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Esoteric Buddhism Under The Jin (1115–1234)

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Chapter Summary

When the Jurchen defeated the Liao and established the Jin empire in Northern China between 1115-1234 C.E., they took over a realm in which the Buddhist religion was a strong presence at all levels of society. The transition of power from the Liao to the Jin had evidently no noticeable effects on the popularity of Esoteric Buddhist practice in Jurchen society in general. Historical sources on the transmission and spread of Esoteric Buddhism under the Jin are meager; only by grafting together odd bits and pieces gleaned from a variety of different sources achieves the semblance of a useful historical overview. The widespread popularity of spells and mantras under the Jin is best documented in the many surviving examples engraved in stone. The form of Esoteric Buddhism that existed under the Jin would appear to have followed the kinds of practices found under the Liao.

Keywords: Esoteric Buddhism; Jin empire; Liao



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