Kukai is the founder of Shingon Buddhism, a type of esoteric Buddhism.
Tendai Buddhism: every single Buddhism sect after Shingon was trained at Mount Hiei
• Marks the transition between the Nara and Heian period.
• Founded by Saicho; Buddhist priests were trained to work for the government
Saicho was shut down by the establishment (Nara) to create his own place at Mount Hiei; Kukai
worked with the Shintoism establishment to create his Shingon Buddhism.
Tenno (emperor) comes from the Chinese concept of ruler; Japan was still very much influenced
by China in the philosophical and spiritual way.
• Confucian court system and law was imported from China; Confucian bureaucrats were
above the Buddhist priests, and everybody was trained in Confucian concepts.
• Cakravartin (the wheel turning king) is a Buddhist king that Kukai introduced. Kukai
introduced this concept through working with Shintoism, instead of fighting it.
• Kukai did not overturn Shintoism, and he comes with new “technology” from esoteric
Buddhism; while Saicho wanted to establish his own form of Buddhism and was shut
Kukai, with his esoteric Buddhism technology, brought the concept of rituals, along with the texts
to reach enlightenment.
• With an esoteric point of view, Japan is viewed as a mandala. (everything is a
manifestation of enlightenment; and people do not see it)
• The Heart Sutra is to protect a person from ghosts; Hoichi cov