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  • Japanese: 時宗 (jishuu)

Jishû (lit. "Time Sect"), was a sect of Amida Buddhism founded in the 13th century by the traveling monk Ippen. Inspired by a fervent belief that they were living in the time of mappô, the time of the decline of the Buddhist Law (dharma), the Ji sect emphasized the idea that since Amida is ever-present, there is no need to construct or attend specific places of worship, but that rather celebration of everyone's salvation due to Amida's vow (a vow to not go into Nirvana until all have been saved) could and should take place everywhere.

The "time" in the name of the sect refers to the time of mappô, a time when other forms of achieving enlightenment are no longer reliable, and so one must place one's faith in Amida's vow. Later on, this "time" came to refer to the continual recitation of the nenbutsu in all hours, all times.

Though not long-lasting into later historical periods, the Ji sect had a significant influence upon various arts, including renga poetry, Noh theater, tea ceremony, and forms of storytelling. The marginal status of most Ji followers, unaffiliated with any established Buddhist temples, and including outcastes, allowed the sect to develop a particular relationship to the so-called za arts which were associated with aesthetic spaces outside of formal status hierarchies. Further, since the Ji followers were travelers, they introduced renga and other arts to some more distant areas of the archipelago.


  • Eiko Ikegami, Bonds of Civility, Cambridge University Press (2005), 96-97.