In 1875, having led a long and exceptional life, Rengetsu died in the simple Jinkōin tearoom in Kyoto where she had lived and worked for ten years.
Jinkōin Temple is a Shingon School temple (Esoteric Buddhism); Rengestu was ordained as a nun in the Pure Land School (Jōdo Shū) but she also studied and practiced Zen and Esoteric Buddhism.
Rengetsu was in her lifetime a Buddhist nun, poet, calligrapher, potter and painter.
Shortly after her birth in Kyoto to a samurai family with the surname Todo, she was adopted by Otagaki Mitsuhisa who worked at Chion'in, an important Jōdo (Pure Land) sect temple in Kyoto, and was given the name Nobu.
Kannon is one of Asia's most beloved deities and her worship remains non-denominational and widespread.
Kannon is a Bodhisattva and an active emanation of Amida Buddha, one who personifies compassion and achieves enlightenment but postpones Buddhahood until all can be saved.
For a detailed biography of Rengestu's life and catalogue of selected works by the artist, see 'Black Robe White Mist: art of the Japanese Buddhist nun Rengestu', National Gallery of Australia, 2007.
In 1936 he was granted the art name Daikō Shinjyō Zenshi by Emperor Ninkō (1800-1846).
He was born in Kyoto and studied Zen Buddhism under Sokudō Sōki, the 406th Abbot of Daitoku-ji, the main temple of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism in Kyoto.
In 1807 Chūhō became the 418th Abbot of Daitoku-ji.
Her name first appears in the Lotus Sutra and means 'One who Observes the Sounds of the World'.
She can be worshipped independently as a saviour in almost all Buddhist sects including Esoteric Buddhism sects such as Zen, Nichiren, Tendai and Pure land Buddhism devoted to Amida. Gō (art names): Rakuyōjin, Hasui-kanjin, Shōgetsu-rōjin, Shōgetsu-sō.