Renjo (蓮乗)

Renjo (1446 - March 17, 1504) was a monk of Jodo Shinshu (the True Pure Land Sect of Buddhism) during the middle of Muromachi period and up to the Sengoku Period (Period of Warring States) (Japan). He was the second son of Rennyo, the eighth head of the Hongan-ji Temple. His real name was Kenchin, and his childhood name was Koyo (光養).

Because Hongan-ji Temple was declining in power when he was a child, he was sent to Nanzen-ji Temple as Kasshiki (postulant). On February 27, 1460, when Renjo was 15 years old, after the death of Rennyo's uncle, Nyojo (whose real name was Senyu), who was the chief priest of Futamatabo (二俣房, later called Honsen-ji Temple) in Kaga Province, he married Nyojo's daughter and succeeded to a position as the head priest of the temple. Although Nyojo was a monk of Shorei-in Temple, which was the main temple of Hongan-ji Temple, he had a conflict with the chief priest, Gien, after Gien returned to secular life and became Yoshimichi ASHIKAGA, the sixth seii taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians") of the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), Nyojo was chased by the opposition and wandered from place to place, but finally he went to Zuisen-ji Temple (Nanto City) of Etchu Province and then settled into Kaga Province. Later, when Nyojo's brother Zonnyo died and there was a conflict in deciding upon a successor for his position, once Nyojo appointed Rennyo as his brother's successor, since he thought the oldest son Rennyo had the talent for it, even the opposition went against it, and after Nyojo died his mistress wanted to bestow the jigo (literally, "temple name," which is the title given to a Buddhist temple) of Honsen-ji Temple and sent Renjo there.

In 1471, Renjo's father Rennyo embarked on a trip of missionary work to Hokuriku region to escape from the political pressure of Enryaku-ji Temple, whereupon he started to propagate from Yoshizaki Gobo and Honsen-ji Temple and spent his time there. However, in 1474 he was involved in the internal conflict of the Togashi clan, which became the cause of an uprising of Ikko Sect followers in Kaga, so he left Yoshizaki in the following year; Renjo was forced to leave Honsen-ji Temple and escaped to Zuisen-ji Temple, which was a branch temple of Hongan-ji Temple. Furthermore, due to the oppression of the believers in Etchu, it also caused an uprising of the Ikko Sect followers (in 1481), and Tonami County came under the control of the believers. However, since Renjo wasn't well after a fell from his horse while escaping from Etchu, he had his younger brother Rengo marry his daughter and let him became the successor. In 1487, although he returned to Honsen-ji Temple, which was restored, it is said that he didn't improve and wasn't well enough to see Rennyo when the latter was in critical condition in 1499. He died of illness five years later, when he was 59 years of age.

[Original Japanese]