- Dengyo Daishi
- (767-822)The posthumous name of Saicho, an outstanding medieval Buddhist monk and founder of the Tendai sect in Japan, whose main monastic complex was founded at Enryakuji on Mt. Hiei outside Kyoto. He spent his early monastic training in seclusion on Mt. Hiei and in 804 travelled to China, returning in 805 with transmissions of esoteric Buddhism, meditation techniques, monastic rules and Tendai (Chinese: T'ien-T'ai, the name of a mountain lineage) doctrines. Tendai accepts from the standpoint of the Lotus Sutra (Hokekyo) a variety of different approaches to the religious life, according to temperament and preparedness. Saicho's ambition, realised only after his death in 822 was to set up a Mahayana ordination 'platform' on Mt. Hiei. His monastery of Enryaku ji produced all the important Buddhist reformers of the Kamakura period such as Nichiren, Dogen, Honen and Shinran. From the point of view of later Shinto, Saicho's belief in the equal potential for enlightenment of all beings could be seen to pave the way for the view that kami can be enlightened beings, and thus of the same rank as Buddhas. More concretely, Mt. Hiei housed in its temple-shrine (jingu-ji, ji-sha) complex the syncretic 'mountain king' (sanno) guardian deity worshipped in sanno ichijitsu shinto and in thousands of Hie shrines all over Japan.
A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. Brian Bocking.