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Home » 9. Texts and Sources » Other Basic Texts
Sendaikujihongitaiseikyō
This is a Shintō work attributed to Shōtoku Taishi that expounds on the commonality of the three doctrines of Shintō, Confucianism, and Buddhism. It is compiled in seventy-two volumes, with a preface and a table of contents (divided into thirty-eight volumes called the proper part, and thirty-four volumes being labeled the auxiliary part). The title is abbreviated to Kuji taiseikyō. It is said to have been compiled by Shaku Chō'on, and was published between the years of 1676 and 1679 (in the case of the Takano manuscript—a Nagano manuscript and a Sasaki manuscript also exist). The proper part is the hongi, being a historical account of the emperors down to Suiko, which is modeled after the structure of Sendai kuji hongi. The auxiliary part, kyōgyō hongi, records various doctrines peculiar to the Aji family and their reigen Shintō. Among these is the "Kenpō hongi," which includes five varieties of the seventeen-article constitution: regulations for the general public, for politicians, for Confucian scholars, for Shintō officials, and for Buddhist officials. In the general variety (which corresponds to the seventeen-article constitution found in Nihon shoki) the three treasures, which the Nihon shoki interprets to be the Buddha, the teachings (Skt. Dharma), and the monastic community, is transformed in this work to be Confucianism, Buddhism, and Shintō; thus diluting the influence of Buddhism, and emphasizing the correlation of Shintō and Confucianism. Along with the biography in of Shōtoku Taishi in "Seinō hongi," the main objective of this work is to explain that Shōtoku Taishi and his constitution are a mediation of the teaching that the "three doctrines are one."
       However, in 1681 the so-called "Taiseikyō Incident" occurred, and the shogunal government declared the book a forbidden work, and the wooden printing blocks were destroyed. It was assumed that those involved in the production and publishing of the work were Nagano Uneme, Chō'on Dōkai, an official at the Izawanomiya Shrine, and a publisher, Tojimaya Sōbe'e, and these people were dealt with by being exiled. The direct cause of the problem was the theory in the book which stated that the Izawanomiya Shrine of Shima Province, which is a branch shrine of Ise Jingū, was in actuality the original shrine of Amaterasu Ōmikami. This conflicting theory came to the surface in the early days of the Edo Period through the movement to restore shrine lands (shinryō) to their original shrines pushed by the officials at the Izawanomiya Shrine, and it is believed that this is based on the record, Izawanomiya kyūki (the old record of Izawanomiya) which contained the seeds of the idea that the inner shrine of Izawanomiya should be independent. This theory should have been laid to rest as being unreliable in the 1662 judgment from the imperial court, but when this work was published it resurfaced, so Ise Shrine filed a petition with the imperial court and the shogunal government. Because this work contains many sections that conflict with the records of the Nihon shoki and Kojiki and other classics, famous scholars of the kokugaku (National Learning) and investigative schools repeatedly denied the theory that the Taiseikyō was the oldest record, kept secret at the order of the emperor (who received and represented the will of the kami). However, even after the book was banned, the support of some monks who belonged to the tradition of "the three ways (Confucianism, Buddhism, and Shintō) as one common way" did not decline, and the belief in hifumi songs and so forth (see jindai moji) continued to spread.
       Nagano Uneme (1616-1687), who authorities believe was responsible for the production of the work, was a descendant of the Minowa Castle lord of Jōshū (Hitachi), and was known as one who had inherited the theories of the three ways as recorded in Mononobe no kaden (the family traditions of the Mononobe, or Mononobe Shintō). He also possessed the Nagano manuscript of Taiseikyō which is said to have come from the Ise Shrine. Uneme was well known among Buddhists and the aristocracy, and Ninchō Ōshō (1645-1711) of Jōdoshū (the Pure Land Buddhist sect) learned about Shintō from Uneme. Chō'on Dōkai (1628-1695) was a Zen priest of the Ōbaku sect, born in Hizen Province, and received support from the fifth shōgun, Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, and his wife, Keishōin, and because of this when the Taiseikyō Incident occurred, he was able to avoid the heavier punishment of banishment. After the incident he moved to Kurotaki in Jōshū (Niigata) and continued to work as a Zen priest of the Ōbaku school, and became the founder of the Kurotaki faction. Regarding Uneme we can confirm that there is a connection with the legend of Izawanomiya and some interaction with the officials (jinin) of the shrine, but Chō'on himself denied this.

— Mori Mizue
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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