Macquarie Asian Historical Research Society Seminar


  • 12/03/2013 – 6:00-7:00 PM


  • Presentation by Terence Porter (MQ Hons.) – “Kukai and the Eastward Transmission of the Buddhist World”


The Japanese monk Kukai (posthumously awarded the name “Kobo Daishi”, signifying his saintly importance), is renowned as one of the seminal figures in the development of Japanese Buddhism. So wide ranging is the renown in which he is held that he is considered the premier saint of Japanese Buddhism.

The life of Kukai has been mythologised by the development of a devotional cult centred around Kobo Daishi. This has created a separation of the historical and the mythical creating two identities for the one man. By removing the layers of myth and examining the life events of the historical figure of Kukai, it is possible to see a history of the development of esoteric Buddhism.
The life of Kukai represents a before and after moment in the history of Japanese Buddhism and can be viewed as a reflection of the state of Buddhism itself in the Eighth and Ninth centuries, as the Buddhist faith made a progression out of its traditional homeland of India and eastwards toward China and Japan.

Through an examination of the historical figure of Kukai, it is possible to trace the path of Buddhism, and esoteric Buddhism in particular, from its Indian origin all the way to the creation of a devotional cult dedicated to the mythologised Japanese saint.


Room: W6A 107



More Future Events


Share this Post


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>