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Ryoo

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A statue of Ryôô at Kan'ei-ji, in Ueno, Tokyo
  • Born: 1630
  • Died: 1707
  • Japanese: 了翁 (Ryouou)

Ryôô was an Edo period priest of the Ôbaku sect of Zen Buddhism.

Born into a family with the name of Suzuki, in Ogachi district, Dewa province, in 1630, he entered the monastic life from a very young age. He later came to study directly under Yǐnyuán Lóngqí (J: Ingen), the Chinese monk credited with first introducing Ôbaku Zen to Japan, and took the monastic name Ryôô.

At one point during his travels around the realm, Ryôô had a dream which led him to producing and distributing a medicine called kintaien. He had his nephew Daisuke open a pharmacy near Shinobazu Pond (in the Ueno district of Edo), and spent the profits on helping the needy, including victims of the 1657 Great Meireki Fire, and on building a library at the temple of Kan'ei-ji, also in Ueno. For these acts, he was granted honorary titles and rank by the head of Kan'ei-ji, Rinnôji-no-miya.

Upon his death in 1707, Ryôô was buried at Tenshin-in, a branch temple of Manpuku-ji. A small statue of Ryôô, and a stele in his honor, inscribed during his lifetime, stand today at Kan'ei-ji, though it is unclear where they might have previously stood, or when they were moved to the temple.

References

  • Plaques on-site at Kan'ei-ji.[1]
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