Ajari Jomyo Tanaka

1947 Jomyo Tanaka was born in 1947, in Saitama prefecture, Japan.

1952 Began study of Buddhism, Shugendo and calligraphy with his grandfather.

1968 Entered the Shingon Buddhist priesthood at Kongoji in Tokyo, Japan. Instructed by Patriarch Yoga Akiyama, one of the most accomplished calligraphers in modern Japan.

1969 Entered service at Daikakuji in Kyoto. Awarded teacher’s license from the Saga calligraphy school founded in the Heian period.

1970 Travelled to India to study Sanskrit, remained for six years.

1976 Upon return to Japan, lectured on Buddhism at Yakushiji in Nara.

1978 Came to America and began teaching Shingon Buddhism to Western students. Lectured regularly on the East Coast.

1980 Began teaching calligraphy courses in New York. Also annual lectures on Buddhism, Japanese art and culture in Europe.

1984 Founded the Mandala Buddhist Center and joined the faculty of the School of Sacred Arts lecturing and teaching calligraphy as spiritual practice. In following years, demonstrations at Asia Society, New York Public Library, Walker Art Center, with works in Art News Magazine, New York Times, Newsweek, Variety, Financial Times of London, Detroit Museum of Art etc.

1987 Relocated to Bristol, Vermont, founding a mountain monastery and training center.

1988 Teaching duties in Vermont, Boston and New York, as well as extensive lectures in Japan on the state and future of Buddhism in America. Calligraphy for binding and chapter headings in the book “Manzanar” by Ansel Adams, featuring photographs of the Japanese-American internment camps during WW2.

1989 Missionary work in Mexico.

1990 Missionary journey to Italy, France, Switzerland.

1991 Missionary work in EU.

1992 Missionary work in France, Italy, Germany.

1993-1995 Paris, France. Missionary work in EU.

1996-1998 Netherland. Missionary work in EU.

1999 Missionary journey to Italy and Croatia.

2000s Annual visits to USA and Croatia, with intensive practice retreats, calligraphy workshops, private teachings, with select students undertaking Shido kegyo (四度加行) training.


Present. Senior priest at Takahata Fudoson Kongoji in Tokyo. Also lecturing at Waseda University.


*Ajari  阿闍梨  is the Japanese transliteration from Sanskrit Acārya, an abbreviation of Vajrācārya, a general title for a teacher in Shingon Mikkyo tradition of Japanese Vajrayāna.