Professor SAKURAI Munenobu

Affiliations :

Tokyo Disney Resort and Esoteric Buddhist Meditation Techniques

When my wife invited me to Disneysea twelve years ago, I fully expected it to be a one-time visit. Upon seeing an Earth globe fountain, however, I became a fan, and now I regularly find myself riding the Keiyo line, which connects to the Disney Resort Line.
The parks are clean and beautifully decorated, the sound quality of the streaming music is quite good, the air is filled with the smell of caramel popcorn, and there is no end to enjoyable attractions. Not only does TDR stimulate all of our five senses, but it makes us feel that we stand exactly at the center of the park, of this whole constructed world, wherever we go. Each guest becomes the ruler of the “Kingdom of Dreams and Magic”. This extreme virtual experience entrances children and grown-ups alike, giving them tremendous gratification.
There is a mediation practice called sādhana in Indian esoteric Buddhism that I study. During this meditation the practitioner convinces himself that he is a deity, the center of the world, and then utilizes all his five senses to imagine that the resplendent mandala universe in front of him is real. The practitioner standing at the center of the universe, free to reshape it at his will, appears to be no different from a TDR guest, who can “make magic happen”.
But if sādhana is magic, it is not the invasive type. Its practitioners learn that the world of mandala and the phenomenal world are two sides of the same coin possessing similar natures. This realization enables the practitioner to finally throw away his or her attachment to Buddhist saints. It seems to me, that here we find another common point between meditation practices and the TDR experience. After all, “dreams and magic” of TDR and even their dream-like quality are supported and reinforced by the reality that waits just behind the park gates.

  • Research, History
  • Books, papers, etc.
  • Courses
    History of Indian Buddhism (Advanced Lecture); History of Indian Buddhism (Advanced Seminar)
    Personal History
    Born Uonuma, Niigata Prefecture.
    Graduated from the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts and Letters, Tohoku University
    Completed the doctoral course at the Graduate School of Arts and Letters, Tohoku University

    Awarded Research Fellowship for Young Scientists, The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
    Assistant Professor, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Iwate University Current position

    I study Indian and Tibetan Buddhist practices, and particularly esoteric Buddhism.
    Ph.D. (Literature)
    Esoteric Buddhism in India and Tibet; the spread of Buddhism in India and Tibet
    Research Subject
    Esoteric funeral rituals in India and Tibet;
    Luyipada School in Esoteric Buddhism
    Esoteric Buddhism in India and Tibet; rituals; schools of Buddhism
    The Japanese Association of Indian and Buddhist Studies; Nihon Buddhist Research Association; The Esoteric Buddhist Society of Japan; Japanese Association for Tibetan Studies; Association for the Study of Buddhist Iconography
    Database of Researchers Information
  • Books
    Academic Papers
    「bSod nams rtse mo著dPal ḥKhor lo sdom paḥi mchod paḥi cho gaの原典研究」、『東北大学文学研究科研究年報』第66号、2017
    「Bu stonの示すCakrasaṃvara観想法―rNal ḥbyor bshi ldanを中心に―」、『小峰彌彦先生小山典勇先生古稀記念 転法輪の歩み』、2016、149-164
    「サキャパンディタの〈ルーイーパーダ流〉理解―『サンヴァラ・ルーイーパーダの十万粒』を中心に―」、『密教図像』第34号、2015、 65-78
    2015 Young Researcher Award, Society for Chisan Studies
    2000 The Esoteric Buddhist Society of Japan Award
    1999 The Japanese Association of Indian and Buddhist Studies Prize