About Egaku

Egaku or Hui'E was a well-connected 9th century Japanese scholar-monk who made frequent trips to Tang China for pilgrimage and bringing back Buddhist teachings to Japan. Egaku had a huge impact on the religious and cultural history of China and Japan. In Japan, he is famous for bringing the first Rinzai Zen monk Gikū and the works of the Chinese poet Bai Juyi to Japan. In China, he is renowned for his role in establishing a developed pilgrimage site in Putuoshan, one of the four major Buddhist pilgrimage sites in China.
Tang emissaries to Sogdian King Varkhuman in Samarkand, 648–651 CE, Afrasiab murals

The most prominent Buddhist monks of the Tang dynasty

The Tang dynasty, or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907 AD. Historians generally regard the Tang as a high point in Chinese civilization, and a golden age of cosmopolitan culture. From the outset, religion played a role in Tang politics. In his bid for power, Li Yuan had attracted a following by claiming descent from the Taoism sage Lao Tzu. People bidding for office would request the prayers of .
An illustration of Hōnen preaching

Zen Buddhist monks – The unchanging essential nature

According to tradition, Chan was introduced around 500 CE by Bodhidharma, an Indian monk teaching dhyāna. is deeply rooted in the teachings and doctrines of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Mahayana Buddhism teaches śūnyatā, "emptiness", which is also emphasized by Zen. But another important doctrine is the buddha-nature, the idea that all human beings have the possibility to awaken. All living creatures are supposed to have the Buddha-nature, but don't realize this as long as they are not .