Chinese Esoteric Buddhism: Amoghavajra, the Ruling Elite, and the Emergence of a Tradition 9780231550642

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Chinese Esoteric Buddhism

THE SHENG YEN SERIES IN CHINESE BUDDHIST STUDIES

T HE S HENG Y EN S ER IES IN CHINES E B UDDH IST STU DIE S

Jimmy Yu and Dan Stevenson, series editors

Following the endowment of the Sheng Yen Professorship in Chinese Buddhist Studies, the Sheng Yen Education Foundation and the Chung Hua Institute of Buddhist Studies in Taiwan jointly endowed a publication series, the Sheng Yen Series in Chinese Buddhist Studies, at Columbia University Press. Its purpose is to publish monographs containing new scholarship and English translations of classical texts in Chinese Buddhism. Scholars of Chinese Buddhism have traditionally approached the subject through philology, philosophy, and history. In recent decades, however, they have increasingly adopted an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on anthropology, archaeology, art history, religious studies, and gender studies, among other disciplines. This series aims to provide a home for such pioneering studies in the field of Chinese Buddhism. Michael J. Walsh, Sacred Economies: Buddhist Business and Religiosity in Medieval China Koichi Shinohara, Spells, Images, and Maṇḍalas: Tracing the Evolution of Esoteric Buddhist Rituals Beverley Foulks McGuire, Living Karma: The Religious Practices of Ouyi Zhixu (1599–­1655) Paul Copp, The Body Incantatory: Spells and the Ritual Imagination in Medieval Chinese Buddhism N. Harry Rothschild, Emperor Wu Zhao and Her Pantheon of Devis, Divinities, and Dynastic Mothers Erik J. Hammerstrom, The Science of Chinese Buddhism: Early Twentieth-­Century Engagements Jiang Wu and Lucille Chia, editors, Spreading Buddha’s Word in East Asia: The Formation and Transformation of the Chinese Buddhist Canon Jan Kiely and J. Brooks Jessup, editors, Recovering Buddhism in Modern China

CHINESE ESOTERIC BUDDHISM Amoghavajra, the Ruling Elite, and the Emergence of a Tradition

GEOFFREY C. GOBLE

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESS NEW YORK

Columbia University Press Publishers Since 1893 New York Chichester, West Sussex cup​.­columbia​.e­ du Copyright © 2019 Columbia University Press All rights reserved Library of Congress Cataloging-­in-­Publication Data Names: Goble, Geoffrey C. author. Title: Chinese esoteric Buddhism : Amoghavajra, the ruling elite, and the emergence of a tradition / Geoffrey C. Goble. Description: New York : Columbia University Press, 2019. | Series: The Sheng Yen series in Chinese Buddhist studies | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2019006611 (print) | LCCN 2019021801 (ebook) | ISBN 9780231550642 (electronic) | ISBN 9780231194082 (cloth : alk. paper) Subjects: LCSH: Tantric Buddhism—­China—­History. | Amoghavajra, 705–774. Classification: LCC BQ8912.9.C5 (ebook) | LCC BQ8912.9.C5 G63 2019 (print) | DDC 294.3/920951—­dc23 LC record available at https://­lccn​.­loc​.­gov​/­2019006611 Columbia University Press books are printed on permanent and durable acid-­f ree paper. Printed in the United States of America Cover design: Milenda Nan Ok Lee Cover photo: Geoffrey C. Goble

This book is dedicated to my mother, whose love and support have made all things possible, and to the memory of my father, who taught me more than he knew.

Contents

Acknowledgments ix List of Conventions and Abbreviations xi Introduction 1 one The Three Great Masters of Kaiyuan and the Teaching of the Five Divisions 15 two Esoteric Buddhism in Context: Tang Imperial Religion 59 three Esoteric Buddhism in Context: The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion 95 four Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite 134 five The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism 174 six The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy 211 [ vii ]

Contents Notes 247 Bibliography 295 Index 309

[ viii ]

Acknowledgments

This work took shape over many years, during which time it has been influenced and I have been aided by a number of people. I am grateful to Stephen Bokenkamp for his unflagging guidance and friendship. Charles Orzech’s advice and support from an early stage in this project have been critical, and he has my deepest thanks. Aaron Stalnaker equally has my gratitude for shepherding this project and its author for many years. This work originated in a graduate seminar at the University of Virginia led by Paul Groner and David Germano, and it developed through the influence of many others at UVA and at Indiana University. The guidance and instruction of Constance Furey, Richard Nance, John McRae, Robert Campany, Stephen Weitzman, Karen Lang, Larry Bouchard, Jeffrey Hopkins, Benjamin Ray, and Jeffrey Lidke have all been formative. I would also like to express my thanks to those who have aided and supported me in various ways over the past several years: Yifa, Beata Grant, Robert Hegel, Rebecca Copeland, Valerie Ziegler, Leslie James, Hiroko Chiba, Sherry Mou, Pauline Ota, 张骏, Brad, Patton, Erik, Jonathon, Brian, and Korey-­san. Special thanks go to Thủy Nguyễn for the love and support that were instrumental in seeing this project to completion. Elements of this book were researched and completed with the financial support of the Office of the Vice President for Research, University of Oklahoma.

[ ix ]

Conventions and Abbreviations

DTKYL

DZ

JSL JTS

T

TBYJ

Da Tang Kaiyuan li 大唐開元禮. Ed. Xiao Song 蕭嵩 (?–­749). In Qingding siku quanshu 欽定四庫全書考證. Taibei: I wen, 1969. Citations given by fascicle and page of the Da Tang Kaiyuan li. Daozang 道藏. Numbers provided for texts found in the Daoist canon follow the ordering of the Ming Dynasty canon according to Kristofer Marinus Schipper, and Franciscus Verellen, eds., The Taoist Canon: A Historical Companion to the Daozang, 3 vols. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004). Daoist sources are drawn from the Zhonghua daozang published in 2004 by Huaxia Publishing. Citations are given as Daozang scripture number, Zhonghua edition volume number, page, register, and line number. Da Tang jiaosi lu 大唐郊祀錄. Taibei: I wen, 1967. Citations given by fascicle and page. Jiu Tangshu 舊唐書 (Older Tang History). Ed. Liu Xu (887–­946). Beijing: Zhonghua shuju chuban faxing, 1975. Reprint, 2002. Citations given by fascicle and page. Taishō Shinshū Daizōkyō 大正新脩大藏經. Ed. Takakusu Junjiro 高楠順次郎. Tokyo: Taisho Shinshu Daizokyo Kankokai, 1960. Citations given by text number, page, register, and line. Taibai yin jing 太白陰經. Li Quan 李筌. Shen Ji Zhi Di Tai Bai Yin Jing 神機製敵太 白陰經. In Baibu congshu jicheng 百部叢書集成 6, case no. 8. Taibei: Yi wen, 1968. Passages from the Taibai yin jing are cited by fascicle, section number, and page. [ xi ]

Conventions and Abbreviations TPGJ QTW XTS ZZTJ

Taiping guangji 太平廣記. Ed. Li Fang 李昉. Beijing: Zhonghua shujuchuban faxing, 2003. Citations given by fascicle and page. Quan Tang wen 全唐文. Dong Hao. Quan Tang wen. Beijing: Zhonghua shu ju, 1983. Citations given by fascicle and page Xin Tangshu 新唐書. Ed. Ouyang Xiu 歐陽修. Beijing: Zhonghua shujuchuban faxing, 1975. Reprint, 2002. Citations given by fascicle and page. Zizhi tongjian 資治通鑑. Ed. Sima Guang 司馬光. Beijing: Guji chubanshe, 1956. Citations from the Zizhi tongjian are given by fascicle number, reign title and year, and section number as provided in this edition.

[ xii ]

Chinese Esoteric Buddhism

Introduction

Esoteric Buddhism and esoteric Buddhism This book is about the emergence of Esoteric Buddhism as a Chinese Buddhist school and as an object of consciousness in Tang Dynasty China. There is no scholarly consensus as yet regarding terminology, so I will begin with some basic operational terms and concepts. In the pages that follow, “esoteric Buddhism” indicates a body of early Mahāyāna ritual and spell texts in Chinese translation. This amorphous body of East Asian sources is often understood to stand in some relation to a self-­conscious tradition or “school” that emerged in the second half of the eighth century in Tang Dynasty China. It is generally understood that this teaching was transmitted to Japan and established as the Shingon 真言 or “mantra” school of Japanese Buddhism, but the Tang Dynasty Buddhist school has been referred to by various names in modern scholarship—­“pure esotericism,” “high esotericism,” “mature esotericism,” “Zhenyan,” the “Great Teaching of Yoga”—­a nd it has almost invariably been identified with the persons and texts of Śubhākarasiṃha, Vajrabodhi, and Amoghavajra. I refer to this teaching and object of the historical imagination as Esoteric Buddhism. For early scholars, the crux of the problem was this: Śubhākarasiṃha (Chn. Shanwuwei 善無畏, 637–­735), Vajrabodhi (Chn. Jin’gangzhi 金剛智, 671–­ 741), and Amoghavajra (Chn. Bukongjin’gang 不空金剛, 704–­774) were understood to have established a new teaching in China in the second half of the [1]

Introduction eighth century, but Amoghavajra, who was easily the most prominent and prolific of these “patriarchs,” produced texts containing this new teaching and also retranslated Mahāyāna spell texts that had been transmitted to China in previous centuries. In other words, Amoghavajra produced both esoteric and Esoteric Buddhist texts and teachings in China, thereby creating an ambiguous relationship between esoteric and Esoteric Buddhism. In the imaginations of early scholars, esoteric and Esoteric Buddhism were different, but the basis of the distinction was not always clear. As a result, one guiding concern of early scholarship was the relationship between the new teaching (Esoteric Buddhism) and the old one (esoteric Buddhism). One finds this basic concern in the foundational work of early twentieth-­century Japanese scholars, who tended to trace the genealogical development of Esoteric Buddhism from early esoteric Buddhist antecedents in the fourth century to the Esoteric Buddhism transmitted from China to Japan by Kūkai 空海 (774–­835) in the ninth century and to differentiate those antecedents and later texts and practices by invoking a distinction between “mixed” or “miscellaneous esotericism” (zōmitsu 雜密) and “pure esotericism” (  junmitsu 純密). This is the approach in Ōmura Seiga’s Mikkyō hattatsushi 密教発逹史 (History of the Development of the Esoteric Teaching), published in 1918, and in Toganō Shoun’s 栂尾祥雲 Himitsu bukkyo shi 秘密佛教史 (History of Esoteric Buddhism) from 1933. For Ōmura and Toganō, the distinction between “miscellaneous esotericism” (read: esoteric Buddhism) and “pure esotericism” (read: Esoteric Buddhism) was predicated on Shingon orthodoxy, according to which “miscellaneous esotericism” was taught by the Manifestation Body (Skt. nirmaṇakāya) Buddha Śākyamuni for achieving a variety of mundane results—­rainfall, healing, supernormal personal abilities, etc.—­ while “pure esotericism” was revealed by the Dharma Body (Skt. dharmakāya) Buddha Vairocana for soteriological attainments. The scriptures in which Vairocana’s teaching could be found were principally the Great Vairocana and the Diamond Pinnacle Scriptures, introduced to China in the eighth century by Śubhākarasiṃha and by Vajrabodhi respectively. Amoghavajra was understood to have incorporated these two different texts into a single teaching.1 The distinction between esoteric and Esoteric Buddhism established by the early twentieth-­century Japanese scholars informed early English-­ language scholarship, most notably Michel Strickmann’s. Strickmann argued that Esoteric Buddhism emerged in eighth-­century India as the result of the progressive incorporation of non-­Buddhist elements and also as a [2]

Introduction progressive development within Buddhism. This incorporation and development resulted in what he referred to as a “mature Tantric system” (i.e., “pure esotericism,” Esoteric Buddhism). He locates the emergence of this “system” in India with the production of the Mahāvairocana and the Susiddhikara Sūtra, texts translated into Chinese under the aegis of Śubhākarasiṃha. Among the characteristic elements of this “mature Tantra” that I have been able to piece together from Strickmann’s works are the centrality of Vairocana Buddha, ritual practices of abhiṣeka (“consecration” or “initiation”), and homa fire offerings. Strickmann identifies the works of Śubhākarasiṃha, Vajrabodhi, and Amoghavajra as representative of this system.2 Based on his model of progressive development, he posited a relationship between Esoteric Buddhism or “mature Tantrism” and what he labeled “proto-­Tantra.” Strickmann’s “proto-­Tantra” is not qualitatively different from “mixed Esotericism”; both refer to the object of historical consciousness that I am calling esoteric Buddhism. Reflecting Shingon orthodoxy, Ōmura and Toganō identified “mixed esotericism” as a dispensation of the historical Buddha and “pure esotericism” as the teaching of Vairocana found in the scriptures of Śubhākarasiṃha, Vajrabodhi, and Amoghavajra. Strickmann was an empirical historian, but his identification of “mature Tantrism” with the persons and products of Śubhākarasiṃha, Vajrabodhi, and Amoghavajra indicates that this is the historical object I am referring to as Esoteric Buddhism. For Strickmann, the value of the Chinese “proto-­Tantric” texts was, in part, that they provided dateable and localizable evidence for Indian Buddhist developments. 3 But while he tends to treat Śubhākarasiṃha and Vajrabodhi as translators or transmitters of Indic material, Strickmann casts Amoghavajra as an innovator, saying: The most curious feature of Amoghavajra’s scholarly activity concerns his 167 “translations.” Properly speaking, many of these were not translations at all. Instead, they might better be called “adaptations”: essentially, he refurbished them into line with his own terminology and ritual practice. This becomes even more striking in those cases where texts “translated” by Amoghavajra are known to have been written in China centuries earlier, and directly in Chinese. A substantial part of Amoghavajra’s output thus comprises revisions of books already known in China, rather than new materials. Among the remaining, a good many cannot be found either in corresponding Sanskrit manuscripts or in Tibetan translation—­at least not in the form in which Amoghavajra presents them. Much [3]

Introduction of what his texts tell us unquestionably goes back to Indian sources; he was clearly working fully within the Tantric Buddhist tradition, but often more as an author or compiler than as a translator in our sense of the term.4

Although Strickmann’s motivation tended toward mining the Chinese works as sources for local traditions, his interest in the pan-­Asian tradition of “Tantrism” informed his attempts to determine the cultural provenance of the scriptures attributed to Amoghavajra in the modern East Asian canon. In many respects Strickmann’s work departed from earlier Japanese scholarship insofar as he perceived the value of “proto-­Tantric” scriptures and the texts that he attributed to Amoghavajra as sources for local religious traditions that otherwise are obscured from view, but his model is an attempt to understand the relationship between “proto-­Tantra” and “mature Tantra” (esoteric Buddhism and Esoteric Buddhism by another name) by a priori privileging an imagined Indian system of Esoteric Buddhism in order to identify Chinese accretions and contributions. That is to say, Strickmann posited a vision of Indian Esoteric Buddhism based on Chinese sources in order to consider esoteric Buddhism. The fundamental question that motivated early scholars was the relationship between esoteric Buddhism (“mixed esotericism,” “proto-­Tantra”) and the Esoteric Buddhism (“pure esotericism,” “mature Tantra”) of Śubhākarasiṃha, Vajrabodhi, and Amoghavajra, but Robert Sharf introduced another dimension to this project by pushing for a more nuanced view predicated on greater attention to historical detail and local episteme while rejecting a priori assumptions derived from sectarian and academic prejudices.5 Sharf begins his analysis by noting the scholarly consensus concerning the existence of a school of Buddhism associated with the persons of Śubhākarasiṃha, Vajrabodhi, and Amoghavajra.6 Against this view, he argues that “It was not until the end of the tenth century, well after the eminent Indian masters of the Tang had come and gone, that Chinese commentators began to group certain practices, doctrines, and teachers under the explicit rubric of esotericism.”7 Sharf identifies the earliest Chinese representation of Esoteric Buddhism, an indigenously recognized Chinese “school” associated with Śubhākarasiṃha, Vajrabodhi, and Amoghavajra, in eleventh-­ century sources. However, he notes that the image of Esoteric Buddhism in these Song Dynasty sources is conflicted and ambiguous, leading him also to reject the sources as evidence of local recognition of Esoteric Buddhism [4]

Introduction as a distinct school. He reads later sources as idiosyncratic and anachronistic appraisals: these post-­Tang sources do appear to be improvising. . . . ​Moreover, there is little consonance between Daozhen’s approach to esotericism and that found in the earlier writings of Zanning, and even Zanning’s own oeuvre contains considerable discrepancies. Such evidence suggests that these authors were charting out new territory with very limited historical, doctrinal, or scriptural precedent on which to draw.8

The basis for Sharf’s reading is that in Zanning’s sources one finds representations of Esoteric Buddhism as a school called the Great Teaching of Yoga that originated with Vairocana Buddha and was transmitted by a lineage consisting of Vajrapāṇi, Nāgārjuna, Nāgabodhi, Vajrabodhi, Amoghavajra, and Huilang (read: Esoteric Buddhism). However, Zanning elsewhere identifies Amoghavajra as one scripture translator in a series who transmitted dhāraṇī spell practices from a teaching that Zanning calls the Esoteric Canon (mizang 密臧) (read: esoteric Buddhism). Sharf reads Zanning’s presentation of Esoteric Buddhism to be an anachronism based on the author’s knowledge of the development of Esoteric Buddhism in Japan. On Sharf’s reading, there was no Esoteric Buddhism in China, only esoteric Buddhism.9 By revealing the manner in which scholars had inherited the imported prejudices and assumptions of early Japanese authors, Sharf questioned the early construction of Esoteric Buddhism and pushed for a more nuanced view, calling for greater attention to historical detail and to historical Chinese representations of Śubhākarasiṃha, Vajrabodhi, and Amoghavajra from Tang sources. In this regard he echoed Hugh Urban’s call to those working with related materials in the Indian context to “ground those traditions which we wish to call ‘Tantric’ very concretely within their historical, social, economic and political contexts.”10 Recent scholarship on Esoteric Buddhism in China has consequently been informed by two basic questions. The first, introduced by Sharf, is whether there is Chinese evidence that Śubhākarasiṃha, Vajrabodhi, Amoghavajra, or their contemporaries understood them to represent Esoteric Buddhism, a self-­consciously distinct and new teaching. The second concerns the relationship between esoteric Buddhism and Esoteric Buddhism. Charles Orzech has shown that Amoghavajra understood himself to possess and transmit a [5]

Introduction distinct teaching and that Zanning’s terminology reflects Amoghavajra’s. By reading Amoghavajra’s works in relation to the Song Dynasty constructions of Zanning, Orzech demonstrates that references to Esoteric Buddhism in the Tang Dynasty are not entirely predicated on a priori suppositions of later scholiasts and scholars.11 Orzech then turns to the question of Esoteric Buddhism and esoteric Buddhism. He locates the origins of Esoteric Buddhism in India according to Ronald Davidson’s model:12 These traditions are rooted in the texts that were spawned by medieval Indian sāmanta feudalism of the seventh and eighth centuries, as well as those texts associated with the later siddha movement of the ninth century and following. In the first case we find as a dominant organizing trope the notion of the rājādhirāja (supreme overlord), while in the second the trope of the body and the antinomian behavior of the siddha takes precedence. Although based upon the Mahāyāna, Esoteric Buddhism is distinct from it, though even the most “sectarian” of these movements seldom repudiate the Mahāyāna. Esoteric Buddhism puts forward a coherent ritual and ideological program with a distinctive polity and pantheon (vidyārājas). Like the Mahāyāna and other new religious movements, its proponents often portray their teachings both as “new” and as “old,” specifically as being the “secret” or deeper truth of the Mahāyāna and of the “teaching of all of the Buddhas.” In the case of Esoteric Buddhism, we can see that in South Asia these texts were accompanied by definite cultic, material, and sociological markers. Access to the ritual knowledge was through initiation (abhiṣeka) by a teacher (ācārya) with claims to authority legitimated through lineage transmissions. The ritual knowledge and the material culture of the system were structured by the mandalic system presented in the texts (five kula or Buddha families, etc.).13

As for Esoteric Buddhism in China, Orzech summarizes its history in reference to three basic themes or movements. First is the promotion of Indian Esoteric Buddhism (following Davidson’s model) by Vajrabodhi and Amoghavajra and referred to by Amoghavajra as the “Great Teaching of Yoga.” Adopting a view similar to Strickmann’s, he asserts that Amoghavajra produced a novel form of Esoteric Buddhism by adapting earlier esoteric texts and traditions from Chinese tradition to conform to the practical and ideological aspects of the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture. Following this, there was [6]

Introduction an exclusively Chinese development of an ecumenical nature and characterized by the “use of the Susiddhimahākara-­tantra to integrate the Mahāvairocana Sūtra [i.e., Great Vairocana Scripture] and the Vajresekhara Sūtra [i.e., Diamond Pinnacle Scripture].”14 Finally, elements of South Asian Esoteric Buddhism were borrowed and incorporated into “established intellectual and ritual systems, predominantly those of the Huayan and Chan varieties.”15 In Orzech’s model, Indian Esoteric Buddhism was transmitted to China by Vajrabodhi and Amoghavajra, but Amoghavajra created a local Chinese Esoteric Buddhism by refiguring earlier esoteric Buddhist texts. On this view, Chinese Esoteric Buddhism is an amalgam of esoteric and Indian Esoteric Buddhism crafted according to Sinitic norms and influences. The ambiguous relationship between esoteric and Esoteric Buddhism is resolved by asserting a “pure” Esoteric Buddhism arising in India and transmitted to China, where it was subsequently sinified through the incorporation of esoteric Buddhism according to Huayan and Chan norms. Koichi Shinohara has mined the Chinese sources to trace the Indian development of Esoteric Buddhism from earlier, esoteric Buddhist ritual traditions.16 He identifies the earliest of these ritual traditions as dhāraṇī spells, which later incorporated physical images of deities as material loci of ritual performance. Eventually, these spell rituals came to emphasize mental visualization practices over physical images. He also identifies the creation of a maṇḍala initiation ritual as a crucial moment in the development of a self-­ aware Esoteric Buddhist movement, insofar as it establishes a pantheon of previously independent deities. Shinohara argues that rather than an established, coherent tradition emerging with and represented by the textual products of Śubhākarasiṃha, Vajrabodhi, and Amoghavajra, Esoteric Buddhism is better understood in terms of a series of phases within a long process of ritual development. Departing from the view of Orzech and others, Shinohara is concerned with the historical development of Esoteric Buddhism and his close reading of esoteric Buddhist texts by Bodhiruci in comparison to Amoghavajra’s translation of the same texts; this leads him to conclude that the Chinese setting in which these and other texts were produced “appears to be only of peripheral importance.”17 Focusing on late esoteric Buddhist materials, he resolves the ambiguity between esoteric and Esoteric Buddhism by positing a longue durée genealogical relationship between them. Paul Copp also focuses on dhāraṇī spell techniques in China [7]

Introduction (read: esoteric Buddhism) that preceded the “high Esoteric traditions” associated with Śubhākarasiṃha, Vajrabodhi, and Amoghavajra (read: Esoteric Buddhism) and persisted well after their lives.18 This longer tradition of dhāraṇī spell practices in China, he argues, provided the practical and conceptual framework for the incorporation of Esoteric Buddhist scriptures and practices in the eighth century. Although not exclusively focused on Chinese practices and worldviews, Copp’s work is guided by a commitment to understanding the dhāraṇī spell practices and Esoteric Buddhism primarily in terms of their Chinese location. Accordingly, on his view, the Buddhist texts and practices presented in China by Śubhākarasiṃha, Vajrabodhi, and Amoghavajra were received as articulations of the dhāraṇī spell tradition rather than as a new, previously unknown teaching of the Buddha. Like Sharf, he reads the Song Dynasty representations of esoteric/ Esoteric Buddhism found in Zanning’s works as evidence that there was not a local, Chinese understanding of Esoteric Buddhism. Instead, Copp suggests that it was received and understood in terms of established dhāraṇī spell practices.19 As in Sharf’s reading, Esoteric Buddhism vanishes as an object of historical consciousness, leaving behind only esoteric Buddhism. The historical image that we have of esoteric/Esoteric Buddhism in China is in part the product of our textual sources. The sources from the Tang and Song indicate that Esoteric Buddhism, as a locally recognized new teaching of the Buddha, flourished in the second half of the eighth century, but by the eleventh century it appears to have receded into historical memory. The historical image that these sources present tends to be read as indicating a sudden and dramatic flourishing of Esoteric Buddhism in the second half of the eighth century followed by an equally sudden and dramatic disappearance. By the Song Dynasty, Esoteric Buddhism seems to have vanished, absorbed into the larger esoteric Buddhism that preceded it. In order to understand how and why Esoteric Buddhism became established as a Buddhist school and as an object of consciousness in Tang China, the teachings and practices of this school, and why our textual sources say the things that they do, and in order to uncover the complicated relationship between esoteric Buddhism and Esoteric Buddhism, it is necessary to shorten our focal length. Rather than approaching Esoteric Buddhism with a temporal frame of centuries, in this book I attend closely to available textual sources concerning its origin as an object of Chinese consciousness. I do so with an [8]

Introduction awareness that those texts both reflect historical events and create historical images, and I assess this material with an understanding of the larger historical and sociocultural environments within which the events occurred and the texts were produced.

Synopsis The first step in this project is to provide evidence of local recognition of Esoteric Buddhism as a new teaching and to delineate as clearly as possible what that teaching was. This is the subject of the first chapter. We have no evidence that Śubhākarasiṃha was seen as presenting a new teaching and no reliable way of knowing how he presented himself and his Buddhism. We only have access to others’ representations. In sources produced prior to 755, Śubhākarasiṃha is identified as transmitting the dhāraṇī teaching rather than something new in his scriptural translations. Although there is some indication that Vajrabodhi represented his Buddhism as new, it does not appear to be clearly distinguished as such in early, contemporary sources. Otherwise, the best evidence that Vajrabodhi presented a new teaching in China is his disciple Amoghavajra. Unlike for Śubhākarasiṃha and Vajrabodhi, we have access to Amoghavajra’s own presentation of himself and his Buddhism. We are able to affirm that Amoghavajra represented himself as possessing and presenting a new Buddhist teaching in Tang China and that this teaching was received as such by his contemporaries, and we can reconstruct it to a fair degree on the basis of surviving textual evidence, of which there is a tremendous amount. The size of Amoghavajra’s textual corpus is second only to Xuanzang’s in the Chinese canon. On the basis of this evidence we can ascertain what his teaching was—­its scriptures, myths, and practices. The Diamond Pinnacle Scripture was the foremost in a core canon of five scriptures. The other four were the Great Vairocana Scripture, the Sussiddhikara, the Questions of Subahu, and the Trisamaya Scripture. The hybridity of Esoteric Buddhism as a textual object was present from the beginning, as three of these five texts were translated in China by Śubhakarasiṃha. Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism was perhaps a hybrid product of his own invention, but it appears to have been predicated entirely on Indic sources. We can construct some of the mythological, ideological, and practical aspects of the [9]

Introduction teaching on the basis of these scriptures, and we also have practice manuals by Amoghavajra that outline the rituals. In the first chapter I introduce the five central Esoteric Buddhist scriptures, the mythological basis of Esoteric Buddhist soteriology, and basic soteriological techniques. In the second chapter I consider other practical aspects of Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism, focusing on homa rites. Amoghavajra performed ritual services for the Tang emperors, and we have evidence that many of these were homa rites. They are presented by Amoghavajra and recognized by Suzong 肅宗 (r. 756–­762) and Daizong 代宗 (r. 762–­779) as being for the benefit of the Tang and its rulers. Only in a few cases can we be certain what specific ritual Amoghavajra performed for the Tang, but the fact that he and his imperial patrons understood Esoteric Buddhism in this way indicates the context in which his services were employed: within and as part of a much larger system of ritual performances for the benefit of the emperors and their dominion. In the second chapter, I introduce this larger ritual system, referring to it as “Imperial Religion,” and then consider Esoteric Buddhist homa rites in relation to the established rites of Imperial Religion in the mid-­ eighth century. It has been suggested that some significant Esoteric Buddhist practices are consciously modeled on practices and traditions found in Imperial Religion, but comparing Esoteric Buddhist homa rites to the rites of Imperial Religion demonstrates that Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism was Indic in origin.20 The practical similarities between Esoteric Buddhism and Imperial rites are superficial and do not suggest any conscious imitation of established Chinese religious practices. The superficial similarities between their performative aspects may have facilitated the adoption of Esoteric Buddhism by elite Chinese patrons, but I suggest that the performative aspects were not as important as their effective outcomes: Esoteric Buddhism was held to produce benefits for the person of the emperor and the imperium that were nearly identical to those put forward by established traditions of Imperial Religion. The fact that we have sufficient evidence to construct a model of Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism is itself a reflection of the fact of his tremendous influence in China. We have sufficient textual evidence also to reconstruct his career and to ask how he came to attain such significance. This was the result of a number of factors. In the third chapter, I introduce the context in which Amoghavajra first appears as an historical actor in the textual record: the rebellion of An Lushan 安祿山 in 755/6 and its aftershocks, [ 10 ]

Introduction a period ranging from 755/6 to about 765. When Emperor Xuanzong 玄宗 (r. 713–­756) fled the capital for Sichuan and the crown prince assumed the throne in exile from the capital in 756, Amoghavajra remained in Chang’an and performed rituals to aid in the defeat of the rebels. These appear to have been Esoteric Buddhist abhicāra rites, “subjugation” rituals that brought disease, disaster, and death to one’s enemies. In chapter 3 I introduce the historical context and frame of the Rebellion Period and consider Amoghavajra’s abhicāra rites in relation to Imperial war rituals. As with homa more generally, Amoghavajra’s abhicāra rites were Indic in origin. They were set apart from Chinese Imperial war rituals by their mythical basis, performative elements, and expected effects, most notably in that Esoteric Buddhist rites were explicitly and aggressively lethal. I suggest that one of the most significant reasons Amoghavajra attained prestige and patronage was that he possessed a teaching of the Buddha that was wielded to kill enemies both singly and in numbers. In the fourth chapter, I consider the social dimension of Amoghavajra’s rise to power. Although his most prominent patrons were emperors, their support occurred within established social networks and institutions. Consideration of Amoghavajra and Esoteric Buddhism during the reigns of Xuanzong, Suzong, and Daizong requires more than an examination of only these individual men. Following his arrival in Tang China, Vajrabodhi established relationships with members of the ruling elite. Following Vajrabodhi’s death in 741, Amoghavajra inherited his master’s social capital and relationships. Upon his return from the Southern Indic regions, Amoghavajra cultivated those relationships and established patronage networks of his own among members of the civil and martial elite, including the crown prince and members of his establishment. An Lushan’s rebellion provoked a large-­ scale turnover in the institutions of the Tang government as Suzong assumed the throne and installed a new government. Many of Amoghavajra’s disciple-­ patrons assumed powerful positions in the central government following the An Lushan rebellion and through much of Daizong’s reign. As they assumed these institutional positions, their patronage of him became institutionalized. This culminated in the appointment of Amoghavajra as an official in the Tang government’s Ministry of Rites and Esoteric Buddhism being incorporated into the institutions of Tang Imperial Religion. Esoteric Buddhism was established in China as Imperial Buddhism, the Buddhist component of Tang Imperial Religion. In the fifth chapter, I [ 11 ]

Introduction introduce the Chinese tradition of state support and control of Buddhist activities within a system of imperially sponsored, official Buddhist institutions. I refer to this tradition and system as “Imperial Buddhism.” Its monasteries were established by the state over several centuries in order to supernormally benefit the Chinese imperium. The material support that Buddhist practitioners and establishments received from the state came with a measure of control over the activities in these establishments, often in the form of supporting scripture translations and ritual performances. The state alternately encouraged or restricted such activities depending on circumstance and the interest of a given ruler and members of the central bureaucracy. From 765 until the end of his reign, Emperor Daizong invested heavily in the Imperial Buddhist establishment, committing state funds to build new temples, refurbish old ones, staff official monasteries with practitioners, and produce and disseminate Buddhist scriptures. These activities were effectively guided by Amoghavajra, who installed his leading disciples in several of the most important locations and institutions of Imperial Buddhism. There, they and others performed Esoteric Buddhist rites on behalf of the emperor and the imperium, initiated and trained others in Esoteric Buddhism, and translated scriptures. Although Esoteric Buddhists were institutionally and functionally Imperial Buddhists, they nevertheless maintained their discrete sectarian identities and the identity of their teaching. Access to Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism was strictly controlled by initiation procedures that entailed vows of secrecy, and this served in part to establish and maintain the identity of Esoteric Buddhism and Esoteric Buddhists. In chapter 5, I introduce Imperial Buddhism and Esoteric Buddhist initiation rites. I then introduce Amoghavajra’s six lineal disciples and the Imperial Buddhist institutions in which they were installed, followed by the commissioner of merit and virtue, an official position in the Tang imperial government created to maintain oversight and interaction with Esoteric Buddhists. Although Esoteric Buddhists performed exclusive service to the throne, they were also beholden to the traditions of Imperial Buddhism: Amoghavajra and his disciples filled the roles of both Esoteric and Imperial Buddhists, performing both Esoteric rites and services based on Imperial Buddhist precedent, most significantly ritual services and scripture translation. As a result, Amoghavajra’s legacy was twofold. On the one hand, he established an exclusive teaching understood in terms of initiation, [ 12 ]

Introduction restriction, and secrecy. On the other hand, he produced a large textual corpus that he submitted to the Tang court shortly before his death. Containing Esoteric Buddhist scriptures, compendia, and ritual manuals alongside dhāraṇī spell texts and Mahāyāna teachings, Amoghavajra’s textual corpus reflects his dual identity as Esoteric Buddhism master cum Imperial Buddhist administrator. The dual aspect of his legacy is the source of the ambiguous relationship between esoteric and Esoteric Buddhism posited by later authors. I conclude the book by examining the manner in which Amoghavajra’s dual legacy was consolidated and preserved in the Tang and how these projects shaped the historical image of Amoghavajra and his Buddhism. Following Amoghavajra’s death, his patrons and disciples took action to preserve the master’s memory and his teaching. The first of these emphasized the lineal dimension of Amoghavajra’s legacy through the production of commemorative accounts of the master that articulated his Buddhism as a restricted teaching passed down by a series of authorized masters from India to China. This image of Esoteric Buddhism reflects his heirs’ investment in preserving their own status and identity, but the Esoteric Buddhist lineages that were written down following Amoghavajra’s death in 774 also reflect his own representations and the historical reality of Esoteric Buddhist initiation procedures. In other words, the articulation of Esoteric Buddhism as a sectarian school defined in part by a transmission lineage reflects an insider’s view. However, moves to consolidate Amoghavajra’s textual legacy in the Tang Dynasty reflect an outsider’s understanding of Amoghavajra and Esoteric Buddhism. Although he represented his textual corpus as heterogonous, his works were incorporated into the Chinese Buddhist bibliographic tradition as a homogenous collection that tended to be represented by terms he employed. As a consequence, in the bibliographies produced at the end of the Tang Dynasty, Esoteric Buddhism is conflated with the teachings of earlier Chinese texts and traditions. This is one of the principal causes of the ambiguous relationship between Esoteric and esoteric Buddhism that vexed later authors. When Song Dynasty authors looked to construct the history of the Tang and Amoghavajra’s role in the eighth century, they did so as outsiders to the Esoteric Buddhist teaching and on the basis of specific textual resources. As a result, their constructions reflect the historical image created through the consolidation of Amoghavajra’s lineal and textual legacy. The former sources depict Amoghavajra as the important lineal founder [ 13 ]

Introduction of a distinct sectarian teaching; the latter depict Amoghavajra as a translator of texts, some of which predated him and some of which were previously unknown. On the basis of these sources, Zanning and later generations of scholars struggled with the ambiguous relationship between these two Amoghavajras and the relationship between his Esoteric Buddhism and esoteric Buddhism.

[ 14 ]

ONE

The Three Great Masters of Kaiyuan and the Teaching of the Five Divisions

FOLLOWING A COMMON view, Esoteric Buddhism was established in or transmitted to China during the Tang Dynasty by three men: Śubhākarasiṃha (637–­735; Chn. Shanwuwei 善無畏), Vajrabodhi (671–­741; Chn. Jin’gangzhi 金 剛智), and Amoghavajra (704–­774; Chn. Bukongjin’gang 不空金剛).1 In Asian-­ language scholarship, this understanding is so commonplace that these masters have earned a shorthand reference, “the Three Great Masters of Kaiyuan” (kaiyuan san dashi 開元三大士), by virtue of the fact that the three men were all active in China during the Kaiyuan reign period of Emperor Xuanzong, within whose court they are represented as having been favorites.2 This view, which asserts a brief succession of patriarchs as key to the sectarian identity of the tradition, has been challenged by scholars who argue that there was no corollary in China to the Japanese Shingon tradition with its lineage rooted in the persons of those three men and that there is no Tang Dynasty Chinese representation of Śubhākarasiṃha’s, Vajrabodhi’s, and Amoghavajra’s Buddhism as a discrete, definable, or new teaching. I agree that there is insufficient evidence supporting the view that either Śubhākarasiṃha or Vajrabodhi saw himself as disseminating a new teaching of the Buddha in the Tang or that they were so understood by their contemporaries. The earliest association of the textual cum practical traditions presented in Tang China by Śubhākarasiṃha, Vajrabodhi, and Amoghavajra as a new and discrete teaching comes from Amoghavajra [ 15 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan himself. This association was more or less adopted by Amoghavajra’s contemporaries, his successors, and later Chinese exegetes. In this chapter, I argue that Amoghavajra represented the Buddhism that he promoted in Tang China to be distinct from other articulations of Buddhism known in China at the time. Amoghavajra refers to this teaching by a variety of names, most commonly the “secret teaching,” the “teaching of yoga,” the “teaching of the five divisions,” the “teaching of the Diamond Pinnacle,” or some combination of such terms. Taking all of these names to refer to a single object of consciousness, I refer to this teaching as Esoteric Buddhism. In this chapter I focus on representations of Śubhākarasiṃha, Vajrabodhi, and Amoghavajra in sources contemporary with or temporally close to their lives in order to consider how they and their careers were understood in Tang Dynasty China. We do not have sufficient evidence to know how Śubhākarasiṃha and Vajrabodhi presented themselves and their Buddhism, but we do know how Amoghavajra presented himself and his Buddhism to his elite patrons. Amoghavajra claimed to possess a new, previously unknown teaching of the Buddha. He said that Vajrabodhi initiated him into this teaching, but that his master’s collection of this teaching’s guiding scriptures was incomplete. Amoghavajra traveled to the southern Indic region, obtained numerous scriptures containing this teaching, and returned to China, where he undertook their translation, producing the second largest translation corpus in the Sinitic Buddhist canon. Amoghavajra refers to this teaching by various terms. Here I approach Esoteric Buddhism primarily as a textual object. The Esoteric Buddhist scriptures were translated in China by or under the aegis of Śubhākarasiṃha, Vajrabodhi, and Amoghavajra. This vision of Esoteric Buddhism in China as represented by a defined collection of scriptures, as well as the techniques, goals, and mythological bases of these practices contained in this scriptural corpus, was presented by Amoghavajra and adopted by his contemporaries and successors. There is insufficient evidence in the historical sources to support the view that the teachings and persons of Śubhākarasiṃha and Vajrabodhi were received by their contemporaries as representative of a new expression of the Buddhadharma in China, and we do not have any indication that those men understood themselves in such a way.3 Even if they did, it appears not to have had any meaningful effect on how they and their careers were perceived by their contemporaries. In short, during their lifetimes, Śubhākarasiṃha and Vajrabodhi and the texts they [ 16 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan produced in China were neither linked to nor perceived to be part of a new, distinct teaching. In contrast, Amoghavajra represented himself as the propagator of a new teaching of the Buddha in China, which he partly related to his master Vajrabodhi and represented as contained in specific collection of scriptures, some of which were translated in Tang China by Śubhākarasiṃha. In other words, the perception that Esoteric Buddhism was established in China by Śubhākarasiṃha, Vajrabodhi, and Amoghavajra is the result of Amoghavajra’s conception and representation of the teaching as well as his enormous prestige and influence in the second half of the eighth century. This resulted in his representations being adopted in elite Tang society and by subsequent Chinese Buddhist exegetes.

The Three Great Masters of Kaiyuan Śubhākarasiṃha The two most important sources for the life of Śubhākarasiṃha are his biography appearing in Zhisheng’s 智昇 Kaiyuan [Reign Period] Catalogue of Buddhist Teachings (hereafter Kaiyuan Catalogue) completed in 730 CE4 and the Account of Conduct Presented by the Court of State Ceremonial of the Scripture Translator During the Reign of Xuanzong, Tripiṭaka Śubhākarasiṃha (hereafter Śubhākarasiṃha’s Account of Conduct).5 Zhisheng’s biographical sketch in the Kaiyuan Catalogue is principally concerned with establishing scriptural authenticity. Śubhākarasiṃha’s Account of Conduct, composed in 735, the year of the master’s death, is more laudatory in nature. This was composed by Li Hua 李華, a litterateur and relatively low-­ranking member of the imperial bureaucracy during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong.6 Both texts provide basic, though slightly dissimilar, biographical facts concerning the master. Śubhākarasiṃha’s Account of Conduct reports that he was a person of the central Indian kingdom of Magadha. He resided in Rājagraha at Nālanda monastery. Originally, he was of a kṣatriya surname. He abandoned the luxuriant secular life of a kṣatriya and, relying on the Buddha, left home (i.e., became a monk). He was dignified and unsullied, the way of his karma was conspicuously vast, he minutely penetrated meditative wisdom, and he attained complete mastery of the teachings of the tripitaka. [ 17 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan 中印度摩伽陀國人。住王舍城那爛陀寺。本剎利種姓。剎帝利捨俗榮貴。依佛出家。神氣 清虛。道業恢著。精通禪惠。妙達總持三藏門。7

The biographical section concerning Śubhākarasiṃha in the Kaiyuan Catalogue, however, says that he was “a person of Central India and descendent of the Śakya.”8 Both sources state that he reached Tang China in 716/17, apparently via an overland route. He was originally quartered in Chang’an’s Xingfu Monastery 興福寺 but was soon relocated either to Ximing Monastery 西明寺 (according to the Kaiyuan Catalogue) or to Bodhi Monastery 菩提 寺 (following Śubhākarasiṃha’s Account of Conduct).9 Although his precise location is indeterminable, both sources agree that in 717/18 Śubhākarasiṃha produced a translation of the Methods of Requesting and Receiving Ākāśagarbha Bodhisattva’s Supreme Heart Dhāraṇī Able to Fulfill All Vows (hereafter Methods of Ākāśagarbha’s Dhāraṇī).10 In this endeavor he was assisted by a monk by the name of Xida 悉達, or Siddhārtha, and another named Wuzhu 無著, or Asaṅga. The Methods of Ākāśagarbha’s Dhāraṇī was seemingly read or recited from memory by Śubhākarasiṃha, orally translated by Xida, and transcribed by Wuzhu. This translation team was a one-­project affair. The texts for which Śubhākarasiṃha is most widely known today were produced in Fuxian Monastery 福先寺 of Luoyang in collaboration with Yixing 一行 (684–­727) and Baoyue 寶月, or Ratnacandra.11 These are the Great Attainment of Buddhahood and Supernatural Transformations of Vairocana Scripture (hereafter Great Vairocana Scripture),12 the Scripture of the Teaching Requested by the Youth Subāhu (hereafter Subāhu Scripture),13 and the Susiddhikara Scripture.14 A similar translation technique was used. Both of our sources indicate that the Indic version of the Great Vairocana Scripture was recited by Śubhākarasiṃha and translated orally by Baoyue, and that this translation was transcribed and edited by Yixing. Both sources indicate that the version produced by Śubhākarasiṃha and Yixing was a truncated version of the Indic source text, though the trope of the abbreviated text is widespread in Sinitic religious tradition and we would do well to approach this claim with a degree of caution. The dates of translation of the Subāhu Scripture and the Susiddhikara Scripture are not provided, but the Kaiyuan Catalogue indicates that the translation of the Great Vairocana Scripture was produced in 724/5. The Subāhu Scripture and the Susiddhikara Scripture would likely have been produced between 724/5 and 735, when the Kaiyuan Catalogue was completed. However, [ 18 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan these texts were apparently not among those brought to Tang China by Śubhākarasiṃha. Śubhākarasiṃha’s Account of Conduct indicates that the Indic texts of the Great Vairocana Scripture, the Subāhu Scripture, and the Susiddhikara Scripture translated into Chinese by Śubhākarasiṃha, Yixing, and Baoyue had been acquired in the Indic regions not by Śubhākarasiṃha but by Wuxing 無行, who died in 674 while returning from his scripture pilgrimage.15 These texts would presumably be of an earlier provenance than the one evidently brought to Tang by Śubhākarasiṃha in 716/17: the Methods of Ākāśagarbha’s Dhāraṇī. Although we cannot rule out the possibility that Śubhākarasiṃha had been in possession of the same or similar texts as Wuxing, the Great Vairocana Scripture, the Subāhu Scripture, and the Susiddhikāra Scripture do appear to be of an earlier period in the development of Indian Esoteric Buddhism than the Methods of Having Wishes Heard by Ākāśagarbha. The former are characterized by a triple Buddha-­family scheme, while the latter reflect a pentadic structure typical of texts and procedures centered on the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture. The heterogeneous nature of Śubhākarasiṃha’s translations is often overlooked in positing the keystone significance of the Great Vairocana Scripture. In the Japanese Shingon tradition, this text attained an importance coequal with Amoghavajra’s Diamond Pinnacle Scripture. The Great Vairocana Scripture’s significance for what it reveals about the developing nature of Esoteric Buddhism in China and about Śubhākarasiṃha’s understanding of the teaching tends to be read through the lens of the Commentary on the Great Vairocana Scripture attributed to Yixing 一行 (683–­727).16 Indeed, this text has long been a significant resource in the construction of East Asian Esoteric Buddhism, with a number of scholars employing it to reveal a wealth of information that is not presented in the translation of the Mahāvairocana Sūtra by Śubhākarasiṃha. The Commentary, however, is of rather dubious provenance and should not be assumed to have been written by Yixing, let alone to reflect the opinions of Śubhākarasiṃha. The Commentary found in the modern Taishō Canon, produced in 1924, is based on a handful of versions contained in slightly earlier collections. The earliest source for the Taishō version of the Commentary on the Great Vairocana Scripture is the Japanese Sokezang 縮刻 藏 compiled in 1877. Although the compilers consulted earlier scriptural collections from China and Korea, Yixing’s commentary is not found in any of [ 19 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan those sources. Given its absence from the various Chinese canons as well as from the Korean canon, the possibility that this text is a Japanese creation is hard to ignore. Its reliability as a source for constructing Śubhākarasiṃha’s understanding of the Buddhist texts he produced in China is suspect, to say the least. Textual survival is often accidental, and discrepancies such as these in the bibliographic record may emerge simply from the vagaries of history. The reliability of the text in question can be determined through careful content analysis and logical deduction, but these tools fail to provide the desired result in this case: the Commentary on the Great Vairocana Scripture frequently refers to other texts produced after Yixing’s death, primarily the Guhya Scripture (Ruilingye jing 蕤呬耶經, T 897) attributed to Amoghavajra. This further calls into question the authorship of the Commentary and the context of its production. All told, evidence suggests that the Commentary postdates the lives of Śubhākarasiṃha and Yixing and is possibly a Japanese product. In any event, the image of Śubhākarasiṃha and the Great Vairocana Scripture as representing a self-­conscious Esoteric Buddhism separable from mainstream Mahāyāna would appear to be mainly an anachronistic projection of Japanese Shingon norms onto Tang China. In China, Śubhākarasiṃha’s texts were not conceived as a distinct or new teaching during his own lifetime. Both the Kaiyuan Catalogue and Śubhākarasiṃha’s Account of Conduct represent the master’s training and the texts that he helped produce in pre-­established terms. The Kaiyuan Catalogue states that as a novice Śubhākarasiṃha “investigated the practices of the five vehicles and the three practices. Dhāraṇī (zongchi 總持) and meditative contemplation—­he excellently understood their source.”17 “The five vehicles” here indicates Buddhism in its totality as (1) observation of the five lay precepts, (2) the ten forms of good actions, (3) acceptance of the Four Noble Truths, (4) contemplation of the Twelvefold Chain of Dependent Arising, and (5) the six pāramitās. These are the respective practices that result in rebirth as (1) humans, (2) gods, (3) śrāvakas, (4) pratyekabuddhas, and (5) buddhas and bodhisattvas. The phrase “three practices” or “three disciplines” (san xue 三 學) commonly refers to the three divisions of the Chinese Tripiṭaka, the vinaya, the sūtras, and the śāstras. Alternately, it is used to refer to the three aspects of Buddhist practice generally: morality (śīla), meditation (samādhi), and wisdom (prajñā). The texts that Śubhākarasiṃha translated in China are referred to in the Kaiyuan Catalogue as “the marvelous teaching of dhāraṇī” (zongchi miaomen 總持妙門).18 This is essentially repeated in Śubhākarasiṃha’s [ 20 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan Account of Conduct, which describes the texts he translated as the “teaching of dhāraṇī” (zongchi zhi jiao 總持之教).19 This is consistent with the representation of him in Śubhākarasiṃha’s Account of Conduct as understanding the source of “dhāraṇī and meditative contemplation.” In other words, the characterization of the scriptures associated with Śubhākarasiṃha as the teaching of dhāraṇī invokes a doxographic classification that was well established in China in the mid-­eighth century; the representation of Śubhākarasiṃha’s scriptures, including the Great Vairocana, the Youth Subāhu, and the Susiddhikāra, in both the Kaiyuan Catalogue and Śubhākarasiṃha’s Account of Conduct by Li Hua effectively incorporates them into established doxographic cum bibliographic structures. Retroactively, Śubhākarasiṃha’s textual productions may be seen as breaking from texts and practices of an earlier period, but this was not evidently how they were received in China by his contemporaries, who appear to have understood them to be an extension of the “teaching of dhāraṇī.” We may speculate that Śubhākarasiṃha understood himself to be propagating a new teaching represented in scriptures such as the Great Vairocana, the Youth Subāhu, and the Susiddhikāra. Further, we may see his work as prefiguring those of Vajrabodhi and Amoghavajra, insofar as the Methods of Having Wishes Heard by Ākāśagarbha is a part of the Diamond Pinnacle textual cycle, but such a reading would necessarily be based on events that appear to have been largely accidental: the result of Śubhākarasiṃha losing access to the texts that he himself had brought from the Indic regions. It is difficult to read unadulterated intentionality into his translation projects. But beyond this, reading Śubhākarasiṃha’s textual productions in relation to those of Vajrabodhi and Amoghavajra can only be post hoc. The contemporary assessment of the texts he produced is that they were dhāraṇī texts; they were, on this basis, presumably perceived as not fundamentally different from the dhāraṇī texts that had been known in China for centuries.

Vajrabodhi The life of Vajrabodhi, the second of the so-­called Great Masters of Kaiyuan, is somewhat better documented than Śubhākarasiṃha’s. In addition to a sketch of his life in the Kaiyuan Catalogue, two other biographical accounts are preserved in the Zhenyuan [Reign Period] Catalogue of the Recently Established [ 21 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan Teachings of the Buddha (hereafter Zhenyuan Catalogue),20 produced in 799/800, fifty-­n ine years after Vajrabodhi’s death.21 Following a repetition of Zhisheng’s material, produced a little over a decade prior to Vajrabodhi’s death in 741, the Zhenyuan Catalogue presents a biographical “account of conduct” (xingchuan 行傳) text for Vajrabodhi by Lu Xiang 呂向22 and the stele inscription from Vajrabodhi’s memorial stūpa by Kunlun Weng 混倫翁.23 The material from the Kaiyuan Catalogue is fairly brief. According to Zhisheng’s account, Vajrabodhi was a native of Malakuṭa (molaiya guo 摩賴邪國) in the southern Indic region. He became a monk as a young man and studied both Buddhist and non-­Buddhist teachings, but is described as preferring and excelling in the teaching of dhāraṇī, or “total retention” (zongchi 總持). He reached Tang China via the sea route, arriving in Chang’an in 720/1. The reason provided by Zhisheng for this journey is that Vajrabodhi “heard that the Buddha’s Dharma was flourishing in great China (da Zhina 大支 那).”24 In 723/4 Vajrabodhi produced a translation of the Visualizing and Reciting Method of the Abbreviated Diamond Pinnacle Yoga (hereafter Abbreviated Diamond Pinnacle)25 and the Dhāraṇī Scripture of the Goddess Cundī, Mother of 70 Million Buddhas, Spoken by the Buddha26 in Chang’an’s Zhisheng Monastery 資 聖寺27 with the Indic monk Īśvara 伊舍羅 translating Vajrabodhi’s recitation of the text and a Sinitic monk, Wengu 溫古, transcribing that translation.28 In 730/1 the Five-­Syllable Dhāraṇī of Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī Chapter of the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture29 and the Essentials of the Method of the Yoga of the Wish-­ Fulfilling Wheel Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara30 were produced while Vajrabodhi was residing in Jianfu Monastery 薦福寺.31 The image of Vajrabodhi and the teaching that he practiced and presented in China are broadly continuous with established terms and categories. Vajrabodhi is described in the Kaiyuan Catalogue as excelling at the Buddhist teaching (famen 法門) of “total retention” (zongchi 總持), dhāraṇī practices referred to and understood as mnemonic devices cum condensed forms of Buddhist scriptures.32 Other figures associated with this style of Buddhism in the Kaiyuan Catalogue are Bodhiruci (early sixth century), Vinitaruci (d. 594), Jñānagupta (557–­581), Zhitong (sixth/seventh century), Li Wuchan 李無諂 (fl. 700), and Śubhākarasimha.33 In other words, the form of Buddhism that Vajrabodhi practiced and presented in China was understood in terms of existing traditions of Buddhist teaching and practice going back to at least the sixth century. Other evidence in the Kaiyuan Catalogue that may be read as indicating that Vajrabodhi was understood by his contemporaries as [ 22 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan presenting a new dispensation of the Buddhadharma in China is problematic. In the Kaiyuan Catalogue, Vajrabodhi is also said to have propagated the “secret teaching” (mijiao 祕教), which seems to be tied to the establishment of maṇḍala and “seal” practices: In the eighth year of Kaiyuan (720/1) [Vajrabodhi] arrived at the capital city and thereupon propagated the secret teaching and established maṇḍalas. In accordance with the Dharma he accomplished various auspicious wonders. 開元八年中方屆京邑。於是廣弘祕教建曼荼羅。依法作成皆感靈瑞。34

This is perhaps consistent with an account in the Kaiyuan Catalogue of a certain monk from Silla, Mingxiao 明曉, who sought to learn mantra (zhenyan 真言) and the “secret teaching” from Li Wuchan.35 But there is no other reference to the “secret teaching” in the Kaiyuan Catalogue, and the only other clear reference to a maṇḍala occurs in the name of a scripture translated by Nadī 那提, a.k.a. Puṇyodaya.36 In my view, the perception of this teaching as some definable form of Esoteric Buddhism is the product of reading the material from a modern, scholarly remove rather than from the apparent perspective of this mid-­Tang source. More to the point, the Kaiyuan Catalogue does not refer to Vajrabodhi and his teaching in terms that dominate later representations of Esoteric Buddhism in China: “yoga,” the “five divisions,” the “teaching of the Diamond Pinnacle,” and so forth. In fact, “yoga” (yuqie 瑜 伽), the most common and enduring term used to refer to Esoteric Buddhism in later Chinese sources, is practically absent. The term appears only in scripture titles, the bulk of which were translated by Xuanzang and Vajrabodhi. Otherwise, reference to “yoga” in the Kaiyuan Catalogue appears mainly in the section appended in 784 in order to incorporate Amoghavajra’s translations. The issue of how Vajrabodhi and the teaching he presented in China were represented and understood becomes a bit more complicated when we consider other biographical representations: Lu Xiang’s account and Vajrabodhi’s Stele Inscription by Kunlun Weng 混倫翁, both of which appear only in the Zhenyuan Catalogue compiled by Yuanzhao in 799/800. 37 Reading like an “account of conduct” (xingchuan 行傳) text, Lu Xiang’s biography of Vajrabodhi is more richly detailed and more hagiographic in orientation than the material in the Kaiyuan Catalogue. The precise dates of this document’s [ 23 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan production are unknown, though clearly after Vajrabodhi’s death in 741. We cannot establish a precise terminus ad quem for the text based on the life of its author. The only date provided in Lu Xiang’s Newer Tang History biography is that of his entry into the Hanlin 翰林 Academy in 722/3.38 Although Yuanzhao represents him as an initiated disciple of Vajrabodhi as well as an important court literatus, his biography in the standard history provides no information concerning such a relationship, though one would not necessarily expect to find this reported in such a conservative, Confucian-­oriented text as the Newer Tang History. However, based on internal evidence, it seems Lu Xiang’s account of Vajrabodhi’s life was composed sometime after 757 and before 765, as the author employs an official title that was not established until 757 and does not provide the official titles that Emperor Daizong posthumously bestowed to Vajrabodhi in 765.39 Lu Xiang’s version of Vajrabodhi presents him as the third son of the Central Indian king Īśānavarman (伊舍那靺摩), explaining that the understanding of him as of South Indian heritage was a mistake based on his later association with Mizhuna 米准那, the general of a South Indian king. Vajrabodhi reportedly spent his youth at Nālandā and Kapilavastu studying the commentaries of Dharmakīrti (Chn. Facheng 法稱), Mādhyamika treatises, and tracts of the Consciousness-­Only school.40 Then he returned to Central India where, in addition to performing miraculous feats, he came into the favor of the Central Indian king Narasiṃhapotavarman 捺羅僧伽補多靺摩遣.41 Lu Xiang describes a tour of Śri Lanka and various miraculous deeds performed by the master prior to his journey to Tang China. According to this account, Vajrabodhi is sent off to China in the company of the king’s general, Mizhuna 米准那, with a wealth of exotic gifts and a copy of the Mahāprajñāpāramitā Sūtra.42 After several difficulties along the sea voyage, Vajrabodhi reaches Guang Prefecture 廣府, where he is graciously received by the military commissioner of the region.43 In 720 he reaches Luoyang and has a personal audience with Emperor Xuanzong. Thereafter, according to Lu Xiang, he was commanded to reside in the capital, where he received much attention from the local elite and accompanied the emperor as he moved between the two capitals, Chang’an and Luoyang.44 Here Lu Xiang’s biographical account of Vajrabodhi converges with the sketch from the Kaiyuan Catalogue, reporting the production of four texts (unnamed by Lu Xiang) that were entered into the catalogue. Lu Xiang then [ 24 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan goes on to report that Vajrabodhi produced translations in 731/2 of four more scriptures.45 He is said to have accompanied Emperor Xuanzong to Chang’an in 736/7. In 741/2 Vajrabodhi was given leave to return to the Indic regions, but fell ill and passed away before having gotten any farther than Luoyang.46 In addition to these biographical details, Lu Xiang’s biographical treatment seems to indicate that Vajrabodhi was understood to have practiced and represented Esoteric Buddhism in terms that are consistent with subsequent representations: initiation into the “five divisions” and reference to the Diamond Pinnacle and possibly the Great Vairocana Scripture as indicative of or containing this teaching. Following the description of his training at Nālandā and Kaplivastu, Vajrabodhi is reported to have traveled to Southern India, where he encountered Nāgabodhi 龍智,47 the seven-­hundred-­year-­ old disciple of Nāgārjuna 龍樹, from whom he received training in the Diamond Pinnacle Yoga Scripture and the Dhāraṇī of Vairocana (Piluozhena zongchi 毘盧遮那總持) before being initiated or consecrated (guangding 灌頂) in the “five divisions” (wubu 五部).48 Three years passed and, reaching [the age of] thirty-­one, [Vajrabodhi] dwelt in South India with Nāgārjuna Bodhisattva’s disciple Nāgabodhi, who is seven hundred years old yet still alive now. After seven years of performing the act of making offerings, he received instruction in the Diamond Pinnacle Yoga Scripture, the Dhāraṇī of Vairocana, the Dharma teaching of all the Great Vehicle scriptures, the Dharma teaching of maintaining dhāraṇī, all of the Great Vehicle scriptures, and treatises on the five knowledges. He received initiation in the five divisions, the treasury of secret essentials of all the buddhas. There was nothing that he did not thoroughly understand. 經三年至三十一往南天竺。於龍樹菩薩弟子龍智年七百歲今猶見在。經七年承事供養。受 學金剛頂瑜伽經及毘盧遮那總持陀羅尼法門諸大乘經典持陀羅尼法門諸大乘經典并五 明論。受五部灌頂諸佛祕要之藏無不通達。49

These details in Lu Xiang’s account are noteworthy, for they represent Vajrabodhi as having received a teaching of Buddhism that is uncontestably continuous with the way Amoghavajra presents himself and his Buddhism as well as how Esoteric Buddhism tended to be represented in later Chinese [ 25 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan sources. Further, this is the first indication of what would later be constructed as an Esoteric Buddhist lineage, according to which the teaching was given to Vajrasattva by Vairocana and subsequently transmitted to Nāgārjuna, Nāgabodhi, Vajrabodhi, and Amoghavajra. However, there is reason to approach this material with some suspicion. First, Lu Xiang’s source was produced several decades after Vajra­ bodhi’s death. This is somewhat unusual for an “account of conduct” text. Amoghavajra’s account of conduct, for example, was produced the same year that he passed away. Lu Xiang’s representation was written well after Vajrabodhi’s death in 741, probably between 757 and 765. This is significant not simply because of the temporal distance between Vajrabodhi’s death and the production of Lu Xiang’s text but because those dates may indicate the context of and impetus for its production: Amoghavajra’s rapid ascent to power and influence occurred between these dates, beginning with his assistance to the Tang court at the outbreak of the An Lushan Rebellion in 755/6 and his (and Vajrabodhi’s) receipt of official titles from Emperor Daizong in 765. It seems likely that Lu Xiang’s account was prompted by Amoghavajra’s rapidly expanding influence in elite society, if not directly related to the posthumous honors paid to Vajrabodhi by Emperor Daizong. Therefore, it should not be read as free from the influence of Amoghavajra’s own activities and representations of the teaching. Beyond this, although Lu Xiang’s source likely comes from the mid-­eighth century, it is recorded only in Yuanzhao’s Zhenyuan Catalogue, produced in 799/800. It is also evident that Yuanzhao, or perhaps some later copyist, has emended the source. These evident alterations depict Vajrabodhi’s training in a teaching that is represented in terms consistent with those put forward by Amoghavajra and later Chinese sources that postdate the production of Lu Xiang’s account. Details concerning the Diamond Pinnacle Yoga Scripture and “initiation in the five divisions” have been clumsily inserted into a text that initially seemed to mention only mainline Buddhist scriptural categories and scholastic disciplines. The phrase “instruction in the Diamond Pinnacle Yoga Scripture, the Dhāraṇī of Vairocana, the Dharma teaching of all the Great Vehicle scriptures” appears to be shoehorned into the passage, creating an oddly redundant reference to “all of the Great Vehicle scriptures” (zhu dasheng jingdian 諸大乘經典). The same sort of redundancy also appears with the repetition of Vajrabodhi receiving a particular teaching, marked by the verb shou 受 (“to receive, accept”). The apparent insertions are here marked in bold type: [ 26 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan Three years passed and reaching [the age of] thirty-­one [Vajrabodhi] dwelt in South India with Nāgārjuna Bodhisattva’s disciple Nāgabodhi, who is seven hundred years-­old yet still alive now. After seven years of attending to the affairs [of] and making offerings [to Nāgabodhi] he received instruction in the Diamond Pinnacle Yoga Scripture, the Dhāraṇī of Vairocana, the Dharma teaching of all the Great Vehicle scriptures, the Dharma teaching of maintaining dhāraṇī, all of the Great Vehicle scriptures and treatises on the five knowledges. He received initiation in the five divisions, the treasury of secret essentials of all the buddhas. There was nothing that he did not thoroughly understand. 經三年至三十一往南天竺。於龍樹菩薩弟子龍智年七百歲今猶見在。經七年承事供養。受 學金剛頂瑜伽經及毘盧遮那總持陀羅尼法門諸大乘經典持陀羅尼法門諸大乘經典并五 明論。受五部灌頂諸佛祕要之藏無不通達。50

In sum, reading the material in Lu Xiang’s source as evidence that Vajrabodhi was understood by his contemporaries to have possessed and presented a unique teaching to China, one characterized in terms consistent with later representations of Esoteric Buddhism, is problematic. On my reading, the evidence indicates that there was an early association of Vajrabodhi with maṇḍala initiations and a scripture characterized by “five divisions,” but not that this was understood to be something other than mainstream Mahāyāna Buddhism. In fact, the insertions into Lu Xiang’s text indicating that Vajrabodhi possessed and transmitted Esoteric Buddhism—­reference to the Diamond Pinnacle Yoga Scripture, its apparent association with the Great Vairocana Scripture, and initiation into the five divisions, understood as metonymy for the “treasury of secret essentials of all the buddhas”—­support the opposite view: that Vajrabodhi and the Buddhist teaching he presented in China were not understood in this fashion during and proximate to his own life, but only retroactively. This interpretation is further supported when we consider another early representation, Vajrabodhi’s Stele Inscription by Kunlun Weng. The account in Lu Xiang’s text concerning Vajrabodhi’s encounter of Nāgabodhi is roughly continuous with a passage from Vajrabodhi’s Stele Inscription, presumably erected in 741: [Vajrabodhi] went to Nāgabodhi’s place in southern India, where the dhāraṇī treasury was engraved, and he met with his heart’s desire, for seven years asking [ 27 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan that a maṇḍala be constructed [on which] to toss his flower for the scripture of the five divisions. Every time, food and drink would descend from the sky and Vajrasattva would always appear before him. 往詣南天於龍智處契陀羅尼藏便會宿心。請建道場散花五部經于七載。每至飲食從空而 下。金剛薩埵常現於前。51

Taking the stele inscription to have been composed in 741 and Lu Xiang’s account to date to 757–­765, this passage would appear to be the source of Lu Xiang’s description of Vajrabodhi’s encounter with Nāgabodhi. This stele inscription does not link Nāgabodhi to Nāgārjuna, and it is not clear whether Nāgabodhi is alive or Vajrabodhi has simply gone to his former residence and site of practice; it may be that those elements of Vajrabodhi’s life in Lu Xiang’s account also reflect a retroactive assessment based on developments related to Amoghavajra’s rise to prominence. Also lacking from the stele inscription are Lu Xiang’s references to the Diamond Pinnacle Yoga Scripture and the Dhāraṇī of Vairocana as the teaching of all Mahāyāna scriptures and the teaching of the five divisions as the “treasury of secret essentials of all the buddhas,” although Kunlun Weng’s source clearly indicates maṇḍala initiation procedures and a scripture characterized by the five divisions. This is presumably a reference to the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture. On my reading, these elements of Vajrabodhi’s Stele Inscription conform to an established Sinitic understanding of dhāraṇī, although the insertion of the figure of Nāgabodhi here is to my knowledge otherwise unknown in earlier Chinese sources. And although we see in Kunlun Weng’s source an indication of initiation procedures and terminology that is consistent with that of later representations of Esoteric Buddhism in China, they are here placed in the service of attaining the “dhāraṇī treasury” (touluoni zang 陀羅尼藏) rather than the “teaching of the five divisions,” the “secret yoga teaching,” and so on. In other words, Vajrabodhi’s Stele Inscription by Kunlun Weng appears to be based on the maṇḍala initiation procedures and the trope of the five divisions characteristic of the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture, a text and teaching that he was obviously aware of and possessed. However, this early source does not indicate an understanding that Vajrabodhi represented and presented a new teaching of Buddhism in China. Rather, it seems that his activities were understood in terms of pre-­established categories for typifying the Dharma. [ 28 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan The picture of Vajrabodhi that emerges from early available sources is that of a Buddhist monk attached to a diplomatic mission from the Indic regions to Tang China who was not received by his contemporaries as presenting a new teaching of the Buddha. It appears that Vajrabodhi reached the Tang imperium and the court of Xuanzong not strictly on the basis of a personal desire to propagate the Dharma but as a member of a diplomatic mission from the Pallava kingdom of southern India. This would explain Vajrabodhi’s initial audience in the Tang court. And it is difficult not to see Emperor Xuanzong’s interest in Vajrabodhi—­like Emperor Taizong’s interest in Xuanzang—­as predicated on the intelligence concerning foreign kingdoms that the monk could provide. Vajrabodhi had established patron-­ disciples among the ruling elite during Xuanzong’s reign, as discussed in greater detail in chapter 4, but there is no contemporary evidence of him serving as personal master to Emperor Xuanzong. In sources contemporary with their lives, Śubhākarasiṃha and Vajrabodhi are essentially translators operating in China whose main accomplishments were rendering into Chinese previously unknown Indic texts of then-­recent vintage. There is no firm indication or reason to believe that these texts were conceived as a teaching distinct from Mahāyāna dhāraṇī traditions, let alone that they were linked together as representative of the same teaching. It is entirely possible that Śubhākarasiṃha or Vajrabodhi both understood themselves to be propagating a new dispensation of the Buddha, but this can only be speculative, and it is not evident that such a conception was shared by their contemporaries. They seem to have had little if any effect on the conception of Buddhism in China, likely due to the relative paucity of their scriptural contributions to the Chinese Buddhist canon. Although numerous extant texts are attributed to Śubhākarasiṃha, only four are mentioned in the Kaiyuan Catalogue.52 Śubhākarasiṃha was, textually speaking, a figure of relatively minor significance in his own lifetime. To a somewhat lesser degree, this is also true of Vajrabodhi. Though he posthumously received an official title and had some relationship with members of the Tang ruling elite, and although he produced the first texts and traditions of what would eventually become ossified by later exegetes, scholiasts, and scholars as Esoteric Buddhism, there is little indication that this perception was in effect during and immediately after his own lifetime. In short, the perceived significance of both Śubhākarasiṃha and Vajrabodhi in the development of Esoteric Buddhism is a function of Amoghavajra’s [ 29 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan success. The meaning and importance of their activities were effectively established by Amoghavajra when he propagated a new teaching of the Buddha in China that he identified as continuous with Vajrabodhi’s works and as consisting in part of texts produced by Śubhākarasiṃha. And this representation by Amoghavajra had effects that reverberated through the Chinese Buddhist world as the result of the incredible degree of elite patronage received and influence wielded by Amoghavajra in the Tang.

Amoghavajra Amoghavajra was the preeminent Buddhist of his day in China. Rather than being simply a wonder-­working court favorite, he served three successive emperors of the Tang: Xuanzong 玄宗 (r. 712–­756), Suzong 肅宗 (r. 756–­762), and Daizong 代宗 (r. 762–­779), initiating them into certain practices of Esoteric Buddhism and performing Esoteric Buddhist rituals on their behalf.53 He also received the patronage of empresses, princes, government officials, and military commanders. He was trusted with the care of Emperor Daizong’s fatally ill daughter, the Huayang Princess 華陽公主 (b. 774). Along with these expressions of personal esteem and trust, Amoghavajra received numerous gifts and honors. For example, Emperor Daizong bestowed imperial titles on him, making Amoghavajra a minister in the Court of State Ceremonial in 765. This honor appears to be singular in the history of Chinese Buddhism. Other Buddhist monks, Sengqie 僧伽 (628–­710) and Fazang 法藏 (643–­712), for example, held the title preceptor of state (guoshi 國師), but this was an unofficial, honorific title. Amoghavajra’s own master, Vajrabodhi, was awarded the governmental title commander (kaifu 開府) as a posthumous honor. However, Vajrabodhi’s title was bestowed concurrently with Amoghavajra’s on December 17, 765, which suggests that Vajrabodhi was granted the title due to his status as Amoghavajra’s religious ancestor and, consequently, that the recognition of Amoghavajra’s service had informed the decision.54 In 774 Daizong awarded him a fiefdom consisting of 3,000 households and the title Duke of Su 肅國公, thus making him a member of the peerage. Furthermore, Amoghavajra’s translation work was supported by funds from imperial coffers, and monks were transferred to his oversight by imperial command at Amoghavajra’s request. After Amoghavajra’s death in 774, Emperor Daizong suspended court for three days in order to mourn. His [ 30 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan funeral and monument were funded by the state at the emperor’s command. Amoghavajra was eulogized not only by his monastic disciples but also by Suzong’s dowager empress, Lady Zhang 張民, Chief Minister of War Li Baoyu 李枹玉, Eunuch Ceremonial Secretary Liu Xianhe 劉仙鶴 by command of the emperor, and Chief Executive of the Imperial Secretariat Yuan Zai 元載. That Amoghavajra was a man of great significance and power in the most elite strata of Tang society is apparent in extant communications between Amoghavajra and Emperors Suzong and Daizong contained in the Memorials and Edicts of the Venerable Trepiṭaka Monk Dabian Zheng Guangzhi 大辨正廣智, Bestowed [with the title] Minister of Works by the Daizong 代宗 Court (hereafter Memorials and Edicts).55 But the perception of Amoghavajra’s importance as of an entirely different order than Śubhākarasiṃha’s and Vajrabodhi’s in Tang China is not simply because his life is better documented. The abundance of materials by and concerning Amoghavajra reflects his historical importance. Whereas Śubhākarasiṃha is credited with the production of four translated scriptures and Vajrabodhi oversaw the production of eight,56 Amoghavajra and his translation teams produced over seventy texts that are still extant. This disparity is the result of the fact that Amoghavajra received sustained elite and imperial support. And although Vajrabodhi received the official title Commander Ceremonially Equal to the Three Monitoring Offices (Kaifu yitong sangsi 開府儀同三司), this was awarded simultaneously with Amoghavajra’s in accordance with the tradition of granting posthumous titles to patriarchal forebears concurrently with those of honored members of the imperium.57 Amoghavajra was both titled and enfeoffed as a member of the peerage during his own lifetime. Amoghavajra—­not Vajrabodhi and not Śubhākarasiṃha—­was the preeminent figure in the establishment of Esoteric Buddhism in Tang China, as a result of Amoghavajra’s activities as an elite Buddhist monk operating among and with the support of the most powerful members of Tang society.

The Early Life of Amoghavajra The most important biographical texts concerning Amoghavajra are Feixi’s 飛錫 Stele Inscription of the Late Great Worthy, Commander Equal to the Three Monitoring Offices, Grand Attendant Chief Minister of the Court of State Ceremonial, Duke of the Kingdom of Su 肅, Da Guangzhi 大廣智 Trepiṭaka of Xingfu Monastery 興善寺 [ 31 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan (hereafter Stele Inscription) and Zhao Qian’s Account of Conduct of the Former Great Worthy Bestowed with the Title Minister of Works, Dabian Zheng Guangzhi 大辨 正廣智 Trepiṭaka Bukong of the Great Tang (hereafter Account of Conduct).58 Based on these sources, we can be certain that Amoghavajra was not ethnically Han Chinese, but his specific ethnicity or the location of his birth are not easily determined. Amoghavajra himself provides no information concerning his ancestry or early life, choosing to begin the biographical segment of his “last testament” not with his birth but with his leaving home.59 The standard histories tend to refer to Amoghavajra as hu 胡, a term typically reserved for non-­Han peoples from Central Asia generally and Sogdiana specifically, but given the general lack of concern with foreign Buddhist monks evinced in those sources, we cannot exclusively rely on this evidence. The sources that specifically address Amoghavajra’s ethnicity and early life are not in agreement. Feixi’s Stele Inscription reports that he was “the son of a North Indian Brahman.” 60 Zhao Qian’s Account of Conduct informs us that The great master was from Xilang Commandery 西良府 and of a northern Indian Brahman family. His father passed away early and [Amoghavajra] was raised by his maternal uncle’s family. Accordingly, he took his mother’s surname. At first, before his mother Lady Kang 康 was pregnant, there was a soothsayer who said, “You will subsequently give birth to a bodhisattva.” 大師本西良府。北天竺之波羅門族也。先門早逝。育于舅氏。便隨母姓。初母康氏之未娠 也。有善相者言曰。爾後畢生菩提薩埵。61

Zanning follows Feixi and Zhao Qian in asserting Amoghavajra to be a North Indian Brahman.62 But Yuanzhao complicates the matter by stating in the Zhenyuan Catalogue that Amoghavajra was from Sri Lanka: [Amoghavajra] was from the southern Indian kingdom of Laṅkā.63 His posthumous Dharma name is Zhizang 智藏. His courtesy name was Bukong Jin’gang 不 空金剛 (Skt. Amoghavajra). His clan name is unknown, so is not recorded here. 南天竺執師子國人也。法諱智藏。號不空金剛。不聞氏族故不書之。64

This perhaps accords with Zhao Qian’s statement that Amoghavajra’s native place was the as yet unidentified Xilang Commandery 西良府. “Xilang” 西良 [ 32 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan bears too close a phonetic resemblance to “Sri Lanka” to resist speculating that it might be a Sinitic transliteration, though such a usage is, to my knowledge, otherwise unattested. If Amoghavajra were originally from Sri Lanka, this would go toward explaining why he traveled there and to southern India as a diplomatic envoy from the Tang court in 741–­746/7. But it would simultaneously raise the question of why he apparently arrived in China as a boy via the overland rather than the maritime route; both the Stele Inscription and the Account of Conduct report that Amoghavajra reached Wuwei Commandery 武威郡, modern Gansu 甘肅, on the western edge of the Tang imperium at the age of ten and in the company of his maternal uncle.65 From there he is said to have traveled to Taiyuan 太原, ancestral home of the ruling Li 李 clan, before coming under the tutelage of Vajrabodhi at the age of thirteen (this would have been about 712 CE).66 And there are compelling reasons he might have chosen the maritime route and Sri Lanka for his journey independent of a possible South Indian ancestry: his master Vajrabodhi was from Southeast Asia—­his native place is given as Malakuṭa by Yuanzhao—­ and Vajrabodhi had arrived in Tang as a member of a diplomatic mission aboard a sailing vessel. For his part, Chou Yi-­liang reads “Xilang” to be Xiliang Commandery 西涼府, “western Liang Commandery,” which he identifies as Liangzhou 涼州, centered on the city of Wuwei in what is now western Gansu Province 甘肅州. But, assuming that Amoghavajra was not born within the borders of the Tang imperium, Chou speculates that Liangzhou is provided as Amoghavajra’s native place because he initially dwelt in Wuwei.67 Whether this is correct or not, I take it to be the case that Amoghavajra was Central Asian rather than a “brahman” from either northern or southern India. The attribution of “brahman” ancestry is most likely informed by the impetus of various biographers to provide Amoghavajra with the most respectable Buddhist pedigree possible. Furthermore, a Central Asian origin is suggested in the Account of Conduct. If we follow Zhao Qian’s description, Amoghavajra was partly of Sogdian descent, as indicated by the ethnonym attributed to his mother: Kang 康. Derivative of Kangju 康居, or Kangguo 康 國, Kang 康 traditionally designates peoples from Sogdiana generally and Samarkand specifically.68 On my reading of the evidence, Amoghavajra appears to have been ethnically Sogdian, or at least Central Asian, but I do not believe that this can be determined with any certainty. Although Amoghavajra acted as Vajrabodhi’s disciple for over twenty years, the details of his training are not entirely certain. The Account of [ 33 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan Conduct represents his novitiate as following what seems a fairly standard Mahāyāna curriculum culminating in initiation into the esoteric teachings. The master patriarch [Vajrabodhi] discoursed completely, verse by verse, the commentaries and explanations of the teaching of the pāramitās (波羅門). 69 In every case, [Amoghavajra] memorized the compositions (文) and recited them. The day he would study something he would thoroughly penetrate it. The master patriarch was very amazed. Later on [Amoghavajra] received the mind of bodhi precepts and [Vajrabodhi] led him into the Diamond Realm Maṇḍala. Examining the cast of his flower,70 [Vajrabodhi] knew that he would be his successor. 祖師道悉談章波羅門語論。輒背文而諷誦。剋日而洞悟。祖師大奇。他日與授菩提心戒。 引入金剛界大曼茶羅。驗之擲花。知有後矣。71

This first initiation into the Diamond Realm was followed by a period of further study and practice under Vajrabodhi, as well as serving as translator. But this was evidently not constitutive of full investiture. Amoghavajra requested and eventually received full initiation into the teachings. [Amoghavajra] first translated scriptures, always making the translations by checking (對) the insignificant and the important in Tang and Indic [languages] and considering the essential and the florid in the style (文義).72 He studied the commentaries, completing twelve years of study in six months. He recited the vow of Mañjuśrī73—­one year’s worth by the second night.74 Later, in the master patriarch’s quarters he begged for the three mysteries of the five divisions of yoga. He requested it for three years, but his master did not follow his original wishes. For the sake of Dharma [Amoghavajra] wanted to return to India. The day [he left], while he was lodging at an inn in Xinfeng 新豐, the master patriarch that night had a fortuitous dream. All the images of buddhas and bodhisattvas in the capital city monasteries had all gone to the west. He awoke with a start. He ordered that [Amoghavajra] quickly return. Once he heard [that Amoghavajra] had returned, the master patriarch was very happy. [He told Amoghavajra] “I will give you the entirety of my treasury of the Dharma.” 先翻經常使譯語。對唐梵之輕重。酌文義之精華。討習聲論十二年功六月而畢。誦文殊 願。一載之限。再夕而終。後於祖師處。哀祈瑜伽五部三密。求之三載。未遂夙心。為法之 故。欲歸天竺。是日宿于新豐逆旅。祖師

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the three great masters of kaiyuan 此夜偶然而夢。京城諸寺佛菩薩像。悉皆東行。忽而驚悟。令疾命還。及聞迴至。祖師 大喜。我之法藏。盡將付汝。75

The general outline of these events—­taking Vajrabodhi to be his master at an early age, a period of study with all due indications of precociousness—­is repeated in the Stele Inscription. However, the Stele Inscription does not indicate that Amoghavajra’s initial initiation was into the esoteric teachings but describes it as simply a monastic ordination. He was permitted to enter the [ordination] platform and received the bodhisattva precepts. At the age of fifteen he was allowed to leave home (i.e., become a novice monk) and at the capping age following the Sarvāstivāda [Vinaya],76 he became a bhikṣu. 便許入壇。授發菩提心戒。年甫十五與出家焉。弱冠從有部進具成大苾芻。77

But in the Stele Inscription we again see Amoghavajra’s request to receive initiation into the higher teachings being first denied and then acceded to. He penetrated the characteristics of the discipline and he did not stop learning, though he knew. He wished to study the treatises on linguistics and to thoroughly master the Yoga School (瑜伽宗) from the Prior Master [Vajrabodhi], but the master did not permit it. One night [Vajrabodhi] had a dream that all the buddha and bodhisattva images left. Thereupon, he said, “That which I have dreamed about is the handing over of the Dharma Treasury.” Accordingly, he conferred it by means of the Triple Mystery and discoursing on the Quintuple Wisdom—­ twelve years of work (功) completed in six months. 律相洞閑。知而不住。將欲學聲明論窮瑜伽宗。以白先師。師未之許。夜夢佛菩薩像悉皆 來行。乃曰。我之所夢法藏有付矣。遂授以三密。談於五智。十二年功六月而就。78

These particulars are not verified by independent sources, and we should bear in mind the fact that these sources were produced after Amoghavajra’s death, in part by projecting certain aspects of his later life and activities into his early life for narrative purposes. For example, in a document produced near the end of his life, Amoghavajra reported that he received the “Dharma of Yoga in 4,000 verses” from his master, presumably referring [ 35 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan to the incomplete Diamond Pinnacle translated by Vajrabodhi.79 Assuming the details concerning Vajrabodhi’s initial reluctance to transmit the teaching to be didactic, this element of the narrative serves to emphasize the controlled, and therefore exalted, aspect of the teaching that Vajrabodhi and Amoghavajra possessed. But it is evident that Vajrabodhi practiced a teaching characterized in part by initiation and maṇḍalas—­Zhisheng’s contemporary account of the man in the Kaiyuan Catalogue also suggests this—­and we may assume that Amoghavajra received some variety of initiation and training in this teaching from Vajrabodhi, though the specifics cannot be discerned with certainty. Nevertheless, it seems that Vajrabodhi’s own knowledge, training, and textual collection were incomplete in relation to the Esoteric Buddhism that would be established in China as a result of Amoghavajra’s career. Immediately following Vajrabodhi’s death in 741, Amoghavajra left Tang for the Indic regions, returning some five years later with texts and teachings that his master had not possessed. Following Vajrabodhi’s death in 741, Amoghavajra traveled via the sea route to the Indic regions. He returned to Tang China in about 747 with a cache of Indic texts,80 including the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture. This voyage tends to be represented as simply a scripture pilgrimage in hagiographical and scholarly accounts—­because Amoghavajra returned with scriptures, he must have gone with the purpose of acquiring them. This may be so. But whatever his personal motivations might have been, officially he went to Sri Lanka as a member of an imperial diplomatic mission. The Stele Inscription indicates that Amoghavajra traveled to the Indic regions as a diplomatic envoy from the Tang. In the autumn of the 29th year of Kaiyuan 開元 (741/2), after the prior master had become disgusted with the world81 and had been interred in his pagoda, there was an edict commanding [Amoghavajra to act as] a gift-­bearing envoy82 to the kingdom of Sri Lanka. 至開元二十九年秋。先師厭代入塔之後。有詔令齎國信使師子國。83

The Account of Conduct represents his voyage as the fulfillment of Vajrabodhi’s last wishes,84 and it might have been the case, but it also indicates that Amoghavajra acted as a diplomatic envoy between Emperor Xuanzong and the kings of southern India: [ 36 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan In the fifth year of Tianbao ( Jan. 26, 746–­Feb. 13, 747) [Amoghavajra] returned to the capital and delivered a memorial from the king of the Lion Kingdom, Silāmegha (r. 727–­766), along with golden necklaces, a Prajñā patra, 85 and a number of outstanding jewels, white cotton, and the like. He was presented with an imperial edict ordering him to temporarily reside in the monastery of the Court of State Ceremonial. 天寶五載。還歸上京。進師子國王尸羅迷伽表。及金瓔珞。般若梵夾。諸寶白[疊*毛]等。

奉勅令權住鴻臚寺。86

As an envoy between the Tang court and the rulers of the southern Indic kingdoms, Amoghavajra would have been acting according to an established role for Buddhist monks in the Tang period, as unofficial diplomat and intelligence agent.87 Given his evident proficiency in Indic and Sinitic languages as well as his discipleship under Vajrabodhi, who had come to Tang as part of an earlier diplomatic mission from the southern Indic regions, Amoghavajra’s employment as a diplomat between Xuanzong and Silāmegha would have been intuitive. And if it is true that Amoghavajra was part of a diplomatic mission to and from Sri Lanka, it would explain the fanfare that reportedly accompanied his departure from Nanhai 南海 (modern Guangzhou or Canton) described in the Account of Conduct.88 It would also help explain how he came into contact with the local elite in the south of Tang. The Account of Conduct specifically mentions an encounter with Investigating Commissioner (caifang 採訪) Liu Julin 劉巨鱗, who held the post of Prefect of Nanhai (nanhai taishou 南海太守) in 744/5.89 It is also evident from other sources that it was at this time that Amoghavajra first came into contact with Li Yuancong, the future commissioner of merit and virtue.90 It also explains his residence in the Court of State Ceremonial—­the official housing for visiting foreign dignitaries—­upon his return. Amoghavajra’s dealings with Emperor Xuanzong, like those of his master Vajrabodhi, seem to have been predicated not on the performance of “magic,” as has sometimes been asserted, but on his role as an international envoy and diplomat.91

The Diamond Pinnacle Scripture The eventual establishment of Esoteric Buddhism by Amoghavajra was predicated on two basic aspects of his early biography. The first was his [ 37 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan connections to the imperial court and members of the ruling elite, illustrated by his mission to South India as a diplomatic envoy of Emperor Xuanzong. His discipleship under Vajrabodhi facilitated his entry into elite circles. The second was Amoghavajra’s acquisition of the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture in South India or Sri Lanka while on his mission abroad. In this regard Amoghavajra effectively broke new ground, for although Śubhākarasiṃha and Vajrabodhi appear to have been aware of this text and its teachings, it was evidently only in a nascent or unsystematized form. Amoghavajra’s acquisition of the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture independently of Vajrabodhi is indicated in early biographical sources. In these sources, it was Amoghavajra’s voyage to the southern Indic regions, not his discipleship under Vajrabodhi in China, that resulted in his acquisition of the Diamond Pinnacle and other esoteric texts and teachings from an Indic master, the ācārya Samantabhadra (Chn. Puxian 普賢). Before and after Amoghavajra, the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture and cognate texts appeared in China in piecemeal fashion. Śubhākarasiṃha’s first translation—­the Methods of Ākāśagarbha’s Dhāraṇī—­was drawn from or later incorporated into the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture. Vajrabodhi produced several texts clearly cognate to the Diamond Pinnacle as it would take shape in Chinese translation, and he is legendarily credited with the first, though incomplete, transmission of this important text to China. This account appears in a myth referred to in scholarly sources as the “Legend of the Iron Stūpa,” in an introductory section of the Ritual Procedures of the Great Yoga Secret Mind-­Ground Dharma Teaching of the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture ( Jin’gangding jing da yujia mimi xindi famen yigui 金剛頂經大瑜伽祕密心地法門義訣), a practice manual text attributed to Amoghavajra.92 According to the “Legend of the Iron Stūpa,” the Diamond Pinnacle had been locked away in a stūpa secured with iron gates in South India for many centuries. However, a “great worthy” gained entry to the stūpa and was instructed in the text by a host of buddhas and bodhisattvas. After emerging from the stūpa, he subsequently transcribed and transmitted the text for later generations. Said to consist of 100,000 verses, this version of the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture was the one that Vajrabodhi legendarily lost on his sea voyage to China. Of interest here is the story concerning the loss of this text and the requisite transmission of the abbreviated Diamond Pinnacle by Vajrabodhi. This story, according to the text, was recounted to Amoghavajra by Vajrabodhi and is repeated here in its entirety: [ 38 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan As for this abbreviated text [of the Diamond Pinnacle] reaching this land [China], at the beginning of Kaiyuan (ca. 713) the ācārya Trepiṭaka Vajrabodhi said, “I set forth from the Western Kingdoms traveling on the Southern Sea in a fleet of more than thirty great boats. There were five or six hundred people on each of the boats. Once, while crossing the great sea, we reached the middle and encountered a great wind. All of the boats and people [were in danger] of sinking. The boat on which I was traveling was also about to sink. At that time the two scriptures were always nearby on my person for retaining and making offerings. At this time, the captain of the boat saw that the boat was about to sink and all of the things on it were jettisoned. Then, in a moment of terror, I forgot to guard the scripture folders and the hundred-­thousand-­verse [text] was also cast into the sea. Only the abbreviated text survived. At that time I determined to perform the method of eliminating calamities and the great wind ceased. For more than one li around the boat the wind and water did not move. All of the people on the boat came to me for refuge. We gradually proceeded and arrived on the banks of this kingdom [Tang China]. In the seventh year of Kaiyuan ( January 30, 719–­February 16, 720) I reached the Western Capital (Chang’an). The Chan master Yixing requested initiation from me and, hearing about this miracle [the quelling of the storm], he wished [to learn] the extraordinarily rare teaching. He thereupon made Īśvara 伊舍羅 translate it into Chinese (漢文) and Yixing and the rest personally handled the brush [i.e., wrote down Īśvara’s oral translation]. At first we relied on the syntax (次第) of the Indic text to discuss it, so that the meaning was not lost, but the meanings of the sentences were not perfect. 此略本至此土者於開元之初金剛菩提三藏阿闍梨云。我從西國發來度於南海其有大船三 十餘隻。一一皆有五六百人。一時同過大海行至海中逢於大風。諸船及人竝皆漂沒。我所附 船亦欲將沒。爾時兩本經夾常近於身受持供養。其時船主見船欲沒。船上諸物皆擲海中。當 時怖懼忘收經夾。其百千頌亦擲海中唯存略本。爾時我發心念作除災法大風便止。去船 周迴可一里餘風水不動。船上諸人皆歸於我。漸漸發來得至此岸來到此國。於開元七年中 至於西京。一行禪師求我灌頂。聞有此異, 希有法門. 乃令伊舍羅譯為漢文。一行等乃親自

筆受。一依梵本次第而述. 其意不失.句義未圓。93

Regardless of the attribution, the text in which this story appears is likely not Amoghavajra’s work. We are dealing here instead with a pious fiction. The source text for this tale is not recorded among the texts Amoghavajra [ 39 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan submitted to the Tang court during his life. It is not mentioned in Yuanzhao’s Zhenyuan Catalogue or in the Korean canon. The extant version in the Taishō Canon carries no colophon. This tale is also absent from the account of Vajrabodhi’s life found in Zanning’s Song Biographies of Eminent Monks. Zanning was undoubtedly working from available sources in the late tenth century, but his synoptic account of Vajrabodhi’s life reports only that he traveled by the southern sea route and that it took him several years to reach China on account of various unnamed difficulties.94 The biography of Vajrabodhi in Yuanzhao’s Zhenyuan Catalogue reports that he traveled to China in a fleet of ships and encountered an “evil wind” that produced monster-­concealing clouds. Only the boat carrying Vajrabodhi escaped.95 There is no mention of the “Legend of the Iron Stūpa” or a similar story in the Kaiyuan Catalogue. Vajrabodhi translated the first version of the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture—­the Brief Diamond Pinnacle Scripture produced in 723 in collaboration with Yixing and Īśvara96—­and it is clear that he possessed a text or knowledge of practices related to or derived from the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture that Amoghavajra acquired in the Indic regions. But the story of Vajrabodhi’s loss of the full version of the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture is likely the creation of authors living many centuries after Amoghavajra for the purpose of legitimating Vajrabodhi’s text with reference to a specific Indic origin and by linking it with the more “orthodox” text transmitted by Amoghavajra.97 The Diamond Pinnacle Scripture itself was, according to Amoghavajra in his Synopsis of the Yoga of Eighteen Assemblies of the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture (hereafter Synopsis of the Eighteen Assemblies), a massive corpus consisting of eighteen component scriptures, referred to as “assemblies” (hui 會), in a total of 100,000 verses.98 Based on this description, the full scripture would have been massive. Many of the specific texts of the eighteen assemblies described by Amoghavajra remain unknown, but Rolf Giebel has identified several related to certain of the assemblies.99 Among these are the Guhyasamāja translated into Chinese in seven fascicles by Dānapāla 施護 in 1002 and the Śrīparamādhya translated by Faxian 法賢 in 999, also in seven fascicles.100 Although Amoghavajra was evidently aware of the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture as a composite text, such a version of the scripture was not produced in China until 1012–­1015, when a thirty-­fascicle translation was produced by Dānapāla.101 Amoghavajra’s Diamond Pinnacle Scripture is only a fraction of the text described in the Synopsis of the Eighteen Assemblies. Of the assemblies described [ 40 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan therein, the most important is clearly the first: the King of Teachings, the Correct Inclusion of All the Tathāgatas, or the Sarvatathāgata-­tattvasaṃgraha (hereafter STTS).102 Whereas the other seventeen assemblies receive only a brief treatment, the entire four chapters or sections of the STTS are described in some detail. But although Amoghavajra almost certainly possessed a copy or at least extensive knowledge of the full STTS—­his description of the text conforms to the earliest extant Sanskrit and Tibetan manuscripts—­he translated only the first section.103 This first section of the STTS, itself the first assembly of the full Diamond Pinnacle Scripture, provided the ultimate authoritative framework of Esoteric Buddhism, both in its reconfiguration of Buddhist practice and in its role as a structural template for all the other assemblies. Although it is only the first section of the first assembly of the full Diamond Pinnacle Scripture produced in China in the eleventh century, this text is referred to by Amoghavajra (and hereafter) simply as the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture.104 Amoghavajra’s emphasis on the first assembly can be seen as following the logic of the full text. The eighteen assemblies are structurally similar, replicating the fundamental outline laid out in the first. As Amoghavajra states in the Synopsis of the Eighteen Assemblies: [The eighteen assemblies] possess the four kinds of maṇḍalas, the five divisions, the four seals, and the thirty-­seven worthies. Each one of the divisions possesses the thirty-­seven [worthies] and from [each] single worthy the thirty-­seven are created, also possessing the four maṇḍalas and four seals. They mutually interpenetrate like the radiant pearls of Indra’s net, intersecting and reflecting [each other], spread out without limit. 具五部四種曼荼羅四印。具三十七尊。一一部具三十七。乃至一尊成三十七。亦具四曼荼 羅四印。互相涉入。如帝釋網珠光明交映展轉無限。105

Giebel takes this last line concerning the mutual interpenetration of the eighteen assemblies as an anticipation of Kūkai’s formulations regarding the attainment of buddhahood in the present body and the importance of Huayan thought in Kūkai’s work more generally.106 In any case, the line is an illustrative allusion making clear that the manifold supernormal beings, maṇḍalas, and so forth that comprise the eighteen assemblies are ultimately a unity. In other words, the particulars of the eighteen assemblies are [ 41 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan structurally replicated and functionally interchangeable. The most significant replications characteristic of the Diamond Pinnacle are the “five divisions” (wubu 五部) and the “thirty-­seven worthies” (sanshiqi zun 三十七尊). The latter are the inhabitants of the Diamond Realm, produced as emanations of Vairocana, and, therefore, ultimately coextensive with the great Buddha. They are the standard entities appearing in the Diamond Realm Maṇḍala, described in the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture, and in a variety of specific rites. In Amoghavajra’s writings he tends to refer to this teaching by means of synecdoche: the “the five divisions,” “the eighteen assemblies,” “the thirty-­seven worthies.” The Diamond Pinnacle Scripture was the ultimate authoritative basis of Esoteric Buddhism. But this was not simply the result of Amoghavajra’s personal emphasis. Through its narrative frame the text represents itself to be just this sort of final authority. With the emergence of the Mahāyāna, representations of a teaching’s supremacy became a common means of self-­ promotion and justification. However, whereas conventional Mahāyāna texts tend to reformulate the teaching of Śākyamuni or the content of his enlightened knowledge, the Diamond Pinnacle asserts its primacy through reformulating the means by which Śākyamuni attained buddahood. The means and the very nature of enlightenment are refigured. The text begins with the stock phrase “Thus have I heard” (rushi wo wen 如是我聞) and describes the location of the Buddha and his retinue,107 which here consists of nine hundred million bodhisattvas and a number of buddhas equal to the number of sand grains of the Ganges. The location provided is not terrestrial. It is the “central Maṇi Hall of the palace in the Akaniṣṭha Heaven,” the highest heaven of the Form Realm that is located on the summit of Mount Meru, the world mountain.108 The Buddha is Vairocana, who is represented as the quintessence of all enlightened beings: the Bhagavat Great Vairocana Tathāgata, who eternally abides throughout empty space, the diamond of body, speech, and mind of all Tathāgatas, the coterminous characteristic109 of all Tathāgatas, the knowledge sattva who enlightens all Diamond Realms. 婆伽梵大毘盧遮那如來。常住一切虛空。一切如來身口心金剛。一切如來互相涉入。一切 金剛界覺悟智薩埵。一切虛空界微塵金剛。加持所生智藏。一切如來無邊故。110

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the three great masters of kaiyuan Having thus established the scene and essential nature of Vairocana, the narrative suddenly moves from the Akaniṣṭha Heaven to the human world where the soon-­to-­be Śākyamuni, referred to as the bodhisattva Sarvathāsiddha, or “All Attainments” (yiqie yi chengjiu 一切義成就), sits beneath the Bodhi tree.111 All of the buddhas appear before him and ask, “Good son, how will you realize the unsurpassed correct awakening of bodhi without knowing the truth of all Tathāgatas and [instead] bearing various ascetic practices?”112 Sarvathāsiddha then requests their instruction, which consists of a series of mantra recitations and visualizations culminating in his enlightenment, consecration by all the buddhas, and ascendance to the Akaniṣṭha Heaven. At that time, all of the Tathāgatas emerged from the sattva diamond [samādhi] of all Tathāgatas and, with Akṣobhya’s great mani jewel, consecrated him, produced the Dharma knowledge of Avalokiteśvara, and established him in the viśvakarma (all the actions) of all Tathāgatas. Thereupon, they all went to the pavilion of the diamond and mani-­jeweled peak on Mount Sumeru’s summit. 時一切如來。復從一切如來薩埵金剛出。以虛空藏大摩尼寶。灌頂。發生觀自在法智。安 立一切如來毘首羯磨。由此往詣須彌盧頂金剛摩尼寶峯樓閣。113

Śākyamuni attains enlightenment, receives consecration, and ascends to the bejeweled pavilion in the highest heaven, where Vairocana dwells. From there the narrative of the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture shifts to a description of the production of all the beings and their associated practices by the Buddha Vairocana—­the maṇḍala of the Diamond Realm. Following David Snellgrove’s reading, the ad hoc feel of the section of the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture reframing the enlightenment of Śākyamuni suggests an attempt by its author(s) to provide some justification for its main teaching—­the attainment of mundane and soteriological effects through the performance of particular rituals.114 More recently, Steven Weinberger has argued that the STTS (or Compendium of Principles, as he translates the title) marks the emergence of a mature, self-­aware tantric Buddhism in India.115 Following Weinberger, this is in part a function of the identification of particular elements of later tantric texts and traditions in the Diamond Pinnacle. As he puts it: “This tantra is of particular importance because in it we find the [ 43 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan coalescence of a variety of earlier tantric aspects as well as the introduction of several innovative features of doctrine, ritual, and narrative, the result of which is the emergence of mature Indian Buddhist tantra.”116 But in addition, the Diamond Pinnacle is especially significant in that it presents for the first time an implicit justification for those elements within the larger scope of Buddhist orthodoxy. This mythical underpinning is the recasting of Śākyamuni’s enlightenment. Thus, the refiguring of Śākyamuni’s enlightenment in the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture implies a self-­conscious awareness of and justification for the Diamond Pinnacle’s teaching being at variance with what had come before. The acquisition of this seminal text served as the foundation of Amoghavajra’s activities upon his return to Tang China, providing the authoritative basis and unifying framework for his Esoteric Buddhism.

The Teaching of the Five Divisions Serving as the authoritative basis for Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism as a distinct dispensation of the Buddha and providing the conceptual and practical framework for that teaching, the acquisition of the Diamond Pinnacle was foundational in establishing and propagating Esoteric Buddhism. There are two noteworthy aspects of this event as described in early texts narrating Amoghavajra’s life. The first, mentioned previously, is that the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture was obtained from the Indic ācārya Samantabhadra (Chn. Puxian 普賢), not from his lineal master Vajrabodhi.117 The second is that Amoghavajra’s reception of the Diamond Pinnacle occurred simultaneously with his empowerment in the procedures of the Womb Realm Maṇḍala (taizang jie 胎藏界 Skt. Garbhadhātu). The Account of Conduct represents the event as follows: Another day [Amoghavajra] sought out the ācārya Samantabhadra and presented him with sundry gold, jewels, and brocade. He requested that [the ācārya] disclose (開) the Dharma teaching of the eighteen assemblies of the Diamond Pinnacle Yoga and the method of establishing the ritual platform (i.e., maṇḍala) of the Great Compassionate Womb of Vairocana. 他日尋普賢阿闍梨等。奉獻金寶錦繡之屬。請開十八會金剛頂瑜伽法門毘盧遮那大悲胎 藏。建立壇法。118

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the three great masters of kaiyuan This information is essentially repeated in the Stele Inscription.119 This description linking the Diamond Pinnacle with the Womb Maṇḍala—­the maṇḍala and practices associated with the Great Vairocana Scripture—­establishes a connection between the persons and texts produced in China by Śubhākarasiṃha and by Amoghavajra. However, in the Account of Conduct the Great Vairocana Scripture (referred to by its alternate name, the Great Sun Scripture 大日經) is transmitted to Amoghavajra by Vajrabodhi in China. Next, on another morning he [Vajrabodhi] transmitted the Dharma of the five divisions, the ācārya teaching of initiation and homa, the Great Sun Scripture,120 the ritual procedures of siddhi, all the practices of mantras of the assemblies and divisions of the Buddha’s Crown121—­every single one was transmitted, and in each case he completely [revealed] their marvelous qualities. 次於他晨。為與傳授五部之法。灌頂護摩阿闍梨教。大日經悉地儀軌。諸佛頂部眾真言 行。一一傳持。皆盡其妙。122

Although the Account of Conduct passage suggests that Vajrabodhi possessed and transmitted the Great Vairocana Scripture to Amoghavajra, there is no other evidence that Vajrabodhi emphasized or was aware of this text. Taken together, these scenes from the Stele Inscription and the Account of Conduct indicate an attempt by their authors to link Amoghavajra with the Great Vairocana Scripture without any consensus on how exactly to do so. A skeptical reading might suggest that they are attempting to establish the superiority of Amoghavajra over Vajrabodhi and Śubhākarasiṃha—­Amoghavajra possessed both textual traditions and maṇḍala empowerments and was, therefore, superior to either individually. Alternately, these scenes might be read as reflecting a retroactive interpretation based on a post hoc recognition of practical or textual overlap with the corpus of Śubhākarasiṃha—­specifically the Great Vairocana Scripture—­on the part of Amoghavajra’s hagiographers. However, upon closer examination of Amoghavajra’s career and his own writings, it becomes evident that the tradition of associating him with the Diamond Pinnacle and with the Great Vairocana Scripture in particular, and with the texts produced by Śubhākarasiṃha more generally, is based on historical fact rather than pious fictions. The association of the texts and techniques popularized in Tang China by Amoghavajra with those produced under the name of Śubhākarasiṃha [ 45 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan is Amoghavajra’s own doing. He created a systematized teaching incorporating the texts and techniques associated with Śubhākarasiṃha’s Great Vairocana Scripture, among others. These texts and techniques were held together by an organizing commitment to the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture as the highest articulation of the teaching. This is clear from the contents of Amoghavajra’s Catalogue of the Divisions of Dhāraṇī (hereafter Catalogue of Dhāraṇī).123 Submitted to the Tang imperial government in 771, the Catalogue of Dhāraṇī is perhaps the clearest indication of Amoghavajra’s own conception of his Esoteric Buddhism. In it, Amoghavajra summarizes five texts: (1) the Diamond Pinnacle, which he represents as the fundamental or “root” (ben 本) scripture of the collection; (2) the Great Vairocana Scripture; (3) the Susiddhikāra Scripture; (4) the Questions of Subāhu Scripture; and (5) the Trisamaya Scripture. The Catalogue of Dhāraṇī is the earliest and clearest indication that the various texts and practices produced in Tang China by Śubhākarasiṃha, Amoghavajra, and (implicitly) Vajrabodhi stand in relation to one another as a distinct teaching of Buddhism.124 This teaching of the Buddha, what Amoghavajra often refers to as the Yoga Teaching (yujai jiao 瑜伽教) or the Teaching of the Five Divisions (wubu jiao 五 部教), seems to be something of his own invention. It consisted of five scriptures, but this particular grouping of texts as a unified teaching of the Buddha appears to have no precedent or corollary in the larger Buddhist world. In other contexts, these texts represent a variety of different categories. For example, working in eighth-­century India, Buddhaghuya classified the Diamond Pinnacle as a yoga tantra, while the Susiddhikāra and Trisamaya are labeled kriya tantra. The Great Vairocana Scripture, in Buddhaguhya’s typology, is an ubhaya or “dual” tantra.125 The Diamond Pinnacle is a yoga tantra, but the Susiddhikāra is classified as a kriya tantra in the Tibetan canon as edited by Butön Rinchen Drup (1290–­1364). The Japanese Tendai tradition takes the Diamond Pinnacle, the Great Vairocana, and the Susiddhikāra as central, and the Shingon tradition emphasizes the Diamond Pinnacle and the Great Vairocana equally. However, Amoghavajra presents the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture as preeminent in a group of five otherwise rather different texts. Although from a critical historical perspective they are rather diverse, when we consider the basic contents of these texts as a unitary group, a picture of the general theoretical and practical aspects of Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism begins to appear. [ 46 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan In the Catalogue of Dhāraṇī, Amoghavajra describes the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture as consisting of eighteen assemblies (hui 會) in 100,000 verses—­ concordant with his representation in the Synopsis of the Eighteen Assemblies. In the Catalogue of Dhāraṇī, however, Amoghavajra gives a more concise account of the scripture’s content, focusing on the layout of the figures populating the Diamond Maṇḍala: This scripture explains the five divisions: the Buddha Division (with Vairocana Buddha serving as its lord), the Diamond Division (with Akṣobhya Buddha serving as its lord), the Jewel Division (with Ratnsambhava Buddha serving as its lord), the Lotus Division (with Amitābha Buddha serving as its lord), and the Karma Division (with Amoghasiddhi Buddha serving as its lord) are those five divisions. Each [of these divisions] has four bodhisattvas serving as a retinue, peacefully arrayed in front, to the right, to the left, and behind [the division’s buddha].126 Four internal offerants127 are each affiliated with the four divisions. Next, a disciple should know the four external offerants,128 also affiliated with four divisions. The four gate[keepers], Hook, Rope, Lock, and Bell,129 are the next four divisions that a disciple should know. 其經說五部。佛部(毘盧遮那佛以為部主) 金剛部 (阿閦佛為部主) 寶部 (寶生佛以為部主) 蓮花部 (阿彌陀佛以為部主) 羯磨部 (不空成就佛以為部主) 彼五部主。各有四菩薩以為眷 屬。前右左背而安列。四內供養。各屬四部。次第應知。四外供養亦屬四部。四門鉤索鎖 鈴。四部次第應知。130

Here, Amoghavajra delineates the central geography of the Diamond Realm Maṇḍala as well as the Thirty-­Seven Worthies who populate it. The Diamond Realm is effectively divided into five territories, each governed by a specific buddha and oriented toward a specific cardinal direction: the Buddha Division in the center, the Diamond or Vajra Division in the west, the Jewel Division in the southern quarter, the Lotus Division in the east, and the Karma Division in the north. Each is accompanied by peaceful attendant bodhisattvas, with the entire group of these twenty-­five beings worshipped by four other bodhisattvas. Guarding this assembly are the four elemental deities—­the Earth God (ditian 地天), the Water God (shuitian 水天), the Fire God (huotian 火天), and the Wind God (fengtian 風天)—­a nd four more bodhisattvas. With the division of its pantheon into five divisions or families [ 47 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan (wubu 五部; Skt. pañcakula), the Five Divisions referenced in the title may be taken to indicate the fundamental pantheon of Esoteric Buddhism, but also as referring to the specific group of five scriptures framed or capped by the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture. The ambiguity here was likely productive or connotative. “The Teaching of the Five Divisions,” Amoghavajra’s most common reference to the teaching he possessed, referred to the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture, its contents, and its maṇḍala pantheon. It also referred to a set of five specific texts understood to be subordinate to and consonant with the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture. This basic content and maṇḍala of the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture as described by Amoghavajra is replicated and multiplied. There are four divisions of yoga maṇḍalas. The first is the “Diamond Realm,” the second is “Overcoming the Triple World,” the third is “Pervasively Taming,” and the fourth is called “the Meaning of all Accomplishments.” These four maṇḍalas display the four internal wisdom bodhisattvas of the buddha Vairocana, called “Diamond,” “Initiation,” “Lotus,” and “Karma,” they make the four wisdoms. The four wisdoms are also called “Great Reflecting,” “Equality of Nature,” “Marvelous Observation,” and “Fulfillment of Deeds,” making the four wisdoms. Also, each one of the maṇḍalas establishes six maṇḍalas, which are called the “Great Maṇḍala,” the “Samaya Maṇḍala,” the “Dharma Maṇḍala,” the “Karma Maṇḍala,” the “Quadruple Seal Maṇḍala,” and the “Single Seal Maṇḍala.” Only the “Overcoming the Triple World Maṇḍala” possesses ten [sub]maṇḍalas. The rest all possess six [sub]maṇḍalas, all the mudrās, all the essentials of the Dharma. By the complete assimilation of the four wisdom seals [there is] the Great Wisdom Seal. By the yoga of the five marks of accomplishment of the root worthy [there are] the samaya seal, the Dharma Wisdom seal, and the Karma Wisdom seal. 瑜伽部曼茶羅有四。一金剛界。二降三世。三遍調伏。四一切義成就。此四曼茶羅。表毘 盧遮那佛內四智菩薩。謂金剛灌頂蓮花羯磨為四智。又四智謂大圓鏡平等性妙觀察成所 作為四智矣。又一一曼茶羅。建立六曼茶羅。所謂大曼茶羅。三昧耶曼茶羅。法曼茶羅。羯 磨曼茶羅。四印曼茶羅。一印曼茶羅。唯降三世曼茶羅具十曼茶羅。餘皆具六曼茶羅。131

With the centrality of Vairocana Buddha and its emphasis on performative practices involving mudrā, maṇḍala, and mantra, the Great Vairocana Scripture is broadly continuous with the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture. There are, however, some significant variations. The scripture takes place in the great Diamond [ 48 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan Palace of Vairocana in the Dharma Realm, among a vast company of vajradharas lead by Vajrapāṇi, Lord of Mysteries, and great bodhisattvas headed by Samantabhadra. The content of the scripture, the teaching of Vairocana, is prompted when Vajrapāṇi asks how the Buddha obtained omniscience. Vairocana responds referring to bodhicitta, compassion, and skillful means, elements characteristic of mainstream Mahāyāna. Vajrapāṇi then asks who it is who attains awakening, a question concerning the essential identity of Vairocana, and, by implication, the reader. Vairocana replies that one’s own mind is of the essential nature of the Buddha. Vairocana describes this mind in terms of emptiness and then states how one is to realize this nature of mind, a progression of practices beginning with the arising of a thought to practice abstinence for the sake of the Dharma.132 The progression toward awakening is described in terms of successive rebirths that reads as a ranking system of various practices and views, including belief in a pantheon of Indic deities. Vairocana then describes 160 states of the mind, finally extolling the teaching of mantras and the bodhisattva cultivation of viewing dependent arising. This material comprises the first fascicle of the text. Although the first fascicle lays out a theoretical vision that is generally in accord with mainline Mahāyāna Buddhism, the second fascicle introduces material more closely related to what we see in the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture. Vairocana briefly explains different types of mantra—­those of the buddhas, of wrathful servants of the buddhas, for practicing samādhi, and for realizing one’s wishes—­and then explains that mantras are not created but that their existence and power is effectively sui generis and of the essential nature of the Dharma. Vairocana then explains the procedures by which one is initiated into the maṇḍala, describing the requisite offerings of flowers, fragrant substances, victuals, and lamps followed by visualizing mantra syllables and performing homa offerings. The remainder of the scripture lays out techniques for eliminating obstacles, for various mantra, types of siddhi, and so on. In his Catalogue of Dhāraṇī, Amoghavajra summarizes the content of the Great Vairocana Scripture thus: Within this scripture is explained the 160 minds, the ten causal productions, and the five wheels: the earth wheel, the water wheel, the fire wheel, the wind wheel, and the emptiness wheel. Within this scripture there are two kinds of practices: the mind of bodhi serves as the cause, great compassion serves as the root, and skillful means serves as the final goal. [The two practices] rely on the Ultimate [ 49 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan and Conventional, the Two Truths. If relying on the Ultimate Truth, then one constructs a maṇḍala of the Dharma Body. The reason for this is explained in the scripture: first called the maṇḍala within empty space. This is the cause for observing the Dharma Body of the Root Worthy, removed from appearances just like empty space. One resides thus in samādhi. If relying on the practice of the Conventional Truth, then one relies on a maṇḍala made of four wheels. As for the root worthy, he is yellow. As for the sage abiding in the earth wheel maṇḍala, he is white. As for the sage abiding on the water wheel maṇḍala, he is red. As for the sage abiding on the fire wheel maṇḍala, he is blue-­black. [As for the sage] abiding on the wind wheel maṇḍala, the great maṇḍala, he peacefully [sits] on an eight-­petaled lotus dais. The five buddhas and four bodhisattvas peacefully [sit] on daises of petals outside of the central maṇḍala. 此經中。說一百六十心十緣生句。及五輪。地輪水輪火輪風輪空輪也。此經中。二種修行。菩 提心以為因。大悲以為根本方便為究竟。依勝義世俗。二諦若依勝義修行。建立法身曼茶 羅。是故此經中說。先稱虛空中曼茶羅。是故觀本尊法身。遠離形色猶如虛空。住如是三 摩地。若依世俗諦修行。依四輪以為曼茶羅。本尊。聖者若黃色。住地輪曼茶羅聖者若白 色。住水輪曼茶羅聖者若赤色。住火輪曼茶羅聖者若青若黑。住風輪曼茶羅大曼茶羅安 於八葉蓮花臺。五佛四菩薩安於臺葉。中曼茶羅外。又有三種曼茶羅。133

The multiplication of maṇḍalas in the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture is repeated here. However, while the Diamond Pinnacle is typified by its pentadic organization, the Great Vairocana Scripture invokes triadic configurations. There are also three kinds of maṇḍala. The first is the maṇḍala of all the Tathāgatas, the second is the Śākyamuni maṇḍala, and the third is the Mañjuśrī maṇḍala. These maṇḍala are called the “Great Compassion Womb-­Store Maṇḍala.” If a disciple receives the method of initiation, then a small maṇḍala is carefully and minutely [created]; the surplus divisions are not included. Within this [maṇḍala], practice cultivation and make offerings. 又有三種曼茶羅。一者一切如來曼茶羅。二者釋迦牟尼曼茶羅。三者文殊師利曼茶羅。此 曼茶羅。名為大悲胎藏曼茶羅。134

The Great Vairocana Scripture, again according to Amoghavajra’s description in the Catalogue of Dhāraṇī, also presents various procedures of fire rituals (Skt. homa) for particular effects or accomplishments (Skt. siddhi). [ 50 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan [As for] the homa of the fire deity, there are forty kinds, [but] among these, twelve are superior. [As for] the shape of the hearth and the wood, there are varieties of lactescent and fruit [woods]. It is difficult to practice as that which is used is each different. Whether to pray and make vows toward the east, west, south, or north—­each is different. The inner and outer homa also rely on the five wheels, [by which one] seeks the four kinds of rapid accomplishments—­pacification, augmentation, subjugation, and attraction—­and those that are called the “Fire Deity,” each of which is different—­quiescence, joy, vehement wrath, and delightful wrath. 護摩火天有四十種。就中一十二種火為最勝。爐形及木。有乳果類苦練。所用各不同。東 西南北祈願各殊。內外護摩亦依五輪。求四種事速疾成就。息災增益降伏敬愛。所請火天 各各不同。寂靜熙怡忿怒喜怒。135

From the perspective of the general historical development of Esoteric Buddhism, the Susiddhikāra, like the Great Vairocana Scripture, appears to derive from an earlier stage than the Diamond Pinnacle. This is suggested by their structuring triads, rather than pentads, specifically the classification of deities according to the three-­family system of Buddha, Lotus, and Vajra. Amoghavajra describes the arrangement of the Susiddhikāra pantheon: As for the lords of the divisions, there are three kinds. The Diamond Wheel King of the Buddha’s Crown is the lord of the Buddha Division. The Lotus Division’s lord is the Horse-­Headed Avalokiteśvara. The Diamond Division’s lord is the Triple World-­Conquering Diamond. The mothers of three kinds of divisions are the Buddha Eye, which acts as mother of the Buddha Division. The White-­Robed Avalokiteśvara acts as the mother of the Lotus Division. The bodhisattva Māmakī (忙麼雞) act as the mother of the Diamond Division. The three kinds of wisdom consorts are the bodhisattva Unconquerable, who acts as the wisdom consort of the Buddha Division, the bodhisattva Tāra (多羅), who acts as the wisdom consort of the Lotus Division, and the bodhisattva Sundarī, who acts as the wisdom consort of the Diamond Division. The three kinds of wrathful ones are the Immovable Worthy, who is the wrathful one of the Buddha Division; Wrathful Hook, who is the wrathful one of the Lotus Division; and Kuṇḍalī (軍茶利), the wrathful one of the Diamond Division. 部主有三種。金輪王佛頂佛部主。蓮花部主馬頭觀自在。金剛部主三世勝金剛。三種部 母。佛部佛眼以為部母。蓮花部白衣觀自在以為部母。金剛部忙麼鷄菩薩以為部母。三種

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the three great masters of kaiyuan 明妃。佛部無能勝菩薩以為明妃。蓮花部多羅菩薩以為明妃。金剛部金剛孫那利菩薩以為 明妃。三種忿怒。不動尊佛部忿怒。忿怒鉤蓮花部忿怒。軍茶利金剛部忿怒。136

The significance of terrible, wrathful deities within these central structures is noteworthy. In a variation from the Diamond Pinnacle and the Great Vairocana Scripture, the content of the Susiddhikāra Scripture is delivered not by Vairocana Buddha, but by Vajradhara in response to questions by the Wrathful Kuṇḍalī. The central concern of this scripture is the methods by which one quickly attains the boon of siddhi. This basic question is then restated and expanded in verse, effectively providing a table of contents, as Wrathful Kuṇḍalī asks about the characteristics of mantra, of ācārya masters, of disciples, of ritual site selection, of observing the precepts, and of making offerings; Kuṇḍalī asks specifically about rites of pacification, augmentation, and subjugation, about guidelines for performing homa, and so on. Although we plainly see a continuity with the concerns and practices of the Diamond Pinnacle and the Great Vairocana Scripture, the Susiddhikāra is more invested in the specifics of ritual performance with little consideration for its theoretical or mythical bases. As in the Susiddhikāra, the contents of the Questions of Subāhu are not delivered by Vairocana Buddha, and the role of terrible, wrathful beings comes to the fore, as the Questions of Subāhu is delivered by Vajrapāṇi, identified as both bodhisattva and a “great yakṣa general.” The scripture is delivered in response to a question from the Lad Subāhu, as indicated by the title. Subāhu’s question, articulated as exhaustively as possible in the text, is why practitioners fail to realize the accomplishments (siddhi). Vajrasattva’s response delineating the particular procedures and conditions necessary in order to produce siddhi comprises the content of the scripture. Vajrapāṇi begins by citing the necessary mental conditions for success: generating bodhicitta, reverence for the Three Jewels and the deities of the Vajra family, and refraining from killing, using harsh words, holding heretical views, drinking alcohol, and so on. It is also necessary that one enter the Great Maṇḍala via initiation by a master and perform proper rites of repentance. Here we see a clear continuum with the content of the Great Vairocana Scripture as well as the Diamond Pinnacle. These preliminaries established, Vajrapāṇi goes on to describe the proper locations for practice and the necessity of constructing a “pure hut” (  jingshe 精舍) according to specifications. Within this space, one is directed to [ 52 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan produce images with specific materials and to offer incense, flowers, food and drink, and lamps. There are stipulations about the materials to use for fashioning clothing, implements for eating, and procedures for taking food. There are specific instructions according to one’s varna, whether brahmin, kṣatriya, śūdra, or vaiśya. There are regulations for maintaining ritual purity; for example, one is to avoid places where women and animals have given birth, where people drink alcohol, or where children play. Amoghavajra’s synopsis of the Questions of Subāhu emphasizes its material concerning the production of vajras as ritual implements, referred to as “pestles” or “clubs” (zhu 杵): Within this scripture is explained the homa for people who seek the accomplishments. Clubs (zhu 杵) of gold, silver, copper, iron, stone, water, and refined khadira wood—­innumerable kinds of various, different clubs [are used], with five legs, three legs, or a single leg.137 A length of sixteen fingers makes the highest, twelve fingers makes the middling, eight fingers makes the low, and one finger joint makes the lowest. Within this scripture is explained those who do not hold the diamond cudgel, those who recall and recite without the reason of attaining the accomplishments, and those who grasp the diamond bell. This is the prajñāpāramitā ritual of the diamond club, the ritual of the mind of bodhi capable of eradicating the two extreme [views], the mudrā in harmony with the middle way. 其護持帝王營從兵法。五天竺國深敬信佛法。於帝王可傳。蘇婆呼童子經。此經中說辦求 成就人護摩。杵金銀銅鐵石水精佉陀羅木等。無量種各不同杵。五股三股一股。長十六指 為上。十二指為中。八指為下。乃至一指節者為下。此經中說。不持金剛杵。念誦者無由得 成就。金剛鈴者是般若波羅蜜義金剛杵者是。菩提心義。能壞斷常二邊。契合中道。138

Though clearly concerned with performative issues, the Diamond Pinnacle and the Great Vairocana Scripture emphasize the narrative exposition of theoretical mythologies over the practical aspects of Esoteric Buddhism. The Subāhu Scripture, like the Susiddhikāra, is a practical manual for the performance of a host of general rites. It states the necessity of having received initiation from a master—­presumably in accordance with the procedures and guidelines laid out in the Diamond Pinnacle and the Great Vairocana Scripture—­and provides performative details of Esoteric Buddhist practices as well as some indication of the theoretical basis or worldview on which many are based, citing the existence of hosts of “hinderers” (Skt. vināyaka; Chn. pinayejia 毘 [ 53 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan 那夜迦) and the procedures for preventing them from encroaching on one’s

person and one’s practice. The Trisamaya Scripture is also concerned with siddhi attainments, but whereas the Question of Subāhu generally assumes a prophylactic and personal approach involving individual observances and internal conditions, the Trisamaya tends to addresses external agents who present impediments to one’s aims. Amoghavajra gives a fairly bland accounting of this text in his Catalogue of Dhāraṇī, explicitly linking it to the Great Vairocana Scripture: The Trisamaya Scripture139 is the same as the collected assemblies of Vairocana, it has the cultivation methods of the sages and the intrinsic nature of the accomplishments. As for the practices in this teaching, they are simply abiding in the mind of bodhi, the aspiration of great compassion, and not abandoning the inexhaustible multitude of sentient beings. As for the practices within this scripture, it is merely the abiding of the mind of bodhi, the great compassionate vow and intention not to abandon the limitless sentient beings of the realm. One should act accordingly and not violate these matters. If there is one who violates them, not acting appropriately [but instead] devouring sentient beings like so much food, then that one will not be successful and will break the prohibitions of the samaya. Within this scripture is explained the diamond mantra of the great wheel, [by which one] is not contaminated by all the transgressions and by which skillful means are enacted. It manifests all the mantra of rapid accomplishments. Within this scripture, the Worthy Immovable and the retinues of the forty-­t wo tathāgatas cultivate the mantra practice of bodhisattvas and firmly hold the mind of bodhi. 怛唎三昧耶經。同毘盧遮那集會。所有聖眾修行教法。自性成就。此教中修行者。但住菩 提心。大悲志願。不捨無盡眾生界。所應不違事 設違之不應食啗若有食者不成破三摩耶 戒。此經中。說誦大輪金剛真言。不染諸愆過。以為方便。現生一切真言速疾成就。此經 中不動尊等。四十二如來僮僕使者。若修真言行菩薩。堅持菩提心。140

I will return to the Trisamaya Scripture in chapter 3, but for now we may observe that like the Diamond Pinnacle and Great Vairocana Scriptures, the Trisamaya is delivered by Vairocana. Like the Susiddhikāra Scripture and the Questions of Subāhu, it is effectively a ritual manual. Here, Vairocana proclaims the scripture to Vajrapāṇi, protagonist of the Questions of Subāhu and leader [ 54 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan of the assembly of vajradharas in the Great Vairocana Scripture, in order to inform future practitioners of mantra how to eliminate innumerable hindrances. The principle means is through rites invoking Acala, the Worthy Immovable (Skt. Acala-­vidyārāja; Chn. Budong mingwang 不動明王). Acala is a figure who appears as a member of Womb Maṇḍala of the Great Vairocana Scripture, but here he takes on a much more significant role. Acala is declared in this scripture to be the Dharma Body of the Tathāgatas. He appears in this form in accordance with his vow to eliminate all hindrances. The ritual procedures outlined here are generally consistent with the Questions of Subāhu and the Susiddhikāra Scripture. The practitioner is enjoined to purify himself internally through meditation and mantra recitation and externally through prescribed procedures for bathing and the performance of mudra. The practitioner then establishes a pure ritual arena through a series of mudras and constructs a maṇḍala through processes of visualization. The specific form and inhabitants of this maṇḍala are not presented, suggesting that this scripture is supplemental to other texts and procedures. These five texts—­the Diamond Pinnacle, the Great Vairocana, the Susiddhikāra Scripture, the Questions of Subāhu, and the Trisamaya Scripture—­are put forward by Amoghavajra as a unified teaching, and serve as a de facto scriptural canon of the Esoteric Buddhism he presented in Tang China. We can clearly see certain continuities across these scriptures in terms of their respective pantheons and protagonists—­Vairocana, Vajrapāṇi, Acala, et al.—­as well as their theoretical and practical emphases—­the invocation and acquisition of supernormal beings and powers through ritual processes involving maṇḍala construction, mantra recitation, mudra performance, and vajras as ritual implements in order to secure various siddhi. Amoghavajra also produced, practiced, and recommended texts and teaching associated with Śubhākarasiṃha. For example, within Amoghavajra’s textual corpus are ritual manuals detailing practices associated with the Great Vairocana Scripture.141 One also sees explicit reference to texts translated by Śubhākarasiṃha in those produced by Amoghavajra, which makes clear that practical elements from texts produced under the aegis of Śubhākarasiṃha are incorporated into the techniques of those disseminated by Amoghavajra. For example, the Ritual Procedures for Reciting and Recalling the Buddha’s Pinnacle Dhāraṇī of the Supreme Honored One (hereafter Ritual of the Supreme Honored One),142 which was translated by Amoghavajra and commanded by Emperor [ 55 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan Daizong in 776 to be practiced by monks daily for one month and thenceforth on the first day of the year,143 explicitly refers to the procedures of the Susiddhikāra Scripture. The monk who performs the Ritual of the Supreme Honored One is directed to place a short-­legged platform (床子) half an inch from the ground, or a cogongrass144 mat or a cushion made of pure things for the reciter to sit on before the altar. The person who recites should bathe and cleanse himself. The method for bathing and cleansing are as explained in the Susiddhi[-­kāra Scripture]. 然後於壇前安卑脚床子。去地半寸。或茅草薦或藉以淨物。念誦者坐之。念誦人應淨澡 浴。澡浴法如蘇悉地中說。145

Thus, monks who had been trained by Amoghavajra and who performed this ritual were required to be familiar with the purification procedures outlined in the Susiddhikāra Scripture, a text produced some fifty years earlier by Śubhākarasiṃha. That is to say, the texts and practices associated with the persons of Amoghavajra and Śubhākarasiṃha were elements of a unified system of practice as represented and propagated by Amoghavajra. These facts explain why Amoghavajra is explicitly linked to the Great Vairocana Scripture by his hagiographers and also why, in the case of Zhao Qian’s Account of Conduct, this linkage occurs independently of Vajrabodhi’s tutelage. Amoghavajra evidently created this system of Buddhist practice and scriptures, and his hagiographers were attempting to explain its source through the two principal means of validating an expression of Buddhism in China: via transmission by one’s immediate master and through authorizing acquisition in India. Amoghavajra conceived and presented Chinese Esoteric Buddhism as a definable collection of practices, doctrines, and teachers, represented by and contained in texts produced in China by Śubhākarasiṃha, Vajrabodhi, and Amoghavajra. *

*

*

At the age of seventy-­four and just over a month before he would pass away, on June 20, 774, Amoghavajra drafted his last testament, final instructions and dying wishes to his disciples and followers. Looking back over a long and successful career, he summarized his life: [ 56 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan In my youth146 I left home and relied on the master [Vajrabodhi’s] instruction, discussing and investigating the Indic texts for more than twenty years. Diligently working day and night, I humbly requested and received [teachings, until my master] then bestowed on me the Dharma of Yoga in 4,000 verses. Alas, he became ill147 and the late master died an old man. Living without anyone to rely on, on whom could I depend to help forward my mission? This is why I journeyed to distant India, crossing the seas and facing danger. Everywhere studying yoga and personally honoring the traces of the Sages, I acquired the 10,000 verse seal of the Dharma Treasury [i.e., the Diamond Pinnacle]. I returned to the imperium, practicing conversion at blessed spots. Thus, in one court I served as the master of three generations of emperors. To the lords of men I exhaustively conferred the secret yoga and transmitted the seal of Dharma. Consequently, since the current Sage [Emperor Daizong] promulgated the teaching, the most profound eighteen assemblies of yoga have been completely established, the assemblies of the thirty-­seven sages are each practiced. 吾自髫齓出家。依師學業。討尋梵夾二十餘年。晝夜精勤。伏膺諮稟。方授瑜伽四千頌 法。奈何積釁深重。先師壽終。栖託無依。憑何進業。是以遠遊天竺。涉海乘危。遍學瑜 伽。親禮聖跡。得十萬頌法藏印可。相傳來歸帝鄉。福地行化。然一朝供奉為三代帝師。人 主盡授瑜伽密傳法契。爰自今聖弘教。最深十八會瑜伽盡皆建立。三十七聖眾一一修行。148

In this brief summation Amoghavajra reveals his self-­conceived purpose and the main contributory factors behind its accomplishment. The “secret yoga,” the “seal of the Dharma,” the “eighteen assemblies of yoga,” and the practices of the “thirty-­seven sages” are all references to the textual cycle and practices of the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture, understood also to serve as metonymy for a core group of five scriptures. In a word, Amoghavajra understood himself to have propagated Esoteric Buddhism in Tang China. This was made possible by three specific elements according to his own account: he received initial, though incomplete teachings from Vajrabodhi in China; he journeyed to the Indic regions and obtained the full teaching; and he returned to and established this teaching in Tang China by virtue of enduring imperial patronage. The acquisition of the Diamond Pinnacle in southern India was, perhaps, a necessary condition for the presentation of Chinese Esoteric Buddhism in Tang China by Amoghavajra, insofar as it provided the mythical articulation of this style of Buddhism as a new [ 57 ]

the three great masters of kaiyuan teaching. It was not, however, a sufficient condition for the establishment of Esoteric Buddhism in Chinese society and the Chinese Buddhist imaginary. In the following chapters, I consider different dimensions of Amoghavajra’s rise to privilege and the establishment of Esoteric Buddhism in Tang China beginning with the relationship between Esoteric Buddhism and established rites of the Tang imperial government.

[ 58 ]

TWO

Esoteric Buddhism in Context Tang Imperial Religion

WHEN AMOGHAVAJRA RETURNED to Tang China from the southern Indic regions in 746/7 and began to propagate Esoteric Buddhism—­what he referred to as the “teaching of the Five Divisions,” the “yoga teaching,” the “teaching of the Diamond Pinnacle,” and so forth—­Buddhism was already well established in Chinese society. This included dhāraṇī ritual and spell techniques that by the eighth century were a consistent aspect of Buddhist practice at both the elite and popular levels.1 Although it appeared cognate to long-­standing ritual and spell practices, Amoghavajra presented his Esoteric Buddhism as a self-­conscious departure from other, earlier articulations and understandings of Buddhism. Practically, Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism was characterized by the authorized performance of rituals, which were the key to buddhahood, as well as to a host of mundane powers and abilities. These rituals were characterized by certain elements and followed a basic format, the template for which was the myth of Sarvārthasiddhi’s enlightenment in the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture. The characteristic elements were the construction of maṇḍalas, recitation and visualization of Sanskrit mantras, ritualized hand postures or mudrās, and offerings of various substances through the medium of fire in homa sacrifices. Although some have argued that Amoghavajra created a Sinicized Buddhist teaching by self-­consciously adapting his Indic sources to Chinese epistemic and practical norms and that his prestige and patronage were the result, there is no compelling evidence to support this theory.2 Amoghavajra’s [ 59 ]

Tang Imperial Religion Esoteric Buddhism was Indic in its origins, performance, and applications. Its texts, practices, and divinities are drawn from Indic sources. However, Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism was enacted and commissioned in China by elite Chinese patrons. In short, its cultural origins were foreign to the cultural context in which it was performed and he was patronized. In this chapter, I consider the cultural context in which Amoghavajra acted and in which Esoteric Buddhism was enacted: the religious observations of the Chinese imperial state during the eighth century, which I will refer to as “Imperial Religion.” Imperial Religion in mid-­eighth century China was a composite of ritual observances drawn from ancient tradition and adjudicated by court literati and ritual specialists as well as rites incorporated on an ad hoc basis according to the inclinations and needs of sitting emperors. These supplements to the official program were drawn broadly from unaffiliated religious as well as from sectarian Daoist and Buddhist practitioners. I discuss the Buddhist dimension of Imperial Religion in chapter 5. Here I focus on the religious observances directed toward the gods and spirits of indigenous Chinese tradition. Imperial Religion incorporated a range of deities, techniques, and performers: the deities and ancestors of imperial Chinese tradition, astral deities, the gods of the natural elements, local spirits that populated the territory of the imperium, the exalted powers of the Daoist pantheon, and the foreign gods of the Buddhists through the ritual performances of the emperor, ritual specialists in the central government, Daoist lineage holders, eminent monastic Buddhists, and unaffiliated freelance ritual performers and religious virtuosos. As a result, the rites that made up Imperial Religion in the Tang were often at variance with each other both in the specifics of their performance and, more significantly, in their respective conceptual bases. Imperial Religion consisted of a variety of traditions and practices that rested on differing cosmological models and divergent mythic authority, but running through the diversity of this complex were certain continuities and commitments that permit us to analytically approach Imperial Religion as a unified system. I suggest that what served to unite these disparate observances was not their performative aspects, theoretical foundations, or cosmological justifications so much as the overarching ideology of their purpose: that of the imperial Chinese state. Regardless of the diverse, often competing claims, worldviews, and performances of the various traditions employed in Tang Imperial Religion, all were included to gain supernormal assistance in securing the [ 60 ]

Tang Imperial Religion stability, prosperity, and longevity of the imperial state, its ruling dynasty, and the imperial family. This was the immediate context in which Amoghavajra operated and in which his Esoteric Buddhism was adopted.

Imperial Religion The Official Program The official ritual program, the prescribed observances of the Confucian literati tradition that staffed the imperial government, was a matter of concern and contestation among those officials. Although preceded by a number of prescriptive articulations, the Great Tang Kaiyuan [Reign Period] Ritual Code (Da Tang Kaiyuan li 大唐開元禮; hereafter Kaiyuan Code) produced in 732 superseded them all and served as the basis for the official ritual program for the next two centuries of Tang rule.3 The Kaiyuan Code outlines over 150 ritual performances structured according to a fivefold classification scheme, possibly an allusion to the traditional Confucian canon consisting of the Five Classics (wujing 五經). The five classes of rites in the Kaiyuan Code are (1) auspicious rites (  ji li 吉禮), concerning grand imperial rituals; (2) guest rites (bing li 賔禮), having to do with the reception of envoys; (3) military rites (  jun li 軍 禮), involving the conduct of military exercises, hunts, and announcements of victory; (4) felicitous rites (  jia li 嘉禮) for rites of passage, marriage, and official appointments; and (5) inauspicious rites (xiong li 凶禮) concerning death, crop failure, illness, and the like. The auspicious rites were further ranked as great, middle, and smaller rites (dali 大禮, zhongli 中禮, and xiaoli 小禮). Smaller rites, performed on an ad hoc basis, concerned deities of relatively circumscribed power and influence in the terrestrial sphere, such as the Minister of Fate (Siming 司命), the Wind Earl (Fengbo 風伯), the Rain Commander (Yushi 雨師), and local gods of mountains, forests, rivers, and pools. The middle rites concerned sacrifices to more grand powers: the moon, the sun, the stars, and the stellar Chronograms or Asterisms (chen 辰), as well as to the Emperor of the Soil (Dishe 帝社) and the Ancestral Silkworm (Xiancan 先蠶). The great rites addressed the most powerful gods, the greatest of whom in the pantheon of the Kaiyuan Code was the Highest Lord of August Heaven (Haotian Shangdi 昊天上帝). Subordinate to this deity were the Lords of the Five Directions (Wufang di 五方帝), the Prefectural Divinities (Shenzhou [ 61 ]

Tang Imperial Religion 神州), and the enshrined imperial ancestors (zongmiao 宗廟).4 Unlike the occa-

sional, smaller rites and the other classes of ritual prescribed in the Kaiyuan Code—­guest rites, felicitous rites, etc.—­the great and middle auspicious rites occurred according to a fixed, seasonal schedule with observances, for example, on the winter solstice; the lunar new year; the commencement of winter, spring, and autumn; the vernal and autumnal equinoxes; and the summer solstice. Although the Highest Lord of August Heaven was preeminent, the positions of the other great deities tended to shift according to the cycle of ritual observations, as did the specified location for these rites in Chang’an, the imperial capital. For example, on the winter solstice, rites were to be performed at the Round Mound altar (yuanqiu 圜丘), located about one mile (two li 里) east of Chang’an’s Brilliant Virtue Gate (Mingde men 明德門). The Round Mound was a circular structure consisting of four levels of decreasing size ascending to the top. On these levels—­individually referred to as platforms or altars (tan 壇)—­were arrayed representations of the deities. The most honored position atop and in the center of the Round Mound was occupied by the Highest Lord of August Heaven, accompanied by the legendary Emperor Yao 堯帝. The five directional deities of the west, south, center, east, and north, along with the sun and the moon, were located on the next tier. On the level immediately below this were placed a host of astral deities—­ the Northern Chronogram (i.e., Polaris), the Northern Dipper, the Heavenly One (Tianyi 天一), the Grand Monad (Taiyi 太一), the Palace of Purple Tenuity, the five naked-­eye planets, the twelve zodiacal constellations, and so on. These deities received blood sacrifice of calves, sheep, and pigs.5 For the rites observed at the beginning of summer, however, the Highest Lord of August Heaven was joined atop the Round Mound by a representation of Emperor Taizong, the de facto founder of the Tang Dynasty. On the next level were five figures from Chinese imperial mythology: the culture bearers Fuxi 伏羲 and Shenong 神農, the Yellow Emperor, his son Shaohao 少 昊, and the Yellow Emperor’s grandson Zhuanxu 顓頊. Below these, on the next tier, were installed the Five Officers (Wuguan 五官), the deities of the five directions cast in the guise of officials subordinate to the Yellow Emperor: Gou Mang 勾芒, Zhu Rong 祝融, Houtu 后土, Rushou 蓐收, and Xuanming 玄 冥. For the summer solstice, official rites were to be performed at the Square Mound altar (fangqiu 方丘), a permanent altar platform established some seven miles (fourteen li) north of the Imperial Palace. According to the synoptic account in the Later Tang History, [ 62 ]

Tang Imperial Religion [This] altar should also be in levels (cheng 成).6 The lower level is ten zhang square and the upper level is five zhang square. For every observance (si 祀) the standard is that the Earth Spirit (diqi 地祇) and the accompanying deity [Emperor Yao, according to the Kaiyuan Code] are situated on top of the platform. The [Deities of] the Divine Divisions,7 the Five Peaks, 8 the Four Garrisons,9 the Four Channels,10 the Four Seas, the Five Directions, the mountains and forests, rivers and pools, hills and mounds, embankments and flats, plateaus and lowlands also take part in the sacrifice. The [deities of] the Divine Divisions are on the platform’s second level. The Five Peaks and below—­thirty-­seven seats—­a re on the interior of the platform’s outer edge. The hills, mounds, and the like are thirty seats outside the platform’s edge. For the sacrificial animal for the Earth Spirits and the accompanying deities use two calves, for the Prefectural Deities use one black calf, for the peaks, garrisons, and below use sheep and pigs, five of each. 壇制再成,下成方十丈,上成五丈。每祀則地祇及配帝設位於壇上,神州及五嶽、四鎮、四 瀆、四海、五方、山林、川澤、丘陵、墳衍、原隰,並皆從祀。神州在壇之第二等。五嶽已下 三十七座,在壇下外壝之內。丘陵等三十座,在壝外。其牲,地祗及配帝用犢二,神州用 黝犢一,嶽鎮已下加羊豕各五。11

Although the deities addressed and the locations for the yearly schedule of official rites shifted, there was a clear structure to the observations that held good across these variations. For example, the ritual vessels used and the items offered to the deities were consistent, though the numbers of these vessels and the offerings they held varied according to the station of the deity to which they were presented. So, for the sacrifice at the Round Mound at the beginning of winter, the Highest Lord of August Heaven and his associated deity, Emperor Yao, each received offerings in twelve bian baskets (籩), eight dou 豆 bowls, one gui 簋, one fu 簠, one dang 㽅, and one zu 俎. The Lords of the Five Directions, the sun, and the moon each received eight bian baskets, eight dou bowls, one gui, one fu, one dang, and one zu, whereas the Five Stars, the Twelve Chronograms, and the Milky Way each received two bian baskets, two dou bowls, one gui, one fu, one dang, and one zu.12 The density and specificity of the ritual action is suggested by the number of terms left untranslated here. These tend to be ritual implements and offerings prescribed in imperial ritual from high antiquity. For example, the zun 尊 into which different liquids are poured were ritual vessels employed since the Bronze Age Shang and Zhou periods. The same is [ 63 ]

Tang Imperial Religion true of the fu 簠 and the gui 簋, two kinds of vessels used in sacrificial rites for holding grains, typically millet or rice. These objects and the ritual actions surrounding them served to replicate the observations of the ancients, thereby linking the present ruler to the mythical sacred past. This reenactment of ancient governmental precedent of the Zhou may be considered the hallmark of the official rites of Tang Imperial Religion. The scale of the official rites was tremendous. The performance of an official ritual required many days of dedicated action by hundreds of people. During this time, the emperor would depart his usual residence in the palace and stay in his temporary, more spartan lodging in order to purify himself through abstention. For the sacrifice at the Round Mound altar, for example, the emperor and the participating ritual officials were to observe a seven-­day zhai 齋 (purification) preceding the formal offerings.13 Three days prior to the sacrifice, the various spirit seats and ritual vessels would be arrayed. Before dawn on the day of the sacrifice, the sacrificial animals would be butchered, their hides and blood placed in sacrificial vessels on the Round Mound, and their flesh cooked.14 The emperor would proceed to the Round Mound, departing from the temporary residence in which he observed his zhai. Accompanied by a crowd of musicians, dancers, ritual officers, attendants, observers, and members of the royal family, he would ascend the Round Mound and perform his obeisance to the grand powers, announcing himself as both emperor (of the human world) and subject (to the powers of the official pantheon). The offerings—­jade and silks; the hides, blood, and flesh of the sacrificial animals; millet, rice, and alcohol—­would then be gathered and placed onto an altar of firewood, which would then be ignited, incinerating them.15 These general procedures—­the initial purification period, the specific arrangement of divine simulacra and offerings, ritual interaction with the divine powers through their simulacra, and the incineration of offerings to the deities—­were the typical structure of official rites, though the specific deities, locations, number of offerings, and so on varied.

Supplemental Imperial Rites The official ritual program as determined by court literati and represented in the Tang Dynasty from the early eighth century onward by the material [ 64 ]

Tang Imperial Religion in the Kaiyuan Code was, in practice, relatively flexible, allowing for the incorporation and inclusion of other ritual observations according to the dictates and inclinations of the sitting emperor. An excellent example is the altar of the Precious Deities of the Nine Palaces (  jiugong guishen 九宮貴身), established in 744. This was after the completion of the Kaiyuan Code in 732 and was therefore not included in that source. The best source of information concerning the Nine Palaces is Wang Jing’s 王涇 Great Tang Record of Sacrificial Rites (Da Tang jiaosi lu 大唐郊祀錄) from 793.16 In 744, Su Jiaqing 蘇嘉慶, a religious specialist without clear sectarian affiliation—­he is described as a “master of techniques” (shushi 術士 or fangshi 方士) in the standard histories—­memorialized a request to Emperor Xuanzong that the Nine Palaces altar be constructed east of the altar to the sun.17 It was established just east of Chang’an’s Vernal Brilliance Gate (Chunming men 春明門), atop a three-­ tiered structure with four flights of steps oriented toward the four cardinal directions by which one ascended to the top. The altar itself consisted of nine short individual altar platforms atop this structure. Each individual altar was about one foot, five inches tall.18 The nine altars were oriented to the four cardinal and four ordinal directions, with the center providing the ninth position in a three-­by-­three grid. In 843 Wang Qi 王起 drew explicit correspondences between the deities of the Nine Palaces, the nine trigrams, the five phases, and their five corresponding colors, but originally the altars simply corresponded to the nine single-­digit number arrangements of the Luoshu 洛書, the so-­called “magic square,” in which the numbers of each row, each column, and both diagonals sum to fifteen. Wang Qi’s memorial suggesting these correspondences is recorded in the Older Tang History account of the rites of the Nine Palaces: I humbly submit that the names of the deities of the Nine Palaces are Taiyi, Sheti, Xuanyuan, Zhaoyao, Tianfu, Qinglong, Xianchi, Taiyin, and Tianyi. I circumspectly submit that in accordance with the Scripture of the Nine Palaces of the Yellow Emperor and Xiao Ji’s (525–­606) Great Meaning of the Five Phases the deity of the first palace is Taiyi; its star is Tianpeng 天蓬, its trigram is kan 坎, its phase is water, and its quadrant is white. The deity of the second palace is Sheti; its star is Tianrui 天芮, its trigram is shen 坤, its phase is earth, and its quadrant is black. The deity of the third palace is Xuanyuan; its star is Tianchong 天衝, its trigram is zhen 震, its phase is wood, and its quadrant is jade green (碧). The deity of the fourth palace is Zhaoyao; its star is Tianyuan 天輔, its trigram is xun 巽, its phase [ 65 ]

Tang Imperial Religion is wood, and its quadrant is green. The deity of the fifth palace is Tianfu; its star is Tianqin 天禽, its trigram is li 離, its agent is earth, and its quadrant is yellow. The deity of the sixth palace is Qinglong; its star is Tianxin 天心, its trigram is qian 乾, its phase is metal, and its quadrant is white. The deity of the seventh palace is Xianchi; its star is Tianzhu 天柱, its trigram is dui 兌, its phase is metal, and its quadrant is red. The deity of the eighth palace is Taiyin; its star is Tianren 天任, its trigram is gen 艮, its phase is earth, and its quadrant is white. The deity of the ninth palace is Tianyi; its star is Tianying 天英, its trigram is li 離, its phase is fire, and its quadrant is purple. 伏惟九宮所稱之神,即太一、攝提、軒轅、招搖、天符、青龍、咸池、太陰、天一者也。謹 按《黃帝九宮經》及蕭吉《五行大義》: 「一宮,其神太一,其星天蓬,其卦坎,其行水,其 方白。二宮,其神攝提,其星天芮,其卦坤,其行土,其方黑。三宮,其神軒轅,其星天沖,其 卦震,其行木,其方碧。四宮,其神招搖,其星天輔,其卦巽,其行木,其方綠。五宮,其神 天符,其星天禽,其卦離,其行土,其方黃。六宮,其神青龍,其星天心,其卦乾,其行金,其 方白。七宮,其神咸池,其星天柱,其卦兌,其行金,其方赤。八宮,其神太陰,其星天任, 19 其卦艮,其行土,其方白。九宮,其神天一,其星天英,其卦離,其行火,其方紫。」

At the time of its origin, though, the altars simply served as emplacements for individual deities—­Zhaoyao 招揺, Xuanyuan 軒轅, Taiyin 太陰, Tianyi 天一, Tianfu 天符,20 Taiyi 太一,21 Sheti 攝提,22 Xianchi 咸池,23 and Qinglong 青龍.24 These are astral deities. Zhaoyao, for example, is a single-­star asterism, Gamma Boötis (γ Boo) or Seginus,25 and Xuanyuan is a seventeen-­star asterism consisting of stars in Leo Major and Leo Minor, the most prominent of which is Alpha Leonis or Regulus. The name of this asterism, Axle Shaft, is also an epithet of the mythico-­historical Yellow Emperor, and here accords with the statement in the Jin shu 晉書 that the asterism is his spirit immortalized in the night sky.26 Taiyin is the moon, and Tianyi, “The Heavenly One,” is the single-­star asterism 7 Draconis.27 Initially, sacrifices to the deities of the Nine Palaces occurred in the first month of each of the four seasons and the specific seats of the deities changed according to the season, not unlike the seasonally shifting arrangements of the Round Mound altar, for example. This practice at the altar of the Nine Palaces was referred to as “flying seats” (fei wei 飛位), but it was abandoned in favor of fixed positions at some point after January  27–­February  25, 760, when Emperor Suzong personally performed the rite.28 The altars for the nine astral deities installed here were designated not only by their position but also by color. [ 66 ]

Tang Imperial Religion According to the prescriptions recorded in the Great Tang Record of Sacrificial Rites, the spirit tablets of the deities were to be placed on embroidered cushions atop mats made of straw, each of a specific color. The Taiyi altar uses black, the Sheti altar uses yellow, the Xuanyuan altar uses blue, the Zhaoyao altar uses green, the Tianfu altar uses yellow, the Qinglong altar uses purple, the Xianchi altar uses white, the Taiyin altar uses red, and the Tianyi altar uses crimson. 太乙用黑色,溫挺用黃色,軒轅用青色,招搖用綠色,天符用黃色,青龍用紫巴,咸池用曰色太

襄用紅色天一用青色29

The deities of the Nine Palaces, like those of the official rites recorded in the Kaiyuan Code, received offerings of jade, silk, grain, and flesh.30

Daoist Rites The flexibility and general inclusiveness of Tang Imperial Religion that permitted the incorporation of Su Jiaqing’s Precious Deities of the Nine Palaces alongside the official rites of the Kaiyuan Code extended also to overtly sectarian traditions. Perhaps the most pronounced instance of this is the Tang Dynasty’s incorporation of Daoist figures and practices into the Imperial Religion complex. From the very founding of the Tang empire in the seventh century, the ruling Li 李 family aligned itself with Daoist traditions, institutions, and practitioners. This association was predicated in part on a claimed genealogical relationship between the Li clan and Laozi, whose name, by tradition going back to at least Sima Qian’s Shiji 史記, was Li Dan 李 聃.31 This long-­standing relationship reached something of an apogee during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong with the creation of the Palace of Great Purity (Taiqing gong 太清宮), based not only on the official genealogical connection between Laozi and the ruling Li clan but also on a series of mirabilia. Accounts of its establishment are also provided by Wang Jing 王涇 in the Great Tang Record of Sacrificial Rites as well as in the Older Tang History. Both narratives begin with Xuanzong’s edict from February 1, 741, establishing prefectural temples to the deified Laozi (“the Sovereign Lord of the Mysterious Origin,” Xuanyuan huangdi 玄元皇帝) and Daoist academies (“schools for [ 67 ]

Tang Imperial Religion venerating the mysteries,” zongxuan xue 崇玄學) with curricula centered on the Dao de jing, Zhuangzi, Liezi, and Wenzi. That spring, Xuanzong had dreamt of an image of the deified Laozi hidden in the Southern Mountains, just south of Chang’an. Envoys were dispatch and the image was obtained. The following year, the Sovereign Lord of the Mysterious Origin appeared above Yongchong 永昌 Street in Chang’an and declared an era of Great Peace. In response, Xuanzong established a temple to the Sovereign Lord of the Mysterious Origin in Daning 大寧 Ward of the capital on March 2, 742. In April of the following year, the temple’s name was changed to the Palace of Great Purity. In addition to the image of the Sovereign Lord of the Mysterious Origin, it came to house the simulacra of his imperial descendants, specifically the Tang emperors Xuanzong and Suzong.32 Ritual offerings were to be made five times a year according to a fixed schedule, with the rites to be performed on the first month of each of the four seasons as well as on the twelfth month of the year, according to a command issued by Emperor Xuanzong in 753/4. The sacrificial offerings at the Palace of Grand Purity were explicitly modeled on rites in the official ritual program, though presumably the former did not involve offerings of flesh. In addition to establishing the Palace of Grand Purity, temples dedicated to the divine ancestor Laozi, and a new imperial examination based on Daoist texts, the Tang emperors extended imperial patronage to specific Daoist practitioners, most notably the Shangqing上清 patriarch Sima Chengzhen 司 馬承真 (647–­735) and his successor, Li Han’guang 李含光 (683–­769).33 This was another component of Imperial Religion: the material support and authorization of sectarian religious specialists. By briefly examining extant materials concerning these men and their relationships with the Tang emperors, we get a more developed sense of the practices, procedures, and interactions involved in the support and recognition by the Tang rulers.

Sima Chengzhen Because he is one of the most significant Daoists of the mid-­Tang period, there are several extant sources for the life of Sima Chengzhen, which provide some clues regarding specific practices in the eighth century that were supported and authorized by the Tang emperors and insight into the nature of that support. 34 Probably the earliest source is Sima’s stele inscription [ 68 ]

Tang Imperial Religion (Tongboguan bei 桐柏觀碑), reportedly erected in April 742.35 Although the inscription contains some information that helps us to construct an image of Sima Chengzhen as a historical figure, the bulk of the text is devoted to highly poetic exaltations of his virtue. The historical material includes a rehearsal of Sima’s family lineage from the Jin 金 (265–­420) to the Tang Dynasty and a report that he was invited to court by Emperor Ruizong 睿宗 (r. 684–­690), though Sima is said to have declined the invitation. In terms of the specific practices that he might have been engaged in, the stele inscription gives us little beyond that “He rejected the business of dukes and marquises and studied the affairs of divine transcendents. All of his regulating registers, instructive precepts, and abundant inquiries have been lost.”36 Elsewhere there is the statement that “the work of brush and ink and the beauty of [his] script and petitions, in all of this he gave no thought to his abilities.”37 The image of Sima that we get from this source is of a reclusive Daoist master whose activities are referred to in terms consistent with the mainstream Daoist practices established by the Celestial Masters, specifically the composition and submission of petitionary documents to the Daoist hierarchy of divine powers on behalf of patrons.38 Other sources allow for a somewhat more detailed image of the master and his practices. For example, in the Tang Stele at the Temple of Master Zhengyi on Zhongyan Terrace of Mount Wangwu (Tang wangwu shan zhongyan tai zhengyi xianshengmiaojie 唐王屋山中岩台正一先生廟碣),39 we find a similar description of his lineage as that in the stele inscription and the statement that “the Worthy Master employed slips with [his] spirits congealed, affairs were abandoned with sentiments rejected.” 40 We also have a more specific description of Sima’s activities as a Daoist Master: “One day, [Pan Shizheng] completely entrusted the Highest Scripture of the Golden Root, the Secret Registers of the Three Caverns, the affairs of the Perfected Xu 許, and the subtle decrees of Duke Tao 陶 to our Worthy Master.” 41 This statement, which asserts Sima’s identity as a master of the Shangqing tradition through his receipt of Shangqing scriptures, provides another possible indication of specific practices associated with Sima and Shangqing Daoism and implicitly supported by the Tang emperors. The Highest Scripture of the Golden Root is likely a reference to the Cavern of the Perfected Highest Clarity Purple Book [of the Celestial Emperor] of Qingyao, [Containing] the Combined Scriptures of Gathering the Golden Root (洞真上清青要紫書金根眾經) [hereafter Scripture of the Golden Root].42 The primary practice described in this text is the “inner [ 69 ]

Tang Imperial Religion observation of the jade dawn clouds and purple radiance of Highest Clarity” (shangqing yuxia zixian neiguan上清玉霞紫暎內觀). This is essentially a visualization meditation that is to be performed at astrologically specific times according to one’s date of birth. After holding a purifying zhai, consisting in part of the visualization of a jade fu tally and flushing of the eyes and mouth with clean, fragrant water, the practitioner is directed to visualize purple qi emerging from the crown of his or her head, then surrounding and suffusing the body. The practitioner then guides this qi upward in the body so that it can be swallowed thirty-­six times, opens his or her eyes, bows three times, and recites a spell (zhou 咒).43 If one does this practice for eight years, then purple clouds will always cover one’s body, one’s eyes will be clear and bright, and one will attain transcendence, ascending to Heaven in broad daylight. Instructions for creating the “Jade Fu Tally of Inner Observation and Opened Brilliance” (neiguan kaiming yu fu 內觀開明玉符) are provided in the Scripture of the Golden Root,44 but the fu tallies necessary for the practices outlined in the text are received through specific rites of initiation or empowerment. The ritual by which a master confers the tallies to a disciple consists of a nine-­day or three-­day purifying zhai and a pledge offering of silks. On the day that the actual conferral is to take place, the requested fu tallies are placed on a short table in an open courtyard. Clear alcohol and fruits are placed on the table as well. The officiating master announces the transmission of the fu tallies to the disciples, saying: Now there is the Perfect Person man/woman so-­a nd-­so who is fond of divine transcendents [but] was born in the final age when the myriad calamities obtain. [He/she] circumspectly receives these highest fu tallies [in order to] surpass his/ her allotment and live forever. After wearing them on his/her waist, he/she will participate in perfection and penetrate the numinous, will be free from the difficulties of cyclic disasters, will ride in emptiness in a carriage through the void, and will fly and flit in Great Purity. 今有真人男女某甲,好樂神仙,生值季世,萬災流行,謹受上符,度命長存,佩身之後,與 45 真通靈,免遇厄難,得為上真,乘空駕虛,飛翔太清。

Such practices as these may be representative of elite Daoist practices in the eighth century. Although details concerning Sima Chengzhen’s relationship [ 70 ]

Tang Imperial Religion with the Tang emperors Ruizong and Xuanzong are scant and we are left to extrapolate a number of features of the practices that he engaged in and presumably were perceived as normative, we are on firmer footing when it comes to Sima’s de facto successor, Li Han’guang 李含光.

Li Han’guang On January 16, 754, two men arrived at Mount Mao 茅山 bearing gifts of silk, robes, and silver for Li Han’guang. They also delivered an edict from Emperor Xuanzong commanding Li Han’guang to “practice the repentance zhai in accordance with the Inner Chapters of the River Chart and to also make merit (gongde 功德).” 46 This was not the first such communication that Li Han’guang had received from Emperor Xuanzong. The Annals of Mount Mao (Maoshan zhi 茅山志) contains a number of such messages. Although many of these documents are undated, preventing a more refined historical analysis of the imperial relationship with Li Han’guang and the Daoist complex at Mount Mao, they nevertheless provide valuable insight into Emperor Xuanzong’s overall relationship with that Daoist institution and with Li Han’guang in particular. The initial documents presented in this section of the Annals of Maoshan, the Documents and Edicts Bestowed on Li Jing Xiansheng by Xuanzong (Xuanzong ci Li Jing xiansheng chishu玄宗賜李靜先生勑書), indicate Xuanzong’s investment in Mount Mao as a site of institutional Daoist practice. The first is an edict to Lin Yang 林洋, governor of Danyang 丹陽 County, in which Mount Mao was situated, as well as to the inhabits of the county. Xuanzong opens by announcing his reverence for the Dao and for Mount Mao. He then commands that the Daoist practitioners (清修之士) reestablish their practice at Mount Mao and repair the various structures.47 This edict is followed by another directed to Dang Wan 董琬, the investigating commissioner of Jiangdong Circuit and governor of Jinling Commandery, ordering the immediate cessation of all hunting, trapping, and fishing on Mount Mao, as well as all blood offerings—­a command clearly intended to establish the purity of Mount Mao as a site for Daoist practice.48 An exchange of mutually laudatory verses between Li Han’guang and Emperor Xuanzong follows,49 as do notes accompanying an image gifted to Li Han’guang, 50 an edict ordering Li Han’guang to establish an altar and perform rites of investiture in the Daoist tradition by transmitting the scriptures and codes,51 an imperial [ 71 ]

Tang Imperial Religion command to gather scriptures at Mount Mao,52 and a note accompanying the gift of robes and the honor of a new courtesy name (hao 號) for Li Han’guang.53 All of these commands and courtesies preceded Xuanzong’s decree that Li Han’guang should perform the Ritual of the River Chart. This rite, according to Li Han’guang’s response, was done over the course of two days from January  31 to February  1, 754—­bridging the twelfth and thirteenth years of Xuanzong’s Tianbao reign period—­at Longxing Abbey 龍興 觀 in modern Jiangsu Province 江蘇州.54 Though produced a century later, the closest extant representation of the River Chart rites performed by Li Han’guang on the emperor’s behalf in 754 is probably the Ritual of the River Chart of the Great Origin for Atonement to the Three Principles, a Dongshen Canon (hereafter, Ritual of the River Chart).55 This text, edited and featuring a preface by Du Guangting 杜光庭 (850–­933), describes the specific layout of the altar, the positioning of the ritual simulacra—­the lamps, slips, and talismans—­and the ritual actions of the performers. The Ritual of the River Chart is a repentance rite. According to Du Guangting’s preface, a practitioner may perform it and thereby ascend to the position of a Seed Person.56 Performing the Ritual of the River Chart was no small undertaking. It required a permanent structure of specific design and layout: The altar hall should be nearby so as to facilitate the method’s affairs. Broad or narrow, plentiful or meager, anywhere that can be obtained is sufficient. The Guest (賓主) room should not close in on the hall’s ritual space. The dining room, washing room, and lavatory should all be distant. Inner and outer areas should be distinguished, and one must be careful that there are no openings that disclose [the inner space]. . . . ​In front of the center of the zhai hall set up the position of the Most High with the places of the precious scriptures, the guiding master, and the cantor to the left and right. Curtains, tables, incense, lamps, braziers, and incense boxes arranged in four circuits make everything complete. 壇堂相近, 以便法事. 闊狹豐儉, 隨處取足. 賓主房室, 勿逼堂墠, 食屋沐室, 與圊相遠. 內

外區分, 慎無敞露 . . . ​齋堂中正面設太上位, 左右經寶, 師導及講誦之所, 屏幃案几, 香燈鑪

奩, 四周舒陳, 皆令整也.57

The ritual space described in the Ritual of the River Chart consists of a series of concentric squares. The exterior square, a cordon created with a knotted [ 72 ]

Tang Imperial Religion rope, was approximately twenty-­eight feet square. Within this was another square area with sides measuring approximately nineteen feet. A third square area, approximately ten feet by ten feet, followed. In the center of this square enclosure was the roughly three–­foot-­square ritual center. Within the ritual space established by the knotted rope cordon were lamps for the various deities installed in the altar space. Set up the hall for the deities’ positions on level ground in the central courtyard to make the ritual space with sides three zhang and nine chi. (Corresponding to the Three Realms and Nine Strongholds.) Outside the ritual space maintain purity to eight chi with a knotted rope. On the sides of the four directions burn eight lamps, a total of thirty-­t wo lamps. (The height of the lamps is nine chi, corresponding to the Nine Mysteries and the Thirty-­Two Heavens.) Next, the second ritual space has sides two zhang and four chi (corresponding to the Twenty-­Four Qi). Burn seven lamps on the sides of the four directions, a total of twenty-­eight lamps. (The height of the lamps is five chi, corresponding to the Five Planets and the Twenty-­Eight Lodges.) In the space between the Twenty-­ Eight Lodges set up a single lamp along the sides of the four directions; burn one lamp in the center with two lamps next to it. (All a height of seven chi, in order to correspond to the Seven Planetoids.) Also, make a partition of seven chi to make the Heavenly Heart (天心). The sides of the Heavenly Heart are one zhang. In the center set up ten lamps and also fix two lamps. (Each with a height of seven chi corresponding to Taidou 台斗.) Set a table in front of the Heavenly Heart, not to burn incense but to erect the great collection of slips. To the left of the slips there is another table to burn one incense stick. To the right of the slips there is another table to burn four incense sticks. There is one table at each of the four sides of the slips to burn one incense stick. 神位之設堂, 於庭中平地作墠, 方三丈九尺. (應三界九壘.) 墠外護淨八尺, 以繩約之. 四方

方然八燈, 合三十二燈. (燈高九尺, 應九玄三十二天.) 次第二墠, 方二丈四尺, (應二十四炁.) 四方方然七燈, 合二十八燈. (燈高五尺, 應五星二十八宿.)二十八宿之宿中間, 正四方方然一 燈, 正中央然一燈, 又來二燈. (並高七尺, 以應七曜.)又隔七尺, 即為天心. 天心方一丈, 正

中央然十燈, 又安二燈. (各高七尺, 應台斗.)天心前施一案, 不然香, 以置大羅之策. 策左又 一案, 然一香. 策右又一案, 然四香. 策之四方各一案, 然一香.58

A multitude of slips (ce 策), made of hibiscus and cypress wood, and fu tallies were arranged as ritual representations of the deities. These were astral [ 73 ]

Tang Imperial Religion beings in the main—­the Twenty-­Eight Lodges, the Seven Sparkers, 59 nine stars of the Dipper,60 the Three Terraces.61 The celestial beings to whom the River Chart rites were directed were made present in the ritual space through meditative visualization and invocatory recitations. These techniques are prescribed in the Ritual of the River Chart instructions. [The ritual master] observes (臨目) and firmly maintains the deities, arranges the talismans and slips on the table, clacks his teeth thirty-­t wo times, swallows his saliva thirty-­two times,62 and recites the spell ordering the talisman (as follows): Roam below, ascend above, spreading blessings throughout the nine numinosities; As Yellow Greatness begins to penetrate, divine qi will cover all. 臨目握固存神, 列符簡於案上, 叩齒三十二通, 咽液三十二過, 敕符咒曰: 下遊上昇九玄祐, 黄

奕始通神氣覆.63

Prior to entering the altar space and performing the formal declaration of repentance that is the heart of the Ritual of the River Chart, the master who leads the ritual purifies himself and makes an incense offering to the deities: The ritual master (fashi 法師) performs the method of [beating the] drum thirty-­t wo times, 64 shuts his eyes, and with inner observation he first visualizes (存) the Three Jewels. Next, he visualizes reception of the method of the Three [Celestial] Masters,65 then he contemplates the 36,000 deities. Setting out the inner and outer, he takes the precaution of protecting his body and mind. He carefully recalls (念) the thirty-­three deities and the seven deities of each of the four directions. He thinks of and sees the unsurpassed divine qi (無極神氣) of Heaven and Earth in thick, variegated clouds along with Heavenly Officials (天官) and Terrestrial Officers (地司), the Nine Prefectures and Seven Sparklers, the Five Phases and the Six Jia, the Earth Star [Saturn] and the Numinous Cavern, all the True Transcendents, general officials and military officers, all of the duty officers with their true fu tallies and true responsibilities—­assembling at once and filling the sky. [The master] circumambulates the altar emplacements; the zhai completed and duly reverent, he expresses his wish: “Now I surrender

[ 74 ]

Tang Imperial Religion myself to the Heavenly Worthies; both guests and hosts are enjoying their favor and all, whether living or dead, are grateful for their blessings.” Then all sing out and perform the method of beating the drum thirty-­two times. When the master finishes beating the drum, he swallows the juice [i.e., saliva] thirty-­t wo times and kneels to offer up incense. 法師嗚法鼓三十二通, 臨目內觀, 先存三寶, 次存受法三師, 次存三一, 次存三萬六千神, 羅

列內外, 備衛身心, 諦念三十三天, 七十四方, 想見無極神氣,雲彩絪緼, 與天官地司, 九府七

曜,五行六甲,土星洞靈, 一切真仙,將吏兵士,職宰典者,真符真事, 一時雲集, 滿於空中. 周繞 壇墠, 齋整肅然. 願今歸命天導, 賓主蒙恩, 一切存亡, 咸荷福祐. 次都講唱, 嗚法皷三十二

通. 法師嗚鼓訖, 咽液三十二過, 跪上香.66

These procedures complete, incense is placed in the braziers and offered to the deities through formal incantations. The specific deities are extolled individually and the formal repentance that makes the up the heart of this ritual is then declared by the officiating master. The various braziers are then returned to their original places and the rite is formally concluded. This was the ritual commissioned by Emperor Xuanzong and performed under the direction of Li Han’guang in 754. The role of Amoghavajra and his Esoteric Buddhism vis-­à-­vis the Tang rulers is consistent with established patterns and practices of Imperial Religion in the Tang. Considered in relation to the figures of Sima Chengzhen and Li Han’guang, the patronage that Amoghavajra received from the Tang emperors and the nature of their interactions—­exchange of written courtesies, gifts and titles from the sitting emperor, commands to perform specific rites, etc.—­is part of a Chinese tradition of imperial patron-­client relations. Structurally and practically, there are superficial similarities between the indigenous rites of Chinese Imperial Religion and those of Esoteric Buddhism: pentadic organizing schemes, purification methods, altar construction, the employment of simulacra and invocation of deities to inhabit them within the altars, burnt offerings, and visualization and recitation practices. The various ritual traditions that composed Imperial Religion in the Tang rested on very different mythic foundations and cosmological views, yet its relatively fluid nature allowed for the incorporation of multiple ritual performances drawn from multiple traditions. Imperial Religion was not guided by an exclusive sectarianism or commitment to a [ 75 ]

Tang Imperial Religion single religious ideology. Rather, its components were united in their purpose or intended effects, and in this regard Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism was continuous with its established rites.

Esoteric Buddhism: The Diamond Realm Mandala As the preeminent text of Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism, the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture provided the mythical basis for Esoteric Buddhist soteriology—­the enlightenment of Sarvathāsiddha by means of visualization and mantra practice culminating in his consecration by all of the buddhas of the Diamond Realm in the Akaniṣṭha Heaven. The central place of the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture is also reflected in the fact that rites promoted in China by Amoghavajra tended to replicate and be guided by the form of the Great Maṇḍala of the Diamond Realm. Amoghavajra’s scriptural corpus contains instructions for constructing multiple maṇḍalas and performing a variety of rites for multiple outcomes—­some soteriological but many mundane. The construction of these maṇḍalas, the beings who occupy them, and the ritual procedures performed in relation to them tend to follow the same basic structure and format as established or framed by material in the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture and its account of the Great Maṇḍala of the Diamond Realm, which consists of thirty-­seven specific beings: five buddhas, sixteen bodhisattvas, eight offering goddesses (Skt. apsarāḥ), four guardians, and four apotheosized pāramitā. In the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture, Vajradhāra (or Vajrapāṇi; Chn. Chijin’gang 持金剛) describes the maṇḍala in reference to initiation rites.67 At that time, the bhagavan Great Vajradhāra, hearing the request of all the tathāgatas, entered the Diamond samādhi “Empowerment Born of the Samaya of all the Tathāgatas” and explained the Great Maṇḍala of the Diamond Realm. “Next, I will fully explain the superior Great Maṇḍala. Because it is like the Diamond Realm, it is called ‘Diamond Realm.’ ” 爾時婆伽梵大持金剛。聞一切如來請語。 入一切如來三昧耶所生加持金剛三摩地。

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Tang Imperial Religion 說金剛界大曼荼羅。 次當我遍說勝大曼荼羅 由如金剛界名為金剛界。68

Maṇḍala are sometimes described as idealized representations of the terrestrial world—­the world as we would experience it were we not benighted by delusional ignorance. This is the general model of the maṇḍala in the Japanese Shingon tradition, for example. It is also true of a handful of maṇḍalas from other Buddhist traditions, most notably the Kālacakra maṇḍala (Tib. dus-­kyi ’khor-­lo �ས་�ི་འཁོར་ལོ) of the Tibetan tradition that has become especially popular in recent years. Referring to the Shingon tradition, Yamasaki Taikō says, “the esoteric maṇḍala illustrates enlightenment, and so the true self. As such, it also depicts the entire body-­mind of the cosmos.” 69 However, as suggested by the passage above, this is apparently not how maṇḍalas were understood and represented in Tang China. The Diamond Realm Maṇḍala—­ and other maṇḍalas of Esoteric Buddhism—­were graphic representations and ritual re-­creations of other spheres of reality, planes of existence inhabited by powerful beings ruled by the supreme Buddha Vairocana. They are not depictions of this world in an idealized state, but of another world or realm. As stated in the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture, “because it is like the Diamond Realm, it is called ‘Diamond Realm.’ ”70 In other words, the Diamond Realm Maṇḍala is a re-­creation in miniature of a particular, identifiable and spatially determinable place inhabited by powerful beings for the purpose of ritual interaction with them.71 In this regard it is structurally, generically similar to the altars of the official and Daoist rites described above, in which the celestial sphere is replicated on earth in the form of an altar populated with simulacra of the astral deities. But rather than the celestial realm of astral deities, the Diamond Realm that is replicated in the maṇḍala is a quasi-­ physical location. The description also replicates the introductory scene of the Diamond Realm Scripture in which Vairocana and his inconceivably large retinue are located in the “central great Mani Hall of the palace in the Akaniṣṭha Heaven.”72 The Akaniṣṭha Heaven, also translated in Chinese as the “Pinnacle Heaven of Form” (You dingtian 有頂天), is the highest heaven within the Form Realm. The Diamond Pinnacle Scripture provides fairly specific instructions for constructing the maṇḍala. [ 77 ]

Tang Imperial Religion With a new cord, well woven, of proper measurement and with the ends adorned, with a cord [like this] the wise should mark out the maṇḍala according to his ability. The four sides should have four gateways adorned with four kṣetra.73 [There are] four cords intersecting and it is adorned with silks and garlands. In the spaces in the boundary between the gateways one should mark the outer wheel of the altar with ornamental diamonds and jewels. 以新線善合 應量以端嚴 以線智應抨 隨力曼荼羅 四方應四門 四剎而嚴飾 四線而交絡 繒綵鬘莊嚴 隅分一切處 門戶於合處 鈿飾金剛寶 應抨外輪壇74

The four intersecting cords used to measure and divide the space of the maṇḍala according to a three-­by-­three grid is structurally similar to the layout of the altars to the Precious Deities of the Nine Palaces discussed above. A three-­by-­three division of space is also, incidentally, the same technique employed by Yu the Great in dividing the land into nine zhou or “provinces.”75 This is a common feature of the maṇḍalas described in Amoghavajra’s textual corpus, for example, in the maṇḍala of the Supreme Honored One: Get white powder and mix it with water and divide it into nine seats (wei 位) with a cord. Grind white sandalwood incense on a stone and use it to daub the nine positions. As for the nine positions, entreat and establish Vairocana Buddha in the central position. On the right side, position Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva. Behind Avalokiteśvara, position Maitreya Bodhisattva. Behind Vairocana Buddha’s place position Ākāśagarbha Bodhisattva. On the left side of this bodhisattva position Samantabhadra Bodhisattva. On the left side of Vairocana Buddha’s place position Vajrapāṇi Bodhisattva. Below Vajrapāṇi Bodhisattva position Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva. In front of Vairocana Buddha’s place, position Remover of Hindrances (Sarvanīvaraṇaviṣkambhin) Bodhisattva. To the right of Remover of Hindrances Bodhisattva’s place position Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva.

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Tang Imperial Religion 取白粉和水。以繩分九位拼之。石上磨白檀香用塗九位。其九位者。中央安毘盧遮那佛 位。右邊安觀自在菩薩位。觀自在後。安慈氏菩薩位。毘盧遮那佛位後。安虛空藏菩薩位。此 菩薩左邊。安普賢菩薩位。毘盧遮那佛位左邊。安金剛手菩薩位。金剛手菩薩位下。安文 殊師利菩薩位。毘盧遮那佛前。安除蓋障菩薩位。除蓋障菩薩位右邊。安地藏菩薩位。76

Rather than assume that this similarity between the Precious Deities of the Nine Palaces and these Esoteric Buddhist maṇḍalas is an instance of Amoghavajra borrowing from Sinitic tradition in a conscious adaptation of Esoteric rites to a foreign milieu, I suggest that it simply reflects a geometric reality. Four intersecting lines—­t wo transverse and two adverse—­is the most efficient means of dividing two-­dimensional space so as to establish the four cardinal directions and a center (plus the four ordinal directions, either intentionally or as a by-­product). This is the technique for dividing and ordering space according to the Indian architectural theory articulated in the Vastu Shastra.77 The common three-­by-­three format for laying out maṇḍalas in Esoteric Buddhism reflects common Indic practice for dividing space. The manner in which the maṇḍala of the Supreme Honored One is to be constructed replicates or reflects the Diamond Realm Maṇḍala in the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture. A division of space according to the four cardinal directions and center is required in order to properly place the beings that occupy the Diamond Realm and are represented in the Diamond Realm Maṇḍala. Its center is like a wheel and one should enter the Central Palace marked with diamonds all around and adorned with eight pillars. One should decorate [the area] within the supreme diamond pillars with five circular altars. In the central maṇḍala install an image of [Vairocana] Buddha. Completely surrounding the Buddha in the center of the maṇḍala, draw the succession of four supreme samayas. With a diamond pace proceed to the four [sub-­]maṇḍalas. Install all of the buddhas, the four, Akṣobhya, etc. One should make the altar of the Immovable [i.e., Akṣobhya] with Vajradhāra (  jin’gangchi 金剛持), etc. Vajragarbha and so forth fill Ratnasaṃbhava’s (baosheng 寶生) maṇḍala,

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Tang Imperial Religion Vajranetra (  jin’gangyan 金剛眼) of pure karma in the circular altar of Amitāyus. One should paint Amoghasiddhi and Vajraviśva (  jin’gangqiao 金剛巧). 彼中如輪形 應入於中宮 金剛線遍抨 八柱而莊嚴 於金剛勝柱 應飾五輪壇於中曼荼羅 安立佛形像 佛一切周圍 曼荼羅於中 四勝三昧耶 次第而圖畫 金剛進而步 於四曼荼羅 阿閦毘等四 安立一切佛 應作不動壇 劑金剛持等 金剛藏等滿 寶生曼荼羅 金剛眼淨業 無量壽輪壇 應畫不空成 金剛巧等壇78

The beings that populate the Diamond Realm and its maṇḍala are arranged according to descending levels of power and authority from the supreme Vairocana Buddha in the center, to the four subsidiary buddhas and their retinues in the four cardinal directions, to the offering and protecting deities at its boundaries, but the fundamental order of the Diamond Realm is that of the five assemblies, or samayas.79 The five assemblies are the “five divisions” or the five Buddha families: buddha, karma, lotus, jewel, and diamond. They are characteristic of the Diamond Pinnacle cycle of texts and related ritual procedures. “The Five Divisions” is a common metonym employed by Amoghavajra for referring to Esoteric Buddhism. With the exception of the buddha samaya, which consists exclusively of Vairocana Buddha, each division comprises a single buddha accompanied by a retinue of four bodhisattvas, arranged according to the four cardinal directions. Thus, in the eastern quarter of the Diamond Realm Maṇḍala is the Vajra Assembly, the central position of which is occupied by the Buddha Akṣobhya, accompanied by four bodhisattvas. In other words, the Diamond Realm Maṇḍala consists of the Five Divisions that individually structurally replicate the Diamond Realm Maṇḍala as a whole.80 Various beings surround the five samaya maṇḍalas that compose the Diamond Realm Maṇḍala. In addition to the five buddhas and sixteen great bodhisattvas, the Diamond Realm is also inhabited by two sets of deities. The first are pacific divine beings who worship the buddhas [ 80 ]

Tang Imperial Religion and bodhisattvas. The others are fierce deities who provide them with protection. In the positions in the boundaries of the circle one should draw the Diamond Ladies. In the corners of the outer altar one should draw the Buddhas’ Offerants. In the space in all of the gateways are the four assemblies of gate guardians. In the positions in the outer altar one should draw the mahasattvas. 安立於輪隅 應畫金剛女 外壇於隅角 應畫佛供養 門中一切處 守護門四眾 安立於外壇 應畫摩訶薩 81

As the supreme buddha and, therefore, most powerful being in the Diamond Realm, Vairocana is central. Occupying the first remove from the center are the four other buddhas and so forth. This feature of Esoteric Buddhist maṇḍalas is based on their Indic origins, as Indian maṇḍalas are conceived and structured on the model of Indian administrative geography.82 Such structural similarity as there is between Esoteric Buddhist maṇḍalas and the official rites of Imperial Religion is strictly coincidental. As in the Daoist-­administered River Chart Rites, the actual beings represented in the Diamond Realm Maṇḍala are called to inhabit their simulacra, making the constructed Diamond Realm ritually and functionally equivalent to the actual Diamond Realm. Summoning with a snap of the fingers, one should invite all of the buddhas. In a short ksana all of the buddhas and vajrasattvas should fill all of the altars and assemble in the maṇḍala. 召集作彈指 應請一切佛 剎那頃諸佛 并金剛薩埵 應滿一切壇 集會曼荼羅 83

Although the specific means by which the practitioner is to invite all the buddhas is not indicated in this passage, based on evidence from other texts it is clear that this consisted principally of visualization, mantra, and mudrā. [ 81 ]

Tang Imperial Religion This is the technique prescribed, for example, in the Scripture of the Correct Inclusion in the Great Vehicle of Present Awakening of All the Tathāgatas of the Diamond Pinnacle, the Great King of Teachings (hereafter the Diamond Pinnacle Manual in order to distinguish it from the identically named Diamond Pinnacle Scripture):84 In the void, visualize (guan 觀) the buddhas, extending everywhere like common flax,85 then recite the pervasively illuminating spell (ming 明). [If it is] performed correctly, one will see all the buddhas. The visualization mantra is said: khaṃ vajra dhātu. 於虛空觀佛, 遍滿如胡麻; 則誦遍照明, 歷然見諸佛; 觀佛真言曰: 欠嚩日囉馱覩 86

Mudrās, commonly translated as “seals” (yin 印), are also employed. Arouse all the tathāgatas. Charity and wisdom are hooked together and upright. Effort and powers, these two lean against each other. 87 This is called making the seal. 警覺諸如來, 檀慧相鉤竪; 進力二相拄,是名為起印.88

Having installed the beings in the maṇḍala, the practitioner then is able to interact with or otherwise command them in order to bring about certain effects. The Diamond Realm Maṇḍala, itself a re-­creation of the realm in which Sarvārthasiddhi received consecration and attained realization, served as the ritual focal point of many Esoteric Buddhist practices. Its mythological basis in the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture effectively establishes the soteriological vision and practices of Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism. However, many rituals and maṇḍalas are described and prescribed in the texts constituting Esoteric Buddhism, and most of them are not concerned with soteriological attainments.

Esoteric Buddhism: Homa-­Siddhi Homa fire offerings performed in order to produce specific mundane accomplishments, or siddhi, were a key element of Amoghavajra’s Esoteric [ 82 ]

Tang Imperial Religion Buddhism. The intended siddhi informed the particulars of the homa rite, but in its generalities—­the structure of the maṇḍala altar, the requirement of initiation, the winning of siddhi, etc.—­the ritual follows a paradigm established by the Diamond Realm Maṇḍala and the mythology of the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture, according to which ritual procedures lead to the accomplishments of one’s goals. First, the practitioner is required to have received initiation and authorization from a master in order to conduct the homa rite. The rite itself begins with the construction of a hearth in which the sacrificial fire is kindled—­often a hole dug into the soil according to the ritual instructions, though likely built of brick or stone when homa was conducted indoors. Around or near the hearth are installed one or multiple images of the beings constituting the pantheon of the given rite, to whom offerings were typically made. These characteristic features are reflected in the instruction found in the Recitation Methods of the Great Ākāśagarbha Bodhisattva [Scripture],89 which Emperor Daizong commanded to be performed on February 4, 773.90 The practitioner should first have entered the consecration maṇḍala (guangding daochang 灌頂道場) and personally received the ritual procedures from his master. Either in a quiet place in the mountains or in a pure room set up in a temple, make a square altar of whatever size. Using gomaya91 spread on the ground, make an Eight [Great Bodhisattva?] maṇḍala. Encircle it with hanging banners. Place a heavenly canopy92 above. On the western side of the altar place an image of Ākāśagarbha Bodhisattva. 行者先應入灌頂道場。親對師前受得儀軌。或於山間靜處。或於寺舍隨所樂處。建立精 室作一方壇。隨其大小。以瞿摩夷塗地。作八曼茶羅。周匝懸幡。上安天蓋。於壇西面安虛 空藏菩薩像。93

Homa were performed for specific outcomes or effects. An overwhelming variety of these siddhi are specified in the ritual manuals, though there are some standard categories. In various sources, siddhi are categorized as pacification (Skt. śāntika; Chn. xizai 息災), augmentation (Skt. pauṣṭika; Chn. zengzhang 增長), attraction (Skt. vaśīkaraṇa; Chn. jing’ai 敬愛), summoning (Skt. ākarṣana; Chn. gouzhao 鉤召), and subjugation (Skt. abhicāra; Skt. xiangfu 降 伏). The instructions in Amoghavajra’s Diamond Pinnacle Yoga Scripture of the Ritual Procedures of Thousand-­Hand, Thousand-­Eye Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva are [ 83 ]

Tang Imperial Religion representative of the sort of correspondences between elements of the homa performance and the intended siddhi.94 This text provides a structured presentation of rites according to a quaternary classification of siddhi that incorporates color, time, altar shape, and substances relevant to specific outcomes. I will now explain the four kinds of siddhi rites, those that are called śāntika rites (to end calamities, white), pauṣṭika rites (to augment, yellow), vaśīkaraṇa rites (attraction, crimson), and abhicāra rites (subjugating, black). If one wishes to perform the pacification rites, face toward the north and seat the image facing toward the south, smear and wipe a circular altar in front of the root honored one. Visualize the root honored one white in color. That which is offered—­flowers, fruits, and victuals—­a s well as the clothing on one’s body should all be white. For the daubed incense, use white sandalwood. For the burnt incense use agarwood resin. Burn butterfat for the lamps. [Make the offerings] with a loving mind corresponding [to the intention of the rite]. Bathe and change clothes three times a day every day from the beginning of the first night of the month to the end of the eighth day. Until the day is done, either abstain from food or eat white food. If you practice thusly and in accordance with the Dharma visualize and recite (niansong 念誦), then you will be able to eliminate calamities, karmic hindrances, and heavy sins. . . . ​ If one wishes to perform the rites for augmenting, face toward the east and seat the image facing west. Daub and wipe a square altar in front of the root honored one. Visualize the root honored one yellow in color. That which is offered—­ flowers, fruits, and victuals, as well as the clothing on one’s body—­should all be yellow. For the daubed incense use white sandalwood and add a little turmeric [to color it yellow]. For burnt incense use white sandalwood. Burn sesame oil for the lamps. [Make the offerings] with a joyous mind corresponding [to the intention of the rite]. In accordance with the preceding [rites], bathe and change clothes three times a day every day from the beginning of the ninth day until the completion of the fifteenth day. Until the day is done, in accordance with the preceding [rites], either abstain from food or eat white food. If you practice thusly in accordance with the dharma visualize and recite (niansong 念誦), then you will be able to improve your rank and honors and increase your longevity, fortune, virtues, intelligence, and reputation. . . . ​ If one wishes to perform the rites for attraction, face toward the west and seat the image facing east. Daub and wipe a lotus-­shaped altar in front of the root [ 84 ]

Tang Imperial Religion honored one. Visualize the root honored one red in color. Wear red clothing on your body. That which is offered—­flowers, fruits, and victuals—­should all be red. For the daubed incense use turmeric. For the burnt incense mix clove, storax, and honey and burn it. Burn various fruit oils for lamps. [Make the offerings] with an emotional mind corresponding [to the intention of the rite]. Bathe and change clothes three times a day every day, abstaining from food as with the preceding rites from the beginning of the latter night of the sixteenth day until the completion of the twenty-­third day. Thus visualize and recite, obtaining the affection of all people. . . . ​ If one performs the subjugation rites, face toward the south and seat the image facing north. Spread a triangular altar in front of the root worthy. Visualize the root worthy as blue or black. On your body wear blue-­black clothing. Offer blue (青) colored flowers that stink, not fragrant flowers, and mandarava flowers. For edible offerings, use pomegranate juice to dye them and make them black or blue. For daubed incense use cypress wood. For arghya (scented, purified water) use ox urine. Smear the cypress wood with black flowers and mustard seed oil. Each of these is divided and placed in the arghya. Burn benzoin resin95 for incense. Burn mustard seed oil for the lamps. [Make the offerings] with a mind of vehement rage corresponding to [the intention of the rites]. Recite the Horsehead Wisdom King mantra or the mantra of the Single-­Hairbun Honored One (Skt. Ekajata-­ raksah), emissary of the Lotus Division. Bathe and abstain from eating as above beginning from either noon of the twenty-­fourth day or midnight until the last day of the month. Thus visualize and recite and you will be able to control and subdue malicious and evil demon spirits and all wicked, malicious dragons that either cause the kingdom to experience severe droughts or cause wind, rain, frost, and hail that are injurious to young plants and spread epidemics. You can also control and subdue wicked people in the kingdom who are disloyal, who kill sentient beings without restraint, who smash and rub out the teachings of the Buddha, who slander the True Dharma, icchantikas, people who hold wicked views, and all heretics who break their good roots and those who infringe upon the transmission of the True Dharma and who betray their teachers, the sangha, and their parents; who do not recollect kindness but make difficulties; and all wicked animals, insects, wolves, lions, and resentful enemies and wicked people who wish to cause injury. 我今復說四種成就法。所謂扇底迦法(息災也白)報瑟置(二合)迦法(增益也黃)嚩試羯囉拏 法(敬愛也赤)阿毘遮嚕迦法(降伏也黑)。

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Tang Imperial Religion 若作增益法者。面向東坐像面向西。本尊前塗拭方壇。觀本尊作黃色。所獻華果飲食 并自身衣服等皆作黃色。塗香用白檀加少欝金。燒白檀香。然油麻油燈。以喜悅心相應。從 月九日日出時起首。至十五日一期滿。准前三時澡浴三時換衣。至日滿時准前斷食及三白 食。如是念誦能遷官榮。及增壽命求福德聰慧名聞。或求伏藏豐財眷屬象馬。 若作敬愛法者。面向西坐像面向東。本尊前塗蓮華形壇。觀本尊作赤色。身著緋衣。所 獻華果飲食等盡皆赤色。塗香用欝金。燒香以丁香蘇合香蜜和燒之。然諸果油燈。以喜怒 心相應。從十六日後夜時起首。至二十三日一期滿。至日滿時澡浴斷食法准前。如是念誦 得一切人敬愛。 若作降伏法者。面向南坐像面向北。本尊前塗三角壇。觀本尊作青色或黑色。身著青 黑衣。獻青色華臭華不香華。及蔓陀羅華等。飲食用石榴汁染作黑色。或作青色。塗香用 柏木。閼伽用牛尿。以黑色華及芥子] 柏木塗香等。各取少分置閼伽中。燒安悉香。然芥子 油燈。以忿怒心相應。誦馬頭明王真言。或蓮華部使者一髻尊真言。從二十四日午時或中 夜時起首。至月盡日一期滿。滿日澡浴斷食法如前。如是念誦能調伏毒惡鬼神。及諸惡毒 龍令國亢旱。或風雨霜雹傷損苗稼疫病流行。亦調伏惡人於國不忠。殺害無量有情破滅佛 教謗正法。一闡提邪見惡人。及諸外道斷善根者。及侵害傳持正法者。及背師僧父母不念 恩德作留難者。及諸惡獸蟲狼師子怨敵惡人欲相損害者。96

The correspondences outlined broadly conform to instructions found in other Esoteric Buddhist texts. For example, the Supreme Dhāraṇī Ritual, which Emperor Daizong commanded to be performed in 776,97 relates instructions for four homa-­siddhi consistent with the above directions. The Supreme Dhāraṇī Ritual opens with instructions for establishing the space in which the ritual will be performed. In a secluded location or in a pure dwelling, the practitioner is instructed to dig a hole in the ground half a forearm length deep. If in the ground there is rubble and debris, bones and ash, hair, or any abominable thing, you must purify it. If there is not, return the original soil and tamp it down, making it smooth and level. If there is surplus soil, then it is auspicious. Mix the soil well with gomaya (cow dung) and daub it over the surface of the ground, making it smooth and level. Also mix the gomaya with water. 其念誦處掘地深一肘半。地中若有瓦礫骨灰毛髮及諸穢物等。並須除之。若無還取本土。填 滿築令平正。土若有餘其地吉祥。以瞿摩夷和好土。泥地面令平正。又取瞿摩夷和水。98

The cow dung, empowered with a dhāraṇī spell, is spread on the ground with lotus or hollyhock petals. As with the Diamond Realm Maṇḍala and others, [ 86 ]

Tang Imperial Religion this base is divided into a three-­by-­three grid with white powder and cord. This creates nine emplacements (wei 位) on which the maṇḍala deities are installed: Vairocana Buddha is in the central position, to his right is Avalokiteśvara, and Vajrapāṇi is on the left. The upper row consists of Maitreya, Ākāśagarbha, and Samantabhadra, from right to left. The three positions on the bottom row are occupied by Kṣitigarbha, Remover of Hindrances, and Mañjuśrī, from right to left. In addition to structurally replicating the layout of the Diamond Realm Maṇḍala in order to install certain powerful beings, the most powerful placed in the center with subordinates encircling, this is the same maṇḍala described in the maṇḍala of the Supreme Honored One, mentioned above. It is referred to as the Eight Great Bodhisattva Maṇḍala in other sources.99 Ritual implements are installed around the maṇḍala: hanging screens and streamers; incense burners; vases filled with scented water and flowers; butter lamps; bowls of gold, silver, and burnished copper; and porcelain implements, new clay implements, shells, or new, pure petals. Having assembled these items, the ritualist then purifies himself through bathing while visualizing his purity and reciting mantras. He is directed to fast, or to eat only white foods: milk, yogurt, and polished rice. At the very least he should eat only the midday meal. What follows in the text is a series of instructions for forming mudrās and their accompanying mantras and visualization exercises. These visualizations generally replicate the soteriological practice of Sarvārthasiddhi in the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture, beginning with visualizing oneself to be of the nature of the void Dharma Realm before transforming oneself into Vajrasattva. The ritualist-­as-­Vajrasattva then protects himself from malevolent beings by forming the Diamond Armor mudrā and mantra. Following the ritual instructions and concluding the text is a note outlining the slight variations to be employed in the ritual according to the intended siddhi: If one is performing the rite for pacification, turn toward the north of the altar and visualize the assembly of sages as white in color. All those things that are offered within the ritual field are white. The [practitioner’s] body is clad in white clothing. He sits facing the north and burns aloe wood incense. If one is performing the rite for augmentation, turn and sit facing the east. The Root Honored Ones and the offering as well as the clothing on one’s own body are all yellow. Burn white sandalwood incense. If one performs the rite for subjugating, then turn and sit facing the south. The Root Honored Ones, the offerings, and [one’s] [ 87 ]

Tang Imperial Religion clothing are all blue (青) or black. Burn anxi incense. If one performs the rite for attraction, then turn and sit facing the west. Visualize the Root Honored Ones as red. The victuals and clothing are all red. Burn storax incense. 若作息災法。面向北其壇圓。觀聖眾白色。道場中所供養物皆白。身著白衣面向北坐。燒 沈水香。若作增長法。面向東坐。本尊及供養并自身衣服悉皆黃色。燒白壇香。若作降伏 法。面向南坐。本尊及供養并衣服並青色或黑色。燒安息香。若作敬愛法。面向西坐。觀 本尊赤色。及飲食衣服皆赤。燒酥合香。100

The fourfold classification of siddhis as pacification, subjugation, attraction, and augmentation that appears here is common in Amoghavajra’s texts, though not all of the Esoteric Buddhist scriptural sources classify siddhis into four categories. For example, the Sussidhikara Scripture names three: pacification, augmentation, and subjugation. Although many of Amoghavajra’s scriptures refer to four siddhis, he names five categories in his Homa Ritual Procedures of the Vajra Pinnacle Yoga (  Jin’gangding yuqie huma yigui 金剛頂瑜伽護摩儀 軌), where he identifies these siddhis with the Secret Teaching of Great Yoga: Homa are said to be of many kinds. Briefly stated, there are five classes; more generally this is referred to as the Secret Teaching of Great Yoga. I will now briefly explain roaming (i.e., practicing) in the wielding of spells, the ritual procedures of homa, and the siddhis of the maṇḍala families. Of homas, there are five kinds of actions, and of each of these there are many kinds. Pacification, augmentation, and the third is subjugation. Summoning is the fourth, and the fifth is attraction. 護摩說多種, 略說有五類

廣說大瑜伽, 於祕密教說 我今則略說, 持明之遊戲

由護摩儀軌, 成就於族壇 護摩五種事, 一一有多種

息災及增益, 第三為降伏

鉤召為第四, 第五是敬愛101

The specific number of named siddhi classes varies in the sources, but there are significant continuities in how the rites are to be performed. For example, in the Homa Ritual Procedures of the Vajra Pinnacle Yoga, Amoghavajra [ 88 ]

Tang Imperial Religion outlines the proper shape of the hearth, the direction one should face, the woods one should use, and so forth depending on the intended siddhi. These details tend to match instructions found in other sources, such as the Great Vairocana Scripture: a round hearth fired with sweet wood and the practitioner facing north for pacification, a square hearth with fruit wood and facing east for augmentation, a triangular hearth and “bitter” wood (kumu 苦木) while facing south for subjugation rites, for example. The consistencies and continuities across the texts representative of Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism reflect the Indian origins of these materials. For example, Ronald Davidson points to the Indic sources of Buddhist maṇḍala and homa rites, arguing that Indian Buddhists created an aggregate system composed of elements drawn from local folk cults, from domestic rituals outlined in the Indian Gṛyha sūtras, and the practices of vidyādhara sorcerers.102 Koichi Shinohara also identifies appeasement rituals from the Atharvan Grhya sūtras as establishing particular ritual outlines in texts and traditions preceding Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism.103 There are clear similarities to the ritual performance of many of the homa rites in Esoteric Buddhism and in non-­Buddhist Indian sources. For example, the instruction to face the south and to wear black in the homa for subjugation (Skt. abhicāra) siddhi found in several Esoteric Buddhist sources matches the ritual instruction for Vedic abhicāra rites.104

Esoteric Buddhism and Tang Imperial Religion Although the homa rites of Esoteric Buddhism are clearly Indic in origin and, as such, rest on different cosmological and ideological foundations than the Chinese rites of Imperial Religion, this did not preclude the Tang emperors’ commissioning their performance. From the perspective of the emperors, Imperial Religion was not predicated on a unified cosmological or mythic foundation such as we might identify in Daoist, Confucian, or Buddhist traditions. The differing and sometimes contradictory cosmological and ontological beliefs that informed the imperial rites—­the Confucian, mythico-­ historical foundation; the Five Phases cosmology of the Nine Palaces rite; the Daoist vision of the cosmos and the authorizing power of Lord Lao; even the quasi-­Vedic underpinnings of Esoteric Buddhist homa—­evidently had no relevance. In part, this reflects the fact that Tang Imperial Religion was not [ 89 ]

Tang Imperial Religion primarily concerned with soteriological matters; these dissimilar ritual traditions were commissioned and performed by the Tang imperial government on the basis of their expected and mundane results, and it was in these intended effects that the disparate traditions that made up Imperial Religion were most similar. Regardless of their ideological discontinuities and even contradictions, the official, supplemental, Daoist, and Esoteric rites were singular in their promise to benefit and assist the ruler in his administration of the imperium. Tang Imperial Religion was not unified by its performative aspects or its cosmological bases so much as by its perceived capacity to protect and augment the imperial state. The Tang emperors who patronized Amoghavajra and adopted Esoteric Buddhism did so in a manner consistent with their support of and interaction with other ritual specialists and traditions. Esoteric Buddhism was also employed for similar reasons as the other ritual performances commissioned by the Tang court. Returning to Li Han’guang’s performance of the River Chart rites on behalf of Emperor Xuanzong, it is said that a ruler who performs the rite—­or commissions the rite, in this case—­may eliminate sundry difficulties: If there are troops and dagger-­a xes, water and fire, droughts and floods, weevils and locusts; if stars and celestial bodies transform strangely; if Heaven and Earth vary from the norm, mountains collapse, and rivers dry up, the sun and the moon are eclipsed, wind and frost are unseasonable, thunder and lightning harm things; if evil qi creates miasma, deviant ghosts mislead the masses, the four borders are not peaceful, or the fierce and violent create savagery; if an emperor, king, or lord is troubled and there are epidemics to the point that the people are in imminent danger, [then he] should declare an apology105 to Heaven and Earth. The mysterious response of the vaulted Heavens can indeed save [the people]. 若兵戈水火, 旱潦螟蝗, 星辰變怪, 天地 易常, 山摧川涸, 日月薄蝕, 風霜不時, 雷電害物, 妖

氣作沴, 鬼邪惑眾, 四境不寧, 猛鷙為暴. 若帝王國王主不安, 及疾戹灾異, 至於民間危急, 當告謝天地, 玄感穹旻, 乃可解度耳.106

As with the other rites performed by the Tang court during Amoghavajra’s lifetime, the River Chart ritual produced particular beneficial effects for the Chinese imperium—­the pacification of hostile troops, regulation of the [ 90 ]

Tang Imperial Religion weather, the elimination of plagues, and so on—­broadly coextensive with other rites performed by and on behalf of the government. For example, although the deities of the Nine Palaces were astral beings, their practical dominion was terrestrial. The function of the Precious Deities of the Nine Palaces was to aid the emperor in maintaining tranquility and abundance. Xuanzong’s edict of November 18, 744 establishing the Nine Palaces makes this clear: The Precious Deities of the Nine Palaces truly manage flood and drought. Their meritorious action assists the emperor above and their virtue shelters the people below. We seek from them a good and bountiful harvest and that calamities not arise. 107 九宮貴神,實司水旱,功佐上帝,德庇下人.冀嘉穀歲登,災害不作.

The ritual invocation provided by Wang Jing is more specific as to the beneficial actions of the Nine Palaces deities: May the ancestral temple always be tranquil, the multitudes be provided for, the winds and rain be timely and beneficial, and the harvest abundant. May the weaponry of the Yi and Di barbarians be forever put away. 宗廟永安黎元充植風雨時厚稼穡, 惟豐夷狄欸成干戈永戢.108

The Precious Deities of the Nine Palaces, the deities of Heaven and of Earth, and the divinities of imperially sponsored Daoist rites served to support the state. The same is true of many Esoteric Buddhist rites employed by the Tang emperors. For example, on December  23, 763, Amoghavajra requested Emperor Daizong’s permission to establish a consecration platform (guangding tan 灌頂壇) for authorizing individuals in the practice of Esoteric Buddhist rites. This would be a prerequisite for these people to perform certain rituals. Amoghavajra made this request so “that the numerous frontiers be purged109 and the Sage’s health [extend to] ten thousand years of longevity.”110 Compare this with the Daoist Li Han’guang’s statement to Emperor Suzong in a memorial dated July 6, 757: Your servant Han’guang says: previously on the tenth day, Meng Youxian bore your edict to those who cultivate merit and virtue at Mount Mao. Gazing up to [ 91 ]

Tang Imperial Religion the Sage’s beneficence, I am prostrate with fear. Prior to this day, all of the Daoists who were able to maintain the precepts all conducted the matter of incense and lamps. All of this was in order to aid the kingdom and support the teaching, to eliminate disasters and deliver blessings. 臣含光言:昨十日中,使孟遊仙齎敕至茅山修功德所,仰感聖恩,伏增恐懼。先於此日與諸 道士能戒行者,共遵香燈之務,庶以助國扶教,消災致福。111

The similarities between the way that Amoghavajra represented his Esoteric Buddhism to Daizong and Li Han’guang’s description of his services are not a matter of Amoghavajra merely adopting the rhetoric of Imperial Religion. The siddhi of Esoteric Buddhism, specifically the siddhi of pacification and subjugation, are broadly continuous with rites constituting Imperial Religion in the Tang. Although carrying a clear Buddhist valence indicative of its cosmological foundations, the description of subjugation siddhi from the Diamond Pinnacle Yoga Scripture of the Ritual Procedures of Thousand-­Hand, Thousand-­Eye Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva closely matches the promised, politically useful effects of the River Chart rites and the Nine Palaces ritual: If you thus visualize and recite (niansong 念誦), you will be able to control and subdue malicious and evil demon spirits and all wicked, malicious dragons that either cause the kingdom to experience severe droughts or cause wind, rain, frost, and hail that are injurious to young plants and spread epidemics. You can also control and subdue wicked people in the kingdom who are disloyal, who kill sentient beings without restraint, who smash and rub out the teachings of the Buddha, who slander the True Dharma, icchantika, people who hold wicked views, and all heretics who break their good roots and those who infringe upon the transmission of the True Dharma and who betray their teachers, the saṃgha, and their parents, who do not recollect kindness but make difficulties, and all wicked animals, insects, wolves, lions, and resentful enemies and wicked people who wish to cause injury. 如是念誦能調伏毒惡鬼神。及諸惡毒龍令國亢旱。或風雨霜雹傷損苗稼疫病流行。亦調 伏惡人於國不忠。殺害無量有情破滅佛教謗正法。一闡提邪見惡人。及諸外道斷善根者。及 侵害傳持正法者。及背師僧父母不念恩德作留難者。及諸惡獸蟲狼師子怨敵惡人欲相 損害者。112

[ 92 ]

Tang Imperial Religion From this perspective, the purpose of the Esoteric Buddhist rituals for Amoghavajra’s elite patrons was essentially the same as that of the rites of Tang Imperial Religion in general: political stability and imperial longevity. *

*

*

Imperial Religion of the Tang Dynasty consisted of a program of rituals by dedicated performers who addressed particular pantheons of deities and powers. The official component of Imperial Religion was to be performed by the emperor (or a designated proxy) who, as the Son of Heaven, stood in special relation to the various powers addressed—­the Highest Lord of August Heaven, the deities of the terrestrial imperium, the imperial ancestors. Alongside these official rites were performances invoking the stellar deities and the deified Laozi as a preeminent ancestor to the ruling Li clan. Daoist rituals and practitioners such as Sima Chengzhen and Li Han’guang were incorporated into the complex of Imperial Religion through patron-­client relationships. The rapid adoption and incorporation of Esoteric Buddhism was not a departure from precedent. Instead, Esoteric Buddhism, as a ritual technology for gaining and maintaining power, conformed to established imperial religious tradition. Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism was predicated on Indic texts, deities, and ritual traditions; its mythic foundations and performative aspects were at variance with established Imperial rites, but this did not preclude its adoption by the Tang emperors into the Imperial Religion complex as a set of techniques for supporting the imperial state. Esoteric Buddhism is sometimes characterized as a form of state protection, and this function is occasionally asserted as an explanatory theory for Amoghavajra’s success. Such an emphasis is not misplaced, but all rites performed and sponsored by and for the Chinese imperial government were for state protection. Rituals to ensure timely rainfall, to correctly order the stars, to prevent barbarian invasion—­these were all elements of Sinitic ritual statecraft, the hallmarks of Imperial Religion. Although in its practical and mythological aspects Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism were Indian in origin, the Tang emperors nevertheless incorporated it into Imperial Religion through their patronage of Amoghavajra, support of his activities, and commissioning of Esoteric Buddhist ritual performances by him and his disciples. This was in part because Esoteric Buddhism featured a wealth of rituals aimed at the same general results as the rites of Imperial Religion; it was [ 93 ]

Tang Imperial Religion simply one technique among many to ensure peace and prosperity. However, Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism stood apart from the established rites of Imperial Religion in one important way: by invoking terrible demonic beings, Esoteric Buddhist ritual could kill one’s enemies. It was this aspect of Esoteric Buddhism that most argued for its adoption by the Tang emperors, who faced unprecedented military challenges as a result of An Lushan’s rebellion in late 755.

[ 94 ]

THREE

Esoteric Buddhism in Context The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion

THIS CHAPTER INTRODUCES the historical context in which Amoghavajra ascended to privilege, the war rituals of Imperial Religion, and Esoteric Buddhist abhicāra or subjugation rites performed by Amoghavajra on behalf of the Tang rulers in order to help them combat rebel forces and barbarian invaders. I address Tang Imperial Religion and Esoteric Buddhism in relation to the historical environment in which Amoghavajra operated and attained prestige from 755 to 765 CE. This ten-­year period was of signal importance in his career and in the development of his Esoteric Buddhism. At the beginning of 755 Amoghavajra was a Buddhist monk of some importance as an imperial envoy, translator, and scripture pilgrim. He was active among the ruling, military elite on Tang’s northwestern frontier. By the close of 765 he held official titles bestowed by Emperor Daizong and moved in the most rarified circles of power in the imperial capital. Amoghavajra’s meteoric ascent was largely the result of two essential and related factors. First, during this ten-­year span, from An Lushan’s uprising in the winter of 755–­56 to Pugu Huai’en’s death in 765, persistent violent rebellion and desolating warfare rent the Tang Imperium. Second, Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism featured violent subjugation rites by means of which he and his disciples were able to command fierce, lethal deities to kill enemies and rout opposing armies. In addition to the obvious usefulness of this ability during these years, the violent application of these Buddhist ritual technologies represented a sea change not only from established Buddhist tradition [ 95 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion in China but also from indigenous ritual practices. Indigenous ritual traditions, though oriented toward warfare and battle, were not lethal. While Imperial rites performed and sponsored by the Tang court were effective against meteorological and military disruptions, these were prophylactic in nature. Esoteric Buddhist rites aggressively addressed such issues. Amoghavajra’s abhicāra rites were applicable to a specific set of problems that other ritual traditions were not. Esoteric Buddhism introduced a pantheon that included ferocious, martial, demonic deities that had been forcefully subjugated by and made to serve the Buddha. They were at the ritual command of practitioners of Esoteric Buddhism, who could direct them to visit disease, disaster, and death on enemies. The effects of Esoteric Buddhist rites were different from Imperial rites in one crucial respect: they were lethal. Amoghavajra and his disciples possessed knowledge of a teaching of the Buddha by which one could kill others, which was exactly what the times called for.

The Rebellion Period: 755–­765 Under the cover of darkness on December 20, 755, An Lushan 安祿山 led 500,000 veteran Luo 羅, Xi 奚, Khitan 契丹, and Shiwei 室韋 troops out of Fanyang 范陽 (modern Beijing).1 Two days later Emperor Xuanzong was informed. An Lushan was in rebellion against the Tang ruling house. The emperor, at the time situated at the imperial spa, the Huaqing Palace (Huaqing gong 華清宮), did not arrive at court in Chang’an for another six days, by which time An Lushan’s forces had already captured Gao City 藁城, some 170 miles south of Fanyang.2 Stationing 1,000 troops under the command of Li Qin 李欽 to hold the Jingxing Pass 井陘關 leading through the Taihang Mountains 太行山 to Taiyuan 太原 115 miles to the west, in order to guard the rear of his main force, An Lushan continued south. Three weeks later, having met only token resistance by Tang troops and governors—­if not their complete capitulation—­An Lushan stood in possession of Luoyang 洛陽, the Eastern Capital. He was in striking distance of Chang’an and the emperor himself, about 200 miles to his west.3 However, lying between Chang’an and An Lushan, who declared himself to be Emperor of the Yan Dynasty 燕朝, was the Tong Pass 潼關.4 Located between two summits over 2,500 feet high, the pass could easily be held by a force occupying prepared defensive [ 96 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion positions, which it was by troops drawn from the northwestern Military Command Regions (  jiedushi 節度使) and under the command of Geshu Han 哥舒翰. On February 15, 756, these troops successfully defended the pass against the rebel forces now under the command of An Lushan’s son, An Qingxu 安慶緒.5 Qingxu had murdered his father and assumed leadership on January  30.6 Although holding a strong tactical position, the Tong Pass defense was undermined by Tang weaknesses in command. Geshu Han was ill at home when he was summoned to lead the defense, and he delegated many of his responsibilities to fractious officers.7 Represented in the sources as a result of operational micromanagement by palace officials seeking personal advantage, the Tang forces at Tong Pass unwisely assaulted the rebel position.8 The loyalist troops were routed. Geshu Han was captured (he would be executed ten months later by An Qingxu).9 The way to Chang’an was open.10 In the face of this development, the imperial family and the chief officials fled the capital. At Mawei 馬嵬, 25 miles west of the capital, Emperor Xuanzong and the crown prince, along with their respective households and entourages, parted ways.11 Xuanzong went southwest to Shu 蜀, where he could hole up in the tactically superior location of the Sichuan Basin. Accompanied by a force of some 2,000 troops, the crown prince went northwest to Lingwu 靈武, from where he would lead the campaign to recover the capital and defeat the rebels.12 He ascended the throne as Suzong 肅宗 on August 12, 756, in Lingwu, the seat of Shuofang Military Command Region (Shuofang jiedushi 朔方節度使), formerly administered by Geshu Han.13 Lingwu was also the former residence of Amoghavajra. He had been situated there since 754, but had been summoned to Chang’an by Emperor Xuanzong in response to An Lushan’s uprising sometime before July 18, 756, when rebel forces gained possession of the capital.14 After nineteen months of chaos and shifting fortunes, on November 15, 757, Emperor Suzong received the official report of victory from the Guangping Prince.15 Not more than three weeks earlier, the prince had decamped and led 200,000 men against the forces of An Shouzhong 安守忠 and Li Guiren 李歸仁. The prince’s army was constituted of troops drawn from Shuofang and Anxi and augmented by mercenary Uighur, Southern Man, and Arab (dashi 大食) troops.16 Four thousand Uighur soldiers had arrived at the imperial encampment on October  19.17 For their efforts, a “princess” of the Uighurs was taken as an imperial consort in marriage alliance and [ 97 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion the Uighur commander was formally recognized as “Yabghu.”18 These combined forces joined battle with rebel troops some nine miles south of Chang’an, killed 60,000 enemy, and drove the rebel commanders from the field. Loyalist troops controlled the imperial capital. On the day of the official announcement of victory Emperor Xuanzong, still ensconced in Shu, dispatched Pei Mian 裴冕 to the capital to announce the suburban sacrifices to the soil and grain gods. On the following day the Guangping Prince entered Chang’an, and eighteen days later he enjoyed a triumphal parade down the boulevards of the capital, to the reported adulation of the citizenry. Three hundred unfortunates who had served as officials under the rebel faction—­either choosing to cast their lot with or having been pressed into service by the rebels—­stood dressed in white mourning clothes, awaiting their inevitable punishment. Cui Guangyuan 崔光遠 was appointed metropolitan governor and directed to clean up the palace and settle down the citizenry in preparation for the emperor’s return. Suzong entered the imperial capital for the first time in his sixteen-­month reign on December 18, 757. For the following three days the emperor, now dressed in white himself, mourned the destruction of the altar of the Nine Precious Deities, burned by the mob of traitors.19 On December 28, 757, Suzong declared the reestablishment of order from the Danfeng Tower 丹鳳樓: Our kingdom has issued forth the thunder [of martial might] and, relying on Heaven, has established limits and the opening of unified rule. . . . ​A n Lushan, the Yi 夷 and Jie 羯 barbarians, and their ilk crudely established merit for themselves along the borders and proceeded to wanton and wicked destruction. Rising in rebellion, they employed storehouses and infantrymen and their poison flowed within the four seas, bringing destruction on myriad souls. I gave rise to words of pain and anger and took up the halberd to prosecute their crimes. At Lingwu we assembled and set out as one, joining with a million regiments at Fengxiang. I personally assembled the Supreme Commanders and swept clear the evil thieves. The Prince of Guangping Chu 俶 accepted appointment as marshal and was able to vigorously prosecute Heaven’s voice [i.e., Heaven’s will]. Guo Ziyi’s decisive victory was unprecedented—­he was able to complete the great enterprise [of restoration]. The battle power of combined Yabghu Uighurs, the sons and brothers of Yunnan 雲南, and various foreign (蕃) horse and infantry fought with strength to suppress the evil. [With] their force, [it] was like crushing a withered vine—­easy, like smashing bamboo. [ 98 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion 我國家出震乘乾,立極開統. . . . ​安祿山夷羯賤類,粗立邊功,遂肆兇殘,變起倉卒,而 毒流四海,塗炭萬靈.朕興言痛憤,提戈問罪,靈武聚一旅之,至鳳翔合百萬之師,親總元 戎,掃清戝孽.廣平王俶受委元帥,能振天聲;郭子儀決勝無前,克成大業.兼迴紇葉護、雲 20 南子弟、諸蕃兵馬,力戰平兇,勢若摧枯,易同破竹.

“An” 安 was stricken from the name of any imperial establishment that shared the ethnonymic character of the notorious Lushan, the Precious Deities of the Nine Palaces altar was hastily reestablished, and the rebellion was over, at least formally.21 Although the capitals had been recovered and Tang rule ritually restored, military operations were far from over. Rebel generals emerged, hydralike. An Qingxu and a coterie of rebellious generals remained at large and in command of troops. Qingxu was assassinated and replaced by Shi Siming 史思明, who claimed the title of Emperor of the Yan Dynasty for himself. Shi Siming initially capitulated to Tang rule in February 758 but rose again in rebellion and recaptured Luoyang on June 7, 760.22 Siming was murdered and rebel leadership devolved to his son, Shi Chaoyi 史朝義. Chaoyi eluded capture by loyalist forces but was finally abandoned by his own troops and met his end in 763.23 In November 763 an irresistible force of Tibetans invaded the Wei Valley, drove the emperor from the capital, and installed the luckless Chenghong, Prince of Guangwu 廣武王承宏, as a puppet emperor.24 The Tibetans were driven out of Chang’an by gangs of rabble organized by the retired general Wang Fu 王甫, but Tibetan forces continued to encroach on the Tang imperium, seizing territory on the western border in February 764.25 In September 765 the Tibetans returned to the Wei Valley, this time joined by the foot and horse soldiers of the Uighurs, Qiang 羌, Hun 渾, and Nula 奴 剌.26 They were also joined by Pugu Huai’en 僕固懷恩, a general of Tiele Turk descent who had earlier served the throne during the rebellion.27 From 756 to 765 Tang was beset by Stygian chaos.

Imperial War Religion Warfare in Tang China, as elsewhere, was a matter of religious concern; battle was not undertaken without prior ritual observations and appeals to unseen forces. The official war rituals of Tang Imperial Religion prescribed in the Kaiyuan Code are voluminous, indicating the significance and the [ 99 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion religious valence of warfare for the Chinese state. A few examples indicate the general tenor of these war rituals. Like the suburban rites introduced in the previous chapter, official military rites were large-­scale undertakings. The ritual observations attending the initiation of martial violence by the imperial state were to be preceded by a series of preparations: One day prior to the military preparations, the aforementioned 28 office(s), according to the emperor’s intention (chengzhi 承制), announce the deputation29 of the various inner and outer officials, 30 and each prepares according to his assignment. Also, [the emperor] dispenses with the chief stewards31 and uses an imperial tent below the northern wall of the Hall of the Great Ultimate (taiji dian 太極殿), seated facing south as usual. The acting palace is set up with the flocks of civil and military officials arranged in sequence on the east and west of the audience hall according to the usual rites. The standard ritual for establishing the flock of officials’ positions in the hall’s courtyard is that the civil [officials] are to the east and the military [officials] are to the west. All of them in their different positions circumspectly [turn] to the north and face their chief (i.e., the emperor). Prancers32 lead and display the leather chariot.33 The jade chariot 34 is taken to be subordinate. The type of chariot banner is as usual. At one notch 35 before dawn, the various palace gates are opened and the various guards under command line up in formation [under] the yellow banner [of command] at the armory gate and parade (陳) in the courtyard according to the usual rite. 纂嚴前一日,本司承制宣攝內外諸司,各隨職備辦。尚舍奉御施御幄於太極殿北壁下,南 向如常。守宮設群官文武次於東西朝堂如常儀。典儀設群官位於殿庭,文東武西,每等异 位,重行北面,相對為首。乘黃令陳革輅及玉輅以下及車旗之屬如常。未明一刻,開諸宮 門,諸衛勒所部列黃麾仗屯門及陳於殿庭如常儀。36

These prescriptive procedures are shot through with symbolic action. The act of dismissing the chief stewards, who were responsible for preparing, tasting, and serving the meals for the imperial family, ritually marks that the emperor is entering into a period of relative privation, as when on military campaign, and signals the gravity of his undertaking. The parading of the “leather chariot,” an unornamented war chariot traditionally employed by the ancient kings, in favor of the jade chariot used in peacetime equally communicates the emperor’s military action as well as his conformity with ancient precedent as indicated in the Confucian canon. [ 100 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion A series of purification procedures for the emperor, the palace officials, and the commanding generals follow: To perform the declaration, divine the day as in other ceremonies. One day prior [to the announcement], the emperor conducts a purifying zhai in the hall of the Great Ultimate, and all of the previously informed officials conduct a purifying zhai in their declared places. The attendant officials conform with their superiors and the flock of officials and visiting envoys each [perform purifying zhai] in their own departments and residences. All of the army generals each [perform purifying zhai] in their proper chambers. All of the purifying zhai are of a single night. (For those in encampments, the zhai is held in the military tents.) One notch after the bu 晡 period (3:00–­5:00 p.m.), all of the guards command their subordinates (屬) to perform a one-­night purifying zhai, each according to his proper capacity and uniform (以其方器服), at the earthwork rampart gates (守衛 壝門) along with the imperial musicians (太樂工人). 將告,有司卜日如別儀。前一日,皇帝清齋於太極殿,諸預告之官清齋于告所侍從之官,應

從升者及群官客使等各於本司及公館,諸軍將各於正寢,俱清齋一宿。(若在營者,齋於軍 幕。)晡後一刻諸衛令其屬各以其方器服守衛壝門與太樂工人俱清齋一宿。37

The imperial war rituals as prescribed in the Kaiyuan Code culminate in an offering to the Highest Lord of August Heaven (Haotian Shangdi 昊天上帝), the supreme deity of Tang official religion: On this day, before dawn at the second notch, all of the announcement officials each dress in their robes. The director of the national altars and the directors of the Office of Fine Wines instruct (師) their retinues to fill the zun and the lei, and [to collect] the jade. (There are two great zun for the Heavenly Lord.) [One is] filled with murky ale,38 and clear water39 fills the superior zun. There are two mountain jars.40 One is filled with hazy ale41 and serves as the superior, and the other is filled with clear ale.42 The next are dark green jade bi. The chief supplicator43 takes the jade and silk and places them in the fei. The provisioner instructs those who advance the food offerings to fill the bian and dou baskets44 and the fu and the gui45 and to set them up inside the food offerings tent. 其日未明二刻,諸告官各服其服郊祀令良醞令各師其屬人實樽罍及玉 (天帝太樽二,實以

汎齊,明水實于上樽。山罍二,一實玄酒,為上,一實清酒。次之玉幣以蒼。) 太祝以玉帛置

於篚. 太官令師進饌者實籩豆簠簋等皆設於饌幔內。46

[ 101 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion Performatively, these rites are similar to the grand rites of the official ritual program, and they are grounded in the same fundamental mythos and cosmology as the official rites discussed in the previous chapter. As in the other rituals of the official elements of Imperial Religion, the emperor enacts his role as mediator of Heaven, Earth, and humanity in order to secure the blessings of Heaven in his martial undertaking. However, regardless of the emperor-­as-­m ilitary-­leader conceit that informs much of the official war rituals of Imperial Religion, the actual prosecution of war tended to take place far from the capital and the person of the emperor. The commanders in the field who were charged to fight for the throne observed different sets of ritual observations and invoked different deities. The most valuable source of information concerning the Tang military and the nature of its ritual observances in the mid-­eighth century is the Scripture of Venus and the Moon (Taibai yin jing 太白陰經).47 This text is formatted as a series of aphorisms—­some drawn from early military classics such as Sunzi’s Art of War, but most unattested—­followed by commentary by the text’s discoverer/author, Li Quan 李筌. The memorial of submission to Emperor Suzong that accompanies the text of the Scripture of Venus and the Moon is dated June 2, 759.48 According to that memorial, Li Quan served as a military official stationed in Youzhou 幽州, a prefecture-­level administrative region in northern Hebei Circuit.49 Guo Shaolin takes the Scripture of Venus and the Moon to have been written in 751.50 Though it is not explicit in Guo’s essay, this is probably based on the standard biography of Li Quan contained in Du Guangting’s 度光庭 (850–­933) Biographies of People Who Encountered Divinities and Transcendents.51 According to that account, which is repeated in the Comprehensive Record of the Taiping [Reign Era] completed in 978, the Scripture of Venus and the Moon (called the Secret Tallies of Venus 太白陰符經 by Du Guangting) was composed when Li Quan was serving as a general and prior to his dismissal by Li Linfu 李林甫.52 Li Linfu died December 26, 752.53 The preface to the received version of the text is dated the fourth year of Yongtai 永泰, an impossible date as there was no fourth year of Daizong’s Yongtai reign period. It is possible that this reflects the author’s ignorance due to disrupted communications between the central government and its provincial outposts that the reign title had changed from Yongtai to Dali 大歷 on December 22, 766.54 If this is the case, then the preface would be from 768/9. For his part, Guo takes this date to be a copyist’s error, but he accepts that the text was submitted during the reign of Emperor [ 102 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion Daizong (r. 762–­779).55 For my own part, I take the received version of the Scripture of Venus and the Moon as dating to no earlier than 768/9.56 Opening with theoretical material pertaining to tactics and strategy, the Scripture of Venus and the Moon also contains a wealth of information concerning practically all aspects of Tang military affairs—­the ideal qualities of cavalry and infantry officers, physiognomy of men and horses, the administrative geography of the Tang, maintaining discipline through commands and punishments, apparatus for offensive and defensive operations, instructions for incendiary attacks, naval battles, river crossings, fortifications, and circumvallations, issuing commands by drum and by flag, setting up banquets and the proper accompanying music, various battle and camp formations, and more. Also included is information concerning various rituals performed by Tang commanders. Of the military rites described by Li Quan in the Scripture of Venus and the Moon, the Rite of the Blood-­Smeared Drum (xingu 釁鼓) is easily the most gruesome. The Blood-­Smeared Drum is a venerable rite in imperial Chinese tradition, performed at least since the Warring States Period and still current in the Tang.57 The Older Tang History reports that the Court of Imperial Regalia maintained a supply of animals—­ rams, sheep, chickens, roosters—­for the performance of the Blood-­Smeared Drum.58 The ritual was also performed with humans as sacrificial victims. In 757, during the height of An Lushan’s Rebellion, the loyalist Li Zhongchen 李忠臣 captured the traitor E Buli 阿布離 in battle and used him to perform the Blood-­Smeared Drum.59 Li Quan provides this account: The scripture says: When your army approaches an enemy’s territory, send out roving [sentries] in force and capture one of the enemy’s men. Stand him up in front of the Six Banners and incant (祝): “[This] barbarian captive is lawless, daring to flaunt Heaven’s Constant. The Sovereign Emperor has granted me flags and drums to slay and exterminate the wicked enemy! Those who see our flags and banners will have their vision dazzled. Those who hear our drums will have their po souls scattered.” Make that man to kneel before the banners and then cut him in two.60 The head [section] is laid out on the left side of the road and the feet [section] is laid out on the right side. Gather his blood and smear it on the drums. The great banners should go through the space between the head and feet sections, the soldiers and horses of the Six Armies follow them, and they go out to win victory over the enemy. This is also called “sacrificing the enemy.” 61 [ 103 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion 經曰:軍臨敵境,使遊奕捉敵一人,立於六纛之前而祝曰: 「胡虜不道,敢幹天常,皇帝授 我旗鼓,翦滅兇渠。見吾旗纛者,目眩;聞吾鼓鼙者,魄散。」令散人跪纛前,乃腰斬之,首 橫路之左,足橫路之右,取血以釁鼓鼙,大纛從首足間過,兵馬六軍從之,而往出勝敵,亦 名祭敵。

The particular deity to which the declaration is announced is unclear, but it is not the deity who performs any killing. It is the army’s terrifying might—­ displayed in its fluttering banners and thundering drums—­that causes the enemy to panic. The divinity might supernormally augment the army’s fearsomeness but certainly is not responsible for killing anybody. Li Quan’s material on the Blood-­Smeared Drum occurs in the section of the Scripture of Venus and the Moon devoted to miscellaneous preparations.62 It is not included in the section providing templates for a variety of other military rites, perhaps suggesting that Li Quan considered it not to be primarily a rite in which one interacts with unseen divine powers so much as a quotidian means of preparing an army for combat. Elsewhere, Li Quan provides liturgical templates for seven rites that he takes to be appropriate for the Son of Heaven and his authorized agents: the ma 禡 sacrifice, a sacrifice called a dao 禱 or a “horse ma” 禡馬, sacrifices to Chiyou 蚩尤, sacrifices to the autochthonous deities of mountains and of rivers, and sacrifices to the atmospheric gods of rain and of wind were to be performed on particular occasions or under particular conditions. When the commanders set out there would be a ma 禡 sacrifice at the army’s yamen 牙門63 and a dao 禱 sacrifice at the horse corral. Chiyou invented the five weapons64 and established banners and drums. When commanders set out, they also sacrifice to him. As for named mountains and large rivers and [temples dedicated to] the Wind Earl (Fengbo 風伯) and Rain Commander (Yushi 雨師), when [the armies] pass by them, then they should sacrifice. If they do not pass by them, then they should not [sacrifice].65 師初出,則禡軍之牙門,禱馬群廄。蚩尤氏造五兵,制旗鼓,師出亦祭之。其名山大川,風 伯雨師並所過則祭,不過則否。

Following Li Quan, three sacrifices are certainly to be performed at the inception of a deployment: the ma, the dao, and sacrifices to Chiyou, all addressed to the tutelary deities of specific elements of the army. Performed [ 104 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion at the headquarters of the army, the yamen, the ma sacrifice is for the benefit of command. Performed at the army’s horse corral, the dao sacrifice pertains to cavalry. Quoting the third century BCE Erya 爾雅, Li Quan makes this explicit: “As for venerating the deities, the Erya says: ‘ “[He] offered them to the Lord-­on-­High and he offered them at the camping place” 66 is the troops sacrifice. “We sacrificed to the horses’ ancestor and prayed” 67 is the horse sacrifice.’ ” 68 The third sacrifice, dedicated to Chiyou, the mythico-­historical inventor of metal weapons and warfare, is for the benefit of the army’s materiel or the fighting men themselves. These military rites are aimed at augmenting the elements and actions of a medieval Chinese army in order that they may effectively and certainly defeat the enemy. The actual killing must be done by the men themselves. The liturgy for the sacrifice to Chiyou illustrates this. Such-­a nd-­such year, such-­a nd-­such stem, such-­a nd-­such month, such-­a nd-­such day, general so-­a nd-­so. So-­a nd-­so solemnly makes a sacrifice of animals to you, the descendant of the Flame Emperors, the deity Chiyou, saying: At the commencement of high antiquity, the custom was to esteem honesty and genuineness. They picked up stones to use as knives69 and strung bowstrings on branches to make bows. Now smelted metal makes weapons and cut leather makes armor. We hold aloft banners and flags, set up drums. We make halberds and spears, lances (戟) and shields. The sage manages the world and possesses everything in the entire kingdom. He campaigns [against] the unlawful in the four directions and the strong fear his might. He attacks the rebellious and executes the savage! He regulates the sharpness of the five weapons and acts as an endowment to the myriad kingdoms! The sovereign is paternally affectionate and nurtures life. He righteously campaigns against the unvirtuous.70 The Rong 戎 and Di 狄71 are evil and cunning, they swarm along our borders. Now, the injunctions of the six commanders are severe. They reverently practice Heaven’s punishment. Though the deity is not manifest, he causes the deliverance of glowing blessings! He causes alligator drums to augment our qi and bear pennants to assist our might! Cities to be without fortified walls and fields without unexpected formations! Like flying frost rolls up trees, like an uprooted mountain crushes an egg, the fires blaze and the winds sweep, and the Rong and Xia 夏 [attain] great harmony! Permit us the praise of a single man72 and to rely on the efficacy of your five weapons! [ 105 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion 維某年歲次,某甲某月朔某日某將軍,某謹以牲牢之奠祭爾。炎帝之後蚩尤之神曰:太古 之初,風尚敦素,拓石為弩,弦木為弧。今乃爍金為兵,割革為甲, 樹旗幟,建鼓鼙,為戈 矛,為戟盾。聖人禦宇,奄有寰海,四征不庭,服強畏威,伐叛誅暴,制五兵之利,為萬國 之資。皇帝子育群生,義征不德。戎狄兇狡,蟻聚要荒。今六師戒嚴,恭行天罰,神之不 昧,景福來臻,使鼉鼓增氣,熊旌佐威,邑無堅城,野無橫陣,如飛霜而卷木,如拔山而壓 卵,火烈風掃,戎夏大同,允我一人之德,由爾五兵之功。73

This liturgy is typical in its format. The offerant announces the date, himself, the particular offering (an animal in this case), and the deity to whom the rite is dedicated, Chiyou. This preamble is followed by an account of the mythico-­h istorical creation of warfare, which also describes, and subtly lauds, Chiyou’s invention of modern weaponry, armor, and materiel—­the same instruments wielded by those who make the offering. The offerant invokes Chiyou seeking specifically the augmentation of the fighting men’s might such that it could be opposed by no force or defense. This, as presented in the liturgy, is ultimately for the purpose of establishing peace between the peoples of the Sinitic imperium and the barbarians. Though Chiyou is one of the more martial deities in the classical Chinese pantheon, there is no indication that he is called upon to kill anybody. These are rites that attend rather than replace battle. This is typical of all of the liturgies provided by Li Quan. The divinity addressed is requested only to indirectly aid elements of the army so that they may more effectively fulfill their role on the battlefield. For the ma sacrifice: “As you are divine, you aid my might and martiality!”74 The dao sacrifice: “As you are the horse deity, you cause my horses to be fat, to gallop like the wind and turn like lightning! Dragon prancers that rush forward like tigers, with glittering armor like brilliant frost!”75 This is also the case with the deities resident in natural features relevant to battlefield topography and meteorology. Mountain gods are requested to send “clouds, mist, and fog, tumbling stones and flying sand to assist our army’s might.”76 The river deities are beseeched to make river crossing—­a particularly dangerous affair for medieval Chinese armies—­relatively safe and uneventful: You deity who is the chief of the Five Phases, who serves as the source of a hundred waterways, who conceals flood dragons77 and makes dragons leap, who gives rise to clouds and sends rain! Now it is advantageous for the great army to ford.

[ 106 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion As the entire force begins to move, why not exhaust Rou of the Sea,78 disgorge Tianwu,79 disperse the Wind Earl, and chase off great fish. Send waves without ripples, beaches with shallows! Complete the general-­in-­chief’s work! Support the Son of Heaven’s might! 神居五行之長,為百瀆之源,藏蛟躍龍, 興雲致雨。今大軍利涉,全師既行,何不竭海若,吐 天吳,驅風伯,逐鯨魚,使波無漣漪,厲有淺深,成將軍之功,贊天子之威。80

Even the sacrifices to the Wind Earl and Rain Commander, who are represented as martial deities in the traditional sources, are fairly benign.81 The Wind Earl is asked to handicap enemy troops by means of wind with the intention of avoiding bloodshed: As you are a brilliant deity, your howl is the roar of the wind, uprooting trees and flattening grasses! Send banners and flags pointing toward our enemy, flying sand and rolling stones! Fly with the appearance of Mount Tai, blinding the enemy’s eyes in daylight! Shake with the sound of thunderclaps, deafening the enemy’s ear to what is nearby. [Cause them] to cover their faces with their sleeves and to feel stiff and fall down [so that] weapons will not be bloodied and the Hua and Rong will be at peace. 惟爾神明,號吼[風鉞][風孛],拔木偃草,使旌旗指敵,飛沙走石,飛泰山之形,晝不見於

虜目;震雷霆之響,近不聞於虜耳。蒙袂僵仆,款我轅門,兵不血刃,而華戎寧謐矣。82

Only the liturgy for the Rain Commander comes close to suggesting that the divinity might be responsible for human deaths: As you are a deity, why not empty the pools and pour out the seas in order to assist Heaven’s might? Wash away the bandits and cleanse us of the enemy in order to magnify the army’s power? If you grip the sword, then the Dipper (鬥)83 will be visible at midday; brandish the halberd and the sparkling numen84 will reappear at night!85 Strengthen the qi of the army’s soldiers! Such is your divine merit!86 惟神何不傾湫倒海,以助天威;蕩寇清 讎,以張軍勢。按劍則日中見鬥,揮戈而曜靈再晡。壯 戎軍之氣,乃爾神之功。

[ 107 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion The Rain Commander wields sword and halberd, yet the intimation that he may kill humans is slight and depends on how we interpret “washing away” the enemy.87 Alongside these liturgies, Li Quan also provides another directed to the foreign god Vaiśravaṇa. The invocation of Vaiśravaṇa follows the same format as the other military liturgies in the Scripture of Venus and the Moon. Such-­a nd-­such year, such-­a nd-­such stem, such-­a nd-­such month, such-­a nd-­such day, general so-­a nd-­so. So and so solemnly kowtows and makes offerings of brilliant incense and pure water, poplar branches and oil lamps, milk, porridge, butter, honey, and rice dumplings to the spirit of the Northern Great Sage, the Heavenly King Vaiśravaṇa, saying: We humbly submit that [you are the deity who] garrisons the north and protectively thinks of the myriad things. Sentient beings who are rebellious and contrary, freely you punish and pacify them! [After] The Tathāgata’s nirvāṇa—­you cause them to conform to the Buddha’s Law! This is why there is a precious pagoda in your hand, golden armor covering your body, your might is like the autumn cold, your virtue is like thick dew! [With the] five divisions of spirits and ghosts and demonic spirits of the eight directions, with remarkable forms and unusual shapes, clad and girdled with plumes and furs. Some with three faces and six hands, some with one face and four eyes. With furious countenances like indigo and disheveled (zhe 磔)88 hair like fire. With terrible fangs protruding from their mouths and hooked talons that strip bone. A gaze of thunder and lightning! Panting of cloud and rain! Inhalation a whirlwind, exhalation frost and hail! You shout a shout and cleave the great sea and Sumeru, smash the wind wheel89 and pulverize the iron enclosure.90 Simultaneously with your indication and shout, all things respond to your whip. The kingdom admires you and the Śākya’s protective law that subdues devils. The myriad kingdoms entrust themselves (歸心), the ten directions are converted (向化)! Only those barbarians still flaunt their stupidity (昏迷). Flesh-­eating border trash that hunt and fish our frontier outposts! The Son of Heaven has sent out troops to denounce their crimes and force their desolation. Heavenly King! It is suitable that you give rise to the mind of great compassion, that you stir the force of your protective recollection! Annihilate those fiends and assist our armored troops! You cause our diao ladles91 not to startle, Grand White without an arista.92

[ 108 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion Although these matters are those assembled among border generals, their merit returns to the Heavenly King! 維某年歲次,某甲某月朔某日某將軍,某謹稽首,以明香凈水、楊枝油燈、乳粥酥蜜粽[米

奧]供養北方大聖毘沙天王之神曰:伏惟作鎮北方,護念萬物,眾生悖逆,肆以誅夷,如來

涅盤,委之佛法。是以寶塔在手,金甲被身,威凜商秋,德融湛露。五部神鬼,八方妖精, 殊形異狀,襟帶羽毛;或三面而六手,或一面而四目,瞋顏如藍,磔發似火,牙崒嵂而出 口,爪鉤兜而露骨,視雷電,喘雲雨,吸風飆,噴霜雹。其叱咤也,豁大海拔,須彌,摧風 輪,粉鐵圍,並隨指呼,鹹賴驅 策。國家欽若,釋教護法降魔,萬國歸心,十方向化。惟彼 胡虜,尚敢昏迷,肉食邊氓,漁獵亭障,天子出師,問罪要荒,天王宜發大悲之心,軫護念 之力,殲彼兇 惡,助我甲兵,使刁鬥不驚、太白無芒,雖事集於邊將,而功歸於天王。93

In structure this is typical of the liturgies provided by Li Quan. The offerant announces himself, the date, and the particular offering to the deity. As in the other liturgical invocations, the deity is described in laudatory terms and then the moral justification for the military conflict is provided. A request is made of the deity, whose virtue is again affirmed. Although this is a Sinitic model perhaps originating as early as the Han Dynasty, if the allusions and language are any indication, the “Liturgy for the Heavenly King Vaiśravaṇa” is clearly informed by Buddhist tradition. The offerings of milk, butter, and honey suggest Vaiśravaṇa’s Indic or Central Asian background. The liturgy contains basic Buddhist terminology (nirvāṇa, Tathāgata) and fundamental elements of Indic cosmology (Mount Sumeru, the Wind Wheel). Being present from an early period, these are elements of the basic Buddhist inheritance of the Tang Dynasty, but the inclusion of this liturgical invocation in the Scripture of Venus and the Moon indicates the existence of a Buddhist cult in the Chinese military of the Tang. According to Li Quan, this was the result of foreign influence. Li Quan introduces the invocation of Vaiśravaṇa by explaining the origins of the practice. He gives two accounts. The first is a story of Tibetans laying siege to a foreign city: In Tian city 闐城 there was a temple with a body covered in gold armor. His right hand held a two-­pointed lance and his left hand supported a pagoda. He was venerated by the masses as a deity for his remarkable form and his unusual shape. Barbarians do so.

[ 109 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion In previous years the Tibetans had surrounded Tian. At night there was seen a golden man arising, holding a two-­pointed lance and going above the city. In the crowd of some 100,000 Tibetans, all of them suffered from an ulcerative disease. None was capable of victory. The soldiers also transformed into black mice that gnawed through the bowstrings. There was none that was not severed. The Tibetans disappeared in spite of their illness. The kingdom knew it was this spirit, and there was an edict to erect a temple on the frontier and marshals would also depict his image on their banners. They are called Spirit Banners. They were the leading banner of a deploying army. Therefore, an army would deploy, and they would sacrifice to him. Even now there are many counties in Fuzhou 府州 94 that set up Heavenly King Temples. 於闐城有廟身被金甲,右手持戟,左手擎塔,祗從群神殊形異狀,胡人事之。往年吐蕃圍 於闐,夜見金人被發 持戟行於城上,吐蕃眾數十萬悉患瘡疾,莫能勝,兵又化黑鼠,咬弓 弦,無不斷絕;吐蕃扶病而遁,國家知其神,乃詔於邊方立廟,元帥亦圖其形於旗上,號 曰:神旗。出居旗節之前。故軍出而祭之,至今府州縣多立天王廟焉。95

This story is a retelling of material found in Xuanzang’s Record of the Western Regions, which itself is based on material from Herodotus’ Histories.96 However, Li Quan’s second story explaining the invocation of a Buddhist deity by military commanders takes place not in a foreign city, but in the Chinese palace: One source says that in the past the Tibetans surrounded Anxi 安西 and Beiting 北庭, and they memorialized requesting assistance. Tang Xuanzong97 said, “Anxi is located 12,000 li from the metropolitan area. It must take eight months to reach there and, reaching there, there will be nothing left.” The Left and Right Ministers requested that he summon Trepitaka Amogha[vajra], and there was a command requesting the Heavenly King Vaiśravaṇa. The master arrived and requested that the emperor hold the incense burner while the master recited the mantra. The emperor suddenly saw an armored officer appear before him. The emperor asked Amogha[vajra] and he said, “The Heavenly King has sent his second son alone to support the commanders and troops to assist Anxi. He has come to report to Your Majesty.” Later, Anxi memorialized: “Armed men each one zhang tall and arrayed for 5 or 6 li were seen in misty clouds 30 li northwest of the city. At the you 酉 hour there was a cry and drums. Horns shook the ground for 300 li. It stopped after two days. The Kangju 康居 and the Five Kingdoms withdrew their soldiers from the encampment. There were golden mice that gnawed through [ 110 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion their bowstrings; their apparatus was equally damaged. At that moment, the Northern Pavilion Heavenly King manifested his body.” 一本雲:昔吐蕃圍安西,北庭表奏求救,唐元宗曰: 「安西去京師一萬二千裏,須八月方 到,到則無 及矣。」左右請召不空三藏,令請毘沙門天王,師至,請帝執香爐,師誦真言,帝 忽見甲士立前,帝問不空,不空曰: 「天王遣二子獨揵將兵救安西,來辭陛下。」 後安西奏 雲: 「城東北三十裏雲霧中,見兵人各長一丈約五六裏,至酉時鳴鼓,角震三百裏,停二 日。康居等五國抽兵彼營中,有金鼠咬弓弩弦,器械並損,須臾, 北樓天王現身。」98

This second account, which I refer to as the legendary siege of Anxi, is simply the first story concerning a Tibetan siege of Tian, referred to by its official name, grafted onto a story about Emperor Xuanzong employing Amoghavajra’s ritual services for military purposes. This element is not evidence that Xuanzong received ritual assistance from Amoghavajra in order to lift a siege in Anxi. In 714, the Turks attacked Beiting but were crushed by Tang troops.99 Anxi city, the administrative seat of the region, was besieged in 727 by the Turk Shi Silu (施蘇祿) and a Tibetan king, who were defeated by the Deputy Grand Protector Zhao Yizhen 趙頤貞.100 Being still a youth at the time, in neither case did Amoghavajra render aid to the Tang forces through ritual on behalf of Xuanzong. The legendary siege of Anxi is a just-­so story cobbled together from elements of earlier legends.101 It attributes the invocation of a Buddhist deity by foreign military commanders in the Tang army to Amoghavajra’s service to the Tang emperor. Amoghavajra did serve the Tang throne against barbarian armies, but not those besieging a remote outpost. In June 756, just prior to Geshu Han’s doomed attack on the rebel army at the Tong Pass, Emperor Xuanzong recalled Amoghavajra from the Hexi-­ Longyou Command Region to Chang’an . However, by the time Amoghavajra took up residence in Xingshan Monastery, Geshu Han had already been defeated and the emperor had quit the capital.102 Residing in Chang’an during its occupation by rebels, Amoghavajra is reported to have remained in communication with the newly enthroned Suzong, preparing to recover the imperium from his headquarters in Lingwu and in Fengxiang. Following the recovery of the capitals in 758, Emperor Daizong gifted incense to Amoghavajra. In his memorial thanking Daizong for this gift, he says: Although Amogha[vajra] was personally captured among the barbarians (hu 胡), I was always faithful in revering the Palace Gates and Courtyards.103 I frequently [ 111 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion received secret edicts, and [my] reverent submissions all reached Your Majesty. Your Majesty effected his farsighted stratagem himself, and the power of the Dharma secretly contributed to it. The evil crowd was dispersed and routed, and the imperial images returned to the correct positions. 不空雖身陷胡境。常心奉 闕庭。頻承 密詔。進奉咸達 陛下睿謀獨運。法力冥加。群 104 兇散亡 宸象歸正。

It is unclear exactly how Amoghavajra’s Dharma contributed to the defeat of the wicked crowd of barbarians that had driven Suzong from the capital, but there are many possibilities in Amoghavajra’s scriptural corpus.

Abhicāra Rites of Esoteric Buddhism As introduced in the previous chapter, Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism was predicated on Indic sources and ritual traditions. Many of these rituals were productive of multiple mundane siddhi attainments or effects in the shared objective world, generally classified as augmentation, attraction, summoning, pacification, and subjugation. While subjugation rites tended to produce effects similar to those of the rites of Imperial Religion, subjugation siddhi also set Esoteric Buddhism apart from the other traditions that composed Imperial Religion in the eighth century. Those rituals were for invoking the sanction and aid of deities in the prosecution of war; actually killing the enemy remained a task for humans. Subjugation rites of Esoteric Buddhism, however, are represented as being lethal. Through the correct, authorized performance of particular rituals, the Esoteric Buddhist ritualist could invoke and command a host of terrible, demonic beings in order to kill enemies both individually and en masse. In Indian religious traditions such effects were well established in the mainstream religious culture by the eighth century, but in China they were novel. Resulting in the surrender, defeat, and death of enemies, subjugation siddhi were also most applicable to the historical circumstances of the rebellion period initiated by An Lushan’s uprising in 755. Like the homa rites of Esoteric Buddhism, the subjugation rituals found in Amoghavajra’s textual corpus reflect Indian social and religious norms. These are abhicāra rites emerging from the domestic or nonsolemn gṛhya [ 112 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion rites of Vedic tradition, performed in order to appease, propitiate, or pacify (śanti) deities and other powers, for gaining prosperity or material abundance (samṛddhi), for health and well-­being (svasti), and for malevolent results (abhicāra).105 In early Vedic sources, abhicāra rites tend to be marked by their performative features. Some of these are inversions of norms for pacific rites. For example, while the right hand is used to make offerings for pacification (śanti), abhicāra ritual offerings are handled with the left.106 Abhicāra rites are also performed during astrologically inauspicious periods, during the dark half of the lunar month, and at noon or at midnight.107 Additionally, Vedic abhicāra are characterized by the particular materials used, substances offered, and other performative aspects. Rather than the ghee used in other gṛhya rituals, abhicāra rites often employ ingida oil. Vedic abhicāra rites are oriented toward the south and tend to involve offerings of sesame or mustard seed into a fire kindled with khadira wood. The ritualist is to wear clothing that is red or black and sometimes damp. Sometimes, abhicāra rites are to be performed near a river or other body of water. According to later sources, Hindu abhicāra rites may be used to immobilize enemy (stambha), to sow dissension (vidveṣa), to create confusion or madness (bhrānti, bhrama), to eradicate the enemy (uccāṭa), to destroy (utsādana), and to afflict the enemy with disease (roga, vyādhi).108 These features of Vedic abhicāra rites are also characteristic of the abhicāra or subjugation rites in Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism.109 While the conceptual or cosmological basis of these homa rites in general and abhicāra rituals in particular may be traced to Vedic models, Indian folk traditions, or freelance Indian sorcerers, the rituals for practical effect that Amoghhavajra presented in Tang China were rooted in their own mythos. The practical and soteriological dimensions of Esoteric Buddhism were established through the myth of Sarvārthasiddhi, which reformulated buddhahood as a process of visualizations and initiations; the mythological foundation for the efficacy of Esoteric Buddhist abhicāra rites is located in another myth found in the larger STTS. This is the account of the subjugation of Maheśvara, the name given to the Hindu deity Śiva in Buddhist sources.110 In the Synopsis of the Eighteen Assemblies of the Diamond Pinnacle Yoga Scripture, introduced in the previous chapter, Amoghavajra provides a brief description: Maheśvara (Moxishouluo 摩醯首羅) was unyielding and difficult to convert. He would not accept conversion by means of pacification rites. All of the Tathāgatas [ 113 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion throughout the Dharma Realm as inexhaustible as space spoke with one voice through different mouths a request of Vajrasattva via the rite of praising the 108 names (of the buddhas): “Thusly, various deities will not accept conversion by means of the pacifying rites.” At that time, the bodhisattva Vajrapāṇi received the request of all the Tathāgatas and then entered a wrathful diamond samādhi, manifested a mighty Result Body,111 and through various skillful means subdued [Maheśvara] to the point that his allotment came to an end and [Maheśvara] died. Then Maheśvara appeared in the lower quarter112 and in a world system called Ash-­Adorned engaged in the sixty-­two [wrong views]113 for as long as the sand grains [of the Ganges are many]. Within that world he achieved awakening, and his name became Terrifying Lord.114 The Tathāgatas directed Vajrasattva to restrain [Terrifying Lord] underfoot. [Vajrasattva] recited the mantra of Diamond Long Life and [Terrifying Lord] was revived and accepted conversion. Vajrasattva then explained the Great [Diamond Realm] Maṇḍala and led the various deities [into the maṇḍala] to receive diamond titles. These deities are of five classes. 摩醯首羅等剛強難化。不可以寂靜法而受化。盡虛空遍法界一切如來。異口同音。請以一 百八名讚。禮金剛薩埵。如是諸天。不可以寂靜法而受化。時金剛手菩薩受一切如來請 已。即入悲怒金剛三摩地。現大威德身。以種種方便調伏。乃至命終。摩醯首羅死已。自 見於下方。過六十二恒河沙世界。名灰莊嚴。彼世界中成等正覺。名為怖畏自在王如來。執 金剛菩薩以脚按之。誦金剛壽命真言。復得蘇。既受化已。金剛薩埵則說大曼茶羅。引入 115 諸天。受金剛名號。諸天有五類。

From here Amoghavajra’s text enumerates five classes of deities that include Maheśvara (Śiva) and demon kings who have been similarly suppressed. As a result of their suppression, these heretical deities have been assimilated into the external diamond division of the Diamond Maṇḍala. According to Amoghavajra’s text, these deities were commanded to constitute themselves and their various assemblies and retainers in maṇḍala for those who seek siddhi.116 In other words, the Esoteric Buddhist ritual master may interact with and command Maheśvara and assorted other terrible beings in order to produce siddhi effects. The myth of the subjugation of Maheśvara refers to two of the principal siddhis named in Esoteric Buddhist sources: pacification and subjugation. Conversion via pacification or appeasement (  jijing fa 寂靜法) is declared ineffective, so Vajrasattva Vajrapāṇi subjugates or subdues (tiaofu 調伏) Maheśvara and sundry other dangerous beings. This subjugation involved killing Maheśvara (before reviving him). This myth may be read [ 114 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion as an Indian Buddhist strategy for appropriating or rivaling other religious communities and practitioners. It may also be read as establishing the ethos of Esoteric Buddhism as one of coercion, control, and hegemony.117 But in relation to the cosmological and practical world of Chinese Esoteric Buddhism, this is a charter myth for explaining how Esoteric Buddhism is productive of siddhi: a ritualist may command and control powerful beings through the authorized performance of its rites. In many Esoteric Buddhism rites, as in the Supreme Dhāraṇī Ritual introduced in the previous chapter, the ritual performer re-­creates himself as Vajrasattva Vajrapāṇi, the tamer of Maheśvara, or as another powerful being incorporated into the Esoteric Buddhist maṇḍala in order to command terrible demonic beings. Abhicāra rites in Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism are associated with these beings. Through proper ritual invocation, they bring disease, disaster, and death to one’s enemies. The Recitation and Recollection Methods for Establishing the Great Divine Signs of the Wrathful King, the Sage Yamāntaka (hereafter Recitation and Recollection of Yamāntaka)118 is a ritual text produced by Amoghavajra and centered on Maheśvara in a different guise as Yamāntaka. This source illustrates Esoteric Buddhist abhicāra rites. The Recitation and Recollection of Yamāntaka describes him thus: The Wrathful King, Sage Yamāntaka rides a blue water buffalo and grasps various implements and weapons. He wears a crown and a necklace made of skulls. A tiger skin serves as his skirt. The size of his body is a great immeasurable yojana. All around his body are flames that blaze like a conflagration. 聖閻曼德威怒王。身乘青水牛持種種器仗。以髑髏為瓔珞。頭冠虎皮為裙。其身長。大無 119 量由旬。遍身火焰洞然如劫燒焰。

Yamāntaka, like Maheśvara, is a Buddhist appropriation of the Indian deity Śiva, here in his fierce form as Bhairava. The Recitation and Recollection of Yamāntaka provides instructions on how to perform homa in order to invoke him for siddhi effects. These are exclusively subjugation (Skt. abhicāra) rites. They are marked as such by particulars of the homa and by their promised siddhis. If there is an evil person of a hateful family who gives rise to an evil intention to harm good people, you should fashion a copper image of the Wrathful King [ 115 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion [Yamāntaka]. This image can be of whatever size is suitable. In a pure room establish a triangular altar. Place the image in the center of the altar. At the base of the altar draw that [evil] person or write his family and given names. The image faces north. Those who maintain the recitation [of Yamāntaka’s mantra] should wear black clothing on their bodies and sit facing south. Form the lance seal (i.e., mudra) and intone [the mantra] with vehement rage three times a day for seven days. That evil person will suffer a foul disease, or will suffer terrible ulcers, or they will die. 若有惡人怨家。於善人起惡意相危害者。應當鑄一金銅威怒王像其像隨意大小。於一淨室 作三角壇。安像壇中。壇底畫彼人形或書姓名。像面向北。持誦者身著黑衣。面向南坐。結 120 槊印忿怒勵聲。日三時念誦一七日。其惡人或患惡疾或患惡瘡或身喪滅。

In the shape of the altar (triangular), directionality (facing south), color (black), the manner of reciting the mantra (vehement rage), and siddhi effects (infliction of disease, death), these Esoteric Buddhist procedures are continuous with Vedic abhicāra rites. Although the Recitation and Recollection of Yamāntaka describes a number of specific homa rites for a variety of outcomes, they are all different kinds of subjugation siddhi. They all result in torment and death for one’s enemies: Another method: paint the śatru (i.e., enemy) on a patra leaf or on birch bark. When the painting is finished form a lance seal (i.e., mudra) and press [it] on that one’s heart. Recite [Yamāntaka’s] mantra, empowering it 108 times. Then set up the image under the seat. Perform this method in the dazzling sunlight of noon. Also, every day in the middle of the night use the lance seal to press down on the heart of that one’s image and recite the mantra twenty-­one times. Imagine that śatru at the base of the image. He, along with all of his battalions and retainers, will die. Another method: first paint a three-­cornered altar. In the center of the altar paint the form of the śatru. Get some khadira wood and make a wooden stake about four cun in length. The head of the stake is of a single piece. Empower it with 108 recitations of the mantra. Place the given name of that person in the middle of the line and add it to the end of the [mantra] line. As convenient, nail [the stake] in the heart of that [śatru]. Recall and recite three times [a day] for one month before the image, 108 recitations at the different times. According to one’s ability, offer anxi incense. After one full month, the śatru will immediately feel uncomfortable and depart. Sometime later he will suffer bodily and die. If [ 116 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion those who maintain the recitation give rise to compassion for [the enemy], perform the homa rite of pacification and that person will be as before. 又法畫彼設都嚧於貝葉上或樺皮上。畫了結槊印。按彼心上誦真言加持一百八遍。然後置 像坐下。取熒惑日午時作法。又每日於中夜。以槊印按彼像心上。誦真言二十一遍。想彼設 覩嚧在像底。并營從眷屬皆衰喪。 又法先畫三角壇。壇中畫設覩嚧形。取佉陀羅木作橛可長四寸。橛頭如獨股形。以真 言加持一百八遍真言。句中安彼人名。於此句下加之。便釘彼心上。一月於像前三時念誦。時 別一百八遍。隨力供養焚安悉香。滿一月已設覩嚧即坐臥不安遠走而去。久後身患至死。持 誦者起悲愍。為作息災護摩法彼則如故。121

Again reflecting Indian heritage, these rituals involving khadira wood and performed at midday result in death to one’s enemies. The effects of this particular subjugation ritual may be countered by the subsequent performance of pacification rituals, but the text otherwise evinces no concern for the target of these rites. Facing the image of the Great Sage [Yamāntaka], make a three-­cornered altar. Recite this mantra one hundred thousand times. After this meritorious practice is completed, get some black mud and knead it to fashion an image of the śatru lying on his back. On the center of its abdomen apply donkey feces. Also get some donkey bones and make five stakes 6 cun in length. [Empower] the stakes [by] reciting the mantra 108 times for each one. With two stakes nail down the left and right shoulders, two stakes nail down the two thighs, and one nails down the heart. Sit facing south and burn anxi incense. Recite the mantra one hundred thousand times. That śatru will promptly fall ill and die vomiting blood. 對大聖像前作三角壇。誦此真言一萬遍。功行即成。然後取黑泥。揑作設覩嚧形仰臥。於 腹中著驢糞。又取驢骨作橛五枚長六寸。一一橛各誦真言一百八遍。以二橛釘左右二肩。二 122 橛釘兩髀。一釘心上。面南坐燒安悉香。誦真言一萬遍。其捨覩嚧即患病吐血而死。

In the text, Yamāntaka also provides instruction for rituals applicable to enemy armies and commanders: Another method, for those who wish to obtain victory over an arrayed army: get 108 cogongrass leaves 12 zhi in length. Wipe them with hempseed oil and burn [ 117 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion them in a three-­cornered stove fired with chinaberry leaves for the homa. On the seventh night recite the mantra 108 times. Insert the names of the generals and commanders into the mantra line. Cast one [cogongrass leaf] into the fire with each recitation. That army will be promptly smashed and you will obtain victory. 又法欲於軍陣得勝者。取茅草葉一百八枚。長十二指。搵油麻油三角爐中燒棘刺柴然火。護 123 摩七夜。誦真言一百八遍。於真言句中稱彼將帥名。一遍一擲火中。即得彼軍陣破得勝。

These Yamāntaka rites are indicative of the nature of subjugation rites in Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism. The practitioner of this Dharma commands demonic beings like Yamāntaka, who kills enemies through disease, discord, and disaster. It was some version of abhicāra rite that Amoghavajra performed for Xuanzong and Suzong while he was in occupied Chang’an. In the Stele Inscription Feixi reports that Amoghavajra assisted the Tang emperors by performing the Banner of Acala and the Divinities of the Eight Directions Scripture in order to defeat the traitors.124 There is no scripture with this name, but it is probably a reference to rites found in Amoghavajra’s Trisamaya Scripture. One of the five central texts of Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism, the Trisamaya Scripture is centered on Acala, the Immovable Wisdom King (Skt. Acala-­ vidyārāja; Chn. Budong mingwang 不動明王).125 Acala is a demon king incorporated into the Esoteric Buddhist maṇḍala pantheon of the Great Vairocana Scripture, installed in the Womb Maṇḍala as Vairocana’s envoy or emissary (shi 使). He is fierce and terrifying. Below the Lord of Mantras, in the direction of nirṛti,126 is Immovable, the Tathagata’s envoy. He grasps a wisdom sword and a noose. From the top of his head his hair hangs over his left shoulder, and he carefully observes with one eye. Powerfully wrathful, his body [is enveloped in] fierce flames. He is situated on a stone platform. His face is [a frown like] waves, and he has the form of a vigorous boy.127 真言主之下依涅哩底方, 不動如來使持慧刀羂索, 頂髮垂左肩一目而諦, 觀威怒身猛焰 安住在盤石, 面門水波相充滿童子形.

[ 118 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion Armed with an edged weapon and a snare, Acala is associated with abhicāra rites. Next, I shall now properly explain the quelling of hinderers. Recall the mantra of the terrible and awesome Immovable. The practitioner abides in his root maṇḍala or dwells in the center and visualizes (觀) the image of those [hinderers]. When the crowning samādhi is completed, those hinderers will be purified, eliminated, stilled, and extinguished, and will not arise. Or, with rājikā128 carefully mixed [with poison],129 the practitioner fashions an image and daubs its body [with the mixture]. All those who would seize one, because of this are governed, All those will have their sense organs burned—­have no doubt. And even the honored Śakra (Indra) and Brahma, should they not follow my teaching, will be burned, to say nothing of all other sentient beings. 復次今當說息一切諸障, 念真言大猛不動大力者, 住本漫荼羅行者或居中而觀彼形像,頂

戴三昧足, 彼障當淨除息滅而不生, 或以羅邇迦微妙共和合行者造形像而以塗其身, 彼諸 執著者由斯對治故, 彼諸根熾然勿生疑惑心, 乃至釋梵尊不順我教故, 尚當為所焚況復餘

眾生.130

The Great Vairocana Scripture is the earliest appearance of Acala in Chinese letters, but Amoghavajra’s Trisamaya Scripture is the locus classicus for Acala rites. There are two versions of the Trisamaya Scripture extant in the modern canon, the Trisamaya Secret Recollection and Recitation Methods of the Worthy Immovable the Wrathful King Envoy and the Trisamaya Recollection and Recitation Methods of the Worthy Immovable Wrathful King Envoy.131 I will refer to these respectively as Trisamaya I and Trisamaya II. Both contain rituals by which an army can defeat an opposing force, and the descriptions of these rites in the two Trisamayas are functionally equivalent. There are some variations between the two texts. Trisamaya I contains a rite for corpse reanimation not mentioned in Trisamaya II, for example, but the main difference between the militarily applicable rites described in them is stylistic. The instructions in the Trisamaya texts are given to Vajrapāṇi by Śākyamuni. The homa rites for siddhis are preceded by a series of several [ 119 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion purifications involving mudra and mantra. The practitioner cleans his body and purifies his karma before protecting himself with mantras and mudras against malevolent forces. The ritual arena is purified and established similarly through a series of mudras and mantras. An assortment of initial offerings are laid out—­flowers, lamps, fragrant water, victuals. After completing all of the necessary preliminaries, the practitioner may perform particular rites for siddhi. These siddhi attainments are various: all will honor you and none will disobey; disease will be cured; wishes will be granted by Lakṣmī, the Auspicious Lotus Goddess (lianhu jixiang tiannu 蓮華吉祥天女); and crops will be abundant.132 These effects are the products of relatively simple homa offerings, but the Trismaya also describes homa rituals involving images of Acala painted on banners, suggestive of Feixi’s reference to the “Banner of Acala” in the Stele Inscription. One of these banner rites is effectively soteriological in nature, though it is marked by certain features as an abhicāra rite (performed at midnight near water): Next, I will explain the rites for painting the image of the Immovable Honored One. Paint the Immovable Honored One on good, clean damask. He wears a skirt the color of red earth. On his left a loose braid hangs down. His eyes squint. His left hand grasps a sword and his right hand holds a rope. He sits on a jeweled lotus. His eyebrows are knit, and he glares with anger. Make the form of Subduing the Triple World (Skt. Trilokyavijaya). Thus, the painting is completed. Take this image to a riverbank or seashore and, in accordance with the rites, smear an altar and install the image. The practitioner also wears clothing the color of red earth. His mind is unstained and unmoved but is quiet and unmoving. He subsists by begging for food. Then, recite a full 500,000 times in front of the image. Then, at midnight get 10,000 measures of champa wood. Cast one measure into the fire with each recitation and burn it. When this is completed, then the Immovable Honored One will manifest in his body and he will completely fulfill the wishes of the practitioner. [The practitioner] will obtain all accomplishments. The practitioner’s own body will become an emissary of the Tathāgatas, and he will ascend to the samādhi and station of all the bodhisattvas. 次說畫不動尊像法以好淨[疊*毛]畫不動尊。著赤土色裙。左垂辮髮髻。眼斜視。左手執劍 右手執索。坐寶蓮華。蹙眉面瞋相。作降三世狀。如是畫已。將此像於河海岸上。如法塗壇 安像。行者亦著赤色衣。心不染著寂靜安心乞食為活。即於像前念誦五十萬遍已。即於夜

[ 120 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion 中取薝萄木一萬段。一誦一擲一擲火中燒之。滿已即不動尊自現其身。滿行者願所作皆得 成就。行者自身為如來使者。證三摩地共諸菩薩同位133

Other Acala banner rituals in the Trisamaya Scripture are subjugation rites directed at opposing armies. Another rite: for those who wish to cause another’s army to be routed, empower your own army’s pennants [with the mantra] ten times each. Take them out in front of the army. The other’s army will be routed and will retreat. Another rite: for those who wish to cause another’s army to be unable to move, on your own army’s pennants paint the Immovable Worthy [with] four faces, four arms, and a yellow body. Teeth protrude above and below. He has a wrathful gaze and a fierce appearance. His body is surrounded by a blazing fire made of the power of heavenly troops. The practitioner, displaying the pennants to the other army and by imagining the sage binding the other troops with a rope, [causes] the other army to be completely unable to move. 又法欲令他軍陣破散者。加持自軍旌一十遍。執出在軍前。彼軍陣破散退走。又法欲禁 他軍陣眾令不動者。於自旌上畫不動尊。四面四臂身作黃色。上下出牙作大忿怒瞋怖 畏狀。遍身火光作天兵勢。行者以旌示彼軍眾。復想聖者以羂索縛彼兵眾。即彼軍眾盡 134 不能動。

Defeating and disabling enemy armies are characteristic of the abhicāra rites in the Trisamaya Scripture: Another rite: for those who wish to cause another’s army to retreat from battle, get the feathers of a crow, owl, or pigeon. Recite the empowering spell and cast them into the fire to burn a full one thousand times. The other’s army will then on its own [retreat from] battle. Another rite: for those who wish to cause enemies to perish, obtain rice chaff, recite the spell empowerment, and cast it into the fire to burn. Also imagine those enemies bound with ropes by emissaries, led to the south direction of stifling suffering, vomiting blood, and perishing. Those and their ilk will all be unable to recover. Not a single one will survive. Another rite: for those who wish to cause another’s army and commander to perish and flee, get salt, wax, and chinaberry leaves. Mash them into a paste and

[ 121 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion [use it] to make the form of those [enemy]. Place it on the ground. Recite the empowering spell and hack it up. They will perish. Another rite: for those who wish to cause another’s army to be starved and cut off from provisions, get some rice grains and empower them [with the spell]. They will starve. Another rite: for those who wish to cause another’s army to be vanquished, form the Immovable Worthy’s Gaze seal and furiously make the sound of the syllable hūṃ 吽. Imagine the emissaries of the sage, various devils, capturing and binding the general [of the army], and those others will of themselves be vanquished. 又法欲令他軍眾自鬪諍退散者。取老鵶鴟梟鴿毛。誦明加持擲火中燒滿一千遍。彼軍眾即 自相鬪諍 。又法欲令捨覩嚕終亡者。取稻糠誦明加持擲火中燒。又想彼捨覩嚕。被使者以 索縛。將向南方悶苦吐血而終。彼等族類。皆不得痊一無存在。又法欲令他軍主終亡者。取 鹽土蠟苦練葉。和擣為埿。作彼形狀置於地上。誦明加持斫斷。彼即終 。又法欲令他軍貧 窮絕糧者。取稻穀加持彼即貧矣 。又法欲令他軍降伏來者。即結不動尊眼印。作瞋怒聲稱 135 吽字。想聖者使諸鬼神捉縛將來。彼即自降。

Feixi’s assertion that Amoghavajra performed Acala rites on behalf of the Tang emperors in order to defeat the rebel forces that occupied the Tang capitals may not be entirely accurate in the historical, documentary sense. We cannot say for certain what rites Amoghavajra performed, but there is overwhelming evidence that he possessed and propagated a Buddhist teaching that promised the ability to command terrible, demonic deities in order to kill enemies. Amoghavajra himself claimed that his Dharma assisted Suzong in retaking the capital, and Suzong apparently did not disagree. There is other evidence that Amoghavajra and his Esoteric Buddhism were employed by the Tang rulers as a sort of war magic or military ritual technology. The Memorials and Edicts contains two directives from Emperor Suzong concerning the practice of Esoteric Buddhism in relation to the Tang military. The first, dated February 8, 758, is an order to send specific disciples to the palace for ritual performances at the maṇḍala altar installed by Amoghavajra. Suggesting that their ritual services had a martial application, these monks were to be escorted by the commander of the imperial army, the Flying Dragons Cavalry: Presented: an edict informing Trepitaka Amogha[vajra]’s four disciples of the Silver Terrace Gate party Huiyu, Quna, Huixiao, and Huiyue to enter the Palace. [ 122 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion They are to be fetched by the Flying Dragons Cavalry general and to recite at the ritual field constructed by Trepitaka [Amoghavjra]. 奉 勅語有銀臺門家喚不空三藏弟子惠[月*于].瞿那.惠曉.惠月等四人入內。將飛龍馬 136 取與三藏建飾道場念誦。

The other command came less than one month later, on March 2, 758, and concerns the continued practice by one of Amoghavajra’s disciples, Huixia, who evidently had been near or behind enemy positions during the rebellion period: Presented: an edict informing Trepitaka Amogha[vajra]’s disciple Huixia that, while near the traitors’ center, your sincere recollection (nian 念) and stealthy cultivation of merit for Our victory resulted in the victorious return of the imperium—­the response of all the buddhas’ power. From now on, you must redouble your efforts in reciting for Us. If nothing is attained, then there has been no effort. 奉 勅語不空三藏弟子僧惠曉等。比在賊中。為朕剋念精誠潛修功德。今剋復天下。皆佛 137 力之應也。自今以後。須倍加精勤。為朕念誦。莫以度取即不精勤。

These missives suggest the application of Esoteric Buddhist rites for military purposes by Suzong and demonstrate that the efficacy of these rites was not understood to reside in the person of Amoghavajra. Their performance by his disciples was just as effective. The editors of the Older Tang History also attributed Emperor Daizong’s support of Amoghavajra to the perception that military disasters were leavened by the monk’s ritual services. Though the court literati who composed the standard histories viewed Amoghavajra’s role with disdain and were dismissive of the emperor’s credulity, Daizong and Suzong do seem to have perceived a supernormal agency behind certain events during the rebellion period. The military disaster of An Lushan’s rebellion was certainly resolved in fairly miraculous fashion. Though An Lushan met with immediate success, moving rapidly and almost without resistance to within striking distance of the imperial capitals, he suffered from ill health and was murdered by his son with the support of his own commanders.138 Lushan’s son, An Qingxu, was himself murdered by a trusted associate, Shi Siming [ 123 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion 史思明, who was in turn assassinated by his son Shi Chaoyi 史朝義, who was eventually abandoned by his own troops and killed in 763.139 The invasion and occupation of Chang’an that same year by Tibetan forces was defeated by a gang of rabble. When a force of confederate foreigners organized by Pugu Huai’en invaded the Wei Valley west of Chang’an in 765, their advance was halted by rivers swollen by heavy rain and they were defeated by infighting.140 The turncoat general Pugu Huai’en slunk off to the northwest, where he fell ill and died.141 The traitors who emerged during these years tended to be defeated and killed by disease, disaster, and dissension. Both Suzong and Daizong attribute to supernormal efficacy the recovery of the capitals and the defeat of rebel leaders and forces. Daizong even attributed the assassination of Zhou Zhiguang 周智光 in 767 to Amoghavajra’s ritual performance. Zhou was a military commissioner exercising command in Tongzhou 同州 and Huazhou 華州, northeast of the imperial capital, but was suspected of being an insurrectionist. Emperor Daizong dispatched an envoy to meet with Zhou and ascertain his intentions. But upon reaching Zhou’s headquarters the envoy found him unguarded, so he simply chopped off Zhou’s head and delivered it to the emperor.142 Hearing this news, Amoghavajra sent Daizong a letter of congratulations.143 In his reply, Daizong suggests that Amoghavajra played a role in killing Zhou Zhiguang: Zhiguang, violent and murderous, dared to harass frontier supply posts. The Princely Master144 [Amoghavajra], temporarily raised himself and killed him.145 The numinous power of the ancestral and tutelary divinities—­t he great sage deployed their blessings. Through the master’s protective recollection, inauspicious signs were forever purified. 146 智光兇狂敢擾關鋪。王師暫舉自有誅夷。宗社威霛大聖敷祐。師之護念氛梫永清。

There are also other, more indirect indications that Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism was adopted by the Tang rulers as a lethal, military religion. As a ritual tradition claiming the ability to kill and defeat enemies by supernormal means, Esoteric Buddhism stood apart from the official rites of the Imperial Religion program and argued for its special applicability during the rebellion years. The grand imperial war rites for the emperor prescribed in the Kaiyuan Ritual Code were for gaining the sanction of Heaven at the inception of a planned war. These rites were neither lethal nor practical [ 124 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion under the circumstances of An Lushan’s rebellion. The military rites in the Scripture of Venus and the Moon invoked the assistance of the gods in military operations and combat, but Amoghavajra and his disciples performed rituals that marshaled ferocious demonic beings to rain down death, disease, disaster, and destruction on the enemy. The closest indigenous analogue to the lethal abhicāra rites that Amoghavajra possessed and performed were yasheng 厭勝 rites, essentially black magic of an unspecified nature that appears to have been the provenance of the unincorporated religious professionals typically labeled “sorcerers” or “witches” (wu 巫) in the sources. The term yasheng, literally “loath and defeat,” is descriptive of its general character: yasheng rites were performed in order to defeat some detested person or being. Perhaps the most famous instance of a yasheng comes from the Han History 漢書 account of the usurper Wang Mang 王莽 (45 BCE–­23 CE), who is said to have performed a yasheng rite against an army by casting an enormous copper ladle made to resemble the Big Dipper. The precise nature of the rite and how it was understood to operate are unclear from the account, but it was evidently effective: the Han History reports that officers, horses, and men froze to death on the day that Wang Mang performed the rite, implying that it was his black magic that brought about their deaths.147 We may assume that the yasheng procedures and other black magic rites persisted within Chinese culture, but such practices are obscured by the nature of our sources, which tend to reflect the commitments and worldviews of the elite. From the perspective of the literati who composed the standard histories, Confucian commentaries, cosmological treatises, and Daoist scriptures, the yasheng was black magic, the provenance of scoundrels and debased charlatans. This opprobrium is reflected in the fact that the efficacy and appropriateness of yasheng rites are frequently discounted in available sources. For example, Wang Chong’s 王充 (ca. 27–­100 CE) Lunheng 論衡 discounts the ability of such rites to affect the course of events. Additionally, references to individuals turning to the performance of yasheng are typically presented as negative examples. The association of the yasheng with Wang Mang, an official who usurped the Han throne, is telling. However, given that the yasheng appears to be the closest indigenous ritual procedure to the violent and lethal rites of Esoteric Buddhism, it is perhaps significant that Emperor Suzong is described in the Older Tang History biography of the official Li Mi 李泌 as having dispatched a “witch” (wuao 巫媼) to travel by government post horse to the counties and prefectures of the imperium in [ 125 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion order to perform yasheng.148 This vignette is matched somewhat by details from Wang Yu’s 王璵 (d. 768) biography in the Older Tang History, which reports that Suzong dispatched a witch (nuwu 女巫) to travel the imperium and make offerings at named mountains and rivers in order to eliminate the evil spirits, although this source does not indicate that she performed yasheng rites.149 These accounts are clearly didactic and are unambiguous in their negative judgment of these witches and Suzong’s decision to employ them, but they also indicate that Emperor Suzong was interested in unorthodox rites, including those that were expected to have lethal results. Other indirect evidence that Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism was employed for martial effect comes from Daoist sources. As in other instances, we may see developments in Daoist traditions as a response to previously unmet social needs or competitive pressures. An example is the emergence of the Lingbao tradition in the fifth century, read as a response to Buddhist techniques and universal soteriology.150 Here, I suggest that we can see a similar model of strategic imitation in the post-­rebellion period—­albeit on a much smaller scale—­with the hagiographic image of Sima Chengzhen. In the earliest hagiographic sources concerning Sima Chengzhen, introduced in the previous chapter, the master is identified as a somewhat reclusive master of the Shangqing tradition who received imperial sponsorship. His image, however, continued to develop in subsequent treatments, and I suggest that these developments indicate an attempt to counteract and contend with the violent appeal and successes of Esoteric Buddhism. In the earliest biographical documents concerning Sima Chengzhen, the memorial stele composed by Cui Shang and erected in 742 and the stele inscription attributed to Wei Ping, the master is depicted as a Shangqing Daoist who reluctantly enjoyed the patronage of Emperors Ruizong and Xuanzong. Xuanzong, according to the latter source, bestowed on Sima the posthumous title Great Master of Luminous Registers and Silver Purity (Yinqing guanglu dafu 銀青光籙大夫) following his death in 735.151 However, biographical accounts of Sima Chengzhen’s career continued to be produced long after his death, and the variations and developments in those sources reveal much about subsequent Daoist communities. For present purposes, Du Guangting’s account, Record of the Traces at Mount Wangwu, Heaven’s Terrace (Tiantai wangwu shan ji ji 天台王屋山跡記), is instructive. Du’s version of Sima Chengzhen’s life is clearly predicated on earlier sources. Accordingly, it gives a rehearsal of Sima Chengzhen’s ancestry and an accounting of his [ 126 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion activities vis-­à-­vis Emperors Ruizong and Xuanzong, similar to those found in Cui Shang’s and Wei Ping’s texts. However, Du’s version concludes with the following account, which is found in no other source: In the Tianbao years, his [Sima’s] spirit used yin troops to assist Guo Ziyi in breaking An Lushan. Afterward, the Brilliant Emperor 明皇 [Xuanzong] enfeoffed him as the Completely Numinous Brilliant Spirit Heavenly King and there was an imperial edict [commanding] the repair of his temple. 152 天寶年,其神用陰兵助郭子儀破安祿山, 後明皇封為總靈明神天王, 仍敕修其廟。

In addition to the fact that this account is to be found only in Du Guangting’s telling, there are a few other clues that this is an innovation of the tenth century rather than a reflection of events and views of the eighth. To begin, the citation of yin troops (yin bing 陰兵) deployed to assist in the defeat of a human rebel seems to be a relatively unheard-­of phenomenon in Daoist texts. In fact, the term “yin troops” itself is rarely encountered until the Ming Dynasty (1368–­1644), by which time its currency is such that it is frequently mentioned in the popular Journey to the West. The earliest citation of yin troops corresponding to Du’s usage is found in the Scripture of Seven Primes of Huoluo Spoken by the Northern Emperor,153 one of a series of texts outlining the use of the spirits of the seven Dipper stars in the Northern Emperor’s battle with the demonic forces of Fengdu 酆都. Yin troops are mentioned once in this scripture, when it is assured that one employing the methods enjoined in the text will receive the assistance of yin troops in preventing disasters and eliminating all wicked anomalies.154 It is perhaps a similar vision that informs Du Guangting’s statement regarding Sima Chengzhen. The text is overtly linked to the Shangqing tradition through its reference to the Shangqing Huoluo 豁落 fu tally, and this perhaps provides a conceptual link with Sima Chengzhen as a Shangqing patriarch. However, the Scripture of Seven Primes of Huoluo Spoken by the Northern Emperor is most likely a production of the late Tang or Northern Song.155 Du Guangting’s assertion that Sima employed yin troops to support Emperor Xuanzong is a projection of late Tang developments and concerns onto eminent figures in the past. This retroactive and apparently idiosyncratic aspect of Du’s account is also suggested by certain historical details, specifically the reference to Sima Chengzhen’s posthumous deployment of yin troops to aid Guo Ziyi in crushing An Lushan. This is [ 127 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion suspicious, for An Lushan died well before Guo Ziyi began collecting victories over traitorous commanders and Tibetan invaders. This is perhaps a case of metonymy, according to which Guo Ziyi simply stands for the heroic, loyal generals of the Tang and An Lushan represents rebels as a whole. Still, if Sima were perceived as having assisted the Tang throne from beyond the veil and if this had been publicly recognized by Emperor Xuanzong prior to his death in 762, as indicated by Du Guangting, we should expect to see mention of it in the earlier hagiographical sources, but we do not. It appears that Du’s claim of Sima Chengzhen’s military assistance to the Tang throne in the human realm against other humans—­whether directly or indirectly, the military application of Daoist ritual forces would have been thereby demonstrated—­is an invention of later generations of Daoists. It is probably not coincidental that at the time, the capital Daoist establishment was subject to the governmental oversight of the commissioner of merit and virtue, an office that had been created in order to formalize the imperial government’s interaction with and support of Esoteric Buddhists.156 The Daoists lacked the ritual means to actively and aggressively intervene in military affairs on behalf of their elite patrons in the eighth century, but later generations reinvented their history and received new revelations from martial deities better equipped for the task. This may well go toward explaining the emergence and popularity of such figures as the Perfected Warrior (zhenwu 貞武) and the Black Killer (Heisha 黑殺) in Song Dynasty Daoist movements.

Esoteric Buddhism and the Ethos of Power Attending the violent nature and martial application of many Esoteric Buddhist rites, Esoteric Buddhism was also characterized by an ethical flexibility that allowed for the incorporation and acceptance of men and women unable or unwilling to observe the ethical stipulations of other articulations of Buddhism. In Esoteric Buddhism, standard ethical proscriptions and prescriptions for both monastic Buddhists and lay practitioners were effectively subordinated to an ethic of power. The degree to which monastics may have been empowered to disregard Vinaya regulations is unclear and in any case was probably quite limited in actual practice. However, there is indication that Esoteric Buddhists were rather less constrained than other [ 128 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion monastic Buddhists. Amoghavajra and his disciples interacted freely and frequently with military leaders and were attached to army headquarters. This fact reflects Esoteric Buddhism’s martial applications, but it is also a violation of Vinaya proscriptions disallowing associations with and viewing of military operations and armies and notably diverges from the actions of Xuanzang 玄奘, for example, who refused to accompany Emperor Taizong (r. 626–­649) on campaign in the Korean Peninsula on the basis of monastic prohibitions.157 However, Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism not only subordinated such considerations to an overarching concern with power and patronage, it also permitted the inclusion of laypeople without making any onerous demands on them to alter their lifestyles or aspirations. This aspect of the teaching is suggested by ritual procedures promising to eradicate all negative karma found in multiple Esoteric Buddhist scriptures. To give one example, the Methods of Having Requests Heard by Ākāśagarbha, a text translated in China by Śubhākarasiṃha and a part of the Diamond Pinnacle cycle of scriptures and ritual manuals, states that the performance of the rite will eliminate all sins and hindrances accumulated from beginningless time: All buddhas and the Bodhisattva Ākāśagarbha will accept and receive this person, all crimes and hindrances will melt away, and one’s body and mind will be pure, blessedly wise, and longevous. All ghosts and vināyakas will be unable to gain advantage [over you]. 一切諸佛及虛空藏菩薩。攝受此人。一切罪障即皆銷滅。身心清淨福慧增長。一切諸魔及 158 毘那夜迦皆不得便。

Techniques and practices explicitly promising the eradication of all negative karma are hardly uncommon in the Buddhist tradition, especially in the Mahāyāna. Furthermore, ritual techniques explicitly for eliminating the stain of negative karma are a necessary element of Esoteric Buddhist rites in particular, insofar as they are intended to bring the performer into contact with exalted buddhas, bodhisattvas, and deities. However, these ritual procedures and their effects may also be read as implying an acceptance of practitioners who are obviously less than virtuous, and there is textual evidence that such an appeal was not merely implicit or a vestigial element of general Buddhist ritual practices. In the Brief Explanation of the Production, [ 129 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion Recollection, and Recitation of the Yoga of the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture, a practical manual by Vajrabodhi, we find the following: As for those who possess a sufficiency of the various wisdoms and virtues, they are permitted to enter into the methods of recitations, setting up homa, and receiving consecration in this great maṇḍala (daochang 壇場) of the Diamond Realm and the method of explaining it and guiding diamond disciples into it. Among those who enter the platform, the highest reason for doing so is for the sake of relieving the suffering and increasing the joy of all sentient beings. [But] as for those who enter this great platform, you should not choose between those with ability and those without. Why is this? Both World-­Honored Ones and sentient beings who have committed great crimes are to be seen in this great maṇḍala of the Diamond Realm. And as for those who enter [the maṇḍala], each and every one of their crimes and hindrances are removed. Again, World-­Honored One, there are sentient beings who give themselves over to lucre and to food and drink, desirous of pleasure, who detest the samaya and do not regularly make offerings—­ these people are [also] in the maṇḍala. As for those who enter in order to do as they please, they will completely attain all that they seek, both World-­Honored Ones and sentient beings. Those who practice for the sake of the pleasure of women, the pleasure of song and dance and food and drink, who do not know the Great Vehicle of all the buddhas or do not inquire about the Dharma enter the temple of the various great gods of heretical paths within the altar. 具足種種智慧功德者。許入念誦設護摩受灌頂等法。於此金剛界大壇場。說引入金剛弟 子法。其中且入壇者。為盡一切眾生界。救護利樂。作最上所成事故。於此大壇場。應入 者不應簡擇器非器。所以者何。世尊或有眾生造大罪者。是等見此金剛界大壇場已。及有 入者。一切罪障皆得遠離。世尊復有眾生。耽著一切資財飲食欲樂。厭惡三摩耶不勤於供 養。是彼人等於壇場。隨意作事得入者。一切所求皆得圓滿世尊或有眾生。為樂妓樂歌舞 159 飲食。隨意所行故。為不了知一切如來大乘。無問法故。入於餘外道天神廟壇中。

This passage clearly articulates a vision of Esoteric Buddhism that includes the morally upright and virtuous as well as those decidedly less so, and this is a feature of other Esoteric Buddhist sources. For example, the instruction concerning initiation rites in Amoghavajra’s Diamond Pinnacle Scripture is both representative of and normative for Esoteric Buddhism. The section opens with a description of candidates. [ 130 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion Entering this great maṇḍala, one should not choose between correct vessels (shiqi 是器) and false vessels (feiqi 非器). Why? World-­Honored Ones, if there are sentient beings who have committed great crimes and they enter this great maṇḍala of the Diamond Realm, after having seen it and entered it they will depart from all evil destinies. World-­Honored Ones, perhaps there are sentient beings who are fond of food and drink, rapaciousness, and defiled attachments, loathing the samaya and the performance of the preliminary practices. If beings such as these have entered in accordance with their desire for delights, then they will attain the satisfaction of all their wishes. World-­Honored Ones, perhaps there are sentient beings who delight in song and dance, sport and games, food and drink, and trifles because they have not awakened to the fully enlightened nature of the Dharma of the Great Vehicle of all Tathāgatas. They enter the family of heretical deities in the maṇḍala—­those who do not enter the maṇḍala out of fear of the precepts of the Tathāgatas, which are capable of producing pleasure and joy, fulfillment of all wishes, and the attainment of the unsurpassed. For those who would [otherwise] enter the pathways of evil destinies, they should enter this great maṇḍala of the Diamond Realm, for the sake of causing all suitable and delightful supreme siddhis, the cause of experiencing tranquility and joy, and because it is capable of transforming all delight in wickedness into manifestations of the Way. World-­Honored Ones, again there are sentient beings who abide in the correct Dharma, and because they seek the Buddha’s bodhi and the precepts, meditation, wisdom, and supreme siddhis and expedients of all the Tathāgatas for the sake of sentient beings they have for a long time cultivated meditation, liberation, and the [bodhisattva] grounds. If those who are weary from their labor enter this great maṇḍala of the Diamond Realm, as soon as they have entered it the fruit of all the Tathāgatas will not be difficult, much less other varieties of siddhi. 入此大曼荼羅。是器非器不應簡擇。何以故。世尊或有有情作大罪者。彼入此金剛界大曼 荼羅。見已入已。離一切惡趣。 世尊或有有情。諸利飲食貪欲染著。憎惡三昧耶。為先行等。如是等類。隨意愛樂入 已。則得滿一切意願。 世尊或有有情。愛樂歌舞嬉戲飲食翫具。由不曉晤一切如來大乘現證法性故。入餘天 族曼荼羅。於滿一切意願。攝受無上。能生愛樂歡喜。一切如來族曼荼羅禁戒。怖畏不

[ 131 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion 入。為彼入惡趣壇路門。應入此金剛界大漫荼羅。為令一切適悅最勝悉地。安樂悅意受 用故。能轉一切惡趣現前道故。 世尊復有住正法有情。為一切眾生。求一切如來戒定慧最勝悉地方便佛菩提故。久修 禪定解脫地等。勞倦彼等。入此金剛界大曼荼羅。纔入已。一切如來果尚不難。何況餘悉 160 地類。

As in the passage from Śubhākarasiṃha’s Methods of Having Requests Heard by Ākāśagarbha concerning the acceptance of appetitive, afflicted beings into the practice of Esoteric Buddhism, there are two types of practitioners who enter Esoteric Buddhism in pursuit of two different goals, tracking to the distinction between the soteriological siddhi and mundane siddhi attainments. These instructions stipulate a distinction between presumably monastic practitioners who observe precepts, practice meditation, and seek liberation for the sake of all sentient beings and presumably lay practitioners without any previous training and without an inclination to take vows (samaya) and give up their present enjoyment of “food and drink, rapaciousness, and defiled attachments.” While the former are certain to attain salvific realization as a result of the entry into and practice of Esoteric Buddhism, the latter are promised to gain satisfaction of all desires as well as the siddhi of transforming “all delight in wickedness into manifestations of the Way.” That Esoteric Buddhism was a teaching of the Buddha open to individuals who dealt regularly in intrigue, punishment, and death, to say nothing of indulgence in aesthetic and carnal pleasures, is clear. The ethical flexibility of Esoteric Buddhism argued for and permitted the involvement of rulers, the governing elite, and military men in a way that other Buddhist traditions did not. The specific articulation of the inclusion of transgressive and sinful individuals in the passage above essentially mirrors the subjugation of the Maheśvara myth, and these less-­than-­virtuous practitioners are to be initiated into the sector of the Diamond Maṇḍala into which Maheśvara and the five classes of violent, non-­Buddhist deities are assimilated. Esoteric Buddhism could have deadly effects for one’s enemies and was openly accepting of practitioners and patrons whose interests were more practical than soteriological. The myth of Maheśvara that provides the basis for Esoteric Buddhist abhicāra rites was a justification for ritual subjugation, oppression, and murder, but it was also the basis for the inclusion of patrons and [ 132 ]

The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion practitioners who were given to violence, appetitiveness, and misbelief. Men such as these were Amoghavajra’s most significant patron-­disciples. *

*

*

Esoteric Buddhist rites were militarily important as a form of weaponized ritual promising to cause the death and defeat of enemy armies and their commanders. Given the military challenges the Tang emperors faced as a result of An Lushan’s uprising in 755/6, this was inestimably valuable. The adoption of Esoteric Buddhism by the Tang rulers and their patronage of Amoghavajra were the result of specific historical factors and conditions to which Esoteric Buddhism was perceived to be uniquely suited. The rebellion of An Lushan initiated a period marked by a shift from the longest era of peace and prosperity in the Tang to one characterized by a series of rebellions in the Central Plains, loss of territory to foreign powers along the northwestern and southwestern frontiers, and invasion by Central Asian powers. At that time, Amoghavajra presented to the Tang throne and ruling elite a teaching of the Buddha that promised an assortment of effects, including the ability to kill human beings, both individually and en masse. From 756 to 765 Tang was in chaos. Esoteric Buddhism—­violent, martial, and lethal in application—­was presented to and adopted by the Tang rulers as a means of ending that chaos. The uprising of An Lushan precipitated significant sociopolitical developments in the upper reaches of the Tang government. No less than the military realities of the day, the series of changes brought about by the abdication of Xuanzong in 756 also contributed to the ascendancy of Amoghavajra. The sociopolitical dimension of Amoghavajra’s rise to power is the subject of the following chapter.

[ 133 ]

FOUR

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite

TRADITIONAL BIOGRAPHIES AND Amoghavajra’s own account of his career emphasize his relationship with three consecutive emperors of the Tang: Xuanzong, Suzong, and Daizong. Though grounded in historical fact, interpreting his career strictly in relation to these men obscures important details. First, it creates the impression that Amoghavajra’s relationship with each emperor and their individual dealings with him were essentially the same. Second, it ignores the web of social relations that surrounded the Tang emperors and within which Amoghavajra operated. Amoghavajra’s relationships with Xuanzong, Suzong, and Daizong were various and particular. Xuanzong appears to have been interested in Amoghavajra primarily as a foreign novelty in court and an imperial envoy abroad—­essentially assuming Vajrabodhi’s relationship with Xuanzong following the master’s passing. Suzong, however, had a personal relationship with Amoghavajra going back well before he assumed the throne in 756. Suzong actively supported Amoghavajra’s work to disseminate Esoteric Buddhism through approval of his translation activities and the initiation of monastics into Esoteric Buddhist practice. This support became decidedly more pronounced with Daizong, under whom the patronage of Amoghavajra and Esoteric Buddhism became official and institutionalized. These different relationships reflect shifting social realities as the families, factions, and officials that surrounded the Sons of Heaven and constituted the Tang central government were transformed first by Suzong’s ascension and Xuanzong’s abdication in 756 and [ 134 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite then again when both Xuanzong and Suzong died only six years later, in 762, and Daizong assumed the throne. In a word, consideration of Amoghavajra and Esoteric Buddhism during the reigns of Xuanzong, Suzong, and Daizong requires more than an examination of these individual men, their supposed religious preferences, and even their individual relationships with Amoghavajra. Subject to the machinations of rivals, the vicissitudes of fortune, and the instability of favor, a life in the uppermost reaches of power in imperial China was perilous. Attention from and interaction with the emperors required the successful negotiation of labyrinthine networks of bureaucrats, power brokers, factions, and families. Focusing on Amoghavajra’s relationship with the Tang emperors tends to obscure the necessary concern for these broader networks of power and influence. To examine Amoghavajra’s association with the Tang emperors requires examining his relationship to and negotiation of the networks of power that surrounded the Sons of Heaven. The three Tang emperors may be read as metonyms for the apparatus of the imperial Sinitic state in quasi-­biographical statements concerning Amoghavajra’s relationship with Xuanzong, Suzong, and Daizong; they may be read as symbols of the social networks and relationships that informed the central government, imperial decisions, and the flow of state patronage. In this chapter I discuss Amoghavajra’s place in these networks and his personal relationships with members of the military establishment, the imperial family, and the civil bureaucracy, arguing that these personal connections contributed to the eventual institutional and institutionalized patronage of Amoghavajra and Esoteric Buddhism under Daizong. From this perspective, Amoghavajra’s rise to privilege may be seen as a function of his social capital in Tang China, the result of his personal connections among members of the ruling elite who came to occupy the most important positions in the Tang central government. The culmination of this ascent was the formal incorporation of Amoghavajra and the Esoteric Buddhism that he promoted into the institutions of the Tang imperial government. In this chapter I introduce the social dimension of Amoghavajra’s rise to influence and the eventual establishment of Esoteric Buddhism. This social dimension also had a bureaucratic aspect, as Amoghavajra’s patrons were important office holders in the Tang government. I begin with an outline of the military and civil structures of the Tang government and then discuss Amoghavajra’s developing social relationships. Vajrabodhi was Amoghavajra’s [ 135 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite entry into the social world of the Tang elite. Following Vajrabodhi’s death, Amoghavajra inherited his social capital and connections among the imperial family and the ruling elite. Following his return from southern India, Amoghavajra presented his new teaching and developed his social network, establishing many patron-­disciple relationships among the Tang power brokers. Reflecting the martial dimension and ethos of Esoteric Buddhism, many of Amoghavajra’s early patron-­disciples were commanders in the military. He also cultivated relationships with members of the bureaucratic elite as well as with the crown prince and members of his establishment. The political upheaval caused by An Lushan’s rebellion led to Amoghavajra’s patron-­disciples occupying the throne and the most important government offices. Support of Amoghavajra and the commissioning of Esoteric Buddhist rites became an official function of the Tang central government.

The Tang Military and Civil Bureaucracy An Lushan’s uprising in 755/6 precipitated significant changes within the Tang imperial government and among the personalities who constituted its central administration. The imperial court fractured as attendants, officials, and troops accompanied Xuanzong to Sichuan while a new de facto administration formed around the crown prince, Li Heng. The heir apparent’s ascension as the ruling Son of Heaven (temple name Suzong) brought new actors and factions to power as Li Heng’s family and the civil and military officials who surrounded the newly enthroned emperor in the north became the nucleus of a new central government and the future of the dynasty. As Tang commanders ascended to the highest levels of prestige and power as a consequence of battlefield success in the struggle to restore and maintain Tang imperial control, new generalissimos arose to replace those who had failed and fallen and those whose loyalties had faltered. New ministers were promoted to trusted positions in the central government, and Li Heng’s wife and children assumed new roles and powers. In hindsight, the chaos initiated by An Lushan in 755/6 may be seen as either a brief interruption of Tang stability and power or a harbinger of the eventual collapse of the Tang imperium, but at the time it was transformative of the Tang central government and of the actors and social realities it comprised. Nevertheless, although [ 136 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite the individual personalities shifted in response to the military upheaval provoked by An Lushan, the institutional structures within which they operated remained largely unaltered. Among the most significant institutions that informed the power structures of the Tang Dynasty in the second half of the eighth century was the office of military commissioners (  jiedushi 節度使).1 These men were de facto governors of border regions who commanded the troops in the frontier garrisons (fangzheng 方鎮). This institution, according to the authors of the “Military Annals” (Bingzhi 兵志) section of the Newer Tang History, developed as a growing number of troops were quartered under the command of border generals.2 By the eighth century, the armies stationed throughout the Tang imperium were commanded by military commissioners.3 The troops on the periphery of the imperium tended to be drawn from local populations of non-­Han peoples who were frequently loyal to their military commissioner rather than to the Tang emperor, who commanded his own troops. These were the imperial armies (  jinjun 禁軍), basically divided between the Southern Command, responsible for defending the imperial capital and palace, and the Northern Command, which served as assault troops.4 Over time, the troops charged with defense of the capital and the person of the emperor and those answerable to him as an assault force came to be constituted by a number of elite units—­the Left and Right Militant as Dragons Armies, the Left and Right Forest of Plumes Armies, and the Flying Cavalry of the Palace Watchtowers. The commanders of these armies were, in theory, drawn from aristocratic families, often descendants of commanders who had aided Gaozu 高祖 (r. 618–­626) in establishing the Tang, but this was impractical in later eras, especially following the rebellion of An Lushan, the defeat of Tang loyalist forces at the Tong Pass, and the flight of Emperor Xuanzong and the crown prince from Chang’an. The Newer Tang History reports that at that time Xuanzong was accompanied by a force of some one thousand men as he hastened to Sichuan, while the crown prince was accompanied by fewer than one hundred men when he traveled north with the charge of ending the rebellion.5 In addition to the military establishment, the Tang emperors relied on an extensive bureaucracy of civil officials (wen guan 文官) to administer the imperium. The most prestigious members of this bureaucracy were the three preceptors (san shi 三師) and three dukes (san gong 三公).6 Though these posts [ 137 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite carried no official duties, these men were traditionally expected to advise the emperor on matters of state. The actual business of managing fell mainly on the agencies of the three departments (san sheng 三省): the Department of State Affairs (Shangshu sheng 尚書省), the Central Secretariat (Zhongshu sheng 中書省), and the Chancellery (Menxia sheng 門下省). Actual administrative duties were overseen by the Department of State Affairs, which was managed through an Executive Office by one director and two vice directors. These men exercised oversight over the six ministries that composed the Department of State Affairs: the Ministries of Personnel, Revenue, Rites, War, Justice, and Works. Each supervised particular aspects of state administration.7 The Ministry of Personnel (Libu吏部) administered the appointments, promotions, demotions, and so forth of the civil officials who staffed the vast imperial bureaucracy.8 The Ministry of Revenue (Minbu 民部 or Hubu 戶部) directed the assessment and collection of taxes.9 The Ministry of Justice or Punishment (Xingbu 刑部) was charged with supervision of prisons, convicts, and the general application of justice throughout the empire.10 Each individual ministry was managed by a minister who supervised the bureaus within it. The Ministry of Rites (Libu 禮部), for example, which typically held responsibility for imperial and court rituals, oversight of visiting foreign dignitaries, and oversight of Daoist and Buddhist institutions, consisted of a Headquarters Bureau, a Bureau of Sacrifices, a Bureau of Receptions, and a Bureau of Provisions.11 Although the Department of State Affairs was the functional administrative unit of the central bureaucracy, the Secretariat and Chancellery held greater actual power. This was the result of a crucial function of these two departments: the control of information in the form of edicts from and memorials to the throne. The most powerful members of the central bureaucracy were the grand councilors (zaixiang 宰相 or xianggong 相攻). Officially, they were men serving in the central bureaucracy as directors and vice directors of the three departments who, in theory, met in daily conference with the emperor.12 In practice, though, the grand councilors were usually selected from a variety of offices on the basis of a given emperor’s personal regard or trust. Such men as these had their titles supplemented and qualified with the official designation “jointly manager of affairs with the Secretariat-­Chancellery” (tong zhongshu-­menxia pingzhang shi 同中書門下平章事) or simply “manager of affairs” (pingzhang shi 平章事). [ 138 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite: The Reign of Xuanzong Amoghavajra’s entree to elite social circles in Tang China was the result of his discipleship under Vajrabodhi. Vajrabodhi’s life is not as well documented as Amoghavajra’s, but available accounts consistently depict him among and enjoying the favor of Tang elites, some of whom are represented to have been his lay disciples. In the account in the Song Dynasty Biographies of Eminent Monks, Zanning indicates that Vajrabodhi had a relationship not only with Emperor Xuanzong but also with members of the royal family and officials in the imperial government. There are several vignettes in this source concerning his interactions with Emperor Xuanzong, beginning with an initial imperial command that Vajrabodhi reside in Ci’en 慈恩 Monastery in Chang’an following his arrival in southern China.13 Zanning also has Vajrabodhi accompanying Xuanzong as the emperor travels to Luoyang, performing rain-­making rituals and enacting healing rites for one of Xuanzong’s daughters.14 In his ultimately ineffective attempt to treat the princess, Vajrabodhi was reportedly assisted by Niu Xiantong 牛仙童, a eunuch official who served in the Palace Domestic Service before being brutally executed for bribery in 739.15 Such details and events may or may not be strictly historically factual, but they suggest a certain level of interaction with the ruling elite during the reign of Xuanzong. Such relationships are hinted at elsewhere. For example, the Song Dynasty Biographies of Eminent Monks also has Vajrabodhi advising Xuanzong’s nephew, Li Jin 李瑾, the Prince of Hedong (Hedong junwang 河東郡王), and Gracious Consort Wu (Wu huifei 武惠妃; d. 737), Xuanzong’s favored consort at the time, to perform devotional acts in anticipation of their imminent deaths.16 Other sources represent Gracious Consort Wu to have been a lay disciple of Vajrabodhi. The Extensive Records of the Taiping Era, drawing from the Tales of Encounters with Divine Transcendents (Shenxian ganyu zhuan 神仙感遇傳) and the Supplementary Addendum to Tales of Transcendents (Xianzhuan shiyi 仙傳拾遺), depicts Gracious Consort Wu as a Buddhist foil to Xuanzong and his esteem for Daoism as they are entertained by magical feats performed by Luo Gongyuan 羅公遠, Ye Fashan 葉法善, and Vajrabodhi.17 This source also declares Gracious Consort Wu to have had a special faith in Vajrabodhi. Other sources suggest close relations between Vajrabodhi and members of the ruling elite during the reign of Xuanzong, specifically Li Hua 李華 (687–­734), known as Princess Daiguo (Daiguo gongzhu [ 139 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite 代國長公主). Li Hua was the fourth daughter of Emperor Ruizong 睿宗 (r. 684–­690), born of his Empress Liu 劉皇后. Princess Daiguo was evidently a devout Buddhist, requesting Fazang 法藏 (643–­712) to compose a commen-

tary on the Heart Sutra for her18 and, according to the Song Dynasty Biographies of Eminent Monks, received a prediction from the monk Hehe 和和 (d.u.) that, though seemingly infertile, she would give birth to two sons.19 Princess Daiguo did have two sons, Qianyao 潛曜 and Huiming 晦明, who served Xuanzong’s heir apparent (Suzong) as left and right grand master admonishers (zanshan dafu 贊善大夫).20 Her memorial stele inscription depicts her as a devoted Buddhist as well as a consecrated disciple of Vajrabodhi. In her later years she devoted herself to the realm of sages, eating vegetarian on the six zhai days and practicing quiet recollection (靜念) in the morning and evening. [. . .] recited the Diamond Scripture in two sections [. . .] the Flower Adornment in eight [. . .] fascicles, the Jewel Heap in 120, the Great Prajñā in 60, the Dharma Flower, the Medicine Master, and the Great Assembly Scriptures. Her understanding was clear; she was unattached to form and emptiness. For more than ten years she gave up song and threw away her pearl ornaments. Before the monk Yifu 義福 (658–­736) she knelt and received dhyāna observation (禪觀), and she received dhāraṇī consecration from Trepitaka Vajra[bodhi]. 逮乎晚年,歸心聖域,六齋蔬食,二時靜念。 (闕一字)誦《金剛經》兩部(闕一字)《華 嚴》八(闕一字)卷、 《寶積》一百廿、 《大般若》六百、 《法華》、 《藥師》、 《大集》等經,領 晤瞭然,色空不著,撤聲樂,投珠罽,十有餘年矣。又於僧義福跪受禪觀,又於金剛三藏受 21 ヌ羅尼灌頂。

Based on what sources we have, it appears that Vajrabodhi’s principal social relationships in the court of Xuanzong were among the imperial family and consorts rather than with the emperor himself. These relationships, however, were significant, especially for his religious heir Amoghavajra. The most consequential for Amoghavajra may well have been his association with Du Hongjian 杜鴻鑑 (d. December 13, 769). Zanning describes Du Hongjian as a “consecrated disciple” (guangding diuzi 灌頂弟子), and he was the reported author of the biographical account of Vajrabodhi that Zanning relies on heavily in the Song Dynasty Biographies of Eminent Monks.22 As Vajrabodhi’s leading disciple, Amoghavajra was heir to not only his master’s Buddhist [ 140 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite teaching but also his social capital through access to his elite contacts and patrons Available sources provide only glimpses of Amoghavajra’s relationships and interactions with the ruling elite in the years following his master’s death in 741. This material tends to suggest that Amoghavajra served as an envoy attached to a diplomatic mission to the southern Indic kingdoms, a duty mirroring that of Vajrabodhi, who evidently arrived in China as a member of a diplomatic mission. As an imperial envoy, Amoghavajra appears to have established relations with certain members of the government then stationed in southern coastal China. For example, the Account of Conduct by Zhao Qian reports that Amoghavajra traveled to Nanhai 南海 (modern Guangzhou 廣州) in order to begin his sea voyage to the southern Indic kingdoms and while he was there, Liu Julin 劉巨鱗, along with a throng of monastics and laity, requested initiation. Although biographical information for him is scant, Liu Julin was a high-­ranking official with jurisdiction over Guang Prefecture.23 Again indicating Amoghavajra’s role as diplomatic envoy between Tang China and the southern Indic kingdoms, Zhao Qian writes that in 746/7 [Amoghavajra] returned to the capital and delivered a memorial from the king of the Lion Kingdom Silāmegha (r. 727–­766), along with golden necklaces, an Indic [copy of the] Prajñā[pāramitā], and the most outstanding jewels and white cotton. He was presented with an imperial edict ordering him to temporarily reside in the monastery of the Court of State Ceremonial. 還歸上京。進師子國王尸羅迷伽表。及金瓔珞。般若梵甲。諸寶白[疊*毛]等。奉勅令權住 24 鴻臚寺。

The Account of Conduct and the Stele Inscription both report that Amoghavajra performed initiation rites for Xuanzong upon his return. These claims are, perhaps, grounded in historical events, as Amoghavajra also reports that Xuanzong permitted him to construct a consecration maṇḍala in the palace and to translate the scriptures he had brought back from the Indic regions.25 The Account of Conduct also says that Amoghavajra was given leave to return to the southern Indic kingdoms in 749/50, and reportedly used five post horses to again reach Nanhai before his voyage was aborted by imperial [ 141 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite command. The reason for this reversal is not given by Zhao Qian, but Amoghavajra’s travel by government post horse again suggests that he was acting as an agent of the imperial court. Again, details concerning Amoghavajra’s affairs immediately following Vajrabodhi’s death are relatively few, especially in comparison to the wealth of information that we have concerning his activities from 756 onward, but it is evident that Amoghavajra inherited certain of Vajrabodhi’s contacts within and duties vis-­à-­vis the Tang court and government and that he built his own relationships with members of the ruling elite in southern China. These relationships facilitated the early patronage that Amoghavajra received from Tang military commanders. In 754 or 755 Amoghavajra was sent to the headquarters of Geshu Han 哥 舒翰 (?–­December 1, 757), the military commissioner of the Hexi-­Longyou Defense Command.26 A member of the Turkish Geshu clan, Geshu Han was of mixed ancestry. His mother was reportedly hu 胡, a term applied during the Tang Dynasty to Central Asian people typically hailing from Sogdiana.27 His father, a Turk (tujue 突厥), had served in the imperial army and attained the rank of deputy protector-­general (fu duhu 副都護) of Anxi 安西.28 This post was of some importance, as protectors-­general exercised oversight and regulation of subject, non-­Han populations.29 When his father died, Geshu Han was invited to reside in the Tang imperial capital as a “guest” and served as an unofficial district commander (wei 尉) of Chang’an. It would seem that Geshu Han was to be raised as an informal adoptee of the emperor. This was likely an imperial favor bestowed by Xuanzong as a result of Geshu Han’s father being killed in service of the Tang throne. A similar favor was granted Wang Zhongsi 王忠嗣 (ca. 704–­ca. 748), the military commissioner of Shuofang 朔方, under whom Geshu Han later served as a general.30 Geshu Han rose rapidly through the military ranks not only because of his social connections but also apparently as a result of martial skill and ferocity, as reported in his standard history biography: Han had a slave in his home called Left Army 左車, fifteen or sixteen years old, who was also strong. Han was good with a spear. He would chase enemies and when he caught them, he would tap them on the shoulder with his spear and give a shout. The enemy would turn around and Han would then stab him through the throat, tossing [the head] 15 chi up into the air and letting it fall. There was none who was not killed. Left Army would then dismount and collect the decapitated heads. [ 142 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite 翰有家奴曰左車,年十五六,亦有膂力.翰善使槍,追賊及之,以槍搭其肩而喝之,賊驚 31 顧,翰從而刺其喉,皆剔高三五尺而墮,無不死者.左車輒下馬斬首,率以為常.

Geshu Han was successively appointed deputy military commissioner of Longyou 隴右, commander of the Guanxi 關西 enfeoffed as duke of the Kingdom of Liang 涼, collecting revenue from 300 households. Simultaneously he became military commissioner of Hexi 河西 and was conferred the title of prince of Xiping Commandery 西平郡王.32 By 754/5, when he requested Amoghavajra’s presence, Geshu Han exercised control over both Hexi and Longyou as military commissioner. He was the de facto ruler of the entirety of what is now Gansu 甘肅 Province. He was also grand guardian of the heir apparent, Li Heng 李亨, the man who would less than two years later be enthroned as emperor (temple name of Suzong).33 Biographical accounts of Amoghavajra tend to represent his service under Geshu Han as marking the beginning of the establishment of Esoteric Buddhism in China through translating important scriptures and performing initiations. They also indicate Amoghavajra’s developing relationships with members of the ruling elite. The Stele Inscription by Feixi provides this account: Reaching the thirteenth year [of Tianbao] (754/5 CE), there was an edict commanding [Amoghavajra] to reside in Wuwei and call on the Military Commissioner Geshu Han, who requested the establishment of a great ritual platform. Along with the Indic monk Han’guang and lay disciples such as Commander Li Yuancong 李元琮, [Geshu Han] received initiation (guangding 灌頂) in the methods of the Great Maṇḍala of the Five Divisions of the Diamond Realm. At that time, the ground of the ritual field quaked. Those who had karmic hindrances cast their flowers, [but] they did not fall; they [remained] above, covering [the maṇḍala]. Like a swarm of bees savoring an aromatic flower, they could not be deterred, but when the affairs were ended [the flowers] properly dropped. Is this not divine? 至十三載。有 勅令往武威走節度使哥舒翰請。立大道場。與梵僧含光并俗弟子開府應 李元琮等授五部灌頂金剛界大曼荼羅法。時道場地為之大動。有業障者散花不下。上著 34 子蓋。猶如群蜂味之香蘂。不能却之。事訖方墜。何神之若此耶。

Yuanzhao indicates that this occurred in the twelfth year of Tianbao (573/4), while Feixi gives the date as the thirteenth year (754/5). This discrepancy is [ 143 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite explained by Zhao Qian’s report in the Account of Conduct. The two dates, following that source, are based on the initial imperial command and Amoghavajra’s actual arrival in Wuwei: In the twelfth year (753/4) there was an edict commanding him to attend Geshu Han, the Military Governor of He[xi] and Long[you], which [Geshu] had requested. In the thirteenth year (754/5) he reached Wuwei 武威 and dwelled in Kaiyuan Monastery. The military commissioner [Geshu Han] and his subordinates all wanted to receive initiation (guangding 灌頂). Those of the nobility numbered an assembly of one thousand people. All ascended the ritual platform (daochang 道 場) and, along with the disciple Han’guang, received the Dharma of the five divisions. Next, the current commissioner of merit and virtue (gongdeshi 功德使), Commander Li Yuancong 李元琮, received initiation in the five divisions and received the Great Maṇḍala of the Diamond Realm. On this day the ground of the ritual platform quaked. The Great Master sensed it and said, “This is the result of the sincerity of your heart.” In the summer of the fifteenth year (756) he was presented with an edict to return to the capital and reside in the Great Xingshan 興善 Monastery. 十二載。 勅令赴河瀧節度御史大夫哥舒翰所請。十三載。到武威。住開元寺。節度已 下。至于一命。皆授灌頂。士庶之類。數千人眾。咸登道場。與僧弟子含光。授五部法。次 與今之功德使開府李元琮。授五部灌頂。并授金剛界大曼茶羅。是日也道場地大動。大師 35 感而謂曰。此即汝心之誠所致也。十五載夏。奉詔還京。住大興善寺。

In the Zhenyuan Catalogue, Yuanzhao echoes this material. According to that source, Amoghavajra offered initiations to members of the ruling elite in Wuwei and translated the most significant scripture in his corpus, the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture. Arriving at the city of Wuwei 武威 [Amoghavajra] dwelled in the Opened Prime Monastery 開元寺. The military commissioner [Geshu Han] welcomed him with all manner of offerings and requested that he translate the scriptures, offer consecrations, and explain the Yoga Teaching of maṇḍalas . . . ​At that time the Prince of Xiping [Geshu Han] requested a translation of the Diamond Pinnacle: The Correct Inclusion of all the Tathāgatas, the Great King of Teachings Scripture in three fascicles for the sake of the kingdom. Adjutant and Director of the Ministry of Rites Li Xiyan 李希言 acted as scribe.36 [Amoghavajra] also translated the [ 144 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite Single-­Syllable Pinnacle Wheel-­Turning Ruler Scripture Spoken at the Seat of Enlightenment in five fascicles,37 the Yoga Scripture of the Single-­Syllable Pinnacle Wheel-­ Turning Ruler in one fascicle,38 and the Ritual Procedures of Visualizing and Reciting the [Scripture] of the One-­Syllable Pinnacle Wheel-­Turning Ruler.39 The administrative assistant to the military commissioner, the Investigating Censor Tian Liangqiu 田良丘, acted as scribe and also undertook the proofing of the smaller scriptures. 至武威城住開元寺。節度使迎候是物皆供。請譯佛經兼開灌頂。演瑜伽教置荼羅。  . . . ​ 時西平王為國請譯金剛頂一切如來真實攝大乘現證大教王經三卷。行軍司馬禮部郎中李 希言筆受。又譯菩提場所說一字頂輪王經五卷。及一字頂輪王瑜伽經一卷。并一字頂輪王 40 念誦儀軌一卷。並節度判官監察侍御史田良丘筆受。又承餘隙兼譯小經。

These various accounts of Amoghavajra’s activities while attached to Geshu Han’s command not only suggest a patron-­client relationship between Han and Amoghavajra but also indicate connections with other significant members of the ruling elite in Tang China. Both Feixi and Zhao Qian specifically name Commander Li Yuancong, the commissioner of merit and virtue, to whom I return in the next chapter, as present in Wuwei and receiving initiation from Amoghavajra. Yuanzhao names Li Xiyan and Tian Liangqiu as participating in the production of the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture and the Single-­Syllable series. There is relatively little information available concerning Tian Liangqiu in the standard histories, though he was clearly one of Geshu Han’s more important lieutenants: in response to An Lushan’s uprising, Geshu Han was charged with defending the Tang throne and Tian Liangqiu, along with Xiao Xin 蕭昕, was appointed as Han’s subordinate commander. As Geshu Han lay ill and incapacitated at his headquarters, Tian Liangqiu was placed in command of the troops at the ill-­fated defense of Tong Pass. Yuanzhao’s representation of Tian Liangqiu’s involvement with Amoghavajra’s translation projects at Wuwei may reflect actual events, but he also may be named based on the relative renown of Tian Lianqiu and his known association with Geshu Han. Alternately, Yuanzhao may simply be drawing a didactic connection between Esoteric Buddhism and Tang loyalists. The same is possible regarding the representation of Li Xiyan’s participation. Material from the Older and Newer Tang Histories and the Comprehensive Mirror indicate that in 755/6, when An Lushan rebelled against Tang rule, Li Xiyan’s official post was in [ 145 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite Wu Commandery 吳郡, in southern China, centered on what is presently Suzhou 蘇州 in Jiangsu 江蘇 Province. Li Xiyan is mentioned only twice in each of the standard histories, where his official titles are given as investigating commissioner of Wu Prefecture (Wu jun caifang shi 吳郡採訪使)41 and prefect of Suzhou and investigating commissioner of Jiangdong (Suzhou cishi, Jiangdong caifang shi 蘇州刺史、江東採訪使).42 He was a loyalist commander during the rebellion period, and his inclusion in Yuanzhao’s account of Amoghavajra’s time in Wuwei may be a literary fiction. But, taking the Zhenyuan Catalogue account to be rooted in historical fact, Li Xiyan’s association with Amoghavajra may stem from when he was in southern China, preparing to return to the southern Indic regions in 749/50 or from his initial voyage in 741–­746/7. Although the exact details are unclear, it appears that the early attention and patronage that Amoghavajra received from Geshu Han was the by-­product of social connections that Amoghavajra had forged through his apprenticeship under Vajrabodhi and his role as international envoy between the Tang court and the southern Indic kingdoms. Beginning with a series of hasty military appointments enacted in an attempt to arrest the progress of An Lushan’s forces and to maintain Tang imperial control over its territory, An Lushan’s Rebellion precipitated marked changes in the personnel charged with the administration of the imperium. When it was reported to Xuanzong on December 28, 755, that An Lushan had risen in rebellion and killed Yang Guihui 楊光翽, the governor of Taiyuan 太 原, the emperor appointed Guo Ziyi 郭子儀 to serve as military commissioner of Shuofang. In a move more symbolic than actual under the circumstances, Feng Changqing 封常清 replaced An Lushan as military commissioner of Fanyang and Pinglu. Wang Chengye 王承業, who was the commanding general of the imperial Forest of Plumes Army, was made governor of Taiyuan to replace the murdered Yang Guihui. Wang Jin 王縉 (700–­December. 31, 781), an official with posts in the Censorate and Ministry of War, was appointed vice governor of Taiyuan.43 Xuanzong also order the raising of conscript troops to be placed under the command of Rong Wangwan 榮王琬, with Gao Xianzhi 高仙芝 serving as his adjutant commander. This army was given the auspicious name “Heavenly Martial Army” (Tianwu jun 天武軍). But Lushan continued his advance toward the Tang capitals, routing the troops of Feng Changqing on January 21, 756, and capturing Luoyang the next day. Feng Changqing retreated and, with Gao Xianzhi, took up defensive positions at the Tong Pass between Luoyang and Chang’an. On January 26, Xuanzong [ 146 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite commanded Crown Prince Li Heng 李亨 to assemble troops to counterattack and recover Luoyang. However, this hopeful plan was effectively thwarted by accusations and recriminations within the central palace, leading to the execution of Gao Xianzhi and Feng Changqing on January 31 under suspicion of corruption and charges of cowardice respectively.44 Geshu Han 哥舒 翰, military commissioner of Hexi and Longyou in the northwest, was summoned to Chang’an from his headquarters in Wuwei, named adjutant to the crown prince, and placed in charge of the defense of the Tong Pass. Li Guangbi 李光弼 (708–­764) was named military commissioner of Hedong, where much of the fighting was taking place. On March 11, 756, the armies of Li Guangbi and Guo Ziyi defeated troops under the command of Shi Siming. Li Guangbi was subsequently promoted to censor-­in-­chief (yushi dafu 御史大夫) and military commissioner of Fanyang. He continued to pursue Shi Siming, meeting his troops on July 13 and again crushing the rebel army. This victory was largely inconsequential, though, as on the same day the men stationed at the Tong Pass attacked the rebel position and were utterly defeated, leaving the pass unguarded and the way to the Tang capital open. Emperor Xuanzong, attended by Yang Guozhong, Wei Duanqiao 韋 見素, the Palace Attendant Gao Lishi 高力士, and the crown prince, among others, abandoned Chang’an on July  18, rushing west in the predawn darkness. It was determined that Xuanzong should escape to Sichuan, but he first commanded the crown prince to assume ultimate command over the Tang effort to squash the rebellion as the national commander-­in-­ chief (tianxia bingma yuanshuai 天下兵馬元帥) with forces assembled from the northern commanderies of Shuofang, Hedong, Hebei, and Pinglu.45 Crown Prince Li Heng, accompanied by his sons, the Guangping Prince 廣平王 Li Yu 李豫 and the Jianning Prince 建寧王 Li Tan 李倓, along with officers and some two thousand men that they had gathered from the scattered remnants of the Tong Pass armies, crossed the Wei River and headed north. The force under Li Heng’s command was strengthened as he moved through the jurisdictions to the northwest of Chang’an, collecting soldiers and provisions in Pengyuan 彭原 and horses in Pingyuan Prefecture 平涼郡. The crown prince decided to establish his base in Lingwu 靈武 and from there organize the recovery of the capitals and Tang imperial rule. The sources indicate that Li Heng’s decision to move to Lingwu was the result of the actions of the liaison officers from Shuofang Commandery, Du Hongjian, Wei Shaoyou 魏少遊, and Cui Yi 崔漪, who sent troops and supplies and [ 147 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite requests that the crown prince come to Lingwu.46 This move was apparently also endorsed by Li Heng’s eunuch advisor Li Fuguo 李輔國.47 The crown prince reached Lingwu on August 9, 756, and three days later assumed the throne as emperor (temple name Suzong). Du Hongjian is said to have determined the appropriate rites of ascension for the occasion.48 Those attending the crown prince, now emperor, were promoted to important positions in the new imperial government. Although at the time this was effectively a government in exile, the appointments would carry much more weight following the defeat of the rebellion and the recovery of the Tang capitals. In Lingwu, Du Hongjian was named director of the Ministry of War (bingbu langzhong 兵部郎中) while Cui Yi became director of Ministry of Personnel and secretary of the Central Secretariat. Pei Mian 裴冕 (d. 770) was appointed director of the Central Secretariat. For his part, Li Fuguo was promoted to serve the new crown prince, the Guangping Prince Li Yu, as household provisioner.49 Li Yu was named national commander-­in-­chief and charged with prosecuting the war against the rebels.50 Li Fuguo was also appointed adjutant commissioner of the Marshall’s Headquarters (xingjun sima yuanshuaifu 行軍司馬元帥府), in which capacity he controlled the flow of memorials to and military commands from the throne, essentially serving as the communication channel between Emperor Suzong and Crown Prince Li Yu. As the military and political struggles provoked by An Lushan’s Rebellion continued, new coteries of officials ascended to positions of prominence as the result of circumstance, performance, and connection. And when Li Yu ascended the throne in 762 (temple name Daizong), many of these same men became more firmly ensconced in the center of power, supporting each other and influencing imperial policy and patronage, often to the advantage of Amoghavajra and practitioners of his Esoteric Buddhism.

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite: The Reign of Suzong The Memorials and Edicts contains no correspondence between Amoghavajra and Xuanzong, perhaps a result of the destruction of Tang documents and records by rebel forces that occupied the imperial capital or perhaps because such formal correspondence never existed. In any case, it is only with the reign of Suzong that we begin to have direct documentation of the relationship between Amoghavajra and a sitting emperor. The first entry in the [ 148 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite Memorials and Edicts is a letter dated December 13, 757, from Amoghavajra to Emperor Suzong, congratulating him on retaking Chang’an from rebel forces. Suzong had personally entered Chang’an only the day before. Subsequent memorials and replies between Amoghavajra and Suzong suggest an ongoing personal relationship that was well established prior to this exchange. Of the ten documents from the reign of Suzong contained in the Memorials and Edicts, only three concern formal, institutional matters. These are requests and approvals to gather and translate scriptures from the holdings in the capital monasteries.51 The formal nature of this work is indicated by the fact that these documents, unlike the others from the reign of Suzong, crossed the desks of relevant officials in the state bureaucracy: the Director of the Secretariat Cui Yuan 崔圓, the Director of the Chancellery Miao Jinqing 苗晉卿, Li Kui 李揆 in the Ministry of Rites, and Vice Director of the Secretariat Wei Shaoyou 韋少遊. The other communications between Amoghavajra and Suzong appear to have passed between the men without the formal intermediary actions of office holders in the imperial bureaucracy. For example, in his December  13, 757, letter of congratulations, Amoghavajra says of Suzong: Having practiced for ages as numberless as the sand grains of the Ganges, [the emperor] turns the wheel of the Dharma. Having clarified one thousand worlds, [he] hangs the sun of the Buddha [in the sky]. For a long time [I] Zhizang have weepingly celebrated the king’s conversion. Having again observed the rites of Han and how much has already been accomplished, how can [I] hope to repay the kindness [of the emperor]? My joy is unequaled, as that of a duck sporting in a marsh. 演沙劫而轉法輪。朗千界而懸佛日。智藏久霑 王化。重覩漢儀。生成已多。報效何冀。不 52 勝鳧藻之至。

And Suzong provides a personal reply: The sly and cunning for a long time made barbarous savagery. Heaven detested that calamity, and by means of troops they were defeated. Having attended to the walls and watchtowers, [things are] as before. Facing the multitudinous elite, all is as before. I, the sovereign, deeply cherish the arrival of [your] moving consolation and acknowledge [your] congratulations. [ 149 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite 狡猾之流。久為殘暴。天厭其禍。卒以敗亡。顧城闕而依然。臨士庶而咸若。感慰之至。深 53 在朕懷。所賀知。

The letter dated March 1, 758, in which Amoghavajra expresses his thanks for a gift of incense sent by the emperor, also received a personal reply. These letters provide many details about the established relationship between Amoghavajra and Suzong and therefore are worth quoting in full: The śramaṇa Amogha[vajra] says: The Imperial Commissioner Wu Youyan 吳遊巖 arrived to present the announcement of the Sage’s decree. While Amogha[vajra]was in his own hall preparing today’s zhai meal, [I] was specially granted named incense. Having sent down Your Heavenly messenger, You greatly honor me. Leaping with joy, [my happiness] is difficult to express. Amogha[vajra] is sincerely joyous and delighted. Amogha[vajra] entrusted himself to the stream of the Dharma and, longing for the vast secret teaching, alone [I] traveled ten thousand li and studied all over the five Indias (五天)—­t hinking only of presenting myself to all the buddhas of the ten directions of the lotus treasury; fully focused on mastering the five divisions of mantras of the Plum Garden. In every case I arranged letters, observed my mind, and took refuge in the protection [of the buddhas]. I hoped that by the power of the vehicle of the grand vow I would happen to [encounter] the emergence of a Wheel-­Turning King. Purely and sincerely for ten years I have met many times with the Brilliant Sage. Previously, when the Han Passes were not open and Your Majesty cultivated his virtue in the Spring Palace, early on you presented me with tidings and deigned to inquire after me. At the same time, You bestowed on me fragrant medicines, secretly undertaking empowerments. Then Your Majesty patrolled the north. Although Amogha[vajra] was unable to accompany and attend You, Han’guang 含光 and other disciples returned from the west and went out to personally meet the Tinkling Chariot Bells [of the emperor]. Among rugged mountains and armies there was discussion of establishing Your Majesty [as emperor]. Although Amogha[vajra] was personally captured among the barbarians (hu 胡), I was always faithful in revering the Palace Gates and Courtyards. I frequently received secret edicts, and [my] reverent submissions all reached Your Majesty. Your Majesty effected his far-­sighted stratagem himself and the power of the Dharma secretly contributed to it. The evil crowd was dispersed and routed, and the imperial visage returned to his correct position. [ 150 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite Amogha[vajra] is a trifling pawn and also unworthy of the court’s beneficence. In the tenth month you purified the palace in order to set up a demon-­dispelling assembly. [You] rectified the court, presented titles, and still looked down upon the consecration platform. Painting the imperial palace and fumigating the other halls, you also permitted translations and granted the ordination of monks—­ already bestowing [on me] profound favor. When could [I] repay [your] kindness? Solemnly at the three times [I] bathe the images and on the half-­moon [perform] the homa so that the thirty-­seven honored ones will protect the land of the Luminous King and the sixteen protectors54 will augment the divine might of the Sage Emperor [so that His] lifespan will be like the Southern Mountains, [standing] forever without end. [I] cannot bear the extremity of my grateful happiness at the honor. [I] solemnly submit this memorial letter of thanks in order that it be heard. Thus the śramaṇa Amogha says solemnly with sincere joy and sincere happiness. 沙門不空言。中使吳遊巖至奉宣 聖旨。以不空本院今日設齊。特賜名香。兼降 天使。鴻 私由被。欣躍難名。不空誠歡誠喜。不空託蔭法流。思弘密教。孤遊萬里。遍學五天。凝想 十方覲華藏之諸佛。專精五部窮柰苑之真言。每布字觀心投身請護。願乘弘誓之力。得值 輪王出興。潔誠十年。累會 明聖。前載函關未啟 陛下養德春宮。早奉 德音。曲垂 省 問。兼賚香藥。密遣加持。及 陛下北巡。不空雖不獲陪侍。弟子僧含光等歸從西。出又 得親遇 鑾輿。崎嶇戎旅之間。預聞 定冊之議。不空雖身陷胡境。常心奉 闕庭。頻 承 密詔。進奉咸達 陛下睿謀獨運。法力冥加。群兇散亡 宸象歸正。不空微質。又 忝 朝恩。十月清宮以建辟魔之會。正朝薦號仍臨灌頂之壇。塗飾 上宮。熏修 別殿。既 許翻譯。仍與度僧渥澤已深。報効何日。謹當三時浴像半月護摩。庶三十七尊保 明王之 國土。一十六護增 聖帝之威神。壽如南山永永無極。不勝咸戴欣荷之至。謹奉表陳謝以 55 聞。沙門不空誠歡誠喜謹言。

In this letter, Amoghavajra provides a thumbnail account of his career up to this point, specifically citing his time in the southern Indic kingdoms and his acquisition of the teaching of Esoteric Buddhism (“the five divisions of mantras”). He cites his service to Suzong during the rebellion, as discussed in the previous chapter. Amoghavajra also indicates that their relationship was established many years prior to Suzong’s ascension to the throne in 756, perhaps upon Amoghavajra’s return from the southern Indian kingdoms in 746, if we are to take literally his suggestion of anticipating the enthronement for ten years. It is clear that Amoghavajra enjoyed a patron-­client relationship with Suzong when he was still the heir apparent, given [ 151 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite Amoghavajra’s statement that the now-­emperor provided him with gifts and that he received “secret empowerments” (miqian jiachi 密遣加持) while “cultivating virtue in the Spring Palace,” that is, in the residence of the heir apparent. This relationship apparently persisted by proxy while Suzong was exiled from the imperial capitals in the initial years of his reign; Amoghavajra describes his disciples, led by Han’guang, as accompanying the emperor at this time and sending and receiving communications to and from the mobile court. Given all of this, Suzong’s rather personal reply to Amoghavajra’s expression of gratitude is hardly surprising: The master’s current body is of the Western Quarter, and he has unfurled the Dharma in the Middle Kingdom in accord with his grand vows of the past. Our mind fully understands all of this. You traversed the sands and extended great blessings. You crossed mountains and forded rivers, invariably recalling causes and conditions. And now the bhikṣus may hear of the Way and state their vows. Now the lotus has reached purity, the pattra are again proclaimed. The subtle, marvelous Buddha is inconceivable. Venerating [the one] without hindrances, [We presented] this powdered incense. With respect, [may your] pure practice continue and not backslide. [Your] thanks are acknowledged. 師現身西方。開法中國。在昔弘誓。朕心悉知。經行恒沙。致大福力。自頃跋涉。常念因 緣。而今比丘問道申願。今蓮花至淨貝葉重宣微妙佛陀不思議也。崇無罣礙是錫末香。奉 56 持精修常不退轉。所謝知。

Although we cannot know for certain how Amoghavajra entered the orbit of the future Suzong, his relationship with the crown prince and later emperor existed within a network of social relationships that surrounded Li Heng. Many of these relationships were cultivated among members of the ruling elite first by Vajrabodhi and then by Amoghavajra. For example, as discussed above, the sons of Princess Daiguo, reportedly a lay disciple of Vajrabodhi, served as left and right grand master admonishers to Li Heng as heir apparent. Amoghavajra had an evident patron-­client relationship with Geshu Han, the grand guardian of the heir apparent. This was an honorary rather than a substantive title, but Amoghavajra’s connections with Geshu Han and the ruling elite stationed in the northwestern territories of the Tang became all the more significant when Li Heng fled to Lingwu and established his court in exile in the northern and northwestern redoubts [ 152 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite of Tang control. And when Li Heng ascended the throne, Du Hongjian, one of Vajrabodhi’s lay disciples, reportedly oversaw the imperial rites of investiture. Indeed, if any single individual is most responsible for helping to establish the relationship between Suzong and Amoghavajra, it is perhaps Du Hongjian. Du Hongjian was scion of a family of officials. His father, Du Xian 杜暹 (d.u.), had earned the rank of classicist (mingjing 明經) in the civil service recruitment exam before joining the army.57 Xian went on to serve with distinction on the western frontier in the Tang protectorate of Anxi during the reign of Xuanzong, rising to the post of grand councilor.58 Du Hongjian’s own career followed a similar path; he earned the rank of presented scholar and joined the army. In 755, when the An Lushan Rebellion began, Hongjian occupied several posts. He was rectifier for the chamberlain of law enforcement (dali sizhi 大理司直) on the staff of the heir apparent. In this capacity Du Hongjian would have administered the Censorate under the heir apparent and would have been empowered to investigate and bring charges against other officials among the heir apparent’s staff. Hongjian maintained his ties to the Tang military at this time, serving concurrently as capital liaison representative to the military commissioner of Shuofang 朔方 and as deputy fiscal commissioner.59 The Shoufang Defense Command was administered at the time by Geshu Han; its administrative seat was Lingwu. With his close ties to both the heir apparent and Geshu Han and the Tang military establishment, Du Hongjian was immediately promoted when Emperor Xuanzong abdicated and Li Heng (Suzong) ascended the throne. Under the nascent Emperor Suzong, Du Hongjian was appointed to the Ministry of War.60 Upon recovery of the two capitals he became supervisor of the Supreme Area Command of Jingzhou 荊州 and military commissioner of Jingnan 荊南.61 On June 1, 757, still serving as vice director of the Ministry of War, Du Hongjian was installed as military commissioner of Hexi.62 When both Emperors Xuanzong and Suzong died in 762, Hongjian, as minister of the Court of Imperial Sacrifices (taichang liang 太常卿) and commissioner for ceremonial propriety (liyi shi 禮儀使), oversaw the funerary rites. Although Du Hongjian may well have been the driving force behind the establishment of a relationship between Amoghavajra and Suzong, Li Heng existed within a web of social networks that also would have strengthened and encouraged such a relationship. For example, Li Fuguo, the eunuch official who accompanied Li Heng to Lingwu and then served as one of Suzong’s [ 153 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite most trusted advisers, also appears to have been responsible for supporting the relationship with Amoghavajra. Li Fuguo’s original given name was Jingzhong 靜忠. He was born into straitened circumstances as the youngest child in a family serving in the palace stables and corrals. No doubt owing to his dim prospects, he was castrated as a child for service as a eunuch in the palace. His biography in the standard histories reports that he was ugly and unrefined, but he was literate and could cipher. As a result, he became a servant to Emperor Xuanzong’s powerful eunuch official Gao Lishi and as an adult was placed in charge of the accounts of the palace stables. In this capacity he was noticed by Wang Hong 王鉷, commissioner for the palace corrals and stables (xianjiushi 閑廄使), who recommended him to the service of the crown prince, Li Heng (Suzong). As a result, when Li Heng fled Chang’an for Lingwu and assumed the throne in 756, Li Fuguo accompanied him. After Suzong returned to the capital in 758 and began in earnest to establish his reign, Li Fuguo was appointed director of the palace administration (dianzhongjian 殿中監) and commissioner of the imperial stables. As a mark of Suzong’s deep gratitude for his service, he was also granted the prestige title of commander unequaled in honor and was enfeoffed as the duke of Chenguo 郕國公 with an actual income of 500 households. The standard histories report that Li Fuguo strictly controlled the flow of memorials to the emperor, thus exercising a pronounced degree of influence on the emperor and his decision-­making process.63 It is possible that Li Fuguo served as a patron of Amoghavajra, encouraging Suzong in his own patronage of the monk. Li was reportedly a dedicated Buddhist: Fuguo did not eat meat, and he would always practice as a Buddhist monk. During breaks in his official business, he would handle prayer beads (nianzhu 念珠). Everyone believed him to be good. 64 輔國不茹葷血,常為僧行,視事之隙,手持念珠,人皆信以為善。

Furthermore, on October 12, 760, Li Fuguo issued an order that Amoghavajra and three disciples of his choosing should perform meritorious service at Zhideng Monastery, presumably for the person of the emperor.65 Li Fuguo’s alliances within the central administration seem to have also played a significant role in buttressing Amoghavajra’s relationship with Suzong and the Tang government. For example, Grand Councilor Li Kui 李揆 [ 154 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite was apparently aligned with Li Fuguo, whom he reportedly treated in an exceedingly deferential manner. Li Kui was director of the secretariat in 758 when he directed the Ministry of Sacrifices to approve and support Amoghavajra’s request to begin translating scriptures.66 But Li Fuguo’s most momentous alliance within the central government, at least as it concerned Amoghavajra, was with Yuan Zai 元載 (?–­May 11, 777). Although Li Fuguo was a eunuch, Suzong had him take a woman from the Yuan clan to be his wife, thus establishing what was essentially a marriage alliance between Li Fuguo and Yuan Zai. Yuan Zai was of common stock, born to a poor family from Qishan 岐山 in what is now Shanxi 陕西 Province. His biography in the Older Tang History represents him as studious but unable to pass the regular civil service recruitment exam. However, in February 741, Emperor Xuanzong issued an edict directing the establishment of a temple to the Lord of Mysterious Origin (Xuanyuan huangdi 玄元皇帝) and a School for Venerating the Mysteries (Chongxuan xue 崇玄學) at which students would study Zhuangzi 莊 子, Laozi 老子, Wenzi 文子, and Liezi 列子.67 These four Daoist texts were the basis for a special recruitment examination by means of which able men could gain entry into the civil service. This system expanded the base of recruitment for the civil bureaucracy to include men who were not trained exclusively or extensively in the Confucian canon. Yuan Zai was one of the earliest beneficiaries of this new policy: he passed the Daoist examination on or about November 7, 741, and entered the government.68 However, he does not appear to have had a personal, exclusive commitment to Daoism as a sectarian tradition. In addition to his actively promoting Amoghavajra and Esoteric Buddhism, his daughter was also a Buddhist nun at Zijing Monastery 資敬寺.69 His first duty assignment was as commandant of Xinping 新平 in Bin Prefecture 邠州, modern Shanxi 山西 Province.70 He was subsequently promoted to case reviewer in the Court of Judicial Review.71 As with so many other men of this time, the disruption to the imperial administrative system wrought by An Lushan’s Rebellion led to Yuan Zai’s promotion to a relatively important position. He first became deputy to Li Xiyan, the Prefect of Suzhou, who, according to Yuanzhao’s account in the Zhenyuan Catalogue, participated in Amoghavajra’s translation of Esoteric Buddhist scriptures at Wuwei. Yuan Zai eventually attained the position of director of the Ministry of Revenue following the recovery of the two capitals in 758.72 His power and influence only increased during the reign of Emperor Daizong, during which time he appears to have actively encouraged [ 155 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite imperial patronage of Amoghavajra and the incorporation of Esoteric Buddhism into the institutions of the Tang state. Members of Suzong’s immediately family also appear to have been lay disciples of Amoghavajra as well as, on occasion, confederates of Li Fuguo. The most significant was Suzong’s Empress Zhang 張皇后, the granddaughter of Lady Dou 竇氏, the younger sister of Emperor Xuanzong’s Dowager Empress Zhaocheng 昭成.73 Zhaocheng’s sons, Quhou 去惑, Quyi 去疑, Qushe 去奢, and Quyi 去逸, were all installed as grand councilors (daguan 大官).74 One of Quyi’s 去逸 daughters would become Empress Zhang. She became the principal wife of the Heir Apparent Li Heng during the Tianbao reign period (742–­56), receiving the official designation of related lady of excellence (liangdi 良娣).75 When the heir apparent fled Chang’an for Lingwu in advance of the rebel forces of An Qingxu, she accompanied him. The biographies of Empress Zhang represent her as appropriately devoted to her husband, attending him during these perilous times, giving birth to a son, and sewing clothing for the infant from the uniforms of soldiers. When the heir apparent assumed the throne, she was accordingly elevated to the position of pure consort (shufei 淑妃).76 This change in designation was required given Li Heng’s change in status from heir apparent to emperor. A “related lady of excellence” is a high-­ranking consort of the heir apparent, while “pure consort” is a designation for consorts of an emperor. Following the recovery of the two capitals in 757, Emperor Suzong named her his empress.77 On May 19, 758, one month after her elevation to that status Amoghavajra conveyed his congratulations to Suzong.78 This was more than a simple attempt to curry favor or observe a certain etiquette, for it seems that the newly enthroned empress was personally known to Amoghavajra. Empress Zhang was a dedicated Buddhist. In an effort to cultivate merit and assist Emperor Suzong during a period of illness, she reportedly copied out sūtras in her own blood in February 761.79 Typical of Chinese empresses, Empress Zhang wielded power of a largely unofficial nature in the imperial palace and government while her husband, Emperor Suzong, was alive and also following his death, during the reign of Emperor Daizong. The standard histories report that during the reign of Emperor Suzong she exerted a great deal of influence on the operation of the imperial government. This role is, as one would expect, maligned by the conservative authors of the standard histories. According to those accounts she “grabbed for control in the imperial palace with the eunuch Li Fuguo, intervening in governmental affairs, [ 156 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite making requests and calling on superiors in transgression of what is proper.”80 Her efforts to grab power culminated in an attempted coup in 762, in which she tried to have her son installed as heir apparent, presumably so that she could exercise de facto rule as dowager empress on the model of Empress Wu Zetian 武則天. This plot was thwarted by her previous confederate Li Fuguo, which doubtless strengthened Heir Apparent Li Yu’s trust in him. In the fourth month of the first year of Baoying (May 13–­27, 762), Suzong was gravely ill, and the empress plotted with the eunuchs Zhu Huaiguang 朱輝光, Ma Yingjun 馬英俊, Dan Tingyao 啖廷瑤, and Chen Xianfu 陳仙甫 to install Xi 係, Prince of Yue 越王. She falsified an edict summoning the heir apparent [Li Yu 李 豫, the future Daizong] to enter and attend [the emperor’s] illness, but the eunuchs Chen Yuanzhen 程元振 and Li Fuguo 李輔國 knew of her plan. When the heir apparent entered, the two men informed him of the danger and asked the heir apparent to go to the Flying Dragons Corral. . . . ​Soon afterward, Suzong passed away and the heir apparent assumed oversight of the kingdom. He accordingly moved the empress to another hall where she would be isolated. 寶應元年四月,肅宗大漸,后與內官朱輝光、馬英俊、啖廷瑤、陳仙甫等謀立越王係,矯 詔召太子入侍疾.中官程元振、李輔國知其謀,及太子入,二人 以難告,請太子在飛龍 81 蹑. . . . ​俄而肅宗崩,太子監國,遂移后於別殿,幽崩.

The failure of this scheme resulted in a diminution of Empress Zhang’s power in the Central Court. It did not render her powerless. She retained the rank and privileges of empress to the deceased Suzong and the title of mistress of Deng Kingdom (Dengguo furen 鄧國夫人), received during the reign of Xuanzong. She was evidently not put to death upon Daizong’s ascension to the throne in 762.82 Indicative of her long-­ standing relationship with Amoghavajra, she produced an elegy for him on August 16, 774, the day of his interment.83

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite: The Reign of Daizong Following the ascension of Suzong to the position of emperor in 756, Amoghavajra’s relationship with a Tang emperor becomes discernable, and [ 157 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite it is clear that this relationship was essentially personal and established prior to 756, reinforced by the individual and interpersonal commitments of many individuals who surrounded Suzong: Geshu Han, Du Hongjian, Li Fuguo, Yuan Zai, Empress Zhang. It was unquestionably a boon to Amoghavajra and his disciples when Suzong inherited the throne, regained at least nominal control over the Tang imperium, and promoted some of Amoghavajra’s most significant patrons and lay practitioners of Esoteric Buddhism to positions of power. However, Suzong died in May 762 at the age of fifty-­one. His six-­ year reign was brief and characterized by radical upheaval and strife as the struggle with An Lushan’s epigones in rebellion as well as persistent raids and invasions from outside peoples continued to threaten the dynasty. It was Daizong who provided Amoghavajra with sustained imperial patronage. Under Daizong, Amoghavajra’s elite support became institutionalized, and he produced scriptures, performed rituals, and trained others by mandate of the emperor and influential office holders in the central government.84 Daizong’s sponsorship of Amoghavajra was in part due to the fact that several promoters of Amoghavajra from the reign of Suzong remained in influential positions in the central government. Given the brevity of Suzong’s reign and the ongoing issues that Daizong inherited, many of the same individuals who rose to power with the ascension of Suzong continued in their privileged positions under Daizong. In many cases their prominence in the central bureaucracy only increased. For example, Li Fuguo, who had served as advisor to Suzong and was essentially appointed to act as a liaison officer between Suzong and the crown prince (Daizong), continued to accumulated power and influence in the central government. Although Li Fuguo’s biography in the Older Tang History states that Daizong hated and feared him, it is evident that the new emperor in fact held Li Fuguo in high regard: Daizong granted him the esteemed title of minister father (shangfu 尚父)—­probably in recognition of Fuguo’s loyal service in thwarting the attempt on his life—­ and subsequently granted him the honorific title minister of works (sikong司 空) and an appointment as director of the secretariat (zhongshling 中書令).85 Yuan Zai, Li Fuguo’s ally in the imperial government, also continued to accrue power and influence under Daizong. By December  763 Yuan Zai ascended to the position of adjutant marshal of the armies as well as governor of Chang’an and vice minister in the Ministry of Personnel. his power during these years was pronounced. The Older Tang History reports that Yan Zhenqing 顏真卿 was demoted merely for having openly disagreed with Zai in 766.86 [ 158 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite Many of the holdovers from the reign of Suzong acted on each other’s behalf and for their various allies, thereby magnifying and entrenching their positions within the Tang government. While Yuan Zai was apparently aligned with Li Fuguo through marriage—­and presumably for personal benefit—­he was also allied with Wang Jin through his marriage to Wang Jin’s daughter, Wang Yunxiu 王韞秀 (d. 777?).87 Such an association goes toward explaining the apparently cooperative relationship between Yuan and Wang, what the authors of the standard histories describe as Wang Jin’s submissiveness to Yuan Zai.88 Wang Jin was another official who had risen in the ranks as a result of An Lushan’s Rebellion, gained promotions under Suzong, and continued to advance under Daizong. He also appears to have actively promoted Amoghavajra through his position in the Tang government. Wang Jin held positions in the Censorate and the Ministry of War when he was selected by Xuanzong to serve as vice governor of Taiyuan and charged with defending the region against rebel troops. During the initial years of Suzong’s reign, Taiyuan served first as a bulwark and then as a forward operating base as loyalist troops assembled and counterattacked under the command of Li Guangbi, assisted by Wang Jin.89 As a result of his service and success at this time, Wang Jin was promoted to a post in the central bureaucracy as vice director of the Ministry of War (bingbu shilang 兵部侍郎). Following the reestablishment of Tang rule in 758, he became a grand councilor under Emperor Suzong with an appointment as vice director of the Chancellery.90 Under Daizong, Wang Jin’s power and influence in the central bureaucracy continued to increase. Two years after Daizong became emperor, on September 2, 764, Wang Jin was appointed director of the Chancellery and promoted to the peerage as duke of Taiyuan Commandery.91 Three weeks later, he became regent of the Eastern Capital (dongdou liushou 東都留守).92 In this capacity, Wang Jin was empowered as the emperor’s personal representative in Luoyang, the secondary dynastic capital, and his power grew at a seemingly exponential rate. By October  18, 768, he was also the regional chief of Youzhou 幽州, the commissioner with special powers, deputy marshal of Henan, and controller of the Mobile Brigade of Eastern Shannan Circuit. He was also military commissioner of the armies of Youzhou and Lulong 盧 龍, centered on modern Beijing,93 and commissioner in the Taiqing Palace (taiqinggong shi 太清宮使). To these were added the title and authority of the administrator of Taiyuan and regent of the Northern Capital.94 Wang Jin’s power radiated from Luoyang through what is presently Henan Province, [ 159 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite north to modern Hebei and Shanxi provinces. Wang Jin was also brother to Wang Wei 王偉, the celebrated Buddhist poet. Like his brother, Wang Jin was especially devout in his Buddhist practice, converting one of his residences into a Buddhist chapel following the death of his wife, Lady Li.95 Du Hongjian was another noteworthy holdover in the imperial government from Suzong’s reign. Under Suzong, he was first promoted to director of the Ministry of War and administrative secretary of the Secretariat before becoming censor-­in-­chief and serving as military commissioner of Hexi in 757/8. Following the recovery of the Tang capitals, Du Hongjian was made military commissioner of Jingnan 荊南. Although he was evidently unsuited for military positions, Daizong appointed him military commissioner of Jiannan 劍南 (i.e., Sichuan).96 In 764, on the same date as Wang Jin’s promotion to director of the Chancellery, Daizong appointed Du Hongjian vice director of the Secretariat. These men, Li Fuguo, Yuan Zai, Du Hongjian, and Wang Jin, who rose to power during the disruption provoked by An Lushan and the ascension of Suzong, effectively reinforced Suzong’s relationship with and patronage of Amoghavajra through their own individual commitments to Buddhism, their associations and commitments to Amoghavajra in particular, and their relationships and alliances with one another. When Daizong assumed the throne in 762, they continued to wield influence within the imperial government on Amoghavajra’s behalf. This did not go unnoticed by the authors of the Older Tang History, who attributed Daizong’s patronage of Buddhism to high-­ranking officials in his administration: Initially, Daizong delighted in the ancestral temple and deities and did not lay much importance on the Buddha, but Yuan Zai, Du Hongjian, and [Wang] Jin delighted in [providing] meals for monks. Daizong once inquired as to the matter of blessing and karmic retribution, so Zai and the others produced a memorial and Daizong followed this memorial excessively. He once commanded that food for 100 monks [be provided], that Buddha images be laid out in the central palace, and that the recitation (niansong 念誦) of scriptures be practiced. He called it the Inner [Palace] ritual platform (daochang 道場). The meals that were provided were generous and exceedingly rare [dishes]. Coming and going, [the monks] rode horses of the [imperial] stables. The Ministry of Revenue (duzhi 度支) provided them with an allowance from the Granary. Whenever the western foreigners (xifang 西蕃) invaded, [Daizong] would invariably command the monks to [ 160 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite recite the Scripture for Humane Kings in order to resist and capture the invaders. If there happened to be the good fortune of those [invaders] retreating, then [Daizong] would unreasonably bestow gifts. 初,代宗喜祠祀,未甚重佛,而元載、杜鴻漸與縉喜飯僧徒.代宗嘗問以福業報應事,載等 因而啟奏,代宗由是奉之過當,嘗令僧百餘人於宮中陳設佛像,經行念誦,謂之內道場.其 飲膳之厚,窮極珍異,出入乘廄馬,度支具廩給.每西蕃入寇,必令戝僧講誦仁王經,以 97 攘虜寇. 苟幸其退,則橫加錫賜.

The specific recipient of these unreasonable gifts was Amoghavajra. The barbarian (hu 胡) monk Amoghavajra’s governmental appointment reached the rank of chief minister; [the title of] duke of state (guogong 國公)98 was conferred on him; it is extensively recorded that he entered the forbidden central [apartments of the palace], that he had the power to remove palace ministers, and that he strove to arrogate more power to himself, vying even with the sun itself. Usually the fields around the capital’s precincts were perfectly plentiful, [but] many belonged to monasteries and temples, so officials were unable to control them. As for the associates of the monks, although they were thieves and lechers who sowed disorder and although they would kill one another, Daizong’s faith did not change. There was even an edict that the government officials of the imperium could not flog or drag off monks and nuns. 胡僧不空,官至卿監,封國公,通籍禁中,勢移公卿,爭權擅威,日相凌奪.凡京畿之豐田 美利,多歸於寺觀,吏不能制.僧之徒侶,雖有贓姦畜亂,敗戮相繼,而代宗信心不易,乃 99 詔天下官吏不得箠曳僧尼.

This representation in the Older Tang History reflects certain historical facts. Yuan Zai, Du Hongjian, and Wang Jin were positioned to encourage imperial support of Amoghavajra and probably did so. Daizong did command and sponsor the performance of Esoteric Buddhist rites in the Inner Palace. Daizong did sponsor the translation of the Humane Kings scripture. Amoghavajra did perform Esoteric Buddhist rites to supernormally defeat barbarian enemies and did receive the titles of chief minister and duke of state. However, this passage from the Older Tang History is also didactic in nature. This is the story of an emperor misled into superstition; historical facts are simplified in the service of myth. Although powerful members of [ 161 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite Daizong’s government who were patrons of Amoghavajra and adherents of his Esoteric Buddhism played an important role in Daizong’s support, in the Older Tang History their agency is amplified and Daizong’s is largely effaced. The role of the Humane Kings Scripture in the Older Tang History story is also misleading. Daizong’s early interactions with Amoghavajra and the circumstances behind the production of the scripture indicate a more nuanced set of motivations and circumstances that contributed to Daizong’s sponsorship of Amoghavajra. The first contact between Daizong and Amoghavajra in the Memorials and Edicts is dated November  7, 762, some six months after the emperor’s enthronement and on the occasion of his birthday. Amoghavajra presented Daizong with a gift of a sandalwood statue of Marīci and an untranslated text identified as the Great Buddha’s Crown Mantra (Da foding zhenyan 大佛頂真 言).100 This was perhaps a version of the Great Dhāraṇī of the Great Buddha’s Crown, two versions of which are contained in the modern canon, one a dhāraṇī spell written in Siddham script101 and the other the same spell in Chinese transliteration.102 Daizong’s response is recorded in the Memorials and Edicts: [As for] the sandalwood Marīci image and the pattra of true script, the Southern Heaven (or southern India) is already remote and is met with difficulty [in] the Middle Kingdom. [Your] excellent personage is compassionate and protective and having come is not a concealed śramaṇa (sangmen 桑門). Transmitting these various images to the Palace Gates, [we have] attained that which heretofore was not. [I] am greatly consoled and cherish [them]. 檀磨瑞像。貝葉真文。南天既遙。中國難遇。上人慈慜緘護而來不祕桑門。傳諸象闕得未 103 曾有。良以慰懷。

In a memorial dated December 8, 763, one month after the presentation of the Marīci image and the Great Buddha’s Crown Mantra, Amoghavajra requested permission to install a consecration maṇḍala in Xingshan Monastery, where he resided. This was so that he could conduct initiations authorizing others to perform Esoteric Buddhist rites: Vairocana comprises the ten thousand worlds. The secret seals (miyin 密印) and mantras (zhenyan 真言) embrace all scriptures. In accordance with the teachings, [ 162 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite there is sudden and gradual. Gradual is what is called the learning of mounting the platform of the Lesser Vehicle of the Voice Hearers. Sudden is what is called the Dharma of the great bodhisattva consecration (guangding 灌頂). This indicates the level road of the ultimate acting as the entrance to the correct establishment of the Buddha. Ding 頂 is what is called the crown of the head, expressing the most honored of great practices. Guan 灌 is what is called administering a sprinkling, clarifying the recollection and protection of all buddhas. How could none [attain] salvific transcendence and release from this? Because of this, self-­restraint and diligence are not relinquished. Day and night scrutinizing one’s sworn intention, how could one dare [indulge in] idle leisure? [I] hope that every summer and during the three long zhai months,104 in accordance with the scriptures, [consecration altars] will be established105 and adorned with pure flowers in order to initiate awakening, and cause there to be discernment and a return to the truth, so that the numerous frontiers be purged106 and the Sage will personally [receive] ten thousand years of longevity. 毘盧遮那包括萬界。密印真言 吞納眾經。准其教宜有頓有漸。漸謂聲聞 小乘登壇學 處。頓謂菩薩大士灌頂法門。是詣極之夷途。為入佛之正位。頂謂頭頂。表大行之尊高。灌 謂灌持。明諸佛之護念。超昇出離何莫由斯。是以剋己服勤不捨。晝夜誓志鑽仰豈敢怠 遑。冀每載夏中及三長齋月。依經建立。嚴淨花以開覺。使有識而歸真。庶邊境肅淨 聖 107 躬萬壽。

Here, in his second communication with Daizong, Amoghavajra presents a rudimentary picture of his Esoteric Buddhism: it is characterized by mantra, mudra, and initiation rituals and is the supreme articulation of the Mahāyāna. Initiating practitioners into this teaching will, among other things, contribute to purging the imperium of enemies and to the emperor’s longevity. No reply from Daizong is provided in the Memorials and Edicts. Three months later, Amoghavajra requested that forty-­nine monks be transferred to his resident monastery. In the past, monasteries were initially established for the glory of Chang’an and to support and guard the empire. When this [Xingshan] monastery was first built, the porticos and eaves were magnificent. All who used a single cell, living and practicing here, since ancient times were renowned as virtuous, [but] compared to the elders, [the population is now] sunk and the assembly of monks is withered and deficient. If the mighty rites follow this pattern, then they will be [ 163 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite abandoned and cut off. This condition having persisted for many years, the altars and halls are bleak and desolate. Searching for speech that is clear and measured, those that are genuine are of lamentation and longing. Even if later the transcendent rules and disciplines were not obstructed, returning [to the standards of the previous era] would be agonizing. Engaged in providing blessings and assistance, the forty-­nine people [named] above are of great virtue; all practice the Way with exalted purity. They have penetrated wisdom, the scriptures, and the discipline, and are admired and esteemed by the multitudes. [They are] able to act on behalf of the master’s model. I humbly beseech [you] to subordinate their names to this monastery. [Then] the deficiency will be constantly filled, the crumbled and collapsed will be repaired and ordered, and burning of incense will constantly be practiced in order to personally bless the Sage. Having been ordered, [they] will guide and maintain [the welfare of the kingdom]. [I] hope for their establishment and also for the repair108 of the damage and deficiencies of the monastery. I humbly beg that [you] release all and sundry and dispatch the [official] sections109 to obtain adequate provisions lest the kingdom-­protecting practice be severed. Should the Heavenly beneficence deign to permit this request, let fall an edict in conformity with the memorial. 前件寺是初置長安之日。將鎮帝國。首建斯寺。廊宇 宏大。全用一坊古來住持皆是名 德。比緣老宿淪沒僧眾凋殘。威儀軌則並是廢絕。況綿歷多載。臺殿荒涼。瞻言清規。實 所歎惜。雖有後度戒律未閑。復屬艱難。事資福祐。前件大德四十九人。並道業清高。洞 明經戒。眾所欽尚。堪為師範。伏乞。隷名此寺。有闕續填。庶勠力匡持。葺理頹弊。永修 香火。以福 聖躬。其見任。之綱維。望並依定。又緣寺之貧破。伏乞矜放諸雜差科科得 110 齊糧不絕報國行道。如 天恩允許請宣付所司。

A reply by Daizong does not appear in the Memorials and Edicts, and although Amoghavajra’s earlier memorials to Daizong do not indicate their transmission through official channels, this request and its approval passed through the offices of Yuan Zai and Wang Jin. Subsequently, on November 21, 764, Amoghavajra submitted a request to ordain seven monks on the occasion of the emperor’s birthday. The monks [whose names] are sent up have constantly investigated the Dharma of the faultless teachers since leaving home. Their discipline and conduct is pure. Their practice is true and their abilities are worthy of respect. Although [ 164 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite they have left the secular world, their personal fame has flourished. Now, because it is Your Majesty’s birthday and the court joyously celebrates the happy day, I humbly request that the office name [them] in order that they be ordained and thereby support the Imperial Throne in order that [He receive] limitless blessings. If the Heavenly beneficence consents to this request, inform the bureau. 右興善寺三藏沙門不空奏。上件僧等自出家來。常尋法教不闕師資。戒行精修實堪為器。比 雖離俗跡昌私名。今因 陛下開降誕之辰。朝賀歡欣之日。伏請官名以為正度。用資 皇 111 祚以福無疆。如 天恩允許請宣付所司。

This request was also approved and transmitted through official channels by Du Hongjian, Yuan Zai, and Wang Jin in their posts as directors of the Secretariat and Chancellery.112 From this point on, communications between Amoghavajra and Daizong and imperial commands and policies enacted to the benefit of Amoghavajra and the spread of Esoteric Buddhism consistently involved these men. As the Older Tang History suggests, the initial support that Amoghavajra received during Daizong’s reign was probably in part the result of several patrons, allies, and disciples staffing crucial positions in the central bureaucracy and holding positions of influence in the central court. Although Daizong drafted a note acknowledging Amoghavajra’s gifts in 762, he does not appear to have taken an active interest in Amoghavajra or his projects until 765, when the new translation of the Humane Kings Scripture was produced. However, the Older Tang History’s representation of the Humane Kings Scripture and its role in Daizong’s patronage is misleading. In the passage quoted above, the Older Tang History reports that Daizong regularly ordered the performance of the Humane Kings Scripture when barbarians attacked the imperium. When the bandits were defeated, he would attribute this to the power of the ritual. Elsewhere, the Older Tang History states that Daizong sponsored the production of the Humane Kings Scripture for similar reasons. [October 1, 765,] Pugu Huai’en died in Mingsha County 鳴沙縣, Lingzhou 靈州. At that time Huai’en had induced some 100,000 Tibetans to invade Binzhou 邠州. Their generals Shangpin Xizanmo 尚品息贊磨 and Shangxi Dongzan 尚悉東贊 invaded Fengtian 奉天 and Liquan 醴泉; the Dangxiang Qiang, Hun 渾, and Nula 奴剌 invaded Tongzhou 同州 and Fengtian. Martial law was declared in the [ 165 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite metropolitan area as they closed in on Fengxiang and Zhouzhi 盩厔 counties. At that time, because of a stellar occurrence (星變) and the invasion of obstinate barbarians, the Inner Palace put out the Humane Kings Scripture in the two Buddhist monasteries Zisheng 資聖 and Ximing 西明 and erected a 100-­foot-­tall platform for it. When the Nu 奴 barbarians advanced on the capital precincts, the performance was ended. 僕固懷恩死于靈州之鳴沙縣.時懷恩誘吐蕃數十萬寇邠州,客將尚品息贊磨、尚悉東贊等 寇奉天、醴泉,党項羌、渾、奴剌寇同州及奉天,逼鳳翔府、盩厔縣,京師戒嚴.時以星 變,羌虜入寇,內出仁王佛經兩輿付資聖、西明二佛寺,置百尺高座講之.及奴虜寇逼京 113 畿,方罷講.

The Older Tang History reports that there was another performance of the ritual at Zisheng Monastery on October  23, 765.114 In its generalities, this account is not inaccurate: the Tang emperor commissions the production of Buddhist scripture and sponsors a ritual in order to defeat barbarian invaders. However, its details are suspect. The dates and events indicated here do not tally with material in the Memorials and Edicts: Amoghavajra requested permission to produce a new translation of the Humane Kings Scripture on April 30, 765. The request was transmitted to Daizong by Du Hongjian, Yuan Zai, and Wang Jin, and the edict approving it was promulgated on May 2, 765. The translation was completed by September 25, 765, when Amoghavajra thanked Daizong for writing a preface for the newly retranslated scripture. There is no indication in the Memorials and Edicts that a ritual based on the Humane Kings was performed at Zisheng Monastery, at Ximing Monastery, or anywhere else. In fact, other than Amoghavajra’s request and his note of thanks for Daizong’s preface, there is not another mention of the Humane Kings Scripture in the Memorials and Edicts until 770. In short, aside from the disparity in dates, the Humane Kings Scripture does not appear to have played the role assigned to it by the editors of the Older Tang History. Examination of the material recorded in the Memorials and Edicts suggests reasons for its production other than barbarian invasion, reasons that might have provoked the ire of court academicians and led to an outsized image of its significance in the Older Tang History.115 In his memorial requesting to retranslate of the Humane Kings Scripture, Amoghavajra gives an argument for why the work is necessary and how it may be accomplished: [ 166 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite Humbly, because the Thus-­Come’s marvelous intent is of kind sympathy for living beings, [because] the lofty purport of the precious Humane Kings Scripture is to protect the kingdom, [and because] in [the translation] of the prior era116 the translation and meaning are not entirely harmonious, [I wish to] thoroughly polish the words and affairs, returning [them] to the wisdom of the Sage. Humbly, only [by] Your Majesty, the Primordial Sage, the Literary and Martial Emperor of Treasure Response, [can] the far-­sighted writing initiate the revolution [of the wheel of the Dharma]. When the profound sagacious vehicle, the magnificent explanation of the true word (or mantras), and the teaching of images [i.e., Buddhism] are proclaimed and disseminated, the imperial wind will distantly gust and the sun of the Buddha will shine again. For all these reasons and in order to copy, explain, and recite this Humane Kings Scripture, I hope to again translate the Humane Kings Scripture relying on the ancient writing of the Indic original. The words of the pattra will [thereby] endure without error or omission. That which was spoken by the Golden Mouth [of the Buddha] will provide benefits fully and clearly. I also request that the monks Huaigan 懷感, Feixi 飛錫, Zilin子翷, Jianzong 建宗, Guixing 歸性, Yisong 義嵩, Daoye 道液, Liangbi 良賁, Qianzhen 潛真, Huiling 慧靈, Fachong 法崇, Chaowu 超悟, Huijing 慧靜, Yuanji 圓寂, and Daolin 道林, those in the inner ritual platform,117 [serve as] translators. The blessings and endowments of the era’s Sage (the emperor) will numinously benefit and nourish. The tide of brigands will forever be purified, the regions and districts will be peaceful, and a vast kalpa of the succor and protection of the profound truth will be transmitted. 伏以。如來妙旨惠矜生靈。仁王寶經義崇護國。前代所譯理未融通。潤色微言事歸明聖。伏 惟寶應元聖文武皇帝陛下。叡文啟運。濬哲乘時。弘闡真言。宣揚像教 皇風遠振。佛日 再明。每為黎元俾開講誦其仁王經。望依梵匣再譯舊文。貝葉之言永無漏略。金口所說更 益詳明。仍請僧懷感.飛錫.子翷.建宗.歸性.義嵩.道液.良賁.潛真.慧靈.法崇.超 悟.慧靜.圓寂.道林等。於內道場所翻譯。福資 聖代。澤及含靈。寇濫永清寰區允穆。傳 118 之曠劫救護實深。

This was some five months prior to the date the Humane Kings was produced, according to the account in the Older Tang History, though there are certain resonances with that account. For example, Amoghavajra specifically requests that monks staffing the palace altar translate the text and suggests that the work will contribute to ending the “tide of brigands” afflicting the imperium. The new translation was completed in about five months. In [ 167 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite response to the preface Daizong composed, Amoghavajra submitted a memorial of thanks dated September  25, 765, which received a reply from Daizong.119 This date may be the basis for the Older Tang History’s chronology, though there is no indication elsewhere that the Humane Kings Scripture was commissioned in response to barbarian invasion and astral anomaly. Daizong’s preface not only indicates his sanction but also gives us some insight into the reasons behind it. His approval of the new translation is made explicit by the inclusion of his edict commanding its production in the preface: Handing down the edict: Do not dare be idle; delay taking up the monk’s staff of the crowd of heroes, in the end becoming a mountain of [only] nine ren.120 In the unfurling governance of the court’s kindness, praising the kingdom is its body and taking refuge in the Buddha is its allotment. Assist our true teaching and express the sage’s marvelous teaching. Consequently, [we] command an assembly of the capital’s private and public scholars, the great virtuous Liang Bi 良賁, and the Hanlin academician Chang Gun 常袞, in the southern peach garden of the great Brilliant Palace to translate completely the Humane Kings Prajñā Scripture along with writing down the Densely Adorned Scripture. 遺詔,不敢怠遑,延振錫之群英、終為山之九仞。開府朝恩,許國以身、歸佛以命,弼我真 教申夫妙門。爰令集京城義學大德良賁等,翰林學士常袞等,於大明宮南桃園,詳譯《護 121 國般若》畢,并更寫定《密嚴》等經。

Notably, this command not only authorizes the translation of the Humane Kings Scripture but also orders the translation of a text that Amoghavajra had evidently never mentioned previously: the Scripture of [the Pure Land] Densely Adorned.122 This was originally translated in the late seventh century by Divākara 地婆訶羅123 and, like the Humane Kings Scripture, is free of any of the characteristic elements of Esoteric Buddhism or ritual Buddhism of an earlier era. The texts also appear rather dissimilar. While the Humane Kings Scripture is rooted in the Perfection of Wisdom literature, the Scripture of [the Pure Land] Densely Adorned is based on the storehouse consciousness tradition of the Mahāyāna. Nevertheless, although Amoghavajra produced and submitted a substantial number of scriptures, these are the only two for which the emperor composed prefaces. These addenda indicate the pinnacle [ 168 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite of official approval of the scriptures themselves, but the fact that Daizong commanded a new translation of the Scripture of [the Pure Land] Densely Adorned, seemingly unprompted, shows that the emperor had his own agenda. His prefaces suggest something of his understanding of these scriptures and the reasons he commanded their production. Daizong’s preface to the Humane Kings Scripture is larded with classical allusions and a few references drawn from Buddhist sources. The Sovereign124 indeed reaches awakening125 and the master is of the primordial origin—­crossing the sea of being in the boat of prajñā, cutting the thick forest126 with the sword of wisdom. Its floss webs the six directions,127 its net wraps the ten directions. The grand proclamation is deep, the aspirational response is great. From its beginnings in India to the floating foam of the Han court, it traveled with a boundless kindness and was received in the land of perpetual joy. Faith in its abundant bestowal—­emptying the mustard [seed] city128 and going beyond the profound. Admiring his deep quiescence—­surpassing the redoubled mystery of words and images. The five beginnings129 do not penetrate its inception, one good idea130 does not get to the root of its origin. Those who have gotten this—­how distant they are! We are unworthy of inheriting the great good fortune,131 greatly indebted to the grand jewel.132 [We are] sorrowful day and night [about] pushing into a ravine,133 just as we lay our head to the pillow and doze. 皇矣至覺,子于元元。截有海以般若之舟,剪稠林以智慧之劍。綿絡六合,羅罩十方。弘宣 也深,志應也大。自權輿天竺,泳沫漢庭,行無緣之慈,納常樂之域。信其博施,傾芥城而 逾遠;仰夫湛寂,超言象之又玄。五始不究其初,一得罔根其本。以彼取此,何其遼哉!朕 134 忝嗣鴻休,丕承大寶,軫推溝以夕惕,方徹枕而假寐。

Daizong freely mixes allusions and imagery from the Book of Odes, Mencius, the History of the Han, and other classical Chinese sources with terminology found in Mahāyāna scriptures such as the Mahāprajñāpāramitā Scripture and the Scripture of the Ten Grounds. Aside from his education in the classical tradition, what emerges most strongly from Daizong’s preface is his apparent intention in approving the production of a new version of the Humane Kings Scripture and his patronage of Amoghavajra. These were memorial acts to replicate the actions of his predecessor and father, Suzong. [ 169 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite The Prior Sage135 sincerely esteemed the jade hair,136 he tranquilly pondered the true realm, he spread the complete teaching,137 he searched out and stitched together the incomplete literature, and he commanded the great virtuous Trepiṭaka śramaṇa Amogha[vajra] to choose and carefully inspect all of the sections and scrolls that had not yet been translated. 先聖翹誠玉毫,澹慮真境,發揮滿教,搜綴缺文,詔大德三藏沙門不空,推校詳譯未周 138 部卷。

This is significant because by overtly linking his patronage to the actions of his predecessor and father, Daizong signals that his commissioning of new versions of the Humane Kings and the Scripture of [the Pure Land] Densely Adorned is a filial act. The nature of the texts also suggests this. The primary concern of the Humane Kings Scripture is the safeguarding of the kingdom through the virtuous behavior of the ruler, particularly through his support of Buddhist monastics. The Scripture of [the Pure Land] Densely Adorned concerns rebirth in Densely Adorned, a pure land named for the profusion of buddhas and bodhisattvas who reside in it. It is possible that these specific scriptures reflect two basic concerns that Daizong sought to address: a continuation of Suzong’s attempts to safeguard the Tang imperium through Buddhism, specifically his patronage of Amoghavajra, and the postmortem welfare of his father. The interpretation that the Humane Kings and Scripture of [the Pure Land] Densely Adorned were produced primarily as a result of Daizong’s filial obligations is even more compelling in view of the fact that Daizong was the eldest son of Suzong—­he was the first eldest son to inherit the throne in the Tang Dynasty, in fact. Furthermore, Amoghavajra’s request and Daizong’s command to retranslate the Humane Kings and Scripture of [the Pure Land] Densely Adorned came on the ritually significant third-­year anniversary of Suzong’s death.139 It is difficult not to see Daizong’s commissioning Amoghavajra’s retranslations as filial acts intended in part to replicate his father’s affairs in accordance with Confucian virtues and expectations. After its production in 765, the Humane Kings Scripture is referenced in communications between Amoghavajra and Daizong in the Memorials and Edicts once again in 770. In October of that year, Amoghavajra requested imperial approval and funding to set up initiation altars in Xinguo and Taichongfu monasteries in Taiyuan, to install images of Samantabhadra bodhisattva, [ 170 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite and to have fourteen monks recite the Buddha’s Crown Dhāraṇī for the kingdom.140 Images of Emperor Yao and Gaozu, the founder of the Tang Dynasty, had been placed in these monasteries, which provided ritual service to the Tang ancestors in the Li ancestral homeland. In his memorial Amoghavajra represents the ritual practices in Taiyuan as a zhai for Daizong’s imperial ancestors and refers to the Humane Kings Scripture as bestowing innumerable blessings on those ancestors. The story of Daizong’s “conversion” to Buddhism in the Older Tang History is rooted in historical circumstances involving the emperor’s patronage of Amoghavajra. Many of the most important members of the Tang military and governing bureaucracy were Amoghavajra’s allies, disciples, or patrons. By virtue of their positions in the central administration, these men had influence and power, which they used to forward Amoghavajra’s interests in the imperial government. Daizong did patronize Amoghavajra by funding his projects, sponsoring ritual performance, and granting him titles and gifts. This was in part due to the perception that Amoghavajra’s ritual services were militarily effective. Amoghavajra received official title as chief minister of the Court of State Ceremonial (honglu qing 鴻臚卿) in 765, just after the Humane Kings Scripture was presented to Daizong, but the text had little to do with the reason for patronage. By 765, Daizong had already received gifts from Amoghavajra, authorized Esoteric Buddhist initiations, transferred monks and supplies to Amoghavajra in his monastery, and approved Amoghavajra’s ordination of others. He also approved payment for all of Amoghavajra’s translation projects, not just the Humane Kings and the Scripture of Densely Adorned. This all transpired before the Humane Kings was ever retranslated. The Older Tang History probably cites the scripture in its account of Daizong’s “conversion” because the same year it was produced, Daizong bestowed official titles on Amoghavajra as well as posthumous titles on Vajrabodhi. But reading the Humane Kings Scripture as the reason for granting these titles is simply a post hoc ergo prompter hoc assertion by the editors of the Older Tang History. Daizong’s support for Amoghavajra was a continuation of his father’s, but it was also the continuation of longer-­standing imperial precedent. The significance of the Humane Kings Scripture lies in that it indicates that Amoghavajra essentially played two roles vis-­à-­vis Daizong. He was an Esoteric Buddhist, providing the emperor and the imperium with ritual services that only he and his disciples [ 171 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite could, but he was also a Buddhist in the employ of the Chinese state and as such performed functions and services according to Chinese imperial tradition. This included the meritorious production of scriptures for the benefit of the imperial ancestors and the imperium. Notably, Amoghavajra gives no indication that the Humane Kings or Scripture of Densely Adorned is representative of his Esoteric Buddhism (teaching of the Diamond Pinnacle, the five divisions, etc.). His production of these scriptures reflects his position as an elite translator monk in the service of the Tang, not as the propagator of a new teaching. *

*

*

As Amoghavajra’s patron-­disciples assumed high-­ranking official positions in the Tang military, central bureaucracy, and palace, their patronage became a function of the Tang government. As individuals with personal commitments to Amoghavajra and Esoteric Buddhism came to hold institutional power, patronage of Amoghavajra and support of Esoteric Buddhism became institutionalized. We see early moves toward this in 765, for example, when on April  17 Daizong dispatched Yuan Zai and Du Hongjian to Amoghavajra’s Xingshan Monastery in order to establish terms of peace with Tibetan envoys.141 Notably, this was before the production of the new Scripture for Humane Kings scripture142 and well before Daizong marked the completion and his approval of that project with an imperial preface in September.143 The informal role that Amoghavajra played in assisting the Tang was formalized by Daizong in December 765, when he named Amoghavajra a specially appointed chief minister of the Court of State Ceremonial, the bureau within the Ministry of Rites responsible for court rituals, among other things. On July 24, 774, Daizong named Amoghavajra duke of Su (Su guogong 肅國公).144 On August 16, 774, he posthumously awarded him the revered title minister of works (sikong 司空).145 By the time of his death in 774, Amoghavajra had become an official in the Tang imperial government and an honorary member of the peerage. His relationships with the Tang ruling elite culminated in nominally becoming a member of the ruling elite himself. With the institutionalized support of and incorporation into the imperial government, Amoghavajra was able to pursue projects on a massive scale. His textual production was second only to Xuanzang’s 玄奘.146 Hundreds of monks were transferred within the official monastic institutions of the Tang imperium by imperial command and at his request. Sumptuous temples were [ 172 ]

Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite built with funds from the state coffers, also frequently on Amoghavajra’s recommendation. Monks throughout the imperium were commanded to engage in practices dictated by Amoghavajra. As a result, Amoghavajra established Esoteric Buddhism within and according to the institutions of the Tang state, particularly the institutions of Imperial Religion. This is the topic of the following chapter.

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FIVE

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism

AMOGHAVAJRA REPRESENTED HIS Buddhism as a new teaching, one that was not known in China until he transmitted what he had received in southern India. In compendia, ritual manuals, and his personal communications, Amoghavajra represented his Esoteric Buddhism as a discrete teaching, typically referred to as the “secret teaching,” the “teaching of yoga,” the “teaching of the five divisions,” the “teaching of the Diamond Pinnacle,” the “thirty-­seven worthies,” or various combinations of such terms. This teaching was the highest articulation of the Mahāyāna; it led to enlightenment or to worldly attainments, and it was open to all, including rapacious laypeople. Those masters who knew this teaching—­only Amoghavajra and his disciples—­ could perform mysterious rituals that lead to felicities for oneself and death for one’s enemies. With the patronage of Suzong and Daizong, Amoghavajra pursued several projects to propagate and establish his Esoteric Buddhism in China: translation and production of texts, training and authorization of disciples, and installation of these disciples in several important monastic institutions. In sum, Esoteric Buddhism was established and institutionalized within and according to the Buddhist dimension of Tang Imperial Religion, which I refer to as Imperial Buddhism. With state support and under Amoghavajra’s oversight as an official in the Tang government, Esoteric Buddhist rites were commissioned and performed and Amoghavajra’s disciples were installed in several of the most important institutions of Tang Imperial [ 174 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism Buddhism—­official monasteries in the Tang capitals, the Palace Chapel, and Mount Wutai. While Esoteric Buddhists functionally became Imperial Buddhists, they nevertheless maintained their identities and the identity of their teaching as something new, different, and unknown to almost all. Access to Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism was strictly controlled by initiation procedures that entailed vows of secrecy, and this established and maintained the identity of his teaching and those who practiced it. In this chapter, I introduce Imperial Buddhism and Esoteric Buddhist initiation rites. Amoghavajra named six men as having received his teaching in its entirety, and I introduce these lineal disciples and the Imperial Buddhist institutions in which they were installed: at Mount Wutai, in the imperial palace, and in several important official monasteries in the capital. While the incorporation of Esoteric Buddhism and Esoteric Buddhists into the Imperial Buddhist complex effectively altered the administration of several Imperial Buddhist monasteries as well as the practices that the resident monks would perform, it also altered the way the central government administered the Imperial Buddhist system through the creation of the office of commissioner of merit and virtue. Finally, the incorporation of Esoteric Buddhism into the Tang Imperial Buddhist system influenced some of Amoghavajra’s actions. As described in the previous chapter, he produced new translations of the Humane Kings Scripture and the Scripture of the Pure Land Densely Adorned as a memorial and merit-­making practice for Daizong’s imperial ancestors. In this regard, Amoghavajra was fulfilling his role not as an Esoteric Buddhist but as an Imperial Buddhist. Amoghavajra performed Esoteric Buddhist rites and translated Esoteric Buddhist texts, but he also performed rites and translated texts from and according to established Chinese tradition. The heterogenous nature of his service and role is reflected in the body of texts that he produced with state support and submitted to the imperial government three years prior to his death.

Imperial Buddhism Buddhism in China, especially as it is known to us historically through the textual record, is largely inseparable from the prerogatives of the state. The piecemeal dissemination of Buddhist texts, practices, and persons that [ 175 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism characterized the early period of Chinese Buddhist history became increasingly subject to the strictures of power following the collapse of the Han Dynasty in the third century. This is reflected in the imperial sponsorship (read: control) of Buddhist translators and translation projects, compilations of bibliographies and canons, and monastic institutions in both the Northern and Southern dynasties during the period of disunion from the third to the sixth century. In the roughly three-­hundred-­year span between the Han and the Sui dynasties, the private and informal nature of monastic institutions and scriptural production characteristic of early Chinese Buddhism fell increasingly under the purview of the imperial state. Under the Sui Dynasty and its successor, the Tang, institutional Buddhism was subject to and largely inseparable from the dictates of the state. Mark Edward Lewis provides this tidy description of the development of what I refer to as Imperial Buddhism in China: For several centuries, a series of monarchs attempted to renovate the Chinese political order by building an explicitly Buddhist state, a state that justified itself at least in part through its patronage of Buddhism. Central to these attempts was the creation of an official Buddhist establishment, housed in state temples, performing rituals for the benefit of the ruling house and the empire, and compiling massive, officially approved collections of canonical texts.1

Imperial Buddhism, what Lewis refers to as an “official Buddhist establishment,” emerged gradually over several centuries. By the Sui-­Tang period, Buddhist texts, temples, and monastics had been formally subsumed by the apparatus of the imperial Sinitic state. Buddhist monasteries were not formally sectarian in the Tang Dynasty. The sectarian affiliation of a given monastery was a reflection of the particular lineage claimed by the current abbot, especially in the Five Dynasties period and following reforms in the Song Dynasty (960–­1279),2 but from the perspective of the Tang state, Buddhist monasteries were either officially recognized by the state or “irregular,” following Gernet’s terminology.3 As part of the Buddhist dimension of Imperial Religion, the government often constructed official Buddhist monasteries and directed the ritual activities within them. Daoshi 道世, in his Garden of the Dharma’s Pearl Forest (Fayuan zhulin 法苑珠林), completed in 668, records an example of this sort of state activity from the early years of the Tang Dynasty. [ 176 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism [The people] were terrified of affidavits from wronged souls (po 魂). In the winter of that year, there was a command that the monks of the capital practice the Way for seven days and that all of the robes [i.e., Buddhist monks] be used for dhyāna. . . . ​Saṃgha-­ārāma [i.e., Buddhist monasteries] were also established on the battlefields. More than ten monasteries such as Zhaoren 昭仁 were established. 恐結冤魂。其年冬令京城僧尼七日行道。所有衣服悉用檀那。 . . . ​戰場之處竝置伽藍。昭 4 仁等覺十有餘寺。

Zhaoren Monastery was established by the imperial command of Emperor Taizong 太宗 in Binzhou 豳州 at the site where Tang armies defeated the forces of Xue Ju 薛舉.5 Taizong established other monasteries at the sites of other victories over competing aspirants to the throne. Ciyun Monastery 慈 雲寺 was established in Jinzhou 晉州, where Song Jin’gang’s 宋金剛 forces had been ground down in 620.6 At the location of Liu Wuzhou’s 劉武周 defeat in Fenzhou 汾州, Hongji Monastery 弘濟寺 was established.7 Taizong’s victory over Dou Jiande 竇建德 in Zhengzhou 鄭州 became the site of Lideng Monastery 等慈寺.8 These Buddhist monasteries were constructed by the nascent Tang state in order to establish religious safeguards against the unquiet dead and other supernormal dangers. In the case of preexisting monasteries, official status was typically indicated by the bestowal of a name plaque (e 額). Lacking such plaques, unofficial monasteries were often referred to as “nameless” (wuming 無名). As state institutions, official monasteries tended to enjoy a greater degree of material support and protection from the vicissitudes of politics and policy. This was a regular feature of the Imperial Buddhism that developed during the period of disunion and was regimented and formalized during the Tang Dynasty. As Gernet states it: The Tang . . . ​applied a stricter differentiation [between official and irregular monasteries than the Sui Dynasty]: just as the religious who had been privately ordained (sidu 私度) were the first to fall victim to the laicizations . . . ​so the sanctuaries that had not received official recognition were the first to be closed or destroyed under emperors who were less disposed to favor the growth of Buddhism.9

Whether constructed by imperial command or recipient of an imperial name plaque, an official Buddhist monastery was functionally an organ of the [ 177 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism state. Mark Edward Lewis summarizes the role of these monasteries in the Tang Dynasty: Buddhism was a spiritual arm of the state. Its primary instruments were the imperial monasteries established in each prefecture of the empire and the palace chapels established by the ruling family within imperial precincts. The imperial monasteries were inhabited by the intellectual elite of the monastic order and supported by funds from the imperial treasury. These monasteries staged ceremonies for the welfare of the state, including the celebration of imperial birthdays and the observance of memorial services for the spirits of deceased emperors or dowager empresses.10

In addition to the performance of rites for the well-­being of the emperor, the imperial family, and the imperium, Buddhist monastics and their ritual services had also been incorporated into the imperial palace through the institution of palace chapels (nei daochang 內道場). These originated under the patronage of Northern Wei rulers (386–­534) beginning with Emperor Taiwu 太武 (r. 423–­452), who commanded that a place be established for seven senior monks to practice in one of the palace halls.11 This practice shifted dramatically over the intervening centuries and was continued and expanded during the Tang Dynasty prior to the mid-­eighth century.12 Alongside sponsoring Buddhist monasteries and Buddhist observances for the welfare of the Tang, one of the most significant aspects of Imperial Buddhism was the state-­sponsored and -­controlled production and dissemination of scriptures.13 Leading up to and following the restoration of the unified Sinitic state under the Sui Dynasty in the sixth century, the production of Buddhist texts essentially became a function of the imperial state. This continued into the Tang and beyond. Concerned principally with textual production and its ramifications for a text-­based historical construction of Buddhism in China, Erik Zurcher observed: Almost all translators of the Sui and Tang directly worked under court sponsorship, which also meant government supervision, in accordance with the rather strict principles of Tang religious policy. They are formally invited to do their work; to that end they are installed in some of the major metropolitan temples,

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The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism usually official state temples established to perform rituals for the benefit of state and dynasty; or even inside the palace.14

Although it shaped the content to some degree, this arrangement led to some of the most significant contributions to the (official) Chinese Buddhist canon. Xuanzang’s massive corpus of texts, produced in Ci’en Monastery 慈恩寺 and with imperial financial support, is a notable example. But Chinese rulers were not acting strictly out of piety; state sponsorship entailed state control. Imperial involvement in the production of Buddhist texts (including formal canons and bibliographies) was in part directed toward preventing the production and circulation of texts and ideas inimical to the designs of the emperor and the empire. Further, Buddhists and their texts were represented as and expected to be contributory to imperial concerns: most generally, political stability and the health of the emperor. This was the Buddhist dimension of the Imperial Religion complex of the Tang. Imperial Buddhism controlled scriptural production by sanctioning translation projects and disseminating scriptures through state-­approved canons and catalogues. These projects were pursued in official monasteries, supported by state funds, and established for the purpose of contributing to and maintaining the health, prosperity, and stability of the emperor and his imperium. Although the general system of Imperial Buddhism persisted over the centuries, active state investment fluctuated according to political and economic circumstances as well the inclinations of the ruler. With official patronage from Daizong and his closest advisors, Amoghavajra installed his disciples in several of the most important monastic establishments of Tang Imperial Buddhism. There, they performed a number of ritual services for the state as well as services for the Tang imperial ancestors and the Tang imperium. These included, for example, the production and recitation of the Humane Kings Scripture and the Scripture of the Pure Land Densely Adorned on behalf of Daizong’s ancestors. Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism was continuous with established Imperial Buddhism, but it was not identical or even equal to those established practices. On December 27, 763, Amoghavajra requested permission to initiate monastic practitioners into his Esoteric Buddhism. These initiations authorized them to perform homa rites for salutary effects, the four siddhi of pacification, augmentation, [ 179 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism subjugation, and attraction. He also asserted that Esoteric Buddhism, referred to here as the Teaching of the Secret Great Vehicle, was superior to established Imperial Buddhist practices (“the Dharma of transcending calamities and warding off disasters”): Your humble servant ventures to observe that the Dharma of transcending calamities and warding off disasters does not surpass the Secret Great Vehicle. The Consecration Teaching of the Great Vehicle is the greatest. Now as we focus on the intercalary summer month,15 one hundred flowers all bloom. Humbly [I] hope [for You] to command Trepiṭaka Amoghavajra. Previously, the monastery constructed a consecration platform for the kingdom. That platform holds the teaching of pacification and augmentation [siddhi]. [It] possesses the ability to subjugate and attract. [I] respectfully submit this virtuous power in order to extinguish the crowd of evildoers. [I] send it up to increase the Sage’s longevity without limit. [May You] grant this portent of enduring peace and tranquility. 右臣竊觀度災禦難之法不過祕密大乘。大乘之門灌頂為最。今屬閏夏之月百花皆榮。伏 望 命三藏不空。於前件寺為國修一灌頂道場。其道場有息災增益之教。有降伏歡喜之 16 能。奉此功力以滅群兇。上滋 聖壽無彊。承此兆久清泰。

Amoghavajra and his disciples possessed a new and superior teaching, distinguished by the particulars of its practice, its lethal efficacy, and systems of initiation that controlled access and authorization. Esoteric Buddhism was superior to the established Mahāyāna of Imperial Buddhism, and its secrets were known only to the initiated.

Esoteric Initiation and the Chinese Ācārya Authority to perform Esoteric Buddhist rites was controlled by a system of initiations or consecrations (Skt. abhiṣeka; Chn. guanding 灌頂) conducted by a qualified master, referred to as an ācārya (asheli 阿闍梨). The significance of such authorizing events within Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism is signaled in the accounts of his life, where his initiation into the Diamond Realm is a central event in his early career. Zhaoqian’s Account of Conduct provides this scene: [ 180 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism The patriarch master [Vajrabodhi] discoursed completely, verse by verse the commentaries and explanations of the teaching of the pāramitās. In every case, [Amoghavajra] memorized the compositions and recited them. The day he would study something he would thoroughly penetrate it. The patriarch master was very amazed. Later on [Amoghavajra] received the mind of bodhi precepts and [Vajrabodhi] led him into the Diamond Realm Maṇḍala. Examining the cast of his flower, [Vajrabodhi] knew that he would be his successor. 祖師道悉談章波羅門語論。輒背文而諷誦。剋日而洞悟。祖師大奇。他日與授菩提心戒。引 17 入金剛界大曼茶羅。驗之擲花。知有後矣。

Feixi’s account, produced after Amoghavajra’s death in 774, may be read as indicative of Amoghavajra’s own actions and representations from later in his life. His Esoteric Buddhism is set apart from mainstream Mahāyāna Buddhism by a graded system of authorizing initiation procedures. In Feixi’s record, Amoghavajra’s first initiation from Vajrabodhi is provisional or partial: Later, in the patriarch master’s quarters, [Amoghavajra] begged for the Three Mysteries of the Five Divisions of Yoga. He requested it for three years, but his master did not accede to his wish. For the sake of the Dharma, [Amoghavajra] wanted to return to India. That day, while he was lodging at an inn in Xinfeng 新豐, the patriarch master had a fortuitous dream. All the images of buddhas and bodhisattvas in the capital city monasteries had all gone to the west. He awoke with a start. He ordered that [Amoghavajra] quickly return. Once he heard [that Amoghavajra] had returned, the patriarch master was very happy. [He told Amoghavajra,] “I will give you the entirety of my treasury of the Dharma.” 後於祖師處。哀祈瑜伽五部三密。求之三載。未遂夙心。為法之故。欲歸天竺。是日宿于 新豐逆旅。祖師此夜偶然而夢。京城諸寺佛菩薩像。悉皆東行。忽而驚悟。令疾命還。及聞 18 迴至。祖師大喜。我之法藏。盡將付汝。

As signaled by these narratives, initiation procedures effectively established degrees or levels of knowledge and authority in Esoteric Buddhism. They also served to socially and practically distinguish Esoteric Buddhist practitioners from others. The rites for entering the maṇḍala are found in the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture, the text central to Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism.19 In advance, the [ 181 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism officiant physically constructs the Diamond Realm Maṇḍala with its five buddhas, their respective retinues of four attendant bodhisattvas, the four apotheosized pāramitās, the eight offering goddesses, and the four gatekeepers—­the thirty-­seven worthies of the Diamond Realm. The officiant then summons all of the worthies into their respective simulacra, thus bringing the exalted assembly into actual being within the ritual space. Before viewing and “entering” the maṇḍala, the initiate makes obeisance to the four cardinal directions, laying his entire body out and touching his forehead, his mouth, and the crown of his head to the ground. Red silk is draped over his shoulders and face. He then forms the mūdra of Vajrasattva, grasps a garland of flowers between his two middle fingers, and recites the mantra by which he ritually enters the maṇḍala, though he is still blindfolded. The officiating ācārya forms a mudra of his own, placing it on the disciple’s head and vowing him to secrecy on pain of death. Revealing the secrets of Esoteric Buddhism will result in a supernormal being smashing his skull. The initiate drinks water that has been charged by mantra to formalize his vow of secrecy. The ācārya then declares that the disciple must henceforth regard the master as Vajrapāṇi. The disciple who fails to properly obey and honor his ācārya master will be reborn in a hell. The ācārya summons Vajrapāṇi to enter his body such that he is subject to the spirit possession known as āveśa (aweishe 阿尾舍/阿尾捨). The ācārya-­as-­Vajrapāṇi has the initiate, still blindfolded, cast his flower garland onto the maṇḍala. The disciple’s blindfold is removed and he views the maṇḍala for the first time. The disciple is introduced to the worthies of the Diamond Realm as the ācārya-­as-­Vajrapāṇi “makes the disciple regard [the worthies] of the great maṇḍala in sequence.”20 The area of the maṇḍala where the garland lands dictates which of the thirty-­ seven worthies will act as the disciple’s root worthy (benzun 本尊). The practices specific to this worthy are taught to the disciple after the formal rites are concluded, but it is in viewing the worthies of the maṇḍala that the initiate is empowered to practice by all the buddhas. He receives their protection and aid. The ācārya-­as-­Vajrapāṇi sprinkles water on and binds the flower garland to the initiate’s head. He then provides the disciple with a new name, “Diamond so-­and-­so.” This concludes the entry into the maṇḍala. The disciple is now able to engage in the independent practice of Esoteric Buddhism proper: homa, mūdras, mantras, and visualization practice in order to interact and identify with the worthies of the Diamond Realm. Entry into the maṇḍala is a rite of investiture, or, in the terminology of the tradition, the [ 182 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism disciple is consecrated (guanding 灌頂). These rites were a central element of Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism. They reflected the guiding mythology of Sarvārthasiddhi in the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture and served to establish a communal identity for practitioners. Initiation procedures were a means of controlling access and also established in-­group/out-­group dichotomies that were to be assiduously maintained by those who were privy to the secrets of Esoteric Buddhism. This communitarian aspect was a significant factor in the establishment of Esoteric Buddhism in the Imperial Buddhist establishment of the Tang, as monks with identities informed by their relationship to their ācārya Amoghavajra and to each other as copractitioners came to occupy several of the most important institutions of the Imperial Buddhist establishment. Amoghavajra conducted multiple initiation rituals consecrating disciples in the Esoteric Buddhist teaching. He served as ācārya to numerous people, both monastic and lay. The bulk of these initiations were partial or provisional rather than full authorization to practice Esoteric Buddhism in its entirety or to serve as ācārya to another. Although we do not have sources indicating its content and procedures, the highest and most restricted level of consecration would be full investiture in the five divisions, which rendered the initiate an ācārya authorized to perform any available Esoteric Buddhist rite and to initiate others. In the Account of Conduct Zhaoqian reports that ten people, who go unnamed, received full initiation from Amoghavajra to become ācārya masters, but according to Amoghavajra’s own report, he only granted eight men full investiture. Two predeceased him. The six fully initiated disciples who survived Amoghavajra were listed in his will (yishu 遺書): I have currently [performed] initiations for more than thirty years and the disciples who have entered the platform and received the teaching are many, [but] I have trained21 and established eight in the five divisions. Two perished, so there are [now] only six people. Those who have obtained it are (1) Han’guang 含光 of the Golden Pavilion, (2) Hyech’o 慧超 of Silla,22 (3) Huiguo 慧果23 of Qinglong青龍 [Monastery], (4) Huilang 慧朗 of Chongfu [Monastery], (5) Yuanjiao 元皎 of Baoshou [Monastery], and (6) Juechao 覺超. [If] later students have doubts, you all elucidate it [so that] the lamp of the Dharma will not be severed. 吾當代灌頂三十餘年。入壇授法弟子頗多。五部琢磨成立八箇。淪亡相次。唯有六人。其 誰得之。則有金閣含光.新羅慧超.青龍慧果.崇福慧朗.保壽元皎.覺超。後學有疑。汝 24 等開示。法燈不絕。

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The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism In addition to serving as Amoghavajra’s authorized successors, these men occupied significant positions in Imperial Buddhist institutions of the time: at Mount Wutai, in the monasteries of the imperial capitals, and in the imperial palace. Some of them left a relatively small historical footprint. Relatively little is known of Amoghavajra’s Korean disciple Hyech’o (fl. 733–­780). Most famous as a pilgrim monk who traveled from his native Silla to India and back, Hyech’o left an account of this journey that is extant but does not mention Amoghavajra.25 The preface to the Scripture of the Thousand-­Hand, Thousand-­Bowl Mañjuśrī has Hyech’o transcribing the translated text.26 He is also credited as the translator of a rain-­making text.27 Otherwise, the Chinese historical record is silent.28 Yuanjiao had practiced under Amoghavajra for several years prior to 764, when he was transferred to Amoghavajra’s resident monastery, Xingshan Monastery in Chang’an, at the master’s request. Most of what we can glean of Yuanjiao’s life comes from a memorial he submitted to Emperor Daizong on November 2, 778, requesting that his nephew be permitted to “leave home” and become a monk.29 Based on that text, during the intervening years between his transfer to Xingshan Monastery and the submission of this memorial, Yuanjiao was transferred from Xingshan to Baoshou Monastery, were he served as a “recitation monk” (niansong seng 念誦僧) performing rituals and recitations for the sake of the emperor’s health in the Longevity Hall. Beyond this, Yuanjiao reports that he was originally from Fuzhou 福州 in southern China, but had been affiliated with Amoghavajra and the imperial house since at least the time of Emperor Suzong’s enthronement in Lingwu.30 There are no extant texts attributed to him. The only other evidence concerning his life is a short biography in Zanning’s Song Dynasty Biographies of Eminent Monks.31 It is exceedingly brief and based on the aforementioned memorial, although Zanning provides greater detail, reporting that Yuanjiao was with Emperor Suzong in Lingwu, accompanied Suzong on campaign during the rebellion period, and during that time constructed a Medicine Buddha maṇḍala in Kaiyuan Monastery of Fengxiang. 32 There is inexplicably no mention of any association with Amoghavajra in the Song Dynasty Biographies, but Yuanjiao almost certainly accompanied Amoghavajra when he traveled to Geshu Han’s military command headquarters at Wuwei in 754/5. Other fully initiated disciples are better represented in extant sources. Han’guang appears frequently in connection with Amoghavajra. According to the Account of Conduct, he accompanied Amoghavajra on his pilgrimage to [ 184 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism the Indic regions and received initiation in the five divisions from the ācārya Samantabhadra.33 Feixi’s Stele Inscription reports that Han’guang was with Amoghavajra (and presumably Yuanjiao) in Wuwei when the master was attached to Geshu Han’s headquarters. He reportedly received initiation along with Geshu Han and the other members of the ruling elite present at that time.34 In Amoghavajra’s memorial thanking Emperor Suzong for a gift of incense in 758, he reports that Han’guang had accompanied the emperor during the occupation of the imperial capitals while Amoghavajra was himself in Chang’an.35 Han’guang was transferred to Xingshan Monastery in 764.36 Shortly thereafter, and again like Yuanjiao, he was transferred to Baoshou Monastery. By 766 Han’guang had been sent to Mount Wutai by Emperor Daizong in order to generate merit (gongde 功德).37 The following year, Han’guang was acting as general overseer to the imperially sponsored repairs of the Golden Pavilion Monastery at Mount Wutai. 38 In April 767 Amoghavajra requested approval to ordain monks for entry into the monasteries at Mount Wutai. Han’guang is specifically mentioned and likely served as the ordination master.39 However, he ceases to appear in the historical record until 774, when he is listed as one of the six disciples initiated into the five divisions as full ācārya. He was evidently still located at Mount Wutai and attached to the Golden Pavilion Monastery. Thereafter, the sources are silent. Zanning’s Song Dynasty Biographies features a short treatment of Han’guang and follows the Account of Conduct in describing him as having accompanied Amoghavajra to the Indic regions and receiving initiation from Samantabhadra. Zanning goes on to present Han’guang as Amoghavajra’s successor vis-­à-­vis Emperor Daizong: “After his master passed away, Daizong honored [Han]guang as if he were seeing Amoghavajra.” 40 The remainder of Zanning’s account of Han’guang’s life is devoted to discussion, almost certainly legendary, between Han’guang and the Tiantai master Zhanran 湛然 (711–­782) at Mount Wutai concerning the Indic regions. Han’guang was clearly one of Amoghavajra’s most important disciples. He practiced with the master from before An Lushan’s rebellion, perhaps even accompanying him to the Indic regions. He was fully initiated into the practice of Esoteric Buddhism by Amoghavajra and, after serving in Xingshan and Baoshou monasteries, was transferred north to act as the local ācārya at Mount Wutai. We cannot be certain of his specific activities there beyond the rather general actions specified in the Memorials and Edicts, but it would seem that he functioned as a fully authorized ācārya and Amoghavajra’s personal [ 185 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism representative. Two texts attributed to Han’guang survive. Both are devoted to the deity Vinayaka (pinayajia tian 毘那夜迦天) or Vinayaka Gānapati (pinayajia enabodi 毘那夜迦誐那缽底), the esoteric Gaṇeśa.41 In the imperial palace chapel, Esoteric Buddhism was represented by the ācārya Juechao. In 764 he was transferred from Linggan Monastery 靈感寺 in Chang’an to Xingshan Monastery.42 In 772, when he submitted a memorial of congratulations in response to the successful performance of a rain-­ producing ritual, Juechao, like Yuanjiao, was housed in Baoshou Monastery.43 Later, Juechao’s principal obligation was to serve as a dedicated ritual performer in the palace chapel. In July 777 he requested to be relieved of this duty, citing his advanced years.44 The request was denied. The only other evidence we have of Juechao’s activities are a memorial from October 4, 777, congratulating the emperor on the defeat of Tibetan forces and another four days later in which Juechao again offers his congratulations to the emperor for timely rainfall.45 Here we see that his service to and interactions with the Tang throne in the years following Amoghavajra’s death replicated his master’s, most notably in his interest and presumed involvement in ritual procedures that aided in defeating Tibetan troops. The most well-­k nown of Amoghavajra’s fully initiated disciples, at least among later generations of scholars, is Huiguo, installed in the secondary capital of Luoyang 洛陽 at Qinglong Monastery. Huiguo’s name is known principally because he is the man under whom Kūkai practiced and from whom Kūkai says he received full initiation in the five divisions.46 But although Huiguo was one of only a few people to have received full initiation from Amoghavajra and was recognized as a leading disciple in the years after the master’s death, the historical record does not support the exalted view that has been constructed by the Japanese Shingon tradition. Huiguo is mentioned only a few times in the communiqués preserved in the Memorials and Edicts. His name is listed, along with twenty others, in a request dated July 20, 774, that monks be specially installed at Xingshan Monastery in order to maintain recitations.47 On December 7, 775, Huiguo conveyed his gratitude to Emperor Daizong for having bestowed on him several bolts of brocade cloth.48 In February 777 he composed a memorial acknowledging an imperial command to purify the pagodas and images in the monasteries of the dynastic capital.49 Japanese sources report that he was attached to Qinglong Monastery in Luoyang, where he was evidently posted in 774 when Amoghavajra composed his last testament. Japanese materials also indicate [ 186 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism that Huiguo fully initiated Yicao 義操 (fl. ca. 805–­824) and Yizhen 義真 (fl. ca. 836–­846) in the practice of Esoteric Buddhism, but we have little more certain information.50 Huiguo might have been the most important of Amoghavajra’s fully initiated disciples for the Shingon tradition, but in China it was Huilang. Information concerning Huilang’s early life and career are not available. His first appearance in the historical record comes in Amoghavajra’s will, where he is named as one of the six fully initiated disciples. However, Huilang swiftly became the leading representative of Esoteric Buddhism following Amoghavajra’s death. On July 20, 774, he submitted a memorial to the throne requesting the installation of seven monks at Xingshan Monastery and thirteen monks at the Mañjuśrī Pavilion at Mount Wutai for the purpose of sūtra recitation.51 On August 20, 774, three weeks after Amoghavajra’s death, Huilang was transferred by imperial command from Chongfu to Xingshan Monastery. Not only did this command place Huilang in Amoghavajra’s home monastery but also it explicitly ordered him to instruct future disciples.52 With this imprimatur, Huilang became the de facto inheritor of Amoghavajra’s position vis-­à-­vis the Tang Court. Huilang’s role as Amoghavajra’s heir is evident in the various communications between him and Daizong in the years that followed. For example, following the bestowal of a posthumous title and courtesy name on Amoghavajra, it was Huilang who submitted a memorial expressing gratitude.53 On January 5, 775, he memorialized his appreciation for the purple robe bestowed on him by Emperor Daizong. The śramaṇa Huilang says: Huilang attained the subtle Yoga entirely. He is favored by the His Sagacious Mercy’s abundant blessing in private and he exits through the golden gates [of the palace]. Fragrance embellishes all of the palace halls, and He favors us with brilliant commands. [I] frequently turn to the palace and am granted purple seal and cassia as a beneficence, not only honoring and adorning the previous master [Amoghavajra] but also truly illuminating the later student [Huilang]. All of the monks are extremely sad. I circumspectly submit this so that it may be heard. 沙門惠朗言。惠朗至微瑜伽一介。叨承 聖澤。濫沐殊私。出入 金門。薰修別殿。幸奉 明詔。頻對九重。紫綬袈裟特蒙 恩賜。不但榮飾先師。實亦光耀後學。微僧無任悲感。謹 54 奉表陳謝以聞。不勝戰灼之至。誠歡誠喜謹言。

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The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism Huilang also assumed oversight of the construction of the Mañjuśrī Pavilion at Xingshan Monastery; he expressed his formal gratitude to Daizong for the imperial plaque installed there on March 19, 775.55 A little under a month later, he provided an account of expenses connected with the construction.56 Huilang conveyed the collective gratitude of Amoghavajra’s disciples for the supplies provided by Emperor Daizong for the memorial observations on the first anniversary of the master’s passing.57 He even followed Amoghavajra’s precedent in submitting a congratulatory memorial following the killing of a rebellious general, Li Lingyao 李靈曜.58 Huilang’s role as the leading representative of Esoteric Buddhism following Amoghavajra’s death in 774 was institutionalized five years later when assumed the position previously held by Amoghavajra as abbot of Xingshan Monastery. On May 16, 779, Fagao 法高 (d.u.), the rector (duweina 都維那) of Xingshan, submitted a memorial to Emperor Daizong expressing his gratitude for the recent promotion of Huilang.59 Huilang inherited Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism as a fully initiated ācārya, the relationship with Daizong, and the position as abbot of Xingshan Monastery. With the support of the Tang imperial government and in his capacity as a specially appointed official in the Ministry of Rites, Amoghavajra installed his lineal disciples in some of the most important centers of Imperial Buddhism. There they oversaw some of the established ceremonies of Imperial Buddhism and also performed Esoteric Buddhist rites that others could not without proper authorization and instruction. Under the direction of Amoghavajra, Esoteric Buddhism was institutionalized within the Imperial Buddhism complex of the Tang.

Esoteric Buddhism/Imperial Buddhism Esoteric Buddhism’s continuity with and improvement upon the practical effects of established Imperial Buddhism and the system of initiation that controlled access to and established identity and authority as an Esoteric Buddhist contributed to the institutionalization of Esoteric Buddhism as Imperial Buddhism. This practically meant that individuals trained and authorized in Esoteric Buddhism occupied the most important monastic institutions of the Imperial Buddhist system. Over the course of his career under Daizong, Amoghavajra assumed leadership, both actual and by proxy, [ 188 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism of some of the most important monasteries and temple complexes of the Tang Imperial Buddhist system, effectively transforming them into institutions in which Esoteric Buddhist rites were performed, Esoteric Buddhist texts were produced, and Esoteric Buddhists were trained and authorized. On the basis of Amoghavajra’s personal relationships with Suzong as crown prince and with other members of the imperial family, the practice of Esoteric Buddhism in the imperial palace began early in Amoghavajra’s career, was performed during his lifetime, and continued after his death. As introduced in the previous chapter, in February 758, not more than two months after Amoghavajra had first entered the capital, Emperor Suzong commanded that a group of his disciples come to the palace. Presented: an imperial edict informing Trepiṭaka Amoghavajra’s four disciples of the Silver Terrace Gate party,60 Huiyu, Quna,61 Huixiao, and Huiyue, to enter the palace. They are to be fetched by the general of the Flying Dragons Cavalry62 and to recite at the ritual space constructed by Trepiṭaka. 奉 勅語有銀臺門家喚不空三藏弟子惠[月*于].瞿那.惠曉.惠月等四人入內。將飛龍馬 63 取與三藏建飾道場念誦。

In 777, Juechao, one of Amoghavajra’s six surviving lineal disciples, was still installed at that imperial ritual space in the service of Emperor Daizong. The role of Amoghavajra and other Esoteric Buddhists in the palace, where they interacted with the emperor and established maṇḍalas in the palace chapel, is reflected in the Older Tang History censure and complaint introduced in the previous chapter: [Emperor Daizong] once commanded that food for 100 monks [be provided], that Buddha images be laid out in the central palace, and that the recitation (niansong 念誦) of scriptures be practiced. He called it the Inner [Palace] ritual platform (daochang 道場). The meals that were provided were generous and exceedingly rare [dishes]. Coming and going, [the monks] rode horses of the [imperial] stables.64

The role of Esoteric Buddhism in the Tang palace was perhaps the most high-­ profile, but probably the most well-­k nown instance of Amoghavajra’s appropriation of an existing Imperial Buddhist institution is his involvement [ 189 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism in the complex at Mount Wutai. Mount Wutai appears to have become an Imperial Buddhist site during the Northern Wei 北魏 Dynasty (386–­534). The reasons behind this development are not entirely clear, though James Hargett’s theory that it reflects the mountain’s proximity to the Wei dynastic capital in Datong 大同 (then called Pingcheng 平城) seems reasonable.65 Mount Wutai had emerged as an important center for Imperial Buddhism in the fourth century, although in Huixiang’s 慧祥 (fl. 680) account, Traditions of Old [Mount] Clear and Cool,66 he suggests that imperial sponsorship of Buddhist institutions there occurred as early as the third century, when the Wei (220–­265) Emperor Wen 文帝 (r. 220–­227) constructed Fu Monastery 孚 寺.67 In any event, this imperial support continued and increased in subsequent generations. Continued support of building projects during the Northern Wei Dynasty resulted in some two hundred Buddhist monasteries and temples on Wutai by the time of the Northern Qi 北齊 Dynasty (550–­577).68 By the middle of the eighth century, Mount Wutai was the preeminent site of Imperial Buddhism.69 As a result of Daizong’s investment and through Amoghavajra’s involvement, Wutai became a leading location of Esoteric Buddhism. By the time Daizong assumed the throne, there were five official monasteries at Mount Wutai: Qingliang Monastery 清涼寺, Huayan Monastery 華嚴寺, Foguang Monastery 佛光寺, Yuhua Monastery 玉華寺, and Jin’ge Monastery 金閣寺, the “Golden Pavilion.” Qingliang and Foguang were the oldest institutions, having been established by Emperor Xiaowen 孝文 (r. 471–­500) of the Northern Wei Dynasty.70 The Golden Pavilion was the most recent addition. Based on a vision revealed to Daoyi 道義 in 736 by the bodhisattva Mañjuśrī, it became an official monastery under Emperor Xuanzong, but its construction and maintenance evidently were disregarded or went unsupported. On June 12, 766, Amoghavajra submitted a memorial to Emperor Daizong requesting funds to complete the construction of the Golden Pavilion Monastery, then overseen by a monk named Daohuan 道環.71 The monastery [mentioned] above (i.e., the Golden Pavilion Monastery), [for which] the Prior Sage72 wrote the official name plaque [when] the eaves were not yet complete, was officially permitted in the twenty-­fourth year of Kaiyuan (736/7) [when] the Quzhou 衢州 monk Daoyi 道義 saw the monastery revealed (迹) by the sage Mañjuśrī at Mount [Wu]tai. Its public name was the Golden Pavilion Cloister. There were to be thirteen residences for the assembly of monks,73 [ 190 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism said to be ten thousand people. The terraces, halls, gates, and buildings (樓) were to be made of gold. At the time, the plan was drawn up in one volume and entered into the inner [court], and everybody in the world wanted the Golden Pavilion Monastery to be completed. What person would not wish [this]? It was commanded that the Zezhou 澤州 monk Daohuan 道環 daily carry supplies to the mountain. Admiring the matter seen by meditation master Daoyi, I open my heart and present that the Golden Pavilion Monastery [should] be built for the kingdom. The number of courtyards and eaves is just as that which was seen [in Daoyi’s vision]. This summer the work began; craftsmen operated and managed the sundry matters themselves and will soon fulfill the Ancestral Sage’s imperial name plaque and completely accomplish Daoyi’s intention. The vision (觀) of this monk’s intention is not trifling. Some say it is that which Mañjuśrī bestowed for cultivating the cause of victory.74 Presently there are five [imperial] plaque monasteries on the numinous mountain Wutai. Clear and Cool (Qingliang 清涼), Flower Adorned (Huayan 華嚴), Buddha Light (Foguang 佛光), and Jade Flower (Yuhua 玉花) were built previously. Only the Golden Pavilion has not yet been finished. Since this was revealed by the sage [Mañjuśrī], who would not have reverence (瞻) [for it]? Amoghavajra wishes that alms be given to aid Daohuan to build and establish the magnificent affair. I am terrified that [because of] age I will not personally participate, failing (愆) in my cherished intention. Time and again my memorials have been heard by the indulgent Heavenly Beneficence. Now, as it is a revelation of the sage Mañjuśrī, sages [should] act as overseers (主). In the construction of the Golden Pavilion, if not Your Majesty, then who? Ridgepoles and roof beams—­a great building depends on these. Ministers are that on which a leader relies;75 together becoming one body, the ten thousand states are harmonized and united. The Golden Pavilion—­this is its sublime [purpose]. Without a distinguished steward76 assisting and supporting the accomplishment, the inspector of armies77 assisting and aiding, and the one hundred officers78 all joining the thousand officials in together esteeming [the undertaking], then how can the perfection of the lords and servants be manifested by the radiance of the Golden Pavilion’s greatness? The great virtuous śramaṇa Han’guang 含光 of the Longevity Maintaining Monastery received a dispatch to return to Mount [Wu]tai to reverently practice merit. Humbly, I hope to receive the proclamation for the means to build the monastery. I pray with deep sincerity for the Sage’s Command and that the [ 191 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism multitudes of numinous deities will brightly illuminate in order to establish a realm of blessings and well-­being, pacifying the universe, and personally assisting the Sage. Should the Heavenly Beneficence consent to this request, proclaim it to the Bureau of the Secretariat-­Chancellery. 上件寺 先聖書額寺宇未成。准開元二十四年衢州僧道義至臺山所見文殊聖跡寺。號金 閣院。有十三間居僧眾。云有萬人。臺殿門樓茲金所作。登時圖畫一本進入在內。天下百 姓咸欲金閣寺成。人誰不願。令澤州僧道環日送供至山。𨗈慕道義禪師所見之事。發心奉 為國家依圖造金閣寺。院宇多少一如所見。今夏起手工匠什物茲自營辦。將滿先聖御額終 成道義感通。觀夫此僧志願非小。或謂文殊所假俾樹勝因。且五臺靈山寺額有五。清涼.華 嚴.佛光.玉花.四寺先成。獨唯金閣一所未就。既是聖跡。誰不具瞻。不空願捨衣缽隨助 道環建立盛事。嘗恐歲不我與。愆于宿心。屢亦奏聞天恩矜允。夫以文殊聖跡聖者為主。結 構金閣非陛下而誰。棟梁者大廈是依。股肱者元首所託。共成一體和協萬邦。金閣斯崇。非 夫宰輔贊成軍客匡助百寮咸續千官共崇。則何以表君臣之美。以光金閣之大也。保壽寺大 德沙門含光奉使。迴臺恭修功德。伏望便於造寺所奉宣 聖旨祈所厥誠。庶靈神照明。以 79 介景福康寧寰宇保祐聖躬。如天恩允許請宣付所司。

In a rhetorical strategy similar to the approach taken regarding the new Humane Kings Scripture, Amoghavajra asks Emperor Daizong to follow established imperial precedent by observing that the Golden Pavilion was approved and sanctioned by Emperor Xuanzong some thirty years earlier. The completion of the construction by Daizong would, therefore, be the realization of his grandfather’s intention, in addition to following the model of previous dynasties. Amoghavajra also mentions that the plans for the monastery had been entered into the “inner court,” thus indicating earlier bureaucratic approval. Furthermore, the memorial is shot through with references to the state-­protecting power of Buddhism: the express purpose of the Golden Pavilion Monastery is to stabilize and harmonize the imperium. Amoghavajra asks Daizong to invest in the monastery as an institution within the Imperial Buddhist system, but that the work be overseen by Han’guang, one of Amoghavajra’s leading disciples. Some six months later, on December  27, 766, Amoghavajra submitted another memorial to Emperor Daizong concerning Mount Wutai. This time it was a request to fund the repair of the Jade Flower Monastery (Yuhua si 玉 華寺), one of the five imperially sanctioned Buddhist establishments mentioned in the previous memorial.80 On March 20, 767, Amoghavajra submitted [ 192 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism another memorial requesting material and craftsmen to be sent to work on both the Golden Pavilion Monastery and the Jade Flower Monastery. He requests that specific craftsmen be released from their current corvée assignments for this project.81 One month later, on April 29, 767, Amoghavajra submitted one of his most significant memorials concerning Mount Wutai: a request for the ordination of monks to fill the imperially approved monasteries. The content of the memorial is here provided in full. From the distant past the revelation of the sage Mañjuśrī has been esteemed. Now it has occurred that Your Majesty has specially promoted the construction of the purely established saṃgha-­ārāmas. 82 [Your] Compassionate Commands have thickly accumulated; this permits the hundred deities to [provide their] blessings and the myriad sages to come and return [people to the correct teaching].83 The numinous revelation has been [re]created, and this has made abundant flourishing. The regions already adorned and purified! The people at ease! Ever since the difficulties84 [the number of] monks has gradually decreased; some save beings and live among them, some in accordance with conditions dwell in solitude,85 taking refuge in their places. Consequently, the rituals at [various] times are deficient. The meditation niches beneath the trees are all obscured by cobwebs. Because the field of blessings is not yet extensive, there is shame in the Sage’s intention. Humbly, I beseech the Heavenly Beneficence to first put on the mountain practitioners and youths who have for a long time labored strenuously and to ordain fourteen people for each of the monasteries, and also to select seven monks who practice the Way from all the prefectures [so that] each monastery will have twenty-­one people to practice the Way for the kingdom and the palace, that the monasteries will be continuously filled, and the kingdom-­protecting Humane King and the Scripture of [the Pure Land] Densely Adorned scriptures will be constantly recited [at] the five monasteries such as Golden Pavilion. Also, the Wumozi Monastery is not suitably named. I hope for You to make it the Monastery of the Great Chronometry Dharma Flower (Dali fahua 大曆法花) and that the Dharma Flower Scripture be constantly recited for the kingdom. Similarly, as in the case of the [other] five monasteries, [I request that You] relieve and send ordained persons to the Wumozi Monastery. I hope that You will appoint Yunjing 雲京, general of the Ancestral Phoenix Court, and the Imperial Commissioner86 Wei Mingxiu 魏明秀 and also that the śramaṇa Han’guang 含光 will be selected to practice virtue. I hope without [ 193 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism ulterior motives that the construction of the Great Sage Mañjuśrī pavilion at Clear and Cool Monastery will be completed. Humbly I hope for the Heavenly Beneficence to deign to write an official plaque [for the Great Sage Mañjuśrī pavilion at Clear and Cool Monastery] to forever illuminate future generations. 文殊聖跡自古攸仰。今遇陛下特更增修精建伽藍 恩命稠疊。是可百神潛祐萬聖來歸。靈 蹤建興於斯為盛。處既嚴潔。人亦宜然。艱難已來僧徒漸少。或經行化物便住人間。或蘭 若隨緣。周栖他處。遂使時中禮懺鐘梵遞虧。樹下禪龕蛛網交闇。福田未廣有愧聖心。伏 乞天恩先在山中行人童子久精苦者。寺別度二七人。兼諸州抽道行僧一七人。每寺相共滿 三七人為國行道。有闕續填。金閣等五寺常轉仁王護國及密嚴經。又吳摩子寺名且非便。望 改為大曆法花之寺。常為國轉法花經。同五寺例免差遣其所度人。望委雲京將軍宗鳳朝 與中使魏明秀。又修功德沙門含光簡擇。冀無偷濫。又清涼寺為大聖文殊造閣已畢。伏望 天恩賜書一額永光來葉。.87

A number of elements in this memorial give some indication of Amoghavajra’s general project as it concerns Mount Wutai. Amoghavajra’s request to provide monastic practitioners is couched in reference to precedingt imperial activity, and the purpose is clear: for the protection of the imperium via the recitation of the scriptures Daizong had commanded Amoghavajra to produce in 765: the Humane Kings Scripture and the Scripture of [the Pure Land] Densely Adorned. Amoghavajra again requests that Han’guang be installed at Mount Wutai to oversee the services performed there. Han’guang, a fully consecrated ācārya in the Esoteric Buddhist teaching, was authorized not only to perform Esoteric Buddhist rituals but was also to initiate others into the practice of Esoteric Buddhism. He was Amoghavajra’s representative and the resident ācārya. The last memorial concerning Mount Wutai that Amoghavajra submitted to the throne is dated July 24, 769, and, though briefer than the previous memorial, is substantively similar.88As a result of Amoghavajra’s activities following the An Lushan Rebellions and the imperial support that flowed to him and his disciples, Mount Wutai became a leading center of Esoteric Buddhism. Its significance persisted for generations after Amoghavajra’s death in 774. The Japanese pilgrim Ennin 圓仁 (793/4–­864) personally paid homage to the Five Buddhas of the Diamond Pinnacle in the Golden Pavilion Monastery.89 Esoteric Buddhists were installed in the palace chapel and at the Imperial Buddhism complex at Mount Wutai, and they performed a variety of rituals in specific official monasteries located primarily in the capital and its [ 194 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism environs: Zhiju si 智炬寺 in the Zhongnan Mountains 終南山 south of Chang’an, where Amoghavajra and three of his disciples performed ceremonies in 760;90 at Zhangjing 章敬寺91 and Ximing monasteries 西明寺92 in Chang’an: and in Zhende Monastery 真德寺 of Taiyuan for the Tang imperial ancestors. Also significant were the residential institutions of Amoghavajra’s leading disciples. The home monastery of Huilang, Chongfu Si 崇福寺,93 was a significant site of Esoteric Buddhist practice during and after Amoghavajra’s death. The same is true of Qinglong Si 青龍寺, in Luoyang’s Xinchen 新昌 Quarter, the home monastery of Huiguo.94 Xingshan, Huadu, and Baoshou monasteries were also principal locations where Esoteric Buddhism was institutionalized as Imperial Buddhism. These preeminent Imperial Buddhist monasteries reflect the central function of the Imperial Buddhist complex: the performance of rites salutary to the flourishing of the Tang and the production of text for the official Buddhist catalogue of texts. In his final testament, Amoghavajra specifically charges his disciples to continue the teaching in support of the kingdom.95 Consideration of these three monasteries will provide further insight into the establishment of Esoteric Buddhism through the appropriation of Imperial Buddhist institutions of the Tang Dynasty. There is relatively little information concerning Baoshou Monastery available in the historical record. Situated in Chang’an’s Yishan Quarter 翊善坊, Baoshou had originally been a residence of Gao Lishi 高力士, a eunuch official who rose to prominence during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong and continued to wield influence in the court of Suzong until running afoul of Li Fuguo, who contrived his banishment in 760. Gao Lishi was posthumously redeemed by Emperor Daizong and accorded the honor of a grave in the vicinity of Emperor Xuanzong’s tomb.96 In 750/1 Gao Lishi had converted one of his residences in Chang’an into a Buddhist monastery, thereby establishing Baoshou Monastery. Baoshou was one of many prestigious official monasteries located in the imperial capital and based on its name, “Preserving Longevity,” its official function was the maintenance of the emperor’s health. Its official status is also reflected in a memorial submitted to Emperor Daizong by Amoghavajra in February 771. This request was to send Huilin 惠林, a monk praised by Amoghavajra for his intelligence and zeal in preaching, to Baoshou in order to sermonize the “true scriptures” (zhenjing 真經). Amoghavajra put forward his request “for the sake of the kingdom” generally, but more specifically to preserve the blessings of the ancestral [ 195 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism spirits, the fecundity of the fields, and the longevity of the emperor.97 In other words, Huilin’s preaching would serve to fulfill the purpose of Baoshou as an official Buddhist monastery. The specific content or intended results are unknown, though they likely reflected a view predicated on or related to the Esoteric Buddhist teaching that Amoghavajra endorsed. If Huilin’s sermonizing was, in fact, a proselytizing of Esoteric Buddhism, it would explain the request submitted to Emperor Daizong in May 771 by the monks in residence at Baoshou that Amoghavajra go there and administer the “pure precepts” (qingjing jie 清淨戒). This phrase ordinarily refers to the Mahāyāna bodhisattva precepts, but considered in relation to the description of Amoghavajra’s training under Vajrabodhi that appears in the Account of Conduct, it seems to indicate that these “pure precepts” were also construed as prerequisite to the practice of Esoteric Buddhism generally. By administering them to the Baoshou monks, Amoghavajra formally became their preceptor and teacher.98 Consequently, although both of the aforementioned requests are overtly oriented toward the emphases and goals of Imperial Buddhism, the immediate effect or consequence was the conversion of Baoshou into a de facto Esoteric Buddhism institution. This helps explain why Emperor Daizong specifically mentioned Baoshou Monastery in his command to Li Yuancong to assemble able successors to Amoghavajra. Furthermore, Baoshou came to serve as the monastic residence of two monks—­one third of Amoghavajra’s fully consecrated disciples—­who received full initiation from him: the ācārya Yuanjiao 元皎 and Juechao 覺超. Baoshou was thus simultaneously one of the leading Imperial Buddhist institutions of the Tang Dynasty and one of the premier centers for training in and practicing Esoteric Buddhism. These facts indicate that Esoteric Buddhism, though a distinct teaching (i.e., the “teaching of the Diamond Pinnacle,” a lineage of consecrated ācārya, etc.), was institutionally inseparable from Imperial Buddhism in the Tang Dynasty. This fact is also reflected in the other significant monastic institutions in which Esoteric Buddhism was located. The de facto takeover of monastic institutions of the Imperial Buddhist system is also illustrated by events involving Huadu Monastery, a case that suggests the extent to which Imperial Buddhism and Esoteric Buddhism became effectively merged as a result of Amoghavajra’s role in Daizong’s government. Located in Chang’an’s Yining Quarter 義寧坊, Huadu Monastery was established in 583 CE during the Sui Dynasty when the former residence [ 196 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism of Grand Councilor Gao Ying 高潁 was converted into a Buddhist institution named Zhenji Monastery 眞寂寺. The name was changed to Huadu in 619.99 There are three documents in the Memorials and Edicts concerning the Esoteric takeover. The first is a memorial dated March 20, 767, providing the names of fourteen monks to be transferred to Huadu Monastery.100 Humbly, comparing the kingdom-­protecting Hall of Myriad Bodhisattvas in Huadu Monastery with that which was revealed by Mañjuśrī on Mount [Wu]tai—­ the elephant-­drawn cloud chariots soaring above the columns and roof beams and the radiant luster of the filled halls—­it is not different from the Golden Pavilion [Monastery]. I received the compassionate command on January 27, 767, and a bestowal of incense along with the proclamation of the oral edict commanding Amoghavajra to select great worthies to chant; then [You] commanded the abbot (寺主), Zhizang 智藏, to specially inspect a ritual platform.101 The great worthies [mentioned] previously—­sometimes performing the splendid mantras (zhenyan 貞言) and studying the discipline, sometimes propounding the marvelous teaching and reciting the [scriptures of] the True Vehicle—­hope to be selected to reside in this, the center [of the empire]. Every year there is the three-­month-­long zhai 齋 and there is chanting for the protection of the kingdom at the purely constructed ritual platform. Surely this is the reason the temples102 are always full. 伏以化度寺護國萬菩薩堂。並依臺山文殊所見。乘雲駕象凌亂楹梁。光明滿堂不異金閣。奉 去年十二月二十三日 恩命。賜香兼宣 口敕。命不空簡擇念誦大德。及命寺主智藏專撿 挍道場。其前件大德等。或業茂真言學通戒律。或敷宣妙旨轉讀真乘。望抽住於此中。每 103 年三長齋月。精建道場為國念誦。必有事故隨闕續填。

Amoghavajra is responding to a command from Daizong to install an initiation altar in the monastery and for dedicated ritual practitioners to staff it. The monks selected by Amoghavajra are to practice Esoteric Buddhism for the welfare of the imperium. The next document concerning Huadu Monastery came a few months later, on July 28, 767. In this memorial Amoghavajra requests that a monastic named Zilin 子翷 take up residence in Huadu in order to discourse on the teachings (kaijiang 開講).104 The final document is dated September 7, 772. It is an appeal that Chaowu 超悟, whom Amoghavajra has previously requested to serve as a translator of the Humane Kings Scripture in 765, be sent to Huadu in order to preach the Great Nirvana Scripture for [ 197 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism the sake of the kingdom.105 Here we find an instance of Amoghavajra pro­ moting not only Esoteric Buddhism but also established forms of Imperial Buddhism. Across these documents there is a consistent emphasis on the kingdom-­protecting aspects of Buddhism as well as an overlapping investment in establishing Esoteric Buddhism, at least in the case of the monastic transfers and the installation of an initiation altar. But the reason Huadu Monastery was specifically chosen is suggested by the monastery’s history prior to the first memorial submitted in 767. For several generations Huadu Monastery had served as the headquarters of the Inexhaustible Treasury (wujin zang 無盡藏)106 of Xinxing’s 信行 (540–­594) Three Stages Teaching (sanjie jiao 三階教).107 This particular teaching of Buddhism and its adherents had suffered the regular, if not sustained, disfavor of a succession of Chinese rulers, though the teaching seemingly survived up to the eighth century. Continuing the policies of Emperor Wen of the Sui and Empress Wu Zetian 武則天 (r. 690–­705), Emperor Xuanzong initiated a series of moves in 713 that were meant to suppress or abolish the Three Stages Teaching. He outlawed the Inexhaustible Treasury and the practice of housing adherents of the teaching in separate monastic chambers. These measures were followed by the exclusion of texts relating to the Three Stages Teaching from the Kaiyuan Catalogue completed in 730—­a clear example of imperial control exercised over the Chinese Buddhist canon. The suppression of the Three Stages Teachings had occurred off and on since its inception in the sixth century, but appears to have been finally effective in the mid-­eighth century.108 It is difficult not to see the installation of monastic practitioners of Esoteric Buddhism in Huadu Monastery as a continuation of this effort. Fourteen monks is a sizable number to install in a single monastery. Gernet has indicated that typical Buddhist monasteries at the time contained no more than twenty to fifty monks.109 Assuming Huadu to be typical in size, fourteen monks trained and selected by Amoghavajra would have established Esoteric Buddhism as a significant, if not dominant, presence. In any case, Emperor Daizong’s command indicates his intention: in essence, Huadu ceased to be a center of Three Stages Teaching, becoming instead an institutional home of Esoteric Buddhism as Imperial Buddhism. If this reading is accurate, Esoteric Buddhism was employed as a means of suppressing Buddhist teachings that did not adequately serve the interests of the imperial state. [ 198 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism During Amoghavajra’s lifetime the most important monastic center of Esoteric Buddhism was unquestionably the Great Xingshan Monastery (Da Xingshan si 大興善寺). Located on Chang’an’s central boulevard, it was a massive complex occupying the entirety of the Jingshan Quarter 靖善坊.110 Its principal function was the production of Buddhist texts. Originally named Zunshan Monastery 遵善寺, it had been established in the Sui Dynasty under Emperor Wen 文帝 (r. 581–­604) and served as the home monastery for a succession of translators and catalogue compilers.111 Xingshan was a preeminent official monastery and one of three in Chang’an with the official and historical purpose of producing imperially sponsored Buddhist texts. Xingshan was a natural fit for Amoghavajra in his role as a translator of Buddhist scriptures and served as his official residence from his the time of his return from Wuwei to Chang’an in 756 until his death in 774.112 But Amoghavajra also transmitted the teaching that only he possessed to his disciples. Xingshan Monastery was the foremost institution in which one could be initiated into the secrets of Esoteric Buddhism. As explained above, Amoghavajra performed initiations in Xingshan Monastery on May 30, 760, requesting Daizong’s approval and stating that Esoteric Buddhism was superior to established traditions of Imperial Buddhism. On December 23, 763, less than one year after Daizong had ascended the throne, Amoghavajra submitted another application for permission to perform initiation rites in Xingshan so that “the numerous frontiers be purged113 and the Sage [Emperor] will personally [receive] ten thousand years of longevity.”114 Amoghavajra also had monks transferred there to be trained and to serve him. Many of these individuals contributed to and continued the establishment of Esoteric Buddhism in the institutions of Imperial Buddhism. In January  764, Amoghavajra requested forty-­nine monks, each of them named, to be transferred to Xingshan Monastery.115 Among them were Han’guang, Yuanjiao, and Juechao, three of the six men who would receive and transmit Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism as fully consecrated ācāryas. Others were transferred owing to their translation abilities: Huaigan 懷感, Huiling 慧靈, Fachong 法崇, Feizi 飛錫, and Qianzhen 潛真 were also specifically named to serve as translators in Amoghavajra’s request to produce a new translation of the Humane Kings Scripture in 765. Another of these men was Feixi, who composed Amoghavajra’s Stele Inscription. The transfer of these practitioners to Amoghavajra’s oversight in 764 was a move that [ 199 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism practically institutionalized Esoteric Buddhism in Xingshan Monastery. This was formalized when Amoghavajra had the existing abbot, Yuanjing 圓 敬, demoted and sent away in August 773. Amoghavajra charged him with misusing monastic property, keeping inappropriate company with Buddhist nuns, and general bad behavior. He recommended that Yuanjing be allowed to retain his position as a monk so that he might mend his ways and return to his home monastery, Siyuan Monastery 思遠寺 in Henan. Amoghavajra installed his disciple Daoyu 道遇 as abbot.116 Daoyu had transferred to Xingshan Monastery at Amoghavajra’s request in 764 from Jingzhong Monastery 淨眾寺 in Chengdu 成都, and was installed as rector (duweina 都維那) before being promoted to abbot.117 He was succeeded as abbot by Amoghavajra’s disciple Qianzhen.118 During and after Amoghavajra’s life, Xingshan Monastery was effectively an Esoteric Buddhist institution.

Li Yuancong, Commissioner of Merit and Virtue The establishment of Esoteric Buddhism as Imperial Buddhism under Daizong was not only the result of installing specific practices and practitioners within the Imperial Buddhist system. The adoption of Esoteric Buddhism also precipitated changes in the way the imperial state oversaw the Buddhist establishment. With the installation of Li Yuancong 李元琮 (?–­776/7) as the first commissioner of merit and virtue (gongde shi 功德使), the Tang patronage of Esoteric Buddhism became institutionalized. There is little concrete information available concerning the life of Li Yuancong, also known as Li Cong 李琮 or Minister Duke Yuan (Yuan xianggong 元相公). He receives no biographical treatment in either the Older or the Newer Tang History. This likely reflects the tacit censure of later court scholars, but the reasons behind this implicit denunciation are not entirely clear. Material from the standard histories suggests that Li Yuancong was a cruel man given to the abuse of his authority. The biographies of Xi Shimei 郗士 美, a literatus in the central bureaucracy, report that Li was “savage and unreasonable and disgraced Metropolitan Governor Cui Zhao 崔昭 at the Silver Pavilion Gate.”119 He “depended on his might and was as harsh and unreasonable as Jie 桀,” the last ruler of the Xia Dynasty (twenty-­first to sixteenth centuries BCE) and archetypal tyrant.120 It is probable that these valuations of Yuancong are evidence not so much of the man’s character as [ 200 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism of a later generation’s disapproval. In any case, we can say with some certainty that Li Yuancong was a military man who, like many others, was a patron-­disciple of Amoghavajra and rose to power in the aftermath of An Lushan’s uprising. On the basis of his titles recorded in the Memorials and Edicts, he was commandant of the Right Inner Guard Command in May 760121 and had served as commissioner of the Inner Flying Dragon Corral since at least 758.122 As such, he was a high-­ranking officer in the imperial army, charged specifically with the protection of the emperor.123 Li Yuancong was also a long-­standing lay disciple and patron of Amoghavajra. By the time of Amoghavajra’s death in 774, he had served as Li Yuancong’s master for better than thirty years, according to his last testament contained in the Memorials and Edicts.124 This suggests that the two men became formally associated circa 740, but both Zhao Qian’s Account of Conduct and Feixi’s Stele Inscription indicate that Amoghavajra initiated Li Yuancong into Esoteric Buddhism in 754/5 when he was attached to Geshu Han’s command at Wuwei. Following the outbreak of rebellion, the establishment of Suzong, and the (partial) reestablishment of order in the Tang imperium, Li Yuancong became an influential member of the Tang imperial government. In addition to his official duties in the military, he acted as a contact between the court and Amoghavajra and his disciples. On February 8, 758, Li Yuancong was charged by Suzong to collect Amoghavajra’s disciples Hui Yu, Qu Na, Hui Xiao, and Hui Yue and bring them to the inner palace to perform Esoteric rites.125 Li Yuancong’s official position as general in the imperial armies and as unofficial liaison between the emperor and Esoteric Buddhists is a consistent feature of his career. For example, he ascended to the rank of general of the Militant as Dragons Army, one of the six imperial armies, in July 765. On July 10 of that year, Du Mian 杜冕, then vice-­censor-­ in-­chief, requested that he be sent to Xingshan Monastery in order to assist Amoghavajra in the production of scripture translations. Especially hoping for the Heavenly Beneficence, appoint the new General of the Militant as Dragons [army] Li Yuancong to meet with Trepiṭaka [Amoghavajra] and the Great Worthy Jin Zhen 縉真 of Xingshan Monastery, and all seven of the Great Worthies of the capital city’s schools (義學). Meeting together, the assembly will translate all of the writings in twenty-­one volumes, promulgate and teach the Way in the great monasteries of the capital city, and then transmit it throughout one thousand worlds [i.e., the universe] and promulgate it for ten thousand [ 201 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism years. Nonsubjects (不臣者) like hornets and scorpions will be extinguished. All traces of the wolf-­hearted and insane barbarians (狂虜) will be swept clean. 特望 天恩。委新龍武軍將軍李元琮勾當與三藏及與興善寺大德縉真。僉量京城義學大 德七人。同參會  翻譯各寫二十一本。頒示諸道及京城大寺。即傳諸千界流布萬年。使 126 不臣者滅蜂蠆之形。逐狂虜者掃狼心之跡。

The precise nature of this assistance is unclear, though the continuing relationship between Amoghavajra and Esoteric Buddhism and Tang efforts to restrain the violent chaos that characterized the age is signaled by the declared intention behind the translation project. The relationship between Amoghavajra and Li Yuancong established decades earlier was still in effect and had grown more significant in direct relation to Yuancong’s promotion within the military chain of command. Li Yuancong’s role as liaison between the emperor and Esoteric Buddhists appears to have been based on his personal relationship with Amoghavajra as his patron-­disciple, but it became institutionalized in October 774 when Li Yuancong was made the first commissioner of merit and virtue by Emperor Daizong. Li Yuancong held this office until his death in 776/7. On January 25, 777, the Esoteric Buddhist ācārya Huilang submitted a memorial to Daizong requesting that the office be filled.127 Liu Chongxun succeeded Li Yuancong in 778 and, suggesting an expansion of the office’s responsibilities, the palace eunuch Li Xiancheng 李憲誠 was named inner commissioner of merit and virtue in a memorial dated May  16, 779.128 The office appears to have expanded in subsequent years. The “Annals of the Hundred Officials” (baiguan zhi 百官志) section of the Newer Tang History reports larger bureaucracy and oversight capacity in the late 700s and early 800s. In the fourth year of Zhenyuan 貞元 (789/90) the Academy for Venerating the [Daoist] Mysteries stopped [the post of] great scholar and it was assigned to the office of the great commissioner of merit and virtue 大功德使 [for monasteries situated along] the left and right avenues of the capital. The commissioner of merit and virtue for the Eastern Sector, the commissioner for the cultivation of merit and virtue, and all [Buddhist] monks and nuns were recorded and worked for them. In the second year of Yuanhe (808/9) the Daoist clergy and palace ladies were subordinate to the commissioner of merit and virtue [for monasteries situated along] the left and right avenues of the capital. In the second [ 202 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism year of Huichang (843/4) [Buddhist] monks and nuns were subordinate to the Ministry of Receptions 主客, the Palace of Grand Purity established the Academy of the Originary Mystery, and there were also scholars. In the sixth year (848/9) the academy was abolished and [Buddhist] monks and nuns returned to being subordinate to the commissioner of merit and virtue [for monasteries situated along] the two avenues of the capital. 貞元四年,崇玄館罷大學士,後復置左右街大功德使、東都功德使、脩功德使,總僧、尼之 籍及功役.元和二年,以道士、女官隸左右街功德使.會昌二年,以僧、尼隸主客,太清宮 置玄元館,亦有學士,至六年廢,而僧、尼復隸兩街功德使.129

This account reports the expansion of the office and a simultaneous restriction of Daoist prerogatives. Scholars trained in the imperial Academy for Venerating the [Daoist] Mysteries established by Emperor Xuanzong in 741 were no longer eligible for government service, and Daoist institutions of the capital came under the oversight of the commissioner of merit and virtue; then the office assumed oversight of all Daoists. The Older Tang History confirms this, though it provides a slightly different date. March 3, 807: there was an edict that [Buddhist] monks and nuns and Daoist clergy be completely subordinated to the commissioner of merit and virtue [for monasteries situated along] the left and right avenues [of the capital]. 二月辛酉,詔僧尼道士全隸左右街功德使.130

“The left and right avenues” is a reference to the capital city of Chang’an, the commoners’ city being roughly bisected by the Avenue of the Vermillion Bird, which ran north-­south from the southern Gate of Brilliant Virtue to the Gate of the Vermillion Bird marking the entry to the imperial government complex. Thirty-­four years after it began as an office in charge of direct exchange between the emperor and Esoteric Buddhists in the Imperial Buddhism complex, the commissioner of merit and virtue assumed oversight of all the capital clergy, both Buddhist and Daoist. In 817/8, the commissioner argued in favor of the emperor paying homage to the finger-­bone relic of Śākyamuni enshrined at Famen Monastery 法門寺.131 This was probably Tutu Chengcui 吐突承璀, who died in 820 but had held the post since at least 806, when his proposal to build a stele pavilion was defeated by court [ 203 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism academicians.132 Engyō reports that the initiation into Esoteric Buddhism that he received on February 23, 839, was recorded by the commissioner of merit and virtue.133 The occupants of this office were high-­ranking commanders in the Tang imperial armies with Buddhist sympathies. This was true not only in the case of Li Yuancong, whose career established the precedent, but also of subsequent holders of the office. Liu Chongxun succeeded Li Yuancong as both commissioner and general of the Right Militant as Dragons Army; Tutu Chengcui was concurrently commandant-­in-­ordinary of the Left Army.134 This was the rare post that bridged the traditional separation between the civil bureaucracy and the military establishment in the Tang.135

Amoghavajra’s Textual Corpus Besides influencing the manner in which the Tang central government oversaw and regulated imperial religious institutions—­both Buddhist and Daoist—­the institutionalization of Esoteric Buddhism as Imperial Buddhism also influenced Amoghavajra’s actions and the nature of his legacy: the establishment of Esoteric Buddhism in China. There were two dimensions to this legacy. Only a few people had received the teaching in its entirety. During and after his lifetime, Esoteric Buddhism was institutionalized as Imperial Buddhism and instantiated in the identities and practices of a few properly trained ācārya. Amoghavajra also committed the teaching to writing by producing an abundance of texts. He served the Tang according to the tradition of Imperial Buddhism, providing them with ritual services beneficial to the emperor, the imperial family, and the Tang state and translating scriptures. The role of scriptural production in Amoghavajra’s service to the Tang is indicated by the fact that he requested approval from Suzong’s government to gather and translate texts almost immediately after Tang control of the imperial capitals was reestablished. Amoghavajra’s earliest recorded communications with Suzong express his congratulations and his thanks for a gift of incense.136 On April 24, 758, two months after Suzong’s victorious return to Chang’an, Amoghavajra requested permission to collect and translate scriptures. Among the capital monasteries such as Ci’en and Jianfu and the Eastern Capital monasteries such as Shengshan, Changshou, and Fuguang, as well as various [ 204 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism prefectures, districts, colleges, monasteries, villages, and precincts, there are palm-­leaf scriptures (fanjia 梵夾) that were brought by the Trepiṭaka monks Dabianjue Yijing 大遍覺義淨,137 Śubhākarasiṃha, [Bodhi]ruci,138 and Ratnaketu.139 . . . ​[As for] the earlier pages of palm-­leaf scriptures of the tripiṭaka received before, many have not yet been translated. Over the months and years many of the profound threads have been severed.140 Were leaves to become lost or scattered, it would be truly lamentable. If the practice of repairing them is not done, [I] dread being separated from the teachings of the Sage. Now [I] memorialize [requesting] a benevolent command permitting the order to translate them, for the work’s expenses, and to inquire into evidence gathered from scattered words. [I] hope for permission to gather, inspect, collect, and search for that which exists and to be allowed to mend the damages and omissions among them. As for those that can explain the teachings, protect the kingdom, and spread conversion, [I will] continue to translate and submit them [to] spread blessings and support the Sage personally in His most splendid victories. [May] the Heavenly Beneficence permit this request and proclaim that it be turned over to the Office of the Secretariat-­Chancellery. 中京慈恩薦福等寺。及東京聖善長壽福光等寺。并諸州縣舍寺村坊。有舊大遍覺義淨.善 無畏.流支.寶勝等三藏所將梵夾。  . . . ​前件梵夾等。承前三藏多有未飜。年月已深縚 索多斷。湮沈零落實可哀傷。若不修補恐違聖教。近奉恩命許令翻譯。事資探討證會微 言。望 許所在撿閱收訪。其中有破壞缺漏隨事補葺。有堪弘闡助國揚化者。續譯奏聞福 資 聖躬最為殊勝 天恩允許請宣付所司。中書門下。141

The request and the edict approving it passed through the Bureau of Sacrifices. Formal approval came five days after its submission.142 Amoghavajra couches this project in Imperial Buddhist terms by stating that the scriptures will safeguard the kingdom, but notably, he does not ask that he be allowed to translate the scriptures he personally retrieved from the southern Indic kingdoms. The texts he seeks had been stored in various monasteries in Chang’an and the imperium more generally. In his memorial, Amoghavajra specifically mentions the scriptures brought to China by Yijing 義淨 (635–­713), Śubhākarasiṃha (673–­735), Bodhiruci (Chn. Putiliuzhi 菩提流支, fl. 693–­727),143 and Ratnaketu (Chn. Baosheng 寶勝, d.u.). On July 20, 758, three months after this initial request, Amoghavajra applied for permission to translate the texts from the Indic regions. He characterizes them as a heterogeneous collection including Esoteric Buddhist scriptures and [ 205 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism other teachings. Although he indicates that he acquired them himself, he also makes clear that they are not all Esoteric Buddhist scriptures. The dhāraṇī teaching of the Diamond Pinnacle Yoga Scripture in 80 units144 and the scriptures and commentaries of the Greater and Lesser Vehicles in 20 units calculated at 1,200 fascicles . . . ​ Amogha[vajra] has heard that those whose inheritance is the emperorship of Yao 堯 continue to be set up as emperor and those who receive the Buddha’s charge transmit the Buddha’s teaching. Examining this aphorism, the relationships have not changed—­the streams produced over ten thousand ages, the falling leaves of one thousand branches.145 Amogha[vajra] raised his staff and bowl and traveled by foot in India searching the rivers and valleys, crossing and fording states and regions. Whenever encountering sages, I threw myself into requesting the honored rites. Whenever hearing the teachings of the scriptures, I begged that sorrow would be exhausted. Whenever searching for the pure and subtle, searching for the extremely profound and secret (mi 密), I sincerely practiced that which is enjoined.146 Wishing to speak the grand pronouncement, [I] thereupon obtained the aforementioned documents, scriptures, and commentaries. Since reaching the capital of the Central [Kingdom], none has been translated. Both writings from the Palace Gate and edicts have been astonishingly received. [I] only hope for the [emperor’s] beneficent favor to permit the command to translate [them] so that the Dharma will again spread, the path of maintaining snow-­white purity will again be laid out, and the sun of the Buddha will rise again to aid the unimpeded practice of merit. [May the] Heavenly Beneficence permit [this] request, proclaim it, and turn it over to the [appropriate] bureau. 陀羅尼教金剛頂瑜伽經等八十部。大小乘經論二十部計一千二百卷。 . . . ​不空聞纘帝堯 者紹帝位。受佛囑者傳佛教。省茲格言曾不改易。流興萬代散葉千枝。不空杖錫挈瓶。行 邁天竺尋歷川谷跋涉邦方。凡遇聖蹤投請禮敬。輒聞經教罄竭哀祈。搜求精微。窮博 深密。丹誠攸囑。願言弘宣。遂得前件經論。自到中京竟未翻譯。既闕書寫。又乖授持。特 望 寵慈許令翻譯。庶得法筵重敷更雪住持之路。佛日再舉彌增演暢之功。天恩允許請 宣付所司。147

This request was also approved by the emperor, and the edict permitting it had passed through the Ministry of Sacrifices by July 27, 758. Although, Amoghavajra does not categorize or classify the scriptures from existing [ 206 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism monastic holdings that he seeks to translate, his second request indicates that the scriptures he returned with were of multiple categories. Amoghavajra’s scriptural legacy, the corpus that he produced for and submitted to the Tang government reflects the heterogeneous nature of the source texts that he worked from: the untranslated scriptures in monasteries in China, and texts that he personally acquired in southern India. On the occasion of Emperor Daizong’s birthday, November  22, 771, Amoghavajra enacted Imperial Buddhist tradition by submitting Buddhist scriptures to the throne, as was customary on auspicious and commemorative occasions. He submitted seventy-­one titles. This was the culmination of his service as a translator installed in an official translation monastery of the Imperial Buddhist complex. Near the end of his life, Amoghavajra summarizes his career: he partly received the Esoteric Buddhist teaching (the “Dharma Teaching of Yoga”) from Vajrabodhi, traveled to India and acquired an enormous volume of Esoteric Buddhist texts (“scriptures and commentaries of yoga and mantra”), returned to China in 747/8, and began to translate them under Xuanzong and continued after Suzong became emperor. He also gathered texts from existing monastic holdings, translating those that had not yet been translated and correcting those that had. His work was authorized and supported by Xuanzong, Suzong, and especially Daizong. The śramaṇa Amogha[vajra] says: From a young age [I] Amogha[vajra] undertook the affairs of the previous master, the Great Master Trepitaka monk [Vajrabodhi], for twenty-­four years and received the Dharma Teaching of Yoga. Subsequently, I traveled to India to seek all the scriptures and commentaries that I had not yet received. Further studying diligently, I obtained the Indic volumes of the scriptures and commentaries of yoga and mantra, more than 500 in all. For the sake of the kingdom, I presented the detailed translations of the [Buddhist] Sage’s words—­the vast and sublime blessed succor. In the fifth year of Heavenly Treasure (747/8), I returned and arrived in the capital. I was presented with Emperor Xuanzong’s benevolent command to construct a ritual platform in the interior [of the palace], and those Indic scriptures that I had brought were permitted to be translated. When Emperor Suzong, in accord with Heaven, followed the Sage [i.e., ascended the throne], I specially received a decree to establish homa and the method of consecration in the inner [palace] ritual platform. Again, for the sake of the kingdom, [ 207 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism I translated the scriptures that aid the transforming decrees of the emperor. Repeatedly receiving the benevolent decrees of the two Sages (Xuanzong and Suzong), I sent people to search for those Indic texts written in the tripiṭaka of previous eras. I was commanded to repair those that were broken, to translate all those that had not yet been translated, and to humbly present them that they might be heard. Your Highness has inherited the imperial destiny—­the great shelter of numinous cherishing, the expansive opening of the field of blessings, amplifying the brightness of the sun and moon; waves of benevolence distantly spread, the Dharma rains down in diverse streams, the whole world sincerely submits, the ten thousand directions joyfully honor [Your Highness]. Thus, it is known that the Buddha’s legacy resides in [you], the Sagacious Lord. I have been favored to receive the profound honor of [the emperor’s] blessings, and I think how I may repay the kingdom. I received the previous Sage Emperor’s command to carefully explain the words [of the Buddha]. I also received Your Majesty’s benevolent command to revere the bequeathed decree and was again sent to translate [the scriptures] to benefit and ferry living beings [to the shore of liberation]. Although I continuously work diligently, I have not yet realized one in ten thousand. This is why I apply myself from dawn to dusk carefully translating the mantras and scriptures of the Great Vehicle, hoping for some small effect in upholding the Way of the Emperor. The Dharma of the Diamond Pinnacle Yoga that has been translated is the path of swiftly attaining buddhahood. Its practitioners will surely be able to suddenly transcend the mundane realm and reach the other shore. As for the remaining mantras and all the expedients of the Buddha, their followers are many. The Great Vehicle scriptures that have been translated, all these are to uphold the state and eliminate calamities, that the stars will not deviate, that the wind and rain are properly ordered. I reverently depend on the Buddha’s power to assist in the establishment of the nation. As for the completed translations of that which was inherited from Opened Prime (December 22, 713–­February 9, 742) to the current sixth year of Great Chronometry (771/2), altogether 101 fascicles in seventy-­seven sections along with the catalogue in one fascicle and the names of the monks who transcribed and copied them, I cautiously present them on the occasion of the imperial birthday, that the Sage might personally obtain the lasting protection of the blessed mantras and that by the might of the Great Vehicle the kingdom will always be well. [ 208 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism As for those as yet untranslated volumes of Indic scriptures, I will continue to translate and submit only those that protect and support the kingdom and bless the multitudes. With unbearable sincerity I present this memorial so that it might be heard. Thus spoke the śramaṇa Amogha[vajra] in reverence and awe. 沙門不空言。不空爰自幼年承事先師大弘教三藏和尚二十有四載。稟受瑜伽法門。後遊五 夫尋求所未受者并諸經論。更重學習。 凡得梵本瑜伽真言經論五百餘部。奉為國家詳譯聖言。廣崇福祐。天寶五載却至上 都。奉 玄宗皇帝恩命。於內建立道場。所齎梵經盡許翻譯。及肅宗皇帝配天繼聖。特 奉 綸旨。於內道場建立護摩。及灌頂法。又為國譯經助宣皇化。累奉二聖 恩勅。先代 三藏所有梵文並使搜訪。其中有縚索脫落便令修補。其有未經翻譯者續譯 奏聞伏惟 陛 下纘承皇運。大庇含靈。廣闢福田。重明日月。恩波遠被。法雨分流。四海宅心。萬方欣 戴。是知佛之付囑允在 聖君。不空叨承渥澤榮幸實深。切自思之如何報國。奉先皇聖制 令闡微言。又奉 陛下恩命恭尊遺旨。再遣翻譯利濟群生。雖復四時精勤未酬萬一。是以 區區於日夕。詳譯真言及大乘經典。冀効涓微。上資 皇道。其所譯金剛頂瑜伽法門是成 佛速疾之路。其修行者必能頓超凡境達于彼岸。餘部真言諸佛方便其徒不一。所譯諸大 乘經典。皆是上資邦國息滅災厄。星辰不愆風雨慎敘。仰恃佛力輔成國家。謹纘集前後所 翻譯訖者。自開元至今大曆六年。凡一百一卷七十七部并目錄一卷。及筆受僧俗名字繕寫 已訖。謹因 降誕之辰謹具進奉。庶得真言福祐長護聖躬。大乘威力永康國界。其未翻 梵本經中。但有護持於國福潤生靈者續譯奏聞。不勝虔誠之至謹奉表以聞。沙門不空誠 148 惶誠恐謹言。

Amoghavajra represents this textual collection as heterogeneous. He committed the Esoteric Buddhist teachings to writing in the form of scriptures, commentaries, and ritual manuals. and submitted them to the Tang government along with other kingdom-­protecting texts, some of which were already part of the established Imperial Buddhist catalogue. Amoghavajra’s scriptural corpus reflects his conception of Esoteric Buddhism as the highest articulation of Mahāyāna, continuous with but superior to established traditions of Imperial Buddhism. As he described it to Daizong in his request to erect a consecration altar in Xingshan Monastery: “The secret seals (miyin 密印) and mantras (zhenyan 真言) embrace all scriptures.”149 *

*

*

The submission of Amoghavajra’s collection to the Tang government in 771 was the culmination of a career spent acquiring, constructing, and [ 209 ]

The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism disseminating Esoteric Buddhism, in which teachings, practices, identity, and authority were restricted and controlled. During his career disseminating the teaching, Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism was a practical and social tradition, not a textual object. Esoteric Buddhism and its practitioners were marked by initiation rites granting access to the teaching and authority to perform the restricted ritual techniques. As a consequence of Amoghavajra’s career, Esoteric Buddhism was established within the Imperial Buddhist system of the Tang Dynasty. This was the result of an alteration not only of the content, as it were, of that system—­the scriptures of the imperial catalogue, the leadership and occupants of official monasteries, the practices they were commanded to perform within them—­but also of the system itself. The conflation of Esoteric Buddhism and Imperial Buddhism lea to the creation of a new office in the imperial government, the commissioner of merit and virtue: the institutionalization of Amoghavajra’s precedent-­setting relationship with Li Yuancong and Emperor Daizong and of Esoteric Buddhism’s easy alignment with power and its deadly effects. During the most productive phase of his career, from approximately 765 until his death in 774, Amoghavajra trained and initiated others in Esoteric Buddhism and installed his disciples in the Imperial Buddhist complexes at Mount Wutai, in Taiyuan, in Chang’an, and throughout the imperium. He also produced translations and texts of his own composition—­Esoteric Buddhist scriptures, ritual manuals, and compendia as well as a number of other Mahāyāna scriptures —­and at the end of his life submitted them as a group to the imperial court. He had established Esoteric Buddhism as a teaching that was tightly controlled and reserved for only a few, but also as a teaching found in scriptures that told its myths, in commentaries that outlined these scriptures and how they related to each other, and in ritual manuals that explained how to perform the rites. Those texts were held by the state, and instruction and authorization in the teaching was restricted to a handful of Amoghavajra’s lineal ācārya successors, but these two dimensions of Amoghavajra’s legacy, one lineal and the other textual, informed the Chinese understanding of Amoghavajra and his Esoteric Buddhism in the centuries following his death. This is the topic of the next chapter.

[ 210 ]

SIX

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy

IN THE PREVIOUS chapters I have argued that Amoghavajra established Esoteric Buddhism in China within and according to certain local conditions, events, relationships, and institutions. This concluding chapter concerns developments in the understanding and representation of Amoghavajra and his Esoteric Buddhism following his death in 774. The standard narrative is one of an intense but brief flourishing, after which Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism effectively vanished as an identifiable variety of Buddhism in China only one or two generations after his death. This “disappearing tradition” narrative has been subjected to several challenges. One of the strongest rebuttals was Robert Sharf’s contention that Esoteric Buddhism was not an indigenously recognized variety of Buddhism in the Tang and, as such, could not have disappeared because it never existed in the first place.1 Other challenges with which I am more inclined to agree argue that Esoteric Buddhism persisted after Amoghavajra’s death and after the Tang Dynasty not as a sectarian movement but as a diffuse body of practical techniques within Chinese Buddhism, or that the practical norms of Esoteric Buddhist rituals provided material for the creation of local traditions.2 In this concluding chapter I also argue against the understanding that Esoteric Buddhism effectively disappeared a few generations after Amoghavajra’s death. The narrative of the disappearing tradition and other assessments of Amoghavajra and his Esoteric Buddhism are based primarily on Zanning’s Song Dynasty representations. Zanning’s work has led scholars to assert that [ 211 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism persisted for only one or two generations, and others to suggest that Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism was not perceived as a distinct teaching he introduced to China but was instead received and understood in terms of established dhāraṇī spell traditions.3 Others have suggested that Zanning’s representations of Amoghavajra and his Esoteric Buddhism are idiosyncratic projections based on sectarian articulations of Esoteric Buddhism in Japan.4 In some measure, the confusion concerning how to read these Song Dynasty sources is a result of the fact that Zanning’s explanations are multiple and seemingly contradictory. He variously represents Esoteric Buddhism as a teaching transmitted by a lineage of masters in China beginning with Vajrabodhi and as a teaching found in texts produced by Śubhakarasiṃha, Vajrabodhi, and Amoghavajra. He asserts the identity of Esoteric Buddhism as a distinct teaching on par with mainstream Mahāyāna and Chan Buddhism, but he also seems to indicate that this teaching was transmitted in China by a series of figures beginning in the fourth century. His works create the impression that Amoghavajra and his Esoteric Buddhism were understood ambiguously in the Song. However, the multiple representations are a reflection of the textual sources that he used, which were produced following Amoghavajra’s death in 774—­the Memorials and Edicts, the commemorative stele inscriptions, the Buddhist text catalogues—­ and they reflect different Tang Dynasty strategies or modes of consolidating the identity of Amoghavajra and his Esoteric Buddhism. These posthumous sources consolidated the dual dimensions of Amoghavajra’s legacy—­the lineal and the textual—­and established a dual image of Amoghavajra and his Esoteric Buddhism in the historical imagination. As a result of Zanning’s work, these images were ossified in the Chinese historical imagination and became confusing shibboleths for later generations of scholars. The institutional establishment of Esoteric Buddhism as Imperial Buddhism shifted appreciably following the death of Daizong in 779. Although it is commonly asserted that the Huichang Persecution of Buddhism under Emperor Wuzong (r. 840–­846) effectively ended the preeminence of Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism within the imperial establishment, it appears instead that this began earlier, under Emperor Dezong (r. 779–­805). In something of an inversion of the social factors that contributed to Amoghavajra’s rise to influence under Daizong, the withdrawal of imperial support appears to have been a result of the ascension of a new emperor of the Tang and of new cadres of power brokers in the central government. As [ 212 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy Esoteric Buddhists lost access to power, their voices were no longer directly represented in the elite textual record. Consequently, the image of Esoteric Buddhism in Tang sources was fixed. On the one hand, Amoghavajra established a teaching that was restricted and controlled through procedures of authorizing initiation. On the other hand, he produced a large and heterogeneous body of text that reflected his dual identity as Esoteric Buddhist and Imperial Buddhist. The two dimensions of Amoghavajra’s legacyresulted in a dual image of Amoghavajra in the Chinese textual record and in the historical imagination.

The Initial Tang Consolidation: 774–­ca. 800 In the Account of Conduct, Zhao Qian describes Amoghavajra’s death: At noon on the fifteenth day of the sixth month of the ninth year of Dali 大歷 (August 1, 774), calmly and with a settled appearance, he bathed in fragrant water and put on new clothes. He drafted a memorial to take his leave and he faced the north looking toward [the palace]. He lay down with his head to the east and departed while abiding firmly and [forming] the great seal. Although his spirit (shen 神) had gone, his appearance was as it had been in the past. His qi was exhausted but his complexion was lustrous and exceedingly bright. This was the preserving power of the Dharma. How could there be the appearance of death and decay? He was seventy years old and had been a monk for fifty years. His disciple Huilang was next to inherit the position of initiation (guanding 灌頂) [master]. There were some ten people who knew his Dharma and that is all. 以大曆九年六月十五日午時。浴香水。換新服。端居正容。命草辭表。北面瞻望。東首倚 臥。住大印身定中便去。神雖往而容貌如舊。氣將盡而色澤逾鮮。斯法力之加。豈死相而 5 能壞。行年七十。僧臘五十。僧弟子惠朗。次承灌頂之位。餘知法者。蓋數十人而已。

Amoghavajra’s approaching death and his passing set off a flurry of activity to consolidate his legacy. First were Amoghavajra’s own efforts to safeguard his accomplishments. A little more than one month before his death, he composed his last testament, introduced in the first chapter of this work.6 In it he gives a brief sketch of his life. He describes leaving home as a youth; [ 213 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy receiving the “yoga Dharma in 4,000 verses” (yuqie siqian song fa 瑜伽四千頌 法) from Vajrabodhi before traveling to the Indic regions, where he studied “yoga” (yuqie 瑜伽) and acquired “certification in the Dharma treasury of 10,000 verses” (shiwan song fazing yinke十萬頌法藏印可), which he subsequently transmitted in China, then conferring the “yoga secrets” (yuqie mi 瑜伽密), the “eighteen assemblies of yoga” (shiba hui quqie 十八會瑜伽), the practices of the “thirty-­seven sages” (sanshiqi sheng 三十七聖), maṇḍala initiations, and visualization and recitation (niansong 念誦) practices. He did all of these things while serving as the “teacher of three generations of emperors” (sandai di shi 三代帝師). In his last testament, Amoghavajra also names his six fully consecrated ācārya disciples and directs them to pass down the teaching to later disciples. He encourages his disciple Huisheng 慧 勝 to maintain his practice, assuring him that he will win buddhahood even though he had not been fully consecrated in the five divisions. He bequeaths a number of personal ritual implements to Emperor Daizong—­ his vajra and bell, rosaries made of Bodhi tree seeds and of crystal. Amoghavajra directs his disciples at Baoshou, Huadu, and Xingshan monasteries to maintain their practice in the service of the state. Those who are qualified are told to teach the mantras to Tanzhen 曇貞of Qinglong Monastery 青龍寺. He extolls Li Yuancong’s long-­standing devotion and bequeaths two silver vajras and a silver bell to him, encouraging him in his pursuit of siddhi. Amoghavajra expresses his wish that his disciples will continue to work closely with Li Yuancong before going on to similarly praise and encourage the palace eunuch Li Xiancheng and the court official Zhao Qian. He closes by expressing his wishes for a variety of postulants and disciples, the dispersal of sundry objects—­rugs, pots, cups, robes, bedding, etc. He provides directions for completing a pavilion in which to safeguard the Indic scriptures and admonishes his disciples to refrain from mourning him and to be diligent in their practice. On July  23, one week before his death, Amoghavajra submitted a request that twenty-­one of his disciples be installed to maintain recitation at the maṇḍala altars in Xingshan Monastery. Based on their monastic names, these men—­Huilang 慧朗, Huizhao 慧 超, Huican 慧璨, Huihai 慧海, Huijian 慧見, Huijue 慧覺, Huihui 慧暉, Huiguo 慧果, et al.—­were Dharma brothers, presumably ordained by Amoghavajra.7 On July  28 Daizong also undertook measures to recognize and preserve Amoghavajra’s service by granting him the title “commander” (kaifu 開府) [ 214 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy and duke of Su (Suguo gong 肅國公).8 As described by Zhao Qian above, Amoghavajra composed a personal note on the day of his death, formally bidding farewell to Daizong and providing a summary of his life, quoted below: Now Amoghavajra’s years have exceeded the middle of his longevity, and I do not die at a young age. But at an earlier time I traveled the southern seas and roamed all around the five Indias searching for that which had not been heard and practicing that which was not understood. That which was acquired was the Diamond Pinnacle Yoga in one hundred thousand verses and all of the mantras, scriptures, and commentaries in more than fifty thousand verses. I hoped to translate them to somewhat reciprocate the kingdom’s kindness. How could my long-­standing hope come to an end? But suddenly my life is exhausted. This is Amoghavajra’s regret. 不空今者年過中壽。未為夭逝。但以往時越度南海。周遊五天。尋其未聞。習其未解。所 得金剛頂瑜伽十萬頌諸部真言及經論等五十餘萬頌。冀總翻譯少答國恩。何夙願之未 終。忽生涯之已盡。此不空所以為恨也。9

In his actions and the documents produced just prior to his passing on August 1, we see Amoghavajra’s clearest representation of his life’s work. He names his monastic heirs, charged with preserving and continuing that teaching, both the fully ordained ācārya and several otherwise noteworthy disciples, including government officials and monks in the official monasteries Baoshou, Huadu, and Xingshan. There are also unambiguous statements regarding the Buddhist teaching that he possessed and propagated in China (the “Diamond Pinnacle Yoga,” “yoga secrets,” the “eighteen assemblies” of the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture series, the “thirty-­seven worthies” of the Diamond Maṇḍala, maṇḍala initiations, visualization and recitation procedures). Notably, he represents this teaching as something new and previously unavailable in China (“that which had not been heard and practicing that which was not understood”). These statements and actions on the part of Amoghavajra may be read as attempts to consolidate and preserve his Esoteric Buddhism. They also establish the basis for subsequent representations. Emperor Daizong also undertook efforts to preserve the teaching established by Amoghavajra in China. The day after he died, Daizong [ 215 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy commanded Amoghavajra’s disciples, his “filial sons” (xiaozi 孝子), to maintain the teaching. Presented: edict commanding all filial sons. The venerable monk served as teacher to three generations of emperors, [but] his followers are few. Each and every one of them should harmoniously continue the yoga practice (yuqie guanxing 瑜伽觀行) and practice in accordance with the original teaching. If there are any who disobey, then record their names and submit them. 奉 勅語諸孝子等。和上為 三代國師。門徒稍眾。宜各相和順住瑜伽觀行。依本教修 行。如有違諍者即錄名奏來10

On August 22, Daizong issued a command to Li Yuancong to provide the names of Amoghavajra’s monastic inheritors: Presented: edict commanding [Li] Yuancong. If there are monks of virtuous action who previously received the Dharma at the side of the late Trepiṭaka monk [Amoghavajra] in Huadu, Baoshou, and Xingshan monasteries, then provide their names in a memorial. 奉 勅語元琮。化度保壽興善等寺。先於故三藏和尚邊受法僧有功業者。即具名奏來11

The same day, Daizong commanded Huilang to assume responsibility for preserving and transmitting Esoteric Buddhism in Xingshan Monastery.12 Although it is evident from material in the Memorials and Edicts that patron-­ client relations persisted between Daizong and Huisheng, Huiguo, Tanzhen, Feixi, Juechao, Yuanjiao, and many others, this command made Huilang the official heir of Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhist teaching and official leader of the Esoteric Buddhist community. Funds and materials were provided by the state for the completion of a pavilion for housing Amoghavajra’s Indic texts, more honorary titles were posthumously bestowed on the master, and his posthumous identity was established through various commemorative acts: the construction of a relics stupa in which to house his śarīra, the composition of eulogies by monastics and members of the ruling elite, the creation of a memorial hall in Xingshan Monastery, the inscription of steles, and the composition of biographical accounts. These various actions may be understood as efforts to construct and preserve a stable posthumous [ 216 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy identity for Amoghavajra and for the teaching that he established in China. These early representations reflect Esoteric Buddhism, the restricted, lineal dimension of Amoghavajra’s legacy. These first acts of consolidation effectively fixed one image of Amoghavajra and his Esoteric Buddhism in the Chinese historical imagination. After his death in 774, Amoghavajra’s legacy and identity were recorded in narrative monuments to the master. The first was the Stele Inscription by his disciple Feixi, written two weeks after Amoghavajra’s death. Feixi employs Amoghavajra’s own terminology, referring to the teaching that he received from Vajrabodhi as the Yoga School (yujiezong 瑜伽宗). While in Sri Lanka as an official envoy, Amoghavajra is said to have heard of a great ācārya, Samantabhadra, who, after receiving gold and jewels as a pledge offering, gave him the Eighteen Assemblies of the Diamond Pinnacle Yoga, the Vairocana Great Compassion Wombstore, the mantra of the five divisions of initiation, and the scriptures and commentaries of the secret canon (midian jinglun 秘典經 論).13 Among the early posthumous sources, Feixi’s Stele Inscription is alone in failing to identify Amoghavajra’s teaching in reference to a lineal transmission from its origins to the present generation. However, Feixi’s account of Amoghavajra’s reception of the Yoga School teaching from Vajrabodhi, who only bestowed the teaching after receiving a vision in a dream, and his acquisition of the remaining texts from Samantabhadra reflect the fact that Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism was a controlled teaching passed down from one master ācārya to the next.14 In its details concerning his life, Zhao Qian’s representation of Amoghavajra in the Account of Conduct is generally continuous with Feixi’s, but Zhao Qian represents Amoghavajra as a member of a fully articulated transmission lineage consisting of individuals who received and transmitted the “Diamond Pinnacle yoga, the secret teaching of the king of mantras.” This lineage originated with the Buddha Vairocana and consists of Vajrapāṇi, Nāgārjuna, Nāgabodhi (Longzhi 龍智), Vajrabodhi, and Amoghavajra.15 Zhao Qian reports that Huilang inherited the position of initiation master and that there were some ten other unnamed people who possessed Amoghavajra’s teaching. The Stele Inscription for the Venerable Trepitaka [Amoghavajra] Cloister (hereafter Cloister Inscription) by Yan Ying, written in 781, refers to Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism as the “Highest Vehicle of Yoga” (yujie zuishangcheng 瑜伽最上乘) and represents it as a teaching originating with Vairocana Buddha and passed down through a lineage consisting of Vajrasattva, [ 217 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy Nāgārjuna, Nāgabodhi, Vajrabodhi, and Amoghavajra. Yan Ying also names Huilang as Amoghavajra’s leading and lineal successor: In the past, Vajrasattva personally received the import of the highest vehicle of Yoga in front of the Buddha Vairocana. After several hundred years had passed, [Vajrasattva] transmitted it to the bodhisattva Nāgārjuna. After another several hundred years Nāgārjuna transmitted it to the ācārya Nāgabodhi. Nāgabodhi transmitted it to the ācārya Vajrabodhi. Vajrabodhi came to the east and transmitted it the Venerable Master [Amoghavajra]. The Venerable Master also traveled to the kingdoms of the Western Regions, India, and Sri Lanka and called on the ācārya Nagabodhi, who gave him the Dharma in eighteen assemblies. The flower of the Dharma mutually passed down from the Tathāgata Vairocana to the Venerable Master has a total of six petals . . . ​Those who have the Dharma [now] are many, but the śramaṇa Huilang received the seal of succession, he attained the aim of the lamp transmission, continuing the brilliance of the Buddha-­sun. [The transmission] extended from six to become seven and that is all. 昔金剛薩埵親於毘盧遮那佛前受瑜伽最上乘義。後數百歲傳於龍猛菩薩。龍猛又數百歲 傳於龍智阿闍梨。龍智傳金剛智阿闍梨。金剛智東來傳於和尚。和尚又西遊天竺師子等國 詣龍智阿闍梨。揚攉十八會法。法化相承。自毘盧遮那如來迨於和尚凡六葉矣。 . . . ​有法

16 者非一。而沙門惠朗受次補之記。得傳燈之旨。繼明佛日。紹六為七。至矣哉。

The Stele Inscription and Preface for the Image Hall of the Former Venerable Monks Great Magnifier of the Teaching [Vajrabodhi] and the Great Distinguisher of the Correct Trepiṭaka [Amoghavajra] (hereafter Image Hall Stele) is undated but attributed to Quan Deyu 權德輿 (759–­818).17 The better part of the Image Hall Stele concerns Amoghavajra and is a digest of scenes drawn from the Stele Inscription of Feixi and the Account of Conduct by Zhao Qian. Echoing Feixi’s reference to a “secret canon” (midian 秘典), the stele refers to Amoghavajra’s teaching as the “secret treasury” or “esoteric canon” (mizang 秘藏). Again echoing his sources, Quan Deyu identifies this “secret treasury” as the “liberating teaching of yoga” (yuqie dumen 瑜珈度門), but he also reports that Han’guang, Tanzhen 曇貞 (fl. 774–­7777), Juechao, Huiying 惠應 (d.u.), Yulin 于鄰 (d.u.), Qianzhen 潛真 (718–­789), and Huijue 惠覺 (d.u.) were Amoghavajra’s leading disciples. Huiying and Huijue are singled out as recipients and transmitters of the master’s secret yoga teaching. In another deviation, Quan Deyu depicts this teaching as having been transmitted in a lineage running from [ 218 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy Vairocana to Samantabhadra (rather than Vajrasattva or Vajrapāṇi), Nāgārjuna, Nāgabodhi, Vajrabodhi, and Amoghavajra. These sources produced between 774 and around 800 identify Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism as a discrete teaching that originated with Vairocana Buddha and was transmitted by a lineal series of ācārya masters first in India and then in China. Although there are a few slight variations in the lineage articulations, they consistently identify Vajrabodhi and Amoghavajra as the first to transmit the teaching to China and indicate that at the time of their composition, the Esoteric teaching was still being practiced and transmitted by authorized ācārya disciples. All of these articulations of Esoteric Buddhism as a lineage are predicated on the lineal dimension of Amoghavajra’s legacy and based on his own representation of his teaching, with historical gaps filled in with material drawn from existing Chinese sources. The lineage by Zhaoqian and Yan Ying reflects the historical fact that Vajrabodhi was Amoghavajra’s master, that Amoghavajra had acquired a new teaching in India and established it in China, and that Huilang was Amoghavajra’s foremost disciple in 781. Zhao Qian and Yan Ying insert Nāgārjuna and Nāgabodhi into the chronological and mythic/historic gap between the mythic origins of Esoteric Buddhism with Vairocana and Vajrasattva and the historic origins of Esoteric Buddhism in China with Vajrabodhi and Amoghavajra on the basis of Lu Xiang’s account of Vajrabodhi, discussed in the first chapter. However, in that source Vajrabodhi is not represented as having possessed a secret teaching of Diamond Pinnacle yoga, terms and understandings established by Amoghavajra. Rather, Lu Xiang’s account of Vajrabodhi reports that he received the dhāraṇī teaching from Nāgārjuna’s disciple Nāgabodhi. The lineage by Quan Deyu likely substitutes Samantabhadra for Vajrasattva on the basis of Feixi’s Stele Inscription reporting that Amoghavajra received initiation from the ācārya Samantabhadra. Although cobbled together from existing sources and therefore slightly various, these different sources depict Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism as a lineal teaching or school (zong 宗). Others refer to Esoteric Buddhism as a school as well. Huiguo, for example, characterized the teaching that he possessed as the “school (or lineage) of yoga secrets” (yujia mimi zhi zong 瑜珈祕密之宗) in a letter to Emperor Daizong dated December 7, 775.18 Daizong himself refers to Amoghavajra as “our lineal master” (wo zhi zongshi 我之宗師).19 This may be read as “ancestral master,” marking Amoghavajra’s role vis-­à-­vis Suzong, but Daizong [ 219 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy also refers to Amoghavajra as the “honored ācārya of the secret lineage” (shelike zun mimi zhi zong 闍梨克遵祕密之宗).20 Esoteric Buddhism was established in China by Amoghavajra as a lineal teaching passed from master ācārya to disciple, but it is tempting to interpret the lineage as a post hoc attempt to formalize the authority of Huilang or other surviving Chinese disciples. It is also tempting to read this development in terms of “Sinification,” according to which the authority of Amoghavajra’s successors was expressed according to a Sinitic model of patriarchal descent. Nevertheless, access to authority and identity in Esoteric Buddhism was restricted by initiation procedures, and Amoghavajra consistently represented his Esoteric Buddhism as a new teaching continuous with but superior to established Buddhist teachings. He also consistently acknowledged Vajrabodhi as his initiation master and publicly recognized his own six heirs in his last testament. Daizong’s identification of Huilang as official initiation master and his charge to identify others who knew the teaching also indicates that Esoteric Buddhism was understood to be restricted. On its own terms, it was a lineal succession of authorized masters independent of a Sinitic model of patriarchal lineage. I do not believe that there is sufficient evidence to support the theory that the emergence of an Esoteric Buddhist lineage reflects an imitation of Chan sectarian claims.21 Rather, it appears that the articulation of the Chan teaching as a lineage of enlightened masters who “transmitted the lamp” reflects the influence of Esoteric Buddhism. The Record of the Transmission of the Dharma Treasure (Chuan fabao ji 傳法寶記) was composed by Du Fei 杜朏 in 712 and cited by Shenhui in his polemic against Puji in the first half of the eighth century,22 yet nowhere in it are there meaningful elements shared by Yan Ying’s lineage construction, including language concerning a “transmission of the lamp.” Yan Ying employs various metaphors to describe the Esoteric Buddhist lineage: it was a flower with a “total of six petals” (fan liuye yi 凡六葉 矣), but Huilang “attained the aim of the lamp transmission” (de zhuandeng zhi zhi 得傳燈之旨) and the flower grew another petal, to “extend six to become seven” (shao liu wei qi 紹六為七). These images and phrases are employed in the representation of the Chan lineage in the eleventh-­century Jingde [Reign Period] Record of the Transmission of the Lamp,23 the locus classicus of Chan transmission of the lamp literature.24 The emergence of an Esoteric Buddhist lineage in the eighth century was not invented by Amoghavajra’s surviving disciples in an attempt to replicate the authorizing strategies of [ 220 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy Chan monks. It emerged from the fact that Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism was a restricted teaching accessible only by receiving initiation and teaching from a consecrated ācārya. The Esoteric Buddhist lineages that are recorded in the eighth century were in part generated in order to consolidate and preserve Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism in reference to its lineal dimension as a teaching that was held by only a few authorized ācārya.

Loss of Access in the Central Government Although Amoghavajra’s disciples and lay patrons, including Emperor Daizong, strove in the years following the master’s death to preserve Esoteric Buddhism and to maintain its position as de facto Imperial Buddhism, a number of developments worked against their efforts. Some were simply the result of the passage of time and the flux of sociopolitical conditions. Amoghavajra’s ascendency and the establishment of Esoteric Buddhism were in part the result of such shifting realities: the assumption of the throne by Li Heng (Suzong) and the promotion of several of Amoghavajra’s allies and lay disciples—­Du Hongjian, Wang Jin, Yuan Zai, et al.—­in the immediate aftermath of An Lushan’s rebellion and their advancement under Emperor Daizong. Although Esoteric Buddhism and Esoteric Buddhists had been institutionalized in the structures of the Tang government, their self-­ representation in the elite sources is a function of their access to power and, therefore, the elite textual record. Insofar as that access was reliant on powerful supporters, the long-­term ability to document the Esoteric Buddhist school was far from certain. Several of Amoghavajra’s most significant patrons in the central government experienced precipitous falls from power. For example, although Du Hongjian’s prominence in the imperial bureaucracy continued under Emperor Daizong, he ended his career with an appointment near the western frontier as deputy marshal of Shanzhou and Jianzhou and military commissioner of Jiannan (contemporary Sichuan). In this capacity he was charged with restoring imperial control in the Sichuan Basin in the face of persistent barbarian incursions and the open insolence of Cui Gan 崔旰 (d.u.). Hongjian was specifically tasked with putting down Cui Gan’s insurrection but was unable to do so. Instead, Gan was symbolically brought to heel by recognition as capital liaison representative of Sichuan.25 Hongjian’s failures later in life did not overshadow his earlier [ 221 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy accomplishments or the esteem in which he was held by Emperor Daizong, though. Upon his death on December 13, 769, the emperor suspended court for three days of mourning and awarded Hongjian the posthumous title defender-­in-­chief and the courtesy name Wenxian 文憲, the “Literary Charter.”26 Wang Jin was less fortunate and ended his career ignominiously. A victim of the endless intrigues that characterized life in the upper reaches of power, in May 777 he was implicated along with Yuan Zai in an unidentified misdeed. Wang Jin was demoted to the relatively insignificant position of regional chief of Kuozhou 括州.27 He died in 781 at the age of eighty-­one (eighty-­t wo by the traditional Chinese reckoning), holding the essentially powerless office of advisor to the heir apparent. Yuan Zai was even more luckless. While Wang Jin was demoted, Yuan Zai was granted permission to kill himself. One month later there was a veritable purge of the central bureaucracy as Yuan Zai’s associates were demoted. His forebears were subject to more radical punishment: on June 29, 777, there was an edict commanding the defilement of Yuan Zai’s grandfather’s and father’s graves. Their coffins were torn open, their bones were thrown out, and the Yuan family temple in Daningli 大寧里 was burned to the ground.28 These developments, especially the posthumous retribution visited on Yuan Zai and his clan, reflect the shifting political and social realities that obtained at the highest reaches of power in imperial China. For the Esoteric Buddhist community, though, the most radical disruptions occurred following the death of Daizong in 779. The loss of their greatest patron brought a swift end to the unbridled imperial support for Amoghavajra’s inheritors as control of the imperium fell to Li Kuo 李适 (742–­805, Emperor Dezong 德宗). Dezong had no personal commitment to Buddhism, and when he assumed the throne, the personnel in the central government changed. Some of Dezong’s close advisors harbored deep animosity toward Amoghavajra’s patrons in the government and Esoteric Buddhism. The best example is Li Mi 李泌 (722–­789), who had served Li Kuo (Dezong) when he was still a prince and went on to act as grand councilor when he assumed the Tang throne. The biography of Li Mi in the Older Tang History reports consistent rivalries with Amoghavajra’s allies in the central government. Li Mi was recalled by Suzong upon his ascension to the throne in Lingwu, but Li Fuguo reportedly worked to Mi’s disadvantage, provoking him to abandon his post.29 After Daizong assumed the throne, he also recalled Li Mi, appointing him an academician30 in the Hanlin Academy, but he was reportedly hated by Yuan Zai, [ 222 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy who conspired against him in the capital.31 Along with these details, Li Mi’s biography also records the follow concerning Dezong: When Dezong was initially established [as emperor] he especially loathed practitioners of shamanic invocations of the strange. At first Suzong had esteemed talk of yin-­yang and the ancestral invocations. Sometimes he employed the sorcerer Wang Yu 王璵 to act as grand councilor and sometimes he would command an old witch (巫媼) to ride a post horse traveling to the counties and prefectures in order to perform yasheng 厭勝 [spells]. . . . ​When Dezong was in the Eastern Palace (i.e., when he was heir apparent), he was quite aware of these affairs, and after he was established [as emperor] he stopped the assembly of monks at the palace chapel (nei daochang 內道場) and eliminated the sacrifices by sorcerers (wuzhou 巫祝). 德宗初即位,尤惡巫祝怪誕之士。初,肅宗重陰陽祠祝之說,用妖人王璵為宰相,或命巫 媼乘驛行郡縣以為厭勝 . . . ​德宗在東宮,頗知其事,即位之後,罷集僧於內道場, 除巫祝 之祀32

In some respects, this tale reads as an inversion of the story of Daizong’s “conversion” to Buddhism as a result of the intervention of Wang Jin, Du Hongjian, and Yuan Zai and his subsequent support for Amoghavajra. It also probably relates certain historically accurate information concerning Dezong’s disdain for the presence of Buddhist monks in the palace chapel, black magic spells, and sorcery. When Dezong rose to power, the monks staffing the palace chapel were Amoghavajra’s disciples and practitioners of Esoteric Buddhism, a tradition that involved ritual procedures functionally continuous with the black magic and sorcery of the yasheng, “loath and defeat,” rites. Dezong did not harbor enmity toward Buddhism and Buddhists as such. Rather, he appears to have preferred them to be of a less “magical” nature than Esoteric Buddhism and its practitioners: in 795 he awarded an honorary name and title to the scholar-­monk Chengguan 澄觀 (738–­839),33 in 796 he weighed in on the Chan lineage dispute when he declared Shenhui 神會 (684–­758) to have been the true seventh patriarch of the Chan school,34 and he reportedly invited the Pure Land Buddhist Fazhao (d. ca. 820) to court in order to teach his new method for intoning the name of Amitābha.35 Under Dezong, it would seem that imperial support shifted to more conservative, traditional Chinese Buddhist practitioners. This anticipates the more [ 223 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy conservative orientation of Song Dynasty Buddhism, as Chan lineage holders took over the official Buddhist establishment. The loss of patronage and support contributed to the occlusion of the Esoteric Buddhist teaching as a lineage of ācārya. Amoghavajra’s heirs lost access to elite power and so are not represented in elite historical sources, and his Esoteric Buddhism became fixed as a teaching whose Chinese lineage consisted of no more than three generations. 36 Subsequent representations of Amoghavajra and Esoteric Buddhism would be put forward by outsiders and tended to concern Amoghavajra’s textual legacy.

The Second Tang Consolidation: 784–­800 Early efforts to consolidate the textual dimension of Amoghavajra’s legacy occurred during Dezong’s reign with the production of new imperial catalogues of Buddhist scriptures that included his textual corpus, and in the compilation of the Memorials and Edicts by Yuanzhao. The Memorials and Edicts preserves written communications between Esoteric Buddhists and the Tang court and, although textual in nature, also consolidates Amoghavajra’s lineal legacy by including communications between Amoghavajra’s disciples and Emperor Daizong and by concluding with Yan Ying’s Cloister Inscription, which records the Esoteric Buddhist lineage from Vairocana to Huilang. The Memorials and Edicts is the most significant source for information on Amoghavajra at a time when his legacy was threatened by the withdrawal of imperial support. It demonstrates the imperial investment in Amoghavajra and Esoteric Buddhism by Emperors Suzong and Daizong as well as Amoghavajra’s fidelity to the imperium and the usefulness of Esoteric Buddhism in support of the state. Like all historical works in China, the Memorials and Edicts is intended to be a mirror for the present, an argument for ongoing state support for Imperial cum Esoteric Buddhism. This didactic aspect is announced by Yuanzhao in his brief preface to the work: Regarding the Trepiṭaka [monk] of the Great Xingshan Monastery of the Great Tang, his name was Zhizang and his courtesy name was Bukong Jin’gang. In Sanskrit he was called Amoghavajra. He was originally from the western regions. In the past he served Trepiṭaka Vajra[bodhi], the Great Promoter of the Teaching, and received the mantras. For twenty-­four years he took up the robe and [ 224 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy requested the benefit [of the master’s instruction]. After the great master departed, he returned to the five Indias. Traveling and looking extensively, he collected and examined all the Indic yoga texts. Returning, he attended the emperor [Xuanzong] in the capital, sometimes converting Hexi and sometimes returning the region within the frontier passes [to the true teachings].37 At the end of the Tianbao reign era, barbarian (hu 胡) horses entered the frontier gates. In the second year of Zhide (758/9) [Suzong] victoriously entered the capital [Chang’an] and Luo[yang]. The venerable monk [Amoghavajra] personally received the sage’s decrees to purify and establish ritual altars and to perform initiations. Three courts deigned to receive him. The memorials, requests, responses, and edicts [pertaining to] both the master and his disciples are collected all together and the words [amount to] 144 headings. They are divided into six fascicles that they might be handed down to the future. The follower who studies it well will know his [Amoghavajra’s] aspiration. 大唐大興善寺三藏者。諱智藏號不空金剛。梵曰阿目佉跋折羅。本西域人也。昔事大弘教 金剛三藏。稟受真言。二十四年摳衣請益。大師歿後還詣五天。梵本瑜伽備皆披閱周遊遍 覽。旋赴 帝京。或化河西。或歸關內。屬 天寶末歲胡馬入關 至德二年剋復京洛。和 上親承 聖旨。精建壇場。為灌頂師。三朝寵遇。表謝答制師弟相承大凡而言一百四十四 38 首。迺分成六卷。庶流布將來。好學之徒知其志也。

The Memorials and Edicts validates Esoteric Buddhism by demonstrating Amoghavajra’s service to the throne and the support he received from Suzong and Daizong; it also makes an implicit argument for the ongoing imperial support of Esoteric Buddhism by indicating the service of and imperial support for Amoghavajra’s disciples. The bulk of the Memorials and Edicts consists of the written exchanges between Amoghavajra and Emperors Suzong and Daizong, given in chronological order. However, the relatively strict chronology breaks down toward the end of the text, as Yuanzhao incorporates official correspondence between the Tang emperors and certain of Amoghavajra’s disciples. These tend to be collated according to disciple. Yuanzhao then provides several written exchanges from and concerning Huilang before materials from Tanzhen,39 Feixi,40 Juechao,41 and Huichao,42 and concludes with several memorials and edicts concerning Huixiao.43 The Memorials and Edicts ends with a series of documents concerning the establishment of Xingshan Monastery as the institutional seat of Esoteric Buddhism cum Imperial Buddhism. The last document is the Cloister [ 225 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy Inscription by Yan Ying. This refers to Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism as the Highest Teaching of Yoga and identifies it as passed down from Vairocana to Vajrasattva, Nāgārjuna, Nāgabodhi, Vajrabodhi, Amoghavajra, and Huilang. The Memorials and Edicts was also part of a larger project to consolidate Amoghavajra’s textual legacy through the production of new official scriptural catalogues that incorporated the texts he had produced. Although Amoghavajra’s textual corpus tends to be represented according to terms he uses to refer to his teaching and terms found in commemorative posthumous sources, his works were incorporated into the Imperial Chinese bibliographic tradition as a single, homogenous collection. Thus later bibliographers effectively conflated Esoteric Buddhist texts with the earlier Imperial Buddhist and spell texts that he also translated. This established the ambiguous relationship between Esoteric Buddhism and other Buddhist teachings seen in Zanning’s Song Dynasty source, with which modern scholars wrestled. However, this development not only resulted in a reformulation of Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism but also led to a reimagining of other elements of the Chinese Buddhist tradition. The first bibliography of Chinese Buddhist texts was Dao’an’s 道安 (312/314–­385 CE) Comprehensive Catalogue of the Scriptures (Zongli zhongjing mulu 綜理衆經目錄), completed in 374 but no longer extant. Dao’an’s project was succeeded by Sengyou’s Compilation of Notes on the Production of the Tripitaka (Chusanzangjijji 出三藏記集) in about 515. These cataloguing projects continued throughout the Sui and Tang dynasties, when they came to be sponsored and controlled by the imperial state as the Imperial Buddhist tradition became established.44 The most influential was Zhisheng’s Kaiyuan Catalogue produced in 730 CE, whose classificatory system established the template for later Chinese Buddhist bibliographic catalogues. The first free-­standing bibliographic project to follow the Kaiyuan Catalogue was self-­consciously modeled on Zhisheng’s work: Yuanzhao’s 795/6 Great Tang Zhenyuan [Reign Period] Continuation of the Kaiyuan Catalogue of the Buddha’s Teachings (hereafter Continuation of the Kaiyuan Catalogue).45 However, this project was preceded and informed by the incorporation of Amoghavajra’s scriptural corpus as an emendation to the Kaiyuan Catalogue. Dated August 25, 784, this emended section is titled “Catalogue of the Recently Translated Collection of Scriptures, Commentaries, and Visualization and Recitation Ritual Procedures (niansong yigui fa 念誦儀軌法) [by the] Great Tang Trepiṭaka [monk] Amogha[vajra].” 46 It is essentially a reproduction of the list of titles Amoghavajra submitted to [ 226 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy the Tang court in 771, though the order of texts and some of the names given do not match up with Amoghavajra’s listing.47 This emendation consolidates Amoghavajra’s textual legacy as part of the venerable and imperially sanctioned Kaiyuan Catalogue. However, it also presents Amoghavajra’s textual corpus as representing a single Buddhist teaching—­“scriptures, commentaries, and methods of visualization and recitation ritual procedures”—­ deviating from standard Buddhist textual categories of scripture (Chn. jing 經; Skt. sūtra), commentary (Chn. lun 論; Skt. śāstra), and rules of discipline (Chn. lu 律or jie 戒; Skt. vinaya). The compiler of this appendix creates a new classificatory label for Amoghavajra’s textual legacy. The label “visualization and recitation ritual procedures” is unknown in Chinese Buddhist catalogues prior to the 784 appendix to the Kaiyuan Cataolgue, but it was invoked again some ten years later in 795/6, when Yuanzhao included the textual category of “methods of visualization and recitation” in his Continuation of the Kaiyuan Catalogue. The materials he compiled and catalogued are broken down into three broad categories: (1) “scriptures, commentaries, and methods of visualization and recitation” (  jing lun ji niansongfa 經論及念誦法); (2) “explanations of the meaning of scriptures and commentaries” (  jing lun shiyi 經論疏義; i.e., commentaries by Chinese authors rather than Indic commentaries translated into Chinese); and (3) a “record of recently collected extant epigraphy” (xin ji gujin kenianpeibiao ji 新集古今制令碑表記).48 In the Continuation of the Kaiyuan Catalogue, “methods of visualization and recitation” emerges as a bibliographic category on par with “scripture” and “commentary.” The designation reflects terminology in Amoghavajra’s textual corpus and also in the commemorative posthumous sources produce prior to 784. As a term, “method(s) of visualization and recitation” (niansong fa 念誦法) first appears in Tang Dynasty translations referring to ritual procedures involving the recitation of mantras. Two of the earliest usages occur in the Single Syllable Buddha’s Crown Wheel-­Turning King Scripture49 produced by Bodhiruci II and in Śubhākarasiṃha’s Susiddhikāra Scripture.50 However, there is a prodigious increase in the use of the term in Amoghavajra’s textual corpus. In addition to appearing in the content of Amoghavajra’s texts, “method(s) of visualization and recitation” appears in nearly one quarter of the titles of texts produced by Amoghavajra and submitted to the court.51 The category seems to have become a bibliographic genre based on Amoghavajra’s scriptural corpus and created specifically in order to incorporate it into the Chinese Buddhist canon. [ 227 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy It may be objected that the inclusion of this bibliographic category by Yuanzhao was idiosyncratic. However, Yuanzhao’s catalogue was produced under imperial auspices and therefore represented the official, imperially sanctioned position regarding Buddhism in China. From the perspective of the state and the official Buddhist establishment, this was the orthodox view, and it was accepted as normative by later interpreters and exegetes. Therefore, when the Continuation of the Zhenyuan Catalogue52 was produced in 958 by Heng’an 恒安 (937–­975), it referred to “methods of visualization and recitation,” now paired with “scriptures” as a textual genre of the Great Vehicle.53 In short, the move to consolidate the textual dimension of Amoghavajra’s legacy had two immediate consequences: it occluded the fact that his corpus was heterogeneous in nature and it precipitated the invention of a new textual genre designation in Chinese Buddhism based on Amoghavajra’s career. Yuanzhao’s consolidation of Amoghavajra’s textual legacy produced an image of Esoteric Buddhism not as a restricted, lineal teaching (e.g., the secret yoga teaching transmitted exclusively by a series of ācāryas) but as practical aspect of the Mahāyāna (visualization and recitation methods). This is the origin of the ambiguous relationship between Esoteric and esoteirc Buddhism in the historical imagination. In addition to the Continuation of the Kaiyuan Catalogue, Yuanzhao produced a free-­standing and fully up-­to-­date catalogue in 800, the Zhenyuan [Reign Period] Catalogue of the Recently Established Teachings of the Buddha (hereafter Zhenyuan Catalogue),54 obviously modeled on Zhisheng’s Kaiyuan Catalogue from 730 CE. It follows Zhisheng’s general structure of three main sections divided into three parts: (1) bodhisattva or Great Vehicle texts consisting of scriptures, commentaries, and regulations (the standard tripitaka divisions of sūtra, śastra, and vinaya); (2) texts of the Hearers (Skt. śrāvaka) or Lesser Vehicle in the same tripartite division; and (3) biographies of foreign and Sinitic translators. In categorizing the Mahāyāna texts, Yuanzhao follows Zhisheng’s scheme of six scriptural genres: (1) Prajñāpāramitā sūtras, (2) Ratnakūṭa sūtras, (3) Great Collection sūtras, (4) Flower Garland sūtras, (5) Nirvana sūtras, and (6) miscellaneous sūtras. Amoghavajra’s scriptures are spread throughout these categories in the Zhenyuan Catalogue, appearing most frequently in the Prajñāparamita, Flower Garland, and miscellaneous scriptures sections. Yuanzhao does not employ the term “methods of visualization and recitation” as a bibliographic category; the phrase appears only in the titles of Amoghavajra’s translations listed therein. This [ 228 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy variation from the preceding Continuation of the Kaiyuan Catalogue and the following Continuation of the Zhenyuan Catalogue is perhaps based on the fact that the Zhenyuan Catalogue was constructed as a separate work intended to supersede rather than supplement the Kaiyuan Catalogue. However, in the Zhenyuan Catalogue Yuanzhao introduces Amoghavajra’s textual corpus again as a homogenous collection, labeled as texts translated during the reigns of Xuanzong, Suzong, and Daizong. He also presents some variations on Zhisheng’s model that suggest a reinterpretation of Sinitic Buddhism on the basis of Amoghavajra’s representations. Yuanzhao, again in self-­conscious imitation of Zhisheng’s Kaiyuan Catalogue, begins with an invocation clearly taken from Zhisheng. However, he makes some telling changes. The invocation from the Kaiyuan Catalogue reads as follows: I kowtow to the well-­gone Worthy [Śākya]muni, the unsurpassed supreme tamer of men;55 I also venerate the pure and marvelous Dharma of the Three Vehicles, and also the eight ranks of the true Saṃgha.56 I compose [this] catalogue of the scriptures as a bulwark for the citadel of the Dharma, the Three Jewels lovingly and mysteriously bequeathed. I merely wish that the lamp of the Dharma will long illumine the [Halls of] Enduring darkness, that the confused will hereby attain the brilliance of wisdom, That the True Dharma will perdure in the world, and that by relying on study [the confused] will rapidly ascend to the unsurpassed ground. 稽首善逝牟尼尊 無上丈夫調御士 亦禮三乘淨妙法 并及八輩應真僧 我撰經錄護法城 三寶垂慈幸冥祐 惟願法燈長夜照 迷徒因此得慧明 正法遐久住世間 依學速登無上地 57

The invocation from Yuanzhao’s Zhenyuan Catalogue, with the alterations to Zhisheng’s invocation indicated by boldface type, reads: I kowtow to the well-­gone Worthy [Śākya]muni, the unsurpassed supreme tamer of men; [ 229 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy I also venerate the pure and marvelous Dharma of the Three Vehicles and the five divisions of the secret teaching of dhāraṇī (zongchi 總持); And also the eight ranks of the true Saṃgha and Samantabhadra, Mañjuśrī, and all bodhisattvas. To the quintuple eye58 and the triple body that entirely illumine the world, I sincerely dedicate my life and hope to receive their protection.59 I compose [this] catalogue of the scriptures as a bulwark for the citadel of the Dharma, the Three Jewels lovingly and mysteriously bequeathed I merely wish that the lamp of the Dharma will long illumine the [Halls of] Enduring darkness, that the confused will hereby attain the brilliance of wisdom, That the True Dharma will perdure in the world, and that by relying on study [the confused] will rapidly ascend to the unsurpassed ground. 稽首善逝牟尼尊 無上丈夫調御士 亦禮三乘淨妙法 五部祕密總持門 并及八輩應真僧 普賢妙德諸菩薩 五眼三身咸照世 至誠歸命願加威 我撰經錄護法城 三寶垂慈幸冥祐 唯願法燈長夜照 迷徒因此得慧明 正法遐久住世間 依學速登無上地60

Both invocations begin with an homage to the Three Jewels, but Yuanzhao’s alterations effectively reconfigure and redefine the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Saṃgha. The Dharma for Zhisheng is represented by or contained in the “marvelous Dharma of the Three Vehicles,” referring to the conventional tripartite designation of the Buddha’s teachings for śrāvakas, pratyekabuddhas, and bodhisattvas. The Saṃgha in Zhisheng’s formulation consists of “arhat monks of the eight ranks,” and the Buddha is Śākyamuni. Yuanzhao expands and redefines each of the Three Jewels. He alters Zhisheng’s Saṃgha to include the great bodhisattvas, specifically Samantabhadra and Mañjuśrī. And although Yuanzhao retains unaltered Zhisheng’s opening phrase referring to the Buddha Śākyamuni, his homage to the Three Jewels concludes with a more exalted view of the Buddha conceived in terms of the quintuple eye and triple body. All of this suggests an active reevaluation of Buddhism in China, and I suggest that it follows from or reflects [ 230 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy certain aspects of Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism. The reformulation of Zhisheng’s invocation to a specifically Mahāyāna-­based image of the Buddha and the Saṃgha may echo the significance of Samantabhadra in the Esoteric teaching, and the inclusion of Mañjuśrī may reflect Amoghavajra’s argument for the primacy of the bodhisattva vis-­à-­vis the arhat in a memorial concerning the installation of Mañjuśrī icons in monastic refectories.61 But the clearest indication of Amoghavajra’s influence is in Yuanzhao’s formulation of the Dharma. Now the teaching of the Buddha consists of not only the Three Vehicles but also the “five divisions of the secret teaching of dhāraṇī,” a reference to Esoteric Buddhism.62 Whereas Amoghavajra’s lineal legacy was preserved in posthumous commemorative sources, according to which Esoteric Buddhism (a secret teaching of the Diamond Pinnacle yoga) was transmitted exclusively by a series of master ācāryas, Amoghavajra’s scriptures were incorporated into the Chinese literary tradition of official bibliographic catalogues and resulted in an image of Esoteric Buddhism (visualization and recitation methods) as a textual genre within the greater Mahāyāna tradition. This was conflated with non-­Esoteric Buddhist elements of Amoghavajra’s textual corpus, like the Humane Kings Scripture and dhāraṇī spell texts of an earlier period. By the end of the Tang Dynasty, two images of Amoghavajra and his Esoteric Buddhism were established in the elite textual record. The first was an image of Amoghavajra as a lineal master who transmitted a secret teaching (Esoteric Buddhism). The second was an image of Amoghavajra as a scripture translator who augmented the Chinese Buddhist tradition by producing an enormous volume of texts. The teaching in these texts was unitary and a continuation of earlier Imperial Buddhist and dhāraṇī spell traditions (esoteric Buddhism). These two conflicting images are the basis of Zanning’s representations in the Song Dynasty and the consequent ambiguity of Esoteric Buddhism in the historical imagination.

Zanning’s Song Dynasty Consolidation of Esoteric Buddhism The tension and ambiguity created by the dual images of Esoteric Buddhism as a lineal transmission with Amoghavajra as one of its patriarchs and of esoteric Buddhism as a textual, practical tradition or bibliographic category of the Mahāyāna continued into the Song Dynasty, when the [ 231 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy subsequent understanding of Amoghavajra and Esoteric Buddhism effectively become fixed. For generations of scholars, the Tang Dynasty was held to be the period of Buddhism’s great flourishing in China—­the era during which the definitive traditions and styles of Chinese Buddhism were established. This view has been revised by scholars whose scrutiny has revealed the importance of the Northern Song Dynasty in the retroactive creation of this golden age paradigm. We have now come to recognize that many of the basic assumptions about medieval Chinese Buddhist history, practice, and institutions are based on models established during the Northern Song Dynasty as Song institutions and scholiasts consolidated and codified the often ambiguous and fluid trends and traditions of earlier periods into cohesive frameworks predicated on contemporary models and institutions.63 This retroactive construction also holds good for Amoghavajra and Esoteric Buddhism, as an image of Amoghavajra and a certain understanding of Esoteric Buddhism became relatively fixed at this time. This was largely the result of Zanning’s 贊寧 (920–­1001) works, which had a tremendous influence on subsequent appraisals of the man and his teaching. Zanning was arguably the preeminent Buddhist scholiast of his day. Hailing from Wuyue 吳越, one of the ten independent kingdoms that emerged after the disintegration of the Tang in 907 and centered on modern Hangzhou 杭州, he was called to the court of Emperor Taizong 太宗 (939–­997; r. 976–­997) of the Song Dynasty when the region fell under Song political control in 978. Zanning served the Song court in official capacities: he was appointed to the Hanlin Academy in 978, was installed as editor of the National Archives in 991, and became administrative overseer of half the Buddhist clergy in 998 when he was appointed to the Central Buddhist Registry (Senglu si 僧錄司).64 He produced two works concerning Buddhism and Buddhists in China: his Song Dynasty Biographies of Eminent Monks65 and the Brief History of the Saṃgha.66 He represents Esoteric Buddhism in different ways in these two texts, reflecting his Tang Dynasty sources. In the Song Dynasty Biographies of Eminent Monks, Zanning presents Esoteric Buddhism according to the commemorative and lineal Tang sources: Feixi’s Stele Inscription and Yan Ying’s Cloister Inscription. In the Brief History of the Saṃgha he approaches Esoteric Buddhism as a style or tradition of Mahāyāna practice, the image created by the incorporation of Amoghavajra’s textual legacy into the Chinese bibliographic tradition. In the Song Dynasty Biographies of Eminent Monks Zanning represents Esoteric Buddhism as a lineage of individuals consisting of Vajrabodhi, [ 232 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy Amoghavajra, and Huilang. Referring to Esoteric Buddhism as the “Wheel of Teaching and Command” and the “Great Teaching of Yoga,” he concludes his biography of Amoghavajra with the following statement: The author (xi 系) says: “Among those who transmitted the Wheel of Teaching and Command in Eastern Xia (dongxia 東夏) [i.e., China], Vajrabodhi is regarded as the first patriarch, Amoghavajra as the second patriarch, and Huilang as the third. From him on the succession of patriarchs is [well] known. Thereafter the lineage divided into many sects. And they all claim to teach the Great Teaching of Yoga. Though they are many in number, I wonder why so little effect has been shown? [This] can be compared to [the myth] that Yujia produced Yinglong and Yinglong in its turn produced the phoenix. From the phoenix onward only common birds have been produced. Would that there were no change.67 系曰。傳教令輪者。東夏以金剛智為始祖。不空為二祖。慧朗為三祖。已下宗承所損益可 知也。自後岐分派別。咸曰。傳瑜伽大教。多則多矣。而少驗者何。亦猶羽嘉生應龍。應龍 68 生鳳皇。凰皇已降生庶鳥矣。欲無變革。其可得乎。

Zanning’s representation of Esoteric Buddhism is predicated on the lineage construction in the Cloister Inscription. Although he relied on an image created in Tang Dynasty sources, the image itself was based on historical facts. Vajrabodhi, Amoghavajra, and Huilang did constitute a lineage of teachers who transmitted the Great Teaching of Yoga. Additionally, Zanning interprets the Esoteric Buddhist lineage in terms of dissemination with concomitant decline, comparing it to the mythic creation of feathered beasts.69 This account of a glorious founding and initial transmission followed by swift decline is a narrative trope of Chinese historiography, not a neutral, objective account or a description of the then-­current situation.70 In fact, Zanning’s statement indicates that the lineal Esoteric Buddhist teaching was not a moribund tradition by the time of the Northern Song; it was flourishing, though its living representatives apparently did not enjoy the same prestige as Amoghavajra and Huilang. Zanning gives no indication who constituted the Esoteric Buddhist lineage in his time. In the passages cited above, Zanning refers to Esoteric Buddhism as the “Wheel of Teaching and Control.” This terminology, as Orzech has demonstrated, is derived from Amoghavajra’s scriptural corpus, though it is employed by Zanning in a novel manner. Orzech has pointed out the [ 233 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy relationship between Zanning’s appraisal and then-­current developments in his home region of Wuyue, but here I am interested in the relationship between his representation of Esoteric Buddhism and the overall Buddhist tradition in China. He gives a summary statement: Now, as for the teaching—­w ithout particular order—­t here are three varieties. The first is the exoteric teaching (xianjiao 顯教), which is the scriptures, regulations, and commentaries of all the vehicles (this is not the same as the teaching of exoteric understanding of the Yogācārabhūmi, which is for the most part Mahāyāna teaching). The second is the esoteric teaching (mijiao 密教), which is the method of Yoga, consecration, of the five divisions, homa, the three secrets, and the methods for the maṇḍala (the Yoga hidden esoteric teaching is for the most part a teaching of the Voice-­hearer canon). The third is the mind teaching (xinjiao 心教), which is the direct pointing at the human mind, seeing one’s nature and attaining buddhahood by the Chan method. The first of these is the Wheel of the Teaching (falun 法輪), the exoteric teaching. It takes Kasyapa Matanga as the first patriarch.71 The second is the Wheel of Teaching and Command (  jiaoling lun 教令輪), the esoteric teaching. It regards Vajrabodhi as its first patriarch. The third is the Wheel of Mind (xinlun 心輪) (I have adopted this wheel), the teaching of Chan. It regards Bodhidharma as the first patriarch. Therefore, those who transmit the Wheel of the Teaching use the sound of the teaching to transmit the sound of the teaching (yi fayin chuan fayin 以法音傳法音). Those who transmit the Wheel of Instruction and Command use the esoteric to transmit the esoteric (yi mimi chuan mimi 以祕密傳祕密), and those who transmit the Wheel of Mind use the mind to transmit the mind (yi xin chuan xin 以心傳心). These are the three wheels of the three teachings, whose three patriarchs came from the West to the East.72 夫教者不倫有三疇類。一顯教者。諸乘經律論也 (不同瑜伽論中顯了教是多分大乘藏教)

二密教者。瑜伽灌頂五部護摩三密曼拏羅法也 (瑜伽隱密教是多分聲聞藏教) 三心教者。直 指人心見性成佛禪法也。次一法輪者。即顯教也。以摩騰為始祖焉。次二教令輪者。即密 教也。以金剛智為始祖焉。次三心輪者 (義加此輪) 即禪法也。以菩提達磨為始祖焉。是故 傳法輪者。以法音傳法音。傳教令輪者。以祕密傳祕密。傳心輪者。以心傳心。此之三教三 73 輪。三祖自西而東。

Here Zanning presents Esoteric Buddhism as a lineal school founded in China by Vajrabodhi. In this regard, it is structurally equivalent to the Chan [ 234 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy tradition, which is a lineal tradition founded by Bodhidharma. Esoteric Buddhism is characterized by its secret transmission of methods of Yoga, of initiation in the five divisions, homa, the three secrets (the ritual action of body, speech, and mind as mudra, mantra, and meditative visualization), and maṇḍala rites. It is clear from the terminology he uses that Zanning is familiar with Amoghavajra’s representations of Esoteric Buddhism (e.g., “great teaching of Yoga,” “five divisions,” etc.), presumably based on his access to the Memorials and Edicts and commemorative inscriptions. Although clearly a summary distillation, this is the teaching that Amoghavajra established in the Tang Dynasty, here recognized as a distinct school within the greater Mahāyāna tradition. A close reading of Zanning’s works also indicates an active reevaluation of past developments and historical figures. This is the case, for example, with his treatment of Śubhākarasiṃha. Zanning does not include Śubhākarasiṃha in the lineage of Esoteric Buddhism in his Biographies of Eminent Monks, but he does associate him with Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism. His biography relies heavily on Śubhākarasiṃha’s Account of Conduct and stele inscription by Li Hua and on legendary material from the Miscellaneous Morsels of Youyang (Youyang zazu 酉陽雜俎),74 but also includes notes and reinterpretations that reveal the influence of Amoghavajra’s career on Zanning’s understanding of Śubhākarasiṃha and of Esoteric Buddhism. For example, Zanning borrows material from Li Hua’s account of Śubhākarasiṃha’s initiation and reception of the teaching. In Śubhākarasiṃha’s stele inscription, Li Hua says: Then he was conferred the honored teaching of dhāraṇī (zongchi 總持). Encircled by dragons and spirits before him, he quickly received all of the seals at one time. On that day he was consecrated as the master of gods and men and called Trepitaka. 乃授以總持尊教。龍神圍繞。森在目前。無量印契。一時頓受。即日灌頂。為天人師。稱日 三藏。75

Zanning follows Li Hua, but makes particular, telling changes: Afterward, he conferred on [Shanwu]wei the teaching of dhāraṇī, yoga, and the three mysteries. Encircled by dragons and spirits before him, he quickly received [ 235 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy all of the seals at one time. On that day he was consecrated as the master of gods and men and called Trepitaka 後乃授畏總持瑜伽三密教也。龍神圍遶森在目前。其諸印契一時頓受。即日灌頂為人天 76 師。稱曰三藏。

Here, Zanning is clearly lifting material from Śubhākarasiṃha’s stele inscription by Li Hua and slightly altering it to bring it in line with his Song Dynasty understanding of Śubhākarasiṃha, informed by Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism. This is signaled by the insertion of “yoga” and the “three mysteries.” Elsewhere, Zanning adds the following characterization of two of the texts produced in China by Śubhākarasiṃha: These two scriptures [the Subāhu Scripture and the Susiddhikara Scripture] possess the spell vinaya—­the secret prohibitions. If one had not yet entered the maṇḍala, one was not permitted to read and recite [them], just as a person who has not received the full [precepts] would thievingly listen to the monastic regulations. That which was produced as the Method of the Victorious, Essential Dhāraṇī for Having Wishes Heard Ākāśagarbha, the Bodhisattva Who Can Fulfill Requests Scripture in one fascicle was an abbreviated translation of the “All the Meanings of Accomplishments” chapter abstracted from the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture. 二經具足呪毘柰耶也。即祕密禁戒焉。若未曾入曼荼羅者。不合輒讀誦。猶未受具人盜聽 戒律也。所出虛空藏菩薩能滿諸願最勝心陀羅尼求聞持法一卷。即金剛頂梵本經成就一 77 切義圖略譯少分耳。

Zanning associates the Subāhu and Susiddhikara Scriptures with Esoteric Buddhism because Amoghavajra created this association both implicitly (by translating cognate texts) and explicitly in his Catalogue of All Divisions of Dhāraṇī, for example. Amoghavajra established Esoteric Buddhism as consisting most fundamentally of the five textual cycles of the Diamond Pinnacle, the Great Vairocana, the Questions of Subāhu, the Susiddhikara, and the Trisamaya. Translations of these scriptures were produced in China by Śubhākarasiṃha, Vajrabodhi, and Amoghavajra. Thus, in explicitly affiliating Śubhākarasiṃha’s and Amoghavajra’s texts Zanning is not (only) projecting a contemporary view onto the Tang Dynasty but also affirming Amoghavajra’s model. [ 236 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy Material in the Song Dynasty Biographies of Eminent Monks tends to reflect the lineal image of Amoghavajra and Esoteric Buddhism created in Tang sources and based on Amoghavajra’s own representations. The other Tang Dynasty image created by the Tang catalogues—­Amoghavajra as a scripture translator whose texts were unitary and a continuation of earlier Imperial Buddhist and dhāraṇī spell traditions—­is evident in Zanning’s other work, the Brief History of the Saṃgha. It was composed by Zanning in 999/1000 and, like the Song Dynasty Biographies of Eminent Monks, was commissioned by Emperor Taizong. The Brief History of the Saṃgha was composed to provide Taizong with a basic overview of the history of Buddhism in the land that he now controlled as emperor of the Song Dynasty. The work covers an assortment of topics, beginning with the birth of the Buddha and the dissemination of texts and images to China. What concerns us here is Zanning’s representation of the history of Esoteric Buddhism in China, what he refers to as the “transmission of the secret treasury” (chuan mizang 傳密藏), echoing language found in his Tang sources. However, while those sources represent Amoghavajra’s secret treasury in reference to a restricted lineal transmission, here Zanning describes the secret treasury as a Mahāyāna teaching characterized by dhāraṇī and secrecy. The Esoteric Treasury is the method of dhāraṇī. This method is secret. It is not bounded (境界) by the Two Vehicles [of sravakas and pratyekabuddhas]. It is that by which all the buddhas and bodhisattvas are able to roam. 78 密藏者陀羅尼法也。是法祕密非二乘境界。諸佛菩薩所能游履也。

This representation accords with the views established by Yuanzhao and Heng’an in their ninth-­and tenth-­century catalogues. But as Zanning states it here, this teaching was not established by Vajrabodhi or Amoghavajra. Rather, Esoteric Buddhism—­the secret treasury—­reached China progressively through the actions of pilgrims and translators stretching back to the fourth century. He cites five individuals whose careers represent benchmarks in the transmission of the Esoteric Treasury from India to China: Śrīmitra 帛尸梨密多羅 (d. ca. 343), Bodhiruci I 菩提流支 (?–­527), Zhitong 智通 (fl. ca. 620–­653), Amoghavajra, and Daoxian 道賢 (d.u.). Zanning is here interested in tracing what he understands as the genealogy of a particular style of Buddhist praxis. There is a clear teleological bent to this historical [ 237 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy construction—­the events of the past are represented as leading progressively and inexorably to the present state of the teaching as it was known in the Song Dynasty—­and this approach leads Zanning to interpret the past according to his present. He projects a Song Dynasty understanding of Buddhism onto individuals and events who had no knowledge of what was, for them, the future. This is not surprising given that Zanning was a Buddhist scholiast interested in tracing the gradual and progressive revelation of the Buddha’s teaching in China. But his representations of the individuals he names as transmitting the secret treasury reflect the Tang Dynasty incorporation of Amoghavajra’s heterogeneous textual corpus as a unitary collection. Zanning locates the introduction of the Esoteric Treasury, the “spell method,” to China with Śrīmitra and his translation of the Peacock Scripture. There is no extant translation that is attributed to Śrīmitra. Zanning’s assertion concerning his involvement in producing the Peacock Scripture is likely based on a line in Saṅghavarman’s sixth-­century translation of the Scripture of the Peacock King Spell,79 in which the description of the method for creating a ritual space in which to perform the spell is attributed to Śrīmitra.80 This assessment is based in part on the traditional biography of Śrīmitra found in the Biographies of Eminent Monks by Huijiao 慧皎 (497–­554). Initially, Jiangdong81 did not yet have the method of spells, [but] [Śrī]mi[tra] produced a translation of the Peacock King Scripture and elucidated all of the divine spells. 82 初江東未有呪法。密譯出孔雀王經明諸神呪。

Zanning slightly reworks the passage to read as follows: At that time Jiangdong 江東 did not yet have the method of spells, [but] [Śrī]mi[tra] produced a translation of the Peacock King Spell and the spell method was begun. 時江東未有呪法。密出孔雀王呪。呪法之始也。

The significance of the passage concerning Śrīmitra in the Biographies of Eminent Monks is that he was adept at spells, but Zanning recasts this as the beginning of a tradition of practice—­a “spell method” (zhoufa 呪法). Śrīmitra [ 238 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy is likely identified as the first to introduce elements of this practice on the basis of this statement, and because Amoghavajra also produced a translation of the Peacock Scripture, thus establishing the perceived connection to Amoghavajra’s secret treasury.83 In Zanning’s formulation, Śrīmitra was responsible for first transmitting the secret treasury (read: esoteric Buddhism) in southern China ( Jiangdong 江東) during the period of disunion (220–­589 CE). Bodhiruci I was the first to transmit it to the north. In Northern Wei 魏 (220–­265) [the spell method] was based on Bodhiruci of Mount Song 嵩, who applied spells84 to wells and trees with considerable numinous effect. 北魏則嵩山菩提流支呪井樹等。頗有靈効。85

The inclusion of this Bodhiruci among the transmitters of the secret treasury is also reflected in Zanning’s reinterpretation of earlier materials. The biographical account found in the Continuation of the Biographies of Eminent Monks contains the following anecdote: One time [Bodhiruci] was sitting at the mouth of a well to bathe, [but] his wash basin was empty and his disciples had not yet come, so there was no one to draw water [for him].[Bodhi]ruci therefore grabbed a willow branch and waved it [around] the center of the well. He secretly empowered it with a recited spell. As soon as he [recited it] a few times, spring water gushed up level with the well head, and with his bowl he scooped it out and used it to wash his hands and face. 嘗坐井口。澡罐內空。弟子未來無人汲水。流支乃操柳枝聊撝井中。密加誦咒纔始數遍。 86 泉水上涌平及井欄。即以缽酌用之盥洗。

This is clearly the basis for Zanning’s assertion that Bodhiruci applied spells to wells and trees, but there is no indication in the early sources that Bodhiruci was understood to possess a teaching identifiable with or related to that presented by Śrīmitra, though both are independently represented as wielding spells. Zanning’s inclusion of Bodhiruci I here is probably based on a conflation of the two Bodhirucis. Amoghavajra specifically mentioned the untranslated texts of Bodhiruci II in his memorial requesting imperial permission to gather and translate scriptures held in China, and he retranslated several. [ 239 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy The clearest example of Zanning expanding the Chinese representation of Esoteric Buddhism to include early translators according to terms established by Amoghavajra can be seen with the case of Zhitong. Zanning writes: In the Tang Dynasty [the method of spells] was based on Master of the Dharma Zhitong 智通, who greatly refined the restricted spells (  Jinzhou 禁呪). 唐朝則智通法師甚精禁呪焉。87

Zhitong’s significance to Zanning is not transparent, but his inclusion here reflects the fact that both he and Amoghavajra translated texts concerning the thousand-­armed form of Avalokiteśvara.88 This is evident when we consider Zanning’s representation of Zhitong in the Song Dynasty Biographies of Eminent Monks. He records Zhitong’s role as translator in the production of the Spell of the Thousand Revolutions of the Dhāraṇī of Avalokiteśvara,89 the Heart Spell of the Responsive Avalokiteśvara,90 and the Pure Avalokiteśvara Dhāraṇī,91 saying that “[Zhi]tong was adept in Indic words and subsequently examined the Sinitic language [of the translations].”92 Zanning follows that statement with this observation: “It is also said that his practice of the yoga of the secret teaching was greatly effective.”93 Characterizing Zhitong’s practice in terms of the “yoga of the secret teaching” is anachronistic and clearly predicated on terms established by Amoghavajra. The source for Zanning’s biography of Zhitong is the preface to the Scripture of the Divine Spell of the Thousand-­Eyed, Thousand-­Armed Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva Dhāraṇī.94 The only change by Zanning was the inclusion of his statement concerning “the yoga of the secret teaching.” Although “spells” and mudrās are specifically cited in his source, there is no mention of “yoga” (yujia 瑜伽) or any variant of the “secret teaching” (mimijiao 祕密教) therein or in any of the texts attributed to Zhitong. As in the case of Śrīmitra, Zanning reads the personal and historical significance of Zhitong in Amoghavajra’s terms. The Tang sources that Zanning worked from created a dual image of Amoghavajra and his Buddhism. The Tang commemorative sources presented Esoteric Buddhism as a lineal teaching transmitted exclusively by ācārya patriarchs. Amoghavajra, along with Vajrabodhi and Huilang, was a patriarch of the Esoteric School in China. But the Tang catalogues presented Zanning with an image of Amoghavajra and his Buddhism as a unified body of texts that also included scriptures known from an earlier era. This was a [ 240 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy consequence of the way Amoghavajra’s textual corpus was incorporated into the catalogues, and it led Zanning to understand Amoghavajra and his Buddhism as continuous with earlier Mahāyāna and spell traditions. The view of Amoghavajra’s Buddhism as a lineage of ācārya patriarchs transmitting a teaching characterized by references to yoga, the five divisions, the Diamond Pinnacle, etc., accords with the views and practices of Amoghavajra, his disciples, and his patrons in the Tang, for whom Esoteric Buddhism was a secret, restricted teaching. As a textual object, it was recorded in a core collection of scriptures, in ritual manuals, in commentaries, and in compendia produced in China by Śubhākarasiṃha and Vajrabodhi, but primarily by Amoghavajra. Although Zanning’s reading reflects his textual sources, his view is nevertheless historically anachronistic. Ultimately, this model may be read as the result of Amoghavajra’s establishment of Esoteric Buddhism and the consolidation of his career in the Tang Dynasty, but it is Zanning’s own construction. In the absence of Esoteric Buddhist self-­representation in the elite textual record, Zanning’s models became normative for later authors. The ambiguous identity of Amoghavajra and the ambiguous relationship between Esoteric and esoteric Buddhism were established in the historical imagination. Zanning suggests that Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism continued into the Northern Song, but significant sociopolitical developments contributed to the absence of Esoteric Buddhists from the halls of power and elite sources. The literati elite who composed the Older and Newer Tang History espoused chauvinistic views and were inimical to Amoghavajra and his Esoteric Buddhism, new Daoist movements like the Heavenly Heart (tianxin 天心) and the Divine Empyrean (shenxiao 神霄) that claimed the ability to command demonic beings by ritual means gained the support of Song emperors, and the official Buddhist monasteries were taken over by Chan lineage holders claiming to transmit the lamp of the enlightened mind. Zanning’s representations of Amoghavajra and Esoteric Buddhism consequently became normative for later generations of elite Buddhist exegetes, as they consistently influenced Buddhist sources produced after the Song Dynasty. The image of Amoghavajra and of Esoteric Buddhism in Zhipan’s 志磐 (1220–­1275) Extensive Records of the Buddhas and Patriarchs (Fozu tongji 佛祖統紀; T 2035), Baozhou’s 覺岸 (1286–­?) Brief Study of the Ancients and Buddhists (Shimin jigu lue 釋氏稽古略; T 2037), and Tan’e’s 曇噩 (1258–­1373) New Biographies of Monks According to the Six Disciplines (Xin xiuke fen liuxue sengchuan 新脩科分六學僧傳; [ 241 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy X 1522) are all essentially repetitions of Zanning. Zhipan’s Extensive Records of the Buddhas and Patriarchs, completed in 1269, is generally concerned with the relationship between the imperial Chinese government and Buddhist masters of the past, seeking to legitimate the cultural and political value of Buddhism in China. As a result, the author is not concerned with providing a finely textured account of the Buddhist tradition in China and does not give a name to the teaching that Amoghavajra represented or propagated. Rather, Zhipan emphasizes Amoghavajra’s interactions with the Tang government, beginning with his return from southern India, the establishment of an initiation maṇḍala at the request of a government official in Guangzhou, and his intervention in the siege of Anxi.95 All of this is drawn from Zanning’s Song Dynasty Biographies of Eminent Monks. In Baozhou’s Brief Study of the Ancients and Buddhists from the Yuan Dynasty (1271–­1368), the author produced a synoptic history of China, beginning with the Three Sovereigns (sanhuang 三皇) and Five Emperors (wudi 五帝) of ancient tradition. Baozhou repeats Zanning’s representation of Amoghavajra in the Song Dynasty Biographies of Eminent Monks as a propagator of the “Esoteric Teaching” (mimijiao 祕密教). This Esoteric Teaching is described as a transmission lineage beginning with Vairocana and consisting of Vajrasattva, Nāgārjuna, Nāgabodhi, Vajrabodhi, and Amoghavajra—­the Esoteric Buddhist lineage first articulated by Yan Ying in the Stele Inscription. Baozhou follows Zanning (and Yan Ying) in asserting that Huilang alone inherited this teaching from Amoghavajra. He also echoes Zanning’s offhand dismissal of the lineage by stating that although it had tapered out, “Buddhist yoga” (yuqie fo 瑜珈佛) still survived in the Yuan Dynasty.96 Baozhou does not describe what this “Buddhist yoga” entailed, though his statement suggests that Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism may have persisted into the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Also writing in the Yuan Dynasty and relying on Zanning, Tan’e includes a richer biographical image of Amoghavajra in his New Biographies of Monks According to the Six Disciplines.97 Tan’e presents several Buddhist personages according to a classificatory scheme based on the six perfections of the Mahāyāna tradition. Amoghavajra’s biography appears under the heading of “wisdom” (hui 慧), a category consisting of scripture translators and those who transmitted or established lineages (zong 宗). There is little original, as Tan’e essentially lifts material from Zanning’s Song Dynasty Biographies of Eminent Monks. Although he indicates that he understands Amoghavajra to have established a lineage or a teaching (zong 宗) and that [ 242 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy it was characteristically informed by the transcendent perfection of wisdom (hui 慧), he does not say what this teaching contained or why he associated it with wisdom. It would seem that Tan’e simply incorporated Zanning’s material into his own idiosyncratic classificatory system. *

*

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When Amoghavajra died in 774, he left a large and complex legacy that became institutionalized and fixed in the historical imagination. Commemorative texts are quasi-­fictive, but they do reflect certain historical realities that are more fully disclosed in the voluminous material contained in the Memorials and Edicts. Reading the commemorative sources against the Memorials and Edicts makes clear that the representation of Amoghavajra and his Esoteric Buddhism in these sources accurately reflects an insider’s understanding. The image is of a lineal master transmitting a new, restricted, and previously unknown Buddhist teaching in China. Relying on these sources, among others, Zanning reproduced this historical image of Amoghavajra and Esoteric Buddhism in the Song Dynasty. Scholars in the twentieth and twenty-­first centuries who relied on Zanning’s synoptic history of Chinese Buddhism similarly reproduced and propagated this image. However, the manner in which Amoghavajra’s heterogeneous textual corpus was incorporated into the literary Chinese Buddhist tradition created the impression that Amoghavajra’s teaching was reflected in a unitary body of text. This does not appear to follow Amoghavajra’s understanding and representation of his teaching and does not match the image of him and Esoteric Buddhism established in the commemorative sources. In the bibliographic sources produced near the end of the Tang Dynasty, the distinction between Esoteric Buddhism and other Buddhist teachings that Amoghavajra and his disciples maintained is effectively elided, and Amoghavajra’s Buddhism appears to be continuous with established Mahāyāna and spell traditions. Using these sources, Zanning also portrays Amoghavajra as one in a series of scripture translators who produced dhāraṇī spell texts, a textual cum practical tradition that Zanning identifies as the Esoteric Treasury or the Esoteric Canon (mizang 密臧). Nevertheless, his construction of this teaching as a textual object and the translators who produced it is anachronistic and predicated in part on reading early texts, translators, and dhāraṇī spell teachings in reference to Amoghavajra and his Esoteric Buddhism. This image was inherited by modern scholars relying on Zanning’s work and [ 243 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy resulted in the dual and conflicted understanding of Amoghavajra and his Buddhism in the modern historical imagination. In short, Zanning’s Esoteric Treasury—­a series of texts, figures, and practices extending to an early period in Chinese Buddhist history that includes and anticipates Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism—­is the same intellectual object as esoteric Buddhism and stands in the same ambiguous relationship to the image of Amoghavajra as patriarch of a new, lineal teaching that he established in the Tang Dynasty (read: Esoteric Buddhism). The thorny and ambiguous relationship between esoteric Buddhism and Esoteric Buddhism was the result of the way Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism was institutionalized in the Tang and his legacy was preserved and fixed in text, but it was also in some measure Zanning’s own creation. Of course, Esoteric Buddhism did not cease to exist in China. The Esoteric ācāryas did not disappear from the world in the eighth century, only their self-­representations in elite textual sources did. However, the incorporation of Amoghavajra and his Esoteric Buddhism into the larger Chinese Buddhist tradition according to established institutional forms as well as bibliographic and historical narrative traditions effectively transformed those institutions and traditions as well as the historical understanding of Buddhism in China. Yuanzhao understood the Mahāyāna in reference to the five divisions (read: Esoteric Buddhism); Zanning understood historical and then-­contemporary Chinese spell traditions in terms of Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism. Amoghavajra’s legacy and his Esoteric Buddhism persist in China (and throughout East Asia) in many ways—­in the creation of indigenous texts bearing his name and describing locally created maṇḍalas, ritual procedures, and so forth, indicating that his name and person continued to function as a source of authority and prestige for texts and were associated with a particular variety of techniques.98 The incorporation of Esoteric Buddhism into Chinese Buddhist history by later exegetes precipitated the redefinition of earlier Chinese Buddhist history to account for Amoghavajra, thereby producing the “Esoteric Treasury,” “mixed esotericism,” “proto-­tantra,” “esoteric Buddhism.” In this regard, the invention of esoteric Buddhism as well as Esoteric Buddhism as objects of the historical imagination may equally be traced to Amoghavajra’s career in the Tang. Nevertheless, the image of Esoteric Buddhism reflects lived historical realities that were enacted and experienced by others, but esoteric Buddhism emerged purely as an object of historical consciousness on the basis of (mis) [ 244 ]

The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy reading Amoghavajra’s textual legacy and career. On this reading, esoteric Buddhism is an intellectual construct that began and functions as a sort of Derridean trace. Fulfilling its logic as trace, it has in some quarters effaced its origins and persisted in the historical imagination as a symbol marking the absence of Esoteric Buddhism in China. Amoghavajra’s Esoteric Buddhism was the product of longue durée historical conditions and events and stands in some genealogical relationship to Buddhist dhāraṇī spell traditions and ritual Mahāyāna from earlier eras of Sinitic and Indic Buddhism. But Amoghavajra, his disciples, and probably his elite patrons did not understand it in this way. Although approaching Esoteric Buddhism in reference to that history has unquestionably advanced our understanding of Chinese and Indian Buddhist traditions, it has also tended to obscure the lives and realities of our historical actors. Based on a commitment to shortening our focal length and looking closely at the historical origins of Esoteric Buddhism (and esoteric Buddhism) as objects of Chinese historical consciousness, I have sought to recover the lives of those individuals as much as possible. Although all historical work such as this is necessarily partial and limited, I hope that I have been true to the men and women whose actions and lives are the basis of this book.

[ 245 ]

Notes

Introduction 1. Ōmura 大付西崖, Mikkyō hattatsu-­shi 密教発逹史, 2 vols. (1918; reprint, Tokyo: Bukkyō Kankōkai Zuzōbu, 1972), 353. Toganō 栂尾祥雲, Himitsu Bukkyo Shi 秘密佛教 史 (Kyoto: Koyasan Daigaku Mikkyo Bunkaa Kenkyujo, 1982), 101. 2. Michel Strickmann, “Homa in East Asia,” in Agni: The Vedic Ritual of the Fire Altar, ed. Frits Staal (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982), 436. 3. Michel Strickmann, Chinese Magical Medicine, ed. Bernard Faure (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2002), 198. 4. Strickmann, Chinese Magical Medicine, 229. See also Michel Strickmann, Mantras et Mandarins: Le Boudhisme Tantrique en Chine (Paris: Gallimard, 1996), 80–­81. 5. Robert H. Sharf, Coming to Terms with Chinese Buddhism (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2002), 263–­78, 269. 6. Sharf, Coming to Terms with Chinese Buddhism, 263–­64. 7. Sharf, Coming to Terms with Chinese Buddhism, 269. 8. Sharf, Coming to Terms with Chinese Buddhism, 275. 9. Sharf, Coming to Terms with Chinese Buddhism, 269. 10. Hugh Urban, “The Extreme Orient: The Construction of ‘Tantrism’ as a Category in the Orientalist Imagination,” Religion 29 (1999): 139–­40. 11. Charles D. Orzech, “The ‘Great Teaching of Yoga,’ the Chinese Appropriation of the Tantras and the Question of Esoteric Buddhism,” Journal of Chinese Religions 34 (2006): 29–­78. 12. Ronald M. Davidson, Indian Esoteric Buddhism: A Social History of the Tantric Movement (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002). 13. Orzech, “The ‘Great Teaching of Yoga,’ the Chinese Appropriation of the Tantras and the Question of Esoteric Buddhism,” 69–­70. [ 247 ]

Introduction 14. “The ‘Great Teaching of Yoga,’ the Chinese Appropriation of the Tantras and the Question of Esoteric Buddhism,” 70. 15. “The ‘Great Teaching of Yoga,’ the Chinese Appropriation of the Tantras and the Question of Esoteric Buddhism,” 71. 16. Koichi Shinohara, Spells, Images, and Mandalas: Tracing the Evolution of Esoteric Buddhist Rituals, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014). 17. Shinohara, Spells, Images, and Mandalas, xxi. 18. Paul F. Copp, The Body Incantatory: Spells and the Ritual Imagination in Medieval Chinese Buddhism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014). 19. Copp, The Body Incantatory, 199–­200, 212–­18. 20. Misaki Ryōshū 三崎良周, Mikkyo to jingishiso 密教と神祗思想 (Tokyo: Sōbunsha, 1992), 137–­41. Xiao Dengfu 蕭登福, Daojia yu mizong 道教與密宗 (Taibei, Taiwan: Xinwenfeng chubangongsi 新文豐出版公司, 1994), 63. Fukunaga Mitsuji 福永光司, Dōkyō to Nihon Shisō 道教と日本思想 (Tōkyō: Tokuma Shoten 徳間書店, 1985), 256.

1. The Three Great Masters of Kaiyuan and the Teaching of the Five Divisions 1. This view can be found in general introductions to Buddhism, as in Rupert Gethin’s widely used The Foundations of Buddhism: “a tradition of esoteric practice was introduced into China in the eighth century by the Indians Śubhākarasiṃha (637–­ 735) and Vajrabodhi (671–­741) and the Sri Lankan Amoghavajra (705–­774).” Rupert Gethin, The Foundations of Buddhism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 260–­ 61. It is also represented in more specialized scholarship. For example, Charles Orzech writes in his Politics and Transcendent Wisdom: “This piecemeal transmission [of pseudo-­esoteric Buddhist ritual texts] continued until Śubhākarasiṃha arrived in Chang’an in 716. Shortly thereafter (721) Vajrabodhi and his disciple Pu-­k ’ung arrived in the T’ang capital to propagate and articulate comprehensive systems of Buddhist Esotericism (tantra).” Charles D. Orzech, Politics and Transcendent Wisdom: The Scripture for Humane Kings in the Creation of Chinese Buddhism (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998), 137. 2. Xia, Guangxing 夏广兴, Mijiao chuanchi yu Tangdai shehui 密教传持与唐代社会 (Shanghai: Shanghai renmin chubanshe 上海人民出版社, 2008), 46. 3. Lu, Jianfu 吕建福 Zhongguo Mijiao Shi 中國密教史 (Beijing: Zhongguo shehuikexue chubanshe: Xinhua shudian jingxiao, 1995), 74. 4. Kaiyuan shijiao lu 開元釋教錄, T 2154. 5. Xuanzongchao fanjing sanzang shanwuwei zeng hongluqing xingzhuang 玄宗朝翻經 三藏善無畏贈鴻臚卿行狀, T 2055. For a concise assessment of Śubhākarasiṃha’s traditional biographies and textual productions, see Klaus Pinte, “Śubhākarasiṃha (637–­735),” in Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia, ed. Charles D. Orzech, Henrik Hjort Sørensen, and Richard Karl Payne (Leiden: Brill, 2011), 339–­41. [ 248 ]

1. The Three Great Masters of Kaiyuan 6. Li Hua 李華 (716–­766) was appointed to an imperial post in the palace circa 742. He was, according to the Foguang dacidian, a lay disciple of Śubhākarasiṃha, though the basis of this claim is unidentified. His biographies in the Newer and Older Tang History report that he converted to Buddhism toward the end of his life but make no reference to Śubhākarasiṃha, though it would be no surprise were this information willfully omitted by the authors and editors of the standard histories. His putative discipleship is likely an interpretation based on the fact of this Account of Conduct and Śubhākarasiṃha’s Stele Inscription. Li Hua was a litterateur known for the composition of biographies and stele inscriptions. JTS 190.5047–­8; Chou, Yi-­liang, “Tantrism in China,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 8, no. 3/4 (March 1945): 241–­332. 7. T 2055.290a09–­12. 8. T 2154.572a05–­06. 9. Xingfu Monastery was in the northwestern area of Chang’an’s Xiude 修德 Ward, Ximing Monastery was located in the southwestern area of the Yankang 延康Ward of Chang’an, and the Bodhi Temple was to the east of the southern gate in Chang’an’s Pingkang Ward 平康. Li, Fangmin 李芳民, Tang Wudai fosi jikao 唐五代佛寺辑考 (Beijing: Shangwu Yinshuguan 商务印书馆, 2006), 26, 34, 35. 10. Xukongzangpusa neng man zhuyuan zuishen xin tuolouni qiuwenchifa 虛空藏菩薩 能滿諸願最勝心陀羅尼求聞持法, T 1145. 11. Fuxian Monastery 福先寺 was situated in the Yanfu 延福 Ward of Luoyang 洛 陽. Li, Tang Wudai fosi jikao, 57. 12. Da piluozhena chengfo shenbian jiachi jing 大毘盧遮那成佛神變加持經, T 848. 13. Subohu tongzi qingmen jing 蘇婆呼童子請門經,T 895. 14. Suxidi jieluo jing 蘇悉地羯羅經, T 893. 15. T 2055.290a19–­21. 16. Da Piluzhena chengfo jing shu 大毘盧遮那成佛經疏, T 1796. 17. Kaiyuan Catalogue, T 2154.572a06–­07 解究五乘行該三學。總持禪觀妙達其源。 18. T 2154.572a19. 19. T 2055.290a23–­24. 20. Zhenyuan xinding shijiao mulu 貞元新定釋教目錄, T 55.2157. 21. T 2157.875a13–­27. 22. T 2157.875a27–­876b17. For a more extensive consideration and translation of Lu Xiang’s biography of Vajrabodhi, see Jeffrey Sundberg, “The Life of the Tang Court Monk Vajrabodhi as Chronicled by Lü Xiang (呂向): South Indian and Śrī Laṅkān Antecedents to the Arrival of the Buddhist Vajrayāna in Eighth-­Century Java and China.” Pacific World: Third Series 13 (Fall 2011): 129–­222. 23. T 2157.876b29–­877a21. 24. T 2154.571c02; T 55.2157.875a17. 25. Jin’gangding yujia zhongwei chuniansong jing 金剛頂瑜伽中略出念誦經, T 866. 26. Foshuo qijuzhi fomu zhunti daming tuoluoni jing 佛說七俱胝佛母准提大明陀羅 尼經, T 20.1075. There are three recensions of this text. In addition to that produced by Vajrabodhi and Yixing: T 1077 trans. Divākara 地婆訶羅 (613–­687) and T 20.1076.178–­185 trans. Amoghavajra. 27. Zhisheng Monastery was located in southeastern Chang’an. Li, Tang Wudai fosi jikao, 41–­42. [ 249 ]

1. The Three Great Masters of Kaiyuan 28. T 2157.875a21–­24. 29. Jingangding jing manshushili pusa wuzi xintuoluoni pin金剛頂經曼殊室利菩薩五字 心陀羅尼品T 1173. There are three recensions of this text, along with this one produced by Vajrabodhi: T 1171 and T 1172, both attributed to Amoghavajra. 30. Guanzizai ruyilun pusa yujia fayao 觀自在如意輪菩薩瑜伽法要, T 1087. 31. Jianfu Monastery was situated in Chang’an’s Kaihua Ward 開化. Li, Tang Wudai fosi jikao, 18. 32. For an extended discussion of dhāraṇī as mnemonic device as well as the more extensive connotations and uses of dhāraṇī in medieval China, see Paul  F. Copp, The Body Incantatory: Spells and the Ritual Imagination in Medieval Chinese Buddhism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014). 33. T 2154.541b04–­5, 547c10–­11, 550b10–­11, 562b17, 566b20. 34. T 2154.571c03–­04. 35. T 2154.566b19–­21. 36. T 2154.5563b11. See: Lin, Li-­kouang, “Punyodaya (Na-­t ’i), un propagateur du tantrisme en Chine et au Cambodge a l’epoque de Hiuan-­tsang,” Journal asiatique. 227 (1935): 83–­100. 37. T 2157.875a27–­876b27, 876b29–­877a21. Lu Xiang’s biography of Vajrabodhi is translated in full in Sundberg, “The Life of the Tang Court Monk Vajrabodhi”” 38. XTS 202.5758. 39. Sundberg, “The Life of the Tang Court Monk Vajrabodhi,” 133–­34; Chou, “Tantrism in China,” 275n20. 40. T 2157.875b05–­09. According to Lu Xiang’s account, Vajrabodhi became a novice at Nālandā at the age of ten. He began his monastic education by learning how to read and studying the Śabdavidyā-­śāstra (shengming lun 聲明論). At the age of fifteen he is said to have traveled to the Western Indian kingdoms and studied the commentaries of Dharmakīrti (Facheng 法稱) for four years before returning to Nālandā. At twenty he received the precepts and became a fully ordained monk. He then studied the commentaries of the Greater and Lesser Vehicles for six years, specifically the Commentary of the Lamp of Prajñā (Nanzong boluodeng lun 南宗般若燈 論; the Prajñāpradīpa by Bhāvaviveka; alt. Bhāviveka), the Hundred Commentaries (Bali un 百論; the Śata-­śāstra attributed to Āryadeva) and the Commentary on the Twelve Aspects (Ershi men lun 十二門論; the Dvādaśanikāya-­śāstra attributed to Nāgārjuna). At twenty-­eight he reportedly went to the city of Kapilavastu ( Jiapiluoshu cheng 迦 毘羅衛城) and studied the Yoga Commentary 瑜伽論 (Yujia lun 瑜伽論; the Yogācārabhūmi-­śāstra), the Commentary on Consciousness Only 唯識論 (Weishi lun 唯識 論; the Viṃśatikākārikā by Vasubandhu), and the Commentary on the Middle and the Extremes (Zhongbian lun 中邊論; the Madhyānta-­vibhāga). 41. This would presumably be Narasiṃhapotavarman II (ca. 690–­715). For a discussion of this name and the historical personage to whom it likely refers, see Chou, “Tantrism in China,” 315–­17. 42. T 2157.876a16–­22. The Chinese Mahāprajñāpāramitā sutra was produced by Xuanzang 玄奘 over three years, from 660–­663. 43. T 2157.876b08–­11. Guang Prefecture is functionally equivalent to modern Guangzhou on the southern coast of China. 44. T 2157.876b11–­14. [ 250 ]

1. The Three Great Masters of Kaiyuan 45. T 2157.876b16–­22. These four scriptures were the Method of Practicing the Vairocana Samādhi of the Diamond Pinnacle Yoga [Scripture] (T 876), the Spell of the Great Body of the Thousand Hand and Thousand Eye Guanyin (T 1062a), the Great Compassion Dhāraṇī Spell of the Thousand Hand and Thousand Eye Guanyin (T 1061) and the Secret Method of the Immovable Envoy’s Dhāraṇī (T 1202). 46. T 2157.876b25–­26. 47. For a consideration of the Sanskrit rendering of the Chinese Longzhi 龍智, see Leonard van der Kuijp, “Nagabodhi/Nagabuddhi: Notes on the Guhyasāmaja Literature,” in Pramāṇakīrtiḥ: Papers Dedicated to Ernst Steinkellner, ed. H. Krasser et  al. (Wien: Arbeitskreis für Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien Universität Wien, 2007), 1002–­22. 48. T 2157.875b09–­13. 49. T 2157.875b09–­13. 50. T 2157.875b09–­13. 51. T 2157.876c11–­13. 52. The four texts by Śubhākarasiṃha cited therein are the Scripture of the Great Vairocana’s Attainment of Buddhahood and Supernatural Transformation 大毘盧遮那成佛神 變加持經 (T 848), the Susiddhi-­kara Scripture 蘇悉地羯羅經 (T 893a–­c), the Questions of the Youth Subahu Scripture 蘇婆呼童子請問經 (T 895a–­b), and the Method of the Victorious, Essential Dhāraṇī for Having Wishes Heard by the Bodhisattva Ākāśagarbha Who Can Fulfill Requests 虛空藏菩薩能滿諸願最勝心陀羅尼求聞持法 (T 1145). Śubhākarasiṃha is not mentioned at all in Yuanzhao’s catalogue of 795/6. 53. The particular level or sort of initiation that the Tang emperors received is uncertain. Amoghavajra’s Account of Conduct by Zhaoqian 趙遷 reports that Emperor Xuanzong was fully initiated (灌頂) into the “five divisions” in 746/7 and that Emperor Suzong received initiation as a wheel-­t urning monarch (Skt. cakravartin) between 758 and 760 (T 2056.0293a16–­0293a25, 0293b11–­0293b13). This essentially recapitulates and expands the information found in Amoghavajra’s memorial stele inscription, composed by Feixi 飛錫. The Stele Inscription reports that Amoghavajra initiated Xuanzong in 747/8, but provides no indication of the nature of that initiation. It also states that between 758 and 760 Suzong received initiation from Amoghavajra, but, again, there is no indication of the nature of this initiation (T  2120.848c19, 849a03–­04). Amoghavajra’s biography in the Song [Dynasty] Biographies of Monks by Zanning 贊寧, which is based in part on these earlier sources, says that Suzong was initiated as a wheel-­t urning monarch between 758 and 760, but says nothing of any initiation received by Xuanzong (T 2061.712c29–­713a03). Amoghavajra himself, in a memorial accompanying the submission of his translations to the imperial library and dated November 2, 771, says that he was invited into the imperial residence in order to construct altars for initiation by both Emperors Xuanzong and Suzong (T 2120.839a25–­840b13; QTW 96:12,509). It is evidently this that informs Feixi’s account, but Amoghavajra provides no information more exact than that given by his disciples. In a memorial to Emperor Suzong dated March 7, 758, Amoghavajra does indicate that the emperor was initiated as part of a larger religious reclamation project following the recovery of the dynastic capitals from rebel forces. (T 2120.827c24–­828a25). Although neither Zhaoqian nor Feixi mentions any initiation of the then-­r uling emperor, Daizong, in his correspondence [ 251 ]

1. The Three Great Masters of Kaiyuan with Amoghavajra, Emperor Daizong refers to Amoghavajra as the “royal preceptor” or “royal teacher” (wangshi 王師) (T 2120.834c01–­15). Additionally, in his will Amoghavajra states that he served as preceptor/teacher/master (shi 師) to three emperors, understood to be Xuanzong, Suzong, and Daizong (T 2120.844a23–­24). It is evident that Amoghavajra personally ministered to the three emperors and, given its centrality within the tradition, it is likely that they received some sort of initiation into Esoteric Buddhism. What this initiation consisted of, however, is as yet undetermined and will likely remain so. 54. T 2120.832b13–­0833b01. 55. Daizongchao zeng sikong dabian zhengguangzhi sanzang heshang biaozhi ji 代宗朝 贈司空大辨正廣智三藏和上表制集, T 52.2120. 56. Twenty-­five texts are attributed to Vajrabodhi in the modern Taishō Canon, but these are largely false attributions. 57. The edict conferring this posthumous title is contained in the Memorials and Edicts, T 2120.832b13–­832c17. 58. The Stele Inscription is preserved in the Memorials and Edicts (Da Tang gu dade kaifu yitong sansi shi hongluqing suguogong dashanxingsi da guangzhi sanzang heshang zhi pei 大唐故大德開府儀同三司試鴻臚卿肅國公大興善寺大廣智三藏和上之碑, T 2120​ .848b14) while the Account of Conduct is an independent text (Da Tang gu dade zeng sikong da bianzheng guangzhi bukong sanzang xingzhuang 大唐故大德贈司空大辨正廣智 不空三藏行狀, T 50.2056). 59. T 2120.844a16. 60. T 2120.848b19–­20. 61. T 2056.0292b10–­13. 62. T 2061.0712a25. 63. Zhishizi guo 執師子國, modern Śri Lanka (Skt. Laṅkā-­dvīpa). 64. T 2157.0881a11–­12. 65. T 2120.848b23; T 2056.292b25. 66. T 2120.848b23; T 2056.292b25. 67. Chou, “Tantrism in China,” 285n1. 68. See, for example, Xuanzang’s account in the Great Tang Dynasty Record of the Journey to the Western Regions 大唐西域記, T 2087.871b27–­871c06. Pulleyblank also observes this fact. See Pulleyblank, Edwin G. Pulleyblank, “A Sogdian Colony in Inner Mongolia,” T’oung Pao 41 (1952): 319–­20. This area also served as a transit route by which Esoteric Buddhist materials moved. See Deborah E. Klimburg-­Salter, ed., The Silk Route and the Diamond Path: Esoteric Buddhist Art on the Trans-­Himalayan Trade Routes (Los Angeles: UCLA Art Council, 1982). 69. dao xi tan zhan boluomen yulun 道悉談章波羅門語論: this passage seems to indicate Vajrabodhi engaging in two actions, recitation (dao 道) and oral explanation (tan 談), each qualified in terms suggesting the exhaustiveness with which he performed these actions. This is certainly the case regarding the first action, which is expressly indicated as having been performed “completely” (xi 悉). This reading informs the second apparent qualifier (zhan 章), which most basically refers to a chapter or text section. But, assuming tan zhan to parallel dao xi, zhan here is probably meant to indicate all of the chapters or sections. [ 252 ]

1. The Three Great Masters of Kaiyuan 70. The initiation ritual consists in part of the initiate blindly casting a flower onto a maṇḍala, in this case, the Diamond Realm Maṇḍala. The location of the flower in the maṇḍala dictates the root deity and practices that will be karmically suited to and efficacious for the initiate. This initiation rite is discussed in detail in chapter 5 71. T 2056.292b26–­29. 72. dui Tangfan zhi qingzhong, zhou wenyi zhi jinghua 對唐梵之輕重, 酌文義之精華: here Zhao Qian is signaling Amoghavajra’s careful attention to both meaning and style in his translations. The first phrase concerns the meaning of the text the “light and heavy” (qingzhong 輕重), a binome that may be glossed as “significance” or interpreted as “what is important and what is frivolous.” The second, parallel phrase concerns style, wenyi 文義, and Amoghavajra’s concern with making the style of his translations conform with Sinitic literary aesthetics. 73. wenshu yuan 文殊願: Zanning’s biography of Amoghavajra cites this as wenshu puxianxing yuan 文殊普賢行願, which Chou takes to mean the Bhadracarīpraṇidhāna, trans. Amoghavajra as Extolling the Practices and Vow of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva 普 賢菩薩行願讚, T 297. Chou, “Tantrism in China,” 286n11. 74. It isn’t exactly clear what the import of this is. It probably means that the expected result of reciting the vow for one year was accomplished in a single day. 75. T 2056.292c02–­9. 76. I take this to refer not to the traditional Sinitic rite of passage for males but to the appropriate age at which a young man can become a fully ordained monk. Twenty is the age at which a novice may become a fully ordained bhiksu according to the Vinaya regulations of the Sarvāstivāda fraternity. 77. T 2120.848b26–­27. 78. T 2120.848b28–­c02. 79. T 2120.844a17–­26. 80. The biographical sources for Amoghavajra are not in agreement concerning the date of his return to the Tang. The Stele Inscription indicates that this was in the sixth year of Tianbao (747/8) (T 2120.848c19), whereas the Account of Conduct give reports it as the fifth year of Tianbao (746/747) (T 2056.293a17). 81. yandai 厭代: this phrase, translated literally here, is often used in reference to the death of an emperor, implying that it was the result of his own exalted intention. 82. jiguo xinshi 齎國信使: “gift-­bearing envoy” is my own translation. While xinshi 信使 is a common title referring to an imperial envoy, the binome jiguo 齎國 is not listed in Hucker’s dictionary of official titles and it does not seem to appear in the standard histories of the Tang. Ji 齎 carries a clear connotation of taking or giving something. Assuming this phrase to indicate a specific duty or responsibility, Amoghavajra was charged with personally delivering gifts from Emperor Xuanzang to one or another Indic king. 83. T 2120.848c02–­04. Perhaps of significance here is also Patricia Berger’s suggestion that Esoteric Buddhist traditions, as a pan-­Asian phenomenon, served to facilitate international relations. See Patricia Berger, “Preserving the Nation: The Political Uses of Tantric Art in China,” in Latter Days of the Law: Images of Chinese [ 253 ]

1. The Three Great Masters of Kaiyuan Buddhism 850–­1850, ed. Marsha Weidner (Lawrence, Kans.: Spencer Museum of Art, 1994), 89–­119. 84. T 2056.292c14. 85. Reading jia 夾 in place of jia 甲, which appears to be a typographical error. Fanjia 梵夾 is a common transliteration of the Indic patra, or palm leaf text, used as a sort of honorific for Buddhist scriptures. 86. T 2056.293a16–­19. 87. See Sen, Tansen, Buddhism, Diplomacy, and Trade: The Realignment of Sino-­Indian Relations, 600–­1400 (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2003). 88. The Account of Conduct reports that Amoghavajra went through Nanhai Prefecture 南海, initiated officials, and was welcomed and shown off with much fanfare. All of this has the ring of legend to it, but it is evident from other sources that it was at this time that Amoghavajra first came into contact with Li Yuancong, the future commissioner of merit and virtue. T 2056.292c14–­23. 89. JTS 9.218. 90. For Li Yuancong and the office of commissioner of merit and virtue, see chapter 4. 91. Though there are many instances in the hagiographies of Vajrabodhi and Amoghavajra illustrating their efficacy in the production of rain and the like, I am inclined to read such tales as largely legendary accounts seeking to represent the authority and attainment of the two men. I do not subscribe to the view that they were court favorites under Xuanzong simply because they could produce wonders. This is discussed in greater detail in the following chapters. 92. T 1798.808a19–­b28. 93. T 2061.711b16–­17. 94. T 2061.711b16–­17. 95. T 2157.876b04–­7. 96. Jin’gangding yujie zhongwei chu niansong jing 金剛頂瑜伽中略出念誦經, T 866. 97. Charles Orzech, “The Legend of the Iron Stupa,” in Buddhism in Practice, ed. Donald S. Lopez Jr (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1995), 314–­17. Martin Lehnert, “Myth and Secrecy in Tang-­Period Tantric Buddhism,” in The Culture of Secrecy in Japanese Religion, ed. Bernhard and Mark Teeuwen Scheid (London: Routledge, 2006), 78–­106. Martin Lehnert, “Tantric Threads Between India and China,” in The Spread of Buddhism, ed. Ann Heirman and Stephan Peter Bumbacher (Leiden: Brill, 2007), 16, 247–­276. 98. Jin’gangding jing yujie shibahui zhigui金剛頂經瑜伽十八會指歸, T 869. This text is listed among those presented to the Imperial Court of Daizong in 771 by Amoghavajra. 99. Rolf W. Giebel, “The Chin-­Kang-­Ting Ching Yu-­Ch’ieh Shih-­Pa-­Hui Chih-­Kuei: An Annoted Translation,” Naritasan Bukkyo Kenkyujo Kiyo (Journal of Naritasan Institute for Buddhist Studies) 18 (1995). Giebel’s analyses are informed by Tanaka Kimiaki’s 田中 公明 Mandara Ikonorojī イコノロジー (Maṇḍala Iconology) (Tokyo: Heikō Shuppansha 平 河出版社, 1987). 100. T 885, Yiqie rulai jin’gang sanye zuishang mimi dajiaowang jing 一切如來金剛三業 最上祕密大教王經, and T 244, Foshuo zuishang genben dalejin’gang bukong sanmei dajiaowang jing 佛說最上根本大樂金剛不空三昧大教王經 respectively. [ 254 ]

1. The Three Great Masters of Kaiyuan Giebel, “The Chin-­Kang-­Ting Ching Yu-­Ch’ieh Shih-­Pa-­Hui Chih-­Kuei,” 111, stresses that he does not mean to suggest that the extant texts he identifies are the assemblies of the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture described by Amoghavajra. Although many of Amoghavajra’s synopses do read as accurate descriptions of extant, independent texts, we cannot say with any certainty that those are identical to the received versions. 101. Foshou yiqie rulai zhenshe dacheng xianzheng sanmei dajiaowang jing 佛說一切如 來真實攝大乘現證三昧大教王經, T 882. 102. Yiqie rulai zhenxianshe jiaowang jing 一切如来眞實攝教王經. 103. For a treatment of the STTS in reference to Sanskrit and Tibetan sources see Steven Weinberger, “The Significance of Yoga Tantra and the Compendium of Principles (Tattvasamgraha Tantra) Within Tantric Buddhism in India and Tibet,” Ph.D. diss., University of Virginia, 2003. 104. The text is T 865, Jin’gangding yiqie rulai zhenxianshe jiaowang jing 金剛頂一切如 來真實攝大乘現證大教王經. 105. T 869.287c01–­5. 106. Giebel, “The Chin-­K ang-­Ting Ching Yu-­Ch’ieh Shih-­Pa-­Hui Chih-­Kuei,” 201n251. 107. Amoghavajra’s Diamond Pinnacle Scripture has been translated in its entirety by Rolf W. Giebel as Two Esoteric Sutras: The Adamantine Pinnacle Sutra and the Susiddhikara Sutra (Berkeley, Calif.: Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, 2001). 108. T 865.207a16–­7. 109. xiang sheru 相涉入: sheru is a translation of the Sanskrit term arpaṇā, “procuring, consigning, entrusting; inserting, fixing; piercing; placing in or upon; offering, delivering, consigning, entrusting of.” The phrase here appears to mean that all buddhas are essentially coextensive with Vairocana; it is by virtue of their mutual identity with Vairocana as the dharmakāya that they are buddhas. 110. T 865.207a270–­b01. 111. T 865.207c09–­11. Following Giebel, Two Esoteric Sutras, the name Sarvāthasiddha, “All Accomplished,” is a play on or variation of the historical Buddha’s given name, Siddhārtha, “one who has accomplished his goal.” 112. T 865.207c12–­13. 113. T 865.0208a28–­b03. 114. David L. Snellgrove, Indo-­Tibetan Buddhism: Indian Buddhists and Their Tibetan Successors (Boston: Shambhala, 1987), 120–­21. 115. Weinberger, “The Significance of Yoga Tantra and the Compendium of Principles (Tattvasamgraha Tantra).” Although Weinberger incorporates the Chinese version of this text produced by Amoghavajra, his emphasis is on the Sanskrit and Tibetan recensions. However, the variations between Amoghavajra’s Diamond Pinnacle and the corresponding sections of the extant Sanskrit and Tibetan versions are minimal. 116. Weinberger, “The Significance of Yoga Tantra and the Compendium of Principles (Tattvasamgraha Tantra),” 28. 117. Describing Vajrabodhi as Amoghavajra’s “lineal master” is not anachronistic or historically unwarranted. Amoghavajra represents Vajrabodhi in this [ 255 ]

1. The Three Great Masters of Kaiyuan manner and Vajrabodhi is incorporated into the Esoteric Buddhist lineage created as a result of Amoghavajra’s dissemination of Esoteric Buddhism in Tang China. Samantabhadra is not included. This lineage construction is discussed in chapter 6. 118. T 2056.293a06–­9. 119. T 2120.848c09–­14. 120. Da ri jing大日經: the common, abbreviated name for the Scripture of the Great Vairocana’s Attainment of Buddhahood and Supernatural Transformation 大毘盧遮那成佛 神變加持經 [T 848.18.1–­55], trans. Śubhākarasiṃha (637–­735). 121. This teaching—­if referring to an historical text associated with Vajrabodhi—​ is uncertain. Assuming it to be based on Vajrabodhi’s textual corpus, it is possibly the Ritual Procedures of Reciting and Recalling the Exalted Buddha Great Victorious Diamond 大勝金剛佛頂念誦儀軌, T 980. 122. T 2056.292c09–­12. 123. Doubu tuolouni mu 都部陀羅尼目, T 903. Orzech suggests that this work was the product not of Amoghavajra, but of one of his disciples (Orzech, Politics and Transcendent Wisdom, 151n50). I, however, take this to be Amoghavajra’s own work—­if not the product of his own hand, it at least had his imprimatur. The title is listed among the seventy-­one works submitted to the Court of Daizong in 771. 124. It might be objected that these teachings are characterized by the title of the dhāraṇī and are therefore not to be considered as something separable from the dhāraṇī texts and practices of earlier eras. However, in the Catalogue of Dhāraṇī there is no mention of other such texts. 125. Stephen Hodge, Mahā-­Vairocana Abhisaṃbodhi Tantra: With Buddhaguhya’s Commentary (New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003), 23. 126. (1) Vairocana’s retinue is composed of the bodhisattva Diamond Pāramitā ( jin’gang boluomi pusa 金剛波羅蜜菩薩), the bodhisattva Jewel Pāramitā (Bao boluomi pusa 寶波羅蜜菩薩), the bodhisattva Dharma Pāramitā (Fa boluomi pusa 法波羅蜜 菩薩), and the bodhisattva Karma Pāramitā ( Jiemo boluomi pusa 羯磨波羅蜜菩薩); (2) Amitābha’s retinue is the bodhisattva Diamond Dharma (Jin’gangfa pusa 金剛法菩 薩), the bodhisattva Diamond Benefit ( Jin’gangli pusa 金剛利菩薩) the bodhisattva Diamond Cause ( Jin’gangyin pusa 金剛因菩薩), and the bodhisattva Diamond Speech (Jin’gangyu pusa 金剛語菩薩); (3) Ratnasambhava’s retinue is the bodhisattva Diamond Jewel (Jin’gangbao pusa 金剛寶菩薩), the bodhisattva Diamond Luster ( Jin’gangguang pusa 金剛光菩薩), the bodhisattva Diamond Banner ( Jin’gangzhuang pusa 金剛幢 菩薩), and the bodhisattva Diamond Smile ( Jin’gangxiao pusa 金剛笑菩薩); and (4) Akṣobhya’s retinue is Vajrasattva ( Jin’gangsaduo 金剛薩埵), the bodhisattva Diamond King (Jin’gangwang pusa 金剛王菩薩), the bodhisattva Diamond Love ( Jin’gangai pusa 金剛愛菩薩), and the bodhisattva Diamond Joy ( Jin’gangxi pusa 金剛喜菩薩). 127. si nei gongyang 四內供養: these are the bodhisattva Frolicking Diamond ( Jin’gang xi pusa 金刚嬉菩薩), the bodhisattva Diamond Hairpin ( Jin’gang man pusa 金 刚鬘菩薩), the bodhisattva Singing Diamond ( Jin’gang ge pusa 金刚歌菩薩), and the bodhisattva Dancing Diamond ( Jin’gang wu pusa 金刚舞菩薩). In the maṇḍalas of the Diamond Realm, they are oriented in the four ordinal directions around the central buddha, Vairocana. [ 256 ]

1. The Three Great Masters of Kaiyuan 128. si wai gongyang 四外供養: these are the four elemental deities, the Earth God (ditian 地天), the Water God (shuitian 水天), the Fire God (houtian 火天), and the Wind God (fengtian 風天); they are oriented in the four ordinal directions in the second circuit of maṇḍalas of the Diamond Realm. 129. These are the bodhisattva Diamond Hook ( Jin’gang gou pusa 金刚鉤菩薩), the bodhisattva Diamond Rope ( Jin’gang suo pusa 金刚索菩薩), the bodhisattva Diamond Lock (Jin’gang suo pusa 金刚鎖菩薩), and the bodhisattva Diamond Bell ( Jin’gang ling pusa 金刚鈴菩薩); they are oriented in the four cardinal direction in the third circuit of the Diamond Realm maṇḍala. 130. T 903.898c09–­15. 131. T 903.898c23–­899a02. 132. Giebel, Two Esoteric Sutras, 9. 133. T 903.899a14–­27. 134. T 903.899a27–­b02. 135. T 903.899b05–­09. 136. T 903.899b16–­25. 137. Referring to the specific design of the vajra in use. 138. T 903.899c14–­900a02. 139. The Taishō edition has Julisameiya 怚唎三昧耶經, with ju 怚 as a misreading of da 怛. 140. T 903.900a08–­16. The line concerning the devouring of sentient beings in this passage is likely predicated on the fact that the Trisamaya Scripture contains many ritual techniques for killing enemies, which the practitioner is here enjoined not to engage in wantonly. The lethal application of rites from the Trisamaya Scripture is discussed in chapter 3. 141. These are T 856, the Summary of the Supernatural Transformations and Attainment of Buddhahood of Great Vairocana Scripture; Instruction on the Method of Visualizing and Reciting the Reality of the Seven Branches 大毘盧遮那成佛神變加持經略示七支念誦隨 行法 and T 857, the Summary of the Methods of Reciting and Practicing the Great Sun Scripture 大日經略攝念誦隨行法. 142. Foding zunshen tuolouni niansong yigui fa 佛頂尊勝陀羅尼念誦儀軌法, T 972. 143. The edict was delivered by Li Yuancong, then serving as commissioner for merit and virtue, on March 7, 776 (Memorials and Edicts, T 50.2120.0852c09–­15). Ten days later, Huilang 惠朗, one of Amoghavajra’s surviving lineal disciples and successors, wrote the emperor expressing his gratitude for the command (Memorials and Edicts, T 2120.0852c16–­28). 144. maocao 茅草: cogongrass (imperata cylindrical) is a tall grass native to South Asia. 145. T 972.364c18–­21. 146. tiaochen 髫齓: referring to the loose hair of a child (tiao 髫) and to the growth of adult teeth (chen 齓). I have translated the phrase figuratively. 147. naihe jixin shenzhong 奈何積釁深重. This is an exceedingly opaque phrase. I have provisionally followed Orlando’s translation. Raffaello Orlando, “A Study of Chinese Documents Concerning the Life of the Tantric Buddhist Patriarch Amoghavajra (A.D. 705–­774),” Ph.D. diss., Princeton University, 1981, 107. 148. T 2120.844a17–­26. [ 257 ]

2. Tang Imperial Religion

2. Esoteric Buddhism in Context: Tang Imperial Religion 1. See Paul F. Copp, The Body Incantatory: Spells and the Ritual Imagination in Medieval Chinese Buddhism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014) and Koichi Shinohara, Spells, Images, and Mandalas: Tracing the Evolution of Esoteric Buddhist Rituals (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014) for in-­depth treatment of this material. 2. Osabe Kazuo 長部和雄 argued that the acceptance of Esoteric Buddhism among the populace and its eventual incorporation into Chinese sociopolitical structures was by and large the work of Amoghavajra, who created a “Chinese-­style esoteric teaching” (chūfu mikkyō 中風密教) by introducing what Osabe identifies as Confucian and Daoist elements to the Indian teachings. Osabe, Kazuo 長部和雄, Tōdai mikkyō shi zakkō 唐代密教史雑考 (Tokyo: Keisuisha: Hatsubai Hokushindo, 1990). 3. See Howard Wechsler, Offerings of Jade and Silk: Ritual and Symbol in the Legitimation of the T’ang Dynasty (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985). 4. JTS 21.819. 5. JTS 21.820. 6. This reading of the otherwise idiosyncratic translation of cheng 成, typically meaning “accomplish, complete, finish,” is based on the content of the passage. 7. shenzhou 神州: the nine divisions of the terrestrial realm as marked out and established by the sage king Yu 禹. Shenzhou is a term often used to refer to China, or more specifically the Central Plains. This usage may be found, for example, in the Shiji of Sima Qian, which states “the Central Kingdom is called the Crimson Counties and Divine Divisions (shenzhou)” 中國名曰赤縣神州。 In Shiji 史記, ed. Sima Qian 司馬遷 (Beijing: Zhonghua shujuchuban faxing, 2009), fasc. 74, p. 2344. 8. wuyue 五嶽: the Five Peaks are (1) Mount Heng (Hengshan 恒山) in Shanxi 山西; (2) Mount Hua (Huashan 华山) in Shanxi 陕西; (3) Mount Song (Songshan 嵩山) in Henan 河南; (4) Mount Tai (Taishan 泰山) in Shandong 山東; and (5) Mount Heng (Hengshan 衡山) in Hunan 湖南. The locations of these mountains are conceived in terms of the five directions (the four cardinal directions plus the center). They are the northern, western, central, eastern, and southern mountains respectively. 9. sizhen 四鎮: in the Tang the Four Garrisons often referred specifically to the four military command regions of Shuofang 朔方, Jingyuan 泾原, Longyou 陇右, and Hedong 河东, but here the term carries the more general connotation of an idealized quaternary division of the Imperial Armies in relation to the four cardinal directions. 10. sidu 四瀆: the Four Channels, or Four Drainages, are the four great rivers of China: (1) the Long River or Yangzi (Changjiang 長江); (2) the Yellow River (Huanghe 黃河); (3) the Huai River (Huaihe 淮河); and (4) the Xiaoqing River (Xiaoqinghe 小清河 or Jishui 濟水). 11. JTS 21.820. 12. DTKYL 1:47. 13. DTKYL 3:9; David McMullen, State and Scholars in T’ang China (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 118. 14. McMullen, State and Scholars in T’ang China, 118–­19. 15. McMullen, State and Scholars in T’ang China, 119–­20. [ 258 ]

2. Tang Imperial Religion 16. For a fuller study of the Precious Deities of the Nine Palaces see Victor Xiong, “Ritual Innovations and Taoism Under Tang Xuanzong,” T’oung Pao 82, no. 4/5 (1996): 258–­316. 17. JTS 24.929. 18. The Great Tang Record of Sacrificial Rites gives the measurement as one chi 尺, five cun 寸 high. This is the same as in Su Jiaqing’s memorial as recorded in the Older Tang History (JSL 6.1b; JTS 24.929). 19. JTS 24.933. For further discussion of this systematization, see Xiong, “Ritual Innovations and Taoism Under Tang Xuanzong,” 274–­76. 20. Tianfu 天符: typically refers to a sign portending future events. It may also indicate the ascendance of the corresponding qi of the Five Phases in accordance with the changing years following the Heavenly Stem–­Earthly Branches system of calendaring in specialized works. However, attempts to identify an asterism referred to as Tianfu or “Heaven’s Tally” have so far been fruitless. Such an asterism is listed neither in Xiaochun Sun and Jacob Kistemaker, The Chinese Sky During the Han: Constellating Stars and Society (Leiden; New York: Brill, 1997) nor in Gustaaf Schlegel, Uranographie Chinoise, Ou, Preuves Directes Que L’astronomie Primitive Est Originaire De La Chine, Et Qu’elle a Été Empruntée Par Les Anciens Peuples Occidentaux À La Sphère Chinoise: Ouvrage Accompagné D’un Atlas Céleste Chinois Et Grec (Taipei: Chengwen, 1967). 21. Taiyi 太一: “The Grand One,” 8 Draconis. Sun and Kistemaker, The Chinese Sky During the Han, 166. 22. Sheti 攝提: an asterism that consists of six stars: Eta Boötis (η Boo), Nu Boötis (ν Boo), Tao Boötis (τ Boo), Xi Boötis (ξ Boo), Omicron Boötis (ο Boo), Pi Boötis (π Boo). Sun and Kistemaker, The Chinese Sky During the Han, 147; Schlegel, Uranographie Chinoise, 101, 500, 806. 23. Xianchi 咸池: a three-­star asterism and part of the constellation Five Chariots (wuche 五車), the binary star Lamda Aurigae (λ Au), 1 Aurigae, and 2 Aurigae. Sun and Kistemaker, The Chinese Sky During the Han 179; Schlegel, Uranographie Chinoise, 389, 808. 24. Qinglong 青龍: refers to the eastern of the directional Four Heralds (sixiang 四 象). Qinglong (sometimes referred to as canglong 蒼龍) is a mega-­constellation consisting of the seven Eastern Lunar Lodges (Horn jiao 角, Gullet kang 抗, Base di 底, Chamber fang 房, Heart xin 心, Tail wei 尾, and Winnower ji 箕). Schafer, Uranographie Chinoise, 76; Sun and Kistemaker, The Chinese Sky During the Han, 114. 25. Zhaoyao 招揺: a single-­star asterism, Gamma Boötis (γ Boo) or Seginus. Sun and Kistemaker, The Chinese Sky During the Han, 148; Schlegel, Uranographie Chinoise, 513, 819. 26. Sun and Kistemaker, The Chinese Sky During the Han, 123, 151; Schlegel, Uranographie Chinoise, 452–­59, 808. 27. Sun and Kistemaker, The Chinese Sky During the Han, 154. 28. JTS 24.929. This was the first month of the third year of Qianyuan 乾元. 29. DTJSL 3:114. 30. Jade (璧幣) and animals (牲牢) are specifically indicated in Su Jiaqing’s memorial ( JTS 24.929). This is repeated in Wang Jing’s introductory statement on the rites ( JSL 6.1b). The liturgy provided by Wang Jing indicates jade (yu 玉), silk (bo 帛), and xi 犧, a technical term referring to an animal of uniform coloration ( JSL 6.3a). [ 259 ]

2. Tang Imperial Religion 31. For the Daoist-­oriented religious legitimization assumed by Tang Gaozong 唐 高宗 (Li Yuan 李淵) at the founding of the Tang Dynasty see Stephen R. Bokenkamp,

“Time After Time: Taoist Apocalyptic History and the Founding of the T’ang Dynasty,” Asia Major 7, no. 1 (1994): 59–­88. For the deployment of Daoism as a means of imperial legitimation in the eighth century, see J. Russell Kirkland, “Taoists of the High T’ang: An Inquiry into the Perceived Significance of Eminent Taoists in Medieval Chinese Society,” Ph.D. diss., Indiana University, 1987. 32. JSL 9.1a–­6a; JTS 24.925–­929. These events are described in greater detail in Charles D. Benn, “Religious Aspects of Emperor Hsuan-­Tsung’s Taoist Ideology,” in Buddhist and Taoist Practice in Medieval Chinese Society, ed. David W. Chappell (Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 1987), 127–­45. 33. For the relation between Daoism and Emperor Xuanzong as a legitimatory strategy see Benn, “Religious Aspects of Emperor Hsuan-­Tsung’s Taoist Ideology.” For Sima Chengzhen and Li Hanguang and their interactions with Xuanzong see J. Russell Kirkland, “The Last Taoist Grand Master at the T’ang Imperial Court: Li Han-­Kuang and T’ang Hsüan-­Tsung,” T’ang Studies 4 (1986): 43–­67. Also see Kirkland, “Taoists of the High T’ang.” See also Paul Kroll, “Szu-­Ma Ch’eng-­Chen in T’ang Verse,” Society for the Study of Chinese Religions Bulletin 6 (1978): 16–­30, and “Notes on Three Taoist Figures of the T’ang Dynasty,” Society for the Study of Chinese Religions Bulletin 9 (1981): 19–­41. 34. This discussion of Sima Chengzhen must of necessity be brief. Much more detailed material concerning Sima Chengzhen, Li Han’guang, and other significant Daoist masters of the Tang can be found in the work of Russell Kirkland, whose work heavily informs this section. See Kirkland, “Taoists of the High T’ang.” 35. The transcription of the stele is found in the Chronicles of Mount Tiantai 天台山 志, DZ 603. 36. DZ 603.48.544.b7–­8.遂乃捐公侯之業,學神仙之事。科籙教戒,博綜無所遺; Kirkland, “Taoists of the High T’ang,” 263. 37. DZ 603.48.544.b12–­13 翰墨之工,文章之美,皆忘其所能也; Kirkland, “Taoists of the High T’ang,” 263. 38. Terry Kleeman, Celestial Masters: History and Ritual in Early Daoist Communities (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Asia Center, 2016), 353–­72. 39. DZ 970.48.556.; Kirkland, “Taoists of the High T’ang,” 266. 40. DZ 970.48.556.b9–­10; Kirkland, “Taoists of the High T’ang,” 266. Kirkland translates the passage “The Venerable Master utilized screeds with spirits congealed, and matters were recorded with sentiments utilized.” My translation takes these phrases to be parallel, with the final two-­character phrase modified by an adjectival construction and the first two characters indicating the conditions under which or the manner in which the described actions were performed. 41. DZ 970.556.b11–­13. 他日,以金根上經、三洞秘籙、許真行事、陶公微旨盡授於我尊 師。Kirkland, “Taoists of the High T’ang,” 266. 42. DZ 1315.1.323; Kristofer Schipper and Franciscus Verrellen, The Taoist Canon: A Historical Companion to the Daozang (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004), 155. 43. DZ 1315.1.324.a17–­b11. 44. DZ 1315.1.324.b15–­20. [ 260 ]

2. Tang Imperial Religion 45. DZ 1315.1.329.c14-­23. 46. DZ 304.48.380.a04-­05. 47. DZ 304.48.374.c22–­375.a10. 48. DZ 304.48.375.a11-­a23. 49. DZ 304.48.375.b01-­6 and 48.375.b12-­20. 50. DZ 304.48.375.b21–­c08. 51. DZ 304.48.375.c09–­c17. 52. DZ 304.48.375.c18–­376.a13 53. DZ 304.48.376.a14–­17. 54. DZ 304.48.380.a06–­07; Maoshan zhi 茅山志 2.16b06–­07. 55. DZ 805, Taishang dongshen taiyuan hetu sanyuan yang xieyi 太上洞神太元河圖三元 仰謝儀. The veracity of the text’s attribution to Du Guangting is somewhat uncertain. Schipper speculates that the procedures described herein in “may derive from the Hetu dazhai 河圖大齋, which the emperor Tang Xuanzong (r. 712–­756) asked Li Han’guang to perform on his behalf on Maoshan.” However, Schipper also observes that although the text is similar to other liturgies edited by Du Guangting, there is internal evidence that raises questions concerning its specific historical provenance. As Schipper presents it, the text contains “a reference to a Huanglu licheng yi 黃籙立 成儀 containing detailed diagrams of the sacred area. This text could be the work of a certain Lu Yun 呂雲, a contemporary of Jin Yunzhong 金允中 (fl. 1224–­1225). The work 466 Lingbao lingjiao jidu jinshu 靈寶領教濟度金書 quotes the same text as an authority for the layout of the altar. However, it seems that the Hetu dazhai was no longer celebrated in Southern Song times (1127–­1279), and the reference to Huanglu licheng yi may be a later interpolation.” Schipper and Verellen, eds., The Taoist Canon, 505. 56. zhongmin 種民: “Seed People” are those who will survive the catastrophic events that will end the current age and usher in the era of Great Peace. This messianic vision apparently derives from the Han Dynasty, specifically the tradition of the Celestial Masters. See Isabelle Robinet, Taoism: Growth of a Religion, trans Phyllis Brooks (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1997), 55. 57. DZ 4.533.a05–­b17. 58. DZ 4.533.b19–­c08. 59. qiyao 七曜: the five naked-­eye planets and the sun and the moon. 60. In medieval Chinese conception the Big Dipper consisted of nine stars: (1) Yang luminosity (yangming 陽明), Dubhe or Alpha Ursae Majoris; (2) Yin Embryo (yinjing 陰精), Merak or Beta Ursae Majoris; (3) Perfected Person (zhenren 真人), Phecda or Gamma Ursae Majoris; (4) Occult Tenebrity (xuanming 玄冥), Megrez or Delta Ursae Majoris; (5) Cinnabar Prime (danyuan 丹元), Alioth or Epsilon Ursae Majoris; (6) Northern Culmen (beiji 北極), Mizar or Zeta Ursae Majoris; (7) Heaven’s Bar (tianque 天闕), Alkaid or Eta Ursae Majoris; (8) Sustainer Star (fuxing 輔星), Alcor or Ursae Majoris 80; and (9) Straightener Star (bixing 弼星), an invisible or dark star. Edward H. Schafer, Pacing the Void: T’ang Approaches to the Stars (Warren, Conn.: Floating World Editions, 2005), 51. 61. santai 三台: the Three Terraces is a circumpolar constellation consisting of three asterisms located in the Ursa Major, the Upper Terrace (shangtai 上台, consisting of Iota Ursae Majoris and Chi Ursae Majoris), the Central Terrace (zhongtai 中台, [ 261 ]

2. Tang Imperial Religion Lambda Ursae Majoris and Upsilon Ursae Majoris), and the Lower Terrace (xiatai 下 台, Nu Ursae Majoris and the binary star system Xi Ursae Majoris). Schlegel, Uranog-

raphie Chinoise, 529, 805. 62. The clacking of the teeth and swallowing of saliva is a ubiquitous preparatory element of Daoist ritual and meditative practices. 63. DZ 805.4.538a.17–­21. 64. This ritual technique is common to Daoist ritual performance and involves placing the hands over one’s ears while thumping the occiput with one’s fingers. The prescribed number here likely corresponds to the thirty-­t wo deities invoked in this particular ritual. See Livia Kohn, Chinese Healing Exercises: The Tradition of Daoyin (Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 2008), 181–­82. 65. Presumably the three Zhangs, founders and early leaders of the Celestial Masters tradition of Daoism: Zhang Daoling 張道陵, Zhang Heng 張衡, and Zhang Lu 張魯. 66. DZ 805.4.538.c20–­539a08. 67. The section of the Diamond Pinnacle in which this occurs is T 18.865​ .216c21–­217b15. 68. Diamond Pinnacle Scripture, T 18.865.216c21–­25. 69. Yamasaki, Taikō, Shingon: Japanese Esoteric Buddhism (Boston: Shambhala, 1988), 126. 70. Yu ru jin’gangjie ming wei jin’gangjie 由如金剛界名為金剛界. This phrase may be taken to imply the representational function of the maṇḍala. However, the prescribed ritual procedures elsewhere described, in which the practitioner is directed to summon or invite the buddhas, bodhisattvas, and deities to enter into the ritual space, argues for a reading that the maṇḍala is like the Diamond Realm in terms of its layout and ritual occupants, though the real Diamond Realm remains atop Mount Sumeru at the pinnacle heaven of the Form Realm. 71. This is in contradistinction to the view, widespread in scholarship, that the maṇḍalas and rituals of Esoteric Buddhism represent or re-­create enlightenment or a cosmic or universal order, that Esoteric Buddhist maṇḍalas represent a soteriological state or an idealized universe rather than a particular realm or pure land. 72. T 865.207a16–­7. 73. cha 剎: abbreviation of chaduolou 刹多羅, a transliteration of the Sanskrit term kṣetra. Most basically referring to the staff, pole, or other fixture symbolically demarcating one space from another, kṣetra is a metonymic reference to a Buddhist monastery or to a “realm” or “field.” Here, it possibly refers to such poles or banners placed outside the four gateways of the maṇḍala formally indicating its separation from the space outside the ritual Diamond Realm contained therein. Davidson observes that the term kṣetra “clearly indicates a domain in which political power and influence are wielded.” Following from this and related etymological observation, he argues that “kṣetra should be understood in the sense of the ‘domain’ (rather than field) over which the Buddha—­as the preeminent kṣatriya and lord of the domain—­presides with the dominion (kṣatra) of his Dharma.” Ronald M. Davidson, Indian Esoteric Buddhism: A Social History of the Tantric Movement (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), 132, 133. [ 262 ]

2. Tang Imperial Religion 74. T 865.217a01–­06. 75. For Sinitic models of spatial arrangement and construction see Mark Edward Lewis, The Construction of Space in Early China (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2006). 76. T 972.364b28–­c08. This maṇḍala also appears as the Maṇḍala of the Eight Great Bodhisattvas (Scripture of the Eight Great Bodhisattvas Maṇḍala 八大菩薩曼荼羅 經, T 1167.0675b11–­0675c20). 77. See Vibhuti Chakrabarti, Indian Architectural Theory: Contemporary Uses of Vastu Vidya (Richmond, Surrey: Curzon, 1998). 78. T 865.217a07–­18. 79. The Sanskrit term samaya literally means “vow,” but it is used here to indicate a group of figures who are categorized according to their vows. This is a common usage in Esoteric Buddhist texts. 80. For a representation of the layout of this maṇḍala, see David L. Snellgrove, Indo-­Tibetan Buddhism: Indian Buddhists and Their Tibetan Successors (Boston: Shambhala, 2002), 212. 81. T 865.0217a19–­22. 82. For an extensive discussion of the aspect of Buddhist maṇḍalas, see Davidson, Indian Esoteric Buddhism, 132–­44. 83. T 865.217a29 –­b02. 84. Jin’gangding yiqie rulai zhenshishe dasheng xianzheng dajiaowang jing 金剛頂一切 如來真實攝大乘現證大教王經, T 874. This text is of uncertain provenance. It is attributed to Amoghavajra, but this is unverifiable via cross-­checking Amoghavajra’s scripture submissions and the relevant catalogues, as it bears the title of the more widely regarded text by the same title (the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture, T 18.865). The possibility that we are dealing with an apocryphal attribution cannot be discounted. However, given its content, this text is certainly based on Amoghavajra’s Diamond Pinnacle Scripture. The practice enjoined maps closely to its narrative. Even if it is not the product of Amoghavajra’s translation work, the present text is nevertheless representative of Esoteric Buddhist practices as indicated in an overwhelming number of texts unquestionably produced and prescribed by Amoghavajra. 85. huma 胡麻: common flax (Linum usitatissimum Linn.) is a plant indigenous to India with extremely small flat, round seeds. The image here is of an uncountable myriad. 86. T 311a27–­311b01. 87. The description of the mudra here employs a system of bodily inscription in which the ten fingers are associated with the Ten Perfections. “Generosity” (tan 檀) and “wisdom” (hui 慧) are the two little fingers. “Progress” (jin 進) and “power” (li 力) are the two ring fingers. 88. T 874.311b02–­03. 89. Da Xukongzang pusa niansong fa 大虛空藏菩薩念誦法, T 1146. 90. T 2120.842a15–­842b21. 91. jumoyi 瞿摩夷: a transliteration of the Sanskrit term gomaya or cow dung. 92. tiangan 天蓋: this is typically a reference to a canopy or parasol placed over an image of a buddha or bodhisattva. [ 263 ]

2. Tang Imperial Religion 93. T 1146.603a21–­26. 94. T 1056. 95. suhe xiang 蘇合香: incense made from the resin of trees in the styrax genus. 96. T 1056.81a01–­b24. 97. T 2120.0852c09. 98. T 972.364b17–­21. 99. See T 1167. 100. T 972.368a14–­21. 101. T 908.916a13–­19. 102. Davidson, Indian Esoteric Buddhism, 134. 103. Shinohara, Spells, Images, and Mandalas, 72. 104. Jan Gonda, Vedic Ritual: The Non-­Solemn Rites (Leiden: Brill, 1980), 250. 105. xie 謝: in this context xie may be translated as “confess” or “confession.” 106. DZ 805.4.532.a16–­b02. 107. JTS 24.931. 108. JSL 6.3b. 109. Reading sujing 肅淨 as suqing 肅清. 110. T 52.2120.830a23. 111. DZ 304.48.380.b02–­8. 112. T 1056.81b18–­24.

3. Esoteric Buddhism in Context: The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion 1. The Luo, Xi, Khitan, and Shiwei were all non-­Han peoples whose territories were on the northeastern frontier of the Sinitic imperium in what is now Heilongjiang 黑龙江 and eastern Inner Mongolia 内蒙古. See Elina-­Qian Xu, Historical Development of the Pre-­Dynastic Khitan, Publications of the Institute for Asian and African Studies,.( Helsinki: University of Helsinki, 2005), 155–­236. Numbers of soldiers and causalties as reported in the standard histories are notoriously unreliable. Though the numbers cited here are probably not historically accurate, that has no bearing on my present purpose, which is to demonstrate the peril posed to the Tang throne by the rebellion of An Lushan. For representations of military affairs in the standard histories, see David A. Graff, “Narrative Maneuvers: The Representation of Battle in Tang Historical Writing,” in Military Culture in Imperial China, ed. Nicola Di Cosmo (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2009), 143–­64. 2. Modern Shijiazhuang 石家庄 in Hebei 河北. 3. ZZTJ 217.19. 4. Near modern Sanmenxia 三门峡 on the Shanxi 山西 border of Henan 河南. 5. Geshu Han’s biographies in the Older and Newer Tang Histories describes his army at the Tong Pass as consisting of 200,000 troops from the Shuofang 朔方, Hexi 河西, [ 264 ]

3. The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion and Longyou 隴右 Military Command Regions as well as unidentified “foreign” (fan 蕃) soldiers. The seats of those command regions were arrayed along the northwestern frontier in what is now modern Gansu 甘肃 (JTS 100.3123; XTS 135.4571; ZZTJ 217.1.7). 6. JTS 10.245. 7. According to the Comprehensive Mirror, Geshu Han had been convalescing since January 756 (ZZTJ 217.14.17). For an account of the events at the Tong Pass see Edwin G. Pulleyblank, “The An Lu-­Shan Rebellion and the Origins of Chronic Militarism in Late T’ang China,” in Essays on Tang and Pre-­Tang History, ed. Edwin G. Pulleyblank (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001), 33–­60. 8. Pulleyblank, “The An Lu-­Shan Rebellion and the Origins of Chronic Militarism in Late T’ang China,” 42–­43. 9. ZZTJ 220.2.8. 10. JTS 104.3211. 11. This, of course, was also the location at which the imperial troops refused to go any farther until Yang Guozhong and Precious Concubine Yang were put to death, events immortalized in Bo Zhuyi’s 白居易 “Song of Everlasting Sorrow” (Changhen ge 長恨歌). For a translation and study of this event as recorded in the Comprehensive Mirror, see Paul Kroll, “The Flight from the Capital and the Death of Precious Consort Yang,” T’ang Studies 3 (1985): 25–­53. 12. JTS 10.241. Lingwu is on the Yellow River in Ningxia 宁夏 on the Inner Mongolian border. 13. JTS 10.242. 14. For the specific vicissitudes of fortune that played out in battles between loyalist and rebel forces during the rebel occupation of Chang’an, see Edwin Pulleyblank, The Background of the Rebellion of An Lushan (New York: Oxford University Press, 1966). 15. This is Li Yu 李豫, the eldest son of Emperor Suzong. Born January 13, 727, he was enfeoffed as the Guangping Prince at the age of fifteen in 742/3 ( JTS 11.267; XTS 6.166). In May–­June 758 he became the heir apparent and was enthroned as Emperor on May 16, 762, with the temple name Daizong ( JTS 11.267–­8). 16. The Southern Man (Nanman 南蠻) were people from what is now Yunnan 雲南 Province and what was in the mid-­eighth century the independent kingdom of Nanzhao 南昭. For the history of Yunnan see Bin Yang, Between Winds and Clouds: The Making of Yunnan (Second Century BCE to Twentieth Century CE) (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009). For Nanzhao see Charles Backus, Nan-­Chao Kingdom and T’ang China’s Southwestern Frontier, Cambridge Studies in Chinese History, Literature and Institutions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981). For the Uighurs and their interaction with Tang, see n. 18 below. Dashi 大食 is a transliteration of the Persian word Tāzīk. Derived from the name of the earliest Arab tribe to encounter the Persians, Tāzīk came to connote “Arab/Arabic” (C. E. Bosworth and B. G. Fragner, “Tād̲ j ̲ īk,” in Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, ed. P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C. E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, and W. P. Heinrichs [Leiden: Brill, 2010]. Brill Online. INDIANA UNIVERSITY BLOOMINGTON. 24 April  2010. http://­w ww​.­brillonline​.­n l​ /­subscriber​/­entry​?e­ ntry=islam_COM-­1142.) Dashi likely refers here to the Abbasid [ 265 ]

3. The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion Caliphate (750–­1258) and its subjects. See Marc S. Abramson, Ethnic Identity in Tang China (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), 221n5. 17. JTS 10.247. 18. Yehu 葉護, the Chinese transliteration of Yabghu, was the title held by the leader of the Eastern Turks. Recognition of the Uighur commander as Yabghu was essentially a usurpation of a Turk prerogative by the Tang Emperor, though this was a venerable tradition among Chinese emperors by the mid-­eighth century. For the Turkish empire see Christopher I. Beckwith, Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2009), 112–­39. For Tang involvement in the political affairs of the Turks, see Larry M. Moses, “T’ang Tribute Relations with the Inner Asian Barbarians,” in Essays on T’ang Society: The Interplay of Social, Political and Economic Forces, ed. John Curtis Perry and Bardwell L. Smith (Leiden: Brill, 1976), 61–­90. See also Yihong Pan, Son of Heaven and Heavenly Qaghan: Sui-­Tang China and Its Neighbors, Studies on East Asia, V. 20 (Bellingham, Wash.: Center for East Asian Studies, Western Washington University, 1997). 19. JTS 10.248. 20. JTS 10.248. 21. JTS 10.248. 22. ZZTJ 221.1.14. 23. Pulleyblank, “The An Lu-­Shan Rebellion and the Origins of Chronic Militarism in Late T’ang China,” 46–­47. 24. JTS 11.273–­4. 25. JTS 11.274. 26. JTS 11.279; XTS 6.171, 224.6371. These are indigenous, non-­Han peoples who inhabited what is now western Sichuan. See Denis Crispin Twitchett and John King Fairbank, The Cambridge History of China (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978), 1: 428–­30. 27. JTS 11.279; XTS 224.6371. For the career of Pugu Huai’en and the events leading to his eventual rebellion and death, see Charles A. Peterson, “P’u-­Ku Huai-­En and the T’ang Court: The Limits of Loyalty,” Monumenta Serica 29 (1970–­71): 423–­55. 28. ben 本: as a prefix to “office,” “bureau,” “ministry,” etc., ben typically means the “the same” or “the one mentioned above.” Charles O. Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1985), 375. 29. she 攝: in official writing, this character tends to denote an irregular appointment, an appointment to office by a person without the proper rank status. Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China, 416. 30. Inner officials (neisi 內司) tends to refer to the eunuchs and palace women who staffed the emperor’s residential palace. Here, in contrast to the “outer officials” (waisi 外司), the referent appears to be the officials (si) serving both within (nei) and outside of (wai) the imperial palace, though in some cases the distinction is between those within and outside of the imperial capital. 31. fengyu 奉御: chief stewards were the heads of the Palace Administration (dianzhong sheng 殿中省), the central government bureau responsible for administering and provisioning the imperial palace. Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial [ 266 ]

3. The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion China, 502. Thry would have included the food stewards (shanfu 膳夫), who tasted and served the imperial family’s meals, and the palace cooks (neiyong 內饔), who prepared those dishes. 32. shenghuang 乘黃: a reference to horses of the imperial stable drawn from the name of a legendary horse deity. 33. gelu 革輅: the leather chariot was one of five types of chariots that the ancient kings were said to ride in. The leather chariot was a war chariot, without ornamentation and covered with leather. It was the ritual conveyance for a king (later emperor) making battle or inspection tours of the various kingdoms and four borders. 34. yulu 玉輅: the jade chariot was another of the five chariots used by the ancient kings. The jade chariot was ornamented with jade. The “subordination” of the jade chariot to the leather chariot is here intended to ritually indicate the impending military action of the emperor and the concomitant suspension of other activities and roles. 35. ke 刻: the notch (ke) is a unit of measure determined by a graduated water clock. 36. DTKYL 81.1b. 37. DTKYL 81.2b. 38. fanqi 汎齊: literally “uniform suffusion” (as uniformly murky, turbid, cloudy) or “level float” (as having a frothy head). One of five kinds of ale used as an offering in ancient rituals, thus named because the ale’s appearance was the most cloudy (濁) and the surface had froth. 39. mingshui 明水: clean water used as an offering in ancient rituals. 40. shanlei 山罍: an ancient sacrificial vessel for holding ale carved with line images of mountains and clouds. 41. xuanzhou 玄酒: indicating a hazy ale. 42. qingjiu 清酒: a clear fermented alcohol. 43. taizhu 太祝: the “chief supplicator” was the chief specialist in ceremonial prayers at ancestral temples. Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China, 477. 44. biandou 籩豆: indicating two different kinds of baskets used in sacrificial rites and banquets. The bian, or fruit basket, is constructed of carved bamboo. The dou, or basket for legumes and pulses, is carved from wood. 45. fugui 簠簋: two kinds of vessels used in sacrificial rites for holding grains (millet, rice). A gui is typically a round vessel, often with two loop handles. Fu were commonly rectangular. 46. DTKYL 81.4a. 47. This translation of the title is based on Li Quan’s memorial of submission, the relevant line of which reads, “Your servant has heard that Taibai is the lord of arms and serves as General-­i n-­Chief, yin is the lord of killing. Therefore, in employing arms theirs is the method” (TBYJ 1. submission memorial.1b). The precise meaning and proper translation is, however, a source of some disagreement. Ralph Sawyer takes yin to refer to the moon (“Military Writings,” in A Military History of China, ed. David Andrew and Robin Higham Graff [Boulder, Colo.; Oxford: Westview, 2002], 108. David Graff tends to leave the title untranslated (Graff anGraff, A Military History of [ 267 ]

3. The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion China, 8). See also David A. Graff, “Narrative Maneuvers: The Representation of Battle in Tang Historical Writing,” in Military Culture in Imperial China, ed. Nicola Di Cosmo (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2009), 143–­64. The issue hinges on whether tai applies only to bai (taibai, Grand White, i.e., the planet Venus) or whether it has a distributive property and applies also to yin (taiyin, Grand Yin; i.e., the moon). If tai does not also apply to yin, then yin might have an adjectival function and the title would be translated as the Secret (or Hidden) Scripture of Venus. This is how Christopher Rand chooses to read it (“Li Ch’uan and Chinese Military Thought,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 39, no. 1 [June 1979]: 112.] 48. Rand, “Li Ch’uan and Chinese Military Thought,” 112. 49. His title in the memorial is “Grand Master for Proper Consultation, Regional Chief of Youzhou 幽州 with Special Powers Over the Affairs of the Youzhou Prefectural Army, and Defense Commissioner of Benzhou 本州, Supreme Pillar of the State Minister Li Quan.” “Grand Master for Proper Consultation” (zhengyi dafu 正議大夫) was a prestige title of middling rank, but as a “Regional Chief” (cishi 刺史) with “Special Powers” (chijie 持節) and as a “Defense Commissioner” (fangyushi 防禦使), Li Quan would have essentially been a military governor with control over the northeaster frontier prefectures centered on Youzhou, near modern Beijing. 50. Guo Shaolin 郭紹林. “Tangdai wenren Li Quan de bingshu Taibai yin jing” 唐 代文人李筌的兵書《太白陰經》 “The Tang dynasty literatus Li Quan’s military text, Taibai yin jing). Xi’an waiguoyu xueyuan xuebao 西安外國語學院學報 10, no. 2 (2002): 114. 51. Shenxian ganyu zhuan 神仙感遇傳, DZ 592. 52. Li Fang, Taiping guang Ji, 10 vols. (Beijing: Zhonghua shu ju: Xin hua shu dian Beijing fa xing suo fa xing, 2003), 1: 101–­102. 53. JTS 9.226. 54. This was the case especially in some of the more remote outposts of the Chinese imperium. For example, Rong Xinjiang 榮新江 has demonstrated this to have been the case in Dunhuang. (Guiyi JunShi YanJiu: Tang-­Song Shidai Dunhuang Lidhi Kaosuo 歸義軍史研究: 唐宋時代敦煌歷史考索 [Shanghai: Shanghai Gu ji chu ban she, 1996]). My thanks go to Chen Huaiyu for bringing this source to my attention. 55. This supposition and the 758/9 date on the memorial of submission leads Guo to theorize that the Scripture of Venus and the Moon was written in 751 and originally submitted to Emperor Suzong during the rebellion period. It was not well received at that time and was resubmitted during Daizong’s reign. I find this theory somewhat doubtful, particularly the theoretical resubmission of the text to the government of Emperor Daizong. Guo, “Tangdai wenren Li Quan de bingshu Taibai yin jing,” 114. 56. Rand follows Luo Zhenyu 羅振玉 in doubting the veracity of the memorial of submission based on perceived stylistic variations between it and other such memorials as well as between it and the text of the Scripture of Venus and Yin itself. Rand, “Li Ch’uan and Chinese Military Thought,” 112. Luo, Zhenyu, Luo Xuetang xian sheng quan ji san bian 羅雪堂先生全集三編 ([Taibei]: Wen hua chu ban gong si, 1970), 1533. I do not find this reasoning convincing. On my reading, there is no stylistic difference, mutatis mutandis, between this memorial of submission and the numerous memorials of submission written by Amoghavajra, for example. All of them feature both self-­effacing and self-­congratulating language, which Luo and Rand consider [ 268 ]

3. The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion to be exceptional. Beyond this, one should expect stylistic variation between genres so dissimilar as a memorial to an emperor and an encyclopedic military treatise. However, Rand and Luo also take the memorial of submission to be unreliable given that the titles ascribed to Li Quan therein are not duplicated in Du Guangting’s biographical account. Du Guangting provides Li Quan’s religious courtesy name (hao 號), “Master of Penetrative Insight” (daguanzi 達觀子). This name is attested in the Newer Tang History, in which a series of texts are attributed to Li Quan. The Scripture of Venus and Yin is not among them. The Newer Tang History records the central event of Li Quan’s traditional biography, the discovery of a Scripture of Secret Tallies (Yinfu jing 陰符經). This is presumably the Yellow Emperor Scripture of Secret Tallies (Huangdi yinfu jing 黃帝陰符經; DZ 31). For a study of this text and its attribution to Li Quan, see Florian Reiter, “ ‘The Scripture of the Hidden Contracts’ (Yin-­Fu Ching): A Short Survey on Facts and Findings,” Nachrichten der Gesellschaft für Natur-­und Völkerkunde Ostasiens 136 (1984): 75–­83. The account recorded in the Newer Tang History is as follows: Mysterious Meaning of the Secret Tallies Transmitted by the Lishan Woman to Li Quan: Li Quan’s courtesy name is the Mount Shaoshi Master of Penetrative Insight. In a cliff on Mount Song’s Tiger Mouth Peak he obtained the Secret Tallies of the Yellow Emperor with an inscription reading “Transmitted to various famous mountains by the Wei Dynasty Daoist Master Kou Qianzhi 寇謙之.” Quan reached Mount Li and an old woman transmitted its explanation. [XTS 58.1518. 李筌驪山母傳陰符玄 義一卷,筌號少室山達觀子,於嵩山虎口巖石壁得黃帝陰符本,題云: 「魏道士寇謙之傳 諸名山.」筌至驪山,老母傳其說.]

But Du Guangting also reports that Li Quan held the position of “Vice Military Commissioner of Jiangling, Vice Censor-­i n-­Chief ” ( Jiangling jiedufushi yushizhong cheng 江陵節度副使御史中承). Jiangling is in modern Hubei 湖北, some 60 miles west of Wuhan 武汉. In prestige, rank, and geography these titles are significantly different than those that appear in the memorial of submission (see n. 31 above). Nevertheless, Li Quan held these titles, according to Du’s account, during Emperor Xuanzong’s Kaiyuan 開元 era (713–­742), not during the Qianyuan 乾元 era (758–­760) of Emperor Suzong as suggested by the memorial. This evidence does not, in my opinion, sufficiently demonstrate that the memorial should be taken as apocryphally attributed to Li Quan. 57. The Blood-­Smeared Drum is mentioned in the Hanfeizi 韓非子 and several times in the Zuozhuan 左傳. Also see Mark Edward Lewis, Sanctioned Violence in Early China (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1990), 27–­28. 58. JTS 44.1879. The Court of Imperial Regalia (weiwei si 衛尉寺) functioned as the imperial arsenal during the Tang, manufacturing and storing weapons and various materiel. See Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China, 565. 59. JTS 145.3940. 60. yaozhan 腰斬: “the waist chop,” this refers to a manner of execution by which the victim is cut in two at the midsection. 61. TBYJ 5.58.7a. 62. yubei 預備: TBYJ fascicle 5. [ 269 ]

3. The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion 63. 牙門 yamen: lit. “tooth gate,” the yamen indicated the entrance of the tent or enclosure of a commanding general as indicated by the presence of a serrated (ya) banner. Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China, 575. 64. “Five weapons” appears to be a synecdoche indicating weaponry in general, appearing throughout traditional Chinese literature. If there is a precise referent of the Five Weapons, it is unclear. The most extensive study of Chinese weaponry is Hayashi, Minao 林巳奈夫, Chūgoku In-­Shū jidai no Buki 中国殷周時代の武器 (Kyoto: Kyoto Daigaku Jinbun Kagaku Kenkyujo, 1972). 65. TBYJ fasc. 7, 1a–­b. 66. The Erya here refers to the Book of Odes (Shi jing 詩經; 241.8) concerning King Wen’s 文王 defeat of Chong 崇 and his sacrificial offering to the supreme deity Shangdi 上帝. I follow Karlgren’s translation above. Bernhard Karlgren, The Book of Odes (Stockholm: Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, 1950), 196. 67. Again quoting the Book of Odes (180.1): “The auspicious day was wu; we sacrificed to the horses’ ancestor and prayed.” 吉日維戊、既伯既禱。This is also following Karlgren, The Book of Odes, 124. 68. The full passage from the Erya is as follows: “The vernal sacrifice is called ci, the summer sacrifice is called yue, the autumnal sacrifice is called chang, and the winter sacrifice is called zheng. Sacrificing to Heaven is called fan chai, sacrificing to Earth is called yi mai, sacrificing to mountains is called gui xian, sacrificing to rivers is called fu shen, sacrificing to stars is called bu, and sacrificing to wind is called zhe.” “ ‘[He] offered them to the Supreme Thearch and he offered them at the camping place’ is the troops sacrifice. ‘We sacrificed to the horses’ ancestor and prayed’ is the horse sacrifice. Di is the great sacrifice. Yi is also a sacrifice. Zhou called it yi, Shang called it tong, and Xia called it fuzou.” 69. An intertextual note in the Bai Bu Cong Shu Ji Cheng edition states that the Zhang 張 block print edition has 刃 instead of 弩, which I have followed here. 70. Following an intertextual note in the Bai Bu Cong Shu Ji Cheng edition stating that the Zhang block print edition has 惠 instead of 德. This reading echoes the line seen in Li Quan’s memorial of submission. 71. The terms Rong 戎 and Di 狄 derive from antiquity and refer to peoples dwelling beyond the Sinitic imperium in the northwestern and eastern directions respectively. 72. This phrase, yun wo yiren zhi de 允我一人之德, is somewhat unclear. Yiren 一人, the “single man,” is typically used self-­referentially by the emperor, though this is not clearly the case here. It is perhaps a vestige from an ancient period when kings were responsible for leading men in battle. Alternately, it may be used here to indicate that the group is to act “as one.” Another reading might have it as meaning something along the lines of “to a man,” indicating every individual in the army. The phrase is possibly an allusion to the Huainanzi passage concerning the tyrant Zhou 紂, in which case the appeal would appear to be for the fidelity of the enlisted men toward their commander and their effectiveness against the enemy: The territory of [the tyrant] Zhou to the left reached the Eastern Sea and to the right reached the Flowing Sands. Before him lay Jiaozhi and behind him lay [ 270 ]

3. The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion Youdu. His armies climbed Rong Pass and reached the Pu River. Their warriors numbered in the tens and hundreds of thousands, but they all shot their arrows backward and fought with the halberds turned [toward the tyrant]. King Wu of Zhou with his left hand held a yellow battle-­a xe and with his right hand grasped a white banner to direct his armies, and the enemy were shattered like broken tiles and fled, collapsing like a pile of earth. [The tyrant] Zhou had the title of “one who faces south” [i.e., he held the title of ruler] but lacked the praise of even a single man. This is how he lost the imperium. 紂之地,左東海,右流沙,前交趾,後幽都,師起容關,至浦水,士億有餘萬,然皆倒矢而 射,傍戟而戰。武王左操黃鉞,右執白旄以麾之,則瓦解而走,遂土崩而下。紂有南面之 名,而無一人之德,此失天下也。[Following the translation of Queen, Murray, and

Major in Liu, An, and John S. Major. The Huainanzi: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Government in Early Han China. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010, 826.] 73. TBYJ 7.75.3a–­b. 74. TBYJ 7.73.2a. 75. TBYJ 7.74.2b. 76. TBYJ 7.76.4a. 77. jiao 蛟. 78. Hai Rou 海若: a sea deity drawn from the Zhuangzi, where he is called Rou of the North Sea 北海若. 79. Tianwu 天吳: a spirit being associated with dawn in valleys who acts as the River Earl (水伯). It is held to have a beastly appearance, possessing eight heads with human faces, eight feet, and eight tails, all of a yellowish-­g reen color. 80. TBYJ 7.76.4a–­b. 81. There are many traditions concerning the Wind Earl and Rain Commander that represent them as engaged in martial affairs. A passage in the Hanfeizi has them serving as the advance men sweeping and sprinkling the road for the royal progress of the Yellow Emperor: In the past, the Yellow Emperor gathered the ghosts and spirits on top of Mount Tai. He drove an elephant chariot and six flood dragons. When he finished joining his jurisdictions, Chiyou was situated to the fore. The Wind Earl swept in advance and the Rain Commander sprinkled the road. Tigers and wolves were in the van and ghosts and spirits were in the rear. Soaring serpents lay prostrate on the earth and phoenixes covered above. 昔者黃帝合鬼神於泰山之上,駕象車而六蛟龍,畢方並轄,蚩尤居前,風伯進掃,雨師灑 道,虎狼在前,鬼神在後,騰蛇伏地,鳳皇覆上, [韓非子:十過5]

A tradition preserved in the Shanhaijing has the Wind Earl and Rain Commander serving Chiyou in his rebellion against the Yellow Emperor: There is the Related Brothers Mountain and there is the Shared Work Terrace. Archers do not dare go north of it. There was a person clad in green robes called [ 271 ]

3. The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion the Yellow Emperor’s daughter, Drought Demon. Chiyou made weapons and waged war against the Yellow Emperor. The Yellow Emperor commanded Responding Dragon to attack in the wilds of Ji Province. Responding Dragon gathered up the waters. Chiyou asked the Wind Earl and Rain Commander to discharge a great rainstorm. The Yellow Emperor then sent down the Heavenly daughter called Drought Demon. The rain stopped and he accordingly killed Chiyou. 有係昆之山者,有共工之 _,射者不敢北向。有人衣青衣,名曰黃帝女魃。蚩尤作兵伐黃 帝,黃帝乃令應龍攻之冀州之野。應龍畜水。蚩尤請風伯雨師,縱大風雨。黃帝乃下天女曰 魃,雨止,遂殺蚩尤。[山海經. 大荒北經]

82. TBYJ 7.77.5a–­b. 83. dou 鬥: this term can also be used to indicate a fight, struggle, or, in the present context, battle. Although that reading would here be appropriate—­a nd perhaps it is used to subtly or implicitly suggest a fight—­I take it that its meaning here is “dipper,” this being the original form of the character dou 斗. This character is parallel bu 晡 in the following line, referring to the midafternoon period between three and five o’clock. Accordingly I take dou to indicate something related to the time of day rather than to a battle, specifically the Big Dipper. 84. yaoling 曜靈: i.e., the sun. 85. This couplet describes an inversion of ordinary celestial observations, with the Dipper constellation visible during the day and the sun visible at night. I take it that this obliquely refers to the ability of powerful storms to blacken the sky during the day and to illuminate the earth with lightning. Alternately, it may simply indicate the accomplishment of something typically held to be impossible. 86. TBYJ 7.77.5a–­b. 87. For a study of the nature of Esoteric Buddhism in the Tang Dynasty in relation to military concerns see Lokesh Chandra, “The Role of Tantra in the Defense Strategy of T’ang China,” in Kusumanjali, ed. M. S. Nagaraja Rao (Delhi: Agam Kala Prakashan, 1987). 88. zhe 磔: often referring to the ritual dismemberment of an animal or a form of torture in which the victim’s limbs are torn from his or her torso. Here it is used adjectivally in reference to hair (fa 發). I take it that this is meant to connote disheveled or wild hair, scatter and rent in a manner similar to the body parts of the of the victim of a zhe 磔. Use of the term in this manner also no doubt is meant as an allusion to violent dismemberment in order to emphasize the terrible nature of the beings here described and appealed to. 89. feng lun 風輪: the disk of wind upon which rests a discus of water and a discus of metal, which forms the base of the terrestrial world in Indian/Buddhist cosmology (Skt. vāyumaṇḍala). 90. tie yuan 鐵圍: abbreviation of 鐵圍山, the ring of iron mountains enclosing the phenomenal world in Indian/Buddhist cosmology (Skt. cakravāḍaparvata). 91. diaodou 刁鬥: a diao ladle, also called a “metal clapper” ( jin tou 金柝) or a “cooking ladle” ( jiao dou 焦斗), was a utensil employed in armies to cook with during the [ 272 ]

3. The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion day and as a drum for sounding the watch at night. It is probably used here as a metonymical reference for enlisted men. 92. The meaning of this phrase is as yet unclear, though it would seem that an arista around Grand White (i.e., Venus) is an ill omen. 93. TBYJ 7.78.5b–­6a. 94. Contemporary Shanxi 陝西. 95. TBYJ 7.75.1b–­2a. 96. Geoffrey Goble, “The Legendary Siege of Anxi: Myth, History, and Truth in Chinese Buddhism,” Pacific World: Journal of the Institute of Buddhist Studies, Third Series, 15 (Fall 2013): 1–­32. 97. The text has Yuanzong 元宗, which I take to be a copyist error and read as Xuanzong 玄宗. Emperor Yuanzong ruled the Southern Tang from 943 to 961. 98. TBYJ 7.75.1b–­2a. 99. Christopher I. Beckwith, The Tibetan Empire in Central Asia: A History of the Struggle for Great Power Among Tibetans, Turks, Arabs, and Chinese During the Early Middle Ages (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1987), 79. 100. The New Tang History dates this event to October 4, 727 ([XTS 7.191). 101. Goble, “The Legendary Siege of Anxi.” 102. Stele Inscription T 52.210.849a1–­2. The Goodness Producing Monastery (Xingshan si 興善寺) was located in Jingshan Ward (靖善坊) on the eastern side of Chang’an’s central thoroughfare, the Avenue of the Vermillion Bird. Li, Fangmin 李芳民, Tang Wudai Fosi Jikao 唐五代佛寺辑考 (Beijing: Shangwu Yinshuguan 商务印书馆, 2006), 36–­ 37. Mark Edward Lewis, China’s Cosmopolitan Empire: The Tang Dynasty (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2009), 96. 103. queting 闕庭: the Palace Gates and Courtyards, a metonomic expression referring to the emperor. 104. T 52.2120.828a07–­09. 105. Jan Gonda, Vedic Ritual: The Non-­Solemn Rites (Leiden: Brill, 1980), 4. 106. Gonda, Vedic Ritual, 69. See also Purna Chandra Sahoo, Abhicāra Rites in the Veda (Delhi: Pratibha Prakashan, 2009). 107. Sahoo, Abhicāra Rites in the Veda, 241, 250. 108. Teun Goudriaan, Māyā Divine and Human: A Study of Magic and Its Religious Foundations in Sanskrit Texts, with Particular Attention to a Fragment on Viṣṇu’s Māyā Preserved in Bali (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1978), 251. 109. For a discussion of abhicāra rites in the Japanese Shingon tradition, see Richard Payne, “Lethal Fire: The Shingon Yamantaka Abhicāra Homa,” Journal of Religion and Violence 6, no. 1 (2018): 11–­31. 110. For a summary of this mythology based on Tibetan sources, see Jacob Dalton, The Taming of the Demons: Violence and Liberation in Tibetan Buddhism (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2013), 19–­22. For a full translation of the Tibetan source, see Dalton, The Taming of the Demons, 159–­206. 111. de sheng 德身: a celestial body reflective of the innumerable good qualities of an awakened being (Skt. sambhogakāya). 112. xiafang 下方: a reference to the three bad rebirths: as an animal, a ghost, or in hell. [ 273 ]

3. The An Lushan Rebellions and Tang War Religion 113. This translation is somewhat provisional. It appears to indicate the extent of the wicked and heterodox practices and views engaged in by Maheśvara. As outlined in the Pali Brahmajāla Sutta (Dīghanikāya 1), the sixty-­t wo views refer to various views held by Brahmanical ascetics regarding the past (eighteen specific beliefs) and the future (forty-­four specific beliefs). See Maurice O’C. Walshe, The Long Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Dīgha Nikāya (Boston: Wisdom, 1995), 73–­88. 114. buwei zizai wang 怖畏自在王: this appears to be a translation cum transliteration of the Sanskrit Bhairava, “frightful, terrible, terrifying.” 115. T 869.285a17–­28. 116. T 869.285b05–­6. 117. See Geoffrey Goble, “The Politics of Esoteric Buddhism: Amoghavajra and the Tang State,” in Tantric Buddhism in Mediaeval Maritime Asia: Networks of Masters, Texts, Icons, ed. Andrea Acri (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies Press, 2016), 123–­39. 118. Sheng yanmandejia weinuwang lichen dashenyan niansongfa 聖閻曼德迦威怒王立 成大神驗念誦法, T 1214. 119. T 1214.73a15–­18. 120. T 1214.73b14–­20. 121. T 1214.73b21–­c04. 122. T 1214.74a03–­09. 123. T 1214.74a19–­23. 124. T 2120.848c29–­849a03. 125. Acala is also referred to as a “wisdom wielder” (Skt. vidyā-­dhara; Chn. chiming 持明). For a discussion of Acala in reference to the Scripture for Humane Kings, see Charles D. Orzech, Politics and Transcendent Wisdom: The Scripture for Humane Kings in the Creation of Chinese Buddhism (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998), 187–­91. 126. 涅哩底 nielidi: Nirṛti, “destruction” is the name of a rakṣa king, the ruler of the southwestern direction, and, therefore, the southwest. 127. T 848.7b17–­22. 128. 羅邇迦 luoerjia: Sinapis ramosa, a dark brown variety of mustard. 129. Following both Giebel and Hodge. Rolf W. Giebel, trans., Two Esoteric Sutras: The Adamantine Pinnacle Sutra and the Susiddhikara Sutra (Berkeley, Calif.: Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, 2001), 66; Stephen Hodge, Mahā-­Vairocana Abhisaṃbodhi Tantra: With Buddhaguhya’s Commentary (New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003), 156. 130. T 848.c04–­14. 131. T 1201 and T 1200. 132. T 1200.11a02–­11b01. 133. T 1200.11b01–­10. 134. T 1200.11b25–­29. 135. T 1200.11c01–­15. 136. T 2120.858b06–­08. 137. T 2120.858b13–­16. 138. JTS 10.245. [ 274 ]

4. Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite 139. Pulleyblank, “The An Lu-­Shan Rebellion and the Origins of Chronic Militarism in Late T’ang China,” 46–­47. 140. XTS 49.6371. 141. JTS 11.279; XTS 49.6371. 142. JTS 114.3368–­3370; XTS 224.6373–­6374. 143. T 2120.0834c02–­0834c03. 144. wangshi 王師: a bureaucratic title for one of the Crown Prince’s tutors. Here, though, it seems to refer to Amoghavajra as a “princely master” based on the reference in the concluding line concerning the “master’s (shi 師) protective recollection (hu’nian 護念)” and the term’s parallelism with Zhiguang, Amoghavajra’s novice name, in the prose. 145. zhuyi 誅夷: literally “to punish Yi barbarians,” invoking legal terminology and in reference to cultural or ethnic inferiority; the phrase most basically means to kill someone. 146. Memorials and Edicts T 2120.834c14–­0834c15. 147. Hanshu 99.4151. 148. JTS 130.3623. 149. JTS 130.3617. 150. See Stephen R. Bokenkamp, “Sources of the Ling-­pao Scriptures,” in Tantric and Taoist Studies in Honour of R.A. Stein, ed. Michel Strickmann (Bruxelles: Institute Belge des Hautes Études Chinoises, 1983), 2: 434–­86. Also, Stephen R. Bokenkamp, Early Daoist Scriptures (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), 373–­94. 151. DZ 970.48.557.a15. 152. DZ 969.48.551.c14–­16. 153. DZ 1415.30.223. 154. DZ 1415.30.224.a14. 155. Kristofer Marinus Schipper and Franciscus Verellen, eds., The Taoist Canon: A Historical Companion to the Daozang, 3 vols. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004), 1193–­94. 156. See discussion in chapter 5. 157. T 2053.253b17–­c01. 158. T 1145.602b03–­06. 159. T 866.224a03–­15. 160. T 865.0217b29–­c16.

4. Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite 1. For discussions of the development of military commissioners as acting de facto provincial governors, see David A. Graff, Medieval Chinese Warfare 300–­900 (New York: Routledge, 2002), 211, and Edwin G. Pulleyblank, The Background of the Rebellion of An Lu-­Shan, London Oriental Series, V. 4 (London; New York: Oxford University Press, 1955). 2. XTS 50.1328–­9. [ 275 ]

4. Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite 3. XTS 50.1329. 4. XTS 50.1330. 5. XTS 50.1331. 6. The three preceptors were the grand preceptor (taishi 太師), the grand mentor (taifu 太傅), and the grand guardian (taibao 太保). See Charles O. Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1985), 30, 401, 477, 480, and 48; also Robert Des Rotours, Traité Des Fonctionnaires Et Traité De L’armeé; Tr. De La Nouvelle Histoire Des T’ang (Chap. Xlvi–­L) Par Robert Des Rotours. (Leyden: E. J. Brill, 1947), 19. The three dukes were the defender-­in-­chief (taiwei 太尉), the minister of education (situ 司徒), and the minister of works (sikong 司空). See Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China, 30, 399, 485, 458, and 450; also Des Rotours, Traité Des Fonctionnaires Et Traité De L'armeé, 19. The description of the three preceptors and three dukes in the Tang appears in the Newer Tang History: XTS 46.1184. 7. XTS 46.1184–­1186. 8. XTS 46.1184–­1186. 9. XTS 46.1192–­1193. 10. XTS 46.1199–­1201. 11. XTS 46.1193–­1196. 12. Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China, 30; XTS 46.1182–­1183. 13. T 2061.711b17. 14. T 2061.711b20–­29, c06–­18. 15. JTS 9.211,184.4756. 16. T 2061.711c18–­22. 17. TPGJ 97.647–­648. 18. Chen, Jinhua, Philosopher, Practitioner, Politician: The Many Lives of Fazang (643–­ 712) (Leiden: Brill, 2007), 265–­66. 19. T 2061.833b22–­c05. 20. QTW 279.3a–­7b; Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China, 516. 21. QTW 279.3a–­7b. 22. This source is the “Account of the Trepitaka Monk” (Sanzang heshang ji 三藏和 尚記) attributed to Du Hongjian. Quotations are preserved in the Ruiju hassoden 類 聚八組傳 by Yōkai 榮海 (1274–­1347). The authenticity of this source has been questioned by Iwasaki Hideo 岩崎 日出男, “To Kōzen senjutsu Kongōchi sanzō oshō ki no itsubun ni tsuite” 杜鴻漸撰述『金剛智三蔵和尚記』の逸文について, in Ajia bunka no shisō to girei: Fukui Fumimasa hakushi koki kinen ronshū アジア文化の思想と儀礼 福井文雅博 士古稀記念論集, ed. Fukui Fumimasa Hakushi Koki Taishoku Kinen Ronshū Kankōkai 福井文雅博 士古稀・退職記念論集刊行会 (Tokyo: Shunjūsha 春秋社, 2005). 23. Zhao Qian indicates that Liu Julin was investigating censor (caifang [shi] 採訪 [使]) of Guang Prefecture, in which capacity he would have had oversight over the officials of the prefecture. Other sources, though, suggest that Liu was military commissioner of Guang Prefecture. TPGJ 437.3556. 24. T 2056.293a17–­19. 25. T 2120.839a25. 26. The sources that mention this, the Stele Inscription, the Account of Activities, and the Zhenyuan Catalogue, provide different dates. [ 276 ]

4. Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite 27. This designation had, according to Pulleyblank, come to refer specifically to Sogdians by the late sixth to early seventh century. Edwin G. Pulleyblank, “A Sogdian Colony in Inner Mongolia,” T’oung Pao 41 (1952): 318–­19. 28. Geshu Han’s ancestry is cited in a constructed conversation between Geshu Han and An Lushan in the Older and Newer Tang History. JTS 140.3211; XTS 4135.571. 29. Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China, 539–­40. 30. JTS 103.3179; JTS 140.3211. 31. JTS 140.3211. 32. JTS 140.3211. 33. taizi taibao 太子太保: one of the three preceptors of the heir apparent. The other two are the grand preceptor and the grand mentor. Hucker observes that these titles were frequently empty designators awarded to already high-­ranking officials as a means of increasing their prestige and income. That is possibly the case here, but the title was certainly not without significance given that the heir apparent in question fled to Geshu Han’s Military Command Region during the An Lushan Rebellion, where he ascended the throne as Suzong. Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China, 485. 34. T 2120.848c24–­29. 35. T 2056.293b01–­08. 36. In later eras the scribe (bishou 筆受) was responsible for the initial translation and its recording, though I take it that Li Xiyan transcribed the (oral?) translation provided by Amoghavajra. The term may be used here merely as a means of signaling Li Xiyan’s material support for the project. For this term and its designate in the Song Dynasty, see Charles Orzech, “Looking for Bhairava: Exploring the Circulation of Esoteric Texts Produced by the Song Institute for Canonical Translation,” Pacific World, Third Series 8 (Fall 2006): 139–­66. 37. Putichangsuoshuo yizi lunwang jing 菩提場所說一字頂輪王經, T 950. 38. This probably is T 955, but there are two other possible referents contained in the Taisho canon: T 957 and T 958. 39. Yiziding lunwang niansong yigui 一字頂輪王念誦儀軌, T 954a. 40. T 2157.881b14–­27. 41. JTS 107.3265; XTS 82. 3611. 42. JTS 118.3409; XTS 145.4711. 43. JTS 118.3417. 44. JTS 118.3417. 45. JTS 9.228. 46. JTS 10.241, 108.3282. 47. JTS 184.4759. 48. JTS 108.3282. 49. jialing 家令: “in general charge of provisions, often also with some disciplinary authority, normally in the household of an heir apparent, sometimes also in that of a princess.” Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China, 138. 50. JTS 11.268. 51. T 2120.828a25–­b13, 0828b14–­c12, 0828c29–­829a13. 52. T 2120.827b05–­07. 53. T 2120.827b14–­16. [ 277 ]

4. Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite 54. yishiliu hu 一十六護: the sixteen protectors, sometimes written shiliu dahu 十 六大護, are yaksas and deities who serve as protectors of the assembled buddhas and

bodhisattvas of the Diamond Realm Maṇḍala. 55. T 2120.827c25–­828a17. 56. T 2120.828a20–­24. 57. Classicist was the most prestigious rank after that of presented scholar ( jinshi 進士), the most prestigious. See Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China, 333. 58. For Du Xian’s biography, see JTS 98.3075–­3077. See also Denis Crispin Twitchett and John King Fairbank, The Cambridge History of China: Sui and T’ang China, 15 vols. (Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1978), 3: 390, 391. 59. JTS 108.3283. Zhidu fushi 支度副使: the fiscal commissioner was responsible for administering the finances of military units stationed on the frontier and for submitting fiscal reports to the central government. Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China, 164. 60. JTS 108.3283. 61. JTS 108.3283. The administrative seat of Jingnan Defense Command was modern Jingzhou in Hubei Province. 62. JTS 10.246. 63. JTS 184.4759–­61; XTS 208.5882. 64. JTS 184.1460. 65. T 2120.829c06–­15. 66. T 2120.0828c29–­829b01. 67. JTS 9.213. 68. JTS 9.214. 69. JTS 118.3413. 70. JTS 118.3409. “Commandant” (wei 尉) was a common military title, sometimes honorific and not indicating actual field command, as it appears to be the case here. Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China, 564. 71. JTS 118.3409. The Court of Judicial Review (dali si 大理寺) was the agency within the central bureaucracy responsible for reviewing reports of judicial proceedings from all levels of territorial administration, recommending to the emperor which cases involving major punishments should be returned for retrial, submitted to a gathering of court dignitaries for deliberation, or decided by the emperor himself. Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China, 468. 72. JTS 118.3409. 73. JTS 52.2185; XTS 77.2497–­8. 74. JTS 52.2185. 75. JTS 52.2185; XTS 77.2948. 76. JTS 10.251; 53.2185. 77. JTS 52.2186. 78. T 52.2120.828c13. 79. JTS 10.260. The composition and copying of Buddhist scriptures in one’s own blood, although not widespread, was a known practice of Chinese Buddhists. See James A. Benn, Burning for the Buddha: Self-­Immolation in Chinese Buddhism (Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 2007). [ 278 ]

4. Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite 80. JTS 52.2185. 81. JTS 52.2186. 82. The Cambridge History of China, citing the ZZTJ, informs us that she was killed by order of Li Fuguo. This information does not appear in other standard sources and, taking the elegy recorded in the Memorials and Edicts to be genuine, seems to be an apocryphal inclusion likely predicated on a desire by the editors of the ZZTJ to depict the improper overreaching of Li Fuguo and of eunuchs more generally. Twitchett and Fairbank, The Cambridge History of China: Sui and T’ang China, 3: 572. 83. T 2120.0847b25–­c13. 84. The significance of Emperor Daizong’s patronage has been noted by other scholars as well. See, for example, Orzech, “Looking for Bhairava,” 51; Charles Orzech, “Esoteric Buddhism in the Tang: From Atikūtạ to Amoghavajra (651–­780),” in Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia, ed. Charles D. Orzech, Henrik Hjort Sorensen, and Richard Karl Payne (Leiden: Brill, 2011), 274–­75; and Chen, Jinhua, “The Tang Buddhist Palace Chapels,” Journal of Chinese Religions 32 (2004): 132–­33. 85. JTS 11.289. 86. JTS 11.282. 87. The identity of Wang Yunxiu is based on a tale from the Compilations of Du Yang 杜陽編 that is recorded in the Extensive Records of the Taiping [Reign Era] that describes Wang Yunxiu as the daughter of Wang Jin (TPGJ 237.1822.) Twitchett identifies this woman as Wang Jin’s sister (Twitchett and Fairbank, The Cambridge History of China: Sui and T’ang China, 3: 577). 88. JTS 118.3417. 89. XTS 145.4715. 90. XTS 145.4715. 91. XTS 145.4716; JTS 11.275–­6. 92. JTS 11.276; XTS 145.4716. 93. These armies were based in what is now Hebei Province. 94. JTS 11.290. 95. JTS 11.290. 96. JTS 118.3282. 97. JTS 118.3417. The information in this passage is essentially repeated by Zanning in his Great Song Brief History of the Sangha (Da Song seng shilue 大宋僧史略). (T 54.2126.247b23–­247c08). This is a reflection of the fact that Zanning and the Older Tang History author were drawing from the same sources, though they have different interpretive commitments to that material. 98. Gougong 國公: the duke of state was a title of nobility behind only prince (王) and commandery prince (君王). Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China, 298. 99. JTS 118.3417. 100. T 2120.829c18. 101. Da foding da touluoni 大佛頂大陀羅尼, T 944b. 102. Da foding rulai fang guang xidaduobodaluo tuoluoni 大佛頂如來放光悉怛多鉢怛囉 陀羅尼, T 944a. 103. T 2120.830a09–­11. 104. Sanchang zhaiyue 三長齋月: the first, fifth, and ninth months. [ 279 ]

4. Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite 105. Or possibly “built in accordance with the scripture”; in the Ritual Procedures for Intoning the Great Compassion Dhāraṇi (Dabeixin tuoluoni xiuxing niansong lueyi 大悲 心陀羅尼修行念誦略儀, T 20.1066.0126c22), Amoghavajra cites a text that he calls the Consecration Platform Scripture (Guangding daochang jing 灌頂道場經; 0126c26), which apparently has not survived. 106. Reading sujing 肅淨 as suqing 肅清. 107. T 2120.830a15–23 108. yuan 緣: the basic meaning is a hem or decorative edging on garments; it is also used in reference to the decorative silk bows on caps. Here the sense seems to be general decoration or embellishment to the monastery, which, given its condition according to Amoghavajra, I have translated as “repair,” although it should also be understood that the repairs will result in ornamentation. 109. ke 科: a section or subsection normally at the second or third level of an organizational hierarchy and thus subordinate to bureau or ministry. Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China, 279. 110. T 2120.830c20–­831a03. 111. T 2120.831a28–­b05. 112. T 2120.830a20–­831b19. 113. JTS 11.279–­280. 114. JTS 11.280. 115. Others have treated Amoghavajra’s translation of the Humane Kings scripture as indicating a strategy for gaining imperial support for himself and for Esoteric Buddhism. The most extensive study of this text remains Charles Orzech, Politics and Transcendent Wisdom: The Scripture for Humane Kings in the Creation of Chinese Buddhism (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998). 116. The original translation of the Scripture for Humane Kings (T 245.825a02–­ 834a08) is traditionally attributed to Kumārajīva (344–­413). 117. nei daochang 內道場: the Buddhist temples and apartments located within the imperial palace complex. Chou, Yi-­liang. “Tantrism in China,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 8, no. 3/4 (March 1945): 310; Chen, “The Tang Buddhist Palace Chapels.” 118. T 2120.831b22–­c04. 119. T 2120.832a25–­b06. 120. One ren 仞 was about eight feet. This line is an allusion to a passage from the Zhoushu section of the Shangshu, in which the grand guardian 太保, following the Zhou conquest of Shang, advises the ruler: “Ah! Day and night do not be remiss. Do not flaunt the smallest of actions and in the end you will accumulate great virtue. In making a mound of nine ren, the work may be short by a single basket [of earth]. If you consent to this guidance, the people will be safe in their homes and there will be generations of kings.” 嗚呼!夙夜罔或不勤,不矜細行,終累大德。為山九仞,功虧一簣。 允迪茲,生民保厥居,惟乃世王。(Lu’ao 旅獒 2). Daizong is most basically advising the translators to be diligent in their work, but with this allusion he also communicates the importance of this work to the larger project of state creation and maintenance, establishing parallels between the translation of the Humane Kings and the establishment of “great virtue” in the mythic past. 121. T 246.834b14–­18. 122. Dacheng Miyan jing 大乘密嚴經, T 682. [ 280 ]

4. Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite 123. T 681. 124. Based on the content of this passage and other circumstance surrounding this production of the Humane Kings discussed below, I take it that Daizong here refers to his late father, Emperor Suzong, as huang 皇 (sovereign), as this term is typically reserved for the deceased and the title of deceased emperors. This interpretation is further argued for by the otherwise uncharacteristic humilific expression that concludes the passage (lines a20–­22). 125. huang yi zhi jue 皇矣至覺: this appears to be an allusion to and play on the poem “Huangyi” from the Book of Odes 詩經: “The sovereign is indeed the Lord on High, looking down radiantly.” 皇矣上帝、臨下有赫。 126. choulin 稠林: a Buddhist metaphor for afflictions, heretical paths, etc. This metaphor is common in Buddhist writing and is found, for example, in the Scripture of the Ten Grounds 十地經, T 287. 127. The references to floss wrapping the universe appears to be an allusion to the discussion of Yi jing cosmology in the Hanshu 漢書 biography of Yang Xiang 揚 雄: “If the transit of the sun and moon were not thousands of li, then it would not be possible for them to illuminate the six directions or shine on the eight expanses (the eight extremities of heaven and earth). If Mount Tai’s height were not tall and towering, then it would not be able to gush billowing clouds and scatter lofty mists. These are the transformations of Fuxi, its floss wraps Heaven and Earth and its threads are the eight trigrams.” 日月之經不千里,則不能燭六合,燿八紘;泰山之高不嶕 嶢,則不能浡滃雲而散歊烝。是以宓犧氏之作易也,綿絡天地,經以八卦 . . .“Biography of Yang Xiang” in Han shu 漢書, ed. Ban Gu 班固 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju chuban faxing, 2009), fasc. 85, p. 3577. This is married in the following line to an allusion to the Buddhist image of Indra’s Net, a metaphor for the universal interpenetration of all phenomena and the identification of the Dharmakāya as the principle connecting all phenomena. 128. jie cheng 芥城: a metaphor referring to the length of a kalpa, derived from the Commentary on the Mahāprajñāpāramitā Scripture, traditionally held to have been composed by Nāgārjuna. The Chinese translation of this text was produced by Kumārajīva (344–­413). The Scripture: from kalpāsaṃkhyeya (asengzhi jie 阿僧祇劫) in the past they gave rise to the great vow. Commentary: The meaning of aṃkhyeya (asengzhi) is explained in the middle chapter on the meaning of bodhisattva. The meaning of kalpa is explained by the Buddha through metaphors. [There is] a four thousand-­li stone mountain and there is a longevous man. Every one hundred years he whisks [the mountain] with a soft cloth. When this stone mountain is made to be exhausted, a kalpa will still not yet be exhausted. [There is] a great city of four thousand li that is filled with mustard seeds, completely level without exception. There is a longevous man who every one hundred years selects and removes a mustard seed. The mustard seeds will be exhausted but a kalpa will not yet be exhausted. Over innumerable kalpas like this bodhisattvas have given rise to the great correct vow to liberate sentient beings, the vow named the essential vow of the great heart that certainly [ 281 ]

4. Amoghavajra and the Ruling Elite liberates all sentient beings, severs all afflictions, and attains anuttara-­samyak-­ sambodhi. This is the name of the vow. 【經】從阿僧祇劫已來發大誓願。【論】阿僧祇義。菩薩義品中已說。劫義佛譬喻說。四千 里石山有長壽人。百歲過持細軟衣一來拂拭。令是大石山盡。劫故未盡。四千里大城。滿 中芥子。不概令平。有長壽人百歲過一來取一芥子去。芥子盡。劫故不盡。菩薩如是無 數劫。發大正願度脫眾生願名大心要誓。必度一切眾生斷諸結使。成阿耨多羅三藐三菩 提。是名為願。[T 25.1509.100c11–­19] 129. wushi 五始: Xi Lin’s 希麟 (d.u.) Continued Dictionary of All the Scriptures 續一切 經音義, completed in 987, citing Xu Zheng’s 徐整 (third century) History of the Three [Sovereigns] and Five [Emperors] (San Wu liji 三五歷記), indicates that the “five beginnings” refers to the cosmogonic process of Grand Transformation (taiyi 太易) prior to the differentiation of qi, Grand Commencement (taichu 太初), when primordial qi (yuanqi 元氣) first “sprouted,” and the subsequent moments of Grand Beginning (taishi 太始), Grand Simplicity (taisu 太素), and Grand Ultimate (taiji 太極). This cosmogony is derived from the Liezi 列子 . T 54.2129.952c07–­8. 130. Yide 一得: a phrase drawn from and an allusion to the Shiji: “Even a fool in a thousand thoughts must have one good idea” 愚者千慮,必有一得 (“Biography of the Marquis of Huaiyin” 淮陰侯列傳). In Shiji 史記, ed. Sima Qian 司馬遷 (Beijing: Zhong-

hua shujuchuban faxing, 2009), fasc. 92, p. 2618. 131. hongxiu 鴻休: a phrase basically referring to good fortune in general, but also indicating more specifically the great work of unifying the kingdom. This latter valence is at play in the “Writ of Pardon [Accompanying] the Establishment of the First Year of Baoying” (Gaiyuan Baoying she wen 改元寶應赦文) issued in 762 by Daizong’s predecessor, Suzong. QTW 45.14b–­15a. 132. dabao 大寶: the general nature of this term renders the meaning ambiguous. “Grand Jewel” may refer to the emperor, in which case Daizong is likely referring to his predecessor, Suzong. “Grand Jewel” may refer to the teaching of the Buddha. Both meanings would be consistent with the content of the text. However, the ambiguity of this phrase matches the ambiguity of the preceding parallel line and may be intentional, blurring the distinction between classical Chinese imperial authority and political ideals with those of Buddhist literature and doctrine. 133. tuigou 推溝: this is a classical allusion meaning to commiserate with the common people. It is drawn from the Mencius concerning Yi Yin 伊尹, who is held to have helped Tang establish the Shang Dynasty. The story most basically communicates the duty of those who are knowledgeable and virtuous to assist those of lesser abilities. “[Yi Yin] thought that it was as if he himself had pushed the ordinary men and women of the world (tianxia 天下) into a ravine without the benefit of Yao or Shun.” 思天下之民匹夫匹婦有不被堯舜之澤者,若己推而內之溝中。其自任以天下之重如 此,故就湯而說之以伐夏救民。

134. T 2120.834a14–­22. 135. xiansheng 先聖: in imperial sources, this refers to the/a prior emperor. Daizong is referring to Suzong here. 136. yuhao 玉毫: the ūrṇā of a buddha, the swirl of hair on a buddha’s forehead. This is a synecdoche for the Buddha and Buddhism. [ 282 ]

5. The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism 137. manjiao 滿教: a reference to the Mahāyāna teaching of Buddhism. 138. T 246.834b06–­08. 139. The traditional three-­year mourning period is based on the statement by Confucius in the Analects: “The Master said, ‘If [a son] does not change from his father’s way for three years, he may be said to be filial.’ ” 子曰: 「三年無改於父之道,可 謂孝矣。」For examples of how this dictum was put into practice, see Jan Jakob Maria De Groot, The Religious System of China. Book I (Leyden: Brill, 1892). Also Patricia Buckley Ebrey, Confucianism and Family Rituals in Imperial China: A Social History of Writing About Rites (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1991). 140. T 2120.837c21–­0838a16. 141. JTS 11.278. 142. T 2120.831b20–­c21. 143. T 2120.832a25–­b12. 144. T 2120.845c23–­846b02. 145. T 2120.848a10–­848b13. 146. Xuanzang is credited with the translation of seventy-­five texts in 1335 fascicles. Amoghavajra produced more individual texts with at least seventy-­seven, but the overall volume amounted only to 101 fascicles. Of course, there was never a standardization of fascicle length, but Xuanzang’s productions are nevertheless much more voluminous.

5. The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism 1. Mark Edward Lewis, “The Suppression of the Three Stages Sect: Apocrypha as a Political Issue,” in Chinese Buddhist Apocrypha, ed. Robert E. Buswell (Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 1990), 232. 2. McRae observes that in the Song Dynasty some 90 percent of the large public monasteries (the “forests of the ten directions” shifang conglin 十方叢林) were considered “Chan” monasteries while the rest were designated as “teaching” or “Vinaya” institutions. This was due to the specific lineage restrictions placed on the public monasteries by the imperial state. As McRae states, “in those public monasteries carrying the designation ‘Chan,’ this position was naturally held by a member of the Chan lineage; in the much smaller number of public monasteries labeled ‘teaching’ or ‘Vinaya’ institutions, a Tiantai or Vinaya school affiliation was required.” Nevertheless, the range of practices observed among these institutions tended to be more similar than different, the abbotship and his lineage being essentially a reflection of bureaucratic imperatives. John R. McRae, Seeing Through Zen: Encounter, Transformation, and Genealogy in Chinese Chan Buddhism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004), 115–­16. 3. Jacques Gernet, Buddhism in Chinese Society: An Economic History from the Fifth to the Tenth Centuries (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), 43–­45. 4. T 2122.1027a9–­13. 5. Taizong’s edict appears, undated, in the Collectanea of Vast Wisdom (Guanghongming ji 廣弘明集) by Daoxuan 道宣 (596–­667), T 2103.328c12–­329a6. For a discussion of [ 283 ]

5. The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism the Tang defeat of Xue Ju see David A. Graff, Medieval Chinese Warfare 300–­900 (New York: Routledge, 2002), 163, 169. 6. For Song Jin’gang see Graff, Medieval Chinese Warfare 300–­900, 170, 175. 7. For Liu Wuzhou see Graff, Medieval Chinese Warfare 300–­900, 164, 170, 174, 185. 8. For Dou Jiande see Graff, Medieval Chinese Warfare 300–­900, 152, 161–­63, 165, 171–­ 78, 219. For a more extensive treatment of Dou’s defeat see David A. Graff, “Dou Jiande’s Dilemma: Logistics, Strategy, and State Formation in Seventh-­Century China,” in Warfare in Chinese History, ed. Hans J. Van de Ven (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2000) , 77–­105. 9. Gernet, Buddhism in Chinese Society, 44. 10. Mark Edward Lewis, China’s Cosmopolitan Empire: The Tang Dynasty (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2009), 215. 11. T 2126.0247b16–­17. 12. For a study of the developing tradition of palace chapels up to and through the Tang Dynasty, see Chen, Jinhua, “The Tang Buddhist Palace Chapels,” Journal of Chinese Religions 32 (2004): 101–­73. 13. For a study of the earlier history of Buddhist textual production and bibliographic products vis-­à-­vis the Chinese state, see Tanya Storch, The History of Chinese Buddhist Bibliography Censorship and Transformation of the Tripitaka (Amherst, N.Y.: Cambria Press, 2014). 14. Erik Zurcher, “Perspectives in the Study of Chinese Buddhism,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland 1 (1982): 163–­64. 15. Intercalary months were added in order to bring the lunar calendar into conformity with the seasons dictated by the solar ecliptic. An intercalary month occurred once every three years, twice every five years, and seven times in nineteen years in order that the vernal equinox would always fall in the second month, the summer solstice in the fifth month, the autumnal equinox in the eighth month, and the winter solstice in the eleventh month. 16. T 2120.829b24–­29. 17. T 2056.292b26–­29. 18. T 2056.292c04–­9. 19. T 865.0217b26–­0219a14. 20. T 865.0218c04. 21. zoumuo 琢磨: literally “carved and polished.” 22. Xinluo 新羅: the Korean kingdom of Silla, succeeded by the Koryŏ in 939 CE. 23. Huiguo’s name is typically written 惠果 rather than 慧果 here. This is a scribal error or a character variation. 24. T 2120.844a28–­b03. 25. Hyech’o’s account is T 51.2089. For an English language study of this text, see Yang, Han-­sung, et al., The Hye Ch’o Diary: Memoir of the Pilgrimage to the Five Regions of India, Unesco Collection of Representative Works (Berkeley, Calif.; Seoul, Korea: Asian Humanities Press; Po Chin Chai, 1984). 26. Dasheng yujia jin’gang xinghai manshushili qianbi qianbo dajiaowang jing 大乘瑜伽 金剛性海曼殊室利千臂千鉢大教王經, T 1177A.724b20. 27. Heinrik H. Sørenson, “Esoteric Buddhism in Korea,” in Tantric Buddhism in East Asia, ed. Richard Karl Payne (Boston: Wisdom, 2006), 68–­69. [ 284 ]

5. The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism 28. Owing to limitations of time, space, and language ability, I cannot evaluate representations of Hyech’o in Korea or Korean sources. 29. T 2120.856b24–­0856c10. 30. T 2120.856b26–­7. 31. T 2061.864b16–­c03. 32. T 2061.864b23–­24. 33. T 2056.292c20–­21; 293a07–­09. 34. T 2120.848c25–­26. 35. T 2120.828a05–­06. 36. T 2120.0830b01. 37. T 2120.834a27–­28. 38. T 2120.835b07–­08. 39. T 2120.835c07. 40. T 2061.879b21–­22. 41. Secret Essentials of the Chapter on the Yoga Siddhi of Vinayaka Gānapati (Pinayejia e’nabodi yujia xidi pin miyao 毘那夜迦誐那缽底瑜伽悉地品祕要), T 1273, and Ritual Procedures of the Image of the Dual Bodies of the Divine Vinayaka, the Great Joyful Sage (Dasheng huanxi shuangshen Pinayejia tian xingxiang pin yigui 大聖歡喜雙身毘那夜迦天形像品儀 軌), T 1274. 42. T 2120.830c16. 43. T 2120.854b05–­29. 44. T 2120.855a04–­17 and 854c01–­17. 45. T 2120.854c18–­a03. 46. Goshōrai mokuroku 御請來目錄 T 2161.1060b20–­21. 47. T 2120.845b27–­c22. 48. T 2120.852b21–­c08. 49. T 2120.857b25–­c23. 50. A biography of Huiguo is found in the Taishō Canon (T 2057 大唐青龍寺三朝供 奉大德行狀), but its Chinese provenance is uncertain. A text titled Eighteen Seals (T 900 十八契印) is attributed to Huiguo in the Taishō, though the texts itself gives no direct indication of its author. 51. The twenty-­one monks were evidently all “Dharma brothers” (i.e., had the same initiation master), as indicated by the shared first character hui 慧 in their monastic names. T 2120.845b27–­c18. 52. T 2120.850c12–­15. 53. T 2120.850a10–­20. Dated August 19, 774. 54. T 2120.851a09–­16. 55. T 2120.851a25–­b08. 56. T 2120.851b11–­852b06. Dated May 8, 775. 57. T 2120.852b07–­b18. Dated July 15, 775. 58. T 2120.853a19–­b01. Dated Jan. 12, 777. 59. T 2120.859c21–­860a02. 60. Yintaimen jia 銀臺門家: The precise meaning of this phrase is uncertain. In the Tang, there were two Silver Terrace Gates, left and right. These were located respectively on the west and east walls of the Palace of Great Brilliance (Daming gong 大明 宮). In the Tang, the Hanlin Academy was located near the Left Silver Terrace Gate [ 285 ]

5. The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism and, based on this, the “Silver Terrace Gate” is sometimes used as a reference to the academy. This may be the meaning here, though given that the Hanlin academicians were official litterateurs responsible for, among other things, the drafting of official histories, it seems improbable that the Buddhist monks named by Emperor Daizong were so employed. 61. quna 瞿那 is a common transliteration for the Sanskrit Guṇa. 62. The general of the Flying Dragons Cavalry in February 758 was quite possibly Li Yuancong, who certainly held the post in May 760; see chapter 4. 63. T 2120.858b05–­08. 64. JTS 118.3417. 65. James Morris Hargett, . Stairway to Heaven: A Journey to the Summit of Mount Emei (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2006), 161. 66. Gu qingliang zhuan 古清涼傳, T 2098. 67. T 2098.1094a25. 68. Robert Gimello, “Chang Shang-­ying on Wu-­t ’ai Shan,” in Pilgrims and Sacred Sites in China, ed. Susan Nanquin and Chün-­fang Yü (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992), 99. 69. Lewis, China’s Cosmopolitan Empire, 215–­16. 70. T 2098.1095b13–­14. 71. T 2120.834a05–­b12. 72. xiansheng 先聖: i.e., Xuanzong 玄宗 (r. 712–­756). 73. I take it that Amoghavajra is relating the monastery as it was revealed by Mañjuśrī and planned by Daoyi. 74. shengyin 勝因: i.e., the good roots or causes leading to soteriological attainments. 75. gugongzhe yuanshou suo tuo 股肱者元首所託: the metaphor reads “thighs and arms are that on which the head depends.” In the following line Amoghavajra makes use of the dual reading by describing the constituent parts as forming a single body, which, in accordance with the political meaning, harmonizes all subordinate states. 76. zai 宰: the term occurs in official titles and originally referred to the overseer of a fief. Charles O. Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1985), 514. 77. Reading junrong 軍容 for junke 軍客. Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China, 202. 78. liao 寮: generally refers to a modest dwelling; it seems here to mean men holding low-­level posts in territorial administrative units; cf. liaoshu 寮屬. Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China, 311. 79. T 2120.834a08–­b02. 80. T 2120.834b17–­19. 81. T 2120.835b07–­11. 82. qielan 伽藍: an abbreviation of the full transliteration sengqielanmo 僧伽藍摩. A saṃgha-­ārāma, literally “a garden for a group of monks,” refers to a pure and peaceful monastery. 83. Alternately, the line could be read as the myriad sages return to the capital in order to aid the emperor. [ 286 ]

5. The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism 84. Probably a reference to the rebellion of An Lushan and the attendant upheaval in the Tang. 85. lanruo 蘭若: an abbreviation of alanruo 阿蘭若 (Skt. āraṇya), a forest separated from populated areas and therefore quiet and suitable for contemplative practice. 86. zongshi 中使: a reference to anyone dispatched as a representative of the emperor. Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China, 192. 87. T 2120.835b22–­c09. 88. T 2120.837a17–­21. 89. Edwin O. Reischauer, Ennin’s Diary: The Record of a Pilgrim to China in Search of the Law (New York: Ronald Press, 1955), 253–­54. 90. T 2120.829c06–­15. 91. T 2120.856c20–­857b06. 92. Ximing Monastery 西明寺: located in the southwestern corner of Yanlian Ward 延廉坊. 93. There were multiple establishments named Chongfu Monastery in the Tang, including three in Chang’an alone. There was an initiation maṇḍala established in the Pure Land Cloister in Taiyuan’s Chongfu Monastery (T 2120.837c21). However, it appears that at least one of the Chongfu monasteries in Chang’an was the residence of Huilang. 94. For a book-­length study of this establishment, see Chang, Yao 畅耀, Qinglong si 青龍寺 (Xi’an: Shanxi xinhua shudian faxing, 1986). 95. T 2120.844b10–­13. 96. Gao Lishi’s official biography is JTS 184.4757–­4759. 97. T 2120.838a17–­b01. 98. For a discussion of Amoghavajra’s procedures for conferring the bodhisattva precepts in relation to similar procedures of the eighth century, see Pei-­ying, Lin, “A Comparative Approach to Subhakarasimha’s (637–­735) ‘Essentials of Meditation’: Meditation and Precepts in Eighth-­Century China,” in Chinese and Tibetan Esoteric Buddhism, ed. Yael Bentor and Meir Shahar (Leiden: Brill, 2017), 121–­46. 99. Li Fangmin 李芳民, Tang Wudai Fosi Jikao 唐五代佛寺辑考 (Beijing: Shangwu Yinshuguan 商务印书馆, 2006), 36. 100. T 2120.843c16–­835a21. 101. daochang 道場: generically a site for practicing the Way (whether Buddhist or Daoist), this term is often used to indicate the site of Śākyamuni’s practice and attainment of buddhahood. Here, however, it refers to a maṇḍala. 102. que 闕: frequently indicating the gates to a city or palace, and therefore a reference to cities and palaces, the term is also used in reference to temples, which is how I take it here. 103. T 2120.835a01–­09. 104. T 2120.835c14–­20. 105. T 2120.841b18–­c07. 106. For a more detailed discussion of the Inexhaustible Treasury, see Gernet, Buddhism in Chinese Society, 210–­17. 107. For thorough study of the Three Stages Teaching, see Jamie Hubbard, Absolute Delusion, Perfect Buddhahood: The Rise and Fall of a Chinese Heresy (Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 2001). [ 287 ]

5. The Institutional Establishment of Esoteric Buddhism 108. This is suggested by the fact that there is no evidence of the sect’s survival in later Buddhist sources and there were no more formal or direct imperial attempts at suppressing it after the reign of Xuanzong. See Lewis, “The Suppression of the Three Stages Sect.” 109. Gernet, Buddhism in Chinese Society, 9. 110. Li, Tang Wudai Fosi Jikao, 36. 111. For example, the Kaihuang Record of the Three Jewels (Kaihuang sanbao ji 開皇三 寶錄) and the Sui Renshou Year Record of the Inner Scriptures (Sui Renshounian neidian lu 隋仁壽年內典錄) were both produced on the basis of the monastery’s scripture holdings in 597/8 and 601–­6 04 respectively. Da Tang neidian lu 大唐內典錄 , T 2149.337c03–­08. 112. T 2120.48c29–­849a01. 113. Reading sujing 肅淨 as suqing 肅清. 114. T 2120.830a15–­23. 115. T 2120.830a28–­831a19. 116. T 2120.842b22–­c12. 117. T 2120.843a03–­15. 118. T 2120.845a24. 119. JTS 157.4145. 120. XTS 143.4695. 121. T 2120.829c05. 122. T 2120.858b05–­10. 123. For the Imperial Armies and the Flying Dragon Cavalry, see XTS 50.1330–­1337, 1337–­1338. 124. T 2120.844b15–­16. 125. T 2120.858b05–­10. 126. T 2120.832a07–­12. 127. T 2120.853b09–­24. 128. T 2120.860a01. Stanley Weinstein, Buddhism Under the T’ang (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 87–­88. 129. XTS 48.1253. 130. JTS 14.420. 131. ZZTJ 240.7755. 132. ZZTJ 237.7661. 133. Catalogue of the Numinous Peak Monastery (Ryōgan-­ji 靈巖寺) Monk, T 2164.1071c15. 134. ZZTJ 273.7661. 135. Chou Yi-­liang claims the office was abolished in 779 by Emperor Dezong 德 宗 “on the grounds that religious affairs should be separated from military affairs.” Chou bases this on an edict promulgated by Dezong. However, he provides no citation for the source of this information, and I have as yet been unable to discover such an edict in the standard histories, the Comprehensive Mirror, the Complete Tang Prose, or any other such sources. Chou, Yi-­liang, “Tantrism in China,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 8, no. 3/4 (March 1945): 325–­26. 136. T 2120.827a24–­828a24. 137. Yijing 義淨 (635–­713): along with Xuanzang and Amoghavajra, Yijing was one of the great pilgrim monks of the Tang Dynasty. He left for the Indic regions in 671 [ 288 ]

6. The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy and returned in 695. Yijing’s account of his pilgrimage can be found in English translation in Junjirō Takakusu, A Record of the Buddhist Religion as Practised in India and the Malay Archipelago (A.D. 671–­695) (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1896). 138. Liuzhi 流支 or Putiliuzhi 菩提流支: Two Bodhirucis are known in the historical records. The earlier Bodhiruci (?–­527) was a Buddhist scholar-­monk active in Luoyang during the Wei Dynasty. He is credited with translations of the Diamond Scripture (T 236a & b) and the Buddha’s Names Scripture (T 440), among others. The later Bodhiruci’s dates are given as 562–­727, though a 165-­year lifespan seems improbable. He reportedly arrived in Chang’an in 693 CE and was active in that city’s Chongfu Monastery 崇福寺 in the early eighth century (FGDC 5204). Among his more monumental productions are the Scripture of the Mantra of the Divine Transformations of Amoghapāśa in 30 fascicles (T 1092) and the Collection of Great Jewels Scripture in 120 fascicles (T 11.0310). It is not clear which of these two Amoghavajra intends in this memorial, though presumably the later, given his temporal proximity and the fact that this Bodhiruci is credited also with the production of several scriptures apparently related to Amoghavajra’s scriptures. Among these are scriptures devoted to the thousand-­hand Guanyin (T 1058), the Single Syllable Buddha’s Pinnacle Wheel-­ [rolling] King Scripture (T 951), and the aforementioned Amoghapāśa text. 139. Baosheng 寶勝: Amoghavajra is evidently referring to a pilgrim-­monk here, but I have as yet uncovered no evidence concerning a person with this monastic name. 140. This line might be read metaphorically or as playing with the imagery evoked by the term sūtra (lit. “thread”), but here it seems to be literal. Amoghavajra appears to be concerned that the bindings of the pattra have deteriorated due to neglect. 141. T 2120.828a25–­b13. 142. T 2120.828b14–­828c12. 143. Assuming that Amoghavajra intended the later Bodhiruci. 144. bu 部: when used to describe textual collections, as it is here, this term is employed to indicate individual texts that may consist of multiple fascicles ( juan 卷) or be included with other texts in a single fascicle. 145. liu xing wandai, san ye qianzhi 流興萬代散葉千枝: the phrase seems to express the idea that although particulars are various, their sources and their relationship to those sources are unitary and constant. 146. youzhu 攸囑: reading 攸 as a nominalizing particle. 147. T 2120.829a01–­12. 148. T 2120.840a12–­840b20. The memorial, without the list of scriptures, appears also in QTW 96:12,509. 149. T 2120.830a15. The extended passage in which this statement appears is translated in the previous chapter.

6. The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy 1. Robert Sharf, Coming to Terms with Chinese Buddhism (Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 2002). For a related interpretation, see McBride, 2005. [ 289 ]

6. The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy 2. This view is represented most clearly in Charles D. Orzech, “Seeing Chen-­Yen Buddhism: Traditional Scholarship and the Vajrayāna in China,” History of Religions 29, no. 2 (1989): 87–­114. See also Charles D. Orzech, “Esoteric Buddhism and the Shishi in China,” in The Esoteric Buddhist Tradition, ed. Henrik Hjort Sørensen (Copenhagen; Aarhus: Copenhagen Seminar for Buddhist Studies, 1994), 51–­72. For a treatment of Esoteric norms and theory at play among elite laypeople in ninth-­century Sichuan, see Angela Falco Howard, Summit of Treasures: Buddhist Cave Art of Dazu, China (Trumbull, Conn.: Weatherhill, 2001). The ongoing production of (competing) Esoteric Buddhist lineages and institutional support is discussed in Chen, Jinhua, Crossfire: Shingon-­Tendai Strife as Seen in Two Twelfth-­Century Polemics, with Special References to Their Background in Tang China (Tokyo: International Institute for Buddhist Studies of the International College for Postgraduate Buddhist Studies, 2010). 3. See Paul F. Copp, The Body Incantatory: Spells and the Ritual Imagination in Medieval Chinese Buddhism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014). 4. Sharf, Coming to Terms with Chinese Buddhism. 5. T 2056.294a08–­14. 6. T 2120.844a16–­845a25. This document is fully translated in Raffaelo Orlando, “A Study of Chinese Documents Concerning the Life of the Tantric Buddhist Patriarch Amoghavajra (A.D. 705–­774)” (PhD diss., Princeton University, 1981), 106–­30. 7. T 2120.845b28–­c23. 8. T 2120.845c23–­846b03. 9. T 2120.846b13–­18. 10. T 2120.846c16–­18. 11. T 2120.850c09–­10. 12. T 2120.850c13–­14. 13. T 2120.848c12–­848c14. 14. T 2120.848c3–­c14. 15. T 2056.292b19–­b25. 16. T 2120.860b04–­b10, b20–­b21. 17. QTW 506.19–­21. 18. T 2120.852b26–­27. 19. T 2120.845c27–­28. 20. T 2120.852c06. 21. See Charles D. Orzech, “The ‘Great Teaching of Yoga,’ the Chinese Appropriation of the Tantras, and the Question of Esoteric Buddhism,” Journal of Chinese Religions 34 (2006): 57. Chen, Crossfire, 105. 22. John McRae, The Northern School and the Formation of Early Ch’an Buddhism (Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 1986), 87. 23. Jingde chuandeng ji 景德傳燈錄, T 51.2076. 24. For a discussion of the Chan “transmission of the lamp” genre and its historical development, see McRae, The Northern School and the Formation of Early Ch’an Buddhism, 73–­97. 25. JTS 108.3283–­4. The failure of Du Hongjian to adequately deal with this challenge to Tang authority and what was arguably an inappropriate appointment, given Du’s advanced age and lack of current command experience, may represent the emergence of a trend later in the Tang of appointing scholars and bureaucrats to [ 290 ]

6. The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy positions of command in the military. See David A. Graff, “The Sword and the Brush: Career Patterns and Military Specialisation in the Tang Dynasty,” War and Society 18, no. 2 (October 2000): 9–­21. 26. JTS 11.294; 108.3284. 27. Modern Lishui 麗水 in Zhejiang 浙江. 28. JTS 11.312. 29. JTS 130.3620. 30. Xueshi 學士: a nonadministrative position for an official asked to give special counsel, assist in drafting imperial pronouncements, participate in official compilation projects, etc. Charles O. Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1985), 253. 31. Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China, 253. 32. JTS 130.3623. 33. Stanley Weinstein, Buddhism Under the T’ang (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 62. Imre Hamar, “A Religious Leader in the Tang: Chengguan’s Biography,” Studia Philologica Buddhica Occasional Paper Series. Tokyo: The International Institute for Buddhist Studies of the International College for Advanced Buddhist Studies, 2002, 12. 34. Weinstein, Buddhism Under the T’ang, 65. 35. Weinstein, Buddhism Under the T’ang, 74. 36. There is, of course, other evidence that runs counter this conclusion. For example, it is evident that the Esoteric Buddhist teaching was disseminated by a number of individuals who are not represented in these early sources. My goal here is to understand the historical image of Esoteric Buddhism in elite sources as an exceedingly brief lineage. For later Tang Dynasty Esoteric Buddhists, see Charles D. Orzech, Henrik Hjort Sorenson, and Richard Karl Payne, Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2011), 315–­35. 37. Hexi 河西: referring either to the general area west of the southward flow of the Yellow River, including Shanxi and Gansu provinces, or to the Hexi corridor, the land to the west from Lanzhou to Dunhuang lying between the Gobi Desert and the Qilian Mountains. The referent is probably the latter given its pairing with guannei 關內, a reference to the Sinitic imperium. The meaning of the line is, therefore, that Amoghavajra converted people both within and outside the borders of Tang. 38. T 2120.826c19–­28. 39. T 2120.854a02–­15. 40. T 2120.854a16–­b04. 41. T 2120.845b05–­855a17. 42. T 2120.855a18–­b03. 43. T 2120.858b05–­859b17. 44. The state sponsorship and control of Buddhist cataloguing projects in discussed in the previous chapter. The Sui Dynasty catalogues are Fajing’s Catalogue of Scriptures (Zongjing mulu 眾經目錄) [T 2146] completed in 594 and the Catalogue of the Scriptures (Zongjing mulu 眾經目錄) [T 2147] during the Sui by Yancong (557–­610) completed in 602. Numerous catalogues were produced in the Tang Dynasty. These include the Catalogue of All of the Scriptures and Commentaries in the Great Beloved Monastery of Great Tang’s Western Capital (大唐東京大敬愛寺一切經論目) [T 2148] by Jingtai [ 291 ]

6. The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy 靜泰, the Catalogue of Buddhist Works in the Great Tang (大唐內典錄) [T 2149] completed in 664/5 by Daoxuan 道宣 (596–­667), the Continued Catalogue of Buddhist Works in the Great Tang (續大唐內典錄讚) [T 2150], An Illustrated Record of Translated Scriptures Past and Present (古今譯經圖紀) [T 2151] by Jingmai 釋靖, the Continued Illustrated Record of Translated Scriptures Past and Present (續古今譯經圖紀) [T 2152] by Zhisheng 智昇, and the Catalogue of Scriptures, Authorized by the Great Zhou (大周刊定眾經目錄) [T 2153] by Mingquan 明佺. 45. Da Tang Zhenyuan xu kaiyuan shijiaolu 大唐貞元續開元釋教錄, T 2156; for a dis-

cussion of this text and Yuanzhao’s Zhenyuan Catalogue see Charles D. Orzech, “Saving the Burning-­Mouth Hungry Ghost,” in Religions of China in Practice, ed. Donald S. Lopez Jr. (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996), 203–­5. 46. Da Tang Bukongsanzang xinshi zong jing lu ji niansongyiguifa deng mulu 大唐不空 三藏新譯眾經論及念誦儀軌法等目錄, Kaiyuan Catalogue, T 2154.699c16–­700c11. 47. This list and the accompanying memorial is contained in the Memorials and Edicts, T 2120.0839a25. 48. T 2156.748b13–­17. 49. Yizi foding lunwang jing 一字佛頂輪王經 [T 951]; the term appears at T 951.237b12 and at 261c18. 50. The phrase appears at T 893.632c18, 648a09, 662b20, 680b14, and 685b16. 51. I am referring to the titles of the scriptures furnished by Amoghavajra himself in his memorial to Daizong, not to the titles as they appear in the modern Taishō Canon. 52. Da Tang Baoda yiwei sui shuzhenyuan shijiaolu 大唐保大乙巳歲續貞元釋教錄, T 2158. 53. Dasheng jing ji niansongfa 大乘經及念誦法, T 2158.1049a03. 54. Zhenyuan xinding shijiao mulu 貞元新定釋教目錄, T 2157. 55. zhangfu tiaoyu 丈夫調御: Zhisheng here employs a variant of tiaofu dafu 調御大 夫 or tiaofu zhangfu 調御丈夫 (Skt. puruṣa-­damya-­sārathi), one of the ten epithets of the Buddha. 56. babei 八輩: referring to the soteriological attainments of the non-­Mahāyāna, śrāvaka path. The eight ranks are the four entries (sixiang 四向) and four fruits (siguo 四果) of stream enterers, once returners, never returners, and arhats. 57. T 2153.477a16–­20. 58. wuyan 五眼: the “five eyes” (Skt. pañca-­cakṣūṃṣi) refers to the five different sorts of vision possessed by a buddha. They are the physical or “fleshy eye” (rouyan 肉眼) that sees material objects, the divine eye (tianyan 天眼) that sees cause-­a nd-­ effect relationships over vast distances of time and space, the wisdom eye (huiyan 慧眼) by which arhats and buddhas perceive the inherent emptiness of things, the Dharma eye (fayan 法眼) that sees impermanence, and the buddha eye (foyan 佛眼) that is a combination of the previous four. This phrase and the following, the “triple body” (sanshi 三身), are references to the Buddha(s). 59. jiawei 加威: a standard variation of the term jiapbei 加被, indicating the protective power of the Buddha(s). 60. T 2157.771a24–­30. 61. This request was submitted January 20, 770, when Amoghavajra was seated at Mount Wutai, and can be seen as of a piece with his larger effort to consolidate [ 292 ]

6. The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy Esoteric Buddhism within the Imperial Buddhist establishment there. The crux of the argument presented by Amoghavajra in that memorial was that Piṇḍola, an arhat who had been installed in monastic dining halls, was an inappropriate figure and should be replaced by Mañjuśrī, who, like other such bodhisattvas, was a suitable attendant to the Buddha. This is essentially a Mahāyāna argument for the superiority of the bodhisattva over the arhat (T 2120.0837a26–­b18). 62. It is tempting to read this as indicating that Yuanzhao conceived of Esoteric Buddhism as separable from the standard śrāvaka, pratyekabuddha, and bodhisattva vehicles, in which case Esoteric Buddhism would be something other than Mahāyāna (i.e., the bodhisattva vehicle), but I do not believe that there is sufficient evidence to corroborate such a strong reading. 63. This development is most clearly exemplified in the construction of the Chan tradition, the style of Sinitic Buddhism that has received the most scholarly attention to date. For an analysis of the development of the Chan tradition and its retroactive creation during the Song Dynasty see John McCrae, Seeing Through Zen: Encounter, Transformation, and Genealogy in Chinese Chan Buddhism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004), 121–­22. For a tight discussion of the narrative of development, golden age, and decline and the role of Song exegetes in its construction, see the introduction in Robert Sharf, “Visualization and Mandala in Shingon Buddhism,” in Living Images: Japanese Buddhist Icons in Context, ed. Robert Sharf and Elizabeth Horton Sharf (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2001), 8–­9. 64. Chou, Yi-­liang, “Tantrism in China,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 8, no. 3/4 (March 1945): 248. 65. Song gaoseng zhuan 宋高僧傳, T 2061. For a discussion of Zanning, his Song Dynasty Biographies of Eminent Monks, and themes found in the genre of monastic biographical traditions, see John Kieschnick, The Eminent Monk: Buddhist Ideals in Medieval Chinese Hagiography (Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 1997). 66. seng shiwei 僧史略, T 2126. 67. This is Orzech’s translation. Orzech “The ‘Great Teaching of Yoga,’ the Chinese Appropriation of the Tantras and the Question of Esoteric Buddhism,” 30. 68. T 2061.714a15–­20. 69. The earliest record of this myth of Yujia as the ancestor of all feathered things appears in the Huainanzi in the section concerning “terrestrial forms” (zuixing xun 墬形訓) [淮南子•墬形訓 16]. The version provided by Zanning varies slightly from this early form. The Huainanzi version is as follows: “Yujia produced Feilong, Feilong produced Fenghuang, Fenghuang produced Luanniao, Luanniao produced the numerous birds. Generally, feathered things are produced from the numerous birds.” 羽嘉生 飛龍,飛龍生鳳皇,鳳皇生鸞鳥,鸞鳥生庶鳥,凡羽者生於庶鳥。

70. For the historiographical problems associated with such narrative tropes in other contexts, see Hayden  V. White, Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-­Century Europe (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973). 71. Kasyapa Matanga (Jiaye moteng 迦葉摩騰) is traditionally credited with introducing Buddhism, in the form of the Scripture in Forty-­Two Sections, in the Han Dynasty. [ 293 ]

6. The Consolidation of Amoghavajra’s Legacy 72. This is a slightly modified version of Orzech’s translation. Orzech, “The ‘Great Teaching of Yoga,’ the Chinese Appropriation of the Tantras and the Question of Esoteric Buddhism,” 64. 73. T 2061.724b16–­26. 74. Chou, “Tantrism in China,” 250. 75. T 2055.290c19–­21. 76. T 2055.714c11–­13. 77. T 2055.715b23–­28. 78. T 2126.240b26–­28. 79. Kongqiaowang zhou jing 孔雀王呪經, T 984. 80. T 984.458c13. For a study of this deity in India, China, and Japan, see J. F. Marc Des Jardins, “ ‘Mahamayuri’: Explorations Sur La Creation D’une Ecriture Prototantrique” (PhD diss., McGill University, 2002). Also see Henrik Sørensen, “The Spell of the Great, Golden Peacock Queen: The Origin, Practices and Lore of an Early Esoteric Buddhist Tradition in China,” Pacific World: Journal of the Institute for Buddhist Studies (Special Issue: Honoring James H. Sanford) 3 (2006): 89–­123. 81. The southern regions of the central Yangtze River, present-­d ay southern Jiangsu and northern Zhejiang provinces. 82. T 2059.328a11–­12. 83. The Scripture of the Great Golden Peacock Wisdom King, Mother of Buddhas (Fomu da jing kongqiao mingwang jing 佛母大金曜孔雀明王經), T 19.982, submitted to the Court by Amoghavajra in 771 (Memorials and Edicts, T 52.2120.839a25). 84. Zhou 呪 used as a verb. 85. T 2126.240c05–­06. 86. T 2060.428c28–­a02. 87. T 2126.240c07. 88. For a history of Guanyin and this thousand-­a rmed form, see Chün-­fang Yü, Kuan-­yin: The Chinese Transformation of Avalokiteśvara (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001). 89. Qianyuan tuolouni Guanshiyinpusa zhou 千囀陀羅尼觀世音菩薩呪, reading 囀 as 轉. T 1035. 90. Guanzhizaipusa xinzhou 觀自在菩薩隨心呪, T 1103a. 91. Qingjing Guanshiyinpusa tuolouni 清淨觀世音菩薩陀羅尼, T 1038. 92. T 2061.719c29–­30. 93. T 2061.720a01–­2. 94. Qianyan qianbei Guanshiyinpusa tuoluoni shenzhou jing 千眼千臂觀世音菩薩陀羅尼 神咒經, T 1057a. The preface is T 1057a.83b06–­c16. It has been translated into German by Maria Dorthea Reis-­Habito. Her translation is partly reproduced in English in Chün-­fang Yü, Kuan-­Yin, 65–­66. 95. T 2035.375b1–­13. 96. T 2037.825c21–­826a1. 97. Xuzangjing 續藏經. 1522.110b24–­111b24. 98. See Amanda Goodman, “The Ritual Instructions for Alter Methods (Tanfa yize): Prolegomenon to the Study of a Chinese Esoteric Buddhist Ritual Compendium From Late-­Medieval Dunhuang,” PhD diss., University of California, Berkeley, 2013. [ 294 ]

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From the Taishō Buddhist Canon T 8.244. Foshuo zuishang genben dalejin’gang bukong sanmei dajiaowang jing 佛說最上根 本大樂金剛不空三昧大教王經

T 8.246. Da Tang xinfei huguo renwang poruo jing 大唐新飜護國仁王般若經 T 9.261. Dacheng liqu liu boluom duo jing 大乘理趣六波羅蜜多經 T 16.663. Jin’guangming jing 金光明經 (Scripture of Golden Light) T 16.664. Hebu jin’ guangming jing 合部金光明經 T 16.665. Jin’guangming zuishengwang jing 金光明最勝王經 T 18.848. Da piluozhena chengfo shenbian jiachi jing 大毘盧遮那成佛神變加持經 (Great Vairocana Scripture) T 18.856. Da piluzhena chengfo shenbian jiachi jing lueshi qizhi niansong suixing fa 大毘盧 遮那成佛神變加持經略示七支念誦隨行法

T 18.857. Dari jing lueshe niansong suixing fa 大日經略攝念誦隨行法 T 18.865. Jin’gangding yiqie rulai zhenxianshe jiaowang jing 金剛頂一切如來真實攝大乘現 證大教王經 (Diamond Pinnacle Scripture) T 18.866. Jin’gangding yujia zhongwei chuniansong jing 金剛頂瑜伽中略出念誦經 T 18.869. Jin’gangding jing yujie shibahui zhigui 金剛頂經瑜伽十八會指歸 T 18.874. Jin’gangding yiqie rulai zhenshishe dasheng xianzheng dajiaowang jing 金剛頂一 切如來真實攝大乘現證大教王經

T 18.876. Jin’gangding jing yujia xiuxi piluzhena sanmodi fa 金剛頂經瑜伽修習毘盧遮那三 摩地法

T 18.882. Foshou yiqie rulai zhenshe dacheng xianzheng sanmei dajiaowang jing 佛說一切 如來真實攝大乘現證三昧大教王經

T 18.893a–­c. Suxidi jieluo jing 蘇悉地羯羅經 (Susiddhi-­kara Scripture) T 18.895. Subohu tongzi qingmen jing 蘇婆呼童子請門經 (Questions of the Youth Subahu Scripture) [ 295 ]

Bibliography T 18.901. Foshuo tuoluoni ji jing 佛說陀羅尼集經 T 18.902. Zongshi tuoluoni yizan 總釋陀羅尼義讚 T 18.903. Doubu tuolouni mu 都部陀羅尼目 T 19.950. Putichangsuoshuo yizi lunwang jing 菩提場所說一字頂輪王經 T 19.954a. Yiziding lunwang niansong yigui 一字頂輪王念誦儀軌 T 19.972. Foding zunshen tuolouni niansong yigui fa 佛頂尊勝陀羅尼念誦儀軌法 T 19.982. Fomu da jing kongqiao mingwang jing 佛母大金曜孔雀明王經 T 19.983a. Foshuo da kongqiao mingwang huaxiang tanchang yigui 佛說大孔雀明王畫像壇 場儀軌

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T 20.1061. Qianshou qianyan Guanzizai pusa guang dayuanman wuai dabeixin tuoluoni zhou ben 千手千眼觀自在菩薩廣大圓滿無礙大悲心陀羅尼咒本 T 20.1062a. Qianshou qianyan Guanshiyin pusa dashenzhou ben 千手千眼觀世音菩薩大 身咒本

T 20.1075. Dhāraṇī of the Goddess Cundī, Mother of 70 Million Buddhas Scripture Spoken by the Buddha 佛說七俱胝佛母准提大明陀羅尼經 T 20.1077. Qi juzhi fomuxin da zhunti tuoluoni jing 七倶胝佛母心大准提陀羅尼經 T 20.1076. Qi juzhi fomusuo shuo zhunti tuoluoni jing 七倶胝佛母所說准提陀羅尼經 T 20.1087. Guanzizai ruyilun pusa yujia fayao 觀自在如意輪菩薩瑜伽法要 T 20.1145. Xukongzangpusa neng man zhuyuan zuishen xin tuolouni qiuwenchifa 虛空藏菩 薩能滿諸願最勝心陀羅尼求聞持法

T 20.1146. Da Xukongzang pusa niansong fa 大虛空藏菩薩念誦法(Ākāśagarbha Sūtra) T 20.1153. Pubian guangming qingjing chisheng ruyibao yinxinwunengsheng damingwang suiqiu tuolouni jing 普遍光明清淨熾盛如意寶印心無能勝大明王大隨求陀羅尼經 T 20.1167. Ba dapusa mantuluo jing 八大菩薩曼荼羅經 T. 20.1171. Jin’gangding jing yujia wenshushili pusa fa yi pin 金剛頂經瑜伽文殊師利菩薩 法一品

T. 20.1172. Jin’gangding chaosheng sanjie jing shuo wenshu wuzi zhen 金剛頂超勝三界經說 文殊五字眞

T 20.1173. Jin’gangding jing manshushili pusa wuzi xin tuoluoni pin 金剛頂經曼殊室利菩薩 五字心陀羅尼品. T 21.1200. Dilisanmeiye budong zunwei nuwang shizhe niansong fa 底哩三昧耶不動尊威怒 王使者念誦法 (Trisamaya II) T 21.1201. Dilisanmeiye budong zunshengzhe niansong mimi fa 底哩三昧耶不動尊聖者念誦 祕密法 (Trisamaya I) T 21.1202. Budong shizhe tuoluoni mimi fa 不動使者陀羅尼祕密法 T 21.1273. Pinayejia e’nabodi yujia xidi pin miyao 毘那夜迦誐那缽底瑜伽悉地品祕要 T 21.1274. Dasheng huanxi shuangshen Pinayejia tian xingxiang pin yigui 大聖歡喜雙身毘 那夜迦天形像品儀軌

[ 296 ]

Bibliography T 21.1277. Suji liyan moxishuolou tian shuo aweishe fa 速疾立驗魔醯首羅天說阿尾奢法 T 21.1299. Wenshushili pusa jizhu xiansuo shuo jixiong shiri shan’e suyao jing 文殊師利菩 薩及諸仙所說吉凶時日善惡宿曜經

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T 50.2055. Xuanzongchao fanjing sanzang shanwuwei zeng hongluqing xingzhuang 玄宗朝 翻經三藏善無畏贈鴻臚卿行狀 (Śubhākarasiṃha’s Account of Conduct) T 50.2056. Da Tang gu dade zeng sikong dabian zheng guangzhi bukong sanzang xingzhuang 大唐故大德贈司空大辨正廣智不空三藏行狀 ([Amoghavajra’s] Account of Conduct) T 50.2061. Song Gaoseng Zhuan 宋高僧傳 (Song Biographies of Eminent Monks) T 51.2087. Da Tang xiyu ji 大唐西域記 T 51.2098. Gu qingliang zhuan 古清涼傳 T 52.2103. Guanghong ming ji 廣弘明集 T 52.2120. Daizongchao zeng sikong dabian zhengguangzhi sanzang heshang biaozhi ji 代宗 朝贈司空大辨正廣智三藏和上表制集 (Memorials and Edicts) T 54.2126. Seng shiwei 僧史略 (Brief History of the Sangha) T 54.2129. Xu yiqie yinyi續一切經音義 T 55.2154. Kaiyuan shijiao lu 開元釋教錄 (Kaiyuan Catalogue) T 55.2156. Da Tang Zhenyuan xu kaiyuan shijiaolu 大唐貞元續開元釋教錄 (Continuation of the Kaiyuan Catalogue) T 55.2157. Zhenyuan xinding shijiao mulu 貞元新定釋教目錄 (Zhenyuan Catalogue) T 55.2158. Da Tang Baoda yiwei sui shuzhenyuan shijiaolu 大唐保大乙巳歲續貞元釋教錄 (Continuation of Zhenyuan Catalogue) T 55.2161. Goshōrai mokuroku 御請來目錄 (Kūkai’s Catalogue) T 55.2164. Ryōgan-­ji oshyo guhō hōmon dōgudō mokuroku 靈巖寺和尚請來法門道具 等目錄

T 55. 2171. Seiryu-­ji guhō mokuroku 青龍寺求法目錄

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Index

Abbreviated Diamond Pinnacle, 22 abhicāra (subjugation) rites, 95–­96, 112–­28; and An Lushan rebellion, 112, 118, 122–­23; and ethical flexibility, 132–­33; Indic origins of, 112–­13; mythical basis of, 113–­15, 273nn111–­12, 274nn113–­14; Recitation and Recollection of Yamāntaka on, 115–­18; and Sima Chengzhen, 126–­28; in Trisamaya Scripture, 118–­22, 257n140, 274nn125–­26, 128; and yasheng rites, 125–­26 abhiṣeka (initiation rites), 3, 175, 180–­83, 199 Acala (deity), 118–­22, 274n125 ācārya. See disciples of Amoghavajra Amoghavajra: and An Lushan rebellion, 97, 111–­12, 118, 122, 123, 124, 275nn144–­45; biographical accounts of, 31–­32, 251n53, 252n58; and bodhisattva vs. arhat, 292–­ 93n61; death of, 213; disciples of, 183–­88, 196, 199, 214, 216, 219; early life of, 32–­33, 252n68; and Esoteric Buddhism initiation rites, 183, 199; life summary of, 56–­57, 207–­09, 257nn146–­47, 290n6; training and

initiation of, 33–­36, 180–­81, 252n69, 253nn70, 72–­74, 76; and Xingshan Monastery, 199–­200. See also Amoghavajra’s imperial patronage; Catalogue of Dhāraṇī; Esoteric Buddhism; Imperial Buddhism; Synopsis of the Eighteen Assemblies Amoghavajra’s Account of Conduct (Zhao Qian), 252n58; on Amoghavajra’s disciples, 183, 184–­85; on Amoghavajra’s early life, 32; on Amoghavajra’s imperial patronage, 37, 141, 142, 251n53, 253n80, 276n26; and Amoghavajra’s legacy, 217, 219, 243; on Amoghavajra’s training and initiation, 33–­34, 180–­81, 253n72; on Diamond Pinnacle Scripture, 44, 45; on Great Vairocana Scripture, 56; on Liu Julin, 276n23; on Li Yuancong, 201 Amoghavajra’s imperial patronage: Daizong reign, 30–­31, 157–­72, 279nn97–­98; and diplomatic envoy position, 36–­37, 141–­42, 253nn80–­83, 254nn85, 88; and Du Hongjian, 140, 153, 160, 161, 165, 172; and Empress Zhang, 31, 156–­57, 278n79; and Esoteric Buddhism lineage, 26;

[ 309 ]

index Amoghavajra’s imperial patronage (cont.) and Geshu Han service, 142–­45, 146, 152, 276n26; and government networks, 134–­35; and Humane Kings Scripture, 171–­72, 280n115; institutionalization of, 172–­73, 174–­75, 188–­89, 285–­86nn60–­62; and Li Fuguo, 153–­55, 158; and “magic,” 37, 254n91; and Scripture of [the Pure Land] Densely Adorned, 168–­69; Suzong reign, 148–­58, 278n54; and Wang Jin, 159–­60, 161, 164, 165; and Xingshan Monastery consecration maṇḍala, 162–­63, 209, 279n104, 280n105; Xuanzong reign, 37, 139–­48; and Yuan Zai, 155–­56, 158, 161, 164, 165, 172. See also Imperial Buddhism Amoghavajra’s legacy, 211–­45; and Brief History of the Saṃgha, 232, 237–­41, 279n97; and commemorative texts, 217, 219, 243; Daizong’s role, 30–­31, 214–­17, 219–­20; disappearing tradition view, 211–­12; and disciples, 183–­88, 196, 199, 214, 216, 219; and Esoteric Buddhism loss of imperial influence, 212–­13, 221–­24, 291n36; and historic image of Esoteric Buddhism, 8, 217, 231, 243, 244–­45; and Image Hall Stele, 218–­19; and Memorials and Edicts, 212, 224–­26, 243, 291n37; and preparations for death, 213–­15, 290n6; and Song Dynasty Biographies of Monks, 226, 232–­37, 242–­43, 293n71; and textual corpus cataloguing, 226–­31, 240–­41, 291–­92n44, 50–­51, 58–­59. See also Amoghavajra’s textual corpus; Esoteric Buddhism lineage Amoghavajra’s Stele Inscription (Feixi), 252n58; and abhicāra rites, 120; on Amoghavajra’s disciples, 185; on Amoghavajra’s early life, 31–­32; on Amoghavajra’s imperial patronage, 141, 143–­44, 251n53, 253n80, 276n26; and Amoghavajra’s legacy, 217, 219, 243; on Amoghavajra’s training and

initiation, 33, 35; on Diamond Pinnacle Scripture, 45; on Li Yuancong, 201; and Song Dynasty Biographies of Monks, 232 Amoghavajra’s textual corpus: and Amoghavajra’s training, 34, 253n72; cataloguing of, 226–­31, 240–­41, 291–­92n44, 50–­51, 58–­59; and Imperial Buddhism, 30, 31, 172, 204–­09, 289nn140, 143–­45, 148; as innovation, 3–­4; Peacock Scripture, 238, 239, 294n83; size of, 31, 172, 283n146. See also Diamond Pinnacle Scripture; Humane Kings Scripture An Lushan rebellion, 96–­99; and abhicāra rites, 112, 118, 122–­24; aftermath of, 99, 266n26; Amoghavajra’s role in, 97, 111–­12, 118, 122, 123, 124, 275nn144–­45; extent of, 264n1; impact on Tang government, 95, 136–­37, 146–­48, 155, 159, 277n49; Li Heng’s role in, 147–­48, 277n33; Li Xiyan’s role in, 145–­46; Li Yuancong’s role in, 201; Li Yu’s role in, 97, 98, 265n15; and Sima Chengzhen, 127–­28; Tian Liangqiu’s role in, 145; Tong Pass engagements, 97, 147, 264–­65nn5, 7; Uighur mercenaries in, 97–­98, 265–­66nn16, 18; Yang Guozhong and Lady Yang execution, 265n11 Annals of Mount Mao, 71 An Qingxu, 97, 99, 124–­25 Art of War (Sunzi), 102 Avalokitesvara (bodhisattva), 43, 51, 78, 240 Baoshou Monastery, 195–­96 Baoyue, 18, 19 Baozhou, 241–­42 Berger, Patricia, 253n83 Biographies of Eminent Monks (Huijiao), 238–­39 Bodhi Monastery, 18, 249n9 Bodhiruci, 7, 22, 205, 227, 237, 239, 289nn138, 143 Book of Odes, 270nn66–­68

[ 310 ]

index Bo Zhuyi, 265n11 Brief Explanation of the Production, Recollection, and Recitation of the Yoga of the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture (Vajrabodhi), 129–­30 Brief History of the Saṃgha (Zanning), 232, 237–­41, 279n97 Brief Study of the Ancients and Buddhists (Baozhou), 241–­42 Buddhaghuya, 46 Buddha’s Crown Dhāraṇī, 162, 171 Catalogue of Dhāraṇī (Amoghavajra), 47–­56; authorship of, 256n123; on Diamond Pinnacle Scripture, 46, 47–­48, 256nn126–­27, 257nn128–­29; on Great Vairocana Scripture, 48–­51; on Subāhu Scripture, 52–­54, 236; on Susiddhikara Scripture, 51–­52, 236; on Trisamaya Scripture, 46, 54–­55, 257n140 Chan tradition, 220–­21, 223, 224, 234–­35, 241, 293n63 Chaowu, 197–­98 Chengguan, 223 Chenghong (Prince of Guangwu), 99 Chiyou (deity), 105–­06, 270nn69–­72 Chongfu si, 195, 287n93 Chou Yi-­liang, 33, 253n73, 288n135 Cloister Inscription (Yan Ying), 217–­18, 219, 220, 224, 225–­26, 232, 233 Commentary on the Great Vairocana Scripture (Yixing), 19–­20 Compilation of Notes on the Production of the Tripitaka (Sengyou), 226 Comprehensive Catalogue of the Scriptures (Dao’an), 226 Comprehensive Mirror, 145 Confucius, 283n139 Continuation of the Biographies of Eminent Monks, 239 Continuation of the Kaiyuan Catalogue (Yuanzhao), 226, 227–­28 Continuation of the Zhenyuan Catalogue (Heng’an), 228 Copp, Paul, 7–­8 Cui Gan, 221

Cui Guangyuan, 98 Cui Shang, 126 Cui Yi, 147–­48 Cui Yuan, 149 Daizong (Emperor): and abhicāra rites, 123, 124; and Amoghavajra’s legacy, 30–­31, 214–­17, 219–­20; and An Lushan rebellion, 123, 124; ascension of, 148, 157, 265n15; and Baoshou Monastery, 195–­96; and commissioner of merit and virtue, 202; death of, 212, 222; and Esoteric Buddhism initiation rites, 199; filial acts, 169–­70, 281n121, 283n139; and homa (fire) rites, 83, 86; and Huadu Monastery, 196, 197, 198; and Humane Kings Scripture, 160–­61, 162, 165–­70, 179, 280n120, 281–­82nn124–­37; patronage of Amoghavajra, 30, 160–­62, 251–­52n53; patronage of Vajrabodhi, 26; and purposes of Imperial Buddhism, 91; reign of, 157–­72; and Ritual of the Supreme Honored One, 55–­56, 257n143; and scriptural production, 207; and Scripture of [the Pure Land] Densely Adorned, 168–­69. See also Li Yu (Guangping Prince) Dānapāla, 40 Dang Wan, 71 Dao’an, 226 Daoism: and abhicāra rites, 126–­28; and Amoghavajra’s legacy, 241; and civil service, 155, 202–­03; imperial rites, 67–­68, 72–­75, 90–­91, 261–­62nn55–­56, 59–­62, 64–­65, 264n105; Li Hang’guang, 68, 71–­75, 90, 91–­92, 261nn55–­56; Sima Chengzhen, 68–­71, 126–­28 Daoshi, 176–­77 Daoxian, 237 Daoyu, 200 Davidson, Ronald M., 6, 89, 262n73 Dezong (Emperor), 212, 222, 223–­24, 288n135

[ 311 ]

index Dhāraṇī Scripture of the Goddess Cundī, Mother of 70 Million Buddhas, Spoken by the Buddha, 22, 249n26 dhāraṇī teachings: and Catalogue of Dhāraṇī, 256n124; and Esoteric Buddhism origins, 7–­8, 20–­21, 22, 29, 243–­44 Dhāraṇī of Vairocana, 25, 26, 28 Diamond Pinnacle Manual, 82, 263nn84–­85, 87 Diamond Pinnacle Scripture: Amoghavajra’s acquisition of, 38, 44–­45, 57; Amoghavajra’s references to, 42; and Amoghavajra’s training, 36; Amoghavajra’s translation of, 144, 145, 277n36; as basis of Esoteric Buddhism, 6, 7, 42, 44, 76; Catalogue of Dhāraṇī on, 46, 47–­48, 256nn126–­27, 257nn128–­29; contents of, 40–­42, 254–­55n100; and Diamond Pinnacle Manual, 263n84; Diamond Realm Mandala rite, 2, 76–­82, 262nn67, 70–­71, 73, 263nn76, 79; and ethical flexibility, 129, 130–­32; and Great Vairocana Scripture, 45, 49, 50; on initiation rites, 181–­82, 183; “Legend of the Iron Stūpa” on, 38–­40; and Methods of Having Wishes Heard by Ākāśagarbha, 19; narrative of, 42–­43, 255nn109, 111; and Shingon school, 46; and Tendai tradition, 46; Vajrabodhi’s translation of, 2, 25, 36 Diamond Pinnacle Yoga Scripture, 26, 27, 28, 83–­85, 92, 206, 264n95 disciples of Amoghavajra, 183–­88, 196, 199, 214, 216, 219 Du Fei, 220 Du Guangting, 102, 126–­28, 261n55, 269n56 Du Hongjian: and Amoghavajra’s imperial patronage, 140, 153, 160, 161, 165, 172; and An Lushan rebellion, 147–­48; background of, 278nn57, 59, 61; fall from power of, 221–­22, 290–­91n25

Du Mian, 201–­02 Du Xian, 153, 278n57 E Buli, 103 Engyō, 204 Esoteric Buddhism: Catalogue of Dhāraṇī on, 46; Diamond Pinnacle Scripture as basis of, 6, 7, 42, 44, 76; ethical flexibility of, 128–­33, 174; historic image of, 8, 217, 231, 243, 244–­45; homa (fire) rites in, 82–­89, 263nn91–­ 92, 264n95; initiation rites in, 175, 180–­83, 199; yoga as term for, 23. See also abhicāra (subjugation) rites; Amoghavajra’s legacy; Diamond Pinnacle Scripture; Esoteric Buddhism lineage; Esoteric Buddhism origins; Imperial Buddhism Esoteric Buddhism lineage: Amoghavajra’s Account of Conduct on, 217, 219; and Chan tradition, 220–­21; Cloister Inscription on, 217–­18, 219, 220, 224, 225–­26, 233; Daizong on, 219–­20; Image Hall Stele on, 218–­19; and Vajrabodhi, 25–­26, 219, 255–­ 56n117; Zanning on, 5, 212, 232–­33, 234–­35, 240–­41, 244, 293n69. See also Esoteric Buddhism origins Esoteric Buddhism origins: and Amoghavajra’s legacy, 228, 231, 293n62; and dhāraṇī teachings, 7–­8, 20–­21, 22, 29, 243–­44; Indic origins, 6, 60, 89, 93, 112, 117; scholarly approaches to, 1–­8; Sinification theory of, 7, 59–­60, 220, 234–­35, 258n2; Three Great Masters of Kaiyuan view, 15–­17, 248n1. See also Esoteric Buddhism lineage Esoteric Treasury, 237, 238, 243–­44 Essentials of the Method of the Yoga of the Wish-­Fulfilling Wheel Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara, 22 Extensive Records of the Buddhas and Patriarchs (Zhipan), 241–­42 Extensive Records of the Taiping Era, 139

[ 312 ]

index and Esoteric Buddhism origins, 2, 3, 7; and homa (fire) rites, 50–­51, 89; ritual manuals for, 55, 257n141; and Shingon school, 19, 20, 46; Śubhākarasiṃha’s translation of, 18, 19; and Tendai tradition, 46; and Vajrabodhi, 25, 27, 45 Guhya Scripture (Amoghavajra), 20 Guo Shaolin, 102, 268n55 Guo Ziyi, 146, 147

Fachong, 199 Fazang, 30, 140 Fazhao, 223 Feixi, 199. See also Amoghavajra’s Stele Inscription Feizi, 199 Feng Changqing, 146, 147 Five-­Syllable Dhāraṇī of Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī Chapter of the Diamond Pinnacle Scripture, 22, 250n29 Fuxian Monastery, 18, 249n11 Gao Lishi, 147, 195 Gao Xianzhi, 146, 147 Gaozu, 137 Garden of the Law’s Pearl Forest (Daoshi), 176–­77 Gernet, Jacques, 176, 177 Geshu Han: and Amoghavajra’s disciples, 185; Amoghavajra’s service under, 142–­45, 146, 152, 276n26; ancestry of, 277nn27–­28; and An Lushan rebellion, 97, 147, 264–­65nn5, 7, 277n33; and Du Hongjian, 153 Gethin, Rupert, 248n1 Giebel, Rolf, 40, 41, 255n100 Graff, David, 267n47 Great Attainment of Buddhahood and Supernatural Transformations of Vairocana Scripture. See Great Vairocana Scripture Great Compassion Dhāraṇī Spell of the Thousand Hand and Thousand Eye Guanyin, 251n45 Great Sun Scripture. See Great Vairocana Scripture Great Tang Record of Sacrificial Rites (Wang Jing), 65, 67, 259n18 Great Teaching of Yoga, 5, 88 Great Vairocana Scripture: alternate name of, 45, 256n120; Amoghavajra’s association with, 2, 45, 256n121; Catalogue of Dhāraṇī on, 46, 48–­51; Commentary on (Yixing), 19–­20; and Diamond Pinnacle Scripture, 45, 49, 50;

Han’guang, 184–­86, 192, 194, 199 Han History, 125 Heart Spell of the Responsive Avalokiteśvara, 240 Hehe, 140 Heng’an, 228 Highest Scripture of the Golden Root, 69–­70 homa (fire) rites: as abhicāra rites, 115–­18, 120; in Esoteric Buddhism, 82–­89, 263nn91–­92, 264n95; Great Vairocana Scripture on, 50–­51, 89; Indic origins of, 89; and tantra, 3 Homa Ritual Procedures of the Vajra Pinnacle Yoga, 88–­89 Huadu Monastery, 196–­98, 287nn101–­102 Huayang Princess, 30 Hucker, Charles O., 277n33 Huican, 214 Huiguo, 186–­87, 195, 214, 219, 285n50 Huihai, 214 Huihui, 214 Huijian, 214 Huijiao, 238–­39 Huijue, 214 Huilang: as Amoghavajra’s heir, 187–­88, 216, 218, 219, 220, 233, 285n51; Amoghavajra’s recitation request, 214; and commissioner of merit and virtue, 202; home monastery of, 195; and Ritual of the Supreme Honored One, 257n143 Huilin, 195–­96 Huisheng, 214 Huixia, 123

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index Hui Xiao, 201 Hui Yu, 201 Hui Yue, 201 Huizhao, 214 Humane Kings Scripture: and Amoghavajra’s imperial patronage, 171–­72, 280n115; Amoghavajra’s translation request, 165–­67, 280n117; Daizong’s preface to, 168–­70, 281–­82nn124–­37; Daizong’s translation sponsorship, 161, 162, 165–­66, 280n120; and Imperial Buddhism, 179; Kumārajīva’s translation of, 280n116; protective recitation of, 160–­61, 165; and Xingshan Monastery, 199 Hyech’o, 184 Image Hall Stele (Quan Deyu), 218–­19 Imperial Buddhism, 174–­80; and Amoghavajra’s disciples, 188, 196, 199; and Amoghavajra’s textual corpus, 30, 31, 172, 204–­09, 289nn140, 143–­45, 148; and Baoshou Monastery, 195–­96; and commissioner of merit and virtue, 200, 202–­04, 288n135; consistency with Imperial Religion, 75–­76, 90–­93; Esoteric Buddhism loss of influence, 212–­13, 221–­24, 291n36; and Huadu Monastery, 196–­98, 287nn101–­102; initiation of emperors, 30, 141, 251–­52n53; and initiation rites, 183; as institutionalization of Amoghavajra’s imperial patronage, 172–­73, 174–­75, 188–­89, 285–­86nn60–­62; and Li Yuancong, 200–­02; and monasteries, 176–­78, 195, 283nn2, 5; and Mount Wutai monastery complex, 189–­95, 286–­87nn73–­78, 82–­86; and palace chapels, 178; purposes of, 91, 92–­94, 192, 194; and scriptural production, 31, 178–­80, 199, 204–­05, 207, 288n111; and text catalogues, 226, 291–­92n44; and Three Stages Teaching, 198,

288n108; and Xingshan Monastery, 199–­200, 288n111 Imperial Religion, 60–­76; Daoist rites, 67–­68, 72–­75, 90, 261–­62nn55–­56, 59–­62, 64–­65, 264n105; heterogeneity of, 60, 89–­90; Imperial Buddhism’s consistency with, 75–­76, 90–­93; and Li Hang’guang, 68, 71–­75, 90, 91–­92, 261nn55–­56; official ritual program, 61–­64, 258nn6–­10; Ritual of the Supreme Honored One, 55–­56, 257n143; and Sima Chengzhen, 68–­71; supplemental imperial rites, 64–­67, 259nn18, 20, 22–­25, 28, 30. See also Imperial Buddhism; Imperial war rituals Imperial war rituals, 99–­112; Kaiyuan Code on, 99–­102, 124–­25, 266–­67nn28–­35, 38–­45. See also Scripture of Venus and the Moon initiation rites (abhiṣeka), 3, 175, 180–­83, 199 Inner Chapters of the River Chart, 71 Īśvara, 22 Jianfu Monastery, 22, 250n31 Jingde [Reign Period] Record of the Transmission of the Lamp, 220 Jñānagupta, 22 Juechao, 186, 189, 196 Kaiyuan Catalogue (Zhisheng): and Amoghavajra’s legacy, 226–­27; invocation from, 229nn55–­56; on Śubhākarasiṃha, 17, 18, 20, 21, 29; and Three Stages Teaching, 198; on Vajrabodhi, 22–­23, 36, 40; and Zhenyuan Catalogue, 228, 229 Kaiyuan Code, 61, 62, 65, 67, 99–­102, 124–­25, 266–­67nn28–­35, 38–­45 Kūkai, 2, 41, 186 Kumārajīva, 280n116 Kunlun Weng, 22, 23, 27–­28 Laozi, 67 Later Tang History, 62–­63

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index “Legend of the Iron Stūpa,” 38 Lewis, Mark Edward, 176, 178 Li Baoyu, 31 Li Fuguo, 148, 153–­55, 157, 222, 277n49, 279n82 Li Guangbi, 147, 159 Li Hang’guang, 68, 71–­75, 90, 91–­92, 261nn55–­56 Li Heng (Crown Prince), 143, 147–­48, 151–­52, 156, 277n33. See also Suzong (Emperor) Li Hua, 17–­18, 19, 20–­21, 235–­36, 249n6 Li Hua (Princess Daiguo), 139–­40 Li Jin, 139 Li Kui, 149, 154–­55 Li Mi, 125–­26, 222, 291n30 lineage. See Esoteric Buddhism lineage Lingbao tradition, 126 Li Qin, 96 Li Quan, 102, 268n49, 269n56. See also Scripture of Venus and the Moon Li Tan (Jianning Prince), 147 Liu Chongxun, 202, 204 Liu Julin, 141, 276n23 Liu Xianhe, 31 Li Wuchan, 22, 23 Li Xiancheng, 202, 214 Li Xiyan, 145, 155, 277n36 Li Yuancong: Amoghavajra’s first contact with, 37, 254n88; and Amoghavajra’s imperial patronage, 145, 201, 286n62; and Amoghavajra’s legacy, 214, 216; and Baoshou Monastery, 196; and Imperial Buddhism, 200–­02; and Ritual of the Supreme Honored One, 257n143 Li Yu (Guangping Prince), 97, 98, 147, 148, 157, 265n15. See also Daizong (Emperor) Li Zhongchen, 103 Lunheng (Wang Chong), 125 Luo Gongyuan, 139 Luo Zhenyu, 268–­69n56 Lu Xiang, 22, 23–­25, 26, 27, 28, 219, 250n40

McRae, John R., 283n2 Mahāvairocana. See Great Vairocana Scripture Maheśvara (deity), 113–­15, 132 maṇḍala practices: Diamond Pinnacle Scripture on, 45, 49, 50, 76–­82, 181–­82, 262n67; Diamond Realm Mandala rite, 2, 76–­82, 262nn67, 70–­71, 73, 263nn76, 79; and Esoteric Buddhism origins, 7; Indic origins of, 89; Vajrabodhi’s association with, 23, 27–­28, 36; Xingshan Monastery consecration maṇḍala, 162–­63, 209, 279n104, 280n105 Mañjuśrī (bodhisattva), 190–­91, 193–­94, 197, 230, 231, 292n61, 292n105 Memorials and Edicts (Yuanzhao): on abhicāra rites, 122–­23; on Amoghavajra’s disciples, 185, 186; and Amoghavajra’s imperial patronage, 31, 148–­49, 162; and Amoghavajra’s legacy, 212, 224–­26, 243, 291n37; on Humane Kings Scripture, 166 Method of Practicing the Vairocana Samādhi of the Diamond Pinnacle Yoga [Scripture], 251n45 Methods of Ākāśagarbha’s Dhāraṇī, Śubhākarasiṃha’s translation of, 18, 19, 38 Methods of Having Wishes Heard by Ākāśagarbha, 19, 21, 129, 132, 251n52 Miao Jinqing, 149 Mingxiao, 23 Miscellaneous Morsels of Youyang, 235 Mount Mao, 71–­72 Mount Wutai, 189–­95, 286–­87nn73–­78, 82–­86 mudrās, 82, 263n87 Nadī, 23 Nāgabodhi, 25, 26, 27–­28, 219 Nāgārjuna, 219 New Biographies of Monks According to the Six Disciplines (Tan’e), 241–­43

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index Newer Tang History, 24, 137, 145, 202–­03, 241 Niu Xiantong, 139 Older Tang History: on abhicāra rites, 125–­26; on Amoghavajra’s imperial patronage, 123–­24, 160–­62, 165, 171, 279n97; and Amoghavajra’s legacy, 241; on Daoism, 67; on Humane Kings Scripture, 165–­66, 167, 168, 171; on Imperial Buddhism, 189, 203; on Li Fuguo, 158; on Li Mi, 222–­23; on Li Xiyan, 145 Ōmura Seiga, 2, 3 Orzech, Charles, 5–­7, 233–­34, 248n1, 256n123 Osabe Kazuo, 258n2 Peacock Scripture, 238, 239, 294n83 Pei Mian, 98, 148 Pugu Huai’en, 99, 124 Pulleyblank, Edwin G., 252n68, 277n27 Pure Avalokiteśvara Dhāraṇī, 240 Pure Land tradition, 223 Qianzhen, 199 Qinglong si, 195 Quan Deyu, 218–­19 Quhou, 156 Qu Na, 201 Qushe, 156 Quyi, 156 Rand, Christopher, 268–­69n56 Ratnaketu, 205 Recitation Methods of the Great Ākāśagarbha Bodhisattva [Scripture], 83 Recitation and Recollection of Yamāntaka, 115–­18 Record of the Transmission of the Dharma Treasure (Du Fei), 220 Rite of the Blood-­Smeared Drum, 103–­04, 269nn57–­58, 60 Ritual of the River Chart, 72, 90, 261–­62nn55–­56, 59–­62, 64–­65

Ritual of the Supreme Honored One, 55–­56, 257nn143–­44 River Chart rites, 72, 90–­91, 261–­62nn55–­56, 59–­62, 64–­65 Rong Wangwan, 146 Rong Xinjiang, 268n54 Samantabhadra (ācārya), 38, 44–­45, 49, 185, 217, 219 Samantabhadra (bodhisattva), 170, 230 Saṅghavarman, 238 Sarvatathāgata-­tattvasaṃgraha (STTS). See STTS (Sarvatathāgatatattvasaṃgraha) Sawyer, Ralph, 267n47 Schipper, Kristofer, 261n55 Scripture of the Divine Spell of the Thousand-­Eyed, Thousand-­Armed Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva Dhāraṇī, 240, 294n94 Scripture of the Great Vairocana’s Attainment of Buddhahood and Supernatural Transformation, 251n52 Scripture of the Peacock King Spell, 238 Scripture of Seven Primes of Huoluo Spoken by the Northern Emperor, 127–­28 Scripture of the Teaching Requested by the Youth Subāhu. See Subāhu Scripture Scripture of [the Pure Land] Densely Adorned, 168–­69, 170, 172, 179 Scripture of the Thousand-­Hand, Thousand-­Bowl Mañjuśrī, 184 Scripture of Venus and the Moon (Li Quan), 102–­12, 125; Chiyou sacrifice, 105–­06, 270nn69–­72; dating of, 102–­03, 268nn54–­56; natural deities in, 106–­07, 271nn78–­81, 83–­85; preparation rites, 104–­05, 270nn63–­ 64, 66–­68; Rite of the Blood-­Smeared Drum, 103–­04, 269nn57–­58, 60; title of, 267–­68n47; Vaiśravaṇa invocation in, 108–­12, 272–­73nn88–­92, 100, 102–­03 Secret Method of the Immovable Envoy’s Dhāraṇī, 251n45 Sengqie, 30

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index Sengyou, 226 Shangshu, 280n120 Sharf, Robert, 4–­5, 8, 211 Shenhui, 223 Shi Chaoyi, 99, 124 Shingon school: and Amoghavajra’s disciples, 187; and Diamond Pinnacle Scripture, 46; and Esoteric Buddhism origins, 1, 2, 3; and Great Vairocana Scripture, 19, 20, 46; and Three Great Masters of Kaiyuan view, 15 Shinohara, Koichi, 7, 89 Shi Siming, 99, 124–­25, 147 siddhis, 55; in Esoteric Buddhism, 82–­89, 92, 112; Great Vairocana Scripture on, 50–­51; Susiddhikara Scripture on, 52–­53; Trisamaya Scripture on, 54. See also abhicāra (subjugation) rites Sima Chengzhen, 68–­71, 126–­28 Single-­Syllable Pinnacle Wheel-­Turning Ruler Scriptures, 145, 227 Sinification theory of Esoteric Buddhism origins, 7, 59–­60, 220, 234–­35, 258n2 Śiva. See Maheśvara; Yamāntaka Sokezang, 19 Song Dynasty. See Brief History of the Saṃgha; Song Dynasty Biographies of Monks Song Dynasty Biographies of Monks (Zanning): on Amoghavajra’s early life, 32; and Amoghavajra’s legacy, 226, 232–­37, 242–­43, 293n71; on Amoghavajra’s training and initiation, 253n73; on Esoteric Buddhism lineage, 232–­33, 234–­35; on Han’guang, 185; on initiation of emperors, 251n53; on Princess Daiguo, 140; on Vajrabodhi, 40, 139, 276n22; on Yuanjiao, 184; on Zhitong, 240 “Song of Everlasting Sorrow” (Bo Zhuyi), 265n11 Spell of the Great Body of the Thousand Hand and Thousand Eye Guanyin, 251n45

Spell of the Thousand Revolutions of the Dhāraṇī of Avalokiteśvara, 240 Śrīmitra, 237, 238–­39 Strickmann, Michel, 2–­4, 6 STTS (Sarvatathāgata-­tattvasaṃgraha), 41, 43–­44, 255n115 Subāhu Scripture, 18, 19, 46, 52–­54, 236, 251n52, 257n137 Śubhākarasiṃha: biographical accounts of, 17–­18; and dhāraṇī teachings, 20–­21, 22; and Esoteric Buddhism origins, 1–­2; Li Hua as disciple of, 249n6; and scriptural production, 205; and Three Great Masters of Kaiyuan view, 15, 248n1; translations by, 18–­21, 29, 31, 38, 45–­46, 56, 251n52; Zanning on, 235–­36. See also Susiddhikara Scripture Śubhākarasiṃha’s Account of Conduct (Li Hua), 17–­18, 19, 20–­21, 235 Śubhākarasiṃha’s Stele Inscription (Li Hua), 235–­36, 249n6 subjugation rites. See abhicāra (subjugation) rites Sunzi, 102 Supplementary Addendum to Tales of Transcendents, 139 Supreme Dhāraṇī Ritual, 86–­87, 115 Susiddhikara Scripture, 18, 19, 251n52; and Amoghavajra’s textual corpus, 227; Catalogue of Dhāraṇī on, 46, 51–­52; and Ritual of the Supreme Honored One, 56; and Tendai tradition, 46; Zanning on, 236 Suzong (Emperor): and An Lushan rebellion, 98, 122–­23, 124, 136, 148; ascension of, 97, 136, 148, 153; and Daoism, 91–­92; initiation of, 251n53; patronage of Amoghavajra, 30, 148–­53, 278n54; reign of, 148–­58; and scriptural production, 204–­05; and Scripture of Venus and the Moon, 102, 268n55; and yasheng rites, 125–­26. See also Li Heng (Crown Prince) Synopsis of the Eighteen Assemblies, 40, 41, 47, 113–­14, 254n98

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index Taishō Canon, 19, 40 Taizong (Emperor), 177, 283n5 Tan’e, 241–­43 Tang government: An Lushan rebellion impact on, 95, 136–­37, 146–­48, 155, 159, 277n49; bureaucracy, 138; civil officials, 137–­38, 276n6; commissioner of merit and virtue, 128, 175, 200, 202–­04, 288n135; military commissioners, 137 Tang Stele at the Temple of Master Zhengyi, 69 tantra, 43–­44, 255n115 Teaching of the Five Divisions, 46, 48. See also Diamond Pinnacle Scripture Tendai tradition, 46 Three Stages Teaching, 198, 288n108 Tian Liangqiu, 145 Toganō Shoun, 2, 3 Trisamaya Scripture: abhicāra rites in, 118–­22, 257n140, 274nn125–­26, 128; Catalogue of Dhāraṇī on, 46, 54–­55, 257n140 Tutu Chengcui, 204 Twitchett, Denis Crispin, 279n87 Urban, Hugh, 5 Vairocana Buddha, 2, 3, 5, 42, 219, 255n111. See also Great Vairocana Scripture Vaiśravaṇa invocation, 108–­12, 272–­73nn88–­92 Vajrabodhi: and Amoghavajra’s imperial patronage, 140–­41, 142, 146; as Amoghavajra’s master, 33–­36, 252n69, 255–­56n117; biographical accounts of, 21–­22, 23–­25, 26–­28, 40, 250nn40–­43; and definition of Esoteric Buddhism, 1–­2; and Esoteric Buddhism lineage, 25–­26, 219, 255–­56n117; and ethical flexibility, 130; and Great Vairocana Scripture, 25, 27, 45; imperial patronage of, 26, 29, 30, 31, 139–­40, 252n57; “Legend of

the Iron Stūpa” on, 38–­40; and Three Great Masters of Kaiyuan view, 15, 248n1; translations by, 22, 25, 29, 31, 38, 251n45, 252n56 Vajrabodhi’s Stele Inscription (Kunlun Weng), 22, 23, 27–­28 Vajrapanī (bodhisattva): Diamond Pinnacle Scripture on, 76–­77; and Esoteric Buddhism lineage, 5, 217; Great Vairocana Scripture on, 49; and initiation rites, 182; Subāhu Scripture on, 52–­53; Trisamaya Scripture on, 54–­55 Vajrasattva, 26, 219 Vinitaruci, 22 Wang Chengye, 146 Wang Chong, 125 Wang Fu, 99 Wang Jin, 146, 159, 161, 164, 165, 222, 279n93 Wang Jing, 65, 67 Wang Mang, 125 Wang Qi, 65 Wang Yu, 126 Wang Yunxiu, 159, 279n87 Wang Zhongsi, 142 Wei Duanqiao, 147 Weinberger, Steven, 43–­44, 255n115 Wei Ping, 126 Wei Shaoyou, 149 Wengu, 22 Wu, Gracious Consort, 139 Wuxing, 19 Wuzhu, 18 Wuzong (Emperor), 212 Xida, 18 Ximing Monastery, 18, 195, 249n9, 287n92 Xingfu Monastery, 18, 249n9 Xingshan Monastery, 162–­63, 188, 199–­200, 209, 279n104, 280n105, 288n111 Xi Shimei, 200 Xuanzang, 129, 179, 283n146

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index Xuanzong (Emperor): and Amoghavajra as diplomatic envoy, 36–­37, 141–­42, 253n82; and An Lushan rebellion, 96, 97, 98, 136, 146–­47; and Daoism, 67–­68, 71–­72, 75, 91, 126, 155; and Geshu Han, 142; initiation of, 141, 251n53; patronage of Amoghavajra, 30, 141, 254n91; patronage of Vajrabodhi, 29, 139; reign of, 139–­48; and Three Stages Teaching, 198 Yamāntaka (deity), 115–­18 Yang Guozhong, 147, 265n11 Yan Ying. See Cloister Inscription Yan Zhenqing, 158 yasheng rites, 125–­26, 223 Ye Fashan, 139 Yicao, 187 Yijing, 205, 288–­89n137 Yixing, 18, 19–­20 Yizhen, 187 Yuanjiao, 184, 196 Yuanjing, 200 Yuan Zai: and Amoghavajra’s imperial patronage, 161, 164, 165, 172; and Amoghavajra’s legacy, 31; background of, 155, 278nn70–­71; fall from power of, 222; and Li Mi, 222–­23; under Daizong, 155–­56, 158 Yuanzhao. See Continuation of the Kaiyuan Catalogue; Memorials and Edicts; Zhenyuan Catalogue

Zanning: on Amoghavajra’s imperial patronage, 279n97; on Amoghavajra’s legacy, 211–­12; background of, 232; on Esoteric Buddhism lineage, 5, 212, 232–­33, 234–­35, 240–­41, 244, 293n69; on Esoteric Buddhism origins, 6, 8, 241, 244; on initiation of emperors, 251n53. See also Brief History of the Saṃgha; Song [Dynasty] Biographies of Monks Zhang (Empress), 31, 156–­57, 278n79 Zhangjing Monastery, 195 Zhanran, 185 Zhaocheng (Dowager Empress), 156 Zhao Qian, 214. See also Amoghavajra’s Account of Conduct Zhende Monastery, 195 Zhenyuan Catalogue (Yuanzhao): on Amoghavajra’s early life, 32; on Amoghavajra’s imperial patronage, 143–­45, 146, 276n26; and Amoghavajra’s legacy, 228–­31, 292nn58–­59; and Śubhākarasiṃha, 251n52; on Vajrabodhi, 21–­22, 23, 24, 26, 40 Zhiju si, 195 Zhipan, 241–­42 Zhisheng. See Kaiyuan Catalogue Zhisheng Monastery, 22, 249n27 Zhitong, 22, 237, 240 Zhou Zhiguang, 124 Zurcher, Erik, 178–­79

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