Rosenfield-Prologue - PROLOGUE THE SHADOW OF SHTOKU TAISHI JOHN M ROSENFIELD An institution as Emerson famously remarked is the lengthened shadow of a

Rosenfield-Prologue - PROLOGUE THE SHADOW OF SHTOKU TAISHI...

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Unformatted text preview: PROLOGUE THE 

SHADOW 

OF 

SHŌTOKU 

TAISHI JOHN M. ROSENFIELD “An 

 institution,” 

 as 

 Emerson 

 famously 

 remarked, 

 “is 

 the 

 lengthened 

 shadow 

of 

a 

man.” 

If 

the 

Buddhist 

creed 

is 

the 

lengthened 

shadow 

of 

the 

 historical 

Buddha, 

then 

Hōryūji 

is 

the 

shadow 

of 

Shōtoku 

Taishi. 

 Hōryūji 

 is 

 a 

 middle-­sized 

 Buddhist 

 monastery 

 secluded 

 amid 

 the 

 rice 

 paddies, 

 farm 

 villages, 

 and 

 gently 

 rolling 

 foothills 

 of 

 the 

Yamato 

 region, 

 the 

 cultural 

 heartland 

 of 

 ancient 

 Japan. 

 It 

 was 

 founded 

 in 

 the 

 early 

 600s, 

 burned 

 about 

 670, 

 and 

 rebuilt 

 a 

 few 

 decades 

 later 

 (Plates 

 1–3). 

 Since 

 then 

 it 

has 

miraculously 

survived 

the 

civil 

wars, 

earthquakes, 

and 

typhoons 

that 

 have 

 diminished 

 the 

 larger 

 and 

 more 

 prominent 

 temples 

 in 

 nearby 

 Nara. 

 Indeed, 

not 

only 

is 

Hōryūji 

the 

oldest 

continuously 

active 

Buddhist 

sanctu-­ ary 

 in 

 Japan, 

 it 

 is 

 the 

 oldest 

 in 

 all 

 of 

Asia, 

 offering 

 vivid 

 insights 

 into 

 how 

 Mahāyāna 

Buddhism 

sparked 

the 

creation 

of 

Japanese artworks 

of 

transcen-­ dent 

beauty. For 

the 

past hundred 

years, 

Hōryūji 

has 

been 

the 

subject 

of 

more 

public 

 acclaim 

 and 

 scholarly 

 analysis 

 than 

 any 

 other 

 sanctuary 

 in 

 Buddhist 

Asia. 

 Few 

 monuments 

 in 

 Europe 

 or 

Asia 

 have 

 been 

 as 

 thoroughly 

 analyzed;; 

 yet 

 after 

 an 

 untold 

 number 

 of 

 books 

 and 

 research 

 papers, 

 scholars 

 have 

 suc-­ ceeded 

 in 

 piecing 

 together 

 only 

 a 

 plausible 

 summary 

 of 

 its 

 early 

 history. 

 When 

 they 

 attempt 

 to 

 write 

 more 

 detailed 

 accounts, 

 they 

 remain 

 bedev-­ iled 

 by 

 contradictions 

 and 

 complexities 

 in 

 the 

 evidence—cryptic 

 temple 

 records, 

fragmentary 

state 

chronicles, 

puzzling 

inscriptions, 

incomplete 

ex-­ cavations, 

and 

pious 

legends. 

Though 

many 

puzzles 

remain 

to 

be 

solved, 

as 

 the 

 essays 

 below 

 show, 

 the 

 artifacts 

 of 

 Hōryūji—the 

 temple 

 halls, 

 statues, 

 paintings, 

and 

ritual 

implements—clearly 

reflect 

the 

visions 

and 

lofty 

ideals 

 that 

Mahāyāna 

Buddhism 

imparted 

to 

its 

believers. 

 Early Years A 

prince 

named 

Umayado 

(ca. 

574–ca. 

622), 

more 

familiarly 

known 

as 

 Shōtoku 

Taishi, 

built 

Hōryūji 

next 

to 

his 

country 

palace. 

Born 

into 

the 

high-­ est 

stratum 

of 

Japanese 

royalty, 

he 

was 

the 

son 

of 

Emperor 

Yōmei 

(d. 

587) 

 and 

nephew 

of 

the 

empress 

Suiko, 

who 

in 

593 

appointed 

him 

regent 

and 

the 

 xii Prologue effective 

head 

of 

government. 

Shōtoku 

Taishi 

is 

said 

to 

have 

created 

Japan’s 

 first 

state 

constitution. 

He 

promoted 

Buddhism 

in 

the 

face 

of 

intense 

opposi-­ tion. 

He 

played 

a 

crucial 

role 

in 

the 

formation 

of 

the 

nation’s 

historical 

and 

 religious 

 identity, 

 and, 

 as 

 shown 

 in 

 David 

 Summer’s 

 Epilogue, 

 Hōryūji’s 

 buildings 

and 

icons 

became 

the 

most 

tangible 

relics 

of 

his 

existence. 

 Shōtoku’s 

palace 

was 

located 

in 

the 

Ikaruga 

district, 

its 

name 

taken 

from 

 that 

of 

a 

melodious 

songbird, 

a 

common 

variety 

of 

finch. 

(Documents 

of 

the 

 eighteenth 

century 

also 

used 

the 

term 

Wakakusa, 

“Tender 

Grass,” 

to 

desig-­ nate 

 the 

 area.) 

 There 

 he 

 and 

 his 

 mother 

 built 

 a 

 temple 

 to 

 fulfill 

 the 

 wishes 

 of 

 his 

 father, 

 who, 

 when 

 gravely 

 ill, 

 had 

 asked 

 that 

 a 

 sanctuary 

 be 

 erected 

 to 

 the 

 Healing 

 Buddha, 

Yakushi. 

Though 

Yōmei 

 died, 

 the 

 prince 

 and 

 his 

 mother 

 eventually 

 built 

 the 

 temple 

 and 

 commissioned 

 a 

 bronze 

 statue 

 of 

 Yakushi 

 whose 

 measurements 

 would 

 be 

 coordinated 

 with 

 those 

 of 

 the 

 late 

 monarch 

(thus 

directing 

the 

Buddha’s 

powers 

of 

salvation 

to 

the 

afterlife 

of 

 Yōmei;; 

Plate 

4). 

Such 

a 

narrowly 

personal 

motive 

for 

building 

a 

temple 

and 

 making 

a 

statue 

should 

not 

obscure 

its 

larger 

implication: 

the 

divine 

protec-­ tion 

of 

the 

ruler 

was, 

in 

effect, 

the 

divine 

protection 

of 

the 

realm. 

 Originally 

 called 

 Ikarugadera, 

 the 

 new 

 sanctuary 

 was 

 later 

 given 

 the 

 more 

formal 

Chinese-­style 

name 

Hōryūji 

(Temple 

of 

the 

Exalted, 

or 

Flour-­ ishing, 

Law). 

Initially 

it 

consisted 

of 

the 

seven 

structures 

that 

formed 

the 

 symbolic 

and 

functional 

core 

of 

typical 

East 

Asian 

Buddhist 

monasteries: 

 (1) 

a 

towering 

pagoda 

enshrining 

a 

holy 

relic;; 

(2) 

an 

image 

hall 

(the 

kondō, 

 or 

“golden 

hall”) 

housing 

the 

paintings 

and 

statues 

of 

deities 

in 

worship;; 

(3) 

 a 

 lecture 

 hall 

 where 

 monks 

 gathered 

 for 

 sermons 

 and 

 special 

 rituals;; 

 (4) 

 a 

 tower 

whose 

great 

bell 

tolled 

the 

six 

watches 

of 

the 

day 

and 

announced 

the 

 beginning 

of 

rituals;; 

(5) 

a 

sutra 

storehouse 

for 

the 

basic 

Buddhist 

scriptures;; 

 (6) 

barracks-­like 

dormitories 

housing 

the 

monks’ 

small 

cells;; 

and 

(7) 

a 

din-­ ing 

 hall 

 (Fig. 

 P.1). 
 Gateways, 

 enclosure 

 walls, 

 and 

 storehouses 

 followed, 

 as 

 well 

 as 

 new 

 votive 

 halls 

 when 

 the 

 worship 

 of 

 additional 

 deities 

 was 

 in-­ troduced. 

To 

be 

sure, 

Ikarugadera 

was 

a 

sanctuary 

of 

the 

Mahāyāna 

branch 

 of 

Buddhism, 

which 

offered 

salvation 

to 

persons 

in 

secular 

life, 

but 

its 

mo-­ nastic 

buildings 

still 

reflected 

the 

earlier 

forms 

of 

the 

faith, 

which 

preached 

 that 

only 

monks 

and 

nuns 

who 

practiced 

celibacy 

and 

renounced 

the 

secular 

 world 

could 

attain 

enlightenment. Japan 

was 

then 

a 

backward, 

isolated 

chain 

of 

islands 

governed 

by 

loose 

 confederations 

of 

clans, 

though 

it 

was 

beginning 

its 

transformation 

into 

a 

 nation-­state 

 with 

 a 

 central 

 government 

 and 

 a 

 fixed 

 seat 

 of 

 power. 

As 

 Mark 

 L. 

Blum’s 

essay 

below 

explains, 

state 

unification 

was 

taking 

place 

in 

China 

 and 

Korea 

in 

a 

similar 

fashion 

(with 

Buddhism 

playing 

a 

central 

role), 

and 

 Korean 

 rulers 

 in 

 the 

 mid-­sixth 

 century 

 encouraged 

 their 

 Japanese 

 counter-­ Fig. 

P.1. 

Ground 

plan 

of 

Hōryūji, 

including 

both 

Tōin 

and 

Saiin. 

Adapted 

from 

Kuno 

and 

Suzuki 

1966, 

Diagram 

on 

p. 

227. The 

Shadow 

of 

Shōtoku 

Taishi xiii xiv Prologue parts 

 to 

 adopt 

 this 

 exotic 

 creed. 

 Conservative 

 Japanese 

 courtiers 

 resisted 

 fiercely, 

claiming 

that 

Buddhism 

was 

hostile 

to 

local 

customs 

and 

deities. 

 In 

587 

Shōtoku 

Taishi 

and 

his 

kinsmen 

in 

the 

Soga 

clan, 

ardent 

proponents 

 of 

 Buddhism, 

 started 

 building 

 Japan’s 

 first 

 large 

 state-­sponsored 

 temple 

 in 

 what 

is 

now 

Osaka. 

Naming 

it 
Shitennōji, 

they 

dedicated 

it 

to 

the 

Four 

Heav-­ enly 

 Kings, 

 mighty 

 demigods 

 whose 

 supernatural 

 powers, 

 they 

 believed, 

 had 

 helped 

 them 

 defeat 

 the 

 anti-­Buddhist 

 faction. 

 In 

 594 

 Empress 

 Suiko 

 decreed 

 Buddhism 

 to 

 be 

 the 

 official 

 state 

 religion 

 of 

 Japan. 

 Shōtoku 

 and 

 his 

allies, 

using 

government 

resources 

to 

propagate 

the 

creed, 

were 

greatly 

 abetted 

 by 

 the 

 Korean 

 kings 

 who 

 sent 

 monks, 

 texts, 

 and 

 images 

 as 

 well 

 as 

 builders, 

 artists, 

 and 

 craftsmen. 

 By 

 the 

 year 

 624 

 some 

 forty-­six 

 Buddhist 

 temples 

had 

been 

erected 

in 

the 

area 

extending 

from 

Kyoto 

to 

the 

southern 

 end 

of 

the 

Nara 

plain. 

 East 

Asia 

in 

the 

seventh 

century 

was 

a 

theater 

of 

extraordinary 

devel-­ opments. 

 Under 

 the 

 emperors 

 of 

 the 

 Tang 

 dynasty 

 (618–ca. 

 907), 

 China 

 expanded 

its 

rule 

into 

Central 

Asia 

and 

opened 

trade 

with 

the 

West 

along 

the 

 Silk 

Road, 

resulting 

in 

a 

great 

upsurge 

of 

commerce 

and 

invention. 

Chinese 

 Buddhist 

monks 

traveled 

to 

India 

and 

returned 

with 

texts 

and 

images. 

Indi-­ an 

missionaries 

brought 

new 

doctrines 

to 

the 

Chinese 

capitals. 

The 

Japanese 

 royal 

 court, 

 reorganized 

 along 

 Chinese 

 principles 

 of 

 administration, 

 began 

 constructing 

 permanent 

 seats 

 of 

 government. 

 After 

 experimenting 

 with 

 various 

 sites, 

 in 

 710 

 courtiers 

 began 

 to 

 lay 

 out 

 a 

 Chinese-­style 

 capital 

 city, 

 the 

 Heijōkyō 

 (Fortress 

 of 

 Peace), 

 in 

 the 

 vicinity 

 of 

 present-­day 

 Nara, 

 with 

 the 

requisite 

halls 

for 

royal 

residences, 

state 

ceremonies, 

and 
administrative 

 bureaus. 

At 

the 

edge 

of 

the 

new 

capital 

they 

erected 

a 

huge 

monastic 

com-­ pound 

popularly 

known 

as 

Tōdaiji 

(Eastern 

Great 

Temple);; 

its 

main 

object 

 of 

worship 

was 

a 

seated 

bronze 

statue 

of 

the 

Buddha 

Vairocana 

(J. 

Dainichi) 

 over 

 50 

 feet 

 tall, 

 an 

 emblem 

 of 

 the 

 role 

 of 

 Buddhism 

 in 

 the 

 unification 

 of 

 the 

state. 

Nearby, 

members 

of 

the 

rich 

Fujiwara 

family, 

who 

held 

the 

top 

 positions 

in 

the 

court 

bureaucracy, 

built 

on 

a 

lavish 

scale 

their 

tutelary 

Bud-­ dhist 

temple 

(Kōfukuji) 

and 

shrine 

(Kasuga) 

to 

the 

native 

gods. 

In 

less 

than 

 a 

century 

Hōryūji, 

though 

still 

much 

venerated, 

had 

become 

a 

relic 

of 

an 

 earlier 

age 

and 

of 

simpler 

forms 

of 

Buddhism. Reconstruction and Expansion About 

622, 

as 

Prince 

Shōtoku 

lay 

dying, 

his 

family 

commissioned 

on 

 his 

 behalf 

 the 

 famous 

 Shaka 

Trinity, 

 bronze 

 statues 

 of 

 Śākyamuni 

 and 

 two 

 bodhisattvas 

(Plate 

5). 

In 

643, 

in 

a 

power 

struggle 

between 

the 

ruling 

clans, 

 his 

family 

was 

exterminated 

and 

the 

Ikaruga 

Palace 

burned. 

About 

670 

fire 

 virtually 

destroyed 

the 

monastery. 

About 

700–710 

a 

replacement 

was 

built, 

 The 

Shadow 

of 

Shōtoku 

Taishi xv and 

it 

has 

stood 

to 

this 

day, 

filling 

most 

of 

the 

so-­called 

 Western 

Precinct 

 (the 

Saiin) 

of 

the 

compound. 

Scholars 

generally 

assume 

that 

the 

replacement 

 buildings 

and 

icons 

reflected 

the 

lost 

originals, 

but 

as 

J. 

Edward 

Kidder’s 

 essays 

show 

below, 

it 

is 

not 

clear 

which 

parts 

of 

the 

original 

structures 

were 

 salvaged, 

 how 

 many 

 of 

 the 

 original 

 images 

 survived, 

 or 

 how 

 faithfully 

 the 

 reconstruction 

 emulated 

 the 

 lost 

 originals. 

 To 

 these 

 questions 

 is 

 added 

 the 

 problem 

 of 

 identifying 

 prototypes 

 in 

 China 

 and 

 Korea 

 for 

 Hōryūji’s 

 buildings 

and 

images. 

 The 

wall 

paintings 

in 

the 

Kondō, 

for 

example, 

closely 

resemble 

early 

 eighth-­century 

murals 

in 

the 

Dunhuang 

caves 

in 

western 

China, 

as 

Dorothy 

 C. 

 Wong 

demonstrates 

(see 

illustrations 

in 

Chapter 

Five). 

 The 

gilt-­bronze 

 Shaka 

 triad 

 on 

 the 

 main 

 altar, 

 however, 

 retains 

 features 

 (patterns 

 in 

 the 

 garment 

 folds, 

 configuration 

 of 

 the 

 faces) 

 that 

 can 

 be 

 seen 

 in 

 sculptures 

 in 

the 

Longmen 

caves 

of 

central 

China, 

dating 

in 

the 

early 

sixth 

century. 

 The 

wooden 

statues 

of 

the 

Shitennō, 

guardian 

figures 

at 

the 

four 

corners 

of 

 the 

 altar, 

 were 

 carved 

 in 

 a 

 far 

 simpler 

 style 

 that 

 reflects 

 Chinese 

 sculpture 

 of 

 the 

 mid-­sixth 

 century. 

 The 

 Kondō 

 and 

 five-­story 

 pagoda 

 (see 

 Plates 

 2 

 and 

3, 

respectively) 

 reflect 

 in 

 only 

 a 

 tenuous 

 fashion 

 the 

 layout 

 and 

 details 

 of 

 construction 

 in 

 Chinese 

 and 

 Korean 

 Buddhist 

 sanctuaries, 

 as 

 Nancy 

 Shatzman 

 Steinhardt’s 

 essay 

 explains. 

 The 

 core 

 Hōryūji 

 buildings 

 and 

 images 

are 

of 

the 

highest 

quality 

and 

interest, 

but 

they 

were 

not 

all 

made 

at 

 the 

same 

time 

or 

in 

a 

consistent 

style. 

 Shōtoku’s 

 mother 

 must 

 have 

 established 

 a 

 nunnery 

 in 

 or 

 near 

 the 

 old 

 Ikaruga 

Palace, 

as 

Lori 

Meeks’s 

essay 

explains. 

Called 

Chūgūji 

(Temple 

of 

 the 

 Royal 

 Consort), 

 it 

 disappeared 

 in 

 643 

 when 

 the 

 palace 

 was 

 destroyed, 

 though 

some 

of 

its 

icons 

may 

have 

been 

saved. 

After 

subsequent 

rebuilding 

 and 

 relocation 

 in 

 the 

 area, 

 Chūgūji 

 was 

 placed 

 on 

 its 

 current 

 site 

 adjacent 

 to 

the 

Eastern 

Precinct 

of 

Hōryūji 

in 

the 

seventeenth 

century. 

It 

houses 

one 

 of 

 the 

 most 

 admired 

 sculptures 

 in 

 the 

 history 

 of 

 Japanese 

 art—most 

 likely 

 a 

 depiction 

 of 

 the 

 bodhisattva 

 Maitreya 

 dating 

 from 

 the 

 second 

 quarter 

 of 

 the 

seventh 

century 

(see 

Fig. 

5.39). 

Showing 

a 

slender 

young 

man 

seated 

 half-­cross-­legged 

in 

meditation, 

his 

right 

hand 

touching 

his 

face, 

this 

image 

 is 

suffused 

with 

a 

sense 

of 

harmony 

and 

ease 

befitting 

an 

agent 

of 

Buddhist 

 compassion. 

 The 

 statue 

 has 

 strong 

 affinities 

 to 

 images 

 made 

 in 

 the 

 United 

 Silla 

 kingdom 

 in 

 Korea 

 and 

 to 

 a 

 wooden 

 statue 

 in 

 the 

 old 

 Kyoto 

 temple 

 of 

 Kōryūji 

(see 

Fig. 

5.38). 

(Incidentally, 

the 

founder 

of 

Kōryūji 

was 

a 

mem-­ ber 

of 

an 

immigrant 

family 

named 

Hata, 

allies 

of 

Shōtoku.) 

The 

Chūgūji 

 bodhisattva 

is 

one 

of 

many 

distinctive 

works 

of 

art 

preserved 

at 

Hōryūji;; 

as 

 the 

 years 

 passed, 

 the 

 temple 

 received 

 donations 

 of 

 other 

 statues 

 and 

 ritual 

 objects 

 that 

 gradually 

 formed 

 one 

 of 

 the 

 richest 

 troves 

 of 

 ancient 

 religious 

 xvi Prologue imagery 

in 

the 

world. Doctrine The 

essay 

below 

by 

Mark 

L. 

Blum 
discusses 

the 

complex 

issue 

of 

how 

 Buddhist 

doctrines 

were 

transmitted 

from 

China 

and 

Korea 

to 

Japan, 

includ-­ ing 

the 

Chinese-­language 

commentaries 

on 

three 

Mahāyāna 

sutras 

that 

have 

 been 

attributed 

to 

Shōtoku. 

The 

commentaries 

seem 

to 

date 

from 

Shōtoku’s 

 time, 

but 

scholars 

still 

debate 

whether 

or 

not 

he 

was 

actually 

their 

author. 

In 

 any 

 event, 

 certain 

 of 

 the 

 many 

 values 

 and 

 concepts 

 expressed 

 in 

 the 

 three 

 texts 

are 

reflected 

both 

in 

the 

prince’s 

biography 

and 

in 

the 

main 

Hōryūji 

 images. 

One 

of 

the 

texts, 

the 

Vimalakīrti 

Sūtra 

(J. 

Yuimakyō), 

emphasizes 

a 

 cardinal 

 tenet 

 of 

 Mahāyāna—namely, 

 that 

 enlightenment 

 and 

 salvation 

 are 

 possible 

for laypeople 

active 

in 

society, 

and 

not 

only 

for 

monks 

and 

nuns 

 who 

withdraw 

from 

the 

secular 

world. 

Many 

scholars 

believe 

that 

Shōtoku 

 modeled 

his 

own 

career 

on 

this 

principle. 

 Though 

he 

had 

been 

the 

crown 

 prince, 

destined 

to 

become 

emperor, 

he 

refrained 

from 

mounting 

the 

throne 

 and 

assuming 

the 

heavy 

ceremonial 

burdens 

of 

Japanese 

kingship. 

Though 

 a 

pious, 

committed 

Buddhist, 

he 

did 

not 

become 

a 

monk 

but 

played 

an 

ac-­ tive 

 role 

 at 

 court, 

 using 

 his 

 authority 

 as 

 regent 

 to 

 promote 

 the 

 faith, 

 and 

 according 

to 

the 

principles 

of 

Mahāyāna, 

the 

path 

to 

buddhahood 

was 

none-­ theless 

open 

to 

him. 

It 

is 

not 

by 

accident 

that 

an 

episode 

in 

the 

Vimalakīrti 

is 

 prominently 

represented 

at 

Hōryūji 

by 

one 

of 

the 

four 

remarkable 

dioramas 
 at 

the 

base 

of 

the 

five-­story 

pagoda 

(Fig. 

P.2). 

(The 

other 

tableaux 

depict 

the 

 death 

of 

Śākyamuni, 

the 

worship 

of 

his 

relics, 

and 

Maitreya, 

the 

Buddha 

of 

 the 

Future.) The 

 other 

 two 

 sutras 

 with 

 commentaries 

 attributed 

 to 

 Shōtoku, 

 the 

 Lotus 

 (J. 

 Hokekyō) 

 and 

 Śrīmālādevī 

 (J. 

 Shōmangyō), 

 emphasize 

 another 

 core 

 principle 

 of 

 Mahāyāna—the 

 idea 

 that 

 countless 

 divine 

 entities 

 (buddhas, 

 bodhisattvas, 

 devas, 

 arhats) 

 assist 

 humankind 

 to 

 attain 

 salvation. 

Accounts 

 of 

the 

deities 

in 

those 

texts, 

however, 

are 

fluid 

and 

imprecise, 

and 

this 

is 

 reflected 

in 

the 

unsystematic 

character 

of 

the 

main 

Hōryūji 

symbols. 

Statues 

 on 

the 

altar 

of 

the 

Kondō, 

for 

example, 

represent 

no 

fewer 

than 

nine 

deities, 

 and 

the 

wall 

paintings 

depict 

twelve. 

As 

Dorothy 

C. 

Wong 

shows 

below, 

the 

 subjects 

of 

some 

of 

the 

wall 

paintings 

have 

never 

been 

settled, 

and 

one 

deity 

 (Kannon) 

 is 

 shown 

 four 

 times. 

 Thus 

 the 

 absence 

 of 

 an 

 orderly, 

 systematic 

 iconographic 

program, 

so 

troublesome 

to 

many 

scholars, 

is 

entirely 

consis-­ tent 

with 

the 

early 

Mahāyāna 

texts 

and 

commentaries. 

 Later 

 in 

 the 

 seventh 

 century, 

 Indian 

 missionaries 

 would 

 come 

 to 

 China 

 bringing 

 the 

 esoteric 

 (or 

 tantric) 

 forms 

 of 

 Buddhism, 

 in 

 which 

 members 

 of 

an 

expanded 

pantheon 

were 

defined 

in 

far 

greater 

and 

more 

consistent 

 The 

Shadow 

of 

Shōtoku 

Taishi xvii Fig. 

 P.2. 

 Diorama 

 of 

 the 

 Debate 

 of 

 Vimalakīrti 

 (left) 

 and 

 Mañjuśrī 

 (right), 

 east 

 side 

 of 

 base 

 of 

 pagoda, 

 Hōryūji. 

 Clay 

 with 

 pigments, 

 ca. 

 711. 

 From 

 Nara 

 Rokudaiji 

 Taikan 

 Kankōkai 

 1968–1973, 

Vol. 

3, 

Pl. 

1. detail. 

 Esoteric 

 Buddhist 

 doctrines, 

 known 

 in 

 Japan 

 as 

 mikkyō, 

 began 

 to 

 reach 

that 

country 

in 

the 

eighth 

century, 

and 

by 

the 

early 

800s, 

the 

esoterism 

 of 

 the 

 Shingon 

 and 

 Tendai 

 schools 

 had 

 become 

 a 

 powerful 

 factor 

 in 

 Japa-­ nese 

 religion. 

 Hōryūji 

 remained 

 officially 

 aloof 

 from 

 these 

 new 

 doctrines, 

 but 

 some 

 of 

 its 

 monks 

 studied 

 mikkyō 

 and 

 attached 

 new 

 and 

 improbable 

 esoteric 

names 

to 

certain 

ancient 

icons. 

 The 

Chūgūji 

meditating 

bodhisat-­ tva, 

 which 

 most 

 scholars 

 believe 

 is 

 a 

 depiction 

 of 

 Maitreya, 

 was 

 renamed 

 Avalokiteśvara, 

Bearer 

of 

the 

Wish-­Fulfilling 

Gem 

and 

Dharma 

Wheel 

(Skt. 

 Cintāmaṇi-­cakra;; 

J. 

Ny...
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