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1 Buddhism Comes to China PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION FALL 2004.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Buddhism Comes to China PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION FALL 2004."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Buddhism Comes to China PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION FALL 2004

2 2 WHAT THE BUDDHA TAUGHT  “Buddha” (awakened one) = Shakyamuni Gautama Siddartha, Hindu reformer in north India, c. 500s-400s BCE  Inherited an ancient Hindu worldview: 1. Cyclical existence of endless rebirth (samsara) 2. Conditioning of rebirth by moral results of one’s actions (karma) 3. Presumption of eternal self (atman) underlying transitory physical forms  Buddha’s central insights = the “Four Noble Truths”: 1. Life is suffering (duhkha) 2. Self-centered attachment based on permanent selfhood (atman) is the root of suffering 3. Suffering can be ended (nirvāna) 4. There is a path by which to end suffering  Each “Truth” asks us to respond to reality as it truly is: 1. Understand suffering 2. Let go of its origins 3. Realize its cessation 4. Cultivate the path toward its cessation

3 3 THE SELF THAT IS NO SELF  An atman (“self”) has a body, emotions, ideas, biases, and consciousness.  Actually, there is no “self” (anatman) – only an assemblage of components.  In rebirth, conditioned by karma these components are removed and rearranged, creating a different self (yet not disconnected from “this” self now).  Just as one both is and is not“oneself” from life to life, so one neither is nor is not “oneself” from life to life.

4 4 CONSEQUENCES OF NIRVĀNA  The true self is interdependent and impermanent  There is no basis for ego  Realizing the truth of anātman (no permanent self) entails: 1. Awakening to suffering 2. Compassion in suffering 3. Liberation from suffering  One who seeks to realize this truth takes the “Three Refuges”: 1. The Buddha (the teacher) 2. The Dharma (the teaching) 3. The Sangha (the taught)

5 5 SECTARIAN DIVISIONS IN THE SANGHA  By 100s BCE, Buddhism has gained powerful political support in India  Official endorsement facilitates the luxury of doctrinal debate and speculation, as well as canon formation  Three distinct sectarian traditions emerge shortly before introduction of Buddhism to China

6 6 THERAVADA (“Way of Elders”)  Sole survivor among earliest Buddhist sects  Views itself as custodian of authentic tradition  Regards Shakyamuni as unique historical Buddha, fully human, now vanished  Emphasizes individual rational effort  Goal: arhant (being that attains enlightenment after much striving over many lifetimes)  Maintains strong monastic- lay distinction  Not found in China today

7 7 MAHAYANA (“Great Vehicle”)  Sees Theravada as Hinayana (“Lesser Vehicle”) and itself as inheritor of complete tradition  Regards Shakyamuni as one of infinite number of Buddhas  Focuses on mysticism and compassionate action  Goal: bodhisattva (being that voluntarily defers liberation from samsara in order to help other beings attain liberation)  More open to laity, women  Dominant in China

8 8 VAJRAYANA (“Thunderbolt Vehicle”)  Arises from Mahayana interaction with Hindu tantra (esoteric ritualism) and bhakti (devotional polytheism)  Views itself as guardian of esoteric tradition  Emphasizes unity of wisdom and compassion through visualization, ritualization, and philosophical rigor  Goal: bodhisattva  Reasserts strong monastic- lay distinction  Present in Tibetan and Mongolian communities

9 9 BUDDHISM AND THE DECLINE OF THE HAN  “Silk Road” merchants and missionaries from India and Central Asia transmit Buddhism to China by 65 CE  As Han 漢 dynasty (202 BCE-220 CE) declines and period of disunity (220-589 CE) ensues, Chinese elites turn away from Confucianism to Taoism and Buddhism, often combining the two  By Tang 唐 dynasty (618-907 CE), Buddhism reaches zenith of its popularity in China  From China, Buddhism spreads to rest of East Asia

10 10 CHALLENGES TO BUDDHISM IN CHINA  Geographic: difficulty of India-China travel  Linguistic: translation of foreign texts and concepts  Political: conflicts between rulers and sangha; separation between north and south  Religious: competition with and/or dilution by Confucianism and Taoism  Social: Chinese distaste for foreign ways

11 11

12 12 The Chinese synthesis  Chinese Buddhism reconciles variant Indian schools of Buddhism –Buddha taught with upaya Teachings differ accordingly  organized scriptures into a progression from elementary to refined –Systematized order of Buddhist Canon –Each school emphasized certain scriptures  Chinese Buddhist schools tended towards ecumenism rather than sectarianism –Claims made to highest truth but not exclusive –Different schools are in accord to the expedience of the upaya doctrine

13 13 The Chinese Synthesis  Developed around 6 th ct. CE at end of the period of division –The Six Dynasties (220—581 CE) From Fall of Eastern Han to beginning of the Sui –Golden Age of Buddhism in Tang dynasty (618—907 CE)  Four indigenous Chinese Buddhist schools –Huayan, Tiantai, Pure Land and Chan

14 14 Tiantai School  Tiantai ( 天台 ) Buddhism –Japanese: Tendai  Chinese Buddhist school (6 th ct.) –not Indian in origin –Most important school of Buddhism in early Tang  Founded by Chinese monk and meditation master –Zhiyi (Chih-i) 538—597  Named after sacred mountain in Zhejiang –Heavenly Terrace

15 15 Tiantai  Organized comprehensive Buddhist doctrines and practices into grades from elementary to advanced  Organized canon with Lotus Scripture at apex

16 16 Buddhist suppression in China  Late Tang opposition to Buddhism as a foreign religion emerged among influential intellectuals  In 845 the Tang emperor began a full-scale persecution of the Buddhist establishment. –Destroyed more than 4,600 monasteries, 40,000 temples and shrines, and more than 260,000 Buddhist monks and nuns were forced to return to secular life.  Although the suppression was lifted a few years later, the monastic establishment never fully recovered  Later became most influential school in Japan –Founded in Japan by Saichoo in 9th ct. –Established center at Mt. Hiei –Opened way to Zen, Pure Land and Nichiren

17 17 Pure Land School  Pure Land –Chinese: Jingtu ( 凈土 ) –Japanese: Jodo  Indiginous Chinese school (5 th ct CE) –Founded by the monk Huiyuan (334—416 CE)  Spread from China to Vietnam, Korea and Japan  Practical approach to universal Buddha-nature –Salvation for all not just monastic community –Reaction against scholastic preoccupation of Tiantai and Huayan schools  Salvation through faith, merit and vows by rebirth in a Pure Land –Became intermediate goal to Nirvana  A Pure Land originally the place where a buddha or bodhisattva appeared  Came to mean a world system purified by the power of a Bodhisattva’s vow and subsequent awakening

18 18 Major Buddha of Pure Land  Āmítuó fó ( 阿彌陀佛 ) –Transliteration of Sanskrit: Amitābha Buddha ( 無量光 ) –Buddha of Limitless Light Amitāyus Buddha ( 無量壽 ) –Buddha of Limitless Life  Amida (Japanese) –Common Buddhist greeting or exclamation  Legendary king who renounced throne to become a Buddhist monk named Dharmakāra –48 vows resolved to become a buddha and create paradise realm to help all sentient beings become awakened  Those unable to achieve awakening in this life –Vow to be reborn in Western Paradise

19 19 Pure Land School  Resides in Western Paradise –“Happy Land of the West” or Sukhavati –Perform merit-producing deeds, including pilgrimage –Rebirth by calling his name with complete faith Especially at death –Practice of recitation of the name of the Buddha (Chinese: nianfo; Japanese: nembutsu) – “Hail Amitabha Buddha” (na-mo a-mi-tuo-fo)  Scripture of the Pure Land (sukhāvatī) –Translated into Chinese 3 rd — 5 th ct. –Conversation between historical Buddha and Ananda –Describes paradise realm of Buddha of Infinite Light

20 20 Pure Land Meditation in Japan  After suppression of 845, Pure Land in China becomes universalized  Founded in Japan as Jodoshu (Pure Land School) in 12- 13 th ct.  By Honen, an ordained Tendai monk from Mt. Hiei  Emphasized practice of nembutsu: –Namu Amida butsu (Hale Amitabha Buddha)  Oral recitation of Amitabha’s name produces vision of Amitabha’s paradise and Amitabha himself –Both sound AND sight –Cf. Honen’s diary

21 21 Buddhist Ritual Music Tiantai and Pure Land

22 22 A Tiandai Mantra and Mudra: used in the Matrix Mandala ritual  Sudden Awakening Mantra: –“Rising Diamond”  Japanese: –Kyoogakushinden ( きようがくしんでん )  Chinese: –Jīngjué zhēnyán –( 驚覺真言 )  Sanskrit: –Om vajrottistha hum  Interlocked little fingers  Thumbs under middle fingers  Index fingers touching to form Diamond

23 23 Pure Land Buddhist Jodo Ritual Music  Yǎyuè ( 雅樂 ) –Lit. “Refined Music.” Ceremonial/Court music of China Preserved in Japan but now lost in China  Brought to Japan by the monk Enin in 9 th ct. –Ennin’s Travels in T’ang China by Edwin Reischauer (1955) –Arrived Yangzhou summer of 838 (4 centuries before Polo) –9 year pilgrimage to Buddhist centers Popular Buddhist practice Persecution of 845

24 24 Portrait of Ennin Idealized portrait from 12 th ct.

25 25 Chinese Empire under the Tang

26 26 32 Marks  Jodo (Pure Land) court music –Recorded 1964 at the Tiandai Music Research Institute, Mt. Hiei  Meditation on the 32 characteristics of the body of Amida Buddha  Sanjuuni Sou honkyoku  さんじゅうにそうほんきよく ( 三十二相本曲 ) –Listed praises of 32 primary marks (80 secondary)

27 27 32 Marks of a Buddha (lakshanas)  His feet have level soles  *His soles are marked by wheels with a thousand spokes, felloe and hub  He has projecting heels  He has long fingers and toes, sometimes even in length  He has soft and tender hands and feet  His hands and feet are webbed  He has high-raised ankles  His legs are like an antelope’s  Standing and without bending, he can touch and touch his knees  His male organs are enclosed in a sheath

28 28 Marks 11-20  * His complexion is bright, the color of gold  His skin is delicate and so smooth that no dust can adhere to his body  His body-hairs are separate, one to each pore  * His body-hairs grow upwards, each one bluish-black, curling in rings to the right  His body is divinely straight  He has seven convex surfaces  The front part of his body is like a lion's  There is no hollow between his shoulders  He is proportioned like a banyan-tree (the height of his body is the same as the span of his out- stretched arms, and conversely)  His chest is evenly rounded

29 29  He has a perfect sense of taste  He has jaws like a lion's  He has forty teeth  His teeth are even  There are no spaces between his teeth  His canine teeth are very bright  His tongue is very long  He has a Brahma-like voice, like that of the karavika bird  His eyes are deep blue  He has eyelashes like a cow's  *He has a whorl of hair between his eyes, white and soft like cotton- down, [urna]  * 32 His head is like a royal turban: cranial bump [ushinisha] Marks 21-32

30 30 “ White tuft ” Urna “ Snail-shell ” ushinisha Long armsElongated or even fingers Wheels on feet (reclining Buddha)


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