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Godai’in Annen

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Chapter Summary

Godai'in Annen is primarily known as the scholar-monk who completed the formal esoterization of Japanese Tendai, for which he used the appellation "Shingon school," in this way emphasizing the importance of the esoteric mode. Annen never ascended to the position of head abbot of Mt. Hiei, nor did he become the object of a devotional cult, as did Kūkai and Ennin. Contrary to his illustrious predecessors, Annen never traveled to China to study esoteric Buddhism. Pre-modern Tendai bibliographic sources credited Annen with more than one hundred works, but only forty are today extant, several of which are of dubious attribution. Annen’s inclusive attitude toward the study of esoteric Buddhism is also shown in the compilation of the Shoajari shingon mikkyō burui sōroku. The Kyōjigi, written between 876 and 885, the period in which most of Annen’s important works were compiled, is a comprehensive survey of Taimitsu doctrines.

Keywords: esoteric Buddhism; Godai'in Annen; Japanese Tendai



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