A Syncretic Samādhi of Fahua Practice and Buddha-recalling in Tang Chinese Buddhism-----On the Case of Feixi''s Buddhism
The Tiantai Monastery was founded by Zhiyi in Sui dynasty, where there were three major temples: Folong Temple and Guoqing Temple on Mount Tiantai and Yuquan Temple in Jingzhou. Later the Tiantai tradition mainly had developed into two branches, Quoqing Temple and Yuquan Temple, where the former was based in South China and the latter in North China, particularly in Changan and Luoyang. However, in the Fozu tongji compiled by Zhipan, a monk of Guoqing Temple origins in South Song dynasty, the lineage of Chinese patriarchs in Guoqing Temple was considered as the orthodox Chinese Buddhism while other fellows of the same monastery were only seen as one branch of it; in this case, Yuquan Temple was put under other branches without clear lineage. What we understand about Tiantai is based on Zhipan’s Fozu tongji, including its development in Tang dynasty that focused on Guoqing Temple instead of other Tiantai Monasteries such as Yuquan Temple. If we know better about them, we can understand more about the development of Tiantai in Tang dynasty, even the variety of Buddhist history in the Tang dynasty. The dissertation focuses on the study of Feixi, a monk who was active in Qianfu Temple, Changan in the eighth century. As Feixi learned Tiantai zhiguan （pacification and contemplation） in North China, he developed a close relationship with the northern Tiantai traditions but not the southern ones in Guoqing Temple. That is why Feixi is a good model for us to understand the development of Tiantai in North China, especially in Changan and Luoyang. Through his life, writings, associates, temples he connected with, etc., we could know his status in Changan Buddhism, and his uniqueness and importance in medieval Chinese Buddhism. Feixi learned Tiantai zhiguan with Chujin and practiced Fahua （Lotus） Samādhi in Fahua Monastery of Qianfu Temple that Chujin was in charge. After Chujin passed away, Feixi was in charge of Fahua Monastery as successor. Because of Chujin, Fahua Monastery of Qianfu Temple had become the center of Tiantai and Fahua Samādhi traditions in Changan and developed its lineage. Based on Huisi and Zhiyi’s teachings, Feixi and Chujin’s practice of Fahua Samādhi in Fahua Monastery of Qianfu Temple had made some changes, and was also different from the contemporary monk, Zhanran in Guoqing Temple. First of all, there built Duobao ta （Prabhūtaratna pagoda） and Fahua Monastery in Qianfu Temple; Duobao ta became as the circumambulating center in the process of Fahua Samādhi while reciting sutra. Second, by including Changbuqing pusazing （Bodhisattva Never Disparaging’s actions） in the practice of Fahua Samādh, the practitioners would take common people as the object of contemplation while they could even practice in the daily life by showing respect to any people in any time. Besides Fahua Samādhi, another characteristic of Fahua Monastery of Qianfu Temple was the emphasis of nianfo （Buddha-recalling）. Feixi had been concerned about nianfo and jingtu （pure land） early after he took charge of Fahua Monastery until his later years when he wrote Nianfo sanmei baowang lun （Treaties on Buddha-recalling Samādhi as Jeweled King）. Feixi gave the structure of nian Sanshifo （recalling the Buddha of Three Ages） in the Baowang lun with two features; one was to show two purposes for the nianfo, the other was to combine Fahua Samādhi and Nianfo Samādhi, making them connected with each other. Feixi’s concern of the nianfo depended on the development of the nianfo since Tanluan and Daocuo. Meanwhile, Feixi emphasized the importance of loudness in oral recitation of the nianfo that was in line with the trend of loudness in repeating oral recitation after the eight century. Feixi’s Baowang lun ended with Wanshan tonggui （the common end of myriad good deeds） that means the variety of practices were just different names of Nianfo Samādhi. Since Baowang lun was the work of his later years, this view could be seen as Feixi’s conclusion. For Feixi who immersed in the Tiantai tradition, in charge of Fahua Monastery and practiced Fahua Samādhi for a long time, Nianfo Samādhi was his last refuge as a personal religious choice, but which also demonstrates Changan’s Tiantai tradition, or at least the characteristics of the Tiantai tradition in Qianfu Temple. The Tiantai tradition in Qianfu Temple where Feixi presided was more influential and representative around Changan and Luoyang than the Northern tradition of Guoqing Temple. By understanding Feixi, we could learn the development and diversity of the Tiantai tradition in the North China, having a more comprehensive knowledge of the Tiantai tradition in Tang dynasty before the orthodox Tiantai was set up in Song dynasty.
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