Peter: The Japanese Monk Ennin
and His Travels to Tang China
- Ennin was a Buddhist Monk (Japanese name: Jikaku Daishi)
in Tsuga district, Shimotsuke Province
founded the Sammon branch of the Tendai sect
from 838 to 847
work is titled “The record of a pilgrimage to Tang [China]
in search of the law
law was a term frequently used by Buddhists for the religion
- Ennin’s books is a diary of his travels to China
is highly regarded, sometimes even more so than Marco Polo’s diary
consists of 4 scrolls
priest of Tendai school
studied under 2 masters and then spent some time at Wutiashan,
a mountain range famous for its numerous Buddhist temples
his diary, he states that Mt.
Wutai is the source of
the teachings and the places where the great saints have manifested themselves.
Great monks from India
have also visited these mountains.
- Ennin also studied at Chang’an,
the Chinese Tang capital.
- Ennin brought back to Japan Fa-Chao’s
practice of five-tone nembutsu recitation which
marked the introduction of the recited nembutsu
to Japan. Also brought back the teaching of the Chinese
constantly walking Samadhi called Jogyodo in which
Tendai monks customarily recited the Lotus Sutra
in the morning and performed nembutsu in the evenings.
- Ennin achieved his fame as a transmitter of Chinese culture
to Heian society.
- Ennin’s diary even covers Chinese geography, folk customs,
economy, administration, and politics which he used to influence Japan
at the time.
- Tendai became the most popular sect in Japan
and so he had a huge influence in Japan
at the time.
The introduction of the Buddhist ethic against killing resulted in reduced numbers of executions and reduced
consumption of meat.