Absolute Delusion, Perfect Buddhahood: The Rise and Fall of by Jamie Hubbard

By Jamie Hubbard

Even with the typical view of Buddhism as non-dogmatic and tolerant, the ancient checklist preserves many examples of Buddhist thinkers and activities that have been banned as heretical or subversive. The San-chieh (Three degrees) was once a favored and influential chinese language Buddhist move throughout the Sui and Tang sessions, counting strong statesmen, imperial princes, or even an empress, Empress Wu, between its buyers. In spite, or even accurately simply because, of its proximity to energy, the San-chieh circulation ran afoul of the professionals and its teachings and texts have been formally proscribed a number of occasions over a several-hundred-year background. as a result of those suppressions San-chieh texts have been misplaced and little information regarding its teachings or background is out there. the current paintings, the 1st English examine of the San-chieh circulation, makes use of manuscripts came upon at Tun-huang to ascertain the doctrine and institutional practices of this circulation within the greater context of Mahayana doctrine and perform. by means of viewing San-Chieh within the context of Mahayana Buddhism, Hubbard finds it to be faraway from heretical and thereby increases very important questions on orthodoxy and canon in Buddhism. He indicates that a number of the hallmark rules and practices of chinese language Buddhism locate an early and specified expression within the San-chieh texts.

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63 See Nishimoto Teruma, “Sangaikyõ no kanhõ ni tsuite,” Õkurasan ronshð 44 (1999), 85–121. 64 Chih fa, 579, 582. 65 Practice in Accord with the Capacity, 123 (cf. , 142); see also chapter 5. 66 Practice in Accord with the Capacity, 117–20. 70 Fang-teng As mentioned above, it seems likely that Hsin-hsing studied with Hui-tsan, a Vinaya and meditation master also known for his cultivation of the dhðta and the fang teng ¾f penitentiary rite. 71 Whether because of Hui-tsan’s inµuence or simply because of its widespread popularity is unclear, but Hsin-hsing and his followers also practiced the fang teng rite, a complex and lengthy (one week was standard, but longer periods are also provided for) ritual retreat consisting of extensive physical puri³cation, offerings to and veneration of the Buddhas, confession of sins, circumambulation while chanting dh„ra«‡, and seated meditation designed to remove obstacles and purify the mind.

97 The “Field of Compassion” (pei t’ien «,) refers to sentient beings, the fertile ³eld in which the bodhisattva sows seeds of compassion that come to fruition for the bene³t of all; the “Field of Respect” (ching t’ien ’,) refers to the Three Jewels, the fertile field in which sentient beings sow seeds of respect that come to fruition in the form of merit. Of course, both types of “seeds” are metaphorical, and what the biography is referring to is charity (d„na) and Hsin-hsing’s practice of giving equally to ordinary sentient beings and to the Three Jewels.

475a ; see also chapter 8, 205. 49b. absolute delusion, perfect buddhahood / 35 even the timetables of decline as at the rhetorical context, a context that reveals a similar polemic or sectarian discourse more interested in establishing a particular orthodoxy of “true teaching” than in voicing historical predictions of actual decline, prophetic warnings of moral failings, or existential statements about humankind’s capacity for realization. In fact, the beginnings of the Buddhist tradition of decline are best understood as a rhetoric of orthodoxy that marks the appearance of doctrinal differentiation in the Buddhist community.

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