Honji Suijaku Faith

Susan Tyler

Honji Suijaku, the “traces of the original lands”, refer to the traditional correspondences between Japanese indigenous deities (kami) and Buddhist heavenly figures. It is considered the keystone of shinbutsu-shugo, the everyday synthesis of Buddhist and Shinto worship.

The idea that Shinto can be studied separately from Buddhism is due not to a study of history, but to an overemphasis on doctrine to define religion… Honji suijaku is a variety of Buddhism, occurring, so to speak, in Shinto territory.

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Kasuga Mandala, 14th c. (detail)

Originally published in the Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 16/2-3. Republished here with thanks. For more details about Kasuga Temple, follow this link to the University of Vienna dedicated page.