Zenshin-ni (善信尼)

Zenshin-ni (574 - year of death unknown) was a Buddhist nun who lived in the late 6th century. Her father was Datto SHIBA. She was an aunt of a Bussi (sculptor of Buddhist Statues) named KURATSUKURI no Tori. Her real name was Shima. Zenshin-ni was one of the first nuns in Japan as well as Ezen-ni and Zenzo-ni.

Brief Personal History

In 584 (the 13th year of Emperor Bidatsu's reign), Zenshin-ni became a disciple of the priest, Ebin, who came from Goguryeo across the sea, and she became a nun, being named Zenshin-ni. When SOGA no Umako enshrined in his residence a stone statue of Miroku-butsu (Miroku Buddha) in 584, it is said that Zenshin-ni performed Saie (a Buddhist ritual) together with her disciples Ezen-ni and Zenzo-ni. On March 585 (the 14th year of Emperor Bidatsu's reign), Zenshin-ni was stripped of all her clerical garments and while naked, was punished by whipping at the station of Tsubaichi market place (present-day Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture) due to an anti-Buddhist movement by MONONOBE no Moriya. In 588 (in the first year of the Emperor Sushun), Zenshin-ni went abroad to Baekje to study precepts of Buddhism, and returned on March, 590. After her return, she dwelled at Sakurai-ji Temple in Yamato Province (presumably present-day Toyura, Asuka village), and contributed to the thriving of Buddhism by putting 11 nuns out into the world including Zentoku.