Kukai’s background and summary of Shingon Buddhism
In the Japanese philosophy and humanitarian history, there has been a series of religious people who have taken part in sharing and teaching about different humanitarian ideas and theories. One of these individuals was the Buddhist tantric monk Kukai. Kukai was born in 774 in a sea-village known as the Gbu-ga-ura a village that is not far from the Tadotsu, in Sanuki. The boy Kukai was born into a family called Saiki and his father, was Yoshimichi who was a nobleman from the ancient emperor descendent. The birth of Kukai is said to be miraculous in nature. The reason is because before conception; his mother saw a vision in her dream of a saintly monk coming to her house and monk using supernatural powers made Kukai’s mom pregnant. Again, when the boy Kukai was born, his hands were held together as if he was in prayers (Casal, Ugo Alfonso, 1959). Kukai was baptized to a name Henshg King which means “worldwide shining diamond.” Locally, during his growing up, he was also given a nickname that people used to call him “TotGmono” which means “out treasure.”
Kukai started his mission when he was young, and he could he have visions like being seated on eight-petalled lotus flower having a dialogue with the Buddha. Kukai joined the University when he was twelve years in preparations for his career in Confucianism. However, being unsatisfied with the career, Kukai privately studied Taoism because it was the job that he felt was in alignment with his reasoning. In great curiosity to learn the truth, Kukai left his city at a tender age and became a member of the Buddhist temple as an acolyte. His great passion in Buddhism made him to mode clay images of Buddha. With the images, he established a shrine from where he could do his Adoration to Buddha. This great step of faith in Buddha subjected Kukai to trials of the devil as he was continually tried. However, it is believed that Buddha protected him from the trials and tribulations and he was granted special power to overcome spiritual battles. His great commitment and adoration led to his ordination as a Buddhism priest by priest Gonso of Iwabuchidera (Casal, Ugo Alfonso, 1959).
As a priest, Kukai worked together with Ambassador Fujiwara, and together they traveled to different countries like China between the years 778-818. Upon his return to Japan, Kukai founded an independent Buddhist institution by the name Heian Buddhism which focused on teaching about the truth. In his works at the Heian Buddhism ministry, Kukai engaged in a lot of teachings which among them was the understanding of human mind where he came up with ten different mindsets development and the different personal characteristics and behaviors associated with the different mindsets. According to Kukai’s teachings through his school of thought, the ten different mindset stages that individuals go through before they can achieve full consciousness of issues as they are naturally.
The philosophy claimed that more one moves to another step the more developed one’s brains get, and the more real the world becomes (Casal, Ugo Alfonso, 1959). Notably, each stage has its specific characteristics and behaviors that a person tends to show. Kukai’s state of mind teachings came to be taught and known a big number of people, and they are instructions that are known to have realized massive respect and value from the Japanese people. However, opposition towards Kukai’s view of mindset was highly present from some Ryuichi who was a Buddhist revisionist. Nevertheless, Kukai’s teachings came to be recognized as the Japanese Buddhist philosophy.
Apart from the teachings, priest Kukai did a lot of Buddhism services to people like communicating with different gods like the god of rain, soil, the sun, and harvest among many other gods and goddesses. Kukai constantly did a lot of supernatural powers that made the people believe in his powers and consider him a saint. The reason is that it was hard in Buddhism to communicate and have a response from the gods without being a saint. Also, for people to believe in his exorcism Buddhism, he also had to write a lot of literature and philosophies. However, this essay shall focus on Kukai’s ten mindsets successfully articulate the state of mind achieved through his school of thought.
Kukai’s ten mindsets
According to Dalisay, (2014); Priest Kukai who was born like a saint established ten different mindsets. The various mindset stages have a lot to do with humanity and a person’s state of mind. Each mindset has its specific characteristics and behaviors that a person shows when he/she belongs to that particular mindset category. Progressing to different mindset stages comes along with different features and behaviors. The following table shows all the different mindsets and their respective characteristics and behaviors.
|Level of mind||Characteristics and behaviors|
|1. Unstable goatish mind||Driven by instincts and needs for security, sex, and food|
|2. Foolish abstinent mind||Strives to be ethical and moral|
|3. Childlike fearless mind||Seeks to believe in an eternally unchanging god or salvation doctrine|
|4. Mind of selfless aggregates||Seeks personal liberation|
|5. Mind free of karmic seeds||Understands the process of conditioning, slowing destroying ignorance|
|6. Compassionate Mahayana mind||Has great compassion as it sees the consciousness in nature|
|7. Mind awake to the unborn||Realizes the void nature of both objects and mind itself|
|8. Mind of the single way||Realizes that all things in the world are contained in a single thought in mind|
|9. Mind of ultimate no-self nature||Penetrates all things but still limited by duality|
|10. Secret sublime mind||Breaks through duality, fully realizing the true nature|
Stage 1: unstable, goatish mind
According to Kukai, the unstable, goatish mind is the first step of mindset and according to Kukai is the toughest step in the entire development process. The reason is that it is the stage that presents individuals with the crudest and bleak visions of life. This is in regards to personal paths to follow and the starting point. Moreover, it is the stage when a person is presented the most challenging and complicated life visions that determine who a person is. Nevertheless, it is the mindset step that has a profound honesty starting point (Dalisay, 2014). The reason is that, despite a person feeling that he/she is sophisticated; the first level of mind is always familiar and strangely real. The danger about this stage is that instincts normally drive a person. So if the instincts are misleading, it is likely for one to have an entirely wrong mindset. The reason is that, in this step, people tend to act like sheep, and hence they tend to show ignorance and stupidity.