The monk Ryōkanbō Ninshō was born in 1217 (the fifth year of the Kenpō era) at Byōburi, in Shiki no shimo district of the province of Yamato (present-day Miyake-chō, Shiki-gun, Nara Prefecture). He became a Buddhist monk following the wishes of his mother, who had died in his youth. He pursued his early spiritual training chiefly at Kakuan-ji Temple. He later studied the teachings of Shingon Esotericism and joined the Precepts Movement read morewith the monk Eison from Saidai-ji Temple. He worked unstintingly throughout his life to save the poor and the sick. Ninshō's character, which was marked by a profoundly strong sense of compassion, can be seen in particular in the tale of his carrying a man suffering from Hansen's disease everyday on his back to the town (found in the Buddhist encyclopedia Genkō shakusho etc.).