World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Vajrabodhi (Ch.金剛智) (671–741) was an Indian Buddhist monk and esoteric Buddhist teacher in Tang China. He is one of the eight patriarchs in Shingon Buddhism.

Vajrabodhi was the second of three Vajrayana missionaries to eighth-century China. He was born of a South Indian brahmin family, and his father was a priest for the royal house.[1] Vajrabodhi probably converted to Buddhism at the age of sixteen, although some accounts place him at the Buddhist institution of Nālandā at the age of ten.

He studied all varieties of Buddhism and was said to have studied for a time under the famous Buddhist logician Dharmakīrti. Under Santijnana, Vajrabodhi studied Vajrayāna teachings and was duly initiated into yoga.

Leaving India, Vajrabodhi traveled to Sri Lanka and Srivijaya (present-day Sumatra), where he apparently was taught a Vajrayāna tradition distinct from that taught at Nālandā. From Srivijaya he sailed to China via the escort of thirty-five Persian merchant-vessels,[2] and by AD 720 was ensconced in the Jianfu Temple at the Chinese capital, Chang'an (present-day Xian). Accompanying him was his soon-to-be-famous disciple, Amoghavajra.

Like Subhakarasimha, who preceded him by four years, Vajrabodhi spent most of his time in ritual activity, in translating texts from Sanskrit to Chinese, and in the production of Esoteric art. Particularly important was his partial translation of the Sarvatathāgatatattvasagraha between the years 723 and 724. This Yoga Tantra- along with the Mahāvairocana Sutra; translated by Subhakarasinha the same year- provides the foundation of the Zhenyan school in China and the Shingon and Esoteric branch of the Tendai school in Japan. Like Subhakarasinha, Vajrabodhi had ties to high court circles and enjoyed the patronage of imperial princesses; he also taught Korean monk Hyecho; who went on to travel India. Vajrabodhi died in 732 and was buried south of the Longmen Grottoes. He was posthumously awarded the title Guoshi, 'Teacher of the Realm'.


  1. ^ Cho, Yi-Liang (2006). Tantrism in China. In: Payne, Richard, K. "Tantric Buddhism in East Asia", Wisdom Publications, pp.47-51.
  2. ^ Iranian cultural impact on south-east Asia
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.