Zenran (善鸞)

Zenran (1217-April 1, 1286) was a monk of Jodo shin shu (True Pure Land Buddhist Sect) during the mid-Kamakura Period. His go (official title) was Jishinbo.

His father was Shinran, and his mother was Eshin-ni. He was the eldest son of Shinran, and his younger sister was Kakushinni. There were theories that his birth year was 1210 and his death year 1292, and if it was true, then he was born in Echigo where Shinran was exiled to.

When his father Shinran returned to Kyoto from the propagation in the Kanto region, Zenran was dispatched to Kanto in order to quell the disturbance within the religious disciples in Kanto. However, Zenran became inclined toward Senju kenzen (the doctrine that do good deeds besides prayers) which was considered to be heresy at that time and led to an incident when he tried to make himself as the living Buddha, and only the doctrine of Senju kenzen which he initiated secretly at midnight there was claimed to be correct.

As a result, he was disowned by his father with the letter Shinran wrote on June 30, 1256. He later continued to devote himself to missionary work around Kanto as the fushuku (ancient priest) or kalyaana-mitra (one who offered spiritual friendship and guidance that was non-directive, non-denominational, and non-religious). His teachings passed down in the Tohoku region as hidden nenbutsu (Buddhist prayer) as witching, spiritual usage, and sorcery of Jodo shin shu, and some religious schools such as Shinshu Sanmonto (the three disciples of the Pure Buddhist Sect) counted Zenran as the second Jodo shin shu.