Ennin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Ennin
Yunogo2000.jpg
A statue of Ennin.
Born 793 or 794 CE
Died 864 CE
Occupation monk, philosopher, scholar, traveler, and priest
Religion Buddhism

Ennin (圓仁 or 円仁?, AD 793 [1] or 794 – 864), who is better known in Japan by his posthumous name, Jikaku Daishi (慈覺大師), was a priest of the Tendai school.

Birth and origin[edit]

He was born into the Mibu (壬生) family in present-day Tochigi Prefecture, Japan and entered the Buddhist priesthood at Enryaku-ji on Mt. Hiei (Hieizan) near Kyoto at the age of 14.

Trip to China[edit]

In 838, Ennin was in the party which accompanied Fujiwara no Tsunetsugu's diplomatic mission to the Tang Dynasty Imperial court.[2] The trip to China marked the beginning of a set of tribulations and adventures.

Initially, he studied under two masters and then spent some time at Wutaishan (五臺山; Japanese: Godaisan), a mountain range famous for its numerous Buddhist temples in Shanxi Province in China. Later he went to Chang'an (Japanese: Chōan), then the capital of China, where he was ordained into both mandala rituals. He also wrote of his travels by ship while sailing along the Grand Canal of China.

Ennin was in China when the anti-Buddhist Emperor Wuzong of Tang took the throne in 840, and he lived through the Great Anti-Buddhist Persecution of 842–846. As a result of the persecution, he was deported from China, returning to Japan in 847.[3]

Return to Japan[edit]

In 847 he returned to Japan and in 854, he became the chief priest of the Tendai sect at Enryakuji, where he built buildings to store the sutras and religious instruments he brought back from China. Ennin also founded the temple of Ryushakuji at Yamadera.

Literary Work[edit]

He authored more than 100 books. His diary of travels in China, Nittō Guhō Junrei Kōki (入唐求法巡礼行記?), was translated into English by Professor Edwin O. Reischauer under the title Ennin's Diary: The Record of a Pilgrimage to China in Search of the Law. Sometimes ranked among the best travelogues in world literature, it is a key source of information on life in Tang China and Silla Korea and offers a rare glimpse of the Silla personality Jang Bogo.

Sources[edit]

  • Edwin O. Reischauer, Ennin's Diary: The Record of a Pilgrimage to China in Search of the Law (New York: Ronald Press, 1955).
  • Edwin O. Reischauer, Ennin's Travels in T'ang China (New York: Ronald Press, 1955).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Donald Keene, in his Travelers of a Hundred Ages gives Ennin's birth year as 793, not 794.
  2. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Fujiwara no Tsunetsugu" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 211.
  3. ^ Reischauer, Ennin's Travels in T'ang China.

External links[edit]