Ryobu Shinto

Doctrines Ryobu (dual) Shinto refers to the interpretation of local Japanese deities which is associated with Shingon esoteric Buddhism, and the practices which flowed from that interpretation. Ryobu Shinto held that the sun-deity Amaterasu enshrined at Ise was the manifestation of the esoteric dharmakaya Buddha Dainichi (Great Sun), the central Buddha of Shingon. According to this interpretation the status of the native kami was raised from local folk deities and ancestral spirits to manifestations of Buddhas and bodhisattvas, different but potentially equal to the most revered objects of worship in Shingon.

History Ryobu Shinto was developed in the Kamakura period and maintained by the Shingon school of Buddhism until the Meiji restoration. Ryobu Shinto strongly influenced esoteric interpretations of Shinto such as that of the Watarai clan at Ise, and Yui-itsu (Yoshida) Shinto. Great temple-shrine complexes which developed in the medieval period were founded on the principles of Ryobu Shinto. In these shrine-temple complexes kami were identified with specific Buddhas and bodhisattvas, and rituals were performed by Buddhist priest for the kami. Ryobu Shinto also influenced the development of shugendo, the syncretic mountain-religion.

Symbols The symbols of Ryobu Shinto are the 'womb' and 'diamond' mandala (taizokai and kongokai) representing the essence and manifestation of reality.

Adherents No contemporary adherents.

Main Centre
 The headquarters of Shingon Buddhism is on Mt Koya, south of Nara