Two-character Calligraphy, by En'ni of Tofuku

  • Kamakura period
  • 13c
  • Hanging scroll, ink on paper
  • H-33.4 W-87.2
Catalogue Entry

En'ni (1202-80)

En'ni, the founder of Tofukuji, is also known by the name Shoitsu Kokushi, and it is thought that he gave the name En'nito Mugai Jinen, the third generation head of Jissoji in Suikyozan of Mikawa.

Jinen was born in Kyoto, and after studying with En'ni, went to China where hestudied with some priest before returning to Japan. As he was dying, En'ni conferred his blessing upon Jinen with the name "Shoho Ganzo" and thus named him as his heir. Jinen went on to build the Shohoin within the grounds of Tofukuji, and become the head priest of the Shohoin branch. He also acted as the second generation head priest of Fumon temple.

While he acted nine times as the head priest of Tofukuji, he never became the head priest of Tofukuji. Jinen died on the 12th day of the 11th month of Bunpo 2 (1318) at Jissoji. His grave is at Shohoin and the posthumous name of Otsu Zenji was conferred upon him.
While a number of calligraphies of dogo Zen names remain today, there are very few examples of anmyo names from this period. Indeed, we have only "Reiken" brushed by Seisetsu Seicho and dated Kareki 2 (1327). However, two scrolls of the anmyo name "En'ni"conferred by the Song priest Wuzhun Shifan remain at Tofukuji, and both have been designated Important Cultural Properties. Might Jinen's anmyo name then follow this example set by his master?

En'ni was born in Warashina, Abe gun, Suruga (present-day Shizuoka Prefecture). As a child he studied with Gyoben of Kunoji, and took one character of his teacher's name to form the name Ben'nen. In Jokyu 1 (1219), he entered the priesthood at Onjoji in Omi province at the age of 16 and received the Buddhist precepts at Todaiji. Then he studied Zen and Tendai Buddhism with Shakuenbo Eicho of Kozuke Chorakuji and Daikatsu Ryoshin of Jufukuji before traveling to China in Katei 1 (1235). There En'ni was converted to the Zen sect during his studies with Wuzhun of Jingshan. Upon this occasion, he was given the name En'ni by Wuzhun, but in fact, these two characters had been part of his bogo, En'nibo Ben'nen, used during his student monk days, and when he changed sects, he changed his bogo to his hogo. In general, En'ni has come to be known as En'ni Ben'nen, but originally En'ni was not his dogo, and it is a mistake to use his post-Zen sect conversion name of En'ni aligned with his student monk name of Ben'nen. En'ni received his certification from Wuzhun, and then returned to Japan in Ninji 2 (1241). He was invited by Zuijobo Tankei to open Sofukuji in Dazaifu and Eison invited him to open Minakamisan Manjuji in Hizen. The following year (1242), patronage from the wealthy merchant Sha Kokumei allowed him to open Jotenji in Hakata, thus spreading the Buddhist teachings throughout Kyushu. In Kangen 1 (1243), Enni traveled to Kyoto where he converted Kujo Michiie. Some years prior to this conversion, in fact since Katei 2 (1236), Michiie had had the desire to build and establish a temple that he named Tofukuji, with one character each taken from the names of the Nara temples Todaiji and Kofukuji, in the Higashiyama foothills. As construction had begun on this project, he promptly asked En'ni to found the temple of Tofukuji. At first Tofukuji was largely a teaching temple, but thanks to En'ni's participation in its founding, Tofukuji gradually became a temple for religious training that centers on Zen, but also teaches Shingon and Tendai precepts.

En'ni dedicated Tofukuji's large residence hall, which took many years to construct and adorn, in Kencho 7 (1255), some twenty years after Michiie original request to found the temple and on the occasion of the third anniversary of Michiie's death. En'ni died in Koan 3 (1280) at the age of 79.