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Kukai: founder of the “mantra” school of Buddhism

Expressions of innate wisdom

Kūkai
Kūkai
  • Kukai
  • From the deep, dim, most distant past,
  • A thousand thousand tomes we hold
  • Of sacred texts and learned lore
  • Profound, abstruse, obscure and dark,
  • Teachings diverse and manifold —
  • Who can encompass such a store?
  • Yet, had no one ever written such,
  • And if no one read what they have told,
  • What should we know, what should we know?
  • However hard they strove in thought,
  • The saint today, the sage of old
  • Would still be lost, have naught to show
  • The ancient god with herb and balm
  • Took pity on the stricken host
  • Of suffering, sore humanity
  • And he who made the compass-chart
  • Showed them the way whose way was lost,
  • A guide in their perplexity
  • Yet senseless dawdlers in this world,
  • The three-fold realm of fantasy,
  • Mad, their madness do not perceive,
  • And all the four-fold living things
  • Are blinded so they cannot see
  • How blind they are, the self-deceived
  • Born, reborn, reborn and reborn
  • Whence they have come they do not know.
  • Dying, dying, ever dying
  • They see not where it is they go.
  • - from The Ten Stages of Religious Consciousness by Kukai

Kūkai (774-835) was a Japanese monk, scholar and poet who founded the “mantra” school of Buddhism, also known as Esoteric Shingon Buddhism. He is often attributed as the inventor of the syllabic system with which the Japanese language is written. According to Shingon Buddhism, enlightenment is achievable not only by the select few after ages of study, but by all who cultivate their spiritual potential – known as the Buddha-nature. This nature emerges in expressions of innate wisdom and is often attainable with the help of a teacher and through proper discipline of mind and body.

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Kūkai
Kūkai
  • Kukai
  • From the deep, dim, most distant past,
  • A thousand thousand tomes we hold
  • Of sacred texts and learned lore
  • Profound, abstruse, obscure and dark,
  • Teachings diverse and manifold —
  • Who can encompass such a store?
  • Yet, had no one ever written such,
  • And if no one read what they have told,
  • What should we know, what should we know?
  • However hard they strove in thought,
  • The saint today, the sage of old
  • Would still be lost, have naught to show
  • The ancient god with herb and balm
  • Took pity on the stricken host
  • Of suffering, sore humanity
  • And he who made the compass-chart
  • Showed them the way whose way was lost,
  • A guide in their perplexity
  • Yet senseless dawdlers in this world,
  • The three-fold realm of fantasy,
  • Mad, their madness do not perceive,
  • And all the four-fold living things
  • Are blinded so they cannot see
  • How blind they are, the self-deceived
  • Born, reborn, reborn and reborn
  • Whence they have come they do not know.
  • Dying, dying, ever dying
  • They see not where it is they go.
  • - from The Ten Stages of Religious Consciousness by Kukai

Kūkai (774-835) was a Japanese monk, scholar and poet who founded the “mantra” school of Buddhism, also known as Esoteric Shingon Buddhism. He is often attributed as the inventor of the syllabic system with which the Japanese language is written. According to Shingon Buddhism, enlightenment is achievable not only by the select few after ages of study, but by all who cultivate their spiritual potential – known as the Buddha-nature. This nature emerges in expressions of innate wisdom and is often attainable with the help of a teacher and through proper discipline of mind and body.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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