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Salvation And Enlightenment

Shingon Buddhism, which was founded by Kobo Daishi, grants salvation and enlightenment to human beings who would otherwise be caught in the cycle of birth and death. Once a person is able to enter the gate of this religion, he or she will be able to receive that salvation and guidance of many buddhas and bodhisattvas. It is a religion in which that person will be fortunate enough to be able to recite the mantras that are the Buddha?s own words.

No matter which part of the Shingon teaching you take and look at, it places us in the arena of the Buddha?s profound enlightenment, which is also an awakening to human life. Kobo Daishi introduced Shingon Buddhism and emphatically explained two points as its special characteristics:

    1. Attainment of enlightenment in this very body.
    2. The present moment that clearly teaches the content of enlightenment.

Throughout his writings he explained these two aspects for example, the Teaching of the Three Phrases from the Mahavairocana Sutra that we mentioned earlier; or the process of moving toward enlightenment that is explained in the "Commentary to the Mahavairocana Sutra? as the Five Transitions consisting of:

    1. The aspiration for the realization of enlightenment
    2. Practice
    3. Enlightenment
    4. Nirvana
    5. Skillful means;

or the Meditation for Attaining the Buddha?s Body in Five Aspects from the Kongocho-kyo all clarify the line of thinking for becoming a buddha as well as the content for living as a buddha. In Kobo Daishi?s many writings such as "The Meaning of Becoming a Buddha in This Body," "The Ten Stages in the Development of the Mind," and "The Meaning of the Secret Sammaya Precepts of the Buddha," the enlightenment and salvation of the Buddha are similarly explained.

Along with the vows and practices of all the buddhas and bodhisattvas, Kobo Daishi and his vow reveals to us the depths of enlightenment and the actual evidence for becoming a buddha on the path to buddhahood which he himself walked. It is a blessing of Shingon Buddhism to make it possible to come into direct contact with the practices leading to salvation. It is precisely the salvation and enlightenment of Kobo Daishi and the many buddhas of the Mandalas that are turned in our direction as they extend the hand of salvation down to us.

©1998,1999 Shingon Buddhist International Institute