Buddhist Teachers & Lamas

Kūkai (27 July 774 – 22 April 835), also known posthumously as Kōbō Daishi, was a Japanese Buddhist monk, calligrapher, and poet who founded the Esoteric Shingon school of Buddhism. He travelled to China, where he studied Tangmi (Chinese Vajrayāna Buddhism) under the monk Huiguo. Upon returning to Japan, he founded Shingon—the Japanese branch of Vajrayāna Buddhism. Mount Kōya is a main centre of Shingon

Ennin | Biography

Ennin (793 -864), better known in Japan by his posthumous name, Jikaku Daishi, was a priest of the Tendai school of Buddhism in Japan, and its 3rd Zasu ("Head of the Tendai Order"). Ennin was instrumental in expanding the Tendai Order's influence, and bringing back crucial training and resources from China particularly Esoteric Buddhist training, and Pure Land teachings. Ennin was in China during Great

Saichō | Biography

Saichō (September 15, 767 – June 26, 822) was a Japanese Buddhist monk credited with founding the Tendai school of Buddhism based on the Chinese Tiantai school he was exposed to during his trip to Tang China beginning in 804. He founded the temple and headquarters of Tendai at Enryaku-ji on Mount Hiei near Kyoto. He is also said to have been the first to bring tea to Japan.

Nichiren | statue

Nichiren (16 February 1222– 13 October 1282) was a Japanese Buddhist priest of the Kamakura period (1185–1333), who developed the teachings of Nichiren Buddhism, a branch school of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Nichiren declared that the Lotus Sūtra alone contains the highest truth of Buddhist teachings suited for the Third Age of Buddhism. He advocated the repeated recitation of its title, Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō

Bodhidharma | Historical Overview

Bodhidharma (ca. early 5th century), known in China as Damo and in Japan as Daruma; traditionally considered the 28th patriarch of Indian Buddhism and the founder of the Chan (Jpn., Zen) school of Chinese Buddhism. The most important source for Bodhidharma’s life is the Continued Biographies of Eminent Monks, a work written by Daoxuan in 645 and revised before his death in 667:

Bhāviveka | Life

Bhāviveka (c. 490-570 CE), also known as Bhavya or Bhāvaviveka - was an Indian Buddhist philosopher and historian, and founder of the Svātantrika-Madhyamaka School: As all of Bhāviveka’s works are lost in the original Sanskrit and preserved only in Tibetan translations, the scholarly world came to know of him only through Candrakīrti (c. 580-650 CE), who refuted Bhāviveka’s position in the 1st chapter of the

Aśoka | the Buddhist Emperor

Aśoka (ca. 300-232 BCE.), the 3rd and most powerful of the Mauryan emperors who once dominated the Indian subcontinent (4-3rd centuries BCE), figures centrally in historical as well as legendary accounts of the early Buddhist community’s transformation into a world religion. Aśoka’s landmark reign (c. 268-232 BCE) laid structural foundations for subsequent South Asian imperial formation and his memory has continued to inspire and shape

Longchenpa | Life & Works

Longchenpa (Longchen Rabjampa, 1308-1363) is perhaps the most important philosophical author in the history of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism and one of the great figures in 14th century Tibet, a time of larger-than-life authors and systematizations of sectarian traditions. Longchenpa is renowned as the systematiser of the Nyingma tradition of the Great Perfection (Dzogchen), which he expounded in a series of brilliant texts.


Within the Chan School or tradition, Bodhidharma (ca. early 5th century) is considered the First Patriarch of China, who brought Chan teachings from India to China, and the 28th patriarch in the transmission of the torch of enlightenment down from Śākyamuni Buddha. Bodhidharma is the subject of countless portraits, where he is represented as an Indian wearing a full beard with rings in his ears

Nāgārjuna | Life & Works

The Indian philosopher Nāgārjuna (c. 150 – c. 250 CE) is probably the single most important Buddhist philosopher. Nothing reliable is known about his life; modern scholars do not accept the traditional account whereby Nāgārjuna lived for some 600 years and became a Tantric wonderworker (siddha), although it is believed that Nāgārjuna was the teacher of Āryadeva. There is a number of works attributed to