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良源 Ryōgen Edit Profile

Clergyman

Ryōgen was a Buddhist priest of the middle Heian period.

Background

Ryōgen was bom in 912 in the province of Omi (present-day Shiga Prefecture).

Career

He became a monk in 928, entering the monastery on Mt. Ilici as a follower of the Tendai sect. He won reknown for engaging in doctrinal debates with exponents of other sects. At the same time he became friendly with Fujivvara no Morosuke, a high court official, accepting Morosuke’s son Jinzen as his disciple, and with Morosuke’s help set about rebuilding the temples of Mt. Hiei, which had earlier been destroyed by fire.

In 966 he became the eighteenth zasu, or head of the Tendai sect.

Achievements

  • In 960 he drew up a set of regulations in twenty-six sections that were designed to put an end to the drinking, brawling, and other forms of immoral conduct that had begun to appear among the members of the religious community. Rydgen thus worked to restore the Tendai sect to its original purity and prestige, but at the same time, because of his connections with the aristocracy, he made it more difficult for persons of humble birth who entered the clergy to rise to high ecclesiastical position