When Master Shinran was nine years old, he had already decided to become a monk. He requested Ch'an Master Jichin to tonsure him.

Master Jichin asked him, "You are so young. Why do you want to become a monk?"

Shinran answered, "Although I am only nine years old, both my parents have already passed away. I do not understand why people must die. Why must I be separated from my parents? I want to become a monk so that I can find the answers to these questions."

Impressed, the Master said, "All right! Now that I know why you want to become a monk, I can take you as my disciple. It is getting late now. Wait until tomorrow morning, and I will tonsure you then."

Shinran disagreed, "Master! Although you have just promised to tonsure me tomorrow morning, I cannot guarantee that my determination to become a monk will last that long. Besides, you are so old now, you cannot guarantee that you will still be alive tomorrow."

Master Jichin was pleased and said, "You are right. I will tonsure you immediately!"