Inka Shomei is a Zen or Buddhist related term from the Japanese language that means or translates into "the legitimate seal of clearly furnished proof." It is a confirmation made by a master that his student has completed his training with said master.
In days of old, although not mandated, traditionally the student lived with the master either in a monastery-like situation or an abode close by. Because it was basically tradition handed down through the ages and not a formal mandate, living with the master is interpreted into today's world as not always being necessarily so and does not impact true or total confirmation.
If the sect or route followed by the student utilizes Koans, then once all of the Koans have been mastered by the student to the master's satisfaction, Inka will be conveyed upon the student. In traditions that focus more upon Zazen training, once the master becomes convinced of the students genuine level of insight, then the conferral of Inka will take place.
Once the student has received Inka, and the master has ensured himself that the student has the proper skills (like the ability to lead others), then the master will proclaim the student his hassu (Dharma successor). The student will then attain Roshi status as a monk, and may move away from the master in order to found another Zen Center or Monastery. Or the student may remain with the master, as a Roshi, for as long as conditions allow.
The Wanderling, as cited in Dark Luminosity and other sources, is a modern day example of the Zazen route. As to the Koan route, like everything in Zen --- as well as elsewhere --- it has it pros and cons. Aziz Kristof, a modern-day Awakened non-traditional Advaita Zen master, along the path of Enlightenment, writes of his own personal experience with Koans:
"In that period I solved the main set of Koans. I needed to solve them because I was uncertain about their importance in the Awakening process. Not being able to solve them - I might have doubted the authority of my state. I was quite sad seeing those poor fellows trying to solve these abstract Koans instead of directly Awakening their consciousness. I had a few arguments with the leading Zen master, in fact I had arguments with all the Zen masters. This man was anyway a good man, but quite identified with 'the school.' This school of Zen seemed to mould everyone into the same shape, as if they were making clones. Everybody seemed to speak the some language, ask the same questions and give the same answers. The most interesting thing was that none of those masters were actually interested in the inner state. No one ever asked: 'Aziz, what is your state?' Such a basic question! Instead, they asked: what did master Chao Chou mean saying Mu?(see) Who really cares? It is wonderful to study the sayings of Old Sages, but what they were pointing to is much more important. In awakening to 'Who I Am' one holds the essence of all possible Koans, from the past, present and future."
DOING HARD TIME IN A ZEN MONASTERY
INKA SHOMEI, A MATTER OF DEGREES
THE FIVE DEGREES OF TOZAN: Sho-Chu-Hen to Ken-Chu-To:
In ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT: The Path Unfolds, wherein the Wanderling writes of his spiritual guide and Mentor: "...therefore, the equivalent of Inka Shomei, the Seal of Approval, at the Fourth Level, ken-chu-shi, was graciously accorded me by the person from which I sought guidence; he himself, having experienced full realization under the grace and light of Sri Ramana Maharshi some thirty-nine years earlier..."
Depending on context Ken means "both," and/or "perceive" --- meaning the indepth realization of how both sho and hen are NOT separate, but actually fully integrated-interdefused aspects of the same single, non-dual phenomenon. For example, albeit simply put, the interdefused non-dualism of say hot and cold. On the surface most people would argue that they are seemingly different, but in actuality, both are interrelated aspects of the same single non-dual temperature spectrum (i.e., both the freezing point of water and the boiling point of the same water can be shown on one single thermometer).
Thus then, it can be seen the replacement in use of the word ken, which is the realization of both hen and sho totally intermingling and interdiffused, in lieu of the word hen --- as say in ken-chu-shi rather than hen-chu-shi in the Fourth Degree --- carries within it's scope a much deeper meaning than merely a simple syntax variance or first letter change.
Notice, however, his Mentor specifically selected ken-chu-shi over hen-chu-shi, meaning he felt in the nunances of it all a deeper level of understanding was attained than what hen-chu-shi offered. However, notice as well his Mentor DID NOT grace him with hen-chu-to, and most significantly NOT ken-chu-to, apparently indicating in both cases that although the Wanderling's attainment was deep, it was, at least at that time, not total. (source)
ALL IS ILLUSION?
A Chinese-Indian Dichotomy In Advaita and Zen
THE AWAKENING EXPERIENCE IN THE MODERN ERA
FIVE QUALITIES OF A DHARMA TEACHER
SPIRITUAL GUIDES: PASS OR FAIL?
Fundamentally, our experience as experienced is not different from the Zen master's. Where
we differ is that we place a fog, a particular kind of conceptual overlay onto that experience
and then make an emotional investment in that overlay, taking it to be "real" in and of itself.
AWAKENED TEACHERS FORUM
ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT IN A NUTSHELL
ON THE RAZOR'S
Zen Buddhism and Psychoanalysis By Erich Fromm, D.T. Suzuki, et al.
Aziz Kristof is one of my all time favorites. Anytime I can suggest him to somebody, I do. Below are links to two articles related to Kristof that are well worth reading. One is by Steven van der Hut, the second by Kenneth Folk.
When van der Hut and Folk were still pups I had a very pro page about Aziz on the net titled AZIZ KRISTOF: A Biography, Albeit Somewhat Unauthorized and had it up for a long, long time. When he disappeared for a several years that page was the only real page related to Kristof that stayed on the net and like many of my pages was high enough up on Google search it was easy to find. Because of that for years people contacted me all the time for info on him. However, because all of his links had gone down and his email was closed or he was not responding, our contact ceased --- that is until one day he resurfaced as Anadi requesting all my Kristof links be changed to his new website. He also requested my Somewhat Unauthorized biography page be taken down because he had or was in the process of remaking himself --- and I guess didn't want any lingering beforethoughts (actually I had two Kristof pages). I duly complied to his request. I liked the page and my second one too. I was glad to find both van der Hut and Folk's pages as they get into a lot of stuff that makes sense that I just don't have time for anymore.
The two links below take you to the two pages that breakdown Aziz Kristof's teaching. The second link contains the contents of the first link except that the second linked page has inserts between the paragraphs where the author put in his explanation as to agreement or disagreement as to the author of the first page. Both are good reads. Personally I would suggest reading the first link first, then go into the second link for the comments, etc. The first linked article is by Steven van der Hut. The second by Kenneth Folk:
Even though I have long deleted the two Kristof pages under my auspices and the server URLs they appeared on is now defunct as well. They meshed well with both van der Hut and Folk.
I like the following observation by Folk:
"The above passages, although perhaps unnecessarily verbose, point nicely toward what I call rigpa. On the other hand, they could also be pointing to the Mahasi Sayadaw understanding of Nibbana, and the author glosses over the distinction. Mahasi and many other Vipassana adepts consider Nibbana (Sanskrit Nirvana) to be the complete cessation of consciousness, whereas Tibetan Dzogchan masters like Nyoshul Khenpo equate Nirvana with rigpa, a wide-awake direct apprehension of pure awareness."
Not that anybody is over concerned one way or the other with any opinion I may or may not express, I do like what he says for two reasons. One, as shows up in Doing Hard Time In A Zen Monastery, on the way back to the states following the hard time, I studied at the Mahasi Meditation Center in what was then called Rangoon, inturn having met the venerable Mahasi Sayadaw, the center's meditation master and Principal Preceptor several times. Even so, I fall more into the camp of the Tibetan Dzogchan masters like Nyoshul Khenpo equating Nirvana with rigpa, a wide-awake direct apprehension of pure awareness. The complete cessation of consciousness, although possibly a little out of context in how it is being used, for me, falls more into a Nirodha state than Nirvana.
Aziz Kristof has long since called himself Anadi. For more on Aziz Kristof/Anadi please go to his autobiography found at his latest site:
Please see Regarding MU