(ko͞o`kī, kō`bō-dī`shē), 774–835, Japanese priest, scholar, and artist, founder of the Shingon or "True Word" sect of Buddhism. Of aristocratic birth, he studied the Chinese classics as a young man, but left the university and became a wandering ascetic, eventually making a commitment to Buddhism. He was (804–806) a member of a Japanese embassy to T'ang China, where he studied the Buddhist TantraTantra
, in both Hinduism and Buddhism, esoteric tradition of ritual and yoga known for elaborate use of mantra, or symbolic speech, and mandala, or symbolic diagrams; the importance of female deities, or Shakti; cremation-ground practices such as meditation on corpses; and,
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. He returned to Japan with many scriptures and art objects and was honored by the emperor. In 816 he founded the Kongobuji monastery on Mt. Koya, S of Kyoto. Kukai is famous as a calligrapher and is said to have invented (on the model of Sanskrit) hiragana, the syllabary in which, in combination with Chinese characters, Japanese is written. Mt. Koya is still a center of pilgrimage, and there is a folk belief that Kukai, who is buried there, is not dead but in deep meditation and will one day rise again.


See collection of his major works ed. by Y. Hakeda (1972).

References in periodicals archive ?
The Kukai dance group representing Spain, and the musical band Oreka TX from the Basque country present the performance Roots.
The message the ad wants to convey is genuine,' said Uchimura's Filipino wife Kukai Nye, a native of Bacolod City.
Even various representations of Kukai himself were worshiped in conjunction with jewels and dragons.
The Indian monk Bodhisena was invited to witness the opening of the great Daibutsu of Nara in the 8th century; scholars like Kukai, also called Kobo Daishi, travelled to China to meet monks and scholars from India and to translate Indian texts into Japanese.
To be candid, most of the ones I've joined (and subsequently resigned from--call them clubs, associations, kukai, cliques, coteries, what you will) have been composed of some pretty batty personalities.
This era was in some ways inaugurated by two landmark studies: first, Michel Strickmann's posthumously published 1996 book, Mantras et mandarins: Le Bouddhisme tantrique en Chine, and then Ryuichi Abe's 2000 study, The Weaving of Mantra: Kukai and the Construction of Esoteric Buddhist Discourse.
She is the author of Icons and Iconoclasm in Japanese Buddhism: Kukai and Dogen on the Art of Enlightenment (Oxford University Press, 2013), and is the editor of two themed CrossCurrents journal issues.
Its legendary founder is Kukai, also known as Kobo Daishi,the founder of the Shingon school of Buddhism, who is said to have brought the teachings of male love over from China, together with the teachings of the Buddha.
His account traces Buddhism's arrival in Japan and the influence of early Japanese Buddhism's two most renowned figures, Saicho [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (767-822) and Kukai (774-835), founders of distinctly Japanese forms of the Chinese Tiantai [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and Zhenyan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] traditions, respectively.
Kukai, for instance, included Confucian and Daoist teachings as Buddhist upayas, representing a kind of proto-inclusivism.
Gaignun Kukai is a character in Xenosaga, a Series of science fiction video games developed by Monolith Soft and published by Namco Bandai.
122) See Graham Parkes, Voices of the Mountains, Trees, and Rivers: Kukai, Dogen, and a Deeper Ecology, in Buddhism and Ecology 112, 112, 118, 125 (Mary Evelyn Tucker & Duncan Ryukan Williams eds.