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Material Visions – avijñapti-rūpa in Practice

Greene, Eric (University of Bristol, GBR)

Within many of their major doctrinal treatises, Sarvāstivādins are presented as defending their doctrinal position on the reality of “unmanifest matter” (avijñapti-rūpa) with reference to, among other things, meditation practice. Certain visions experienced by advanced meditators are, it is claimed, instances of avijñapti-rūpa, and this view on the nature of these visions is presented as contrasting with the position of at least some other doctrinal schools. It is undeniable that avijñapti-rūpa plays several important roles within the overarching framework of the Sarvāstivādin doctrinal system. We may wonder, however, whether the role of avijñapti-rūpa in meditation was something that had any particular significance within Sarvāstivādin-influenced meditative traditions themselves. As a step towards answering this question, in this paper I will explore a number of 5th-century meditation treatises preserved in Chinese that are either translations of texts associated with the Sarvāstivādin-influenced yogācāra meditators of North-west India, or which are Chinese developments of the practices associated with these groups. Leaving aside the contentious (and, perhaps, ill-phrased and unanswerable) question of whether the doctrine of avijñapti-rūpa originally emerged from meditation practice itself, I will endeavor to show that within these meditation texts, the doctrinal implications of meditative visions being in contact with avijñapti-rūpa is a crucial element of the meditation system proposed.

 

Avoiding the Void: Ambivalence toward Samādhi and the Realization of Emptiness

Jenkins, Stephen (Humboldt State University, GBR)

Ambivalence toward meditation generally and particularly the direct meditative realization of emptiness played a role in the Mahāyāna’s rhetoric of superiority, practical ethics, and path. Bodhisattvas are told to view samādhi as an intoxication that undermines compassionate engagement and to avoid it like Avīci hell. They are particularly warned not to directly realize emptiness as arhat’s do. Bodhisattvas study, analyze, and investigate emptiness, while skillfully applying special upāya to avoid its direct realization. Compassion generating meditation techniques served to prevent the premature "fall into emptiness" and thus ensure samyaksambodhi. When “acceptance of the non-arising of all dharmas” is achieved by a bodhisattva, Buddhas must intervene to rouse them and prevent the cessation of their compassionate activity. Realization of emptiness was considered ethically problematic, not an automatic trigger for compassion. The distinctive identity of the Mahāyāna was not seen in its conception of ultimate reality, but in its ability to ensure the attainment of all the qualities and powers of a Buddha before engaging in its direct realization.

 

How Only Buddhists Can Stop Thinking and Get Away with It: A Theory of ‘The Attainment of Cessation’ (nirodha-samāpatti) in Early Buddhist Literature

Gethin, Rupert (University of Bristol, GBR)

Since La Vallée Poussin, scholars have tended to read the apparently differing accounts of the Buddhist path and its goal found in the earliest Buddhist sources as reflecting the competing voices of those among the Buddha’s early followers who conceived of meditation primarily in terms of stilling thoughts and emotions (characterised by especially craving) and those who conceived of it in terms of acquiring new knowledge and understanding: the mystics versus the rationalists. Yet, in contrast to other disputed issues adumbrated in the Nikāya-Āgama literature (such as the status of the ‘person’, intermediate existence between lives, the nature of the past, present and future), there is no clear trace of such a dispute in early Buddhist scholastic literature. In fact there is a general agreement on this issue. The present paper argues that the Nikāya-Āgama material concerned with the complete stopping of thoughts represents an attempt to position the Buddhist understanding of meditation and its goal in relation to the claim of ‘wanderers of other schools’ that simply stopping the activities of the mind was equivalent to liberation.

 

Tibetan Sectarian Polemics and Internalized Polemics in Contemplative Contexts

Komarovski, Yaroslav (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA)

This paper discusses the relationship between contemplative internalization of polemical arguments developed by Madhyamaka thinkers and Buddhist sectarian polemics. Exploring Tibetan sectarian polemics on the process of realization of ultimate reality, it outlines two rival positions that seem to advocate mutually contradictory processes leading to the direct realization of ultimate reality as well as different views on the nature of that realization: the position of the major Geluk thinker, Tsongkhapa (1357-1419), and that of his major Sakya critic, Gorampa (1429-1489). Focusing on the issue of identification of the object of negation—a target of fierce inter-sectarian polemics between Geluk and Sakya thinkers—it provides an alternative perspective on their discordant approaches, arguing that contrary to clichéd sectarian claims, differences in their approaches pertain primarily to conflicting descriptions of similar conceptual deconstructive processes leading to the non-conceptual realization of reality. Addressing positions of such seminal Geluk writers as Jangkya (1717-1786), Lopzang Chögyen (1570-1662), and Pabongkha (1878-1941), it argues that later sectarian Geluk thinkers too shared with their non-Geluk opponents the same basic view of the process of contemplative identification and subsequent negation of the object of negation through Madhyamaka reasoning. It thereby demonstrates that the inter-sectarian polemics—which are directly affected by adherence to specific tenets of sectarian traditions—do not in this case translate into the “internalized polemics” wherein Madhyamaka arguments are put into contemplative practice of searching for and not finding the object of negation—a process often deemed indispensable for realization of emptiness to take place.

 

 

Realisation as an Argument to End all Arguments

Sobisch, Jan-Ulrich (University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, DNK)

In my paper I will argue that the experience arising from “meditative practise” (sgom pa, Skr. bhavanA) is used by the Tibetan bKa’-brgyud-pa master ‘Jig-rten-gsum-mgon (1143-1217) precisely in so far as an argument, as it ultimately — when it becomes realisation — ends all arguments, including — and that is the interesting point — all arguments arising from meditative experience and realisation. He has expressed this point in the view-practise-conduct chapter of his dGongs gcig when he stated that “even the Great Three” — dbu ma chen po, phyag rgya chen po, and rdzogs pa chen po — “cannot reach/touch realisation,” indicating that actual realisation lies beyond anything that could be labeled in any way.

Reflections on the Lama Wearing Trousers, Global Media and the Scientific Authentification of Buddhist Art

Bayer, Achim (Dongguk University, Seoul, KOR)

In September 2012, global news sources reported the discovery of an allegedly Tibetan meteorite-iron statue. Widely considered a witness of a mysterious pre-Buddhist civilization of Tibet, more than a thousand years old, the statue made a shooting-star career on the title pages of international media. In addition to the combined notions of remoteness and ancientness, the statue hinted at a mysterious technical superiority, with the tools to chisel metal of this hardness supposedly unknown in those archaic times.

While the material of the statue had been identified by a team of geologists and planetologists as being of meteoric origin, stemming from a meteor that went down in the Mongolian-Sibirian borderlands, the statue can stylistically be identified as a typical twentieth-century imitation of Tibetan art. From the perspective of our field, this media event is just as anachronistic as it is instructive. It reveals the ongoing force of the Myth of Tibet and ancient Asia, while the absence of experts from our field in public discourse reveals much about a lesser-known satellite to the Myth of Tibet: the Myth of Tibetology, or even of Asian Studies as a whole. At the same time, this event raises questions about the processes of authentification and falsification in the contemporary assessment of antique Asian art.

 

Questions of Authenticity
Buddhist art from Gandhara and Tibet

Luczanits, Christian;  Snellgrove, David L. (Senior Lecturer in Tibetan and Buddhist Art at SOAS)

It is well known in the scholarly community that today the market in Gandharan art is flooded with pieces of doubtful authenticity, but the degree to which this is the case is contested. On the other hand, there is little awareness so far, that similar issues can also be found with early Tibetan art. Although playing a major role in art historical work, issues of authenticity may be taught in an academic context and discussed at conferences, but for legal reasons are rarely published unless they have been in a museum collection for considerable time. Given the complexity of the issues involved in revealing such objects, this fact is deplorable and results in the frequent publication of problematic pieces.
In my panel contribution I will present a selected group of objects of doubtful authenticity challenging common suppositions concerning their upcoming, their artistic quality, and the reliability of technical analyses to prove the authenticity of an object. There are also objects the authenticity of which cannot be decided with the available possibilities of access and technical means. In addition, some examples of early Tibetan art raise the question of the limits of authenticity itself.

 

The Mystery of the Meteorite Statue Solved?

Engelhardt, Isrun (Icking, GER)

Achim Bayer has convincingly demonstrated that the statue cannot be more than one hundred years old. It also does not seem to be of Tibetan origin. Contrary to some speculations (based apparently on the presence of the swastika), it is highly unlikely that it was acquired by the Schäfer expedition in 1939. It is not listed in their meticulous records, in which each of the more than 2000 purchased objects and gifts (with the names of the donor) are listed with date, place, and price. Furthermore, the meteorite from which it was made was found more than 2000 kilometers from Lhasa, near the Siberian-Mongolia border in Tannu Tuva. Yet, despite the lack of any credible connection to Schäfer, blogs with titles like “Nazi-found Buddhist statue” or “Ancient statue the Nazis stole,” dominate the web, overshadowing the findings of serious research.

In an effort to advance the research of scholars such as Achim Bayer, this paper will argue that this statue depicts a historical person of the 20th century. This hypothesis will be supported by both textual and visual evidence. However, further questions remain, including where the statue was made and how it found its way to Europe. The paper will conclude with speculations on these questions. 

 

The Hongwu Southern Canon in the Beibei Library: Authentic or False?

Long, Darui (University of the West, Rosemead, CA, USA)

The Catalogue of Rare Chinese Books published by the Shanghai guji chubanshe in 1996 lists a number of extant editions of the Chinese Buddhist canon. One of them is the Hongwu nanzang (洪武南藏, Hongwu Southern Canon). The catalogue indicates that three libraries in China keep this rare edition of the Buddhist canon: The Sichuan Provincial Library (四川省圖書館) in Chengdu has an almost complete set, while the sets in the Beibei Library in Chongqing (重慶北碚) and the Hunan Provincial Library (湖南省圖書館) are incomplete.

The Catalogue of Rare Chinese Books was a project sponsored by the Chinese government in 1978, aimed at assessing the extant rare books in Chinese libraries after the destructions of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). However, due to limited facilities and conditions, librarians were not able to collect all “treasured books” in order to identify them. Additionally, as could be expected, the catalogue contained various mistakes.

The results of my research on the Hongwu Southern Canon were first published in The East Asian Library Journal, Princeton University, 2000. Afterwards, I visited Beibei Library twice, in 2005 and in 2010. My photos of the so-called Hongwu Southern Canon were then kindly evaluated by Mr. Peng Bangming, curator of the rare books section of the Sichuan Provincial Library, which houses an authentic print of the Hongwu Southern Canon. He immediately recognized and identified that the Beibei collection canon was printed from different woodblocks.

In 2011, I visited Tianjin Library and examined their collection of the Yongle Southern Canon. The photographs I took on that occasion clearly indicate that the Tianjin Library prints of Yongle Southern Canon are identical to the southern canon kept in the Beibei Library.

A colophon in the Beibei collection canon shows that the previous owner purchased the prints in the sixth year of Emperor Wanli, i.e. 1578, even though the woodblocks of the Hongwu Southern Canon were destroyed 172 years earlier, in 1406. After the destruction, Emperor Chengzu (r. 1403 – 1424) decided to engrave a new set of woodblocks in the same format as the one destroyed. This set was later called the Yongle Southern Canon because it was engraved in the Yongle period (1403 – 1424), in the “southern capital,” Nanjing. Even though prints from both block sets look similar, there are differences.

It seems that even experts at times confound these two distinct editions. I would like to present some evidence showing that they are demonstrably different and that, consequently, the Beibei collection houses a Yongle Southern Canon, and not a true Hongwu Southern Canon.

‘Ho! King, you ought to build a vihara here.’ Connecting foundation legends and Buddhist monasteries in Khotan

Forte, Erika (Käthe Hamburger Kolleg, Ruhr Universität Bochum, Germany)

The archaeological material in the oasis of Khotan has provided significant traces of the tradition of representing Buddhist legends in Khotanese artistic production: an overall common practice in the visual culture of Buddhist Asia. This paper will concentrate on the extant visual evidence of accounts that are specifically related to the history of the kingdom of Khotan.

Depictions of Khotanese local legends have been found from a number of Buddhist ruins during the pioneering expeditions in the Tarim Basin at the beginning of the 20th century. Previous research succeeded in identifying the subject of some of these paintings, drawing on Buddhist literary sources from and on Khotan. However, the archaeological context of the materials and the chronological attribution of the various sites is rarely clear, leaving this material with many questions unanswered.

The revival of investigations in Khotan in the last decade offers a valuable starting point for gaining a new understanding of already known evidence in the light of recently discovered material — within a now firmer archaeological context. This paper will analyse the material from a group of Buddhist structures (7th-10th c.) recently uncovered near Domoko, in southeastern Khotan. It will be shown that the pictorial evidence of this site alludes to a specific legend on the origin of a famous monastery founded by the royals of Khotan, and that the painting thus suggests a direct association between this Buddhist structure and the Khotanese royal family.

 

Mara’s Monsters and the Faces of Fear

Karetzky, Patricia (Bard College, NYC, USA)

Since the earliest scriptural descriptions, the army of Mara, deity of death and desire, the opponent to Shakyamuni’s enlightenment, embodied the basic impediments to meditation — lust, discontent, hunger, thirst, desire, sloth, drowsiness, cowardice, doubt, hypocrisy, stupor, gain, fame and celebrity — as described in such early scriptures as the Dhammapada. In the Kushan era, contact with other cultural and religious traditions had an impact on the nature of Mara’s army which became more numerous, complex, monstrous and militant. The extended narrative in the later texts comprised a tri-prong attack of Mara’s sensuous daughters, his seductive words, and finally a martial attack. This transition is apparent in the arts, beginning with the bas relief sculptures at Sanchi (first century) in central India and culminating in those created by Kushan artists in Gandhara comprising northwestern India and parts of modern Pakistan and Afghanistan (first to fourth century). These demonic soldiers, a truly awful embodiment of fear, appear in one of the most popular images of the life of the Buddha, the scene of the Enlightenment which traveled east along the Silk Route to China and the Far East. This paper will trace the origins and development of the depictions of Mara’s monsters in India and view their representations along the Silk Route with the goal of analyzing the visual representation of fear in Buddhist art.

 

The Transmission of Buddhist Astral Science from India to East Asia – The Gandharan and Central Asian Connections

Mak, Bill (Kyoto University, Kyoto, JPN)

Among the bodies of auxiliary knowledge Buddhist missionaries brought into East Asia which had a lasting impact on the local cultures was the astral science, comprising a broad range of related subjects such as cosmology, astronomy, calendrics, astrology and the worship of astral deities. This particular body of knowledge, though somewhat frowned upon in the vinaya and the early Buddhist texts, was nonetheless highly esteemed in all ancient cultures, and was widely adopted and propagated among the Buddhists themselves. The great interest in the subject was evinced also by the fact that detailed accounts of the subject found their way into a number of key Sanskrit Mahāyāna texts, as well as their Chinese translations such as the Śārdūlakarṇāvadāna, the Mahāsaṃnipātasūtra and Amoghavajra's Xiuyao jing. A comparison of the Indian astral science and the East Asian version of it, both textually (as presented in the Chinese Buddhist translations) and iconographically, however, reveals some key differences between the two. In my paper, I will examine whether these differences may be attributed to Gandhāran influences. Iconographically, some of the developments not yet fully accounted for include the representation of zodiacal signs (most notably Gemini and Virgo) and the planetary deities. Textually, my focus will be on the three chapters of the Mahāsaṃnipātasūtra which contain substantial astral references, and had been considered by scholars to be Central Asian and Gandhāran interpolations.

The Cult of Śākyamuni and Its Centrality at Dunhuang

Schmid, Neil (Beijing, CHN)

Discussions of religious life in medieval China generally stress the demise of Śākyamuni’s role in cultic worship. Research on Buddhist ritual, texts, doctrine, and visual culture during the medieval era maintains worship of Śākyamuni peaked in the Northern Wei (386-535) and declined in favor of the “cult of Maitreya” 彌勒信仰, “cult of Mañjuśrī” 文殊信仰, “cult of Amitābha” 阿彌陀信仰, “cult of Avalokiteśvara” 觀音信仰, and other cosmic buddhas. However, a close analysis of Dunhuang ritual and narrative manuscripts demonstrate an equivalent "cult of Śākyamuni" dominated daily religious life during the Tang and Song periods. Worship of Śākyamuni at Dunhuang was specifically configured around his life as a mundane historical figure in pre-Maurya India. Furthermore, this life was elaborated through a complex yet highly coherent network of textual genres such as narratives (yinyuan 因緣), poetry, and ritual texts (lichan wen 禮懺文, jiangjing wen 講經文, etc.), ritual practices, together with a wealth of cultural and visual resources as exemplified in the Dunhuang grottoes themselves. Such a consistent set of materials did not originate ab nihilo but rather stems from a set of canonical texts, namely the Xiuxing benqi jing 修行本起經, T184; the Taizi ruiying benqi jing 太子瑞應本起經, T185; Yichu pusa benqi jing 異出菩薩本起經, T188; and the Guoqu xianzai yingguo jing 過去現在因果經, T189. This paper defines the corpus of textual, visual, and ritual resources at Dunhuang that characterize this cult, elaborates Śākyamuni's centrality in medieval religious life, and demonstrates how these later developments at Dunhuang clarify earlier traces of Śākyamuni's cult in Central Asian materials as a continuous and highly delineated Buddhist tradition that extends from Gandhāra to medieval China.

 

An Aristocrat Sasanian Female as Devotee of Buddhism

Schmidt, Carolyn (The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA)

During the Archaeological Survey of India, Frontier Circle, season of 1909-10, David Brainerd Spooner recovered, from Mound B at Sahrī-Bāhlol, a circa 163 centimeter, independently sculpted, schist figure of a haloed female dressed in Sasanian attire. In addition to elaborate jewelry, this figure is adorned with a high-rising Sasanian hairstyle displaying an ordered row of forehead ringlets bracketed by a single ringlet curl before each ear, and a diadem secured by Sasanian-style pleated ribbons. In her hands she holds a portable shrine that is believed to have originally held an image of a Buddha. Portrayed on the figure’s base are the head and shoulders of what appears as the genius loci, or Earth Goddess raising her arms and hands as if to support the ornately adorned female. Spooner concluded that there could not be a more immortalizing motif for a reigning monarch. He described her as extraordinary and new to archaeology in the northwest. To the present, this figure remains unique to the Gandhāran Buddhist tradition and is, perhaps, the finest attestation of Sasanian royal patronage extant.

This aristocratic image is presented with the same sense of hieratic formality, weightiness, and scale as the major second and third century stone images fashioned in the Buddhist genre of Sahrī-Bāhlol, Mound B, and of Takht-i-Bāhī. Comparisons among a number of almost identical sculpted details used for Bodhisattvas recovered from these sites leave no doubt that all are products of the same time and atelier. These facts offer invaluable insight into the regional, relative, stylistic chronology that postdates the rise to power of the Sasanian King Shapur I (r. 240/42–270/72).

As this female image is uninscribed, her identity is not known. Her iconographic features, however, are indicative of authority and a level of transmundane status. Research suggests that her jeweled diadem, ornamented on the right and left sides with two crescent moons with vertical projections rising from their centers, once displayed a larger version of this moon motif at center front as its most prominent feature. Unfortunately, the crescent moon motif with vertical projection remains enigmatic.

The archaeological record indicates that the companion figure to the female was that of an aged monk, who also held a portable shrine. This pairing of an aristocratic Sasanian female devotee with a monk devotee recalls the painted pair of images found on the interior sidewalls of a diminutive niche from Tapa-Kalān, Hadda (Musée Guimet, no. MG 21810), although no direct relationship between these pairs can be demonstrated.

While many Sasanian artifacts and documents attest to the important roles women played in Sasanian society, the role of females of Sasanian ethnicity as devotees of Buddhism is largely unstudied. This on-going effort is intended to draw increased attention to, and provide new insights into, the role of female Sasanian patronage and its influence on the transmission of cultural values and Buddhist traditions both eastward and westward during the vibrant and turbulent period of Sasanian hegemony.

 

Examining an Early Manuscript Mahāprajñāpāramitā Upadeśa: A Case Study of Sogdian Buddhist Scribe An Hongsong (安弘嵩) in Early 5th C.

Tsui, Chunghui (Centre of Buddhist Studies, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, CHN)

In the collection of the National Library in Beijing, one existing Buddhist manuscript, the Mahāprajñāpāramitā Upadeśa fascicle 55 (大智度論卷第 55), came from the Dunhuang library cave with the inscription of a Sogdian scribe named An Hongsong. According to their record, the manuscript was dated the “Six Dynasties” (ca. 3rd - 6th century CE). The colophon is written as: “Dharma Master Huirong’s text, copied by Bhiksu An Hongsong”. However, it is not dated, nor is there any other related biographical information on Bhiksu An Hongsong.

Since the Mahāprajñāpāramitā Upadeśa was translated by Kumārajīva in 405 CE, the manuscript should be a copy from after 405 CE. Coincidently, another section of the same manuscript, the 59th fascicle of the same sūtra, records that it was copied by the same monk, An Hongsong.

Based upon a detailed examination and analysis of the calligraphic style from the dated Buddhist manuscripts and stone inscriptions before 500 CE, the paper first discovers the evidence for dating the Mahāprajñāpāramitā Upadeśa manuscriptby the Sogdian Buddhist monk. It is probably the earliest existing Chinese Buddhist manuscript written by Sogdian monks to date. Secondly, it explores the important role of early foreign scribes, from Central Asia to China, Buddhist monk scribes who also specialized in writing bilingually or in multi-language scripts.

 

Buddhist Women during the Kuṣāṇa Empire (Afghanistan and Northwest India) According to Kharoṣṭhī Donor Inscriptions

Walter, Mariko (Association for Central Asia & Silk Road Studies, Cambridge, USA)

Women in northwest India and the region currently called Afghanistan under the Kuṣāṇa Empire were very active Buddhist donors, according to Kharoṣṭhī donor inscriptions. They owned some property and had the financial means to donate a Buddhist statue or lion capitals for a Buddhist stūpa, for example. The inscriptions tell us that typically women as daughters, wifes, or mothers concerned with their family donated goods to Buddhist monasteries and stūpas in order to accumulate merit for the wellbeing of their family members. 

There are mainly two different kinds of script used for the early Buddhist inscriptions: Brāhmī and Kharoṣṭhī. Brāhmī inscriptions were found in a wide range of time and geographical regions in India and Central Asia. Among the 1726 Brāhmī inscriptions studied mostly by Lüder and others, there are countless examples of women’s involvement in Buddhist donations. These women were wives, mothers, sisters, elderly nuns (therī), ordained women (samanikī), Bhikṣunī, as well as women disciples of well-known scholar monks.
Here I discuss mainly Kharoṣṭhī inscriptions, as their dates correspond with the time of the Kuṣāṇa Empire, and the inscriptions written in northwestern Prakrit in the Kharoṣṭhī script are mainly found in the region under the Kuṣāṇa Empire. Most of the Kharoṣṭhī inscriptions used here were published by Sten Konow in 1929. Konow studied about 109 inscriptions in total, which were dated within the four hundred years from towards the end of the first century BCE to c.315 CE. But the majority of his inscriptions were dated around the first or second century CE, around the time of Kaniṣka I, during the peak of the Kuṣāṇa Empire.
The overall impression of the women’s position in north India and Afghanistan gained from the Kharoṣṭhī inscriptions is quite positive. Women owned property and wealth, and they were actors of their own religious decisions such as Buddhist donations. This active participation of women in religious acts is very different from the typical negative views regarding women in the Brahmanical tradition or early Buddhist texts, which often emphasize the passiveness, greediness, and evil nature of women, although other Buddhist texts tend to include both positive and negative aspects of women’s nature as perceived by men. For example, the Fo-shuo yü-yeh-nu ching (T2,863c-864c, unknown Central Asian translator, 265-316 CE) and the Yü-yeh -nu ching (T865c-867a, translated by T’an-wu-ch’en, c. 381-395) talk about the three evil qualities and four virtues of women. When the Buddha expounded on this teaching, Princess Yü-yeh (Sujata) choose to be a slave-like woman to serve her husband.
In contrast, women in Gandharan and greater Gandharan regions seem to have been respected as vital family members. Even the donations initiated by husbands or fathers tend to include wives and daughters as donors in the inscriptions, as for instance in the case of a Greek local general in Taxila: “...the Meridarkh, together with his wife, the stūpa was established, in honour of (his) mother and father, for the presentation of a respectful offering”. (Note that “mother” comes before “father”). Thus the Kharoṣṭhī inscriptions seem to indicate relative gender equality and women’s freedom in religious participation in contrast to the early Buddhist texts, which usually reflect the male authors’ aspirations in Indian society of that time.

 

The Transformed-Buddha Figures in the Aura – The Transmission from Gandhāra to Central China

Zhu, Tianshu (University of Macau, Macau, MAC)

Depicting small emanated Buddha figures in the aura is a convention of Buddha/bodhisattva images commonly seen in Buddhist art. However the overall history of this motif is poorly studied. This motif was derived from Gandhâran Buddhist art of the late third and fourth centuries (e.g. the Buddha image on the upper left corner on the Mohammed Nari stele). It was then developed in the Khotan area (e.g. sculpture R13 found at Rawak and published by Stein in 1907), reached Kucha area (e.g. the well-known cosmological Buddha painting in Kizil 17), and became prevalent in central China after the mid-fifth century (e.g. the colossal Buddha statues in Yungang Cave 20 and Longmen Cave 19). Images with emanated figures in the aura from Gandhâra are traditionally identified as the Śrâvastî Miracle. I argue that this motif represents the nirmâṇabuddha (transformed-Buddha) concept which is fundamental in Mahâyâna doctrine-- a Buddha transforms into nirmâṇabuddhas to save sentient beings in the ten directions. Gandhâra was instrumental in the spread of Buddhism in central Asia and eastern Asia. However, among the exclusive features of Gandhâran Buddhist art, what actually generated an enduring impact on a large scale in eastern Asian Buddhist art is this convention of representing Buddhist images, not the Gandhâran style or any specific iconography. The main task of this study is to map out the transmissions and transformations of this motif in different areas in central Asia and central China. A successful transmission of a concept or an image is often simply described as “influence.” This study aims to go beyond the concept of influence and examine the mechanism of such transmission. In the case of the transformed-Buddha figures, I found three aspects that are critical. First, the Gandhâran influence is not simple linear, and in every region this motif has developed its own unique features that depart far from its source. Consequently, the Gandhâran influence in a location can be direct, but most of the time it is indirect through variations developed in other regions. Second, the original meanings may have been altered or detached from the visual representation in the process of transmission. Third, a foreign element flourished in a new environment maybe because it resonated with pre-existing indigenous belief systems. In short, the study, although it focuses on one motif, ultimately enriches our understanding of the significance of Gandhâran Buddhist art and the working of Buddhist transmission in different areas.

Discussant: James Hegarty

 

The “Jātaka-Avadānas” of the Avadānaśataka – An Exploration of Indian Buddhist Narrative Genres

Appleton, Naomi (University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, GBR)

While the definition of “jātaka” as a story of a past life of the Buddha is fairly widely accepted, finding an equally acceptable definition of “avadāna” is somewhat harder. Scholars have talked of avadānas as stories of heroic deeds, stories of arhats, of anybody except the Buddha, or of karmicly significant deeds and their fruits. Some of these definitions deliberately oppose jātaka and avadāna while others allow the possibility of a story belonging to both genres. It would seem that any understanding of these two generic terms must include an understanding of the relationship between them.
In this paper I will use the second decade of the Avadānaśataka, which contains ten stories of episodes in the Buddha’s past lives, to explore the definitions of these two genres. The stories are jātakas (that is to say, stories of the past lives of the Buddha) and they exhibit certain features of that genre familiar from, for example, the Jātakatthavaṇṇanā and Mahāvastu. However, other features, such as their focus upon karmic fruition, mark them out from these jātakas, and their presence in an avadāna collection forces us to reflect upon what it might mean to be both a jātaka and an avadāna.
During my paper I will ask which features of the “jātaka-avadānas” of the Avadānaśataka can be viewed as “jātaka-like” and which as “avadāna-like”, and what this might tell us about the text and its wider context. By exploring such aspects as chronology, progression, the presence/absence of buddhas, the perfections, the role of karma and the identity of the protagonist, I will attempt to construct meaningful definitions of the genres that might work beyond the boundaries of this particular text and its school. At the same time I will argue that it is in the very process of questioning and challenging definitions of genre that generic categories can become most useful as scholarly tools.

 

Avadānas and the Kitchen Sink in My Suitcase

Lenz, Timothy (University of Washington, Seattle, USA)

The slippery term avadāna at times seems to whirl in its own corner of saṃsāra, stuck in a perpetual dance with karma and rebirth. But as pointed out recently, the avadāna view derived from previous studies of published and unpublished avadāna and jātaka collections, including the Pali Jātakāṭṭhavaṇṇanā and Apadāna, and the Sanskrit Avadānaśataka and Divyāvadāna is not readily applicable to the small corpus of Gandhāran avadānas represented in the British Library Collection of Kharoṣṭhī manuscripts. In ancient Gandhāra, at least in the region around present-day Haḍḍa, the proposed find spot of the British Library documents, the meaning of the term avadāna must have been far more inclusive than ones generally attributed to it by modern-day scholars. By considering a fairly diverse selection of texts, including the Nīya documents, it is possible to zero in on the meaning of avadāna as it pertains to 1st or 2nd century avadānas in a specific location (Haḍḍa) and in a specific linguistic milieu (Gāndhārī).

 

The Vicissitudes of Long-Distance Travel: An avadāna Takes to the Road

Muldoon-Hules, Karen (UCLA Extension/UCLA, Los Angeles, USA)

How elastic can a genre be? This paper examines variant versions of the Virūpā avadāna found in India, Central Asia and China. Starting with the Sanskrit version in the Avadānaśataka (Avś 80), the paper compares it to a set of seven Central Asian fragments of this avadāna first identified by Else Lüders (SHT 1186). These were later re-examined by Waldschmidt, who provided an important corrective to Lüders’ interpretation.

In addition, two Chinese versions of the Virūpā avadāna are known. One appears in the Chinese Avś, Zhuanji baiyuan jing (撰集百縁経,T. 200) as avadāna 79 instead of 80, this change in position being just one of a number of striking differences between the Sanskrit and Chinese versions of the Avś that were noticed by Bagchi and a series of Japanese scholars, leading to a fuller comparison by Demoto. A second Chinese version of Virūpā’s tale appears in the late 5th century compendium, the Za bao zang jing (雜寶藏經, T. 203), which shows yet more variations.

The shifts in content as this tale reappears in each new environment demonstrate just how flexible the avadāna genre can be. The shifting content of the Virūpā avadāna in microcosm set alongside the considerable differences between the Sanskrit and Chinese versions of the Avś in macrocosm and the Gandhāran evidence suggest another possible mode of trans-Asian transmission.

 

Adapting Jātaka and Avadāna in Nineteenth-Century Tibet: Shabkar’s Marvelous Emanated Scripture

Pang, Rachel (University of Toronto, Toronto, CAN)

Shabkar Tsokdruk Rangdrol (1781-1851) was one of the most celebrated poet-saints in Tibetan Buddhist history. A prolific author, his Collected Works total fourteen volumes. One of the most interesting but understudied aspects of Shabkar’s writings is a series of nine “emanated scriptures.” Inspired by the legend of a series of emanated scriptures transmitted to Tsongkhapa (1357-1419) by the bodhisattva Mañjuśrī in a dream-vision, Shabkar essentially invents a new Tibetan Buddhist literary genre in the nineteenth century by composing “emanated scriptures” of his own. In these nine works, Shabkar takes classic Buddhist ideas and presents them in a way that is eloquent, easy to understand, and applicable to the everyday lives of his audience. In the highly conservative culture of Tibetan Buddhism, Shabkar's works demonstrate a remarkable freedom and flexibility in its use and deployment of literary genre. 

In his Marvelous Emanated Scripture (Tib. ngo mtshar sprul pa’i glegs bam), Shabkar recounts both jātaka and avadāna in order to explain classic Mahāyāna Buddhist concepts (such as renunciation, compassion, loving-kindness, bodhicitta, and the six pāramitās) and to demonstrate how his audience can and should incorporate Buddhist teachings into their quotidian lives. This essay will examine: (1) the ways in which the jātaka and avadāna in Shabkar's text are similar to and different from their original forms in South Asia, and (2) the ways in which he adapted these classic Buddhist genres to suit the needs of his nineteenth-century Tibetan audience in his Marvelous Emanated Scripture.    

 

Stories of Self-Sacrifice in the Pannasa Jataka: Jatakas or Avadanas?

Sheravanichkul, Arthid (Department of Thai, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, THA)

This paper studies the stories of self-sacrifice in the Pannasa Jataka, a collection of non-classical jatakas that has been widespread in the mainland Southeast Asian Buddhist tradition since the fifteenth century CE. Many stories seem to have an Indian origin. Some are considered avadanas and others jatakasin their Indian context, but they are all perceived as ‘jataka’ in Thai Theravada Buddhist context and can function as other local genres, e.g. anisamsa, a genre of Thai Buddhist literature in which the benefit of meritorious acts, especially giving is explained.

The paper also reconsiders the categories used by some scholars to identify the Indian gift-of-the-body stories as jatakas or avadanas, such as the presence/absence of Buddhism in the stories, the bodhisatta’s moral/ devotional acts, and the definition of Dana-paramita (the Perfection of Giving) as conveyed in the stories. The stories of self-sacrifice in the Pannasa Jataka from Southeast Asia will be taken into consideration with the hope that this might give us a wider view in understanding the ‘genre’ of these stories.

This study is therefore an attempt to open up questions about how South Asian generic categories of narratives were reinterpreted in different regions.

The Uses of Critical Examination and Independent Reasoning/Analysis in the Self-Diction of Early Indian Buddhist Literati

Eltschinger, Vincent (Institut für Kultur und Geistesgeschichte Asiens, Wien, AUT)

The Buddhist poet Aśvaghoṣa (early 2nd century CE?) often represents the (future) Buddha as subordinating rational choice in religio-philosophical matters to a critical examination (parīkṣā, vicāra, etc.) of the competing salvational systems (especially Sāṅkhya). This picture is part of the poet’s wider concern with the bodhisattva as challenging allegedly deceptive systems and converting their representatives (Arāḍa Kālāma, Subhadra). But as the works of Aśvaghoṣa (the Buddhacarita and the Saundarananda) themselves clearly testify, the notion of parīkṣā plays a prominent role in early Indian Buddhist literature of both polemical and “meditational” intent. On the one hand, the Yogācārabhūmi (early 4th century CE?) makes critical examination the essential concern of its polemics against “allodoxies” (Sāṅkhya, Jainism, Sarvāstivāda, materialism, etc.) and a key component of its definition of logic and dialectics (hetuvidyā, vāda). On the other hand, meditational handbooks such as Saṅgharakṣa’s Yogācārabhūmi (early 2nd century CE?) and the so-called Yogalehrbuch allot a central place to parīkṣā while describing the intellectual practices and the (early?) career of a bodhisattva. In these and other texts, critical examination through independent and value-free reasoning is made the condition of the Buddha’s paradigmatic experience and the defining, exclusive characteristic of Buddhism. The aim of this paper is to inquire into the semantics and the pragmatics of parīkṣā in Indian Buddhist literary works from the 1st half of the 1st millenium CE and to assess the role played by it in the Buddhists’ self-diction and apologetic endeavours. At the same time, the paper will provide an intellectual genealogy of the Buddhist epistemologists’ uses of parīkṣā—a characteristic component of so many of their works’ or chapters’ titles—, reasoning, and the means of valid cognition (pramāṇa). There are good reasons to believe that what Sara McClintock has very aptly described as the late Buddhist philosophers’ “rhetoric of reason” was already a central concern to Aśvaghoṣa and his contemporaries.

 

 

The Functioning of Performatives in the Rhetoric of Chinese Tiantai and Huayan Texts

Kantor, Hans-Rudolf (Huafan University, Taipei, TWN)

Rhetoric and linguistic strategy are essential components in the “deconstructive practice” (po 破) of “contemplation” (guan 觀) expounded by the Chinese Tiantai Buddhists, as well as in the textual pragmatics developed by the Chinese Huayan masters.

The two Buddhist schools stress the importance of our insight into, or awareness of, the “inseparability of truth and falsehood” (zhenwang buli 真妄不離) concerning the way we relate to and exist in our world. The epistemological sense of such inseparability coincides with the ontological level, because both the present world and the way we exist in it are dependent upon our epistemic stance in relation to it. Our full awareness of inseparability evolves a dynamic which, paradoxically, consists in constantly differentiating our own constructions from that which really or truly sustains our conceptualizing activity. The Chinese term for that dynamic awareness is called “subtle awakening” (miaowu 妙悟), disassociating us from the deceptive force of all falsehood without really and completely nullifying falsehood itself. The course of practice and cultivation that entails all this also embraces insight on the basis of discursive analysis expounded in the Tiantai treatises on “contemplation,”and the Huayan works of Sūtra interpretation. However, the specific feature of those texts is their rhetoric, as well as their linguistic and compositional strategies used to trigger the dynamics of our awareness. In other words, the text itself performs what it signifies in the specific sense that the way in which it talks about “contemplation” itself exemplifies the sense of “contemplation.”The same applies to the Huayan discussions of “true emptiness” (zhenkong 真空). In an operational manner, the rhetoric that constitutes or informs the performatives in those texts is crucial to the realization and presentation of the meanings and the sense as a whole. The present paper intends to describe, analyze, and compare the rhetorical forms of those performatives and their functioning, by examining selected passages from Zhiyi’s (538-597) Tiantai texts Mohe zhiguan and Fahua xuanyi, and the Huayan work Huayan fajie xuanjing traditionally ascribed to Dushun (557-640).

 

When Argument Becomes Perfume: Audience, Persuasion, and Spiritual Cultivation in Kamalaśīla’s Tattvasaṅgrahapañjikā

McClintock, Sara (Emory University, Atlanta, USA)

The title of this talk borrows from a phrase from a famous verse near the start of the text that has come down to us with the title of Bodhicaryāvatāra attributed to the ninth-century Indian Buddhist scholar-practitioner Śāntideva. In the verse, Śāntideva maintains that the following treatise contains nothing new, nothing that has not already been taught before. In addition, he also exhibits his modesty by claiming to have no particular gifts when it comes to the composition of treatises. For these reasons, he says, he has not undertake to write the Bodhicaryāvatāra for the sake of others, but rather what motivates his composition of the text is his desire to “perfume” (vāsayitum) his own mind.

A similar verse can be found at the outset of Kamalaśīla’s Tattvasaṅgrahapañjikā. Although the language of perfuming is absent, the parallel construction is striking. Here, we hear the eighth-century thinker Kamalaśīla similarly claim neither to be clever enough to state something new nor to be writing explicitly for others. Instead, he states that he undertakes this work in order to familiarize himself with reality (tattva). The word that Kamalaśīla uses here for familiarization, abhyāsa, literally means repetition or practice, but it has a secondary connotation of habituation or cultivation. It is the same word that both he and Śāntarakṣita, the author of the Tattvasaṅgraha upon which he is commenting, use when discussing how practitioners cultivate particular mental states as antidotes to the affective and cognitive structures at the root of suffering.

Rhetorically speaking, these statements at the outset of these two texts invite readers to similarly engage with the treatises as methods for spiritual cultivation. Yet at the same time, both texts, the Tattvasaṅgrahapañjikā especially, contain copious polemical arguments aimed at philosophical antagonists, both within and outside of the Buddhist fold. Such arguments might be thought to be for the purpose of dialectical persuasion only and thus to fall outside the purview of spiritual cultivation per se. Indeed, contemporary and ancient scholars appear split on questions concerning both the audience and the aims of Buddhist polemical works such as these, with some arguing that they do not belong to the Buddhist project of spiritual transformation but only to the domain of epistemology and logic.

This paper probes the intertwined questions of audience and aim in Kamalaśīla’s Tattvasaṅgrahapañjikā to show how it explicitly rejects any strong distinction between polemical persuasion and spiritual cultivation. The key to understanding how this can be so is to revise our conception of audience away from the idea of an actual audience and in favor of the notion of a rhetorically constructed audience. This then allows us to see how Kamalaśīla envisions the audience to transform through its engagement with the text. Arguments now are seen to work on different levels depending on the degree of spiritual maturity of the rhetorically constructed audience. For some, arguments work to persuade and refute. For others, they work to perfume the mind. 

Modern Configurations of Meditation, Selfhood, and the Secular

McMahan, David (Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, USA)

Buddhist and Buddhist-derived meditation and mindfulness practices have undergone profound changes in the modern period. From their sole institutional home in the monastery, they have now taken their place in the most prominent secular institutions, such as corporations, public universities, public health care systems, and even the US military. The rhetorical reconfiguration of meditation practices as modern technologies of the self for increasing the freedom and effectiveness of modern selves in secular societies has been, and continues to be, essential for their inclusion in secular institutional settings. This paper examines the transcribing of meditation and mindfulness from indigenous Buddhist categories into categories of modern secularism. This has involved the rhetorical reframing of Buddhist meditation and mindfulness practices as secular, even scientific endeavors. What models of the mind and the human being are operative in this rhetoric? What is at stake in such reframing?

Many promoters of Buddhist and Buddhist-derived meditation and mindfulness practices in recent decades have emphasized their “non-religious” character, distancing them from the “religious” elements of Buddhism. In many western countries, separation of church and state requires that secularism serve as a kind of “filter” to strip away the “religious” elements of meditation, leaving it a technique to achieve various forms of well-being, instrumental effectiveness, and human enhancement as conceived in modern societies. This is a continuation of the discursive thrust of certain modes of Buddhist modernism that have been developing for over a century.

Exploring this reconfiguration not only helps the historian of religion understand one of the most momentous transformations and recontextualizations of Buddhist meditation in its history, it helps analysts of culture discern the boundaries of the modern conception of the secular itself.

 

 

Configuring enlightenment - A model for the analysis of Buddhist rhetoric

Steineck, Raji (University Zürich, Switherland)

Many Buddhist texts are persuasive in nature, i.e. they aim at changing the minds of their readers. Buddhist authors from different times and places have used diverse means such as arguments, narratives, poetic language, citations, word-play etc. to achieve this aim. In order to be able to detect and systematically describe the means and strategies that are employed within a specific text we developed a model of rhetorical analysis. This model is based on the idea that texts are products of communication and can therefore be analyzed with the help of models of communication. The sophisticated author of a text does not only communicate with his readers outside the text, but he will also try to shape the communication that takes place within the text. He will configure the text's addresser, for example, in order to appear in a favorable light, and he will try to influence how the envisaged readers conceive of their own role when reading the text.

In our talk we will present this model and illustrate its use with the help of Dōgen's early text Bendōwa . We will show how Dōgen , a cleric with high aspirations but of unestablished legitimacy, attempted to convince a mixed audience of clerics of higher, equal, and lower rank as well as actual and potential lay followers and patrons of the qualities of his spiritual authority and teaching. He had to reckon with their doubts on the legitimacy of his position and with their objections to his teaching, which ran contrary to the established convictions of the day. He chose to deal with this problem by employing a structural rhetoric device: he reconfigured, in the intratextual communication, his own position and the pragmatic relationship between himself and his readership. The Bendōwa thus illustrates how an author can try to configure the communicative situation embedded within the text in order to compensate for the deficiencies of his power to influence his communicative stance in the real world .

 

 

Bringing the Preacher down to Earth: Rhetoric, Humanity, and Glamour in the Great Lamp of the Dharma Dhāraṇī Scripture

Overbey, Ryan (University of California, Berkeley, USA)

Mahāyāna sūtras often portray the Buddhist preacher of the dharma as a heroic being, advanced in practice, approaching the highest stages of the bodhisattva path. And yet the very same sūtras also reveal profound obstacles faced by the preacher in the difficult arena of pedagogy and persuasion. This paper examines an early medieval Buddhist text, the Great Lamp of the Dharma Dhāraṇī Scripture (Dà fǎjù tuóluóní jīng 大法炬陀羅尼經, extant in a single sixth-century Chinese translation) to explore the tensions between the preacher’s purported attainments and the very real obstacles confronting him. The Great Lamp uses many of the same techniques found in Aristotle’s Rhetoric to both navigate the mundane difficulties of preaching and to construct the image of the preacher as a venerable presence. The Great Lamp demonstrates how practical Buddhist rhetorical techniques could transform the flawed humanity of the preacher into an authoritative figure with superhuman glamour.

 

 

 

Can we be Humean about the Emptiness of Causation?

Bliss, Ricki (Kyoto University, Japan, Kyoto, JPN)

It has been suggested that one way we might understand the account of causation as empty, on the view espoused by Nāgārjuna, is in terms of a Humean regularity account of causation. According to this interpretation, for causation to be empty is for there to be constant conjunction between cause and effect. The assumption that there is any necessary connection between the two is a product of activities of the mind, and not of how the world is. There is something about this suggestion, however, that doesn't quite sit right: the Humean regularity account of causation follows from the principle that there are no necessary connections between wholly distinct existents. One way in which the suggestion that we understand the emptiness of causation in terms of a regularity account could be deeply problematic is if the principle that underwrites it - Hume's Dictum - is analytic. In this case, that cause and effect are wholly distinct from one another simply follows from denying that there is any necessary connection between them. And, of course, for cause and effect to be wholly distinct is what it is for them to fail to be empty.

In this paper, I explore Hume's Dictum, its relationship to the regularity account of causation and whether we have reason to prefer analytic or synthetic versions of it. I then apply these results to an investigation of the claim that we can be Humean about the emptiness of causation.

 

Buddhist Ethics in the Present: Anti-realism and Karmic Consequences

Davis, Jake (CUNY Graduate Center, Chilmark, USA)

Elsewhere I have leveraged recent quasi-realist (Blackburn 1998, Gibbard 2003) and Humean constructivist (Street 2012) accounts of ethical expressions in order to defend a modest claim for a certain circumscribed set of ethical universals (Davis 2013). This account, which I have called Acting Wide Awake, draws from empirical research on attention, emotion, and ethical judgment to defend in naturalistically plausible terms a proposal that lies at the heart of Buddhist ethics: that certain emotional motivations are skillful (kusala) and to be developed (bhavitabbaṃ), for any human being, that others are unskillful (akusala) and to be abandoned (pahātabbaṃ), and that we can come to discern the difference for ourselves (cf. AN.III.65). In this paper, I outline three applications of this approach. First, I defend attempts to develop naturalized versions of Buddhist ethics independent of metaphysical doctrines of karma and rebirth, such as my own, against Westerhoff’s (forthcoming) ‘suicide’ argument. I argue that if a motivation to kill oneself to end one’s own suffering is unskillful, that is because of the psychological suffering that characterizes such an aversive motivation in the moment of being so motivated, rather than because of future karmic consequences. Secondly, I note that in reconstructing a Madhyamika response to relativism about truth generally, Westerhoff (2009: 222ff) in fact develops a strategy for saving a form of mind-dependent but nonetheless sufficiently objective truth that parallels in many ways the strategy that I adopt in Acting Wide Awake as a response to moral relativism in particular. In conclusion, I attempt to reconcile my approach to ethical claims in the Nikāyas with Madhyamika-derived as well as more recent naturalist varieties of anti-realism in ethics, by recalling the Nikayas’ focus on dependent co-arising (paṭicca-samuppāda) in the world of experience (lokāsaññī). It is just within this world of experience that suffering, the cause of suffering, the end of suffering, and the path to it are to be found (cf. AN.4.45; SN.12.44). In this way, the entirety of the Buddha’s teachings, including the ethical teachings, are experiential (sandiṭṭhiko)… a come-and-see-kind-of-thing (ehipassiko)… to be experienced by the wise for themselves (paccattaṃ veditabbo viññūhī).

 

The Salient Features of Causality in the Prāsaṅgika Madhyamaka

Thakchoe, Sonam (University of Tasmania, Hobart, AUS)

Some Tibetan philosophers claim that no causal thesis whatsoever could be attributed to the Prāsaṅgika. The fact that Nāgārjuna and Candrakīrti categorically deny the possibility of all four alternative causal theses – from self, another, both and neither (causelessly) – stands to reason, they argue, that no causal thesis is acceptable for the Prāsaṅgika. Tsongkhapa however challenges the validity of this argument. He argues that the conclusion is not entailed in the premises. For Tsongkhapa the conclusion that follows from the premise – the denial of the four alternative causal theses – are twofold. First, it explicitly shows that Candrakīrti denies the foundationalist or essentialist type of causality, which, he argues, is antithetical to the Prāsaṅgika’s emptiness ontology. However, the argument does not show that Candrakīrti denies causality altogether. Second, the argument implicitly proves that Candrakīrti accepts a non-foundationalist or non-essentialist type of causality, the one which complements is core emptiness ontology. In this paper I seek to flesh out, from the philosophical works of Nāgārjuna, Candrakīrti and Tsongkhapa, certain concepts associated with causality which, in my view, decisively support the view that the Prāsaṅgika does have its own causal theory.

 

Reading Practices in Northern Song Chan

Ahn, Juhn (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA)

This paper will attempt to analyze some of the more popular forms of reading practices in Chan Buddhism during the Northern Song (960-1127). Although many associate Chan Buddhism with the popular slogan of not setting up words and letters and the notion of a “sudden” experience of awakening, this paper will show that Chan learning during the Northern Song did not always consist of a direct unmediated insight. Instead, it consisted of various reading practices that made use of verbal formulas, esoteric diagrams, typologies of Chan teachings, verse commentaries, and the verbatim reproduction of stock phrases and stereotyped Chan sayings. This paper will show how monks who belonged to or who were associated with the Yunmen and Huanglong lineages began to challenge these earlier reading practices and tried to develop a style of Chan learning that emphasized reading for comprehension and knowing what one has read for oneself rather than relying on the writings and understanding of others. There are, this paper argues, two important catalysts behind this change: this new style of Chan learning emerged (1) in a new sociopolitical climate where learned Chan monks competed for the abbacies of public monasteries where they had to address monks on pilgrimage who had exposure to many different kinds of Chan teachings and (2) in an environment where more Chan texts, manuscripts and printed texts, were available for perusal. The availability of more texts made it necessary to develop a reading practice that could make sense of the diversity of Chan teachings.

 

The Koan Teachings of Chan Master Xuedou

Huang, Yi-hsun (Fo Guang University, Yilan, TWN)

Master Xuedou (980–1052) is an important Chan master in the Yunmen branch. My paper will analyze Xuedou’s Verses on Old Cases with a special focus on its literary originality and the role of religious practice in it. Xuedou’s Verses on Old Cases consists of one hundred old cases selected by Xuedou as well as his comments in verse form. To compile this genre of Chan literature, the Chan master must first be familiar with the contents of the old cases, and then be able to express, in verse form, his own religious insights into those old cases. These two requirements are the very reason why Xuedou’s Verses on Old Cases is a perfect source for investigating its religious practice and literary aspects. My paper will first discuss the compilation and structure of Xuedou’s Verses on Old Cases and then analyze two verses on old cases.

 

Finding One’s Place in a Story of Decline: Chan Buddhists Gauging the State of the Dharma in the Song and Later

Morrison, Elizabeth (Middlebury College, Cornwall VT, USA)

The theory of the decline of the dharma is crucial to the rise of Pure Land Buddhism in East Asia, but what is its relationship to the Chan tradition? Early Chan texts that assert that the dharma has been transmitted to China by a line of specially authorized teachers implicitly refute widespread contemporary certainty that the decline of the dharma was already well underway. Indeed, a well-known line in the eighth-century Dunhuang text of the Platform Sutra goes so far as to call Huineng not just the Sixth Patriarch but a buddha.

The notion of a special transmission of the dharma began as a claim about particular teachers, usually the teacher of the current master in a given community, but it soon crossed into the present, and the idea of “dharma heirs” no longer applied only to past figures. Disciples began aspiring to be recognized as dharma heirs, and, as Morten Schlütter has demonstrated, the Song state took a keen interest, eventually limiting the leadership of important “public” monasteries to properly qualified dharma heirs who could then, as abbots, continue the line.

I will argue that almost as soon as transmission was a matter of the present, with significant real world consequences, members of the Chan community began talking about a decline of their own, a decline of the lineage. Often they criticized lines of the Chan tradition other than their own, but sometimes they even expressed doubts about their own particular lineage. In time, more general ideas of decline – the classic idea of the overall decline of the dharma – begin appearing in Chan writings, with other Buddhist schools, rulers, and social changes variously held up as proof of the decline.

Jan Nattier has argued that the origins of the decline theory lie primarily not in external persecution of the Buddhist tradition but in fears about the internal problem of complacence. This observation is accurate also for the Chan tradition. Perceived decline, inside and outside of the Chan tradition, prompted reflection on how Chan Buddhists could stave off the decline with their own teachings and behavior. The crisis, in other words, served as a catalyst to articulate what in the Chan tradition – and the Buddhist tradition as a whole – is effective in holding off the inevitable. I will discuss a variety of Chan reactions to decline (including a continuing rejection of the idea by some) against the backdrop of other Chinese Buddhist responses. In so doing, I hope to demonstrate that while the influence of this theory on early and medieval Chinese Buddhism is well-known, its later importance and dynamic nature has yet to be fully explored.

 

Chan Buddhism in the Tangut State, 11th-13th Centuries

Solonin, Kirill (China Renmin University, Beijing, CHN)

Chan Buddhism was one of the mainstreams of Sinitic Buddhism in the Tangut State. A number of Chan texts had been translated into Tangut, while some circulated in their Chinese originals. The Tangut version of Chan Buddhism appears to be a multifaceted phenomenon, but the present research basically concentrates on the texts which have been translated into Tangut. In this presentation I will summarize the results of the previous research into the Tangut Chan texts, in an attempt to trace the possible origins of peculiar Tangut Chan tradition and will offer a hypothesis for the timeline for Tangut Chan Buddhism and Sinitic Buddhism in the Northern Chinese borderland in particular. Basic tenet of the paper is that the specific version of Chan in Xixia developed out of an imaginary scheme of the “perfect teaching,” i.e. a specific version of Buddhism which existed in the Wutaishan area since the end of the Tang and was specifically advocated by the Kitan Liao.

 

Yulu Formation in Chinese Chan: The Records of Nanyue Huairang and Mazu Daoyi, Qingyuan Xingsi and Shitou Xiqian

Welter, Albert (University of Arizona, Tucson, USA)

Chan yulu (Dialogue Records) went through editorial alterations before being issued in standardized forms in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. A glimpse into this editorial process is evident in the earliest records or fragments of Chan teachings in the Zutang ji (Patriarch’s Hall Anthology, compiled 958 with later additions), the Zongjing lu (Records of the Source-Mirror, compiled 961), the Jingde Chuandeng lu (Record of the Transmission of the Lamp compiled in the Jingde era, compiled 1004), and the Tiansheng Guangdeng lu (Expanded Lamp Record compiled in the Tiansheng era, compiled 1029). In this presentation, I review the dialogue records of four Tang dynasty masters deemed essential to the preservation of Chan lineages beyond the Tang––Nanyue Huairang and Mazu Daoyi, Qingyuan Xingsi and Shitou Xiqian––through whom the so-called Five Houses of Classical Chan allegedly descended. My presentation focuses on a comparative analysis of each master’s teachings across the sources referred to above, with an aim toward determining how textual nuances reflect the perspectives of individual sources and the context in which each was compiled.

Buddhist Pilgrimage, Monastic Building and Corruption at the Seat of Enlightenment

Geary, David (University of British Columbia, Kelowna, CAN)

Bodh Gaya – the seat of Enlightenment – is widely viewed as the cosmo-geographic centre of the Buddhist world and a place of cultural, religious and moral superiority. Due to its sacred connection with the birthplace of Buddhism, it is also landscape endowed with religious merit and the pre-eminent location for pilgrimage activity attracting millions of Buddhist devotees each year. How has the recent globalization of Bodh Gaya as an international center of Buddhist pilgrimage led to certain moral and ethical quandaries for Buddhist groups, especially over the politics of land acquisition and corruption? How are criminal practices and Buddhist moral traditions entwined through monastic building and how does the production of a shared religious and moral space also create new forms of social inequality and communal opposition? Drawing on several years of fieldwork in Bodh Gaya, this paper will examine the different ways in which diasporic Buddhist communities navigate a complex moral landscape where the issues of land, power and money are entwined.

 

Trailblazers of Global Buddhist Networks: Early International Travelers

Harding, John (University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, CAN)

Even before the dramatic growth of Buddhist networks through international travel in the second half of the 20th century, variations of this mode for creating transnational networks was formative to the rise of modern and global Buddhism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. From the beginning, global networks have shaped modern representations of Buddhism in and beyond Asia and have fostered increased interest in Buddhism among North Americans and Europeans who did not grow up in the tradition. Although these global influences include a host of ideas, pressures, and cross-cultural flows facilitated by transformative technologies, there always has been an important role for Buddhist travelers creating global networks through face-to-face encounters.

This paper explores some of the early travels and travelers through the lens of the networks that prompted, and were extended by, their travel. Revisiting the travels and networks of Buddhist figures early in the modernization of this increasingly global tradition introduces lesser known characters, re-examines renowned Buddhist representatives, such as Shaku Sōen and Anagarika Dharmapala, and reinforces the Asian center of gravity for these modern and global networks despite some high profile travelers and crossroads in North America and Europe.

In addition to documenting some key early travelers and analyzing nodes of their transnational networks, the paper also suggests strong resonance between these early Buddhist travelers’ re-imaginations of Buddhism and modern representations and global popularity of Buddhism today.

 

The Lapland Temple Mountain in the Rural North of Sweden – A Halted Vision of a European Thai Buddhist Retreat Center

Plank, Katarina (Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, SWE) and Raddock, Elisabeth (Umeå University, Umeå, SWE)

On a mountain top outside Fredrika, a small village in the rural north of Sweden, a standing Buddha statue and the seated statue of Luang Pho Thuat, invoke reverence by visiting Buddhists. Plans of a large scale temple and meditation center have also invoked hope of religious tourism and economic growth in an area highly affected by depopulation – not only in local entrepreneurs but also in representatives of the Åsele municipality, which has, initially, financially supported the establishment.

The mountain has, on the one hand, become a pilgrimage site, visited by diaspora Thai women living in different parts of Sweden and temporary international migrant workers from Thailand picking berries in the forests of northern Sweden, as well as people belonging to other Buddhist communities, such as the Sri Lankan, or convert Buddhists. The site is, on the other hand, contested by Christians from near and far who also come to the mountain to pray against the establishment of the Buddhist retreat center. The building of a retreat center has, however, come to a halt. The Buddhist community is now in debts – nobody knows if and when the retreat center can be completed.

The paper discusses the background of the temple, giving contrasting examples of other establishment patterns of Thai Buddhist temples in rural Sweden, and gives particular highlight to the long distance travels both locally and internationally of diaspora Thai Buddhists (lay and ordained), the transnational networks being created, and the difficulties involved in supporting and maintaining temples in rural Sweden. We also look at the temple’s importance for Buddhist converts who have had a number of meditation retreats in the vicinity.

 

Thai Meditation Lineages Abroad: Creating Networks of Exchange

Schedneck, Brooke (Chiangmai, THA)

International travel to meditation centers in Thailand has created possibilities for transnational networks of exchange. International meditators who arrive in Thailand often wish to take the practice to their home countries by inviting their Thai teacher to give teachings and meditation retreats in the meditators' home country. Through fieldwork conducted in the international meditation centers in Thailand, this presentation illustrates the lasting effects of international travel to meditation centers, which can result in meditation teachers traveling abroad to teach new communities. More broadly, this presentation concerns Thai meditation lineages as they exist outside of Thailand, and the historical impetuses that created these networks. Examples of these networks include the Ajahn Tong lineage from Wat Chom Tong, Chiangmai, where an international lay lineage has created centers in Israel, Mexico, Canada, and Germany. Mae Chii Brigitte of Wat Prayong in Bangkok and Ajahn Nawi Piyadassi of Wat Tam Dauy Don, Chiangmai, visit Europe and America, respectively, each year through connections made with international students. Santikaro has created a meditation retreat center in Liberation Park, in Wisconsin, USA, in homage to his late teacher, Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, former abbot of Wat Suan Mokkh, Surat Thani. The Thai forest tradition of Ajahn Chah is popular not only in Europe, America and Australia, but also in Malaysia. English-speaking forest monks who visit Thailand every year on their teacher’s birthday in January are often invited to stop in Kuala Lumpur and Penang to offer meditation retreats.

All of these examples illustrate how individual connections of student and teacher allow meditation methods and lineages to spread outside of Thailand. A single meditation practitioner can chance upon a center and teacher and create a relationship that leads to an annual meditation retreat and the possibility of new audiences for particular meditation lineages. These examples concern individual relationships that create long lasting, and in some cases, institutionalized meditation centers abroad. Through traditional social networks of dissemination from monk teacher to monastic disciple, international travel multiplies the circumstances in which Buddhism can adapt to new contexts, generating new interpretations and practices. These networks not only highlight the decreased significance of borders, but how new ideas and communities form.

 

The Appeal of Buddhism to Travelers along the Silk Road

Veidlinger, Daniel (California State University, Chico, San Francisco, USA)

Buddhism has been associated with travel and transportation since its inception. The Buddha himself led a peripatetic life wandering from town to town preaching his Dharma, and Aśoka sent missionaries travelling far and wide. Travelling merchants were the most prominent early converts to Buddhism and their importance in the religion continued for a long time. Symbols representing the various faiths of the world include natural phenomena such as the moon for Islam or fire for Zoroastrianism, but the Wheel of Dharma makes Buddhism the only religion that is traditionally represented by a means of transportation. Not just wheels, but other vehicles such as rafts, chariots, elephants, and even flying palaces are also prominently featured in the Buddhist imaginaire. Later, the word yāna, a generic term for vehicle, came to be used to refer to the different schools of Buddhism. Transportation terminology was essentially the domain of the Buddhists, and for good reason. This paper will explore the importance of travel in the development and acceptance of Buddhist ideas themselves, and will show that the changes in worldview undergone by one traveling from place to place, encountering along the road different ways of thinking, dressing, speaking and living are likely to foster in such a person an interest in the ideas and practices embodied in Buddhism. The psychological effects of travel forced those on the journey to wrestle with their previously accepted local truths, drawing them instead to Buddhism’s universal outlook and rejection of culturally specific social restrictions or religious rituals in a manner that fit more closely with the cosmopolitan experience of the world that they were now having. Looking at what can be garnered from sites such as Dunhuang, Kashgar and Khotan, this paper will focus on exploring the affinity that Buddhism has for travelers as one possible explanation for its remarkable success along the Eurasian transportation networks known as the Silk Road and will end by suggesting that this also helps to explain the religion’s currency amongst the wired, urbane, well-travelled classes of today.

 

 

Meditation and Theory of Pratītyasamutpāda: Mainly in the Śrāvakabhūmi

Abe, Takako (Taisho University, Kokubunjisi, JPN)

The Śrāvakabhūmi (ŚBh) is generally said to indicate the experience of yoga practitioners. The yogins, however, did not practice freely; rather they based their practice on doctrines that were already established. In general, the ŚBh relies on teachings found in the Āgamas. The compilers skillfully combined many passages from the sūtras, to instruct practitioners on how to contemplate and to record the master’s teaching to his disciples. It is necessary for us to confirm how doctrine was introduced into the meditative system in the ŚBh, and to consider how its expression developed ideologically in the other chapters in the Yogācārabhūmi (YBh).

From this point of view, I will focus on the meditation of idampratyayatā pratītyasamutpāda. Although the ŚBh seems to include the meditation as one of the Five Gates of Meditation under the influence of meditation manuals such as the Yogācārabhūmi of Saṃgharakṣa (Xiūxíngdào dì jīng 修行道地経), its explanations differ from these manuals. There is very little explanation of pratītyasamutpāda in the ŚBh, but by examining the passages carefully, we can identify both the texts on which the ŚBh relies and the yogin’s meditative reflections.

In addition, there is an important issue regarding the pratītyasamutpāda theory of the Yogācāra school. The concept of the so-called “One Fold Causality Spanning the Two Lifetimes 二世一重因果 ” is found in the YBh [Matsuda 1983]. However, it is somewhat different from the more systematized model in the Abhidharmasamuccaya [Kritzer 1999], which was inherited by Chéng wéisí lùn 成唯識論, finally becoming a typical teaching of the Hosso School 法相宗 in Japan [Harada 2004]. Passages that represent the pratītyasamutpāda theory of the YBh mostly appear in the Savitarkādibhūmi and also occur with much the same wording in the Vastusaṃgrahaṇī. However, the theory of pratītyasamutpāda in the Savitarkādibhūmi and the Vastusaṃgrahaṇī, particularly in comparison with the ŚBh, has not been sufficiently studied. With this in mind, I will discuss the logical relationship between the version in the ŚBh and those found in other chapters of the YBh.

In the early Yogācāra school, the yogins practiced based on a doctrine that was already established, and by verbalizing the experience, they constructed a new theory. To help to verify this, I examine the pratītyasamutpāda theory, which was based on the yogins own meditative experience.

 

Meditative Experience and Hermeneutical Fiddling in Yogācāra Buddhism

Deleanu, Florin (International College for Postgraduate Buddhist Studies, Tokyo, JPN)

The paper will examine how apparently similar meditative experiences can be assessed, and arguably practised, differently when hermeneutical criteria and paradigms are shifted. I shall focus on three major strategies of dealing with mainstream meditation practices in such Yogācāra sources as the Śrāvakabhūmi, Bodhisattvabhūmi, Viniścayasaṃgrahaṇī, Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra, Mahāyānasaṃgraha, etc. (1) The first strategy, which I call ‘subsumption’, makes use of old canonical techniques such as mindfulness of breathing (ānāpānasmṛti), absorptions (dhyāna), etc. not (only) for their traditional goals but (also) as an exercise in eliminating (vibhava) ideations (saṃjñā). (2) ‘Re-evaluation’ refers to approaches such as the downgrading or upgrading of meditative states or paradigms like śamatha or vipaśyanā, described in more or less similar terms, in order to accommodate new epistemic and soteriological priorities. (3) The more drastic process of ‘substitution’ implies such strategies as the replacement of the content of a traditional structure like the five paths of spiritual progress with entirely or partly different practices. The analysis will be set against the background of the growing stress placed upon the role and attainment of non-conceptual cognition (nirvikalpakajñāna).

 

Abhidharma Works of the Yogācāras and Their Practical Uses

Delhey, Martin (Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures (CSMC), University of Hamburg )

On the one hand, the encyclopedic basic work of the Yogācāra school of Buddhism, viz. the Yogācārabhūmi, has often been regarded as a summa of Buddhist scholasticism by the tradition itself. And this holds true not only for later Buddhist scholars but (at least partly) even for the very authors and compilers of this text. Accordingly, attempts to build a complex and coherent dogmatic edifice and to justify it from an exegetical point of view prevail in most, though not all, parts of this bulky and heterogeneous work.

On the other hand, the very title of this work suggests that it is spiritual practice rather than theoretical issues that formed the main concern of the Indian Buddhist circles in which this work and simultaneously the Yogācāra school of Mahāyāna Buddhism originated.

Therefore, one might wonder how these two fundamentally different concerns relate to each other. Is the study of abhidharma works in this school a necessary prerequisite, a useful preparation, or (at least in certain cases) an impediment for successful spiritual practice? Did these books, apart from soteriological aims, serve other practical ends as well?

In examining the questions mentioned above, I will take relevant text passages from the Yogācārabhūmi and several later works into consideration. The interesting remarks on the purpose of abhidharma texts in Sthiramati’s Pañcaskandhakavibhāṣā will serve as a starting-point for the investigation. Through examination of these passages, I hope that the present investigation into the sitz im leben of the Yogācāra abhidharma works will also prove to shed some new light on other related issues discussed during the panel.

 

Aśubhā in Yogācārabhūmi: Meditation, Systematization, and Sources.

Kritzer, Robert (Kyoto Notre Dame University, Kyoto, JPN)

Aśubhā bhāvanā, meditation on the impure, appears frequently in Yogācārabhūmi, most notably but not exclusively in Śrāvakabhūmi. As is the case elsewhere in other texts, we can find both descriptive and prescriptive passages of the meditation and passages that explain where the meditation fits in the scheme of the spiritual path. Through careful analysis of these passages, I shall discuss how meditative experiences were organized into doctrinal systems, and how doctrinal traditions in turn influenced meditative practice. 

There is a sizable literature on the meditation that precedes or is approximately contemporaneous with even the oldest portions of Yogācārabhūmi, including Sarvastivāda abhidharma texts, such as Vibhāṣā, and meditation sūtras, such as Damoduoluo chan jing and Zuochan sanmei jing. However, at least in the case of the three most important passages in Śrāvakabhūmi, the sources are by no means clear. As Paul Demiéville has noted, Yogācārabhūmi shares with the meditation sūtras a category of five types of meditation, one of which is aśubhā. Interestingly, however, the most striking feature of the aśubhā material in the meditation sūtras, namely the pure meditation on the white bones, is completely absent from Śrāvakabhūmi, suggesting that it takes an approach more in line with traditional āgama and abhidharma sources. Nevertheless, it displays a degree of systematization not found in other relevant sources. In comparing the descriptive and systematic passages from Yogācārabhūmi with relevant portions of other texts, I shall discuss both originality and conservativeness in treatments of aśubhā bhāvanā in Yogācārabhūmi, especially Śrāvakabhūmi. In doing so, I hope to shed new light on the relationship between doctrinal traditions and meditative practice in Yogācāra.

 

Is Yogācāra Phenomenology? Some Evidence from the Cheng weishi lun

Sharf, Robert (University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, USA)

Several attempts have been made of late to read Yogācāra through the lens of Western phenomenology. The growing popularity of this approach is not difficult to fathom. In the last few decades philosophers in the West have been drawn to developments and findings emerging from cognitive neuro-science, developments that bear on issues such as the relationship between mind and matter, the nature of consciousness awareness, and what it means to be a person. Psychological phenomena such as brain-fission, blind sight, inattentional blindness, Capgras syndrome, and so on pose conceptual puzzles that seem to undermine the common-sense belief in a singular “self” or “cogito.” Philosophers are accordingly drawn to theories of consciousness that are not predicated on the existence of a unified subject. Buddhist theories of consciousness and the relationship between the perceiving subject and perceived object take as their starting point the absence of an abiding self or soul, and this allows scholars to argue that the Buddhist account of cognition, honed by centuries of philosophical reflection and debate, has something to bring to the table. Moreover, some argue that the Buddhist theories are enriched by meditative technologies developed by yogis who explored the outer limits of human experience. Yogācāra is supposedly the culmination of this tradition; it brings together Buddhist analytic psychology and philosophy on the one hand, and empirical methods for disciplined introspection on the other, resulting in a system that has something in common with the philosophical tradition stemming from Brentano and Husserl.

My paper will approach the relationship between Yogācāra and phenomenology primarily through the Cheng weishi lun 成唯識論. Specifically, I will look at two topics in the Cheng weishi lun that would seem to bear on issues of current philosophical interest. The first is its analysis of the “five omnipresent mental factors” (pañca-sarvatraga, wu bianxing xinsuo 五遍行心所), namely, contact (sparśa, chu 觸), attention (manaskāra, zuoyi 作意), sensation (vedanā, shou 受), conception (saṃjñā, xiang 想), and intention (cetanā, si 思). The second topic is the “four aspects” (sifen 四分) of cognition, under which falls the complex issues associated with “self-awareness” (svasaṃvedana, svasaṃvitti, zizheng 自證).

The topics of the five omnipresent mental factors and the four aspects of cognition would seem, at least on the surface, to bear on issues at the very forefront of current philosophical debate—issues such as the status of “qualia” and the relationship between perception, language, memory, and self-awareness. But I will suggest that the Cheng weishi lun approach is not “phenomenological” in the proper sense of the word. The categories and modes of analysis in the Cheng weishi lun do not emerge from or aver to an empirical and systematic reflection on the nature of “lived experience,” so much as they are focused on metaphysical entities and processes that belong to the domain of the noumenal.

 

Theory and Practice in the Context of Ālayavijñāna, Focusing on Its Physiological Functions

Yamabe, Nobuyoshi (Tokyo University of Agriculture, Atsugi, Kanagawa, JPN)

The issue of how the concept of ālayavijñāna was introduced into the doctrinal system of Yogācāra is controversial. Some scholars, both Western and Japanese, argue that ālayavijñāna was purely theoretical, constructed to account for problems of personal continuity in the absence of an everlasting Self in Buddhism. Other scholars suspect that ālayavijñāna was directly based on meditative experience. In this paper, I readdress the issue of the roles of theory and practice in the introduction of the concept of ālayavijñāna.

In an extensive monograph on this matter, Lambert Schmithausen has suggested that ālayavijñāna was introduced as a “gap-bridger” that maintains the seeds of the “forthcoming” forms of mind (pravṛttivijñāna) and keeps the body alive during the Absorption into Cessation (nirodhasamāpatti). In his opinion, ālayavijñāna was tied to, but not directly derived from, meditative experience. Rather, in his view, theoretical reflection on nirodhasamāpatti led to the introduction of this new concept.

Referring to Schmithausen’s research, I focus on the importance of the physiological aspect of ālayavijñāna. As Schmithausen has already noted, ālayavijñāna’s physiological (in his terminology, “biological”) function of keeping the body alive (upādāna) is highly emphasized in the early Yogācāra sources. In addition, Yogācāra texts indicate that the transformation brought about by meditative practice has a physical aspect and is not just a mental process, and ālayavijñāna seems to be cardinal in the process of this transformation. To me, these points suggest that ālayavijñāna was more closely tied to meditative experience than Schmithausen believes. In my paper I shall examine relevant passages and test the validity of this hypothesis. 

Canon and Commentary at the Kandyan Court: Ven. Väliviṭa Saraṇaṃkara

Blackburn, Anne (Cornell University, Ithaca, USA)

Taking as its focus Ven. Väliviṭa Saraṇaṃkara’s Sinhala language commentary on Pāli paritta texts, Sārārthadīpanī, composed at the 18th-century Kandyan court in highland Laṅkā (Sri Lanka), this paper examines the ways in which a commentary may develop an implicit argument through patterns of glossing and commentarial additions, and how bilingual commentarial practice may participate in the work of localizing Pāli tipiṭaka texts institutionally as well as linguistically. The paper contextualizes a discussion of commentarial argumentation and localization in relation to the Lankan monastic history of the time as well as relations between Väliviṭa Saraṇaṃkara and the Kandyan kings

 

Buddhaghosa and Women

Collett, Alice (York, GBR)

My interest in convening this panel stems from my work on my forthcoming book, Pāli Biographies of Buddhist Nuns. One of the foundational parameters of the book is that I attempt to establish differences of opinion on sex and gender between the Pāli canon and the early commentaries (aṭṭhakathās). Historically, on the ‘women question’, the commentaries have been used, as elsewhere, in an intratraditional manner, i.e. to augment understanding of the canon. As a historian of religion, I am interested in the commentaries as historical documents in their own right, produced in a separate socio-historical milieu. In this paper I will look specifically at one particular commentator – Buddhaghosa – and attempt to assess his views on women. This task is of course made difficult by the fact that Buddhaghosa based his commentarial exegesis on earlier, now lost Sinhala works. By looking at Buddhaghosa’s rendering of two biographies of two particular nuns – Bhaddā Kuṇḍalakesā and Dhammadinnā – I will argue that in one case (that of Bhaddā) it is not possible to discern which version, or which parts of which version, might have been composed or redacted by Buddhaghosa. However, in contrast, with regards to the biography of Dhammadinnā – which remains much more static through the Pāli literature – it is possible to see Buddhaghosa’s particular emphases and foci in his rendering of the biography. In its detail, Buddhaghosa’s account of the life of Dhammadinnā prior to her ordination positions her as more subservient to her husband Visākha – who is her husband only according to the Pāli tradition – than do any other accounts. However, Buddhaghosa’s reason for reconfiguring the historical memory of Dhammadinnā in this way may not have been because he was especially anti-women, but rather that he was uncomfortable with women in particular positions of high office. As such, his views may not betray a low view of women, but instead be an indicator of the changing status of the dhammakathika within the tradition.

 

When Commentary Begins: The Relationship between Exegetical and Canonical Literature in Early Gāndhārī Manuscripts

Cox, Collett (University of Washington, Seattle, USA)

Among the newly discovered early Indian Buddhist Gāndhārī manuscripts dating from the first to second centuries CE, there are as many as 19 exegetical texts, four of which might be considered commentaries. These exegetical texts are our earliest written evidence for the development of a genre whose formative period had been completely obscure. These commentaries, which can be seen as responses to Buddhist texts that existed at the time, also raise questions about both the parameters defining early Buddhist textual collections and the relationships among their various parts. Specifically, formal characteristics of these exegetical texts challenge the strict genre divisions typical of later canonical collections and instead imply a continuous development in which boundaries among textual genres were more fluid. In short, the Gāndhārī exegetical materials suggest that we should not view commentaries as reacting to established canons or even as demarcating canon closure but rather should adopt a co-evolutionary perspective in which commentary as exegesis operates within the sūtras and emerges as proto-Abhidharma.

An overview of the Gāndhārī exegetical texts will highlight the range of interpretive methods that they employ and will illustrate the various interpretive activities employed in commentaries during this period. An examination of two Gāndhārī commentaries, specifically, the University of Washington scroll and the commentary on the Saṅgītisūtra, will then permit us to review possible scenarios illuminating the function of commentaries and their relationship to other textual genres. Finally, drawing upon comparative material not only in Gāndhārī and Pali but also in non-Buddhist literature, this paper will briefly delineate the historical context for both the emergence of the commentary prototype and the scholastic or Abhidharma texts that developed from it.

 

Buddhist Commentaries and the Chinese Canon

Deeg, Max (Cardiff University, Penarth, GBR)

This paper will address some general problems around Chinese Buddhist commentaries in relation to canonicity of Buddhist Scriptures. We are used to think of the commentarial tradition of Theravāda Buddhism as closely linked to the Buddhist canon in its ideal form – the Tripiṭaka / Tipiṭaka. However, the evidence from China, with its early translated texts, poses some questions about the nature of commentaries and the texts they are supposed to elucidate. Looking at the commentaries preserved in the Chinese “Canon” it becomes clear that commentarial activity is rather focused on single Mahāyāna sūtras, and to a period where a denominational selection of such sūtras had already been made, i.e. starting with the Sui period and through the Tang. While writing commentaries on chosen Mahāyāna sūtras becomes a feature of East Asian Buddhist literary activity the relative lack of such literature in the earlier period is striking. This paper will concentrate on the few examples of such early Chinese commentaries on sūtras found in the Āgamas or on the Āgamas themselves and will readdress some fundamental questions of canon and commentary in the light of the evidence.

 

Hermeneutical Strategies and Challenges in the Guhyasamaja Literature: A Case Study in Indo-Tibetan Tantric Exegesis

Hackett, Paul (Columbia University, New York, USA)

This paper presents a case study in the exegesis of Buddhist tantric literature by examining a segment of the corpus of Guhyasamaja literature and in doing so, addresses both emic and etic approaches to the hermeneutics of tantric texts.  On the most basic level, we discuss the mechanisms for interpreting statements within the root tantra internal to the exegetical tantric literature itself as exemplified by Candrakirti’s Brightening Lamp (pradipoddyotana) commentary.  On a second level, we discuss the strategies for adjudicating problematic readings in the sole Sanskrit manuscript of Candrakirti’s commentary in light of its Tibetan translation and its commentaries, most notably the extensive commentary by Bhavyakirti (a text that at present remains extant only in Tibetan translation).  Finally, we discuss the strategies of exegesis adopted by the Tibetan tradition receiving the Guhyasamaja tantric system as typified by Tsong-kha-pa’s sub-commentary on the root tantra and Candrakirti’s Brightening Lamp, and discuss, in general, the methodological issues surrounding the use of the Tibetan tradition in informing decisions on the first and second levels.

 

 

Knowledge and Power in the Representation of the Ṛṣi in the Pāli Canon and the Mahāvastu

Benedetti, Giacomo (University of Kyoto, Kyoto, JPN)

The figure of the Ṛṣi is one of the most fundamental and longstanding in Indian tradition, starting from the most ancient Vedic texts. We are inclined to identify the Ṛṣis with the Brahmanic tradition which saw in them the founders of the Brahmanic lineages as well as those who have seen and revealed Vedic mantras and rituals, but Buddhist texts not only mention these figures as representative of the Brahmanic tradition, but often also identify as Ṛṣi(s) the Bodhisattva in the Jātakas, the Pratyekabuddhas, the monk disciples of the Buddha and the Buddha himself.

In some Suttas of the Pāli canon, the knowledge of Vedic Ṛṣis is explicitly denied, using the image of a row of blind men for the tradition starting from them, but in the Jātakas the Ṛṣis (isi in Pāli) are ascetics living normally in the Himalayas as vānaprasthas, adopting what is called isipabbajjā (Sanskrit ṛṣipravrajyā, the ‘going forth’ to religious life proper of the Ṛṣi). Through intense meditation they achieve the five abhiññās, which include knowledge (the divine eye and ear, the knowledge of the others’ minds and of previous lives) and the miraculous power (iddhi), most typically represented by the capability of flying through the air, which can be considered a visible manifestation of transcending the world. The same is true of the Jātakas of the Mahāvastu, where we find standardized descriptions of the yogic path leading to the five abhijñās, and formulaic epithets related to the spiritual power of Ṛṣis (maharddhika and mahānubhāva). 
Traditionally, Ṛṣis were also regarded as endowed with the power of cursing the offenders, and although this idea and fear are present in some stories of the Mahāvastu, the ethics of compassion and patience followed by the Ṛṣis in the Jātakas prevents this potentiality from being realized.

Among the traditional qualities of Ṛṣis in Brahmanic texts, however, tapas (the ascetic practice of austerities) is retained in these representations, although it is criticized in canonical Suttas. Nonetheless, meditation is the main means of developing spiritual power, and the objects of knowledge (summed up in the abhijñās) are quite different from those seen by the Ṛṣis in the Vedic tradition (Mantras and rituals), and more similar to what we find in the Yogasūtras or the Mahābhārata, if we exclude the metaphysical tenets.
A particular aspect that should be considered is the reason behind the use of the epithetṛṣi for Buddhas and bhikṣus, whether it is simply due to the identification of the Ṛṣi with an ascetic, or whether the connection of Ṛṣis with special knowledge and power is also important for this choice.

 

Sovereignty in Surveillance: Knowledge and Power in the Abhidharmakośabhāṣya

Fiordalis, David (Linfield College, McMinnville, Oregon, USA)

What is knowledge, what is power, and how is their relationship conceptualized in Buddhist thought? This paper stems from asking this apparently basic set of questions, and finding the answers less than straightforward in either primary sources or modern secondary literature. It grows out of a close analysis of the sixth and seventh chapters of the Abhidharmakośa and its commentary (AKBh), where awakening is defined as a particular type of knowledge (6.67), which is then made the theoretical basis for discussing a range of qualities acquired through practicing the stages of the path of cultivation. Many of these qualities, such as the so-called “higher knowledges” (abhijñā) and “powers that derive from knowledge” (jñāna-bala), possess a semantic field closer to that of power. Vasubandhu also appears to recognize this fact, and it prompts him to discuss the nature of knowledge and its relation to power.

One of the overarching metaphors employed in Buddhist thought to express this relationship is that of the sovereign in whom knowledge and power intersect and from whom they emanate. Although this metaphor is evoked explicitly only once in the relevant section of the AKBh, in the commentary on 7.26, its appearance seems significant. Here, sovereignty is achieved through gaining mastery over one's own mind, a process that is said to involve thorough investigation of mental phenomena and objects of the senses, as they exist in reality. This process of observing, analyzing and cultivating dispassion towards these sensory objects and thoughts also results in knowledge of and power over them. By acquiring knowledge of various objects of knowledge, one gains power over those objects, power that manifests as both self-control in the form of confidence, strength, and equanimity, and control over others and nature through teaching the doctrine and developing institutions, demonstrations of superhuman power, reading others' minds and controlling their responses, and so on.

While Buddhist theoretical discourse on the path as exemplified by the AKBh invokes the trope of the sovereign individual as the locus of knowledge and power, it nonetheless outlines a set of paths to actualizing this state of sovereignty through internalization of a discipline, that is, a set of prescribed norms and insights. This might suggest an implicit justification of institutionalized regimes of power as the means through which knowledge is achieved. Moreover, the relationship articulated here between knowledge and power has roots in canonical sources, and finds further articulation in a wider range of scholastic and narrative literature. By working out from an analysis of the AKBh, this paper aims to sketch a broader conceptual paradigm through which the relationship between knowledge and power is conceived in Buddhist thought, one that appears to combine elements that are recognized, though distinguished in the modern critique of knowledge and power and their relationship to institutional dynamics of authority.  

 

Cognition and Objective Power in the Efficacy of Amulets that “Liberate through Wearing”

Gentry, James (Harvard University, Alexandria, VA, USA)

Radical claims that “buddhahood,” or “liberation” can be achieved not only through the meditative cultivation of knowledge, but also through sensory contact with certain powerful sacred media, is a standard feature of the Great Perfection (rdzogs chen) tradition of Tibet’s rNying ma school. During the sixteenth century such claims came under criticism. A document signed with the name of the Eighth Karmapa Mi bskyod rdo rje (1507-1554), perhaps the most powerful hierarch in Tibet at the time, vehemently argues that promises of “buddhahood without meditation” (ma sgom sangs rgyas) run counter to Buddha’s teachings, which highlight instead the role of effort in meditation and other methods of cognitive cultivation and personal karmic purification in the process of spiritual development. This critique prompted a series of responses from rNying ma scholars.

The present paper explores the apologetic response authored by Sog bzlog pa Blo gros rgyal mtshan (1552-1624) entitled Thunder of Scripture and Reasoning (Lung rigs ’brug sgra), specifically as it concerns the efficacy of amulets purported to confer “liberation through wearing” (btags grol). This discussion illustrates how Sog bzlog pa’s strategy is not to unilaterally defend direct material efficacy against his opponent’s emphasis on cognition, but to model a contextual, relational, and distributed sense of efficacy, in which potent sensory objects work in tandem with the sensate minds and bodies of beings in a variety of ways that cut across strict subject-object, person-thing distinctions. Sog bzlog pa’s argument demonstrates how in the case of amulets that “liberate through wearing,” power and knowledge span those divides, working off of each other to produce transformational opportunities that extend across a wide range of registers.

This paper argues that fundamental to Sog bzlog pa’s response is a tendency to play with the boundaries between subjective and objective sources of power, invoking a productive tension between these poles that he refuses to resolve once and for all. This unresolved tension invites comparisons with D.W. Winnicott’s notion of the “transitional object” and the role of such objects as focal points for the dynamic interaction between subjunctive as if and indicative as is approaches to the world. This discussion explores how in the case of Sog bzlog pa the tension between these two modalities may be characteristic of a more general orientation to action, rooted fundamentally in a ritual sensibility formed from immersion in specialized settings where the boundaries between objective and subjective spheres are blurred to enable the controlled flow of power between them. The paper closes by suggesting some implications of such boundary crossings for understandings of the roles of power-objects in the formation of identity and authority on the levels of person, institution, and state in Tibetan Buddhist societies.

 

Cultivating a Powerful Knowledge: Knowledge and Power in the Abhisamayālaṃkāra and Haribhadra’s Commentaries

Harter, Pierre-Julien (University of Chicago, Chicago, USA)

The concept of power or mastery (vaśitva/vaśitā) is interestingly used in the commentaries of the Abhisamayālaṃkāra written by the Indian scholar Haribhadra (8th-9th century) to describe the particular gnoseological progress of a follower of the Buddhist path. The relationship between knowledge and power is ordinarily conceived as an instrumental one where knowledge is a means to attain power and where power is the end. Such a conception runs from Greek philosophy and ancient Indian religious speculation to recent sociological research. My paper suggests exploring another type of relationship between the two concepts as instantiated in Haribhadra’s works. In such a relationship, the direction as well as the kind of relationship changes: it is no longer knowledge that is a means to power, but power that takes knowledge as its object. This original way of considering the relationship is a conscious choice by Haribhadra, as the multiple occurrences of the phrase in his commentaries testify. 

I will present a specific passage from Haribhadra’s Āloka to contextualize the conceptual innovation within the exegesis of the Abhisamayālaṃkāra. I will explain that Haribhadra’s usage of the concept of mastery expresses the sort of relationship the follower of the Buddhist path is supposed to establish with knowledge: knowledge should be firmly fastened to the practitioner’s mind, which is the condition for the full potency of knowledge to be produced. The concept of power thus allows Haribhadra to qualify an advanced form of knowledge. Indeed to unfold his conception, Haribhadra distinguishes two kinds of knowledge that are also two stages of knowledge, the theoretical stage of knowledge and the mastered stage of knowledge. 

The passage from the first to the second is operated by cultivation (bhāvanā), and this is what I will present in a second part of the talk. It will drive me to sketch a theory of the notion of cultivation in the Abhisamayālaṃkāra, a contribution to the investigation of the concept of bhāvanā that is still to be done in Buddhist studies. I will particularly pay attention to the different dimensions of cultivation (i.e. theoretical, gnoseological, ethical, affective, etc.) to determine how cultivation fosters empowerment for the practitioner. 

In the last section of the talk, I will highlight the fact that by “mastering knowledge” the Buddhist practitioner triggers the transformative power of knowledge. At the highest stages of the path, knowledge is intrinsically powerful because it is intrinsically transformative: by mastering knowledge the practitioner subdues at the same time all phenomena and afflictions (kleśa). Hence the last part of the talk will reveal the attributive relationship between power and one kind of knowledge. Philosophically considered, this talk aims to bring about a reflection on the concepts of knowledge and of practice of knowledge. 

Freedom, Truth and Insight on the Path of Purification

Meyers, Karin (IABS, Bethesda, USA)

In the Vitakkasaṇṭhāna sutta (M. i.118-122) the Buddha describes a monk who has mastered the “ways and courses” of thought as able to think any thought he wishes to think and to not think any thought he does not wish to think. This speaks to a conception of freedom and self-control well beyond what most modern philosophers have in mind when they debate the existence of free will, but it leads, somewhat paradoxically, to a kind of freedom some would consider antithetical to free will, the freedom to experience one's own actions without identifying as the agent, to see them as the mere result of various mental and physical events. Abhidharma schools envision this freedom as the result of abandoning or destroying adventitious defilements through the cultivation of moral and sensory restraint, concentration and, finally, insight into “the way things really are,” viz., into ultimate materiality and mentality.

This paper examines this soteriological strategy as presented in the Visuddhimagga and as interpreted in the modern Burmese Pa Auk tradition of practice, which is renowned for its rigorous investigation of ultimate materiality and mentality as defined by the Theravāda Abhidhamma. I will consider, in particular, 1) the relationship between insight and power in the forms of self-control and non-identification with self, 2) how these forms of power relate (or fail to relate) to the kinds of freedom commonly valued in the modern debate over free will, and 3) how the freedoms of self-control and non-identification with self are cultivated and experienced by modern yogis.

In addition to outlining the dynamic relationship between knowledge (in the form of conceptual knowledge and meditative insight) and power (in the form of the freedoms mentioned above) according to the soteriological strategies of the Visuddhimagga and Pa Auk system, the paper will also address critical questions about the relationship of text and textual interpretation to meditative practice and truth claims: How is the soteriological strategy outlined in the Visuddhimagga interpreted and implemented in the Pa Auk training regime? In what ways does this modern system of practice rely on the authority of the classical textual tradition (as presented by both Burmese and Western teachers)? How does the truth authorized by these texts relate to the authority of individual experience? What kind of truth is the “ultimate truth” thus authorized? Is it objective and ontological or provisional and pragmatic? Finally, how do modern Western practitioners who submit themselves to the Pa Auk regime of practice negotiate between the worldviews and truth claims authorized by modern science and psychology, the Abhidhamma and their own contemplative practice?

 

Power in Practice: Cosmic Sovereignty Envisioned in Buddhism’s Middle Period

Stuart, Daniel (University of South Carolina, Columbia, USA)

The Buddha’s biography is a narrative of conquest; first of the entire cosmos, and second of the teachers of his time. This conquest gets played out in the context of meditation, when the Buddha conquers Māra, and in the context of teaching, when the Buddha brings his inner state of conqueror to the knowledge of others. An additional mode of conquest involves the coalescence of the power of meditation and teaching in the miraculous, perhaps best exemplified by stories of the Buddha’s Twin Miracle, which he is said to have carried out in order to trump the powers of other ascetics or to assuage the doubts of his own relatives and countrymen.

This powerful narrative legacy influenced conceptions of Buddhist practice throughout the history of the Buddhist tradition in India. The Buddha’s story—his actions, his wisdom, and his powers—formed the foundation for many practitioners’ conceptualization of their own identities. In this paper, I look at how the elements of this legacy get appropriated in a single Buddhist text—the second-fourth century CE Saddharmasmṛtyupasthāna(sūtra) (Saddhsu)—in a description of the individual spiritual development of an ideal practitioner, as he works towards becoming a master practitioner (yogācāra).

I argue that the Saddhsu represents an explicit attempt to theorize the way in which meditation allows a Buddhist practitioner to experientially negotiate a variety of epistemological registers, from the ethical to the deconstructive, and to thereby acquire knowledge of the world that serves as a powerful force in the development of cosmic sovereignty, power comparable to that of a Buddha. I also show how the depiction of practice in the Saddhsu is presented in an idiosyncratic literary form, in which a number of fundamental philosophical questions come to the fore regarding the ontological status of the external world and the role of the mind in constructing human experience. I suggest that such philosophical issues cannot be separated from an understanding of the development of insight practice traditions, and that meditation, philosophical inquiry, and soteriological power constructions are deeply intertwined in the Saddhsu.

This paper reveals that the Saddhsu is an exceptional literary form that allows scholars a glimpse into a largely unstudied early cult of yogācāras, whose theoretical engagement with the path of Buddhist practice presents an expansive vision of spiritual power founded on insight knowledge and supported by ethical mastery.

 

Manuscript Growth and Episodic Composition: Commentaries and Avadānas in Early South Asia

Baums, Stefan (University of Munich, Munich, GER)

Some early Indian manuscripts contain texts – verse anthologies with and without commentary, collections of story sketches – that appear to have been conceived and written not in a single sitting, but periodically added to following a logic that was dictated by text‐external factors. Tell‐tale signs are lack of textual continuity between sections, changes in the style of writing from one section to the next, and in some cases physical additions to the manuscript to add more sections than originally anticipated. Early texts in this genre of ‘episodic compositions’ share the property of concise and sometimes elliptical expression, but some (typically commentarial texts) are written very carefully and were apparently intended to be used more than once, while others (typically story sketches) are written in untidy hands and contain many mistakes. This paper will consider the possible text‐external factors influencing these types of episodic composition (for example liturgical or educational settings) and their interaction with oral modes of textuality by drawing on comparable uses of writing in modern Buddhist monastic environments, and it will trace the fixation of material from episodic and casual manuscripts in classical works of Buddhist scholasticism and narrative literature.

 

 

Secular Uses of Writing in Buddhist Monasteries in Kucha

Ching, Chao-jung (Turfanforschung, Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin, GER)

The region of Kucha (Xinjiang, China) is well known for Buddhist grottoes, mural paintings and Buddhist texts written in Sanskrit and Kuchean (Tocharian B). Numerous fragments of secular texts, especially monastic accounts of expenditure and income, were also discovered in the ruins of Buddhist monasteries. In this paper, I will try to generalize the properties and the features of the materials written in Kuchean. The documents written in local Prākrit (i.e. the so-called “Kučā-Prākrit” or “Kučā-Gāndhārī) as well as the ones written in other languages found in Chinese Turkestan will also be treated for comparison. Attention will be paid on economic activities and monastic administration in the local monasteries by a brief reflection of the studies of the economic law in Vinaya texts.

 

Dhāraṇī Translations and the Shifting Ritual Text

Davidson, Ronald (Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT, USA)

Several dhāraṇī translations into Chinese, attributed to the Liang period (502-557 CE) show a marked difference to all known recensions of the texts. This is especially true of the various recensions of the Saptabuddhaka-dhāraṇī and the *Mūlyamantra (T.1007), both relatively elaborate Mahāyāna mantra texts. In both instances, the earliest translation is the most extensive, in contradiction to the normative supposition of Indological textual criticism. A comparison of the *Mūlyamantra with the approximately contemporaneous Gilgit fragments demonstrate that the Indian monk bringing the text to China employed the manuscript as a place holder for a series of ritual pericope, variable in structure, application and language as needed. The paper will examine the relationship of the mudrā section of the Gilgit manuscript to the anonymous Liang translation, and the translations of Bodhiruci II (706 CE), Amoghavajra, and the Tibetan, to demonstrate that at least some fifth to seventh century manuscripts were employed as prompts or mnemonic rubrics to include greater or lesser related material, dependent on genre. In this regard, they demonstrate that the critical observations of Herman Gunkel and his followers in form and redaction criticism may be extended to Buddhist texts, particularly ritual or liturgical works. Consequently, when we examine the Sitz im Leben of dhāraṇī ritual texts, we see genre relations to other ritual texts outside of Buddhism, particularly the vidhāna, pariśiṣṭa, and śeṣa later appendices of the gṛhyasūtras.

Paper, People, and Prayers: A Community of Scribes and Editors Copying the Tibetan Aparimitāyur-nāma Sūtra at Dunhuang

Doney, Lewis (LMU, München, GER)

Fujieda Akira already noted in 1969 that ‘a copying office on a very large scale was established at Tunhuang under Tibetan rule in the first half of the ninth century’ (“The Tunhuang Manuscripts: A General Description. Part II.” Zinbun 11: 36). This presentation offers a glimpse into the fascinating world of that copying office, through the colophons of the texts copied there, as well as related documents concerning the economy of paper, copying religious works, and their relations with the Tibetan empire just before its collapse.

Understanding the inner workings and output of this copying office is incredibly important to gain an insight into the Tibetan imperium at the time, its links with other countries, and adoption of Buddhism. Yet despite this, and the fact that texts created by this office form by far the majority of the Tibetan documents at Dunhuang, these important sources have received little attention since Fujieda’s general description.

Brandon Dotson (Munich), Duojie Dongzhi (Lanzhou) and I have recently begun a major systematic investigation of one group of texts copied in Dunhuang during the early ninth century— the Aparimitāyur-nāma Sūtra. This research has been carried out with access to primary material held at the British Library, London. It uncovers the relationship between scribes and editors of thousands of copies of religious texts (primarily the Aparimitāyur-nāma Sūtra, but also the Śatasāhasrikā-prajñapāramitā Sūtra). These groups of copyists consisted of both monks and laymen, working in a fluid structural hierarchy to complete this huge undertaking as a ‘gift’ for the Tibetan emperor, Khri gTsug lde brtsan (r. 815–841). The investigation also reveals a practice of supplanting the names of the actual scribes with those of other people, perhaps as a means of the real scribes to loan, barter, or perhaps “sell” copies to other scribes.

We have located the names of scribes in other, contemporary Tibetan texts, which further evidence the economy of paper present at Dunhuang. These documents show how important and potentially lucrative the work of this copy house was for those in the areas surrounding Dunhuang. The same texts also demonstrate the high price that would be paid (either literally or metaphorically in a form of punishment) for falling behind in this work or losing the precious paper that formed the basis for this economy.

Such indications of economic concerns among the scribes of the copying house are born out in the colophons to the Aparimitāyur-nāma Sūtra. However, these colophons also contain religious sentiments, such as invocation of Buddhist deities and prayers for the long life of the Tibetan emperor. These act as a counterbalance to the above concerns, suggesting a more complex cultural dynamic present within the copying project than a mere calculating acquiescence to imperial decree out of a desire for economic gain. A more nuanced account of the daily life of this copying house is necessary, which could be fruitfully compared to other major copying projects, such as in Tang China, to properly contextualize Asian scribal culture in this period.

 

Colophons, Scraps, Jottings, and the Law: The Context of the Tibetan Emperor’s Sūtra-Copying Project, Dunhuang, c. 820-840

Dotson, Brandon (Institute für Indologie und Tibetologie, München, GER)

In the 820s the Tibetan emperor Khri Gtsug lde brtsan (reigned 815–841) commissioned the production of thousands of copies of the Aparimitāyur-nāma mahāyāna-sūtra (AN) in both Tibetan and Chinese, and hundreds of copies of the Tibetan Śatasahasrika-prajñāpāramitā-sūtra (SP) and the Chinese Mahā-prajñāpāramitā-sūtra (MP). The purpose for doing so is alluded to in administrative documents, in a rock inscription in eastern Tibet, and in impromptu prayers and jottings in the sūtras themselves. The sūtras were meant to generate wisdom and merit so that the Tibetan emperor, and all beings, might attain enlightenment by seeing, hearing, and worshipping them. As such, we may approach the copying and commissioning of these sūtras – particularly the AN – as a ritual act in the context of the Buddhist cult of the book. In doing so, we gain some insight into the ritual and karmic economy in the late Tibetan Empire, and the place of the king in relation to the ritual act.

Additionally, however, these documents allow us a glimpse at the ritual actors who produced these sūtra copies. From their names and titles we know that the scribes and editors were Chinese and Tibetans, monks and laymen. Apart from the execution of their copying duties, and their loans of paper to one another, we gain a sense of who the scribes and editors were by looking at their jottings and at the scraps of paper they used in order to patch damaged sūtras. Many of the sūtra folia that come down to us are discards rejected by the editors. On these folia we occasionally find jottings – flights of fancy penned around the edges and in the margins of the copied sūtra. The contents of the jottings – whether or not they reflect the wandering of the scribe’s mind amid the devotional or mechanical practice of copying sūtras – tell us about the scribes’ social milieu and about their interests. In these jottings we find, for example, proverbs, and a verse from the Rāmāyaṇa about Sita’s beauty. More prosaically, on the verso of rejected folia there are drafts of official letters, usually in the form of practice runs at the formulaic openings that begin such correspondences. Where sūtras are repaired with patches, these are not made with new, blank paper, but from offcuts of discarded documents. These patches often come from sūtras, but there are also scraps from official letters. As a whole, the patches constitute a fascinating sample of the sorts of documents found in the chancellery or in the editors’ and scribes’ workshops. Piecing together such patches and jottings, we can better understand the editorial process, the scribes’ relationships to one another, and their duties and interests beyond the work of copying sūtras.

 

Scribes, Leaves and Libraries: The Ancient Pāli Tradition of Southeast Asia, Particularly in Lān Nā and Siam

von Hinüber, Oskar (Universität Freiburg, Freiburg, GER)

Among the three branches of the extant Pāli tradition preserved in the traditional Theravāda countries Ceylon, Burma and Siam respectively, the oldest manuscripts are preserved in Lānā (Northern Thailand) being copied towards the end of the 15th century. They are of particular value for text critical purposes not only because of their age, but first of all because of the excellent text tradition which they preserve. This will be demonstrated by help of selected examples of both, text critical and linguistic investigations. Moreover, the colophons contain rich information on various aspects of cultural history. Particularly, the information concerning the production of manuscripts, which can be gathered from the colophons, will also be communicated.

After a brief survey of the major collections, ancient (Buddhist monasteries) and modern (libraries), manuscripts will be dealt with in the historical context of the text tradition including exchange of texts among the different Theravāda countries in pre-modern times.

Lastly, some of the modern research tools available for using the Southeast Asian Pāli manuscripts will be described.

 

Linguistic Ambiguities, the Transmissional Process, and the Earliest Recoverable Language of Buddhism

Levman, Bryan (University of Toronto, Toronto, CAN)

Scholars have long been preoccupied with the language(s) the Buddha spoke and the earliest recoverable language of Buddhism. Underlying the surviving witnesses a simplified communication medium is found, called by scholars une langue précanonique, a lingua franca or koine. It removed characteristic dialect differences, by lenition or elimination of intervocalic stops, lenition of aspirated stops to aspirates only, assimilation or resolution of conjunct consonants, levelling of sibilants, and interchange of certain glides, nasals, palatals and liquids. This is by definition a lingua franca or koine, a common language or interlect which “contained elements of all the dialects but was free from the most obtrusive dialectical characteristics” (Geiger 1916: 4). The koine harmonized the different Middle Indic (MI) dialects for mutual comprehension and was also constrained by the different phonologies of other unrelated autochthonous languages (Dravidian, Munda, Tibetan), or other Indo-Aryan languages (Tocharian, Krorainic, Old Sinhalese) which interacted with MI. Since these languages had a different phonemic structure, their speakers were not able to hear or repeat some of the MI phonemes. This catalyzed the development of the koine in a certain direction — towards simplification, eliminating some of the phonemic distinctions of MI, and making it more intelligible to a wider audience.

 

Instituting Transcription: Laborers, Administrators, and Scriptoria and the Emergence of a Textualized Buddhist Tradition in Japan

Lowe, Bryan (Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA)

In the roughly one hundred years between the late seventh century and the end of the Nara period (710-784), Japanese Buddhism transformed into a textual tradition. Prior to this time, there is little evidence of Buddhist textual practices in Japan; it was primarily a religion of architecture and icons. The spread of texts in the eighth century forever altered the religious landscape of Japan. Buddhist scholasticism emerged; temples accumulated multiple copies of the canon; and ritual practices related to recitation and transcription flourished. In short, by the end of the Nara period, Japanese Buddhism had become a religion inseparable from texts.

This paper will argue that these transformations were enabled by institutional and technological developments. It will use a collection of more than 10,000 hand-written documents from a bureau for transcribing Buddhist scripture, as well as colophons from extant sutra manuscripts, to chart the emergence of diverse sutra copying institutions—both officially sanctioned canon copying offices and smaller aristocratic household organizations. My paper will focus on the activities of those employed within these scriptoria. These include laborers such as scribes, proofreaders, and assemblers, as well as administrators responsible for keeping records and coordinating with other offices. By highlighting the role of these individuals, my paper challenges traditional narratives of early Japanese Buddhism, which attribute the religion’s rise to the activities of courtiers and monks. In contrast, this paper will suggest that the foundations of Buddhism in Japan were built through the sweat of scribes and the administrative skills of mid-level managers.

My paper will begin by introducing a collection of documents from the treasure house known as the Shōsōin. These documents have received scant attention by scholars in Buddhist studies, but they provide an unparalleled perspective on the circulation and production of scripture in early Japan. I will then outline the types of institutions through which sutras were transcribed. After describing the relevant collections of sources and institutional contexts for sutra copying, the paper will turn to an insider’s view of the scriptorium by exploring the lives of the administrators and laborers responsible for large scale transcription efforts. I will argue administrative and technical skill helped produce religious texts and knowledge. The paper will conclude by showing how these technologies shaped the history of Buddhism in Japan by connecting sutra transcription to the rise of scholasticism and new ritual and artistic practices.

 

Two Gāndhārī Saṃyuktāgama Sūtras of the Senior Collection

Marino, Joseph (University of Washington, Seattle, USA)

Recent studies of the Senior Collection of twenty-four Kharoṣṭhī manuscripts have revealed at least twenty-six sūtras with either direct or indirect parallels in the Pāli Saṃyutta-nikāya (SN) and/or Chinese Saṃyuktāgama (SĀ). Dating to around the early 2nd century CE, these have been called the “earliest documentary witness to the development of the Connected Discourses” (Glass 2007), and as such, their study has important implications for our understanding of the relationship between early South and East Asian recensions of the SN/SĀ and of the relationship between oral and written sūtras in South Asia as a whole.

Senior scroll no. 20 contains two SN/SĀ-type sūtras. The first includes a unique version of the gatekeeper metaphor (G doario; Skt. dvārika), which appears in other sūtras such as the P Kiṃsuka-sutta (SN IV 194) and Uttiya-sutta (AN V 193), but has no complete parallel in Pāli, Chinese, or Sanskrit. The second sūtra corresponds in part to the Pāli and Chinese Pariḷāha-suttas, describing the hellish nature of life for those who are ignorant of the Noble Truths. A detailed comparative study of both the content and the technical features of these texts, namely, their structure, their orthography, and the medium by which they are transmitted, brings to light features that augment and clarify our understanding of where such texts might be situated within the presumably literary-cum-oral milieu of Gandhāran Buddhism and within the broader context of textual transmission between South and East Asia.

 

Palimpsests and Recycled Manuscripts from Bāmiyān

Matsuda, Kazunobu (Bukkyo University, Kyoto, JPN)

Among the Buddhist manuscripts discovered in Bāmiyān Valley included in the Schøyen Collection, Norway, and Hayashidera Collection, Japan, there are two unprecedented kinds of fragments. One are palimpsests of palm leaf manuscript written in Kharoṣṭhī script, and the other are recycled birch bark manuscripts written in Brāhmī script. Based on these two kinds of manuscripts, I would like to analyze the scriptural transition and the change of transcription materials in the Bāmiyān manuscripts.

 

The Deorkothar Inscriptions and Buddhist Institutional Memory

Salomon, Richard (University of Washington, Seattle, USA)

O. von Hinüber and P. Skilling have recently published two very important inscriptions which were found on a fragmentary pillar at the Buddhist site of Deorkothar (Rewa District, Madhya Pradesh), and which date from about the second century b.c.e. (Annual Report of the International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology 16, 2013, pp.13-26). The inscriptions trace the monastic lineages of their donors back to the Buddha (inscription 1) or Anuruddha (inscription 2). Such lineages were previously unknown in early Buddhist inscriptions, and now give us an important insight into the modes of preservation of institutional lineages in early Indian Buddhist communities.

Moreover, two important points in the inscription are unexpectedly consistent with traditions recorded in canonical and post-canonical texts: the association of Anuruddha with the Cedi/Vatsa region in which the inscription was found, and the linkage between the Kukkuṭika/Gokulika (kokuḍika-) and Bahuśrutīya schools which are mentioned together in inscription 1. These points argue against the excessive skepticism about the historicity of Buddhist textual traditions which has prevailed in some circles, and strengthens the position of scholars such as A. Bareau and M. Hofinger who have favored a more open attitude.

 

Writing and the Production of Mahāyāna Literature

Strauch, Ingo (Université de Lausanne, Lausanne, CHE)

The influence of writing and associated cultural techniques on the development of Buddhist Mahāyāna literature has been controversially discussed. It was first Gregory Schopen, who in his famous article on the Mahāyāna book cult directed the attention to the role of manuscripts and books in the history of early Mahāyāna. Despite Drewes’ fundamental criticism it cannot be denied that the technique of writing did indeed play a crucial role in the emergence and in the development of Mahāyāna literature.

It is the aim of my paper to investigate this issue on the basis of the recently discovered manuscripts of Mahāyāna texts from “Greater Gandhāra”. These manuscripts represent the oldest material evidence for early Mahāyāna. Moreover, they originate from an area which was highly important for the transmission of Buddhism and its literature to Central and East Asia. Many of the early Chinese translations of Mahāyāna sūtras are said to be based on texts in Gāndhārī, the Middle Indian language of that region.

In the last decades, seven different Mahāyāna sūtras could be identified among the materials of different manuscript collections. They belong to different periods and different regions. The contents, the formal features and the contexts of these Gāndhārī Mahāyāna sūtras can probably help to get a clearer picture of the importance of writing for the composition of early Mahāyāna texts and of the use of these written texts within monastic communities in North-West India. 

 

The Production of Chinese Buddhist Manuscripts at Dunhuang: An Overview

Teiser, Stephen F. (Princeton University, USA)

The Chinese Buddhist manuscripts from Cave 17 at Mogaoku near Dunhuang (Gansu province) constitute the world’s largest cache of premodern Buddhist manuscripts, capable of answering a veritable Indra’s net of questions and problems in Buddhist studies. The Dunhuang manuscripts have been known for over 100 years since their discovery by the local priest Wang Yuanlu around the year 1900. They have been the object of study by an international group of scholars (European, Asian, American) for several generations, and their close study is entering a new era owing to recent advances in digital technology and the renaissance of scholarship in China. 

This paper offers a broad overview of the conditions under which Chinese Buddhist manuscripts were produced at Dunhuang over five centuries. Starting with the manuscripts themselves, it first offers an analysis of the content of the manuscripts. The paper considers such questions as: How many Chinese manuscripts are there in the Dunhuang corpus? What is their content, and how many texts are in each category? What accounts for the relatively large amount of non-canonical Buddhist texts, documents concerning social and economic life, popular literature, and other non-Buddhist texts at Dunhuang? The paper next turns to the Sitz im Leben of the manuscripts, reflecting on the religious and educational institutions that produced the manuscripts and the broader trends in writing, literacy, and textual production in medieval China. It asks questions like: Who produced (wrote, copied) the manuscripts? In what institutions: scriptoria of local monasteries, local schools, temple schools, individual monks, individual local officials, or monasteries located elsewhere? The paper ends by considering trends in secondary scholarship of the last century against this documentary and social background, suggesting some fruitful avenues for future research.

Gilgit Manuscripts and the Role of Writing in Mahāyāna and in Canonical Sūtra Literature

von Criegern, Oliver (LMU, München, GER)

The Gilgit manuscript corpus is unique among findings of ancient Indian Buddhist manuscripts in so far as this large collection has been recovered as a whole from that very building where it was left more than 1200 years ago. These manuscripts therefore not only provide a lot of Buddhist Sanskrit texts that are lost elsewhere, but they may also be considered representative of the Buddhist literature as it was present in Gilgit around the 7th century. A more recently found manuscript of the Dīrghāgama that comes from the same area and probably from the same site may be added to this corpus. An examination of these manuscripts reveals differences regarding script, language, diligence of writing etc., which can be related to differend kinds of texts, as especially old canonical sūtras vs. Mahāyāna sūtras, and which may shed light on the development of Buddhism in that area and to the role of writing in Mahāyāna in contrast to non-Mahāyāna Buddhism.

Compassion in the Āgamas and Nikāyas

Analayo, Bhikkhu (University of Hamburg & Dharma Drum Buddhist College, Jinshan, TWN)

The paper will explore two main aspects of the description of compassion in the early Buddhist discourses found in the Pali Nikāyas in comparison with their counterparts preserved in the Chinese Agamas and, whenever extant, in Sanskrit fragments and Tibetan translation:

1)“Compassion in action”, which is usually referred to with the term anukampā. Such early Buddhist compassion in action seems to find its expression predominantly in teaching activity. This in turn provides significant indications on the conception of compassion within the framework of early Buddhist thought.

2) “Meditative Compassion”, karuṇā, which nearly always occurs within the context of the four brahmavihāras. The paper will the standard description of meditation practice of karuṇā as a boundless radiation. This points to a form of practice without a specified object and thus appears to be quite different from the descriptions in later manuals that have influenced modern day practice.

  

The Four Immeasurables in the Bodhisattvabhūmi and Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra and their Implementation in a Study of Brain Imaging

Bhikshu, Huimin (Dharma Drum Buddhist College, New Taipei City, TWN)

First, this paper investigates the implications of the four immeasurables (catvāry apramāṇāni) in the Bodhisattvabhūmi and Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra, concluding that these two texts approach the four immeasurable states of mind from two different points of view. Based on the three groups of sentient beings, the immeasurables of kindness, compassion, and empathic joy arise accordingly on relating to sentient beings in states of neither-suffering-nor-pleasure (kindness), suffering (empathic), and pleasure (empathic joy) respectively. On the other hand, delusion, hatred, and greed can also be aroused when one experiences these three kinds of states (neither-suffering-nor-pleasure, suffering, and pleasure). Consequently, bodhisattvas generate a strong intention (adhyāśaya)—the mind state of equanimity, the fourth immeasurable—to guide these three groups of sentient beings to abandon defilements. This interpretation goes beyond the traditional definition of the four immeasurables in earlier Buddhist thought.

Second, based on the above conclusion, we are trying to establish a new measuring scale through the use of brain imaging measurements of MRI/DIT/fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging). This measuring scale is being designed in the context of an integrated project developed at Dharma Drum Buddhist College in collaboration with other Taiwanese universities, which is entitled “Imaging Benevolence and Compassion: An Experiment with Meditation in Religious Education.”

 

‘Great Compassion’ in Indian Buddhism

Dhammadinna, Samaneri (Dharma Drum Buddhist College, Jinshan District, New Taipei City, TWN)

This paper presents a historical study of textual sources testifying to the emergence of a soteriology of ‘great compas­sion’ (mahākaruṇā) in Indian Buddhism. This development both reflects and plays a part in several doctri­nal and religious changes that eventually will provide the signature of Mahāyāna practices, where ‘great compassion’ becomes para­mount within the ‘augmented’ meditative and experiential field of the bodhisattva.

The historical excursion through a selection of texts to be presented in the paper – ranging from Abhidharmic sources to a number of bodhisattva texts of the Middle Period, Mahāyāna sūtras as well as meditation scriptures such as the so-called Yogalehrbuch – begins with the extrapola­tion of compassion (karuṇā) out of the fourfold scheme of the immeasurables (apramāṇas) or divine abodes (brahmāvihāras) and the projection onto compassion and then ‘great compassion’ of an apriori motivational function in the spiritual path. The primacy of this new mode of compassion entails a major soteriological shift. The notion of teach­ing the Dharma for liberation – the main aspect of the compassionate solicitude (anukampa) of the Buddha and the arhats – is largely replaced by the (great) compassion of the bodhisattva, functional to a salvific pro­gramme comprising all beings. Here the attainment of great compas­sion possesses a unique meditative power towards the achieve­ment of omniscience (sarvajñā) as an essential characteristic of a Buddha. With mahākaruṇā gaining philosophical and religious primacy within Indian Buddhism, related meditative objects and areas of investigation such as emptiness and conditionality come also to be philosophically requali­fied.

With doctrinal and religious changes of such magnitude in place, the key role performed by ‘great compassion’ in the Mahāyāna ideological discourse, with regard to rhetorical and polemical discourses vis-à-vis the Śrāvaka-/Hīnayāna, and the core identity itself of the Mahāyāna movement, i.e., the undertaking of bodhisattva vows and precepts, becomes easier to understand historically.

 

 

Neuroscience of Compassion: Challenges and Opportunities

Hangartner, Diego (Mind & Life Institute Europe, Hadley, MA, USA)

Most recent scientific research has been focusing on mindfulness, compassion and even the social benefits of meditation. While the tools of modern science are by nature reductionist, the findings have had a major impact on the definitions of, to name a few, focused attention, altruism, compassion, and kindness. This has far reaching consequences for training and application, and has implications for the understanding of these concepts so central to Buddhism.

This presentation will explore how modern research and the natural sciences are shaping these concepts, how they instrumentalize such important topics, and how experience risks being reduced to mere baseline “well-being.” This paper will look at the consequences of the findings by brain sciences, clinical sciences, as well as other investigations on the understanding and implementations of practice, and how neuroscientific research per se is looking at mental states. It will also present the experiences of an active participant in scientific studies of meditation (in the role of a guinea pig), and how this participation has informed the presenter’s understanding of meditation practice.

One of the most critical insights in the scientific exploration of mental states is the emerging shift from an exclusively objective, third person perspective to the inclusion of the subjective, first person perspective. This has far-reaching and important consequences with regard to the foundations of scientific methodology. Using the Brahmavihāra of Compassion, it will be argued that any study of mental states, be that scientific or Buddhist, needs to consider the insights that have emerged from most recent research data: be that with regard to methodology, with regard to context, or to the limitations and feasibility of objectivity.

 

Immeasurable Devices: Their Treatment in the Damoduoluo chanjing and Further Distillation in Japanese Zen

Mohr, Michel (University of Hawaii, Honolulu, USA)

This paper examines the Damoduoluo chanjing 達摩多羅禪經 (T 15 no. 618), a meditation sutra translated in the early fifth century. Its fourteenth section (修行四無量三昧第十四) provides a minute description of the samādhi resulting from the practice of the four immeasurables (apramāṇa). I will introduce the commentary on this sutra composed by the Japanese Rinzai teacher Tōrei Enji 東嶺圓慈 (1721–92). First published in 1784 and available only in a woodblock edition, his commentary in six volumes entitled Darumatara zenkyō settsū kōsho 達磨多羅禪經説通考疏 allows us to broaden our understanding of how the immeasurables were emphasized in both scholastic Buddhism and the Chan/Zen traditions. Tōrei distinguishes between these two approaches while ultimately highlighting their nonduality. After having discussed the shortcomings of Zen teachers who failed to encourage the practice of the four immeasurables, in a passage titled “the Way of the Patriarchs” (祖師之道) Tōrei examines examples of those who valued the immeasurables.

While building on the legacy of Fori Qisong 佛日契嵩 (1007–1072) and his Chuanfa zhengzonglun 傳法正宗論 (T 51 no. 2080, Treatise on the Dharma Transmission’s True Lineage), Tōrei offered his own insight into the significance of this practice and in particular into the ability of the immeasurables to serve as devices pushing the mind to overcome its discursive limitations. Such writings, where Japanese Zen teachers utilize the legacy of Chan luminaries active in the Song dynasty, always beg the question whether they were merely replicating the teachings of their Chinese predecessors or trying to innovate. This commentary illustrates both continuity and discontinuity. Yet, while demonstrating a high level of textual scholarship, the solidity of Tōrei’s approach is occasionally weakened by sectarian agendas, such as his attempt to argue for Bodhidharma’s authorship of the sutra.

The delivery of this paper will coincide with the production of the first English translation of section 14 of the Damoduoluo chanjing, which should encourage the scholarly community to reexamine this neglected source and to move beyond unproductive discussions about who the enigmatic Dharmatrāta may have been.


Confluence: Adoption and Adaptation of Lovingkindness and Compassion Practice in Buddhist and Secular Contexts

Neal, Dawn (Institute of Buddhist Studies and Sati Center for Buddhist Studies, San Francisco, USA)

Contemporary Buddhists are adapting lovingkindness and compassion praxis. Using a few specific vignettes, I will explore how the distinct practices of lovingkindness and compassion are being borrowed and adapted both in Buddhist religious traditions, and in secular environments.
This discussion examines the adaptation process from two perspectives. First, I will explore how some teachers adapt lovingkindness and compassion practices. Second, I will highlight some textual sources used by those adapting or secularizing lovingkindness and compassion practices, including the Mettā Sutta and the Visuddhimagga, perhaps the most influential Theravāda compendium in contemporary Buddhism. The phrases and categories of lovingkindness praxis in the Visuddhimagga now appear nearly verbatim in teachings of secular compassion practice. This cross-fertilization occurs directly between Buddhist traditions as well. For example, the Mettā Sutta has been adapted for use in American Soto Zen communities.
In short, this paper provides a small amount of primary research documenting the adaptation of praxis and textual sources within contemporary Buddhism and the secular practices of lovingkindness and compassion derived from it.

Why Is the kaṭhina Robe So Called?

Gombrich, Richard (Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, Oxford, GBR)

Every Theravādin monastery is supposed to hold a ceremony soon after the end of the annual rains retreat, at which a monastic robe is made and offered to a monk who has been considered by the abbot to be particularly deserving. The decision to award it is one of the very few formal acts of the Saṅgha laid down in the canonical Vinaya, and the only one which is prescribed to happen annually. The robe (cīvara) is known as the kaṭhina cīvara, and the name kaṭhina also attaches to the ceremony as a whole. However, the etymology of kaṭhina has been forgotten.

This article describes the modern ceremony, in which a large new cloth is cut into pieces, which are then sewn together to make a robe. Comparing the kaṭhina ceremony with funerals, I trace the origin of making monastic robes out of pieces stitched together to the earliest times. This reveals that kaṭhina mean “rough”, because originally that is what the robes were. Though nowadays lay piety demands that monks wear the finest cloth, the kaṭhina ceremony reflects the prestige of the archaic.

Finally I garner some corroborative evidence from the Pali Vinaya section on the kaṭhina, though I show that a section of the account of how the ceremony came into being has been lost. The Ven. Analayo has kindly checked for me the parallel sections of the Vinayas surviving only in Chinese, but they turn out to be of little use. Though itself damaged, the Pali version is clearly the oldest. 

 

Flower Garland: The Transmission of a Vinaya Commentary in Tibet

Liu, Cuilan (Harvard, Montreal, CAN)

This paper discusses the transmission of the Vinayakārikā in Tibet. The Vinayakārikā is a versified compilation of Buddhist monastic rules of the Mūlasarvāstivāda tradition. In the colophon of its Tibetan translation, Viśākhadeva, the author of the text, identified himself as a disciple of a certain Ārya Saṅghadāsa and gave the full text title as Vinayakārikā Mālākāra (’Dul ba tshig le’ur byas pa me tog phreng rgyud), “Verses of Vinaya: Flower Garland”. Hence, Tibetan authors often quote this text in abbreviation as Flower Garland. The self-identification and the full title, however, are absent in the Chinese translation.

This text was translated in China and Tibet but was received differently. Yijing (635-713) translated it into Chinese in 710 at the Grand Jianfu monastery, yet the Chinese Buddhists have exhibited little interest in studying or investigating it. In Tibet, the Newar scholar Jayākara and the Tibetan Sanskritist Prajñākīrti co-translated it, according to van der Kuijp (2013: 182), most likely in the eleventh century, “at the behest of Lha bla ma Zhi ba ’od (1016-1111)”. Later, Rong ston Shes bya kun rig (1367-1449) and Vanaratna (1384-1468) revised and finalized the Tibetan translation.

Evidence from the fifteenth century Tibetan chronicle, The Blue Annals, reveals that Tibetans were teaching and studying this text in the twelfth century. Extant commentaries on this text date to the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Among its three major extant Tibetan commentaries, the earliest was composed by the above-mentioned Rong ston who, in the colophon of the commentary, self-identified using his religious name Śākya rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po. The second commentary was written at Snar thang monastery by Bka’ bzhi pa Shes rab seng ge (1383-1445), who also wrote a short text outlining the chapters of the Flower Garland. According to the colophon of the outline, the commentary was composed on the basis of instruction from a concise summary of the Flower Garland attributed to a Mchims Thams cad mkhyen pa Nam mkha’ grags pa (1210-1285), the seventh abbot of Snar thang monastery. This text is yet to be found. The third commentary was published in 2007 in the thirty-eighth volume of the Collected Writings of the Bka’ gdams pa. The fifteenth century scholar Bsam gtan bzang po wrote it on the basis of the second commentary at Snar thang monastery. The fact that two of the three extant commentaries and a lost commentary were produced at Snar thang monastery’s affiliates suggests that the teaching and studying of Flower Garland was popular at this monastery from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century.

 

Buddhist Monks at the Royal Courts of Ancient India

Pagel, Ulrich (SOAS, University of London, London, GBR)

This paper examines the status and influence of Buddhist monks at the royal courts in ancient India. It draws on a set of passages identified in the Mūlasarvāstivāda vinaya which suggests that the presence of the members of the Saṅgha at the seat of government gave rise to concern among the king’s counsellors. Some feared to lose access to the king, others grew uneasy about the monks’ seeming interference in political matters. Some even believed that the followers of the Buddha were involved in theft and sexual misdemeanour. Before long, this tension produced open conflict. Royal discontent led to a series of monastic injunctions through which the Saṅgha sought to scale back the prominence of its monks at court, worried about reputation and reprisal. I examine the passages that describe the events leading to the Buddha’s intervention and provide context, drawn from Buddhist and brahmanical sources, to aid us in their interpretation.

 

Buddhist Monks at the Royal Courts of Ancient India

Pagel, Ulrich (SOAS, University of London, London, GBR)

This paper examines the status and influence of Buddhist monks at the royal courts in ancient India. It draws on a set of passages identified in the Mūlasarvāstivāda vinaya which suggests that the presence of the members of the Saṅgha at the seat of government gave rise to concern among the king’s counsellors. Some feared to lose access to the king, others grew uneasy about the monks’ seeming interference in political matters. Some even believed that the followers of the Buddha were involved in theft and sexual misdemeanour. Before long, this tension produced open conflict. Royal discontent led to a series of monastic injunctions through which the Saṅgha sought to scale back the prominence of its monks at court, worried about reputation and reprisal. I examine the passages that describe the events leading to the Buddha’s intervention and provide context, drawn from Buddhist and brahmanical sources, to aid us in their interpretation.

The Vinaya of the Bon Tradition

Roesler, Ulrike (Oxford, GBR)

Historically, the monastic life of the Bon tradition of Tibet has developed side by side with that of the Tibetan Buddhists. However, the monastic code of the Bonpos is not identical with the Buddhist one. It consists of 250 rules for monks (pho khrims) and 360 rules for nuns (mo khrims), as well as shorter sets of rules for temporary ordination, for lay people, and novices. It uses its own terminology (such as drang srong “ṛṣi” for the monks and drang srong ma for the nuns) and has its own legendary and historical transmission lineages. Within the canonical collections of the Bon tradition, the “six vinaya scriptures” (’dul ba rgyud drug) have a special place as one of the few sections that are considered bka’ ma (transmitted from person to person in an unbroken lineage), not gter ma (concealed and recovered) texts. An intriguing aspect is the headings of the canonical vinaya texts in the mysterious “divine language of Kapita”. Another remarkable feature is the strong Mahāyāna leanings of the Bon vinaya. My paper is going to give a preliminary survey of the Bon vinaya as an important component of the vinaya traditions of Inner Asia.

 

 

Reflections on the Chulamani Cetiya in Thai Art

Chirapravati, Pattaratorn (California State University, Sacramento, Davis, California, USA)

This paper examines the history of narratives and physical manifestations of the Chulamani Cetiya. According to Buddhist texts, the Buddha’s hair is said to be housed in the Chulamani Cetiya in Indra’s heaven, Tushita. In Thai art a distinctive type of redented bell-shaped body and superstructure (with square throne element, a spire made up of a tapering stack of lotuses, and a tall finial) became stereotypical of this particular type of stupa in Siam from around the 15th century. Many temples with the name Chulamani were built at important ancient cities such as Ayutthaya, Phitsanulok, Samut Songkhram, and Bangkok. The Chulamani stupa also became popularly depicted on mural paintings, illustrated manuscripts of Phra Malai, and sutra cabinets. In addition, a miniature Chulamani stupa is commonly used as a form of relic casket. From the period of King Borommatri Lokanat of Ayutthaya (1448-1488) to the early Bangkok period (1782-1851), the Chulamani Cetiya was popularly produced. Why was the Chulamani stupa very popular and did it have any special meaning to Siamese rulers and their kingdoms? This paper will investigate historical documents, structures, and religious purposes of the Chulamani Cetiya.

 

Chak Ma Chom Muang (“A City Sojourn on a Horse Back”): A Visit to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha

Chongstitvatana, Suchitra (Institute of Thai Studies, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, THA)

This paper is an attempt to explore the significance of the description of ‘temple’ in Thai literature focusing on a text of modern poetry by Naowarat Pongpaiboon, Chak Ma Chom Muang (“A city sojourn on a horse back”).

The temple described in the text is the temple of the Emerald Buddha, one of the most important royal temples in the country. It is found that the poet is harmonizing various conventions of Thai poetry in this text. The description of the temple and its garden is a well balanced mixture of modernity and convention. The text reflects an image of a great temple as well as Buddhist philosophy through the arts and architecture of this temple, which could be regarded both as a center of sacredness and the power of arts as a path to the spiritual perfection of wisdom.

 

The Four Tooth Relic Stupas in 13th Century Pagan, Myanmar

Handlin, Lilian (Independent Scholar, Cambridge, USA)

The Buddha Gotama’s post cremation career in Myanmar is linked to the story of the Tooth Stupas, enshrining four of the so-called perfect relics the Buddha was believed to have left unburned during his cremation. Their Pagan cult becomes evident by the end of the 12th century when the Four Tooth stupas are incorporated in endowments’ decors and contextualized within various structures’ broader narratives. Their images, always showing appropriate worshippers, illustrated each stupa’s location – whether in Tavatimsa, guarded by Sakka, down below, property of the Nagas, or in their two terrestrial locales – one in “China,” the other in “Sri Lanka.” Late 12th century contacts with Sri Lanka that in 1181 saw the return of four Pagan monks, reordained in Sri Lanka during their stay, intertwined with another periodic attempt to purify the Pagan sangha. The monks’ homecoming generated a new, though short lived, additional sangha lineage, encouraged the recovery and reintegration of hitherto neglected rituals and texts, and perhaps the introduction of new practices. The cult of the Buddha’s Tooth Relics is the most permanent result of these ideational and institutional upheavals, evident in the stupas’ 13th century popularity. Attention to their presence broadened the spacial scope of the Buddha's post parinirvana biography, was linked to Pagan’s complex cosmography and enabled 13th century monarchs to reinscribe their ceremonial center's geography in association with the Buddha’s remains.

The paper will show how the Tooth Stupas’ presence illuminates post 1200 changes in Pagan's conceptions of the sasana and its maintenance, and their architectonic embodiments. 

 

Persian Flowers and Chinese Fragments on a Thai Monastery: Material Culture of Wat Arun’s Architecture

Kerekes, Susanne (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA)

This paper presents a preliminary study of the architecture of Bangkok’s famous Wat Arun (The Temple of the Dawn). The exterior embellishment of the main chedi consists of fragments (and sometimes whole pieces) of multi-colored porcelain ceramics. This illustrates, as most scholars assert, an exclusively Sino-influenced design. The unique mosaic layout of these porcelain shards surrounding the central prang and sundry may, however, suggest a connection to Persia, in spite of its materially Chinese provenance. An exploration of such a nexus would look beyond the predominance of Chinese porcelain use, as well as King Rama III's supposed obsession with Chinese art and architecture and actually suggest an architectural pastiche and multivalency that might not be so easily defined architecturally.

 

Some Visual and Architectural Evidence on the Interrelation between stūpa, dharmakāya and Prajñāpāramitā

Kozicz, Gerald (Independent Researcher, Graz, AUT)

This paper seeks to shed light on the cult of the stūpa as dharmakāya and the importance of Prajñāpāramitā for the over-all understanding of the religious art, architecture and practice of Buddhism in the western Himalaya during the 11th-12th centuries. In his 1991 study of textual sources, Daniel Boucher (JIABS vol. 14, no. 1) addressed the interchangeability of texts and relics of the Buddha as representations of the dharma and how, through their subsequent enshrinement in stūpas, the stūpa may be understood as a dharmacaitya. Boucher particularly referred to the Perfection of Wisdom (Prajñāpāramitā), personified by the goddess of the same name. Unlike in the cases of other goddesses such as Uṣṇīṣavijayā or Mārīcī, there appears to be no direct linkage in art and architecture between Prajñāpāramitā and the stūpa.

The proposed paper provides art historical and, to some extent, architectural evidence in support of the conclusions drawn by Boucher. The presentation will be based on the documentation of one Prajñāpāramitāmaṇḍala mural inside a stūpa and several wooden doorframes bearing central depictions of the Perfection of Wisdom, all of which were documented at the Alchi Compound and related monuments in today’s Ladakh. Two of the carved figures have a stūpa as an additional attribute in one of their left hands. In addition, a depiction of the dharmacakra is part of the iconographic program of the most important door under discussion, namely that of the Alchi ’Du khang (also named Vairocana Temple). Interestingly, the central figure of the Prajñāpāramitāmaṇḍala does not display the book as her main attribute. However, the book and the dharmacakra were incorporated into the maṇḍala in a surprising and hitherto unknown way as a structural component, through which the book was visually superimposed upon the dharmacakra. The significant position of this maṇḍala within the iconographic program of the stūpa once again unites these three aspects.

 

A Journey into Suvaṇṇabhūmi with Special Reference to Phra Pathom Chedi, Nakhon Pathom

Revire, Nicolas (Thammasat University/Paris 3-Sorbonne nouvelle, Bangkok, THA)

Over the centuries, different parts of mainland Southeast Asia have claimed Suvaṇṇabhūmi or the “Golden Land” as their own. Suvaṇṇabhūmi is a fanciful term found in early Pāli literature linked with the introduction of Buddhism to the region. The term’s locus classicus is the Sri Lankan Mahāvaṃsa chronicle (5th or 6th century CE) which states that two monks, Soṇa and Uttara, were sent to Suvaṇṇabhūmi for missionary activities in the time of King Asoka (3rd century BCE). Although no one today knows for sure where the fabled Golden Land really was, or whether it even existed, provocative issues remain regarding why the “name” and the “concept” needs to be appropriated in modern times. This paper examines the case of Phra Pathom Chedi in Nakhon Pathom (Central Thailand), presumably an ancient stūpa of the first-millennium CE. This site has been identified since the mid-late 19th century by Thai royal and religious figures as the centre of Suvaṇṇabhūmi and Theravāda Buddhism in Thailand. To examine this appropriation, the paper focuses on the modern mural paintings at the site which powerfully capture the legend of the introduction of Buddhism to Nakhon Pathom.

 

Early Pāla Architecture in Bihār and its Connection to Dvāravatī Stūpas in Central Thailand

Tingsanchali, Chedha (Faculty of Archaeology, Silpakorn University, Bangkok, THA)

This article is a part of the research on “Pāla and its influences to Thai Art” which was funded by the National Research of Thailand Council (NRTC) in 2011.

Early Pāla architecture in Bihār, especially the Temple no. 3 and no. 12 at Nālandā, for instance, is marked by its complicated plans and moldings. Temple no. 12, for example, is of the rectangular plan with bold projections at the corners and sub-projections on each side. The moldings of this temple were noticeably conceived as a Prāsāda, or multi-tiered building, comprising a Vedībandha base supporting the body (Jaṅghā) which is decorated with a Mañcī (the lower molding of the body) and series of niches and pilasters. This Jaṅghā is topped by a series of Kapota (sloping eaves) decorated with Chandraśālās (or Kuḍus) to complete the topmost member of the Prāsāda architecture. Despite of being composed of niches and pilasters as that of the enterable Prāsāda, this massive base is extraordinarily conceived to be a solid non-enterable structure.

Some of Dvāravatī Stūpa massive bases, such as Wat Klong at Khu Bua, are also conceived as Prāsāda, or multi-tiered buildings, yet solid and non-enterable. These characters are reminiscent of those at Nālandā. In the case of moldings, Wat Klong consists of a Vedībandha base and Jaṅghā, with another molding in between, which presumably coincides with the Mañcī. The Jaṅghā is ornamented with series of pilasters and niches which are very similar to those at Temple no. 12 at Nālandā. Moreover, this Jaṅghā is solid and non-enterable. The plan of Wat Klong is rectangular, with the only staircase at the front leading to the top of the platform. The plan and the moldings of Wat Klong are very similar to those of Temple no. 12 at Nālandā, which allows me to assume that the structure at Wat Klong is possibly a copy of that at Nālandā.

Stūpa no. 1 Kubua and Stūpa at Cha-Am, are of a square plan with bold projections at the corners. At the central portion, there is a central multi-sub-cornered projection (or Bhadra offset). This kind of plan reminds me of the small brick base decorated with a floral motif at Sārnāth, which is decorated with a bold projection at the corner and a sub-projection at the center of the base.

The cruciform temple of Wat Pra Men, with four enterable doors, at Nokorn Pathom is of special interest. Despite of having been assigned by scholars to resemble to Somapurī Vihāra at Pahārpur, recent research shows that this temple is also close to the main temple at Sārnāth, or so-called Mūlagandhakuti, which has a cruciform plan with four enterable doors. The Buddha images discovered inside Wat Pra Men sit in Bhadrāsana posture and show the Vitarka gesture, which, in Dvāravatī iconography, is equivalent to the gesture of turning the wheel of the law (Dharmacakrapravartanamudrā), referring directly to the first sermon.

Conclusively, these coincidences between Dvāravatī and Early Pāla stūpas and temples in Bihār testify the relation between these two regions between the 6th-10th centuries A.D. This also allows us to speculate about the relation of the people of the two regions. Possibly, there were Dvāravatī monks who travelled to Bihār for studying Buddhism at Nālandā and also went on pilgrimage to Sārnāth and other places. Because of this, the style of Early Pāla architecture came to be introduced in central Thailand.

Milk and Milk Products in Indian and Chinese Buddhist Texts

Kong, Man-Shik (King's College, London. Theology & Religious Studies, London, GBR)

Even though the ethical dietary issues surrounding the consumption of meat and pungent vegetables have been examined in relation to East Asian Buddhism, and are relatively well known, the related issue of milk consumption has so far evaded notice.

In Buddhist vinayas, which originated in India, the consumption of milk products is mentioned in a number of rules, indicating that it was part of the normal diet of Indian monks. There are, however, two exceptions. One is Pācittiya 39th, which prohibits monks from requesting sumptuous food items including ghee and fresh butter. In other words, it is a rule preventing the expression of desire and indulgence. The other rule is not among the Pātimokkha rules, but mentioned in the medical, Bhesajja, section of the Mahāvagga. It says that medicines made of milk products may only be consumed when a monk is ill.

Generally, then, Indian monks included milk products in their diet, and the evidence from the vinaya is confirmed both by Indian Buddhist texts and by the eye-witness accounts of Chinese pilgrims.

Looking at the textual evidence of sūtras, we find that even though the Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāṇa sūtra is opposed to meat-eating, unlike the vinayas, it in fact supports the consumption of milk. After the Buddha has finished preaching against meat-eating the monk Kassapa responds by suggesting that they should therefore also avoid milk. The Buddha is critical of this approach, identifying it as a Jain attitude. Jains had banned milk because of the micro-organisms within it. This attitude in Indian Mahāyānasūtras that are pro-milk consumption but against meat-eating is in stark contrast to the attitude found in some Chinese Buddhist writings.

The so-called ‘apocryphal’ Chinese sūtra, the Shoulengyan jing (首 楞 嚴 經), appears to be the first sutra to prohibit the use of milk products, breaking with the previous tradition. This text, which perhaps dates to the 8th century CE, has been highly influential and many commentaries were written on it. These commentaries take up its prohibition on milk. They explain it as harmful to the animals concerned and also as being the same as taking life, given that milk is to be considered a part of the body.

The Shoulengyan jing and its commentarial corpus had a pivotal and unparalleled role in the shaping of Buddhist monastic cuisine. As a result, milk products do not feature in Chinese monastic cooking, which is therefore not just vegetarian, but vegan. This paper looks at the details of these contrasting approaches to milk consumption in Indian and Chinese Buddhism.

 

The Metaphor of Lotus Flower in Medieval Chinese and Japanese Texts

Lin, Peiying (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, ISR)

The symbolic value of the lotus flower in East Asian Buddhism cannot be overstated. One need only think of the title of the Lotus Sūtra. Love of the lotus flower began in India, even before Buddhism, for its sun-like splendour and heavenly fragrance. In various Buddhist writings, it is admired for its beauty and spontaneous generation. It symbolizes a newly created world.

This essay focuses attention on the rationale behind and conceptual shifts in the symbolic value of the lotus blossom. In relatively early Chinese writings, such as that by Chinese Master Daoxuan (596–667), it represents Buddha-nature and purity. In the other context, however, the lotus flower is praised for its unlimited ability to grow and grow. This conceptualisation was widely adopted by the Tiantai School, Pure Land Buddhism, and Chan Buddhism, and was taken up in a text written by Saichō (767–822), the founder of the Japanese Tendai School. Later on, the radical thinker Nichiren (1222–82) renamed himself as “sun and lotus” with an extreme emphasis on his Japanese identity.

Reading through a range of commentaries by Chinese and Japanese monks and literati, this essay discusses how the feminine characteristics of the lotus flower transcend gender and how the conception of the lotus seed became connected to consciousness in accordance with Buddhist scriptures such as the Flower Garland Sūtra and the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra. 

 

Tea Ceremonial Practices and Zen Monasteries in the Meiji Era (1868-1912)

Oshikiri, Taka (The University of the West Indies, Mona, JAM; History & Archaeology, Kingston, JAM)

A Buddhist monk, Eisai, introduced Zen Buddhism and tea to Japan in the 13th century. Since then, the practice of Zen and the consumption of powdered green tea (matcha) have developed a close relationship. This presentation focuses on the production and consumption of powdered green tea in the Meiji period (1868-1912). Among the places where the tea producers in the Meiji era targeted consumers of powdered green tea were Zen monasteries. This presentation highlights the cultural practices in Zen monasteries by exploring the relationship between the production of tea and the practice of tea drinking in the Meiji era.

 

New Research on Five Pungent Vegetables (wuxin)

Shi, Yifa (Rosemead, USA)

This talk focuses on the five pungent vegetables (alliums) wuxin 五辛, singling out important discrepancies between authoritative texts, comparing the wuxin with other Chinese traditions, and seeks new approaches to research based on insights from modern nutritional and chemical sciences. Although some conclusions must be left less than certain, this paper addresses some of the many misconceptions about the five pungent vegetables.

The first section of my paper compares the definition of and reasoning behind “the five pungent vegetables” in the Vinaya and early Mahayana sutras and precept texts. There are many reasons given in different texts, including that it causes unfortunate breath odor or that it arouses sexual passions. The Vinaya do not discuss wuxin, and only four of the five wuxin were known with certainty in China. I suspect that the origin of some of these beliefs is in Central Asia. On the basis of this research, together with the below work on Bencaogangmu, I speculate on the identity of the mysterious fifth pungent vegetable, ch. xingqu 興渠, as asafoetida. Other important distinctions must be made between the Vinaya proper and later Vinaya commentaries. Furthermore, there are several interesting exceptions in the Vinaya made for the use garlic, including as medicine for arthritis. The second part of this paper compares the Chinese Buddhist wuxin with the other Chinese traditions of Daoism and Chinese medicine to suggest the complicated relationship between native traditions and Chinese Buddhist practices. In addition to comparisons with the Huangdineijing 黃帝内經 and Bencaogangmu 本草綱目, I am interested in clarifying the original use of the term huncai 葷菜. Though the character hun 葷 is often used as a synonym for non-vegetarianism, the original term in its Daoist context referred to some pungent vegetables and had no relation to meat and meat-eating practices.

The third part of my research summarizes recent research in the fields of Nutrition Sciences and Chemistry that is focused on allium. This modern research indicates that some early Mahayana explanations concerning the aphrodisiac qualities of garlic are not backed up by science, while the research of onions is ambiguous. This contrast between tradition and science creates the opportunity to discuss the place of tradition in our modern world.

 

Food and Efficacy: Porridge, Milk, and Beans in the Shishi liutie, a Buddhist Encyclopedia from Tenth-Century China

Toleno, Robban (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, CAN)

Scholars of Chinese Buddhism have given far more attention to historical processes vilifying foodstuffs such as meat and pungent vegetables (alliums) than to those celebrating foods such as porridge, which is enshrined in the wording of mealtime rites in Chinese monastic communities. While proscriptions are highly important, we should not overlook celebrations of foods and claims of karmic, numinous, or health-promoting efficacy, since these claims inform normative practices. Sources as temporally and geographically distanced as the Pali canon’s Porridge Scripture (Yāgu Sutta) and Mujaku Dōchū’s (1653-1744) Zenrin shōkisen (禪林象器戔) agree that porridge is a food with special significance to Buddhists. Nonetheless, the ingredients of Buddhist porridge transformed in the wake of Mahāyāna revisionism and through cross-cultural reinterpretation (i.e., substitutions), shifting from dairy and meat to mold-cultured and bean porridges. Analyzing 10th-century citations on porridge, milk, and beans, and also referencing the Sutra Spoken by the Buddha on the Five Advantageous Rewards Reaped from the Bestowal of Food (Foshuo shishi huo wufubao jing 佛說食施獲五福報經), I attempt in this paper to offer the beginnings of an historically informed answer to a basic problem: Why would Buddhist authors idealize some foods over others?

Sthiramati and the Thesis of Mental Awareness Accompanying Sensory Awareness

Chu, Junjie (Leipzig University, Leipzig, GER)

The main purpose of this paper is to examine the Chinese materials concerning Dignāga's theory of mental perception (mānasaṃ pratyakṣam). Quite different from the interpretation of Dharmakīrti, in Xuanzang's Chen wei shi lun and Kuiji's commentary thereof, Dignāga is interpreted, along with Sthiramati, as holding the opinion that mental awareness arises simultaneously with sensory awareness as its companion (°sahānucara/°anucara). This kind of mental awareness is often referred to briefly as “mental awareness accompanying the five [groups of sensory awareness]” (Wu ju yi shi, 五俱意識).

This interpretation has its background in the Yogācāra thesis of mental awareness accompanying sensory awareness derived from the doctrine of the simultaneous arising of multiple kinds of awareness, which can be traced back to the early sources of the Yogācāra system such as the Yogācārabhūmi and the Saṃdhinirmocanasūtra. This thesis consists of two aspects: (1) The sensory awareness can last for more than one moment, since it is always accompanied by the mental awareness which can be the searching thought (paryeṣakaṃ cittam) and discerning thought (niścitam cittam); (2) The mental awareness arises simultaneously with the sensory awareness and thus accompanies the latter and shares with the latter the same object-support (ālambana).

According to Kui Ji, this thesis is also advocated by Sthiramati. This attribution, in fact, can be attested in Sthiramati's available Sanskrit works; additionally, Sthiramati holds that this kind of mental awareness accompanying sensory awareness has the nature of being mental construction (vikalpaka) and has the clearness (spaṣṭa) in its content.

All these points will be examined in detail through comparing the Chinese materials with the relevant available Sanskrit and Tibetan materials. By doing so the author of this paper tries to prove that, in the Chinese Yogācāra tradition, Dignāga is interpreted in light of the Yogācāra thesis of mental awareness accompanying sensory awareness.

 

A Re-examination of Dharmakīrti’s Dating

Franco, Eli (Leipzig University, Leipzig, GER)

Already Wassili Wassiljew in Der Buddhismus, seine Dogmen, Geschichte und Literatur, St. Petersburg 1860 (Russian original 1857) dated Dharmakīrti in the seventh century. The current and widely accepted dating (ca. 635-650), however, has been established by Satish Chandra Vidhyabhushana in the posthumous publication A History of Indian Logic (1920: 303). The commonly found dating of 600-660 goes back to Erich Frauwallner who simply repeated Vidyabhushanas dating without acknowledging it. Both Vidyabhushana and Frauwallner base their dating on the fact that Hsuan Tsang does not mention Dharmakīrti, though I Tsing who travelled in India during 671-695 does. This dating of Dharmakīrti has been challenged several times, notably by Lindner, Kimura and most recently by Krasser. This new dating by Krasser (ca 550) has been accepted by leading scholars such as Ernst Steinkellner and Vincent Eltschinger. However, as I will try to show, Krasser’s dating raises considerable problems that have not been seriously addressed yet.

 

The Proof Formulae Used in the Fangbianxinlun

Katsura, Shoryu (Ryukoku University, Kyoto, JPN)

The Fangbianxinlun (方便心論 T 1632) attributed to Nāgārjuna (2nd century) and translated by Jijiaye (吉迦夜) around 472 and the Rushilun (如實論 T1633) attributed to Vasubandhu (4th-5th century) and translated by Paramārtha (眞諦 499-569) had been the only two texts of Buddhist logic before Xuanzang introduced Dignāga’s New Buddhist Logic by translating the Nyāyamukha and the Nyāyapraveśa that gave a strong impact upon Chinese studies of Buddhist logic (hetuvidyā 因明). I have been working with Prof. Brendan Gillon (McGill University) on producing the first English translation of the Fangbianxinlun for some time by now and we now have the first draft of the complete translation of the text. Thus, I would like to present the basic structure of the Fangbianxinlun and to discuss the characteristics of proof formulae (prayoga) utilized by its author in order to locate the text in the history of Indian logic.

 

Candrakīrti’s Absurd Syllogisms

Lang, Karen (University of Virginia, Charlottesville, USA)

Much has been written on Candrakīrti’s criticism of Bhāviveka’s use of formal logic and independent inferences and his criticism of Dignāga’s epistemological and logical views in the sixth chapter of his Madhyamakāvatara and in the first chapter of his Prasannapadā. Candrakīrti’s rejection of his opponents’ methodology does not indicate his ignorance of the set of rules that determine whether one side or another prevails in debate. He knows the formal criteria set down in Dignāga’s logical works and in the manuals of the Nyāya school for judging the soundness of an argument and applies these criteria to demonstrate the flaws in his opponents’ arguments. This paper will primarily focus on the syllogisms Candrakīrti constructs in his commentary on Catuḥśataka V.23 to ridicule a Mīmāṃsaka opponent who argues against Buddha’s omniscience.

 

Dignāga’s Opponents in Pramāṇasamuccaya, Chapter Two

Lasic, Horst (Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia, ÖAW, Vienna, AUT)

Dignāga’s Pramāṇasamuccaya, the foundational text of the Buddhist epistemological tradition, exerted considerable influence on Buddhist and non-Buddhist philosophical schools in India and was held in high esteem by Tibetan Buddhist scholars, too. Unfortunately, this important text has not yet been discovered in its Sanskrit original. The most important sources of information that we have at our disposal are two Tibetan translations of the Pramāṇasamuccaya, one Tibetan translation of Jinendrabuddhi's commentary thereon, a few Tibetan commentaries as well as quotations and other references in some Sanskrit texts. Only recently another source joined this group, a Sanskrit manuscript of Jinendrabuddhi’s commentary that has been preserved in the TAR for centuries. An international team of scholars, among them the present author, is working on a diplomatic and also a critical edition of this material. The first two chapters were already published in 2005 and 2012.

Jinendrabuddhi’s text not only helps the student of Indian philosophy contextualise many of Dignāga's statements, but provides the philologist with a fair number of literal quotations from the Pramāṇasamuccaya.

Taking advantage of these new circumstances, the present author, who is working on a reconstruction of Pramāṇasamuccaya, chapter two, will try to get a more precise picture of the competing positions Dignāga dealt with and thereby improve our understanding of his contribution to the field of inference.

 

Middle Way of East Asian Yogācāra Buddhism: Paramārtha (499-569) and Taehyŏn 大賢 (ca. Eighth Century CE)

Lee, Sumi (Los Angeles, USA)

East Asian Yogācāra Buddhism has been traditionally divided into two strands according to its association with the tathāgatagarbha doctrine, i.e., the “old” Yogācāra group that combined the Yogācāra system with the tathāgatagarbha doctrine, and the “new” Yogācāra group that excluded the concept of tathāgatagarbha from the Yogācāra system. In medieval East Asia, there were contrasting viewpoints between those who defended the “old” Yogācāra positions, such as universal Buddha-Nature inherent in all sentient beings, and those who held the “new” Yogācāra views, such as “five distinct spiritual lineages” (五種性; pañcagotra). Based on this historical dichotomy, modern scholars have established two doctrinally antagonistic Yogācāra lineages, and the question as to which group succeeded the original Indian Yogācāra tradition has consequently been controversial. The attempt to determine the authentic Yogācāra lineage among the two groups, however, appears to have doctrinal and historical problems, because we have a series of studies that challenge the bifurcated categorization of the Yogācāra tradition.

In the traditional bifurcation of East Asia Yogācāra, traditional Buddhist exegetes as well as modern scholars have had difficulty in identifying the scholarly position of Taehyŏn 大賢 (ca. eighth century CE), the putative founder of Pŏpsang (C. Faxiang 法相) school of Silla Korea. Taehyŏn adheres to the main tenets of the new Yogācāra, refuting the consciousness system of the old Yogācāra on the one hand, but advocating the concept of Buddha-Nature, the universal capability for enlightenment in all sentient beings, on the other. Taehyŏn’s “dualistic” attitude that understands the tathāgatagarbha doctrine inside the Yogācāra system cannot be explained in the antagonistic framework of East Asian Yogācāra.

Although typically known as a representative of the old Yogācāra group, Paramārtha (499–569), Indian scholar-monk and translator, shows a doctrinal affinity with Taehyŏn. In the bifurcated framework, scholars have considered Paramārtha as having integrated the Yogācāra teaching into the superior teaching of the tathāgatagarbha theory. Paramārtha’s consciousness system, however, contains both elements of the tathāgatagarbha and Yogācāra perspectives without hierarchical difference. Paramārtha’s position is also reflected in his explanation of the notion of tathatā (眞如), and this understanding exactly conforms to Taehyŏn’s perspective. Paramārtha’s theory of Buddha-Nature also parallels Taehyŏn’s Yogācāra understanding of Buddha-Nature.

Paramārtha and Taehyŏn have been interpreted in the bifurcated paradigm of East Asia Yogācāra as belonging to the old and new Yogācāra group respectively. But Paramārtha’s neutral position between the tathāgatagarbha and Yogācāra views and Taehyŏn’s Yogācāra understanding of Buddha-Nature both suggest the need for a new paradigm for the East Asian Yogācāra tradition. The spirit of the Indian exegete Paramārtha’s Yogācāra may be said in this sense to have continued to Taehyŏn in Silla Korea, despite the temporal and geographical distance between them.

 

Theory of Four Types of Pramāṇa in Sixth-Century China

Lin, Chen-kuo (National Chengchi University, Taipei, TWN)

The earliest Chinese indigenous writings on pre-Dignāga epistemology are found in the Dunhuang manuscripts, S4303 and S613, which are identified as the works of the Dilun School (Early Chinese Yogācāra School) in the sixth century. In this paper I will examine these small texts to see how Northern Chinese Buddhists of the sixth century interpreted the means of valid cognition (Skt. pramāṇa, Ch. liang). Briefly speaking, the issue of pramāṇa in the Dilun School was contextualized within the religious paths which are designed in parallel to the different doctrinal systems. In these small texts, pramāṇa was divided into four types: perception, inference, testimony, and teaching. The special function of each type is assigned to the different stage of practice in the path of cultivation. Accordingly, those Dilun masters did not conceive epistemology as a mundane project only. By contrast, they employed it to explain the cultivation of cognition that leads the practitioner to reach the trans-mundane state of mind. Moreover, as the texts show, the Dilun masters also developed a holistic theory of mind that makes sense only from the perspective of enlightened cognition. In this paper, I will also provide an annotated English translation of the sections of “Four Means of Valid Cognition” in S4303 and S613 with an introductory study.

 

Dharmapāla’s Commentary on Ālambana-parīkṣā: Debate, Epistemology, Logic and Hermeneutics

Lusthaus, Dan (Harvard University, Brookline, MA, USA)

Paramārtha, Xuanzang and Yijing each translated Dignāga’s Ālambana-parīkṣā (AP). Yijing’s version was embedded in his translation of Dharmapāla’s commentary Guan suoyuan lun shi 觀所緣論釋 (T.31.1635). It is a remarkable text and foundational for later interpretations of AP in India, China, Japan and, indirectly through Vinītadeva in Tibet who cites it constantly in his own AP commentary (dmigs pa brtag pa’i ’grel bshad, Derge #4241). At least two commentaries on the Yijing-Dharmapāla AP were written during the Ming dynasty (by Mingyu 明昱 and Zhixu 智旭) and several more in the twentieth century (e.g. by Ouyang Jingwu 歐陽竟無, Lü Cheng 呂澂, etc.), attesting to its continued importance in China, especially during revivals of interest in Yogācāra.

Dignāga’s AP, consisting of eight verses with autocommentary, is a critique of atomism, entertaining and refuting three atomic theories. Dharmapāla unpacks Dignāga’s text in several interesting and instructive ways. First, by treating AP not simply as an epistemological exposition, but more importantly as a debate text, Dharmapāla prominently discusses the strategic and tactical maneuvering Dignāga and his opponents deploy to advance their arguments, step by step, move by move, explaining why one concedes one thing (for the moment), thus forcing another concession from the opponent, and so on, i.e., the strategy behind debate tactics. This is very revealing about the practice of debate in pre-Dharmakīrti Buddhist hetu-vidyā. Second, Dharmapāla unpacks several explicit and implicit syllogisms in AP, adding some of his own to further the argument (Vinītadeva discusses these in his AP commentary—calling them vaidharmya [Tib. chos mi mthun pa] proofs—and adds more syllogisms of his own). Third, since the opponents are primarily Sarvāstivādins of different types, we get to see a crucial moment in the development of hetu-vidyā in which “philosophy” of the type which came to be called pramāṇa-vāda was still in earnest conversation with and working its way through Abhidharma, which was its Buddhist hetu-vidyā and debate predecessor. Dharmapāla provides detailed arguments for all sides debating theories about atoms, perception, mental activities, and so on. Fourth, Dharmapāla displays a sharp hermeneutic sensibility, cleverly blending epistemological, logical, and strategic issues by focusing on and highlighting seeming incidentals, such as the ādi (deng 等 = “etc.”) in cakṣur-ādi-vijñāna (literally: “eye etc. consciousness”), in AP’s first sentence, constructing a series of arguments based on his contention that this ādi is limited to the first five sensory consciousnesses, and not any of the mental consciousnesses beyond them, in order to explain why Dignāga would concede “atoms” as an acceptable prasiddha (mutually agreed upon legitimate item for debate) in the first place, seeming to go against the debate tradition of the day.

My paper will discuss all of these topics, focusing primarily on the light it sheds on debate strategy and tactics, the most intriguing aspect of Dharmapāla’s treatment.

 

Justification, Credibility and Truth: Sucaritamiśra on Kumārila’s Intrinsic Validity

McCrea, Lawrence (Cornell University, Ithaca, USA)

It has long been recognized that the theory of intrinsic validity or svataḥ prāmāṇya represents the most important and distinctive contribution of Mīmāṃsā, and of the great seventh century Mīmāṃsaka Kumārila in particular, to Indian pramāṇa theory. But what exactly Kumārila meant by this doctrine has been the subject of considerable controversy almost since it was first propounded in Kumārila's Critical Commentary in Verse (Ślokavārttika). The three commentators on the relevant section of the Ślokavārttika whose works survive explain Kumārila's position in markedly different ways, all of which can claim some support from Kumārila's own brief and often cryptic formulations. Several recent studies (Taber 1992, Arnold 2005) have sought to explore the doctrine of intrinsic validity through the lense of these commentaries, taking the earliest and latest of these commentators, Umbeka and Pārthasārathimiśra, as forming the principal poles of argument. The views of the third, Sucaritamiśra, who falls chronologically in between these two, have been by comparison almost totally neglected, though there is good reason to believe that in some respects his far more epistemologically radical reading is closer to Kumārila's own intention. This paper will seek to explain and evaluate Sucaritamiśra's reading and the light it sheds on Kumārila's pramāṇa theory.


On dharmisvarūpaviparītasādhana

Moriyama, Shinya (Shinshu University, Matsumoto, JPN)

This presentation will discuss a logical fallacy called dharmisvarūpaviparītasādhana, one of the four kinds of “contradictory reason” (viruddha), documented in Śaṅkarasvāmin’s Nyāyapraveśa(ka). The topic of the “four kinds of the contradictory reasons” (四相違) was recognized by Japanese inmyō (因明, *hetuvidyā) scholars as one of the most difficult sections of the treatise partly due to a complex exposition by Kuiji (窺基) in his Great Commentary (大疏, 《因明入正理論疏》, T. 1840) on Xuanzang’s translation of the text 《因明入正理論》 (T. 1630). This section deals with some complex proofs composed by Brahmanical opponents like the Sāṅkhya and the Vaiśeṣika, which superficially fulfill triple conditions of valid reason but contain a contradiction to what the author of the proof intended to claim. Of the four kinds, the third one, dharmisvarūpaviparītasādhana, is particularly problematic because Dignāga mentioned it very briefly in his Nyāyamukha and Pramāṇasamuccaya and Dharmakīrti completely neglected it. It is only Śaṅkarasvāmin’s text and its Indian and Chinese commentaries that we can use for its full understanding. The target proof that is addressed by a certain Vaiśeṣika opponent is the following: “Existence (bhāva) is neither a substance nor an action, nor a quality, because it possesses one substance [as its locus] and because it resides in qualities and actions, like lower universals (sāmānyaviśeṣa)” (Tachikawa 1971: 126). To this proof, Śaṅkarasvāmin points out that the reason concludes the non-existence of the existence (bhāvasyābhāvatva), namely, the conclusion that contradicts the locus of the opponent’s thesis, the existence. Although previous studies by H. Ui and M. Tachikawa tried to explain the proof and its fallacy, there are still ambiguous points regarding the background reasoning of the proof. The aim of this presentation is to reevaluate Chinese and Japanese Buddhist logicians’ approaches to the proof, which will provide a new perspective on pre-Dharmakīrtian Buddhist logic.

 

Buddhist Logic and Its Transformation in Korean Zen Buddhism

Park, Jin Y. (American University, Washington, USA)

Buddhist logic, as it was developed in India and early Chinese Buddhism, demonstrated a unique way through which Buddhism reasons about the world and existence. As Buddhism evolved, however, the idea represented by Buddhist logic and epistemology met challenges by other Buddhist schools, which considered the very mode of thinking involved in Buddhist logic as a limitation to attaining the goal of Buddhist practice itself. In the context of Korean Buddhism, this challenge is especially visible in Huayan and Zen Buddhism.

This paper discusses how Buddhist logic was employed and, at the same time, transformed in Ŭisang’s (625–702) Huayan Buddhism and subsequently by Chinul’s (1158–1210) Zen Buddhism. What were the fundamental concerns of these two Korean Buddhist thinkers in their dealings with traditional Buddhist logic and what were their proposals to remedy the problems? The paper concludes with the invitation to think about how the pramāṇa thinkers might respond to Zen logic and whether Zen Buddhist revision of Buddhist logic can sustain itself in facing challenges from the thinkers of the early Buddhist logic. 

 

 

Universally Valid Logical Principles in Gomyō’s 護命(749?-834) Theory of Reason. Also an Example of the Transmission of hetuvidyā from India via China to Ancient Japan.

Paul, Gregor (Karlsruhe University, Karlsruhe, GER)

Why should one take over the trouble of discussing the question “Are there universally valid logical laws?” One should do this, because many scholars, politicians and journalists have answered the question in the negative. Some even maintain that “Eastern logic” would deny the universal validity of such principles as the laws of identity, non-contradiction, excluded middle, and transitivity. More importantly, such – erroneous – denials have fatal implications. Imagine for instance that there would in fact exist two incompatible classes of logical laws that are equally valid. As a matter of consequence, people differing in their acceptance of such classes, say Europeans and Asians, would regularly derive different conclusions from identical premises. Any effort of reaching an understanding between the two groups of adherents would then be virtually impossible even in questions of mathematics – which would neither be compatible nor in keeping with general human experience overall, to say the least. To put it another way; if one can show that there are universally valid logical principles this might prove an efficient antidote against exotism, esotericism, fanciful ideas of “cultural otherness,” and against the invention of unbridgeable cultural differences.
By analysing the fundamental doctrines of logic put forward in Dignāgean Skt. hetuvidyā and its Chinese and Japanese versions yinming and immyō, I should like to show, or at least to strongly indicate, that (1) Indian and Sino-Asian Buddhist scholars developed, defended or applied the same basic notions of non-contradiction and logical conclusion and that (2) these notions constitute versions of a logic deductively equivalent with so-called Aristotelian logic. I shall try to argue for my hypothesis by providing evidence from what I regard as an exemplary case, namely the chapter on immyō included in Gomyō’s treatise Daijō-hossō-kenjin-shō 大乗法相研神章 (T, vol. 71. no. 2309).

 

Dharmakīrti and svataḥprāmāṇya

Taber, John (University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA)

In two verses in the Pramāṇasiddhi chapter of his Pramāṇavārttika (206-207) Dharmakīrti states, while demonstrating how it is possible for knowledge to uproot the defilements once and for all, (a) that it is the inherent nature of a cognition to apprehend an object as it really is; (b) that a cognition’s deviation from that nature can be explained only by the influence of an extrinsic factor; and (c) that an erroneous cognition (that is, one that deviates from its inherently veracious nature) is dependent on another cognition for its removal. This sequence of ideas is structurally very similar to the Mīmāṃsā doctrine of intrinsic validity (svataḥprāmāṇya), as defended for example by Kumārila. (This was, I believe, first noted by Eli Franco.) The passage even has certain linguistic affinities with statements of Kumārila and the Mīmāṃsāsūtra. In this paper I shall consider (1) whether this passage is another instance where Dharmakīrti deploys a Mīmāṃsā teaching in service of his own agenda and (2) whether it proves that Dharmakīrti was acquainted with the works of Kumārila. While answering (1) in the affirmative, I conclude that we must suspend judgment about (2), especially in light of recent work by Yigal Bronner that sharpens the criteria for determining the relative chronology of authors on the basis of a comparison of their writings.

 

A Study of Gomyō’s Exposition of Hetuvidyā (2): The Determination of the Argument for Consciousness Only

Tang, Mingjun (The Institute of Philosophy, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, Shanghai, CHN)

Gomyō 護命 (750–834) was the representative figure in the South Temple Tradition (Nanji-den 南寺伝) of Hetuvidyā studies in the early history of Japanese Buddhism, as his elder contemporary Zenjū 善珠 (723–797) was the representative of the North Temple Tradition (Hokuji-den 北寺 伝 ).

Gomyō’s understanding of Hetuvidyā is reflected in his “Brief Exposition of the Doctrine Introducing the True Principle of Hetuvidyā” (Ryakken- immyō-nisshōri-mon 略顯因明入正理門, T 2309, 29a 5– 36b24). It is the 10th chapter of his Chapters Investigating the Essence of Mahāyāna Dharma Character (Daijō - hossō - kenjin - shō 大乘法相研神章). As indicated in the table of contents at the beginning, this chapter can be divided into four sections. The first section (29a9–29b13) explains the separate meanings of “Hetuvidyā” and “Nyāya”. The second section (29b14–29c17) is on the doctrine of six reasons. The third (29c18–30c27) is a clear and impressive exposition of Dignāga’s theory of hetucakra. And the fourth (30c28–36b24) is on demonstration (sādhana) and refutation (dūṣaṇa). However, just a few passages after the beginning of the fourth section, we find a quite distinct and independent portion (31c1–the end) focusing on Xuanzang’s famous argument for consciousness only (唯識比量), and this portion at its starting point has been given the separate title “The Determination of the Argument for Consciousness Only” (唯識比量決). This seems to suggest that there must be a separate and probably “fifth” section of our text, although its title has not been highlighted at the beginning of the whole chapter.

Gomyō’s “Exposition of Hetuvidyā” bears the following two salient features. First, Gomyō’s arrangement of the materials handed down from his Chinese predecessors explicitly and unambiguously brings the theory of reason, especially the hetucakra, into the central place of Hetuvidyā. Second, when explaining Xuanzang’s argument for consciousness only, Gomyō has paid a lot of attention on the philosophical background of this argument, e.g. the doctrine of two truths of the Yogācāra School, the representational theory of perception (sākārajñānavāda) of the Sarvāstivāda School, as well as Dharmapāla’s four arguments for consciousness only in the Vijñaptimātratāsiddhiśāstra (成唯識論) and so on. Meanwhile, what is also interesting in this “fifth” portion of our text is that there is an explicit reference to his elder contemporary Zenjū in the discussion of Jayasena’s argument for the authority of Mahāyāna Buddhism. All those clues will meaningfully help us spell out a vivid picture of the practice of Buddhist logic around the 7th century India.

The present paper, as the second in my serial studies of Gomyō’s text on Buddhist logic, will provide a critical text with an annotated translation as well as an analysis of the “fifth” section, namely, Gomyō’s “Determination of the Argument for Consciousness Only”.

 

Moongye and Kuiji on the Definition of pakṣa

Woo, Jeson (Dongguk University, Seoul, KOR)

The Nyāyapraveśa (因明入正理論) is a work composed as an introduction to Buddhist logic by Śaṅkarasvāmin, who is said to have been a disciple of Dignāga (ca. 480-540). Ever since Xuanzang (ca. 602-664) made a Chinese translation of this work, at least ten scholars, such as Shentai (神泰), Moongye (文軌), Kuiji (窺基) and Wonhyo (元曉), have provided their own commentary on it. Among them, Moongye’s and Kuiji’s commentaries, the ‘Old commentary’ (古疏) and the ‘Great commentary’ (大疏) respectively, are still extant. These commentaries laid the foundations of so-called yinming (因明, hetuvidyā) in East Asia.

The aim of this paper is to deal with the definition of the pakṣa in the Nyāyapraveśa. As the first factor of the three-membered syllogism, the concept is an important one in debates between Moongye and Kuiji. Their dispute is over how to understand Śaṅkarasvāmin’s definition of the pakṣa, namely: “prasiddho dharmī prasiddhaviśeṣaviśiṣṭayā svayaṃ sādhyatvenepsitaḥ.” The main issue is how to interpret the phrase “prasiddhaviśeṣaviśiṣṭayā.” Moongye takes this phrase to suggest the pakṣa ‘as being qualified by a recognized qualifier (差別爲性).’ On the other hand, Kuiji takes it to denote the pakṣa as being such ‘on account of being qualified by a recognized qualifier (差別性故).’ In this paper, I will discuss the issues at stake in Moongye’s and Kuiji’s divergent readings of the definition of the pakṣa, as well as considering what kind of effect their different readings may have had upon the development of Buddhist logic in East Asia.

 

On Mental Consciousness and Its Objects: Yogācāra versus Sautrāntika

Yao, Zhihua (Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, NT, HKG)

The current paper addresses the following issue: whether mental consciousness has direct access to physical objects. According to the Sautrāntikas, only sense organs have direct access to their respective sensory or external objects; neither sense consciousness nor mental consciousness is able to directly grasp these objects. This is usually labeled “indirect realism” and taken to be one of the Sautrāntika innovations. We have plenty of evidence for the Sarvāstivāda-Sautrāntika debates on this issue.

Now how do the Yogācāras, being closely associated with both groups, treat this issue? Are they taking the side of Sarvāstivāda or Sautrāntika? Recently some scholars claim that as early as in the Yogācārabhūmi, it already propounds the view that “the mental faculties of manas and manovijñāna do not have direct access to rūpa, to physical objects.” But I will argue that the early Yogācāras mainly follow the Sarvāstivādins on this issue of the objects of mental consciousness; only some late Yogācāras, e.g., Dharmapāla, accept the Sautrāntika idea, probably through the influence of Dignāga.

 

Hetu-vidyā Transmitted or Only Translated? Some Remarks on Chinese Interpretations of the Distinction between Two Types of Negation

Zamorski, Jakub (National Chengchi University, Taipei, TWN)

In contemporary studies on East Asian hetu-vidyā (yinming 因明) the term zhequan (遮詮) (literally “revealing by negating” or “negating-and-revealing”) has usually been mentioned as the antonym of biaoquan (表詮) (a positing statement or an affirmative statement of truth). As such, it has been presented as the closest counterpart of the Western notion of negation within the system of the so-called Buddhist logic. However, in Xuanzang’s 玄奘 (602–664) translation of Dignāga’s Nyāya-mukha the word zhequan is used in contradistinction with zhilan (止濫 lit. “stopping the overflow”) in a passage referring to two kinds of negation – paryudāsa and prasajya-pratiṣedha – well-known in South Asian grammatical and philosophical traditions. The aim of the present article is to analyse how these two terms were interpreted by the authors of the earliest Chinese commentaries on hetu-vidyā texts: monks Shentai 神泰, Wengui 文軌, and Kuiji 窺基. It appears that while those commentators were at least to some degree acquainted with Dignāga’s semantic theory, they also relied on their own ingenuity in interpreting the meanings of Chinese compounds employed by Xuanzang. The relevant passages from their works provide an illustrative case study of difficulties involved in transmission of the Indian “science of reasons” to a Chinese linguistic and cultural sphere in the 7th century.

 

 

Reading Indian Buddhist Iconography through a Newar Lens: Issues of Continuities and Particularities

Bangdel, Dina (Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, Doha, QAT)

Nepal’s entry into Western scholarship can best summed up in the 19th century French Sanskritist Sylvain Levy’s quote “Nepal is India in the making,” — as the last remaining vestige of medieval India unscathed by the vicissitudes of Islamic and colonial hegemonies. I argue that for the scholars of Buddhist art, Nepal and more specifically Newar Buddhism, continues to occupy a particular, often uneasy space between the legacy of the original Sanskrit Buddhist tradition, and a regionalized periphery that is simply derivative of Indian Buddhism. In this context, it would be useful to consider the framing of Newar Buddhist iconography within the broader historiography and scholarship on Indian Buddhist art, and within the local construction of knowledge.

Broadly, the paper focuses on the methodology of constructing the past through the present, in contextualizing how contemporary Newar Buddhist ritual practices and art serves as a framework to explore the issues of cultural production and authority. The paper will examine the ways in which these expressions offer a space for the construction of paradoxical definition of authenticity, faithful to the “original” textual tradition of Indian Buddhism. To this end, the paper will consider the continuities and particularities that are at once celebrated or contested in the contemporary context. In short, how does scholarship play a role in the construction and revival of Newar Buddhism and its visual and material expression, in this search for authority and authenticity?

 

The Goddess Vāruṇī or Surā in Newar Buddhism

Bühnemann, Gudrun (University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA)

This paper presents research on Tantric forms of Vāruṇī, goddess of spirituous liquor. Also known as Surā(devī) and identified with Māmakī, the goddess is invoked by Tantric practitioners into spirituous liquor or rice beer which has previously been filled in a skull-cup and is then consecrated as part of ritual worship. The paper analyses descriptions of the goddess extracted from Tantric texts and discusses representations in Newar art. The textual sources include chapter 26 of the Samvarodayatantra together with ritual texts and Newar Buddhist Tantric songs. The paper explores the link between iconography and ritual and shows the interconnectedness of Tantric traditions in Nepal.

 

Prescription, Description, and Memory in Buddhist Newar Menarche Ritual Manuals

Emmrich, Christoph (University of Toronto, Toronto, CAN)

This paper will analyze liturgies pertaining to a religious practice called bārhā pikayagu that ends a period of seclusion undergone by Newar girl children mostly before menarche. Looking at manuals currently used by Buddhist priests in Lalitpur, Kathmandu and Bhaktapur (all Nepal) respectively, the paper will try to place these manuals at the conjunction of other ritual textual genres such as prescriptions for domestic rituals for women that include cosmological, demonological and pregnancy-related aspects and attempts to explore their composition, their intention and their place within the textual history of this kind of manual and within Buddhist domestic ritual literature more generally. The paper will point at the opportunity these manuals offer in reconstructing past precursors of current practice in the mode of their prescription and at the limitations posed by specialization, participation, and gender. At the same time it will try to explore the methodological difficulties in determining whether past manuals indeed still pertain to the kind of ritual practice that seemingly similar manuals currently attempt to regulate. By confronting material pertaining to early manuals with first-hand accounts of rituals in chronicles, the paper will try to contribute to our understanding of what kind of texts ritual manuals are, how they are deployed, and how the historical memory they contain may differ or overlap with that of other textual genres.

 

The Concept of Vasundharā and Vasudhārā: Focusing on the Newari Buddhist Literatures

Shakya, Sudan (Shuchiin University, Kyoto, JPN)

Vasundharā is often confused with Vasudhārā, though they possess different origins. Firstly, Vasundharā is regarded as the deity of earth. The literal meaning of ‘vasundharā’ is earth, kingdom, soil, ground etc. The word ‘vasundharā’ or ‘asuṃdharā’ first appeared in Hindu texts and was adopted in the Buddhist pantheon as an earth deity in a later period. Again, the word ‘vasundharā’ is composed of ‘vasu’ (earth, wealth) and ‘dharā’ (holding), derived from the verbal root ‘dhṛ’ (to hold; tib. ḥdsin pa). This supports the understanding that Vasundharā is the holder of the earth or wealth. In Tibetan texts, it is translated as Nor ḥdsin ma or Saḥi lha mo, which have the same meaning.

Secondly, Vasudhārā is popularly known as the deity of wealth. In this context, the word ‘vasudhārā’ literally means ‘the flow of wealth’ as the word ‘dhārā’ is derived from the verbal root ‘dhan’ (to flow; tib. ḥdsin pa). It is noteworthy that ‘dhan’ does not have the meaning ‘to hold’, which ‘dhṛ’ has. Interestingly, the Tibetan texts also translate Vasudhārā as ‘Nor rgyun ma’ (the flow of wealth). This shows that Vasudhārā cannot be regarded as an earth deity, and that she is none other than the deity of wealth who eradicates poverty and provides prosperity. This interpretation can be seen in most of the Buddhist Literatures as well.

There are several individual texts related to the sādhanas, dhāraṇīs and avadānas of Vasudhārā. In some sādhanas, she appears as the consort of Jambhala, the deity of wealth. The Ācāryakriyāsamuccaya of Jagaddarpaṇa (12th-13th c. CE) gives the details of a Vasudhārā-maṇḍala, where the one-faced, six-armed Vasudhārā presides as a central deity. Again, there are some texts of Nepalese origin related to Vasudhārā, which are very influential texts in Newar Buddhism. On the contrary, there is no single individual text that deals with Vasundharā.

In some manuscripts we find Vasundharā in the title, whereas the content is on Vasudhārā. In this way, Vasundharā and Vasudhārā are mistakenly used interchangeably. This kind of mix up can be especially seen in manuscripts of Nepalese origin. Focusing on Sanskrit and Sanskrit-Newari manuscripts, this paper will distinguish the origins of these two deities, and also discuss their roles as well as their appearances in Buddhist literature.

 

Between Ritual Prescription, Historical Record and Literary Production. Newar Buddhist Ritual Chronicles

von Rospatt, Alexander (UC Berkeley, Berkeley, USA)

Besides guarding the literary heritage of Indian Mahayana Buddhism the Newar Buddhist tradition has also produced its own works, both in Sanskrit and in the local vernacular, Newari. This includes a sizable body of manuscripts that chronicle the performance of particular rituals and related events. They range from carefully structured and elaborate records to simple notebook jottings by individual priests. Among this hitherto hardly explored corpus, the talk focusses on the production of ritual chronicles recording the performance of renovations of the Svayambhu-caitya of Kathmandu. Written by participating Newar Buddhist vajracarya masters, these chronicles are both descriptive records of historic ritual events and prescriptive, serving as guidelines for future renovations (an argument I have made before in an article dedicated to this theme). I will examine how such chronicles were produced, and—drawing on the chronicle documenting the renovation of Svayambhu concluded in 1758—I will show how they could also assume features of literary productions, drawing on other accounts and on ritual compendia (sometimes as a substitute for missing records of actual events), and incorporating mythological narratives.

The Fruition in a Comparative Perspective

Esler, Dylan (Institut Orientaliste, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium)

If “all roads lead to Rome” (or did so in the days of the Roman Empire), all paths do not lead to enlightenment – at least not to the same enlightenment. This, in any case, is the conclusion we must derive from reading gNubs-chen Sangs-rgyas ye-shes’ doxographical work, the bSam-gtan mig-sgron (Tibet, 10th century). In it he presents four distinct ways to reach enlightenment that encompass both sūtra-based and tantra-based doctrinal formulations: the gradual approach of the classical Mahāyāna, the simultaneous approach of Chan, the method of alchemical transformation of Tantra and the path of self-liberation, rDzogs-chen. These four different paths lead to distinct forms of fruition (’bras-bu; Skt. phala). It is the latter that will be the focus of the present paper.

 


Locating the Madhyamaka Doctrine in Tantric Buddhism

Kyuma, Taiken (Mie University, Tsu-shi, Mie-ken, JPN)

As I have already pointed out (cf. Superiority of Vajrayāna - Part I: Some Remarks on the *Vajrayānāntadva¬ya¬nirā¬ka¬ra¬¬ṇa (rDo rje theg pa’i mtha’ gñis sel ba) Ascribed to Jñāna¬śrī¬-, in: Genesis and Development of Tantrism, Tokyo 2009, pp.469-485, esp. p. 479), a kind of tension between the vehicle of mantra and the Madhyamaka doctrine is found in the *Vajrayānāntadvayanirākaraṇa (rDo rje theg pa’i mtha’ gnyis sel ba), which is ascribed to Jñānaśrīmitra in Tibetan tradition. According to this text, the practice of māyopamadṛṣṭi is shared by both the vehicle of mantra and the Madhyamaka doctrine. However, this meditative condition is not easy to keep without the power of pledge (dam tshig) of the mind, and this is the crucial reason why the vehicle of mantra is regarded as superior to the Madhyamaka doctrine. By inquiring into some other materials relevant to this type of argument, this paper will, it is hoped, give a better understanding of how to locate the Madhyamaka doctrine in tantric Buddhism. A few preliminary remarks on the main focus of our panel will also be made at the beginning of this presentation.

 

 

Ratnākaraśānti’s Uses of “Madhyamaka” and “Yogācāra”

McNamara, Daniel (Emory University Graduate Division of Religion, Sunapee, USA)

The 10th-11th century scholar-siddha Ratnākaraśānti is a somewhat enigmatic figure in Buddhist thought. While his contributions to tantric literature have been studied extensively (particularly by Harunaga Isaacson), a broad-ranging treatment of Ratnākaraśānti’s philosophical views has yet to appear. This paper will briefly consider the different ways in which indigenous and academic scholars place Ratnākaraśānti’s thought into available categories before considering alternative means of understanding Ratnākaraśānti’s intellectual projects.

The earliest and most influential study of Ratnākaraśānti’s thought in English is Ruegg’s The Literature of the Madhyamaka School of Philosophy in India, which devotes a short appendix to what he calls Ratnākaraśānti’s “vijñapti-madhyamaka” (1981, 122-124), a label which continues to be used to describe Ratnākaraśānti’s philosophy. Ruegg also appears to be the first Western scholar to describe Ratnākaraśānti as explicitly arguing against Candrakīri, a theme expanded upon significantly in Kevin Vose’s recent work (Vose 2009, 34-35).

The problem with Ruegg’s argument is that the evidence for both the name “vijñapti-madhyamaka” and the apparent rivalry with Candrakīrti appears to rests on the translator’s colophon in the Tibetan translation of the Madhyamakālaṃkāropadeśa, rather than the author’s own colophon, which mentions only that he “composed this [treatise] for those who rely on valid knowledge (pramāṇa).” It provides no clue regarding Ratnākaraśānti’s scholastic alignments. In the translator’s colophon, however, we find significant clues, particularly at the very end: “[T]his is the Instructions on the Ornament of the Mahāyāna Cognition-Middle Way, well-composed with reasoning which destroys Candrakīrti. Later, the text was edited by the Kaśmīri Amogha and the translator ’O-ru.”

If I am reading them correctly, Ruegg and Vose conflate the translators’ descriptions of Ratnākaraśānti with the author’s own self-presentation. The influence of Ruegg’s work on more recent studies of Ratnākaraśānti’s thought has been significant, and this error alone should prompt scholars to revisit the manners in which Ratnākaraśānti’s thought is viewed and classified.

This paper will attempt to shed some light on how Ratnākaraśānti deploys the terms “madhyamaka” and “yogācāra,” in both philosophical and tantric literature (the latter including his commentaries on the Guhyasamāja and Hevajra tantras) in an effort to discern what these terms may have signified to himself and to the immediate readership of his time. It will also address the feasibility of the claim that Ratnākaraśānti was aware of both “tantric” and “non-tantric” Candrakīrtis and praised the latter while criticizing the former. It is my hope that this work will give scholars new grounds to re-consider how we discuss late Indian Buddhist philosophy

 

On the Tantric Works of Aśvaghoṣa Cited in Dīpaṃkaraśrījñāna’s Works

Mochizuki, Kaie (Minobusan University, Yamanashi, JPN)

Though Aśvaghoṣa is well known as a Buddhist poet, we know also tantric works under this name, not only in Sanskrit but also in Tibetan and Chinese translations. These tantric works are said to be written by a different Aśvaghoṣa who is later than the author of the Buddhacarita.

I have already reported a problem of the transmission of these works that we can see in a work of Dīpaṃkaraśrījñāna. That is to say, the contents of the Tibetan translation of the Daśākuśalakarmapathanirdeśa of Dīpaṃkaraśrījñāna are completely identical with those of the Sanskrit version and the Chinese translation of the Daśākuśalakarmapathadeśanā of Aśvaghoṣa. Only the Tibetan translation of the latter is translated in verse style with an intention to attribute it to the famous poet.

Here I will point out another textual problem of another tantric work of Aśvaghoṣa, the Vajrayānamūlāpattisaṃgraha. Dīpaṃkaraśrījñāna, in his commentary on it, the Mūlāpattiṭīkā, never refers to the author of the basic text. In its colophon it is not attributed to Aśvaghoṣa, but to Bhavideva. While we cannot identify who wrote it, it tells us that the basic text was not acknowledged as a work of Aśvaghoṣa in Tibet. The later Tibetan master, ’Phags pa Blo gros rgyal mtshan, wrote a commentary on the Gurupañcaśikā, which latter is known as a work of Aśvaghoṣa, but he refers to Bhavideva as the author of the basic text. Further, Dīpaṃkaraśrījñāna explains the teaching of the root downfalls (mūlāpatti) in his Mūlāpattiṭīkā with many citations from the Gurupañcaśikā. This tells us that he acknowledges that both works are written by the same author, but it is not obvious whether Dīpaṃkaraśrījñāna acknowledges the author of them as Aśvaghoṣa or not. And the author of the colophon of the Mūlāpattiṭīkā and the author of the commentary on the Gurupañcaśikā acknowledge their author as Bhavideva.

This means that the tantric works of Aśvaghoṣa have some problems of their traditions at least in the period of Dīpaṃkaraśrījñāna or later Tibetan Buddhism. In the Tibetan Tangyur there are some works attributed to famous Indian Buddhist masters, namely Nāgārjuna, Candrakīrti, etc., which seem to be written by other tantric masters. This may tell us that some later tantric masters wished they would have written tantric works as well. And we can confirm this also in the tantric works of Aśvaghoṣa.

 

‘Developmental’ versus ‘Revelatory’ Soteriology in the Kālacakra Tantra

Newman, John (New College of Florida, Sarasota, Florida, USA)

“Sentient beings are buddhas...” (Śrī Kālacakra 5.66a). In what sense, if any, does buddhahood preexist in sentient beings? Tibetan emic scholars and buddhologists both consider this to be one of the key doctrinal issues in their reconstructions of late Indian Buddhism. One line of interpretation—which I designate as the ‘revelatory model’—holds that buddhahood is innate to sentient beings, and the path is primarily a process of removing impediments to the full manifestation of a primordially awakened condition. Another school of thought—advocating a ‘developmental model’—believes that sentient beings have a natural capacity to achieve buddhahood, but buddhahood itself is largely newly created, and the path centers on the transformation of an ordinary person’s constituents into a perfected state.

In Tibet various forms of these two models were expressed in a broad spectrum of doctrinal positions, and now buddhologists are beginning to explore the Indic roots of these views. The present paper examines the Indian texts of the Kālacakra tantra tradition, with an eye towards the gzhan stong interpretation of Dol po pa Shes rab rgyal mtshan. Dol po pa asserts that the Kālacakra is a foundational source for his view that “sentient beings are buddhas” in a strong sense, in line with his ‘revelatory model’ reading of Indian tathāgata-garbha scriptures. We will examine key portions of primary Indian Kālacakra texts to determine whether they suggest a ‘revelatory’ or a ‘developmental’ model of the actualization of buddhahood. In doing so we will need to be sensitive to context and the different uses of language—declarative, argumentative, philosophical, mystic-poetic, etc.—employed in these texts.

The primary objective of this paper is an initial assay of the original Indic Kālacakra tradition’s position with respect to the two models of the soteriology of buddhahood. However, we hope that it will also contribute to broader research into this problem in late Indian Buddhism as a whole. Insight into this issue has major ramifications for our understanding of the basic nature of the Vajrayāna form of Mahāyāna Buddhism (mantra-naya), as well as its structural and historical relationships with non-tantric Mahāyāna (pāramitā-naya).

With respect to the Vikramaśīla mahāvihāra in particular, legends recounting the initial reception of the Kālacakra suggest that some masters—notably including Ratnākaraśānti—rejected this tantra. By the end of the eleventh century, however, leading Vikramaśīla authorities such as Abhayākaragupta had incorporated the Kālacakra into the mainstream Vajrayāna tradition. Further investigation of the Kālacakra should help to illuminate both the doctrinal and the institutional history of late Indian Buddhism.

 

The Formation of Esoteric Buddhism within Mahāyāna Buddhism: An Interpretation of the Subāhuparipṛcchā

Sugiki, Tsunehiko (Nihonbashi Gakkan University, Chiba, JPN)

The Subāhuparipṛcchā (“Subāhu’s question”) is an esoteric or Tantric scripture of Mahāyāna Buddhist tradition compiled in around the sixth century.  Since it was composed in the early stage of the history of Tantric Buddhism, it gives information on some aspects of the process in which the base of esoteric Buddhism was formed.  The scripture begins with a Bodhisattva Subāhu’s question to Lord Vajra-holder or Vajrapāṇi, the king of Yakṣas, why practitioners of mantra and vidyā cannot attain their aims in spite of their great efforts.  Vajra-holder answers that no recitation of mantra or vidyā would be effective without observance of the principles (such as the production of the awakening mind, the ten good precepts and other rules) that are fundamental in the Mahāyāna system.  Subsequently he teaches many varieties of idea and practice: Some of them are the same as or derived from traditional Buddhist teachings, some of them are very likely to be from outside the Buddhist saṃgha or monastic society, and some of them have been on the border between the inside and the outside of the saṃgha.  Some of them are contradictory to each other.

The Subāhuparipṛcchā has not been studied enough.  There are only a few comprehensive studies of it.  According to a recent study comprehensively conducted in Japan, the scripture was compiled by a group of practitioners outside Buddhist monasteries who were from low castes; who had once been disciplinants of non-Mahāyāna Sectarian Buddhism and converted to Mahāyāna later; and who behaved as seekers for enlightenment and liberation in public but had a liking for magical practices bringing mundane successes in their hearts.  In this presentation I will challenge the interpretation of the Subāhuparipṛcchā mentioned above and put forward a more natural interpretation.  This is to clarify how “exoteric” elements and “esoteric” elements were related in the early stage of the history of Tantric Buddhism, when the concepts “pāramitānaya” and “mantranaya” had not been developed yet.

My interpretation can be summarized as follows:

[1] The Subāhuparipṛcchā was probably compiled by monks inside Buddhist monasteries.  Those monks were not necessarily practitioners of this scripture.  Rather, they argued how practitioners should be when they engaged in what was taught in this scripture.

[2] It appears that one of the main objectives of the compilation was to integrate varieties of belief and practice outside monasteries into, and those on the border more into, the traditional system of Mahāyāna Buddhism.  What was set up as the base for the integration was the observance of the principles of the Mahāyāna system (such as the production of the awakening mind, the ten good precepts and so on).  The diversity of practices, and hence the diversity of types of practitioner, were acknowledged in so far as the practitioners observed the Mahāyāna principles and had in mind their practices’ connection with the principles.  In this system the Mahāyāna principles serve as the source of effects, the moral base and legitimization of the practices.

[3] Vajrapāṇi, the king of Yakṣas, is the lord protector of Buddhism.  He protects what is inside Buddhism and faces what is outside.  He is positioned between the inside and the outside of Buddhism and, for this reason, is the best figure as the lord instructor of the Subāhuparipṛcchā whose objective is to integrate elements outside Buddhist monasteries into and elements on the border more into Buddhism.  The Subāhuparipṛcchā classifies the practitioners of this scripture as belonging to the Vajra lineage (vajrakula), which is the lineage of Vajrapāṇi.  The practitioners of the Subāhuparipṛcchā were given the identity as practitioners of the Vajra lineage, by which they were differentiated from others.

 

Progress Report on the Edition of the Śaṃvara

Szántó, Péter-Dániel (University of Hamburg/University of Oxford, Hamburg, GER)

In the summer of 2013, a discovery was made that seems to be of some significance for students of tantric Buddhism. In the library of the Institut d'Études Indiennes (Collège de France, Paris), among the manuscripts bequeathed by Sylvain Lévi, there is a witness of the Sarvabuddhasamāyogaḍākinījālaśaṃvara (or Śaṃvara/Saṃvara, as it is often referred to). The original of this fundamental text for the development of mature tantric Buddhism was generally assumed lost and thus far only the Tibetan translation has been studied. With the help of Alexis Sanderson, we (Szántó and Arlo Griffiths) are currently preparing an edition.

The paper is intended to share the results of this joint venture obtained thus-far, with special reference to the provenance of the manuscript, the possible reasons for its lying undiscovered, contextualization of the text itself (the influence of earlier literature on the text as well as the influence of the text itself on later literature), the doctrinal and practical innovations introduced by it, the relative chronology of classical exegesis on the scripture, and the significance of testimonia in the works of authors that can be associated with Vikramaśīla. A strong emphasis will be placed on the presence of exoteric Mahāyāna concepts and the way the text tries to blend these into its teachings.

Abhayākaragupta on Tantric Practice

Tanemura, Ryugen (Taisho University, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa, JPN)

It is well-known that tantric Buddhists claim superiority of tantric Buddhism to non-tantric Buddhism, but it is still uncertain in many respects how they made this claim. As heretical practices were taken into Buddhism and they formed the mainstream of late Indian Buddhism, the Buddhist followers of these practices had to explain not only why tantric practices are Buddhist but also why and how they are superior to traditional Buddhist practices.

One of the ways for tantric Buddhists to demonstrate that tantric practices are Buddhist is to claim that they are supported not only by tantric scriptures but also by non-tantric ones. The purpose of this paper is to examine what scriptures tantric Buddhists use to justify their practices in what contexts, mainly based upon works by Abhayākaragupta (1064 – 1125), especially the Āmnāyamañjarī, a large commentary on the Saṃpuṭa-/Saṃpuṭodbhavatantra. Through this examination, the present writer would like to offer some materials to investigate the relationship between tantric and non-tantric Buddhism in late Indian Buddhism.

 

Bhavyakīrti on Tantric Meditation and Means of Cognition

Tomabechi, Toru (International Institute for Digital Humanities, Tokyo, JPN)

At the XVIth IABS congress in Taiwan, we presented a paper introducing Bhavyakīrti's (10th-11th century?) subcommentary on the Pradīpoddyotana, a commentary on the Guhyasamājatantra, focusing on its doxographical aspects. As a sequel to it, the present paper will examine Bhavyakīrti's position concerning the relationship between Tantric practice and pramāṇa in his work. As a follower of the so-called Ārya School of the Guhyasamājatantra, Bhavyakīrti tries to demonstrate that each stage of the niṣpannakrama system expounded in the Pañcakrama can be ascertained as valid practice through pramāṇa. After presenting a pūrvapakṣa that the validity of tantric meditation cannot be established by either direct perception (pratyakṣa), inference (anumāna) or any other means of cognition, Bhavyakīrti argues that the five-step meditation of the Ārya School is indeed ascertained as valid by means of two types of direct perception, i.e. svasaṃvedana and yogipratyakṣa. In this paper, we shall analyse Bhavyakīrti's argument and focus upon the question as to how non-Tantric doctrines are used for supporting Tantric practices.

 

 

Luminosity in Late Indian Yogācāra: Is Reflexive Awareness Nondual?

Yiannopoulos, Alexander (Emory University, Atlanta, USA)

In his Pith Instructions for the Perfection of Wisdom (Prajñāpāramitopadeśa), Ratnākaraśānti—also known as the Mahāsiddha Śāntipa—explicitly links the four yogas of Yogācāra with the four stages of meditation described in the commentarial literature for the Guhyasamāja Tantra. While his presentation of the four yogas in the Pith Instructions for the Ornament of the Middle Way (Madhyamakālaṃkāropadeśa) does not make any direct reference to tantra, it closely follows the same pattern laid out in the former text. Crucial to his account of these stages is the notion of “luminosity” (prakāśa), an epithet or synonym for reflexive awareness (svasaṃvitti). Thus, for Ratnākaraśānti, reflexive awareness has two overlapping valences. First, it is an essential element of Buddhist pramāṇa theory; and second, it is a key facet of meditation—including tantric forms of meditation—on the nature of reality (tathātā).

A question thus emerges in relation to recent engagement with the concept of reflexive awareness among Western-educated scholars of Buddhism, namely: in light of this relationship between pramāṇa epistemology and meditation, to what extent is an understanding of reflexive awareness as intentional, i.e. as structured by subject-object duality, intelligible? Whether or not one follows Williams (1998) and Arnold (2005) in maintaining that reflexive awareness is analogous to the Kantian unity of apperception, and therefore necessarily entails the existence of a transcendental subject, the dominant trends of contemporary interpretation generally cast reflexive awareness as an intentional or object-oriented feature of consciousness. Thus, as Coseru (2012, 264) writes, “Even assuming that Dignāga has in mind a nonobjectifying or intransitive type of experience when he describes [reflexive] awareness… it is still the case that this is an intentional experience… Even assuming, on metaphysical rather than phenomenological grounds, that there could be non-intentional modes of awareness, these could not serve as the basis for intentional experience.”

However, as my paper will demonstrate, while such a view may be in accord with the insights of the Western phenomenological tradition, it is simply irreconcilable with the Buddhist understanding of the nature of the mind, at least as promulgated in Indian Buddhist pramāṇa theory and developed by the scholar-yogis of Vikramaśīla such as Ratnākaraśānti. Simply put, according to Śāntipa, not only can non-intentional modes of awareness (specifically, reflexive awareness) serve as the basis for intentional experience—they do form the basis of intentional experience. Moreover, it is precisely this non-intentional basis that forms the bridge between sūtra and tantra, since recognizing the nondual, luminous nature of experience ends up being the ultimate form of meditation on the nature of reality. As Ratnākaraśānti writes, “The experience of the luminous nature of all phenomena, empty of duality, is the authentic realization of the ultimate” (chos thams cad kyi gsal ba’i lus gnyis kyis stong pa myong ba gang yin pa de nyid don dam pa yang dag par rtogs pa yin). Dualistic or intentional interpretations of reflexive awareness therefore additionally fail to account for the key role svasaṃvitti plays in mediating between sūtric philosophy and tantric meditation.

Differentiating the Middle from the Extremes: Tibetan Scholasticism and the Non-Sectarian (Tib. Ris med) Tradition

Brownell, Paul (The Australian National University, Hackett, AUS)

In this paper, I will discuss a number of issues on the changing nature of Tibetan monastic curricula in the early 20th century and reformulations of Yogācāra in Tibet. The key areas of discussion will be: (1) Yogācāra (Tib. rnal ’byor spyod) Buddhism, specifically the text Differentiating the Middle from The Extremes (Tib. Dbus dang mtha’ rnam par ’byed pa; Skt. Madhyāntavibhāga); (2) doxography; (3) the non-sectarian tradition; and (4) the 19th/20th century Tibetan Buddhist polymath Khenpo Shenga (Tib. mkhan po gzhan dga’, 1871-1927). This paper will focus on Yogācāra (Tib. rnal ’byor spyod) Buddhism and Tibetan scholasticism in the 19th and 20th centuries. I will demonstrate how various issues from within the four categories listed above allowed one key Yogācāra text to re-enter Tibetan monastic curricula. My argument will be that the contemporary inclusion in Tibetan monastic curricula of the text Differentiating the Middle from the Extremes and other Yogācāra texts (in the Nyingma, Sakya, and Kagyu traditions, which was different to how Yogācāra treatises were studied in the Gelugpa tradition) occurred as a result of the re-shaping of Tibetan scholasticism by Khenpo Shenga, who was influenced by the non-sectarian tradition and some of its key proponents. Consistent with my analyses of parts of the commentaries of Vasubandhu and Khenpo Shenga on the Yogācāra text Differentiating the Middle from the Extremes as a meditation manual (which is in line with the so-called emphasis that the non-sectarian tradition placed on meditation practice), connections between the text and the non-sectarian tradition will be made.

 

Gotra in the Abhisamālaṃkāra: Reflections on a Tenets-Based Approach to Interpretation

Gilks, Peter (I-Shou University, Kaohsiung, TWN)

The Abhisamālaṃkāra (AA) I:36~37 is an important textual source for Madhyamaka presentations of the substratum (ādhāra) of Mahāyāna practice, otherwise known as lineage (gotra). In contrast with texts such as the Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra, which teach a doctrine of three distinct lineages corresponding to three final enlightenments, the AA identifies lineage with the sphere of undifferentiated reality (dharmadhātu), thereby teaching a doctrine of one final vehicle (ekayāna). Taking (AA) I:36~37 as the textual focus of this paper, I then compare and contrast a number of Tibetan commentaries, particularly those by Tsongkhapa, the Eighth Karmapa Mikyo Dorje, and Shakya Chogden. Attention is given to the way in which these writers use a hierarchy of tenet systems as a hermeneutic framework with which to interpret the verses, thereby distinguishing what they see as the highest form of Madhyamaka from Yogācāra. Some of the limitations associated with their exegetical approach are highlighted. The problems are further accentuated when writers attempt to classify Indian Buddhist śāstras such as the AA as belonging to one system or another. The discussion in this section concludes with a consideration of some further criticisms of the doxographical genre that have been expressed by several contemporary scholars. Next, some the genre's positive aspects are considered, including the way in which it has enabled some Tibetan thinkers to define their own philosophical positions and even create new interpretive frameworks through their unique systematisations of tenets. With an awareness of how text, reader and interpretive framework come together to create meaning, it is argued that modern scholars can also make use of tenet systems to help understand and explain passages such as AA I:36~37. Ultimately, however, I argue that the scholastic nature of the genre means that traditional and contemporary commentators tend to focus on saying what texts are (e.g., classifying them as Yogācāra, etc.) at the expense of seeing what they do. Stepping outside of the tenets-based approach, I argue that we can gain a better insight into the AA not by trying to view it (as a number of prominent scholars have done) as a Yogācāra-Svātantrika-Mādhyamika text, but by looking at its function. Instead of seeing it as a synthesis of Madhyamaka and Yogācāra doctrines, some of the mystery surrounding this important and influential text can be reduced by seeing it as an attempt to supplement the Prajñāpāramitā sūtras by delineating a distinct Mahāyāna path where none is expressed, thereby constructing a Mahāyāna worldview that is at least as encompassing as any presentation of tenets.

 

Phywa-pa Chos-kyi-seng-ge’s Depiction of Yogācāra Philosophy

Werner, Eric (Hamburg University, Hamburg, GER)

Widely known as an abbot of gSang-phu Ne’u-thog, Phywa-pa Chos-kyi-seng-ge (1109 – 1169) rose to fame for his achievements in the field of Pramāṇa. His scholarly and literary activities, however, show clearly that this was not his solely concern. As descendant of the tradition of Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla, who were mostly (but not exclusively) identified by the Tibetan tradition as proponents of Yogācāra-Madhyamaka, Phywa-pa’s works exhibit familiarity with and discussions of typical Yogācāra notions.

The paper seeks to explore Phywa-pa’s assessment of Yogācāra-Philosophy, and thus offers a glimpse into its treatment in early twelfth-century Tibet. Beginning with the doxographical perspective, I shall summarize Phywa-pa’s treatment of Yogācāra philosophy in his bDe bar gshegs pa dang phyi rol pa’i gzhung rnam par ’byed pa (i.e. Phyi nang gi grub mtha’ ), including his scheme of Yogācāra sub-schools and the prevalent terminology employed by him—from the Abhidharmic scheme of the five topics of knowables (shes bya gzhi lnga), to the triple-mind scheme (blo gsum), which latter is held to be Phywa-pa’s own invention. Hence, Phywa-pa’s depiction shall be put in a larger context of the history of the reception and transmission of Yogācāra philosophy in Tibet, particularly beginning from the tenth century to the times of the sNar-thang scholars bCom-ldan Rig-pa’i-ral-gri (1227 –1305) and dBus-pa-blo-gsal (fourteenth century).

Phywa-pa’s treatment of and his points of criticism towards the Sākāravāda – and Nirākāravāda – branches are not restricted to his doxographical work alone, but are also found in his other works, for example the dBu ma shar gsum, his commentary on the Madhyamakālaṃkāra, or his Yid kyi mun sel, his renowned synoptic work on Buddhist logic and epistemology. His further depictions of and objections raised against various Yogācāra notions — such as his assessment of the Three Nature Model, or his discussions related to the question of cognitive images (rnam pa: ākāra) – will be examined and its sources traced. In addition, the paper also intends to look into how Phwya-pa’s works and ideas have been received by or transmitted in later Tibetan works, such as disciple mTshur-ston gZhon-nu-seng-ge’s (1150 – 1210) Tshad ma shes rab sgron ma, or Klong-chen-pa’s (1308 – 1363) Grub mtha’ mdzod.

The paper will thus provide a concise sketch of a depiction of Yogācāra philosophy by a bKa’-gdams-pa master of the twelfth century, a time of considerable scholarly activity, whose influence for later developments is yet to shine through. 

Conventional Truth and Epistemology for Jñānagarbha − The Relationship between Conventional Truth and the Means of Valid Cognition

Akahane, Ritsu (Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia, Vienna, AUT)


Jñānagarbha’s (ca. 700) Satyadvayavibhaṅgavṛtti, which deals with the Two Truths Theory, the most important concept for the Madhyamaka school, had a strong impact on later Indian Mādhyamikas such as Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla, who assumed a key role in transmitting Indian Buddhism into Tibet. It is well known that Jñānagarbha’s exegesis on “conventional truth” is influenced by the epistemology of Dharmakīrti (ca. 600−660). In the final analysis, Jñānagarbha defines conventional truth as “something just like appearance” (yathābhāsa/yathādarśana), which is the object of direct perception (pratyakṣa) and produces effective action (arthakriyā). At the same time, Jñānagarbha claims that one should not examine conventional truth through inference (anumāna) or reasoning (nyāya/yukti).

Nevertheless, Jñānagarbha uses inference in his text, and thus he seems to examine conventional things by means of inference. How should we come to terms with this contradiction? Or rather, by which means of valid cognition (pramāṇa) can we grasp “conventional truth”? Concerning such questions, Jñānagarbha claims as follows: “My explanation of the conventional truth is not a contradiction. If the two means of valid cognition are contradictions then inference is not correct. Therefore the conventional truth is that which can be grasped through direct perception, but need not be examined through inference. Inference should be used in order to merely deny ‘real things,’ which opponents insist on.”

My paper will investigate passages of Dharmakīrti’s Pramāṇavārttikasvavṛtti (PVSV: comments on verse 20ab) and Pramāṇaviniścaya (PVin: second chapter) on which Jñānagarbha bases his discussion of this topic. These passages, which have not so far been brought to the fore in modern research, focus on the relationship between the two means of valid cognition. This investigation will give us a clue to the process of integration of Madhyamaka thought and Buddhist logic in the early eighth century. Moreover, my paper intends to explore the question of whether we should describe Jñānagarbha as a Svātantrika when we examine Jñānagarbha’s particular usage of inference. Finally, I would like to present my views on the question of Jñānagarbha’s affiliation to a specific Buddhist school.

 

A Legacy of “Pure” Madhyamaka: Atiśa and Early Kadampa’s on the Relations/Non-Relations between the Middle Way and Epistemology

Apple, James (University of Calgary, Calgary, CAN)

This paper examines the tensions between Buddhist epistemology and Madhyamaka-oriented views of reality as expressed through Atiśa’s (982–1054 C.E.) “Entry to the Two Realities” (Satyadvayāvatāra) and recently identified early Kadampa (bka’ gdams pa) commentaries on the two realities (satyadvaya). An issue for a number of Indian Buddhist thinkers was the question of the role that the means of valid knowledge (pramāṇa) had in Buddhist soteriology. This paper argues that Atiśa and his Kadampa commentators upheld a traditional pre-sixth century Buddhist separation of ‘reasoning’ (yukti), an ‘internal’ Buddhist form of critical analysis, from hetu-vidyā, the ‘external’ epistemological devices used to defend Buddhist Dharma and defeat non-Buddhist opponents. The tension between Buddhist epistemology and Madhyamaka for these authors was mitigated through employing epistemological devices to refute opponents but not for realizing ultimate reality. Atiśa and his followers emphasize that direct realization of ultimate reality comes from non-conceptual meditative cultivation and not through means of valid knowledge (pramāṇa, tshad ma). As these authors never directly cite or reference either Dignāga or Dharmakīrti regarding reasoning procedures, the paper concludes that the processes of yukti followed by these commentaries represents a “pure” Madhyamakan lineage tradition derived from the Prajñāpāramitā and the works of Nāgārjuna to realize emptiness.

 

Self-Awareness and the Integration of Pramāṇa and Madhyamaka

Duckworth, Douglas (Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA)

Buddhist theories of mind pivot around two distinct interpretative strands: (1) an epistemological tradition in which the mind, or the mental, is the foundation for valid knowledge and (2) a tradition of deconstruction, in which there is no privileged vantage point for truth claims. The contested status of these two strands is evident in the debates surrounding the relationship between epistemology (pramāṇa) and madhyamaka that extend from India to Tibet. This paper discusses this relationship between these two theoretical approaches and their implications for a Buddhist theory of mind, with reference in particular to the works of Śākya Chokden (shākya mchog ldan, 1428-1507) and Tsongkhapa (tsong kha pa blo bzang grags pa, 1357-1419).

Śākya Chokden and Tsongkhapa both claim to integrate madhyamaka and pramāṇa, but the ways they do so are quite distinct. Their theories reveal the distinctive foundations of pramāṇa and madhyamaka upon which their systems are built. Following Dharmakīrti, Śākya Chokden represents the Buddhist tradition of epistemology, and affirms self-awareness as the only valid cognition. In contrast, Tsongkhapa follows Candrakīrti in denying self-awareness. He does not partake in phenomenology; rather, his pursuit is one of critical ontology.

Tsongkhapa attempts to integrate pramāṇa and madhyamaka by introducing a third alternative to the dichotomy of valid and invalid – an unreflective stance. Śākya Chokden tries to integrate pramāṇa and madhyamaka by delineating the respective claims of the traditions into different registers of truth, and by inserting a third category of truth, ultimate self-awareness, beyond the duality of subject and object. The role that this third category of ultimate self-awareness plays for Śākya Chokden is paralleled in Tsongkhapa's third category, where something is neither correct nor incorrect. In both cases, this category of truth becomes an incontrovertible “foundation.” While Tsongkhapa evokes an unreflective stance of commonsense to avoid unwanted foundational assumptions of epistemology, he reinserts the conventional as foundational in the same breath.

In this paper, I will show how a third category functions in both Śākya Chokden's and Tsongkhapa's integration of pramāṇa and madhyamaka as not only a foundation, but the end of their epistemology. For Tsongkhapa, commonsense is the starting point and end of his philosophy, as it is the nature of the conventional (and by implication, ultimate) truth. For Śākya Chokden, self-awareness is the cornerstone of his philosophy: it is the starting point of epistemology in that it is the transcendental condition for experience. It is the end, too, because for him ultimate self-awareness (a.k.a. gnosis) is the only thing that is real in the end.

 

Dignāga, Bhāviveka and Xuanzang “On the Restriction of the Thesis” (*pratijñāviśeṣaṇa)

HE, Huanhuan (Institute of Philosophy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, CHN)

It is well known that the terms tattvatas and paramārthatas as epistemological and ontological limiters or restrictive clauses are one of the remarkable characteristics of Bhāviveka’s (ca. 490-570) thought. Much work has been published on these terms from the perspective of the two-truth/two-reality theory of the Madhyamaka traditions. In Bhāviveka’s Jewel in the Hand (Da sheng zhangzhen lun, *Mahāyāna-hastaratna-śāstra, hereafter Zhangzhenlun ), the expression “in reality / in truth” (*tattvatas) – Chinese zhenxing, can reflect both tattva and tattvatas – is used to restrict the thesis (*pratijñā) of an argument, jianbie lizong (*pratijñāviśeṣaṇa).

What is of further interest is that in a famous debate held in the city Kānyakubja in 642 CE under the auspices of King Śīlāditya, Xuanzang (600/2-664) not only used the term “in reality / in truth” (zhengu, *tattvatas – the Chinese affix gu in zhengu corresponds to the ablative case-ending –) to restrict the thesis or proposition. He also used the term “agreed upon” (jicheng, *prasiddha) to restrict the dharmin, as well as “I accept” (zixu, *svamata) to restrict the argument’s reason (hetu) or justifier.

In this paper, I will begin my discussion with an analysis of the way in which Xuanzang and his main disciples understood and made use of the technical term zhengu (*tattvatas) to restrict the range of the content of the thesis or proposition. I then argue that the inference Xuanzang seems to have used in the course of a debate in which he was engaged while he was in India appears to have been deeply influenced by Bhāviveka. I will not discuss here the ways in which Sthiramati, Dharmapāla and Candrakīrti criticized this notion, but I will note its possible relationship with Dignāga’s (ca. 480-540) theory of the logical argument.

 

Reframing Dharmakīrti. On Some Aspects of Phya pa’s Blending of Epistemology and Madhyamaka

Hugon, Pascale (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, AUT)

While the Madhyamaka works of the Tibetan scholar Phya pa Chos kyi seng ge (1109–1169) display a pervasive integration of the tools from his epistemological system, his epistemological works conversely encompass the discussion of typically Madhyamaka philosophy-related topics such as the proof of emptiness. The combination of the two fields is not superficially a matter of terminology, argumentative technique or shared topics of discussion, but extends to a more significant blending. As I will discuss in my paper, Phya pa is attempting to craft an epistemological system liable to range over the usual respective frames of reference of Indian epistemology (pramāṇavāda) and Madhyamaka, which notably allows valid means of cognition to be applied to the realization of the ultimate. This endeavor leads him to carry out substantial modifications of Dharmakīrti’s system, a significant one undertaken in the very definition of valid cognition. While Phya pa’s predecessor rNgog Blo ldan shes rab (1059–1109) was reportedly reading Dharmakīrti as a Madhyamaka, Phya pa appears to be deliberately adapting Dharmakīrti’s system to his own philosophical project.

Building upon a previous discussion of Phya pa’s definition of valid cognition and the circumscription of its object (P. Hugon, “Phya pa Chos kyi seng geʼs Views on Perception,” in Religion and Logic in Buddhist Philosophical Analysis, Vienna, 2011, pp. 159‒176), my paper will examine two further issues: (i) Phya pa’s reframing of Dharmakīrti’s distinction between ultimate and conventional reality as two subtypes of conventional reality to which a redefined ultimate reality is appended as well as the valid cognitions associated with both, and (ii) his discussion of the various philosophical positions relative to the nature and mode of cognition of objects. Regarding the latter, I will examine in particular whether the direct realist position supported by Phya pa in this context can be considered Phya pa’s final position in the overall framework of his system (hence a position within Madhyamaka) or whether it should, like Dharmakīrti’s adoption of representationalism that is forsaken at some point for idealism, be apprehended as an intermediate step in an ascending scale of analysis culminating in Madhyamaka.

 

All Dharmakīrtis are not Created Equal: A Tibetan Madhyamaka/Pramāṇa Debate

Kassor, Constance (Smith College, Northampton, USA)

Gorampa Sonam Senge (go rams pa bsod nams seng ge, 1429-89) is renowned as one of the greatest thinkers in the Sakya tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, as well as one of the fiercest philosophical opponents of Tsongkhapa (tsong kha blo bzang grags pa, 1357-1419), founder of what later came to be called the Gelug school. In spite of their philosophical differences, both Gorampa and Tsongkhapa rely heavily on the Prāsaṅgika-Madhyamaka interpretation of Nāgārjuna put forth by Candrakīrti, and they are both influenced by Dharmakīrti’s Pramāṇa tradition. They disagree, however, with respect to the ways in which Dharmakīrti’s epistemological concerns can be said to align with Candrakīrti’s Madhyamaka project.

This disagreement concerning epistemology is informed by each thinker’s primary epistemological influences; Tsongkhapa understands Dharmakīrti through the lens of Chapa Chokyi Senge (phya pa chos kyi seng ge, 1109-69), and Gorampa relies on the interpretation of Sakya Paṇḍita (sa skya paNDi ta kun dga’ rgyal mtshan, 1182-1251). As a result of these different influences, Gorampa and Tsongkhapa come to radically different conclusions about the role of reason on the path to enlightenment, as well as about the nature of enlightenment itself. For example, Tsongkhapa contends that reason extends on the Buddhist path all the way to buddhahood. A fully enlightened Buddha can – and in fact must – engage in rational analysis. Gorampa, on the other hand, argues that reason is essential on the Buddhist path, but that eventually, reason is abandoned in favor of a state that is “free from conceptual proliferations” (spros bral). As such, a Buddha is incapable of engaging in rational analysis.

This paper addresses one way in which Gorampa utilizes both Madhyamaka and Pramāṇa arguments to argue against the philosophical views of Tsongkhapa. Specifically, I focus on the debate in Tibetan Buddhist thought regarding the distinctions between Svātantrika-Madhyamaka and Prāsaṅgika-Madhyamaka, showing the ways in which Gorampa’s interpretation of Pramāṇa in his encyclopedic text Synopsis of Madhyamaka (dbu ma’i spyi don) influences his criticism of Tsongkhapa’s “eight difficult points” (dka’ gnad brgyad) that distinguish the Prāsaṅgika view from that of the Svātantrika.

Gorampa argues that while Svātantrika and Prāsaṅgika differ with respect to methods of rational analysis, these two traditions do not differ with respect to their views of the ultimate. Although the final result of the Buddhist path involves a state that is free from conceptual proliferations, Gorampa argues that analytical reasoning is nevertheless essential in order for a practitioner to arrive at this state. In other words, the methods of reasoning employed by the Svātantrikas and Prāsaṅgikas are different, but both claim that these methods lead to spros bral.

Tsongkhapa, on the other hand, argues that Prāsaṅgikas are different than (and therefore superior to) Svātantrikas – not only with respect to methods of rational analysis, but also with respect to views concerning the ultimate. This is because Tsongkhapa’s interpretation of epistemology lends itself to a view which insists that a realization of the ultimate truth involves the cultivation of a certain concept of emptiness, rather than the complete cessation of concepts.

The key to understanding these different interpretations of Svātantrika and Prāsaṅgika lies in understanding the ways in which Gorampa and Tsongkhapa attempt to unite Madhyamaka and Pramāṇa. Tsongkhapa’s attempt to unify Candrakīrti and Chapa results in a view that emphasizes conceptual thought, while Gorampa’s synthesis of Candrakīrti and Sakya Paṇḍita results in a view that negates conceptual thought in its entirety.

 

And Ne’re the Twain Shall Meet: Candrakīrti’s Critique of the Logical–Epistemological School

MacDonald, Anne (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, AUT)

In the Prasannapadā and other of his works Candrakīrti uncompromisingly critiques fundamental theories of the logical–epistemological school, deeming them unfit for use by Mādhyamikas, and in many cases, inapplicable even within the context of the logical–epistemological school itself. It is especially with regard to Dignāga’s (and subsequently Dharmakīrti’s) presentation of pratyakṣa that Candrakīrti expresses disapproval, in the Catuḥśatakaṭīkā brazenly asserting that the epistemologist, like a young child, requires basic training in the means of valid cognition. Of greater consequence to the position of his interlocutor is Candrakīrti’s claim that the epistemologist’s understanding of perception contravenes teachings of the Buddha.

The paper aims to outline Candrakīrti’s main objections to the views of the logical–epistemological fold and to elaborate on the reasons behind them, and, in doing so, to provide a historical–philosophical backdrop for other papers on the panel which deal with later discussions related to either the melding of Madhyamaka and logical–epistemological theory or the deliberate segregation of the former from the latter.

 

Sensitive Cognitive Episodes, Emptiness, and the Goal of Knowledge

Stoltz, Jonathan (University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, USA)

This essay examines one point of intersection between Nāgārjuna’s account of emptiness and Dharmakīrti’s account of knowledge. More specifically, I discuss one way in which “emptiness of intrinsic existence” is related to the question of whether a given cognitive episode is an instance of pramāṇa. Though there are potentially many connections between these two items, my presentation will focus on just a single issue – the thesis that, in contemporary epistemology, is called the “sensitivity” of beliefs. A belief (i.e., an instance where S believes that p) is said to be sensitive if and only if “Had p been false, S would not have believed that p.” In the Buddhist tradition the thesis of sensitivity is frequently captured in one particular use of the notion avinābhāva (med na mi ’byung). The claim is that, in order for one to have knowledge, it must be the case that if the object of cognition had not existed, the cognition would not have occurred ([don] med na [blo] mi ’byung). In my talk I will discuss the connection that this application of avinābhāva has to both pramāṇa theory and to the emptiness of intrinsic existence.

My discussion will focus on the role that avinābhāva plays in Chaba Chokyi Senge’s (phywa pa chos kyi seng ge) account of knowledge (pramāṇa, tshad ma). I will explain how this thesis is connected to the contemporary doctrine of sensitivity in the analytic tradition of epistemology, and will explain why sensitivity is sometimes thought to be a necessary condition for knowledge. Finally, I will discuss how the thesis of sensitivity is connected to the doctrine of emptiness espoused by Nāgārjuna and his followers. I will argue that this use of avinābhāva connects up with criticisms that Nāgārjuna raised against the possibility of pramāṇa in his Vigrahavyāvartanī.

 

Inference for All Mādhyamikas: Pa tshab’s Alternative to Svatantra

Vose, Kevin (College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, USA)

We know well that the dominant strain of Madhyamaka in Tibet rejects the use of svatantra inference to establish or realize the central teaching of emptiness. Whether or not svatantra inference can be equated with the form of inference adduced by Dignāga and Dharmakīrti has occasioned significant debate both among Tibetan Buddhists and contemporary scholars. Among the issues at stake in this debate is the possibility that—having rejected svatantra inference—Mādhyamikas might employ some other kind of inference. The well-rehearsed dGe lugs pa answer, that svatantra need not mean Dharmakīrtian inference, allows this tradition to yoke together Candrakīrti’s interpretation of Madhyamaka with Dignāga-Dharmakīrti epistemology. This route, however, was not taken by Tibet’s first Prāsaṅgikas, who saw Candrakīrti’s rejection of svatantra to be aimed squarely at the Buddhist epistemological tradition.

This paper examines the writings of Pa tshab Nyi ma grags (c. 1055-1145) to explore how this pivotal figure understood a Mādhyamika’s use of inference. Pa tshab translated Candrakīrti’s Prasannapadā and Madhyamakāvatārabhāṣya into Tibetan and wrote commentaries on the Prasannapadā and Nāgārjuna’s Mūlamadhyamakakārikās. In these commentaries, he offers a thorough examination of the problems with svatantra, with reference to passages in Dharmakīrti’s Pramāṇavārttika and Pramāṇaviniścaya that are infrequently brought to bear on this issue. After briefly surveying that analysis, this paper focuses on Pa tshab’s discussion of a kind of inference that can be useful in inducing realization of emptiness. Pa tshab’s preferred form of logic only negates an opponent’s false conception, making no attempt to establish emptiness. Yet, in doing so, the logical form gives rise to the opponent’s knowing emptiness. We can see, then, that Pa tshab offers what may be the earliest attempt (beyond Candrakīrti’s own tender of asmad-anumāna) to offer an alternative to svatantra inference. Further, Pa tshab’s presentation of a logical form intended to induce knowledge of the final nature of things suggests that considering his work to be a form of skepticism may miss important features of his thought.

The Formation of Canons in the Early Indian Nikāyas or Schools in the Light of the New Gāndhārī Manuscript Finds

Allon, Mark (University of Sydney, Sydney, AUS)

The new Gāndhārī manuscript finds from Afghanistan and Pakistan, which date from approximately the 1st century BCE to the 3rd or 4th century CE, are the earliest manuscript witnesses to the literature of the Indian Buddhist nikāyas or schools. This includes texts whose parallels are found in the various Tripiṭakas, or what remains of them, preserved in other languages and belonging to different nikāyas, including sections of āgamas such as the Ekottarikāgama and Vana-saṃyutta of the Saṃyutta-nikāya/Saṃyuktāgama, besides commentaries, story literature, poetical and scholastic works that are not generally classed as “canonical.” These very early text collections raise questions concerning canon-formation, such as whether the Gandhāran communities that produced these texts had fixed āgama collections and closed canons or whether this material witnesses a stage in which collections and canons were still relatively fluid and open, and whether these manuscripts, which span several centuries, witness a shift towards fixity.

This paper will address these issues and re-examine our understanding of the formation of the canons of the early Indian nikāyas, in particular that of the Pāli canon, in the light of the new Gāndhārī manuscript finds. 

 

Revealed (gTer-ma) Texts in the rNying ma rgyud 'bum and Authentication Strategies as Witnessed in Their Colophons

Almogi, Orna (University of Hamburg, Hamburg, GER)

The Issues of authenticity and authentication of the gTer-ma, or Revealed, literature of the rNying-ma school have been discussed in numerous occasions in the past from both emic and etic perspectives. The present paper seeks to focus on one aspect of authentication strategies to which less attention has been paid so far: It will discuss some of the colophons of such revealed texts found in the rNying ma rgyud ’bum and explore the authentication strategies found therein for which either the gTer-stons themselves or the rNying ma rgyud ’bum compilers and editors were in most cases responsible. The authentication attempts found in the colophons may be considered “silent strategies” as they commonly do not have any apologetic nature and do not resort to any explicit means towards these ends, but they do so implicitly by providing “historical” accounts related to the individual texts and their transmission. In my talk I shall present several such examples and point out to the various strategies found therein

 

Rethinking Canonicity within Theravāda in the Light of Sarvāstivāda Scriptures

Baba, Norihisa (University of Tokyo, Tokyo, JPN)

Despite several studies by eminent scholars on canonicity within the Mahāvihāra fraternity of the Theravāda school, the exact position that the Pāli canon occupies in the history of Indian Buddhism requires further understanding through comparative research. In this presentation, I shall discuss canonicity within the Mahāvihāra around the fifth century CE by comparing it with the Sarvāstivāda school.

I will first consider all references to the structure of the Pāli Tipiṭaka in the Pāli commentaries. While some of these commentaries give the list of texts of the Tipiṭaka that is almost similar to the canon that came down to us, they also quote source materials describing a structure partly different from it. A similar lack of unified definition of the canon is also found in Sarvāstivādin sources.

I will then focus on the definition of mahāpadesa in commentaries of the Mahāvihāra and Sarvāstivādin materials. While the former gives the authority only to sutta and vinaya, the latter makes a place for dharmatā as well. This point is arguably one of the most important differences between Mahāvihāra and Sarvāstivāda views of canonicity, which might have impacted, for example, the former’s rejection of the Mahāyānasūtras.

 

“The Canonisation” of the Mahāyāna Scriptures: When did the Mahāyāna Sūtras come to be called as such?

Karashima, Seishi (IRIAB, Soka University, Tokyo, JPN)

Each Mahāyāna scripture must have its own complex background and history. Probably, many of the early ones were originally transmitted in Middle Indic (i.e., Prakrits, colloquial languages) or in a mixed variety of languages, based on Middle Indic, including Sanskrit elements, which were later “translated” gradually into (Buddhist) Sanskrit. This means that when we attempt to understand early Mahāyāna scriptures properly so as to draw nearer to their original features or trace their transmission, if we restrict ourselves only to extant Sanskrit manuscripts, most of which date from the eleventh century onwards, the explanatory value of such studies is rather limited. In addition to Sanskrit texts, we should investigate all other available materials in order to flesh out their history. The Chinese translations, particularly those which were made between the second and the sixth century, thus antedating most of the extant Sanskrit manuscripts, are indispensable sources as, in most cases, the exact periods of their translations are known.

It is interesting that, except for the Achu Foguo jing (Akṣobhyasūtra), all of the oldest Chinese translations of the so-called “Mahāyāna” sūtras, which are generally accepted as being translated by Lokakṣema (fl. c. 168-189 CE), do not start with “Thus I have heard. At one time”, though the Chinese translations by Zhi Qian (fl. 222-252 CE) usually have such opening phrases. Lokakṣema entitled the texts “... jing” (經), the word jing, which was used in later periods exclusively to render the Sanskrit word sūtra, had been used earlier to render the word dharma and, hence, it does not necessarily mean “scripture” but rather “teaching”. Therefore, it is not clear whether Lokakṣema and his contemporaries recognised these texts as being “sūtras” or not.

Further, the texts, which later came to be entitled Mahāyānasūtra, are not called as such in Lokakṣema’s Chinese translations. For example, in his translation of the so-called Kāśyapaparivarta –– though it should rather be called Mahāratnakūṭa(dharmaparyāya) as this name is referred to in the text itself ––, the text is entitled *Vevulla-maṇiratna-dharmaparyāya and *Mahāratnakūṭa vevulla-dharmaparyāya. Vevulla is a vernacular form corresponding to the Sanskritised forms vaitulya and vaipulya. In the second Chinese translation of the same text by an anonymous translator, probably in the Jin Dynasty (265-420 C.E.), it is entitled *Mahāyāna-Ratnakūṭa-dharmaparyāya (or -sūtra). I assume that the earlier composers of the so-called “Mahāyāna” sūtras had named their texts vevulla / vaitulya / vaipulya (cf. Pāli vedalla, vetulla, vetulya, Buddhist Sanskrit vaidalya, Gāndhārī vehula), and only later were these titles changed to mahāyānasūtra. There are also some Mahāyāna sūtras which are never labelled as such, for example various texts of the Prajñāpāramitā. By investigating the earlier Chinese translations as well as the Chinese Buddhist catalogues, we may be able to trace the transition from vevulla to vaitulya, and then to vaipulya and finally to mahāyānasūtra. Also, in this context, I should like to point out that it is natural that the name mahāyāna does not occur in early Indian inscriptions, because the composers and followers of the Mahāyāna sūtras did not call themselves “mahāyānists” in early times.

 

Chinese Shadows: The Formation of the Taoist Canon in the 5th C. and its Buddhist Models

Palumbo, Antonello (SOAS, University of London, London, GBR)

A Taoist canon takes shape in southern China in the 5th c. AD, first with Lu Xiujing's production of a catalogue of scriptures in the Lingbao tradition (the one closest to Buddhism) in 437, then with the compilation by the same priest of a tripartite collection of Taoist scriptures in 471. It is generally acknowledged that this happened under Buddhist influence, notably Mahāyānist, although the nature and extent of the latter are disputed. On the other hand, the Taoist criteria of scriptural authentication were quite different from their Buddhist counterparts. This talk will revisit the cultural background of the first Taoist canon and the Buddhist models that inspired its formation. It will thus explore both outsiders' and insiders' perceptions of the Buddhist canon in 5th-century China, and reassess in their light some commonly held views on what is and is not ‘mainstream' in the history of Buddhist scriptural corpora.

 

The Domains of Canonicity in Buddhism

Silk, Jonathan A. (Univ. Leiden, Leiden, NED)

Scholars of Biblical traditions in particular have devoted much attention to the notion of ‘canon.' The multivalencies of conceptions of ‘the canonical', as important as they may be for appreciations of Buddhist traditions, and especially textual traditions, remain, however, little explored or exploited by modern scholars. This presentation aims to introduce some key ideas which will help us structure our considerations of ‘canon,' ‘the canonical' and ‘canonicity' in regard particularly to Buddhist literature in a Pan-Asian context, and both diachronically and synchronically. Eschewing the stipulative and normative, it attempts to provide tools for recognizing, conceptualizing and creatively appreciating implicit and explicit emic categories and schema.

 

The Expanding Canons of the Mahāsāṃghikas

Tournier, Vincent (SOAS, University of London, London, GBR)

Notwithstanding spectacular discoveries of Gandhāran manuscripts that provide scholars with a glimpse at the early phase of textual production, forerunner of what would be called the Mahāyāna-sūtras, the religious milieux in which these scriptures originated is still largely unknown. While the Mahāsāṃghikas and Dharmaguptakas are often mentioned in scholarship as likely candidates, no wholly compelling evidence has been presented so far, either to favour or reject such nikāya affiliation of early Bodhisattvas and their scriptural production. In fact, the fascination for origins and authorship has tended to hide other historical issues of major importance, such as that of the trajectories of texts promoting the Bodhisattva Path, and the impact they had on canonical formation of the nikāyas, in a period—the “Middle Period”—marked by the crystallisation of Buddhist identities.

The present paper aims at presenting a coherent, if incomplete, scenario for the integration of some of these scriptures within various canons of the Mahāsāṃghikas. Information gathered from a wide variety of sources (manuscript remains, historical accounts, scholastic texts) and the results of a stratigraphic analysis of the preserved portions of the Mahāsāṃghika canons, converge to establish the progressive expansion and re-negotiation of canonical borders between the 4th and 6th century CE. I shall stress, in particular, the diversity of strategies adopted by various branches of the Mahāsāṃghikas to filter and accommodate newer scriptures. This will lead me to consider the discursive devices, used by zealous Bodhisattvas involved in the transmission of their inherited canon, to establish the authenticity of newer scriptures. Finally, we shall see how this dynamic at work within the extended Mahāsāṃghika canons relate to the claims found in polemical literature in favour of the canonicity of Mahāyāna discourses.

 

The Authenticity Issue of the Vidyādharapiṭaka

Wangchuk, Dorji (Hamburg, GER)

It is unknown when and by whom the term vidyādharapiṭaka (rig pa ’dzin pa’i sde snod or rig sngags ’chang gi sde snod) was employed for the first time in India. The earliest known Indian source seems to be the Tarkajvālā of the sixth-century Madhyamaka exponent Bhavya. The term Vidyādharapiṭaka (“Sorcerer’s Basket”) came to be employed by later Indian and Tibetan scholars as a generic term for the corpus of Buddhist Tantric scriptures, although it meant different things to different people at a given point in time and place.

The superiority of the Vidyādharapiṭaka in the sense of the corpus of Buddhist Tantric scriptures has been recognized by most followers of Vajrayāna in India and Tibet. The claim alone that the Buddhist Tantric scriptures are superior to their non-Tantric counterparts, however, did not seem to have at all functioned as a guarantee against charges of inauthenticity. On the contrary, the higher a scripture or system is claimed to be, the more questionable its authenticity seems to become, and greater is the pressure and the desire on the part of its proponents for establishing its legitimacy. What I mainly wish to attempt in this paper is to look into some of the allegations of inauthenticity made against the Buddhist scriptures associated with Vajrayāna, that is, the Vidyādharapiṭaka, in general, and against some specific Buddhist Tantric scriptures such as the Hevajratantra, Kālacakratantra, and *Guhyagarbhatantra, and examine the various argumentative strategies employed for their authentication.

 

The Dawn of the Dazangjing: Tracing the Cultural Background of the Chinese Buddhist Canon

Zacchetti, Stefano (University of Oxford, Oxford, GBR)

In the present paper, which is part of a larger research project aimed at exploring the complex cultural and intellectual history of the unique scriptural corpus known as the Chinese Buddhist Canon, I will try to assess the influence exerted on early Chinese Buddhist ideas about canonical scriptures by Chinese indigenous pre-Buddhist bibliographical traditions.

The main focus of my investigation will be the rich body of documents included in scrolls 6-12 of Sengyou’s Chu sanzang ji ji (Collection of documents on the production of the Tripiṭaka), which constitute the most important sources we possess on early Chinese Buddhist conceptions of canonical literature. More specifically, I will discuss the prefaces to translated scriptures, paying particular attention to their formal and structural features, which will be analysed (building on research by Kogachi Ryūichi and Mark E. Lewis) in the light of the work of the Han bibliographers Liu Xiang and Liu Xin.

On the Discernment of Reality (bhūta-pratyavekṣā)

Adam, Martin (University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, CAN)

This paper addresses the question of Kamalaśīla’s understanding of the Sanskrit compound bhūta-pratyavekṣā, as employed in the author’s well known Bhāvanākrama texts. I attempt to demonstrate the inadequacy of a widely accepted translation of this term, namely, correct examination (or correct analysis), while arguing for an alternative translation: the discernment of reality. The former translation is potentially very misleading, lending itself to an understanding of the nature of meditation that does not conform to Kamalaśīla’s own explanations. In particular it suggests a conception of liberating knowledge whose means are limited to intellectual wisdom (cintamayī-prajñā), and not also based in meditative wisdom (bhāvanāmayī-prajñā). Given the historically important role that these texts played in the formation of Tibetan Buddhism, the implications of such a misconception are potentially far-reaching.

The argument has two parts. In the first I put forward a particular interpretation of Kamalaśīla’s understanding of the ‘discernment of reality’ (bhūta-pratyavekṣā) – a technical term he identifies with insight (vipaśyanā). I provide a rationale for its translation, examining the Sanskrit compound and its usual Tibetan equivalent, yang dag par so sor rtog pa. Translators have often understood the compound as a karma-dhāraya. I argue that such a reading fails to take Kamalaśīla's own explanations into account. These suggest that the compound should be taken as a ṣāṣṭhī-tatpuruṣa.

In the second part I examine the implications of adopting such an understanding. The overall effect is to lead us away from a simple either-or contrast between Kamalaśīla and his rival in debate Mo ho yen vis-à-vis their respective views regarding the necessity of meditation in the process leading up to the moment of liberating knowledge. While Kamalaśīla clearly believed there to be a necessity for philosophic analysis, his understanding of bhūta-pratyavekṣā was that it includes a special kind of meditative process in which mental objects are directly perceived. Philosophical analysis on its own was not considered sufficient. The argument proceeds with reference to Kamalaśīla’s reading of key passages of the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra. In addition I discuss bhūta-pratyavekṣā in relation to other important technical terminology employed in the course of Kamalaśīla's arguments against Mo ho yen (e.g. dharma-pravicaya, yoniśo-manasikāra, smṛti). Just as it is probably unfair to paint Kamalaśīla's Chinese rival as an outright antinomian who would have rejected all the benefits of morality and practical reason, so too it seems inaccurate to portray Kamalaśīla as having held the view that liberating knowledge can be reached through philosophical analysis alone. A close reading of the three Bhāvanākrama texts shows that Kamalaśīla held the process of meditation to involve a special kind of cognition that is not simply a case of ordinary reasoning. Nor is it a matter of “serial alternation” between ordinary reasoning and non-conceptual samādhi. It is a process that is at once both conceptual analysis and one-pointed meditation.

 

Echoes of Samyé on the Path through an 11th Century Defense of the Great Perfection

Di Zinno Sur, Dominic (University of Virginia, Charlottesville, USA)

The reverberations of the Samyé debate resonated deep into the 11th century. In that transformative era, in which sectarian religious identity coalesced around newly established religious institutions and genres of literature, there was vehement criticism of the Great Perfection (rdzogs chen), a tradition that had sprung up in Tibet between the breakup of the empire (ca. 842 CE) and the renaissance of the 11th century. This criticism was bound up with tensions connected with the Samyé debate concerning, inter alia, the path: i.e., the idea that a sattva can be qualitatively transformed into a buddha. The basic debate between concerned theorists was whether emphasis on the distinction between sattva and buddha evinces a soteriologically unbridgeable gap, or whether over-emphasis on the immanence of bodhi risks collapsing the foundational path/fruit distinction, rendering the former superfluous. Critics of the Great Perfection thus targeted over-emphasis on immanence by prominently damning it as a "teaching of Hashang." This paper seeks to further our understanding of how the themes of the debate shaped the theories, arguments, and sources used in the first Nyingma text to answer such critics, "Entering the Way of the Great Vehicle" (theg chen tshul 'jug), by the 11th century Tibetan paṇḍit, Rongzom Chökyi Zangpo. The text provides Rongzom's elaborate and idiosyncratic discussion of religio-philosophical authority, one that mixes the unique rhetoric of the Great Perfection discourse with those of abhidharma, pramāṇa, and guhyamantra. With reference to the concept of transmutation (pariṇāmanā), this paper examines how Rongzom argues that the gradualism at the heart of completing (rdzogs) the Buddhist path should not understood as being in practical opposition to the spontaneous perfection (rdzogs) lying at the heart of the spiritual freedom that is that path's culmination (rdzogs). Instead, we suggest that the apparent conflict between teleocratic (rims gyis) and endotelic (cig car) models of Buddhahood in Rongzom's text mark less an opposition between two mutually exclusive theories than two poles on a horizon of exegetical tensions endemic to the play of Buddhist path hermeneutics. Through a close reading of the text, I will present and assess the significance and cogency of Rongzom's presentation.

 

Some Bka’ brgyud Responses to Sa skya Paṇḍita’s Critique of “Present Day Mahāmudrā” as Equivalent to Mo-ho-yen’s System

Draszczyk, Martina (Institut für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde, Wien, AUT)

Among the many outcomes of the famous 8th century Tibetan Bsam yas debate, the most influential was certainly Sa skya Paṇḍita’s (1182-1251) broad-based critique of certain “present day” non-gradual Mahāmudrā teachings that in his view encouraged their followers “to not think or do anything at all” in a manner similar to the teachings of the Chinese master Mo ho yen as presented in debate chronicles.

While the historical background and reasons for Sa skya Paṇḍita’s pointed criticism has been well-documented by D. Jackson, the extensive and often illuminating responses by Bka’ brgyud pa scholars of the classical period were not taken into account. Only the response by Shākya mchog ldan (1428-1507) who had close ties with the Bka’ brgyud pas was taken up. While Shākya mchog ldan states that there is an alikeness between Mo-ho-yen’s theory and this Bka’ brgyud pa approach, he at the same time justifies the theory of the ‘self-sufficient white remedy’. He emphasizes that while it does not denigrate the need of merit, by means of the mahāmudrā methods the goal will be achieved without resorting to additional remedies. This paper takes a look at responses by certain renowned Bka’ brgyud pa masters from the 15th and 16th century to Sa skya Paṇḍita’s critique of Mahāmudrā teachings as formulated in his Sdom gsum rab ’byed. Karma pa Mi bskyod rdo rje (1507-1554), for example, understood the critique as aiming at Maitrīpa’s teaching of mental disengagment (yid la mi byed pa; amanasikāra) which Sgam po pa had integrated in his teaching system. Zhwa dmar chos grags ye shes (1453-1524) shows that the rejection of mental disengagement amounts to a disapproval of teachings given by Atiśa in his Madhyamakopadeśa and the Gītis by mahāsiddhas such as Saraha. Dwags po Bkra shis rnam rgyal (1511-1587) rejects Sa skya Paṇḍita’s critic by tracing the Indian Buddhist background of Sgam po pa’s way of teaching mahāmudrā and by establishing that Bka’ brgyud-mahāmudrā is not in contradistinction to the insight of distinct investigation (so sor rtog pa; pratyavekṣā) favoured so highly by Kamalaśīla.

 

The Sudden and Gradual Sūtric (and Tantric?) Approaches in the Rim gyis 'jug pa'i bsgom don and the Cig car 'jug pa rnam par mi rtog pa'i bsgom don

Gruber, Joel (Corona, USA)

The Indian tāntrika Vimalamitra is said to have composed two texts that support the central arguments presented in the alleged eighth-century Samyé debate. The Cig car ’jug pa rnam par mi rtog pa’i bsgom don (Cig car ’jug pa) is believed to outline the efficacy of the Chinese sudden approach, and the Rim gyis ’jug pa’i bsgom don (Rim gyis ’jug pa) sets forth the Indian gradualist path to liberation. Despite the purported Indian victory over the Chinese at Samyé, some maintain that Vimalamitra’s texts present both approaches as being equally valid. But did Vimalamitra compose these texts? Are they from the late eighth/early ninth centuries? And do they outline views sympathetic to a Chinese sūtric approach to enlightenment? 

Multiple scholars have worked with the Rim gyis ’jug pa and the Cig car ’jug pa, but previous studies have not considered the genealogy of early narratives describing Vimalamitra’s time in Tibet. As a result, scholars have examined the authorial issues central to understanding these works without accounting for the gradual standardization of competing Vimalamitra biographies. In addition, the scope of past studies has been limited to sūtric works, excluding the dozens of tantric texts ascribed to Vimalamitra that were previously unattributed or attributed to another author/translator. This presentation reevaluates the Rim gyis ’jug pa and the Cig car ’jug pa and incorporates a more robust body of evidence to account for the role a distinctly Tibetanized Vimalamitra played in legitimating indigenously composed texts. 
By extending the scope of analysis, my presentation abandons assumptions based on fixed notions of authorship, which in turn allows the conspicuous absences of the Rim gyis ’jug pa and the Cig car ’jug pa from Tibetan histories, contemporaneous texts, and textual catalogues (prior to the fourteenth century) to be better explained. Moreover, this presentation can then readdress questions as to why the Rim gyis ’jug pa and the Cig car ’jug pa are primarily interpolations of other works that do not stylistically resemble the remaining sūtric works ascribed to Vimalamitra. Incorporating tantric works into the analysis also enables the methods used to construct the Rim gyis ’jug pa and the Cig car ’jug pa to be compared with the methods employed to “author” tantric texts from the Nyingma tradition. Furthermore, the passages from the Cig car ’jug pa that are found in tantric works encourage comparisons with the sudden and gradual approaches emphasized in Nyingma tantric exegesis. Each of these findings enables us to better understand whether the Rim gyis ’jug pa and the Cig car ’jug pa were ascribed to Vimalamitra for the same reasons that dozens of tantric texts bear his name. 
In short, my presentation utilizes a more extensive body of data to determine whether the Rim gyis ’jug pa and the Cig car ’jug pa should also be included among a list of numerous tantric works that were attributed to Vimalamitra in order to establish the authenticity of “Indic” views and practices that became central to the Nyingma tradition.

 

Uniting the Streams: Epistemological Cross-Currents in the Wake of Tibet’s Great Debate

Higgins, David (Institut für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde, Wien, AUT)

The eighth century Tibetan Samyé debate has traditionally been represented as a veritable confrontation or “clash of civilizations” between two idealogically opposed views regarding the Buddhist goal of awakening. At issue was whether goal-realization occurs gradually through analytical meditation, as argued by the Indian participant Kamalaśīla, or all at once through contemplating the nature of mind, as proposed by his Chinese Chan counterpart He shang Mo ho yen. The account of the debate preserved in Tibetan historical sources has Kamalaśīla roundly defeating his opponent, thereby securing Indian Buddhism as the official state religion and sanctioning the banishment of Chinese Chan practitioners and their suddenist teachings from Tibet. This narrative soon assumed the status of a comprehensive founding myth (Bretfeld) within the Tibetan cultural memory, one that has since been used, in various rhetorical contexts, both to valorize a standard Indian Buddhist scholastic model of reason-guided gradualism and to ostracize as ‘non-Buddhist’ (chos min) any non-gradualist elements – especially among Mahāmudrā and Rdzogs chen traditions – that were thought to advocate a Chinese He shang style of meditation.

While it is now generally acknowledged that a debate (or series of debates) did occur and that it was organized according to Indian Buddhist principles of formal debate well-known to Tibetans since early in the 8th c., contemporary scholarship has raised probing questions about the nature and legacy of the controversy itself. It has been observed that terms for ‘gradual’ and ‘simultaneous’ were long employed in Indian and Chinese Buddhist sources, not primarily to demarcate religious schools but to distinguish, within a given system, more or less direct methods of propounding and/or internalizing a teaching in line with the differing capacities of individuals. It has also been suggested that the alleged incompatibility of approaches presupposed in standard debate narratives has served more to conceal than reveal the perennial epistemological and soteriological issues and tensions at the heart of the debate: the role of conceptual analysis in nonconceptual realization and the relative efficacy of conceptual and nonconceptual kinds of meditation (Tillemans).

This paper will demonstrate how various Tibetan scholars (from 9th century onward) challenged the view that the gradualist/subitist distinction should be framed as an either/or choice between mutually exclusive approaches. It will briefly assess some attempts by influential Rnying ma, Bka’ brgyud and Sa skya scholars to reconcile the two competing paradigms by arguing that the Buddhist path is best viewed as neither exclusively gradual nor sudden but as incorporating elements of both. Central to their commensurability thesis was the idea that the gradualist/suddenist dyad reflects a tension between more and less conceptually-mediated cognitive styles that turns out to be constitutive of the path of awakening itself. Within their different interpretive stratagems, the whole tangle of soteriological tensions or antinomies that had increasingly become the focus of debate and controversy in India, China and Tibet – viz., gradualism/subitism, causal/acausal attainment, rational inference/direct acquaintance, conceptual/nonconceptual realization, nature/nurture – end up being reframed as binary expressions of a basic structural polarity between reflective and pre-reflective awareness. 

 

The Embodiments of View: Simultaneous and Gradual Approaches in the Contemplative Typology of “The Great Perfection”

Laish, Eran (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Kiryat Tivon, ISR)

The tension between gradual and simultaneous approaches to the realization of the unconditioned is well attested in Buddhist history. For example, this tension was the focus of the 8th century Samye debate, in which proponents of both approaches participated. Although most traditional accounts of the debate asserted that the simultaneous approach was finally condemned as “non-Buddhist” (chos min), some of its motifs, like the undermining of intellectual analysis and developmental progression, persisted in certain Tibetan traditions, such as the non-dual traditions of “The Great Perfection” (rDzogs pa chen po) and “The Great Seal” (Phyag rgya chen po; Mahāmudrā). Due to their emphasis on the natural liberation of mind-itself, these traditions challenged the usual notions of progression and development while advocating the recognition of one's own nature in an immediate manner.

Although the non-dual traditions asserted the original purity of mind-itself, they also accommodated certain gradualist motifs that admitted the varying interests and abilities of practitioners. A clear example of such an integrative vision is found in the writings of kLong chen rab 'byams pa, the famous 14th century Tibetan teacher. kLong chen pa incorporated simultaneous and gradual motifs by utilizing a long-established classification scheme concerning the different capacities of practitioners to uphold authentic view and praxis. According to this scheme, some practitioners were already suited for actualizing simultaneous instructions while others were still required to apply a gradual approach that included purification and deliberate efforts. Moreover, the distinct capacities were identified with varying degrees of self-receptiveness to the basic nature of awareness as revealed in the sphere of direct experience. Consequently, instead of presenting the simultaneous and gradual approaches as excluding one another, kLong chen pa treated those within a single contemplative scheme that culminated in the immediate realization of mind-as-such. Finally, the intimate relation between the contemplative approaches and the degrees of self-receptiveness revealed a novel philosophical vision, which arose from lived experience and not from logical argumentation.

 

’Gos Lo tsa ba gZhon nu dpal’s (1392-1481) Conceptual and Direct Approaches to Ultimate Reality

Mathes, Klaus-Dieter (Institut für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde, Wien)

The ultimate reality that Mahāyāna Buddhists characterize as emptiness, the perfect nature, the nature of mind, or buddha nature, (to name their major concepts), was never considered to be self-evident to ordinary sentient beings. It must be determined either logically, usually as something “free from mental fabrications” (niṣprapañca), or experienced directly in advanced yoga practices, which mainly rely on non-conceptual types of insight. This latter approach enables, in addition to niṣprapañca or emptiness, positive descriptions of reality, which are found in the sūtras and commentaries related to the third dharmacakra (i.e., Yogācāra texts, the Ratna­gotra­vibhāga and so forth). This raises the question whether the second dharmacakra points to the same ultimate reality as the third one, and/or whether both of them have definitive meaning. Such an approach was propagated, for example, by the Tibetan ’Bri gung master ’Jig rten gsum mgon (1143-1217). Following the latter, ’Gos Lo tsā ba gZhon nu dpal points out that the second and third dharma­cakrasdo not contradict each other. It is only that the teachings of the second dharmacakra do not clearly formulate what ultimate truth really is. The superiority of the third dharmacakra results from its ability to lead to a direct realization of one’s nature of mind. In other words, when following the path of analysis, all one can do is to deny all reifications and thereby establish the emptiness of all phenomena (second dharmacakra), but in direct realization, the true nature of these pheno­mena can be experienced as being luminous (third dharmacakra).

Based on a comparison of various Mahāyāna models of reality, the present paper tries to contextualize gZhon nu dpal’s hermeneutics and look into the possibility of whether or not the differences between the second and third dharmacakra can be reasonably explained as a result of various approaches to the same ultimate reality. In other words, one might ask: Could the authors of the analytical Madhyamaka texts have had the same reality in mind as the Yogācāras and followers of the tathāgatagarbha doctrine, but preferred not to speak of it positively while propagating an inferential path? That such an assumption is not entirely out of question is suggested in the colophon of Bhavya’s (490-570) Prajñāpradīpa, which states that people who are used to imagining truly existent things apprehend reality mainly by inferential cognitions, but this is not the way the Buddha apprehends reality.

 

A Socio-religious Study on the Debates of bSam yas, Focusing on Dun-wu-da-cheng-zheng-li-jue and the Background of the Early Chan School in China

Yi, Kyoowan (Seoul National University, Seoul, KOR)

The Tibetan bSam yas debate may be regarded as the outcome of three related factors: 1) internal power dynamics between rival aristocratic clans in Tibet, 2) religious conflicts between the sudden enlightenment school rooted in the teachings of Musang (無相), later Wu-zhu (無住) and Mahāyan (摩訶衍), and the gradualist school represented by Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla, and 3) the assimilation and institutionalization of Buddhism in Tibet. Three influential parties of the debate, including King Khri srong lde tsen, the Śāntarakṣita school, and the Mahāyan school, respectively allied with Tibetan political groups to establish their blueprints for the future of Buddhism in Tibet.

According to Bu-ston Chos 'byung and Dun-wu-da-cheng-zheng-li-jue (頓悟大乘正理決) of Wang Xi, following the rapid spread of Mahāyan's Chan teachings among the Tibetan royals and the public, Khri srong lde tsen and the followers of Śāntarakṣita attempted to block the expansion of Chan practice leading to serious conflicts. In the debate itself, Kamalaśīla and Mahāyan drew attention to the potential misunderstandings caused by their cultural and scholastic differences and language barriers. Mahāyan distinguishes the superior truth of the enlightened from the secular truth of sentient beings, and acknowledges that practitioners of dull capacity require such practical means of meditation and six pāramitās. Therefore, the criticisms in the Bhāvanākrama that the Mahāyan school rejected any practice at all and only clung to "no thought arising" (念不起) cannot be justified. In brief, the problems criticized in Bhāvanākrama of Kamalaśīla is rather close to the scholastic standpoints of the Pao t'ang school (保唐宗) of Wu-zhu while the arguments advanced in the Dun-wu-da-cheng-zheng-li-jue echo the teachings of Musang of the Ching-chung-si Temple (淨衆寺) in Chengtu (成都). It is also worth taking note of the conciliatory approaches of the Śāntarakṣita school to the Tibetan Buddhist communities. It paid careful attention to the practical needs and spiritual growth of the Tibetan society so that the propagation of its teachings harmonized the divergent systems of Buddhist thought, including Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna. Śāntarakṣita, who is said to have recommended the invitation of the tantric master Padmasambhava to safeguard the transmission of Buddhism in Tibet, was himself reluctant to teach Tantric Buddhism to the early Tibetan Buddhist community for fear of it being misunderstood and leading to fruitless or deviant practices. I shall argue that Mahāyan's followers, by contrast, failed to recognize the potential dangers of the Tibetan immediate enlightenment school, which became very similar to the teachings of the Pao t'ang school, significantly diverging from the Chan practice that Wuzhu himself claimed to have learned from Musang. Li-tai-fa-pao-chi (曆代法寶記) betrays how Wuzhu altered the Three Verse teaching of Musang to create his theory of No-thinking (無念) and absolute No-action (無作). If taken literally such ideas would inevitably lead to anti-intellectualism and even ideoclasm.

These factors help to account for why the Tibet’s fledgling Buddhist community would have favoured the Śāntarakṣita school over its rival in the debates at bSam yas monastery. After all, the debate was not just about determining Buddhist scholastic superiority but also about responding most pragmatically to the socio-historical demands of Tibetan society.

The Iconographic Distribution of 9th to 12th Century Buddhist Imagery from Bihar and Orissa

Behrendt, Kurt (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA)

This study attempts to characterize Buddhist sculptural production in Bihar and Orissa from the 9th to 12th century period on the basis of recovered sculpture from the sites of Nalanda, Antichak, Kurkihar and Ratnagiri. At these mahaviharas 759 stone and bronze sculptures were recovered in the course of excavation; a body of evidence that I contend provides a picture of the broad ideological interests as reflected in their iconographic distribution. By considering the specific image production at each site we can get an idea of the patronage of certain iconographic formats and how this differed regionally. While the chance survival of a given image is perhaps arbitrary, a similar image distribution is observed when considering the sites individually or collectively. In other words, it appears that enough survives to give us a statistically valid sample reflecting an important aspect of stone and bronze image production that can help us characterize the nature of the Buddhist tradition in north India at this time. Perhaps not surprisingly the Buddha is most often depicted, followed by Avalokitesvara and Tara – together they comprise 65% of the imagery. In contrast, while a wide range of esoteric deities associated with the Tantras and Vajrayana practices are found at these sites, significantly they comprise only 11% of the total production. When the data is broken down by site it is clear that esoteric imagery was more important in eastern Bihar and Orissa. This evidence is interesting in light of the textual evidence, which would seem to indicate a greater importance of esoteric practices at these monastic centers. The data examined in this study does however reveal some specific contexts where esoteric deities are particularly emphasized. While giving us only a part of the larger picture, the total recovered stone and bronze imagery from Nalanda, Kurkihar, Antichak and Ratnagiri does provide a significant body of data that is geographically and temporally specific. While this evidence undoubtedly reflects ideological interests of the Buddhist communities active in Bihar and Orissa in the 9th to 12th century, how this information should be interpreted is a topic that I hope might elicit a productive discussion among the assembled scholars at the IABS conference in Vienna.

 

The Development of Colossal Images within the Buddhist Tradition

Brancaccio, Pia (Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA)

The introduction of colossal images within the Buddhist tradition and the tremendous popularity they engendered across diverse cultural regions is a theme often neglected in the discourse surrounding the development and success of cult images in Buddhism. The present paper investigates the emergence of colossal icons in the northwest of the Indian Subcontinent and discusses possible links between the development of such icons and specific religious practices. It will also examine how the diffusion of colossal images may be linked to the widespread popularity of particular artistic media in Buddhist art such as stucco and living rock. Finally, this paper will explore the mechanisms that may have led to the southward diffusion of Buddhist ‘colossi’ towards the Deccan Plateau and Sri Lanka.

 

Kingship, the Kanheri Caves, and the Development of the Buddhist Image Cult in the Western Deccan

DeCaroli, Robert (George Mason University, Arlington, VA, USA)

In discussing the rise and spread of the Buddhist image cult, insights can be gained by examining the physical contexts into – and through – which these practices spread. This paper will explore the expansion of image-based practices into the Western Deccan with special attention given to the Kānherī caves. These artistic innovations will be shown to have taken place under the rule, if not the direct patronage, of the Sātavāhana rulers. This study reveals parallels between Buddhist developments in the Deccan and in the Mathurān heartland. In both cases the rise of image-center devotion coincides with a contemporaneous diffusion of the use of royal portraiture and an expanded use of imagery in Hindu and Jain contexts. Therefore, the rise and development of the image cult in South Asian Buddhism must be understood as only one aspect of a larger societal and cultural shift towards the increased public use of figural imagery. Buddhist literary discussions of images and of the Buddha’s bodily form may therefore be better understood as justifications of practices which find their inspiration in developments located partially, even primarily, outside the Buddhist tradition.

A Poetic Inscription from Ajaṇṭā and the Image Cult in Early Medieval Indian Buddhism

Morrissey, Nicolas (University of Georgia, Athens, USA)

This paper will take as its point of departure a fifth century CE inscription from the Buddhist caves at Ajaṇṭā which contains an explicit description of benefits to be gained by those who have made an image of the Buddha. The inscription – or rather, painted record – is unfortunately partially abraded, which has consequently resulted in several variant readings with significant discrepancies. This paper will revisit these readings in order to establish, to the extent possible, a viable interpretation of the record. The terminology of the record is of substantial interest not only due to the manner in which it refers to the image cult, but also because it may also contain the terms “mahāyāna”, “śākyabhikṣu” and a version of what has been identified as a “mahāyāna donative formula”. This paper seeks to explore the implications of a mahāyāna affiliation of the record, if indeed one can be established, in addition to pursuing possible textual sources for the vocabulary, syntax and ideology of the position articulated with regard to the image cult. A discussion of comparative textual, epigraphic and art historical parallels will also be included in order to provide a historical context for this interesting record.

 

The Bodhisattva in the First Meditation in Early Indian Images

Rhi, Juhyung (Seoul National University, Seoul, KOR)

The Bodhisattva’s First Meditation under the Jambu tree is a theme treated with relatively high importance in early Indian Buddhist art, and several iconic images of the theme are known from both Gandhara and Mathura.  Furthermore, it is highlighted in an intriguing manner in the literature of Mulasarvastivada.  This paper explores the significance of the theme in early Buddhist imagery especially in relation to the conception of bodhisattva images. 

 

Evolution of Buddhist Image Cult Represented in Early Andhran Sculpture

Shimada, Akira (State University of New York at New Paltz, New Paltz, USA)

Early Buddhist sculpture created in the ancient Andhra region of Southeastern India includes a variety of representations of the Buddha in symbolic and anthropomorphic forms. By exploring this extensive corpus of sculpture dated to between ca. 150 BCE and 300 CE, this paper intends to discuss how Andhran Buddhists evolved their interest in the anthropomorphic representation of the Buddha and eventually established their own style of Buddha images as a cultic object. Main issues for discussion would include:

- Evolution of the symbolic signs to represent the Buddha in Andhra and its relationship with the anthropomorphic representation of the Buddha.

- Images of monks and their chronological and iconographical relationships with Buddha images.

- Divergent iconographies of Buddha images as the protagonist of narrative reliefs versus independent icons, and the possible implications of these significant differences for understanding the early stages of Buddhist image worship in Andhra.

Bodily Care: An Identifying Marker in Buddhist Monasteries of Ancient India and China

Heirman, Ann (Ghent University, Ghent, BEL)

Buddhist monasteries in both Ancient India and China have developed in dialogue with their wider (Buddhist and) non-Buddhist environment. The importance of this constant dialogue on the Buddhist articulation of their monastic practices, precepts and identity has rightfully attracted the attention of Buddhologists studying the historical, institutional and social development of Buddhist monasticism. Still, some aspects of monastic life that are best studied within these interactive contexts have not yet received the attention they deserve. One such essential but often overlooked aspect of monastic life are the practices and objects regulating bodily care. This paper will critically examine the various practices and objects of bodily care, more specifically, this paper looks at their codification in various Vinayas of Ancient India and how they were subsequently understood and applied in the different cultural context of China. For monastic authors, bodily care primarily involves bathing, washing, cleaning, shaving and trimming the nails, activities of everyday life that are performed by lay people and monastics alike. In this sense, they are all highly recognizable and, while structuring monastic life, equally provide a potential bridge between two worlds that are constantly interacting with each other: monastic people and their lay followers.

As it will be shown, the dynamic processes of codification, implementation and recodification (in respectively India and China) of these Buddhist practices and objects of bodily care are both a result of and means for interaction with the lay community. Bodily practices might be viewed as relatively simple and elementary, but it is exactly through their triviality that they give us a clear insight into the structure and development of Buddhist monasteries. This paper displays how, over time, Buddhist monks and nuns have, through their painstaking effort into regulating bodily care, defined the identity of the Buddhist saṃgha, overtly displaying it to the laity.

 

Annoying Lay-People: Public Opinion and Vinayic Concerns in Tibetan Monasteries (12th to 20th Century)

Jansen, Berthe (Leiden University Institute of Area Studies, Leiden, NED)

In the vast corpus of Vinaya texts, the concern for the reputation of the Sangha is regularly expressed. Behaving badly in full view of the laity is one of the thirteen Saṅghāvaśeṣa dharmas (dge ’dun gyi lhag ma’i chos bcu gsum), listed in the Prātimokṣa. The reason commonly given is that if monks misbehave in their presence, the householders will lose faith in the Dharma. While this Vinayic worry over the Saṅgha’s good name is found throughout the Buddhist world, the kind of monastic behaviour that annoyed the lay-people varied according to the time and place. Public opinion was crucial for those monastic communities that were economically dependent on the laity. But how important was this there where monasteries became important players in the local economy? The Tibetan monastic guidelines (bca’ yig) also echo the Vinaya in this, but at the same time these texts, ranging from the late 12th to the 20th century, are often reactions to the realities on the ground. These works convey the problems that the monks sometimes caused in lay-society and how they were solved by certain figures in authority – sometimes with the help of the reasoning found in Vinayic texts, but also by coming up with purely pragmatic solutions. The monastic guidelines then are sources in which orthodoxy and orthopraxy come together.

In this paper, I will firstly explore the reasons for the emphasis on accommodating lay-people and further argue that these works show the way certain Vinayic concepts were adapted and transformed so as to fit the Tibetan context. Furthermore, the lay-people’s reactions to the monks and vice versa show the contemporary and local lay-sensibilities. The way that the monks responded with new rules and other measures demonstrates that – unlike what is sometimes argued – the relationship between the Tibetan monastery and society was not simply hegemonic, but one in which it was crucial to reach a consensus.

 

Friend or Enemy? A Critical Examination of the brāhmaṇa Presence in the Pāli Vinaya

Maes, Claire (Ghent University, Ghent, BEL)

It goes without saying that the various ascetic movements present during the formative stages of the early north Indian Buddhist monastic community (5th to 1st century BCE) had a significant influence on the development of both the early Buddhist monastic precepts and structures, and on the early Buddhist identity rhetoric.

Any study aimed at understanding the history of the early Buddhist monastic community must, therefore, necessarily try to reconstruct the nature of the interaction of the Buddhists with their ascetic others, and consider the questions how this interaction influenced the development of their organization, or also, how these ascetic others were perceived and dealt with and how already their mere presence affected the self-perception and definition of Buddhists.

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to our current understanding of the dynamic and dialectical role of the early Buddhists’ ascetic others by critically examining the various references made to brāhmaṇas in the Buddhist monastic code of the Theravāda school, the Pāli Vinaya. For brāhmaṇa ascetics constituted one important but difficultly understood category of ascetic others. Throughout the various narratives of the Pāli Vinaya brāhmaṇas are explicitly referred to quite frequently. First, to better apprehend the complex category of brāhmaṇas, the reference field of the denomination brāhmaṇa itself is critically scrutinized. For who exactly falls under the denomination brāhmaṇa; is the term having an unambiguous one-on-one correspondence, or is it an umbrella term denominating various different groups of people? Second, I ask to the narratological level of the Pāli Vinaya how it refers to these brāhmaṇa others and what it establishes with these very references. Finally, our findings are interpreted against the two current but diametrically opposed theories that the Buddhist movement either originated as a heterodox reaction against the culturally dominant Brahmanic tradition or that, conversely, it originated in the non-Brahmanic culture of “Greater Magadha”.

This critical examination of the brāhmaṇa presence in the Pāli Vinaya will both enhance our understanding of the dynamic and dialectical role of ascetic others, and throw some more light on the important but vexed question of the role brāhmaṇas played on the development of the early Buddhist monastic tradition.

 

Guṇaprabha, the Vinayasūtra, and the Changes in Buddhist Monastic Beliefs and Practices in 7th-8th Century India

Nietupski, Paul (John Carroll University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA)

In the seventh and early eighth centuries north Indian Buddhist monasteries responded to widespread changes in local communities and reductions in state support by allowing new rituals and reformulated rationales in the monastic curriculum. Admission to the community was granted to a broader range of religious practitioners. These changes are described in the Vinaya texts of Guṇaprabha (ca. 550-630), Śākyaprabha (ca. seventh century), and Vinītadeva (ca. 630-700). The new parameters can be measured by the expanded definitions of the terms mantra and tantra, here not “esoteric,” or “antinomian” as known elsewhere in later centuries, but as elaborations of earlier Buddhist monastic beliefs and practices. These included medical therapies, problems of theft, or “taking what is not given,” worshipping non-Buddhist deities, engagement with emanated deities (sprul), engagement with women, and others. These definitions and discussions in the texts contribute to our understanding of Indian Buddhism of the seventh to eighth centuries, and the gradual changes in allowable theories and practices. The method is to use ca. third century CE Mūlasarvāstivāda monastic texts to define the key terms and ideas, and compare these definitions with those described by Guṇaprabha, Śākyaprabha, and Vinītadeva. Then, thirteenth to fifteenth century Tibetan Vinaya commentaries by Tsonawa (13th century), Butӧn Rinchendrup (1290-1364), and the First Dalai Lama (1391-1475) will be used to highlight retrospective understandings and changes implemented in Tibetan Buddhist monastic life. 

Hume as a Western Mādhyamika: The Case from Ethics

Garfield, Jay L. (National University of Singapore, SGP); Silbert, Doris (University of Melbourne, Melbourne, AUS)

Many philosophers looking for homologies to Buddhist ethics in the West have turned either to the tradition of Aristotle or to that of Mill. And many philosophers who have noted affinities between Hume's views and those of some Buddhists (whether Śrāvakayāna or Madhyamaka) have referred to his metaphysics. These affinities are real. And they suggest affinities between Humean ethics and Buddhist ethics, which turn out also be be real and to be quite profound. I discuss the relation between Hume’s ethics and his metaphysics and how Humean ethics can help us to understand the structure of Buddhist ethics, especially as articulated in Madhyamaka.

 

Personal Identity and Moral Philosophy in Recent Interpretations of Buddhist Thought

Hanner, Oren (University of Hamburg, Hamburg, GER)

Contemporary Western philosophers who adopt a skeptical approach to personal identity, such as Derek Parfit, Charles Taylor and Galen Strawson, develop their ideas already informed by the Buddhist critique of the unified self. At the same time, we can see that their works shaped in many ways the terminology and philosophical methods used by Buddhist scholars, like Matthew Kapstein, Mark Siderits and Charles Goodman, to analyze themes in Buddhist ethics and personal identity. This bilateral influence is an interesting feature of what we may call the late post-contact period. We thus find in the interpretations offered by Buddhist scholars who write in a Western philosophical style the two components: the influence of the Buddhist concept of anātman, seen through the eyes of modern Western philosophy.

This paper focuses on the relation between ethics and personal identity in these recent interpretations, primarily in Charles Goodman's defense of his consequentialist reading. Here, the deconstruction of the unified self serves, on the one hand, to establish ethical theory; for example, when used to support altruism as a rational attitude. But on the other hand, it challenges the very core of ethics – be it our ability to stay committed to morality over time or our responsibility for past actions. These problems and others are addressed in Western philosophy by defining criteria of personal identity. They were also discussed, from a somewhat different perspective, in Buddhist texts. By tracing the ways in which the concept of anātman was channelled into ethical reasoning, I will examine the extent to which the Western interpretations reflect Buddhist ethical principles, and in particular, the manner in which they choose to deal with the tension between personal identity and ethical theory based on the principle of anātman.

 

Non-Self and Ethics: Kantian and Buddhist Themes

O'Hagan, Emer (University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, CAN)

My presentation begins by making a case for a Kantian version of the Buddhist distinction between ultimate and conventional truths about the self, and offering a demonstration of how this distinction operates within Kant’s ethical theory.  We can see a clear account of this distinction in Kant’s discussion of the duty and nature of self-knowledge.  Kant’s position on the self has strong parallels with a Buddhist view of the self, especially once it is acknowledged that self-knowledge plays a significant role in moral development.  A study of the relation between non-self and ethics is illuminated by Kant’s discussion of the limits of self-knowledge and its role in self-purification.  A defense of the significance of these parallels requires that some concerns about relevant dissimilarities be addressed.  In general terms the issue is whether Kant’s view of the self involves metaphysical and ontological, or pragmatic commitments.  This is relevant to the question of whether Kant’s account of moral agency can be grounded in practical reasons.  If the anatta doctrine requires a commitment to the view that there is no ultimate self then it seems unlikely that Kant’s appeal to the standpoint of agency can be maintained.  Or, to put the worry in other terms, if Kant’s view is that the self is “merely” pragmatically real, then it is not part of an ultimate ontology and does not exist.  I argue that this worry is groundless and that Kant’s position cannot be dismissed so readily.  Kant’s position is in step with the Buddha’s refusal to answer the question whether or not there is a self when asked directly (“Ananda (Is There a Self?)”, Samyutta Nikaya).  Moreover, the significance of practical reason in Kantian philosophy has broader implications for discussions about self and ethics, for it is from that standpoint that reasons for moral action are established.  I argue that this consequence of the Kantian position is a strength which poses deep problems for accounts of Buddhist ethics which divorce themselves from the practical standpoint.

 

A Leitmotif of Buddhist Sacred Landscape: Mount Wutai and the Creation of Sacred Sites across the Japanese Archipelago

Andrews, Susan (Saint Joseph's University, San Francisco, USA)

In the seventh century Mount Wutai 五臺山emerged as the foremost sacred place in Tang China (618-907). Its holy status was rooted largely in scriptural claims that the mountain was home to the Buddhist deity Mañjuśrī 文殊. While the scholarship of Lin Yunrou 林韻柔 (2009) and Raoul Birnbaum (1983, 2004) among others has revealed much about the mountain’s history within China’s borders, it has had considerably less to say about the territory’s later and larger East Asian significance. Taking as my starting point Mount Wutai’s replication at Kōchi’s 高知Godaisan 五臺山, in this paper I endeavor to suggest what the mapping of Mount Wutai’s landscapes—real and imagined—onto Japanese soil accomplished in the Heian (794-1185) and Kamakura (1185-1333) periods.

As the statuary, inscriptions, temple gazetteers, and monastic biographies around which this paper is built establish, the practice of linking structures outside Tang and Song China to Wutai “originals” was not restricted to Godaisan. Quite the opposite, tradition recorded in Seiin’s 静胤 (c. 1197) twelfth-century Tōnomine ryakki 多武峰略記 (A Brief History of Mount Tōnomine) and documents discovered within the cavity of the famous Seiryōji shaka nyorai zō 淸涼寺釋迦如來像 (The Seiryō Temple Sculpture of Śākyamuni Tathāgata), for instance, holds that the mountain served as a template for the creation of structures atop Mount Atago 愛宕山 and Mount Tōnomine 多武峰.

With Mount Wutai’s replication at this triad of Japanese sites—Godaisan, Atago, and Tōnomine— at the center of my inquiry, in this paper I will examine relationships between the past and the present; reception and re-presentation; the local and the translocal contexts of religious practice and belief. The types of broader questions that will orient my exploration of Mount Wutai’s replication across the Japanese archipelago between the seventh and fourteenth centuries will include: How do local religious communities differently interpret and strategically apply received traditions? What relationship obtains between the creation of local holy place and the fashioning of religious identities that are not territorially bound? What does the writing and rewriting of the past accomplish for successive generations of practitioners? Highlighting the role that replication played in the growth in scale and geographic reach of the Wutai world, this investigation should call attention to the value of examining local traditions in their larger East Asian context.

 

The Literary Wutaishan

Cartelli, Mary Anne (Hunter College, New York, USA)

Mount Wutai is a destination to be ascended and worshipped in word and image. In the Mount Wutai literature, the mountain is a synthesis of geography and iconography and of matter and spirit, simultaneously representing both the mundane and transcendental worlds. The literary motifs of the Mount Wutai literature are based on the numinous traces (lingji 靈跡) of the mountain as described in the early travel records, such as the Gu Qingliang zhuan 古清涼傳 and the Guang Qingliang zhuan 廣清涼傳. These traces reflect the religious themes of Chinese Buddhism and articulate the extraordinary characteristics associated with the mountain as the pure land of the bodhisattva Mañjuśrī. They are also associated with the sutra literature and the wall-painting of the mountain in Cave 61 at Dunhuang. My talk will focus on the imagery and themes of the steles, gazetteers, poems, tales, and other Chinese literature associated with the mountain from the Tang through Qing dynasties.

 

Sacred Geography: New Perspectives on the Study of Mount Wutai

Chen, Jinhua (The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, CAN)

This article proposes to study a marchmount of exceptional importance for East Asian Buddhism. It is Mount Wutai (Lit. Mountain of Five Terraces), located in central China and widely venerated by Buddhist believers from all over East Asia. It will not treat sacred space as a dead and immobile entity; nor will it isolate it from sacred time or religious, intellectual and socio-political backgrounds. But rather, it will treat Mount Wutai as a sacred site in specific historical and intellectual contexts. It will be carried out around three foci: (1) the ways legends and local histories represent the perceived sacrality of this sacred site, and the role that (2) relics and (3) images (including paintings, statues, and maps) played in creating, recreating and sustaining this mountain's status as a key Buddhist sacred site.

 

Visions in Translation: Zhangkya Rölpé Dorjé’s Guidebook and the Reinvention of Qing-dynasty Wutai Shan

Chou, Wen-shing (Hunter College, New York, NY, USA)

The late 18th and early 19th century witnessed an unprecedented increase in the production of Tibetan and Mongolian language guidebooks to Wutai Shan, attesting to the mountain’s growing popularity among Mongol and Tibetan pilgrims in this period. This paper considers one particularly instrumental Tibetan guidebook to Wutai Shan initiated by Zhangkya Rölpé Dorjé (1717–1786), the resident Tibetan Buddhist master in the Qing Court and one of the most prodigious Buddhist scholars of the 18th century. That Chan and Huayan Buddhist tales of encounter with the bodhisattva Mañjuśrī, along with pre-Buddhist legends of immortals, are carefully preserved and re-interpreted in this work calls into question how Tibetan Buddhists, and in particular Gelukpa hierarchs and scholars from Mongolia and Amdo Tibet, re-imagined Chinese Buddhist history and the place of the Gelukpa tradition therein. As this text became one of the primary sources for pilgrims from Tibet and Mongolia, it also served as an important agent in mediating and dictating pilgrims’ experience of Wutai Shan. Rölpé Dorjé’s guidebook therefore invites a reevaluation of Gelukpa scholasticism and the formation of Wutai Shan’s religious identity for the Pan-Tibetan Buddhist world from the 18th century onward.

 

The Role of Wutaishan in the Religious Practice of Huayan Buddhism

Hamar, Imre (Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, HUN)

The Huayan Buddhism has a close relationship wit­­h Wutaishan. As it is widely known one of the canonical sources for Mañjuśrī’s presence on Wutaishan is the Avataṃsaka-sūtra. Kojima Taizan claims that Wutaishan was the centre of Huayan Buddhism, as several outstanding Huayan scholars lived on Wutaishan, and their teachings had special features in contrast with the scholars in the other centre at Zhongnanshan. One of them was Chengguan 澄觀 (738-839), the fourth patriarch of the Huayan school who lived there for ten years and authored his commentary on the Huayan jing on the request of monks residing in the Da huayan si. He emphasised that the sacred land of Wutaishan had a great impact on him. His work was associated with dreams and auspicious signs. Huayan Buddhism is regarded as a philosophical school of Chinese Buddhism which advocates the interrelatedness of all phenomena. However, in this paper we are going to show that Huayan Buddhism is also connected with popular beliefs and practices. Several collections of miraculous stories about the Avataṃsaka-sūtra were written, and some stories are connected with Wutaishan. The earliest extant collection is the Account of Stimuli and Responses Related to Buddhāvataṃsaka-sūtra (Dafangguang fo huayan ganying zhuan 大方廣佛華嚴經感應傳, hereafter Ganying zhuan), compiled shortly after 783 by Hu Youzhen 胡幽貞 (?-783+). This collection must have been based on The Collection of Avataṃsaka-related Numinous Tales (Huayan zuanling ji 華嚴纂靈記), which has been lost since the 14th century, though citations by Chengguan, Purui 普瑞 (1254-1329), Zongmi 宗密 (780-841), Yongming Yanshou 永明延壽 (904-975) and Tan’ei 湛叡 (1271-1346) have survived. The other early source of the miraculous stories is The Record of the Transmission of the Avataṃsaka-sūtra (Huayan jing zhuanji 華嚴經傳記) compiled by Fazang 法藏 (643-712). Although Huayan Buddhism declined after the Tang dynasty three further collections are extant: the first is the Short Record of Account of Stimuli and Responses Related to Avataṃsaka (Huayanjing ganying lüeji 華嚴經感應略記) by Zhuhong 祩宏 (1535-1615), the second is Hongbi’s 弘璧 (1598-1669) Causes of Stimuli and Responses Related to the Avataṃsaka-sūtra (Huayanjing ganying yuanqi zhuan 華嚴經感應緣起傳), and the third is the Chronological Account of the Efficacies of Huayanjing (Lichao huayan chiyan ji 歷朝華嚴持驗記) written by Zhou Kefu 周可復 under the Qing dynasty.

 

Development of the Wutai Cult during the Silla Dynasty

Lee, Sangyop (Stanford University, CA, USA)

The depiction of the initiation and development of the Silla Wutai (Kr. Odae) cult as given in the Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms can be summarized as follows: Chajang (fl. ca. 650), who made a pilgrimage to Mt. Wutai during his study in China, first identified a group of five mountain peaks in the present day Kangwŏn province as the Korean counterpart of the Mañjuśrī abode. A few decades later, two princes of the Silla Dynasty, Poch’ŏn and Hyomyŏng, retreated to the Mt. Odae and experienced visions of myriad buddhas and bodhisattvas in each mountain peak. Poch‘ŏn stayed in the mountain and later developed his vision into a complex system of religious practice that incorporated sūtra reading, divination, repentance ritual, and devotional belief in Mañjuśrī, Guanyin, Kṣitigarbha, Maitreya, Śākyamuni, and Amitābha.

This paper will attempt to reconstruct the development of the Silla Wutai cult through a critical reading of these accounts. First, it will introduce some of the major controversies regarding the historical reading of these records. Second, it will challenge the understanding that Chajang was the actual initiator of the Korean Wutai cult who solely introduced the tradition into the country. This will be argued from some contextual discrepancies and a particular narrative idiosyncrasy found in most of his stories related to Mt. Odae that seems to help bolster only the authorities of the mountain’s local Buddhists. Third, a comparison between Poch‘ŏn’s practice system and contemporary Chinese Wutai cult will be made, and it will be argued that Poch‘ŏn’s Odae cult can be better understood within the context of indigenous developments of Silla Buddhism than in connection to the Chinese Wutai cult. These discussions will lead to the conclusion that the advent of the Silla Wutai cult serves as another interesting example of “idea diffusion” in cultural transmission.

 

A Transposable Sacred Mountain: Flying Mañjuśrī and Moving Mount Wutai

Lin, Wei-Cheng (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, USA)

Unlike an icon or relics, both portable objects of sacred power, a sacred site fixed in place resists relocation. Indeed, as Jonathan Z. Smith once argued, “there is one mode of transposition [of the sacrality] that is most difficult for ritual praxis and thought: the transposition of space marked as sacred.” A sacred site thus entails a physical journey of the pilgrim that overcomes the distance between the sacred and the profane. Mount Wutai, as its sacred mountain cult spread in medieval East Asia from central China to its neighboring regions and countries, however, defied the concept of an unmovable sacred site.

This paper investigates the dissemination of the sacred mountain cult in the western border around Dunhuang, as well as the Western Region to its west, from the tenth century (of the Guiyijun period) into the Xi Xia period (1038-1227). In particular, it explores the critical role of “sacral image” in developing and shaping the cult once it was transmitted outside the sacred field of Mount Wutai. A primary example of this investigation is a silk painting that has been titled “Mañjuśrī of Wutaishan on his lion” (ca. late 10th c.), from the Library Cave in Mogao near Dunhuang and currently in the collection of the Musée Guimet (EO3588). With its style showing influences from the Uigurs and Tanguts, the painting provides evidence for the reception of the sacred mountain cult in the bordering region as to how cultic belief was appropriated in the regional visual culture and tradition. Drawing from other available visual and textual sources, I argue that rather than a simple depiction of the bodhisattva, the image of Mañjuśrī riding his lion in this regional visual language and convention was meant to re-envision the sacred presence of the bodhisattva. In this revisioned presence, the flying Mañjuśrī straddling his holy beast was regarded as capable of transposing in vision the sacred mountain to the border region, thus reversing the usual relations between the unmovable mountain and peripatetic pilgrims. Eventually, this paper demonstrates that it is the vision of the bodhisattva’s true presence that takes primacy in the religious imagination of Mount Wutai that made possible “the transposition of the space marked as sacred.”

 

First Mongols at Wutai: The Peregrinations of Sumpa Khenpo Yeshé Peljor

Sullivan, Brenton (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, CAN)

In the year 1743, the illustrious Mongol lama known as Sumpa Khenpo (1704-1788) was suffering from a terrible, long-term illness. He thought to himself, “were I to die, it would be meritorious to do so at Five-Peaked Mountain.” Such a wish resembles the well-known practice among Mongols of interring the remains of their deceased at Mount Wutai with the hope of securing a better rebirth for their loved ones (Charleux 310). Sumpa was denied permission to go there and was told instead that he had better return to his home monastery to convalesce. It was not until 1750 that he finally made the trek from his base in northeastern Tibet (Amdo), through Inner Mongolia, to Mount Wutai.

Sumpa Khenpo’s pilgrimage to Wutai is important for a number of reasons. To begin, he was one of the earliest Mongols to have made pilgrimage to Wutai for which we have record (Charleux 276). In fact, his three distinct journeys to the mountain—in 1750, 1767, and 1774—marked the beginning of the historic wave of Mongol patronage to Wutai that reached its zenith in the nineteenth century (Elverskog 250; Charleux 282). Other scholars of Tibetan and Mongolian Buddhism have suggested that pilgrimage to major sites such as Wutai facilitated the strengthening of cultural unity and the development of ethnonationalist identities among Tibetans and Mongols (Kapstein 1998; Elverskog 2011). Sumpa’s detailed account of his pilgrimage to Wutai thus gives us concrete examples of the communal activities in which Mongols and Tibetans engaged while at Wutai.

Second, Sumpa’s detailed descriptions of his multiple visions of Mañjuśrī as well as the specific sites he visited along his pilgrimage circuit both complement and alter the vision of pilgrimage to Wutai derived from Chinese sources. For instance, Sumpa’s pilgrimage circuit shows a definite bias toward the Tibetan Buddhist institutions on the mountain, while his encounters with Mañjuśrī were imbued with Chinese culture insofar as the clothes the bodhisattva wore and the gifts he offered derived from a Chinese context.

Finally, during Sumpa’s two later trips to Wutai he visited with the Dynastic Preceptor, the famous Changkya Rölpé Dorjé (1717-1786). The meetings between these two eminent lamas were not inconsequential or merely ceremonious. On the contrary, they discussed important “political” or “administrative” affairs, such as the appointment of abbots at major monasteries and the selection of the rebirths of important lamas. Thus, Sumpa’s account illustrates the cosmopolitan, political networks that formed at Wutai beginning in the eighteenth century.

 

Beyond Seeking for Sacredness: Carving the Jiaxing Canon嘉興藏 at Mount Wutai

Zhang, Dewei (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, CAN)

It has attracted much scholarly attention in recent years to explore how the mobilization of resources has affected the development of Chinese Buddhism. By examining the result of a particular mobilizing project, we can detect the interplay of various elements involved and thus are able to well appreciate the vitality of Buddhism. As a huge project that required tremendous human and material resources to carry through, the making of the Buddhist canon in pre-modern East Asia provides us with a rare opportunity in this regard. Among more than twenty printed versions of the canon, the Jiaxing canon deserves particular attention for two reasons: it was the biggest one, consisting of about 12,000 fascicles of Buddhist texts; its creation was most time-consuming, requiring more than 200 years to finish. Scholars have tended to view the creation of this canon as a story of courage and commitment, but they fail to explain a significant and meaningful fact: the project was originally planned to complete within ten years. So, why were the organizers of the project so ambitious to produce the canon in such a short time period in the first place? What caused the procrastination of about 200 years? Was it accidental? How could the project still be finished after experiencing such a delay? What changes happened over the course of time?

This paper examines the early stage of making the Jiaxing canon at Mount Wutai in hope of discovering the elements that were at work and how their interaction affected the project. That phase lasted only four years, from Wanli 17 to 20 (1589-1592), but the result has proved most fruitful. This paper reveals that Mount Wutai was deliberately chosen as the site for the project for both sacred and secular reasons. Religiously, as scholars have recognized, this arrangement was to enhance the attractiveness of the project by borrowing sacredness from Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī. A more important but oft-ignored fact, however, is that the mountain was actually seen by the organizers of the project as an ideal location to draw resources from Beijing, especially from the inner and outer court. Such a strategy resulted in the failure to get the local people of Shanxi, in which Mount Wutai was located, involved in the project, even though they had already shown strength and enthusiasm enough for supporting this kind of project. That the coordinators of the Jiaxing project mostly came from South China might be a contributing factor to this strange ignorance. This heavy dependence on the court proved disastrous: when the supporting force at the Wanli court collapsed as consequence of intense court strife, the project was forced to move from Mount Wutai to south China, thereby marking the gloomy end of the early stage of producing the canon. Afterwards, the Jiaxing project continued slowly, and only with local support it obtained from Jiangnan societies was it finally brought to a completion more than one hundred years later than planned.

 

Discussant: Sharf, Robert (University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, USA)

 

 

Where is the Buddha Located? Buddhist Deities and Their Avatars in the Form of ‘Auspicious Statues’

Anderl, Christoph (Ruhr Univ. Bochum, Bochum, GER)

This paper will investigate textual and iconographic narratives attached to ruìxiàng or ‘Auspicious Statues’, which became very popular from mid-Táng times onwards in the Khotan region and the cave paintings of Dūnhuáng. Not only Śākyamuni was ‘reproduced’ in this way, but also a number of other bodhisattvas and deities. The popularity and veneration of these images and the narratives attached to them entail several interesting questions: What role did they play in the transmission of Buddhism and the historiographical projections on these processes? Why is there such a great emphasis on their mobility and their ability of fast movement through the air? What function does the veneration of these images fulfill, as opposed, for example, to relics or ‘regular’ Buddha icons.

There are also a number of questions concerning the ‘identity’ of the Buddha arising: Supposedly created face-to-face with the Buddha or deity, the statues incorporate on the one hand the supernatural powers and the dharma of the ‘original’, and at the same time manifest individual will-power and the ability of decision making (e.g., the decision to move and transfer the dharma to another location), and develop specific features in local contexts.

 

Sanctifying a Country, Disuniting Believers: The Buddha’s Physical Presence as a Contested Property

Bretfeld, Sven (Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Bochum, GER)

In many Buddhist cultures, the significance of the (or a) Buddha is not reduced to his function as a source of teachings. A large number of studies has been devoted to the important function of his physical presence as “embodied” in relics, bodily descriptions and depictions, and narratives of the Buddha’s visits to other countries.

Relics and Buddha visits play a special role in fashioning collective religious identities in countries regarding themselves as remote from, or even peripheral to, the genuine centers of Buddhism. “Where the Buddha trod”, thus, extends the narrow territory of North-Eastern India and turns to a potentially global space sanctified by his bodily presence. By bridging time and space, the moving and traveling Buddha—alive or dead and in pieces—helps to “emplace” his Teaching on a new territory and to form “excentric identities.”

This also has a negative side. Matter—even the powerful material of the Buddha’s bones—is by nature exposed to destruction, theft (bone-napping), and exclusive property claims. For example, the LTTE bomb attack on the Daḷadā Māḷigāva (Temple of Tooth) in Kandy 1998 demonstrates the relationship between the vulnerability of religio-national feelings and the destructibility of religious objects. Assaults and disappropriation of religious objects and narratives have been successful demoralizing strategies in political and religious contests throughout history. Places empowered by a visiting Buddha have become a focal point of competing religious authority claims. This paper will explore some of these events in Sri Lankan religious history and draw conclusions on the vulnerable and contested aspects of the “objectified” nature of the Buddha.


Images of the Buddha’s Omniscience in the Pali Commentaries

Heim, Maria (Amherst College, Amherst, USA)

This paper explores images of the Buddha’s omniscience advanced by the Pali commentators, Buddhaghosa and Dhammapāla. I argue that the commentators attempt to assert and depict the Buddha’s omniscience by demonstrating how it worked in practice; rather than offering a theory or definition of it, they sought to show where and how it found expression. I explore two sites in which the commentators saw the Buddha’s omniscience expressed and performed: the nidānas (the opening contexts of suttas), and the Abhidhamma. I argue that they interpret his omniscience as both knowledge of particular facts (the singular histories and circumstances of his audiences) and as modes of knowing universal truths (the workings of causal interrelations of the Abhidhamma).

Surprisingly, very little work has been done on the Pali tradition’s conception of the Buddha’s omniscience. My paper will explore how central this theme was for the commentators and how it was developed through concrete images that explore a traditional conception of both the miraculous and wondrous nature of the Buddha’s achievement, as well as the extraordinary potential for (and constraints of) human knowledge.

 

“The Buddha does not live here, does he?” The Significance of Buddha Statues as Religious Objects

Krüger, Madlen (CERES-Center for Religious Studies, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany, Bochum, GER)

Buddha statues are an integral part of different Buddhist traditions and are important objects within the Buddhist symbol-system. Their usage and meaning as religious objects have faced certain transformations during recent centuries, especially during the process of globalisation and in the different conceptions of Buddhism that have emerged. In this paper I would like to present diverse views of the purpose that Buddha statues serve in Sri Lanka. As important religious objects the function of these statues are a much-discussed topic. With the case study of the so-called “Akon incident” I would like to show how different concepts of Buddhism in contemporary Sri Lanka provoke discussion of the utilization and significance of Buddha statues. These discussions include in particular the impact of the “Western” perception of Buddhism and the usage of Buddha statues as ornaments. The “Akon incident” took place in March 2010. The American rapper Akon was refused permission to perform a concert in Colombo because of his music video “Sexy Bitch” in which two bikini-clad girls were dancing in front of a Buddha statue. The original announcement that the concert would take place provoked demonstrations that ended in mobs attacking the MTV head office in Colombo and the rejection of Akon's visa application. The music video was seen as vilification of Buddhism. This presentation highlights some aspects of the discussion in which laity and monks debate the “true” understanding of the Buddha’s teaching, the impact of “Western” Buddhism and the meaning of Buddha statues.

 

Pleasing the Female Buddhas

Meinert, Carmen (Universität Bochum, Bochum, GER)

A main feature of Tantric Buddhist ritual practice is the evocation of Buddha icons through a process of visualisation. In fact, the representation of such an evoked deity is not regarded simply as an external presence, but as an internal reality. It is approached with respect and might even be seen as a close friend accompanying the adept on her or his spiritual journey. The intimacy of the relationship between Tantric practitioner and the deity may be seen in ritual manuals dedicated to pleasing those deities and in their visual representations indicating a certain degree of individualisation.

As Tantric Buddhism spread throughout Eastern Central Asia around and after the turn of the first millennium, Tantric ritual texts were translated into various languages. Textual and visual evidence which hints to a strong presence of Tantric communities in the Tangut Empire (982-1226) are among the findings from Khara Khoto. Several Chinese Khara Khoto manuscripts dedicated to the female deity Vajravārāhī also include offering rituals to the female Buddha, e.g. including details of feeding processes and multiple internal presences of the divine icon.

Moreover a number of visual representations of Vajravārāhī in thangkas and cave sites further enable us to fathom the outer ritual space which literally created a home for the deity. Internal and external dwelling places may demonstrate the reality (and not just the external presence) of the deity.

The paper aims to contribute to the discourse on Buddha images, its potency and reality.

 

The Buddha in Light of Upaniṣadic Metaphysics

Shulman, Eviatar (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, ISR)

Buddhism, as it exists and existed in South Asia, is a specimen of Indian religion and many of its practices are reminiscent of the ones popular in the religions we call Hinduism. Although the Buddha is technically not defined as a god, he effectively functions as one, serving as an object of devotion, a grantor of blessing and a possessor of the power to alter reality at will. Yet although the deep relation between the Buddha – as the focal point of the Buddhist religion - and his Indian setting is widely acknowledged, the Buddhist understanding of the Buddha is commonly discussed mainly on the basis of conceptualizations developed within the Buddhist tradition, which hinge on “the logic of the empty” or define him positively as a form of awareness. These approaches focus on the nature of the Buddha's attainment and provide no metaphysical framework for understanding his omniscience and omnipotence.

This paper will argue that there is good reason to understand the metaphysics behind the figure of the Buddha in light of non-Buddhist, primarily Upaniṣadic, thought. For example, the cosmogonies of the Upaniṣads explain the evolution of the universe as a process that is generated by the primordial movements of an original, purified, conscious substance; they place such a perfected consciousness at the heart of the universe and see physical reality as its external expression. This original being is the knowledge and power that remains at the pole of existence. Such a metaphysical paradigm can be seen to underlie the approach to the Buddha's presence in diverse Buddhist texts and contexts, which suggest that the Buddha is understood as an ontological principle, thoroughly purified and aware, while his personal existence is only an exemplification of this deeper, more essential type of being. The Buddha is first and foremost a purified conscious presence, and his potency derives from the ontological priority attributed to consciousness over the more material and externalized aspects of reality. Reading the Buddha in light of Upaniṣadic metaphysics may thus inform us about the way the Buddha was understood in classical India and help us bridge the gap between Buddhist philosophy and Buddhist religion.

The Lotus Sutra Needs Us

Kubo, Tsugunari (JPN)

Traditionally, the Lotus Sutra is seen as being taught by the historical Shakyamuni Buddha. Yet, in the chapter concerning the lifespan of the Buddha, we find that the sutra has always been taught by the Shakyamuni of eternal presence. I believe that this kind of “layered structure” appears throughout the Lotus Sutra.

Shakyamuni, in chapter two of the sutra, says that buddhas, including himself, appear in a world for one particular purpose, and the text infers that a buddha’s intention will be the fuel for the task. That task is to make all living beings be on the road to becoming a buddha. Shakyamuni also says in chapter two that what buddhas are doing is instructing and nurturing bodhisattvas. Yet, in chapter four, the text says that those in the sangha tend to overlook the intention of the Buddha’s work—that bodhisattvas must make the people grasp the road to becoming a buddha.

The stories of the text, in my opinion, indicate a recognition that buddhas, by their own actions alone, cannot create the road to becoming a buddha for every being. In this regard, for example, the stories of the prophecies indicate that the task of the buddhas can be accomplished through the actions of bodhisattvas, i.e., by the actions of all of us as human beings. Thus we are the ones who must accomplish the buddhas’ task. Given this discernment of the sutra, I will endeavor to probe the layered structure of the sutra in light of the question, “What is the Buddha?”—especially from the perspective of human beings.

 

‘God’ in the Lotus Sūtra: A Question of Function

Largen, Kristin (Gettysburg Seminary, Gettysburg, USA)

The existence and concept of God is a frequent topic for Buddhist/Christian dialogue, with the Triune God of Christianity being compared at various times to the historical Buddha, any number of bodhisattvas, and even with the concept of śunyatā. In this paper, I take a different approach. I propose to examine the concept of God in the Lotus Sūtra, not from the perspective of ontological philosophical arguments for or against God’s existence, but rather from the perspective of a functional understanding of the word “God,” based on Ludwig Wittgenstein’s language philosophy. Wittgenstein famously argued that the meaning of a word comes in its use: that is, how it functions in the context of a specific “language game.” In this vein, I argue that rather than asking the question: “Is Buddhism a theistic religion,” it is both more fruitful and constructive to ask “In the ‘language game’ of The Lotus Sūtra, is there is functioning concept of God?” The answer to that question, I argue, is “Yes”—without making any further claims either identifying or distinguishing this understanding of God from that found in Christianity. Thus, in this paper, I develop a concept of God in the Lotus Sūtra by looking at how the Buddha describes his own activity in divine terms vis-à-vis not only humanity but indeed the whole cosmos. Specifically, I examine the following actions that are typically associated with divinity, showing how, according to the Buddha’s own descriptions of his activities, he functions as “God,” even if he does not use that specific language to describe himself. The first action is creation, and by that I refer not merely to the creation of a world per se, but rather “creation” understood more broadly, including the creation of various realms and the manifestation of bodhisattvas. The second is salvation, and the specific actions of the Buddha that result in enlightenment and an attainment of Buddhahood. Here I pay special attention to chapter 25 and the teachings of Avalokiteśvara. Also included here for special consideration are the stories of those who are promised “salvation” even though their state in life would seem to preclude them from such consideration. The third is revelation, specifically the way in which the Buddha reveals himself in different appearances throughout time and space, embodying [might one even say “incarnating”?] the divine principles of truth and compassion. I conclude the paper with several specific challenges and insights that this understanding of God in the Lotus Sūtra might pose for further Buddhist/Christian dialogue.

 

Considerations on the So-Called Eternal Buddha

Matsumoto, Shiro (Komazawa University, JPN)

It is generally admitted that the existence of “the eternal Buddha” is taught in the “Life-span” chapter of the Lotus sutra. But, what is the meaning of the adjective “eternal”? Does it mean “beginningless and endless” or simply “endless”? Or, is it possible to consider that the Buddha, although he has an extremely long life hereafter, will finally enter nirvāṇa some day in the future?

Based on the interpretation stated in Vasubandhu’s commentary on the Lotus sutra, “the eternal Buddha” has been generally considered to be a sāṃbhogika-kāya. Therefore many Buddhist thinkers like Chi-tsang (549-623) and Nichiryū (1385-1464) have explained that the life-span of “the eternal Buddha” has its beginning when he was enlightened quite long ago, although some thinkers, influenced by tathāgatagarbha thought, have asserted that the Buddha is not only endless but also beginningless because of his being a dharma-kāya, which, being permanent, has neither beginning nor end.

However, the method to apply the three-bodies (trikāya) theory, which was formed later than the Lotus sutra, to the interpretation of “the eternal Buddha” does not seem to be valid. By carefully reading the original Sanskrit text and its Chinese translations, I hope to elucidate the real meaning of “the eternal Buddha” in the Lotus sutra.

 

Nichiren’s Interpretation of the Universality of the Lotus Sutra

Sekido, Gyokai (Institute of Nichiren Buddhism, Rissho University, Tokyo)

Based on the doctrines of the Lotus Sutra as translated by Kumārajīva and which he considered to be the most supreme of Śākyamuni Buddha’s teachings, Nichiren (1222-82) believed that Śākyamuni Buddha came to save the people of the Sahā world. Among the many important doctrines of the sutra, Nichiren contended that the concepts of “Attainment of Buddhahood by Those of the Two Vehicles” from chapter two and “Attainment of Enlightenment in the Eternal Past” from chapter sixteen were of particular importance and were pillars supporting the sutra’s universal indications. Prabhūtaratna Buddha’s role during “the sermon in the sky,” which began at chapter 11 and ended in chapter 22, was another great influence on Nichiren’s interpretation. As an additional consideration, he noted the importance of the vow to protect all practitioners of the Lotus Sutra by heavenly divinities in chapters 23-28. And although Amitābha Buddha is not a leading player in the Lotus Sutra, his sudden appearance in chapter 23 and the assurance that female practitioners who hear and practice according to the sutra’s teaching will reach his world provides another clue to Nichiren’s thinking.

 

Universality in Buddhism

Tola, Fernando (Institute of Buddhist Studies Foundation, Buenos Aires, ARG); Dragonetti, Carmen (Buenos Aires, ARG)

Dr. Shin’ichi Tsuda has explained in his Abstract for the Panel The Universality Of The Lotus Sūtra, of which he is the Convener, in a very scholarly and original way, “an aspect of the Universality of the Lotus Sūtra in its theological character”, and affirms that “Since the time of Gautama Siddhartha, Buddhism has consistently had the concept of God as its foundation, and without reaffirmation of that concept, Buddhism cannot convey the real meaning of its philosophy”. In our paper for this Panel we shall refer to two theses: 1. Many philosophical conceptions and ideas appear in the texts that are presented as produced by Gautama Buddha himself; these ideas show a great originality having being taught many centuries before they were brought to the rest of the world; these ideas are not banal but they have a very important philosophical value, and will constitute the philosophical foundations of Buddhism forever, even if they were taught by Him (and not only by His Abhidharmic disciples who only put to them a systematical form, which is not necessarily what makes philosophy what it is) in a non-systematical way. 2. Among these ideas there is one that marks the difference between Buddhism and its own Hindu tradition and also all the other world religions. In this point let us allow to differ from the thesis of Dr. Tsuda. Even admitting the eternity of the Buddha in the Lotus Sūtra it is difficult or even philosophically contradictory to consider Him as God. Becoming a Buddha is a possibility open to everybody who follows the Path shown by the Master, Gautama Buddha: there have been many Buddhas in the Past, there are many in the Present, and they will be many in the Future. Consequently there will not be one God in Buddhism, but an infinite number of Gods, fact that we are sure Dr. Tsuda would not admit. By the way, the possibility of making the Buddha a God is for us not something else but rather “something less”. The atheistic position of Buddhism from its very beginning contributed, just for instance, to its non-violent expansion in the rest of the world, a fact that other religions cannot attribute to themselves. 

 

Adhiṣṭhāna of the Tathāgata of the Lotus Sutra and the notion of Gegenwart Gottes of Karl Barth – Their Correspondence and a Difference

Tsuda, Shin’ichi (International College for Advanced Buddhist Studies, Tokyo, JPN)

In the history of Buddhism, the notion of an anthropomorphic God emerges, after all, in the Āyuṣpramāṇa chapter of the Lotus Sutra. For example, we find there the sentence, tatrāpi cātmānam adhiṣṭhahāmi sarvāṃś ca sattvāna tathaiva cāham (verse 4a,b), which is to be translated as follows: “I am, as ever, presenting my existence to this (Sahā world) itself and, at the same time, to each of the living beings therein, in the same manner, that is, with my whole existence respectively.” This sentence, showing impressive correspondence with the notion of Gegenwart Gottes of Karl Barth, which comprises three phases: eigentlich (intrinsic), besonders (exceptional) and allgemein (universal), thereby shows us an aspect of the universality of the Lotus Sutra as a religio-philosophical text. What, then, is the difference between these two?

Are Early Chinese Translations Translatable?

Boucher, Daniel (Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA)

The past couple of decades have seen a significant increase of interest in the earliest Chinese translations, particularly of Mahāyāna sūtras. These translations date several centuries before almost all of our Indic source materials and Tibetan translations and are thought to derive from recensions relatively close to their original composition. But despite this new and sustained attention, it is striking that there have been very few attempts to translate any of these texts as our earliest witnesses to the rise of the Mahāyāna. My paper will attempt to reflect on the hesitation to translate these texts in relation to my own encounters with one of the early translators in China. I will reflect on what scholarly translations generally attempt to accomplish and whether these early efforts in China are suited to these goals.

 

Putting the Vimalakīrti-nirdeśa into English: A Progress Report

Gomez, Luis O. (Ann Arbor, USA); Harrison, Paul (Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA)

We will present a progress report on the state of our joint translation of the Vimalakīrti-nirdeśa, tracing the history of the project since its initial stage as a translation seminar and workshop at the Mangalam Centers in the summer of 2011. We will discuss briefly our experience with the dynamics of group translation at the workshop, in the team translations that followed the workshop, and the subsequent work by a team of two translators (Harrison and Gómez) responsible for producing a final version.

The Report will describe our experience with some common problems encountered in translations generally and specific issues in the translation of Buddhist texts, particularly the translation of Mahāyāna-sūtras. We (Gómez and Harrison) will take turns addressing as many of the following issues as time permits:

—The “hybrid” nature of our source texts and of the English idiom conventionally adopted to translate those texts. Does hybridity make translation impossible or does it demand special strategies of translation?
—The state of the text and the challenges presented by a text that is, for the time being, a codex unicus.
—Previous attempts at Sanskritizing the Tibetan and Chinese versions or using them as a key to access a putative Sanskrit original. Our use of those sources.
—Problems in the translation of technical terms and consecrated formulas, including the question of deciding when a formulaic translation is in order and when a term is to be taken as part of a word play that crosses the boundaries assumed to separate technical jargon, literary conceit and poetical imagination?
—The artistry of the text and the relationship between literary interpretation and translation strategies.

 

Translating the Buddha’s Body

Gummer, Natalie (Beloit College, Beloit, USA)

What exactly are Mahāyāna sūtras, and how should we read them? In this paper, I want to explore the implications of our answer to this fundamental question for contemporary translation practices. The scholarly tradition we have inherited generally interprets these texts as repositories of doctrinal teachings, but the sūtras themselves, with their visions of cosmic transformation, elaborate self-referentiality, and striking performative elements, resist (or at least exceed) this characterization. Indeed, I have recently argued that some Mahāyāna sūtras figure their own performance as an aesthetic, dramatic form of sacrificial ritual, one that offers a verbal substitute for the bodily self-sacrifice of the bodhisattva, as well as the flesh offerings of Brahmanical ritual. But how, then, are we to interpret these sūtras? How might historical Buddhist readers (and perhaps more saliently, auditors) have experienced these overtly performative works? How does one read, recite, or hear the ritual body of the Buddha? The obvious fact that these questions resist any definitive answer should not prevent us from asking them. Indeed, if we fail to do so, we are bound to impose uncritically and ahistorically our own assumptions about what a text (not to mention a Mahāyāna sūtra) is, and how it ought to be read—and translated.

Given that our conceptions of what a sūtra is and how to interpret it are historically situated, which understandings do we privilege when we translate, and why? Translating a sūtra as a doctrinal work is quite a different undertaking from translating the aesthetically pleasing, ritually recited body of the Buddha, and such different modes of translation further enable and constrain particular avenues of interpretation for subsequent audiences. Our understanding of Mahāyāna literature would be greatly enriched through a more explicit and deliberate exploration of different interpretations of Mahāyāna sūtras, and the different modes of translation that they warrant. 

 

Translating a Translation: Methodological Issues in Working with Early Chinese Buddhist Texts

Nattier, Jan (Prachuapkhirikhan, THA)

Several decades ago it was common for scholars to assume that the earliest Chinese translators did a very poor job of rendering Indian Buddhist texts into Chinese. The great sinologist Erik Zürcher, for example, characterized the works of An Shigao as “erratic, crude, full of vulgarisms, often chaotic to the point of unintelligibility.” A number of other scholars, both western and Asian (a leading figure in this regard being the Japanese scholar Ōchō E’nichi) accused Kumārajīva of abbreviating the content of his Indic-language sources in order to produce a more accessible and appealing Chinese version. The treatment of individual words by early translators, too, was often criticized—not only in modern times but already in the medieval period, as reflected in works such as the Yiqiejing yinyi (T2128) completed by Huilin in 807 CE—with early translators being criticized for erroneously transcribing the sounds (or erroneously translating the meaning) of the underlying Sanskrit terms.

The spectacular new manuscript finds of recent years, however—above all, those in Gāndhārī—have put us in a much better position to make an accurate assessment of the nature of the Indic-language scriptures on which these early translators based their work. We now know, for example, that early recensions of Indian Buddhist texts were often much shorter than those previously known, which (if Sanskrit versions had survived at all) were generally preserved only in manuscripts dating from many centuries after the earliest Chinese translations. We also know that most—perhaps all—of the texts transmitted to China during the formative period of Chinese Buddhism were not in classical Sanskrit, but in various Indian vernaculars (the best known of these now being Gāndhārī), or at a slightly later point, in Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit.

Using this new scholarly perspective as my point of departure, I will examine two early Chinese translations of what I have elsewhere referred to as the “smaller Buddhāvataṁsaka,” i.e., the core text out of which the voluminous text by that name appears to have grown: those produced in the late 2nd century CE by Lokakṣema and members of his community (T280, 282, 283) and in the mid-3rd century CE by Zhi Qian (T281). Having discussed the general character of these works in brief, the bulk of my discussion will be devoted to how each of these two very different texts might best be translated into English.

In considering how to go about this project I will engage a number of topics related to the translation enterprise more broadly, in particular the following: (1) how to choose which version of a given scripture should be translated (here engaging in dialogue with other members of this panel as to whether such works should be translated at all); (2) methodological problems specific to the task of translating a text which is itself a translation, when we have access to a certain amount of information—but not as much as we would like—about the nature of its source-text; and (3) the question of the audience for which our translation is intended (reflecting, at the same time, on the question of the audience envisioned by the original Chinese translator himself). While there is surely no such thing as a perfect (or even an ideal) English translation of any Buddhist scripture, I will argue that by reflecting carefully upon our choices at each step of the way, we will have a better chance of producing a final product that will be accessible to the broadest possible audience while at the same time adhering to the highest scholarly standards of accuracy, transparency, and methodological rigor.

 

Some Reflections on the Translation of Mahāyāna Sūtras

Osto, Douglas (Massey University, Palmerston North, NZL)

In 1981, The Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies published an article by Paul Griffiths titled ‘Buddhist Hybrid English: Some Notes on Philology and Hermeneutics for Buddhologists’ (JIABS, 4:2 (1981), pp. 17–32). In this piece, Griffiths writes, ‘I would suggest, therefore, that a large proportion of the surviving sūtra materials in Sanskrit is better left untranslated’ (p.26). While focusing his attention on Sanskrit texts, Griffiths makes it clear that much of what he is saying may be applied to Mahāyāna sūtras in other languages as well. In the first part of this paper, I discuss the reasons Griffith gives for his suggestion, and argue that these are no longer (if they ever were) good reasons not to translate Mahāyāna sūtras into modern languages. After making the case for the academic utility of translation work on Mahāyāna sūtras, I make some suggestions as to which sūtras we may wish to prioritize in our translations and the audiences we should consider when translating. Following this I propose some guidelines for translation based on general semiotics theory, consider which version of a sūtra is best suited for translation, and discuss the utility of critical editions. Finally, I address the issues of modern technology and electronic/web-based versions of texts, and conjecture about how the use of hypertexts may best serve our future translation work on Mahāyāna sūtras.

Scenes from the Life of the Buddha before His Enlightenment in the Murals of the Kucha Region

Arlt, Robert & Hiyama, Satomi & Arlt, Robert (Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, GER)


While biographical representations of the life of the Buddha are a main theme of Buddhist art in the Gandhara region, Buddhist mural paintings in Kucha do not follow this theme. Kucha’s narrative paintings mainly show scenes of the Buddha’s sermons or the jātaka tales. However, there are depictions of some stages of the life of Śākyamuni that focus on episodes shortly before and after his enlightenment; they occupy a significant space in the temples’ décor. The chronological order of narration that characterises Gandharan Art in the depiction of the life of the Buddha can only be found in two of Kucha’s nearly 600 temple sites. This fact suggests that the life stages prior to the enlightenment of the Buddha are of minor interest to the Buddhist saṃgha in Kucha. The representations that refer to events taking place before Śākyamuni’s enlightenment also appear in different contexts than those life stages that are chronologically represented. Despite the impression that the scenes are comparatively insignificant, they seem to appear, for example, amongst the Buddha’s preaching scenes. Even the better-known narratives of pre-enlightenment events from the Buddha’s life are reproduced in unique pictorial compositions. In order to reveal the exceptionality of these narrative illustrations within the Tocharian Buddhist tradition, this paper will analyse Kucha’s Buddhist murals and their representation of Śākyamuni’s life stages before his enlightenment. The three following factors will serve as a methodological approach to the analysis of Kucha’s representations:

  • the context in which the scenes are depictedc
  • the scenes’ iconographic repertories in comparison to their precedents and coevals in India and Gandhara
  • their interactive relationships with textual sources (Sanskrit / Tocharian)

 

 

The Rendering of Buddhist Phraseology in Tocharian from a Linguistic Point of View

Hackstein, Olav (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, München, GER); Bross, Christoph

Previous scholarship has shown that the Tocharian translation of Buddhist texts often varies between direct and free translation. Our presentation will investigate the question of linguistic factors that caused the Tocharian translator to rephrase or even paraphrase the source text.

 

The Legends of the Buddha in Tocharian Texts

Habata, Hiromi (LMU München, München, GER)

Tocharian texts provide us with valuable witnesses to the transmission of Buddhist texts in Central Asia. Located between India and China, the area in which Tocharian Buddhism flourished played a role not only as a transit route, but as a center for Buddhist treasuries of Sanskrit texts and translation projects. Their translations, being their interpretations, are of great importance for analyzing Buddhist texts of which the Indian originals are lost but which were partly transmitted to China.

Focusing on the Buddha-legend in Tocharian texts, this paper aims to elucidate the transmission and the development of the Buddha-legend along the northern Silk Road. For this aim, a linguistic and philological-comparative analysis of Tocharian texts will be carried out through comparing Central Asian parallel texts and especially Indian texts on the life of the Buddha which were transmitted among the Tocharians.

In order to demonstrate the issues, some fragments from the Udānālaṅkāra and from a text of which the title is unknown will be investigated in details.

 

Sanskrit Word Forms Written in Brāhmī Script in the Old Turkish Buddhist Texts

Kasai, Yukiyo (Turfanforschung, BBAW, Berlin, GER)

In the Old Turkish Buddhist texts some Buddhist Sanskrit terminologies appear. Those terminologies were borrowed through Tocharian into Old Turkish. Thus they have forms which correspond well to the Tocharian ones. In some texts those words are written in Brāhmī, and most of them probably stem from the Mongolian period. Where the Uyghur Buddhists borrowed this Indian script from is a crucial question. The analysis of the Sanskrit word forms written in Brāhmī script may give an important suggestion for the origin of the use of this script amongst the Uyghurs.

 

Hindu Deities in Buddhist Wall Paintings of Kızıl in Kuca

Konczak, Ines (Berlin, GER)

The Buddhist site of Kızıl in Kuča comprises a small number of wall paintings that depict Hindu deities surrounding the Buddha. Besides the gods Indra (Śakra) and Brahmā, who can often be encountered accompanying the Buddha in depictions, various other Hindu deities are represented in these paintings, such as Maheśvara together with his consort Umā on his bull, Viṣṇu on Garuḍa and Kāmadeva with his bow made of flowers. The depiction of these Hindu deities is very rare in the Buddhist murals in Kızıl and the reason for their representation is not yet clear.

The paper aims to give an interpretation of the depiction of Hindu gods in the wall paintings of Kızıl based on Buddhist texts in Sanskrit and Tocharian languages found in that region. Besides that, the paper aims to verify visual models for the depiction of the Hindu deities in the paintings. Since special iconographic features of Hindu gods have been introduced in a certain region during a certain period the analysis of visual models can give us clues on chronological issues regarding the date of the paintings. For this reason the iconography of the Hindu deities in the painting will be compared with depictions in India, Kashmir and Central Asia.

 

A Contrastive Survey of the Buddhist Texts Written in Tocharian A and B

Malzahn, Melanie (Institut für Sprachwissenschaft, Universität Wien, Wien, AT)

The Tocharian elites of the third through the tenth centuries CE were Buddhists, and thanks to their support Buddhist monastic life and Buddhist learning flourished in the Tocharian-speaking community during this period. Already at the end of the third century CE, speakers of Tocharian B adapted the Indian Brahmi script for the purpose of rendering their own language and started both translating Buddhist literature into their own vernacular and also composing Buddhist religious works of their own that were not based on any specific original text in some other language. Two or three hundred years later, speakers of Tocharian A started doing quite the same with respect to their own language. Today nearly ten thousand fragments of Tocharian manuscripts are known. Just one fifth of these is written in Tocharian A, whereas the main bulk consists of documents in Tocharian B. Since to date only a small percentage of these texts is accessible via editions containing translations, it is difficult to get a comprehensive picture of the contents of Buddhist Tocharian literature preserved. In my paper I want to give an overview of the various types of this kind of literature, basing myself on the on-going edition project “A Comprehensive Edition of Tocharian Manuscripts” (CEToM) (FWF Y492). An emphasis will be laid upon what seem to be the most fundamental divergences between the respective Tocharian A and Tocharian B texts.

 

Transmission of Buddhist Texts to Tocharian Buddhism

Ogihara, Hirotoshi (Renmin University of China, Beijing, CHN)

Previous studies have already revealed that the school affiliation of Tocharian Buddhism should be (Mūla-)Sarvāstivādin. Among others, the late Prof. Kudara Kogi pointed out that the tradition of the Sarvāstivādin of the Kaśmīr region appears in the Udānālaṅkāra, a Tocharian commentary to the Udānavarga in Sanskrit which is said to be compiled by Dharmasoma.

However, the present author’s researches on Vinaya texts in Tocharian A and B allude that some traditions different from the (Mūla‑)Sarvāstivādins have been accepted by Tocharian monks at different periods from 5th century onward. It is noteworthy that those Vinaya texts in Tocharian B unearthed in Turfan, which belong to the late stage of Tocharian B, show a close affinity with the so-called Mūla-Sarvāstivādins, a fact which can be also confirmed by the Sanskrit fragments found in the same region.

On the other hand, a close affinity with the Mūla-Sarvāstivādins has rarely been detected in the fragments found in Kucha, although Dr. K.T. Schmidt recently identified most of the mural paintings in Cave No. 110 of the Kizil grottoes as belonging to the tradition of this school.

In this paper, the present author introduces the fragments found in the Kizil grottoes which seem to have belonged to one and the same manuscript. This manuscript can be classified as the classical–late stage of Tocharian B on linguistic and paleographic grounds. Given that these fragments contain avadānas or jātakas, this manuscript will be called the “Avadāna manuscript” here. The identified stories can be related to the tradition of the Mūla-Sarvāstivādins and the style of the Tocharian B version indicates that they are an adaptation of these stories in Tocharian Buddhism. It is also worthy of notice that no compilation in Sanskrit of avadānas or jātakas is known which has the same stories as the “Avadāna manuscript” in Tocharian B, a fact which suggests the possibility that the “Avadāna manuscript” was compiled within Tocharian Buddhism or was based on a lost compilation in Sanskrit.

 

The Contribution of Tocharian Texts to the Buddhist Belles-Lettres

Pinault, Georges-Jean (EPHE/Sorbonne, Paris, FRA)

The large majority of texts in both Tocharian (A and B) languages belong to Buddhist literature. This corpus can be classified according to the categories of genres that are recorded for other Buddhist languages. Besides works that belong to the three parts of every Buddhist canon (Vinaya, Sūtra, Abhidharma), and which are mostly well identified, the texts in the two Tocharian languages belong to the large array of Indian Belles-Lettres, as reflected in Buddhist literature. In the past decades significant progress has been made in collecting, editing, translating and analysing Buddhist works that were composed in Sanskrit. This has been summarised by Prof. Dr. Michael Hahn in “The Buddhist contribution to the Indian Belles-Lettres”, Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 65.4, 2010, pp. 455-471. Several Tocharian texts have definitely their sources in the types of Sanskrit texts which have been classified as follows: prose compositions, verse compositions, mixed style. The paper will give examples of such texts. In addition, some Tocharian compositions which are not based on any clearly identified Sanskrit text can be attributed to a precise genre, through the analysis of their stylistic features. It will be shown that the Tocharian writers have favored specific genres of verse compositions, such as several sub-types of stotra, and various types of mixed (prosimetric) style, used in dramas and narratives in campū style.

Reflections on the Purpose of the Kucha Paintings

Zin, Monika (Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität München, München, GER)

The real purpose of the Kucha paintings and the impact of the separate scenes and the entire decorated programme within the caves is still far from being identified. Based on painstaking studies on the representation of particular subjects and the arrangement of painted decoration in many of the better preserved caves, it is only gradually becoming clear that the decorative programme follows certain clearly conceived ideas. However, we do not yet know if the purpose of the representations was to create a conducive atmosphere for meditation, invoke themes for sermons to be delivered to visiting merchants, or perhaps simply create splendidly decorated sites, financed by the ruling elite, to induce the prosperous Silk Road caravans to visit the Kingdom of Kucha. 

Even if the knowledge at our disposal today does not provide answers to these questions, the paper will offer material for further reflection. By way of illustration, I shall opt not for the carefully executed paintings in Kucha but for the hastily – and undoubtedly cheaply – produced ones, which often lead one to assume that the paintings do not contain any recognisable iconography. This is an erroneous assumption, for even though the paintings look more like gaudy wallpaper than narratives conceived for a place of sanctity, a comparison with similar depictions reveals in them iconographic characteristics that were probably easily understood.

Discussant: Gellner, David (University of Oxford, Oxford, GBR)

 

Becoming Buddhist Anew. Some Remarks about a Buddhist Ritual Initiation

Brac de la Perrière, Bénédicte (CNRS, Paris, FRA)

In this paper, I will examine a ritual of initiation involving Burmese Buddhist laypeople, men or women, on their way to enter in a Buddhist esoteric congregation. The ritual will be analyzed against existing anthropological analysis of transitional rituals in order to show how belonging to a specific community of practitioners is built in the ritual to create the realization of a new “truly” Buddhist identity. This realization may be said to be equivalent to an “internal” conversion. Furthermore, the contrastive use of ritualism will be commented upon with the aim to identify a tendency in the Burmese religious field to differentiate in a marked way specific fields of practices qualified in Burmese as “lines” or “paths”.

 

The Buddhist Gift and the Making of Moral Worlds: Perspectives on Different Forms and Modes of Giving in a Tibetan Context

Caple, Jane (University of Manchester, Manchester, GBR)

Anthropological and historical studies of Buddhism have shown the Buddhist gift to be central to our understanding of Buddhist societies. A significant strand of this work has examined the social and economic functions of religious donation, conceptualising it as working according to the moral logics of an ‘economy of merit’, a regime of value that reproduces and reinforces social and economic hierarchies (see e.g. Spiro 1982, Mumford 1989, Clarke 1989, Cole 1998, Gutschow 2004, Rozenburg 2004, Berkwitz 2006). This paper aims to look beyond the political and economic stakes of religious donation to consider its moral stakes, in other words the ways in which practices of giving (as acts of moral consequence) relate to the (re)making of local moral worlds. It thus follows the recent ‘moral turn’ in anthropology by seeking to take morality seriously as a distinct aspect of the human condition and of social life (see e.g. Barker 2007, Heintz 2009, Fassin 2012). It approaches this through the situated local context of a contemporary Tibetan society in the People’s Republic of China and is based on the analysis of narratives collected 2008-2014. Narratives, as Zigon (2008) argues, both shape and are shaped by local moral worlds and give us a rare opportunity ‘to see and hear the articulation of competing and contesting moral perspectives’.

Firstly, the paper will examine the range of practices understood by local people as forms of giving to ‘their’ monasteries. These include practices which the existing anthropological literature has widely understood to be religious donation, such as the sponsorship of a new temple or large-scale monastic ritual or the gifting of food to monks. However, they also extend to practices that have as yet been little explored, such as shopping in a monastery shop. Within these different forms of giving we can also discern a range of modes, from spontaneous acts of giving to highly organised and collective contributions. Secondly, the paper will explore how these different forms and modes of giving are being understood, evaluated and/or distinguished by monks and lay people. What are the moral logics, underlying values, tensions and contradictions that their perspectives can reveal? How do these fit with our existing understanding of the ethics of the ‘Buddhist gift’? What are the frames of reference within which ethical reflections and moral judgements are being made? Finally, what is at stake? My interlocutors are living through a time of rapid social and economic change, perceived by many to be morally troubled. Based on previous studies, such as those by Robbins (on the Urapmin) and Zigon (on Russia), we would therefore expect to see actions bearing a strong sense of moral weight. Is this the case? If so, is the moral significance of different forms and modes of giving limited to processes of individual ethical self-cultivation? Or does it extend beyond the individual to the making of institutions and communities into the kind of moral beings people feel and hope that they should be?

 

The Paradoxical Place of Meditation in South Korean Lay Buddhism

Galmiche, Florence (Université Paris Diderot, Paris, FRA)

The development of meditative practices among lay people is regarded worldwide as one of the characteristics of contemporary Buddhism. South Korea is by no means an exception to this trend. The spirit of the so-called “Buddhist modernism” has significantly influenced Buddhist practices and values in Korea and meditation is widely praised – both by monastics and the laity – as a rational form of religious engagement, compatible with modernity. An ethnographic study of this phenomenon shows however a very contrasted if not paradoxical position of meditative practices among lay Buddhists.

The main (and monastic) Buddhist institutions are now actively promoting the Kanhwa sŏn (看話禪) form of meditation as the hallmark of Korean Buddhism. In line with this orthodox view and discourse, temples are urging lay devotees to “become real and correct Buddhists” and to turn to meditation. Among the laity, meditation is undoubtedly lauded and attracts a lot of attention: the books, broadcasting programs, conferences, classes and retreats that deal with this topic are quite successful. However, one can also hear many expressions of embarrassment and dismay among Buddhists when it comes to their actual practice of meditation. For the general temple public, mostly women over 40, meditation is praised and can be a common topic of discussion, but it is also kept at distance as something intimidating, even sometimes regarded as “out of one's reach”. For the public of meditation classes – which represents a different balance in terms of age and gender – this meditation practice has been more directly experienced but remains nonetheless frequently described as something difficult to access, whose instructions are not completely available to a lay audience. Whether or not they are doing meditation themselves, a majority of lay Buddhists still associate this activity with a monastic lifestyle and regularly point out the gap between its requirements and their everyday “mundane” life.

Through ethnographic research conducted in South Korea, this presentation aims at exploring the ambivalent place of meditation among lay devotees. It will show that meditation has become a reference for popular Buddhism and has partly reshaped some of the practices generally associated with it like propitiatory prayers and ceremonies. It will also try to shed light on the complexity of a movement, which aims at popularizing a practice and knowledge that have a very elitist background and are deeply connected with the definition of religious authority. Finally, it will also present how other forms of meditation, beside central Kanhwa sŏn, are emerging and developing among laity.

 

Introduction: Towards an Anthropology of Buddhism

Ladwig, Patrice (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale, GER); Sihlé, Nicolas (Center for Himalayan Studies, CNRS, Villejuif, FRA)

Through a recent series of panels/workshops, in Asia, America and Europe, the project of an “anthropology of Buddhism” as an ethnographically based, comparatively and theoretically informed shared endeavour of a community of scholars (in the way that we have seen the recent formation of an “anthropology of Christianity”) is starting to emerge, and this panel aims at contributing in a visible way to this dynamic. In the present introduction we will offer a brief overview of the existing anthropological scholarship on Buddhism and Buddhist societies, on the basis of its major themes, approaches and characteristics. Looking at the example of the relatively robust and vibrant anthropology of Christianity, we will suggest both certain sources of inspiration that specialists of Buddhism could take into consideration, and specificities of the anthropology of Buddhism. Finally, we will consider two indispensable twin dimensions (besides institutional or organizational challenges) that a proper “anthropology of Buddhism” needs to develop if it is to fulfil its promise: a comparative outlook (still largely lacking in the existing scholarship), and a more consistent engagement with larger theoretical discussions within anthropology.

 

The Transnationalism of Merit: Diaspora Communities and Cambodian Student Monks, Pilgrims and Building Projects in South Asia

Marston, John (El Colegio de México, México, MEX)

When socialist restrictions on Cambodian Buddhism were loosened in the early 1990s, Cambodian monks began traveling to Sri Lanka and India, as well as other Buddhist countries, to study. Eventually a pattern emerged whereby the study of many young monks was supported by individual sponsors from Cambodia or, more commonly, the Cambodian diaspora communities of Europe, the U.S., Canada and Australia. This corresponded with the new phenomenon of Cambodian groups going as pilgrims/religious tourists to the two South Asian countries in trips organized by Cambodian monks and prominent lay figures. This likewise impacted the situation of the student monks to the degree to which pilgrims sometimes became sponsors of student monks or publicized their need for sponsorship. These trips, and the videos generated by them, also served to generate support for projects to build Cambodian-style temples in India and Sri Lanka, especially since most of the Indian temples were close to sacred Buddhist sites. The paper will attempt to give an overview of these processes and explore the complex negotiation of religious and national identities taking place among Cambodian and South Asian actors.

 

Revisiting a Tibetan Bonpo Ceremony in Highland Nepal: An Essay in Uncompromising Anthropology

Ramble, Charles  (Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford, Oxford, GBR)

In 1992 Maurice Bloch published an article entitled “What goes without saying: the conceptualization of Zafimaniry society”. The article proposed a reworking of his own previous ethnography from the point view of the Madagascan Zafimaniry themselves. The resulting presentation, Bloch suggests, would differ substantially in terms of both structure and content from an account produced by an alien, professional anthropologist. “Buddhism”, in the formulation “Anthropology of Buddhism”, is of course metonymic for “Buddhist societies” or “Buddhist institutions”. Classical anthropology has had an uneasy relationship with literacy, an “intrusive element” (in Jack Goody’s phrase) for which various kinds of accommodation have been proposed by different authors (Cohn’s advocacy of treating historical sources “the way an anthropologist treats his field notes” is one example). In spite of these adjustments, in practice most anthropological studies of Buddhist societies (at least, those that engage with texts and doctrine) entail hybrid approaches that involve philological and historical components. What would a strictly anthropological investigation, a rigorous “anthropology of Buddhism”, yield? Taking its cue from Bloch’s experiment, this paper will revisit a ceremony that the author has previously examined from a multidisciplinary perspective, and will consider what the outcome might be if all the facets of this ceremony were examined from a more conventionally anthropological standpoint. The ceremony in question is the Dögyab, a week-long composite of Bonpo tantric performances and secular rituals, involving a substantial literary (scriptural and administrative) component, celebrated in a Tibetan-speaking part of highland Nepal.

 

Rethinking Buddhist Authority and Secular Power in Modern Myanmar

Schober, Juliane (Arizona State University, Phoenix, USA)

The complex tensions between Buddhism and politics have been the subject of anthropological writing for decades (Mendelson 1975; Tambiah 1977; Ferguson 1976, among others). More recent work has explored the history of relations between monks and political power as well as the history of scholarship on the subject. We have come to understand how colonial scholars constructed an “orthodox” Buddhism that was pristine, “other-worldly” and “non-violent”. Their interpretations of the Pali literature resonated with cultural hegemonies in the Theravada world to represent essentialized truths. Such idealized conceptions of “otherworldly” Buddhist authority and practice also informed Burmese Buddhist revivals during the U Nu and later military eras of nation-building. 

Against this history of the anthropology of Buddhism in Burma, my paper examines recent contestations when monks publicly asserted their moral authority in the face of political tensions over the nation’s future. Specifically, I explore two monastic movements in Myanmar that gained world-wide attention. They are the pro-democracy demonstrations of 2007 and the anti-Muslim 969 movement that continues to foment violence. These ethnographic examples present two divergent articulations of modern Buddhist authority that have engaged the world of secular politics in order to shape political realities and national ideologies. How must we rethink the anthropology of Buddhism in light of these contemporary monastic efforts to reshape secular politics?

 

From the Anthropology of Buddhism to a Buddhist Anthropology

Tuladhar Douglas, Will (University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, GBR)

There have been numerous excellent studies of Buddhist societies present and past conducted under the rubric of anthropology. Anthropology, however, is the study of human societies and it presumes—indeed, imposes—a number of presuppositions that deserve robust interrogation. Asad, Latour, Masuzawa, McCutcheon and others have exposed the European genealogy of ‘religion’ and shown that it depends on implicit theories about what constitutes persons and knowledge. The reflexive methodology of anthropology demands that we take seriously challenges to our own methods and frameworks that emerge through conversations with our collaborators, informants and teachers.

What would happen if we undertook research in a Buddhist milieu, but took seriously just one aspect of Buddhist doctrine: society is made up not of humans, but persons? I will argue that in the case of conservation anthropology, this is not a theoretical gambit but a wholly practical shift that liberates us from oppressive norms and implicit collaboration with powerful authorities.

 

The Hermit as Modern Saint in Contemporary Eastern Tibet

Turek, Maria (Universität Bonn, Bonn, GER)

Since the 1980s, ethnic Tibetan regions of the Sichuan and Qinghai provinces of post-Dengist China have become the scene of a vibrant religious revival. Also revived today is the traditional practice of hermitism, widely spread in all Tibetan societies, but seriously underrepresented in scholarship. 


The foremost objective of this paper is to bring up the ritual and social implications of Tibetan hermitic practices in general, and especially their revival in the post-traumatic, secularized and colonized landscape of peripheral China. In the current revival, hermits are not only important leaders; they are also often looked up to as “saints” in emic terms, they are revered as perfect embodiments of tradition, fields of merit, sought-after religious instructors and popular role models. For this contextual richness, observing the revival of Tibetan hermitism offers an opportunity of approaching this complex phenomenon from different theoretical perspectives and with the help of methodologies rooted in multiple fields.

I will present the case of a religious career of the contemporary hermit Tsultrim Tharchin, to show how he evolved from a village cadre to a local saint, an embodiment of the legendary yogin Milarepa, but with a global allure. Following the narrative of Tsultrim Tharchin’s life provokes important questions about the nature and meaning of Tibetan hermitism, especially today. Why do people, who live in a decosmologized world, choose the radical path of an ascetic? What is it about their liminal status that has them develop into embodiments of tradition? What role does renunciation play in their empowerment, also on the social plane? How is renunciation understood by the contemporary Tibetan hermits and how is it lived?

The lifestories of Tsultrim Tharchin and his disciples also allow to recognize a number of paradoxes connected with hermitism - some of them played up by the Buddhist doctrine and the ascetic ethos, others arising from the specific situation of Tibetans living under the authoritarian Chinese state. The perceived transformation of the body into an embodiment of tradition is crucial to the hermit’s ability to reconcile these contradictions, insoluble for other members of society: both the ontological dilemmas of human existence and the specific quandaries of Tibetans in a time of crisis.

The case of Tsultrim Tharchin also shows that through becoming embodiments of tradition, virtuoso hermits are empowered to perform paradoxes. Thus, they become active in the world they abandoned, attract large communities of enthusiasts seeking a life in solitude, may apply tradition to introduce reform, and in spite of their renunciate lifestyle, might subliminally embrace social and even political, collective hopes of contemporary Tibetans in the PRC.

The case study material was collected in the Yushu Autonomous Prefecture in 2007 and 2008; its results were published in a broader framework of my dissertation (“In This Body and Life: The Religious and Social Role of Hermits and Hermitages in Eastern Tibet Today and during Recent History,” Humboldt University of Berlin, 2013).

 

 

An Understanding of Buddha-Nature in the Theg chen rgyud bla'i don bsdus pa

Cha, Sangyeob (Geumgang University, Nonsan-city, Chungnam, KOR)

In the 12th century, the Tibetan Buddhist master rNgog Blo ldan shes rab (1059-1109) wrote the Theg chen rgyud bla'i don bsdus pa, the first Tibetan commentary on the Buddha-nature, in order to introduce his Tibetan students to the theory of tathāgatagarbha. Modern scholarship has focused on the facsimile reprint from a xylograph version, but has neglected rNgog Blo ldan shes rab’s commentary on the Ratnagotravibhāga that is included in the collection of the bKa ʼgdams gsung ʼbum. I shall here present the various meanings of Buddha-nature in the text published in the bKa' gdams gsung 'bum.

 

The Tibetan Reception of Āryadeva’s Catuḥśataka in Tibet: Transmission and Interpretation

Dorjee, Choying (Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö Institute, Chauntra, HP, IND)

The Catuḥśataka is the main work of Āryadeva, Nāgārjuna’s disciple. It is composed of sixteen chapters and represents one of the major early treatises of Indian Madhyamaka. This important text has been commented by Candrakīrti and Dharmapāla, the former criticizing the latter for having deviated from Āryadeva’s intended meaning. Although the Catuḥśataka has been less commented than other major Madhyamaka works in Tibet, a few commentaries of this treatise have been composed over a period of 500 years by Tibetan scholars, such as Red mda’ ba gZhon nu blo gros (1349-1412), rGyal tshab Dar ma rin chen (1364-1432), gZhang dga’ gZhan phan chos kyi snang ba (1871-1927), Kaḥ tog mkhan po Ngag dbang dpal bzang (1879-1941), and Bod sprul bsTan pa’i nyi ma (1898?-1959). Tibetan commentaries generally follow Candrakīrti’s Catuḥśatakavṛtti. However, in some particular instances they occasionally present various interpretations of some specific technical term or important concept (e.g., nirvāṇa), or use slightly different classification schemes, offering a glimpse into the complexities of the Tibetan hermeneutical debate regarding the understanding and presentation of the notion of emptiness in the context of Mādhyamika philosophy. The objective of this paper is to identify and present some key issues related to the dynamic concept of lineage transmission and transference of ideas in the Tibetan commentaries of Āryadeva’s Catuḥśataka. 

 

Entangled Textual Genealogies and Spiritual Lineages in the Tibetan Hermeneutical Discourse: The Transmission, Transformation, and Appropriation of Yogācāra-Madhyamaka Ideas by ’Ju Mi pham rnam rgyal rgya mtsho

Forgues, Gregory (University of Vienna, Vienna, AUT)

This paper deals with the transformation and appropriation by ’Ju Mi pham rnam rgyal rgya mtsho (1846–1912) of Śāntarakṣita’s (8th c.) Yogācāra-Madhyamaka (i.e., a synthesis of Madhyamaka, Yogācāra, and Pramāṇa). Tibetan scholars interpreted Indian Buddhist systems of thought through various hermeneutical approaches involving processes of inclusion or exclusion. Mi pham, one of the greatest scholars of the rNying ma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, is famous for having skillfully integrated various philosophical systems that were traditionally perceived as incompatible. His approach to Madhyamaka was strongly influenced by Śāntarakṣita as well as by his experience of rDzogs chen. His project therefore raises important questions as to why he went against the mainstream Tibetan interpretations of his time by giving to Śāntarakṣita’s syncretic approach such a prominent position in his own system. The aim of this paper is not simply to retrace the textual genealogy of Yogācāra-Madhyamaka concepts from a philological and historical perspective in order to show the flow of ideas between Mi pham and Śāntarakṣita. It is also to determine through corpus-linguistic discourse analysis the ‘lines of dispersion’ of Madhyamaka ideas in space (between Himalayan regions), in time (between the 8th and 19th centuries), and in ‘mind’ (between Buddhist traditions) as well as the specific processes of cultural transmission and transformation, resemantization, and cultural appropriation taking place in Mi pham’s philosophical project. Cultural transfers, in the present context, are multifaceted. The objective of this presentation is to show how the play of ideas in Mi pham’s work deals with hermeneutical tensions related to theoretical and soteriological issues resulting from the social, institutional, and intellectual environments of the target culture and how these interactions contributed to shape Mi pham’s exposition of the two truths (satyadvaya).

 

Luminosity from India to Tibet According to Sgam po pa Rin chen dpal’s Bstan bcos lung gi nyi ’od: A Case Study for Tracing Back “Philosophical” Doctrine over Time and Space

Kemp, Casey (University of Vienna, Vienna, AUT)

In general, this paper will present a diachronic process of semantic transference through a philological analysis. This transference not only took place over time and space between two distinct geographic regions (India and Tibet), but parallel to this terrestrial process another transference occurred in the ephemeral scape of Buddhist hermeneutics in which the dynamic between doctrine and practice were forced to be renegotiated in a new cultural climate.

Through analyzing the Indian sources directly quoted by a primary Tibetan figure on the doctrine of luminosity, the mind as naturally luminous, this presentation will map the process of legitimation, institutionalization, and hybridization of Indian sūtric and tantric concepts into a cohesive paradigm that shaped perceptions of practical and philosophical values in the Tibetan religious realm.

The Bka’ brgyud Mahāmudrā tradition is widely regarded to have been systematized by Sgam po pa Bsod nam rin chen dpal (1079-1153), who combined the monastic institutional system of the Bka’ gdams pa lineage with the tantric and Mahāmudrā oriented yogic tradition of the early Bka’ brgyud masters. Texts attributed to him are generally considered to outline the normative views of the Dwags po Bka’ brgyud tradition. During his time, great effort was made to legitimize “philosophical” views as authentically “Buddhist” through tracing Indian antecedents that supported such assertions, particularly in regards to contested interpretations such as those related to the notion of buddha nature. Luminosity, or the luminous mind, makes for a particularly interesting case study since the defining characteristics and doctrinal relations associated with the concept continues to be a point of debate among various Tibetan traditions.

Referring back to Indian textual material has shaped the doctrine behind concepts and continues to be a primary methodology employed in Tibetanized religious communities. This presentation will critically examine this method for studying Buddhist transference in the Tibetan realm by looking at one passage from Sgam po pa’s Bstan bcos lung gi nyi ’od (“Sunlight of Treatises and Scriptures”) which is dedicated to presenting the concept of luminosity. This text is 27 folios in length, and includes over 254 quotations from authoritative Indian scriptures. From this work that Kragh (2013) has termed a florilegium, three folios are dedicated to the concept of luminosity.

Sgam po pa’s extensive use of Indian citations ascribed to the Buddha, as well as his own position of authority as a realized master for Dwags po Bka’ brgyud adherents, demonstrates a notable process of standardization of religious ideas. It is therefore necessary to investigate the transference of Buddhism through examining this method of legitimation and its implications in order to explore how semantic frameworks are formed in a Tibetan Buddhist Indo-centric system which is reliant on a direct lineage transmission that can be traced back to a fully awakened omniscient being.

 

Bonpos’ Absorption and Development of the Buddhist Theory: From Abhidharma to Mādhyamika Thoughts

Kumagai, Seiji (Kyoto University, Kyoto, JPN)

The Bon religion had existed in Tibet before the arrival of Buddhism, and it later absorbed Buddhist doctrine and created its own doctrine. The following questions need to be answered: (1) How were Buddhist doctrines adopted by the Bonpos? (2) Which part of these doctrines come from Buddhist theories? (3) Which parts are the unique theories of the Bonpos? This paper analyzes the process of the adaptation of Buddhist theories, from Abhidharma to Mādhyamika.

As for the Abhidharma theories, this paper presents the characteristics of Bonpo doctrine. In his Bon sgo gsal byed, Tre ston rgyal mtshan dpal (14th cen.) presents Abhidharma theory which resembles that of the Buddhist Yogācāra school rather than that of the Vaibhāṣika school, as for instance in the number of each Abhidharmic category. However, its contents differ in the details from those of the Buddhist Yogācāra school.

Concerning the Mādhyamika thoughts, this paper focuses on the theory of two truths: the absolute truth and the conventional truth. The paper presents two types of Bonpo scripture: one gives the theory of two truths of the Svātantrika-mādhyamika school and the other gives that of the Prāsaṅgika-mādhyamika school. Because this classification of Svātantrika and Prāsaṅgika developed in Tibet, it would seem that Bonpos took most of their theory of the two truths from Tibetan Buddhism, rather than from Indian Buddhism. However, Bonpos seem to have referred not only to Tibetan Buddhist scriptures but also to Indian Buddhist ones, because they cite some passages directly from Indian Buddhist texts. On the other hand, the remarkably detailed subdivisions of the two truths are found in neither Indian nor Tibetan Buddhist scriptures. In this respect, Bonpos also seem to have developed their own original ideas.

This paper thus presents the process how Bonpo thinkers created their own doctrine by absorbing and arranging Buddhist philosophical thoughts.

 

A Seventeenth Century Criticism on the Tibetan Reception of Buddhism – Tāranātha’s Ornament of Gzhan stong Madhyamaka

Scheuermann, Rolf (University of Vienna, Vienna, AUT)

Works such as his famous History of Buddhism in India (Rgya gar chos ’byung) have placed Jo nang Rje btsun Tāranātha Kun dga’ syning po (1575–1634) among the highest regarded religious scholars of the Tibetan Buddhist community. Opinions are however divided on his activities to revive Dol po pa Shes rab rgyal mtshan’s (1292–1361) contested presentation of a Great Madhyamaka (dbu ma chen po) or Madhyamaka of the Emptiness of Other (gzhan stong dbu ma). Tāranātha was not only a historian, controversial philosopher, and reformer, but also lived during a time of political unrest that posed a serious threat to his Jo nang tradition, culminating in its nearly complete decline with the rise of Dge lugs supremacy. His monastery Rtag brtan phun tshogs gling was forcefully converted to the Dge lugs tradition shortly after his demise, and the associated printing house was thus closed down and sealed.

This paper centers on Tāranātha’s Ornament of Gzhan stong Madhyamaka (Gzhan stong dbu ma’i rgyan), a short work of 107 verses written in 1604. It is said to have been inspired by a meditative experience and vision of Dol po pa, and the author therein attempts to delineate and defend his controversial Madhyamaka system. A commentary by ’Brog dge kun dga’ dpal bzang (1629–1686) seems to have existed, but is presently unavailable. There exists however a companion text by Tāranātha called Scriptural Support Connected to the Ornament of Gzhan stong Madhyamaka (Gzhan stong dbu ma’i rgyan gyi lung sbyor) containing various quotations meant to support the ideas expressed in the Ornament of Gzhan stong Madhyamaka.

The study will mainly focus on Tāranātha’s critical remarks concerned with the reception of Buddhism in Tibet. A Sanskrit scholar and translator, Tāranātha had contact with Buddhist and non-Buddhist Indian pundits, which is quite extraordinary for a Tibetan scholar of his time. Owing to his keen interest and knowledge of Indian literature, he openly challenges notions already accepted by the Tibetan intellectual mainstream, such as the Tibetan doxographic classification for major Indian Buddhist philosophical trends, and the approach of equating Yogācāra with the so-called Cittamātra. Based on selected excerpts from the Ornament of Gzhan stong Madhyamaka, this paper will give an overview of Tāranātha’s main criticism with respect to the Tibetan appropriation of Indian Buddhist traditions. Serving as an outstanding example for cultural transfer between India and Tibet in the 17th century, his attempted re-negotiation between source and target culture will be closely examined.


What Was Vimalakīrti’s Room Empty of? : Reconsidering the Meaning of Emptiness in the Vimalakīrtinirdeśasūtra 

Saito, Akira (Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology, University of Tokyo, JPN)

The Sanskrit text of the Vimalakīrtinirdeśasūtra is composed of 12 chapters in total. Of them the 4th chapter titled “Visiting [Vimalakīrti] to inquire after his health” is no doubt pivotal in that Mañjuśrī, bodhisattva of the best intelligence, visited and talked with Vimalakīrti over the meaning of emptiness (śūnyatā) in rather an enigmatic way. Although the three Chinese and one Tibetan translations of this scripture give us no decisive clue to solve this question, the present paper will cast a new light on the hitherto undecided meaning of emptiness used in the above passage on the basis of a newly discovered Sanskrit manuscript.

 

An Entangled Buddhist History: Shangs pa Lineage Networks, Transmission Strategies, and Their Records of Reception in Tibet

Sheehy, Michael (Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center, Cambridge, MA, USA)

The Shangs pa Bka’ brgyud lineage, as Matthew Kapstein has described, is like “some vine that adorns a whole forest without being able to stand by itself,” so much so that it “may strike one who follows its twists and turns as being virtually an omnipresent element in Tibetan Buddhism.” Continuing with this analogy, this paper begins to trace the twists and turns of the Shangs pa’s entangled history from its reception in India and formidable institutional origins at the time of its founder, Khyung po Rnal ‘byor (1050-1127), to its later assimilation into mainstream Buddhist traditions with virtually no institutionalized presence of its own in Tibet. In so doing, we look at the networks and strategies that the Shangs pa employed to transfer their lineage of “philosophical” knowledge through the generations and across the Tibetan plateau.

Though the hagiography of Khyung po Rnal ‘byor reputes that he founded one hundred and eight monasteries throughout Tibet, only a few historical sites of the Shangs pa are known to exist today, many of which lie in ruins. Considering this history, this paper seeks to address critical questions such as, “Why did the institutional presence of the Shangs pa wane?” and “What forces both contributed to this waning, as well as to the continuity of the Shangs pa lineage transmissions?”

To begin the processes of untangling Shangs pa history, we investigate strategies employed in negotiating the Buddhist transmission of philosophical and esoteric knowledge, and how such negotiations formed social networks that sustained the Shangs pa. Special attention will be given to how the transmission of the Shangs pa lineage of thought and praxis continued without the support of monastic institutions. 
While drawing from a range of Shangs pa historical sources, we highlight the lineage networks recorded by Kun dga' grol mchog (1507-1565) in his work on the transmissions that he received (gsan yig) titled Bstan pa'i Nor bdzas (A Bounty of Teachings). By looking at this rare work, that has only recently surfaced from Tibet, we investigate how the Tibetan literary genre of gsan yig or “records of reception,” serve as particularly rich sources for understanding the sociology of Buddhist knowledge and Buddhist transmission history. In so doing, this paper concentrates on the recompilation of Tibetan knowledge about the early Shangs pa lineages in order to begin the processes of untangling select knots that have come to inhibit a better historical vision of the reception of this Buddhist tradition’s philosophical import from India, and its continuation in Tibet
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Modernizing the Vinaya Pitaka? A Historical Review of the Paradoxes and Dilemmas of Modifying the Practice of the Vinaya with Scriptural Basis in the Contemporary World

Yang, Che-ming (Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, TWN); Bhiksu Shih Fa-tzang (Abbot, Wan-fo Monastery, The 46th Patriarch of the Tian-Tai Lineage)

With the rapid development of transportation and electronic communication (e.g., internet) in modern times, people’s nature, thought, and karma have changed enormously when compared with people in the Buddha’s times. Therefore, while skillfully preaching the Dharma to people in the contemporary world, all the Buddhist monasteries worldwide are facing great challenges in their endeavor to maintain the essence of the Vinaya—the foundation of practicing the Dharma—in terms of helping practitioners to consummate detachment from desire and cessation of dukkha. Given the basis of “Only-Buddha Vehicle” (Mahayana), this paper aims to incorporate and consult both Mahayana and Theravada Tripitaka (Sutra Pitaka, Vinaya Pitaka, Abhidharma Pitaka) to re-examine the Buddha’s original ideas of “honoring the culture-specific Vinaya,” “renouncing the minor precepts,” and so on, as recorded in the earliest Vinaya texts, in the hopes of re-confirming four “orthodox” approaches recognized by the Buddha to renouncing and modifying the Vinaya according to the Dharma practitioners’ differences in time, region, and condition. More importantly, departing from the Buddha’s original teaching, this paper re-examines three occasions, twelve principles, and five defects to be prevented, for conducting an orthodox renunciation and modification of the Vinaya in order to bring about new perspectives on practicing the Vinaya for all Dharma practitioners in contemporary society. Meanwhile, this paper surveys four paradoxes/dilemmas of “updating” the Vinaya that Buddhists worldwide, religious and secular, are facing in order to arouse the awareness of those who are devoted to solving the possible challenges to prevailing Buddhism. Solving these challenges could help us achieve the objective of rendering the Dharma eternally abiding and prevailing.

“Mind-Only” as a Strategy for Yogic Practice

Eckel, Malcolm David (Boston University, USA)

In the introduction to his commentary on the Triṃśikā, Sthiramati draws a direct connection between “mind-only” and the removal of “obstructions” (āvaraṇa) that prevent the attainment of liberation and the development of omniscience. This paper will explore the practical connections between “mind-only” and the goals of the bodhisattva path in the two major Indian commentaries on the Triṃśikā (by Sthiramati and Vinītadeva) and in the “Analysis of External Objects” (bahirarthaparīkṣā) by Śāntarakṣita. The purpose will be to understand the fundamental epistemological and ontological commitments of the Yogācāra tradition through its distinctive strategy of yogic practice.

 

Yogācāra Metaphysics as a Model for the Interpretation of Scripture

Gold, Jonathan (Brooklyn, USA)

This paper argues that Yogācāra’s characteristic metaphysics (trisvabhāva, vijñãptimātra, etc.) must be understood in the light of its primary concern, which is to integrate the totality of Buddhist scripture into a comprehensive view of the path to liberation (nirvāṇa). I begin by rooting the Three Natures doctrine in its originary context of the Three Turnings of the Dharma Wheel in the Saṃdhinirmocanasūtra. It is clear from this passage that the Three Natures are initially proposed as three kinds of “lack of own being” (ngo bo nyid ma mchis pa nyid) or emptiness, each associated with one set of teachings of the Buddha and one stage of his students’ intellectual and moral development. The Three Natures doctrine itself is the final set of teachings (the Third Turning), which explains the “good distinctions” that allow one both to differentiate the doctrinal levels and to inoculate oneself against a mistaken reification of emptiness.

In the second half of the paper, I apply this reading of the Three Natures doctrine to Vasubandhu’s Three Natures Exposition (Trisvabhāvanirdeśa), arguing that Vasubandhu’s purpose in these verses is to express the “deep” (gaṃbhīra) unity in the Buddha’s teachings. He does this through two methods. One method is to foreground the “emptiness” resonant within the teaching of Dependent Origination (the First Turning), as expressed through the analogy of the magical illusion. The point that emptiness is implicit in the early Buddhist teachings is also made in the Twenty Verses (Viṃśatikā). The other method is to display how the Three Natures are themselves “non-dual,” since each relies upon the others for its proper elucidation. Yogācāra, under this view, integrates Buddhist scripture into a single, conceptual whole. 

 

The Mahāyāna of the Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra: Śamatha-Vipaśyanā and Philosophy in the Mahāyāna

Iwamoto, Akemi (D. T. Suzuki Museum, Kanazawa-shi, JPN)

In this paper, I investigate the relationship between Mahāyānistic śamatha-vipaśyanā practices and the central philosophical theories of the Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra (MSA, circa 4th c. CE). I aim to clarify the meaning of the Mahāyāna of the MSA, and to show how the MSA's unique writing style and structure are related to its Mahāyāna.

Chinese and Tibetan Buddhist traditions both designate the MSA as one of the so-called “Five Treatises of Maitreya.” The MSA is an innovative work: unconstrained by old traditions and structured on a highly elaborate design. Its first chapter includes one of the earliest detailed arguments against the conservative Buddhists of the time, who denied that the Mahāyāna was the legitimate teaching of the Buddha. Even though scholars have carefully examined this argument (or defense) for a decade, the meaning of the Mahāyāna of the MSA remains unclear.

In modern Buddhist Studies, the MSA has been classified as belonging to the early Yogācāra school. The way of Mahāyānization of the early Yogācāra texts is not the same. What version of the Mahāyāna does the MSA advocate? In order to answer this question, we need to thoroughly analyze the whole text of the MSA from various perspectives. Here, I will explore the MSA’s version of the Mahāyāna by focusing on the praxis system of the MSA.

The MSA constructed an innovative praxis system of the Bodhisattva path. The central practices of this system are a wide variety of yogic practices consisting of śamatha and vipaśyanā; there are both newly created Mahāyānistic śamatha-vipaśyanā practices, and traditional practices, such as the nine types of mental stabilization. Furthermore, in order to grade or categorize its practices, the MSA uses the Mahāyāna theory of the ten stages of a Bodhisattva and traditional frameworks.

In previous articles, I have pointed out that the MSA presents the whole process of its new praxis system in Chapters 13 and 14. Citta-mātra—a key term in Yogācāra idealism—appears in one stage of the MSA’s praxis system. However, as I will demonstrate in this paper, the citta-mātra concept does not play a central role in the MSA.

 

Vasubandhu through a Mahāyāna Looking Glass? Or, Why Vasubandhu Believes Ordinary Language Can and Does Take Care of Itself

Kachru, Sonam (University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA; Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin, GER)

Vasubandhu’s works are often cited by philosophers seeking to reconstruct a convincing target of the critique of philosophers like Nāgārjuna, whose own views are taken to have exposed presuppositions concerning language and truth fatal to a project of fundamental metaphysics often associated with Vasubandhu. But what were Vasubandhu's philosophical views concerning language and truth? No philosophically and exegetically self-evident answer is to hand. Using the Treasury of Metaphysics (Abhidharmakośabhāṣya), this essay offers a few signposts on the way to a re-consideration of Vasubandhu’s views. In particular, this essay asks: does it make sense to speak, as is frequently done on Vasubandhu’s behalf, of an “ultimate form of description”, wherein the word ‘description’ is taken resolutely? I seek here to follow concrete instances of Vasubandhu’s analysis: in addition to considering Vasubandhu’s practice of assigning truth-makers to ordinary language sentences, his apparent practice of re-casting ordinary language sentences to make perspicuous their referential commitments, and his arguments against the stringent correspondence principle of the Kashmirian scholars of the Sarvāstivāda tradition, this paper is centrally guided by the need to make sense of the following two aspects of Vasubandhu’s practice that any account must explain together: (a) Vasubandhu’s explicit statement (and arguments) to the effect that language, as used in ordinary contexts of communication, and understood to derive meaning from usage, does not deceive; and (b) Vasubandhu’s commitment to revising the referential commitments acquired by ordinary language as ordinarily used.

Mere Names – The Bodhisattvabhūmi’s Reinterpretation of nāmamātra

Lugli, Ligeia (Mangalam Research Center for Buddhist Languages, Berkeley, CA, USA)

This paper identifies the Bodhisatvabhūmi as a turning point in the interpretation of scriptural claims that dharmas amount to mere names (nāmamātra). It proffers that the Bodhisatvabhūmi's discussion of nominalism can be seen as a pivot between the primarily ontological conception of nāmamātra that emerges from early Prajñāpāramitā and Madhyamaka literature, and the later Yogācāra interpretation of language as a trigger of epistemic distortion.

In order to highlight the doctrinal shift and the hermeneutical manoeuvre that characterize the Bodhisatvabhūmi’s take on ‘nominalism’, this paper focusses on the Tattvārthapaṭala's quotation of the second stanza of the Bhavasaṃkrāntisūtra. First, it analyses the different purposes that the stanza serves in its original context and in the Bodhisatvabhūmi. Second, it proposes an outline of the likely motives for this re-interpretation. Finally, it addresses the question of intentionality. While the Tattvārthapaṭala shows indications of a conscious hermeneutical effort to re-interpret the Bhavasaṃkrāntisūtra’s stanza, it is unclear to what extent this re-interpretation might also derive from a gradual shift in the Indic discourse on language that had taken place in the time between early formulation of ‘nominalism’ and the compilation of this chapter of the Bodhisatvabhūmi.

 

Does Early Yogācāra Have a Theory of Meaning? The Case of Vasubandhu’s Triṃśikā and Sthiramati’s bhāṣya

Tzohar, Roy (Tel Aviv University, Berlin, GER)

Can the early Yogācāra be said to present a systematic theory of meaning? In this paper I argue that Sthiramati’s bhāṣya on Vasubandu’s Triṃśikā, where it is stated that all language-use is metaphorical, indeed provides such a theory, both in light of the text’s adherence to the wider Indian philosophical conversation regarding reference and meaning and by virtue of the questions it addresses and its motivations. The paper briefly explores the main sources of influence on this understanding of language and meaning, tracing its relations to its immediate Buddhist textual context (that is, to texts such as the Abhidharmakośabhāṣya, Bodhisattvabhūmi and the Viniścayasaṃgrahaṇī, among others) as well as to the theories of meaning put forward by its contemporaneous non-Buddhist schools. I then proceed to show how, in an attempt to link causal ontology and linguist meaning, Vasubandhu and especially Sthiramati made use of the Yogācāra understanding of the causal underpinning of language in the store-house consciousness to present something akin to a (non-realist) figurative causal theory of reference. This theory, I argue, sat well with the Yogācāra’s soteriological and theoretical needs, as it enabled the school to 1) maintain a notion of discourse in which highly diversified descriptions of reality, not all of them true in the ultimate sense, were considered meaningful under the same referential principle, and 2) to contend that some descriptions are more meaningful and true than others. This in turn allowed the Yogācāra to distinguish between different epistemic points of view correlating to different levels of discourse within the conventional realm, and by implication, to defend the meaningfulness of its discourse in the face of Madhyamaka’s radical conventionalism.

The Saccasaṅkhepa and its Commentaries

Cousins, L.S. (Wolfson College, Oxford, GBR)

The Saccasaṅkhepa (Sacc) is a verse manual of the Pali abhidhamma tradition of uncertain date, but in any case earlier than the twelfth century A.D. Since at least the thirteenth century its authorship has been variously attributed to Dhammapāla and Ānanda. The date and authorship of both Sacc and its two extant commentaries are discussed and its place in the history of Theriya abhidhamma literature explored.

 

The Sarvāstivāda Doctrine of the abhisamaya

Dhammapala, Bhikkhu (Malaysian Buddhist Academy, Hong Kong, HKG)

In the Sarvāstivāda schema of the path of spiritual cultivation, arguably the most critical stage is that featuring the direct-comprehension (abhisamaya) into the four Noble Truths, known as the ‘Path of Seeing’ (darśana-mārga). The initiation of this insight marks a definite qualitative transition of the practitioner, whose spiritual grade (‘lineage’ - gotra) transforms instantly into that of an ārya, never again to descend into the realm of the ordinary worldling. In this stage cognitive views (dṛṣṭi), doubts and all but the most tenacious and subtle of defilements are eradicated completely and absolutely in a process which lasts only 15 moments, and which is both inevitable and irreversible from the very last moment of the Worldly path, the laukika-agra-dharma. By the 16th moment, the ārya has entered into the Supramundane Path of Cultivation, wherein the gradual abandonment of the residual, obstinate defilements not completely abandoned in the Path of Seeing constitutes the final task before ascension into arhat-hood - the final destination of spiritual ascension.

While the notion and key significance of abhisamaya was a common doctrine in sectarian Buddhism, its articulation, in particular its objects or the constituent moments of the Path of seeing were subject to considerable variation amongst the abhidharmic schools. The Sarvāstivāda teachings of abhisamaya also opposed many contemporary traditions through the advocacy of its characteristic doctrinal position of ‘gradual,’ sequential direct-comprehension. Amongst the growing body of modern research focusing on abhisamaya there has been extremely little attention given to the Sarvāstivādin articulation of the ‘gradual’ nature of direct-comprehension into the four Truths, and in particular its central theoretical foundation – the ‘three types’ of abhisamaya. In this essay, these issues will be examined in two parts: Firstly, based on quotations from the Mahāvibhāṣa-śāstra (MVS), Nyānānusāra, the Vyākhyā and Chinese commentaries, a preliminary discussion of the Sarvāstivāda articulation and defense of the three types of abhisamaya shall be presented, with emphasis placed on the functioning of the third abhisamaya – ‘abhisamaya as enterprise’ (kārya-abhisamaya) – as a key counteragent to the doctrine of ‘abrupt’ or immediate direct-comprehension. Secondly, an overview shall be presented, based mainly on the MVS and Abhidharmakośa-bhāṣya, of the additional miscellaneous arguments and rationales forwarded by Vaibhāṣika scholars that refute the doctrine of ‘abrupt’ direct-comprehension.

 

Some Critical Remarks on Robinson and Hayes’ Criticism of Nāgārjuna’s Treatment of the Abhidharma Concept of svabhāva

Kardas, Goran (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences University of Zagreb, Zagreb, HRV)

Buddhist scholars R. H. Robinson and R. P. Hayes have expressed certain objections regarding Nāgārjuna's reasoning procedure and the manner in which he treats his opponent's (Ābhidharmika’s) basic concept of svabhāva. Thus, Robinson asserts that the validity of Nāgārjuna's refutations depends upon whether his opponents really upheld the existence of a svabhāva as he defines or understands the term. His answer is negative: Nāgārjuna's “trick”, according to him, “consists of reading into the opponent's views a few terms [e.g. svabhāva] which one defines for him in a self-contradictory way”. Similarly, Hayes believes that Nāgārjuna and his followers constantly misrepresent their opponent’s positions, thus refuting the “man of straw”. Moreover, Hayes believes that he has found a systematic error in Nāgārjuna’s reasoning (refuting) procedure through which his key arguments only appear to function. Specifically, Nāgārjuna’s reasoning is corrupted by the (informal) fallacy of equivocation upon the term “intrinsic nature” (svabhāva) that consists of his intentional playing upon two meanings of svabhāva, those of identity and causal independence which are in no way interconnected in the sense that one presupposes the other. Only by playing with these two meanings is Nāgārjuna able to expose the absurdity of the notion of svabhāva. Furthermore, this means that Nāgārjuna uses the term “svabhāva” differently than the followers of the Abhidharma tradition, to whom Hayes claims the term meant only the nature (bhāva) belonging to a thing itself (svasya), referring thus to the identity of a thing.

My presentation will attempt to use textual evidence to show that Nāgārjuna, contrary to opinion of these scholars, did not actually read unacceptable meaning(s) of svabhāva into his opponent's (Ābhidharmika’s) views. It will also attempt to show that he did not commit the fallacy of equivocation through the simple fact that Ābhidharmikas (Vaibhāṣikas) actually defined svabhāva in terms of identity and causal independence, as is evident from the *Abhidharma-Mahāvibhāṣa-śāstra, a text that was most likely circulating in Nāgārjuna’s time. Nāgārjuna and Ābhidharmikas (Vaibhāṣikas) held exactly the same initial understanding of the concept of svabhāva, however, it led them to draw completely opposite (doctrinal) conclusions. Hence, Nāgārjuna can also not be accused of construing his opponent’s view differently from the way it was intended (the fallacy of vākchala).

 

Two Different Names: Abhidharma and Abhidhamma

Kim, Kyungrae (King's College London, University of London, London, GBR)

Sanskrit and Pāli traditions established differing doctrinal interpretations of the Buddha’s teaching: Abhidharma and Abhidhamma. These scholastic traditions share external similarities: 7 fundamental treatises, etymological terms, analytical disposition etc. Hermeneutical differences, however, are found in them. It is the case even in the definitions of the compound terms, abhi-dharma and abhi-dhamma, which reveals that they developed within a heterogeneous context.

According to the Abhidharmakośabhāṣya and Nyāyānusāraśāstra, two aspects of the term abhi-dharma, ultimate and secular, should be analyzed. The ultimate (pāramārthika abhidharma) consists of ‘pure wisdom (prajñā-amala)’ and ‘its followers (anucara).’ On the other hand, ‘defiled wisdom (sāsravā prajñā),’ ‘its followers (anucara),’ and ‘seven treatises (śāstra)’ are within the secular (sāṃketika abhidharma).

The compound abhi-dhamma, on the other hand, is interpreted as ‘supreme teaching.’ This teaching is designated as the Seven Books (satta pakaraṇāni) transmitted by the Mahāvihāra fraternity in Laṅkā. It is quite different from the case of abhi-dharma in which treatises are just expedients for pure wisdom (saṃbhāra).

The tradition of Abhidhamma as a supreme teaching originated from the distinctive context of Laṅkā. Whether historical fact or not, the Pāli chronicles and commentaries tried to describe Laṅkā Theravāda as being divided into monastery schisms. According to them, 2-3 leading fraternities built quite different doctrinal systems until the 12th century CE. Mahāvihāra, one of the monasteries, authored its own Abhidhamma Books, and projected its religious identity into the writings.

The abhi-dhamma definition as ‘supreme teaching’ eventually assumed the designation “Mahāvihāra’s supremacy” for it was this fraternity which handed down the very Seven Books.

 

Śrīlāta's Theory of the Atom

Lee, Gilsan (Department of Philosophy, Seoul National University, Seoul, KOR)

Nowadays the identity and origin of the Sautrāntika school is under contention. However, this school itself left no writings on their own doctrinal positions. Saṅghabhadra(衆賢)’s Nyāyānusāraśāstra (順正理論) provides important evidence to investigate the character and doctrines of the early Sautrāntika. The author, an orthodox Sarvāstivādin, mentions Sautrāntika and especially Sthavira Śrīlāta, along with Vasubandhu’s Abhidharmakośabhāṣya for the purpose of opposing them. However, Śrīlāta’s whole theoretical position has not been clearly elucidated until now. I will examine the atomist theory of Sthavira Śrīlāta, which I believe to be a critical clue for understanding his thought. He presents an atomist argument of rejecting the cognitive faculties and their corresponding objects (處, āyatana) as being provisionally existing (假有, prajñaptisat) using the famous metaphor of the blind. However, he does not clarify his theoretical position about the existence and nature of the atom (極微, paramāṇu) in here, while refusing to accept the atom’s nature of partlessness (無方分, niravayava). This poses a paradox because of his advocacy of a ‘partite atom.’

Here we are reminded of one of the famous debates in Indian Buddhist philosophical discussions around the atom since its introduction in the Mahāvibhāṣā Śāstra (大毘婆沙論) until Dignāga’s practically final refutation of external realism. So I will refer to related passages to reconstruct Śrīlāta’s theory of the atom.

On the other hand he claims that the five sensuous cognitions (五識) take conventional things (世俗, saṃvṛti) as their objects because of their being non-discriminative (無分別, nirvikalpa), which seems very strange for other Buddhist schools. By examining his positive conception of vikalpa, I will try to bridge his theory of the atom and his soteriological position, which I believe will show the important role the atom plays in his theoretical scheme.

 

What is a Whole According to Abhidharmic Philosophers: A Pure Accumulation of Atoms or Something Different from it ?

Lysenko, Victoria (Institute of Philosophy, Moscow, RUS)

In this paper, I argue that there are two ways of explaining the relationship between the atoms and the gross things formed by them (or between parts and whole) suggested in the Abhidharmakośabhāṣya:

According to the first one, the properties of materiality, ability to contact (entering into combinations) and perceptibility are contained not only in gross things, but in atoms (paramāṇu) as well; however, they are perceptible only in things, not in atoms. This is the model of the Vaibhāṣika School. I call it accumulativist. In accordance with this model, due to the increased number of atoms, i.e. their accumulation up to some critical mass, they become manifested to the point of becoming perceptible. The smallest atomic aggregate is a dust particle in a ray of light. As per some late Buddhist calculations, it contains 1.379 atoms.

According to the second explanation, the atoms have the mentioned properties only in agglomerations (saṃghāta), not individually. In this way, these properties are a kind of systemic impact, i.e. they are emergent. Therefore I call this model the emergent one. Apparently, it belongs to the Abhidharmic School of Sautrāntika. This is not such an obvious case of emergence as in the Vaiśeṣika Atomism wherein atoms are absolutely lacking those properties (“grossness”, “perceived size”, etc.) which are characteristic of the things they compose. Nevertheless, what matters for me is the fact that Abhidharmikas raised a problem of certain system properties in relation to atoms although they did not designate those properties by special terms.

 

The Sautrāntika Notion of Ālambana and its Dārṣṭāntika Precursor

Park, Changhwan (Geumgang Univ., Nonsan, KOR)

As Mimaki (1975) has observed long ago, the Sautrāntika tradition has been one of the most enigmatic systems of thought in Indian Buddhism in that although it is counted by later doxographical traditions, Indian or Tibetan, as one of the four major philosophical schools in Indian Buddhism, no single text ascribed to this particular school has survived to this day except some fragmented citations found in Vasubandhu’s AKBh. More enigmatic is the modern scholarly practice to try to identify “Sautrāntika” elements in what they call the “Sautrāntika-Yogācāra school” represented by such Buddhist logicians as Dignāga and Dharmakīrti. It is enigmatic because there is no explicit reference to the designation “Sautrāntika” in the texts ascribed to these thinkers per se. That is to say, they never explicitly identified their sectarian affiliation or identity.

For these scholars, the Sautrāntika represents phenomenalistic realism as opposed to Yogācāra’s idealism. The typical description of the Sautrāntika epistemological position is that the Sautrāntika assumes the existence of an external object outside the mind, even though the images (ākāra) that appear to our cognition may not be the way actual objects or atoms exist. This is a position that John Dunne (2004) calls “Sautrāntika externalism”. Despite the wide acceptance of this standard view of the Sautrāntika as a realist, actual texts sometimes tell different stories that the Sautrāntika may not have been a realist to begin with.

In the chapter on perception (pratyakṣapariccheda k. 194-230) of his Pramāṇavārttika, Dharmakīrti deals with an issue of Abhidharma epistemological proposition: “Five kinds of consciousnesses have congregated [atoms] as their objects (sañcitālambanāḥ pañca vijñānakāyāḥ).” Tosaki Hiromasa (1978) attributes Dharmakīrti's view on this issue to the Sautrāntika on the basis of its similarity to the position ascribed to the Sautrāntika in K'uei-chi's commentary (二十唯識論述記) on the Viṃśatikā of Vasubandhu. Despite Tosaki's claim, however, Dharmakīrti's realist understanding of a sense-object shows a marked difference from K’uei-chi's account of the Sautrāntika view. The Sautrāntika, as K’uei-chi describes it, puts much emphasis on the aggregated and thus unreal aspect of the sense-object, denying the causal role of atoms (paramāṇu) themselves in its formulation. As I shall argue in this paper, the Sautrāntikas were rather anti-realists in the beginning, perhaps a disappointing result to those who hold the above-mentioned standard view of the Sautrāntika as being a realist.

To be sure, these scholars try to corroborate this standard view of the Sautrāntika by culling some textual evidence, but their references are practically confined to Vasubandhu’s accounts of Sautrāntika positions in the AKBh. The problem is that the recent scholarship has brought into question the sectarian origins of Vasubandhu’s Sautrāntika theories, extensively discussing their Dārṣṭāntika or Yogācāra-connections. That is, we are no longer in a position to naively subscribe to the standard understanding of the Sautrāntika dogmatics and of their sectarian identity.

Most notable in this respect is Śrīlāta, actual founder of the Sautrāntika school, whose ideas, as represented in Saṅghabhadra’s Nyāyānusāra, had exercised enormous influences on the formation of Vasubandhu's accounts of Sautrāntika. Thus, Śrīlāta’s views may deserve to be called “proto-Sautrāntika” as opposed to Vasubandhu’s rather modified accounts of the Sautrāntika positions.

What this paper aims to demonstrate is that this so-called standard view of the Sautrāntika as a realist is neither in line with K’uei-chi’s account of the Sautrāntika nor with Śrīlāta's proto-Sautrāntika positions but rather reflects Vasubandhu's own accounts of the Sautrāntika positions.

Why Did Buddhism and Jainism Develop Differently in India?

Bronkhorst, Johannes (University of Lausanne, Pully, CHE)

Buddhism and Jainism arose in the same region of India, roughly during the same period. Both of them offered solutions to the same problem: how does one put an end to potentially endless rebirths. Both of them put the remains of their founders in stūpas, or so it seems. Both exerted a profound influence on one another during the early period. Buddhism incorporated what we may safely consider jaina practices in its own arsenal of practices at an early stage, even before its Sūtras had attained their classical form. Influence the other way round, from Buddhism onto Jainism, becomes visible at a time when Buddhism had elaborated its Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma: a number of its features can be recognized in Śvetāmbara canonical texts.

With so many features in common, how do we explain that the developments of Buddhism and Jainism on the Indian subcontinent are so radically different? Indeed, one of the striking differences is that Jainism only developed on the Indian subcontinent, whereas Buddhism developed both there and elsewhere. But as striking as it is, this difference does not appear to explain all. Already on the Indian subcontinent Buddhism developed in a manner quite different from Jainism. I therefore propose to consider some developments of Buddhism and Jainism that took place on the subcontinent, and what is more: in geographical regions that the two religions shared.

This paper will draw attention to a number of divergences between the two religions that become manifest during the Kuṣāṇa period, especially in and around Mathurā.

 

Discovery of a Text Comparing the Three Teachings Written in the Tang Dynasty in Japan

Fujii, Jun (Komazawa University, Tokyo, JPN)

Comparing the advantages of the three teachings (Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism) is one of the famous topics in Chinese philosophy in the Tang dynasty. However, there are few texts that deal with this topic other than the Bian zheng lun, Discriminating Which Teaching is Correct, written by the apologistic Buddhist monk named Fa-lin (572-640). A manuscript treating this topic, Sanjiao buqilun, The Three Teachings are not of Equal Value, was identified by me in the Tokyo Metropolitan Library. I published it in 2011. Here I will present this text and contribute further research in this field.

The text was written by an aristocrat named Yao-bien in the 8th century. Yao-bien was not an aristocrat of high status, and he does not seem to have been a famous person because there is no record about him in historical documents.

The text was introduced into Japan by the famous Japanese monks Saichō and Kūkai in the early Heian period, ca. 800 AD. Both of them noted this text in their catalog of books imported by them from China. Studies in the modern era said that this text was missing or identified it as one Dunhuang text, S5645 (Makita Tairyō, 1912-2011). However, the new discovery proves this identification to be false. After I found this text, another two manuscripts written between the 15th and 19th century have come to light. One was preserved in the Ishiyama temple and another in one temple of Koyasan in Japan.

The text was written under the following circumstances. Around 724 AD, under Xuanzong’s reign, female Taoists advocated that there is no difference between Buddhism and Taoism. But Yao-bien refuted this idea and evaluated Buddhism higher than Taiosm.

The text discusses the advantages of each by comparing the family lineage and the number of disciples from biographies of Confucius, Laozi and Buddha, the founders of the teachings. Because Buddha is described as a superhuman in Buddhist scriptures, compared with Confucius and Laozi, Buddha is the greatest and Buddhism is best according to this text.

As the author was an aristocrat or layman, not a monk, his text has a few pecularities. First, Yao-bien emphasizes the rule to acquire good fortune, and to remove misfortune and calamities, something mainstream Buddhism does not necessarily emphasize. Second, Yao-bien recognizes the rule of discrimination by which Buddhism gives a negative sense or has an affirmative recognition, compared with orthodox Buddhist ideas. Third, Yao-bien frowned upon the Taoist’s idea of being born in heaven, but praises the idea of being reborn in the paradise of Buddhism. I will introduce the outline of this discovered text in this presentation.

 

Buddhism and the Religious ‘Other’: Six Responses in Text and Tradition

Harris, Elizabeth (Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, GBR)

In this paper I argue that Buddhist responses to the religious ‘other’ can be categorized into six broad areas: adherence to a code of conduct predicated on respect for the ‘other’, co-existence and non-violent yet rigorous debate; the robust teaching of ideas that opposed or challenged those taught by other religious leaders; ridicule of the practices/beliefs of the ‘other’; the demotion or subordination of these practices/beliefs; the appropriation and modification of practices and symbols from the religious ‘other’; polemical defence of Buddhism if a perceived threat to the dhamma from the ‘other’ is identified. The first five responses can be seen both in the texts and in the lived tradition. The sixth emerged most visibly during the period of European colonial expansionism in the nineteenth century and continues to the present.

To illustrate these responses, I take examples from the Pali texts and from the lived Buddhist tradition of Sri Lanka. With reference to the latter, I emphasize particularly the co-existence that developed in the country between Buddhists and Saivites, and Buddhists and Muslims, rooted in the first and the fourth of the above responses (although the third emerged occasionally). This co-existence, however, was threatened in the twentieth century by ethnic conflict, and continues to be threatened by nationalist Buddhists seeking to create sacred areas that are peopled by Buddhists alone. I illustrate this with reference to Dambulla, a town in the central province of the country that is home to a prestigious and ancient Buddhist temple complex, the ‘Golden Temple of Dambulla’. In 2012, the mosque in Dambulla was attacked by Buddhists and demands were made that it should be moved further away from the Buddhist temple. In 2013, a similar attack was made on the Hindu kovil with a similar demand: that the kovil should be moved.

The paper builds on my contribution on ‘Buddhism and the Religious Other’ in a forthcoming book: Understanding Interreligious Relations (Eds. Douglas Pratt, David Cheetham & David Thomas, Oxford University Press, 2014). It adds to this the case study of Dambulla as an illustration of the theoretical framework proposed.

 

Criticism of Heretics in the Laṅkāvatārasūtra: Towards Constructing a Philosophy of Multicultural Coexistence from the Point of View of Buddhism

Horiuchi, Toshio (Toyo University, Bunkyo-ku Tokyo, JPN)

The Laṅkāvatārasūtra (hereafter LAS) is a Mahāyāna scripture composed at the time of the middle period of the Mahāyāna in India. We have the Sanskrit original, three Chinese translations and two Tibetan translations (one is a translation from Chinese).

There are two Tibetan commentaries on the LAS. One is Jñānaśrībhadra’s, from the 11th century. The second commentary is Jñānagarbha’s, which cites Jñānaśrībhadra and must therefore have been published later. Although they have a Tantric point of view, they are invaluable when one wishes to read the terse phrases and tough compounds that appear in the sūtra in the Indian and Tibetan traditions.

The sūtra is unique in several aspects. One of the most unique characteristics of this sūtra is that Mahāmati, interlocutor of the sūtra, sometimes dares to condemn the Buddha by identifying his teachings with those of heretics (tīrthakara) or asks the difference between the similar teachings of heretics. The sūtra also criticises heretic teachings such as those of Sāṃkhya, Vaiśeṣika, and Lokāyata, referring to their names. Thus, we can know how the sūtra differentiated the doctrine of Buddhism from that of heretics and how it thought of the innate characteristics of the Buddhist doctrine. We can also read these arguments as a dialogue with heretics as suggesting how Buddhism faces the heretics. Fortunately enough, thanks to the two Tibetan commentaries, we can further know which doctrines of the heretics this sūtra criticised.

In this presentation, I would like to take up some of the criticisms of heretics and investigate their characteristics from the textual point of view by the guide of the two Tibetan commentaries. And further, I investigate if there is any possibility to extract the wisdom of cultural coexistence from the point of view of Buddhism from these arguments.

 

Buddhism and the Pātañjala Yogaśāstra

Maas, Philipp (University of Vienna, Department for South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, Vienna, AUT)

The Pātañjala Yogaśāstra (PYŚ), a work of the philosophical system of Sāṅkhya-Yoga that can be dated with some confidence to the early fifth century CE, reflects a rather ambivalent attitude of its author(s) towards Buddhist religion and philosophy. On the one hand, the work contains harsh polemics against philosophical positions that are associated with the Sautrāntika school of Śrāvakayāna Buddhism and with the early Yogācāra school of Mahāyāna Buddhism. On the other hand, as was shown in several publications by Senart, La Vallée Poussin, Larson, and others, many yogic key terms and conceptions are assimilations of corresponding Buddhist counterparts. Moreover, as was shown by Wezler, also the treatment of the philosophical problem of causation in PYŚ 2.28 is based on conceptions that have a close parallel in Asaṅga’s Abhidharma­samuccaya and in Vasubandhu’s Madhyāntavibhāgabhāṣya. In addition, the PYŚ contains an assimilation of the Sarvāstivāda doctrine that all entities exists throughout the three time periods of past, present and future in PYŚ 3.13 and 4.12. A fresh look at this doctrine will be the main topic of this presentation. First, I shall scrutinize the teaching of existence throughout the three time periods in the contexts of the PYŚ and its commentaries, after which I shall compare this teaching with its Buddhist parallels as far as they are accessible to me in Sanskrit, Tibetan translations or translations from Chinese into modern western languages. This will lead me to return to the question of the historical relationship between the Yogic and the Buddhist versions of the doctrine of existence throughout the three time periods. Finally, I shall try to arrive at a preliminary characterization of the nuanced intellectual attitude of the author of the PYŚ towards Buddhism, which, I hope, will contribute to a better understanding of the complex interrelation between Hinduism and Buddhism in pre-modern South Asia.

 

Buddhist and Jaina Stories of Śreṇika Bimbisāra and Kūṇika Ajātaśatru: Parallels and Divergences

Wu, Juan (University of Tokyo, Tokyo, JPN)

As two prominent contemporaries of the Buddha and Mahāvīra, the Magadhan king Śreṇika Bimbisāra and his son Kūṇika Ajātaśatru are widely featured in both Buddhist and Jaina literature. In comparing Buddhist and Jaina sources, scholars have generally focused on the shared episode of Kūṇika Ajātaśatru’s causing the death of his father, with rather less attention given to other stories concerning the two figures. For instance, so far as I know, almost no previous study has looked closely into the parallels between Buddhist and Jaina accounts of Kūṇika Ajātaśatru’s previous life, his conception and birth. Also, there seems to have been little exploration of the remarkable divergences between Buddhist and Jaina attitudes towards the salvation of the two figures.

In this paper, I will take an overall look at Buddhist and Jaina stories of Kūṇika Ajātaśatru and Śreṇika Bimbisāra, investigating into the afore-mentioned parallels and divergences. In particular, I will consider how the divergences may tell us about different karmic views and soteriological emphases of Buddhists and Jainas who composed the stories. Remarks will also be made on Buddhist and Jaina accounts of Kūṇika Ajātaśatru’s political activities, which have not been given enough attention in previous studies.

 

Oirot Prophecy: Arrested Buddhism in the Altai Area, 1890s-1920s

Znamenski, Andrei (The University of Memphis, Memphis, TN, USA)

The paper discusses a little-known case of the advancement of Tibetan Buddhism in southern Siberia (Mountain Altai) at the turn of the twentieth century. Known as Ak-Jang (White Faith), it represented an attempt of “self-conversion” to Buddhism. Having emerged in opposition to local shamanism, the movement heavily borrowed from Mongolian Buddhism. It was also centered on the prophecy about Oirot-khan, a legendary prince that was expected to come from Mongolia and save the Altaians from Russian land encroachment. For political reasons, earlier scholarship stressed the unique nature of the “White Faith,” downplaying its links with the Mongol-Tibetan world. In contrast, this paper suggests that, culturally and spiritually, the Altai indigenous nomadic population was under the heavy influence of Mongol Buddhism, moving toward the adoption of Tibetan Buddhism – a process that was terminated by the advance of the powerful secular Communist prophecy that arrested this process. The paper is based on archival sources.

The “Installation of the Lord(s) of the Teaching” (bstan pa'i bdag por mnga' gsol): Remarks on an Enthronement Rite in Sa skya

Caumanns, Volker (Lumbini International Research Institute, Dinslaken, GER)

Rituals, ceremonies and religious festivities have always formed an important part of Tibetan Buddhist life. Serving various religious and worldly purposes, and ranging from simple ritualized acts of devotion to elaborate monastic ceremonies, they permeate almost every aspect of Tibetan culture and, among other factors, shape reality as it is culturally experienced. Some of these rituals and ceremonies—and, one might add, their descriptions in written sources such as hagiographies, treatises, etc.—play a significant role in displaying and establishing religious and political authority, and thus the various “ways of ritualizing” should play an important role when it comes to analyzing the different ways in which religion and politics were intermingled in traditional Tibetan society.

In my paper, I would like to focus on an enthronement rite that was held in certain intervals at the “great monastic residence” (tib. gdan sa chen po) of Sa skya (i.e. the spiritual and administrative center of the aristocratic ’Khon family). 17th century sources, mainly stemming from the pen of the Sa skya throne holder A mes zhabs (1597-1659), provide us with some very detailed accounts of this ceremony during which one or several of the male scions of the ’Khon family were installed as regents on the throne of Sa skya. The ceremony—variously termed as “installation of the lord(s) of the teaching” (tib. bstan pa’i bdag por mnga’ gsol) or “installation as noble regent(s)” (tib. rgyal tshab dam par mnga’ gsol)—consisted in its core of a ritualized three-day Buddhist teaching. However, since the 16th century at the latest the “installation of the lord(s) of the teaching” was only the climax of large-scale festivities lasting several weeks that included the annually-held mdos ritual (i.e. the expelling of evil forces via an effigy), ’cham dances, the new-year celebrations and the entertainment (tib. gzhi len) of the guests.

My paper will give a brief overview of the history of the enthronement rite, followed by a description of how the different parts of the full festivities were performed in the 16th and early 17th centuries. As we learn from the Tibetan sources, the festivities were attended by the saṅgha (including the high monastic officials from Sa skya and other religious establishments) and aristocratic donors (and possibly lower strata of the laity), and at fixed stages, extensive offerings and gifts were presented to the new regent(s) but also to the various officials of Sa skya. Therefore, I will also discuss some aspects of this social interaction since the Tibetan sources allow us to draw conclusions with regard to the different levels of the monastic hierarchy of Sa skya and how, in this particular instance, they related to each other.

 

The Winter Visitors: Monks, Devotees and Construction of Bodhgaya as a Place

Chakrabarti, Bhaskar (Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, Kolkata, IND)

Bodhgaya in eastern India is the place where Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment. Now, it is a site of pilgrimage for thousands of Buddhist devotees who visit from all over the world. Although the devotees visit throughout the year, the number increases during the months of winter, when Tibetan refugees from all over India come and stay in Bodhgaya. Monks from various Buddhist monasteries also come during this period. The place thrives with activities for the devotees: debates are organised, meditation sessions are scheduled. Many devotees say that during the rest of the year, they look forward to visiting Bodhgaya for its winter activities. Some of them point to a kind of re-enactment of Buddha’s austerities that are associated with these daily rituals that are organised. Others talk about meeting old friends in Bodhgaya, or selling things in the winter-market and therefore the business opportunities. In this paper, I analyse the process of construction of ‘Bodhgaya as the place’ for the monks as well as the devotees, who visit during the months of winter. I explore what it means to be a follower of Buddhism in Bodhgaya, and come as a regular visitor every year. Through participant observation and semi-structured interviews with visitor’s groups (primarily Tibetan refugees who come from different parts of India, and the monks from different Buddhist monasteries), I try to understand the meaning of the place as perceived by the members of these groups. In particular, I ask: How far is the idea of Bodhgaya for these winter-devotees restricted to the monasteries, and the daily rituals? How is the idea of a sacred space in Bodhgaya constructed and defined, and to what extent does it differ between the monks and the devotees who visit during the winter? I argue that the sacred in Bodhgaya is not defined through an opposition of what is not sacred. The elements of sacred/non-sacred are interwoven in the construction of the place amongst the various participants through symbols and structures that are bound by socio-political and economic attributes.

 

Filial Piety and Political Issues in Ancient China

Guang, Xing (Centre of Buddhist Studies, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, HKG)

When Buddhism was first introduced into China, it faced many challenges and criticisms from local Chinese people, particularly Confucian scholars. The criticisms of Confucian scholars were mainly on ethical grounds, because the Buddhist way of life primarily focuses on individual liberation through moral perfection, which is very different from Confucianism, which chiefly focuses on family and society. In particular, the life of Buddhist monks, who were required to be celibate, shave their heads, and leave their homes and families, was incompatible with Confucian practice of filial piety as found in the Confucian Xiao Jing. This became a political issue in the Eastern Jin dynasty (265-420) when Huan Xuan came into power. A minister named Yu Bing reported to the emperor that monks should be ordered to pay respect to the emperor by kneeing down before him, otherwise Li or propriety would be interrupted as they did not do so in the previous dynasties. Thus the debate whether monks should pay homage to the emperor became a political issue and continued for several hundred years. This is actually a continuation of the criticism of filial piety because the Confucian text Xiao Jing discusses filial piety with a focus on politics. Thus, filial piety is called loyalty when the object is the emperor. Chinese Buddhists, both the lay and monastics such as the eminent monk Huiyuan, on the one hand, debated and argued that monks also paid their homage to the emperors in their heart and mind, but not in a manifested way. On the other hand, the Chinese Buddhists started the practice of paying debts to four kinds of people: parents, sentient beings, the emperor and Buddhism, which is taught in the Dasheng ben shengxin di guan jing, translated into Chinese by Prajñā in 790. But in another scripture, the Zhufo Jingjian Shezhengshi Jing, also translated by Prajñā, the emperor is placed as the first amongst the four. This became a regular practice in monasteries throughout China in the Tang dynasty and the monks also taught their disciples the teaching of paying debts to the four kinds of people. The Chinese Buddhists practiced the four kinds of kindness in the following ways: first, they made vows in ceremonies to pay their debts to the four kinds of people, second, they recited verses in morning and evening chanting of paying the four kinds of debts. Thus later there was no such a debate as whether the monks should pay homage to the emperor. This paper is a study of the practices of four kinds of kindness in Chinese Buddhism.

 

Buddhist Encounters with Religious Others: Historical Trajectories and Contemporary Realities in Sri Lanka

Holt, John (Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, USA)

In two previous historical and ethnographic studies,[1] I have examined how the Mahayana Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, and the Hindu deity Visnu, have been assimilated into Sinhala religious culture. These case studies illuminated a theory of religious change: elements of one religious culture are often incorporated into another when rationales are articulated for immediate pragmatic efficacy on the one hand, and compelling relevance to soteriology on the other. I also argued (against the grain of the modern socio-political context) that Sinhala religious culture has been historically remarkably inclusive, as evinced rather spectacularly by the fact that a Mahayana bodhisattva came to be regarded as the tutelary deity of the last dynasty of Theravada Sri Lanka’s kings (the Kandyan, 1592-1815), and that a supreme deity of central theological importance and cultic significance for Hindus came to be popularly regarded as the chief guardian deity of the Buddhasasana. A third book-length study[2] focused on artistic and ritual religious projects undertaken by a Kandyan king of Tamil Saiva origins, revealed not only rhetorical appeals to royal discourses rooted in both Buddhist and Hindu classical sources, but policies of social, economic and political accommodation for Christian and Muslim communities as well.

In this paper, I illustrate that this historic penchant for Sinhala Buddhist inclusivity is clearly reflected in the annual processions of the asala perahara in Kandy, reformed and restated during the early years of Kirti Sri Rajasinha’s late medieval reign (1751-82), a ritual articulation left largely intact today and regarded as the country’s signal national pageant. From close observations of this rite, it is clear that every caste participates in a ranked order, and that the cults of deities emanating from Mahayana Buddhist, Hindu Vaishnava, Saiva and Sakta origins participate in a hierarchically ranked framework. The hierarchical inclusivity so apparent in this ritual, a veritable symbolic articulation of a medieval “socio-cosmos,” was formulated on principles of verticality denoting perceived degrees of purity. The central focus of this paper is concerned with how occidental conceptions of political power introduced during the British colonial period (1796-1948), followed by the establishment of constitution-based modern democracies in post-colonial Sri Lanka, have promoted egalitarian ideals fostering a majoritarian democratic context in which relations between various communities (and their respective imagined collective identities) are now understood in terms of clearly demarcated horizontal relations. Thus, from a conceptuality based on vertically construed hierarchical inclusivity, reflected very clearly in the symbolism and ritual articulation of the asala perahara, a horizontally construed understanding of communal boundaries, accompanied by ethics of exclusivity has emerged, an exclusivity engendering and reinforced by contemporary ethnic conflict.


[1] Buddha in the Crown: Avalokitesvara in the Buddhist Traditions of Sri Lanka (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991) and The Buddhist Visnu: Religious Transformation Politics and Culture (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004).
[2] The Religious World of Kirti Sri: Buddhism, Art and Politics in Late Medieval Sri Lanka (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996).

 

Ambedkar's Neo-Buddhism and Social Action

Kumar, Pramod (Magadh University, Bodh-Gaya, Patna, IND)

Buddhism is one of those religious doctrines that have persisted for about 2500 years. During this period, the last century has seen a revitalization and expansion of Buddhism throughout south and south-east Asia. Ambedkarite Buddhists espouse an eclectic version of Buddhism, primarily based on Theravada but with additional influence from Mahayana and Vajrayana. On many subjects, they give Buddhism a distinctive interpretation. Of particular note is their emphasis on Sakyamuni Buddha as a political and social reformer, rather than merely as a spiritual leader. They point out that the Buddha required his monastic followers to ignore caste distinction. Ambedkar’s followers do not believe that a person’s unfortunate conditions at birth are the result of previous karma, an idea which is accepted by almost all other Buddhist groups.

Ambedkar’s redefinition of Buddhist liberation as the amelioration of material conditions and social relationship in this life did not find ready acceptance among Buddhist intellectuals in India. One of the critics opined that Ambedkar chose Buddhism for its moral strength and egalitarian principles for a quality social change and not for its use as a political tool.

 

Accepting Disability – Karma as Coping Strategy?

Proyer, Michelle (Universität Wien, Vienna, AUT)

Drawing from experiences, interviewees shared about barriers and facilitators children with disabilities face in education in Greater Bangkok, this paper sets out to explore Buddhism’s role in the ‘Thai perception’ of disabilities. Children with varied disabilities attending schools in the urban area of Bangkok, their parents and teachers as well as other experts in the field of disability were interviewed several times over a period of three years (2010 -2013). One of the pivotal aspects within the interviews was many parents’ reference to Karma serving as explanation for their child’s disability as well as base for coping with challenges resulting from the disability. Main questions in relation to Buddhism’s impact focus on the following areas ranging from the microsphere of personal towards more general accounts. Furthermore, the impact of additional, e.g. global agreements and Western-based perceptions of disabilities and in what way they intersect with or impact ‘traditional’ patterns of understanding will be considered and subject to discussion.

  • How do Thai parents explain their children’s disability?
  • Which ‘Thai’-specific patterns can be identified? Which role does Buddhism play in these?
  • Which role does Karma as an explanatory pattern in relation to disability play in comparison to e.g. modern medicine and genetics? What other explanations are there and in what ways do they differ?
  • Has the importance of Buddhism in relation to understanding disabilities changed in the course of time? And if so: in what way and why?
  • How do international agreements (above all the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, UNCRPD) and the government’s plans and legal steps (e.g. Education Acts) to change society’s understanding from pity to a rights-based one play a role?

Trying to elaborate on these multi-layered facets, this paper seeks to shed light on the perception of the phenomenon disability in Thai society. This may lead to an understanding of what determines social attitudes and discriminatory behaviours and in how far these are linked to the explanatory pattern of ‘cause and effect’.

 

 “Scientific Evidence” for Rebirth in Contemporary Tibet: The Creative Appeals of Khenpo Tsultrim Lodro

Sherab, Kunga (University of Toronto, Toronto, CAN)

While there is now a long tradition of dialogue between exiled Tibetan Buddhists and representatives of Western scientific disciplines, little is known about the evolution of this conversation in Tibetan regions of the PRC itself. This presentation will introduce previously unstudied sources from contemporary monastic leaders on the “scientific” proof for certain fundamental Buddhist beliefs, such as rebirth. Specifically, I will focus on the work of Khenpo Tsultrim Lodro, a prominent abbot and scholar from Qinghai Province who has written extensively on this topic in recent years. His works cite scientific proofs for rebirth in light of classical Buddhist examples, while generally subsuming the scientific method as a “wrong view” (lta ba log pa) and asserting the superiority of Buddhist doctrinal positions. I will argue that new translations of Western science and the secularization of Chinese society (as this affects younger Tibetans) are the main reasons for these sorts of compositions amongst Tibetan Buddhist leaders today. My analysis will also argue that we ought to pay better attention to the evolving science-Buddhism dialogue in Asia itself, where the social and political stakes might be quite different than those usually considered by scholars. 

 

A Mechanism of Social Activism in Japanese Buddhism: An Example of Engaged Buddhism

Takase, Akinori (Jodo Shu Research Institute, Fuji, JPN)

This presentation reports an example of a new phase in Japanese Buddhism. Recently a Buddhist group started engaging in the homeless issue. The Buddhist group, named Hitosaji-no-kai, started feeding and supporting homeless people in the Sanya district, Tokyo. Though the group was started by some priests in the Jōdo Shū denomination (the Pure Land denomination), now many volunteers participate in its social program, regardless of religious affiliation. This researcher conducted fieldwork and interviews with 12 Buddhist priests in the group. This study clarified the characteristics of these activities and revealed that those who get involved in the homeless issue are motivated by the Buddhist teaching.

In modern Japan, Buddhist traditions are based on ancestral service such as funeral service and memorial service. People perform Buddhist rituals primarily for their ancestor worship services. This attitude is entirely connected to a unique management model in Japanese Buddhism. Most temples have a graveyard for their members. In general, Japanese people tend to be buried with their ancestors and worshiped as guardian spirits of the family after they die. As a result of that, lay Buddhists and Buddhist priests are connected through the family grave system. Therefore many temples are preaching more about ancestor services rather than pursuing individual enlightenment. Japanese Buddhism has been criticized as “funeral Buddhism” far removed from people’s daily life.

A new tide, however, has occurred in Japanese Buddhism. Some young priests have started to engage in social problems. This presentation reports one example, the Hitosaji-no-kai that Buddhist priests initiated to support homeless people in Tokyo. The group has three activities, 1) funeral support, 2) feeding the needy and 3) promotion of rice donation. Funeral support is a religious service for homeless people who passed away on the street. Feeding the needy is material support for the needy. The group goes to the homeless on the street to provide assistance such as food and medicine. Promotion of rice donation consists of encouraging other temple priests to donate rice to charitable activities. These activities, especially the first and the third, take advantage of the special resources of Buddhist priests.

There is another problem. In Japan, this kind of volunteer work, supporting and feeding the homeless, is not appreciated by the public. This is because people regard homelessness to be a result of laziness or choice. Even though some people are aware of the need for such work, the homeless are not welcome in their neighborhoods. Therefore volunteers who work on the homeless issue often suffer from a dilemma since they cannot expect social approval.

Through the series of these interviews, however, it was revealed that priests in Hitosaji-no-kai, have understood their activities as an aspect of the Pure Land teachings and that they have been motivated by a phrase taught by the founder, Honen (1133-1212). In other words their activities are supported by religious belief. Through this mechanism, we can see an example of applied theology in Japanese Buddhism.

 

 

Visions of the Copper-Colored Mountain

Bogin, Benjamin (Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA)

Near the turn of the twentieth century, the Tibetan Buddhist scholar and meditation master, Tsultrim Gyatso (tshul khrims rgya mtsho) composed a lengthy commentary on a prayer for rebirth at the Copper-Colored Mountain. In this text, which bears the poetic title Pure Luminosity (’od snang dkar po), the author attempts to combine maps of the world derived from distinct sources: the cosmological framework of ancient Indian Buddhism and the images of the Himalayan and South Asian regions derived from modern geography and cartography. In order to understand Tsultrim Gyatso’s approach to this challenge, it will be necessary to explore the tantric Buddhist epistemology that underlies his evaluation of the perceptible world, the world of the imagination, and “the real.” David Shulman’s recent book More than Real: A History of Imagination in South India (2012) provides an excellent model for considering the ways that early modern thinkers in a different Asian context theorized imagination. In my reading of Tsultrim Gyatso’s Pure Luminosity, I will demonstrate ways in which the tantric Buddhist theory of “pure perception” (dag snang) informs his approach to mapping imagined worlds in ways that differ significantly from the South Indian writers studied by Shulman and the colonial mapmakers who exerted such an influence in the representations of space in both India and Tibet. Ngayab, the island upon which the Copper-Colored Mountain is found occupies a particular kind of space: simultaneously known to exist in the world (and in the southwestern direction more precisely) and to transcend the world in a manner that makes it inaccessible to anyone lacking the sufficient level of spiritual realization. The possibility of locating a sacred place both in and beyond the world at the same time provides an important insight into the theory and practice of Tibetan Buddhism. The island of Ngayab (Sanskrit: Cāmaradvīpa) is located to the southwest of the Jambudvīpa continent in traditional Buddhist cosmology and yet the more salient associations invoked by Tibetan authors are those drawn from Indian tales of merchant travelers encountering demon-infested islands on their sea voyages. Using Tsultrim Gyatso’s Pure Luminosity as a starting point, I will trace out the wide range of literary sources that inform the maps of real and imagined worlds held by early modern Tibetans. With this background in place, it will be possible to ask what choices Tsultrim Gyatso makes in his own work and the criteria that he uses for drawing his own map of the Copper-Colored Mountain. Beyond the importance of this study for our knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism, I am confident that this case will provide very valuable points of comparison and contrast for other scholars interested in the Asian encounter with modernity and the intersections between mythographic and cartographic epistemologies.

 

Impartiality and Contemplation: On the Meaning of the Term “Ris med” in Mahāmudra and rDzogs chen

Deroche, Marc-Henri (Kyoto University, Kyoto, JPN)

In his seminal paper (1970, 2001) on the so-called “non-sectarian” (ris med) movement, the late E. Gene Smith presented the great spiritual heroes of 19th century Khams. In relation to this historical context of Buddhism in Tibet, the present paper is dedicated to analyze the Tibetan expression phyogs ris su med pa with its variants or abbreviations like phyogs med (apakṣapāta) or ris med, translated more literally as “impartial.” If this term generally designates a virtue of religious tolerance (Smith’s “non-sectarianism”), in the contemplative literature of Mahāmudrā and rDzogs chen it describes also the state of pure awareness. From this perspective, the meaning of ris med tends to converge with the expression dmigs pa med pa (anālambana), “without reference point,” and with the spirit of the middle path: mtha’ med or mtha’ las ’das (ananta), “without or beyond extremes.” I intend here to investigate the relation between non-sectarianism and contemplation illustrated by the term ris med since the rhetoric of contemplation is actually at the heart of the so-called ris med movement.

As Kapstein (1996, 2007) has exposed, the organizational paradigm of Kong sprul’s (1813-1899) major collection of the Treasury of Spiritual Instructions (gDams ngag mdzod) is the model of the Eight Lineages of Practice (sgrub brgyud shing rta chen po brgyad) originally authored by Prajñāraśmi (1518-1584). I have myself examined elsewhere this master and his Ambrosia of Study, Reflection and Meditation (Thos bsam dang sgom pa ’chi med kyi bdud rtsi) where he presents the Indian and Tibetan traditions of Buddhist exegesis and meditative practice according to three steps of the development of wisdom (shes rab, prajñā). While this progression expresses perfectly how Buddhist philo-sophia is constituted by both discourse and “spiritual exercise,” Prajñāraśmi asserts that the unity of Buddhist traditions is to be realized in the contemplative experience of gnosis (ye shes, jñāna).

I will present here how the term ris med plays a specific role in discourses on contemplation through the Tibetan literature of “spiritual instructions” (gdams ngag, man ngag) or “direct introduction to the nature of mind” (sems nyid ngo sprod). For example, in his famous Treasury of the Dharmadhātu (Chos dbyings mdzod), Klong chen pa (1308-1364) very frequently uses variants of the term ris med in order to describe the perspective of pure awareness (rig pa), the intention (dgongs pa) or gnosis (ye shes) of the Buddha, the ultimate intent of all Buddhist vehicles. Karmay (1988), Samuel (1993) and Petit (1999) have observed that rDzogs chen with its emphasis on an enlightened all-embracing state provided the philosophical basis for the eclectic orientation of the ris med movement. My goal is here to deepen further this observation by examining the semantics of the term ris med as well as the intertwined rhetoric of impartiality and contemplative experience in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism.

 

Buddhist Teachers from Southern Dolpo: Yon-tan rgya-mtsho and Yon-tan rgyal-mtshan

Ehrhard, Franz-Karl (LMU Munich, Munich, GER)

Biographies and spiritual songs of Buddhist teachers from Dol-po in the Nepalese Himalayas have become quite accesible by now, and a recent edition, compiled for local distribution, contains a selection of thirteen individual texts. While most of them have already been studied and translated, the collection includes a work dealing with Yon-tan rgya-mtsho (b. 1548): this is a teacher originating from Southern Dolpo and whose religious activities were conducted for the greater part of his life in the area around Mu-le gangs, i.e. the Dhaulagiri Himal. Moreover, a so far unpublished biography, found within the NGMPP collection, is devoted to a master known as Yon-tan rgyal-mtshan (b. 1592), who was a disciple of Yon-tan rgya-mtsho and also a native of Southern Dolpo: he is especially remembered for having acted as resident teacher of a monastery called dGon-gsar located in the Bar-bong[s] valley.

The present paper will sketch the constellation of these Buddhist teachers by identifying individual teaching linages and the religious sites where these transmissions occurred. It would thus be possible to contextualize religious traditions including those initiated by rJe-btsun Kun-dga’ grol-mchog (1507-1566), the illustrious abbot of the Jo-nang monastery in Central Tibet; it is known from his autobiographical writings that he had also been active in Dolpo in the middle of the 16th cent., and especially in areas regarded as a part of the “country of Mon” (mon yul) at the time.

 

Notes on the Sacred Geography of Yolmo Gangra

Gelle, Zsoka (University of Vienna, Vienna, AUT)

Yolmo Gangra is identified as an area of east Nepal, situated on the upper reaches of Melamchi Kola and Yangri Kola, also known as Helambu. It is considered to be one of the “hidden lands” (sbas yul) of the Northern Treasure (byang gter) tradition of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. As is well known, “hidden lands” refer to remote valleys and hills, which are believed to have been concealed along with other spiritual treasures by Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) in the 8th century. There is a body of prophetic literature, discovered by Tibetan lamas, so-called ‘Treasure Revealers’ (gter ston) in later centuries, that describes the time of decline, the signs of degeneration, and the way to hidden lands, where the Buddhist tradition can be preserved.

The treasure texts related to Yolmo Gangra of the Byang gter lugs kyi rnam thar dang ma 'ongs lung bstan collection, give a visionary description of the hidden land, and not only suggest ways to get there, but also provide instructions of how the land could be tamed, in which places temples should be built, or where lamas need to establish a religious community.  From the 16th century on several famous Tibetan treasure revealers visited Yolmo in search of the hidden land. They did retreats, built temples and some even settled down and became spiritual leaders for local people. Some also had their biography or liberation story (rnam thar) recorded.

I wish to explore how much impact the instructions of Guru Rinpoche’s prophecies of the Northern Treasure tradition had on the activities of Tibetan lamas, like Tenzin Norbu, Zilnon Wangyal Dorje, Nyima Sengge and Karma Chosang, who came to Yolmo in the 17-18th century to find and reestablish the hidden land and start new lineages and clans. My investigation will also address the question of antiquity and concomitant authenticity of treasure texts related to Yolmo.

 

Buddhist Praises – The Role of the bstod-pa Genre in the Writings of the 4th Zhwa-dmar Incarnate

Mojzes, Kamilla Eva (Bonn University, Bonn, GER)

The fourth Zhwa-dmar incarnate of the Karma bKa'-brgyud lineage, Chos-grags Ye-shes dPal bZang-po (1453-1524), an influential yet understudied historical personage, played a central role in the historical events of 15-16th c. Tibet. He is generally regarded as the most important actor in the Tibetan political power structure of the time: a charismatic agent at the dawn of the bKa'-brgyud – dGe-lugs inter-sectarian strife. In his biographies, he is portrayed after the scholar – accomplisher ideal (Tib. mkhas–sgrub), yet studies on his religious-literary output are scarce in the Western reception.

A clear appreciation of the 4th Zhwa-dmar incarnate's religious writings has long been anticipated, also since his Collected Writings were published in 2010. Although one of his works (Dwags-po'i chos bzhi gsal-ba'i sgron-ma) was published in English (Brunnhölzl 2007) and recently two monographic studies have been presented at the 2013 IATS conference concerning the 4th Zhwa-dmar (Draszczyk, Mojzes), neither a comprehensive study on his collected writings, nor a more specific survey on his preferred genres have been conducted.

This paper's objective is to provide a preliminary assessment of his literary output and offer a detailed analysis on the role of Buddhist praises (Tib. bstod pa, Skt. stotra) in his oeuvre – indeed these poetic pieces make up a substantial part - one fifth - of his works.

The main focus is thus on these sixty praises – each distinguished with the expression bstod-pa in their titles. Other related genres, such as long life prayers (Tib. zhabs-brtan) or eulogies (Tib. bsngags-pa) do not appear among his writings. Although not grouped together explicitly, they clearly form an independent subset in his collected writings. Ranging from praises addressed to specific buddha forms and deities, through the admiration of his closest spiritual teachers and – notably - his zhwa-dmar-pa predecessors, they also include tributes to sacred geographical places. The main historical sources that serve as the historical background for this paper are two biographical texts: his spiritual memoir (rang-rnam) (rTogs-pa brjod-pa'i tshigs-su bcad-pa utpala'i phreng-ba) composed in 1506 at the request of his sponsor Don-yod rdo-rje and his spiritual biography from the mKhas-pa'i-dga'-ston, an account of history (lo-rgyus) written by his closest disciple, the second dPa-bo rin-po-che gTsug-lag 'phreng-ba (1504-1566).

In general, analyzing these praises furthers the understanding of the role of this genre in 15th -16th c. Tibetan religious literature, while - in specific - the information provided in their colophons concerning when, where they were written and who had requested them provides relevant information not only on the religious, but possibly also the political objective in play at their composition. By considering the historical context and exploring the stylistic solutions employed this paper sheds light on how these writings served a double intent.

 

Transmitting the Words of the Master: On Tibetan Instructional Literature

Sernesi, Marta (LMU Munich, Munich, GER)

Tibetan instructional literature includes genres such as “instructions” (gdams pa, gdams ngag, man ngag), “sayings” (gsung sgros, gsung bgros), “mnemonic notes” (zin bris), “questions and answers” or “response” (dri lan, zhu lan), “teachings to the assembly” (tshogs chos), and “songs of advice” (zhal gdams kyi mgur). These are supposed to record the words addressed by a master to his disciple(s) on a given occasion, conveying personal teachings on specific points of practice or more general advice in the case of sermons delivered to an assembly of followers. These, usually short, compositions are mostly found either embedded within wider texts like life stories (rnam thar), or arranged within multi-textual compendia, like manuals (yig cha), miscellaneous sayings (gsung bgros thor bu), and collected sayings (bka’ ’bum, gsung ’bum).

As a matter of fact, the process leading from the first instance of oral, dynamic interaction between master and disciple to the textual witnesses found in these collections was far from being “immediate” or “un-mediated”, but involved multiple agents, and sometimes occured over an extended period of time spanning generations. Therefore, investigating more closely genres traditionally portrayed as the direct record of oral instructions delivered by a given master, their composite nature and collective construction will come to light. This new insight into the nature and attribution of such texts will also add to our knowledge of the process leading to the formation of the “Collected Works” of the revered masters of the past (11th-13th cent.).

 

Between Politics, Scholarship, and Buddhism: Multifarious Entanglements in the Eastern Himalayas

Viehbeck, Markus (Cluster “Asia & Europe”, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, GER)

In the first half of the 20th century, the Eastern Himalayas provided a particular important space for encounters between people of varied interests and cultural backgrounds. Embedded in the events of global histories, Tibet was exposed to an increasing pressure by its neighbors China, Russia, and British India, which culminated in the forced establishment of a direct trade connection to British India and the global market in 1904. In the subsequent economic improvement of the overall region, trading centers like Kalimpong emerged as hubs for exchanging not only consumer goods, but also general information about worlds that knew only very little about each other. While access to Tibet itself was still heavily restricted, the influx of Tibetan population in this area provided an ideal environment for Tibetophiles of various sorts, and in this way attracted government officials, missionaries, academics, religious seekers, and many others alike. In the pursuit of their respective goals they relied heavily upon each other, thus creating and depending on complex networks. While most of the Western individuals involved in these processes received much attention in their respective fields, the role of their “local assistants” remained understudied.

In my talk, I would like to take a fresh look at the intricate entanglements of these networks by following the trajectory of a particularly well-connected, though not commonly known Tibetan scholar. Originally from Lhasa, Rig 'dzin dbang po became a long term resident of Kalimpong, where he acted as a crucial link in the knowledge that was produced between Tibet and the world beyond it: as a research assistant to many Western scholars, but also as an assistant to Babu Tharchin whose Tibetan language newspaper Me long provided access to global events. It is also this special position, I will argue, that reflected back on his personal life, resulting in a reconsideration of his cultural background and a new orientation as Buddhist.

 

’Brug pa Monasteries in Lahul: Mystical Accounts and Art Historical Evidences

Widorn, Verena (Institut für Kunstgeschichte, University of Vienna, Vienna, AUT)

The religious legacy of Lahul, Himachal Pradesh, is a long-standing still not fully deciphered history based largely on legendary and mystical accounts. Traces of Mahāyāna Buddhism like rock engravings dated to the fifth/sixth century CE and archaeological evidences attributed to the phyi-dar point to the age-old tradition of Buddhism in this area.

Today Lahul is a stronghold of the of 'Brug pa bKa’ brgyud order. A dozen ’Brug pa monasteries overlook the entire Bhaga valley situated within eye contact of each other on both sides of the river high up the mountains. Some monasteries are associated with the mythical power of the yogi rGod ts’an pa, who travelled through the region on his way to Uḍḍiyāna and brought a regeneration of Buddhism to Lahul in the thirteenth century. Several adepts of the ’Brug pa bKa’ brgyud order followed his lead, longing to complete the internal and external ritual journey to the twenty-four pīṭha of the vajrakāya, and looking for extraordinary energetic places. Monasteries such as Shashur and Tayul, both on the right side of the Bhaga valley, are considered foundations of sTag tshaṅ ras pa of the seventeenth century, possibly as a direct result of his one year sojourn and teaching in this region.

The paper aims to identify and analyse the artistic environment of some of the monasteries in order to distinguish between mystical reports and art historical evidences. The study of iconography and style will further help to differentiate local elements and the influence and inspiration deriving from the ’Brug pa homeland. 

Touring Mount Putuo: Commodification, Buddhism, and State Capitalism in China

Bruntz, Courtney (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, USA)

China’s economic reforms following its 1978 opening up have ushered in new market strategies and industries that are shaping religious landscapes. Historically, its four sacred Buddhist mountains have always held interactions with surrounding market economies, as inns, teahouses, and commercial shops upheld the pilgrim’s journey. However, with an expansion of China’s economic market and an establishment of state capitalism, the nation’s Buddhist mountains are contemporarily commodified in ways that promote certain practices of Buddhism over others. Using field work I conducted at Mount Putuo in China’s Zhejiang Province, I argue that in its state capitalist system, government-owned tourist corporations have revitalized Buddhist practices at the mountain, with the determining factor being whether or not that practice resembles values of nationalism.

China’s economic reforms and adaptation of capitalism resulted in a system in which markets are tools for national interests – or at least the interests of the ruling elite. In state capitalism, the means of production are often privately owned, but the state has much control over investment and the allocation of credit. Often the interests of large-scale businesses are advanced and protected – including corporatized government agencies. Pertinent to the study of contemporary Buddhism in China, one of these industries that has been advanced is the tourism one that is dominated by government-owned agencies. By investing in tourism at China’s four Buddhist mountains, government companies are in the position to protect the locations as cultural relics and embed the sites with Party ideology, and they are also in the position to determine which Buddhist locations and practices are more heavily advertised than others. This in turn affects the cultural value of a location, and its associated activities. Investigating Mount Putuo, I argue such government investments in tourism have resulted in a commodified space where the mountain’s: 1) Buddhist identity and connections to the Bodhisattva Guanyin are promoted and rebranded under nationalism; 2) abstract and concrete qualities are secularized; and 3) temple complexes and auspicious locations are re-configured to meet current standards of tourism.

This work contributes to the panel “Buddhism under Capitalism” reinforcing the necessity to evaluate the ways that economic structures, and their corresponding consumerist frameworks, modify Buddhism’s cultural value. Furthermore, it evidences how the emergence of capitalism in China has resulted in a competitive market where Buddhist sites compete with one another and with other religious and entertainment opportunities. This competition is generated by a state monopolized tourist industry that institutionally supports Buddhist landscapes while restructuring locations to meet values of nationalism. For studies of contemporary Chinese Buddhism, this work pointedly evaluates where in economic activity restructuring occurs, the exchange parameters through which Buddhism is consumed, and the cultural values embedded within such exchanges.

 

 

Consuming Nothing: Psychotherapy, Capitalism, and Buddhism

Payne, Richard (Institute of Buddhist Studies, Los Gatos, USA)

This presentation explores how from the second half of the nineteenth century into the present the three way relation between Buddhism, capitalism and psychotherapy has affected the representations of Buddhism. Although frequently considered a recent development, the interaction between Buddhism and psychotherapy dates from the earliest popularization of Buddhism in Europe and the United States. Consequently, Buddhism has always been “psychologized” in its Western representations, which I have addressed previously. This essay extends this line of inquiry by giving particular attention to the role of capitalism in the formation of this psychologized Buddhism.

The inquiry will develop over four topics. The first considers “Buddhism as an Object of Consumption.” This may be the most familiar dimension of the relation between capitalism and religion generally, having been subject to several critiques. This section considers aspects of consumption, such as commodification, class, communication, and celebrity, as interconnected parts of the marketing of Buddhism.

The second topic, “Instrumentality and the Denaturalizing of Meditation,” examines the capitalist portrayal of technology as value- and context-neutral. This understanding of technology molds the representation of Buddhism by treating meditation as a mental technology. Thus “denaturalized,” that is, both decontextualized and dehistoricized, meditation is easily integrated into a medicalized therapeutics. The ironic consequence of the instrumentalization of meditation is that it reinforces the ego’s sense of being an autonomous agent, though its control may only be over one’s own emotions. Thus, rather than moving toward a realization of anātman, the instrumentalization of meditation as mental technology reinforces the sense of the ego’s autonomy.

“Puritanism and the Project of Buddhist Self-Help” is the third topic. Puritan notions regarding the moral obligation for self-improvement provide the background for analysing the links between Buddhism as psychotherapy and Buddhism as self-help. The culture of self-help plays an important role in the construction of the self under late capitalism. The morally obligatory character of self-improvement nests with the self as consumer to create a completely open-ended project of self-perfection through the consumption of morally acceptable “spiritual” goods. Thus, “transformative experience” becomes socially accepted as an object of desire. Necessarily evanescent, and therefore requiring repeated consumption, makes this a perfect product. Here we also see the commercial utility of the Romantic conception of religion as experience, which dates from the beginning of the nineteenth century, and has become widely accepted dogma regarding the nature of religion.

Last, the question of how capitalist commodification is transforming systems of authority is examined under the fourth topic, “Degrading Hierarchy, Longing for Authenticity.” While faux-populism degrades traditional hierarchical claims to authority, e.g., those based in the Vinaya and other monastic codes, consumer capitalism employs rhetorics of authenticity. Authenticity also engages nostalgia for an idealized Other. Frequently this is in terms of stability, harmony and an “enchanted world,” created as the semiotic opposite to the present as unstable, conflictual and a “disenchanted world,” i.e., characterizations of traditional versus modern, employed as claims regarding authenticity.

 

Early Buddhist Critiques of Capitalism in Japan: Sada Kaiseki and Uchiyama Gudō

Rambelli, Fabio (University of California, Santa Barbara, California, USA)

Japan's process of modernization that began in the second half of the nineteenth century involved the adoption of Western cultural and institutional formations, including current modes of production. This adoption took place together with a systematic repression of traditional forms of religiosity, including Buddhism. Those modes of production can be summed under the general term “capitalism.” At the time, capitalism was almost synonymous with modernization—a complex process that involved institutional and political restructuring, transformation (and often, abandonment) of existing trades and modes of production, and the import of foreign commodities and services (with the depleting of Japan's resources in currency and precious metals and resulting inflation); this process also accelerated economic differentiation in terms of class. This paper explores some of the ways in which Buddhist intellectuals living in those complex times interpreted and critiqued capitalism and tried to propose alternative economic models. We will focus in particular on two Buddhist intellectuals, Sada Kaiseki (1818-1882) and Uchiyama Gudō (1874-1911). Both are now minor figures in the history of modern Japanese Buddhism, but their works offer us interesting views on the early interpretations of “capitalism” from a strongly critical perspective. Sada Kaiseki lamented the potential destruction of traditional modes of production and technologies, with consequent phenomena of de-culturation; he organized a large-scale campaign of boycott of foreign imports and wrote books on economics from a Buddhist standpoint. On the other hand, Uchiyama Gudō came to be involved with the rising socialist movement in Japan, and eventually joined the group of anarchists led by Kōtoku Shūsui. He wrote a scathing critique of private property, wealth accumulation, and selfishness which he considered related to capitalist economy and society. The paper will conclude with a critical discussion of the works of these two authors, by contextualizing their ideas and activities within the social and historical situation of their times and also by comparing them with positions expressed by contemporary “engaged Buddhism,” also as a way to formulate a Buddhist critique of capitalism from within. 

The Statue of the Goddess and the Bodhisattva. Hekate’s Journey from Athens to the Ganges

Cargill, Angus (Northern Consortium of UK Universities, Beijing, CHN)

If the commentary on the Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha in the Pāli Canon is to be believed, when the young Siddhārtha Gautama looked around the principal assembly hall, or saṃsthāgāra, of his Śākya people, he may have seen something very unusual: statues from Greece “holding lamps.” What could this little-known episode in Buddhist history tell us about the cultural environment in which the historical Buddha grew up, and could it help to shed light on the process of iconographical realisation in early Buddhist cultures?

In the late Sri Lankan Professor G.P. Malalasekera’s “Buddhist Dictionary of Pāli Proper Names,” he tells us that, “Yonakā, statues, holding lamps, were among the decorations used by the Sākiyans [Śākyans] of Kapilavatthu [Skt. Kapilavastu] (MA.ii.575).” (Malalasekera 2003: “Yonā, Yavanā, Yonakā.”) Presumably, “statues…used by the Sākiyans” means that they were displayed in the assembly hall of the Śākyan state in Kapilavastu in present-day southern Nepal. This is an unexpected and enigmatic piece of information, and merits closer attention. First, the Śākyan presence in Kapilavastu can be dated fairly precisely. Towards the end of the life of the historical Buddha, in approximately 400 b.c.e, they were driven out by Vidūdabha of Kosala, and retreated to the Himalayas (Malalasekera 2003: “Sokyā, Sakka, Sākiyā”). Therefore this piece of information must derive from the late fifth or early fourth centuries b.c.e, in other words around seventy years before the arrival of Alexander of Macedon in India in 326 b.c.e. This unexpectedly early use of sculptural decoration in India should cause us to reconsider the use of scuptural decoration as part of Buddhist worship. The partially aniconographic representations of Buddhist religious themes may in fact reflect the relationship between India and other cultures during this period. The aniconographic representation of the Buddha during this period may be a reflection of a parallel methodology in Achaemenid Persia, where Ahura Mazda is represented aniconographically, apparently uniquely so amongst Persian gods of the period.

This paper draws together the history of the relationship between Achaemenid Persia and India during the sixth and fifth centuries b.c.e., and argues that this close relationship may have helped to set the earliest pattern of image representation in Buddhism, in which all beings except for the Buddha himself could be represented.

 

The Representation of Historical Buddhas in Early Nepalese Art, a Case Study: The Two Buddhas of Kwa Baha, Lalitpur

Graldi, Aurora (University of Vienna, Wien, AUT)

The general aim of this paper is to encourage a discussion on the artistic sources that fostered a Nepalese ‘school’ of sculpture in its formative period (5th-8th centuries C.E.), referring in particular to the representation of isolated standing Buddhas. Despite the abundance of primary evidences, stone sculptures, wood carvings and metal images still preserved in situ or kept in Museums and Private Collections, the aesthetic and iconographical features that framed its indigenous visual vocabulary are not well-established. Previous research described the Nepalese ‘school’ of sculpture as a gradual process of emancipation from the art of North-eastern India. Instead, new art-historical discoveries lead to a re-evaluation of the artistic matrix of Nepalese art and suggest a cultural continuity between the Kathmandu Valley and the Western part of the Himalayas and Central Asia. Indeed, the sculptural tradition of the Licchavi period is part of an extended network of pilgrim and trade routes that connected the different centers of the Buddhist ecumene.

A couple of standing Buddhas kept inside the main shrine of the Kwā Bāhā, which is the largest monastic complex of the Kathmandu Valley, represents an emblematic case study. The two statues, symmetrical and identical, stand on the proper left and right side of kwāpā-dya, the main deity of the monastery, a life-size copper image of Buddha Śākyamuni. They have been documented during my fieldwork in November 2012 and are not on public view, since only initiated priests are allowed to enter the shrine and worship them. These statues are one of the earliest examples of standing Buddhas still preserved inside the original monastic foundation and present a unique formal solution, in which different techniques and materials are combined: the Buddha’s main body is made of wood while the limbs and the head are in gilded copper. It can be interpreted as a deliberate visual choice made by the artist, unusual in the Nepalese artistic milieu, but one that can find its ‘conceptual matrix’ in the Buddhist art of the Western Himalayas and Central Asia.

On the other side, the iconographical lexicon is common: an isolated Buddha with the left hand in varadamudrā while the right grasps the robe up to the shoulder is the most popular way to depict standing Buddhas in the Kathmandu Valley and recurs in different centers of the Himalayas. It is worthy to interpret the symbolical meaning conveyed by this combined gesture in the Nepalese religious context, in which it is labelled by specific Newar liturgical terms. This Buddha, standardized in its iconography since the beginning of the Licchavi period, developed in a distinctive Nepalese ‘image type’, at first in stone sculptures and later on replicated countless times in portable metal images.

 

The Life of the Buddha in Gandhāran Art and Related Narratives

Juhel, Katia (EPHE, PARIS, FRA)

Between the middle of the Ist century A.D. and the Vth century A.D., the region of Gandhāra has been one of the main centers of a very peculiar artistic production, that strongly testify to the local diffusion of Buddhism. The specificity of this artistic school is to represent events, sometimes secondary, of the life of the Buddha, and to set them in various chronological sequences. During the same period, texts narrating the Buddha's life were possibly known, if not circulating in this very area: among them the Buddhacarita and the Mahāvastu. They have been used in order to identify a given personage or a particular aspect of a figurative scene, proceeding thus by some sort of admitted correspondence or analogy whereas this approach reveals to be problematic.

As a matter of fact indeed, the element under investigation, and even if it apparently denotes a similar meaning, intervenes differently and plays a different role in both media.

Our presentation will aim at demonstrating the importance of an in-depth analysis and identification of the elements and variants specific to each source, as a propedeutic to their confrontation. Having this hypothesis in mind, we will compare some scenes and their sequences with the relevant textual passages, while searching the principles governing the organisation of the singular episodes.

 

A Peculiar Type of Statue from the Dali Kingdom

Kelényi, Béla (Ferenc Hopp Museum of Eastern Asiatic Arts, Budapest, HUN)

The Tibetan collection of the Ferenc Hopp Museum in Budapest houses the statue of a wrathful deity, which, due to the indeterminacy of its features, defies quick iconographic analysis. It is thought to have been made in the declining years of the Dali Kingdom (937–1253) in what is now China’s Yunnan Province. The iconographic depiction of this deity goes back to the so-called Long Scroll (Ch.: Daliguo Fanxiang tu) now in the collection of the National Palace Museum of Taipei.

Regarding the history of the Long Scroll, it came into the collection of the Qianlong Emperor; this most likely must have taken place between 1744 and 1763. The iconographical characters of the depicted deities are not only related to Tantric Buddhism, since even Chan patriarchs and many local protective gods are represented in it. However, it appears that a number of images of the above mentioned deity came from Tibet, or from nearby lands dominated by Tibetan Buddhism. Although this fact suggests that the cult of this deity existed in Tibet as well, its depictions do not fit any iconographical system used in Tibetan Buddhism. Moreover, in spite of their extraordinary similarity, all of the known types are a little bit different from each other.

The statuary discussed here can be divided into two groups: those created in the Dali Kingdom, and those produced during, or shortly after, the reign of the Qianlong Emperor. The basic type of the deity which appears on the Long Scroll has a golden body, nine heads, eighteen arms, three legs, and two black wings. It is surrounded by a halo of fire; its three legs stand on a triangular yantra, and in each corner of the triangle lies an outstretched human body, embraced with snakes.

To my knowledge, the images of four statues with similar iconographic features have been published, and those four were presumably all made in the Yunnan province during the Dali dynasty. The statue of the Hopp Museum, analyzed in my current research seems to be a fifth, hitherto unpublished example of this particular style. At the same time, we know of four other statues which show the salient iconographic features known from the Long Scroll. Still, those four statues show substantial differences, and they were clearly produced much later, probably during the 18th century. This study aims at exploring the variations of this peculiar deity and at determining which of the known pieces appears to be closest to the image on the Long Scroll. 

 

Picturing the Buddhist Filial Son in Medieval China

Kyan, Winston (University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA)

A familiar trope in Chinese Buddhism is the Buddhist filial child charged with saving his or her family. Earlier studies have used representations of these children, typically jataka narratives of the Buddha’s previous lives, to illustrate how medieval Chinese Buddhists used filial themes from the Buddhist corpus to challenge Confucian hierarchies. However, the visual function of jataka narratives within the context of Chinese Buddhist iconography and formal development has remained relatively understudied. Within this context, the jataka story of the filial son Shanzi is particularly striking. Charged with caring for his blind parents, Shanzi is mistakenly shot by the king’s arrow while the former is collecting water for his parents and the latter is out hunting. Notably, medieval Chinese representations of this story from the sixth- to the seventh-centuries at Dunhuang show the king in postures of submission before Shanzi’s parents that look back to Huiyuan’s well known treatise of 404 CE “On Why Monks Do Not Bow Down Before Kings” (Shamen bujing wangzhe lun), while looking forward to murals of fully developed filial piety sutras such as the “Repaying Kindness Sutra” (Baoen jing) in ninth- and tenth-century caves at Dunhuang. Accordingly, this paper explores the relationship between representations of the Shanzi jataka and later filial piety sutras within the local context of Dunhuang to argue for a visual function of the Shanzi jataka that complements social, historical, and religious interpretations.

 

Aspects of Tibetan Geomancy: The Right Timing for the Construction of Buildings and its Influence on the Environment

Maurer, Petra (Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften / LMU München, München, GER)

Looking at texts on Tibetan geomancy it seems quite clear that the main focus is on selecting the right site for buildings. However, a closer look at the requirements for construction outlined by sde srid Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho (1653-1705) in the Vaidurya dkar po reveals the importance of the right timing.

Any calculation of time in nag rtsis, that is Sino-Tibetan divination, depends on the elements and their interrelationships as well as the nine sme ba and eight spar kha, divinatory dimensions related to the elements. As time is held to be a combination of these constituents, there is an interrelation between past, present and future time. The interrelation of the three times is determined – as concerns the five elements of water, fire, earth, wood and iron – by the relationship between “self”, mother, son, friend and enemy (rang ma bu dgra grogs). To achieve success, the elements of the time of birth should be in a positive relationship with those of the day on which any proposed activities take place.

Therefore, the future owner of a house needs his date of birth in order to find a suitable time to start the construction. Furthermore, time and space are interwoven because of the relationship between the elements and the directions: the personal element determines a person’s relationship to the environment.

The presentation will elucidate the calculation of the right time for construction and analyze the connection between past, present and future according to the Tibetan nag-rtsis system.

 

Buddhist Music in the Shingon Schools: A Study of the Transmission of Vocalizing Kōshiki (Buddhist Ceremonials) on Kōyasan

Mross, Michaela (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Göttingen, GER)

The liturgical genre of kōshiki developed in the late tenth century in the context of Pure Land belief within the Tendai tradition. In the following centuries this genre spread throughout all Buddhist schools and kōshiki were performed for various objects of veneration. The composition of kōshiki reached a high point in the Kamakura period with Myōe (1173-1232) and Jōkei (1155-1213) as the most productive authors of kōshiki. We can assume that more than 400 kōshiki were composed. Some of them are still performed today.

The liturgical genre of kōshiki is one of the narrative genres of Japanese Buddhist chant (shōmyō). Kōshiki texts are written in kanbun and recited in kanbun kundoku style by a solo singer in a ritual setting. This paper studies the musical side kōshiki using the example of one of the most famous works in this genre, the Shiza kōshiki. Myōe composed this work in 1215 for the Jōrakue. Since the 13th century this kōshiki has been performed on Kōyasan.

I will examine the role of music in the performance of the kōshiki and demonstrate how the recitation on three different pitch levels empowers the semantics of the texts by adding an emotional layer to the liturgical text. Further, I will study how the art of vocalizing kōshiki was transmitted on Kōyasan and thus demonstrate that learning shōmyō was a central part in the monastic training. Further, I will argue that the shōmyō lineages played an important role in establishing cultic centers.

 

Tibetan Stūpas (mchod rten) in Europe: Convert Romanticism and Worship

Seegers, Eva (Numata Center for Buddhist Studies, Asien-Afrika-Institut, Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, GER)

Stūpas are among the most characteristic and widespread Buddhist architectural structures. They have been built in Asia for more than 2500 years and over the past decades also in many other countries around the world. Since the early 1980s a striking number of more than 200 contemporary stūpas (mchod rten) have been erected across Europe, highlighting the integration of Buddhism into Western society. The aim of my interdisciplinary research approach –art historical, architectural, and religious– is the analysis of the parameters of authenticity and their variations in construction and function.

Based on an analytical survey of stūpas built by Karma bKa’ brgyud and Dwags shangs bKa ’brgyud organisations in Europe this paper will try to answer the basic questions which arise when such exotic monuments are transferred to a new cultural environment.

What are the reasons for erecting stūpas in European countries? Is the motivation based on a “romantic view of Tibet as Shangri-La” (Lopez, 1998) which implies the much discussed issue of Tibet as an object of Western fantasy? If so, do some “romanticists” erect stūpa-replicas because they want to recreate a “little Tibet” or is there a deeper meaning? How are the traditional criteria, e.g. laid down in stūpa-manuals, which make a stūpa into an object of worship, applied to the “European stūpas”?

Another striking topic to discuss is the question how stūpas are used in Buddhist practice and what the diverse ways are in which they are regarded by Western convert Buddhists. The question arises: When stūpas are transplanted to Europe, is it likely that the meaning and significance of these stūpas remain the same?

In this paper new data collected by field-work and critically analysed textual sources will blend together. This will allow new insights into how cultural and religious transmissions take place. Thus, not only will a foundation for future research be laid, but also important materials for Buddhist Studies will be newly made accessible. This paper is designed to benefit also other academic disciplines, such as Architecture, Art History, and Religious Studies.

 

Flowers in a Vase: The Significance of Flower Offering in Thai Buddhist Tradition

Sounsamut, Pram (Institute of Thai Studies, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, THA)

Normally, the main function of flowers is decoration. Flowers have been used in various occasions to transform an ordinary scene into an adorable space to get in. However, when flowers are used in religion, they have more function and meaning than just a decoration object. In this talk, I will survey various occasions of flower offering, mainly in the Thai Buddhist tradition. Also, I will compare the idea of using flowers in other Buddhist traditions and some related religions, which have influenced the meaning of flower offering in Thai Buddhism. I will also compare the ideas and the meanings behind the flower arrangement, both as a symbol and as a practice of ritual. Research found that, in Thai Buddhist tradition, flower offering is a part of normal Buddhist practice. The belief of attaining the future benefit of a good rebirth is still strong and continues to pass from generation to generation. Flower offering also gave Thai women in the past a chance to take part in Buddhist ceremonies. Moreover, in arts, although flowers are mainly used for filling the gaps in the picture, they also demonstrate the Buddhist teachings in life and Dharma.

 

A Buddhist Temple in Mongolia: An Idiosyncratic Case

Tsultem, Uranchimeg (University of California, Berkeley, Albany, USA)

This paper will discuss types of architecture of Mongolian Buddhist temples, such as khiid and khüree, analyzing the differences in the function of each type. The paper then will focus on the central monastery, and the later capital city Ikh Khüree, which was built in 1639 as the seat of the new reincarnate rulers known as rJe btsun dam pa. The phenomenon of this monastery was its portable architecture and mobile nature as it moved almost 30 times from 1639 to 1855. While moving from one locale to another, Ikh Khüree never stopped expanding its architecture and continued with the production of thangka paintings and sculptures. The paper will discuss the migration trajectory of Ikh Khüree, and will argue that the mapping of the monastery and its mobile nature indicate political ambitions of the ruler for his outreach to the nomadic peoples to propagate Buddhism outside of nobility circles. The paper will show how such nomadic architecture was able to emerge into the central authority in the later dissemination of Buddhism in Mongolia and subsequently became instrumental in the massive conversion of common population to Buddhism. The paper will use paintings and maps of Ikh Khüree, manuscript sources and secondary literature in Mongolian and Tibetan languages as well as texts written by 18th-century Buddhist scholars from Mongolia.

 

An Unprecedented Analysis of Painting: Amdo Jampa and the History of Buddhist Craftmanship in Tibet

Warner, Cameron (Aarhus Universitet, Aarhus, DNK)

Jampa Tseten, better known as Amdo Jampa, was the most famous Tibetan painter of the twentieth century. He is credited with pioneering a photo-realist style, examples of which include a controversial portrait of the 14th Dalai Lama at the Tagtu Mingyur Podrang palace within the Norbulingka. This paper will be based on a close reading of Amdo Jampa's essay A Mind Ornament for Craftsmen: An Unprecedented Analysis of Painting (Ri mo'i skor gyi dpyad pa sngon med bzo ba rigs pa'i dgongs rgyan). In his essay, Amdo Jampa considers a number of questions related to the development of the Tibetan tradition of depicting Buddha images in two and three dimensions such as the influence of Menla Dondrup and the use of thig rtsa, and the relationship between physical depiction and the Mahāyāna doctrine of the multiple bodies of the Buddha. Reminiscent of the thinking of his teacher, the great polymath Gendun Chophel, Amdo Jampa attempts to reconcile his personal experience as an artist who traveled widely and was exposed to a great variety of Buddhist art with the received tradition of artistic practice in Tibet and its dependence on related biographical notions of the Buddha. This paper will place Amdo Jampa's writing in context with Menla Dondrup's Bde bar gshegs pa'i sku gzugs kyi cha tshad rab dbye yid bzhin nor bu, Desi Sangyé Gyatso's Vaiḍūrya g.ya sel, and Gendun Chophel's Rgyal khams rig pas bskor ba'i gtam rgyud gser gyi thang ma (stod cha), and further our understanding of the development of Tibetan Buddhist cosmology and epistemology, and their interrelation with artistic practice, in the late twentieth century.

 

A Problem regarding the Gandhāran Origin of the Buddha Image — On Kushan Buddha Coins

Zhao, Ling (School of Humanities, Zhejiang University, Zhejiang, PRC)

The creation of the Buddha image happened during the Kushan Dynasty in ancient India and was a great event in Buddhist history. Although we do not know the exact time, we can ascertain from archaeological finds that the first Buddha image was made not later than the accession of the Kushan King Kanishka. When Kushan coins with a Buddha image and the inscription “BOΔΔO” were excavated in Gandhāra, they had attracted the interest of Buddhist art researchers. Some believed that the Buddha image was first created on certain coins of the Kushan Kings, and that the very first one could be from the Kanishka era. However, the choice of depicting a Buddha image on coins, which were to be issued both at home and abroad, must have taken place after the creation and popularization of the image. Moreover, as far as we know, there are fewer Kushan coins with Buddha images than with representations of Greek or Brahmanical gods. It is likely that people confused the Buddha with other gods worshipped in Gandhāra at that time, and represented Buddha images on coins only occasionally. It seems that the first Buddha image was created in Mathurā, as images have been excavated with inscriptions dated to the early years of the Kanishka era. The creation of Buddha images in Gandhāra was possibly influenced by Mathurā.

Zhiyi's Rhetorical Strategy: The Usage of Fanben (Returning to the Origin)

Apple, Shinobu (Institute of Oriental Philosophy, Calgary, CAN)

This paper examines the sixth century Chinese Buddhist monk Zhiyi’s (538-597 c.e.) use of the term fanben (反本 returning to the origin) as a commentarial strategy to help his lay followers understand the nuanced and complex context of an advanced meditative procedure, a technique that appropriates and trans-values the term fanben, found in the philosophical and literary milieu of Chinese textual tradition since the time of the Laozi.

The term fanben, often along with huanyuan, is employed in his Liumiaofamen (the Six Subtle Dharma Gates), which is one of Zhiyi’s three major texts of meditative instruction. This text, which was composed for his lay follower, Mao Xi, is an instructional text centering on mindfulness of breathing, a rudimentary meditative technique that appears in various mainstream Buddhist texts, yet was developed by Zhiyi through the Mahayana bodhisattva meditative approach. An introductory description cites the phrase, “toward nirvana of true Dharma jewel, sentient beings enter through various gates,” showing this text is characterized by its accessibility and instructiveness to practitioners including those who do not belong to Buddhist monastic communities.
The use of the rhetorical fanben as an instructive tool is one of the ostensive characteristics not only for those who were not monks, but also for lay people educated in the Chinese literary legacy. In fact, the concept such as “fan (returning) to dao (original primordial state)” and “fan to zhen (true state) and yao (essence)” was already found in the Laozi and the Zhuangzi, respectively, and the compound fanben appears as a fixed term in various texts, such as the Huainanzi, the Chunquifanlu, the Shiji, among others, including Daoist texts, since the beginning of the Western Han dynasty. This fact indicates that Zhiyi’s usage of the terms and concepts of fan and fanben, which have an intellectual heritage accumulated throughout the history of literary and philosophical communities in China, was most likely familiar to educated men contemporary to Zhiyi, such as Mao Xi.

Zhiyi appropriates and trans-values this term fanben to the rhetorical device within the context of his Mahayana meditative practice and sets the usage with a fixed meaning and a function, in particular, in the fifth gate of huan (returning) out of the six gates in his Liumiaofamen, a doctrinal meaning that indicates an awareness of the emptiness of both the cognizer and the cognized, and a practical function that instructs practitioners to overcome the epistemological dichotomy which occurs between the cognizer and the cognized. The fixed usage of this rhetoric is never blurred throughout the ten major repertoires of the six subtle Dharma gates delineated in the Liumiaofamen.
Furthermore, Zhiyi’s style of this rhetorical usage of fanben stands out from any other contemporary Buddhists’ works that use the same compound fanben without a fixed parameter in its usage. Zhiyi’s rhetoric of fanben, which shows a precisely applied doctrinal meaning and a practical function in its usage, is an example of Zhiyi’s noteworthy instructive technique of meditative practice among the sixth century Buddhist communities.

 

Kwamun, a Framework for the Tradition of East Asian Commentarial Literature

Cho, Eun-su (Seoul National University, Seoul, KOR)

As an immense volume of commentarial literature was composed in East Asia, a rich tradition of commentary and analysis unfolded. Kwamun is a methodology and structure that effectively ¬captures this commentarial tradition of analysis and classification. In simple terms, a Kwamun is an analysis of a commentary and scripture in the form of a tree diagram, which reduces a multi-dimensional network of texts, commentaries, and meta-commentaries into two dimensions. Kwamun, or structural outlines, were a tool to better grasp the logical flow of a text or commentary, and were invaluable in reading, studying, and comparing the enormous amount of commentarial literature. The development and formalization of Kwamun in turn stimulated the structural organization and standardization of commentarial literature. I will showcase the results of our project to digitize and analyze over 150 Kwamun, examining their characteristics, forms, choice of subject text, and doctrinal tendencies. By examining the structure of Kwamun and its stages of development, parallels to the structural development in commentarial literature come to light.

The QXL has attracted various monk-scholars in the past to leave many famous commentaries, to which a distinguished mass of kewen diagrams was subsequently composed. In this presentation, I will analyse a few kewen diagrams of the QXL extant and available to show the logical structures that tie the text and its commentaries together, and to illustrate linkages between commentaries and the original referent texts. I would also like to find out the relational connections and hierarchies of the importance among the phrases and concepts appearing in the text. Finally I would like to reveal the various methodological tactics and implicit directions the commentators have intended to be embedded in the commentaries for the readers. Just as the traditional commentators had tried, by analyzing the logical structure of the text, we might find deeper meanings in the text.

 

The Structure of the Dharmadharmatāvibhāga (DhDhV)

Denis, Diane (Université Laval, Ste-Sophie-de-Lévrard, CAN)

This communication is the result of a study (doctoral thesis recently submitted at Laval University, Québec, Canada) which analyses the structure and content of the Dharmadharmatāvibhāgakārikā (DhDhV), one of the five works of Maitreya. The works of Kawamura (1984, 1989 et 1993), Davidson (1985), Cha (1996), Mathes (1996), Robertson (2008) and Brunnhölzl (2012) already provide discussions around the interpretation of this text within the Indo-Tibetan and, more recently, Japanese and Chinese traditions, but questions remain as to the logical structure of this text, its context, as well as to its practical application. Structure The studies and annotated translations conducted to date have mostly focussed on the main topics (ex. āśrayaparāvṛtti, nirvikalpajñāna) as they relate to the Yogācāra or Madhyamaka, or in some cases, as they relate to the Dzogchen tradition, but have not yet clearly shown how they are developed within the structure of the text itself. In this regard, the use of Vasubandhu's Vyākhyāyukti as a method of analysis in order to bring to light the logical sequence of the 57 stanzas of the versified version of this text may be one of the most innovative contributions to the field. Context Between the iiird and the vth century in India, as is shown by Schopen (2005) – not to name Paramārtha (in Rahula 1971) – the “Mahāyāna” was not as widespread as previously assumed, though the impact of the Prajñāpāramitāsūtra literature during this period is undeniable. Therefore, it appears that even without the notion of emptiness being widespread some practioners were necessarily faced with this notion in its most radical expression. Can we then consider the DhDhV as a general response to this situation even before talking about its classification as Yogācāra or Madhyamaka (a much later or specific concern)? What does that change in its interpretation? Relationship between philosophy and practice Most scholars focus on the main topics of this text from a purely philosophical point of view, due to which some questions about the intention of its composition are left without satisfying answers or at least unverified answers. Clues as to what was the intention of this text are given by many Tibetan commentators. These clues then lead to another question: how can a text like the DhDhV (including all its topics) be considered an oral instruction within the Indo-Tibetan tradition today? In order to explore these clues and questions, we use as primary sources Vasubandhu's vṛtti, the Sanskrit fragments, Mipham's commentary and, as secondary sources, the work of two French scholars named Bugault and Droit.

 

What If Madhyamaka Is a Stance? Reflections on Contemporary Buddhist Hermeneutics

Doctor, Thomas (Rangjung Yeshe Institute, Kathmandu University, Kathmandu, NPL)

This paper examines Bastian van Fraassen’s understanding of philosophical positions as stances rather than truth claims, and it explores the relevance of the notion of stance to resolving Nāgārjuna’s seemingly paradoxical “claim of no claim” as expressed in the Vigrahavyāvartanī. In this way I aim to show that a contemporary understanding of positions as clusters of claims and commitments can inform our reading of classical Madhyamaka philosophers. This exercise will, in turn, lead to methodological reflections on the notions of “Buddhist philosophy” and “Buddhist hermeneutics,” spurring a self-critical assessment of their recent developments and applications.

 

The Authority of the Fazang Commentary in the Exegetical Tradition of Qixinlun

Jin, Tao (Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois, USA)

As one of the most influential works in East Asian Buddhism, the Awakening of Faith in Mahāyāna, or Qixinlun in its popular Chinese abbreviation, is well-known for its long and rich exegetical tradition that started almost as soon as the treatise made its first appearance in 6th-century China. Highlighting this tradition is a 7th-century commentary by the eminent scholar-monk Fazang (643-712), a commentary recognized indisputably as the most authoritative interpretation of the treatise.

While such an authoritative commentary naturally occupies the center of the Qixinlun scholarship, both as a primary source and as a secondary source, scholars have not yet asked what this status of “authority” concretely entails, or in what specific and technical sense the treatise is identified as the “authority” in the interpretation of Qixinlun. This unexplored issue is, however, an important one to the study of Qixinlun, particularly to the study of the transmission of the treatise through its commentators. Facing numerous commentaries (including translations), past and present, east and west, students of Qixinlun must necessarily want to know the main issues, trends and methods that organize this long and rich exegetical tradition, and the role of this most “authoritative” commentary apparently provides indispensable materials for the effort to address such a question.

This paper is thus designed to examine how exactly the Fazang commentary constitutes the “authority” in the exegetical tradition of Qixinlun (i.e., as against its various competing commentaries) and is, in that sense, aimed to contribute to the study of the transmission of the treatise. Textual in nature, this paper is focused specifically on the influence of the Fazang commentary on the formation of the so-called “Shu-ji” lineage, an exegetical lineage of Qixinlun centered on the Fazang commentary (i.e., “Shu” in its Chinese abbreviation ) itself, its Zixuan (965-1038) sub-commentary (i.e., “Ji”), and commentaries that either prepare for, continue, or refine the Fazang work by such famous Qixinlun exegetes as Wonhyo (617-686), Chuan’ao (fl. 9th century), Zongmi (784-841) and Xufa (1641-1728). By asking questions on the selection of exegetical topics, composition of text, and doctrinal interpretation in these commentaries, this study seeks to identify some of the most important ways in which the Fazang commentary dominates, influences and even shapes the exegetical tradition of Qixinlun and, in that sense, constitutes the indisputable authority in its interpretation.

 

Fayun's View on the Lotus Sūtra

Kanno, Hiroshi (Soka University, Hachioji-shi, Tokyo, JPN)

When we turn our attention to extant Chinese exegetical literature on the Lotus Sūtra, the oldest surviving commentary is the Miaofa lianhua jing shu of Zhu Daosheng (ca. 355-434). With the exception of fragments from various Lotus Sūtra commentaries discovered at Dunhuang, the next oldest commentary after the above-mentioned work is the Fahua yiji by Fayun (467-529) of Guangzhai Monastery. The Fahua yiji is a record of Fayun’s discourses on the Lotus Sūtra as recorded by his disciples. Fayun’s studies of the Lotus Sūtra occupied a prominent place in the North-South Dynasties Period prior to the appearance of Jizang (549-623) and Zhiyi (538-597).

This paper considers Fayun’s view on the Lotus Sūtra. It is summarized in the following eight points.

1. Fayun gave a detailed analytic parsing of the entire text of the Lotus Sūtra on the basis of his exact research on it and exerted a great influence on future commentaries.
2. As the Fahua yiji is a record of Fayun’s lectures on the Lotus Sūtra, there are few references to the Mahāyāna Nirvāṇa Sūtra. The indications of later people that Fayun adopted the five-period doctrinal classification might be correct and Fayun’s position that the Lotus Sūtra was inferior in status to the Nirvāṇa Sūtra was founded in the Fahua yiji.
3. As Fayun adopted the doctrinal classification that evaluated most highly the true eternity of the Buddha explained in the Nirvāṇa Sūtra, he did not give high evaluation to the idea of the “age-old existence of the Buddha” explained in the Lotus Sūtra’s 16th chapter (“The Life Span of the Thus Come One”) but did value the idea of the “one vehicle” explained in the second chapter (“Skillful Means”). Further, he showed by the segmentation of the Lotus Sūtra that the idea of “one vehicle” is expounded not only in the second chapter, but also in the Lotus Sūtra in its entirety.
4. When Fayun interpreted the idea of “one Buddha Vehicle,” he valued the theory of provisional wisdom and real wisdom and the theory of cause and effect as the framework for the interpretation of the one vehicle.
5. The theory of provisional wisdom and real wisdom shows that three vehicles and one vehicle are both based on forms of the Buddha’s wisdom, i.e. provisional wisdom and real wisdom, respectively, and distinguishes the ground of formation of the three vehicles from that of the one vehicle.
6. Fayun showed the essence of the idea of one vehicle of the Lotus Sūtra as one cause and one effect, which is subtle cause and subtle effect, and took up the comparison between it and three causes and three effects, which are coarse cause and coarse effect preached in the teachings before the Lotus Sūtra.
7. The theory of cause and effect is an interpretation about an aspect of the teachings expounded by the Buddha. Furthermore, it clarifies the Buddha’s wisdom (provisional wisdom and real wisdom), which is the actual agent of expounding teachings, and through it it illustrates the ground of the Buddha, which expounds subtle cause and subtle effect (one cause and one effect) and coarse cause and coarse effect (three causes and three effects).
8. Fayun thought that the “age-old existence of the Buddha” explained in the Life Span Chapter is different from the true eternity of the Buddha explained in the Nirvāṇa Sūtra.

 

84,000: Calculating the Incalculable from Jingying Huiyuan to Sōboku

Kenney, Elizabeth (Kansai Gaidai University, Kyoto, JPN)

In Buddhist texts, the number 84,000 usually means “very very many, incalculably many.” All major Buddhist dictionaries, traditional or digital, tell us that 84,000 is a symbolic number meant to convey vastness — in effect, not a number at all. The fact that 80,000 is also used with the same meaning would seem to indicate that there are not really 84,000 items, whether illnesses or perfections, to be added up. In fact, however, several Buddhist sutras present simple calculations to arrive at the number 84,000.

The works of Jingying Huiyuan 淨影慧遠 (523-592), a Buddhist scholastic and numero-maniac, include two slightly different calculations for 84,000: one is found in Dashengyizhang 大乘義章, Huiyuan’s encyclopedia of Buddhist doctrine, the other in his commentary on Vimalakīrtisūtra. Interestingly and somewhat contradictorily, in his encyclopedia entry for 84,000, Huiyuan writes, “The sutras have only the number [84,000], and they do not analyze the term.” But elsewhere in the encyclopedia Huiyuan provides a calculation. He cites Bhadrakalpikasūtra 賢劫經 (T. 425) as his source for this calculation, but in fact Huiyuan’s calculation is more complicated than the one in the sutra.

We can find calculations of 84,000 in Dazhidulun 大智度論 [T. 1509] and in works by well-known Chinese Buddhist scholastics, such as Zhiyi 智顗 (538–597), Jizang 吉藏 (549–623), Zhiyan 智儼 (602-668) and Chengguan 澄觀 (738–839). Most of these calculations are somewhat different from and less detailed than Huiyuan’s.

Sōboku 僧僕 (1719-1762), a Japanese Pure Land priest, now virtually forgotten but prominent in his day, made his own investigations into the various calculations of 84,000, using sutras and the works of Chinese scholastics. After studying all the arithmetic, Sōboku wrote, “The words of the sutra are mysterious and profound. If even the ancient worthies could not understand them, then how can we? How regrettable!” Perhaps Sōboku concluded that 84,000 is, after all, incalculable.

The term “Buddhist scholasticism,” as found in the title of this IABS section, usually refers to Indian Abhidharma. Chinese monks like Huiyuan, who made lists, correlated terms, organized doctrines and were not afraid of minutiae, are easily recognized as Abhidharmica scholastics, in spirit if not in name. In contrast, it has scarcely been noted that Japanese Pure Land Buddhist priests during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries engaged in scholastic pursuits, studying topics unrelated to Pure Land scriptures or to Pure Land religious practice.

 

Hermeneutics in Buddhist Śāstras: The Cases of Candrakīrti and Tsong kha pa

Li, Shenghai (Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA)

The extremely wide variety of śāstra in both Buddhist and larger South Asian contexts makes it a very peculiar body of texts to conceptualize. For this reason, previous scholarship has generally avoided the question of śāstra’s identity and prefers to focus on the contents of its numerous instances. In the former subject, the pioneer work of Sheldon Pollock, who identifies the two basic modalities of śāstra as scripture, instantiated by the Veda, and śāstra as technical treatises governing diverse cultural practices and human activities, remains a rare attempt that will serve as our basic reference point. Buddhist catalogs from China beginning from the middle of the first millennium and later from Tibet attest to the inclusion of śāstra as a scriptural category—first replacing Abhidharma as a part in the tripiṭaka scheme, then standing next to the word of the Buddha in the Bka’/Bstan ‘gyur dichotomy. With the rare exception of a few authorities, such as Vasubandhu and Rje btsun Chos kyi rgyal mtshan, who place the sūtras/word of the Buddha within the purview of śāstra, most Buddhist writers view śāstras as interpretive works of human authorship that bear a derivative relation to sūtras. From this specific perspective, Buddhist śāstras function as a bridge between Pollock’s two modalities by remaining derivative or interpretive in relation to scripture, while standing at the head of all forms of knowledge, including the technical treatises in various cultural and practical fields.

This prima facie description, however, does not fully conform to the observation that in the history of Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, śāstras appear to have assumed an increasingly dominant role in the scholastic practices compared with sūtras. In reality, what is secondary has indeed become primary. In arguing for śāstra’s gradual appropriation of a scriptural role, the proposed paper presents two lists of scriptural citations gleaned from (1) Tsong kha pa’s fifteenth-century treatise Lam rim chen mo and (2) Candrakīrti’s seventh-century philosophical commentary Prasannapadā. The Madhyamaka section of Tsong kha pa's comprehensive Buddhist manual predominantly cites from śāstra sources; even the small number of sūtra passages used can mostly be traced in Candrakīrti’s earlier writings, indicating that in this Tibetan case śāstras functioned virtually as the sole textual authority. In contrast, the scriptural citations used in a chapter of Candrakīrti’s Indian work shows an equal attention to both sūtra and śāstra sources. However, in Candrakīrti’s case too, sūtra citations perform the subsidiary role of corroborating the positions taken in the śāstras. The process further places the interpreter in a hermeneutical circle, where “the intention of scripture is ascertained by . . . śāstras composed by the trustworthy beings.” The evidence from Candrakīrti’s and Tsong kha pa’s texts, therefore, suggests that the rising authority of śāstra emerged in a gradual process, in which a śāstric tradition assumed the role of an arbiter in the matter of interpretation, while defining its own practical canon of scriptures and passages as a part of its hermeneutical apparatus.

 

Instances, Principles, Silences: Exemplification in the Vyākhyāyukti

Nance, Richard (Indiana University, Bloomington, USA)

A striking feature of Vasubandhu's Vyākhyāyukti is its reliance on exemplification as a pedagogical device. Over the course of the text—and particularly in its second book—Vasubandhu proceeds to offer brief commentaries on more than 100 short passages drawn from Buddhist sūtra texts. There is no indication that he wants his readers to see these passages as collectively constituting a thematically coherent whole, and in unpacking them, he does not attempt to connect them to one another. Rather, they are treated as isolable passages of authoritative Buddhist teaching on which separable instances of commentary are offered. A would-be commentator, he tells us, should learn from studying these instances how to proceed when confronted with other suutra passages. Vasubandhu clearly sees attention to examples as an important component in the training of those who would be commentators. Notably, however, he does not tie the examples of commentary he offers back to explicitly articulated general rules or principles; although he uses certain techniques repeatedly, he appears reluctant to take these techniques as topics worthy of extended discussion. Attention to this point may tell us something important about Vasubandhu's views on the training of competent commentators—and, by extension, on the way in which he viewed the practice of commentary itself.

 

Relevance and Challenges – Translating Chengguan's Commentaries to the Avatamsaka Sutra

Shi, Guo Cheen (Federal Way, USA)

With the highest compliments from a wide range of sources paid to the Huayan scripture, its interpretations and principles, and a monk who championed many of the most significant doctrines, it is curious and unfortunate that Chengguan’s commentarial literature on The Avatamsaka Sutra (or The Huayanjing, Da Fangguang Fo Huayanjing 大方廣佛華嚴經 Mahāvaipulya Buddhāvataṃsaka Sūtra) [i] is missing in English, in many western academic discourses, and in research where his treatises are duly acknowledged. Huayan Studies in the West abound with intellectual and theoretical crevasses given that Chengguan’s Commentaries to the Huayanjing (or the Commentaries, Da Fangguang Fo Huayanjing Shu 大方廣佛華嚴經疏) [ii] and The Meanings Proclaimed in the Accompanying Subcommentaries to the Huayanjing (or the Subcommentaries, Da Fangguang Fo Huayanjing Shu Yanyi Chao 大方廣佛華嚴經隨疏演義鈔) [iii] are not extant in English and have not been investigated in the West.

Chengguan’s magnum opuses in Chinese are much more important contributions to the religio-philosophical history of Huayan and Buddhism in China than western contemporary scholarship has recognized thus far. As western academicians pay increasing attention to Huayan Studies, and might I say as Huayan Studies continue their evolution here in the West, a complete translation of Chengguan’s key works, and further doctrinal, exegetical, and hermeneutical analyses of them are necessary to fill those gaping holes in Huayan Studies here in the West.
To start this process, this study presents an annotated English translation of one compiled fascicle of Chengguan’s Commentaries and Subcommentaries to The Avatamsaka Sutra, complete with an introduction from its historical, doctrinal, and translational perspectives.


[i] Da Fangguang Fo Huayanjing 《 大方廣佛華嚴經》, Taisho Tripiṭaka 大正新脩大藏經 T10n0279, trans. Siksananda 實叉難陀, (Tokyo: Dazang chuban zhushi huishe 大藏出版株式會社, 1988).
[ii] Chengguan 澄觀, Da Fangguang Fo Huayanjing Shu 《 大方廣佛華嚴經疏 》, Taisho Tripiṭaka 大正新脩大藏經 T35n1735, ed. Dazheng xinxiu dazangjing kanxinghui 大正新修大藏經刊行會 (Tokyo: Dazang chuban zhushi huishe 大藏出版株式會社, 1988).
[iii] Chengguan 澄觀, Da Fangguang Fo Huayaning Suishu Yanyi Chao 《 大方廣佛華嚴經隨疏演義鈔 》. Taisho Tripiṭaka 大正新脩大藏經 T36n1736, ed. Dazheng xinxiu dazangjing kanxinghui 大正新修大藏經刊行會 (Tokyo: Dazang chuban zhushi huishe 大藏出版株式會社, 1988).

 

Reflections towards a Method for the Study of Buddhist Philosophy

Turenne, Philippe (Rangjung Yeshe Institute, Boudhnath, NPL)

This paper provides a critical look at recent resolutions of hermeneutical issues related to the study of Buddhist philosophy and hermeneutics. Although previous scholarship has focused on justifying the validity and legitimacy of the notion of Buddhist philosophy and the project of studying it philosophically, it argues that the issue of how that is best done still needs more reflection. Through a study of selected passages from Madhyamaka literature and how they have been interpreted, the paper argues that the academic study of Buddhist philosophy needs to avoid using philosophy as a method-free discourse, but should rather define precisely what method it follows and what results it can yield, especially given the differences between Buddhist hermeneutical and scholastic cultures and modern approaches to philosophy.

 

Once Again on the So-Called Predicative Ablative

Yagi, Toru (Osaka Gakuin University, Kyoto, JPN)

puthujjano...paṭhaviṃ paṭhavito sañj­ānāti. (MN I 1)

An average person...recognises extension as extension. (Horner)

Buddhaghosa comments on it: tāsu [catubbidhāsu paṭhavīsu] yaṃ kañci ayaṃ puthujjano paṭhavito sañjānāti, paṭhavī ti sañjānāti, paṭhavībhāvena sañjānāti, lokavohāraṃ gahetvā saññāvipallāsena sañjānāti. (MN-a I 25)

This ordinary person recognizes any of those [four types of earths] as earth, i.e. he recognizes it as [follows: This is] earth, he recognizes it [with the quality of being earth, i.e.] to be earth; [in conclusion,] holding on to conventions of the world, he recognizes [it as earth] by perversion of perception.

The so-called predicative ablative is defined by Hinüber as follows: “Der abl. auf -to steht, meist neben dem acc. desselben Wortes, bei Verben des Erkennens, Meinens etc., die in der Regel auch mit einem doppelten acc. verbunden werden können, in der Funktion eines Prädikativums.” To this he footnotes: “WIJ p. 238 erklärt diesen abl. als ‘notion of view point...which seems to be closely related to that of abl. of comparison. They have the sense “in terms ofˮ or “asˮ and can be expressed by periphrasis vasena as well’. Für die letzte Behauptung wird kein Beispiel gegeben; der prädikative Character des abl. ist nicht erkant. Wieso er ‘notion of view point’ bezeichnet und dem abl. comp. nahe steht, bleibt unklar.”

I agree with Hinüber, whose remark leads us to the following questions. 1. Does the suffix -to always correspond to the fifth case ending only, not to the others? 2. If there is a one-to-one correspondence between them, why is the so-called predicative ablative confined to an ablative which ends in -to? For a viewpoint is naturally included in the apādāna (“a point of departureˮ) [in the form of viewpoint] to which the fifth case ending refers. In this paper, basing myself on Aggavaṃsa and Pāṇinīyas, I would like to reconsider these points.

 

The Relation between the Two Types of Object of Negation: Jamyang Shaypa’s Refutation of Taktshang, the Translator

Yi, Jongbok (The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Voorhees, NJ, USA)

In the chapter on the object of negation in his Extensive Explanation of (Candrakīrti’s) “Entry to (Nāgārjuna’s) ‘The Treatise on the Middle’”, Tsongkhapa Losang Drakpa (tsong kha pa blo bzang grags pa, 1357-1419), the founder of the Geluk Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, explains that clear understanding of what to be negated in the course of Buddhist practice is an important step toward realizing suchness. That is, by means of identifying what true existence is, according to Tsongkhapa, one can accurately remove what obscures suchness. Emphasizing the importance of identifying the object of negation, Tsongkhapa presents divisions of the object of negation: An intellectually imbued apprehension of true existence–acquired ignorance through learning tenet systems–­and an innate apprehension of true existence–congenial ignorance of all sentient beings.

Given that, how do these two types of object of negation—the intellectually imbued and innate apprehensions of true existence—relate to each other? Tsongkhapa asserts that the innate apprehension of true existence cannot be undermined by only negating the intellectually imbued apprehension of true existence. Regarding his two objects of negation, the translator Taktshang Sherap Rinchen (1405-?) in the Sakya Sect criticizes this assertion by pointing out two absurdities from his understanding that lay in Tsongkhapa’s presentation of the object of negation:

1. The two modes of apprehension of true existence—the intellectually imbued apprehension of true existence and the innate apprehension of true existence—should be utterly different from each other.

2. Therefore, the reasoning repudiating the intellectually imbued mode of apprehension could not refute the innate mode of apprehension.

Regarding Taktshang’s criticism, this paper will examine Taktshang’s criticism from two directions. First, I will examine the validity of Taktshang’s criticism in accordance with Tsongkhapa’s system. In doing so, I will explain how these two objects of negation are related to each other in Tsongkhapa’s system. Second, this paper will present the way a later Geluk commentarial tradition responds to Taktshang’s criticism. Jamyang Shaypa (’jam dbyangs bzhad pa’i rdo rje, 1648-1721) pedagogically integrates his refutation on Taktshang’s understanding into monastic education in Gomang Monastic College in his Great Exposition of the Middle. By doing so, this paper will explore how a later commentarial tradition in Geluk Sect of Tibetan Buddhism adopts Taktshang's criticism for educational purpose. 

A Pāśupata ascetic in Aśvaghoṣa’s Buddhacarita?

Ferstl, Christian (Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, AUT)

In the seventh chapter of Aśvaghoṣa’s epic Buddhacarita, a certain Brahmin ascetic recommends to the Bodhisattva Sarvārthasiddha to go and meet the sage Arāḍa (verses 51-55). The description of the anonymous ascetic who is said to be “lying in ashes” (bhasmaśāyin) is by all means positive and shows no signs of sectarian polemics. The presentation will discuss this remarkable approach to the ascetic and allow for aspects of the literary representation. Moreover, the possibility of an identification of the bhasmaśāyin as an adherent of Pāśupata Śaivism will be considered.

 

Tibetan Hagiographies in Buddhist Teaching: Narrative Performances and their Reception in Past and Present

Rheingans, Jim (Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, GER)

Tibetan texts entitled rnam thar (often considered a type of hagiography and translated here as ‘spiritual biography’) usually narrate the life of a person considered to be of religious importance in Tibetan culture. Spiritual biographies have been composed from the beginnings of Tibetan religions up to today; in fact the genre of what one may call “Tibetan life writing” continues and changes, new issues (with not only Tibetan protagonists) constantly being generated. And the most popular such as Milarepa’s spiritual biography have not only been the source of historical enquiry, or object of literary classification, but have been – and are still – re-narrated in the context of religious teachings. This may exhibit some of their perhaps originally intended functions and uses, namely to engender trust, serve as example, and legitimise a tradition's authority.

Focusing on some contemporary oral performances of popular Tibetan spiritual biographies (in Tibetan language) through field studies as well as some textual clues about their usage in history, this paper attempts to investigate the receptions, uses, and functions of such texts by analysing the constant recreating and re-narrating for various audiences. A key element will be the narrative selection employed by the preacher, the religious functions, and the concepts of fact and fiction in the process of reception. This research will further reflect on whether and how the examination of oral but text-based contemporary narratives may shed light on the possible function and reception of rnam thar in earlier periods within Tibetan history and which textual sources we may use. In conclusion this paper suggests how such an approach can help to a more general understanding of the Tibetan spiritual biography and Buddhist hagiography.

 

Reincarnation Perception of Buddhist Women in Two Confusing Narratives

Tsai, Shu-Hui (Taipei, TWN)

The Buddha's teachings developed and spread with the help of both oral and literary traditions. The process involved original accounts, recording, editing, translation, revision, redaction, and sometimes recreation. When Sanskrit or Pāli texts were translated into Chinese, to mention just one example, the translators needed to be familiar with two very different languages. The translators’ interpretations also influenced how the texts developed and transformed.

According to a narrative text of the Taisho Tripitaka, there was a king named Prasenajit, married to queen Mallikā. They had a daughter named Śrīmālā. She was an exemplum. The Śrīmālā sutra described her ten wishes to be a Buddha.

But the Tipitaka and the Pali Canon record only the king Prasenajit and queen Mallikā. Mallikā is also named Śrīmālā. The texts does not mention the wise daughter.

In the Taisho Tripitaka Śrīmālā is very active. But in the Tipitaka and the Pali Canon she is fiction. I will expound these confusing narratives as the first example.

The second example comes from the Tipitaka, Anguttara-nikaya (The Book of Gradual Sayings), Khuddaka-nikaya (Minor Anthologies), and Theri-gatha (Verses of the Elder Nuns), regarding the story of Pazhajiala and Utpalavarṇā. The plot is similar, so it is easy to make mistakes. I will state the confusing plot clearly.

Although these female practitioners have different qualities, the images portrayed are all positive. The reason is that they broke through the limitations of their lives by learning the Buddhadharma.  In modern psychology, narrative therapy has been shown to be very helpful for certain types of patients. Because the stories of Buddhist practitioners are attractive, they are retold time and again, and, as a result, the retellings are subject to change

The process of constructing the stories of these female practitioners involves the consideration of many stages: their origination, recording, transcription, interpretation, translation, and revision. From the perspective of religious literature, the texts include examples of moral anecdotes, brief or extended, real or fictitious, which are used to illustrate a point, By reconstructing these narrative texts from a literary point of view and pointing out the ways in which the texts changed, we can understand more about how the Buddha taught women the path to liberatation and reflect on the relevance of the teachings in our own lives.

 

The Story of the Nāgas' Surrender to King Aśoka: An Investigation into the Source of the Seventy-third Chapter of the Bodhisattvāvadānakalpalatā

Yamasaki, Kazuho (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Yokohama, JPN)

Kṣemendra (ca. 990 – 1077) is the author of a Buddhist narrative, the Bodhisattvāvadānakalpalatā divided into 108 chapters (pallavas), of which the seventy-third chapter is devoted to relating a unique and interesting story concerning the surrender of the nāgas to King Aśoka. Three text versions of this story are extant: one in a Tibetan translation from a Sanskrit original, the Mya ngan med pa’i sgo nas klu btul ba’i le’u (Aśokamukhanāgavinayapariccheda), and two in Chinese texts, the Tiānzūnshuō āyùwáng pìyù jīng 天尊説阿育王譬喩經 (T#2044) and the Zá pìyù jīng 雑譬喩經 (T#205). A brief summary of the Tibetan version was given by Adelheid METTE in “Zur tibetischen Überlieferung der Aśokalegende,” ZDMG Suppl. Bd. 7 (1985): 299–307. The present paper, taking into consideration the Tibetan and Chinese versions, will attempt to investigate the immediate source of Kṣemendra’s version.

Kṣemendra’s version consists of twenty-eight stanzas written in a highly-polished kāvya style. The narrative elements constituting it can be classified into three types: (a) narrative elements which are found in all versions, such as making statues of Aśoka and the nāga-king; (b) elements found in both the Kṣemendra and the Tibetan versions, such as the nāgas’ attack on a ship carrying treasures, and Aśoka sending a copper-plate engraved letter to the nāgas; and (c) those which are peculiar to Kṣemendra’s version only, such as Upagupta’s sermon in Pāṭaliputra.

A detailed analysis of the type (c) narrative elements indicates that it is plausible that these narrative elements were not due to Kṣemendra’s embellishments, but were adopted from the source text he used, and that the source text, which is no longer extant, may have been closest to the Tibetan version. 

Reflexive Sensibility and the Mādhyamika's View From Nowhere

Coseru, Christian (College of Charleston, Charleston, USA)

Reflexivism is the thesis that consciousness consists in conscious mental states being implicitly self-aware. Beginning with Dignāga in the 6th c., a group of Buddhist thinkers accept reflexivism as a descriptive theory about the nature of consciousness. Conscious experience, argue these Buddhists, cannot have a basis outside experience itself, that is, in something non-sentient. Dignāga’s reflexivist theory articulates an early version of the view that higher-order theories of consciousness are regressive. Following Dharmakīrti, reflexivism develops into a thesis about the self-presentational character of intentional mental states. Mādhyamika critics of reflexivism like Candrakīrti take issue with what they regard as the characteristically Yogācāra view that the object of a state of metacognitive awareness is not extrinsic to cognition but an aspect of cognition itself. I argue that Candrakīrti’s critique of reflexive awareness (svasaṃvedana), insofar as it targets the self-presentational character of mental states, amounts to a view from nowhere. Candrakīrti’s critique of reflexivism as a statement about the epistemic status of self-presentational mental states may be justified (as later Buddhist and Brahmanical thinkers come to admit). But his assumption that consciousness must be an external, relational property of mental states in order to be intelligible and analyzable ignores what is most defining about consciousness: its proprietary phenomenology. While the Mādhyamika’s relational account of the mental does avoid the insurmountable problem of other minds the reflexivist presumably faces, it cannot, on my view, account for the binding of self-presentation and the intentional structure of self-awareness. Dignāga’s dual-aspect theory of mental states offers one solution to the binding problem. Arguably, it is Śāntarakṣita’s account of svasaṃvedana in terms of sentience that renders the reflexivity thesis (as a thesis about the ineliminably subjective character of experience) indispensable to any analysis of the structure of consciousness and its properly phenomenological features. 

 

Buddhists and Bhāṭṭas on Cognition of Cognition

Siderits, Mark (Seoul National University, Paris, FRA)

We are often aware of our own cognizings. Indian philosophers debated how this is possible. Dignāga and Dharmakīrti claimed that this is only possible because when a cognition cognizes its object it also cognizes itself. This is the thesis of svasaṃvedana, the best known argument for which is the argument from memory first formulated by Dignāga and subsequently modified by Dharmakīrti. I investigate the strength of this argument in light of the criticisms of Kumārila and other Bhāṭṭa Mīmāṃsakas, who maintain that a cognition is never itself directly cognized. Parallels with current work in cognitive science and philosophy of mind will also be touched on.

Medical Sciences in the Vinaya Piṭakas: A Study Mainly Based on the Bhesajjakkhandhaka and its Parallel Versions

Sik, Hin-tak (Centre of Buddhist Studies, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, HKG)

The Vinaya Piṭaka is a big treasure for exploring various pieces of information about ancient India. Medical sciences are among this vast body of information. The extant Vinaya Piṭakas therefore form a huge mine for studying medical materials. These medical records – about medical cases (with their treatments and sometimes equipment) and materia medica – are, however, succinct and difficult to comprehend. Very few scholars have carried out studies on these medical materials. They have only focused on one or two Vinaya Piṭakas, or merely studied certain aspects of these materials. A more comprehensive perusal and explanation of this ancient medical information found in the Vinaya Piṭakas is wanting. The objective of this paper is to examine and interpret such information – to discuss the various medical sciences found in the Vinaya Piṭakas and to explore the large corpus of materia medica retained in these materials. The main sources used for this study are the extant versions of the Chapter on Medicine of the Vinaya Piṭakas – viz. the Bhesajjakkhandhaka of the Theravāda Vinaya, the Bhaiṣajyaskandhaka of the Dharmaguptaka Vinaya, the Bhaiṣajyadharmakas of the Mahīśāsaka and Sarvāstivāda Vinayas, the Bhaiṣajyavastu of the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya, and the relevant vargas in the Mahāsāṃghika Vinaya. Other medical information scattered in other parts of the Vinaya Piṭakas is also explored. The approach of this paper is primarily medical interpretation – to examine the medical materials in these sources and to understand them. The materials are interpreted via three aspects, which are the ancient meanings of the word hermeneutics: narration (by describing individual diseases/drugs according to the same or similar materials from different Vinayas), explanation (by using the commentarial and ayurvedic explanations), and translation (by rendering them into modern medical terminologies). The medical accounts are categorized and scrutinized by means of ayurvedic science and modern medical science. Diseases and treatments pertaining to various medical specialties such as general medicine, toxicology, dermatology, ophthalmology, psychiatry, and surgery can be identified. Cases such as autumnal disease, wind disease, water disease, insanity, snakebite, eye problems, skin diseases, anal diseases, etc., are interpreted and discussed. The materia medica retained in the Vinayas – mostly vegetative (such as various medicines of root, stem, leaf, flower, fruit, etc.), as well as some mineral (such as salts) and animal (fats and meat) – are also examined. Through such an attempt of interpretation, information on the ancient medical sciences in the Vinaya sources may be better comprehended. Ancient Indian medical sciences preserved in the extant versions of the Vinaya Piṭaka, moreover, can be known and understood by medical historians. The significance of this paper is to demonstrate how the knowledge of different sciences/disciplines, especially that of modern science, can be used as a tool to interpret and to help understand the ancient Indian knowledge. 

Throwing Dice for Divining One’s Karma – The Scripture on Divining the Retribution of Skillful and Negative Actions (T.839)

Guggenmos, Esther-Maria (International Consortium for Research in the Humanities, Erlangen, GER)

This paper will present results of my recent research on the Scripture on Divining the Retribution of Skillful and Negative Actions (Zhancha Shan'e Yebao Jing, T. 839) starting from the presentation of its textual basis. It will situate the sūtra shortly in its cultural context and delineate its cultural history with a special focus on 20th century and contemporary revivals. The Zhancha Shan'e Yebao Jing is clearly an indigenous scripture composed in China probably in the 80ties of the 6th century. While its first chapter describes a divination ritual that involves throwing dice in order to examine one's own karma in relation with a repentance ritual, its second chapter concentrates on a meditation process that unfolds in several stages. The sūtra was seen as of ambiguous origin in its beginning and later was given authoritative status. While is was practiced in Korea for some time, little is known about Chinese practice until the late Ming dynasty, when Ouyi Zhixu (1599-1655) devotes himself to its study and practice. In the 20th century the practice of divining one's karma by throwing dice is revived through Ven. Mengcan (*1915) with the support of Master Hongyi (1880-1942).

 

Lay Empowerment and the Ritualization of the Diamond Sutra in Medieval China

Ho, Chiew Hui (The University of Sydney, Sydney, AUS)

The Diamond Sutra is an important Mahāyāna sutra, which remains to this day one of the most influential Buddhist sutras in East Asia. A substantial body of narratives related to it appeared, circulated, and were compiled in Tang China, which reflected the extent to which it featured in the lives of people in that period. The writings of the lay compilers of these narratives exhibited an unusual audacity in articulating their views of Buddhism—traditionally the province of monastics—as they assumed greater responsibility for the propagation of the religion by their creation of Diamond Sutra lore. This paper explores the empowerment of Tang laity and its extent as demonstrated by the autonomy with which lay Buddhists modified, produced and distributed religious texts of the Diamond Sutra, which even prompted the monastic establishment to accommodate itself to the changes they brought about.

 

The Lotus Sutra Did Not Regard Itself as a Mahayana Text

Ishida, Chiko (Kansai University, Numazu, JPN)

There are basically three views on how the Lotus Sutra positions itself with regard to Mahayana thought. 1) The Lotus Sutra regards itself as representing the Mahayana (Great Vehicle), which it equates with the Buddha Vehicle and with the Bodhisattva Vehicle. 2) The Lotus Sutra regards itself as representing the Buddha Vehicle, and is critical of the Prajnaparamita sutras’ view of themselves as representing the Mahayana, which they equate with the Bodhisattva Vehicle. 3) The Lotus Sutra regards itself as representing the Mahayana (Great Vehicle), which it equates with the Buddha Vehicle but not with the Bodhisattva Vehicle. The reason that no consensus has yet been reached regarding which of these three competing views represents the true position of the Lotus Sutra is, I believe, because the discussion so far has focused entirely on interpretations of the text as a whole rather than on a close analysis of the textual materials. Now, however, the careful study of various alternative readings of the Lotus Sutra, facilitated by recent advances in research on the Prajnaparamita sutras, has made it possible to reassess the three positions outlined above and provisionally deduce that the Lotus Sutra’s consciousness of itself as a Mahayana text was weak.

This deduction draws on evidence that indicates it may be necessary to reconsider certain aspects of the traditional view of the Lotus Sutra’s place in the development of Buddhist thought (i.e., that it emerged in response to certain positions expressed in the Prajnaparamita sutras). This evidence includes disparities between certain prose passages and the corresponding verse passages with regard to the important concept of the Buddhist vehicles, disparities found in chapters 2 (“Skillful Means”) and 3 (“Parable”), two of the most ancient chapters in the Lotus Sutra. For example, in the prose section of chapter 2 the term “Three Vehicles” appears but no explanation of what this term means is found, and the term is not mentioned in the verse section; also, the prose section contains the term “Buddha Vehicle” but not the term “bodhisattva,” while the verse section contains the term “bodhisattva” but not the term “Buddha Vehicle.” Such disparities suggest that the Lotus Sutra took form during the period when the fundamental concepts of the Mahayana sutras (e.g., Three Vehicles, Great Vehicle, bodhisattva, etc.) were still in the process of formulation. In this presentation I discuss what aspects of the Lotus Sutra I see as original to the sutra itself (and as thus having arisen independently of any contact with the Prajnaparamita sutras) and what aspects I consider to have arisen later in response to Prajnaparamita influences.

 

Soteriological Transformation of the Mind-Body Complex in the “Samanta-mukha-parivarta” of the Lotus Sūtra

Tsai, Yao-ming (Department of Philosophy, National Taiwan University, Taipei, TWN)

This paper employs the “Samanta-mukha-parivarta” of the Lotus Sūtra as the main literary source to discuss, from a philosophical perspective, the unfolding and transformation of the mind-body complex to its fullest extent by way of Mahāyāna practices and soteriological applications. Through an analysis of this important work, this paper will illustrate various limitations and attachments entailed by ordinary or unskilled practices of knowledge attribution concerning the mind-body complex. It will then emphasize the significance of the role played by soteriology in Buddhist intellectual thought, and analyze how those limitations and attachments can be largely unpacked and totally transformed in the development of Buddhist soteriological paradigms. This, in turn, may open up new ways of understanding the mind-body complex. The structure of this paper is as follows: The introduction elucidates the theme and outline of this paper, while section two summarizes the main thesis of the “Samanta-mukha-parivarta,” including presenting a discussion of the structure, title, style, key concepts, and basic ideas of the text to ground or contextualize subsequent arguments in this paper. Section three demonstrates that the message conveyed by the “Samanta-mukha-parivarta” is an unfolding style of religious engagement. Section four elucidates how the concepts of mind, body and abiding-places produce a kindred system or network of thoughts and practices that can be unpacked through probing examination and analysis. Section five both investigates the characteristics of unfolding Bodhisattva practices exemplified by the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara and reflects on the scope of Bodhisattva practices from a philosophical perspective, probing the possibility of unpacking the mind-body complex to the highest levels of excellence. The final section concludes the main points of this inquiry.

 

 

Demythologization as Modernization: Making Pure Land Buddhism Rational in 1920s Japan

Blum, Mark (University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA)

Beginning in 1941 Rudolph Bultmann began a movement in Christian theology that argued for the importance of removing myth from how we read the New Testament. Bultmann is explicit that his purpose is to clarify the true nature of Christian faith for modern man whose world view is determined by science, and that through what he called demythologization (Entmythologisierung) theologians can “purify” Christian teachings of its mythical elements in order to isolate its essential message, or kerygma. It appears to be a coincidence that a parallel movement had begun in Japan in the 1920s among philosophers of Pure Land Buddhism, specifically Yamazaki Ben’ei (1859-1920), Chikazumi Jōkan (1870-1940), Nonomura Naotarō (1871-1941), Kaneko Daiei (1881-1976), and Soga Ryōjin (1875-1971). These individuals were both highly disruptive and attractive to Buddhist intellectual and institutional circles in Japan, but as all of these Japanese-language materials remain untranslated to this day, we can assume that Bultmann and his community had no knowledge of these earlier developments and therefore were not influenced by them. This suggests that there was a common felt need to present a new hermeneutic in both Christianity and Buddhism wherein the rational and the mythic were in opposition and that the rational declared superior was perhaps a generic feature of the conflict between traditional religion and modernity in the mid-twentieth century among industrially advanced nations. As this aspect of contemporary Buddhism has received very little scholarly attention, this paper will attempt to move our understanding of this topic forward by presenting a critical analysis this particular movement in 1920s Japan.

Of particular interest in the Japanese context is the fact that the very word for “myth” (shinwa) had only recently been created as a translation of the European concept, and in the 1890s Kiyozawa Manshi had already argued that the proper way to understand “Buddha,” even as a salvific agent, should imply minimal transcendence. Among these thinkers, only Chikazumi spent enough time in the West to be influenced by it, so some degree of romanticization of Western society as “strong” or “advanced” as a result of its perceived degree of rationality may have been a factor. But the three thinkers who will be examined in most detail here will be Nonomura Naotarō, Kaneko Daiei, and Soga Ryōjin. Among this group, these were the men who had the greatest political difficulty with their religious institutions, all of them losing their jobs teaching at their respective Buddhist colleges at this time. In particular I will discuss A Critique of the Pure Land Teachings by Nonomura and The Idea of the Pure Land by Kaneko, for these works had the most far-reaching implications in this context.

 

Buddhist Mountains’ Plans for Stock Market Initial Public Offerings in China: Raising Money as Upāya-Kauśalya

Cheung, Kin (Temple University, Philadelphia, USA)

Since Emei Shan, one of the four famous Chinese Buddhist mountains, became a publicly traded stock in 1997, other Chinese Buddhist sites have made plans for their own IPOs to raise money, citing the need for maintenance and development. This has elicited sharp criticism by Chinese officials denouncing these actions as greed and against the spirit of Buddhism. There is a lack of scholarly attention towards this modern development in Chinese Buddhism, the plans of the other Chinese Buddhist mountains and Shaolin Monastery to join Emei Shan, and the implications and assumptions behind the rebukes of Chinese officials.

I investigate whether an argument can be made that this money raising enterprise may be read as a form upāya-kauśalya, or skillful means, instrumental to maintaining and spreading Buddhist dharma. I examine the use of upāya-kauśalya in the case of Vimalakīrti the merchant bodhisattva, and in the parables of the Lotus Sutra and the Nikayas to offer a response to Alicia and Daigan Matsunaga who characterize money raising and prosperity rituals as exclusively mundane goals, “hopefully [i.e. at best] viewed as upaya.” While the Matsunagas address a different context, their attitude towards fundraising in Buddhism resonates with those who criticize these IPO plans. If a case can be made for these actions as a form of upāya-kauśalya in a positive light, it will provide the Chinese Buddhist institutions with a doctrinal justification for raising capital. They can also respond to a related, more general critique launched by Slavoj Žižek directed towards the use of Buddhism as an “ideological supplement” in reinforcing what Glenn Wallis calls a “destructive form of capitalism.” While Žižek and Wallis have in mind “western Buddhism’s complicity in what is arguably a rabid capitalistic system,” the Chinese Buddhist mountains cannot escape the same criticism.

I explore a possible retort using Peter Singer’s arguments for maximizing one’s contribution to society. William Crouch founded a service that provides a utilitarian calculator of what job one should pursue to earn the most money and enjoy going to work, so that one can sustainably donate the most of one’s earning potentials. Case in point, Singer calls Bill Gates and Warren Buffet the “the most effective altruists in history” because although they were complicit in the capitalist system (the ethics of their business decisions aside) they were able to use the wealth they’ve accumulated skillfully, within a capitalist system where capital grows exponentially. Buffet and Gates were the wealthiest persons in the world in 2008 and 2009, respectively, and used their wealth towards donations and to set up altruistic foundations. Had they donated more money or focused less on earnings at the beginning of their careers, they would be less effective altruists. The Chinese Buddhist mountains can use Singer’s line of reasoning to argue their IPOs function as upāya-kauśalyas in an increasingly capitalistic global economy, where one efficient means of spreading Buddhist dharma is through growing capital. This will have implications on how to view the encounter of modern economies with sacred sites, in China and elsewhere, and on the more general subject of contemporary Buddhism’s encounter with money.

 

Monastic Migration and Buddhist Diaspora in America

Chowdhury, Chipamong (Buffalo, NY, USA)

Since 1965’s American immigration policy liberalization, the United States of America has been one of the transnational places for Theravāda monastic migration, relocation and resettlement. On May 16, 2011 the United Nations’ General Assembly Hall in New York City was crowded with over 300 Buddhist monks from different States of America to commemorate 2555-Sambuddhajayanti or Vesak celebration. Beyond doubt, the event was one of the largest social and religious events in contemporary American religious history. While the event symbolizes Buddhist transnationalism and their collective unity and strength, it suggests religious transformation and social changes in America.

The paper raises following questions: What makes these monks migrate to America? Are these monks making Americans better or are Americans making them better? What are the roles these diasporic monks play or create and recreate for the construction of a transbuddhist identity in a secularized American society? Based on 4 years of study on global monastic mobility and networks in America, this paper reflects on those questions and explores the understudied issue of monastic migration and their essential roles in diasporic Buddhist community for the continuity and strengthening of the Buddhist temple dimension in America. The paper will contribute to a deeper and more nuanced understanding of transbuddhist religious lives in the West.

 

The Rhetoric of Zen in Contemporary Korean Buddhism: Pomnyun’s Quote

Jee, Hyekyung (CHARLOTTESVILLE, USA)

The Zen tradition has its own unique rhetoric and one of Zen monks in Korea embodies and modifies this rhetoric in daily life today. The monk’s name is Pomnyun (1953~). Monk Pomnyun is the most influential monk in Korea today. He obtains fame outside Korea due to his social activities such as building schools for underprivileged people in undeveloped countries and helping starving North Korean people. However, his real value can be found in his unique teaching called “Pomnyun’s Quote.” A lecture consists in a question from the audience and Pomnyun’s answer. The topics of the questions are various but all are related to daily life: a concentration problem while studying, avoiding stress, getting a job, conflicts with other people, alcoholism, etc. It is modeled on the Buddha’s style of teaching, namely teaching in accordance with the spiritual capacities of the audience. Though the question may be the same, Pomnyun’s response would vary depending on the questioner’s quality. In the lecture, he listens to people’s problems carefully, leads the conversation with sharp questions, and lets people see the issue in different perspectives. His preaching looks like counseling in public, but this method is less time intensive than a counselor’s work. His dialogues can get an effective result in a shorter time because of his unique rhetoric based on Buddhist teachings.

When one analyzes his dialogues, one can finds that Pomnyun modifies the dialogues characteristic of the traditional Zen monk’s training and applies Buddhist doctrines to daily life. Pomnyun starts with a provocative response when he receives a question. For example, when an unmarried middle age man asked him a way to find a good wife, Pomnyun gave the suggestion of becoming a monk. At first glance, his response does not make sense. This provocative response is modeled on the traditional style of Zen conversation. It gives a mental shock to the questioner and evokes curiosity for the following explanation. While the audience and questioner listen to his explanation, the reason why he said that is revealed. The reason is usually insightful rather than understandable because his skillful rhetoric is supported by essential teachings of Buddhism, such as the principle of Karma, mind-only, emptiness, and no-self. Throughout the conversation, Pomnyun makes people see the real situation of the problem and accept it. Then he makes people notice that suffering occurs from self-centered perspectives. His conversation seeks to break this and most questioners accept the fact that they were confined to their own perspective. Of course, sometimes he argues with the questioner, and such dialogues are also great examples to see his rhetoric. Throughout this process people could heal a wounded mind, expand their perspective and move toward attaining enlightenment. Through analyzing his dialogues, we can examine how the modified Zen rhetoric may contribute to solve daily life problems.

 

The Sun of Tibetan Art Rises in the West: A Contribution to the Transmission of Traditional Tibetan Buddhist Art to the West in the 21st Century

Haderer, Elisabeth (Numata Zentrum für Buddhismuskunde, Hamburg, GER)

Since the destruction of Tibetan culture in the mid-20th century, the last master artists of the various Tibetan art traditions such as the 400 year-old Tibetan Karma Gardri (tib. karma sgar bris) tradition have been seeking to transmit their knowledge and craftsmanship also to Western artists so they would not get lost in the future.

In 2007, the Buddhist Institute of Tibetan Art (BINTA) has been founded in the Karma Kagyü Buddhist Center in Braunschweig/ Germany. One of the main goals of this institution is to maintain and receive the “authentic” principles and methods of traditional Tibetan art. The German artist and sculptress Petra Förster (born 1964) and her team have specialized in the art of building traditional Tibetan Buddhist clay sculptures. The Western artists learn from the Tibetan master artist Chhemet Rigdzin the skills of how to produce this ancient art (the first clay statues in Tibet date back to the 8th century) as well as the knowledge of the classical iconometric measurements of different Buddha forms and their iconography (attributes, hand gestures, facial expressions, color etc.). He was born in 1972 in Ladakh (North India) as the son of the very famous sculptor Nawang Tsering. At a very early age, Chhemet Rigdzin received artistic training at the Institute for Buddhist Studies in Choglamsar in Leh/ Ladakh.
One of the basic texts on iconometry Chhemet Rigdzin and his Western students use for their work is the Tibetan book “New Sun Self Learning Book on the Art of Tibetan Painting”, which has not been translated into a Western language yet.
The purpose of my paper is to make a first attempt to define the features of contemporary Tibetan Buddhist clay sculpture art by comparing them to some examples of traditional Tibetan Buddhist clay sculptures of the Western Tibetan regions. Besides that, I will also provide the translation of some passages of the above mentioned Tibetan text on art that is relevant for the work of the Western artists.

 

Transnational Interaction of Chinese Buddhist Congregations in Singapore – A Focus on the Liberation Rite of Water and Land (Shuilufahui 水陸法會)

Hsu, Yu Yin (National University of Singapore, SGP)

Scholars have widely debated on the significant changes of Buddhism in Singapore due to a complicated colonized, modernized, urbanized and globalized process in the last two decades (Kuo&Tong, 1995; Kuah, 2003; Ong, 2005; Chia, 2009; Hue, 2011). Reformist Buddhism in Singapore is being established as a modern rational religion after the 1970s (Kuah, 2003). Also, transnational activities are continuously and more obviously occurring through regular visits of Buddhist monks, donations and religious resources across borders. Besides considering religious connections, Wuthnow (2008) suggests that it is necessary to observe the effects on local congregations after ceremonies.

The traditional ceremonies, like the eight precepts (八關齋戒) and Fahui (法會), are still frequently being held in a great number of Chinese Buddhist temples in the 21st century. The most honorable ceremony for Chinese Buddhism each year, the liberation rite of water and land (水陸法會 Shuilufahui), needs to be discussed further. So far we know that the first congregation of Shuilu (水陸) took place for seven days in the Phor Kark See Monastery (普覺禪寺) at the end of 1966 after Singapore had declared independence one year earlier. To this day this congregation creates the main connection with worshippers and religious workers from other countries once a year. It would be interesting to know if this traditional ceremony in Singapore always followed the original rule, called “Yiguei” (儀軌), or gradually changed for certain reasons.

The aim of this research is to explore the procedure and changes of the liberation rite of water and land in present-day Singapore and further to examine the transnational interaction during the congregation. Fieldwork and personal interviews are both conducted in this study. A preliminary result indicates that noticeable changes are strongly related to the foreign religious workers.

 

Revival of Authentic Buddhist Tradition in Russia and the Role of the Tibetan Lama Geshe Thinley

Irina, Urbanaeva (The Institute for Mongolian, Buddhist and Tibetan Studies, Ulan-Ude, RUS)

An authentic Indo-Tibetan tradition of Mahayana began to spread in Russia since the 17th century in Buryatia, Kalmykia, Tuva and Altai. During communist rule, Buddhist monasteries were destroyed, Buddhist traditions in Russia have disappeared. Like many other religious denominations, at the end of the 20th century, Buddhism in Russia experienced a renaissance. But how to reanimate the lost tradition? Only two datsans were opened after the Second World War. They are the Ivolginsky datsan near Ulan-Ude (Buryatia) and the Aginsky datsan near the village Aginskoe (Trans-Baikal Territory). They were not monasteries, because they did not actually have monks. Several visits of the Dalai Lama to the Buryat and Kalmyk republics (1991, 1992, and 2004) helped speed up this process. The process of Buddhist revival has been sustained by Tibetan spiritual teachers whom the Dalai Lama specially delegated to Russia beginning in 1993. The most prominent among them is Geshe Jampa Thinley, who arrived in Russia as a spiritual representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Russia, Mongolia and CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) in 1993. Now he spiritually supervises more than twenty Dharma centers that are located not only in traditional Buddhist ethnic areas of Russia but also in many urban centers that cater to both ethnic Buddhists and non-ethnic “converts.” Geshe Thinley is not only a highly educated expert in Buddhist Philosophy, who graduated from the CITI in Sarnath, India, and received a Geshe degree at the Sera monastery, South India, but he is also s a yogi, who has experience of a three-year retreat in Dharamsala under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the very great yogi, whose name is the venerable Panang Rinpoche. Geshe Thinley has also a karmic connection with Russia, as said by the Tibetan oracle. Although he was young, thirty years old, the Dalai Lama sent him to Russia, not famous teachers with extensive experience. I remember that Geshe Thinley said in 1993: “It is very good that people in Buryatia began to revive the ruined datsans and dugans (great and small temples) and build new temples. But it’s much more important to build a temple in the heart of the people. My job is to help people in Russia to build a temple of Dharma in their own heart”. Over twenty years Geshe Thinley made temples in the hearts of many thousands of ethnic and non-ethnic followers. He teaches a system of Je Tsonkhapa, which is a gradual path of Buddhist meditation on the basis of the highest philosophy of Madhyamika Prasangika, in the unity of the sutra and tantra. Actually his approach is non-sectarian. Today twenty Dharma centers of Geshe Thinley form the central Buddhist organization “Je Tsonkhapa”. This system has its own Publishing House and Retreat Center at Lake Baikal. Geshe Thinley and his students collaborate with scientists in the project “Buddhist Meditation”. What authentic Buddhism is, people in Russia know thanks to Geshe Thinley.

 

Becoming Lay Meditation Teachers in Contemporary Chinese Societies: Cases in Hong Kong and Taiwan

Lau, Ngar-sze (ISCA, University of Oxford, Oxford, GBR)

This paper examines the role played by lay meditation teachers in promoting the recent meditation movement in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Although modernism of Chinese Buddhism has been started under the notion of humanistic Buddhism since early Twentieth Century by Venerable Taixu and some lay reformers, meditation practices have never played a key role in the series of reforms. Nevertheless, with the influence of the Buddhist revival and Buddhist modernism in Theravada Buddhist countries, such as Sri Lanka (Bond 1988; Gombrich and Obeyesekere 1988) and Burma (Jordt 2007), transnational meditation practices have been transmitted rapidly to Chinese societies such as Hong Kong and Taiwan in the past two decades with the context of modernisation and globalisation. These transnational meditation practices are from various traditions including Thai forest tradition, vipassanā meditation from Burmese tradition and globalized secularized mindfulness-based programmes such as MBSR (Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Programme) and MBCT (Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy) from the West. Not only scriptures and books on meditation were translated to Chinese from Pāl̥i or English, but also talks and retreats were frequently organised, and transnational meditation centres were built. Lay meditation teachers have been involved in changing Buddhism by localizing and promoting the newly transmitted meditation practices. George Bond (2003) argues that the emergence of lay meditation groups have challenged the traditional authority by creating new forms of sectarianism in Sri Lanka. However, drawing on fieldwork done as a participant observer in Hong Kong and Taiwan, in this paper I will argue how, in the Chinese context, the lay meditation teachers have constructed their new legitimized identity from the established local Buddhist authority, though some female teachers have taken leading roles. Besides, with reference to the discussion about the decontextualisation and recontextualisation of Asian religious practices (Schedneck 2012), I will also demonstrate how the established Chinese Buddhist authority has tried to gain social legitimacy from the globalised meditation practices, related to science and health. Furthermore, by comparing the similarities and differences of Hong Kong and Taiwan, political, economic and cultural factors which contribute to the changes of Buddhism will be explored. This paper may shed light on the discussion of future development of Buddhism in Chinese societies.

 References:

Bond, George D. 2003. The Contemporary Lay Meditation Movement and Lay Gurus in Sri Lanka. Religion, 33, 23-55.
Gombrich, R. and G. Obeyesekere. 1988. Buddhism transformed: religious change in Sri Lanka. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Jordt, Ingrid. 2007. Burma's mass lay meditation movement: Buddhism and the cultural construction of power. Athens: Ohio University Press.
Schednect, Brooke. 2013. The Decontextualization of Asian religious practices in the context of globalization, Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory, Spring, 36-53.

 

Development of Buddhism in Latvia: Past and Present

Laudere, Marika (Daugavpils University, Daugavpils, LVA)

During the 20th century, knowledge of Buddhism became available to a larger number of people via the gradual spread into new areas of the world, particularly into the West. Regarding this, Latvia is not an exception. The first Buddhist ideas were already known here in the early 20th century, especially in the 1920s, when the first Buddhist monk in the Baltic States, Karlis Tennisons (1873 - 1962) was active in Riga for a while. Despite his activities, Buddhism did not generate a big interest among a wider part of the society.

 

Only at the end of the 1980s, when interest towards eastern religious ideas started to increase, Buddhism became attractive for some groups of society in Latvia, particularly among the younger generation. This resulted in the creation of the first legally acting Buddhist groups in the early 1990s, which became possible due to the restoration of independence of Latvia in 1991. At present several Buddhist organizations are established in Latvia.

 

Analysis presented in this paper is a part of a broader FP7 collaborative research project ‘Memory, Youth, Political Legacy and Civic Engagement’ (MYPLACE) on young people’s social participation. The paper provides a summary of findings from fieldwork on free Tibet movement in Latvia where people from different Buddhist groups are involved. The paper will examine the main historical periods of Buddhism development in Latvia. Secondly, an overview of existing Buddhist organizations in Latvia will be given. Whereas Buddhism in Latvia is mainly associated with the existence of Buddhist organizations, the main emphasis of this paper will be on the activities made by them (internal, social and political), the number of which has increased since the beginning of 21st century.

 

The Buddhism and Travels of Trebitsch Lincoln, ‘The Greatest Adventurer of the 20th Century’*

Máthé, Veronika (ELTE Social Sciences/KRE Néderlandisztika, Budapest, HUN)

Ignatius Timothy Trebitsch Lincoln was supposed to become a rabbi in Paks, Hungary, but he lived as a Presbyterian missionary in Canada, as an Anglican priest and a British MP, then as an international spy travelling around the world, as a Buddhist novice in Sri Lanka and finally as an abbot of a Buddhist temple in Shanghai under the name Chao Kung. He had close and controversial connections to the Theosophical Society and to two of the prominent German Buddhists of his time: Georg Grimm and Martin Steinke. He dedicated his book Dawn or Doom of Humanity to Miklós Horthy, Governor of Hungary, in the hope of returning to his homeland and founding a monastery there.

Based on his essays, biographies and contemporary newspaper articles I discuss his travels and show how his view on Buddhism was shaped not only by his travels to Sri Lanka and China but also by his encounters with Buddhists in Northern America and Western Europe. I demonstrate that Trebitsch/Chao Kung considered himself a prophet who would introduce ‘the West’ to the Buddha’s teachings, so a part of his travels (mostly in Germany and Canada) consisted of public lectures on Buddhism, with the aim to collect disciples who would join him in his monastery in Shanghai. Finally I show how his life and mythical image have influenced the development of Buddhism in Hungary.

* Allusion to the title of Trebitsch’s autobiography Das größte Abenteuer des XX. Jahrhunderts? Die Wahrheit über mein Leben (1931, Zürich: Amalthea Verlag).

 

The Ritual Use of Music in U.S. Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Communities

Mitchell, Scott (Institute of Buddhist Studies, Berkeley, USA)

In this paper, I present preliminary conclusions of an ongoing research project examining the ritual use of music in U.S. Jōdo Shinshū communities. Shin Buddhist ritual music is generally performed during a weekly congregational service and includes both chanting texts in Sino-Japanese as well as a style of music generally referred to as gāthā. Gāthā are musically similar to both North American Protestant Christian hymns as well as Japanese sanbutsuka, a type of religious folk music which was itself influenced by Western music styles during the Meiji period; and today gāthā are performed in a wider variety of musical genres. My study focuses on the continual development of gāthā, the ritual function this music performs in Shin Buddhist communities, and speculates on the implications of this music on the development of North American Shin Buddhist communities. I argue, following on Rappaport's articulation of the canonical and indexical aspects of ritual, that gāthā function indexically to allow for creative re-articulation of Shin Buddhist doctrine and practice.

In the proposed paper, I will present a brief overview of ongoing fieldwork, interviews and oral histories, and archival research before focusing on the Sunday Dharma Services where gāthā are performed. Here I will detail the ritual context in which members of the community collectively enact individual compositions. That individual compositions — songs composed primarily by lay members in a variety of musical genres and representing a wide range of viewpoints — are sung by the community collectively suggests that messages and meanings encoded in the songs become communal property, so to speak, and represent the intersection of individual orientation and collective understanding of Shin Buddhist teachings.

This analysis is based in part on Rappaport's seminal work wherein he defines ritual as “the performance of more or less invariant sequences of formal acts and utterances not entirely encoded by the performers” (Ritual and Religion in the Making of Humanity, 1999: 24). He draws a distinction within ritual performance between the canonical — acts whose meaning is encoded by reference to “ultimate sacred postulates” — and the indexical — acts that are self-referential in nature, the realm of individual performances of the ritual. The indexical takes into consideration local circumstances, changing tastes or necessities. And it is the interaction between the indexical and the canonical that makes ritual “work.” The confidence communities have in the efficacy of ritual “is contingent upon the association of the indexically transmitted pledge with messages borne by the liturgy's invariant canon” (ibid., 58). Using this framework, I suggest that it is in the singing of songs that we can find individual Buddhists creatively renegotiating Shin Buddhist attitudes and orientations both historically and in the contemporary scene. This creative renegotiation draws on multiple sources of inspiration, pushes the boundaries of the tradition, and necessarily alters the borders of the community, allowing for the influx of new ideas and orientations not traditionally thought of as either Japanese American or Jōdo Shinshū.

 

The Aesthetics of Asoke Ascetics

Ritchie, Robekkah (Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, GER)

The Asoke Buddhist centres and teachings have come to be known throughout Thailand over the past few decades as communities have emerged across the country. Political activity and breaking away from mainstream norms has also led the Asoke to be a unique expression of Buddhism within contemporary Thai culture. Currently nine centres exist across Thailand consisting of varying monastic and lay communities and also housing schools, health centres, vegetarian restaurants, stores, organic agricultural production and other community resources. Based on recent ethnographic work at Asoke centres, my research explores contemporary practices of the Asoke monastics and their relationship, understanding and expression of the body along with the visual presentation and outward appearance (in terms of style and colour of robe, hair etc.). This exploration discusses the Asoke definition of the body, the monastic’s use of the Vinaya and their daily practices, including meditations. Unique practices within the Asoke community will also be considered, such as their strict vegetarianism and their regular practice of doing bodily cleanses. In terms of the visual aesthetics within the communities, both prominent features of the centres and of the residents will be discussed. Asoke has developed its own specific representation of the Buddha and also commissions artworks specifically for its centres, with both religious and political messages embedded within. The presence of preserved corpses and graphic images of disease and death are also on display in many monastic dwellings to inspire reflection on somatic form. In regard to the appearance of the monastics themselves, since 1991, after the excommunication of the Asoke community from the mainstream monastic order of Thailand in 1990, the Asoke monastics have adopted dark brown robes (in contrast to the typical orange colour seen in Thailand) and have stopped shaving their eyebrows (another distinguishing feature of Theravada monastics). The Asoke communities have also redefined the status of women renunciates (who also wear dark brown with a grey outer robe) causing a reevaluation of the status of Mae Chis within Thailand. With this work, I intend to further contribute to the discussion of contemporary Buddhist practices and the evolution thereof, women's roles in monastic communities, and body concepts, lending my specified subject matter to cover various areas of interest.

 

Neo-Zen and Buddhist Identity in Contemporary Northern Vietnam

Soucy, Alexander (Saint Mary's University, Halifax, NS, CAN)

This paper will examine the increase in popularity of Zen Buddhism in Vietnam, particularly since the beginning of the twenty-first century. It will hypothesise that this popularity is a result of converging discourses of modernity and legitimate practice (vs. superstition) that have come about because of the globalisation of Buddhism. Zen Buddhism has historically had an association with aristocracy and intellectuals in Vietnam. While the association with aristocracy has long ended, Zen has continued to have a positive association with the elite. It was rediscovered during the reform period and characterised as central to Vietnamese Buddhist history and identity. It was popularised in the 1960s in South Vietnam with the translation of DT Suzuki's works. Today, it is associated with a new transnational intellectual elite. Its popularity today lies in its redefinition of Buddhism as a post-enchantment religiosity that draws stark distinctions between a modern, doctrinal and almost secular approach to Buddhism, while condemning former Pure Land practices and beliefs as superstitious, backwards and outdated. However, it is not necessarily the intellectual content of these discourses that attract Buddhists to Zen in Vietnam today. Instead, this paper will argue, often at the root of involvement with Zen groups and participation in Zen activities are issues of identity and prestige among peer groups that come through association with this elite tradition. In other words, today's popularity in large part lies not in the content of Zen teachings, or in the rigours and benefits of contemplative practice, but in the aura that surrounds Zen. The data for this paper comes from ethnographic research conducted at a Zen centre on the outskirts of Hanoi between 2004 and 2013.

 

Buddhist Identity, Animal Ethics and Islamaphobia in Modern Sri Lanka

Stewart, James (University of Tasmania, Hobart, AUS)

Since the end of the civil war in 2009, there has been mounting conflict in Sri Lanka as Sinhalese nationalists target Muslim minorities. These nationalist groups regard themselves as defenders of Buddhism who want to restore the supposed ailing state of Buddhism across the country. In this paper I will focus on the role that Sinhala Buddhist animal welfare groups play in promoting this type of discourse. I will look at movements such as Bŏdu Bala Sĕnā (Buddhist Strength Force) and Sinhala Rāvaya (Voice of the Sinhala People) and their association with the halāl abolitionist cause. I will also discuss the case of Bowatte Indaratana Thera who committed suicide by immolation as a way to protest the slaughter of cattle. Finally, I will discuss data obtained from fieldwork I conducted in Sri Lanka in 2011 that further reveal the extent that animal ethics and anti-Muslim rhetoric intersect. I will argue that these cases highlight the way that animal welfarism has been co-opted into a narrative about what constitutes good Buddhist behaviour and that this idealised conduct is contrasted with Sri Lankan Muslims who are depicted as barbaric and uncivilised. I will also argue that this discourse is an extension of the nationalist discourse previously used to target Tamils during the Sri Lankan civil war. In this way, Sinhala Buddhist identity continues to be influenced by the Buddhist revivalism of the 1880s in which Sri Lankan Buddhism was constructed as an ideology under attack by outside forces.

Not Differentiated, Nor ‘Yoked’: A New Light on the Relationship between the four jhānas and the Practice of satipaṭṭhāna

Arbel, Keren (Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, ISR)

Buddhist scholars and contemporary academics have long been intrigued by the relationship between samatha or concentration meditation, which traditionally includes the four jhānas and the four formless attainments (arūpa-samāpattis), and vipassanā or insight meditation, described as the practice of satipaṭṭhānas. The existence of what appear to be two different types of meditative techniques in the Pāli Nikāyas evoked a difficulty in understanding the relationship between two significant path factors: sammā samādhi (i.e., the four jhānas) and sammā-sati (i.e., the four satipaṭṭhānas). If the jhānas are a meditative procedure leading to one-pointed absorption which is disconnected from sense-experience how can it be combined and integrated with a meditative technique that aims at seeing (vipassanā) the true nature of phenomena? If the four jhānas are states of deep absorption that do not reveal anything about the nature of reality, a borrowed element from Indian contemplative traditions, how can we explain their central position in the Nikāyas' liberation scheme?

Up until now academic literature about the phenomenology of the four jhānas and their relationship with the practice of satipaṭṭhāna has been recapitulating, for the most part, traditional Theravāda interpretations. According to Theravāda texts and most Buddhologists the attainment of the four jhānas is not liberative or distinctively Buddhist. A common supposition is that the practice of satipaṭṭhāna is the only Buddhist innovation while the attainment of the jhānas is common to Indian contemplative traditions.

In contrast this paper will argue that the fourfold jhāna model is uniquely Buddhist, even though the term itself has been adopted from the Indian “pool” of contemplative terms. It will offer a new interpretation of the phenomenology of the four jhānas and their relation to the practice of satipaṭṭhāna by analyzing descriptions of the jhānas in the Nikāyas, independently from traditional Theravāda explications. By calling into question fundamental assumptions concerning the structure of the meditative path in the early Buddhist texts, this paper will suggest that there is a clear correlation in the Nikāyas between the attainment of the four jhānas and the gradual maturity of the practice of satipaṭṭhānas. It will show that the structure of the path as it is presented in the Nikāyas is more complex than the common hierarchal-polarized model in which the development of the jhānas is preliminary at best to the practice of vipassanā. First and foremost, this paper will challenge the traditional positioning of the four jhānas under the category of ‘concentration meditation’. Contrary to the traditional Theravada's view that one can ‘bypass’ the four jhānas, as they are not really ‘Buddhist’, this presentation will offer examples how the jhānas are the actualization and embodiment of insight practice (vipassanā). In conclusion, this paper sheds a new light on the fourfold jhāna model and its liberative role in the Pāli Nikāya.

 

Pseudo-saṃyuttas in the Pali Saṃyutta-nikāya

Bucknell, Roderick (University of Queensland, Brisbane, AUS)

Within the Pali Saṃyutta-nikāya the most common type of saṃyutta is that which has evidently resulted from grouping together a variable number of independent suttas that have a common topic or other shared feature. A typical example is the Nidāna-saṃyutta, “Connected with Causation”, whose eighty-four suttas deal with conditioned arising and related topics. My paper discusses a less familiar type, exemplified in the Okkanti-saṃyutta, “Connected with [Stream]-Entry”. The ten suttas of this saṃyutta share a common format and deal with a well-known set of topics in a well-known fixed sequence. After presenting further examples of this type and comparing their parallels in the (Mūla)-Sarvāstivādin Saṃyuktāgama (Taishō 99), I discuss their likely origin and thereby justify referring to them as “pseudo-saṃyuttas”.

 

Stylistic Analysis of Terms Expressed in Pairs and Triads in the Pāli Nikāyas and the Abhidhamma

Ditrich, Tamara (University of Sydney, NTI, AUS)

Several Pāli terms occur in pairs and triads, following stylized formulae established in the textual transmission of the early Pāli Canon. This paper will discuss the occurrences of two sets of terms, ajjhattaṃ “internally” and bahiddhā “externally” and samudaya- and vaya-, which are repeatedly attested in numerous places in the Nikāyas and the Abhidhamma. It will explore differences in the meaning and functions of these syntagms when they occur in pairs (e.g. ajjhattaṃ “internally” and bahiddhā “externally”) and in triads (ajjhattaṃ “internally”, bahiddhā “externally” and ajjhattabahiddhā “internally and externally”), and suggest alternative readings, based on investigation of the specific contexts (explicative/prescriptive) in which they occur. It will identify several typological and semantic patterns of these terms—depending whether they are attested as single words or in pairs or triads—and indicate how their different combinations and contexts contribute to their different semantic features and functions. Hence the paper will underline the importance of stylistic analysis of the textual transmission in early Buddhism which needs to be accounted for in interpretations and translation of the Pāli Canonical texts.

 

The Idea of the “Historical Buddha”

Drewes, David (University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, CAN)

This paper examines the nineteenth and early twentieth-century discussions that established the idea that Gautama Buddha was a historical figure. Though early nineteenth-century scholars tended to think of the Buddha as a mythical, supernatural being, scholars such as Eugene Burnouf, J. Barthélemy Saint-Hilaire, T.W. Rhys Davids and Hermann Oldenberg argued that he was originally a human philosopher. Other leading scholars, such as H.H. Wilson, Max Müller, Émile Senart, Hendrik Kern, and R. Otto Franke, doubted or argued against this idea. This paper draws attention to the fact that though the former group of scholars won out in the end, the most serious of the skeptics’ objections were never answered. It argues that even if we adopt a lax standard of evidence, it is not possible to consider the existence of “the historical Buddha” to be an established fact.

 

Re-visiting Religious Boundary-Making in Early Buddhism

Freiberger, Oliver (The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA)

As most current textbooks indicate, contemporary scholarship is fairly confident in determining the religious boundaries of early Buddhism. The Vinaya ordination defines Buddhist monks and nuns; the Middle Way delineates the boundaries to ascetics who lead a hedonistic or an extreme ascetic life; and Buddhist laypeople signal their religious affiliation through taking refuge in the Buddha, the dharma, and the sangha. This paper challenges this seemingly unproblematic narrative. It tries to show that early Buddhist texts (here: the Pali canon) contain a variety of boundary-making activities that are partly irreconcilable. It argues that modern scholarship, rather than acknowledging the diversity of identity constructions, sides with particular positions in the texts - and thus particular or interest groups among the authors - while ignoring other views. One major example will be the concept of the Middle Way, which is widely accepted in scholarship as an uncontested instrument for distinguishing between Buddhists and non-Buddhists. This paper discusses the segregating features of the concept which were also directed against fellow Buddhists. The general argument is that historians of religion cannot distinguish between Buddhists and non-Buddhists without possibly excluding certain voices. If they do, they privilege certain viewpoints and speak for Buddhism rather than about it, whether or not they intend to do so.

 

Who or What was Alavi-Gotama? Names as Rhetorical Device in the Buddha's Discourse on saddha in the Sutta Nipata

Inoue, Takami (Otani University, Kyoto, JPN)

Toward the end of the final chapter of the Sutta Nipata, an old, feeble Brahman named Pingiya, who was in the midst of praising Gotama devotionally, suddenly hears the Buddha's voice speaking to him: “As Vakkali was liberated by faith (mutta-saddha), [as well as] Bhadravudha and Alavi-Gotama, You too should give forth faith (pamuncassu saddham), And you will go, Oh Pingiya, to the further shore of the realm of death.” (Sn 1146)

This verse is actually the Buddha's concluding remarks of the chapter entitled Parayana (“the way to the other shore”), as well as his final words in the entire volume of the Sutta Nipata. Among the three names mentioned here as representatives of those who had realized deliverance through the power of faith, the most problematic is the last, namely Alavi-Gotama, who does not appear anywhere else in the Nikaya under such a name.

Considering its context in the Sutta Nipata, Alavi-Gotama is a very significant designation in the Buddha's discourse on faith, but Pali commentarial tradition has not paid adequate attention to it. According to Buddhaghosa's Suttanipata-atthakatha, Alavi-Gotama was simply “a thera who attained arahantship through faith,” and the Dictionary of Pali Proper Names just adds the following context: “He is mentioned in the Sutta Nipata in a verse spoken by the Buddha to Pingiya when the Buddha appeared in a ray of light at Bavari's hermitage.” No consideration seems to have been given to the relevance of the place name “Alavi-” and its relationship to the family name “Gotama” in the exegeses by scholars of the Theravada tradition.

The exact location of Alavi has not been identified archaeologically, but according to Cunningham's Ancient Geography of India and the latest studies by Iwai Shogo et al., Alavi was a prosperous village near the northern bank of the Ganges, about 70 km north-west of Pataligama (later Pataliputra, and present-day Patna), and the Buddha stayed at the Aggalava cetiya, a sanctuary around the largest Nigrodha tree in Alavi, many times during his 45 years of wandering after attaining Enlightenment. There are two dramatic sutras in the Sutta Nipata whose locale was set in Alavi; i.e., Alavaka Sutta (Sn 181-192) and Vangisa Sutta (a.k.a. Nigrodha Kappa Sutta, Sn 343-358), and both indicate the significance of faith.

Applying a new approach to the Buddha's words in early Pali literature, which follows the method advocated by Richard Gombrich in his introduction to What the Buddha Thought (Equinox, 2009), this paper proposes a hypothesis that “Alavi-Gotama” is a rhetorical device adopted by the Buddha or the compilers of the Sutta Nipata for the purpose of stressing and reconfirming the critical role of saddha on the Buddhist path to awakening. In order to decipher the pariyaya (lit. “way round” or “indirect route”), an allusion that defies literal interpretation, this paper examines Alavi-Gotama's geographical, historical, and inter-textual contexts, which reveal the importance of a faith-oriented path in the earliest stage of Buddhism

 

Early Indian Buddhist ‘Company Men’ and How They Cornered the Religious Marketplace

Milligan, Matthew (University of Texas, Austin, USA)

In the Early Historic Period (300 BCE – 300 CE) of Indian Buddhist history, a particular group of elite, non-royal financiers may have been heavily involved in the unprecedented rise of religious material culture after the fall of the Mauryan Empire. Epigraphic sources reveal that the early Indian Buddhist community relied heavily on the patronage, leadership, and charisma of a select few individuals from known gotra-s, or lineages traced through maternal ancestors. Men identified by their metronyms strongly influenced the future trajectory of Buddhism in South Asia and took the “business” of Buddhism especially seriously as the newly institutionalized religion expanded outside the Buddhist heartland. Members of the family, known as “Gotīputa-s,” or “the sons of Gauptī,” not only bankrolled Buddhist monumental construction projects but routinely had their relics enshrined for worship alongside monuments erected for worship of the Buddha’s own relics.

In this paper, I reinvestigate these “sons of Gauptī” and study their impact on the world of ancient ritual finance in India. What was their relationship to the Mainstream monastic Buddhist institution? How did the monks and nuns, who had taken strict vows that often led them to avoid economics altogether, get along with the “sons of Gauptī”? What business strategies may we discern from the available evidence and did these strategies have lasting effects on the survival of Buddhism in South Asia? Lastly, did the “sons of Gauptī” quest for social and political power and financial aggrandizement, or were their incentives driven by belief and soteriological concerns? To begin to address these complex questions in the ancient world I deploy the concepts of symbolic and economic capital. I hope to re-conceptualize ways in which elite financiers in the ancient world, like the “sons of Gauptī,” may have used religious ideals such as reciprocity and compassion as catalysts for accumulating greater amounts of capital.

 

Was Insight an Intrinsic Quality of the Meditative State of jhāna in Early Buddhism?

Polak, Grzegorz (Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, Lublin, Konskowola, POL)

The precise nature and status of jhāna meditation in early Buddhist soteriology remains to be one of the most controversial subjects of early Buddhist studies. Amongst the most unclear issues connected with jhāna meditation is its relation to meditative insight. There appear to be fundamental discrepancies related to this issue in the Suttapiṭaka itself and in the later Buddhist meditative texts. These discrepancies appear to be sometimes difficult or even impossible to reconcile. In this paper I will attempt to present a model of meditative insight as an intrinsic quality of the jhāna state through an interdisciplinary approach relying on textual studies as well as on the new developments in the field of rapidly developing cognitive sciences. I would like to point out and analyze several fundamental difficulties connected with the traditional Buddhist model of insight understood as a meditative method on its own, distinct from jhāna meditative state. I will attempt to propose an explanation of how and why the original concept of insight as an intrinsic quality of jhāna state underwent a radical evolution, which has unfortunately lead to both textual discrepancies and serious problems on a practical and psychological level. In order to provide a plausible model of insight as an intrinsic aspect of jhāna state, I will also refer to some important new developments from the field of cognitive sciences, which provide a new way of explaining how human cognition works. In order to show that my model is possible on a practical level, I will also like to point out some meditative developments from the later history of Buddhism, where insight was seen in a somewhat similar way.

 

From Similes to Allegory: The Deconstruction of Chariot Imagery in Early Buddhist Texts, Analyzed with Cognitive Metaphor Theory

Schlieter, Jens (Universität Bern, Bern, CHE)

The presentation will start by unfolding the various layers of chariot imagery in early Indian sources, namely, chariots as vehicles of gods such as the sun (sūrya), i.e. as symbol of cosmic stability; chariots as symbols of royal power and social prestige e.g. of Brahmins; and, finally, chariots as metaphors for the “person”, the “mind” and the “way to liberation” (e.g., Kaṭ.-Up. III.3; Maitr.-Up. II. 6). In Buddhist and non-Buddhist sources, chariots are in certain aspects used as a metaphor for the (old) human body (e.g., Caraka-S., Vi.3.37-38; D II.100; D II.107); apart from that, there is, of course, mention of the “real” use of chariots in sports, cults, journey, and combat. The most prominent example of the Buddhist use of chariot imagery is its application as a model for the person (S I.134 f.; Milindapañha, ed. Trenckner, 26), i.e., for highlighting the “non-substantial self”. There are, however, other significant examples of the usage of chariot imagery in early Buddhist texts. Of special interest are those cases in which chariot metaphors were applied in order to explain how the ‘self’ may proceed on the way to salvation – with ‘mindfulness’ or the ‘self’ as charioteer, with ‘wisdom’ and ‘confidence’ as horses etc. (e.g. S I. 33; S V.7; Dhp 94; or the Nārada-Jātaka, No. 545, verses 181-190). One might be tempted to say that these instances reaffirm the traditional soteriology of a substantial “progressing soul”. Taking conceptual metaphor analysis as a tool, I will, in contrast, argue that there is a special Buddhist use of this metaphor. Indeed, at first sight, it seems to presuppose a non-Buddhist understanding (the “self” as charioteer; the chariot as vehicle to liberation, etc.). Yet, it will be argued that in these cases the chariot imagery is no longer fully “functional”. The Buddhist usage may, therefore, best be described as a final allegorical phase of the chariot-imagery, which results in a thorough deconstruction of the “chariot” itself.

 

Early Buddhist Verses in the Śarīrārthagāthā of the Yogācārabhūmi

Shi, Fazhao (The University of Sydney, Sydney, AUS)

The Śarīrārthagāthā (Chinese, Tǐyì qiétā 體義伽他; Tibetan, ’dus pa’i don gyi tshigs su bcad pa), i.e., Verses of Corpus Meaning, is a collection of canonical verses with accompanying commentary in the Yogācārabhūmi (Chinese, Yúqié shī dì lùn 瑜伽師地論; Tibetan, rnal 'byor spyod pa'i sa), an encyclopedic text of the Yogācāra-Vijñānavāda tradition. According to Enomoto (1989), the verses of the Śarīrārthagāthā are quoted from the Saṃyuktāgama, Udānavarga, Pārāyaṇa, Arthavargīya and Madhyamāgama. Obviously, these various verses are collected from the texts of early Buddhism. This paper discusses the relationship between Śarīrārthagāthā verses and the aṅga classification system, which is tied to the formation of early Buddhist literature. The Śarīrārthagāthā verses can be divided into two groups that are related to geya- and vyākaraṇa-aṅgas respectively, which generally rank second and third in the classification system. This indicates how these early Buddhist verses in the Śarīrārthagāthā might have been regarded and collected by the author(s) of the Yogācārabhūmi. It also hints at the importance placed on the first three aṅgas (sūtra, geya and veyākaraṇa) which are the foundation of the Saṃyuktāgama. According to the works of Yìnshùn (1983) and Mukai (1985), the Vastusaṃgrahaṇī (the last chapter of Yogācārabhūmi) is the mātr̥kā of some sections of the Saṃyuktāgama and belongs to the sūtra-aṅga. This paper also shows that the Śarīrārthagāthā verses are related to the geya-aṅga and veyākaraṇa-aṅga. Evidently, the first three aṅgas are adopted in the Yogācārabhūmi. This outcome thus also supports the claims that the early Buddhist āgama texts were actually organized according to the threefold aṅga classification. This also means that one of the Mahāyāna texts, the Yogācārabhūmi, still values the early Buddhist concepts and texts.

 

On the Sequences of Cognitive Processes in Early Buddhism

Shi, Juetao (The University of Hong Kong, HKG)

The study of cognition is a subject commanding increasing attention in modern psychology. By relying upon cutting edge technology, scholars have made dramatic and unprecedented progress, especially in the field of cognitive neuroscience. In fact, the Buddha and his disciples had already given prominence to the understanding of the cognitive processes thousands of years ago. This paper therefore aims to identify the sequences of cognitive processes by drawing evidence from early Buddhist literature, including the Pāli Nikāyas, Aṭṭhakathā, and Chinese Āgamas. Furthermore, this study will highlight the decisive factors in the formation of different types of cognition.

The most well-known and elementary model of cognition can be found in one fundamental doctrine of Buddha’s teaching: Dependent Origination. In particular, starting from the sense faculties and ending with clinging (upādāna), these links describe how we perceive, recognize, and react to external objects. This basic process is a model of cognition that people repeat again and again in everyday life. In addition to this simple description, there also exist a number of other models either in brief or sophisticated form in Suttapiṭaka. The study, then, results in bringing about several issues and questions.

From the outset, these models can be distinguished into two groups: those associated with mundaneness and those with renunciation. Within all the models analyzed, some factors are common to all, while others are peculiar to one or another model. This shows that, to some extent, even enlightened arahants share the part of the same cognitive processes with ordinary people.

This leads to the second topic of this study: which factors of the cognitive processes distinguish arahants from ordinary people. In terms of arahants, the key factor is mental examination (manopavicāra). As for ordinary people, it seems that both underlying tendency (anusaya) and mental proliferation (papañca) are responsible for the mind deviating from the truth. These terms, anusaya and papañca, are considered two of the most obscure terms in Buddhist hermeneutics and psychology. Moreover, they are literally the basis of the more refined unwholesome mental activities, such as desire, conceit, and views. This study hopes to help clarify the way they function, by which they become the most subtle and tenacious of the defilements (āsavas).

Lastly, the recognized and accepted sequences of cognition found in these textual sources can be used as the standard models to examine irregular or problematic cognitive processes. This effort is of particular importance for identifying the interpolation of Suttapiṭaka’scompilation, as well as for evaluating later commentarial explanations and Abhidhamma theories related to the cognitive processes.

 

The Relationship between Buddhism and Indigenous Beliefs and People as Reflected in the Names of Lokapālas in Early Buddhist Literature

Sirisawad, Natchapol (Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, THA)

“Lokapāla” (the guardians of the world) or “Mahārāja” (the great kings) are four in number: Dhataraṭṭha (Skt. Dhṛtarāṣṭra), Virūḷha or Virūḷhaka (Skt. Virūḍhaka), Virūpakkha (Skt. Virūpākṣa), and Kuvera or Vessavaṇa (Skt. Kubera or Vaiśravaṇa) who are depicted as the ruling deities of the four horizontal directions of the world. There is a division of opinion among scholars concerning the possible concept of Lokapālas in early Buddhist literature. According to T.W. Rhys David and William Stede (1972: 568-569), the Four Great Kings are classified as chieftain, prince or ruler in a small, autocratic state, usually (collectively) as a group. In addition, G.P. Malalsekera (2007: 958) states that the assembly between the Four Regent Devas with their followers and Sakka in the Sudhammā-sabhā is similar to the assembly of a tribal community, especially the Kosala-clan. J.P. Vogel (1972: 9) surmised that the idea of four or six dragons guarding the corners of the world is more primitive than that of the anthropomorphic Lokapālas. According to various scholars, the names of the Four Great Kings may reflect indigenous beliefs and people in early Buddhism since these names of the gods except Kuvera are not found in Sanskrit literature, but are found particularly in early Pali literature and Buddhist Sanskrit scriptures as well. The purpose of this article is to analyze aspects of the relationship between Buddhism and indigenous beliefs and people through the names of Lokapālas in early Buddhist literature. The study revealed that the name of the Four Great Kings, Dhataraṭṭha, Virūḷha or Virūḷhaka, Virūpakkha, and Kuvera or Vessavaṇa, may reflect the trace of precedent or contemporary indigenous beliefs and people who had cultural encounters with Buddhism. The indigenous beliefs consist of the yakkha and nāga cult, the belief in spirits, early practice of urn-burials and the belief in the soul or spirit of the dead rising out of its grave, the primitive belief of Aryan people and yakkha and nāga as tribal people. Buddhism shows an attempt to incorporate these beliefs and people into Buddhist cosmology by elevating some local gods, indigenous beliefs and tribal people to divine status like the Lokapālas which become chieftains of the gandhabbas, the nāgas, the kumbhaṇḍas, and the yakkhas, in order to show their acceptance of the precedent or contemporary indigenous beliefs and people. This finding may help to understand more about the sociology of early Buddhism.

 

Notes on the Problematics of the Futur Forms in Pali, Regarding Their Preterit and Modal Functions.

Yamanaka, Yukio (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Göttingen, GER)

In the course of my research project ‘verb forms in the Pāli canon’ at Göttingen University, Germany, problematics of Pali verb forms are becoming apparent, or rather coming to the surface again. I already gave a presentation on the analysis of verb forms, concerning the contamination of the imperative and the optative moods, at the `Deutscher Orientalistentag’ at Münster, Germany. This time I will report on the peculiarities regarding the forms of the future tense. As for the future form, the Middle Indic including Pāli shows morphological, phonological as well as semantic difficulties. In the presentation I will focus on semantic issues, in which the future forms are used in the past context and most likely express modality.

Although this phenomenon drew sporadically attention, I will revisit it in order to report on the distinctive feature of Pali. The ideal approach remains the philology-oriented linguistic analysis. Consequently the characteristics of the future forms in Pāli will be observed in a new light.

 

The Formulation and Explanation of the Eleven Categories of Five Clinging-Aggregates

Yit, Kin-tung (National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung City, TWN)

In a number of suttas, five clinging-aggregates are formulated to have eleven categories: past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near (atītānāgatapaccuppannaṃ ajjhattaṃ vā bahiddhā vā oḷārikaṃ vā sukhumaṃ vā hīnaṃ vā paṇītaṃ vā yaṃ dūre santike vā 若過去、若未來、若現在,若內,若外,若麤、若細,若好、若醜,若遠、若近). It is stated that if one really sees and knows these categories of aggregates as anicca, dukkha and anatta, one will achieve the liberation. However, some items are not easy to be understood; for instance: what is the exact meaning of past, future, gross or subtle, inferior or superior of the aggregates? As suttas do not seem to provide further satisfactory answer, this paper attempts to work out relevant explanations in the abhidhamma/abhidharma and commentarial literature. In some cases, mahāyānic commentaries offer valuable clarification too. Moreover, it is interesting to find that contemporary Theravāda Buddhist practitioners apply this formulation into meditation. The paper will examine one particular tradition, look at their interpretation and application, and study if they offer helpful and innovative discussion.

 

Rhetorical Tools in the Pali Canon

Szuksztul, Robert (Jagiellonian University, Krakow, POL)

My objective will be to present a comprehensive framework for categorizing rhetorical strategies used in the Pali Canon, together with examples of each. The source material can be divided into two groups:

  1. Direct recommendations concerning the engagement in a debate or a teaching (e.g. urging by the Buddha to use vernaculars instead of Sanskrit, or enumerating the methods of answering the question)
  2. Rhetoric in use (practical examples of strategies employed)

At present and only preliminarily, I have divided the repertoire of rhetorical tools into four groups: intellectual, emotive, esthetic and linguistic. By singling out these categories I do not mean to imply they are mutually exclusive. Often, the particular event of rhetorical argumentation will fall into several of them. I rather want to stress by them the most prominent features or aspects in discursive strategies as they present themselves in the Pali Canon. Some examples are:

Intellectual tools

  • Appeal to logical reasoning
  • Redefinition of terms (here showing the true sense or context of a term)
  • Redefinition of the context
  • Gradation in the teaching (sensitivity to the initial context of a problem; response within the context but often deepened with time, or as discussion progresses)

Emotive tools

  • Threats by the Buddha
  • Invectives
  • Intimidation or awe (not necessarily conscious) by the charismatic figure of the Buddha; possibly employment of the “lion roar” would fall here. Also miracles, physical marks, appeal to personal experience (unverifiable by the disputant) as an argument (like recounting conversations with gods, past lives, etc.)
  • Examples, exemplary lives of monastics and laymen

Esthetic tools

  • Poetry
  • Metaphor
  • Imagery

Linguistic tools (the category concerns a self-conscious engagement in language-games, not just any employment of the medium)

  • Redefinition of terms or etymology games (showing the true etymology of a term)
  • Word-plays
  • Paraphrases

My second objective will be an experiment to read the discourses of the Pali Canon through the lens of Schopenhauer’s “Eristic Dialectic”, to see if we can find there examples of eristic argumentation.

 

Gods Requiring Buddhist Ordination: Chinese Buddhist Acceptance through Thaumaturges (shenyi) in the Gaoseng Zhuan.

Son, Jin (Dongguk University, Seoul, KOR)

In this paper, I review articles about thaumaturges (shenyi 神異) and treat the characteristics of gods as described in the Gaoseng Zhuan. The Gaoseng Zhuan contains the biographies of nearly 500 monks who were active in China from 67 to 519 CE. Understanding the characteristics of gods as described within this collection is to know what Chinese people expected of gods and wanted of gods until the sixth century. I will also treat the relations between Buddhism and gods, based on a gods-Buddhism amalgamation paradigm (syncretism of gods and Buddhas) in those times. In China, gods were devoted to Buddhism and to rid themselves from agony, moved to other places from the god’s place or remained in the mountains as guardian deities of temples and monks. The example of a god who asks Buddhism to help out is also found in Korea and Japan after the middle ages and it represents the trend of a dual structure of acceptance of Buddhism in East-Asia. In other words, the dual structure of Buddhism’s acceptance can be identified through Gaoseng Zhuan’s thaumaturges. Thus the Buddhism introduced to China under the Han dynasty shows two sides depending on the double, hierarchical social organization, clearly divided into the dominator and the dominated. One of them is pedantic Buddhism. Focused on the prajna thought among nobles and represented as ‘geyi’ Buddhism, it was propagated to elites in China and connected with the traditional knowledge of the classical history of China which is called Lao-Tzu and Chan-Tzu. The other is shamanistic Buddhism, attracting with supernatural powers or divine immortals an impoverished and ignorant public, and Taoistic Buddhism pursuing health and longevity. Although those two types of Buddhism did not have any definite shape, I assume that the aforementioned situations naturally made these demands of Buddhism. After that, the development of Chinese Buddhism could be based on those two types of Buddhism's constantly changing shape. Basically, this double trend has not been changed throughout the ages. The Gaoseng Zhuan was a rare historical book very devotedly reflecting the status of the early acceptance of Buddhism in China. It speaks of a supernatural phenomenon called thaumaturges (shenyi) shown among 60% of the described eminent monks. It is difficult to conclude that Huijiao (497-554) had in mind the keyword “god” when making a sharp distinction between “eminent monks” and “virtueless monks”. But the existence of eminent monks generated myth and legends showing unbelievable miracles before and after death. In other words, it is assumed that Huijiao would determine that revered and worshipped Buddhist monks like that must be called “eminent monks”.

 

King Mu of Zhou in Buddhist Apologetic Thought

Jülch, Thomas (Ghent University, Ghent, BEL)

King Mu of Zhou (traditional dating: 1001-946 BC) is a figure enjoying great prominence in Buddhist apologetic thought. As a king ruling during the early Zhou dynasty, he was subject to many legendary traditions. Two of them were taken up and re-interpreted to serve Chinese Buddhist apologetic purposes. The first of these traditions goes back to the Mu tianzi zhuan (Biography of the Heaven’s Son Mu) and the Zhushu jinian (Bamboo Annals), the second one to Liezi, chapter 3.

In the Mu tianzi zhuan and in the Zhushu jinian we read that King Mu embarked on a journey to the West in order to see the Xiwangmu (Queen Mother of the West). The Buddhist apocrypha Zhoushu yiji takes up this tradition, but re-interprets it in saying that the reason for the journey were natural phenomena appearing as omens connected with the birth of the Buddha in India. Based on the now lost Zhoushu yiji, the account of King Mu having travelled to the West in connection with the birth of the Buddha is quoted widely in Chinese Buddhist apologetic writing.

In the Liezi we read about a magician who took King Mu along on a mysterious journey to heavenly abodes. In various Buddhist apologetic scriptures, the legend of King Mu and the magician is explicitly referred to, and it is said that the magician was in fact Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī and the Buddha’s disciple Maudgalyāyana, who appearing in one person to win King Mu for Buddhism.

In medieval China, Buddhism was constantly exposed to attacks by the Confucian elites claiming that Buddhism did not match the refined Chinese high culture, as it had come to China from the lands of the “Barbarians”, and did not have its roots in the unparalleled wisdom of the sages of the so-called “golden age of classical Chinese antiquity”. The Buddhist versions of the legends of King Mu serve to demonstrate that Buddhism had in fact been an important part of the ancient Chinese wisdom treasury.

The legendary account developed in the Zhoushu yiji, plays yet another role in Buddhist apologetic thought, as it also serves to date the birth of the Buddha. As Buddhism in medieval China stood in a fierce competition with Daoism, it was important for Buddhist apologetic thought to demonstrate that the Buddha lived earlier than Laozi. The tradition of the omens defining the birth of the Buddha as an event of the time of King Mu, enabled to ascribe a sufficiently early birth date to the Buddha.

 

Buddhist Apocryphal Scriptures Written in the Late Goryeo and Early Joseon Dynasties

Kim, Suah (Tongmyong University, Busan, KOR)

The aim of this paper is to investigate three Buddhist apocryphal scriptures written in the late Goryeo and early Joseon dynasties: the Hyeonhaengseobanggyeong (現行西方經) and the Samsippalbungongdeoksogyeong (三十八分功德疏經) in the Goryeo Dynasty, and the Yeombulinyugyeong (念佛因由經) in the Joseon Dynasty. These scriptures are relatively short because they only show why and how to practice to be born in the Pure Land. The Hyeonhaengseobanggyeong was written by Woncham, an Esoteric school monk. It recorded the religious dialogues between him and the divine monk Nakseo in January 1298. In it, he emphasizes invoking Dharani rather than chanting to Amitabha Buddha. The Samsippalbungongdeoksogyeong was written by a Hwa-eom school monk in December 1331. The Yeombulinyugyeong was written by the Zen Masters who inherited Bojojinul (1158-1210).

The main teachings of the aforementioned apocryphal scriptures are that Pure Land Buddhism is the only way to salvation for the people in the period that saw the end of the Buddhist teachings. They recommend that people practice chanting to and invoking Dharani because the authors of these scriptures shared the awareness of the period that saw the end of the Buddhist teachings, such as the apocalypse. For this reason, these scriptures are very important historical materials for clarifying the situation of Korean Buddhism in the 13th and 14th centuries. Up to now, however, they have not received any attention.

This study involves three steps. First, it investigates the philological approach of the scriptures. It deals with gathering all information regarding the apocryphal scriptures and analyzing the textual information, such as the authors, date of publication, and relations with other Buddhist sutras compared to the different published woodblock versions. Using this approach, the outline of the scriptures is grasped.

The second aim of this study is to examine the historical background related to the main ideas, and the method of practice used in the scriptures. The ultimate goal of writing the apocryphal scriptures in East Asia Buddhism was to awaken the authors’ contemporaries and to offer a direction by using the formation of the Sutra literature and the Buddha’s teachings. Thus, the apocryphal scriptures were the product of the times and the output of the times’ demand. Without considering the historical situation and consciousness, it would be impossible to identify the fundamental necessity of writing the apocryphal scriptures.

Finally, the relationship between the Pure Land School and the other Buddhist schools is revealed. In spite of the fact that Pure Land Buddhism is emphasized in the scriptures, the authors belonged to the Esoteric, Hwa-eom, and Zen schools, respectively. Regarding this matter, two questions are examined: (1) Why did the Esoteric, Hwa-eom, and Zen schools accept the idea of Pure land Buddhism and integrate it into their respective practice systems?; and (2) What important role did Pure Land Buddhism play in inventing a new practice style for the Esoteric, Hwa-eom, and Zen schools? This approach will reveal the belief system of the masses in the 13th and 14th century in Korean Buddhism, and the method of interaction among the different Buddhist schools to save the people.

 

Chinul’s Hwaŏm Thought in the Hwaŏmnon chŏryo

Koh, Seunghak (Dongguk University, Institute for Buddhist Culture, Seoul, KOR)

Pojo Chinul (1158–1210) is considered a great harmonizer of the conflicting Buddhist trends in the late Koryŏ period. Although diverse philosophical and soteriological aspects of his texts have been examined, the Hwaŏmnon chŏryo, a seminal text that demonstrates his effort to mitigate the tension between the Sŏn and Kyo schools, has not been given due scholarly attention.

By revealing the drawbacks in the previous scholarship on Chinul, this paper emphasizes the importance of correct understanding of Li Tongxuan’s (635–730) Xin huayan jing lun, the primary text that exerted enormous influence on the formation of Chinul’s thought. Chinul’s text, however, sometimes omits the affluent symbolism as represented in Li’s text. Moreover, the Hwaŏmnon chŏryo does not adopt indigenous philosophical frameworks for the explication of the Flower Garland Sūtra as introduced in its source text Xin huayan jing lun. Chinul, instead, faithfully accommodates Li’s fundamental philosophical and soteriological theses in this abridged text.

Although Chinul does not accept every detail of Li’s exegesis and his text shows the characteristics of selective abridgement, he has a critical attitude toward the contemporary Buddhists just as Li does. This attitude may explain his adoption of this “unorthodox” text which was written by a layman and disregarded by both of the mainstream Sŏn and Kyo schools.

 

The Poison of Impermanence in Kumārajīva’s Zuochan sanmei jing

Vihan, Jan (Charles University, Prague, CZE)

The Sutra on the Concentration of Sitting Meditation 坐禪三昧經 (or Bodhisattvadhyāna 菩薩禪) is the first text produced by the Tocharian scholar and translator Kumārajīva after his arrival in Changan. While the first scroll of this influential meditation manual is a compilation of traditional techniques, most notably the practice of the three gates, the second scroll takes the form of questions and answers that bring in new points of view. In my presentation I focus on one such exchange, in which impermanence is presented not as the antidote to the poison of ignorance, but as the harmless form of that same poison itself. I compare Kumārajīva’s terminology here to that of the earlier translator Dharmarakṣa and show the degree to which it reflects a novel understanding of the Mahāyāna doctrine and practice. I then go on to explore the manner in which “毒 (poison)” is made to carry both negative and positive connotations in Chinese thus tracing a foundation for the key concept of non-duality to a particular strand of classical Chinese exegesis.

 

Buddhist Influence in Medieval Chinese Literature – Based on Jiang Zong's Poems

Wang, Meihsiu (Department of East Asian Studies, Taiwan Normal University, Jiayi, AUT)

Buddhist buildings appeared as part of the landscape in medieval China when Buddhism was accepted widely in Chinese society. As religious places, Shansi (山寺), Buddhist temples or monasteries in the mountains not only served Buddhist monks for religious practices but were also open to some particular literati for short periods of visiting and experiencing temporary hermit life. Many of them left their writings to record recluse lives. The writings were cataloged later as Shanju wenxue, literature of mountain life and became an important literary genre in the Tang dynasty.

However this paper will focus on the earlier stage of the development of Shanju wenxue by analyzing a group of poems regarding a famous pre-Tang poet Jiang Zong (519-594), hoping to reveal the depth of Jiang’s Shanshi poems and its significance. This attempt not only adds content regarding a given figure, but also reveals a sense of how Shansi and its abstract religious content replaced the beauty of nature to attract poets from their secular life. Shansi, as a third space, is not only a part of the landscape throughout  the time but also a destination of the poet’s journey, a journey seeking the pure land. This paper hopes to make another contribution in diverging Jiang’s poems from the tradition of Shanshui wenxue (literature of mountain and river) and bring a clearer picture of Buddhist influence on medieval Chinese literature. 

“There is Nothing Charming about Harlots” – Madhyamaka and the Coherence in Meaning

Bogacz, Szymon (Center of Comparative Studies of Civilizations, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, POL)

Nāgārjuna probably did not hold any definitive logical theory; nevertheless, his arguments are clearly based on some rules. Thus, we can bring up the question: what are these rules?

Jay Garfield and Graham Priest in [2003] argue, that Nāgārjuna holds some specific thesis, i.e. a thesis regarding “the limits of thought” (LT). What is interesting about the LT-thesis, is that it is paraconsistent, that is to say that it can be both contradictory and true (conventionally or absolutely). To be more specific, the LT-thesis is syntactically well-built and bears semantic characteristics. In consequence, Nāgārjuna uses some syntactical and semantical rules.

In my paper I will try to answer the question about rudiments of Nāgārjuna's theory of language, in order to criticize the LT-thesis interpretation of Garfield and Priest.

Generally, there are three ways to define Nāgārjuna’s attitude towards the nature of language. The first one, the so called “skillful-means” (upāya kauśalya) way, presents statements as non-descriptive teachings towards Buddhist practice. The second one, derived from the prasaṅgika tradition, takes the madhyamika’s statements to be devoid of their own philosophical position – Nāgārjuna’s statements are just the consequences of the opponent's standpoint in the light of his own methods. The third one, derived from the svātantrika tradition, allows the madhyamika to use positive arguments and to hold his own standpoint.

I will argue that only the third way (the svātantrika interpretation of Nāgārjuna’s philosophy) is a possible way to posit the LT-thesis interpretation. Moreover, I will lay out the thesis that consistency is an essential feature of a meaningful sentence in svātantrika. In order to do so, I will refer to Bhavyaviveka, who in the Prajñāpradīpa [Ames 1994, 226] states that without coherence in meaning (asaṃgatārtha) of the thesis (pratijñā) there can be no proof (sādhana) for this thesis, just like for the incoherent sentence “there is nothing charming about harlots”. Indeed, to take the argument further, the LT-thesis in Nāgārjuna’s argumentation cannot be both based on svātantrika semantical rules and at the same time paraconsistent.

 

Phya pa’s Understanding regarding the Proof of Momentariness in the Svabhāvahetu Section of the Pramāṇaviniścaya

Choi, Kyeong-jin (Tokyo, JPN)

The topic of the proof of momentariness in association with the svabhāvahetu in Pramāṇaviniścaya (PVin) has been noted particularly because it has the earliest use of the concept of bādhakapramāṇa in this context. As Steinkellner (in his paper published in 1968) pointed out and many contemporary scholars accept, this earliest occurrence of bādhakapramāṇa and sattvānumāna in PVin is worth stressing when one considers the history of the theory of momentariness in Buddhist epistemology. Since modern scholars were familiar with the concept of bādhakapramāṇa from Dharmakīrti’s Vādanyāya, they highly evaluated the portion of PVin that includes the bādhakapramāṇa. From such a viewpoint, the assertion by Dharmottara in his commentary on PVin that the causelessness of extinction (ahetutva) is an assistant (parikara) to the bādhakapramāṇa and what proves the establishment of pervasion is bādhakapramāṇa, seems to makes sense. From that perspective, rGyal tshab Dar ma rin chen, who is influenced by Dharmottara’s stance on the function of bādhakapramāṇa, can be seen as expressing an appropriate insight when he says that the bādhakapramāṇa is the primary reason for the establishment of pervasion of the proof of momentariness in his commentary on PVin.

On the other hand, Phya pa Chos kyi seng ge has a dissimilar outlook from rGyal tshab’s on the overall structure of the argument in the section where Dharmakīrti explains the svabhāvahetu and the proof of momentariness. It can be said that the difference in their views of the whole composition of PVin is derived from the variance in their understandings of the effect of discussing bādhakapramāṇa separately from the proof based on the nirapekṣatva (or ahetutva). Phya pa’s position on the issue of the function of the bādhakapramāṇa is also different from both rGyal tshab’s stance and modern scholars’ belief.

For that reason, in this paper, I will consider the content of Phya pa’s interpretive outline (sa bcad) relative to this portion in his commentary on PVin in order to show how he understood the theory of svabhāvahetu. In particular, I will show that he sees the function of the proof of momentariness based on the nirapekṣatva, rather than the bādhakapramāṇa, as fundamental in this theory. Phya pa understood the thrust of Dharmakīrti’s explanation to be aimed at describing how svabhāvahetu has validity as a logical reason, and as such, the proof of momentariness is nothing more than an example to exhibit that svabhāvahetu actually works as a valid logical reason. When viewed in this way, it becomes clear that the idea of nirapekṣatva is more suitable than the bādhakapramāṇa as the representative of svabhāvahetu. His position warrants attention in that it differs significantly from Dharmottara’s, which heavily informs the current scholarly view of this section of PVin.

 

The Epistemology of Emptiness: Dharmakīrti’s Yogācāra Response to the Problem of Conventional Truth in Mahāyāna

Guerrero, Laura (Utah Valley University, Utah, USA)

In this paper I first argue that the ultimate positions of the Yogācāra and the Madhyamaka amount to the same metaontological position: global antirealism. Using David Chalmer’s characterization of antirealism as the position that denies that there are any objective answers to the basic question of ontology, “what exists?,” I argue that the Yogācāra as well as the Madhyamaka must agree that no objective answers can be given to that question and thus that both positions are anti-realist. In light of this similarity I conclude that the Yogācāra shares with the Madhyamaka the problem of explaining the sense in which conventional truth is true. Since neither view can appeal to the way the world ultimately is in order to explain truth at the conventional level, they both must offer an alternative account of truth at the conventional level that is robust enough to support truth as a normative concept.

In light of this conclusion I then argue further that the Yogācāra is in a better position to address this problem than the Madhyamaka. In particular, I will argue that Dharmakīrti, read as a Yogācārin, provides an account of conventional truth that is robust enough to support truth as normative while at the same time being consistent with an ultimately anti-realist position.

 

Dharmottara’s Investigation on Conceptual Cognition

Ishida, Hisataka (Tokyo University, Tokyo, JPN)

Dharmottara’s (ca. 8th cent. C.E.) Apohaprakaraṇa is known as a work that exclusively discusses the apoha theory (the theory of exclusion), the representative linguistic theory held by the Buddhist epistemological tradition. One finds, however, that the Apohaprakaraṇa investigates not only linguistic problems but also the structure of conceptual cognition (vikalpa) in detail.

In this presentation, I discuss Dharmottara’s understanding of conceptual cognition and especially how he distinguishes its object, which is described as fabricated (āropita) from the aspect to be grasped (grāhyākara), with which appearance in cognition (ābhāsa) is identified. Further, I elucidate the relationship between conceptual cognition and external objects and describe how a person can act toward the latter.

To reinforce the interpretation of the Apohaprakaraṇa, which is extant today only in the Tibetan translation, I also refer to Dharmottara’s other works, such as the Pramāṇaviniścayaṭīkā.

 

Horns in Dignāga’s Theory of apoha

Kataoka, Kei (Kyushu University, Fukuoka, JPN)

According to Dignāga, the word “cow” makes one understand all cows in a general form by excluding non-cows. However, how does one understand the non-cows to be excluded? Hattori [1977:48] answers as follows: “On perceiving the particular which is endowed with dewlap, horns, a hump on the back, and so forth, one understands that it is not a non-cow, because one knows that a non-cow (e.g., a horse, an elephant, or the like) is not endowed with these attributes.” Hattori regards observation of a dewlap, etc. as the cause of excluding non-cows. Akamatsu [1980] presents a view similar to Hattori’s. Tanizawa [1998], however, criticises Akamatsu by pointing out that then the apohavādin would have accepted positive elements such as a dewlap as defining characteristics of a cow. Stating that X is not a cow because it is not endowed with a dewlap, etc., amounts to accept that the dewlap, etc. are the defining characteristics of a cow. Instead of a real universal cowness the apohavādin would have accepted a dewlap, etc. Akamatsu’s understanding of apoha, if it was correct, implies Tanizawa, would destroy the essence of the Buddhist theory of apoha. Continuing the view of Hattori and Akamatsu, Yoshimizu recently published two articles on Dignāga’s theory of apoha. He claims that “the word ‘‘cow’’ excludes all horses by virtue of the fact that horns are never seen on them.” Thus, the word ‘‘cow’’ can exclude all of them collectively by virtue of the fact that none of them has all the members of the set of characteristics that form the worldly definition of ‘‘cow’’. Horns, one of the characteristic features of cows, are indeed mentioned by Dignāga in PS(V) 5:43. Yoshimizu understands Dignāga’s semantics as being parallel to the modern semantics of componential analysis. A question arises: what does Dignāga, the founder of the theory of apoha, really think regarding this issue? The present article sheds light on the incompatibility of the two interpretations by investigating the relevant source texts. It further shows that the issue Tanizawa deals with was already discussed by Dignāga. Tanizawa is right in his understanding of apoha if we consult Dignāga’s discussions. The interpretation by Hattori and other scholars is not supported by Dignāga’s text. The present conclusion is also supported by Mādhava, Uddyotakara and Kumārila. Neither of them assumes Dignāga’s theory to be as Hattori, etc. take it.

 

A Study on the Thoughts of Buddhist Logic of Mun-gwe

Kyu, Se (Joong-Ang Saṅgha University, Seoul, KOR)

This paper is to elucidate the thoughts of Buddhist logic of Mun-gwe who is assumed to be a Shilla person according to recent explorations. I made an attempt to examine Mun-gwe’s Buddhist logic from a new perspective, by avoiding general tendencies of concentrating on Gyu-gi (C.E. 632-862) in the studies on the Buddhist logic of East Asia.

It is essential to have the right understanding and logic in Buddhism, which is ultimately aiming at enlightenment. The translation of the Nyāyapraveśa in 647 by Hyun-jang (C.E. 602-664) inspired his disciples to write commentaries with special interest in this new territory. Gyu-gi completed the three volumes of the Nyāyapraveśaṭīkā that became a kind of textbook in the academic study on the Buddhist logic of East Asia.

Mun-gwe’s Nyāyapraveśaṭīkā needs to be noticed among the East Asian works on Buddhist logic since the writings of Mun-gwe are quoted several times in the writings of Gyu-gi and in the commentaries of other scholars. The life of Mun-gwe has not been described in detail, but today’s scholars assume that he was a Shilla person.

Gyu-gi made a lot of mistakes in the definition of insistence. Meanwhile, Mun-gwe gave a proposition by establishing an insistence in the combination of premise and conclusion which are generally approved. The cause and simile are the basis for forming the proposition as true because they are proofs.

In addition, Gyu-gi criticized the translation by Mun-gwe of “viśiṣṭatayā” as “distinguished”, claiming that it should be translated as “because [it is] distinguished”. Mun-gwe accepted the definition of Dignāga, which prescribes that insistence denotes the inseparable nature of property-possessor (dharmin) and property (dharma). Therefore, they are not different at all in terms of contents.

Next, one of the characteristics of the logic school, “the three phases” of the cause was established by Dignāga. Gyu-gi interpreted “sapakṣe sattvam” on the basis of the arrangement of the nine causes. In other words, Gyu-gi explained the respective meaning of words by separating sapakṣe and sattvam. However, Mun-gwe maintained that sattvam, which is the cause, as the characteristic of “already made (kṛtakatvam)” is definitely included in the waterpot of the sapakaṣe. It is certain that Mun-gwe’s comment reveals the thorough understanding of the thoughts and history of Buddhist logic of the pre-Dignāga era and Dignāga.

Accordingly, Gyu-gi committed an error in the definition of insistence and the understanding of “apakṣe sattvam” in the commentary of the Nyāyapravesa. On the contrary it is revealed that Mun-gwe understands the view of Dignāga well in his commentary.

The presumption that Mun-gwe could be a Shilla person might be true, even though it should be verified in a new survey of literature. His distinguished eyesight needs to be examined in detail in further studies.

 

On Infinite Regress: A New Interpretation of PSV. 1.12ab

Lo, King Chung (Leipzig University, Leipzig, GER)

This paper presents a new interpretation of st. 1.12ab in Pramāṇasumuccaya and -vṛtti (hereinafter PS and PSV), in which Dignāga accuses his opponent of having two fallacious consequences ensued from the claim that the cognition is cognized by another cognition, but not by itself. PS 1.12ab was first translated from Tibetan to English by Masaaki Hattori in 1968. Thereafter, a Sanskrit reconstruction of the first chapter of PSV was completed by Ernst Steinkellner in 2005. This reconstruction is based on two Tibetan translations and a fragmentary Sanskrit manuscript of Jinendrabuddhi's commentary. In 2010 and 2011, on a close reading of PS and PSV 1.11d-12, Birgit Kellner contributed two papers in which she explored a discourse upon the infinite regress. In general, Kellner's reading of the text is slightly different from that of Hattori but both read tatrāpi hi smṛtiḥ (PS 1.12b2) as a causal clause for aniṣṭhā (PS 1.12b1). However, this reading is problematic because there does not appear to be a causal relationship between the recollection of the cognition of the object-cognition and the infinite regress. Kellner, in her paper in 2011, did propose of addressing this problem, however, I am still not convinced. I therefore propose an alternative way to read PS and PSV 1.12 on the basis of the Tibetan translations and three commentaries by Jinendrabuddhi, Gyaltsab and Mi Pham. In my reading, aniṣṭhā and tatrāpi ca smṛtih are two independent fallacious consequences pointed out to Dignāga's opponent and the text then becomes concisely and rationally comprehensible. In addition, having read the text from a philosophical approach, as opposed to the philological approach adopted by Kellner and the others, I also work out a new interpretation on how the flaw of the infinite regress is pointed out to Dignāga's opponent and on what basis such an accusation is valid. My new interpretation and argument do also stand the test of the relevant explanation in Dharmakīrti's Pramāṇavārttika.

 

The Role of Symbols in Nāgārjuna’s Writings

Mason, Garth (University of South Africa, Pretoria, ZAF)

In my paper I will discuss the problem that Nāgārjuna argues that phenomena are clearly and immediately apparent due to their emptiness of substance. However, he does not provide adequate supporting arguments for this claim. His defence is that, since he has no thesis he has nothing to defend, since having a thesis would imply something to defend (VV29). Yet Nāgārjuna states in MK 24;14 and VV 70 respectively that phenomena are clearly and immediately apparent when emptiness is understood.

sarvaṃ ca yujyate tasya śūnyatā yasya yujyate /

sarvaṃ na yujyate tasya śūnyaṃ yasya na yujyate // [1]

and

prabhavati ca śūnyatéyaṃ yasya prabhavanti tasya sarvārthāḥ /
prabhavati na tasya kiṃcin na prabhavati śūnyatā yasya // [2]

The use of yujyate in MK 24:14 and prabhavati in VV70 suggest that palpability of phenomena in the context of time, space, duration of form in time, fixed ideas and movement are experienced due to pratītyasamutpāda in terms of their immediacy (yujyate) and intimacy (prabhavati) when śūnyatā is fully understood. Both these terms allude to meaningful encounters with specific original phenomena due to their emptiness. On the one hand, it would seem that if saṃvṛti (conceptual or conventional knowledge) is empty of substance, phenomena would be indiscernible due to their emptiness. So how does viewing phenomena as empty make them clearly and immediately meaningful, as Nāgārjuna claims? This paper argues that what can be deduced from Nāgārjuna’s assertion is that, when phenomena are viewed from the standpoint of emptiness, they have a clear, perhaps even luminous quality. Their meaning is not derived from a fixed term, but rather is dynamic and situated within relational factors. Nāgārjuna’s sense of śūnyatā, therefore, exudes a ‘quality’ of immediate clarity that is profoundly meaningful in the form of originary manifestations in space and time, but is also experienced as unrestricted by fixed conditions in space and time. I will assert that this ‘quality’ is not substantive, but rather metaphorically representational of śūnyatā, which lies beyond linguistic understanding. Representations of śūnyatā include time, space, duration of form in time, fixed ideas and movement. These representations should not be confused for things-in-themselves but should be understood, rather, as symbols for emptiness that cannot be linguistically described. Symbols, in this sense, are thought-constructs used to make sense of how śūnyatā is experienced – dynamic, recurring, unrestricted and persisting in space and time.

Abbreviations:
VV - Vigrahavyāvartanī
MK - Mūlamadhyamakakārikā


[1] MK 24;14 (in McCagney, N., 1997, Nāgārjuna and the philosophy of openness, Rowman & Littlefield, New York: 41).
[2] VV 70 (in Bhattacharya, K., 1986, The dialectical method of Nāgārjuna - Vigrahavyāvartanī: 84).

 

Śāntarakṣita on the Two Kinds of Arguments for Self-Awareness: sahopalambhaniyama and saṃvedana

Matsuoka, Hiroko (Kyoto University, Kyoto, JPN)

In his Pramāṇaviniścaya I, Dharmakīrti presents two kinds of arguments to prove self-awareness (svasaṃvedana). One is to establish that an object and its cognition are mutually non-different because both are necessarily perceived together (sahopalambhaniyama). And the other is to demonstrate that a cognition never cognizes anything as distinguished from the cognition itself because it is none other than cognition (saṃvedana).

This paper aims to show how Śāntarakṣita (c. 725–88) interpreted Dharmakīrti's development of the sahopalambhaniyama-argument and saṃvedana-argument in the Bahirarthaparīkṣā chapter of the Tattvasaṅgraha. I will also examine the relevant passages of the Śūnyavāda chapter of Kumārila’s Ślokavārttika.
Śāntarakṣita adduces these two kinds of arguments in order to counter Kumārila’s arguments which attempt to establish that an object and its cognition are different from each other. Moreover, Kumārila’s development of his arguments was directed to Dignāga’s view. Namely, in the Pramāṇasamuccaya I v.11, Dignāga argues that a cognition has two forms (dvirūpatā), i.e., the form of the grasped and that of the grasper, and that such a cognition is cognized by itself (svasaṃvedyatā). He also claims that these two points are to be accepted on the basis of the empirical fact that both the grasped and the grasper are remembered together. It is beyond question that Kumārila was aware of these points made by Dignāga, when he presented his arguments.
In conclusion, the reason Dharmakīrti developed his arguments was, according to Śāntarakṣita, to defend Dignāga’s theory of self-awareness against the attack by Kumārila.

 

Two Objects for Two Cognitions of the Same Thing

Mc Allister, Patrick (Cluster “Asia and Europe”, Universität Heidelberg, Heidelberg, GER)

It is a commonplace that, for Buddhists in the logico-epistemological tradition following Dharmakīrti, there are only two (regular) means of valid cognition (pramāṇa-s): perception and inference.

Whilst this position is ubiquitious in the writings of the tradition, there is little in the way of a systematic evaluation of the arguments advanced to support this position: why are there only two such means? What were the alternatives? How was the theory proven and defended?

I would like to investigate Prajñākaragupta’s arguments about this matter. For this, I will examine a few passages from the Pramāṇavārttikālaṅkāra, an imposing work of the late eighth or early ninth century CE, which presents itself as a commentary on a text of seminal importance for the whole of Indian logic, Dharmakīrti’s Pramāṇavārttika. The text, however, goes far beyond Dharmakīrti’s verses, and is a witness to lively and creative discussions amongst Indian intellectuals.

I will try to give an overview of the arguments that Prajñākaragupta makes about the two means of cognition, and compare them both with the arguments that Dharmakīrti made in this regard, and with those by Jñānaśrīmitra and Ratnakīrti, scholar-monks from around the late tenth/early eleventh century CE. From this comparison, it should be possible to see whether their argumentative strategies diverge.

The question is interesting if one considers how, as shown in recent work, Dharmakīrti’s notions of perception and inference underwent broad changes in the writings of Dharmottara, Jñānaśrīmitra, and Ratnakīrti. (Prajñākaragupta’s contributions have not been taken into such close consideration, no doubt owing to the shortcomings of the existing edition of the Pramāṇavārttikālaṅkāra.) For, if perception and conceptual cognition (of which inference is a subtype) are slowly assimilated, or even only thought of as depending on each other, then it seems that maintaining two separate means of valid cognition becomes a problematic position.

From this, I hope that it will be possible to see the general outline of the Buddhist reasons for, and defence of, the claim that there are only two means of valid cognition, and to see whether an important shift in Buddhist epistemology from the eighth century onwards had any impact on these claims.

 

Meditation and Indian Philosophical Theories

Pecchia, C̄ristina (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, AUT)

The paper will consider “roads taken and not taken” in the study of Indian philosophical texts, focusing on the theme of meditation. Modern scholars have mostly adopted either a philosophical approach or a historical-philological one. They have often tended to develop assessments or explanations of the philosophical ideas expounded in those texts, distinguishing the philosophical from the religious. Meditation, yogic perception, or mystic experiences have frequently been marginal topics. In this connection, I shall examine the case of the Buddhist philosopher Dharmakīrti and discuss viable and given interpretations of some passages closely related to Buddhist doctrinal statements.

 

Relations, Modality and Dependent Origination

Picard, Michael (Douglas College, Coquitlam, BC, CAN)

Ronkin (2005) sheds light on the Abhidhamma theory of causation in two respects: by replacing substance metaphysics with a process metaphysics; and by understanding causal conditioning in place of cause-effect relationship.  The law of kamma is not a universal law of causation, but an ethicized account of invariant relations among mental and physical processes involved in the generation of saṃsāric (i.e., everyday) experience. The theory of Dependent Origination (DO) explicates the origins, not of external objects, but of the mental and physical processes that bind us or lead to liberation. 


Ronkin expresses her discovery as the realization that DO is “not about causation at all”, since the cause-effect relation is rejected in favour of a set of conditions that are individually necessary and jointly sufficient. Despite this overstatement (after all, DO is about causal conditioning), Ronkin does not go far enough. While her interpretation is an attractive alternative to causation conceived as an object-object relation, it is logically inadequate to deal with the subtle forms of dependency catalogued in the Paṭṭhāna. In its place, the current paper advances a modal analysis of the forms of dependencies (necessary relations) in the Paṭṭhāna.

Physical, ethical and logical necessity constitute different modalities, implying distinct assumptions in the underlying modal logics. Intuitively, physical necessity is a different modality than ethical or logical necessity. Likewise, the modalities of causality are not captured in standard forms of deontic logic or in the semantics of the well-known systems of modal logic. The subtle forms of dependency that can be expressed in quantified modal logic are more varied than those that can be formulated in modal sentence logic. A modal analysis of the forms of dependency distinguished and classified in the theory of 24 relations (paccaya) promises a more subtle account of the various forms of metaphysical interconnectedness in early Buddhist metaphysics than Ronkin’s univocal account of causal conditioning allows.

The point can be made with reference to the canonical summary formation of DO: “that being so, this will be so; that not being so, this will not be so”. This general statement expresses the relation between successive links in the twelve factor chain.  But it cannot be meant that each link is a necessary and sufficient condition for the next, since, as Ronkin points out, the whole chain will collapse if any one relation is broken. On the contrary, within this general formula are various forms of conditionality, which the Paṭṭhāna is intended to clarify. The theory of relations catalogues various sorts of ontological dependency precisely in order to explicate differences in how a given link is dependent upon others, i.e., to reveal the different modalities of dependency collapsed within the general formula. Nowhere is this more important than at the juncture between sensation and volition, where habit is the operative modality of necessity, but is subject to change. Indeed meditation is observation of sensations without movement of the will, which breaks the chain of DO and initiates the process of liberation.

 

“Fire is cold because it is a substance.” On the Modes of Referring to Textual Evidences of Early Naiyāyikas in Dharmakīrti's Vādanyāya and its Commentary Vipañcitārthā by Śāntarakṣita

Prets, Ernst (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Wien, AUT)

In the Vādanyāya, Dharmakīrti intends to give a clear and decisive answer to the Nyaiyāyika’s view of the “points of defeat” (nigrahasthāna). He mainly quotes the Nyāyasūtras, Pakṣilasvāmin’s Nyāyabhāṣya, and the Nyāyavārttika of Uddyotakara to refute their respective positions. In his Vādanyāyaṭīkā called Vipañcitārthā, Śāntarakṣita in addition quotes textual evidences of the so-called lost Naiyāyikas of whom only names, titles of works, and fragments survived. The paper aims at an analysis of the “quotations” of Dharmakīrti and his correspondence to the textual transmission of the early Naiyāyikas. Additionally, the main purpose of the paper is to investigate the various types of attestations of the “fragments” of the so-called lost Naiyāyikas in Śāntarakṣita’s Vipañcitārthā. Śāntarakṣita frequently quotes passages of Aviddhakarṇa’s and Bhāvivikta’s works (both of them are said to have written a Nyāyabhāṣyaṭīkā) in the Vipañcitārthā. It is not only understood that they have written Nyāyabhāṣyaṭīkās, but most likely also commentaries on the Bṛhaspatisūtra. This raises the question of whether Aviddhakarṇa, obviously a kind of nickname, and Bhāvivikta might be the same person.

 

Pratyabhijñā Śaiva Contributions to the Buddhist Apoha (Exclusion) Theory of Concept Formation

Prueitt, Catherine (Emory University, Atlanta, USA)

My presentation focuses on Śaiva contributions to inter-traditional debates about apoha in medieval Kashmir at a key moment in the evolution of this theory, as disputes between the highly developed local Śaiva philosophical traditions and scholars from the great universities of the Gangetic plains, Nālandā and Vikramaśīla, produced a florescence of new interpretations. Studying Buddhist works on apoha in light of Kashmiri Śaiva critiques and appropriations will contribute to a clearer understanding of this pivotal theory than is possible through reference to Buddhist works alone. My presentation will shed particular light on one of the most contested aspects of apoha theory: whether or not the most basic differentiation between subject and object that occurs in normal human perception is itself formed through apoha. In their original formulation of apoha, Dignāga (5th  c.) and Dharmakīrti (7th  c.) draw a clear line between the emergence of subject/object duality and later conceptual processes. This line, however, became increasingly blurred as apoha theory continued to evolve over the next five centuries until late Indian Mahāmudrā (“Great Seal”) traditions reverse this position to claim that even the most basic othering of subject from object is already conceptual. Precisely how and when this change occurred remains an open question, but it is clear that it was forged within the crucible of inter-traditional debates in turn-of-the-millennium Kashmir.

I will address this question by examining the works of the Śaiva polymath Abhinavagupta (10th-11th  c.), a non-dualist proponent of the Pratyabhijñā (“Recognition”) tradition known for reworking key theories, including the apoha theory, from post-Dharmakīrtian Buddhism. Fundamentally shaped by the ideas of his Buddhist interlocutors, Abhinavagupta’s commentaries on his tradition’s root text, the Verses on the Recognition of the Lord (Īśvarapratyabhijñākārikā) provide an insightful perspective on how apoha was understood during his time. They also argue, against Dharmakīrti but in line with some later Buddhist interpretations, that the emergence of subject/object duality is itself already conceptual. Abhinavagupta’s reworking of Dharmakīrti’s apoha theory relies heavily on a subtle shift in Dharmakīrti’s definition of a concept. Instead of applying only to an awareness that is capable of being conjoined with linguistic expression (abhilāpa-saṃsarga-yogya-pratibhāsā pratītiḥ kalpanā), as Dharmakīrti contends, Abhinavagupta considers any awareness presenting a duality to be conceptual and formed through apoha. This includes the mere presentation of subject/object duality. Abhinavagupta thereby uses Dharmakīrti’s theories to argue that the formation of subject/object duality is conceptual—even though Dharmakīrti himself explicitly rejects this claim.

It is an open question to what degree this definitional shift tracks a changed interpretation within Dharmakīrti’s own tradition, and to what degree it is a clever innovation within Abhinavagupta’s tradition. My presentation will also contain preliminary references to the 10th  century Buddhist convert Śaṅkaranandana’s newly-rediscovered Verses on the Establishment of Other-Exclusion (Anyāpohasiddhikārikā), the text on which Abhinavagupta based his interpretation of Dharmakīrti on apoha. Fortunately, a manuscript of the text has recently been found and is being edited by a team of scholars led by Vincent Eltschinger. Seeing whether or not Śaṅkaranandana’s work suggests Abhinavagupta’s take on the nature of a concept should shed significant light on this question.

 

Arcaṭa on the viparyaye bādhakapramāṇa and trairūpya in Dharmakīrti’s sattvānumāna

Sakai, Masamichi (Kansai University, Osaka, JPN)

Dharmakīrti’s inference of momentariness (kṣaṇikatva) from the property “being existent” (sattva) created a number of interpretational tasks for his successors. In this inference, pervasion (vyāpti) of the reason property (hetu) “existence” by the target property (sādhya) “momentariness” is proved by the so-called viparyaye bādhakapramāṇa, the source of knowledge that defeats the occurrence of a reason property in any inferential site (pakṣa) where the opposite of the target property is present. In his Hetubindu, Dharmakīrti asserts that this existence-momentariness pervasion is inclusive of everything (sarvopa­saṃ­hāra­vat). If this pervasion is established via the viparyaye bādhakapramāṇa, and if it includes everything, then it is logical to think that for the purpose of proving the momentariness of a certain inferential site, e.g. sound (śabda), it is sufficient to simply present the viparyaye bādhaka­pra­māṇa, since the site “sound” is included in the domain of the viparyaye bādhakapramāṇa, which is itself an inferential argument whose one part is also “existence.” But this logical con­se­quence forces one to abandon the significance of the so-called threefold characteristic (trairūpya) of a good reason property. This is because 1) an example of a similar case (sādharmyadr̥ṣṭānta), e.g. a pot (ghaṭa), is no longer needed for proving a site to be momentary—the viparyaye bādhaka­pra­māṇa itself is capable of doing so, without an example—and because 2) given that the site is included in the category of “everything,” it becomes useless to point out that the particular site possesses the reason property “being existent” (pakṣadharmatā). So, does Dharmakīrti, in the case of his inference of momentariness, forsake the threefold characteristic? If so, then why does he take such an anti-traditional position? And must he do so? But if not, then how is the threefold characteristic related to the viparyaye bādhaka­pra­māṇa, and what kind of role could the threefold characteristic have? Satisfactorily answering these questions is a task that inevitably falls to Dharmakīrti’s followers. Arcaṭa, one commentator of Dharmakīrti, indeed tackles the task, and his take on the issue seems to have been influential among later Buddhist logicians, such as Dharmottara and Ratnākara­śānti. In his Hetubinduṭīkā, Arcaṭa appears to accept that, in Dharmakīrti’s in­ference of momentariness based on existence, the second trairūpya condition is merely conceptual and thus of no use. Moreover, he explains the reason why this should be the case. As to the first trairūpya condition, Arcaṭa is silent. However, with the help of his com­men­tator, Durvekamiśra, we may make some conjectures about his view. Basing myself on Arcaṭa’s own statement in the Hetubinduṭīkā and Durvekamiśra’s commentary thereon, in my paper I would like to clarify Arcaṭa’s understanding of the logical relation between the viparyaye bādhaka­­pra­māṇa and the trairūpya condition in Dharmakīrti’s inference of mo­men­tari­ness from existence.

 

Acceptance and Interpretation of Dharmakīrti’s Theory of nigrahasthāna in the Nyāya School

Sasaki, Ryo (Waseda University, Hiroshima-ken, JPN)

The point of defeat (nigrahasthāna), the rules of which determine victory or defeat of a disputant and an opponent, was systematically arranged in the Nyāyasūtra for the first time in the history of Indian thought. That is to say, the Nyāyasūtra did not only enumerate the twenty-two points of defeat but set up misunderstanding (vipratipatti) and non-understanding (apratipatti) which are the more fundamental concepts including the twenty-two items.

The definition of these points of defeat in the Nyāyasūtra was contradicted by Dharmakīrti’s Vādanyāya. Quoting from the Nyāyabhāṣya and the Nyāyavārttika, Dharmakīrti criticized the twenty-two points of defeat of the Nyāya school one by one and uniquely redefined the term nigrahasthāna as two new concepts, asādhanāṅgavacana (the point of defeat for a disputant) and adoṣodbhāvana (the point of defeat for an opponent), from the position of his theory of Buddhist logic. When he defined the point of defeat, he did not refer to the traditional concept of misunderstanding and non-understanding by the Nyāya school.

There are diverse arguments about Dharmakīrti’s new thoughts on the point of defeat in the later works of the Nyāya school. Among them, the explanation shown by Bhaṭṭa Jayanta’s Nyāyamañjarī is interesting. Jayanta held that when asādhanāṅgavacana and adoṣodbhāvana are interpreted by implicative negation (paryudāsa), these two concepts are equal to misunderstanding, and when asādhanāṅgavacana and adoṣodbhāvana are interpreted by simple negation (prasajyapratiṣedha), these two concepts are equal to non-understanding. In this way, Jayanta absorbed Dharmakīrti’s definition of the point of defeat by reinterpreting the traditional thought of the Nyāya school.

Dharmakīrti’s definition, however, includes criticism of the Nyāya school. If we literally interpret Jayanta’s argument adopting Dharmakīrti's idea, it seems as if Jayanta had also come to accept his criticism. In order to avoid this problem, Jayanta modified Dharmakīrti’s theory by making it correspond with the Nyāya theory. On the surface Jayanta seems to accept Dharmakīrti's thought completely, but actually he tried to maintain the superiority of the Nyāya school over Dharmakīrti.

 

On the Issue of “Excluding the Subject of Proposition”

Shen, Haiyan (Shanghai University, Shanghai, CHN)

As the founder of the new form of Hetuvidyā in India, Dignāga (c. 440–520) established a milestone for the development of Indian logic advancing from the method of analogy in the old form of Hetuvidyā to the method of deduction with the characteristic of inductive argumentation. The significance of his contribution to Hetuvidyā is beyond any doubt. However, some scholars in China reached the conclusion that Dignāga’s Hetuvidyā does not bear the feature of deduction due to their misunderstanding of the rule set by Dignāga concerning “excluding the subject of proposition in a similar example” (Chu Zongyoufa 除宗有法) , and they misinterpreted it to such an extent as to apply that to the dissimilar example as well as to the main body of the example. This paper points out the fallacy of such a view by examining Dignāga’s rule from several perspectives in order to demonstrate the authentic nature of Dignāga’s new form of Hetuvidyā.

 

On Dharmakīrti's Formula for Ascertaining Causality and Its Alleged Failure to Solve the Problem of Induction

Steinkellner, Ernst (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Wien, AUT)

In conceiving of “induction” and a “problem of induction” in connection with interpreting a classical Indian philosopher we best follow the definition of induction current since Francis Bacon's “Novum Organum” of 1620 until the middle of the 19th century (John Stewart Mills).

Brendan Gillon's critique (1991: 57) of Dharmakīrti's formulation of a method for ascertaining a causal relation (PVSV 22,2-4 and 6f on PV 1.34) seems to be valid in regard to his statement as it was interpreted until now by all, including myself. In the meantime, my interpretation has changed, as will be shown. Moreover, there are sufficient indications that Dharmrti and his tradition were aware of the induction problem and offered a solution hitherto not considered. The case definitely has to be re-opened.

 

Transcendental Logic and Spiritual Development – Following Dignāga's and Kant’s Critical Epistemology

Wang, Gustav Chun-Ying (Dept. of Philosophy, National Chengchi University, Taipei, TWN)


In the commentary literature of Dignāga’s epistemology and the commentary literature of Kant’s epistemology, an interpretation controversy on how to take the faculties, especially with regard to their ontological assumption, can be observed. The question whether these two epistemological systems should be taken without any ontological assumption and how to do this constitutes the initial problem of this investigation. The epistemology in both Dignāga and Kant is not isolated. It is at the service of practical need. Whether and how the epistemology works in each of the Buddhist and Kant’s grander projects of practice is the second problem of the investigation. The contribution of the investigation into these problems rests on answering the second by determining the first. Raising two challenges against the epistemology with ontological assumption, the investigation suggests that epistemology had better be done critically and radically in methodological isolation. Then, the investigation tries to establish reasonable and coherent reconstructions of these two epistemic systems with the suggested attitude. Being reasonable and coherent means: if (a) more interpretation discrepancies in the commentary traditions would be explained away and (b) a stronger and more coherent significance of the role of epistemology in the context of the higher plan of both Dignāga and Kant would be obtained. Not only the critical interpretation is then suggested to be more plausible than the ontic interpretation, but it is indeed also indicated that the two epistemic systems can better sustain themselves with the non-ontic development. With the non-ontic reconstruction, both the idea of intellectual intuition and the idea that self-awareness is either phenomenal or conceptual are rejected. In this scenario, it follows that, in Buddhism, the relation between Mādhyamaka and Yogācāra can be a compatible continuum, insofar as the special non-ontic state that the negation of Madyhamaka’s emptiness and the determination of the Yogācāra’s epistemic conditions equally share, can be identified in methodological isolation. As for Kant, the investigation offers an argument for practical reason's surpassing position over theoretical reason and its significance to the theory of freedom in Kant.

 

Buddhist Critiques of the Sāṅkhya Theory of Causality: Dharmakīrti and His Predecessors

Watanabe, Toshikazu (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, AUT)

For a long time, Indian Buddhists criticized the Sāṅkhya causal theory called satkāryavāda (the doctrine that effects are already latent within their causes) and two relating theories which support the satkāryavāda: the theory of transformation (pariṇāma) and the theory of manifestation (abhivyakti). Whereas some of the criticisms are routinely adopted as well-worn arguments in their philosophical treatises, the Buddhists continuously tried to elaborate their criticisms by adding new ontological or epistemological ideas in order to respond to the more developed Sāṅkhya theory. Dharmakīrti’s (ca. 600-660) criticism of the Sāṅkhya theory of causality can be regarded as its final form and is most influential for the later Buddhist thinkers such as Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla: much of their description against Sāṅkhya causality in their Tattvasaṅgraha and Pañjikā is based on Dharmakīrti’s writings.


In my previous article (“Dharmakīrti’s Criticism of Anityatva in the Sāṅkhya Theory” JIP 39 4-5, 2011), I showed that in the third chapter of his Pramāṇaviniścaya Dharmakīrti criticizes the Sāṅkhya theory of transformation on the basis of Vasubandhu’s criticism reinforced with Dharmakīrti’s new concept of non-cognition (anupalabdhi) and causal efficacy (arthakriyāśakti). However, there are still some other arguments against the Sāṅkhya theory of causality in the same chapter of the PVin and in his later work Vādanyāya. I will examine these passages in the first part of my paper.


Furthermore, this examination reveals that some of the Sāṅkhya theories mentioned by Dharmakīrti are also dealt with by another Yogācāra teacher, Dharmapāla (ca. 530-561), in his 大乗広百論釈論, which is a commentary on the latter half of Āryadeva's Catuḥśataka and which is extant only in Chinese translation. This fact suggests that Dharmapāla and Dharmakīrti share a common philosophical background with regard to the Sāṅkhya theory of causality, which is also the case concerning their arguments about scriptures (āgama) as Prof. Tillemans has already pointed out. To make this point more clear, I will analyze relevant passages in the works of Dharmapāla, the Madhyamaka philosopher Bhāviveka (ca. 490-570), and the Naiyāyika Uddyotakara (ca. 550-610) that are directed against the Sāṅkhya theory of causality and compare them with that of Dharmakīrti. Finally, based on the Sāṅkhya theory extracted from these criticisms, I will discuss the role of Buddhist criticism in the development of Sāṅkhya causal theory.

 

Contrasting Buddhist and Naiyāyika Explanations of Attention

Watson, Alex (Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA)

In the last decade or so, ‘attention’ has become a central topic in contemporary Philosophy of Mind.  In this paper I take four aspects of attention, and in each case contrast a Buddhist* no-self account and a Naiyāyika account that appeals both to a self and a manas, the latter considered to be a substance the size of a single atom that rushes around the body from sense-faculty to sense-faculty.   The first three of the four aspects of attention that I will look at are: (1) What are shifts of attention brought about by? (2) How are competitions for attention settled? (3) Is there a separate subject of attention for each act of attention?  In the final section I consider the assumption of contemporary western attitudes to attention that we are simultaneously aware of one thing with attention, and aware of other things without attention.  I suggest that this idea is not to be found in Classical India – that for both the Buddhists and the Naiyāyikas each moment has only awareness with attention (of one object); it does not have any awareness without attention of other objects.  I point out that this does not mean, however, that the Indian theories cannot explain what the contemporary theories seek to explain.  The Buddhist explanation involves appealing to the shortness of moments and the Naiyāyika explanation involves appealing to the speed of the manas.


*The branch of Buddhism I am talking about is that found in Vasubandhu’s Abhidharmakośabhāṣya and in Dignāga and Dharmakīrti’s Epistemological ‘School’.

Beyond the Teaching: Contemporary Dzogchen Practices of Tibetan Buddhist Nuns in Western China

Cho, Yasmin (Duke University, Durham, NC, USA)

Many scholarly works have been produced on the recent revival of Tibetan Buddhism in China. These works mainly analyze the issues of emerging charismatic figures, involvement of non-Tibetans, or its influence on Chinese urban centers. In this paper, I will focus on two distinctive and interrelated phenomena of the movement, which the previous research lacked: 1) revitalization of Dzogchen (The Great Perfection) teaching, and 2) massive participation of Tibetan nuns in Dzogchen practice. In particular, I will draw on ethnographic research conducted in a leading Dzogchen retreat center called Yachen in western China. Despite the controlling policies of the Chinese government, Yachen has been rapidly expanding since the 1980s and currently houses over 10,000 nuns and 2,000 monks. By focusing on the lives and practices of the nuns in Yachen, I will discuss how and why Dzogchen has been revitalized and is expanding briskly in an unsettling time and a harsh political environment. In addition, I will show how the particular teaching method called “direct transmission” and the intimate master-disciple relationships of Dzogchen are related to the massive involvement of Tibetan girls, who have been for so long inconvenienced and denied many precious teachings and opportunities for making direct connections with great masters.

Since the 1980s, when China embarked on a series of economy-driven policies alongside the east-south coastal regions, there have been peaceful and unprecedented waves of populations moving towards the most remote and isolated western parts of the country to pursue spiritual purity. Kham Tibet (eastern Tibet), albeit still heavily restrained, has emerged as a new epicenter of the revival of Tibetan Buddhism for the past three decades, while central Tibet (TAR) has been severely controlled by the Chinese government, which has made many religious practices and activities restricted or outlawed. This trend not only shows the redirecting shift of both human and material resources from the center to the peripheries, but also re-highlights the oldest, yet uninterrupted lineage of Tibetan Buddhist teaching—Dzogchen .

Historically speaking, the lineage of Dzogchen was transmitted into Tibet in the eighth century. Since then the lineage has been brought to the present through the form of direct transmissions by skillful Dzogchen masters. This profound teaching is being continued and spread in a far-flung corner of Kham Tibet by extraordinary Dzogchen successors as well as the rigorous participation of thousands of devoted Tibetan nuns. As one of the main sources of attraction for so many girls and of producing an uncanny religious dedication in China, I believe Dzogchen has a life beyond the originally intended “self-perfected” state of mind. By contextualizing Dzogchen and treating it as a living practice rather than a fixed esoteric ancient teaching, I believe it allows me to elucidate the inner dynamics of the current Tibetan Buddhist devotion in China and to offer a new understanding of changing gender relationship in Tibetan society as well as in Buddhist tradition.

 

Reading between the Lines: Strategies for Imagining Buddhist Women in India

Ohnuma, Reiko (Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, USA)

Focusing on a number of Indian Buddhist narratives featuring women, this paper will consider the validity and usefulness of reading “between the lines” of such narratives to uncover the lived experiences of Buddhist women in pre-modern India. In the Pali Vinaya, for example, the “bad” nun Thullanandā, through her constant misbehavior, is responsible for the promulgation of more rules of the Bhikkhunī Pātimokkha than any other individually named nun. Yet it is often possible to read “between the lines” of these accounts to see the values for which Thullanandā might stand, and to speculate about the lived experiences of the actual women only imperfectly represented by her character. To what extent can we interpret other shadowy female figures in Buddhist literature in such a manner? In addition, I will also pose the question: Can this “reading between the lines” be stretched even further by considering the accounts of contemporary Buddhist women who speak in their own voices? Can we use the voices of contemporary women to fill in the gaps found in pre-modern literature authored by men?

 

Why Don’t Buddhists Want Lumps on Their Heads? Implications of Indian Notions of Masculinity for Contemporary Buddhists

Powers, John (Australian National University, Canberra, AUS)

Discussions of the Buddha’s unusual physiognomy are a pervasive concern of Indian writers. In Pāli suttas, commentarial works, Mahāyāna sūtras and śāstras, scholastic treatises, and stories about his life, he is described as having a fist-sized cranial lump, an enormous tongue, and a sheathed penis, among other abnormalities. The 32 major physical characteristics (lakṣaṇa) of a “great man” (mahāpuruṣa) are the inevitable results of successful Buddhist practice and are incontrovertible testimony of his spiritual attainments. This view of the body appears to be largely an Indian phenomenon; discussions of Buddhist training in other regions seldom if ever, to my knowledge, list their acquisition as a goal. Indian texts indicate that the characteristics are acquired serially as a result of successful engagement in Buddhist practice, but I am not aware of anyone, no matter how advanced, manifesting them, nor of any Buddhists today who indicate a desire to replicate the Buddha’s form through their religious endeavors. This presentation will examine the ramifications of Indian notions of the Buddha’s body and their relation to practice for contemporary Buddhists: should the implicit misogyny of a model that assumes the male physique is utterly superior to the female concern us? If a body with the odd features attributed to the Buddha seems freakish and undesirable to Buddhists today—and if acquisition of such a body is the inevitable outcome of Buddhist practice—what are the ramifications of ancient Indian paradigms for people today who identify as Buddhists?

 

Two Ways to Generate the Flawless and Perfect Mūlasarvāstivāda bhikṣuṇī Vow

Roloff, Carola (Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, GER)

From August to October 2012 by invitation of the Department of Religion and Culture of the Tibetan Government in Exile, a “high-level scholarly committee” comprising ten monk scholars – including two representatives from each of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism – gathered in Dharamsala to examine the possibilities of reviving the Mūlasarvāstivāda bhikṣuṇī lineage. The Research Committee focused on finding ways and means to assure that the ordination will be ‘flawless and perfect’, and to assure that the nuns, like the monks, will become Mūlasarvāstivāda. The findings of my own research suggest that there are two ways to generate the flawless and perfect Mūlasarvāstivāda bhikṣuṇī vow. One way would require to base the vow on a Vinaya passage, which from a traditional point of view is the Word of Buddha (buddhavacana), but from a historical-critical point of view is not only dubious, but also misogynistic. The other way is not explicitly accounted for in the ancient Vinaya or Vinaya commentaries, simply because it was not made an issue during those times. This solution would not only involve a “re-reading” or new, contemporary interpretation of the texts with a critical and at the same time constructive attitude, but also require to give up the claim for superiority of one's own Vinaya tradition and to meet with another tradition on equal footing. I will present the two ways at stake based on my latest findings in the Tibetan translation of the Bhikṣuṇyupasaṃpadājñāpti taking the ‘underlying' Sanskrit manuscript into consideration, and discuss the implications of those findings for the future of women practicing Tibetan Buddhism.

 

Gender in Buddhist Praxis: Texts, Theory, and Social Reality

Tsomo, Karma Lekshe (University of San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA)

Recent highly publicized international incidents of sexual violence have generated renewed interest in gender issues in religion and society, including questions about gender justice and injustice in contemporary Buddhist societies. This paper takes Buddhist texts and narratives as starting points for an exploration of Buddhist approaches and responses to gender studies and feminist studies in religion across a spectrum of issues and traditions. The paper will explore constructions of gender, the renunciant ideal, and images of monastic women through the multifarious lenses of Buddhist textual traditions.

Many Buddhist texts extol the Buddha’s perfect physique and portray the ideal of human perfection in male form, while sending mixed messages about women. Can these discourses profitably be re-read or reinterpreted today, based on historical-critical studies, or should they be relegated to the bin of arcane history, as relics of a bygone era? Perhaps it is possible to read “between the lines” of Indian Buddhist narratives and begin to uncover the lived experiences of Buddhist women in pre-modern India as a way to better understand ourselves. Gender analysis has just begun to be applied to Buddhist texts and biographical narratives. Re-reading these texts through new interpretive lenses may yield fresh insights on issues of gender, sexuality, and social organization. Perhaps these texts contain clues for addressing domestic violence, gender injustice, psychological trauma, and other contemporary social problems.

Sometime during the fifth century BCE, the Buddha reputedly admitted women to the sangha, the Buddhist monastic order, albeit on an unequal footing, at least according to the texts preserved and transmitted by Buddhist monks. These texts tell stories of women’s travails and the joys of liberation, some in the words of liberated nuns (arhati) themselves. These stories, found in the vinaya and related texts, were transmitted to China, Korea, Tibet, and other lands as part of a centuries-long process of appropriation, adaptation, and reconfiguration of Indian Buddhist philosophy, practice, and institutional structures. This paper examines classical Indian texts of monastic discipline for women (bhiksuni vinaya) and surviving accounts of the lives of nuns in diverse cultures as variegated lenses for understanding Buddhist women’s experiences from early times up to the modern period.

This paper will examine diverse genres of Buddhist literature – canonical texts, biographies, and ethnographic studies of contemporary nuns’ communities – to assess what parallels can be drawn between the lives of nuns at the Buddha’s time and the lives of nuns in China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and Tibet today. For example, to what extent does the bhiksuni vinaya continue to function as a template for monastic behavior and to what extent have the precepts, often of necessity, been modified or ignored in response to cultural and social mores? The objective of this broad multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural overview is to measure what changes against what remains the same, to assess through the lens of gender the choices monastic practitioners have made and continue to make as they attempt to preserve and practice the world’s Buddhisms. 

Guanyin Miracle Tales in the Mount Putuo Gazetteers

Bingenheimer, Marcus (Temple University, Philadelphia, USA)

Since the early Song dynasty the island of Mount Putuo 普陀山 near Ningbo has been identified with Mount Potalaka, the abode of Guanyin/Avalokiteśvara described in the Avataṃsaka Sūtra. During the Song and the Yuan Mount Putuo became a popular pilgrimage site and still today thousands of pilgrims and tourists visit every year. Starting in the 14th century Mount Putuo has also been the subject of a series of local gazetteers, which collect texts of different genres, among them descriptions of topography, poems, epigraphy, travelogues, and biographies of monks and lay-people associated with the site. All Mount Putuo gazetteers have a chapter with miracle tales that were taken as proof of the sympathetic response (ganying 感應) with which the Bodhisattva Guanyin answered the supplications of her believers. The importance of miracle tales for the Guanyin cult in China has long been recognized (in English esp. through the work of Chun-fang Yü and Robert Campany), and the early corpus of miracle tales have been well researched and translated. The aim of this presentation is to show how later Guanyin miracle tales concerning Mount Putuo were included in the gazetteers, what the local dimension of these stories is, and in how far they should be considered characteristic for the miracle tale tradition.

 

Tang Dynasty Thousand-Armed Avalokitêśvara Scenes Accompanied by Images of Monks

Ra, Suijun (Waseda University, Tokyo, JPN)

The cult of Sahasrabhuja or the Thousand-Armed Avalokitêśvara (千手観音) was introduced to China in the 7th century during the Tang dynasty, and thereafter propagated rapidly throughout the country, becoming perhaps the most prominent among the esoteric Avalokitêśvara cults. Today, the majority of the Tang images of this Avalokitêśvara remain in Dunhuang and Sichuan. In comparison with the contemporary works in other parts of Eastern Asia, the most pronounced characteristic among these Chinese images is that the majority of them are presented in the style of “bian 変,” featuring the image of Sahasrabhuja surrounded in many cases by nearly a hundred attendants. These complex images, often recorded as “Dabeibianxiang 大悲変相 (Sahasrabhuja Scene),” contain a wealth of information in the details, and are critical sources in considering the backgrounds of the Tang Sahasrabhuja cult.

This presentation considers the iconography of several Dabeibianxiang niches in Sichuan created from the 8th through the 10th century, such as that from the Qionlai Shisunshan Cliff Images (邛 崃 石笋山摩崖造像) and Jiajiang Qianfoyan Cliff Images (夾江千仏岩摩崖造像). By considering the iconography of the works through comparison with the content of prominent Sahasrabhuja sutras, the presentation will first discuss the nature of the scene presented through Dabeibianxiang. The presentation will then focus on a particular feature in these works, namely the inclusion of monks among the numerous attendants. Taking hint especially from niche no. 3 in the Shisunshan Cliff Images, where monks sit on either side of Sahasrabhuja with a mountain-scape as the background, the presentation attempts to point out that the images of monks correspond to an important element in the Sahasrabhuja cult, or the wish to promote the grade of enlightenment in the pursuit for Buddhahood.

 

Confession- and Repentance-Rituals of the Bodhisattva Guanyin in China and Japan

Rösch, Petra (Museum of East Asian Art Cologne, Cologne, GER)

Each year in the second month of the lunar calendar the ceremony called shuni’e is taking place in the Nigatsu Hall at Todaiji. 

One part of the shuni’e is a repentance ritual in front of an image of an eleven-headed Kannon Statue. The halo of and the Kannon image itself are both dating to the 8th century, when this ceremony took place for the first time in Japan. The shuni’e ceremony still taking place today is an often modified ritual, to which many elements, Buddhist as well as Shintoist, have been added through the centuries.
The paper wants to use the shuni’e ritual as a starting point for investigating the ritual practice of repentance focusing on the Bodhisattva Guanyin and asks the following questions:
Which elements of the ritual practice at Nigatsudo can be established as dating back to the 8th century having its origin in China? To which Chinese texts and ritual practices do the extant visual evidences in Japan refer? What can we conclude from these Japanese rituals and visual circumstances for repentance ritual practices in China and how many repentance rituals connected to Guanyin did exist and were practiced in China? The talk will answer these questions and uncover the material evidences for these ritual practices.

 

Buddha Guanshiyin in Polished Cliff Inscriptions in Shandong

Wenzel, Claudia (Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Wörth am Rhein, GER)

Polished cliff inscriptions (moya kejing 摩崖刻經) of the name of Buddha Guanshiyin 觀世音佛 in Shandong Province form a particular group among the rare occurrences of Guanshiyin as a Buddha in sixth century China. We find them in three places: On Mount Hongding 洪頂山 in Dongping County 東平縣, dated around 564, “Buddha Guanshiyin” is carved on a steep cliff in a remote mountain site. With Buddha Amitābha to the right, and Buddha Dashizhi 大勢至 (Mahāsthāmaprāpta) to the left, it forms a sub-group within an array of fifteen Buddha names that have been arranged carefully with spatial and temporal significance. On Mount Culai 粗徠山 in Xintai 新泰, another group of three, in this case Buddha Maitreya, Buddha Amitābha, and Buddha Guanshiyin, was carved on a large, solitary boulder, with a nearby colophon dating to the year 570. This site also has sutra passages taken from the Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra 摩訶般若波羅蜜經, (T#223, 8: 250b3-7) and from the Sutra on the Great Perfection of Wisdom Spoken by Mañjuśrī 文殊師利所說摩訶般若波羅蜜經 (T#232, 8: 731a15-21). The undated carving on Mount Tao 陶山 in Tengzhou 滕州 puts Buddha Guanshiyin in between Buddha Amitābha and “Prājñāpāramitā” 般若波羅蜜.

A closer look at the topographic context of these three sites with cliff inscriptions will reveal that the manifestation of Guanshiyin as a Buddha cannot be seen exclusively in his role as immediate successor of Amitābha Buddha, known from the canonical Compassionate Flower Sutra 悲華經 (T#157) and the Sutra of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva’s Receiving Prediction 觀世音菩薩授記經 (T#371). It also needs to be understood in connection with the teachings on Emptiness (kong 空) and on the Perfection of Wisdom, prājñāpāramitā. This particular connection is also reflected in native Chinese scriptures like the Sutra on the Ten Great Vows of Guanshiyin 觀世音十大願經, where the bodhisattva takes his vows in front of Buddha Guanshiyin King of Emptiness 空王觀世音佛.

 

The Digital Avalokitesvara Project

Wong, Dorothy C. (University of Virginia, Charlottesville, USA)

Commencing with the Mahayana movement that began around the beginning of the Common Era, Buddhism developed into a religion with a pantheon of many deities, called celestial buddhas and bodhisattvas. As the personification of compassion, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva had enormous appeal and grew in significance to supersede almost all other Buddhist figures, except Sākyamuni, the Historical Buddha. Following the transmission of Buddhism via both land and maritime routes, the cult of Avalokitesvara spread throughout Asia, adapting to various cultural, local traditions, and Avalokitesvara evolved into a multifaceted figure with many different names and forms of manifestation. Traces of this fascinating phenomenon are evident in both text and art. Buddhist texts were transmitted, translated, and interpreted locally, while art objects representing Avalokitesvara differed from region to region, stylistically and iconographically.

The goal of the Avalokitesvara Project is to develop a conceptual understanding of the spread of this cultic deity, spatially and temporally, as well as the patterns of this transmission. This is achieved through the creation of a virtual collection of art objects and textual descriptions pertaining to Avalokitesvara, accompanied by detailed analysis of iconographic features and other kinds of information, such as dates, places, historical periods, materials, techniques, styles, and patronage. Going beyond the basic level of cataloging and digitization of any single existing collection, the Avalokitesvara Project will provide a centralized resource that enables in-depth analysis and a richer understanding of this complex phenomenon.

 

Guanyin and Dizang: The Creation of a Chinese Buddhist Pantheon

Yu, Chun-fang (Columbia University, New York, NY, USA)

The frequent pairings of Guanyin with Dizang in sculptures, miracle stories, prayers, donor inscriptions and ritual texts constitute a new development in Chinese Buddhism. Buddhist cave sculptures in Longmen and Sichuan, for example, either depict the two in the same niche, or place their individual niches side by side. Guanyin and Dizang were often linked together in ritual and art. While the earliest examples are dated to the early Tang (618-907) or the 7th century, this phenomenon became more prevalent after the late Tang around the early 10th century. Such pairing does not have any basis in Buddhist scriptures. Why did such a pairing occur? A related larger question is: What can this development tell us about Chinese Buddhism? 

E-texts: Digitizing, Tagging and Beyond: Notes on Content-Based Text Markup and its Potential with Regard to Tibetan Historical Research

Fermer, Mathias (OEAW, Vienna, AUT); Grössing, Benjamin (Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, AUT)

The ‘Sakya Research Centre’ is an open online platform set up by a network of Tibetan and academic contributors working in the field of historical research and digital text processing. Since its start in 2011, the project is designed as an open reference system for Tibetan historical research based on a digital text corpus embedded in an interlinked, relational database and web application.

By now we have gathered a large body of historical texts in digital form, encoded to common standards and fully searchable. Our present text corpus holds most of the standard works of Tibetan historiography as well as genealogies, biographies and religious histories particularly related to the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism. The digital texts that will be openly accessible on the web were initially inputted (or converted) in Tibetan Unicode and brought into a compatible format following TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) standards, supplemented with our own specifications required for historical text analysis and digital editing.

The present paper will address our system of text markup as an approach to data extraction by which new forms of historical evidence are derived through further processing and organization of the extracted data. In this paper, we will provide examples of how text-based data can be processed in order to answer complex questions historians might want to ask from a wider perspective, going beyond individual case studies.

The possibilities of using relationally structured, semantic data sets derived from digital texts, which have been manually supplemented by editorial markup, are widely and largely unexplored in the field of information technology within Tibetan Studies. New ways of presenting or visualizing textual content can convey wider and indirect connections between historical entities and procedures. Gathering orthographic variants of historic toponyms or agents, contextualizing events or making religious networks visible are only some areas in which this newly derived information could be used.

Advantages of this text-based approach are certainly the transparency and traceability of the system: By adding markup to a text through a set of pre-defined tags (highlighting, for instance, indications of time, agency or geographic space) the text itself preserves its original wording and structure while meta information of the text can be fed into the relational database back-end for broader, intertextual analysis. For the user, both the database and the digital text input remain accessible for search and reference via an easy-to-use web application.

 

Entity Relationship Model for Gandhāran Research System

McCrabb, Ian (Sydney University, Sydney, AUS)

The presentation will précis the underlying entity relationship model of the Gandhāran Research System (GRS), present published outputs, and outline some of the research methods enabled by the system.

The GRS is the next incarnation of the software platform that currently supports the Dictionary of Gāndhārī, Bibliography of Gāndhārī Studies and Catalog of Gāndhārī Texts by Stefan Baums and Andrew Glass, as well as the source‐text corpus assembled by them on gandhari.org. With development support from a consortium of four universities, the GRS project commenced in 2013 to redevelop the current system into a comprehensive multi‐user research workbench and publishing platform for ancient Sanskrit and Prakrit texts: manuscripts, inscriptions, coins and other documents:

 

  • a linked repository of images, transcriptions, translations, metadata, commentary and bibliographic records,
  • a content management system encompassing import, editing, maintenance, analysis and publishing,
  • a collaboration platform with comprehensive access and visibility control to support draft development, workgroup collaboration and public presentation,
  • a research platform for the production of catalogs, glossaries, concordances and grammatical analyses, and
  • a flexible system for publishing individual transcription renditions or full scholarly editions, both print-ready and online.

The GRS is a database platform based on open source software and built to open standards. It provides an extensible entity model, TEI support and a published API for integration with related systems.

An entity relationship model is an abstract way of describing a relational database; most often represented as a flow chart accompanied by precise descriptions of each entity. This approach allows one to model the entities and their relationships and determine the most effective and flexible way of structuring the data to support authoring, storage, maintenance, analysis, reporting and publishing. The underlying design principle of the GRS is the atomisation of data to its smallest indivisible components and the linking and sequencing of these entities. The design approach has been to build a comprehensive set of entities which model real world objects. Manuscripts or inscribed items have parts, fragments and surfaces. Images of these surfaces can be segmented to provide a fixed reference system, a baseline much like the grids laid out at an archaeological excavation. Syllables can then be mapped to these image segments and sequenced into spans across a surface of a fragment of a manuscript. These fragments can then be aligned and the spans sequenced into complete lines.

The philological process model adopted is one of defining each entity by applying classifying metadata and progressively sequencing these entities from the smallest upwards. This approach allows for attribution and annotation of different interpretations of syllable, words, etymology and translation in order to record scholarly contribution at the finest level of granularity. Multiple versions of all entities may exist in parallel to support the publishing of alternative editions of a text.

The application of metadata to each entity in the system enables a range of automated analysis outputs which support palaeographic, phonological, grammatical, orthographical and morphological research in addition to the opportunities opened up for formulae and syntactical analysis.

Ian McCrabb is the founder and managing director of a Sydney based IT consulting group established in 1994. His PhD dissertation is focused on methodologies for the analysis of reliquary inscriptions and characterization of the ritual practices and religious significance of relic establishment in Gandhāra. Ian is system designer on the Gandhāran Research System project.

 

Exploring Possibilities of Digital Environments for Buddhist Studies

Nagasaki, Kiyonori (International Institute for Digital Humanities and University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, JPN); Muller, Charles (University of Tokyo, Tokyo, JPN); Tomabechi, Toru (International Institute for Digital Humanities, Tokyo, JPN); Shimoda, Masahiro (JPN)

In 2012, the SAT project published a result of attempts to form an alliance between international projects of digital Buddhist studies and to develop digitized research tools under the concept of the “Methodological Commons” in the international digital humanities community on the Web.

The 2012 version includes numerous new functions. It is remarkable that the texts of the Taishō Shinshū Daizōkyō (henceforth, Taishō) are linked with English Tripiṭaka at the sentence level adopting the concept of the “Stand-off markup” in the TEI P5 guidelines. We call it the “BDK-SAT parallel corpus.” The work of linking both texts was done entirely on a Web collaboration system which was developed to link between Taishō and other objects such as texts, images, and so on. It would be useful for translation, education, textual analysis, and so on along with the function of easy-search for the Digital Dictionary of Buddhism. At the same time, the text database of the BDK Web site is linked with the SAT text database by the medium of the BDK-SAT parallel corpus.

The 2012 version also includes several character databases so that readers can easily find the information of a character from several databases by use of pop-up windows, while it has become difficult to find appropriate information of it due to increasing of CJK ideographic characters in the Unicode.

Moreover, the 2012 version makes it possible to browse the page images of Taishō, which were scanned in 600 dpi. The images are roughly linked with the lines of the texts, that is, when a reader clicks a button located next to the text line, the page image is displayed on a left narrow window while the lines are centered. And of course it can be zoomed.

The SAT project aims to make a wider and deeper alliance with many international projects of digital Buddhist studies so that Buddhist studies can be carried out efficiently and significantly. We would like to discuss various aspects of digitization in Buddhist studies at the conference. 

“We Are Already Buddha”: What Does This Mean for an Unenlightened Mind?

Hinzelin, Sandy (Université Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand, FRA; École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris, FRA)

In the de bzhin gshegs pa’i snying po stan pa – The Treatise on pointing out the Tathāgata Heart -  of the Third Karmapa (1284-1339), the tathāgatagarbha is defined as the essence of Vajrayāna. This path consists in taking the basis as the fruit, so we consider that we are already a Buddha and not an ordinary being. Therefore we should know what is the nature of mind, that is tathāgatagarbha, in order to apply this path in an appropriate way. However we could ask, how is it possible for an unenlightened mind, still struggling with duality, to imagine himself as enlightened from the beginning without grasping it? The basic functioning of the ordinary consciousness is indeed based on a wrong notion of self, which should be transformed. But the tathāgatagarbha teaching is only accessible by faith, and the risk is the development of blind faith and not the one which allows wisdom. So how does one develop a view of tathāgatagarbha which would be a support for transformation and not a support for a new kind of wrong identification still nourished by ignorance? How is it possible to actualize our potential through this kind of teaching and practice?  To treat these questions one is required to reflect on the path that consciousness should take. It is quite obvious that taking the statement “I am a Buddha” literally leads nowhere; accordingly we should examine what are the preparatory works or understandings to see the meaning of it. Through which stages must consciousness go to be able to practice Vajrayāna and finally to realize its true nature? This reflection is helpful to go deeper in the understanding of the mind’s liberation process but also to have a better horizon of the new subjectivity promised by the tathāgatagarbha teaching. In addition the snying po stan pa describes a realization which could seem very remote from ordinary experience; by trying to explore the concept of the nature of mind and the path leading from ignorance to wisdom, it could offer a better map.

 

Thoughts and Rituals of Ippen

Isomura, Keiko (Showa Women's University, Mitaka-shi, Tokyo, JPN)

Ippen (c. 1239–1289) was the last Buddhist monk among the Pure Land Buddhism leaders in Japan. Pure Land Buddhism is one of the major schools of medieval Japanese Buddhism.

Ippen spread Pure Land Buddhism among the people of all levels of society through dancing nembutsu and distributing block-printed inscriptions of Amida’s name. Although a large number of studies have been made on Shinran, little is known about Ippen in English. Ippes’s thought and his life need to be studied. No one can considere a religion without considering the nature of the place where it is practiced. I want to emphasize how deeply Ippen’s thought is connected to the nature of Japan. Not widely understood, for example, is the relation between Buddhism and Japanese gods. Ippen attained enlightenment by means of connecting with Kumano Gongen (Incarnation of the supernatural powers). He wandered through all parts of Japan to spread his thought. One can say that Buddhism took root by Ippen’s dancing nembutsu and spreading Amida’s name in Japanese society.

 

The Term ātman in Mahāyāna tathāgatagarbha Literature

Jones, Chris (Oxford University, Oxford, GBR)

This is an overview of my doctoral research, concerning the use of, and controversy surrounding, the term ātman in the Indian tathāgatagarbha literature. I am surveying those Indian sources which state that the term ātman is a fitting designator for the tathāgatagarbha (or, in some instances, buddha-dhātu), and also those Indian Buddhist texts which recognize and scrutinize this designation. For these purposes I am consulting Sanskrit texts where extant, and otherwise working in Tibetan and Chinese translations of key sources.

This entails close attention to parables and similes for understanding this reality, found in for example the Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra (along with its associated texts, the Aṅgulimālīya and Mahābherī Sūtra-s), and also more philosophically developed presentations of this designation, such as that found in the Ratnagotravibhāga Śāstra and its commentary (much informed by the Śrīmālā Sūtra). I am discerning how these texts present what they themselves recognize to be a contentious label for the tathāgatagarbha, and in turn how they qualify this sense of ātman to distinguish it from extraneous, non-Buddhist accounts of selfhood. Contrasting this with how other sources represent this aspect of the tathāgatagarbha tradition (e.g. in the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra), I assess how successfully the tathāgatagarbha literature avoids arriving at a doctrine incompatible with the prevailing denial of a notion of selfhood in the wider Buddhist tradition.

For the purposes of a short presentation, I will most likely highlight distinctions between the primary texts of my study and their use of the term ātman. This will entail also an account of how these texts view the relationship between their own account of a self and that of extraneous teachers with which (as the authors concede) it might be confused.


Eastern and Western Modes of Thought. Nagarjuna and Quantum Physics.

Kohl, Christian (Freiburg, GER)

1. Key term: ‘Emptiness’. The Indian philosopher Nagarjuna ( 2nd century BC ) is known in the history of Buddhism mainly by his keyword ‘sunyata’. This word is translated into English by the word ‘emptiness’. The translation and the traditional interpretations create the impression that Nagarjuna declares the objects as empty or illusionary or not real or not existing. What is the assertion and concrete statement made by this interpretation? That nothing can be found, that there is nothing, that nothing exists? Was Nagarjuna denying the external world? Did he wish to refute that which evidently is? Did he want to call into question the world in which we live? Did he wish to deny the presence of things that somehow arise? My first point is the refutation of this traditional translation and interpretation.

2. Key terms: ‘Dependence’ or ‘relational view’. My second point consists in a transcription of the keyword of ‘sunyata’ by the word ‘dependence’. This is something that Nagarjuna himself has done. Now Nagarjuna’s central view can be named ‘dependence of things’. Nagarjuna is not looking for a material or immaterial object which can be declared as a fundamental reality of this world. His fundamental reality is not an object. It is a relation between objects. This is a relational view of reality. Reality is without foundation. Or: Reality has the wide open space as foundation.

3. Key terms: ‘Arm in arm’. But Nagarjuna did not stop there. He was not content to repeat this discovery of relational reality. He went on one step further indicating that what is happening between two things. He gave indications to the space between two things. He realised that not the behaviour of bodies, but the behaviour of something between them may be essential for understanding the reality. This open space is not at all empty. It is full of energy. The open space is the middle between things. Things are going arm in arm. The middle might be considered as a force that bounds men to the world and it might be seen as well as a force of liberation. It might be seen as a bondage to the infinite space.

 

 

The Righteous Monk Army of the Joseon Dynasty, Korea, in the 16th Century

Lee, Jinwol (Dongguk University, Gyeongju, KOR)

This is a research on Euiseunggun (the Righteous Monk Army) of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), Korea, which was formed and worked for national defense against the Japanese invasion at the end of the 16th century. In general, Buddhist monks should live according to the Precepts of nonviolence in terms of the Vinaya. However, the history of Korea shows that Buddhist monks organized an army as a voluntary corps for protecting Buddhism and the people of the country from attacks by a foreign country. I will explore the background and process of emergence, activities and influence of the Righteous Monk Army focusing on the period from 1592 to 1598.

First, I will introduce the relationship between Buddhism and the Korean government as a characteristic of the Korean Buddhist tradition which is classified as a Mahayana Buddhist tradition. The spirit or sense of Hogukbulgyo (Protecting Nation Buddhism) is one of the local characteristics of Korean Buddhism, which is more concerned with the welfare and happiness of society as a whole than the individuals in terms of Mahayana Buddhism. It has persistedin Korea from its introduction in the 4th century to the present.

Second, I will review the background of the Euiseunggun in sociopolitical context. State policy and culture of administration of Joseon was based on Confucianism and promoted it. In contrast, Buddhism, the state religion of Goryo (937-1392), was suppressed and marginalized in the society. However, Buddhist leaders tried to protect and take care of people who were suffering to survive in hard situations. In fact, after the collapse of the government army, the monk army played an important role in restoring the national energy for defending the country. The Monk Army participated in combat during wartime and in constructing castles during peacetime. They thought t the defense of the Buddhist order could be possible through the defense of the country. I will bring up some instances of the significance of the eminent leadership and activity of the monk army, refering to, for example, the commanding leader of the corps, Seon (Chan/Zen) Master Cheongheo Hyujeong (1520-1604), Samyeong Yujeong (1544-1610), Giheo Yeonggyu (?-1592) and Noemuk Cheoyeong.

In conclusion, I will point out the reason why Buddhist monks took  part in the war; how they managed and justified their action; what they achieved in their mission; and what we should recognize as the significance of a monk army in the history whenr considering the present age. Aas a manifestation of Mahayana spirit, it could contribute to extending Buddhist activity in society and to drawing a comparison with Theravada and Vajrayana traditions in terms of compassion and skilful means for all the people around the world.

 

Right View (samyag-dṛṣṭi) and Correct Faith (śraddhā): Correspondence, Distinction, and Re-merging in East Asian Mahāyāna

Muller, Charles (University of Tokyo, Tokyo, JPN)

As a religious tradition, Buddhism is distinctively epistemological in its articulation of the causes of human suffering and in the solutions it offers. The most fundamental problem in Buddhism is that of nescience (avidyā), manifested in such ways as the clinging to a constructed self, along with numberless derivative problems. Therefore the matter of mentally constructed frameworks (dṛṣṭi) is central to Buddhist soteriological discourse. At the same time, the notion of faith (śraddhā), which in other religions tends strongly in the emotional/devotional directions, is, in Mahāyāna philosophy of mind, a category intimately related to right view. Mahāyāna Buddhism furthermore contains two distinct levels of discourse regarding right views and correct faith: that which occurs at the conventional (laukika/saṃvṛti) level and that which is seen at the transcendent (lokôttara/paramârtha) level of discussion. This paper starts out with the discussion of views and belief in the context of secular academic disciplines such as psychology and epistemology, and ends up with the most rarefied view in Zen, a distinctive Buddhist tradition, wherein, I argue, right view and correct faith become almost indistinguishable.

 

Narratives of Maitreya's Past Lives: An Analytical Study of Their Contexts and Motives

Tudkeao, Chanwit (Pali-Sanskrit Section, Faculty of Arts Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, THA)

Among Bodhisattvas, only Maitreya is well-known and accepted by both non-Mahayana and Mahayana traditions. As the successor of Śākyamuni Buddha, Maitreya’s future life is narrated in various versions among different Buddhist schools. Though there are a number of versions available, they share the common core story and motive. In contrast to narratives of his future life, there are a few narratives about his past life and they are quite unique. They must have been narrated under specific circumstances and purposes. In this paper, these narratives of Maitreya’s past lives are analytically studied, focussing on their contexts and motives, in order to comprehend their importance to Buddhist literature.

 

From Skepticism to Nihilism: An Epistemological Interpretation of Nāgārjuna’s Refutations

Ye , Shaoyong (Department of South Asian Studies, Peking University, Beijing, CHN)

On the basis of the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā, I recommend a skeptic presupposition as the starting point of Nāgārjuna’s arguments, from which the ontological entities (svabhāva) could be viewed as referents of concepts. This position justifies the “confinement principle,” that a definition or description of a concept would necessarily confine its supposed referent to an isolated, invariable state. The principle enables Nāgārjuna to deduce contradictions between the static nature of the supposed referent and the activity or dependent relationship in which it must be involved. Hence Nāgārjuna finds all concepts self-contradictory and devoid of referents (niḥsvabhāva), and reaches a nihilistic conclusion that all dharmas are empty (śūnya), which means that nothing within our ken exists ontologically.

 

Faith – Practice – Other Power. Tathāgatagarbha Tradition and Pure Land Buddhism

Zapart, Jaroslaw (Jagiellonian University, Philosophy Department, Cracow, POL)

For the texts of the Tathāgatagarbha tradition the process of removing mental impurities, or kleśas, which is indispensable for the acquiring of enlightenment, is impossible without an active participation of the Tathāgata. Even the first text of this tradition – the Tathāgatagarbhasūtra – emphasizes the role of Buddha in the process of attaining the final goal by the practitioner, while the Śrīmālādevīsūtra mentions faith in Tathāgata’s liberating power as a means necessary to achieve enlightenment. The importance of faith – and at the same time perceiving the Buddha as an active, liberating force – can be associated with the large Sukhāvatīvyūhasūtra and its forty-eight vows of Dharmakāra, the Bodhisattva who became Buddha Amitābha. Amitābha’s vows served as an inspiration for Tanluan’s conception of “other power” (tali) – the compassionate activity of Buddha, which can free living beings from worldly suffering. The relationship between the  Tathāgatagarbha and the Pure Land tradition will be elaborated upon by the use of a scheme which shows the crucial importance of faith, the practice of visualizing (“remembering”, “commemorating”) the Buddha, and the role of Tathāgata as an external (or seemingly external) instance capable of promoting one’s own efforts towards achieving liberation. An original synthesis of both traditions will be shown, taking the teachings of Chan and Pure Land master Jixing Chewu (1741–1810) as a basis. A hypothesis will be presented, according to which “Tathāgatagarbha Buddhism” – as a form of practice – is an intermediate phase between the “classic” Buddhist type of practice, based on one’s own efforts (shōdomon, according to Honen), and a type of practice which primarily puts emphasis on entrusting oneself to Buddha (jōdomon). It will be posited that the crucial Pure Land practice of nianfo may be understood as a way of “updating” the inherent Buddha-nature. 

Time in the “Diagram of the Avatamsaka Single Vehicle Dharmata”

Chu, Song-ok (Seoul National University, Seoul, KOR)

Euisang, a Korean Master of the Hwaom School, summarized the concept of time of the Mahavaipulya Buddhavatamsaka Sutra as “There is mutual identity between the nine time periods and the ten time periods, / Yet they are not in disorder but are clear and separate”, which are the thirteenth and fourteenth lines of “Verse on Dharma-nature.”

In Buddhism, time is understood not as existing objectively but as being generated in human consciousness. In other words, time is not an abstract thing without contents but is related to the concrete contents of consciousness. Time in Buddhism can be understood as the continuity of karma because the contents of consciousness do not differ from the karma generated through the body, mouth, and consciousness. Therefore, time in Buddhism unfolds not in a single time-line, “past-present-future”, but in a multiple and mutual time-line such as the nine time periods and the ten time periods.

Euisang also designed the diagram of Dharmadhatu with his “Verse on Dharma-nature”, which begins with “Dharma” and ends with “Buddha”. This diagram shows the progress of the nine time periods and ten time periods. In this paper, I will try to show why Euisang’s idea on time is essential to understand Dharma-nature and how he concretized his idea on time in his diagram, the visualization of Dharmadhatu.

 

A Study of the Khotanese Summary of the Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra

Katayama, Yumi (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Tokyo, JPN)

The manuscripts of the main Mahāyāna sūtras, such as the Śūraṅgamasamādhisūtra, the Suvarṇabhāsottamasūtra, and the Bhaiṣajyaguruvaiḍūryaprabharājatathāgatasūtra are found in Khotanese translations as well as Sanskrit manuscripts. But the Saddharmapunḍarīkasūtra, one of the popular Mahāyāna sūtras in Khotan, has not been found in a complete Khotanese translation. All we have is a brief summary of the sūtra in sixty-one lines of verse, with two fragmentary variants. This summary of the sūtra was translated by Sir Harold Walter Bailey from Khotanese into English, but little attention has been given to the parallel expressions in the commentary of this sūtra.

The aim of this paper is to make clear that, by comparing the Kashgar manuscripts of the Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra with the Khotanese summary of the Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra, this Khotanese summary is found to be influenced – directly or indirectly – by the Saddharmapuṇḍarīkopadeśa written by Vasubandhu.

 

A Study on zhìhuì in the Dà āmítuó jīng

Xiao, Yue (The Research Institute of Bukkyo University, Kyoto, JPN)

This paper addresses the formation of the doctrine of zhìhuì 智慧 ‘wisdom’ in the Dà āmítuó jīng大阿彌陀經, the oldest version of the Larger Sukhāvatīvyūha. In an earlier paper, I suggested that wisdom is a significant feature which plays an important role in the Dà āmítuó jīng, in that rebirth in Sukhāvatī aims not only at overcoming Samsara, but also at attaining the wisdom of Amitābha.

In my recent papers, I argued that the oldest version of the Larger Sukhāvatīvyūha does not faithfully represent the original Indian text as commonly believed by many scholars, but is simply a version created by its Chinese translator. I also pointed out that no evidence can establish that the vows in the Karuṇāpuṇḍarīka are a revision of what we find in the Larger Sukhāvatīvyūha. On the contrary, much evidence indicates that the text of the Dà āmítuó jīng is just based on the translator’s own notions. It is difficult to imagine that there was an original text with twenty–four vows, akin to those in the Dà āmítuó jīng, even though scholars continue to look for it. Therefore, during the time when the Dà āmítuó jīng was translated into Chinese, the system with about forty-eight vows, akin to those in the Karuṇāpuṇḍarīka, had already been in existence. This paper will continue focusing on the formation of two kinds of twenty-four vows in the Larger Sukhāvatīvyūha through a consideration of the doctrine of wisdom in the Dà āmítuó jīng. This analysis will be approached in the following ways.

Firstly, I will undertake a comparative study of the doctrine of wisdom that appears in the vows of the Dà āmítuó jīng and its counterparts in other versions. Secondly, I will focus on the differences between the doctrine of zhìhuì in the Dà āmítuó jīng and that found in other versions. Thirdly, I will undertake a discussion on the formation of the vows containing the term zhìhuì in the Dà āmítuó jīng and compare this to other versions. Finally, I will discuss the formation of the doctrine of wisdom highlighted in the Dà āmítuó jīng.

On the Exact Dates of Some Buddhist Sanskrit Manuscripts in Old Bengali Script

Hori, Shin'ichiro (International College for Postgraduate Buddhist Studies, Tokyo, JPN)

There are some Buddhist Sanskrit manuscripts in old Bengali or Maithili script dated to the fifteenth century according to their colophons. These manuscripts are especially important in treating the history of Indian Buddhism after the destruction of major monasteries in Eastern India including Vikramaśīla by Turkic Muslims at the beginning of the thirteenth century. It is first of all essential to establish and verify the exact dates of the manuscripts on the basis of calendrical elements found in the colophons. In addition to the dates, this presentation will deal with place names, personal names and their titles.

 

The Ajātaśatrukaukṛtyavinodana of the Mustang Group Kangyurs

Miyazaki, Tensho (Ho Center for Buddhist Studies at Stanford, USA)

In recent years, the Tibetan Manuscripts Project of the University of Vienna has discovered and published several Tibetan manuscript collections mainly from Indian Tibet, or Western Tibet. Among them, two kinds of Kangyurs from Ladakh, the Hemis and Basgo Kangyurs, are categorized as the Mustang group, since they possess a structure similar to that of the Early Mustang Kangyur catalogue, published by Helmut Eimer in 1999. As Lainé 2009 points out, however, we need to conduct further investigations of these newly discovered materials in order to affirm the above classification and to clarify the relation between them and the other Tibetan Kangyurs and collections.

This paper deals with a particular Mahāyāna scripture, the *Ajātaśatru­kaukṛtya­vinodana (AjKV), and seeks to shed light on the link of the two Kangyurs of the Mustang group with the other Tibetan Kangyurs and collections. I mainly examine three subjects through an analysis of variant readings of the AjKV: First, I verify that the above two Kangyurs, the Hemis and Basgo, constitute the Mustang group, which is independent of the two major Kangyur lineages: the Tshal pa and Them spangs ma. Second, I investigate the relationship between the Mustang group and the two other major Kangyur families. Third, I explore which of the “independent” Kangyurs and collections, such as the Phug brag Kangyur and the Gondhla proto-Kangyur, are connected or close to the Mustang group.

The above investigations reveal the following facts: First, we can confirm that the Hemis and Basgo Kangyurs are properly categorized as belonging to the Mustang group, which is separate from the Tshal pa und Them spangs ma families. They merit this attribution because we find many variant readings and some evident errors common only to these two Kangyurs and because they share no significant error with each of the two main families. Second, an obvious mistake and several variant readings exist between the Mustang group and the Gondhla collection. Therefore, it is probable that the Mustang family has some connection with the Gondhla proto-Kangyur.

 

 

Originality and the Role of Intertextuality in the Context of Buddhists Texts

Cathy Cantwell; Jowita Kramer; Elisa Freschi

The section is aiming at exploring the concept of originality, authorship and the role of intertextuality in Buddhist literature. We would like to discuss the relation of innovation on the one hand and perpetuation of earlier textual material on the other. Making use of whole sentences or even passages from older texts without marking them as quotations seems to have been common practice among Indian and Tibetan Buddhist authors. It is not unusual to find only a few quotations marked explicitly as originating from another text. Most of the passages parallel to older works are incorporated “silently”. Although within the Buddhist traditions this relationship is not the topic of explicit reflections, it can be investigated by taking a closer look at the methods and strategies applied by Buddhist authors. With a view to this, we would like to discuss, for example, the following questions.

—What are the aims of adaptive reuse? How are they achieved?
—How are originality and creativity related to adaptive reuse?
—Are different kinds of reuse (citations, paraphrase, references, re-arrangement etc.) employed for different ends?

By dealing with these and related questions on the basis of a wider range of individual case studies from different Buddhist backgrounds, the panel will contribute to a deeper understanding of concepts of originality, innovation and authorship in Buddhist traditions of India and Tibet.

 

Re-presenting a Famous Revelation: Dudjom Rinpoche's Work on the Ultra Secret Razor Lifeforce Vajrakīlaya (yang gsang srog gi spu gri) of Pema Lingpa (padma gling pa, 1450-1521)

Cantwell, Cathy (University of Oxford, Canterbury, Kent, GBR)

This paper represents one section of a four year project on issues of authorship and textual development over the generations in relation to tantric revelations, focusing on the works of the erudite scholar/lama Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje (bdud 'joms 'jigs bral ye shes rdo rje, 1904-1987), relating to the tantric deity, Vajrakīlaya. One of the leading lamas of his generation, Dudjom Rinpoche received his own revelations, as well as contributing to the texts of previous lamas of his tradition. Such was his reputation that in the early 1970s, the Bhutanese Royal family requested him to edit the Collected Works of Pema Lingpa (padma gling pa, 1450-1521), the national saint of Bhutan. Some twenty years before, Dudjom Rinpoche had already made contributions to Pema Lingpa's corpus, including compilations of a number of ritual practice texts for Vajrakīlaya, as well as commentarial instructions on these texts. Thus, there are two aspects to Dudjom Rinpoche's work to be considered here, firstly, his own writings on Pema Lingpa's Vajrakīlaya revelations, and secondly, his work as an editor – or as the chief editor of a team – working on the Vajrakīlaya section of Pema Lingpa's corpus. The paper considers the nature of Dudjom Rinpoche's contributions, and what they might tell us about Tibetan approaches to maintaining vibrancy, as well as textual coherence, in revelatory traditions.

 

Intertextuality and (Un?)Originality in the Sanskrit Dīrghāgama Manuscript and the Development of Āgama/Nikāya Literature

DiSimone, Charles (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, München, GER)

The Gilgit Dīrghāgama manuscript is a Sarvāstivāda / Mūlasarvāstivāda text containing a collection of ancient canonical Buddhist sūtras, composed in Sanskrit with some Prakrit and Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit elements and written on birch bark folios in the Gilgit/Bamiyan Type II script, also known as Proto-Śāradā. This collection had been lost for centuries and was recently rediscovered in what is thought to be the border area of Afghanistan and Pakistan in the late 20th century. Like the Dīghanikāya of the Theravāda tradition preserved in Pali, the Dīrghāgama is rife with examples of intertextuality and its author(s) either influenced by or freely borrowing (or some mixture thereof) from other Buddhist texts. While the Dīrghāgama and Dīghanikāya often parallel one another, there are numerous differences and the two collections often disagree on topics and content.

This paper will focus on issues of intertextuality in one of the texts from the Dīrghāgama, the Prasādanīya-sūtra. Many passages in the Prasādanīya-sūtra are found in similar wording in other Mahāyāna and Mainstream Buddhist sūtras. Additionally, the Prasādanīya-sūtra follows the same general structure, theme, and topics of its Pali counterpart, the Sampasādanīya-sutta but the actual content of the two texts wildly diverge. These differences in content seem to reflect differing (Mūla)sarvāstivāda and Theravāda views and considerations when faced with answering pan-Buddhist questions as the traditions were developing. By analyzing the instances of intertextuality found in the Prasādanīya-sūtra and the specific differences between it and the Sampasādanīya-sutta, it is hoped that new information concerning authorship and textual transmission will come to light.

 

Different Manuscripts, Different Works, Different Authors, but Always the Same Story: On Textual Re-use in Buddhist Narrative Literature

Formigatti, Camillo Alessio (University of Cambridge, Cambridge, GBR)

Buddhist Narrative Literature is a maze of works, and finding one's own way through it is often a very challenging task, even if the final destination is already clearly set. For instance, if the aim is the preparation of a critical edition of a given work by a more or less known author, an integral part of this enterprise consists in tracing the source−or sources−of the narrative material employed by the author. A correct assessment of the various textual and visual sources of the story narrated in a jātaka or an avadāna is necessary for at least two reasons: to help the editor in the editorial choices and to give a better appraisal of the author's literary skills in re-using the ‘raw’ material for his artistic purposes. However, this approach presupposes the figure of an author and takes into consideration only one or two layer of intertextuality, namely the reuse of narrative motifs and/or the reuse of stylistic devices. In this paper I will focuse on one additional layer which has been neglected so far, namely the reuse of whole texts for the creation of new Frankenstein-like works like the Divyāvadāna.

 

Veṅkatanātha's Buddhist Opponents as They Emerge in the Buddhist Texts He Reused

Freschi, Elisa (Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, AUT)

Veṅkaṭanātha (also known with the honorific title Vedānta Deśika, traditional dates 1269–1370) is a polygraph author of South India and a key figure of Śrī Vaiṣṇavism and of the theological and philosophical systematisation of Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta. One of the common threads of his production is the attempt to integrate within Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta other schools of Indian philosophy and theology. Accordingly, the reuse of previous texts is a key element of his production. Does this apply also to his relation to Buddhist sources?

The present paper will deal with this topic from the specific perspective of the reuse of Buddhist texts, especially focusing on the difference in the reuse of Buddhist texts by Veṅkaṭanātha and by his forerunners. It is in fact noteworthy that Buddhist quotes are almost absent in Veṅkaṭanātha's predecessors, i.e., Yāmuna and Rāmānuja, although the former's Āgamaprāmāṇya could have been the right place to discuss the validity of Buddhist texts. By contrast, Veṅkaṭanātha often refers to Buddhist concepts and quotes from Buddhist texts. Furthermore, while sharing the wide-spread attitude of mentioning “Buddhists” as opponents who have it all wrong, so that a certain thesis has to be abandoned if there is the risk that it leads to Buddhist-like consequences, he nonetheless actually engages in more accurate debates on specific topics.

 

Re-use of Text in Pali Commentarial Legal Literature

Kieffer-Pülz, Petra (Academy of Sciences and Literature, Mainz, Weimar, GER)

Reuse of text is a common means in Indian commentarial literature. Pāli literature is no exception to this. Within Pāli literature legal literature forms a separate unit. Since it aimed, and still aims at clarification of monastic legal matters, it grew voluminous over the past 2000 years. Not only was the monastic law code (Vinaya) commented on in commentaries, subcommentaries, subsubcommentaries, etc., but also parts of it (Pātimokkha). Moreover, Vinaya handbooks were written to condense or summarize the relevant legal material (Khuddasikkhā, Mūlasikkhā, Vinayavinicchaya, Uttaravinicchaya, Pālimuttakavinayavinicchaya), and these again were amply commented on. Excluding treatises on specific topics (sīmā), and commentaries that survived only in form of citations preserved in the still existent commentaries, we have all in all at least twenty-six law commentaries handed down (the number would be still higher, if texts only available in manuscript form would be taken into account too). The authors of these commentaries consulted the earlier law commentaries and re-used their texts to different degrees and in varying ways. Consequently many shades of re-use of text can be observed. In the present contribution some of these types of re-use shall be discussed.

 

Sthiramati's Commentarial Techniques in his Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra Commentary

Kramer, Jowita (University of Munich, Munich, GER)

This paper will focus on the role of intertextuality and originality in the eleventh chapter of Sthiramati’s Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra commentary, called the “Investigation of the Doctrine” (dharmaparyeṣṭi). Summarizing the philosophical viewpoints of the Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra, the dharmaparyeṣṭi chapter is considered one of the most important sections of the work. Thus, it appears perfectly suitable to serve as a basis for a comparison of its author’s compositional style and commentarial strategies with other philosophical commentaries ascribed to Sthiramati (e.g. the Pañcaskandhakavibhāṣā and the Triṃśikāvijñaptibhāṣya). Drawing on examples from these texts the presentation will aim at showing the relations between textual reuse and innovation, demonstrating the employment of explicit and “silent” quotations as well as at analysing the authors’ possible motives for the utilization of a particular strategy. Moreover, the paper will be concerned with doctrinal inconsistencies found in the commentaries and while thus trying to provide new insights into the question of the *Sūtrālaṃkāravṛttibhāṣya’s authorship, its overall aim is to shed new light on the concepts of authorship, creativity and intertextuality in the context of Buddhist commentarial literature.

 

Some Questions on the Compilation of Tantras in Tibet and India.

Mayer, Robert (Oxford University, Canterbury, GBR)

This exploratory paper is based on our analysis of patterns of literary compilation discernible in Bon and rNying ma tantras. Some questions are raised about the possible impact of cultural values on their modes of compilation. Did the Tibetan cultural emphasis on lineage and lineage purity exert any noticeable influence within these Bon and rNying ma texts? Do they differ noticeably in this respect from Indian Tantric compilations of the same period?

 

Response to the Views on the Originality and the Role of Intertextuality in the Context of Buddhist Texts

Wallace, Vesna (University of California, Santa Barbara, USA)

This presentation will be a response to the papers presented on the panel section titled “Originality and the Role of Intertextuality in the Context of Buddhist Texts.” It will include the analysis of the given presentations in light of the theories of literary criticism, and it will examine the ways in which the studies of the originality and intertextuality of Buddhist texts contribute to the field of literary studies.

The Incorporation and Development of Tanluan's Thought on the Nianfo in Daochuo's Anleji

Conway, Michael (The Eastern Buddhist Society, Kyoto, JPN)

Daochuo 道綽 (562-645) is said to have become a devotee of Pure Land Buddhism after encountering a passage related to Tanluan 曇鸞 (476-542?). Although the content of that passage is unclear, since Daochuo’s Anleji 安樂集 (T no. 1958) contains twenty-seven passages based on Tanluan’s works, it is very clear that Tanluan’s thought had a strong impact on the ideas that Daochuo presents there. That said, Daochuo rarely attributes his quotations from Tanluan’s Jingtulunzhu 浄土論註 (T no. 1819) and Lüelunanlejingtuyi 略論安樂淨土義 (T no. 1957) to Tanluan himself, instead offering Nāgārjuna (c. third century) or Vasubandhu (c. 400-480) as a source, or treating the passages as Daochuo’s own words. In addition, he creatively rewrites a great many of these passages, in some cases clarifying the significance of the original passage and in others adding a new meaning not found in Tanluan’s original. Further, Daochuo takes these passages out of the context in which they were written and restructures them in order to serve his purposes in the Anleji.

By exploring Daochuo’s unique application and re-expression of Tanluan’s words, this paper will show how Daochuo reshaped Tanluan’s arguments to answer to the concerns of the Buddhist world in the early Tang dynasty and further developed Tanluan’s stance on the nature of the nianfo 念佛, highlighting the central importance of Amitābha’s name and the mind of faith in Pure Land soteriology.

Although Daochuo either quotes or paraphrases Tanluan’s works in seven of the twelve chapters of the Anleji, this paper will focus on the third section of its second chapter, where Daochuo takes eleven questions and answers from various parts of the Jingtulunzhu and the Lüelunanlejingtuyi and presents them with significant revisions as a single dialogue discussing the soteriological efficacy of the nianfo. In the passage directly preceding this section, Daochuo addresses the issue of the application of the category of the Buddha’s preaching as “words intended to express a different time” (bieshiyi 別時意), which is discussed in the Shedachenglun 攝大乘論 (T no. 1592) and the Shedachenglunshi 攝大乘論釋 (T no. 1595), to the nianfo as preached in the Guanwuliangshoujing 觀無量壽經 (T no. 1749). Proponents of this position criticized Pure Land devotion, arguing that the nianfo does not lead directly to birth in Amitābha’s Pure Land and the incumbent high level of attainment on the Buddhist path (the stage of non-retrogression, butuizhuan 不退転), but only serves as an initial cause for a birth at some point in the very distant future. I will show that Daochuo employs Tanluan’s various questions and answers in order to dispel this doubt about the ability of the nianfo to effect genuine progress on the Buddhist path and to show that it is effective for the person with the mind of faith because Amitābha’s name is endowed with the transcendental wisdom and virtues that he perfected in his extensive practice.

 

Difficulty of Translating Chinese Buddhist Texts in Japan

Ishida, Kazuhiro (Jodo Shu Research Institute, Tokyo, JPN)

How do we treat Chinese Buddhist texts in Japan? These are not only texts written in Chinese, but they also have a traditional understanding affected by Japanese culture. In other words, Japanese Buddhists have interpreted many Chinese Buddhist texts since those had been brought over to Japan. Moreover, the cultural background of texts was often not considered in those Japanese interpretations. The history of Japanese Buddhism is made by interpreting the Chinese Buddhist texts. On the other hand, the Chinese Buddhist texts reflect its culture. In addition, those texts as translation inform scholars of Indian Buddhist philosophy.

When we try to translate a classical Chinese Buddhist text into a modern language, we should treat it carefully. If we translate a Chinese Buddhist text to understand the Buddhist philosophy in China or India, we should consider original Sanskrit texts reflecting pan-Indian culture and history. However, when we try to translate the Three Pure Land Sutras in order to introduce Japanese Buddhism to the world, contextualization of Indian and Chinese Buddhism into Japan has to be considered.

The Jodo Shu Research Institute has translated the Three Pure Land Sutras into English. In this work many problems occurred. The cause of these problems is the Chinese translations of the Three Pure Land Sutras which were made between India and Japan. That means that we can understand a passage in these sutras based on either the Indian context or the Japanese one. Both understandings, however, are not the same. Generally speaking, the understanding of the Chinese Buddhist texts based on the Japanese tradition is criticized because it is different from the understanding based on the original Sanskrit text or the Indian context.

The Jodo Shu Research Institute has translated the Three Pure Land Sutras into English based on the Japanese tradition since 2003. We referred to original Sanskrit texts for precise translation. However when determining meanings of a passage or word, we relied on traditional Japanese interpretations, because the Chinese translations of the Three Pure Land Sutras in Japan cannot be separated from those interpretations. In a sense, there is the essence of Buddhism in this point. If we try to comprehend Buddhist philosophy, we should carefully consider the history of Buddhism and the place where Buddhism spread. We must not neglect the Japanese Buddhist tradition in order to grasp the whole picture of Buddhism from India, China to Japan.

In this presentation, I will demonstrate the problems and methods of translations by showing concrete examples. I believe that my presentation will be helpful to scholars to understand Indian, Chinese, and Japanese Buddhist philosophy.

 

The Power of Giving: Sanjie and Sōtō Teachings on Dāna and the Ethical Efficacy of Ritual

Kalmanson, Leah (Drake University, Des Moines, USA)

This presentation draws on recent research in the Tang-dynasty Sanjie or “Three Stages” Buddhist sect, whose doctrinal developments prefigure many key issues in Chan, including debates over sudden enlightenment and tensions between spontaneity and ritualism. Sanjie’s innovative perspective on the power of charitable giving helps contextualize similar ethical imperatives within Chan and especially Sōtō Zen. Sanjie’s founder Xinxing (540–594) teaches that karmic debts are insurmountable and cannot be repaid one by one. Yet, we can immediately discharge our own karmic burden and that of our families by making a single charitable donation to the Inexhaustible Storehouse. This lending institution—an odd experiment in the power of giving—enjoyed a period of widespread success before eventually being branded as heretical. While in operation, the Storehouse accepted charity from the surrounding populations, and the act of donating was thought to generate karmic merit for the giver, a system already relied upon by Buddhist monasteries to raise money for themselves. However, unique to Xinxing’s Storehouse, anyone could borrow money and goods as needed, and repayment was optional and interest-free. Through my gift to the Storehouse, Xinxing taught that I would immediately be connected through chains of interdependence to Xinxing himself—his bodhisattva-like compassion would become my own. In this way, Xinxing interprets Buddhist teachings on interdependence in distinctly institutional terms: my participation in an institution of generosity not only amplifies my small contribution, but it directly links me to Xinxing himself, elevating me to the status of a bodhisattva and thus dispelling my otherwise insurmountable karmic debt. Complementing this emphasis on institutional structure, Xinxing expresses a preference for formal acts of giving over sporadic outbursts, no matter how sincere an act of spontaneous giving might be. He encourages practitioners to put their energy not toward giving sincerely but toward giving in what we might call “good form,” where form refers to the structure and formality of a sustained practice. This emphasis on good form is evident when one of his followers asks him why donors to the storehouse do not appear immediately enlightened. In other words, if a single donation to the Storehouse makes me a bodhisattva, then why is my new status not readily apparent? Xinxing replies: “It is like putting a snake into a bamboo tube—the tube is straight and so the snake also becomes straight.” Xinxing’s focus on correct form prefigures the later Sōtō Zen emphasis on correct sitting posture: the point is to put yourself in the right position, go through the right motions, and trust in the process. At no time should you worry about whether you are “really” becoming enlightened. So, too, Xinxing says, we should not worry about whether the snake is “really” straight, or whether through my donation I am “really” a bodhisattva. This snake simile, and its focus on the efficacy of good form, helps us assess the ethical import of Chan and especially later Sōtō Zen ritual practices. One common objection to ritualistic behavior is that practitioners are just “going through the motions.” This criticism only stings if we are already in the grip of a substance ontology that allots more so-called reality to the self than to the self’s actions. Going through motions is less of a problem when motions are seen as constitutive of entities. Reading Dōgen’s writings on practice-enlightenment alongside his writings on dāna reveal a position not dissimilar to the now defunct Sanjie sect: the power of giving is deeply tied to the efficacy of good form. I consider the relevance of this ethical view on charitableness in contemporary terms.

 

A Comparative Study on the Eighteenth Chapter of the Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkārabhāṣya and the Sūtrālaṃkāravṛttibhāṣya with Special Focus on their Canonical Citations

Kishi, Sayaka (University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba-Shi Ibaraki, JPN)

The Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkārabhāṣya (MSABh) attributed to Vasubandhu (5th c.) is an extensive commentary on the Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra (MSA). The Sūtrālaṃkāravṛttibhāṣya (SAVBh) attributed to Sthiramati (6th c.) is one of the sub-commentaries on the MSA. The SAVBh provides valuable information and a great help for our correct understanding of the MSABh. In his commentary, however, Sthiramati resorts to different canonical sources from those which the MSABh has relied on. This seems to be a result of his intention to accentuate a distinct character of the MSA/MSABh as a Mahāyāna treatise. In this study, I will examine what kind of canonical sources the MSABh and the SAVBh used in their explanations of thirty-seven practices for attaining enlightenment (saptatriṃśadbodhipakṣadharma), which is one of the main topics in the MSA XVIII, and clarify the difference in their purport of canonical citations. It is well-known that the MSABh shares many teachings and practices with the Yogācārabhūmi (YBh). The MSABh’s chapter structure corresponds to that of the Maulībhūmi of the YBh. As for the topics and contents of each chapter too, there are a lot of similarities between them. The thirty-seven practices for attaining enlightenment find their correspondence in the Vastusaṃgrahaṇī of the YBh. For example, the YBh cites a simile of seven treasures having a wheel-turning king from an āgama, which is identified as the Saṃyutta-āgama in the explanation of the practice of the seven aids for enlightenment (saptabodhyaṅga) that is one of the thirty-seven practices. Vasubandhu cites the same simile in his MSABh XVIII without indicating that it is from the Saṃyutta-āgama. It is highly probable that the MSABh followed the YBh. Thereby, Vasubandhu seems to have intended to demonstrate that his composition, i.e., the MSABh, is one of the treatises belonging to the Yogācāra tradition and therefore to the Mahāyāna stream as well.

After hundred years, however, Sthiramati explains the seven aids for enlightenment based on different scriptural sources. He quotes several Mahāyāna sūtras. Among them, his main source is the Akṣayamatinirdeśasūtra (ANSū), one of the most influential Mahāyāna sūtras. In my view, Sthiramati used those Mahāyāna sūtras for the purpose of emphasizing the superiority of Mahāyāna-Bodhisattvas over Śrāvakas and Pratyekabuddhas. Compared with the MSABh, Sthiramati thus demonstrates their Mahāyāna position by quoting Mahāyāna sūtras as scriptural authority. In this paper, I will discuss Sthiramati’s elucidation of the thirty-seven practices in detail and indicate a certain theoretical development from Vasubandhu to Sthiramati.

 

Killing the Buddha: Chan Buddhism and Antinomian Ethics

Nelson, Eric (Lowell, USA)

Critical Buddhism and recent scholarship have aimed at deconstructing the aura of Zen Buddhism by delegitimating its development from Tang Dynasty Chan Buddhism. It has been argued that (1) the images of “wild” Chan masters such as Mazu and Linji have been retrospectively refashioned and stylistically radicalized and (2) the rhetoric of radical spontaneity, non-duality, immediacy, and emptiness associated with the Hongzhou-Linji style of Chan has destructive antinomian and nihilistic consequences. However, the second claim is not a new one but has sources in Tang dynasty Chan Buddhism itself. One of Mazu’s early critics, Zongmi, was concerned with whether the priority of ordinary mind undermined the disciplined cultivation of the Buddhist path and whether his anti-conventionalism entailed the destruction of morality and the ethical life of the community.

In this paper, I examine how and to what extent Chan challenges to conventional morality not only have sources within Buddhism but can be ethically inspired and considered a deeply ethical project. Whereas the standard literature frequently opposes antinomianism to morality, as a system of fixed rules and conventions, I explore whether emptiness (kong) can be understood as a practice of emptying that opens up the capacity to encounter and respond to things. The practice of emptiness is enacted through a rich variety of Chan linguistic and behavioral strategies and provocations. These challenge conventional morality, absorbed in calculation and exchange from an anthropocentric perspective, not for the sake of indifference or immorality but in order to encounter and liberate things and others in their interdependence and uniqueness; through the destructuring of ordinary ethical life and the Buddhist path as conventional, the antinomian aporetic ethics of “killing the Buddha” in Hongzhou and Linji Chan points followers of the way toward the ordinary mind and its capacities to encounter and respond in the midst of the world.

 

 

laukikaṃ paramārtham: Textual Problems in the Commentary on Chapter 24, Verse 10 in the Prasannapadā

Niisaku, Yoshiaki (University of Tokyo, Tokyo, JPN)

It goes without saying that the theory of the two truths of paramārtha and saṃvṛti is one of the most important concepts in Madhyamaka Philosophy and that this theory is explained in chapter 24, verses 8-10, of Nāgārjuna’s Mūlamadhyamakakārikā (MMK). In 24.10ab, Nāgārjuna uses the term ‘‘verbal expression (vyavahāra)’’ with nearly the same meaning as “verbal convention (saṃvrti)’’ and explains the relationship of the two truths as follows: “without relying on verbal expression (vyavahāra), the ultimate object (paramārtha) is not taught.” (MMK 24.10ab)

Candrakīrti’s commentary on this part can be found in Louis de la Vallée Poussin’s (LVP) text of the Prasannapadā (PSP), which is one of the best known commentaries on the MMK, as follows: “without admitting worldly verbal expression (laukikaṃ vyavahāram), the characteristic of which is name and what is named and cognition and what is cognized and so on, the ultimate object cannot be taught.” (laukikaṃ vyavahāram anabhyupagamyābhidhānābhidheyajñānajñeyādilakṣaṇam aśakyate eva paramārtho deśayituṃ) [LVP ed. 494.8-9]

Although the text of the PSP was edited by LVP in 1903-1913, many scholars still use his text even today. However, there are some textual problems in LVP’s text and some scholars have begun revising it by referring to newly-discovered manuscripts. Anne MacDonald, who revised the first chapter of the PSP, regarded six “better’’ manuscripts as important among about twenty available manuscripts.

In this presentation, I will discuss textual problems regarding the term “[laukikaṃ] vyavahāram’’ in the preceding quotation from the PSP. Although I checked the six “better’’ manuscripts and several other manuscripts directly or indirectly as well as five versions of Tibetan translations, I found no evidence to support the reading of “[laukikaṃ] vyavahāram’’ as is seen in LVP’s text.

The term “[laukikaṃ] paramārtham’’ is found in almost all Sanskrit manuscripts —except for the Oxford manuscript—, and the term “’jig rten pa’i don dam pa (*laukikaṃ paramārtham)’’ is also found in five versions of Tibetan translations instead of “[laukikaṃ] vyavahāram’’, which we would have expected to find.

            De Jong, who made many corrections to LVP’s text based on the Roman manuscript and comparing it to the Tibetan translations, adopted the reading of “[laukikaṃ] vyavahāram’’ in spite of having found the term “[laukikaṃ] paramārtham’’ in the Roman manuscript in his paper, and many scholars also adopt the reading of LVP’s text because it seems to fit the context. However, since the term “[laukikaṃ] paramārtham’’ is found in almost all Sanskrit manuscripts and five Tibetan translations, we need to examine its possible reading.

Although a few studies have already dealt with this problem and pointed out that the term “laukikaṃ paramārtham’’ was found in Candrakīrti’s Yuktiṣaṣṭikāvṛtti and Catuḥśatakaṭīkā, there are still a few issues in the interpretation of this expression that need to be looked at again. Accordingly, I will re-examine these examples and reconsider them in the context of the PSP.

 

The Theory of the Conventional Truth Presented in the Prajñāpradīpa and its Ṭīkā

Nishiyama, Ryo (Ryukoku University Research Center for Buddhist Cultures in Asia, Koka, Shiga, JPN)

The theory of the two truths is a heuristic device that has been continually used by Mahāyāna Buddhists since Nāgārjuna. Bhāviveka, the sixth century Mādhyamika philosopher, is known to have introduced the Yogācāra theory of the multi-leveled two truths into the Mādhyamika interpretation of the two truths. In this presentation I would like to focus upon his unique theory of the conventional truth. In the 24th chapter of the Prajñāpradīpa Bhāviveka distinguishes two kinds of worldly convention: (1) the statements of Abhidharmic dharmas, such as “Color-form arises, stays and perishes”, and (2) those of persons (pudgala), such as “Devadatta goes”. In the first chapter of the Prajñāpradīpa-ṭīkā Avalokitavrata considers the statements of “non-substantiality” (niḥsvabhāvatā) or “non-arising” (anutpāda) of dharmas also to be the conventional truth. Thus, it is most likely that Bhāviveka and his followers distinguished three levels of the conventional truth. I would like to discuss their theory together with its historical background.

 

Lineage: Transmission through Master or Text?

Tam, Wei Keong (Centre of Buddhist Studies, The University of Hong Kong, HKG)

The idea of religious lineage is one of the elements in Chinese Buddhist monastic tradition that poses significant dynamics in which changes would dramatically impact the contours of the school itself. It not only shapes each school’s tradition and principles, but also presents a strategy upon which authority and legitimacy are established.[1]

During the tenth and eleventh centuries, the issues of lineage and dharma transmission were highly debated among each school, particularly evident in the clash between Tiantai and Chan. Each emphasized their own retrospective lineage transmission that traced its roots back through an Indian lineage. In contrast, Yuanzhao, 元照 (1050–1115), in his writings on the Vinaya School’s lineage, formulated the structure and criteria of his lineage tradition. His approach on this issue was slightly different from the Tiantai and Chan Schools. He claimed that the Vinaya School of the Nanshan tradition received authentic transmission through Dharmasena (Fashi 法時), who, in 220 AD, was the first master that initiated the proper Bhikkhu ordination ceremony in China at Luoyang. The Nanshan lineage could therefore assert its own authority starting within China and, at the same time, did not need to answer the inquiry of the dharma transmission from India.

The development of the Nanshan Vinaya lineage, although still far from being fully understood, has not been researched and interpreted by many scholars. For our purposes, we will consider its history with attention directed towards the inquiry of what constitutes the most pertinent aspects of understanding the Vinaya School’s notions of lineage.

This paper reviews the notion of lineage constructed by Yuanzhao during the Song Dynasty and is based on the “The Chart of Patriarchs’ Transmission of Nanshan Vinaya Lineage” [2]. Thus the Nanshan Vinaya lineage and its historical development form our main narrative.

The reconstruction of the Vinaya School of Nanshan lineage, in other words, is not only about gaining legitimacy in the eyes of others. For much of the Nanshan tradition’s history, lineage has also been fundamental in maintaining the internal coherence of Vinaya’s monastic rules that were inherited from the foreign Indian culture and adapted within the local Chinese tradition. This study offers insight into the Nanshan tradition—and related issues, including conceptions of the Nanshan tradition and intellectual authority, its relationship with the state, primarily focusing on the contribution of Yuanzhao.

Again, Yuanzhao never postulated an unbroken Nanshan Vinaya line of transmission dating back to ancient India. Indeed, he focused on the significant contributions of patriarchs in regards to their reliability and ability of writing the Vinaya exegesis and annotation, thereby promoting and promulgating the Vinaya practice in China. Yuanzhao’s approach was totally different from his counterparts affiliated to the Chan School masters, asserted a stronger reliance upon the master-disciple relationship in understanding their mode of lineage transmission.

Furthermore, this work is valuable as it offers a contemporary account of other traditions of Vinaya School during the Song dynasty, thereby providing a clearer picture of the Vinaya development in China during the tenth and eleventh centuries.


[1] Morrison, E. The Power of Patriarch, p. 13

[2] 南山律宗祖承圖錄 CBETA, X59, no. 1104, p. 646.

 

Is Madhyamaka a Form of Nihilism?

Westerhoff, Jan (Oxford University, Oxford, GBR)

Madhyamaka philosophy has been frequently characterized as nihilism, not just by its Buddhist and non-Buddhist opponents, but also by some contemporary Buddhologists. This characterization might well strike us as surprising.

First, nihilism appears to be straightforwardly inconsistent (“if there is nothing, there is still the fact that there is nothing, so there is something”). It would be curious if a philosophical school holding such an obviously deficient view would have acquired the kind of importance Madhyamaka has acquired in the Asian intellectual landscape over the last two millenia.

Second, Madhyamaka by its very name proclaims to tread the “middle way”, and what if anything would count as an extreme position but the view that there is nothing?

This paper will address both the systematic status of nihilist theories as well as the historical contexts in which Madhyamaka has been characterized as nihilistic, aiming to throw some light on plausible and implausible ways of understanding the Madhyamaka intellectual enterprise. 

The Progenitor of all Dharma Protectors: Buddhist Śaivism in Eighteenth Century Tibet

Bailey, Cameron (University of Oxford, Oxford, GBR)

Traditionally, the deity Śiva, usually called Mahādeva (Tib. Lha chen), Maheśvara (Tib. Dbang phyug chen po), or Rudra, has been depicted in Tibetan Vajrayāna Buddhist myth and iconography as the ultimate enemy of the Buddhist teachings, the tantric Mara, and an anti-Buddha, in some ways easily comparable to the figure of Satan in the Christian tradition. The story of his subjugation is the central myth of Tibetan Mahāyoga/Anuttarayoga tantra. Rudra is especially important in Rnying ma canonical scriptures as the catalyst for the introduction of tantric teachings into the world, and his redemption in Rnying ma narratives has been seen as a mythological expression of the radical non-dualism and antinomianism of Rnying ma rdzog chen philosophy. Rudra’s iconography also provided the template for all the major Rnying ma wrathful meditational deities, and all Buddhist wrathful deities arguably owe their iconography to Śaivism, to say nothing of Buddhist tantric ritual practices. But despite his importance in Tibetan Buddhism, the figure of Rudra/Maheśvara remained practically significant largely as a Buddhist foil and was not himself popularly worshipped. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Within certain Tibetan contexts Maheśvara was rehabilitated and made into an important cultic figure in his own right. This paper is an examination of two such contexts. The first is the Thugs rje chen po gshegs kun ’dus (Avalokiteśvara, Embodiment of all the Sugatas) treasure cycle revealed by the founder of the important Rnying ma monastery of Smin grol gling, Gter bdag gling pa (1646-1714). The second is Sle lung bzhad pa’i rdo rje’s (1697-1740) Dam can bstan srung gi rnam thar (Biographies of the Oath-Bound Protectors). In the Thugs rje chen po gshegs kun ’dus, Maheśvara is depicted as Avalokiteśvara’s primary manifestation, and the main protector of the treasure cycle. Sle lung, who was a lineage holder of the Thugs rje chen po gshegs kun ’dus teachings, in his famous collection of protector deity origin myths, goes even further, describing Maheśvara as a primordially fully enlightened being, and the literal godfather of all dharma protectors. The paper will examine some of the ritual texts dedicated to Maheśvara in Gter bdag gling pa’s treasure cycle and Sle lung’s rhetoric regarding this deity in the opening chapter of the Biographies of the Oath-Bound Protectors. I will also argue that Gter bdag gling pa’s positive emphasis on Maheśvara relates to his interest in the Dgongs pa ’dus pa’i mdo (Compendium of Intentions Sūtra), which contains the longest and most detailed version of the Rudra subjugation myth, and the cultivation of a ris med (“nondiscriminatory”) worldview at Smin grol gling.

 

The Conflicting Positions of Tsongkhapa and Ngor chen Kun dga’ bzang po over the Interpretations of the Body Maṇḍala of Cakrasaṃvara

Bentor, Yael (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, ISR)

In the early 15th century, some famous debates took place between two parties: Ngor chen Kun dga’ bzang po (1382-1456) and prominent members of the Sa skya school on the one hand and Tsong kha pa (1357-1419) together with influential lamas who would eventually form the Dge lugs school on the other. Specifically it is well known that Ngor chen and one of Tsong kha pa's main disciples, Mkhas grub rje Dge legs dpal bzang (1385-1438), had intense debates over the explanation of the body maṇḍala. The following attack found in Mkhas grub rje's Bskyed rim dngos grub rgya mtsho, p. 250.2-4, is most likely aimed at Ngor chen:

Therefore, if those deprived of the transmitted instruction of the lamas, who have not studied much the Tantras and the works of the Great Charioteers, and are devoid of the capacity to analyze the scriptures with pure reasoning, would for a while take a rest from their investigation of the two stages of the path of Vajradhara, this would be of a great benefit for themselves, for their followers who exert themselves in competing to see who is bolder in explaining their teachings, for those who are satisfied by looking merely at the mouth of these followers, and also for the teachings of the Victorious One.

Already in 1985, Leonard van der Kuijp pointed out that Ngor chen wrote two compositions on the body maṇḍala of Hevajra, the Smra ba ngan ’joms and the Lta ba ngan sel, in reply to this same criticism of Mkhas grub rje. Mkhas grub rje responded in his Gnam lcags ’khor lo, known also as Ngor lan. I will touch upon these heated exchanges at the end of my paper; however my center of attention will be the probably earlier specific points of disagreement between Tsong kha pa and Ngor chen regarding the body maṇḍala of Cakrasaṃvara.

 

Sarvadurgatipariśodhana Ritual Practice in Early Tibet

Dalton, Jacob (UC Berkeley, Berkeley, USA)

In considering the early Tibetan encounter with tantric ritual, two aspects might come to mind foremost: (1) the Buddhist-Bon competition over the imperial funerary rites, and (2) the emergence of an imperial Vairocana cult within the Pugyal court. Crucial to both of these aspects was the Sarvadurgatipariśodhana (henceforth SDPS), a Buddhist tantra that thus appears to have been central to the Buddhist ritual interests of the Tibetan empire. Yet what do we really know about how early Tibetans approached these pivotal rites? In an attempt to address this question, the paper proposed here will examine the available evidence from Dunhuang.

It will begin with an overview of the available materials. In fact, we have several useful manuscripts containing SDPS-based ritual instructions and diagrams. The ritual manuals reflect a variety of attempts to organize the same fundamental ritual building blocks. That is to say, the same basic prayers and ritual sequences are repeated across the manuscripts, but they are arranged in different orders according to the individual interests of each Tibetan author. In short, close examination of these manuals reveals a ritual system that appears to have enjoyed considerable popularity among early Tibetans, a set of rites that were rewritten over and again. In addition to these manuals are several complex diagrams of the SDPS mandala, each heavily inscribed with writing in either Tibetan or Chinese. Here again, we get the sense of a popular ritual system.

But perhaps even more significant for our understanding of SDPS practice in early Tibet is the important role that was played by the ritual patron (yon bdag) in most, if not all, of the rituals described. Whereas the Sarvatathāgata-tattvasaṃgraha (the other major Yoga-tantra represented in the Dunhuang manuscripts) inspired sādhanas for individuals to accomplish their own siddhis, the SDPS was more about performing tantric rites in the service of powerful patrons.

Having reviewed these SDPS materials, the paper will end by turning to one unstudied manuscript in particular. IOL Tib J 439 & IOL Tib J 712 originally comprised a single manuscript that contains a ritual manual for the SDPS initiation rite. A study of this manuscript reveals how Tibetans initiated the dead into the SDPS mandala as a tantric funerary practice. In this fascinating manuscript, then, we may be catching a glimpse of the kind of rite that early tantric Buddhists offered the Pugyal imperial court as an alternative to their native Bon funeral practices.

 

The Contribution to Tibetan and Buddhist Studies by the Swedish/Austrian Scholar Dr. Toni Schmid

Hammar, Urban (Department of History of Religions at Stockholm University, Uppsala, SWE)

This paper treats the Swedish/Austrian scholar Dr. Toni Schmid (1897-1972) and her work concerning Tibetan and Buddhist studies in the later part of her life.
Antonia (Toni) Elisabeth Magdalena Schmid was born in Fischamend Dorf near Wien in September 1897 in a family of a wealthy mill-owner. She was sent to a Catholic monastery school in Wien. Then she went on to the University for studies in History and presented a doctoral dissertation on Swedish 17th century history en 1922. She came to Sweden after the First World War when Sweden received German and Austrian children and students in order to relieve their difficult living conditions. At Lund University she continued her studies and presented another doctoral dissertation on a mediaeval Swedish saint. After that she was employed at the Swedish National Archives for the rest of her working life.
According to some information she studied Sanskrit already in Wien and anyway it was sure that she studied both Sanskrit and Tibetan with prof. Helmer Smith at Uppsala University in the 1940s. One of his students and a friend of Toni Schmid was the late prof. Nils Simonsson who wrote his doctoral thesis on the methods of translation used in the translation of the Buddhist canon into Tibetan in the 8th century.
In this environment Toni Schmid also came into contact with the iconographical material brought to the Ethnographical Museum in Stockholm by the Sven Hedin expedition to China and Mongolia 1927-35. Her first article was published in Ethnos 1950 on the series of painted scrolls on Milarepa that she two years later treated in detail in the book ”The Cotton-clad Mila. The Tibetan Poet-Saints' Life in Pictures”. This book treated the same series of thangkas in the museum collection and Toni Schmid translated the text on the paintings. The book was reviewed by Tucci, de Jong and Heissig mostly in positive terms. Her next book was published in 1958 entitled ”The Eighty-five Siddhas” and treated another series of thangkas from the museum. The pictures were analysed in the same way as in the fore-going publication. It was also reviewed by Tucci, Stein and de Jong in a positive way. The last of her books was published in 1961 entitled ”Saviours of Mankind. The Dalai Lamas and former Incarnations of Avalokiteshvara” and treated another series of paintings. During these years she also published a number of articles in various journals on subjects treating Tibet and Buddhism in general.
In 1955 she began traveling to Asia by visiting Nepal and Sikkim and she wrote an interesting book in Swedish on the land and culture of especially the Tibetans living in these countries. She then made several journeys to almost all of the Buddhist countries, but she was perhaps mostly interested in Nepal and Sikkim where she also studied the Tibetan language. She also bought material and books to the Ethnographical Museum and participated in Orientalist conferences.
To conclude Toni Schmid was an advanced scholar on especially Tibetan Buddhist iconography and a pioneer in Buddhist and Tibetan Studies in Sweden. She deserves to be remembered and appreciated for this work which was produced at the same time as she was working as an excellent researcher in Swedish mediaeval history.
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A Dhāraṇīsaṃgraha Manuscript at the Cambridge University Library

Hidas, Gergely (Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, HUN)

There are more than a hundred Sanskrit manuscripts surviving titled Dhāraṇīsaṃgraha that contain collections of dhāraṇī-spells. Some list up to ca. four hundred dhāraṇīs and thus provide a glimpse into arrays of incantations apparently in use up to modern times. This paper examines a voluminous Nepalese codex (Add. 1326) from NS 839/1719 CE and describes its contents along with comparisons with other such works and observations on the possible contexts of this textual tradition.

 

 

 

Byang chub kyi sems bsgom pa and its Different Versions

Pauls, Dimitri (University of Hamburg, Hamburg, GER)

In the present paper I will focus on the work Byang chub kyi sems bsgom pa (Bodhicittabhāvanā) which is, according to the rNying-ma tradition, one of the first five rDzogs-chen texts ever introduced to Tibet, which are believed to have been translated by the great Translator Vairocana in the 8th century.

The work has been transmitted in at least four different collections—namely, the Bai ro rgyud 'bum, bsTan 'gyur, rNying ma rgyud 'bum, and gDams ngag mdzod — where it has been classified in different ways according to their respective organizational schemes. While in the bsTan 'gyur and the gDams ngag mdzod it is regarded as a treatise composed by the Indian master Mañjuśrīmitra ('Jam-dpal-bshes-gnyen), in the Bai ro rgyud 'bum and rNying ma rgyud 'bum it is classified as a tantra. Moreover, while it is considered by the rNying-ma tradition a rDzogs-chen work, in the bsTan 'gyur it is found within the Yogatantra section. The text is cited in its entirety in the Byang chub kyi sems bsgom pa don bcu gnyis bstan pa (Bodhicittabhāvanādvādaśārthanirdeśa), presumably an autocommentary by Mañjuśrīmitra. Furthermore, we also find a tantra titled Byang chub sems bsgom pa’i rgyud in the rNying ma rgyud 'bum, which is approximately of the double length of the standard work, and in which most of the verses of the shorter version are included.

It seems very likely indeed, that the Byang chub kyi sems bsgom pa was translated from Sanskrit and was composed as a treatise by the Indian Master Mañjuśrīmitra, since a work with the same title and with the authorship of Mañjuśrīmitra is listed in both the lDan dkar ma and ’Phang thang ma catalogues. However, a question about the length of the text arises: the entries in the catalogues speak about 68 verses (shlo ka drug cu rtsa brgyad), whereas the commentary refers to the work as consisting of 40 verses (tshigs bcad bzhi bcu pa)—which indeed corresponds to the actual length of the standard version of the text. The longer Byang chub sems bsgom pa’i rgyud is, at first glance, an enlarged version of the original text, where supplementary verses and introductory and concluding chapters have been added in order to emphasize the authoritativeness of the text and to raise its status to that of a tantra. Interestingly, on a few occasions where the readings of the shorter version—and also its citation in the commentary—deviates from the longer version, the commentary seems to reflect the meaning found in the longer version much better than that found in the shorter one.

In my paper, I would like to present this case of the Byang chub kyi sems bsgom pa as a case study of formation and authentication of scriptures.

 

Dorjé Lingpa on the Chöd Tradition of Machik Labdrön

Sorensen, Michelle (Columbia University, Memphis, USA)

Following discussions with Khamtrul Rinpoche in Dharamshala and with the Nyingmapa Lama, Orgyen Tenzin, in Sarnath, I became interested in the question of why Dudjom Lingpa's (Bdud 'joms gling pa, 1835-1904) Thröma Nagmo (khros ma nag mo) practice has become one of the predominant practices of Chöd (Gcod) and what the prevalence of this practice reveals about the place of Chöd in the Nyingma (Rnying ma) tradition. As an early stage in this research project, my paper will examine Dorjé Lingpa's (Rdo rje gling pa, 1346-1405) interpretation of Machik Labdrön's (Ma gcig lab sgron, c. 1055-1153) major text, The Great Speech Chapter (Bka' tshoms chen mo), included in his collection of writing on Chöd.i This volume includes the earliest Nyingma commentary on this foundational Chöd text, a study of which will shed light on both the role of Chöd in the Nyingma tradition and the role of the Nyingma tradition in the transmission of Chöd.

My study of Dorjé Lingpa’s commentary follows on my dissertation work investigating the transmission of Chöd in the Karma Kagyü (Karma bka’ brgyud) school through a commentary on The Great Speech Chapter by the Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorjé (Rang byung rdo rje, 1284-1339), a near contemporary to Dorjé Lingpa. In my study, I found that the innovation of Rangjung Dorjé’s interpretation becomes obvious when contrasted with the commentary composed by Dorjé Lingpa. For example, Dorjé Lingpa follows The Great Speech Chapter closely in pointing out the confusions of the fundamental standpoints of the various traditions, including both Mahāmudrā and Dzogchen (Rdzogs chen). Unlike Rangjung Dorjé, Dorjé Lingpa does not find external textual authority to establish the superiority of any particular tenet system—not even the Dzogchen perspective, as one might expect given his own affiliation with the Nyingma. While Rangjung Dorjé was influential in developing what came to be known as Mahamudra Chöd, Dorjé Lingpa successfully retained and transmitted aspects of important early Chöd teachings that were ignored or altered by Rangjung Dorjé. My study of Dorjé Lingpa’s early Nyingma commentary on this Chöd teaching will allow me to begin to trace the transmission and development of Chöd in the Nyingma tradition, particularly in charting how he adopted and adapted Machik’s teaching. In turn, this will help me to contextualize later texts such as Dudjom Lingpa's Thröma Nagmo practice and Jigmé Lingpa’s transmission of The Laughter of the Dakinis (Gcod yul mkha’ ‘gro’i gad rgang), important practices for many Nyingma (and non-Nyingma) Chöd practitioners to the present day.

i Bka’ tshoms chen mo’i ti ka lta sgom gyi khogs byung khyung chen nam mkha’i ldings ltar / bshad pa bzhugs soha / badzra bho tra’o. In Gcod skor gter chen rdo rje rdzing pa’i (sic. gling pa) gter chos. Thimphu, Bhutan: Druk Sherig Press, 1984, 365-447.

The Vinaya's Ban on the Ordination of Paṇḍakas and the Case of Laura/Michael Dillon

Cabezon, Jose (University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA)

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Monastic Hat-wearing, Textualization of Heteropraxy, and Sources of Authority in a Seventeenth-Century Burmese Document

Kirichenko, Alexey (Institute of Asian and African Studies, Moscow State University)

The paper is a discussion of a manuscript text allegedly compiled by Taungbila Hsayadaw Tipiṭakālaṅkāra (1578-1651), a famous Burmese monk and monastic jurist best known to the field of Buddhist studies as the author of Vinayālaṅkāra-ṭīkā (a commentary on Vinayasaṅgaha aṭṭhakathā), in response to royal query about the origins and correctness of the then-contemporary monastic practice of wearing hats. Though the practice of monastic hat-wearing is well attested in early modern Southeast Asia and survives in certain areas until now, it is not supported by canonical Pāli texts and thus was criticized by some monks in Burma at least since the late seventeenth century. Historical origins of this practice are obscure and very few known documents shed light on it. The manuscript in question provides interesting perspective on how an argument for the legitimacy of hat-wearing was constructed and what means were employed to recast heteropraxy in more “normative” or scripturally grounded terms.
Another value of exploration of the document lies in its seeming subversiveness for the image of Tipiṭakālaṅkāra as practitioner locating scriptural, practical, and legal authority in canonical Vinaya, which is attested by his arguments in Vinayālaṅkāra-ṭīkā and argued in his biographies (composed between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries). This aspect highlights the fluidity of monastic biography that allowed making multiple claims via a single person and the vibrancy of debate on orthopraxy in Burma. The paper thus will explore how claims to real and apocryphal textual authorities and monastic references were used as arguments for competing forms of practice in the seventeenth and eighteenth century Burma and what insights that offers for our understanding of normative practices, legal cultures, and disciplinary debates in Southeast Asian Buddhism.

 

Due Process in the Pali Vinaya Viewed in the Light of Modern Jurisprudence

Pinte, Gudrun (Ghent University, Melle, BEL)

In Pali monastic literature, we can distinguish some basic principles for any ecclesiastical trial: only if plaintiff and accused express their willingness to accept the verdict, the investigation can begin; the presence of the accused is essential and acknowledgement of the facts after interrogation is a prerequisite for being charged. Furthermore, a conscientious but incompetent plaintiff should be given guidance when he brings his case forward and the possibility of appeal is seemingly absent. In this paper, these characteristics of a Buddhist ecclesiastical case will be investigated and discussed in the light of modern jurisprudence.


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