Hotan (鳳潭)

Hotan (1654 - April 14, 1738) was a learned monk in the middle of the Edo period. He is believed to have been born in the Nishitonami district, Etchu Province, but some say that he may have been born in Settsu Province.

He enter Mt. Hiei (a monastery complex atop Mt. Hiei, the headquarters temple of the Tendai Sect) to become a priest (i.e., to enter the Buddhist priesthood) and studied kyoso (a logical study of doctrines) and kanso (techniques for judging the fates and characters of people from their appearance) there. Although he attempted to go to China and India, he could not achieve it as it had been banned by the government; instead, he studied the teachings of every Mahayana, Hinayana, exoteric, and esoteric Buddhism sects in Kyoto and Osaka. What is noteworthy is that he mastered Kegon (the teachings of Kegon Buddhism, which considers that virtue can be built through vigorous training and the act of charity) in Nanto (Nara), and was committed to its restoration. In 1704, he went down to Edo (the present Tokyo), where he gave lectures on the teachings of kegon at Daisei-dojo (a place of Buddhist practice and meditation) and wrote books on his own theory about kegon while exchanging ideas and opinions with learned monks of various other sects. In 1723, he founded the Kegon-ji Temple in Matsuo, Kyoto City. He communicated with people from various Buddhist sects, including Jodo Sect, Jodo Shinshu (the True Pure Land Sect of Buddhism), and Nichiren Sect, and exerted a strong influence on Buddhist people at that time.