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Ippen

Ippen or Yugyō Shōnin, ‘wandering holy man’ (1239–89). Founder of the Ji (Time) sect of Japanese Pure Land Buddhism; he called his followers, Jishū, Followers of the Timely Teaching; the ‘time’ is the six-hour invocation of the nembutsu each day. Ippen is a representative example of the hijiri, itinerant Buddhist practitioners, who travelled throughout Japan during the medieval period spreading the Pure Land teachings. At the time of his death, Ippen burnt all of his writings, saying that they all revert to the phrase Namu Amida Butsu. Only a few of his writings, such as the letters and poems collected together in the Ippen Shonin Goroku, remain.

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