An open mind, an open question…

Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms

63 min read
From the early 9th century a new orientation emerged in Japanese Buddhism that emphasized specific Tantric, or Vajrayāna characteristics of both doctrine and practice. While el­ements of the Vajrayāna (vehicle of the diamond/thunderbolt) Buddhist traditions of ma­ture Indian Mahāyāna Buddhism were present in Japan in the 8th century, it was only in the new Buddhist schools of Tendai and Shingon that related practices recently imported from China were specifically identified as “esoteric” in nature and as different from the other schools of Buddhism that were newly designated as “exoteric” by these schools.
image_pdfimage_print
Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms   David L. Gardiner Subject: Buddhism Online Publication Date: Aug 2018 DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780199340378.013.619 Summary and Keywords From the early 9th century a new orientation emerged in Japanese Buddhism that empha­sized specific Tantric, or Vajrayāna characteristics of both doctrine and practice. While elements of the Vajrayāna (vehicle of the diamond/thunderbolt) Buddhist traditions of mature Indian Mahāyāna Buddhism were present in Japan in the 8th century, it was only in the new Buddhist schools of Tendai and Shingon that related practices recently imported from China were specifically identified as “esoteric” in nature and as different from the other schools of Buddhism that were newly designated as “exoteric” by these schools. The first to promote this distinction was the monk Kūkai, founder of the Shingon school. His contemporary Saichō, who founded the Tendai school, placed himself and several of his disciples under Kūkai’s tutelage to learn what the latter had brought back from an in­ tensive study period in China. Yet Saichō’s approach was to place the esoteric teachings and practices on a par with his Tendai teachings, derived primarily from the Chinese Tiantai school. His difference from Kūkai on this matter drove both an eventual end to their cooperative relationship and, after Saichō’s death, innovations by Tendai school ex­egetes that aimed to reconcile the differences. The combined force of Tendai esotericism (Taimitsu) and Shingon esotericism (Tōmitsu) impacted greatly the development of subse­quent centuries of Japanese Buddhism. The three major schools of Buddhism that domi­nated during the Nara period (710–794)—Sanron, Hossō, and Kegon—all incorporated es­oteric elements into their practice during the Heian period (794–1185). By the time of the Kamakura period (1185–1333), when the new forms of Zen, pure land, and Nichiren Buddhism emerged, the esoteric paradigm was so ingrained in Japanese Buddhist thought that even though esoteric practice was at times explicitly criticized by the new schools, much of its worldview was implicitly affirmed. Central to Japanese esoteric Buddhism is the understanding that through engaging in the ritual practices of reciting mantra, practicing symbolic hand gestures known as mudra, and imagining one’s self and all beings as being intrinsically awakened (one meaning of the term mandala), one can achieve the enlightened stage of buddhahood within one life­ time. These three are called the “practices of the three mysteries” (sanmitsu gyō三密業), through which a practitioner is able to unite with the enlightened energy of the cosmic buddha’s body, speech, and mind. More than anything else, it was this cosmological Page 1 of 29 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION (oxfordre.com/religion). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 26 December 2019 Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms framework that influenced the development of many later Buddhist practices. Fundamental to this model was the affirmation that every living being is intrinsically endowed with the latent qualities of buddhahood. This concept of “original enlightenment” (hongaku本覚) framed an immanental, holistic vision that recognized the real presence of nirvāṇa (freedom, liberation) in the midst of one’s experience of saṃsāra (the cyclic world of igno­rant suffering). The unfolding of various doctrinal and ritual means of articulating and verifying a practitioner’s intrinsic state of enlightenment spurred novel theological sys­tems, artistic creativity of many forms, as well as sociopolitical opportunities for aristo­crats who sought to invoke the buddha’s power for various mundane needs. Tendai and Shingon monks alike contributed to this growth in a myriad of ways. Keywords: Tantric Buddhism, Vajrayāna Buddhism, Tendai, Shingon, Taimitsu, Tōmitsu, Saichō, Kūkai, Tantric Buddhism in Japan, Vajrayāna Buddhism in Japan The two established traditions of Japanese esoteric Buddhism (mikkyō 密教) of Taimitsu 台密 and Tōmitsu 東密 represent developments within the Tendai 天台 and Shingon 真言 schools, respectively. The name “esoteric Buddhism” indicates that both the Taimitsu and Tōmitsu traditions emerged within monastic communities dedicated to Buddhist practice that identified particular elements of their doctrine “esoteric.” What was identified as es­oteric, however, varied from case to case. Definitions of the term became vital hermeneutical tools as well as sources of contention. This was the case in the Tendai school in par­ticular, which sought to distinguish itself from Shingon’s early domination of the field of discourse on esotericism. From a broad pan-Asian perspective, the term “Tantrism” ap­ plies to the various manifestations of both Taimitsu and Tōmitsu traditions because they share characteristics in common with forms of Indian religion known as Tantra and, most significantly, with the Buddhist forms of Tantra developed in India known as Vajrayāna (Jpn. kongōjō 金剛乗), meaning “vehicle of the thunderbolt/diamond.” Thus, Taimitsu and Tōmitsu are referred to variously as Japanese esoteric Buddhism, Japanese Vajrayāna, Japanese Tantric Buddhism, or Japanese Tantrism. This last term is suggestive of the syn­cretic nature of many of the practices, which incorporated elements of Shintō and Daoism (i.e., not only Buddhism), as well as of the fact that Tantric forms of practice in Japan pre­existed the Tendai and Shingon schools but were often not considered as esoteric by later traditions because of the exclusive nature of the taxonomies these traditions proffered. The origins of the Taimitsu and Tōmitsu traditions can be traced to the founders of the Tendai and Shingon schools, Saichō 最澄 (767–822) and Kūkai 空海 (774–835), respectively. From the 9th until the 19th century cross-fertilization of doctrines and practices across lineages from both schools was common in spite of various rhetorical strategies that pro­moted sectarian competition rather than cooperation. The unique features that distin­guished Japanese esoteric Buddhism were the “three secret practices” (Jpn. sanmitsugyō 三密行) of employing ritual hand gestures (Skt. mudrā), recitation of sacred formulas (Skt. mantra), and visualization of various deities (and sometimes oneself as deity) as part of an envisioned “perfected world” (Skt. maṇḍala). These three secret practices were used in ritual contexts to unify the practitioner with a deity (whether envisioned as external, in­ternal, or both) in order to imbue the practitioner with extraordinary powers that could Page 2 of 29 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION (oxfordre.com/religion). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 26 December 2019 Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms accomplish a variety of proximate ends, including healing illness, bringing rain, and van­ quishing enemies, as well as the ultimate goal of Buddhist enlightenment. Japanese eso­teric Buddhism thus had broad application in contexts that were always “religious” inso­far as Buddhist monks were involved, but that extended easily into the quotidian political concerns of the royal court and eventually to private sponsors, primarily aristocrats. The teachings and practices of Japanese esoteric Buddhism thus had a huge impact not only on Japanese religion but also on many aspects of Japanese culture. Its influence left indelible marks on almost every form of religious practice, Buddhist or not, that later developed in Japanese history, including forms of pure land and Zen Buddhism. In pure land teachings, we can detect likely esoteric influence in the emphasis that, with proper perspective, our ordinary world can be seen as a pure land, and in Zen, in master Dōgen’s 道 元 (1200–1253) teaching that meditation is best understood not as a means to enlighten­ ment but rather as an expression of one’s inherent awakening. Carl Bielefeldt has noted the thread of continuity between the Buddhism of the Heian (794–1185) and Kamakura (1185–1336) periods by suggesting how mikkyō influenced the famous Kamakura founders Shinran, Nichiren, and Dōgen: [T]he ideologies of all three of these famous religious thinkers can be seen as an attempt to define the true practice of the Tendai Buddha vehicle: a sudden prac­tice to be based solely on the absolute truth of Buddhahood itself, not on the upāya of the relative teachings and gradual practices. Already during the Heian period the notion had grown up within Tendai itself that the theory of the perfect teaching could best be put into practice through the three mysteries (sanmitsu) of mikkyō, in which the physical, verbal, and mental acts of the practitioner were identified with the body, speech, and mind of the Buddha and that the traditional methods of the bodhisattva-marga [path] could be superseded by the esoteric techniques of the Vajrayāna, handed down in the lineage of the tantric masters. Such techniques were sudden both in theory and in fact: they were based throughout on the principle of the identity of man and Buddha, and they were intended to bring about the full realization of the identity in this very existence. In this sense mikkyō, which itself of course originated as a Mahāyāna reform movement, had strong affinities with Zen and the other Kamakura schools; and it is not surprising that elements of it played a significant role in their development.1 This quotation expresses an important theme regarding the role of the basic esoteric Buddhist religious paradigm as a steady undercurrent throughout Japanese Buddhist history. The remaining sections provide an introduction to the early centuries of Tendai and Shin­gon esoteric Buddhism. Page 3 of 29 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION (oxfordre.com/religion). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 26 December 2019 Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms Taimitsu Origins If one were to follow the narrative arc of much of the Japanese scholarship on esoteric Buddhism (and much of the western language scholarship that mirrors it), an instinctive place to start a discussion would be with Kūkai’s travels to China and his subsequent im­ portation, formulation, and successful promotion of mikkyō. After all, it was Kūkai’s careful designation of the category of “esoteric teachings” as opposed to “exoteric ones” (kengyō 顕教), and his skillful grafting of core esoteric practices onto the body of ex­isting Buddhist ritual in Japan, that drew Saichō and his disciples to study with Kūkai. Subsequently, Saichō’s Tendai school incorporated mikkyō elements into its theory and practice. Yet while it has become derigueur to construct a trajectory of events that posi­tions Kūkai as the sole founder of esoteric Buddhism in Japan, the actual circumstances are more complex. First, Saichō and Kūkai went to China on the same mission (on different boats) and it was Saichō who returned a year earlier than Kūkai and quickly won the favor of Emperor Kanmu, who was interested first and foremost in new esoteric practices. Saichō soon received permission from the government for his Tendai school to train four annual ordinands (Jpn. nenbundosha 年分度者), and to his likely surprise, they were equally distributed: two for esoteric study (Jpn. shanagyō 遮那業) and two for study of tra­ditional Tendai practice (Jpn. shikangyō 止観業). Tendai thus established at the Enryakuji 延暦寺 temple near the capital city the first official training system for mikkyō, with the full support of the Emperor. Furthermore, at the Emperor’s behest, Saichō also per­ formed the first Tantric initiation (Skt. abhisekha; Jpn. kanjō 灌頂) in Japan, at the Takaōsanji 高尾山寺 temple, also near Kyoto. There is thus no question that the new prac­ tices of esoteric Buddhism first emerged, and with force, in Saichō’s Tendai school. Kūkai did not enter the capital to share what he had learned in China until about three years af­ ter Saichō did. The narrative that presents Kūkai as the progenitor of Japanese esoteric Buddhism is not, however, entirely without merit. After all, it was Kūkai’s definition of what properly constituted esoteric as opposed to exoteric Buddhism that was the starting point for later theories emerging within both Tendai and Shingon schools. Even though many Tendai monastic scholars defined “esoteric” in ways that contrasted with Kūkai’s terms, it was the force of Kūkai’s theories and of his eventual success on various fronts in the capital and beyond that forced Tendai monks to develop creative ways to construct a model of es­oteric theory and practice that could effectively compete with Kūkai’s. Unless it could develop a model of its own, Tendai mikkyō ran the real risk of getting swallowed up by the juggernaut of Kūkai’s Shingon creations. Regardless of the various definitions of esoteric put forth by both Tendai and Shingon exegetes, the interpretive frameworks placed around the textual and ritual transmissions Saichō and Kūkai brought back from China paved the way for building the identity of a new tradition in Japan. The chief texts of early Tendai and Shingon mikkyō—the Mahā­ Page 4 of 29 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION (oxfordre.com/religion). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 26 December 2019 Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms vairocana-sūtra (Jpn. Dainichikyō 大日経) and Vajraśekhāra-sūtra (Jpn. Kongōchōkyō 金剛頂 経)—had already been studied in Japan for decades in Nara (the capital before Kyoto and location of the major monastic centers), and ritual practices with many of the deities that became central to the later unfolding of “mainstream” mikkyō were also well established, together with the material presence of icons for these practices.2 Although it is clear that Kūkai was the first to place a rhetorical wedge between his lineage and the existing tradi­tions by carefully defining the features of true esoteric teachings, the overlaps remained robust. Kūkai’s taxonomy distinguished esoteric and exoteric teachings based on (1) which “body” of the buddha was understood to have taught a particular scripture and (2) the presence or absence of a “three mysteries” (Jpn. sanmitsu 三密) ritual practice. How­ ever, limiting our investigation by accepting the hermeneutical distinctions advocated by Kūkai blinds us to vital historical continuities that these very taxonomies—whose function lies primarily in establishing boundaries between a putative “pure” and “less pure”—man­ age to plainly obscure. It is plausible to understand the origins of esoteric Buddhism in Japan as simply comprising the various forms of Tantrism developed in the 8th century that became systematized into sectarian lineages (of Tendai and Shingon) in the 9th. One advantage of this model is that it permits, and even encourages, the recognition that central to all forms of esoteric Buddhism of the Nara period and beyond was the employment of a ritual model by trained specialists that invoked (or “channeled”) the power of deities in the service of material and spiritual ends in contexts that were public (for the imperial house and the state) as well as private (on the one hand, for aristocratic wielders of pow­ er and, on the other, for the specialists themselves, mainly monastics who were seeking Buddhist enlightenment, among other ends). Thus, even though the classical models of Tendai and Shingon esoteric Buddhism identify boundary lines between this broader tra­dition and their more rarified forms, elements related to this more catholic model of Japanese Tantrism have held sway in various aspects of Japanese religious life and, arguably, in other forms of cultural transmission as well. Early Years This section presents an outline of the contributions of some of the accomplished monkscholars of the early Tendai tradition, up until the late Heian period (10th century). It also comments on some broad religious and political topics germane to the study of the histo­ry of religion in Japan. Although a virtual garden of what might be called esoteric Buddhist practices predated him, Saichō was responsible for introducing those seeds that would grow into the later Taimitsu tradition. His accomplishments in this area cannot be adequately addressed, however, without reference to the Emperor’s strong support and to Saichō’s relationship with Kūkai. As a young monk ordained at Tōdaiji 東大寺 temple in Nara in 785, Saichō became frus­trated with the lack of serious religious practice and so, in 788, he moved to a hermitage on Hiei-zan (Mount Hiei 比叡山) outside what later became the capital of Kyoto. After the capital was moved to Kyoto in 794, Saichō’s dedication to Buddhist practice came to the Page 5 of 29 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION (oxfordre.com/religion). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 26 December 2019 Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms attention of the new Emperor Kanmu 桓武, who sought assistance in legitimizing his new regime, distancing it from court intrigues in Nara (some of which involved clergy), and in securing a skilled monk to perform religious services. Clearly, he hoped that Saichō would fit the bill, and fit it he did. One of Saichō’s chief interests was in enhancing studies of the Chinese Tiantai 天台 tradi­ tion in Japan. Through extended exposure to this school’s preferred scripture, the Lotus Sūtra (Jpn. myōhō rengekyō 妙法蓮華経), and to commentaries by the putative Tiantai founder Zhiyi 智顗 (538–597), Saichō was determined to bolster the quality of Mahāyāna Buddhist practice in Japan—in terms of ethics, textual study, and meditation—by further promulgating Tiantai. Since his vision dovetailed with that of the new Emperor, Saichō was sent as part of an official government mission to China. Upon his return, Emperor Kanmu appeared less interested in Saichō’s Tendai studies (and related materials he had brought back) than he was in Saichō’s knowledge (which was relatively minimal) of the newly emerging esoteric practices and in their potential for their immediate applicability for his person, office, and country. Soon Saichō was asked by Kanmu to perform two esoteric initiations (Jpn. kanjō 灌頂) at Takaōsanji in 805, the first two ever performed in Japan based on the newly imported texts and mandalas. The Emperor ordered that no expense be spared and had new bud­ dha images commissioned and other accouterment prepared for a lavish ceremony.3 Various accounts suggest that the emperor was concerned for his health and that it im­ proved soon afterward. Saichō’s first esoteric Buddhist performances, which contained new and exotic ritual paraphernalia and gestures, propelled him to fame in the royal court and among leading Buddhist clerics. His second initiation was attended by many of the leading monks in Nara along with top court administrators. The newly imported mikkyō had established a footing in Japan. While Saichō’s public practice of esoteric Buddhism got off to a stellar start, his singleminded focus on developing a rigorous training center for Tendai monks, based on a combination of traditional Tiantai meditation and mikkyō ritual, still required his full atten­tion. Considering the complex nature of his ambitions and his very brief training in eso­teric thought and ritual in China, he possessed neither the time nor the knowledge to fully train his students in the new forms of mikkyō that had drawn such great attention. Hav­ing studied at length in Nara, he already had a grasp of how various “quasi-esoteric” ritu­als were performed; he had read a commentary on the Dainichi-kyō, was aware of what texts existed in Japan, and made some efforts to supplement them while in China by mak­ing copies of new texts.4 However, once he met the recently returned Kūkai and recog­nized the superior knowledge this junior monk possessed, his strategy for building a strong esoteric program in Mount Hiei was to send his best students to study with Kūkai. Before addressing his relationship with Kūkai, a brief word is needed on his encounters with esoteric traditions in China. With the goal of gathering Tiantai texts, Saichō left for China in the same mission fleet as Kūkai did in 804.5 In China, he managed to receive transmission of the Daibutsuchōhō 大 Page 6 of 29 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION (oxfordre.com/religion). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 26 December 2019 Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms 佛頂法 rite (based on a Chinese translation of the Uṣṇiṣa-vijaya dhāraṇī sūtra) from the monk Weixiang 惟象 at Guoqingsi 国清寺, a temple where many Tendai monks later went to study. He returned with related texts and a painted mandala. This ritual was in vogue in the Tang dynasty and was subsequently practiced often in Tendai lineages. Esoteric prac­tices were present at the time in Chinese Tiantai, including the use of dharani for such purposes as curing disease and prolonging life, and the Tiantai monk Yixing 一行 (683– 727) wrote an authoritative commentary on the Chinese version of the Mahāvairocana-sū­ tra. Saichō also received an initiation, with his disciple Gishin, from Shunxiao 順暁 in Yuezhou 越州. He later wrote that this was a “two-mandala” initiation, but some modern scholars dispute the claim, and Saichō’s disciples themselves were unclear about the na­ture of the initiation. Paul Groner concludes that there is no good evidence to support Saichō’s claim and that he likely made it after having met Kūkai and learned of his com­ prehensive two-mandala system. Saichō’s early description of the initiation did not con­vey it as involving both mandalas, but his later exposition of his practice lineage in his Kenkairon 顕戒論 and Naishō buppō sōjū kechimyakufu 内証佛法相承血脈譜 asserted so. Groner supposes that the hurried nature of the initiation, and the fact that Saichō’s disci­ple, Gishin, orally translated it for Saichō and might not have known the terminology well himself, could have been reasons for Saichō’s ambiguity about what had transpired, though new clarity seemed to have emerged once he began to compete with Kūkai for pa­ tronage.6 Some modern scholarship suggests that Saichō’s encounters with esoteric Buddhism in China were accidental and his interest in it not genuine. It is true that his encounters were not all planned. His stay in Yuezhou came about due to a travel delay for six weeks, allowing him to take an unplanned trip. His interest in esoteric Buddhism, however, pre­ dated the China trip and was neither new nor forced. What was forced was Emperor Kanmu’s demand upon Saichō’s return that the new Tendai school include a strong com­ponent of esoteric study and practice. His compliance with this requirement probably re­flected more of an extrinsic rather than intrinsic interest for Saichō. Keeping in good graces with the emperor was important to him. Since Saichō had no capacity of his own to substantially integrate esoteric practices into a Tendai program of study, he sought help from Kūkai to train his disciples so that they could train others. Early Taimitsu and Kūkai When Saichō first received initiations for both mandalas from Kūkai in late 812 (first the Diamond Realm, with only the influential aristocratic Wake 和家 brothers, and later the Womb Realm with Saichō’s disciples Kōjō 光定, Enchō 円澄, and Taihan 泰範, along with 141 others, including major players in the royal court and high-ranking monks from Nara), Kūkai was not yet well known in Japan and had yet to write any of the doctrinal treatises that later made clear his views on mikkyō. These initiations at Takaōsanji were at once a powerful jumpstart for the esoteric wing of Tendai and a launching pad for Kūkai’s nascent public career. Within a few months, Saichō sent his disciples Kōjō, Enchō, and Taihan to study with Kūkai at Takaōsanji, and it is possible that Kōjō and Enchō went again after Saichō’s death.7 Correspondence between Kūkai and Saichō reveals that the Page 7 of 29 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION (oxfordre.com/religion). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 26 December 2019 Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms latter also borrowed many of the new esoteric texts Kūkai had brought back from China, though at one point it appears Kūkai may have written a curt response that cut Saichō off from any further “transmission by writing” and urged him to come study full time under Kūkai if he was serious about learning mikkyō.8 At some point during the next two years, their relationship came to an end. One factor might have been Saichō’s disciple Taihan, who refused Saichō’s request for him to return from studying with Kūkai to Mount Hiei. It was out of this early matrix of relationships—and from the subsequent studies of mikkyō that Saichō’s disciples performed first under Kūkai and later on their own journeys to China—that the seeds of what became Taimitsu were planted. For the next ten years, Saichō spent most of his time developing the institutional foundations of the Tendai school, including the creation of documents outlining its distinct lineage (the Naishō bup­ pō sōjō kechimyakufu 内証仏法相承血脈譜, and Kenkairon engi 顕戒論縁起), advocacy for a new precepts ceremony exclusive to Mahāyāna, and arguing against the Hossō school’s doctrines about buddha-nature and for the prominence of the Lotus Sūtra in the teach­ings of buddha.9 He authored no texts dedicated to clarifying the role of the esoteric teachings within Tendai. The development of Tendai esoteric Buddhism was thus primari­ly left to his disciples. Ennin Ennin 円仁 (794–864, posthumously Jikaku Daishi 慈覺大師) and Enchin 円珍 (814–891, posthumously Chishō Daishi 智証大師) both traveled to China to study esoteric Buddhism. Ennin had been on Mount Hiei for twelve years when Saichō died in 823. In addition to having studied closely with Kūkai, he traveled to eastern Japan with Saichō in 817 to pro­ mote Tendai and to construct stupas. He spent nine years in China (838–847) and became head abbot (after Saichō and Gishin) on Mount Hiei in 854. In China, he studied in Chang’an with several esoteric Buddhist masters who were disciples of Kūkai’s teacher Huiguo 慧果.10 In Ennin’s writing we see the first systematic expression of Saichō’s view that the “per­fect teaching” (enkyō 円教) of the Chinese Tiantai school is as complete an expression of Buddhist truth as any “esoteric teaching” (mikkyō 密教). This is a position Saichō stated in various writings, including in his letters to Kūkai to protest the latter’s claims that mikkyō was superior, but he did not develop his argument fully in writing. The relationship be­ tween these teachings became a central focus for Taimitsu exegetes. The Chinese Tiantai founder Zhiyi 智顗 (538–597), who had no exposure to the esoteric traditions, classified Buddhist doctrines into four categories, with the teachings of the Lotus Sūtra and Flower Garland Sūtra alone qualifying as perfect teachings. Zhiyi was concerned primarily with how a particular teaching expresses the nature of ultimate reality. While not disagreeing with Zhiyi, Saichō instead emphasized that the superiority of the bodhisattva path ex­ pressed in the One Vehicle teaching (as opposed to the teachings of the two “Hīnayāna” vehicles of śrāvaka and pratyekabuddha) was what made the Lotus Sūtra a “perfect” teaching.11 Page 8 of 29 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION (oxfordre.com/religion). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 26 December 2019 Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms Zhiyi’s writings on the two truths were thorough and creative. His endeavors to carve out a creative rendering of the Indian Madhyamaka school’s presentation of the ontological and epistemological relationship between “emptiness” (ultimate truth) and “appearances” (conventional truth) was richly sophisticated. It manifested a unique Chi­nese version of the “middle way” that proposed a third truth that unites the original two. This third truth purported to represent the acquired vision, or experiential domain, of a buddha. Because Zhiyi was not familiar with the kinds of esoteric texts and practices that Saichō, and in particular Kūkai, encountered more than two centuries after his death, his classifications did not touch such topics. But it was imperative for the growth of Tendai that Saichō’s disciples fashion hermeneutical strategies to bring together the perfect and the esoteric teachings. Much of the development of Taimitsu doctrine lay in articulating the relationship between the understood messages of the Lotus Sūtra, in particular Zhiyi’s interpretations of its core teaching, and the central themes of the esoteric scrip­tures. Due to the two conditions that (1) the initial comprehension that Tendai scholars had of esoteric texts derived from Kūkai’s interpretations, and (2) Kūkai and Saichō dis­ agreed about the relative profundity or finality of these respective teachings, Tendai ex­egetes were forced to engage in a delicate balancing act to demonstrate “the unified aim of the perfect and the esoteric” (Jpn. enmitsu itchi 円密一致). Saichō left neither writings on esoteric Buddhism nor a strategy for unifying it with the perfect teaching. Thus, the task of establishing a foundation for Taimitsu fell first to Ennin and Enchin, both of whom drew widely from their initiations in China and the many texts they brought back, and later to Annen, who, while never traveling to China, nonetheless made immense contribu­ tions to Taimitsu doctrine. All three of these men were also responding to Kūkai, who was the first in Japan to articulate a clear theory about the place of esoteric teachings in the larger Buddhist tradition. Ennin’s response to “unifying the aims of the perfect and the esoteric” was to assert that the Lotus teachings were a perfect expression of “principle” (Jpn. ri 理), or the theoretical aspect of the esoteric, while the rituals of mikkyō with its two mandalas—the Womb World (Jpn. taizōkai 胎蔵界) and Diamond World (Jpn. kongōkai 金剛界)—completed the “phenomenal” (Jpn. ji 事), or practical, dimension. He thus saw the three mysteries prac­tice as the “esoteric combination of principle and phenomena” (Jpn. riji gumitsu 理事具密 ).12 This formula used two potent Chinese terms that roughly correspond to the classical Buddhist concepts of ultimate and conventional truth, with the twist that “principle” also references Zhiyi’s portrayal of the final state of the nonduality of the two truths. One of Ennin’s shifts from Saichō’s positions toward a more mikkyō-centered hermeneutic was to consider the Lotus Sūtra teachings in the light of esoteric ones rather than to measure all teachings by Lotus standards. For example, he interpreted the “eternal” (Jpn. kuon 久遠) buddha of the Lotus Sūtra to be Dainichi 大日, the purported dharma-body preacher of the esoteric scriptures.13 In interpreting esoteric (Jpn. himitsu 秘密) to mean not only Vajrayā­ na teachings but also the most advanced understanding of reality, he followed Chinese ex­egetes such as Yixing 一行 (683–727). Ennin’s commentaries—the first to be written in Japan—on the Vajraśekhara-sūtra (Kongōchōkyō 金剛頂経) and Sussidhikara-sūtra (Jpn. Soshitsuji-kyō 蘇悉地経), plus the text of a Mahāvairocana-sūtra commentary he brought Page 9 of 29 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION (oxfordre.com/religion). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 26 December 2019 Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms from China, became major treatises in the later Taimitsu tradition.14 His contributions to Tendai esoteric doctrine were seminal and his later connections with the imperial court were significant. He was frequently invited to the palace, beginning in 850, and from 860 to 864 he bestowed esoteric initiations and bodhisattva vows on the emperor and mem­ bers of the court, all the while working to train disciples. His accomplishments may have successfully allowed Taimitsu rituals to supersede Shingon ones at the court.15 Hayami Tasuku refers to Ennin’s contributions to Taimitsu practice as “epoch making.”16 Ennin wrote a commentary on the Soshitsuji-kyō and, like Saichō and Kūkai, placed it in the category of Vinaya (texts on monastic discipline). He explained that the text reveals how the two mandalas can be seen as united, since the text demonstrates the higher essence that underlies both worlds. Because the idea of these three parts (as opposed to just two) was difficult to explain clearly, it underwent many changes throughout Taimitsu history. Esoteric practice evolved such that some Taimitsu monks attempted combinatory initiations using both mandalas at the same time, but debates continued about exactly how this related to the Soshitsuji-kyō.17 Enchin Enchin was ordained as a shikan-gyō 止観業 monk (to train in non-Tantric Tendai), though some think he favored the shana 遮那 (esoteric) practice.18 He placed mikkyō in the high­ est position in the traditional Tendai doctrinal classification scheme. He also gave initia­ tions in 862 into the practice of both of the mandalas to Shūei 修睿, a Shingon monk at Onjōji 園城寺 (also known as Miidera 三井寺).19 This is just one instance of a cross-fertiliza­tion of esoteric teachings that occurred in both directions between Tendai and Shingon after Kūkai’s death. Enchin’s positions on most doctrinal issues are hard to determine, since many of his writing have been lost and extant ones differ in content. He did present critiques of Kūkai’s ten-stage scheme in his Dainichikyōshiki 大日経指帰.20 This was natu­ rally a long-time target of Tendai scholars because Kūkai had placed Tendai at stage eight, beneath Kegon 華厳 (Ch. Huayan) at stage nine and Shingon at stage ten. One of the challenges facing Taimitsu exegetes was articulating the differences between their view on the esoteric teachings and that of Kūkai. This challenge was further complicated by the tension between Saichō’s claim that the teachings of the Lotus Sūtra and the mikkyō texts were equal and later Taimitsu authors’ proposition that what was esoteric about each was different. Enchin’s five years in China (853–858), studying both in the capital of Chang’an and at Mount Tiantai, was very productive.21 He brought back more new texts than had Kūkai and later wrote important works on mikkyō iconography. He also showed a strong devo­tion to the esoteric deity Fudō Myōō 不動明王. Some scholars believe that it was through the efforts of both Ennin and Enchin that Tendai was in effect transformed into an eso­teric school, with their having given minimal attention to traditional study of the Chinese Tiantai tradition.22 Page 10 of 29 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION (oxfordre.com/religion). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 26 December 2019 Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms Eventually two groups emerged that dedicated themselves to esoteric study: the Sanmon 山門 lineage traced itself to Ennin and to Enryakuji (on top of Mount Hiei), while the Ji­ mon 寺門 lineage traced itself to Enchin and to Onjōji 園城寺 (at the base of Mount Hiei). The two lineages did not fully split until the late 10th century, and while the long-term cause was more than a century of conflict over what group of monks would control the abbacy (zasu 座主) of Enryakuji, the immediate cause was Ryōgen’s efforts to impose “uni­ ty and organization” on the monastic community on Mount Hiei.23 (see “RYŌGEN”). While Ryōgen may have aimed to create unity, he did so by restoring one lineage and suppress­ ing the other, resulting in “a schism that never healed.”24 Each lineage was composed of diverse groups and was not simply homogenous. The Jimon lineage seems to have had closer connections with the Shingon lineage of Tōji 東寺, and aspects of its ritual system were integrated into the mountain-based asceticism of native Japanese Shugendō prac­tice. The Kamakura Shogunate appears to have favored the Jimon lineage because of its connections to particular court figures. Onjōji had no subtemples but had three imperial ones (Jpn. monzeki 門跡). Taimitsu cannot be described as a single, monolithic tradition because there was no centralized institution to represent the various groups that prac­ ticed Tendai esoteric Buddhism. In fact, some early documents describe medieval Japan­ese Tantrism as having three lineages: Tōji (from Kūkai), Sanmon, and Jimon. And al­though until Saichō’s death most lineages traced themselves to Ennin, some scholars note that after the Tendai monk Kōkei 皇慶 (also pronounced Kōgyō, 977–1049) died, some Taimitsu groups traced their history through Tōmitsu lineages as well.25 Differences between the lineages were less about doctrine than about elements of prac­tice such as mantras, mudras, altar size and orientation, what deity was enshrined, and what offerings were used. Such ritual details became closely guarded secret knowledge transmitted from teacher to disciple.26 Although they shared some doctrinal and ritual el­ements, the two main Taimitsu lineages constructed specific liturgies in competition with each other.27 Various ritual sublineages also developed within Taimitsu (such as the Taniryū 谷流 and Kawaryū 川流), each with its own anthology of texts that embodied the ritual capital of the lineage.28 Since many aristocrats had been ordained as Tendai monks, and because, whether due to family connections or otherwise, monks were commonly asked to perform rites for aristocrats and members of the royal court, some ritual lineages developed strong connections with particular family lines. In fact, rival schools of esoteric Buddhist ritual were commonly grounded in hereditary factions within the aristocracy. This pattern of aristocratic power relations got transplanted into the clerical world as more nobles took “holy orders.”29 Annen Unlike Ennin and Enchin, Annen (案然 841–889?) neither traveled to China nor became abbot of Enryakuji. Few details are known about his biography, but it is clear that he au­thored many texts on esoteric Buddhism that became important for later tradition. He likely studied under Ennin for many years and for a briefer period under Enchin. It ap­ Page 11 of 29 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION (oxfordre.com/religion). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 26 December 2019 Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms pears that while he had great respect for Ennin, there may have been tensions between Enchin and him. Annen’s writings state that Ennin had a broader understanding of mikkyō due to his having studied under eight teachers in China compared to Enchin’s one. We have few recorded noteworthy disciples of Annen, and it is reasonable to assume that during his lifetime he was not a major teacher of the Taimitsu lineage. We do not have much knowledge of his activities, and the Genkōshakusho, a 14th century compila­tion of Buddhist history, has only a brief entry about him.30 As an innovative thinker, however, it can be said that Annen was as important to the de­velopment of Japanese esoteric Buddhist doctrine as was Kūkai. His influence extended even into Tōmitsu lineages and had an impact on the writings of the Shingon monks Saisen and Kakuban.31 He authored over one hundred works and wrote an extensive cata­log of all the texts brought from China by the Japanese esoteric Buddhist masters (Hakke hiroku 八家秘録). Annen also contributed substantially to discussions of “original enlight­enment” (hongaku 本覚) theory, especially regarding the view that “even grasses and trees possess Buddhahood” (sōmoku jōbutsu 草木成仏). His many writings, including six ritual manuals, helped to formulate new doctrines and to systematize esoteric practice. His chief texts were Shingonshū kyōjigi 真言宗教時義, which, among other foci, empha­sized the infinite temporal aspect of Buddha Dainichi’s teaching, and Taizō kongō bo­ daishin ryaku mondōshō 胎蔵金剛菩提心略問答抄, a commentary on the Treatise on Bodhi­ mind (Bodaishinron 菩提心論, purported to be a Chinese translation of a text by the Indian master Nāgāruna), one of the central texts Kūkai used to buttress his definition of the unique qualities of esoteric Buddhism. These were later considered by Edo period schol­ars to be as comprehensive as Zhiyi’s massive Fahua men’i 法華門義.32 He also employed the Yūgikyō 瑜祇経 (Kongōbu rōkaku issai yūga yūgikyō 金剛峯桜閣一切瑜伽瑜祗経, a text in the Kongōchōkyō corpus) in a novel manner that emphasized its ritual importance.33 Kūkai also richly employed this text in his writings but did not elaborate on its ritual val­ue. Annen’s interpretations impacted both later Taimitsu and Tōmitsu traditions.34 An important teacher of Annen was Henjō 遍昭 (817–890), grandson of Emperor Kanmu and a Tendai monk who had studied under both Ennin and Enchi. Henjō was the first Tendai monk appointed to the Sōgō (monastic administrative council) and his appoint­ ment represented a significant change in the Tendai school’s attitude toward this bureau. Henjō was very important in terms of establishing better relations with Nara monks, which had suffered since Saichō’s time.35 Annen’s writings went so far as to assert that Tendai ought to focus as much on mikkyō as did the Tōmitsu lineages, and he even adopted the name “Shingon” for Tendai esoteric Buddhism. While he intended this term in the broader sense of a lineage focused on mantra, this choice of terminology nonetheless expressed his view that esoteric practice was at the heart of Tendai, not just side by side with exoteric study and practice. Annen is usually considered the great systematizer of Tendai esoteric Buddhist doctrine. Although Tendai esoteric ritual continued to develop after his death, its doctrine reached its culmination with Annen.36 Annen was also the first monk in the Tendai school to inter­ Page 12 of 29 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION (oxfordre.com/religion). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 26 December 2019 Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms pret the monastic precepts in the light of esoteric Buddhism.37 Some of his administrative reforms were taken to heart in Tōmitsu lineages as well. It appears that one of his inter­ ests might have lain in creating an esoteric Buddhism that could span the Tendai–Shingon gap. Ryōgen Although he is not acknowledged to have written important doctrinal works, Ryōgen 良源 (912–985) was a great ritual innovator, an apparently savvy esoteric entrepreneur, and a Tendai monk who demonstrated that good relations with Nara clergy were possible. He studied Buddhist philosophy with masters from the Tōdaiji and Yakushiji temples in Nara and was trained in esoteric Buddhism by Kakue 覚慧 (872–954). Due to Enchin’s twenty-three-year tenure as abbot during the early 10th century, his ritu­ al lineage prevailed in Taimitsu and continued to do so for half a century. Yet Ryōgen fa­vored Ennin’s lineage, as did others such as Henjō and Annen, and he was influential in restoring the supremacy of Ennin’s line. A schism grew between the two lineages while cooperation weakened. Ryōgen developed very close relations with the Fujiwara clan, having conducted esoteric rituals for Fujiwara no Tadahira (880–949), a powerful and influential noble that headed the Fujiwara’s Northern House from 909.38 His son, Morosuke, continued asking for Ryōgen’s ritual favors, such as praying for his father after his death and prayers to secure the birth of his own male offspring. Ryōgen became famous and aristocrats donated fund­ing to construct new monastic buildings for him on Mount Hiei. He also created new ritu­als to respond to fears of ghosts—not a minor social or political concern in the mid-Heian period—and in general helped to bring esoteric rites largely back into use for private fam­ilies. Such practices had been prohibited in the late Nara period because the government sought to limit the activities of hijiri (itinerant Buddhist practitioners) who operated out­ side officially sanctioned religious institutions. However, the increased decentralization of the state apparatus from the mid-Heian period likely contributed to the reemergence of such rites. By the 10th century, Taimitsu rituals had become a kind of thaumaturgical sup­ port for the religiopolitical apparatus of aristocrats and were in vogue in their circles.39 Some of Ryōgen’s innovations included creating a new Tendai ceremony involving seven healing buddhas (previously, the only buddha used for healing ceremonies was Yakushi Nyorai 薬師如来). Shingon monks later copied this practice. He also developed a ceremony for the protective deity Fudō Myōō 不動明王 that required five separate platforms for re­ lated deities. Rituals with Fudō were commonly used to vanquish evil spirits as well as liv­ing enemies. From Ryōgen’s time forward elaborate ceremonies with multiple platforms requiring more monks than before increasingly became the standard, and his five-plat­ form Fudō rite monopolized the market for such rituals. It seems the rite was even suc­cessful at vanquishing its own religious competitors. Page 13 of 29 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION (oxfordre.com/religion). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 26 December 2019 Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms Ryōgen also performed astrological rituals, which often focused on preventing heavenly anomalies from adversely impacting the particular star responsible for an emperor’s wellbeing. He performed these for two emperors as well as for Fujiwara Kanemichi to recover from illness, the success of which earned him an appointment as Bishop.40 In spite of his having nurtured a major schism, Ryōgen’s successes at consolidating aspects of Taimitsu practice, constructing new buildings, expanding the repertoire of avail­able liturgies, and establishing solid connections with court figures who sought rituals were adequate grounds for Neil McMullin to assert that Ryōgen was “probably the most important figure in the history of Mount Hiei,” after Saichō.41 Taimitsu Contributions After Saichō, esoteric Buddhism in the Tendai school had two chief concerns in the arena of doctrine: (1) creating an effective taxonomy regarding the relationship between exo­teric and esoteric teachings, and (2) articulating the role of the Soshitsuji-kyō practice in relation to the mandalas of the two realms.42 Gauging the tradition’s success on these two fronts is a complex task and would depend on one’s perspective, but it is clear that both Ennin and Annen made significant theoretical contributions. Ennin’s distinction between principle (ri 理) and practice (ji 事) circumvented Kūkai’s hermeneutical criterion (that on­ ly teachings from the dharma-body buddha are esoteric) by affirming that true esoteri­ cism combines the highest understanding of reality with the embodied practice of the three mysteries. Annen’s approach was different. He expanded the understanding of the dharma-body buddha by emphasizing (in his Shingonshū kyōjigi) this buddha’s infinite temporal and spatial dimensions, thereby affirming Kūkai’s view while also enhancing it. Regarding the Soshitsuji-kyō, the Tendai insistence on the importance of this text derived from a renewed emphasis on it by the communities in China in which Ennin and Enchin had studied. While this text existed in Japan during Kūkai’s lifetime, he did not consider it important. Its ritual significance in later Chinese esoteric Buddhist circles, however, at­tracted the attention of Tendai exegetes. One way to understand the complex Tendai hermeneutics regarding this text is to see that while the Shingon school’s view of the non­ duality of the Two Realms (Diamond and Womb, of the two mandalas) was based on its claim that Kūkai had received transmission of the two mandalas simultaneously, the Taim­itsu position was that these should be considered two distinct transmissions that necessi­tated a third “accomplished class” of ritual transmission to completely unify the two.43 Interpretations like this made by Tendai exegetes were complicated by the fact that the Soshitsuji-kyō is primarily a ritual text that does not offer much doctrinal explanation that might serve to clarify its placement. There also is no mandala or icon that accompanies it, unlike the mandalas of the Two Realms linked with the two textual corpora emphasized in Shingon. Thus, while the history of its usage in Taimitsu traditions was subject to various internal debates and innovations, it was precisely in this arena of innovation that Taimitsu flourished. Page 14 of 29 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION (oxfordre.com/religion). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 26 December 2019 Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms Tōmitsu It is instructive to note that the use of the term “Tōmitsu” to refer to Shingon esoteric Buddhism, originally based as it was at the Tōji temple in Kyoto (the tō 東 in each term, meaning “eastern,” is the same), is used more by non-Shingon writers than by Shingon ones. For non-Shingon writers, such as scholars from the Tendai or other Japanese Bud­dhist traditions or scholars not identified with a particular school of Japanese Buddhism, Tōmitsu designates one of the two main esoteric Buddhist traditions in Japan. However, for Shingon writers, there has long been a tendency to see the term mikkyō as being pri­marily defined by Shingon Buddhism, and in this view it is implied that Taimitsu is a de­rivative form of Shingon mikkyō. Thus, it appears that for some writers of a Shingon per­ suasion, the division of esoteric Buddhism in Japan into Tōmitsu and Taimitsu traditions embodies a rhetoric of inequality: Shingon (the so-called Tōmitsu) is the original mikkyō and Tendai its offshoot. This perspective is easily visible in many popular and even some scholarly publications in Japanese on mikkyō that are focused almost entirely on the Shin­gon Buddhism created by Kūkai. The implication here, rarely made explicit, is not that Taimitsu is not mikkyō but rather that Shingon is the prototype mikkyō and Taimitsu a spin-off. Interestingly, there is another distinction often made in Shingon scholarship between “pure” (jun 純) and “mixed” (zō 雑) mikkyō that further affirms the superior nature of Shingon practice. According to this discourse, the pure forms of mikkyō manifest a gen­uine intention to attain buddhahood in this lifetime (Jpn. sokushin jōbutsu 即身成佛) at their core, to which “this worldly” benefits such as healing, warding off harm, affecting the gender of a fetus, or bringing rain are said to be secondary. This rhetorical strategy aims to preserve a spiritual sanctity for a certain Mahāyāna Buddhist orientation that is presumably dedicated, above all, to achieving enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings. This is not to say, however, that Shingon writers have accused the Taimitsu tradi­tion of being “mixed.” Rather, both these traditions adopted this rhetoric to distinguish their lineages from those not based on the doctrines and rituals deriving from certain texts (such as the Dainichi-kyō, Kongōchō-kyō, and Soshitsuji-kyō) that are all understood to have been preached by the dharma-body buddha Dainichi. Although the junmitsu/ zōmitsu terminology came after him, Kūkai employed a similar delimiter when he de­clared certain dharani (sacred formulae) commonly used in his day not to be true esoteric Buddhism because these practices were not taught by the dharma-body buddha. Kūkai’s initial rhetorical framing turned out to be a remarkably successful strategy. Monks and lay aristocrats in the court were deeply impacted by his theories and rituals, and they quickly took root across wide sectors of Japanese elite society. Saichō’s initial at­ tempt to develop a strong esoteric component for his new Tendai school was based entire­ ly on Kūkai’s expertise, and some later Tendai monks adopted Kūkai’s interpretations heartily. Saichō’s eventual protest (in letters to Kūkai and elsewhere) that the Lotus Sūtra teaching of the One Vehicle was also esoteric and thus as advanced as Kūkai’s Shingon teachings was an argument that was hard for later Tendai apologists to continue to de­ fend. Some established monks, such as Tokuitsi 徳一 (d. 843) of the Hossō school, disput­ed Kūkai’s claim about the role of the dharma-body, but there was never a strong or uni­ fied opposition to his broader program. Thus, Shingon’s beginnings were very productive. Kūkai was given responsibility for developing the Tōji 東寺 temple at the southern en­ trance to the capital (Kyoto), and he established a new platform (kaidan 戒壇) for adminis­ tering the esoteric precepts, or rules of monastic conduct, at Tōdaiji in Nara. He was also granted imperial permission to establish a Shingon monastery on Mount Koya, several days’ travel south of Kyoto, and was given charge of Takaōsanji on the outskirts of Kyoto. Just before Kūkai’s death in 834, he was also successful in getting a chapel for esoteric services (Shingon’in) placed in the imperial palace. The services became known as the “Latter Seven-day Rite” (Jpn. go-shichinichi mishuhō 後七日御修法). Kūkai first performed them in the Central Affairs Ministry in the palace and later in the Shingon chapel. They were performed in the palace during the second week of the first month every year until 1871 and was then revived in 1883 and moved to Tōji. Kūkai’s ability to promote Shingon practice at major temples in Nara and in the new capital was testament to his sociopoliti­cal skills and his careful articulation of doctrine. Unlike Saichō, he did not get into lengthy debates with powerful monks from the Nara schools, such as Tokuitsu, nor with the members of the Office of Monastic Affairs (Sōgō 僧綱). His vision to essentially graft esoteric Shingon practices onto existing ones succeeded so well that contemporary Japan­ ese scholarship commonly uses the phrase “exoteric–esoteric system” (kenmitsu seido 顕 密制度) to refer to the entirety of Japanese Buddhism’s cultural presence, in its combina­tion of both monastic and political action, from Kūkai’s time until the early modern peri­od. Kūkai’s institutional activities were matched by his prolific writings that detailed his understanding of mikkyō. As mentioned (see “EARLY TAIMITSU AND KŪKAI”), the early Tendai school was deeply indebted to Kūkai’s articulation of the unique role that esoteric ritual played in deciphering and employing the power of the “preaching of the dharmabody.” In the Shingon school, this indebtedness lasted centuries. While it is clear that Kūkai’s promotion of Shingon laid the foundation for all later manifestations of Japanese mikkyō, during the Heian period it was primarily only in the Tendai school that doctrinal development emerged. Ennin and Annen in particular created novel and impactful theo­ries that allowed Tendai esotericism to flourish after Saichō’s death. These innovations were apparently needed in order to distinguish their mikkyō lineages from those of Shin­gon. But since there was no such need for distinction for the Shingon school—and be­ cause, unlike Saichō, Kūkai focused extensively in his writings on matters of esoteric doc­ trine and practice—innovations on the Shingon side did not emerge until around the 12th century. Thus, post-Kūkai, Tōmitsu doctrinal development languished compared to the en­ergetic growth within Taimitsu. Original Tōmitsu Theories The extent to which many of the ideas in Kūkai’s doctrinal works were original to him is uncertain, since his main teacher in China, Huigou 慧果 (743–805), left no writings. It is clear that Kūkai took many ideas from some key Vajrayāna texts such as the Chinese translations of the Vajraśekhara-sūtra and the Mahavairocana-sūtra, and from a commen­ tary on the Awakening of Faith in the Mahāyāna (Jpn. Daijō kishinron 大乗起信論), called in Page 16 of 29 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION (oxfordre.com/religion). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 26 December 2019 Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms Japanese the Makaenron 摩訶衍論 (widely considered in his day and since to be apoc­ ryphal). Regardless, because Kūkai’s writings had immense impact on the early develop­ment of mikkyō teachings in Japan and influenced many aspects of Tōmitsu teachings, a summary of his key ideas is in order. Perhaps the cornerstone of Kūkai’s doctrinal edifice is the theory of the “preaching of the Dharma by the Dharma-body” (hosshin seppō 法身説法). The standard Mahāyāna interpre­tation was that the buddha possessed three “bodies,” among which the dharma-body is formless, without shape or speech, and represents the buddha’s deepest wisdom of ulti­ mate reality. The buddha’s two “form” bodies (Skt. sambhoga-kāya and nirmāna-kāya) communicate with beings on various levels. Kūkai’s idiosyncratic proposition that the silent dharma-body preaches possessed doctrinal shock value and he exploited this with force. He claimed that the consecrated practice of the three secrets of mudra, mantra, and mandala (based on having undergone formal initiation, kanjō 灌頂) enables practitioners to receive directly from the essence of enlightened wisdom (the dharma-body) the purest qualities of buddhahood. Such consecrated practice cuts through the language-based mediation by which the other two form bodies teach the Dharma and is thus the direct, unmediated manifestation of ultimate reality via a kind of nondual communication. This view is best articulated in his early Treatise Distinguishing the Two Teachings, Exo­teric and Esoteric (Benkenmitsu nikyōron 弁顕密二教論). In later texts such as The Mean­ ing of Attaining Buddhahood in This Very Body (Sokushin jōbutsu-gi 即身成仏儀), he clari­fies that the three secrets practice brings the body, speech, and mind of a practitioner in­to a state of nondual union (yūga 喩伽) with the same three aspects of an enlightened bud­dha. Further, the consecrated practice of mudra, mantra, and mandala provide one with the interpretive technology for deciphering a code naturally embedded in all phenomena so that, for example, one comes to see all conventional sounds, sights, and thoughts as natural expressions of ultimate reality. This idea is most clearly expressed in his The Meaning of Voice, Word and Reality (Shōji jissō-gi 声字実相儀). He also elaborates on these concepts in his Secret Key to the Heart Sūtra (Hannya shingyō hiken 般若心経秘鍵) and The Meaning of the Syllable “Hum” (Unjigi 吽字義).44 In his later years, Kūkai produced his magnum opus, the Treatise on the Ten Stages of Mind of the Secret Mandala (Himitsu mandara jūjūshinron 秘密曼荼羅十住心論) and its sub­sequent condensed version, Precious Key to the Secret Treasury (Hizō hōyaku 秘蔵宝鑰). These texts outlined his vision of a hierarchical classification of “mind states” (jūshin 住心) that range from a beastly human mentality to the highest enlightened state of a buddha. The fourth through tenth stages represent the spiritual fruits of practicing in accordance with different Buddhist teachings. Stages eight through nine accord with the teachings of the Japanese Buddhist schools of Tendai, Kegon, and Shingon, respectively, a ranking that Tendai exegetes frequently contested. Kūkai’s doctrinal classifications possessed a Janus-like quality of both exclusivism and inclusivism because, while he consistently champi­oned Shingon esotericism as the best path to buddhahood, he also averred that esoteric hermeneutics affirm that within every teaching are hidden features through which one can access the highest realization. Page 17 of 29 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION (oxfordre.com/religion). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 26 December 2019 Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms Through these texts and other less systematic writings, Kūkai presented a thorough por­ trait of what he saw as the characteristics of mikkyō. For several generations, members of his lineage added little of note to his formulations. His disciples and their successors did, however, manage to put into place strong institutional moorings that established Tōmitsu as an enduring component of the Japanese religious landscape. The roots of this institu­tional development were effectively planted during Kūkai’s lifetime at Tōji, Takaōsanji, Kōyasan, and Tōdaiji. Thus, from the start, Shingon had a wider base than did Tendai and was much better accepted as a normative Buddhist teaching in Nara. This strong founda­tion seems to have emerged from various sources: Kūkai’s skillful ecumenical approach to doctrine that acknowledged the value of other teachings; his congenial attitude toward building and maintaining relationships; and his familial connections with Nara monks from his own Saeki clan in Shikoku. His strengths in these areas offered him a relative advantage over Saichō, who criticized some Nara monks as being Hīnayānist and as lack­ing adequate knowledge of Buddhist scripture, who alienated the Sōgō council with his antagonist insistence on the need for an exclusive ordination platform for Mahāyāna prac­titioners, and whose ancestry was of fairly recent Chinese origin. Couple these facts with Saichō’s limited understanding of esoteric scripture and ritual and the absence of any clear texts by him on these topics, and it is easy to see why Shingon (Tōmitsu) practice took off as quickly as it did, and Saichō’s best disciples went to Kūkai to study mikkyō in order to build their own Taimitsu programs. It took more than a full generation, with cre­ative innovations in doctrine and practice, for Taimitsu to catch up with and then, by some accounts, to surpass Tōmitsu. In the meantime, Shingon monks maintained effec­tive relationships in all the venues established by Kūkai that helped assure the long-term relevance of esoteric practice in Japan. Tōmitsu Developments After returning from China in 806, Kūkai developed what was for a while a cooperative relationship with Saichō from 809, and was invited by Saichō, together with eminent Nara monks and high-ranking aristocrats, to offer a kanjō initiation at Takaosanji in 812. In 816, he received imperial permission to begin constructing a monastery on Mount Koya; in 822, he fulfilled a wish to construct a hall for esoteric kanjō at Tōdaiji’in; in 823, he was given supervision of the construction of the Tōji temple in Kyoto; in 834, he estab­lished an esoteric chapel called Shingon’in in the imperial palace (where the first month of every year Shingon monks performed rites to protect the emperor), and in 835, his Kongōbūji monastery was granted regular ordinands. Until his death in 835, he was ex­ceedingly busy promoting his new mikkyō on multiple fronts. Kūkai’s disciples maintained all these commitments and also entertained frequent re­quests for rituals at court, such as prayers for rain and rituals for exorcism. Unlike Tendai, the early Shingon school was based in a variety of temple complexes, including three in Kyoto, one in Nara, plus Koyasan, so administrative demands were high and impulses to consolidate were natural. Strife eventually manifested around the time of the monk Kangen 観賢 (854–925), who himself was at different times in charge of Kōyasan, Tōji, and Ninnaji 仁和寺 (western Kyoto), with particular tensions arising between Kōyasan Page 18 of 29 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION (oxfordre.com/religion). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 26 December 2019 Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms and Tōji over which would be the headquarters temple (hon 本) and which the subsidiary (matsu 末). Tōji received an imperial order to be the headquarters temple in 919. Tensions also derived from temples having support from different aristocratic patrons. Kangen was responsible for getting Kūkai’s posthumous title Kōbōdaishi and for preserving an impor­tant text written by Kūkai recording his studies in China (the Sanjūjōsasshi 三十帖冊子, a designated national treasure). Kūkai’s immediate disciples included his brother Shinga 真雅 (801–879), nephew Shinnen 真然 (804–891, trained under Shinga), Jichie 実慧 (786–847), Shinzei 真済 (800–860), Jōgyō 常暁 (d. 867), Shūei 宗叡 (809–884), and Taihan (泰範 b. 778). Shinnen and Shinzei helped construct buildings at Kōyasan, with Shinnen garnering important support from donated lands. Shinzei managed the Shingon’in at the imperial palace, bestowed refuge vows to Emperor Montoku, and edited the important collection of Kūkai’s letters and ganmon 願文 (votive documents) known as the Shōryōshū 性霊集. Jichie assisted with developing the grounds at Koyasan and traveled to China to report Kūkai’s death. Jōgyō and Shūei both brought back important materials from travels to China as official government envoys (kentōshi 遣唐使), such as the Taigen[sui] hō 太元帥法 text (ritual for vanquishing enemies) and new copies of the two mandalas. All of these disciples except Jichie and Taihan were initially ordained while they were students of Kūkai. Jichie eventually managed Jingōji at Mount Takao but was originally from Daianji 大安寺 in Nara, a temple where Kūkai had studied and with which he maintained strong contacts. Taihan was originally a student of Saichō who had been sent, with Enchin, to study with Kūkai but who never returned to Mount Hiei.45 Later Tōmitsu Developments Another student of Shinga’s, Shōbō 証宝 (832–909, posthumously Rigen Daishi 理源大師), established the Daigōji 醍醐寺 temple near Kyoto. Like Kūkai, Shōbō studied extensively in Nara, both Hossō and Sanron teachings, and had close contacts with the many monks there who valued extended practice in the mountains (sanrin shugyō 山林修行). Shōbō con­solidated the tradition of “combined study” of Shingon and Sanron at the Tōnan’in 東南院 at Tōdaiji and is regarded as the founder of the Ono 小野 lineage of Shingon. Daigōji be­ came a powerful Tōmitsu center that garnered so much imperial support that it was re­ferred to as the “three-generation family temple of [Emperor] Murakami.” As Hayami Tasuku notes, the esoteric–exoteric combined study pattern became the model for Nara Buddhism: “Mikkyō became a non-sectarian view of Buddhism in general . . . The doc­trines of different schools differed little, but in practice each group championed its own secret method. Prayer (kitō 祈祷) Buddhism became the heart of aristocratic Buddhism.”46 After a devastating fire at Kōyasan in 994, the monk Ningai 仁海 (951–1046) worked to­ ward reconstruction and persuaded the very powerful Fujiwara Michinaga to visit on a pilgrimage. Perhaps on Michinaga’s coattails, Kōyasan became a favorite destination for regents and received donations of many landed estates in support. Page 19 of 29 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION (oxfordre.com/religion). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 26 December 2019 Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms Tōmitsu doctrinal scholarship languished during the first few centuries after Kūkai, and the first noteworthy emergence is often said to be the writings of Kakuban 覚鑁 (1095– 1143, posthumously Kōgyō-Daishi 興教大師). After studying at Kōfukuji and Tōdaiji in Nara, Kakuban moved to Kōyasan. He attempted to unify the two lineages of Ono 小野 and Hirosawa 広沢 and became the chief priest (zasu 座主) at Kongōbūji and the Daidenbō’in at Mount Kōya. It seems that his connections with noble families in Kyoto helped him gain influence in Kōyasan, and he used his position to attempt to relocate the center of Shingon from Tōji to Kōyasan. His political efforts brought strong opposition, along with the burning of the Daidenbō’in, and he fled with followers to Negoro-ji 根来寺 in Wakayama prefecture. His writings focused a great deal on the role of the Buddha Amitābha (Jpn. Amida) in Shingon practice. While some have suggested he was attempting to incorporate pure land doctrines into Shingon, it seems reasonable to see his work rather as more con­cerned with forging an esoteric perspective on the pure land teachings (he affirmed that the pure land is to be realized in this life). Kakuban’s writings proffered esoteric interpre­tations of Amida’s name along the lines of Kūkai’s hermeneutics of mantra syllables.47 His writings were influential, and the group at Negoro-ji became the start of the Shingon School of New Doctrine (shingi shingon shū 新義真言宗). Nearly a century after Kakuban’s death, the Shingon monk Raiyū 頼瑜 (1226–1304) followed in his footsteps. Raiyū studied at Kōyasan and at Ninnaji, as well as at Tōdaiji and Kōfukuji in Nara. He wrote detailed commentaries on many of Kūkai’s works. In 1284, he also left Mount Koya for Negoroji with a group of disciples, marking the formal beginning of the Shingon School of New Doctrine. Two more important scholar-monks in medieval Tōmitsu tradition were Gōhō 杲宝 (1306– 1362) and Yūkai 宥快 (1345–1416). Both were based predominantly in Kōyasan. Gōhō was not only a scholar of Tōmitsu but also wrote about the history of mikkyō in Japan, of both Tendai and Shingon forms. His extensive use of documents for narrating detailed history was rare in his day. Gōhō also penned criticisms of Zen Buddhist practice. Yūkai was a remarkably prolific author of commentaries on Kūkai’s works and on some of the Chinese texts central to Kūkai’s presentation of mikkyō, such as the Dainichi-kyō and its commen­tary, and the Bodaishinron and Shakumakuenron. His scholarship was one of the marks of the revival of Shingon doctrinal work in the Muromachi period and has remained vital to modern sectarian scholarship as well.48 In 1585, the Negoroji monastery was burned by Toyotomi Hideyoshi as part of his attack on the powerful Buddhist establishments. In the aftermath, divisions emerged between the more permanent and more temporary monks of Negoroji. The group that relocated to Hasedera in Nara became the Buzan 豊山 lineage, while the group relocated to Chishaku’in in Kyoto became the Chizan 智山 lineage. It was at this point that extant Tōmitsu schools came to be called Kōgi (old doctrine 古義) Shingon, while the newer Buzan and Chizan groups were called Shingi (new doctrine). Page 20 of 29 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION (oxfordre.com/religion). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 26 December 2019 Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms Legacies of Both Taimitsu and Tōmitsu It is important to note how central a role mikkyō, whether in its Tendai or Shingon forms, has played in Japanese religious and political history. The following are some comments from contemporary scholarship. Historian Hayami Tasuku writes about an early 9th-century shift wherein national Bud­dhism began to take on an esoteric character: What is significant in the path of esoteric ritual’s mainstreaming into “nation pro­tecting Buddhism” is what happened in the sixth month of 830 when all across the nation, because of spreading disease, monks were ordered to read the Kongō han­ nyakyō 金剛般若経 [Diamond Sūtra] and perform the Yakushi 薬師 [medicine bud­dha] repentance. Beginning with this, for the next ten years the rites for national protection took the shape of the former during the day and the latter at night. Of course repentance was originally an individual act to regret past negative deeds and to promise not to repeat them, but in Japan it became linked with native pu­rification [harae] significance and assumed the communal form of thaumaturgic ritual chanting . . . Then in the latter half of the ninth century the nation protect­ing rites were no longer documented as “repentance” but rather as the “chanting of Shingon dharani” . . . Thus the establishment of Shingon-esoteric practice hap­pened not so much via independent performances but as an accompaniment to the chanting of scripture for national protection.49 Not only was the need to address widespread disease likely one cause for the flourishing of mikkyō but so also was political turmoil from the mid-Heian period.50 Esoteric ritual found a welcome response to its ritual practices that were aimed at securing personal ad­vantage in political relationships. The new mikkyō offered by both Taimitsu and Tōmitsu may have possessed elements that assured progress on the path to buddhahood, but it al­ so preserved strong continuities with so-called mixed esotericism (zōmitsu 雑密) in terms of practical benefits. Its capacity for broad application was well received. Hayami further reminds us that the format of supplementing existing court ceremony with esoteric rites by conjoining “chanting sūtra in the day, mantra at night” was Kūkai’s expressed intention for establishing the Shingon’in at the palace. This shichinichi mishihō (Latter Seven-day Rite) became the standard model for the practice of nation-protecting rituals in both Shingon and Tendai lineages. It was after this paradigm had taken root that the development of rites on an individual basis emerged, with Ryōgen’s prolific activ­ity (see the section “RYŌGEN”) being a fine example. And as Allan Grapard makes clear, in early Japan there existed not only a shared soterio­logical and liturgical paradigm among Buddhist institutions, but also a common recogni­tion among power holders that the work of Buddhist specialists was a potent social and political force. Referring to the symbiotic relationship between “worship” and “adminis­tration” (saisei 祭政), he writes: Page 21 of 29 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION (oxfordre.com/religion). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 26 December 2019 Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms Kūkai established esoteric Buddhism at court by positing himself as the ritual guarantor of imperial legitimacy . . . [T]he overwhelming concern of early ninth-century courtiers was to establish the supremacy of the imperial house.51 Furthermore, Taimitsu and Tōmitsu alike soon found homes for their practices in Kyoto and in Nara, and eventually throughout the nation. As Fabio Rambelli notes: The Nara establishment soon realized the ideological and ritual importance of the new mikkyō as an instrument of political and economic control, and adopted it in a sort of surreptitious paradigm shift. Esoteric Buddhism became in this way an es­sential feature of pre-modern Japanese life.52 And finally, Carl Bielefeldt attests to the enduring impact of the mikkyō paradigm on Japanese Buddhist history overall: For its own part, the esoteric tradition itself tended to conceive of Buddhahood in cosmological terms, as the hidden macrocosm of which the human world was the manifest embodiment. An elaborate system of homologies was developed between the properties of the Buddha realm and the physical features of Japan, between the deities of the Buddhist pantheon and the local gods of Japan, between the virtues of the cosmic Buddha and the psychophysical characteristics of the individ­ ual, and so on. The chief means of communication between the two realms was rit­ ual practice—recitation of spells and prayers, performance of mystic gestures, re­ pentance, sacrifice, pilgrimage, and the like—through which the forces of the oth­ er realm were contacted and channeled into this world, and the people and places of this world were mystically empowered by (or revealed as) the sacred realities of the Buddha realm… This cosmological style of religion is often now held up as one of the key unifying forces of Japanese Buddhism.53 Bielefeldt adds a more historiographical comment: Historians of the [premodern] period warn against a narrow focus on the novel teachings of the new Kamakura movements, often preferring to see them against the background of an older, broader religious style of thought and practice that permeated the medieval Buddhist world—a style we may loosely call mikkyō . . .54 Both Taimitsu and Tōmitsu forms of mikkyō practice have had powerful impacts on Japanese religion in particular and society in general. Since the fundamental operating model for each tradition was nearly identical, we can generalize that Tantric Buddhism’s influ­ence in Japan has been, and in many ways continues to be, immense. As the writings of Tamura Yoshirō, Sueki Fumihiro, and Jaqueline Stone frequently emphasize, the gaps be­tween Heian (794–1185) and Kamakura (1185–1333) period Buddhism are not as sharp as previous narratives stressing discontinuity have suggested. Among the many factors pro­moting historical continuity, the various Tantric features of mikkyō, with their accompany­ing theological and political ramifications, should be seen as significant. Page 22 of 29 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION (oxfordre.com/religion). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 26 December 2019 Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms Review of Literature While the topic of the two kinds of Japanese esoteric Buddhism might seem relatively ob­scure, there is a solid body of materials in English for initial research. Naturally there is much more in Japanese, though its conceptual purview is often limited by sectarian orien­tations. On Taimitsu traditions, an excellent survey that is thorough in historical spread, topical range, and critical perspective is “Taimitsu: The Esoteric Buddhism of the Tendai School” by Lucia Dolce.55 Neil McMullin’s article “The Sanmon–Jimon Schism in the Tendai School of Buddhism: A Preliminary Analysis” addresses important issues related to the schism resulting in the Jimon and Sanmon lineages.56 Paul Groner’s essay is also rich on early developments, and his book on Ryōgen offers a thorough treatment of this later monk’s significant contributions.57 The two most recent detailed Japanese monographs are by Ōkubo Ryōshun, Taimitsu kyōgaku no kenkyū and Saichō no shisō to tendai mikkyō, the former being broader while the latter focuses on Saichō’s role.58 Curiously, the Tōmitsu tradition is less richly covered in English, one reason being that studies tend to focus on Kūkai alone. Abé’s The Weaving of Mantra remains the best source for grasping how Kūkai worked within the religious and political worlds to ground esoteric Buddhist rhetoric at the center of imperial ideology.59 David Gardiner’s disserta­tion places Kūkai’s contributions in some additional pan-Asian Buddhist doctrinal and his­torical contexts.60 A solid source on later Tōmitsu developments is Hendrik van der Veere’s A Study into the Thought of Kougyoudaishi Kakuban with a Translation of His Gorin kuji myō himitsushaku on Kakuban’s extensive treatment of the role of Amida (Amitābha) in Japanese esoteric Buddhist practice.61 In Japanese, perhaps the best survey remains Matsunaga’s Mikkyō no rekishi (surprisingly not out of date), with Yoritomi’s more recent chapter in Tachikawa and Yoritomi’s edited volume Nihon no mikkyō coming next.62 Both English and Japanese scholarship has moved in recent years to help break down problematic assumptions of more traditional studies. Three assumptions are that post-Nara esoteric Buddhism is substantially different from that of Nara (the “pure” junmitsu versus “mixed” zōmitsu); that Taimitsu and Tōmitsu traditions were independent and iso­lated; and that the “reformations” of Kamakura Buddhism essentially jettisoned mikkyō elements. Scholars point to the presence of this-worldly aims of much of Heian and later mikkyō in spite of the rhetoric that its junmitsu nature orients it primarily to the attain­ment of buddhahood (jōbutsu). Recent scholarship also illuminates the deep connections, mostly via patronage, that both Taimitsu and Tōmitsu monastic practice had with political and economic forces driving the aristocratic class. Studies also reveal how powerful was the esoteric Buddhist paradigm that sacralized the entire material world as an expression of the cosmic Buddha Dainichi, and how this theological orientation was not lost on the founders of the new Kamakura schools. Their Zen, Lotus Sūtra (by Nichiren), and pure land models may have offered streamlined practices, but these were imprinted with mikkyō assumptions in various ways. Research is increasingly revealing that these vari­ous boundaries, taken for granted in earlier scholarship, operated more as convenient rhetorical devices that supported various sectarian interests. A chief area that remains little studied is the development of texts and practices in both traditions during the medieval period. Dolce in particular has sketched some fruitful paths for future study in Taimitsu.63 She helpfully points out that factors limiting such re­ search include traditional emphasis on the founder Saichō; a focus on the core teachings of Chinese Tiantai; and the relatively scattered nature of relevant texts, which for the most part are not gathered in a single collection. Equally unstudied is the myriad of ways the two traditions borrowed from one another such that the sectarian boundaries appear more nominal than substantive. Further Reading Abé, Ryūichi. The Weaving of Mantra. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999. Beghi, Clemente. “The Dissemination of Esoteric Scriptures in Eighth Century Japan.” In Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia. Edited by Charles Orzech, 661–682. Lei­ den, The Netherlands: Brill, 2011. Dolce, Lucia. “Taimitsu: The Esoteric Buddhism of the Tendai School.” In Esoteric Bud­dhism and the Tantras in East Asia. Edited by Charles Orzech, 744–767. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2011. Dolce, Lucia, with Shinya Mano. “Godai’in Annen.” In Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia. Edited by Charles Orzech, 768–775. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2011. Ford, James. “Exploring the Esoteric in Nara Buddhism.” In Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia. Edited by Charles Orzech, 776–792. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2011. Groner, Paul. Saichō: The Establishment of the Japanese Tendai School. Honolulu: Univer­ sity of Hawai’i Press, 1984. Groner, Paul. “Annen, Tankei, Henjō, and Monastic Discipline in the Tendai School: The Background of the Futsū jubosatsukai kōshaku.” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 14, no. 2–3 (1987): 129–159. Groner, Paul. Ryōgen and Mount Hiei: Japanese Tendai in the Tenth Century. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2002. Hayami, Tasuku 速水侑. Heian kizoku shakai to bukkyō 平安貴族社会と仏教. Tokyo: Yoshikawa kōbunkan, 1975. Hayami, Tasuku 速水侑. Nihon bukkyōshi: kōdai 日本仏教史:古代. Tokyo: Yoshikawa kōbunkan, 1986. Page 24 of 29 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION (oxfordre.com/religion). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 26 December 2019 Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms Katsumata Shunkyō 勝又俊教. Mikkyō no nihonteki tenkai 密教の日本的展開. Tokyo: Shun­ jūsha, 1981. Kiuchi, Gyōō 木内堯央. Tendai mikkyō no keisei 天台密教の形成. Tokyo: Keisuisha, 1984. Kushida Ryōkō 櫛田良浜. Shingon mikkyō seiritsu katei no kenkyū 真言密教成立過程の研究. Tokyo: Sankibō Busshorin, 1964. Matsunaga Yūkei 松長有慶. Mikkyō no rekishi 密教の歴史. Kyoto: Heirakuji shoten, 1969. Matsunaga Yūke i 松長有慶. Shingonshū: Nihon no bukkyō, hito to oshie 真言宗:日本の仏 教、人と教え. Tokyo: Shōgakkan, 1986. McMullin, Neil. “The Sanmon–Jimon Schism in the Tendai School of Buddhism: A Prelimi­nary Analysis.” Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 7, no. 1 (1984): 83–105. Misaki Ryōshū 三崎良周. Taimitsu no kenkyū 台密の研究. Tokyo: Sobunsha 創文社, 1988. Ōkubo Ryōshun 大久保 良峻. Taimitsu kyōgaku no kenkyū 台密教学の研究. Tokyo: Hōzōkan, 2004. Ōkubo Ryōshun 大久保良峻. “The Identity between the Purport of the Perfect and Esoteric Teachings.” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 41, no. 1 (2014): 83–102. Ōkubo Ryōshun 大久保 良峻. Saichō no shisō to tendai mikkyō 最澄の思想と天台. Kyoto: Hōzōkan, 2015. Shimizutani Kyōjun 清水谷恭順. Taimitsu kyōgaku no kenkyū 台密教学の研究. Kyoto: Hōzōkan, 2004. Sonoda Kōyū 薗田香融. Tendai-shū: Nihon no bukkyō, hito to oshie 天台宗:日本の仏教、人と 教え. Tokyo: Shōgakkan, 1986. Sueki, Fumihiko 末木文美士. Heian shoki bukkyōshisōshi no kenkyū 平安初期仏教思想史の研 究. Tokyo: Shunjūsha, 1995. Tachikawa Musashi 立川武蔵, and Yoritomi Motohiro 頼富元宏. Nihon no mikkyō 日本密教. Tokyo: Shunjūsha, 2000. Togano’o Shōun 栂尾祥雲. Togano zenshū 栂尾全集. Vol. 1, Himitsu bukkyōshi 秘密仏教史. Koyasan, Japan: Koyasan University Press, 1959. van der Veere, Hendrik. A Study into the Thought of Kougyoudaishi Kakuban with a Translation of His Gorin kuji myō himitsushaku. Leiden, The Netherlands: Hotei Publish­ing, 2000. Page 25 of 29 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION (oxfordre.com/religion). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 26 December 2019 Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms Notes: (1.) Carl Bielefeldt, Dogen’s Manuals of Zen Meditation (Berkeley, CA: University of Cali­ fornia Press, 1990), 165. (2.) See James Ford, “Exploring the Esoteric in Nara Buddhism,” in Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia, ed. Charles Orzech (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2011), 776–792; and Clemente Beghi, “The Dissemination of Esoteric Scriptures in Eighth Centu­ry Japan,” in Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia, ed. Charles Orzech (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2011), 661–682. (3.) Gyōō Kiuchi 木内堯央, Tendai mikkyō no keisei 天台密教の形成 (Tokyo: Keisuisha, 1984), 66–70 on first two kanjō; and Paul Groner, Saichō, The Establishment of the Japanese Tendai School (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1984), 67. (4.) Paul Groner, Saichō, The Establishment of the Japanese Tendai School (Honolulu: Uni­ versity of Hawai’i Press, 1984), 57. (5.) The next two paragraphs are indebted to Groner, Saichō, 44–64. (6.) Groner, Saichō, 58–61; see also Misaki Ryōshū 三崎良周, Taimitsu no kenkyū 台密の研究 (Tokyo: Sobunsha, 1988), 42–58. For a thorough critique of Tendai claims regarding the degree to which Saichō received a “legitimate” esoteric transmission, see Jinhua Chen, “The Formation of Early Esoteric Buddhism in Japan: A Study of the Three Esoteric Japan­ ese Apochrypha” (PhD diss., McMaster University, 1997). (7.) Groner, Saichō, 83–87. (8.) On their relationship and split, see Ryūichi Abé, “Saichō and Kūkai: A Conflict of In­ terpretations,” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 22, no. 1–2 (1995): 103–136; and David L. Gardiner, “Kūkai and the Beginnings of Shingon Buddhism in Japan” (PhD diss., Stanford University, 1994), 194–218. Many other excellent resources exist in Japanese. (9.) Groner, Saichō, chaps. 6 and 7, 88–168. (10.) See Edwin O. Reischauer, Ennin’s Diary: The Record of a Pilgrimage to China in Search of the Law (New York: Ronald Press, 1955); and Ennin’s Travels in T’ang China (New York: Ronald Press, 1955). (11.) See Paul Swanson, Foundations of T’ien-tai Philosophy: The Flowering of the Two Truths Theory in Chinese Buddhism, annotated ed. (Fremont, CA: Asian Humanities Press, 1989). (12.) Much of this paragraph is indebted to Lucia Dolce’s excellent article, “Taimitsu: The Esoteric Buddhism of the Tendai School,” in Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia, ed. Charles Orzech (London: Brill, 2011), 744–767. (13.) On the “dharma-body,” see the section “Original Tōmitsu Theories.” Page 26 of 29 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION (oxfordre.com/religion). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 26 December 2019 Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms (14.) Ōkubo Ryōshun 大久保良峻, “Saichō, Kūkai no kaikaku 最澄空海の改革,” in Nihon bukkyō no so 日本仏教の礎, ed. Sueki Fumihiro 末木文美士 (Tokyo: Kosei Shuppan, 2010), 183. (15.) Stanley Weinstein, “Aristocratic Buddhism,” in Cambridge History of Japan, ed. Don­ ald H. Shively and William H. McCullough, vol. 2, Heian Japan (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1999), 481. (16.) Hayami Tasuku 速水侑, Nihon bukkyōshi: kodai 日本仏教史:古代 (Tokyo: Yoshikawa kobunkan, 1986), 178. (17.) Dolce, “Taimitsu,” 759–761. (18.) Ōkubo Ryōshun, “Saichō, Kūkai no kaikaku,” 186. (19.) Ōkubo Ryōshun,“Saichō, Kūkai no kaikaku,” 189. (20.) Ōkubo Ryōshun, “Saichō, Kūkai no kaikaku,” 189. (21.) Ōkubo Ryōshun, “Saichō, Kūkai no kaikaku,” 186. For details on Enchin’s years in China, see also Onō Katsutoshi 小野勝年, Nyūtōguhō gyōreki no kenkyū: Chishōdaishi Enchin hen, 入唐求法行歴の研究:智証大師円珍 (Kyoto: Hōzōkan, 1982–1983). (22.) Weinstein, “Aristocratic Buddhism,” 483. (23.) Neil McMullin, “The Sanmon-Jimon Schism in the Tendai School of Buddhism: A Pre­ liminary Analysis,” Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 7, no. 1 (1984): 83–84. (24.) McMullin, “The Sanmon-Jimon Schism in the Tendai School of Buddhism,” 99. (25.) Hayami, Nihon bukkyōshi: kodai, 178; and Jacqueline Stone, Original Enlightenment and the Transformation of Medieval Japanese Buddhism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univer­ sity Press, 1999), 109–110. (26.) Stone comments on the increase of privatization in medieval Japan, whether of wealth, political power, artistic skills, or religious knowledge, and suggests that the mod­ el of esoteric Buddhist initiations was influential in this process. See her Original Enlight­ enment, 108–109. (27.) Dolce, “Taimitsu.” (28.) Dolce, “Taimitsu.” (29.) Stone, Original Enlightenment, 110. (30.) Much of this paragraph comes from Paul Groner, “Annen, Tankei, Henjō, and Monas­ tic Discipline in the Tendai School: The Background of the Futsū jubosatsukai kōshaku.” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 14, no. 2–3 (1987): 132–133, 143. Page 27 of 29 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION (oxfordre.com/religion). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 26 December 2019 Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms (31.) Lucia Dolce with Shinya Mano, “Godai’in Annen,” in Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia, ed. Charles Orzech (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2011), 768–775. (32.) Groner, “Annen, Tankei, Henjō,” 152. (33.) Taishō Shinshū Daizōkyō 大正新修大藏經, ed. Takakusu Junjirō 高楠順次郎 (Tokyo: Taishō issaikyō kankōkai, reprint edition, 1962), vol. 18, no. 867. (34.) Dolce, “Taimitsu,” 774. (35.) Groner, “Annen, Tankei, Henjō,” 138–150; and Groner, Saichō, 284–285. (36.) Groner, “Annen, Tankei, Henjō,” 154. (37.) Groner, “Annen, Tankei, Henjō,” 154. (38.) Groner, Ryōgen, 66–68. (39.) Stone, Original Enlightenment, 150. (40.) Groner, Ryōgen, 90–92. (41.) McMullin, “The Sanmon-Jimon Schism in the Tendai School of Buddhism,” 89. (42.) Dolce, “Taimitsu,” 754. (43.) Dolce, “Taimitsu,” 774. (44.) On Kūkai’s doctrinal views of the uniqueness of the dharma-body’s teaching, see Gardiner, “Kūkai and the Beginning of Shingon Buddhism in Japan”; and Ryūichi Abé, The Weaving of Mantra (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999). (45.) On the early development of Shingon, see Matsunaga Yūkei 松長有慶, Mikkyō no rek­ ishi 密教の歴史 (Kyoto: Heirakuji shoten, 1969); and Yoritomi Motohiro 頼富本宏, “Nihon mikkyō no seiritsu to tenkai 日本密教の成立の展開,” in Nihon no mikkyō 日本の密教, ed. Tachikawa Musashi 立川武蔵 (Tokyo: Shunjūsha, 2005), 23–73. (46.) Hayami, Nihon bukkyōshi, 171–172. (47.) On Kakuban’s interpretations of Kūkai’s theory’s Hendrik van der Veere, A Study in­ to the Thought of Kōgyōdaishi Kakuban with a translation of his Gorin kuji myō himit­ sushaku (Leiden: Hotei Publishing, 2000), Yoshida Kōseki 吉田宏哲, “Kakuban 覚鑁, in Shin­ gonshū: Nihon no bukkyō: hito to oshie 真言宗:日本の仏教、人と教え, ed. Matsunaga Yukei 松長有慶 (Tokyo: Shogakkan, 1985), 161–206, and James H. Sanford, “The Breath of Life: The Esoteric Nembutsu Vision: Kakuban,” in Tantric Buddhism in East Asia, ed. Richard K. Payne (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2006), 161–189. (48.) Yoritomi 頼富本宏, “Nihon mikkyō no seiritsu to tenkai” 日本密教の成立と展開, 61–63. (49.) Hayami, Nihon bukkyōshi, 172. Page 28 of 29 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION (oxfordre.com/religion). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 26 December 2019 Tantric Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai, and the Esotericization of Japanese Buddhisms (50.) See William H. McCullough, “The Heian Court, 794–1070,” in The Cambridge Histo­ ry of Japan, vol. 2, ed. Donald H. Shively and William H. McCullough (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 20–96. (51.) Allan Grapard, “Precepts for an Emperor,” in Tantra in Practice, ed. David Gordon White (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000), 147–148. (52.) Fabio Rambelli, “True Words, Silence, and the Adamantine Dance: On Japanese Mikkyō and the Formation of the Shingon Discourse,” Japanese Journal of Religious Stud­ ies 21, no. 4 (1994), 384. (53.) Carl Bielefeldt, “Japan,” in Encyclopedia of Buddhism, vol. 1, ed. Robert E. Buswell Jr. (New York: Macmillan Reference, 2004), 390. (54.) Bielefeldt, “Japan,” 389. (55.) Dolce, “Taimitsu,” 744–767. (56.) Neil McMullin, “The Sanmon–Jimon Schism in the Tendai School of Buddhism,”: 83– 105. (57.) Paul Groner, “Annen, Tankei, Henjō,” 129–159.; and Groner, Ryōgen. (58.) Ōkubo Ryōshun 大久保 良峻, Taimitsu kyōgaku no kenkyū 台密教学の研究 (Tokyo: Hōzōkan, 2004); and Ōkubo Ryōshun 大久保 良峻, Saichō no shisō to tendai mikkyō 最澄の思 想と天台 (Kyoto: Hōzōkan, 2015). (59.) Abé, The Weaving of Mantra. (60.) Gardiner, “Kūkai and the Beginning of Shingon Buddhism in Japan.” (61.) van der Veere, A Study into the Thought of Kōgyōdaishi Kakuban. (62.) Matsunaga Yūkei 松長有慶, Mikkyō no rekishi 密教の歴史 (Kyoto: Heirakuji Shoten, 1969); and Yoritomi 頼富本宏, “Nihon mikkyō no seiritsu to tenkai.” (63.) Dolce, “Taimitsu.” David L. Gardiner Colorado College Page 29 of 29 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION (oxfordre.com/religion). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 26 December 2019