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"The Sutra on the Ocean-Like Samadhi of the Visualization of the Buddha": The Interfusion of the Chinese and Indian Cultures in Central Asia as Reflected in a Fifth Century Apocryphal Sutra
Author Yamabe, Nobuyoshi
PublisherYale University
Publisher Url
LocationNew Haven, CT, US [紐哈芬市, 康乃狄克州, 美國]
Content type博碩士論文=Thesis and Dissertation
InstitutionYale University
AdvisorWeinstein, Stanley
Publication year1999
Keyword三摩地=三昧=Samadhi; 佛教經典=Buddhist Scriptures=Sutra; 長行=契經=修多羅=Sutra; 觀想=Visualization
This dissertation is a thorough philological examination of the Sutra on the Ocean-Like Samadhi of the Visualization of the Buddha (hereafter Ocean Sutra ). This is one of the six visualization sutras allegedly written in India and translated into Chinese in the fifth century. In spite of its importance in Buddhist history, the textual background of this sutra is obscure. I have attempted to clarify the origin of the Ocean Sutra and locate it in its proper place within Buddhist textual history.

A detailed examination of the language and the content of this sutra makes it clear that the Ocean Sutra was not translated from an Indian original but was heavily dependent on prior Chinese Buddhist texts. In addition, the detailed description of the "Buddha Image Cave" (a pilgrimage spot in northwest India) in the Ocean Sutra contradicts the testimonies of Chinese pilgrims. These factors indicate that the Ocean Sutra was an apocryphal work originally written in Chinese.

At the same time, it should be noted that the people who composed this sutra were familiar with Sanskrit traditions that must have been inaccessible to ordinary Chinese. The Ocean Sutra shares significant similarities with Sanskrit texts that were not available in Chinese when the Ocean Sutra was composed. Furthermore, the Ocean Sutra contains phallic elements derived from the Indian Shaivite tradition, which are rarely found in Chinese texts but was certainly known in Central Asia. In addition, there are mural paintings in the Turfan area that seem to reflect early stages of the textual formation of the Ocean Sutra .

I believe that these points are understandable only if we suppose that the Ocean Sutra were composed in Central Asia, where Chinese and non-Chinese peoples had significant interaction. I conclude, therefore, that the Ocean Sutra could have been produced only in such a milieu and retains many traces of cross-cultural interactions in itself.
ISBN9780599310698; 0599310693
Information Source
Created date1999.10.26
Modified date2016.03.17

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