There were countless monasteries across Rokugan that housed both the lifelong members of the Brotherhood of Shinsei and those samurai who had retired into the Brotherhood.

Purpose Edit

A monastery was a unique form of a shrine or temple devoted not only to religious purposes, but also for training new monks. [1]

Monastic life Edit

Generally, any monastery was governed by the rules given by Shinsei in his Path of Purification sermon, though notably the Shintao sect chose not to follow certain of these guidelines. There were certain hard-and-fast rules that were always followed: [2] [3]

  • Do not eat meat (though fish may be eaten).
  • Avoid violence.
  • Avoid killing for any reason.
  • Remain celibate.
  • Avoid gluttony and drunkenness.
  • Do not defile a holy place.
  • Do not commit murder or rape.

Monks that served the Temples of Benten and Bishamon were allowed to marry and made families. [4]

Eight Petals of the Lotus Edit

Additionally, monks were encouraged to follow the "eight petals of the lotus": right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. Monks were also forbidden to participate in politics, though many monasteries had become politically influential over the years. Monks were also supposed to remain ascetic, though many monasteries had gained great wealth. [2] [3]

Travelling monks Edit

Many monks did not reside in a monastery for one reason or another. These monks would travel from place to place and monastery to monastery, generally begging for their sustenance and board as they travel. Nevertheless, these monks were still expected to follow the same rules as monks within a monastery. [2] [3]

Hierarchy Edit

Each monastery has an internal hierarchy of some sort. The leadership of the monasteries is supposed to consist of the most spiritually enlightened of its monks, but often leadership positions default to former members of the samurai caste. [5] [3]

Initiates were the lowest rank of members of a monastery. Once a new member had moved past the initiate phase, they were called rishi. Sozu were the supervisors of various areas of life within the monastery. The heads of the monastery were called sojo; sojo were in charge of the sozu and in control of all aspects of life at the monastery. Dai-sojo were in charge of several monasteries, managing the various sojo and reporting directly to the leader of their sect. [5] [6]

Dress Edit

All monks wore the traditional saffron robes that had become synonymous with their position. In addition, monks within a monastery would wear a coloured over-robe to designate their position within the monastery. Initiates and sozu had black over-robes, sojo had purple over-robes, and dai-sojo had red over-robes. [5] [6]

External Links Edit


  1. Way of the Daimyo, p. 25
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Way of the Phoenix, p. 120
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Way of Shinsei, p. 21
  4. Way of Shinsei, p. 32
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Way of the Phoenix, p. 118
  6. 6.0 6.1 Way of Shinsei, pp. 21-22

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