The Shingon Sect (真言宗)

The Shingon sect is a Buddhist sect of Japan that was founded by Kukai (Kobo Daishi) in the early ninth century. It is also called the Shingon Darani sect, Mandala sect or Himitsu sect. It is based on Mikkyo, or esoteric Buddhism, which Kukai learned from Eka (Keika), at Shoryu-ji Temple (Qinglongsi Temple) in Choan, (Changan) (Xian City) during the Tang dynasty.

Meanwhile, the Tendai sect in Japan, which was founded by Saicho at about the same time, learned the Hoke-kyo Sutra, Mikkyo, commandment and Zen simultaneously.

In his works 'Himitsu Mandala Jujushinron' and 'Hizohoyaku,' Kukai expressed appreciation for another Buddhist sect, Dharma, which was at that time established to some extent, and built that thinking into a rating system of 1 to 10 by placing the Shingon sect above the Dharma. Finally, he preached that Mikkyo (Shingon Mikkyo) was superior to esoteric Buddhism and that the thinking and sutras of esoteric Buddhism were included to Shingon Mikkyo.

While Tendai Mikkyo is called 'Daimitsu,' Shingon Mikkyo is called 'Tomitsu.'
Mikkyo, of the Shingon sect, was called 'Tomitsu' because it was centered on the To-ji Temple (Kyoogokoku-ji Temple).

History

The founding of the sect

Kukai founded Koyasan Kongobu-ji Temple in 816 as a dojo for Zen training, and established a sect having the Kyoogokoku-ji Temple (To-ji Temple), which was given by the Imperial Court in 823, as a fundamental dojo of the Shingon sect.

After falling into deep meditation of Kukai

Before Kukai fell into deep meditation, he asked his disciples to take charge of the temples in which he had worked as a chief priest.

To-ji Temple was put in charge by Jitsue, Kongobu-ji Temple by Shinzen, Jingo-ji Temple by Shinzei, Ansho-ji Temple (Kyoto City) by Eun, Ninna-ji Temple was founded by Kanpyo Hoo (an abdicated emperor who had joined a Buddhist order); (寛平法皇) (Emperor Uda) by Shobo, Enjo-ji Temple by Yakushin and so on. These temples were permitted to be state-sanctioned schools of monks (Nenbundosha) (年分度者), and therefore tended to be independent.

Conflict of Honmatsu, between the head temple and the sub-temple (between To-ji Temple and Mt. Koya, Koyasan)

Kangen became Toji-Choja (the chief abbot of To-ji Temple) and at the same time Kongobu-ji Temple's head priest, and established the Honmatsu system in which To-ji Temple was the head temple and Kongobu-ji Temple was the sub-temple. Toji-Choja came to control the Shingon sect. After a defeat in the conflict of Honmatsu, Kongobu-ji Temple was damaged in a fire due to lightning and lost its halls.

Koyasan fell into decline and abandonment due to the tyranny of provincial officers and other reasons. This situation continued until the mid-Heian period, but Koyasan began to make a recovery after FUJIWARA no Michinaga climbed it (making a pilgrimage to a shrine on the mountain), and he was later followed by the Imperial Family, the Sekkan-ke (the families which produced regents), and court nobles.

Subsequently, it gained financial stability partly due to economic assistance by the Imperial Family, Sekkann-ke regent family, court nobles and so on.

Kakuban and Koyasan

It split into sects because it valued shishisosho, a succession from a teacher to a disciple. This split was caused by the difference of Jiso (事相), a way to implement Shingon Mikkyo (e.g., a manner of ascetic training). Dharma itself had been completed by Kukai so that there was no dispute within the sect until the mid-Heian period.

However, at the end of the eleventh century Kakuban (Kogyo Daishi) began to preach the thought of Himitsu Nenbutsu at Koyasan.

Additionally, Kakuban built Daidenpo-in and revitalized Daidenpo-e in order to promote Shingon Dharma. He tried to achieve the independence of Koyasan from To-ji Temple's control, whereby he abolished the custom whereby Toji-Choja became the head priest of Kongobu-ji Temple at the same time and was ordained to be Kongobu-ji Temple's head priest; however, his effort failed due to the objection of the Kongobu-ji side (Hon-ji side). Subsequently, he resigned as head priest and retired at Mt. Negoro (Wakayama Prefecture).

After this incident, the Kongobu-ji side (Hon-ji side, 本寺方) continued to fight against Daidenpo-in (inside, 院方), and this continued for a long time. The two sides split into the Kogi (Kogi Shingon sect) and Shingi ({Shingi Shingon sect}).

Buzan-ha and Chisan-ha

In 1290 Raiyu relocated Daidenpo-in to Mt. Negoro and established the base of the {Shingi Shingon sect}'s Dharma by Kajihosshinsetsu (加持法身説) (Shingi) of Dainichinyorai. Negoro-ji Temple, founded at Mt. Negoro (including Daidenpo-in) was in its ascendancy but was burned down by Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI in 1585. Consequently, Senyo went into Hase-dera Temple in 1588, which came to be the grand head temple of the Shingon sect Buzan-ha. In 1601 Genyu rebuilt Chishakuin Temple (which had relocated to the precincts of Neogro-ji Temple) at Shichijo, in Kyoto, doing so with Ieyasu TOKUGAWA's support, and later it became the grand head temple of the Shingon sect Chisan-ha.

Promotion of the Kogi sect's Dharma

During the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan) To-ji Temple's priests such as Goho and Kenpo completed Tojifujimonkyogaku (東寺不二門教学) and taught Honchikajisetsu (本地加持説) (Kogi) of Dainichinyorai.

Control by the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun)

During the Edo period, the Edo bakufu carried out a new control measure over religions, against Buddhist sects. Counter to the Shingon sect, Hatto acts against To-ji Temple, Daigo-ji Temple and Koyasan Gakuryogata, as well as Hatto act against Kanto Shingon sect Kogi (関東真言宗古義法度) were put into effect in 1604. As a result of these acts, the Shingon sect was placed under bakufu's (government) observation.

Damage by the exclusion of Buddhism and control by the Meiji government

After the Meiji Restoration, the Meiji government promoted the separation of Buddhism and Shintoism. This resulted in the exclusion of Buddhism. The temples of the Shingon sect suffered great damage without regard to their status as head temples or sub-temples. Regarding financial matters, the Meiji government forced them to return their wealth. There was a case of confiscation involved. Privileges were abolished, and the title of Chokugansho, the temple in which emperors prayed, and Monzeki--the temple where the Imperial Prince lived--were prohibited. Consequently, many temples began to experience difficulties in their management, so that they were forced to become defunct. Some monks left the priesthood and returned to secular life.

Faith in Daishi

There is a strong admiration for Kukai, the founder of the sect (Kobo Daishi). In the tenth century Nyujoshinko, the faith in which Kukai had fallen into deep meditation, was created at Koyasan. One of the characteristics of the Shingon sects is the preaching of faith in Kobo-daishi (faith in Daishi).

The founder of the sect, Kukai (774-835) was born at Byobu-ga-ura Sanuki-no-kuni (讃岐国屏風浦) (current Zentsu-ji City, Kagawa Prefecture); and as a thinker, writer and talented calligrapher from among the Sanpitsu (the three great calligraphers of history), as well as a Buddhist, he had a strong influence on Japanese culture in later years. He went to Tang on the ship "Kentoshi" in 804, and was given an essential Dharma of Mikkyo from Eka, of Shoryu-ji Temple, in Choan. He obtained many Buddhist scriptures, Buddhist altar pieces and a Buddhist picture in Tang, and brought them to Japan.

In 816 Kukai obtained the land of Koyasan (Koya-cho, Itogun, Wakayama Prefecture) and founded Kongobu-ji Temple there; later (in 823), the Emperor Saga gave him To-ji Temple, which was a national temple of Heian-kyo, and he made these temples the fundamental dojo of Shingon Mikkyo.

On March 21, 835, he fell into deep meditation at the age of 62 at Koyasan. In 921, 86 years after Kukai's demise, the Emperor Daigo awarded him the posthumous title of Kobo Daishi.

Shingon Hasso (Eight Forefathers)

A legend holds that there were eight forefathers during the time in which Mikkyo occurred in India; this was conveyed to Kukai (Kobo Daishi) through China, and subsequently Kukai established the Shingon sect. This is called Shingon Hasso.

There are two kinds of Hasso--Fuho Hasso (eight forefathers from Dainichinyorai to Kukai) and Denji Hasso (eight forefathers who appeared during the period of history in which the teachings of the Shingon sect had been introduced to Japan)--and Kukai described the origin of Shingon Mikkyo, the biographies of the seven forefathers of Fuho and seven forefathers of Denji (seven forefathers of Fuso and Denji Hasso except Kobo-daishi) and lineage of Fuho in his works 'Himitsu Mandala Kyo Fuho Den (秘密曼荼羅教付法伝)' and 'Shingon Fuho Den (真言付法伝).'

One of the characteristics of temples of the Shingon sect is that Shingon Hasso (Denji Hasso) are enshrined in the main hall or other places (they are often drawn as pictures).
(Some temples do not enshrine them.)

Fuho Hasso

This shows the orthodox lineage of the Shingon sect Dharma. It was when Kongosatta heard Dainichinyorai's sermon that the Shingon Dharma's lineage began.

Dainichinyorai

Kongosatta

Ryumyo Bosatsu

Ryuchi Bosatu

Kongochisanzo

Fukusanzo

Keika Ajari

Kobo-daishi

Denji Hasso

It means that eight forefathers who appeared during the period of history in which the teachings of the Shingon sect had been introduced to Japan. Dainichinyorai and Kongosatta were removed from Fuho Hasso because they were not historical figures, and consequently the other two forefathers were added. They are also called Hasso Daishi.

Each forefather has a belonging that illustrates the essence of enlightenment.

It was said that Ryuju Bosatsu had been given Mikkyo sutras from Kongosatta, an immediate pupil of Dainichinyorai, and thus conveyed them in this world.
(He holds Sankosho in the right hand.)

Ryuchi Bosatsu: he was initiated into Mikkyo from Ryumyo.
(He has sutras in the right hand.)

Kongochisanzo went to Tang and conveyed "Kongocho-kyo" after he learned Mikkyo from Ryuchi in India.
(He has a beadroll in his right hand.)

Fukusanzo was born in western China. He went to Tang with his uncle, a merchant, and became a disciple of Kongochi at Choan. He translated 'Kongocho-kyo' into Chinese, and opened Kanjo Dojo.
(He makes Gebaku-in, a symbolic Buddhist gesture, with his fingers.)

Zenmuisanzo was born in India. He learned Mahayana Buddhism and took over Mikkyo. He went to Tang at the age of 80, and conveyed the Dainichi-kyo sutra.
(He holds up the index finger of his right hand.)

Zen master Ichigyo was born in China. He studied Zen, Tendai Dharma, astronomy and mathematics. He learned from Zenmui at Choan, and completed 'Dainichikyo-sho' based on the dictations of Zenmui.
(Clothed in his clerical garb, he makes a symbolic gesture with his fingers.)

Keika Ajari was born in China. He took over the Mikkyo of Vajradhatu and Garbhadhatu.
(He is seated on a chair and has a child serve beside him.)

Kobo-daishi was given both Vajradhatu and Garbhadhatu from Keika Ajari, and he founded Shingon Mikkyo by conveying them.
Kukai
(He has five-prong pestles on his right hand and a rosary in his left hand.)

Dharma

The dharmas of the Shingon sect are Sokushin Jobutsu (becoming Buddha in this life) and Mitsugonkokudo (esoterically adorned Buddha's Land). The main image is Dainichinyorai, which is an entity of the universe and the absolute truth.

The fundamental sutra is Dainichi-kyo Sutra (formally, 'Daibirushanajobutsu-Jinpenkaji-kyo Sutra') and Kongocho-kyo (formally, 'Kongocho Issainyorai Shinjitsusetsudaijogensho Daikyoo-kyo' or 'Kongocho-Yuga-Shinjitsu-Daio-kyo Sutra,' 'Soshitsuji-kyo Sutra,' 'Yugi-kyo Sutra,' 'Yoryakunenju-kyo Sutra,' 'Rishu-kyo Sutra,') and so on.

The ronso (academic papers) are 'Bodaishinron,' 'Shakumakaenron,' 'Dainichi-kyoso' and so on.

The following works of Kukai are considered to be ronso: 'Himitsu-Mandala-Jujushinron (Jujushinron),' 'Hizo-Hoyaku,' 'Benkenmitsu-Nikyoron,' 'Sokushinjobutsu-gi,' 'Shojijisso-gi,' 'Un-jigi' and so on.

According to the Dharma, ascetic training of the Three Mysteries (the Secret of the Body, i.e., making symbolic gestures with the fingers; the Secret of Speech, i.e., reciting Shingon; and the Secret of Mind, i.e., visualization of the Buddha in the Mandala picture) leads to integration with the main image and Sokushin Jobutsu, which means that one becomes Buddha with one's present physical body.

Jiso and Kyoso (教相)

Jiso' and 'Kyoso' are considered important in the learning of Shingon Mikkyo. Jiso is a word (as opposed to Kyoso) and a way to implement Shingon Mikkyo. It means a manner of ascetic training (修法) (training manners (行法) such as Kanjo, rite, Kanpo (meditation, 観法) and Ingei (sign made with the fingers, 印契), Shingon), while Kyoso is a theory of Shingon Mikkyo. Dainichi-kyo Sutra, the main sutra of the Shingon sect, is a sutra of Kyoso, and Kongocho-kyo is a sutra of Jiso.

Learning Kyoso leads to an understanding of Shingon Mikkyo theory, and learning Jiso leads to the implementation of a theory. Jiso, without any support of Kyoso, simply becomes a meaningless activity.

Without learning both Jiso and Kyoso, one cannot reach the ideal of Shingon Mikkyo. To explain the importance of learning both Jiso and Kyoso, some have compared Jiso and Kyoso to two wheels on a single cart.
Additionally, Jiun said, 'Kyoso does not exist without Jiso and Jiso does not exist without Kyoso, so that we should learn them together and try to attain Mitsugi (the Dharma of Mikkyo)(密義).'

The research of Jiso has been popular since the mid-ninth century (during the mid-Heian period). Yakushin began Hirosawa-ryu school, and Shoho began Ono-ryu school. Both schools separated into six schools each, e.g. Yataku Juni-ryu (12 schools of Yataku, also called Konpon Juni-ryu (12 schools of basics)), and ultimately they became 36 schools. Later, the number of schools exceeded 100. The schools of Shingon Mikkyo's Jiso were all derived from two schools: Hirosawa-ryu and Ono-ryu.

Hirosawa-ryu and Ono-ryu (Yataku Juni-ryu)

During the mid-Heian period, Yakushin began Hirosawa-ryu school and Shoho began Ono-ryu school. Both schools split into six schools and called themselves Yataku Juni-ryu or Konpon Juni-ryu.

In the definition of Yataku Juni-ryu, Jimyoiin-ryu is not included in Hirosawa-ryu. Moreover, Nakanoin-ryu is not included in Ono-ryu. This is because both schools had moved to Koyasan. These are distinguished simply because they play no role in Kujo no Shuho (official Mikkyo rites, 公請の修法) such as Goshichinichimishiho (annual Shingon prayer ritual), so that Yataku Juni-ryu does not include all the schools of Tomitsu Jiso (東密事相).

Hirosawa-ryu

It is characterized by the high value that is placed on Giki (rules of rites,儀軌). It was named after the place name of Hensho-ji Temple (Kyoto City) built by Kancho, which lies in the south of Hirosawa-no-ike Pond (in the Saga Hirosawa, Ukyo ward of Kyoto City).

In a broad sense, when Tomitsujiso is divided in two, it is the school as opposed to Ono-ryu. In a narrow sense, Ninna-san-ryu (within the school of Hirosawa-ryu) and Hirosawa-san-ryu are together called Hirosawa-roku-ryu. However, which of the schools should be included in Roku-ryu is not established, and there is a theory that includes Hokuin-ryu and Jisonin-ryu in the lineage of Kannonin-ryu and Ninna-goryu. Hojuin-ryu, Ninna-goryu and Nishinoin-ryu are called Ninna-san-ryu, and Kezoin-ryu, Ninnikusen-ryu and Denpoin-ryu are called Hirosawa-san-ryu.

The simplified lineage of Hirosawa-ryu schools
Ninna-goryu simplified lineage (founder, Kakuho): Kukai - Shinga - Gennin - Yakushin - Kanpyo Hoo (Emperor Uda) - Kancho - Saishin - Shoshin - Kanjo - Kakuho
Nishinoin-ryu simplified lineage (founder, Shinsho (信証)): Kukai - Shinga - Gennin - Yakushin - Kanpyo Hoo (Emperor Uda) - Kancho - Saishin - Shoshin - Kanjo - Shinsho
Hojuiin-ryu simplified lineage (founder, Eigen): Kukai - Shinga - Gennin - Yakushin - Kanpyo Hoo (Emperor Uda) - Kancho - Saishin - Shoshin - Kanjo - Eigon
Kezoin-ryu simplified lineage (founder, Shoe): Kukai - Shinga - Gennin - Yakushin - Kanpyo Hoo (Emperor Uda) - Kancho - Saishin - Shoshin - Kanjo - Shoe
Ninnikusen-ryu simplified lineage (founder, Kanpen): Kukai - Shinga - Gennin - Yakushin - Kanpyo Hoo (Emperor Uda) - Kancho - Saishin - Shoshin - Kanjo - Kanpen
Denpoin-ryu simplified lineage (founder, Kakuban): Kukai - Shinga - Gennin - Yakushin - Kanpyo Hoo (Emperor Uda) - Kancho - Saishin - Shoshin - Kanjo - Kakuban

Ono-ryu

It is characterized by the high value that is placed on the instruction of the secrets. It was named after the place name of the Yamashina Ono, Higashiyama ward of Kyoto City, the site of Zuishinin grand head temple of the Shingon sect Zentsuji-ha (真言宗善通寺派大本山随心院) (formerly called Mandala Temple). In some cases Shobo is regarded as an originator (元祖) of Ono-ryu while Ningai, who founded Zuishinin, is regarded as a founder (流祖) of Ono-ryu.

In a broad sense, it was the school that was opposed to Hirosawa-ryu when Tomitsujiso was divided in two. In a narrow sense it indicates Daigo-san-ryu (Rishoin-ryu, Sanpoin-ryu and Kongooin-ryu) and Kajuji-san-ryu (Zuishinin-ryu, Anshoji-ryu, Kajuji-ryu). In other cases it indicates only Zuishinin-ryu.

The simplified lineage of Ono-ryu schools
Anshoji-ryu simplified lineage (founder, Soi): Kukai - Shinga - Gennin - Shobo - Kangen - Ningai - Seison - Hanshun - Genkaku - Soi
Kanjuji-ryu simplified lineage (founder, Kanshin): Kukai - Shinga - Gennin - Shobo - Kangen - Ningai - Seison - Hanshun - Genkaku - Kanshin
Zuishinji-ryu simplified lineage (founder, Shoshun): Kukai - Shinga - Gennin - Shobo - Kangen - Ningai - Seison - Hanshun - Genkaku - Shoshun
Sanpoin-ryu simplified lineage (founder, Jokai): Kukai - Shinga - Gennin - Shobo - Kangen - Ningai - Seison - Gihan - Shokaku - Jokai
Rishoin-ryu simplified lineage (founder, Genkaku): Kukai - Shinga - Gennin - Shobo - Kangen - Ningai - Seison - Gihan - Shokaku - Genkaku
Kongooin-ryu simplified lineage (founder, Shoken): Kukai - Shinga - Gennin - Shobo - Kangen - Ningai - Seison - Gihan - Shokaku - Shoken

Kogi-ha and Shingi-ha

The Shingon sect is one of the sects that have many schools among Buddhist sects in Japan. Generally, it has developed a wide variety of dharma since it split into the Kogi Shingon sect and {Shingi Shingon sect} at the end of the thirteenth century.

Kogi-ha

It relies on Dharma-Kaya of Hon-ji, of Dainichinyorai (Kogi). It preaches that each event and each thing in this world is a sermon of Dainichinyorai, Buddhism's highest form of existence (the truth itself is regarded as Buddha's body).

Shingi-ha

It was begun by Kakuban (Kogyo Daishi) and relies on the Dharma of Adhisthana-kaya of Dainichinyorai (Shingi). It preaches that each event and each thing in this world is a sermon of Dainichinyorai, Adhisthana-kaya.

The grand head temple's association of Shingon sect's schools (Kakuzankai)

Consequent upon the enactment of Religious Organizations Act in 1939, Shingon sects (except for the Shingon Risshu) were integrated as the Shingon sect. However, after World WarⅡmany sects split and became independent one after another, so that today there are more than 50 schools. The 18 grand head temples of the main 16 schools were set up as the Grand Head Temple's association of Shingon sect schools (Kakuzankai) on June 15, 1958, in order to communicate with each other, cultivate mutual friendships and hold events in cooperation with one another. These temples are called the 18 head temples of the Shingon sect (真言宗十八本山).

Office of Kakuzankai - at Chishakuin Grand Head Temple

The 18 head temples of the Shingon sect, which join in Kakuzankai

The Kogi Shingon lineage

Kongobu-ji Temple - Grand head temple of the Koyasan Shingon sect (高野山真言宗総本山)

To-ji Temple - Grand head temple of the Toji Shingon sect (東寺真言宗総本山)

Zentsu-ji Temple - Grand head temple of the Shingon sect Zentsuji-ha (真言宗善通寺派総本山)

Zuishinin - Grand head temple of the Shingon sect Zentsuji-ha (真言宗善通寺派大本山)

Daigo-ji Temple - Grand head temple of the Shingon sect Daigo-ha (真言宗醍醐派総本山)

Ninna-ji Temple - Grand head temple of the Shingon sect Omuro-ha (真言宗御室派総本山)

Daikaku-ji Temple - Grand head temple of the Shingon sect Daikakuji-ha (真言宗大覚寺派大本山)

Senyu-ji Temple - Grand head temple of Shingon sect Senyuji-ha (真言宗泉涌寺派総本山)

Kaju-ji Temple - Grand head temple of the Shingon sect Yamashina-ha (真言宗山階派大本山)

Chogosonshi-ji Temple - Grand head temple {Shigisan Shingon sect} (信貴山真言宗総本山)

Nakayama-dera Temple (Takarazuka City) - Grand head temple of the Shingon sect Nakayamadera-ha (真言宗中山寺派大本山)

Kiyoshikojin Seichoji Temple - Grand head temple of the Shingon-Sanpo sect (真言三宝宗大本山)

Suma-dera Temple - Grand head temple of the Shingon sect Sumadera-ha (真言宗須磨寺派大本山)

The Shingi Shingon lineage

Chishakuin Temple - Grand head temple of the Shingon sect Chisan-ha (真言宗智山派総本山)

Hase-dera Temple - Grand head temple of the Shingon sect Buzan-ha (真言宗豊山派総本山)

Negoro-ji Temple - Grand head temple of the {Shingi Shingon sect} (新義真言宗総本山)

The Shingon Risshu sect

Saidai-ji Temple (Nara City) - Grand head temple of the Shingon Risshu sect (真言律宗大本山)

Hozan-ji Temple - Grand head temple of the Shingon Risshu sect (真言律宗大本山)

Goshichinichinomishiho

For a week from January 8 to 14 (21 times, 21座) every year, Goshichinichinomishiho has been held at Kanjo-in of To-ji Temple by the chief abbots (管長・山主) and Jogakuso (priests, 定額僧) of each sect belonging to grand head temple's association of Shingon sect schools.

Formations (priests who are elected by each school of the Grand Head Temple's association of Shingon sect schools)
Dai Ajari (chief abbots of the grand head temple's association of Shingon sect schools)
御手替 (chief abbots of the grand head temple's association of Shingon sect schools)
Ninoma Kannon-ku Mass (二間観音供) (1 person)
Jinku (神供) (1 person)
Banso (伴僧) (4 persons)
Juniten-gu (十二天供) (1 person)
Soyaku Goma-ku, Soyaku Goma-gu, Soyaku Goma-kyo (増益護摩供) (1 person)
Shu no kami (咒頭) (1 person)
Shari no mori(舎利守) (1 person)
Sokusai Goma-ku, Sokusai Goma-gu, Sokusai Goma-kyo (息災護摩供) (1 person)
Shoten, Shoden (聖天) (1 person)
Godaison-ku, Godaison-gu, Godaison-kyo (五大尊供) (1 person)
Jogakuso
Zuiko (随行)
Shoji, Joji (承仕)
Disciple
Office
Betto (別当) (1 person)
Dai-gyoji (大行事) (1 person)
Sho-Gyoji (小行事) (1 person)
Yodo (用度) (1 person)
Kyokucho (局長) (1 person)
Goshichinichinomishiho is also called Shingoninmishiho and others, and is commonly known as Mishiho. Because Kukai (Kobo-daishi) had prayed for the peace of Japan, the safety of the Emperor and the prosperity of the people at the Imperial Palace in 834, it was held annually as a New Year event of the Imperial Palace.

Although there were several interruptions, including civil war during the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan), it was revived through the efforts of the Emperor Go-Mizuono and Gien, Daigo-ji Temple's head priest in 1623, after an absence of 170 years. It was held until 1871, when it was abolished under the influence of the official decree on the exclusion of Buddhism.

It was revived through a petition by Unsho SHAKU and others in 1883. Subsequently, the place of ascetic training was moved from the Palace to Kanjo-in of To-ji Temple.

The ascetic training is held 21times. Participants use Kongokai-ho and Taizokai-ho alternately, one year each, and implement the rites of peace and increase of benefit, and Godai-myoo (五大明王), Juni-ten (十二天), Shoten-ho (聖天法) and so on.

On the first day (開白) of January 8, the imperial messenger, who has the Karabitsu (Chinese-style chest) in which the Emperor's cloth is placed, is sent from the Imperial Household Agency to Kanjo-in of To-ji Temple, and he places it within the inner hall of To-ji Kanjo-in Dojo. On the 11th (the middle day, 中日) and the 14th (expiration of term of a vow), the imperial messenger burns incense and worships at To-ji Kanjo-in Dojo. On the 14th, a ceremony to return the Emperor's cloth to the imperial messenger is held at the front hall of To-ji Kanjo-in Dojo, and Goshichinichinomishiho ends successfully (成満).

This is regarded as the supreme secret ceremony of the Shingon sect, and religious articles (法具) such as a rosary, five-pronged pestles, a stole and others, which are used in ascetic training, were brought by Kukai (Kobo-daishi) from Tang (China). Previously, Toji-Choja played a role of Dai Ajari.

Currently, the role of Dai Ajari, who holds ascetic training (the more specific name is Homuhoin Dai Ajari (法務法印大阿闍梨), commonly known as Daia (大阿)) is alternated by the chief abbots of each sect belonging to the grand head temple's association of Shingon sect schools every year, and after serving as Dai Ajari he is installed as the chief abbot of the Shingon sect. The term of service is one year. Customarily, he is given the staff of the chief abbot at the time of inauguration.

For the time after the expiration of the term of a vow, To-ji Kanjo-in Dojo is open to the public and anyone can worship there.