5 East Honganji and West Honganji: Kyonyo
As the teaching of Nenbutsu spread throughout Japan, Shin Buddhism became the
major Buddhism sect and the influence of Honganji Temple in Japanese history
during this period was considerably strong. Shin Buddhism had support from all
levels of the Japanese society, but especially peasants and servants strongly
supported its teachings.
Many peasants revolted during that time were supported by the insightful social
aspects of Shin Buddhism.
Such movements were considered as an obstacle for the aggressive unification of
Japan planned by the Shogun Nobunaga Oda. For 10 years Nobunaga Oda tried
without success to destroy the Honganji Temple. The temple was bravely defended
by Shin Buddhist followers.
During this period, the caretaker of the mausoleum moved
from Ishiyama Honganji
in Osaka to
Horikawa Rokujo in Kyoto. After that, with a victory of the battle of
Sekigahara, Ieyasu Tokugawa recommended the division of the Honganji Temple.
In 1604, Kyonyo
was recognized as the 12th caretaker for what would be known as the East
Honganji Temple. Honganji was divided into two separate temples: West Honganji
Temple and East Honganji Temple. Junyo became the Chief Priest of West Honganji
and Kyonyo became the Chief Priest of East Honganji.