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Comparative Religion

Buddhism and Taoism Face to Face: Scripture, Ritual, and by Christine Mollier

By Christine Mollier

Mollier surveys some of the 40,000-odd manuscripts present in a sealed chamber at Dunhuang, with a selected eye to the kin among Taoism and Buddhism.

Against a history of interfaith competition (in which Taoists may depict Lao-tzu reincarnating as Buddha to transform the foreigners, when Buddhists had Lao-tzu as Buddha's disciple) she unpicks a few fascinating stuff approximately related doctrines showing within the texts of the 2 assorted faiths. Buddhist toughness sutras end up to have stolen their texts wholesale from Taoist originals; Taoism in go back modelled a complete deity upon a Buddhist bodhisattva.

There is far neighborhood color for a person who has an curiosity during this form of factor -- descriptions of witchcraft practices (watch out for 'gu'!) and use of the large Dipper, etc., revealing morsels of perform and trust. entire texts are translated; the scholarship is especially capable and from time to time wry.

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Additional info for Buddhism and Taoism Face to Face: Scripture, Ritual, and Iconographic Exchange in Medieval China

Example text

This dhāraßī is a supplement to the Method. To practice it, one must retire to an isolated place. At daybreak, one washes an almsbowl with pure water and a willow sprig to brush its interior. One places a sheaf of purified plants on the bowl, above which one spreads a strip of cloth, [equally] pure. One sits cross-legged, turning to the east. With eyes closed, the tip of the tongue glued to the palate, one silently recites the incantations 108 times. One reopens the eyes to look at the food that has arrived (in the almsbowl).

The rituals in question relied on the current liturgical technologies: talismans, incantations and, in some circumstances, effigies and icons. Of all these implements, the most specifically Chinese were undoubtedly talismans ( fu 符). 47 Composed of diagrams and characters in an archaic style to accentuate the metaphysical value regularly attributed to Chinese writing, talismans function as iconic writings incorporating the inherent forces of the entities they signify or represent. Submitted to the proper ritual methods, they are invested with coercive virtues acting upon the invisible world and permitting one to tap directly into it.

Moreover, the Method permits him to gain merits, to enter samādhi, and, when totally mastered, to escape from his karmic condition, leading him even to realize enlightenment, or bodhi. 43 The other versions of the Sūtra of the Three Kitchens present the Method in almost identical terms. 44 The Tingchu jing mainly lists precisely measured doses of vegetal and 43.  839, vol. 17: 901–910), an apocryphon that likely dates from the second half of the sixth century. See Lai (1990); Kuo (1994b); and Wang-Toutain (1998): 72–77.

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