Tánluán (Chinese: 曇鸞; Japanese pronunciation: Donran, 476–542) was a Chinese Buddhist monk. He is credited by Hōnen as the founder of Pure Land Buddhism in China. He is also considered the Third Patriarch of Jōdo Shinshū, a popular school of Buddhism in Japan.

Tanluan was originally a Buddhist scholar, but after becoming ill, he studied Taoism in order to seek the Elixir of Life. However, after an encounter with Bodhiruci, a Buddhist monk from India, Tanluan became a devotee of Pure Land Buddhism and burnt his Taoist texts.[1]

Tanluan later wrote his commentaries on the Longer Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtra. The commentaries taught that the all beings could be reborn in Sukhavati, the pure land of Amitābha, through sincere nianfo (recitation of a Buddha's name). Tanluan is also credited for having developed the six-character phrase "南無阿彌陀佛" (Namo Amituofo/Namu Amida Butsu) (from Sanskrit to Chinese) used throughout Pure Land Buddhism today.[2]

Tanluan also had a strong impact on Daochuo, revered as the Fourth Patriarch of the Jōdo Shinshū school, who once visited his temple.


  1. ^ T'an-luan, Pruden, Leo (1975). A Short Essay on the Pure Land, The Eastern Buddhist, New Series 8 (1), 74-95
  2. ^ JODO SHU English


  • Shinko Mochizuki, Leo M. Pruden,Trans. (2000). Pure Land Buddhism in China: A Doctrinal History, Chapter 7: T'an-luan. In: Pacific World Journal, Third Series, Number 2, 149-165. Archived from the original
  • Yukio Yamada (2000). T'an-luan's Theory of Two Kinds of Dharma-body as Found in Shinran's Wago Writings, Pacific World Journal, Third Series, Number 2, 99-113. Archived from the original
  • Ryusei Takeda (2000). The Theoretical Structure of "Birth in the Pure Land": Based on the Meaning of T'an-luan's "Birth through Causal Conditions", Pacific World Journal, Third Series, Number 2, 31-60. Archived from the original
  • Shoji Matsumoto (1986). The Modern Relevance of Donran's Pure Land Buddhist Thought, Pacific World Journal New Series 2, 36-41