All events are free and open to the public
Spring Term 2017
Friday–Sunday, February 17–19, 2017
Bodhisattva Precepts in East Asian Perspective and Beyond
Friday (4–6:30 pm): 180 Doe Memorial Library
Saturday (9:30 am–6 pm) – Sunday (9 am–12:00 pm): Alumni House
Panel 1: China I (Friday, Feb 17, 4–6:30pm)
T. H. Barrett (SOAS, University of London) — How did Chinese lay people perceive the bodhisattva precepts?
Arthur Waley once observed (in The Real Tripitaka, p. 119) that “Vows were often administered to young children as a protection against disease, somewhat in the manner of vaccination”. Such a medical model for understanding precepts might seem at odds with the way in which they are treated in Chinese Buddhist commentary. But the way that the precepts were regarded by lay people was not necessarily the same as for writers who themselves adhered to the Vinaya. Is there any evidence that lay people saw the practical function of precepts in the way that Waley suggests?
Liying Kuo (Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient) — Visions and the Reception of Bodhisattva Precepts in the Fifth and Sixth Centuries
A famous Chinese apocryphal sūtra, the Fanwang jing 梵網經, highlights the need to obtain «“auspicious signs” (好相) before receiving the Bodhisattva precepts. According to that text, without receiving a good omen like being touched by a Buddha, seeing a bright light, etc. the ordination to the Bodhisattva precepts would be invalid. Therefore, the Tiantai patriarch Zhiyi advised his disciples to search for the “twelve dreaming kings” (shier mengwang 十二夢王). These “dreaming kings” are twelve lively scenes that a devotee ought to see according to his / her statute of religious or lay person. They are described in a fifth century dhāraṇī sūtra, the Dafangdeng tuoluoni jing 大方等陀羅尼經. An investigation of these dreamlike visions, also depicted on a Norhern Qi stele will be the starting point of this paper. The discussion will then focus on a few dated Dunhuang manuscripts dealing with the rites of the reception of the Bodhisattva precepts.
Charles Muller (Tokyo University) — The Silla Monk Daehyeon and his Commentary on the Sutra of Brahmā's Net
Among the major extant commentaries on the Sutra of Brahmā's Net is the Beommanggyeong gojeokgi by Daehyeon 大賢, contained in Taishō (T 1815) and the Collected Works of Korean Buddhism (HBJ 3.417–477). Along with the exegeses by Zhiyi 智顗, Fazang 法藏, Uijeok 義寂, it is one of the major commentaries on the sutra, which is the primary source for the articulation of the Mahāyāna precepts. This commentary is distinguished from the others in three important ways: (1) It is the only commentary that treats the very difficult first fascicle of the text, which explains the forty stages (all of the other commentaries only treated the second fascicle, which articulates the Mahāyāna precepts). (2) Being first and foremost a scholar of Yogâcāra, Daehyeon relies extensively on the Vinaya portions of the Yogâcārabhūmi-śāstra and other Yogâcāra-related works—not used by Zhiyi, Fazang, and others. At the same time he draws extensively from prior commentarial works, other sutras, as well as secular literature. (3) While the sutra provides explanations of the content of the ten grave and forty-eight minor precepts, it does not provide its own labels for each of the precepts, and thus each of the major commentators came up with their own labels. In the subsequent East Asian tradition, the section labels created by Daehyeon in this commentary are considered to be the most descriptive of the actual content of each precept, and thus become widely adopted. This presentation will explain Daehyeon's background and distinctive approaches to the sutra, and at the same time provide some comparative examples of his section titles together with those of Fazang, Zhiyi, etc.
Panel 2: China II (Saturday, Feb 18, 9:30am–noon)
Sangyop Lee (Stanford University) — The Youposai wujie weiyi jing Bodhisattva Pratimokṣa: Its Nature and Historical Significance
The present paper is a report on the possible discovery of a hitherto unknown Chinese translation of the Indian Buddhist list of bodhisattva precepts that has traditionally been referred to as the “Yogācāra pratimokṣa” (Yuqie jieben), and a preliminary discussion of the significance of this possible variant translation of the “Yogācāra pratimokṣa” in the history of bodhisattva precepts in India and China.
In the text titled Youposai wujie weiyi jing (T 1503; henceforth Weiyi jing), we read a variant Chinese version of the so-called “Yogācāra pratimokṣa,” the set of forty-five or so bodhisattva precepts that appears in the “Śīla-paṭala” of the Bodhiattva-bhūmi. The existence of this alternate Chinese “Yogācāra pratimokṣa” disappeared from scholarly attention following Ōno Hōdō’s observation in his pioneering study of bodhisattva precepts, the Daijōkaikyō no kenkyū (1954), that this pratimokṣa was likely a polished redaction of the pre-existing fifth-century Chinese translations of the Bodhisattva-bhūmi, i.e., the Dichi jing (T 1581) and the Shanjie jing (T 1582 and 1583). The present study, however, by comparing the Sanskrit Bodhisattva-bhūmi with the Weiyi jing pratimokṣa and other extant Chinese translations—including Xuanzang’s seventh-century translation of the Yogācāra-bhūmi (T 1579)—identifies a number of phrases the Sanskrit text shares only with the Weiyi jing pratimokṣa and not with any other extant Chinese texts, and proposes to reconsider the possibility that this alternate “Yogācāra pratimokṣa” was in fact a variant translation of an Indic text, and also to explore this possibility’s further historical implications.
What particularly merits our attention in this respect is that the Weiyi jing pratimokṣa shows a closer phraseological resemblance to the fifth-century apocryphal bodhisattva pratimokṣa of the Fanwang jing (T 1484; for more about this apocryphon, see Funayma Tōru, “Gikei Bonmōkyō seiritsu no sho mondai” ) than any of the known Chinese translations of the “Yogācāra pratimokṣa”—including those of the Dichi jing and Shanjie jing that scholars have for long considered as the most definitive source for the creation of this apocryphon. Although the chronological relationship between the Weiyi jing and Fanwang jing pratimokṣas cannot be determined solely from bibliographical evidence because of the complicated textual history of the Weiyi jing, the study identifies a number of unique phrases and terms which the Sanskrit text shares only with the Fanwang jing and the Weiyi jing pratimokṣas—and not with the Dichi jing and the Shanjie jing pratimokṣas—and which thus, under the assumption that the writers of the Fanwang jing did not have an independent access to an Indic language bodhisattva pratimokṣa text, would support the possibility that the Weiyi jing pratimokṣa was one of the most important sources for the creation of the Fanwang jing.
The study also discusses another historical implication of the possible existence of an independent Chinese translation of the “Yogācāra pratimokṣa”: Michael Zimmerman’s study, “The Chapter on Right Conduct in the Bodhisattvabhūmi” (2013), proposes the possibility that the “Śīla-paṭala” of the Bodhiattva-bhūmi was a compilation of various textual elements about bodhisattva precepts that were in independent circulation in India. The present study’s contention that there was an instance in early medieval China of an independent translation of one of the constituent parts of the “Śīla-paṭala,” if proven right, would support this hypothesis and help us to better understand the historical development of the bodhisattva precepts in Indian Buddhism.
Ann Heirman (University of Gent) — Body Movement and Sport Activities in bodhisattva precepts: A Normative Perspective from India to China
Physical activities are part of daily life, and this has not remained unnoticed to the early Buddhist disciplinary masters in India. In an attempt to protect the good reputation of the monastic community, their normative texts (vinaya) encourage monastics to control their body movements, and to strictly remain decent. Still, body movement is not totally banned. On the contrary, walking is warmly welcomed for health reasons. It strengthens the body and the mind. This utilitarian aspect is not unimportant. It is even essential. As soon as physical activities are linked to ‘useless’ leisure, they are no longer allowed. Even worse is when monastics expose themselves to all kinds of bodily games, entertaining the public. This is strongly rejected, all the more since the community risks to lose donors. Apart from this economic reasoning, it is also very clear that Buddhist disciplinary masters consider this behavior to be morally wrong. It ridicules monastic life and the teachings it symbolizes.
This paper investigates what this framework of social control and morally good behavior implies for Buddhist monastics in China, and particularly in view of the popularity of bodhisattva precepts. How were Indian normative texts interpreted, and what became emphasized in this new context of Chinese Buddhism?
As we will see, in Medieval China, where Mahāyāna Buddhism became popular around the same time vinaya rules were fully introduced, the link between the body and the outward world became even more visible. Virtue takes bodily forms and bodily forms express virtue, at least in the ideal normative context. In addition, social control and, to a lesser extent, attention for health issues increase the pressure on body and bodily expressions. It does not mean that the body remains motionless or heavily restricted in its articulations. On the contrary, bodhisattva precepts prompt to use the body for fruitful ends, showing correct behavior to inspire others, particularly the lay community. This is also the reasoning behind monastics’ participation to games of chess or (especially in Ming and Qing dynasties) to martial arts. Not leisure, desire, or greed to win is at stake, or should be at stake, but a beneficial use of the body, committed to guide both oneself and sentient beings towards the Buddhist Dharma. It allows monastics to both physically train their body, and engage in intellectual games. And it still inspires modern masters, of whom Xingyun (°1927) is a prime example, to promote sport as an expedient means aiming at bringing people to Buddhism.
Ester Bianchi (Università degli Studi di Perugia) — Bodhisattva Precepts in Modern China. An Overview and Evaluation
In Modern China, a certain number of Buddhist masters expressed their appreciation — if not their preference — to the Yogācāra precepts, whose promotion was probably initially related to the development of a modern Chinese Yogācāra. This tendency was also absorbed by the vinaya revival of the first half of the 20th century, and thus attracted monks and scholars of different traditions and inclinations, such as Ouyang Jingwu 歐陽竟無 (1871–1943), the well-known Yogācāra lay-scholar, Taixu 太虛 (1890–1947), head of the reforms for the modernization of Chinese Buddhism, Hongyi 弘一 (1880–1942), the most prominent vinaya master of the time, Nenghai 能海 (1886–1967), a main representative of the Sino-Tibetan Buddhist tradition, and Fazun 法尊 (1902–1980), the most important scholar-monk of the Sino-Tibetan tradition, who was significantly also a disciple of Taixu and was involved in the revival of the Chinese Yogācāra. Despite the centrality of the Brahmā’s Net precepts, which were and are the basis for the ordination system in China, they were all convinced advocates of a resurgence of the neglected Yogācāra Precepts.
This study aims to investigate the role of Bodhisattva precepts in modern China, particularly focusing on the Yogācāra set(s) of precepts and on the relationship between these and the Brahmā’s Net ones. The phenomenon of the re-emergence of the Yogācāra precepts will be analysed in connection with the development of a Pan-Asian understanding of Buddhism. I will also try and understand the reason why this trend, which was still in vogue in the 1980s and 1990s (as testified by Jiqun 濟群’s case) seems to have recently faded away.
Panel 3: China and Japan (Saturday Afternoon, 2–3:45pm)
Peiying Lin (UC Berkeley/ Fu Jen Catholic University) — Bodhidharma Lineages and Bodhisattva Precepts in the Ninth Century
This paper illustrates how the Indian patriarch Bodhidharma’s (ca. sixth century) connection with Bodhisattva precepts had been invented in order to solidify the Bodhidharma lineages. This involves a process of Chinese Chan and Japanese Tendai lineage construction for the figure Bodhidharma.
From pieces of information about Bodhidharma lineages preserved in the Japanese sources, namely those by Saichō (767–822), Enchin (814–891), Annen (841–889?) and Kōjō (779–858), it is clear that Saichō’s and his three disciples’ conception of the figure Bodhidharma proves to be particularly significant in the legitimation of precept conferral and lineage invention. To Saichō’s disciples this lineage of Bodhidharma was an important authority for the transmission of Bodhisattva precepts. This conceptualization was initiated in Daoxin’s (580–651) followers in late seventh century China. Throughout the period from the seventh to the ninth centuries, both in China and in Japan, the secular function of lineages was to provide political and religious legitimation for Buddhism. As this study demonstrates, Saichō and his disciples’ ideas about Bodhidharma are valuable for understanding the early development of Chan, because this Indian patriarch stood for a cross-cultural transmission from the outset.
Paul Groner (University of Virginia) — Annen’s 安然 Comprehensive Commentary on the Universal Bodhisattva Ordination (Futsū jubosatsukai kōshaku 普通授菩薩戒広釈); Its Background and Later Influence
One of the first papers I wrote concerned Annen’s treatise on bodhisattva precepts ordinations. Several decades later I have a much deeper understanding of the importance on this text. Digitized collections of texts have enabled me to trace influences on Annen and also to understand which aspects of the text influenced later Tendai thought. This essay has three parts. First, I examine the term tsūju 通受, which I translate as “universal ordination, indicating a ritual that could be applied to the whole range of Buddhist believers. It can be contrasted with “distinct” or “separate ordinations” (betsuju 別受), namely a set of distinct rituals with distinct precepts for the various types of Buddhist practitioners. The dispute over which type should be used would have important ramifications for the whole of Tendai history.
The second part concerns the decline of the influence of the Fanwang jing 梵網経 (Brahma’s Net Sutra), the text that the founder of Tendai, Saichō 最澄, had designated to replace the vinaya. Annen’s critique of the text would be vital for interpretation of monastic discipline. In the third part, I consider some of the Esoteric Buddhist influences on Annen’s views, particularly how he relates ordinations to realization of Buddhahood with this very body (sokushin jōbutsu 即身成仏). The result of these developments would be to change Tendai monasticism so that it probably would have been unrecognizable to Saichō.
Panel 4: Japan (Saturday Afternoon 4:15–7pm)
Dermott Joseph Walsh (UCLA) — Eisai and the Bodhisattva Precepts
Myōan Eisai 明菴栄西 (1141–1215) is best known for having transmitted the Rinzai 臨済 Zen lineage to Japan. However, Eisai's texts reveal little concern with traditional Zen themes. Rather his early works are concerned mainly with Esoteric Buddhism. He would eventually be promoted to the position of Ajari, a master of esoteric Buddhism in the Tendai 天台 priesthood. Nevertheless, following his return from China in 1191 a major change in Eisai's thinking occurs, when he begins advocating for the reintroduction of the four part vinaya (shibunritsu 四分律), a set of precepts abandoned by the Japanese Tendai school almost four centuries previously.
This paper will explain why and how Eisai made the transition from esoteric master to precept reformer — a transition that has yet to be adequately accounted for — via an analysis of his arguments concerning the bodhisattva precepts. Eisai critiqued the Japanese Buddhist establishment for failing to distinguish between esoteric ordinations based on the bodhisattva precepts and exoteric ordinations where the bodhisattva precepts must be used in conjunction with the four part vinaya. Eisai's analysis of the distinction between the uses of the bodhisattva precepts is based on scriptural sources and the commentarial tradition within Japanese Tendai. This paper will reveal that viewing Eisai solely as a precept reformer is overly simplistic; it seems more likely that Eisai was attempting to reform the dominant Japanese esoteric tradition by providing a rationale to make its ordinations distinct from the exoteric uses of bodhisattva precepts. Eisai's analysis of the origins and functions of the bodhisattva precepts is key not only to understanding his work, but also in terms of developing a sense of how bodhisattva precepts were used at a key point in Japanese Buddhist history.
Richard Jaffe (Duke University) Kawaguchi Ekai’s View of the Precepts for Buddhism in the Twentieth-Century
Best known for his pioneering forays into turn of the nineteenth to twentieth-centuries Tibet and scholarship on Tibetan Buddhism, Kawaguchi Ekai (1866–1945), spent the last thirty years of his life trying to radically reform the practice of Japanese Buddhism. In a series of polemical works that included Upāsaka Bukkyō, Bosatsudō, and Shōshin Bukkyō, Kawaguchi rejected all existing forms of Japanese Buddhism as non-Buddhist and called for a lay Buddhism centered on the veneration of Śākyamuni Buddha and adherence to the Five Precepts. While stressing the practice of the precepts as absolutely foundational for Buddhism, Kawaguchi rejected the Bonmōkyō as an apocryphal text, calling instead for a return to the standard Five precepts as the only appropriate basis for Buddhist practice in the twentieth century. By making the Five Precepts the basis of his lay Buddhism, Kawaguchi adopted a position similar to that advocated by his first Pāli instructor, Shaku Kōzen (1849–1924), a Shingon convert to Theravāda Buddhism, with whom Kawaguchi had debated the orthodoxy of Mahāyāna Buddhism. In my paper I will examine Kawaguchi’s view of the precepts in detail, while analyzing the range of sources that served as the basis for his views.
William Bodiford (UCLA) — Anraku Ritsu in Tokugawa Japan: The Reconfiguration of the Bodhisattva Precepts within Japanese Tendai Buddhism
After the death of Saichō (766–822) Tendai Buddhism in Japan developed its own distinctive identity. Saichō’s successors abandoned monastic ordinations according to the designated procedures (karma) of the vianya tradition in favor of new procedures based on Mahāyāna scriptures. This distinctive approach to monastic rules of morality influenced the subsequent development of all forms of Buddhism in Japan regardless of their doctrinal orientations or institutional affiliations. In this way Buddhism in Japan developed many distinctive features due to the pervading influence of Tendai doctrines regarding precepts. During the seventeenth century, the Tendai establishment implemented a drastic reconfiguration of its approach to the bodhisattva precepts. This new approach is now know as Anraku Ritsu. For most of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Anraku Ritsu constituted the orthodox Tendai approach to monastic rules of morality. This talk will explain the social and doctrinal significance of Anraku Ritsu. It will focus on the beginnings of the Anraku Ritsu, especially during the lifetimes of Myōryū Jizan (1637–1690) who helped to inspire it and Kōben hōshinnō (1669–1716), the royal prelate who implemented it. Finally it will identify key issues in the way that Anraku Ritsu transformed not just the bodhisattva precepts but also the śrāmaṇera precepts and bhikṣu precepts.
Panel 5: India and Tibet (Feb 19th Morning 9–noon)
Jan-Ulrich Sobisch (Independent scholar) — “Compassionate Killing” Revisited
In recent years we have seen an increase of studies pointing to the “darker sides” of Buddhism: The wild tantric adepts that have abandoned all dualistic clinging to the ethics of the lower vehicles, living a bacchanal lifestyle, with a permissive sex life, and occasionally even killing their enemies. As far as I can see, three themes are usually invoked as providing what is supposed to be a Buddhist justification of such behaviour: the special observances (caryāvrata) of the tantric tradition, the gnosis of absolute truth beyond dualism of a Mahāyāna and Madhyamaka philosophy, and the special needs and abilities of the bodhisattvas. Since we focus in the present workshop on bodhisattvas, I will concentrate on the latter.
Certainly, the most striking example of the special bodhisattva ethics under discussion is the killing out of compassion. The usual illustration is that of the rather complex case of a bodhisattva who reads in the mind of another person the plan to kill 500 merchants. Then — out of compassion for that vicious person — the bodhisattva kills that man before he becomes a murderer to prevent him from going to hell. The bodhisattva also keeps his compassionate intention a secret, because he must at the same time prevent the 500 merchants from taking the matter into their hands and for their part going to hell for killing in self-defence. The outcome of that story is sometimes described as positive for the killing bodhisattva because his compassionate intention somehow overrides the act of killing. Interestingly, however, even though the story and the intentions involved in it are rather complex, this outcome is hardly ever discussed in any detail.
However, can it be as simple as that? Is it possible that a bodhisattva gets off scot-free with murder, because of his good intention? Can a karmic result of killing be suppressed, outshone, or even deleted? Do the results of his good intention and his bad action merge into a single result, or do they occur separately? Is it possible that the Buddha “gave permission” to the bodhisattvas to act like that? Does such permission, if it exists, override the Buddha’s teaching on the inevitable consequences of karmically efficacious acts? Alternatively, is the bodhisattva’s transgression of the rule not to kill free from affliction (kleśa) and, thereby, a special kind of transgression for which no karmic consequences arise? Is such a skill in means, that prevents karmic consequences from arising, possible?
In my presentation, I will present the thoughts of a Tibetan master of the 12th/13th century, who connected all these threads into a single theory of Buddhist view, practice, and conduct. Instead of more or less sticking to this or that quotation from Buddhist scriptures and treatises and preferring one over the other, his focus is on the actual skills of bodhisattvas and their ability to avoid afflicted acts and their willingness to face the consequences of their deeds.
Alex von Rospatt (UC Berkeley) — The Adikarma literature. The vows and daily practices of lay bodhisattvas in late Indian Buddhism.
While bodhisattvas in Indian Mahayana Buddhism are typically presumed to be monastic, there are a few closely related texts from the 12th century that treat a category of bodhisattvas who are apparently lay and engage in ādikarmika practices, that is, introductory or foundational (ādi) practices. These texts treat the vows taken by these bodhisattvas and their daily practices. Befitting the developmental stage of late Indian Buddhism they presume a tantric framework, albeit without engaging with the initiatory practices of the higher tantras. While these texts apparently originated in the milieu of Vikramaśīla, they map remarkably well onto the practices preserved in Nepalese Buddhism, which suggest that they describe and codify forms of lay Mahāyāna practices that were wide-spread in the last phase of Indian Buddhism.
In addition to giving an overview of the little studied Ādikarmika literature and the vows and rituals it prescribes, this talk will engage with Advayavajra's reasoning that the ādikarmika tradition conforms with mainstream bodhisattva teachings and also with antinomian forms of tantric practices that appear to be at odds with the concern with ritual purity that pervades the ādikarmika literature.
Hiromi Habata (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität) Did the bodhisattva-vinaya exist? The situation of the bodhisattva precepts in India before the systematization
The origin of the bodhisattva precepts in India remains obscure. It is well known that Dharmakṣema gave the first pú sà jiè 菩薩戒 (bodhisattvaśīla) in China. His translations, Pú sà dì chí jīng 菩薩地持經 (Bodhisattvabhūmi) and Yōu pó sài jiè jīng 優婆塞戒經 belong to the earliest texts important for the bodhisattva precepts in China. What he brought from India? It is also found in one of his influential translations, Dà bān niè pán jīng 大般涅槃經 (Mahāparinirvāṇa-mahāsūtra) which contains the concerned matters with śīla and vinaya. The situation described in the sūtra reflects how it was in India before the systematization known in the texts for the bodhisattva precepts. In my paper concerning the problem of śīla and vinaya in the sūtra (“The conflict with the opponent traced in the Mahāparinirvāṇa-mahāsūtra: sautrāntika and icchantika”, Berkeley 2016), it is clarified that the regulations of the sūtra originated from the old śīlaskandha. It will be further investigated which tradition of the bodhisattva precepts the sūtra could be related to.