In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

sources in particular represents a wealth of new historical material that was not widely available to scholars even a few years ago. The second part of the book, “Entry into History,” covers the period up to Xuyun’s death in 1959, with chapters 7 through 10 following him as he takes up abbacies at temples across eastern and southern China, with the final three chapters narrating his life in the first decade of the People’s Republic. Chapter 7 covers Xuyun’s abbacy at Gushan, where he revised monastic discipline, added new buildings , and reorganized temple finances, prompting a “revolt” on the part of the conservative community. Chapters 8 and 9 follow him to Nanhua Temple 南華寺 and Yunmen Temple 雲門寺 in northern Guangdong 廣東, the restoration of which he oversaw in the 1930s and 1940s, and addresses such topics as the role of religion in the politics of the wartime era and the adaptation of the Buddhist community to the new People’s Republic. Xuyun’s “apotheosis” arrives as he lends his authority to the re-organization of Chinese Buddhists under the new government in the early 1950s, leading to the formation of the Chinese Buddhist Association (Zhongguo Fojiao xiehui 中國佛教協會) in 1953. The conclusion examines a few accounts related by Xuyun’s students and disciples regarding his supernatural powers of seeing the future and other abilities, and the importance of these retold tales to the construction of his “sainthood.” Campo stresses the importance of this hagiographic representation since it is the narrative that will be transmitted down through the ages. In her analysis, the author incorporates a wide range of research sources, including articles from Chinese Buddhist periodicals published from the 1920s to the 1950s, collected letters, Xuyun’s published works, reprinted archival materials, temple and other types of gazetteers, as well as an array of academic secondary literature. Campo’s writing pays careful attention to secondary figures, historical context, doctrinal and ritual explanations, and displays sensitivity to the important details in a vast corpus of material. This book should be consulted by anyone interested in the religious history of modern China, as it addresses the crucial question of how religious communities actively construct their eminent leaders by arranging historical elements into a hagiographic framework. Campo’s dual-sided approach reaffirms the importance of the narrative transmitted by the community, while maintaining a critical distance by contrasting that narrative with historical materials. This meticulous study ought to inspire other scholars to adopt a similar approach in their own work on modern figures, balancing the hagiographic persona with well-grounded documentary research to uncover the structures beneath these constructed notions of sainthood. GREGORY ADAM SCOTT University of Edinburgh PAUL COPP, The Body Incantatory: Spells and the Ritual Imagination in Medieval Chinese Buddhism. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014. 400 pp. US $55, £38 (hb). ISBN 978-0-231-16270-8 The topic of dhāraṇı̄ has long vexed modern scholars of Buddhism, who for over a century have attempted to account for the wide range of meanings and associations attached to this highly polysemous term within the various levels of Buddhist REVIEWS 201 discourse. The copious collection of dhāraṇı̄ scriptures translated into Chinese during the medieval period has been the focal point for ongoing discussions over the relationship of dhāraṇı̄ with exoteric Mahāyāna Buddhism on the one hand and the esoteric Vajrayāna traditions on the other. Paul Copp’s recent work, The Body Incantatory: Spells and the Ritual Imagination in Medieval Chinese Buddhism , is an important and thought-provoking contribution to this conversation. Eschewing the method of broad philological surview in favor of close readings of selected texts and—more importantly—material objects, Copp successfully illuminates several oft-overlooked aspects of medieval Chinese dhāraṇı̄, and in the process brings to light new insights on the permutations of both Buddhist and Chinese religious cultures. The main premise of Copp’s study is that dhāraṇı̄ were more than just “incantations ” whose powers were actualized solely through oral intonation. Rather, the material record reveals that medieval Chinese Buddhists commonly employed dhāraṇı̄ in written forms, and such usages constituted a point of contact between Chinese Buddhism and a larger...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
2050-8999
Print ISSN
0737-769X
Pages
pp. 201-203
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-02
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.