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The Prevalence of Huayan-Chan 華嚴禪 Buddhism in the Regions of Northern China during the 11th Century

Focusing on Chinese Language Texts from the Song, Liao and Xixia (Tangut) Kingdoms

In: Journal of Chan Buddhism
Author:
王頌 Professor, Peking University Beijing China

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Abstract

In the 11th century, the dissemination of Buddhism in the territories of Northern Song 北宋 dynasty (960–1127) China, Khitan 契丹 Liao 遼 (907/916–1125), and Xixia 西夏 (Tangut 党項, 1038–1227) kingdoms each reached a peak. What united the learned peoples of these three kingdoms in terms of religious and intellectual development was the comparatively widespread study and adoption of the teachings of Huayan Buddhism, or studies of and commentaries to the translations of the Avataṃsaka-sūtra into Chinese in 60-, 80-, and 40-rolls (Huayan jing 華嚴經, esp. T nos. 278, 279, 293). In this article I address some of my earlier research concerning two treatises composed by Bensong 本嵩 (active ca. 1083–1085), the Huayan guan tongxuan ji 華嚴觀通玄記 (Record of the Profundities of Total Meditative Insight [or Contemplation] of the Gaṇḍavyūha chapter of the Avataṃsaka-sūtra Flower Garland Sūtra) and Fajie guan sanshimen song 法界觀三十門頌 (Verses Praising the Thirty Contemplative Approaches or Gates presented in the Gaṇḍavyūha Chapter on Entry into the Realm of Reality), among other examples from the period, to illustrate how these Huayan teachings were actually the product of Huayan and Chan Buddhist ideological frameworks, which fruitfully can be called Huayan-Chan. In order to demonstrate why the rubric ‘Huayan-Chan’ can be productive, I examine a range of commentarial Buddhist texts in Chinese to show who the patriarchs of Huayan-Chan were considered to be during the 11th century across the ethnically and linguistically diverse region of Northern China, and bring to the fore what some of these key teachings were. My main goal is to present the specific circumstances within which Huayan-Chan developed within the three kingdoms of Northern Song China, the Khitan Liao, and the Tangut Xixia.

1 The Intellectual and Ideological Teachings of Huayan-Chan Buddhism

The 11th century can be understood to have marked a time of perhaps surprising peace and prosperity for the kingdoms of Northeast Asia. At the beginning of the century, during the twelfth month of the first Lunar year of Jingde 景德 reign period (January, 1005), representing the two most powerful kingdoms in the region, the Northern Song and Liao established the symbolic Chanyuan 澶淵 Peace Treaty, and achieved a balance of political and military power and influence over one another.1 Despite later military conflicts between the Northern Song and Xixia kingdoms, for the most part, peace was maintained the northern region for more than a century. Within this context, Buddhism under the Northern Song, Liao and Xixia kingdoms reached an intellectual and religious apogee. Although the teachings of Buddhism were adapted to the distinct characteristics of the people living in each of these kingdoms, ubiquitous popularity of the Huayan school in particular is noteworthy. Influenced by teachings from so-called Esoteric Buddhism (mijiao 密教) and the Chan traditions, intellectual treatises concerning the teachings of the Avataṃsaka-sūtra translated into Chinese in 60-, 80-, and 40-rolls (Huayan jing 華嚴經, esp. T nos. 278–279, 293), respectively, composed by authors particularly in the Khitan 契丹 Liao 遼 (907/916–1125) and Tangut 党項 Xixia 西夏 (1038–1227) kingdoms demonstrate how and why an intellectual synthesis developed that we can call Huayan-Chan 華嚴禪.

The term “Huayan-Chan” does not appear in any historical texts, but rather is a term or concept coined by modern scholars. The earliest discussions regarding the relationship between the Huayan and Chan schools can be seen in research by Japanese scholars such as Takamine Ryoshu’s 高峰了州 representative work, Merging Pathways of Huayan and Chan Schools, among other works.2 Regarding the earliest usage of the term “Huayan-Chan,” it is very difficult to determine who may have come up with the idea first. However, based on my previous research, it seems that any research concerning the concept of Huayan-Chan cannot overlook the early research by Japanese scholar and Huayan specialist, Yoshizu Yoshihide 吉津宜英 and the influence of his seminal book, Research on the Intellectual History of Huayan-Chan.3 However, it is important to note that the philosophical underpinnings of Huayan-Chan that Yoshizu refers to derive mostly from the Tang period (618–907) masters, such as Fazang 法藏 (643–712), Chengguan 澄觀 (738–839), and Guifeng Zongmi 圭峰宗密 (780–841), and do not consider the later developments and transformations of this tradition in the Song, Liao and Xixia kingdom periods. Due to the fact that development of a Huayan-Chan tradition beginning in the Tang period by Zongmi later underwent significant changes and developments in the Song period, my discussion of Huayan-Chan in this paper, focused as it is more on the intellectual characteristics of the latter period, seems noticeably different than what the “Huayan-Chan” Yoshizu describes. Furthermore, the Chinese scholar Dong Qun has also performed systematic analysis of the concept of Huayan-Chan, sorting out both broader and more detailed definitions. This, too, has provided me with considerable insights I have incorporated into the research presented in this paper.4 When I use the term Huayan-Chan in this paper, I integrate and apply the definitions of the term derived from the works of Yoshizu and Dong, and add many innovative ideas.

In a general sense, it can be said that any figure of the Chan school who adopted the ideological teachings or perspectives from Huayan commentaries as a theoretical basis or methodology, and applied such theories towards hermeneutical discussion and practices, or any figure outside of the Chan school who took the theories of the Huayan school and the Chan school and combined them into one teaching, in all of these instances we might wish to consider or label such examples as cases of Huayan-Chan teachers. For example, within the Yunmen school 雲門宗 texts, we find Yunmen Wenyan’s 雲門文偃 (864–949) “three statements” (sanju 三句), the “five positions of ruler and minister” (wuwei junzhen 五位君臣) in Caodong lineage 曹洞宗 texts, both of which seem to reflect an integration of Huayan and Chan ideological characteristics, and are widely known examples in studies of Chan Buddhism. In a narrower and more fruitful sense, however, Huayan-Chan refers specifically to the philosophical system set up by the Tang patriarch Zongmi, who is understood to have merged doctrines of the Huan teaching tradition with the teachings of the Heze 菏澤 Chan lineage. This system proposed by Zongmi is not so much a true integration of the teachings of Chan and Huayan, but rather a careful selection of the notion of lishi guan 理事觀 (contemplation of principle and phenomena) and the concept of xinshi guan 心識觀 (contemplation of mind and consciousness) he attributed to the Heze lineage teachings, which he closely and systematically integrated. The relationship between these two concepts influenced later writers. Here, I am much more concerned with the concepts of lishi wuai 理事無礙 (non-obstruction between principle and phenomena), yuanrong wujin 圓融無盡 (boundless consummate interfusion), among others, which are predominately seen in the Huayan-Chan texts from the 11th century. Therefore, it is in the Huayan-Chan teachings advocated by Zongmi, and those following him, where we find the unanimity and merging of Chan meditative practices and theoretical teachings, as well as the merging of the Three Teachings to form the mainstream or normative intellectual underpinnings of Chinese Buddhism during the period of the Tang – Song transition.

The continuous influence and expansion of Huayan-Chan teachings proposed by Zongmi is well-known by scholars in Japan, China, and in the west. After the An Lushan 安祿山 rebellion (756–763), elite, well-educated monastics, who wrote commentaries and ritual manuals and lived in the centers of political power in Chang’an or Luoyang, in particular, suffered enormous setbacks. When the land and property once owned by many temples became overgrown and neglected because peasants or farmers who had once worked that land moved on when their incomes no longer arrived from the capitals, as well as more traditional-style temples in urban areas, lost their main sources of economic support. In addition, during a period of immense political and economic turmoil, the people sought more practical means to find peace of mind and guarantees for greater karmic fortune in this life or retribution in future lives, seem to have lost interest in and patience for complex and tedious intellectual doctrines and teachings. As a result of circumstances like these, the Huayan intellectual tradition or school as it had developed during a period when the state and powerful clans supported academically-orientated Buddhist teachers, suffered a significant blow. Particularly after the death of Zongmi and following the Huichang 會昌 (841–846) era suppression of the faith, whatever institution one may have been able to call a Huayan intellectual tradition or school was in ruins, with the result that many of the texts (mostly commentaries) were lost and its intellectual teachings effectively discontinued. From the period after Zongmi until the early Song dynasty, therefore, there occurred what we might call a two hundred year period of a “Dark Ages” for the Huayan school. It was not until the Song dynasty, following the reintroduction of Huayan texts into China via the Korean peninsula that the teachings of this school recovered. Concurrently, however, during this resurgence we cannot speak of a Huayan school disseminating an intellectual tradition predicated any longer on the basis of treatises written by Zhiyan 智嚴 (602–668) or Fazang that heavily integrated concepts and elements of Yogācāra treatises and commentaries, but rather the iteration of Zongmi’s Huayan-Chan discussions of how to think about consciousness. Perhaps it can be said that in this time, marked as it was by a lack of interest in yixue 義學 or traditional doctrinal studies of Buddhist texts in translation and commentarial literature, fusing both the profound and metaphysical theoretical doctrines of the Huayan tradition with the straightforward and penetrating attitudes toward meditation of the Chan texts, it seems almost inevitable that the characteristics of the teachings of this newly revived Huayan-Chan school would become the most thriving Buddhist school across continental East Asia by the 11th century.

In contrast to earlier Huayan teachings espoused by Zhiyan and Fazang, who based their teachings on the Avataṃsaka-sūtra, widely referenced passages from the earlier translations of the *Daśabhūmikabhāṣya-śāstra (Shidi jinglun 十地經論, Commentary on the Ten Stages [of the Avataṃsaka-sūtra] T no. 1522) where one finds discussions about the ten states of the path of a bodhisattva, discussions from the Mahāyānasaṃgraha-śāstra (She dasheng lun 攝大乘論, T nos. 1592–1594), and even references to the teachings presented in treatises written by the disciples of Xuanzang 玄奘 (fl. 602–664) and his so-called Ci’en intellectual 慈恩宗 tradition, the scriptural and intellectual basis for Zongmi’s teachings and approach to Huayan-Chan was primarily the Yuanjue jing 圓覺經 (The Book of Perfect Enlightenment, T no. 842) and Dasheng Qixin lun 大乘起信論 (Awakening of Faith in the Mahāyāna, T no. 1667). Furthermore, consecutively, those who considered themselves to have been the followers of Zongmi, including Zixuan 子璿 (ca. 965–1038), among others, added the Shoulengyan jing 首楞嚴經 (*Śūraṃgama-sūtra, T no. 945) as another foundational text. The use of these texts can be seen through the lens of emphasizing how Huayan teachings incorporated many key concepts from Heze Chan, and introduced both a substantial new theoretical framework and emphasis on praxis for the revived Huayan-Chan.5

Several of the primary teachings presented in the Avataṃsaka-sūtra in Chinese translation are the concepts of sanjie weiyixin 三界唯一心 (the triple world is but one mind), shengfo xiangji 生佛相即 (unity of sentient beings and Buddha, both of which were used by Zhiyan and Fazang as the basis or framework of their doctrinal suppositions about the foundational teachings of the Avataṃsaka-sūtra: chongchong wujin sanmei 重重無盡三昧 (endlessly layered realms of samādhi). This system became known as the guoshang xian 果上現 (phenomena emerging from the resultant [already awakened mind]) doorway – or method to comprehend enlightenment. However, it must be noted that this system, reliant as it was upon profound practices of meditation as in chanding 禪定, as well as highly metaphysical, abstract conceptual thinking about the true nature of existence, by the 11th century, was considered overly abstract and too complex to be properly understood. One criticism of this expansive and esoteric – a synonym of opaque, rather than the opposite of exoteric – way of thinking was to call it yuanli duanjiu 緣理斷九 (cutting off the realm of Buddha from the other nine realms), expressing the sentiment that the teachings were too far-removed from or indifferent to the realm of sentiment beings. So it was inevitable that Zongmi sought a way to make such profound doctrine more accessible and practical.

Traditional, indigenous Chinese thought systems early on – centuries before Zhiyan, Fazang, or even Zongmi – developed theoretical foundations concerning the idea of xinxing 心性 (nature of the mind). We can see elements of early Chinese approaches to the nature of the mind in pre-Qin dynasty (221–206 BCE) period so-called Confucian texts, as well as in treatises composed by proponents of the “Mysterious” or “Dark” learning (Xuanxue 玄學) school of thought during the 3rd–4th centuries. Early Buddhist commentators in China who composed commentaries and treatises during the period of the Northern and Southern dynasties (386–589) were very much concerned with questions about the nature of the mind. When Buddhist treatises composed in India or Central Asia we now consider to fit within the category of the Yogācāra school of intellectual thought were first transmitted to China, and, of course, after the massive translation efforts by Xuanzang and his team to share the then current philosophical systems of thought in India with educated Chinese Buddhists and their patrons, the topic of the nature of the mind received considerably more attention. In particular, the Yogācāra theory of the mind with eight (sometimes nine) consciousnesses and corresponding cognition of objects made a considerable impression upon intellectually-inclined Chinese Buddhist writers in medieval China. A new level of epistemological discourse developed within the Chinese Buddhist tradition by the 8th century at the latest. After the discovery of lost Chan texts from the so-called Library cave (no. 17) from the Mogao Grottoes 莫高窟 near Dunhuang 敦煌, in Gansu province 甘肅省, China, at the turn of the 20th century, we learned considerably more about how thinking about the mind was a key focus for several early Chan texts, most notably including the Lengqie shizi ji 楞伽師資記 (Record of the Teachings of the Masters of Laṅkā).6

Regarding concepts or theories of mind-cognition, Chan texts seem to have absorbed much from translations of Indic treatises about the perfection of wisdom (bore 般若, prajñā as in Prajñāpāramitā) and Consciousness-only (weishi 唯識, vijñāptimātratā). Yet Chan teachings are noticeably straightforward when speaking about the nature of the mind. Furthermore, writers or compilers of Chan texts renounced much of the complicated theoretical jargon found in translations of Indic materials, focusing primarily on using more direct means to express how to help practitioners achieve a means to enlightenment. Of course this approach to Buddhist teachings offered revolutionary changes, but its methods were not summarily adopted by everyone in Chinese Buddhist monasteries, and more often than not, the teachings were understood by practitioners – especially by the 11th century – to have developed into a type of unsubstantiated formalism we can see today in the Chan compendia such as the later Biyan lu 碧岩錄 (Blue Cliff Record, T no. 2003) or Wumen guan 無門關 (Gateless Checkpoint, T no. 2005).

In light of such circumstances, Zongmi integrated positions regarding Chan doctrines, including perspectives about practice, with Huayan teachings that emphasize theoretical and critical-logical approaches, and proposed what became the Huayan-Chan doctrine. From discussions of the yuanjue miaoxin 圓覺妙心 (profound wonderful mind of perfect enlightenment) in the Yuanjue jing, the concept of yixin ji zhongshengxin 一心即眾生心 (‘one mind’ is the mind of all sentiment beings) in the indigenous Chinese Dasheng qixin lun 大乘起信論, among other texts, Zongmi found inspiration, and used these as the bases with which to integrate the Heze Chan teachings of yixin 一心 (one-mind) and the ideas of lingzhi bumei 靈知不昧 (numinous awareness that is not obscured), jizhi (knowing stillness) of the zhizhi yizi and zhongmiao zhimen 知之一字,眾妙之門 (focus on the one character as the profound path/doorway) to propose his zhenxin 真心 (sincere mind) theory, and his notion of studying the doctrinal teachings and Chan meditation as one entity.7 In his works, zhenxin is often given as zhenshi xin 真實心 (truthful mind), or juedai zhenxin 絕待真心 (absolute sincere mind), lingxin 靈心 (numinous or spiritual mind), yixin 一心 (single/one mind) and other examples. This is precisely the example that Ran Yunhua raised in his research, noting that “This concept of zhenshixin represents the highest level of Zongmi’s theoretical framework, and the core of his philosophy.”8

In the following sections of this paper, I examine a series of Huayan-Chan tradition related texts, which were once circulated throughout the Northern Song, Liao and Xixia kingdoms, in order to discuss the widespread dissemination of Huayan-Chan tradition in the northeast region of East Asia during the 11th century.

2 On the Dissemination of Huayan-Chan Teachings during the Northern Song Dynasty in China

The spread of Huayan-Chan Buddhism during the Northern Song dynasty can be reviewed from both the perspectives of northern and southern territories. China’s economic center had already shifted south, prompting remarkable expansion in the Jiangnan region south of the Yangtze River. Following this rapid economic expansion in the southern region, factionalism and competition between the Chan teachers of Southern Chan lineages of the Chan school, Tiantai teachers, and Huayan teachers gradually became more and more obvious as their groups vied for the economic and political support of their followers and patrons. By contrast, in the north, which served as the political and administrative center of the Northern Song empire, Buddhist traditions and schools of thought merged. In fact, before the Jin 金 (1115–1234) kingdom overtook Northern Song control of the area around the Yellow river, there is no sign of any exclusive Huayan school, tradition, or faction taking shape. However, regardless of discussing the history of Buddhism either in the northern or southern regions of the Northern Song dynasty, it is undeniable that the Southern Chan school or tradition enjoyed overwhelming institutional dominance. Even if we only consider the internal networks of Huayan teachers, Zongmi’s Huayan-Chan doctrinal teachings ultimately became mainstream.

In the south during the Northern Song period there is no more important figure of the Huayan tradition or school of teachers than Jinshui Jingyuan 晉水淨源 (1011–1088). Jingyuan represents the primary founder of the faction belonging to the Huiyin temple 慧因寺 in the Jiangnan region, and the lineage of teachers from this temple continued to exert considerable influence through the beginning of the Mongol Yuan dynasty (1271–1368). In terms of the history of Buddhism in this region and of Huayan teaching in particular, Jingyuan is often considered the patriarch responsible for restoring the Huayan tradition after the fall of the Tang in the early 10th century. Yet, as I have discussed elsewhere, even though during the Tang dynasty figures including Zhiyan and Fazang established unique philosophical frameworks, and individuals like Chenguan and Zongmi possessed a definitive sectarian awareness, we cannot speak with any certainty about any fully-formed Huayan school, sect, or institutional tradition during the Tang. It was not until the Northern Song dynasty, and only then because of stimuli from the Chan and Tiantai traditions, that we can speak of anything like a separate or distinct Huayan school taking shape. Jingyuan is the earliest Huayan school faction founder that scholars are most familiar with.

The emergence of a Huayan school or faction can be marked by the following developments connected to Jingyuan. First, Jingyuan established a Huayan tradition line of transmission and a patriarchal lineage, which was based around the establishment of a ceremony to venerate the Huayan patriarchs, thereby corresponding with concurrent rituals or ceremonies within Song Chan and Tiantai temples and monasteries. Second, during the time of Yihe 義和 (d.u.), one of Jingyuan’s disciples, we see the compilation, editing, and addition into the Chinese Buddhist canon (Dazang jing 大藏經) of many commentarial texts by the former patriarchs of this newly established Huayan school.9 This demonstrates a form of official, institutional recognition of an independent, established Huayan school or tradition. Third, because of the efforts of Jingyuan and others, the Huayan school established an exclusive network of temples and centers of Huayan learning. These temples had storehouses (or libraries) called Huayan jingzang 華嚴經藏 (alt. Huayan jingcang) to exclusively conserve Huayan commentaries and books, as well as Patriarchal Halls (Huayan zutang 華嚴祖堂) where rituals and ceremonies could be performed to honor the Huayan patriarchs. Most importantly, the abbots charged with overseeing these Huayan temples and monasteries could only be appointed from teachers with Huayan school lineage or transmission. These monastics became the patriarchs’ progeny who guaranteed economic support and patronage for the expansion of the school beyond Hangzhou and the Jiangnan region.10 Therefore, if we seek to better understand the history of the development of the Huayan school during the Northern Song dynasty, it is essential to examine the representative figure – and putative founder – Jingyuan and his principle students or disciples. But we must also consider the figures who Jingyuan considered to be his teachers in the post-Tang Huayan lineage, which includes his teacher Changshui Zixuan 長水子璿 (965–1038), a figure who fused Huayan and Chan ideas in his own teachings.11 Zixuan became renowned across Song China because of his commentaries on the Shoulengyan jing, and he was adept at using Chan gongan (kōans), which have been recorded in numerous Chan/ Zen chronicles.

The scriptures most revered by Jingyuan were the Qixin lun and Shoulengyan jing. He purportedly was also inspired by several texts attributed to Dushun 杜順 (557–640), including the Fajie guanmen 法界觀門 (Gates of Observation of the Dharma Realm or Gaṇḍavyūha), Fazang’s Wangjin huanyuan guan 妄盡還源觀 ([Treatise] to Eradicate False Thoughts and Return to Original Meditative Insight), and the Zhaolun 肇論 (The Treatise of Seng Zhao 僧肇 [384–414], T no. 1858), which was one of the most influential texts cited in treatises written by Chan and Huayan teachers.12 When he was a young monastic learning about the key commentaries written by Tang dynasty and Northern and Southern dynasties period (386–589) teachers, most of the texts he studied were written about the teachings of the Dilun 地論 (Daśabhūmi-vyākhyāna-śāstra, T no. 1522). Furthermore, it was not until Jingyuan was already in his fifties that some of the most important texts by Zhiyan and Fazang were returned to China.13 Thus, it is not difficult to imagine why Jingyuan’s philosophical teachings and ideas would be more in accord with those of Chengguan and Zongmi, and not with Zhiyan and Fazang. Although Jingyuan later had a major role in collating and publishing Fazang’s works, still, he was mainly focused on Fazang’s Wangjin huanyuan guan text, which was reportedly based on the Qixin lun, and Jingyuan produced a sub-commentary to this text called the Huayan wangjin yuanjin guan shuchao bujie 華嚴妄盡還源觀疏鈔補解 (Sub-commentary with Transcriptions and Supplementary Explications of the ([Treatise] to Eradicate False Thoughts and Return to Original Meditative Insight, X no. 994, hereafter Bujie).

In his Bujie Jingyuan emphasizes how in chanting and careful examination of this text, aside from the Ocean Seal samādhi (Haiyin sanmei 海印三昧) section of the Avataṃsaka-sūtra and other sections which are understood to have been taken from (e.g., jing yun 經云) the Dhammapada (Faju jing 法句經, T no. 210), all other parts come from the Qixin lun. It can also be recognized that other teachings from the Qixin lun are addressed in this pivotal text, including three of the five omnipresent mental factors that function as a part of consciousnesses (san bianxing 三徧行, sarvatraga), four virtues (side 四德), five means to achieve stillness (wuzhi 五止), and the six kinds of contemplation (liuguan 六觀). Jingyuan further states that “In unfolding all the scriptures to the end of each roll, each one returns to the concept of the one mind” (shi shu zhongjuan, jiegui yixin ye 始舒終卷,皆歸一心也).14 With these annotations, Jingyuan clearly points out that the Wangjin huanyuan guan text is based on the Qixin lun, and not considerably on the teachings of the Avataṃsaka-sūtra. Moreover, Jingyuan felt that not only were such comparisons relevant, but that the yixin (one mind) concept that derived from Qixin lun was, in fact, the true objective or teaching of the Huayan school as he saw it. Based on this key understanding of the importance of the Qixin lun, the putative author of the Qixin lun, Aśvaghoṣa (Maming 馬鳴, ca. 80–150 CE), should therefore be considered the founder of the Huayan school.

In his sub-commentaries to Sengzhao’s Zhaolun, the Zhongwu jijie 中吳 集解 (Zhongwu Collected Annotations to the Zhaolun) and Lingmo chao 令模鈔 (Lingmo Notes Collected Annotations to the Zhaolun), which was only preserved outside China in the archives of Shinpukuji 真福寺 in Nagoya, Japan, Jingyuan expresses a similar perspective when he says that, “Regarding the foundation of all things, nothing is more important than the one mind’ in attaining the one mind, nothing probes deeper than the four annotated collections of the Zhaolun(fu zong wanyou zhi ben, mo da hu yixin; zong yixin zhi yuan, mo shen hu silun 夫總萬有之本,莫大乎一心;宗一心之源,莫深乎四論).15 Jingyuan’s emphasis on the Qixin lun and its ideas of yixin (one mind), zhenxin (sincere mind), and not the fundamental teachings of the Avataṃsaka-sūtra demonstrates how he followed the teachings of Zongmi.

In the mid- to late-11th century, the northern Chinese Buddhist monk Bensong emerged as the representative figure who utilized the enhanced institutional support for the Chan school of his day to spread the teachings, doctrines, and emergent Huayan school from the south where Jingyuan was located into a single tradition or school. Scholarship about the Huayan teachers during the Northern Song dynasty and Song Buddhism in general has largely overlooked Bensong. However, in recent years, due to the rediscovery of his important text, the Fajieguan tongxuan ji 法界觀通玄記 (Record of the Profundities of Complete Meditative Insight of the Dharmadhātu), Bensong has become an increasingly important figure.16 Bensong’s Tongxuan ji is one of the rare works that was left out of the Buddhist canon. Furthermore, its loss and misplacement for many years significantly impacted and restricted the advancement of research about Bensong. In addition to this important text, the other extant text by Bensong is the Huayan qizi jingti fajie guan sanshi men song 華嚴七字經題法界觀門三十門頌 (Thirty Verses Praising the Seven Characters from the Avataṃsaka-sūtra about the Contemplative Approach to the Dharmadhātu; hereafter Sanshi men song). Beginning with the compilation of the Yongle-era (1402–1424) Northern edition of the printed Buddhist Canon (Yongle beizang 永樂北藏) during the early Ming dynasty (1368–1644), Bensong’s Sanshi men song could be found in canonical collections. However, because Bensong’s Tongxuan ji was lost for so many years, it was not possible for previous scholars to compare these two important texts that reveal a great deal about the history of Huayan teachings during the Northern Song dynasty.17

Bensong’s Tongxuan ji represents the greatest reflection of Huayan-Chan school thinking which we have access to from the Northern Song period. Based on the commentaries of Bensong’s contemporaries, we can deduce something of his knowledge and devotion to the text as follows:

“After listening to a recitation of the Avataṃsaka-sūtra, Bensong could completely comprehend its profound meaning; he spent his life pursuing the great Chan masters and sites, and finally penetrated the ultimate goal of awakening … through the guiding principles of his texts, the complete and deepened insight (eye) of the Chan doorway is revealed.” “In the principals of his words, the essence of the vast ocean-like nature and all its waves gathers; the phrases deep and profound, flicker the acute perspective (eye) of the Chan method or doorway.”18 Considering Bensong’s standing in the Buddhist community in Northern Song China, and the influence his works had on both the Northern Song and Xixia kingdoms, it is not unreasonable to conclude that Bensong was one of the most seminal figures in the history of Northern Song Huayan-Chan Buddhism. It is important to note that Bensong used Chan concepts to interpret Huayan teachings, and utilized Chan teaching principles to help followers enter into the Huayan doctrines. But he did not seek to completely substitute Chan for Huayan, or to dissolve Huayan into Chan or vice versa. His text Sanshi men song is a complete reflection of the Fajie guanmen, and showcases how the lishi guan idea is its main principle. Therefore, we see that Bensong emphasizes, “If one deeply understands the teachings of Dushun (as the founder of Huayan school), what is the need for Zhaozhou [Congshen’s] 趙州從諗 (778–897) Chan.” In the Northern Song period there were many Chan monks who absorbed Huayan philosophy, including the well-known figure, Yuanwu Keqin 圓悟克勤 (1063–1135), who expanded and edited the seminal Chan gong’an 公案 (public case) collection, Biyan lu.

3 On the Transmission of Huayan-Chan Buddhism in the Xixia (Tangut) Kingdom

Based on the extant texts from Khara-Khoto (Heishui cheng 黑水城) in western Inner Mongolia, where a stūpa that contained over 2,000 books, scrolls, and manuscripts in the Tangut and Chinese languages was excavated by Pyotr Kuzmich Kozlov (1863–1935) who led a Russian expedition to the region in 1907–1909, and other Tangut texts composed in the Chinese and Tangut languages later during the Mongol Yuan and Ming dynasties, we are able to largely deduce the position occupied by the Huayan-Chan school in the Xixia kingdom. Due to a scarcity of materials, the information we know about Buddhism in the Xixia kingdom and even about its overall history remains very little.19 Many conclusions about the life and times of the Xixia state still await more in depth studies. Fortunately, in recent years there has been a series of archaeological excavations of several Buddhist related sites with artefacts from the Xixia kingdom from sites including Khara-khoto, Baisigou 拜寺沟 (a square stūpa discovered in 1990 in Helan county 賀蘭縣, Ningxia province), Shanzuigou 山嘴沟 (grottoes discovered in 2005 in the neighboring Helan mountains), among others, and these discoveries have afforded scholars with ample information to provide several basic assessments. Based on these new materials, we have been able to understand that the Northern Song Huayan school teachings were spread considerably throughout the Xixia kingdom.20 A large proportion of the Buddhist texts discovered at sites dating from the Xixia era reflect the presence of considerable influences from the Chinese Huayan-Chan school. In particular, there are many texts which concern the Huayan-Chan tradition represented by Zongmi’s zhenxin perspective. We can conclude from these that the Huayan-Chan tradition had a significant influence on the Xixia kingdom or region.21

There are several texts which reflect the works of Zongmi and his disciples. In addition to the Tangut translations of Zongmi’s Chanyuan [zhuquanji du] xu 禪源 [諸詮集都] 序 (Preface to the Collection of Chan Sources, cf. T no. 2015) and Zhonghua chuanxindi chanmen shizi chengxitu 中華傳心地禪門師資承 襲圖 (Chart of the master-disciple succession of the Chan gate that transmits the mind-ground in China, cf. X no. 1225), in Tangut we have the Quanfa puti xin wen 勸發菩提心文 (Admonitions to Develop Bodhicitta, cf. X no. 1010-A), which was originally composed in Chinese by Zongmi’s lay disciple Pei Xiu 裴休 (791–864).22 There are also two annotated texts in Tangut to Zongmi’s Chan Preface, given here in reconstructed Chinese: the Jidu xu 集都序 (Preface to the Complete Compilation), with the full title Zhushuo Chanyuan jidu xu gangwen 諸說禪源集都序綱文 (Outline Text to the Preface to the Collection of Chan Sources), and the Zhushuo Chanyuan jidu xu zeju ji 諸說禪源集都序擇炬記 (Record of Vivid Selections from the Preface to the Collection of Chan Sources). We have also found works by Northern Song dynasty figures already mentioned in this paper, including Zixuan, Jingyuan, and Bensong, who were particularly inspired by the writings of Zongmi about Huayan and Chan teachings. Over and above block-printed editions and hand-copied manuscript editions of these texts in Chinese from Xixia sites, many of their works were translated into Tangut. For example, we have in Tangut Jingyuan’s Yunjian leijie 雲間類解 (Abstracts from the Songjiang 松江 [Yunjian is an appellation for Songjiang or the Jiangnan region including Hangzhou] area about the Golden Lion Treatise, cf. X no. 1880), and Bensong’s Tongxuan ji.23 Bensong was a highly regarded figure in the Xixia kingdom, and the only patriarch from the Song included in the Dongtu zhengchuan Huayan zushi 東土正傳華嚴祖師 (Orthodox Huayan School Patriarchs of the Eastern Land) with the five Tang period patriarchs: Dushun, Zhiyan, Fazang, Chengguan, and Zongmi.24

Related to these textual examples is the extant Sanguan jiumen 三觀九門 (Three Contemplations and Nine Gates) written in the Tangut language.25 This text, which concerns the Fajie guanmen and other Huayan meditative or contemplation treatises, provides a taxonomy of the teachings or panjiao 判教 that particularly emphasizes the position of esoteric or secret teachings Buddhism (mizong 密宗), and promotes the philosophy of zhenxin (true mind). By elevating the position of zhenxin teachings above the so-called first patriarch Dushun, this text breaks with established traditions in Chinese Buddhism concerning the Huayan transmission narrative. The author of this text is given as Baiyun Shizi 白雲釋子. Scholars have competing views about who this figure was. Therefore, it is difficult to determine if this individual is, in fact, the Song dynasty founding figure of the Baiyun zong 白雲宗 (White cloud school) Baiyun Qingjue 白雲清覺 (1043–1121) or someone from the Xixia kingdom.26 The teachings of the Baiyun school were influenced considerably by esoteric Buddhist teachings. But the founding principles of this school or tradition are primarily based upon the Avataṃsaka-sūtra, and its teachings advocate for a combination of Confucian, Buddhist and Daoist teachings. Therefore, the appraisal of this text belonging to the Baiyun school seems like a reasonable conclusion. However, if we look at the biographical notes and materials associated with Baiyun Qingjue, then this text is not listed in any catalogues attributing texts to him. Despite this evidence, this text clearly demonstrates the characteristics of a Xixia period Huayan-Chan text. Moreover, similar texts that can now be definitively attributed to monks of the Xixia kingdom and are extant in Tangut include the Yuanxin jing 圓心鏡 (Mirror of the Perfect Mind), Hongzhou zongshi jiaoii 洪州宗師教儀 (Manual of the Teachings of the Patriarchs of the Hongzhou School), Hongzhou zongqu kaiming yaoji 洪州宗趣開明要集 (Collection of Essential Teachings to Instigate Awakening according to the Hongzhou School), among other examples.27 In the last two texts, despite containing the characters for Hongzhou (Referring to the School of Chan) in their titles, their content is clearly that of Zongmi’s Heze school of Chan.28 When comparing the situation of the spread of Buddhist teachings and practices in the Xixia region that was contemporaneous with the Northern Song dynasty in China, we see an overall institutional – or at least textual – dominance of the Chan lineages that derive from Hongzhou school teachings, with few traces of Heze Chan teachings in China, which means that the character of Huayan-Chan teachings in the Xixia region is unique.

Among the extant Xixia texts we can also include several Huayan-Chan related works written by Liao Buddhists. There is an unattributed text written in Chinese titled, Jiexin zhaoxin tu 解心照心圖 (Chart Illustrating the Mind according to [the Ways of] Understanding and Practice), Daoshen’s 道㲀 (1056?–1114?) Xianmi yuantong chengfo xinyao ji 顯密圓通成佛心要集 (Collection of Essentials for Realization of Buddhahood in the Perfect Penetration of the Exoteric and Secret Teachings, T no. 1955), and Tongli Hengce’s 通理恆策 (fl. ca. 1048–1098) Jiujing yicheng yuanming xinyi 究竟一乘圓明心義), among others. There is also a Tangut translation of Daoshen’s Jingxin lu 鏡心錄 (Record of the Mirror of the Mind), but not a Chinese version.29 The Xixia and Northern Song empires were in a state of almost constant war. By contrast, Buddhist teachers from the Liao kingdom exerted greater influence upon their co-religionists in the Xixia state. It may be worth reiterating that we can see considerable influence by Daoshen in Xixia Buddhism, and many of the extant documents from the Xixia region relate to him.

On top of those works that were translated into the Tangut language, there is the unattributed work of the Jiexin zhaoxin tu. Despite the fact that the introductory sections of the text are missing from the extant edition, based upon excerpts from within the surviving sections that we do have, where we find phrases like er, anxin men zhe, xianshuo jianxing, fuji anxin 二,安心 門者,先說見性,復及安心 (two, as for the gate to producing a peaceful mind, first we speak of one’s own originally enlightened mind, and only after that can the mind be peaceful), among other terms, we can see that the text speaks of three key terms: jianxing (seeing one’s [true enlightened] nature), anxin (peaceful or still mind), and xiu wanxing 修萬行 (cultivating the myriad practices). These three methodological teachings reflect palpable influences from Daoshen’s Xianmi yuantong chengfo xin yaoji.30 Daoshen’s Xianmi yuantong chengfo xin yaoji is more complex when it presents these three teachings, and there are noticeable influences from esoteric Buddhist practices there as well. But the text also reflects a clear amalgamation of Huayan-Chan ideas derived from the Fajie guanmen, which is evident in the discussion of observation or contemplation methods taken from the Fajie guanmen.

Although it is widely known that extant documents from the Xixia kingdom are quite scare, it seems truly astonishing that, despite comparably few documents when compared to the cache of 50,000 documents found at Dunhuang, there are still so many documents from the Xixia state which concern the teachings of Huayan-Chan Buddhism. Therefore, we can conclude that the Huayan-Chan school represented one of the most active mainstream Buddhist schools or traditions within the borders of the Xixia state. Generally speaking, we know that the Buddhist schools which thrived most in the Xixia kingdom were different from those most dominant in Northern Song Chinese territory, particularly the Southern Chan lineages of the Baiyun and Linji 臨濟宗 lineages. Instead, we find Heze Chan teachings linked either directly or indirectly to Zongmi and the integration of Huayan doctrinal teachings and Chan practices promoted by Zongmi within the texts of Huayan-Chan school.

4 On the Dissemination of Huayan-Chan Buddhism in the Liao State

Buddhism in the Liao kingdom can be characterized by a mainstream tradition based upon Huayan and Yogācāra doctrinal teachings, with significant elements of esoteric Buddhist rituals and teachings.31 The extent to which we can find elements from the Chan teachings in Liao Buddhism is inconsistent. Historical records which predate master Tongli Hengce (ca. 1049–1099) demonstrate that at one time the Southern Chan school(s) suffered a severe suppression at the hands of the Liao state, which may explain why Chan teachings do not figure prominently in extant Liao Buddhist texts. It appears, therefore, that this suppression of presumably contemporary Chan teachings primarily popular in Song China restricted the dissemination of Chan in Liao territory.

Representative Liao Buddhists from the Huayan tradition include Jueyuan 覺苑 (d.u.), who compiled a commentary to the Mahāvairocana-sūtra called the Da Piluzhena chengfo shenbian jiachi jing yishi yanmi chao 大毗盧遮那成佛神變加持經義釋演密鈔 (Abridged Commentary to the Extensive Secrets of the Meaning of the Mahāvairocana-sūtra, X no. 439) circa 1077,32 Daoshen, Hengce, and Xianyan 鮮演 (d. 1118), who were active concomitantly during the 11th century when Jingyuan and Bensong were writing treatises in Northern Song China. In considering the overall defining characteristics of Buddhism under the Liao kingdom, most scholars point out a marked emphasis upon the writings of the great Tang Huayan exegete Chengguan.33 Chengguan produced a sub-commentary and a revised annotated commentary to Śikṣānanda’s (Shichanantuo 實叉難陀, 652–710) translation of the Avataṃsaka-sūtra in 80 rolls (T no. 279), which are the Huayan jingshu 華嚴經疏 (Sub-commentary to the Huayan jing, T no. 1736) and Huayan jing suishu yanyi chao 華嚴經隨疏演義鈔 (Auto Commentary to the Exegesis of the Huayan jing, T no. 1736). In Northern Song China, these two works were combined by Jingyuan into the massive – 120 juanHuayan jing shuzhu 華嚴經疏注 (Exegesis on the Commentaries to the Huayan jing, X no. 234), and made into a widely circulated composite edition we find preserved throughout East Asia in printed editions. Yet we find no other Northern Song or Xixia era examples of sub-commentaries or annotations made to Chengguan’s important Tang commentaries. But in the Liao kingdom, works relating to this text are abundant. Following the Korean monk Ŭich’ŏn 義天 (1055–1101) who traveled to Hangzhou to meet and study with Jingyuan in 1085 – Liao territory – and later compiled a still extant catalog called Sinp’yŏn chejong kyojang ch’ongnok 新編諸宗總錄 (New Catalog of the Teachings of All the Schools, T no. 2184),34 annotations to Chengguan’s sub-commentaries composed by individuals of the Liao kingdom include Daobi’s 道弼 (d.u.) Yanyi jixuan ji 演義集玄記 (Hidden Record of Collected Exegesis [about Chengguan’s commentary to the Huayan jing]) in six juan and Yanyi zhunan ke 演義逐難科 (Graded Exegesis to Dispel Difficulties [in Chengguan’s commentaries to the Huayan jing]) in one juan, and Sixiao’s (d.u.) 思孝 Xuantan chao zhunan ke 玄談鈔逐難科 (Hidden Discussions about Graded [Exegesis] to Dispel Difficulties [in Chengguan’s commentaries to the Huayan jing]) in one juan. In addition to these works, we also find Xianyan’s Da fangguang fo Huayan jing tanxuan jueze 大方廣華嚴經談玄抉擇 (Selected Hidden Discussions in Commentaries to the Huayan jing, cf. X no. 235) in six juan, and Siji’s 思積 (d.u.) Da fangguang huayan jing suishu yanyi chao xuanjing ji 大方廣華嚴經隨疏演義鈔玄鏡記 (Hidden Mirror Record about Chengguan’s Auto Commentary to the Exegesis of the Huayan jing). Because further research about the popularity of sub-commentaries, auto-commentaries, and other exegetical treatises composed by Liao Buddhists is necessary, the extent to which Chengguan’s teachings about the Avataṃsaka-sūtra under the Liao remains to be explored.35

In his early years, Chengguan studied the Chan teachings of the so-called Northern (or East Mountain) school associated with Shenxiu 神秀 (606?–706) and Niutou 牛頭 [Farong 法融] (594–657) Chan, maintaining a firm hold of each of the different lineages of Chan and their ideological frameworks and teachings.36 Furthermore, Chengguan’s thinking absorbed many elements from the Chan school, and therefore he might be considered the founder of Huayan-Chan. Yet as stated above, the Northern Song and Xixia kingdoms were more influenced by the Huayan-Chan ideas of Zongmi, which were based on the Yuanjue jing and Qixin lun. It was only during the period of the Liao kingdom that Chengguan’s influence became more broadly disseminated – especially to Korea and Japan. The teachings and textual traditions of the two branches of the Southern Chan school founded by Huineng 惠能 (638–713), the Hongzhou and Heze Chan lineages, each appear to have exerted considerable influence upon Northern Song Chinese Buddhists and Tangut Buddhists under the control of the Xixia state. Current research suggests that beyond the popularity of Hongzhou and Heze Chan teachings during the 10thearly 12th centuries, we can find considerable interest in the teachings of the Niutou Chan lineage. But in the case of Liao, the attitude towards the Southern Chan lineages in temples and monasteries across Northern Song China was highly critical. According to the postscript to a text known as the Bie chuanxin fayi 別傳心法議 (Exposition about the Exclusive Transmission of the Mind), which was apparently composed by Jiezhu 戒珠 (ca. 985–1077) for Ŭich’ŏn, the Liao emperor once ordered the Liuzu tan jing 六祖壇經 (Platform Sūtra of the Sixth Patriarch, cf. T no. 2008) and Baolun zhuan 寶林傳 (Chronicle of the Bejeweled Forest [Monastery]), among other representative Southern Chan school texts, to be removed from the Buddhist canon.37 I quote the text in question:

Let the difference between the Chan teachings of the past of today be known to all under the Liao. In the past, Chan teachings used to aid in practice. Today those who preach Chan ignore the teachings, and they preach the name of Chan, yet they lose its substance. Chan practitioners can only know its essence through proper interpretations…. Nowadays, the Emperor of the Great Liao kingdom issues an edict and orders all ordained monastics involved in hermeneutical interpretations to revise the catalogue to the canon. The so-called works, Liuzu tan jing, Baolin zhuan, and others, are to be burned. We will eliminate such falsities or spurious scriptures. Thus, we order the compilation of Chongxiu zhenyuan xulu 重修貞元續錄 (Revised and Supplemented Zhenyuan-era Catalogue [to the Buddhist Canon] in three juan to record this clearly. In the name of the Buddha, the Emperor upholds the protection of the Dharma, and as for the works composed under the Chinese state, they are heretical and leave us skeptical that the ‘Cathay’ (Huaxia 華夏) lineage is dead.38

It is clear from this passage that the Liao kingdom viewed early Chan viewpoints, including jijiao wuzong 籍教悟宗 (using doctrinal teachings to aid enlightenment, which probably originated with Bodhidharma [Puti damo 菩提達摩], 5th–6th CE) as orthodox. This was very much in line with the positions of Chengguan and Zongmi. Regarding the putative Southern Chan perspective of lijiao shuochan 離教說禪 (departing from the doctrines to preach Chan), which at the time remained in vogue among Northern Song Chinese Chan teachers, Buddhists within the Liao kingdom seem to have remained quite skeptical.

An example of Liao Buddhists’ skepticism of contemporary Chinese Chan teachings and in particular those advocating eschewing the scriptures to preach only Chan teaching stratagems, we can cite Xianyan’s previously mentioned Tanxuan jueze. One finds the idea that, “if one wishes to abandon the teachings and seek Chan, is this not more than a suppression of the Buddha-mind?” (fangyu feijiao qiuchan, qiwei yihu foxin 方欲廢教求禪,岂唯抑乎佛心), which comes from Chengguan’s Yanyi chao, cited above. There, Chengguan writes:

The Buddha speaks of mind in the sūtras, exhorts us to accord with the teachings to understand the principles, and from understanding comes meditative insight or discernment of the principles of reality, thus is stated in Commentary. The use of “transmission from mind to mind” is the aim of Bodhidharma. This mind is the intrinsically enlightened mind of all sentiment beings. Passed from master to disciple, established by means of what we call transmission. This method uses the means of Chan to transmit its guiding principles, and opens the gate(s) to Huayan enlightenment.39

Furthermore, based on the tone of Ŭich’ŏn’s writings about his time in China with Jingyuan and others, we can see not only that these viewpoints were present under the Liao, but also in the Koryŏ (918–1392) kingdom, where similar principles were highly influenced by Liao Buddhist exegetes like Xianyan, following in the footsteps of Chengguan and Zongmi.

We can see something about tensions between Chan and Teachings Buddhist teachers in Northern Song China in part from related accounts of Ŭich’ŏn, which chronicle his entry into the Song kingdom to pay a visit to the Chan master Huilin Zongben 慧林宗本 (d.u.).40 Ŭich’ŏn’s original intentions upon entering Song China were to find Jingyuan and to study Huayan doctrinal teachings. However, the imperial court had him meet with Zongben. From their first encounter, we know that Zongben employed the Chan school methodology of “opportune points” (jifeng 機鋒, lit. words that ‘prick’ the listener at opportune moments) to test Ŭich’ŏn. Ŭich’ŏn thereby responded by citing Pei Xiu’s preface to Dushun’s Fajie guanmen xu 法界觀門序 (Preface to the Gates of Observation of the Dharma Realm or Gaṇḍavyūha). Following his lead, Zongben consequently cited the same preface, albeit an incredibly long and intimidating portion of it. Ŭich’ŏn thus was forced to concede that he, “had not studied Chan” and was “without words.” This story vividly illustrates the differences in the pedagogical styles of these two individuals and perhaps of their respective traditions.41

Given special courtesy by the eighth emperor of the Liao kingdom, Daozong 道宗 (1032–1101, r. 1055–1101), Tongli master Hengce played an important role with regard to the dissemination of the teachings of the Chan school from the Song empire into the Liao kingdom. We have a rare piece of biographical information about Hengce from an inscription from the Da’anshan Lianhuayu Yanfusi Guanyintang ji 大安山蓮花峪延福寺觀音堂記 (Record of the Guanyin Hall of the Lianhuayu Yyanfu Temple of Da’an Mountain) commemorative stele. A section of it states as follows:

From the time when Chan flourished and was spread throughout the Tang and Song empires until the Liao, for successive dynasties, its teaching rose to great heights; after this the transmission of this school’s teachers reached a final flourishing, there was a deficiency of true successors. Then there were the three masters Jizhao 寂照 (d.u.), Tongyuan 通圓 (d.u.), and Tongli … These three were successors of the Caoxi school, the great successors of the “Dharma-eye.”42

From this description we can see that before Hengce, and the three other masters mentioned here, the Southern Chan school was “deficient of true successors of the school’s mind-seal,” and therefore the lineage of the Chan school was altogether transmitted into the Liao kingdom. This being the case, these three individuals were all highly regarded “ successors of the Caoxi school, and considered great successors who possessed the “Dharma-eye.” This passage is one of the only links we have to study the history of Chan between the Liao and Song states.

In addition to a fascinating passage from a commemorative stele concerning Hengce as a Chan master who inherited the lineage of Caoxi or Huineng, we also have three of his works: Jiujing yisheng yuantong xinyao 究竟一乘圓通心要 (The Meaning of the Luminous One-Mind of the Ultimate One Vehicle), Lizhiming xinjie 立志銘心戒 (Precepts to Inscribe the Commitment of the Mind), and Wushang yuanzong xinghai jietuo sanzhilü 無上圓宗性海解脱三制律 (Three Discoveries of the Unexcelled Ocean of Perfected Liberation), which were discovered at Khara-khoto. Of these three works, Yuantong xinyao can be considered the most successful example of a work to fully combine Huayan and Chan school thought.43 From this discovery in Khara-khoto we can further conclude that Hengce must have also been considered an important figure in the Xixia kingdom. Concerning whether or not the citation in this text which mentions a Great master Jizhao does in fact reference the 40th juan of Yixing Huijue’s 一行慧覺 (d. 1312) Da fangguang fo huayan jing haiyin daochang shichong xingyuan changbian lichan yi 大方廣佛華嚴經海印道場十重行願常徧禮懺儀 (Procedures for Universal Ritual Repentance of the Ten Major Practices and Vows in the Ocean Seal Enlightenment Site of the Buddhāvataṃsaka-sūtra, X 1470), a text which has the name Zhenguo Miaojue Jizhao dishi 真國妙覺寂照帝師 (Imperial Teacher of the True Kingdom Miaojue Jizhao) within a discussion of Daxiaguo hongyang Huayan zhushi 大夏國弘揚華嚴諸師 (Huayan Teachers or Masters of the Great Xia Kingdom who Disseminated [the Teachings]) is difficult to ascertain. In the same passage there appears another reference to a Jingjie Xianbei Zhenyi guoshi 淨戒鮮卑真義國師 (True and Righteous Xianbei National Teacher, Jingjie), and also a mural portrait of Zhenyi guoshi is preserved on the walls of Cave no. 29 of the Yulin Grottos 榆林石窟 (near Dunhuang, in Gansu province) whose name written is also written in the Tangut script.44 From this we can see that there are also examples of the Xixia kingdom venerating individuals from the Khitan Liao ethnic group (Yuwen branch of the Xianbei people 鮮卑宇文部) as National Teachers or State Preceptors. It is difficult to be certain whether or not Dishi (Imperial Teachers) of the Xixia kingdom were referred to as Dashi (“Great Masters”) in the Liao kingdom, or if Jizhao was actually from the Liao kingdom. Yet it does seem reasonable to conclude that this figure was referred to as an Imperial Teacher of the Xixia kingdom. Whatever the case may be, these examples show that there was significant and active exchange by masters of the Huayan-Chan tradition in related texts from Northern Song China, and the Liao and Xixia states.

5 Conclusion

Based on the case studies or examples discussed in this paper we can see substantial evidence of the following conclusions. First, in the northern areas of China during the 11th century, the teachings of the Huayan school were widely disseminated. Second, where Huayan-Chan teachings and doctrinal perspectives can be seen from textual and archaeological evidence in terms of where these texts in the Tangut and Chinese languages were discovered, the teachings recorded in texts composed by the Tang dynasty figure of Zongmi were considered to be mainstream. Third, we can observe this situation from different vantage points. For example, in the case of exchanges between elite, educated Confucian-scholar officials and ordained Buddhist monks, in the works of the scholar officials, their discourse and rhetoric often reveals influences from Huayan teachings. This paper places particular emphasis upon investigating the circulation and dissemination of texts, and in particular the history of texts we have evidence for from outside the printed Buddhist canons in Chinese. The results of our investigation show that the Northern Song, Liao, and Xixia empires each had several representative monastic figures who produced works reflecting certain Huayan-Chan school ideological characteristics. These works circulated among these three kingdoms. In order for these monastics to have exchanged their works, the Northeast Asian region (encompassing the 11th century territory of the Northern Song, Xixia, Liao, and Korean Koryŏ states) must have become a center of exchange for representatives of the Huayan and Huayan-Chan traditions. The translation of scriptures and commentarial treatises from Chinese into Tangut, for example, not only vividly presents the situation regarding the contemporaneous dissemination of Huayan school teachings in different regions, but it also helps us to, in a general sense, understand more clearly the overall, fascinating history of the dissemination and transmission of Buddhist texts and teachings in the immediate post-Tang period.

Aside from the Song Chinese, and Khitan language texts which originated in the Song and Liao regions and were translated into Tangut language discussed in this paper, we have also found archaeological evidence from the regions of the Xixia state Chinese language documents and materials which were translated into Tibetan. It is well known that the history of the transmission of Buddhist literature into China can be seen as a history of translation. Supplemented by a nearly continuous flow of texts from the western and Indic regions, which were written Central Asian (e.g., Khotanese), Sanskrit, and other Indic languages that entered China, cultural influences from Central, South, and West Asia concurrently arrived within the often shifting borders of the Middle Kingdom. If we consider this period through the early- to mid-8th century as the first phase of translation, then we can say that the second phase refers to the circulation and dissemination of Chinese language Buddhist texts into surrounding regions. This notion indicates that the worldwide center of Buddhism had already shifted to China by the mid-8th through 11th centuries. The case of Chinese monks who established the Huayan-Chan school and gradually disseminated or circulated their texts, ideas, doctrinal principles, teaching stratagems, and practices to neighboring states outside China is, therefore, a precise case and point.

Translated by George A. Keyworth

University of Saskatchewan, Canada

george.keyworth@usask.ca

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1

On Song-Liao relations, see Franke, “Two Sons of Heaven: Studies in Sung-Liao Relations,”; Tao, “Barbarians or Northerners: Northern Sung Images of the Khitans” in China Among Equals; Tackett, The Origins of the Chinese Nation.

2

Scholars in Japan have studied the connections between Chan (Zen) and Huayan (Kegon) thought since the early 20th century (e.g., Yusuki Ryōei 湯次了栄, Wakiya Kiken 脇谷 撝謙, and D.T. Suzuki), but Takamine Ryoshu 高峰了州, Kegon to Zen to no tsūro is a landmark study, and Ishii Shūdō 石井修道, “Sūgyōroku ni oyoboshita Chōkan no chosaku no eikyō ni tsuite: Emei Enju no kyōzen itchi setsu seiritsu katei no gimon” is a short, pivotal paper on the subject. See especially Kamata, Kegongaku kenkyū shiryō shūsei, 567. Scholarship in English addresses aspects of the encounter between Chan and Huayan thought, but Gimello and Gregory, eds., Studies in Ch’an and Hua-yen, is still the best edited volume on the subject.

3

Yoshizu Yoshihide, Kegonzen no shisōshi teki kenkyū.

4

Dong Qun, “Lun Huayan Chan zai foxue he lixue zhijian de zhongjie zuoyong, see https://www.liaotuo.com/fjrw/jsrw/dq/66300.html, accessed 15 July 2020. This paper states the following point (original text citation): “华严禅, 可以从广义和狭义两方面来考察其含义, 广义而言, 华严禅是宗密所代表的以真心为基础, 内融禅宗之顿渐两宗、佛教之禅教两家, 外融佛教和儒道两教的整合性的思想体系, 这一体系的最核心的融合内容, 是华严宗和荷泽禅的融合, 宗密以荷泽思想释华严, 又以华严思想释荷泽禅, 视两者为完全合一;狭义而言, 华严禅体现出融华严理事方法论, 理事分析和理事无碍、事事无碍的方法入禅的禅法。不论是狭义或广义的理解, 华严禅体现出的一个核心的特征是融合, 不同思想流派之间的交流、沟通的整合, 而这两种意义上的华严禅, 在宗密之后的唐末、五代和两宋时代, 都有流行.” This definition does not necessarily agree with the explanation of the Huayan-Chan school presented in this paper.

5

Zongmi formulated several revisions of this text. These revisions by Zongmi were then inherited by Jingyuan and other followers, eventually constructing a rather systematic version of a novel type of precept ordinations. See below.

6

There is a long list of scholarship about the Chan texts discovered at Dunhuang, but the overview of Dunhuang studies about Chan in Robson, “Brushes with Some ‘Dirty Truths’: 324–326, fn. 327 and van Schaik, Tibetan Zen: Discovering a Lost Tradition; The Spirit of Zen should suffice here.

7

Lü Cheng, Zhongguo foxue yuanliu lüejiang, 203. This book for the first time points out that the concept of zhenxin (sincere mind) is Zongmi’s central idea. He specifically points out how the Qixin lun was the source for Zongmi’s understanding of this important idea. Chapter 4, “Zongmi de zhuti sixiang – juedui zhenxin 宗密的主體思想-絕對真心” (The Main Ideology of Zongmi: Absolute Sincere Mind) in Ran Yunhua Zongmi addresses the same question of the relationship between the Qixin lun in Zongmi’s Huayan-Chan thought.

8

Zongmi, 150. Ran’s research points out that Zongmi’s zhenshi xin (truthful mind) has both a broad and a narrow sense. The narrow sense refers to juexin 覺心 (awakened or enlightened mind).

9

On the history of the printed Chinese Buddhist canons, see Fang, “Defining the Chinese Buddhist Canon: Its Origin, Periodization, and Future; Wu, “From the ‘Cult of the Book’ to the ‘Cult of the Canon’: Wu and Lucille Chia (New York: Columbia University Press, 2016); Jiang Wu et al., eds., Reinventing the Tripitaka: Transformation of the Buddhist Canon in Modern East Asia. See also the seminal work of Shiina Kōyū, Sō-Gen ban Zenseki no kenkyū.

10

Wang Song, Songdai Huayan sixiang yanjiu.

11

Yoshida Takeshi, “Hoku Sōdai ni okeru Kegon kōryū no keii – Kegon kyōgakushi ni okeru Chōsui Shisen no ichi zuke.

12

See chapter three, “Zhaolun sixiang bianzheng ji qi yu Shitou zong de guanlian in Gong Juan, Chan shi gouchen: yi wenti wei zhongxin de sixiang shilun.

13

Brose, “Crossing Thousands of Li of Waves.

14

Wangjin huanyuan guan shuchao bujie, X no. 994, 58: 183c16–17.

15

Itō Takatoshi and Lin Mingyu (Rin Meiu), eds., Zhaolun jijie Lingmo chao jiaoshi, which published the text kept in the archives at Shinpuku temple, in Nagoya, Japan. For my own research I consulted the original text in Japan.

16

Wang Song, “Bensong yu Fajie guan men tongxuan ji: Riben Lizheng daxue zang Tongxuan ji ji qi zhoubian de kaocheng.

17

Wang Song, “Songdai Bensong huitong Huayan yu chan – yi Huayan qizi jingti fajie guan sanshi mensong kaocha wei zhongxin.

18

Zhu fajie guan men song yin 注法界觀門頌引 (Commentary on the Verses Praising the Gate of Observation of the Dharma Realm or Gaṇḍavyūha), edited by Congzhan 琮湛 (n.d.), T no. 1885, 45: 692b26–c24.

19

Dunnell, “Who Are the Tanguts? Remarks on Tangut Ethnogenesis and the Ethnonym Tangut,”; “The Fall of the Xia Empire: Sino-Steppe Relations in the Late 12th–early 13th Centuries” “The Hsi Hsia” in The Cambridge History of China: Volume 6, Alien Regimes and Border States, 907–1368; The Great State of White and High: Buddhism and State Formation in Eleventh-century Xia; “Central Asia in World History,”; “44. Esoteric Buddhism Under the Xixia (1038–1227)” in Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia. See also citations to research published in English by K.J. Solonin, below.

20

There are many extant block-cut editions of the Avataṃsaka-sūtra from the Xixia state. See Nishida Tatsuo, Seikago no kenkyū: Seikago no saikōsei to Seika moji no kaidoku, 290–292. See also Nishida Tatsuo, Seikabun Kegongyō and Shi Jinbo , Xixia fojiao shilüe, 156–157.

21

Solonin (索羅寧), “Tangut Chan Buddhism and Guifeng Zongmi,” Solonin, “Hongzhou Buddhism in Xixia and the Heritage of Zongmi (780–841): A Tangut Source,” “Xixia fojiao de zhenxin sixiang.

22

Cf. the brief discussion of Pei Xiu’s text in Tangut in “The Formation of Tangut Ideology: Buddhism and Confucianism.”

23

Sun Bojun, “Heishui cheng chutu xixiawen Jinzi zhang yunjian lei jie kaoshi 黑水城出土西夏文「金师子章云间类解」考释,”.

24

See Yixing Huijue’s 一行慧覺 (d. 1312) Da fangguang fo Huayan jing haiyin daochang shizhong xingyuan changpian lichan yi 大方廣佛華嚴經海印道場十重行願常徧禮 懺儀 (Procedures for Universal Ritual Repentance of the Ten Major Practices and Vows in the Ocean Seal Enlightenment Site of the Avataṃsaka-sūtra), X no. 1470, 74: 356a11–23.

25

For a careful analysis of the content and discussion of the Sanguan jiumen, see my unpublished article presented at the International Conference about Manuscript and Printed Editions of the Buddhist Canon at the International College for Postgraduate Buddhist Studies in Tokyo on 27 July, 2017, Wang Song, “Hokusō Seika Ryō ni okeru Kegon to Zen to no kōshō: Honshū no futatsu no chosaku to Sankan kyūmon to no hikaku o chūshin to shite.

26

See chap. 3 in Sun Bojun, Xixia wenxian congkao. See also Solonin, “Baiyun Shizi sanguan jiumen chutan. Solonin believes this text may have been composed in Tangut, while Sun Bojun maintains that it was composed in Chinese.

27

“Xixiawen Yuanxin jing kao.”

28

Yuan Shiwei, “Xixia Huayan Chan sixiang yu Dangxiang minzu de wenhua gexing – Xixia wenxian Jiexingzhaoxintu ji Hongzhou zongshi jiaoyi jiedu.

29

Solonin, “The Teaching of Daoshen in Tangut Translation: The Mirror of Mind*”.

30

See the edition in Shanghai guji chubanshe, ed. Ecang Dunhuang wenxian, vol. 5.

31

Already in 1913, Wakiya Kiken, “Ryō Kin bukkyō no chūshin (1913) made the observation that the Huayan school represented the mainstream Buddhist teachings found in the Liao and Jin kingdoms. See also Nogami Shunjō, Ryō Kin no bukkyō, 67.

32

On Jueyuan and his commentary, see Sørensen, “43. Esoteric Buddhism Under the Liao” in Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia, 456–457; Solonin, “‘Chan Contemplation’ in Tangut Buddhism.”

33

On Chengguan, see Guo Cheen, Translating Totality in Parts: Chengguan’s Commentaries and Subcommentaries to the Avatamsaka Sutra; Hamar, A Religious Leader in the Tang: Chengguan’s Biography.

34

McBride, Doctrine and Practice in Medieval Korean Buddhism, 5–6.

35

These works were remotely circulated to Japan and Korea. Due to a ban on the circulation of books and documents between the Song and Liao kingdom at the time, many of these works were actually not spread into Chinese regions, including the example of Xianyan’s Huayan jing tanxuan jueze, which was preserved in the Kanazawa bunko 金沢文庫 in Yokohama, Japan.

36

On Northern School Chan, see McRae, The Northern School and the Formation of Early Ch’an Buddhism, Faure, “Shen-hsiu et l’Avatamsaka-sutra,”; The Will to Orthodoxy; van Schaik, The Spirit of Zen. On other contemporaneous Chan lineages, including the Niutou, see Adamek, “Robes Purple and Gold: Transmission of the Robe in the Lidai fabao ji; Adamek, The Mystique of Transmission: On an Early Chan History and Its Contexts.

37

It may be worth consideration to mention the fragmentary, hand-copied manuscript Tangut edition of the Platform Sūtra. Perhaps this tells us that this text was not very popular under the Xixia. Regarding the Baolin zhuan, another key Tang Chan text, the situation is very complicated. In the Song region, the Tiantai tradition teacher Zifang 子昉 (d.u.) and Chan master Qisong 契嵩 (1007–1072) once had a debate about it, demonstrating a backdrop of inter-factional struggle. See Zhipan’s 志磐 (ca. 1269) Fozu tongji 佛祖 統紀 (Chronicle of the Buddhas and Patriarchs) 14, T no. 2035, 49: 223c24–27 and juan 21, 249a08–12. Cf. Morrison, The Power of Patriarchs: Qisong and Lineage in Chinese Buddhism, 142–145. Qisong seems to have had a veiled criticism of the written or literary arrangement in this text. See also Chuanfa zhengzong lun 傳法正宗論 (Record of the Orthodox Tradition’s Transmission of the Dharma): 1, T no. 2078, 51: 718c9–15 and juan 5, 744a12–16.

38

The original Zhenyuan lu is the Zhenyuan xinding shijiao mulu 貞元新定釋教 目錄 (Newly Revised Catalogue of Buddhist Scriptures made during the Zhenyuan-era, T no. 2157), comp. 799 or 800 by Yuanzhao 圓照 (d.u.), which was the catalog used in manuscript Buddhist canons in medieval Japan. See Gakujutsu Furontia jikkō iinkai, ed. Nihon genson hasshu issaikyō taishō mokuroku tsuke Tonkō bukkyō bunken. The ‘Cathay’ lineage refers to Ŭich’ŏn, who is mentioned in the epilogue to Jiezhu’s Biechuan xinfa yi bawen 别傳心法議跋文 (Exposition about the Method of Separate Mind Transmission); see X no. 953, 57: 53b23–c8.

39

Tanxuan jueze, X no. 235, no. 8: 19a17–21.

40

See Huilin Zongben chanshi bielu 會林宗本禪師別錄 (Supplemental Record of Chan master Huilin Zongben), X no. 1450, 73: 86a4–b1.

41

Regarding the aforementioned discussion describing Zongben’s instructions to Ŭich’ŏn that if he was going to Baoshan 寶山 he would not be permitted to return home empty handed, the explanation included in Huilin zongben chanshi bielu indicates that after this, Ŭich’ŏn’s time following Zongben studying Chan proved to be somewhat beneficial. But, based on the postscript texts we have that tell us how Ŭich’ŏn remained strong regarding his earlier positions of using only doctrinal teachings to achieve enlightenment (jijiao wu zong), it seems safe to conclude that Ŭich’ŏn remained devoted to the doctrinal teachings.

42

See Da’anshan Lianhuayu Yanfusi Guanyintang ji 大安山蓮花峪延福寺觀音堂記 (Record of the Guanyin Hall of the Lianhuayu Yanfu Temple of Da’an Mountain), in Mei Ninghua et al., eds., Beijing Liao Jin shiji tuzhi.

43

Concerning research on the life and works of Tongli Hengce, see Feng Guodong and Li Hui, “Ecang Heishuicheng wenxian zhong Tongli dashi zhuzuo kao.

44

Huayan jing haiyin daochang chanyi 42, XZJ no. 1470, 74: 356b2–6.

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