K’ai-yüan era catalog The K'ai-yüan Era Catalog of the Buddhist Canon. A twenty-volume index of Chinese Buddhist scriptures and their translators compiled by Chih-sheng. Completed in 730, the eighteenth year of the K’ai-yüan era (713–741), it contains two sections. The first section lists all recorded scriptures, extant or not—2,275 works in 7,046 volumes translated into Chinese by 176 individuals between 67 and 730. The second section lists only works then extant, 1,076 in 5,048 volumes. Based on this number, the entire body of Buddhist scriptures was customarily said to consist of “5,048 volumes,” “5,000 volumes,” or “more than 5,000 volumes.” K'ai-yüan Era Catalog served as a basis for subsequent catalogs.
Kakuban (1095–1143) Also, Shōkaku or Shōkaku-bō, a Japanese priest of the True Word school. In 1134, he became the chief priest of Kongōbu-ji temple on Mount Kōya, but his attempts at rapid reform led to the enmity of the priests of Mount Kōya. He and his followers were forced to flee to Mount Negoro, where he founded Emmyō-ji temple. His followers founded the New Doctrine (Jpn Shingi) school, a branch of the True Word school, in opposition to the traditional teachings of Mount Kōya and Tō-ji temple.
Kakumyō (1184–1266) Also known as Chōsai. A priest of the Japanese Pure Land school and founder of that school’s Kuhon-ji branch. A disciple of the school’s founder, Hōnen, from age nineteen, after Hōnen’s death, he followed Shōkū, the founder of the Seizan branch of the Pure Land school. He furthered his studies, learning the meditation of the Tendai school from Shunjō and Zen doctrines from Dōgen. Basing himself at Kuhon-ji temple in Kyoto, he maintained that, in addition to the Pure Land practice of Nembutsu, or chanting of Amida Buddha’s name, other practices could help one achieve rebirth in the Pure Land. This departed from Hōnen’s doctrine that only the Nembutsu leads to rebirth in Amida’s paradise, and that all other practices should be abandoned.
kālakula (Skt) Legendary insects whose bodies were said to swell rapidly in a strong wind.
kalavinka (Skt) A bird said to possess a voice more beautiful and melodious than any other.
kalpa (Skt) An extremely long period of time. Sutras and treatises differ in their definitions, but kalpas fall into two major categories, those of measurable and immeasurable duration. There are three kinds of measurable kalpas: small, medium, and major. One explanation sets the length of a small kalpa at approximately sixteen million years. According to Buddhist cosmology, a world repeatedly undergoes four stages: formation, continuance, decline, and disintegration. Each of these four stages lasts for twenty small kalpas and is equal to one medium kalpa. Finally, one complete cycle forms a major kalpa.
kalpa of continuance The period corresponding to the second stage of the four-stage cycle of formation, continuance, decline, and disintegration. In this kalpa a world and its inhabitants continue to exist. The life span of human beings is said to repeat a cycle of change during this period, decreasing by a factor of one year every hundred years until it reaches ten years, and then increasing at the same rate until it reaches eighty thousand years. It then decreases again until it reaches ten years, and so on. A period when the human life span is lengthening is called a kalpa of increase, while a period when it is diminishing is called a kalpa of decrease.
kalpa of decline The period of time during which a world decays; one of the four stages in the cycle of formation, continuance, decline, and disintegration.
kalpa of formation The period of time in which a world takes shape and living beings appear; the first of the four-stage cycle of formation, continuance, decline, and disintegration that a world is said to repeatedly undergo.
Kamakura government Also, Kamakura shogunate. Japan’s first military or warrior government, established by Minamoto no Yoritomo in Kamakura. The rule of the Kamakura government—corresponding to the Kamakura period in Japanese history—is dated from 1185, when the system of appointed provincial constables and estate stewards by which it controlled the country was instituted. Yoritomo was given the title shogun by the imperial court in 1192. Because Yoritomo’s successors were young and lacking in leadership, the office of regent was established, and it became the de facto authority. The office of regent and other key positions of power were held by members of the Hōjō family until the Kamakura shogunate was overthrown in 1333.
Kammu, Emperor (737–806) The fiftieth emperor of Japan, in the traditional system of counting, who reigned from 781 to 806. He is noted for having moved the imperial capital from Nara to Kyoto in 794 and also for having launched successful military campaigns against tribes in the north. Nichiren Daishonin often refers to Emperor Kammu as a patron of Dengyō, the founder of the Tendai school.
Kanroku (n.d.) (Kor Kwallŭk) A seventh-century priest of Paekche, an ancient state on the Korean Peninsula. In 602 he brought the teachings of the Three Treatises and the Establishment of Truth schools, as well as works relating to the calendar, astronomy, and geography, to Japan. In 624 he was given the title administrator of priests by the imperial court, the first time this title was bestowed in Japan.
Kanto (1) The Kamakura government. By Nichiren Daishonin’s day, the seat of national authority had shifted from Kyoto to Kamakura. (2) The Kanto region covered the eight provinces of Sagami, Musashi, Awa, Kazusa, Shimōsa, Hitachi, Kōzuke, and Shimotsuke.
Kapila A legendary figure said to be the founder of the Sāmkhya school, one of the six major schools of Brahmanism in ancient India.
Kāshyapa (1) A bodhisattva to whom Shakyamuni Buddha addresses the “Bodhisattva Kāshyapa” chapter of the Nirvana Sutra. In this chapter, he asks Shakyamuni thirty-six questions. (2) The sixth of seven Buddhas of the past, the last of whom is Shakyamuni.
Kāshyapa Mātanga (n.d.) Also simply called Mātanga. He and Chu Fa-lan were the two Indian monks traditionally believed to have first introduced Buddhism to China. It is said that in c.e. 67, they traveled from India to Lo-yang in China at the request of Emperor Ming of the Later Han dynasty.
Katsu A Tungusic nation that ruled over the northeastern part of China and northern Korea in the Sui and T’ang periods. According to old maps, a “land to the east of T’ang and to the west of Katsu,” as described in Dengyō’s Outstanding Principles of the Lotus Sutra, would indicate Japan.
Kātyāyana One of Shakyamuni’s ten major disciples, respected as the foremost in debate.
Keishin (n.d.) A priest of Tōdai-ji temple in Nara in Japan, a contemporary of Dengyō (767–822), who held the title “discipline master.” When Dengyō petitioned the reigning Emperor Saga for permission to build a Mahayana ordination platform on Mount Hiei, Keishin opposed this project.
Kenchō-ji The head temple of the Kenchō-ji branch of the Rinzai school of Zen, located in Kamakura in Japan. One of the five major Rinzai temples in Kamakura. At one time it had more than five hundred branch temples. Hōjō Tokiyori built Kenchō-ji temple in Kamakura in 1253, inviting Dōryū (Chin Tao-lung), a priest from Sung China, to be the first chief priest.
Kharadīya One of seven concentric gold mountain ranges that surround Mount Sumeru, according to ancient Indian cosmology.
Kimmei (509–571) The twenty-ninth or, depending on how the lineage is calculated, thirtieth emperor of Japan. Buddhism was introduced to Japan from Korea during Kimmei’s reign.
kimnara (Skt) Also, kinnara. In Indian mythology, musicians of the deity Kuvera who excel in singing and dancing and have a human body and the head of a horse. They were regarded as the gods of music. In Buddhism, they are counted as one of the eight kinds of nonhuman beings who protect the Buddha’s teachings, as are the heavenly musicians called gandharva.
Kiyomaro See Wake no Kiyomaro.
Kiyomori See Taira no Kiyomori.
Kōbō (774–835) Also known as Kūkai or the Great Teacher Kōbō. The founder of the True Word school in Japan. In 804 he traveled to China, where he studied the doctrines and rituals of the esoteric teachings. After returning to Japan in 806, he devoted himself to the dissemination of the True Word esoteric teachings and established a temple complex on Mount Kōya.
Kōchō era The period in Japan from 1261 to 1264. In 1264, the era name changed to Bun’ei. Nichiren Daishonin’s exile to Izu Province took place during the Kōchō era.
Koguryŏ One of three ancient kingdoms on the Korean Peninsula, along with Silla in the southeast and Paekche in the southwest. Established in the first century b.c.e., Koguryŏ dominated northern Korea, but in 668 it was conquered by Silla and the Chinese forces of Kao-tsung, the third emperor of the T’ang dynasty.
Kōjō (779–858) A disciple of Dengyō who exerted himself to realize Dengyō’s dream of establishing a Mahayana ordination platform at Mount Hiei. The Tendai school received imperial permission for construction seven days after Dengyō’s death in 822. Later Kōjō became the superintendent of Enryaku-ji temple.
Kokālika A member of the Shākya tribe and an enemy of Shakyamuni. Falling under Devadatta’s influence, he slandered Shāriputra and Maudgalyāyana, the Buddha’s disciples, and is said to have fallen into hell alive.
Kōken, Empress (718–770) The forty-sixth and forty-eighth imperial sovereign of Japan, according to the traditional counting system. She is known as Empress Shōtoku in her second reign. A daughter of Emperor Shōmu, she assumed the imperial throne in 749, but abdicated in 758 in favor of Emperor Junnin. A devout Buddhist, she later became a devoted patron of a priest named Dōkyō, who had offered prayers and conducted rites to cure her illness. She helped Dōkyō gain considerable influence in the imperial court. Kōken deposed the reigning emperor and again ascended the throne as Empress Shōtoku in 764. After her death Dōkyō was driven from the capital.
koku (Jpn) A unit of volume in Japan equal to about 180 liters or about 5 bushels.
Kompon Also, the Great Teacher Kompon. Another name for the Great Teacher Dengyō, the founder of the Tendai school in Japan. Kompon means basis, source, or origin.
Koryŏ A kingdom that was established in north-central Korea in 918 and ruled the Korean Peninsula from 935 to 1392.
koti (Skt) An ancient Indian numerical unit. There are various interpretations as to the value of this unit; koti is defined as 100,000, 10,000,000, and so on.
Kōya, Mount The center of the True Word school in Japan. It is the site of the school’s head temple, Kongōbu-ji. In 816 Kōbō, founder of the True Word school in Japan, requested Emperor Saga to grant him Mount Kōya to establish the head temple of his school. Saga complied and Kōbō set about building the temple structures, which were completed after his death in the late ninth century.
Krakucchanda The fourth of the seven Buddhas of the past. The first three are said to have appeared in the past Glorious Kalpa, and the latter four, the last being Shakyamuni, in the present Wise Kalpa. Krakucchanda is the first of the four Buddhas of the present Wise Kalpa. The Wise Kalpa Sutra describes Krakucchanda as the first of a thousand Buddhas in the present Wise Kalpa.
Krita (n.d.) A king of Kashmir in India who opposed Buddhism. He banished the Buddhist monks, destroying Buddhism in the area. He was killed by Himatala, king of Tukhāra and a patron of Buddhism.
Kshatriya (Skt) The second highest of the four classes or castes in ancient India, just below the Brahmans, or priestly class. Its members were nobles and warriors, and it was the ruling class in secular affairs.
Kūamidabutsu (1155–1228) A priest of the Pure Land school in Japan. Originally, he studied Buddhism as a priest of the Tendai school, but later encountered Pure Land school founder Hōnen and became his disciple. He spread the Pure Land (Nembutsu) teaching in the Kyoto area, though he never settled at a particular temple. In 1227, as one of the principal exponents of the exclusive practice of the Nembutsu, he was sentenced to exile along with Hōnen’s other disciples Ryūkan and Kōsai.
Kuan Lung-feng (n.d.) A minister to King Chieh, the last king of the Hsia dynasty in China. King Chieh led a dissolute life and caused his people great distress. Kuan Lung-feng remonstrated with him, but Chieh gave no ear to his admonitions and had him beheaded. After that the Hsia dynasty rapidly declined and was destroyed by King T’ang of the Yin (or Shang) dynasty. The Hsia dynasty is traditionally considered to have ended in 1766 b.c.e. Together with Pi Kan, Kuan Lung-feng was regarded as a model of loyalty.
K’uei-chi See Tz’u-en.
Kūkai See Kōbō.
Kukkutapāda Also, Mount Gurupādaka. A mountain in the kingdom of Magadha well known as the place where Shakyamuni’s disciple Mahākāshyapa died.
Kukkutārāma Monastery A monastery built by King Ashoka in the third century b.c.e. and located southeast of Pātaliputra, the capital of the Maurya dynasty, in India. Later King Pushyamitra, the founder of the Shunga dynasty, destroyed Kukkutārāma Monastery and killed many monks.
Kumārajīva (344–413) A prominent scholar from Central Asia who translated a number of Buddhist scriptures into Chinese. In 401 he went to Ch’ang-an and immersed himself in the translation of Buddhist scriptures including the Lotus Sutra. His translation of the Lotus Sutra became the most widely used version in China and Japan. It is said that he translated 35 works in 294 volumes (or 74 works in 384 volumes, according to another source). Prized by later generations for their excellence and clarity, Kumārajīva’s translations profoundly influenced the subsequent development of Buddhism in China and Japan.
kumbhānda (Skt) A class of demons. Kumbhāndas are regarded as evil spirits who devour human vitality. They are also said to be attendants of Increase and Growth, one of the four heavenly kings.
K’un-lun Mountains A mountain range in the western region of China. The K’un-lun Mountains cover an area between Pamir to the west and Ch’ing-hai of western China to the east, and between the Tarim Basin to the north and the Plateau of Tibet to the south. The K’un-luns were traditionally believed to be rich in precious stones, or jewels.