Kakuban (覚鑁)

Kakuban (July 27, 1095 - January 25, 1144) was a high priest of Shingon sect who was active in the late Heian period, and the restorer of the Shingon sect and the founder of {Shingi Shingon sect}. His shigo (a posthumous name) is Kogyo Daishi. He was born in Fujitsu no sho, Hizen Province (the present Kashima City, Saga Prefecture).

His father was Kanemoto Heiji ISA and his mother was a woman of the Tachibana clan.

He theorized how Shingon study understood Buddhist invocation thought that suddenly rose in prosperity in the society in the late Heian period. He stipulated that Amida Nyorai (Amitabha Tathagata), the head of religious sect in the Western Paradise, was a deity of a separate virtue who derives from the deity of general virtues Dainichi Nyorai (Mahavairocana) who was the head of Shingon sect. He is famous as the compiler of Mitsugonin Confession (Mitsugoninhotsurosangemon) that is especially famous among Shingon sect scriptures and Gachirinkan (Moon Disc meditation) that describes the thought of emptiness. He is also the author of Gorinkujimyohimitsushaku, which triggered prevalence of gorinto (a gravestone composed of five pieces piled up one upon another) in Japan.

Because his birthplace Fujitsu no sho was in the estate of Ninna-ji Temple in Kyoto, he entered Ninna-ji Temple Jojuin when he was 13, and entered the Buddhist priesthood to become a priest at age 16. He learned in Todai-ji Temple in Nara, etc. and entered into Koya-san Mountain at age 20. He was conferred every old-style teaching of Buddhism in Shingon sect at the young age of 35 and was described as a great talent since priest Kobo-Daishi Kukai.

When he was 36, Kakuban laid eyes on the then current situation of Koya-san Mountain, which is Sohonzan (the head temple) of Shingon sect. In Koya-san Mountain at that time, there were many lower rank priests who were not very religious and thought that being a priest was a tool to live and higher rank priests who were blinded with power. Kakuban, who bemoaned the corrupted and declined situation of Shingon sect, made a bit to rebuild the sect on his own.

First he erected Daidenpo-in Temple in Koyasan Kongobuji Temple and became the head priest, and then he also assumed the head priest of Kongobuji Temple and in effect gained the initiative of the Mountain.

He tried to rebuild Shingon sect, but naturally, higher and lower priest factions revolted against his hard-line measures and were bitterly confronted Kakuban, and finally in 1140, they went on a rampage to conduct a raid on Kakuban's living place, Mitsugonin Temple, in the precincts of Kongobuji Temple to burn it, and banished him from Kongobuji Temple.

At this time, an assassin who was after Kakuban's life determined Kakuban was hiding behind the Fudo Myoo zo (statue of Fudo Myoo [Acala, one of the Five Wisdom Kings]), the principal image of Mitsugonin temple, and slashed it, and blood streamed from the statue.

Flabbergasted, the assassin retreated and Kakuban narrowly escaped death.

This is the famous 'Kirimomifudo' (slashed Fudo) Legend.

Before this rampage, Kakuban lamented the situation of Shingon sect followers who had turned to power mongers, practiced mugon no gyo (the discipline of not talking) for a long time in Mitsugonin Temple, and right after that, he wrote Mitsugonin Confession at one stroke.
This sutra, with fierce content of naked facts with shame of the situation of corrupt world of priests, combined with the last sentence that clearly stipulates his determination of atonement 'I make every confession in lieu of everyone, and also will suffer for it,' has been wide spread as a awareness-raising and self-reproaching sutra among various sects of Shingon even now

Kakuban, after being banished from Koya-san Mountain, retreated with a group of his disciples to Mt. Negoro, erected Negoro-ji Temple, moved Daidenpo-in Temple and Mitsugonin Temple, preached appropriate way of Shingon sect, and developed original creed.

After Kakuban's death in 1143, his disciples returned to Koya-san Mountain, but the feud between Kongobuji Temple and them was already too deep, so they returned to Mt. Negoro and, led by Raiyu, developed '{Shingi Shingon sect}' based on Kakuban's teachings and interpretations.

Later, after feud against Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI, the sect of Mt. Negoro was subjugated and wiped out, and some priests who survived retreated to Nara and Kyoto. They radicated the teachings of {Shingi Shingon sect} and made the foundation of current {Shingi Shingon sect} (Negoro-ji Temple school), Shingo sect Buzan school, and Chisan school.

In Edo period, {Shingi Shingon sect} was finally got leave to restore from Kishu Tokugawa Family and restored itself and Negoro-ji Temple.

Kakuban was evaluated his ante mortem achievement and given a shigo of Kogyo Daishi.

[Original Japanese]