In the early Tang Dynasty (618-907), the peony was brought to Japan by the Japanese envoy to the Tang Dynasty. According to the story, Kūkai, the Japanese Buddhist monk who founded the esoteric school of Shingon Buddhism, visited the Tang Dynasty capital of Chang’an (present-day Xi’an) to learn about Buddhism and was impressed by the blooming peonies in a garden.

When asked by a local monk to explain the deep messages of the peony, Kūkai expressed that: “kings plant peonies to ensure the stability and prosperity of the country; The rich plant peonies to seek wealth and fortune from generation to generation; common people plant peonies to avoid disasters and hope for safety and peace; and in temples, peonies carry the wisdom of Buddhism and can turn bad luck into good luck.


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