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Chinese and Tibetan Esoteric Buddhism presents cutting-edge research and unfolds the sweeping impact of esoteric Buddhis

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Chinese and Tibetan Esoteric Buddhism
 9004340505, 9789004340503

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Chinese and Tibetan Esoteric Buddhism

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2017 | doi 10.1163/9789004340503_001

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Studies on East Asian Religions Edited by James A. Benn (McMaster University) Jinhua Chen (University of British Columbia)

VOLUME 1

The titles published in this series are listed at brill.com/sear





Chinese and Tibetan Esoteric Buddhism Edited by

Yael Bentor Meir Shahar

LEIDEN | BOSTON

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Cover illustration: Tantric Female Deity. Ming Dynasty (ca. 15th century) wall-painting from the Fahai Monastery in the outskirts of Beijing. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Bentor, Yael, 1951- editor. | Shahar, Meir, 1959- editor. Title: Chinese and Tibetan esoteric Buddhism / edited by Yael Bentor, Meir Shahar. Description: Leiden ; Boston : Brill, 2017. | Series: Studies on East Asian religions ; Volume 1 | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2016059379 (print) | LCCN 2016059545 (ebook) | ISBN 9789004340497 (hardback : alk. paper) | ISBN 9789004340503 (E-book) Subjects: LCSH: Tantric Buddhism--China. | Tantric Buddhism--Tibet Region. | Buddhism and culture--China. | Buddhism and culture--Tibet Region. Classification: LCC BQ8916 .C49 2017 (print) | LCC BQ8916 (ebook) | DDC 294.3/9250951--dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2016059379

Typeface for the Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic scripts: “Brill”. See and download: brill.com/brill-typeface. issn 2452-0098 isbn 978-90-04-34049-7 (hardback) isbn 978-90-04-34050-3 (e-book) Copyright 2017 by Koninklijke Brill nv, Leiden, The Netherlands. Koninklijke Brill NV incorporates the imprints Brill, Brill Hes & De Graaf, Brill Nijhoff, Brill Rodopi and Hotei Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher. Authorization to photocopy items for internal or personal use is granted by Koninklijke Brill nv provided that the appropriate fees are paid directly to The Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Suite 910, Danvers, ma 01923, usa. Fees are subject to change. This book is printed on acid-free paper and produced in a sustainable manner.

Contents Contents

Contents

Acknowledgements ix List of Figures x



Introduction 1 Yael Bentor and Meir Shahar

Part 1 Chinese Perspectives on the Origins of Esoteric Buddhism 1

Tantric Subjects: Liturgy and Vision in Chinese Esoteric Ritual Manuals 17 Charles D. Orzech

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Spells and Magical Practices as Reflected in the Early Chinese Buddhist Sources (c. 300–600 CE) and Their Implications for the Rise and Development of Esoteric Buddhism 41 Henrik H. Sørensen

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The Terms “Esoteric Teaching” (“Esoteric Buddhism”) and “Tantra” in Chinese Buddhist Sources 72 Lü Jianfu

Part 2 Chan, Chinese Religion, and Esoteric Buddhism 4

Buddhist Veda and the Rise of Chan 85 Robert H. Sharf  

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A Comparative Approach to Śubhakarasiṃha’s (637–735) “Essentials of Meditation”: Meditation and Precepts in Eighth-Century China 121 Lin Pei-ying

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The Tantric Origins of the Horse King: Hayagrīva and the Chinese Horse Cult 147 Meir Shahar

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Contents

Part 3 Scriptures and Practices in Their Tibetan Context 7

Crazy Wisdom in Moderation: Padampa Sangyé’s Use of Counterintuitive Methods in Dealing with Negative Mental States 193 Dan Martin

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Perception, Body and Selfhood: The Transformation of Embodiment in the Thod rgal Practice of the “Heart Essence” Tradition 215 Eran Laish

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Tibetan Interpretations of the Opening Verses of Vajraghaṇṭa on the Body Maṇḍala 230 Yael Bentor

Part 4 Tibetan Buddhism in China 10

Ming Chinese Translations of Tibetan Tantric Buddhist Texts and the Buddhist Saṃgha of the Western Regions in Beijing 263 Shen Weirong

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Sino-Tibetan Buddhism: Continuities and Discontinuities: The Case of Nenghai’s Legacy in the Contemporary Era 300 Ester Bianchi

Part 5 Esoteric Buddhism in Dunhuang 12

On the Significance of the Ārya-tattvasaṃgraha-sādhanopāyikā and Its Commentary 321 Jacob P. Dalton

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Avalokiteśvara and the Dunhuang Dhāraṇī Spells of Salvation in Childbirth 338 Li Ling and Ma De

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Part 6 Esoteric Buddhism in the Tangut Xixia and Yugur Spheres 14

Notes on the Translation and Transmission of the Saṃpuṭa and Cakrasaṃvara Tantras in the Xixia Period (1038–1227) 355 Hou Haoran

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Mongol Rulers, Yugur Subjects, and Tibetan Buddhism 377 Yang Fuxue and Zhang Haijuan

Part 7 Esoteric Buddhism in the Dali Kingdom (Yunnan) 16

The Chinese Origins of Dali Esoteric Buddhism 389 Hou Chong

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Between China and Tibet: Mahākāla Worship and Esoteric Buddhism in the Dali Kingdom 402 Megan Bryson



Index 429

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Contents

Acknowledgements Acknowledgments

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Acknowledgements We are deeply grateful to the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, for its warm hospitality during the year-long project that resulted in this volume. The institute’s director, Prof. Michal Linial, and its entire staff made our sojourn in Jerusalem a wonderful experience. We likewise wish to express our thanks to our research assistant, Mr. Ilia Mozias. Ms. Patricia Radder and Ms. Kim Fiona Plas of Brill were a pleasure to work with while they swiftly and efficiently helped us to bring this book to completion.

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List of Figures

List Of Figures

List of Figures 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7

6.8 6.9 6.10 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 12.7 13.1

13.2

13.3 13.4 13.5

T­hree-eyed Hayagrīva Avalokiteśvara enwrapped in flames. Northern-Song (10th or 11th century) 157 Three-eyed Hayagrīva Avalokiteśvara blazing bright. Early Kamakura (1185–1249) statue at the Nakayma Monastery, Fukui prefecture, Japan 158 Tang-Period Hayagrīva Avalokiteśvara from the An’guo Monastery in Xian 159 Three-Eyed Hayagrīva Avalokiteśvara mounted upon a bull 161 The three-eyed Śiva with his spouse Pārvatī. Painting dated ca. 1820, by Chokha (active late 18th early 19th century) 162 Statue of the Horse King in a small village shrine, approximately sixty miles west of Beijing 168 The Horse King in an early twentieth-century ritual manuscript from Hunan Province. The deity’s identification with the sixth star of the southern dipper accords with his description in Ming-period Daoist scriptures 169 Horse King’s image at the Juyong Guan Fortress, Beijing 170 Ming-period Water-and-Land ritual painting of the Horse Marshal, preserved at the Baiyun Guan Daoist Temple (Beijing) 175 The Horse King in the Album of Daoist and Buddhist Themes (ca. twelfth century) 180 IOL Tib J 551, 1r 323 IOL Tib J 417, 1r 323 Pelliot tibétain 265, 1r 324 IOL Tib J 98, 5r 324 Pelliot tibétain 271, 1v 324 IOL Tib J 448, 2r 324 IOL Tib J 447, 1r 324 Dhāraṇī of a thousand Turns of the Saintly Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara Who Expiates all Crimes. Pelliot sanscrit Dunhuang 4. National Library of France 339 Dhāraṇī of a thousand Turns of the Saintly Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara Who Expiates all Crimes. Pelliot sanscrit Dunhuang 8. National Library of France 340 Dunhuang talisman invoking the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara. The British Library (Or.8210/S.2498) 341 Dunhuang talisman invoking the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara. The British Library (Or.8210/S.2498) 341 Dunhuang manuscript of the Writ of the Difficult [Ninth] Month. Pelliot Chinois 3765 (page 11). National Library of France 344

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13.6 The printed Sūtra of the Heart of the Buddha Crown [Uṣṇīṣa] of Avalokiteśvara. Zhejiang Provincial Museum 347 13.7 The orphaned souls of aborted fetuses. Ming-period wall painting from the Pilu Monastery (Hebei Province) 349 13.8 Ming-Period Woodblock print of the Child-giving Guanyin (preserved at the Fayuan Monastery, Beijing) 350 14.1 The Root Text of the Saṃpuṭa F018–4 358 16.1 Dhāraṇī pillar (Dali Kingdom Period (937–1253)). Yunnan Provincial Museum, Kunming 393 16.2 Dhāraṇī pillar (Dali Kingdom Period (937–1253)). Yunnan Provincial Museum, Kunming (detail) 394 16.3 The Heart Sūtra on the Kunming Dhāraṇī pillar (Dali Kingdom Period (937– 1253)). Yunnan Provincial Museum, Kunming 395

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Introduction Introduction

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Introduction Yael Bentor and Meir Shahar Bentor and Shahar The past decade has witnessed a growing scholarly interest in esoteric Bud­ dhism (also known as Tantric Buddhism). Heated debates over the nature and definition of the Buddhist movement attest an increased awareness of its fecundity. Crystallizing during the second half of the first millennium CE, esoteric Buddhism featured an astonishing array of ritual tools side by side with a daring soteriology and a bewitching pantheon of divinities. Spreading from its native India, the esoteric technologies of liberation and empowerment appealed to rulers and their subjects across Asia. Far from being limited to Buddhist circles, Tantric Buddhism influenced local religions from Japanese Shinto to Tibetan Bon. Thus, the esoteric movement served as a vehicle for the Indian culture’s impact upon other Asian civilizations. Throughout the continent, Tantric Buddhism played a major role in the transmission of culture. The audacity of Tantric Buddhism is astounding—and its richness no less so. The movement boldly posited salvation here and now. It explored the notion of liberation in the body, sometimes by employing negative emotions for this purpose. Buddhahood being present everywhere, some Tantric authors tested the boundaries separating enlightenment from the sensorial world. Occa­sionally, violation of accepted norms of behavior was hailed as the means for religious liberation, even as the language of sexual desire was employed to express mystical union with the deity. Yet alongside its antinomian thrust, esoteric Buddhism laid enormous emphasis on the meticulous performance of religious rites. Tantric authors detailed the ritual steps that would lead to Buddhahood. By means of these elaborate rites, it was possible to attain liberation, no less than magical powers. The Tantric movement featured a prodigious pantheon of deities, each with its quintessential mythological and visual traits. And the abundance of the movement revealed itself in the material as well as the spiritual. The painted and sculpted images of the Tantric gods number among the greatest achievements of Buddhist art. Each facet of the multidimensional Tantric movement merits a study in its own right: the daring soteriology, the extensive ritual, the multiform methods of meditation and visualization, not to mention the vast body of scriptures and treasures of visual art. Particularly intriguing is the relation of these Tantric elements to the earlier Buddhist tradition on the one hand and to the surrounding Hindu environment on the other. Tantrism brought to the fore conceptions and practices incipient in earlier Buddhist schools. The recitation

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2017 | doi 10.1163/9789004340503_002

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of charms, for example, is not unique to esoteric Buddhism, as lengthy dhāraṇī spells figure in canonical Mahāyāna scriptures. What, then, distinguishes esoteric Buddhism from the Mahāyāna that preceded it? Should Tantric Buddhism be considered as an independent school or merely as a branch of the Greater Vehicle? One similarly wonders about Buddhist Tantrism and Hindu Tantrism. Arguably, Tantric Buddhism inherited many of its salient features—deities and rituals alike—from the surrounding Brahmanical culture. What, then, marks the movement as Buddhist? However defined, esoteric Buddhism is clearly a topic of moment in contemporary scholarship. This intense interest is related to recent advances in awareness of the movement’s impact. Scholars have long recognized that Tantrism was the dominant form of Buddhism in Tibet. They have similarly noted the centrality of the esoteric schools of Shingon and Tendai in Japanese religion. However, recent studies have demonstrated that the scope of the Tantric influence has been much wider, extending from the Central-Asian steppes in the north to the Indonesian Archipelago in the south. The nomadic peoples of the north, like the islanders in the south, worship to this day gods of Tantric descent, manipulating their supernatural powers by means of intricate rites such as the Homa fire ritual. The Tantric technologies of ritual empowerment have survived the test of time, appealing to medieval rulers and their present-day descendants alike. Esoteric Buddhism served as a vehicle disseminating across Asia the Indian pantheon of divinities and the rites addressed to them. The Tantric impact on the largest Buddhist civilization—China—is im­­ mense. Propagated at the court of the mighty Tang Dynasty (618–907), the influence of esoteric Buddhism was felt far beyond the confines of the imperial palace. Scholars still debate the existence of an organized and distinct Tantric school in China,1 but there is a certain consensus that the doctrines and practices associated with Tantrism have exerted a lasting impact upon other Buddhist schools no less than upon Chinese religiosity at large. The esoteric dual (and sometimes contradictory) emphasis upon inherent enlightenment and religious authority resonates in Chan (Zen) Buddhism, even as the recitation and writing of Tantric spells have become ubiquitous in Chinese religious practice. The earliest specimens of printing worldwide are of Tantric dhāraṇī spells, which were disseminated in millions of copies across China (sometimes 1 Robert Sharf has suggested that esoteric Buddhism did not develop in China as an independent or self-conscious tradition distinct from the Mahāyāna; see Sharf 2002, 263–278. By contrast, Lü Jianfu argues below (chapter 2) that Tang-period Tantric masters considered themselves the bearers of a novel tradition; see also Lü 2011.

Introduction

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in the original Sanskrit). The Chinese medieval landscape was dotted by elegant pillars inscribed with esoteric charms. Contemporary Daoist priests still employ Tantric ritual formulas to summon the gods into the bodies of childmediums. For such purpose, they make use of charms and symbolic hand gestures (mudrā) that thirteen hundred years ago were used by Tantric masters in the service of Tang Dynasty emperors.2 The current Chinese oppression of Tibet makes it hard to grasp the influence that, for centuries, was exerted in the opposite direction. Tibet has played a major role in the religious history of Asia. Tantric Buddhism in its Tibetan form was adopted as early as the twelfth century by the steppe people, who were to conquer the entire continent. The Mongol founders of the Yuan Dynasty (1279–1368), like the Manchu rulers of the Qing (1644–1911), were ardent supporters of Tibetan Buddhism, transforming the Forbidden City into a veritable treasure house of esoteric art. The taste for the Tibetan faith spread beyond the bounds of the imperial palace, influencing native Chinese monastic institutions. Familiar in the modern West, the Tibetan mystique is shared by contemporary Chinese devotees of Tibetan Buddhist masters. Throughout the Chinese cultural sphere—in Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Mainland—Tibetan-style temples are being built, their masters tracing their lineages to the Himalayas.3 This book explores esoteric Buddhism and its role as a vehicle for the transmission of culture. Salient features of the fecund tradition—from the sophisticated philosophy, through the intricate rituals, to the bewitching mythology—are studied side by side with their significance in cross-cultural exchanges. The emphasis is upon the permeability of religious traditions, demonstrating the common grounds of esotericism and other Buddhist schools, no less than the interaction of Tantrism with non-Buddhist faiths. Scholars have described Tantrism as the most “Indian” of Buddhist schools, meaning that it was open to influences from the surrounding Brahmanic culture.4 Esoteric Buddhism adopted much of its symbolism, language, and ritual from what is 2 The wave of Western scholarly interest in Chinese esoteric Buddhism was signaled by Strickmann 1996 and 2002; see also Orzech 1998 and 2011; Shinohara 2014; and Copp 2014. Recent Chinese scholarship includes: Yan Yaozhong 1999; Lü 2008 and 2011; Li Xiaorong 2003. 3 On Tibetan Buddhism in China see, among others, Berger 2003; Esposito 2013; Lessing, [1942] 1992; Shen Weirong 2011a, 2011b, 2012b; Smyer Yu 2011; Tuttle 2004; Toh 2004; Bartholomew, 2001; Orzech 2011, 539–571; Gray 2011; and the essays collected in Kapstein 2009; on Chinese images of Tibet see the essays collected in Esposito 2008; among Chinese-language publications consult: Zhao Gaiping 2009; Li Decheng 2009; Luo Wenhua 2008; and the essays collected in Shen Weirong 2012a. 4 See Faure 2014, 46.

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now known as Hinduism. As such, the movement played a major role in the transmission of Indian modes of discourse and worship across Asia. The following essays cover vast stretches of the Asian continent. Attention is given not only to the dominant Asian civilizations but also to local and regional cultures that were deeply influenced by esoteric Buddhism. In addition to the momentous encounters between Tibetan and Chinese Buddhism, this volume explores the import of Tantrism in the formation of distinct political, ethnical, and cultural identities—from the medieval Tangut Xixia Kingdom in Central Asia, through the ancient Dali State in southwestern China, to the Chinese Yugur minority, which is distinguished from the Uighur (Muslim) ­population by its esoteric Buddhist faith. Before we proceed, some terminological clarifications are in order. We have adopted a rather broad definition of esoteric Buddhism, permitting our authors to apply the term not only to the mature system as a whole, but also to isolated components of it. Thus, whereas some of the essays discuss the full-fledged soteriological program that emerged in the seventh and eighth centuries, others label as esoteric such ritual tools as the dhāraṇī spells and the maṇḍala charts (even though for some scholars these do not qualify in themselves as “esoteric”). We have similarly allowed the simultaneous usage of “Tantric” “esoteric” (lower-case) and “Esoteric” (upper-case) to designate our topic. The distinction between the latter two mirrors the debate whether or not the body of beliefs and practices associated with esoteric Buddhism ever merged into a school with a self-conscious distinct identity. We have chosen to leave this question open, permitting the essays to speak not in one voice but in a multiplicity of mutually enriching ones.5 Titled “The Origins of Esoteric Buddhism: Chinese Perspectives,” the first part of this book marshals Chinese sources to reconstruct the evolution of the Indian-born movement. It includes essays by Charles Orzech, Henrik Sørensen and Lü Jianfu, who rely upon medieval Chinese translations to probe the origins, and define the characteristics, of esoteric Buddhism. These authors agree that the loss of Sanskrit originals and the later dating of Tibetan translations make Chinese texts from the third through eighth centuries a precious window onto the formative period of the Tantric tradition. In his “Tantric Subjects: Liturgy and Vision in Chinese Esoteric Ritual Manuals,” Orzech traces the early development of Tantric practices in India during the seventh and eighth centuries, mining as sources Chinese translations of ritual manuals that have long since disappeared in India. Specifically, 5 On the contested terminoloy of esoteric Buddhism see—in addition to the following Essays— the introduction by Orzech, Sørensen, and Payne to Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras.

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Orzech notes that whereas manuals from the seventh century offer instruction on individual practices of mantra recitation, hand gestures and deity visualization, in the eighth century these are combined into a simultaneous engagement with the three secrets of Tantric practice. Orzech pays special attention to the use of visual imagery, pointing out that this imagery is far from unique to esoteric texts—even the identification of one’s body with that of a Buddha is not necessarily Tantric. Specific to Tantric practices are systematic uses of mudrās and seed syllables (bījas), which he finds appearing at the turn of the eighth century. Orzech adds an important novel perspective on esoteric ritual, pointing out its role in the social construction of the practitioners. Instead of autonomous subjects, he conceives of Tantric meditators as members of a greater liturgical community. Inspired by scholars of Christianity, he analyzes the social dimensions of Tantric subjectivity. Henrik Sørensen conceives of the emergence of esoteric Buddhism as a process of accretion. In his “Spells and Magical Practices as Reflected in the Early Chinese Buddhist Sources,” he argues that beginning in the first centuries CE, ritual tools such as spells and mudrās gradually came together with modes of worship such as exorcism and visualization. By the eighth century they had coalesced into a mature system, complete with a doctrinal and ritual superstructure. Sørensen locates the seeds of this development in the magical spells that featured in Mahāyāna scriptures of the first centuries CE.6 In texts ranging from the second through the sixth centuries, he perceives a growing emphasis on the recitation of spells, the correct performance of ritual, and the concomitant acquisition of magical powers. As Sørensen sees it, salvation through ritual is a defining trait of Tantric Buddhism: “One may argue that in Esoteric Buddhism the entire soteriological process has to a large extent become ritualized.” Lü Jianfu’s paper tackles the terminological conundrum that frames this volume as a whole: ought we to refer to our topic as “esoteric Buddhism” or, alternatively, “Tantric Buddhism”? In “The Terms ‘Esoteric Teaching’ (‘Esoteric Buddhism’) and ‘Tantra’ in Chinese Buddhist Sources,” Lü suggests that both terms were used by such Tantric masters as Amoghavajra (704–774) to designate what they perceived as their distinct tradition. Currently rendered into English as “esoteric Buddhism,” Lü charts the evolution of the compound 6 Lü Jianfu and Koichi Shinohara similarly consider dhāraṇīs as the historical core of esoteric Buddhism. Like Sørensen (and independently of each other), the two scholars have suggested a process by which an increasing number of ritual steps were added to the simple recitation of spells, finally leading to the elaborate, and articulate, esoteric synthesis of the eighth century; see Lü, 2011; and Shinohara 2014.

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mijiao (literally: esoteric teaching) in Chinese scriptures. He demonstrates that the term was used by Mahāyāna authors to distinguish their own “superior” esoteric teachings from the “inferior” exoteric doctrines of earlier schools. Lü argues that the two labels were employed similarly by the advocates of Tantric Buddhism to differentiate their esoteric revelations from the more pedestrian exoteric teachings of earlier Mahāyāna thinkers. By the mid eighth-century, Lü notes, the term mijiao (“esoteric teaching”) was taken as a proper noun, designating a Buddhist movement. Lü further examines the diverse Chinese transliterations and translations of the Sanskrit word “Tantra,” suggesting that the term followed a different trajectory. Originally designating a genre of ritual scriptures, the term gradually came to denote the contents of such texts as well. Filtering down from the titles of scriptures to the texts themselves, “Tantra” came to imply—for its followers—a distinct tradition. Titled “Chan, Chinese Religion, and Esoteric Buddhism,” the book’s second part explores the Tantric influence on Chinese religiosity writ large. These essays demonstrate that, whether or not it ever functioned in China as an independent or self-conscious movement, esoteric Buddhism shaped other Buddhist schools no less than native religion. In their respective chapters, Robert Sharf and Lin Pei-ying unravel doctrinal and ritual commonalities between esoteric Buddhism and arguably the most Sinified of Chinese Buddhist traditions— Chan (Japanese: Zen). Meir Shahar turns his attention to the gods of Tantric descent in Daoism and the popular religion. He argues for the long-term impact of esoteric Buddhism on the Chinese imagination of divinity. In his “Buddhist Veda and the Rise of Chan,” Robert Sharf points out three areas of congruence between the Chinese school and the Tantric movement that swept through medieval Asia: a) an emphasis on master-to-disciple transmission; b) a stress on the luminous mind, and hence the possibility of immediate salvation; and c) the centrality of the altar (tan 壇) as a site of enlightenment. Sharf demonstrates that the distinction made between tan as a [lecture] platform and tan as a ritual maṇḍala is the product of translation practice, whereas the original Chinese is one and the same. Performed at the tan altar, Chan ceremonies bore a striking resemblance to the Tantric abhiṣeka rites of consecration that took place in the same ritual arena. Sharf notes that the bodhisattva precepts of the Chan devotees “are not so much taken as they are bestowed in a ritual consecration.” This examination of the bodhisattva precepts is further elaborated by Lin Pei-ying in her “A Comparative Approach to Śubhakarasiṃha’s (?–735) Essentials of Meditation and the Bodhisattva Precepts in Eighth-Century China.” Lin compares manuals of the bodhisattva precepts that were authored by Tantric masters Śubhakarasiṃha and Amoghavajra (705–774), the Chan

Introduction

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Master Shenxiu 神秀 (606?–706) and the Sixth Patriarch of the Tiantai School, Zhanran 湛然 (711–782). She demonstrates the common ground of three major medieval movements: Esoteric Buddhism, Chan, and Tiantai. Among her most interesting finds is the possible influence of Chan on Śubhakarasiṃha’s esoteric writings. Betraying a gradual approach to enlightenment, Śubhakarasiṃha’s Essentials of Meditation likely drew upon Shenxiu’s Expedient Means of [Realizing] Birthlessness in Mahāyāna. Turning from monastic Buddhism to the realm of popular religion, Meir Shahar traces the Chinese cult of the Horse God to the Tantric Horse-Headed form of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara. Known as the Horse King (Mawang), the Horse God was among the most popular deities of the late-imperial period. Celebrated in fiction and drama, he figured in Daoism and the amorphous popular religion alike. In his “The Tantric Origins of the Horse King: Hayagrīva and the Chinese Horse Cult,” Shahar demonstrates that the equine Chinese god derived from the Tantric Horse-Headed Avalokiteśvara, a figure that had in turn been inspired by the ancient Hindu lore of the underwater fireemanating mare. Thus, Shahar’s paper illustrates the significance of Tantric Buddhism as a tool of cultural transmission. Esoteric Buddhism served as a vehicle that brought Indian mythology to bear upon Chinese popular religion and literature. Entitled “Scriptures and Practices in their Tibetan Context,” the book’s third part explores the workings of Tibetan Tantric practices from a variety of perspectives. Dan Martin delves into a fundamental aspect of Tantric practice, which is sometimes called “employing the enemy to fight the enemy” or “injecting water into the ear for removing water in the ear.” In his “Crazy Wisdom in Moderation: Padampa Sangyé’s Counterintuitive Methods of Dealing with Negative Mental States,” Martin looks into the recorded teachings of Padampa Sangyé, who was born during the 11th century in South India, studied at the Vikramaśīla monastery, and as tradition tells us, meditated for several years on Wutai Mountain (in China), before arriving in Tibet and mastering its language and culture. Martin ponders the counterintuitive methods that Padampa Sangyé advocated for liberation from suffering, comparing them with aspects of Freudian psychoanalysis. Eran Laish discusses some of the practices that are part of “The Great Perfection” (Tib. rdzogs pa chen po), a Tibetan Buddhist tradition that emphasizes the originally pure nature of awareness. By examining these practices, Laish aims to demonstrate the role of embodied being in the formation of human subjectivity with its notions of personal selfhood and temporal change. This role is revealed through an experiential process in which the usual boundaries between self and world are undermined to the point of dissolution. The

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process and its philosophical implications are further considered, with special attention given to the place of embodiment and perception in shaping the felt ground of conceptual cognition. The third chapter by Yael Bentor, on “Tibetan Interpretations of the Opening Verses of Vajraghaṇṭa on the Body Maṇḍala,” is related to a concern of later Sakya and Gelug scholars to interpret Tantric practices in terms of Buddhist philosophical theories prevalent in their time. The controversy about Vajraghaṇṭa’s lines on the body maṇḍala is related to the Tathāgata-garbha theory, but pertains also to the way Tantric visualizations are considered to achieve their goal. Still, the later Sakya and Gelug scholars not only engaged in vigorous written disputation, they also listened to their opponents and selectively incorporated their views in their own writings. Bentor looks as well at these scholars’ attempts to adjust Tantric practices to their worldview and their behavior when they were faced with the choice between scriptural authority and logic. The book’s fourth part brings us to Sino-Tibetan cultural exchanges. Shen Weirong shows in his “Ming Chinese Translations of Tibetan Tantric Buddhist Texts and the Buddhist Saṃgha of the Western Regions in Beijing,” that the great translator bSod nams grags, who translated numerous Tibetan Tantric Buddhist ritual texts into Chinese, was not a direct disciple of ’Phags pa Bla ma, but was active later on, during the early Ming period. The implications of this discovery as shown by Shen Weirong are that during the early Ming period Tibetan Buddhism was even more widely diffused in China than during the Yuan and that the influence of the Sa skya school in China continued after the fall of the Yuan. By examining the transmission lineage leading from ’Phags pa to bSod nams grags, Shen Weirong demonstrates that many Indian and Tibetan monks were active in China, and that numerous Sanskrit Buddhist scriptures and Tibetan Tantric sādhanas and commentaries were translated into Chinese during the early Ming period. These Tibetan texts were composed not only by masters of the Karma bKa’ brgyud, but also of the Sa skya tradition. Hence the impact of the Sa skya school in China continued after the fall of the Yuan. The translations that have come down to us from the Ming period are important for the study of the history of Tibetan Buddhism in China and enable us to better understand the doctrines and practices transmitted to China during the Ming. In the later part of his paper Shen Weirong shows that some of the Chinese translations previously considered to have been made by bSod nams grags were actually translated by the Tibetan master bKra shis dpal ldan during the Ming period. Moreover it was bKra shis dpal ldan himself who compiled the texts he translated into Chinese, after he had received the transmission of Hevajra from the Sa skya master Ngor chen Kun dga’ bzang po in central Tibet.

Introduction

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Shen Weirong concludes by stressing the importance of finding more sources on the spread of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism in Central Eurasia and China and of employing rigorous philological methods and interdisciplinary methodologies in studying them. Ester Bianchi unravels continuities between the Republican period (1911– 1949) attraction of Tibetan Buddhism and its resurgence in the post-Mao era. Following the hiatus of the Cultural Revolution, the 1980s witnessed the reappearance of Tibetan monastic institutions that cater to Han-Chinese devotees. The disciples of Republican-period Tibetan lamas have resurfaced to teach an ever-growing body of lay and monastic believers. In her “Continuities and Discontinuities in Sino-Tibetan Buddhism: The Case of Nenghai’s Legacy in the Contemporary Era,” Bianchi introduces the reader to Zhimin (1927–), a main disciple of the Republican-period “Chinese lama” Nenghai (1886–1967). She outlines the growth of his Gelukpa-style monasteries on the mainland, highlighting the conscious synthesis of Tibetan and Chinese—esoteric and exoteric—teachings, which has distinguished his master’s legacy. The following parts of this volume center upon esoteric traditions that emerged between China, Tibet, and India. A number of historic localities, including Dunhuang, Xixia, and Dali, saw the emergence of their own unique Tantric tradition fashioned by varying blends of Tibetan and Chinese Esoteric Buddhism. The book’s fifth part centers upon the evolution of Esoteric Buddhism in Chinese Central Asia. Scholars nowadays recognize the connection between Dunhuang documents and the characteristics of Tantric Buddhism as it has later evolved in Tibet, China, and Japan. In his “Observations on The Āryatattvasaṃgraha-sādhanopāyikā and Its Commentary from Dunhuang,” Jacob Dalton investigates the Sādhana of the renowned Yoga-tantra class, the Sarvatathāgata-tattvasaṃgraha, dating its manuscripts and commentary to the ninth-century. Pointing out the opening homage that is directed to only four Buddha-families, whereas the Sādhana itself takes for granted five Buddha-families, Dalton suggests that the initial verse may have been a remnant of the four-family system that predated the rewriting of the Tantra to include five families. In this respect, this manual can further our understanding of the evolution of Yoga-tantra practices. Having dated the Dunhuang manuscripts of the Sādhana and its commentary to the ninth century, Dalton considers common elements between this Sādhana and the writings of Amoghavajra in eighth-century China. In this effort, special care is paid to the ritual sequence of Shingon rituals that are based on the Sarvatathāgatatattvasaṃgraha. He concludes that the ritual role of the fourfold core elements in self-generation-cum-offerings is almost identical in both the Dunhuang and

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Shingon practices, making it possible to solve certain puzzles in the interpretation of the Shingon ritual on the basis of the Dunhuang commentary on the Sādhana. The second chapter in this part on Dunhuang addresses a worldly concern that was of utmost important to esoteric Buddhism. Li Ling and Ma De examine dhāraṇīs and rituals for assisting women at childbirth found in Dunhuang. Their article, “Avalokiteśvara and the Dunhuang Dhāraṇī Spells of Salvation in Childbirth,” elucidates the progression of Avalokiteśvara’s cult in Chinese Buddhism with its special emphasis on women’s concerns. This role of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara in childbirth and childbearing may have inspired the subsequent transformation of this male Bodhisattva into the female Guanyin. The book’s sixth part examines the evolution of Tantric Buddhism in the Tangut Xixia kingdom and the Yugur sphere. In “Notes on the Translation and Transmission of the Saṃpuṭa and Cakrasamvara Tantras in the Xixia Period (1038–1227),” Hou Haoran stresses the importance of research into the numerous Tangut and Chinese Tantric works translated from Tibetan for better understanding the impact of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism on Tangut culture. As a step in this direction he suggests a reconstruction of the transmission lineage of the Cakrasaṃvara cycle from Tibet to Xixia on the basis of Tangut documents discovered in the Baisigou Pagoda as well as Tibetan historical accounts. He also investigates the transmission of the Tangut Saṃpuṭa Tantra translated from Tibetan along with three commentaries on the Root Tantra by Piputifu [Skt. Vibhūtibhadra], the Vice Deputy of the Bao’en Limin Monastery. Hou Haoran confirms that the commentaries were written by the Tibetan scholars rNgog Zhe-sdang rdo-rje (1090–1166), who belonged to the rNgog bKa’-brgyudpa tradition, and traces the lineage of his teachers. The second contribution by Yang Fuxue and Zhang Haijuan introduces us to hitherto unexplored ethnic facets of Buddhist culture. In their “Mongol Rulers, Yugur Subjects, and Tibetan Buddhism,” they discuss the ethnic group called Yugurs (Chinese: Yugu zu 裕固族) that distinguishes itself from the Uighurs Muslim population in Xinjiang Province by its esoteric Buddhist persuasion. Residing in Gansu Province, one group of Yugurs speaks a dialect of the Turkic—Uighur, while another group converse in a variant of Mongolian. Yet Tibetan Tantric Buddhism lies at the core of the national identity of all Yugurs. Thus, the authors demonstrate the significance of Tibetan esoteric Buddhism in forging a distinct ethnic and cultural identity. The book’s seventh section leads us to China’s southwest. Situated between India, Tibet, and China, Yunnan province is home to a living Tantric tradition that dates to the medieval period. In their respective essays, Hou Chong and

Introduction

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Megan Bryson treat its origins: Was Yunnan esoteric Buddhism imported directly from India, or was it fashioned after Chinese, or alternatively Tibetan, prototypes? In an effort to solve the puzzle, the two authors examine texts and artworks dating from the Dali-Kingdom period (937–1253). As indicated by its title, “The Chinese Origins of Dali Esoteric Buddhism”, Hou’s essay asserts the Chinese derivation of Yunnan Tantrism. It argues that the foundations of Dali Buddhism were laid in medieval China. Hou examines Dali-period texts (written in Chinese) that drew upon Tang-period antece­ dents (some of which have been discovered at the famed Dunhuang grottoes). He shows, for example, that the quintessential Chinese ceremonies of feeding the hungry ghosts—the Water and Land rituals—had a pervasive impact upon Dali religion. In his analysis of the famed Kunming dhāraṇi pillar (ca. 1200 CE), Hou highlights exoteric and esoteric elements that originated in Tang-period China. The exoteric Heart Sutra (in the translation attributed to Xuanzang), as well as esoteric Chinese invocations, were inscribed on the Dali-period pillar. Thus, Yunnan religion drew heavily upon the Chinese Buddhist tradition. Megan Bryson, in “Between China and Tibet: Mahākala Worship and Esoteric Buddhism in the Dali Kingdom,” concurs with Hou Chong that the textual foundations of the Dali Mahākala worship were set in medieval China. However, she points out that the god’s visual representations were fashioned after Indian rather than Chinese prototypes. Bryson further notes that Mahākala held no more than a minor position in the Chinese esoteric pantheon, and that he rose to prominence in Yunnan in response to local symbolic needs: highlighting the identity of the Dali royal house as being distinct from the Chinese one. “The rulers of the Dali kingdom,” she concludes, “combined texts, images, and rituals from multiple sources with local practices to create a distinct regional tradition of esoteric Buddhism rooted in their political interests.” Taken together, this set of essays attests the astonishing bounty of a religious movement that has lain at the core of Asian history. Esoteric Buddhism has been a conduit for subtle philosophies and dazzling visions of the supernatural, a spur for magnificent artworks and impressive technologies of power. Without too much exaggeration, it might be said that esoteric Buddhism has exerted a long-standing appeal on all and sundry. We hope that the reader will be similarly enticed.

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References

Bartholomew, Terese Tse. 2001. “Thangkas for the Qianlong Emperor’s Seventieth Birthday.” In Cultural Intersections in Later Chinese Buddhism, edited by Marsha Weidner, 170–188. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. Berger, Patricia. 2003. Empire of Emptiness: Buddhist Art and Political Authority in Qing China. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. Copp, Paul. 2014. The Body Incantatory: Spells and the Ritual Imagination in Medieval Chinese Buddhism. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014. Esposito, Monica. 2008. Images of Tibet in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Paris: École Française d’Extrême-Orient. Esposito, Monica. 2013. The Zen of Tantra: Tibetan Great Perfection in Fahai Lama’s Chinese Zen Monastery. Paris: University Media. Faure, Bernard. 2014. “Indic Influences on Chinese Mythology: King Yama and his Acolytes as Gods of Destiny.” In India in the Chinese Imagination: Myth, Religion, and Thought, edited by John Kieschnick and Meir Shahar, 46–60. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Gray, David. 2011. “Tibetan Lamas in Ethnic Chinese Communities and the Rise of New Tibetan-Inspired Chinese Religions.” In Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia, edited by Charles D. Orzech, 568–571. Leiden: Brill. Kapstein, Matthew ed. 2009. Buddhism between Tibet and China. Boston: Wisdom Publications. Lessing, Ferdinand. [1942] 1992. Yung-Ho-Kung: An Iconography of the Lamaist Cathedral of Peking. Taibei. Li Decheng 李德成. 2009. Zangchuan fojiao yu Beijing 藏传佛教与北京 (Tibetan Buddhism and Beijing). Beijing: Huawen. Li Xiaorong 李小榮. 2003. Dunhuang mijiao wenxian lungao 敦煌密教文献论稿 (Draft Essays on Tantric Documents from Dunhuang). Beijing: Renmin wenxue. Lü Jianfu 吕建福. 2008. Mijiao lunkao 密教论考. Beijing, Zongjiao wenhua. Lü Jianfu 吕建福. 2011. Zhongguo mijiao shi 中国密教史, revised edition. Beijing: Zhongugo shehui. Luo Wenhua 羅文華 ed. 2008. Zhu Fo Pusa sheng xiang zan 諸佛菩薩聖像贊. Beijing: Zhongguo zangxue. Orzech, Charles D. 1998. Politics and Transcendent Wisdom: The Scripture for Humane Kings in the Creation of Chinese Buddhism. Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press. Orzech, Charles, Henrik H. Sørensen, and Richard K. Payne, eds. 2011. Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia, Leiden: Brill.

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Sharf, Robert H. 2002. Coming to Terms with Chinese Buddhism: A Reading of the Treasure Store Treatise. Kuroda Institute Studies in East Asian Buddhism, no. 14. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. Shen, Weirong. 2011a. “Tibetan Buddhism in Ming China.” In Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia, edited by Charles D. Orzech, 550–560. Leiden: Brill. Shen, Weirong. 2011b. “Tibetan Buddhism in Mongol-Yuan China.” In Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia, edited by Charles D. Orzech, 539–549. Leiden: Brill. Shen Weirong 沈卫荣 ed. 2012a. Wenben zhong de lishi: Zangchuan fojiao zai xiyu he zhongyuan de chuanbo 文本中的历史:藏传佛教在西域和中原的传播. Beijing: Zhongguo Zangxue. Shen, Weirong.2012b. The Secret Collection of Works on the Essential Path of Mahāyāna: A Compilation of Early Chinese Translations of Tibetan Tantric Buddhist Texts. Beijing: Peking University Press. Shinohara, Koici. 2014. Spells, Images, and Maṇḍalas: Tracing the Evolution of Esoteric Buddhist Rituals. New York: Columbia University Press. Smyer Yu, Dan. 2011. The Spread of Tibetan Buddhism in China: Charisma, Money, Enlightenment. Oxford: Routledge. Strickmann, Michel. 1996. Mantras et Mandarins. Paris: Gallimard. Strickmann, Michel. 2002. Chinese Magical medicine. Edited by Bernard Faure. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Toh, Hoong Teik. 2014. Tibetan Buddhism in Ming China. PhD diss., Harvard University. Tuttle, Gray. 2004. Tibetan Buddhists in the Making of Modern China. New York: Columbia University Press. Yan Yaozhong 嚴耀中. 1999. Han chuan mijiao 漢傳密教. Shanghai: Xuelin. Zhao Gaiping. 2009. 赵改萍, Yuan Ming shiqi Zang chuan fojiao zai neidi de fazhan yu yingxiang 元明时期藏传佛教在内地的发展及影响. Beijing: Zhongguo shehui kexue.

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Introduction

Part 1 Chinese Perspectives on the Origins of Esoteric Buddhism



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Tantric Subjects

Chapter 1

Tantric Subjects: Liturgy and Vision in Chinese Esoteric Ritual Manuals Charles D. Orzech “I see in my heart a shape like a lunar disc” 我見自心形如月輪 T. 865.207c21



“Religion … shall mean for us the feelings, acts, and experiences of individual men in their solitude.” William James, Varieties of Religious Experience



The Discourse of Tantric Exceptionalism

Few would argue with the proposition that tantric practice is designed to shape subjectivity. Less apparent, perhaps, are the social dimensions of tantric subjectivity. Studies of esoteric Buddhism and the tantras privilege interior ‘experience’ over exterior performance and tend to sever interior “deity yoga” from the full social continuum of ritual and liturgy.1 Typological hermeneutics such as the often-invoked four-fold classification of tantras are based on a teleological progression from outer to inner performance and texts such as the Mahāvairocana-tantra are structured around an outer versus inner dichotomy.2 This easy fit between traditional hermeneutics and much contemporary 1 For what has become one of the most influential discussions of the tantric distinction and ‘deity yoga’ see Tsong-ka-pa et al, 1987. The concept is designated by yidam in Tibetan but iṣṭadevatā apparently does not appear in Buddhist Sanskrit sources and there is no corresponding term in Chinese. Eric Greene’s recent dissertation (2012) traces the surprisingly recent and curious history of the English term ‘visualization.’ See especially 139–166. 2 For an appraisal of such taxonomic schemes, see Dalton 2005, 115–81. The distinction between inner and outer is a leitmotif of the Mahāvairocana-tantra, “Next is inner homa, which eradi-

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2017 | doi 10.1163/9789004340503_003

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discourse on religious experience can divert our gaze from the social production of subjectivity or self.3 Such an approach replicates rather than analyzing sectarian pronouncements on the priority of interior states over the ritual and social dimensions of religious practice, and it reifies practice into a binary opposition of meditation and devotion. I would like to suggest that these emphases have conditioned how we see early Chinese ritual manuals and, as an alternative, I will emphasize the following points:

• Tantric manuals from the seventh and eighth centuries preserve a record of the early development of the tantras • Early tantric liturgies represent the social construction of subjects • Early tantric liturgies should be approached as wholes to avoid severing •

vision from its matrix of confession, ordination, the consecration of images, and from non-tantric uses of vision Visualization may be understood as a virtual extension of liturgical practice Early Tantric Manuals

We do not have access to early tantric or esoteric performance. We do have access to a wide range of texts. Seventh- and eighth-century Chinese Buddhism is remarkable for the proliferation of manuals detailing the performance of ritual. Many early ritual manuals have long since disappeared in India, but they have been preserved in Chinese translations. Others appear to be indigenous re-workings of Indic texts and yet others are Chinese products. Although which texts we should include under the rubrics esoteric or tantric is disputed, the list ranges from simple texts describing the use of a mantra or dhāraṇī, to texts for the laying out of altars, to texts for the evocation and propitiation of individual deities, to texts describing elaborate maṇḍala rites, to more encyclopedic ritual reference works.4 Scholarly debate over how to classify them (dhāraṇī-sūtras, proto-tantric texts, esoteric texts, tantras, etc.) reflects their cates karma and rebirth” (T. 848.18:44a1 fuzi nei humo miequ yu ye sheng, 復次內護摩 滅除 於業生). 3 For a critique of the notion of experience, see Sharf 1998, 94–116. His essay “Thinking through Shingon Ritual (2003: 51–96), questions both traditional and recent interpretations of inner visionary experience. 4 One can get an overall picture of the vast range of manuals by looking at the essays of Giebel (2011) and Sørenesen (2011).

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complexity as well as obscurities concerning their relationship with Indic texts and historical relationships among them. Recent scholarship has demonstrated that many of these texts are translations or adaptations of vidhis and that they bear some relationship to material proliferating in the commentaries on householder rites (gṛhya-sūtras).5 While some manuals detail the construction of altars and images, the mantras to be recited, the mudrās to be employed, and the imagery to be seen, others consist almost entirely of lists of mantras or of gāthās for liturgical recitation.6 Some seventh-century manuals include descriptions of mudrās coordinated with recitation of mantras and directives to “imagine” deities. By the first decade of the eighth century liturgical instructions of procedures to be done “in the minds’ eye” include the use of bījas. Here we find instructions for the simultaneous performance of recitation, hand gestures, and contemplation (activating the three karmas of speech, body, and mind—the three secrets of tantric practice).

Thinking about Liturgy

Early in Amoghavajra’s (705–774) eighth-century epitome (summary/translation) of the Sarvatathāgatatattva-saṃgraha (T. 865, Jin’gang ding yiqie rulai zhenshi she da cheng xianzeng dajiao wang jing, 金剛頂一切如來真實攝大乘 現證大教王經)7 Sarvārthasiddha is seated in deep trance: At that time all of the Tathāgatas assembled in a cloud surrounding Sarvārthasiddha Mahāsattva’s bodhimaṇḍa and manifested their sambho­ gakāyas and said, “Good son, how do you expect to use ascetic practices to achieve unsurpassed bodhi [while] lacking the knowledge of the True Reality of all of the Tathāgatas?” At that time, Sarvārthasiddha Mahāsattva, having been aroused by the Tathāgatas forthwith exited the āsphānaka samādhi, did obeisance to the Tathāgatas, and asked, “World-honored Tathāgatas, instruct me, how should I practice, what is this True Reality?” Thus he spoke. All of the Tathāgatas said in unison to the Bodhisattva, 5 According to Ronald M. Davidson (2011b, 91–93) the gṛhya sūtra material most relevant is found in the –śeṣa, -pariśiṣṭa or –vidhāna texts. Davidson has proposed a scenario for the movement of brahmanic rites down register into householder practice and thence into Buddhist practice.  For an introduction and historical situation of this literature, see Patton 2005. 6 See my analysis of homa manuals in Orzech (2016, 266–287). 7 For a basic introduction to this text, see Giebel 2001, 5–15. For an examination of the text and its corpus, see Weinberger 2003.

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“Good son, you should dwell in the samādhi contemplating the self and employ the mantra of accomplishing the self-nature” (T. 865, 18.207c).8 What follows is an elaborate abhiṣeka though which Sarvārthasiddha is consecrated and instructed.9 The story of Sarvārthasiddha’s conversion from solitary asceticism to esoteric initiation in abhiṣeka seems intended to make an important point about tantric practice: Sarvārthasiddha thinks he is alone— an almost Jamesian subject seeking an individual, interior, enlightened subjectivity. He is aroused from trance by the chanting of the assembled Tathāgatas and reoriented to a path of liturgical practice in a social space. Each candidate for initiation reenacts the story of Mahāvairocana’s enlightenment. Enlightenment, in this model, is inextricably social: it is a liturgical practice during which the ritual subject is socially constructed. Although some manuals recommend seclusion and solitary execution of some rites, it is clear that many, especially the more expansive and complex texts appearing in the late seventh and early eight centuries, prescribe a set pattern of ritual meant to be performed in congregation.10 We should not lose sight of the fact that virtually all are structured according to socially conceived liturgies (involving “guests” and “hosts”), and even rites stipulating secluded performance assume the presence of a congregation of vajra-beings, Buddhas, or other deities.11 8

9 10

11

爾時一切如來雲集。於一切義成就菩薩摩訶薩坐菩提場。往詣示現受用身。 咸作是言。 善男子云何證無上正等覺菩提。不知一切如來真實忍諸苦行。時 一切義成就菩薩摩訶薩。由一切如來警覺。即從阿娑頗娜伽三摩地起。禮一 切如來。白言。世尊如來教示我。云何修行。云何是真實。如是說已。一切 如來異口同音。告彼菩薩言。善男子當住觀察自三摩地。以自性成就真言。 T. 865 18.207c10–18. Dānapāla’s (Shihu 施護) early eleventh century translation is T. 882 18.341c18–29. On the role and development of abhiṣeka see Davidson 2011a, 71–75; 2010, 183–196. A good example is The Scripture Containing the Buddha’s Discourse on the Rites for Contemplation and Siddhi Pertaining to the Wheel of the Auspicious Yoga Tantra of Vajrabhairava (T. 1242 佛說妙吉祥瑜伽大教金剛陪囉俎輪觀想成就儀軌經). In this ritual one goes to the cremation ground to perform a ferocious homa and other rites involving corpses and skulls, but even this text stipulates one may have no more than four assistants. T. 1242 21.204a5 持明人如是依摩呬沙目佉法受其齋戒。與彼助伴并已四 人。 Some theorists point to such performances as examples of the “subjunctive” or “as if” quality of religious practice. Indeed, one might argue that the role of tantric liturgy is to make the somewhat abstract notions of emptiness and divine beings visible and “real.” Yet many texts can be read not as liturgy being practiced ‘as if’ one were trying to be a Buddha, but rather as evidence that one is a Buddha. Recent work by Adam B. Seligman,

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Although there have been treatments of tantric liturgy, notably Stephan Beyer’s The Cult of Tārā (Beyer 1973), Yael Bentor’s Consecration of Images and Stūpas in Indo-Tibetan Tantric Buddhism (Bentor 1996), and Gavin Flood’s The Tantric Body (Flood 2006), much interesting analysis of liturgy as a work of shaping the subject has been carried out by scholars of Christianity. This scholarship by Jamie Smith, David Brakke, Derek Krueger, and others explore the creation of ritual subjects—both in the present and in antiquity—and how text, iconography, and ritual performance are marshaled to produce publicly shared and accessible subjects.12 In this view, “subjects” are socially produced in ritual and discourse. The subject then can be understood as an institutional construct, typical, rather than unique and fully autonomous—a subject produced socially for institutional ends. Thus Derek Krueger, in his studies of the Byzantine period Lenten liturgies of Andrew of Crete (8th century) observes how “compositions for Lent, in particular, deployed liturgical experience in the production of a penitent self” (Krueger 2013, 57). Andrew’s Great Kanon musters a line of biblical figures from Adam and Eve to Cain and Abel to Sodom and the story of Lot (Krueger 2013, 68–69) to dramatize “a style of the self formed in a typological and dialectical relationship with the biblical narrative, particularly as that narrative might be experienced liturgically” (Krueger 2013, 63). For instance, the ode on Cain and Abel begins, “I have followed after Cain’s bloodguilt, by deliberate choice; by giving life to the flesh I have become a murderer of the conscience of my soul … . I have not resembled Abel’s righteousness, O Jesus; I have never brought you acceptable gifts” (Krueger 2013, 59). Thus, liturgy, performed in congregation, produces a liturgical subject that is primarily constructed in a social performance. The liturgy forms or scripts the individual and the community not merely in narrative but in publicly displayed bodily

12

Robert P. Weller, Michael J. Puett, and Bennett Simon (Seligman et al. 2008) is an ambitious exploration of an approach to ritual initially explored by Bateson and Goffman. The book, however, is structured around a typology of “sincere” versus ‘subjunctive’ ritual that can be seen as replicating cultural biases. Jonathan Z. Smith’s essay (1982, 53–65) remains superior and does not overreach. Gavin Flood takes up the shaping of the subject in the tantras in Flood 2005, 2006. James J.A.  Smith (2013) presents a cogent synthesis of research on the phenomenology and somatics (or habitus) of liturgy as well as further bibliographical materials. For an analysis of the role of liturgy in shaping subjectivity in the context of late antiquity see Brakke et al 2005. Derek Krueger has been studying early Syriac Christian liturgies. See Krueger 2006, 255–27; 2013, 57–97. His monograph on the topic (2014) is now the definitive treatment. For an earlier discussion concerning Buddhism see Kuo Li-ying 1994). See also Foucault 1988, 16–49; 1999, 158–181.

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performance. As such, the contours of this liturgical subject, even when no longer in use, can be recovered from the texts and made available for study. Such an approach brackets inaccessible interior experience and leaves aside the argument that interior vision is the source of iconography. Further, although studies of contemporary practice underscore the cryptic and incomplete nature of manuals and the need for oral commentary to understand such manuals properly, employing contemporary practice and understanding to read ancient manuals risks anachronism. Thinking of liturgy as a social product can give us another way of understanding early Chinese ritual manuals.

Liturgical Subjects

The liturgical scripting of subjects is widely evident in the Chinese canon. Many manuals begin with purification of the site and the practitioner, an evocation and worship of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and a confession of transgressions prior to the receiving of precepts or further ritual action.13 Examples from the esoteric portion of the canon are easy to find, and constitute an integral part of esoteric liturgy. In a wide variety of works we can see liturgical texts that give direct indication of first person scripting. For example, Amoghavajraʼs “Rules for Receiving the Precepts of Bodhi-mind,” 受菩提心戒義 (T. 915) is a liturgy to be performed preliminary to higher initiations. The liturgy situates the disciple(s) by indicating where to insert proper names:14 The disciple(s) so and so now before all of the Buddhas and the great assembly of Bodhisattvas [repents transgressions committed] from past ages in the beginningless round of saṃsāra up to this day. Having ignorantly lost the true nature because of imaginary constructions [I have been] corrupt, angry, and insane with evil and [have] completely defiled the three karmas. Chasing after worries, violating others and excelling in crime 13 14

See, for instance Guanzizai pusa ruyilun niansong yigui 觀自在菩薩如意輪念誦儀軌 (T. 1085 20.203c–204a). T. 915 18.940c1–2 弟子某甲等 今對一切佛 諸大菩薩眾; T. 915 840c14 我悉皆懺悔. For an analysis of this text in the context of related manuals see Lin Pei-ying, “A Comparative Approach to Śubhakarasiṃha’s (637–735) ‘Essentials of Meditation’: Meditation and Precepts in Eighth Century China” in this volume.

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[I have been flush] with sin, slandering Buddha, Dharma, and Saṅgha, plundering the belongings of the triple jewel and widely committing crimes that destine one for Avīci.15 And for countless and boundless aeons whose number is unknowable I have committed [these crimes] and have taught others to [commit them] knowingly in pursuit of pleasure (T. 915 18.940c1–10). Just as in the Lenten liturgies detailed by Krueger we can see in such confessional liturgies a communal process through which the worshiper is created as a criminal subject in need of purification. Thus the worshiper and the community recognizing responsibility for transgressions can give rise to a new subject embodied in the Bodhisattva vows that follow: The mass of beings is numberless, I vow to save them; salvific knowledge is boundless, I vow to accumulate it; entryways to the teaching are boundless, I vow to study them; Tathāgatas are numberless, I vow to serve them; unsurpassed is bodhi, I vow to attain it (T. 915 18.941b16–18). The liturgy of confession is the foundation for virtually all liturgical performance (even when performed in an abbreviated form) and is indicated in many manuals. Further, confession might be undertaken repeatedly if there is evidence of obstructions to the successful completion of a process. Many manuals follow the evocation of Buddhas with a series of offerings commonly described as necessary to accumulate merit for more “advanced” operations. The armature of many eighth-century liturgical manuals is a stereotyped sequence scripting the performer hosting divine guests. This sequence is clearly laid out in two eighth century manuals (both attributed to Amoghavajra), Rites for Contemplation of and Offerings to Amitāyus Tathāgata (T. 930, Wuliangshou rulai guanxing gongyang yigui, 無量壽如來觀行供養儀軌, hereafter Wuliangshou yigui) and the Guanzizai pusa ruyilun niansong yigui 觀自在 菩薩如意輪念誦儀軌 (T. 1085).16 The Wuliangshou yigui is also of interest because its liturgical program reinterprets an earlier and very famous pre-tantric liturgy for seeing the Pure Land of Amitāyus, the Scripture on Contemplation of the Buddha of Limitless Life (T. 365, Fo shuo guan wuliangshoufo jing, 佛說觀 無量壽佛經, hereafter Guanjing). 15

16

Later in the text the litany of crimes one acknowledges includes the five ānantarya “murdering mother, murdering father, murdering arhats, causing blood to flow from the Buddha, and causing schism in the saṅgha.” T. 915 18.941b2–3 The scripture has been the subject of analysis by Sharf (2003) and Orzech (2009, 31–55).

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Both manuals instruct the prospective practitioner to first receive abhiṣeka. The Wuliangshou yigui then says “afterwards you should receive the manual from your teacher” (T. 930 19.67c7). The Ruyilun also says one “should receive the methods personally from one’s teacher” (T. 1085 20.203c15). The guest / host ritual structure of the Wuliangshou yigui scripts the performance of an ideal worship.17 The liturgical sequence is in effect an elaborately choreographed performance during which the worshiper prepares and purifies himself, confesses sins and dedicates merit, contemplates the images of the deities, establishes the boundaries of the ritual arena, and evokes the deities inviting them to be present. The deities of the Pure Land are then transported to the ritual arena which is sealed and purified. Once present they are feted with thrones, offerings of water, and so on. Each part of this sequence is constituted by a series of coordinated acts involving the making of mudrās coordinated with the enunciation of the appropriate mantra and a visionary process. The sequence has been treated in detail elsewhere, but the following is provided to illustrate the flavor of the liturgy. Next make the mudrā of offering fragrant argha water, taking the two hands presenting the argha vessel. Raise the offering to your forehead and chant the mantra three times and imagine (想) washing the feet of the sages. Say the argha mantra: Namaḥ samanta buddhānāṃ gagana samāsama svāhā. The act of offering argha incense water will cause the purification of the tri-karma of the practitioner and will cleanse all defilements, crimes, and obstructions [along the path] from the stages of resolute practice to the tenth stage and up to the stage of Tathāgata and it will insure that at the time of pāramitā stage [you] receive abhiṣeka with the sweet dew dharma waters of all the Tathāgatas (T. 930 18.70a18–26).

17

This liturgical sequence has come to be known as the “Eighteen-fold Way” (Shiba dao 十八道; Jpn. Juhachi do) because of the eighteen mudrā-mantra pairs that demarcate its ritual sequence. Along with the Wuliangshou yigui its canonical sources are regarded as the Guanzizai pusa ruyilun niansong yigui (觀自在菩薩如意輪念誦儀軌, T. 1085; hereafter Ruyilun) and the Shiba chi yin (十八契印, T. 900 attributed to Amoghavajra’s disciple Huiguo, but widely acknowledged to be of Japanese origin. The Shiba chi yin is only extant in Japanese copies and purports to be Kūkai’s notes of Huiguo’s oral teaching. See Bukkyō daijiten, 2359. The essay of Sharf (2003, 87–90) has a discussion and blocks out the sequence in the “Appendix.”

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Once the deities have been cleansed and offerings made to them the worshiper engages in a detailed imagining of Amitāyus and the assembly (“just like he were seated right before one’s eyes, equipped with all of the auspicious marks” 70b25), vows to be reborn in the Pure Land, and then offers a chant of praise (Wuliangshou rulai zantan 無量壽如來讚歎). Thus, as in the Byzantine liturgies described by Krueger, the ideal subject is produced in the sequential performance of the liturgy of worship and the object of worship is embodied in communal ritual. The subject then, is an institutional construct, typical, rather than unique and fully autonomous, and visible in the descriptions in the text.

Liturgical Imagination

Variations on the guest / host liturgical structure sketched above form the core of numerous eighth-century manuals. Such manuals sometimes contain vivid descriptions of visual imagery to be performed in coordination with mudrā and mantra. Before turning to those descriptions I want to underscore that visual descriptions have a long heritage in Buddhist liturgies. Buddhist texts are replete with terms for seeing, vision, and ‘view’ and there are strong continuities between non-esoteric and esoteric texts. Many Pāli texts describe the viewing of and subsequent calling to mind of the Buddha’s major and minor iconographic characteristics.18 Buddhas and Buddha-fields are evoked and described often in lavish detail. Visualization texts (guanjing 觀經) and a wide variety of “meditation manuals” (chanjing 禪經) share a remarkable number of visionary features and techniques.19 Some manuals, like their tantric counterparts, include detailed discussion of the use of visual “signs” and dreams which appear to the meditator to assess the suitability and preparedness of disciples and the success or lack thereof of a given ritual procedure. Descriptions of visions were, as Eric Greene has shown, used as diagnostic tools for meditative 18

19

For a study of these texts, see Egge 2003, 189–208. For analytical purposes it is important to distinguish “visions” which appear unbidden during practice or as a result of practice from active “imagining” and “visualization.” Here I use variations of “imagine” where a text calls for an active process but does not specify a systematic set of procedures to generate the image. I reserve “visualization” for texts which systematically specify a sequence of procedures for producing a mental image. On the recent genealogy of the term visualization see Eric Greene, 2012, 144–158. Yamabe Nobuyoshi has been exploring the relationships among these texts in a series of essays. See Yamabe Nobuyoshi 2005, 17–39 and 2009, 47–75.

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and liturgical practice.20 Other manuals prescribe what can only be called heroic or superhuman performances of liturgy that result in what Koichi Shinohara dubbed “image miracles” in which an image emits light, shakes, or speaks (Shinohara 2010, 389–420; 2014).21 Early esoteric manuals include instructions for scrutinizing the marks of the Buddha. A fairly common visual exercise is to imagine the body of the Buddha. Indeed, the Wuliangshou yigui twice enjoins the worshipper to make the mudrā and chant the dhāraṇī of Amitāyus while one actively “imagines Amitāyus with his thirty-two marks and eighty auspicious characteristics each delineated” (T. 930 19.68a20), “just like he were seated right before one’s eyes, equipped with all of the auspicious marks” (70b25). All the way back to the famous Guanjing we find: Next one should imagine (想) the Buddha. How should one do this? All the Buddha-Tathāgatas have a dharmadhātu-body that enters (遍入) into all of the mental conceptions of the mass of living beings. Therefore, when a person mentally conceives of the Buddha that [person’s] mind is the thirty-two marks and the eighty auspicious signs. This mind that makes the Buddha is the mind that is the Buddha … . Next make a large lotus to the right of the Buddha and imagine (想) the image of Avalo­ kiteśvara Bodhisattva seated on the left side lotus throne emitting golden light-rays just like the previous [Buddha] (T. 365 343a18–21; 343b2). In a similar vein the fifth-century Consecration-sūtra includes what Strickmann argued are instructions for imagining oneself as a sixteen foot Buddha as a method of protection against evil spirits: You should first fix the recollection (存念) of your own body in a likeness of my image with the thirty-two marks and the eighty auspicious signs— a purple-golden body of sixteen feet with a radiant aura behind it like the sun. Having imagined (存想) my body thus … (T. 1331 21.515a25–27).

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Eric Greene has recently discussed the use of dreams as diagnostic tools in fifth-century contemplation texts. See Greene 2012, esp. 244–257. An example is Yaśogupta’s sixth-century Avalokiteśvaraikādaśamukha-dhāraṇī-sūtra (Shiyimian guanshiyin shenzhou jing, 十一面觀世音神呪經 T. 1070) where changes to an image at the end of a two-week chanting marathon (shaking and speaking of the icon) verify ritual progress or success (T. 1070 20. 151a20–151b2).

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Thus, the use of visual imagery—even where one imagines one’s own body as that of the Buddha—is not unique to esoteric texts. The liturgical forming of the worshiping subject early on implied a soteriological trajectory from abject sinner to a being sharing the pure bodhi of the Buddha. However, at some point a new twist on such imagery emerges. Returning to the Wuliangshou yigui, the molding of the subject is taken a step further as the worshipper focuses attention on Avalokiteśvara: Enter the Guanzizai (觀自在) Bodhisattva Samādhi. Close the eyes and clear the mind. Guanzizai’s body is full of pure white [light] as though a pure moon was rising in his heart. On the pure moon visualize (想) the character hrīḥ (日哩) radiating with great brilliance. The character transforms to become and eight-petalled lotus and on the lotus is Guanzizai with all his marks clearly defined. His left hand grasps a lotus blossom, the right hand makes the sign of an opening blossom. With regard to this Bodhisattva, consider that the bodies of all sentient beings contain this enlightenment blossom. The pure dharmadhātu is unsoiled by defilements. On each of the eight petals of this blossom there is a Tathāgata seated cross-legged in samādhi facing Guanzizai Bodhisattva [who is] surrounded by light. His body is golden and radiates beams of light. Now visualize this eight-petalled flower gradually growing to fill space. Now think as follows: The enlightenment blossom illuminates the ocean-like assembly of Tathāgatas. I vow to make vast offerings to them. Then with your mind unmoving in this samādhi, on behalf of unbounded sentient beings profoundly arouse compassion to use this enlightenment-blossom illumination to liberate them from all defilements so that they are the same as Guanzizai Bodhisattva. Then visualize the lotus slowly shrinking into your body. Make the mudrā of Guanzizai Bodhisattva and empower the four places: heart, forehead, throat and crown. This mudrā is made with hands facing outward and crossed, the index fingers aligned like lotus petals, the thumbs erect. Then chant Guanzizai’s mantra: Oṃ vajradharma hrīḥ. Because of the empowerment from making this mudrā and chanting this mantra forthwith this body is the same as that of Guanzizai Bodhisattva without any difference (T. 930 19.71a10–29).22

22

It is interesting to note that this text is repeated verbatim in the famous “ghost feeding” manual 瑜伽集要焰口施食儀軌 (T. 1320 21.476b12–19).

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The worshiper then makes the mudrā and recites the “root dhāraṇī of Amitāyus Tathāgata.”23 This is said to result in a vision of the Pure Land in the present and when the end of life is near the practitioner will see Amitāyus Tathāgata and his retinue “gathering around to receive him, and they will comfort his body and mind he will forthwith be born in the highest class of the highest birth in the Sukhāvatī and be confirmed in the Bodhisattva state” (71b25). Finally the liturgy reverses the entry sequence to complete the process. Rather than thinking of this manual as a liturgy into which a deity yoga sequence has been added I view it as a liturgical package to which elements from the Guanjing have been added. The program of offering (the “eighteenfold way”) and the meditation on Avalokiteśvara form a coherent liturgical program inflected in the manner found widely in eighth-century manuals taking cues from the Mahāvairocana and other major tantras. The sequence of offerings as well as the preparatory activities are structured around mudrāmantra pairs designed to produce a consciousness of the purity of all beings and therefore of the identity of the worshiper, all beings, and Avalokiteśvara. Thus, the performance of this liturgy acts as a script through which practitioners can inhabit different subjectivities; first as sinners confessing transgressions, next as worshipers enacting their relationship with the deities of the Pure Land, and then as Bodhisattvas themselves. Finally, the performance creates a future subject in the shared post-death community of the Pure Land. While it is tempting for us to focus on the ritual sequence wherein the practitioner contemplates his or her identity with Avalokiteśvara, such a focus artificially segregates the liturgy into “inner” and “outer.” The entire liturgy is structured around a narrative of pollution and progress to purity culminating in the worshiper’s recognition that his own purity is indistinguishable from that of Avalokiteśvara and that he or she is a member of the greater liturgical community of the Pure Land. In short, the Wuliangshou yigui displays for us a typical, rather than unique and fully autonomous subject.

23

The Wuliangshou rulai genben tuoloni 無量壽如來根本陀羅尼 is actually an old dhāraṇī that has appeared in a range of texts with connections to the cult of Amitābha— some from pre-Tang times. Osabe Kazuo 長部和雄 cites works going back to the LiuSong dynasty, including translations attributed to Śikṣānanda, Bodhiruci, and Atikūṭa. These include T. 1317, 1185A, 369, 901, and 368. See Osabe Kazuo 1971, 102. See also Mikkyō daijiten vol. 5, 2148.

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Seals (印) and Siddhaṃ

What is the origin of “deity yoga”—the visionary construction of a deity and contemplating oneself as a deity? As with any search for origins, the question may not be answerable and may, in fact, be badly formulated. By the early eighth century many Chinese translations of Indic texts were marked by coordinated liturgical practice involving the simultaneous recitation of mantras with detailed instructions for the making and deployment of mudrās. These were often accompanied by descriptions instructing the practitioner to “contemplate” or “inspect” (guan 觀), “recollect” (nian 念), or “conceive” “imagine” or “visualize” (xiang 想).24 To approach the question from a slightly different angle, we can ask what is truly distinctive about eighth-century manuals like the Wuliangshou yigui or the Ruyilun. As I have pointed out above, the manuals of esoteric liturgies share much visionary technology and apparatus with non-esoteric liturgies. Some earlier scriptures even suggest that the practitioner imagine his or her own body as that of the Buddha. Where the liturgies truly differ is not in the deployment of visual techniques, the building of altars, the identification of one’s body with that of a Buddha, or even of mantras, but in the systematic deployment of “seed” syllables (bīja) and use of mudrā. In an article and now in his monograph Spells, Images, and Maṇḍalas, Koichi Shinohara has attempted to trace the development of esoteric ritual.25 Seeking to delineate the process through which typical vidhis—often describing image miracles attendant on heroic liturgical performances— were gradually reorganized around maṇḍalas and visualization, Shinohara explores the development of vision and its relationship to the use of large integrative maṇḍalas in Atikūṭa’s seventh century Tuoluoni ji jing 陀羅尼集 經 (Dhāraṇīsaṃgraha-sūtra, T. 901, 654 ce), Amoghavajra’s translation of the Guhya-tantra (the Ruixiye jing 蕤呬耶經 T. 897 also known as the Yuxiye jing 玉呬耶經 and the Juxitandaluo jing 瞿醯壇怛囉 or Guhyatantra) and on into the Mahāvairocanābhisaṃbodhi-sūtra (Da Piluzhe’na chengfo shenbian jiachi jing 大毘盧遮那成佛神變加持經 T. 848). Shinohara proposes that it was the

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Of course, the three-fold taxonomy of speech, body, and mind had a long history prior to the tantras as, for instance, in discussions of the tri-karma. For an introduction, see McBride II. 2006, 305–55. There have been a number of attempts to do this. See the essays by Henrik Sørensen and Lü Jianfu in this volume as well as Lü 1995.

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insertion of an interior visualized dimension into otherwise typical dhāraṇī scriptures that led to the emergence of a comprehensive maṇḍala structure.26 Be that as it may, two things appear to mark ‘tantric’ or esoteric manuals. First, the texts deploy mudrās in coordination with the enunciation of mantras and detailed instruction as to how to form them. Second, although tantric manuals are not unique in containing instructions concerning mental imagery, many “tantric” texts also instruct the practitioner systematically to visualize lunar discs and seed syllables either in the bodies of deities or in one’s own body. Perhaps as early as 600 CE we begin to see manuals that spend considerable time instructing practitioners how to make and deploy mudrās in the liturgical process. But instructions concerning lunar discs and bījas appear in texts dating to the beginning of the eighth century, at least a century later. In a wide-ranging essay, “A Seal of the Law: A Ritual Implement and the Origins of Printing,” Michel Strickmann noted that one of the earliest mentions of mudrā appears in the fifth-century Consecration Sūtra or Guanding jing 灌頂經27 where it is translated as “seal” 印 and transliterated as 文頭婁 (Strickmann 1990, 75–118).28 Although we are there informed that “Wentolou in foreign speech is equivalent to spirit seal in the language of Jin,” instructions for intertwining the fingers are not given.29 Ronald Davidson has pointed out that the “abhiṣeka” in the Guanding jing is designed to transmit a text and is not a consecration in the same sense as a tantric abhiṣeka. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the text uses the term ‘guanding’ and the process is focused on mudrā (印, 文頭婁) (Davidson 2011a, 74). It is as though the author had seen an abhiṣeka but had no access to a manual, and thus cast the rite in decidedly indigenous terms. It appears that the earliest text to coordinate mantras with detailed descriptions of mudrās may be the Mou li mantuoluo zhou jing 牟梨曼陀羅咒經 (T. 1007), said to have been translated during the Liang dynasty (502–557) by an unknown author.30 This work shows considerable signs of having been pieced 26

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Language instructing the practitioner in mental activity during the performance of ritual is found in a number of places in the Tuoluoni ji jing. For example, in a section describing the painting of an image of the “Five Yakṣas” we find, “Forthwith you should close your eyes and preserving the thought make the visualization” (即當閉目存思作想 T. 901 18.869a18). See Shinohara 2010, 417–19; 2014, 194–204. Fo shuo guanding qiwanerqian shenwang hu bichiu zhou jing 佛說灌頂七萬二千神王護 比丘呪經 T. 1331. For a recent consideration of the scripture see Shinohara Koichi 2015, 70–81. 胡言文頭婁者晉言神印也 T. 1331 21.515b25. The Mouli maṇḍala is first mentioned in Zhisheng’s 智昇 Kaiyuan Catalogue of 730 (Kaiyuan shijiao lu 開元釋教錄 T. 2154.55:667a), and the Chinese version may have been

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together and possibly rearranged.31 The mudrās (母陀囉) in the Mouli maṇḍala—many but not all of which are included in a list of sixteen ‘seals’ (印)—are each coordinated with a spell (咒). Each includes instructions for forming the mudrās: The first seal: In preparation sit cross-legged with your body erect. Then using your hands and fingers make the mudrā. With your right elbow across [your lap] bend your index finger to press the tip of the thumb and open the remaining three fingers. Next open the left hand and seal and press the right palm, leading it to your heart and then toward the Buddhas in an effortless [motion]. Imagine 想 the Buddhas accepting this and directing compassion and protective recollection [toward you]. Contem­ plate in this way and without allowing your intention to dissipate hold the seal before your heart chanting the spell. You should chant the spell twenty-one time saying: Oṃ sarva tathāgatārci maṇi jvāla āviṣṭya hūṃ. One who makes this seal then makes the same heart mudrā as all the ten directions Buddhas (T. 1007 661a27-b7). For the most part, the term “vision” in the text appears as in the context of deities who manifest as a result of ritual action. However, at times the reader is enjoined actively to conceive or imagine 想 certain things, such as beings being pure like the Buddhas. This is taken a step further in the fifth mudrā: Next is the fifth seal. You should be seated cross-legged. Place your palms together and think of yourself, imagining this body is like vajra with no difference whatsoever. Then using the vajra-hand touch your head moving from the top of your head to your feet. Having performed this recollection you should wish that this body is instantly seated in the ten directions like a vajra [being], like the body of a Buddha (T. 1007 19.662a6–9).

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produced later than the Liang and probably post-dates 600 ce. The text was later recast by Bodhiruci (T. 1006) and by Amoghavajra (T. 1005). Lü Jianfu 呂建福 has a treatment of it in Zhongguo mijiao shi 中国密教史 1995, 154–157, where he argues for the Liang dating. A recent book by Otsuka Nobuo (2013, 665–680) includes a detailed treatment. Koichi Shinohara (2014, 95–106) has a detailed treatment of the various versions of the text. The text breaks into four major segments: the first segment deals with the heart spells of the three maṇḍalas; the second with sixteen mudrās and their benefits; the third with procedures for the painting of images; the fourth with homa.

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Thus, in the Mouli Maṇḍala, we see the conjunction of detailed mudrā and mantra pairs with spontaneous visionary manifestations similar to those in dhāraṇī scriptures, contemplation of divine attributes, and some instruction to actively “imagine” things. Although the moon appears as an image of purity there is no sign of the moon as an interiorized lunar disc on which bījas are visualized and manipulated. As far as I have been able to determine, the systematic visualization of a lunar disc and “seed syllables” appears around the turn of the eighth century. Surprisingly, the Dhāraṇīsaṃgraha of 654 which clearly reflects fairly advanced development of tantric liturgy bears no trace of this.32 It is only with Bodhiruci’s 707 CE translation of the voluminous Scripture of the Mantra of Amoghapāśa’s Miraculous Transformations (不空罥索神變真言經, T. 1092) that we see the appearance of the seed syllable.33 For instance, in the section on homa describing the worship of Agni, we find, “One should take the incense water and sprinkle it three times onto the flames, one should visualize (觀) the golden flames making a ra character (囉字) and transforming into Agni.”34 Further on the worshiper is instructed to “sit like my image in a cross-legged posture. In the heart there is a lunar disc on which a sa character splendidly manifests with hundreds of white rays. Make the recitation mudrā with the left hand raised before the heart, five fingers stretching out like an opening lotus” (T. 1092 20.266a19–22).35 In The Tantric Body, Gavin Flood argues that one of the keys to understanding the Hindu tantras is the imposition of text on the body of the practitioner, what he calls “entextualization” (Flood 2006, esp. Part II). So too, Strickmann’s essay “A Seal of the Law” notes the importance of mudrā as an imprinting of text on the body for purposes of healing in Six Dynasties religion. T.H. Barrett (2001, 1–64) has traced the seventh-century use of printed dhāraṇī inserted in stūpas to create ‘relics’ and raises the possibility that such use of printing on paper (rather than on clay, as in India) may have resulted from Daoist influences. Ritual hand gestures in India certainly predate Buddhism and it is unclear when they became associated with imprinting and text, but the confluence is a key feature in tantric systems. Bearing all of this in mind I want to 32 33 34 35

The section devoted to Marīci does include the imagining of a “wan” character in the palm of one’s hand. T. 901 18.870b11–14. Although the text is dated one has to be concerned that it was tinkered with to bring it in line with later esoteric developments. T. 1092 20.260b4–5: 當以香水灑淨火上彈指三遍 當觀火焰金為囉字變為火天。 See also 265c13–17 where a lunar disc is involved. Another passage involves the generation of bījas on both lunar and wind disks: 264b20– 24.

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return to the process of abhiṣeka as found in eighth century manuals and briefly examine the liturgical process of the gateway rite for tantric practice. The ritual of abhiṣeka (灌頂 consecration or initiation) is detailed in the Mahāvairocana-tantra, in the Sarvatathāgatatattvasaṃgraha, and elsewhere.36 Based on the Brahmanic consecration rites, abhiṣeka as presented in these texts constitutes a ritual reenactment of the mythic event of Siddhārtha’s enlightenment and consecration as the Buddha Mahāvairocana in the Akaniṣṭha heaven. The ritual process proceeds by first evoking the Buddhas of the ten directions, and is followed by the confession of sins before them, the worshiping of the assembled Buddhas, and the taking of Bodhisattva vows. The candidate is then blindfolded, brought before a maṇḍala and tosses a flower onto it to establish a karmic bond with a tutelary deity. The candidate is released from the blindfold for a first vision of the maṇḍala and the deity, and the teacher imparts the deity’s mantra, and uses mudrā and mantra to impress key attributes of the deity on the disciple’s body. Scholars have noted that abhiṣeka employs a technology related to that used to produce and then consecrate images.37 In both cases the goal is to make the image or the person a fit abode for a deity by creating its proper attributes or iconography, implanting mantras and hand gestures (through nyāsa and mudrā) and then to induce the “entry” (āveśa, 阿尾捨, 扁入 etc.) of the deity into the image or the person.38 As we saw, the story of Sarvārthasiddha’s conversion from the practice of trance to initiation through abhiṣeka that appears at the head of the Sarvatathāgatatattvasaṃgraha rejects the solitary ascetic path. In 36

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My treatment here of the construction of the subject in abhiṣeka follows that in Orzech (2011, 113–128. Ryūichi Abé discusses abhiṣeka as presented in the Mahāvairocana-sūtra and the Sarvatathāgatatattvasaṃgraha in Ryūichi Abé 1999, 133–149. One should note that the imagery of abhiṣeka is not limited to royal metaphors. On abhiṣeka see Davidson 2011a. Perhaps the most comprehensive account of contemporary Tibetan practices of consecration of images is Yael Bentor 1996. Donald Swearer (2004) traces both the textual warrants for and contemporary practices of Thai image consecration. For a full treatment of āveśa see Smith 2006. Strickmann and others have discussed āveśa rituals for inducing possession of children by a deity for oracular purposes. See Strickmann 1996, 213–229. Like Strickmann, both Bukkyōdaijiten and Mikkyōdaijiten treat the induction of possession states for oracular purposes while ignoring its use in abhiṣeka. Alexis Sanderson argues that the appearance of āveśa in T. 865 and other Buddhist texts is the result of borrowing from Śaiva Kaula systems. See Sanderson, 2009, 133 and 311. As Smith has demonstrated, the notion of āveśa is both early and widespread in Indian literature and it is probably premature to claim direct causality. Flood also has a treatment for the Hindu Tantras in The Tantric Body. See Flood 2006, 87–96.

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the tale Sarvārthasiddha is instructed in the technique of abhiṣeka during which a new enlightened subjectivity is constructed through liturgical performance. The story of Sarvārthasiddha’s enlightenment is reenacted in liturgy by each teacher and candidate. The core sequence, as presented in the Sarvatathāgatatattvasaṃgraha deploys mudrā and mantra to reshape the disciple first as a vehicle fit for a divine subject then as a divine subject. Having been blindfolded, the disciple is sworn to secrecy:39 The vajra-ācārya should himself make the sa­ttva-vajrī mudrā, which he places facing downward on the disciple’s head, making the following pronouncement: “This is the samaya-vajra. It will split your head [if you reveal it to others], you must not discuss it” (T. 865 18.218a20–21). The teacher then empowers the oath-water and the disciple drinks it, and the teacher tells the disciple that he (the teacher) is to be regarded as Vajrapāṇi himself and further warns the disciple that hell awaits him if he treats the teacher with contempt. Then the teacher has the disciple announce: I beseech all the Tathāgatas to empower (adhiṣṭhāna, 加持) me and for Vajrasattva to enter (bianru, 扁入) me. Then the vajra-ācārya should bind the sattva-vajrī mudrā and say: “Ayaṃ tat samayo vajraṃ vajrasattvam iti smṛtam; āveśayatu te ‘dyaiva vajrajñānam anuttaram vajrāveśa āḥ.” [This is the pledge, the vajra known as vajrasattva; may it cause unsurpassed adamantine knowledge to enter you this very day! Adamantine entry! Ah!] Then [the teacher] then makes the wrathful-fist (krodha-muṣṭi), breaking the sattva-vajrī mudrā, and [makes the disciple] recite at will the one-hundred-syllable mantra of the realization of the Mahāyāna with adamantine speech. Then āveśa (T. 865 18.218b1–8).40

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For the passages here and below from the Sarvatathāgatatattva-saṃgraha I follow Rolf Giebel’s translation (2001, 73–79) with minor modifications. The original is T. 865 18.217b27–219b2. The parallel passage in Dānapāla’s (Shihu, 施護) full translation of the Sarvatathā­ gatatattva-saṃgraha (translated 1012–1015, during the Northern Song, Fo shuo yiqie rulai zhenshi she dacheng xianzheng sanmei dajiaowang jing, 佛說一切如來真實攝大乘現 證三昧大教王經, T. 882) uses 召入 as a translation for āveśa: T. 882 18.354a5–6, 以金剛 語隨其所樂應當持誦。然作召入法。當召入時。從微妙智生。以是智故。即 能如應覺了他心。

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As a consequence of Vajrapāṇi’s entry the disciple “comprehends the minds of others,” “eliminates all suffering,” and so on. The teacher now makes the mudrā and releases it on the disciple’s heart confirming the establishment of Vajrapāṇi in the disciple’s heart (“hṛydayaṃ me’dhitiṣṭha”). At this point the disciple throws a garland onto the maṇḍala. The deity on whom it lands is now karmically bonded to the disciple. The garland is placed on the disciple’s head as the teacher recites: “Oṃ pratigṛhṇa tvam imaṃ sattva[ṃ] mahābala.” (Oṃ, accept this being, O you of great power!). The “entry” is completed as the teacher uncovers the disciple’s face while pronouncing the following mantra: Oṃ vajrasattvaḥ svayaṃ te ‘dya cakṣūdghāṭanataparaḥ. Udghāṭayati sarvākṣo vajracakṣur anuttaram. [Oṃ Vajrasattva himself is intent upon opening your eyes today. The all-eyed one opens the unsurpassed vajraeye.] Then [the teacher] recites the vision mantra: He vajra paśya. [Hey, vajra look!] Then he makes the disciple look at the Great Maṇḍala in the proper order. As soon as he has seen [it the disciple] is empowered (adhiṣṭhāna) by all the Tathāgatas and Vajrasattva dwells in the disciple’s heart … . [The teacher] empowers a flask with scented water using a vajra and anoints the disciple’s head with this heart mantra: Vajrābhiṣiñca! (O vajra, consecrate!) Then with a particular mudrā and fastening a garland [to the disciple], he places his own insignia in the palms of the [disciple’s] two hands, reciting the heart mantra: Adyābhiṣiktas tvam asi buddhair vajrābhiṣekataḥ. Idaṃ te sarvabuddhatvaṃ gṛhṇa vajra[ṃ] susiddhaye. Oṃ vajrādhipatitvam abhiṣiñcāmi. Tiṣṭha vajra. Samayas tvam. [You have now been consecrated by the Buddhas with the vajra consecration. Take for good success this vajra for your complete Buddhahood! Oṃ, I consecrate you vajra lord. Abide, vajra! You are the pledge.] (T. 865 18.218b28–219a10). Recapitulating Sarvārthasiddha’s enlightenment, the establishment of the deity in the disciple’s heart is a liturgical process involving the assembled participants.41 The text, and others like it set before us a typical subject rather than 41

Āveśa is also used elsewhere in the scripture involving the entry of the deities of the maṇḍala. See Giebel 2001, 70: “Then having bound the supreme samaya seal in accordance with the rules, The Adamantine Teacher enters [the maṇḍala], after which he breaks the seal and [effects] the entry (āveśa) [of the deities into the maṇḍala]. This is the heart-mantra for all entry.” The original (T. 865 18.217a23–25) reads 即勝三昧耶結印如 儀則金剛師入已摧印而遍入此諸遍入心。

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unique and autonomous one. Further, the blindfolding and subsequent uncovering of the disciple’s eyes parallels well-known rituals of “eye-opening” in the construction of images. In his famous passage on vision prefacing a list of implements brought from China Kūkai said, “The various implements and mudrās are the product of great compassion. With a single viewing one becomes Buddha.”42 Michel Strickmann aptly observed that this is a process of “iconisation,” but the iconization goes beyond mere sight. This seeing involves a liturgical imprinting whereby the worshiper is molded and in doing so is inducted into the community—a community that is simultaneously the assembled participants and the deities of the maṇḍala (Strickmann 1996, 204). Indeed, each ritual reiteration reconstitutes both the individual and the community. Thus, early manuals preserved in Chinese are indicative of an extension of widespread Buddhist liturgical and visionary practices. If the liturgies of ordination and of taking Bodhisattva precepts transformed lay subjects into monks and nuns and Bodhisattvas, the abhiṣeka and samaya might be likened to a liturgical machine for producing “divine” subjects. These subjects are in a sense a virtual extension of the liturgical process. As liturgical subjects they are communal and typical, rather than the unique and purely internal product of meditative “experience.” Finally, in answer to the question when did “deity yoga” develop, it is clear that imagining one’s own body as that of a Buddha is already present in some texts that recommend contemplation of the Buddha’s bodily marks (a practice critiqued in the Diamond-sūtra43). How and when the entextualization of the body through the use of the lunar disc motif and emplacement of bījas developed is as yet unclear. It is already a well-developed system in the Mahāvairocana-tantra rendered into Chinese in 724–25. But we know a version of the text was circulating in India during the last third of the seventh century, and scholars consider that it was composed in the mid-seventh century. Thus, the record of the use of mudrā seems to converge with that of the use of bījas.

References

Barrett, Timothy Hugh. 2001. “Stūpa, Sūtra and Śarīra in China, C. 656–706 CE.” Buddhist Studies Review 18: 1–64. 42 43

T. 2161.55:1064b27–28 種種威儀種種印契 出自大悲一睹成佛 See, for instance, T. 235 8.750a22–23 不可以三十二相得見如來。何以故?如來說三 十二相,即是非相,是名三十二相。

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Bentor, Yael. 1996. Consecration of Images and Stūpas in Indo-Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. Leiden: E.J. Brill. Beyer, Stephan. 1973. The Cult of Tārā. Berkeley: University of California Press. Brakke, David, Michael L. Satlow, and Steven Weitzman. eds. 2005. Religion and the Self in Antiquity. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Dalton, Jacob. 2005. “A Crisis of Doxography: How Tibetans Organized Tantra During the 8th–12th Centuries.” Journal of the International Association for Buddhist Studies 28: 115–81. Davidson, Ronald M. 2010. “The Place of Abhiṣeka Visualization in the Yogalehrbuch and Related Texts.” In From Turfan to Ajanta: Festschrift for Dieter Schlingloff on the Occasion of his Eightieth Birthday, vol. I, edited by Eli Franco and Monika Zin, 183–196. Lumbini: Lumbini International Research Institute. Davidson, Ronald M. 2011a. “Abhiṣeka.” In Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia, Handbook of Oriental Studies, section three, Esoteric Buddhist Practices, edited by Charles D. Orzech, Henrik H. Sørensen, and Richard K. Payne, 71–75. Leiden and Boston: Brill. Davidson, Ronald M. 2011b. “Some Observations on the Uṣṇīṣa Abhiṣeka Rites in Atikūṭa’s Dhāraṇīsaṃgraha.” In Transformations and Transfer of Tantra: Tantrism in Asia and Beyond, edited by István Keul, 91–93. Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter. Egge, James R. 2003. “Interpretive Strategies for Seeing the Body of the Buddha.” In Constituting Communities: Theravada Buddhism and the Religious Cultures of South and Southeast Asia, edited by John Clifford Holt, Jacob N. Kinnard, and Jonathan S. Walters, 189–208. Albany: State University of New York Press. Flood, Gavin. 2005. The Ascetic Self. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Flood, Gavin. 2006. The Tantric Body: The Secret Tradition of Hindu Religion. London: I.B. Tauris. Foucault, Michel. 1988. “Technologies of the Self.” In Technologies of the Self: A Seminar with Michel Foucault, edited by Luther Martin, Huck Gutman, and Patrick H. Hutton, 16–49. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. Foucault, Michel. 1999. “About the Beginning of the Hermeneutics of the Self.” In Religion and Culture, edited by Jeremy Carrette, 158–181. New York: Routledge. Giebel, Rolf W. 2001. Two Esoteric Sutras: The Adamantine Pinnacle Sutra / The Susiddhikara Sutra. Berkeley: Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research. Giebel, Rolf W. 2011. “Taishō Volumes 18–21.” In Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia, Handbook of Oriental Studies, section two, Canonical and Non-Canonical Sources and Materials, edited by Charles D. Orzech, Henrik H. Sørensen, and Richard K. Payne, 27–36. Leiden and Boston: Brill. Greene, Eric. 2012. “Meditation, Repentance, and Visionary Experience in Early Medieval Chinese Buddhism.” PhD diss., Berkeley, University of California.

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Krueger, Derek. 2006. “Romanos the Melodist and the Christian Self in Early Byzantium.” In Proceedings of the 21st International Congress of Byzantine Studies vol. 1, 255–274. London: Ashgate. Krueger, Derek. 2013. “The Great Kanon of Andrew of Crete, the Penitential Bible, and the Liturgical Formation of the Self in the Byzantine Dark Age.” In Between Personal and Institutional Religion: Self, Doctrine, and Practice in Late Antique Eastern Christianity, Cultural Encounters in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, edited by Brouria Bitton-Ashkelony and Lorenzo Perrone, 15, 57–97. Turnhout: Brepols. Krueger, Derek. 2014. Liturgical Subjects: Christian Ritual, Biblical Narrative, and the Formation of the Self in Byzantium. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Kuo Li-ying. 1994. Confession et contrition dans le bouddhisme chinois du Ve au Xe siècle. Paris: Ecole française Extrême-Orient. Lü Jianfu 呂建福. 1995. Zhongguo mijiao shi 中国密教史. Beijing: Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe. McBride, Richard D., II. 2006. “The Mysteries of Body, Speech, and Mind: The Three Esoterica (sanmi) in Medieval Sinitic Buddhism.” Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 29: 305–55. Mikkyō daijiten 密敎大辞典. 1968–1970. Edited by Mikkyō Jiten Hensankai, Mikkyō Dajiten Saikan Inkai 密敎大辞典版委員會 and Mikkyō Gakkai 密敎學會, 6 vls. Kyōto: Hōzōkan. Orzech, Charles D. 2009. “A Tang Esoteric Manual for Rebirth in the Pure Land.” In Path of No Path: Contemporary Studies in Pure Land Buddhism Honoring Roger Corless, edited by Richard K. Payne, 31–55. Berkeley: Institute of Buddhist Studies and Numata Center for Buddhist Research and Translation. Orzech, Charles D. 2011. “On the Subject of Abhiṣeka.” Pacific World Journal, 3rd Series 13: 113–128. Orzech, Charles D. 2016. “Ritual Subjects: Homa in Chinese Translations and Manuals from the Sixth through Eighth Centuries.” In Homa Variations: The Study of Ritual Change across the Longue Durée, edited Richard K. Payne and Witzel, 266–287 Oxford: Oxford University Press. Osabe Kazuo 長部和雄. 1971. Tōdai mikkyō shi zakkō 唐代密教史雜考. Kobe: Kōbe shōka daigaku gakujutsu kenkyūkai, 1971. Otsuka Nobuo 大塚伸夫.2013. Indo shoki Mikkyō seiritsu katei no kenkyū インド初期 密教成立過程の研究. Tokyo: Shunjusha. Patton, Laurie. 2005. Bringing the Gods to Mind. Berkeley: University of California Press. Ryūichi Abé. 1999. The Weaving of Mantra: Kūkai and the Construction of Esoteric Buddhist Discourse. New York: Columbia University Press. Sanderson, Alexis. 2009. “The Śaiva Age: The Rise and Dominance of Śaivism during the Early Medieval Period.” In Genesis and Development of Tantrism, edited by S. Einoo, 41–349. Tokyo: Institute of Oriental Culture.

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Seligman, Adam B., Robert P. Weller, Michael J. Puett, and Simon Bennett. 2008. Ritual and Its Consequences: An Essay on the Limits of Sincerity. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Sharf, Robert H. 1998. “Experience.” In Critical Terms for Religious Studies, edited by Mark C. Taylor, 94–116. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Sharf, Robert H. 2003. “Thinking through Shingon Ritual.” Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 26 (1): 51–96. Shinohara Koichi. 2010 “The All-Gathering Maṇḍala Initiation Ceremony in Atikūṭa’s Collected Dhāraṇī Scriptures: Reconstructing the Evolution of Esoteric Buddhist Ritual.” Journal Asiatique 298 2: 389–420. Shinohara Koichi. 2014. Spells, Images, and Maṇḍalas: Tracing the Evolution of Esoteric Buddhist Rituals. New York: Columbia University Press. Shinohara Koichi. 2015. “Rethinking the Category of Chinese Buddhist Apocrypha.” Studies in Chinese Religions 1 (1): 70–81. Smith, Fredrick M. 2006. The Self Possessed: Deity and Spirit Possession in South Asian Literature and Civilization. New York: Columbia University Press. Smith, James J.A. 2013. Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic. Smith, Jonathan Z. 1982. Imagining Religion: From Babylon to Jonestown. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Sørensen, Henrik H. 2011. “Textual Material Relating to Esoteric Buddhism in China outside the Taishō, vol. 18–21.” In Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia, Handbook of Oriental Studies, section two, Canonical and Non-Canonical Sources and Materials, edited by Charles D. Orzech, Henrik H. Sørensen, and Richard K. Payne, 37–67. Leiden and Boston: Brill. Strickmann, Michel. 1990. “The Consecration Sūtra: A Buddhist Book of Spells.” In Chinese Buddhist Apocrypha, edited by Robert E. Buswell, Jr. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press. Strickmann, Michel. 1993. “The Seal of the Law: A Ritual Implement and the Origins of Printing,” Asia Major, third series, 6, 2: 1–83. Strickmann, Michel. 1996. Mantras et mandarins: Le bouddhisme tantrique en Chine. Paris: Gallimard. Swearer Donald. 2004. Becoming the Buddha: The Ritual of Image Consecration in Thailand. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Tsong-ka-pa, H.H. the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and Hopkins, Jeffrey. 1987. Deity Yoga in Action and Performance Tantra. Boston and London: Snow Lion. Reprint of The Yoga of Tibet. London: George Allen& Unwin, Ltd., 1981. Weinberger, Steven Neal. 2003. “Significance of Yoga Tantra and the Compendium of Principles (Tattvasaṃgraha-tantra) within Tantric Buddhism in India and Tibet.” PhD diss., Charlottesville, University of Virginia.

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Yamabe Nobuyoshi. 2005. “Visionary Repentance and Visionary Ordination in the Brahmā Net Sūtra.” In Going Forth: Visions of Buddhist Vinaya, edited by William M. Bodiford, 17–39. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. Yamabe Nobuyoshi. 2009. “The Paths of Śrāvakas and Bodhisattvas in Meditative Practices.” Acta Asiatica 96: 47–75.

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Chapter 2

Spells and Magical Practices as Reflected in the Early Chinese Buddhist Sources (c. 300–600 CE) and Their Implications for the Rise and Development of Esoteric Buddhism Henrik H. Sørensen

Introduction

This paper will discuss a phenomenon, which, for lack of a better term, I shall refer to as “Esoteric Buddhism” (mijiao 密教). This form of Mahāyāna is characterized by its focus on spells and incantations, the application of a wide range of magical methods, including certain transgressive acts, as well as an overwhelming concern with ritual practices.1 I will concentrate on the manner in which early forms of Esoteric Buddhism were formulated and represented in the Chinese Buddhist sources from the Nanbeichao 南北朝 period (317–581). Additionally, I will try to outline a model showing how Esoteric Buddhism rose and developed as a distinct form of Buddhist practice, more so in India, but also in China. The early Chinese translations of Indian scriptures that were done between c. 200 up to around 600 CE shed critical light on the evolution of Esoteric Buddhism. Moreover, this material is the de-facto “missing link” in the history of Buddhism in India in so far as it has preserved an extensive amount of scriptures which have either been lost in their Sanskrit originals, or otherwise only exist in the form of much later manuscripts or in Tibetan translations. In either

1 In the past few years a number of important studies on ritual practices in Indian and Chinese Buddhism have appeared, including Copp 2014, which features one of the most complete discussions of spells in the Chinese Buddhist context to date; Shinohara 2014, primarily dealing with ritual structures and their development; and the three installment series of essays by Davidson 2014, 119–180 . These together provide the most systematic and up-to-date discussion of spellrelated practices in medieval Indian Buddhism to date.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2017 | doi 10.1163/9789004340503_004

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case, both are too far removed temporally as to even remotely match the Chinese translations in significance and age.2 I chose “Esoteric Buddhism” as a descriptive term for this phenomenon rather than “Tantric Buddhism” for a rather simple reason. Tantric Buddhism, based on the Buddhist tantras, is a mature form of Esoteric Buddhism: this is true historically, doctrinally and in terms of practices. In contrast, Esoteric Buddhism signifies the merging and elaboration of the many elements which eventually became characteristic of Tantric Buddhism proper. Historically one may therefore say that Tantric Buddhism represents the full bloom of Esoteric Buddhism, whereas “Esoteric Buddhism” as a term broadly applied, represents the processes leading up to full-blown Tantric Buddhism, while at the same time encompassing it (Sørensen 2011, 155–175). Now, how do we conceptualize the pre-Tantric phenomenon of Esoteric Buddhism? Let us first agree that Esoteric Buddhism does not mean “Buddhist esotericism,” or “esoteric Buddhism,” that is, forms of Buddhism that are either self-consciously abstruse or otherwise hard for the non-initiate to comprehend. Rather, it denotes a form of Buddhism whose practices and teachings are normally not disclosed to outsiders, including other Buddhists. In Esoteric Buddhism the path of spiritual cultivation is closely guarded, with instruction of its practices and access to its holy texts only available to adepts within a closed, religious circuit. We are dealing, then, with a hermetic tradition.3 Moreover, this Buddhist tradition features a number of salient characteristics such as the ubiquitous use of spells, elaborate rituals including the use of maṇḍalas, mudrās, homa, empowered ritual objects and offerings, and so on. One can say that the primary soteriology in Esoteric Buddhism is rooted in ritual practices and a predilection for achieving divine responses through the use of magic. Thus, magic and the achievement of supernatural powers are integral to the doctrines constituting the path (Skr. marga) in Esoteric Buddhism. The former can be conceived of as a kind of short-cut, almost amounting to a circumvention of the usual theory of cause and effect so characteristic of mainstream Buddhism, while the latter may be seen as constituting a shift in the direction of traditional Buddhist yogic and devotional practices (Sørensen 2011, 197– 207). When understood in this way, the use of magic is a divinely sanctified

2 Most of the early material material has been succinctly discussed in Lü Jianfu 1995. To a certain extent, the data presented there builds upon that found in the classic study by Ōmura Seigai 1918. 3 I have discussed concepts of Esoteric Buddhist “secrecy” elsewhere. See Sørensen, unpublished.

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means with which to achieve one’s goals, whether these are spiritual in nature or of the so-called worldly kind. As noted, Esoteric Buddhism developed as discrete beliefs and practices that gradually came together in the course of history. These practices and beliefs center around the ritualized use of spells, specialized offerings and sacrifices, power, dominance, healing, and exorcism, all loosely resting on a foundation of mainstream Mahāyāna Buddhism. One of the pillars of early Esoteric Buddhism, and one that is actually amplified as we progress in time, is the cultic focus on one or more deities, many originating in Hinduism. Hence, Esoteric Buddhism should rightly be understood as the confluence of Mahāyāna Buddhism and a wide range of beliefs and practices normally associated with Hinduism.4 Here I shall focus on the early developments, that is, Esoteric Buddhism prior to the comprehensive structural and institutional formations reflected in the tradition associated with the Three Great Ācāryas of the mid- and lateTang (i.e., Śubhakarasiṃha (637–735), Vajrabodhi (671–741) and Amoghavajra (704–774). I shall in the following mainly draw upon those sources that were translated or composed prior to that time. When considering Esoteric Buddhism both in itself and in relation to Tantric Buddhism, I adopt a top-down approach. Thus, I begin by looking at the constituent features of 8th century Tantric Buddhism broadly defined, that is, at the apex of the tradition, and work my way downwards historically. My aim is to see how far back in time those elements can be found in the primary Buddhist sources (transmitted in Chinese), and in what contexts. I presume that in fully evolved Tantric Buddhism we shall discover a wide range of primary practices, which are either reinterpretations or reformulations of mainstream Mahāyāna. including both the sūtras and the commentarial literature, or cannot be found there at all. An analysis of the traces and formations of Esoteric Buddhism may help us to come to terms, not only with the building blocks of Esoteric Buddhism as such, but also with those developments in Mahāyāna which facilitated their eventual coming together into a single, integrated tradition I refer to as Esoteric Buddhism, a development which eventually culminated in the rise of Tantric Buddhism proper. 4 This fact is widely acknowledged in the literature. See Snellgrove 1987, 152–60; Strickmann 1996, 39–58; Davidson 2002; and more recently Wedemeyer 2013. Irrespective of the high academic level demonstrated in all of these studies, it must be said that a certain degree of obfuscation applies in some of them due to the fact that they use Tantric Buddhism as their conceptual template rather than that of Esoteric Buddhism, the latter of which—to all purposes and intents—is a more logical choice to work from. Especially so when dealing with the pre-Tantric Buddhist period of Indian Mahāyāna Buddhism, i.e. pre-seventh century.

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Conceptual Template for the Rise and Development of Esoteric Buddhism

In order to facilitate my line of argument, I have drawn up a chart (see below) in which I have placed what we may call “mature Esoteric Buddhism/Tantrism” in the first column to signify the various practices and modes of belief which characterize the phenomenon of Tantric Buddhism as a whole. I have set the time frame rather conservatively to c. 600–800 CE, mainly because I shall in the following chiefly be relying on Chinese sources. Moreover, later Tantric Buddhist developments, that is, those of the post-ninth century period, are fairly well documented through several qualified studies, allowing me to skip a discussion of that material here. There are good indications that Tantric Buddhism proper was already in its nascent phase in India during the 6th century, and of course, the development of the tradition continued well into the 13th century. The second column represents Esoteric Buddhist developments during the 6th century. This period is especially well represented in the Chinese sources, granting us insight into that phase in Esoteric Buddhist history when the practices making up the tradition began to coalesce in earnest. The third column concerns the formations of what I see as “early Esoteric Buddhism,” covering roughly a two-hundred year period from the 4th through the 5th centuries. Characteristic of this phase is the rise of spell-literature proper, where we find many sūtras entirely or partly devoted to the use of spells and their associated ritual concerns. The fourth and final column deals with the scriptural material that we may identify as traditional Mahāyāna, but with a growing focus on magic and supernatural achievements. Temporally this phase falls between c. 150–350 CE. I see this period as a formative stage in the development of what eventually became Esoteric Buddhism; hence, I have dubbed it “Proto-Esoteric Buddhism.” This is not to be confused with Strickmann’s “proto-Tantrism,” a term (and a misnomer) he coined to describe Esoteric Buddhist developments prior to the Tang.5 The reader ought also to bear in mind that the time spans set for these periods are quite fluid. Rather than wall-like divisions, they are to be understood as permeable membranes, allowing for a certain degree of temporal flexibility and overlap in both directions. For the most part I use Chinese sources, and scriptures translated into Chinese always have an older pre-history in India (or Central Asia). Exactly how much varies from case to case, but as a general rule—and unless more detailed data can be had—one should allow for at least 5 See Strickmann 2002, 103–109. See also my review article, Sørensen 2004.

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half a century for any given scripture to have gestated in its native country before its introduction to China and translation therein. The so-called “Three Mysteries (sanmi 三密),” to wit, those of body, speech and mind, form the mainstay of mature Esoteric as well as Tantric Buddhism, where they are conceptualized as subsuming the practices that employ mudrā, mantra and maṇḍala. Alongside these important features, evolved Esoteric Buddhism has homa, a wide range of yoga-related practices, including many that are antinomian (i.e., transgressive practices which would appear to contradict standard Buddhist codes of deportment),6 a developed, well-structured pantheon including a large number of wrathful divinities, a teacher-disciple relationship characterized by guru-worship, a transmission involving specialized initiation, lay experts (Skr. siddha), and so on. Moreover, this whole package is tightly wrapped up in a distinct attitude to Buddhist practice, in which the attainment of enlightenment and use of magical powers (Skr. siddhi) are often conceptually indistinguishable from each other. Now, when we direct our attention to the extensive Chinese Buddhist sources, it is possible to go back in time to identify these practices and establish a more-or-less accurate timeframe for their occurrence in the relevant sources. This means that I take as my point of departure data mined from the well-documented Indian Tantric Buddhist sources from the 7th–8th centuries in combination with the mature Esoteric Buddhist and partly Tantric material that was current in Tang China. I then move backwards in time, using mainly Chinese sources (i.e., Indian sūtras in Chinese translation). Model for the Development of Esoteric Buddhist Practices (as based on Chinese sources, c. 150–800 CE.)

Parameters

Literature: tantras/sūtras Sūtras

Esoteric Buddhism/ Tantric ­Buddhism, c. 600–800 CE ×

Esoteric Early Esoteric Magic Mahāyāna/ Buddhism, Buddhism, Proto-Esoteric c. 500–600 CE c. 300–500 CE Buddhism c. 150–350 CE

×

×

×

6 These include among other things ritual sex, and the partaking of sacraments sometimes involving consumption of meat, cannibalism, scatophagy, etc. See Snellgrove 1987, 160–75. For a modern and more critical discussion of these issues, and the contexts in which they are conceived, see Wedemeyer 2013, 105–32; 170–199.

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Model for the Development of Esoteric Buddhist Practices (cont.)

Parameters

Esoteric Buddhism/ Tantric ­Buddhism, c. 600–800 CE

Esoteric Early Esoteric Magic Mahāyāna/ Buddhism, Buddhism, Proto-Esoteric c. 500–600 CE c. 300–500 CE Buddhism c. 150–350 CE

Mantra/ dhāraṇī/ spell

× × ×

× ×

× ×

Mudrā

×

×

×

Maṇḍala

×

Homa

×

×

×

Visualization/ Meditation

× ×

× ×

×

×

×

×

Exorcism

×

×

×

×

Protection

×

×

×

×

Healing

×

×

×

×

Omen reading/ aveśa

× ×

× ×

× ×

×

Necromancy/ necrophilia Black magic

×

×

×

×

×

×

Transgressive Sacraments Ritual sex/ Soteriological sex Quest for siddhis

×

×

×

×

Specialized offerings

×

×

×

Ritual soteriology/ Enlightenment through ritual

× ×

×

×

×

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Spells and Magical Practices Parameters

Esoteric Buddhism/ Tantric ­Buddhism, c. 600–800 CE

Esoteric Early Esoteric Magic Mahāyāna/ Buddhism, Buddhism, Proto-Esoteric c. 500–600 CE c. 300–500 CE Buddhism c. 150–350 CE

Hindu/Puranic divinities

×

×

×

Sinitic input (Daoism)

×

×

×

×

In the Chinese translation of Esoteric Buddhist literature from the middle of the Tang, that is, the 8th century, we can identify many of the primary Tantric Buddhist features set out in the chart. The type of Esoteric Buddhism transmitted to Tang China, although both elaborate and doctrinally evolved, did not include the teachings found in the higher tantras, where transgressive practices were particularly salient.7 Even so, elements of antinomian practices on a small scale do show up in this material. In connection with these differences in expression, I shall mention that the yogi tradition so central to Tantric Buddhism in India was—as far as we can say—never of importance in China, with the possible exception of the Dali kingdom 大理國 (937–1253) in Yunnan, from where we know of at least one major lineage that included siddhas. However, the lateness of this development makes it somewhat irrelevant to the present discussion.8 Following the distinctly non-antinomian slant of the transmission, leading practitioners of Esoteric Buddhism China tended to be ordained monks. In that capacity, they were more or less bound by the regulations of the vinaya, the various monastic codes and the secular law.9 7 It was only Buddhism in Dunhuang and Shazhou that were somewhat influenced by the higher tantras during the Tang, when the region came under Tibetan domination during c. 780 to 848 CE. However, as this part of Gansu was cut off from the central provinces for these several decades, Tantric Buddhism did not spread beyond the sphere of Tibetan control until much later. See Sørensen 2017. 8 The celebrated “Long Scroll” features a number of yogis among the depicted lineage of patriarchs, indicating that lay-practitioners enjoyed a high status. See Chapin 1970a, 5–41; 1970b, 157–99; 1970c, 259–306; 1971, 75–140. This of course accords with the rise of the local class of lay-specialists of Esoteric Buddhism, the so-called achali or ācāryas, documented from the Yuan dynasty onwards. For background information, see Sørensen 2011, 379–92. 9 One important exception is Liu Benzun, a lay-practitioner from Sichuan during the late Tang and early Five Dynasties period. See Sørensen 2001, 57–100.

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Once we enter the 7th century, that is, the early Tang, we notice that most features representative of mid-Tang Esoteric Buddhism are already present textually, especially by the final decades of that century. The Esoteric Buddhist practices documented in the translations from that period includes mudrā, mantra and maṇḍala, homa, and even certain elements of antinomian practices.10 What distinguishes this material most clearly from that of the 8th century is the absence of a doctrinal and ritual superstructure—with the exception of internal set-ups within individual scriptures— as well as a lack of a standardized vocabulary and system of transcription, something which is found in all the early material. The term “mantra” rarely occurs.11 Our investigation becomes really interesting when we go further back in time and look at the sources from the 6th century. There, we can continue to trace Esoteric Buddhist developments that were evident in the 7th century material. In contrast to such material, however, in the 6th century we find neither uniformity nor coherence in the texts. The texts at this time were incomplete from a developmental perspective, although not really fragmented. Moreover, these consist of a large number of Indian scriptures, many of which are no longer extant. However, among this material we also find apocryphal works, to wit, Buddhist scriptures composed in China under the pretense of being authentic Indian works, as well as hybrid scriptures, namely, Chinese compilations or redactions based on Indian sūtras.12 The 5th and 4th century sources, for their part, reveal a period during which a great number of so-called “spell scriptures” entered China. The elements that can be identified as reflecting Esoteric Buddhism, while strictly ritual in nature, tend to be diffuse, unsystematic and lacking any overarching connection between doctrine and ritual practice. In several instances, it is as if the scripture had been stripped of its mainstream Mahāyāna Buddhist doctrine, leaving only a devotionalism couched in a rhetoric of salvation. Magical spells are at the center of both discourse and practice. As far as distinct Esoteric Buddhism goes, the early part of the 4th and 3rd centuries would appear to be as far back as we can reasonably go with the 10 11 12

For a presentation of the relevant sources and a succinct discussion, see Lü 1995, 199–268; See also the survey in Orzech 2011, 263–85. One exception to this being the Amoghapāśakalparāja, T. 1092:20.388a, etc. For the rituals of this important Esoteric Buddhist work, see Shinohara, 2014: 126–144. A primary example of the latter being the Guanding jing 灌頂經 (Scripture on Consecration). Here we find the absence of maṇḍalas, and the use of proper mudrās, although both spells, seals (in the form of inverted and misunderstood mudrās). Cf. T. 1331:21.516bc. A comprehensive discussion of this scripture and the context which produced it can be found in Strickmann 1990: 75–118.

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Chinese sources. Even so, the presence of spells and rites for protection as well as exorcism continue to appear in earlier material, although no longer as the primary goals of a given sūtra. Hence I refer to this phase as “proto-Esoteric Buddhism.”13 2

More than Just Spells...

I wish to develop further the notion that a full-fledged Tantric Buddhism did not emerge ex nihilo sometime in the 7th century, but rather evolved over time and in relation with a developing Mahāyāna Buddhism. In my view, Esoteric Buddhism ought to be treated as a Buddhist tradition unto itself, not unrelated to Mahāyāna but representing a new trend and direction. Thus Esoteric Buddhism would be considered as one of several important philosophical schools and movements, such as Madhyamika, Yogācāra, Tathāgatagarbha, Pure Land, and so on. Seeking support for this proposal, we will shortly turn to ritual developments as seen in the rich spell-literature from the 4th–6th centuries. Before doing so, however, let us briefly review the contesting scholarship on the matter. Noting that rituals—which are found in the mainstream tradition as well constitute the mainstay of Esoteric Buddhist practice, some scholars assert that the practice is neither a self-contained Buddhist movement/tradition, nor a distinct form of Mahāyāna.14 Moreover, these researchers point out that the use of spells, found in virtually all texts associated with what I call Esoteric Buddhism, is not limited to a single tradition or school of Buddhism.15 For these thinkers, then, Esoteric Buddhism as such never existed, especially not in China.16 We will now assess these assertions in light of data provided by the primary sources. 13

14 15

16

Examples of this phase are scriptures such as the Aṣṭabuddhaka-sūtra, T. 427:14; the Mahāmayūrī recensions, T. 986:19, T. 987:19; Mātaṅgī-sūtra, T. 1300:21, T. 1301:21; Guizi mu jing 鬼子母經 (Hārītī Scripture), T. 1262:21, etc. See for example McBride II 2004, 331–56; and 2005, 305–55. For the universal appeal and use of spells, see Copp, 2014: 1–28. Although one cannot deny the widespread popularity of spells in Chinese Buddhism broadly defined, Copp, who hesitantly accepts the use of ‘Esoteric Buddhism’ as a defining concept, does not really explain how he conceptualizes the use of spells in what would otherwise be exoteric forms of Buddhism. A position held by Robert Sharf. See Sharf 2002, 263–78. He elaborates further on his position elsewhere in this work, while at the same time offering an alternative approach to the problem. It is not clear how this view relates to the Indian and Tibetan material, some of

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Rituals are indeed common to all Buddhist traditions, including non-Ma­ hāyana Schools and Chan/Zen, forming as they do the warp and woof of the fabric of Buddhism. Spells, too, are ubiquitous across Buddhist traditions, if by “spells” one takes the utterance of any incantation, invocation or mantra, divorced from specific socio-religious, doctrinal and ritual contexts. Thus neither ritual practice nor the use of spells per se signals an “Esoteric Buddhism” that is associated, for instance, with the dispensation of teachings and practices such as the aforementioned Three Ācāryas. That said, perhaps a closer look at the points at hand, namely, ritual and spells, will shed a somewhat different light on the matter. Early Buddhist sources reveal a decided ambivalence regarding the use of spells and other occult practices. Thus, by and large, traditional vinayas prohibited monks from engaging with them, and the Ekottarāgama-sūtra explicitly forbade the use of talismans as well as spells (T. 125:2.638c).17 Nonetheless, the Saṃyuktāgama-sūtra (T. 99:2.168c) makes reference to Buddhist “spell masters”, and the Ambaṭṭha-sutta of the Dīrghagama discuses both “good” and “evil” spells, the latter, it seems, harnessed to fight disease (T. 1:1.84b).18 The early Mahāyāna literature treats spells and occult practices even more negatively than the early Buddhist material. A primary scripture such as the Mahāprajñāpāramitā-sūtra (T.220:7.266a) features a detailed set of injunctions against the use of spells by bodhisattvas. This includes the use of spells to conjure demons, to prognosticate, and so forth. The warning is repeated verbatim in the Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā-prajñāpāramitā-sūtra (T. 221:8.88b), as well as in the Aṣṭasāhasrikā-prajñāpāramitā-sūtra (T. 224:8.455c). Both of course are related intimately to the Mahāprajñāpāramitā-sūtra. Clearly the practices we encounter both in more mature Esoteric Buddhist scriptures, as well as in the proto-Esoteric Buddhist phase (or Mahāyāna practices relating to the performance of magic), were not well accepted in the early Mahāyāna tradition as represented, at least, by the mainstream scriptures of the Prajñāpāramitā

17

18

which was current within Chinese culture, at least in certain periods under the Tang. Nonetheless, since those scholars who reject the notion that Esoteric Buddhism is a tradition independent of Mahāyāna are mainly concerned with China and East Asia, we shall take for granted that their views are mainly confined to the cultures there. The Chinese translation uses the word ‘fu 符,’ which in the context of Sinitic religion is normally understood as a written document meant for communication with the unseen powers. In this case, it probably signifies any type of magically empowered amulet. For a detailed and perceptive discussion of talismans in pre- and post-Buddhist China, see Bumbacher 2012. Although the translation of this scripture took place relatively late in China, its teachings reflect early Indian Buddhist norms.

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class. Interestingly, however, the Prajñāpāramitā scriptures on several occasions refer to themselves as being one great, divine spell.19 Hence, we can say that the notion of spells as power tools was becoming increasingly acceptable during the early Gupta period (T. 220:5.568b, 569b, 551c, 583c, 782b; T. 220:7.551b, 563b, 774b; 950a, etc.). However, things were soon to change. A shift in the formal attitude toward spells, as well as the occasions and contexts in which they were deployed, can be detected in a series of mainstream scriptures translated into Chinese between the 3rd and 4th centuries CE. One might also include in this trend a few earlier examples such as those found in the Drumakinnararāja-paripṛcchā, translated by Lokakṣema between 168–172 CE, which includes a spell (zhou 呪) for protection against demonic forces and non-believers uttered by the Four Heavenly Kings (T. 624:15.367a),20 and the earliest Chinese translation of the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka (T. 263:9). A comparison of the use of spells in these two scriptures reveals an early move within Mahāyāna toward magical incantations. In the Eastern Jin material we find the Sumukhanāma-dhāraṇī-sūtra (T. 1138A:20), a short text centering on the twenty virtues obtained by a person who cultivates the dhāraṇīs (spells) around which the entire scripture revolves. The spells themselves are described as instruments with which one might subjugate the forces of evil. Among the benefits derived from this cultivation are the attainment of supernatural powers and longevity (T. 1138A:20. 582b). Here we also encounter the figure of Vajrapāṇi, one of the primary interlocutors in the later Esoteric Buddhist tradition. Another version of the same scripture, said to be from the same period, reads: “These spells are the majestic and secret treasury of all Buddhas, that which they all protect and cherish …” (T. 1137:20.581a). Thus the former injunctions against spells and spelllore had changed in the period immediately following the creation of the Prajñāpāramitā literature, something which both the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka and the Laṅkāvatāra signal with their dhāraṇī chapters. Soon we will see how spells and rituals begin to dominate the discourses of the rapidly expanding Mahāyāna literature, not to the exclusion or diminished importance of philosophical or practical treatises, but as a new branch as it were, on the tree of Buddhist tradition. Spells are almost always accompanied by rituals or what we might call “contexts of practice.” As such, they are best examined within such context. Let us now identify some salient ritual typologies. Of these there are five main types: 19 20

For this phenomenon, see Copp 2014, 20–25. For a discussion of this spell, see Harrison and Coblin, 2012, 63–85.

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• Liberation: Those which address directly soteriological issues such as • • • •

rebirth in a paradise, enlightenment, the eradication of evil karma and the avoidance of falling into hell. A sub-category of this are those concerning repentance of evil committed both on behalf of oneself and on behalf of others. Protection: This covers a wide range of problems, including defense against human and non-human predation, haunting ghosts and spirits, domestic strife, baleful asterisms, and so on. In some cases, this may also involve protection from evil karma. Healing: Curing through magic and a combination of magic and medicinal prescriptions. Exorcism/Destruction: This concerns the eradication of demonic and other dangerous forces, sometimes couched in a discourse of conversion. In later scriptures exorcism turns increasingly violent, and in the form of black magic eventually lead to the killing of perceived enemies. Augmentation: This signifies the benefits, spiritual as well as material, which befall the practitioner upon successful performance of a given ritual. Under this important category also comes the acquisition of supernatural powers (siddhi), which eventually takes center stage in subsequent Esoteric Buddhist discourse.

All of these types of ritual involve the use of one or several spells, accompanied in the majority of cases by detailed prescriptions and codes of conduct in accordance with the occasion. A conspicuous feature of the spell-literature is that liberation, variously defined depending on the direction of the soteriological process in question (e.g., ascent to heaven, descent to hell, attainment of Buddhahood) can be achieved through ritual performance. This feature also found in the later Esoteric Buddhist tradition, and even more so in Buddhist Tantrism. As against this, even so-called worldly practices such as attaining a long life, spell-binding a woman, curing a toothache, or the general mastery of supernatural powers (Skr. abhijñā) are few and far between in the mainstream Mahāyāna sūtras. The ritual taboos encountered in the spell-scriptures and Esoteric Buddhist texts are also important to take into account when trying to identify the main characteristics of that tradition. These typically govern the practitioner’s conduct within the ritual space, various types of purification, including ablutions and the wearing of special clothes, as well as a range of other regulations concerning food, socialization, speech, movement and so on. Interestingly the taboos or regulations found in Esoteric Buddhist contexts indicate that the actors in question were not always members of the monastic clergy. Certainly,

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such densely choreographed and taboo-laden behavior as we find in Esoteric Buddhist ritual is unique to that tradition, whether in India, China or elsewhere. The nature of the offerings and their conceptualization in Esoteric Buddhist ritual is a further feature of the early spell-literature. The offerings in Esoteric Buddhist ritual are generally highly specialized and follow a more-or-less standard ritual template. Incense and its use in Esoteric Buddhist ritual is a good example. While incense is used across Buddhist traditions, in Esoteric Buddhism it is specialized to the point of constituting a lore of its own, in some cases with specific fragrances associated with particular gods. In no other Buddhist tradition do we find such structure with regard to offerings, nor do offerings in other traditions carry the same doctrinal and value-laden meanings, such as for instance is seen in the three-fold or five-fold templates. The same applies to ritual implements, conceptualizations on the ritual space, and the often highly formalized and choreographed behavior within it. Although a bit late as far as the discussion of this essay is concerned, we find an excellent example of how complex, detailed, and indeed costly rituals as practiced within Esoteric Buddhism could be in the important Chinese compilation Tuoluoni jijing 陀羅尼集經 (Collated Scriptures on Dhāraṇīs, T. 901:18.893b-97b)21 made by Atigupta (fl. 7th cent.) between 651 and 654 CE. Some of the ritual elements found in Esoteric Buddhism have been borrowed by other denominations or Buddhist movements, as we see in certain Chan and Pure Land contexts from mid-Tang China. Yet these are certainly ­little more than faint reflections of the imposing ritual arsenal we for instance associate with Amoghavajra’s dispensation of Esoteric Buddhism, or that seen in the above-mentioned Tuoluoni jijing. Although rituals as we find them, say, in Pure Land Buddhism, are aimed at rebirth in Sukhāvatī, they infrequently entail the use of spells or corresponding mudrās, much less specialized offerings. However, when it comes to Pure Land practices performed within an Esoteric Buddhist context, those features are almost always present.22 21

22

That this is in fact a compilation done in China is made abundantly clear in the preface, which states that Atigupta made an anthology of different Esoteric Buddhist scriptures from a much larger collection. The preface reads: “This scripture, i.e. the Tuoluoni jijing, comes out of the Vajra-mahābodhimanda-sūtra ( Jingang da daochang jing 金剛大道場 經), the great treasury of vidyā spells (da mingzhou zang 大明咒藏), which he divided into smaller sections.” Cf. T. 901:18.785b. See for example the Aparimitāyurjñānahṛdaya-dhāraṇī, T. 370:12.352c-53a; and the Amituo fo shuo zhou 阿彌陀佛說咒 (Amitābha Buddha Utters a Mantra, T. 369:12.352a). By the early 7th century the Pure Land tradition had become thoroughtly infused with Esoteric Buddhist practices. Cf. Tuoluoni jijing, T. 901:18.801bc, 802b, 864b, etc. At some point spells were added to the standard scriptures of Pure Land Buddhism, and later talismans

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One ritual in which the hallmark of Esoteric Buddhist practice is not only evident, but even defining, is in the performance of homa (fire sacrifice). This ritual is unique to Esoteric Buddhism, and it differs radically in concept and mode of performance from mainstream Mahāyāna. The more-or-less direct borrowing from the Brahmanical tradition likely accounts for its singularity in the Buddhist context. It is arguable as well that the programmed integration of spells, handgestures and visualizations is peculiar to Esoteric Buddhism. The structural templates as well as the specific offerings used in most Esoteric Buddhist rituals, even those less developed ones seen in proto-Esoteric Buddhism, are not found elsewhere in Mahāyāna Buddhism.23 Taken together, the rituals we encounter in Esoteric Buddhist material differ rather significantly from those set forth in mainstream Mahāyāna. Briefly put, one might say that in Esoteric Buddhism the entire soteriological process has become ritualized, perhaps even performative. Moreover, magic to a large extent has redefined the traditional Mahāyāna discourses pertaining to religious practice. Therefore, it is the specific manner in which dhāraṇīs or spells occur in a given Buddhist scripture or ritual that stamps it as Esoteric Buddhism. In other words, only in the context of the dhāraṇīs and the significance ascribed to them in relation to the overall content and discourse of a given text are we able to classify such a text as belonging to Esoteric Buddhism or simply as Mahāyāna. 3

Spells and Spell-Appendices in Mahāyāna Sūtras and Their Implications

The practices and lore of Esoteric Buddhism had a gradual impact on the mainstream Mahāyāna tradition. The latter, however, did not somehow passively receive Esoteric Buddhism; rather, certain dynamics within Mahāyāna itself allowed for spell practices and the associated lore of magic to gain importance. In fact, a particular development led to an increasing ritualization and “esotericfication” of the religion, eventually allowing for Esoteric Buddhism to emerge as a special branch of Mahāyāna.

23

as well, however these developments signify the degree to which Esoteric Buddhist beliefs and practices impacted the other Buddhist traditions in China during the Tang. In this connection it is interesting to observe how the encyclopedic Fayuan zhulin 法苑珠林 (Pearly Trees in the Park of the Dharma), features a full section on Esoteric Buddhist practices relating to the cult of Amitābha Buddha and his Pure Land. Cf. T. 2122:54.735b-38b. For the ritual template of mature Esoteric Buddhism, see Orzech 1994, 51–72.

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In considering this development, I would like to take a closer look at the use of spells and spell-appendices in mainstream Mahāyāna sūtras. As many spell appendices and spell chapters added to Chinese Mahāyāna sūtras date from the 4th to the 6th centuries, and since the majority of these are in some form of transcribed Sanskrit, they may shed light on the evolution of Indian Buddhism. Spells and dhāraṇīs are considered a sort of condensation of the meaning of a given scripture, similar to those verse-sections or gāthas summing up the contents of individual chapters found in sūtras. I am inclined to believe that the spells that came to be added to Mahāyāna scriptures during the Gupta had a similar function. These, however, were more magical in nature. Hence we are justified in seeing the spells at hand as signaling a ritual empowerment of the scripture. It seems, then, that the spell appendices we find added to standard canonical sūtras most likely developed in tandem with the rise of magic practices within the Mahāyāna tradition. Indeed, in the most significant cases, such as those in the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka, the Laṅkāvatāra and even the Vajracchedikā, the added spells bear no relation to the doctrinal discourses of the scriptures themselves. As such, we must suppose that they were tacked on at some stage in their development. This trend of “esoterification” can for instance be detected in the Pure Land tradition. In this connection it is both telling and interesting to find the Guan wuliangshou fo jing 觀無量壽佛經 (Scripture for Contemplating Amitāyus, T. 365:12), one of the main scriptures of the tradition, openly condemning the use of spells when it refers to: “Evil monks who make magic with spell arts” (shamen e’ren huai zhou shu 沙門惡人幻惑咒術” (T. 365:12.341a). Clearly, whoever authored this scripture was not well disposed toward the use of spells. Nonetheless, such injunctions had at best a marginal effect on the increasing esoterification of the Pure Land tradition in medieval Chinese Buddhism. The text Xiao Amituo jing 阿彌陀經 (Short Amitābha Sūtra, T. 366:12),24 the translation of which has been attributed to Kumārajīva, is a case in point. Although the provenance of this scripture has been the subject of scholarly dispute, especially the question of its authenticity as an Indian work, it does feature a spell for rebirth in the Pure Land in its appendix entitled Wuliangshou fo shuo zhusheng Jingtu zhou 無量壽佛說往生淨土咒 (Amitāyus Pronounces the Spell for Attaining Rebirth in the Pure Land, T. 366:12.348b). Irrespective of whether the scripture itself is a Chinese or Central Asian apocryphon, the presence of this spell, which for all intents and purposes is based on a genuine Sanskrit text, 24

A note at the end of the scripture indicates that it is an apocryphal work composed in China. Cf. T. 366:12. 348b.

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signals the growing interest in adding spells to otherwise exoteric Mahāyāna sūtras. In this connection it is interesting to note that another version of the same spell can be found under the title, Ba yiqie yezhang genben desheng jingtu shenzhou 拔一切業障根本得生淨土神咒 (Divine Spell for Plucking Out all Karmic, Obscuring Roots and Obtaining Rebirth in the Pure Land, T. 368:12.351c2a). This version is said to have been translated by Gunabhadra, who was active in China during the Liu Song (421–478), thus slightly later than Kumārajīva. This means that by the first half of the 5th century at the latest, there was already a tradition that linked Pure Land beliefs with the use of spells or dhāraṇī. Reviewing this evidence, I think that we are justified in judging the practice of adding spells to Buddhist scriptures found in medieval Chinese Buddhist canonical scriptures as reflective of a growing importance of magical beliefs in Mahāyāna. Moreover, once this material was translated into Chinese, the significance of these spells became even greater, sometimes surpassing the value of the scripture to which they were appended. 4

The Allure of Supernatural Powers

The quest for supernatural power, or siddhi, is one of the defining qualities of Esoteric Buddhism. Unlike mainstream Buddhism, where such power is seen as the bi-product of a holy life, the attainment of siddhi, or what we may conceptualize as the fruits of spiritual cultivation, became a primary concern for practitioners of Esoteric Buddhism. The Buddhist scriptures that appeared during the Gupta period make it clear that interest in supernatural powers and the successful performance of magic was gaining in importance at that time. I would even venture the opinion that the rise of the new class of dhāraṇī literature that took place between C. 200–400 CE reflects this development within Mahāyāna Buddhism rather precisely.25 Perhaps there was no radical shift in the soteriological direction of the Buddhist tradition as a whole, but something was clearly going on. In the dhāraṇī-sūtras we may observe how the spells not 25

Dhāraṇī-sūtras may be classified in three categories as follows: Phase one, in which spells occur in sūtras as an added tool of power, as a secondary feature of practice, and without effecting its primary discourse which may or may not be totally unrelated to the use of spells; Phase two, here the spells are to some extent integrated within the discourse of a given scripture, but without dominating it; and Phase three, in which the import of the spells and their associated lore dominate the entire discourse of a given a sūtra. In this final phase one can say that the entire logic and purport of the scripture have become ritualized. We may also observe a certain densification of spells in the scriptures diachronically, i.e. the closer to our time we get, the more spells we find within a single work.

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only become the primary foci of this class of scriptures, they also come to dominate entire discourses of many sūtras. This may to a certain degree be seen as a conscious supplanting of the salient philosophical, meditational and devotional discourses which had hitherto tended to dominate Buddhist scriptures. Again, it is the early Chinese translations of Indian Buddhist sūtras that provide support for this claim. Recalling the quest for supernatural powers and the mastery of ritual arcana —which to some extent may be seen as going hand in hand— the Chinese translations of the dhāraṇī literature dating from the 4th to the 6th centuries are especially revealing. As space constraints prohibit a proper presentation of the abundant and rich material from this phase in Buddhist history, I shall here limit myself to a few of the most telling and spectacular examples I have found. The first comes from Qifo ba pusa suoshuo da tuoluoni shenzhou jing 七佛八 菩薩所說大陀羅尼神咒經 (T. 1332:21)26 and describes the siddhi arising from using the “Great Dhāraṇī of Avalokiteśvara.” The text reads: If a sound-hearer (Skr. śrāvaka) hears this dhāraṇī once in his ears, recites, chants, copies and cultivates it according to the [prescribed] method with a forthright and sincere heart and masters it, then he will obtain the four fruits of a śrāmaṇera without seeking them. [Simply] because of the dhāraṇī’s power. He can make the water of the mountains, rivers, stone walls, and the four great oceans of the (Skr. trisahasra-mahāsahasra lokadhātu) of the great chiliocosm gush forth. He can also cause Mt. Meru and the Iron Ring Mountains to crumple to dust. When among sentient beings he can make them give rise to bodhicitta (T. 1332:21.539a). While this example is in many ways similar to the karmic benefits that befall an upholder of one of a standard Mahāyāna sūtra, the attainment of siddhi is here presented as an added benefit. The ability to control natural forces, among other things through the magical power of a spell, is also evident in the next example, which has been taken from the Mahāmaṇivipulavimāna (Mouli mantuluo zhou jing 牟梨曼陀羅咒經, T: 1007.19)27 a scripture that is significant as one of the first to declare that: “Seeing the mudrā and hearing the spell, will 26 27

This scripture and its ritual aspects have been discussed in some detail in Koichi Shinohara 2014, 4–14. Contained in the Liang catalogue from the early 6th century, but representing a version of the scripture, which probably entered China during the 5th century. It features a whole range of Esoteric Buddhist practices, including homa. For further information on the rituals in this sūtra, see Shinohara 2014, 95–101.

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alone cause one to gain worldly and spiritual advantages” (T. 1007:19.661c). Quoting from its listing of siddhis acquired from performing the rites including the chanting of the scripture’s primary spell, we read: If the spell is being chanted on the top of a high mountain, in valleys, on water banks, then all sentient beings who lives in the area will behold the master of spells (zhoushi 呪師), i.e. the practitioner. They will all increase their life-spans and after death not transmigrate in the three evil gati (T. 1007:19. 658a). Here we see an example of ritual performance in which the goal is the benefit of sentient beings. In other words, this is a siddhi with an altruistic purpose befitting a bodhisattva. However, further in the text we read: If one chants this spell in front of an image of a Vajra [-pāla], he will manifest himself and fulfill all the adept’s wishes (T. 1007:19.658a). This power concerns one of the basic abilities of the Esoteric Buddhist practitioner, namely that of acquiring and commanding divine messengers or spirit-servants (shishen 使神).We also read: If one empowers sweet flag28 a full eight thousand times and wear it on oneself, one will see the king (Skr. rāja, Ch. heluoshe 曷羅闍),29 speak face to face [with him] and he will not be able to disobey (T. 1007:19.658a). This type of siddhi is of course very practical when one is dealing with local authorities in the real world, but it also shows how supernatural powers were imagined to operate on various levels and in various religious and social contexts. Esoteric Buddhism knows, for instance, of the practice of carrying empowered medicine, as well as other power objects, such as knotted cords, on one’s person. In the Chinese sources this practice can be traced to the midNanbeichao period.30 28 29 30

Acorus calamus, a medicinal, aquatic plant. The explanation for this term is given in T. 25:1.418a. One early case can be found in the Saptabuddhaka sūtra, T. 1333.21.562c. The Tuoluoni zaji features an interesting case of a spell-empowered robe. Cf. T. 1336.21.611bc. The wearing of talismans from one’s belt occurs frequently in Daoist scriptures, such as the Taishang dongxuan lingbao guowang xingdao jing 太上洞玄靈寶國王行道經 (Scripture of the Highest Cavern Mystery of Numinous Treasure on the King of the Realm’s Practice of the Way), Daozang 1113.24.664a. In the Padmacintāmaṇi-dhāraṇī-sūtra translated at the turn

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A further example, this time from the Tuoluoni zaji (early 6th century), associated with the cult of the Bodhisattva Ākāśagarbha, runs: This dhāraṇī must be used on the 14th or 15th days of the month at the time of the bright [morning] star (i.e. Venus). Chant it a full one hundred and eight times. Burn good aguru incense without letting the incense smoke cease. It is essential to use yellow flowers, one hundred and eight pieces in all [for the use in homa?], which will cause people to obtain good fortune. If a male [seeks to] make his body become invisible (Skr. antardhāna),31 he must make a wish for that which he seeks of with his [whole] heart. Without this he cannot obtain it. If a woman wishes to transform herself into a man, and is able to focus her mind for a day and night, and during the six times [of the day] cultivates the Way by maintaining her chanting. [Then], even if she has committed evil for the eternity of three kalpas, she will not enter evil destinies (i.e. be reborn in a bad state) (T. 1336:21.636b). Here we find the basic ritual template employed in many Esoteric Buddhist rites prior to the rise of mature Esoteric Buddhism, including even the possible use of homa. It is no wonder that a woman would be required to rely on magic of a powerful order in order to affect a gender-change. Even more importantly, the text promises the prospective female practitioner release from the Three Evil Destinies, something that no Buddhist would take lightly. Tantric and Esoteric Buddhist rhetoric has been the subject of recent scholarly debate. The full range of abstruse practices and beliefs, including those employed in the quest for siddhi, has been read as an esoteric rhetorical device or ritual hyperbole.32 While this notion may hold some validity, as symbolic language is found in a great number of texts, I would nevertheless strongly caution against using such line of interpretation to explain the oddities and bizarre phenomena that we encounter in the related scriptures. Surely these are more than rhetorical strategies or specialized literary devices. The fascination and preoccupation with paranormal powers and their various applications are

31

32

of the 8th century, we find a listing of the whole range of medicines, herbs, incense, etc. to be used to carry on one’s person. Cf. T. 1082:20.198c. Invisibility is one of the most popular siddhis, and can be found in numerous Esoteric Buddhist scriptures. This has also been documented as a sought-after power in medieval Daoism in China. Cf. Xiang zu baihe zizhi dunfa 湘祖白鶴紫芝遁法 (Ancestor Xiang’s White Bird and Purple Lingzhi Method for [Attaining] Invisibility). Cf. P. 3810 (1). See Wedemeyer 2013, 105–30. To be fair, it should be noted that he is mainly concerned with the so-called transgressive practices.

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simply too consistent and central to texts spanning nearly a millennium to be reduced to a question of a fancy, hermetic way of speaking. 5

Empowerment

Tightly tied to the quest for siddhis and the desire to control the unseen forces in the world, the idea of empowerment looms large in the Esoteric Buddhist discourse. Briefly stated, such empowerment signifies the carrying out of a quasi-ritual process whereby a thing or a person, as the case may be, is invested with a new functional status within a pre-defined system of values (in this case, spiritual values). The term used for this process is jiachi 加持 (Skr. adhiṣṭhāna), which is standard Buddhist parlance for the power of the Buddha or a bodhisattva to confer something on others, such as heightened spiritual insight, purification, salvation, etc.33 However, in the Esoteric Buddhist tradition, it signifies that through an external force activated through a ritual process, an adept may cause a person or a material object to be spiritually up-graded, as it were. This is quite in line with the importance that magic and the abolition of normal cause and effect came to play in Esoteric Buddhist doctrine.34 The first case to interest us here comes from the Ṣaḍakṣaravidyā-dhāraṇīsūtra (T. 1043:20)35 in which we find a spell uttered by the Buddha entitled the Guanding jixiang tuoluoni 灌頂吉祥陀羅尼 (Abhiṣeka-auspecious Dhāraṇī). It is said to be invoked on behalf of those who uphold the name of Avalokiteśvara and who protect the sūtra. As is the case with the other spells in this sūtra, the Abhiṣeka-auspecious Dhāraṇī consists of a list of demons’ names. The precise mechanism behind a dhāraṇī that is made up of demons’ names for abhiṣeka is not clear. However, I would propose that by knowing and naming the demons, the practitioner becomes able to control them. In other words, he is empowered to summon them. Thus the abhiṣeka-spell both empowers and enables the adept to control the demonic forces. The power of the spell upgrades the adept spiritually even as it provides him/her with the ability to control demons.

33 34 35

For a classic example, see the Laṅkāvatāra T. 672:16. 602b. In the Avataṃsaka-sūtra, it also has the more ordinary meaning of ‘benefit and support.’ Cf. T. 279:10.26b. For comparable cases from medieval Japan, see Winfield 2005, 107–130. Translated for the first time into Chinese by the Indian Buddhist layman Nandi during the first year of the Yuanxi period under the Eastern Jin (317–420), that is, 419 CE. For additional bibliographical information, see FDC, vol. 7, 6163ac.

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The early 6th century Zaji, noted above, features a relatively simple rite for empowering water; that is, turning normal water into holy water to be used for healing purposes. This can be found in the embedded text entitled, Fo shuo shenshui zhou jing 佛說神水咒經 (Scripture Spoken by the Buddha on the Divine Water Spell).36 This text features the cult of the Seven Buddhas of the Past (Skr. Saptabuddhaka) among other Buddhist divinities. Again a spell, in this case conceived of as an invocation of the names of the Seven Buddhas, is the primary ritual tool with which this process is effectuated. The text reads: The Buddha addressed all the disciples: “Spirit kings, such as the demons and spirits of mountains and forests, the asuras, nāgarājas, etc. in the Ten Directions under Heaven, listen well.” The Buddha continued: “I command that such and such person with this Divine Water Spell to be healed of the hundred diseases, and that all deviant [forces] be cut off.” The Buddha continued: “Water in the river becomes river water. Water in the well becomes well water. When this water enters my bowl, it will become true water (i.e. holy water). And when entering into the stomach [of the sick person] it will also be true water. One must know oneself whether this be true or false. Grasses near this water, make sure to correct the turbid with purity, and with truth correct the false. As the horde of deviancy is cut off know that the water is true (T. 1336:21.628a). On the face of it, this appears to be just another example of an adhiṣṭhāna common to a great number of Mahāyāna scriptures. However, there is a rather important difference to be observed here. Not only does the empowerment take place with the use of a spell; it is the Buddha himself who utters the spell for the empowerment. In other words, Buddha also relies on the use of magic spells. Spells uttered by the Buddha (or all Buddhas) take on increasing importance in the dhāraṇī-literature, and as such provide evidence of the influence magic would eventually wield over the development of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Closely linked to empowerment is the notion of anointment or ritual initiation (Skr. abhiṣeka) another characteristic feature of Esoteric Buddhist belief and practice. One might say that abhiṣeka presupposes the ability to perform empowerment on the part of the adept, just as we saw it in the first case discussed above. Various forms of initiation or formal acceptance permitting a 36

A Zhou shui jing 咒水經 (Scripture on Empowered Water) is referred to in the Chu sanzang jiji 出三藏記集 (Compilation of Records on the Translation of the Tripiṭaka) Cf. T. 2145:55.31c. It is also mentioned in the Lidai sanbao ji T. 2034:49.114b; and T. 2146:55.126a. Cf. T. 1336:21.628a.

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disciple to receive a particular teaching or scripture are of course common to many forms of Buddhism. However, initiation in Esoteric Buddhism deviates from those more simple forms by being highly privileged, not in a social sense, but religiously. Most importantly, in Esoteric Buddhism initiation was couched in secrecy. As has been widely observed, the Buddhist abhiṣeka in its full form is a religious replication of the official anointment of a king. As such it is a further example of the entwinement of religious and secular powers in Esoteric Buddhist discourse. Śubhakarasiṃha’s 8th century arrival in Chang’an to teach the new corpus of Esoteric Buddhist scriptures he had brought with him from India shows the importance and distinct character of abhiṣeka. When the master set up his platforms of initiation, Buddhists of all persuasions flocked to him to receive abhiṣeka. Followers of Chan Buddhism were among the supplicants.37 Had Śubhakarasiṃha’s initiation been readily available in other forms of Chinese Buddhism at that time, it would be hard to account for the massive interest it produced. Hence, it seems that the Esoteric Buddhist abhiṣeka was far from commonplace, whether in India or China, and afforded the follower access to a wide range of teachings and practices to which he or she would otherwise never be privy.38 It is interesting to observe that abhiṣeka or anointment is conceptualized as the use of particular spells in certain scriptural contexts from the 5th–6th centuries on. One such case may be found in the Ṣaḍakṣaravidyāmantra-sūtra (T. 1043: 20.37b). 6

Buddho-Brahmanism or Brahmano-Buddhism?

By way of concluding this essay I would like to revisit this issue of “Hindu influence,” which ought to be read as the wider shaping of Indian culture and religion on Mahāyāna. Buddhism, only one among several religious traditions in medieval India, was in a state of continual transformation and showed considerable regional variation. This decentralized Buddhism existed in close contact with other forms of organized religious expression, and adaptations, adoptions, borrowings inevitably occurred. Certainly by the early Gupta period 37

38

Cf. Xia Guangxing 2008, 47–53. For the specifics on the Chan monks receiving initiation from Śubhakarasiṃha, see the preface of the Wuwei sanzang chanyao 無畏三藏禪要 (Tripiṭaka Master Śubhakarasiṃha’s Chan Essentials, T. 917:18.942c). For a discussion of Esoteric Buddhist influence on Chan Buddhism during the Tang, see Sørensen, 2016. See also Sørensen 2011, 294–303. I discuss this issue in some detail in Sørensen, unpublished.

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Buddhism was increasingly coming under the influence of several of the important Hindu traditions, including mainstream Brahmanism. In fact, discussing early Buddhism, that is, the time of Śākyamuni himself, without paying heed to the religious environment in which it arose is akin to discussing the rise of Christianity without taking Judaism into account. The religious hybridity we find so prominent in proto-Esoteric and Esoteric Buddhism rituals, but also in its pantheon and doctrines, reflects an inter-religious development that hearkens back to the founding of Buddhism. When trying to pinpoint Hindu influences in Esoteric Buddhist scriptures, divinities and their cults spring to mind, Once again, space constraints prevent me from discussing more than a few cases, which we may take as representative of a so-called “Buddho-Brahmanism” or “Brahmano-Buddhism,” as one likes. We begin rather aptly with the presence of homa within Esoteric Buddhist ritual. Again I shall rely exclusively on the pre-600 CE Chinese sources.39 Michel Strickmann’s now-classic study on the use of fire rituals (Skr. homa) in East Asian Buddhism demonstrated that traditional Indian religious practice entered China at a very early stage in the history of Chinese Buddhism.40 This does not necessarily mean that homa had become a common practice among Chinese Buddhists as early as the early 6th century, from which period we have the first description of the performance of a complete such rite in the first full version of the Mahāmāyūrīvidyārājñī (T. 984:19).41 It is more likely that fire offerings gradually became an integrated feature within Buddhist rituals in the course of the following century as part of the growing interest in magic and supernatural powers among Buddhist believers in China. Nevertheless, as Strickmann has shown, descriptions of rudimentary fire rituals were included in the 5th century translation of the Dajiyi shenzhou jing 大吉義神咒經 (Scripture on the Divine Spell of the Greatly Auspicious Meaning, T. 1335:21).42 Strickmann, however, overlooked a number of earlier Buddhist sources in 39

40

41 42

In his essay in this volume, Robert Sharf has identified the interesting use of the term “Buddhist Veda” (fo weituo 佛韋陀) by the Esoteric Buddhist master Yixing to denote the Indic contents of Buddhism. While the concept may originally have been coined to explain the place of homa rituals in Esoteric Buddhism, it constitutes a telling example of how beliefs and practices pertaining to traditional Indian religion were being conceptualized within Chinese Buddhism. See Strickmann 1982, 428–55. Inexplicably, Strickmann failed to take notice of the Mahāmaṇivipulavimāna-dhāraṇī sūtra, T. 1007.19, in his otherwise groundbreaking and excellent paper. It was translated during the Liang dynasty (502–552) by Saṅghabara. Cf. Strickmann 1982, 429–30. Despite the fact that the fire ritual(s) presented in this dhāraṇī-scripture are not full homa rites, they nevertheless feature many of the same,

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Chinese, in which the basic proceedings for a homa rite are actually set forth. Among these is a case from the Qifo ba pusa suoshuo da tuoluoni shenzhou jing, which reads: The one who practices this spell method, should, on the fifteenth day of the second month, spread cow manure on the ground, and fill new, good quality vases and vessels with incense, and ten vases or vessels filled with milk. One must also have one lamp (deng 燈)43 where to burn fine incense and flower garlands. One must not eat for three days, and every day one must wash oneself trice. One should spread grass on the [plastered] ground, and for the duration of seven days chant the spell one hundred and eight times in front of an image of Avalokiteśvara. Wearing clean, new clothes and burning black aguru incense.44 When chanting the spell during the three times one will certainly obtain blessings, and make wishes (i.e. seek a boon) according to one’s needs and it will surely not be in vain (T. 1332:21.542c). The instructions given here leave no doubt as to the nature of the ritual in question, to wit, the basic format for the performance of a homa rite. The description of the ritual space and the set-up of what was meant to be its central part, namely the place with the offerings and vessels, is somewhat imprecise. Nonetheless, the image of Avalokiteśvara, which most certainly was not placed directly on the ground, as well as all the ritual objects, including the brazier, indicate that we are here dealing with a structural altar template, that is, a ritual focus, similar to those we find in mature Esoteric Buddhism. Moreover, not only the spell, but also the context in which the rite is to be performed, is of manifest importance. Canonical sūtras such as the Mātaṅgī-sūtra (T. 551:14)45 and other scriptures featuring the theme of Ānanda’s seduction by a sorceress through magic signals that Buddhist knowledge of homa rituals was already well established by

43

44 45

basic requirements and similar kinds of offerings as we see in the later, full-scale homa practices as transmitted in the mature Zhenyan tradition of the mid- and late Tang. Even though the word lamp is used in the text, it is clear from what follows, that a homa brazier of sorts is intended, since it is evident in the following text that it is to be used for burning incense and flowers. Made from aloewood (Aquilaria agollocha), a medicinal plant. Translated by An Shigao 安世高 between 148–170 CE; T. 1300.21, translated in 230 CE by Zhu Lüyan 竺律炎 and Zhiqian 支謙; T. 1301:21, translated between 307–313 CE by Dharmarakṣa; and T. 552:14 done by an unknown translator during the Eastern Jin (317– 419).

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the 2nd century CE. Nonetheless, such rituals were not considered proper practice for Buddhists, used as they were by those “outside the Way” (i.e., non-Buddhists). The earliest instances of Buddhist homa appear in scriptures translated between c. 200–400 CE, and homa rituals became part of the Buddhist ritual arsenal in India around that time. Moreover, it is within the context of the performance of ritual, that is, as part the rise of magic and belief in supernatural powers in Buddhism, that this development, which unfolded into what we here refer to as Esoteric Buddhism, took place. Esoteric Buddhism appropriated gods and demons from Hinduism. As is well known, the incorporation of mainstream Hindu divinities is one of the characteristics of early Indian Buddhism, where gods such as Brahmā, Śiva, Viṣṇu, and the Four Heavenly Kings, make their appearance, while a host of lesser beings including the Eight-fold group of Gods and Nāgas (babu tianlong 八部天龍), vajrapālas, demons and demonesses, such as Hāritī, vināyakas, etc., occur in the scriptures with increasing frequency. By the beginning of the Gupta period we see how these adopted divinities and spirits gain in stature. From having been secondary elements in the traditional Buddhist literature, their status seems to have evolved into one of greater presence and power. The rise of Esoteric Buddhism is intimately connected with the ascendance of demon-protectors in Mahāyāna, many borrowed from Puranic Hinduism or otherwise representative of local cults.46 Among these is the demon king Āṭavaka, also known in Chinese as Da Yuanshuai 大元帥 (Great General).47 He first makes his entry onto the Buddhist scene in the 4th century, where we encounter him in the Foshuo Guangye guishen Achabaju zhou jing 佛說曠野 鬼神阿吒婆拘咒經 (Scripture on the Spell of the Jungle Demon Āṭavaka; hereafter Āṭavaka Scripture),48 included in the Qifo ba pusa suoshuo da tuoluoni shenzhou jing 七佛八菩薩所說大陀羅尼神咒經 (The Seven Buddhas and Eight Bodhisattvas speak the Scripture on the Great Dhāraṇī, Divine Spell, T. 1332:21), a hybrid and composite scripture the core of which was loosely based on the spell-augmented Saptabuddhaka-sūtra.49 This version of the Āṭavaka Scripture is almost identical to that found in the composite text of the Mahāmāyūrīvidyārājñī, falsely attributed to Kumārajīva (see Sørensen 2006), 46 47 48 49

For an example of this, see Schopen 2004, 161–84. The hitherto best study on Āṭavaka is Duquenne 1983. This text was overlooked by Duquenne when he wrote his above-noted important study. There are several different recensions of scriptures bearing this name in the Chinese Buddhist canon. They include the Qifo jing 七佛經, T. 2:1; the Qifo ba pusa suoshuo da tuoluoni shenzhou jing (parts thereof) and the Rulai fangbian shanqiao zhou jing 如來方便善 巧咒經, T. 1334:21.

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i.e. T. 988.50 When taken together, this data indicates that the cult of Āṭavaka not only flourished in India at a relatively early date, but by the late 4th century was being introduced to China, where it was shortly thereafter championed by a number of different scriptures, some of which were evidently compiled there. Other early demon cults include those of Harītī,51 Mārīcī (see Hall 1988), Vināyaka (Gaṇeśa) (see Smet 1988) and that of the fifteen rākṣasīs taught in the Fo shuo hu zhu tongzi tuoluoni jing 佛說護諸童子陀羅尼經 (Buddha Speaks the Scripture on the Dhāraṇī that Protects all Children, T. 1028A:19.741b-2c).52 All these cults flourished in India during the Gupta, all show considerable influence of Hinduism or non-Buddhist Indian religion, and all rose to prominence in China.

Conclusion

In this essay, I hope to have shown that not only do early pre-Tang Chinese translations of Buddhist scriptures fill a gap in the history of Indian Buddhism, they enable us to grasp the developments that occasioned the rise of Esoteric Buddhism. I would even go so far as to say that a proper understanding of the processes by which a salient part of Mahāyāna turned “magical” requires a serious consideration of the data contained in the early Chinese translations I have presented here. Moreover, I have only scratched the surface of these sources, and much more material can be expected once the full range of practices contained in these scriptures are brought forth from their current scholarly obscurity. Let us return to our original question, that of classification. It does not really matter, in the end, whether one interprets these aspects of Buddhist practice as extended forms of Mahāyāna, or as structural elements of a particular formation of Buddhist practices and beliefs one may refer to as “Esoteric Buddhism,” as I have done. What does matter is that these features and their implications for the development of Tantric Buddhism are given a place at the scholarly table. As such, these aspects ought to be understood not only in the 50 51

52

A more complete version of this text was included in the Zaji, T. 1336:21.629a–30a. The cult of Harītī has a long history in Buddhism, extending as far back as the pre-Gupta period. The earliest trace of the demoness in China can be found in the Sumāgadhāvadānasūtra, translated between 223–253 CE. Cf. T. 128B:2.839b. For a study of this scripture and its implications for Esoteric Buddhism, see Sørensen 2017. A similar group of predator rākṣasīs can be found in the Da ji yi shenzhou jing 大吉義神 咒經 (Scripture on the Divine Spells of the Great Auspicious Meanings, T. 1335:21).

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context of Esoteric Buddhism in India, but also for their possible impact on Buddhism in pre-Tang China. These practices eventually came together in a variety of Indian and Chinese scriptures translated and composed during the 7th century. This fusion led directly to the formation of mature Esoteric Buddhism in China as taught by the tradition related to the Three Ācāryas Śubhakarasiṃha, Vajrabodhi and Amoghavajra. Whether or not one construes these as representative of an Esoteric Buddhism is of course open to discussion. I have left unexamined here one crucial aspect of Esoteric Buddhist history in China. This point concerns the manner in which we read these texts and the practices they set forth. By “reading” I am not referring to a hermeneutical effort, but rather to how the data should be situated within the wider scope of Chinese Buddhism. The presence of a particular belief or ritual in a given text does not necessarily imply active practice. Thus care needs to be taken with regard how we conceptualize the prevalence and impact of practices associated with Esoteric Buddhism within the Chinese religious and cultural environment. While such a call for caution is especially relevant for the early material of the Nanbeichao period, for which only scanty corroborative, secondary material is available, this warning is germane as well to the later developments of the Sui and early Tang. That said, the presence of the same material with certain minor modifications does indeed indicate the Indian Buddhist provenance of doctrines and rituals found in these scriptures. Precisely this is what makes the early Esoteric Buddhist material transmitted in Chinese of such scholarly value.

References

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Journal of the Institute for Buddhist Studies (Special Issue: Honoring James H. Sanford) 3(8): 89–123. Sørensen, Henrik H. 2011a. “On Esoteric Buddhism in China: A Working Definition.” In Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia, Handbook of oriental studies, edited by Charles D. Orzech, Henrik H. Sørensen, and Richard K. Payne, 155–175. Leiden and Boston: Brill. Sørensen, Henrik H. 2011b. “Esoteric Buddhism and Magic.” Ibid. 197–207. Sørensen, Henrik H. 2011c. “Esoteric Buddhist Art up to the Tang.” Ibid. 255–62. Sørensen, Henrik H. 2011d. “The Presence of Esoteric Buddhist Elements in Chinese Buddhism during the Tang.” Ibid. 294–303. Sørensen, Henrik H. 2011e. “Esoteric Buddhist Art from the Nanzhao and Dali Kingdoms.” In Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia.” Ibid. 487–97. Sørensen, Henrik H. 2016. “Esoteric Buddhism at the Cross-Roads: Religious Dynamics at Dunhuang, 9–10th Centuries.” In Periphery as Centre—Transfer of Buddhisms between Hubs in Eastern Central Asia (9th to 13th Centuries), edited by Carmen Meinert, Dynamics in the History of Religions Series, 250–284. Leiden: Brill. Sørensen, Henrik H. Forthcoming 2017. “On the Protection of Young Children in Esoteric Buddhism: A Study of the Hu zhu tongzi tuoluoni jing.” Sørensen, Henrik H. Unpublished. “The Meaning and Application of ‘Secret’ in Daoism and in Chinese Esoteric Buddhism.” Unpublished paper presented at the KHK conference, Space of Secrecy—Secret in Contact: Perspectives from the East and the West, Bochum January. Strickmann, Michel. 1982. “Homa in East Asia.” In Agni, 2 vols., edited by Fritz Staal, 428–55. Berkley: University of California Press. Strickmann, Michel. 1990. “The Consecration Sūtra: A Buddhist Book of Spells.” In Chinese Buddhist Apocrypha, edited by Robert E. Buswell, Jr. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. Strickmann, Michel. 1996. Mantras et mandarins: Le bouddhisme tantrique en Chine. Paris: Gallimard. Strickmann, Michel. 2002. Chinese Magical Medicine. Edited by Bernard Faure. Asian Religions & Cultures. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Taishang dongxuan lingbao guowang xingdao jing 太上洞玄靈寶國王行道經 (Scripture of the Highest Cavern Mystery of Numinous Treasure on the King of the Realm’s Practice of the Way), Daozang 1113.24.664a. Takakusu Junjirō 高順次郎 et al. ed. 1924–1935. Taishō shinshū dai zōkyō 大正新脩大 藏經. Tokyo: Taishō issaikyō kankōkai. Tomita Kōjun 富田学純. 1911. Himitsu jirin 祕密辭林. Tōkyō: Kaji sekai shisha. Wedemeyer, Christian K. 2013. Making Sense of Tantric Buddhism: History, Semology, and Transgression in the Indian Traditions. South Asia Across the Disciplines. New York: Columbia University Press.

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Whitfield, Roderick, and Anne Farrer. 1990. Caves of the Thousand Buddhas: Chinese Art from the Silk Route. London: British Museum Publications. Winfield, Pamela. 2005. “Curing with Kaji: Healing and Esoteric Empowerment in Japan.” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 32:107–130. Xia Guangxing 夏广兴. 2008. Mijiao zhuanchi yu Tang dai shehui 密教传持与唐代社 会.Shanghai: Shanghai renmin chubanshe

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Chapter 3

The Terms “Esoteric Teaching” (“Esoteric Buddhism”) and “Tantra” in Chinese Buddhist Sources Translated by Ilia Mozias and Meir Shahar Lü Jianfu The essays collected in this volume illustrate the terminological confusion that characterizes the study of the third major stage in the evolution of the Buddhist faith. Whereas some scholars refer to this book’s subject as “esoteric Buddhism,” others prefer “Tantric Buddhism”; still others use the two terms interchangeably. Scholars in East Asia—and Western scholars researching East Asia—seem to privilege the term “esoteric Buddhism” (being the English rendition of the Chinese mijiao 密教, Japanese mikkyō). Experts on Indian and Tibetan religion, for their part, tend to choose the term “Tantric Buddhism.” It might further be mentioned that some Western scholars use “Tantric Buddhism” as a general term denoting the religious movement throughout Asia, reserving the term “esoteric Buddhism” for its East Asian manifestations only. In this essay I investigate the evolution and changing semantic meanings of the terms “esoteric teaching” and “Tantra” in Chinese Buddhist sources of the medieval period. I analyze the diverse methods for the translation and/or transliteration of these terms and chart their changing religious significance. I will suggest that the significance of this survey extends beyond its Chinese confines to the history of the esoteric (or Tantric) Buddhist movement at large. As pointed out by Henrik Sørensen in the preceding chapter, Chinese Buddhist texts offer us a unique view of the origins and evolution of esoteric/Tantric Buddhism. The overwhelming majority of Buddhist texts that were authored in India during the first millennium CE survive in Chinese translations only. Tibetan translations (if they exist) date from many centuries after the Chinese ones. Hence, my exploration of the terms “esoteric teachings” and “Tantra” in Chinese sources might prove useful for charting the origins of Esoteric/Tantric Buddhism in its native land. My aim is to shed light—through a philological survey of Chinese sources—on the evolution of the Esoteric/Tantric movement in the Indian sub-continent.1 1 This brief English essay draws upon my book Zhongguo mijiao shi 中國密教史 2011.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2017 | doi 10.1163/9789004340503_005

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Esoteric Teaching

The Chinese term “esoteric” (mi 密)—as in “esoteric teaching” or “esoteric Buddhism” (mijiao 密教)—is one of many that has been used to translate the Sanskrit guhya, meaning “secret” “hidden” “profound” or “abstruse.” The broad semantic field of the original Sanskrit term is reflected in its diverse Chinese Buddhist renderings: mi 密 (secret or esoteric), mi 秘 (secret or esoteric), mimi 秘密 (secret or esoteric), yin 陰 (concealed), yinmi 隱秘 (hidden), shen 深 (profound), ao 奧 (abstruse), and shen’ao 深奧 (profound). Currently rendered into English as “esoteric Buddhism,” the term mijiao 密 教 (“esoteric teaching” or “teachings”) appears in Chinese Buddhist texts as early as the third and fourth centuries. It figures in Mahāyāna Buddhism as an epithet describing the profundity of its own teachings as compared to the simplistic doctrines of earlier Buddhist schools. Translated by Kumārajīva in 405 CE, the Mahāprajñāpāramitā-śāstra (Da zhi du lun 大智度論) states that “there are two kinds of Buddhist Dharma: one esoteric, the other exoteric” (佛法有二 種: 一秘密,二顯示).2 In his commentary on the Lotus Sūtra, Jizang 吉藏 (549–623 CE) defines the “exoteric teachings” as the inferior doctrines of the Lesser Vehicle or Hīnayāna, describing the “esoteric teachings” as the superior attainments of the Greater Vehicle, or Mahāyāna: The exoteric teachings are the Hīnayāna. The Bodhisattva who follows them is no different from an ordinary person. [By contrast] we admire the Bodhisattva who has attained deep awareness of the non-arising nature of all phenomena, who has obtained the six divine powers, and who has been cleansed of all afflictions. This is known as the esoteric teachings of the Mahāyāna.3 Some Mahāyāna authors labored to prove that the exoteric teachings of the earlier schools had obfuscated the truth, whereas their own esoteric teachings served to reveal it. This is the case with Huiyuan 慧遠 (523–592) in his commentary on the Vimalakīrti-nirdeśa-sūtra:

2 Da zhi du lun 大智度論, in Zhonghua dazang jing 中華大藏經 (Beijing: Zhonghua, 1982– 1987), 25:173a; compare also 198b. 3 顯示教謂小乘教,明菩薩猶是凡夫。今嘆菩薩得無生忍,具六神通,煩惱清淨, 謂秘密大乘教 (Fahua yishu 法華義疏, T.1721, 34:462a).

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As explained by Nāgārjuna, there are two kinds of teachings: Exoteric teachings that display appearances, hiding the truth; and esoteric teachings that penetrate beyond appearances, revealing the truth.4 Much like the Mahāyāna authors that preceded them, the Tantric masters of the Tang Period (618–907) declared the superiority of their own teachings by calling them ‘esoteric,’ denigrating those of earlier schools by labeling them ‘exoteric.’ In their usage the term exoteric denoted both the Hīnayāna and the Mahāyāna, the epithet esoteric being reserved for their own Esoteric (Tantric) school (Mijiao 密教)—or as they sometimes described it the “Esoteric branch of the Mahāyāna” (Dacheng Mijiao 大乘密教). Thus, for example, in his commentary on the Mahāvairocana-sūtra, Yixing 一行 (673–727) noted: Briefly speaking, there are four types of Buddhist teachings (Dharma): The Three Vehicles and the [fourth] Esoteric Vehicle.5 The three vehicles denoted the religious regimens of the śrāvakas (sheng­ wen 聲聞), the pratyekabuddhas (yuanjue 緣覺), and the bodhisattvas (pusa 菩薩). The first two had been classified by Mahāyāna authors as belonging to the Hīnayāna, whereas the third had been applied to their own Great Vehicle. Yixing considered his fourth “Esoteric Vehicle” superior to all three—more advanced than either the Hīnayāna or the Mahāyāna. Yixing’s use of the term “vehicle” for his tradition implies that he considered it a specific school, distinct from earlier forms of the Buddhist faith. By the eighth century the term mijiao 密教 designated not only a type of teaching but a new religious movement. Yixing further elaborated the significance of the mysteries that his Esoteric School was first to unravel: The term ‘secret’ refers to the Tathāgata’s storehouse of mysteries. Like the Uḍumbara Flower [which blooms only once every thousand years], its essence has remained hidden for generations. Now that it is being revealed, it should not be lightly handed to inappropriate persons. It is different from ordinary exoteric teachings.6

4 如龍樹釋,教有二種,一顯示教,彰相隱實。二秘密教,翻相顯實 (Weimo yiji 維 摩義記, T.1776, 38:426a). 5 略說法有四種,謂三乘及秘密乘 (Da Piluzhena chengfo jing shu 大毘盧遮那成佛經疏, T.1796, 39:671b). 6 秘密者,即是如來秘奧之藏,久默斯要,如優曇花,時乃說之,苟非其人則不虛

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The terms “storehouse of deep mysteries” (mi’ao zhi zang 秘奧之藏) and “storehouse of secrets” (mimi zang 秘密藏) designate not only a type of teaching but a religious movement. In this way Tang-period Tantric masters attest their selfperception as adherents of a new and distinct school within the Buddhist faith. I have suggested that medieval Tantric masters alluded to their religious movement as “[The School] of Esoteric Teaching” following the term’s earlier usage in Mahāyāna scriptures. The term “esoteric,” with it positive connotations, had been used by Mahāyāna authors to distinguish their own teachings from the “inferior” “exoteric” teachings of earlier Buddhist schools. The name, however, signifies more. “Esoteric Teaching” (mijiao 密教) was chosen as the epithet of the new school that matured in the seventh and eighth centuries because of the centrality of the “Three Esoterica” (san’mi 三密) in its religious regimen. Esoteric Buddhism integrated in its religious rituals the three “mysteries” of the body (shenmi 身密), speech (koumi 口密) and mind (yimi 意密), designating respectively the manipulation of symbolic hand gestures (mudrā), the recitation or spells (mantra), and the drawing of mystical charts (maṇḍala). These three esoterica were conceived by the ritual experts of the Tantric movement as the hallmark of their religious practice, distinguishing them from earlier Buddhist schools. The three esoterica of body, speech, and mind figured quite early in what was to become Esoteric Buddhism. They appear in scriptures that mirror the earliest stages in the evolution of the medieval Buddhist movement. Thus for example, the “three mysteries” are enumerated in the Assembly of the Stalwart Vajrapāṇi Secret Traces (Miji jingang lishi hui 密迹金剛力士會), which was translated in 280CE by Dharmarakṣa (Zhu Fahu 竺法護) (230?—316 CE): There are three secret essentials to the Tathāgatha’s teachings. What are these three? First is the secret of the body, second in the secret of the speech, and third is the secret of the mind.7 The concept of the three esoterica was elaborated upon by Tang-period masters of esoteric Buddhism, such as Yixing in his commentary on the Mahāvairocana-sūtra:

授,不同顯露常教也 (Da Piluzhena chengfo jing shu 大毘盧遮那成佛經疏, T.1796, 39:731b). 7 如来秘要有三事,何谓为三?一曰身密,二曰口密,三曰意。See Miji jingang lishi hui 密迹金剛力士會, in Da bao ji jing 大寶積經, T.310, 11:53b.

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The teachings of the School of Mantra have three principal gates: First is the gate of the secret of the body; second is the gate of the secret of speech; and third is the gate of the secret of the mind.8 Thus, the “School of Esoteric Teaching” (mijiao 密教) was also referred to as the “School of the Three Esoterica” (san’mi men 三密門 or san’mimi men 三秘密 門). Thus we see that the choice of “esoteric” (mi) as the title of the new Buddhist school (or vehicle) was driven by two considerations: the first of these concerned the tradition of classifying Buddhist teachings into “esoteric” or “exoteric” categories, and the second was the centrality of the “three esoterica” in the school’s soteriology. In any event it is clear that by the eighth century the term denoted not only a type of teaching but also a distinct religious movement. Tang-period masters of Esoteric Buddhism used the word mijiao (Esoteric Buddhism) to denote what they conceived of as their own Buddhist tradition. In his memorials to the throne, Amoghavajra (704–774) expressed his “wish to promote the esoteric teaching” (思弘密教),”9 by which he was referring to the school he represented. Passages such as the following one by Huilin 慧琳 (737–820) similarly betray the perception of mimi jiao 秘密教 (literally: esoteric teaching) as a distinct religious tradition: “those who practice mantra recitations are the followers of the esoteric school” (修真言者依祕密教).”10 The Chinese method of classifying the relative merits of Buddhist schools according to the criteria of “exoteric” and “esoteric” was followed by their Japanese disciples, most notably Kūkai (774–835) in his Treatise Differentiating between the Exoteric and Esoteric Teachings (Ben kenmitsu nikyō ron 辨顯密二 教論). Kūkai called his Shingon School “esoteric teaching.” As in Tang-period China, mikkyō (mijao) was both an adjective describing a superior teaching and the name of a newly established religious tradition.

Tantra

The term “Tantra” appeared in Chinese Buddhist scriptures later than the term “esoteric teaching,” and no earlier than the eighth century. It designated ritual

8 9 10

入真言门略有三事,一者身密门,二者语密门,三者心密门 (Da Piluzhena chengfo jing shu 大毘盧遮那成佛經疏, T. 1796, 39:579b). Daizong zhao zeng sikong da bianzheng guangzhi sanzangheshang biaozhi ji 代宗朝贈司 空大辯正廣智三藏和上表制集, T. 2120, 52:827c. Jianli mantuluo ji jianze di fa 建立曼荼羅及揀擇地法, T. 911, 18:926a.

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scriptures (of what we now call esoteric or Tantric Buddhism). The term figured in the titles of such scriptures, denoting their literary genre. The term “Tantra” was variously transliterated into medieval Chinese as tandaluo 壇怛囉, tanduoluo 壇跢羅, dandaluo 旦怛羅、 daduoluo 怛跢羅 or dandaluo 亶怛囉. To the best of my knowledge its earliest appearance is in the Quxi Tandaluo 瞿醯壇怛囉, the transliterated Chinese name of Guhya Tantra, or Tantra of Secrets.11 The text was translated into Chinese in the early eighth century. The current Taishō edition of the Buddhist canon gives its translator as Amoghavajra (704–774). However, repeated reference to the Quxi Tandaluo in Yixing’s commentary to the Mahāvairocana-sūtra (which dates from 727) indicates that it was likely translated by an author of a generation earlier than Amoghavajra. Considerations of style lead me to believe that it was most likely translated by Śubhākarasiṃha (Shanwuwei 善無畏) around 720 CE.12 The occurrence of the term “Tantra” in an early eighth-century Chinese translation indicates that it likely figured in an original Sanskrit composition as early as the seventh century. That the term is absent from earlier Chinese translations suggests that it probably did not appear in Buddhist Sanskrit literature prior to the seventh century. We might mention that Śubhākarasiṃha—the likely translator of the Guhya Tantra—rendered into Chinese another text that was likely classified in the original Sanskrit as a “Tantra.” This is the Questions of Subhāhu, which Śubhākarasiṃha rendered into Chinese as Supohu tongzi jing 蘇婆呼童子經 (The Sūtra of the Questions of Subhāhu). The parallel Tibetan translation of the same text bears the original Sanskrit title of ĀryaSubāhuparipṛcchā-nāma-tantra. Thus, we know of at least two Sanskrit texts that were available to the early-eighth-century translator and bore the title “Tantra.”13 Whereas in the first decades of the eighth century Śubhākarasiṃha transliterated “Tantra,” by the mid-century Amoghavajra (704–774) chose to translate the term. In the scriptures he produced around 750 CE, Amoghavajra rendered “Tantra” into Chinese as Dajiaowang 大教王 (literally: The King of the Great Teaching). Here the title “king” is bestowed upon a scripture rather than a 11

12

13

T. 897. The text bears several titles, including Ruixiye Jing 蕤呬耶經 (Guhya-sūtra). In his Yiqiejing yinyi  一切經音義 (T. 2128, 54:544b) Huilin 慧琳 renders its title as Juxiye tandaluo jing 掬呬耶亶怛囉經 (Guhya-tantra-sūtra). A parallel Tibetan translation (Tōh. 806) bears the much longer Sanskrit title of Sarvamaṇḍalasamānyavidhīnām Guhya-tantra, indicating that the Chinse title is a shortened one. It is instructive that in his Jianli mantuluo ji jianze di fa 建立曼荼羅及揀擇地法, Huilin groups this text (referred to as Yuxiye 玉呬耶, Guhya) together with scriptures that were translated by Śubhākarasiṃha (see T. 911, 18:926a). Compare T. 895 and Tōh. 805.

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person. Thus, “The King of the Great Teaching” denotes the foremost of sacred texts. The Chinese term might be rendered into English as “The foremost scripture of the Great Teaching.” Seeking to further enhance the prestige of the ritual scriptures he translated, Amoghavajra sometimes added the word sūtra (jing 經) to their titles. Thus, he coined the term “Tantra-sūtra” (Dajiaowang jing 大教王経), which is absent from the original Sanskrit titles14 Occasionally titles that did not bear them in the original were also called Dajiaowang (Tantra) or Dajiaowang jing (Tantra-sūtra) by Amoghavajra. This is the case with the Sarvatathāgatatattvasaṃgrahanāma-mahāyānasūtra, which he rendered into Chinese as Jingangding yiqie rulai zhenshi she dacheng xianzheng Dajiaowang jing 金剛頂一切如來真實攝 大乘現證大教王經 (T. 874). In any event, Amoghavajra’s choice of “King of the Great Teaching” for the Sanskrit “Tantra” was followed by Song-period (960– 1279) translators such as Fahu 法護 (Dharma-pāla) (963–1058) who rendered the Hevajara Tantra as Dabei kongzhi jingang Dajiaowang yigui jing 大悲空智 金剛大教王儀軌經 (The Ritual Scripture of the King of the Great Teaching of the Compassionate Hevajra, T. 892). Why did Amoghavajra settle on “The King of the Great Teaching” (Dajiao­ wang 大教王) as the title of the scriptures he translated? A comparison of his writings with the available Sanskrit manuscripts and their Tibetan translations reveals that the Sanskrit original of Dajiaowang was either Mahātantra-rāja or Mahā-kalpa-rāja. “Great” (da 大) is the translation of mahā and king (wang 王) is the translation of rāja. Thus, we see that Amoghavajra chose jiao 教 (literally: teaching) for the Sanskrit tantra and kalpa. The translation is not inaccurate. In addition to its main meaning of “the warp,” tantra also means “principal” or “doctrine,” and kalpa means “rule,” “doctrine” or by extension “teaching.” Amoghavajra’s choice of the “King of Great Teaching” (dajiaowang) as the title of the scriptures he translated has had significant ramifications. The term came to denote not only the name of the scriptures but also their contents. Rather than a literary genre, the terms “Great Teaching” and “King of the Great Teaching” were identified as the names of a new doctrine. The “King of the Great Teaching” became the equivalent of the term “esoteric teaching,” both denoting the Buddhist movement that matured during the seventh and eighth centuries.

14

See, for example, Wenshushili pusa genben dajiaowang jing jinchiniao wang pin 文殊 師利菩薩根本大教王經金翅鳥王品, T. 1276.

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The term “King of Great Teaching” figures not only in titles of Amoghavajra’s writings, but also within the texts themselves, indicating its significance of a doctrine. The influential master proclaimed his goal of spreading the teachings of the “King of Great Teaching:” Today in accordance with the [doctrine of] the King of Great Teaching, I propagate throughout the land the Tathāgatha’s method of attainment. Those who follow this supreme method will achieve in this life unsurpassed enlightenment.15 Occasionally, the prolific translator embellished the “King of Great Teaching,” appending to it the term yoga (which he either transliterates as yujia 瑜伽, or translates as xiangying 相應). The result was the new epithet: “the King of the Great Teaching of Yoga” (yujia dajiaowang 瑜伽大教王).16 The term designated the teachings of Amoghavajra and his disciples all through the Song-period (960–1279), when Faxian 法賢 (?–1001) proclaimed his goal of spreading the doctrine of “the King of the Great Teaching of Yoga”: Taking refuge in the Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas, I propagate their “King of the Great Teaching of Yoga”.17 Sometimes the “King of the Great Teaching” was shortened to “Great Teaching” (dajiao 大教) which, in Amoghavajra’s usage, was the equivalent of “esoteric teaching” (mijiao 密教). The two terms alike designated the school of which he was the foremost representative. Addressing his students, Amoghavajra stated: The dhāraṇī spells of [our] Great Teaching are vast and profound; the origins of the mysteries of Yoga are unfathomable.18 15

16 17

18

我今依於大教王, 遍照如來成道法, 若能依此勝義修, 現世得成無上覺 (Chengjiu miaofa lianhua jing wang yujia guan zhi yigui 成就妙法蓮華經王瑜伽觀智儀軌, T. 1000, 19:594a). See, for example, Jingangding jing yizi dinglunwang yujia yiqie shichu niansongchengfo yigui 金剛頂經一字頂輪王瑜伽一切時處念誦成佛儀軌, T. no. 957, 19:320c. 今歸命佛菩薩,演彼相應大教王 (Yiqie Fo she xiangying dajiaowang jing sheng guanzizai pusa niansong yigui 佛説一切佛攝相應大教王經聖觀自在菩薩念誦儀軌, T. 1051, 20:64a). 大教總持浩汗深廣,瑜伽祕密誰測其源 (Daizong chao zeng sikong da bianzheng guangzhi sanzangheshang biaozhi ji 代宗朝贈司空大辨正廣智三藏和上表制集 T. 2120, 52:844a).

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His disciples likewise referred to the doctrine they inherited from Amoghavajra as the “Great Teaching.” The term came to denote the body of doctrines and rituals they practiced. Huilin 慧琳 (737–820) authored a treatise on the construction of the maṇḍala “even though the method has been elucidated quite clearly in [our] Great Teaching” (此法大教雖即具明).19 The terms “Great Teaching” and “Great Teaching of Yoga” were used not only by insiders to the tradition but also by outsiders charting its evolution. The Song-period historian Zan’ning 贊寧 (920–1001) complimented the expert on esoteric ritual Zhihuilun 智慧輪 (Prajñācakra) (fl. 860), noting that his writings “capture the key points of the Great Teaching” (皆大教之鈐鍵). Elsewhere the eminent historian lamented the decline of the “Great Teaching of Yoga” (yujia dajiao 瑜伽大教) in the generations that followed its Tang-period founders.20

Conclusion

We have sketched the Chinese trajectories of two terms that came to denote what is now known as “Esoteric Buddhism” or “Tantric Buddhism.” The term “esoteric teaching” (mijiao 密教), emerged from the tradition of classifying Buddhist doctrines as “esoteric” on the one hand and “exoteric” on the other. Appearing in Mahāyāna scriptures of the third and fourth centuries, the term was adopted by Tang-period masters of esoteric Buddhism, in large measure because of the centrality of the “three esoterica” (san’mi 三密) in their own doctrine. By the eighth century the term came to denote not only a specific doctrine but a specific religious tradition or movement. The term “Tantra,” for its part, designating a literary genre, made its appearance in eighth-century China in the titles of translated Sanskrit scriptures. The term was rendered into Chinese by Amoghavajra as “the King of the Great Teaching” (dajiaowang 大教 王). Filtering down from their titles to the body of scriptures themselves, the term came to denote the doctrines they elaborated. Eventually, the term “the King of Great Teaching”—or its shortened form, the “Great Teaching”— became fully identified with the term “esoteric teaching.” By the Song period (960–1279), this name designated the religious movement that is the subject of this book.

19 20

Jianli mantuluo ji jianze di fa 建立曼荼羅及揀擇地法, T. 911, 18:926b. Song Gaoseng zhuan 宋高僧傳, T. 2061, 50:723a and 50:714a respectively.

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References

Lü Jianfu 吕建福. 2011. Zhongguo mijiao shi 中国密教史, revised edition. Beijing: Zhongugo shehui. Da zhi du lun 大智度論, in Zhonghua dazang jing 中華大藏經, Beijing: Zhonghua, 1982–1987.

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The Terms “Esoteric Teaching” (“Esoteric Buddhism”) and “Tantra”

Part 2 Chan, Chinese Religion, and Esoteric Buddhism



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Buddhist Veda and the Rise of Chan

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Chapter 4

Buddhist Veda and the Rise of Chan Robert H. Sharf  1 Some years ago I argued that, when it comes to China, we should not think of esoteric Buddhism as an independent or self-conscious tradition set apart from other forms of Mahāyāna (Sharf 2002, 263–78). There is little evidence that the Indian masters who brought “esoterism” to China in the eighth century— most famously Śubhakarasiṃha (Shanwuwei 善無畏, 637–735), Vajrabodhi (Jin’gangzhi 金剛智, 671–741), and Amoghavajra (Bukong 不空, 705–774)— characterized their teachings as a new movement or independent lineage, and I suggested that it is inaccurate and anachronistic to apply the terms Tantra, Vajrayāna, or even Mijiao 密教 (as a proper noun) to developments in the Tang. The notion that esoterism constitutes a self-conscious tradition in China can be traced to later developments in East Asia, including the evolution of self-styled mikkyō lineages in Japan, as well as the writings of Song Dynasty historians such as Zanning 贊寧 (920–1001). Even in the case of South Asia, scholars may exaggerate the differences between early Tantric or Vajrayāna Buddhism on the one hand, and what we imagine to be non-Tantric or “mainstream” forms of Mahāyāna practice on the other. As Indian Buddhists appropriated ritual elements from surrounding Brahmanical culture—a process that seems to have accelerated in the seventh and eighth centuries—the gap between Buddhist and non-Buddhist forms of worship narrowed. This phenomenon may well have contributed to the eventual disappearance of Buddhism in the land of its birth. The Brahmanicization of Indian Mahāyāna did not escape the notice of Chinese commentators. Yixing 一行 (683–727), a student of both Śubhaka­ rasiṃha and Vajrabodhi, noted the similarities between the new Buddhist practices coming from the West, notably the homa or fire ritual, and nonBuddhist traditions of Vedic sacrifice. In his influential commentary to the Mahāvairocana-abhisaṃbodhi-sūtra, Yixing explains that Śākyamuni 1 This chapter was originally prepared for the conference “Chinese and Tibetan Esoteric Buddhism,” held at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, June 16–18, 2014. My thanks to the participants of that conference as well as to Paul Copp, Jacob Dalton, Eric Greene, Robert Miller, Alexander von Rospatt, Koichi Shinohara, Elizabeth Horton Sharf, and Fedde de Vries for their insightful criticisms and suggestions.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2017 | doi 10.1163/9789004340503_006

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understood the allure of these popular rites, and so he intentionally appropriated them and imbued them with Buddhist meanings. Yixing refers to the result as “Buddhist Veda” (fo weituo 佛韋陀)—outwardly it has the form of Brahmanical sacrifice but inwardly the teachings are those of orthodox Mahāyāna.2 The term “Buddhist Veda” is attested outside of China as well; Sylvain Levi discovered and edited a Sanskrit “Buddha Veda” from Bali, consisting of a collection of Buddhist Tantric liturgies for daily use. This collection, which is understood in Bali to be the counterpart of the “Brahmanical Veda,” likely dates back to the same period that saw the transmission of Buddhist esoterism to China (Lévi 1933: xxix–xxxi). And in their ninefold classification of Buddhist practices, the Nyingma tradition of Tibet uses the term “vehicle of Vedic austerities” (dka’ thub rig byed kyi theg pa gsum) to refer to the Kriyā, Carya, and Yoga tantras. The notion of Buddhist Veda is indeed apropos, as the new ritual forms were organized around the trope of sacrifice, were transmitted in secret from guru to disciple, and accentuated the use of elaborate altars (maṇḍalas) and spells (mantras) in the invocation of divine beings. Consequently, rather than approaching Chinese esoterism as a tradition set apart by its distinctive teachings, I argued that we might view it as a new ritual technology, brought to China by acclaimed Indian masters who were patronized by those who could afford their services. (The elaborate rites required considerable financial resources, and thus in both China and Japan it is not surprising that they were initially associated with imperial and aristocratic sponsors.) In time, elements of this “Vedic” technology—the use of incantations and sacrificial altars in the service of a burgeoning pantheon of deities—trickled down to virtually all strata of Buddhism throughout East Asia. While the new “Tantricized” styles of Indian Buddhist practice had an impact on ritual, they had less influence in the domain of doctrine and ideology. In this chapter I would like to nuance my earlier argument, and offer an alternative understanding of the legacy of Tantra or “Buddhist Veda” in China. Chan is often heralded as the most Sinified of the major Chinese Buddhist 2 See the chapter on the “mundane and supramundane Homa” (humo 護摩, fire ritual) in the Dapiluzhe’na chengfo jingshu 大毘盧遮那成佛經疏: “The Buddha himself taught the very foundation of the Vedas, and in that way manifested the correct principles and method of the true Homa. This is the ‘Buddha Veda’” 今佛自説韋陀原本。而於其中更顯正理眞護摩 法。此佛韋陀 (T.1796:39.780b13–15). The term is picked up by Japanese commentators to refer to the Buddha’s appropriation of Vedic fire sacrifice as a means to restrain and subdue malevolent forces; see, for example, Yūban’s 宥範 (1270–1352) Dainichikyō-sho myōin-shō 大 日經疏妙印抄 (T.2213:58.611b), as well as the discussions in Toganoo 1982, 85–86; and Sharf 2003.

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traditions, but I will suggest that key features of early Chan might be traced to contemporary developments in South Asia. More specifically, I will identify three possible areas of influence: (1) the emphasis on master-to-disciple transmission; (2) the emphasis on luminous mind, sudden awakening, and “awakening in this very body”; and (3) the increasing interest in ritual altars or maṇḍalas (tanchang 壇場) used in conjunction with precept ceremonies. I am by no means the first to note connections between esoterism and early Chan. Tanaka Ryōsho, following the earlier leads of Hu Shih and Yanagida Seizan, published on the topic some time ago (Tanaka 1975; 1981; 1983, 501–16), and a number of scholars have, in fits and starts, continued to explore these issues, including Kenneth Eastman (1983), Yanagida Seizan (1985), Bernard Faure (1987, 115–16; 1997, 85–86, 125–27), John McRae (1999, 87–89), Lin Peiying (2011), and Henrik H. Sørensen (2011). As will be clear, I am indebted to their pioneering work. Before I begin, two clarifications are in order. First, I am not suggesting that patriarchal transmission, the doctrine of luminous mind, or the transmission of precepts on sacerdotal altars were unknown in China prior to the Tang Dynasty. Rather, I will propose that contemporary developments in India were responsible, at least in part, for their sudden rise to prominence in the eighth century. The second point is that determining lines of influence is notoriously difficult, and the surviving sources are fragmentary and often opaque. Nevertheless, the correspondences I identify are suggestive and may offer a new perspective on the enduring impact of South Asian Tantric Buddhism in East Asia.

Master-Disciple Transmission

The beginnings of Chinese esoterism are often associated with Śubhakarasiṃha, who arrived in the Chinese capital Chang’an in 716, and Vajrabodhi and Amoghavajra, who appeared on the scene just four years later. But Indian Tantric texts had been circulating for some time before the arrival of these virtuosi. Atikūṭa (Adiquduo 阿地瞿多) came to China in 651 and, three years later, finished a translation of the Dhāraṇīsaṃgraha (Tuoloni ji jing 陀羅尼集 經, T.901), which some consider the first full-blown Tantric work available in Chinese.3 A variety of other Tantric texts had been translated by South Asian masters not usually associated with esoterism, including Puṇyodaya (Nati 那提, arrived in Chang’an in 655), Divākara (Dipoheluo 地婆訶羅, 613–688), 3 On the significance of this compilation see Davidson 2012; Shinohara 2010 and 2014.

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Śikṣānanda (Shicha’nantuo 實叉難陀, 652–710), *Maṇicinta (Baosiwei 寶思惟, d. 721), and Bodhiruci (Putiliuzhi 菩提流支, d. 727).4 The great pilgrim and exegete Xuanzang 玄奘 (602–664) translated a number of scriptures associated with Tantra, including the Shengchuang beiyin tuoluoni jing 勝幢臂印陀羅尼經 (Dhvajāgra-keyura, T.1363), Bukong juansuo shenzhou xinjing 不空羂索神咒心 經 (Amoghapāśahṛdaya-sūtra, T.1094), Zhou wushou jing 咒五首經 (T.1034), and Shiyimian shenzhou xinjing 十一面神咒心經 (Avalokiteśvaraikādaśamukhadhāraṇī, T.1071).5 There is also evidence that Daoxuan 道宣 (596–667), who is not normally associated with esoterism but whose work will form part of our story, was already influenced by the recent arrival of such materials. This allows us to date the first transmission of Tantric texts to China to roughly the second half of the seventh and first half of the eighth centuries. At precisely the same time, elite Chinese monastics, many of them “meditation masters” (chanshi 禪師) based in the capital, were becoming preoccupied with lineage, specifically with the notion of an unbroken face-to-face transmission of the dharma beginning with Śākyamuni and ending in Tang China. By the late eighth century this transmission was being depicted in increasingly “esoteric” terms—as an empowerment that occurs in secret between master and disciple. The timeline of these developments cannot be determined precisely, and the surviving evidence does not allow us to link the Chan preoccupation with lineage to any specific Indian texts, teachings, or persons. What I am suggesting is that various developments in Indian Buddhism were percolating through to China at this time of relative prosperity and open land and sea routes, and that one of these developments was a growing concern with master-disciple transmission and empowerment. There is little need to rehearse the importance of lineal transmission (guru-śiṣya, paramparā) in Indian religion writ large. The notion that sacred teachings are authorized through an unbroken line of enlightened sages can be traced back to the Upaniṣads, a genre whose name means to “sit beside [the ācārya or guru].” Yet early Indian Buddhist materials explicitly reject this model for the propagation of the dharma. One famous statement to this effect is found in the Pali Mahāparinibbāna-sutta. Ānanda, after expressing his relief that the Buddha had recovered from an illness, says that he was comforted by 4 Buddhapālita (Fotuoboli 佛陀波利, fl. late 7th c.) is another Indian monk associated with the transmission of an esoteric text, namely, the Foding zunsheng tuoluoni jing 佛頂尊勝陀羅尼 經 (Uṣṇīṣavijayā-dhāraṇī, T.967). However, recent scholarship has shown that the attribution of this translation to Buddhapālita is most likely apocryphal; see Chen 2002, 109–110; Copp 2014, 162; Forte n.d. 5 On these early translators of Esoteric materials in China see Orzech 2011.

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the thought that the Buddha would not pass away before giving his last instructions to the monastic community. The Buddha then rebukes Ānanda, saying: What more does the community of bhikkhus expect from me, Ananda? I have set forth the Dhamma without making any distinction of esoteric and exoteric doctrine; there is nothing, Ananda, with regard to the teachings that the Tathagata holds to the last with the closed fist of a teacher who keeps some things back. Whosoever may think that it is he who should lead the community of bhikkhus, or that the community depends upon him, it is such a one that would have to give last instructions respecting them. But, Ananda, the Tathagata has no such idea as that it is he who should lead the community of bhikkhus, or that the community depends upon him. So what instructions should he have to give respecting the community of bhikkhus?6 This passage can be read as a rejection of the paramparā or lineal-succession ideal, and indeed, this is the interpretation favored by Buddhist teachers today. At the same time we know that, as Buddhism developed and spread and as controversies arose, the tradition divided into various schools whose histories were sometimes construed in terms of master-to-disciple lineages. The paramparā model came to play an increasingly central role in Buddhist historiography and ritual practice, culminating in forms of Tibetan Buddhism in which the guru constitutes a fourth refuge, placed ahead of the Buddha, dharma, and saṃgha. The lineage accounts that came to dominate in China can be traced back to the Fu fazang yinyuan zhuan 付法藏因緣傳 (“Chronicle of the Transmission of the Dharma Treasury,” T.2058, hereafter Chronicle of Transmission), a text that would play a role in Chan, Tiantai 天台, and even Faxiang 法相 historiography. The text purports to be a translation of an Indian original,7 but the work is now considered a Chinese apocryphon that borrowed from a miscellany of earlier works, including the Ayuwang zhuan 阿育王傳 (Aśokarājāvadāna, “Chronicle of King Aśoka,” T.2042), Ayuwang jing 阿育王經 (Aśokarājā-sūtra, “Scripture of 6 The passage continues with the famous words: “Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.” Dīgha-nikāya 16:32–33; PTS ii 137; trans. Sister Vajira and Francis Story . 7 According to the Chu sanzang jiji 出三藏記集, the translation was completed in 472 by Tanyao 曇曜 (died c. 485), and Jijiaye 吉迦夜 (reconstructed variously as Kiṅkara, Kiṃkārya, etc.); T.2145:55.13b6–12.

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King Aśoka,” T.2043), Shisong lu 十誦律 (Sarvāstivāda-vinaya, T.1435), and the Mohemoye jing 摩訶摩耶經 (Mahāmāyā-sūtra, T.383). To further complicate the picture, Maspéro (1911) argued that there were once two works in existence with the same name, and that the received version dates to the sixth rather than the fifth century. In any case, the work that survives today chronicles the transmission of the dharma in India in a single line beginning with Śākyamuni’s transmission to Mahākāśyapa, and continuing down through a total of twentyfour patriarchs. The transmission comes to an end with Siṃha Bhikṣu (Shizi Biqiu 師子比丘), who was murdered by the king of Kashmir. Note that the Chronicle of Transmission does not extend the line outside of India, and there is nothing particularly “esoteric” about it. On the contrary, the transmission seems to be designed to warrant the authority of the Buddha’s teachings in toto at a time of rising anxiety about the decay of the dharma.8 The emergence of Chan lineage histories in the early eighth century provides our first example of a Chinese tradition based on a truly esoteric (in the sense of “secret” or “exclusive”) transmission of the buddha-dharma from one generation to the next. Or, in an alternative formulation, chan (lowercase) became Chan (uppercase) at the moment that it adopted the trope of esoteric transmission. The evolution of the Chan lineage myth has been the focus of much research over the last century, and for our present purposes I will simply note the dating of the key documents. The earliest extant reference to a lineage of six Chinese masters may be that found in an epitaph on a memorial stele for chan master Faru 法如 (638–689).9 This text contains a cryptic account of the transmission from Bodhidharma down through six Chinese masters ending in Faru himself, and while the epitaph is undated, it is presumed to have been composed shortly after Faru’s death in 689, which would make it the earliest surviving reference to a transmission through six dhyāna masters (chanshi). However, given that Faru’s place in the tradition was a source of early controversy, we cannot assume that the epitaph was written immediately following his death; it may have been composed later to bolster Faru’s credentials. The primary sources for our reconstruction of the Chan lineage story are manuscripts from the “library cave” at Mogao, which provide a series of snap-

8 There is a vast secondary literature on the Chronicle of Transmission; for an overview see Tanaka 1983, 61–106; and Adamek 2006, 101–10. 9 The epitaph is titled Tang Zhongyue shamen Shi Faru chanshi xingzhuang 唐中岳沙門釋法 如禪師行狀 (“The Activities of the Chan Master Faru, a Śramana of Mount Song During the Tang Dynasty”).

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shots that capture stages in the evolution of the transmission narrative. The primary texts, along with their dates, are: 1. 2. 3.

4. 5. 6.

 Chuan fabao ji 傳法寶紀 (“Record of the Transmission of the Dharma Treasure,” T.2838), compiled circa 713 by Du Fei 杜朏 (d.u.).  Lengjia shizi ji 楞伽師資記 (“Record of Masters and Disciples of the Laṅkāvatāra,” T.2837) composed sometime during the Kaiyuan era (712–741) by Jingjue 淨覺 (683–c. 760).  Putidamo nanzong ding shifei lun 菩提達摩南宗定是非論 (“Treatise on the Determination of the True and the False in the Southern Lineage of Bodhidharma,” P.2045), a record of a teaching given in 732 by Heze Shenhui 荷澤神會 (684–758) but likely compiled sometime after 744 by Dugu Pei 獨孤沛.  Lidai fabao ji 歴代法寶記 (“Record of the Successive Generations of the Dharma Treasure”), composed circa 778–780 by disciples of Baotang Wuzhu 保唐無住 (714–774).  Liuzu tanjing 六祖壇經 (“Platform Scripture of the Sixth Patriarch,” hereafter Platform Scripture) attributed to Huineng 惠能 (638–713), the earliest manuscript copy of which dates to around 780.  Baolin zhuan 寶林傳 (“Chronicle of the Forest of Jewels Monastery”), compiled by Zhiju 智炬 (d.u.) in 801.

These texts document the polemical debates that galvanized the Chan community in the eighth century, in which individual masters touted their authority by virtue of their membership in an exclusive line of realized saints. These lineage lists all drew, directly or indirectly, from the Chronicle of Trans­ mission mentioned above, with supplemental biographical details culled from a few other sources including the Xu gaoseng zhuan 續高僧傳 (“Continued Biographies of Eminent Monks,” T.2060). The Chronicle of Transmission depicts master-to-disciple transmission as underwriting the orthodoxy of the dharma writ large; there is nothing particularly esoteric or secret about either the form or content of transmission. In contrast, the early Chan materials show a pronounced shift in the meaning and significance of transmission. The competing Chan lineages each claim to be the sole legitimate preserve of a person-to-person conferral going back to the Buddha, and the understanding of this conferral is couched in increasingly esoteric terms. Key notions such as chuanfa 傳法 (“transmission of the dharma”) and fufa 付法 (“entrusting the dharma”) assume the trappings of abhiṣeka (guanding 灌頂)—an anointment or consecration—in which one is ritually inducted into the cardinal meaning of key scriptures, entrusted with sacred regalia that symbolize one’s exclusive

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authority, and empowered to transmit the dharma. Notice how the conferral of patriarchal status in the Platform Scripture occurs in secret—in the third watch of the night—and involves a private exposition of the Diamond Sūtra that presumably focused on teachings too arcane for the rank and file. This interest in master-to-disciple transmission was not limited to those in the Chan tradition; as mentioned above, monks associated with both Tiantai and Faxiang lineages also availed themselves of the patriarchal narrative of the Chronicle of Transmission.10 But it was Chan that made master-disciple empowerment a defining feature of its tradition. The trope of transmission came to dominate all aspects of Chan monasticism, including its mythology and doctrine, its distinctive literary innovations—most famously the “transmission of the flame” (chuan deng lu 傳燈錄) and “public case” (gong’an 公案) collections—and its distinctive approach to monastic practice and ritual. There is no smoking gun—no clear evidence that allows us to trace the Chan preoccupation with secret transmission to the rise of Buddhist Veda.11 But given the well-documented interactions between recent Indian arrivals such as Śubhakarasiṃha and Chinese “Northern Chan” figures such as Yixing (see below), it seems reasonable to posit Brahmanicized Buddhism as a significant contributing factor.

Luminous Mind

Another feature associated with early Chan is the identification of buddhanature with mind, leading to experimentation with new forms of practice intended to disclose the inherently pure and luminous nature of consciousness (Sharf 2014b). This allows the notion of tathāgatagarbha, which was understood soteriologically or ontologically—as the inborn but latent potential for awakening—to be recast in phenomenological/epistemological terms. The details, both in terms of doctrine and practice, were a source of controversy 10

11

The Faxiang version is found in the Fuzhu fazang zhuan luechao 付囑法藏傳略抄 (S. 1053), which inserts Asanga and Vasubandhu as the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh patriarchs respectively, just prior to Bodhidharma. Tanaka (1981, 168–69) dates this text to 766. On the motif of secrecy in early Indian Tantra see Davidson 2006 and 2012, 88. Davidson (2006) suggests that the injunctions to secrecy found in eighth-century Buddhist works may be traced to similar injunctions in contemporary non-Buddhist Śaiva and Vaiṣṇava works, suggesting an overall rise in sectarian competition, a competition that was exacerbated by the overt borrowing going on. On secrecy in Chinese Buddhism see Lehnert 2006.

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among competing Chan teachers, giving rise to heated debates over how to understand and practice meditation (Sharf 2014a, Sharf 2014b). As in the case of patriarchal lineage, these topics have been the subject of an extensive secondary literature which I will not rehearse here. Once again, I am not suggesting that this doctrine was unknown prior to the rise of Indian Tantra. Traces of the notion of naturally luminous mind can be found, among other places, in the Pali canon,12 and it makes its way into Indian Yogācāra materials, often associated with the notion of nirvikalpajñāna (“unconstructed cognition” or “cognition that is free of differentiation”). At the same time, the doctrine was controversial; the affirmation of naturally luminous mind, sometimes associated with buddha-nature theory, veers dangerously close to heterodox Indian teachings that identify the true self with Brahma.13 In China, the identification of buddha-nature and mind can be found in a number of early materials, including the influential Dasheng qixin lun 大乘起 信論 (“Awakening of Faith in the Mahāyāna”). Clearly, the doctrine preceded the rise of Chan by many centuries.14 Yet it is also clear that it moved to the front burner in the eighth century, igniting passions among the same group of elite dhyāna specialists (chanshi) who were preoccupied with esoteric transmission. Is it possible that the notion of mind as naturally luminous, as well as the associated doctrines of sudden awakening and awakening in this very body, were influenced in part by Tantric texts recently imported from India? Once again, the topic is too complex for this short chapter, but I will linger on one compelling example, drawn from the Vajraśekhara-sūtra (Jingangding yiqie rulai zhenshi shedasheng xianzheng dajiaowang jing 金剛頂一切如來真 12

13

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Aṅguttara-nikāya 1.49–52; cf. the notion of viññanam anidassanam or “featureless consciousness” found in the Brahma-nimantaṇika-sutta (Majjhima-nikāya 49) and the Kevaddha-sutta (Dīgha-nikāya 11), which has become a topic of controversy and debate among contemporary Theravāda scholars. See, for example, the treatments in Collins 1982, 246– 47; Gombrich 2006, 43–45; Harvey 1989; Harvey 1995, 166–74; and Thanissaro Bhikkhu on accesstoinsight.org. The literature on the topic is vast; see esp. the classic studies by Ruegg (1969, 411–54; 1989), as well as the recent work by Radich (2014). On the luminosity of mind in Yogācāra sources see Sharf 2016. The issue of whether enlightenment is sudden or gradual, which is often tied to the identification of innate mind with bodhi, may be traced back to the very foundations of Mahāyāna thought. It is the focus of an extended debate between Subhūti and Śāriputra in the Lokakṣema translation of the Aṣṭasāhasrikā-prajñāpāramitā-sūtra (Daoxing boro jing 道行般若經, T.224:8.453a-454b). This translation was done in 179 AD, making it one of the earliest extant recensions of a Mahāyāna scripture in any language.

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實攝大乘現證大教王經, aka, Sarvatathāgata-tattvasaṃgraha). This text ranks

among the most important Indian Tantric scriptures circulating during the eighth century. It was first translated by Vajrabodhi in 723 (T.866) and again by Amoghavajra in 753 (T.865), and the ritual manuals associated with it were central to the systematization of mikkyō teachings in Japan. The seminal narrative event in the Vajraśekhara-sūtra, in terms of its doctrinal and ritual ramifications, occurs early in the text, in the account of the enlightenment of Bodhisattva Sarvārthasiddhi—the esoteric alter ego of Śākyamuni. The passage from Amoghavajra’s text reads as follows: At that time all the tathāgatas gathered like a cloud and traveled to where Sarvārthasiddhi Bodhisattva Mahāsattva was seated in the place of enlightenment (bodhimaṇḍa). They made manifest their enjoyment bodies (saṃbhogakāya) and spoke together as follows: “Good son, if you endure all the ascetic practices yet do not know the truth of all the tathāgatas, how will you realize unexcelled perfect enlightenment?”  Then Sarvārthasiddhi Bodhisattva Mahāsattva, having been startled awake by all the tathāgatas, arose from the āsphānaka-samādhi, made obeisance to all the tathāgatas, and said: “World-honored Tathāgatas, please instruct me. How should I practice? What is the truth?”  When he had finished speaking, all the tathāgatas addressed the bodhisattva in unison, saying: “Good son, abiding in the observingyour-own-mind samādhi, you should chant at your leisure this naturally efficacious mantra: Oṃ cittaprativedhaṃ karomi (Oṃ, I penetrate the mind).”  Then the bodhisattva said to all the tathāgatas, “World-honored Tathāgatas, I have understood it completely. I see my own mind in the shape of a lunar disc.”  All the tathāgatas addressed him together, saying: “Good son, the nature of the mind is luminous. It is like the effect of hard work: the results are in proportion to the effort. It is also like dying an unstained garment: it changes color according to the dye.”  Then all the tathāgatas, so as to enhance his knowledge of the naturally luminous mind, again commanded the bodhisattva, saying, “Oṃ bodhicittam utpādayāmi (Oṃ, I generate the mind of enlightenment),” and by means of this naturally efficacious mantra caused him to give rise to the mind of enlightenment.  Then the bodhisattva, having given rise to the mind of enlightenment through the instructions of all the tathāgatas, said: “Just like the shape of that lunar disk, I see that I too am in the shape of a lunar disc!”

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 All the tathāgatas said to him: “You have already given rise to the mind of Samantabhadra [who is one with] all the tathāgatas. In order to render it as firm as a vajra, and to perdure in this arising of the mind of Samantabhadra [who is one with] all the tathāgatas, contemplate the shape of a vajra on a lunar disc in your heart/mind with this mantra; Oṃ tiṣṭha vajra (Oṃ, stand, O vajra!).”  The bodhisattva said, “World-honored Tathāgatas, I see a vajra on the lunar disc.”  All the tathāgatas addressed him together, saying, “Make firm the vajra in the mind of Samantabhadra [who is one with] all the tathāgatas with this mantra: Oṃ vajrātmako ‘ham (Oṃ, I am of the nature of a vajra).”  Then, through the empowerment of all the tathāgatas, the vajra realms of the body, speech, and mind of all the tathāgatas, which pervade the entire realm of empty space, all entered the Sattvavajra. Then all the tathāgatas anointed Sarvārthasiddhi Bodhisattva Mahāsattva with a vajra name, calling him “Vajradhātu, Vajradhātu.” Then the Vajradhātu Bodhisattva Mahāsattva said to all the tathāgatas: “World-honored Tathāgatas, I see all the tathāgatas as my own person.”  All the tathāgatas addressed him again saying, “Therefore, Mahāsattva, all Sattvavajras are endowed with the perfection of all forms. Discern your own person in the form of a buddha, reciting this naturally efficacious mantra at will: Oṃ yathā sarvatathāgatās tathāham (Oṃ, as are all the tathāgatas, so am I).”  Having said this, the Vajradhātu Bodhisattva Mahāsattva realized himself as a tathāgata. He made full obeisance to all the tathāgatas and then said, “My sole wish is that the World-honored Tathāgatas will empower me and make this realization of bodhi firm.” When he finished saying this, all the tathāgatas entered into the Sattvavajra of the Tathāgata Vajradhātu. At that time the World-honored One, Vajradhātu Tathāgata, in the span of a single instant, realized and fully awakened to the knowledge of the equality of all the tathāgatas, and entered the samaya of the knowledge of the equality of all the tathāgatas. Having realized the natural purity of the knowledge of the equality of all the tathāgata dharmas, he became a tathāgata, the knowledge store of the natural radiance of the equality of all the tathāgatas, an omniscient one worthy of worship.  Then all the tathāgatas came forth again from the Sattvavajra of all the tathāgatas and consecrated [him] with the great maṇi-gem of Ākāśagarbha, generated [in him] the dharma-knowledge of Avalokiteśvara, and established [in him] the viśvakarman (universal activity) of all the tathāgatas. Then they went from [the bodhimaṇḍa] to a pavilion topped with vajras

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and maṇi-gems on the very top of [Mount] Sumeru. Having arrived there, Vajradhātu Tathāgata, through the empowerment of all the tathāgatas, was established facing in all directions on the lion-throne of all the tathāgatas. Then Akṣobhya Tathāgata, Ratnasaṃbhava Tathāgata, Lokeśvararāja Tathāgata, Amoghasiddhi Tathāgata, and all the tathāgatas, through the empowerment of all the tathāgatas in his own person, and through Bhagvat Śākyamuni Tathāgata’s mastery of universal equality, sat in the four directions observing the equality of all quarters.15 This remarkable passage, which was schematized into a ritual sequence known as the pañcākārābhisaṃbodhi-krama (“practice of the five aspects of perfect 15

爾時一切如來雲集。於一切義成就菩薩摩訶薩坐菩提場往詣。示現受用身。 咸作是言。善男子云何證無上正等覺菩提。不知一切如來真實。忍諸苦行。 時一切義成就菩薩摩訶薩。由一切如來警覺。即從阿娑頗娜伽三摩地起。禮 一切如來。白言。世尊如來教示我。云何修行。云何是真實。如是說已。一 切如來異口同音。告彼菩薩言。善男子當住觀察自 [ 心 ] 三摩地。以自性成就 真言。自恣而誦。唵質多缽囉 (二合) 底 (丁以反) 微騰迦嚕弭。時菩薩。白一 切如來言。世尊如來我遍知已。我見自心形如月輪。一切如來咸告言。善男 子心自性光明。猶如遍修功用。隨作隨獲。亦如素衣染色。隨染隨成。時一 切如來。為令自性光明心智豐盛故。復敕彼菩薩言。唵菩提質多畝怛波娜夜 弭。以此性成就真言。令發菩提心。時彼菩薩。復從一切如來承旨。發菩提 心已。作是言。如彼月輪形。我亦如月輪形見。一切如來告言。汝已發一切 如來普賢心。獲得齊等金剛堅固善住此一切如來普賢發心。於自心月輪。思 惟金剛形。以此真言。唵底瑟姹 (二合) 嚩日囉 (二合) 。菩薩白言。世尊如來 我見月輪中金剛。一切如來咸告言。令堅固一切如來普賢心金剛。以此真 言。唵嚩日羅 (二合) 怛麼 (二合) 句唅。所有遍滿一切虛空界。一切如來身口 心金剛界。以一切如來加持。悉入於薩埵金剛。則一切如來。於一切義成就 菩薩摩訶薩。以金剛名。號金剛界。金剛界灌頂。時金剛界菩薩摩訶薩。白 彼一切如來言。世尊如來我見一切如來為自身一切如來復告言。是故摩訶 薩。一切薩埵金剛。具一切形成就。觀自身佛形。以此自性成就真言。隨意 而誦。唵也他薩婆怛他誐多薩怛 (二合) 他唅。作是言已。金剛界菩薩摩訶 薩。現證自身如來。盡禮一切如來已。白言。唯願世尊諸如來。加持於我。 令此現證菩提堅固。作是語已。一切如來入金剛界如來彼薩埵金剛中。時世 尊金剛界如來。當彼剎那頃。現證等覺一切如來平等智。入一切如來平等智 三昧耶。證一切如來法平等智自性清淨。則成一切如來平等自性光明智藏如 來。應供正遍知。時一切如來。復從一切如來薩埵金剛出。以虛空藏大摩尼 寶。灌頂。發生觀自在法智。安立一切如來毘首羯磨。由此往詣須彌盧頂金 剛摩尼寶峰樓閣。至已。金剛界如來。以一切如來加持。於一切如來師子 座。一切面安立。時不動如來。寶生如來。觀自在王如來。不空成就如來一 切如來。以一切如來。加持自身。婆伽梵釋迦牟尼如來。一切平等。善通達 故。一切方平等。觀察四方而坐. T.865:18.207c10–208b8. My translation borrows liberally from Todaro 1985, 165–76, as well as Giebel 2001, 23–25.

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awakening”), constitutes a new conception of buddhahood and the path that leads there.16 While the details of the pañcākārābhisaṃbodhi-krama need not concern us here, it is worth pausing to consider their larger import. Here we learn that Śākyamuni did not attain liberation in the manner previously thought, namely, through his ascetic practices and meditations under the bodhi tree. His real awakening took place shortly thereafter, through a sequence of esoteric empowerments in which a host of tathāgatas brought him to understand the naturally luminous nature of mind (xin zixing guangming 心自性光 明), and to realize his primordial identity with all buddhas. This “second” enlightenment—the Buddha’s real enlightenment—happens out of view; the final empowerment or consecration takes place not under the bodhi tree, but within a maṇḍala on top of Mount Sumeru. The doctrinal point of the passage may be simple—buddhahood consists in awakening to the naturally luminous and pure nature of mind itself—but the accompanying narrative, imagery, and ritual entailments are opulent and complex. One might approach the seminal revelation of the Vajraśekhara and other Tantric texts of the period—that transformation into a buddha entails an esoteric procedure that reveals and affirms one’s innate awakening—as a, if not the, characteristic teaching of early Chan; it is also consonant with the Chan doctrines of sudden awakening and “becoming buddha in this very body.” The significance of the empowerment occurring in the presence of a host of buddhas and bodhisattvas will become clear as we turn to the third area in which Buddhist Veda may have influenced the emergence of Chan, namely, the burgeoning Chinese interest in precept ceremonies performed upon sacred altars or maṇḍalas.

16

In Chinese the five stages are known as wuxiang chengshen guan 五相成身觀, wuzhuan chengshen 五轉成身, wufa chengshen 五法成身, wuxiang ruguan 五相入觀, and so on. These are not enumerated in the scripture itself, but are found in a number of associated ritual manuals. One of the more influential manuals was the Jingangdingjing yujia shibahui zhigui 金剛頂經瑜伽十八會指歸, attributed to Amoghavajra, which lists the stages as: (1), penetration of the original mind 通達本心; (2), cultivation of the bodhi-mind 修 菩提心; (3), attainment of the vajra mind 成金剛心; (4), realization of the vajra-body 證 金剛身; and (5), perfection of the buddha-body 佛身圓満 (T.869:18.284c22–23). The Japanese Shingon tradition places particular stock in the account found in the Jingangding yujia zhong fa anouduoluo sanmiaosanputi xin lun 金剛頂瑜伽中發阿耨多羅三 藐三菩提心論 (also known as the Puti xin lun 菩提心論) translated (or authored?) by Amoghavajra.

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Precept Altars

Yanagida (1985) and McRae (2005) both recognized the significance of altars in Tantra and Chan, noting, among other things, that texts associated with Huineng and Shenhui—the Platform Scripture and Platform Sermon respectively—make reference to a tan 壇 or “platform” in their titles.17 But what exactly was this platform? There has been some controversy over the issue, but the current consensus, following Yanagida, is that in this case tan refers to an ordination platform.18 This seems plausible given that both texts record sermons delivered in conjunction with precept ceremonies. But the precepts are not associated with full monastic ordination (upasaṃpadā). They are, rather, bodhisattva precepts, as the recipients of the rites evidently included laypersons in addition to monastics (Groner 1990 and 2012a). There is room for confusion on this point, since several historical sources record that Shenhui collaborated in government-sanctioned sales of ordination certificates (dudie 度牒, gaodie 告牒).19 Such documents were associated only with monastic ordinations; once officially recognized by the government, monastics were released from the burdens of corvée labor and taxation, and this is what gave the certificates their monetary value. We know that the court resorted to the sale of such certificates repeatedly during the An Lushan rebellion of 755–63, and that soon after the start of the conflict the government ordered the construction of ordination platforms in all superior prefectures (fu 府) to facilitate the collection of “incense money” (xiangshui qian 香水錢) through the sale of monastic ordinations.

17

18

19

The full title of the Platform Sermon is Nanyang heshang dunjiao jietuo chanmen shiliao­ xing tanyu 南陽和上頓教解脫禪門直了性壇語 (“Venerable Nanyang’s Platform Sermon on the Direct Realization of One’s Nature According to Chan Doctrine of Liberation through the Teaching of Sudden [Awakening]”). Editions of this text can be found in Hu 1968, and Tōdai goroku kenkyū han ed. 2006. For bibliographic details see McRae 1987, 263–64 n. 27. The most comprehensive treatments of the nature of the tan in the Platform Scripture are found in Yanagida 1964, and Groner 1990. Hu Shih (2013, 296) apparently mistook the term tan as a reference to dāna, the virtue of giving. During times of fiscal emergency (often connected with military campaigns), the Tang government would raise funds through the sale of a variety of documents that bestowed an official title or rank, including titles of nobility, classics degrees (mingjing 明經), and Buddhist and Daoist ordination documents; see Gernet 1995, 48–62, and Weinstein 1987, 59–61.

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In 753, for reasons that remain unclear, Shenhui was banished from the capital, Luoyang, and he took up residence in the south.20 He was recalled at the start of the An Lushan rebellion in 755 to assist in the government sale of ordination certificates (although his endeavors in this regard may have been restricted to the years 757–58).21 Accordingly, some might conclude that Shenhui’s Platform Sermon, and by extension Huineng’s Platform Scripture, were talks delivered in the context of monastic upasaṃpadā ordinations, and that the “platforms” in question be understood accordingly. This is, however, unlikely, as Shenhui and Huineng’s texts make little reference to anything resembling upasaṃpadā. In the single reference to a tan in his Platform Sermon, Shenhui writes, “Having come to this altar place (tanchang 壇場) to cultivate the Perfection of Wisdom, I want each of you learned friends to generate, in both mind and word, the unexcelled mind of bodhi, and, without leaving your seats, to understand the supreme truth of the middle way.”22 This, like much of the sermon, seems to be addressed to the audience at large, including the many laypersons present. According to Shenhui, everyone has the capacity to immediately realize their own true nature. Nor is there any mention of monastic precepts in Huineng’s Platform Scrip­ ture. Rather, the text has Huineng bestowing the “formless precepts” (wuxiang jie 無相戒) at the opening of his lecture: The Master Huineng ascended the high seat at the lecture hall of the Dafan Temple and expounded the Dharma of the Great Perfection of Wisdom, and transmitted the precepts of formlessness. At that time over ten thousand monks, nuns, and lay followers sat before him. The prefect of Shaozhou, Wei Chu, some thirty officials from various departments, and some thirty Confucian scholars all begged the Master to preach on the Dharma of the Great Perfection of Wisdom.23 20

21

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23

According to tradition, his exile was at the behest of his Northern Chan rivals, but it is possible that he came under suspicion simply because of the large audiences that would gather for his teachings (McRae 1987, 235). While most scholars assume he returned to Luoyang, McRae (1987, 236) believes he likely remained at the Kaiyuan si 開元寺 in Jingzhou. On Shenhui’s activities on behalf of the government, in addition to McRae, see Gernet 1995, 54; and Weinstein 1987, 64–65. 已來登此壇場學脩般若波羅蜜時。願知識各各心口發無上菩提心。不離坐 下。悟中道第一義諦. Tōdai goroku kenkyū han 2006, 41; Hu 1968, 232. Note that where the Dunhuang museum ms. (no. 77) and Pelliot ms. (no. 2045) read 壇場, the Beijing ms. (han 81) has 道場. 惠能大師。於大梵寺講堂中昇高座。說摩訶般若波羅蜜法。受無相戒。其時 座下僧尼道俗一萬餘人。韶州刺史等據及諸官寮三十餘人。儒士餘人。同請

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As we will see below, the “formless precepts” are a Chan gloss on the bodhisattva precepts, and Huineng’s text explicitly mentions the presence of laypersons, including officials and scholars, in the audience. As in the case of Shenhui’s sermon, the thrust of Huineng’s teachings is that the cardinal teachings of Chan are accessible to monastics and laypersons alike.24 One source of confusion may lie in the term tan itself, which is typically translated “platform” in a Chan context, and “altar” or “maṇḍala” in an esoteric context. When it comes to early Indian Buddhism, there are legitimate reasons to distinguish between a ritual space intended for monastic ordination on the one hand, and a dais used for the installation and worship of divine beings on the other. In the case of ordination and precept rituals, the precincts need not have been raised off the ground, since all that was required was a clearly bounded area (Sk. sīmābandha, sīmāmaṇḍala, C. jiechang 界場) that would not be transgressed during the ceremony. (Such spaces could be delineated by stone markers, a railing, and so on; a boat could be used as well since its boundaries were clearly circumscribed and the space protected from intrusions.)25 In contrast, altars or maṇḍalas used in the worship of deities were often elevated. But the Chinese did not disambiguate the two; they used the word tan—an indigenous term for a sacrificial altar in pre-Buddhist China—in compounds for both ordination platforms (jietan 戒壇) and deity altars (fotan 佛壇, xumi tan 須彌壇, etc.). Western scholars of Chinese Buddhism reflexively impose the distinction, translating tan as “platform” when discussing ordination, and “altar” when the structure in question is connected with the worship of deities. The great seventh-century scholiast and vinaya specialist Daoxuan recognized the lexical conflation. In his writings on the history, significance, and design of ordination platforms, he argued that the Indians distinguished between flat bounded areas (chang 場) and raised platforms (tan). In the Guanzhong chuangli jietan tujing 關中創立戒壇圖經 (“Illustrated Scripture on the Precepts Platform Established in Guanzhong,” dated 667, hereafter Illustrated Scripture), for example, Daoxuan laments: “Isn’t it deplorable that

24

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大師。說摩訶般若波羅蜜法。刺史遂令門人僧法海集記。流行後代。與學道 者承此宗旨. T.2007:48.337a9–13; trans. Yampolsky 1967, 126–26. Groner 1990 and 2012a. I would also note that ordination certificates were valued for the freedom they afforded the bearer from labor and taxes, and there was trade not only in ordination certificates, but in noble titles and scholarly degrees as well. Hawking such certificates did not require eliciting faith so much as eliciting cash. Thus the link between monastic ordination on the one hand, and these inspirational sermons by masters renowned for authorizing lay practice on the other, remains unclear. On the use of a boat see Funayama 2012, 26–27; Ōchō 1979, 8–13.

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people today do not understand and are confused, blithely equating the flat chang and the raised tan, without distinguishing between the two?”26 Notwithstanding Daoxuan’s analysis, the Chinese continued to use the term tan for a variety of structures, including ordination platforms, image altars, and maṇḍalas.27 It would appear that the Chinese, Daoxuan included, viewed these structures as functionally homologous; the divine technology used to secure and sanctify a monastic ordination ceremony was the same technology used in invocation rituals. The conflation was reinforced by the fact that, by Daoxuan’s time, ordination was imagined to take place in the presence of a celestial audience (see below). In the medieval Chinese imagination, the prototypical ordination platform was that of the Jetavana Monastery—a grand complex supposedly established by the historical Buddha himself—as reconstructed by Daoxuan on the basis of available textual accounts, his dream visions, and information he gleaned from South Asian monks and travelers.28 Daoxuan describes this elaborate structure in a number works, including the Illustrated Scripture mentioned above. The platform consists of three tiers, the bottom two of which constitute a Mount Sumeru (hourglass-shaped) foundation. A caitya rises in the middle, enshrining the relics of the Buddha, and dozens of images are arrayed in niches around each tier. The measurements and proportions of the caitya are taken from the Buddha’s body (Tan 2002, 314–29; McRae 2005, 80), and Daoxuan is explicit that the entire structure is a stūpa intended to invoke the Buddha’s presence.29 Daoxuan cites a host of scriptures, including an early dhāraṇī sūtra—the

26

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29

今人不識混而雷同平場高壇莫分二別誤哉. T.1892:45.807c25–26; cf. Funayama 2012, 30. See also Daoxuan's Zhong Tianzhu Sheweiguo Qiyuan si tujing 中天竺舍衛國祇洹寺 圖經 (“Illustrated Scripture on the Jetavana Monastery in the Central Indian Kingdom of Śrāvastī,” T.1899). For the circumstances behind the composition of these two texts see Fujiyoshi 2002, 376–92. On Buddhist ordination platforms, in addition to Funayama and Fujiyoshi, see Hirakawa 1962; Mochizuki 1933–36, 1.391–92; McRae 2005, 68–100; Ōchō 1979; Satō 1986, 113–37; Tan 2002, 193–201; and Yanagida 1985, 404–11. Different vinaya commentaries appear to use jietan 戒壇, jiechang 界場, and jiechang 戒 場 for one and the same structure, i.e., an ordination platform; see Hirakawa 1962; and Funayama 2012. Daoxuan had served on Xuanzang’s translation team for a year, and was familiar with monks who came from or who had been to India (Fujiyoshi 2002, 156–65). Ho (1995) also gives evidence that Daoxuan’s depiction of Jetavana was based in part on the layout and architecture of the Tang capital, Chang’an, and more specifically on the imperial palace compound within Chang’an. T.1892:45.809b7–16; cf. Satō 1986, 125–28; and Tan 2002, 194–96.

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Guanding jing 灌頂經 (T.1331) translated by Śrīmitra (Bo Shilimiduoluo 帛尸梨 蜜多羅, d.u.)—in support of his reconstruction (T.1892:45.809c). How is it that in China the ordination platform came to be understood along the lines of both a stūpa, which marks the divine presence of a past buddha, and an altar (or maṇḍala), which musters an array of celestial beings? The answer, I believe, is that the Chinese understanding of ordination, including monastic ordination, came to be informed by the bodhisattva-precept ordinations that were gaining popularity in the Tang. The widespread conferral of the bodhisattva precepts on laymen and laywomen is sometimes thought to be a distinctively Chinese development, since some authoritative Indian scriptures such as the Bodhisattvabhūmi-sūtra (Pusa dichi jing 菩薩地持經, T.1581) depict the bodhisattva precepts as a supplement to the Hīnayāna prātimokṣa—i.e., as intended for monastics alone. But the notion of the “householder bodhisattva” (gṛhapatibodhisattva) is well attested in Indian Mahāyāna, and there is evidence that some form of bodhisattva precepts were available to laypersons within the Mahāyāna fold from early on.30 Whatever the case in India, the East Asian understanding of the bodhisattva precepts was based largely on two popular Chinese apocrypha—the Fanwang jing 梵網經 (“Brahmā’s Net Sūtra,” T.1484), and Pusa yingluo benye jing 菩薩瓔 珞本業經 (“Sūtra of the Original Acts that Adorn the Bodhisattva,” T.1485), both of which state that the bodhisattva precepts should be bestowed without preference to monastics and laypersons alike. The initiation of laypersons through the conferral of the bodhisattva precepts seems to have transformed the Chinese understanding of the physical stage on which ordination of any kind, including monastic upasaṃpadā ordination, takes place. There is an extensive literature on the evolution of the bodhisattva precepts in East Asia which I will not delve into here.31 For our purposes it will suffice to note that the Indian “Tantric” masters Śubhakarasiṃha and Amoghavajra, as well as Chinese Chan figures such as Shenxiu 神秀 (606?–706) and Shenhui, 30

31

On lay bodhisattvas see esp. Nattier 2003, 74–83; and Robinson 1966. Groner (1990, 225– 27) notes that the Youpose jie jing 優婆塞戒經 (Upāsaka-śīla, T.1488) provides a separate set of bodhisattva precepts intended for lay followers. Descriptions of lay bodhisattva practices, including precepts and/or vows, can be found in a variety of later Indian Mahāyāna works including the Ādikarmapradīpa by Anupamavajra (La Vallée Poussin 1898, 177–232), Kudṛṣṭinirghātana by Advayavajra (see the discussions in Mathes 2015; Wallis 2003), Ādikarmavidhi by Tatakaragupta, and the Adikarmāvatāra by Mañjukīrti. (Thanks to Alexander von Rospatt for these references.) On the bodhisattva precepts in China see esp. Adamek 2007, 78–84; Demiéville 1930; Faure 1997, 113–18; Funayama 1995; Funayama 2004; Groner 1990; Ikeda 1970; Ishii 1997; Janousch 1999; Kuo 1994, 37–58; Lin 2011, 109–46; Satō 1986.

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were all promoting, in the same place, at the same time, and in a similar fashion, the ritual conferral of the bodhisattva precepts. Moreover, there is evidence that the Indian and Chinese masters were actively engaging one another. Śubhakarasiṃha, for example, mentored or at least encountered a number of students associated with Northern Chan, including Shenxiu’s student Jingxian 敬賢 (660–722), and two disciples of Puji 普寂 (651–739): Yixing 一行 (683–727) and Shouzhi 守直 (700–770).32 Śubhakarasiṃha likely figured in the Brahmanicization of Chan, but there is evidence that the direction of influence went both ways. One remarkable record of this interaction is the Wuwei sanzang chanyao 無畏三藏禪要 (“Essentials of Meditation of Tripiṭaka Master Wuwei,” T. 917, hereafter Essentials of Meditation), which claims to be a record of a teaching by Śubhakarasiṃha prepared for a discussion or debate (lun 論) with Jingxian. Another dhyāna master, Huijing 慧警, played a role in the compilation of this document.33 As scholars have noted, many of the central themes in the Essentials of Meditation recall those found in Northern Chan texts associated with Shenxiu and his circle, notably the Dasheng wusheng fangbian men 大乘

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On Jingxian see Faure 1997, 207 n. 33; on Shenzhi see ibid. 208, n. 34. Another one of Shenxiu’s major disciples, Yifu 義福 (658–736), is said to have studied with Vajrabodhi, although it is not clear that the encounter actually took place (Eastman 1983, 54; Faure 1997, 81; Sørensen 2011, 299; Tanaka 1983, 502–503). On Yixing’s relationship with Śubhakarasiṃha see Osabe 1963, 81–98. A note toward the end of the received text says, “first compiled by dhyāna master Huijing of Ximing monastery” 西明寺慧警禪師先有撰集 (T.917:18.946a20). The Song gaoseng zhuan 宋高僧傳 contains a biography of a Huijing who is associated with Chongfu monastery in Taiyuan (太原府崇福寺慧警, T.2061:24.862c28–863a10). This Huijing was sufficiently accomplished to have received the purple robe from Empress Wu, but his biography is included among the “chanters” (dusong 讀誦) rather than among the dhyāna masters (chanshi), and there is little indication of any particular interest in either chan or “Buddhist Veda.” In the end it is unclear if Ximingsi Huijing and Chongfusi Huijing are one and the same person or not.  Given that the precise nature of Ximingsi Huijing’s (and indeed Jingxian’s) contribution to the received text is unclear, we must be cautious about the attribution to Śubhakarasiṃha. However, internal evidence, as well as its appearance in Kūkai’s 空海 Go shōrai mokuroku 御請來目録 of 806 (T. 2161:55.1064b01; see also Annen’s 安然 Sho ajari shingon mikkyō burui sōroku 諸阿闍梨眞言密教部類總録 of 902, T. 2176:55.1114b16), supports a mid-eighth-century dating for this text (see also note 37 below). On the Essentials of Meditation see also Bagchi 1982; Haute 2003/04; Lin 2011; Ōno 1954, 431–33; and Lin Pei-ying’s chapter in this volume.

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無生方便門 (“Expedient Means of [Realizing] Birthlessness in Mahāyāna,”

hereafter Expedient Means).34 Śubhakarasiṃha’s Essentials of Meditation, Shenxiu’s Expedient Means, Huineng’s Platform Scripture, and Shenhui’s Platform Sermon all open with a precept ceremony that forms the performative context for the ensuing sermons. Moreover, the first three of these documents include very similar versions of the “bodhisattva vows”—the Expedient Means and Platform Scripture contain the “four universal vows” (si hongshi 四弘誓) that would become ubiquitous in Tiantai and Chan liturgies, while the Essentials of Meditation contains five “vows to arouse the mind of unexcelled bodhi” (shi fa wushang puti xin 誓發無上菩提心), a formulation that became standard in Japanese mikkyō rites. While the two versions are clearly related—three of the vows in each set are virtually identical—it is difficult to determine their precise chronological relationship, but evidence suggests that Śubhakarasiṃha’s version is of Chinese provenance.35 34 35



T.2834; S.2503. This document exists in various different manuscripts and under different titles; see the extended discussion in McRae 1986, 171–96 and 327–30 n. 161. The version of the four universal vows found in the Expedient Means reads: Sentient beings are limitless; I vow to deliver them. The defilements are limitless; I vow to destroy them. The dharma teachings are endless; I vow to learn them. I vow to realize the unexcelled way of the buddhas. 眾生無邊誓願度。煩惱無邊誓願斷。法門無盡誓願學。無上佛道誓願證 (T.2834:85.1273b14–15). It was this version that, with slight variations, found its way into the Dunhuang text of the Platform Scripture, and eventually became a mainstay of Chan and Zen liturgy. The earliest source for these vows are the works of Zhiyi 智顗 (538–597); they appear in a number of his works, the earliest being Shi chanboluomi cidi famen 釋禪波羅蜜次第法門, which was composed sometime between 568 and 575 (T.1916:46.476b14–18), and Fajie cidi chumen 法界次第初門 composed between 578 and 585 (T.1925:46.685c22–686a2). In both works Zhiyi connects his version of the vows to another enumeration of four found in the Pusa yingluo benye jing, an apocryphal work dating to the second half of the fifth century (Funayama 1995). The Pusa yingluo benye jing version is structured around the four noble truths: Those who have not yet reached the truth of suffering—may they be delivered to the truth of suffering. Those who have not yet understood the truth of the arising [of suffering]—may they understand the truth of arising. Those who are not yet established in the truth of the path—may they be established in the truth of the path. Those who have not yet attained nirvāṇa—may they attain nirvāṇa.

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The similarities extend well beyond the liturgical structure of their precept ceremonies. These texts all approach the precepts as an affirmation of the inherently pure nature of mind; they all identify buddha-nature with luminous mind. At the beginning of Shenxiu’s Expedient Means we read, It is likened to a bright pearl submerged in muddy water, the water becoming clear through the pearl’s power. The virtuous efficacy of the buddha-nature is also like this: the muddy water of the illusions being completely clarified [thereby]. Since you have finished your repentances, your three types of action (i.e., body, speech, and mind) are pure like pure









未度苦諦令度苦諦。未解集諦令解集諦。未安道諦令安道諦。未得涅槃令 得涅槃 (T.1485:24.1013a20–22). These vows are based, in turn, on a formulation found in the Lotus Sūtra (T.262:9.19b11–13). (For additional Indian Buddhist scriptural precedents see Nattier 2003, 147–151.) That Zhiyi goes to some length to connect his “universal vows” to the version found in these Mahāyāna scriptures suggests that he felt the need to legitimize his liturgical innovations. (On the evolution of the four universal vows see Kagawa 1989, and Rhodes 1984.) The version found in Śubhakarasiṃha’s Essentials of Meditation are five in number: Sentient beings are limitless; I vow to deliver them. Meritorious wisdom is limitless; I vow to amass it. The dharma teachings are limitless; I vow to learn them. The tathāgatas are limitless; I vow to serve them. I vow to attain the unexcelled way of the buddhas. 衆生無邊誓願度。福智無邊誓願集。法門無邊誓願學。如來無邊誓願仕。 無上佛道誓願成 (T.917:18.943a13–16). The source of these five vows, as opposed to the four universal vows, is unclear; with slight modifications they are also found in at least three other "Tantric" works: Shou putixin jieyi 受菩提心戒儀 (T.915:18.941b), Foding zunsheng tuoluoni niansong yigui fa 佛頂尊勝陀 羅尼念誦儀軌法 (T.972:19.365a), and Shengwudongzun yizi chusheng ba datongzi miyaofa pin 聖無動尊一字出生八大童子祕要法品 (T.1204:21.32c). Curiously, while these three works purport to be translations of Indic originals, they are all only known in China, and their provenance is suspect. The first short work is attributed to Amoghavajra, but the content is so closely related to Śubhakarasiṃha’s Essentials of Meditation as to raise questions about the attribution to Amoghavajra. The second work, T.972, is also attributed to Amoghavajra, while the third, T.1204, is credited to the “translation center at the Daxingshan monastery” 大興善寺翻經院述. In the end there is no evidence that these five vows were known in India; like the four universal vows, they are likely Chinese innovations.  The four “Chan” vows and five “esoteric” vows are clearly related. While the direction of influence is unclear, the earliest extant sources point to Zhiyi as a possible author, which suggests that influence between the Chinese chanshi and the Indian expatriate masters went in both directions.

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lapis lazuli. As the brightness [of this purity] penetrates inside and out, you are now ready to take the pure precepts. The bodhisattva precepts are the precepts of maintaining mind, because the buddha-nature is the nature of the precepts. To activate the mind for the briefest instant is to go counter to buddha-nature, to break the bodhisattva precepts. To maintain mind without activating it is to accord with buddha-nature. This is maintaining the precepts.36 Śubhakarasiṃha’s teaching in the Essentials of Meditation is similarly directed toward realizing the innate and luminous purity of mind, although he seems wary of the techniques being promoted by his Chan rivals. He cautions beginners, for example, not to attempt to suppress thought and not to aspire to “no thought” (wunian 無念); according to Śubhakarasiṃha it is simply impossible, and besides, there is no need to suppress the “proper contemplation of beneficial dharmas” 善法正念 (T.18:917.945a23–26). Rather than suppressing thought, Śubhakarasiṃha teaches a series of mudrās, mantras, and contemplations leading to a dhyāna in which one comes to a vision of “all buddhas.” The sequence of mantras in the Essentials of Meditation is drawn from the Vajraśekhara-sūtra and its associated ritual manuals, and includes the “practice of the five aspects of perfect awakening” (pañcākārābhisaṃbodhi-krama) discussed above.37 Hence it is not surprising that the contemplations concern themes central to the Vajraśekhara, including the innate luminosity of mind. The ritual process culminates in a dhyāna in which one’s inner nature is perceived to be pure and luminous like the moon disk:

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譬如明珠沒濁水中以珠力故水即澄清。佛性威德亦復如是。煩惱濁水皆得清 淨。汝等懺悔竟三業清淨。如淨琉璃。內外明徹堪受淨戒。菩薩戒是持心 戒。以佛性為戒性。心瞥起即違佛性。是破菩薩戒。護持心不起即順佛性。 是持菩薩戒. T.2835:85.1273b24–29; trans. McRae 1986, 172, with changes. My thanks to Koichi Shinohara, who uncovered the complex relationship between the mantras in the Essentials of Meditation and those associated with the Vajraśekhara cycle. While many (but not all) of the mantras in the Essentials of Meditation can be found in the Vajrabodhi and Amoghavajra translations of the Vajraśekhara-sūtra (as well as the Song translation by Dānapāla, T. 882), the specific grouping in the Essentials of Meditation seems to follow Vajraśekhara ritual manuals associated with Amoghavajra, specifically the Jingangding lianhuabu xinniansong yigui 金剛頂蓮華部心念誦儀軌 (T.873), and the Jingangding yiqie rulai zhenshi shedasheng xianzheng dajiaowang jing 金剛頂一切 如來真實攝大乘現證大教王經 (T.874). This suggests that the Essentials of Meditation may be a composite text, or that the received version was redacted after Amoghavajra’s translations were in circulation (Shinohara, personal communication).

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One sees only this luminosity, and nothing else—one does not even see a body or mind. The myriad things cannot be grasped. It is like empty space, but you should not produce some understanding of emptiness. It is because of the absence of thought that we compare it to empty space, not because of some idea of emptiness. In time [one’s practice] will ripen, and whether walking, standing, sitting, or lying, at all times and places, whether attentive or not, one will be naturally and spontaneously free of impediments. All deluded ideas, greed, hatred, delusion, and all other defilements are eliminated and will naturally not arise; [one’s true] nature is eternally pure. If you rely on this practice then you will attain buddhahood. There is only this one path; there is no other way. This is the path realized by all buddhas and bodhisattvas.38 Śubhakarasiṃha’s warning against quietistic techniques such as “suppressing thought” and “non-thinking” may be aimed at precisely the notions of “nonactivation” (buqi 不起) and “dissociating from thought” (linian 離念) commonly found in Chan works of the period, including Shenxiu’s Expedient Means. This would make sense, given that the Essentials of Meditation was prepared for Śubhakarasiṃha’s debate with Shenxiu’s disciple Jingxian. But Śubhakarasiṃha was not the only one to take issue with the techniques taught by Shenxiu and his line. Most famously, Shenhui and Huineng’s “Southern Chan” is predicated on a similar critique: they too felt that the Northern Chan emphasis on stopping or suppressing thought through dhyāna practice was misguided, and that yogis should strive not to subdue the mind but rather to awaken to its fundamental nature. Shenhui and Huineng believed this was possible only via a sudden leap of insight, and that this leap could be effected through the bestowal of the precepts. That Śubhakarasiṃha, Shenhui, and Huineng seem to have directed similar criticisms at Shenxiu’s teachings is further indication that these teachers were rubbing shoulders with one another.39 38

39

唯見明朗更無一物。亦不見身之與心。萬法不可得。猶如虛空。亦莫作空 解。以無念等故說如虛空非謂空想。久久能熟。行住坐臥。一切時處。作意 與不作意。任運相應無所罣礙。一切妄想。貪瞋癡等一切煩惱。不假斷除。 自然不起。性常清淨。依此修習。乃至成佛。唯是一道更無別理。此是諸佛 菩薩內證之道. T.917:18.945b22–29. Although Shenhui was critical of “dissociating from thought” (linian), he did advocate “no thought” (wunian), a term later championed in the Platform Scripture. (The interest in wunian in early Chan polemics can be traced in part to the Awakening of Faith, T.1667:32.585a17–18; see also the Vimalakīrti-sūtra, T.475:14.554b23–24.) But Śubhakarasiṃha may not have recognized much of a distinction between linian and wu­­ nian. A full analysis of the relationship between the critique of “Northern Chan” found in

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It seems that the early Chan patriarchs were lecturing to large audiences in conjunction with bodhisattva-precept ceremonies, rather than the conferral of monastic precepts. What might this tell us about the “platforms” or “altars” on which their sermons took place? One significant difference between upasaṃpadā precepts and bodhisattva precepts concerns the officiating authority. Whereas monastic precepts must be taken in the presence of, and authorized by, a quorum of at least ten monks, the bodhisattva precepts are taken before a divine assembly of buddhas and bodhisattvas. (The actual conferral can be done by either a precept master or, when one is not available, by the assembled buddhas and bodhisattvas themselves, but the divine audience is present in either case.) This assembly of celestial beings is formally invoked and welcomed into the ritual space or sanctuary (daochang 道場) near the start of the rite. One early template for this invocation can be found in Dharmakṣema’s early fifth-century translation of the Bodhisattvabhūmi, in which the precept recipients gather in front of the buddha images 佛像 and invoke “all the buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions” 十方世界諸佛 菩薩 to “serve as witnesses” 我爲作證 of their vows (T.1581:30.912c; Groner 1990, 228). This same liturgical segment is mentioned, in expanded or contracted form, in a variety of East Asian bodhisattva-precept ceremonies, including some of the sources we have been examining. Śubhakarasiṃha’s Essentials of Meditation, for example, includes the following formula to summon the divine preceptors and welcome them into the precincts (qing shi men 請師門): We, disciples so and so, invite all the buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions, [including] Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva, Maitreya Bodhisattva, Ākā­śa­garbha Bodhisattva, Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, Vajradhara Bodhisattva, Mañjuśri Bodhisattva, Vajragarbha Bodhisattva, Sarvanīvaraṇa Bodhisattva, and all the remaining assembly of great bodhisattvas, to be mindful of their past vows and descend into this sanctuary to bear witness to us. We single-mindedly pay obeisance to them.  We, disciples so and so, invite Śākyamuni Buddha to be our preceptor (upādhyāya), we invite Mañjuśri to be our master of ceremonies (karmācārya), and we invite all buddhas of the ten directions to be our preceptor witnesses. We invite all bodhisattvas mahāsattvas to be our dharma companions. May all buddhas and all great bodhisattvas, through

the Essentials of Meditation and that found in the writings of Shenhui will have to await further research.

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their compassion, kindly accept our invitation. We single-mindedly pay obeisance to them.40 The invitation to Śākyamuni to serve as preceptor, to Mañjuśri to serve as master of ceremonies, and to the buddhas to be witnesses had become standard in Chinese precept ceremonies of the eighth century, as evidenced in various Tiantai sources.41 Turning to the Chan materials, we find an abbreviated version of this same liturgical segment in Shenxiu’s Expedient Means. It occurs near the beginning of the text, immediately after the recitation of the four universal vows and before questioning the candidates on their qualifications: “Next, request all the buddhas of the ten directions to be your preceptors. Next, request the bodhisattvas and buddhas of the three periods of time [to be your witnesses].”42 The precept rites in the Platform Sermon and Platform Scripture are even more abbreviated, but they too appear to adhere to the same general structure. The Platform Scripture version includes the four great vows, repentance, triple refuge, and so on, but they are now reinterpreted as the “formless precepts” (wuxiang jie 無相戒), “formless repentance” (wuxiang chanhui 無相懺悔), and “formless triple refuge” (wuxiang sangui 無相三歸, T.2007:48.339a-c). This would seem to be an attempt to bring the ritual conferral of the bodhisattva precepts into better accord with the subitist ideals of Southern Chan. As such, rather than explicitly inviting the buddhas and bodhisattvas into the sacred precincts, the Platform Scripture precept ceremony opens with an invocation in which the participants are instructed to imagine the triple body of the buddha within themselves:

40

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弟子某甲等。奉請十方一切諸佛及諸菩薩。觀世音菩薩。彌勒菩薩。虛空藏 菩薩。普賢菩薩。執金剛菩薩。文殊師利菩薩。金剛藏菩薩。除蓋障菩薩。 及餘一切大菩薩眾。憶昔本願。來降道場。證明我等。至心頂禮。弟子 (某 甲) 奉請釋迦牟尼佛。為和上。奉請文殊師利。為羯磨阿闍梨。奉請十方諸 佛。為證戒師。奉請一切菩薩摩訶薩。為同學法侶。唯願諸佛諸大菩薩慈悲 故。哀受我請。至心頂禮. T 917:18.943b14–22. The same formulation is found, for example, in what purports to be the earliest Tiantai ­precept text, Shou pusajie yi 受菩薩戒儀, attributed to Huisi 慧思 (515–577, XZJ.1085: 59.351a3–8). While this text is now believed to date to the late Tang, if not later (Groner 2012b, 239 n. 58), the same invocation is found in other eighth-century Chinese precept manuals, including Zhanran’s 湛然 (711–782) Shou pusajie yi 授菩薩戒儀 (XZJ.1086). 次請十方諸佛為和尚等。次請三世諸佛菩薩等. T.2834:85.1273b15–16; cf. McRae 1986, 171.

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Good friends, you must all with your own bodies receive the precepts of formlessness and recite in unison what I am about to say. It will make you see the threefold body of the buddha in your own selves. “I take refuge in the pure dharma-body buddha in my own physical body. I take refuge in the ten thousand hundred billion transformation-body buddha in my own physical body. I take refuge in the future perfect reward-body buddha in my own physical body.” (Recite the above three times.) The physical body is your own home; you cannot speak of turning to it. The threefold body that I just mentioned is within your own self-natures. Everyone in the world possesses it, but being deluded, they cannot see it and seek the threefold body of the tathāgata on the outside. Thus they cannot find the threefold buddha-body in their own physical body.43 For Huineng, the assembly of buddhas required to witness and authorize the precepts are made present through a vision (jian 見) and invocation of the threefold buddha-body that lies within. Shenhui’s Platform Sermon works with the same set of tropes and paradigms. At the opening of the text, just before leading his congregants through confession and vows, Shenhui promises his audience a rare encounter with the buddhas and bodhisattvas: It is extremely difficult to directly encounter the buddhas, bodhisattvas, and authentic spiritual guides. Today you will hear what you have never heard before. Today you will encounter what you have never encountered before. The Nirvāṇa-sūtra says: “The Buddha said to Kāśyapa, were one to toss a single mustard seed from Tuṣita Heaven down to Jambudvīpa, would it be difficult to hit the point of a needle or not?” Kāśyapa Bodhisattva answered: “Very difficult, World Honored One.” The Buddha said to Kāśyapa, “That doesn’t count as difficult. To encounter the right causes and right conditions—that is difficult!”  What are the right causes and right conditions? Friends, to give rise to the mind of unexcelled bodhi—that is the right condition. Having all the buddhas, bodhisattvas, and authentic spiritual guides toss the dharma of unexcelled bodhi directly into your minds [such that] you attain ultimate 43

善知識總須自體與受無相戒。一時逐惠能口道。令善知識見自三身佛。於自 色身歸衣清淨法身佛。於自色身歸衣千百億化身佛。於自色身歸。衣當來圓 滿報身佛。 (已上三唱) 色身是舍宅。不可言歸。向者三身在自法性。世人盡 有。為名不見。外覓三如來。不見自色身中三性佛. T.2007:48.339a12–18; trans. Yampolsky 1967, 141, with changes.

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liberation—that is the right condition. Encountering both together is considered difficult!44 The text then proceeds directly to the invocation and worship of the buddhas of the three times as well as to the teachings of the Prajñāpāramitā, and this is followed by confession. Later in the text, following Shenhui’s extended ­sermon, we find a striking reference to abhiṣeka—an “anointment” or “consecration” (guan 灌): “If you grasp what I have said, then the six pāramitās, all the buddhas as numerous as the sands of the Ganges, and all of the teachings of the eighty-four thousand samādhis will simultaneously consecrate and penetrate your bodies and minds.”45 It would seem that the precepts bestowed in the ceremonies that frame the teachings in the Platform Sermon and Platform Scripture are not so much taken as they are bestowed in a ritual consecration.46 (Note the metaphor used by Shenhui: he refers to the buddhas and bodhisattvas tossing the dharma directly into the minds of his congregants.) That is to say, the precepts are conferred through the auspices of a divine assembly, and the invocation of this assembly constitutes an integral part of the liturgy. In contrast to the “Hīnayāna” upasaṃpadā ordination, which is performed in a clearly delineated precinct intended to establish ritual purity, the raised altar used for bodhisattva-precept ceremonies is better thought of as a consecrated maṇḍala on which are arrayed the divinities who oversee and authorize the proceedings.47 At the same time, we have seen that the eighth-century Indian masters and their Chinese Chan counterparts concur that the divinities being invoked are already present within those receiving the precepts—the “esoteric” meaning of the bodhisattva-precept ceremony is precisely the realization of the 44

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諸佛菩薩。真正善知識。極甚難值遇。昔未曾聞。今日得聞。昔未得遇。今 日得遇。涅盤經雲。佛告迦葉言。從兜率天放一顆芥子。投閻浮提一針鋒。 是為難不。迦葉菩薩言。甚難。世尊。佛告迦葉。此未為難。正因正緣得相 值遇。此是為難 云何正因正緣。知識。發無上菩提心是正因。諸佛菩薩。真 正善知識將無上菩提法投知識心。得究竟解脫是正緣。得相值遇為 [ 難 ]. Hu 1968, 225–26; Tōdai goroku kenkyū han ed. 2006, 13. I have emended the 善 at the end of the quotation to 難. The passage is paraphrasing the Nirvāṇa-sūtra, T.374:12.372c. 若領此語。六波羅蜜。恒沙諸佛。八萬四千諸三昧門。一時灌入知識身心. Hu 1968, 248; Tōdai goroku kenkyū han 2006, 120. Note that Daoxuan explicitly associates ordination with a royal consecration, modeled on the consecration of a wheel-turning king (cakravartirāja); T.1899:45.891a16–19 and c13–16; Tan 2002, 196. The esoteric overtones of these Chan altars were noted by both Yanagida (1964; 1985, 405), and following him McRae (1999, 87–89).

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primordial buddha within. There is nothing particularly new in this approach to the precepts; any number of medieval Chinese Buddhist texts affirm, in no uncertain terms, that the efficacy of the precepts lies in intrinsic and universal buddha-nature. To cite a single example, the fifth-century Brahmā’s Net Sūtra, arguably the most important Chinese authority on the bodhisattva precepts, reads: The radiant adamantine precepts are the original source of all buddhas, the original source of all bodhisattvas, the seed of buddha-nature. All sentient beings without exception have buddha-nature. All [those who have] intention, consciousness, form, and mind—these very feelings and these very minds—all are encompassed by the buddha-nature precepts. It is precisely because of this eternally existing cause [i.e., buddha-nature] that [everyone] eternally abides in the dharma-body.48 But while the message was not new, the methods were. The South Asian masters were touting a new dhāraṇī/mudrā/maṇḍala technology that had become popular in India. This technology was intended to produce a state of nirvikalpajñāna or “unconstructed cognition” in which one instantly awakens to the inherently luminous nature of consciousness. The founders of “capital-C” Chan, possibly inspired by the fast-track teachings of Buddhist Veda, were experimenting with their own “direct” or “shortcut” approaches—approaches that, like Buddhist Veda, did not require monastic ordination, doctrinal learning, or arduous ascetic practices.49 These early Chan patriarchs were trying to induce nirvikalpajñāna directly through novel techniques, some of which are reminiscent of Burmese mindfulness practices that were similarly designed for lay consumption in the twentieth century (Sharf 2014b). While the new Chan methods were alluring, they were also controversial, leading to the vigorous debates about means and ends that have characterized Chan and Zen intra-sectarian disputes down to the present day.

48

49

光明金剛寶戒是一切佛本源。一切菩薩本源。佛性種子。一切衆生皆有佛 性。一切意識色心是情是心皆入佛性戒中。當當常有因故。有當當常住法身. T.1484:24.1003c22–25, trans. Muller 2012, 221–22, with changes. On the relationship between "esoterism" and the Brahmā’s Net Sūtra in China see Saitō 2008. On “small-c” chan versus “capital-C” Chan see Sharf 2014b, 937–38. Note that I am offering an alternative model to that of Foulk (1992, 1993), who argues, on the basis of different criteria, that we should date the transformation of chan into Chan to the tenth century.

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By Way of a Conclusion

Chan is famously characterized as: A separate transmission outside the teachings (jiaowai biezhuan 教外別傳), Not establishing words and letters (buli wenzi 不立文字), Directly pointing at one’s mind (zhizhi renxin 直指人心), Seeing one’s nature and becoming buddha (jianxing chengfo 見性成佛). This four-line formulation cannot be dated earlier than 1108,50 but the individual four-character phrases are older, in some cases dating to the eighth and early ninth centuries.51 But now look at a much earlier work, the preface to Atikūṭa’s translation of the Dhāraṇīsaṃgraha, composed by an anonymous author in 654: As for this dhāraṇī-mudrā-altar method, it fully encompasses the mindessence of the many scriptures, and stands at the very head of the myriad practices. Its principles are profound and occult, and cannot be understood by the ignorant. It’s import is deep and sublime, and cannot be fathomed by discursive thought. It is the secret among secrets, beyond exaltation … .  Thus while the practices transmitted in the scriptures, monastic codes, and treatises are many, this teaching method alone has not yet been disseminated in this land. Therefore, [Atikūṭa] respectfully made three requests and was granted permission to perform this altar method.52

50 51

52

As a unit they first appear in the Zuting shiyuan 祖庭事苑 by Muan Shanqing 睦庵善卿 (fl. 1088–1108), XZJ.1261:113.66c. The phrase “A separate transmission outside the teachings” is first attested in fascicle 6 of the Zutangji 祖堂集 of 952, and was a source of considerable controversy in the Song Dynasty. The second and third phrases begin to show up in Chan materials in the second half of the eighth and first half of the ninth centuries, while the last phrase, “seeing one’s nature and becoming buddha,” is much earlier—it is found in a commentary to the Mahāparinirvāṇa sūtra compiled in 509 (Dabanniepanjing ji jie 大般涅槃經集解, T.1763:37.490c26). On these phrases see esp. Welter 2000; and Yanagida 1967, 470–84. 若夫陀羅尼印壇法門者。斯迺眾經之心髓。引萬行之導首。宗深祕密。非淺 識之所知。義趣冲玄。匪思慮之能測。密中更密。無得稱焉。。。。然則經 律論業傳者非一。唯此法門未興斯土。所以丁寧三請方許壇法. T.901:18.785a5a19. Thanks to Koichi Shinohara for bringing this preface to my attention.

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The Dhāraṇīsaṃgraha, which, as mentioned above, is arguably the earliest Tantric work translated into Chinese, is here characterized as a method embodying the “mind-essence” (xinsui 心髓, literally: “mind-marrow”) of the scriptures—a teaching not found in the plethora of sacred texts that had already made their way to China. The preface tells us that it was only through the efforts of the super­lative sage Atikūṭa that this “altar method” (tanfa 壇法) was transmitted to China. Could this early reference to a transmission unknown in the sūtra, vinaya, or treatises available in China be a precursor to the “separate transmission” of Chan? Consider the following claims: (1) the Buddha’s supreme truth is passed down not through the scriptures, but through a living person-to-person transmission of the cardinal teaching; (2) the cardinal teaching is precisely that buddhahood should not to be sought outside oneself—it already exists within; (3) primordially abiding buddhahood is precisely the inherent luminosity of mind itself; (4) this inherent luminosity, being the natural state of our being, is not so much “transmitted” as it is “confirmed” through a ritual consecration or investiture—the bestowal of the bodhisattva precepts—atop a sacred altar.53 These claims could be said to constitute the conceptual core of Buddhist eso­ terism in eighth-century China. They are also the core of eighth-century Chan. And yet there is something misleading in construing things this way, since the very notion that, in the eighth century, Chan and Buddhist Veda (or esoterism, or Tantra) constituted independent traditions may be anachronistic. It is not clear that when a student moved between the teachings of Śubhakarasiṃha and Vajrabodhi on the one hand, and the teachings of Shenxiu, Puji, or Shenhui on the other, they imagined themselves crossing sectarian lines. These eminent masters all moved in the same circles, all promulgated fast-track approaches that promised “buddhahood in this very body,” all believed that buddhahood was available to everyone, and all used the spectacle of bodhisattva-precept ceremonies—in which one instantly gives rise to bodhicitta—as a vehicle for their teachings. In short, the new vogue for “sudden teachings” (dunjiao 頓教) that promise “sudden awakening” (dunwu 頓悟)—teachings often associated with the rise of Chan—may simply be a Chinese riff on the altar methods being disseminated in the capital by the foreign masters of Buddhist Veda. Doctrinally, the teachers of these new methods—the masters of Indian Tantra and of Chan—all embraced an “immanent eschatological” approach to liberation. Buddhahood is not something to be gained in some future time and place, but is rather present here and now, which means that awakening is not 53

On Chan ritual as a “performance” of awakening see Sharf 2005.

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something to be achieved so much as enacted. Buddhist Veda transmitted a variety of ritual practices, often quite baroque, that literally embody or enact this teaching. The early Chan patriarchs experimented with ever more “direct” methods, including (as was perhaps true of the famously antinomian Baotang lineage 保唐宗) the abandonment of methods altogether. But the vestiges of Buddhist Veda did not disappear from Chan; they lived on in a host of conceptual and ritual mediations, including (1) the elevation of the master to a living buddha who ascends the “high seat” (gaozuo 高座) mounted on top of the grand Sumeru altar (xumi tan) to receive veneration and transmit the dharma; (2) the ritual and institutional importance accorded to transmission; (3) the treatment of seated meditation as a mudrā that ritually instantiates buddhahood; and (4) the soteriological importance placed on the identification of buddha-nature with mind. If I am correct about early Chan’s doctrinal and ritual indebtedness to Buddhist Veda—the Brahmanicized form of Buddhism being taught in the Tang capitals by Indian expatriate masters—then the Chan conceit of having preserved, through a direct transmission, the essence of Indian Mahāyāna may not be as fanciful as scholars have presumed.

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Chapter 5

A Comparative Approach to Śubhakarasiṃha’s (637–735) “Essentials of Meditation”: Meditation and Precepts in Eighth-Century China Lin Pei-ying This chapter examines the procedure of precept conferral in Śubhakarasiṃha’s (637–735) Essentials of Meditation (Ch. Wuwei sanzang chanyao 無畏三藏禪 要, T 917, 18: 942b–46a): repentance, proclamation of vows, dhāraṇī recitation, and meditation. An Esoteric practitioner must achieve and practice all these steps to receive bodhisattva precepts. I will also present, as the title of Śubhakarasiṃha’s manual suggests, an alternative analysis of this text that argues that its purpose was rather an initiation into this type of meditation. To gain a better understanding of Śubhakarasiṃha’s perceptions in relation to contemporaneous Chinese Buddhism, I investigate other eighth-century texts with similar contents, including (a) Five Skillful Means of Mahāyāna; (b) Amoghavajra’s Manual of Receiving Bodhicitta Precepts; and (c) Zhanran’s 湛然 Manual of Bodhisattva Precepts Conferral. In comparing Śubhakarasiṃha’s text with the others, similarities emerge among Tiantai, early Chan, and Esoteric Buddhism. The notions of “pure precepts” and “purified meditation” played essential roles in the precept-conferral ceremony across these texts. Moreover, the comparison yields the sense of a rather fluid religious environment in eighth-century China, in which different branches of Buddhist communities shared many doctrines. First, I will examine the precept-conferral procedure itself. As Śubhaka­ rasiṃha specified in his manual, an esoteric practitioner must complete each of the requisite steps in order to attain bodhisattva precepts. The whole procedure runs in chronological order: repentance, proclamation of vows, dhāraṇī recitation, and meditation. The combination of dhāraṇī and meditation features Esoteric and (Northern) Chan characteristics and deserves further investigation. However, systematic analysis of the texts makes it clear that each step of the procedure has an important function for practice, just as Śubhakarasiṃha explained in his text. These steps constitute crucial components of his esoteric praxis, which focuses on the theme of “purification of the mind.” This set of procedures, however, was not necessarily exclusive to esoteric teachings in this place and at this time, and repentance and proclamation of

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vows have been widely practiced in all Chinese Buddhist traditions. This leads to further questions, particularly regarding how the precept-conferral ritual procedures produced the purity of the practitioners. What functions did repentance play in the procedure? How was the idea of purity of mind manifested in early Chan, Tiantai, and Esoteric traditions? Daniel Stevenson, in his extensive research on the Tiantai Four Forms of Samādhi, argued that devotional practices in sixth- to eighth-century China were not as diverse as we may have imagined (1987, 249). He also insightfully noted that the shared patterns of devotional practice reflect the belief systems of a common soteriological vision (256). But there is still a need to reassess the implications of the commonly practiced devotional meditations and to determine the precise nature of the shared soteriological theory. Of particular interest are the doctrinal underpinnings of the connection between meditation and precepts in Śubhakarasiṃha’s manual, and how they compare to parallel doctrinal foundations in other texts.

The Main Sources

The four texts regarding the precept-conferral procedure that will be analyzed in this chapter are the following: a. b. c.

d.

Śubhakarasiṃha’s (Ch. Shan Wuwei 善無畏, 637–735) Essentials of Meditation (Ch. Wuwei sanzang chanyao 無畏三藏禪要, T 917, 18: 942b–46a).1 Amoghavajra’s (Ch. Bukong 不空, 705–774) Manual of Receiving Bodhi­ citta Precepts (Ch. Shou putixin jieyi 受菩提心戒儀, T 915, 18: 940b–41b). Shenxiu’s 神秀 (606–706) Gateway to the Mahāyāna Skillful Means for Non-birth (Ch. Dasheng wusheng fangbian men 大乘無生方便門, hereafter Gateway) (Magnin 1979, 117–28). The Dasheng wusheng fangbian men is also called Dasheng wufangbian 大乘五方便 (Five Skillful Means of Mahāyāna). T 2834, 85: 1273a–78b.2 Zhanran’s 湛然 (711–782) Manual of Bodhisattva Precepts Conferral (Ch. Shou pusa jieyi 授菩薩戒儀, X 1086, 59: 354b–57a).

1 The Essentials of Meditation was probably narrated by Śubhakarasiṃha and was actually written by Jingxian 敬賢 (660–722) during 716–35 CE in Chang’an. For a concise introduction to these texts, see Ōno 1954, 431–35. Cf. Sharf’s chapter in this volume, note 33. 2 Cf. Sharf’s chapter in this volume, note 34.

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Precept-Conferral Manuals

Precept-conferral manuals are relatively short texts intended for practical use. There have been few studies of this type of liturgical texts, probably because of the problematic nature of the devotional texts, which usually lack the contextual information to place them in the broader religious background, as Stevenson has noted (1987, 259–69). There are, however, excellent studies of the historical backgrounds of the uses of these manuals. For instance, on the basis of Tsuchihashi Shūkō’s (1966) research on the Dunhuang manuscript of a monks’ precept-conferral manual (Chujiaren shou pusajie fa 出家人受菩薩戒 法, P. 2196), Paul Groner has conducted an extensive investigation of the bodhisattva precepts in medieval China and Japan (1984, 98–148). Funayama Tōru has elucidated the circulation and development of the bodhisattva precepts during the Chinese Southern dynasties (1995, 1–135). Taking an alternative approach, this chapter treats the doctrinal ground of these manuals rather than the actual devotional practices detailed in them. Before I begin, it will be instructive to distinguish the texts of bodhisattva precepts from the manuals of precept conferral. Tadeusz Skorupski discussed two types of ritual texts for taking the vow of bodhisattva morality (2001, 15–23): a. b.

Those that outline the basic principles but do not state rules Those that state rules but do not discuss principles

The first type is exemplified by the writings of the Indian philosopher Candra­ gomin (seventh century) and the Chinese Brahmā’s Net Sūtra (Skorupski 2001, 17). The second type—that of concrete rules—has played a major role in bodhisattva ordinations across Mahāyāna Buddhism. Additionally, in regard to doctrinal development, there are two systems of bodhisattva precepts in China: a.

b.

The Brahmā’s Net Sūtra, which is associated with the Sūtra on Original Acts That Serve as Necklaces for the Bodhisattvas (Ch. Pusa yingluobenye jing 菩薩瓔珞本業経, T 1485). This system emphasizes the arousal of bodhicitta and avoidance of the ten grave transgressions. The Sūtra on the Spiritual States of the Bodhisattva (Ch. Pusa dichi jing 菩薩地持經, Skt. Bodhisattvabhūmi Sūtra), which is affiliated with the Treatise on the Stages of Yoga Practice (Yuqie shidi lun 瑜伽師第論, Skt. Yogācārabhūmi-śāstra). This system emphasizes the “three clusters of pure precepts” (Satō 1986, 347– 60).

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Rather than being mutually exclusive, the above two traditions share traits, but ascribe slightly different weight to those traits. Meditation and gradual practice, for example, are highlighted in both traditions. Both sets of scriptures are concerned with moral conduct but also with the supposed consciousness of the bodhisattva, and both place much emphasis on the diligent practice of meditation. For example, in the two esoteric sources studied in this chapter, different aspects of the same requirement for the precept-conferral ritual are foregrounded. The following chart illustrates: Ten grave transgressions

Abstract principles Brahmā’s Net Sūtra; Sūtra of Necklaces Concrete rules (Manuals of precept conferral) Amoghavajra’s manual

Three clusters of pure precepts Yogācārabhūmi-śāstra; Bodhisattvabhūmi Sūtra (Manuals of precept conferral) Śubhakarasiṃha’s manual

In short, the concept of bodhisattva precepts in China originated from two strands during the fifth century, the Brahmā’s Net Sūtra and the Yogācāra school. The strands differ in that Brahmā’s Net Sūtra relies on Vairocana Buddha as its sole authority (T 1484, 24: 997c11–14) and expounds the ten stages of achievement in meditation; this scripture attracted substantial attention from the aristocracy in southern China. Yet the influence of the Yogācārabhūmiśāstra should not be underestimated. Nobuyoshi Yamabe has demonstrated the Chinese Yogācāra elements, particularly those of the Faxiang school, in meditation theories of the early Chan school(s), and precept-conferral rituals confirm similar trends (2014, 250–314). As this chapter will demonstrate, the concept of the “three clusters of pure precepts” (Ch. Sanju jingjie, Jp. Sanju jōkai 三聚淨戒) of the bodhisattva path is the foundation of Śubhakarasiṃha’s manual, as well as the Tiantai and Northern Chan traditions.

The Three Clusters of Pure Precepts

The Mahāyāna adoption of the Hīnayāna precepts helped to resolve the competition between Mahāyāna and Hīnayāna Buddhism. Such incorporation is well illustrated in the following three “clusters” of precepts: (1) the prevention of evil, (2) the promotion of good, and (3) the salvation of sentient beings.3 3 Detailed explanations can be found in the Chinese versions of Yogācāra scriptures: Bodhisattvabhūmi, T 1581, 30: 910b–c; Yogācārabhūmi-śāstra, T 1579, 30: 511a.

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Among the three clusters, the prevention of evil may be identified with Hīnayāna Vinaya and the promotion of good with Mahāyāna precepts. The third cluster is identifiable with both Hīnayāna Vinaya and Mahāyāna precepts. The three clusters of pure precepts are tightly tied to the notion of a purified mind. In Esoteric Buddhist doctrine, the goal of a purified mind makes meditation and precept conferral inseparable in practice, as mentioned above. Thus we see that purification of the mind is the ultimate goal of observing the precepts. This concept of three clusters of pure precepts soon became the foundation of Esoteric Buddhism.

Precept-Conferral Procedure

Śubhakarasiṃha’s Essentials of Meditation A The procedure of precept conferral in Śubhakarasiṃha’s Essentials of Medita­ tion runs as follows: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Arousal of the mind Offering in visualization Recitation of one’s name and performance of repentance Three refuges Arousal of bodhicitta Questions about the seven transgressions of precepts A request that the Buddhas and bodhisattvas be preceptors and witnesses 8. A ritualized sermon on the karman 9. Completion of precept conferral 10. Practice of the four governing acts 11. Prohibition of ten grave transgressions The three clusters of pure precepts have been conferred by this stage, which is followed by meditation instruction. The numbering of the following procedures is not in the origianl text. 12. Sitting meditation 13. Conferral of five dhāraṇīs 14. Sermon on samādhi4 4 The Chinese original text specified eleven steps: 1. 發心, 2. 供養, 3. 懺悔, 4. 歸依, 5. 發菩 提心, 6. 問遮難, 7. 請師, 8. 羯磨, 9. 結界, 10. 修四攝, 11. 十重戒.

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The structure of the manual is laid out according to the serial consequences of the precept-conferral ritual. However, the purpose of the ritual and the sermon was, as proclaimed at the very beginning of the text, to facilitate bringing all beings to speedy enlightenment by opening up their mind sphere (T 917, 18: 942c4). In what follows, the Great Vehicle approach is emphasized, and so is bodhicitta (“mind of enlightenment”); these are two defining features of the bodhisattva path. Those who wish to enter the Dharma of Great Vehicle must first arouse the supreme bodhicitta and receive the bodhisattava precepts. Only after the body vessel is purified can they receive the Dharma.5 This short but expressive statement shows clearly that to enter the Dharma of Great Vehicle or to embark on a bodhisattva path, one must first arouse bodhicitta, then receive the bodhisattva precepts, and finally purify the container of his or her body. In the following procedure, after two quick steps of prostration for worship and visualization of offerings to buddhas and bodhisattvas from the ten directions, repentance is performed. This will be mentioned again later in the manual. The practitioner is to recite the verse verbatim according to the manual. Here the repentance concerns acts committed in the past. The impure acts were countless, as well as forgotten, since they occurred long ago. Upon recognizing that in one’s forgotten past, he or she committed wrongdoings toward other sentient beings, a sincere and honest repentance (falu chanhui 發露懺 悔) becomes necessary. This step is a prerequisite before continuing to pay homage to the three jewels and to arouse bodhicitta. Arousal of the bodhicitta entails a vow to save all sentient beings, but at the same time, such arousal relies on the mercy of other advanced bodhisattvas. The bodhisattvas will attest one’s sincerity in the performance of repentance; therefore, the next step is a further inquiry concerning past wrongdoings in the form of an interrogation. If one committed any of the seven grave misdeeds, an extended period of repentance from seven to seventy-seven days is required. It is demanded at this stage that the disciple be honest and regretful about the misdeeds. Any attempt to conceal the felonies will lead to interminable hell, but sincere repentance conforming to Buddhist liturgy will relieve one of any bad karma, enabling the repentant to regain a purified body (T 917, 18: 943a22–943b2). 5 夫欲入大乘法者, 先須發無上菩提心, 受大菩薩戒. 身器清淨, 然後受法. T 917, 18: 942c6–7.

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At this point in the liturgy, one can finally receive the three clusters of pure precepts. These precepts are for the benefit of other beings and also rely on the blessings of buddhas and bodhisattvas; hence the next step is an invitation to all enlightened beings from ten directions. This step is followed by a proclamation to receive the karman precepts: the real contents of this step are the three clusters of pure precepts.6 By reciting the passage of receiving these precepts, one actually takes a vow to benefit other sentient beings. This completes the reception of the pure precepts, and bodhicitta is aroused. According to this manual, the practitioner should next perform the four governing acts and uphold the ten grave precepts. The four governing acts, or the four methods that bodhisattvas employ to approach and save people (Skt. catuḥ-saṃgraha-vastu; Ch. sishe fa 四攝法) are “charitable offerings,” “loving words” (Skt. priyavacana; Ch. aiyu 愛語), “beneficial conduct” (Skt. arthakṛtya; Ch. lixing 利行), and “working together’” (Skt. samānârthatā; Ch. tongshi 同事).7 These compassionate bodhisattva acts will enhance the cultivation of bodhicitta. The eleventh step addresses the ten grave precepts that must be upheld. This set of ten precepts is as follows: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Not to renounce aspirations for enlightenment Not to abandon the right law Not to denigrate any of the teachings and the three jewels Not to doubt difficult teachings in the Great Vehicle scriptures Not to discourage anyone who has aroused bodhicitta Not to preach to those who have not aroused bodhicitta To expound the Great Vehicle doctrine even to the followers of the Lesser Vehicles Not to harbor false ideas

6 The reference to karman precepts probably came from the title of the Dharmagupta-bhikṣuṇīkarman Sifen biqiuni jiemofa (四分比丘尼羯磨法), translated by Gunavarman in 431 CE. From then on, in the Chinese context, karman precepts and the karman method were usually related to the ritual of repentance. 7 “Charitable offerings” can be either material or nonmaterial, such as preaching the Dharma or giving what others like in order to lead them to love and receive the truth. “Loving words” means using kind words to guide people. “Beneficial conduct” means benefiting sentient beings through one’s acts of body, speech, and mind. “Working together” means putting oneself on the same level as others and participating alongside them in activities; for a bodhisattva, therefore, it can mean assuming the same form as the sentient beings to be saved (Digital Dictionary of Buddhism [DDB]).

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9.

Not to claim processing the supreme precepts in front of non-Buddhist people 10. Always to practice almsgiving to bodhisattvas These ten grave precepts are significantly different from those found in the Brahmā’s Net Sūtra. These follow the esoteric tradition: one is to be extremely careful to refrain from discussing the teachings in front of those who have not aroused bodhicitta and those of different schools of Buddhist or non-Buddhist traditions. The ten principal precepts in the Brahmā’s Net Sūtra have a wider currency than the above set of rules, even though this Sūtra gives only a brief introduction for each of the ten precepts. Thus, in the subsequent East Asian tradition, Buddhists relied on the major commentators, such as Fazang 法藏 (643–712), Zhiyi 智顗 (539–598), Mingkuang 明曠 (late eighth century), Seungjang 勝荘 (fl. 699–714), and Daehyeon 大賢 (fl. 752–754) for more detailed explanations. According to Charles Muller, the explanations given by Daehyeon are considered the most descriptive of the actual content of each precept.8 Daehyeon’s commentary on the Brahmā’s Net Sūtra, titled Beommanggyeong gojeokgi 梵網 經古迹記 (Exposition of the Sūtra of Brahmā Net), was evaluated by most Japanese Vinaya masters from the Heian and Kamakura periods as being superior to Zhiyi and Fazang’s commentaries. According to Daehyeon, the ten grave crimes are the following: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Taking pleasure in killing Stealing the property of others The heartless pursuit of lust Intentional lying The sale of alcohol Speaking of the faults of others Praising oneself and disparaging others Stinginess and abuse of others Holding resentments and not accepting apologies Denigrating the three treasures

Although these precepts appear to be general, they can be easily distinguished from the ten basic precepts for the Hīnayāna saṃgha and differentiated from the ten benevolent precepts (shishan jie 十善戒) for laypersons. Daehyeon’s version of the ten precepts is straightforward, and it is evident that the purpose 8 See Muller’s (2012) translation of Daehyeon’s commentary, Exposition of the Sūtra of Brahmā Net.

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is to prevent the performance of wrongdoing and experiencing the consequent bad karma associated with them. Upholding righteousness in this way is essential for preserving one’s integrity. Śubhakarasiṃha’s version, in contrast, aims more at benefiting others and not causing any harm to others out of ignorance (as we can tell from Śubhakarasiṃha’s explanation under the entry of each precept). His ten precepts are consistent with the four governing acts, or the four methods that bodhisattvas employ to approach and save people, as mentioned earlier. The aspect of compassion is thereby strongly emphasized in this Tantric tradition. Śubhakarasiṃha’s manual states that the three clusters of pure precepts have been fully conferred upon completion of the eleventh step (T 943, 18: 944a7). Interestingly enough, after receiving the bodhisattva precepts, one is to continue to receive esoteric teaching on meditation and samādhi. This expectation is in line with the text’s title, which explicitly mentions meditation. This meditation teaching is, however, deemed to be esoteric, as not every practitioner is ready to receive it. Some practitioners may achieve enlightenment simply by holding on to the virtue of generosity, while others rely on upholding precepts. The manual states that the skillful means (Skt. upāya, Ch. fangbian 方便) that Śubhakarasiṃha counted on are based on the Vajraśekhara-sūtra (Ch. Jingangding jing 金剛頂經) (T 943, 18: 944a17).9 In other words, for Śubhakarasiṃha’s followers, this scripture was chosen to be the apparatus leading to enlightenment. Śubhakarasiṃha proclaimed that one should then make the mind tranquil upon hearing this, sitting still in the pose of deep meditation (T 943, 18: 944a18). Upon receiving the pure bodhisattva precepts, the practitioner must again receive the “internally attested pure precepts” (neizheng wulou qingjing fajie 內證無漏清淨法戒), which are also known as the Samaya precepts of the Tantric system. This set of vows is essential to the foundation of the Tantric initiation ceremony, and it is a prerequisite for “entering the meditation gate” (ru chanmen 入禪門). The entire ritual is concluded with dhāraṇī recitation. There are six dhāraṇī included here, and each represents a different purpose. The list of the dhāraṇī appears to complete the precept-conferral ceremony, but it is not the end of the manual. Following the dhāraṇī list, Śubhakarasiṃha provides further instruction on meditation practice. In the following part of the manual, instructions for meditation practice are further elaborated:

9 See also Orzech and Sharf’s chapters in this volume for the Vajraśekhara-sūtra. Orzech takes the example of Amoghavajra’s translation of this sūtra (T 865) to analyze the litugical context. Sharf examines the notion of the naturally luminous mind in the same text.

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Conferral of dhāraṇī verses Preparation for foot and hand posture Performance of esoteric visualization for repentance Proclamation of universal vows Concentration on breath Visualization of the moon to attain samādhi Recitation of dhāraṇī verses

This part of the text comprises structural steps for meditation practice and a sermon on the innate lumious mind, but it seems to be attached to the manual as an appendix. It is likely that it was added to an earlier edition, given the mention of the previous compiler, Chan master Huijing 慧警 of Ximing Monastery 西明寺 (T 917, 18: 946a20). This sermon is an important source for understanding the esoteric approach to meditation, as Orzech and Sharf demonstrate in their respective chapters. Orzech points out that the visualization of the heart as a lunar disk is a typical liturgical practice and by no means a unique meditative experience.10 Sharf, for his part, analyzes the esoteric notion of an innately luminous mind as described in this text (T 917, 18: 945b22–29). The sermon on meditation certainly emphasizes a luminous mind, innately pure and “clean” like a moon. As such, this practice ought to be exercised through visualization of the moon and conceptualization of one’s innate pure nature. These instructions are logically consistent with the previous section concerning precepts and esoteric Buddhism. In fact, the entire procedure, including the precept conferral, seems to have been a prerequsite for meditation practice. The question, then, is why one must receive precepts before engaging in meditation. The attainment of purity is likely at issue, and repentance and dhāraṇī are considered efficient means to achieve such a goal. B Amoghavajra’s Shou putixin jieyi 受菩提心戒儀 Amoghavajra’s Shou putixin jieyi is a major example of a Tantric ritual manual. The procedure of precept conferral in this text is quite simple, consisting of only five steps, each of which is followed by a dhāraṇī verse: 1. 2. 3.

Paying homage to the Buddha Offering Performance of repentance

10

Also see Eric Greene’s (2012) dissertation on the contemplation sūtras and the practice of visualization.

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Taking three refuges Arousal of bodhicitta and completion of precept conferral11

This set of procedures parallels the first five steps in Śubhakarasiṃha’s manual, thus confirming that the basic requirements for the arousal of bodhicitta in the Tantric tradition are identical across texts. Despite the fact that our set of procedures is shorter and looks simpler, Amoghavajra’s work was later than that of Śubhakarasiṃha. This further attests that Śubhakarasiṃha followed the standard procedure regarding the arousal of bodhicitta, and that the following steps—the three clusters of pure precepts, the ten grave precepts, and meditation—were built upon it. Along with the pure precepts, purity of mind is strongly emphasized in the Esoteric tradition. According to Amoghavajra, the most important factor in receiving bodhisattva precepts is arousing and maintaining bodhicitta. By the same rationale, Amoghavajra’s Text for the Highest Vehicle Arousal of Bodhisattva Mind Precept and Repentance (Zuishang shengjiao shoufa puti xinjie chanhui wen 最上乘教受發菩提心戒懺悔文, T 915, 18: 940b–1b), attached after the Shou putixin jieyi in the manual, is also devoted to explaining how one arouses the mind of enlightenment (fa puti xin 發菩提心, Skt. bodhicittotpāda, T 915, 18: 941b14), acts out repentance, and then receives the precepts. Repentance of previous sins is essential for purifying one’s mind in this regard. C The Gateway The procedure of precept conferral in the Gateway consists of eight parts: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Recitation of four bodhisattva vows A request that the buddhas be preceptors and witnesses Three refuges Questions about the five capabilities Recitation of one’s name and performance of repentance Encouragement to hold the precepts of the mind Meditation A ritualized sermon on the perfection of wisdom12

The steps to be highlighted here are the fifth and seventh, to wit, repentance and meditation. Repentance is performed at one point in the sequence in the Gateway and at another point in the sequence in Śubhakarasiṃha’s manual. In 11 The Chinese original is 1. 禮佛, 2. 供養, 3. 懺悔, 4. 三歸依, 5. 受菩提心戒. 12 T 2834; translation based on Groner 2012, 145–46.

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other words, Śubhakarasiṃha includes repentance before the step of taking three refuges, while the Gateway has this step after taking three refuges. This is a notable difference that holds deep significance, and it will be discussed in more detail later, in a comparison of all four texts. Step seven is meditation, which is not found in most precept-conferral manuals. Its appearance here, however, coincides with Śubhakarasiṃha’s manual in that meditation is placed at the very end of the procedure in both texts. Thus the conferral of bodhisattva precepts seems tightly linked to meditation, even though the latter was not invariably embraced by other Buddhist schools. A long sermon on the perfection of wisdom follows this list of steps. As stated in this manual, the bodhisattva precepts are “pure precepts” (jingjie 淨 戒) for the mind. When the mind is clean, it preserves the Buddha nature; it then reflects outer phenomena corresponding to the perfection of wisdom. Therefore, the perfection of wisdom is bound to a purified mind. After performing this procedure, one can be ready to listen to the sermon; in other words, this precept-conferral ritual was designed to ensure the purification of the mind of the practitioner. This logic is essentially consistent with that of the Brahmā’s Net Sūtra. Śubhakarasiṃha

The Gateway

1. Arousal of the mind 2. Offering in visualization 3. Recitation of one’s name and performance of repentance 4. Three refuges 5. Arousal of bodhicitta 6. Questions about the seven trans­gres­ sions of precepts 7. A request that the buddhas and bodhi­sattvas be preceptors and witnesses 8. A ritualized sermon on the karman 9. Completion of precept conferral 10. Practice of four governing acts 11. Prohibition of ten grave precepts    (The three clusters of pure precepts   have been conferred by this stage.) 12. Sitting meditation 13. Conferral of five dhāraṇīs 14. Sermon on samādhi

1. Recitation of four bodhisattva vows 2. A request that the Buddhas be preceptors and witnesses 3. Three refuges 4. Questions about the five capabilities 5. Recitation of one’s name and performance of repentance 6. Encouragement to hold the precepts of the mind 7. Meditation 8. A ritualized sermon on the perfection of wisdom

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In this process of precept conferral, repentance and meditation together serve the function of purification and prepare practitioners to receive the precepts of the mind and the perfection of wisdom. The same connection between the precepts and the purification of the mind is evident in the Chan School, which gradually took shape from the seventh century onward. Even though the conferral procedure became increasingly simplified in later Chan texts, the latest being the notable Platform Sūtra, there is an evident and strong continuity.13 I will discuss the connection between Chan and Esoteric teachings in further detail later in this chapter. Zhanran’s Manual of Bodhisattva Precepts Conferral D At the beginning of the manual Shou pusa jieyi, Zhanran specified that he followed the textual source of the Brahmā’s Net Sūtra, Original Acts That Serve as Necklaces for the Bodhisattvas, Bodhisattvabhūmi Sūtra, and the Gaochang 高 昌 edition of the precept-conferral manual.14 In other words, Zhanran adopted both of the main systems of bodhisattva precepts in China. Following this introduction, he provided this procedure of precept conferral: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

Encouragement for receiving precepts Three refuges A request that the buddhas and bodhisattvas be preceptors Recitation of one’s name and performance of repentance Arousal of bodhicitta Questions about the seven transgressions of precepts Recitation of three clusters of bodhisattva precepts Completion and confirmation of precept conferral Validation of three phenomena A sermon on ten critical transgressions Proclamation of great vows Admonition on upholding the precepts15

In this procedure, one can easily discern both the system of the ten grave transgressions of the Brahmā’s Net Sūtra and that of the three clusters of

13 14 15

This point was convincingly put forward by Groner 2012, in which he compared the contents and structure of the Gateway to the Platform Sūtra. This is also known as Master Chang’s edition (Chang fashi ben 暢法師本), which is based on the Bodhisattvabhūmi-sūtra with modifications. The Chinese original is 1. 開導, 2. 三歸, 3. 請師, 4. 懺悔, 5. 發心, 6. 問遮, 7. 授戒, 8. 證 明, 9. 現相, 10. 說相, 11. 廣願, 12. 勸持.

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bodhisattva precepts of the Bodhisattvabhūmi Sūtra. The major difference between Zhanran and Śubhakarasiṃha lies in the selection of the ten grave transgressions: the former followed the Brahmā’s Net Sūtra, while the latter did not. In both manuals, however, the three clusters of bodhisattva precepts are indispensable. Zhanran followed Zhiyi’s teachings by giving the Brahmā’s Net Sūtra primacy while, at the same time, incorporating the three clusters of bodhisattva precepts into a comprehensive precept system. This precept-conferral procedure illustrates the theoretical underpinning of Tiantai precepts. With this grounding in mind, I shall now bring Zhiyi’s thought into the discussion. In keeping with the Chinese tradition of making doctrinal classifications, the Chinese master Zhiyi designed a sophisticated hierarchy that positions the Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra as the last sermon by the Buddha. This was in response to the inconsistencies within Buddhist teachings and the dispute over the status of and relations between Mahāyāna and Hīnayāna Buddhism. During Zhiyi’s time, Mahāyāna precepts provoked a great deal of dispute, whereas the Hīnayāna Vinaya alone did not have many advocates.16 The earliest Mahāyāna texts, easily available in Chinese, already displayed a dialectical relationship with Hīnayāna schools such as the Sarvāstivāda. The bodhisattva path was almost universally accepted as the highest approach to enlightenment, and Chinese Buddhists accepted this because they read in the Lotus Sūtra and the Flower Garland Sūtra (Huayan jing 華嚴經, Skt. Avataṃsaka Sūtra) that the śrāvakas and the pratyekabuddhas, unlike the bodhisattvas, have insufficient faculties to understand the Buddha’s teachings fully. At the same time, the Hīnayāna traditions were brought into the country with all the rest, so how was their status to be understood? In solving the conflicting ideas regarding various vehicles, Zhiyi maintained that a Mahāyāna monk could observe Hīnayāna precepts with a Mahāyāna mind. The Hīnayāna Vinaya had been devised for the purpose of leading people to Buddhahood, and it would potentially reveal that final goal, so there was no conflict between the Vinaya and a Mahāyāna goal. The debate between Mahāyāna and Hīnayāna precepts thus led to a conceptual change: the Vinaya, combined with bodhisattva vows, could be transformed into Mahāyāna precepts (Hirakawa 1997, 1–26). This explanation was called “disclosing and harmonizing” (Groner 1984, 199). In this vein, in highlighting the bodhisattvas, in the Commentary on the Tiantai Bodhisattva Precepts (Tiantai pusa jie shu 天台菩薩戒疏, T 1812), which was narrated by Zhiyi and edited by Mingkuang, Zhiyi differentiated Mahāyāna 16

For a full collection of scriptures concerning Buddhist precepts and Vinayas, see Ōno 1954.

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from Hīnayāna precepts and further advocated the bodhisattva precepts as found in the Brahmā’s Net Sūtra (T 1812, 40: 580c–584a). A prominent feature of Zhiyi’s teaching on precepts is his Madyamaka thought, which is reflected in his integration of various systems of precepts as based on the philosophy and the perfection of wisdom.17 Although Zhiyi placed much emphasis on the ten grave transgressions of the Brahmā’s Net Sūtra, he also interpreted the three clusters of pure precepts along the same lines of “harmonization.” The difference in the two systems, the three clusters of pure precepts and the ten grave transgressions, is not difficult to deal with: The three clusters of precepts harmonize with each other; the three contemplations and the three bodies relate to each other. Superiority is not an issue among these three clusters or the three bodies. Likewise, both the ten grave precepts and the forty-eight minor transgressions ought to be upheld equally. How can one assume any different level regarding the depth of mind-nature?18 Therefore, Zhiyi’s Commentary on the Meaning of Bodhisattva Precepts distinguished and classified these two Chinese systems of bodhisattva precepts and also integrated both systems into his “round and prefect” precepts (yuanrong pusajie 圓融菩薩戒). [We] expediently assign “vehicle” and “precepts” two separate labels, but both of them are true phenomena; such is the [proper understanding of] round and prefect bodhisattva precepts. Hence the preface says, “Any form or mind, whether at this circumstance or in this mind, falls in the category of Buddha-nature precepts. These words are verifiable.”19 Here the distinction between “vehicle” and “precepts” is mentioned. Zhiyi’s motive, however, is not to intensify the distinction but to integrate them into the system of Buddha-nature precepts, which had been greatly emphasized in the Brahmā’s Net Sūtra and the Sūtra on Original Acts That Serve as Necklaces for the Bodhisattvas. In this vein, the Tiantai round and prefect precepts may be

17 18 19

For example, see Zhiyi’s citation of Madyamaka in his commentary, T 1812, 40: 581a17. 戒戒三聚互融, 三觀三身相即, 三聚三身既無優劣, 四十八輕十重等持, 心性寧有 淺深. T 1812, 40:584b7–9. 假分乘戒兩名, 一一無非實相, 方是圓融菩薩戒也, 故序中云:一切色心, 是情是 心, 皆入佛性戒中, 言可驗矣. T 1812, 40: 584b10–12.

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understood through Zhiyi’s statement that the precepts are Dharmakaya, and wisdom is the vehicle.20

Meditation in the Procedure

Significantly, in both Śubhakarasiṃha’s manual and the Gateway, meditation is placed at the very end of the ritual procedure. The presence of meditation in these texts supports the idea that conferral of bodhisattva precepts and meditation are interrelated. Greene has conducted comprehensive research on meditation and repentance in early China (2012, 259–69); this chapter is a small attempt to further probe the doctrinal affinity between the “Northern Chan” school and Esoteric Buddhism. The shared ground between these two schools, as a bold generalization, is that the bodhisattva precepts constitute a prerequisite for efficient meditation practice. This notion long pre-dated our manuals. In one of the earliest examples, in the fifth century, Daojin 道進 (also known as Fajin 法進) once expressed his desire to receive the bodhisattva precepts from Dharmakṣema. In response, Dharmakṣema instructed him that deep repentance and diligent meditation must be completed before receiving the bodhisattva precepts, so as to remove all karmic obstructions. This story of Daojin and Dharmakṣema is the earliest record of the appearance of bodhisattva precept-conferral in China (Yamabe 2005, 20; see also Funayama 1995, 6–20). Both Dharmakṣema and the texts we are examining make it clear that the transmission of bodhisattva precepts was a prerequisite for purification of the mind, and that these bodhisattva precepts were not separable from meditational practice. Moreover, confession and repentance figure into the purification process in all four of these texts. The following section will examine in more detail the role of repentance and its doctrinal foundation.

20

戒即法身乘即般若. T 1812, 40: 584b4.

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Śubhakarasiṃha

The Gateway

1. Paying homage to the Buddha 2. Offering 3. Performance of repentance 4. Three refuges 5. Arousal of bodhicitta and completion of precept conferral

1. Arousal of the mind 2. Offering in visualization 3. Recitation of one’s name and performance of repentance 4. Three refuges 5. Arousal of bodhicitta 6. Questions about the seven transgressions of precepts 7. A request that the buddhas and bodhisattvas be preceptors and witnesses 8. A ritualized sermon on the karman 9. Completion of precept conferral 10. Practice of four governing acts 11. Prohibition of ten grave precepts (The three clusters of pure precepts have been conferred by this stage.) 12. Meditation 13. Conferral of five dhāraṇīs 14. Sermon on samādhi

1. Encouragement for 1. Recitation of four receiving precepts bodhisattva vows 2. Three refuges 2. A request that the Buddhas be precep- 3. A request that the buddhas and bodhisattors and witnesses tvas be preceptors 3. Three refuges 4. Questions about the 4. Recitation of one’s name and performance five capabilities of repentance 5. Recitation of one’s 5. Arousal of bodhicitta name and performance of repentance 6. Questions about the seven transgressions of 6. Encouragement to precepts hold the precepts of 7. Recitation of three the mind clusters of bodhisattva precepts 8. Completion and confirmation of precept conferral 9. Validation of three phenomena 10. A sermon on ten critical transgressions 11. Proclamation of great 7. Meditation vows 8. A ritualized sermon on the perfection of 12. Admonition on upholding the wisdom precepts



Zhanran

Repentance and Purity

The necessity of confession is expressed in a number of Mahāyāna texts, notably the Sūtra of Golden Light (T 663, 16: 336b10–339a6) (Emmerick 1970, 8–17). Kuo conducted a detailed survey of classifications of Buddhist repentance in Daoxuan’s 道宣 (596–667), Huisi’s 慧思 (515–577), and Zhiyi’s systems, respectively (1994, 36; 75–78; 61–62). Wu noted that most Chinese confessionals are formulaic (1979, 6–16). Furthermore, many Dunhuang materials show the same formula of confession that follows the verses from the Guan Puxian pusa

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jing 觀普賢菩薩經 (Stevenson 1987, 404). Yamabe (2005) also demonstrated a link between repentance and visionary experience. This visionary experience was also important in connection with meditational experience and Buddhaname chanting practice. In studying the liturgical usage of confession, Stevenson also noted that several “quasi-esoteric texts” of the sixth and seventh centuries all show particular concern for “preliminary ritual purification.”21 More recently, Eric Greene has provided a thorough comparison of early Chinese views of karma in relation to the practice of repentance.22 Here one sees how practices of Tiantai, Chan, and Esoteric Buddhism could be interwoven with one another. In the texts under discussion, the order of repentance differs across manuals. In the Esoteric tradition, repentance is exercised before inviting the buddhas and bodhisattvas to be preceptors; both Śubhakarasiṃha’s and Amoghavajra’s manuals follow this formula. In contrast, in Zhanran’s manual, repentance comes after the invitation of the buddhas and bodhisattvas. The Esoteric tradition also includes the step of making an offering to the buddhas and bodhisattvas before the repentance step. The Gateway shares the same ground with Zhanran’s manual in this aspect alone; in contrast, Śubhakarasiṃha’s manual is the same as Amoghavajra’s. In other words, the order differentiates the esoteric tradition from its exoteric counterpart: the esoteric tradition includes the act of repentance before the step of taking three refuges, while the exoteric texts have it after that step. One doctrinal explanation could be that for the esoteric tradition, it is important to remove the karmic obstruction before taking the Buddhist faith; one must be fully prepared before meeting his or her master because the master will choose teachings on the basis of the capacity of the disciple. In contrast, for the exoteric tradition, Buddhism is open to the general public, that is, to whoever wishes to receive the teaching; therefore, there should be no obstacle for one to take the three refuges. Repentance is the most important method for removing the karmic obstruction. One is to conduct repentance at different levels according to one’s own

21

22

Stevenson 1987, 342. The examples he gave include Fangdeng tuoluoni jing 方等陀羅尼 經 (Sūtra of the Fangdeng Dhāraṇī, T 1339), Qing guanyin jing 請觀音經 (Sūtra of the Request for Avalokiteśvara), Shi’yi mian shenzhou jing 十一面神咒經 (Sūtra of the Divine Spells of Eleven-Headed [Avalokiteśvara]), Qi fo ba pusa shenzhou jing 七佛八菩薩神 咒經 (Sūtra of Divine Spells for the Seven Buddhas and Eight Bodhisattvas), and Tuoluoni zaji 陀羅尼雜集 (Miscellaneous Collection of Dhāraṇī, T 1336). See Greene 2012, chap. 4; see especially 218–34 for the vision of karma in Chan Essentials.

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circumstances. Zhiyi expounded on this in his commentary, which heavily relies on the Brahmā’s Net Sūtra: Precepts are methods for whitening and purification, but they can be received only if one’s body-container is pure and clean. Therefore, [I] must teach [practitioners] repentance to purify the mind and body. This is just as old clothes need to be washed first before they can be dyed again.23 Again, purification of karmas is required before precept conferral: All buddhas and bodhisattvas have great compassion and make mag­ nificent vows to turn all sentient beings into buddhas. However, only if the practitioners have attained purified karmas can they receive the precepts.24 The concept of purity was inherited by the Northern Chan text, the Gateway, which was composed of elements relating to repentance, pure precepts, and Buddha nature. It explains the bodhisattva precepts thus: After your repentance, the three deeds are purified, just like a crystal, its inner and outer sphere clear and transparent. Only then are you eligible to receive “pure precepts.” [To uphold] bodhisattva precepts is to uphold “mind precepts” and to regard Buddha nature as precept nature.25 Thus, repentance leads to purity, which is the necessary precondition the bestowal of the “pure precepts.” According to the Brahmā’s Net Sūtra, in advance of the precept-conferral ritual, repentance and meditation are two important requirements for receiving the bodhisattva precepts (Kuo Li-ying 1994, 57–58). The Brahmā’s Net Sūtra maintains that “the nature of the precepts for all sentient beings is fundamentally pure.”26 Its Mahāyāna characteristics lie in its claim that any sentient 23 24 25 26

夫戒是白淨之法, 身器清淨乃可堪受. 故先教懺悔洗滌身心, 如浣故衣方受染色. T 1812, 40: 582b20–22. 諸佛菩薩大悲, 弘誓欲令眾生如佛無異. 然須行者三業清淨, 方可得戒. T 1812, 40: 582c1–2 汝等懺悔, 三業清淨, 如淨瑠璃, 内外明徹, 堪受淨戒. 菩薩戒是持心戒, 以佛性爲 戒性. See Suzuki 1968, 168. 是一切眾生戒本源自性清淨. T 1484, 24: 1003c28.

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being in possession of a mind could achieve Buddha’s attainment right away upon receiving the Mahāyāna precepts: Whoever has a mind should be governed by Buddhist precepts. Once the sentient being receives the Buddhist precepts, he attains Buddha status.27 Furthermore, the Brahmā’s Net Sūtra’s precepts are easily accessible to all practitioners because the purest precepts can be conferred simply through comprehending the words of dharma masters.28 The same idea is taken up by the Necklaces Sūtra as meaning that the bodhisattva precepts are imperishable after their conferral ceremony (T 1485, 24: 1021b2, b22). These are the doctrinal foundations of the concept of self-ordination, which thrived in later periods. Hence the mind is the substance of precepts (jieti 戒體); as the Necklaces Sūtra says: In the cases of both ordinary people and sages, at the bottom of precepts, the mind is the substance. Just as the mind has no ending point, neither do the precepts have an ending point.29 At this point, we see that meditation, bodhisattva precepts, and repentance are linked through the procedure for the purification of mind, as shown in the ritual of precept conferral. The ideas conveyed in the Brahmā’s Net Sūtra and Zhanran’s and Śubhakarasiṃha’s manuals reflect a shared doctrinal ground. The following section will shed light on the Chan context.

Mind and Precepts in the Chan Tradition

In the context of Chan Buddhism, Northern Chan ideas concerning the ­“vehicle” definitely support doctrinal connotations of the substance of precepts; the question is how and when the emphasis on “oneness” and “single mind” was grounded in meditation teaching in the Chan and Esoteric traditions. We might also ask, how did the early Chan tradition come to be associated with the bodhisattva precepts?

27 28 29

一切有心者, 皆應攝佛戒, 眾生受佛戒, 即入諸佛位, T 1484, 24:1004a19–20. 但解法師語, 盡受得戒, 皆名第一清淨者. T 1484, 24: 1004b10. 故瓔珞經云: 一切凡聖戒盡以心為體, 心無盡故戒亦無盡. T 1812, 40: 581a23–24.

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Daoxin 道信 (580–651) is a seminal figure in Chan history for his teaching on meditation and bodhisattva precepts. In tracing the origins of the One Practice Samādhi (yixing sanmei 一行三昧) among the Tiantai and other schools, Stevenson noted Daoxin’s impact, especially on the Chan School (Stevenson 1987, 148). Although the historical evidence concerning his life and work is somewhat obscure, Daoxin’s teachings prominently feature the bodhisattva precepts and heavily influenced early Chan tradition during the seventh and eighth centuries. Daoxin’s alleged Chan teaching is likewise found throughout early Chan sources. For instance, Jingjue’s 淨覺 (683–750) Records of Masters and Disciples of the Laṅkāvatāra (Lengqie shizi ji 楞伽師資記, T 2837) quotes large portions of the Essential Expedients for Penetrating the Way and Settling the Mind (Rudao danxin yao fangbian famen 入道安心要方便法門), a text attributed to Daoxin. According to Jingjue’s Records, Shenxiu once replied to an inquiry of Empress Wu that the core teaching of the East Mountain (Dongshan 東山) school was the One Practice Samādhi (T 2837. 85:1290a29–b4) In this way, Jingjue gave prominence to the One Practice Samādhi by referring to Daoxin’s Essential Expedients for Penetrating the Way and Settling the Mind. In regard to the connection between the early Chan tradition and bodhisattva precepts, it is also known that in the Chan tradition, the ordination ceremony derived from the Brahmā’s Net Sūtra was employed by a variety of Chan groups (Tanaka 1983, 465; McRae 1987, 259–60n4). What is more relevant here, scholars generally agree that Daoxin’s Pusa jiefa 菩薩戒法, in particular (unfortunately now lost), seems to have been the source of a shared model of the precept-conferral ceremony followed by these diverse groups, including Hongren’s 弘忍 (602–675) East Mountain (Dongshan 東山) school.30 Along these lines, in many mid-Tang texts of the Chan school, one can see that the term “supreme vehicle” (zuishang sheng 最上乘) often occurs together with the term “single mind.”31 In particular, the term “supreme vehicle” frequently appears in passages in the literature of the mid-Tang concerning the doctrines of Prajñā, Chan, and Esoteric Buddhism. The concept was likely developed during the debate on the relationship between Mahāyāna and 30

31

See Yanagida 1967, 186; and Chappell 1983, 90. Ibuki Atsushi (2007) has also conducted in-depth research on Daoxin’s thought, Hongren, and the East Mountain school and its relationship to the bodhisattva precepts. For example, it appears in Dasheng lichu liu polomiduo jing 大乘理趣六波羅蜜多經 (T 261, 8: 898a), Dunwu rudao yaomen lun 頓悟入道要門論(X 1223, 63: 18ab), Luizu dashi fabao tanjing 六祖大師法寶壇經 (T. 2008, 48: 350c), and Zhu dasheng ru lengqie jing 注大乘入楞伽經 (T 1791, 39: 453c). It also appears in Tang literati writings; see Li Hua’s epitaph, Gu Zuoxi dashi bei 故左溪大師碑 (QTW 320), and Bai Juyi’s 白居易 (772— 846) Xijing Xingshansi chuan fatang beiming, 西京興善寺傳法堂碑銘 (QTW 678).

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Hīnayāna Buddhism in China, which must have been heated and is much discussed in Zhiyi’s writing mentioned earlier. It appears that the term “supreme vehicle” does not have a fixed definition. Daoxin’s Chan teaching, however, strengthens the One Practice Samādhi as a form of meditation by mentioning the “supreme vehicle” and the “single mind” side by side. The simultaneous occurrence of these two terms, as Yanagida stated, demonstrates the encounter between Chan and Esoteric Buddhism (1967, 466, 470n16). At a doctrinal level, in the interaction between Chan and Esoteric Buddhism, the following interpretations of the supreme vehicle developed: a. b.

The Esoteric tradition regards the bodhisattva path as the highest approach, and hence an initiation ritual, the conferment of bodhisattva precepts, is mandatory. According to the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra, the supreme vehicle is dedicated to the realisation of the “perfect realization of own nature” (Ch. Yuan chengshi zixing 圓成實自性).

The Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra first proposes its “non-vehicle” and “one-vehicle” theory within the context of the disputation (T 670, 16: 497). It corresponds to the universalism of the “oneness” and “one vehicle” in the Lotus Sūtra, a concept that was popular in China from the introduction of Buddhism there (Nattier 2003, 88). Scholars including Ibuki Atsushi, John McRae, Bernard Faure, and Wendi Adamek have paid particular attention to Dasheng wusheng fangbian men, also known as Dasheng wu fangbian.32 Regarding the doctrinal evolution of precepts and ordination in the Chan tradition, the doctrinal aspect of the Gateway that I have examined is particularly important. First, the doctrinal evolution underwent a transformation from the Gateway to the Dunhuang manuscript of the Platform Sūtra (Satō 1986, 391–94), a change that is commonly attributed to its reputed author Shenxiu. Although the authorship is debatable, the text unmistakably reflects Shenxiu and Puji’s 普寂 (651–739) thought. Second, Śubhakarasiṃha’s Essentials of Meditation shows similarities, as well as additions, to the Gateway. Furthermore, the biography of Śubhakarasiṃha by the Tang poet Li Hua 李華 (715–778) clearly recounts the connection between Śubhakarasiṃha and “Northern Chan” masters (T 2055, 50: 290a–292a). In the 32

For the evolution of this text and its association with the bodhisattva precepts in the East Mountain tradition, see Ibuki 2012. English translations and discussions can be found in McRae 1986, 171–4; Adamek 2007, 199; and Faure 1997, 106–18.

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lineage chart appended to the biography, Hongren and Shenxiu are under the line of Śubhakarasiṃha, and Puji is right beneath Shenxiu (T 50: 292a). This evidence makes it clear that Śubhakarasiṃha’s key concepts concerning meditation and precepts were prevalent in the “Northern Chan” school in the eighth century.

Conclusion

Previous studies have explored the relationship between Chan and Esoteric Buddhism. Greene (2012) has explicated the history and terminology of visualization in meditation texts; Orzech’s chapter in this volume furthers our understanding of visualization (as in any form of meditation experience) as a shared liturgy. Meanwhile, Sharf’s chapter probes the specific notion of the innate luminous mind taken up by eighth-century Chan and Esoteric masters in China. We hence come to the understanding that the visualization of a luminous mind is by no means exclusive to any single school. My study brings to this thread of discussion a different aspect of precepts based on four precept-conferral manuals. The comparison in this study emphasizes the shared ground between Northern Chan and esoteric doctines in the precept-conferral procedure and highlights the differences between the Chan and Tiantai Schools. First, regarding the similarities in the precept-conferral procedure, all the texts foreground purity of mind, and this purity of mind is granted only after the repentance step is taken. This is true despite minute differences in the sequence found across texts. The two Tantric masters both emphasize the purity of the mind; however, Śubhakarasiṃha not only highlighted bodhicitta but also adopted the three clusters of purity precepts. In so doing, he expressed a tendency to a gradual approach, closer to the system of the Bodhisattvabhūmi Sūtra and the Yogācāra school. The same notion —cultivating the mind in gradual steps—is found in the Gateway, which was categorized as a Northern Chan text. Furthermore, it is likely that Śubhakarasiṃha composed his Essentials of Meditation by making additions and revisions to the Gateway. This strand of development suggests that some key concepts concerning meditation and precepts that were prevalent in the “Northern Chan” school also pervaded the eighth-century teachings. This may well explain why the long last part of Śubhakarasiṃha’s manual is devoted to extensive instruction in meditation. The purpose of precept conferral is most likely the same as that of meditation: to cultivate bodhicitta via gradual steps of purification of the mind. Furthermore, repentance is performed to purify the mind, so as to wash away wrongdoings before receiving the bodhisattva precepts from buddhas

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and bodhisattvas. This step of repentance differentiates the esoteric tradition from its exoteric counterpart. One doctrinal explanation could be that for the esoteric tradition, it is important to remove the karmic obstruction before taking the Buddhist faith, whereas for the exoteric tradition, Buddhism is open to whoever in the general public wishes to receive the teaching. In sum, Śubhakarasiṃha’s manual embraces elements similar to those representatives of Chan, Tendai and Tantric Buddhism but differs significantly from all of them. In contrast to Amoghavajra’s concise Tantric precept-conferral manual, Śubhakarasiṃha’s was carefully arranged to expound on the conceptual underpinnings concerning meditation and the mind. Furthermore, Zhanran’s manual displays an integrated view of precepts but excludes meditation. This divided the Chan and Tiantai undertaking of precepts. In contrast, in both the Northern Chan and Śubhakarasiṃha’s esoteric manuals, the ­bodhisattva precepts are not separated from meditational practice on the basis of the mind’s purification. The position of meditation in these manuals is in accordance with Northern Chan and esoteric ideas concerning the “supreme vehicle” and the former’s emphasis on “oneness” and “single mind.” Comparison of the texts discussed in this chapter hence lays out a typology of precept conferral in eighth-century China and illuminates the conceptual framework behind the texts. It points to the doctrinal affiliation between the Chan school and Esoteric Buddhism.

Abbreviations

QTW Quan Tang Wen 全唐文 (1808–1814). 1,000 fascicles, compiled by Dong Gao 董誥 (1740–1818). Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1990. T Taishō shinshū daizōkyō 大正新脩大藏經 (Taishō Tripitaka). 100 vols. Tokyo: Taishō shinshū daizōkyō kankōkai, 1924 (reprinted 1962). X Dai nihon zokuzōkyō 大日本續藏經. 90 vols. Kyoto: Zokyo Shoin, 1905–1912.



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Satō Tatsugen 佐藤逹玄. 1986. Chūgoku bukkyō ni okeru kairitsu no kenkyū 中国仏教 における戒律の研究. Tōkyō: Mokujisha. Skorupski, Tadeusz. 2001. The Buddhist Forum. Vol. 6. Tring: Institute of Buddhist Studies. Stevenson, Daniel Bruce. 1987. “The Tʻien-tʻai Four Forms of Samādhi and Late NorthSouth Dynasties, Sui, and Early Tʻang Buddhist Devotionalism.” PhD diss., Columbia University. Suzuki, Daisetz Teitaro. 1968. Zen shisōshi kenkyū 禪思想史研究. Suzuki Daisetsu zenshū 鈴木大拙全集, vol. 3. Tokyo: Iwanami shoten. Tanaka, Ryōshō 田中良昭. 1983. Tonkō Zenshū bunken no kenkyū 敦煌禅宗文献の研 究. Tōkyō: Daitō Shuppansha. Tsuchihashi, Shūkō 土橋秀高. 1966. “Periohon Shukkenin jubosatsukaihō ni tsuite ペリオ本出家人受菩薩戒について.” In Bukkyō bunken no kenkyū 仏教文献の 研究 25/26, edited by Ryūkoku daigaku bukkyō gakkai, 93–148. Kyoto: Hyakkaen. Wu, Pei-yi. 1979. “Self-Examination and Confession of Sin in Traditional China.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 39 (1): 5–38. Yamabe, Nobuyoshi. 2005. “Visionary Repentance and Visionary Ordination in the Brahma Net Sūtra.” In Going Forth: Visions of Buddhist Vinaya, edited by William M. Bodiford, 17–39. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. Yamabe, Nobuyoshi. 2014. “Yogācāra Influence on the Northern School of Chan Buddhism.” In Buddhist Meditative Traditions: Their Origin and Development, edited by Kuo-pin Chuang, 249–314. Taipei: Shin Wen Feng. Yanagida, Seizan 柳田聖山. 1967. Shoki zenshū shisho no kenkyū 初期禅宗史書の 研究. Yanagida Seizan shū 柳田聖山集, vol. 6. Kyoto: Hōzōkan. Reprinted in 2000.

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Chapter 6

The Tantric Origins of the Horse King: Hayagrīva and the Chinese Horse Cult* Meir Shahar Avalokiteśvara (Guanyin) is among the most enigmatic of Buddhist deities— mysterious not because information on him is lacking, but rather because of its abundance. In the course of his illustrious career, the mercurial god has assumed so many identities that his own person is hard to know. From the mighty guardian of South Asian royal houses to the self-sacrificing Chinese princess Miaoshan, from the serene proclaimer of sacred scriptures to his living incarnation of the Dalai Lama, the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara appears to be everywhere and nowhere: revealed in an astonishing diversity of forms, even as he transcends them all. In this respect the vexed question of his gender transformation (from mostly male in India and Tibet to largely female in China, Korea, and Japan) might be subsumed under the larger riddle of his person: The protean god is many different things at once, including man and woman.1 (On Avalokiteśvara as the protector of women in labor see Li Ling and Ma De (chapter 13)). This essay examines the Tantric manifestation of Avalokiteśvara as a HorseHeaded divinity. The equine god was revealed to his Chinese devotees in esoteric Buddhist scriptures that were translated from the Sanskrit during the Tang Period (618–907). The Tantric manuals featured a wealth of information on the divine steed, which was referred to as Hayagrīva. I argue that the mythology and iconography of the Horse-Headed Bodhisattva have had a decisive impact upon the Chinese pantheon of divinities. Hayagrīva is the ultimate ancestor of the Horse King (Mawang) whose cult was widespread in Daoist circles and in the popular religion all through the late-imperial period. In this respect the equine Avalokiteśvara illustrates the long-term impact of Tantric Buddhism upon the Chinese imagination of divinity. I begin with the Hayagrīva figure that is described in Chinese (and in Japanese) esoteric scriptures. The sources I examine have been surveyed as early as 1935 in Robert van Gulik’s pioneering study (1935), and my analysis of * The research for this essay was supported by an Israel Science Foundation Grant no. 188/11. 1 Avalokiteśvara has been the subject of vast scholarship. On his/her East Asian image and cult see especially Yü Chün-Fang 2001, Iyanaga Nobumi 2002, Dudbridge 2004 and Stein 1986.

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them is indebted to Iyanaga Nobumi, who has pointed out the connection between the Buddhist equine divinity and the Hindu lore of the underwater, fire-emanating, mare (Iyanaga Nobumi 2002, 497–550).2 I then turn from the Indian origins of the Tantric god to his latter-day Chinese incarnation, of which scholars have been unaware. The bulk of the paper is dedicated to the links that bind the Chinese Horse King to the Tantric Horse-Headed Avalokiteśvara, demonstrating the significant role of esoteric Buddhism in shaping the Chinese pantheon of divinities.

Hayagrīva in Esoteric Buddhist Literature

No fewer than 88 texts are dedicated to Avalokiteśvara in the Tantric section of the Chinese canon.3 Attesting the prominence of the god in esoteric Bud­ dhist ritual, they portray an astonishing array of his divine manifestations. The Tantric manuals describe in writing, and render in drawing, such diverse epiphanies of the Bodhisattva as the Eleven-Faced (Ekadāśa-mukha) Avalokiteśvara, (whose compassionate light shines in all directions: the eight points of the compass plus the zenith, the nadir, and the center); the Bodhisattva of the Unerring Noose (Amogha-pāśa); the Avalokiteśvara of a Thousand Hands and—in the palms of the hands—a Thousand Eyes; the Blue-Necked (Nīlakaṇṭha) Avalokiteśvara (who was doubtless inspired by the Blue-Necked Śiva); and, most striking of all, the Horse-Headed Bodhisattva.4 The equine deity is called Hayagrīva Avalokiteśvara (literally: Horse-Necked Avalokiteśvara), which has been rendered into Chinese as Matou Guanyin 馬頭觀音 (Horse-Headed Guanyin). The name has been variously transliterated as Heyegelifu 賀野紇哩縛, Ayejielipo 阿耶揭唎婆, Heyejielipo 何耶揭 唎婆 and so on. The Tantric scriptures dedicated to him generally allude to the Horse-Headed Avalokiteśvara as a vidyārāja (meaning “king of magical-knowledge” or, more specifically, “king of spells”). The title designates a class of ferocious Tantric guardian divinities, (of whom the most famous in contemporary East Asia is Acala Vidyārāja (Japanese: Fudō myōō)). The Sanskrit vidyārāja has been translated into Chinese as mingwang 明王 (king illuminated [by magical-knowledge]). Thus, the protagonist of this essay has been known in China

2 On the Horse-Headed Avalokiteśvara see also “Batōkannon,” in Hōbōgirin (Demiéville, P. et al. 1929, 2:58–61). 3 They are grouped together in volume 20 of the Taishō edition. 4 On the Tantric Avalokiteśvara see Strickmann 1996, 127–163.

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as Matou Mingwang 馬頭明王 (The Horse-Headed King Illuminated [by Magical-Knowledge], or Horse-Headed King of Spells). The scriptural prominence of the Horse-Headed One rivals that of Ava­ lokiteśvara’s other Tantric epiphanies. The magic recipes for his summoning were first outlined in the Collected Dhāraṇī-Sūtras, which was translated in 653–4 by Atikūṭa. A century later the prolific Amoghavajra (704–774) dedicated an entire manual to the worship of the Horse-Headed King of Spells. His Tantric Rituals of Hayagrīva provided a full program for harnessing the heavenly steed’s powers.5 In addition, Hayagrīva figured in such principal esoteric writings as the Mahā Vairocana Sūtra, which was translated into Chinese by Śubhākarasiṃha (637–735) and his disciple Yixing (684–727).6 Japanese esoteric Buddhism too has accorded the Horse King the proper respect. Major compilations of Shingon ritual such as the twelfth-century Excerpts of Kakuzen and the thirteenth-century Excerpts from the White Treasures expatiated on his myth and visual image. His figure having merged with locally-famed warhorses, the Buddhist equine deity is worshipped in Japan to this day.7 Like other Tantric divinities, Hayagrīva is summoned by a combination of oral spells (mantras or dhāraṇīs), finger symbolisms (mudrās), and the creation of a sacred ritual arena (maṇḍala). The rendering of his accurate likeness in drawing or in sculpture is crucial for the manipulation of his supernatural powers. Those in possession of his faithful image, his secret incantations, and his hand-gestures will be blessed by the Horse King’s divine revelation. The 5 See respectively chapter 6 of the Tuoluoni ji jing 陀羅尼集經, T. 901, 18:833c–838b; and Sheng Heyegelifu da wei nu wang lichen shenyan gongyang niansong yigui fapin 聖賀野紇哩縛大 威怒王立成大神驗供養念誦儀軌法品 (The Tantric Ritual Methods of Offerings and Recitations for the Revelation of the Divine Powers of the Saintly Hayagrīva, the Awesome Ferocious King) (Hereafter abbreviated as the Tantric Rituals of Hayagrīva), T. 1072a, 20:155a– 169c. The Tantric Rituals of Hayagrīva was translated—or more accurately compiled—by Amoghavajra. Because the text incorporates fragments of earlier translations from the Sanskrit (for example, from Atikūṭa’s Collected Dhāraṇī-Sūtras), Robert van Gulik (1935, 81–84) considers it a late-forgery, which has been falsely attributed to the prolific Tantric author. However, the adaptation of earlier Chinese translations is characteristic of Amoghavajra’s work. As Michel Strickmann has shown—several decades after van Gulik’s pioneering study—“a substantial part of Amoghavajra’s output comprises revisions of books already known in China.” I see, therefore, no reason to doubt Amoghavajra’s compilation of the text; see Strickmann 2002, 229. 6 Da piluzhena chengfo shenbian jiachi jing 大毘盧遮那成佛神變加持經, T. 848, 18:7a, 14b, 43b. 7 See respectively chapter 46 of the Kakuzen-shō 覺禪鈔, compiled by Kakuzen  覺禪 (1143–?), T. Zuzō, 4:443b–457a; and Byakuhō-shō 白寶鈔, compiled by Chōen 澄圓 (1218-ca. 1290), T. Zuzō, 10:821b–828b; see also Lomi 2010).

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equine Bodhisattva will deliver them from sickness and old age, no less than from the fruits of evil karma. In his Tantric Rituals of Hayagrīva, Amoghavajra has the divine horse pledge—in the first person—his redemption of the faithful: I the Medicine King [Hayagrīva] heal all illnesses. There is no sickness that I do not cure. This is because of the great weight of my Bodhisattva vow, the vow of the Greatly-Compassionate Horse-Mouth. Surpassing all the gods, I have vowed to deliver all sentient beings. Out of my great compassion, I am not affected by life and death. Out of my great compassion, I do not abide in nirvāṇa. Rather, I reside forever in all the realms of ignorance. Eradicating the seeds of future evil rebirths, I completely annihilate the sufferings of birth, aging, sickness, and death—of all living creatures in all modalities of being.8 I devour all circumstances, just like a hungry horse which grazes in a field of grass, heeding nothing (Sheng Heyegelifu da wei nu wang lichen shenyan gongyang niansong yigui fapin, T. 1072a, 20:169b-c). The equine Bodhisattva conveys his compassion by ingesting all obstacles; he delivers his devotees by consuming their moral and material hindrances. Hayagrīva is a devourer, as signaled by the metaphor of the “horse-mouth” (makou 馬口). His mighty jaws grinding all barriers to bits, the pledge of the divine steed is that of the “Greatly Compassionate Horse-Mouth.” The devouring deity is called upon to shovel in the demonic hordes and enemy troops no less than the devotee’s own moral failings. Hence, the oral incantations of the horse-headed god are studded with the Sanskrit verbs khād (devour) and bhañj (break).9 In his Tantric Rituals of Hayagrīva, Amoghavajra compares the equine divinity to “a hungry horse which grazes in a field of grass, heeding nothing.” The description might harbor an allusion to the most elaborate of ancient Indian rites, the aśvamedha (horse sacrifice). Prior to its oblation, the equine victim of the Indian royal sacrifice was given free rein to roam wherever it wished for an 8 Liudao sisheng 六道四生: The four kinds of birth in the six paths, namely birth from a womb, an egg, from moisture, or by transformation, in the hells, as a hungry ghost, as an animal, as an asura demon, as a human, or as a god. 9 Khād has been transliterated into Chinese as qiatuo 佉陀 or as ketuo 可馱, and bhañj as panshe 畔闍; see, for example, Mahā Vairocana Sūtra, T. 848, 18:14b (and van Gulik’s (1935, 54) reconstruction of the original Sanskrit); Tuoluoni ji jing, T. 901, 18:833c (van Gulik 1935, 63); and Tuoluoni ji jing, T. 901, 18:835 (van Gulik 1935, 67); see also Iyanaga Nobumi 2002, 498–499.

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entire year. Grazing at will and heeding nothing, his roving marked the symbolic boundaries of royal sovereignty.10 In his commentary on the Vairocana Sūtra, Yixing (684–727) associated the sacrificial victim of the aśvamedha with the horse-headed Buddhist divinity. A noted scientist and astronomer (in addition to his Tantric expertise), Yixing compared the wanderings of the equine god and the aśvamedha victim: Like the precious horse of the Wheel-Turning King (cakra-vartin), Haya­ grīva roams freely in the entire realm, at no time and no place ever giving himself rest (Da piluzhena chengfo jing shu 大毘盧遮那成佛經疏, T. 1796, 39:632c). Hayagrīva’s role of devourer is reflected in the metaphor of fire that dominates his cult. His awesome “horse-mouth” not only grinds to bits all hindrances, it also emits blazing flames that incinerate them. Thus, the Horse-Headed King of Spells accomplishes his work by burning the enemies of the faith. He issues a roaring conflagration that consumes all obstacles to universal salvation. Such is the equine Bodhisattva’s blazing fire that it burns down the entire trichiliocosm—the three thousand world systems, each comprising of a thousand worlds. Hayagrīva is thus a fiery horse-god (or an equine fire-god). Those in possession of his scorching mantra are capable of burning the cosmos. When the spell of the Horse-Headed One is properly recited “the billion worlds are shaken. All the Buddha realms are burned to ashes by the blazing fire of the awesome and ferocious king.” (Sheng Heyegelifu da wei nu wang lichen shenyan gongyang niansong yigui fapin T. 1072a, 20:155c) The Tantric Rituals of Hayagrīva invites its readers to a pyrotechnic demonstration of the equine god’s powers. The god Vajrapāṇi assembles a crowd of divine beings to watch the Horse-Headed Avalokiteśvara burn down the world. The spectators include an assortment of supernatural creatures such as devas (gods) and asuras (demons), nāgas (snakes) and garuḍas (birds), yakṣas (sprites) and kiṃnaras (heavenly musicians). When all are seated and ready, the fiery horse-god lets forth flames: Billions of fires, consuming the worlds to ashes, flared together. They formed one huge ball of fire, as bright as the seven suns. Erupting from the Great Horse Mouth (da ma kou 大馬口), the conflagration swallowed 10

Among the most elaborate of vedic rituals, the aśvamedha is described in the White Yajurveda (books 22–25); the Black Yajurveda (book 7); and the Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa (book 13, chapters 1–5).

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everything in its way. Nothing was left but blazing flames. “This,” Vajrapāṇi explained, “is the subtle mind of the awesome and ferocious venerable king, the adored Horse-Headed One. Like the devouring Great HorseMouth, it burns to ashes the pernicious seeds of evil karma in the consciousness stores of all living beings (Sheng Heyegelifu da wei nu wang lichen shenyan gongyang niansong yigui fapin T. 1072a, 20:155c). The equine god’s fiery traits drive his iconography. Tantric scriptures provide detailed guidelines for the visualization of the blazing Bodhisattva, no less than for the drawing, or sculpting, of his fearful image. The motifs of fire and luminosity dominate the visual renderings of the Horse-Headed Avalokiteśvara, who is envisioned as bright as the sun-disc. His entire body engulfed in flames, the divine steed is encircled by a blazing aureole. Yixing’s commentary on the Vairocana Sūtra details the fiery attributes of Avalokiteśvara’s ferocious manifestation, which is placed underneath his compassionate figure: Underneath the image of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara, one should place an image of Hayagrīva (Heyejielipo 何耶揭唎婆). His name is translated as “Horse Headed” (Matou 馬頭). His color is neither fully red nor fully yellow, but rather like that of sun at dawn. His body is fully adorned by White-Lotus strings. Bright flames enwrap him like sparkling jewelry. His long claws are sharp, and his fangs protruding. His hair is like a lion’s mane. His aspect is terrifying indeed. He is the ferocious King of Spells (vidyārāja) of the Lotus Section of the Womb maṇḍala (Da piluzhena chengfo jing shu, T.1796, 39:632c). Tantric divinities typically assume either a benign or a wrathful manifestation. They reveal a benevolent mien, or else display a fearful apparition, which is meant to terrify the sinful, directing them to the path of virtue. Labeled “ferocious” (Sanskrit: krodha; Chinese fennu 忿怒, or weinu 威怒), the fearsome image of the blazing Bodhisattva belongs in the latter category. The formidable Horse-Headed Avalokiteśvara petrifies the faithless not only by means of his flaming body, but also by his protruding fangs and assorted weaponry. In the following example from the Tantric Rituals of Hayagrīva, the practitioner meditates upon the letters that form the god’s name, only to have him appear in his awe-inspiring form: One should visualize a tower and within it a lotus platform. Upon the lotus platform he should conjure in his mind the letters [Haya]grīva. Beams of light radiate from the letters, shining upon the boundless

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Buddha realms. Illuminated by the rays of light, all suffering beings are instantly liberated. The Horse-Headed Awesome-and-Ferocious King emerges from the radiant rays of light. He has four faces all wrathful. His protruding upper and lower beastly fangs are visible. His eight arms wield each assorted-weaponry. Majestically he sits upon the gem-bedecked lotus-platform. Atop his central head is a bluish Horse-Head. His hairs spiral upwards like blazing flames. His body shines bright like the sundisc. He is completely engulfed by flames, brighter than the roaring fire that consumes the universe at the eon’s end. He burns down all karmic hindrances—internal and external, human and divine (Sheng Heyegelifu da wei nu wang lichen shenyan gongyang niansong yigui fapin T. 1072a, 20:160a-b). What is the source of the cosmic conflagration that emerges from Hayagrīva’s mouth at the eon’s end? Does the fiery aspect of the equine Bodhisattva derive from an earlier, pre-Buddhist, antecedent? Indian culture had associated horses with fire since as early as the second millennium BCE. The stallion was the symbol of the sun, which was thought to be pulled across the skies by radiant steeds. The most elaborate of vedic rituals, the horse-sacrifice (aśvamedha), has been interpreted by scholars as an offering to the sun-god of his favorite mount.11 Beyond this general association of horse and fire, the blazing Bodhisattva might have been inspired by the fire-emiting, underwater, mare. As pointed out by Iyanaga Nobumi, the fiery Avalokiteśvara shares striking similarities with the marine mare-mouth of Indian mythology.

Hayagrīva Avalokiteśvara and the Marine Mare

Indian mythology recognizes a unique type of fire that is not extinguished by water but rather feeds upon it. Underneath the ocean is the blazing maremouth (Sanskrit: vaḍavā-mukha), which roaring flames consume the water, never knowing their fill. At the eon’s end the mare-mouth will emerge to burn the universe. At present it is held in check by the ocean, which prevents its untimely eruption. The female mare-fire and the male waters of the ocean are engaged in a ceaseless battle. The former’s terrifying conflagration, no less than the latter’s might, has inspired poetic awe:

11

Dumont 1927, xii–xiii; on the association of the sun and the stallion in Indian mythology see also O’Flaherty, 1980, esp. 160–162, 255–257.

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How marvelous the underwater fire! How marvelous the blessed sea! The mind grows dizzy thinking of their greatness. The first keeps drinking greedily its dwelling and yet its thirst by water is not quenched; the other is so great it never suffers The slightest loss of water in extent (Ingalls 1965, verse 1198, 339). The fire of the mare originated in anger. Divine wrath threatened worldly existence and had to be checked beneath the ocean. In some versions of the myth, the fury belonged to Aurva, who explained to the gods that if it were not let go, it would devour him from the inside. Hence, the anger was stored beneath the sea in the form of the raging mare-mouth.12 In other versions, the fury was Śiva’s, and it was directed against Kāma (desire). The mighty god’s wrath emanated from his third eye. So powerful was his flaming fury that it threatened not only its intended target but the entire cosmos. The people and the gods sought refuge with Brahmā who, taking pity upon them, begged the ocean’s permission for the furious fire be stored within its belly: … When the fire from the third eye of Śambhu [Śiva] had burnt Kāma to ashes, it blazed forth everywhere fruitlessly. A great cry of woe arose in the triple world, moving and still, and all the celestial sages ran quickly for refuge with Brahmā … . When Brahmā heard this he pondered over the cause and, remembering Śiva, he went to him humbly in order to protect the three worlds. The fire which had burnt Kāma shone forth with a halo of flames, but it was paralyzed by Brahmā who had obtained great energy by the grace of Śambhu. Then Brahmā took that fire of anger which wished to burn the triple universe, and he put it inside a mare with ambrosial flames in her mouth. And then, by the wish of Śiva and for the sake of the world, Brahmā, the lord of universe, took that fire in the body of a mare to the ocean …  The ocean made a firm promise to Brahmā to hold the fierce mare-fire which could not be held by anyone else. Then the fire with the body of a mare entered the ocean, shining with its halo of flames, thoroughly burning the floods of water. Brahmā went home, satisfied in his mind, and the ocean in its celestial form bowed to Brahmā and vanished. All the uni-

12

Mahābhārata, book 1, chapter 171, verses 17–23 (van Buitenen 1973, vol. 1, 341–342); see also O’Flaherty 1971, 21–26; and O’Flaherty 1980, 226–7.

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verse became safe, freed by Bhava from that danger, and the gods and sages became content.13 The Sanskrit vaḍavā-mukha (mare mouth) was translated into Chinese as makou 馬口 (horse mouth). It was variously transliterated as funapo-muqia 縛拏婆目佉, bona-muqia 播拏目佉 and pozhapo-muqia 皤吒皤目佉.14 The translated and transliterated forms alike figure in the esoteric scriptures of the Horse-Headed Avalokiteśvara, indicating the relation of his cosmic fire to the doomsday conflagration of the mare. Furthermore, the antecedent of the mare-mouth elucidates the centrality of the oral orifice in the imagination of the devouring Bodhisattva. His blazing flames erupt from the mouth of the Horse-Headed Avalokiteśvara as they do from the marine mare’s maw. His Bodhisattva vow is of the “Greatly-Compassionate Horse-Mouth” (Daci dabei makou benyuan 大慈大悲馬口本願), and even his finger symbolism (mudrā) is shaped like an equine orifice. In Amoghavajra’s Tantric Rituals of Hayagrīva, the god’s finger-symbolism is termed the “Horse-Mouth Honey Mudrā” (Makou miyin 馬口蜜印).15 The Chinese mi (honey) is the translation of the Sanskrit madhu (“honey” as well “soma” or “nectar”), which might be alluding to the ambrosia associated with the underwater mare. Some Sanskrit texts relate the search for the fiery marine mare to the quest for the divine nectar.16 The underwater, fire-breathing mare is explicitly identified with Avalo­ kiteśvara in a Tantric scripture translated by Bodhiruci (?–727). Titled The Mantra of the Divine Transformations of Avalokiteśvara of the Unerring-Noose, the esoteric manual lists the Bodhisattva’s diverse manifestations, including the “Mare-Mouth Avalokiteśvara” (Pona muqia Guanshiyin 播拏目佉觀世音), (which is preceded by the related “Horse-Headed Avalokiteśvara Great King of 13 14

15 16

From the Śiva Purāṇa, translated by O’Flaherty (1975, 160–161); see also O’Flaherty 1971, 26–27; and O’Flaherty, 1980, 233–237. See, for example, the Mahā Vairocana Sūtra (T. 848, 18:43b): “At the bottom of the sea there is a fire. It is called the vaḍavā-mukha” (Haizhong you huo, ming yue Funapo-muqia 海中有火名曰縛拏婆目佉). One Chinese Buddhist source translates vaḍavā-mukha as pinma kou 牝馬口 (mare mouth) thereby correctly rendering its female sex. However it does not associate it with the horse-headed Avalokiteśvara; see Dasheng bensheng xindi guan jing 大乘本生心地觀經 (The Mahāyāna Sūtra of Contemplating the Mind that is Grounded in the Buddha’s life, T. 159, 3:311a-c). Sheng Heyegelifu da wei nu wang lichen shenyan gongyang niansong yigui fapin T. 1072a, 20:169b and 20:168c respectively. Iyanaga Nobumi 2002, 502; on the association of the horse-head with soma (and the vedas) see O’Flaherty 1980, 218–225.

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Magical Knowledge” (Matou Guanyin da Mingwang 馬頭觀音大明王)).17 The association of the Horse-Headed Bodhisattva and the marine mare is further elucidated in the writings of Kakuzen 覺禪 (1143–?). Like the oceanic mare that feeds upon the water, the Shingon master explains, the equine Bodhisattva devours evil karma. Neither underwater mare nor horse-headed Avalokiteśvara ever eat their fill, and neither is burdened by the water, or karma, they consume. It is for this reason that the merciful Bodhisattva is capable of delivering all living beings: This great Vidyārāja devours all dark obstacles. He instantly annihilates the sources of fear of all beings. He is just like the great underwater horsemouth that swallows all streams. In order to express this, a Horse Head is revealed atop the crown of his head. It is said that although the rivers are all different, they equally flow into the ocean. The ocean accumulates no evil karma, and its waters neither increase nor decrease. The Sovereign Avalokiteśvara is like this. Possessing the compassion of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, his skillful means are diverse. Yet they equally absolve all living beings of their evil karma. The Bodhisattva’s own karma never increases or decreases. His is like the stray horse’s mouth underneath the ocean. Therefore, he is revealed with a horse’s head (Kakuzen-shō, T. Zuzō, 4:456a-b). In Indian mythology the mare-fire stands for uncontrolled female sexuality. It has been interpreted by scholars as a reflection of the male fear of the shrew.18 Hence, the identification of Avalokiteśvara with the mare might have contributed to his transformation from a male deity to a female one. Noticeably, this development took place prior to the Bodhisattva’s arrival in China. However, for our purposes, the significant aspect of the marine creature is her fire. We will see below that, like his horse-headed ancestor Avalokiteśvara, the Chinese Horse King is a fiery equine divinity. The blazing attributes of the marine mare were transmitted by the Tantric Bodhisattva to its Chinese descendant.

Iconography

The epithet “horse-headed” might have been visually imagined as a person with the face of a horse. Sculptors and painters might have rendered the equine 17 18

Bukong juansuo shenbian zhenyan jing 不空罥索神變真言經, T. 1092, 20:243a. Whereas the mare symbolizes the shrew, the cow represents the docile wife; see O’Flaherty 1980, 213–218.

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Figure 6.1 T­hree-eyed Hayagrīva Avalokiteśvara enwrapped in flames. Northern-Song (10th or 11th century) painting discovered at the Dunhuang grottos (in Chinese Central Asia). Musée Guimet, Paris (Dunhuang Painting 15-532250).

Bodhisattva as a human being with a horse’s head, (which is the image Indian art has chosen for Viṣṇu’s incarnation of Hayagrīva).19 However, this is not the 19

Viṣṇu has assumed the aspect of a divine steed when pursuing the demonic thieves of the sacred vedas; on the mythology and cult of the Viṣṇu Hayagrīva, see O’Flaherty1980, 222– 225, and Nayar 2004.

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Figure 6.2 Three-eyed Hayagrīva Avalokiteśvara blazing bright. Early Kamakura (1185–1249) statue at the Nakayma Monastery, Fukui prefecture, Japan.

iconography that dominates the Tantric horse-headed god. Instead of a human body with an equine head, medieval texts and artworks usually depict Hayagrīva Avalokiteśvara with three (or four) human heads, the central one of which is crowned by an equine headgear (figures 6.1 through 6.4).20 The motif of the multi-headed Avalokiteśvara whose hair is adorned by an equine ornament has been discovered across Buddhist Asia—from the Swatt Valley (in today’s Pakistan) through the Dunhuang grottoes (in Chinese Central Asia) to Japan. Some early statues of the equine Bodhisattva date from Tang-period China (618–907), and quite a few drawings of him—reflective of the medieval Japanese Shingon tradition—are preserved in the Taishō edition of Buddhist canon. In some cases, the equine ornament atop the central head shades a miniature seated Buddha (figures 6.1, 6.3). Multiplicity of heads and arms is characteristic of wrathful Tantric divinities such as Hayagrīva Avalokiteśvara. In his six (or eight) arms the horse-headed 20

I am aware of one exception. The twelfth-century Excerpts of Kakuzen features a drawing that renders Hayagrīva Avalokiteśvara with a human body and an equine head. Other illustrations (in the same compilation of Shingon ritual) have him with a human head that is surmounted by an equine one; see Kakuzen-shō, compiled by Kakuzen (1143–?), T. Zuzō, volume 4, chapter 46, 446.

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Figure 6.3 Tang-Period Hayagrīva Avalokiteśvara from the An’guo Monastery in Xian. Note that the horse head on top has been damaged (Xian Beilin Museum).

deity wields an assortment of Buddhist insignia (such as the rosary and the wheel of the Dharma) no less than diverse weaponry (including the battleax and the vajra club). His fearsome aspect is sometimes rendered by protruding fangs and, most importantly, by a blazing fire. Medieval artists were careful to depict the god’s fiery nature, which was elaborated upon in contemporaneous esoteric scriptures. Red is the color dominating the god’s extant images, as in a tenth-or-eleventh century painting from Dunhuang (figure 6.1). Surrounded by an aureole of blazing flames, the god’s multiple heads are crowned by wreaths of fire. An Early-Kamakura (1185–1249) statue from the Nakayma Monastery (Fukui Prefecture) depicts the god’s hair aflame. The expressive statue accords

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perfectly with the Amoghavajra’s eighth-century guidelines for the visuali­ zation of the equine fire-god: “His hairs spiral upwards like blazing flames” (figure 6.2).21 The equine Bodhisattva is equipped with three eyes. The striking iconographic feature is mentioned in at least one of Amoghavajra's manuals, and it is discernable in many of the god's extant medieval icons.22 The third eye is vertically situated in the middle of the wrathful deity's forehead. It similarly figures in the iconography of Avalokiteśvara's other Tantric manifestations—the Eleven-Headed, and the Thousand-Armed, Guanyins are likewise three-eyed, (in the latter case, the three facial eyes are in addition to the Bodhisattva's thousand eyes that are located in the palms of the thousand hands).23 The motif might indicate a connection between Avalokiteśvara's Tantric incarnations and the three-eyed Śiva (figure 6.5).24 The equine Bodhisattva shares yet another attribute with the mighty Hindu god. Two of his drawings that are preserved in the twelfth-century Excerpts of Kakuzen show Hayagrīva mounted upon a bull (figure 6.4). Reflective of the Japanese Shingon tradition, they might betray the indebtedness of Tantric iconography to Hindu mythology. The bull ridden by the horse-headed Avalokiteśvara likely derived from Śiva’s bovine attendant Nandi. Mounted by the mighty three-eyed god, the bull was a favorite motif of Śaivite art.25 (On the Tantric manifestation of Śiva as Mahākāla see Bryson's essay in this volume). Scholars have pointed out diverse areas of convergence between Avalo­ kiteśvara and Śiva. As early as the 1920s, Jean Przyluski (1923, 315) suggested that the Bodhisattva is a Buddhist manifestation of the bewitching Hindu god.26 Śiva (also known as Maheśvara) and Avalokiteśvara share the element īśvara (lord) in their names. Their visual images are likewise related: having con21 22

23

24 25 26

See Sheng Heyegelifu da wei nu wang lichen shenyan gongyang niansong yigui fapin T. 1072a, 20:160b. See Shewuai dabeixin datuoluoni jing 攝無礙大悲心大陀羅尼經 (The Sūtra of the Assembled and Unobstructed Heart Dhāraṇīs of the Greatly Compassionate Avalokiteśvara), T. 1067, 20:131a (amending mian 眠 to yan 眼). Tantric scriptures specify that the Thousand-Armed Guanyin and the Guanyin of the Unerring Noose (Amogha-pāśa) are three-eyed; see, for example, Qianyan qianbi Guanshiyin pusa tuoluoni shen zhou jing 千眼千臂觀世音菩薩陀羅尼神咒經 (The sūtra of the divine dhāraṇī spell of the thousand-eyed and thousand-armed Bodhisattva Avalo­ kiteśvara, T. 1057a, 20:87b); and Bukong juansuo tuoluoni jing 经不空罥索陀羅尼經 (Amogha-pāśa-dhāraṇī-sūtra, T. 1096, 20:410c). On the evolution of the third eye in early Śaiva art, see Srinivasan, 1997, 261–265, 268, 276–277. See, for example, Srinivasan 1997, plate 19.11. Compare Stein 1986, 35.

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Figure 6.4 Three-Eyed Hayagrīva Avalokiteśvara mounted upon a bull. From the twelfth-century Excerpts of Kakuzen (Kakuzen-shō), in T. Zuzō, volume 4, chapter 46, page 451.

sumed the deadly poison that threatened the universe, Śiva’s neck turned blue – as such he is known as Nīla-kaṇṭha (Blue-Necked). The same iconographic attribute is shared by one of Avalokiteśvara’s Tantric manifestations, who is identically named the Blue-Necked One. The six-armed form of Avalokiteśvara has been shown to derive from the six-armed avatar of the Hindu god, and his eleven-headed manifestation might have been fashioned after the latter’s eleven-headed epiphany.27 It has been argued, furthermore, that the most sacred of the Avalokiteśvara mantras—the six-syllabled Oṃ Maṇipadme 27

See respectively Behrendt 2014, 27–29 and plates 23, 24, 25; and Studholme, 2002, 41.

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Figure 6.5 The three-eyed Śiva with his spouse Pārvatī. Painting dated ca. 1820, by Chokha (active late 18th early 19th century) (the Freer/ Sackler Smithsonian’s museums of Asian Art).

Hūṃ—“represents a Buddhist adaptation of the Śaivite formula Namaḥ Śivāya” (Studholme 2002, 119).28 First articulated in the Kāraṇḍavyūha Sūtra, the practice and meaning of the six-syllabled mantra betrays the influence of the purāṇic scriptures dedicated to Śiva. His third eye is an indication of Hayagrīva’s ancestry and heritage alike. The iconographic feature that he has inherited from Śiva has been transmitted by the equine Avalokiteśvara to his Chinese descendant. Like the Hindu god and the Tantric Bodhisattva, the Chinese Horse King flourishes three eyes. The history of the Chinese horse cult illustrates the journey of an iconographic motif from ancient India to late-imperial China. The Horse King Technology might shape the fate of the gods. This doesn’t mean that modernization has rendered the supernatural superfluous—globalization and economic growth have often spurred faith. Rather, innovation might alter the 28

Whereas some scholars argue that Śiva had served as a model for Avalokiteśvara, others caution that the former might have acquired his defining traits too late for the purpose. Rather than the Bodhisattva drawing upon the figure of the Hindu god, Marie-Thérèse de Mallmann (1948, 111–115) suggests that the two had evolved simultaneously, drawing upon earlier Indian traditions of the supernatural.

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objects of worship. With the fading of traditional occupations, the gods associated with them might disappear. Consider the Horse King: His cult flourished when horses, donkeys, and mules were principal means of transportation. As long as mounted troops were the backbone of the Chinese military, cavalrymen worshipped the equine divinity. People flocked to the Horse King’s temples when their chariots were harnessed to his equine protégés. What with the emergence of novel modes of conveyance however, the Horse King’s significance declined. While his temples still dot the countryside of China’s northern and central provinces, the cult of the equine god is not nearly as prevalent as it had been all through the late Qing period (1644–1911). The late-imperial history of the Chinese horse god goes beyond this paper’s scope. A survey of his temples and their social functions awaits further study. Nonetheless, a few tentative suggestions might perhaps be offered. It appears that the Horse King was worshipped primarily (though not exclusively) in horse-breeding areas. A preliminary survey of local histories (gazetteers) indicates that his cult flourished in China’s Northern provinces, which through the mid-twentieth century depended upon horses, mules, and donkeys for transportation (as well as for plowing). By contrast, his presence was modest in the southern regions, where the waterways were major means of conveyance and where the water-buffalo was the principal draft animal. The largest concentration of Horse-King temples appears to have been in the northern provinces of Shandong, Hebei, Shanxi, and Shaanxi. In such southern ones as Zhejiang, Fujian, and Jiangxi he was dedicated to relatively few temples, and on the island of Taiwan he was hardly known.29 Hence, the cult of the horse god betrays an ecological correlation between religion and animal breeding. The Horse King's birthday was celebrated on the 23rd of the 6th lunar month. It was a special holiday for horse-men, mule-men, cart-owners, traveling merchants, and all those whose livelihood depended upon domesticated equines. In some northern localities, the celebrations engulfed the entire pop29

My very rough estimate of the relative prevalence of Horse King temples in diverse provinces is based upon the Erudition (Airusheng 愛如生) database of local histories (first collection (chuji 初集)). I have counted the number of references to Horse King temples (miao 廟) and shrines (ci 祠), as well as—using the deity’s other name—Horse-God (Mashen 馬神) temples and shrines. I have arrived at a total (per province) of: Shandong (366 references); Hebei (353); Shanxi (202); Shaanxi (218); Zhejiang (29); Fujian (54); Jiangxi (83); Taiwan (5). The figures should not be taken as an indication of the actual number of temples in each province (because many temples do not make it into the gazetteers, and, conversely, diverse gazetteers count the same temples over and over again). Nonetheless, the figures might provide a tentative indication of the relative prevalence of Horse King temples in different provinces.

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ulation. According to the 1919 gazetteer of Wangkui County (in today’s Heilongjian Provice), The 23rd of the 6th lunar month is the Horse King’s (Mawang 馬王) birthday. On this day offerings are made to the Horse God (Mashen 馬神). The local people consider this observance of great importance. Affluent households invariably slaughter pigs in sacrifice, and even the poor are expected to make pious offerings. All hired workers are given a day off [to celebrate] (Wangkui xian zhi 望奎县志, 153).30 The Manchu nobleman Fucha Dunchong (fl. 1900) observed the Beijing festivities of the equine divinity, in which the capital’s military personnel took part: All army troops and all private persons that own chariots and horses worship the Horse King on the 23rd of the 6th lunar month (Fucha Dunchong 1981, 71). An 1881 gazetteer of Yiyang County (in today’s Henan Province) recorded the prayer that was addressed to the god on the occasion of his birthday: His divine post corresponding to a heavenly star, the blessed lord guarantees the daily supply of fodder. The Horse King takes care of the harness steeds. He safeguards the health of the stable mates. Borrowing his divine might, the post-office stallions gallop everywhere as fast as shooting stars. Relying on his heavenly work, the mounted troops win every battle. Like the thunderclap they guard our borders. The Horse King’s merit forever protecting the altars of land and grains, the sacrifices are carried on for a thousand years. At this auspicious moment of his divine birthday we raise a toast in prayer! (Yiyang xian zhi 宜陽县志, 4.36a).31 Whereas he was venerated by the common folk primarily in the north, the Horse King was worshipped throughout China by government officials. State patronage was among the salient features of the Horse King’s cult during the late-imperial period. The Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) and the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911) accorded great significance to the administration of horses, which were used by the imperial court, by the courier postal-system, and most importantly by the military. Hence, the cult of the equine deity was sponsored by 30 31

1919 edition, compiled by Yan Zhaoli 嚴兆霖. 1881 edition, compiled by Liu Zhanqing 劉占卿 and Xie Yingqi 謝應起.

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civil and military organs that were involved in transportation, communication, and defense. In Beijing, a Horse King temple was established in the vicinity of the imperial stables, and in the provinces his shrines were sometimes situated within the courier stations.32 Military officials made offerings to the cavalry's tutelary deity on the first and the fifteenth of the lunar month. His temples frequently located within the army barracks, the Horse King was worshipped side by side with the troops' martial banners. The 1847 gazetteer of Baoqing (寶慶) Prefecture (in today's Hunan Province) stated that, … nowadays military camps throughout the land all feature Horse King temples … Before the army goes on the march, he must be made offerings (Baoqing fu zhi 寶慶府志, 19b).33 The equine deity that was venerated by Chinese officials was none other than the Horse-Headed Avalokiteśvara in a new garb. This is suggested by his title of King (which had evolved from the esoteric epithet “King of Spells”), by his three-eyed and multi-armed Tantric iconography, and by his association with fire. The Chinese deity had inherited the fiery attributes of his horse-headed ancestor, the blazing Hayagrīva.

The Name “Horse King”

In the summer of 1948, the Belgian scholar Willem A Grootaers and his colleagues of the Peking Catholic University, Li Shi-Yü and Wang Fu-Shih, conducted a detailed investigation of rural temples around the small town of Xuanhua, a hundred miles northwest of Beijing (in today’s Hebei Province). The boundaries of the region they explored were largely determined by the raging civil war. Nonetheless, avoiding the rapidly-changing frontline, and going by foot from one shrine to the next, Grootaers and his colleagues 32

33

Managed by eunuchs, the Horse King Temple at the imperial stables was established in 1515; see Naquin 2000, 180; For a Horse King shrine within a courier station see the 1882 edition of the Shouyang xian zhi 寿阳县志, compiled by Zhang Jiayan 張家言, and revised by Ma Jiading 馬家鼎 (2.21a); on the association of the equine deity with the state’s administration of horses (mazheng 馬政), see Deng Qingping 2006. The 1847 edition of Baoqing fu zhi 寶慶府志, compiled by Deng Xianhe 鄧顯鶴, and revised by Huang Zhaizhong 黃宅中; compare the 1762 edition (reprinted in 1880) of the Funing fu zhi 福寧府志, p. 34.3a (Funing is in today’s Fujian Province); on the martial cult of banners see Katz 2009, 207–227.

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managed to cover no fewer than 115 villages. They discovered that the Horse King was amongst the most popular divinities in the area, ranking fourth in the number of temples dedicated to him. With a total of fifty-six cult units to his name, the equine god was preceded only by such locally (or nationally) famed ones as the Wudao (eighty-eight units), the Dragon King (seventy-five units) and the Bodhisattva Guanyin (sixty units).34 One of the shrines visited by Grootaers featured a tablet reading “The Great Horse King of Spells” (Ma ming dawang 馬明大王). The perspicacious ethnographer inferred that the popular divinity might have evolved from the Buddhist “King of Spell,” the Horse-Headed Avalokiteśvara.35 Recall that the epithet “King of Spells,” or “King Illuminated by [Magical Knowledge]” (Sanskrit: vidyārāja; Chinese: mingwang 明王), designated a class of ferocious Tantric guardian divinities. The Tang-period esoteric scriptures of Avalokiteśvara’s awesome manifestation titled him the “Horse-Headed King of Spells” (Matou Mingwang 馬頭明王). The epithet might be likened to a genetic fingerprint, enabling us to trace the origins of the twentieth-century village cult to medieval Tantric Buddhism. The name “Horse King of Spells,” or “Great Horse King of Spells,” figures prominently in Chinese literary and historical sources. In the White Rabbit Play, the god so named is responsible for the protagonists’ romantic destinies. The Yuan-period (1279–1368) play details the festivities that accompany the birthday of the Horse King of Spells. On the occasion, the village youths gather at his temple to gamble.36 That the Horse King of Spells (Ma Mingwang) and the Horse King (Mawang) are one and the same is indicated by historical sources that employ the two names interchangeably: For example, a 1762 gazetteer of Haicheng County (in today’s Fujian Province) explains that the local “Horse-King Temple” is dedicated to the “Horse King of Spells.” Betraying the god’s martial connections, it notes that “on the first and the fifteenth of each lunar month, the military officials make him offerings” (Haicheng xian zhi 海澄 34

35

36

By cult unit Grootaers means either a temple that is dedicated to the god or a shrine of his within another god’s temple; see Grootaers et al. 1951; compare Grootaers’ earlier survey of rural temples around the town of Wanquan (approximately a hundred and ten miles northwest of Beijing), in which the Horse King ranked sixth in number of shrines; see Grootaers et al.1948. Grootaers et al. 1951, 56 and note 36. Similar tablets of “The Great Horse King of Spells” were discovered within Xuanhua city. The wrong orthography of one tablet—ming wang 鳴王 instead of ming wang 明王—indicates that its authors were no longer aware of the name’s original meaning; see Grootaers 1995, 107–108. Liu Zhiyuan Baitu ji 劉知遠白兔記 (The Play of Liu Zhiyuan and the White Rabbit), Mingperiod Fuchun Tang 富春堂 edition, Act 4, pp. 1.6a–7a.

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縣志, 17.4a).37 Other gazetteers indicate the identity of the two divinities by

their common birthdate. The birthday of the Horse King of Spells was celebrated—like the Horse King’s—on the 23rd of the 6th lunar month.38 The name Horse King (Mawang) rings natural in Chinese. Other native deities such as the Dragon King (Longwang) have been similarly titled. However, our investigation indicates that the epithet wasn’t coined as is. Rather, it unfolded by a process of contraction: from Horse-Headed King of Spells (Matou Mingwang), through Horse King of Spells (Ma Mingwang) to Horse King (Mawang). The Chinese folk deity bears a medieval Tantric epithet, in an abbreviated form.

Three-Eyed Divinity

“The Horse King has three eyes” (Ma wangye san zhi yan 馬王爺三只眼) runs the Chinese proverb, the thrust of which is cautionary: “Beware! God is scrutinizing you.” Because he has three of them, nothing escapes the watchful eyes of the equine deity. Hence, people should act morally at all times. Its import somewhat similar to the Jewish adage “the account-book lies open, [and your deeds are being recorded],” the maxim invokes divine providence to exhort virtuous conduct (Mishnah, Nezikin, Avot, 3.16). The Horse King’s proverb depends upon his iconography. Three eyes are the equine god’s most conspicuous trait. They are featured in all of his visual representations, from temple statues and frescos, through the handwritten manuals of village ritual-masters, to the fearsome masks of the nuo exorcistic theater (see figures 6.6, 6.7, 6.8, 6.9, 6.10).39 The three eyes are also noted as his distinctive facial mark in written accounts of the horse god: the Daoist scriptures that invoke his extraordinary powers to battle the demonic hordes, as well as the popular novels that celebrate his hair-raising adventures.40 Some early twentieth-century informants assigned each eye a different field of vision. Anne Swann Goodrich (1895–2005) was told at the Beijing Temple of the 37 38 39 40

1762 edition, compiled by Ye Tingtui 葉廷推, revised by Chen Yang 陳鍈. See, for example, the 1762 edition (reprinted in 1880) of the Funing fu zhi, p. 34.3a. Compare the ritual mask of the Horse King reproduced in Fava, 2013, 258. See respectively the Ming-period compendium of Daoist ritual, Daofa Huiyuan 道法會元 (Daoist methods, united in principle), DZ 1220, 225.1a, 226.1a; and the late-Ming novel Quanxiang Huaguang Tianwang Nanyou zhizhuan 全像華光天王南遊志傳 (The FullyIllustrated Record of the Heavenly King’s, Splendid Radiance, Journey to the South), compiled by Yu Xiangdou 余象斗, 1.8b–9a, 1.13a.

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Figure 6.6 Statue of the Horse King in a small village shrine, approximately sixty miles west of Beijing. Photo taken by Ye Derong (A’de) at the hamlet of Yubai cun 淤白村, Mentougou 門頭溝 District (December 2012).

Eastern Peak (Dongyue miao) that “the three eyes enabled [the Horse King] to see Heaven, Earth, and Man “(Goodrich 1964, 124). His third eye is situated vertically in the middle of the god’s forehead, just as it is in the medieval icons of his ancestor the Horse-Headed Avalokiteśvara (compare figures 6.1, 6.2). His multiple bodily organs likewise attest the equine deity’s indebtedness to esoteric Buddhism. The Horse King is often depicted with three heads, manipulating between four to six arms.41 The multiplicity of heads and arms is characteristic of the ferocious esoteric divinities, indicating the role of the Tantric movement in the emergence of the Chinese Horse God. Other Chinese divinities that originated in Tantric Buddhism have been similarly equipped with multiple organs. The iconography of the child god Nezha (Nalakūbara), for example, has him flourish three heads and six arms (Shahar 2015, 83–84). The Horse King’s upper two arms usually wield two swords, which are crossed over his head. It is sometimes explained that they “simulate the ears of 41

According to the Ming-period Daoist compendium Daofa Huiyuan, the Horse King has three heads, six arms, and nine eyes (DZ 1220, 229.2a-b). Three-headed statues of the Horse King were reported during the Republican Period (1911–1948) by Willem Grootaers (1948, 256) and by Anne Goodrich (1964, 124).

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Figure 6.7 The Horse King in an early twentieth-century ritual manuscript from Hunan Province. The deity’s identification with the sixth star of the southern dipper accords with his description in Ming-period Daoist scriptures. From Patrice Fava, Aux ports du ciel: La statuaire taoïste du Hunan (Paris: Ecole française d’Extrême-Orient, 2013), p. 257.

a horse or that they might represent the knives with which horse’s hoofs are pared before being shod” (Goodrich 1964, 124).42 His other arms might wield a seal, symbol of his position in the heavenly bureaucracy, as well as diverse weaponry such as a bow, an arrow, or a sword. A slightly different iconic type is suggested by a Horse King’s shrine that was situated within the magistrate office of Yuci County, Shanxi Province. The shrine functioned as the yamen’s transportation bureau, providing merchants with travel permits. The lower

42

Compare Grootaers 1995, 216, photo 46, for the same motif of the crossed swords.

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Figure 6.8 Horse King’s image at the Juyong Guan Fortress, Beijing. Note the equine head atop the human one. Photo taken by the author in August 2014.

arms of its tutelary divinity appear to have held a wish-granting jewel (Sanskrit: cintā-maṇi).43 The Horse King is equipped with a human, rather than an equine, head. His role of horse protector is sometimes indicated by an equine figure that is mounted upon the human one. Consider the expressive icon of the martial god from the Juyong Guan 居庸關 Fortress, in the outskirts of Beijing (figure 6.8). Protecting the capital from the north, the fortress illustrates the significance of the Horse King to the military, as it features a temple in his honor.44 The violent god is rendered in a striking yellowish hue, his hair engulfed in bluish flames. A small equine is visible within the flames, indicating the god’s Tantric ancestry. The motif of the horse that is mounted atop the human head has been borrowed from the ferocious iconography of Hayagrīva Avalokiteśvara. The 43 44

On the Horse-King shrine within the magistrate yamen of Yuci 榆次 County (Shanxi Province) see Hu Manchuan n.d., 76–78. The temple was established in 1504. A stele inscription dated 1792 commemorates its renovation by a military commander named Shu-Ming-A 舒明阿, of the Mongolian BlueBanner.

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Horse King and the horse-headed Bodhisattva equally sport a human head that is crowned by an equine headgear (compare figures 6.8 and 6.1–6.4).

Daoist Scriptures

On the first of the eighth lunar month, Shanxi lore goes, the Horse King descends to the human realm. If it rains on the day of his inspection tour, the ensuing year will suffer no calamities of fire (Hu Manchuan n.d., 77–78). The folk tradition attests the god’s blazing attributes. The Horse King is at once a fiery horse-god and an equine fire-god. He burns his adversaries, even as he protects his followers from fire hazards. The god’s flaming personality has been elaborated upon in Daoist scriptures, calling upon him to destroy the demonic hordes. It has been equally celebrated in novels and plays, which relish his fiery weaponry. I begin with the former. Tantric deities were adopted by the Daoist religion as early as the SouthernSong Period (1127–1279). In his Recorded Sayings, the renowned Daoist priest Bai Yuchan 白玉蟾 (1194?–1229) enumerated a long list of esoteric Buddhist divinities.45 Bai Yuchan and his disciples were among the creators of the Daoist “Thunder Rituals,” which were intended to bring rain in times of drought and expel the demons of disease. Their exorcistic ritual tradition was preserved in the fifteenth-century compendium Daoist Methods United in Principle. The vast compendium features several deities of Tantric descent, including the Horse King and the child-god Nezha (Nalakūbara), son of the awesome Heavenly King Vaiśravaṇa.46 The Daoist manual features rituals of Tantric provenance no less than gods of esoteric Buddhist descent. It has been pointed out that the techniques of child-possession that are outlined in Daoist Methods likely originated in Tantric Buddhism. Esoteric scriptures that were translated into Chinese during the seventh and eighth centuries prescribed methods of induced-possession in children. The Tantric priest would summon a deity into the body of a child and have him foretell future events through the infant’s mouth. By the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the oracular techniques penetrated village religion, in which they were sometimes given a Daoist twist. Pernicious spirits would be transferred from a patient’s afflicted body into the infantile vessel of a young boy or 45 46

Haiqiong Bai zhenren yulu 海瓊白真人語錄, DZ 1307, 1.11a-b; see also Davis 2001, 128–133; 283–290. Nezha figures in the Daofa huiyuan 道法會元, DZ 1220, 224.4b; 229.28a, 231.8b, 232.3a, and 233.5b; on the Daofa huiyuan and Bai Yuchan’s shenxiao 神霄 lineage see Davis 2001, 29, and Schipper and Yuan Bingling 2004, 1107, 1110–1111.

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girl. Interrogated and forced to acknowledge their identity, they would be exorcised by ferocious divinities such as the Horse King.47 The pantheon of Daoist Methods is distinctly martial. Its protagonists are divine warriors who are called upon by the Daoist priest to vanquish demons of all sorts. Hence the equine deity is referred to by a military rank rather than a royal title. He is the Horse Marshal (Ma Yuanshuai 馬元帥), instead of the Horse King (Mawang). Like other members of the Daoist heavenly bureaucracy, he is also honored as “divine official” (ling’guan 靈官). The equine deity’s full title is given in one instance as the “Orthodox Unity, Hūṃ [Mantra] Deity, Divine Official, Rhinoceros of Fire, Great Immortal (Zhengyi Hongshen Ling’guan Huoxi Daxian 正一吽神靈官火犀大仙).” It is given further flourish in another instance as the “Orthodox Unity, Fast-pursuing Across-the Heavens General, Dark-Faced and Golden-Eyed, Awe-Inspiring, Cutting the Left-Ear of Demons, Hūṃ [Mantra] Deity, Divine Official, Horse Marshal” (Zhengyi Hengtian Jizhou Dajiang Qingmian Jinjing Welie Guomo Hongshen Ling’guan Ma Yuanshuai 正一橫天疾捉大将青面金睛威烈馘魔吽神靈官馬 元帥)” (Daofa huiyuan, 222.1a, and 222.2a, respectively). Horse (Ma) is a Chinese surname. Daoist Methods treats it as the god’s family name, providing him with the first name Sheng 勝. The Daoist manual is careful to remind its readers that the latter should not be carelessly uttered. Like the emperor’s personal name, it is tabooed. In any event, the resulting name is of Buddhist provenance, albeit not of the Tantric variety. Ma Sheng (literally: “Victorious Horse”) was the Chinese rendering of the Sanskrit Aśvajit, the name of one of the Buddha’s earliest disciples. As such, it appears in influential Buddhist scriptures, such as Bodhiruci’s (fl. 690) Chinese translation of the Great Scripture of Collected Treasures (Ratnakūṭa-sūtra).48 The Daoist Horse Marshal shares iconographic traits with the Buddhist Horse-Headed Avalokiteśvara. Like his Tantric ancestor, he is multi-eyed, multi-headed, and multi-armed. His three eyes are golden, his face is black, his red hair stands on end, and he terrorizes his demonic adversaries with his protruding fangs (Daofa huiyuan 225.1a). In his multiple arms, the terrifying god wields magic implements of Buddhist and Daoist provenance alike. One arm manipulates—like the Bodhisattva of the Unerring Noose—a lasso, while 47

48

The Daoist techniques are outlined in Daofa huiyuan, 224.19a–27b and 225.8b–13b, which titles them Secret Essentials of Possession (Futi Miyao 附體秘要) and Methods for Possessing Living Children (Fu Shengtong Fa 附生童法); on their Tantric ancestry see Hsieh Shuwei, 2011, 257–275; compare Strickmann 2002, 204–218; and Davis 2001, 115–152. Da bao ji jing 大寶積經, T. 310, 11:91c; on the name's Buddhist provenance, see also Cedzich 1995, 184, note 199; and “Masheng” in Foguang dacidian (Ciyi 1988, 4349).

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another gestures a Tantric mudrā (yin 印). Other hands are equipped with Daoist weaponry: a fire-emanating gourd, a blazing sword, a golden spear, and a magic gold brick: He has three heads, six arms, and nine eyes. His face is black and his body blue. His golden eyes are round. His hair is red, and his beard vermillion. He wears a Heavenly Warrior cap. He is clad in a sewn robe and golden armor. He wears a jade-studded sash. His left first hand holds a golden brick, pressed against the heart. His second left hand wields a noose. His third left hand grasps a fire gourd. His first right hand wields a golden spear. His second right hand wields a blazing sword. His third right hand gestures a mudrā. His feet are shod in green boots. He rides a chariot of fire, around which wheels white snakes writhe (Daofa huiyuan, 229.2a-b). The equine deity is associated with snakes. His second-in-command is the Heaven-Blasting Silk-White Snake (Hongtian Sulian Bai She 轟天素練白蛇). Surnamed like his superior Ma (Horse) and given the first name Chong 充, the ophidian warrior is variously titled “Marshal” or “Great General” (Dajiang 大將) (Daofa huiyuan, 222.11b, 222.33a, 225.2a). He is shown writhing in some of the Horse Marshal’s illustrations (see figures 6.7, 6.9, 6.10). In addition, the Horse Marshal himself is sometimes adorned with snakes: he carries one around his waist, others wriggle around the wheels of his chariot, and others still spit fire from under his feet (Daofa huiyuan, 225.1b, 229.2b, 231.1b). The association of the Daoist god with the serpent-like creature likely derives from Tantric Buddhism. Dating from the Tang period, one esoteric scripture decrees writhing snakes for the adornment of the Horse-Headed Avalokiteśvara.49 The ultimate source of the ophidian motif might have been Śiva, who is similarly bejeweled by snakes (see figure 6.5). Like his three eyes, the Hindu god might have bequeathed the poisonous emblem to the equine Bodhisattva, who passed it on to his Daoist incarnation of the Horse Marshal. The Horse Marshal’s iconography is but one indication of his Tantric origins. The magic syllable hūṃ is another. Daoist Methods is replete with syllables and words that have been accorded magic potency by Buddhist—and Hindu—ritual: hūṃ (Chinese: hong 吽), oṃ (Chinese: an 唵) and svāhā (Chinese: suopohe 娑婆訶, or suohe 娑訶) all figure in the Daoist scripture, the former forming part of the Horse King’s title: “The Orthodox Unity, Hūṃ Deity (Hongshen), 49

Puti chang suoshuo yizi ding lunwang jing 菩提場所說一字頂輪王經, translated by Amoghavajra, T. 950, 19:199a.

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Divine Official, Rhinoceros of Fire, Great Immortal.” Magic syllables combine into efficacious spells. The Daoist manual features transcribed Sanskrit incantations that have close parallels in esoteric Buddhist literature.50 Finally, the Tantric term vidyārāja (“King of Spells,” or “King Illuminated [by Magical Knowledge]”) figures in Daoist Methods. One list of invoked divinities alludes to a “Six-Armed King of Spells” (Liubi mingwang 六臂明王). Even if the intended divinity is not the Horse Marshal, its appellation betrays the Daoist scripture’s indebtedness to esoteric Buddhism (Daofa huiyuan, 221.4b). The Horse Marshal is a fiery god. Indeed, the word “fire” takes pride of place in his ritual compendium. Titled “Rhinoceros of Fire,” he is described in Daoist Methods as the “essence of the fire of the south, the king of fire, the thriving spirit of fire” (Daofa huiyuan, 222.1a). The Daoist priest is instructed to visualize flames erupting from under the god’s feet. Like his scorching predecessor Hayagrīva, the Horse Marshal annihilates his adversaries by burning them. Appointed commander of the heavenly troops of fire, he roams the skies atop blazing wheels. The equine deity’s secret weapons include a fire-emitting gourd and fire-spitting crows, which figure in Ming-period paintings of the awesome Daoist divinity (see figure 6.9). The former produces a blaze of Buddhist provenance. The flames that erupt from the Horse Marshal’s gourd are termed “fire of samādhi [meditation]” (sanmei huo 三昧火) (Daofa huiyuan, 222.14b).51 Chinese cosmology correlates each of the five elements (i.e., fire, earth, metal, water, and wood) with a given direction of the compass, season of the year, bodily organ, color, and so on. The diverse associations of the Horse Marshal all hinge upon his identification with the element fire: for example, he dwells in the south, which is the direction of the fiery element. As a stellar divinity the equine warrior is associated with the Chinese Southern Dipper (Nandou 南斗), (which corresponds to the southern constellation of Sagit­ta­ rius). He is identified with the constellation’s sixth star, which happens to share his first name: sheng 勝. Thus, the Horse Marshal has been imagined as the Sheng Star of the Southern Dipper (Daofa huiyuan, 222.1a-b). 50

51

Two of the Horse Marshal’s incantations closely parallel the spells of the Tantric deity Ucchuṣma; compare Daofa huiyuan, 229.5a and Huiji jingang jinbaibian fa jing 穢跡金剛 禁百變法經 (Scripture of Hundred Transformations Method of Huiji Jingang [Ucchuṣma]), translated by the eighth-century Ajitasena (Azhidaxian 阿質達霰), T. 1229, 21: 161b; consult also Hsieh Shuwei (2011, 262–263), who argues that the Horse Marshal had been fashioned after Ucchuṣma. T. 1229, 21:161b. In this instance Marshal Ma’s fire gourd is operated by his subordinate, “The Fire-Gourd Great General” (Huo piao dajiang li ziming 火瓢大將).

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Figure 6.9 Ming-period Water-and-Land ritual painting of the Horse Marshal, preserved at the Baiyun Guan Daoist Temple (Beijing). Note the fire crows emanating from his fire gourd ( from Shuilu shen quan, edited by Li Xinjun (Hangzhou: Xiling, 2011), p. 102).

The Horse Marshal’s bodily connection likewise derives from his fiery nature. He resides within the heart, the organ of fire. The following quotation from Daoist Methods illustrates the interplay of microcosm and macrocosm in Daoist ritual. The priest summons the god from his heavenly residence of the Southern Dipper to his corporeal palace of the heart. By means of incantations and bodily gestures (curling the tongue so that it touches the palate), he has the god descend into his—the priest’s—own heart. The ensuing step has the priest exhale the god out of his body and into the temple’s ritual arena (atop

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the incense burner). The Horse Marshal makes his appearance in a typically Tantric ferocious manifestation: Having recited the above incantation, the priest orders the visualized letters to combine into a golden book and a jade seal. Curling his tongue so that it touches his palate, he creates a bridge reaching straight to the gate of the Southern Dipper. The letters are transformed into a flaming pearl, which descends from the skies. The priest inhales it with a jade tube, and directs it to the palace of his heart... The priest draws the chart of the FireWheel atop the incense-burner. The Fire-Wheel appears. Inhaling deeply, the priest breathes upon the Fire-Wheel. Thereupon the Divine Official, [Horse Marshal,] appears in his ferocious manifestation (nu rong 怒容) (Daofa huiyuan, 222. 4b). The Daoist scripture elaborates upon the magnificent spectacle of the Horse Marshal’s divine procession. “Riding the mists and casting fire,” the equine warrior leads his fiery troops across the heavens: The southern god of fire opens wide his golden eyes. Shining bright in all direction, he commands the heavenly hosts. When the Heavenly Emperor issues an order, the Horse Marshal leads the troops. The Commander Rhinoceros of Fire, his honor guards number tens of thousands. His subordinate generals display divine might. He seals up mountains, breaking open hidden caves. He checks heaven in its course. His wrath shakes Heaven and Earth, the Five Sacred Peaks crumble. Blasting thunder and lightning, he walks on fire riding the wind. The freakish mountaindemons all vanish, leaving no trace (Daofa huiyuan, 222.7b).

Popular Fiction

The portrayal of the Horse King as a god of fire crosses literary genres. Mingperiod fiction and drama depict the same blazing deity as do hagiographic, and ritual, compendiums. Novels and plays equip the equine divinity with the same fiery emblems—the Fire-Spitting Crow and the Fire-Emitting Gourd— that identify him in Daoist scriptures. Blurring the boundaries between canonized hagiography and commercialized fiction, the Horse King fights

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identical adversaries in both.52 I will not survey here the range of Ming-period literature that is dedicated to the Horse King, focusing instead on one novel only: The early seventeenth-century Journey to the South.53 The Journey to the South (complete title: The Heavenly King Huaguang’s Journey to the South (Huaguang Tianwang Nanyou zhizhuan 華光天王南遊 志傳) belongs to the late-Ming genre of “fiction of the supernatural” (ling’guai xiaoshuo 靈怪小說).54 It is an adventure tale of gods and demons who are engaged in an intricate plot of magical warfare. The mythological novel was authored by Yu Xiangdou 余象斗 (ca. 1560–ca. 1640), a prolific author and successful publisher from Jianyang County, northern Fujian Province. Yu inherited his flourishing family business, his ancestors having been active in the publishing industry since as early as the twelfth century.55 He himself had a penchant for fiction of the supernatural: In addition to The Journey to the South (published in 1631), he authored a novel on the god Zhenwu (titled Journey to the North (1602), and he wrote the preface to a novel on the Eight Immortals (titled Journey to the East).56 Yu published the three fantastic novels in identical format, with illustrations on the top of each page. The titles of Yu Xiangdou’s “three journeys” (to the south, north, and east) were fashioned after the masterpiece of Chinese mythological fiction, The Journey to the West. Published in 1592, the fantastic story of monk Xuanzang’s 52

53 54

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Compare the Ming-period hagiographic compendium Huitu sanjiao yuanliu soushen daquan (1970, 5.8a–9a); the Ming play Yang Donglai xiansheng piping Xiyou ji 楊東來先 生批評西遊記, author given as Wu Changling 吳昌齡 (Ming edition. Reprinted in Shibun 斯文 9.1–10.3 (1927–28), act 8, 2.34–35; and the Ming novel Beiyou ji Xuandi chushen zhuan 北遊記玄帝出身傳, by Yu Xiangdou 余象斗 (1602 edition), 3.15b–18a. On the Horse King in Ming-period fiction and drama see Nikaidō 2014, 30–32, 45– 47. Reference is given here to the earliest extant edition, which bears the year-date xinwei 辛未, likely corresponding to 1631. It also carries the additional title of Quanxiang Wuxian Lingguan Dadi Huaguang Tianwang Zhuan 全像五顯靈官大帝華光天王傳; see Zhongguo tongsu xiaoshuo zongmu tiyao (1990, 94–95); and Cedzich 1995, 141–147. The history of the Yu-family publishing is charted in Xiao Dongfa 1984–1985. On Yu Xiangdou himself see Xiao Dongfa 1986, 195–211; and Bai Yiwen 2006, 56–68. Respectively, the full titles are: Quanxiang Beiyou ji Xuandi chushen zhuan 全像北遊記 玄帝出身傳, and Baxian chuchu dongyou ji 八仙出處東遊記. The former bears the ganzhi date renyin 壬寅, which most scholars identify as 1602, (see Zhongguo tongsu xiaoshuo zongmu tiyao, 95). In his preface to the Journey to the East, Yu alludes to his authorship of the Journey to the South, complaining bitterly about the “shameless rascals” who pirate his work. During the late-imperial period, Yu’s three journeys, together with Yang Zhihe’s 楊志和 version of the Journey to the West, circulated in a combined edition titled Siyou ji 四遊記 (The Four Journeys). The latter’s earliest extant edition dates from 1811; see Li Shiren 1986, 104–108.

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journey to the paradisiacal Buddhist West has had a tremendous impact upon the subsequent fiction of the supernatural. The conflagrant protagonist of Yu Xiangdou’s Journey to the South was at least partially modeled after the rebellious Sun Wukong of the Journey to the West. Like Xuanzang’s impish disciple, the equine warrior steals the peaches of immortality at the banquet of the Queen Mother of the West. And like him too, he takes refuge in a divine cave, from whence he leads his red-hot troops in rebellion against the heavenly bureaucracy. That the divine monkey served as a model for Yu Xiangdou’s Horse King is attested by his mention in the novel. When the Horse King dares impersonate him, Sun Wukong appears on the scene to subdue him.57 The Journey to the South charts its protagonist’s career through successive incarnations. This narrative device allows for the emergence of a composite figure that draws upon diverse literary and religious sources. The varied personalities assumed by the Horse King in his successive rebirths were fashioned after miscellaneous mythological precedents. In his first incarnation, the newly-born three-eyed god subdues the awesome Dragon King after the example of the infant Nezha, divine protagonist of the late-Ming novel Canonization of the Gods.58 The Horse King’s later incarnations are increasingly under the spell of the semi-demonic mountain sprites known as the “Five Penetrations” (Wutong 五通). The one-legged fiends figured in Chinese demonology since the first centuries CE, when they were accused of hurling stones at unsuspecting travelers. In later periods, the nature bogeys were notorious for their erratic sexual appetites no less than their greed for money. The handsome incubi preyed upon the ravished souls of sleeping women, showering wealth on their husbands. As Richard von Glahn has noted, the late-Ming cult of the “Five Penetrations” revealed a “keen awareness of the subversive and potentially dangerous consequences of avarice” (von Glahn 1991, 654; Cedzich 1995). The Horse King’s relation with the five fiends was originally adversarial. Twelfth-century Daoist scriptures assigned the equine marshal the role of battling the Five Penetrations.59 By a process familiar in Daoist ritual however, the subjugated demons were eventually elevated to the ranks of the gods. Indeed, the Five Penetrations came to be identified with the very Horse King who was 57 58 59

Nanyou zhizhuan, 4.20a–24b; Sun Wukong appears, in addition, in 1.3a–3b. Compare Nanyou zhizhuan, 1.9b–10a, and Fengshen yanyi 封神演義, author given as Xu Zhonglin 許仲琳, (Li Guoqing 2001, 12.103–13.111). See Taishang zhuguo jiumin zongzhen miyao 太上助國救民總真秘要 by Yuan Miaozong 元妙宗 (Preface 1116), DZ 1227, 7.37b. The Horse Marshal's name in this scripture, Ling'guan Wulang Ma Sheng 靈官五郎馬勝 (The Divine Official Five Youths Ma Sheng) indicates his incipient identification with the Five Penetrations; see also Cedzich 1995, 184–192.

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commissioned to destroy them. As Ursula-Angelika Cedzich has demonstrated, the equine warrior fused with the incubi whom he exorcised, acquiring their fiendish traits. The process of the Horse King’s gradual identification with the five demons is mirrored in Ming- period Daoist scriptures and popular lore alike. The protagonist of Yu Xiangdou’s Journey to the South goes as far as amputating his own leg, so as to become—like his erstwhile rivals—a one-legged prodigy.60 The Horse King is not referred to in the novel by this name. Instead, the Journey to the South honors its protagonist by the Daoist title of “Divine Official” (ling’guan 靈官), bestowing upon him the military rank of Marshal: the threeeyed god is “The Great Marshal of the Fire-Department’s Infantry and Cavalry Troops” (Huobu bingma da yuanshuai 火部兵馬大元帥). In addition, the blazing deity is given names that mirror his association with fire and luminosity: In one incarnation the Horse King is named Divine Radiance (Ling’guang 靈光) and, in another, he is called Divine Luster (Ling’yao 靈耀). The most frequent of his appellations—it figures in the novel’s title—is Huaguang 華光. The name carries the related meanings of “Lotus Radiance” and “Splendid Radiance.” It was applied to the Horse King as early as the twelfth or thirteenth century, as attested by visual art. Dating likely from the Southern-Song period (1127–1279), a minutely-executed drawing of the equine god bears the cartouche Huaguang (See figure 6.10). The drawing of the equine god Huaguang is included in the so-called Album of Daoist and Buddhist Themes, in the possession of the Cleveland Museum of Art.61 The album furnishes an extensive visual record of Song-period Daoist mythology (as Stephen Little noted, the only quasi-Buddhist divinities depicted

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Cedzich 1995, esp. pp. 203–213; see also Nikaidō 2014, 196–206; on the Daoist sublimation (liandu 錬度) of demons into deities see Meulenbeld 2014. The album is available in a handsome facsimile reproduction titled Daozi mobao 道子墨 寶 (Ink treasures of [Wu] Daozi) (Beijing: Renmin meishu 1963). Its black and white ink drawings might have served as sketches (fenben 粉本) for colorful temple murals or painted scrolls. Most scholars date it to the Song Period or, more specifically, the twelfth century (see Jin 1980; Huang Miaozi 1980; and Little 2013, 393). Shao Xiaofeng and Li Huilong suggest that the album is a product of the late Northern Song or the early Southern Song (i.e. the twelfth century), on the basis of its baimiao 白描 drawing technique, no less than the furniture style (Shao and Li 2014, 163). Susan Huang, however, suggests that the album “may in fact be a professional sketch book collecting drawings made by different hands at different times throughout the Southern Song and Yuan periods.” She notes, for example, that a Mongolian-style hat featured on leaf 28 might indicate a Yuan-period date of composition (Huang 2012, 127, 130, and 373, note 237).

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Figure 6.10 The Horse King in the Album of Daoist and Buddhist Themes (ca. twelfth century). He is identified as the “Divine Official, Horse Marshal” (Ling’guan Ma Yuanshuai) and as the “Supreme Commander Huaguang” (Huaguang shuai) (which name is written in blurred characters over his flower-ornamented cap).

are the Ten Kings of Hell).62 The Horse King appears on the album’s twelfth leaf. He is identified by his Daoist title of the “Divine Official, Horse Marshal” (Ling’guan Ma Yuanshuai) (which is inscribed vertically by his spear), and by the appellation “Supreme Commander Huaguang” (Huaguang shuai 華光帥), which is written in somewhat blurred characters above his flower-ornamented cap. (During the Southern-Song period, the fashion of adorning one’s cap with fresh (or artificial) flowers was shared by men and women alike.63) In his left hand, the three-eyed “Supreme-Commander Huaguang” wields the magic brick that is attributed to him in the Ming-compendium Daoist Methods. The god’s right arm grasps a spear, on which wriggles his second com62 63

Little 2013, 393. Shen Congwen 1981, 334. The fashion likely lasted into succeeding centuries, as attested by the novel Shuihu zhuan 水滸傳 (Water Margin). Whether out of fidelity to the Songperiod setting of its plot, or because the practice lasted into its late-Yuan/early Ming time of composition, the martial novel has its male protagonists ornament their caps with flowers (Shuihu quanzhuan, 5.84).

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mand, the Heaven-Blasting Silk-White Snake, who is described in Daoist Methods. Attesting the power of tradition in Daoist visual culture, the same motif of the serpent writhing on his equine master’s spear figures in an early twentieth century ritual manuscript from Hunan (compare figures 6.7 and 6.10). The name Huaguang has an ancient Buddhist pedigree. The influential Lotus Sūtra prophesizes that in a future age Śākyamuni’s disciple Śāriputra will be reborn as the Tathāgatha “Lotus Radiance” (Sanskrit: Padmaprabha; Chinese: Huaguang).64 Other Mahāyāna scriptures identify Huaguang as the first of the thousand Buddhas of the past.65 Still others outline the process by which enlightened beings emerge from the radiance of the divine flower. The Sūtra of the Buddha of Immeasurable Light describes paradisiacal lotuses that emanate each myriad multi-colored rays of light, from each of which issue myriad Buddhas. The process is termed “the emergence of the Buddhas from the radiance of the lotus” (Huaguang chufo 華光出佛).66 Huaguang (“Lotus Radiance” or “Splendid Radiance”) is a fitting name for a radiant god of fire such as the Horse King. First attested as his sobriquet in the twelfth or thirteenth century Album of Daoist and Buddhist Themes, it was later applied to the Horse King in Ming-period fiction and drama. For example, a theatrical version of the Journey to the West cycle alludes to the fiery equine as “Huaguang.”67 Interestingly, the name was also applied to the Horse King’s adversaries, the demonic “Five Penetrations” (Wutong). Compiled in 1249, a Daoist scripture tells the story of an upper-class lady who, bewitched by the fourth of the handsome incubi, was on the point of perishing from love-sickness. When summoned for interrogation by a Daoist exorcist, the possessing fiend identified himself as the “Bodhisattva Huaguang.”68 That both the Horse 64

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Miaofa lianhua jing 妙法蓮華經, translated by Kumārajīva in 406 CE, T. no. 262, 9:11b-c. In his English translation of Kumārajīva's Chinese version, Leon Hurvitz (1976, 53–56) renders Huaguang as “Flower Glow.” Guoqu zhuanyan qie qianfo ming jing 過去莊嚴劫千佛名經, translated by Kālayaśas (Jiangliangyeshe 畺良耶舍) (fl. 440) T. 446a, 14:364c. Wuliang shou jing 無量壽經, translation attributed to Saṃghavarman (Kang Sengkai 康僧铠), T. 360, 12:27a; see also Peng Jiqing 彭際清 (1740–1796) Wuliang shou jing qixin lun 無量壽經起信論, in Wan xu zan jing, vol. 22 no. 400, 2.130a. Yang Donglai xiansheng piping Xiyou ji 楊東來先生批評西遊記, author given as Wu Changling 吳昌齡 (Ming edition. Reprinted in Shibun 斯文 9.1–10.3 (1927–28), act 8, 2.34–35. Albeit attributed to a Yuan-period author, the play likely dates from the Ming period (see Dudbridge 1970, 76–80). The story is included in a supplement to a Daoist hagiography of the god Wen Qiong, which was edited in 1247 by Huang Gongjin 黃公瑾; see p. 2a of “Wen Taibao zhuan bu yi” 溫太保傳補遺, appended to Diqi shangjiang Wen Taibao zhuan 地祇上將溫太保傳,

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King and his lustful rivals were named “Huaguang” indicates that, by the thirteenth century, the process of their merging was well under way.69 The sixteenth-century novel relishes the radiant personality of its protagonist “Splendid Radiance.” The Journey to the South has Huaguang declare his blazing nature in the first person: “I am the essence of fire,” he announces, “the spirit of fire, the demon of fire, and the legions of fire.” The deity in control of fire is responsible for delivering the devotees of its hazards. “I travel all over the world,” Huagaung vouches, “wherever there is fire I deliver from fire; wherever there is hardship I deliver from hardship” (Nanyou zhizhuan, 1.7b–8a and 4.25a respectively). The Journey to the South elaborates upon the cosmological implications of its protagonist’s fiery nature. Like the Daoist scriptures predating it, the novel identifies the god of fire with the direction south (hence its title). The theory of the five elements stipulates that fire is controlled by water (which is identified with the north). Hence the god that is sent by the Jade Emperor to subdue the unruly Huaguang is associated with water and the north: he is the Perfect Warrior Dark Emperor of the North (Beifang Zhenwu Xuantian Shangdi 北方 真武玄帝). Appearing as a secondary character in the Journey to the South, the Perfect Warrior has been accorded his own novel by the prolific Yu Xiangdou. He is the hero of The Journey to the North, published in 1602. The two novels explain the northern warrior’s task in identical cosmological terms: The northern waters of the heavenly stems ren and gui exorcise the southern fire of the heavenly and earthly stems bing and ding. Hence the [Perfect Warrior] subdues Huaguang.70 Huaguang’s battle scenes are engulfed in smoke and flames. The blazing deity destroys his enemies by means of fire-radiating weaponry. He has been trained in the manipulation of fire by his kin and teachers, who are all flamboyant beings. In his second incarnation, Huaguang’s father is the Red-Bearded

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DZ 780; The Wutong are referred to in the story by their other name: Wuxian 五顯 (Five Manifestations). The application of the Buddhist name Huaguang to the Wutong spirits is discussed by Cedzich 1995, 179–184, and by Davis 2001, 284–287. In the Daofa huiyuan (222.4a) the name Huaguang is applied to the Horse King together with that of the five fiends (Huaguang Wutong). As early as Bai Yuchan’s (1194?-1229) “Recorded Sayings,” the name Huaguang figured in a list of Tantric divinities that were incorporated into Fujian Daoist rites. However, no details on the god being provided, it is unclear whether the Huaguang in question was the Horse King, the Five Penetrations (Wutong), or another figure; see Haiqiong Bai zhenren yulu, DZ 1307, 1.11b. Quanxiang Beiyou ji Xuandi chushen zhuan, 3.15b; compare Nanyou zhizhuan, 2.11a.

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Blazing-Demon Heavenly King (Chixu Yanmo Tianwang 赤鬚炎魔天王), and his martial instructor is the Buddha of Scorching Fire and Jade Radiance (Huoyan Yuguang Fo 火炎玉光佛). The god’s adversaries are likewise scalding creatures which, subdued and tamed, join his fiery ranks. Huaguang defeats the General Fire-Whirl (Huopiao Jiang 火漂將), who becomes his second-incommand, and he captures and tames the fire crows of the Divine Mother of Fire Hundredfold Increase (Huo Baijia Shengmu 火百加聖母). A fire crow has been assigned to the blazing god as early as the fifteenth-century Daoist Methods United in Principle. In the seventeenth-century novel, Huaguang commands no fewer than five-hundred of these birds, which carry burning embers in their beaks (Nanyou zhizhuan, 3.4a–6b). The god whose name was originally Buddhist produces flames of Buddhist provenance. Huaguang generates a “fire of samādhi [meditation]” (sanmei huo 三昧火) by means of which he vanquishes his rivals. The defeated adversaries are controlled by a “fire pill” (huodan 火丹), which he forces them to swallow. It suffices for the fiery god to recite a spell for his magic pill to burn its hapless victim from the inside (Nanyou zhizhuan, 2.15a, 2.20a-b, 3.6a-b). The Perfect Warrior of the North subdues his rivals by a similar mechanism which, in accordance with the five-element theory, is water-based. The magic pill of the northern warrior is the Assembled Water Pearl (Jushui zhu 聚水珠), which dissolves its target into liquid.71 The two spell-activated pills were likely inspired by the Journey to the West’s magic fillet that controls the impish Sun Wukong. When Xuanzang recites the magic mantra, the fillet that has been implanted on Sun Wukong’s head causes the rebellious monkey insufferable pain. Huaguang’s fiery nature is explained by an etiological legend. He was originally an oil lamp that burned by the Buddha’s dais. Having been blessed, day and night, by listening to the ultimate truth from the Buddha’s mouth, its snuff coagulated into a precious pearl. When the Buddha recited upon it a magic incantation it came to life. The story is told by Huaguang himself, in the novel’s first chapter: I was originally an oil lamp that shone brightly by the Buddha Tathāgata’s Dharma Seat. Having been blessed day and night by hearing the sacred scriptures, my snuff coagulated into a precious pearl. The Tathāgata recited upon me a spell, whereupon I came to life as a living being. Thus, I am the essence of fire, the spirit of fire, the demon of fire, and the legions of fire (Nanyou zhizhuan, 1.7b–8a). 71

The Perfect Warrior of the North employs his Assembled Water Pearl to control Huaguang in Nanyou zhizhuan, 2.11b; compare Quanxiang Beiyou ji Xuandi chushen zhuan, 3.17a-b.

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The legend of Huaguang’s flaming origins was not the product of Yu Xiangdou’s imagination. Mentioned in several Ming-period sources, it must have been well known by the sixteenth-century at the latest.72 The diverse versions of the story agree that the flame that came to life by the Buddha’s grace became his acolyte, and they are in accord that he was given the Buddhist name of Miaojixiang 妙吉祥 (Sanskrit: Mañjuśrī). The application of the Bodhisattva's name to the junior novice betrays the legend's origins in popular lore. It is unlikely that an educated monk would have bestowed the exalted appellation upon a lowly member of the Buddha's retinue. Even though its derivation requires further research, we might presume that the legend was at least partially influenced by oral literature. Ming-period story-tellers made extensive use of Buddhist terms, the precise meaning of which had long been obscured. Shortly after his coming to life, Miaojixiang’s fiery temperament becomes evident. A demon named Single Fire Great King (Duhuo Dawang 獨火大王) breaks uninvited into a vegetarian feast atop the holy Gṛdhra-kūṭa Mountain. Wreaking havoc upon the Buddha’s sacred congregation, the intruder is checked by Miaojixiang who burns him to death. Horrified by his disciple’s violence, the Buddha orders his exile to the mortal world. The flaming acolyte descends from heaven in the shape of five radiant beams of fire. Finding his way into the womb of an expectant mother, he is born with three eyes. Accordingly, he is given the name of Three-Eyed Divine Radiance (Sanyan ling’guang 三眼靈光) (Nanyou zhizhuan, 1.8b–9a). In the following (his first human) incarnation, Miaojixiang’s parents are the Horse-Ear Mountain King and Queen. Like Miaojixiang and Huaguang, the name Horse Ear is of Indian provenance. Buddhist cosmology identifies HorseEar Mountain (Sanskrit: Aśvakarṇa-giri; Chinese: Ma’ershan 馬耳山) as one of the sacred peaks that surround the mythic Mount Sumeru. The king of the sacred peak is one of ten mountain gods, whose alpine positions are symbolic of spiritual attainments. The Horse-Ear Mountain King is venerated in Mahāyāna mythology as a Bodhisattva, corresponding to one of the ten stages of Bodhisattva practice.73 72

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The legend is alluded to, albeit not fully narrated, in the Ming hagiographic compendium Huitu sanjiao yuanliu soushen Daquan, 5.8b; Miaojixiang is mentioned as one of Huaguang’s names in the Ming-period play Yang Donglai xiansheng piping Xiyou ji, act 8, 2.34; compare also Yu Xiangdou’s novel Quanxiang Beiyou ji Xuandi chushen zhuan, 3.16a. The Horse-Ear Mountain is mentioned, for example, in the Za Ahan jing 雜阿含經 (Saṃyuktāgama), translated in the mid-fifth century by Guṇabhadra, T. 99, 2:114a; its king appears in Vasubandhu, Daśa Bhumika Sūtra śāstra (Shidi jing lun 十地經論), translated by Bodhiruci and others in the sixth century, T. 1522, 26:201a-b; see also: “Shi shan wang” in Foguang dacidian (Ciyi 1988, 373).

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The name Horse-Ear is the only hint in the entire novel of the protagonist’s equine descent. Unlike Daoist scriptures that surname him Horse (Ma), the Journey to the South bestows on its hero names that, for the most part, reflect his luminosity: From “Lotus Radiance” (or “Splendid Radiance”), through “Divine Radiance,” to “Divine Luster.” The protagonist of the late-Ming narrative has inherited the distinctive three-eyed iconography of the Horse-Headed Avalokiteśvara. He has similarly acquired the Tantric god’s association with fire. However, his ancestor’s equine identity has been largely forgotten. Huaguang of the Journey to the South is a god of fire.

Conclusion

The Horse King is a descendant of the Horse-Headed Avalokiteśvara. The Chinese god inherited his defining traits from the Indian-born Bodhisattva. His name is an abbreviation of the esoteric title “Horse-Headed King of Spells” (vidyārāja); his three-eyed and multi-armed iconography is quintessentially Tantric; and his fiery nature replicates Hayagrīva’s association with fire. There can be no doubt of the popular god’s origins in esoteric Buddhism. The Horse King illustrates the long-term impact of the Tantric movement upon the Chinese imagination of divinity. Imported to China during the Tang period, the equine god has figured in Daoist circles and the popular religion to the present day. Assuming diverse titles in village temples, folk novels, and Daoist scriptures, the Horse King has held a spell upon his Chinese devotees for over a millennium. Despite lacking an established Chinese lineage, the Tantric movement has influenced the Chinese conception of the supernatural.74 To the extent that his Tantric predecessor has himself drawn upon an earlier Indian antecedent, the figure of the Horse King reveals hidden Hindu elements in Chinese culture. The equine god of fire is a distant relation of the fiery mare, who was celebrated in Indian literature as early as the first millennium BCE. Thus, the Tantric movement served as a vehicle that brought Indian mythology to bear upon Chinese religion and literature.

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There are other examples of Chinese gods who originated in esoteric Buddhism: From the multi-headed Nezha (Nalakūbara), through the Thunder God (Leishen 雷神) who had been fashioned after the mythic Garuḍa bird, to the skull-bearing Spirit of the Deep Sands (Shensha shen 深沙神) of the Journey to the West cycle; for a survey see Shahar 2015, 187–188.

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Part 3 Scriptures and Practices in Their Tibetan Context



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Chapter 7

Crazy Wisdom in Moderation: Padampa Sangyé’s Use of Counterintuitive Methods in Dealing with Negative Mental States Dan Martin Some people have problems with Buddhism being identified too closely with psychology, while others have problems with it being anything else. While I count myself among the former, my point of view is that, whatever Buddhism is as a whole, it undoubtedly includes a great deal of what we would today call psychology. In this essay we will concentrate on a particular Indian Vajrayāna Buddhist teacher in Tibet, Padampa Sangyé, his Peacemaking school, and his approaches to dealing with mental states deemed counterproductive to the aims of human life according to Buddhist ideals.1 We then zero in on a particular (and perhaps particularly mysterious) counterintuitive therapeutic method he calls by the rare term gya-log, supplying examples of its literary and—insofar as it appears possible given the difficulty in defining it—practical deployment. This remarkable evidence might give pause to reflect on such phenomena as psychological projection and transference, as well as what might well be called reverse psychology. Or perhaps a homeopathic approach, since it often makes use of the very thing or things it proposes to counter. By the 1 The name of the Zhijé (Zhi-byed in Wylie transliteration) or Peacemaking school derives from shortening the longer phrase drawn from a Prajñāpāramitā sūtra: dam-chos sdug-bsngal zhibyed, meaning the holy Dharma that puts suffering at peace. Padampa Sangyé (in Wylie transcription, Pha-dam-pa Sangs-rgyas, d. 1105 or 1117 CE) never knew he founded a school by this or any other name; the label was applied retrospectively, just as he had no idea that he would eventually come to be called Padampa Sangyé. Of course eliminating suffering has always been a primary aim of Buddhism in general, where the main sources of suffering are found in the negative mental states called kleśas. It is for overcoming the kleśas that Padampa’s psychological techniques are intended, and exactly what is meant by putting suffering at peace. A note on formal aspects: In this essay I for most part use phonetics for representing Tibetan names in order to make its discussions seem more accessible to a wider readership. When transliterations are used, as they are in bibliographical references, we use dashes in proper names (following the method of the Library of Congress) but omit them in book titles. I capitalize such words as Dharma, Path and Enlightenment out of respect for tradition, and to ensure that the special Buddhist usages of these terms will be recognized.

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term counterintuitive we mean simply this: a treatment that on the face of it would seem to have nothing to do with, or even one that would seem bound to aggravate, the problem may, under the right circumstances and/or with the right dosage, have therapeutic effects that would not normally be expected. An example of a counterintuitive method that ought to be simple for anyone to understand: We could say that the best method to avoid slicing your thumb when slicing a banana is to draw the blade toward your thumb. Psychological counterintuitive methods might be defined as techniques for the principled interference in problematic mental patterns that make use of those same problematic patterns. In a semi-clear sense, they would indeed “collude with the very pathology they should be treating.”2 Academic introductions to Buddhism tend to foreground certain doctrinal formulations—such as, typically, the Four Noble Truths and the Eight-fold Noble Path—at the expense other arguably essential aspects. Yet it is true, just as the Four Noble Truths tells us, that for every Buddhist the aim remains that of liberation from suffering.3 This remains so regardless of some differences in method and regardless of other things that may occupy them in the meantime. And Mahāyāna descriptions of the Path to this goal always include methods of dealing with two major problematic areas, or to make use of more psychological language, two areas of delusions or two realms of mental disturbance. Two ‘veilings’ come in the way of our Enlightenment: the kleśas and the knowables (jñeya). Using inadequate non-Buddhist categories, we could be tempted to think of the kleśas as progress-blocking emotions, while the knowables are more in the realm of the cognitive—perhaps we could call them progressblocking thought patterns. Of course we use the word progress here in a strictly Buddhist sense to mean progress on the Path to Enlightenment. One trouble in the cultural translation is that the definitional boundaries between emotional and cognitive are located differently. The kleśas are described in Abhidharmic works (and not only in them) as a large subset of what are called mental events 2 Carveth, 2003, 453. 3 This essay intends to work entirely within the sphere of Mahāyāna Buddhism, the sphere to which Padampa as well as Tibetan Buddhism in general belongs, and assumes as Tibetans do that tantra, more correctly Vajrayāna, belongs within the framework of Mahāyāna Buddhism. There are some more or less problematic issues raised by these general statements, as for instance the existence of tantric strains that emerged within Theravāda traditions; see Crosby, 2000. And yes, Tibetans have a long tradition of differing about matters relevant to the ways the different Vehicles [yāna] may or may not connect with each other; see Sobisch, 2002. And yes, Vajrayāna is historically indebted to other Indian religious currents, in particular Shaivaite tantra; see the works of Alexis Sanderson (Oxford) in general or, for something brief and accessible, Sanderson, 1994.

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or mental states. Some mental events are conducive to the Path, some counterproductive to the same (these being the kleśas), and some neutral ones that could go either way.4 Contrary to common but ill-informed conceptions, Buddhism is not against emotions across the board. Emotion itself is a culture-bound category absent from classical forms of Buddhism. In fact, in all its forms Buddhism extols and encourages specific positive emotions, love and compassion in particular, supplying methods for expanding, even universalizing them. By the same token many other emotions are regarded as counterproductive and these sorts need to be diminished, transformed or done away with by various methods. It is precisely this area of dealing with kleśas that is targetted in this essay. Two points at the outset: [1] this is one of those centrally important things about Buddhism that ought to remain in the foreground of our attention regardless of our different methodologies, and [2] that it is in some semi-clear sense psychological, involving as it does analyzing mental disturbance, finding peace from mental dissatisfactions and their attendant suffering, and overcoming delusion. Delusion of course here means what Buddhists want it to mean. For Buddhists mental patients are not the only or even the main ones who require treatment. We are all suffering from mental disturbances and delusions on a daily basis, and Buddha as the Great Physician is there to help people with all 84,000 afflictive mental states that might in theory rise up to trouble them. Yet as many have pointed out in the ongoing dialogs between various strains of modern psychology and Buddhism, there is at least one essential difference in aims that can then have implications for method. Most recent psychologies have aimed and still do aim for a socially adjusted and integrated self. Buddhism, as is well known, finds the self itself not only a delusion in itself, but a kind of factory where all other delusions are forged. Rather than embracing (or at least reaching an understanding with) everyday delusions as most psychologists would have us do, Buddhists seek to extract themselves from and transcend social demands, to clear away the cobwebs of past conditionings (including social conditionings) that prevent directly seeing the way things actually are. Still, and this requires emphasis, Buddhists meanwhile form

4 Kleśas may be predominantly of an emotional nature, but by no means all of them since they include mental states that we would not ordinarily label as emotions such as muddledheadedness, indecision, deceitfulness, wildness, lack of purpose, not being conscientious, and so on. They even include such things as inflexibility or being overly stuck on a doctrinal or philosophical position. For a very good introduction to Abhidharma theories of mental states, see Dreyfus, 2007. They are listed and discussed in Martin, 2009.

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s­ ocieties much as other human beings do, whether in towns, rural areas, monasteries or retreat places.5 Padampa was a traveling renunciate for most of his life, with lengthy stretches of meditation practice in remote hermitages in regions as far apart as south India and north-central China. He never intended to found a school and very likely never knew there was or would ever be a school of his called by any name apart from just “Dharma,” meaning Buddhism in the broadest sense of the word, or if pressed to be more specific, the Buddhist approach known as “Great Sealing” or Mahāmudrā.6 Still, in retrospect, he is often credited with the founding of two schools, the Cutting and the Peacemaking schools. For now we restrict ourselves to the Peacemaking or Zhijé school—in recent centuries often so much confounded with the Cutting school that it disappears from view—and we need to even further narrow in on one of the three transmissions of Peacemaking, the one known as the “Later Transmission.” The Later Transmission itself had four lines of transmission in the early days that went through the four chief disciples of Padampa. Specifically, we will only consider the Kunga lineage of the Later Transmission. After at least two earlier long sojourns in Tibet, the elderly, venerable meditator settled there once again in a cave in the western area of Tingri (Ding-ri). Certainly a South Indian, and most likely an Andhran by birth, he was schooled already as a teenager at Vikramaśīla Monastery, located in northern India on a hill overlooking the Ganges. One of his teachers there was Kṣemadeva, very surely the same Kṣemadeva who wrote a commentary on Śāntideva’s The Life of the Bodhisattva that has been preserved in its Tibetan translation. He very certainly studied the Perfection of Wisdom scriptures quite profoundly. And it is said that he studied directly with Virūpa, connecting him closely with the founder of Path Including Result teachings commonly associated with the Sakya School of Tibetan Buddhism.7 He traveled all around the Indian 5

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A great deal has been written in recent decades about the strains between contemporary psychology and Buddhism, but just to give two recent examples that make particular sense to me, I could recommend Shonin, 2014; and Jinpa, 2009. I plan to deal with the problem of what foundership might mean in the case of Padampa in a chapter of a future book. Some of the conclusions reached in this future chapter are assumed in the present essay, and particularly in this paragraph. I think it is not an accident that of all the Mahāsiddhas it is Virūpa who most closely resembles him in iconography. See Martin, 2006 for a long discussion. For the work by Kṣemadeva mentioned here, see Bodhisattvacaryāvatāra-saṃskāra (Byang chub sems dpa’i spyod pa la ‘jug pa’i legs par sbyar ba), Dergé Tanjur, vol. sha, folios 1–90 (Tōhoku catalogue no. 3874), translated by Śrīkumāra and Dge-ba’i-blo-gros. Although the identity of the Indian master is unclear, the Tibetan translator is the wellknown translator Rma

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s­ ubcontinent and all the way to China. Padampa had just spent several years in meditation at the sacred five-peaked mountain of Wutai Shan when he arrived in Tingri.8 The main body of literature now available to us that is of the highest value in knowing about the teaching activities that took place in Tingri is the one I call the Zhijé Collection.9 I’m satisfied I can date the physical manuscript to circa 1246 CE. And in very large part it is just a recopying of a gold-lettered manuscript constructed in 1207. There is only one text, a history of the tradition, in the circa 1246 manuscript that could not have been in the 1207. Although in recent centuries kept as a holy object in Tingri, then moved to Nepal where it is now kept, the circa 1246 manuscript was scribed in the Dranang Valley just west of Mindroling Monastery in Central Tibet. I continue to try and learn more about the manuscript itself and its history, and have even attempted to go into the histories of no longer available manuscripts that were made in the course of the 12th century. That ought to be enough manuscript discussion for now, except to say that the catalog of the Drepung Monastery collections tells us that there do exist, still unavailable to the world, numerous Zhijé manuscripts that ought to be of equal or even greater historical value for future studies.10 At this point, The Zhijé Collection is practically the only thing we have to work with if we want to do serious

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Dge-ba’i-blo-gros, active in the middle of the 11th century. Since there may be confusion, it is important to notice that one may find Kalyāṇadeva or Śubhadeva as alternative Sanskritizations to Kṣemadeva, all three formed on the basis of the Tibetan form Dge-ba’i-lha. It has been recently demonstrated with some certainty that the main part of the story Tibetans tell about Padampa’s stay in Wutai Shan (in Tibetan, Ri-bo Rtse-lnga, or Mount Five Peaks) is a story borrowed from an Indian master who stayed there centuries before him. See Chou, 2011, 136–7. I give the Zhijé Collection this descriptive title in part because re-establishing the original title is difficult. Rather than go into tedious arguments, I will just give here my English translation of what I believe to be the original title of the entire collection that is inscribed on the nearly illegible first folio: “Among the Peacemaking Teachings that Lay at the Heart of the Holy Dharma, this is the Exceptionally Profound Belonging to the Later Oral Transmission.” The words in italics may be taken as an epithet for, as well as a brief title of, the collection as a whole. Drepung Catalogue, 2004. It was only in November of 2014 that I was able to procure, with the kind help of Karma Phuntsho (Cambridge), a digitized copy of an until-then unpublished and practically unheard-of collection of texts associated with Padampa’s Middle Transmission (Bar Brgyud). The original manuscript remains in the possession of a monastery in Bhutan. The same project brought to light still other Bhutanese manuscripts that contain selections of the same texts as the Zhije Collection, and these will be a great boon to their future study.

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historical exploration of the early Zhijé school, although this situation is already changing.11 By now it is high time we get out on the highway, change gears and bypass all those interesting slow-moving vehicles begging to get in our way. Still, let us take another moment to try and answer the question, What makes Padampa special or not special? Like a handful of other early Indian Mahāmudrā teachers who spent some time in Tibet, Padampa learned Tibetan language and could communicate in it. This was a matter of much pride for his Tingrian followers. They knew the man they had sitting there before them was a “real live Indian Mahāsiddha,” one with much experience of the world, who could speak to them in their own language “without the fuzzy approximations of translators” intervening. But one problem here: The Tibetan-speaking Padampa always spoke analogically, in extended and often repeated metaphors that had to be contemplated before the intended meaning could be divined from them. It is said that Kunga is the only person who understood Padampa’s symbolic language, so that his presence was always required, not as a translator per se, but as an interpreter. The situation is not all that different today for the reader of Zhijé texts, who will inevitably remain in the dark, often for weeks, months or years, before ‘catching’ what direction Padampa was intending to point with his statements. We may get a small taste of this later on, but meanwhile it is important to know that many of his gnomic statements aren’t entirely original to him, but allude to scriptural sources such as the Perfection of Wisdom (Prajñāpāramitā) and Lañkāvatāra Sūtras in particular.12 Another important point: Padampa never spoke in a straightforward way about worldly matters or concerns, but he never spoke nonsense, either (most definitely not nonsense of the sort made famous by Edward Lear). And he spoke to his followers not only through words, but through silent actions. He had only to glance at a door or lift up his traveling food bag, and his followers would find messages weighted with the most profound Buddhist insights. Some of the Zhijé Collection texts, based on notes taken by Kunga, record only his symbolic actions. His words require much effort to understand both then and now. But if you search, you find clues and begin to recognize patterns of association. Slowly and by degrees, previously unsuspected meanings emerge. This process never really ends. 11

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I have given an oral presentation on the general organizational conceptions behind the Zhijé Collection and the levels of its historical development at a conference in Hamburg; Martin, 2013. During the past decade I have especially concentrated on his animal metaphors and on metaphors for the eremitic life of meditation, in the form of several talks and short essays.

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Perhaps the best way of introducing Padampa the person and the teacher are these words of Kunga from the Great Sealing Symbol Cycle, giving an impression of the impact he had on Tibetans he encountered: His mind had the great virtue of possessing the five extraordinary psychic abilities.13 Because of the greatnesses of his insights into interdependent connectedness [a way of speaking about his skillful means] he made experiences of the absence of troubling thoughts dawn through forceful methods (btsan-thabs) and was able, by his very presence, to transform appearances … . While he stayed in Tingri there were many who had appearances transformed by his blessings. However, those to whom he gave teachings and precepts were few. His exceptional method was to teach through symbolic expressions. Those unfortunate ones who did not enjoy the results of prior cultivation [in previous lives] could not understand these expressions. Some people found fault in this, while others laughed.14 That term btsan-thabs, or forceful methods, is an interesting one, difficult to translate at quite the right pitch. The apparent hyperbole of it needs to be toned down in the translation. The syllable btsan itself is very difficult, with resonances in Tibetan that simply cannot be carried through into English.15 Just consider that one of the most common uses of the term btsan-thabs is in reference to haṭha-yoga, something we today are unlikely to regard as being all that ‘forceful,’ in fact just the opposite. It isn’t well known, and would in fact be surprising to many to learn, that the word haṭha itself, means forceful, intense, perhaps with a sense of obstinancy or persistence. Certain types of breath control or prāṇāyāma, too, are qualified by this word btsan-thabs, and that would mean something a little stronger and therefore more forceful than your ordinary gentle breath, but a breath nonetheless. Clearly violence is far too strong for it, when its use in the Zhijé Collection is something more along the order of pushing the envelope. To make another important and related point, I have noticed no examples of him inflicting bodily harm on another human being, 13 14

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These are divine sight, divine hearing, knowing others’ minds, memory of past lives and knowing the future. The source is Zhijé Collection, vol. 2, 138. I have extracted this passage from a translation of the complete text long in-progress. Various parts of this passage find their parallels elsewhere in the collection. Gibson, 1991, is primarily devoted to this issue. On the question of the historical reasons for the use of the term ‘forceful’ in connection with yoga, see Birch, 2011.

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but many instances of him tossing a book in the river, or snatching a treasured agate stone, or doing other things with his followers’ belongings.16 As interesting as it may be to study this word for forceful methods, it is another somehow different yet related term that will occupy us in what remains of this essay. It is a word spelled in various ways and used in different contexts. In the volumes of the Zhijé Collection: gya-log (pronunciations: gyalog and jalog) and bya-log (pronunciations: jalog and chalog). In Nyingma and medical contexts: ja-log (jalog and chalog) and gya-log. We find, once only, an occurrence of rdalog, evidently just a scribal misunderstanding of ja-log. Let us first look at some ways of construing this word or words. According to Jean-luc Achard, working within Nyingma contexts: Sémantiquement, ja log est souvent associé aux Trois Corps mais nombre d’autres occurrences montrent que son champ sémantique est plus large. Plusieurs significations m’ont été proposées par divers maîtres tibétains, se rapprochant des notions d’indifferenciation (dbyer med), d’absence d’union et de désunion (‘du bral med pa) mais l’acception d’ “intégration” ou d’ “intériorisation” (qui se rapproche de log, signifiant retourner) semble être celle qui fonctionne le mieux dans tous les contextes.17 Gavin Kilty’s translation of the Mirror of Beryl, a famous medical history has this vocabulary entry: Reversal treatment (ja log / bya log). Opposite treatment given when the original treatment fails. For example, giving cold-power medicine to treat a cold disorder when hot-power medicine fails.18

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To be clear, there are recorded instances of him dramatically tying a slingshot around a disciple’s mouth, or placing unsavory items in a disciple’s mouth, but none I know of involving physical injury or pain. More examples are in Martin, 2006. Achard, 1999, 181, n. 102. The initial inspiration that eventually resulted in the present essay came from some email communications with Jean-Luc Achard long ago about the meanings of this word. Kilty, 2010, 573, as a vocabulary entry. The term ja-log is in fact found a number of times in the titles of medical texts of varying length, including some listed among the earlier medical texts of imperial period Tibet. In medical dictionaries it is used to refer to swellings (skrangs) that appear in the wrong place, far from the injury or ailment. As much as I am curious about it, my ideas about the medical usages of the term have not advanced very far, although they have benefited in any case from email communications with Olaf Czaja (Leipzig).

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This would seem to refer to counterintuitive medical treatment, along the lines of homeopathy, in which you apply the very thing that would seem to be the problem. Yet this method is only used if the intuitively correct method fails. Some sources have based their definitions on its usage in a passage from a famous history called Scholars’ Feast of 1545–1564 CE, including this entry from a Tibetan-Tibetan dictionary: A slander told to one person in order to create problems between that person and still another person. Calumny.19 Erik Haarh, for his part, translated the same Scholars’ Feast passage, rendering gya-log with twisted duplicities.20 We find a rather similar definition of gya-log smras in the most extensive among the Tibetan-Tibetan dictionaries to appear in recent years: cunning words that have concealed within them bad ulterior motives. On same page of that same dictionary is a definition of the word gyaba. It is marked as being an old and obsolete word, and defined as a degeneration, deterioration or wastage. Following this, we could say that gya-log might mean reversing the damage, which would seem to mean a kind of restoration. I find this way of understanding quite intriguing, at least worthy of pondering.21 19

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Btsan-lha, 1997, 89: go don log par smra ba’i phra ma’i ming ste / “mkhas pa’i dga’ ston” las / “snyan phra bcug pas rgyal pos rtsal ‘gran zer ba la lo ngam gyis ngas ma thub na nga la chad pa ‘ong snyam nas gya log smras” / zhes pa lta bu’o. I must thank Dr. Jampa Samten for clarifying the meaning. He says that it means something like reported gossip that becomes slanderous in the retelling. At least three persons must be involved: A says yes, B hears yes but reports hearing no to C. The fact that it involves a purposely negative type of intervention seems significant. In the context of the story about Emperor Dri-gum, Longam just makes up something to say in order to get himself off the hook, so the Emperor won’t punish him. The original context may be located in Dpa’-bo, 2004, vol. 1, 161. Haarh, 1969, 144: “To this Lo-ṅam thought: ‘If I am no match, punishment will come for me,’ and he told twisted duplicities.” Here “twisted duplicities” translates gya-log. The translation of the entire passage does not seem to be a good one, certainly not very intelligible, but to discuss it in the necessary detail would lead far away from the present subject matter. Thub-bstan-phun-tshogs, 2012, vol. 1, 520: gya log smras / bsam ngan khog bcangs byas pa’i g.yo sgyu’i tshig. On the same page is another entry: gya ba / [rnying] nyams pa / bar du gya ba sor chud / ‘gro ba gya zhing mgon med pa. Here it is a misleading statement, made with ill intention. The two examples of usage offered here would seem to mean, ‘restoring what has meanwhile fallen into ruins,’ and ‘a being wandering, without any master’ (but gya with this meaning of ‘wandering’ or ‘going astray’ is usually spelled rgya), and the Btsan-lha dictionary supplies this quote in its fuller form... In fact, it is the very passage translated in Tsongkhapa, 2005, vol. 2, 368: “bodhisattvas [are able to help] all those beings

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There is one single occurrence of rda-log that I believe is nothing more than a miscopying of ja-log (the graphic similarity, in Tibetan script, is easily seen). It occurs in a list of unusual Old Tantra terms that the editor of the Old Tantra Collection regarded as likely to be difficult for people to understand. In any case it glosses rda-log with the term gnas-’gyur-pa. What the catalog author intended by this is itself not so clear, but gnas-’gyur[-ba] generally means transposing, i.e., shifting something onto a different and usually higher level, making the necessary adjustments along the way.22 By contrast, in a translation of a more recent Nyingma work, we find a footnote that reads: “The term ja log is to be understood as meaning ‘reversed from’ or ‘passed beyond’.” This is, after all, quite different from most of the meanings we have seen so far.23 One lesson we might derive from beholding all these bewilderingly different interpretations, is just that it is something difficult to define, a significant point in itself. Still, there is a general semantic space that all (or nearly all) of these meanings occupy. It means something like bringing back into the fold something that has gone wrong, that has strayed from its true path. Something that has gotten wasted away gets restored. Often we find the homeopathic principle that the very thing regarded as laying at the basis of the ailment may be brought into play in its curing. Some Nyingma contexts seem to suggest a kind of integration or transposition takes place, although I suppose they, too, may imply bringing into use something that would otherwise stray from the purpose. We have also seen a spoken version of this (placing the verb ‘to speak’ after the word gya-log) that comes out meaning some kind of cunning and even purposefully misleading use of words. Perhaps, just perhaps, the meaning, or at least the meaning intended by Padampa, will gain sharper focus if we look at the one miniscule and not entirely intelligible text devoted to the subject in the Zhijé Collection. It is in the major section that contains the dialogical texts in which Padampa’s main disciple Kunga noted down his statements (Kunga’s notes then underwent rearrangement according to subject-matter by his disciple Patsab), numbered

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who have been wandering helplessly since beginningless time through cyclic existence without protection...” For comparison, Tsong-kha-pa, 2000, vol. 1, 330 reads: “[bodhisattvas] do this so that all beings... who are now bereft and without a protector...” Notice that one translates the gya as “wandering,” the other as “bereft.” Many other dictionaries have entries for gya-ba, beginning with Csoma de Körös who defined it as “deformed, disfigured.” For the source, see Dge-rtse Paṇ-chen, 1973, vol. 36, 455. For more usages of this term gnas’gyur[-ba], see Sobisch, 2002, 15, et passim, where it is generally translated as ‘transformation.’ Mi-pam-gya-tso, 2006, 65, note d.

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as eleventh in the series of fifteen (or sixteen). I have attempted a complete translation, even if it would have been wiser to wait for the future when another text witness will appear to help us establish better readings. Kunga would have put it down in writing during the first two decades of the 12th century, certainly prior to his death in 1124. In a number of cases it would suit the intended meaning better if the statements were made to begin with the words There is a circumstance under which... or There are cases in which... The text as a whole bears the title “About the Vital Points of gya-log.”24 These are precepts on the vital points of gya-log: The basis of disease gets turned into one of the [seven] elements of the healthy body. [There is something that] thoroughly dries out when placed in water.25 Make petitions from below and blessings enter from above. When you have first served your own benefits, those of others follow. If you put non-agitation into practice the non-agitated dawns in your mind. When awareness is extended to the external world, [subject-object] duality dissolves internally. If you have not engaged in the very thing that is to be eliminated, later on the result will be unfailing (?). If you clear away the kleśas within, outward suffering will dry up. If you understand phenomena as illusory, the absence of preoccupations will be born in your mental continuum. When you tighten your awareness on external world, the humours (the nexuses of disease) are eliminated within. When your own accumulations are spread externally, accumulations of others are gathered within. If you have [this] precept within yourself, the holy Dharma is something others will teach you. 24

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Gya log gnad kyi skor. The only known version of the text is found in Zhijé Collection, vol. 3, 72–73. The word for vital points is just the first of several medical metaphors used in this text. Tibetan gnad is in Sanskrit marman, meaning points in the body that if pierced would likely have fatal results. Following the traditions’ own account of the transmission of the text, the subject title could have only been added by Patsab (or even a later person in the lineage), not by Kunga himself. This translation would read differently but for the knowledge that it conceals a rather common phrase skam thag-chod-pa, which means ‘decidedly dry’ or “dessicated.” Otherwise we may be tempted to read it as saying, “A dried out rope may be cut when it is in the water,” which seems plausible, if incorrect.

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If you hide your utterances within, you will be free of faults outwardly. If you trace the interdependencies within your own body, the meditative experiences fall upon you like rain. If you understand non-truth externally, inner fixations dissolve. If you piece together the puzzle of awareness, ordinary appearances will be transformed. If you reverse external addiction, awareness dawns within. If you perform activities that replicate forceful methods, meditative experiences flash like lightning bolts. If you cut off outwardly oriented prapañcas, subject-object dichotomies are disentangled within. When you withdraw from external entertainments, virtuous efforts blossom within. If you dissolve desire in your mind, bliss arises in your mental continuum. If you direct your investigative impulses to what is external, internal understandings dawn. When awareness has nothing on which to rest, the six heaps (the six senses) are disentangled on their own ground. When you overcome internal kleśas, you are freed from external enemies. If you dress in body armor in your mind, perseverance is born in your body. When awareness is clarified within, the interdependent connections appear in the external world. If you uncover sangsara’s hidden flaws, internal addictions are reversed. If you rely on a mental continuum free of preoccupations, external appearances appear as illusory. If the super-addictions are eliminated within, the absence of need for necessities dawns without. If you have dissolved the outflows in the stabilized meditative state, your post-meditative and meditative experiences will be good. If you keep commitments externally, the internal accomplishments are close by. If you cut conceptual thinking to pieces, the accomplishment will arise by degrees. If you have internal meditative experiences, the signs of elimination will arise externally. If you piece together the puzzle of awareness external phenomena will dissolve.

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If the eight worldly dharmas are leveled within, all that has to do with sangsara and nirvana will dissolve externally. If you stop troubling thoughts internally, outwardly you find nothing to talk about. If you dissolve attachments internally, the non-truth (i.e. illusory nature) dawns externally. If you understand the absence of own-nature (svabhāva) internally, then the need for acceptance-rejection does not arise. These are the precepts of thoroughly drying out when placed in water, the advice about the vital points of gya-log. Before going on to look at some commentary by a later member of the Kunga tradition, we ought to make the basic observation that in practically every line of the text, there is a surprise observation that when something is done mentally or internally, this unexpected result takes place outwardly, or when this is done outwardly, this unexpected result takes place inwardly. The characterization of gya-log as something counterintuitive is surely vindicated, as is the idea that external actions can result in internal transformation, probably a significant point for explaining Padampa’s dramatic treatment methods that are often said to have had equally dramatic results in terms of changing people’s minds or the way the world appears to them.26 Following is a paraphrase of Tenné’s commentary that dates to somewhere around the end of 12th century. It begins by citing Padampa’s words, “[There is something that] thoroughly dries out when placed in water.” Tenné explains that a skilled physician knows how to perform this feat [of drying something out in water], meaning that the orally transmitted precepts are able to take what are the very causes of sangsara, the five poisons, and sublimate them for use on the Path to Enlightenment (lam-du slong-ba), adding that this is a subject concealed in the margins (gud-du sbas-pa) in the sūtras, tantras and treatises. Tenné continues saying this is something that the rtog-ge, the sgratshad-pas [the philologists and logician-grammarians] have particular trouble comprehending. It presumes a commitment to meditation practice.27

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Far from being unique to Padampa, it has occurred to many that long-term stress-induced psychological complexes such as phobias may not respond to gentle methods, and may even require stressful treatments. See for example Jacobs, “Stress,” where it is strongly suggested that deeply therapeutic change cannot take place without the use of stress. Zhijé Collection, vol. 5, 397. The passage is too long, difficult and involved to translate completely.

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At this point, among other matters, we ought to give more practical examples of Padampa’s ‘crazy wisdom’ in action than those mentioned already. There are plentiful resources for this in the Zhijé Collection. We also ought to go into other Indo-Tibetan Buddhist sources for ‘counterintuitive’ techniques of spiritual direction. These are still more plentiful. In general it is true, as Tenné said, that this is “concealed in the margins” in canonical texts. But it is also true that there are indeed some brief texts and passages that have it as their chief focus. One of the most famous of these is found in the Hevajra Tantra.28 If we look for texts with their own separate titles, rather than passages contained in larger texts, we find there is a brief Kadampa text of the Mind Training genre called Teachings on Sublimating the Kleśas for Use on the Path to Enlightenment. This title is anonymous. Even its title closely echoes language found in the Zhijé Collection. There is an excellent translation of it by Dr. Thupten Jinpa, the usual English language oral translator for His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama for some years now.29 There are many brief passages, but I would like to supply a translation of what I believe is one of the more extensive ones. It is contained in an Indian text by the tantric Āryadeva called Cittaviśuddhi, or “Mental Purification.” Although we cannot go into the text and its contexts, here is a sampling of some verses from the Cittaviśuddhi by Āryadeva that may be enough to confirm that it does indeed advocate counterintuitive methods. Water in the ear can be removed by water, a thorn can be removed with a thorn. Just so the wise know how to remove desire with desire. Just as the laundryman uses dirt to purify a dirty garment, a wise person also uses dirt to clean dirt itself. As the dust motes on a mirror when wiped help make it clean, so, to rely on the wise, faults are overcome by faults. 28

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See Snellgrove, 1959, vol. 1, 93, with Sanskrit and Tibetan texts in vol. 2, 50–51. It mentions counterintuitive treatments for medical conditions, including poisoning, flatulence, water in the ear, and burns. Jinpa, 2006, 197–198.

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If a metal ball is put in water it sinks to the bottom, but if it is shaped into the right vessel, it not only doesn’t sink, it holds up others. In the same way a mind that is the right vessel, through the workings of wisdom and means, gets disentangled while acting on impulse and disentangles others as well. When a confused consciousness uses it desire is the chains themselves. When wise persons use it desire brings them all the way to freedom. All the world knows that milk cures poisonings, but if a snake drinks it its poison is multiplied. The swan knows how to sip out the milk from a mixture of water and milk. The wise person, while acting in the poisoned sensory realms, is freed. If done according to procedures, even poison can be made into the acqua vitae, while children who don’t know how to eat butter or molasses can be poisoned by them. Yet to those who cleanse their own minds with the appropriate measures its unthinkable, unimaginable pure nature shines bright. Even the smallest flame making use of the butter, wick, etc., clear, pure and steady dispels the most obdurate darkness. The Banyan seed though small under the right conditions will grow into a giant tree with roots, branches and flowers.

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When mustard is mixed with mineral powders a different color is produced. In a similar way the wise know the Dharma Realm through the workings of wisdom and means. Butter and honey in equal proportions can be a harmful combination, but when taken in the right way, it can be the best nutritional program. Putting mercury in copper makes it perfectly golden. Just so the application of true Total Knowledge makes mental complexes into something worthwhile.30 There is much in these verses that begs for discussion, however for now I will limit myself to the general observation that while both Padampa and Āryadeva are very surely speaking about counterintuitive methods and both employ medical analogies, there do appear to be a few differences. The former emphasizes the inner/outer distinction, with changes introduced on one side having unexpected but significant consequences on the other. Āryadeva emphasizes the homeopathic, but in addition to the medical brings in yet other aspects of traditional physic including botany, chemistry and metallurgy.31 30

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These verses were earlier “published” in a blog: . The translation was at first based on Patel, 1949, 24–27, but went on to take other texts into account. I believe the translation is adequate, but for those who would like to compare other versions, I recommend looking at Varghese, 2008, 236–240. Although this part of it has not as yet been published, one might also find a way to get access to Wedemeyer, 1999, 364–367. There is a possibility that these verses were written by Padampa’s own uncle who was named Āryadeva, but there have been at least three known historical figures by that name, so it is difficult to be certain. I purposefully make use the word physic as a traditional western term covering all the physical sciences, although it may sometimes intend medicine alone. In terms of psychologies, the modern/traditional divide is often drawn based on the accompanying medical concepts. If four- or five-element physics are involved in a medical humoral physiology, and if spirit entities like angels or spirits are used to explain the health of psychological processes, it is to be regarded as traditional and not modern. Padampa complicates this picture, because even while he is typical of Eurasia of his times in accepting a humoral physiology enmeshed in an element-based physic, he and many other Buddhist teachers often stress that spirits both good and bad are mental phenomena (or projections of one’s own mind). We should add that Padampa was not a practicing doctor

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I would like to end with a brief and strategic comparison that can perhaps be developed in greater detail some other time. Despite other differences, tantric Buddhism and psychoanalysis have in common a concern to reduce psychological distress along with the habitual patterns of behavior and thinking associated with that distress. Naturally, I had to state that rather carefully to negotiate potential objections from different sides. Both traditions believe success in this endeavor largely hinges on the relationship with the analyst or spiritual teacher as the case may be. In the original psychoanalytical tradition in Vienna at the turn of the 20th century, Freud and others agreed that something implicated in the analyst-client relationship called transference was the most powerful item in their toolkit. To quote Carl Jung: The main problem of medical psychotherapy is the transference. In this matter Freud and I were in complete agreement.32 Freud famously wrote very little on the subject of transference.33 He does tell us how early relational conflict, generally with a parent, gets reenacted in the client-analyst relationship. Transference, a form of projection (or mirroring), is something that comes up naturally, but once it does occur, the analyst must find the right way to make use of it. In the popular view—a view much encouraged by Freud’s own brief writings on the subject—transference most likely involves fantasizing some kind of love-relationship with the analyst. But at the same time, by locating the point at which the client displays resistance, the hidden psychic problem can be divined and brought into consciousness, and knowing it the analyst can proceed with treatment accordingly. Interestingly, in Freud’s brief treatment he alludes to the “discretion” that other analysts were insisting ought to be observed when the subject is broached. Discretion is just another word for a kind of secrecy in which your concern is that only the right people need to know about it. Little was written in early days in Vienna

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of any kind and rarely even speaks about medicine per se. There are some magico-medical recipe texts attributed to his name only in the fifteenth century, and these are the likely sources of medical instructions that were credited to him in some of the Tibetan medical compendia. Perry, 2008, 147, quoting Jung, 1963, 203. I cite Perry’s work here because I regard it as a very significant discussion of the subject, triangulating as it does the Freudian, the Jungian and the inner alchemical. Especially significant for coverage of the 20th-century dialectic between Buddhist and Freudian ideas, and for its argument that Buddhist meditation on the part of the analyst can help her or him make good use of the countertransference, I recommend Cooper, 1999. See Freud, 1958; and Freud, 1959.

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about transference, and even less about counter-transference, although of course much was written later on in the tradition. As is well known, Freud denied (as well as explicitly rejected) the client’s “idealization” of the analyst, while Jung accepted some form of it—in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism the idealization of the Guru, Lama or spiritual guide can be carried to amazing heights. We should add that Freud hardly ever advised introspection of any kind, and introversion34 was for him just a necessary pre-condition for psychological illness, signifying neither more nor less than a turning away from reality. Indeed it is difficult to think of any position more antithetical to Buddhist world-renunciation than Freud’s. There are significant differences in approach, methods, aims and so on, and no doubt if we were to concentrate on finding these differences the list would grow quite long. Still, I should make clear, I believe that in terms of these mysterious treatment techniques, respectively gya-log and transference, the Padampans and Freudians probably have little in common, and it is not my intent at the moment to make a serious attempt to compare or contrast the two in a substantial way. What I do want to say is that if we want to understand early psychoanalysis we have to consider what they regarded as their most effective techniques. And the same goes for Padampa, his early Zhijé followers, and Vajrayāna in general when it comes to their counterintuitive methods. I should like to suggest the possibility that Padampa employed a high level of methodological sophistication in dealing with the human mental predicaments of his followers that could have rivaled or surpassed early psychoanalytical methods. Why wouldn’t we at least be interested in finding out if this is so? And if we 34

He rarely used the term introversion, and never in a positive way. In its most simple meaning, the word means ‘ turning within,’ and might be regarded as like introspection, or ‘looking within,’ only enduring for the longer term. For Freud’s and his contemporaries’ evaluations of introversion, particularly regarding its dark side, see Silberer, 1971, 243. A computer-assisted search through the complete works of Freud in English in 24 volumes came up with six occurrences of the word introspection and 22 of introversion. By the way, Herbert Silberer (1882–1923 CE) was likely one of the conduits for traditional (or inner alchemical) influences on Freud, influences from which Freud later distanced himself as part of his effort to gain scientific respectability for “his” profession. Jung famously followed up on the alchemical aspects that Freud in large part (except for a few telling terms like sublimation and condensation) abandoned and suppressed. Silberer himself was famously rejected from Freud’s inner circle and several years later committed suicide by hanging. The English version of his book was since retitled in such a way that it would appeal to occultists, but could never again be regarded as a serious study of psychology. On the western cultural history of sublimation, recognizing the alchemical sources adapted by Freud, see Graebner, 2010, noting its statement, “Freud brought the term sublimation into psychoanalytic discourse in [...] 1897.”

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sense some resistance to that idea, could it be the case that ethnocentric and/ or modernist assumptions of spatial and temporal superiority are still at work in our work? So here is what I feel ready to put forward, not so much as conclusions, as challenges for future development: Firstly, that counterintuitive methods ought to be regarded as more than just significant, but really, a defining theme in Vajrayāna spiritual guidance and soteriology. Secondly, that Padampa’s moderately forceful and counterintuitive methods, indicated by the term gya-log, were central to his Buddhist mentorship in a way that transference was central to early Viennese psychoanalysts. Within their respective traditions, both methods have been discussed with circumspection and discretion, perhaps even secrecy; in the early days at least, we get only brief references and a couple of very short texts. This much alone suggests there may be other similarities worthy of exploration and reflection. I think there very probably are. Quite often when gya-log is mentioned in the Zhijé Collection it goes together with a metaphorical expression about something that dries out when it is put in the water. Therefore this seems to have been regarded as a primary metaphor for understanding what the term gya-log means. I have some ideas, but I think I will save them for another time.

References

Achard, Jean-Luc. 1999. L’essence perlée du secret. Brepols: Turnhout. Birch, Jason. 2011. “The Meaning of Haṭha in Early Haṭhayoga.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 131 (4): 527–554. Btsan-lha Ngag-dbang-tshul-khrims. 1997. Brda bkrol gser gyi me long. Beijing: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang. Carveth Donald L. and Jean Hantman Carveth. 2003. “Fugitives from Guilt: Postmodern De-Moralization and the New Hysterias.” American Imago 60 (4): 445–479. Chou, Wen-Shing Lucia. 2011. “The Visionary Landscape of Wutai Shan in Tibetan Buddhism from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Century.” PhD diss., Berkeley, University of California. Cooper, Paul C. 1999. “Buddhist Meditation and Countertransference: A Case Study.” American Journal of Psychoanalysis 59 (1): 71–85. Crosby, Kate. 2000. “Tantric Theravāda: A Bibliographic Essay on the Writings of François Bizot and Others on the Yogāvacara Tradition.” Contemporary Buddhism 1 (2): 141–196. Dge-rtse Paṇ-chen ‘Gyur-med-tshe-dbang-mchog-grub (1761–1829). 1973. Bde bar gshegs pa’i bstan pa thams cad kyi snying po rig pa ‘dzin pa’i sde snod rdo rje theg pa snga

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‘gyur rgyud ‘bum rin po che’i rtogs pa brjod pa lha’i rnga bo che lta bu’i gtam, contained in: Rnying ma’i rgyud ‘bum, reproduced from manuscripts preserved at Gting-skyes Dgon-pa Byang in Tibet, in 36 vols, filling vols. 35 and 36. Thimbu, Bhutan: Dingo Khyentse Rimpoche. Dpa’-bo II Gtsug-lag-phreng-ba (1504–1566). 1986. Chos ‘byung mkhas pa’i dga’ ston (Scholars’ Feast), 2 vols. Ed. by Rdo-rje-rgyal-po. Beijing: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang. Drepung Catalogue. 2004. ‘Bras spungs dgon du bzhugs su gsol ba’i dpe rnying dkar chag, Dpal brtsegs bod yig dpe rnying zhib ‘jug khang, 2 vols. Bejing: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang. Dreyfus, Georges and Evan Thompson. 2007. “Asian Perspectives: Indian Theories of Mind.” In The Cambridge Handbook of Consciousness, edited by Philip David Zelazo, Morris Moscovitch and Evan Thompson, 89–114. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Freud, Sigmund. 1958. “The Dynamics of Transference.” Translated by James Strachey. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, 97–108. London: The Hogarth Press. Freud, Sigmund. 1958. “Observations on Transference-Love (Further Recommendations on the Technique of Psycho-Analysis III).” Translated by James Strachey. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, vol. 12, 157–171. London: The Hogarth Press. Gibson, Todd. 1991. “From Btsanpo to Btsan.” Unpublished PhD diss. Bloomington: Indiana University. Graebner, William. 2010. “Sublimation.” In The Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology 4th edition, edited by Irving B. Weiner & W. Edward Craighead, 1724–1725. Hoboken: John Wylie & Sons. Haarh, Erik. 1969. The Yar-luṅ Dynasty: A Study with Particular Regard to the Contribution by Myths and Legends to the History of Ancient Tibet and the Origin and Nature of its Kings. København: G.E.C. Gad. Jacobs, W.J. and Lynn Nadel. 1985. “Stress-Induced Recovery of Fears and Phobias.” Psychological Review 9 (4): 512–531. Jinpa, Thupten, tr. 2006. Mind Training: The Great Collection, compiled by Shönu Gyalchok & Könchok Gyaltsen, The Library of Tibetan Classics series. Boston: Wisdom Publications. Jinpa, Thupten. 2009. “Is Meditation a Means of Knowing our Mental World?” Essay on internet (no longer available on September 11, 2016). Jung, C.G. 1963. Memories, Dreams, Reflections. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Kilty, Gavin, tr. 2010. Mirror of Beryl: A Historical Introduction to Tibetan Medicine. Boston: Wisdom Publications. Martin, Dan. 2000. “Comparing Treasuries: Mental States and Other Mdzod-phug Lists and Passages with Parallels in Abhidharma Works by Vasubandhu and Asaṅga, or in

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Prajñāpāramitā Sūtras—A Progress Report.” In New Horizons in Bon Studies, edited by Samten G. Karmay and Yosuhiko Nagano, 21–88. Osaka: The National Museum of Ethnology. Martin, Dan. 2006. “Padampa Sangye: A History of Representation of a South Indian Siddha in Tibet.” In Holy Madness: Portraits of Tantric Siddhas, edited by Rob Linrothe, 108–123. New York: Rubin Museum of Art. Martin, Dan. 2013. “A Tree Gives Testimony on its Own Growth Rings: Arboreal and Other Metaphors for the Underlying Spatio-Temporal Organization of the Zhijé Collection” (unpublished paper presented at the conference, “Manuscripts and Xylograph Traditions in the Tibetan Cultural Sphere: Regional and Periodical Characteristics,” May 15–18, 2013, Universität Hamburg). Mi-pam-gya-tso (i.e., Mi-pham-rgya-mtsho, 1846–1912). 2006. Fundamental Mind: The Nyingma View of the Great Completeness, with commentary by Khetsun Sangpo Rinbochay, tr. by Jeffrey Hopkins. Ithaca: Snow Lion. Patel, P.B.  1949. Cittaviśuddhiprakaraṇa of Āryadeva: Sanskrit and Tibetan Texts. Santiniketan: Visva-Bharati Research Publications. Perry, Christopher. 2008. “Transference and Countertransference.” In The Cambridge Companion to Jung, edited by Polly Young-Eisendrath and Terence Dawson, 147–169. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Sanderson, Alexis. 1994. “Vajrayāna: Origin and Function.” In Buddhism into the Year 2000: International Conference Proceedings, 87–102. Bangkok: Dhammakaya Foundation. Shonin, Edo, William van Gordon and Mark D. Griffiths. 2014. “The Emerging Role of Buddhism in Clinical Psychology: Toward Effective Integration.” Psychology of Religion and Spirituality 6 (2): 123–137. Silberer, Herbert. 1971. Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts, tr. Smith Ely Jelliffe. New York: Dover Publications. Reprint of 1917 publication entitled Problems of Mysticism and Its Symbolism; the German-language original was published in 1913. Snellgrove, David, tr. 1959. The Hevajra Tantra: A Critical Study. London: Oxford University Press. Sobisch, Jan-Ulrich. 2002. Three-Vow Theories in Tibetan Buddhism. Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag. Thub-bstan-phun-tshogs, chief ed. 2012. Bod yig tshig gter rgya mtsho, 3 vols. Chengdu: Si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang. Tsong-kha-pa Blo-bzang-grags-pa (1357–1419 CE). 2000. The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment (Lam rim chen mo), trans., Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee. Ithaca: Snow Lion. Tsongkhapa. 2005. Steps on the Path to Enlightenment, trans., Geshe Lhundup Sopa & David Patt. Boston: Wisdom Publications.

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Varghese, Mathew. 2008. Principles of Buddhist Tantra: A Discourse on Cittaviśuddhiprakaraṇa of Āryadeva. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal. Wedemeyer, Christian. 1999. “Vajrayāna and Its Doubles: A Critical Historiography, Exposition, and Translation of the Tantric Works of Āryadeva.” PhD diss., New York, Columbia University. Zhijé Collection. 1979. The Tradition of Pha Dampa Sangyas: A Treasured Collection of His Teachings Transmitted by T[h]ug[s]-sras Kun-dga’, 5 vols. Reproduced from a unique collection of manuscripts preserved with ‘Khrul-zhig Rinpoche of Tsa-rong Monastery in Dingri, edited with an English introduction to the tradition by B. Nimri Aziz.” Thimphu, Bhutan: Kunsang Tobgey.

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Chapter 8

Perception, Body and Selfhood: The Transformation of Embodiment in the Thod rgal Practice of the “Heart Essence” Tradition Eran Laish The non-dual assertion of a reality that is primordially pure (ka dag) challenges basic assumptions about human consciousness and the ways in which it is transformed. As against the prevailing Buddhist view, which holds consciousness to be a state of delusion that requires purification and transformation, the notion of a primordial purity calls for an affirmation of an original reality beyond temporal distinctions such as present impurity and future wholesomeness.1 Due to the importance of contemplative practices in enabling a direct realization of a non-dual vision, we can expect that a shift from a temporal perspective to a primordial one will also occur on the level of praxis. As such, we might ask how the practices associated with a non-dual vision express it in the context of their actual application.2 At the same time, we may wonder how these practices relate to the worldly experiences, which are still part of the practitioner’s life, without supporting any dualistic distinctions. I intend to consider these questions by discussing one of the most intricate Buddhist schemes of non-dual practices. This scheme is found in the “Heart Essence” (sNying thig) tradition, which is one of the main strands of the Tibetan non-dual tradition “The Great Perfection” (rDzogs pa chen po).3 Although its recorded teachings are dated later than those of other “Great Perfection” lineages, with time the “Heart Essence” became widely diffused, perhaps thanks to its rich array of skilful means that enabled it to address both 1 For a more detailed discussion on the common identification of worldly consciousness with states of delusion, as well as on the meditative practices that are intended to transform those, see the article by Dan Martin in the present volume. 2 A related discussion on the connection between a view of non-duality and certain Tantric practices is found in the paper by Yael Bentor in the present volume. Also, see the paper of Robert Sharf in this volume for a concise discussion on the relation between a view that affirms the original luminosity of the mind and contemplative practices in the Chinese Buddhist world of 7th-8th ce. 3 For an elaborate presentation of the “Heart Essence” tradition, see Germano 1994, 2005; Cuevas 2003.

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worldly and soteriological concerns. Among these skilful means we find elaborate descriptions of various contemplative practices that prepare awareness to abide in its own natural state together with practices that actualize such an abiding. These practices were grouped by the prominent 14th century “Great Perfection” teacher Klong chen rab ’byams pa into two main categories:4 those of “Cutting through Solidity” (Khregs chod) and those of “Leap Over” or “Direct Crossing” (Thod rgal).5 Each of these categories included both preparatory and actual non-dual practices. Thus, in both groups we can find practices that still adhere to a temporal frame of gradual development which is initiated by intentional effort, and practices that affirm an attitude of natural abiding which allows the original qualities of awareness to manifest on their own. However, this seemingly clear distinction become less incisive when reviewing the actual practices, as the preparatory practices lead to a state of luminous restfulness while some of the main non-dual practices utilize certain deliberate key-points for contemplation. The subdivision of the sNying thig practices reflects their somewhat diverse characteristics and the distinct experiential qualities with which they are ­associated. Although the practices of each category encompass all of the basic qualities of natural awareness, the “Cutting through Solidity” practice has been associated mainly with the aspect of naked and spacious awareness while the “Leap Over” practice has been thought to primarily address the aspect of ­luminous phenomena (TDD, 201). The latter was thus considered the superior of the two, since it fully integrated the spacious openness and the clear luminosity of natural awareness.6 At the same time, the “Leap Over” practice in 4 For biographical accounts of the life of Klong chen pa, see Klong-chen-pa Dri-med-ʾod-zer and Tulku Thondup 2002; Hillis 2003, 108–137; Butters 2006, 24–47. 5 The twofold classification of non-dual practices in the sNying thig tradition appeared already in “The Seventeen Tantras” (rGyud bcu bdun), which are considered to be the canonical foundation of it. For example, in “The Garland of Precious Pearls Tantra” (Mu tig rin po che phreng ba’i rgyud) these two practices are mentioned together (MT, 536.3). Later on, Klong chen pa further explicated these practices, such as in his “Treasury of Words and Meanings” (Tshig don mdzod) where he introduced the practice of “Cutting through Solidity” as suitable for those of sharp faculties who are lazy, while the practice of “Direct Crossing” was presented as suitable for diligent practitioners with an inclination towards effortful practices (TDD, 201). In this sense, we can ask whether the two practices really form a unitary frame or rather that their integration is an artificial one, perhaps prompted by an attempt to incorporate the naked non-dual practices in a tantric-oriented scheme. For a comprehensive discussion of these non-dual practices, see Guenther 1992. 6 In his “Treasury of Supreme Vehicle” (Theg mchog mdzod) Klong chen pa enumerated seven aspects that contribute to the superiority of the “Leap Over” practice, including: “The difference of the luminosity that is apparent, the difference of connecting with practices, the dif-

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general, and its non-dual main practice in particular, shared with the practice of “Cutting through Solidity” its contemplative vision.7 This vision featured such themes as relaxation, letting go, naturalness and openness.8 Yet, while the vision was applied in the “Cutting through Solidity” main practice without any modification as it was meant for those of sharp faculties and a relaxed nature, the “Leap Over” main practice actualized the same vision through several structured sets of bodily postures and perceptual modes of gazing. In this sense, the “Leap Over” practice combined a strict non-dual vision and a proactive attitude that is closer to tantric practices associated with the Creation (bsKyed rim; Utpattikrama) and Completion (rDzogs rim; Sampānnakrama) phases. Consequently, although stressing a calm and non-modified attitude, this practice also made use of contrived means to induce a deep transformation at the basic levels of embodiment and perception.

Preliminary Practices

As noted, the “Leap Over” praxis entails both preliminary and main practices. Although diverging with respect to several basic principles, such as the relation between awareness and phenomena, both of these contemplative practices are designed to enhance certain qualities of experience. Such ference of manifestly seeing the self-visions, the difference of the channels [that are] the key points of the body, the difference of the [sense] door that causes [perceptual] visions, the difference of the sense faculty that sees, the difference of appearing [through] the increase of experience, and [these are the] seven” (snang ba ’od kyi khyad par| nyams len lag len dang ’brel ba’i khyad par| rang snang mngon sum du gzigs pa’i khyad par| lus gnad rtsa’i khyad par| snang byed sgo’i khyad par| mthong ba dbang po’i khyad par| nyams myong ’phel snang gi khyad par dang bdun no|, TCD II, 230). In his “Treasury of Words and Meanings” (Tshig don mdzod) Klong chen pa introduced a slightly different version of these special characteristics: “The difference of connecting with practices, the difference of the channels [that are] the key points of the body, the difference of the [sense] door that causes [perceptual] visions, the difference of the sense faculty that sees, the difference of the manifested self key-points, the difference of the luminosity that is apparent, the difference in the increase of experiential visions” (nyams len lag len dang ’brel pa’i khyad par| lus gnad rtsa’i khyad par| snang byed sgo’i khyad par| mthong ba dbang po’i khyad par| rang gnad mngon sum gyi khyad par| snang ba ’od kyi khyad par| nyams snang gong ’phel gyi khyad par ro|, TDD, 231). 7 Third Dzogchen Rinpoche 2008, 4. 8 A concise introduction to the principles of the “Cutting through Solidity” practice can be found in “The Quintessential Teacher” (Bla ma yang tig), which is one of the main treatises of “The Heart Essence in Four Parts” (sNying thig ya bzhi). These principles are delineated at length in Khregs 217–28.

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enhancement is achieved in both practices through modifying various dimensions of experience, including the somatic, vocal and cognitive. By dint of this enhancement, the practices are meant to support a transcendence of the numerous conditionings that form a personal human life, including the somatic boundaries of a self-enclosed consciousness and the existential differentiation between inner and outer realms of being. The preliminary practices of the “Leap Over” praxis are traditionally classified into four distinct kinds: “Training on the Reality of the Sounds of the four Elements”, “Training on the Conduct which Distinguishes Cyclic Existence and Transcendent Peace,” “Preliminaries of Body, Speech and Mind” and “Settling in Naturalness.”9 While all four of these practices still operate within the intentional structure of consciousness, they vary markedly with respect to their contemplative means: for example, some of those foster focused attention whereas others encourage an open and non-selective awareness. The first preliminary practice, that of training on the sounds of the elements, concerns a deepening attentiveness to the sounds associated with the main elements that constitute physical forms.10 By immersing oneself in the sounds of the elements, which arise either in a natural way or through an 9

10

This classification is based on the presentation of these practices in the “Quintessential Teacher,” which further states that the first two practices can be relinquished, unlike the two following practices that are indispensable for preparing awareness to the main nondual practice (dang po ni ’byung bzhi’i sgra don la bslab pa dang| ’khor ’das ru shan ’byed pa’i spyod pa la bslab pa gnyis snon du song ba’am m song kyang rung ste| lus ngag yid gsum gyi sngon ’gro rnal dbab dang bcas pa ’byongs bar sgom pa ni|, LY I, 269). A slightly different classification of the preliminary practices is found in the “Treasury of Words and Meanings” in which the first three practices are described as guides to the three liberated dimension/bodies (sku gsum gyi sna khrid), to original awareness (rig pa’i sna khrid) and to intentional mind (sems kyi sna khrid), respectively, while the fourth practice is a culmination of those (sku gsum gyi sna khrid par byed pa ’byung ba bzhi’i sgra don la bslab pa dang| rig pa’i sna khrid par byed pa ’khor ’das ru shan ’byed pa’i spyod pa la bslab pa dang| sems kyi sna khrid par byed pa lus ngag sems kyi sngon ’gro la bslab pa’o| TDD, 237). Finally, in the “Reverberation of Sound Tantra” (sGra thal ’gyur), which is regarded as the root tantra of “The Seventeen Tantras”, the practice of “Holding the Mind” (Sems ’dzin) is described after the practices of “Training on the Sounds of the four Elements” and “Distinguishing Cyclic Existence and Transcendent Peace” (Thal, 87–94). As such, it can be argued that the preliminary practices according to this Tantra shift from an active intensification of experience to a deepening relaxation until reaching the state of settling in open awareness. For a comprehensive discussion of these practices, see Germano 1997. The list of elements varies across the sources upon which Klong chen pa based his explication of this practice, as the “Reverberation of Sound Tantra” mentioned the four elements of earth (sa), water (chu), fire (me) and wind (rlung) (Thal, 54.2) while the “Illu-

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intentional act, the practitioner is able to directly experience the three liberated dimensions/bodies (sku; kāya) and their associated qualities. Furthermore, due to the dynamic nature of sound, the deepening attentiveness to the sounds of the elements does not result in a fixated concentration, but rather remains open to their ephemeral quality.11 Hence this practice accords well with the contemplative thrust of “Leap Over,” concerned as it is with the unitary being of spacious openness and spontaneous luminosity. The second preliminary practice, that of distinguishing Cyclic Existence and Transcendent Peace, exemplifies the proactive attitude which is meant to heighten experience.12 In the context of the ru shan practices, the practitioner is instructed to act, speak, feel and think in a manner that disregards the customary distinction between wholesome and unwholesome.13 He or she is to move in an exaggerated manner, make a variety of vocal gestures and intentionally engage with the full range of human emotions. These behavioural and mental acts are meant to overpower the force of habitual patterns related to the somatic, verbal and cognitive dimensions of human experience. Once these patterns are subdued, the practitioner is advised to remain in the clear stillness that is revealed when the excessive experiential activity is exhausted. In this way, the forceful and non-discriminating activity separates the habitual tendencies of cyclic becoming from the transcendental presence of natural

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minating Lamp” (sGron ma snang byed) added the element of space (nam ’kha’) (sGron, 91). Germano 1997, 317. Although the conduct of distinguishing Cyclic Existence and Transcendent Peace is enumerated as the second phase of conduct when discussing the intentional mode of praxis, its more comprehensive descriptions are given as part of the preliminary practices of the “Direct Crossing” (TCD II, 112; TDD, 239–242). Consequently, it is possible to ask whether this preliminary practice is applied after being introduced to the nature of mind through the non-dual practice of “Cutting through Solidity”, in which case there arises the question why regard this praxis as intentional when awareness has already transcended this mode. Yet, if this practice precedes the practice of Khregs chod, then why is it presented as a preliminary practice only to the main non-dual practice of “Leap Over” especially when considering the importance of self-settling awareness after the intense conduct. Hence, from both a phenomenological and textual standpoint, it seems that this practice utilizes principles that are associated with the qualities of both non-dual practices, as its culmination returns awareness to rest in its own nature. Other than the instructions found in some of the “Seven Treasures”, a detailed description of the ru shan practices associated with each one of the three constituents of human being is found in “The Detailed Teachings on the Practice that separates Cyclic Becoming from Transcendent Peace, the Empowerment which is exceedingly without Elaborations” that is part of “The Heart Essence of Vimalamitra” (RSh, 21–25).

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awareness, as the practitioner abides in a state which is no longer characterized by grasping, fixation and expectation. Moreover, the manner in which the still-yet-clear natural state is revealed points to the role of the felt body in the construction of an enclosed self. As the experiential process initiated by the ru shan practices involves a noticeable somatic dimension, it becomes quite evident that the dissolution of this mode of selfhood is closely related to certain changes within the felt somatic presence. Yet, it seems that at this stage these changes leave intact the somatic boundaries. As such, the felt barrier between inner soma and outer phenomena is still intuitively given. When turning to the main “Leap Over” practice, however, we find that even this intuitional enclosure loses its felt substantiality in favour of a transparent inter-being of awareness and phenomena. The third preliminary practice addresses, once again, the existential dimensions of body, speech and mind, yet this time through practices that are less provocative. Thus the preliminary practice of body is performed by assuming a vajra-posture in which the soles of the feet are joined, the knees pointing outward, the back is straight and the palms are joined and positioned above the head.14 The preliminary practice of speech involves the repeated recitation of the syllable “hung” while engaging in several visualizations that utilize it for the sake of purifying and transforming one’s own body and his/her surrounding world. The practice consists of four consecutive stages: sealing (rgyas gdab), training the vital expressiveness (rtsal sbyang), seeking flexibility (gnyen btsal) and engaging in the path (lam du zhugs) (Thal, 60.4). Finally, the preliminary practice of mind involves a close examination of the three phases of arising, abiding and departing that characterize each experience (Thal, 60.5). The examination culminates in realizing the insubstantial nature of each momentary experience, as none of those is found to subsist as a perceivable being with an unchanging essence. The application of the three preliminary practices is meant to purify contaminations that are associated with the body, speech and mind of the practitioner, hence enabling awareness to abide in the liberated mode of being of these three existential dimensions. The final preliminary practice of “Settling in Naturalness,” is designed to release the mind into its natural state without engaging in any modifying act. As such, this practice mediates between the intentional and non-dual practices. Arguably, the ability to engage in the practice of “Settling in Naturalness” indicates the maturing of awareness in terms of abiding in original openness. Consequently, its goals, which include the unsnarling of the aggregates, the 14

Thal, 60.3. For a detailed description of this preliminary practice by the founder of the “Heart Essence of Vast Expanse” (Klong chen snying thig), ’Jigs med glings pa, see YL, 283.1.

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exhaustion of conceptual acts and the release of attachments, reflect the experiential descriptions which characterize the following non-dual practices (TDD, 242).

Key Points of the Main Practice

We have noted that the characterization of non-dual praxis as lacking any modification is challenged by the use of contemplative key points in the “Leap Over” main practice. This striking feature may be accounted for by the immanent orientation of the main practice, which is not only meant to reveal the spacious and unchanging ground of natural awareness, but also to re-envision the felt being of somatic and perceptual presence. That is to say, unlike the usual orientation of non-dual practices that turns directly to the transcendental dimension of stillness, whose disclosure enables the practitioner to perceive phenomena as dream-like, the “Leap Over” practice is intended to radically reshape phenomenal presence. Thus, it requires a more focused directiveness that is achieved by applying the key points, and not merely by abiding in the open stillness of awareness. The preparatory key points for the main “Leap Over” practice were divided by Klong chen pa into two groups: one of these concerns the body, speech and mind of the practitioner, and the other deals with his perceptual gateway, perceptual object, vital wind and primordial awareness (TDD, 243–244). The former category includes three bodily postures in which the main practice is to be conducted and an instruction to remain silent, “like a senseless person.” Together, these points were intended to sever the reifying tendencies of consciousness and enable it to rest evenly in its own openness. The three bodily postures which are associated with the main practice are those of the lion (seng ge), the elephant (glang chen) and the sage (drang srong; ṛṣi) (TDD, 243, 275–277).15 Each of these postures is related to one of the three dimensions or bodies of the liberated state (Thal, 169.2). First, the lion posture is related to the dimension of reality (chos sku; dharmakāya) as it aims to facilitate a smooth flow of the vital winds while stopping mental activity. As such, the posture supports the self-disclosure of the expansive aspect of awareness, which is identified with the dimension of reality. Second, the elephant posture is connected to the dimension of enjoyment (longs spyod sku; saṃbhogakāya), since it enriches the blissful heat and felt elements while equalizing the male and 15

For a graphic depiction of the key points and their ensuing visions, see Baker 2000, 110– 157.

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female winds, as well as the qualities of lethargy and agitation. This posture is closely associated with the luminous aspect of awareness that serves as the experiential expression of the dimension of enjoyment. Third, the posture of the sage accompanies the dimension of emanational forms (sprul sku; nirmāṇakāya), thanks to its influence on various aspects of embodied presence, including the balancing of somatic elements, the subduing of afflictive emotions and vital winds and the fusion of awareness and space. The three bodily postures are associated with three modes of gazing, each of which enhances certain experiential qualities that manifest one of the three dimensions of being. The lion posture is affiliated with an upward gazing that facilitates a direct seeing of the pure and open essence of awareness (TDD, 278), the elephant posture is related to a sideward gazing which enables to see the co-emergent self-appearance of luminous awareness and expansive spaciousness (TDD, 278) and the sage posture is connected to a downward gazing that discloses the inherent joyfulness of visionary awareness while pacifying cognitive and affective activity (TDD, 277–278). Together with the bodily postures and the modes of gazing, the practitioner is instructed to breathe in a relaxed way for the sake of calming the vital wind and enabling awareness to settle in the open space of reality, which is both clear and still (TDD, 245). As a final instruction, the practitioner is guided to direct his gaze to the open space in front of himself: this space is the field in which the radical de-solidification of the unfolding visionary process is to take place (TDD, 244). By following the above-noted instructions, the habitual relation between the self-enclosed embodiment of the practitioner and his or her surrounding environment begins to dissolve through a series of visionary states that involve both somatic and perceptual aspects. Put differently, the relaxed abiding in the natural state of awareness, which is both spacious and luminous, together with the application of certain structured key points, weaken the existential intuition of a limited somatic being that inhabits a world of perceptual objects.

The Four Visions

The process of somatic and perceptual desolidification is described in the context of the “Leap Over” practice through four consecutive stages, which begin with the arising of minute vajra-like luminous chains and culminate in the exhaustion of all felt phenomena within the open space of reality-itself. At the same time, according to Klong chen pa this process can occur in a subitist or a gradual manner and, as such, it can unfold with or without the actual manifestation of all four visions (TDD, 272). Arguably, then, the essential elements of

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the visionary process are the intensified clarity of the inner and outer perceptual fields and their dissolution in the pure space of primordial reality, while the gradual elaboration of perceptual phenomena is only of secondary importance. Yet, as descriptions of the visionary process generally deal with the gradual unfolding of the four visions, we will briefly explicate those before discussing the philosophical and soteriological implications of their essential aspects. The first vision is called “The vision which manifests Reality-itself” (Chos nyid mngon sum gyi snang ba), as it marks the initial arising of luminous phenomena in the form of minute vajra chains.16 The arising of those chains signifies the phenomenal manifestation of the self-luminosity of natural awareness within the perceptual space, which is usually considered to be the field of external beings (LY II, 6). In addition, the perceptual manifestation is accompanied by a lack of engagement with the various feelings of somatic being and with the affective attachments that reify phenomena. As such, the experiences associated with this vision reflect a recurrent principle of the four visions, which is that of the mutual affinity between the refining of perceptual, somatic, affective and mental phenomena. The second vision is referred to as “The vision of increasing experiences” (Nyams gong ’phel gyi snang ba), since it indicates the gradual intensification and optimization of experiences in the various strands of human awareness (TDD, 260). In the context of what is termed “noetic experiences” (shes nyams), the vision is characterized by the enhancement of certain experiential qualities, such as bliss, clarity and non-conceptualization, which together provide a primordial intuition of natural being.17 Alongside the noetic experiences, the second vision includes a rich group of visionary experiences (snang nyams) through which the self-luminosity of awareness unfolds in the perceptual field. These experiences develop from basic elements of perception, such as vertical and horizontal luminous lines or radiating colours, to more elaborate phenomena, including heaps of flowers and stūpas (mchod rten) (TDD, 261–263; LY I, 271). Moreover, according to Klong chen pa the increasing of the visionary experiences reflects certain aspects of the disentanglement of awareness from 16

17

The first vision, just like the three following it, was extensively described within the main sNying thig canon of “The Seventeen Tantras,” as well as by Klong chen pa and other “Great Perfection” teachers. In this context we would rely on the descriptions that are found in “The Seventeen Tantras” and in Klong chen pa’s “Seven Treasures” (mDzod bdun) and “The Heart Essence in Four Parts” (sNying thig ya bzhi). A comprehensive account of the various noetic experiences is found in: Thal, 161.2; TDD, 260–261.

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its various objectified conditionings, such as the identification with the five aggregates and the fetters of the five elements (TDD, 263). Hence, the unfolding of vision is not only a perceptual experience, but also an indication of an increasing liberation of self-luminosity from its restrictive habitual patterns. The third vision is termed “The vision of reaching the measure of awareness” (Rig pa tshad phebs snang ba), as it is the state in which the noetic and visionary experiences of awareness manifests to their full extent, before dissolving in the open space of Reality-itself. The full measure of the noetic experiences is divided between two main fields, namely, those of body and those of the mind (TDD, 265). In the context of the body, reaching the measure of awareness according to this vision marks the disappearance of a selfenclosed sense of corporeality and the emergence of a felt light body (lus ’od). The perceptual emphasis of the “Leap Over” visions leads to the arising of the light body being described as a radiating of visible five coloured light from various organs of the body (TDD, 266–267; LY I, 273–274; LY II, 6). However, since these five colours also signify the original manifestation of the five primordial knowings (ye shes, jñāna), we might ask whether the descriptions of the body liberated as light are best read as expressing a visually perceptible phenomenon or rather understood as explicating a felt experience of the dissolution of solid corporeality (rdos pa). As each of these interpretations seems to reflect distinct phenomenological dimensions of embodiment - the body as a felt somatic presence (Leib) and the body as an object of objectifying perception (Körper) - one might argue for both accounts.18 Alongside the measure of bodily experiences, the measure of mind experiences is marked by utter clarity and a complete dissolution of conceptual and mental acts (TDD, 267; Thal, 171.3). At the same time, the inner vital wind that is closely related to the elaboration of those acts is exhausted and, thus, awareness is able to abide while still emanating luminous phenomena (LY I, 273). As noted, the gradual intensification of awareness occurs in both the noetic and perceptual contexts. Just as the noetic experiences are amplified, the visionary experiences also take on greater elaboration. These experiences unfold through the pure appearances of male and female deities, as well as their surrounding maṇḍalas, which fill the visual field (TDD, 264–265; LY II, 18). The unfolding of the visionary experiences subverts the existential distinction between inner felt body and outer visual phenomena, because the manifested experiences are perceived as direct expressions of natural awareness in both realms. The erosion of this distinction sets the ground for the concluding vision, in which all phenomena dissolve in the space of their own nature. 18

On the different meanings of ‘Body’, see Gallagher and Zahavi 2010.

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The fourth and final vision, “The vision of the exhaustion in Reality-itself” (Chod nyid zad pa’i snang ba), signifies the complete subsiding of all phenomena into their primordial nature of luminous stillness. In the context of noetic experiences, the exhaustion is revealed through the dissolution of somatic corporeality and cognitive activity. The dissolution of the latter also includes the utter purification of the subtle dormant stains of the All-ground (Kun gzhi; Ālaya) consciousness, which support the ongoing solidification of clear phenomena into self-subsisting objects (LY II, 6–7). Side by side with such exhaustion, the visionary experiences are disclosed in their original transparency (zang thal) that is accompanied by their recognition as the radiating clear light of primordial knowing (LY II, 19). Finally, the exhaustion of phenomena that occurs by disclosing their authentic translucency permits self-mastery over the crucial events of birth and engaging in worldly affairs for the sake of liberating other beings.19 The liberated practitioners have fully realized the compassionate element of natural awareness, and thus may return to support other beings on their quest for liberation. Yet, free from grasping tendencies, they abide in the profound lucidity (gting gsal) of awareness whenever a beneficial activity is not called for.

Embodiment and Liberative Insight

The experiential process associated with the four visions which are initiated by the “Leap Over” practice has significant implications for our understanding of the state of liberation and the nature of awareness. First, the “Leap Over” practice is intended to actualize the fundamental aspects of natural awareness, to wit, its openness, luminosity and compassionate responsiveness, in the full range of human experience. Hence, it engages with the somatic, cognitive, affective and perceptual dimensions of human experience alike, without excluding or privileging any particular field. As such, this practice discloses a wide array of experiential states that are typically inaccessible in the context of everyday life. Moreover, these states are considered as embodying profound existential meanings, since they disclose an unmediated reality that transcends the constructed relation between self-enclosed consciousness and self-subsisting beings. The manifestation of such a reality is most prominent in the realm of somatic presence and perceptual appearances. First, the liberation of felt corporeality into light indicates the fundamental place of the lived 19

For a discussion on these two self-masteries, see LY I, 275; LY II, 7.

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body in the gradual dividing of perceiver and perceived.20 Since the experience of a corporeal presence is closely related to the sense of a distinct somatic self, its dissolution enables awareness to disentangle itself from identifying with a confined subjectivity in the form of a limited somatic being. Without this identification, the very ground of grasping is intuitively undermined, as the somatic locus in which it usually occurs is no longer present. In a similar manner to the existential realization initiated by the dissolution of felt corporeality, the radical change in the perception of visual phenomena attests to the basic place of experience in the construction of dualistic reality. Yet, while the dissolution of corporeality erodes the intuitive ground of enclosed subjectivity, the intensifying transparency of visual phenomena challenges the objective subsistence of perceptual entities. Thus, like the ephemeral being of phenomena in a dream, the pure appearances in the culminating “Leap Over” vision cannot become the object of a prolonged fixation, which is the primary condition for the arising of a subsisting entity.21 Finally, the mutual dissolution of inner and outer fixations reveals an authentic mode of being in which all phenomena are directly experienced as emanations of selfluminosity, without being mediated through the structure of an intending subject and an intended object. Lastly, the experiential nature of the four visions clarifies the recurring emphasis of various “Great Perfection” traditions on the inadequacy of analytical practices for realizing the basic nature of reality. As these visions disclose the basic role of a felt intentional structure in constituting a reality of subject and objects, they indicate that any analytic act, by its very nature of intending 20

21

In this context, it is worth mentioning that Prof. Lambert Schmithausen holds that the initial sense of the All-ground consciousness was intimately related to the corporeal presence of the Body. According to him the earliest reference to ālayavijñāna appeared in the Samāhitā Bhūmiḥ of the Basic Section of the Yogācārabhūmi, in which it was defined as sticking to the material sense-faculties (Schmithausen 1987, 18). As this definition was intended to account for the continuity of personal consciousness within states in which perceptual and conceptual consciousness disappeared, it points to the central role of the body in ensuring a sense of temporal individuality. Such role is in line with observations made by Edmund Husserl (1970, 106) and Maurice Merleau-Ponty 1962 concerning the fundamental place of the body in the emergence of personal identity that by its very nature presupposes continuity and individuality. Finally, current phenomenological accounts of embodiment stress the role of bodily feelings in determining basic attitudes towards the world (Ratcliffe 2005, 43–60). Thus, a radical change in the felt experience of embodiment is, at the same time, a transformation of the attunement between awareness and its world. For a discussion on the relations between visual imagery and reality in the context of numerous religious traditions, including “The Great Perfection,” see Kapstein 2004.

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an object of analysis, already affirms such a reality irrespective of its particular contents. In other words, the intellectual analysis of human reality cannot reveal the original nature of its experiential ground in an intuitive and unmediated manner, because it is still rooted in an intentional structure. As a result, although the analytical acts of deconstruction enable to loosen the grasping of conceptual views about reality, only a deep dissolution of intuitional fixations can release awareness into its own spacious and luminous nature. As such, the culminating form of liberative insight is accomplished by directly seeing the transparent yet clear being of phenomena, in which neither divisions nor discriminations can arise.22

References



Primary Sources

Khregs Klong chen rab ’byams pa, Khregs chod ye babs sor gzhag gi don khrid, in Bla ma yang tig, Kun mkhyen klong chen rab ’byams kyi gsung ’bum, 26 vols. (Pe cin: Krung go’i bod rig pa dpe krun khang, 2009), ix, 217–28. LY I Klong chen rab ’byams pa, Bla ma yang tig, Kun mkhyen klong chen rab ’byams kyi gsung ’bum, 26 vols. (Pe cin: Krung go’i bod rig pa dpe krun khang, 2009), ix. LY II Klong chen rab ’byams pa, Bla ma yang tig, Kun mkhyen klong chen rab ’byams kyi gsung ’bum, 26 vols. (Pe cin: Krung go’i bod rig pa dpe krun khang, 2009), x. MT Bi ma la mi tra, ‘Mu tig rin po che phreng ba’i rgyud’, in rNying ma’i rgyud bcu bdun, A ’dzoms, 3 vols. (New Delhi: Sanje dorje, 1977), ii, 417–537. RSh Klong chen rab ’byams pa, Shin tu spros med kyi dbang ’khor ’das ru shan dbye ba’i lag len pra khrid, in Bi ma snying thig, Kun mkhyen klong chen rab ’byams kyi gsung ’bum, 26 vols. (Krung go’i bod rig pa dpe krun khang, 2009), iii, 21–25.

22

In this sense, the intuitional stance taken by the “Great Perfection” proponents affirms the interpretation of liberating insight as an experiential event (Schmithausen, 1981). Yet, unlike some of the initial Buddhist interpretations that perceived this event as indicating a state of deep absorption, the nature of the intuitional insight in the context of the “Great Perfection” is characterized by a non-fragmented openness to the luminous nature of all phenomena. Consequently, the discussion on the nature of liberating insight is revealed to involve not only a distinction between intellectual and experiential interpretations, but also a difference in the proper experiential characteristics of intuitional liberation.

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sGron Klong chen rab ’byams pa, Dung yig can rgyud kyi khong don bsdus pa sgron ma snang byed, in Bi ma snying thig, Kun mkhyen klong chen rab ’byams kyi gsung ’bum, 26 vols. (Pe cin: Krung go’i bod rig pa dpe krun khang, 2009), ii, 63–115. TCD II Klong chen rab ’byams pa, Theg mchog mdzod II: Theg mchog rin po che’i mdzod smad cha, Kun mkhyen klong chen rab ’byams kyi gsung ’bum, 26 vols. (Pe cin: Krung go’i bod rig pa dpe krun khang, 2009), xviii. TDD Klong chen rab ’byams pa, Tshig don mdzod: gSang ba bla na med pa ’od gsal rdo rje snying po’i gnas gsum gsal bar byed pa’i tshig don rin po che’i mdzod, Kun mkhyen klong chen rab ’byams kyi gsung ’bum, 26 vols. (Pe cin: Krung go’i bod rig pa dpe krun khang, 2009), xix. Thal Bi ma la mi tra, Rin po che ’byung bar byed pa sgra thal ’gyur chen po’i rgyud, in rNying ma’i rgyud bcu bdun, A ’dzoms, 3 vols. (New Delhi: Sanje dorje, 1977), i, 1–205. YL ’Jigs med gling pa mkhyen brtse ’od zer, rDzogs pa chen po klong chen snying thig gi khrid yig ye shes bla ma, in gSung ’bum, A ’dzom par ma (Khreng tu’u?: ’Brug spa gro la bskyar par brgyab pa, 1999), xii, 275–412.



Secondary Sources

Baker, Ian. 2000. The Dalai Lama’s Secret Temple: Tantric Wall Paintings from Tibet. New York: Thames & Hudson. Butters, Albion. 2006. The Doxographical Genius of Kun Mkhyen kLong Chen Rab ’Byams Pa. PhD diss., Columbia University. Cuevas, Bryan J. 2003. The Hidden History of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. New York: Oxford University Press. Gallagher, Shaun, and Zahavi, Dan. 2010. “Phenomenological Approaches to SelfConsciousness.” In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward N. Zalta Germano, David. 1994. “Architecture and Absence in the Secret Tantric History of the Great Perfection (rdzogs chen).” Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 17 (2): 203–335. Germano, David. 1997. “The Elements, Insanity and Lettered Subjectivity.” In Religions of Tibet in Practice, edited by Donald S. Lopez, 313–34. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. Germano, David. 2005. “The Funerary Transformation of the Great Perfection (Rdzogs chen).” Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies 1: 1–54. Guenther, Herbert V. 1992. Meditation Differently, Phenomenological-Psychological Aspects of Tibetan Buddhist (Mahāmudrā and sNying-Thig) Practices from Original Tibetan Sources. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers.

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Hillis, Gregory Alexander. 2003. The Rhetoric of Naturalness: A Critical Study of the gNas Lugs Mdzod. Ph.D. diss., University of Virginia. Husserl, Edmund. 1970. The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology; an Introduction to Phenomenological Philosophy. Translated by David Carr. Evanston: Northwestern University Press. Kapstein, Matthew, ed. 2004. The Presence of Light: Divine Radiance and Religious Experience. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Klong chen pa Dri med ʾod zer, and Tulku Thondup. 2002. The Practice of Dzogchen. Edited by Harold Talbott. Ithaca, N.Y.: Snow Lion Publications. Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. 1962. Phenomenology of Perception. New York: Humanities Press. Ratcliffe, Matthew. 2005. “The Feeling of Being.” Journal of Consciousness Studies 12: 43–60. Schmithausen, Lambert. 1981. “On Some Aspects of Descriptions or Theories of Liberating Insight and Enlightenment in Early Buddhism.” In Studien zum Jainismus und Buddhismus: Gedenkschrift Ludwig Alsdorf, edited by Klaus Bruhn and Albrecht Wezler, 199–250. Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner. Schmithausen, Lambert. 1987. Ālayavijñāna: On the Origin and the Early Development of a Central Concept of Yogācāra Philosophy, Studia Philologica Buddhica. Monograph Series, IVa. Tokyo: International Institute for Buddhist Studies. Third Dzogchen Rinpoche. 2008. Great Perfection. Vol. 2, Separation and Breakthrough. Trans. by Cortland Dahl. Ithaca, N.Y: Snow Lion Publications.

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Chapter 9

Tibetan Interpretations of the Opening Verses of Vajraghaṇṭa on the Body Maṇḍala* Yael Bentor

Introduction

This chapter explores the body maṇḍala as it is found in a range of polemical works. I will use the polemical framework itself to better comprehend the crystallization of the tantric traditions in Tibet that took place between the twelfth and the fifteenth centuries. It was in this period that Buddhist thought and practice became systematized in Tibet. Exegetical writing activity was then at its peak, and Tibetan scholarship developed its own styles of Buddhism within the framework of different schools. My aim is to identify the factors that stimulated the creation of systems of thought in Tantric Buddhism—an area that has received much less scholarly attention than Buddhist philosophy, although these two fields are difficult to neatly divide.

Nyāsa and Body Maṇḍala

Sādhanas of the higher Tantras incorporate several methods for achieving the goal of becoming a Buddha in this life. In this paper I examine one of these methods, the practice of the body maṇḍala. Complex techniques for meditation on the body maṇḍala were advanced by Tibetan masters. The simplest of these is referred to as “emplacement” (nyāsa), and is common to both Buddhist and Hindu tantric practices. By touching various points on the body while reciting the corresponding mantras of the deities, the yogi renders the body divine.1 Nonetheless, disagreement concerning the “degree” of divination achieved by the practices of nyāsa and the body maṇḍala are found in both Buddhist and Hindu treatises. * This research was supported by The Israel Science Foundation, grant no. 401/13. 1 As shown by Gavin Flood, scriptures of the Pāñcarātra Āgama such as the Jayākhya-saṃhita, maintain that through the meditation on nyāsa, the yogis become equal to the gods, endowed with supernatural powers, fearless and victorious over death (Flood 2006, 113 and his translation, 188–193).

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2017 | doi 10.1163/9789004340503_011

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All major Buddhist Tantras of the higher class offer instruction on the practice of setting deities on the body. These include the Guhyasamāja Tantra,2 its Explanatory Tantra the Vajramālā,3 the Hevajra Tantra,4 the Abhidhānottara Tantra,5 and the Saṃpuṭa Tantra.6 Yet with regard to meditation on the body maṇḍala the cycle of Cakrasaṃvara is generally taken as authoritative by Tibetan masters. In his Sādhana of Cakrasaṃvara, the Bhagavad-abhisamaya,7 Lūyīpā explains that setting the deities on the psycho-physical constituents of the body serves to purify them.8 While in this case the deities are Buddhist and their bodily locations have Buddhist soteriological meaning, Lūyīpā’s Sādhana 2 Matsunaga 1978, chapter 8, verse 9, Tōh. 442, vol. 81 [ca], D. folio 102a, p. 203.4. This line indicates only that one must set the Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the five Tathāgata families along parts of the body. 3 Tōh. 445, chapter 64, verses 4–6, D. vol. 81 [ca], folio 270a, p. 539.2–3. This Tantra, associated with the Ārya school (Matsunaga 1977, 118–19), uses the more Buddhist terms of the five aggregates for the locations of the five Tathāgatas, and moreover specifically calls this practice ‘body maṇḍala’, ibid., verse 17c, folio 270b, p. 540.3. While chapter 64 describes the bodily locations of all thirty-two deities of the Ārya system, chapter 68 delineates which part of the body transforms into which part of the celestial mansion of the maṇḍala. As Matsunaga ibid., believes chapter 68 is a later addition to the Tantra, perhaps the correlations of the body with the maṇḍala palace is a later development. 4 Snellgrove 1959, I.ix. Here female deities are set on the aggregates. 5 Abhidhānottara-tantra, Mngon par brjod pa’i rgyud bla ma, Tōh. 369; chapter 9, edited and translated into English by Kalff 1979. A similar process of Buddhicizing the body maṇḍala can be seen also in this Yoginī Tantra regarded as a commentarial Tantra of the Cakrasaṃvara cycle. Here the instruction to set the sixty-two deities of the maṇḍala on the body while reciting the seed syllables of the twenty-four sacred places (pīṭhas), is immediately followed by another listing, with a more Buddhist ring, of thirty-two deities, such as the five Buddhas set on the aggregates, the five vajra ladies of the afflictive emotions set on the senses, and three Tathāgatas set on the body, speech and mind. 6 Tōh. 381, D. vol. 79 [ga], the 3rd rab byed in the 6th brtag pa. 7 Bhagavad-abhisamaya, Dpal bcom ldan ’das mngon par rtogs pa, Tōh. 1427. For a Sanskrit edition of the Sanskrit, see Sakurai 1998; and for a study, see Gray 2011. Lūyīpā follows the second and more Buddhist sounding listing in the Abhidhānottara Tantra. However while in the Tantra there are apparently two different lists of deities that should be set on the body after the yogi has generated himself as Heruka with his consort Vajravārāhī, Lūyīpā shifts the second and more Buddhist sounding list of deities and psycho-physical constituents of the body to the opening of the Sādhana—this practice serves to transform the yogi into a deity at the very beginning of the practice. This is one of the seeming paradoxes of numerous Sādhanas, where only as a deity can the yogi engage in the practice of the deity. See Bentor 1996, 2. This is not different in Hindu practices as well, as Gavin Flood (2012, 1) puts it: “Indeed, the well known characteristic of the tantric traditions is that to worship a god one must become a god.” 8 Sakurai 1998, 3. Tōh. 1427, D. folio 186b, p. 372.7.

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practice and the Pāñcarātra Āgama seem to have similar a goal, namely, the divinization of the body. Vajraghaṇṭa,9 a focal figure for the purpose of the present paper, was another important Indian authority on the cycle of Cakrasaṃvara Tantra. His dozen works included in the Tengyur received much attention from Tibetan authors of the Kagyu, Sakya and Gelug schools. Several of these compositions contain instructions on the body maṇḍala of Cakrasaṃvara.10 Like Lūyīpā, Vajraghaṇṭa opens his Sādhana manual [Tōh. 1432] with an instruction on the deities that are invited to enter the body. These deities then create what he calls a “body maṇḍala.” Below we look more closely at Vajraghaṇṭa’s treatise on the initiation into the maṇḍala of Cakrasaṃvara, the Cakrasaṃ­vara-ṣeka-prakriyopadeśa.11

The Opening Verses of Vajraghaṇṭa’s Treatise on Initiation (Seka)

Vajraghaṇṭa begins his exposition of the initiation ritual [Tōh. 1431] with an elucidation of the maṇḍala the disciples will enter. The first of these verses has generated much discussion among Tibetan scholars, as we shall soon see. A further difficulty arises from its different readings in Sanskrit and Tibetan sources. As the Indian Abhayākaragupta cites it, this verse could be describing mental maṇḍalas.12 However the Tibetan commentators13 I have consulted concur14 that this stanza speaks of three types of maṇḍalas: the first line refers 9

10 11 12

13

14

Vajraghaṇṭa, Rdo rje dril bu or Dril bu pa, composed two Sādhanas of Cakrasaṃvara, as well as a treatise on its initiation. These are: 1. the Cakrasaṃvara-sādhana, Dpal ’khor lo sdom pa’i sgrub pa’i thabs, Tōh. 1432, called at times the longer work, and 2. the *Cakrasaṃvara-kāya-maṇḍala-abhisamaya, ’Khor lo sdom pa’i lus dkyil gyi mngon rtogs, Tōh. 1434, called the shorter work. 3. Cakrasaṃvara-ṣeka-prakriyopadeśa, Dpal ’khor lo sdom pa’i dbang gi bya ba mdor bsdus pa, Tōh. 1431, below Seka. In describing the body maṇḍala in more details in his longer Sādhana, Vajraghaṇṭa clearly follows the Saṃpuṭa Tantra, the 3rd rab byed in the 6th brtag pa. Cakrasaṃvara-ṣeka-prakriyopadeśa, Dpal ’khor lo sdom pa’i dbang gi bya ba mdor bsdus pa, Tōh. 1431, below Seka. Abhayākaragupta cites this verse in at least two of his works, the Abhayapaddhati, Tōh. 1654, folio 199b, p. 398.2, also in Chog Dorje 2009, 47 & 181–82, and the Āmnāya-mañjarī, Tōh. 1198, 23rd Snye ma, folio 214a, p. 427.2. I would like to thank Professor Harunaga Isaacson for pointing out the citation in the Abhayākaragupta and for sending me its Sanskrit version. Bsod nams rtse mo, De’i dbang gi bya ba mdor bsdus, folio 119a, p. 408.2.1–4; Bu ston, Lus dkyil dbang chog, folio 5a, p. 393.4–6; Ngor chen, Dril bu pa’i lus dkyil gyi bshad pa, folio 371a, p. 400.3.4–6; Tsong kha pa, Sngags rim chen mo, p. 304, Mkhas grub rje, Bskyed rim dngos grub rgya mtsho, folios 124b–125a, pp. 250.6–251.4. Regardless of their position in the disputes about the meaning of this verse.

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to painted maṇḍalas, the second to colored powder maṇḍalas and the final two lines to a maṇḍala naturally present in the body. As my interest is not in some ‘original’ meaning of the author, but in the ways his text was understood in Tibet, I will translate the first verse in accordance with this shared Tibetan interpretation:15 [The maṇḍala] is explained as prepared in stages, depicted in paintings or drawn by way of strings and colored powder, [while] sentient beings are naturally present non-dual maṇḍalas. Tibetan scholars disagree about how to read the last two lines.16 I

Are Sentient Beings­naturally Present Non-dual maṇḍalas?

A Some Early Tibetan Interpretations The eminent early Sakya scholar, Bsod nams rtse mo (1142–1182),17 opens his commentary on Vajraghaṇṭa’s Seka by stating that although maṇḍalas are present naturally in the body, people are not ordinarily aware of such a presence. The goal of the initiation is to make the disciple aware of this presence or “to

15

16

17

Vajraghaṇṭa’s Seka, Tōh. 1431, D. folio 219b, p. 438.5–6: རི་མོ[ར]་གནས་པའི་ལས་དང་ནི། །ཐིག་ལས་ཚོན་ དགྱེའི་རིམ་པས་བསྟན། །འགྲོ་བ་འདི་ཉིད་རང་བཞིན་གྱིས། །གྲུབ་པའི་དཀྱིལ་འཁོར་གཉིས་མེད་པ། G.N.  and P. have མོར་ for མོ་ in D and C. For the Skt. see Finot 1934, 62: cittastha-karmma-sūtra-rajaḥ-pāta-

kramoditaṃ, gaṃjagaṃ maṇḍalam evedaṃ prakṛtyā siddham advayam. I would like to thank Professor Harunaga Isaacson for drawing my attention to this incomplete Sanskrit manuscript of the Seka-kriyā-krama, that contains the first three verses and part of the fourth. The Abhayapaddhati, ibid., has janan for gaṃjagaṃ in Finot. Both versions open with cittastha translated into Tibetan in both of Abhayākaragupta’s works mentioned above as སེམས་གནས་ and therefore could be understood as ‘abide in the mind’. Similarly also Karmapa Rang byung rdo rje, Dril bu pa’i dbang gi mtshams sbyor, folio 9a, p. 488.2, has སེམས་ལ་གནས་པ་. However the readings in the Seka itself as found in the Tengyur are རི་ མོ་གནས་པ་ or རི་མོར་གནས་པ་ that translate citrastha and not cittastha. While the Tibetan translation of the Seka is: འགྲོ་བ་འདི་ཉིད་རང་བཞིན་གྱིས། །གྲུབ་པའི་དཀྱིལ་འཁོར་ གཉིས་མེད་པའོ། in Abhayākaragupta’s works these lines are cited as: འགྲོ་འདི་དཀྱིལ་འཁོར་ཁོ་ན་སྟེ། །རང་བཞིན་གྱིས་གྲུབ་གཉིས་མེད་པ།. Hence other possible translations of these two lines could be: “this world is but a maṇḍala, naturally present and non-dual,” “these beings are but maṇḍalas, naturally present and non-dual,” or “beings are non-dual with the naturally present maṇḍala,” but our main concern is to understand interpretations of these lines by Tibetans. De’i dbang gi bya ba mdor bsdus, folio 118a1, p. 407.4.1–4.

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cause to arise that which has not yet arisen in this way in the [meditator’s] mind.” For Bsod nams rtse mo, when practitioners develop an awareness of the maṇḍalas naturally present in the body, they will become suitable vessels for the practice. Bsod nams rtse mo explains:18 The purpose [of the initiation] is to make present in the mind that which is not present there—that the sixty-two or thirty-seven deities essentially abide in all sentient beings that dwell in the three realms (Bsod nams rtse mo, ibid., 118a2–4). In other words, the maṇḍala of Cakrasaṃvara abides in all sentient beings. Bsod nams rtse mo is not alone in holding this position. In his commentary on the same work, Bu ston Rin chen grub (1290–1364) states: Although the maṇḍala—with its celestial mansion and deities—is present on its own in their body, the ritual of initiation into the naturally present maṇḍala is for rendering those who do not know that it is present into vessels suitable for the practice (Lus dkyil dbang chog, folio 1b, p. 386.3–5).19 Vajraghaṇṭa’s Seka continues:20 18

19

20

Bsod nams rtse mo comments here on the opening verse of Vajraghaṇṭa’s Seka: “The yoginī of the stages of the three wheels abides in any sentient being in the three realm.” Bsod nams rtse mo’s text is somewhat different from the Derge; he has: འཁོར་ལོ་གསུམ་རིམ་རྣལ་ འབྱོར་མ། །གང་གི་སེམས་ཅན་ཁམས་གསུམ་གནས།, while D. folio 219b, p. 438.4 has: འཁོར་ལོ་རིམ་གསུམ་རྣལ་ འབྱོར་ཉིད། །གང་གི་སེམས་ཅན་ཁམས་གསུམ་གནས།. The Skt. in Finot, ibid. is: tri-cakra-krama-yogataḥ, yena sattvās tri-dhātu-sthā. The phrase ‘the three wheels’ refers to the maṇḍala of Cakrasaṃvara in which Heruka and Vajravārāhī are surrounded by the four “Essence Yoginīs,” and then by the three wheels of mind, speech, and body. In commenting on Vajraghaṇṭa’s verse cited above, Bu ston Rin chen grub explains: “These aggregates of beings who are sentient are the naturally present maṇḍala in which the support and supported are nondual or saṃsāra and nirvāṇa are nondual, for the samsaric aggregates are present in the maṇḍala of the Buddhas.” Ibid., folio 5a, p. 393.5–6. Tōh. 1431, folio 219b, p. 438.6: བཅོས་མ་ཉིད་[གཉིས་]ཀྱི་ངོ་བོ་གང་། །དེ་ནི་གདུལ་བྱའི་དབང་ལས་འདོད། །མཁས་ པའི་བསྒྲུབ་བྱ་དེ་མིན་ཏེ། །ཡང་དག་དོན་མཐོང་གྲོལ་ཕྱིར་རོ། While D.N.G. and C. in the Tengyur have ཉིད་, Bsod nams rtse mo, Bu ston, Tsong kha pa and Mkhas grub rje have the reading གཉིས་, fully justified by the Skt. dvaya. Finot, ibid., has kṛtrimaṃ dvaya-rūpaṃ yat tad vineya-vaśān matam, tad na sādhy …, while the Abhayapaddhati, ibid., has kṛtrimadvaya for kṛtrimaṃ dvaya in Finot, and [sādhy]āṃ mumukṣūṇāṃ muktir bhūtārtha-darśanād for the text missing in Finot. Thought the term མཁས་པ་ appears neither in the Sanskrit nor the Tibetan of the Abhayapaddhati, it is found in the Tibetan translation of Vajraghaṇṭa’s Seka and in its Tibetan commentaries.

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The nature of the two constructed ones is intended to accord with the disciple. These [maṇḍalas] should not be produced for the skillful, since they will be liberated by seeing the true meaning. The term “constructed” (or “contrived”) in this verse is understood by all Tibetan commentators I have consulted to refer to painted and colored powder maṇḍalas, in contrast to the unconstructed or naturally present ones we will encounter immediately. Bsod nams rtse mo21 explains that the skillful, or the person endowed with the best faculties, will be liberated by seeing the true meaning of the natural maṇḍala.22 Bsod nams rtse mo then asks: “How is the natural maṇḍala present?”23 He replies by citing the next verse in the Seka:24 The maṇḍala of the three wheels is present. The deities of the maṇḍala are present. The stages of the initiation to these and so on Bring to be present that which was never present. Bsod nams rtse mo reads the first two lines to mean that both the celestial mansion of the maṇḍala and the deities dwelling within it are present naturally in the body.25 He emphasizes once more that the purpose of the initiation is not to turn sentient beings into maṇḍalas, but to render them aware of its continuous presence.26

21 22

23 24 25

26

De’i dbang gi bya ba mdor bsdus, folio 119a, p. 408.2.5–6. In his commentary on this verse Bu ston, Lus dkyil dbang chog, folio 5b–­6a, pp. 394.7– 395.5, explains what the natural maṇḍala is by citing the Saṃpuṭa Tantra on the body maṇḍala, Tōh. 381, folios 113b–114a, pp. 226.3–227.1. De’i dbang gi bya ba mdor bsdus, folio 119a, p. 408.2.6. Tōh. 1431, folio 219b, p. 438.6–7: འཁོར་ལོ་གསུམ་གྱི་དཀྱིལ་འཁོར་གྲུབ། །དཀྱིལ་འཁོར་ལྷ་རྣམས་གྲུབ་པའོ། །དེ་ཡི་

དབང་བསྐུར་ལ་སོགས་རིམ། །ཅི་ནས་མ་གྲུབ་ཡང་གྲུབ་བྱེད།

He then raises a question: “If essentially the maṇḍala is present in the body in this way, the initiation is unnecessary; and if it is not essentially present, by visualizing that it is present, the fruit will not arise. Because this is like a beggar boasting to be a king.” To this he replies: “This is not the case because [the initiation] does not make something—that previously has not been essentially present—becoming present later on.” De’i dbang gi bya ba mdor bsdus, folio 119b, p. 408.3.2–4. Bu ston provides a very similar explanation in his commentary on this verse: “Regarding the initiation into the naturally present maṇḍala and the stages of entering into the maṇḍala: though the body is a naturally present maṇḍala, it is not clearly present as an object in the minds of the disciples. It is not sufficient that essentially [the maṇḍala]

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This topic is further clarified in the commentaries of Bsod nams rtse mo and Bu ston on the subsequent verse of the Seka:27 It is intended that those who do not know the nature of that are to become vessels. The stages of the initiation and so on actually achieve on the conventional level. Bsod nams rtse mo explains here that, those who do not know in their mind that the nature of the maṇḍala is present in them, will come to know this by means of the initiation, and therefore will become suitable vessels for the practice.28 He explicates further: As for example, although there is a treasure below the bed of a poor person, when he does not know that it is there, he will not be liberated from his poverty. Coming to know that it is there, he will be liberated from his poverty (De’i dbang gi bya ba mdor bsdus, folio 119b, p. 408.3.4–5).29 And then he quotes the Hevajra Tantra:30 Sentient beings are Buddhas, but they are obscured by superficial taints. Once these are removed they are Buddhas. This verse is often cited by proponents of the theory of Tathāgata-garbha in the sense of a real Buddha essence, though there are numerous variations on this theme.31

27 28

29 30 31

abides [in the body] without being recognized, it is necessary to make this clearly present also as an object of the mind.” Lus dkyil dbang chog, folio 6b, p. 396.4–5. D. folio 219b, p. 438.7: དེ་ཡི་རང་བཞིན་མི་ཤེས་རྣམས། །སྣོད་དུ་བྱ་བར་བཞེད་པ་སྟེ། །དབང་བསྐུར་སོགས་རིམ་ཀུན་ རྫོབ་ཏུ། །མངོན་སུམ་དུ་ནི་སྒྲུབ་པའོ།. Bu ston follows him: “Regarding those who do not know that the nature of that body is an essentially present maṇḍala, who enter into the maṇḍala by means of rituals, and recognize that: it is intended that by becoming aware of this, they become vessels for meditating on the creation and completion stages.” Lus dkyil dbang chog, folio 6b, p. 396.5–6. See also Bu ston, ibid., folio 6b, p. 396.5. II.iv.69: sattvā buddhā eva kiṃ tu āgantuka-malāvṛtāḥ, tasyāpakarṣaṇāt sattvā buddhā [eva na saṃśayā]. Bsod nams rtse mo then explains the two last lines of Vajraghaṇṭa, by saying that since the maṇḍala is naturally present, ultimately there is no need to make it present. Still by mak-

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The identification of the body with maṇḍala changes the goal of meditating on the deities within the body, differentiating it from that of Lūyipa’s Sādhana as well as the Pāñcarātra Āgama. In the present case the practitioner does not divinize the body, for the body is already divinized, as in all sentient beings there is Buddha essence. This novel view of the human body as a naturally present maṇḍala has yet a further implication, one that concerns moving beyond visualization. Meditating on the body maṇḍala according to this method, the yogi works with something that is actual, and even constantly actualized, in one’s very body. This aspect of actuality is linked to the way tantric visualizations are thought to achieve their goal. Those who hold that tantric visualization is a type of mental fabrication still maintain that it serves a soteriological purpose. But these scholars then must account for how the goal will materialize by visualizing something that is not present, and how the mind differs during the meditation from that of a beggar boasting to be a king. A prevailing explanation suggests that the disciple “takes the fruit on the path”, that is, that he or she emulates the goal of her practice until it becomes actualized. These two methods of visualizing the real and unreal are very different approaches to the role of visualization during tantric meditations. B Some Late Tibetan Interpretations During the 15th century, controversy over the body maṇḍala played a role in the larger conflict between Mkhas grub rje Dge legs dpal bzang po (1385–1438) and Ngor chen Kun dga’ bzang po (1382–1456).32 Yet the more famous fracas related to the body maṇḍala of Hevajra took place only after the discord concerning the interpretation of the first six verses in Vajraghaṇṭa’s Seka in the context of Cakrasaṃvara. The commentary composed by Ngor chen Kun dga’ bzang po on Vajraghaṇṭa’s Seka, titled Dril bu pa’i lus dkyil gyi bshad pa, is a polemical work which employs the traditional tripartite Sa skya argumentative method. This technique consists of three steps: dgag, bzhag, spang, to wit: refuting the position of an antagonist, presenting one’s own position, and dispelling any remaining objections. The first point Ngor chen discusses is the nature of the maṇḍala naturally present in sentient beings. 1 Refuting the Position of the Antagonist Following convention in this genre, Ngor chen maintains the anonymity of his opponents, referring to them as “other lamas”:

32

ing it present conventionally the initiation removes the superficial taints. Such an explanation echoes the Tathāgata-garbha theory as well. van der Kuijp 1985a, 1985b; Davidson 1991 and Jackson 2007.

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Other lamas maintain that dharmadhātu, suchness, or “Sugata essence” abides constantly and stably in all sentient beings, and that this is the ultimate truth maṇḍala of Cakrasaṃvara. They also explain that syno­ nyms [of “Sugata essence” and so forth] are unconditioned, the profound truth of cessation, and emptiness endowed with all the supreme aspects. We cannot accept this because if the ultimate truth maṇḍala of Cakrasaṃvara abides in actuality in the continuum of all sentient beings, this would contradict the lines of Vajraghaṇṭa: “It is intended that those who do not know the nature of that are to become vessels.” This is because if sentient beings are the actual maṇḍala of Cakrasaṃvara, this would contradict the fact that they themselves do not know their own nature, and they will not be all-knowing Buddhas (Dril bu pa’i lus dkyil gyi bshad pa, folio 370a, p. 399.3.1–4). The view of the “other lamas” recalls that of Bsod nams rtse mo and Bu ston, but Ngor chen expresses it in distinctively tathāgata-garbha terminology. They seem to take Vajraghaṇṭa’s line “sentient beings are naturally present non-dual maṇḍalas,” to mean that ultimate truth maṇḍalas of Cakrasaṃvara abide within all sentient beings as “Sugata essence.” Disagreeing with them, Ngor chen points out that according to Vajraghaṇṭa, the role of the initiation is to render the initiates who, as cited above, “do not know the nature of that” into suitable “vessels” for the practice of Cakrasaṃvara. Had the ultimate truth maṇḍalas of Cakrasaṃvara been present in the initiates, they would most certainly be suitable vessels for the practice. Thus the statement “sentient beings are naturally present non-dual maṇḍalas,” cannot imply ‘Sugata essence’ or the presence of Cakrasaṃvara maṇḍalas in all sentient beings. As such, it becomes difficult to justify the claim that while maṇḍalas are present naturally in the body, awareness of this presence requires initiation. It is not surprising that Ngor chen rejected a view that echoed that of Dol po pa (Shes rab rgyal mtshan 1292–1361). Red mda’ ba (1348–1412) before him and Go rams pa following him did so as well,33 and even Bu ston did not agree with Dol po pa (Ruegg 1968). Ngor chen was also not the only early-fifteenth-century scholar to make this argument against such interpretation of Vajraghaṇṭa’s stanza. Tsong kha pa Blo bzang grags pa (1357–1419) wrote on the body maṇḍala of Cakrasaṃvara in three of his works: Sngags rim chen mo (304), a commentary on the Seka of Vajraghaṇṭa, the Dril dbang,34 and a commentary on the 33 34

Cabezón and Lobsang Dargyay 2007, 71–77, 97–113, 281–306 and passim. Dril dbang = Rnal ’byor dbang phyug dril bu lugs bde mchog lus dkyil gyi dbang chog rin po che’i bang mdzod. In this commentary, Tsong kha pa lists as his authorities not only the

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Sādhana of Cakrasaṃvara according to Lūyipā, the ’Dod ’jo.35 The earliest of these works is likely the Sngags rim chen mo, written in 1405.36 There Tsong kha pa states: If beings would have existed from the very beginning as the deity Cakrasaṃvara, it would be unreasonable to maintain that: “it is intended that those who do not know the nature of that become vessels,” since this contradicts their not knowing the body maṇḍala of Cakrasaṃvara (Sngags rim chen mo, 303–304).37 Thus Tsong kha pa, like Ngor chen, rejects the reading of the line at hand that maṇḍalas are naturally present in all sentient beings. Tsong kha pa and Ngor chen share a reason for such rejection: the interpretation contradicts another statement in the same work. Without revealing the identity of his opponents, Tsong kha pa states:38 Some say that you visualize something which is already present there since the very beginning. Uncharacteristically for him, in his own commentary on Vajraghaṇṭa, Mkhas grub rje identifies his authorial rival as Bsod nams rtse mo: In his commentary on the Sādhana by Vajraghaṇṭa, the master Bsod nams rtse mo teaches that the yogis visualize their bodies existing from the very beginning as maṇḍalas (Bde dril bskyed rim, folios 8a–9b, pp. 780.6–781.1).

35 36 37

38

Cakrasaṃvara Tantra and Indian works, but also the practice of the Sa skya masters and other Tibetan scholars, folio 27a, p. 109.4–5. ’Dod ’jo = Bcom ldan ’das dpal ’khor lo bde mchog gi mngon par rtogs pa’i rgya cher bshad pa ’dod pa ’jo ba. Tshe tan zhabs drung 1982, 211. Similarly in his ’Dod ’jo, Tsong kha pa explains that Vajraghaṇṭa’s line: “Sentient beings are naturally present non-dual maṇḍalas,” “does not mean that the channels, elements and so forth of the body abide from the very beginning as the maṇḍala of Heruka. If this were so, it would contradict another line in the text: “It is intended that those who do not know the nature of that are to become vessels,” since this contradicts their not knowing that very maṇḍala of Cakrasaṃvara.” The ’Dod ’jo, folio 122a-b, pp. 441.5–442.1. ཁ་ཅིག་གདོད་མ་ནས་དེར་གྲུབ་པ་གསལ་འདེབས་པ་ཡིན་ཟེར། ’Dod ’jo, folio 121b, p. 440.1.

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Mkhas grub rje’s disclosure does not surprise us, as we have seen that the “other lamas” criticized by Ngor chen hold a view not only close to that of Dol po pa, but also to that of Bsod nams rtse mo and Bu ston. Tsong kha pa, too, likely had Bsod nams rtse mo in mind when he criticized ‘some’ who “visualize something which is already present there since the very beginning.” In any case, both Ngor chen and Tsong kha pa critique a view held by one of the forefathers of the Sa skya school, thus writing against the tradition of their predecessors. I say their predecessors, since when Tsong kha pa composed his Sngags rim chen mo in 1405, he most likely regarded himself as a Sa kya pa, just like Ngor chen, as the Dga’ ldan monastery had not been built, and the identity of the Dga’ ldan pa was yet to develop. 2 Presenting the Position of the Protagonist In presenting his own view, Ngor chen explains the lines in question: [The maṇḍala] is explained as prepared in stages, depicted in paintings or drawn by way of strings and colored powder, [while] sentient beings are naturally present non-dual maṇḍalas. The nature of the two constructed ones is intended to accord with the disciple. These [maṇḍalas] should not be produced for the skillful, since they will be liberated by seeing the true meaning. Ngor chen asserts: The constructed maṇḍalas are the painted and colored powder maṇḍalas. They are designated as constructed because the artists and ritual masters respectively need to newly produce them. On the other hand, the [coarse] body of the yogi is present and along with it also the channels and elements [of the subtle body] are present, therefore it is unnecessary to re-produce them (Dril bu pa’i lus dkyil gyi bshad pa, folio 371a, p. 400.1.4–5). Thus Ngor chen’s position is that the yogi’s body, with its channels and elements that are the bases for generating the maṇḍala, are not constructed, since they have been present all along. Tsong kha pa as well maintains precisely this in at least three of his works. In his Sngags rim chen mo, Tsong kha pa explains our verse:

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Whereas with regard to the colored powder and painted maṇḍalas, it is necessary to achieve anew the basis of generation by [drawing] lines, [applying] colors and so forth, with respect to the body maṇḍala, there is no need to re-produce the channels and elements that are to be generated as the deity (Sngags rim chen mo, 304). Similarly in the ’Dod ’jo, his commentary on the Sādhana of Cakrasaṃvara according to Lūyipā, Tsong kha pa states: The meaning of constructed maṇḍala is that the maker must produce anew the bases for generating it—the emblems and so forth, because they are not present from the time the body was formed. In the case of the unconstructed maṇḍala, the bases of producing, the channels and elements,39 are present since the very formation of the body, and therefore they are naturally present (’Dod ’jo, folio 137b, p. 472.2–3). Thus Tsong kha pa also reads the line at hand to mean that the bases out of which the body maṇḍala are generated are naturally present in the bodies of sentient beings. In other words the body maṇḍala is produced from the channels and elements of the body that have been present in the body from the very moment it was formed. Such bases are not found in the constructed maṇḍalas drawn in paintings or in colored powder. For Tsong kha pa,40 if the bodies of sentient beings had been present from the very beginning as celestial mansions, no effort would have been required to liberate them. Moreover such a position would run up against both instructions on the meditation and scriptural authorities.41 This point is found too in Tsong kha pa’s commentary on Vajraghaṇṭa’s Seka42, in the work of Mkhas grub rje,43 and, as we have seen, in the thought of Ngor chen. 39 40 41

42

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The female deities of Cakrasaṃvara maṇḍala, the Yoginīs, are generated from the channels, (rtsa), the male deities, the Dpa’ bo-s, from the elements (khams). ’Dod ’jo, folio 122a-b, pp. 440.6–441.1. Tsong kha pa, ibid., states that meditating by visualizing that our bodies have been present from the very beginning as celestial mansions runs counter to instructions to meditate on the body becoming a celestial mansion. This will also contradict the scriptural authorities of the Abhidhānottara-Tantra, *Kambala (Lwa ba pa), Prajñārakṣita, Tathā­ gatavajra, Vajraghaṇṭa and others. Tsong kha pa adds that “the two” referred to in the term ‘non-duality’ in vajraghaṇṭa’s stanza are the deities and the bases out of which they are generated, or else to the celestial mansion of the maṇḍala and the deities residing in it. Dril dbang, folio 3a, p. 60.3–6. Bskyed rim dngos grub rgya mtsho, folios 124b–125a, pp. 250.6–251.4.

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Mkhas grub rje assesses the idea that the bodies of sentient beings have existed from the very beginning as maṇḍalas in light of the Buddhist path and its soteriological goals.44 For him such view invalidates the four truths of the nobles that presume that beings are born into saṃsāric suffering due to their karma and afflictive emotions. As well, it supposes no distinction between non-awakened and awakened beings, thus rendering pointless the Buddhist path. At the same time it contradicts all ordinary experience.45 3 Dispelling Objections In the third step of the debate, attempting to dispel any remaining objections, Ngor chen reiterates that the term naturally carries no ultimate sense, but rather a conventional way of being, as these maṇḍalas do not exist in and of themselves, but are subject to conditionality and change. There is no other nature to the bodies of sentient beings beside being the basis for generating the body maṇḍala.46 C To Conclude Ngor chen and Tsong kha pa present their positions in strikingly similar ways. This might lead one to wonder if the two thinkers had knowledge of each other’s work. The absence of a colophon in Ngor chen’s commentary makes the chronology of work difficult to determine.47 Ngor chen’s repeated citation of Tsong kha pa’s Sngags rim chen mo and ’Dod ’jo, however, informs us that he was familiar with the latter’s views on the matter.48 44 45

46

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Bskyed rim dngos grub rgya mtsho, folios 116b–118a, pp. 234.1–237.5. “When you meditate on yourself as Vajradhara, while your own experience confirms that your body is in no way adorned with the major and minor marks of the Buddha, and your mind does not at all directly realize all phenomena, and at the same time you claim to be a Buddha, your experience of reality is insane.” Ibid., folio 118a, p. 237.3–4. Dril bu pa’i lus dkyil gyi bshad pa, folio 371a-b, p. 400.1.6–2.6. According to Ngor chen: “As the bases of generation of the painted and powered colored maṇḍalas are constructed, they are designated as ‘conventional’, while the basis of generation of the body maṇḍala is unconstructed, and is thus postulated as ‘ultimate’.” Dril bu pa’i lus dkyil gyi bshad pa, folio 371a, p. 400.1.6. As Heimbel (2014, 555) notes: “More than thirty texts included in Ngor chen’s collected works don’t refer to Ngor chen as author or have a colophon at all.” For example, in his Dril bu pa’i lus dkyil gyi bshad pa, folios 372a–373a, pp. 400.3.6–401.1.5, Ngor chen cites and paraphrases a few paragraphs of Tsong kha pa Sngags rim chen mo, 305, line 18 to 306, line 24. Furthermore, Ngor chen disagrees with the same positions that Tsong kha pa cited and refuted. For example, just like Tsong kha pa who in his Sngags rim chen mo, 305, lines 12–15, objects to the method of meditation on the body maṇḍala by visualizing that the body is substituted by the celestial mansion, in his Dril bu pa’i lus dkyil

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The two authors, Ngor chen and Tsong kha pa, concur with regard to the issue of ‘Sugata essence’. Consequently, neither is able to embrace the straightforward explanation offered by both Bsod nams rtse mo and Bu ston of Vajraghaṇṭa that maṇḍalas are naturally present in sentient beings. Thus the authors resort to a non-literal interpretation of our line. We see, then, that while these scholars engaged in vigorous dispute, they selectively incorporated each other’s views in their own writings. On the specific point of maṇḍalas naturally present in the body of sentient beings, Ngor chen held with Tsong kha pa and not with Bsod nams rtse mo, who belonged to the Sa skya school and in fact was one of its five forefathers. Thus the early 15th century saw much polemic among Tibetan scholars, as well as not a small degree of constructive dialogue. II

The Roles of the Three Types of maṇḍalas

By and large, then, Tibetan scholars maintain that Vajraghaṇṭa speaks about three types of maṇḍalas; to wit, two constructed ones (i.e., the painted and colored powder maṇḍalas) and an unconstructed one (which is naturally present in the bodies of all sentient beings). We shall now learn, however, that the function of these maṇḍalas does not enjoy a similar scholarly consensus. A Some Earlier Tibetan Interpretations Bsod nams rtse mo maintains that the painted and colored powder maṇḍalas are meant for disciples endowed with intermediate and lesser faculties, while the naturally present maṇḍalas are intended for disciples endowed with the best faculties. To recall, Vajraghaṇṭa states: [The maṇḍala] is explained as prepared in stages, depicted in paintings or drawn by way of strings and colored powder, [while] sentient beings are naturally present non-dual maṇḍalas. Here is Bsod nams rtse mo’s explanation of this verse in terms of the mental capacity of the disciple: gyi bshad pa, folio 374a, p. 401.3.4, Ngor chen as well rejected such a method. Furthermore, in his Dril bu pa’i lus dkyil gyi bshad pa, folios 373b–374a, p. 401.2.6–3.2, Ngor chen cites Tsong kha pa’s ’Dod ’jo folio 122b, p. 442.5–6, and on folios 378b–379a, pp. 403.4.6–404.1.1, Ngor chen cites the ’Dod ’jo, folio 125b, p. 448.3 and so forth.

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1. Since no definite understanding will arise in the minds of persons endowed with ordinary faculties, in the absence of paintings, etcetera, with actual bodies of deities endowed with faces and arms, Vajraghaṇṭa taught: depicted in paintings, and so forth. 2.  Maṇḍalas of the emblems of the deities drawn with lines on the ground and colored powder and so forth are preferable for developing faith. Thus Vajraghaṇṭa taught: drawn by way of strings and colored powder. 3. The maṇḍalas naturally present in the body are intended for those with sharp faculties. Therefore Vajraghaṇṭa taught: Sentient beings are naturally present non-dual maṇḍalas (De’i dbang gi bya ba mdor bsdus, folio 119a, p. 408.2.2–4). Bu ston provides an almost identical explanation,49 while Rang byung rdo rje, the third Karmapa, 1284–1339, too holds a similar view: The body maṇḍala was taught for the sake of disciples endowed with the best faculties, while the constructed maṇḍala of colored powder was taught for the sake of the intermediate and the lesser disciples (Lus kyi dkyil ’khor gyi ’thad pa lung sbyor, folio 24b, p. 519.1–2). Bsod nams rtse mo, Bu ston and Rang byung rdo rje alike choose to raise this point at the very beginning of their commentaries on the works of Vajraghaṇṭa. According to Bsod nams rtse mo:

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Bu ston explains this in his commentary on the following verse of Vajraghaṇṭa: “The nature of the two constructed ones is intended to accord with the disciple. These [maṇḍalas] should not be produced for the skillful, since they will be liberated by seeing the true meaning.” Bu ston explains: “1. For the sake of disciples endowed with lesser ­faculties who do not develop faith unless there are outer deities with faces and arms, Vajradhara taught [painted maṇḍalas], and 2. for the sake of disciples endowed with intermediate faculties who have faith even when there is no depiction of faces and arms, because they recognize syllables, emblems and so forth drawn in colored powder as deities, Vajradhara taught [colored powder maṇḍalas]. 3. But these two constructed ones are not for the skillful disciples endowed with the very best faculties, since they will be liberated by seeing the true meaning—the nondual, naturally present maṇḍala.” Lus dkyil dbang chog, folio 5b, p. 394.5–7. Similarly, for Bsod nams rtse mo the skillful ones in this verse are those endowed with the best faculties who will be liberated by seeing the true meaning of the natural maṇḍala, ibid., folio 119a, p. 408.3.6.

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On the basis the Herukābhyudaya50 and the Abhidhānottara-Tantra,51 the master Vajraghaṇṭa teaches in terms of a person endowed with superior mental faculties. Such a person forsakes the two constructed maṇḍalas and relies on the naturally present maṇḍala (De’i dbang gi bya ba mdor bsdus, folio 117b, p. 407.3.4–5).52 Once more we find Rang byung rdo rje53 and Bu ston54 in sync. Just like Bsod nams rtse mo these masters maintain that Vajraghaṇṭa taught the body maṇḍala for disciples endowed with the sharpest faculties, those no longer in need of the constructed maṇḍalas of paintings and colored powder. Some Later Tibetan Interpretations B The notion that the three types of maṇḍala are meant for disciples with three levels of ability has held its own in Tibetan writings. For example in the 19th century in his Treasury of Knowledge, Kong sprul Blo gros mtha’ yas (1813–1899) explains:55 Vajraghaṇṭa taught three types of maṇḍalas: painted maṇḍalas for disciples endowed with lesser faculties, colored powder maṇḍalas for those of intermediate faculties, and body maṇḍalas for disciples of sharp faculties (Shes bya kun khyab 1982, vol. 2, 652). Nevertheless, after citing this verse by Vajraghaṇṭa, Dwags po Bkra shis rnam rgyal (1512–1587) states:56 50 51 52

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55 56

Dpal khrag ’thung mngon par ’byung ba, Tōh. 374. Mngon par brjod pa’i rgyud bla ma, Tōh. 369, mentioned above. On forsaking the constructed maṇḍalas, see also Kṛṣṇācārya, Vasanta-tilakā, Dpyid kyi thig le, Tōh. 1448, D. vol. 21 [wa], folio 298b, p. 596.6, Samdhong Rinpoche and Dwivedi 1990, 7&13; and Kālacakrapāda, Dus ’khor zhabs, Sekoddeśa-ṭīkā, Dbang mdor bstan pa’i rgya cher ’grel pa, Tōh. 1353, D. vol. 14 [pa], folio 10b, p. 20.1–2. Rang byung rdo rje explains that Vajraghaṇṭa composed his Cakrasaṃvara-sādhana (Tōh. 1432), for disciples endowed with the very best faculties, who forsake the constructed maṇḍalas of lines and colored powder, and attain the stage of Vajradhara in one lifetime through the unconstructed body maṇḍala. Lus kyi dkyil ’khor gyi ’thad pa lung sbyor, folio 24a-b, pp. 518.5–519.1­. Bu ston as well opens his own commentary on the Seka with the following words: “Here the master Vajraghaṇṭa teaches that disciples endowed with the very best faculties have the good fortune of abandoning their clinging to the two constructed maṇḍalas and entering into the naturally present maṇḍala.” Lus dkyil dbang chog, folio 1b, p. 386.3. For an English translation, see Guarisco and McLeod 2005, 211. For an English translation, see Roberts 2011, 469.

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Some explain that disciples endowed with lesser faculties are conferred initiation into painted maṇḍalas, those with intermediate faculties into mental maṇḍalas, and those with sharp faculties into body maṇḍalas. But this is not right (Gsang sngags rdo rje theg pa’i spyi don mdor bsdus pa legs bshad nor bu’i ’od zer, folio 59a, p. 117.1–2). Thus, some of the later masters followed the position of the earlier masters in this matter, while some did not. Tsong kha pa emphasizes that the distinctions made between the three maṇḍalas do not refer to the initial initiation into the maṇḍala at the start of the practice. In his own commentary on Vajraghaṇṭa’s Seka Tsong kha pa states: The meaning of this verse is not that disciples provided with lesser and intermediate faculties are conferred initiation into the painted and the colored powder maṇḍalas, while the ‘skillful’ disciples, that is to say those endowed with the best faculties, are conferred initiation into the body maṇḍala. This is because it was copiously taught that also when persons with the best faculties first enter [into the maṇḍala], they are conferred initiation into the colored powder maṇḍala and also into the painted maṇḍala (Dril dbang, folio 3b1–2, p. 61.1–2). Tsong kha pa agrees with Bsod nams rtse mo and Bu ston that the naturally present body maṇḍala is superior and thus meant for ‘the skillful’, but he accounts for its superiority differently. He continues: The meaning of the line: produced for the skillful, is that the maṇḍala in which the vital points in the body are penetrated must be the body maṇḍala and not the two constructed maṇḍalas. This is because pene­ trating the vital points in the two contrived maṇḍalas will not bring liberation, while through penetrating the vital points in their body maṇḍala, [the yogis] will see the true meaning, and will be liberated. For this reason initiations into the body maṇḍala are superior over initiations into the two outer maṇḍalas alone (Dril dbang, folio 3b, p. 61.2–4).57

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Similarly in his ’Dod ’jo, Tsong kha pa explains: “Thus [Vajraghaṇṭa] taught that the maṇḍala achieved from the body is superior to the maṇḍala achieved from painting and colored powder … . During the path by penetrating the vital points in the two other [constructed] maṇḍalas, [the yogi] will not be liberated. However by penetrating the vital

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Though Tsong kha pa emphasizes that “on the path” the body maṇḍala is exalted over the two other maṇḍalas, the path he has in mind here is not meditation on the body maṇḍala during the creation stage, but meditation on the subtle body during the completion stage, whereby the subtle mind that can see the real meaning is activated. According to Tsong kha pa: This meditation on the creation stage with its practice of the body maṇḍala is in order to ripen the meditator’s mental continuum (’Dod ’jo, folio 126a, p. 449.1). For Tsong kha pa, at the level of the ground, that is to say before the disciple embarks on the path, the bases for generating the body maṇḍala are naturally present in the body. Yet the body maṇḍala meditated upon during the path of the creation stage is contrived and thus incapable of actual effect. Tsong kha pa certainly regards meditation on the body maṇḍala during the creation stage as indispensable for reaching awakening, but he does not take it as the substantial cause for Buddhahood. For him meditation on the body maṇḍala serves to ripen the yogi towards the practice in which the subtle body serves a major role—activating the subtle body for the path of the completion stage, which is the substantial cause for enlightenment, the fruit of the path. Coming full circle, then, for Tsong kha pa the meditation on the body maṇḍala during the creation stage cannot bring about divinization. None­ theless, attainment of full Buddhahood requires that one meditate on the body as a divine palace inhabited by divine beings. Hence according to Tsong kha pa, meditation on the body maṇḍala indeed has a transformative effect. C The Position of Ngor chen Kun dga’ bzang po Where does Ngor chen Kun dga’ bzang po stand with respect to classification by quality of meditator’s faculties? Ngor chen does not distinguish between types of maṇḍala, but rather between types of Cakrasaṃvara Sādhanas: Lūyīpā’s Sādhana is an elaborate yoga, while Vajraghaṇṭa’s Sādhana is most concise. It is explained that elaborate yoga is the path for those endowed with lesser and intermediate faculties, while concise yoga is the path for those endowed with sharp faculties. This path taught to those endowed with sharp faculties is most profound, in the same way the Great Vehicle is profound in comparison to the scriptural points in the channels and elements of the body, [the yogi] will see the real meaning and will be liberated. Therefore, the body maṇḍala is superior.” ’Dod ’jo, folio 137b, p. 472.1–4.

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collection of the Hearers (Dril bu pa’i lus dkyil gyi bshad pa, folio 379a-b, p. 404.1.6–2.1). Ngor chen is here referring to the Sādhanas of Cakrasaṃvara by Lūyīpā, the Bhagavad-abhisamaya,58 and one of Vajraghaṇṭa’s Cakrasaṃvara Sādhanas.59 Once more Ngor chen follows the conventional trifold method of refuting the position of others, presenting one’s own view and dispelling further objection. The subject here is how to meditate on the body maṇḍala. 1 Refuting the Position of the Antagonist 1.1 The Position of the Antagonist60 Ngor chen recounts how on the basis of Vajraghaṇṭa’s Sādhana, the opponent61 outlines a gradual visualization of the celestial mansion with Heruka at its center, after which the body maṇḍala is set on Heruka in the following way: From now on, the continuum of your earlier visualization of the physical elements stacked up one upon the other, Mt. Meru and the celestial mansion proceeds without the celestial mansion being gathered. Therefore when you begin your meditation on your body as the celestial mansion, the way you meditate is that on the basis of each former similar moment and each part of your body, the subsequent similar moment arises. This is your position. The above-cited description corresponds verbatim to that of Tsong kha pa’s commentary in ’Dod ’jo.62 1.2 Explaining how these Positions are Refuted by Scripture and Logic Ngor chen’s refutations take several forms such as the general and the specific. He begins the former as follows: The Sādhana of the body maṇḍala according to the tradition of Vajraghaṇṭa is intended for a person endowed with sharp faculties and excellent mental capacity. You yourself explain that the body maṇḍala 58 59 60 61 62

Sakurai 1998, Tōh. 1427. Tōh. 1432, the so-called the ‘Longer Sādhana’. Vajraghaṇṭa composed another Sādhana of Cakrasaṃvara, Tōh. 1434, the so-called the ‘Shorter Sādhana’. Dril bu pa’i lus dkyil gyi bshad pa, folio 375a-b, p. 402.1.3–2.2. Tib. phyogs snga ma, Skt. pūrva-pakṣin. ’Dod ’jo, folio 122b, p. 442.5–6.

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taught for the best disciples is superior (Dril bu pa’i lus dkyil gyi bshad pa, folio 375b, p. 402.2.3–6). Here again Ngor chen is addressing Tsong kha pa and perhaps also Mkhas grub rje, who follows his teacher’s position. As we have seen, Tsong kha pa maintains that the body maṇḍala is superior to the two other maṇḍalas and thus is practiced by the skillful, namely the superior disciple.63 According to Ngor chen, however, superior disciples endowed with sharp faculties should practice the concise Sādhana by Vajraghaṇṭa with its instantaneous generation of the body maṇḍala. Ngor chen’s specific refutation takes a somewhat different tack. In it, he argues that Tsong kha pa is at variance not only with Vajragha, but also with Tantras and other Indian scholars.64 Let us now turn to Vajragha’s instructions at the opening of his Cakrasaṃvara Sādhana. As before, I do not aim to uncover some ‘true authorial intent’ but rather to discuss how the text was understood in Tibet. As such, the translation follows the Tibetan works discussed here: [The yogi] emanates a light ray to invite those who are already in existence,65 makes prostrations to them, and then they enter [the yogi’s] body. The legs, crotch, navel and heart are the wind, fire, water and earth. Likewise the spine is the king of mountains [Mt. Meru], the four equal [sides of] the body are the four gates. [This] is asserted as the body maṇḍala of Heruka beautified by ornaments (Cakrasaṃvara-sādhana, Tōh. 1432, folio 223a, p. 445.1–2). The first two lines set forth a very concise practice. The deities are invited and prostrations are made to them, after which they enter the yogi’s body. The remaining six lines describe the body maṇḍala, beginning with the four 63 64

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Tsong kha pa, Dril dbang, folio 3b, p. 61.4. However, as we saw, Tsong kha pa did not agree with Bsod nams rtse mo’s classification of maṇḍala according to the disciple’s faculties. Ngor chen, Dril bu pa’i lus dkyil gyi bshad pa, folios 375b–378b, pp. 402.2.6–403.4.4, cites the Abhidhānottara Tantra and works of Vajraghaṇṭa, Dārikapa (Tōh. 1429), Maṇikaśrī (Tōh. 1536), Prajñārakṣita (Tōh. 1465) and others. While D. has dngos grub pa, Tsong kha pa ’Dod ’jo, folio 125a, p. 447.4, has sngon grub pa, and Ngor chen, Dril bu pa’i lus dkyil gyi bshad pa, folio 378b, p. 403.4.4–5, has mngon grub pa. The Abhidhānottara Tantra, Tōh. 369, D. vol. 77 [ka], folio 254a2, p. 507.2, has in the parallel context sngon grub pa rnams.

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maṇḍalas of the physical elements formed from four parts of the body: the legs, crotch, navel and heart, after which arises the celestial mansion with its four gates.66 This description parallels precisely Ngor chen’s own view of the meditation. Nevertheless, according to Tsong kha pa, the maṇḍala with its deities are visualized through the steps known as “the five awakenings into manifesta­ tion.”67 Ngor chen critique of Tsong kha pa, that his position runs counter to the instructions of Vajraghaṭa, thus comes as no surprise: The generation of the celestial mansion and the deities residing in the maṇḍala through ‘the five awakenings into manifestation’68 is not ex­­ plicitly taught in the works of the master Vajraghaṇṭa (Dril bu pa’i lus dkyil gyi bshad pa, folio 378b, p. 403.4.4). Ngor chen next quotes two Cakrasaṃvara-Sādhanas by Vajraghaṇṭa, the socalled “longer Sādhana,” mentioned just above,69 and the so-called “shorter Sādhana,”70 which similarly instructs the yogi to visualize the maṇḍala within the body precisely as the worshipped deities enter him or her, and concludes: Thus Vajraghaṇṭa explains that after ‘the field for accumulating merit’71 dissolves into you, you meditate on the body maṇḍala. But he did not teach a separate generation ritual (Dril bu pa’i lus dkyil gyi bshad pa, folio 378b, p. 403.4.5–6). Having thus demonstrated that the gradual generation of the maṇḍala through ‘the five awakenings into manifestation’ is not explicitly taught by Vajraghaṇṭa, Ngor chen continues:

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67 68 69 70

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These four parts of the body are taken to be in the shape of the four maṇḍalas of the physical elements. The two legs, spread apart forming the shape of a bow, transform into the bow-shaped wind maṇḍala. The triangular part of the crotch becomes the triangular fire maṇḍala. The round belly turns into the circular water maṇḍala. And the square heart, or rather the chest, becomes the square earth maṇḍala. Bde mchog dril bu lugs kyi mngon rtogs dgongs pa rab gsal, folio 7a, p. 14.5. Skt. abhisambodhi, Tib. mngon par byang chub pa, or mngon byang. Tōh. 1432, folio 223a, p. 445.1. The ’Khor lo sdom pa’i lus dkyil gyi mngon rtogs, Tōh. 1434, folio 227a, p. 453.4. This Sādhana specifies that these deities enter the yogi’s body through the circle of hair between the eyebrows. Tib. tshogs zhing.

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Likewise Vajraghaṇṭa did not teach this implicitly; implicit teachings are not actually expressed through the wording of the text, but must be derived from context, and cannot run counter to the given explicit teaching. But this system of yours contradicts the explicit teaching of the scripture (Dril bu pa’i lus dkyil gyi bshad pa, folio 379a, p. 404.1.2–3). While Ngor chen takes issue with Tsong kha pa on additional points,72 we will now consider his own view. 2 Presenting the Position of the Protagonist Ngor chen describes the concise meditation on the body maṇḍala as follows: After the maṇḍala of ‘the field for the accumulation of merit’ dissolves into you, instantly generate the celestial mansion of the [body] maṇḍala and the deities residing there (Dril bu pa’i lus dkyil gyi bshad pa, folio 379b, p. 404.2.4–5). Here Ngor chen adduces support for his position by citing the teachings of Bsod nams rtse mo and Bu ston Rin chen grub.73 The deities enter the yogi through the point between the eyes and thereby instantly the yogi’s body is transformed into a complete maṇḍala. In his commentary on Vajraghaṇṭa, Tsong kha pa’s disciple Mkhas grub rje points out to additional lamas of the Sa skya who followed this system—of which he disapproves: In their Sādhanas of the body maṇḍala according to Vajraghaṇṭa, Venerable Sa skya Lamas, [Chos rgyal] ’Phags pa,74 Na bza’ brag phug pa75 and Glorious Lamas instruct that ‘the field for accumulating merit’ enters at the point in between your eyes, whereby you arise as Heruka and then engage in meditation on the body maṇḍala (Bde dril bskyed rim, folio 4a, p. 771.5–6). 72

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These include the sequence of the meditation on the outer and body maṇḍalas—connected also to the question of the relations of these two maṇḍala, the deities surrounding the principal deities of the maṇḍala, and more. Ibid., folios 379b & 380a, pp. 404.2.5–6 & 404.3.2–3. See Bsod nams rtse mo, ’Khor lo bde mchog dril bu pa’i gzhung gi mngon par rtogs pa, folio 113a, pp. 405.2.3&4, and Bu ston, Dril bu lus dkyil, folio 3b, p. 358.6–7. Dril bu lus dkyil gyi sgrub thabs, folios 395b–396a, p. 196.2.6–3.3. Na bza’ brag phug pa (1277–1350). According to D. Jackson 1990, 273, he is a master of the Sa skya lam ’bras and one of the teachers of Bla ma dam pa Bsod nams rgyal mtshan.

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3 Dispelling Objections Ngor chen76 cites scriptural authorities such as the Saṃvarodaya77 in an effort to dispel any further objections. He concludes that disciples endowed with lesser and intermediate faculties ought to meditate gradually on the creation stage, while those endowed with sharp faculties are to meditate instantaneously. D The Position of Tsong kha pa Tsong kha pa, for his part, articulates a position that differs both from that of Ngor chen and several earlier Sa skya scholars. According to Tsong kha pa, the body maṇḍala is to be visualized in stages. Moreover Tsong kha pa criticizes those who maintain that the body maṇḍala is generated instantly: With respect to this tradition of Vajraghaṇṭa, Tibetan lamas seem to think that the blessed deities of ‘the field for accumulating merit’ enter at the point in between the yogis’ eyes, and dissolve [into their bodies], and as a consequence [these yogis] generate instantly the entire body maṇḍala with its celestial mansion and deities. They think that in the case of the body maṇḍala it is not appropriate to generate the four physical elements and Mt. Meru from their respective seed syllables,78 the celestial mansion from the syllable Bhrūṃ and so forth, and Basic Heruka through ‘the five awakenings into manifestation’. They also seem to think that when [Vajraghaṇṭa] said in his Sādhana:79 “[The yogi] emanates a light ray to invite those who are already in existence,80 makes prostrations to them, and then they enter [the yogi’s] body,” he explained that ‘the field for accumulating merit’ enters into oneself, for he did not teach any separate generation ritual. I do not find these proper (’Dod ’jo, folio 125a, p. 447.2–4). Tsong kha pa here offers a lengthy explanation for his rejection of this position, ending with: Neither the Cakrasaṃvara Tantra nor its commentaries nor authentic Indian works taught a generation ritual whereby the celestial mansion 76 77 78 79 80

Dril bu pa’i lus dkyil gyi bshad pa, folios 380a–381a, pp. 404.3.5–405.1.2. Sdom ’byung, Tōh. 373, folio 267a, p. 533.3–4, ch. 3, v. 3. The disks of wind, fire, water and earth are generated from the seed syllables Yaṃ, Raṃ, Baṃ, and Laṃ respectively, while Mt. Meru is generated from the seed syllable Suṃ. Cakrasaṃvara-sādhana, Tōh. 1432, folio 223a, p. 445.1. As we saw, Tsong kha pa [as the Abhidhānottara Tantra] has sngon grub pa, while the Tengyur editions have dngos grub pa, and Ngor chen, Dril bu pa’i lus dkyil gyi bshad pa, folio 378b, p. 403.4.4–5, has mngon grub pa.

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and the deities residing in the maṇḍala are generated through the dissolution of ‘the field for accumulating merit’. Such an interpretation was never clearly expressed, and there are no indications for understanding this to be so in this context (’Dod ’jo, folio 125b, p. 448.3). Notably, Ngor chen cites this and other passages found in Tsong kha pa’s ’Dod ’jo at length.81 The generation of the body maṇḍala as an immediate result of the entry of ‘the field for accumulating merit’ into the yogi is unique to Vajraghaṇṭa. It is found neither in the main Tantras of the Cakrasaṃvara cycle nor in the works of the main commentators on this cycle, Lūyīpā and Nag po pa. Tsong kha pa’s choice to generate the body maṇḍala in stages through “the five awakenings into manifestation” is not based on Vajraghaṇṭa’s Sādhana, but on other sādhanas of Cakrasaṃvara cycle. Nonetheless, Ngor chen and the earlier lamas do seem to capture the straight­forward sense of Vajraghaṇṭa’s instructions. Tsong kha pa again reads Vajraghaṇṭa in a non-literal way, but this time Ngor chen disagrees with him. As Vajraghaṇṭa’s Sādhana is incompatible with other Sādhanas of the highest tantra, Tsong kha pa followed instead the method of other great Siddhas as well as the Tantras. Tsong kha pa tended to rely on the past lineage masters of each tradition, but he evinced a superordinate concern for a uniform structure of tantric practices. Thus while Sa skya scholars were inclined to follow closely the Sādhana of Vajraghaṇṭa, Tsong kha pa chose to maintain consistency. We have sampled the different approaches taken by these two scholars to scriptural authorities and the use of logic. Ngor chen adhered to the master Vajraghaṇṭa, despite the fact that the latter’s teachings were not in line with other, similar Sādhanas. Moreover Ngor chen follows here not only Vajra­ ghaṇṭa, but also Tibetan lamas, including the forefathers of his own school. What he does not do is adopt the instructions of similar Sādhanas, such as Lūyīpā’s Sādhana of Cakrasaṃvara, for practicing Vajraghaṇṭa’s Sādhana. Tsong kha pa, for his part, holds systematic practice to be of cardinal im­­por­ tance. Hence, relying on reason and analogous practices, he privileges con­sistency of practice over the specific instructions of past lineage masters.

Conclusions

In this paper I examined several exchanges that took place between Tibetan scholars during a formative period in the history of Tantric Buddhism in Tibet. 81

Dril bu pa’i lus dkyil gyi bshad pa, folios 378b–379a, pp. 403.4.6–404.1.1.

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We encountered different ideas about the outcome of meditation on the body maṇḍala, especially with regard to the extent of divinization achieved through this practice. We further considered the question whether or not the body is already divinized, with respect to the role of visualization during tantric meditations. Moreover, we saw diverse views on the transformative power of meditation on the body maṇḍala and learned that even those who maintain that the actual fruit of the practice is achieved only during later stages on the path nonetheless do ascribe transformative powers to this meditation during the creation stage. Furthermore, we looked at some implications of the view that the yogi’s body is naturally divinized even when he or she is unaware of such divination, and the impact of such a stance on the Buddhist path and its soteriological goals. Honing in on Vajraghaṇṭa’s notion of maṇḍalas naturally present in the bodies of sentient beings, we saw how Tibetan authors interpreted this in light of their stance on Tathāgata-garbha theory. We identified that for Ngor chen Kun dga’ bzang po, adherence to the interpretation of Tathāgata-garbha current in his circle outweighed either a literal interpretation of Vajraghaṇṭa or conformance with the perspectives of early important members of his own tradition. Like many other Tibetan masters, Ngor chen disagreed with earlier members of his lineage, although, following tradition, he generally did not name them. Most importantly, we learned about the systemization of tantric traditions. Tibetan lamas, in spite of their differences, engaged in fruitful exchanges. Yet there were different systems for establishing traditions, and choices had to be made when interpretations and traditions clashed. For certain masters, such as Tsong kha pa, a coherent and comprehensive system was of crucial importance while for others, including Ngor chen, the scriptural authority of Indian masters remained paramount.

References



Tantras

Abhidhānottara-Tantra, Mngon par brjod pa’i rgyud bla ma, Tōh. 369, D. vol. 77 [ka], folios 247a–370a, 493.1–739.7. For a partial Sanskrit edition and English translation, see Kalff 1979. Guhyasamāja Tantra = Sarva-tathāgata-kāya-vāk-citta-rahasya-guhyasamāja-nāmamahā-kalpa-rāja, Gsang ba ’dus pa = De bzhin gshegs pa thams cad kyi sku gsung thugs kyi gsang chen gsang ba ’dus pa zhes bya ba brtag pa’i rgyal po chen po. Tōh. 442, Derge vol. 81 [ca], 181.1–295.6, folios 90a1–148a6. For an edition of the Sanskrit, see Matsunaga 1978.

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Herukābhyudaya, Dpal he ru ka mngon par ’byung ba or Dpal khrag ’thung mngon par ’byung ba, Tōh. 374, D. rgyud, vol. 79, [ga], folios 1b–33b, pp. 2.1–66.7. Hevajra-tantra-rāja, Brtag gnyis: Part I, Kye’i rdo rje zhes bya ba rgyud kyi rgyal po, Tōh. 417, D. vol. 80 [nga], folios 1b1–13b5, 2.1–26.5. Part II, Kye’i rdo rje mkha’ ’gro ma dra ba’i sdom pa’i rgyud kyi rgyal po, Tōh. 418, D. vol. 80 [nga], folios 13b5–30a3, 26.5–59.3. For Sanskrit and Tibetan editions and English translation, see Snellgrove 1959. Saṃpuṭa-nāma-mahā-tantra, Yang dag par sbyor ba zhes bya ba’i rgyud chen po, Tōh. 381, D. vol. 79 [ga], folios 73b1–158b7, 146.1–316.7. Saṃvarodaya-Tantra = Mahā-saṃvarodaya-tantra-rāja, Sdom ’byung or Dpal bde mchog ’byung ba zhes bya ba’i rgyud kyi rgyal po chen po, Tōh. 373, D. vol. 78 [kha], 529.1–621.6, folios 265a1–311a6; for partial Sanskrit and Tibetan editions and English translation, see Tsuda 1974. Vajramālā = Vajra-mālābhidhāna-mahā-yoga-tantra-sarva-tantra-hṛdaya-rahasyavibhaṅga, Rdo rje phreng ba = Rnal ’byor chen po’i rgyud dpal rdo rje phreng ba mngon par brjod pa rgyud thams cad kyi snying po gsang ba rnam par phye ba, Tōh. 445, D. vol. 81 [ca], 415.1–554.3, folios 208a1–277b3. Translated into English by Kittay 2011.



Tengyur

Abhayākaragupta = Abhaya, ’Jigs med ’byung gnas sbas pa, Sampuṭa-tantra-rājaṭīkāmnāya-mañjarī, Man ngag snye ma or Man snye = Dpal yang dag par sbyor ba’i rgyud kyi rgyal po’i rgya cher ’grel pa man ngag gi snye ma. Tōh. 1198, D. vol. 7 [cha], folios 1b–316a, 2.1–631.7. Abhayākaragupta = Abhaya, Buddha-kapāla-mahā-tantra-rāja-ṭīkābhayapaddhati, Dpal sangs rgyas thod pa’i rgyud kyi rgyal po chen po’i rgya cher ’grel pa ’jigs pa med pa’i gzhung ’grel. Tōh. 1654, D. vol. 26 [ra], folios 166b–225b, 332.1–450.3. For Sanskrit and Tibetan editions, see Chog Dorje 2009. Dārikapa, Cakrasaṃvara-sādhana-tattva-saṅgraha, Dpal ’khor lo sdom pa’i sgrub thabs de kho na nyid kyis bsdus pa, Tōh. 1429, D. vol. 21 [wa], folios 197b–203b, 394.1–406.5. Kālacakrapāda, Dus ’khor zhabs, Sekoddeśa-ṭīkā, Dbang mdor bstan pa’i rgya cher ’grel pa. Tōh. 1353, D. vol. 14 [pa], folios 1b–27b, 2.1–54.7. Kṛṣṇācārya, Nag po spyod pa, Vasanta-tilakā, Dpyid kyi thig le. Tōh. 1448, D. vol. 21 [wa], folios 298b–306b, 596.2–612.4. For Sanskrit and Tibetan editions see, Samdhong Rinpoche and Vrajvallabh Dwivedi 1990. Lūyīpā, Bhagavad-abhisamaya, Dpal bcom ldan ’das mngon par rtogs pa. Tōh. 1427, D. vol. 21 [wa], folios 186b–193a, 372.3–385.1. For a Sanskrit edition see, Munenobu Sakurai, Cakrasaṃvarābhisamaya no genten kenkyū. Chizan Gakuho, vol. 47, 1998: 1–32. Maṇikaśrī, Śrī-cakrasaṃvaraika-vīra-sādhana, Dpal ’khor lo sdom pa dpa’ bo gcig pa’i sgrub thabs, Tōh. 1536, D. vol. 23 [za], folios 108b–112a, 216.3–223.1. Prajñārakṣita, Abhisamaya-nāma-pañjikā, Dpal mngon par rtogs pa zhes bya ba’i dka’ ’grel, Tōh. 1465, D. vol. 22. [zha], folios 34a–45b, 67.2–90.7.

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Vajraghaṇṭa, Rdo rje dril bu or Dril bu pa, Seka = Cakrasaṃvara-ṣeka-prakriyopadeśa, Dpal ’khor lo sdom pa’i dbang gi bya ba mdor bsdus pa. Tōh. 1431, D. vol. 21 [wa], folios 219b–222b, 438.3–444.5. For a Sanskrit edition and French translation of the first three and a half verses, see Finot 1934, 61­–62 & 78. Vajraghaṇṭa, [The longer work =] Cakrasaṃvara-sādhana, Dpal ’khor lo sdom pa’i sgrub pa’i thabs. Tōh. 1432, D. vol. 21 [wa], folios 222b–224b, 444.5–448.5. Vajraghaṇṭa, [The shorter work =] *Cakrasaṃvara-kāya-maṇḍala-abhisamaya, ’Khor lo sdom pa’i lus dkyil gyi mngon rtogs. Tōh. 1434, D. vol. 21 [wa], folio 227a–227b, 453.1–454.3.



Tibetan Works

Bsod nams rtse mo (1142–1182). 1968. Sa skya pa’i bka’ ’bum, vol. 2. Tokyo: The Toyo Bunko: Bsod nams rtse mo (1142–1182). ’Khor lo bde mchog dril bu pa’i gzhung gi mngon par rtogs pa, folios 112a–117b, 404.4.1–407.3.1. Bsod nams rtse mo (1142–1182). De’i dbang gi bya ba mdor bsdus, folios 117b–140a, 407.3.1–418.4.6. Bu ston Rin chen grub (1290–1364). 1967. Collected Works, vol. 7 [Ja]. New Delhi: International Academy of Indian Culture: Bu ston Rin chen grub (1290–1364). Dril bu lus dkyil = Dpal ’khor lo sdom pa’i lus kyi dkyil ’khor gyi mngon par rtogs pa lhun gyis grub pa’i dkyil ’khor gsal bar byed pa. 16 folios, 353.1–384.3. Bu ston Rin chen grub (1290–1364). Lus dkyil dbang chog = Dpal ’khor lo sdom pa’i rang bzhin gyis grub pa’i dkyil ’khor du dbang bskur ba’i cho ga zab don gsal ba. 20 folios, 385.1–424.6. Dwags po Bkra shis rnam rgyal (1512–1587). 2004. Gsang sngags rdo rje theg pa’i spyi don mdor bsdus pa legs bshad nor bu’i ’od zer. Delhi: Drikung Kagyu Publications. 368pp. TBRC: W29340. Translated into English by Roberts 2011, 401–620. Kong sprul Yon tan rgya mtsho (1813–1899). 1982. Shes bya kun khyab. Beijing: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang. The relevant part is translated into English by Guarisco and McLeod 2005. Mkhas grub rje Dge legs dpal bzang po (1385–1438). 1982. Collected Works. New Delhi: Gurudeva. Reproduced from the 1897 Old Zhol blocks: Mkhas grub rje Dge legs dpal bzang po (1385–1438). Bskyed rim dngos grub rgya mtsho = Rgyud thams cad kyi rgyal po dpal gsang ba ’dus pa’i bskyed rim dngos grub rgya mtsho, vol. 7, folios 1a–190b, 3–381. Mkhas grub rje Dge legs dpal bzang po (1385–1438). Bde dril bskyed rim = Bde mchog dril bu lus dkyil gyi dbang du byas pa’i bskyed rim gyi dka’ gnas, vol. 6, folios 1a–12a, 765.1–787.2. Mkhas grub rje Dge legs dpal bzang po (1385–1438). Dge bshes kon ting gu[g] śrī ba la phul ba, work no. 43 in the Gsung thor bu, vol. 9, folios 153a–169b, 775.1–808.1.

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Ngor chen Kun dga’ bzang po (1382–1456). Dril bu pa’i lus dkyil gyi bshad pa. Sa skya pa’i bka’ ’bum. Tokyo: The Toyo Bunko, 1969, vol. 10, folios 117b–140a, 398.1.1–405.4.1. ’Phags pa Blo gros rgyal mtshan (1235–1280). Dril bu lus dkyil gyi sgrub thabs. Sa skya pa’i bka’ ’bum. Tokyo: The Toyo Bunko, 1968, vol. 6, folios 394b–401a, 195.4.6–199.1.6. Rang byung rdo rje, Third Karmapa (1284–1339). 2006. Lus kyi dkyil ’khor gyi ’thad pa lung sbyor, included in: Shes rab snang ba’i sgrub thabs sogs. Collected Works. Zi ling, vol. 9, folios 23b–28a, 517.4–526.4. W30541. Tshe tan zhabs drung. 1982. Bstan rtsis kun las btus pa. Xining: Qinghai People’s Publishing House. Tsong kha pa Blo bzang grags pa (1357–1419). 1975–1979. Collected Works. New Delhi: Ngawang Gelek Demo, 27 vols. Old Bkra shis lhun po redaction. Listed here in the order found in this edition of his Collected Works: Tsong kha pa Blo bzang grags pa (1357–1419). Sngags rim chen mo = Rgyal ba khyab bdag rdo rje ’chang chen po’i lam gyi rim pa gsang ba kun gyi gnad rnam par phye ba, vol. 4, 512 folios, 1–494 and vol. 5, 1–530. My notes refer to the edition published in Xining: Mtsho sngon mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 1995. Tsong kha pa Blo bzang grags pa (1357–1419). ’Dod ’jo = Bcom ldan ’das dpal ’khor lo bde mchog gi mngon par rtogs pa’i rgya cher bshad pa ’dod pa ’jo ba, vol. 14, 195 folios, 72–460. Tsong kha pa Blo bzang grags pa (1357–1419). Lus dkyil = Bde mchog dril bu lugs kyi mngon rtogs dgongs pa rab gsal, vol. 15, 25 folios, 2–55. Tsong kha pa Blo bzang grags pa (1357–1419). Dril dbang = Rnal ’byor dbang phyug dril bu lugs bde mchog lus dkyil gyi dbang chog rin po che’i bang mdzod, vol. 15, 27 folios, 56–109.



Sanskrit Editions [and Translations]

Chog Dorje. ed. 2009. Abhaya-paddhati of Abhayākaragupta: Commentary on the Buddha-kapāla-mahā-tantra. Sarnath: Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies. Finot, Louis. 1934. “Manuscrits Sanskrits de sādhana’s retrouvés en Chine.” Journal Asiatique 225: 1–86. Kalff, Martin M. 1979. Selected Chapters from the Abhidhānottara-Tantra: The Union of Female and Male Deities. PhD diss., New York, Columbia University. Matsunaga Yukei. 1978. The Guhyasamāja Tantra: A New Critical Edition. Osaka: Toho Shuppan. Sakurai, Munenobu. 1998. “Cakrasaṃvarābhisamaya no genten kenkyū.” Chizan Gakuho 47: 1–32. Samdhong Rinpoche and Vrajvallabh Dwivedi. 1990. Vasanta-tilakā of Caryā-vratī-śrīkṛṣṇācārya with commentary Rahasya-dīpikā by Vanaratna. Sarnath: Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies.

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Snellgrove, David L. 1959. Hevajra Tantra: A Critical Study. London: Oxford University Press. Tsuda, Shinichi. 1974. The Saṃvarodaya-Tantra: Selected Chapters. Tokyo: Hokuseido Press.



Non-Tibetan Works

Bentor, Yael. 1996. Consecration of Images and Stūpas in Indo Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. Leiden: E.J. Brill. Cabezón, José Ignacio and Geshe Lobsang Dargyay. 2007. Freedom from Extremes: Gorampa’s “Distinguishing the Views” and the Polemics of Emptiness. Boston: Wisdom Publications. Davidson, Ronald M. 1991. “Reflections on the Maheśvara Subjugation Myth: Indic Materials, Sa-skya-pa apologetics, and the birth of Heruka.” The Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 14 (2): 197–235. Flood, Gavin. 2006. The Tantric Body: The Secret Tradition of Hindu Religion. London: I.B. Tauris. Flood, Gavin. 2012. “Fashioning Human Bodies in the Divine Likeness: Divinizing the Body in Tantric Traditions.” Unpublished paper read at the AAR 2012 in Chicago. Guarisco, Elio and McLeod, Ingrid. 2005. Systems of Buddhist Tantra. Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications. Gray, David. 2011. “Experiencing the Single Savior: Divinizing the Body and the Senses in Tantric Buddhist Meditation.” In Perceiving the Divine through the Human Body: Mystical Sensuality, edited by Thomas Cattoi and June McDaniel, 45–65. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Jackson, David. 1990. “The Identification of Individual Teachers in Paintings of Sa-skyapa Lineages.” In Indo-Tibetan Studies: Papers in Honour and Appreciation of David L. Snellgrove’s Contributions to Indo-Tibetan Studies, edited by Tadeusz Skorupski, 129–144. Tring: Institute of Buddhist Studies. Jackson, David. 2007. “Rong ston bKa’ bcu pa: Notes on the Title and Travels of a Great Tibetan Scholastic.” In Pramāṇakīrtiḥ: Papers Dedicated to Ernst Steinkellner on the Occasion of his 70th Birthday, edited by Birgit Kellner et al., 345–360. Wien: Arbeitskreis für Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien, Universität Wien. Kittay, David R. 2011. Interpreting the Vajra Rosary: Truth and Method Meets Wisdom and Method. Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, New York. van der Kuijp, Leonard. 1985a. “Apropos of a Recent Contribution to the History of Central Way Philosophy in Tibet: Tsong Khapa’s Speech of Gold.” Berliner Indologische Studien 1: 47–74. van der Kuijp, Leonard. 1985b. “A Text-Historical Note on Hevajratantra II: v: 1–2.” The Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 8 (1): 83–89.

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Matsunaga Yukei. 1977. “Some Problems of the Guhyasamāja-tantra.” Studies in IndoAsian Art & Culture 5: 109–120. Roberts, Peter Alan. 2011. Mahāmudrā and Related Instructions: Core Teachings of the Kagyu Schools. Boston: Wisdom Publications and the Institute of Tibetan Classics. Ruegg, David Seyfort. 1968. “On the Dge-lugs-pa Theory of the Tathāgatagarbha.” In Pratidānam, edited by J.C. Heesterman et al., 500–509. The Hague: Mouton.

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Part 4 Tibetan Buddhism in China



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Chapter 10

Ming Chinese Translations of Tibetan Tantric Buddhist Texts and the Buddhist Saṃgha of the Western Regions in Beijing* Shen Weirong

I

The National Palace Museum of Taiwan houses two original Ming manuscripts of Chinese translations of Tibetan Tantric Buddhist ritual texts. These manuscripts are considered to be the most precious holdings in the museum’s entire collection. They are: 1.

2.

 Jixiang xijingang jilun ganluquan 吉祥喜金剛集輪甘露泉 (The Spring Well of Nectar: The Feast Gathering [Gaṇacakra] of the Auspicious Hevajra), “collected and translated” 集譯 by the Mantradhara bSod nams grags 持咒沙門莎南屹囉 [Hereafter: The Auspicious Hevajra].  Rulai dingji zunsheng fomu xianzheng yi 如來頂髻尊勝佛母現證儀 (The Liturgy of the Realization of the Buddha Mother Uṣṇīṣavijaya), orally taught by ’Phags pa of the Yuan 元發思巴述 and translated by the Buddhist monk bSod nams grags 釋莎南屹囉譯 [Hereafter: The Buddha Mother Uṣṇīṣavijaya].1

Although both manuscripts were written with golden powder in the fourth year of the Zheng Tong 正統 reign of the Ming (1439), they were considered to be of Yuan origin, since both the author ’Phags pa Bla ma Blo gros rgyal mtshan (1235–1280) and the translator bSod nams grags, who was assumed to be a disciple of Bla ma ’Phags pa, lived during the Yuan dynasty (1270­–1368). The dating of these manuscripts to the Yuan period, however, remains an undocumented presumption. Previously there was no evidence whatsoever * My sincere gratitude goes to Mr. Hans J. Shen who carefully corrected and improved the English of this text. Any inaccuracies remaining, however, are my responsibility alone. 1 Convergence of Radiance 2003. Both were photographically reprinted respectively in 2005 and 2008 in Taibei (Jixiang xijingang jilun ganluquan Oct. 2005; Rulai dingji zunsheng fomu xianzheng yi 2008). Cf. An Haiyan and Shen Weirong 2010.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2017 | doi 10.1163/9789004340503_012

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concerning the identity of bSod nams grags, and no indication that this most prolific translator was indeed a direct disciple of Bla ma ’Phags pa. While bSod nams grags’s name suggests that he was a Tibetan lama, the extraordinary quality of his translations and his erudition in Chinese Buddhist scriptures leads one to wonder whether he was in fact a Chinese monk. Recently I found textual evidence that calls into question the long held scholarly consensus that the great translator lived in the Yuan period.2 Two lists of the lineage of the masters who transmitted both The Auspicious Hevajra and The Buddha Mother Uṣṇīṣavijaya, generation to generation, until the time in which the texts were translated, points us in a different direction. A simple calculation of the dates of these masters makes clear that the two texts in question were translated during the Ming (1368–1644) rather than the Yuan period. Let us consider one example. There, seventeen masters who transmitted the ritual of inner offering in the meditative practice of offerings in The Auspicious Hevajra, in which three masters after Bla ma ’Phags pa are mentioned. They are: 1. 2. 3.

Buluopu suonan bala 不囉蒲瑣南巴辣. Shuosiliezhe suonan jiancan 搠思咧哲瑣南緘粲. Lama Liesiba gulusi 辣麻列思巴孤嚕思 (The Auspicious Hevajra, juan 1, folio 47).

Among these three, Buluopu suonan bala can be identified as Brag phug pa bSod nams dpal. He is sometimes also called Jiawa zhapuba Shanan ban 嘉咓 劄普巴·莎南班, that is, Ba bza’ brag phug pa bSod nams dpal (1277–1346/50). This figure was a Sa skya scholar and one of the main gurus of Bla ma dam pa bSod nams rgyal mtshan (1312–1375). In the Sa skya gdung rabs, Brag phug pa bSod nams dpal is mentioned as a master of Bla ma dam pa. The name Brag phug pa bSod nams dpal also appears in the main transmission lineages of Hevajra received by A mes zhabs (Sobisch 2008, 79). The second master on the list is Shuosiliezhe Suonan jiancan 搠思咧哲瑣南 緘粲, who is clearly none other than Chos rje bSod nams rgyal mtshan, that is, Bla ma dam pa bSod nams rgyal mtshan, the best-known disciple of Brag phug pa and, after Sa skya Paṇḍita Kun dga’ rgyal mtshan (1182–1251), the most illustrious scholar of the Sa skya pa school.3 The name of the master of the third 2 One recent study on the identity of bSod nams grags insists on his Yuan origin. See Toh Hoong Teik 2013. 3 Bla ma dam pa bSod nams rgyal mtshan received both the pith instruction of the Hevajra Tantra and the initiation of the maṇḍala of Hevajra from Brag phug pa bSod nams dpal. Cf.

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generation after ’Phags pa, Lama Liesiba gulusi 辣麻列思巴裸孤嚕思, can be reconstructed as Bla ma Legs pa’i blo gros, whose identity is to date unknown. However, as a successor of Bla ma dam pa in this lineage, Bla ma Legs pa’i blo gros must have lived most of his life during the Ming period. Moreover, it was Ming practice to transcribe the Tibetan name “bSod nams rgyal mtshan” as “Suonan jiancan” 瑣南緘粲, which differs from the “Suonan jianzang” 鎖南監 藏 of the Yuan period. The Auspicious Hevajra contains another transmission lineage of five masters following Bla ma ’Phags pa 辣麻發思巴 found in the ritual of making the gtor-ma offering to the two deities—the brother and sister of the Great Black: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Lama Ewan bawa 辣麻俄翫八咓. Lama Duoer zuba 辣麻多兒租八. Lama Duanguluba 辣麻端孤嚕巴. Lama Shela zangbu 辣麻舍辣藏卜. Yana Luoshimi 牙拿囉釋彌 (The Auspicious Hevajra, juan 2, folio 31).

This list appears as well in The Buddha Mother Uṣṇīṣavijaya, albeit with slight variations in the phonetic transcription of the masters’ names into Chinese characters.4 Among them, Lama Ewanbawa 辣麻俄翫八咓 or 辣麻娥翫發斡 possibly refers to Bla ma ’Od zer ’bum, also called “gSal la ba ’Od zer ’bum,” who was a disciple of Bla ma ’Phags pa, and whose dates are unknown to us (Ngag dbang kun dga’ bsod nams 1986, 174). The name “Lama Duoer zuba” 辣麻多兒租八 or 辣麻多兒麤巴 can be reconstructed as “Bla ma rDo rje dpal ba”. This might refer to g.Yung ston rDo rje dpal ba (1284–1365), a disciple of the third Karma bKa’ brgyud patriarch Rang byung rdo rje (1284–1339) and a teacher of the fourth Karma bKa’ brgyud patriarch Rol pa’i rdo rje (1340–1383). Like these two patriarchs, he as well went to China to preach the Buddha’s teachings (Xueyu lidai mingren zidian 1992, 1589). In Chinese literature from the Yuan period, rDo rje dpal is usually transcribed as “Duoer zhiban” 朵兒只班, while the transcription of rDo rje dpal as “Duoer zuba” 多兒租八 or 多兒麤巴 once again reflects the Ming practice of transcribing Tibetan names.

Sobisch 2008, 79, 87, 111; on the transmission lineage of the Sa skya pa Masters, cf. Jackson 1990. 4 The names of these five masters are written as 辣麻娥翫發斡 (Bla ma ’Od zer ’bum), 辣麻 多兒麤巴 (Bla ma rDo rje dpal), 辣麻端孤嚕巴 (Bla ma Don grub pa), 辣麻舍剌藏卜 (Bla ma Shes rab bzang po), 雅納囉釋迷 (Jñānaraśmi). The Liturgy of the Realization of the Buddha Mother Uṣṇīṣavijaya, folio 35.

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The name “Lama Shela zangbu” 辣麻舍辣藏卜 or 辣麻舍剌藏卜 can be reconstructed as “Bla ma Shes rab bzang po”. There were several Sa skya pa lamas named Shes rab bzang po, one of whom was a direct disciple of Ngor chen Kun dga’ bzang po (1382–1456) who lived from 1411 to 1475. However, it is not certain whether he is the master in question. While I am currently unable to identify with certainty all five masters and when they lived, these two manuscripts of Tibetan Tantric Buddhist rituals which came into the possession of bSod nams grags through a transmission lineage of five generations that succeed Bla ma ’Phags pa might well have been products of the Ming rather than the Yuan dynasty. Moreover although both The Auspicious Hevajra and The Buddha Mother Uṣṇīṣavijaya were definitely attributed to Bla ma ’Phags pa, neither is simply a translation of an individual Tibetan text authored by Bla ma ’Phags pa. Having identified—with great effort—the Tibetan originals of the Chinese translations and compared them to numerous Tibetan texts on the same topic, I have concluded that the two works, The Auspicious Hevajra and The Buddha Mother Uṣṇīṣavijaya, are compilations of several works on the same topic composed by different authors, who nevertheless belonged to the same tradition. The Chinese term jiyi 集譯 indicates, indeed, a product of a translator-compiler who not only translated, but also selected, edited and compiled a number of Tibetan texts to create a new work in Chinese. The translator-compiler chose what he regarded as the most significant sections from various Tibetan texts written not only by Bla ma ’Phags pa, but also by other Sa skya pa patriarchs, and rearranged them according to the actual practice, eventually forming one integrated text.5 The Auspicious Hevajra is, for instance, a compilation of the following five texts: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

 dPal kye rdo rje’i mngon rtogs yid bzhin nor bu, by Bla ma ’Phags pa;  Kyai rdo rje’i sgrub thabs srung ’khor dang bcas pa, by Bla ma ’Phags pa;  Tshogs ’khor bdud rtsi bum pa = Kyai rdo rje’i tshogs kyi ’khor lo’i cho ga bdud rtsi bum pa by Bla ma ’Phags pa;  dPal kye rdo rje’i mngon rtogs yan lag drug pa, by Grags pa rgyal mtshan, the third patriarch of the Sa skya pa  lCam dral gyi gtor chog, by Bla ma ’Phags pa.

Likewise, The Buddha Mother Uṣṇīṣavijaya is based on at least the following seven texts: 5 For details, see An Haiyan and Shen Weirong 2010.

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1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

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 rJe btsun rnam par rgyal ma’i sgrub thabs stong mchod dang bcas pa, by Bla ma ’Phags pa;  De bzhin gshegs pa thams cad kyi gtsug tor rnam par rgyal ba zhes bya ba’i gzungs rtog pa dang bcas pa, translated by Chos kyi sde and Ba ri lotsāba;  bCom ldan ’das ma gtsug tor rnam par rgyal ma la stod pa, authored by Candragomin  lCam dral gyi gtor chog, by Bla ma ’Phags pa;  mGon po’i sgrub yig, by Bla ma ’Phags pa;  Sa skya pa’i nyin zhag phrugs gcig gi thugs dam gtor ma’i rim pa, by Bla ma ’Phags pa (Du Xuchu 2012)  bGegs gtor, by Bla ma ’Phags pa.

Clearly the translator, bSod nams grags, was not a contemporary or even a direct disciple of Bla ma ’Phags pa, but rather was coeval with the last master in the list of the transmission lineage. In all probability, therefore, he was a Tibetan Buddhist of the Ming dynasty. As mentioned above, both The Auspicious Hevajra and The Buddha Mother Uṣṇīṣavijaya were written with golden powder by the imperial order of the Ming Emperor in the fourth year of the Zheng Tong reign. The texts were adorned on the cover and front pages with various wonderful paintings of the Hevajra and Uṣṇīṣavijaya maṇḍalas, as well as with images of Mahākala created by painters of the Ming imperial court. On one of the pages we can see the imperial edict with original calligraphy by the emperor himself. Furthermore, numerous mantras and dhāraṇīs within the texts are written in lantsa scripts of Sanskrit, which are rarely seen in texts of this kind. These two booklets are indeed genuine artworks of the Ming imperial court. Thus, we now know that the translation and compilation of these two texts were completed prior to the fourth year of the Zheng Tong reign of the Ming, and during that year copied by imperial order. The precise date of this order is unknown, although it could not be much earlier or later than the aforementioned time period.

II

If the great lotsāba bSod nams grags indeed worked in the early Ming period rather than the Yuan, the dissemination of Tibetan Buddhism in both the Mongol Yuan and Han Chinese Ming dynasties will require a complete reanalysis. This is because many of the Chinese translations of known Tibetan Tantric Buddhist texts that have been traced to Yuan origin were in fact the product of

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the prolific hand of bSod nams grags alone (Shen Weirong 2013, 331–359). For instance, at least nine of the total eighty-three texts included in Dasheng yaodao miji 大乘要道密集 (The Secret Collection of Works on the Essential Path of Mahāyāna), an extremely important collection of classical Chinese translations of Tibetan Tantric Buddhist texts mistakenly believed to have been compiled by Bla ma ’Phags pa himself at the Mongol court of the Yuan, are credited to bSod nams grags. They are: 1. 2.

3.

4. 5.

6. 7. 8.

 Daoguo yanhui ji 道果延暉集 (The Collection of Extending the Luminosity of the Path with its Result), compiled and translated by Mantradhara bSod nams grags 持呪沙門莎南屹囉集譯.  Da jingangsheng xiushi guanmen 大金剛乘修師觀門 (The [Pith] Instruction of Guruyoga of the Great Vajrayāna), taught by the Great Sa skya Paṇḍita Chos rje Bla ma [Kun dga’ rgyal mtshan] 大薩思嘉班帝怛 著哩哲斡上師述, and translated by the Mantradhara Monk bSod nams grags 持呪沙門莎南屹囉譯.  Guanshi yaomen 觀師要門 (The Pith Instruction of Guru Yoga), compiled by the Great Imperial Preceptor of Yuan ’Phags pa 大元帝師發思巴集, and translated by the Mantradhara Monk bSod nams grags 持呪沙門莎 南屹囉譯.  Hanzang yinxu jiwen 含藏因續記文 (The Written Record of Cause Tantra of All-Ground), taught by the Great Yogi Grags pa rgyal mtshan 大瑜伽士 名稱幢師述, and translated by the Mantradhara Monk bSod nams grags.  Dasheng mizang xianzheng benxu monishu juan 大乘密藏現證本續摩尼 樹卷 (The Wish-fulfilling Tree of the Actual Realization of the Secret Treasure of Mahāyāna), authored by the Great Sa skya Master rJe btsun pa [Grags pa rgyal mtshan] 大薩思嘉知宗巴上師造, and translated by the Mantradhara Monk bSod nams grags.  Amituofo linzhong yaomen 阿彌陀佛臨終要門 (The Quintessential Instruction of the Yogic Practice of Buddha Amitābha in the Moment of Dying), translated by the Mantradhara Monk bSod nams grags.  Putixin jieyi 菩提心戒儀 (The Ritual of the Vow of Bodhicitta), recorded by Master Kun dga’ ’bum 公葛朋上師錄, and translated by the Mantra­ dhara Monk bSod nams grags.  Shengxiang neizhi zongchi luegui 聖像內置總持略軌 (Condensed Ritual of Inserting Dhāraṇīs into the Holy Images), taught by the Indian Master Jetāri 天竺勝諸冤敵節怛哩巴上師述, and translated by the Mantra­ dhara Monk bSod nams grags.

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9.

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 Lue shengzhu fayi 略勝住法儀 (Concise Dharma Ritual of Consecration), taught by the Great Imperial Preceptor of Yuan ’Phags pa 大元帝師發思 巴述, and translated by the Mantradhara Monk bSod nams grags.

Two of these nine texts, numbers 4 and 5, are works of Grags pa rgyal mtshan, the third patriarch of the Sa skya pa, who was variously called the “Great Yogi,” the “master Grags pa rgyal mtshan” (1147–1216) 大瑜伽士名稱幢師, or “rJe btsun pa Grags pa rgyal mtshan” 知宗巴葛剌思巴監藏. Text no. 2 was penned by the great Sa skya Paṇḍita Chos rje Bla ma 大薩思嘉班帝怛著哩哲斡上師, that is, Sa skya Paṇḍita Kun dga’ rgyal mtshan, the fourth patriarch of Sa skya pa, while text no. 3 and no. 9 are works of ’Phags pa Blo gros rgyal mtshan, the Great Imperial Preceptor of Yuan 大元帝師發思巴羅古羅思監藏. Texts no. 1 and no. 5 are the longest among the eighty-three texts included in Dasheng yaodao miji. Thus, these nine texts translated by bSod nams grags form essential parts of the Dasheng yaodao miji. In addition, eight classical Chinese texts on Tibetan Tantric Buddhism, recently discovered in the National Library of China in Beijing, echo in terms of both content and translation style those included in the Dasheng yaodao miji. Five of these eight texts were translated by bSod nams grags, and their total length far exceeds that of the nine texts altogether included in the Dasheng yaodao miji. These five texts are: 1.

2.

3.

6 7 8

 Duanbiwa chengjiu tongshengyao 端必瓦成就同生要 (Ḍombiheruka’s Saha­ja­siddhi, one volume), translated by Yuan monk bSod nams grags 元釋莎南屹囉譯, a copy of the Shugu Hall of the Qian Family of Early Qing 清初錢氏述古堂抄本.6  Yindeluo puti shouyin daoyao 因得囉菩提手印道要 (The Key Points of Mudrā written by Indrabhūti, one volume), translated by Yuan monk bSod nams grags, and a copy of the Shugu Hall of the Qian Family of Early Qing 清初錢氏述古堂抄本.7  Dashouyin wuziyao 大手印無字要 (Letterless Mahāmudrā), one volume, translated by Yuan monk bSod nams grags, and a copy of the Shugu Hall of the Qian Family of Early Qing.8 The Tibetan original of the text is identified as Ḍombi he ru kas mdzad pa’i lhan cig skyes grub ces bya ba bzhugs so, Lam ’bras slob bshad, 1983, vol. 11, 387–400. For a preliminary study on the text, see Chai Bing 2012, 161–206. The Tibetan original of the text is identified Slob dpon Indrabhūtis mdzad pa’i phyag rgya’i lam skor bzhugs so, Lam ’bras slob bshad, 1983, vol. 11, 461–479. The Tibetan original of the text is identified as Slob dpon Ngag dbang grags pas mdzad pa’i phyag rgya chen po yi ge med pa, Lam ’bras slob bshad, 1983, vol. 11, 406–419. For a preliminary study on the text, see Meng Yu 2012, 207–242.

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 Miliwoba shangshi daoguo juan 密哩斡巴上師道果卷 (Volumes of the Path with its Result of the Master Virūpa), translated by Yuan monk bSod nams grags, Ming handwritten copy.9  Xijingang zhongwei nei zishou guanding 喜金剛中圍內自受灌頂儀 (The Ritual of Self-empowerment of Hevajra Maṇḍala), Compiled by the Yuan monk ’Phags pa 元釋發思巴集 and translated by the monk bSod nams grags 釋莎南屹囉譯, Ming handwritten copy 明抄本.10

There is one more text within the same collection which very likely came from the hand of bSod nams grags as well. Entitled Jixiang xijingang benxuwang houfen zhushu 吉祥喜金剛本續王后分注疏 (Commentary on the Auspicious Two Sections Hevajra Tantra), this is a translation of ’Phags pa Bla ma’s commentary on The Hevajra Tantra (brtag gnyis).11 Its wording and style recall other texts attributed to bSod nams grags. It is worth noting that text no. 4 in the list, Volumes of the Path with its Result of the Master Virūpa, is actually identical to the first part of the text of the same title seen in the Dasheng yaodao miji. Furthermore, the text entitled Yin shangzhongxia sanji yi 引上中下三機儀 (The Ritual Guiding the Disciples of High, Middle and Low Intelligence) is found in both collections, but only the version held in the National Library indicates that it was translated by the Mantradhara bSod nams grags; the version found in the Dasheng yaodao miji offers no hint to the translator. One might speculate that additional texts included in the Dasheng yaodao miji in which the translator’s name is not mentioned could also have been translated by bSod nams grags. In addition, at both the beginning and end of the version of Volumes of the Path with its Result of Master Virūpa found in the National Library we find a statement that this is the tenth volume of the entire collection. This indicates that there was a collection of texts on the doctrine and practice of the Path with its Result in at least ten volumes, that could have been translated by the Mantradhara bSod nams grags. 9

10

11

It is listed in this way in Beijing tushuguan guji shanben shumu 北京圖書館古籍善本書 目 (Bibliographica of Ancient Rare Books of Beijing Library). According to the text itself, it is just one volume, titled Daoguo (The Path with its Result) Volume no. 10 道果第十. The Tibetan original of the text is identified as dPal kye’i rdo rje’i dkyil ’khor du bdag nyid ’jug cing dbang blang ba’i cho ga dbang la ’jug pa zhes bya ba, Sa skya bka’ ’bum, 1992–1993, vol. 13, 453–489. Chos rgyal ’Phags pa, 1968. Brtag gnyis kyis bsdus don. Sa skya bka’ ’bum, volume 6, pp. 35.1.4­–40.2.6, Tokyo: The Toyo Bunko. Commentary on Kye’i rdo rje zhes bya ba rgyud kyi rgyal po, Sa skya bka’ ’bum gsar rnyed phyogs bsgrigs, 199?, 3, 529–707.

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Why has bSod nams grags been dated to the Yuan Period? 1. 2.

3.

The aforementioned texts in the collection of the National Library of China that name bSod nams grags as their translator specify that he lived during the Yuan. The first three of the aforementioned texts had been part of the private collection of the Shugu tang 述古堂 of Qian Zeng 錢曾 (1629–1701), a well-known book collector from the Qing Jiangnan area. Qian Zeng inherited these three manuscripts from his famous grand uncle Qian Qianyi 錢謙益 (1582–1664), an illustrious Ming loyalist and Qing grand academician. Qian Zeng noted in his book Dushu minqiu ji 讀書敏求記 that these three manuscripts are concerned with the notorious tantric practice called Yandieer 演揲兒, which was performed at the court of the last Mongol emperor of Yuan and very likely pertains to the yogic practice of the Magical Wheel of the Path with its Result (Lam ’bras ’khrul ’khor) (Qian Zeng 1984, 112).12 The papers and the format of the manuscripts represent typical Yuan palace productions.

For these three reasons, bSod nams grags has long been thought of as a Yuan translator. Considering him rather as a translator of the Ming era, I arrive at two rather unexpected conclusions: 1.

Tibetan Buddhism was much more popular during the early Ming period than it was in the Yuan. Previously we have not been aware of any Chinese translations of Tibetan Tantric Buddhist texts made during the Ming period. Our knowledge of the spread of Tibetan Buddhism in China proper during that time has been limited to fantastic stories on the esteem Tibetan lamas and Tibetan Tantric Buddhism held by both imperial members at the court and commoners in ordinary society within and outside the Ming capital. These tales were based on scattered sources found in Ming Shilu 明實錄 (Verifiable Records of Ming), Ming Shi 明史 (Ming Official History) and Biji 筆記 (Miscel­la­neous Notes)

12

The so-called practice of Yandier refers to the yogic practice of ’phrul ’khor or ’khrul ’khor which was popular at the Mongol court as part of Sa skya pa’s lam ’bras teachings. It was called Daoguo jilun 道果機輪 (lam ’bras ’phrul ’khor) in Chinese. Tangut Xia or Yuan Chinese translation of the practical manual of the ’khrul ’khor is discovered and identified recently among the collection of fragmentary texts supposedly related to the Yandieer practice from the Qing court archives by Luo Zhenyu 羅振玉 (1866–1940).

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2.

Shen

of Ming literati. However, we have not fully understood the doctrines and practices of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism transmitted by Tibetan lamas (Shen Weirong 2007, 37–93). That bSod nams grags himself left such a quantity of Chinese translations of Tibetan Tantric Buddhist texts might indicate that there are many more similar texts from the Ming period. The texts left to us by bSod nams grags constitute invaluable literary sources for further investigation of the history of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism in Ming China and for evaluating the degree of popularity of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism during the early period of the Ming dynasty. Previous scholarship has assumed that when the Ming replaced the Yuan, Sa skya pa lamas were replaced by Karma bKa’ brgyud pa lamas as the favored Tibetan Buddhist monks in the court. We knew that the newly established dGe lugs pa school became increasingly influential in both the capitals and the border areas between Tibet and China proper, after Byams chen Chos rje Śākya ye shes (1354–1435) and his disciples became particularly favored by both Emperor Yongle 永樂 (1403–1424) and Emperor Xuande 宣德 (1426–1435). Nevertheless, we wrongly supposed that when bKa' brgyud and dGe lugs lamas gained prominence, the Sa skya pa lamas lost their hold rapidly, although one Sa skya pa lama was still granted the title of the Dharma King of Mahāyāna 大乘 法王 in the early Ming. However since most of the works on Tibetan Tantric Buddhism translated by bSod nams grags are on the fundamental teachings of the Sa skya pa school—the Path with its Result (lam ’bras), I conclude that the teachings and practices of the Sa skya pa were popular not only in the Yuan dynasty, but during the Ming period as well, perhaps even not to a lesser degree. Thus the Sa skya school has been consistently dominant throughout the history of the spread of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism in China beginning with the Tangut kingdom and through the Yuan into the Ming dynasty.

Furthermore, once we identify bSod nams grags as a Ming translator, I can determine the exact date of the compilation of the Dasheng yaodao miji, thus far a contested topic. Scholars have considered it a collection produced by the Yuan imperial court and compiled during the Mongol Yuan dynasty. Our findings, however, demonstrate that it contains, in fact, translations of several relevant Sa skya Lam ’bras texts dated to the Tangut Xia period (1032–1227) as well as texts by bSod nams grags from the early Ming. Hence the date of the completion of the Dasheng yaodao miji could not be earlier than the Zhengtong reign of the Ming (1435–1450).

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The works of two Tibetan Buddhist masters who lived during the late Yuan, found in the Dasheng yaodao miji, could be of early Ming origin as well. These are the Da putita yang chicun fa 大菩提塔樣尺寸法 (Byang chub chen po’i mchod rten gyi tshad, The Measurements of the Stūpa of Great Enlightenment) by Bu ston Rin chen grub (1290–1364) and the Zongshi jiaomen daozhu 縂釋教 門禱祝 (bsTan pa spyi ’grel zhes bya ba’i gsol ’debs, A Prayer to the General Commentaries on the Buddha’s Teachings) by Dol po pa Shes rab rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po 攝囉監燦班藏布 (1292–1362).13 Although Bu ston Rin chen grub and Dol po pa Shes rab rgyal mtshan were subsequently considered the founding fathers of the Zhwa lu pa and of Jo nang pa respectively, they maintained very close relations with the Sa skya pa, and were thus often thought during their lifetimes of as Sa skya pa masters. Most of the eighty-three texts included in the Dasheng yaodao miji belong indeed to the Sa skya pa tradition. Numerous ritual texts of other Tibetan traditions, such as the bKa’ brgyud pa, likely were translated into Chinese during the Yuan and Ming periods, yet to the most part were lost. To date, we have identified only about ten Sādhana texts of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara within the collection of Sādhanas 修習 法門 preserved at the National Library of China that originated with bKa’ brgyud masters. Among them there are texts transmitted by the third patriarch of Karma bKa’ brgyud pa Rang byung rdo rje (1284–1339) and the great Indian Siddha Mi tra dzo ki (Mitrayogin), who taught in Tibet (An Haiyan 2012, 389–413).

13

Nya dbon Kun dga’ dpal, one disciple of Dol po pa Shes rab rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po, wrote a commentary on Dol po pa’s bStan pa spyi ’grel entitled bsTan pa spyi ’grel zhes bya ba’i gsol ’debs kyi rnam bshad dgongs pa rnam gsal yid kyi mun sel. According to its colophon, it was written upon the request of bKra shis rdo rje, the priest (bla’i mchod gnas) of the great Ming emperor on the 15th day of the second summer month of the female Water-Bird year (chu mo bya’i lo dbyar zla ’bring po’i tshes bco lnga).” See Stearns 2002, 222. It could be that the request of the Ming emperor to compose the commentary was related to the translation of the bsTan pa spyi ’grel into Chinese. In other words, the translation could have been produced at the same time as the commentary was written in the early Ming. Sterns thought that the female Water-Bird year refers to 1322, but more likely it refers to 1393, the 26th year of the Hongwu reign. Nya dbon Kun dga’ dpal lived from 1345 to 1439 and was a teacher of the first Dalai lama dGe ’dun grub (1391–1474). See Shen Weirong 2002.

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III

Judging by the exceptionally high quality of the Chinese translations of Tibetan Tantric Buddhist texts credited to bSod nams grags, this translator could not in any case have been a Tibetan master who came to visit the Ming capital for a short period. bSod nams grags’ proficiency in both Chinese and Tibetan was matched only by ’Gos Chos grub, the greatest ninth-century translator of the Tibetan empire. Still, as Shanan geluo, or bSod nams grags in Tibetan, is a very common Tibetan name, we could not ascertain his identity. It seems clear that he is not the well-known Tibetan bla ma called bSod nams grags, who paid a visit to China proper during the Yuan, yet so far we could not offer much about the persona and dates of the great lotsāba bSod nams grags.14 Therefore, we will turn our efforts to a more promising direction. Since the only source we have about bSod nams grags are the texts he himself left us, including the transmission lineage of Tibetan masters leading to him, we will examine the social and religious contexts in which bSod nams grags carried out his translation work. Above we listed the five masters, beginning with ’Phags pa Bla ma, who transmitted the gtor-ma offering ritual 奉大黑 兄妹二尊施食 in both The Auspicious Hevajra and The Buddha Mother Uṣṇīṣavijaya. The fifth master was Niyana luoshimi 尼牙拿囉釋彌 or Yana luoshimi 雅納囉釋迷, who must have been a teacher of our translator, bSod nams grags (Shanan geluo), and no doubt belonged to the Sa skya pa tradition. But how could a master with an Indian-sounding name appear in a transmission lineage following ’Phags pa Bla ma and other four Tibetan masters? Solving this mystery will cover some ground in our effort to identify and situate bSod nams grags. Niyana luoshimi 尼牙拿囉釋彌 or Yana luoshimi is most likely a Chinese transcription of the Sanskrit name Jñānaraśmi, meaning “Light of Wisdom” 智 14

Both Lü Cheng and Chen Qingying suggested identifying the great lotsāba bSod nams grags as a Tibetan lama with that name who arrived at the Mongol court at the end of the Yuan, and was the master of both Bu ston Rin chen grub of Zhwa lugs pa and Bla ma dam pa bSod nams rgyal mtshan of Sa skya pa. However this is highly unlikely for two reasons. First, someone who paid just a short visit to the Yuan court would not have been able to translate Tibetan Tantric Buddhist texts into Chinese, in such quality and quantity. Second, the name of Bla ma dam pa bSod nams rgyal mtshan, who was a disciple of the bSod nams grags who lived during the Yuan, appears in the transmission lineage found in both The Auspicious Hevajra and The Buddha Mother Uṣṇīṣavijaya. It is impossible that bSod nams grags, who was the master of Bla ma dam pa bSod nams rgyal mtshan, could have translated the texts that his disciple transmitted. Cf. Lü Cheng 1942, v–VII; Chen Qingying 2003, 49–64.

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光. This name recalls Zhiguang 智光 (1349–1435), the well-known Buddhist master of the early Ming, called also the “Great State Preceptor” 大國師 and the “Buddha Son of the Western Heaven” 西天佛子. His Sanskrit Dharma name—Yana luoshimi or Jñānaraśmi—has the same meaning as his Chinese Dharma name—Zhiguang, Light of Wisdom. If we can demonstrate that the last master in the transmission lineage of the Sa skya pa ritual texts is actually the well-known Chinese master Zhiguang of the Ming period, we will have achieved a watershed in the study of the history of Chinese and Tibetan Buddhism during the Ming, and bring to our disposal sources beyond our wildest imagination. The current author recently found a Chinese translation of the Sādhana text of the Cakrasaṃvara tantra entitled The Liturgy of the Realization of the Auspicious Maṇḍala of Cakrasaṃvara 吉祥上樂中圍修證儀軌, included in a collection of Chinese translations of Tibetan Tantric Buddhist texts preserved at the Fayuan Monastery 法源寺 in Beijing, entitled the Precious Canon of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism in China 中國藏密寶典. While most texts in this collection are translations made during the era of the Republic of China (1912–), several are of ambiguous origin. The facsimile reprint of The Liturgy of the Realization of the Auspicious Maṇḍala of Cakrasaṃvara [Hereafter: The Auspicious Maṇḍala of Cakrasaṃvara] is based on the version printed originally by the Bodhi Society in Beijing 北京菩提學會.15 As it turns out, the language and style of The Auspicious Maṇḍala of Cakrasaṃvara strongly echo that found in bSod nams grags’ work. Specifically, the former volume and both The Auspicious Hevajra and The Buddha Mother Uṣṇīṣavijaya share multiple passages verbatim. For instance, the gtor-ma offerings to the brother and sister of the Great Black in all three texts are markedly similar. As such, I believe that it is plausible that The Auspicious Maṇḍala of Cakrasaṃvara is a product of the prolific hand of bSod nams grags. Likely it belonged to the group of texts preserved at the National Palace Museum in Taiwan. Possibly it was hand-copied under the Ming imperial order, and later secreted out of the Qing imperial court and circulated among followers. The Auspicious Maṇḍala of Cakrasaṃvara provides new relevant information on the masters of the transmission lineage in our three texts, enabling us to ascertain that Niyana luoshimi (Jñānaraśmi), the last master in the transmission lineages in both The Auspicious Hevajra and The Buddha Mother Uṣṇīṣavijaya, is none other than Zhiguang, the great Chinese State Preceptor of 15

Zeyi 2001, 113—300. It is found in the list of Buddhist scriptures translated during the Ming by Zhou Shujia, while its translator remains anonymous. Cf. Zhou Shujia 2006, vol. 3, 1259.

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the early Ming. In The Auspicious Maṇḍala of Cakrasaṃvara a list of eleven masters of the transmission lineage appears twice,16 beginning with the great Vajradhara 大持金剛 and ending with two masters with Sanskrit names, Sahe zashili fadeluo bada 薩曷拶室哩發得囉巴達俱生吉祥上師 [the Master of the innate auspiciousness] and Yana luoshimi 雅納囉釋迷.17 Sahe zashili fadeluo bada 薩曷拶室哩發得囉巴達 is obviously a Chinese transcription of the Sanskrit name Sahajaśrī Vajrabhadra, which corresponds to Jusheng jixiang jingang shangshi 俱生吉祥金剛上師 (Innate Auspicious Vajra Master) in Chinese. We know of an Indian master who was active during the early Ming period, named Sahezashili 薩訶咱釋哩, that is, Sahajaśrī, often called the Kashmir Paṇḍita of the Western Heaven 西天迦濕彌羅國板的達. His most prominent disciple was none other than the Chinese master Zhiguang. Thus the last two masters in the transmission lineage of The Auspicious Maṇḍala of Cakrasaṃvara, namely Sahajaśrī Vajrabhadra and Jñānaraśmi, indeed are the State Preceptor Sahezashili 薩訶咱釋哩國師 from Kashmir and his Chinese disciple Zhiguang. No doubt, the master Jñānaraśmi, who appears at the end of the transmission lineage in The Auspicious Hevajra and The Buddha Mother Uṣṇīṣavijaya, is identical to the notable personage on the list of The Auspicious Maṇḍala of Cakrasaṃvara, namely the Chinese Buddhist Master Zhiguang, the Great State Preceptor of early Ming. Sahajaśrī, whose name has been transcribed variously as 薩訶咱釋哩, 薩哈 咱失裏 or 薩訶拶釋理, was the most famous Indian Chan master of the early Ming period. Sahajaśrī came to China from Kashmir in the Zhizheng reign of the Mongol Yuan dynasty (1340–1368), and he was especially favored by the first Ming emperor Hongwu who conferred the title of “Chan Master of Good World” 善世禪師. Sahajaśrī traveled extensively as a pilgrim in China and later took up residence in the Chongxi Monastery 崇禧寺 on the Jiangshan Mountain of the Ming Capital Nanjing, where he died in the 14th year of the Hongwu reign (1381). Sahajaśrī attracted a large number of disciples from India, Tibet 16 17

Jixiang shangle zhongwei xiuzheng yigui 吉祥上樂中圍修證儀軌, 178–179, 240–241. In the transmission lineage of the offering ritual to the Great Black brother and sister, four masters are listed before Bla ma ’Phags pa in Jixiang shangle zhongwei xiuzheng yigui. They are Bla ma ’Od pa ba 辣麻翫巴咓, Bla ma rDo rje dpal 辣麻都嚕麄巴, Bla ma Don grub dpal 辣麻端孤嚕鋪巴辣, and Bla ma Shes rab bzang po 辣麻攝囉藏卜”. When compared with the same list in both The Auspicious Hevajra and The Buddha Mother Uṣṇīṣavijaya only the name of Jñānaraśmi 雅納囉釋迷/尼牙拿囉釋彌” is missing here. In the list of the masters that precede Bla ma ’Phags pa in the Jixiang shangle zhongwei xiuzheng yi, the name of the second Sa skya pa patriarch 思囉呤播徹 (Sras rin po che?) appears twice. This appears to be a scribal error, since both lists are indeed of the same transmission lineage.

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and China proper, the most famous of whom was none other than the Chinese monk Zhiguang, upon whom was conferred the title of “Great State Preceptor”, “Buddha Son of Western Heaven” and “the Dharma King of Great Enlightenment” 大通法王 (Deng Ruiling 1994). Zhiguang, courtesy name Wuyin 無隱, surname Wang, came from the Wuding prefecture 武定 of Shandong province. Born in the eighth year of the Zhizheng reign of the Yuan dynasty (1349), he became a monk at the age of fifteen and entered the Jixiang fayun si monastery in Beijing 北京吉祥法雲寺, where he became a disciple of Sahajaśrī. In the early years of the Hongwu reign, Zhiguang accompanied Sahajaśrī on a pilgrimage to the Wutai Mountains, and in the 7th year of the Hongwu reign he was summoned to Nanjing by the emperor. After Sahajaśrī died, Zhiguang was sent by the imperial court on missions to Tibet, India and Nepal three times, and contributed to establishing Ming political and religious relations with these regions. During his career Zhiguang served a total of six emperors and received extraordinarily favorable treatment from them. During the Yongle reign, Zhiguang took up residence at the Xitian si 西天寺 monastery in Nanjing and was promoted to the position of the Buddhist Patriarch (You Shanshi 右善世) of the Central Buddhist Registry (seng lusi 僧錄司). In the 15th year of the Yongle reign (1417), he was summoned to Beijing, took up residence in the Chongguo si 崇國寺 monastery, and was conferred the status of state preceptor. After Renzong ascended the throne, Zhiguang was granted the title of “the great state preceptor who promotes the good deeds, grants empowerment, disseminates the teaching, illuminates the model of conduct, gives charity generously, is purely enlightened, possesses wonderful wisdom and acts perfectly and harmoniously,”18 and moved to the Grand Nengren monastery. In the third year of the Xuande reign (1428), Emperor Renzong built a new monastery named Dajue si 大覺寺 (The Monastery of Great Enlightenment) in the Yangtai Mountain of Beijing. Zhiguang was invited to take residence up in the monastery and he did so, living there into his old age. When Yingzong took the throne, Zhiguang was granted the additional title of “Buddha Son of Western Heaven.” In the 10th year of the Xuande reign (1435), Zhiguang died and was buried next to the Dajue monastery. The emperor sent officials to offer sacrifices to him, ordered the construction of a stūpa as a part of his funeral rituals, and established a new monastery and named it Xiyu 西域 (Western Region). In the fourth year of the Tianshun reign (1460), Zhiguang was posthumously given the title of the “Dharma King of Great Enlightenment”. 18

圓融妙慧淨覺弘濟光範衍教灌頂廣善大國師.

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Both Sahajaśrī and Zhiguan, master and disciple, were pivotal figures in the Buddhist history of the early Ming. Although Zhiguang was a Han Chinese monk, he took Sahajaśrī as his main master and used a Sanskrit Dharma name, Jñānaraśmi, which corresponds to the meaning of his Chinese name Zhiguang. The Ming imperial court often treated Zhiguang and his disciples as “Monk of Western Heaven” 西天僧, “Monk of Western India” 西竺僧 or “Monk of Western Regions” 西域僧. The titles conferred upon Zhiguang, “the Great State Preceptor”, “Buddha Son of Western Heaven” and “Dharma King”, were usually reserved for Tibetan and Indian monks. That Zhiguang was granted these honorifics by the Ming court speaks a great deal about his worth in its eyes. After Zhiguang passed away, the monastery built in the place of his funerary monument was conferred the name of Xizhu 西竺 meaning “Western India”, while the monastery built in the place where his body was cremated was granted the name Xiyu 西 域 meaning “Western Region.” Zhiguang, then, had strong ties to Tibetan and Indian Buddhist traditions. Moreover, Zhiguang was said to have received while still very young “the essential meaning of Indian philosophical treatise and phonetics” 傳天竺聲明記論 之旨 transmitted by Sahajaśrī, indicating that Zhiguang was proficient in Sanskrit. The emperor Hongwu once ordered him “to translate The Bodhisattva Vinaya of Four Groups of Disciples 四眾弟子菩薩戒 transmitted by his master the Paṇḍita [Sahajaśrī]. [His translation] is concise and comprehensive. [His skill] was widely admired by all.” Previous scholarhip has given short shrift to the fact that many Indian monks were quite active in China, but also that Sanskrit Buddhist scriptures were brought to China throughout the early Ming period. Zhiguang translated numerous sūtras and tantras such as The Heart Sūtra 心經, The Ultimate Meaning of Eight Branches 八支了義, The Mañjuśrīnāmasaṅgīti 真實名經, The Sūtra of Protecting the Country of the Good King 仁王護國經, and The Sūtra of the Great Uṣṇīṣa Sitātapatrā 太白傘蓋經. His translations were widely circulated (Yang Rong 1989). Among the well-known Indian masters alongside Sahajaśrī who played an important role in early Ming Buddhist history, was the Indian master Diwa dasi 底哇答思, a disciple of Sahajaśrī who came to China together with his master. Another famous Indian master, Sangke bala 桑渴巴辣, came to Ming China from Tibet together with Zhiguang. Sangke bala taught at the Workshop of Tibetan Scriptures 番經廠, “carried forward tantric teachings and brought benefit to many.”19 Zhiguang is said to have amassed several thousand disciples, 19

發揚秘乘,饒益弘多.

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many of whom had a Sanskrit Dharma name and were possibly of Indian origin.20 Notably, while the monks gathered around Zhiguang were thought to have come from the Western Regions, not all of them were Tibetan or Indian. Many were likely Han Chinese, while others came from Vietnam (安南 and 交趾). In the case of monks, a Sanskrit Dharma name does not necessarily indicate Indian origin. Rather, such name implies that the monk in question is a disciple of an Indian and/or Tibetan master and has close ties to the Indo-Tibetan Buddhist tradition. The monks who took Sahajaśrī and Zhiguang as their direct masters “learned the meanings and letters of the Sanskrit books from the Western Heaven,” “studied Sanskrit scriptures of the Western Heaven,” and built the unique Buddhist community of the Western Regions 西域僧團, which was particularly influential in the Buddhist society of the Ming capital (Du Changshun 2006, 23–33). Sahajaśrī and other Indian monks brought numerous “Sanskrit scriptures of the Western Heaven” 西天梵典 to China proper. Zhiguang was sent on a mission to the Western Regions by imperial order in the 17th year of the Hongwu reign (1384), during which he … crossed the single plank bridge, entered Nepal and India and demonstrated the glory of the holy dynasty. Afterwards, he paid a visit to the Master Mahābodhi, and performed the maṇḍala [ritual] of Vajra Garland forty-two times. He went on pilgrimage to the Stūpa Diyong baota (the precious Stūpa that came out from the earth naturally), and was respected by the people of the Western countries.21 As Zhiguang was able to read Sanskrit before he left for the Western Regions, it is not surprising that he collected a large number of Sanskrit scriptures during his missions there. Among the numerous items of tribute paid by the envoys of 20

21

Many Sanskrit names Dharma masters are listed in the following paragraph, though it is rather difficult to reconstruct, on the basis of these Chinese phonetic transcriptions, their original Sanskrit forms, not to mention identifying them: “上首則有僧錄司右講經月 納耶實哩、禪師吾巴帖耶實哩、左講經帖納實哩、左講經吾答耶實哩、拶耶 實哩、衣缽侍者左覺義納耶實哩、左覺義禪牒實哩、右覺義三曼答實哩及高 僧褒然為領袖者數十人,及以番字授諸生擢為美官者亦十數人.” Cf. Yang Rong 1989. 奉使西域,過獨木繩橋至尼巴辣、梵天竺國,宣傳聖化。已而謁麻曷菩提上 師,傳金剛鬘壇場四十二回。禮地湧寶塔,西國人敬之 (Bu xugaosengchuan 補 續高僧傳 (Supplement to the Serial of the Biography of High Monks), juan 1, Xitian guoshi chuan 西天國師傳 (Biography of the State Preceptors of Western Heaven).

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the Nepalese kings who were invited by Zhiguang during his missions, there were “a gilt stūpa and Buddhist sūtras”22 Likely it was during his missions to the Western countries that Zhiguang collected the above-mentioned Sanskrit and Tibetan scriptures that he translated into Chinese, such as the Heart Sūtra,23 the Ultimate Meaning of The Eight Branches, The Mañjuśrīnāmasaṅgīti24 The Sūtra of Protecting the Country of the Good King, and the Sūtra of the Great Uṣṇīṣa Sitātapatrā. Another Chinese envoy, Zong Le 宗泐, who was sent on a mission to the Western countries earlier than Zhiguang, in the 11th year of the Hongwu reign (1378) stated clearly that the purpose of his mission to the Western regions was to “go to India and bring the books the Buddha left.”25 Though he was able to bring back as many Buddhist scriptures in Sanskrit as he wished, he was … rather embarrassed, because he was not able to translate these scriptures, even though he wanted to follow the example of Xuanzang as he came back to Luoyang from India.26 22 23

24

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Ming Shilu 明實錄, Entry of the Gengwu day of the 12th month of the 22nd year of the Hongwu reign 洪武 (1387). Zhiguang’s translation of the Heart Sūtra is preserved in the library of Peking University. It is entitled Daming xinyi mohe banruo boluomiduo xinjing 大明新譯摩訶般若波羅蜜 多心經 (The New Translation of the Mahāprajñāna Heart Sūtra of the Grand Ming), “translated by the Monk Zhiguang of the Eastern Land and collected by Sahajaśrī, the Chan Master of good time and the Kashmiri Paṇḍita of Western Heaven” 西天迦濕彌羅國板 的達善世禪師薩訶咱釋哩集,東土沙彌智光譯語. Cf. Lin Guangming 2004, 288– 298. The Chinese Tripiṭaka contains two different versions of the Mañjuśrīnāmasaṅgīti 聖吉 祥文殊真實名經, translated respectively by Jin Zongchi 金總持 of the Song, Shizhi 釋 智 of the Tangut kingdom and by Shaluoba 沙羅巴, but Zhiguang’s translations of the Mañjuśrīnāmasaṅgīti and the Heart Sūtra are not found there. However in the Palace Museum, Taipei, there is a collection of Ming translations of Buddhist scriptures entitled Dacheng jingzhou 大乘經咒 (Sūtras and Mantras of the Mahāyāna) in four volumes, copied using golden powders in the 9th to 10th year of the Yongle reign. A Ming translation of the Mañjuśrīnāmasaṅgīti 誦聖妙吉祥真實名經, in 26 folios is found in the third volume. It opens with a preface written by the Emperor Yongle 禦制真實名經序 and a bodhicitta aspiration of the Noble Mañjuśrī 聖者文殊師利發菩提心願文. At the end there are the mantra of Mañjuśrī 文殊瓔珞咒, the mantra of twelve interdependences 十二因緣咒, the Praise of 108 Epithet of Mañjuśrī 文殊師利一百八名讃 and the Praise to the Noble Mañjuśrī 聖者文殊師利讃. Unfortunately there is nothing at all about its translator. Yet it is quite possible that this is the version of the Mañjuśrīnāmasaṅgīti translated by Zhiguang. 往天竺國,取世尊遺書. 愧如玄奘新歸洛,欲學翻經卒未能. Cf. Deng Ruiling 1992.

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According to Guan beiyejing ji 觀貝葉經記 (Records of Watching the Palm Leaf Sūtras) by the Ming literati Wang Tong 王統, the Nengren monastery 能仁寺 in Beijing, whose abbot was Zhiguang himself, housed palm leaf sūtras originally preserved in Tibet and birch bark sūtras brought into China proper by Indian and Tibetan monks in the early Ming period. This monastery became the main headquarters of Buddhist monks who were affiliated with Indian and Tibetan Buddhism.27 In the early Ming it was fashionable for Han Chinese monks to study Sanskrit scriptures. After Emperor Yongle moved the capital from Nanjing to Beijing, he summoned the Indian master Sangkebala 桑渴巴辣 to take his residence in Chongen Monastery 崇恩寺 in Beijing and ordered him to teach, in the Workshop of Tibetan Scriptures, more than one thousand officials of the inner court various chapters of the Mañjuśrīnāmasaṅgīti in Sanskrit, Sanskrit prayers and praises, and inner and outer maṇḍalas.28 It is not hard to imagine that the Buddhist community of Western Heaven, which took Sahajaśrī as its founding father and Zhiguang as its central figure, played an important role in the cultural and religious interactions between Chinese Buddhism and Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. The fact that these Han Chinese Buddhist monks who had strong ties to the Western regions studied and translated “Sanskrit scriptures from the Western Heaven” reveals an important new chapter in the Buddhist history of the Ming. Yet much remains hidden from the scholarly gaze, calling for further studies. Both Sahajaśrī and Zhiguang were closely connected to Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. However, through the pens of Chinese literati, Sahajaśrī enjoyed an image that was reminiscent of a Chinese Chan master who strictly observed the Buddhist disciplines (vinaya). Sahajaśrī was granted the title of “Chan Master of Good World” 善世禪師 because he was said to be “… honest and sincere, endowed with great accomplishment and understanding. He was not conceited or boastful of his reputation, did not hold material gains in esteem. He was living without fancy clothes or luxurious commodities and was traveling without rides or vehicles.”29 Sahajaśrī was in fact a tantric Buddhist practitioner of high achievement. According to his biography, he

27 28 29

Huang Zongyi 黃宗羲, Ming Wenhai 明文海, juan 376, the edition of Wenyuan siku quanshu 文淵閣四庫全書本. 教授內臣千餘員,習學梵語《真實名經》諸品、梵音讚歎以及內外壇場. Dao Shen 1989. 篤實有行解,不矜名,不崇利,居無服玩,出不騎乘.

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… studied scriptures of both Hīnayāna and Mahāyāna at first, then realized that discourses are not the ultimate Dharma, and thus he abandoned them and went to the snowy mountain for meditation. He attained the samāhita realization in twelve years.30 Zhiguang’s tight ties to Tibetan Tantric Buddhism are quite evident as well. He was sent out to the Western regions three times, was tasked with inviting the fifth Karma bKa’ brgyud pa patriarch, the Dharma king of Great Treasury bDe bzhin gshegs pa (1384–1415), to China, and established close relations with numerous well-known Tibetan masters of various traditions. It was in the Nengren monastery, the headquarters of Zhiguang and his disciples in Beijing, that Tibetan monks in the capital took up residence. The Indian monk Sangkebala, himself a disciple of Zhiguang, was a famous tantric master. He would prepare the secret feast for the imperial family together with his master and … took charge of making offerings to the maṇḍala and assisted the preaching of Buddhist doctrine. For this reason he was often granted rewards from the court. He sometimes taught the secret teachings and was respected as the diamond master by many followers. The number of inner and outer officials who shaved their heads through his ordination and became his disciples was countless.31 Sangkebala was held to be aloof and proud and was … upright and outspoken by nature, and only respected Master Wuyin (aka Zhiguang) for his brightness in both morality and learning. Otherwise, he gave no precedence to any ordinary figures in the various teaching traditions. Since what he achieved was so secret and profound, it was said to be the most secret among all secrets, and others were not able to discuss that with him.32 30

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初研大小乘藏,尋知語言非究竟法,棄而習定於雪山,十二年得奢摩他證. Bu xugaosengchuan 補續高僧傳 (Supplement to the Serial of the Biography of High Monks), juan 1, Jusheng jixiang dashi chuan 俱生吉祥大師傳 (The Biography of the Grand Master of Innate Auspiciousness). 而有參授秘密,則禮之為金剛上師者多有,內外大臣投其座下削髮為徒者, 是亦不能盡. Dao Shen 1989. 生性剛直,獨唯敬讓無隱上師道學兼明,而諸教中泛泛者一無遜讓之。蓋彼 所得秘密高廣,而嘗所謂密中之密,則諸人亦不能與之議論. Dao Shen 1989.

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Sangkebala became Zhiguang’s disciple when the latter was on his mission in Tibet during the early years of the Ming. Sangkebala … thoroughly respected him as his master throughout his lifetime. He followed him from the West to the East and they were always close to each other from the beginning to the end.33 We might presume that Sangkebala would have this sort of relationship only with one who was himself a great tantric master.34 Another disciple of Zhiguang, Samantaśrī 三曼答室哩, came from Vietnam and was ordained by Zhiguang in the twenty-second year of the Yongle reign (1424). Later, Samantaśrī followed dPal ldan bkra shis, who was conferred the title Jingjie chanshi of Wutai Mountain, and given permission to meditate on the red Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī. Later still he followed two other Tibetan masters, Jialong and Jiexian, and was conferred the instruction of four great root tantras. Samantaśrī is said to have understood the meaning of all tantras as one single vehicle.35 Disciples of Zhiguang, then, certainly studied with Tibetan lamas and practiced Tibetan Tantric Buddhist rituals. Even Zhiguang’s funeral bespoke his ties to Tibetan Buddhism. The ceremony was organized by Śākya ye shes, the Dharma King of Great Loving Kindness 大慈法王, who was a disciple of Tsong kha pa who came to the Ming court for paying tribute to the emperor in place of his master. Zhiguang’s mastery of tantric Buddhism was manifest in his work. He not only translated several Sanskrit scriptures, including some works of his master Sahajaśrī into Chinese, but also translated numerous sādhanas from Tibetan to Chinese. At least nine texts of Avalokiteśvara sādhana purportedly translated by Zhiguang were listed by Zhou Shujia 周叔迦 in his bibliographic note on the translations of Buddhist texts during the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties, i.e. Song yuan ming qing yijing ji 宋元明清譯經紀 (Note on the Translated Sūtras of the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasties). They are as follows:

33 34

35

盡敬於師,自西抵東,始終無間. Bu xugaosengchuan 補續高僧傳 (Supplement to the Serial of the Biography of High Monks), juan 1, Jusheng jixiang dashi chuan 俱生吉祥大師傳 (The Biography of the Grand Master of Innate Auspiciousness). 誥封五台靜戒禪師班丹紮思巴,授紅色文殊菩薩大修習,而又參迦隆、結先 二大上師,傳授四大本續,莫不貫徹一乘之旨. Yuanxiu ciji guoshi taming 圓修慈 濟國師塔銘 (Stūpa Inscription of the State Preceptor of Perfect Practice and Loving Succour), Beijing tushuguan zang zhongguo lidai shike tuoben huibian 1989, vol. 52, 142.

284 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

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 Sheng guanzizai pusa qiuxiu 聖觀自在菩薩求修 (Quintessential Instruction to the Practice of the Auspicious Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara).  Dabei guanyin mixiu xianqian jie 大悲觀音密修現前解 (The Direct Realization of the Secret Practice of the Great Compassionate Avalokiteśvara).  Dabei guanyin jusheng zhongwei 大悲觀音俱生中圍 (The Simultaneous Maṇḍala of the Great Compassionate Avalokiteśvara).  Sheng guanzizai pusa lue qiuxiu 聖觀自在略求修 (The Condensed Quintessential Instruction to the Practice of the Auspicious Avalokiteśvara).  Qingjin dabei guanzizai pusa xiuxi yaofa 青頸大悲觀自在菩薩修習要法 (The Essential Method of the Practice of the Blue-Necked Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara).  Dabei guanyin qiuxiu 大悲觀音求修 (Quintessential Instruction to the Practice of the Great Compassionate Avalokiteśvara), Compiled by ’Phags pa Bla ma 發思巴集.  Shizihou guanyin qiuxiu 獅子吼觀音求修 (Quintessential Instruction to the Practice of Avalokiteśvara of Lion’s Roar).  Guanyin pusa bianmeng yaomen 觀音菩薩辨夢要門 (Quintessential Instruction to the Distinction of Dreams of Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara).  Dabei guanzizai changxiu bugong yaomen 大悲觀自在常修不共要門 (The Extraordinary Quintessential Instruction to the Daily Practice of the Great Compassionate Avalokiteśvara) (Zhou Shujia 2006, 1258).

All nine texts listed by Zhou Shujia are well preserved and available in the National Library of China in Beijing. Careful scrutiny yields that these sādhana texts were mostly translated from Tibetan and were closely related to the Sa skya pa and Khro phu bKa’ brgyud pa tradition. According to the notes found below their titles, the first text, Sheng guanzizai pusa qiuxiu, was transmitted by Sahajaśrī, the Chan Master of the Good World of the Great Ming and the Kashmir Paṇḍita of India 大明天竺迦濕彌羅國板的達善世禪師俱生吉祥傳, and translated by his disciple Zhiguang, Jñānaraśmi 門資雅納囉釋迷 智光譯. Thus we have textual evidence that the name Yanarashimi, that is, Jñānaraśmi, refers to Zhiguang, who was the direct disciple of Sahajaśrī. Both the second text, Dabei guanyin mixiu xianqian jie, and the fourth text, Sheng guanzizai pusa lue qiuxiu, were authored by rGya ston 哩伽思端 and transmitted to him through masters such as Mitra dzo ki, Khro phu lotsāba Byams pa dpal, and dBang phyugs grags pa dpal bzang po. The ninth text, Dabei guanzizai changxiu bugong yaomen, was also transmitted by Mitra dzo ki. In the transmission lineage of the text we find Khro phu lotsāba 渴嚕普洛拶咓,

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Bla chen bSod nams dbang phyug 辣纏莎南汪束, and Rin po che bSod nams seng ge 令播徹莎南星吉. Hence, these texts belong to the Khro phu bKa’ brgyud pa tradition. The colophons of the sixth text, Dabei guanyin qiuxiu, and the seventh text, Shizihou guanyin qiuxiu, tell us that they were compiled by ’Phags pa Blo gros rgyal mtshan on the basis of the quintessential instructions of the Sa skya pa. The Tibetan original of the sixth text is Thugs rje chen po’i sgrub thabs,36 and of the seventh text is Seng ge[’i] sgra’i sgrub thabs (Sādhana of Lion’s Roar). Both of these are included in the Collected Works of ’Phags pa Bla ma.37 If these texts were indeed translated or transmitted by Zhiguang, once again our view, that he and his master Sahajaśrī had strong ties not only to Karma bKa’ brgyud pa, but also to the Sa skya pa tradition, is substantiated. That Zhiguang translated Tibetan Tantric Buddhist texts into Chinese and that he, whether independently or together with his master Sahajaśrī, appears in the lists of the transmission lineages of The Auspicious Hevajra, The Buddha Mother Uṣṇīṣavijaya and The Auspicious Maṇḍala of Cakrasaṃvara, strongly support Zhiguang’s identification as a master and a transmitter of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. These points also indicate more generally that the spread of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism did not stop when the Chinese Ming dynasty replaced the Mongol Yuan. On the contrary, it further developed due to the close cooperation between Indian, Tibetan and Chinese monks in the early Ming. Zhiguang died in the tenth year of the Xuande reign (1435). It was only four years later, namely in the fourth year of the Zhengtong reign (1439) that The Auspicious Hevajra and The Buddha Mother Uṣṇīṣavijaya were copied with golden powders and mounted together with images. Returning to our initial inquiry, mounting evidence points to bSod nams grags being a direct disciple of Zhiguang or a translator closely affiliated with the Buddhist community of the Western Regions in Beijing. He might have been a Tibetan monk, but also possibly a Han Chinese who belonged to the Buddhist community of Zhiguang and simply took a Tibetan Dharma name. Without question, bSod nams grags was an exceptional translator who was at home in Chinese, Tibetan and Sanskrit. The Auspicious Hevajra and The Buddha Mother Uṣṇīṣavijaya contain multiple examples of mantras in Sanskrit scripts not found in the Tibetan originals of these texts. These passages must have been transmitted or added by 36 37

The Complete Works of the Great Masters of the Sa skya Sect of the Tibetan Buddhism, vol. 7, 71.4.2–72.2.5. The Complete Works of the Great Masters of the Sa skya Sect of the Tibetan Buddhism, vol. 7, 72.2.5–4.3.

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Zhiguang or Sahajaśrī, who appear in the transmission lineage of the texts. These two Chinese translations are the most iconic products of the Buddhist community of the Western Regions, where both Zhiguang and Sahajaśrī were intellectually active. The translations are important for the study of the dissemination of Tibetan Buddhism in China proper, but also provide singular sources for the study of Chinese translations of Buddhist scriptures and philological studies of Sanskrit in China. It is worth noting that Indian monks entitled “the monks of the Western Heaven” 西天僧 in the Ming dynasty are very closely related to Tibetan monks called “the monks of the Western barbarians” 西番 in the Mongol Yuan dynasty. It is extremely difficult to distinguish between them.

IV

Many more Tibetan monks came to China proper for the purpose of spreading Tibetan Buddhism in the Ming than in the Mongol Yuan dynasty. These monks took up permanent residence in the Ming capital and attracted a large number of Chinese disciples. Cultural and religious interactions between Tibetan monks and their Han Chinese followers became quite intensive, with more and more Tibetan monks fluent in Chinese. Tibetan Tantric Buddhism in China proper during the Ming undoubtedly extended and deepened its scope. We possess, however, only a handful of sources on the religious activities of Tibetan Buddhist monks in China. Through the pens of Ming Chinese literati all religious events of Tibetan Buddhism were given political and economic interpretations, while their religious meanings were either ignored or misinterpreted. Even the Tibetan biographies of Tibetan lamas who came to Ming China for religious purposes rarely elaborate on their religious activities in China proper. Thus, the biographies of the three great Tibetan Dharma Kings during the Yongle reign, namely the Dharma King of the Great Treasure of the Karma pa 大寶法王, the Dharma King of the Great Vehicle of the Sa skya pa 大乘法王, and the Dharma King of the Great Loving Kindness of the dGe lugs pa 大慈法 王, are silent as to the teachings and practices the masters transmitted in China. Hence we rely on “the Painted Scrolls of Miracles” 靈異圖卷 of Chinese court painters to trace the Tibetan masters’ activities in the Ming capital. These scrolls vividly portray interactions between Tibetan lamas and Ming emperors and imperial families. Edicts issued by the court to the lamas are copied verba-

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tim; miraculous signs brought about by the ritual performance of the lamas are recorded in detail as well as hyperbole. However, few of the teachings and practices transmitted by Tibetan lamas were noted in these sources. The fifth Karma pa lama, the most well-known Dharma King of the Great Treasure, was depicted in the writings of Chinese literati as a great Tibetan lama who created “the Nanjing Miracle”. Nonetheless we hear nothing of his religious activities in Nanjing, with the exception of his offerings made to the twelve maṇḍalas of the Yidam deities (Deng Ruiling 1992). In a similar vein, regarding the Dharma King of the Great Vehicle, the Sa skya pa lama Kun dga’ bkra shis, we know only that he conferred upon the Ming Yongle emperor the initiation of the profound and auspicious maṇḍala of Hevajra and the blessing of the Dharma protector Mahākala. This recalls the way ’Phags pa Bla ma gave these initiations to Qubilai Khan of the Mongol Yuan period.38 The Dharma King of Great Loving Kindness, Śākya ye shes of dGe lugs pa tradition, was extraordinarily favored by the Yongle emperor, who granted him charge of several practice services (sgrub mchod) to the tantric deities, such as Guhyasamāja, Hevajra and Cakrasaṃvara, at the Ming court. His most impressive ritual performance involved his act of giving the initiation of the longevity liturgy of the Cakrasaṃvara transmitted by the great Indian Siddha Tilopa (grub chen te lo pa’i lugs kyi bde mchog ’chi ba mthar byed kyi dbang bskur) to the Yongle emperor. It is said that the treasure vase displayed on top of the emperor’s head was filled with nectar and that the longevity pills radiated brilliant lights in all directions.39 In fact, these Great Dharma Kings only paid a short visit to the Ming court, made sensational appearances, and then returned to their homeland in glory. 38

39

Sa skya gdung rabs, 225. Only when Chinese translations of these Sa skya pa ritual texts such as The Auspicious Hevajra and The Buddha Mother Uṣṇīṣavijaya are brought to light again, do we realize that Chinese followers including the Yongle emperor himself, who practiced Hevajra and Mahākala, and indeed had Chinese texts to follow. The visit to the Ming court of the Great Dharma King of Mahāyāna was religiously as well as politically motivated. The extensive spread of the Path with its Result Teaching of the Sa skya pa tradition had to do with his mission to China proper. Erdeni Mergen Paṇḍita Qutuqtu Ngag dbang ’jam dbyangs nyi ma, Dus gsum sangs rgyas thams cad kyi ngo bo dpal ldan bla ma khams gsum chos kyi rgyal po tsong kha pa chen po’i sras kyi thu bu byams chen chos kyi rje Śākya ye shes de nyid tsong kha pa’i sku tshab tu rgya nag pho brang la ’phebs tshul gyi rnam thar pa ’dod pa’i re skong dpal ster nyi ma, manuscript preserved in the Palace Library of National Minorities in Beijing 民族宮圖書館藏 抄本.

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The true contribution to the spread of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism in China proper was made by Tibetan monks, who, as noted above, tended to live in monasteries in Beijing attached to the Buddhist community of the Western Regions. As mentioned, monks of the Buddhist community of the Western Regions were Indian, Tibetan, Han Chinese and of other enthic groups. The core members in the early Ming consisted of disciples of both Sahajaśrī and Zhiguang. Tibetan monks from the border areas between Tibet and China proper tended to be bilingual in Tibetan and Chinese, having lived in the Ming capital long enough to acquire a strong command of Chinese. There were also Chinese monks who studied and practiced Tibetan Buddhism long enough to become well versed in Tibetan. Both groups of monks could have translated Tibetan Tantric Buddhist ritual texts. bSod nams grags was certainly one of these, a translator who contributed markedly to the spread of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism among Han Chinese followers. Recently, a Ming Chinese translation of the Tibetan biography of bKra shis dpal ldan, a well-known Tibetan lama at the Ming court, was discovered in Gansu Province in China. Entitled The Record of the Origin of the Buddha Son of the Western Heaven—The Precious Garland of the Adornment of the Devotion to the Vajrayāna 金剛乘起信莊嚴寶鬘—西天佛子源流錄, the text was written in the twelfth year of the Zhengtong reign (1447) by Śākya Śrī, who was the “Great State Preceptor of Assisting the Good, Purity, Enlightenment and Blessings” (灌頂淨覺祐善大國師釋迦室哩). It was further improved by dPal ’byor bzang po, the “State Preceptor of Pure Mind and Disciplined Behaviors” (清心戒行國 師班卓而藏卜), then translated into Chinese by An Ning (徵士郎中書舍人安 寧) and hand-copied by the Confucian scholar Xu Yang from Si Ming (儒士四 明徐暘). This biography limns in seven chapters the life of dPal ldan bkra shis, who was granted the title “the Great State Preceptor, the Buddha Son of Western Heaven” by the Xuande emperor of the Ming. Written when dPal ldan bkra shis was still alive, it includes many details about his life, especially the secret teachings and practices which dPal ldan bkra shis learned, practiced and transmitted. Edicts, praises, other imperial documents and a list of gifts conferred by the court were recorded verbatim here. The biography is a rich source for the study of the interactions of Chinese and Tibetan Buddhism during the Ming period (Zhang Runping et al. 2012). The Tibetan original of the Origin of the Buddha Son of the Western Heaven has not yet come to light, though its abridged version is included in the mDo

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smad chos ’byung.40 The author of mDo smad chos ’byung noted at the end of dPal ldan bkra shis’ biography: I have once seen a copy of the biography of this master that covers up to his sixty-ninth year, entitled the Precious Garland of the Adornment of Devotion, but now I am not sure about its whereabouts. Since the book is very rare, I will provide a few more details from it here.41 dPal ldan bkra shis dpal bzang po 班丹紮釋班藏卜 (1377–1452) came from Minzhou 岷州 in southern Gansu Province 甘南. His grandfather was the chief military commander (Duyuanshuai 都元帥, i.e. dpon chen in Tibetan) of the mDo smad province [chol kha] (吐蕃等路(朵思麻)宣慰使司 Commission of Pacification in mDo smad) conferred by the Yuan court. His father was appointed as Yuanpan 院判, while many other members of the family were appointed as Yuan officials of various ranks and functions. Becoming a monk at a young age, dPal ldan bkra shis dpal bzang po followed his master to the Ming court in the early years of the Yongle reign. Later, dPal ldan bkra shis dpal bzang po was sent out on five missions to the Western Regions. As an interpreter he accompanied the fifth Karma pa lama De bzhin gshegs pa to the court and escorted him back to Tibet. In the fourteenth year of the Yongle reign (1416) dPal ldan bkra shis established Da chongjiao si 大崇教 寺 (the Great Monastery of Promoting the Doctrine) in his hometown. This monastery was successively enlarged and renovated, and became one of the most important monasteries of Tibetan Buddhism in the mDo smad regions. dPal ldan bkra shis lived many years in dBus gtsang and followed many wellknown masters of the time, including bTsong kha pa and his main disciples, the fifth Karma pa lama, the Dharma King of Great Vehicle and Ngor chen Kun dga’ bzang po (1382–1456) of Sa skya pa, among others. dPal ldan bkra shis was well trained in all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. In the first year of the Xuande reign (1426) dPal ldan bkra shis was summoned back to Beijing and was conferred the title “the Great State Preceptor, the Buddha Son of the Western Heaven, Who is Purely Enlightened, Gives Empowerment, Expounds the Teaching, Assists the Country, Grants Donation for Charity, is Good at Responding, Owns Universal Wisdom, Holds Fast to 40 41

Brag dgon pa dKon mchog bstan pa rab rgyas 1982, 679–684. Rje ’di nyid dgung lo re dgu ba yan gyi rnam par thar pa dad pa’i rgyan rin po che’i ’phreng ba zhes bya ba’i dpar zhig kyang mthong ste dpar gar yod ma nges shing dpe rgyun shin tu dkon pas ’dir cung zad rgyas tsam bkod pa yin no. Brag dgon pa dKon mchog bstan pa rab rgyas 1982. 684.

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Precepts, Upholds and Comprehends the doctrine.”42 He took up residence in the Chongguo monastery 崇國寺 of the capital, and changed the name of the monastery from Chongguo si to Da longshan si (大隆善寺, the Great Monastery of Promoting the Good). There dPal ldan bkra shis dpal bzang po spread Tibetan Buddhism by meditating, transmitting teachings, and ordaining monks. In the third year of the Jingtai reign (1452) dPal ldan bkra shis was granted the title of the Dharma King of Great Wisdom (大智法王) (Chen Nan 1996, 68–83). dPal ldan bkra shis was pivotal to the spread of Tibetan Buddhism in China proper during the Ming dynasty. As a key figure in the Buddhist community of the Western Regions in Beijing, his significance as a master of Tibetan Buddhism was second only to Zhiguang in the earlier period of the Ming. As such, dPal ldan bkra shis’ biography is of great value to the study of Tibetan Buddhism and its spread into Ming China. It is especially relevant to the present study, as this biography reveals rare information on dPal ldan bkra shis’ involvement in translating Tibetan Tantric Buddhist texts into Chinese. This information further buttresses our claim that The Auspicious Hevajra [The Spring Well of Nectar: The Feast Gathering [Gaṇacakra] of the Auspicious Hevajra], translated by bSod nams grags, was of Ming origin. As a descendant of mDo smad dpon chen, the highest official of the commission of pacification of mDo smad appointed by the Mongol-Yuan court, dPal ldan bkra shis was likely proficient in Chinese since his childhood. Later, he studied in dBus gtsang for many years and “was well versed in the languages of four countries of the Western Heaven 善能通曉西天四國語言” (Zhang Runping et al. 2012, 163). During the early years of the Yongle reign, dPal ldan rgya mtsho, the root guru of dPal ldan bkra shis, was summoned to the court by the emperor on the recommendation of Zhiguang. dPal ldan bkra shis followed his master to Nanjing, then the capital of the Ming. Soon after he was sent to central Tibet to invite the fifth Karma pa lama to the court, and accompanied him back to Nanjing. When the Karma pa lama took up residence in the Linggu monastery 靈穀寺, dPal ldan bkra shis served as his assistant and interpreter. dPal ldan bkra shis dpal bzang po was praised widely for his ability to convey the sublimity of the Karma pa lama through his translations. dPal ldan bkra shis, then, was at home in both Tibetan and Chinese. When he returned to Beijing from dBus gtsang in the first year of the Xuande reign (1426), dPal ldan bkra shis dpal bzang po was ordered by the court to translate Tibetan Tantric 42

弘通妙戒普慧善應慈濟輔國闡教灌頂淨覺西天佛子大國師.

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Buddhist ritual texts. This is described in the Origin of the Buddha Son of the Western Heaven: In the fifteenth day of the month, [dPal ldan bkra shis] was summoned to the Wenhua Palace and ordered to translate the Ritual of the Meditative Practice of the Maṇḍala of the Ocean of Nectar of Hevajra. Since then, every time he entered the golden palace, he was very careful and prudent. He became increasingly close to the Son of Heaven, explained the essence of the Dharma to him extensively and always satisfied his heart. Again, he was ordered to translate the Dharma Ritual of the Maṇḍala of Vajrapāṇi of the Great Wheel, the Dharma Ritual of the Maṇḍalas of the Thirteen Buddhas Vajrabhairava, the Dharma Ritual of the Maṇḍala of All-Knowing (Kun rig), the Commentary on the Two Sections Hevajra Tantra, the Dharma Ritual of the Maṇḍalas of the Nine Buddhas of Buddha Amitāyus, the Dharma Ritual of the Meditative Practice of Vaiśravaṇa, and the Quintes­ sential Instructions on the Intermediate State.43 Many of the ritual texts supposedly translated by dPal ldan bkra shis mentioned in his biography echo known Ming translations of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism primarily attributed to bSod nams grags. For instance, the Ritual of the Meditative Practice of the Maṇḍala of the Ocean of Nectar of Hevajra, judging from the subject matter indicated by the title, might refer to the same texts of The Auspicious Hevajra preserved at the Palace Museum in Taibei, and The Ritual of Self-empowerment of the Maṇḍala of Hevajra 喜金剛中圍內自受灌頂 儀 preserved at the National Library of China in Beijing. Arguably, both texts were translated by bSod nams grags. Furthermore, the Commentary on the Two Sections Hevajra Tantra mentioned in the biography of dPal ldan bkra shis should be identical to the Commentary on the Auspicious Two Sections Hevajra Tantra 吉祥喜金剛本續王后分注疏 which is the translation of ’Phags pa Bla ma’s annotated commentary on the Hevajra Tantra, was likely done by bSod nams grags as well. Today the text is preserved at the National Library of China. Since the teaching on the Path with its Result, mainly based on the Hevajra Tantra and transmitted by the Sa skya pa, was popular among Chinese followers of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism in both the Mongol-Yuan and Chinese Ming 43

是月十五日,召至文華殿,命譯《喜金剛甘露海壇場修習觀儀》。自是凡出 入金闕,小心慎密,日近天顏,敷宣法要,無不稱旨。又命譯《大輪金剛手 壇場法儀》、《金剛怖畏十三佛中圍壇場法儀》、《普覺中圍壇場法儀》、 《喜金剛二釋本續注解》、《無量壽佛九佛中圍壇場法儀》、《多聞天王修 習法儀》、《中有等諸要門》. Zhang Runping et al. 2012, 174.

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dynasties, it is no surprise that so many Chinese translations of the Tibetan Buddhist ritual texts related to the Hevajra Tantra were made in the Ming period. In addition, the Dharma Ritual of the Maṇḍala of the Thirteen Buddhas Vajrabhairava mentioned here recall four Sādhana texts related to the yogic practice of the maṇḍala of the thirteen Buddhas preserved at the National Library of China. They are: 1.

2. 3.

4.

 Jingangcheng shengguanzizai shisanfo zhongwei zirushouzhu faxingyi 金

剛乘聖觀自在十三佛中圍自入受主法行儀 (The Ritual of Dharma

Practice of the Empowerment of Self-entering the Maṇḍala of the Thirteen Buddhas Śrī Avalokiteśvara of Vajrayāna);  Mixiu shisanfo zhongwei xianqianjie 密修十三佛中圍現前解 (The Direct Realization through Secret Practice of the Maṇḍala of the Thirteen Buddhas);  Jingangcheng shengguanzizai jusheng miqiuxiu shisanfo zhongwei xianzheng yi 金剛乘聖觀自在俱生密求修十三佛中圍現證儀 (The Ritual of the Direct Realization of the Instantaneous and Secret Practice of the Maṇḍala of the Thirteen Buddhas Śrī Avalokiteśvara of Vajrayāna);  Shengguanzizaiqiuxiu shisanfo zhongwei yaomen 聖觀自在求修十三佛 中圍要門 (Quintessential Instruction on the Yogic Practice of the Maṇḍala of the Thirteen Buddhas Śrī Avalokiteśvara).

These four ritual texts are Sādhanas of the Thirteen Buddhas Avalokiteśvara and Vajrabhairava. They were transmitted by Mitrayogin and rGya ston, thus possibly belonging to the Khro phu bKa’ brgyud pa tradition (An Haiyan 2012). In the Origin of the Buddha Son of the Western Heaven we read the following note: dPal ldan bkra shis once … took Śākya ye shes, the Dharma King of Great Loving Kindness, as his bla ma, and received the empowerment of the maṇḍala of the Thirteen Buddhas Vajrabhairava.44 In addition, dPal ldan bkra shis also paid a visit to the sixth Karma pa bla ma and received the empowerment and permission for the practice of Avalokiteśvara, the Ocean of Jinas (rGyal ba rgya mtsho), the empowerment and the quintessential instruction of Guruyoga. He paid respects to the Master 44

參大慈法王釋迦也失上師,受金剛怖畏十三佛中圍灌戒. Zhang Runping 2012, 169.

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Shaba gerigan [Shar pa dGe?] and received the empowerment and permission for the practice of Avalokiteśvara, the Ocean of Jinas, and instructions on various rituals of the Dharma King of Great Treasure.45 In the collection of Tibetan Tantric Buddhist texts preserved in the National Library of China, two Sādhanas of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara are noteworthy among numerous Sādhanas of the same deity which were evidently transmitted by Karma bKa’ brgyud pa lamas. The first, entitled Dabei shenghai qiuxiu fangbian 大悲聖海求修方便 (The Skillful Means of the Practice of the Saint Ocean of the Great Compassion), “was compiled by Rang byung rdo rje, the Master of Great Treasure Karma pa, and translated into Chinese by Luxing puti yilidi.”46 The second, entitled Sheng dabei guanyin qiuxiu yaomen 聖大悲觀音求修 要門 (The Quintessential Instruction of the Practice of the Saint Avalokiteśvara of the Great Compassion), “was transmitted by the White-head Karma pa lama of the Great Treasure. Master Lebu of the Dahuguo renwang si (The Great Monastery of the Good King Protecting the Country) received the oral instruction from his master.”47 In view of the above, I consider it plausible that the Ming Chinese translations of Tibetan Tantric Buddhist texts preserved in the National Library of China are at least partially identical to those translated by dPal ldan bkra shis, which were entrusted by imperial order during the Xuande reign. One might even speculate that the Chinese translations attributed to bSod nams grags available today belong to the group of texts translated by dPal ldan bkra shis at the order of the emperor Xuande. There could be only one translator named bSod nams grags affiliated with the Buddhist community of dPal ldan bkra shis in Beijing. Interestingly, the Tibetan version of the equivalent passage of the Origin of the Buddha Son of the Western Heaven, quoted above, is found with slight variation in mDo smad chos ’byung: In the first year of the Xuande reign, the fire-horse year, [dPal ldan bkra shis] was conferred the title of Jingjue ciji daguoshi 淨覺慈濟大國師 (The Great State Preceptor of Pure Enlightenment and Kindly Supports), a golden seal with elephant button which weighs 200 srang. Through the order of the emperor, [dPal ldan bkra shis] composed the Pointing-out 45 46 47

參第六世葛裏麻巴上師,受勝海觀音敕戒、金剛上師修習敕戒;參莎巴葛日 幹上師,受勝海觀音灌戒、大寶法王諸修儀敕. Zhang Runping 2012, 169. 大寶葛哩麻巴上師覽榮朵兒只集,落行菩提依利帝漢譯. 大寶白頭葛哩麻上師傳,大護國仁王寺勒布上師具恩師處取受語敕.

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Instruction to the Practice of Intermediate State, the Sādhana of Vaiśravaṇa, the Maṇḍala Rite of the Assembly of Nine Deities of Buddha Amitāyus, the All-Aware, the Assembly of Thirteen Deities of Vajrabhairava, the Great Wheel, and the Ocean of Nectar: The Sādhana of Hevajra. These works, together with a Commentary on the Two Sections Hevajra Tantra, were ordered to be translated into Chinese.48 Unlike its Chinese parallel, the Tibetan version of the text states that, with the exception of the Commentary on the Two Sections Hevajra Tantra, the abovecited works were composed/compiled by dPal ldan bkra shis himself and then translated into Chinese. Our study of The Auspicious Hevajra [The Spring Well of Nectar: The Feast Gathering [Gaṇacakra] of the Auspicious Hevajra] translated by bSod nams grags, mentioned above, demonstrates that this Sādhana of the Hevajra Tantra was not a translation of a single text composed by one master of the Sa skya pa, but rather was a new compilation that integrated several Sādhanas of the Hevajra Tantra composed by various Sa skya pa patriarchs. In light of the evidence presented above, I submit that the author of The Auspicious Hevajra [The Spring Well of Nectar: The Feast Gathering [Gaṇacakra] of the Auspicious Hevajra] was none other than dPal ldan bkra shis himself. His biography tells us that dPal ldan bkra shis studied with Ngor chen Kun dga’ bzang po in dBus gtsang and thus received the transmission of the Sādhana of Direct Realization of Hevajra Tantra of the Sa skya pa tradition. It was Ngor chen Kun dga’ bzang po who replaced the four-limbed practice of Hevajra, which was common in the Sa skya pa tradition, with the six-limbed practice of the same, and incorporated the offering ritual to the brother and sister of the Great Black into the Sādhana of Direct Realization of Hevajra Tantra. Alternatively, dPal ldan bkra shis might have been a disciple of both Sahajaśrī and Zhiguang; in other words, he might have followed the transmission of both these masters of the early Ming period.

48

Zon te lo dang po me rta der tsing gyo tshe’u tse ta’i kao shri’i las ka/ gser srang nyis brgya’i tham ka gser gar blugs kyi prog zhu sogs phul/ khrun gwa’i sde chen du bzhugs/ rgyal po’i bkas kyee rdo rje’i sgrub thabs bdud rtsi’i rgya mtsho/ ’khor chen/ ’jigs byed bcu gsum ma/ kun rig/ tshe dpag lha dgu rnams kyi dkyil ’khor gyi cho ga/ rnam sras sgrub thabs/ bar do’i ngo sprod sogs mdzad nas de rnams dang rgyud brtag gnyis ’grel ba dang bcas pa rgya yig tu bsgyur. Brag dgon pa dKon mchog bstan pa rab rgyas 1982, 681.

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V

Much recent progress has been made in the study of the Buddhist history of both the Tangut Xia kingdom and the Mongol Yuan dynasty, especially with regard to the spread of Tibetan Buddhism in Central Eurasia and China proper. Previous scholarship on the practices of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism within and without the Mongol Yuan court, such as “the Secret Meditation of Supreme Bliss” 秘密大喜樂禪定 and “the Dance of Sixteen Heavenly Devils” 十六天魔 舞 was very limited. Thus little attention was paid to the interaction between Chinese and Tibetan Buddhism. Research has now demonstrated that Tibetan Tantric Buddhism had been spreading into Central Eurasia and China proper since the 11th century, and became increasingly popular and influential in the latter through the Uyghurs, Tanguts and Mongols, who converted to Tibetan Buddhism (Shen Weirong 2010b). Countering longstanding perceptions, we now know that the practices of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism both within and without the Yuan court was in no way related solely to tantric sex, but in fact encompassed a range of practices and rituals connected with various traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. Both “the Secret Meditation of Supreme Bliss” and “the Practice of Yantïr” 演揲兒法 (the yogic practice of the magical wheels), which have been construed as simple sexual pyrotechnics, were actually part of the yogic practices of the Path with its Result Teachings (lam ’bras) of the Sa skya pa tradition (Shen Weirong 2013, Toh Hoog Teik 2007). Indeed, Tibetan Tantric Buddhism permeated both the Mongol and Chinese societies of the Yuan. Its influence was not easily eradicated, despite vigorous attempts by Chinese literati in the late Yuan and early Ming to blame Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan monks for the collapse of the Mongol Yuan dynasty. Yet Ming Chinese Buddhists surpassed their Yuan counterparts in the practice of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. Thus it is clear that Chinese Buddhist history is best studied in light of the intersection of Chinese and Tibetan Buddhism. I propose several steps in this direction: 1.

The identification of new sources. The current inquiry on the dissemination of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism in Central Eurasia and China proper in the Tangut Xia kingdom and Mongol Yuan dynasty began with the rediscovery of Tibetan Buddhist texts in the collection of Khara Khoto manuscripts preserved in Russia. Failure to uncover more such precious materials and distinguish them from other texts of Chinese Buddhism would consign the broad expansion of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism in Central Eurasia and China proper between the 11th and

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3.

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15th century to permanent obscurity (Shen Weirong 2010a). Texts of the same nature as the Khara Khoto collection are being discovered all over the world. Archaeologists have unearthed them in northwestern China and philologists have identified them in the collections of libraries and museums. Further research on these texts is sure to reveal new aspects of the Chinese and Tibetan Buddhist history of the Tangut Xia, Mongol Yuan and Chinese Ming dynasties. The use of textual criticism. These newly discovered Chinese texts of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism require careful philological inspection. This is firstly because non-Buddhist Chinese sources cannot provide readymade and pure materials of Buddhist history. Second, it is challenging for Chinese historians to properly understand Chinese texts of a pure Tibetan Tantric Buddhist nature: the many terms of “barbarian origin” that appear in these texts make for difficult going. Thus, it is crucial to be able to deal with these kinds of Buddhist texts in multiple languages. Only through comparative textual criticism will we eventually be able to identify the author (together with the compiler and the translator) of the text, make clear the religious context of the composition as well as the process and date of the transmission, often from India to Tibet and China, ascertain the doctrinal classification and association of the text in terms of its contents, and to evaluate its reception by Chinese Buddhists. The use of interdisciplinary studies. To fully exploit these Chinese translations of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism for the study of Chinese and Tibetan Buddhist history, an interdisciplinary approach is called for. That is, the translations ought to be studied from the perspectives of Sinology, Tibetology, Buddhology, and Tangut, Mongol and Uygur Studies.

The discovery of a large number of Chinese translations of Tibetan Tantric Buddhist texts as well as the knowledge of a Buddhist community of the Western regions in the Ming capital permit a preliminary reconstruction of the spread of Tibetan Buddhism in Ming China. A fuller picture of this history awaits an interdisciplinary and multilingual inquiry into additional Chinese translations of Tibetan Tantric Buddhist texts.

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