What is Shingon Buddhism? | Foundation for Shingon Buddhism

What is Shingon Buddhism?

Shingon Buddhism is a school of Esoteric Buddhism that explains the central essence of the Buddhist teaching according tothe Buddhist Monk Kobo Daishi, who established the teachings and founded this denomination.   Esoteric Buddhism was transmitted from China to Japan by Kobo Daishi in the early Heian (794-1185) period of Japanese history.

The central Esoteric Buddhist deity is Dainichi Nyorai, (Maha-vairocana Buddha), who embodies the essence of the universe and the absolute truth.

The mantra (sacred phrase) of Dainichi Nyorai is recited as follows:

     Japanese: “On a-bi-ra-un-ken ba-za-ra-dato-ban.”

     Sanskrit: (Om a-vi-ra-hum-kham, vajradhatu vam).

According to the Esoteric Buddhist view of the world, everything in the Universe is a manifestation of the universal Life Force of Dainichi Nyorai, who embodies the essence of the Universe and the absolute truth.  All things from the spiritual world of enlightenment to the world of material things share in this Life Force in an endless interrelationship that freely merge individual existences together.

The true characteristics of this Life Force and the wisdom world of Dainichi Nyorai are expressed through pictures known as Mandalas.

The Shingon Buddhist Teaching is a pathway to realize the wisdom of Dainichi Nyorai, and is expressed in the following statements:

By aspiring to become enlightened and by having a firm faith in the vows of the Buddhas, we know that in and of themselves the essential nature of all things is pure at heart.

When in words, deeds, and in all of our thoughts we hold firmly to a heart that loves all things in the world, and to minds that seek the truth, we shall realize the truth and gain the wisdom practiced by the buddhas.


- Kobo Daishi, Kukai: 弘法大師, 空海

- Shingon Meditation