Jodo-kyo (Pure Land Teachings) (浄土教)

Jodo-kyo is a teaching for people to become Buddha in the Land of Bliss of Amitabha Buddha. It is also called Jodo-mon (Gateway of the Pure Land) or Jodo-shiso.

The word 'Jodo' originated in China, but ideologically it was first modeled on the 'Buddha Lands' in the early Mahayana Buddhism of India, and each Jodo of many Buddhas was explained. However, in China and Japan, in accordance with the prevalence of the faith for Amitabha Buddha, Jodo generally has meant Jodo of Amitabha Buddha. The word 'Jodo-kyo,' which Zendo of the Tang dynasty described as 'I want to listen to Jodo-kyo carefully' ("Hojisan (Tengyogyodogan Ojo Jodo Hojisan)," is used in the same sense.


Jodo-kyo was established in the age when Mahayana Buddhism was evoked in India, and it started with the editing of "Muryoju-kyo Sutra" and "Amida-kyo Sutra" in around 100 A.D. Over a long span of time, Jodo-kyo became widespread in India.

There exist many theories of Mahayana Buddhism on Amitabha Buddha and the Land of Bliss, among which the theories emphasizing the concept of a belief in Jodo after death are shown below:

"Jujubibasharon (Basharon)," which is said to have been written by Ryuju around 150-250, ('Igyo-hon No. 9' of Vol. 5 in all 17 volumes). "Muryoju-kyo Ubadaisha Ganshoge (Jodo-ron, Ojo-ron)," written by Seshin (4-5 A.D.).

Meanwhile, the original Sanskrit text of "Kanmuryoju-kyo Sutra" has not been discovered, so it is assumed that its broad outline was established in Central Asia around 4-5 A.D. and that factors related to China were added during the process of translation. However, it had a considerable effect on Jodo-kyo in China and Japan.


In China, Jodo-kyo sutras were transmitted beginning in the latter half of the second century, and Eon (the Eastern Jin) (334-416) of Mt. Rozan founded Byakuren-sha, an association of Nenbutsu, based on "Hanju Zanmai-kyo Sutra" at the beginning of the fifth century.

Soon, considering 'Three Sutras of the Pure Land (Jodosanbu-kyo Sutra)' as the basic sutras,
Doran (476-542), centered at Xuanzhongsi Temple in Shanxi Province, wrote "The Commentary of Muryoju-kyo Ubadaisha Ganshoge (The Commentary of Oji-ron),"
Doshaku (562-645) wrote "Anrakushu,"
and Zendo (613-681) wrote "Kammuryojukyosho (Kangyosho),"
so that Jodo-kyo was established with a central focus on Invocation of the Buddha's Name, which was appropriate to the world of Mappo (Age of the Final Dharma) of Gojoku Akuse (五濁悪世).

Later, Enichi (680-748), Hossho (? - around 777) of Goe Nenbutsu (五会念仏) and others enforced the tendency to integrate Jodo-kyo in other groups such as the Zen sect.


In Japan, Jodo-kyo (Jodo-shiso) was transmitted in around the first half of the seventh century, and Ennin (794-864) transmitted the way of nenbutsu-zanmai (nenbutsu samadhi, or mental absorption in the nenbutsu) of Mt. Wutai Shan in China to Mt. Hiei-zan in the first half of the ninth century. Soon Ryogen (912-985) wrote "Gokurakujodo Kuhon Ojo-gi" and Genshin (942-1017) wrote "Ojoyoshu (Collection on the Essentials for Birth)," and as a result the Tendai Jodo sect became prevalent. Byohoin Temple was built by FUJIWARA no Yorimichi, based on Jodo-shiso.

Jodo-shiso in the Heian period was believed mainly by the aristocracy of Kyoto, but Kuya (903-972) preached Jodo-kyo to the grass roots as well and was called the "saint of the city." Ryonin (1072-1132) preached Yuzu Nenbutsu (融通念仏) (Dai Nenbutsu), which said 'one Nenbutsu is integrated in all other people's Nenbutsu,' and became a founder of the Yuzu Nenbutsu sect. In the other sects (except for the Tendai sect) there also existed Nenbutsu priests such as Eikan (1033-1111) of the Sanron sect and Kakuban (1095- 1143) of the Shingon sect.

From the end of the Heian period to the Kamakura period, by writing "Senchaku Hongan Nenbutsu-shu (Senchaku-shu)" Honen (1133-1212) established Jodo sect and determined the basic sutras by adding "Jodo-ron" of Tenjin to "Three Sutras of the Pure Land," namely "Muryoju-kyo Bussetsu Muryoju-kyo Sutra" (translated by Sogi Kosogai), "Bussetsu Kan Muryoju-kyo Sutra" (translated by Ryuso Kyoryoyasha) and "Bussetsu Amida-kyo Sutra" (translated by Yoshin Kumaraju) ('Three Sutras and One Theory').

Shinran (1173-1262), a disciple of Honen, wrote "Kenjodoshinjitsukyogyoshomonrui" and others, developed the Jodo sect and later became a founder of the Jodo Shinshu sect.

Ippen (1239-1289) visited many provinces for the sake of missionary work and founded the Jishu sect.

The Yuzu Nenbutsu sect, Jodo sect, Jodo Shinshu sect and Jishu sect, which began from the latter half of the Heian period to the Kamakura period, developed in a later age and formed extensive lineages in Japanese Buddhism up to the present.

[Original Japanese]