Hermits (sennin)

. sennin 仙人と伝説 Legends about Immortals .

Daruma Pilgrims Gallery


sennin 仙人 Immortal
hermit, mountain saint, recluse . . .

The recluse from the political scene has always been an ideal of the Chinese and later Japanese intellectuals.
Some mountain recluses were seen as Tengu, others as Sennin.
shinsen 神仙 Sennin of the Shinto tradition
bosatsu 菩薩 is an honorable title given to Buddhist Immortals

senkyuu, senkyū 仙宮 Senkyu, dwelling of a Hermit


. China - The Eight Immortals 八仙 Pa Hsien .
- Introduction -

. sennin 仙人 Immortals - List of the Names .


A hermit (from the Greek eρημος erēmos, signifying "desert", "uninhabited", hence "desert-dweller") is a person who lives to some greater or lesser degree in seclusion and/or isolation from society.

Originally the term was applied to a Christian who lives the eremitic life out of a religious conviction, namely the Desert Theology of the Old Testament (i.e. the 40 years wandering in the desert that was meant to bring about a change of heart).

Sennin is a common Japanese character name.
For example, Ikkaku Sennin (一角仙人 "One-horned Immortal") was a Noh play by Komparu Zenchiku (金春禅竹, 1405-1471).

- quote -
Ikkaku sennin - a supernatural being, born from the belly of a doe, who has captured a number of Dragon Kings after defeating them in a scuffle several years earlier ...
The kingdom of Harana has been suffering from drought since Ikkaku sennin fought and captured the Dragon Kings (dragons are associated with rain and water in East Asian myth). A minister from the kingdom, along with Madam Senda, go to meet Ikkaku, and to attempt to convince him to free the Dragon Kings. They pretend to be travelers who have gotten lost, and manage to invite themselves to have wine with the sennin. Mesmerized by the beauty of Madam Senda, Ikkaku gets drunk, giving the Dragon Kings a chance to escape. They do so, after performing a martial dance over their incapacitated captor.
- source : wiki.samurai-archives.com... -


. Gama Sennin 蝦蟇仙人 "Toad Immortal" .
Liu Hai (劉海)

. Kame Sennin 亀仙人 "Turtle Immortal"
Muten Roshi 武天老師 Master Roshi .


- - - - - China - - - - -

Three Hermits: plum, chrysanthemum and narcissus

Lin Bu (967 – 1028), a scholar, did not marry but took the plum blossoms as his bride.

Tao Quian (365 – 427), a poet and official, renounced his position and retreated to plant chrysanthemums in his garden.

Zha Mengjian (1199 – 1267), an imperial family member of the Sung, painted narcissus as a means of self-cultivation in his times of upheavel of the Mongol invasions.

These three flowers, who make it through the harsh winter months, are together a symbol of eremits and hermits, who renounce worldly positions and pursue self realization and self cultivation in a remote atmosphere.


Chen Hongshou (Chinese, 1598-1652):
The Three Hermits: Plum, Chrysanthemum, and Narcissus
Chinese, Ming dynasty, ink and color on silk, Wan-go H. C. Weng Collection,
photography courtesy Wan-go H.C. Weng,
courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

quote from ARTBLOG NET

"What is a mere painting's worth, except that it has accompanied three members of my family," he inscribed in 1889, adding that his father and then his brother had carried it with them before they died. "
. . . Every time I unroll the scroll, tears flow uncontrollably."
Weng Tonghe


Tang Dynasty Prime Minister Li Deyu and
the Three Hermits

Li Deyu was a Prime Minister in the Tang Dynasty. Before he became the Prime Minister, he met three people with special powers. All three were hermits.

One day Li met a hermit named Guan Chenshan. At that time, he was a low-ranking official assigned to guard the north gate of a city. Guan told him, “You will be promoted and serve as a secretary for the Emperor next year. But you will actually work for the Crown Prince.” Li was so astonished by the hermit’s words that his face turned white. The hermit seemed to regret his words and hurriedly got up to leave. As he was leaving, Li asked him, “Why will I work for the Crown Prince?” The hermit replied, “You have a predestined relationship with the Crown Prince in several past lives, so you will.”

In the Fall of that year, Li Deyu was summoned to the capital. Shortly after, the Crown Prince usurped the throne and became Emperor Muzong. In January of the following year, Li Deyu was assigned to work in the imperial court and to work closely with the new Emperor.

While he was serving as a high-ranking counselor to the Emperor, a hermit from central Min (now Fujian Province) came to visit him. When Li greeted him, the hermit said, “The current situation will not last. If you don’t leave, you will be appointed Prime Minister. However, a disaster will follow. If you apply for a position in a remote place, the person who replaces you here will suffer. Ten years from now, you will become Prime Minister and return to the capital from the west.” In the fall of that year, Li asked for and received a post to guard the remote city of Wumen. One year later, he went to the capital to pay his respect to the Emperor and was sent to guard the border township of Nanyan.

At the end of that Fall, a county official accompanied by a Taoist [Someone who follows the "Tao" or "way of the universe"] from the Ye Shire came to visit Li. Before the Taoist even walked to his seat, he said to Li, “You will be appointed General of the Southwest. You will receive your seal for the General’s post before October 15.”

The events that occured later was exactly like what the three hermits had predicted. The time frame they predicted was also very accurate. The person who replaced Li as a high-ranking counselor to the Emperor was sent into exile shortly after Li left for his post in the remote city of Wumen. Ten years later, Li Deyu became the Prime Minister, where he indeed held an official post in the west before his appointment to become the Prime Minister came.

Adapted from Chuqiong Zhi
© 2001-2003 ClearHarmony Net


Tōbōsaku Sennin 東方朔仙人 Tobosaku Sennin
with a peach in hand

Tobosaku is the bad guy in the Japanese mythology who stole not only one, but three peaches out of Seibo's garden. So he became immortal. No wonder that Tobosaku is always shown as an old man, with a broad smile and a peach in his hand. Happy old man!
- source : Japanese Gods and Goddesses -
Dieter Wanczura


Kanzan and Jittoku 寒山拾得

Ryokan san, 良寛さんRyookan


inkunshi 隠君子 man of modest worth who lives in obscurity
man of little worth

uri koya no tsuki ni ya owasu inkunshi

this watchman
now without the pepo hut
under the moon

Tr. Hideo Suzuki

. WKD : uri 瓜 all kinds of gourds, melons and pepos - Cucurbitaceae .

. WKD : Yosa Buson 与謝蕪村 in Edo .


Chookaroo Sennin, Chōkarō Sennin 張果老仙人 Chokaro Sennin
one of the Eight Immortals from China

Chōkarō Sennin releasing the horse from the gourd
Kano Tsunenobu (狩野常信: 1636-1713).

- CLICK for more artwork about Chokaro ! -


- continue reading here :
with a list of the Japanese Sennin . . .
. sennin 仙人と伝説 Legends about Immortals .

- #sennin #mountainhermit #immortal -


Gabi Greve said...

enjoying narcissus,
plums and more ...
mountain hermit

© Gabi Greve, May 2007

Anonymous said...

even for the holy hermit
today, a square
of zoni!

sutebito mo kesa wa shikaku ni zooni kana


by Issa, 1821

Sutebito is a person who has rejected the world: a "hermit" or a "recluse"; Kogo dai jiten (Shogakukan 1983) 885.
Zooni, glutinous rice cakes with vegetables, is enjoyed in the New Year's season.

Tr. David Lanue

Anonymous said...

Jiraiya (自来也 or 児雷也, "Young Thunder"), originally known as Ogata Shuma Hiroyuki,
is the title character of the Japanese folk tale
Jiraiya Gōketsu Monogatari (児雷也豪傑物語, "The Tale of the Gallant Jiraiya").


Gabi Greve said...

Kobayashi Issa

sutebito ya awase o meshite yuusuzumi

the holy hermit
puts on a lined robe
evening cool

awase, a lined kimono
David Lanoue
keywords used by Issa