Abstract

Abstract:

Nurturing the embryo of sagehood was a widespread trope in premodern Chinese Buddhism. From its inception in the fifth-century apocryphal Sutra of Benevolent Kings, medieval Chinese Buddhist exegetes, Chan Buddhists, and Daoist inner alchemists all used this trope as both a metaphor for enlightenment and a metaphysical figure of supernatural embodiment—sometimes within the same textual passage. This trope’s historical use reveals an overlooked commitment on the part of many Chinese Buddhist thinkers to the notion that liberation entails the conception, gestation, and birth of supernatural bodies. The case of the embryo of sagehood demonstrates the capacity of figurative language to move fluidly across the boundaries of metaphor and metaphysics, a capacity I argue was a constitutive feature of premodern Chinese Buddhist soteriology.

摘要:

本文探討「養聖胎」的概念在中國佛教的出現與演變。自五世紀的偽經以來,註釋家、禪師與內丹家都以聖胎作爲譬喻來代表覺悟,同時也把它理解為形而上超自然的身體。作者認為,聖胎的個案能夠闡明中國佛教形象化語言如何突破譬喻和形而上學之間的界線。

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Additional Information

ISSN
1944-6454
Print ISSN
0073-0548
Pages
pp. 371-411
Launched on MUSE
2019-06-07
Open Access
No
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