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The "Kuan Wu-liang-shou ching i-shu" by Ching-ying Hui-Yuan (523-592) and Its Contribution to Early Chinese Pure Land Buddhism
Author Tanaka, Kenneth Kenichi
Source Dissertation Abstracts International
Volumev.47 n.8 Section A
PublisherProQuest LLC
Publisher Url
LocationAnn Arbor, MI, US [安娜堡, 密西根州, 美國]
Content type期刊論文=Journal Article
InstitutionUniversity of California, Berkeley
Publication year1986
Keyword佛教人物=Buddhist; 佛教經典=Buddhist Scriptures=Sutra; 長行=契經=修多羅=Sutra; 修行方法=修行法門=Practice; 涅槃=Parinibbana=Nibbana=Nirvana; 淨土=Pure Land; 淨土宗=Pure Land Buddhism=Shin Buddhism; 轉世=輪迴=Samsara=Rebirth=Reincarnation; 釋慧遠=Hui-Yuan; 觀想=Visualization
AbstractThis oldest extant commentary (KWCIS) on the Kuan Wu-liang-shou ching (KWC) played a critical role in the commentarial tradition of this sutra and the emergence of Pure Land Buddhism in China. Yet, due to its 'heretical' status within the orthodox Pure Land tradition, it has not been studied on its own terms.

The Introduction outlines the KWCIS's role in the development of Pure Land Buddhism and focuses on its heretical status. Chapter One considers the life and thought of Hui-yuan. This ecclesiastic leader and eminent scholar was better known for his doctrinal formulations related to Yogacara and Nirvana-sutra traditions than for those in Pure Land thought. Contrary to his scholastic image, Hui-yuan effectively propagated and staunchly defended the Dharma as dem-onstrated by his gallant debate with the Northern Chou Emperor.

Chapter Two discusses the textual background of the KWCIS, including the controversial origins of the KWC and the dating and authenticity of the KWCIS. Moreover, since tradition does not regard Hui-yuan as a Pure Land proponent, this chapter explores what might have prompted him to write a commentary on a Pure Land sutra.

Chapter Three locates Hui-yuan's treatment of the text in the context of other Buddhist works and discusses his conscious attempt to treat a disparate group of Pure Land scriptures as a consistent set, thus suggesting his recognition of Pure Land as distinct teaching. The KWCIS appears to be the earliest surviving text to refer to two major Pure Land scriptures by their abbreviated titles.

Chapter Four examines Hui-yuan's analysis of two aspects of rebirth, causal practices and ranking. Contrary to previous assessment, Hui-yuan acknowledged both oral recitation as a legitimate cause for rebirth and the ability of ordinary beings (prthagjanas) to engage in visualization practices. Further, the KWCIS turns out to be the earliest known commentary to engage in ranking the nine grades of rebirth.

In Chapter Five, by selecting doctrinal topics from Shan-tao's commentary on the KWC, Hui-yuan's impact on this pre-eminent orthodox Pure Land proponent can be uncovered. The Appendix includes a translation of the entire Taisho edition of the KWCIS. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)
Created date2006.03.14
Modified date2022.03.25

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