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Kaiqi Hua

Abstract

During Mongol rule in China and Tibet, especially under the reign of Qubilai Qan (1215–1294), the Mongol rulers had established the unspoken tradition of banishing for political reasons disliked Chinese and Korean royal family members to Tibet, and Tibetan and Mongolian royal family members to South China. These two areas were both culturally alien and geographically remote to the recipients of exile orders. But destinations of exile such as Sakya and Hangzhou had religious prestige in Tibetan and Chinese Buddhism respectively. The paper scrutinises the life of the last Song Emperor Zhao Xian 趙㬎 (1271–1323), who had travelled extensively across China and Tibet, and became a Tibetan Buddhist monk then known as Lhatsün (Tib. Lha btsun). From various sources in different language and literary forms, we are able to not only reconstruct Zhao’s travel routes and identity transformations, but also learn the motives and processes of Buddhist exile for the royals during the Mongol Yuan元Dynasty (1271–1368) through physical migration in space and textual reproduction in time. This paper demonstrates the role Buddhism played in cross-cultural and cross-regional contacts in the lives of individual migrants.

Series:

Megan Bryson

Abstract

The Nanzhao (649-903) and Dali (937-1253) kingdoms controlled large swaths of territory centred in the Dali region of what is now southwest China’s Yunnan province. Dali served as a hub in transregional networks that linked it to Tang-Song China, Tibet, India, and Southeast Asia, meaning that people in Dali could have potentially developed a regional form of Buddhism that hybridized elements from each of its neighbours. Given that human agency and historical factors shape network formation, Dali Buddhism did not come equally from all possible routes. Extant sources show that ruling elites in the Nanzhao and Dali kingdoms relied more heavily on conduits linking Dali to Chinese territory for their Buddhist material, especially their texts. However, they emphasized instead their links to India and downplayed the China connection. I use texts and images related to the border-crossing bodhisattva Guanyin (Skt. Avalokiteśvara) to show how these documented and represented networks relate to each other in the Nanzhao and Dali kingdoms. Understanding networks and identity in Nanzhao- and Dali-kingdom Buddhism requires understanding not only how people interacted with each other, but also how they depicted those interactions. Regional and transregional forms of Guanyin from the Nanzhao and Dali kingdoms offer a way to examine both kinds of networks.

Series:

Volume-editor Ann Heirman, Carmen Meinert and Christoph Anderl

Series:

Rob Linrothe

Abstract

The networks linking the Ming Chinese court with Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and lineages in Amdo, Kham and Central Tibet are well known and studied. Spectacular objects created at or by the Ming court were prized at the major Tibetan Buddhist monasteries supported directly by the Ming court, reminders of the monastery’s participation in wider networks of Buddhist teachings and support, helping to define their identities. This essay focuses on a partial set of eight Ming Dynasty textiles still in use at a shrine in the Western Himalaya that was never in contact with any Chinese state, and was in fact founded long after the Ming Dynasty ended. Yet the group of relatively well-preserved embroidered textiles, at least one of which has a Chinese inscription on the back, are hung during the monastery’s annual masked dance festival (Tib. ’cham), treasures displayed on an auspicious pair of days. How and when they were acquired by a monastery in southeastern Ladakh on the far Western border of Tibet is not known, though other objects in the same monastery can be shown to have been sent by the nineteenth-century 14th Karmapa. These objects are potent, physical reminders of the circulation and flow of people, ideas, practices, texts, and objects within Buddhist networks crossing linguistic, state, ethnic and cultural borders.

Series:

Pei-ying Lin

Abstract

Shōtoku Taishi 聖徳太子 (Prince Shōtoku, 573–621) has stimulated the longstanding interest of modern scholars. The cult of Shōtoku Taishi was a far-reaching movement across Japan throughout several centuries, and the belief that he was Huisi’s慧思 (515–577) reincarnation is an important element in his extensive cult in the Buddhist world. This paper focuses on the connection between the Japanese prince and the legend cycles of the Chinese patriarch Huisi from the eighth century onwards. In particular, this paper discusses the networks of authors of this reincarnation story, namely Du Fei 杜朏 (c. 710–720), Jianzhen 鑑真 (688–763), Situo 思託 (722–809), Saichō 最澄 (767–822) and Kōjō 光定 (779–858). The self-definition of these authors involves how Buddhist monks located themselves in a broader context of East Asian Buddhism. It is concluded that the reincarnation legend reveals the authors’ motives with respect to rearranging the association between China and Japan. Their self-definition matured as the reincarnation story developed into a mature form.

Series:

Max Deeg

This paper draws on Antonino Forte’s notion of a borderland complex and on the concept of the ‘double belonging’ of Chinese Buddhists in the medieval period. This was caused by the fact that Middle Kingdom China was not the centre of Buddhist cosmology. Indeed, it was not part of the Buddhist sacred realm at all. Nowhere can one observe this struggle better than in the so-called pilgrims’ records, in which the protagonists are, quite often, negotiating a dual cultural identity; they are both part of greater Chinese culture and express a sense of religious belonging to—and presence in—a Sacred Land that lays claim to cosmological and soteriological superiority over all the other regions in the world. The conflict that arose from this conflict of identities is expressed in the texts in the form of poems and narratives reflecting either homesickness or determination to stay in India (or both). The paper will present and address the different forms of expression of these identities and analyse them in the wider context of Chinese and Indian Buddhism.

Series:

Fei HUANG

In Reshaping the Frontier Landscape: Dongchuan in Eighteenth-century Southwest China, Fei HUANG examines the process of reshaping the landscape of Dongchuan, a remote frontier city in Southwest China in the eighteenth century. Rich copper deposits transformed Dongchuan into one of the key outposts of the Qing dynasty, a nexus of encounters between various groups competing for power and space. The frontier landscape bears silent witness to the changes in its people’s daily lives and in their memories and imaginations. The literati, officials, itinerant merchants, commoners and the indigenous people who lived there shaped and reshaped the local landscape by their physical efforts and cultural representations. This book demonstrates how multiple landscape experiences developed among various people in dependencies, conflicts and negotiations in the imperial frontier.