Inge can refer to:
The sub-temples that comprise a temple complex.
A hereditary monastic rank. It is one rank below monzeki.
Sub-temples of a larger temple complex
These may also be referred to as simply 'in.'
This can refer to the sub-temples that occupy space within the precinct of a large temple with their own territory and organizational structure, or to the monks who reside within such sub-temples. Originally, it was generally the case that temple monks lived communally in sanmen sobo (monks' dormitories constructed to the north, east and west of the lecture hall) but there were individuals who built their own sobo (living quarters) in order to fully immerse themselves in ascetic practice. These buildings were roots of inge. This practice was especially prevalent during the Heian period when there were many temples in which several sects were mixed, as it allowed all monks of the same sect to reside, practice and study within a single inge.
In the case of monzeki temples (temples served by a chief priest of aristocratic or imperial lineage) in later years, the word 'inge' later came to refer to a sub-temple in which monks of the following rank resided.
Monks of aristocratic or imperial lineage. The term later came to be used to refer to sub-temples in which monks of this rank resided.
In the year 899 when Retired Emperor Uda entered the Buddhist priesthood, the term referred to a member of the aristocracy or the Imperial Family who entered the Buddhist priesthood and joined the Retired Emperor at Ninna-ji Temple inge named 'Omuro.'
It was originally used interchangeably with the term 'monzeki' but later came to indicate a rank that was subordinate to and aided the monzeki, which was a stage that was required before one could be promoted to the states of monzeki. For this reason, as inge were granted rights separate to ordinary monks of common lineage, it became popular for monks from wealthy families to obtain existing inge sub-temples or establish new inge sub-temples. Typical examples of inge sub-temples attached to monzeki temples include Shoren-in Temple of Enryaku-ji Temple, Ichijo-in Temple and Daijo-in Temple of Kofuku-ji Temple, Sanbo-in Temple of Daigo-ji Temple, Konchi-in Temple of Nanzen-ji Temple, and Rokuon-in Temple of Shokoku-ji Temple. Ordinary monks were excluded from such inge sub-temples, with only scholar monks of aristocratic or imperial lineage permitted to reside within. In addition, new temples built within the grounds of monzeki temples also constructed their own inge sub-temples and branch temples, and in 1560 nine sub-temples including Kyogyo-ji Temple in Settsu-Tonda and Gansho-ji Temple in Ise-Nagashima were established as inge by monk-Imperial Prince Sonjo following Hongan-ji Temple's designation as a monzeki temple in the previous year.