Are esoteric East Asian sects Tantric?

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Are esoteric East Asian sects Tantric?

Post by Rakshasa » Thu May 02, 2013 6:53 pm

Tendai, Shingon, Kegon etc are Japanese schools based on the Chinese sects of Mahayana Buddhism. But most of these sects involve central rituals, esoteric practices, mantras and probably Yoga like practices (Mudras?). So technically these also come under "Tantra"? If not, what is the difference between Tantra and these practices? Or are these standard Mahayana Buddhism (unlike the wrong conclusion that Mahayana only constitutes meditational, devotional and scholarly practices?)?

It appears that most of Tibetan Buddhism was "Created" under the rule of the Palas in India and that this variety of Siddha tradition is a direct evolution of the Tantric like practices that had already started emerging in standard Mahayana Buddhism of the earlier era when these were exported as far as Japan.

Could Shingon be characterized under "Vajrayana"?

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Re: Are esoteric East Asian sects Tantric?

Post by DGA » Thu May 02, 2013 7:01 pm

short answer:

yes, mikkyo (esoteric practice) is Vajrayana. It differs in certain respects from the Tibetan version; the transmission preserved in Japanese schools departed India a bit earlier than the transmissions preserved in India, there are Chinese and Japanese cultural influences in place rather than Tibetan ones, and so on.

here is an introduction to an important aspect of Shingon practice, to give some idea what I mean: ... zokai.html

I don't know about Kegon.

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