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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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Salvation in Writing and the Annex of Indian Buddhism

Salvation in Writing and the Annex of Indian Buddhism

(p.111) 3 Salvation in Writing and the Annex of Indian Buddhism
Conceiving the Indian Buddhist Patriarchs in China

Stuart H. Young

University of Hawai'i Press

Chapter 3 discusses how Sui-Tang Buddhist exegetes integrated Aśvaghoṣa, Nāgārjuna, and Āryadeva into broader efforts to redefine China as the epicenter of Buddhist enlightenment. This chapter illustrates how the paradigms of Buddhist sainthood advanced by Kumārajīva’s associates and in earlier lineage histories were amalgamated in a new idiom that focused especially on the importance of authoring doctrinal treatises. Here scriptural exegesis became the central defining function of the Indian patriarchs in China, particularly as juxtaposed with other means of conveying the Dharma across the Sino-Indian divide. In this way Chinese exegetes advanced a model of Buddhist sainthood through scholarship, but no longer in a benighted China marked by perpetually declining Dharma, which paled in comparison to the brilliance of ancient India. Rather, this model was promoted as part of the broader process of re-locating the means and media of Indian enlightenment within the new Buddhist heartland of latter-day China.

Keywords:   Xuanzang, Jizang, Guanding, Xixin lun 起信論 (Awakening of Faith), Mohe zhiguan 摩訶止觀 (Great Calming and Contemplation), Xiyu ji 西域記 (Records of the Western Regions), exegesis

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