Japan Chronicles: Esoteric Buddhism
Sacred Space 69’s story of Esoteric Buddhism traces back to Angela’s fondness and love of Japan. Angela, co-founder of Sacred Space 69 and my best friend, has always raved about the beauty and magic of Japan when we were teenagers. In fact, one of her favorite countries to travel to is Japan. I finally understood what she meant when I was blessed with living in Japan at Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture for four months. My article found, https://sacredspace69.com/blogs/ss69blog/finding-your-sacred-space, details this newfound love for Japan.
Prior to leaving for Japan, Angela sent me a photo of The Esoteric Buddhism of Japan Oracle Cards, with a text saying, ‘I want this for Sacred Space.’ I would again go back to this when I received my mailed copy of the Llewelyn catalog from her. This was around December 2021, before my trip to Koyasan, home of the Shingon sect of Esoteric Buddhism.
Angela is gifted with great intuition, so much so, she seems to just always know. Stuff she says in jest are mostly the ones I’ve learned to become true. I was not surprised to hear the words ‘Esoteric Buddhism’ and ‘transcend’ uttered as I sat by my lonesome before the monk two days before the New Year at the Rengejo-in temple. It's always been my wish to stay at a Buddhist temple lodging in Japan and stayed during the turn of the year.
The monk pictured in the middle above initially spoke to me in Japanese and when I, in my broken Japanese, informed him I couldn’t understand him, he asked with a big smile, ‘ where are you from?’ After telling him of my roots in the Philippines and having family up in New York City and New Jersey, and that I was in Japan for work, he gave me the history of Esoteric Buddhism in Japan.
Esoteric Buddhism was brought to Japan by Kobo Dashi, fondly called by followers as Kukai, who hailed from Shikoku Island. He studied in Nara which is where he got to know Buddhism. During his studies, he traveled to China to study Mahavairocana Tantra, and was instructed by Chinese master Hui-Guo. He would return to Japan and establish temples and followers in Koyasan. He is currently buried in Okuno-in and to this day monks bless food and bring daily offerings to him. It is my wish to follow Kukai’s footsteps when he walked throughout Shikoku Island and headed up Mt. Koya to eventually eternally rest.
Above are some of the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Wisdom Kings of Esoteric Buddhism. These are the deities found before the path to Kukai’s place of rest.
Beyond these lanterns is holy ground and taking pictures is prohibited. Some of these deities are depicted on these oracle cards of The Esoteric Buddhism Japan of Oracle Cards. SS69 hopes you like this deck as much as we do. It has become my favorite deck to this date.
As we all welcome another hour of daylight in our days and Spring is showing signs of her arrival, welcome your own healing. Leave the past behind and spring forward to your growth. Journey on Sacred Squad! Journey on.
In Light and In Love,