[Footnote 776: See Epigraphia Indica, vol. II. p. 93.]
[Footnote 777: In support of this it may be mentioned that Fa-Hsien says that at the time of his visit to India the Vinaya of the Sarvastivadins was preserved orally and not committed to writing.]
[Footnote 778: The idea that an important book ought to be in Sanskrit or deserves to be turned into Sanskrit is not dead in India. See Grierson, J.R.A.S. 1913, p. 133, who in discussing a Sanskrit version of the Ramayana of Tulsi Das mentions that translations of vernacular works into Sanskrit are not uncommon.]
[Footnote 779: J.R.A.S. 1916, p. 709. Also, the division into five Nikayas is ancient. See Buhler in Epig. Indica, II. p. 93. Anesaki says (Trans. A.S. Japan, 1908, p. 9) that Nanjio, No. 714, Pen Shih is the Itivuttakam, which could not have been guessed from Nanjio's entry. Portions of the works composing the fifth Nikaya (e.g. the Sutta Nipata) occur in the Chinese Tripitaka in the other Nikayas. For mentions of the fifth Nikaya in Chinese, see J.A. 1916, II. pp. 32-33, where it is said to be called Tsa-Tsang. This is also the designation of the last section of the Tripitaka, Nanjio, Nos. 1321 to 1662, and as this section contains the Dharmapada, it might be supposed to be an enormously distended version of the Kshudraka Nikaya. But this can hardly be the case, for this Tsa-Tsang is placed as if it was considered as a fourth Pitaka rather than as a fifth Nikaya.]
[Footnote 780: [Chinese: ]]
[Footnote 781: See Watters, Essays on the Chinese Language, pp. 36, 51, and, for the whole subject of transcription, Stanislas Julien, Methode pour dechiffrer et transcrire les noms Sanscrits qui se rencontrent dans les livres chinois.]
[Footnote 782: Entire Sanskrit compositions were sometimes transcribed in Chinese characters. See Kien Ch'ui Fan Tsan, Bibl. Budd. XV. and Max Muller, Buddhist Texts from Japan, III. pp. 35-46.]
[Footnote 783: L.c. pp. 83-232.]
[Footnote 784: See inter alia the Preface to K'ang Hsi's Dictionary. The fan-ch'ieh [Chinese: ] system is used in the well-known dictionary called Yu-Pien composed 543 A.D.]
[Footnote 785: Even in modern Cantonese Fo is pronounced as Fat.]
[Footnote 786: [Chinese: ]]
[Footnote 787: Nanjio, Cat. No. 1640.]
[Footnote 788: History repeats itself. I have seen many modern Burmese and Sinhalese MSS. in Chinese monasteries.]
[Footnote 789: Buddhist Texts from Japan, ed. Max Muller in Anecdota Oxoniensia, Aryan Series, I, II and III. For the Lanja printed text see the last facsimile in I, also III. p. 34 and Bibl. Budd. XIV (Kuan-si-im Pusar), pp. vi, vii. Another copy of this Lanja printed text was bought in Kyoto, 1920.]
SCHOOLS OF CHINESE BUDDHISM
The Schools (Tsung) of Chinese Buddhism are an intricate subject of little practical importance, for observers agree that at the present day all salient differences of doctrine and practice have been obliterated, although the older monasteries may present variations in details and honour their own line of teachers. A particular Bodhisattva may be singled out for reverence in one locality or some religious observance may be specially enjoined, but there is little aggressiveness or self assertion among the sects, even if they are conscious of having a definite name: they each tolerate the deities, rites and books of all and pay attention to as many items as leisure and inertia permit. There is no clear distinction between Mahayana and Hinayana.
The main division is of course into Lamaism on one side and all remaining sects on the other. Apart from this we find a record of ten schools which deserve notice for various reasons. Some, though obscure in modern China, have flourished after transportation to Japan: some, such as the T'ien-t'ai, are a memorial of a brilliant epoch: some represent doctrines which, if not now held by separate bodies, at least indicate different tendencies, such as magical ceremonies, mystical contemplation, or faith in Amitabha.
The more important schools were comparatively late, for they date from the sixth and seventh centuries. For two or three hundred years the Buddhists of China were a colony of strangers, mainly occupied in making translations. By the fifth century the extent and diversity of Indian literature became apparent and Fa-Hsien went to India to ascertain which was the most correct Vinaya and to obtain copies of it. Theology was now sufficiently developed to give rise to two schools both Indian in origin and merely transported to China, known as Ch'eng-shih-tsung and San-lun-tsung.
The first is considered as Hinayanist and equivalent to the Sautrantikas. In the seventh century it passed over to Japan where it is known as Ji-jitsu-shu, but neither there nor in China had it much importance. The San-lun-tsung recognizes as three authorities (from which it takes its name) the Madhyamikasastra and Dvadasanikayasastra of Nagarjuna with the Satasastra of his pupil Deva. It is simply the school of these two doctors and represents the extreme of Mahayanism. It had some importance in Japan, where it was called San-Ron-Shu.
The arrival of Bodhidharma at Canton in 520 (or 526) was a great event for the history of Buddhist dogma, although his special doctrines did not become popular until much later. He introduced the contemplative school and also the institution of the Patriarchate, which for a time had some importance. He wrote no books himself, but taught that true knowledge is gained in meditation by intuition and communicated by transference of thought. The best account of his teaching is contained in the Chinese treatise which reports the sermon preached by him before the Emperor Wu-Ti in 520. The chief thesis of this discourse is that the only true reality is the Buddha nature in the heart of every man. Prayer, asceticism and good works are vain. All that man need do is to turn his gaze inward and see the Buddha in his own heart. This vision, which gives light and deliverance, comes in a moment. It is a simple, natural act like swallowing or dreaming which cannot be taught or learnt, for it is not something imparted but an experience of the soul, and teaching can only prepare the way for it. Some are impeded by their karma and are physically incapable of the vision, whatever their merits or piety may be, but for those to whom it comes it is inevitable and convincing.
We have only to substitute atman for Buddha or Buddha nature to see how closely this teaching resembles certain passages in the Upanishads, and the resemblance is particularly strong in such statements as that the Buddha nature reveals itself in dreams, or that it is so great that it embraces the universe and so small that the point of a needle cannot prick it. The doctrine of Maya is clearly indicated, even if the word was not used in the original, for it is expressly said that all phenomena are unreal. Thus the teaching of Bodhidharma is an anticipation of Sankara's monism, but it is formulated in consistently Buddhist language and is in harmony with the views of the Madhyamika school and of the Diamond-cutter. This Chinese sermon confirms other evidence which indicates that the ideas of the Advaita philosophy, though Brahmanic in their origin and severely condemned by Gotama himself, were elaborated in Buddhist circles before they were approved by orthodox Hindus.
Bodhidharma's teaching was Indian but it harmonized marvellously with Taoism and Chinese Buddhists studied Taoist books. A current of Chinese thought which was old and strong, if not the main stream, bade man abstain from action and look for peace and light within. It was, I think, the junction of this native tributary with the river of inflowing Buddhism which gave the Contemplative School its importance. It lost that importance because it abandoned its special doctrines and adopted the usages of other schools. When Taoism flourished under the Sung Emperors it was also flourishing and influenced art as well as thought, but it probably decayed under the Yuan dynasty which favoured religion of a different stamp. It is remarkable that Bodhidharma appears to be unknown to both Indian and Tibetan writers but his teaching has imparted a special tone and character to a section (though not the whole) of Far Eastern Buddhism. It is called in Chinese Tsung-men or Ch'an-tsung, but this word Ch'an is perhaps better known to Europe in its Japanese form Zen.
Bodhidharma is also accounted the twenty-eighth Patriarch, a title which represents the Chinese Tsu Shih rather than any Indian designation, for though in Pali literature we hear of the succession of teachers, it is not clear that any of them enjoyed a style or position such as is implied in the word Patriarch. Hindus have always attached importance to spiritual lineage and every school has a list of teachers who have transmitted its special lore, but the sense of hierarchy is so weak that it is misleading to describe these personages as Popes, Patriarchs or Bishops, and apart from the personal respect which the talents of individuals may have won, it does not appear that there was any succession of teachers who could be correctly termed heads of the Church. Even in China such a title is of dubious accuracy for whatever position Bodhidharma and his successors may have claimed for themselves, they were not generally accepted as being more than the heads of a school and other schools also gave their chief teachers the title of Tsu-shih. From time to time the Emperor appointed overseers of religion with the title of Kuo-shih, instructor of the nation, but these were officials appointed by the Crown, not prelates consecrated by the Church.
Twenty-eight Patriarchs are supposed to have flourished between the death of the Buddha and the arrival of Bodhidharma in China. The Chinese lists do not in the earlier part agree with the Singhalese accounts of the apostolic succession and contain few eminent names with the exception of Asvaghosha, Nagarjuna, Deva and Vasubandhu.
According to most schools there were only twenty-four Patriarchs. These are said to have been foretold by the Buddha and twenty-four is a usual number in such series. The twenty-fourth Patriarch Simha Bhikshu or Simhalaputra went to Kashmir and suffered martyrdom there at the hands of Mihirakula without appointing a successor. But the school of Bodhidharma continues the series, reckoning him as the twenty-eighth, and the first of the Chinese Patriarchs. Now since the three Patriarchs between the martyr and Bodhidharma are all described as living in southern India, whereas such travellers as Fa-Hsien obviously thought that the true doctrine was to be found in northern India, and since Bodhidharma left India altogether, it is probable that the later Patriarchs represent the spiritual genealogy of some school which was not the Church as established at Nalanda.
It will be convenient to summarize briefly here the history of Bodhidharma's school. Finding that his doctrines were not altogether acceptable to the Emperor Wu-Ti (who did not relish being told that his pious exertions were vain works of no value) he retired to Lo-yang and before his death designated as his successor Hui-k'o. It is related of Hui-k'o that when he first applied for instruction he could not attract Bodhidharma's attention and therefore stood before the sage's door during a whole winter night until the snow reached his knees. Bodhidharma indicated that he did not think this test of endurance remarkable. Hui-k'o then took a knife, cut off his own arm and presented it to the teacher who accepted him as a pupil and ultimately gave him the insignia of the Patriarchate—a robe and bowl. He taught for thirty-four years and is said to have mixed freely with the lowest and most debauched reprobates. His successors were Seng-ts'an, Tao-hsin, Hung-jen, and Hui-neng who died in 713 and declined to nominate a successor, saying that the doctrine was well established. The bowl of Bodhidharma was buried with him. Thus the Patriarch was not willing to be an Erastian head of the Church and thought the Church could get on without him. The object of the Patriarchate was simply to insure the correct transmission from teacher to scholar of certain doctrines, and this precaution was especially necessary in sects which rejected scriptural authority and relied on personal instruction. So soon as there were several competent teachers handing on the tradition such a safeguard was felt to be unnecessary.
That this feeling was just is shown by the fact that the school of Bodhidharma is still practically one in teaching. But its small regard for scripture and insistence on oral instruction caused the principal monasteries to regard themselves as centres with an apostolic succession of their own and to form divisions which were geographical rather than doctrinal. They are often called school (tsung), but the term is not correct, if it implies that the difference is similar to that which separates the Ch'an-tsung and Lu-tsung or schools of contemplation and of discipline. Even in the lifetime of Hui-neng there seems to have been a division, for he is sometimes called the Patriarch of the South, Shen-Hsiu being recognized as Patriarch of the North. But all subsequent divisions of the Ch'an-tsung trace their lineage to Hui-neng. Two of his disciples founded two schools called Nan Yueh and Ch'ing Yuan and between the eighth and tenth centuries these produced respectively two and three subdivisions, known together as Wu-tsung or five schools. They take their names from the places where their founders dwelt and are the schools of Wei-Yang, Lin-Chi, Ts'ao-Tung, Yun-Men and Fa-Yen. This is the chronological order, but the most important school is the Lin-Chi, founded by I-Hsuan, who resided on the banks of a river in Chih-li and died in 867. It is not easy to discriminate the special doctrines of the Lin-Chi for it became the dominant form of the school to such an extent that other variants are little more than names. But it appears to have insisted on the transmission of spiritual truths not only by oral instruction but by a species of telepathy between teacher and pupil culminating in sudden illumination. At the present day the majority of Chinese monasteries profess to belong to the Ch'an-tsung and it has encroached on other schools. Thus it is now accepted on the sacred island of P'uto which originally followed the Lu-tsung.
Although the Ch'an school did not value the study of scripture as part of the spiritual life, yet it by no means neglected letters and can point to a goodly array of ecclesiastical authors, extending down to modern times. More than twenty of their treatises have been admitted into the Tripitaka. Several of these are historical and discuss the succession of Patriarchs and abbots, but the most characteristic productions of the sect are collections of aphorisms, usually compiled by the disciples of a teacher who himself committed nothing to writing.
In opposition to the Contemplative School or Tsung-men, all the others are sometimes classed together as Chiao-men. This dichotomy perhaps does no more than justice to the importance of Bodhidharma's school, but is hardly scientific, for, whatever may be the numerical proportion, the other schools differ from one another as much as they differ from it. They all agree in recognizing the authority not only of a founder but of a special sacred book. We may treat first of one which, like the Tsung-men, belongs specially to the Buddhism of the Far East and is both an offshoot of the Tsung-men and a protest against it—there being nothing incompatible in this double relationship. This is the T'ien-t'ai school which takes its name from a celebrated monastery in the province of Che-kiang. The founder of this establishment and of the sect was called Chih-K'ai or Chih-I and followed originally Bodhidharma's teaching, but ultimately rejected the view that contemplation is all-sufficient, while still claiming to derive his doctrine from Nagarjuna. He had a special veneration for the Lotus Sutra and paid attention to ceremonial. He held that although the Buddha-mind is present in all living beings, yet they do not of themselves come to the knowledge and use of it, so that instruction is necessary to remove error and establish true ideas. The phrase Chih-kuan is almost the motto of the school: it is a translation of the two words Samatha and Vipassana, taken to mean calm and insight.
The T'ien-T'ai is distinguished by its many-sided and almost encyclopaedic character. Chih-I did not like the exclusiveness of the Contemplative School. He approved impartially of ecstasy, literature, ceremonial and discipline: he wished to find a place for everything and a point of view from which every doctrine might be admitted to have some value. Thus he divided the teaching of the Buddha into five periods, regarded as progressive not contradictory, and expounded respectively in (a) the Hua-yen Sutra; (b) the Hinayana Sutras; (c) the Leng-yen-ching; (d) the Prajna-paramita; (e) the Lotus Sutra which is the crown, quintessence and plenitude of all Buddhism. He also divided religion into eight parts, sometimes counted as four, the latter half of the list being the more important. The names are collection, progress, distinction and completion. These terms indicate different ways of looking at religion, all legitimate but not equally comprehensive or just in perspective. By collection is meant the Hinayana, the name being apparently due to the variously catalogued phenomena which occupy the disciple in the early stages of his progress: the scriptures, divisions of the universe, states of the human minds and so on. Progress (T'ung, which might also be rendered as transition or communication) is applicable to the Hina and Mahayana alike and regards the religious life as a series of stages rising from the state of an unconverted man to that of a Buddha. Pieh, or distinction, is applicable only to the Mahayana and means the special excellences of a Bodhisattva. Yuan, completeness or plenitude, is the doctrine of the Lotus which embraces all aspects of religion. In a similar spirit of synthesis and conciliation Chih-I uses Nagarjuna's view that truth is not of one kind. From the stand-point of absolute truth all phenomena are void or unreal; on the other hand they are indubitably real for practical purposes. More just is the middle view which builds up the religious character. It sees that all phenomena both exist and do not exist and that thought cannot content itself with the hypothesis either of their real existence or of the void. Chih-I's teaching as to the nature of the Buddha is almost theistic. It regards the fundamental (pen) Buddhahood as not merely the highest reality but as constant activity exerting itself for the good of all beings. Distinguished from this fundamental Buddhahood is the derivative Buddhahood or trace (chi) left by the Buddha among men to educate them. There has been considerable discussion in the school as to the relative excellence of the pen and the chi.
The T'ien-T'ai school is important, not merely for its doctrines, but as having produced a great monastic establishment and an illustrious line of writers. In spite of the orders of the Emperor who wished to retain him at Nanking, Chih-I retired to the highlands of Che-Kiang and twelve monasteries still mark various spots where he is said to have resided. He had some repute as an author, but more as a preacher. His words were recorded by his disciple Kuan-Ting and in this way have been preserved two expositions of the Lotus and a treatise on his favourite doctrine of Chih-Kuan which together are termed the San-ta-pu, or Three Great Books. Similar spoken expositions of other sutras are also preserved. Some smaller treatises on his chief doctrines seem to be works of his own pen. A century later Chan-Jan, who is reckoned the ninth Patriarch of the T'ien-t'ai school, composed commentaries on the Three Great Books as well as some short original works. During the troubled period of the Five Dynasties, the T'ien-t'ai monasteries suffered severely and the sacred books were almost lost. But the school had a branch in Korea and a Korean priest called Ti-Kuan re-established it in China. It continued to contribute literature to the Tripitaka until 1270 but after the tenth century its works, though numerous, lose their distinctive character and are largely concerned with magical formulae and the worship of Amida.
The latter is the special teaching of the Pure Land school, also known as the Lotus school, or the Short Cut. It is indeed a short cut to salvation, striking unceremoniously across all systems, for it teaches that simple faith in Amitabha (Amida) and invocation of his name can take the place of moral and intellectual endeavour. Its popularity is in proportion to its facility: its origin is ancient, its influence universal, but perhaps for this very reason its existence as a corporation is somewhat indistinct. It is also remarkable that though the Chinese Tripitaka contains numerous works dedicated to the honour of Amitabha, yet they are not described as composed by members of the Pure Land school but appear to be due to authors of all schools.
The doctrine, if not the school, was known in China before 186, in which year there died at Lo-yang, a monk of the Yueh-chih called Lokakshi, who translated the longer Sukhavati-vyuha. So far as I know, there is no reason for doubting these statements. The date is important for the history of doctrine, since it indicates that the sutra existed in Sanskrit some time previously. Another translation by the Parthian An Shih-Kao, whose activity falls between 148 and 170 A.D. may have been earlier and altogether twelve translations were made before 1000 A.D. of which five are extant. Several of the earlier translators were natives of Central Asia, so it is permissible to suppose that the sutra was esteemed there. The shorter Sukhavati-vyuha was translated by Kumarajiva (c. 402) and later by Hsuan Chuang. The Amitayurdhyanasutra was translated by Kalayasas about 424. These three books are the principal scriptures of the school and copies of the greater Sukhavati may still be found in almost every Chinese monastery, whatever principles it professes.
Hui Yuan who lived from 333 to 416 is considered as the founder of the school. He was in his youth an enthusiastic Taoist and after he turned Buddhist is said to have used the writings of Chuang-tzu to elucidate his new faith. He founded a brotherhood, and near the monastery where he settled was a pond in which lotus flowers grew, hence the brotherhood was known as the White Lotus school. For several centuries it enjoyed general esteem. Pan-chou, one of its Patriarchs, received the title of Kuo-shih about 770 A.D., and Shan-tao, who nourished about 650 and wrote commentaries, was one of its principal literary men. He popularized the doctrine of the Pai-tao or White Way, that is, the narrow bridge leading to Paradise across which Amitabha will guide the souls of the faithful. But somehow the name of White Lotus became connected with conspiracy and rebellion until it was dreaded as the title of a formidable secret society, and ceased to be applied to the school as a whole. The teaching and canonical literature of the Pure Land school did not fall into disrepute but since it was admitted by other sects to be, if not the most excellent way, at least a permissible short cut to heaven, it appears in modern times less as a separate school than as an aspect of most schools. The simple and emotional character of Amidism, the directness of its "Come unto me," appeal so strongly to the poor and uneducated, that no monastery or temple could afford to neglect it.
Two important Indian schools were introduced into China in the sixth and seventh centuries respectively and flourished until about 900 A.D. when they began to decay. These are the Chu-she-tsung and Fa-hsiang-tsung. The first name is merely a Chinese transcription of the Sanskrit Ko'sa and is due to the fact that the chief authority of the school is the Abhidharmakosasastra of Vasubandhu. This work expounds the doctrine of the Sarvastivadins, but in a liberal spirit and without ignoring other views. Though the Chu-she-tsung represented the best scholastic tradition of India more adequately than any other Chinese sect, yet it was too technical and arid to become popular and both in China and Japan (where it is known as Kusha-shu) it was a system of scholastic philosophy rather than a form of religion. In China it did not last many centuries.
The Fa-Hsiang school is similar inasmuch as it represented Indian scholasticism and remained, though much esteemed, somewhat academic. The name is a translation of Dharmalakshana and the school is also known as Tz'u-en-tsung, and also as Wei-shih-hsiang-chiao because its principal text-book is the Ch'eng-wei-shih-lun. This name, equivalent to Vidyamatra, or Vijnanamatra, is the title of a work by Hsuan Chuang which appears to be a digest of ten Sanskrit commentaries on a little tract of thirty verses ascribed to Vasubandhu. As ultimate authorities the school also recognizes the revelations made to Asanga by Maitreya and probably the Mahayanasutralankara expresses its views. It claims as its founder Silabhadra the teacher of Hsuan Chuang, but the latter was its real parent.
Closely allied to it but reckoned as distinct is the school called the Hua-yen-tsung because it was based on the Hua-yen-ching or Avatamsakasutra. The doctrines of this work and of Nagarjuna may be conveniently if not quite correctly contrasted as pantheistic and nihilistic. The real founder and first patriarch was Tu-Fa-Shun who died in 640 but the school sometimes bears the name of Hsien-Shou, the posthumous title of its third Patriarch who contributed seven works to the Tripitaka. It began to wane in the tenth century but has a distinguished literary record.
The Lu-tsung or Vinaya school was founded by Tao Hsuan (595-667). It differs from those already mentioned inasmuch as it emphasizes discipline and asceticism as the essential part of the religious life. Like the T'ien-t'ai this school arose in China. It bases itself on Indian authorities, but it does not appear that in thus laying stress on the Vinaya it imitated any Indian sect, although it caught the spirit of the early Hinayana schools. The numerous works of the founder indicate a practical temperament inclined not to mysticism or doctrinal subtlety but to biography, literary history and church government. Thus he continued the series called Memoirs of Eminent Monks and wrote on the family and country of the Buddha. He compiled a catalogue of the Tripitaka, as it was in his time, and collections of extracts, as well as of documents relating to the controversies between Buddhists and Taoists. Although he took as his chief authority the Dharmagupta Vinaya commonly known as the Code in Four Sections, he held, like most Chinese Buddhists, that there is a complete and perfect doctrine which includes and transcends all the vehicles. But he insisted, probably as a protest against the laxity or extravagance of many monasteries, that morality and discipline are the indispensable foundation of the religious life. He was highly esteemed by his contemporaries and long after his death the Emperor Mu-tsung (821-5) wrote a poem in his honour. The school is still respected and it is said that the monks of its principal monastery, Pao-hua-shan in Kiangsu, are stricter and more learned than any other.
The school called Chen-yen (in Japanese Shin-gon), true word, or Mi-chiao, secret teaching, equivalent to the Sanskrit Mantrayana or Tantrayana, is the latest among the recognized divisions of Chinese Buddhism since it first made its appearance in the eighth century. The date, like that of the translation of the Amida scriptures is important, for the school was introduced from India and it follows that its theories and practices were openly advocated at this period and probably were not of repute much earlier. It is akin to the Buddhism of Tibet and may be described in its higher aspects as an elaborate and symbolic pantheism, which represents the one spirit manifesting himself in a series of emanations and reflexes. In its popular and unfortunately commoner aspect it is simply polytheism, fetichism and magic. In many respects it resembles the Pure Land school. Its principal deity (the word is not inaccurate) is Vairocana, analogous to Amitabha, and probably like him a Persian sun god in origin. It is also a short cut to salvation, for, without denying the efficiency of more laborious and ascetic methods, it promises to its followers a similar result by means of formulae and ceremonies. Like the Pure Land school it has become in China not so much a separate corporation as an aspect, and often the most obvious and popular aspect, of all Buddhist schools.
It claims Vajrabodhi as its first Patriarch. He was a monk of the Brahman caste who arrived in China from southern India in 719 and died in 730 after translating several Tantras and spells. His companion and successor was Amoghavajra of whose career something has already been said. The fourth Patriarch, Hui Kuo, was the instructor of the celebrated Japanese monk Kobo Daishi who established the school in Japan under the name of Shingon.
The principal scripture of this sect is the Ta-jih-ching or sutra of the Sun-Buddha. A distinction is drawn between exoteric and esoteric doctrine (the "true word") and the various phases of Buddhist thought are arranged in ten classes. Of these the first nine are merely preparatory, but in the last or esoteric phase, the adept becomes a living Buddha and receives full intuitive knowledge. In this respect the Tantric school resembles the teaching of Bodhidharma but not in detail. It teaches that Vairocana is the whole world, which is divided into Garbhadhatu (material) and Vajradhatu (indestructible), the two together forming Dharmadhatu. The manifestations of Vairocana's body to himself—that is Buddhas and Bodhisattvas—are represented symbolically by diagrams of several circles. But it would be out of place to dwell further on the dogmatic theology of the school, for I cannot discover that it was ever of importance in China whatever may have been its influence in Japan. What appealed only too powerfully to Chinese superstition was the use of spells, charms and magical formulae and the doctrine that since the universe is merely idea, thoughts and facts are equipollent. This doctrine (which need not be the outcome of metaphysics, but underlies the magical practices of many savage tribes) produced surprising results when applied to funeral ceremonies, which in China have always formed the major part of religion, for it was held that ceremonial can represent and control the fortunes of the soul, that is to say that if a ceremony represents figuratively the rescue of a soul from a pool of blood, then the soul which is undergoing that punishment will be delivered. It was not until the latter part of the eighth century that such theories and ceremonies were accepted by Chinese Buddhism, but they now form a large part of it.
Although in Japan Buddhism continued to produce new schools until the thirteenth century, no movement in China attained this status after about 730, and Lamaism, though its introduction produced considerable changes in the north, is not usually reckoned as a Tsung. But numerous societies and brotherhoods arose especially in connection with the Pure Land school and are commonly spoken of as sects. They differ from the schools mentioned above in having more or less the character of secret societies, sometimes merely brotherhoods like the Freemasons but sometimes political in their aims. Among those whose tenets are known that which has most religion and least politics in its composition appears to be the Wu-wei-chiao, founded about 1620 by one Lo-tsu who claimed to have received a revelation contained in five books. It is strictly vegetarian and antiritualistic, objecting to the use of images, incense and candles in worship.
There are many other sects with a political tinge. The proclivity of the Chinese to guilds, corporations and secret societies is well known and many of these latter have a religious basis. All such bodies are under the ban of the Government, for they have always been suspected with more or less justice of favouring anti-social or anti-dynastic ideas. But, mingled with such political aspirations, there is often present the desire for co-operation in leading privately a religious life which, if made public, would be hampered by official restrictions. The most celebrated of these sects is the White Lotus. Under the Yuan dynasty it was anti-Mongol, and prepared the way for the advent of the Ming. When the Ming dynasty in its turn became decadent, we hear again of the White Lotus coupled with rebellion, and similarly after the Manchus had passed their meridian, its beautiful but ill-omened name frequently appears. It seems clear that it is an ancient and persistent society with some idea of creating a millennium, which becomes active when the central government is weak and corrupt. Not unlike the White Lotus is the secret society commonly known as the Triad but called by its members the Heaven and Earth Association. The T'ai-p'ing sect, out of which the celebrated rebellion arose, was similar but its inspiration seems to have come from a perversion of Christianity. The Tsai-Li sect is still prevalent in Peking, Tientsin, and the province of Shantung. I should exceed the scope of my task if I attempted to examine these sects in detail, for their relation to Buddhism is often doubtful. Most of them combine with it Taoist and other beliefs and some of them expect a Messiah or King of Righteousness who is usually identified with Maitreya. It is easy to see how at this point hostility to the existing Government arises and provokes not unnatural resentment.
Recently several attempts have been made to infuse life and order into Chinese Buddhism. Japanese influence can be traced in most of them and though they can hardly be said to represent a new school, they attempt to go back to Mahayanism as it was when first introduced into China. The Hinayana is considered as a necessary preliminary to the Mahayana and the latter is treated as existing in several schools, among which are included the Pure Land school, though the Contemplative and Tantric schools seem not to be regarded with favour. They are probably mistrusted as leading to negligence and superstition.
[Footnote 790: [Chinese: ] See especially Hackmann, "Die Schulen des chinesischen Buddhismus" (in the Mitth. Seminars fur Orientalische Sprachen, Berlin, 1911), which contains the text and translation of an Essay by a modern Chinese Buddhist, Yang Wen Hui. Such a review of Chinese sects from the contemporary Buddhist point of view has great value, but it does not seem to me that Mr. Yang explains clearly the dogmatic tenets of each sect, the obvious inference being that such tenets are of little practical importance. Chinese monasteries often seem to combine several schools. Thus the Tz'u-Fu-Ssu monastery near Peking professes to belong both to the Lin-Chi and Pure Land schools and its teachers expound the Diamond-cutter, Lotus and Shou-Leng-Ching. So also in India. See Rhys Davids in article Sects Buddhist, E.R.E. Hackmann gives a list of authorities. Edkins, Chinese Buddhism (chaps. VII and VIII), may still be consulted, though the account is far from clear.]
[Footnote 791: [Chinese: ] and [Chinese: ]]
[Footnote 792: It based itself on the Satyasiddhisastra of Harivarman, Nanjio, Cat. 1274.]
[Footnote 793: This meditation however is of a special sort. The six Paramitas are, Dana, Sila, Kshanti, Virya, Dhyana and Prajna. The meditation of Bodhidharma is not the Dhyana of this list, but meditation on Prajna, the highest of the Paramitas. See Hackmann's Chinese text, p. 249.]
[Footnote 794: Ta-mo-hsue-mai-lun, analyzed by Wieger in his Histoire des Croyances religieuses en Chine, pp. 520 ff. I could wish for more information about this work, but have not been able to find the original.]
[Footnote 795: Also called Fa-shen or dharmakaya in the discourse. Bodhidharma said that he preached the seal of the heart (hsinyin). This probably corresponds to some Sanskrit expression, but I have not found the Indian equivalent.]
[Footnote 796: I-Ching, in his Memoirs of Eminent Monks, mentions three pilgrims as having studied the works of Chuang-tzu and his own style shows that he was well-read in this author.]
[Footnote 797: He is not mentioned by Taranatha.]
[Footnote 798: [Chinese: ]]
[Footnote 799: [Chinese: ]]
[Footnote 800: Acariyaparampara. There is a list of such teachers in Mahavamsa, V. 95 ff., Dipavamsa, IV. 27 ff. and V. 69.]
[Footnote 801: [Chinese: ]]
[Footnote 802: The succession of Patriarchs is the subject of several works comprised in the Chinese Tripitaka. Of these the Fu-fa-tsang-yin-yuan-ching (Nanjio, 1340) is the most important, because it professes to be translated (A.D. 472) from an Indian work, which, however, is not in the Tibetan Canon and is not known in Sanskrit. The Chinese text, as we have it, is probably not a translation from the Sanskrit, but a compilation made in the sixth century which, however, acquired considerable authority. See Maspero in Melanges d'Indianisme: Sylvain Levi, pp. 129-149, and B.E.F.E.O.1911, pp. 344-348. Other works are the Fo-tsu-t'ung-chi (Nanjio, 1661), of Chih P'an (c. 1270), belonging to the T'ien-t'ai school, and the Ching-te-ch'uan-teng-lu together with the Tsung-men-t'ung-yao-hsu-chi (Nanjio, 1524, 1526) both belonging to the school of Bodhidharma. See also Nanjio, 1528, 1529. The common list of Patriarchs is as follows: 1. Mahakasyapa; 2. Ananda; 3. Sanavasa or Sanakavasa; 4. Upagupta; 5. Dhritaka; 6. Micchaka. Here the name of Vasumitra is inserted by some but omitted by others; 7. Buddhanandi; 8. Buddhamitra; 9. Parsva; 10. Punyayasas; 11. Asvaghosha; 12. Kapimala; 13. Nagarjuna; 14. Deva (Kanadeva); 15. Rahulata; 16. Sanghanandi; 17. Sanghayasas; 18. Kumarata; 19. Jayata; 20. Vasubandhu; 21. Manura; 22. Haklena or Padmaratna; 23. Simha Bhikshu; 24. Basiasita; 25. Putnomita or Punyamitra; 26. Prajnatara; 27 (or 28, if Vasumitra is reckoned) Bodhidharma. Many of these names are odd and are only conjectural restorations made from the Chinese transcription, for which see Nanjio, 1340. Other lists of Patriarchs vary from that given above, partly because they represent the traditions of other schools. It is not strange, for instance, if the Sarvastivadins did not recognize Nagarjuna as a Patriarch. Two of their lists have been preserved by Seng-yu (Nanjio, 1476) who wrote about 520. Some notes on the Patriarchs and reproductions of Chinese pictures representing them will be found in Dore, pp. 244 ff. It is extremely curious that Asvaghosha is represented as a woman.]
[Footnote 803: It is found, for instance, in the lists of the Jain Tirthankaras and in some accounts of the Buddhas and of the Avataras of Vishnu.]
[Footnote 804: See Watters, Yuan Chwang, p. 290. But the dates offer some difficulty, for Mihirakula, the celebrated Hun chieftain, is usually supposed to have reigned about 510-540 A.D. Taranatha (Schiefner, p. 95) speaks of a martyr called Malikabuddhi. See, too, ib. p. 306.]
[Footnote 805: It is clear that the school of Valabhi was to some extent a rival of Nalanda.]
[Footnote 806: For a portrait of Hui-neng see Kokka, No. 297. The names of Bodhidharma's successors are in Chinese characters [Chinese: ]]
[Footnote 807: [Chinese: ]]
[Footnote 808: [Chinese: ] Much biographical information respecting this and other schools will be found in Dore, vols. VII and VIII. But there is little to record in the way of events or literary and doctrinal movements.]
[Footnote 809: [Chinese: ]]
[Footnote 810: [Chinese: ]]
[Footnote 811: Lin-Chi means coming to the ford. Is this an allusion to the Pali expression Sotapanno? The name appears in Japanese as Rinzai. Most educated Chinese monks when asked as to their doctrine say they belong to the Lin-Chi.]
[Footnote 812: They are generally called the three mysteries (Hsuan) and the three important points (Yao), but I have not been able to obtain any clear explanation of what they mean. See Edkins, Chinese Buddhism, p. 164, and Hackmann, l.c. p. 250.]
[Footnote 813: Wieger, Bouddhisme Chinois, p. 108, states that 230 works belonging to this sect were published under the Manchu dynasty.]
[Footnote 814: See e.g. Nanjio, Cat. 1527, 1532.]
[Footnote 815: [Chinese: ] Tendai in Japanese. It is also called in China [Chinese: ] Fa-hua.]
[Footnote 816: [Chinese: ] Also often spoken of as Chih-che-ta-shih. [Chinese: ] Officially he is often styled the fourth Patriarch of the school. See Dore, p. 449.]
[Footnote 817: [Chinese: ] In Pali Buddhism also, especially in later works, Samatha and Vipassana may be taken as a compendium of the higher life as they are respectively the results of the two sets of religious exercises called Adhicitta and Adhipanna. (See Ang. Nik. III 88.)]
[Footnote 818: In Chinese [Chinese: ], [Chinese: ], [Chinese: ], [Chinese: ], [Chinese: ], [Chinese: ], [Chinese: ], [Chinese: ]. Tun, Chien, Pi-mi, Pu-ting, Tsang, T'ung, Pieh, Yuan. See Nanjio, 1568, and for very different explanations of these obscure words. Edkins, Chinese Buddhism, p. 182, and Richard's New Testament of Higher Buddhism, p. 41. Masson-Oursel in J.A. 1915, I. p. 305.]
[Footnote 819: [Chinese: ] and [Chinese: ]]
[Footnote 820: [Chinese: ] The books are Nanjio, Nos. 1534, 1536, 1538.]
[Footnote 821: Among them is the compendium for beginners called Hsiao-chih-kuan, (Nanjio, 1540), partly translated in Beal's Catena, pp. 251 ff.]
[Footnote 822: [Chinese: ]]
[Footnote 823: [Chinese: ]]
[Footnote 824: [Chinese: ]]
[Footnote 825: The list of Chinese authors in Nanjio's Catalogue, App. III, describes many as belonging to the T'ien-t'ai, Avatamsaka or Dhyana schools, but none as belonging to the Ching-T'u.]
[Footnote 826: For the authorities, see Nanjio, p. 381.]
[Footnote 827: Nanjio, p. 10, note.]
[Footnote 828: They are all translated in S.B.E. XLIX. The two former exist in Sanskrit. The Amitayurdhyana is known only in the Chinese translation. They are called in Chinese [Chinese: ], [Chinese: ] and [Chinese: ]]
[Footnote 829: [Chinese: ]]
[Footnote 830: [Chinese: ] The early history of the school is related in a work called Lien-she-kao-hsien-ch'uan, said to date from the Tsin dynasty. See for some account of the early worthies, Dore, pp. 280 ff. and 457 ff. Their biographies contain many visions and miracles.]
[Footnote 831: Apparently at least until 1042. See De Groot, Sectarianism, p. 163. The dated inscriptions in the grottoes of Lung-men indicate that the cult of Amitabha flourished especially from 647 to 715. See Chavannes, Mission. Archeol. Tome I, deuxieme partie, p. 545.]
[Footnote 832: [Chinese: ] and [Chinese: ]]
[Footnote 833: See for instance the tract called Hsuan-Fo-P'u [Chinese: ] and translated by Richard under the title of A Guide to Buddhahood, pp. 97 ff.]
[Footnote 834: [Chinese: ] and [Chinese: ]]
[Footnote 835: See Watters, On Yuan Chwang, I. 210, and also Takakusu, Journal of the Pali Text Soc. 1905, p. 132.]
[Footnote 836: [Chinese: ] The name refers not to the doctrines of the school, but to Tz'u-en-tai-shih, a title given to Kuei-chi the disciple of Hsuan Chuang who was one of its principal teachers and taught at a monastery called Tz'u-en.]
[Footnote 837: [Chinese: ] See Nanjio, Cat. Nos. 1197 and 1215.]
[Footnote 838: See Watters, On Yuan Chwang, I. pp. 355 ff.]
[Footnote 839: Ed. and transl. by Sylvain Levi, 1911.]
[Footnote 840: [Chinese: ]]
[Footnote 841: His name when alive was Fa-tsang. See Nanjio, Cat. p. 462, and Dore, 450. The Empress Wu patronized him.]
[Footnote 842: [Chinese: ] Also called Nan Shan or Southern mountain school from a locality in Shensi.]
[Footnote 843: [Chinese: ] Nanjio, Cat. 1493, 1469, 1470, 1120, 1481, 1483, 1484, 1471.]
[Footnote 844: [Chinese: ] or [Chinese: ]]
[Footnote 845: From Mo-lai-ye, which seems to mean the extreme south of India. Dore gives some Chinese legends about him, p. 299.]
[Footnote 846: For an appreciative criticism of the sect as known in Japan, see Anesaki's Buddhist Art, chap. III.]
[Footnote 847: Nanjio, No. 530. Nos. 533, 534 and 1039 are also important texts of this sect.]
[Footnote 848: In the T'ien-t'ai and Chen-yen schools, and indeed in Chinese Buddhism generally, Dharma (Fa in Chinese) is regarded as cosmic law. Buddhas are the visible expression of Dharma. Hence they are identified with it and the whole process of cosmic evolution is regarded as the manifestation of Buddhahood.]
[Footnote 849: [Chinese: ] See the account by Edkins, Chinese Buddhism, pp. 271 ff.]
[Footnote 850: [Chinese: ]]
[Footnote 851: [Chinese: ] See China Mission Year Book, 1896, p. 43.]
[Footnote 852: For some account of them, see Stanton, The Triad Society, White Lotus Society, etc., 1900, reprinted from China Review, vols. XXI, XXII, and De Groot, Sectarianism and religious persecution in China, vol. I. pp. 149-259.]
[Footnote 853: The Republic of China has not changed much from the ways of the Empire. The Peking newspapers of June 17, 1914, contain a Presidential Edict stating that "the invention of heretical religions by ill-disposed persons is strictly prohibited by law," and that certain religious societies are to be suppressed.]
[Footnote 854: See, for an account of such a reformed sect, O. Francke, "Ein Buddhistischer Reformversuch in China," T'oung Pao, 1909, p. 567.]
CHINESE BUDDHISM AT THE PRESENT DAY
The Buddhism treated of in this chapter does not include Lamaism, which being identical with the religion of Tibet and Mongolia is more conveniently described elsewhere. Ordinary Chinese Buddhism and Lamaism are distinct, but are divided not so much by doctrine as by the race, language and usages of the priests. Chinese Buddhism has acquired some local colour, but it is still based on the teaching and practice imported from India before the Yuan dynasty, whereas Lamaist tradition is not direct: it represents Buddhism as received not from India but from Tibet. Some holy places, such as P'uto and Wu-t'ai-shan are frequented by both Lamas and Chinese monks, and Tibetan prayers and images may sometimes be seen in Chinese temples, but as a rule the two divisions do not coalesce.
Chinese Buddhism has a physiognomy and language of its own. The Paraphrase of the Sacred Edict in a criticism, which, though unfriendly, is not altogether inaccurate, says that Buddhists attend only to the heart, claim that Buddha can be found in the heart, and aim at becoming Buddhas. This sounds strange to those who are acquainted only with the Buddhism of Ceylon and Burma, but is intelligible as a popular statement of Bodhidharma's doctrine. Heart means the spiritual nature of man, essentially identical with the Buddha nature and capable of purification and growth so that all beings can become Buddhas. But in the Far East the doctrine became less pantheistic and more ethical than the corresponding Indian ideas. The Buddha in the heart is the internal light and monitor rather than the universal spirit. Amida, Kuan-yin and Ti-tsang with other radiant and benevolent spirits have risen from humanity and will help man to rise as they have done. Chinese Buddhists do not regard Amida's vows as an isolated achievement. All Boddhisattvas have done the same and carried out their resolution in countless existences. Like the Madonna these gracious figures appeal directly to the emotions and artistic senses and their divinity offers no difficulty, for in China Church and State alike have always recognized deification as a natural process. One other characteristic of all Far Eastern Buddhism may be noticed. The Buddha is supposed to have preached many creeds and codes at different periods of his life and each school supposes its own to be the last, best and all inclusive.
As indicated elsewhere, the essential part of the Buddhist Church is the monkhood and it is often hard to say if a Chinese layman is a Buddhist or not. It will therefore be best to describe briefly the organization and life of a monastery, then the services performed there and to some extent attended by the laity, and thirdly the rites performed by monks on behalf of the laity, especially funeral ceremonies.
The Chinese Tripitaka contains no less than five recensions of the Vinaya, and the later pilgrims who visited India made it their special object to obtain copies of the most correct and approved code. But though the theoretical value of these codes is still admitted, they have for practical purposes been supplemented by other manuals of which the best known are the Fan-wang-ching or Net of Brahma and the Pai-chang-ts'ung-lin-ch'ing-kuei or Rules of Purity of the Monasteries of Pai Chang.
The former is said to have been translated in A.D. 406 by Kumarajiva and to be one chapter of a larger Sanskrit work. Some passages of it, particularly the condemnation of legislation which forbids or imposes conditions on the practice of Buddhism, read as if they had been composed in China rather than India, and its whole attitude towards the Hinayanist Vinaya as something inadequate and superseded, can hardly have been usual in India or China even in the time of I-Ching (700 A.D.). Nothing is known of the Indian original, but it certainly was not the Brahmajalasutta of the Pali Canon. Though the translation is ascribed to so early a date, there is no evidence that the work carried weight as an authority before the eighth century. Students of the Vinaya, like I-Ching, ignore it. But when the scholarly endeavour to discover the most authentic edition of the Vinaya began to flag, this manual superseded the older treatises. Whatever external evidence there may be for attributing it to Kumarajiva, its contents suggest a much later date and there is no guarantee that a popular manual may not have received additions. The rules are not numbered consecutively but as 1-10 and 1-48, and it may be that the first class is older than the second. In many respects it expounds a late and even degenerate form of Buddhism for it contemplates not only a temple ritual (including the veneration of images and sacred books), but also burning the head or limbs as a religious practice. But it makes no allusion to salvation through faith in Amitabha and says little about services to be celebrated for the dead.
Its ethical and disciplinary point of view is dogmatically Mahayanist and similar to that of the Bodhicaryavatara. The Hinayana is several times denounced and called heretical, but, setting aside a little intolerance and superstition, the teaching of this manual is truly admirable and breathes a spirit of active charity—a desire not only to do no harm but to help and rescue.
It contains a code of ten primary and forty-eight secondary commandments, worded as prohibitions, but equivalent to positive injunctions, inasmuch as they blame the neglect of various active duties. The ten primary commandments are called Pratimoksha and he who breaks them is Parajika, that is to say, he ipso facto leaves the road leading to Buddhahood and is condemned to a long series of inferior births. They prohibit taking life, theft, unchastity, lying, trading in alcoholic liquors, evil speaking, boasting, avarice, hatred and blasphemy. Though infraction of the secondary commandments has less permanently serious consequence, their observance is indispensable for all monks. Many of them are amplifications of the ten major commandments and are directed against indirect and potential sins, such as the possession of weapons. The Bhikshu may not eat flesh, drink alcohol, set forests on fire or be connected with any business injurious to others, such as the slave trade. He is warned against gossip, sins of the eye, foolish practices such as divination and even momentary forgetfulness of his high calling and duties. But it is not sufficient that he should be self-concentrated and without offence. He must labour for the welfare and salvation of others, and it is a sin to neglect such duties as instructing the ignorant, tending the sick, hospitality, saving men or animals from death or slavery, praying for all in danger, exhorting to repentance, sympathy with all living things. A number of disciplinary rules prescribe a similarly high standard for daily monastic life. The monk must be strenuous and intelligent; he must yield obedience to his superiors and set a good example to the laity: he must not teach for money or be selfish in accepting food and gifts. As for creed he is strictly bidden to follow and preach the Mahayana: it is a sin to follow or preach the doctrine of the Sravakas or read their books or not aspire to ultimate Buddhahood. Very remarkable are the injunctions to burn one's limbs in honour of Buddhas: to show great respect to copies of the scriptures and to make vows. From another point of view the first and forty-seventh secondary commandments are equally remarkable: the first bids officials discharge their duties with due respect to the Church and the other protests against improper legislation.
The Fan-wang-ching is the most important and most authoritative statement of the general principles regulating monastic life in China. So far as my own observation goes, it is known and respected in all monasteries. The Pai-chang-ch'ing-kuei deals rather with the details of organization and ritual and has not the same universal currency. It received the approval of the Yuan dynasty and is still accepted as authoritative in many monasteries and gives a correct account of their general practice. It was composed by a monk of Kiang-si, who died in 814 A.D. He belonged to the Ch'an school, but his rules are approved by others. I will not attempt to summarize them, but they include most points of ritual and discipline mentioned below. The author indicates the relations which should prevail between Church and State by opening his work with an account of the ceremonies to be performed on the Emperor's birthday, and similar occasions.
Large Buddhist temples almost always form part of a monastery, but smaller shrines, especially in towns, are often served by a single priest. The many-storeyed towers called pagodas which are a characteristic beauty of Chinese landscapes, are in their origin stupas erected over relics but at the present day can hardly be called temples or religious buildings, for they are not places of worship and generally owe their construction to the dictates of Feng-shui or geomancy. Monasteries are usually built outside towns and by preference on high ground, whence shan or mountain has come to be the common designation of a convent, whatever its position. The sites of these establishments show the deep feeling of cultivated Chinese for nature and their appreciation of the influence of scenery on temper, an appreciation which connects them spiritually with the psalms of the monks and nuns preserved in the Pali Canon. The architecture is not self-assertive. Its aim is not to produce edifices complete and satisfying in their own proportions but rather to harmonize buildings with landscape, to adjust courts and pavilions to the slope of the hillside and diversify the groves of fir and bamboo with shrines and towers as fantastic and yet as natural as the mountain boulders. The reader who wishes to know more of them should consult Johnston's Buddhist China, a work which combines in a rare degree sound knowledge and literary charm.
A monastery is usually a quadrangle surrounded by a wall. Before the great gate, which faces south, or in the first court is a tank, spanned by a bridge, wherein grows the red lotus and tame fish await doles of biscuit. The sides of the quadrangle contain dwelling rooms, refectories, guest chambers, store houses, a library, printing press and other premises suitable to a learned and pious foundation. The interior space is divided into two or three courts, bordered by a veranda. In each court is a hall of worship or temple, containing a shelf or alcove on which are set the sacred images: in front of them stands a table, usually of massive wood, bearing vases of flowers, bowls for incense sticks and other vessels. The first temple is called the Hall of the Four Great Kings and the figures in it represent beings who are still in the world of transmigration and have not yet attained Buddhahood. They include gigantic images of the Four Kings, Maitreya, the Buddha designate of the future, and Wei-to, a military Bodhisattva sometimes identified with Indra. Kuan-ti, the Chinese God of War, is often represented in this building. The chief temple, called the Precious Hall of the Great Hero, is in the second court and contains the principal images. Very commonly there are nine figures on either side representing eighteen disciples of the Buddha and known as the Eighteen Lohan or Arhats. Above the altar are one or more large gilt images. When there is only one it is usually Sakya-muni, but more often there are three. Such triads are variously composed and the monks often speak of them vaguely as the "three precious ones," without seeming to attach much importance to their identity. The triad is loosely connected with the idea of the three bodies of Buddha but this explanation does not always apply and the central figure is sometimes O-mi-to or Kuan-yin, who are the principal recipients of the worship offered by the laity. The latter deity has usually a special shrine at the back of the main altar and facing the north door of the hall, in which her merciful activity as the saviour of mankind is represented in a series of statuettes or reliefs. Other Bodhisattvas such as Ta-shih-chi (Mahasthamaprapta) and Ti-tsang also have separate shrines in or at the side of the great hall. The third hall contains as a rule only small images. It is used for expounding the scriptures and for sermons, if the monastery has a preacher, but is set apart for the religious exercises of the monks rather than the devotions of the laity. In very large monasteries there is a fourth hall for meditation.
Monasteries are of various sizes and the number of monks is not constant, for the peripatetic habit of early Buddhism is not extinct: at one time many inmates may be absent on their travels, at another there may be an influx of strangers. There are also wandering monks who have ceased to belong to a particular monastery and spend their time in travelling. A large monastery usually contains from thirty to fifty monks, but a very large one may have as many as three hundred. The majority are dedicated by their parents as children, but some embrace the career from conviction in their maturity and these, if few, are the more interesting. Children who are brought up to be monks receive a religious education in the monastery, wear monastic clothes and have their heads shaved. At the age of about seventeen they are formally admitted as members of the order and undergo three ceremonies of ordination, which in their origin represented stages of the religious life, but are now performed by accumulation in the course of a few days. One reason for this is that only monasteries possessing a licence from the Government are allowed to hold ordinations and that consequently postulants have to go some distance to be received as full brethren and are anxious to complete the reception expeditiously. At the first ordination the candidates are accepted as novices: at the second, which follows a day or two afterwards and corresponds to the upasampada, they accept the robes and bowl and promise obedience to the rules of the Pratimoksha. But these ceremonies are of no importance compared with the third, called Shou Pu-sa-chieh or acceptance of the Bodhisattva precepts, that is to say the fifty-eight precepts enunciated in the Fan-wang-ching. The essential part of this ordination is the burning of the candidate's head in from three to eighteen places. The operation involves considerable pain and is performed by lighting pieces of charcoal set in a paste which is spread over the shaven skull.
Although the Fan-wang-ching does not mention this burning of the head as part of ordination, yet it emphatically enjoins the practice of burning the body or limbs, affirming that those who neglect it are not true Bodhisattvas. The prescription is founded on the twenty-second chapter of the Lotus which, though a later addition, is found in the Chinese translation made between 265 and 316 A.D. I-Ching discusses and reprobates such practices. Clearly they were known in India when he visited it, but not esteemed by the better Buddhists, and the fact that they form no part of the ordinary Tibetan ritual indicates that they had no place in the decadent Indian Buddhism which in various stages of degeneration was introduced into Tibet. In Korea and Japan branding is practised but on the breast and arms rather than on the head.
It would appear then that burning and branding as part of initiation were known in India in the early centuries of our era but not commonly approved and that their general acceptance in China was subsequent to the death of I-Ching in A.D. 713. This author clearly approved of nothing but the double ordination as novice and full monk. The third ordination as Bodhisattva must be part of the later phase inaugurated by Amogha about 750.
This practice is defended as a trial of endurance, but the earlier and better monks were right in rejecting it, for in itself it is an unedifying spectacle and it points to the logical conclusion that, if it is meritorious to cauterize the head, it is still more meritorious to burn the whole body. Cases of suicide by burning appear to have occurred in recent years, especially in the province of Che-Kiang. The true doctrine of the Mahayana is that everyone should strive for the happiness and salvation of all beings, but this beautiful truth may be sadly perverted if it is held that the endurance of pain is in itself meritorious and that such acquired merit can be transferred to others. Self-torture, seems not to be unknown in the popular forms of Chinese Buddhism.
The postulant, after receiving these three ordinations, becomes a full monk or Ho-shang and takes a new name. The inmates of every monastery owe obedience to the abbot and some abbots have an official position, being recognized by the Government as representing the clergy of a prefecture, should there be any business to be transacted with the secular authorities. But there is no real hierarchy outside the monasteries, each of which is an isolated administrative unit. Within each monastery due provision is made for discipline and administration. The monks are divided into two classes, the Western who are concerned with ritual and other purely religious duties and the Eastern who are relatively secular and superintend the business of the establishment. This is often considerable for the income is usually derived from estates, in managing which the monks are assisted by a committee of laymen. Other laymen of humbler status live around the monastery and furnish the labour necessary for agriculture, forestry and whatever industries the character of the property calls into being. As a rule there is a considerable library. Even a sympathetic stranger will often find that the monks deny its existence, because many books have been destroyed in political troubles, but most monasteries possess copies of the principal scriptures and a complete Tripitaka, usually the edition of 1737, is not rare. Whether the books are much read I do not know, but I have observed that after the existence of the library has been admitted, it often proves difficult to find the key. There is also a printing press, where are prepared notices and prayers, as well as copies of popular sutras.
The food of the monks is strictly vegetarian, but they do not go round with the begging bowl nor, except in a few monasteries, is it forbidden to eat after midday. As a rule there are three meals, the last about 6 p.m., and all must be eaten in silence. The three garments prescribed by Indian Buddhism are still worn, but beneath them are trousers, stockings, and shoes which are necessary in the Chinese climate. There is no idea that it is wrong to sleep on a bed, to receive presents or own property.
Two or three services are performed daily in the principal temple, early in the morning, about 4 p.m., and sometimes in the middle of the day. A specimen of this ritual may be seen in the service called by Beal the Liturgy of Kuan Yin. It consists of versicles, responses and canticles, and, though strangely reminiscent both in structure and externals (such as the wearing of vestments) of the offices of the Roman Church, appears to be Indian in origin. I-Ching describes the choral services which he attended in Nalanda and elsewhere—the chanting, bowing, processions—and the Chinese ritual is, I think, only the amplification of these ceremonies. It includes the presentation of offerings, such as tea, rice and other vegetables. The Chinese pilgrims testify that in India flowers, lights and incense were offered to relics and images (as in Christian churches), and the Bodhicaryavatara, one of the most spiritual of later Mahayanist works, mentions offerings of food and drink as part of worship. Many things in Buddhism lent themselves to such a transformation or parody of earlier teaching. Offerings of food to hungry ghosts were countenanced, and it was easy to include among the recipients other spirits. It was meritorious to present food, raiment and property to living saints: oriental, and especially Chinese, symbolism found it natural to express the same devotion by offerings made before images.
In the course of most ceremonies, the monks make vows on behalf of all beings and take oath to work for their salvation. They are also expected to deliver and hear sermons and to engage in meditation. Some of them superintend the education of novices which consists chiefly in learning to read and repeat religious works. Quite recently elementary schools for the instruction of the laity have been instituted in some monasteries.
The regularity of convent life is broken by many festivals. The year is divided into two periods of wandering, two of meditation and one of repose corresponding to the old Vassa. Though this division has become somewhat theoretical, it is usual for monks to set out on excursions in the spring and autumn. In each month there are six fasts, including the two uposatha days. On these latter the 250 rules of the Pratimoksha are recited in a refectory or side hall and subsequently the fifty-eight rules of the Fan-wang-ching are recited with greater ceremony in the main temple.
Another class of holy days includes the birthdays not only of Sakya-muni, but of other Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, the anniversaries of events in Sakya-muni's life and the deaths of Bodhidharma and other Saints, among whom the founder or patron of each monastery has a prominent place. Another important and popular festival is called Yu-lan-pen or All Souls' day, which is an adaptation of Buddhist usages to Chinese ancestral worship. Of many other festivals it may be said that they are purely Chinese but countenanced by Buddhism: such are the days which mark the changes of the seasons, those sacred to Kuan-ti and other native deities, and (before the revolution) imperial birthdays.
The daily services are primarily for the monks, but the laity may attend them, if they please. More frequently they pay their devotions at other hours, light a few tapers and too often have recourse to some form of divination before the images. Sometimes they defray the cost of more elaborate ceremonies to expiate sins or ensure prosperity. But the lay attendance in temples is specially large at seasons of pilgrimage. For an account of this interesting side of Chinese religious life I cannot do better than refer the reader to Mr. Johnston's volume already cited.
Though the services of the priesthood may be invoked at every crisis of life, they are most in requisition for funeral ceremonies. A detailed description of these as practised at Amoy has been given by De Groot which is probably true in essentials for all parts of China. These rites unite in incongruous confusion several orders of ideas. Pre-Buddhist Chinese notions of the life after death seem not to have included the idea of hell. The disembodied soul is honoured and comforted but without any clear definition of its status. Some representative—a person, figure, or tablet—is thought capable of giving it a temporary residence and at funeral ceremonies offerings are made to such a representative and plays performed before it. Though Buddhist language may be introduced into this ritual, its spirit is alien to even the most corrupt Buddhism.
Buddhism familiarized China with the idea that the average man stands in danger of purgatory and this doctrine cannot be described as late or Mahayanist. Those epithets are, however, merited by the subsidiary doctrine that such punishment can be abridged by vicarious acts of worship which may take the form of simple prayer addressed to benevolent beings who can release the tortured soul. More often the idea underlying it is that the recitation of certain formulae acquires merit for the reciter who can then divert this merit to any purpose. This is really a theological refinement of the ancient and widespread notion that words have magic force. Equally ancient and unBuddhist in origin is the theory of sympathetic magic. Just as by sticking pins into a wax figure you may kill the person represented, so by imitating physical operations of rescue, you may deliver a soul from the furnaces and morasses of hell. Thus a paper model of hades is made which is knocked to pieces and finally burnt: the spirit is escorted with music and other precautions over a mock bridge, and, most singular of all, the priests place over a receptacle of water a special machine consisting of a cylinder containing a revolving apparatus which might help a creature immersed in the fluid to climb up. This strange mummery is supposed to release those souls who are condemned to sojourn in a pool of blood. This, too, is a superstition countenanced only by Chinese Buddhism, for the punishment is incurred not so much by sinners as by those dying of illnesses which defile with blood. Many other rites are based on the notion that objects—or their paper images—ceremonially burnt are transmitted to the other world for the use of the dead. Thus representations in paper of servants, clothes, furniture, money and all manner of things are burned together with the effigy of the deceased and sometimes also certificates and passports giving him a clean bill of health for the Kingdom of Heaven.
As in funeral rites, so in matters of daily life, Buddhism gives its countenance and help to popular superstition, to every kind of charm for reading the future, securing happiness and driving away evil spirits. In its praise may be said that this patronage, though far too easy going, is not extended to cruel or immoral customs. But the reader will ask, is there no brighter side? I believe that there is, but it is not conspicuous and, as in India, public worship and temple ritual display the lower aspects of religion. But in China a devout Buddhist is generally a good man and the objects of Buddhist associations are praiseworthy and philanthropic. They often include vegetarianism and abstinence from alcohol and drugs. The weakness of the religion to-day is no doubt the want of intelligence and energy among the clergy. There are not a few learned and devout monks, but even devotion is not a characteristic of the majority. On the other hand, those of the laity who take their religion seriously generally attain a high standard of piety and there have been attempts to reform Buddhism, to connect it with education and to spread a knowledge of the more authentic scriptures.
When one begins to study Buddhism in China, one fears it may be typified by the neglected temples on the outskirts of Peking, sullen and mouldering memorials of dynasties that have passed away. But later one learns not only that there are great and nourishing monasteries in the south, but that even in Peking one may often step through an archway into courtyards of which the prosaic streets outside give no hint and find there refreshment for the eye and soul, flower gardens and well-kept shrines tended by pious and learned guardians.
[Footnote 855: [Chinese: ] For a specimen of devotional literature about the heart see the little tract translated in China Branch, R.A.S. XXIII. pp. 9-22.]
[Footnote 856: [Chinese: ] For text translation and commentary, see De Groot, Code du Mahayana en Chine, 1893, see also Nanjio, No. 1087.]
[Footnote 857: De Groot, p. 81.]
[Footnote 858: The identity of name seems due to a similarity of metaphor. The Brahmajala sutta is a net of many meshes to catch all forms of error. The Fan-wang-ching compares the varieties of Buddhist opinion to the meshes of a net (De Groot, l.c. p. 26), but the net is the all-inclusive common body of truth.]
[Footnote 859: See, however, sections 20 and 39.]
[Footnote 860: See especially De Groot, l.c. p. 58, where the reading of the Abhidharma is forbidden. Though this name is not confined to the Hinayana, A-pi-t'an in Chinese seems to be rarely used as a title of Mahayanist books.]
[Footnote 861: The Indian words are transliterated in the Chinese text.]
[Footnote 862: More accurately reading the sutras on their behalf, but this exercise is practically equivalent to intercessory prayer.]
[Footnote 863: [Chinese: ]]
[Footnote 864: The full title is [Chinese: ] Pai Chang is apparently to be taken as the name of the author, but it is the designation of a monastery used as a personal name. See Hackmann in T'oung Pao, 1908, pp. 651-662. It is No. 1642 in Nanjio's Catalogue. He says that it has been revised and altered.]
[Footnote 865: See T'oung Pao, 1904, pp. 437 ff.]
[Footnote 866: It is probable that the older Chinese monasteries attempted to reproduce the arrangement of Nalanda and other Indian establishments. Unfortunately Hsuan Chuang and the other pilgrims give us few details as to the appearance of Indian monasteries: they tell us, however, that they were surrounded by a wall, that the monks' quarters were near this wall, that there were halls where choral services were performed and that there were triads of images. But the Indian buildings had three stories. See Chavannes, Memoire sur les Religieux Eminents, 1894, p. 85.]
[Footnote 867: [Chinese: ] or [Chinese: ] For this personage see the article in B.E.F.E.O. 1916. No. 3, by Peri who identifies him with Wei, the general of the Heavenly Kings who appeared to Tao Hsuan the founder of the Vinaya school and became popular as a protecting deity of Buddhism. The name is possibly a mistaken transcription of Skandha.]
[Footnote 868: [Chinese: ]]
[Footnote 869: [Chinese: ] See Levi and Chavannes' two articles in J.A. 1916, I and II, and Watters in J.R.A.S. 1898, p. 329, for an account of these personages. The original number, still found in a few Chinese temples as well as in Korea, Japan and Tibet was sixteen. Several late sutras contain the idea that the Buddha entrusted the protection of his religion to four or sixteen disciples and bade them not enter Nirvana but tarry until the advent of Maitreya. The Ta-A-lo-han-nan-t'i-mi-to-lo-so-shuo-fa-chu-chi (Nanjio, 1466) is an account of these sixteen disciples and of their spheres of influence. The Buddha assigned to each a region within which it is his duty to guard the faith. They will not pass from this life before the next Buddha comes. Pindola is the chief of them. Nothing is known of the work cited except that it was translated in 654 by Hsuan Chuang, who, according to Watters, used an earlier translation. As the Arhats are Indian personalities, and their spheres are mapped out from the point of view of Indian geography, there can be no doubt that we have to do with an Indian idea, imported into Tibet as well as into China where it became far more popular than it had ever been in India. The two additional Arhats (who vary in different temples, whereas the sixteen are fixed) appear to have been added during the T'ang dynasty and, according to Watters, in imitation of a very select order of merit instituted by the Emperor T'ai Tsung and comprising eighteen persons. Chavannes and Levi see in them spirits borrowed from the popular pantheon.
Chinese ideas about the Lohans at the present day are very vague. Their Indian origin has been forgotten and some of them have been provided with Chinese biographies. (See Dore, p. 216.) One popular story says that they were eighteen converted brigands.
In several large temples there are halls containing 500 images of Arhats, which include many Chinese Emperors and one of them is often pointed out as being Marco Polo. But this is very doubtful. See, however, Hackmann, Buddhismus, p. 212.]
[Footnote 870: Generally they consist of Sakya-muni and two superhuman Buddhas or Bodhisattvas, such as O-mi-to (Amitabha) and Yo-shih-fo (Vaidurya): Pi-lu-fo (Vairocana) and Lo-shih-fo (Lochana): Wen-shu (Manjus-ri) and P'u-hsien (Samantabhadra). The common European explanation that they are the Buddhas of the past, present and future is not correct.]
[Footnote 871: [Chinese: ] and [Chinese: ] For the importance of Ti-tsang in popular Buddhism, which has perhaps been underestimated, see Johnston, chap. VII.]
[Footnote 872: I speak of the Old Imperial Government which came to an end in 1911.]
[Footnote 873: [Chinese: ]]
[Footnote 874: De Groot, l.c. p.51.]
[Footnote 875: See Kern's translation, especially pp. 379 and 385.]
[Footnote 876: See Nanjio, Nos. 138 and 139. The practice is not entirely unknown in the legends of Pali Buddhism. In the Lokapannatti, a work existing in Burma but perhaps translated from the Sanskrit, Asoka burns himself in honour of the Buddha, but is miraculously preserved. See B.E.F.E.O. 1904, pp. 421 and 427.]
[Footnote 877: See I-Tsing, Records of the Buddhist Religion, trans. Takakusu, pp. 195 ff., and for Tibet, Waddell, Buddhism of Tibet, p. 178, note 3, from which it appears that it is only in Eastern Tibet and probably under Chinese influence that branding is in vogue. For apparent instances in Central Asian art, see Grunwedel, Budd. Kultst. p. 23, note 1.]
[Footnote 878: Branding is common in many Hindu sects, especially the Madhvas, but is reprobated by others.]
[Footnote 879: It is condemned as part of the superstition of Buddhism in a memorial of Han Yu, 819 A.D.]
[Footnote 880: See those cited by De Groot, l. c. p. 228, and the article of MacGowan (Chinese Recorder, 1888) there referred to. See also Hackmann, Buddhism as a Religion, p. 228. Chinese sentiment often approves suicide, for instance, if committed by widows or the adherents of defeated princes. For a Confucian instance, see Johnston, p. 341.]
[Footnote 881: See e.g. Du Bose, The Dragon, Image and Demon, p. 265. I have never seen such practices myself. See also Paraphrase of the Sacred Edict, VII. 8.]
[Footnote 882: [Chinese: ] This word, which has no derivation in Chinese, is thought to be a corruption of some vernacular form of the Sanskrit Upadhyaya current in Central Asia. See I-tsing, transl. Takakusu, p. 118. Upadhyaya became Vajjha (as is shown by the modern Indian forms Ojha or Jha and Tamil Vaddyar). See Bloch in Indo-Germanischen Forschungen, vol. XXV. 1909, p. 239. Vajjha might become in Chinese Ho-sho or Ho-shang for Ho sometimes represents the Indian syllable va. See Julien, Methode, p. 109, and Eitel, Handbook of Chinese Buddhism, p. 195.]
[Footnote 883: For details see Hackmann in T'oung Pao, 1908.]
[Footnote 884: They apparently correspond to the monastic lay servants or "pure men" described by I-Ching, chap. XXXII, as living as Nalanda.]
[Footnote 885: A Catena of Buddhist Scriptures from the Chinese, pp. 339 ff.]
[Footnote 886: The abbot and several upper priests wear robes, which are generally red and gold, during the service. The abbot also carries a sort of sceptre. The vestments of the clergy are said to be derived from the robes of honour which used to be given to them when they appeared at Court.]
[Footnote 887: II. 16. Cf. the rituals in De la Vallee Poussin's Bouddhisme et Materiaux, pp. 214 ff. Taranatha frequently mentions burnt offerings as part of worship in medieval Magadha.]
[Footnote 888: I do not refer to the practice of turning disused temples into schools which is frequent. In some monasteries the monks, while retaining possession, have themselves opened schools.]
[Footnote 889: It is not clear to me what is really meant by the birthdays of beings like Maitreya and Amitabha.]
[Footnote 890: Actes du Sixieme Congres des Orientalistes, Leide, 1883, sec. IV. pp. 1-120.]
[Footnote 891: E.g. in Dipavamsa, XIII; Mahav. XIV. Mahinda is represented as converting Ceylon by accounts of the terrors of the next world.]
[Footnote 892: The merit of good deeds can be similarly utilized. The surviving relatives feed the poor or buy and maintain for the rest of its life an animal destined to slaughter. The merit then goes to the deceased.]
[Footnote 893: It may possibly be traceable to Manichaeism which taught that souls are transferred from one sphere to another by a sort of cosmic water wheel. See Cumont's article, "La roue A puiser les ames du Manicheisme" in Rev. de l'Hist, des Religions, 1915, p. 384. Chavannes and Pelliot have shown that traces of Manichaeism lingered long in Fu-Kien. The metaphor of the endless chain of buckets is also found in the Yuan Jen Lun.]
[Footnote 894: See Francke, "Ein Buddhistischer Reformversuch in China," T'oung Pao, 1909, pp. 567-602.]
The Buddhism of Korea cannot be sharply distinguished from the Buddhism of China and Japan. Its secluded mountain monasteries have some local colour, and contain halls dedicated to the seven stars and the mountain gods of the land. And travellers are impressed by the columns of rock projecting from the soil and carved into images (miriok), by the painted walls of the temples and by the huge rolled-up pictures which are painted and displayed on festival days. But there is little real originality in art: in literature and doctrine none at all. Buddhism started in Korea with the same advantages as in China and Japan but it lost in moral influence because the monks continually engaged in politics and it did not win temporal power because they were continually on the wrong side. Yet Korea is not without importance in the annals of far-eastern Buddhism for, during the wanderings and vicissitudes of the faith, it served as a rest-house and depot. It was from Korea that Buddhism first entered Japan: when, during the wars of the five dynasties the T'ien-t'ai school was nearly annihilated in China, it was revived by a Korean priest and the earliest extant edition of the Chinese Tripitaka is known only by a single copy preserved in Korea and taken thence to Japan.