Shinran and His Work, by Arthur Lloyd, , at sacred-texts.com
In the year 614 A.D. a boy was born in China. By what precise name his parents first knew him I do not know. Judging from the analogy of other men similarly situated, he had many names at different periods of his life. The name by which he was last known was Zendō (#), but that was almost certainly not the name of his childhood. His family name was Shu (#) and he was born in the district of Shishū (#).
When he was born the Sui * dynasty was tottering to its fall, and had in fact only four years more of life. Already, we may believe, was the Duke of Tang, on the extreme north-west boundaries of the Empire, conspiring with Turkish and other chieftains, and meditating that great coup d’état, which put his
master at his mercy, and seated himself firmly on the Celestial Throne, as the founder of a Dynasty, the most magnificent China had ever yet seen, and which was to continue for well-nigh three centuries. * The miseries of the people, heavily burdened and harrassed to support the luxurious and ostentatious extravagance of the Sui monarchs, tended to encourage his hopes, and with the practised eye of the statesman he could see that it only needed a strong man at the helm to make China a world-power with very widely extending influence. For the inland states on the Western frontiers were already looking to China for aid against the terror of the Arab, shortly to be kindled to victory by the enthusiasm of the new faith inspired by Mahomet, and only a few years were destined to elapse before Persia, at war with Constantinople, and overrun by the Arabs, should come to China in the vain hopes of an alliance against the new foe. † To give another
note of time, Shōtoku Taishi, * the greatest of Japan's early statesmen, and as great in the religious world as he was in the political, was already busy with his celebrated reforms. The Constitution of the 17 Articles had already been in force some ten years when Zendō was born, the ruler of Japan had already given offence to the vainglorious Sovereign of the Sui by the letter in which the "Eastern Emperor" sent his greeting, as an equal in rank, to his brother the "Emperor of the West," and Korea, which had already done so much for Japan in the way of religious and civilizing influences, was giving Japanese statesmen a good deal of political anxiety. †
In matters of religion,. Confucianists and Taoists were apparently going on much as usual; but the Buddhist world, distracted partly by the immense volume and bulk of its own religious books, and partly by the multiplicity of the new ideas which the growing commercial activity of the people was importing from foreign countries, was in a state of apparently fermenting chaos. * Bodhidharma's attempts at reform (A.D. 520) † were already a century old and his way had already lost some of its prestige: new sects, ‡ e.g. the Sanron, Jōjitsu,
and Tendai, were already in process of formation, if not actually formed, and Hiouen Thsang had already (A.D. 611) entered the order of monks, and was now preparing for the celebrated journey to India for the purpose of studying at first hand the doctrines of his faith.
Some reform was certainly needed. In the year 618, the Duke of Tang deposed his master, and took his seat on the Imperial throne as Kaotsu, the Founder of the Tang dynasty. One of the most striking incidents of his reign was the presentation of a petition to the throne against Buddhism, It was presented by leading men among the literati and Confucianists, and was strongly worded. * Kaotsu accepted the petition and acted upon it. He ordered a general dissolution and suppression of Buddhist monasteries and sent 100,000 monks and nuns back into lay life. It was probably a necessary measure. The monks were very numerous and very powerful, and they claimed exception from State control. Abuses of many kinds are apt to spring up in institutions the members of which claim not to be placed on the same footing with ordinary citizens.
Zendō entered the Buddhist order at a very early age. I cannot find whether it was before or after the suppression of the Monasteries by Kaotsu; but it was most probably before that event, and his teacher was a certain Shōshō (#) of Misshu (#), a prominent person in the then newly-formed Sanron sect. This sect, which is also called the Ichi-dai-kyōshu, or "Sect of the Teachings of Buddha's
whole life," made it a feature of its teachings that it professed to accept every one of the many thousand volumes of the Mahāyāna Canon, as of equal authority, without assigning to any single one a pre-eminent place among its compeers. It aimed at the most complete and glorious comprehensiveness (a comprehensiveness which, I fear, can only be attained by the sacrifice of the critical faculty). Zendō's Buddhist biographer * adds that he also studied the Vinaya discipline (a fact which may be taken as showing traces of a somewhat practical turn of mind), and notices further that, during these student days, he was continually restless, that he sighed for greater definiteness, and expressed a longing for that simpler doctrine of Salvation by Faith in Amida, which has always had its exponents in China as well as in Japan.
At last, weary of the confusion, he went into the Library, prayed for guidance, closed his eyes, and put out his hand for the book which was to simplify his Creed. The same story is told of others in .Chinese Buddhism: in Zendō's case, his hand fell upon the volume of the Kwangyō (the Amitayurdhyāni Sutra), † which relates how Sakyamuni
comforted Queen Vaidehi in her distress by reminding her of the mercies of Amitabha, "who is ever near thee." Zendō read and received comfort; but he could not understand all he read, and where he was there was none to explain it.
But he heard that, south of the Yangtze, at Rozan (#), there were traditions and books which might explain what he wanted. It was here that Eon (#), who died A.D. 416, had worked for thirty years, and had founded, in connection with a body of friends known as the "eighteen sages of Rozan," a guild known as the White Lotus Society, which was the first association of Buddhist monks and laymen for the joint adoration of Amida Butsu. Zendō learned all that he could at Rozan, and then recommenced his travels, consulting as many religious teachers as he found likely to be able to give him helpful advice and
counsel. What he learned from these teachers induced him to adopt a rule of life, known as han shu sammai (#), which reads almost like the stern rule of some Christian ascetic, still more so, perhaps, of that of some Manichean fanatic. Mi tsune ni butsu wo raishi, kuchi tsune ni butsu wo tonae, kokoro tsune ni butsu wo omou. "His body ceaselessly engaged in the worship of Buddha, his mouth ceaselessly engaged in the recital of Buddha's praises, his heart ceaselessly meditating Buddha." With this in mind he retired to the Temple of Goshinji (#) in Shunnan, where, amidst beautiful mountain scenery, and In the solitude of retirement, he "beat out his music." It is quite evident that this retirement, which lasted for some years, was of great value in the formation of his religious ideas. The name of the temple signifies, not inaptly, the "Temple for the Instruction of Truth." He remained here until his 29th year, returning to Singanfu in the year A.D. 643. *
His stay however, was for a short time only. Ever since his first conversion to Amidaism in the library, he had evidently been searching for any traces he could find of Amida followers in China. He had been to Rozan to examine Eon's literary remains and to get into touch with the White Lotus Society. We may presume that the Goshinji to which he retired was a place at which he would find persons in sympathy with his religious sentiments. Now he heard that Dōshaku (#), the monk who is reckoned as Zendō's predecessor in the list of Shinshu patriarchs, was teaching in the district of Shinyō (#, Chinyang in Kiangsi) and he set off at once to visit the aged man.
Dōshaku, who is reckoned by the Jōdo Buddhist as the fourth patriarch of the Amida Doctrines, and therefore as Zendō's immediate predecessor, was born in Heishū (#) in the year A.D. 553, and died in 636. He had experienced the persecution which the Buddhists had undergone during the reign of Wu-ti of the Chow (#) Dynasty * and he was one of the few brave ones who remained faithful in spite of the violence of the storm. His predecessor, the third patriarch, Donran, † had taught
with considerable effect in the district in which Dōshaku was born, and though he had been dead twenty years when Dōshaku came into the world, his influence was still felt in the neighbourhood. It was kneeling before the stone pillar erected to Donran's memory that Dōshaku made his vow to propagate the Doctrine of Salvation by Faith in Amida. Dōshaku was 48 years of age when he thus enrolled himself as a posthumous pupil of Donran's; but he is said to have developed the doctrine beyond what Donran had done. Donran had been drawn by the hope of eternal life, and it was this hope, set before him by the Indian monk Bodhiruci, that had made him burn his Taoist books of magic and set himself to the study of Amidaism. In Dōshaku's hands the Amida doctrine had developed in the direction of personality. He taught (if we may believe his latest biographer, Mr. Tada) * that Amida must be considered to be a personal Being and not a mere abstract ideal, and the book which he placed in Zendō's hands was the larger Sukhāvati Vyūha, the book which gives the account of Amida's
life, of His Incarnation in the person of Hōzō Biku, His labours undertaken for the Salvation of men, the successful accomplishment of His Great Vow, and His return to glory as King of His Western Paradise. This doctrine Zendō accepted and preached. He may be said to have carried the doctrine a stage further. The followers of Hōnen Shōnin (otherwise known as Genkū) form three communities, (i) the Shinshu, founded by Shinran, and (ii and iii) the two sub-sects of the older Jōdo sect, the Chinsei-ha and the Seizan-ha. * The Chinsei-ha, agreeing in this respect with the Shinshu, differ from the Seizan-ha in the matter of reciting the Nembutsu. The latter community treat the Nembutsu as an act of adoration addressed to all the Buddhas, the Chinsei-ha and Shinshu treat it as addressed to Amida alone, as being the only Buddha, and the one to whom everything else is subordinate and subservient; and this practice, according to Murakami, † is due to the teachings of Zendō. To Zendō, therefore, the doctrine of faith became a doctrine involving a belief in a single Being, without beginning of days or end of life, unbounded in every respect, who, for man's salvation, had become a man, had accomplished a scheme of salvation, and had returned to his original glory.
Zendō's biographers relate how, when the patriarch was on the way to visit Dōshaku, his road
lay through forests and mountains, so rough and impassable that, at last, worn out with fatigue, he had to lie down to rest in a cave. He was fainting with hunger and weariness, and it was two days before he could raise himself. Then it seemed to him that a voice sounded in his ears: "Pull yourself together, and struggle on: your difficulties will disappear." We may perhaps enquire what these difficulties were and how they disappeared.
Dōshaku is said to have died in the year A.D. 637. The date cannot be implicitly trusted, for it is also said that Zendō was 29 years old when he visited Dōshaku and accepted Amidaism, an impossible age if Zendō was born in A.D. 614. The explanation probably will be found in another statement to the effect that Dōshaku died five years after the visit of Zendō. That would make Zendō 23 years old when he visited Dōshaku, and we may easily believe that the conversion to Amidaism, as he came to learn it, may have been a slow process, not fully accomplished for several years. But, whichever way we look at it, the conversion of Zendō to the full faith in Amida must have taken place about the year A.D. 636 (if anything a little later than that year), and in, or near, the capital city of Singanfu. From that date and in that city, he began his preaching activity.
China under the Tang dynasty had many dealings with Central Asia. The ruling family, as Dukes of the dependent principality of Tang, had been much mixed up with Tartar and Turkish tribes, and it was apparently by their help that the family had been seated on the throne of China. From the
moment, therefore, that the Dynasty was established, the new Empire became the cynosure of Central Asian eyes. * A Persian Mission was sent by Chosroes II, praying for an alliance, and in 621 the first Zoroastrian Temple was erected in Singanfu. The leader of this Mission seems to have been a Magian of the name of Holu ("le fils du feu," as P. Gaubil calls him) who was very active in stirring up China against the Mahometans. Of Manichaeans in China proper, there seems to be no mention for many years to come † but in 636, almost synchronizing with the
commencement of Zendō's preaching activity, arrived the Nestorian Mission under Olopen, which has left behind it an enduring memorial in stone. Is it possible that the "difficulties" with which Zendō was troubled, when he lay wearied in the cave on his way to Dōshaku, were difficulties connected with the relations between the Buddhist Faith and the Faith which the Nestorians preached?
We can trace the development of Zendō's thought. Confused by the multiplexity of the popular Buddhism of his day, he turns to the scripture in which Sakyamuni is represented as comforting Vaidehi with the proximity and tender watchfulness of Amida. Then he goes south to Rozan, to the remnants of Eon and his White Lotus Guild, after which, in the solitude of the Goshinji Temple, he works out his problem. In the meantime he hears of Christianity (by no means an impossibility if we remember the story of the introduction of silkworms into Europe a century before). What is he to do or say? He goes to Dōshaku to resolve his doubts, and Dōshaku tells hire of "Eternal Life," and gives him the Sukhāvati Vyuha, which tells of Amida as a Person, who came down upon Earth, who.
opened the door of salvation, and has gone to, the place He has prepared for us. *
After 636, then, we find, in Singanfu, two men preaching almost similar doctrines, the one preaching them in connection with Christ, the other in
connection with Amida. It is further said of Zendō's activity that he was constantly helped by a mysterious priest who came to visit him every evening and helped him with his commentaries (see Tada, Shoshingekōwa, p. 359.) This mysterious collaborator may have been a Christian, and if so, the strange coincidences, the almost Pauline echoes, which are constantly to be found in Zendō's writings, would be amply accounted for. Nor is the supposition a baseless one; for we have one clear instance of such collaboration between a Buddhist and Nestorian about a century later, when the Nestorian priest King Tsing (or Adam, as he is called on the Singanfu monument) collaborated with the Indian monk Prajna in the translation of a book on the Six Cardinal Virtues (Shat Parāmitā Sūtra). * The original was not in Sanskrit but in the Hu (#), i. e. the Persian, or more probably, the Uigur language. At any rate, not much came of this attempted collaboration, which probably caused much jealousy and opposition. It was after a while forbidden by. the Emperor Taitsung, who, in a published decree, ordered the Nestorian King Tsing to confine himself to the teachings of Mishiho, and to leave the followers of Sakyamuni to propagate the teachings of their master. †
The suggestion of opposition raised against such collaboration, on the part of friendly-disposed believers of the two religions, by more strait-laced partisans, brings me to another point of contact between Zendō and the Nestorians. It is said (my authority again is Mr. Tada) that great opposition was made against Zendō for his preaching. A butcher, whose customers had left him to turn Buddhists, tried to murder the persuasive * monk who injured his trade. And not only did persons of low degree set themselves against him. The literati persecuted him and his followers, as did also the priests of the other Buddhist sects. When the Emperor Kaotsung died in 684, the reins of Government fell into the hands of the Empress-Dowager Wu-hu, who was under the influence of a Buddhist monk named Hwai-yi, a monk of one of the sects opposed to Zendō's teaching, and Hwai-yi in 694 caused much popular discontent among the lower
classes by burning a favourite Temple, which may have been Zendō's. For the common people heard Zendō gladly, and it was his preaching of a Gospel to the poor and outcast that annoyed the literati and the " Salvation-by-knowledge" Schools of Buddhists.
Strange to say, the Nestorians, well received and honourably treated by Taitsung and Kaotsung, fall into disgrace, and are persecuted, as soon as Kaotsung's death leaves the supreme power in the hands of the Empress-Dowager Wu-hu, and her adviser Hwai-yi. The persecution of the Nestorians is instigated by the sane people as that against the followers of "Zendō, and much the same pretexts are alleged. Moreover, the persecution of the two bodies goes on for the same time, and relief comes to them simultaneously. Of the Nestorians we read that Huantsung (723–756), succeeding Wu-hu, rebuilds the "Temple of Felicity," as the Nestorian Church is called, that Huantsung's succeessor, Sutsung (756–763), coming into a disordered inheritance recovers Singanfu which was in the hands of rebels, and erects "luminous" temples in various parts of his Empire, and finally that the Emperor Taitsung (763–780), the same who discouraged the collaboration of King Tsing and Prajna, not only celebrated the Bon Festival with the Buddhists in the 7th month, but kept Christmas in the 12th with the Nestorians, "burning incense" in a "luminous temple" with the "luminous multitude." As to Zendō's followers, we find them gathering round a teacher named Ekan, not very long after the master's death. Ninety years after that event, a monk named Hossō is mentioned as acquiring great
fame, and in 793 Shōkō makes Uryūsan (#) the headquarters of the teachings promulgated by Zendō. But by that time the Emperor Taitsung was already dead (ob. 780), and the collaboration between Amidaist and Christian had already been prohibited.
When the Nestorian mission first arrived in China in A.D. 636. they procured from the Emperor Teitsung a decree authorizing the erection of a Tatsin (i.e. a Syrian) Temple. This name, however, may have led to confusion, for both Zoroastrians and Manichaeans might conceivably have claimed the title (loosely construed), and in fact, did so. When Huantsung, soon after 713, rebuilds the Nestorian Church, it is called a "Temple of Felicity." When Sutsung, in 756, recovers Singanfu, the Nestorian Churches are "luminous (#) temples," and this name has come to be identified with Nestorianism ever since, both in China and Japan.
When Zendō died, the Emperor Kaotsung (650–683) granted to the Temple in which he resided the honorific title of Kōmyōji (#), which is only another form of "luminous temple." The popular explanation of this name is obviously a fanciful one. Bright rays of light do not come out of the mouths of even the most eloquent preachers of any faith, nor do books, however holy and mouldy, glow with a phosphorescent light. Yet that was what Shōkō is said to have seen issuing from the works of Zendō preserved in the library at the White Horse Monastery. * Kaotsung was an enlightened monarch, and
if he gave the title of Kōmyōji, it must have been for the quality of the doctrine and not by reason of any doubtful miracle. But it is quite probable that "luminous temple" and Kōmyōji may have been used as alternative titles to describe the Faith in One Saviour as taught, both by the Nestorians and the children of Zendō, during the period of collaboration, and that later, when Taitsung ordered the two to keep apart, the name of Kōmyōji was taken by the Buddhist section of the "movement" as their own specific designation, the Manichaeans distinguishing their temple by the title Dai-un-kōmyōji.
This view receives considerable support form Japanese history. Shōtoku Taishi, whom the Shinshu honor as the first of their Zenchishiki or Saints, died in 621, shortly after the commencement of the Tang dynasty. Buddhism was, therefore, in full swing in Japan when, in 636, the Nestorian Mission arrived at Singanfu, and Zendō began his preaching, and there were many Japanese students being sent yearly to China for purposes of study. * Not only so, but there were malty Chinese families residing in Japan and naturalized there (ayabito), and it has been noticed that most of Kōtoku Tennō's Taikwa Reforms (A.D. 645–654) were worked out for him by these ayabito. † The whole of the Nara period was an age in which Japan was peculiarly
sensitive to Chinese influences, and especially to the influences of Chinese Buddhism.
This influence seems to have reached its maximum during the reign of Shōmu Tennō (724–748) and his Consort Kōmyō Kōgō (the very name, a posthumous one, is in itself significant. Shōmu Tennō was a very zealous Buddhist. He founded hospitals and charitable institutions, and his Empress distinguished herself by personally undertaking the nursing of lepers *—a truly Christian work. Japan was in no position at the time to undertake hospital work unaided. Foreign doctors had to be employed, and the industry of Japanese students has recently shown us the presence in Japan, at the Court, of a Nestorian Christian (the Nestorian Christians were famous all over the East for their skill in medicine). † Here,
therefore, we have possibly, two instances of simultaneous collaboration, Buddhist and Christian uniting in the production of books in China, and in works of charity in Japan.
In 781, the Singanfu monument is erected, and, shortly before, or afterwards, the Chinese Emperor finds reason for prohibiting the collaboration. In 782 the Emperor Kwammu comes to the throne of Japan. The Buddhists have been giving themselves airs for some time, and the ambitious priest Dōkyō, intriguing with the Empress Shōtoku (765–769), has assumed the title of Hō Ō, or "religious emperor," a kind of pope! Kwammu determines to put an end to the political intrigues of the Nara clergy, removes his capital to Kyoto, and sends Kōbō and Dengyo to China to investigate religion. They come
back, the one with the Shingon, the other with the Tendai. Again it is significant that these sects, and especially the Tendai, which became practically the State religion of Japan for many centuries, were the very sects which had organized the persecution against Zendō, when he first began to preach his doctrine of Salvation by Faith in Amida.
But the light still shone, in spite of the opposition of the Tendai. Zendō's books came over to Japan, Mr. Tada tells us, at different times between 996 and 858, and several monks, such as Kūya and Eikwan, kept alive the faith in Amida, invoking His Name on Hieizan, or wandering, disguised as travelling priests or horse dealers (umakata), from province to province, preaching a simple faith to country peasants. * And finally, the great Hōnen (Genkū), breaking with the Tendai, as so many others had
done, in order to return to the teaching of Zendō, founds at Kurodani a temple, still known as Konkai Kōmyōji, "the Illustrious Temple of the Golden Precept," which is to this day one of the chief seats of the Chinsei sub-division of the Jōdo Sect. And it is this Chinsei-ha which preserves Zendō's rule of making the Nembutsu an invocation of the Great Amida alone, to the exclusion of all the rest.
154:* The Sui dynasty ruled in China from 589–659. A.D. They came to power at the close of a long period of division, the Empire having been previously divided into many small Kingdoms, with Chinese rulers south of the Yangtse, and Tartar or Turkish chieftains in the northern districts. Such were the Wei (Tartars), the Hsia (Hun), the Northern Yen (Tartar), the Western Liang (Turkish), and the Western Tsin (Tibetan). These smaller Kingdoms are of great importance in the History of Buddhism, for it was in them rather than in China proper that Buddhism flourished before the Tang period. The Sui family had but two Sovereigns, Wenti (589–606), who united China and carried the Chinese name far among the Turks in the N. and East, and Yangti (605–617), a man of violent temper, prone to debauchery and extravagance, who brought the Empire to the verge of ruin. He was overthrown by Li-yüan of the Tang family, who ascended the throne in A.D. 618, as Kaotsu.
155:* It will be well to remember that under the earlier Tang Emperors, Chinese Viceroyalties extended as far as the frontiers of the Persian Empire, and that even monarchs like Siladitya Harsha of Kanauj acknowledged Chinese influence. It must also be remembered that Kaotsu suppressed Buddhist monasteries, sending 100,000 bonzes and nuns about their business, being stimulated thereto by petitions from Chinese literati. Buddhism had many enemies; e.g. in India, where Harsha's predecessor had likewise (in 601) dissolved the Buddhist monasteries, and even uprooted the famous Bodhi-tree. V. A. Smith, Early History of India.
155:† It will be well to keep a few dates in mind. The first Persian Temple (whether Zoroastrian or Manichaean is not quite clear) was erected at Singanfu, in 621, three years after Kaotsu's accession. The Persian Empire, under Chosroes, II, was at the time at war with Rome (or rather Constantinople), a Persian army was on the Bosphorus. This war was a great strain on p. 156 the Persian dominions, and there were other causes for anxiety. Mahomet, born 570, had announced himself as a prophet in 610, and the Hegira, from which all Mahometans date their years, took place in 672. Siladitya Harsha, whose Indian Empire extended over the whole basin of the Ganges, and who began as a warlike monarch, came to the throne A.D. 606. He, too, received an Embassy from the Persians, which he housed in a Monastery near Multan, and massacred after entertaining them liberally. This must have been before his conversion to Buddhism which seems to have been about 645. (V. A. Smith, Early History of India). The Persians were evidently looking everywhere for helpful allies.
156:* Shotoku Taishi's political activity may be said to have begun with the battle of Shikisen in 587, when the Shinto supporters were crushed. He became Crown Prince in 593, proclaimed Buddhism in 595, promulgated his Constitution of 17 Articles in 604, rent his celebrated letter to the "Emperor of the West" (Yangti of Sui) in 609 and died in 621. With him may be said to end the Korean period of Japanese Buddhism.
156:† Korea, divided into several small states, was fluctuating in allegiance between China and Japan. Yangti of Sui sent an expedition to Korea (A.D. 615), and Shotoku was much concerned to preserve Japanese influence in the peninsula.
157:* With a few exception, the early books translated by the Buddhist missionaries of the Han period (ended A.D. 220) and of the era of confusion which followed, were so badly done as to be practically unintelligible. Kumarajiva, a native of Kushe, with apparently both Chinese and Indian blood in his veins, arrived at Changan in A.D. 406, and inaugurated a new era of translation. Amongst the hooks of which he provided fresh translations were the Sukhāvati Vyūhas and the Hokekyō. Kum. therefore marks a new period in the history of the Chinese Buddhism.
157:† Not even with Kumarajiva's efforts could Buddhism in China be brought into a satisfactory condition. Bodhidharma's efforts were devoted to introducing a form of Buddhism which should not depend upon books, but teach men by contemplation to get straight to the heart of Buddha.
157:‡ Hiouen Thsang, born A.D. 602, enters the Order 622; about the time of Kaotsu's edict against the monasteries: unable to satisfy his mind, starts for India 629, meets Silabhadra in India, and enters the Nalanda monastery in 638, returns to China 645, The Emperor Teitsung writes a preface for his translation in 648. Hiouen Thsang is regarded as the founder of the Hosso sect, and it shows how close was the connection between Japan and China that the same sect appears in Japan 653, having been brought over by Dōshō, a student under Hiouen Thsang. It is noteworthy that H. T. did not bring Amidaism of the Zendō type back from India. Perhaps he did not find it there.
158:* Kaeuffer Geschichte Ostasiens. vol. ii, p 659.
159:* Tada, Shōshingekōwa, p. 347.
159:† The Kwangyō, which is the second longest of the three Jōdo books, was not translated into Chinese until A.D. 424, its translator being Kalayasas a contemporary of Kumārajiva. The Larger Sukhāvati Vyūha was translated as early as A.D. 147, by Anshikao and also by one of his companions, there being two later translations, one in 2?2 by Sanghavarman, and one of the Smaller Sukh. Vy. by Kumarajiva about 420. This would seem to point to the fact that Eon's teaching must have been based entirely on the earlier translations of the Larger Sukhāvati Vyūha. Also, if Takakusu's date for Vasuhandhu is correct p. 160 (A.D. 440), Eon cannot have used any of his books either Eon's spiritual father was Dōan (d. 390), a native of Ch’angshan in Chekiang, who moved to Jōyō (#) where he was besieged and taken prisoner by a King named Fu Ken (#) who ruled over one of the Central Asian principalities. During Man's life time, the Tsin Emperor Hiao-wu-ti was converted to Buddhism, chiefly owing to Tangut influences. Dōan professed to have the aid of Pindola (Jap. Bindzuru), and was devoted to all the Buddhas, though perhaps especially to Amida, as, may be inferred from his nickname Miten no Dōan. Eon, who followed him, seems to have been entirely devoted to Amida, as was also the Society which he founded and which, there is some reason to suppose, was Manichaean. In the life-time of Eon and Doan, began the streams of Chinese pilgrims to India, Fahian being the first. It is noteworthy that none of these pilgrims seem to have brought back anything definite about Amida from India. This is especially noticeable in the case of Hiouen Thsang, and it seems to point to the Central Asian origin of the Amida cult.
161:* It is said of Eon that he was so strict in his observance of Buddhist discipline that when, on his deathbed, he was ordered to take honey, he first set his pupils to find out whether the Buddhist rule permitted it. While they were still examining, he died. Once he broke his rule of retirement by mistake, being so engrossed in conversation that he inadvertently went outside the bounds of his hermitage. This is a favourite theme for artists. It is interesting to remember that the Goths and other barbarians from Central Asia were at this time (circ. A.D. 575) invading the Roman Empire. There is a passage in the Byzantine historian Eunapius (Hist. p. 83) which represents them as bringing their Buddhist clergy with them and introducing them to the Roman authorities, because they had noticed that the Romans laid much stress on religion, and they wanted to show that they, too, had a religion of which they need not be ashamed. It is barely possible that these clergy may have been p. 162 Arians: but the Goths were not concerted to Christianity by Ulphilas before A.D. 350, and it would scarcely be conceivable that twenty five years later the Arian clergy should be described as one of the "ancestral" institutions of the Goths. It is from about the middle of the 4th century that the Kaidan or grades of ministry, with ordinations, are said by Japanese writers to begin.
162:* The Chow (circ. 560) were a northern Kingdom, a rival, of the Wei, whose territories and powers they gradually usurped.
162:† Donran died in 533. Like all the Amidaists, he was not a pure Chinaman, but a subject, of one of the small northern p. 163 kingdoms. Wuti, of the Liang, circ. A.D. 528, was a great admirer of Donran's. It is interesting, to note that shortly, after Donran's death, within the life time both of Dōshaku and Zendō, an attempt was made (the fore-runner of the Ryobu Shinto in Japan) to amalgamate Buddhism with Taoism. I quote it to show that this was an age of syncretic aspirations. Donran may almost have been a contemporary of Vasubandhu. Some trace of the tendency to make common cause with Taoism may be perhaps found in the syllable Dō (#) in the assumed names of Dōan, or Dōshaku. Donran was certainly a Taoist before becoming a Buddhist. The Dō in Zendō's name is slightly different (#), as though to emphasize sane new principle that had come into his teaching.
163:* Tada. Shōshinge Kōwa. p. 349.
164:* This is Mr. Murakami's division in Bukkyo Hyakkwa Hōten. But there are other disciples of Zendō in Japan, who do not trace their descent through Genkū and Shinran, notably the Yūdzūnembutsu and Ji sects, concerning whom a note will be given later on in this chapter.
164:† Murakami. Bukkyo Hyakkwa Hoten, p. 493.
166:* P. Gaubil. Mém. des Chinois. xv. p 399.
166:† Acc. to the authors of Mem. Conc. la Chine (See xvi, 227. also Kaeuffer. ii. 653) the first mention of Moni or Manichaean monks among the Tartar tribes occurs in 786. I am indebted to my friend Mr. S. Tachibana for the following data concerning the Manichaeans, which somewhat modify these statements. In the 5th. year of the Jōkwan (Chih Kwan) period of the Tang dynasty, i. e. A.D. 632. a Manichaean named Boku-goka-roku, obtained from the Emperor Taitsung permission to erect a Tatsin Temple (Jap. Taishinji) at Singanfu. Tatsin was a generic name for Persia and Syria and the name Taishinji was at first applied indifferently to all temples, Christian, Manichaean, or Zoroastrian, devoted to the propagation of faiths cooling from those regions. In 734, the Emperor Hiüan Tsung ordered the destruction of all Manichaean Temples (probably of all Tatsin Temples), and forbade the promulgation of Manichaeanism. In 740, the same Emperor removed the prohibition and ordered that all Temples belonging to religions of Persian nationality should be called Taishinji, whether in the two capitals or in the neighbouring country districts. In the 3d year of Daiseki (Chin. Ta-li), i. e. 763, Taitsung authorized Persian subjects to erect Dai Un Kōmyōji (#) evidently as something distinct from the Taishinji, also as-distinct from Buddhism. Again in the 3d. year of the Emperor Wutsung, A.D. 843, all Manichaean Temples were closed; and many of their priests, nuns, and laity, put to death or sent into exile. In .the meantime the Kōmyō doctrine had reached Japan. It had been brought to China in the reign of the p. 167 Empress Wu, in the 1st. year of Yen Tsai, in 694 by a Persian. of the name of Pu-ta-tan (#). The Empress Jito was then on the throne. She was a zealous Buddhist. In the year 692, she received from the Chinese Ambassador a statue of Amida, and copies of a Sūtra called Kon Kōmyō Kyō, which she caused to be preached throughout her Empire. It is difficult not to connect this with the Faith that Zendō had preached. (Mr. Tachibana quotes from Bussōtōki, fasc. 35–42. See also Haas; Annalen des Japanischen Buddhismus. p. 318 and Dévéria in Journal Asiatique ix. x. p 445).
168:* I would like to call attention to an excellent article entitled the "Mystery of Fulin" by Dr. Hirth, of Columbia which has just appeared in vol. xxx. pt 1 of the Journal of the Am. Oriental Society. Dr. Hirth has long maintained (and gives reasons for so doing) that this embassy came from the Patriarch of Antioch as head of the Nestorian Church. There is also a great deal of information in Mrs. Cordon's recent work on the Messiah, a book which, despite its superabundant mysticism, is full of valuable information and most suggestive in the many hints and indications it gives for further investigation and research. It is interesting to observe that Olopen and his missionaries emphasize the fact that they come, not from the King of Persia, or any political power, but from the Patriarch of Antioch, a purely spiritual personage with no political influence at all. Perhaps they did this on purpose to avoid being mixed up with Manichaeans and Zoroastrians, who were more closely connected with the Persian State. Dr. Grierson, in his article on Bhakti-marga, in vol. ii of Hasting's Encyclopaedia of Religions, shows us the same Olopen, three years later, in India, at the Court of Siladitya Marsha, where he is well received. This will show us how Nestorianism was at work, quietly and unobtrusively, in India as in China. We know that there were Christians in China before Olopen, for the Emperor Justinian (527–565) received a present of silkworms brought to him by monks who had been living for some years either in Singanfu or in Nanking. These missionaries can scarcely have been Nestorians, seeing that Justinian had a great dislike to that body of Christians. On the Singanfu monument, erected 781, Olopen is described as Daitoku (#). In the year 771, the Emperor Taitsung, appointed ten Daitoku, men of recognized virtue and merit. The erectors of the monument would scarcely have ventured to give Olopen this title unless it had been (posthumously perhaps) conferred on him by the Emperor. (See Murakami. op. cit. p. 804, & E. A. Packer, Notes on the Nestorians, J. R. A. S. North China Branch, vol. xxiv p. 297.)
169:* It is to be found in the Buddhist Canon. See Nanjo's Catalogue. No. 1004
169:† Prof. Takakusu called attention to Prajna in his Translation of I-Tsing's Record of the Buddhist Religion Oxf. 1896. Mishiho is Messiah. Among the Jews in Kaifongfu, in Ronan, are preserved portions of the prophets Zechariah and Malachi. A phrase which Zendō uses mere than once is Fushi Sōgō, "the turning of the hearts of parents and children to one p. 170 another," a phrase which at once suggests Malachi to the mind. Zendō's phrase was later made the title of the well known Japanese Jōdo book the Fushi Sōgō. I am much indebted to Dr. Haas, of Heidelberg, for calling my attention to this matter.
170:* Tada says that Zendō's preaching was so persuasive that many of his hearers committed suicide by burning themselves alive. Mr. T. rightly feels called upon to apologize for this; but no student of the Hokekyō will need to be reminded that to make a holocaust of oneself is set forth in the Hokekyō is the highest form of grateful adoration. But the word 'holocaust' is also a good Christian expression, spiritually interpreted, and I venture to suggest that the holocausts in Zendō's time may have been of this kind. I am encouraged to think this by the fact that in the short biography of Zendō which appears in Shin hu Seikun, the word nyūjō (#) is used to describe the occurrence. Nyūjō literally means "to enter into the state of determination," though Hepburn in his Dictionary, explains it as meaning voluntary suicide by fire.
172:* See Nanjo, Short History of the XII. Buddhist sects, p. 107.
173:* See Haas, op. cit. I am much indebted to this work. I have already shown, in notes on Hiouen Tsuang and the Manichees, how quickly Japan, at this particular period, was moved by any new religious movement in the capital of the Tangs.
173:† See Melanges Japonais. vol. iii. p. 287.
174:* Murakami. op. cit. p. 145–6. A little point, worthy of remark, is the following. In 639, Olopen, having established his missionaries at Singanfu, goes on to India and visits the Court of Siladitya Harsha, at Kanauj. Shortly after this, we read of Harsha's zeal for works of charity, leper hospitals &c, institutions which Buddhism had scarcely known since the days of Asoka, but which have constantly been a conspicuous element in all Christian work. in Japan, what I may call the Kōmyō doctrines find their way into the country under Jitō and Mommu (627–647). Here also they are followed by a period of enthusiasm for works of charity which continues for a while, until the tares spring up and choke the good seed, and the Tendai, the ancient enemies of Zendō get the upper hand.
174:† The following are the data known about the Nestorian Doctor, Rimitsu. In the year A.D. 739 there arrived from China a ship-load of distinguished persons. 1. Kibi Mabi who had been studying in China since 716, and who brought back with him the art of embroidery, the game of go, the biwa, and the Katakana alphabet. 2. Dōsen, the founder is Japan of the Kegon (or Avatamsaka) sect. 3 A Brahmin priest, Bodhisena, from India. 4. A musician named Fat Triet (Buttetsu) from Cambodia, and 5, a Nestorian physician of Persian nationality named p. 175 Rimitsu. The party were received on behalf of the Government by Gyogi, at Naniwa, and Gyogi was able to display his learning by conversing with the Indian Brahmin in Sanskrit. A month later, a member of the Japanese Embassy in China returned to Japan with 3 Chinese and another Persian. The whole party were taken to court and the Emperor conferred official rank upon them, especial mention being made of Ritōho, a Chinaman, and Rimitsu. In 736 Shōmu was in the midst of his hospital schemes, and Rimitsu was evidently a distinguished physician. The Japanese must have been very different from what they are now if they neglected the opportunity of sucking his brains! Mr. Tachibana, who has furnished me with the materials for this note, bases his information on an article by Dr. Takakusu in Shigakuzasshi vol. iii. No. 7, and on Dr. Kume's History of the Nara Epoch. That Rimitsu was a Christian was shown some time ago by Mr. Saeki. He could not have been a Manichaean seeing that the M. discouraged doctors.
Gyogi Bosatsu was the spiritual director of Shōmu and his Empress Kōmyō. He was an advocate of Kōmyō doctrines, very practical, very charitable. He was a syncretist, and first originated the Ryōbu doctrine in Japan, stimulated thereto by the example of the Buddhists and Taoists in China.
176:* It is said of Zendō that he and his disciples were much given to itinerant preaching. So were the Nestorians. The Greek merchant Cosmas Indicopleustes, who was in India A.D. 535, mentions a Nestorian order of itinerant preachers named periodeutae or wanderers, who were busy in his days evangelizing in N. W. India Olopen himself may have been one: we find him in China and then in India. It is possible that Kūya, and Eikwan, may have been itinerant preachers after this type, having learned the value of it from Zendō. So also may have been the mysterious personage who in 1095, appeared to Ryonin, the founder of the Yūdzūnembutsu, and told him of the "One man that stood for all men, and the one religious act that embraced all others." Ippen, (1239–1289) the founder of the Ji Sect, wandered in his allegiance from the Tendai to the Seizanha of the Jōdo, and finally founded a sect of his own. He was a great student of Zendō, both as a teacher and as an artist, and his sect was intended to be a reproduction of Zendō's teachings. His nickname was Yūgyō Shōnin, "the itinerating preacher," and to this day, the heart of the Ji sect is supposed to be always travelling about the country preaching.