By the 8th century, the Tantric texts were translated into Chinese.The Chinese teachings were eventually introduced to Japan by the Japanese priest Kūkai (also known as Kōbō Daishi, 774 - 835 AD), the founder of Japan’s Shingon Sect, and by Saichō (767 - 822), the founder of Japan's Tendai 天台 sect.Like the Theravada and Mahayana schools, it proclaims that the physical world is illusory.Theravada says life is suffering caused by attachment, and reincarnation is to return to suffering.It appears to have flowered around the 8th century in Uddyana, a kingdom near Peshawar in modern Pakistan, where King Indrabhuti was initiated into the Tantric mysteries.It was also practiced widely in Bengal during the Pala dynasty (750-1150 AD).In Vajrayana traditions, there is no external reference point for "good and evil," and the role of the teacher thus becomes critical.
Esoteric deities are portrayed in great number in the artwork of coming centuries. The supreme deity of Japan’s Esoteric Sects, positioned in center of most mandalas. See description and citationon the Fudo Myo-o page. = Heavenly Terrace School Also called the Lotus Sutra School Photo courtesy: Exhibit catalogentitled "Faith and Syncretism: Saicho and Treasures of Tendai." Published 2005 by the Kyoto Nat’l Museum, Tokyo Nat’l Museum,and The Yomiuri Shimbun. Esoteric Buddhism wasn’t formally introduced to Japan until the early 9th century, but various esoteric forms of Kannon and other deities had already entered Japan (via China) during the 7th and 8th centuries.
In this branch of Vajrayana Buddhism, followers are taught not to suppress their desires but to indulge in them.
Where Theravada renounces the desires of the body, Vajrayana teaches indulgence in sensual impulses.
In addition, Japan’s Shugendō 修験道 mountain cults (founded by the 7th century holy man En no Gyōja 役行者) incorporated many esoteric beliefs and practices.
The Shugendō cult stresses physical endurance as the path to enlightenment.