I have been asked “how much of this novel is made up?” And, in particular, “are there really hidden buddhas in Japan?”

Yes, there are hidden buddhas. They exist in various temples throughout Japan, as indicated on the map in the frontispiece. Really, the only fiction in this book is the secret tradition Priest Tokuda inherits--that the hidden buddhas were created to protect the world. The ancient sect of Shingon Buddhism has many secret traditions, however, so who’s to say this is not one of them?

My descriptions of the mandalas, mudras, rituals, and beliefs of Shingon are all drawn as truthfully as possible from my research.

Liza Dalby