Fukeshū. (普化宗). In Japanese, “Puhua Sect”; a secondary sect of the Japanese Zen school, founded by Shinchi Kakushin (1207–1298). While Kakushin was in China studying under Wumen Huikai (1183–1260), he is said to have
met a layman, the otherwise-unknown Zhang Can (J. Chō San; d.u.), who claimed to be a sixteenth-generation successor of the little-known Tang-dynasty monk Puhua (J. Fuke; d.u.), supposedly an eccentric friend of Linji Yixuan and a successor of Mazu Daoyi. Four lay disciples of Zhang’s accompanied
Kakushin when he returned to Japan, helping Kakushin to establish the sect. There is no evidence of the existence of a Puhua school in China apart from Kakushin’s account, however, and the school seems to be a purely Japanese creation. During the Tokugawa era (1603–1867), in particular, the school attracted itinerant lay Zen practitioners, known as “clerics of emptiness” (komusō), who played the bamboo flute (shakuhachi) as a form of meditation and wore a distinctive bamboo hat that covered their entire face as they traveled on pilgrimage around the country. Because masterless samurai (rōnin) and bandits began adopting Fuke garb as a convenient disguise during the commission of their crimes, the Meiji government proscribed the school in 1871 and it vanished from the scene.