The qin compositions ‘Siddhaṃ Chapter’ (‘Xitan zhang’
The Sanskrit origin of the words of the title ‘Siddhaṃ Chapter’ is ‘passages of literature’ (zhang
The Japanese monk Annen (
Siddhaṃ script evolved to become ‘Siddhaṃ literature’, and the lexical unit ‘Siddhaṃ Chapter’ was used in a title to indicate an essay in praise of someone, that is, works of literature called ‘Siddhaṃ Chapter’ and formed from a series of interconnected passages. Many types are preserved in the Dunhuang manuscripts, but in fact they belong mostly to two genres. My humble offering Fanxue ji
1 ‘Chanmen xitan zhang’
Paris manuscript Pelliot.3099 (Paul Pelliot; 1878–1945) is in format a small booklet whose title reads: ‘Chanmen xitan zhang bing xu’
The booklet P.3099 comes with a xu
Let all buddhas bring their hands together and listen with pious supplication. Today, I desire to lecture on ‘The Laṅkāvatāra Sutra of Great Vehicle Buddhism: “Siddhaṃ Chapter”’. Regarding ‘Siddhaṃ Chapter’, at one time, the Great Vehicle scripture resided on Laṅkā mountain (in Sri Lanka), and the teachings were thus obtained by the monk Bodhidharma (here: Putidamo, d. 536). In the first year of the Song dynasty (420), he came from southern India and brought them to the Eastern Capital (Luoyang). After discussion, Guṇabhadra (here: Batuo, 394–468), Master of the Buddhist Canon, took it upon himself respectfully to make a translation. The Sutra consists of five juan in total, which are combined into one book…. in addition, at the Temple of Assembled Goodness on Song mountain, the monk Dinghui (fl. early Tang dynasty) also made a translation of ‘Siddhaṃ Chapter’ that opened wide the door to dissemination of Chan Buddhist learning, which did not impede the study of wisdom and was not constrained by the requirements of providing written text. (Subsequent text omitted)
諸佛子等合掌至心聽。我今欲說〈大乘楞伽悉（談）［曇］章〉。「悉 （談）［曇］章」者，昔大乘在楞伽山，因得菩提達摩和尚。宋家元年，從南天竺來至東都，跋陀三藏法師奉諮翻譯，其經總有五卷，合成一部。…… 又嵩山會善（寺）沙門定惠翻出「悉談［曇］章」，廣開禪門，不妨慧學，不著文字。（下略）6
This introduction mentions the monk Guṇabhadra (in Chinese in full: Qiunabatuoluo
Taking ‘Siddhaṃ Chapter’ once more, the first two characters of the title
悉(‘xi’) 曇(‘tan’) form the basis of the entire wealth of sounding voices (phonetics). They can cause all (enunciated) sounds to be born and can also receive the entire wealth of sounding voices (phonetics) from elsewhere. The Six Destinies achieved a sublime victory, and language assists all from the midst.
These remarks in a specific way draw attention to the sacred function that ‘Siddhaṃ Chapter’ had in assembling all voiced sounds (phonetically enun- ciated sounds).
2 ‘Suliu xitan zhang’
See the Beijing collection item ‘Bird’ (Beijing ‘Niaozi’
That which is the ‘Siddhaṃ Chapter’, for the Three Lives and the Six Destinies, achieves the sublime victory of language. At the time of the Tang dynasty, the monk Dinghui of Song mountain produced a translation and exegetical notes that rendered them congruent with the language of the state of Qin (Chinese); Kumārajīva (343–413), Tongyun, and the harmonious vocalisation lu-liu-lu-lou are the highest authorities.
Regarding the Dinghui who translated and made exegesis of ‘Siddhaṃ Chapter’, Dunhuang manuscript S.5809 has a fragmentary text whose title is: ‘Daxing shansi chanshi shamen Dinghui zan’
From records that have newly emerged from Dunhuang, it can be disco- vered that in the epoch before the Southern Song dynasty, ‘Siddhaṃ Chapter’ had many functions. The Chan Buddhist Master Pu’an added his own usages to these and during the editorial process when he finalised his ‘Shitan zhen-yan’ also represented the new dhāraṇī (tuoluoni
Chan Master Pu’an was originally from Yichun
Previously, I had instigated printing and publication of Zhao Yiguang (
Regarding ‘Shitan zhenyan’, across the land its glorious words are recited, but none has sought to research their origins. The received wisdom of the scholarly community retains the mistaken belief that research back through the generations indicates that the ancestral master of the practice was Pu’an. Yet what purpose is there in using the Sanskrit incantations of a foreign land and then confusing their meanings in a most muddled way; this cannot but serve as an obstacle to understanding…. I, Fanfu (Zhao Yiguang’s soubriquet), therefore collated Shuowen changjian. From a wide range of sources, I collected phonetic lettering of the type found in Xitan jingzhuan, storing specimens not yet received into Buddhist teachings or alternatively took them out to be used…. by thinking laterally in an open-hearted manner, I was able to assemble a substantial Sanskrit lexicon. ‘Shitan zhenyan’ is in fact the text that is known in common parlance as ‘Pu’an Mantra’. Pu’an was of the Tang dynasty and practised in reciting the language of the Tang dynasty.
〈釋談真言〉，世誦華文，未究厥始。學地知識，誤以世法揣摹，謂普庵此方祖師，何事作彼土梵咒，妄解意義，不能無礙。…… 凡夫因緝 《說文長箋》。博采音聲字母，類同《悉曇經傳》，即藏教未收者，亦或取之。…… 將廣心目，遂得大梵品目。〈釋談真言〉即世俗所稱〈普庵咒〉者是也。菴係唐人，習誦唐語。13
The language of the Tang dynasty and Sanskrit can easily be muddled, so I followed the example of Western Eyes (a monk’s soubriquet; untraceable) and invited Ren Naogong (fl. late sixteenth–early seventeenth centuries), a monk of Yan mountain, to edit, read, supplement, and finalise the text. Following this, I immediately ordered Qiao Er (fl. late sixteenth–early seventeenth centuries) to trace and copy the large Sanskrit letters and cut the accompanying mantras so as to afford them a circulation equivalent to the alphabet found in the Avataṃsaka Sutra: the mantras found in the two scriptures have thus been fashioned with little difference between them. The alphabet of these mantras is the precursor to all forms of writing and the mother of the letters used for the twenty scriptures, and if these mantras can be recited, then the whole Buddhist canon can be recited, and meritworthy virtuousness as deep as the vastness of the seas accumulated, such as can only be imagined…. Mañjuśrī (a bodhisattva, ancient) lectures on alphabets, Pu’an disseminates the Buddha’s words; but there cannot be two dharmas (Buddhist truths); virtuous morality is not accorded to Pu’an, and with only the ears and eyes of a country on the periphery, he has merely heard and seen, always desiring to devalue and damage the sound of Buddha preaching on the Qieleng mountain (in Sri Lanka), so that the science of phonetics is returned to the Dark Ages, and who can take responsibility for this travesty! Here, by marking them out, these errors are all exposed and expunged.
… Ming dynasty, Wanli era, xinhai
Wu prefecture, Han mountain, retold by the Buddhist believer (kulapati), Master Zhao Yiguang, soubriquet Fanfu.
Zhao tells of Pu’an disseminating the Buddha’s words (that is, Siddhaṃ script) and indicates that this is of equivalent value to Mañjuśrī’s ‘Wen zimu pin’
This ‘Short Introduction’ (‘Xiaoyin’
Zhao Yiguang’s introduction was written in the xinhai year of the Wanli era, that is, the thirty-ninth year of the era (1611), after Zhu Hong’s Daily Recitations from all the Scriptures. In the latter text, the title is ‘Pu’an dade chanshi shitan zhang shenzhou’
As for the qin piece Shitan zhang
Taixi says: ‘This piece is by Li Shuinan (fl. late sixteenth–early seventeenth centuries; Chen Dabin’s qin teacher). At first, there was no melody of this type, and it did not conform to the principles of lü modal theory. Then, because Lü Xizhou (fl. sixteenth century), soubriquet Xuanju from Chongde county, had a predilection for Buddhism and Daoism, Li Shuinan reconstructed the notes of the piece according to the principles of lü modal theory, but it was not circulated. I kept it safe with me privately for a long time. Ever since the wuyin year of the Wanli era when it was printed, it has achieved wide distribution.’
太希曰: 此曲乃李水南所作。始無此律，繼緣崇德希周呂選居好佛老，今水南按律構音，未傳於世。不佞受之久矣。自萬曆戊寅災梨，以廣 其傳。18
This entry is worthy of close attention. The wuyin year is the sixth year of the Wanli era (1578), and this was when Li Shuinan of Deqing
Wanli era, sixth year, wuyin
The qin notation of Shitan zhang comes into circulation, however, sadly, I have not seen a copy of this edition.
Wanli era, the twentieth year, renchen
Practises Shitan zhang according to the score.
Wanli era, the twenty-eighth year, gengzi
Zhu Hong edits and prints
Daily Recitations from all the Scriptures in which is ‘Pu’an Mantra’.
Wanli era, the thirty-seventh year, jiyou
Yang Lun edits
(the qin anthology) Bo Ya xinfa
Wanli era, the thirty-ninth year, xinhai
‘Shitan zhenyan’, which had been thoroughly edited by Ren Nao(gong), is incised into printing plates and issued at the instigation of Zhao Yiguang.
Li Shuinan was a native of Deqing in Zhejiang and together with Yang Lun belonged to the Zhejiang School of qin playing. No obstacle prevents us from concluding that transforming Shitan zhang into a notated qin composition emerged from a seminal creative act of the Zhejiang School.
At the head of Zhao Yiguang’s ‘Shitan zhenyan’ is written: ‘Nangmo, (that is, “Namaḥ” or “greetings”) ka ka ka;’
Before or after the periods covered by the four books cited above, it can be deduced that prior to the qin scores being composed, Zhu Hong took these features and inserted them into his Daily Recitations. The ‘Shitan zhenyan’ that Zhao Yiguang received did not mention qin scores at all and thus ought to have been close to the True Words in their original state as promulgated and circulated by Pu’an Yang Lun’s Bo Ya xinfa is another comparatively early qin score, whose imprint dates to the thirty-seventh year of the Wanli era (1609); an explanation of its title is given:
Note: This composition consists of the Chan Master Pu’an’s incantatory words subsequently re-moulded by others according to the lü modes. Owing to the composite syllables comprising two, three, or four components that Sanskrit possesses and the script that supports them, in Chinese books, only qin scores retain them; therefore, (the pre-Southern Song dynasty text) Qiyin yunjian emanates from the Western regions and is in parallel to the seven qin strings, and this indicates their provenance.
The notion that Sanskrit phonetics reflect the qin is a little contrived, though regarding the wellspring of this composition as originally consisting of incantated words is precisely in accordance with fact. Master Zhao’s book is clear proof of this. When later qin scores that included ‘Siddhaṃ Chapter’ and ‘Pu’an Mantra’ (‘Pu’an zhou’) were issued by different schools of qin playing, their melodies had evolved and become more elaborate. The distinguished (modern) scholar Fan Libin’s
The Chinese University of Hong Kong: Yang Chunwei, ‘Research into the “Pu’an Mantra”’ (‘“Pu’an zhou” yanjiu’), 83–95; Taiwan: Fan Libin, Musical Research into the ‘Pu’an Mantra’ (‘Pu’an zhou’ yinyue yanjiu).
See Wang Bangwei, Nanhai ji gui neifa zhuan Jiaozhu, 189.
Anthology of Ji Xianlin’s Scholarly Essays on Buddhism (Ji Xianlin fojiao xueshu lunwenji; Ji Xianlin: 1911–2009;), 370, gives: ‘Regarding the period when Siddhaṃ script entered China, Jao Tsung-i has already made a detailed and authoritative exploration of the issue.’
See my ‘Theories regarding the Character “Hong”
See my Cultural Journey (Wenhua zhi lü
Taishō, No. 2779, ‘Foshuo Lingjia jing chanmen xitan zhang bing xu’, 85: 536.
Liu Mingshu, ‘Sitanyin jiejinglu’, 86.
Dunhuang geci zongbian, 932.
See my Fanxue ji, 205. ‘Chanmen Xitan zhang zuozhe bian’
The temple still exists and neighbours the Xi’an Music Conservatoire where this translator studied for several years in the 1990s.
Pu’an’s works include: Chan Master Pu’an Yinsu’s Record of Language (Pu’an Yinsu chanshi yulu
Jao Tsung-i, Xitan jingzhuan.
Jao Tsung-I comp., Xitan jingzhuan: Zhao Yiguang ji qi Xitan jingzhuan, 81.
Jao Tsung-I comp., Xitan jingzhuan: Zhao Yiguang ji qi Xitan jingzhuan, 81–82.
Jao Tsung-I comp., Xitan jingzhuan: Zhao Yiguang ji qi Xitan jingzhuan, 82.
Jao Tsung-I comp., Xitan jingzhuan: Zhao Yiguang ji qi Xitan jingzhuan, 82.
Tianyi ge shumu Tianyi ge beimu, comp. Fan Bangdian et al., 3A.257.
Lidai guqin wenxian huibian Qinqu shiyi juan, comp. Ai guqin tuandui, B.1233.
Jao Tsung-I comp., Xitan jingzhuan: Zhao Yiguang ji qi Xitan jingzhuan, 83, 86.
Lidai guqin wenxian huibian Qinqu shiyi juan, comp. Ai guqin tuandui, B. 1429.
Yang Lun, Boya xinfa, 23a.
See Fan Libin’s thesis, tables 2–6, summary charts of guqin pieces, which lists thirty-one types.