The Thirteen Buddhas is a Japanese grouping of Buddhist deities, particularly in the Shingon sect of Buddhism. The deities are, in fact, not only Buddhas, but include bodhisattvas and Wisdom Kings. In Shingon services, lay followers recite a devotional mantra to each figure, though in Shingon practice, disciples will typically devote themselves to only one, depending on what the teacher assigns. Thus the chanting of the mantras of the Thirteen Buddhas are merely the basic practice of laypeople.
Shingon Buddhism is one of the major schools of Buddhism in Japan and one of the few surviving Vajrayana lineages in East Asia, originally spread from India to China through traveling monks such as Vajrabodhi and Amoghavajra.
Known in Chinese as the Tangmi these esoteric teachings would later flourish in Japan under the auspices of a Buddhist monk named Kūkai (空海), who traveled to Tang China to acquire and request transmission of the esoteric teachings. .
Gautama Buddha was an ascetic and spiritual teacher of South Asia who lived during the latter half of the first millennium BCE. He was the founder of Buddhism and is revered by Buddhists as an Enlightened being whose teachings sought a path to freedom from ignorance, craving, rebirth and suffering.
Born in Lumbini in the Newar clan of the Shakya, he spent the majority of his adult life in modern day Nepal and India, .