Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia

Henrik H. Sørensen, Richard K. Payne, Charles D. Orzech

Language: English

Pages: 1223

ISBN: 9004184910

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In all likelihood, it was the form of Buddhism labeled Esoteric Buddhism that had the greatest geographical spread of any form of Buddhism. It left its imprint not only on its native India, but far beyond, on Southeast Asia, Central Asia, including Tibet and Mongolia, as well as the East Asian countries China, Korea and Japan. Not only has Esoteric Buddhism contributed substantially to the development of Buddhism in many cultures, but it also facilitated the transmission of religious art and material culture, science and technology. This volume, the result of an international collaboration of forty scholars, provides a comprehensive resource on Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in their Chinese, Korean, and Japanese contexts from the first few centuries of the common era right up to the present. Contributors include: Barbara Ambrose, Anna Andreeva, Sarah Aptilon, Ian Astley, Clemente Beghi, Heather Blair, William Bodiford, Chen Jinhua, Paul Copp, Ronald M. Davidson, Lucia Dolce, Athanasios Drakakis, Donald Drummond, Ruth Dunnell, Jay Ford, David Gardiner, Rolf Giebel, Robert M. Gimello, David Gray, Elizabeth ten Grotenhuis, Nobumi Iyanaga, George Keyworth, Martin Lehnert, Hun Y. Lye, Shinya Mano, Richard M. McBride, Laura Meeks, Regan Murphy, Charles D. Orzech, Richard K. Payne, Klaus Pinte, Fabio Rambelli, Thierry Robouam, James Robson, Brian Ruppert, Neil Schmid, Gaynor Sekimori, Shen Weirong, Henrik H. S rensen, Mark Unno, Pamela Winfield

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Copyright 2011 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands. Koninklijke Brill NV incorporates the imprints Brill, Hotei Publishing, IDC Publishers, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers and VSP. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher. Authorization to photocopy items for

hallmark of semantic identity, as we have seen.” These usages are found in Bodhisattvabhūmi, Saddharmapuṇ ḍarīka, etc. See Davidson 2009, 24–25, n. 68. 80 charles d. orzech and henrik h. sørensen The use of spells (zhou 咒, mantra) and dhāraṇ īs (tuoluoni 陀羅尼) have a long history in China which dates at least to the 2nd century. In the course of the Nanbeichao period (440–589) the use of spells became fairly common among Buddhist practitioners due to the large number of spell-texts that

bodily relics or, in some cases, the entire body, the pagoda was more properly a monument of Buddhist power and truth, a beacon of enlightenment.12 Even so, the respective meaning and function of stūpas and pagodas overlap. Though no cases are known in which pagodas functioned as part of a funerary tradition, they could contain bodily relics in some cases, such as we have seen with the celebrated pagoda from Famen Temple (法門寺) that housed what was believed to be a finger bone relic of Śākyamuni

of popular cults in Hinduism as well as in Mahāyāna Buddhism itself.3 While I certainly do not intend to contest the second half of this view, I believe that much can be said for the ultimate rejection of the former. It is quite clear that the kind of institutionalized Esoteric Buddhism that existed in East Asia between ca. 700–1000 C.E., i.e., in China, Korea, and Japan, was in many ways quite different from that of contemporary India, not to mention early Tantric Buddhism in Tibet. Most

“vidyā,” i.e., as a dhāraṇ ī in the meaning of “spell.”14 Given that the text itself uses “holding”and “spell” interchangeably, both readings make sense. Although the Chinese text clearly indicates the use of spells to invoke protective female demons (another example of the growing adaptation of non-Buddhist spirits in Mahāyāna), these spells have been left out of Dharmarakṣa’s translation and replaced with prose in the form of a standard prayer.15 It is possible that the translator felt that

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