In Jodo-shin Buddhism, leaders have been called Master “師” or True Teacher “善知識”. However, although these two terms are treated as the same, I think that the meanings differ. In general, the same meaning of both terms is to lead people. The most important difference is that the Master does not have the aspect of being a fellow practitioner “同行”, which the True Teacher has. Shinran used both terms in this way.
Then, which image of leader, Master or True Teacher, was hoped for in the early religious community of Jodo-shin Buddhism? We can discover an answer from the Komyo-Honzon which was made between the middle of the 13th century and the middle of the 14th. It is clear that Shinran and his disciples are drawn as Honen's disciples in the Komyo-Honzon. This means that the relationship between Honen and Shinran or Shinran's disciples is a Master-disciple relationship, and the one between Shinran and his disciples is that of fellow practitioners. Therefore, it can be said that people in the community hoped for their leader to be a True Teacher because the True Teacher has the aspect of being a fellow practitioner.