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Signs from the Unseen RealmBuddhist Miracle Tales from Early Medieval China$
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Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836023

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836023.001.0001

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Signs from the Unseen Realm and Buddhist Miracle Tales in Early Medieval China

Signs from the Unseen Realm and Buddhist Miracle Tales in Early Medieval China

(p.1) Part I Signs from the Unseen Realm and Buddhist Miracle Tales in Early Medieval China
Signs from the Unseen Realm
Robert Ford Campany
University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter discusses records of miraculous events that demonstrate the power of the Buddha, bodhisattvas, monks, and nuns. These events were thought to prove the efficacy of Buddhist devotional practices; to illustrate the veracity of Buddhist claims; and to warn of the consequences of violating Buddhist norms. The texts clearly assumed an audience that was not only nonmonastic but also potentially skeptical of Buddhist teachings or relatively new to Buddhist norms. Also, they were not written in technical language for religious “insiders,” and the things of which they sought to persuade readers were a subset of basic Buddhist teachings, not finer points of doctrine or advanced aspects of practice. The remainder of the chapter studies Wang Yan's Records of Signs from the Unseen Realm. At 129 extant items plus a substantial preface, it is by far the largest miracle-tale collection to have survived from this era.

Keywords:   miraculous events, Buddha, bodhisattvas, Buddhist devotional practices, Buddhist norms, nonmonastic, Buddhist teachings, Wang Yan

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