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Conceiving the Indian Buddhist Patriarchs in China$
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Stuart H. Young

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824841201

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824841201.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use.date: 26 January 2020

An Indian Lineage Severed

An Indian Lineage Severed

Chapter:
(p.67) 2 An Indian Lineage Severed
Source:
Conceiving the Indian Buddhist Patriarchs in China
Author(s):

Stuart H. Young

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824841201.003.0002

Chapter 2 illustrates a seismic shift in Chinese representations of post-parinirvāṇa Indian Buddhism and thus conceptions of Buddhist sainthood in a world without a Buddha. While Kumārajīva’s associates advanced a cyclical model of Indian Buddhist history, the sources examined in this chapter instead depicted Aśvaghoṣa, Nāgārjuna, and Āryadeva standing in long lines of Indian patriarchs who together upheld the Dharma after Śākyamuni. Because this Indian lineage was reportedly severed before extending to China, I argue that it served to advance a soteriology of absence akin to that of the Lotus Sūtra. Then, in a sixth-century cave site that includes a sculpted representation of the Indian lineage, this message was both perpetuated and nullified. On the one hand, this cave depicted the Indian patriarchs as long-departed exemplars of Buddhist sainthood. And on the other hand, it rendered them as immanent presences that could be engaged directly through the cave’s ritual program.

Keywords:   Aśvaghoṣa, Nāgārjuna, Āryadeva, Fu fazang zhuan 付法藏傳 (Tradition of the Dharma-Treasury Transmission), Dazhusheng ku 大住聖窟 (Cave of Great Perduring Saints), eschatology

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