Click here to return to the main conference page.
The term Miaowu ziran (wonderous enlightenment, as in the destruction of all duality-based illusions; subuddhi, suśikṣita, and its awakened state of natural being), coined as a neologism by Eastern Jin monk Seng Zhao (384-414) in his commentary of Weimojie jing (Vimalakīrti- nirdeśa-sūtra), epitomizes Seng’s understanding of Mahāyāna Buddhist doctrine and showcases the distinct “Buddhist-Hybrid Chinese” form of the Six Dynasties period.
Following the Eastern Jin period, the Tiantai, Sanlun, Huyan, and Chan schools’ discourses all expounded on Miaowu ziran. The term eventually trickled into Tang dynasty painting theory, first appearing in Lidai minghua ji (Records of Famous Paintings of Successive Dynasties, c.847) as a new expression used to describe the paintings of Gu Kaizhi (c. 344-405). This process marks Miaowu ziran’s evolution from a purely Buddhist idea to a new artistic theory expression. In the Song dynasty, Miaowu ziran continued to be used as a key term of aesthetic theory, gradually subduing its Buddhist connotations.
Despite the importance of this term in medieval period Buddhist doctrine and art theory, there remains little research examining Miaowu ziran’s textual evolution beginning with its emergence in Seng Zhao’s commentary and culminating with its later use in Tang and Song dynasty artistic theory texts. Thus, this paper studies Miaowu ziran’s evolution and eventual shift from a Buddhist term to a term used in aesthetic theory.
This paper examines a group of liturgical manuscripts from Dunhuang, including P. 2058, P. 2915, P. 3149, S. 663, S. 1137, S. 3914, and S. 4537, for understanding Buddhist rituals of creating four mandalas. These rituals consist of a series of programs such as consecrating the ritual space, invoking deities, honoring the Bodhisattvas, feeding the beings in the underworld, and praying for the sentient beings. By analyzing these procedures and programs, this paper aims to reveal four worlds that these rituals manifested. The first one is the Buddhist cosmological world in the ritual, constructed by the consecration and invocation of Buddhist clergies. How was this cosmological world in these liturgical manuscripts locally produced in Dunhuang different from the version in Buddhist canonical sources? The second one is the textual world. The Buddhist community was often viewed as a textual community. In this textual community, texts were materially and verbally produced, introduced, and interpreted. They provided doctrinal foundations and sometimes prescriptions for the ritual programs. The third one is the political and social world in which political agents from both central and peripheral regions played different roles. This paper will discuss who sponsored the rituals and how they and others benefited in different ways from the rituals. The four one is the Buddhist material world. This paper will look into what objects constructed the material foundation for these rituals and how these objects appeared in the Dunhuang area.
Many Vimalakīrti Sūtra scenes are featured in the murals of the Dunhuang Mogao Caves. The majority of the scenes from Sui to early Tang dynasties are painted inside and outside the niche on the front-facing wall (the western wall). Stucco figure of the Śākyamuni Buddha is placed inside the niche as the principal icon, and the Vimalakīrti Sūtra scene provides supplementary information that the sahā world in which the Buddha exists is in fact an immaculate Buddha-land. On the other hand, after Tang, the placement of the Vimalakīrti Sūtra moves to the eastern and the northern walls. At the same time, the iconography becomes more complex with multiple Buddha-lands of present Buddhas such as Wudong Fo 無動佛 (unperturbed Buddha: Akṣobhya), Dengwang Fo 燈王佛 (Light King Buddha), and Xiangji Fo 香積佛 (fragrance Accumulated Buddha). This paper will consider how Śākyamuni’s Buddha-land was perceived in Tang China by examining the differences between the depiction of the Buddha-lands of the three present Buddhas and that of Śākyamuni Buddha. In addition, the paper will bring attention to the placement of the Vimalakīrti Sūtra scene on the northern wall, explaining how “north” in the Mogao Caves would actually be perceived as the “east,” and that the placement of the Vimalakīrti Sūtra scene towards the “east” connotes the notion that China––located to the east of India––inherits India’s status as Śākyamuni’s Buddha-land.
This paper will focus on the gilded silver xiangnang (sachet) from Famensi, a Buddhist temple in the Famen town of the Tang Dynasty. This is one of the largest xiangnang found in the Tang dynasty. The style of its metalwork and its technique originated from beizhong xianglu (incense burner inside the quilt) mentioned in Xijing Zaji (Miscellaneous Records of the Western Capital) as early as the Han dynasty. The openwork floral design on the outside of the xiangnang influenced many later design media in Chinese art. Furthermore, the gyroscope-like stabilizer inside the xiangnang looks like Kepler’s drawing of the “Polyhedral Model of the Planetary Intervals” from Mysterium cosmographicum. The stabilizer inside the xiangnang also predates the invention of the gyroscope for maritime navigation in Europe. This paper will discuss the xiangnang’s relation to the ritual of incense burning (as a way to reach another world); to the polyhedron (and the Keplerian universe); to the gyroscope (to facilitate seafaring); and ultimately to worldmaking.
Aspirations for postmortem birth in a buddha’s pure land were integral to the development of Buddhism in early medieval Japan. While a majority of those in early medieval Japan who aspired to birth in a pure land pinned their hopes on the Buddha Amitābha (Amida)’s land of Utmost Bliss, some devotees aimed to achieve birth in other superior realms such as Maitreya’s Tuṣita Heaven, the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara’s realm Potalaka, and even specific loci imagined as buddha lands in this world. Postmortem birth in a pure land was thus a widely-held religious ideal of early medieval Japanese who sought for birth in a number of superior realms. Although the presence of many pure lands allowed devotees to be flexible about a destination to be aimed, for some Buddhists, it also raised problems. The multiplicity of buddha lands provoked a series of debates on the superiority of one buddha land over others as well as on the proper practice one should carry out to achieve birth there. A Buddhist master Hōnen (1133-1212) intervened in these debates, asserting that among the buddha lands in the ten directions of the universe, birth in Amida’s Pure Land alone offers the successful path to postmortem liberation under the condition of the decline of the Buddhist teachings. This paper examines how Hōnen’s Buddhist soteriology challenged the basic premises of early medieval Japanese cosmologies, where multiple buddhas’ pure lands were thought to exist simultaneously. To address this issue, the paper puts a particular focus on imagined debates between Hōnen and an astute critic of him, Myōe (1173-1232), each of whom embraced a different concept of the systems of pure lands with the hope of representing the universal salvation.
In fixing his hope exclusively on Amida’s Pure Land, Hōnen famously asserted that only this far-away realm encompasses even radical evildoers, those incapable of pursuing any forms of self-cultivation. Hōnen’s utopian call for the Pure Land thus arose out of a critique of his own world-system, in which he found a gap between prescriptions of bodhisattvas and sinful ordinary beings already incommensurable. This entrustment of the universal salvation to the Pure Land entailed a substantial transformation in the preexisting cosmological concept: The soteriological meaning of multiple buddha lands should be compressed into Amida’s Pure Land. However, it is for this very point that Myōe attacked Hōnen. A leading Buddhist affiliated with the Japanese Kegon (Ch. Huayan), Myōe defended the multiplicity of buddha lands based on the cosmology of the Flower Ornament Sūtra. Reckoned expanding world-systems in this sūtra as the authentic expression of the ideal of universal salvation, he even insisted that Hōnen’s Buddhist soteriology was self-undermining because it could negate the meaning of the Buddhist teachings and practice in this world. In this paper, I reconstruct debates between Hōnen and Myōe over the legitimate expression of the Buddhist cosmos. I argue that, although they envisioned the Buddhist cosmos in a quite different way, they shared a common ground in considering how it should condition the possibility of the universal salvation.
During the 740s, Japanese emperor Shōmu 聖武 (701-756, r. 724-749) endorsed a plan to establish Buddhist temples in nearly all the provinces (kokubunji 国分寺) where three Mahāyāna scriptures were ritually chanted to marshal apotropaic powers and avert natural disasters including pestilence, draughts, and earthquakes. The Great East temple (Tōdaiji 東大寺) in the recently constructed Heijō capital 平城京 (Nara) was the head temple of this state sanctioned network. The formal name for these temples where monks resided is Temples of Bright Golden Light and Four Heavenly Kings to Protect the State (Konkōmyō shitennō gokoku no tera 金光明四天王護国之寺). As the formal name suggests, the principal Mahāyāna Buddhist scripture followed in these temples was the Golden Light Sūtra (Jinguangming zuishengwang jing 金光明最勝王經, Suvarṇabhāsottama-sūtra), translated from Sanskrit into Chinese by Yijing 義淨 (635-713) and his translation team in Tang (618-907) China at the beginning of the 8th century, and its particular chapters about how rulers can be protected by the Four Heavenly Kings. The political and religious worldmaking enterprise entrusted to these temples by the nascent Japanese government in Nara has been well-known since M.W. de Visser’s Ancient Buddhism in Japan was published in 1935. But the fate of state protection temples and particularly the surprisingly small one overlooking the once-capital (667-672) of Ōtsu 大津 called Bonshakuji 梵釈寺, which was renovated following orders by emperor Kanmu 桓武 (735-806, r. 781-806) in 786, during and after the introduction of novel rituals to protect the state from China through the 9th century has received little attention, even by scholars in Japan. This paper investigates the early history of Bonshakuji as a Temple of Bright Golden Light and Four Heavenly Kings to Protect the State, and especially the library kept there, which came to rival only that of Tōdaiji through the 12th century. I also examine how and why scholar officials and powerful monastics, particularly associated with the so-called esoteric (mikkyō 密教) Tendai 天台宗 and Shingon temples of Enryakuji 延暦寺 and Miidera 三井寺 (Onjōji 園城寺) and Tōji 東寺 and Daigoji 醍醐寺, respectively, utilized the library of Bonshakuji and older and novel texts state protection kept there to preserve early Japanese state-supported Buddhist worldmaking efforts long after that state had become virtually bankrupt. A key comparative question raised in this paper concerns how medieval East Asian states—Tang China, Silla Korea (668-935), and Nara- and Heian-era (ca. 710-1185) Japan—used the cosmology specifically outlined in Yijing’s translation of the Golden Light Sūtra to construct and maintain both Buddhist and so-called Confucian-styled political, economic, and religious stability during seemingly-unmanageable circumstances.
The Moon appears in the early Buddhist canon as a celestial body orbiting around Mt. Meru while at the same time being a god (Candra or Soma). The Moon later appears in Abhidharma literature, in which it is described as a mobile residence for the lunar deities. Following the introduction of Mantrayāna practices into China, the Moon appears in maṇḍalas and other illustrated forms, yet these representations are not uniform. For instance, we see Candra as a driver of a chariot pulled by geese in one instance, and then the Moon as an elegantly attired goddess elsewhere. At the same time, esoteric interpretations apply symbolic and metaphorical meanings to the Moon, while astrology and the seven-day week understood the Moon in a whole other way. To complicate matters further, traditional Chinese metaphysics held its own interpretation of the Moon as the Great Yin (Taiyin 太陰). As a result of these diverse views, the Moon in the East Asian Buddhist worldview became a multifaceted figure simultaneously embodying different concepts from various time periods. The proposed study will chronologically survey the Moon as a celestial body and god/goddess in the Chinese Buddhist worldview and attempt to document its evolution over the centuries.
This paper is an iconographic and typological analysis of the transforming and spreading process of a specific type of costume from ancient Gandhāra: the four-pointed cape. It interprets this kind of cape, appearing firstly in northwestern India 2nd– 4th centuries CE as an attribute of Kushan nobleman statues and then idealized clothing denoting Buddha’s sovereignty in ca. 5th century, as a piece of visual evidence of the frequent contact between the local politics and the Buddhist artistic production in the Kushan Dynasty. Through the classification and comparison of relevant images date to the 6th century onward from the mountain areas adjoining to ancient Gandhāra, the paper then argues that different typological groups of the cape frame the influence of Gandhāran or Indian visual culture and the stylistic distinctions of art communities in eastern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan in the post-Gandhāra period. It finally infers that this kind of clothing was transported to Central Asia, and probably to China and Byzantine Empire as an independent iconographic factor in the 8th century, a process mirroring the mobility of culture along the ancient trade routes.
The clash of worldviews is manifested most strikingly when science and religion interact, or when different religious systems come into contact among themselves. In this last case, staggering clashes have been produced during the earliest interactions between Christianity and Buddhism; and their mutual hostility took place frequently on the theological matter of creator and creation, with Buddhism fending its non-theistic worldview against the monotheistic Christian God, and vice versa. But this hostility has long given rise to the genuine inter-religious dialogues, starting as late as the mid-20th century. This is not to say that the fundamental points of clash have bene resolved; and in fact, the matter of creator and creation remain at the heart of the Christian-Buddhist dialogue. However, with the amicable exchange has come more attempts to attenuate the seeming incompatibilities between the two religious worldviews.
Some, for instance, attempt to construe a deeper source, thereby unifying the impersonal (Buddhist) and personal (Christian) representation of the “creator”, while the more common approach is to select doctrines within each religion that seem to resemble most closely the other, such as Masao Abe’s attempt to juxtapose the “kenosis” with the “dynamic sunyata”. The present article will follow along this approach by focusing on Buddha Vairocana as it is presented in the Avatamsaka Sūtra and as it is interpreted by Chinese Huayan Buddhism. I believe Buddha Vairocana and the Avatamsaka Sūtra make an interesting case that would challenge, at least in appearance, the perception of Buddhism as “non-theistic”.
In relation to the other sūtras, the Avatamsaka Sūtra exhibits numerous unusual features on the matter of “authorship”: 1) A sūtra is, by default, assumed to be taught by Buddha Śakyamuni, but the Avatamsaka Sūtra is an exception: it is assumed to be taught by Buddha Vairocana; 2) The physical copy of the Avatamsaka Sūtra is believed to be the fraction of a larger Avatamsaka Sūtra which is ineffable and is constantly being taught by Vairocana; thus, the textuality of the Avatamsaka Sūtra is extended beyond the verbal realm to take on a magical dimension which is unbounded by space and time; 3) When discussing the “authorship” of a sūtra, the conventional exegetical approach is to attribute the preacher, Buddha Śakyamuni, as one of the Three Bodies of Buddha, mostly commonly as the Transformation Body (Skt. nirmāṇa-kāya). In the Huayan exegesis, however, the Three Bodies theory is simply dispensed with, in favour of the Ten Bodies theory. And the Avatamsaka Sūtra is said not to be taught by one of the Bodies, as it is commonly done in the “Three Bodies” framework, but instead believed to be taught by the Ten Bodies altogether, while Vairocana is placed on a different ontological plan above the Ten Bodies, by being portrayed as the “possessor” of the Ten Bodies; 4) Huayan exegetes equate the Ten Bodies with all phenomena in the world, thereby establishing all phenomena as the manifestions of Buddha Vairocana through its Ten Bodies.
In this article, I will comment on each of the above points, as part of my attempt to outline the Huayan interpretation of Vairocana; in doing so, I am interested in highlighting the unique features about Vairocana that I believe to be a fertile ground for engaging in some general theological reflections. For instance, does the portrayal of the omnipresent, “almighty” Vairocana approach a monotheistic mode of divinity? Is the immanence of Vairocana in all things a pan-theistic view of reality? What can we make of the strong sense of “embodiment” in the doctrine of the Ten Bodies of Vairocana? What is the nature of “textuality” of the Avatamsaka Sūtra. These questions are intimately pertinent to the inter-religious dialogue, to see how Christian and Buddhist doctrines could be aligned, and how certain alignments, in fact, paradoxically lead us to confront again the fundamental differences between the two
This paper focuses on The Journey to Find Previous Lives to explore the configuration of power in the transcultural imagination: How does it perform China/East Asia and the Other? Whose interest/agency is the hybridization advancing? How does the hybridization address existing cultural hegemony? How does it respond to both global and regional cultural trends?
My paper contends that this novel employs Buddhist concepts to resolve the conflicts between the local and the global, the dominant and the subordinate in cross-cultural encounters. By doing so, it recodifies self and others and reveals the interconnectedness in our very existence. Thus, the novel unites people across national/ cultural boundaries and time periods via a universality that is rooted in Buddhist philosophy.
In their inscriptions for the halls of the White Lotus movement in the Southern Song and Yuan period, literati criticized the adherents for imagining the Pure Land as something concrete and tangible. They saw it more as an inner goal or state. Nonetheless, for many the Pure Land was a very concrete place that could be reached in a variety of ways. In this paper I will investigate how the Pure Land was imagined, both in miracle stories, ritual practices and the writings of new religious groups.
Several sites in East Asia have been identified as Potalaka originally thought to be located near the southern seas of India. The belief in the abode of Avalokiteśvara bodhisattva on Earth connects various places throughout East Asia and incorporates them into a Buddhist world transcending borders. The most well-known among these sites are Putuoshan in China, Naksan-temple in Korea and Nachi in the Kumano region of Japan.
The fact that a mythological place is connected to several geographical locations indicates that Potalaka is not only regarded as an actual place but also bears a symbolical meaning. The belief in manifestation of divine places on Earth is closely related to the relationship between myth and reality or sacred and profane, suggesting a holistic worldview based on unity rather than duality.
The basis of this phenomenon is built upon the nature of Avalokiteśvara as a mediator between sentient beings and Buddhas, the characteristics of Potalaka as a boundary between their worlds, and Buddhist philosophy. The mahāyāna idea of the non-duality of saṃsāra and nirvāṇa, the thought of mutual interrelatedness in Tiantai and Huayan Buddhism and indigenous Chinese philosophical concepts like correlative resonance (ganying) all contributed to the formation of Avalokiteśvara bodhimaṇḍas.
In this presentation I would like to examine Potalaka faith in China, Korea and Japan, addressing the similarities and differences between them based on the historical and religious background of these countries. Despite the obvious resemblance, there are significant differences between these sites in terms of why and how they were formed, and in what way did they change due to local beliefs.
The research of Potalaka faith can help us to rethink the relationship between human and nature and find a healthier balance between them in a modern society dominated by materialistic worldview. At the same time, we can get a glimpse on international cultural exchanges and the relationship between Buddhism and local religions in the East Asian region.
The ontological reality of the world has been a controversial topic among different Buddhist schools. Specifically, the Yogācāra school provides the answer to the world-making issues from an epistemological perspective. In the view of Yogācāra, the so-called world is not a substantial entity, but rather a mental construct of the perceiver and the perceived. Among a number of different accounts of cognitive process, the process of “conceptualization” clearly plays an important role. The term “prapañca”, usually translated as “conceptual proliferation” by scholars, refers to a proliferating process that constructs the perceptual world through discrimination and verbalization. The term has been extensively studied based on the Early Buddhism doctrines, but scholars have paid much less attention to its connotations, usages, and extensions in the Yogācāra context. This paper begins with a compilation on the accounts of the cognitive process in the Yogācāra doctrines as well as in those earlier teachings which has a profound impact on the establishment of the Yogācāra school. The research then analyses and discusses the process of conceptualization in those accounts, examining its significant role in shaping the perceptual world.
In the 19th century, British archaeologist Sir Alexander Cunningham successively discovered the remains of the Dharmaguptakas school in Gandhara, namely a Buddhist monastery in Jamalgarhi. Further, when the Indian Archaeological Survey continued to excavate this monastery’s site in 1920-1921, they discovered a corner stele with an inscription that stated: “Jamalgarhi, inscribed in 359”. Prof. Lüders attributed the content of this inscription to the Dharmaguptakas. In 2012, with the funding of the Japanese government and UNESCO, archaeologists continued to excavate the ruins of this Buddhist monastery. They discovered new cultural relics, including numismatic evidence from the King Huvisha period, providing further information for the dating of this Buddhist monastery. In addition, the discovery of the inscriptions and ruins of the monastery’s old site has confirmed the inference that the Dharmaguptakas were active in ancient northwest India. Based on the above studies, this article attempts to conduct an in-depth analysis of the layout of the above-mentioned Buddhist monastery by comparing its site and archaeological evidence with textual sources from the Chinese translation of the “Dharmagupta-vinaya” to argue that this monastery can be identified as belonging to the Dharmaguptakas tradition.
本文將重點考索10世紀以前絲路中亞段的佛教圖書館（經藏）。中央歐亞的絲路可分為東中亞（Eastern Central Asia）和西中亞（Western Central Asia，西域）兩個部分，這片區域橫貫了”一帶一路”沿線的中亞五國，大中亞視野中的阿富汗東北部、巴基斯坦北部地區以及中國的新疆和甘肅西北。根據佛教從天竺傳往漢唐西域的路線，從扼守中亞的大犍陀羅（Greater Gandhara）地區開始，沿著中央歐亞的數條絲路商道，筆者將分別探尋中亞的哈達（Hadda）、賈拉拉巴德（Jalalabad）、巴米揚（Bamiyan）、吉爾吉特（Gilgit）、卡拉切配（Kara Tepe）、布哈拉（Bukhara）、以及西域絲路的要衝疏勒（喀什 Kashgar）、龜茲（庫車 Kucha）、焉耆（Karashahr）、高昌（吐魯番 Turfan）、於闐（和田 Khotan）、精絕（尼雅 Niya）、樓蘭（Kroraina）以及敦煌等地的佛教寫本經藏的蹤跡。在此基礎之上，本文將嘗試探討絲路中亞段的佛教圖書館和絲路支線的塔克西拉（Taxila）、迦濕彌羅（Kasmira）以及其他印度佛教圖書館之間的聯繫。
Despite the prohibition on killing sentient beings in Buddhism, biological materials are not unusual on early Japanese Buddhist icons and ritual artifacts. The seventh-century Tamamushi Shrine, one of the most important artifacts of early East Asian Buddhism, offers a particularly spectacular example, as its exterior is covered by the elytra of over two thousand tamamushi beetles (“jewled beetles,” Chrysochroa fulgidissima). While previous scholarship treats the beetle wings as mere decorative elements, this paper argues that they destabilize and complicate our very understanding of early Buddhist material culture in Japan. My analysis will situate the shrine in the larger context of the transmission of Buddhism from the continent to Japan so as to explore the rationale behind the repeated acts of violence entailed in decorating the Tamamushi Shrine with thousands of beetle wings. I will establish the link between the artifact and socio-political, technological, and ecological changes in seventh-century East Asia facilitated by the introduction and localization of Buddhism. Anchored in this transformative historical period, the Tamamushi Shrine constitutes a complex worldmaking device that actively shapes animal-human relationships, models of ideal kingship, as well as religious and social responses to natural disasters such as droughts and epidemics.
In the American midcentury, Anglo American cultural producers grew interested in Buddhism because it offered tools useful for the building of a new poetics and for the building of counterculture. Yet because of their specific uses for Buddhism, they misread the world-building actions of their Japanese American Buddhist friends and allies. Mistakenly seeing Japanese American Buddhist modifications, translations, and adaptations as too “Protestantized” and therefore “uninteresting,” white cultural producers like Alan Watts disqualified Asian American Buddhist individuals and communities from being a part of the building of counterculture–indeed, from helping to construct the future of Buddhism in the United States. This paper valorizes the world-building actions of midcentury Japanese American Buddhist communities and argues that these actions should be seen both as a transformation of the sangha and as strategies for survival in a white supremacist society. The paper further shows how the Anglo American “disqualification” arose out of a certain “Maker ethos,” which involved the false assumption that all East Asian cultural materials were equally available for appropriation and extraction. By underscoring the unique world-building actions of Asian American individuals and communities, we can expand our understanding of this pivotal moment of Buddhist world-building beyond the work of white cultural producers.
In the capitals in Medieval China, the spatial presentation and interaction of political authority and religious force has always been a significant topic. In Chinese political tradition, political status is not only related to bureaucratic hierarchy but also related to the spatial distance from the center of absolute power.
On the politically spatial distribution of capitals, the multi-palace system in the capitals of Qin and Han (BCE.221-CE.220) still relied more on the huge palaces on the base of high platform to present their magnificence, although some localized axes had already appeared; until to the capitals, Yecheng and Luoyang in Wei Dynasty(220-266), the single-palace system and the central axis through the capital connected the most important political and ritual spaces into a whole. The Heaven Alter and the Taiji Palace which symbolized the highest imperial power occupied the north and south ends of this power axis. However, from the limited historical records, Buddhist monasteries from Eastern Han to West Jin Dynasties (25-317), such as White Horse Monastery (Baima Si), etc., are mostly far away from this power axis, even located outside the core area of the capital. In Northern Wei (386-534), the locations of Buddhist monasteries, especially the imperial monasteries, such as Yongning Monastery, Jingming Monastery and double monasteries of Qintaishanggong in Luoyang, were considerably close to the central axis of capital, distributed on both sides of Bronze Camels (Tongtuo) Avenue. The Zhaopengcheng Buddhist Monastery and the Dazhuangyan Monastery in Yecheng of Northern Qi (550-577) and the Changgan Monastery in Jiankang ,the capital of Liang (502-557) are also located on the east side of the central axis of the capital city, similar to the location of Jingming Monastery. In short, the important Buddhist monasteries and pagodas in the capital during the Northern and Southern Dynasties had already been considerably planned to approach the power axis of the capital, and became important religious and political landscapes. In the parade of Buddhist statues (Buddhist Carnival) on the eighth of the fourth lunar month (the birthday of Buddha), Buddhist factors even temporarily occupied the political axis of Luoyang in Northern Wei to reveal the deep integration of Buddhism and imperial power.
As for the capital planning of Chang’an and Luoyang in the Sui and Tang Dynasties (581-907), there were still many large imperial Buddhist monasteries close to the central axis (such as the Daxingshan Monastery and Jianfu Monastery, etc.) in Chang’an of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). However, there was no further breakthrough in Buddhist architecture, to occupy the political axis of the capital for a long time. A remarkable turning point happened during the reign of Empress Wu (690-705), the Bright Hall (Wanxiangshengong), a Confucian ritual building including obvious Buddhist factors and the Heaven Axis (Tianshu), which was closely related to the Ashoka Pillar, were located in the geometric center of the palace city and the island between the Tianjin Bridge and Duan Gate, to occupy the most prominent position in the political axis of Luoyang as the sacred capital, symbolizing the center of the world. The Heaven Hall (Tiantang) mainly built by Xue Huaiyi (662-695), accommodating a huge Maitreya Buddha statue in it, was located to the northwest of the Bright Hall, corresponding to the “qian” position symbolizing heaven in the Posterior Eight Diagrams. More importantly, if the political axis of Luoyang, the sacred capital of Empress Wu (624-705, r. 690-705), was extended to the south. Its southern endpoint was the Longmen Grottoes on the west bank of Yi River. In other words, in the capital of Empress Wu, the Buddhist space and buildings including Buddhist factors were no longer limited to “giving up the main axis and occupying the two compartments”, to locate on both sides of the political axis, or temporarily occupied this pollical axis at the certain specific time closely related to Buddhism, but composed this political axis itself by the way to construct some permanent memorial and ritual buildings, as a significant part of political expression in the capital. The most symbolic and representative so-called “Seven Heaven Architectures” on the political axis of Luoyang during the reign of Empress Wu, including Tiantang (Heaven Hall), Tiangong (Bright Hall), Tianmen (Yingtian Gate), Tianshu (Heaven Axis), Tianjin (Tianjin bridge), Tianjie (Heaven avenue), and Tianque (Longmen Grottoes in Yique Valley), the buildings (or grottoes) with clear Buddhist factors had taken four in these seven. The seven precious of Chakravartin displayed impressively in the Bright Hall of Empress Wu also symbolized the deep involvement of Buddhist political culture in the power core with the most political symbolic meaning.
However, the fires that happened in the Bright Hall and the Heaven Hall considerably presented the decline of Buddhist factors in this political axis. After Emperor Xuanzong (685-762, r. 712-756) got absolute power, he took a series of actions to rebuild the Bright Hall and destroy the Heaven Axis. They marked the fundamental reshaping of the landscape of the political axis in Luoyang, to remove the Buddhist factors from it as much as possible. Marked by this dramatic and fundamental transition, the positions of Buddhist architecture in Chang’an and Luoyang had once again returned to the situation of being on the side (especially on the east side) of the central axis during the Northern and Southern Dynasties; the imperial monasteries in Kaifeng, the capital of Northern Song (960-1127), such as Daxiangguo Monastery, also continued this tradition, located in a similar place. To sum up, the Buddhist factors in the sacred axis of the capital in Medieval China experienced a procedure of increasing and decline. It began in the late Southern and Northern Dynasties, reached its peak in the Empress Wu’s period, and changed dramatically after the reign of Emperor Xuanzong, to return the situation in the late Southern and Northern Dynasties and early Tang, to show the tortuous process of the interaction between Buddhism and political space in Medieval China.
While the extant scholarship on 20th-century Chinese Buddhism has focused on how Buddhist modernizers revolutionized (Mahayana) Buddhism, this paper rejects such characterization of Buddhism as a timeless fixture subject to changes brought by modernity. By disrupting the conventional distinction between “Mahayana” and “Theravada,” it locates the making of Mahayana distinction as a critical site of modern Chinese state-building campaigns and Cold War politics. With previously untapped Buddhist journals and governmental documents, I argue that the Mahayana distinction was strategically employed in numerous Chinese world-making enterprises from the World War II to the early Cold War. In this process, “Mahayana” shifted from being the hallmark of Japanese Buddhism to a reference to communism (via the Soviet Union), thus pitting Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Laos, Thailand, and Burma into opposite camps of “Mahayana” or “Theravada.” Nevertheless, the label of Mahayana gradually lost in circulation in China since the late 1950s, becoming subjugated to the novel concept of pan-Asianism. By the same token, with the decolonization of Southeast Asia in the 1960s, Buddhist scholars around the world argued for the unification of Mahayana and Theravada and championed a universal Buddhist teaching. Whereas the Mahayana distinction gained currency in the ideological clash between capitalism and communism, it was supplanted by a more radical reimagination of Buddhism in a global decolonial moment with China as a key participant. By excavating the hitherto unknown history of “Mahayana” and “Theravada,” this paper places Buddhism at the heart of a series of Chinese world-making projects that profoundly shaped China’s position in the postwar Asian religious landscape.
本文認為， 早期佛教中定學的修行等級與佛教的時空觀密不可分。佛教用三世— — 過去世、未來世、現在世， 以表明時間， 用三界— — 欲界、色界、無色界， 以表明空間， 此所謂「 三世三界」 。從宏觀角度講， 依修行主體所定的深淺不同， 色界可據此劃分為十八天， 無色界可分為四處， 故三界總有二十五。從微觀上看， 人身本就在三界六道中， 定學的修行以身體為場域， 在時間和空間下的統一。隨著佛教傳入中國， 定學的相關概念和實踐有了進一步發展和完善， 「 定」 逐漸轉化發展為中國化的「 禪」 。天台宗的智顗大師對定學有著諸多論述， 在其著作《摩訶止觀》中不僅涉及到了定學概念本體， 對修行實踐也做出了詳盡論述。本文講以禪定中的身體、實踐和時空主， 比較早期佛教與天台宗對此的觀念之異同。