Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Icons and Iconoclasm in Japanese Buddhism – Kukai and Dogen on the Art of Enlightenment - Oxford Scholarship Online
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Icons and Iconoclasm in Japanese Buddhism: Kukai and Dogen on the Art of Enlightenment

Pamela D. Winfield


This study crosses the disciplinary lines of religious studies and art history/visual studies as it juxtaposes and qualifies two representative voices for and against the role of imagery in the enlightenment experience. Kūkai (774–835) believes that real and imagined forms are indispensable to his new esoteric Mikkyō method for “becoming a Buddha in this very body” (sokushin jōbutsu), yet he also deconstructs the significance of such imagery in his poetic and doctrinal works. Conversely, Dōgen (1200–1253) believes that “just sitting” in Zen meditation without any visual props or mental elabora ... More

Keywords: Kūkai, Dōgen, Mikkyō, esotericism, Zen, Japanese Buddhism, images, meditation, enlightenment, religion and art

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199753581
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199753581.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Pamela D. Winfield, author
Elon University