Kegon (Kanji: 華厳 Hiragana: けごん) is the name of the Japanese transmission of the Huayan school of Chinese Buddhism.
In Chinese, Hua-yen. Bst.
School founded in China in the seventh century and brought to Japan by Dōsen in 736. Mother temple is Tōdaiji at Nara, the largest
wooden building in the world, which houses a vast figure of Vairocana (q.v.).
The teaching centres round the Avatamsaka Sutra (q.v.), ‘the culmination of Chinese Bst. thought’ (Suzuki).
(See Jijimuge.) Although one of the smallest Bst. schools its influence has been enormous.
Huayan studies were founded in Japan when, in 736, the scholar-priest Rōben (良辯 or 良弁) originally a monk of the Hossō
tradition invited Shinshō (審祥, also in Japanese Shinjō, Chinese Shen-hsiang, Korean Simsang) to give lectures on the
Avatamsaka Sutra at Kinshōsen-ji (金鐘山寺, also 金鐘寺 Konshu-ji or Kinshō-ji), the origin of later Tōdai-ji. When the construction
of Tōdai-ji was completed, Rōben entered that temple to formally initiate Kegon as a field of study in Japanese Buddhism, and Kegon-shū
would become known as one of the Nanto Rikushū (南都六宗), or The Six Buddhist Sects of Nanto (Nara). Rōben's disciple Jitchu
continued administration of Tōdai-ji and expanded its prestige through the introduction of imported rituals. Kegon thought would later be
popularized by Myōe (明惠), who combined its doctrines with those of Vajrayana and Gyōnen (凝然), and is most responsible for the
establishment of the Tōdai-ji lineage of Kegon.
Over time, Kegon incorporated esoteric ritual from Shingon Buddhism, with which it shared a cordial relationship. Its practice continues to
this day, and includes a few temples overseas.