Tao-ch'o (Jp. Doshaku) [562-645]
Tao-ch'o was first a scholar of the Nieh-p'an tsung (Nirvana School) based in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra (Nieh-p'an ching). This sutra asserts that all people can become buddhas, an issue that Tao-ch'o studied extensively. Later, however, turned to the Pure Land teachings. Upon visiting Hsuan-chung ssu in T'ai-yuan province, Tao-ch'o found a stone inscription commemorating T'an-luan (Jp. Donran) who had lived at this temple in his old age. It is said that he was so profoundly moved upon reading it that he converted to the Pure Land school.1 His commentary concerning Pure Land teachings, Collection of Passages on the Land of Peace and Bliss (An-le chi), was so important that he eventually was designated as one of the Pure Land patriarchs. It was Tao-ch'o who originated the important distinction between the Two Gateways of the Holy Path and the Pure Land. He also developed the idea that ordinary, deluded people (bonpu) living in this Age of the Final Dharma (mappo) are the special objects of Amida's vow.