Myoe (明恵)

Myoe (February 28, 1173 - February 18, 1232) was a Buddhist monk of Kegon Sect in the early Kamakura period. His hoi (imina (personal name) used by Buddhist priests) was Koben. He was also called Myoe Shonin or Toganoo Shonin. TAIRA no Shigekuni. His mother was a daughter of Muneshige YUASA. He was born in the present Aritagawa-cho, Wakayama Prefecture.


He lost his parents when he was 4 years old and became the priest of Jingo-ji Temple on Mt. Takao with Jokaku, a disciple of Bunkaku, being his mentor. He studied Shingon Esoteric Buddhism and Kegon Sect at Ninna-ji Temple and Toda-ji Temple and showed great promise as a priest, but he abandoned the connection with secular society and lived in seclusion at Shirakami, Arita-gun in Kii Province and Ikadachi in the same Province. As he yearned for Shakyamuni very much, he twice planned to travel to India but finally gave up because of the oracle of Kasuga Myojin (the deity of Kasuga Shrine). In 1206, he founded Kozan-ji Temple when Toganoo of Yamashiro Province was given to him by the retired Emperor Gotoba and strove for kangyo (practice of observation and contemplation) and study. He highly valued Buddhist precepts and endeavored for the restoration of kenmitsu (exoteric and Esoteric Buddhism) against the increase of nenbutsu (Buddhist invocation) supporters. He left many writings including "Zaijarin" (A Wheel for Pulverizing Heresy) and "Shizakoshiki" (a chant composed of four formulas), both of which criticized Honen's Jodo Sect, "Yumeki," which recorded dreams which he had during his 40 years' kangyo, and "Kyakuhaiboki," which was taken in notes by his disciples. He also excelled in waka (a 31-syllable Japanese poem) and "Myoe Shonin Waka-shu" is a collection of his waka.

[Original Japanese]