Some questions about Shingon

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nomono
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Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:00 pm

Some questions about Shingon

Post by nomono »

  • Is there some similarities with the Huayan school? How is the cosmology in Shingon described?
  • Are there treatises, commentaries, works etc. like in the Tibetan tradition (like Jewel Ornament of Liberation) that talk about the Nature of Mind, the bardos, Buddhanature etc.? In the tibetan schools there are a lot of books that directly talk about the Nature of Mind, what Enlightenment and Trikaya is (eg. Uttaratantra commentaries).They are very concise, detailed and direct. Are there similar works that talk about the alayavijnana, Jnana, Buddhanature etc? I would like to know the soteriological goal of Shingon. Mahayana schools like Zen for example are in my experience are not very into describing things like the tibetans do, therefore it can be difficult to understand what they think about the Nature of Mind etc..
  • Any books from contemporary Shingon masters/teachers/monastics in English?
  • Is there rainbow body in Shingon?
  • Is Fudo Myoo a full Buddha?
  • Is there Pureland practice in Shingon and Phowa?
  • Which are the highest Tantras of Shingon? What would be the equivalent to Dzogchen, Mahamudra or Kalachakra?
  • I dont know if you heard about the rangtong-shentong debate in the tibetan tradition, but if so, how would Shingon fit in this scheme? Would it be rather rangtong or shentong in view and approach?
  • Are there only non monastic clergy (priests) in Shingon or is there also a full vinaya system?
  • How is Buddhanature and the tathagatagarbha sutras described and defined? Are they definitive or provisional?
  • Are prayers and mantras or the liturgy in general always in Japanese or is sanskrit encouraged and practiced?
  • How does Mahavairocana fit in the scheme? Is he seen as both a Buddha, as well as a metaphor for our own primordial buddhahood?
  • Are there plans to get transmission of other tantras and practices from the Tibetans?
  • Is there something like dream yoga practice?
  • Are there also things like chakras, drops etc. in the Shingon which correspond to areas of the body?
  • Are there writings about the rebirth process thats clear as the tibetan books of the dead?
  • I see a lot of new age thingy like Shingon reiki healing, is that legitimate?
Thank you very much in advance.
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jake
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Re: Some questions about Shingon

Post by jake »

Way too many questions for me to answer. You ask about books. It was recommended to me and now I recommend the same to others: Read the first 100 pages of Hakeda's Kukai: Major Works and then read Takagi and Dreitlein's Kukai on the Philosophy of Language (if you live in Europe, send me a PM I have a few copies here and can beat the price online).

Also, Reiki has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Shingon. The Shingon Reiki stuff is not related to Shingon Buddhism. I think someone just liked the name. There are a few other groups these days that claim to be "modern versions" of Shingon. They're not.
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FiveSkandhas
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Re: Some questions about Shingon

Post by FiveSkandhas »

Again, too many to answer but here is an interesting article on one strain (there were more than one) of Shingon Pure Land thought, as conceived by a medieval master named Kakuban (pdf file):

https://nirc.nanzan-u.ac.jp/nfile/2291

This book by a Japanese Shingon priest is also highly recommend as a basic overview. It's also quite a bit more expensive than it was when I came across it in the early 1990s.:



As for the Huayan School, Shingon founder Kukai ranked the Huayan Scripture second-highest to his own esoteric scriptures, so he had respect for it. I don't know that one can speak of comparative cosmology between the two systems; Shingon thinks of reality in its own way and I can't do justice to the Shingon worldview in this kind of limited format.

" I would like to know the soteriological goal of Shingon.": Shingon speaks of Sokushin Jobutsu, or "Buddahood in this very body." Through manipulation of body, speech, and mind (using mantras, mudras, visualizations, ritual implements, altar spaces, and mandalas), one can become one with a Buddha or Bodhisattva through ritual technique. Shingon also has rituals for more worldly goals. There are a large number of rituals, mandalas, and esoteric texts.
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FiveSkandhas
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Re: Some questions about Shingon

Post by FiveSkandhas »

"Are prayers and mantras or the liturgy in general always in Japanese or is sanskrit encouraged and practiced?"

A form of Sanskrit known as Siddham (or bonji 梵字 in Japanese) was used. See for example:

http://www.visiblemantra.org/siddham.html
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