Shingonshū The Japanese esoteric Buddhist tradition of Shingon takes its name from the Chinese term zhenyan, which literally means "true word" and is the Chinese translation of the Sanskrit term mantra, meaning spoken phrases taken to have extraordinary powers. The practice of reciting mantras is taken as characteristic of this tradition and points to the continuity of the tradition's practices from its Indic origins through to its modern Japanese instantiation. The centrality of mantra recitation is evidenced by two early names for the tradition, Mantranaya (path of mantras), and Mantrayāna (vehicle of mantras). Shingon is an esoteric tradition, meaning that its practices are only to be transmitted by a qualified teacher (Jpn., ajari; Skt., ācārya) to a student who has undergone the appropriate initiations. When speaking of the Shingon tradition, it refers primarily to a lineage of ritual practice.