Jogen no Honan (承元の法難)

Jogen no Honan was an incident where monks following Senju-Nenbutsu (intently praying to Buddha) led by Honen were suppressed and Honen, Shinran and other monks with central roles were exiled throughout the country.

The incident was triggered by a rebellion of the monks of Mt Hiei, who demanded the cessation of Senju-Nenbutsu in 1204. They directed their demand towards the Tendaizasu (chief of Tendaishu) at that time, Shinsho.

Honen sent 'The Seven Articles of Religious Commandments' with 190 signatures of monk followers to Enryaku-ji Temple and this settled the quarrel with Tendai.

However, in 1205, the decision to cease nenbutsu was decided by a soujo (document reported to the Emperor) from Kofuju-ji Temple in Nanto (Nara Prefecture). On this occasion, the monks of Kofuku-ji Temple sent "The Nine Articles of Religious Negligence" to the Honen order.

Negligence by starting a new order

Negligence by creating new images

Negligence by not respecting Shaka

Negligence by impeding good deeds

Negligence by turning your back towards the gods

Negligence by darkening Jodo

Negligence by making mistakes during nenbutsu

Negligence by losing the followers

Negligence by upsetting the country

In particular, Anrakubo Junsai and Hohonbo Gyoku were attacked because of their popularity with Nenbutsu shows which featured a tune similar to the Rokuji-Raisan nenbutsu. Honen excommunicated Gyoku, but the situation was not resolved.

In 1207, the Kamakura bakufu bowed to the demands from Kofuku-ji Temple and Honen was exiled to Sanuki Province. Again, the Nenbutsu show that Junsai and Juren had held at Shishigatani was considered as a problem. Their beautiful voices entranced the women in Retired Emperor Gotoba's Inner Court to the point that some had their hair shaved and became nuns, angering the Retired Emperor so much that he had the two monks executed and Honen exiled. 2 other monks were also executed and 7 monks other than Honen were exiled. Shinran was exiled to Echigo Province.

Honen did not reach Tosa Province, but was forgiven at Sanuki, stayed for a while at Katsuo-ji Temple in Settsu Province and returned to the capital in 1211.

[Original Japanese]