Kūkai (777-835) is one of the most famous Japanese historical figures. Kukai’s birth name was Saeki Mao. Founder of the Shingon School.
The shikoku pilgrimage follows his steps.
- 774 (March 21st or July 27th). Born in Shikoku at the site of 75 Zentsūji Temple (Kagawa Prefecture). His family, known as Saeki, was part of a noble branch of the Otomo clan.
- 788 Begins the study of Chinese classics with his uncle
- 791 Entered the University of Nara and two years later became a monk and practiced asceticism during itinerant journey.
- 794 He writes the Sangō Shiki, the final truth of the 3 teachings (Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism) and concluded for the superiority of Buddhism.
- 797-804 He is said to be diligently practicing wandering asceticism, visiting Mount Koya for the first time and training at temple 21 and in a cave at Cape Muroto in Shikoku.
- 804 Departure to China for studying esoteric Buddhism.
To be continued …