Japanese Buddhist Monk
(Redirected from Enni Ben'en)

Enni Ben'en, also Shoichi Kokushi and Shoichi. (圓爾辯圓; Chinese Yuan'er Bianyuan; 1202 – 1280) was a Japanese Buddhist monk, who founded Tōfuku-ji monastery in Kyoto, and practiced Zen as well as other types of Buddhism. His disciples included Mujū. One of his successors as abbot was Daido Ichi'i (1292-1370).


  • All my life I taught Zen to the people -
    Nine and seventy years.
    He who sees not things as they are
    Will never know Zen.
    • Japanese Death Poems. Compiled by Yoel Hoffmann. ISBN 978-0-8048-3179-6; Quoted in: Lawrence Winkler. Samurai Road. 2016. p. 25

Quotes about Enni

  • Koho Kenichi (1241-1316) was one of the most renowned Zen prelates of his era, his era, not least because of his Japanese origin. As son of Emperor Gosaga, he began his religious career in the esoteric Buddhist school. In 1256 he was admitted into the Tofukuji by Enni Ben'en. Four years later he met Gottan Funei, who had just moved there from China. As instructed by his teacher Enni Ben'en, Koho followed Gottan Funei to Kamakura. On Ichio Ingo's recommendation he came under the care of Koho Kennichi. He was calm and self-willed and preferred to live in seclusion. For this reason he spent many years in a remote area until his appointment as leading priest of the Jomyoji in 1300 and later of the Manjuji in Kamakura. In 1314 Mugaku Sogen entrusted him with the leadership of the great Kenchoji.
    • Ildegarda Scheidegger, Bokutotsuso. Studies on the Calligraphy of the Zen Master Muso Soseki (1275-1351), 2005. p. 117
  • Although Zen teachers—immigrants as well as native born—could now readily be found in Japan, some of the more serious students still felt it necessary to travel to China to get the training they wanted. One of these was Enni Ben’en, also known by the posthumous name, Shoichi Kokushi—Shoichi, the National Teacher.
The syncretic Zen of Myoan Eisai, a combination of the Chinese Rinzai tradition and Tendai, was short-lived in Japan. It would be the form of Rinzai brought back to the islands from China by Shoichi that would persevere.
  • Richard Bryan McDaniel. Zen Masters of Japan. The Second Step East. Rutland, Vermont: Tuttle Publishing, 2013.
Wikipedia has an article about: