Chiko (智光)

Chiko (circa 709 - circa 780) was a Buddhist priest of the Sanron Sect (Madhyamika school founded originally by Nagarjuna, which was brought in from China in 625 by Ekwan and was headquartered in Horyu-ji Temple in Nara, the sect belonging to the Provisional Mahayana school), who lived in the Nara period. His secular surname was Sukita no muraji. He was born in Asukabe no kori (or Asukabe-gun) County in Kawachi Province.

Together with Raiko he studied Sanron, or Three Shastras (Treatises), under Chizo at Gango-ji Temple, looked around for shogyo (Buddhist sutras) and left numerous writings including "Hannya-shingyo Jutsugi" (literally, Interpretation Learning of Heart Sutra) and "Jomyogenron-ryakujutsu" (literally, A Brief Sketch of the Commentary on the Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra). According to "Nihon genho zenaku ryoiki" (a set of three books of Buddhist stories written in the late 8th and early 9th century, usually referred to as the "Nihon Ryoiki"), Chiko was jealous of Gyoki appointed as daisojo (head priest of a Buddhist sect) and slandered him, which supposedly caused Chiko to die of illness and descend to hell, but repentance led him to resurrection, and thus resurrected Chiko relied on Gyoki. Also, after his schoolmate Raiko died, Raiko appeared in one of Chiko's dreams where he was seen living in the Amida jodo (Pure Land of Amida), whereupon he had a picture drawn of the scene by a painter, which remains to the present day at Gokuraku-bo of Gango-ji Temple in Nara as a henso-zu (picture describing Buddhist Heaven and Pure Land) called "Chiko Mandala." Subsequently, Chiko persisted with his Jodo (Pure Land) faith.