"Jiin-ho" is a name for laws regarding Buddhist temples. When they are put together with laws regarding shrines, they can be called "Jisha-ho" or "Shaji-ho" (literally, temple and shrine law).
Tokyo-ken and Chikyo-ken
There are basically two legislative powers regarding religions. One is "tokyo-ken," with which the powers of the secular world, such as states, regulate temples and shrines from out side, and the other is "chikyo-ken," with which the religious bodies impose rules from inside, on themselves as well as their members. Temples and shrines before modern times existed as independent authorities which could rival secular powers, and their chikyo-ken was widely accepted.
For this reason, laws based on chikyo-ken accounted for a major part of the Jiin-ho before modern times, and sometimes, in a stricter sense, only the legislations grounded in chikyo-ken are called 'Jiin-ho.'
At first, in the early Buddhist groups called "sangha," the precepts of Buddhism and other rules which were set to control its members based on the precepts were believed to be the original Jiin-ho. Jiin-ho in this narrow sense was developed in two different ways: one way is that each sect or temple compiled statute laws to suit their circumstances, and the other is that norms served as precedents, establishing the common law. As a result, there were no Jiin-ho that took the form of codes, such as the canon law of Christian churches. Also, there were laws called Jinai-ho which regulated the inside of temples and other laws to control the outside of temples, which were under the temples' power, meaning Jinai-cho (temple villages) (also called ji-hen) and shoen (manor in medieval Japan).
The oldest legislation of Jiin-ho in Japan was the Jushichijo no kenpo (Constitution in Seventeen Articles) which was laid down by Prince Shotoku in 604. This law, which set forth the country's policy to respect Buddhism, made a close connection between Buddhist faith and nation building, but there is a theory that it is a creation of the writers of "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan). However, even if the theory of its creation is true, as "Nihonshoki" was compiled only 100 years after the time of Prince Shotoku, the volume can still be considered as an important historical document to grasp the early state on Buddhism.
After the prince's death in 624, the rank of Sojo (high-ranking Buddhist priest), which was modeled on the system in the Nan-Dynasty of China, was introduced and a Buddhist priest from Baekje called "Kanroku" was appointed (the beginning of sokan seido (the monk-official system)). Following this, after the Taika Reforms, the jisshi-hoto no seido (ten preceptors-the lay office system) was established. Later, with some reforms of part of the system, Taiho Ritsuryo (Taiho Code), which included Soniryo (Regulations for Priests and Nuns) (and Jingiryo (ritual outlines and regulations) for shrines) was issued and the Buddhist priests and temples were put under the regulation of the state (ritsuryo laws, in form, did not regulate Buddhism or Shinto themselves, but put the people and organizations involved in the religions under control). While Soniryo had strict rules, its effectiveness was not fully maintained, as it was temporarily suspended due to Sogo's (a priest of a managerial post) demand. Genba-ryo kakushiki (formality of the Bureau of Buddhism and Aliens) in Engishiki (an ancient book for codes and procedures on national rites and prayers), which was compiled later, was also considered as the basis of regulations grounded in tokyo-ken in succeeding generations. Also, a special form of tokyo-ken was developed when temples were built as a family temple or Uji-dera Temple (temple built for praying for clan's glory) as rules set by the founder or the founding family became a variation of it.
Full-scale Jiin-ho based on chikyo-ken were thought to be developed under the influence from traditional rules within sanghas, regulations by soniryo and religious precepts that were brought to Japan by Jianzhen. The oldest is "Sange-gakushoshiki" (The Regulations for Students of the Mountain School) written by Saicho in 819. This was made to apply to the Imperial Court to permit the establishment of the Kaidan (Buddhist ordination platform) at Enryaku-ji Temple, but at the same time, another aspect of it was to require the priests in Enryaku-ji Temple to be worthy of their places. Later in Enryaku-ji Temple, Ryogen made Kisho nijuroku kajo (26 articles of vow) in 970, accelerating the establishment of inner regulations. Meanwhile, in the Shingon sect, "Goyuigo," words left by Kukai at the time of his death, were given importance and were regarded to be the rules that were to be followed by priests and believers of this sect. Among the other known regulations of individual temples are Zenrin-ji shiki jugo kajo (15 articles of Zenrin-ji Temple), which was introduced to Zenrin-ji Temple in 868 by Shinsho, and Jingo-ji shiki shijugo kajo kisho (45 vows of Jingo-ji Temple), which Mongaku set at Jingo-ji Temple in 1185. "Kotai jingu gishikicho" (register of the Ceremony of Kotai-jingu Shrine) (also called "Enryaku gishikicho") was believed to be set at Ise Jingu Shrine in 804 and it is also considered as a reflection of chikyo-ken at shrines.
The medieval period
In the Heian period, when the nation governed based on the principles of the ritsuryo legal code started to fall apart, legal systems based on tokyo-ken such as soniryo became unsubstantial and Jiin-ho grounded in chikyo-ken became the mainstream. During this period, the upper strata of the temples like Sango (three monastic positions with management roles at a temple), betto (administrator of a Buddhist temple) and zasu(temple's head priest) lost their control over the temples' inner organizations, and some other strata were formed, including gakuryo (learned priest), priests and gyonin (practitioners). In addition, an idea called 'Ichimi Wago' (unity of people's minds) led to decision making through discussions at gatherings called "shue" (gathering of priests) on the inside regulations and important rules regarding shoen management, and a kind of majority rule called 'tabun no ri' was developed (in which not gaining a majority but gaining two thirds or more of agreement will decide the case). There are medieval temple documents which show how they decided the date, qualification for attendance and the method of decision making of a gathering, reminders as well as penalties for absentees (most of which were settled at gatherings). Regulations on a wide variety of fields were made: among these were an ethical code for priests, rules regarding Buddhist services, regulations on maintaining security inside and outside the temple, penalties ('no death penalties') and rules involving temple management, including a temple's financial services, such as collecting land taxes and shidosen (money donated to a temple).
Jiin-ho set at the gatherings were initially only effective inside the temple grounds, as well as those belonging to the temple, such as priests and followers, but later, jinai-cho, which is also called "jihen", began to have an effect on areas surrounding the temples. Furthermore, in the late Kamakura period, temples tightened the control as honjo (proprietor or guarantor of manor) over the shoen and its surrounding areas to rival samurai, and as the rules of honjo, Jiin-ho were introduced, providing the authority for a honjo law at shoen. Also, as there was an increasing need for maintaining security as well as carrying out shomu (management and control of encouragement of agriculture, taxes and so on in shoen) such as tax collections, new Jiin-ho were established taking the local customs into consideration and were enacted as a honjo law by shokan (an officer governing shoen).
However, in such cases where a series of Jiin-ho were made into a statute, there were scarcely cases where they were written in the same style or they were compiled in a form of the code. Due to this, various names were used for the same purpose: okibumi (will and testament), okite (rules), shugijisho (a book for things decided by mass meeting), keijo (deed), shikimoku (law codes in the itemized form, which were used in the medieval Japan) and shinsei (law reconstitution). While samurai and the Imperial Court made shinsei to ban luxury and promote Buddhism and Shinto, temples set corresponding shinsei and also established their own shinsei based on Jiin-ho, as mentioned above. Kofuku-ji Jihen Shinsei (a code of new law issued by Kofuku-ji Temple) in 1181 and Nanto Shinsei in 1226 were issued in response to shinsei set by the Imperial Court. Also, in 1261, Kugeshinsei (new laws imposed by the Imperial Court) targeting at Kofuku-ji Temple were set and there is an official document from Daijokan (Grand Council of State) to Buddhist temples left.
Meanwhile, in terms of tokyo-ken, there were many statements to protect and regulate temples and shrines in the above-mentioned shinsei, such as Goseibai-shikimoku (code of conduct for samurai), Jisha kogyo ho (temples promotion law) issued by the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), Kenmu Code and regulations on gozan (Zen temples highly ranked by the government) by the Muromachi bakufu and bunkokuho (the law individual daimyo (Japanese territorial lord) enforced in their own domain) by daimyo in the Sengoku period. As soson (a community consisting of peasants' self-governing association) developed, villages made their own regulations on how to carry out religious services and how to maintain the local temple, according to rules called "so okite."
The early modern times
In the course of wars to unify Japan under the Oda government to the establishment of the Edo bakufu, the temples and shrines such as Jodo Shinshu (the True Pure Land Sect of Buddhism) started to lose their autonomy. Since the time of the Toyotomi government, Ieyasu TOKUGAWA had enforced regulations grounded in tokyo-ken upon each temple or sect in his domain centering on the Kanto region but this policy was only a transitional process from an extension of bunkokuho to the legislation for the feudal system characteristic of the shogunate. After he came to power, controls on religions all over Japan were placed through the promulgation of various jiinhatto (Act of Temples) and the establishment of honmatsu seido (main-branch temple system) and danka seido (parishioner system). In the 18th century, Jishagata oshioki reisho stated the rules of punishments to be administered to Buddhist priests. Also, the tokyo-ken of each domain was recognized independently as long as they were not against the Bakufu laws and each sect's right to set their own sect rules as well as each temple's chikyo-ken were reserved without interruptions as long as they did not violate the Bakufu laws or domain's tokyo-ken (e.g. laws of Shingon sect Kongo-ji Temple, laws of Tendai sect Onjo-ji Temple). "Shosha neki kannushi hatto" (ordinances for shrine priests) was enacted in 1665, regulating Shinto. There were examples in which sects like Nichiren shu Fujufuse ha (Nichiren sect's Not Receive and Not Give School) were persecuted as they were considered to be a heresy, or in which Jodo Shinshu was banned in certain domains (See Kakure Nenbutsu).
The modern times
In modern times, as legislative power ultimately came to belong to a nation, laws based on chikyo-ken became invalid and as a result, the regulations grounding in tokyo-ken exclusively started to account for Jiin-ho. In the early Meiji period, Haibutsu-kishaku (a movement to abolish Buddhism) and a policy to establish Shinto as the state religion had a great impact on Buddhism and Shinto. In 1871, all tax-free lands were abolished as a precondition of land tax reforms, and using this as an excuse, the state confiscated temples' properties (the present Kofuku-ji Temple is located in Nara Park because of the aftereffect of a policy aimed at confiscating the temple's property, pulling down the buildings and making a park (which was cancelled later on)). In the same year, Shinto was recognized as a service of the nation, and as it was decided that Shinto priests would be appointed by the state, shake (family of Shinto priests serving a shrine on a hereditary basis) were abolished. However, with opposition from temples and shrines, the duties of Jingikan (department of worship) fell under the control of the Ministry of the Interior after being transferred to Jingisho (the Ministry of Divinities) and Kyobusho (the Ministry of Religion). In 1884, when the kyodoshoku (evangelist) which had been appointed by the state was terminated, each sect was allowed to have autonomy inside on the condition that they stayed under the control of the state, and reforms of the honmatsu seido were conducted according to this (August 11, 1884 Dajokanfutatsu (administrative order from Dajokan (Grand Council of state)) No.19). Following this, the Constitution of the Empire of Japan adopted 'freedom of religion,' although with some limitations. Later, Buddhist sects launched movements demanding the improvement of the legal system regarding religions and the restoration of their properties confiscated by the state. While the Religious Organization Law (Law No.77) enacted in 1939 was a law which aimed at controlling religions in order to strengthen the war regime, it was also a milestone in that the law recognized the corporate status of temples for the first time. Meanwhile, with Shinto, State Shinto was promoted and Jingiin (Institute of Divinities) was founded in 1940. In 1945, the Religious Corporation Ordinance (1945, the Imperial Ordinance No.719) replaced the Religious Organization Law and in the following year, Jinja-Honcho (The Association of Shinto Shrines), which is independent from government organizations, was established. Furthermore, the Constitution of Japan embraced the principle of separation of government and religion, as well as freedom of religion. In 1951, the current Religious Corporation Act (1951, Law No.126) based upon the Constitution of Japan was laid down, becoming the fundamental law for today's religion administration.