御伝鈔 英訳 （鈴木大拙）
The Shōnin in his worldly relation was a section of the Fujiwara family. The twenty-first descendant of Prince Amatsu Koyane was the Grand Minister Kamatari, and after five generations there was Lord Uchimaro, of the first court rank, junior grade, who was General of the Imperial Guards and a state minister; and six generations after him there was Lord Saishō Arikuni, Police General; and when five more generations passed there was Lord Arinori, who was a high court officer belonging to the service of the Empress Dowager of the time; and the Shōnin was born as son of this noble personage. In consequence of his distinguished birth, his earthly prospects were full of promise. If he desired, he could have become a high dignitary at the Imperial court and enjoyed whatever prosperity he would have aspired to the end of his life. But his heart was inclined towards things un worldly; for he wished to devote himself to the holy cause of Buddhism and to increase the spiritual welfare of all beings. This looked-for opportunity came when he was nine years old. Accompanied by his uncle Lord Noritsuna, of the third court rank, junior grade, he went to the monastery of the venerable Jiyen. Jiyen had held till then a high ecclesiastical position called Daisōjō. The Shōnin had his head shaved by this noble priest and was given the Buddhist name, Hanyen. After this he applied himself most earnestly to the study of the deep philosophy of the Tendai schools concerning the three aspects of the mind and especially to the mastery of a profound system expounded by Yeshi who used to live at the Ryōgon-in, Yokawa. There was thus nothing in the Tendai philosophy which escaped his penetrating insight, including the doctrine of the four grades in perfect harmony which are distinguished in the teaching of the Buddha.
（Daisestu, Suzuki. Collected Writings on Shin Buddhism. Shinshū Ōtani-ha : p.169）
・the Imperial court…朝廷
・the doctrine of the four grades in perfect harmony which are distinguished in the teaching of the Buddha…四教円融の義
Birth and Spiritual Transformation
Shinran was born in 1173 in the village of Hino, near Uji, Kyoto as the first son of Fujiwara (Hino) Arinori. It was the time when the aristocratic Heian period (794-1185) was coming to an end and the age of the warrior was just beginning, as the Genji and Heike clans were fighting each other.
At the age of nine, Shinran received ordination at Shōren-in (a temple of the Tendai denomination) at Awataguchi (Higashiyama, Kyoto), with the name of Hannen and entered upon the Buddhist path. Later, he went to Mt. Hiei, the center of the Tendai denomination and single-mindedly devoted himself to Buddhist studies.
（Higashi Honganji Website http://www.higashihonganji.or.jp/english/about/life/ ）
Shinran (1173-1263) was born into the Hino family, a minor branch of the Fujiwara clan which had dominated political and cultural life at the imperial court in Kyoto for two centuries. [...] Shinran's father, Arinori, was a low-ranking courtier in the office of the empress dowager, and his uncles were also active at court. Nothing is known of his mother, though she was no doubt similarly of aristocratic lineage. [....]
By the time Shinran was born, the two most powerful warrior clans, the Taira and the Minamoto, had been locked in struggle for several decades, and Shinran's childhood saw first the rise to power of the head of the Taira clan, Kiyomori, who became Chancellor in 1167, and then the decimation of the entire clan at the hands of the Minamoto, in open warfare between 1180 and 1185. After the defeat of the Taira, the Minamoto established a "bivouac" government (bakufu) far from the court, at Kamakura, southeast of present Tokyo. Thus, the center of political authority passed from Kyoto. It was during this period of warfare that Shinran, at the age of nine, entered the Tendai monastery of Enryakuji on Mount Hiei and embarked on the life of a monk.
Entrance into Monastic Life
The reasons for which Shinran became a monk are unknown. [...] The accomplishments of Jien, the monk under whom Shinran took the tonsure in 1181, manifest the close bond that existed between the state and Buddhist institutions, and the potentials of temple life [....]
(Ueda, Yoshifumi and Dennis Hirota. Shinran：An Introductin to His Thought.
Hongwanji International Center : pp. 20-23 )