Kobo Daishi, Wood Statue
Founder of Japan's Shingon Sect
PRICE = $210
+ $20 Shipping x 5% Tax = GRAND TOTAL $241.50
Jp. = KūkaiJp. = Kōbō Daishi
- Cypress (Jp. = Hinoki)
- Centimeters = H 16 cm W 11 cm Front-to-Back 8 cm
- Kūkai 空海 (774-835) was the founder of Japan's Shingon 真言 sect (lit. = True Word School) of Esoteric Buddhism.
- Kōbō Daishi 弘法大師 (the Great Teacher) is Kūkai's posthumous name. This Heian-era monk remains one of Japan's most beloved Buddhist saviors -- folklore says he attained Buddhahood before death. Portraits of him abound. The Japanese today tend to ignore doctrinal differences when honoring him. Kūkai traveled to China in 804, and was initiated in esoteric teachings by the Chinese priest Huiguo. Kūkai returned in 806, and by 816 obtained imperial sanction to construct his monastery on Mt. Kōya (Koya or Koyasan), a serene location on the Kii peninsula still considered a holy land and one of modern Japan's most popular pilgrimage sites.
- Kūkai (aka Kōbō Daishi) played an active role in many fields, performing rituals for the emperor, constructing a large reservoir in Shikoku for the common people, and establishing the first school for common citizens. His legend is riddled with folklore. He is credited with everything from inventing Japan's kana script to introducing homosexuality. He is one of Japan's most celebrated calligraphers, and supposedly published Japan's first dictionary. He became a major patron of the arts, and reportedly founded hundreds of temples across Japan. The Shikoku Pilgrimage to 88 Sites is a popular pilgrimage attributed to Kukai, and many pilgrims who walk this route today carry a staff bearing the words "we two walk together."
Statue of seated Kōbō Daishi holding a vajra in right hand and a prayer ring in the left. The vajra is a fundamental icon of Shingon Buddhism -- Japan's version of Vajrayana (Tantric) Buddhism. The vajra is a symbolic weapon that represents a thunderbolt (irresistible force) and indestructibility (it can cut any substance but not be cut itself, like a diamond). It thus represents spiritual power. Vajra in Sanskrit means diamond (lit. adamantine, unsplittable), while yana means vehicle. Vajrayana is thus translated as "The Diamond Vehicle." This splendid carving is a reproduction of the most common and traditional artistic depiction of Kōbō Daishi in Japan. For more on Kōbō Daishi, please see: