Danna school ［檀那流］ ( Danna-ryū): A branch of the Japanese Tendai school that traces its lineage from Kakuun (953–1007). Kakuun was a major disciple of Ryōgen, the eighteenth chief priest of Enryaku-ji, the head temple of the Tendai school on Mount Hiei. Because he lived in Danna-in temple on Mount Hiei, Kakuun was also called Danna. The line of Genshin (942–1017), another disciple of Ryōgen, was called the Eshin school. (Genshin was also called Eshin after the temple Eshin-in on Mount Hiei, where he lived.) The Danna school attached greater importance to doctrinal studies, while the Eshin school emphasized the practice of meditation.
According to tradition, the origin of these two schools dates back to Dengyō’s journey to China in 804. In China, Dengyō studied different interpretations of T’ien-t’ai Buddhism under Tao-sui and Hsing-man. After his return to Japan, he transferred both of these teachings to his successors, and they were transmitted through the lineage of chief priests of Enryaku-ji. Ryōgen transferred both teachings to Genshin, emphasizing Tao-sui’s, but transferred only Hsing-man’s teachings to Kakuun. This is said to have been the origin of the schism between the Eshin and Danna schools. In reality, however, it is not known how Tao-sui’s teachings differed from those of Hsing-man, nor is the difference between Genshin’s and Kakuun’s interpretations entirely clear. Later the Danna school split further into four branches.