This discussion of the god Matarajin combines both a diachronic or genealogical approach with a synchronic one. Through the former, I follow the trajectory leading from the Indian god Mahākāla, leader of the vampire-like ḍākinīs, to the Japanese Matarajin, protector of nenbutsu practice in Tendai monasteries and patron of the performing arts; through the latter, I examine Matarajin’s symbolic network, keying on the figures of Sekizan Myōjin and Shinra Myōjin, protectors of two rival branches of Tendai.
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