Disambiguation Note: This is the page for the monk Rénshān, for the noted lay Buddhist Yáng Rénshān 楊仁山, see 楊文會..
Rénshān 仁山 (1887-1951)
As a youth, Rénshān showed great talent for learning, and at 14 suì 歲 he was invited to study in Ānhuī 安徽 by Féng Mènghuá 馮夢華. He returned to Jiāngsū four years later to take party in regional examinations. Hearing that the examination system would be changing in 1905, Rénshān, who had spent his youth preparing for the old-style examinations (with "eight-legged essays“ 八股) was sorely disappointed. Upon reflection, Rénshān decided that it would be better to pursue ultimate truth, rather than the relative truth upon which the tests were based. As a result, he decided to ordain as a Buddhist monk.
Rénshān was tonsured by Xīlái 西來 at the Guānyīn Pavilion 觀音閣 at Jīnshān Monastery 金山寺 in Zhènjiāng 鎮江 in 1904. He ordained the following year at Mt. Bǎohuá 寶華山 near Nánjīng 南京. From 1906 to 1911, Rénshān studied for the entire run of three of the most important early Buddhist seminaries of the 20th century. 1) In 1906, he studied at the Universal Saṇgha Study Hall 普通僧學堂 at Tiānníng Temple 天寧寺 in Yángzhōu 揚州. 2) From 1908 to 1909, he studied at the Jetavana Monastery 祇洹精舍 set up by Yáng Wénhuì 楊文會 in Nánjīng. 3) From 1909 until the Revolution in late 1911, Rénshān studied at the Jiāngsū Saṇgha Normal Study Hall 江蘇僧師範學堂 in Nánjīng.
After the founding of the Republic, early efforts by Rénshān and Tàixū 太虛 (with whom he had studied since 1908) to establish the Association for the Advancement of Buddhism 佛教協進會 at Jīnshān Temple 金山寺 in Zhènjiāng 鎮江 resulted in early 1912 in an open conflict referred to as the "Invasion of Jīnshān" 大鬧金山. One result of this event was that the Association never got off the ground, but Rénshān was invited to participate in the founding of the Chinese General Buddhist Association 中華佛教總會 the following year.
In 1918, he was invited by his former teacher Dìxián 諦閑 to teach at the Guānzōng Research Society 觀宗研究社 in Nǐngbō 寧波. When the first class graduated in 1921, Rénshān left. The following year he became abbot of Fàngshēng Temple 放生寺 in Gāoyóu County 高郵縣, Jiāngsū. There he established the Sìhóng Seminary 四弘學院, which focused on Tiāntái 天台 thought.
During the factional struggles at the third congress of the Chinese Buddhist Association 中國佛教會 in April 11, 1931, Tàixū and his confederates, including Wáng Yìtíng 王一亭 and Rénshān, won election to the executive board and temporarily took over operations of the Association. After retiring from this position, Rénshān returned to Fàngshēng Temple, where he spent many years teaching.
He died in 1951 at Guānyīn Pavilion at Jīnshān Monastery, where he had been tonsured nearly 50 years before.