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By Jamie Hubbard

Despite the typical view of Buddhism as non-dogmatic and tolerant, the old list preserves many examples of Buddhist thinkers and activities that have been banned as heretical or subversive. The San-chieh (Three degrees) used to be a favored and influential chinese language Buddhist stream in the course of the Sui and Tang sessions, counting strong statesmen, imperial princes, or even an empress, Empress Wu, between its buyers. In spite, or even accurately simply because, of its proximity to energy, the San-chieh circulation ran afoul of the professionals and its teachings and texts have been formally proscribed various instances over a several-hundred-year historical past. as a result of those suppressions San-chieh texts have been misplaced and little information regarding its teachings or heritage is out there. the current paintings, the 1st English learn of the San-chieh circulate, makes use of manuscripts stumbled on at Tun-huang to ascertain the doctrine and institutional practices of this flow within the better context of Mahayana doctrine and perform. by way of viewing San-Chieh within the context of Mahayana Buddhism, Hubbard finds it to be faraway from heretical and thereby increases very important questions on orthodoxy and canon in Buddhism. He exhibits that a few of the hallmark principles and practices of chinese language Buddhism locate an early and certain expression within the San-chieh texts.

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Additional resources for Absolute Delusion, Perfect Buddahood: The Rise and Fall of a Chinese Heresy (Nanazan Library

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Absolute delusion, perfect buddhahood / 35 even the timetables of decline as at the rhetorical context, a context that reveals a similar polemic or sectarian discourse more interested in establishing a particular orthodoxy of “true teaching” than in voicing historical predictions of actual decline, prophetic warnings of moral failings, or existential statements about humankind’s capacity for realization. In fact, the beginnings of the Buddhist tradition of decline are best understood as a rhetoric of orthodoxy that marks the appearance of doctrinal differentiation in the Buddhist community.

Practice Although Hsin-hsing’s writings give the best picture of his synthesis of Buddhist doctrine, the biographical materials contain many references to his practice and that of his community. In general we can say that these practices are typical of the time; dhyana and other contemplative exercises, the ascetic dhðta practices, liturgical practice of the six-period pðj„, and the penitentiary fang teng rite—all well-known practices of the time—are each mentioned. Practices more unique to Hsin-hsing—practices that form the bulk of this study—include the universal veneration of all sentient beings as Buddhas, the sixteen practices of the Inexhaustible Storehouse, and of course the teaching of the three levels themselves.

The tumultuous centuries of warfare and cultural change prior to the uni³cation of the Sui and establishment of the imperial capital at Ch’ang-an saw both large-scale suppressions of Buddhism as well as the development of indigenous forms of Buddhist doctrine, practice, and institution. Indeed, it was one of the most fertile epochs in Chinese Buddhist history, setting patterns for the more formal systematizations of later dynasties. Hsin-hsing incorporated many of these currents into his own teaching and left behind a prospering community of like-minded practitioners.

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