIKI as well as "Hojoki." (Shinchosha Publishing in 1976)
In addition, some scholars such as Kazuo YANASE pointed out that 'the 7th volume and the 8th volume might have been added by other person,' because in a same rufu-bon the writer's thoughts expressed in the 1st - 6th volumes are different from those of the 7th and 8th volumes. However, many other scholars such as Minoru TAKAO deny that idea about the addition. Anyway, since there exists no old maniscript, it is difficult to settle this argument.