Sengxian and the Dilun School: an investigation based on the archaeological materials, particularly the Epitaph for Sengxian, the Late Controller-in-chief of Sramanas of the Northern Qi

SHENG Kai1

(1.Department of Philosophy, Tsinghua University)

【Abstract】This paper reviewed Sengxian’s life and thoughts mainly based mainly on the Epitaph for Sengxian, the Late Controller-in-chief of Sramanas of the Northern Qi, along with sutra inscriptions in the Xiaonanhai Grottoes and the Northern Xiangtang Grottoes. As a disciple of Sengchou, Sengxian was involved in the sutra inscriptions in the Xiaonanhai Grottoes. He was appointed Deputy Commander of Sramanas and later Controller of Sramanas, and served as the abbot of the Great Zongchi Temple and the Great Xingsheng Temple. As a master of the Dilun School, he also received instructions from Sengchou on the philosophy of Chan Buddhism. Sengxian stressed the importance of Satipatthana (the Four Foundations of Mindfulness) from the Mahāparinirvāṇa Sutra and advocated the Avatamsaka Sutra and the Lotus Sutra. It is worth noting that the wording of the Epitaph for Sengxian reflected the division of the Buddha’s teaching in the Dilun School.

【Keywords】 Sengxian; Sengchou; Huiguang; Yecheng; Dilun School;

【DOI】

【Funds】 Cultural Restoration and Creation Fund for Young Scholars of Tsinghua University (2012WHQN002) National Social Science Fund of China (14BZJ014)

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    Footnote

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    [46]. ③ Wang, L. The Study on Newly Unearthed Northern Dynasties Epitaphs (新见北朝墓志集释), 161–162. Suwa Gijun held that Senglun became a monk in the first year of Wuping (570). Suwa Gijun. 中国中世佛教史研究, 308. [^Back]

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    [48]. ⑤ The Biography of Sengchou records that Sengchou learned after Daofang, who was a disciple of Bhadra and was later ordained by Bhadra. The Biography of Huiguang records that Huiguang was ordained by Bhadra. Through textual research, the author of this paper finds that Bhadra, Ratnamati, “Master Buddha,” “Master of the Tripitaka,” Buddhabhadra and Master Bhadra are names and titles of the same person. See Sheng, K. in Lai, Y. (ed.) 中国佛教通史 Vol. 3, 267–272. [^Back]

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    [54]. ⑥ 八琼室金石补正 Vol. 22 in 先秦秦汉魏晋南北朝石刻文献全编 Book 1, 224. [^Back]

    [55]. ① Sheng, K. in Lai, Y. (ed.) 中国佛教通史 Vol. 4, 356–366. [^Back]

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    [59]. ⑤ As stated in the second volume of Facts About the Popularization of the Garland Sutra in China, Huiguang “wrote the four-volume commentary,, created the sudden, gradual and complete teachings to classify the canons, and regarded the Lotus Sutra as the complete teaching.” Taishō Tripiṭaka Vol. 51, 159. [^Back]

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    [63]. ③ The “six causes (shadhetu)” are karanahetu, sahabhūhetu, sabhāgahetu, sanprayuktahetu, sarvatragahetu and vipākahetu; the “four conditions (catvaripratyaya)” are hetupratyaya, samanantarapratyaya, ālambanapratyaya and adhipatipratyaya. The “six causes” and the “four conditions” are two ways of analyzing causality. [^Back]

    [64]. ④ The “prajñāpti” in the Tattvasiddhi–Śāstra indicates the following three false assumptions: firstly, the false assumption based on causality, that is, all functioning dharmas are results of causality; secondly, the false assumption based on the continuity of illusory ideas, that is, the mind–consciousness of all the living proceeds with unbroken continuity, the one that disappears is immediately replaced by another, and when the continuity itself ceases, nothing real exists whatsoever, hence the falsehood; thirdly, the false assumption based on relativity, that is, every dharma is relative; to see through this relativity is to understand that nothing real exists, hence the falsehood. [^Back]

    [65]. Taishō Tripiṭaka Vol. 33, 480. There are similar texts in the Exploring the Profound Teachings of the Avatamsaka Sutra. See Taishō Tripiṭaka Vol. 35, 111. [^Back]

    [66]. ⑥ Sheng, K. in Lai, Y. (ed.) 中国佛教通史 Vol. 3, 372–373. [^Back]

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This Article

ISSN:1000-4289

CN: 11-1299/B

Vol , No. 04, Pages 63-74

August 2017

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Article Outline

Abstract

  • 1 Epitaph for Sengxian and life of Sengxian
  • 2 Sengxian and Buddhist temples in Yecheng
  • 3 Sengxian and the Dilun School
  • 4 Conclusion: Sengxian as the master of the Dilun School
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