Doji (道慈)

Doji (year of birth unknown - November 14, 744) was a 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 (clan name) was Nukata. He was born in Sofunoshimo no kori (or Soejimo-gun) County in Yamato Province.

In 702, he travelled to Tang China where he lived at Xi Ming Temple (Xian City) and through his pursuit of Sanron, or Three Shastras (Treatises), out of 100 high priests was he selected to expound upon the Ninno hannya kyo which was alternatively known as Benevolent Kings (Prajnaparamita) Sutra. In 718, he returned to Japan, being considered the third transmission of the Japanese Sanron sect. In the following year of 719, he was recognized by the imperial family for his merit and given an award of 50 jikifu households (vassal households allotted to courtier, shrines and temples). In 729, he was appointed risshi (the third-rank priest following sojo and sozu) and assisted in the relocation of Daian-ji Temple to Heijo-kyo (the ancient capital of Nara). In 735, he was allocated six fuyoku-doji (assistants). The following year, in 736, he commenced Daihannya-kyo Tendoku-e (a Buddhist ceremony in which part of the 600-verse Prajna Sutra [the Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra] are recited by a group of priests, fanning the folded pages of the sutra text through the air while reciting the Prajna Sutra incantation [chant]) at Daian-ji Temple, and in 739, served as lecturer to expound upon Daigokuden Saisho-o-kyo Kosetsu (literally, a lecture on the Most Victorious Kings Sutra [Suvarnaprabhasa] at the Council Hall in the Imperial Palace). He participated in the compilation of "Nihon shoki" (Chronicles of Japan) and criticized Buddhist circles of the day in his "Gushi" (literally, A Fool's Idea). In addition, he was excellent at kanshi (Chinese poetry), whose works are included in "Kaifuso" (literally, Fond Recollections of Poetry, referring to the oldest collection of Chinese poetry written by Japanese poets).