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Unformatted text preview: 43 | Buddhism and Indigenous Chinese Culture IN THE COURSE of the spread of the Buddhist religion from India to China, which had begun quietly during the first century of the Common Era, there came a point at which it began to arouse the opposition of certain members of the gentry who saw it as a threat to China’s tradi— tional values. By the end of the fifth century, resistance was especially strong among representa- tives of China’s indigenous religion of Taoism in the Southern Dynasties of Qi (479—502) and Liang (502—557), whose rulers actively supported the foreign faith. Their resistance is the more interesting in view of the traditional Chinese belief, shared by both Confucianists and Taoists, that a Central Harmony, or Unitary Force, called “the Way” (Tao) pervades the entire universe, and that following the Tao is not only natural, but is the only principle by which the universe can run smoothly. Because of this Unitary Force, all apparent differences are treated as “outward man— ifestations” (ji BI), which, if traced to the Center, will be found to be in harmony with the Tao. This basic characteristic of the Chinese world—view has made it possible for most Chinese to rec— oncile any variance from their own traditions as merely a superficial aberration. Even the harshest critics of the foreign religion insisted that they had no quarrel with Buddhism’s ultimate goal of Enlightenment. What offended them most was the introduction of barbarous customs (m), such as monks and nuns deserting their families, and shaving off the hair bestowed on them by their parents, and, yes, squatting on their heels or in chairs instead of sitting respectfully on the ground. The resulting crossfire of polemic attacks by members of the Taoist and Confucian gentry and defenses by Buddhist apologists, including occasional rejoinders by the original attackers, has filled large sections of two anthologies: the Collection of [Doeumentr] on the Propagation and Illumina- tion [of tbe Dbarma] (Hongm'ngjz), compiled by the monk Sengyou (see selection 42) around 510, and its sequel, the Expanded Col/ettion [of Dommentr] eta (Guang bongmingjz), by Dao Xuan, a cen— tury later (both may be found in vol. 52 of the Tait/20' Tnpttaka). To give some sense at first hand of the issues involved, and the emotional intensity of the dis- putants, we have selected the greater portion of the “Treatise on Barbarians and Chinese” (Yixia lun) by the Taoist priest {dam/)1) Gu Huan (d. after 48 5), included in his official biography in the Hirtogt 0f the Seat/Jen: Q1" (Nan Q1" 1/214, 54), followed by a rebuttal by the Liu-Song Director of Instruction, Yuan Can (420—477), through his friend, the monk Shi Huitong, and, finally, Gu Huan’s rejoinder, all from the aforementioned biography—RM ff— Gu Huan’s “Treatise on Barbarians and Chinese” In distinguishing between truth and falsehood it is appropriate to base one’s opinion on sacred scriptures (r/Jengdian). If one researches the sources of the two traditions (Buddhism and Taoism), indeed one finds that both point to scriptural passages. A Taoist scripture states, “Lao Zi entered the Pass (i.e., the Hindu Kush) and proceeded to the kingdom of Kapilavastu (Uia-] wei—[luo]— wei). The wife of the king was named Maya (Jingmiao). Lao Zi, taking advantage of her daytime nap, entered into Maya’s mouth riding on the essence of the sun (ryz'ng). Later, on the eighth day of the fourth month, at midnight, he (Lao Zi/the Buddha) was born by opening up her left armpit. The momen Buddhism came intt (Xuanm'ao neg'bz'an).‘ A Buddhist scrip berless kagbas.” [Thj (Fa/ma, Wiliangrbou). Tao, the Ancestor 0 meat of tbe Crown Pri; My thoughts on t Ones,4 none of thes the Tao, none ever would have surpass: Buddha, then who \ Tao is the Buddha; in their outward ma Tao]), which illumi which reveals what i not penetrate. [Buc entrances have not adherents] fulfill th« nial caps and robes, cials]; shaved heads and bowing from tl ing like foxes and S buried in a double under water is the observe the proper appearance and alt: up with strange bei beasts are often bu Through endless Five Canom (wag; sages] have chirpec the Chinese they h: that’s all. Although are limitations imp are on a level WhCI tions between Barl the means are inter overland? At present [som the doctrines of th same, nor, on the c dren, and have do: attached and whicl". reverence that are : compliance with t er nich had begun ich it began to 3 China’s tradi- ang representa- (479-502) and nce is the more sts and Taoists, entire universe, 'he universe can . “outward man- iy with the Tao. : Chinese to rec- ven the harshest ultimate goal of [storms (m), such )n them by their y on the ground. ucian gentry and .al attackers, has ztiorz and Illumina- 42) around 510, )ao Xuan, a cen- ensity of the dis- . Chinese” (Yixia biography in the Song Director of , and, finally, Gu apinion on sacred lism and Taoism), ., “Lao Zi entered l (Uia-] wei-[luo]- .ge of her daytime on the eighth day )ening up her left armpit. The moment he dropped to the ground, h Buddhism came into being.” This passage comes Buddhism and Indigenous Chinese Culture | 271 e walked seven paces. It was at this point that from the Inner Chapter: (ft/1e Myrten'ou: Wonder (Xuanmiaa neipiarz).‘ A Buddhist scripture says, berless lea/pas.” [This passage] comes from the (Fabua, Wu/t'zmgrbau).2 [Another passage states,] Tao, the Ancestor of the Literati.” “[This passage] c ment oft/1e Crown Prince ([Taizi] raging bertqz‘jirzg).”3 My thoughts on this are as follows: During the reigns of the Five Thearchs and Three August Ones,4 none of these rulers was without an adviser. Among National Preceptors and Masters of the Tao, none ever surpassed Lao Zi and Zhuang Zi. As for the Ancestor of the Literati, who would have surpassed the Duke of Zhou and Confucius? If Confucius and Lao Zi were not the Buddha, then who were they? Thus, what the two traditions say are like the two halves of a tally. Tao is the Buddha; the Buddha is Tao. In their ideal of sageliness (r/Jeng) they are identical; only in their outward manifestation (jz) are they at odds. One is the “Tempered Light” (beguang [of the Tao]), which illuminates what is near; the other is the “Radiant Spirit” (yac/z'ng) [of the sun], which reveals what is distant.5 The Tao sustains all under heaven; there is no quarter Where it does not penetrate. [Buddha]-wisdom pervades all creation; no being is unaffected. But since their entrances have not been the same, their effects are also bound to differ. In each tradition [the adherents] fulfill their own natures (xing), and thus do not alter the things they do (.rbt). Ceremo- nial caps and robes, with tablets of office tucked in their sashes, are the fashion of Chinese [offi- cials]; shaved heads and loose garments are the habit of Barbarian [monks]. Kneeling reverendy and bowing from the waist are expressions of respect within the [Chinese] royal domain; crouch- ing like foxes and squatting like dogs are deemed to be dignified postures in the wilds. To be buried in a double coffin is the rule in China; to be incinerated on a funeral pyre or submerged under water is the custom among the western Barbarians. To preserve one’s body whole and observe the proper rituals is the teaching that aims at perpetuating goodness; to disfigure one’s appearance and alter one’s nature is the study that seeks to terminate evil. Since [the latter] link up with strange beings, are they the same as humans? [Thus,] the kings of birds and the lords of beasts are often buddhas. Through endless generations sages have arisen one after another. Some Five Curlew (Wudz'an); others have propagated the Three Vehicles (Sansheng).6 Among birds [the sages] have chirped like birds, and among beasts they have roared like beasts. When instructing the Chinese they have spoken Chinese, when converting Barbarians they have spoken Barbarian, that’s all. Although boats and carriages are equal when it comes to traveling distances, still there are limitations imposed by whether one is traveling by rivers or overland. Buddhism and Taoism are on a level when it comes to “achieving transformation” (dd/ma). However, there are distinc- tions between Barbarians and Chinese. If one thinks that since the ends are the same, therefore the means are interchangeable, does that mean that carriages may cross rivers or boats may travel “Sakyamum became the Buddha as many times as there are num- section “The Infinite Life Span” of the Letter Sutra “He became a National Preceptor, a Master of the omes from the Sutra an tbe Augbieiour Fulfill- have expounded the overland? At present [some misguided people] are trying to make the nature of the Chinese conform to the doctrines of the western Barbarians. These two peoples are, on the one hand, not entirely the same, nor, on the other, are they entirely different. [The Barbarians] abandon their wives and chil- dren, and have done away with ancestral sacrifices. On the other hand, things to which they are ‘ attached and which they desire are promoted by their rituals; it is only the canons of filial piety and reverence that are suppressed by their doctrines. They have rebelled against the rites and violated compliance with them without ever being aware of it. Weak and lost, they have forgotten to 272 | Buddhism and Indigenous Chinese Culture return home. Who among them recognize their past? Furthermore, that which is most honorable in the noumenal world (11' E) is the Tao; that which is most contemptible in the phenomenal world (5/11' E) is custom (:14). To reject the Chinese (Hua) and imitate the Barbarians (Yi)—where can morality be found in that? Should we follow the Tao? The Tao is definitely in accord with [our tradition]. Should we follow [Barbarian] custom? [Barbarian] custom is greatly at odds [with it].7 I have frequently observed “gunwale-notching” (kexian) Buddhist monks and “tree-trunk— guarding” (:bouz/m) Taoist priests8 arguing back and forth over which is greater or smaller, tak— ing potshots at each other. Some delineate the Tao, considering it [and vulgar custom] to be two [different things]. Others obfuscate vulgar custom, considering it to be one and the same [with the Tao]. This is dragging together things that are different and considering them the same, and destroying things that are [really] the same and considering them different, with the result that they become the source of conflict and the basis of confusion. Even though [these two tradi— tions] are the same in seeking sagehood (xumbeng), their methods [in doing so] are as far apart as left and right. Their beginnings have no starting—point and their final goal no ending-point. Attaining nirvana (nibuan) and becoming a transcendent being (xianbua) are each distinct tech— niques. Buddhists call theirs “Correct Truth” (zbmgz/Jen); Taoists call theirs “Correct Unity” (z/Jengyz). “Unity” results in “No Death” (1mm). “Truth” coincides with “No Rebirth” (wusbeng). In name they are in opposition; in reality they are in agreement. But the doctrine of “No Rebirth” refers to a postponed future (.r/Je), while the transformation of “No Death” deals with the imme— diate present (qie). A doctrine of immediacy may be used to encourage humility and gentleness (qianruo), whereas a doctrine of a postponed future may be used to discourage bragging and vio- lence (kuaqiang).9 Buddhism is elaborate and diffuse; Taoism is plain and refined. The refined is not something crude people believe in, nor is diffuseness something refined people are capable of. Buddhist words are flowery and attractive; Taoist words are truthful and forbidding. If it is forbidding, then only the intelligent make progress; if it is attractive, then the unintelligent com— pete to move forward. Buddhist scriptures are prolix and obvious; Taoist scriptures are terse and obscure.10 If it is obscure, then the “Subtle Gate” is hard to see; if it is obvious, then the “Cor— rect Path” is easy to follow. These are the distinctions between the two doctrines. The sage craftsman has no [prejudicial] thoughts (wuxz'n), but square and round each has its [own distinctive] shape. So, just as each tool (whether a square or a compass) has its own special function, doctrines also have different applications. Buddhism is a formula for destroying evil; Taoism is a technique for encouraging goodness. To encourage goodness, naturalness (ziran) is paramount; to destroy evil, courage and ferocity (jangmeng) are valorized. The outward traces of Buddhism are brilliant and massive, suitable for converting living beings. The outward traces of Taoism, on the other hand, are secret and subtle, beneficial for use in self-development. The supe- riority or inferiority of one in relation to the other lies, for the most part, in these distinctions. As for the posture of squatting on their heels (duryz) and talking gibberish (lou/uo), each of these comes out of their customs, which they understand among themselves. It’s like the chirp- ing of insects and twittering of birds. Why would it be worth transmitting or imitating? Yuan Can’s (420—477) Response to Gu Huan through the Monk Shi Huitong When the sun halted its beams and the constant stars hid their light—the fulfillment of [the Bud- dha’s] descent and birth—this event took place before [the time of ] Lao Zi, so it would appear that [Lao Zi] did not first enter the Pass before this portent was manifested.11 Furthermore [in __,__, _..._.. ..._._,...... +W --_——-—~———u the teachings of ] bility of survival bequeathed teachi worm [in his next ism], in the end t that’s all. [According to] it is customary (ya [Buddhists] do n( religious worship humility. They do the land of the R Tong (identity un When the King u throne] three tim who have accepti regard both to pt always in compli: Wen’s father) est: Yi, so that they n¢ pared to] boats a doctrines have cc of “pure faith” (. appearance or cl: framazza, or monk follows the Tao, : naturally diverge] Confucius, Lat points, and in es- different. For Cc Sikyamuni trans gent, their destir tally” (fa/2e} natu Furthermore, body” (biamben) first. For those V be able to becon diminish, in a pr of Immortality a Gu Huan’s Re In regard to the (ca. 1045—771 B. the Eastern Han h is most honorable 2 phenomenal world 1s (Yi)——where can in accord with [our [y at odds [with it].7 :s and “tree-trunk- iter or smaller, tak- : custom] to be two and the same [with hem the same, and with the result that 'h [these two tradi- so] are as far apart 11 no ending-point. each distinct tech- s “Correct Unity” Rebirth” (wusbeng). 1e of “No Rebirth” als with the imme- lity and gentleness : bragging and vio— 1ed. The refined is people are capable forbidding. If it is unintelligent com- tures are terse and us, then the “Cor- nes. :ound each has its 1as its own special 3r destroying evil; :uralness (ziran) is outward traces of outward traces of »pment. The supe- rse distinctions. 3 (10141140), each of [t’s like the chirp- nitating? Huitong nent of [the Bud- 3 it would appear Furthermore [in nub-.5.— Buddhism and Indigenous Chinese Culture | 273 the teachings of] Lao Zi, Zhuang Zi, [the Duke of] Zhou, and Confucius, if there is the possi- bility of survival [after death], it is like the fading rays of the sun. According to Sakyamum’s bequeathed teachings, an ox-thief who falsely claims to be good will, on the contrary, become a worm [in his next incarnation]. If you examine the original sources [of Taoism and Confucian- ism], in the end they simply differ from the way our [Buddhist] community practices the Tao, that’s all. [According to] records from the Western Regions (xzju) and statements in the Buddhist sutras, it is customary (m) to consider crawling on hands and knees to be a ceremonious act (1:). [Buddhists] do not favor squatting on their heels (dunzuo) as a respectful posture. And in their religious worship they consider a threefold circumambulation (Ianrao) to be a sign of respectful humility. They do not esteem squatting haughtily (ju’ao) to be dignified. Why would it be only in the land of the Rong Barbarians [that this is done]? Indeed, it also happens here. When Xiang Tong (identity uncertain) paid a visit to the emperor, he approached him crawling on his knees. When the King of Zhao had an audience with the King of Zhou, he circumambulated [the throne] three times before stopping. At present, ever since Buddhism has been in China, those who have accepted it are always peaceful and law—abiding. Their rules of conduct are good in regard both to personal behavior and in relations with others, and those who walk in them are always in compliance. When King Wen founded the Zhou (ca. 1045 B.C.E.), and Taibo (King Wen’s father) established Wu (in the Yangtze Delta), they totally transformed the Rong and the Yi, so that they no longer followed their old customs. How can Chinese and Barbarians be [com- pared to] boats and carriages, whose principles are not mutually interchangeable? As Buddhist doctrines have come down and evolved, some have been followed and some changed. Followers of “pure faith” (qingxz'n, a literal translation of updxaka, or lay believer), have not changed their appearance or clothing. In the case of those “of tranquil mind” (xixin, a literal translation of framagza, or monk), their clothing and appearance are changed by necessity. The change basically follows the Tao, and does not conform to local custom. The mores (feng) of the two religions are naturally divergent; there is no need to complain about any confusion. Confucius, Lao Zi, and Sakyamuni, as persons, were in some respects the same. In their view- points, and in establishing their doctrines, [what each deemed to be] the “Tao” was necessarily different. For Confucius and Lao Zi, governing the world (z/Jisbz) was their starting point. For Sakyamuni transcending the world (tburbz) was his ideal. Since their starting points were diver- gent, their destinations were also different. The notion of their “matching like two halves of a tally” (fa/1e) naturally proceeds from [unsupported] opinion. Furthermore, “transformation into a transcendent being” (xianbua) puts “changing the body” (biamben) in the ascendancy, whereas nirvana (ni/man) puts “molding the spirit” (taoxben) first. For those who change the body, their white hair may change to black, but they will never be able to become immortal. Those who mold the spirit, causing its dust and delusion daily to diminish, in a profound way will survive forever. When the Taos of Nirvana and of the Lands of Immortality are as diametrically opposed as this, how can you say they are the same? Gu Huan’s Rejoinder In regard to the creation on the Taoist scriptures, they were written during the Western Zhou (ca. 1045—771 B.C.E.), whereas the coming [to China] of Buddhist scriptures began only during the Eastern Han (25—220 C.E.). The number of years that the Taoist scriptures preceded the Bud- 274 I Buddhism and Indigenous Chinese Culture dhist is thus more than eight hundred, and the reigns during that interval numbered several tens. If you think that, even though the Yellow Emperor and Lao Zi are ancient, it is still excessive [to claim they came] before Sakyamuni, this is [like saying] Lii Shang (who aided in overthrong the Shang ruler, Zhou Xin) stole Chen Heng’s state of Qi,12 or that Liu Xiu usurped Wang Mang’s state of Han.13 The classic” states, “The Rong Barbarian temper is violent. They capture people and commandeer carts. Furthermore, the Yi Barbarian custom of kneeling upright is different from that of the Chinese. Their left knee sticks up and their right knee splays out, just as though they were ‘squatting on their heels.”’ Also, in regard to the Yi Barbarian custom of constantly squatting, the way they do it is dif— ferent from that of the Chinese, who raise the left [knee] and kneel on the right. The Barbarians always squat on their heels (dury'u). It was because of this that the Duke of Zhou first outlawed the practice,15 and Confucius denounced it after him.16 Furthermore, boats are for crossing streams and carriages for traveling on land. Buddhism (a religion that claims to rescue the deluded) originated among the Rong Barbarians. Doesn’t this mean that the customs of the Rong Barbar- ians are habitually bad? Taoism (a religion that encourages self-development) originated in China. Doesn’t this mean that Chinese customs are basically good? Today, now that Chinese customs have changed and become just as bad as those of the Rong and Di Barbarians, the fact that Bud— dhism has come here to destroy [these evil customs] is only natural. The Tao of the Buddha is indeed valuable, and therefore its commandments and practices are to be honored. But the cus- toms of the Rong Barbarians are truly despicable; therefore their speech and their appearance should be rejected. Today all the Chinese gentlemen and ladies, as well as the common people, have not changed [their natures], but they insist on squatting with exposed heads, wantonly using the manners of the Yi Barbarians. They talk to the shorn—headed crowd, all of them Hu Barbar- ians. The state has its own long—standing mores; its laws are not to be altered. Again, if we observe the Fashionable Teaching (feng/iujz'ao), ‘7 its Tao is bound to be different. Buddhism is not the Tao of the eastern Chinese, nor is Taoism the religion of the western Rong. Fish and birds from different bodies of water never have contact with each other. How is it that we get the two religions, Taoism and Buddhism, dealing with each other in all directions? Today, ever since Buddhism has spread eastward, Taoism has also moved westward. Thus we know that in the world there are the refined (jing) and the crude (m), and among all religions there are the elaborate (wen) and the plain (gin). Since this is so, then [we may say] Taoism grasps the root (ken) in order to control the branches (mo), while Buddhism rescues the branches in order to preserve the root.18 I would like to ask: wherein do the differences lie? Of what do the [respective] goals (gm) consist? If we take shearing the head to be the difference, then chain—gang convicts (xumz) also have have their heads sheared. If we take setting up images to be the difference, then ordi— nary shamans (5mm) also set up images. These are not the [ultimate] goals. The [ultimate] goal [for both] consists in eternal life (cbangz/Ju). The symbol of eternal life—wherein does it differ from the Eternal Tao (Changdao)? [To say that] Gods and Transcendent Beings (Ibenxian) are mortal is a statement of expedience (quanbian {bi ibuo). “Gods” and “Transcendent Beings” are general terms for the Great Transfor— mation (114/2144; i.e., stages along the way to union with the Tao). They are not the Ultimate Name (abiming) of the Totally Mysterious (qiongmiao; i.e., the Tao itself). The Ultimate Name is name— less (wuming). The ones that have names are the Twenty-seven Stages (err/Jiqipz'n); Transcendent Beings (xian) become Realized Beings ((5611); Realized Beings become Gods (Men) or Sages (I/ng). Each of these [three stages] has nine further gradations of its own (low—low, rnid—low, high—low; low—mid, mid-mid, high—mid; low—high, mid—high, high—high). At the pinnacle of these gradations one enters Empty herbs and polypor: But when the life s are merely gentlen Transcendent Bein —RM Notes 1. Although the ti the Dandejing, and 1‘ Gu Huan seems rath of the historical Bud [The Bodhisattva] was Suddhodana (Miao). . . . When phant, crowned w self to her in a dr- her dream she rea the bright stars h: moment he drop} 2. Words to this e Lolm Slam (.Miaofa [in hundreds, thousands 5. This passage do he appears according Literati (m/in {bi {1mg are more than can b 4. There is no un Ones (:anbuang), excc the Yellow Empero: B.C.E.), Shun (trad. r 5. See Dandejing, itself with the [work (yC/m (Chm).- “Wh Spirit (i.e., the sun) I 6. See the 2140 C0» can read the TbreeM (ancient lost works c August Ones).” The ries all living beings nuns, and is therefor kabuddha—yina, for ate bodhisattvas. Th convenient Buddhis 7. The somewhat universe. Chinese cu (5b) are based on mt red several tens. till excessive [to verthrowing the :d Wang Mang’s 7 capture people 'ight is different t, just as though :hey do it is dif- The Barbarians :u first outlawed are for crossing cue the deluded) 1e Rong Barbar- ginated in China. Ihinese customs 1e fact that Bud- )f the Buddha is :ed. But the cus- ‘heir appearance :ommon people, v, wantonly using hem Hu Barbar- l to be different. 1e western Rong. :r. How is it that irections? Today, us we know that: )ns there are the sps the root (hen) )rder to preserve respective] goals g convicts (xumz) tence, then ordi- ltimate] goal [for )es it differ from nt of expedience : Great Transfor- : Ultimate Name : Name is name- 'n); Transcendent ) 0r Sages (slung). id'IOW, high-low; 'these gradations Buddhism and Indigenous Chinese Culture | 275 one enters Empty Silence (kongjz), which is actionless and nameless. If one ingests [macrobiotic] herbs and polypores (rug/21), one will prolong one’s life span ten-thousand-fold or a million-fold. But when the life span is ended, one dies. When the herbs are exhausted, one withers away. These are merely gentlemen who cultivate longevity; they do not belong in the company of Gods and Transcendent Beings.19 ——RM Notes 1. Although the title of this scripture definitely has a Taoistic ring to it (the term manmiao was used in ang Zi), no such work can be found in the Taoist Canon. the Daadejing, and Neipian is a section of the Zbu Gu Huan seems rather to be loosely misreading a passage from Zhi Qian’s (320 c.E.) translation of the life of the historical Buddha, Taizi ru'ying benqijing: Kingdom of Kapilavastu in Sindh. The name of his father, the king, d worthy man. The name of his mother, the queen, was Maya (Miao). . . .When the Bodhisattva first descended [to Earth] he transformed himself into a white ele- phant, crowned with the essence of the sun. While his mother was taking a daytime nap, he revealed him- self to her in a dream, whereupon he entered [her body] through her right side. When she awoke from her dream she realized she was pregnant. . . . On the night of the eighth day of the fourth month, when the bright stars had come out, he transformed himself again and was born through her right side. The nt he dropped to the ground he walked seven paces. “The Lifespan of the Tathagata” (Rulai 1/1014), of the d Buddhahood there have been numberless, infinite, [The Bodhisattva] was reborn in the was Suddhodana (Baijing), a wise an mo me 2. Words to this effect may be found in section 16, Lola: Sutra (Miaofa lian/majing): “Since I actually achieve hundreds, thousands, myriads, millions of qyutas of kaflms.” 5. This passage does, indeed, come from the Yhizi ru'ying benqijing: “As for [the Buddha’s] transformations, he appears according to the times: sometimes as a Sage Thearch (Ibengdi , sometimes as the Ancestor of the Literati (rulin {bi gong), or as a National Preceptor (guarbi). Places where he has appeared or been transformed are more than can be recorded.” 4. There is no unanimity regarding the identity or dates of the Five Thearchs (umdz) and Three August Ones (:anbuang), except that they go back to dim antiquity and include such luminaries as Fu Xi, Shen Nong, the Yellow Emperor (Huang Di, trad. r. 2698—2599 B.C.E.), and the Sage Kings, Yao (trad. r. 2557—2258 B.C.E.), Shun (trad. r. 2255—2208 B.C.E.), and Yu (trad. r. zzoS—ca. 2195 B.C.E.). 5. See Daodejing, 4: “[The Tao] . . .blunts its sharpness, unties its tangles, tempers its light, identifies itself with the [world’s] dust.” See also the section entitled “Questions to Heaven” (Tianwen) in the Lyric: ' where has the Radiant of C/m (Chan): “When dawn has not yet Spirit (i.e., the sun) been hiding?” 6. See the 2140 Commentafy (Zuozbuan, twelfth year of Duke Zhao): “Here is a good historiographer; . . . he can read the Three Mound: (Sary'm), the Five Canon: (Wdian), the Eight Rule: (Baum), and the Nine Hill: (fiuqiu) (ancient lost works on government and morals attributed to the above~mentioned Five Thearchs and Three August Ones) .” The Three Vehicles (Sansheng) are the Great Vehicle (Mahayana), so called because it car- ries all living beings to Enlightenment; the Disciple’s Vehicle (Sravakayina), which carries only monks and nuns, and is therefore called the “Lesser Vehicle” by Mahayanists; and an intermediate category, the Pratye- kabuddha-yina, for those few who attain Buddhahood on their own without assistance from compassion- ate bodhisattvas. Though the correspondence with the “Five Canons” is not perfect, “Three Vehicles” is a convenient Buddhist numerical category to match one taken from Chinese tradition. follows: The Tao is the True Principle governing the 7. The somewhat tortured argument seems to be as o. For Barbarians, at least, human “affairs” universe. Chinese culture is built on the idea of following the Ta (1/71) are based on mere “custom” (m), which, for them, since they do not consciously follow the Tao, tends 276 | Buddhism and Indigenous Chinese Culture to be “vulgar.” Not having enjoyed the civilizing influence of Chinese culture, the Barbarians are therefore the victims of their own vulgar customs. Thus, when Gu Huan uses the term :14 (vulgar custom), it is for him a synonym for “Barbarian,” while the term “Tao” is synonymous with “Chinese,” not Taoism alone. 8. “Gunwale—notching” and “tree-trunk—guarding” are metaphors for simplemindedness. The first is based on a tale told in the LdJIJi clJtmqiu 15, sec. 8, “Investigating the Present” (Chajin): “A man from Chu was crossing the Jiang (the Yangtze River) when his sword fell from inside the boat into the water. He instantly notched a mark on the gunwale of the boat, saying, ‘This is the point from which my sword fell.’ Whereupon [he ordered] the boat stopped while he jumped into the water from the point he had marked on the gunwale to look for it. Meanwhile, the boat had already drifted [downstream] while the sword had not. Was he not somewhat simpleminded to look for his sword in that way?” The second expression comes from Han Fei 21', “The Five Vermin” (Wudu): “There was once a plowman from Song (modern Henan) in whose field there grew a large tree. One day a rabbit, racing [across the field], collided with the tree—trunk, breaking its neck and dying. The plowman forthwith forsook his plow and stood guard by the tree—trunk, hoping he would get another rabbit. But another rabbit never came and he became the laughingstock of the Song state.” 9. It is unclear which Buddhist term Gu Huan had in mind when he characterized the final goal of Bud— dhism as “Correct Truth” (ghengzben). He may have been thinking of the “Four Noble Truths” (Skt. tatva'ri damaging C. .riglyena'i): (1) that all existence is Suffering (duIJlia), (2) that Suffering is caused by the Accu— mulation (ramudaja) of desire and attachment, (3) that there is a way toward its Cessation (niradba), and (4) that the Way (ma'rga) is comprised of: Correct Views (gheng/ian), Correct Thought ({bcngri), Correct Speech (ghengyu), Correct Action ((1197199), Correct Occupation (ghengming), Correct Progress ({bengjing/in), Correct Memory (gbengnian), and Correct Meditation (gbmgding). On the Taoist side, “Correct Unity” (zlJengyt) clearly refers to mystical unity with the Tao through meditation. See 77» Mai-fer Who.Embmm Sim/Mg: (Baopuzi, Nezjbian) 18, “Earthly Truth” (Dizhen): “[True] Unity is found in the middle of the vast depths of the Northern Culrnen (Beiji = the North Star). In front [are the stars of] the Hall of Light (Mingtang = the head); behind, [the stars of] the Crimson Palace (Jianggong = the heart); high, high above is [the constel— lation] Floriate Canopy (Huagai = the lungs); [the constellation] Golden Loft (Jinlou = the kidneys) arches overhead; to the left are [the stars of] Gang (the bowl of the Big Dipper [pronounced Gahng, with the “a” sounding as it does in “father”]); to the right is Kuei (the handle of the Dipper). . . .This is the general scheme of True Unity.” Physical immortality (“No Death”), through both alchemical and meditative techniques, is basic to Taoist praxis. Cessation of the cycle of rebirths in nirvana or in the Western Paradise of Amitabha (“No Rebirth”) is the ultimate goal of Buddhism. Gu Huan looked on the former as “immediate” (qie), which for him meant “relevant to this life,” whereas the promise of ultimate surcease, or threats of future punishment in Hell, as he saw it, tended to have no visible effect on present behavior. 10. To characterize the Buddhist T rtfitaka as “elaborate and diffuse” (wen er baa), in contrast to the “plain and refined” (zln' erjing) quality of the Taoist Canon, or to match Buddhist “prolixity and obviousness” (fim er xian) against Taoist “terseness and obscurity” (jian erjau) may have been justifiable in the fifth century, before the Taoist scriptures themselves had expanded to the fifteen hundred or so titles of the Ming Thais-t Canon (Zhengtong Daagang), published during the fifteenth century, which includes many items strongly influ— enced by, or even directly imitating, titles in the Tnpitake But, of course, Gu Huan is indulging here in a neat series of antithetical parallel couplets. 11. The fourteenth of the Thirty—two Portents marking the Buddha’s birth, according to Taizi raging benqi jing, was: “The sun, moon, stars, and constellations all stood still and did not move.” 12. The chronology here is admittedly confusing. Lu Shang (a.k.a. Taigong Wang) aided King Wu of Zhou in overthrowing the last Shang king. Chen Heng, during a coup in 481 B.C.E., overthrew his ruler, Duke Jian of Qi (see Zuazlyuan, fourteenth year of Duke Ai). Gu seems to base his argument on the puta— tive date of the oldest Taoist texts, such as the Lao 21' and works attributed to the mythical Yellow Emperor, rather than the uncertain dates of the earliest Chinese translations of Pali and Sanskrit originals. He appears to be ignoring the Taoist texts of obviously later provenance. 13. Liu Ji is Emperor Guangwu, who overthrew the real usurper, Wang Mang, and founded the Later Han in 25 CE. Gu Huan appears to be indulging in sarcasm. 14. The “classic’ 15. This refers to the Little Child, . . . have a contrite hea spirits of Heaven a 16. Angled: 14. 4- who are disrespect Merely to die of olc his staf .” Obviousl of disrespect and s: “Squatters.” 17. The “Fashic known as “Dark L1 18. The idea seer dhism starts by tri1 effort to recover a 19. Gu Huan’s r1 (1) that Buddhism introduced into Ch Yuan’s disclaimer, s dhists who introdt (butbuang) because the two religions a between the proxin and the Ultimate (3 tians are therefore ' custom), it is for .ot Taoism alone. iness. The first is ‘A man from Chu nto the water. He [ch my sword fell.’ int he had marked 1ile the sword had expression comes nodern Henan) in ith the tree-trunk, by the tree-trunk, ighingstock of the final goal of Bud- 'ruths” (Skt. :atua'ri used by the Accu— n (nirodba), and (4) ‘1), Correct Speech mgflngfin), Correct ty” (abengyi) clearly Sim/My (Baopuzi, last depths of the t (Mingtang = the we is [the constel— he kidneys) arches ahng, with the “a” This is the general niques, is basic to )f Amit'abha (“No te” (qie), which for future punishment ntrast to the “plain obviousness” (fan .1 the fifth century, of the Ming 7210131 'ems strongly influ- lging here in a neat to Hizi mying benqi aided King Wu of verthrew his ruler, lment on the puta— ll Yellow Emperor, 'iginals. He appears founded the Later Buddhism and Indigenous Chinese Culture | 277 I4. The “classic” referred to here has not been identified. 15. This refers to the Book of Domment: (Sbangi'bu), v.1.6: “[King Wu (trad. 1:. 1122—1115 B.C.E.) said], ‘1, Fa, the Little Child, . . . observing the government of Shang, [find that its ruler], Shou (= Zhou Xin), does not have a contrite heart, but squats on his heels 0914), serving neither the Supreme God (Shang Di), nor the spirits of Heaven and Earth, and neglecting the temple of his ancestors by failing to sacrifice.” I6. Ana/em I4. 46: “Yuan Rang was squatting on his heels waiting (yin). The Master said to him, ‘Those who are disrespectful when they are young will achieve nothing to hand down when they are grown up. Merely to die of old age is to be nothing more than a robber!’ With that he struck him across the shins with his staff.” Obviously, in every educated Chinese gentleman’s mind in those days squatting was symptomatic of disrespect and savagery. It is no coincidence that the name Yi, applied to the Eastern Barbarians, means “Squatters.” 17. The “Fashionable Teaching” probably signifies the Buddho—Taoist blend of Confucianism, also known as “Dark Learning” or “Study of Mystery” (mama), popular in the Six Dynasties. 18. The idea seems to be that Taoism simply encourages natural growth, from root to branch, while Bud- dhism starts by trimming the sickly or distorted branches—the result of previous misdeeds—in the vain effort to recover a lost perfection. 19. Cu Huan’s rejoinder basically reaffirms three points against which Yuan Can had raised objections: (I) that Buddhism did not originate before Lao Zi’s reputed visit to India; (2) that the barbarous customs introduced into China by Buddhist missionaries, such as the disrespectful posture of squatting, are, despite Yuan’s disclaimer, still practiced by Chinese Buddhists [the irony of this accusation is that it was the Bud— dhists who introduced the chair. to China and the earliest folding chairs were called “Barbarian beds” (but/mung) because of their origin], and (3) that Yuan’s insistence that the “Taos,” or “Ultimate Goals” of the two religions are not the same is mistaken. According to Gu, Yuan has failed to note the difference between the proximate goal of longevity pursued by some Taoists through various macrobiotic techniques and the Ultimate Goal of transcendence of the world, which is the same for both religions. ...
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