Encyclopedia of Shinto Kokugakuin University
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Home » 8. Schools, Groups, and Personalities » Medieval and Early Modern Schools
Unden Shintō
A branch of Shinto founded by the Edo-period Shingon monk Jiun Onkō (1718-1804). As Jiun lived on Mt. Katsuragi, it is also called Katsuragi Shintō. Jiun's learning extended not only to esoteric Buddhism, siddham (Sanskrit philology), and Zen, but also to Confucianism and Shinto. In particular, he revived the monastic precepts through his promulgation of what he called the Precepts of the True Dharma (shōbōritsu). He also composed the Bongaku shinryō in one thousand fascicles, and made a great compilation covering the history of siddham studies; he was one of the outstanding scholars of his era. In response to the criticisms of Buddhism leveled by the Confucianists and Shintoists of his time, he attempted a reconstruction of the ancient Ryōbu Shintō. Some of his works relating to Shinto include Shin-Ju gudan (A Conversation Between Shintō and Confucianism), Shintō yōgo (Important Terms in Shintō), Shintō kokuga (Songs of the Shintō Realm), Shinchoku kuden (Oral Transmissions on the Oracles of the Gods), Ten no mikage (The Beneficence of Heaven).
       Jiun held that no distinction existed between Shinto and esoteric Buddhism, and that it would be impossible to learn the essence of Shinto without also understanding esoteric Buddhism. Further, he was considered noteworthy for locating the basic meaning of Shinto in the relationship between lord and retainer while criticizing the Confucianists' emphasis on the marriage relationship or the relationship between friends; he is also known for arguing that Japan was a "divine land" (shinkoku) in which there was no need for the appearance of Confucian sages.
       In these ways, Jiun diverged from the previous position that regarded Buddhism as principal and Shinto as subsidiary, taking a stance closer to Revivalist Shinto (Fukko Shintō) nationalism. Jiun's writings relating to Shinto are now collected in Volume 10 of The Complete Works of the Venerable Jiun (Jiun Sonja zenshū).

—Itō Satoshi
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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