Chinese Buddhist Apocrypha

Chinese Buddhist Apocrypha

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Item Code: NAH577
Author: Robert E.Buswell,
Publisher: Sri Satguru Publications
Language: English
Edition: 1992
ISBN: 8170303419
Pages: 352
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 8.8 inch x 5.5 inch
Weight 510 gm
About The Book

Modern scholarship has revealed that many of the most important Chinese Buddhist scriptures are not translations of Indian texts, as they purport to be, but actually were composed in China by Chinese authors.

These indigenous scriptures are the subject of an exciting new field of study that promises to reshape our sense of the development of Chinese Buddhism. The variety of apocryphal texts now known to exit in China will compel scholar to see the Buddhist canon not as a fixed repository but as a fluctuating, tension-filled institution—one that can now be understood in relation to its social, historical, and religious contexts. The contributors to the volume are: Stephen Bokenkamp, Ronald Davidson, Antonino Forte, Kotatsu Fujita, Paul Groner, Whalen Lai, Mark Lewis, Michel Strickmann, and Kyoko Tokuno. “The consistently fine and broad ranging studies assembled in this volume signal a new turn in Buddhology by demonstrating how the traditional questions of textual transmission can best be answered, by moving beyond the Buddhist canon to consider the political, ecclesiastical, social, and economic forces that helped to shape that canon.”

“Because of the careful documentation by its editor and authors, this volume contains the resources for establishing Buddhist apocrypha as a viable and exciting new field of study. All courses on Chinese Buddhism should begin with reference to this book.”

About The Editor

Robert E. Buswell, Jr. is associate professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles.


This volume began to take shape in 1982 among several people at the University of California, Berkeley, who were working in the area of Buddhist apocryphal studies. The volume was conceived as a broad- based survey of the indigenous scriptural literature of the non-Indian traditions of Buddhism, with chapters ranging from East Asian apocryphal sutras and sastras, to Tibetan gter-ma (treasure) texts and visionary cycles, to Southeast Asian apocryphal Jatakas. It was originally planned for the book to appear in the Berkeley Buddhist Studies Series, but with that series now unfortunately moribund, there was little hope that the volume would ever see the light of day. Stuart Kiang, editor at the University of Hawaii Press, was enthusiastic about the project, however, and in 1988 finally convinced me to submit the book to Hawaii. The economic realities of academic publishing in this country, however, demanded that the volume be pared down to more manageable size. After much agonizing, we finally decided to focus on Chinese sutra materials, while maintaining Davidson's chapter as an appendix. I would like to offer my deepest regrets to several of our original contributors whose works had to be deleted from the final collection, including William Grosnick (La Salle University), Janet Gyatso (Amherst College), Padmanabh Jaini (University of California, Berkeley), Matthev Kapstein (Columbia University), and Alex Wayman (Columbia University). Most of those articles have since appeared elsewhere. I would like to express my gratitude to all the contributors for their patience during the long process of bringing this book to press.

We were extremely fortunate to have had two assiduous readers- Bernard Faure of Stanford and Stephen Teiser of Princeton-who evaluated the manuscript for the Press. Both offered thorough and trenchant critiques of each of the chapters-which went far beyond the call of this often thankless duty-and the volume has benefitted greatly from their many suggestions and advice. I also received many valuable suggestions on the volume and its coverage from Lewis Lancaster and useful comments on my own chapter from Daniel Overmyer. I would also like to thank Victoria Scott, who did a superb job of copyediting the manuscript, and Susan Sugar, who prepared the index to the volume, with funding provided by an Academic Senate Research Grant from UCLA.


1Introduction: Prolegomenon to the Study of Buddhist Apocryphal Scriptures
2The Evaluation of Indigenous Scriptures in Chinese Buddhist Bibliographical Catalogues31
3The Consecration Sutra: A Buddhist Book of Spells75
4Stages of Transcendence: The Bhumi Concept in Taoist Scripture119
5The Textual Origins of the Kuan Wu-liang-shou ching: A Canonical Scripture of Pure Land Buddhism149
6The Chan-ch 'a ching: Religion and Magic in Medieval China175
7The Suppression of the Three Stages Sect: Apocrypha as a Political Issue207
8The Relativity of the Concept of Orthodoxy in Chinese Buddhism: Chih-sheng's Indictment of Shih-Ii and the Proscription of the Dharma Mirror Sutra 239
9The Fan-wang ching and Monastic Discipline in Japanese Tendai: A Study of Annen's Futsujubosatsukai koshaku251
10An Introduction to the Standards of Scriptural Authenticity in Indian Buddhism291
General Index329
Index of Texts339
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