The Seven Patriarchs (七高僧)

The seven patriarchs are the seven high priests selected by Shinran, the founder of Jodo Shinshu (the True Pure Land Sect of Buddhism). They are listed in Eshakudan (chapters of teachings of the patriarchs) of 'Shoshin Nenbutsuge' (The Hymn of True Faith).

Standards of selection
The aspirant of rebirth in the Pure Land
The person should live and chant nenbutsu (Buddhist invocation) by oneself while believing in the Original Vow of Amida Buddha (Amitabha Tathagata).

The list excluded those who tried to reach the Buddhist paradise by implementing religious austerities and nenbutsu chanting that put an emphasis on self-salvation.

Contribution to the clarification of the Original Vow's meaning
The person should contribute to the clarification of the Original Vow's meaning not with the mere observance of his predecessors' teachings but through the development of his own teachings (the development is called Hakki).

The suitability of teachings to the Original Vow
The teachings should match the purpose of the Original Vow of Amida Buddha.

Whether a book was written
The person should write a book and hand down his teachings to future generations.

The writings of the seven high priests are generally called 'Shichiso Shogyo' (the sacred teachings of the seven patriarchs).

In India

Ryuju (in Sanskrit, "Nagarjuna")

Ryuju is the 'first patriarch.'

The honorific title
Ryuju was honorifically called 'Ryuju Bosatsu' (Nagarjuna Bodhisattva) or 'Ryuju Daishi' (Great Priest Nagarjuna).
(From "Koso Wasan" (Hymns in Honor of the Patriarchs), the rest is omitted.)

Hakki
The two divisions of difficult and easy paths
Writings
The ninth chapter on Igyo-bon (Easy Practice),' in fifth book of the 17 part series of "Jujubibasharon" (the Discourse on the Ten Stages).
"Junirai" (Twelve Adorations)

Tenshin (also known as Seshin, or Vasubandhu in Sanskrit)

Seshin is the 'second patriarch.'

The honorific title
Tenshin was honorifically called 'Tenshin Bosatsu' (Vasubandhu Bodhisattva).

Hakki
Single-hearted faith in Amida Buddha
Writing
Muryojukyo Ubadaisha Ganshoge (Verses on the Aspiration to Be Born in Pure Land) (also known as "Jodoron" (A Treatise on the Pure Land Sutra))

In China

Donran (in Pinyin, T'an-luan)

Donran is the 'third patriarch.'

The honorific title
Donran was honorifically called 'Donran Daishi' (Great Priest T'an-luan) or 'Donran Osho' (Buddhist Priest T'an-luan).

Hakki
The diffusion of Amida Buddha's "Other Power" (Other Power is one of the key concepts in the Jodo (Pure Land) sect (and the Jodo Shinshu), which means the Amida Buddha's power of benevolent salvation for sinful humans).
Writing
"Muryojukyo Ubadaisha Ganshoge Chu" (Commentary on Verses on the Aspiration to Be Born in Pure Land) (also known as "Jodoron Chu" (Commentary on a Treatise on the Pure Land Sutra) or "Ojoron Chu" (Commentary on a Treatise on Reborn))

Doshaku (in Pinyin, Tao-ch'o)

Doshaku is the 'fourth patriarch.'

The honorific title
Doshaku was honorifically called 'Doshaku Zenji' (High Priest Tao-ch'o) or 'Doshaku Daishi' (Great Priest Tao-ch'o).

Hakki
The revision of Ryuju's difficult and easy paths.
Writing
"Anleji" (a book answering criticisms against Pure Land thought and practice)

Zendo (in Pinyin, Shan-tao)

Zendo is the 'fifth patriarch.'

The honorific title
Zendo was honorifically called 'Zendo Daishi' (Great Priest Shan-tao) or 'Zendo Osho' (Buddhist Priest Shan-tao).

Hakki
Correction of misunderstandings from ancient times concerning the Contemplation Sutra.
Writings
"Kanmuryoju-kyosho" (also known as Kangyosho) (Commentary on the Meditation Sutra)
"Ojoraisan-ge" (Hymns of Birth in the Pure Land)
"Tengyo gyodogan ojojodo hojisan" (also known as "Hojisan") (Liturgy for the Rite of Desiring Birth in the Pure Land through Reciting Sutras and Circumambulation)
"Ekangyotomyo hanjuzanmai gyodo ojosan" (also known as "Hanjusan") (Hymns on the Pratyutpanna Samadhi)
"Kannen Amida Butsu sokai sanmai kudoku homon" (also known as "Kannen homon") (Method of Contemplation)

In Japan

Genshin

Genshin is the 'sixth patriarch.'

The honorific title
Genshin was honorifically called 'Genshin Osho' (Buddhist Priest Genshin), or 'Genshin Daishi' (Great Priest Genshin).

Hakki
The distinction regarding one's place of rebirth between the True Pure Land and the other land.
Writing
"Ojoyoshu" (The Essentials of Salvation)

Genku

Genku (also called Honen) is the 'seventh patriarch' and the teacher priest of Shinran.

The honorific title
Genku was honorifically called 'Genku Shonin' (Sage Genku) or simply 'Shonin' (the Sage). In honor of Genku, Shinran called him 'the superb person' in the second chapter of his book entitled "Tannisho" (Notes lamenting deviations).

More commonly, Genku was honorifically called 'Genku Shonin' (Priest Genku) or 'Honen Shonin' (Priest Honen).

Hakki
Propagation of nenbutsu in Original Vow to the public.
Writing
"Senchaku Hongan Nenbutsu-shu" (also known as Senchaku-shu) (Passages on the Selection of the Nenbutsu in the Original Vow)