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Founders & High Priests

Hounen Shounin

Hounen was born in 1133 in Mimasaka (present Okayama). His childhood name was Shiseimaru, and he became a trainee monk of Priest Kankaku of their family temple in order to carry out his father's final words. At the age of fifteen, he visited Priest Genkou who recommended him to study under Koukoku Ajari(a high priest in Mt. Hiei) and mastered Tendai Buddhism. He also mastered Esoteric Buddhism under Priest Enkuu in Kurotani valley of Mt. Hiei. He had mastered all kinds of Buddhsim at the age of twenty four. He visited famous scholars and priests in south area and mastered the doctrines of various Buddhism schools. He was given the name of "the wisest, Hounen-bo". He was bestowed Oujouyoushuu(one of the Buddhism scripture) by Priest Enku. He realized the virtue of the nenbutsu training, and insisted that the nenbutsu shoud be an independent practice. He finally founded a new Buddhism school "Jodo sect". Since then he insisted that the nenbutsu should be a independent practice. His way of teaching attracted all over Japan and many famous scholars or priests in Nara and Mt. Hiei became his pupils. There were so many people chanting nenbutsu here and there every day. He attained high reputation, he got strong envy from priests in Nara and and Mt Hiei in result. They appealed strongly to stop the nenbutsu in 1204. He got the strongest attack in 1207, the Imperial court at that time abolished the nenbutsu and exiled Honen to Tosa(present Kochi). He let one of his disciples, Shakkuu, marry to a daughter of the chief advisor to the Emperor. He permitted his priests to get married and eat meat. After released, he went back to Kyoto and lived in a zenbo(Zen practice house) in Ootani. He kept chanting the nenbutsu all the time. His school, Jodo sect, attracted people more and more. He was deigned the title of Enkou Taishi.