Head temple of the Tendai sect of Buddhism; located on Mt. Hiei, a mountain on the outskirts of Kyoto. Mt. Hiei has been a center for religious practices since the Heian period (794-1185). The founders of new sects during both the Kamakura (1185-1333) and Muromachi (1333-1568) periods were, almost without exception, originally trained at Mt. Hiei. They included Ryōnin, founder of the Yūzū Nenbutsu sect; Hōnen of the Jōdo sect; Shinran of the Jōdo Shin sect; and Nichiren, founder of the Nichiren sect. Enryakuji was burned by orders of Oda Nobunaga on September 30, 1571. The temple represented the quintessence of traditional Buddhism's entrenched power, and it was at least a covert participant in a coalition of religious and secular lords who planned to destroy the emergent hegemon. The temple was restored under the patronage of Nobunaga's successors, but it never again wielded secular power. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)
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