Shingon Risshu Sect (真言律宗)

Shingon Risshu sect is one sect which practices the commandments of Vajrayana based on the dharma of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism. It also has the significance of renaissance of the Risshu sect's sprit, which is one of the Nanto rokushu (the six sects of Buddhism which flourished in ancient Nara).

Founder of the Sect
Kosei Bosatsu Eison of Saidai-ji Temple in Nara City was the restorer. In addition, it especially regards Kukai as Koso (a founder).


Eison implemented Jukai (handing down the precepts), a procedure which was limited to what had been defined by the state, by himself with Kakujo in the Risshu sect because he criticized the degraded existing Buddhism (vow by oneself and Jukai). After that he made a clear distinction from Kakujo because of differences in the idea of commandments, but he accepted Kakujo's request to restore Saidai-ji Temple (Nara City), engaged in the restoration of temples such as Hokke-ji Temple and Hannya-ji Temple subsequently, and an placed independent Kaidan (Buddhist ordination platform) without the permission of the Imperial Court. Continuously, his disciple Ninsho appeared and built Gokuraku-ji Temple in Kamakura City, showing the wit of propagandism against the people, which Eison could not have achieved fully. This is the origin of the Shingon Risshu sect, but at that time Eison himself and his disciples tried to restore the Risshu sect as a part of renaissance of the Shingon sect and they identified themselves as the 'Saidai-ji Temple school,' one school of the Shingon sect. However, at that time it was considered as a new school of the Risshu sect. Besides, although Eison's activities are generally seen as a reform movement inside old Buddhism, recently there is a theory that it was a new sect beyond the frames of the Shingon sect and the Risshu sect and one of the new Kamakura Buddhism (See the article of Kamakura Buddhism). His successor Shinku (Shingon Risshu sect) and Ninsho gained the confidence of the Imperial Court and made efforts to broaden the influence of the sect as they made provincial monasteries branch temples for restoration (temple solicitation) by Imperial order. Activities for temple solicitation led by priests of the Shingon Risshu sect were well recognized because they were strict by themselves and had know-how of temple restoration, which soon promoted the movement of renaissance of other Risshu sects so much so that the Risshu sect, including the Shingon Risshu sect, was criticized by Nichiren as 'Ritsu traitor to the country,' having the same power of influence as the Zen sect and the Jodo sect.

Although it declined temporarily after in the latter part of the Muromachi period, Myonin tried to restore it during the early part of the Edo period and his disciple Jogon used the title of 'Shingon Risshu sect' formally for the first time. When the Meiji Government organized various sects in 1872, all Risshu sects were incorporated into the Shingon sect because Shingon Risshu sect which was the biggest sect among Risshu sects at that time, originated from the Shingon sect. After that, schools of the Risshu sect requested independence from the Shingon sect, for example Kocho SAEKI (Hirosumi SAEKI) (the 64th choro (patriarch)) of Saidai-ji Temple carried on a campaign. Rewarding this movement, schools of the Risshu sect were permitted to become independent from the Shingon sect in 1895, and the Shingon Risshu sect also gained independence from the Shingon sect at that time. However, some temples which had been Shingon Risshu sect temples before the Meiji period remained as Shingon sect temples without following the independent movement. After that, the choro of Saidai-ji Temple who is the head priest of Saidai-ji Temple as sohonzan (the general head temple) doubled as the chief abbot of the Shingon Risshu sect as a custom.

Status of a Buddhist Temple (in Random Order)

Sohonzan: Saidai-ji Temple (Nara City)

Daihonzan (the major head temples): Hozan-ji Temple (Ikoma City, Nara Prefecture)

Bekkaku-honzan (special head temple): Ichinomuroin Temple (Tacchu, A simple building containing a pagoda that enshrined the ashes of a founder or head priest of a Zen temple), Gokokuin Temple (Tacchu), Shomyo-ji Temple (Kanazawa-ku Ward, Yokohama City), Kyoko-ji Temple (Yao City, Osaka Prefecture), Kushuonin Temple (Hirakata City), Iyo provincial monastery temples (Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture), Hokke-ji Temple (Imabari City) and Tanjo-ji Temple of Renge-ji Temple (Tamana City, Kumamoto Prefecture)

Related temples: Gokuraku-ji Temple (Kamakura City), Hojoin Temple (Uji City), Gansen-ji Temple (Kizugawa City, Kyoto Prefecture), Joruri-ji Temple (Kizugawa City), Kairyuo-ji Temple (Nara City), Futai-ji Temple (Nara City), Hannya-ji Temple (Nara City), Gango-ji Temple (Nara City), Byakugo-ji Temple (Nara City) and Kakuan-ji Temple (Yamatokoriyama City)
Other temples: Chokyu-ji Temple (Ikoma City, Nara Prefecture), Chofuku-ji Temple (Ikoma City, Nara Prefecture) and Ensho-ji Temple (Ikoma City, Nara Prefecture)

Educational Institute

Koho Gakuin (興法学院)

Shuchiin University (partnership)

Rakunan High School/Junior High School (partnership)

[Original Japanese]