The Buddhist monk Falin (572–640) is author of a complex apologetic work designed to defend Buddhism in the face of political threats that manifested in the early Tang dynasty. Employing a wide repertoire of arguments, Falin demonstrates that Buddhism could help to stabilize the state, would importantly enhance Confucianism, and would in many respects be superior to Daoism. The present article draws a picture of Falin’s apologetic mission based on Falin’s scriptures Poxie lun and Bianzheng lun, as well as on the hagiographic sources describing Falin’s life. In the analysis of Falin’s apologetic argumentation, particular emphasis is given to pointing out lines of continuity between Falin and previous works of Buddhist apologetic writing. Finally the article discusses in how far the Buddhist apologetic argumentation seen in Falin was further employed in the different ideological climate of the Song dynasty.
Aspects of the Relationship Between the Buddhist Saṃgha and the State in Chinese History
Contributors include: Chris Atwood, Chen Jinhua, Max Deeg, Barend ter Haar, Thomas Jülch, Albert Welter and Zhang Dewei.