Hanmi Buddhism is a syncretic school of Buddhism that combines elements of the Chinese Esoteric, Pure Land, and Chan (Zen) traditions. It emerged in China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE) and was later transmitted to Japan and other East Asian countries.

The founder of Hanmi Buddhism is traditionally considered to be the Indian monk Vajrabodhi (671-741 CE), who was invited to China by Emperor Xuanzong in 720 CE to translate esoteric Buddhist texts. Vajrabodhi was a master of the Vajrayana (Diamond Vehicle) tradition of Buddhism, which emphasizes the use of various ritual practices, such as mantras, mudras, and mandalas, to attain spiritual awakening.

Vajrabodhi is said to have transmitted the teachings of the Mahavairocana Tantra, also known as the Great Sun Buddha or the Diamond Crown Sutra, to the Chinese monk Amoghavajra (705-774 CE), who became his disciple and carried on his lineage. Amoghavajra is considered the patriarch of the Chinese Esoteric tradition, which developed into a distinct school of Buddhism that incorporated elements of Chinese Taoism and indigenous shamanism.

Hanmi Buddhism evolved from the Chinese Esoteric tradition during the Tang Dynasty, under the influence of the Pure Land and Chan traditions. Hanmi teachers like Fazang (643-712 CE) and Zongmi (780-841 CE) integrated the doctrines and practices of these traditions into their own teachings, which emphasized the importance of cultivating wisdom and compassion to overcome ignorance and suffering.

In Japan, Hanmi Buddhism was transmitted by the Chinese monk Huiguo (746-805 CE) to the Japanese monk Kukai (774-835 CE), who founded the Shingon school of Buddhism. Shingon is a Japanese form of Esoteric Buddhism that shares many similarities with Hanmi, including the use of mandalas and the belief in the unity of all phenomena.

Today, Hanmi Buddhism is practiced primarily in China, Taiwan, and the United States, where it has been introduced by contemporary Hanmi masters such as Sheng-yen and Dechan Jueren.

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