Coming to Terms with Chinese Buddhism
A Reading of the Treasure Store Treatise
Publication Year: 2002
Published by: University of Hawai'i Press
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This book grew out of a Ph.D. dissertation I submitted to the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan almost ten years ago. The passage of time has not diminished my debt to two exemplary scholars who supervised my training in Buddhist studies and sinology, Luis G
Conventions of Usage
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Introduction: Prolegomenon to the Study of Medieval Chinese Buddhist Literature
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The modern study of medieval Chinese religion has been divided broadly between two camps: the sinologists and the buddhologists. While the former often ignored Buddhism, the latter tended to ignore everything but. Such proclivities are not difficult to fathom. Sinologists were predisposed, by virtue of their historical and philological...
Part 1 The Historical and Cosmological Background
1 The Date and Provenance of the Treasure Store Treatise
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The Treasure Store Treatise (Pao-tsang lun) is a short work, comprising a little less than seven pages in the Taishö edition of the Buddhist canon.1 The treatise is attributed to the early-fifth-century Mädhyamika exegete and disciple of Kumärajiva, Seng-chao (374–414), and the attribution appears to have gone unquestioned until the first half of the...
2 Chinese Buddhism and the Cosmology of Sympathetic Resonance
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In my introduction I argued that the master narrative on which the study of Chinese Buddhism is based and the ubiquitous notion of “syncretism” often mask an essentialist conception of religious history—a reduction of complex social and ideological networks to interactions among discrete teachings, lineages, and schools. Categories such as Indian Buddhism, T’ang Ch’an, Chinese Pure Land,...
Part 2 Annotated Translation of the Treasure Store Treatise
Introduction to the Translation
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...As is typical of Chinese literary prose, the Treasure Store Treatise makes liberal use of parallelism, including metrical, grammatical (lexical and syntactic), and phonic parallel constructions. The text also abounds in puns, rhymes, assonance, alliteration, and other euphonic devices. Such devices seem designed, at least in part, to display the author’s erudition and literary virtuosity. However, the parallelism of the Treasure Store Treatise is..
3 The Treasure Store Treatise Chapter One: The Broad Illumination of Emptiness and Being
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The “treasure store” (pao-tsang) of the title exemplifies the hyperglossia— the complex interplay of often countervailing voices—that dominate the Treasure Store Treatise. The term “pao” (treasure) was used in antiquity to denote treasure objects held in the possession of a clan or royal household, particularly the royal house of Chou. The earliest such treasures were thought to have been bestowed by....
4 The Treasure Store Treatise Chapter Two: The Essential Purity of Transcendence and Subtlety
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The first chapter of the Treasure Store Treatise ends with a quotation from the Vimalakirti-sütra, proclaiming the purity of a buddha-land to be a function of the purity of one’s own mind. Coming as it does after the literary excursions into the arcane cosmological labyrinth of the first chapter, this short quotation acts as an effective transition to the more classically Mahäyänist concerns of chapter 2. It also introduces...
5 The Treasure Store Treatise Chapter Three: The Empty Mystery of the Point of Genesis
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...continues to develop the “Ch’annish” concerns of the previous chapter while punctuating the discourse with copious quotes from a variety of scriptures. However, insofar as extensive use is made of images and terminology culled from nominally Taoist sources, this chapter is closer in style to the first. It concludes with a summation of the entire treatise that is...
Appendix 1 On Esoteric Buddhism in China
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Appendix 2 Scriptural Quotations in the Treasure Store Treatise
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Publication Year: 2002