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178 BUDDHISM IN TAIWAN Chapter Four. Retrocession and the Arrival of the Mainland Monks


Chapter Four





I. Interlude: 1945-1949
     A. The Expulsion of the Japanese and the Reorganization of Taiwan Buddhism
     B. The 2/28 Incident
     C. Ven. Cihang and his Times
II. The Mainland Monks Arrive in Taiwan
III. The BAROC's Impression of Buddhism in Taiwan and Definition of Its Own Task
IV. Early Doctrinal Controversy: Pure Land Buddhism
     A. The Continuing Influence of Ven. Yinguang's Pure Land Revival
     B. The Controversy over Ven. Yinshun's "New Treatise on the Pure Land"



     The Japanese colonial era in Taiwan came to an end in 1945, when, as part of its terms of surrender, Japan returned the island to Chinese rule. The people and government refer to this event as guangfu 光復, "the return of the light."(1) The people of Taiwan, remembering their second-class status under Japanese rule and the excesses of the Japanization Movement, rejoiced at the prospect of returning to the Chinese fold. However, Retrocession came upon the public quickly, and most people did not have time to consider what this sudden change of fortunes might portend. Perhaps they dimly recalled the days when, under the Qing dynasty, their island was a frontier province receiving minimal government supervision, perhaps not. In any case, no one at that time could have predicted the far more active role that the Nationalist (Kuo Min Tang [guomindang 國民黨], or KMT) government would soon play in Taiwan's political affairs, or that Taiwanese (meaning southern Fujianese) language and culture would once again be suppressed under the regime of an unfriendly government.



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Most importantly, no one then would have predicted that the entire central government of China would be retreating en masse to Taiwan a short four years later.



I. INTERLUDE: 1945-1949

     A. The Expulsion of the Japanese and the Reorganization of Taiwan Buddhism. The period between Retrocession and the arrival of the retreating Nationalist government in 1949 marks the only four years out of the past century in which Taiwan has been a province of greater China in any real sense. The major task for Buddhism, as for all other sectors of public and private life in Taiwan, was to find its appropriate role under the new regime. The main question was: to what extent would Taiwan Buddhism be able to set its own course, and to what extent would it have to accept governance and supervision from the mainland?

     The transition was slow, of course. After fifty years, the greater part of a generation of ethnic Chinese living m Taiwan had known nothing but life under Japanese rule, and almost half of the 488,000 ethnic Japanese living in Taiwan had grown up there and knew nothing of life in Japan proper. For all of these people, what followed was a time of intense upheaval. The new Nationalist authorities reorganized ail of the old Japanese political administrative units along



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Chinese lines, changed all street names (which must have made giving directions a daunting task for a time!), and all of the Chinese people who had been forced to adopt Japanese names ten years earlier resumed using their original Chinese names. Japanese government officials and military men, long used to privileged positions in society, now found themselves selling vegetables or noodles by the roadside or pulling rickshaws.(2)

     However, the biggest disruptions were yet to come. On Christmas Day, 1945, the Nationalist government began in earnest to repatriate all Japanese citizens. One can imagine the chaos that ensued as 459,928 people were shipped out in the space of four months. These people lost everything that they had built up over the past fifty years, and were only allowed to carry out with them 1000 Japanese yen in cash and one backpack of daily necessities. In addition, they were allowed to ship two thirty-kilogram suitcases separately. Everything else -- houses, shops, businesses, bank accounts, government buildings, Shintō shrines and (most significantly for our purposes) Buddhist temples -- went into the hands of the new Taiwan Provincial government.(3) The last viceregal governor of Taiwan, Andō Rikichi 安籐利吉, was put in charge of the repatriation liaison office, a duty he found so shameful that he never even went to the dingy office given him, instead letting his subordinates handle the actual work. He himself, along with several



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other Japanese viceregal officials, were arrested on charges of war crimes the day after the repatriation efforts were officially closed. They were sent to Shanghai for trial, but Andō committed suicide rather than face this final humiliation.

     Even after the official end of the repatriation program, there were still almost 28,000 Japanese people allowed to remain in Taiwan because they were needed for the transition to Chinese rule. Some were deported after the viceregal government was officially dissolved on May 30, 1946. The rest were deported in the wake of the so-called "2/ 28 Incident" of February 28th, 1947, to which we will turn shortly. Thus, by mid-1947, the Japanese presence in Taiwan came to an end after 52 years.

     Those who moved in Buddhist circles, no less than those in the political realm, found themselves suddenly operating in a power vacuum. Two of the "Three Great Monks" of the Taiwan Buddhist world during the Japanese era, Shanhui 善慧 and Benyuan 本圓, were still on the scene at that time. Accustomed to enjoying island-wide prominence as heads of various Buddhist associations, they reacted to the sudden evaporation of the South Seas Buddhist Association and the deportation of their Japanese colleagues by proposing that a new organization be established, to be called the Taiwan Provincial Buddhist Association [Taiwan Sheng Fojiao Hui 台灣省佛教會]. However, Shanhui died unexpectedly a mere twenty days before the organizational meeting on December 31, 1945.(4) Nevertheless, a nine-man steering committee proceeded to lay plans



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for the new organization, and the founding meeting took place on February 25, 1946, when delegates elected Benyuan as the first president.(5)

     As far as anyone could tell, Taiwan for the foreseeable future was going to remain an unimportant frontier province of China. Although the official language of the government might switch from Japanese to Mandarin, most people expected the southern Fujian dialect to remain the lingua franca of the vast majority of the island's six million people, and Taiwanese culture to continue developing independently. Those who organized the Taiwan Provincial Buddhist Association did so on their own with no prompting or intervention from any mainland authorities, and conscious of themselves as representing one of the many smaller linguistic and cultural groups within China trying to find the best balance between local autonomy and cooperation with (or supervision by) the central government.

     In the case of the Taiwan Provincial Buddhist Association, complete autonomy did not last very long. The Buddhist Association of the Republic of China [Zhongguo Fojiao Hui 中國佛教會], hereafter BAROC(6)] reconstituted itself in Nanjing on May 28, 1947 in its first post-war meeting, and the Taiwan Provincial Buddhist Association sent delegates to attend this meeting. After the ratification of the organization's new charter, the Taiwan group submitted itself to the BAROC's authority and renamed itself the Taiwan Provincial Buddhist Branch Association



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[Taiwan Sheng Fojiao Fenhui 台灣省佛教分會], in compliance with the BAROC's organization into provincial branches [fenhui 分會] and local chapters [zhihui 支會]. After returning to Taiwan, they began the work of reorganizing Taiwan's Buddhist establishment yet again into city and county chapters.(7) Ven. Benyuan died in the midst of all this activity on July 7th, 1947, the last of the major Buddhist leaders of the Japanese colonial era.(8)

     The [l992] Revised Gazetteer of Taiwan Province (hereafter 1992 Gazetteer) reports all of these developments with a blandness that makes them appear unremarkable, as if it were right and fitting that the Taiwan Buddhists should immediately subordinate themselves to the newly-reconvened BAROC. However, one cannot help but notice that this voluntary subordination came just three months after the "2/28 Incident" [er er ba shijian 二二八事件 or er er ba shibian 二二八事變]. Thus, an exploration of this event and its historical ramifications is in order, after which we may consider how it impacted upon the development of the Buddhist establishment.



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     B. The 2/28 Incident. On February 28, 1947, six agents of the Nationalist
Government's Monopoly Bureau found a woman named Lin Jiangmai 林江邁 out on what is now Yen Ping North Road in Taipei selling contraband cigarettes. They stopped her and confiscated her merchandise and all of her cash. She fell to her knees and begged them to return her goods and money, and in response one of the six agents pistol-whipped her until she fell, unconscious and bloody, to the pavement before a crowd of horrified onlookers. A melee ensued as the enraged mob set out in pursuit of the agents. One of them, cornered near a movie theater, fired into the crowd and killed a man. The six agents finally took refuge in the Yongle neighborhood police station, were transferred to the central police station, and finally into the custody of the military police.

     What followed was a confrontation lasting all night and into the next day as people crowded outside whatever police station the six were m, demanding that they be turned out to face their wrath. When they were not forthcoming, the crowd grew angry and overturned one of the Monopoly Bureau's trucks, setting it alight. Word of the incident quickly spread, especially when it appeared on the front page of the New Life News [xinsheng bao 新生報] the next morning (along with photos of the six agents). Crowds gathered in several parts of Taipei, and civil disturbances spread rapidly. A mob of people attempted to storm the government headquarters in Taipei, but were met by the army who opened fire and killed or injured several people and set the rest fleeing in a panic. Others



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broke into the China Broadcasting Corporation building and took over the facilities long enough to broadcast an account of the incident and call for a mass uprising against Nationalist rule. A dispute over contraband cigarettes had now turned into a rebellion aimed at liberating Taiwan from Chiang Kai-shek's government.

     The Nationalists responded with a ruthless crackdown, and over the next several months, unknown numbers of people suspected of working with or sympathizing with movements for Taiwan independence were rounded up, executed, or disappeared. The victims came from all levels of society, from workers to scholars and county magistrates. The numbers are unclear because the government has kept the records sealed until just recently. The actual totals may never be known. However, the people of Taiwan at that time learned the lesson that the government on the mainland was in firm control, and had the means and the will to remain in firm control. During the aftermath, which the people of Taiwan refer to as the "White Terror," partisans of Taiwan independence, or of Taiwan's language and culture, learned to keep their views to themselves or face reprisals. Those who would not keep quiet went into exile to the mainland after the Communist Victory, or to America.(9)

     It is impossible that the Buddhist clergy and laity who formed the Taiwan Provincial Buddhist Association would have been unaware of these events or of the dangers of appearing to assert too large a role for Taiwanese autonomy in any sphere, religious or otherwise. The reorganizational meeting of the BAROC



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in Nanjing to which the Taiwan delegates went took place a mere three months after the 2/28 Incident, when the ensuing repression was still ongoing. Seen against this backdrop, the swiftness with which the Taiwan group became part of the BAROC and set about reorganizing Taiwan Buddhism according to the BAROC charter is understandable. The reader should remember that this was the same group of people who formed the SSBA for similar reasons: to cooperate with the government and distance themselves from revolutionary groups.

     However, language remained as a practical problem. During the period between Retrocession and the retreat of the Nationalists in 1949, things were very chaotic in Taiwan, and there was no time to put in place the universal system of public education in Mandarin that exists today. Whatever clerical education the Buddhists in Taiwan wanted to implement had to be done in the southern Fujian dialect in order to be effective, and so when Buddhist leaders looked for teachers from the mainland, they invited those from Fujian. The best example of this is the Venerable Cihang 慈航法師 (1895-1954), one of the best-loved figures in post-Retrocession Taiwan Buddhism, and one whose career in Taiwan bridges the period before and after 1949. Holmes Welch regards Cihang (romanized as Tz'u-hang) only as an example of a trend toward the gilding and worshipping of "meat bodies" [roushen 肉身], and indeed, Cihang's body is still on the altar of the Cihang Hall in the Taipei suburb of Hsi-chih, gilded and seated in the lotus position.(10) However, as far as understanding Buddhism in Taiwan is concerned,



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his life-story is far more illuminating than the disposition of his corpse.(11)


     C. Ven. Cihang and his Times. Ven. Cihang was born in Jianning 建寧, a small town about 250 kilometers inland from the coastal city of Fuzhou in Fujian Province in 1895, and entered the sangha at the age of seventeen. After receiving the full precepts, he wandered from temple to temple, studying both Chan and Pure Land under various masters. In 1927 he entered the Southern Fujian Buddhist Seminary [Minnan Foxue Yuan 閩南佛學院], one of the seminaries founded by Taixu 太虛.(12) However, he was already over thirty years old at the time and older than the other students. This, plus his lack of education during his youth and his rustic background, earned him the open ridicule of one of the teachers (Ven. Daxing 大醒法師 whom he would encounter again in Taiwan), and so he left there after only three months and never again attempted formal Buddhist education.

     He went on to a distinguished career after that, becoming the abbot of the Yangjiang Temple in Anqing. However, in 1929, he felt shame that he could occupy such a responsible and respected position and still be ignorant of Buddhism and unable to understand Buddhist texts, and so he tried another avenue of getting an education. In 1929 he saw an advertisement for correspondence courses offered by another of Taixu's seminaries, the Wuchang Buddhist Seminary



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[Wuchang Foxue Yuan 武昌佛學院]. He wrote off for the materials, and received in the mail a textbook on Consciousness-Only philosophy that he found completely incomprehensible. He dropped off the rolls of formal correspondence students, but kept the book, and for the next ten years he carried it with him at all times, coming bit by bit to an understanding of its contents. From then on, whenever he was invited to give a lecture, his favorite subject was Consciousness-Only thought.

     Through his exposure to two of Taixu's seminaries, he became enthusiastic for Taixu's plans to reform the Buddhist Sangha and the BAROC. He followed Taixu during the tatter's tour of Southeast Asia in 1940, but did not return with him to China. Instead, he stayed around Malaysia and Singapore, working tirelessly for Buddhist education and founding seminaries and study groups.(13) Finally, in 1948, Ven. Miaoguo 妙果法師 invited him to come to Taiwan and help establish the Taiwan Buddhist Studies Academy [Taiwan Foxue Yuan 台灣佛學院] in the Yuanguang Temple 圓光寺 in Chungli 中壢. Cihang came amid great hopes that he would do wonders for Buddhist education in Taiwan, and he spent the last six years of his life on the island.

     These were not six happy years, however. The Taiwan to which he came was highly unsettled and its economy was in chaos. It was during his first year there that the Nationalist government retreated to Taiwan, bringing in its wake a flood of refugees that included many young monks. The U.S.-Taiwan Mutual



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Defense Treaty was not signed until 1954, and did not go into effect until 1955, which meant that the political and military atmosphere was nervous to the point of paranoia during his entire time in Taiwan. Cihang, as an outsider to the Taiwan system who did not come in with the Nationalists, had an especially hard time of it

     Cihang came on the understanding that he was to help the Taiwan Buddhist Studies Academy set up a three-year curriculum, that he would spend the first six months teaching a basic training course, and then move on to teach more advanced research courses. After his arrival, he found that the Yuanguang Temple had almost no money for its proposed Academy, and in fact provided little more than the buildings. Cihang's first task was to undertake a tour of the island, giving lectures and trying to attract students. He raised money for textbooks himself from his contacts among the overseas Chinese living in Southeast Asia, and he himself never received a single paycheck during his entire tenure in Chungli. He began the basic training class in the late fall of 1948 with a little over forty students, but when this course concluded six months later and the advanced research class did not materialize, he came to feel he had been taken in.

     He did not let bitterness interfere with his educational efforts, and what he lacked in formal education himself, he made up for with his energy and enthusiasm. He worked around the dock lecturing, meeting privately with students, taking care of the administration of the school, and trying to raise money. He was enormously popular with the students, many of whom took his enthusiasm for



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education into distinguished careers of their own. His primary problem was his relationship with the Yuanguang Temple. He stayed there at the pleasure of the abbot, and was in no position to enforce any decisions he might make about the curriculum or administration of the Academy. This problem became especially acute in the spring of 1949.

     The event that triggered Cihang's break with the Yuanguang Temple and its Taiwan Buddhist Studies Academy was the arrival of the Nationalists in 1949 and the refugee monks who followed in their wake. This event takes us out of Taiwan's four-year interlude as a part of Greater China and into the next phase of its history, and so we will interrupt our narrative at this point to sum up the events of this period.

     This interlude was a time of upheaval and transition. The mass deportation of the Japanese population an the dismantling of the Japanese political system left a vacuum for Buddhists as much as for everyone else. The leading figures of Buddhism during the Japanese period tried to reestablish an island-wide Buddhist organization, which quickly chose to subordinate itself to the newly-revived BAROC. With the deaths of Shanhui and Benyuan, the stage was set for a new generation of leaders to emerge an some, like Ven. Miaoguo, took the lead in trying to establish Buddhist education on a firmer footing. They were stymied by a lack of qualified teachers an of financial resources, as well as by the general instability of the period. Still, they expected that future developments in the Buddhism of the island would take place within the context of Taiwanese language



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and culture, though the 2/28 Incident taught: them to be careful about asserting any degree of Taiwanese autonomy. Thus, the first teacher invited to help in the revival of Buddhist education was Cihang, who was qualified by his ability to speak the Southern Fujian dialect as much as by his educational accomplishments.

     More turmoil lay ahead, however. The arrival of 1.5 million mainlanders in the first months of 1949 altered the balance of power in Buddhist circles, and brought in some of the most eminent mainland Chinese Buddhist monks of the day. As we look at the events of this period, we will finish the story of Cihang's life and work, and then turn our attention to the establishment of BAROC's new headquarters in Taipei and the consequences that ensued.




     Cihang had only been teaching at the Taiwan Buddhist Studies Academy for two months when the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan, bringing with it one and a half million refugees from China's eastern seaboard. Monks and nuns were included among those who came, some as refugees, some as soldiers. The monks about whom we will have the most to say in the next chapter were highly-respected eminent monks from Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces, who had been active at the regional or national level and so were well-connected and able to find accommodations in Taiwan soon after their



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arrival. First, however, we will look at the situation of the younger and less distinguished monks who made up the vast majority of those who fled to Taiwan and had much more difficulty finding food and lodging.

     First, the soldiers. In its need for military manpower during the War of Resistance against the Japanese and later against the Communists, the Nationalist government drafted monks along with other able-bodied Chinese males. The recruitment of monks had begun in earnest in 1936, during which time Taixu, working closely with Chairman Lin Sen, convinced the National Assembly to exempt monastic recruits from doing any work that would force them to break their precepts, and let them train as battlefield medics, do sanitary work, aid in the disposal of bodies, and perform other compassionate jobs.(14) However, by the 1940s the government was hard-pressed and apparently no longer willing to grant such concessions; anyone in the army had to be prepared to do any kind of work. Accounts by Ven. Shengyan 聖嚴法師 and Ven. Chen-hua [Zhenhua 真華法師], men who were junior monks at the time and have since risen to prominence in Taiwan Buddhist circles, show them scrambling on their own to find work that would not involve breaking their vows and trying to maintain a vegetarian diet while in the army.(15) These monks came to Taiwan with their



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units for training and were already on the island when the Nationalists retreated in 1949.

     Other monks and nuns came with the rest of the refugees and did not have the benefit of barracks and mess halls to maintain their livelihood. The only solution for these monks was to do what clergy have always done: go to a temple and apply for lodging in the visitor's quarters. However, the times were chaotic and Taiwan abbots were suspicious of strangers and vagrants, even if they did have on monastic garb. We have another firsthand account of these times by a junior monk of that tune who has since also risen to eminence, the Ven. Hsing-yun [Xingyun 星雲法師] of Fo Kuang Shan [foguangshan 佛光山], which we will quote at length:

I first arrived in Taiwan in 1949. At the time, the war in Mainland China had caused widespread panic and many monastics were fleeing the country...Within the Buddhist circle, the confidence of young monks and nuns was shaken-temples would not accept monastics from other places,...and it was impossible to rely on the Buddhist community for survival.

     That same year, I traveled from Taichung to Taipei. Within a short interval of two days, the following happened to me. At a temple on Nan Ch'ang Road, a master demanded of me, "What qualifications do you possess to stay in Taiwan?" He must have not liked my answer for I was not allowed to stay there that night. I went on to a temple on Chung Cheng Road and was again rejected. The night was cold and wet, and the only place to rest was under a large bell where I slept in my soaked clothing.

     Another time, I arrived at a temple in Keelung at 1:00 p.m., in the hope of getting lunch which I had missed the day before,



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only to find that the temple had been ordered not to give food to traveling monks.

     Yet another time, I hoped to stay at Ch'eng Tzu Liao on Mount Kuan Yin. However, on my way there, I discovered that the road was blocked because of a heavy flood. Stuck at a bus stop, peering into the gusty wind and pouring rain, I, hungry and cold, wondered to myself if there was any place I could go.(16)

This passage could have been written by any of the young monks and nuns who fled to Taiwan in 1949.

     At that time, the Taiwan Buddhist Studies Academy was the only institution of its kind in Taiwan, and it appeared to many of the refugee monks that applying there for an education might be a good way to find lodgings and meaningful work. Ven. Cihang, seeing their plight, took pity on them and admitted them all, and soon found himself with about twenty extra students. But there was a problem: Cihang himself was only a guest at the Yuanguang Temple, and not really in a position to offer food and lodging to extra boarders, and his indiscriminate acceptance of all comers strained the temple's already-shaky financial foundations and ultimately led to a confrontation between himself and Ven. Miaoguo. Miaoguo put his foot down and told Cihang not to accept any more students. This vexed Cihang considerably, but he seemed to accept the ultimatum. However, when ten more refugee monks arrived a short while later, Cihang again pleaded for their lodging and was again turned down. This refusal, along with the lack of financial support for his educational endeavors, the overwork, the failure of the school to hire even half of the teachers it had promised, the failure of the advanced



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research class to materialize, and his realization of the tenuousness of his position at the Yuanguang Temple, finally led him to walk out along with twenty of his refugee monks.

     The temple, for its part, decided that the financial burden of running the Academy had been too crushing. Cihang and Miaoguo met one more time, in June 1949, to host the graduation exercises and to discuss the future of the Academy. At that meeting, Miaoguo informed Cihang that the Yuanguang Temple could no longer afford to run the school, and that it would be shut down directly after the graduation ceremony. The Taiwan students were disappointed, but at least had the option of returning to their home temples. The mainland refugee monks, however, had nowhere to go, and at this point, Cihang himself was left homeless. Still, he negotiated fiercely with Miaoguo, who in the end reluctantly agreed to let ten of the mainlanders stay on. Cihang's next problem was to find shelter for himself and the other ten.

     Fortunately, Cihang had made a lot of friends during the happier time of his triumphant entry into Taiwan and his subsequent lecture tour. One of these, the Ven. Wushang of the Lingyin Temple in Hsinchu, was also trying to start up a Buddhist seminary, and he invited Cihang to come and give lectures. However, while Cihang and his group were on their way, they were picked up by government agents on suspicion of vagrancy and banditry, and spent some time in prison. This was probably because the times were so unsettled, and the government could not tolerate such a large group of people of unknown background roaming



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freely. Aside from his ten refugee students, Cihang had picked up another ten mainland monks, so his group was large enough to attract attention. It also did not help that Cihang, influenced by the time he spent in Southeast Asia, did not wear the traditional Chinese grey or black monastic robes, but opted instead toe the eye-catching bright yellow of the Theravada countries.

     Cihang was not alone in having these sorts of difficulties. The Ven. Dongchu 東初法師 (1908-1977) in his memoirs writes that he also had to be wary of attracting attention to himself as he travelled around the countryside. His solution was to travel alone, and to eschew staying in large urban temples in favor of more isolated, smaller temples on the outskirts of town.(17) Another contemporary account, by the Ven. Shengman 盛曼法師 of the Linji Temple 臨濟禪寺 in Taipei, also describes how wary the police were of temples and their residents: police would come by the temple and check all of the clergy's I.D. cards and entry permits.(18)

     Cihang got off fairly lightly, spending only one night in jail and then being transferred to the Dongda Temple 東大寺 in Taipei for detention. The Dongda Temple at that tune housed many monks that the government wanted confined but did not want to have to feed and clothe, and so Cihang and his fellow detainees had to depend upon the charity of devotees for their livelihood. In the meantime, their friends worked for two weeks on all the connections they had within the government to get the detainees, both in the Dongda Temple and



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those left behind in the Hsinchu jail, released.

     Once free, Cihang still had the problem of finding a place to stay. At this point two of his pupils from the Taiwan Buddhist Studies Academy, the nuns Ciguan 慈觀 and Guangwen 廣聞, got permission for him to put up at the Jingxiu Hall [Jingxiu Yuan 靜修院] in the Taipei suburb of Hsi-chih 汐止, but Cihang still had great difficulty in getting around without attracting official notice. He still wore his bright yellow robes, and he had no citizen's I.D. card. At this point he determined that he had no future in Taiwan and decided to return to Southeast Asia, but the nuns prevented this by hiding his passport. After taking care to conceal his movements, his former students finally succeeded in getting him settled into the Jingxiu Hall.

     From that time, Cihang's life settled down a bit. He raised some money from among his friends and established a new school, the Maitreya Inner Hall [Mile Neiyuan 彌勒內院]. Since it was his own school, he could accept any students that he wanted without opposition, and so he was finally able to settle the remainder of the refugee monks who had looked to him for shelter as well as an education. He remained just as overworked as ever, and in 1952 decided to undergo a three-year period of sealed confinement. He never came out. The strain of his life had taken its toll, and he suffered a stroke while in sealed confinement and died on May 6th, 1954. In his will he stipulated that his body should be placed, seated in the lotus position, in a large urn, which was to be re-opened after three years. If the body had not decayed, he said, "then it should



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be plated with gold and placed in a pagoda." His will ends with the following verse, which he wanted recited at his funeral:

Coming with empty hands, empty-handed going;
Of comings and goings, there is no respite.(19)

The rest of the story is given by Holmes Welch. The urn. was opened five years later, and the body was adjudged intact, even though photographs that I have seen taken just after the opening show that time had not been kind to the "meat-body." Still, it was gilded as per his instructions and finally placed on the altar of the Cihang Hall, which was built for this purpose next to the Maitreya Inner Hall, where it sits to this day.

     This account of Cihang's life shows the plight of the ordinary refugee monk and the suspicion of the native Buddhist establishment during the turbulent period following the fall of the mainland. Jiang Canteng, in his recounting of Cihang's life-story, sees another facet to this drama: the continuation of the struggle between Taixu's reformist faction and the traditionalists who controlled the BAROC on the mainland until its reconstitution in 1947. Cihang found himself caught in the middle of this struggle, especially as it played itself out in the educational arena.

     The reader will remember that Cihang first attempted formal education in Taixu's Southern Fujian Buddhist Seminary and (by correspondence) Taixu's Wuchang Buddhist Seminary and felt himself greatly moved by Taixu's reformist



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spirit. He had also accompanied Taixu on his tour of Sri Lanka, India, and Southeast Asia. However, others of Taixu's reform-group such as the influential layman and national legislator Li Zikuan 李子寬, Ven. Daxing 大醒法師 (the teacher under whose derision Cihang left the Southern Fujian Buddhist Seminary), felt that Cihang had betrayed Taixu's spirit on at least two counts. First, he had questioned Taixu's proposals to redesign monastic garb. Second, and more importantly, while in Penang, Malaysia, he had accepted the dharma-transmission in 1947 from the Ven. Yuanying 圓瑛法師, a fellow Fujianese and Taixu's main nemesis within the BAROC.

     The struggle carried over into Taiwan. When the BAROC was reestablished in Taiwan, the reform group and the traditionalists, represented mainly by the Ven. Baisheng 白聖法師, competed for control. The reformers won, and Baisheng retreated to the Shipu Temple 十普寺, a former Japanese temple in Taipei.(20) The victorious reform faction took the opportunity to bring in other famous educators who seemed more solidly within the Taixu reformist axis, such as Ven. Yinshun(21) 印順 and Ven. Yanpei 演培. These were men of such broad learning and scholarly ability that Cihang paled in comparison, and many of his own students left him



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to study with them.(22) The rancor between the two factions at this time was so great that Ven. Daxing openly gloated when Cihang was arrested and tried to discourage others from bailing him out.

     In the end, Cihang must be seen as a transitional figure. He was never a great scholar, due to his lack of early formal education and rustic background; he himself admitted as much. He came to Taiwan at a time when no-one suspected that there would be such a massive influx of mainland monks in one year's time, and when everyone thought that Southern Fujianese would remain the language of education well into the future. Cihang found himself caught in the tide of refugees though not a refugee himself, and caught in power struggles between rival factions of the BAROC that he may not have fully understood. He is remembered today mostly for his energy, affability, compassion, and devotion to the task of inspiring others to seek an education, and many of today's prominent Buddhist leaders are his former pupils. The altar where his gilded "meat-body" sits remains a popular spot for visitors, and as the memories of the bitterness of those early days fades, people think of him with more fondness.



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     We turn our attention now to the group of monks who re-formed the BAROC within Taiwan and came to dominate Taiwan Buddhism until the economic growth and more relaxed political atmosphere of the 1970s ushered in a more pluralistic structure. One of the most significant facts about these monks is that almost ail of them came to Taiwan after distinguished careers in the areas of Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces and the city of Shanghai. These are the very areas in which Holmes Welch reports that Buddhism was the most active and vibrant, where the monasteries were kept in the best repair and had the largest monastic populations, where the clergy kept the precepts most scrupulously and were most serious about their spiritual discipline, and where they enjoyed the greatest degree of respect and patronage from the laity.(23) When they arrived in Taiwan, they reacted with disgust and disdain to the Buddhism that they found there.

     The best example of their attitude towards what they saw upon their arrival in Taiwan can be found in a report composed by Ven. Dongchu. In 1950, the BAROC asked Dongchu to make a tour of the island and report on the state



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of Buddhism as he saw it.(24) In the course of his travels, he says, he saw "new and old, flourishing and declining, the Buddhistic, the theistic, and the superstitious, immaturity of religious consciousness, and a basic lack of education." But the biggest problem, he said, was the lack of any kind of Buddhist order. During the Japanese period, zhaijiao had been allowed into the various Buddhist associations, and some zhaijiao hails even used the term "Buddhist" in their name. Although I doubt that the heads of these zhaijiao halls would have considered themselves members of a clerical order, Dongchu took their existence within Taiwan Buddhist circles as signs of clergy who did not shave their heads, ate meat, drank wine, and married. Thus, he concluded, "...the order of life among Buddhists [in Taiwan] does not strictly adhere to the principles of Buddhist order. There is no dear boundary between clergy and laity. "(25)

     Dongchu then goes on to castigate temples in Taiwan for, of all things, their lack of antiquity and of antiques:

Although there are many temples and zhaijiao halls in Taiwan, still, there is nothing in them, no precious legacy of cultural artifacts or artworks by famous painters, no important carvings, not even many old books. The oldest temple, the Kaiyuan Temple 開元寺 in Tainan, is only about two hundred years old. The rest are just over or just under one hundred years old. Their style is pure Fujianese, and they do not have the scale or solemnity of the historic temples of Jiangsu and Zhejiang. Thus, one's impression after touring the temples in Taiwan is that they are just so much real estate; only a few can command any respect!(26)



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One might suspect that Dongchu, having been in Taiwan less than a year at this point, is simply displaying his own ignorance of Taiwan's history here, as well as some homesickness for his native Jiangsu province.

     Another problem area that Dongchu detected was the halfhearted way in which the Taiwan Provincial Buddhist Branch Association had implemented BAROC rules and regulations, especially at the local level. In many areas, he found local chapters headed by laypeople or (worse yet) by members of zhaijiao halls. In some of these places he found that the local BAROC chapter had no clerical members at all, and that the clergy arid laypeople were not even on speaking terms. Since the BAROC charter stipulated that local chapters be headed by clergy, he called for immediate steps to remedy this situation.

     A problem that appeared to pose a threat to Buddhism's continued existence in Taiwan stemmed from the fact that, during the Japanese period, Taiwan Buddhists had been largely cut off from their religious tradition on the mainland and had had to rely on the Japanese model for their training and inspiration. Most of the leaders in Taiwan Buddhism had been trained under the Japanese system. Of these, many were now quite old and could not be counted upon to carry the torch into the future. Of those leading figures who remained, many had refused to join BAROC while others signed up as nominal members without becoming active. He quotes a Japanese-educated Buddhist layman as saying that if BAROC did not become more active in contacting the people directly, then the Christian missionaries would overwhelm them and Taiwan would become a



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Christian district in thirty years' time!

     A large section of Dongchu's assessment is given over to reporting on the "childishness" [youzhi 幼稚] he saw in the Taiwan people's basic consciousness [genben yishi 根本意識]. As he describes his findings in the field, it becomes clear that this refers to their failure to understand, and subsequently to follow, the rituals and procedures of Chinese Buddhism. In most temples he went to, the residents' monastic garb was idiosyncratic; the residents were just as likely to recite a Daoist scripture such as the True Scripture of the fade Emperor [Yuhuang Zhenjing 玉皇真經] or the Blood-basin Scripture [Xuepen Jing 血盆經] as a Buddhist sutra; most temples had images to Daoist and folk divinities alongside, and sometimes in positions superior to, images of Sākyamuni Buddha, Amitābha Buddha, or Guanyin. Perhaps worst of all, temples cohabited by monks and nuns together appeared to be the rule rather than the exception.

     The root of these problems, and the key to their solution, could be summed up in one word: education. Illiteracy and lack of education are factors which directly contribute to syncretistic tendencies and cause Buddhism to lose the respect of the intelligentsia. On this point Dongchu revealed a profound pessimism with regard to what the BAROC could realistically hope to accomplish in this area. Buddhist education must ultimately rest on the foundation of a sound general education; you cannot teach a person, to read and understand Buddhist books if they cannot read at all. Thus, he estimates that only about ten percent of the Buddhists and zhaijiao adherents in Taiwan are really capable of receiving a



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true Buddhist education.

     The other stumbling block was the lack of facilities. There were still at this point no island-wide Buddhist seminaries, and scant resources for founding them. In the past, Taiwan could depend upon the resources of Japanese Buddhism to hold lecture series, summer institutes, and training schools. Now Taiwan was cut off from both Japan and the mainland, and so had to depend entirely upon its own resources to bring to fruition any educational schemes. But the effort must be made; Dongchu estimated that, of the clerical population in Taiwan, only about thirty percent could be considered young, a much lower figure than the mainland. Without more young monks and nuns. Buddhism in Taiwan faced an uncertain future.

     One important aspect of educational reform as Dongchu saw it lay in a reform of the ordination system. Fifty years of Japanese rule had taken its toll on the transmission of the pure precepts: Dongchu guessed that only about ten percent of monks and less than one percent of nuns age forty and over could receive the pure precepts.(27) Thus, most of the "clergy" in Taiwan could not even be considered clergy at all; their ordinations were invalid according to the standards of the vinaya. This was due to three factors: First a general lack of concern for vinaya study and training. Second, the fact that Taiwan had no "public monasteries"



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[shifang conglin 十方叢林](28) such as existed on the mainland and served as ordination centers. Third, the financing and administration of most temples in Taiwan lay in the hands of laypeople, and so the clergy who cared about reforming the ordination system could do nothing. If the BAROC wished to reform Buddhist education, then they needed to begin with reforming the ordination system, taking control of temples out of lay hands, re-emphasizing training in and adherence to the pure precepts, and establishing public monasteries as centers for these reforms.

     However difficult and daunting the task might appear, Dongchu remained optimistic that Taiwan Buddhism could be reformed. He admired the people's grit and determination. He noted that they seemed to know that the job of preserving "Free China" and of eventually reestablishing it on the mainland lay in their hands. He also saw that the young people had thrown themselves into the task of learning to speak Mandarin Chinese and many were already quite fluent; this would facilitate efforts to establish an educated Buddhist elite in the future. The BAROC, as the only Buddhist agency with national influence, had the greatest responsibility for instituting the necessary reforms. The job was big, he said, but had to be tackled; only in this way could Buddhism, under attack on



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the mainland, continue into the future.

     Dongchu's report sounds several themes that we will see again and again as we continue moving through the modern history of Buddhism in Taiwan. Some of the problems he raises have continued to tax the resources of Taiwan's Buddhist world to this day: education remains a top-priority issue, and even relatively minor vexations such as the standardization of monastic garb come to the surface for loud debate from time to time.(29) Other issues which were problems for Dongchu and his compatriots at the BAROC have since faded and been accepted as the status quo, most notably the cohabitation of monks and nuns. Finally, the BAROC did find solutions for some problems, such as breaking the connection between zhaijiao and orthodox Buddhism, thus bringing to an end this anomalous alliance. Other problems found solutions as well, but in creative and unexpected ways. For example, the problem of establishing public monasteries has been solved, but not by actually establishing public monasteries. We will return to this later.




     A. The Continuing Influence of Ven. Yinguang's Pure Land Revival. In terms of practice. Pure Land Buddhism dominates in Taiwan today. All over the



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island, one may see devotees wearing small rosaries [nianzhu 念珠] as a visible symbol indicating that they have formally taken refuge in Buddhism at a temple under a master. One may also observe that they use the name of Amitābha Buddha as a substitute for "hello," "good-bye," "excuse me," and most other social niceties. Even temples that profess to emphasize Chan meditation practice find that Buddha-recitation events draw the largest numbers of participants.(30) Laurence Thompson noted that, between 1941 and 1960, the people of Taiwan constructed more temples enshrining Amitābha Buddha than any other buddha, bodhisattva, or deity.(31) Much of modern Pure Land thought and practice stems from the revival of Pure Land teachings that took place in the Lingyan Shan Temple 靈巖山寺 in Suzhou under the leadership of the Ven. Yinguang 印光 and which his direct disciple Li Bingnan 李炳南 subsequently transmitted into Taiwan.

     1. Yinguang (1861-1940) and his Pure Land Revival. Ven. Yinguang 印光大師 is one of the most important modern Buddhist reformers. National Taiwan University philosophy professor Yang Huinan 楊惠南 once commented that he and Taixu were the two "bookends" of Republican-era Buddhism,(32) and Ven. Dr. Shengyan 聖嚴法師 listed him alongside Taixu 太虛, the modern Chan master Xuyun 虛雲禪師, and the vinaya reformer Hongyi 弘一律師 as one of the four



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greatest monks of the modern period.(33) Western scholars have noted Yinguang's contributions as well, although they generally place the emphasis on his personal appeal and charisma and offer no information on his actual teachings concerning the Pure Land.(34)

     Yinguang was born in Shanxi province the third son to a farming family surnamed Zhao 趙 in December 1861. His eldest brother had a knack for education which was lost on the second son, and so he took Yinguang under his wing and taught him from the Confucian classics until Yinguang was fifteen years old. At that point Yinguang followed his brother to Chang'an for formal schooling, and his later writings, very learned and rich in classical allusions, attest to the quality of his early training. However, his family could ill afford to let its sons go, and they evidently pressured him to do well so that he could take the civil service examination and help lift their fortunes by entry into government service.(35) In a letter to one of his later followers, he describes his dissatisfaction at the steady diet of Neo-Confucian anti-Buddhist rhetoric he encountered in his studies, and also indicates that he was ill several times(36) which Chen Huijian 陳慧劍 takes to indicate the first instances of the conjunctivitis that nearly cost him his vision and would continue to plague him into the future.(37)

     As a consequence of all this, he eventually came to the decision to seek



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ordination. When his brother returned to the family farm and left him alone in Chang'an in 1881, he went to south Wutai 五台 Mountain and received the tonsure, but his brother found him within three months and tricked him into returning home.(38) However, a short time later he ran away again, this time going to the Lianhua Temple 蓮華寺 in Hubei. He never returned home again after that, and only communicated once with his family during the remainder of his life.(39)

     He spent his early monastic career in the north in order to avoid his family. While at the Lianhua Temple, he was put in charge of the library, and had the job of sunning the scriptures, a task that gave him the time and opportunity to read broadly in the Buddhist classics. He was most attracted to the- Northern Song dynasty text Longshu Jingtu Wen 龍舒淨土文, a Pure Land miscellany composed by the layman Wang Rixiu 王日休 around 1160 and comprising outlines of Pure Land teachings, exhortations to practice Buddha-recitation [nianfo 念佛], and biographies.(40) This work had a decisive impact on the development of his own thought and practice.

     After leaving the Lianhua Temple in 1882, he went to the Shuangxi Temple 雙溪寺 in Shaanxi province for full ordination. Because of his education, the temple assigned him the task of transcribing the ordaining masters' talks and



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lectures. However, his conjunctivitis flared up again and impeded his work and study. In response, he devoted himself to the practice of Buddha-recitation day and night, and the problem spontaneously cleared up, which reinforced his faith in the power of the Buddha's name and provided the basis for his later counsel to his own followers to use nianfo as a means of curing illness.(41)

     After ordination, he spent some years at the Zifu Temple 資福寺 on Hongluo Mountain 紅螺山, and both this site and the events of his life there have significance for the emergence of his Pure Land devotionalism. This temple had been the home of the 12th patriarch of the Pure Land School Ven. Chewu 徹悟法師 (1741-1810), a monk who gained fame for his advocacy of Pure Land practice despite his status as a widely-acknowledged Chan master of the Linji School.(42) Again, Yinguang's education afforded him the opportunity to serve as custodian of the temple library, and during this time he read widely in Ven. Chewu's works. He was impressed with Chewu's active discouragement of Chan meditative practice in favor of Buddha-recitation, and later in his life he was also to advise his disciples to make a dear distinction between the teachings of the two schools.(43)

     For example, chapter seven of the Felicitous Sayings of Ven. Yinguang [Yinguang Fashi Jiayan Lu 印光法師嘉言錄] is devoted to the subject of separating Chan and Pure Land. In this chapter he states that Chan is an unreliable path to enlightenment as it requires unswerving effort over many lifetimes, and



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every moment brings the possibility of distraction onto other paths. As for sudden enlightenment this is as unlikely as feeling full and satisfied after taking the first bite of rice. Intensive Pure Land practice, on the other hand, allows one to attain the Pure Land even if one still carries the burden of bad karma, and once one attains rebirth in the Pure Land, one is then assured of never returning to the cycle of samsara again.(44) In another work. Explaining the Essentials of the Pure Land Dharma-Gate [Jingtu Famen Shuoyao 淨土法門說要] he draws upon an analysis of the relationship between Chan and Pure Land first propounded by Yongming Yanshou 永明延壽 (904-975), but uses it to subvert the tatter's synthesis of the two approaches.

     There are four possibilities. First, a person may have both Chan and Pure Land, by which Yinguang understands that a practitioner has attained an initial enlightenment experience through Chan practice, and subsequently deepened it through continued application. In addition, they rely on the power of Amitābha Buddha's original vow to attain rebirth in the Pure Land. Such a person represents the ideal of one who can preach to all sentient beings according to their needs and resolve all doubts.

     However, if a person has the Pure Land but lacks Chan, that is, makes effort in Buddha-recitation even though not engaging in any meditative practice, then they are still assured of rebirth in the Pure Land where they will ultimately gain complete and perfect enlightenment.



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     One who has Chan but lacks the Pure Land is in a less desirable position. Such a person must rely completely on the power generated by their individual practice to overcome all evil karma, both coarse or subtle. Only by winning complete enlightenment through self-effort does Chan offer any hope of liberation, and Yinguang estimates that nine out of ten Chan practitioners fail to reach this goal before the temptations of this world ensnare them once again.

     The person who lacks both Chan and Pure Land, of course, has no hope at all.(45) Through this analysis, Yinguang brought to completion a trend towards the re-separation of the two schools of Buddhism that had taken root during the mid- and latching period after their synthesis during the Song and Ming dynasties.

     In 1893, Yinguang accepted an invitation from the Ven. Huawen 化聞法師 to work in the library of the Fayun Temple 法雲寺 on Putuo island. While there, he received many requests to lecture on scriptures and teachings, but he was reluctant to stand in the spotlight, and so he asked for two consecutive three-year periods of sealed confinement in order to deepen his own Pure Land practice. Even when not strictly in sealed confinement, he used an assumed name to practice incognito until 1911. His later fame and recognition as the thirteenth patriarch of the Pure Land school came about despite his efforts at anonymity.

     Even during his periods of sealed confinement and anonymous practice, Yinguang had gathered dozens of lay disciples who found his erudition, wit, and



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simple piety attractive. Since his confinement made personal access difficult, many contacted him through letters, and he proved a faithful correspondent. Beginning in 1917, his lay followers began collecting and publishing his letters, some small pamphlets he had written, and notes from his dharma-talks and gave them wider circulation, which marked the beginning of bus fame as a modern Pure Land master.(46)

     In 1930, at the age of 70, he moved to the Baoguo Temple 報國寺 in Suzhou for another period of sealed confinement. This temple was not far from the temple most often connected with his name, the Lingyan Shan Temple 靈巖山寺. It was during this time, even before he went to live in the Lingyan Shan Temple, that he helped them to revise their rules and practices, and turned the temple in the direction of Pure Land cultivation. Even while in sealed confinement, his reputation brought a stream of visitors who sought his help and advice, and he did not wish to send them away empty-handed. Thus, many devotees came to know him better and received his help and encouragement in their practice of Buddha-recitation.(47)

     In 1937, Beijing and Shanghai fell to the advancing Japanese army, and Yinguang moved into the Lingyan Shan Temple, where he continued to live in seclusion away from all worldly affairs. He continued his routine of Buddha- recitation, study, corresponding with followers, and receiving visitors at the small window of his room until 1940. Late in the fall of that year, he began showing



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some signs of illness, and so he passed the abbacy of the Lingyan Shan Temple on to one of his disciples. He died in the night during the eleventh lunar month after instructing the new abbot to maintain the temple as a Pure Land daochang 道場 and not to involve himself in sectarian study.(48)

     His fame was such that all over China people heard of his death and mourned his passing. The entire seventh volume of his Complete Works is taken up with eulogies written by his followers and also the eminent monks of his day. Those who wished to carry on their practice in his spirit formed into Buddha-recitation societies for mutual support.

     We have already delved into his thought with the consideration of his separation of Chan and Pure Land above. There are a few more important observations about his conception of Pure Land practice that require elucidation. First, he conceptualized the Pure Land as a concrete goal, and not as a purified state of mind. In a letter to a follower, he said,

[Some worldlings and followers of outer paths] say, 'the inconceivable grandeur and solemnity of the Pure Land is a fable or a metaphor for the mind, it is not a real place.' If one holds this kind of heretical concept or ridiculous view, then one loses the benefit of rebirth in the Pure Land. You must know the harm there is in this.(49)

To put this in context, Shi Jianzheng points out that there were two ways of thinking about Pure Land practice at this time. The first was "Mind-Only Pure Land" [Weixin Jingtu 唯心淨土], which held that the Pure Land appears when



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the mind was purified, or to put it another way, that the transformation of the mind that came with the attainment of Buddhahood also purified one's surroundings. This style of thought found its roots in the Vimalakīrti-nirdesa-sūtra and was further developed by the Tiantai school in their exposition of Pure Land practice.(50) The opposing stream was "Western Pure Land" practice [Xifang jingtu 西方淨土] which held that the Western Paradise of Amitābha Buddha was a real, concrete destination, and that the goal of Pure Land practice was to attain rebirth there after death. Yinguang clearly belonged to this latter camp.(51)

     Also, unlike some of the Japanese Pure Land reformers of the Kamakura period such as Hōnen and Shinran, Chinese Pure Land thought never lost faith in the importance of morality and of keeping the pure precepts. For Yinguang, this morality was based squarely in Confucian values and Buddhist precepts. Buddhism, he argued, had to work for people in the world, and so it could not be opposed to the proper fulfillment of one's societal role as defined by Confucian ethics. A person who was not filial and who did not fulfil the duties implicit in his or her social role would have a much harder time perfecting their practice and attaining rebirth in the Pure Land. Filiality constituted the root of all morality, and the unfilial son or daughter could not enter the path.(52)



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     Another area in which he differed from some of the later Japanese elaborations of Pure Land theology was in his insistence that nianfo was a strenuous, lifelong practice. In this he stands firm with the rest of Chinese Pure Land thought, which has never heard of the "one-calling versus many-calling" debates that took place in Japan.(53) For Yinguang, Buddha-recitation was a method or purifying the mind and harmonizing it with the Pure Land and its reigning Buddha in such a way as to create affinities that would lead one there upon death. Thus, he advocated many practices of nianfo whose purposes clearly go beyond simply calling upon the Buddha for induction into the Western Paradise. For example, Yinguang invented the technique of reciting the Buddha's name ten times exactly, but without counting or using a rosary, a practice that puts the mind in a state of intense concentration.(54)

     Yinguang actively discouraged people from seeking ordination, and in fact he vowed never to take even a single tonsure disciple throughout his long monastic career.(55) There were two reasons for this view. First, the times were not conducive to the monastic lifestyle; Yinguang lived during a time of government



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efforts to confiscate temple properties, wars, and plagues of bandits. Second, and more important, lay and clerical status were irrelevant to the practice of Buddha-recitation. This being the case, it was unnecessary to abandon family obligations and incur the potential guilt of causing one's family to slander the dharma because they had been deprived of their support. Thus, he encouraged people to remain in lay life and practice nianfo while continuing to discharge their obligations to family and society.(56)

     One final observation will bring this long digression to a close. As is evident from the above presentation, Yinguang provided his followers a fully-articulated rationale for a very specific conception of Pure Land practice. However, his main contribution may well lie in the zeal with which he defended Pure Land thought from its detractors and resolved doubts as to its efficacy. For example, his severe critique of Chan came as a response to some vicious attacks upon Pure Land practice from some Chan practitioners, which he answered by demonstrating the superiority of Buddha-recitation over Chan meditation. In this manner, his Pure Land "theology" was constructed over the years as he sought to encourage his followers to persevere in their practice in the face of very real obstacles, whether slander from without or doubts from within.

     Although this consideration of the life and thought of Yinguang has taken us far off our topic, it is still important to understand because it constitutes the framework of modern Pure Land belief in Taiwan, and yet has been little studied



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in the West We will now turn to two of the direct channels through which Yinguang's influence entered Taiwan: the breviary, and his disciple Li Bingnan 李炳南. After that we will be in a position to understand the controversy surrounding Ven. Yinshun's book, A New Treatise on the Pure Land.

     2. The Adoption of Ling-van Shan Temple Liturgies into the Taiwan Breviary. Although there is no agency to regulate the compilation and use of breviaries (books containing liturgical texts to be recited at various monastic offices), and any temple or devotional society is free to adopt whichever texts they wish to use, one breviary in particular has gained wide acceptance all over Taiwan: the Fomen Bibei Kesongben 佛門必備課誦本 (Essential Recitations for the Buddha-gate). revised and published in Taipei in 1954. In order to understand how this breviary's adoption marks a shift toward Pure Land theology, it is necessary to understand the kind of breviary that it succeeded.

     Most early breviaries consisted of various texts compiled by individual temples for internal use during Morning and Evening Devotions, and these compilations could be quite varied. Some of the earliest contained both Buddhist and non-Buddhist texts. In 1600, the Ming dynasty monastic reformer Yunqi Zhuhong 雲棲祩宏 (1532-1612), at the request of a lay patron, produced the first attempt to rationalize and standardize the breviary, the Zhujing Risong 諸經日誦 (Daily Recitations From the Sutras).(57) This breviary, and its 1662 reprint,



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contained both canonical and non-canonical materials (such as vows, admonitions, and mantras).

     Another group of breviaries emanated from the Haichuang Temple in Guangzhou, which in 1792 produced the Chanmen Risong 禪門日誦 (Daily Recitations far the Gate of Chan). Other breviaries by this name came into use in other temples, and although the extent to which the 1792 edition influenced them is not dear, a comparison of earlier and later editions shows a steady accretion of texts adopted for liturgical use. One of these later versions, produced at the Yongquan Temple 湧泉寺 in Fujian Province, was imported to Taiwan during the Japanese period along with the influx of monastic lineages from that temple, and formed the basis for the first breviary in Taiwan to go by the name of Fomen Bibei Kesongben. produced in Taichung in 1940.(58)

     A glance at the Chanmen Risong of the Tianning Temple 天寧寺 in Changzhou 常州, produced in 1900, reveals the wide variety of ritual texts selected for inclusion: after Morning and Evening Devotions one 'finds liturgies for repentance; the Mengshan liturgy for making offerings to hungry ghosts; a series of Pure Land texts [jingtu wen 淨土文]; "little prayers" [xiao qidao 小祈禱]; a ceremony for "lonely souls" [guhun yi 孤魂儀]; praises for various buddhas, bodhisattvas, sutras, and rituals (a very long section); the Avatamsaka Ceremony [huayan yi 華嚴儀]; the ceremony for Reverencing the Lotus Sutra [li Fahua Jing



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yi 禮法華經儀]; the Compassionate Repentance ceremony [da bei chan yi 大悲懺儀]; a Pure Land repentance [jingtu chan 淨土懺]; liturgies for "reciting the Buddha's name for seven periods" [qiqi nianfo yi 七期念佛儀]; a ceremony for making offerings to Heaven (or the gods) [zhai tian yi 齋天儀]; and a ritual for Releasing Living Beings [fangsheng yigui 放生儀軌]. This is followed by many short mantras, extracts from various sutras such as the Sutra in Forty-two Sections and the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, liturgies for various monastic ceremonies such as tonsuring a disciple, and finally a section on the essential teachings of the Chan School [chanzong fayao 禪宗法要] and lists of various Chan lineages.(59) As is readily apparent, this breviary is long and contains a wide variety of liturgical texts for many different occasions. While the Pure Land school is represented along with the Chan school, it is by no means emphasized or given any prominence.

     After Yinguang took over the abbotship of the Lingyan Shan Temple in Suzhou, he called for the compilation of a new breviary, which would exhibit a definite doctrinal slant towards the Pure Land. This was the first conscious attempt to produce a breviary for a particular form of Buddhist thought and practice, and it resulted in a drastic reduction in content. Yinguang omitted much of the material contained in the Chanmen Risong. in particular the instructions and materials concerning the traditions of the various schools, which



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had made up almost one-third of the previous breviary.(60) This breviary came out in 1938, and was a direct antecedent for the one currently in use.

     The Fomen Bibei Kesongben currently popular in Taiwan is much smaller and more streamlined than the older Chan breviaries. Morning and Evening Devotions occupy over one third of its space, and the rest is dearly biased toward Pure Land practice. After a short section on mealtime devotions, and a somewhat longer liturgy of praise to several buddhas and bodhisattvas for use in the ceremony known as the "Ritual for the Universal Buddhas" [Pufo Yigui 普佛儀規], there is a lengthy set of rituals for a Seven-Day Buddha-Recitation Retreat [foqi 佛七],daily recitations for the Buddha-Recitation Hall, and a "Ceremony for Invigorating a Buddha-Recitation Retreat" [jingjin foqi yigui 精進佛七儀規], all taken directly from the Lingyan Shan Temple's breviary. The remainder of the breviary, comprising about the last one third and listed as an "appendix" [fulu 附錄], contains a variety of short praises and liturgical verses for different occasions such as bathing the Buddha on his birthday or for dedicating the merit of one's spiritual practices.(61) Missing are the Chan lineages, the outlines of Chan teaching, and liturgies for any specifically Chan practice such as a Seven Day Chan Meditation Retreat [chanqi 禪七]. Thus, the direct influence of Yinguang's Pure Land revival and the Lingyan Shan Temple breviary are apparent. The fact that the calligraphy that graces the cover of the breviary is by Yinguang's most influential disciple on



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the island, Li Bingnan, may also signify the strength of the master's vision in contemporary Taiwan.

     3. Li Bingnan. Li Bingnan 李炳南 (1890-1986), one of the most influential laypeople in post-Retrocession Taiwan, was Yinguang's direct disciple and worked ceaselessly for over forty years to spread Yinguang's message within Taiwan Buddhist circles.

     Li Bingnan was born in Shandong province not far from the ancient states of Qi and Lu, the homes of Confucius and Mencius. He came from an educated family, and during his youth received a broad education in the Confucian classics. However, his education took. place against the backdrop of the events leading up to the Wuchang Rebellion and the fall of the Manchu dynasty, and he imbibed the revolutionary atmosphere of the times. Thus, besides Confucianism, he also read widely in law and politics, and chose a career in governmental service in the hopes of putting his studies to practical use. He held a series of minor posts, and by 1926 was the warden of the Ju County prison in Shandong.

     During his tenure at the prison, he obtained a copy of one of Yinguang's works, which he read intensively with the feeling that he had found the crucial missing ingredient in his education and training. He began corresponding with the master,(62) and on July 13th of that same year he journeyed to Shanghai to take the Three Refuges under him. From this point on, he completely reformed his life in accordance with Buddhist precepts: whereas before he had been a



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revolutionary famous for his seemingly endless capacity for alcohol and meat, he now undertook, a strict vegetarian diet, began rising early and retiring late in order to do the Morning and Evening Devotion services, and practiced nianfo constantly. He maintained this rigorous practice for the remaining sixty years of his life, and devoted as much energy to the study of Buddhism as he did to his work.

     His reputation spread, and in 1931 he received an invitation to go to Nanjing to assume the directorship of "Agency for Making Offerings to the Past Masters Who Achieved Sagehood of the Republic of China" [Zhonghua Minguo Dacheng Zhi Sheng Xianshi Fengji Guanfu 中華民國大成至聖先師奉祀官付], a minor governmental organization with about ten employees. The move to Nanjing put him in closer touch with Yinguang, but this situation was short-lived; in 1937, when the Japanese took the Shanghai area, Li was forced to move with the government to Chongqing (Chungking) in central China. In the winter of 1948, about six months before the Nationalist government retreated to Taiwan, Li's agency was transferred to the island, and they set up their main office in the central town of Taichung. Li would remain here in this post for the rest of his life.

     Because he had a license to practice Chinese medicine, he quickly became known to the citizens of Taichung. in addition, he began writing a regular question-and-answer column for the magazine Bodhi Tree [Puti Shu 菩提樹], which gained him wider recognition around Taiwan. Building on this base, he



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founded the Taichung Buddhist Lotus Society [Taizhong Fojiao Lianshe 台中佛教蓮社] as a lecture hall and an agency for mutual support in the practice of nianfo. He founded several other Buddhist enterprises as well, including the Ciguang Library, the Ciguang Kindergarten, the Bodhi Clinic, the Lingshan Temple, and the Wufeng Missionary Station [Wufeng Bujiaosuo 霧峰佈教所]. He enjoyed great fame as an effective and moving speaker and a practitioner of great integrity, and his lectures regularly drew above-capacity crowds. Later, he trained a cadre of other speakers to spread the teachings, most of whom were female, representing another step forward for Chinese Buddhist women.

     He lived a Spartan existence in a small apartment, never marrying, but never taking the monastic vows, either; in this he exemplified Yinguang's ideal of the layperson leading a pure life and sincerely practicing Buddha-recitation. He continued to study all his life, and gained such a reputation for erudition, not only in Buddhism, but also in the Confucian Classics, Chinese medicine, and poetry, that he won teaching appointments at Chung Hsing and Tung Hai Universities in Taichung. In these capacities he inspired many college students who later went on to become Taiwan's leading Buddhist intellectuals. He retained his health well into old age, taking only a year off from his rigorous work and teaching schedule from 1984 to 1985 because of stomach problems. Finally, on April 13, 1986, he died at the age of 97 surrounded by friends reciting the Buddha's name on his behalf.(63)



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     I believe it would be difficult to overestimate Li Bingnan's importance in spreading Yinguang's Pure Land revival into Taiwan. He was enormously popular with the Buddhist laity, his lectures reached thousands of people over the thirty-eight year period between his move to Taiwan and his death in 1986, his college posts gave him a position from which to influence at least two generations of Taiwan's rising intelligentsia, and his writings have assured his continuing influence even after his death. Like Yinguang, he propounded a fusion of Confucian ethical standards with intensive study of Buddhist doctrines, strict observance of precepts, and simple Pure Land piety, and this has remained the model for most of Taiwan's Pure Land practitioners to this day.

     With this background in mind, the observer of Taiwan Buddhism is prepared to understand the depth of outrage that Li Bingnan and his followers felt when the contents of Ven. Yinshun's "A New Treatise on the Pure Land" became known. What follows is a classic story of piety versus academic inquiry.

     B. The Controversy Over Ven. Yinshun's "New Treatise on the Pure Land".

     1. Ven. Yinshun. Ven. Yinshun 印順法師 (1906- ) represents the other side of Chinese Buddhism's modern revitalization. Although he himself is careful to distinguish his own thought from that of his mentor Taixu (as we shall see at the end of this section), he still acknowledged the heavy debt he owed to Taixu's vision of a modernized Buddhism in the formation of his own agenda for reform.

     Yinshun was born in 1906 in the town of Haining 海寧 in Zhejiang province,



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and his lay name was Zhang Luqin 張鹿芹. Although his family was not well-to-do, he had the opportunity to go to school until financial difficulties forced him to abandon his studies at the age of fourteen. Even though his own education was thus incomplete, he went back to his old school two years later, this time in the position of teacher, and during the next eight years he taught other students and devoted his free time to reading books in all of the religions of China.(64) According to his brief autobiography, his introduction to Buddhism came from a book on Zhuangzi 莊子 in which the author extolled the Daoist sage as a precursor of Buddhism. His curiosity piqued, he went to some local Buddhist temples to pick up some further literature, and also obtained some further reading through mail order. His limited education left him ill-prepared to absorb very much of what he read, but he persevered, ordering more books, consulting dictionaries whenever they were available, and generally, as he puts it, "groping in the dark.(65)

     During the course of these early years, while reading and visiting temples, he encountered the problem that would provide a focus for his studies for the remainder of his life. The books that he read presented a highly abstract, pristine, and profound philosophical vision of both reality and the path to liberation that excited and intrigued him, yet the monks that he met (he says there were no nuns in his district at that time) seemed almost completely ignorant of this intellectual heritage and spent their days idling about or performing funerals for paying clients. For their part, the local Buddhist laity seemed interested only in



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the pursuit of this-worldly benefits, and mostly belonged to the Xiantian and Wuwei Sects, both derivatives of Luojiao. Despite their ignorance of basic Buddhist doctrine, they practiced their religion in temples and considered themselves pure Buddhists. Yinshun came to the conviction that Buddhism had been bastardized at some point in its transmission from India to China, or perhaps even prior to that, and he set himself the mission of recovering and disseminating the primitive dharma, which his heretofore narrow range of reading led him to believe consisted of Chinese Mādhyamaka (Sanlun 三論) and Consciousness-only (Weishi 唯識) teachings.(66)

     in order to pursue his questions further, he left his job at the school and went to the Fuquan Temple [Fuquan An 福泉庵] on Putuo Mountain to seek ordination in the fail of 1930. However, this location provided him with no opportunities to further his studies, so the next year he received his master's permission to go study at the Southern Fujian Buddhist Seminary founded by Taixu. Poor health forced him to drop out before the end of his first year, but not before he submitted a lengthy paper giving his views on the current controversy over the relative merits of the Old Translations and New Translations of Consciousness-Only texts.(67) The director of the Southern Fujian Buddhist Seminary at this time was the Ven. Daxing, the monk who had made life so difficult for



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     After a respite in the Yongquan Temple in Fuzhou, Ven. Daxing asked Yinshun to return to the Seminary to lecture on Nagārjuna's Treatise on the Twelve Gates [Shi'er Men Lun 十二門論, T.1568]. Yinshun came and delivered the lectures as requested, but wondered about the quality of a school that would ask him to join the faculty when he had not completed even one semester as a student.(68) Thus, he resigned his post within the year and from 1934 to 1936 lived in the Huiji Temple 慧濟寺 on Putuo Mountain reading through all 7000 fascicles of the Qing Tripitaka.(69) Yinshun records that he did not absorb much of what he read, since he was racing through seven or eight fascicles each day. But he did gain an appreciation for the breadth and variety of Buddhist teaching, which he now saw extended far beyond the boundaries of Mādhyamaka and Consciousness-Only thought. He became impressed with the persistent encouragement to practice for the sake of all sentient beings that he found in the Mahāyāna scriptures, while at the same time he found a dose of realism in the sūtras of the Dīrghāgama and the stories in the vinaya that counteracted the often fantastic imagery of the Mahāyāna texts.(70)

     During the war, Yinshun relocated to Sichuan province where he made the acquaintance of two of his most important pupils, Yanpei 演培 and Miaoqin 妙欽. He remained there for eight years, but in 1946 was forced to flee again



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because of the Communist revolution. He worked his wav slowly back east, his poor health impeding him at several points along the way and the movements of the rebel troops often forcing him to take circuitous routes. By 1947 he finally made it back to the east coast where he received word of Taixu's death. He spent a year working with Ven. Xuming 續明 editing Taixu's Collected Works, and then resumed travelling south, where he finally reached Xiamen (Amoy) in 1949. When the mainland fell, he fled across the border into Hong Kong. In 1952, responding to an invitation issued by his old teacher Daxing 大醒 he relocated to Taiwan.(71)

     Although the fourteen years from his arrival in Sichuan to his move into Taiwan were marked by health problems that left his completely prostrated on three occasions and by political unrest and war, he still considers it an especially fruitful time for his study and teaching. Many of his shorter works come from this period of his life and a result of his students collating their notes and publishing them as books. One of the books that came out of this period, transcribed by Xuming and Yanpei, was his New Treatise on the Pure Land [Jingtu Xinlun 淨土新論].

     2. The Mew Treatise on the Pure Land. It is difficult to read Yinshun's New Treatise on the Pure Land without feeling his distaste for the kind of Pure Land piety advocated by Yinguang and popular throughout China. This simple and exclusive devotion to the practice of reciting Amitābha Buddha's name in the



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hopes of gaining rebirth in the Western Paradise must have appeared to him to be at the heart of the crass, popular Buddhism of his youth that he sought to eradicate. In his New Treatise, he draws on his broad reading of the Chinese Buddhist canon to show that there are many more Pure Lands than the Western Paradise, that there are many more ways to get to them than by reciting a buddha's name, and that there are many more motivations for seeking rebirth in a Pure Land than a simple lack of confidence in one's ability to carry out Buddhist spiritual practices.

     Yinshun begins his discussion by pointing out that "purity" is a basic concept for all the historical foliations of Buddhism, but that this purity has two aspects: purity of one's own personal consciousness, and purity of one's environment. In Chinese Buddhism, these concepts are part of an overall analysis that classifies karmic recompense into two types: the first concept is called "proper recompense" [zhengbao 正報], while the second is called "dependent recompense" [yibao 依報]. Hīnayāna Buddhism only recognizes the first kind of recompense, whereas Mahāyāna recognizes both. Thus, in all branches of Mahāyāna, the purification of one's own consciousness necessarily leads to the creation of a "pure land," i.e., a purified environment (p. 2-4).(72) Thus, Mahāyāna Buddhism, with its innumerable buddhas, necessarily acknowledges innumerable Pure Lands, although the most widely known are Amitābha Buddha's Pure Land in the West, Aksobhya's Pure Land in the East, and the Tusita Heaven where Maitreya, the



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Buddha of the future, awaits his final rebirth (p. 6-7).

     Among devotees. Pure Lands are psychological constructions of idealized worlds. In China, these Pure Lands have four characteristics: 1. They are level, with no mountains, valleys, rivers, oceans, or sharp stones. Yinshun believes that this represents the terrain of the Gangetic plains where the earliest Pure Land scriptures were composed. 2. They are symmetrical and well-ordered: the trees are evenly spaced and in rows, and the landscape is balanced. Yinshun here comments that this aspect is not so important within Chinese culture, as a glance at a typical Chinese landscape painting will reveal. 3. They are very clean, and are free of any impurity whatsoever. 4. They are very rich, adorned with golden sands and jewel-laden trees. This last item Yinshun takes to be a peculiarly Mahāyāna conceit, and reveals the popular origins of the Mahāyāna schools: whereas Hīnayāna taught contentment with what one possessed, Mahāyāna scriptures are full of imagery of riches and grandeur (p. 9-10). More importantly, the presentation of the Pure Land as found in the Indian sūtras reveals how scriptures reflect their authors' social and geographical contexts. For example, the presence of many bathing pools and shady trees in the Pure Land would have occurred naturally to authors living in the hot. dry climate of central India
(p. II). In a direct jab at the Pure Land school, Yinshun points out that it really resembles a Marxist utopia (p. 12); one can imagine how the citizens of the Republic of China after 1949 would have reacted to this comparison!

     In one of the more controversial chapters of his "New Treatise," Yinshun



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discusses the possible origin of the figure of Amit5bha Buddha within the context of Hindu solar worship. Several factors lead him to believe that Amitābha was directly derived from the Hindu solar deity Mitra, and perhaps from earlier Persian antecedents.(73) First, the name "Amitābha" itself means "limitless light" Second, the first visualization prescribed in the Meditation Sutra [Guan Wuliangshou Fo Jing 觀無量壽佛經, T.365] is that of the setting sun, a vision that would be consonant with the western localization of his Pure Land (p. 22-23). Although this is all Yinshun has to say on this topic, and it only occupies one page of his "Treatise," it must have proven very offensive to the average Pure Land devotee who was used to conceiving Amitābha as a really-existent Buddha and not as a constructed deity whose derivation could be elucidated historically. At the very least, this is one aspect of his Pure Land theories that several commentators on the ensuing controversy have all fixated upon.(74)

     Yinshun goes on from this discussion of Amitābha's origins to his pairing with two other Buddhist figures generally represented as residing in the East: Aksobhya and Bhaisajyaguru. In the first instance, he points out how in the Vimalakīrti-nirdesa Sutra, Aksobhya, whose name means "unmoving," represents wisdom. Thus, in following the motion of the sun from the east to the west as a



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metaphor for the believer's progress in the Buddhist path, this juxtaposition of Aksobhya and Amitābha reflects the movement of the devotee from initial wisdom and enlightenment to full buddhahood (p. 26-28). Those who rely on reciting Amitābha's name to attain rebirth in the Western Paradise while ignoring the symbolism of Aksobhya are seeking buddhahood without first aspiring to the cultivation of wisdom or enlightenment (p. 29).

     The juxtaposition of Amitābha and Bhaisajyaguru Buddha represents another sort of symbiosis that, unlike the relationship between Amitābha and Aksobhya, has received attention within Chinese Buddhist culture. Bhaisajyarāja, or Medicine King Buddha, averts various disasters and calamities in this life by bringing healing for illness and protection from accidents, financial ruin, natural disasters, and the like. When paired with Amitābha, he represents happiness and longevity in this life, while the latter represents salvation after death. Again, this is consonant with their directionality: Bhaisajyarāja dwells in the east where the sun rises, Amitābha in the west where it sets. However, after the establishment of this symbolism in India, Pure Land devotionalism in China came to neglect Bhaisajyaguru and concentrate on Amitābha alone, which effectively turned Buddhism into a cult of the dead (p. 31-32).(75)

     Yinshun offers another comparison of Amitābha with Maitreya, the coming Buddha. In scriptures, when people vow to seek rebirth in the Tusita heaven alongside Maitreya, it is not because they view this heaven as a Pure Land in and



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of itself. Rather, they generally desire to create karmic affinities with Maitreya there in order to be reborn with him here on earth in the future, and in this way be present when he attains buddhahood. Thu5, the vow to be reborn with Maitreya does not represent an escape from the world, but an intention to help Maitreya build a Pure Land here in the human realm. For Yinshun, this aspiration is superior to the simple desire to escape from earthly suffering by seeking rebirth in a Pure Land somewhere else (p. 30-31).

     Yinshun finds much to criticize in the aspiration to seek rebirth in Amitābha's Western Paradise [wangsheng jingtu 往生淨土]. He points out that there is another way to achieve rebirth in a Pure Land, and that is to "adorn" a Pure Land oneself [zhuangyan jingtu 莊嚴淨土]. In this connection, Yinshun reminds the reader that Amitābha himself did not attain his present life in the Western Paradise by merely reciting a buddha's name; rather, he first generated bodhicitta. The vow to achieve perfect enlightenment out of compassion for all sentient beings, and then worked to reach this goal over several aeons. The Pure Land that came into being as the "dependent recompense" of his exalted state represented the fulfillment of this vow. Buddhists ought to take this as their model of practice, as it reflects the Mahāyāna ideal of personal striving for the perfection of one's own wisdom and compassion, and does not seek rebirth in a Pure Land in utter dependence upon a buddha's saving power. This latter path makes the Pure Land into just another heaven and the buddha who creates it just another savior-deity (p. 38-41).



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     Yinshun. argues that the elevation of calling the buddha's name into a single, all-sufficient practice may be traced to a misunderstanding that confuses nianfo (reflection upon the Buddha) with chengming 稱名 (calling upon the name). Buddhānusmrti, a multifaceted reflection upon the excellent qualities of the Buddha, is a rich and varied form of meditation that dates back to the earliest Buddhist communities. Calling upon the Buddha's name, on the other hand, is not a form of religious cultivation at all, but an expedient means reserved for situations where the believer is in danger, or as a last resort for someone on their deathbed with no time for proper repentance and confession. He then analyzes various scriptures related to methods for attaining rebirth in various pure lands that were translated more than once into Chinese, showing that the vocabulary of these sūtras gradually shifted from "reflecting on" or "contemplating" the Buddha to "reciting the Buddha's name" (p. 56-61.).

     In a move certain to infuriate his critics, Yinshun illustrates the above point further by referring to a story from a Jin dynasty historical work called the "Record of Foreign Lands" [Waiguo Ji 外國記] in which the people of Parthia, who are very stupid and understand nothing of Buddhism, come upon a golden parrot who recites the Buddha's name. Convinced that it was an incarnation of Amitābha, they all began joining in the recitation, and thus attained rebirth in the Western Paradise. After relating this story, Yinshun points out that the Pure Land scriptures were among the first to be translated into Chinese, and indicates that this was not a compliment to the Chinese people. On the contrary, he takes



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this as evidence that the earliest Buddhist missionaries to China thought the Chinese people to be as stupid as the Parthians of old, and gave them this lowest form of practice because they did not think the Chinese capable of anything more. Otherwise, they would have translated works on Buddhist doctrine and cultivation (p. 62-63). So the Chinese go on mindlessly repeating the Buddha's name, spurred on by ignorant teachers such as Yinguang, whom he singles out by name for criticism at the end of this discussion (p. 64).

     Finally, Yinshun attacks a commonly used apologia for Pure Land practice: relying on comments made by Nagārjuna in his Dasabhūmika-vibhāsā-sāstra [Shizhu Piposha Lun 十住毘婆沙論, T.1521], devotees assert that reciting the Buddha's name constitutes an "easy path" for those unable to take the "difficult path" of attaining the six perfections over several aeons of practice. Yinshun points out that Nagārjuna prefaces his remarks on the "easy path" with some rather sarcastic comments to the effect that it constitutes a path of last resort for those lacking in the bodhisattva's resolve and compassion. Even after he introduces the path of buddha-recitation, Nagārjuna denies that it is a sufficient means for attaining perfect enlightenment. In fact, Yinshun asserts that "easy path" and "difficult path" are misnomers with his dictum "It is hard to become a buddha by taking the easy path, but it is easy to become a buddha by taking the difficult path." To illustrate, he relates that Maitreya chose to take the easy path, while Sākyamuni Buddha chose the difficult path. Even though Maitreya took his vows forty aeons before the Buddha, he is still in the Tusita Heaven awaiting the



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ripening of his practice, while Sākyamuni has already achieved his goal (p. 64-70).

     It is not within the scope of this discussion to evaluate the merits of Yinshun's case; such an undertaking would constitute a book in itself. Our purpose here is simply to see that Yinshun consistently attacks the very form of practice that Yinguang spent his life advocating, relegating it to the very lowest form of cultivation, to be used only as a last resort by the dim-witted and those in dire straits. To take buddha-recitation and make it the sole form of practice for all people, even those with the intelligence and leisure to undertake true bodhisattva practice, represented a degradation of Buddhism for Yinshun, and his contempt for this way of thinking comes through dearly on every page of his "New Treatise."

     3. The Controversy and its Aftermath. The "New Treatise" came about as a result of a series of lectures Yinshun delivered in the winter of 1951 at the Jingye Monastery [Jingye Conglin 淨業叢林] in Hong Kong. His students Yanpei and Miaoqin revised their notes and published them that same year, perhaps conscious of the stir it was likely to cause. The following year, Yinshun received the invitation from his old teacher Daxing to come to Taiwan, and he was installed as the Guiding Master [daoshi 導師] of the BAROC's flagship institution, the Shandao Temple 善導寺 in Taipei. Because of his sudden prominence, his works began circulating among Buddhists, among them the "New Treatise on the Pure Land."

     In his autobiography, Yinshun makes little of the trouble that followed, saying only "it appears to have elicited some disgust from those people who only



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want to practice calling the name of Amitābha."(76) This is an understatement. According to Yang Huinan, his critics mounted a whisper campaign against him, and in Taichung Pure Land devotees burned his books publicly.(77) Jiang Canteng asserts that Li Bingnan himself directly incited the burnings,(78) but Yang denies this, saying instead that it was a group of local clergy, recently ordained after having retired from military service.(79) Yinshun's attackers sent flyers to all the branches and chapters of the BAROC asking that he be ostracized and his works boycotted, and some within the BAROC even used their influence with certain Nationalist Party officials to issue a statement to the effect that his writings were infected with the poison of Communism (perhaps because of his comparison of the Pure Land to an ideal Marxist state?), and requesting that increased attention be given to extirpating his influence.(80)

     Yinshun finally gave in to the combined pressure of the BAROC and its Nationalist friends. He stepped aside from his position at the Shandao Temple and issued a statement asking pardon for his offense, saying that it was written at a time when he was in flight across China and had no access to the Tripitaka; perhaps his memory of certain canonical passages was faulty. He concluded by humbly asking the government to help him correct his views.(81) Although he has remained active in some facets of Buddhist life in Taiwan, notably as an ordaining



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master in several BAROC-sponsored ordination sessions, he mostly- retired from public life after this incident, preferring to pass his days in quiet study in his Fuyan Vihara in the town of Chiayi.

     Yang Huinan interprets the ferocity of the reaction against Yinshun as yet another manifestation of the power struggle between the traditionalist and reform factions, spearheaded on the mainland by Yuanying and Taixu respectively, which continued after the retreat to Taiwan among the disciples of these two great monks.(82) There is a certain plausibility to this claim. Jiang Canteng points out that other eminent monks and lay scholars in Taiwan have criticized the Pure Land tradition of Yinguang with its advocacy of the single practice of buddha-recitation with no worse consequences than brief flurries of editorials(83)" Also, as related in the biography of Ven. Cihang given above, Yinshun came to Taiwan at the direct invitation of the Ven. Daxing, the monk who opposed Cihang's educational efforts partly on the grounds of his suspicion that Cihang had betrayed the spirit of Taixu's reforms. This was the time when the reformers won control of the Shandao Temple and the traditionalists, represented by Ven. Baisheng, retreated to the Shipu Temple. The appearance of Yinshun's controversial book just at the time that Yinshun assumed a high post at the Shandao Temple may have provided the traditionalist faction the opportunity to re-assert control over the Shandao Temple and over BA-ROC affairs. The fact that the controversy involved Pure Land practice had symbolic significance to the traditionalist



241 BUDDHISM IN TAIWAN Chapter Four. Retrocession and the Arrival of the Mainland Monks

followers of Yuanying as well; Shi Jianzheng 釋見正 reports that, at the time Yinguang passed away and popular sentiment began to identify him as the thirteenth patriarch of the Pure Land school, some opposition ensued on the ground that two other candidates for this honor, Xuyun and Yuanying, were still alive. These voices of dissent argued that the mantle of thirteenth patriarch should be withheld until all three had passed on so that a choice could be made from among them all.(84) This shows that the traditionalist faction identified itself strongly with the conservative view of Pure Land practice which Yinshun had attacked.

     As we shall see in the next chapter, Baisheng eventually did lead the traditionalists to regain control of the BAROC He won election to the post of president of the organization in 1960, not long after this controversy, and either he or other members of his close circle have held this position ever since. My own speculation is that the public vilification of Yinshun was one of the first stages of their comeback. To this day, Yinshun maintains an ambiguous position within Taiwan Buddhist circles. As a young monk at a Pure Land temple once said to me with a duck of the tongue and a shake of the head, "Yinshun is a great scholar, but he just doesn't understand the spirit of the Pure Land."

     Ven. Yinshun has not been completely without influence within Taiwan Buddhist thought, however. After the controversy died down and tempers cooled once again, Yinshun, along with other members of the reform faction, were able



242 BUDDHISM IN TAIWAN Chapter Four. Retrocession and the Arrival of the Mainland Monks

to gain acceptance for some of Taixu's ideas about a modern reformulation, of Buddhist ideals. One of the most successful of these is actually a modification of one of Taixu's guiding ideas, that of "Buddhism of Human Life" [rensheng fojiao 人生佛教], which Yinshun reworked as "Buddhism in the Human Realm" [renjian fojiao 人間佛教]. The primary difference between these two theories consists in their analysis of Chinese Buddhism's main impediment to adaptation to modern social needs.

     When Taixu surveyed the Buddhism of his day, he thought the major problem with it was that it concentrated too much on performing funeral practices and placating spirits. Thus, he coined the term rensheng fojiao in order to emphasize his vision of a Buddhism more directly engaged in the affairs of the living, based on the twin assumptions that first, human life is the basis of all progress on the Buddhist path, and second, that the religious life must consequently emphasize human life and morals. Taixu expressed this ideal in his concrete programs for the reform of the Buddhist sangha in order to rationalize its organizational structure and purge it of superstitious practices, and in his efforts to involve Buddhists more in social welfare activities.(85)

     In changing rensheng ("human life") to renjian ("the human realm"), Yinshun expressed the primary difference between his and Taixu's diagnosis of the source of Buddhism's degradation. Whereas Taixu thought Buddhism as he saw it concentrated too much on spirits and the dead, Yinshun thought the problem



243 BUDDHISM IN TAIWAN Chapter Four. Retrocession and the Arrival of the Mainland Monks

went farther back, having its roots in the history of Indian Buddhism. There, Buddhism became progressively more theistic [tianhua 天化 or shenhua 神化].(86) He believed Taixu did not adequately address this issue, and even remained caught in traditional Chinese conceptions of Buddhism himself. For example, Yinshun believed Taixu failed to critique the Chinese interpretation of the dharmakāya, or "dharma-body" of the Buddha, which describes it in very theistic terms.(87) The reader may recall from the discussion above that Yinshun also criticized contemporary Chinese Pure Land practice for making Amitābha Buddha into a kind of god and his Pure Land into a kind of heaven. As he stated in his essay, "The Buddha is in the Human Realm" [Fo Zai Ren Jian 佛在人間]:

The Buddha was not a god, nor a demon, nor did he claim to be the son of a god or the prophet of a god. He frankly stated: "All buddhas and world-honored ones arise from the human realm and not from the gods" (Ekottarikāgama). This is not only true of Sākyamuni Buddha; all who become buddhas arise from the human realm, not from a heaven. ...When a buddha is in the human realm, he wears clothing, eats, comes in and goes out.(88)

Thus, in changing rensheng fojiao to renjian fojiao, Yinshun sought to go further than Taixu in secularizing Buddhism.

     This idea has taken hold in many segments of Taiwan Buddhism. The



244 BUDDHISM IN TAIWAN Chapter Four. Retrocession and the Arrival of the Mainland Monks

socially-progressive Buddhist magazine Buddhist Culture [Fojiao Wenhua 佛教文化] took as its guiding editorial policy the "founding of the Pure Land among humanity" [renjian jingtu 人間淨土]. Many temples in Taiwan that I visited, especially in urban areas, posted signs which expressed the purpose the temple's programs in terms of creating this earthly Pure Land; such temples frequently offered social welfare programs and tried to implement environmentally-conscious practices, such as eschewing disposable dishes and chopsticks in favor of reusable ware.(89)

     This concept of renjian fojiao appears also to be peculiar to Taiwan. Jiang Canteng reports that this term, familiar to most Buddhists in Taiwan, is unknown elsewhere. He say-s that when Prof. Lan Jifu, a prominent historian of Buddhism in Taiwan, went to Japan to participate in the third Sino-Japanese Buddhist Scholarly Symposium, no one that he spoke to had ever heard of the term, not even Kamata Shigeo 鎌田茂雄, who specializes in the study of modern Chinese Buddhism.(90) Thus, Yinshun has exerted some influence over Buddhist thought in Taiwan despite his early humiliation, and many people there have paid attention to his life and work.(91)



245 BUDDHISM IN TAIWAN Chapter Four. Retrocession and the Arrival of the Mainland Monks

     This chapter has outlined several trends that emerged during the early years after Taiwan returned to the Chinese fold in 1945. In terms of the politics of organizing China's Buddhists, Taiwan Buddhists quickly came under the direct supervision of the nationwide establishment, in particular the Buddhist Association of the Republic of China (BAROC). Before this latter organization relocated to Taiwan with the Nationalist government in 1949, it had been subject to years of internecine power struggles between a traditionalist faction led by Ven. Yuanying, and a reformist faction led by Ven. Taixu. After 1949, the disciples of these two figures carried on this struggle, which seemed to go to the reformers at first, but ultimately resolved itself in favor of the traditionalists. The result has been that Taiwan Buddhism has tended to incline towards conservatism, especially in the retention of very traditional Pure Land practices. However, it must also be noted that after the conflicts of the early 1950s, the two sides seem to have reached a rapprochement as the economic development of Taiwan has forced even the most conservative believer to face issues of modernization and progress.

     The BAROC continued to be the chief political player in Taiwan Buddhism for many years, although an increasing atmosphere of pluralization has steadily eroded its power base. The BAROC will be the subject of the next chapter, and the forces of pluralization will come up for examination in chapter six.




(1) In English documents, the government of the Republic of China generally translates this term as "Retrocession." and I have chosen to follow this usage.[back to text]

(2) Huang Zhaotang 1994, p. 254-255.[back to text]

(3) Huang Zhaotang 1994, p. 256-257. Huang adds that some of the property confiscated had been confiscated from the Chinese population by the Japanese first! George H. Kerr, an eyewitness to these tumultuous years, paints a very grim picture of these confiscations, many of which amounted to no more than gangs of army officers simply taking a property, often after having previously bankrupted the owners with demands for bribes that only slaved off confiscation for a period of a few days or weeks. See Kerr 1976, p. 97-113.[back to text]

(4) 1992 Gazetteer, p 209.[back to text]

(5) 1992 Gazetteer, p. 148.[back to text]

(6) Welch uses the term "Chinese Buddhist Association" as his English rendering of this organization's name. However, the BAROC itself uses the term "Buddhist Association of the Republic of China" in order to distinguish itself from the corresponding organization in the PRC, the zhongguo fojiao xiehui 中國佛教會, which calls itself the "Chinese Buddhist Association" in its official English communications.[back to text]

(7) 1992 Gazetteer, p. 149. The BAROC's reorganization came at the end of ten years of inactivity. According to Holmes Welch, the BAROC came into being in Shanghai in 1929 as Buddhist monks banded together to fight then-current moves to confiscate monastic property for public use. The BAROC "became inactive" after the Japanese invasion of 1937, and was revived at the 1947 meeting in Nanjing (for which Welch gives a date of May 26th instead of May 28th). Also, as Welch states, although the group which reconstituted itself in Nanjing in 1947 was a revival of the Buddhist Association of the Republic of China founded in Shanghai in 1929, it claimed descent from an older group, the Chinese General Buddhist Association [zhonghua fojiao zonghui 中華佛教總會] founded in Shanghai in 1912. They still claim this: notes from BAROC's 13th General Congress, held in 1993, state that this meeting marked the 81st year of the Association. On the 13th General Congress, see the magazine Zhongguo Fojiao Yuekan 中國佛教月刊 (Chinese Buddhism Monthly), vol. 37, no. 10 (October 1993), p. 2-4. For Welch's account of the BAROC's pre-1949 history, see Welch 1968, p. 40-49.[back to text]

(8) 1992 Gazetteer, p. 205.[back to text]

(9) This account is taken from Dai and Ye. 1992, p. 189-231, and is of necessity only a brief outline. An English account and analysis of this event can be found in Kerr 1976, chapters eleven through fifteen, and Mendel 1970, p. 31-41.[back to text]

(10) Welch 1967, p. 343-344.[back to text]

(11) All of the information concerning Cihang, except where otherwise noted, comes from Jiang Canteng 1992, p. 37-75.[back to text]

(12) FC 5803b.[back to text]

(13) FG 5803b, c.[back to text]

(14) Shi Dongchu 1974, vol. 2, p. 468-469. Holmes Welch mentions monks doing ambulance work in 1937, but credits the organization of this corps to Ven. Yuanying, the last president of BAROC before it became inactive during the war. Welch also makes no mention of monks organizing for rescue work as a way of avoiding more objectionable military service. See Welch 1968, p. 45.[back to text]

(15) See Chen-hua 1992, p. 199-212. and Zhang Shengyan 1968, p. 151-215. Their stories are vastly different and show how varied a soldier-monk's experience could be. Chen-hua [Zhenhua] was drafted at gunpoint along with many other young monks at Putuo Island, and left the army as soon as he could. However, in spite of maintaining a vegetarian diet out of compassion, he surprised his captain one day by declaring that if the need should arise to fire his rifle and kill an enemy soldier, he would do so without hesitation (p. 210).

     Shengyan, on the other hand, volunteered for military service, but stayed away from the necessity to kill others by testing into the Signal Corps. He went on to enjoy a fairly distinguished, ten-year military career before retiring in 1955 to re-join the sangha. Both shared a common struggle to maintain something of their monastic identities and lifestyles in a military setting, but did so with very different attitudes and means.[back to text]

(16) Shi Xingyun 1994a, p. 180-181.[back to text]

(17) quoted in Jiang Canteng 1992, p. 62.[back to text]

(18) quoted in Jiang Canteng 1992, p. 63.[back to text]

(19) Cihang's will is reproduced in full in 1992 Gazetteer, p. 216-217.[back to text]

(20) Baisheng had been a longtime friend and assistant to Ven. Yuanying on the mainland. See Shi Baisheng 1994, p. 88-89. Yuanying himself was still alive at this time, but had remained on the mainland. He had even been. elected to head the newly-formed Chinese Buddhist Association [Zhongguo Fojiao Xiehui 中國佛教協會] under the Communist government, but died in 1953 before he had a chance to take office. See Shi Dongchu 1974. vol. 2, p. 803-305.[back to text]

(21) Ven. Yinshun appears repeatedly in Welch's The Buddhist Revival in China, but never by name. He is "T'ai-hsu's biographer," and Welch depended upon him for most of his information on Taixu.[back to text]

(22) It may have added to Cihang's humiliation that Yin5hun. who could not speak the local dialect, asked Cihang to come and translate his lectures (or him in order to attract a greater audience. Cihang refused on the excuse that he himself could not make out Yinshun's heavy Zhejiang accent. See Jiang Canteng 1990, p. 183-184.[back to text]

(23) Welch 1967, p. 246-252. Some examples of eminent mainland monks from the early post-Retrocession period include Yinshun, who was from Zhejiang; Daxing 大醒, Taicang 太滄, Dongchu 東初, Xingyun 星雲, Shengyan 聖嚴, and Nanting 南亭, who were all from Jiangsu; and Zhenhua 真華, who was originally from Henan and received tonsure in the north, but received full ordination and studied in the seminaries of Zhejiang and Jiangsu. There are exceptions. of course: Daoan 道安 spent his childhood and early monastic life around Hunan, the Zhangjia Living Buddha 章嘉活佛 was Mongolian, and Baisheng 白聖 was from Hubei.[back to text]

(24) Shi Dongchu 1979, p. 105-113.[back to text]

(25) Shi Dongchu 1979, p. 106.[back to text]

(26) Shi Dongchu 1979, p. 106-107.[back to text]

(27) The meaning of this statement is unclear. It might mean "could claim to have received the pure precepts." Alternatively, there might be a typographical error, and the word "received" [shou 受] should have been the word "transmit" [also pronounced shou 授]. Given his next statement, the first choice makes more sense.[back to text]

(28) These are monasteries that, in theory, belong to the sangha as a whole. They are opposed by "hereditary temples" [zisun miao 子孫廟], which are the property of the abbot, In traditional mainland' Chinese Buddhism, aspirants to ordination could receive tonsure and enter the sangha only at hereditary- temples, but could receive the full monastic ordination only at public monasteries. This was to prevent the cliquishness and nepotism that may arise from the quasi-familial relationships that exist between a disciple and his or her tonsure-master and fellow disciples from taking root in public monasteries, and to provide an impartial, standard education in monastic rules and decorum for all ordinands. Dongchu appears to be saying that the lack of decorum and standardization of such basic things as monastic garb and the content of morning and evening devotions that he saw all over Taiwan stems directly from the lack of public monasteries and the standardized education they provided.[back to text]

(29) See, for example, "Tongyi Sengjia Fuse Zhufang Yijian Jijin" 1965, p. 10-23.[back to text]

(30) For example, the Nongchan Temple 農禪寺 in the Taipei suburb of Peitou [Beitou 北投] draws about 300 participants for its regular Sunday-afternoon public Chan meditation sessions, but over 1000 for its Saturday-night Buddha-recitation sessions.[back to text]

(31) Thompson 1964, p. 326.[back to text]

(32) Yang Huinan, "Introduction." in Shi Jianzheng 1989, p. 2.[back to text]

(33) Zhang Shengyan, "Introduction," in Shi Jianzheng 1989, p. 1.[back to text]

(34) For example, see Chan 1953, p. 65-68; Welch 1967, p. 91, 100; and Welch 1968, p. 195.[back to text]

(35) Shi Jianzheng 1989, p. 15-16.[back to text]

(36) Yinguang, "Fu Shao Huiyuan Jushi Shu" ("Answer to the Layman Shao Huiyuan's Letter"), in Yinguang 1991, vol. 5, p. 2398.[back to text]

(37) Chen Huijian 1994, p. 344.[back to text]

(38) Yinguang 1991, vol. 5, p. 2398.[back to text]

(39) Shi Jianzheng 1989, p. 18-19.[back to text]

(40) Shi Jianzheng 1989, p. 20. This text is number T.1970; for more information, see PC 6389a. or Ono Gemmyō 1932-36, vol. 6, p. 114c.[back to text]

(41) Shi Jianzheng 1989, p. 20.[back to text]

(42) FG 5947c-5948a.[back to text]

(43) Shi Jianzheng 1989, p. 21.[back to text]

(44) Yinguang 1991, vol. 4, p. 1379.[back to text]

(45) Yinguang 1979, p. 48-50.[back to text]

(46) Shi Jianzheng 1989, p. 22.[back to text]

(47) Shi Jianzheng 1989, p. 24.[back to text]

(48) Shi Jianzheng 1989, p. 25.[back to text]

(49) Yinguang 1991, vol. 4. p, 1939.[back to text]

(50) TC4422a.[back to text]

(51) Shi Jianzheng 1989, p. 48.[back to text]

(52) Shi Jianzheng 1989, p. 58-59. Jianzheng points out later in his study that apologists for Yinguang find his emphatic insistence on filiality as the root of all virtues difficult to reconcile with his leaving home to become a monk, and even more with the story that he expressed delight when he heard the news that his last brother had died childless, thus ending his family line. He opined that this was a good thing, because it dosed off one more conduit for the continuation of the cycle of suffering. See p. 68.[back to text]

(53) This refers to a debate among several of the disciples of Hōnen (1133-1212), the founder of the Jōdoshū or Pure-Land School, in Japan. Some of them, such as Ryūkan. thought that the believer needed to recite Amitābha Buddha's name constantly in order to be in the necessary state of mind to attain rebirth at the moment of death. He himself recited the name 84,000 times daily. Others, such as Kōsai, thought that one chanting of the name, done with proper faith, sufficed. See Matsunaga and Matsunaga 1976, vol. 2, p. 74-78.[back to text]

(54) Shi Jianzheng 1989, p. 84-85. As for Yinguang inventing this technique, this is recounted by his monastic follower Huizhou. Huizhou says that he searched the Pure Land scriptures for this technique without success, and later went to Yinguang to ask where it had come from. Yinguang laughed and said he invented it by modifying the Chan practice of counting breaths. Shi Huizhou, "Dashi Jiao Wo Nianfo Fangfa" ("The Great Master Teaches Me the Method of Reciting the Buddha's Name"), in Yinguang 1991, vol. 7, p. 472-473.[back to text]

(55) Yinguang 1991, vol. 3, p. 373.[back to text]

(56) Shi Jianzheng 1989, p. 71-74.[back to text]

(57) Günzel 1994, p. 13. Many thanks to Elizabeth Brennan McManus for her help with the German.[back to text]

(58) Günzel 1994, p. 14-15.[back to text]

(59) Chanmen Risong 1988.[back to text]

(60) Günzel 1994, p. 15-16.[back to text]

(61) Fomen Bibei Kesongben 1954.[back to text]

(62) Several of Yinguang's letters to Li Bingnan (addressed to him under his dharma-name Deming 德明) are contained in Yinguang 1991, vol. 3, p. 369-375.[back to text]

(63) The above biographical information taken from Chen Huijian 1994, p. 329-341.[back to text]

(64) Chen Huijian 1994, p. 2.[back to text]

(65) Shi Yinshun 1985, p. 4.[back to text]

(66) Shi Yinshun 1985, p. 4-5.[back to text]

(67) Shi Yinshun 1985, p. 6-7. The debate concerned translations made of fundamental Consciousness-Only texts into Chinese by Paramārtha during the sixth century C.E. and newer translations of the same texts prepared by Xuanzang a century later. Yinshun argued in favor of the New Translations.[back to text]

(68) Shi Yinshun 1985, p. 8.[back to text]

(69) Chen Huijian 1994, p. 2.[back to text]

(70) Shi Yinshun 1985, p. 8-9.[back to text]

(71) Shi Yinshun 1985, p. 10.[back to text]

(72) In this discussion, all in-text page references are to Shi Yinshun 1992, p. 1-75.[back to text]

(73) Yinshun was not the first to propound this theory. In the west, several European scholars noted the affinities between Amitābha and his retinue with Indian and Persian solar deities, and, drawing upon Max Müller's theories of common Indo-European roots for European and Indian language and culture, theorized a direct derivation. One such presentation is found in Mallmann 1967, p. 85-95. It is possible that Yinshun was influenced by these theories, but if he was, he does not acknowledge it, and he claims not to be able to read any European language. See Shi Yinshun 1995, p. 2.[back to text]

(74) For example. Fujiyoshi Jikai points to this part of Yinshun's presentation as the root cause of his subsequent troubles. See Fujiyoshi 1968, p. 740. Also. Yang Huinan points to this as one of the two most offensive parts of Yinshun's "Treatise." See Yang Huinan 1991, p. 20.[back to text]

(75) My experience in Taiwan has shown that if this relationship was lost during Yinshun's early adulthood, it has since been recovered. Many Buddha-recitation events and dharma-meetings that I attended included invocations of Bhaisajyaguru as well.[back to text]

(76) Shi Yinshun 1985, p. 20.[back to text]

(77) Yang Huinan 1991, p. 23.[back to text]

(78) Jiang Canteng 1988, p. 58.[back to text]

(79) Yang Huinan 1991, p. 23, note 60. Friends in Taiwan who have spoken to Yinshun also inform me that he does not believe Li Bingnan was involved in this incident.[back to text]

(80) Yang Huinan 1991, p. 28.[back to text]

(81) Yang Huinan 1991, p. 29.[back to text]

(82) Yang Huinan 1991, p. 21.[back to text]

(83) Jiang Canteng 1988, p. 48-19.[back to text]

(84) Shi Jianzheng 1989, p. 105.[back to text]

(85) Yang Huinan 1991, p. 92.[back to text]

(86) Shi Yinshun 1985, p. 18.[back to text]

(87) The dharmakāya is one of the "three bodies" of the Buddha, the First being the nirmānakāya, or human body which may be seen by anyone, and the sambhogakāya, or "recompense body," in which all of the Buddha's accumulated virtues appear in such forms as huge size, magnificent apparel, emanations of bright light and so on. The "dharma-body" represents the Buddha's most abstract aspect, the truth which he revealed which pervades all of reality. Some interpretations of the dharmakāya personalize this concept so that it becomes the Buddha himself (or another Buddha such as Vairocana) pervading the cosmos and working on behalf of living beings.[back to text]

(88) Quoted in Yang Huinan 1991, p. 115.[back to text]

(89) This was the case, for instance, at the Nongchan Temple in the northern Taipei suburb of Peitou. The founder of this temple was Ven. Dongchu. author of the report on Buddhism in Taiwan examined above, and a member of Taixu's reform group. The current abbot. Ven. Dr. Shengyan, is Dongchu's disciple. See chapter seven for more information.[back to text]

(90) Jiang Canteng 1992, p. 171.[back to text]

(91) Yang Huinan's article comparing Taixu and Yinshun cited above contains a very detailed and involved analysis of the sources and significance of these two men's theories regarding Buddhism and human life. The issue is far more complicated than this brief sketch would make it appear, and deserves a study of its own.[back to text]




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