Jianzhen, a very high-ranking Buddhist monk from Tang Dynasty, China, died in Nara, Japan, in 763.

Updated: Aug 29

The Imperial Court in Yamato, present Nara, was Embarrased with how to train the young Buddhist monks, as there was no proper leader in Japan. The Emperor Shomu dispatched two Japanese monks to China to ask Jianzhen to send his disciple as a teacher to Japan.

However no disciple of him answered this request as the voyage to Japan was very dangerous at that time. Jianzhen made a final decision to go to Japan himself instead. He attempted to sail to Japan five times from 743, but all of these ventures were in vain because of the stormy weather or opposition from then Chinese Government. He finally reached Nara, Japan's capital at that time, in 755 with much difficulty.

Then Emperor Junnin built Toshodai-ji temple for him in 759, where he educated young Japanese monks as a head monk to grant them authority. This temple was a kind of a college focusing on Buddhism. He passed away here in 763 and is sleeping under the tombstone in the picture, which found in this temple grounds.


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