Tearoom Scrolls Q&A
Please teach us about “Juu Jo Nan Zan”
by Chisaka Juugaku, Shogen Junior College Special Professor

When it comes to things humans desire, in the end there are three things: fortune, wealth, and longevity, especially the two of happiness ie. fortune and of long life ie. longevity. This must certainly be correct, for few people don’t hope for happiness and longevity. For this reason, from ancient times the words of congratulatory blessing “Longevity resembles the Southern Mountain; Fortune looks like the Eastern Sea” was often said or written.” Juu Jo Nan Zan” has the same meaning as “Longevity compares to the Southern Mountain.”
The Southern Mountain is the most southern mountain to the south of Xi’an City in Shaanxi Province of China (the old Ming capital of Chang’an). It was believed that it would never crumble, having the hardest stones of all mountains. Thus, “longevity compares to the Southern Mountain” has the congratulatory meaning of “the length of your life should compare to the Southern Mountain: strongly lasting for a thousand years, for eight thousand years, for all eternity.” Longevity as the meaning of human life, as a word to encourage the continuation of one’s life.
You might also notice the important set phrase: “Happiness and longevity as fathomless sea”, and the congratulatory phrase for the new year: “An ocean of happiness; Longevity of the three thousand year old Spring.” There is another phrase used as prayerful words or as congratulation of long life: “Longevity measuring as high as the ten thousand mountain.” It’s said we want to extend the average life span, but however much we want so, our life span is set. It’s usual for people to wish for a thousand years or ten thousand years, but if we could realize in our life “immeasurable longevity”, it would be the most joyous thing as a human. Dougen Zenji explained, “When Buddha is apart of your existence (samsara), there is no existence.” The Shi Jing has, “Like the constancy of the moon, like the measure of the sun, like the longevity of the southern mountain, it does not err, it does not crumble.”
However, long life is not the only thing valued in life. Now, the bodies we live in are more precious, more valuable than anything.
Also, the well known phrase “Fuku Roku Jou Kai; Shuu Nen Ji San” (Resembling the Sea of Fortune; Looking like the Mountain of Many Years), especially expresses the happiness that everyone seeks in a single phrase. The lucky god of happiness Fuku-roku-ju, one of the Seven Lucky Gods that Japanese folk have faith in, has a short body with a tall head, has a large beard, carries a staff with a holy scroll tied to it, and is accompanied by many cranes. In China, it is said he is the avatar of the Southern Star. Roku means a treasure and Ju means the longevity of heaven.
As the same time, the idea of “the longevity of heaven is boundless” also expresses the blessedness of longevity and the southern mountain. Thus we hang a scroll with this phrase in the alcove during New Year and other congratulatory times.

千坂秀學(ちさかしゅうがく) 正眼短期学特任教授

また、「福禄如海 寿年似山」(福禄海の如く、寿年山に似たり)という語もよく知られるところで、これこそ人間だれしもが求める幸福を一句に表わしているといえるでしょう。福禄寿神というめでたい福神は日本の民間信仰の七福神の一で、短身で長頭、ひげが多く、経巻を結びつけた杖を携え、多くの鶴を従えています。中国では南極星の化身といわれ、禄は戝物を、寿は天寿を意味しています。「天寿極まりなし」という意と同時に、寿も南山もめでたさを表わすもので、正月や、おめでたい時に床に掛けられる軸物の語句となっています。