When a youth, he went to Nara and studied under Gonso and other priests.
Shubin was the chief priest of the Saiji Temple in Kyoto. He was at one time as famous as Kukai. Emperor Saga gave the Toji (East) Temple to Kukai and the Saiji (West) Temple to Shubin. When the Kinki District was hit by a drought, Shubin offered his service to the Emperor to pray for rain. His praers were said to have resulted m a ramfall. Priest Shuen might have been the same person as Shubin. According to legend he feuded with Kukai about rain-making prayers.