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By Jamie Hubbard

Despite the typical view of Buddhism as non-dogmatic and tolerant, the ancient list preserves many examples of Buddhist thinkers and activities that have been banned as heretical or subversive. The San-chieh (Three degrees) was once a well-liked and influential chinese language Buddhist stream throughout the Sui and Tang sessions, counting strong statesmen, imperial princes, or even an empress, Empress Wu, between its consumers. In spite, or maybe accurately simply because, of its proximity to energy, the San-chieh move ran afoul of the specialists and its teachings and texts have been formally proscribed various occasions over a several-hundred-year heritage. as a result of those suppressions San-chieh texts have been misplaced and little information regarding its teachings or heritage is accessible. the current paintings, the 1st English examine of the San-chieh stream, makes use of manuscripts came across at Tun-huang to envision the doctrine and institutional practices of this circulation within the better context of Mahayana doctrine and perform. by way of viewing San-Chieh within the context of Mahayana Buddhism, Hubbard finds it to be faraway from heretical and thereby increases very important questions on orthodoxy and canon in Buddhism. He indicates that a number of the hallmark rules and practices of chinese language Buddhism locate an early and particular expression within the San-chieh texts.

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80 81 Stevenson, “The T’ien-t’ai Four Forms of Sam„dhi,” 416. 82 The ³rst four of the sixteen inexhaustible practices; see below and chapter 7. ”83 As noted above, Hsin-hsing’s biography also commented on the practice of begging for food. 85 The dhðta practices are sociologically interesting as well, as they are generally seen to represent a radical impulse to ascetic renunciation and solitary practice in contrast to the even stronger tendency in the Buddhist community toward the settled life of the vihara.

I see the initial scriptural expressions of the tradition of decline not as the anti-intellectualism or moral indictment of a practiceoriented faith as claimed by many (that is, a cry of dismay that the Buddhist truth or essence is being eclipsed by arid and sterile dogma, orthopraxy versus orthodoxy),2 but rather as conservative attempts to secure an orthodoxy that subsequently generated an entire narrative tradition replete with numerous tropes that in turn functioned in China, ironically, as doors of interpretive opportunity, allowing or even demanding new doctrine, or at least new interpretations of doctrine.

20 The Book of the Gradual Sayings, 3: 133. The Book of the Kindred Sayings (Sa½yutta-nik„ya), part II, 178–79; quoted here from E. , Buddhist Texts through the Ages (London: Harper & Row, 1964), 45; Pande judges this passage to be late because these forms “indicate a good deal of previous literary activity” (Pande, Studies, 209). See The Book of the Gradual Sayings, 3: 85 for the same pericope. It is interesting, of course, to speculate on who might have been guilty of producing such “poetical styles,” though the producers of the Mahayana clearly thought they were the targets (see below, p.

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