A balanced and comprehensive approach to the study and practice of Buddhism


One Vehicle

Tendai Buddhism seeks to understand the inherent unity within the diversity of Buddhist traditions. To study Tendai is to study Buddhism as a whole, while also finding an approach to study and practice that works best for you.

Ichinen Sanzen

Three Thousand Worlds in One Thought Moment

Tendai Buddhists seek to understand the interconnectedness of all things.



Tendai Buddhist thought and practice is rooted in the notion that all beings possess the infinite potential to discover the truth together.

Tendai Buddhism Basics

 Tendai Buddhism blends together Indian and Chinese philosophical and religious ideas. Drawing upon the thought of the Indian Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna (c. 150-250 CE), and the concept of shunyata, Tendai Buddhism was founded by Zhiyi (538-597 CE), a Chinese scholar-monk and meditator who lived in the Tiantai mountains in China, and transmitted to Japan by a monk named Saicho (767-822 CE), who founded Enryakuji Temple on Mt. Hiei, Japan.

Tendai takes a comprehensive approach to the study and practice of Buddhism. Tendai Buddhism incorporates insights from the Indian and Chinese philosophical traditions, the study of the Lotus Sutra and other Buddhist texts, meditation traditions like Zen as well as Calming and Insight meditation (shamata-vipashyanna), Pure Land and tantric practices. Thus, in consultation with a teacher, one’s own personal practice may be customized to fit your needs as an individual.

We invite you to “light up your corner” of the world by learning about Buddhism through the study of Tendai.

For more information about the Chinese and Japanese roots of Tendai Buddhism, and for a recommended reading list please visit the Tendai Buddhist Institute’s site.

Reverend Monshin Naamon, abbot of the Tendai Buddhist Institute, explains Tendai Buddhism in this interview from Carving the Divine

“I vow not to savor the taste of liberation alone nor to realize the fruit of enlightenment all by myself. I will not experience the resulting supreme happiness by myself, but will share with all sentient beings.”

– Saicho, founder of Tendai Buddhism