Kobo Daishi (Kukai) as a Boy (Chigo Daishi) Seated in Meditation
This giclée litho depicts an ancient painting on silk, in which Kukai, as a boy, is seen seated in meditation, in a Lotus blossom. The sight size measures 10.5" in diameter, it is nicely matted, and the frame measures 19" x 17". There are no visible seals. This is a highly detailed giclée print, which presents like a woodblock print. P9218 $65.00
Kukai (774–835) was an influential religious leader responsible for introducing Shingon Buddhism, a form of Esoteric Buddhism, to Japan in the ninth century. After his death, Kûkai received the name Kôbô Daishi (Great Teacher of the Divine Law) and was revered as a saint. Kukai described a dream he had as a child in which he was carried aloft on an eight-petaled lotus flower to a heavenly realm where he conversed with various Buddhas. The practice of depicting religious leaders as children during miraculous moments in their lives would have been keenly reassuring to Buddhist devotees. Kukai, known posthumously as Kobo Daishi, is one of the great men of the Heian Period of Japanese history. A priest, scholar, artist and engineer, Kukai was a polymath of huge talents. Kukai’s biggest legacy, of course, is the Buddhist sect he founded – Shingon. Shingon teaches that enlightenment can be found in this lifetime through spiritual practice including mudras, mantras and mandalas. Though that enlightenment would be reached by monks practicing in monasteries, Shingon differed from Saicho’s Tendai philosophy in that it taught that enlightenment was possible in a single lifetime. Enlightenment was achieved by realizing the Dainichi Buddha – the primordial source of all beings in the universe and the underpinning of all physical forms – within one’s own body. This difference: studying tomes versus passing secretive rituals from teacher to student, is the essential difference between Tendai and Shingon.