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Buddhism (仏教 Bukkyō?) is a non-theistic religion originating from India and based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha.

In Toaru Majutsu no Index, Buddhism is mostly used as a base for certain forms of Magic.


The most recognizable symbol of Buddhism, the dharmachakra, or Wheel of Dharma, represents the Noble Eightfold Path, Buddha's described way to enlightenment.

At its most basic level, Buddhism teaches that every sentient being has the potential to achieve Nirvana, a state of permanent peace, liberation, and "consciousness without feature, without end" beyond suffering and desire. If not in this life, then another. This is the core of Buddhism, and built around it are key concepts forming much of the basis of Buddhism.

The Four Noble Truths

After Buddha achieved enlightenment, it is said that he taught the Four Noble Truths in his first sermon. They are, summarized:

  • That life is suffering.
  • That suffering has an origin and this is attachment or desire.
  • That there is a way to end suffering.
  • That this way is through the Noble Eightfold Path.

The Four Dharma Seals

Buddhists believe that all phenomena in the physical world are characterized by the Four Seals or Axioms. They are, summarized again:

  • All things are impermanent. (both in a state of change and not eternal)
  • That physical existence is suffering and dissatisfaction.
  • That all things have no true self. (i.e. a soul)
  • Nirvana is peace and liberation.

The Six Paths

Another notable concept in Buddhism is that of the Six Paths (六道 Rokudō?). The concept is that all forms of life are continually being reborn through six "lower" realms (in order from highest to lowest):

  1. The Deva/God realm
  2. The Asura/Jealous God realm
  3. The Human realm
  4. The Animal realm
  5. The Preta/Hungry Ghost realm
  6. The Hell realm/Naraka.

All forms of life walk one of these six paths, named after the type of life-form walking down them, and on death, are reborn to walk down one of the paths again, the path depending on their karma. This applies to everyone, regardless of their status and achievements in their current life; even great priests and holy men might find themselves walking the path of an animal or preta in their next life.[1]

The only way to escape from this cycle of reincarnation and travel to the Pure Land (浄土 Joudo?) is to achieve enlightenment and perfect Buddhahood. With a few exceptions, this usually cannot be achieved within a single lifetime and must be strived towards gradually throughout multiple lives, slowly training and polishing one's soul, eventually liberating oneself from worldly desires.[1][2]

According to the High Priest, there is no path for Magic Gods and as they didn't rise to their position through normal means, the gates of the Pure Land will not open for them.[1]


Several varieties of Buddhism have formed as it has spread and been changed by other traditions. An example would be the Japanese variety, which changed during its passage through China and Korea from its origin in India, and was affected by Shinto.[2]


Toaru Majutsu no Index

Several characters appearing in Toaru Majutsu no Index, including Kanzaki Kaori and the rest of the Amakusa-Style Remix of Church, make use of aspects of Buddhism in their magic.[3][4]

Shinyaku Toaru Majutsu no Index

Magic God Invasion Arc

Main article: Magic God Invasion Arc

The High Priest, a Magic God of the true Gremlin and the Japanese variety of Buddhism, born from self-mummification, makes use of several forms of Buddhist magic during his destructive pursuit of Kamijou Touma through Academy City.[5]

Uses of Buddhism within the story

  • Acala: A guardian deity, one of the Wisdom Kings, commonly depicted as holding a sword and lariat, and being engulfed in flames.
    • The accessories worn by the High Priest, his purple robe with the flame-like collar, his golden sword and ornaments, all forced on him by those who sabotaged his attempt at becoming a Buddha, are based on those of Acala.[2]
  • Buddha: The term Buddha can refer to Siddhartha Gautama, whose teachings Buddhism is based on, or to one who has achieved a state of perfect enlightenment.
    • The High Priest subjected himself to self-mummification in order to become a Buddha in one generation, but ultimately failed to achieve enlightenment,[6] due to sabotage from a faction opposed to him attaining Buddhahood, becoming a Magic God instead.[7]
  • Prayer beads: Also known as Japamala, a string of beads used in prayer and meditation for counting repetitions. There are usually 108 beads, generally seeds of the bodhi tree, strung into a loop by a single thread, though beads of crystal are also used and there are variations with other numbers. Similar items are also found in other religions across the world, such as the Christian rosary.
  • Self-mummification: A practice of the Japanese variety of Buddhism, aimed at becoming a Buddha in a single life, involving one sealing themself in an underground room, forming mudra and chanting sutra until they starve to death and dry up, becoming a mummy in the process.
    • The High Priest subjected himself to self-mummification, though he failed to become a Buddha due to sabotage, and can manipulate dirt due to a connection formed during the process.[2]
  • Six Paths: The concept that all forms of life are continually being reborn throughout the six realms as they strive to reach enlightenment, ending in achieving Buddhahood.
    • As one who rose the level of a Buddha in a single life, the High Priest is capable of freely manipulating the intersection of the Six Paths.[10]
  • Tachikawa-ryu: A branch of Shingon Buddhism, one of the schools of Japanese Esoteric Buddhism, that practiced ritual sex. It would be suppressed as a sect by the end of the Nanboku-chō period.

Users of Buddhist-related Magic

External Links