The Jodo Shinshu sect Hongwan-ji-ha (浄土真宗本願寺派)

The sect Hong gwan-ji-ha is one of the Jodo Shinshu sects.


The head temple is Nishi Hongwan-ji Temple, which began from Otani Byodo (the present Otani Mausoleum), a grave of Shinran, the founder of the sect. The branch temples number 10,497. The believers number approximately 6,940,000, which is the largest among Jodo Shinshu sects (Shinshu sects) and among Buddhist religious corporations as well. Among religious corporations as a whole, it is the second largest after Jinja-Honcho, the Association of Shinto Shrines.
(As of December 31, 2000)

At the beginning of the Meiji period, it had a governmental system of legislative process (shukai) and administration (shumusho), thus emulating the system of separation of the powers in Western countries. This became a model for the Meiji government in establishing a legislative system.

The twenty-second Kozui OTANI, a monshu (Honganji-ha head priest) who had great power, made efforts to send an Otani exploration party to engage in missionary work abroad and educate students, but the cost brought Hongwan-ji Temple's finances to the point of crisis, so Kyonyo was forced to retire.

In order to avoid another crisis, Hongwan-ji-ha deemed it necessary to limit the power of the monshu (the Otani family). The Otani family changed its status from the center of power to a symbol. Monshu is the chief priest of Hongwan-ji Temple and a person who 'succeeds the light of Buddhism integrates this sect and directs duties (宗務)' (Article 6 of the sect law), and the representative of religious cooperation is Shumu-socho, who is elected at the shukai (representative assembly) (among Shinshu sects, but only Hongwan-ji-ha calls it socho).

Establishment of the sect name

It was in 1877 when the name of the sect was formally established as the Jodo Shinshu sect Hongwan-ji-ha. It is called 'Onishi-san' in order to distinguish it from the Shinshu sect Otani-ha ('Ohigashi-san'). The head temple, Hongwan-ji Temple, is also called 'Nishi Hongwan-ji Temple' generally or is called 'Hompa Hongwan-ji Temple' in the sense of Hongwan-ji-ha.

[Original Japanese]