Relationship between Zen and Shingon

Relationship between Zen and Shingon

Postby Vidyaraja » Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:45 am

Is there any relationship between Zen and Shingon besides them both being schools of Buddhism and both being Japanese forms of Buddhism? What I mean is was there any cross fertilization between these two traditions in Japan and did they influence each other in any way? Also what was the historical relationship between these schools--cooperation and mutual respect, rivalry or enmity, or merely indifference?

I ask because I once had someone tell me that Shingon was basically Japanese Esoteric/Tantric Buddhism with Zen influences....but I am not sure if that is accurate or not. Thanks in advance.
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Re: Relationship between Zen and Shingon

Postby Indrajala » Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:35 am

Vidyaraja wrote:Is there any relationship between Zen and Shingon besides them both being schools of Buddhism and both being Japanese forms of Buddhism? What I mean is was there any cross fertilization between these two traditions in Japan and did they influence each other in any way? Also what was the historical relationship between these schools--cooperation and mutual respect, rivalry or enmity, or merely indifference?

I ask because I once had someone tell me that Shingon was basically Japanese Esoteric/Tantric Buddhism with Zen influences....but I am not sure if that is accurate or not. Thanks in advance.



In Japan Shingon predates Zen. The Chinese forms of Shingon (Zhenyan) and Chan actually developed in China around the same time, but the former was especially appealing to the Japanese for various reasons.

Actually, Dogen himself was originally a Tendai monk, but went to China and studied Chan there before returning.

Japanese Tendai itself has both exoteric and esoteric components, the latter having some practices not found specifically in Shingon as a result of figures like Ennin obtaining empowerments that Kukai did not (like the Susiddhi Tantra).
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