Dokaku Ryoo (了翁道覚)

Ryoo DOKAKU was a monk of the Obaku sect of Buddhism (he was born on April 29, 1630 and died on June 21, 1707) and a contributor to several social programs during the early phase of the Edo period, such as education and culture, social welfare, and public utilities. Dokaku was born in Yawata Village of Ogachi County in Dewa Province (later, Ugo Province). First, his birth name was Sokyu but he later changed his name to Dokaku. Initially his sobriquet was Ryonen but was changed to Ryoo at a later time.

Background

On April 29, 1630, Ryoo DOKAKU was born into the Suzuki family, a poor farming family in Maeda (currently, Hatayama-Mura, Yuzawa City, Akita Prefecture), Yawata Village of Ogachi County in Dewa Province (later, Ugo Province). Dokaku's father's name was Shigetaka. The childhood name of the Zenji (Monk Dokaku) was Yomoji. The birth place of Dokaku was near to the Fumonzan Jigen-ji Temple of the Soto sect of Zen Buddhism, but his home does not exist today. In 1631, the mother of Dokaku died. Because of the poverty in his biological family, he was adopted into the Takahashi family in Takayashiki village, Ogachi County, Dewa Province. However, after his adoptive parents passed away, Dokaku had to move from place to place. Dokaku had an unhappy childhood. When Dokaku was eleven years old, he was left at a temple of Shingon sect, he was believed to be an unlucky child.

Becoming a priest and oath

In 1641, when Dokaku was twelve years old, he became a temple servant at the Chokeizan Ryusen-ji Temple of the Soto sect of Zen Buddhism, in Iwaikawa village of Ogachi County (present-day Aza Higashi mura, Iwaikawa, Higashinaruse village). For the next two years, Dokaku lived in the temple, and then he cut off his hair (become a monk) and entered into the Buddhist priesthood. Jitoku SAITO, a ronin (master less samurai) from Kaga Province, who regularly visited the temple, found another temple servant.. Therefore, the Zenji (Dokaku) was freed from the duties as temple servant and was able to join practices to be a priest.

In 1643, at the age of fourteen, Ryoo visited the Chuson-ji Temple in Hiraizumi of Mutsu Province (later, Rikuchu Province) (present-day Hiraizumi-cho, Iwate Prefecture). Then he found that many of the Buddhist scriptures were scattered and ultimately lost by that time. Dokaku deeply grieved for the many lost Soban Daizokyo (Tripitaka in Sung Edition), which were dedicated by FUJIWARA no Kiyohira. Therefore, Dokaku searched the neighboring areas and restored six volumes of the Kingin Kosho (Konshi Kingin Kosho Daihanyayo), which is known as a part of national treasures. Furthermore, Dokaku took an oath to devote his entire life toward two tasks; to collect the scattered and ultimately lost Buddhist scriptures and books and to build an Issai-kyo Zo (a depository to keep the complete collection of scriptures).

Young ascetic monk

In 1644, Dokaku retuned to his hometown to see his father, who was ill, he prayed at the Hachiman-jinja Shrine, after his stay at the shrine, he continued to practice and learn as an ascetic monk in various places to make his big dream come true. Dokaku stayed at the Hachiman-jinja Shrine for nearly four years, and devote himself to hard ascetic practices in the shrine such as ushinokoku mairi (worship service at 2 in the morning). It is said that Ryoo planted five hundreds and eighty cedar seedlings during his ascetic practice period. During Ryoo's ascetic practices period, at age 18, he prayed at Kameoka Monju-do Hall in Yonezawa (present-day Takahata-cho, Yamagata Prefecture).

In 1648, Ryoo moved into the Zuigan-ji Shrine located in Matsushima of the Sendai Domain (present-day Matsushima-cho, Miyagi Prefecture). There, Ungokyo Zenji (monk) gave the precepts of the five commandments to Ryoo. The next year, 1649, Ryoo stayed at Tentoku-ji Temple located near the Kubota-jo Castle in Dewa Province (later, Ugo Province) (present-day Akita City, Akita Prefecture). In the same year, Ryoo stayed in the Sorin-ji Temple of Kozuke Province (present-day Shibukawa City [formerly called Komochi-mura], Gunma Prefecture) and conduct hard ascetic practices for 100 days long, so he stopped eating cooked food and stayed in the temple praying to Suwa Myojin (great god).

Meeting with Ingen

In 1654, Ryoo heard from a monk learning with him that Ryuki INGEN (Yinyuan Longqi), a priest of great sanctity and learning from Ming dynasty would visit Japan. Then, Ryoo went to Nagasaki City of Hizen Province and practiced Zen mediation under Dosha Chogen, at Sofuku-ji Temple (Nagasaki City). Later, in July of the same year, Ryoo visited Ingen while Ingen was staying at the Kofuku-ji Temple (present-day Nagasaki City, Nagasaki Prefecture), afterward Ingen allowed Ryoo to become his disciple. However, soon after Ryoo became seriously ill, so he headed to Edo in 1655 for his medical treatment passing through Saga Province. Ryoo then returned to his hometown, Yawata village for his medical treatment at his father's house. Ryoo prayed to Shinto and Buddhist deities that it was his satisfaction to throw his life away for illness. After that Ryoo recovered completely in several days. Ryoo again studied under Ryuki INGEN stayed at the Fumon-ji Temple in Shimagami, Settu Province (present-day Takatsuki City, Osaka Prefecture), and devoted himself to seek for the teachings of Buddha. In 1656, Ryoo worked hard for the Zenji (INGEN Ryuki) when Ingen founded the Obakuzan Manpuku-ji Temple in Uji City in the Yamashiro Province (present-day Uji City, Kyoto Prefecture).

Smashing a finger and cutting off penis

Afterwards, Ryoo continued his lifestyle as an ascetic monk, and he went Nagasaki and practiced Zen mediation under Sokuhi Nyoitsu. Ryooo's attitude was extremely serious, this lead to the action of severing his penis with a razor because of his firm belief that it was "source of sexual desire," and it was a hindrance to learning (It was called "Rasetsu", to cut one's penis off [in order to keep sexual desire off mind]). At the time Ryoo adhered to Buddhist precepts of Bonmo-kyo (Sutra of Brahma's Net) and continued his daily routine, and he performed worship service of the 100,8000 times per day in 100 days. In the same year, Ryoo suffered from pain and stayed at the Arima-onsen Hot Spring (present-day Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture) for his medical treatment with Kosenshoton Zenji. Ryoo performed the Nenshi-gyo practice, smashing his left little finger, lighting up the finger, and performed a pray for the Kannon Bosatsu (Kannon Bodhisattva) at the Katsuo-ji Temple in the Settsu Province.

In 1663, Ryoo prayed at Hase-dera Temple (present-day Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture), Ise Jingu Shrine (present-day Ise City, Mie Prefecture), and Taga Taisha Shrine (present-day Taga-cho, Shiga Prefecture). In the same year, Ryoo performed an asceticism, "Shito" (lighting up one's finger), while he was staying at the Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto. "Shito" was an asceticism to smash his left little finger, wrapped the finger with a piece of oiled clothe, tied the finger to the lattice of the temple, and then put his finger on fire while he was handling incense sticks in his right hand, reading twenty one volumes of the Hannya-shingyo Sutra (Heart Sutra). At the age of 34, his left hand was burned off as the result.

At that time Ryoo practiced asceticism and also read books such as, "Nankai-kiki-nai-hoden" by Gijo and "The Great Tang Dynasty Record of the Western Regions" (Da Tang Xiyu ji) by Xuanzang. By reading these books, Ryoo thought of those great priests in China, who went to India to collect Kyoron (two of the three branches of Buddhist sutras; Kyozo [Sutta-pitaka] and the Ronzo [Abhidhamma-pitaka]). Thus, Ryoo confirmed his firm decision to built a Daizo-kyo Sutra zo (a depository of Complete Collection of Scriptures) and the collection of both domestic and foreign books.

The revelatory dream and "Kintaien"

In 1665, when he was 36 years old, he left the Obakuzan Manpuku-ji Temple. Then, Ryoo took an oath for the building a tower of a temple and the dedication of the Daizo-kyo Sutra. Therefore, Ryoo began a journey tp collect funds, starting from the Kinai region (provinces surrounding Kyoto and Nara), then reached into the Kanto region through the Ou region and received almsgivings from many people. In Edo, Ryoo was staying at a residence of Koseki MATSUDAIRA, who was a hatamoto (direct retainers of the bakufu, which is a form of Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), and while staying there Ryoo again suffered from the pain from the old wound of the Shito. One day, Ryoo had a revelatory dream when he had prayed for his recovery to the Kannon Bosatsu (Kannon Bodhisattva) wholeheartedly.

In Ryoo's dream, high priest, Mokusu Nyojo, who came from the Ming dynasty and funded the Kofuku-ji Temple, appeared and outlined the process for making a miracle medicine. Ryoo made the medicine as instructed in his dream, and then he applied the drug to his wound, then soon after the pain diminished. Afterwards, Ryoo used the miracle medicine for the pain from the Rasetsu, and the pain diminished. Additionally, it was said that drinking the medicine was effective for refreshment of mind and body. Ryoo thought that this 'miracle medicine' could be a pious act if he shares the medicine with people. Ryoo prayed to the Kanzeon Bosatsu (the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy) in Asakusa, drew a kuji (a thin strip of bamboo upon which written words or symbols to foretell success or luck) three times, and named the drug "Kintaien." The effect of the miracle medicine was marvelous and it cured many people who suffered from wound and sickness.

Ryoo also sold Kintaien at a store which constructed near Shinobazu Pond in Ueno, Edo (present-day, Ikenohatanaka-cho). Ryoo entrusted management of the store to his nephew, Taisuke, then Taisuke created a sensation of the medicine and sold like hot cakes. The miracle medicine became a famous product of Edo, and Ryoo eventually earned 3,000 Ryo of gold (one Ryo in the Edo period was roughly converted to 16g of gold; so, 3,000 Ryo was roughly 48kg of gold.) from the sales. Ryoo named the pharmacy "Kangaku Satobo (Kangakuya)." It was said that the sign board of the pharmacy was a written by Mitsukuni TOKUGAWA and the letters were traced and engraved by Jingoro HIDARI. Furthermore, in the "Edo Meisho Zue" (the topography which consists of 20 books in 7 series on the Edo period, written from 1834 to 1836), an artist illustrated a picture of the "landscape of Kintaien store of Ikenohata."

Erection of Kyodo (Sutra Hall) and library

In 1670, using 3,000 Ryo from Kintaien sales, Ryoo purchased the Daizo-kyo Sutra (the Daizo-kyo Sutra of Tenkai edition, 6,323 volumes), which was his cherished dream, for three hundreds Ryo gold (one Ryo in Edo period was roughly converted to 16g of gold; so, 300 Ryo was roughly 4.8kg of gold). Additionally, Ryoo received permission from the Shucho Hosshinno (Cloistered Imperial Prince Shucho), the first Rinoji-no-Miya, to create a small island ("Kyodo Island") in the Shinobazu Pond. Ryoo then constructed a two story Kyodo building on the island to store the Daizo-kyo Sutra. Afterwards, Ryoo journeyed to the Fumon-in Temple, a Tacchu (sub-temple) of the Tofukuji in Kyoto there he worshiped a statue of Enni, a monk who had received the Shoichi Kokushi (highest title for a priest). Then, Ryoo was presented with the seat of honor. Ryoo changed his sobriquet to Ryoo from Ryoonen.

In 1671, Ryoo relocated the Kyodo building, which was constructed near the surface of the water; then he reconstructed the building on the island's highest point. Ryoo collected a wide range of domestic and foreign books, these items were referred by experts and he enshrined three holy iconic statues of the Nyojo inside the Kyodo building. Additionally, Ryoo constructed a Seyaku-kan building (pharmacy) in front of the gate of the Anyo-ji Temple in Ise Province, established another Seyaku place (pharmacy) in front of the gate of the Senyu-ji Temple in Kyoto, and eventually prescribed more than 55,000 bags of Kintaien.

In 1672, Ryoo started to nurture more than a dozen abandoned children. In the same year, Ryoo built a learning dormitory inside of Kanei-ji Temple in Ueno, and he became a full-time teacher there. Ryoo stored Japanese and Chinese books inside the six libraries, which stood side by side, and he opened the libraries for Buddhist monks as well as to general public. These facilities had two significant elements; these were the first libraries in Japan to open for the general public and Ryoo served meals, such as porridge and accommodation for visitors who were poor or came from the long distances. These were significant ground-breaking educational and cultural facilities.

Although the students were served modest meals in the dormitories, Ryoo served pickles as side dish and it is said that those pickles were original of Ryoo. Ryoo made the pickles using dried and cut left over vegetables, such as daikon radishes, eggplants, and cucumbers, then he pickled them. Rinoji-no-Miya liked the pickles and named them "Fukujinzuke" (sliced vegetables pickled in soy sauce). Then, the pickles became famous among the public. At the dormitories, there was the tuition fee exemption for students facing financial hardship.

In 1674, Ryoo built a Kyozo building at the Zuisho-ji Temple in Shiroganedai of Edo Shiba (present-day Minato Ward, Tokyo), there he stored a complete Daizo-kyo Sutra and also about five thousands volumes of Chinese books in the building. These great achievements were recognized and in 1678, he received the Hoin (the highest rank in the hierarchy of the Buddhist priesthood) position for the concurrent study of the three sects, the Tendai Sect, the Shingon Sect, and the Zen Sect, at the Choraku-ji Temple (Ota City) in the Joshu region.

The great fire and famine

In May of 1680, the fourth shogun, Ietsuna TOKUGAWA, died. The Tokugawa Bakufu Administration decided to construct his mausoleum in the Toeizan Kanei-ji Temple. Therefore the Toeizan Kanei-ji Temple allocated four sub-temples for mausoleum and then the Temple granted the substitute lands from the Tokugawa Bakufu for the exchange. On this occasion, Ryoo petitioned to Tadatomo OKUBO, a Gohoji So-bugyo (a supervisor of shogunate administrator for the handling of affairs in the Buddhist memorial service for Tokugawa Bakufu and the Shogunate families) and requested the construction of a Kyozo building and an academic school on the remaining spare lands. Furthermore, with the assistance of Masanori INABA, Ryoo acquired more than 10,000 volumes of the Min-ban Zoku-zo Daizo-kyo Sutra (The continuation of Tripitaka in Ming Edition) and 5,000 volumes of non-Buddhist books, Ryoo donated these books to the Zuisho-ji Temple. Additionally, the next year, Doko TETSUGEN, who was born the same year as Ryoo and also studied under the Ingen with Ryoo, published 6,923 volumes of the Obaku-ban Daizo-kyo Sutra (also referred to as the "Tetsugen-ban" [Tetsugen Edition], the Tripitaka in the Obaku Zen Buddhism Sect Edition, published by the Doko TETSUGEN).

In 1682, the great fire of Tenwa, called "The fire by Yaoya Oshichi (greengrocer Oshichi)" occurred and Ryoo's book collection, which he had purchased and collected a total of 14,000 volumes, and those books were lost in the fire. However, Ryoo gave his private savings, more than 1,100 bronze coins to the victims of the fire, and nursed dozens of abandoned children. Ryoo then rebuilt the pharmacy using 1,000 Ryo and completed the construction of the leaning dormitory using 1,200 Ryo. Furthermore, Ryoo rebuilt the Hon-ji Temple of the Nichiren sect of Buddhism, which collapsed during a Typhoon, he dedicated himself to rebuilding through his own initiative.

In 1683, Ryoo donated money, 1,300 Ryo, to support the victims from the previous year's fire. Additionally, Ryoo delivered Japanese style sticky rice cakes, searched for the parents for lost children, and buried the dead people by the fire. As described above, Ryoo continued to devoted himself to these activities. During the same year, the people of the Kansai region suffered from famine, and Ryoo extended his arms for the relief of these people using more than 1,100 Kan of Zeni (coin made of non-precious materials) coins, (1kan is 1,000 Zeni coins; so, 1,100 Kan is 1,100,000 of Zeni coins) and 1,000 Ryo of gold. It is said that at that time people in Edo referred to Ryoo as the "Nyorai-sama" (Tathagata; one of referring names for Buddha).

Extension work on the learning dormitory

As to the matter of Ryoo's petition in the previous year, the new Rinoji-No-Miya, Shuzen Hosshinno (later, he called himself as Tenshin Hosshinno [Cloistered Imperial Prince Tenshin]), and the prefectural governor of Toei-zan Ryoo, each gave their consent to Ryoo. Through an arrangement with Takatomo AKIMOTO, Jisha-bugyo (an official with responsibility for supervision of shrines and temples) of the Edo Bakufu, Ryoo was granted a part of the lands, which the Toei-zan had newly received from the Baku administrator to its territory.

In 1684, Ryoo completed the extension of the learning dormitory
Ryoo relocated the library, which stored more than 30,000 volumes of domestic and foreign books and the Kyodo building into the newly built learning dormitory. Then, Ryoo constructed a Kyozo building, a library, a lecture hall, and a hojo (guest house of a temple), and he also placed of four dormitory, the four dormitory buildings were the north, the south, the west, and the east dormitory building which surrounding said 4 buildings. Ryoo enshrined the Shaka zo (statue of Shakyamuni), which is Isshaku Go-sun (Isshaku is about 30.3 cm, and Go-sun is about 15.15 cm; so the total length is about 45.45cm) as the honzon (principal object of worship at a temple, usually a Buddha or bodhisattva). Upon this occasion there was opposition on the matter of the incorporation of their own dormitory (at Toeizan) with that of Ryoo's new learning dormitories. Therefore, it was said that some people attempted to assassinate Ryoo by poisons.

The four new leaning dormitories had a total of two hundreds Ken (a measure of length) and arranged to surround the four the important buildings. Thus, those dormitories were commonly referred to as the "Hyakken Nagaya" (literally, a joint house structure with one hundred rows of houses). Each day at the dormitories Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism were lectured. The enrolled students of the dormitories totaled more than 600, and the general public participants were greater than four 400, the dormitories were operated successfully. In 1684, to tell Ryoo's achievement to future generations, the Kanei-ji Temple built a life-sized bronze statue of Ryoo in the temple. At the time Ryoo was 55 years old. Afterwards, at its peak, the learning dormitories contained 900 residents. Always certain amount of money was kept to operate the dormitories (It is said that they kept 1,200 Ryo).

The donations given for twenty one temples of the three sects

In 1685, Shuzen Hosshinno of Rinno-ji Temple assigned Ryoo to the Hoin (the highest rank in the hierarchy of Buddhist priesthood) position for the learning dormitories. On this occasion, Ryoo appealed to Hosshinno to invite the great scholars of the day.

In the same year, through his connections to Kanryu Hosshinno (Cloistered Imperial Prince Kanryu) at Ninna-ji Temple, Ryoo constructed the Kyozo building with in Kodai-in, a sub-temple of the Kongobuji Temple on Mt. Koya. Then, Ryoo stored the Obaku sect's Buddhism Edition of the Tetsugen Issai-kyo Sutra (Daizo-kyo Sutra [the Tripitaka] published by Doko TETSUGEN). Additionally, from 1685 to 1694, Ryoo donated the Kyozo buildings to the 21 temples of the three sects, the Tendai sect, the Shingon sect, and the Zen sect. The breakdown of these temples was as follows.

The Zen sect: the Manpuku-ji Temple of the Province of Yamashiro, the Bukkoku-ji Temple of the Province of Yamashiro, the Zuisho-ji Temple of the Musashi Province, Komatsu-ji Temple of the Mino Province, the Enpuku-ji Temple of the Ise Province, the Hotoku-ji Temple of the Yamato Province, and the Horin-ji Temple of the Totomi Province. The Tendai sect: the Kanei-ji Temple of the Musashi Province, the Kanasana-ji Temple of the Musashi Province, the Enryaku-ji Temple of the Province of Omi, the Soko-ji Temple of the Province of Shimotsuke, the Kosho-ji Temple of the Province of Yamashiro, Choraku-ji Temple of the Kozuke Province, and the Gassan-ji Temple of the Shimousa Province. The Shingon sect: the Kodai-in Temple of Mt. Koya in the Kii Province, the Taiun-in of the Kii Province, the Shinbessho Temple of the Kii Province, the Enmei-ji Temple of the Kawachi Province, the Jinho-ji Temple of the Kawachi Province, the Tojou-ji Temple of the Yamato Province, and the Ryoun-ji Temple Musashi Province. Ryoo constructed Kyozo buildings in those 21 temples and enshrined the Daizo-kyo Sutra. Moreover, Ryoo built the Koseki-in library for storing 58,005 volumes, including Chinese and other books and he provided maintenance costs of the library as well.

Furthermore, in 1689, Ryoo made a donation to the Hachiman-jinja Shrine in his hometown and restored the shrine. On this occasion, Ryooo donated the treasured "Yakusa Yasuji no Hata" (literally, a flag made of eight colors and eight stripes of threads.) to the shrine. Ryoo also went to the Hiei-zan Temple and donated 50 Ryoo of gold.

Social activities of Ryoo

Besides the previously described activities, Ryoo also participated in the rescue activities of the great fire of Uji City. There Ryoo built Seikodo building and donated the Kannon Bosatsu (Kannon Bodhisattva) in Uji. Ryoo helped Doki TETSUGYU Zenji (monk), who is Ryoo's best friend with land reclamation project, so Ryoo started the irrigation works at Gokasho, Uji City. Thus, Ryoo had contributed to industrial development. Ryoo built about 30 libraries, some were opened to public, and some were limited access to the public, throughout Japan, centering Edo, Ryoo encouraged the general public to read and study. Furthermore, Ryoo offered lectures and served free meals for poor people. Of special note is the fact that no other example exists in the world, a person like Ryoo built such large number of libraries for the public with only his own powerful efforts.

Ryoo's later years and his last moments

In 1692, Kosen Zenji (disciples of Ingen's disciples) became the fifth shinzan (taking a new position as chief priest of a Buddhist temple) of Obakuzan, so Ryoo donated a great monetary offering for the celebration. Ryoo received an assignment to serve the Chiyoku (a monk's duty to administrate the bathroom of the temple and bathing activities of ascetic monks.) position during his Geango (summer seclusion) at Obakuzan. Additionally, Ryoo donated funds for maintenance costs and repair expenses for various halls and sub-temples.

In 1694, Ryoo left Edo and climbed up Obakuzan Mountain in Uji City. Then, Ryoo built the Tenshin-in temple as his private building on the left side at the Sanmon gate (temple gate) of the Obakuzan temple, and this was for ascetic practice during his old age, and he lived there. In 1695, at the age of 68, Ryoo received an Inka (Certification of spiritual achievement) from Kosen Zenji and inherited the dharma from Kosen Zenji. Next year, Ryoo built the Tenshin-in library at the Tenshin-in temple. When the water well of the Tenshin-in temple dried out, Ryoo dug out the old unused water well and named it Sairai-i (reborn water well). Moreover, Ryoo built the Jitoku-in temple next to the Tenshin-in temple in Obakuzan Mountain. Ryoo named the temple after his benefactor, Jitoku SAITO, who had introduced the Buddhism priesthood to Ryoo when he was twelve years old. In the same year, Ryoo conducted irrigation and rice field construction in forty chobu (hectare) at 5 manors in Uji City.

In 1699, Ryoo became 70 years old, and at this time he made small Kannon (Deity of Mercy) total 333,333 of bronze statues, for his 70th birthday commemoration, giving the statues to the people. Additionally, Ryoo donated three hundred Ryo for the learning dormitories at the Kanei-ji Temple for restoration expenses. The next year, although Ryoo had went back to Edo and stayed in the Kanei-ji Temple, but he returned to the Jitoku-in temple because he discovered a bad tumor in the left section off his chest.

Then in 1701, Ryoo became the forth chief priest of the Bukkoku-ji Temple in Fushimi Ward, Kyoto. Prior to this time, only monks of Ming dynasty had served in this position, so this was the first time this honor was given to a Japanese monk. In the following year, August of 1702, Ryoo left the Bukkoku-ji Temple and retuned to the Jitoku-in Temple. Ryoo retuned to his hometown, Yawata village, and performed a memorial service for victims of the flood occurred at Omono-gawa River in the previous year, the flood was referred to as the "Shirahige no Kozui" (flood of white beard). Therefore, Ryoo gathered 1,000 stones from the Omono-gawa River; then he wrote sutras on each stone and buried them. Subsequently, Ryoo built a kyozuka (mound of Buddhist scriptures) and it was referred to as the "Ichi-ji Ichi-seki-to" (one stone with one letter monument).

In November in 1703, there was a great fire in Edo and the fire spread throughout the learning dormitories. At the time of the fire, Ryoo was 74 years old. Since the time Ryoo had established the Kyozo (sutra repository) library in the Shinobazu Pond, 31 years had passed. In the learning dormitories, scholar monks from various sects of Buddhism worked hard together, and for the scholar monks of the Tendai sect used the dormitories to perform the ascetic practice. Koben Hosshinno (Cloistered Imperial Prince Koben) petitioned to the Shogun Tsunayoshi TOKUGAWA that from thereafter, the learning dormitories shall be built by the Tokugawa Bakufu government. On the other hand, Ryoo visited Edo from Uji for the restoration of the dormitories, stated his expression of gratitude to the Hosshinno. The Hosshinno showed his gratitude to Ryoo for his hard work at his age. On this occasion, the Hosshinno gave Ryoo two rolls of the Hakuteisho (white hand-woven fabric) clothes. Afterwards, the learning dormitories were placed under the Tokugawa Bakufu's jurisdiction, and the Bakufu rebuilt them as Kangakukoin (a learning school). The Bakufu built a kyakuden (guest hall) as Ryoo's house to show respect for Ryoo's virtue.

In 1707, Ryoo completed seven days long fast, and then he entrusted his disciples to look after future affairs after his death. On May 21, Ryoo sensed his time of death was close and started meditating. When his disciples asked Ryoo for last words as teacher at his deathbed, Ryoo once refused. However, his disciples strongly requested for Ryoo's last words, so Ryoo drew a large circle and wrote underneath of the circle as follows, "Exclamation of surprise, 22nd, written by Ryoo." As Ryoo wrote, his life came to end on May 22 in Japanese old calendar (June 21, 1707). By Ryoo's will, from his inheritance 500 Ryo was donated to several temples and shrines, such as the Shishirin, Bukkoku-ji Temple, Hoon-in Temple, and the Jitoku-in Temple.

In 2007, the Ueno Kanei-ji Temple held a magnificent ceremony, three hundreds year Buddhist Mass on May 22, the day of Ryoo's death anniversary. On June 22 of the same year, the Jigen-ji Temple in Yuzawa City, which is located near Ryoo's birth place, held two ceremonies, "The Buddhist memorial service for three hundreds years of Ryoo's entering nirvana" and the "Kaigen-hoyo (Buddhist ceremony for consecration) service on the wooden statue of Ryoo Zenji." Tokuei HAMANA, a Buddhist monk, who resided in Chiba Prefecture, had donated the wooden statue (the heights was fifty centimeters; and the width was forty-five centimeters) to the Jigen-ji Temple in the previous month.