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Upside down/Right Side up: A Revisionist History of Buddhist Funerals in China
by Alan Cole
Upside down/Right Side up: A Revisionist History of Buddhist Funerals in China
History of Religions
Updated: September 10th, 2012
Alan Cole UPSIDE DOWN/ RIGHT SIDE UP: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OF BUDDHIST FUNERALS IN CHINA
It is a curious fact really. At death, Chan masters were treated as the biological fathers of their disciples. The oldest extant Chan en)' ritual texts make it clear that Chan masters were to receive extensive mourning from their chosen disciples in a style that mirrors what a good Confucian son should give his deceased father. Perhaps the mon- asteries' reliance on transposed family structures will appear odd and trivial to modern Chan enthusiasts, in and outside of academia, but I believe that an investigation of Chan funerals questions the appro- priateness of the image of Chan that is held in the West. Put more directly, the evidence presented below casts Chan not as an antinomian and iconoclastic revolution in medieval Chinese Buddhism, but the opposite: its calculated gentrification.
Chan ideology, as it took form in the eighth century, rested on two claims: (1) certain masters were enlightened, and (2) their Buddha wis- dom was transmitted to them in the manner of "father to son,"* via a lineage of enlightened beings that went back to Bodhidharma, who sup- posedly had brought it from India. Creating this fictive family structure
Because I am only going to discuss Chinese Buddhist history, I will use the Chinese pronunciation of this character in this article, even though the Japanese pronunciation, "Zen:' is better known in English.
This phrase is found in one of the earliest Chan texts, the Records of the Teachers and Students of the Lanka [School], written sometime before 739 by Jing Jue (638-ca. 750); see J. C. Cleary's translation of this text in Zen Dawn (Boston: Shambhala, 1991), p. 26. For discussion of the probable date of this work, see Philip B. Yampolsky, The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch (New York: Columbia University Press, 1967), p. 19.
O 1996 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.
both "proved" the authenticity of the master's wisdom and established constraints for the selective transmission of enlightenment to his disci- ples, ensuring that enlightenment could not be claimed by competitors outside of the family. Thus, from the outset, Chan ideology was conser- vative: it sought to locate enlightenment in certain contemporary Chi- nese men by imagining that the spiritual essence of Buddhism was transmitted to them in Confucian molds of family practice and was ready to be passed on to the next generation as though it were a family heirloom.
The unexpectedly baroque quality of the Chan funeral has been noticed by several other historians who have discussed the matter in recent publications in English and ~apanese.~
However, as my title sug- gests, I believe that the significance of the Confucian elements in the Chan funeral has been missed and that the topic needs to be ap- proached with greater care.4 The previous explanation held that the hybrid Buddhist-Confucian funeral procedures found in Chan literature from the Song dynasty (960-1279) are evidence of Chan's fall from its original rigorous antinomianism in the middle period of the Tang dynasty (61 8-906).
This explanation has two problems. First, it misses the key point that in either period Chan ideology regarding the possession of enlight- enment is only meaningful when housed within Confucian forms, espe- cially those surrounding death and succession. And, second, it rests on the assumption that Chinese Buddhism did not have formal funeral procedures before the Song dynasty, and thus their late appearance in a bastardized form in Song period Chan is not surprising, since there never were any "orthodoxically established" Buddhist funerals in China to begin with.5 In this scenario, we are asked to accept the unlikely fact
See William Bodiford, "Zen in the Art of Funerals: Ritual Salvation in Japanese Buddhism," History of Religions 32, no. 2 (November 1992): 146-64; Bernard Faure, The Rhetoric of Immediacy: A Cultural Critique of Chan/Zen Buddhism (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1991), pp. 179-208; and Ishikawa Rikisan, "Zen no sOsG" (Zen funerals), Nihongaku 10 (December 1987): 139-49.
I would like to thank T. Griffith Foulk for his patient assistance with this research topic. Over the past few years he has done much to shape my thinking on the topic; for an overview of his perspective on Chan, see "Myth, Ritual, and Monastic Practice in Sung Ch'an Buddhism," in Religion and Society in Thng and Sung China, ed. Patricia Buckley Ebrey and Peter N. Gregory (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1993), pp. 147-97. I also am indebted to Zeff Bjerken, Jennifer Eickemann, Stephen Teiser, and Brook Ziporyn, all of whom read the paper at different stages of its development and offered trenchant criticism.
The term "orthodoxically established" comes from Ishikawa, pp. 140-41. This arti- cle and others by Ishikawa seem to have been the main source influencing recent Western discussions of the history of Buddhist funerals. Ishikawa's view is summed up in the sentence "It seems to be a fact that somewhere in the Five Dynasties (907-960) and early Song period, Buddhists gradually started to seek their own unique style of funeral
that for nearly a millennium after Buddhism came to China in the first or second century, Chinese Buddhists were given non-Buddhist funer- als. However, there is plenty of evidence refuting this position-evi- dence that turns this explanation on its head. Pre-Tang and Tang period writings on Buddhist funerals give the distinct impression that there was an orthodoxically established funeral format in China and that the Buddhist use of Confucian mourning and memorial procedures in Chan marks not a lingering inability to wrest Buddhist death practices away from a Confucian matrix but a radical departure from what had been standard in the centuries previous.
To make sense of this development, it should be noted that the Chan liturgical texts from the Song dynasty prescribe two very different fu- neral rituals: one for abbots and one for ordinary monks. Though the texts are quite frank about this dual treatment for first- and second-class Chan monks, scholars who have discussed Chan funerals have focused only on the abbot's funeral and have either ignored the other type or discounted it as ~nim~ortant.~
For my argument, the first thing to notice is that the format for abbots is the Confucianized one, while the other, for ordinary monks, lacks Confucian elements and instead looks much like Buddhist funerals found in India or Sri ~anka.' Thus the question, "Why do Chan funerals appear so Confucianized in the Song period?" can be sharpened to "Why are there two funeral formats in Song Chan Buddhism, one Confucianized and one not?"
The texts I will cite below show that the funeral rites for the ordinary Chan monk in the Song dynasty bear strong resemblance to funeral rites described in the abundant Buddhist "death literature" from
rites" (Ishikawa, pp. 141-42). William Bodiford, drawing on this article, offers the same view, "Buddhist funeral rites were developed by Chinese Buddhists relatively late, in order to adapt Buddhism to traditional Chinese sensibilities. The first detailed account of Chinese Buddhist funeral rites is found in an eleventh-century Chinese Buddhist encyclopedia" (Bodiford, p. 151). Bernard Faure concurs, "In China, the funerary rituals described in a Buddhist encyclopedia such as the Shi Shi Yao Lan (1019) are still predominantly Confucian. . . . On this question, see Ishikawa, 1987a" (Faure, The Rhe- toric of Immediacy: A Cultural Critique of ChanIZen Buddhism, p. 203, n. 54).
See the three authors cited in n. 3 above, as well as Robert Sharf's otherwise excellent article, "The Idolization of Enlightenment: On the Mummification of Ch'an Masters in Medieval China," History of Religions 32, no. 1 (August 1992): 1-31, esp. pp. 19 and 25.
'For accounts of Indian Buddhist funerals, see Yi Jing's travel notes, which are a blend of personal observation and vinaya prescriptions found in his Record of the Buddhist Religion as Practised in India and the Malay Archipelago, trans. J. Takakusu (London: Clarendon, 1896), pp. 81-82. For an account of a Sri Lankan Buddhist funeral, see Fa Xian's early fifth-century description in A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms, trans. James Legge (Oxford: Clarendon, 1886), pp. 107-8. For funeral instructions in the vinaya, see Gregory Schopen, "On Avoiding Ghosts and Social Censure: Monastic Fu- nerals in the MtilasarvBstivBda-vinaya," Journal of Indian Philosophy 20 (1992): 1-39.
the Tang period and earlier. In fact, parallel funeral prescriptions can be found in texts from the earliest strata of Chinese Buddhism for which dating is normally possible, the fourth to fifth century. This wider historical perspective on Buddhist funerals shows that the spe- cialized Confucianized funeral format for elite Chan Buddhists appears many centuries after a single generic form had sufficed for all types of Buddhists, monastic and lay. Thus even at first glance, the double formats evident in the Song literature signal a rupture in the treatment of Buddhist dead, for an elite group has emerged claiming exclusive rights to this Confucianized form of Buddhist funeral rites.
To explore this bifurcation within the Buddhist community, I turn to an analysis of the two forms of monastic funerals, high and low, as dictated in the earliest extant Chan institutional guidebook, the Rules of Purity for Chan Monasteries (Chan Yuan Qing Gui) of 1103. I choose this midriff attack point on the body of Buddhist funeral lit- erature not because it is a particularly "soft underbelly" but because it demonstrates a mature form of both styles of funeral practice and their comfortable cohabitation.
According to the Rules of Purity for Chan Monasteries, the fol- lowing is the procedure to follow once an abbot-level monk (zun su) has died:8
When he has died, then place him [seated upright] in the abbot's quarters with offerings of incense and flowers [set before him]. Take his final admonitions and last verses, and paste them on tablets. Then hang the tablets on the left and right sides of the spirit seat (ling zuo). Then, from among the venerable elders, request one who belongs to the same dharma family Cfa shu) to be the chief mourner (sang zhu). If there is no one belonging to the same dharma family, then request someone from among the other ex-abbots and elders. Afterwards, copy out the death notice and notify [government] officials, donors, monk- officials, elders in nearby monasteries, his close disciples (si fa xiao shi) who have inherited his dharma transmission, and his close dharma brothers (gin mi fa shu).
After these formalities and notifications have been accomplished, and the three days of "sitting in state" have passed, the body is encoffined and set in the dharma hall-the most central hall in the monastery, where formal mourning is held. The abbot's body, in the coffin, is set off on the western side of the hall, a life-size portrait of him is set up on the dais where the abbots sit to teach and receive worship, and his personal effects are set up on the eastern side of the hall. His "filial
See Yakuchii zennen shingi, ed. Kagamishima Genryii, Sat6 Tatsugen, and Kosaku Kiyii (Tokyo: S6t6shti Shtimuch6, 1972), pp. 259-63, for the text of these rites and a Japanese translation.
those chosen descendants to whom he has given his dharma transmission and with it the authority to become abbots them- selves, are to dress in mourning attire (xiao fu, lit. "filial clothes") and to keep vigil over the coffin, while the chief mourner leads the others in worshiping the portrait.
His close disciples, dressed in mourning attire, should keep vigil standing be- hind the coffin screen and under the canopy. Having prepared the dharma hall, then beginning with the chief mourner everyone prostrates to the portrait in order [of seniority]. Afterwards, the stewards, prefect, close disciples, and the whole monk assembly pay their respects to the chief mourner. Then beginning with the chief mourner, everyone mutually consoles each other in order [of seniority]. If there are lay persons from outside the monastery who have come to mourn, then the outer prefect should lead them up to the dharma hall. [Once there,] the inner prefect should lead them up to the portrait where they should burn incense and make prostrations. Then they should pay their respects to the chief mourner, the stewards, the head seat, and go to console the close disci- ples who are under the canopy. Afterwards, they should retire and have tea with the chief mourner, and then the outer guest prefect will lead them out.
Then, when it is time, tie up and decorate the big coffin in accordance with the rites (he yi da kanjie shi), and also prepare the portable shrines for the por- trait and incense, as well as the music, the flowers, and the banners. On the day of moving the coffin, the monastery should throw a grand feast in accordance with its resources. Alms donated [on this day] should be greater than usual. [Later,] at the appropriate time, request an elder [to lead in] lifting the coffin. The close disciples [of the abbot], together with the acolytes, should surround the rear of the coffin. The chief mourner leads [the group behind the coffin], with the close disciples and members of the deceased's monastery, etc. follow- ing as they proceed down the middle of the road. Government officials and donors should process on the left and right of the assembly [of monks]. Nuns and wives [of officials] should follow, bringing up the rear.
These instructions show that after the well-orchestrated public mourn- ing, there was to be a grand processional when all types of persons were invited to participate in the ritual of removing the abbot's encoffined body. Important to notice is that though his body will disappear, either into the ground or in cremation fires, his portrait, which is pro- cessed out with his corpse, returns to the monastery. Henceforth, the portrait becomes the sole focus of ritual activity, as it is set up in the abbot's quarters where it is ritually fed twice a day and worshiped, until a new abbot is selected. Once the new abbot has been installed, the por- trait is retired to the portrait hall, where it joins the numerous other portraits of the monastery's previous abbots.
The text refers to them also as "little masters" (xiao shi) and "filial little masters" (xiao xiao shi).
The way the portrait is treated gives the impression that more than being just a "true likeness" (zhen xiang) of the deceased abbot, it is an icon that still lives. It symbolically eats and receives worship, and when moved, it needs to be handled with the utmost of care. This all suggests that a transference has been effected and that the portrait now contains the magical potency that once was invested in the living abbot. In support of this interpretation, it has been noted that the por- trait hall, which housed all these watchful icons of previous abbots, was considered a power center in the monastery where rituals of sup- plication were performed to ensure the well-being of the monastic community.lo
What this outline of the funeral format for abbots makes clear is that the master's death is an event that requires action from the power struc- tures in and outside the monastery. Internally, the Buddhist familial system is called upon to demonstrate its cohesion and to reassert its prerogative to hold and pass on spiritual power. All the abbot's fictive brethren gather to play their designated roles, with spiritual sons, broth- ers, and other members of the dharma family publicly verifying their privileged relationship with the deceased. Externally, the public announcements and invitations reveal the monastery's close relationship to state power and the hope of attracting lay patronage. In the most general sense, the master's death, or "transformation" (qian hua) as it is called, is presented as if it were only an illusory rupture on the surface of Buddhist life. His body is undergoing transformation, but his spirit- ual powers, safely transferred to the portrait or other relics," persist and are retained within the monastic precincts, where they are available to the living, be they in or outside of the monastery. In sum, the funeral procedure for the abbot requires the community to recognize that an- other in the line of Buddhist saints has been successfully canonized and that his powerful remains have been duly inducted into the memorial halls of the venerable ones where the foundations of Buddhist author- ity reside and continue to direct the application of Buddhist power in the world.
Much more could be said about the treatment of the deceased abbot, but for now let me point out only that the funeral and memorial rites seem to be making use of three templates drawn from earlier strata of Chinese death literature. The first template is the Confucian ritual texts that describe mourning for fathers and emperors. One need only to look at funeral prescriptions in The Book of Rites to see that the use of a
lo See T. Griffith Foulk and Robert Sharf, "On the Ritual Use of Ch'an Portraiture in Medieval China:' Cahiers d'Extrime-Asie 7 (1993194): 149-219, esp. pp. 179, 184, 193-94.
I' Besides the standard use of portraits and relics, sometimes the mummified body of the abbot served to represent his continuing presence. For a thorough discussion of these matters, see ibid., pp. 163-70, 191-95.
chief mourner, the role of the filial sons in hemp cloth, the style of public notification, the lying in state, the ordered obeisances, and so forth, are well attested to in Han Confucian ritual texts.12
The Confucian origins of these practices were presumably well known in the Song period, since a Buddhist encyclopedia written in the eleventh century by Dao Cheng has entries that explain Confucian terms such as "keeping vigil" and "coffins," with reference to both Bud- dhist and Confucian texts. The Confucian texts are cited without apol- ogy, with the Han period White Tiger Notes (Bai Hu ~on~)l~
being relied upon most, though the Zhou ~i'~
and the Jing yiI5 also are men- tioned. Note that the passage cited above uses the technical Confucian term "tie up and decorate the great coffin:' stating that this was to be done "in accordance with the rites," which again suggests an acceptance of the Confucian origins of these practices and even an appeal to Con- fucian propriety to underscore the dignity of these procedures.
The second format imprinting itself on the abbot's funeral is less evident. On the basis of shared terminology and parallel practices, I suspect that there is the attempt to make the abbot's natural death look like a premeditated religious suicide of the genre so graphically described in the two pre-Song Biographies of Eminent Monks (Gao Seng Zhuan).16 The key terms borrowed are "transformed by fire" (fen hua) and "niche" (kan). By the Song period, the latter term simply meant "coffin:' but several hundred years earlier it referred to the space within the pile of wood where the saint sat as he conducted his autocremation. The use of these terms suggests that the abbot's demise was to be viewed as a recapitulation of the highly stylized religious suicide that drew so much attention in earlier periods of Chinese Buddhism. The treatment of the abbot's corpse also suggests the suicide motif, since his body is set upright and treated as though it were still living.
The next wave of Chan liturgical texts from the thirteenth century explicitly describes the abbot's cremation as one to be conducted as though it were consummated willfully under the abbot's own power.
l2 See, e.g., the Wen Sang text from the Li Ji, in Li Chi: Book of Rites, trans. James Le ge (reprint, New York: University Books, 1967), 2:375-79. B3 For a partial translation. see Po Hu T'ung: The Comprehensive Discussions in rhe White Tiger Hall, trans. Tjoe Som Tjan (Leiden: Brill, 1949), vol. 1.
l4 See Taishci shinsha daizcikyci, ed. Takakusu Junjir6 and Watanabe Kaigyoku, 85 vols. (Tokyo: Taish6 Issaiky6 Kankokai, 1924-1932), 54:307c.5; cited as "T" hereafter, with volume, page number, folio, and line number given in that order.
l5 T.54.308a. 14.
l6 For translations of the accounts of these suicides, see Jacques Gernet, "Les suicides par le feu chez les bouddhistes du Ve au Xe si&cle," in Melanges publies par l'lnstitut des Hautes Etudes Chinoises (Paris, 1960), 2:527-58. These suicides, or at least the accounts of them, draw heavily on the format detailed in chap. 23 of the Lotus Sutra. See Leon Hurvitz's translation, Scripture of the Lotus Blossom of the Fine Dharma (New York: Columbia University Press, 1976), pp. 294-99.
The Revised Edition of the Rules of Purity for Large Monasteries (Cong Lin Jiao Ding Qing Gui Zong Yao) of 1274 explains the moment of lighting of the funeral pyre: "Then he [the chief mourner] describes how the abbot, with an [inner] nature of fire, is going to, under his own power, burn himself up (zi fen)."" This passage leaves little doubt that the abbot's cremation was narrated so that his ordinary death was counted as a reenactment of the heroic religious suicide. With the vo- cabulary of "[inner] nature of fire," "under his own power," and "burn himself up" echoing parallel phrases from the Biographies of Eminent Monks, it is most likely that the authors of the abbot's funeral were attempting to invoke the power and glory so vividly portrayed in the accounts of earlier saints.
Several other ritual directions from the Revised Edition of the Rules of Purity for Large Monasteries bring to the surface the third con- ceptual template employed in the cremation of the abbot. The chief mourner is to explain to the gathered crowd that the abbot is going back to nirvana, thereby suggesting that the abbot's life on earth was just an illusory emanation, as is characteristic of Buddhas and high-level bodhisattvas who manifest human forms in our world in order to lead the unenlightened to salvation. This extravagant claim regarding the ab- bot's docetic powers is affirmed when the chief mourner invokes the cre- mation of the Buddha just as he is igniting the abbot's pyre. With this connection overtly made, the abbot is placed on par with the historical Buddha, even as he is cast as a "latter-day suicide saint" from the Tang.
If I am right that the abbot's funeral combines these three formats, then his funeral needs to be understood as a sophisticated ritual techni- que that constructs sainthood and legitimizes it by referring to Buddhist hagiographical precedents and to a tightly organized familial system modeled on the ideal Confucian family. The apparent goal of the fu- neral is to demonstrate the presence of a powerful Buddhist saint fig- ure who, though moving beyond the world, is after death still tied into a "family network" that maintains the power and authority that had been invested in him. Therefore, it would not be a bad idea to see in this structure the familiar theme of the "routinization of charisma," since the abbot's funeral appears distinctly conservative as it tries to maintain continuity in the transmission of Buddhist religious power from generation to generation.
Weberian models of the routinization of charisma are helpful here, but I believe that the construction of the dharma family with its fictive fathers, sons, and brothers relating to each other in accordance with
"In Dainippon zokuziiky0, ed. Maedo Eun, 750 vols. (Kyoto: ZOkyG Shoin, 1905-12), ser. 2, case 17, vol. 1, p. 21.
Confucian etiquette is not just a late phenomenon that is characteristic of slack Song period Chan but a "seminal" aspect of Chan found in its earliest experimental forms in the early and mid-Tang. In stronger terms, I think that a close look at the manipulation of Tang era funeral rites shows that Chan is quite accurately defined as the Buddhist school that first made use of the Confucian familial model for its institutional and ideological purposes. However, let me leave this corner of the argument for a minute in order to contrast the abbot's resplendent funeral with the much plainer rites for the ordinary monk.
Unlike the attempt to retain the abbot's powers, the funeral for the ordinary monk is based on moving the body and spirit of the deceased monk out of the community for good.18 There is no mention of his "family ties" or a lasting legacy-the ordinary monk dies and disap- pears, for there is no portrait holding him in the community, nor is there any lasting postmortem attention given to him. The muted refer- ences to the power of repeating a cremation ceremony like that given the Buddha indicate that this ceremony is undertaken for the monk's own benefit, and not for the community's. The prescription for an or- dinary monk's funeral begins with the instructions that a seriously ill monk is to be taken and set in the western hall, called the "imperma- nence hall:' where merit-making rituals based on Buddha name-recitation (nian fo) are performed to encourage his recovery. Should this fail and he die, he is to be encoffined in the infirmary with offerings of incense, flowers, and banners. That night the monks gather to recite sutras, vinayas, and the ten-toned Amitiibha prayer. The next day the monks gather again to offer incense and again recite the ten-toned Amitabha prayer in order to make merit so that the deceased may go across the sea of samsara and be reborn in the Pure Land. After this service, the casket is taken out and disposed of with another similar recitation conducted at the place of disposal. Seven days after the death, the monks again gather to recite magical spells (dhdranis)and sutras to make more merit for the deceased. Following this, the belongings of the deceased are auctioned off to the monks, with the funds generated by the auction used to reimburse the monastic treasury for the cost of the funeral and to pay the monks for their participation. If the monk is cremated, his bones and ashes are collected after the cremation and thrown into a body of water or put in the common stupa (pu tong ta).19
l8 See Yakuchli zennen shingi (n. 8 above), pp. 237-47, for the text of these rites and a Japanese translation.
l9 We have some idea when the common stupa became a part of monastic landscape from a 1084 stele that J. Prip-Mflller noted in his Chinese Buddhist Monasteries: Their Plan and Its Function as Setting for Buddhist Monastic Life, 2d ed. (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1982), p. 178. The text of the stele describes how an abbot, feeling dissatisfied with the practice of casually dispersing ordinary monks'
This quick overview of the ordinary monk's death and funeral shows that the ordinary Chan monk's future well-being is prepared for by the monastic community producing merit for him through making offerings and by reciting sutras, Buddha names, and magical spells. The expec- tation that the merit transfer to the deceased will secure his salvation in a Pure Land is clearly displayed, and no contradiction is evidenced be- tween this Pure Land theology and the full-time vocation of being a Chan monk. In general, it would appear that the work of the funeral rites is dedicated solely to winning a good rebirth for the monk, with no hint that the community expects to gain anything from his death or from retaining a piece of his existence in the ritual life of the monastery.
As for the influences shaping the liturgy for the ordinary monk, it would not be an exaggeration to say that, except for the use of the coffin, no form of Confucian rhetoric or filial practice has been incorporated. Presumably, this is simply because he is not part of the dharma family system that the Buddhists had built on the Confucian model of a pa- trilineal family. Though lacking this template, on a deeper level I detect a borrowed structure in the way that the ordinary monk's funeral, as well as the abbot's, is punctuated at critical moments in the liturgy when a dharma talk or recitation is to be given. James Watson has shown that in modern Chinese funerals performed by non-Buddhist funerary spe- cialists, there are seven critical moments in the funeral service when the potential for ritual pollution is greatest and when special ritual precautions must be taken.20 The interesting thing is that the seven junctures in the modern non-Buddhist funeral match closely those mo- ments in the abbot's and ordinary monk's funeral when potent merit- making rituals must be performed.21
I am inclined to believe that this punctuation in both Song Buddhist funerals is a Buddhist adaptation of a native Chinese template because similar junctures are attested to in Han ritual texts that predate the ar- rival of ~uddhism.~~
Still, it is not impossible that the modern non-
remains, initiated the use of a "common stupa" (pu rong fa), where even the lowliest monks would be preserved on site, albeit in a nonindividuated manner. We also are probably right in inferring that the dispersal of ashes into bodies of water was regularly practiced, because the Confucian scholar Zhou Hui also criticizes it in a twelfth-century diatribe; see J. J. M. de Groot, The Religious Systems of China (Leiden: Brill, 1892-1910), 3: 1397-98. For an excellent discussion of cremation practices in the Song dynasty, see Patricia Buckley Ebrey, "Cremation in Sung China," American Historical Review 95, no. 2 (1990): 406-28.
20 See James Watson, "Of Flesh and Bones: The Management of Death Pollution in Cantonese Society," in Dearh and rhe Regeneration of Life, ed. Maurice Bloch and Jonathan Parry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), p. 189, n. 9.
During the abbot's funeral there are five junctures when a dharma talk is to be given; during the ordinary monk's there are seven. 22 For one example of the punctuation in Confucian funerals, see Li Chi: Book of Rites
(n. 12 above), 1 :129.
Buddhist Chinese funeral took form under the influence of the medieval Buddhist funeral, which acted as a conduit back to the earlier Han prac- tices. Whatever the case, I am in favor of supposing that the Confucian and Buddhist models have a complicated interwoven history. A detailed history of both Confucian and Buddhist funerals in China would shed light on this problem, and until then, we should not assume that there was only one Chinese format for death rituals or that the Buddhist tra- dition contributed nothing to the development of modern funeral^.'^
The new Confucianized Buddhist funerals appear unusual when con- sidered in light of pre-Tang and early Tang funeral prescriptions. In the earliest surviving catalog of Chinese Buddhist texts, the Chu Sun Zang Ji Ji, compiled by the monk-scholar Seng You and completed in 518 c.E.,there are several texts listed that we know to be about funerals and several extracts whose titles make it clear that they advocate making merit for the deceased to gain rebirth in a Pure and.^^ Among these early texts, I take the fifth-century apocryphal compilation of sutras, the Consecration Sutra (Guan Ding Jing), to be an important pinion in the formation of Buddhist funerary ideology for the following reasons. First, it is one of the earliest self-conscious attempts by the Chinese to work out the logic and parameters of Buddhist funerals; second, it ap- pears to have been popular; third, there is no other text regularly cited in the later tradition that predates it; and, finally, it is a text that held its value, since it was quoted as an authoritative source for funeral procedures in contemporary sixth-century works, such as the Specifics of the Sutras and Vinayas (Jing Lii Yi Xiang) of 5 16 by Bao hang,^^ and in later works, such as the Dharma Treasure Grove (Fa Yuan Zhu Lin), completed in 664 by Dao hi,^^ and even much later in Dao
23 This seems to be the essence of James Watson's discussion in his introduction to Death Rituals in Late Imperial and Modern China, ed. James L. Watson and Evelyn S. Rawski (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1988).
24 The extracted texts that Seng You provides as proof texts for Buddhist rituals and daily practice include Text for Establishing Merit and Making Wishes for the Deceased (Wei Wang Ren She Fu Zhou Yuan Wen), extracted from the Mahasamghika Vinaya, T.55.91b.12; and The Source of the Three Weekly Taboo [Death] Days (San Qi Ji Re Yuan), extracted from The Questions of Pu Guang, T.55.91a.8. In addition, there are several extracts about the efficacy of various Buddhist funeral paraphernalia, including the hanging of banners and lighting of lamps; see T.55.90c.4,9,12,14. Elsewhere in his catalog there are entries for The Feast for Taking Rebirth in the Western Region (Sheng Xi Fang Zhai), T.55.36a.1, and Sacrificing [Food] to the Dead Does Not Get Them Nourishment Sutra (Ji Wang Ren Bu De Shi Jing), T.55.29c.13.
25 Bao Chang's discussion of funerals, entitled "Ananda Asks about Funeral Techni- ques,'' is substantial in its own right; see T.53.17~. This section also includes an account of the Buddha's death and the importance of making merit for the deceased. After this discussion he notes that it was, in part, drawn from the Consecration Sutra.
26 See T.53.568b for his quotation of the Consecration Sutra in a chapter entitled "Increasing Merit" and T.53.754b, where he cites it again in a chapter entitled "Making Offerings." He also draws on the Consecration Sutra in his Essentials of the Various Sutras (Zhu Jing Yao Ji): see T.54.177b and 54.183a-b.
Cheng's eleventh-century encyclopedia mentioned above.27 To this day the Consecration Sutra still gets attention in modern Japan with regard to ongoing debates about funeral protocol.28
Both chapters 6 and 11 of the Consecration Sutra are important for understanding early Buddhist funerals in China. While chapter 6 is more concerned with stupa worship and the denigration of non-Buddhist fu- nerary practices, chapter 11 is especially useful for reconstructing ritual procedures because it gives repeated prescriptions for funeral format supplemented by discussions of the efficacy of reciting Buddhas' names at death and the reliability of postmortem merit transfers. The special popularity of the eleventh chapter is confirmed by the fact that even by Seng You's time (late fifth, early sixth centuries) it circulated inde- pendent of the other eleven chapters of the Consecration Sutra, under the name of The Questions of Pu ~uan~.~~
It continued to circulate as an independent text right up to the Song dynasty, as proved by several manuscripts of it recovered from the Dun Huang cache.30
The text of The Questions of Pu Guang opens with the query that forms the central theme of the sutra. Pu Guang asks the ~uddha,~~ "When a Buddhist, male or female, lay or monastic, (si bei di ~i)~' who wishes to be reborn (wang sheng) in one of the [Buddha] lands of the ten directions is about to die or has already died, what merit (gong de) is to be made (xiu) so that they can take rebirth [there]?" The Buddha approves of this question, and, after listing the ten names of the Buddhas and their Buddha fields that can be recited at death, he begins to describe the funeral procedure.33 He says,
''See T.54.305c, where Dao Cheng quotes the Consecration Sutra to justify predeath funeral rites, and T.54.310a, where he cites chap. 6 of the Consecration Sutra for a discussion of whether or not the soul is present at the stupa site.
'*See Michihata RyGshU, Bukkyfi to Jukyfi (Tokyo: Daisan Bunmei Sha, 1976), p. 96. Michihata notes in his introduction, p. 6, that he is undertaking the writing of this book to dispel popular misconceptions regarding death and funeral practices.
29 See Seng You, Compilation of Notices on the Translation of the Tripifaka (Chu San Zang Ji Ji), T,55.90c, where it is referred to as a separate text. See also Michel Strickmann's article, "The Consecration Sutra: A Buddhist Book of Spells" in Chinese Buddhist Apocrypha, ed. Robert Buswell (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 19891, for a discussion of the dates of the text. Since the twelve chapters seem to have po- tentially been "free floating," it is lucky Seng You's catalog confirms that this chapter was extant then and titled as we have it now.
30 Strickmann cites this fact; p. 81.
32 Literally, "any of the four types of Buddhist disciples."
33 Many sections of this text seem to have been tampered with. This list of Buddha names is most likely an interpolation since it seems to split the flanking sentences that otherwise join more naturally. It is interesting that the Buddha AmitXbha is not men- tioned in this list, which is built of permutations on the term "adept" (jing jin), giving compounds such as Entering Adeptness, Completing Adeptness, Superior Adeptness, etc.
After this advice, the Buddha enters into an explanation of the count- less number of Buddha lands, but Pu Guang quickly returns the con- versation to his more pressing concerns by asking how one can be sure that the merit made ensures the salvation of the deceased. The Buddha again is happy to answer the question and says,
Good, good. . . . On the day when a person is about to die or has already died, you should burn incense and lamps in the stupa-monastery (ta si) and hang up funeral banners, and have sutras recited for three weeks.35 By doing thus, the deceased who is in the intermediate region (zhong yin) in the form of a small child and whose sins and good deeds have not yet been decided, will defi- nitely, with this merit made in the hope of causing his or her spirit (shen)to be reborn in one of the Buddha lands of the ten directions, be able to "ride this merit" (cheng ci gong de) and take rebirth there (wang sheng).
Despite the awkward adjectival phrases, these passages from this fifth- century text give us a well-detailed Buddhist funeral plan. The goals, methods, and format are presented as a two-pronged effort to gain salvation for the dying. On the one hand the dying, or the already dead, are given a synopsis of the Buddhist view of life which empha- sizes philosophical perspectives on suffering, impermanence, and emp- tiness. This teaching in most cases had to have been pro forma since the
34 Most of these analogies can be found in popular MahayXna sutras like the Vimalakirtinirdeia. See Robert Thurman's translation, The Holy Teachings of Vimalakirti: A Mahdydna Scripture (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1976), p. 22.
35 There seem to have been two schedules for postmortem merit making. One allows for three weeks, another for seven weeks. Sometimes they are both mentioned in one text, which suggests that "three seven" might have meant the first three of the seven weeks or any three of the seven weeks.
"patient" was likely to have been unconscious or already dead by this point.36 Accompanying this teaching effort is the ritualized merit making that is to continue in the weeks following the death to supply the real salvific horsepower that the dead can "ride to the Pure Land." In re- sponse to the following two questions, the Buddha confirms the power of deathbed conversions and third-party merit-making efforts by announcing that even those who convert only at death, or even die still doubting Buddhism, will derive great benefits from these funeral practices.
The catechism section of the text summarized above gives a fair sense of what was expected in a Buddhist funeral in fifth-century China. It is clear that this style of funeral practice rests on a Buddhist concept of death in which (1) the final consciousness is of utmost importance for rebirth, (2) the intermediate period is a time of purgatory in the sense that undefined karmic fates can still be redirected, (3) those close to the deceased are responsible for making every effort to improve his postmortem existence, and (4) the transfer of merit enables the ritual power of this world to achieve salvific goals in the next. These four parameters also define formats found in later Tang funeral writing and in the Song rites for the ordinary Chan monk treated above. Further- more, there is every indication that these four parameters continue to inform funeral rites up to the present.37
Important for my argument about the existence of a generic Buddhist funeral is the repeated line stipulating that the rites are to be conducted for all Buddhists. According to The Questions of Pu Guang, Buddhists of all ranks, lay or clerical, male or female, were to receive these rites, which were to be performed at the Buddhist monastery. In addition to this testimony to "democratic treatment of the dead," we can turn to a fifth-century text that defines monastic rules and leaves little doubt that there was no division in funeral rites given to Buddhists based on their status.
The Brahma Net Sutra (Fan Wang Jing), the so-called Mahayana Vinaya, was another popular sutra from the same era.38 Most likely written in China in the fifth century, it served as one of the main pillars
36 Actually, from the Buddhist point of view these teachings would not have been pro forma since it was believed that the consciousnesses of the recently expired often hov- ered near the body and were able to hear whatever teachings were given. Too, the sermon would have likely had a strong impact on those in attendance.
37 See, e.g., the pamphlet on funerals entitled "Why Perform Buddhist Services?" (Wei Shenma Zuo Fo Shi) by the twentieth-century Taiwan master, Sheng Yen (Tainan: Yi Cheng Chu Ban She, 1986).
38 See T.24.1004b for the section of the text that most likely corresponds to the text that was circulating in the fifth century under the title Pu Sa Jie Ben. For a history of this text and its complicated name change, see Leo Pruden, "Some Notes on the Fan Wang Jing," Indogaku bukkysgaku kenkyii 15 (March 1967): 70-80; and Paul Groner, "The Fan-wang ching and Monastic Discipline in Japanese Tendai: A Study of Annen's Fursii jubosarsukai kfishaku," in Buswell, ed., pp. 252-57.
of monastic Buddhism then, as it still does. The text consists of ten primary rules and forty-eight secondary rules. Two of the secondary rules require that monks provide funerals for each other, their male family members, and their mothers, but with no mention of an obli- gation to their sisters. These funerals are not described in detail, but it is clear that their intent and logic are very similar to those seen above in the Consecration Sutra. The Brahma Net Sutra states that in the weeks following a death, there must be a merit-making effort led by the Buddhist establishment in order to send the deceased to a better station in the next world. The second part of rule 20 states, "If your father, mother, or brother dies, then on the death day, you must invite a dharma master to recite the bodhisattva vows, vinayas, or sutras in order to fortify and enrich Cfu zi) the deceased's [karma] so that they can see all the Buddhas, or [at least] be reborn among humans or in heaven. If one does not do this, he is culpable of a secondary infra~tion."~~
The second mention of required funeral rites is rule 39, which lists crisis times when monks should recite this text: "during illness, threat to the country, threat of bandits, or on the death day of one's father, mother, or brothers, or on a [fellow] monk's death day, and then again on the third, fourth, fifth, and/or seventh week."40 This passage, besides emphasizing again the sameness of rites for lay and clerical Buddhists, is particularly interesting because it suggests fear of the dead, since the funeral occasions are seen as parallel to other endangering condi- tion~.~~
Leaving these implications for another essay, we have here an- other solid piece of evidence that the high monastic tradition promoted funeral rites that mirror, in content and structure, the postmortem at- tempts to save the dead found in the Consecration Sutra. The major difference is that the Consecration Sutra format has a much clearer Pure Land orientation. The Brahma Net Sutra account does not deny the Pure Land route, and the passage from rule 20 about the possibility of the funeral rites boosting the deceased's karmic status so that they might see the Buddhas alludes to rebirth in a Buddha Pure Land, but never- theless Pure Land aspirations are not as evident in this text. The two formulations share the belief that the dead, be they monks or laity, or even non-~uddhists,~~
need the merit generated by the living, who
39 See J. J. M. de Groot's edition and translation in Le Code du Mahciycina (Amsterdam: Johannes Muller, 1986). pp. 53-54.
40 Ibid., p. 72.
41 See Schopen (n. 7 above), where he presents plenty of evidence that Indian monks
were fearful of their departed brethren's soul. 42 The possibility of performing, with positive results, Buddhist funerals for non- Buddhists is held out explicitly in the Consecration Sutra; here in the Brahma Net Sutra it is implied, since surely there were monks who had family members that had not con- verted to Buddhism. should engage in sutra recitation, offerings, and so forth, to better the postmortem circumstances of the deceased. It is interesting to note that rule 12 of the Brahma Net Sutra forbids monks from "dealing in slaves and animals, or in the marketing of coffins, or the wood for coffins, or the making of funeral tools." De Groot, the able editor and translator of this text, expresses bafflement over the intent of this rule.43 However, I think we can be fairly certain that it was an attempt to curb the commercialization of the Buddhist monastery, perhaps based on the observation that fifth-century monasteries were turning into trading posts and funeral parlors. The exact circumstances at the time of the writing of this cautionary rule cannot be known, but like all rules, it tells us that the author thought that monks needed to be told not to deal in slaves, livestock, or the hard- ware side of the funeral business.44 This again suggests that even by the fifth century, Buddhist monks were known to be quite involved in funerary practices, and even overinvolved according to the author of the Brahma Net Sutra. Summing up this fifth-century material, I see no reason to suspect a division in funeral rites given to the Buddhist community: both texts stipulate that all dead Buddhists should be granted similar treatment based on a group ritual effort to make and transfer merit to the de- ceased. However, the minimal attention given to Pure Land elements in the Brahma Net Sutra raises the possibility that throughout this period, Buddhist funerals were occasionally practiced without a Pure Land as- piration as the stated goal of the merit-making effort. If this is true, then it is only at a slightly later date that more explicitly Pure Land- style funerals became the order of the day. This supposition regarding growing Pure Land aspirations is bolstered by the fact that the vinaya formulations in the seventh century emphasize Pure Land aspirations in a more obvious and technical manner.45 In the sixth and seventh centuries, four giants of the Buddhist liter- ary world, Zhi Yi (538-597), Dao Xuan (596-667), Dao Shi (d. 683), and Shan Dao (613-681), set down more explicit guidelines for con- 43 De Groot, Le Code du Mahciyana, p. 48. 44 AS for the slaves, we know from Kenneth Ch'en, Buddhism in China (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1964), pp. 270-71, that in the Tang, monasteries still held large numbers of slaves. Whether they were still openly buying and selling them is less clear. For a detailed discussion of monastic dependents including slaves and serfs, see Jacques Gernet, Buddhism in Chinese Society; An Economic History from the Fifth to the Tenth Centuries (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), pp. 100-116, 127-29. 45 Cave statuary commissioned in this period of the sixth and seventh centuries at Long Men Caves also shows an increasing interest in Amitabha's salvific powers; see Ch'en, p. 172, and the inscriptions reproduced in Edouard Chavanne, Mission Arche- ologique dans la chine septentrionale, vol. 1, pt. 2 (Paris, 1909-15). ducting Buddhist death rites. Though these authors have traditionally been considered spokespersons for different schools, they were in agree- ment about many aspects of Buddhist funeral practices-especially the importance of Buddha-name recitation to gain rebirth in the Pure Land. Their shared faith in Pure Land funeral practices defies the standard academic treatment given to these authors which, in my opinion, over- emphasizes their doctrinal differences by counting them as founders or important figures in three supposedly well-differentiated Tang schools: Tian Tai, Vinaya, and Pure Land. By considering their discussions of death practices I think we can recover several key assumptions that unified Buddhist thought and practice in the medieval period that have gone unnoticed in most modern scholarship. The works of these four prominent authors makes it believable that in the seventh century Pure Land aspirations took hold of the Buddhist imagination in a pervasive manner that affected thinkers across the board and that would hence- forth never cease to inform Buddhism in China. The earliest of the four authors, the Tian Tai master Zhi Yi, left a substantial body of work. I will draw attention only to a short homily on the Pure Land, entitled Discussion of Ten Doubts about the Pure Land, reportedly spoken by the master and later recorded by a stu- dent.46 The text is a discussion between a probing questioner and a textually dexterous Zhi Yi. After addressing questions regarding the compatibility of aspirations to be reborn in the Pure Land with bod- hisattva motivation, philosophical emptiness, and past karmic compli- cations, the eighth query raises the question, "How is it that you can, on your deathbed, complete ten Buddha-name recitations and erase eons of sin in order to be reborn in the Pure Land?" Zhi Yi answers that our karmic histories are hard to know, but still it is true that if we can meet with a good teacher and do ten recitations, we will be suc- cessful in gaining the Pure Land. He adds that, anyway, it is a moot point because if we were so evil in the past, we would not be able to meet with a spiritual friend and learn the practice of ten recitations. Though we learn little of his position regarding technical issues in fu- neral formats from this text, we can at least see how he supplied philo- sophical foundations for the Pure Land death rites that emphasize the final moment of consciousness and the power of Buddha-name recita- tion on one's deathbed. According to his unofficial biography, the Sui Zhi Zhe Da Shi Bie Zhuan, written by his disciple, Guan Ding, Zhi Yi apparently was convinced of his Pure Land position to the extent 46 T.47.77. Whether or not Zhi Yi actually authored this work may be impossible to determine. However, for my purposes it is sufficient to see that he was credited with the work shortly after his death and it was not seen as antithetical to his other writings and teachings. that as he lay dying, he turned on his side to be facing west and chanted the Lotus Sutra and one of the principal Pure Land sutras, the Sutra on Injinite Life (Wu Liang Shou Jing), with the hope of being reborn in a Pure and.^^ Several decades after Zhi Yi's death, Dao Shi provided extensive discussion of Buddhist funeral techniques in two of his main works: the mammoth Dharma Treasure Grove, of one hundred chapters, and the shorter twenty-chapter Essentials of the Various Sutras. Though both texts have entire chapters on funeral concerns,48 many of these passages are duplicates, so I will discuss only the Essentials of the Various Sutras, which is more extensive. I should add that I choose to treat Dao Shi's writings before those of his teacher, Dao Xuan, because there are hints that Dao Xuan worked from Dao Shi's encyclopedic material, weaving the cited passages into essay form.49 Chapter 19 of the Essentials of the Various Sutras begins with a Buddhist assessment of the inevitability of death, which is blamed on the fact that the body is an unstable formation that comes about through the temporary conjunc- tion of the four elements.jO Then, quoting a passage from the Dharma- gupta Vinaya in which the Buddha told the monks that they were responsible for taking care of the sick, Dao Shi moves into a discussion of how to care for the dying. Part of the required Buddhist care for the dying includes moving the dying out of their personal rooms and into an "impermanence room," so as to keep out of sight those items to which the dying may be attached. Dao Shi advises that in a northwest corner of the temple, where there is no sunlight, one should establish the impermanence hall (wu chang yuan). There, a golden image of the Buddha should be set up and used in the following manner:jl When people are sick you put them there [in the impermanence hall] . . . with a gold painted image facing east and the patient seated, facing west, directly in front of the statue. If they are too weak, let them lie down, but still one is to be facing west looking at the marks of the Buddha. Then put a five-colored banner in the image's hand and have the patient hold the bottom end of it. 47 T.50.196a.Brook Ziporyn of the University of Michigan kindly pointed out this reference to me. 48 Chapters 95 and 97 of the Dharma Treasure Grove are on funeral issues. 49 I suspect that this is true because Dao Shi's references are usually more complete than Dao Xuan's, which often look like loose paraphrases. Also, since Dao Shi always gives his source, and Dao Xuan rarely does, it would have been much harder for Dao Shi to lift a passage from Dao Xuan and then track it down in the original text in order to cite it more completely. Much more likely is the possibility that they worked together, or that Dao Xuan lifted passage from Dao Shi's encyclopedia and shortened and para- phrased them to fit more neatly into his essay style. 50 T.54.175a.
A good male or female, lay or monastic Buddhist who wishes, upon histher death, to be reborn in [one of] the Buddha lands (fo cha ru) of the ten direc- tions, should have hislher body washed and dressed in fresh clean clothes. In- cense of various types should be burned, banners hung up, praises sung to the Three Jewels, and the holy sutras recited. You should extensively explain to the moribund the [effects] of karma. Give examples and explanations of the more subtle concepts from the sutras, for instance [that the person is the nature of] suffering, empty and without corporeality. Or, that the four elements deceptively combine [to appear as a person], but are in fact like a banyan tree which has no real core. Or again, that [life] is like a flash of lightning which cannot linger, and thus it must be said that the flesh does not stay young and fresh long, but must return and be destroyed.34 If you are ardent in prac- ticing the Way, you can attain deliverance from suffering and attain whatever you wish.
This is to signify taking rebirth in the Pure Land (wang sheng jing tu). This arrangement, though convenient, was not held in contempt by the Buddha. Originally, the place [of dying] was messy and dirty, and there were spirits haunting it. . . but, the Buddha wanted it to be in accordance with the patient's wishes. You can also use a statue of Amitgbha, Maitreya, Aksobhya, or Avalo- kiteivara placed in front [of the moribund]. You continually make offerings of incense and flowers to the statue in order to produce a virtuous mind in the patient.
After explaining the layout, there is a discussion on how to preach effectively to the dying about emptiness and impermanence. Dao Shi cites a passage from the Avatamsaka Sutra about the power of death- bed Buddha-name recitation in which it is further claimed that those who die in a samadhi staring at an image of the Buddha will be reborn in front of him.52 Dao Shi adds a personal comment that a group of wise and virtuous people may take the image and the sutras to the dying person's room/house to provide final rites at bedside. Regardless of whether the death is to take place at the monastery or at home, he explains that this service is provided because it is important to bom- bard the dying person's senses with virtuous words and images in order to prevent evil thoughts from arising. Several quotations later, he cites the funeral format from The Questions of Pu Guang (translated above) with directions on washing the body, burning incense, and so forth. Following this there is a discussion on an array of death-related issues, such as the nature of the intermediate body, the death signs indicative of the place of rebirth, and the choices for disposing of the body. Ex- cept for a passage on condolence^,^^ there seems to be nothing in this well-choreographed death drama attributable to non-Buddhist Chinese sources, Confucian or otherwise.
In sum, while he has gathered an extensive number of Indian sutra and Sastra quotations to buttress his position on the importance of the final moment of consciousness and Pure Land practices, it would be safe to say that Dao Shi's expectations for a Buddhist funeral are quite consonant with, and built on, the format in The Questions of Pu Guang. However, three key elements of the Pure Land ritual have been refined and expanded. The first is the creation of a death room, the so-called impermanence room, set on the monastery's grounds to provide a spe- cific and controllable environment for the death event. The second in- novation is the death samadhi, in which one dies staring at a Buddha
53 Even the condolence procedure might be of Indian origin since the ordering, by rank, of monks engaging in a ritual is found in Yi Jing's accounts of Indian monastic practice; see Yi Jing (n. 7 above), pp. 153-54.
statue, holding the five-colored streamer that is attached to the image to symbolize, and perhaps encourage, the Buddha to lead the dying to the Pure Land. And third is Dao Shi's own suggestion regarding the desirability of a mobile group of Buddhists who make housecalls for the dying.
Dao Xuan's work, contemporaneous with Dao Shi's, is also very informative and I suspect even more important for the formation and continuation of monastic funeral rites. In his Notes from South Moun- tain (Nan Shun Chao), he provides commentary on numerous vinaya topics intermixed with attributed and unattributed citations from sutras and vinayas that in many places are identical to Dao Shi's. His direc- tions for the funeral format are particularly detailed. Like Dao Shi, Dao Xuan states that sick monks are to be moved to the impermanence
but he advises that the moribund be set behind the Buddha statue that is facing west. From this position, the moribund is to take hold of the banner that is held in the left hand of the statue.55 Verbatim of Dao Shi's comments, Dao Xuan explains this arrangement in the impermanence room "as signifying taking rebirth in the Pure Land."
One difference between Dao Xuan and Dao Shi is that Dao Xuan also allows nontextual elements into his discussion when he states that certain death prescriptions are "based on Chinese [Buddhist] tradition"
(yi zhong guo ben ~huan).~~
In another passage Dao Xuan again uses the phrase "based on Chinese [Buddhist] tradition" to urge the monks to gather and support the dying monk.57 "Based on tradition in China, at the time of death, regardless of whether the person is a monk or layperson, those with whom the dying is closely related should stand by his side and keep vigil and recite [sutras] until the dying person's root conscious- ness has faded away. This is so that the dying person's inner mind (nei xin) is happy and does not fear the road ahead. And so that he will attain correct remembrance (zheng nian), without being distracted and thereby attain a good rebirth." In this passage, Dao Xuan seems comfort- able counting this practice as normative simply because it reflects "Chi- nese [Buddhist] tradition." His invocation of Chinese Buddhist tradition is a good indication of the presence of a well-established funeral pro- cedure that Dao Xuan felt was just as prescriptive as textual sources. His discussion that follows is lengthy and involved, explaining exactly what
54 See T.40.144a.
55 Later in his discussion he adds that during the bedside exhortations given to the dying the statue can be turned around to face the moribund. See T.40.145a.
56 Compare Dao Xuan, T.40.144a.13, with Dao Shi, T.54.176c.21. I think it fair to insert the word "Buddhist" in this phrase because it is clear that Dao Xuan is not saying that his funeral rites are based on native Chinese, i.e., non-Buddhist traditions, but on Buddhist funeral rites as traditionally performed in China.
to do with the body and the etiquette expected at a funeral. One section not found in Dao Shi's work details how the dying monk is to be given a dharma talk according to the type of Buddhist practice he specialized in. Dao Xuan provides stock eulogies to be given depending on the monk's main practice with the following specialists listed: ascetics, sutra reciters, vinaya practitioners, dharma masters, meditationlchan masters (chan hi),^^ and helper types. Each type of Buddhist monk, whether he is a bookish sutra or vinaya reciter, or a more practice-oriented meditation master, is to receive the Pure Land funeral, with the only difference among them being that, as they are dying, they are to be praised specifically for their life practices with the stylized eulogies that Dao Xuan provides.59
This chunk of Dao Xuan's writing on funerals shows the degree to which the Pure Land funeral had been incorporated into standard monastic practice. While repeating much of Dao Shi's material, he syn- thesized these sources into a fairly concise recipe for Buddhist death practices. He also fleshed out various sections and even included litur- gical directions for various moments in the procedure. Evident in his writing is his confidence that this Pure Land funeral ought to be seen as a part of traditional Buddhist practice, applicable to both laity and monastics. Even more conclusive is his explicit extension of Pure Land funerals to all types of Buddhist practitioners. In short, with Dao Xuan, the Pure Land funeral format appears as an integral part of generic medieval Chinese Buddhism, extended to every type of believer and practitioner.
Shan Dao's writings round out a synoptic view of Buddhist views on death practices in the seventh century. Statements regarding deathbed procedures are given in his Technique Based on the Merits of the Samadhi of Contemplating the Ocean-Like Marks of Amitiibha (Guan Nian A Mi Tuo Fo Xiang Hai Sun Wei Gong De Fa Men). Following a passage explaining the procedure for the week-long samtidhi practice of concentrating on images of Amittibha, he describes how death rites are to be handled. If there is no Buddha hall Cfo tang) available, then any clean room will do. The room is turned into a ritual site (duo chang) by sweeping it, purifying it with incense, and setting up a Buddha image Cfo xiang) against the western ~hen,~l
Have the moribund compose his mind and body, and turn to face west. His mind is to be concentrated as he contemplates (gun xiang) ~mitibha.~~
62 The verb translated as "contemplate" (guan xiang) suggests that the mental image of Amitsbha may have been more important.
mind and mouth interlocked, and the sound [of recitation] unbroken, he will definitely be reborn in the Pure Land and see the holy retinue arriving on flower pedestals to welcome him. If the moribund sees a vision he should tell it to those caring for him, who should listen to it and then record it just as he explained it. If the moribund cannot speak [at first], then ask him repeatedly [to try] and describe the vision he has had. If he describes a sinful scene, then the bystanders should do Buddha-name recitation (nianfo) on his behalf and help him to confess in order to disperse the evil. When the sins have been dispelled then in response to the recitation the holy retinue will appear in front [of the dying person] on their lotus pedestals, so get ready to write down the vision [as he describes it to you].
Also, should other practitioners or the dying person's relatives come to see himlher, do not let anyone approach who has [recently] taken alcohol, meat, or the five garlics. Should they come to the bedside of the dying, then the correct recitation would be lost. Ghosts and gods would act up and the patient would die in confusion and drop down to the lower three evil realms. I hope practi- tioners will carefully uphold the Buddhist teachings.
Shan Dao's stipulations for death procedures differ little from Dao Shi's or Dao Xuan's, and they are quite compatible with Zhi Yi's concerns. Like Dao Shi and Dao Xuan, Shan Dao prescribes a death samadhi of contemplating a Buddha, though there is an exclusive reliance on Am- itabha Buddha that none of the other three authors insisted on. New in Shan Dao's prescription is a more detailed statement of the pure conditions, both mental and physical, that must be maintained in the death room. Also unprecedented is his concern for recording the dying person's vision of the welcoming Buddha with his holy retinue. Shan Dao apparently wanted to extract from the dying patient visions of the beyond that could be used to convince the living of the reality of the Pure Land.
The historical effects of Shan Dao's text were many. For instance, it was cited in Genshin's (941-1017) influential Important Points Re- garding Taking Rebirth in the Pure Land (Wang Sheng Yao Ji). This text would have immense influence in Japan and be the locus classicus of many Pure Land practices,63 but we should not overlook the fact that Genshin saw Shan Dao's prescriptions as consonant with Dao Xuan's and cited them back-to-back in his short discussion of death practices.64
Judging from this spread of statements on death practices from four prominent early Tang writers, it is likely that by the middle of the
63 See Philip Yampolsky, "The Essentials of Salvation" (master's thesis, Columbia University, 1948). Parts of this are reprinted in William Theodore de Bary, ed., The Buddhist Tradition in India, China, and Japan (New York: Modern Library, 1969), pp. 317-27.
64 See Gempon kochu Kan-Wa taisho Ojo yoshu, ed. Hanayama (Tokyo: Koyama Sho- ten, 1937), pp. 299-300, for a reprint of Genshin's citation and a Japanese translation.
seventh century there was a codified generic Buddhist death ritual, for laity and clergy alike, that was heavily dependent on Pure Land ideol- ogy and techniques of Buddha-name recitation, even though it was not identified as Pure Land Buddhism. This summary of funeral issues supports T. Griffith Foulk's position that the divisions between the Buddhist schools were not nearly as great as we have assumed. Appar- ently, on several crucial issues there was a great deal of common ground shared by proponents of different schools such as Tian Tai, Vinaya, and Pure Land.
In the early eighth century, funerary procedures for elite monks developed in a new direction. When the very popular teacher Shen Xiu died in 706, a large procession of devotees, including princes and dukes, was organized to accompany his body from the capital to his home temple, Du Men Si in Qing Zhou, where he was interred in a ~tu~a.~' A month after his death, the emperor conferred on Shen Xiu the post- humous title "Meditation Master of Great Perception" (Da Tong Chan Shi). This ostentatious display of devotion manifest at the highest level of government was remarkable, but one of Shen Xiu's leading disciples, Pu Ji (651-739), did something even more innovative. Pu Ji built an ancestor hall (zu tang) for Shen Xiu and the other preceding masters back to Bodhidharma who made up a lineage that Pu Ji wished to appro- priate as his own.66 To demonstrate more vividly the reality of this lin- eage, he set up portraits and/or ancestor tablets in honor of each master.67
Supporting and articulating the logic of these ritual acts was a newly appearing work entitled The Record of the Transmission of the Dharma Jewel (Chuan Fa Bao Ji), which probably was composed under Pu Ji's direction^.^^ As Foulk has pointed out, the main import of this text is the thinly veiled intention of establishing that the transmission of enlightenment ended up on Pu Ji's doorstep. Taken together, this new piece of Buddhist architecture-the ancestor hall-and the aggressive
65 See Bernard Faure, La volonte' d'orthodoxie duns le bouddhisme chinois (Paris: Editions du C.N.R.S., 1988), p. 33, for details of the treatment of Shen Xiu's remains.
Shen Hui asserts this in his Pu Ti Da Mo Nan Zong Ding Shi Fei Lun, in Shen Hui He Shang Yi Ji, ed. Hu Shi (Taipei: Hu Shih chi-nien kuan, 1968),p. 289. See also Yampolsky, The Platform Sutra ofthe Sixth Patriarch (n. 2 above), p. 28, for discussion. 1 believe Foulk and Sharf are right in translating qi zu tang as "Hall of the Seven Patriarchs" instead of "Hall of the Seventh Patriarch as Yampolsky does; see Foulk and Sharf (n. 10 above), p. 172.
67 Since no one in the eighth century had any idea what the preceding teachers looked like, this attempt at portraiture must have been particularly inventive.
T.85.1291. See John McRae, The Northern School and the Formation of Early Ch'an Buddhism, Studies in East Asian Buddhism, no. 3 (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1986),pp. 255-69, for an English translation. My understanding of Pu Ji's maneuvers is based on T. Griffith Foulk's analysis in Ch'an Myths and Realities in Medieval Chinese Buddhism (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, in press). For a synopsis, see Foulk and Sharf, pp. 172-74.
ideology of present enlightenment as explained in The Record of the Transmission of the Dharma Jewel gave Pu Ji a powerful platform for supporting his bid to be the leading Buddhist master, succeeding his immensely popular master Shen Xiu.
At the heart of Pu Ji's innovation was his willingness to articulate his ownership of enlightenment by constructing this Buddhist spiritual lineage in rough accordance with the Confucian family model. In a word, Pu Ji was saying, "I am the spiritual son of Shen Xiu, and we, father and son, belong to a family lineage that is made up of other masters who have owned enlightenment and passed it on to their 'sons.' " The Buddhist masters whom Pu Ji wanted to claim as his predecessors he called "ancestors" (zu),ritually identifying them as such with Con- fucian emblems like portraits.69 Furthermore, these ancestors were lo- cated en masse in a postmortem holding pattern where they would, like all ancestors, expect worship from their descendants in return for grant- ing those descendants identity and the other prerogatives of lineage membership. Thus, in his bid to be recognized as an eminent master, Pu Ji borrowed the sexual/somatic system of biological transmission to explain asexual cultural transmission and thereby guaranteed for himself public recognition of his possession of Buddhist enlightenment.
In assessing precedents for this maneuver, we should take into ac- count the pre-Tang and Tang practice of drawing up genealogies for the most powerful aristocratic families. Patricia Ebrey writes, "Since the various governments of the Northern and Southern Dynasties (319-589) ranked these 'great families' by status and used these ranks in allocating access to political privileges, genealogies were needed to prove membership in a ranked line."70 I suspect that this practice served as a model for Pu Ji's parallel attempt to present the court with the genealogy of his "great family."
Pu Ji's creativity seems to have been well rewarded. He was very popular to the end of his life, and upon his own death, he too was enshrined in a similar ancestral hall and the emperor conferred on him
69 I have yet to find mention of Pu Ji wearing the Confucian white funeral gear to mourn his master, but slightly later texts make mention of this practice. Wang Wei's (699-759) eulogy for Jing Jue (683-?) mentions that during the funeral for this master his dharma companions wore white mourning clothes; see Bernard Faure, Le boud- dhisme Ch'an en ma1 d'histoire: Gen2se d'une tradition religieuse duns la Chine des Thng (Paris: Ecole Franqaise d'Extr&me-Orient, 1989), p. 18. Similarly, Hui Neng's request, that his disciples not wear the white funeral garb implies that by the mid- to late eighth century (when the text was most likely composed) this was expected com- portment at the funeral of a master; see Yarnpolsky, The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, p. 181.
'O See her "Early Stages of Descent Group Organization:' in Kinship Organization in Late Imperial China, 1000-1940, ed. Patricia B. Ebrey and James L. Watson (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1986), p. 20.
the title "Meditation Master of Great Illumination" (Da Zhao Chan ~hi).~l
In fact, before his death, his success apparently caused great jealousies, and soon there were competitors playing the same game of claiming ancestral rights to Buddhist enlightenment. His main detractor, Shen Hui (d. 762), organized his attack on Pu Ji on the same ancestral model but sought to insert his own master, Hui Neng, in the line of patri- archs where Pu Ji had put his own master, Shen x~u.~' Shen Hui also built an ancestral hall to demonstrate these claims.73 And, Shen Hui crit- icized Pu Ji for allowing two masters to inhabit one generation, which, as Foulk has argued, was due to the way that Pu Ji appropriated the lin- eage from Fa Ru at Shao Lin Monastery. John Jorgensen has suggested that Shen Hui's appeal to a more orthodox-looking form of ancestor worship based on strict unilineal descent was crucial for his school's lineage to win the day.74 I am not so convinced by this argument, first because of the success that Pu Ji's model won for itself at the outset, and second, because it is just as likely that Shen Hui's lineage won because he had more political clout during the years following Pu Ji's death.
Specifically, we know that the government was very eager to retain Shen Hui as a fund-raiser during and after the An Lu Shan rebellion.75 Thus, in the years after Pu Ji's death I suspect these realpolitik condi- tions were the deciding factor. However, according to the ninth-century scholar Zong Mi, the debate remained unresolved until 796, when the reigning emperor finally decreed that Shen Hui and not Pu Ji was the legitimate national Chan ancestor.76 At any rate, this all shows that once the paradigm of "Buddhist ancestors" became an issue in brutal Buddhist politics, it took hold and remained the framework within which masters and their students laid claim to spiritual authority. Quite clearly, then, we must see Pu Ji's innovations as marking a crucial shift
7' See Faure, La volonte' d'orthodoxie dans le bouddhisme chinois, pp. 128-34, for bio raphical details.
f Mary Douglas's remarks about the general function of ancestral claims are apropos here: "When ancestors intervene they are usually part of a system that confirms local inheritance laws. Anyone wanting to validate his own claims has to trace his descent; anyone interested in contesting the claim has to question the genealogy." See her How Institutions Think (Syracuse, N.Y.:Syracuse University Press, 1986), p. 51. 73 This building is mentioned in the late eighth-century Li Dai Fa Bao Ji. See Jacques Gernet, "Biographie du Maitre Chen-houei du Ho Tso," Journal Asiatique 239 (1951): 53. 74 See John Jorgensen, "The 'Imperial' Lineage of Ch'an Buddhism: The Role of Confucian Ritual and Ancestor Worship in Ch'an's Search for Legitimation in the Mid-Tang Dynasty," Papers on Far Eastern History 35 (1987): 89-133. 75 See Stanley Weinstein, Buddhism under the Thng (Cambridge: Cambridge Univer- sity Press, 1987), pp. 64-65; and Yampolsky, The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch,
in the formulation of sainthood in Chinese Buddhism. Henceforth, a Buddhist saint was nobody unless he could prove his descent from a recognized Buddhist ancestor who himself was a saint.77
To draw out some of the implications of this development, I suggest that the ancestralization of Buddhist masters was somewhat akin to the shifts that occurred in the West when the remains of martyrs and saints became the focus for public cults in the third and fourth centuries. Peter Brown has argued that a crucial aspect in the Christianization of the Roman empire is found in the way that the relics of the saints became public ritual centers, controlled by bishops as the church hier- archy evolved to present itself as the dispenser of the spiritual power found at these sites.78 Pu Ji, in a similar fashion, took the remains (symbolic and actual) of past Buddhist saints and laid hold of them so that he could control and dispense their powers to the public in return for material and political support. While the Catholic bishops modeled their relationship with the powerful dead saints along the lines of a senatorial patronlclient relationship, Pu Ji, and the slightly later Shen Hui, established their relationship with their powerful dead based on the father-son model.
Much more could be said about the use of these different idioms in their respective cultural settings, but for now I will only summarize Pu Ji's innovation by noting three things of which he convinced the pub- lic: (1) that Buddhist enlightenment is transmitted through history in a manner analogous to biological reproduction; or in other words, mas- ters produce disciples who carry on the family essence, thereby estab- lishing a "house" (zong) that serves to maintain enlightenment in this world; (2) that Pu Ji was the most recent member of this hallowed lineage; (3) that Pu Ji's spiritual ancestors were suitable objects of an- cestor worship for everyone. The last point is most surprising given the traditional Chinese taboos on worshiping other people's ancestors.
Certainly prior to Pu Ji's time the remains of elite monks had been held up as worthy of the laity's devotion and imperial largesse. But while eminent masters had been given special treatment in pre-eighth-century China, the special treatment articulated in earlier works appears to lack the familial metaphors. The issues that are brought up in works on mo- nastic rules and procedures by Dao Xuan and in the earlier apocryphal text, Mu Lian's Five Hundred Questions, have to do with internal management of monastic funds to pay for the funeral services and the
77 The flip side must have been true too. A master was nobody without his coterie of disciples attesting, even if it was posthumously, to his enlightenment.
78 See Peter Brown, The Cult of the Saints: Its Rise and Function in Latin Christianity (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980).
protocol expected of monks.79 Though minimal in these works, the familial metaphor had begun to show itself elsewhere, as, for instance, when in the fifth century Hui Yuan decreed that all monks should take the surname Shi, indicating that they belonged to the Buddhist family of Shi Jia Mo Ni (~~k~amuni).
But at that stage, though the monks were to consider themselves as belonging to one family, there still is no mention that close disciples of a master formed themselves into lin- eages based on a Confucian model that would mirror lay family lineages.
While a full-blown familialization of the elite clergy is absent in these early sources, still it is true that preceding Pu Ji there were sev- eral texts in which masters and disciples were strung together in some- thing resembling a lineage. This is evident, for instance, in Fa Ru's
(d. 689) epitaph, from which Pu Ji likely took much of his material. Besides this important source, one can find other lists of masters in Tian Tai and vinaya tradition^,^^ but again none of these lists is con- joined with Confucian models or metaphors and their attendant ritual forms. The ordering of Buddhist teachers and their disciples into quasi- family lineages based on father-son inheritance was Pu Ji's creation, for he appears as the first to take the nascent Buddhist lineage struc- tures and express them in Confucianesque ritual procedures.
Reflecting on the induction of the Confucian model of father-son transmission into the heart of Buddhism opens up several provocative vantage points. Most generally, one could consider this as a fine ex- ample of the way that the most transcendental doctrines often look for the most somatic and familiar metaphors and practices to anchor them- selves in the lives of those who follow them. Invisible Buddhist en- lightenment is graphically represented by a chain of masters who own it and are made visible in statue form. Thinking more about the so- matic side of this metaphor, one could well wonder about the impli- cations of asexual cultural transmission being explained as a facsimile of sexual reproduction. Is there an implicit homology between semen and enlightenment here? Under the Chan metaphor, what ultimately is passed on from teacher to disciple that creates similitudes of paternity and sonship?
Another perspective worth considering is the possibility that the Buddhist family rules of inheritance treated enlightenment like a kind of property, or piece of land. Enlightenment is handed down to "sons" like a ride paddy from which they can win their daily bread and that they will be obligated to hand over to their descendants after they
79 See T.24.978 for this text. See McRae (n. 68 above), pp. 74-90, for discussion of Fa Ru's lineage and other earlier attempts at using lineages in Chinese Buddhism.
have farmed it to the end of their days. Again with Marxist glasses on, if the upper level of the Buddhist clergy is claiming exclusive owner- ship of enlightenment and the attendant Buddhist powers, how did the rest of the hard-working monks feel? Was there class resentment? Did it seem to some that the abbots were like queen bees solely in charge of reproducing, while the other monks had to spend their days toiling with no chance of reproducing or gaining what the elite so carefully guarded?
These questions call for more research regarding the adoption of the family model into the Buddhist institution. To suggest some fruitful guidelines for this inquiry, I want to contextualize more fully the an- cestralization of the Buddhist elite in the eighth century. As I mentioned, there were several Buddhist precedents involving the use of lineages that, at least in retrospect, point in this direction, but Robert Sharf has sug- gested another line of influen~e.~'
Sharf notes that during the seventh and eighth centuries, several tantric masters from India and Central Asia came to court claiming membership in lineages that reached back to the Buddha. This point is well taken, and the fact that high-profile tan- tric masters showed up just when these experimental Chan lineage texts began to be written is more than a little suggestive. But besides looking to outside stimuli, I wonder if we cannot see internal rifts and junctures in the native Chinese tradition that may have been equally important in setting the stage.
First, it seems that even in the early Confucian tradition, appearing nearly a millennium before the first Chan lineage texts, we can detect tension and uncertainty with regard to the treatment of teachers. For instance, though Confucius's disciples are regularly referred to as his "sons" (zi) in the Analects, we find his disciples unsure of how to mourn their master. In The Book of Rites (Li Ji) it says, "At the mourn- ing rites for Confucius, the disciples were in perplexity as to what dress they should wear."82 The question of what funeral garb to wear was crucial because it expresses one's relationship to the deceased. The inclusion of this dilemma in the Confucian canon suggests a lingering indecisiveness over whether spiritual fathers, even as giant as Con- fucius, should be eligible for veneration equal to that of biological fathers. To resolve the difficulty, a disciple of Confucius, Zi Gong, suggested to the others a compromise in which Confucius was to be mourned almost as though he were their father but without the wearing
Robert Sharf, personal communication, February 1993.
Li Chi:Book of Rites, 1:139. It seems that Confucius expected some kind of service because after being quite sick once he is said to have announced that though he did not expect any lavish funeral from his disciples, still he expected that it would be better than dying alone by the road. See the Analects IX.12.
of mourning clothes that would have explicitly labeled Confucius as their biological father. Zi Gong said, "Formerly, when the master was mourning Yan Yuan, he acted in other respects as if he were mourning for a son, but wore no mourning dress. He did the same for Zi Lu. Let us mourn for the master as if we were mourning for a father, but wear no mourning dress."83
In another passage from the Analects we get an interesting view of how the transmission of textual knowledge competed with biological paternity in determining who really counted as a son. A disciple of Confucius's asks Bo Yu, the son of Confucius, if he has learned some- thing that the others had not. Bo Yu answers that his father had not entrusted him with a secret, or "in-house," doctrine and adds that Con- fucius had brusquely told him that he was unsuited for social in- tercourse as long as he was ignorant of the Odes and the Rules of
The implication seems to be that discipleship supersedes sonship-Confucius's biological son received nothing that the other disciples had not, and furthermore, he was only included in the group when he had become a disciplelson in the textual sense.
Even with these scant references we can at least suspect that there was some consternation over the line dividing spiritual and biological fathers. Happily, slightly later sources give a clearer picture. Leon Van- dermeersch's discussion of the popularization of Confucianism draws attention to the way that in the Latter Han (second and third centuries) there emerged in literati circles "a relationship between masters and disciples in a quasi-jlial form."85 But, because of fears that ritualizing cultural transmission in this manner might overtake the model that it was based on-the father-son dyad-there was an attempt to limit the rites given to a master to a simple "demonstration of grieving" (sang). The wearing of funeral garb was prohibited. Allowing this halfway filial mourning seems to reflect the solution found in the case of Confucius's funeral, but enforcing these limitations was difficult. Van- dermeersch points out that the impulse to memorialize one's master as an ancestor was apparently irrepressible since in the third and fourth centuries there were several cases of disciples building temples (miao) for their masters and convening annually to offer up ancestor worship. With these documents, it begins to look as if there had been, in the centuries leading up to the Chan movement, widespread attempts to merge the categories of master and father.
83 Li Chi: Book of Rites, 1: 139.
84 Analects XVI. 13.
85 See Leon Vandermeersch, "La Popularization du Confucianisme" in Thought and Law in Qin and Han China, ed. W. L. Idema and E. Zurcher (Leiden: Brill, 1990), p. 105; my emphasis.
Remaining cognizant of this dynamic might bring helpful insights in the consideration of the efforts to turn Buddhist teachers into Buddhist "fathers" in the Tang period.86 And, it may turn out that this wider per- spective warrants identifying the Buddhist development as part of a trend in Chinese thinking about teachers. Partial confirmation of the validity of seeing parallels in Confucian and Buddhist ancestralization of teachers comes when we remember that the Neo-Confucian masters of the Song dynasty borrowed back from the Buddhists the very institu- tionalized lineage system that the Buddhists had borrowed from the Confucian family.87 Hence I wonder if the full unabashed ancestral- ization of Buddhist masters in the Chan tradition brazenly overcame a long-standing tension between the parallel dyads of father and son, and master and disciple, in such a convincing way that even those who despised Buddhism could see that the Buddhist innovation war- ranted adoption.88
The last point that I want to make is a bit trickier, and it has to do with evaluating the prominence of filial piety in the Chan system. Looking at Chan Buddhist funeral literature, it is not hard to see that fictive father- son filial piety was the linchpin of the lineage system that connects teachers to their disciples, who in turn become teachers with their own disciples. Once one gets used to the idea that Chan, contrary to all the twentieth-century hoopla about its antinomianism, was based on a homey kind of conservatism, it is tempting to see the filial metaphor in Buddhist monasticism as a kind of "caving in" to Confucian pressures. But this assessment is weak for two reasons. First, it ignores the cal- culated use of the familial idiom in Buddhist religio-politics, a use that, far from representing a capitulation to Confucian ideals, strengthened the Buddhist establishment in a way that made the Confucians even more envious.
Second, my research into the relationship between Buddhism and family values in medieval chinas9 shows that in defining family values for laity in the Tang, Buddhist authors were very successful in refor- mulating filial piety around the mother and son, not the father and son.
86 Exploring Daoist uses of family models would likely be equally revealing.
"For the most recent discussion of exchanges between Buddhists and Neo-Confucians, see Thomas Wilson, Genealogy of the Way (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford Uni- versity Press, 1995). For a contrary opinion, see Ellen Neskar, "The Cult of Worthies: A Study of Shrines Honoring Local Confucian Worthies in the Sung Dynasty (960-1279)" (Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1993),chap. 7.
88 For an overview of the mutual borrowings between Buddhism and traditional Chinese practices, see Gernet, Buddhism in Chinese SocieQ (n. 44 above), pp. 255-306. His discussion of Buddhist associations is particularly relevant for showing the exten- sion of fictive family groups in other domains; see pp. 259-77.
89 See my Mothers and Sons in Chinese Buddhism (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford Uni- versity Press, in press).
Thus, it appears that choices were made about how to adapt filial piety for Buddhist purposes. The fascinating thing is that I believe it is possible to show that these two forms of Buddhist filial piety fit to- gether in a mutually supporting manner, but for now suffice it to say that the Buddhists demonstrate a resourcefulness and creativity with regard to cultural adaptation that is far more complicated and inge- nious than has hitherto been noticed.
To sum up the conclusions of this brief genealogy of funeral practices, let me first return to the surprising finding that Pure Land funerals were sanctioned by key spokespersons of various schools in the Tang period.90 The prevalence of Pure Land-style practices in various Buddhist schools and its strong attraction for the literate elite, as well as for the "unwashed masses," probably means we need to rethink the whole category of the school of "Pure Land Buddhism" and the usual derogatory label of "popular Buddhism" that dogs it. This funeral format seems to have been generic in the Tang era and was to remain the workhorse of Chinese Buddhist death practices down to the present. Even the 'Than revolu- tion" did not disturb these Pure Land funeral rites since they were duly inducted into the earliest Chan monastic rules.
Second, just looking at funeral procedures, when we ask, "What was the 'Chan revolution' all about in the Tang?" we get an answer quite at odds with stereotypical claims that Chan was a radical antinomian movement seeking to make enlightenment available to the common man. The new Chan masters qua spiritual fathers claimed the highest good in the Buddhist system-enlightenment-as their very own and then housed that claim in the protective garb of the Confucian model of family reproducfion. This maneuver warrants the coinage "the calcu- lated gentrification of Chinese Buddhism" because it stratified the Buddhist world such that a distinct elite could justify their ownership of enlightenment and guard the rights to that newly found enlighten- ment with repeated claims of privileged inheritance. The results of this Tang strategy appear solidified in the Song period Chan texts, which so explicitly explain first- and second-class funerals, and rely on this cleavage in the monastic hierarchy to maintain the normal workings of the monastery.
Thus, I detect no fall from grace here, nor a betrayal of the original intent of Chan. On the contrary, the Song Chan texts look like the natu- ral extension of the earliest Chan ideological structures that were in- voked in the religious and political skirmishes of the mid-Tang. With
90 Stanley Weinstein's remark in his Buddhism under the T'ang (n. 75 above), p. 171,
n. 15, that "virtually no attention was paid to Pure Land Buddhism before the An Lu-shan rebellion (755-7631, even though this was probably the predominant form of Buddhism among the common people:' is not supported by reading the funeral literature that I have cited here.
these facts in view, it is hard to avoid the suspicion that the twentieth- century account of Chan's egalitarian and democratic principles reflects our own values, put there through a complicated set of postcolonial influences, and not the ones that more likely drove the Chan movement.91
Lewis and Clark College
91 For provocative discussion of the formation of modern Chan rhetoric, see Robert Sharf, "The Zen of Japanese Nationalism," History of Religions 33, no. 1 (August 1993): 1-43.
76 Gernet, "Biographie du Maitre Chen-houei du Ho Tso," p. 59. Bernard Faure notes that in one of Du Fu's poems composed around 766, it is still Pu Ji who is counted as the legitimate successor and not Shen Hui. See his La volonte' d'orthodoxie, p. 134.