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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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In Pursuit of the Sorcerers

In Pursuit of the Sorcerers

(p.55) Chapter 2 In Pursuit of the Sorcerers
Buddhism and Taoism Face to Face

Christine Mollier

University of Hawai'i Press

Both archeological evidence and dynastic histories confirm the antiquity and virulence of sorcery in China. This chapter asks: How did Taoism and Buddhism envision sorcery? What were the strategies they adopted in seeking to combat it? Two sui generis works of the medieval period provide substantial material with which to respond to these questions: the Buddhist Sūtra for the Conjuration of Bewitchments, Preached by the Buddha and the Taoist Scripture for Unbinding Curses, Revealed by the Most High Lord Lao. Besides their opposition to sorcery, the two sūtras bear similarities that disclose their link. The question here is not one of plagiarism or appropriation in the strict sense, but a more subtle sort of textual exchange between the two religions, in fact an instance of delayed response in the relation of the Taoist scripture to the Buddhist sūtra. Before entering into exegetical considerations, however, the chapter outlines the religiocultural background of the texts.

Keywords:   sorcerers, sorcery, Buddist sutra, Taoist sutra, Buddhism, Taoism, medieval China, Sutra for the Conjuration of Bewitchments, Scripture for Unbinding Curses, religiou

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