Shinto and esoteric Buddhism

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Attention: This page reflects the state of 2006. It is meant for documentary purposes and will not be updated any longer.

Since Kuroda Toshio coined the term kenmitsu taisei, referring to a system of exo- and esoteric teachings that formed the dominating discourse of the Japanese medieval period, the "esoteric" part of this system, i.e. Japanese Esoteric Buddhism (aka. Tantric Buddhism or Vajrayana) has received growing attention among the scholarly community. "Esoteric Buddhism" is a common translation of the Japanese term mikkyō (Chin. mijiao), which literally means nothing other than "secret teachings." In this project the question was raised what the secret of these "secret teachings" actually consisted of and how it worked as a technique of cultural communication not only within Buddhism but also within kami worship and several non-religious spheres. To discuss such questions, an international symposium was organized in 2004; its proceedings were published in the anthology The Culture of Secrecy in Japanese Religion.

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