Advanced search
1 file | 916.51 KB Add to list

Prognostication in Chinese Buddhist historiographical texts : the Gaoseng zhuan and the Xu Gaoseng zhuan

Christoph Anderl (UGent) and Gang Yang (UGent)
Author
Organization
Abstract
This paper explores topics and techniques of prognostication as recorded in medieval Buddhist historical literature, with an emphasis on the Gāosēng zhuàn 高僧傳 (GSZ) and Xù gāosēng zhuàn 續高僧傳 (XGSZ). The paper first provides a short survey of how prognostication is treated in Chinese Buddhist translated texts. In these ‘canonical’ sources there is clear ambiguity over the use of supernatural powers: on the one hand, such practices are criticized as non-Buddhist or even heterodox; on the other, narratives on Śākyamuni’s former and present lives as well as accounts of other buddhas, bodhisattvas, and the Buddha’s disciples abound with descriptions of their special abilities, including knowledge of the future. In contrast, the GSZ and XGSZ display a clear standpoint concerning mantic practices and include them as integral aspects of monastics’ lives. The two texts articulate that the ability to predict the future and other supernatural powers are natural by-products of spiritual progress in the Buddhist context. This paper discusses the incorporation of various aspects of the Indian and Chinese traditions in monastics’ biographies, and investigates the inclusion of revelations of future events (for example, in dreams) and mantic techniques in these texts. In addition, it traces parallels to developments in non-Buddhist literature and outlines some significant differences between the GSZ and XGSZ. Key words: Buddhist mantic practices; prognostication; divination techniques; Buddhist history texts; Gāosēng zhuàn; Xù gāosēng zhuàn
Keywords
prognostication, mantic arts, Chinese astrology, Chinese Buddhism, Chinese Buddhist historical texts, Gaoseng zhuan, Xu gaoseng zhuan

Downloads

  • (...).pdf
    • full text (Published version)
    • |
    • UGent only
    • |
    • PDF
    • |
    • 916.51 KB

Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Anderl, Christoph, and Gang Yang. “Prognostication in Chinese Buddhist Historiographical Texts : The Gaoseng Zhuan and the Xu Gaoseng Zhuan.” ACTA ORIENTALIA ACADEMIAE SCIENTIARUM HUNGARICAE, vol. 73, no. 1, 2020, pp. 1–45.
APA
Anderl, C., & Yang, G. (2020). Prognostication in Chinese Buddhist historiographical texts : the Gaoseng zhuan and the Xu Gaoseng zhuan. ACTA ORIENTALIA ACADEMIAE SCIENTIARUM HUNGARICAE, 73(1), 1–45.
Chicago author-date
Anderl, Christoph, and Gang Yang. 2020. “Prognostication in Chinese Buddhist Historiographical Texts : The Gaoseng Zhuan and the Xu Gaoseng Zhuan.” ACTA ORIENTALIA ACADEMIAE SCIENTIARUM HUNGARICAE 73 (1): 1–45.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Anderl, Christoph, and Gang Yang. 2020. “Prognostication in Chinese Buddhist Historiographical Texts : The Gaoseng Zhuan and the Xu Gaoseng Zhuan.” ACTA ORIENTALIA ACADEMIAE SCIENTIARUM HUNGARICAE 73 (1): 1–45.
Vancouver
1.
Anderl C, Yang G. Prognostication in Chinese Buddhist historiographical texts : the Gaoseng zhuan and the Xu Gaoseng zhuan. ACTA ORIENTALIA ACADEMIAE SCIENTIARUM HUNGARICAE. 2020;73(1):1–45.
IEEE
[1]
C. Anderl and G. Yang, “Prognostication in Chinese Buddhist historiographical texts : the Gaoseng zhuan and the Xu Gaoseng zhuan,” ACTA ORIENTALIA ACADEMIAE SCIENTIARUM HUNGARICAE, vol. 73, no. 1, pp. 1–45, 2020.
@article{8619357,
  abstract     = {This paper explores topics and techniques of prognostication as recorded in medieval Buddhist historical literature, with an emphasis on the Gāosēng zhuàn 高僧傳 (GSZ) and Xù gāosēng zhuàn 續高僧傳 (XGSZ). The paper first provides a short survey of how prognostication is treated in Chinese Buddhist translated texts. In these ‘canonical’ sources there is clear ambiguity over the use of supernatural powers: on the one hand, such practices are criticized as non-Buddhist or even heterodox; on the other, narratives on Śākyamuni’s former and present lives as well as accounts of other buddhas, bodhisattvas, and the Buddha’s disciples abound with descriptions of their special abilities, including knowledge of the future. In contrast, the GSZ and XGSZ display a clear standpoint concerning mantic practices and include them as integral aspects of monastics’ lives. The two texts articulate that the ability to predict the future and other supernatural powers are natural by-products of spiritual progress in the Buddhist context. This paper discusses the incorporation of various aspects of the Indian and Chinese traditions in monastics’ biographies, and investigates the inclusion of revelations of future events (for example, in dreams) and mantic techniques in these texts. In addition, it traces parallels to developments in non-Buddhist literature and outlines some significant differences between the GSZ and XGSZ.

Key words: Buddhist mantic practices; prognostication; divination techniques; Buddhist history texts; Gāosēng zhuàn; Xù gāosēng zhuàn
},
  author       = {Anderl, Christoph and Yang, Gang},
  issn         = {1588-2667},
  journal      = {ACTA ORIENTALIA ACADEMIAE SCIENTIARUM HUNGARICAE},
  keywords     = {prognostication,mantic arts,Chinese astrology,Chinese Buddhism,Chinese Buddhist historical texts,Gaoseng zhuan,Xu gaoseng zhuan},
  language     = {eng,chi},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {1--45},
  title        = {Prognostication in Chinese Buddhist historiographical texts : the Gaoseng zhuan and the Xu Gaoseng zhuan},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1556/062.2020.73.1.1},
  volume       = {73},
  year         = {2020},
}

Altmetric
View in Altmetric