Myoun (明雲)

Myoun (1115 - January 3, 1184) was a Tendai Sect Buddhist monk who lived during the late Heian period. His father was MINAMOTO no Akimichi. His priest titles were Enyubo and Jiunbo.

He studied exoteric Buddhism and esoteric Buddhism from Benkaku Hoin of Mt. Hiei, and inherited the teachings of Tendai Zasu (head priest of the Tendai Sect) Imperial Prince Saiunho. In 1166, he was promoted to the rank of Sojo and appointed Tendai Zasu in 1167. He had a close relationship with TAIRA no Kiyomori and acted as kaishi (the priest who imparts the Buddhist commandments) when he entered the Buddhist priesthood. In 1177, he took the blame for a conflict between the Enryaku-ji Temple's sub-temple of Hakusan and the governor of Kaga Province, which led to him losing his position as Tendai Zasu and being exiled to Izu Province but he was rescued en route by Buddhist followers and returned to Mt. Hiei. After the system of cloistered government was ended by what is known as the 'Coup of the Third Year of Jisho' in 1179, Myoun was once again appointed Tendai Zasu and promoted to the rank of Daisojo (highest rank of a Buddhist monk) in 1182. As the gojiso (personal monk) of the Taira clan, he participated in the Taira clan government and the administration of Enryaku-ji Temple but stayed behind at Enryaku-ji Temple when the Taira clan left the capital. Myoun was killed in 1183 during the Battle of Hoju-ji Temple when MINAMOTO no Yoshinaka attacked Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa. Yoshinaka held up the head of Myoun and said 'He was nothing.' before throwing it into Nishi no Toin-gawa River.

Despite the fact that Myoun was a Buddhist monk of the highest level, he took human lives on the battlefield before finally dying in battle himself, and Jien, who received religious precepts from him, was highly critical of this in his work entitled "Gukansho."
On the other hand, "Imakagami" (The Mirror of the Present) praised Myoun by stating that 'there will not another Zasu to rival him for a long time to come.'

[Original Japanese]