Muan Xingtao (木庵性トウ)

Muan Xingtao (March 16, 1611 - March 6, 1684) was a monk of the Obaku school (Obaku sect) of the Rinzai sect of Buddhism, who came to Japan from Ming of China in the early Edo period. His secular surname was Go. He was from Jin Jiang Prefecture, Quanzhou City, Fujian Province. His shigo (posthumous title) is Keimyo Kokushi.


He renounced the world at the age of 16 and became a pupil of Inmyo at Kaiyuansi Temple. Entering the Buddhist priesthood in 1629, he visited Hang Zhou City, Mt. Tendo, Xi Hu, etc. and at the age of 28, he practiced Zen meditation under HIIN Tsuyo on Mt. Jinsushan. Under Hiin, he became a fusu (monk in charge of accounting in a Zen temple), attendant, shika (guestmaster in a Zen temple), and then yuina (the general affairs person in a temple). Even after that, he traveled Shaoxing, Mt. Tendai, etc.

Although he tried to visit Hiin on Mt. Tendo in 1648, it was prevented by the wars; instead, he climbed Mt. Obaku in China and received teachings from Yinyuan Longqi. In 1650, he took up a new position as the chief priest of Taihei-ji Temple in Kenseki. In 1653, he handed over the position of the chief priest of Taihei-ji Temple to Jifei Ruyi.

Invited by Ingen, who went to Japan in 1654, he went to Japan in 1655 and became the chief priest of Fukusai-ji Temple in Nagasaki City. He entered Fumon-ji Temple in Settsu Province in 1660 and Manpuku-ji Temple on Mt. Obaku in Uji in Yamashiro Province in 1661, and inherited the place of Ingen on September 4, 1664. In 1665, he moved to Edo and met the 4th shogun Ietsuna TOKUGAWA, who treated him favorably. He founded more than ten temples, including Zuisho-ji Temple on Mt. Shiun in Edo, and had more than fifty pupils. In 1669, he was given the purple Buddhist priest stole from the shogun.

In February 1680, he handed over the place on Mt. Obaku to ERIN Shoki, who became the third chief priest, and retired to Shiunin on the mountain. He died from illness on March 6, 1684. He died at the age of 74.

He was also known as a noshoka (master of calligraphy) whose calligraphic style was possible only to Chinese, and was known as one of three famous ancient calligraphers on Mt. Obaku together with Ingen and Sokuhi.
The three had common styles, highly valued as 'Tang style' or 'Obaku-style calligraphy,' with Ingen's writing valued as ''moderate and sophisticated,' Muan's writing as 'vigorous and peacefully fulfilling,' and Sokuhi's writing as 'wild and broad-minded.'