Gishin (義真)

Gishin (born 781, died August 26, 833) was an early Heian-period Buddhist monk of the Tendai sect. His secular name was either Maruko MURAJI or Maruko BE.. He was a native of Sagami Province. He was called Shuzen Daishi (the Great Teacher of Mastering Meditation (Dhyana)).

At Kofukuji temple in Nara he studied the Hosso sect of Buddhism and was sworn to obey the precepts by a disciple of Ganjin; he could also communicate in Chinese. After this stage he became the disciple of Saicho, and in 804 he crossed over to Tang China with Saicho as an interpreter of Chinese; he returned to Japan after receiving both the Endon precepts from Daosui (a Chinese Tiantai (Tendai) monk) and the dharmic transmission of Vajrayana (esoteric) rituals from Shunxiao, exactly as Saicho did. In 822, after Saicho passed away, Gishin became the first priest in charge of transmitting the precepts at the Mahayana Buddhist ordination platform of Mt. Hiei. In 824 he assumed the position of the Head Priest of Tendai, becoming the first such head priest, and also participated in the Yuima-e (Buddhist debates) as a lecturer in 832; this was the first time a priest designated as a member of the Tendai sect had done so.

His written works include the 'Tendai Hokkeshu Gishu' (Collected Teachings of the Tendai Hokke (Lotus) Sect).

[Original Japanese]