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Buddhism and Taoism Face to FaceScripture, Ritual, and Iconographic Exchange in Medieval China$
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Christine Mollier

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824831691

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824831691.001.0001

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The Heavenly Kitchens

The Heavenly Kitchens

(p.23) Chapter 1 The Heavenly Kitchens
Buddhism and Taoism Face to Face

Christine Mollier

University of Hawai'i Press

The tradition of the Heavenly Kitchens concerns neither culinary art, nor, strictly speaking, Chinese food. The recipes that it advocates aim at a total abstinence from food through meditational practice. This chapter examines two texts that deal with Heavenly Kitchens: the Buddhist Sūtra of the Three Kitchens, Preached by the Buddha and the Taoist Scripture of the Five Kitchens. The Sūtra of the Three Kitchens, which was discovered among the Dunhuang manuscripts, has been qualified as apocryphal by the canonical bibliographies since the eighth century, but it might be more accurately labeled a forgery. The Scripture of the Five Kitchens, as well as additional Taoist sources explicitly denouncing its Buddhist misappropriation, suggests that, more than just a Taoist text rewrapped in Buddhist packaging, we have here an unmistakable case of Buddhist plagiarism. In all events, the double emergence, Buddhist and Taoist, of the scriptures of the Kitchens, together with the diffusion of the apocryphal Sūtra of the Three Kitchens at Dunhuang and its exportation to Japan toward the end of the eighth century demonstrates the popularity attained by the Method of the Heavenly Kitchens during the Tang dynasty.

Keywords:   Buddhism, Taoism, medieval China, Buddhist sutra, Taoist scripture, Sutra of the Three Kitchens, Scripture of the Five Kitchens, Tang dynasty, plagiarism, scripture

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