Jinyin Temple of Sino Esoteric Buddhism
Jinyin Temple of Sino Esoteric Buddhism was established by His Holiness the Vajra Master Jinke Xuanlei and his disciples in 2017. It is not only the first Sino Esoteric Buddhist temple established in the United State, but also a multi-functional spiritual center of peace, service, and education for all people of any faith tradition. Different from traditional churches and ordinary temples or shrines, it is being built as a major international spiritual center open to religious practitioners and the public from all over the world.
Jinyin Temple is located next to the Poconos National Forest Park where the ecosystem is well preserved with exuberant vegetation. The property is being transformed from an abandoned resort to a sacred spiritual sanctuary of harmony and peace. The Vajra Master chose to establish Jinyin Temple and the World Peace Prayer Mandala in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania after entering into samadhi, the deepest meditative state of mind. This is the sacred arrangement of the Buddha, Bodhisattvas, and God.
Sino Esoteric Buddhism — Tangmi 唐密
Sino Esoteric Buddhism is derived from Vajrayāna Buddhism. In Sanskrit, Vajrayāna means “Thunderbolt Vehicle” or “Diamond Vehicle”. It is a form of Tantric Buddhism that developed in India and neighboring countries, and deals with each individual’s inner experiences. Vajrayāna embodies the ideas of both the Yogācāra and the Mādhyamika philosophy. Both are important schools in the Mahāyāna, the former emphasizes the ultimacy of mind, and the latter undermines any attempt to posit a relativistic principle as the ultimate.
Mainly in the 2nd century, Buddhism, as a new religion, began to make rapid inroads in China, thanks to the work of the translators and imperial protection. Sino Esoteric Buddhism was introduced to the Chinese Imperial court by Indian Buddhist masters Śubhakarasiṃha, Vajrabodhi, Amoghavajra, and others during the Kaiyuan reign (713 - 741) of the Tang dynasty (618 - 907). After that it gradually grew into the Esoteric School of China, thus it is called Tangmi (唐密) in Chinese (Táng: dynasty name; mì: esoteric). Historically, Sino Esoteric Buddhism has made significant contributions to cultural exchanges between different civilizations.
Sino Esoteric Buddhism is fundamentally a dharmakāya-based religion, signifying a succession of enlightened masters. Depending on the state of religious tolerance in China, Sino Esoteric Buddhism has existed uninterrupted either in secret, or in public, since the 8th century. Through dharmakāya transmission, the Tangmi lineage is carried on by many great Buddhist masters, including Master Huilang 慧朗, Master Qizhenxinghai 琪真性海, Master Rilunjiemo 日輪羯磨, Master Bayinduda 巴音都達, Master Jinyin 金音, and Master Jinke Xuanlei 金珂玄雷. The Tangmi teaching embodies the state of unconditional love for humanity and the perfection of transcendent wisdom.
The Founding Masters of Sino Esoteric Buddhism
Vajrabodhi 金剛智 (669 - 741)
In “Song Biographies of Eminent Monks” (also Dasong gaosengzhuan 大宋高僧傳), the compiler Zanning 讚寧 (960–1279) comments, “In eastern China, Vajrabodhi is the founding master. Amoghavajra, Vajrabodhi’s disciple, was the second eminent master, and the third Master is Huilang.”
Vajrabodhi was an Indian Esoteric Buddhist master and Vajrayāna missionary to eighth-century Tang China. He was born into a South Indian brahmin family and converted to Buddhism at the age of sixteen. He studied all schools of Buddhism and was able to recite long passages of teachings everyday since he was a child. In 719, the seventh year of Kaiyuan Reign, after a 3-year journey, Vajrabodhi arrived in China through the south-Asian sea route and dedicated his life there to the transmission of dharma, mainly in the two capitals, Chang’An (now Xi'an) and Luoyang.
Vajrabodhi’s ability to perform miracles is documented in the Tang official court records. He was once summoned to the court of Emperor Xuanzong (r. 846-859) to make rain after all of the court ritual officials had failed. In an elaborate ritual, Vajrabodhi constructed a platform and made offerings to the deity Amoghānkuśa while painting an image of the Cundi Bodhisattva. Later on a set date, he finished the image by painting the eyes of the Bodhisattva to “open the vision.” Suddenly, at that moment, a wind arrived from the northwestern sky, thundering clouds started to burst and bring rain.
Śubhakarasiṃha 善無畏 (637 - 735)
Śubhakarasiṃha was an eminent Indian Buddhist monk and master of Esoteric Buddhism, who arrived in the Chinese capital Chang'an in 716 CE and translated the Mahāvairocana Sūtra. He was born as the oldest son of King Buddhakara. Yet the entire family migrated to Odra (now Odisha) because of political and societal instability. Śubhakarasiṃha ascended to the throne at the age of thirteen and later turned over his position to his oldest brother and entered the monastic life.
Like Vajrabodhi, Śubhakarasiṃha spent most of his life in ritual activity, text translation from Sanskrit to Chinese, and the creation of Esoteric art. He was already eighty years old when he arrived in China, where he became well-known and favored by Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang for his supernatural abilities, which are also documented in the Tang official court records.
Amoghavajra 不空三藏 (705 - 774)
Buddhist monk Bukong 不空, half Indian and half Sogdian and well known by his Sanskrit name Amoghavajra, is recognized as the most important promoter of the Esoteric traditions of Vajroṣṇīṣa Yoga and the second master of Tangmi. He spent most of his lifetime in Tang China as a Buddhist missionary and court official, serving the state and dedicating his life to dharma transmission with a soteriological approach.
During the An Lushan Rebellion (755 - 763), a rebellion against the Tang dynasty of China, Bukong contributed to the enthronement of Emperor Suzong of Tang (reigned 756–762) and thus was rewarded with the imperial authorization of his Esoteric Buddhist tradition and practice system. The Sino Esoteric School thrived as part of the official state institution, constituting a new mode of imperial Buddhism.