By Jamie Hubbard
Despite the typical view of Buddhism as non-dogmatic and tolerant, the old checklist preserves many examples of Buddhist thinkers and pursuits that have been banned as heretical or subversive. The San-chieh (Three degrees) used to be a well-liked and influential chinese language Buddhist move throughout the Sui and Tang sessions, counting strong statesmen, imperial princes, or even an empress, Empress Wu, between its consumers. In spite, or even accurately simply because, of its proximity to energy, the San-chieh flow ran afoul of the professionals and its teachings and texts have been formally proscribed a variety of occasions over a several-hundred-year historical past. due to those suppressions San-chieh texts have been misplaced and little information regarding its teachings or background is out there. the current paintings, the 1st English research of the San-chieh move, makes use of manuscripts chanced on at Tun-huang to envision the doctrine and institutional practices of this circulation within the greater context of Mahayana doctrine and perform. by means of viewing San-Chieh within the context of Mahayana Buddhism, Hubbard finds it to be faraway from heretical and thereby increases very important questions on orthodoxy and canon in Buddhism. He exhibits that the various hallmark rules and practices of chinese language Buddhism locate an early and designated expression within the San-chieh texts.
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Additional info for Absolute Delusion, Perfect Buddhahood: The Rise and Fall of a Chinese Heresy
First and foremost among those concerns has always been the construction and preservation of the tradition. A study of the development of the Buddhist doctrine of its own decline reveals one of the ways in which complex doctrinal systems with profound soteriological, social, and institutional signi³cance have evolved in response to rhetorical and polemic positions. 1 Although an 1 The most thorough and up-to-date treatment is found in Jan Nattier, Once Upon a Future Time: Studies in a Buddhist Prophecy of Decline (Berkeley: Asian Humanities Press, 1991).
In addition to universal reverence and charitable work, Te-mei is also known to have practiced the various austerities and liturgies discussed above, including the fang teng rite, yearly observance of the Pratyutpanna walking meditation (he is reported to have “walked without sitting for the entire summer”), penitential rites comprised of buddhan„ma liturgies, maintaining silence for three years, and being sparing in his food (eating only one part in four). Te-mei thus well exempli³es the values and practices that Hsin-hsing sought to instill in his followers.
That is to say that they represent an extreme lifestyle and as such they have always been controversial. 86 So, too, it was not long before Š„kyamuni’s “community of the four directions” came to dwell in permanent structures as corporate landowners, and it is primarily this cenobitic institution that is represented in doctrinal and institutional documents. Still, in all Buddhist cultures there has always been an interest in ascetic extremes. 87 This broader context is perhaps relevant to the San-chieh movement, given the frequent attacks by the authorities as well as other Buddhists that they experienced.