Jogakuso (a quota for Buddhist priests, or Buddhist priests under a quota system) (定額僧)

Jogakuso refers to a quota system for Buddhist priests under the "kodai ritsuryosei" (ancient East Asian system of centralized governance), or priests themselves under this system.

The word 'jogaku' refers to 'a quota,' and under the ritsuryosei the Imperial Court compelled Buddhist temples to comply with a Buddhist monk quota to prevent them from wriggle out of taxes. The oldest example of the Jogakuso is said to be a system adopted in the Tenpyo era of the Nara period (in 741), whereby the jogaku of 20 Buddhist priests and 10 Buddhist nuns were introduced to "kokubunji" (a status of the state-supported provincial temples) and "kokubun-niji" (nunnery temple) of each province, respectively. In the Heian period, the Jogakuso was applied to various "kanji" (state-sponsored temples), such as To-ji Temple, which was ordered to have 50 jogakuso in 823.

Temples were expected to always maintain the allocated number of jogakuso and allowed to recruit new monks when there was a vacancy. Also, it is said that the Imperial Court aided temples with a portion of rice for the Emperor so that temples could maintain a jogaku.

[Original Japanese]