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Weaving of Mantra: Kukai and the construction of esoteric buddhist discourse
Ryuichi Abe presents the most thorough and innovative study to date on the Buddhist figure Kukai (774 - 835) - one that constitutes a radically different approach to the research on early Japanese religious history. Kukai is generally credited with the formal establishment of tantric -or esoteric -Buddhism in Japan and as the founder of the Shingon school of Buddhism. Abu contends that the importance of Kukai's transmission of esoteric Buddhism to Japan lay not in the foundation of a new sect but in his creation of a general theory of language grounded in the ritual speech of mantra.