Exclaustration (還俗)

Exclaustration means that a Buddhist monk quits the priesthood, which requires strict adherence to Buddhist precepts, and returns to secular life. It is also called secularization.

In Buddhist precepts, it is the most severe penalty for monks who committed four serious sins called Harai (the most serious offenses against the monastic code for Buddhist monks and nuns). The monk who was punished for these sins are forbidden to enter into priesthood again. In other words, he is expelled from the religious community permanently.

Violation of Fusesshokai (the commandment against killing)

Violation of Fuchutokai (the commandment against theft) (theft of a certain amount or more)

Violation of Fujainkai (the commandment against adultery)

Violation of Fumogokai (the commandment against falsehood) (only serious lies to pretend that he or she has attained enlightenment)

In Japan, it is one of the punishments in 'Soni ryo' (Regulations for Monks and Nuns) of the Ritsuryo codes. There are a variety of reasons why someone may have chosen to return to secular life; for example, if a son or relative of a family head became a monk in order to prevent a rebellion against the head of the family or for some other reason, he might have decided to return to secular life in the event of the death of the family head in order to continue the family name if the family head had succeeded to the position of samurai, court noble, master builder, or clan chieftain.



Yuan-song WEI

Chang-fang FEI


Wu Ze-tian


Bing-zhong LIU

Before the Heian period

Emperor Tenmu


Imperial Prince Sawara (for his investiture as the Crown Prince.)

The Heian period


The Kamakura period

Honen (he returned to secular life for Jogen no honan [an event in which four apprentices of Honen were executed and seven others including Honen and Shinran were banished by the Retired Emperor Gotoba] because a monk had to become a layman when he was to be condemned to exile.)
(Secular name: Motohiko FUJII.)

Shinran (the same as above.)
(Secular name: Yoshinobu FUJII.)
(The concept of 'hiso hizoku' [not a monk nor layman] originated on this occasion.)

Ippen (he returned to secular life to inherit a territory after the death of his father Michihiro KONO.)
(He became a priest again later.)

Takasuke SHIJO

Imperial Prince Muneyoshi (he returned to secular life to destroy the Kamakura bakufu [Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun] by order of Emperor Godaigo.)

Imperial Prince Morinaga (the same as above.)
(The name of Otonomiya is derived from this.)

The Muromachi period

Yoshinori ASHIKAGA (he returned to secular life to inherit Seii Taishogun [literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians"] of the Muromachi bakufu.)

Masatomo ASHIKAGA (he returned to secular life to search out and destroy Kogakubo [descendants of one of the Ashikaga families that held the office of the Kanto district administrator] by order of his brother Yoshimasa ASHIKAGA.)

Yoshimi ASHIKAGA (returned to secular life to succeed his brother Yoshimasa ASHIKAGA.)

Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA (returned to secular life and moved from place to place to avenge his brother Yoshiteru ASHIKAGA and assume the position of shogun.)

Yoshimoto IMAGAWA (returned to secular life after the death of his brother Ujiteru IMAGAWA and inherited the family estate.)

Kenshin UESUGI

Kagetomo YAMAOKA

The Edo period

Munekiyo SASSA

Imperial Prince Fushiminomiya Kuniie

Naozane KUJO

Tadahiro KONOE


Modern times

Imperial Prince Kitashirakawanomiya Yoshihisa

Hisayoshi MATSUZONO (Monzeki [the priest in charge of a temple where the doctrines of the founder of the sect have been handed down] of Kofuku-ji Temple Daijo-in.)
(Daijo-in became extinct according to Haibutsu-kishaku [a movement to abolish Buddhism].)
(He became a viscount later.)
(Refer to the Nara peerage.)




Tatsumune GAUN (the inventor of throstle spinning in the early Meiji period.)




[Original Japanese]