Chapter two focuses on the prayers inscribed in colophons to sutra manuscripts that were vocalized at the dedication ceremonies studied in chapter one. It argues that ritual and literary expectations generated a particular expression of the cosmos and moral responsibility derived from diverse cultural and literary repertoires not limited to canonical Buddhist texts. It highlights shared structural and stylistic features in prayers throughout East Asia. It looks at the ways patrons praised scripture, mourned the dead, and imagined the realms of rebirth in creative ways that synthesized metaphors and concepts rooted in the Chinese literary tradition with ideas from Buddhist texts. It reflects more broadly on the relationship between literature and ritual.
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