Yokan (a priest) (永観 (僧))

Yokan (or Eikan) (1033 - December 11, 1111) was a priest of Sanron sect (The Three-Discourse Sect of Buddhism) in the later Heian period. His father was MINAMOTO no Kunitsune, monjosho (student of literary studies in the Imperial University), and Yokan was adopted by Genmei, betto (the head priest) of Iwashimizu Hachiman-gu Shrine. He was the seventh head priest of Zenrin-ji Temple (Kyoto City) and the great contributor to the restoration of the temple. "Eikando," the other name of Zenrin-ji Temple, derives from his name.

He studied the esoteric teachings under Jinkan at Zenrin-ji Temple at the age of 11, Sanron teachings under Yukyo and Kenshin at Todai-ji Temple living in Tonan-in of the temple after accepting the precepts, and also Dharmalogy of the Hosso Study (The Dharama-Charactersitics Sect of Buddhism). At that time, he devoted himself to Jodo (Pure Land) sect, made Ichimanben Nenbutsu (ten thousand practices of the Buddhist invocation) the daily routine, and retired to Komyo-ji Temple (Ayabe City) in Yamashiro Province in 1062. Then, he returned to Zenrin-ji Temple in 1072 to promulgate Jodo sect and encouraged followers to practice the nenbutsu, and established 'Yakuo-in' on the grounds of the temple which performed public services caring for the ill and so on. This story below has been handed down to subsequent generations. In 1082, when Yokan at age 50 was walking around the statue of Amida Nyorai, the main revered figure, reciting the nenbutsu as his daily routine, Amida Nyorai stepped down from the sacred platform and began to walk with Yokan.
As Yokan halted in astonishment, Amida Nyorai turned around and said 'Yokan, you are slow.'
That is why the standing statue of Amida Nyorai, the main revered figure, uniquely turns his face to the observer's left. In 1099, he was appointed as Gon no Risshi (generally in Shingon sect, 15th-ranking Buddhist priest, literally, "supernumerary master of discipline"), but declined it. After that, he was appointed as betto (the head priest) of Todai-ji Temple and declined, but assumed it when he was appointed again, and then renovated Shosoin (the treasure house) and so on.