Myouren Hijiri (聖 命蓮 Hijiri Myouren) is an enigmatic character, only known to have taught his sister Byakuren Hijiri Buddhist magic. His death prompted her original fear of death, and her research into magically extending her longevity.
Myouren is believed to have been a real Buddhist priest. He appears in several stories, but the most significant one is Shigisan-engi, which is one of the most popular emakimono. Its third volume involves an unnamed Buddhist priestess worried about her younger brother, Myouren, never returning home, so she seeks out to reunite with him. While staying at Toudai Temple, where Myouren had made his vows for priesthood, Daibutsu comes to her in a dream with a vision of a purple cloud alongside a mountain southwest from her. She travels there the next morning and finds him there, and they live together.
The story simply describes a "Myouren", which is a dharma name (戒名 kaimyou), given to a Buddhist priest upon ordination. Through the Heian period when a priest received their dharma name, they would also drop their family name altogether to remove attachment to worldly life. From the Muromachi period (~1500) forward priests would retain their family names upon ordination. Since "Myouren" lived around the middle of the Heian period, between 850-950, he wouldn't have referred to himself as "Myouren" with a family name.
No official art of Myouren exists, however ZUN has said that he thought of him as an old man, matching his appearance in the Shigisan-engi.
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- Byakuren Hijiri (Older sister)
- In an interview with ZUN, he states that Myouren was originally meant to be the final boss of Undefined Fantastic Object, but he decided against it because "It would be weird to have an old man as the last boss in Touhou".
- His age at the time of death is unknown, but Myouren is thought to have lived in the late 9th to 10th century around 900 C.E. As shown in the Shigisan-engi, he is thought to have lived to old age, coinciding with the original image ZUN had of him.
- He lived the majority of his known life in what is now known as Nara Prefecture, but is thought to have been born in Shinano Province, or current day Nagano, ZUN's home. First taking his vows at Toudai Temple (東大寺), he later trained at Chougosonshi Temple (朝護孫子寺), originally founded by Prince Shoutoku, on Mount Shigi (信貴山). It was here where Myouren's elder sister later reunited with him.
- Chougosonshi Temple is a head temple of Shigisan Shingon Buddhism, one of the sects of Shingon Buddhism.
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