Enku (in the Heian period) (円空 (平安時代))

Enku (960-September 7, 1039) was a monk in the Heian period, who appears in "Shui Ojo-den" written by MIYOSHI no Tameyasu.

Career
In "Shui Ojo-den," Enku is described as Enku shonin who was a Zen learner in Hirosehai-ji Temple in Hoki Province. According to "Shui Ojo-den," in 1039, Enku observed religious precept even though he was pretty old at that time, and he was like a sennin (immortal mountain wizard). On July 25 of the same year, Enku fell sick and realized he was going to die, and he began sutra chanting and balneum bath on August 1. It is said that during that period, lots of monks and ordinary people who worshipped Enku gathered in front of the gate of Hirose-ji Temple. However, Enku declined to meet with any of them and kept on sutra chanting and balneum bath. August 16 of the same year, he died at the age of 80. Also, it is written that there were strange things happening: from the night before through the night of the death of Enku, many people had dreams about Enku going west followed by many monks.

Location of Hirose-ji Temple
The temple called Hirose-ji in which Enku is supposed to have stayed does not exist in Hoki Province (mid-west region in Tottori Prefecture) and the details of the temple are unknown. A theory says that Hirose-ji Temple is Hirosehai-ji Temple which was discovered in Hirose, Kurayoshi City in 1969. Both temples have 'Hirose' in their names and the period Hirosehai-ji existed matches the period Enku lived. A rinchi-style temple, which represents the Jodo (Pure Land) sect belief in the Heian period, was found at the site of Hirosehai-ji Temple. This proves the relationship with the Heian-kyo (the ancient capital of Japan in current Kyoto).