Temple Name: Myoshin-ji 妙心寺
Mountain Name: Shobozan 正法山
Address: 64 Hanazono Myoshinji-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 616-8035 Japan
Myoshin-ji, “Temple of the Wondrous Mind,” is the headquarters of the largest of the fourteen schools of Japanese Rinzai Zen Buddhism. It was established in 1337 by the cloistered emperor Hanazono 花園 (r., 1308–1318), who converted his country residence into a temple and asked his teacher, the Zen master Shuho Myocho 宗峰妙超 (1282-1337), to suggest a suitable first abbot. Shuho recommended his disciple Kanzan Egen 關山慧玄 (1277–1360), who was then doing post-enlightenment training in the mountains of Gifu Prefecture. Kanzan was formally invited, and returned to Kyoto to take the post of abbot. The emperor, following Shuho’s death, continued his Zen practice under Kanzan, commuting to Myoshin-ji from his residence at what is now the subtemple Gyokuho-in 玉鳳院. Kanzan was renowned for the simplicity and austerity of his lifestyle.
After Kanzan’s death
(said to have occurred while the master was standing by a tree, dressed in
his pilgrimage clothes), Myoshin-ji went into a period of decline. For a
time the name was changed to Ryu’un-ji 龍雲寺, and the temple was placed under
the control of Nanzen-ji. In 1432 the fourth abbot, Nippo Soshun 日峰宗舜
(1368–1448), restored the temple buildings as well as the name Myoshin-ji.
Not long thereafter Myoshin-ji was burned during the Onin War (1467–1477), but
was rebuilt by Sekko Soshin 雪江宗深. (1408-1486), the sixth abbot of the