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A shippei (竹箆, 竹篦) is a bamboo staff which curves slightly, approximately 15 inches[1][lower-alpha 1] (or half a metre[3]) long, which is used as a "symbol of a Zen master's authority" in Zen Buddhism.[4] In contrast to the keisaku, the shippei was often used as a disciplinary measure for meditating monks. It can often be found at the side of a Zen master in a zendo and is also "one of seven items that make up a Zen monk's equipment."[3] It is fashioned out of two pieces of bamboo that are shaped into the form of a spatula[2] (or short bow[1]), wound with rattan,[1] and lacquered.[2][lower-alpha 2]

Sometimes curved in the shape of an S, the shippei may be elaborately decorated with a silk cord or have carvings. It is still "sometimes employed to hit monks."[6]

See also

Explanatory notes

  1. In Japanese measures it is given as 1 shaku 5 sun,[2] or 15 sun, which is approximately 15 inches.
  2. Although some sources state it is bound with wisteria vine,[4][5] sources in Japanese such as Iwanami dictionary state it is (, "rattan")[2] and not fuji (, "wisteria") although these two characters are easily confounded.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Senzaki (2008), p. 185.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Iwanami Kōjien (広辞苑) Japanese dictionary, 4th Edition (1991), DVD version
  3. 3.0 3.1 Koun, 205-206
  4. 4.0 4.1 Baroni, 300
  5. Hakuin, Ekaku (2010) [1999]. Wild Ivy: The Spiritual Autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin. Norman Waddell (tr.). Shambhala Publications. p. 126, n15. ISBN 0834823195. 
  6. Hori, 701-702


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