Shingon Buddhism In Australia

Seizanji Temple is the representative of the Koyasan Shingon Buddhist Temple in Australia. It serves to provide instruction in Shingon Buddhism based on traditional esoteric practices handed down for over a thousand years.

The following introduction to Shingon Buddhism is from http://www.koyasan.or.jp/en/shingonshu/

 

From Buddhism to Esotericism

Buddhism born in India, before long, crossed back and forth Central Asia, handing down their idea to China and the like (Hokuden Buddhism). After that, in the 6th century, was imported to Japan. Again, Buddhism, by way of India and Ceylon, was imported in the 11th century from Burma (present day Myanmar) and Thailand (Nanden Buddhism).

 

In this way, Buddhism is spread widely all over the world, but the Shingon sect, begun by Kobo Daishi Kukai, within an esoteric type of Buddhism called “Mikkyou” was developed in the 8th century, the Golden Age in India, and developed thereafter.

The Shingon sect of Buddhism follows the doctrine of esoteric Shingon teachings compiled by Kobo Daishi (Kukai) in the Heian period. “Shingon” refers to the truth revealed by Buddhism. These teachings tell us that words and existence are inseparable, and that the true essence of Buddhism cannot be explained in human language. Instead, the words used in scripture embody the deep meaning and teachings found in phenomena around the world; they are signposts to true reality of all things. Kobo Daishi tells us that it is these esoteric teachings that are truth, and that esoteric Buddhism is the path to understanding them. By contrast, exoteric teachings are concerned with discerning meaning from the surface of things in the world. Exoteric teachings include the Mahayana teachings found in Hosso, Sanron, and Shomon and Engaku practices.

 

A few differences can be pointed out between esoteric “Mikkyou” Buddhism and exoteric “Kengyo,” but the very basic distinction is the method of practicing the knowledge of the meaning of a hidden secret. In Shingon, the Sanmitsukaji (Three secret healings) and the Sanmitsuyuga (three secret yuga) are spoken of, but it means the practice of meditation to focus on one point of the spirit (Sanmaji). As for its characteristics, the secret workings of the Buddha, body, mouth and thoughts and the workings of the Buddha, body, mouth, and thoughts of the devotee inspire each other reciprocally, and the distinction between the Buddha and the devotee disappears and the follower makes living peaceably essential. Kobo Daishi calls this way of things the “Nyuga Ganyu,” meaning that “the Buddha enters me and I enter the Buddha.” Kobo Daishi expressed that with Mikkyou Buddhism, enlightenment can be better realized, as compared to Kengyo, and says that there exist these incantations, Nyuga Ganyu, and practice (meditation). But then, from the late Heian period until the Kamakura period, the new kind of Buddhism entering the stage took influence from Shingon sect education and prayer, introduced the Mikkyou essence and value in one part, and as a rule, has meditation, for which it can not be said is lacking in Kengyo Buddhism. If another difference between the faiths can be brought up, it is the appreciation of the Buddha and bodhisattva.The Buddha and bodhisattva in Kengyou is a “person” who found enlightenment, and a “person” searching for enlightenment, but the Buddha and bodhisattva in Mikkyou are the truth of the universe themselves (dharma). The ones grasping this ”dharma” as a physical image are the Buddha and the bodhisattva. For that reason, the Buddha and bodhisattva in Mikkyou are called the “Hosshinbutsu (dharmic body).”

 

Kobo Daishi expresses that this Hosshinbutsu, or truth of the universe, being taught directly to us as an insight of truth is called the “Hosshin Seppo.” This space-time listening to the wisdom of this teaching will be the circumstance of the three mysteries incantation (Nyuga Ganyu). By that meaning, in the Shingon sect, the Buddha and the universe are a gift to the people, and also, is a basis for a prayer as a condition for the mysterious ability of the people to react, and according to that, understanding the insight of the Buddha, naturally accumulating pious acts, helping the people, and making them happy are regarded as the most important, so it can be said that it is a practical Buddhist sect.

 

 

Shakyamuni               Esotericism

Founder of Buddhism              Giving meaning to esoteric Budihism

 

 

Above is a photograph of Rev. William Washo Saito, the Abbot of Seizanji Temple, performing Kajikitou (Incantation/加持祈祷) at Koukenji Temple in Kagawa, Japan. We perform Kajikitou services upon your request. Please ask us in the 'Contact us' section.

 

History of Seizanji Temple

 

The Seizanji Temple was established in Australia in 2001. It was founded by the current Abbot Reverend Saito. His aim is to bring Shingon Buddhism to Australia so people can study this rich tradition without the need to travel to the head temple at Koyasan in Japan.

 

During high school Reverend Saito   had read a text book about the celebrated Japanese cultural figures Saicho and Kukai who were responsible for establishing the Tendai and Shingon Buddhist sects respectively in Japan during the 9th century.  The stories of this time are true adventure tales. They describe brave journeys across storm ravaged seas, travel to distant lands to discover profound religious truths, the compilation of priceless books and the intrigues of politics in the imperial court. Reverend Saito became committed to studying Shingon and continued in his learning for many years, even after moving to Australia.

Reverend Saito’s journey to Australia started in a karate dojo in Japan. At the dojo he met the parents of future pop music superstar Kate Ceberano. Tino Ceberano was a recognised martial arts master in his own right. Tino and his wife were at the dojo to study under Gōju Kai karate founder Gōgen Yamaguchi.  Reverend Saito helped them by acting as a guide and translator. The Ceberanos in turn sponsored Reverend Saito to migrate to Australia in 1978.

After coming to Australia Reverend Saito continued his studies in Shingon Esoteric Buddhism. This included returning to Japan to undertake the “hundred days training” at the Koyasan. Finally, in 1994 Reverend Saito was ordained as a monk at Koyasan. 

Reverend Saito continued in his study and in 2001 was appointed as Abbot and given the exceptional authority to establish the Buddhist Temple of Koyasan Shingon Mission Australia NSW branch. Such authority is very rarely given and there are only two other Shingon Missions in the world. Reverend Saito was subsequently appointed Missionary in 2006. His wife, Reverend Bisho was appointed Missionary in 2009.

Since this time Reverend Saito and his sangha at the Seizanji Temple have continued to spread Shingon Esoteric Buddhism through meditation classes and other Japanese cultural outreach activities to cater to those who wish to be connected to this rich tradition.

Koyasan Shingonshu Kongoubuji Souchou Soeda Ryushou and eleven laypersons visited Seizanji Temple for the Opening Ceremony which was held on November 2014.
The  Opening Ceremony was attended by Japanese Kimono Ladies, local Australian monks and Japanese monks totalling over 70 people, livening up the atmosphere.

Seizanji Temple officially was recognised on November 2014, when Koyasan Shingonshu Kongoubuji Souchou Soeda Ryushou and eleven laypersons visited Seizanji Temple.
On the previous day of the Opening Ceremony for Seizanji Temple, the Koyasan Visitors including Souchou Soeda Ryushou visited the 70th Memorial Anniversary Services held in Cowra. They prayed for the resting in peace for the dead soldiers and citizens of World War II.
At Seizanji Temple, we held Ajikan meditation classes and Kannonko which offered deeper understanding of Japanese culture and Buddhism throughout the year.

 

オーストラリア真言宗について

青山寺はオーストラリア初の正式な高野山真言宗の寺院として活動しております。

1000年以上に渡る高野山の歴史の中で脈々と引き継がれてきた、秘伝の仏教、そして伝統的な瞑想法などを紹介しています。

真言宗の教えは大日如来によって説かれ、宗祖・弘法大師がそれを体験して広めたものであります。
真言宗は真言密教とも言い、「即身成仏」を教えの根幹にしています。
これは密教の修行の実践により、誰でもただちに仏になることができるという教えです。それまでの宗派が、人間が悟りへの心(菩提心)をおこして修行して も、数えきれないほど長い時間をかけなければ成仏できないと考えていたのとは異なる、新しい考え方でした。
密教の修行とは、身体の修行である身密、言葉の修行である口密、心の修行である意密で、あわせて身口意の三密修行と呼ばれています。

『金剛頂経』は、『大日経』と共に「両部の大経」と称される、真言宗で最も大事な経典です。ただ『大日経』と違って、『金剛頂経』の名称は、広義には1つの経典を指すのではなく、「金剛頂部」といわれる経典群を指すもので、その量は膨大なものとなります。
ただ、普通『金剛頂経』という場合には『金剛頂一切如来真実摂大乗現証大教王経』の 亊を指します。この『金剛頂経』には、サンスクリット写本、漢訳、チベット訳が現存しています。この『金剛頂経』は、8世紀までには成立していたとされて おり、その成立地は南インドとするのが一般的なようです。漢訳は空海の師である恵果の師、不空が753年に行いました。

 

青山寺の歴史

 

青山寺は「オーストラリアにいながらにして、伝統的な真言宗の教義を学べる場を提供したい」という斉藤和證住職の思いから、2001年に氏よって設立されました。


斉藤住職は高校時代に最澄と空海にまつわる一冊の本と出会い、彼の宗教者としての出発点となりました。
最澄と空海といえば、9世紀にそれぞれ天台宗、真言宗を開いた人物として知られていますが、彼らの勇敢で先見に富む行動なくしては現在の日本の仏教は存在しえません。

現在にも実話として伝わる、彼らの真実への道のりは饒舌に尽くしがたく、高校時代の斉藤住職はこのストーリーに夢中になりました。

下記に重要なポイントを列記しておきます。

  • 9世紀はじめに、空海と最澄は遣唐使とともに唐に渡った。
  • 空海は帰国後に、真言宗をおこし、高野山に金剛峯寺を建てた。最澄は帰国後に、天台宗を広め、比叡山に延暦寺を建てた。
  • 空海や最澄は、政治と深く結びつき、経典研究にかたよりすぎた奈良時代の仏教を批判し、人里離れた山奥での厳しい修行を重視した。
  • こうした新しい仏教(密教)は、のちに、病気や災いを取り除く加持祈祷(祈りやまじない)を行うようになり、天皇や貴族の信仰を集めた。

 

さらに詳しく高野山真言宗について知りたい方はこちらをご覧下さい。

 

斉藤住職はその後も継続的に仏教を学び、オーストラリ移住後も精力的に教義の研究に励んでいます。

そもそも彼のオーストラリア移住のきっかけは、彼のもう一つの命題でもある空手の道場で出会った国際的な歌手Kate Ceberanoさんのお父様Tino Ceberano氏でした。

ご主人であるTino Ceberano氏は格闘家として知られており、斉藤住職は全日本空手道連盟 剛柔会山口道場本部の山口剛玄師へCeberano氏と夫人を紹介し、通訳や身の回りのお世話をしたご縁で、Ceberano氏からの豪州スポンサーシップを受け、1978年にオーストラリアへ移住しました。

その後も斉藤住職は真言宗の修行を続け、さらに一時帰国し高野山で加行とよばれる約百日間の修行を経て、1994年正式に高野山認定の真言僧となりました。

2001年、斉藤氏は高野山認定の住職となり、オーストラリアで正式な真言宗のお寺として認定され、高野山真言宗オーストラリア直轄寺院となりました。 

海外での直轄寺院は例が少なく非常に珍しいケースです。

2006年には同じく高野山から開教師としての認定を受け、さらに2009年には夫人である斉藤美章副住職が続いて正式な開教師となり、二人三脚による布教活動が続いています。

 

2014年、高野山真言宗総本山金剛峯寺宗務総長 添田隆昭氏率いる20名(僧侶9名、在家11名)が来豪し、本堂落慶式が華やかに執り行われました。
前日にはカウラ70周年特別慰霊祭にも参加、戦没者の慰霊とご冥福をお祈りされました。

落慶法要当日は和装の日本人女性有志や、オーストラリア人僧侶、地元の日本人僧侶も参加し、合計70名が参加されました。
Photo Gallery ページにその時の様子が紹介されています。


現在青山寺では、阿字観(瞑想教室)、観音講その他の日本文化にふれていただく機会を多数提供しています。

詳しくはEventページから年間行事をご覧下さい。

*新着情報*
 秋篠宮ご夫妻、安倍首相が高野山を訪問。
瞑想教室 "阿字観" を日豪プレスで取り上げていただきました。
  詳しくはこちらをクリックしてください。

* 高野山真言宗青山寺は予約制をとっておりますので参拝または瞑想、加持祈祷などの件で予約が必要の方は前もって事前にご予約をとることをお願いいたします。

Koyasan Shingon Mission of Australia Seizanji Buddhist Temple Inc. runs on an appointment based system to ensure we can cater and allocate time for our services. Please kindly make an appointment via email or phone in advance. *