Chunmi 純密

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Chúnmì 純密 (1901-1970)
  • Lay surname 姓: Chén 陳
  • Born 1901 (Guāngxù 光緒 27) in Cháozhōu 潮州, Guǎngdōng 廣東
  • Died in prison in July, 1970
Notable Associates:
  • Article editor: Erik Hammerstrom

Chúnmì 純密 (1901-1970) was a monastic teacher of Japanese Esoteric Buddhism 東密 in Cháozhōu 潮州.



Chúnmì was born into a middle class mercantile family and received a classical education while growing up. He was tonsured under Yíguāng 怡光 in 1919, and received full ordination the following year at Fǎyǔ Temple 法雨寺 on Pǔtuóshān 普陀山.

Chúnmì was influenced by the works on Japanese esoteric Buddhism that were just being published by Wáng Hóngyuàn 王弘願, and in 1921 Chúnmì traveled to Koyasan 高野山 in Japan to study Shingon 真言 Esoteric Buddhism 東密. He remained in Japan until 1924, eventually receiving abhiṣeka 灌頂, which made him an Ācārya 阿闍梨, or lineage-holding teacher of esoteric Buddhism.

After returning to China in 1924, Chúnmì took up residence at Kāiyuán Temple 開元寺 (he went on to become abbot of this temple in 1942), where he began teaching Esoteric Buddhism. He eventually gathered a large number of disciples. It is reported by one scholar that Chúnmì was part of the Chinese delegation to the East Asian Buddhist Conference 東亞佛教大會 held in Tōkyō in 1925.[1] In the spring of 1927 he traveled to Thailand to teach and he went to Singapore in 1929. In 1934 he returned to Japan in order to secure certain esoteric texts and ritual implements, which he brought back to China.

In 1936 Chúnmì founded the Garden of Esoteric Accomplishment 蘇悉地園 near the Qīxīng Bridge 七星橋 at the Northern Gate 北門 of Cháozhōu. This temple was built in the style of a Japanese Shingon temple.

After the founding of the PRC in 1949, Chúnmì continued living at Kāiyuán Temple until he and the other monks were forced out in September of 1966 by the events of the Cultural Revolution. He was imprisoned in 1970 and died in prison in July of that year.

Notable Students

  • 陳侶豪
  • 方養秋
  • 李穆圃
  • 劉傳秋
  • 羅懋勳


  1. Xiào Píng 肖平, Jìndài Zhōngguó fójiào de fùxīng: yǔ Rìběn fójiàojiè de jiāowǎng lù 近代中國佛教的復: 興與日本佛教界的交往錄 (Record of the Interactions Between Early Contemporary Chinese Buddhism and the Japanese Buddhist World) (Gaungzhou: Guangdong renimn, 2003), 213.


  • Yú Língbō 于凌波, ed. Xiàndài Fójiào rénwù cídiǎn 現代佛教人物辭典 (A Dictionary of Modern Buddhist Persons), 2 vols. Taipei: Foguang, 2004. Pp. 1.893b-894a.
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