Shoken (勝賢)

Shoken (March 30, 1138 - July 19, 1196) was a Shingon Sect Buddhist monk who lived during the mid-Heian period. He served as the 87th head priest of Todai-ji Temple and the 18th, 20th and 22nd head priest of Daigo-ji Temple. His father was FUJIWARA no Michinori (Shinzei). His original name was Shoken. He is commonly known as Jiju Sojo and Kakutoin Gon no Sojo.

Shoken studied under Kanpen ("Daigoji Sanpoin ryu Denju Mokuroku" (Catalog of books for initiation of Sanpoin, Daigo-ji Temple)), Ninnikusen School founder, and was promoted to the rank of Gon Risshi (generally in Shingon sect, fifteenth-ranking Buddhist priest, literally, "supernumerary master of discipline") in 1158. In 1159, he was consecrated by Jitsuun of Daigo-ji Temple and received the dharma from Shinkaku of Joki-in Temple. He was appointed zasu (head priest) of Daigo-ji Temple on three occasions since 1160 but there was a brief period during which opposition from Jokai led to him leaving for Mt. Koya. As the son of Shinzei, he had a close relationship with Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa, and he prayed for peace and tranquility of the Cloistered Emperor and the nation during Yoshinaka KISO's visit to Kyoto as well as conducting a Kujaku Kyobo ritual for rain.

Shoken was successively appointed choja (head priest) of To-ji Temple and betto (administrator) of Todai-ji Temple. On August 10, 1185, he was granted the rank Gon no Sojo (a highest ranking priest, next to a sojo). His disciples included Cloistered Imperial Prince Shukaku of Ninna-ji Temple. Among his written works are "Kanjo Hiketsu" volume 1 and "Rokugatsu sho."

[Original Japanese]