The Seven Pure Land Masters of Jodo Shinshu

Hi Everyone,

Today, I wanted to post a photo I took (with permission) from the local Jodo Shinshu Buddhist temple:

The Seven Pure Land Masters

This is a picture of the Seven Pure Land Masters or shichi kōsō (七高僧) in Japanese. In the Jodo Shinshu tradition, it is taught that these Buddhist teachers, from India, China and Japan, helped develop Pure Land Buddhism into what it is today. For this reason, they are usually enshrined in the main shrine, often on the far-left side.

The Seven Pure Land masters are, in historical order:

  1. Nagarjuna, India, (150–250)
  2. Vasubandhu, India, (ca. 4th century)
  3. Tan-luan, China, (476–542?)
  4. Daochao, China, (562–645)
  5. Shandao, China, (613–681)
  6. Genshin, Japan, (942–1017)
  7. Hōnen, Japan, (1133–1212)

Similarly, the Shoshinge hymn that I’ve been studying and practicing explains in great detail the lineage too. I spent some time recently on Wikipedia updating the article on Jodo Shinshu to explain what each one has done. In general, each of these esteemed Buddhist teachers has built upon the previous one, and refined the Pure Land Buddhist teachings to what we know today.

Thus, if you ever go to a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist temple, you will typically see them enshrined on the far-left, opposite of Prince Shotoku.

Anyway, just wanted to share this photo. 🙂

P.S. The same lineage is used in the related Jodo Shu sect, but obviously Honen the founder is omitted from the list above. 😉


Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

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