The immense riches of the Esoteric Iconography of Japanese Buddhism are illustrated in this volume in all its fullness and clarity of detail. It is an indispensable work for the understanding and appreciation of Indo-Asian Art of Japan as represented by mandalas.
The mandalas or psycho-cosmograms reached Japan through great Indian teachers like Vajrabodhi, Amoghavajra and Subhakara-simha. The Japanese Twin Mandalas represent innate Reason and primal Enlightenment, harmonizing in Compassion and Dynamis. Herein the sadhaka identifies himself with the forces that govern the universe, and collects their thaumaturgical powers within himself. The Light that burns within spreads out and is diffused, guiding towards noble paths.
As pointed out above, the iconography pertains to the Twin Mandalas of the Mahakaruna-garbha-mandala and the Vajradhatu-mandala, which were taken to Japan by Kobo Daishi (774-835) from China, where he had gone in search of the Transcendental Path of Mantrayana. Kobo Daishi inherited the Tantric tradition of Amoghavajra (705-774) "the Master of Eloquence and Wide Wisdom", whose genius was responsible for the translation of the Vajradhatu texts on the contemplative system of Esoteric Yoga, which was visualized in the iconics of the present mandalas. Kobo Daishi was initiated by of Amoghavajra. In 806 Kobo Daishi returned to Japan, with profound Gods born unto him, with homa consuming baser passions, his total being illumined by a new vision.
Esoteric Icongraphy of Japanese Mandalas, Lokesh Chandra, Aditya Prakashan Publications, Hardcover (11"x 9"), 370 pp., $80.00