Stefania Travagnin is a Rosalind Franklin Fellow and Assistant Professor of Religion in Asia at the University of Groningen. She holds a PhD in the Study of Religions from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London (2009), has been visiting scholar at the Center for Chinese Studies of the National Central Library and at the Institute of History and Philology of the Academia Sinica in Taiwan, has extensive fieldwork experience within several Buddhist communities in East Asia, and has previously taught at the University of London (SOAS and Goldsmiths College), University of Missouri, University of Saskatchewan, Pennsylvania State University and University of Manchester. Her research and publications focus on different aspects of Buddhism in twentieth-entury China and Taiwan, Buddhist women in East Asia, theories and methods in the study of religion, and religion and film. She is currently working on a book on the revival of the Madhyamaka school in twentieth-century China, and her volume A Taiwanese Madhyamaka? The Monk Yinshun (1906–2005) and his study of Da zhidulun is forthcoming with Equinox. Address: University of Groningen, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, Oude Boteringestraat 38, NL-9712 GK Groningen, The Netherlands.
Buddhist Monks; Madhyamaka-Yogacara Buddhism; Critical Analysis; Pure Land Buddhism Doctrines
Yinshun (1906–2005) is regarded as one of the eminent monks of twentieth-century Chinese Buddhism. In the mission of reinventing Chinese Buddhism Yinshun engaged particularly in the revival and restatement of Madhyamaka. His interpretation of Nāgārjuna's texts, the reassessment of the links between pre-Mahāyāna Buddhism and the Prajn˜āpāramitā tradition, and the critical analysis of the Chinese San-lun became the core of the new Mahāyāna that he planned for the twentieth-century China. Yinshun also adopted Madhyamaka criteria to reconsider the Mahāyāna schools that were popular in China, and theorized a Madhyamaka-framed Pure Land based on his reading of the Shizhu piposha lun [T26 n1521]. This article discusses Yinshun's views on the Easy Path (yixing dao) and Difficult Path (nanxing dao) in the Pure Land practice, and contextualizes Yinshun's interpretation within the past history of the Chinese Pure Land School, as well as within the new debates on Pure Land that emerged in twentieth-century China.
Introduction 320 I. Pure land: a new discourse in twentieth-century Chinese Buddhism 322 II. A Madhyamaka-based Pure Land practice: Yinshun’s explanation of Difficult Path and Easy Path 326 II.1 Restatement of the Easy Path 327 II. 2 Easy Path and Difficult Path: mutual exclusion or complementarity? 329 II. 3 Revaluation of the Difficult Path 331 III. Yinshun’s argument within the history of Chinese Pure Land Buddhism 332 III. 1 Tanluan, Daochuo and Yinshun: historical and hermeneutical patterns 332 III. 2 Between Indian Buddhism and Chinese Buddhism: a resolution in the making 335 Conclusion 335 Notes 336 References 339