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Conference Abstracts

Buddhism, Daoism, and Chinese Religion

International Conference, Princeton University, Oct. 8-10, 2010


Stephen Bokenkamp, Arizona State University.
“The Early Lingbao Scriptures and the Origins of Daoist Monasticism.
            The early fifth century Lingbao zhai ritual became a blue-print for all later Daoist communal ritual. At the same time, the zhai clearly adopted much from Buddhism. A number of studies have acknowledged this fact and, even in the absence of solid studies on 4th century Chinese Buddhist ritual, sought to determine just what was borrowed from Buddhism. In this paper, I intend to explore methodologies for analyzing this scriptural material in a new way that highlights the concerns of ritual creators. In the process, it will be possible, I hold, to form more compelling hypotheses on what came from Buddism and what might have been the novel contributions of early Lingbao Daoists. These later, it might be added, are most interesting for what they tell us of how early medieval Chinese responded to Buddhist doctrine and ritual.

Robert F. Campany, Vanderbilt University.
“Religious Repertoires and Contestation: A Case Study based on a Collection of Buddhist Miracle Tales, ca. 490 C.E.”
            When we use a phrase such as “interaction between Buddhism and Daoism,” what exactly are we talking about? My paper reflects on how we often imagine such phenomena and offers an alternative. It then applies this alternative model to an analysis of how a compilation of Buddhist miracle tales, Wang Yan’s Mingxiang ji or Signs from the Unseen Realm (completed ca. 490 C.E.), engages with aspects of the indigenous and Buddhist religious landscape.
Paul Copp, University of Chicago.
“Research Notes on Talisman-Seals, Ritual Handbooks, and Manuscript Culture in Late Medieval Dunhuang.”
            P. 3835V #9 (Foshuo dalun jin’gang zongchi tuoluoni fa 佛說大輪金剛總持陀羅尼法 ) is a text that, following standard pictures of the nature of Chinese religious practice, we would have to characterize as “hybrid.” Presenting itself as a dhāraṇī manual and drawing heavily on the imagery and conventions of dhāraṇī Buddhism, it centers on instructions for the creation and use of talismanic seals (fuyin 符印 ) of a kind familiar from Daoist and other native Chinese practices (including, of course, Buddhist).   In this paper I will explore the text in its local Dunhuang religious and codicological contexts, with one eye towards the double theme of the conference.
Ned Davis, University of Hawai’i.
“Buddhism, Daoism, and The Origin of the Cult to the ‘Wutong’ Spirits in Tang and Song China.”
            This essay will explore the origins and early development of the cult to the Spirits of the Five [Cognitive] Powers (Wutongshen), otherwise known as the Spirits of the Five Penetrations, a translation which will have to be abandoned. It focuses on the evidence from the Tang dynasty through the 12th c. and offers the first solution to the identity of these spirits in almost a millennium. From the 8th and 9th centuries, the cult developed in tandem with Buddhism and Daoism, and the latter two religions played significant, but vastly different, roles in its spread and transformation from rural to urban areas throughout the Yangzi basin, also, thereby, obscuring its earlier identity. Clarifying this earlier identity will result in a new narrative describing the relation between a popular cult, Buddhist monasteries and Daoist temples, and may force us to rethink some recent interpretations.
FUNAYAMA Tōru船山徹, Kyoto University.
“Buddhist Theories of Bodhisattva Practice as Adopted by Taoists.”
            The Bodhisattva path underwent a peculiar development in China. Chinese Buddhism created an influential, apocryphal scripture in the fifth century, entitled the Pusa yingluo benye jing. In this paper, I present some observations on the impact of this scripture and a significant passage of the Da zhidu lun, especially in view of relevant doctrines found in later Taoist texts such as the Pivot of Meaning of the Taoist Teaching (Daojiao yishu) by Zhen Luan and the Commentary on the Laozi (Laozi yishu) by Cheng Xuanying in early Tang.
Robert M. Gimello, University of Notre Dame.
Vincent Goossaert, Centre national pour recherche scientifique.
“The Daoist and Buddhist Constructions of Local Religion in Late Imperial Jiangnan.”
            This paper looks at the role Daoism played in constructing local religion in late imperial Jiangnan by focusing on canonizations 封神 granted by the Heavenly Master 張天師 to local temple cults. It begins by a case study of the well-known Wutong 五通 cult in Suzhou, which was promoted by the Heavenly Master through the agency of local Daoist elites during the early Qing. It then takes a larger look at the history of the canonizations practices that emerged during the Yuan period, and evolved in such a way that by the Qing period, the Heavenly Master was mostly granting titles of territorial gods identical to those of the state. In conclusion, I reflect on how this practice of the Heavenly Master granting such titles to local gods turned him into a key state agent. This puts Daoism and the Heavenly Master administration in particular, in the position of regulator of state religion, in contrast to Buddhists who were still promoting gods in their own pantheon.
Terry Kleeman, University of Colorado.
“Changing Conceptions of the Realm of the Dead in Early Medieval China.”
            By the later Han, China already had a complex and diverse complex of beliefs concerning where and how the dead existed. Daoism built upon this base in creating a new religion advocating a radical re-imagination of the nature and structure of the Chinese religious world. Buddhism brought with it Indian conceptions of the nature of death and the disposition of the dead that had to be translated and transformed to make sense to the Chinese. Moreover, Buddhist and Daoist conceptions influenced each other in a complex process of assimilation and differentiation. This paper will examine the ways these three traditions interacted over the first six centuries of the first millennium CE to produce the mature syncretic, but still multi-vocal, conception of the realm of the dead evident in Tang sources.
KUO Li-ying, École française d’Extrême-Orient.
“Dhāraṇī Pillar Inscriptions: Text and Context.”
            Compared with the great number of Buddhist sūtra stone inscriptions recorded in the corpus of epigraphy, the number of Daoist scripture engravings is small. However, these Daoist engravings are important documents for studying the religious, social, and even political situation, especially during the Tang and Song periods. Combining their study and that of Buddhist sūtra epigraphs enables us to trace a link between the practice of these two religions. Earlier, under the Northern Dynasties, some stelae were engraved on one side with images of Buddha and Bodhisattvas and the names of the donors, and on the other with images of Laozi and his attendants and the names of the worshippers. Both sides are very similar: the same presentation of the image, and the same type of dedicatory text. Later, that type of stele is not attested, but one stele inscribed with both Buddhist sūtra and Daoist scripture is known. Surprisingly, the two texts, Buddhist and Daoist, inscribed on this stele have, so far I can see, nothing in common.
            If the custom of erecting stelae with both Buddhist and Daoist content stopped under the Tang and Song, and Buddhists and Daoists did not participate any more in sharing the same stone column, there are nevertheless some similarities between the creeds in the choice of text, contents, and the motivations of the inscriptions. I shall give some instances of them.
John Lagerwey, Chinese University of Hong Kong.
“Buddhism, Daoism, and the State in the Production of Local Religion.”
            Starting from two well-known and widely consensual ideas—that the “three religions” formed a united front against "popular religion" during the Six Dynasties and that the Daoist church had disappeared by the early Song—I would like to reflect on the role of the three religions in the production of modern popular religion. The paper will begin by defining popular religion as essentially local and territorial in character. Having then identified some of the characteristic ritual practices and theoretical assumptions of local religion, I will try to isolate the contributions of the three nameable religions to this complex. The results should also tell us something new about the historical relationships between Buddhism and Daoism, and their relative social status in late imperial China.
LAI Chi-tim黎志添, Chinese University of Hong Kong.
“The Daoist Identity of the Yellow Register Retreat in the Southern Song: A Case Study of Jin Yunzhong’s Great Rites of Lingbao.”
            The I 黃籙齋 , or “Yellow Register Retreat,” was the Daoist liturgical service most commonly celebrated from the Tang (618-907) to the Song (960-1279) periods. A somewhat distinctive feature of the Yellow Register Retreat of the Song period was the appearance of the great ritual synthesis of the Yellow Register Retreat enlarged by the new school of the Great Rites of Lingbao (Lingbao dafa 靈寶大法 ) of the Gezao shan 閤皂山 (Jiangxi) lineage. Incorporation of the Great Rites of the Lingbao shifted the character, method, and purpose of the salvation of the dead celebrated by the classical Lingbao liturgy. For the specific topic under discussion in this paper, it is argued that we are missing something important concerning the construction of the Daoist identity of the ritual of the Yellow Register Retreat transmitted during the Song to Daoist priests within the new school of the Great Rites of Lingbao if we simply look at it as a Buddhist influence or Daoist imitation of the Buddhist Retreat of Water and Land. This paper will study the Daoist Retreat of the Yellow Register by mainly referring to Jin Yunzhong’s 金允中 (fl. 1224-1225) very influential Lingbao liturgical compendium, Great Rites of the Shangqing Lingbao (Shangqing lingbao dafa 上清靈寶大法 ). It is hoped that this examination may prove helpful in pointing out that the Yellow Register Retreat for the salvation of the dead celebrated in the Song, and even today, is based upon a coherent Daoist ritual structure and bureaucratic program, and a decidedly Daoist symbolic world. Daoist priests who perform the Yellow Register Retreat certainly know that those Daoist ritual elements are not interchangeable for those used by Buddhist monks who perform the Retreat of Water and Land (Shuilu zhai 水陸齋 ).
LÜ Pengzhi呂鵬志, Sichuan University.
“The Lingbao Fast of the Three Primes and the Daoist Ritual of the Middle Prime: A Critical Study of the Taishang dongxuan lingbao sanyuan pinjie jing/ 靈寶三元齋與道教中元法會——《太上洞玄靈寶三元品誡經》考校研究 .”
            The origin of the Daoist ritual of the Middle Prime (also known as the Middle Prime Festival 中元節 ) is a puzzle involving the relationship between Buddhism and Daoism in the medieval period of China. Akizuki Kan’ei 秋月觀暎 , Yoshioka Yoshitoyo 吉岡義豐 and Ōfuchi Ninji 大淵忍爾 made profound investigations into this problem by linking it to the formation of the Daoist theory of the Three Primes 三元 . They found and made use of numerous primary sources inside and outside the Daoist Canon, but regrettably, as they incorrectly dated the key Daoist scripture, the Taishang dongxuan lingbao sanyuan pinjie jing 太上洞玄靈寶三元品誡經 and did not reconstruct it, they failed to solve the problem thoroughly. Originally appearing in the Catalogue of Lingbao Scriptures 靈寶經目 compiled by Lu Xiujing 陸修靜 in 437 AD, this scripture is now lost, whose fragments are only found in citations. This article proves that the Taishang dongxuan lingbao sanyuan pinjie gongde qingzhong jing 太上洞玄靈寶三元品戒功德輕重經 (DZ 456) and the Taishang dadao sanyuan pinjie xiezui shangfa 太上大道三元品戒謝罪上法 (DZ 417) formerly constituted the two parts of the scripture and later became two single texts. This article also argues that the confession ritual held on the days of the Three Primes (i.e., the 15th days of the first, seventh, and tenth months of lunar calendar) recorded by the scripture is nothing but what Lu Xiujing called the Three Prime Fast 三元齋 , one of the six Lingbao fasts, which were created by compilers of the ancient Lingbao scriptures in imitation of Buddhist fasting ritual. The Three Prime Fast differs from the Daoist ritual of the Middle Prime both in function and in form: the former is the adept’s self-confession ritual, aimed at eradicating the roots of his sins and “removing his name from the register of death and inscribing it on that of life”; the latter is a ritual of offering pure offerings to saints of the ten directions and Daoists, aimed at saving dead ancestors and hungry ghosts. Although these two rituals are quite distinct from each other, the latter might have evolved from the former. The whole evolution took place probably in two steps: the Three Prime Fast evolved into the great offering on the Three Prime days, which in turn became the great offering on the day of the Middle Prime (i.e., the 15th day of the seventh month of lunar calendar), namely the Daoist ritual of the Middle Prime in question. The transformations in both stages occurred in the 5th and 6th centuries, under the influence of the Yulanpen 盂蘭盆 ceremony, a Buddhist ritual formed prior to the Lingbao fast of the Three Primes and the Daoist ritual of the Middle Prime.
Christine Mollier, Centre national pour recherche scientifique.
“Iconizing the Daoist-Buddhist Relationship: Cliff Sculptures in Sichuan during the Reign of Tang Xuanzong.”
            I propose to examine the co-existence of Buddhist and Daoist deities at sculptural sites in Sichuan that reflect the pro-Daoist policy of Tang Xuanzong (r. 712-756). These can be interpreted as the products of a resurgence of a Huahu (Conversion of the Barbarians) type of iconography. My argument will focus on visual and epigraphical evidence found at some of the major sites where, in particular, paired images of Sakyamuni and Laojun (or Tianzun) as well as other Daoist/Buddhist compositions are prominently depicted.
MUGITANI Kunio麥谷邦夫, Kyoto University.
“Tang Xuanzong and His Comments on the Xiaojing, Daodejing and Diamond Sutra/ 圍繞著唐玄宗三經御注的諸問題——以《御注金剛般若經》爲中心 .”
            唐玄宗撰著《孝經》《老子道德經》和《金剛般若經》的注釋。通過這三種注釋的研究,我們可以了解唐玄宗的三教理解和政治態度。但是,因爲《御注金剛般若經》沒有被收入現存的任何一種寶藏之中,宋代以後其傳本全然不爲人知,所以從來沒有專門研究。現在這樣情況大大變化了。在 1989 年我們纔可以看見房山石經本,其後我們發現斯坦因敦煌卷子 S.2068 也是《御注金剛般若經》的另一種殘本。借此機會,我用這新發現的資料進行了初步研究。
Michael Puett, Harvard University.
James Robson, Harvard University.
“Taking One’s Fate Into One’s Own Hands: Pre-mortem Death Rituals (nixiu 逆修 , yuxiu 預修 ) in Chinese Buddhism and Daoism.”
            It has been commonly understood that the care for the dead in China involves an elaborate system of post-mortem rites aimed at providing posthumous succor for the departed. Buddhist and Daoist death rituals, which employed a variety of techniques to gain and transfer merit from the living to deceased ancestors, are said to exemplify the importance of filial piety in East Asia. In this paper I discusses a variety of Buddhist and Daoist sources that suggest, however, that some people were in fact rather uneasy about placing their post-mortem fate in the hands of surviving relatives or they may have had no offspring to depend on for the performance of the proper rituals. I therefore intend to explore the development of rituals of “preparatory cultivation” (nixiu 逆修 , yuxiu 預修 ), which involve accruing merit for oneself while alive that is then transferred to oneself after death, within Buddhist and Daoist history. These pre-mortem rites, which were propagated in doctrinal texts and by Buddhist and Daoist institutions, became a widespread phenomena in East Asia. The fact that they were also subjected to trenchant critiques by some Confucian, Buddhist, and Daoist thinkers demonstrates that they had become widespread enough to warrant attention. How does an understanding of the development of these practices force us to rethink commonly held notions about Buddhist and Daoist conceptions of death and the posthumous fate of the deceased? In the process of interrogating the practice of pre-mortem death rites, this paper also reflects on different methodological approaches to study of the entwined nature of Buddhism and Daoism in the pre-modern period.
Robert Sharf, University of California, Berkeley.
“Mindfulness and Mindlessness in Early Chan.”
            A variety of texts associated with early Chan, most of which come from the Mogao “library cave,” enjoin a kind of “mindlessness” as the essence of Chan. Discussions in these eighth century texts revolve around a variety of related terms, ideas, and concepts, such as wuxin (no mind), jueguan (sever discernment), linian (transcend mindfulness), and wunian (no mindfulness or no thought). Considerable work has been done on the polemical context of such concepts: these terms were flash points in early debates that led to the sudden/gradual controversies. But many questions remain concerning the practical applications of the doctrine of “mindlessness.” What specific techniques and practices, if any, are associated with these terms? Why were these practices considered controversial? Did the champions of early Chan see themselves as advocating a distinctly new technique, or merely a novel approach to already established practices? My paper will focus on the cluster of injunctions and practices that I will subsume under the general category of “mindlessness”—practices central to the eventual emergence of Chan as a self-conscious and independent tradition in East Asia.
Stephen F. Teiser, Princeton University.
Franciscus Verellen, École française d’Extrême-Orient.

Eugene Wang, Harvard University.
“Why Placing Spell-Prints in a Pagoda Reliquary? Ritual Implications of the Dhāraṇī in Ruiguangsi Pagoda.”
            The point of departure is that the cache from the 3rd floor crypt of the Ruiguangsi Pagoda (1004) includes two versions of the same spell text: one in Chinese, one in Sanskrit, both will illustrations. The cache also includes a Daoist spell text in addition to Buddhist spell texts. I will show that the analytical schemes used by Daoist spell literature can help us understand the "Buddhist" spell prints and their pictorial designs.

YU Xin余欣, Fudan University.
“Buddhism, Daoism and Astrology in a Medieval Chinese Talisman/ 敦煌星命文獻與圖像研究 :
以 Ch.lvi.0033 《星供陀羅尼符》爲中心 .”
            This paper is based on Ch.lvi.0033 in the Stein collection kept at the British Museum, which is a talisman of the Pole-star and Ketu-star with a short prayer. The paper examines the sources, structure, and transformations of this painting.
            由於敦煌莫高窟的藝術遺存和藏經洞文獻的主體是佛教及其相關內容,似乎給人這樣一個印象:敦煌兆民的宗教信仰是純粹的佛教,敦煌是 “ 佛教都市 ” 。其實這未免有些扭曲了敦煌諸種信仰雜處、互動和交融的絢麗多姿的真實圖景,是大大抹煞了敦煌民生宗教的豐富內涵的簡單化概括。我在撰寫博士論文時注意到了 Ch.lvi.0033 ,後來在此基礎上改寫出版的《神道人心》中,將其作爲體現敦煌社會民生宗教本質的杰作收入卷首的彩色圖版中。但是鑒於這件材料的複雜性,只是在文中簡略地提及,並沒有給予詳細的解說。
近年來,孟嗣徽、廖暘、趙貞諸位學者的卓越研究,對於敦煌所出星命、星占文獻和圖像資料的釋讀和分析,爲我們提供了許多有益的啓示,但仍有不少問題未能求得通解。太史文 (Stephen F. Teiser) 教授主張: “ 我們必須留意中國宗教生活中的持久的成分:神話、儀式、宇宙觀念、宗教藝人與祖先崇拜。祗有當中國宗教的這些形式依據中國社會背景加以探討纔會更好地理解中國文化。 ” 受此啓發,筆者擬在參考先行研究成果的基礎上,以 Ch.lvi.0033 爲核心資料,對於所涉及的星占、星命概念和技術,中西天文學和星占學的交流,星神圖像程式的成立過程,解除方術、道教符籙與密教星神供養禳灾儀式如何結合諸問題,提出自己的見解,進而揭示其在信仰實踐中的功能和意義。
ZHOU Yukai周裕锴, Sichuan University.
“The Influence of the Buddhist Concept of the Interchangeability of the Six Senses on Daily Life and Aesthetic Trends during the Song Dynasty/ 佛教的六根互用觀念對宋代日常生活與審美活動的影響 .”