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PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:57 am 
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So I was browsing through the Vairocanasambodhi Sutra (Mahavairocana Sutra) which is one of the main texts of esoteric Buddhist sects like Shingon and came upon chapter 14 "Eight Secret Seals". And to my surprise it explains eight Mudras of Buddhist practice which appear to be quite the same as the Kuji-In Mudras used by the ancient Ninjas for enhancing their martial and psychic power.

You can read the Sutra here
https://www.bdkamerica.org/digital/dBET ... a_2005.pdf

I have read a lot of articles about Ninja and usually the opinion of scholars, academicians and Ninja practitioners is that these Mudra practice originated from Taoist or Shinto or Shamanic elements from either Japan or China, but it seems to be directly taken from Buddhist sutra. Could it be that the Ninjas were influenced by Shingon Buddhists? I think it is very plausible that Ninjas took advice from Shingon monks in the military arts.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:03 pm 
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Quote:
Thereupon the World-honored One Vairocana again gazed upon the entire
great assembly and addressed the vajradhara Lord of Mysteries, saying, “Son
of the Buddha, there are eight secret seals which are most secret. [When used
in] the stations of the holy divinities [in the maṇḍala], their awesome divinity
is the same [as that of the deities]; they are characterized by their own
mantra path (i.e., mantras) and have [their own] maṇḍalas, and one should
intercorrespond with them as with one’s own deity. If they rely on [this] ritual
teaching, bodhisattvas cultivating bodhisattva practices via the gateway
of mantras should know that they themselves will dwell in the form of their
own deity, firm and unmoving, and after having known [the state of] their
own deity, they will abide in the manner of their own deity and obtain siddhi.
“What are the eight seals? With the right and left hands form the hollow
hand-clasp and spread the little fingers and forefingers apart as if to radiate
blazing light. This is the seal ‘birth of the World-honored One’s great
majesty.’ Its maṇḍala is triangular and has rays of light. The mantra is: Namaḥ
samantabuddhānāṃ, raṃ raḥ svāhā. (Homage to all Buddhas! Raṃ raḥ!
svāhā!) [248]
“Then with this [same] seal, bend the forefingers [down] on top of the
thumbs like the shape of the [Sanskrit] letter Va. This is the seal ‘adamantine
indestructibility of the World-honored One.’ Its maṇḍala is like the letter
Va in appearance (i.e., round) and has adamantine light. The mantra is:
Namaḥ samanta buddhā nāṃ, vaṃ vaḥ svāhā. (Homage to all Buddhas! Vaṃ
vaḥ! svāhā!) [249]
“Then, with the first seal, spread the ring fingers and middle fingers
apart. This is called ‘lotus-flower matrix seal.’ Its maṇḍala is like a lunar
disc in appearance and is surrounded by padma flowers. The mantra is:
Namaḥ samantabuddhānāṃ, saṃ saḥ svāhā. (Homage to all Buddhas



This is the excerpt from the chapter. Do Shingon monks still practice the Eight secret seals apart from the Ninjas?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 7:08 pm 
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I'm not sure if the Kuji-In is used in Shingon but we were recently watching a Shugendo documentary (Shugendo Now) and saw this being used.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:16 pm 
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Doko wrote:
I'm not sure if the Kuji-In is used in Shingon but we were recently watching a Shugendo documentary (Shugendo Now) and saw this being used.


I think Mahavairocana Sutra is the central text of the Shingon sect, right? I have the whole pdf which I downloaded from the internet (it is freely available). I was randomly browsing through the text and stumbled upon the eight secret seals. Since I am martial arts enthusiast and know that there exists a practice in the Ninjutsu style in which Ninjas make hand seals (mudras) to attain certain abilities, I was curious to see if Kuji In of Ninjas is the same as it is described in Mahavairocana Sutra. And it seems it is indeed the same. This is interesting because it basically means that the Ninjas as a warrior sect arose from the influence of Shingon Buddhism (the Shingon priests probably tried helping farmers and peasants to fight oppression?). Similar was the situation in China where Shaolin monks started developing Kung Fu, although I dont know how much Buddhism was used in its creation.

EDIT Okay I just came to know that Shugendo is another esoteric sect from Japan so the Ninjas must have been influenced by it instead of Shingon. In any case, it is pretty clear that the origin of these Seals is from Mahavairocana Sutra. I wonder why so many historians and scholars about Ninjas still claim that the practice originated among the Taoists or Shintoists. I've seen many practitioners of Ninjutsu claim the same, which is surprising since the proof is in the pudding.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:06 am 
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There are several schools in Japan that could be considered ninjutsu. The different schools have their own unique history. Kukisinden ryu may be of interest to you. Togakure Ryu has a connection to Tendai-shu. They say that the founder of Togakure Ryu was trained by So-O who is also credited with starting the Kaihogyo.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:39 pm 
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Rakshasa wrote:
Doko wrote:
I'm not sure if the Kuji-In is used in Shingon ....


I think Mahavairocana Sutra is the central text of the Shingon sect, right? ... that the Ninjas as a warrior sect arose from the influence of Shingon Buddhism ...

... that Shugendo is another esoteric sect from Japan so the Ninjas must have been influenced by it instead of Shingon.....

Yes, the Mahavairocana Sutra is one of the most important text in Shingon. AFAIK, there is no relationship between Ninjutsu and Shingon, they have nothing in common really, it's all made-up.

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今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai 弘法大師 in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
new translation: Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:03 pm 
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Rakshasa wrote:
In any case, it is pretty clear that the origin of these Seals is from Mahavairocana Sutra.


The "eight secret seals" from the MV are a basic part of the curriculum of Shingon Buddhism. They are completely unalike in appearance from the Shugendo practice you mention, and of course the MV mudras are for the eight deities in the center of the mandala, and are accompanied with Sanskrit mantras where the Shugendo practice uses only single Chinese characters. The two sets of seals are completely unrelated.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 2:20 am 
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I asked a similar question a long time ago and Ven. Eijo patiently answered me, as well.

Perhaps somebody should create a Shingon FAQ which could be stickied in the subforum and it could contain answers to commonly asked questions about Shingon, such as this one about Shingon and ninjas ("Dear reader, we Shingon Buddhists are not ninjas!" lol :D ).


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:13 am 
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You Chen yen vagabonds might be interested in this . . .

Nine Cutting Fingers of Ninjutsu ... Originally, these were Aryan Hindu ksatrian warrior methods ...

:namaste:

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:35 pm 
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:alien: :shrug:

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今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai 弘法大師 in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
new translation: Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
_______
Our life is very simple, very direct, very beautiful, very vast and very terrifying, but it is not at all convenient.
- Anzan Hoshin Roshi


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:47 am 
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One thing seldom mentioned about the Kuji-in is its relation to Qi Men Dun Jia (奇門遁甲), an ancient Chinese divination system which involves not only time but also one's surrounding space. It is a highly complex metaphysical art that was supposedly taught to the Yellow Emperor Huang Di by the Goddess Jiu Tian Xuan Nu (九天玄女) to defeat his nemesis Chi You (蚩尤). Supposedly, Zhuge Liang used it at the famous Battle of Red Cliff. Although its first usage was in war, its principles can be applied to almost any situation. Nowadays, it is mainly used in business. Qi Men Dun Jia divides one's surrounding space and into nine sectors. A skilled practitioner can supposedly divinate, for any chosen point in time, the most advantageous position, direction and escape route for a specific location. It definitely seems like a technique Ninjas would be interested in.

The Kuji-in was first introduced to Japan by either the Omyoji (陰陽師 Japanese Taoist priests) or Jodo-shu monks during the Tang Dynasty. It got mixed into esoteric Buddhism when Shugendo practitioners incorporated it as a protective ritual. Ninjutsu is heavily influenced by Shugendo so it's no surprise that Ninjas have embraced it.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:14 pm 
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lobster wrote:
Originally, these were Aryan Hindu ksatrian warrior methods ...


No, they're not Indian. They may have some Chinese non-Buddhist connection as the previous poster mentioned, but were mostly developed in Japan. They then became a part of Shugendo and also have a connection with many medieval martial arts.

They are not Shingon practices. Can we get beyond that for once?


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:07 pm 
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The Shugendo page on wikipedia contains this sentence:
"In modern times, shugendō is practiced mainly by Tendai and Shingon sects, retaining an influence on modern Japanese religion and culture."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shugendo

I don't believe this is correct. Perhaps a knowledgeable person should edit that page so that fewer people get the erroneous "Shingon = Shugendo = ninja" idea in their heads! hehe

Tendai doesn't have anything to do with Shugendo and the ninjas either, right?


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 10:53 pm 
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I believe there are indeed Tendai Shugendo sects. Shugendo was forced to belong to either Shingon or Tendai temples. However, I haven't got great knowledge of such matters.

EDIT- But I would add, becoming a Tendai or Shingon priest doesn't mean you will learn Shugendo.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 12:25 am 
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Seishin wrote:
I believe there are indeed Tendai Shugendo sects. Shugendo was forced to belong to either Shingon or Tendai temples. However, I haven't got great knowledge of such matters.

EDIT- But I would add, becoming a Tendai or Shingon priest doesn't mean you will learn Shugendo.


There are Shugendo temples that have an affiliation with Tendai hierarchy, or that identify in one way or another with Tendai-shu. There are Tendai temples and practices that have a Shugendo flavor to them, some stronger than others.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:53 pm 
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Jikan wrote:
There are Shugendo temples that have an affiliation with Tendai hierarchy, or that identify in one way or another with Tendai-shu. There are Tendai temples and practices that have a Shugendo flavor to them, some stronger than others.

Interesting!

Seishin wrote:
I believe there are indeed Tendai Shugendo sects. Shugendo was forced to belong to either Shingon or Tendai temples. However, I haven't got great knowledge of such matters.

EDIT- But I would add, becoming a Tendai or Shingon priest doesn't mean you will learn Shugendo.

Ven. Eijo always spoke as if Shingon has no connections with Shugendo whatsoever, so I find it interesting to learn that there actually are some.
Perhaps Ven. Eijo can clarify the relationship between Shingon and Shugendo the next time he comes around here.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:03 pm 
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Luke wrote:
Jikan wrote:
There are Shugendo temples that have an affiliation with Tendai hierarchy, or that identify in one way or another with Tendai-shu. There are Tendai temples and practices that have a Shugendo flavor to them, some stronger than others.

Interesting!

Seishin wrote:
I believe there are indeed Tendai Shugendo sects. Shugendo was forced to belong to either Shingon or Tendai temples. However, I haven't got great knowledge of such matters.

EDIT- But I would add, becoming a Tendai or Shingon priest doesn't mean you will learn Shugendo.

Ven. Eijo always spoke as if Shingon has no connections with Shugendo whatsoever, so I find it interesting to learn that there actually are some.
Perhaps Ven. Eijo can clarify the relationship between Shingon and Shugendo the next time he comes around here.


You can take Ven. Eijo's word for it. He is a very good authority on all things Shingon. I have no idea why you assume there is any relationship between Shingon and Shugendo from my post quoted above or Seishin's.

If you're interested in the relation between Tendai & Shugendo, that's best discussed in the Tendai subforum.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:46 pm 
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Jikan wrote:
You can take Ven. Eijo's word for it. He is a very good authority on all things Shingon. I have no idea why you assume there is any relationship between Shingon and Shugendo from my post quoted above or Seishin's.


I only thought that because of this sentence which Seishin wrote:
Seishin wrote:
Shugendo was forced to belong to either Shingon or Tendai temples. However, I haven't got great knowledge of such matters.


I don't doubt that Shingon and Shugendo are completely or almost completely different in terms of their practices and philosophies. But if the Shugendo practitioners were forced to belong to Shingon temples, then this implies that they had some contact with Shingon Buddhists, and it is possible that they influenced one another in some ways.

I am just curious how much they influenced one another. Basically, I am interested in knowing what the relationship in Japan is between Shingon practitioners and Shugendo practitioners. Are they friendly to each other? Indifferent? Hostile? Do they ever do any practices together or do they always do their religious practices separately?

For example, in China, many people practice both Buddhism and Taoism. I just wondered if some people in Japan practice both Shingon and Shugendo.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 4:17 pm 
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Like I said, my knowledge is limited, especially in comparison to Ven. Eijo.

Here are some sources, however I don't know how accurate they are;
Quote:
Over time, a complex (albeit loose) web of affiliations developed among Shugendō, Tendai, and Shingon sites. These affiliations were codified by the government in the early Meiji period, with Tendai-affililiated Shugendō designated the Honzan-ha 本山派 branch and Shingon-affililiated Shugendō designated the Tōzan-ha 当山派 branch. However, says scholar Gaynor Sekimori: "Tendai-affiliated Shugendō certainly dates from medieval times, but the emergence of a conscious Tozan-ha and its identification with Shingon can really only be dated from the Edo period onward. Even scholars of Japanese religion from peripheral fields are caught out on this and make erroneous assumptions."

Seikiguchi Makiko, a scholar of the Tōzan-ha, emphasizes this point as well, claiming that the sectarian distinction between Tendai Shugendō and Shingon Shugendō that emerged in the Edo period failed to accurately reflect the situation in medieval times. That is still the case today. It is misleading, she says, to discuss the pre-Edo Tōzan-ha simply in terms of Shingon doctrine.
http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/shugendou.html

http://nirc.nanzan-u.ac.jp/nfile/2402

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 5:57 pm 
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... it seems this is an never ending issue!

AFAIK, Shugendo borrowed practices from Shingon and Tendai and I would even go so far to say that Shugendo is not Buddhism, but a highly syncretic tradition. Although Kukai and Saicho did practice in the seclusion of the mountains they had nothing to do with Shugendo. Even though I am not entirely sure if even, what today is called and known as Shugendo, did exist those days, I doubt it.

Nowadays there might be people who practice Shingon/Tendai and Shugendo, but I guess it is good not to confuse the two and be aware of the syncretic nature of such an approach!So, Shingon/Tendai is not Shugendo and Shugendo is not Shingon/Tendai.

As far as Rev. Eijo is concerned, yes, he is the authority to answer such questions correctly, and he as done that often enough in the past.

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今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai 弘法大師 in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
new translation: Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
_______
Our life is very simple, very direct, very beautiful, very vast and very terrifying, but it is not at all convenient.
- Anzan Hoshin Roshi


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