Shinga (真雅)

Shinga (801 - February 1, 879) was a priest of the Shingon sect of Buddhism during the early Heian period. His father was SAEKI no Atai Tagimi. He came from Byobugaura, Tado County, Sanuki Province. He was called Jogan-ji Sojo (high-ranking Buddhist priest at Jogan-ji Temple) and Hoko Daishi (literally a great master, an honorific title given by the Imperial Court). Kukai was his elder brother.

Shinga studied under his elder brother Kukai, and after Kukai died, Shinga inherited Gufuku-ji Temple (Asuka-mura Village) and Shingon-in of Todai-ji Temple. In 847, he was appointed to Betto (the head priest) of Todai-ji Temple and in the following 848 to Gon no Risshi (generally in Shingon sect, 15th-ranking Buddhist priest, literally, "supernumerary master of discipline"). In 852, he built Jogan-ji Temple and in 860 he became To-ji choja (the chief abbot of To-ji Temple). He accepted conversion of Emperor Seiwa and FUJIWARA no Yoshifusa to Buddhism and in 864 was appointed as Sojo (high-ranking Buddhist priest) and was called Jogan-ji Sojo. In addition, he had a special permission from the Emperor to enter the imperial palace in a hand cart.

In 879, he died at the Jogan-ji Temple at the age of 79. In 1828, the honorific title Hoko Daishi was conferred on him posthumously for the 950th anniversary of his birth.

[Original Japanese]