Charles B. Jones, The Catholic University of America
Pure Land=淨土; 輪迴=轉世=Reincarnation=Rebirth=Samsara; 戒律=Precepts=Vianya=Sila; 天台; 迴向
The primary goal of this project was to find a Chinese text that took on the relationship between human religious activity and the saving power of Amitābha in a systematic way. Alas, such a text has so far eluded me. However, by looking at several texts, I have been able to find hints and indications here and there which, added together, constitute a fairly complete and consistent soteriological scheme that relates self-power to other-power. Fully aware of the hermeneutical dangers one faces in collating proof-texts from works spanning greatly-separated times and places around the Chinese empire, I will venture to lay it out as best I can with some confidence that it indeed represents a characteristically Chinese way of approaching the relationship of self-power and other-power, human striving and the Buddha’s original vow-power. I will do this by focusing on a particular arena of human religious activity: ethics and precepts, “ethics” indicating general norms of human behavior, and “precepts” meaning specific vows taken in ritual contexts.
1.Defining the Problem 2 2.The Disjunction of Precepts and Rebirth in the Pure Land 4 3.Establishing a Basis for a Pure Land Ethic 7 4.Conclusion 14 Works Cited 16 Endnote 18