SAVED FROM THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR
For reasons of space, several passages in the original manuscript for The Buddhist Religion had to be cut from the final product. Most were fairly minor; but the authors decided to cut two entire sections with the understanding that the cuts would be placed on the BR Web site. So here they are.
The first cut, which would have been section 9.10, is from the section on Vietnam. In light of the infinite space of the Internet, we have expanded this section considerably, to compensate for the limited amount of space given to Vietnam in the book.
Also cut from the book was section 3.1.4, The Transmission and Preservation of the Canon.
Related to the above passage are two passages [11.2.1&2] cut from the chapter on Tibet, which deal with the translation of texts during the first and second propagation of the Dharma to that country.
Another hefty cut was taken from the discussion of the early history of Buddhism in Southeast Asia [7.2].
When the kings of the Dinh dynasty announced that Buddhism was to be the national religion of Vietnam, they also appointed Buddhist monks as advisors to the royal court. This precedent was followed well into the Tran dynasty, and shaped the way in which the history of Thiên was recorded: Thiên lineages whose monks and nuns became involved with the court were chronicled in detail; other lineages -- and more reclusive branches of the main lineages -- left little more than footnotes in the official records. Thus, when reading about the history of Thiên, it is important to remember that the accounts are weighted toward its more domesticated branches.
Among the several schools of Ch'an/Thiên that were brought from China or sprung up on Vietnamese soil, only five became established lineages with royal connections. Three of these predated the Mongol invasions of the thirteenth centuries, and in all three cases their lineage records end just prior to the invasions.
The first of the three was the Ty-Ni-Da-Luu-Chi school, whose name is a Vietnamese corruption of the name of its founder, a monk from Western India named Vinitaruci (d. 594). Vinitaruci had spent a brief sojourn in China, receiving the seal of approval from the Third Ch'an Patriarch, Seng-ts'an (d. 606) before moving to northern Vietnam in 580. He left only one Vietnamese pupil, and the school's lineage records are fairly sketchy until the tenth century. The most prominent of its patriarchs was Van-hanh (d. 1018), who represents the full domestication of the lineage. Well-known in his time for his practice of dharani samadhi (concentration based on the repetition of a mantra), he is remembered as an advisor to kings, having helped the founder of the Ly dynasty (1010-1225) set up the throne and organize domestic and foreign affairs. Bhiksuni Diêu-Nhân (1043-1115) was the one recorded matriarch of the school, predating the nun Ting-kuang (see section 8.6), who was the earliest recorded matriarch of a Ch'an school in China. An adopted daughter of King Lê-Nhân-Tôn (r. 1072-1127), Diêu-Nhân had retired to a convent as a young widow and became famous for her impertubability in the face of all hardships and calamities. Her death-bed poem -- extolling wordless sitting without methodical meditations -- reflects the influence of Ch'an's Southern school.
The two other pre-invasion Thiên schools were introduced by Chinese monks. The Vô-Ngôn-Thông school was founded by Wu-yen Tun (d. 826), who had studied in the lineage of Ma-tsu (see section 8.5.5-A). This school was the first to include a king in its list of patriarchs: King Ly-Thái-Tôn (r. 1028-1054), who is remembered both as a meditator and an avid builder of shrines and pagodas.
The Thao-Du'o'ng school was founded by Ts'ao-tang, who in 1069 had been captured as a prisoner of war while teaching in Champa. Ts'ao-tang's first Vietnamese pupil was his captor, King Ly Thánh-Tôn (r. 1054-1072), and thus the school was domesticated from the start. Ts'ao-tang's distinctive doctrine was the use of the nien-fo (repetition of the Buddha's name) as a technique of Ch'an/Thiên meditation. This is commonly viewed as a later development in Ch'an, in which Pure Land and Ch'an practices were combined in the Sung and Ming periods. Actually, the use of nien-fo in Ch'an circles predates the T'ang dynasty, as can be seen from early Ch'an and T'ien-t'ai meditation manuals. During the T'ang, when Pure Land established itself as a separate school and laid claim to nien-fo as a technique aimed solely at the attainment of the Western Paradise, some Ch'an circles refused to endorse the technique as a meditation method. Other circles, notably subschools located in southern and southwestern China, followed the Vimalakirti-nirdesa Sutra in equating the Pure Land with the Pure Mind found in meditation here and now, and so continued to combine the use of nien-fo with other Ch'an methods. Ts'ao-tang was a representative of this latter tradition. He taught three stages in nien-fo practice: reciting the Buddha's name while focusing the eyes on a physical Buddha image; reciting the Buddha's name while focusing the mind on an internal image of the Buddha; and "reciting the Buddha's name while meditating on the quintessence of the Buddha," i.e., avoiding any visualization of a Buddha or any assumption of a self doing the reciting or visualizing.
With the fall of the Ly dynasty in 1225, the lineage records for all three early schools of Thiên come to an end. However, a new school -- the Trúc-Lâm school -- was founded by one of the kings of the following dynasty, Trân-Nhân-Tôn (1258-1308). King Trân's teacher, Master Tuê-Trung Thu'ong-Sii (Eminent Monk of Supreme Wisdom), was the son of King Trân-Quoc-Tuan. In his youth he had fought triumphantly beside his father against the invading Mongols, an experience that impressed on him the transitoriness of life. Deciding to ordain, he retired to a solitary life of meditation and soon attracted a following. He wrote no texts, but is known to us through his Collected Sayings, systematized by Trân-Nhân-Tôn. Perhaps his most distinctive teaching was a Taoist-influenced doctrine of "coming home" through the Tao to the natural freedom of one's true being. He counseled that, rather than searching for worldly glory, one should "discover one's real home...beyond the pressure of birth or death."
An equally important influence on King Trân was his grandfather, King Trân-Thái-Tôn (r. 1225-1258), the founder of the dynasty, who came to the throne at the age of eight. Twelve years after his investiture, he had sought refuge in a Buddhist monastery, hoping to avoid the distractions of public life. His plan, however, was thwarted by his ministers, who followed him to his mountain retreat, refusing to accept his premature retirement. Eventually the king consented to return from the mountain when his own Master, Phù-Vân, observed that because the Buddha-nature is in the mind, it can be found anywhere. As Trân-Thái-Tôn's views on the the practical dimension of religion developed, however, he came to see Buddhism as an incomplete teaching that needed Confucianism and Taoism in order to perfect it. In his words, "Buddhism needs the wisdom of Confucianism in order to function beneficially in society." Thus he saw the ideal person as one who takes on both the responsibilities of the Confucian statesman and the vows of the bodhisattva. He equated the Law of the Buddha with the Tao of Lao-tse and the Confucian Mean.
Drawing on these two influences, his grandson, King Trân-Nhân-Tôn, accepted the challenge of fulfilling the double task that had been set for him, meditating at night and performing his kingly duties by day. When he finally abdicated in favor of his son and entered a monastery, his queen, Khâm-Tù', became a nun. The monk-king went on to write numerous books on Thiên life and founded the Trúc-Lâm school. His poetry demonstrates a Taoist sensitivity to the spiritual resonances of the beauty of nature; the record of his activities as a monk shows a strong drive to social outreach. Although the recorded lineage of the Trúc-Lâm school contained two other kings, it lasted no more than four generations.
In the later years of the Trân dynasty, royal support for Buddhism began to wane, as Confucianism increasingly became the dominant ideology of the court. Although more reclusive lineages may have survived in the mountains and forests, Thiên on the domestic front went into a long decline. A reversal of this trend did not come until the latter part of the seventeenth century, when Chinese monks led by Nguyen-Thieu (d. 1712) fled to central Vietnam to escape the Manchu invasions that ushered in the Ching dynasty. With the support of the princes of Hue, they established the Lâm-Te (Lin-chi) school, which has survived into the modern period. As with all later versions of Ch'an, Lâm-Te combines study with practice, and advocates the combined use of k'ung-ans and nien-fo. In terms of dress, ritual, and daily routines, the school closely resembles the Japanese Obaku sect (see section 10.7), another "Ming Ch'an" school that was founded at approximately the same time.
In the eighteenth century, the Lâm-Te school spawned an offshoot founded by Lieu-Quan (d.1774), a second-generation disciple of Nguyen-Thieu. Lieu-Quan was an active proselytizer who toured the country, giving lectures and offering re-ordination ceremonies for monks and nuns whose practice had grown lax and who wanted to make a fresh start in their vows. To emphasize the fact that he was reviving Thiên, rather than imposing Chinese Ch'an on his fellow countrymen and women, he proclaimed a new lineage starting with himself. Once reordained, the new members of the school were allowed to continue their mediation -- Theravada or Mahayana -- as before. As a result of this eclectic nationalism, with each practitioner free to practice and teach as he/she saw fit, the Lieu-Quan school quickly became the dominant lineage of Thiên and maintained that position until the communist takeover in the twentieth century.
Also cut from the book was the following section:
3.1.4 The Transmission and Preservation of the Canon
Prodigious amounts of energy have gone into preserving and reproducing the Canon. In the early centuries, some monks specialized in reciting a particular collection, some the entire canon of their school. But to memorize even one collection -- such as the Majjhima Nikaya, which yields 1100 pages of modern printed text -- is not merely an exercise but a vocation. Even after the canons were committed to writing in the second and first centuries B.C.E., ample donations were needed to support the scribes, and were often forthcoming. Buddhists have always been solicitous of their canon, providing amply for it to be copied on palm leaves, wood, metal, birch bark, or baked clay and stored in specially constructed libraries. Eventually the scribes adopted ink and woodblock printing. Today, scholars have devoted similarly energy to transfering the various versions of the canon onto CD-ROM disc.
Buddhism's spread throughout India, accelerated by King Asoka's support, helped foster the division into various early schools, which adopted local languages as the Buddha directed, and in so doing created many sectarian versions of the canon in different languages. Buddhist texts have survived in the eastern dialects (the homeland of Buddhism), in Northwestern Prakrit (Gandhari), Pali, mixed Buddhist hybrid Sanskrit, and standard Sanskrit.
Going southwards, the Theravada tradition adopted Pali as its international language; only in the twentieth century was the Pali Canon translated into Sinhalese and Southeast Asian vernaculars. Under Asoka and later in the reign of the Kusanas (first to second centuries C.E.), Buddhism spread northwards into Gandhara, on to the Aryanized states of Central Asia, and then east and west along the trans-Asian silk route between China and the Mediterranean. Hinayana and Mahayana sects translated their texts into the languages of Central Asia (Khotanese, Tocharian, Uyghur, and Soghdian) and into Chinese in the first centuries of the Common Era. Later still, texts were brought to Tibet and translated, particularly from Buddhist Tantrism.
By the eleventh century the Chinese printed their first standardized canon of Buddhist texts (see section 8.6), which included not only translations from the canons of several early schools, but also Mahayana Sutras, Tantras, treatises, and even non-Buddhist writings (see "An Overview of the Buddhist Scriptures," pp. 311-314). Several different versions of this canon were produced, most notably the collection made in the thirteenth century in Korea, which in the early twentieth century formed the basis for the massive Taisho version of the Chinese canon produced in Japan (see section 9.4). By the end of the fourteenth century, the Tibetan canon -- consisting mostly of Mahayana Sutras, Tantras, and scholastic treatises -- assumed its final form (see section 11.3.2). In the eighteenth century, this latter canon was translated into Mongolian. The Chinese and Tibetan canons are important, not only for their intrinsic value in studying the Buddhism of their respective countries, but also for the access they provide to Indian sources that otherwise have been lost.
Modern scholarship has also played a role in the preservation of Buddhist texts. Since the eighteenth century, western scholars (including some who adopted Buddhism) and their Asian comperes have found, edited, and translated many texts previously lost. Thus they, too, have played a part in preserving and making available texts (and archaeological remains) long lost to the Buddhist tradition.
Related to the above passage are two passages cut from the chapter on Tibet, which deal with the translation of texts during the first and second propagation of the Dharma to that country:
King Trhisong Detsen was responsible for starting the great Sanskrit-Tibetan-Chinese lexicon, the Mahavyupatti, designed to standardize the translation of Buddhist texts into Tibetan. Tibet, unlike China, had virtually no native philosophical tradition, and so Tibetan equivalents could be freely assigned to Sanskrit terms with little danger of being misinterpreted in light of non-Buddhist connotations. Coming through a consistent lexicon, Tibet translations have both the strengths and the weaknesses of all very literal translations: somewhat dense and unnatural, but very reliable in representing the Sanskrit originals. They have thus been an invaluable tool for modern scholars trying to reconstruct Sanskrit texts that were otherwise lost.
Yeshe-od's major act was to send a group of followers to Kashmir to collect Buddhist texts. One of the two survivors of this mission, Rinchen Zangpo (Rin-chen bzang-po) (958-1055), took several further trips to India to invite Indian scholars to Tibet and to collect additional texts. He, his Indian colleagues, and his students were responsible for such a large number of translations, and of such high quality, that he earned the epithet of "The Great Translator" in Tibetan history. The range of their translations provided the framework for what was eventually to become the Tibetan canon (see section 11.3.2).
Another hefty cut was taken from the discussion of the early history of Buddhism in Southeast Asia:
Archaeological evidence indicates that the kingdoms of Southeast Asia with the strongest Buddhist traditions were the Mon kingdoms in Lower Burma and central Thailand, and Sri Vijaya on the Malay peninsula and Sumatra. Aside from a few stone inscriptions, none of these kingdoms left written records of their religious beliefs. The Mon kingdoms formed in the sixth century, after the fall of Funan, and lasted until the eleventh century, when what is now Thailand fell to the Khmers, and Lower Burma was conquered by King Aniruddha of Pagan, a city in Upper Burma (see section 7.3). Theravada and Sarvastivada were the strongest elements in a mix of Indian and indigenous animist elements in this area. The city of Thaton, in Lower Burma, was a major center of Pali studies. Toward the end of this period, Mahayana, Tantric, and Hindu elements were being introduced from India.
Sri Vijaya is one of the most shadowy empires in Southeast Asian history. I-ching reports visiting its capital city in 671, where he found more than 1,000 monks, mostly Hinayana. Sri Vijayan rulers are listed among the patrons of the Buddhist university at Nalanda, and there is a large legacy of Sri Vijayan art, which includes not only Buddha images but also numerous statues of Visnu, Avalokitesvara, and the Tantric goddesses, Chunda and Tara. Otherwise, little is known about the empire itself. Even the location of its capital is a controversial point. Chaiya, in Southern Thailand, is one of the candidates; and even if it was not the capital, it seems to have been the center of artistic activity. Sri Vijaya apparently extended its rule from the Malay peninsula and Sumatra to other parts of the Malay archipelago from the seventh through the thirteenth century, when it dissolved into numerous princely states. By the fifteenth century, most of the area had converted to Islam.