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Kōmyō Shingon

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Chapter Summary

The kōmyō shingon, or the mantra of light, is a key practice of the Shingon school. The mantra serves many functions, including healing illnesses, purifying one's evil karma, expiating the sins of the dying and deceased, and religious rebirth in the Pure Land of Amida. The examination of the mantra as a Buddhist ritual practice illustrates the following: the dynamic interrelation between sacred text and religious ritual, what Catherine Bell has called the ritualization of text and the textualization of ritual in which both the sacred texts of the mantra and its practice evolve organically over time within the shifting context of social circumstances, human need, religious aspirations, and individual predilection; the relation between the material and spiritual benefits of mantra practice,-of social and material benefits, on the one hand, and of awakening or enlightenment, on the other; and the range of mantra practice from devotional to yogic.

Keywords: Buddhist ritual practice; Catherine Bell; komyo shingon

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