Tsuikahô 203 : Regarding the post of the directors of the various temples within Kamakura

Translated by Matthew Keller and Sachiko Kawai.

Item, regarding the post of the directors 1 of the various temples within Kamakura [Third year of Ninji, twelfth month, fifth day. Decided in council]
One who has gathered virtue and accumulated merit should be appointed the head temple administrator 2 . Yet there are those who arbitrarily claim that because their masters have designated them as successor, 3 they may control a temple as their own—without taking into account ability, nor considering their insufficient experience. 4 Not only do they invite the ridicule of the present time, but moreover, does this not certainly fail to fulfill the Buddha's will? From now on, the practice of appointments by designating succession shall completely cease, and {temples} shall proceed by a proper standard {as imposed by Kamakura}.

Original Text

一 鎌倉中諸堂別当職事 〈仁治 三 十二 五評定〉




Kundoku 訓読

一 鎌倉中の諸堂の別当職の事 〈仁治 三 十二 五評定〉


Modern 現代語

一 鎌倉中の諸堂の別当職の事 〈仁治 三 十二 五評定〉


  1. 別当 bettō — The director, or chief administrator, of a temple or other religious institution. Office (職 shiki) here refers to both the hierarchical position and the authorities of that position.

  1. 寺務 jimu — Again, the head administrator of the temple or religious institution. Functionally, this term is identical to bettō in this missive.

  1. 譲 yuzuri -- This refers to the common practice of one being appointed as the successor for a post by the post’s previous holder. The claimants referred to in this document may report to hold a written or oral appointment from their master, but--whether these claims are true or false--the bakufu is denying the validity of this process, and asserting their authority as final deciders in the appointment process.

  1. “Insufficient experience” is a translation of 若﨟 (jyakurō). 臈 (rō) is used to refer to one’s experience and seniority in a monastic order. Appending the character for “youth” (若) to rō assumedly indicates a lack of time or seniority in the order.