Yadoya (n.d.) Yadoya Mitsunori, an official of the Kamakura government through whose offices Nichiren Daishonin submitted On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land to Hōjō Tokiyori. Often called “the lay priest Yadoya,” he served the regents Hōjō Tokiyori and Hōjō Tokimune. He is known as one of the seven persons who were permitted access to Hōjō Tokiyori when he was on his deathbed.
yaksha (Skt) One of the eight kinds of nonhuman beings referred to in Buddhist scriptures. Originally, beings who served Kubera, the god of wealth in Indian mythology, yakshas were incorporated into Buddhism as one of the eight kinds of nonhuman beings who work to protect Buddhism. Yakshas are regarded as followers of the heavenly king Vaishravana and are said to protect the north, though some sutras depict them as demons who torment and harm human beings.
Yama The lord of hell, who judges the dead for the deeds they did while alive and sentences them accordingly. Often called King Yama. In Vedic mythology, Yama was looked upon as the first dead human being and as the discoverer of the way to heaven, the celestial abode of the dead over which he became king. Later he came to be thought of as the lord of hell and judge of the dead.
Yang Kuei-fei (719–756) A concubine of Emperor Hsüan-tsung, sixth emperor of the T’ang dynasty. Because of her beauty, intelligence, and talent at singing and dancing, she won great favor with Emperor Hsüan-tsung, whose attentions to her caused him to neglect affairs of government. A rebellion that broke out in 755 forced the emperor and his court to flee. The imperial troops, blaming the troubles of the empire upon the members of the Yang family, threatened to revolt if the emperor did not have Yang Kuei-fei executed. The emperor was thus forced to accept the death of his favorite concubine.
Yao, Emperor One of the Five Emperors, legendary sage emperors of ancient China highly respected by the people for their exemplary rule. Yao abdicated his throne to Ch’ung-hua, or Emperor Shun.
Yao Hsing (c. 366–416) The second ruler of the state of Later Ch’in, one of the Sixteen Kingdoms in China. In 401 he welcomed the translator Kumārajīva, who had been residing in the state of Later Liang, to his kingdom’s capital, Chang-an, and requested that he engage there in the translation of Buddhist scriptures. There, Kumārajīva produced Chinese translations of 294 volumes of scriptures (384 volumes according to a different source), including his translation of the Lotus Sutra. Yao Hsing also founded many Buddhist temples, supporting the spread of Buddhism throughout his kingdom, promoted universal education, and enacted ambitious government reforms.
Yashodharā Shakyamuni’s wife before he renounced secular life, and later a nun within his Buddhist Order. The mother of Shakyamuni’s son Rāhula, who also became a prominent member of the Order.
Yellow Springs In China and Japan, the name of the land where the dead were believed to go.
Yen Hui (514–483 b.c.e.) A student of Confucius, regarded as his foremost disciple. He loved learning, pursued his studies even amid poverty, and was well regarded for his virtue. Sadly, he preceded Confucius in death, causing his teacher great sorrow.
yojana (Skt) A unit of measurement used in ancient India, equal to the distance that the royal army was thought to be able to march in a day. One yojana is considered equivalent to seven kilometers.
Yōkan (1033–1111) Also called Eikan. A priest of the Three Treatises school and a precursor of the Pure Land school in Japan. He studied the doctrines of various schools such as the Three Treatises, Flower Garland, and Dharma Characteristics schools, but later took faith in the Pure Land teachings.
Yōmei (d. 587) An emperor of Japan who reigned from 585 to 587. He was the fourth son of Emperor Kimmei and the father of Prince Shōtoku, later crown prince and imperial regent, who contributed greatly to the establishment of Buddhism in Japan.
Yoritomo See Minamoto no Yoritomo.
Yoshitoki See Hōjō Yoshitoki.
Yoshitomo See Minamoto no Yoshitomo.
Yoshitsune See Minamoto no Yoshitsune.