The purpose of this study is to investigate-through the Seppo-Myogenron 説法明眼論-the Shogei 聖問's relationship to the belief in Shotoku Taishi 聖徳太子信仰.
Ryoyo Shogei 了誉聖冏 (1341-1420), one of the most learned monks in the Jodo sect 浄土宗, lived in the period of the North and South Courts through the early Muromachi era. He enhanced the Jodo sect's religious position and made a great contribution to the formulation of its solid doctrine. He was also known to have had a profound knowledge of other religious and social matters, and moreover, he had a clear apprehension of the secular religions at the time.
However, little is known about how Shogei was connected to the belief in Shotoku Taishi. In the middle ages, the belief in Shotoku Taishi was widely spread among people, and in due course, many kinds of books regarding Shotoku Taishi were written. One of them is the Seppo-Myogenron 説法明眼論, believed to be a work of Shotoku Taishi.
My study shows that Shogei was very interested in the Seppo-Myogenron, and he made frequent reference to it in his works.
Upon close examination, surprisingly, in some cases (Jodo-Ryaku-Myomokuzu浄土略名目図 etc), he went so far as to adopt the Seppo-Myogenron into his own religion-Jodo Buddhism 浄土教.
From this, we can conclude that Shogei was positively influenced by the belief in Shotoku Taishi.