Disambiguation Note: Not to be confused with the Japanese, Heian 平- period Tendai 天台 monk Kūya 空也..
Kōngyě 空也 (1885-1946)
Kōngyě 空也 (1885-1946) was an important monk, based primarily in Nányuè 南嶽. He was one of the first teachers at the Wǔchāng Buddhist Seminary when it opened.
Once, in his youth, Kōngyě's family had a monk recite a repentance ritual. Kōngyě was able to chant along, and they sent him to be tonsured at Nányuè 南嶽, where he studied under Old Man Mòān 默庵老人. Kōngyě received the full precepts at age 20, after which he began studying the scriptures in greater detail.
In 1911, a Tiāntái School 天台宗學校 was started at Zhùshèng Temple 祝聖寺 on Nányuè. Kōngyě was asked to lecture there. In 1918 and 1919, he lectured at Lùshān Ancient Temple 麓山古寺 and Kāifú Temple 開福寺 in Chángshā 長沙. His students at Kāifú Temple included Guānkōng 觀空 and Yándìng 嚴定, and they followed him in 1922. In that year Tàixū 太虛 asked Kōngyě to lead the new Wǔchāng Buddhist Seminary 武昌佛學院 as dūjiǎng 都講. He taught there for two years. In 1924, he went to Běijīng 北京 to be chief lecturer at the Hóngcí Buddhist Seminary 弘慈佛學院, returning to Nányuè in 1926.
In 1927, Táng Shēngzhì 唐生志 tried to get Kōngyě to lead the Hú'nán Buddhicization Association 湖南佛化會, which was part of his Buddhicization Movement 佛化運動 that sought to train soldiers using Buddhism. Kōngyě refused to participate and fled to Běijīng where he became abbot of Fǎyuán Temple 法源寺. He finally returned to Nányuè in 1933 to lecture at the request of the Chángsha Lay Association 長沙居士林.