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The Body-Mind and Family-Country Elements in Mahayana Buddhist Autobiographic Writings
Author Liao, Chao-heng
Source 2018 第七屆漢傳佛教與聖嚴思想國際學術研討會
Publisher Url
Location臺北, 臺灣 [Taipei, Taiwan]
Content type會議論文=Proceeding Article
Keywordautobiography; Biography of the Eminent Monks; the Sixth Patriarch Huineng; Zhongfeng Mingben, Jianyue Duti; Random Utterance of One Dream
AbstractAutobiographic writings have caught more attention in academic research in Chinese literature recently. However, the large body of autobiographic texts in the Buddhist circle such as zishuo xingshi (自說行實), autobiographic inscriptions and eulogies (自題自贊), repentances and vows, and autobiographic poems which contain important research materials have not received enough attention from scholars so far. As a result, not much material in this genre has been explored. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, there had been a new development in autobiographic writings by the monastics in terms of subject, style, and format. Therefore, other than studying monks' biographies, chan poetry and novels of realization, researches on this genre will provide a more comprehensive understanding of how the monastics perceive value pursuit of the self. Second of all, these autobiographic accounts written by monastics at the late Ming and early Qing Dynasties reveal the zeitgeist and nuances of dharma gates of the specific period. For example, Jianyue Duti’s 見月讀體 Random Utterance of One Dream《一夢漫言》is influential even at present days. Third of all, as the monastics were skilled in writing, these texts are highly valued as important materials when researching the rhetoric and narrative elements in the history of Chinese Literature which are virtually empty hitherto. In short, exploring in monastic biographical writings is pioneer researches in fields of religion, history, and literature. In the modern period, autobiographies of various high monks including the founding master of the Dharma Drum Mountain, Sheng Yen, created a new era of brilliant biographic writing in Mahayana Buddhism.

The relationship between “practice of the body and mind”, and the “ideology of the family and country” is an important issue in monastic biographic writings that related to many other elements. I hope to explore with brand new research perspectives to shed lights on the history of Chinese autobiography, Buddhist literature in the late Ming and early Qing Dynasties, and history of monastic biography.
Created date2021.03.16
Modified date2021.03.23

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