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Journal of Oriental Studies

Vol. LX, 2012


Members of the Monumenta Serica Institute (all S.V.D.):


NICOLAS KOSS, O.S.B. (Taibei) – SUSAN NAQUIN (Princeton) –
RODERICH PTAK (München) – REN DAYUAN (Beijing) –

Monumenta Serica Institute – Sankt Augustin 2012

60 (2012): 1-43




Introduction ………………………………………………………........................................ 1
1. Conflicting Approaches in Positioning Buddhism
in Its Attitude towards the Emperor …………………………………….… ..... ………….... 4
2. Stylistic Observations …………………………………………….. ............................... 7
3. Dialogue Structure ……………………………………………………………… .................. 8
4. Life and Works of Yancong ………………………………………………………………… ... 10
5. “Futian lun” (Treatise on the Fields of Blessedness) – Translation …………….......... 11
Chinese Abstract ………………………………………………........................................ 43

As a religion originating from India, Buddhism came into being under the formative
influence of Indian culture. When Buddhism was introduced to China, this non-
Chinese cultural heritage led to clashes of certain Buddhist concepts with the Chi-
nese way of organizing state and society. One of these clashes was the disagreement
on the question whether or not Buddhist monks should bow to the emperor.
In ancient India spirituality played a central role in society, and spiritual au-
thorities were held in great esteem. Hence spirituality was seen as standing above
politics, and spiritual authorities were not asked to bow to worldly rulers. Point-
ing back to the Indian roots of Buddhism, members of the Chinese saṃgha ar-
gued that Buddhist monks should not be asked to bow to the emperor in China ei-
ther. 1 However, in a Chinese context monks refusing to bow to the emperor
posed a problem. According to Confucian state ideology, the emperor was seen
as the highest authority in the empire. His authority stood above religion, so that
each subject, no matter which religion he/she belonged to, had to pay homage to

Leon Hurvitz, “‘Render unto Caesar’ in Early Chinese Buddhism: Huiyuan’s Treatise on the
Exemption of the Buddhist Clergy from the Requirements of Civil Etiquette,” in: Liebenthal
Festschrift, ed. Kshitis Roy. Sino-Indian Studies vol. 5, parts 3 & 4 (Santiniketan: Visvabharati,
1957), pp. 80f.; Michibata Ryōshū 道端良秀. “Tōdai no sōni fuhai kunshin ron” 唐代の僧尼
不拝君親 論, Indogaku bukkyōgaku kenkyū 印度學佛教學研究 4 (1954), pp. 54-64.

him. The reluctance of monks to bow to the emperor was an unprecedented viola-
tion of this Confucian dogma. In Lunyu 12.11 it is said:
Duke Jing of Qi asked about government. Confucius answered: “Let the ruler be a
ruler, the subject a subject, the father a father, the son a son.” The Duke said:
“Splendid! Truly, if the ruler be not a ruler, the subject not a subject, the father not a
father, the son not a son, then even if there be grain, would I get to eat it?”2
The Confucian position is that monks were to be seen as subjects of the state, too.
So if monks were reluctant to bow to the emperor, this would be a case of sub-
jects not behaving like subjects.
Being in disagreement with Confucianism posed a threat to the survival of
Buddhism in medieval China. For this reason the uncompromising doctrinal posi-
tion that monks were not to bow to the emperor was not shared by all members of
the Buddhist saṃgha in China. In the present article I will analyze differences be-
tween supporters of the position that Buddhism should maintain its doctrinal
claims and others who rather chose to present Buddhism as reconciled with the
Confucian principles of imperial rule.
Texts arguing that monks should not bow to the emperor have been compiled
in the Ji shamen bu ying bai su deng shi 集沙門不應拜俗等事 (T 2108, Collec-
tion [of texts] on the matter that śramaṇas should not bow to secular authorities –
hereafter to be referred to as Shamen bu ying bai su) by the Tang Buddhist monk
Yancong 彥悰 in six juan. The major texts relevant to this matter are also pre-
served in the Hongming ji 弘明集 (T 2102) and in the Guang Hongming ji 廣弘
明集 (T 2103).
The matter of whether monks should bow to the emperor first came up in a de-
bate centering around the monk Huiyuan 慧遠 (334–416). During the Eastern Jin 東
晉 the high ranking official Huan Xuan 桓玄 (369–404) in 404 usurped the throne
and declared himself emperor. In order to stabilize his dynasty, he sought to reduce
the power of the saṃgha. Among other measures he considered asking monks to
show their subservience by bowing to him. Huiyuan wrote his “Shamen bu jing
wangzhe lun” 沙門不敬王者論 (i.e., General treatise [arguing that] śramaṇas
should not bow to kings) to demonstrate the inappropriateness of this policy.3
In the Sui dynasty the matter was prominently taken up again by a monk
named Yancong 彥琮 (557–610, not to be confused with Yancong 彥悰).4 Under

齊景公問政於孔子。孔子對曰:「君君, 臣臣, 父父, 子子。」公曰:「善哉! 信如君不君, 臣
不臣, 父不父, 子不子, 雖有粟, 吾得而食諸?」. Confucius, The Analects. Trs. D.C. Lau
(Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 2002), pp. 112f.
Erik Zürcher, The Buddhist Conquest of China: The Spread and Adaption of Buddhism in Early
Medieval China (Leiden: Brill, 1959), pp. 231-239.
Due to their homophonic character and their graphic similarity, the names of 彥悰 and 彥琮
have been confused in the historical transmission of the texts authored by them. On this issue
see Thomas Jülch, Die apologetischen Schriften des buddhistischen Tang-Mönchs Falin
(München: Utz, 2011), pp. 13, 30. Whenever the name Yancong reappears in the current arti-

the Sui emperors, Buddhism enjoyed imperial patronage. Sui Buddhism was in
the first place a state religion employed to legitimize the Sui rule.5 However, it
seems that the second Sui emperor, Yangdi 煬帝 (r. 605–618), still felt a need to
demonstrate his power also to the Buddhist clergy. Hence he asked monks to bow
to him, and Yancong wrote his “Futian lun” 福田論 (i.e., Treatise on the fields
of blessedness) to criticize the emperor for this. The term futian (fields of bless-
edness) is a metaphor referring to Buddhism. Buddhism is the field out of which
blessedness grows.6 Hence “Futian lun” actually means “Treatise on Buddhism.”
Both “Shamen bu jing wangzhe lun” and “Futian lun” are partially contained
in Shamen bu ying bai su, juan 2. Both texts consist of preface and main text.
The Shamen bu ying bai su basically renders the main texts, while the prefaces
are replaced or at least modified. For the “Shamen bu jing wangzhe lun” see: T
2108, p. 449, a12 – p. 451, b10; for the “Futian lun” see: T 2108, p. 452, c3 –
p. 454, b28. The complete versions of both texts are found in the Hongming ji
and in the Guang Hongming ji (“Shamen bu jing wangzhe lun”: T 2102, p. 29,
c19 – p. 32, b11; “Futian lun”: T 2103, p. 280, c18 – p. 283, a9). The main text
of the “Futian lun” starts with a brief introduction, in which Yancong explicitly
praises Huiyuan’s “Shamen bu jing wangzhe lun” and names it as the precursor
to his own argumentation.
The “Shamen bu jing wangzhe lun” has already widely been studied in re-
search.7 Hence in the present article I will concentrate on the “Futian lun” being
the second major text arguing that monks should not bow to the emperor. In sec-
tion 1, I will show that it is difficult to identify two conflicting schools among the
mainstream of Buddhist apologias. Even though the parties support different con-
cepts of how Buddhism should approach the emperor, they cannot be differentiat-
ed into those who want monks to bow and those who do not. In fact, both have
many aspects of their argumentation in common. In section 2, I will show how
the “Futian lun” fits into the literary tradition of Chinese Buddhism from a stylis-
tic point of view. In section 3, I will explain the textual organization of the
“Futian lun” and demonstrate how the contents fit into the overall argumentation.
In section 4, I will provide a brief overview over the life and works of Yancong.
As an enhancement to the article, I provide a full translation of the “Futian lun.”

cle, I am referring to 彥琮, the author of the “Futian lun” 福田論, not to 彥悰, the compiler of
the Shamen bu ying bai su.
Arthur Wright, “The Formation of Sui Ideology, 581–604,” in: Chinese Thought and Institu-
tions, ed. John K. Fairbank (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957), pp. 71-104.
Livia Kohn, Cosmos and Community: The Ethical Dimension of Daoism (Cambridge, Mass.:
Three Pines Press, 2004), p. 25.
Erik Zürcher, The Buddhist Conquest of China, pp. 238f.; Hurvitz, “‘Render unto Caesar’,”
pp. 80-114; Kobayashi Masayoshi 小林正美, “Eon Shamon fukei ōsha ron no ichi kōsatsu” 慧
遠「沙門不敬王者論」の一考察, Tōyō Bunka 東洋文化 57 (1977), pp. 101-131; Peng
Ziqiang 彭自強, Fojiao yu Ru Dao de chongtu yu ronghe 佛教與儒道的沖突與融合 (Chengdu:
Bashu shushe, 2000), pp. 213-250.

1. Conflicting Approaches in Positioning Buddhism

in Its Attitude towards the Emperor
As a religion coming from abroad, Buddhism from the beginning faced difficult
circumstances in China. China understood itself as the central high culture of the
world. Non-Chinese cultures were regarded as barbarian. The introduction of
teachings coming from these “barbarian” regions was hard to accept for the intel-
lectual elite of China. On the one hand, Confucian scholars were worried about
superstitious beliefs and disorderly ways of thought infiltrating Chinese culture.
On the other hand, Daoism – evolving as a religion since Han dynasty – saw it-
self in competition with the religious system of Buddhism and hence also used the
Confucian arguments to counteract the popularization of Buddhism in China.
In order to make Buddhism flourish in China despite these odds, Buddhist
monks frequently attempted to win imperial favor for their religion. For this pur-
pose, Buddhism had to be in line with the Confucian state doctrine. The quest for
imperial favor did not comply with reluctance to bow to the emperor. Hence un-
der the Tuoba-Wei, a monk named Faguo 法果 had found another way of coming
to terms with the Buddhist doctrine. He justified bowing to his emperor saying
that he saw him as a Buddha, as bowing to a Buddha was obviously appropriate
for Buddhist monks.8
Worshiping emperors as Buddhas or Bodhisattvas subsequently became a com-
mon technique of argumentation, mainly because this way the rule of emperors
could be presented as a matter of soteriological significance. Thus Buddhism
could present itself as a religion able to provide spiritual legitimation to the rule
of emperors or entire dynasties. Especially Liang Wudi 梁武帝 (r. 502–550) and
Sui Wendi 隋文帝 (r. 581–605) relied on Buddhism in the legitimation of their
authority. Liang Wudi was ordained as a Bodhisattva by the monk Huiyue 慧約
(452–535) and referred to as huangdi pusa 皇帝菩薩 or pusa tianzi 菩薩天子
since then. Sui Wendi was ordained as a Bodhisattva by the monk Zhiyi 智顗
(538–597). He was also styled as Cakravartin and identified with the Yueguang
tongzi 月光童子 (i.e., “prince moonlight”). In this way Buddhism repeatedly
succeeded in winning imperial favor and was able to gain influence in China.
Since the ideologies of Buddhist legitimation employed by these emperors have
been throughly studied, I will just make a passing reference here. May it suffice
to name the relevant works regarding both Liang Wudi9 and Sui Wendi.10

Thomas Jansen, “Der chinesische Kaiser Liang Wudi (reg. 502–549) und der Buddhismus,” in:
Zwischen Säkularismus und Hierokratie: Studien zum Verhältnis von Religion und Staat in Süd-
und Südostasien, ed. Peter Schalk (Uppsala: Uppsala University, 2001), p. 91, n. 7.
Mori Mikisaburō 森三樹三郎, Ryō no Butei – Bukkyō ōchō no higeki 梁の武帝. 佛教王朝の悲
劇 (Kyōto: Heirakuji shoten, 1956); Suwa Gijun 諏訪義純, “Ryō Butei Bukkyō kankei jiseki
nenpu kō” 梁武帝仏教関係事蹟年譜考, Bukkyō shigaku kenkyū 佛教史學研究 26 (1983) 1,
pp. 45-76 (part 1); 26 (1984) 2, pp. 72-94 (part 2); id., “The Reform of Imperial Ritual during
the Reign of Emperor Wu of the Liang Dynasty (502–549),” unpublished dissertation, Cam-
bridge University, 1998; Andreas Janousch, “The Emperor as Bodhisattva: The Bodhisattva

In the early Tang dynasty, however, emperors gave preference to Daoism and
held Buddhism in much less esteem. In this situation the monk Falin 法琳 (572–
640) ventured to attempt to convince the emperor of the qualities of Buddhism.
For this purpose he wrote his apologetic scriptures Poxie lun 破邪論 (T 2109,
Treatise on the destruction of heresy) and Bianzheng lun 辯正論 (T 2110, Trea-
tise on the discussion of what is right), which I have analyzed and partially trans-
lated in a monograph based on my doctoral dissertation.11 In these scriptures he
presents Buddhism as a religion which could benefit the emperor in ruling the
country much more than Daoism. In order to demonstrate the loyalty of the Bud-
dhist saṃgha, Falin emphatically shows respect to the Tang ruling house. The
Poxie lun includes petitions to the princes Li Jiancheng 李建承 and Li Shimin 李
世民.12 Especially the petition to Li Shimin greatly flatters the addressee. He who
later became emperor as Tang Taizong 唐太宗 was still a prince then, but had al-
ready presented himself as one of the most influential figures in the establishment
of the Tang dynasty. Falin praises Li Shimin as a political figure truly being an
agent of soteriology. Obviously such addresses do not comply with not bowing.
In fact both petitions conclude with statements demonstrating Falin’s eagerness to
bow to the prince respectively addressed: “My dirty [formulations] insult your
sublimity. In panic I kneel down” Chen du wei yan. Fu zeng song xi 塵黷威嚴.
伏增悚息 (T 2109, p. 475, b27-28); “I prostate in front of the great prince’s pal-
ace hall” Fu wei dawang dian xia 伏惟大王殿下 (T 2109, p. 477, a24). Certainly
such formulations are obligatory parts of any petition to imperial authorities.
However, Falin thereby does not conform to the radical position supported by
Huiyuan and Yancong. As far as the contents of Falin’s apologetic argumentation
are concerned, it cannot be said that there would be an explicit rejoinder to them.
The question of whether or not monks should bow to the emperor is simply ig-

Ordination and Ritual Assemblies of Emperor Wu of the Liang Dynasty,” in: State and Court
Ritual in China, ed. Joseph P. McDermott (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999),
pp. 112-149; Yan Shangwen 顔尚文, Liang Wudi 梁武帝 (Taibei: Dongda tushu gongsi, 2000);
Jansen, “Der chinesische Kaiser Liang Wudi (reg. 502–549) und der Buddhismus,” pp. 89-118.
Yamazaki Hiroshi 山崎宏, Zui no kōso buntei no bukkyō chikokusaku 隋の高祖文帝の佛敎治
國策 (Tōkyō: Bukkyō Hōsei Keizai Kenkyūjo, 1934); Arthur F. Wright, “The Formation of Sui
Ideology, 581–604,” pp. 71-104; Tsukamoto Zenryū 塚本善隆, “Zui Buntei no shūkyō fukkō
toku ni daijō bukkyō shinkō: Chōan o chūshin toshite” 隋文帝の宗教復興特に大乗仏教振興:
長安を中心として, Nambu bukkyō 南都仏教 32 (1974), pp. 29-53; Erik Zürcher, “‘Prince
Moonlight’: Messianism and Eschatology in Early Medieval Chinese Buddhism,” TP 68 (1982),
pp. 1-75; Ōno Masahito 大野雅仁, “Zui Buntei jidai no bukkyō: Kaikōki no meisō no shōchi o
megutte” 隋文帝時代の仏教 開皇期の名僧の招 致をめぐって, Ōtani Daigaku Daigakuin
kenkyū kiyō 大谷大學大學院研究紀要 8 (1991), pp. 139-166; Lan Jifu 藍吉富, Suidai fojiao
shi shulun 隋代佛教史述論 (Taibei: Taiwan shangwu yinshuguan, 1998), pp. 1-27.
Jülch, Die apologetischen Schriften des buddhistischen Tang-Mönchs Falin (cf. n. 4).
For details regarding these petitions see Jülch, Die apologetischen Schriften, p. 61. For a transla-
tion of the petition to Li Jiancheng see ibid., pp. 128-133, for a translation of the petition to Li
Shimin see ibid., pp. 146-158.

nored. Falin could not actually oppose Huiyuan and Yancong, since in terms of
Buddhist doctrine what they said was correct. As this doctrinal position, however,
stood in conflict with Falin’s political goals, he chose to leave it unmentioned.
As I have shown in my monograph, Falin’s writings mark the peak of a long
apologetic tradition seeking to establish Buddhism in China by presenting it as a
teaching which could ideally support imperial rule. Hence Falin’s writings are the
foremost in a larger corpus of treatises being defined as such by a common pat-
tern of argumentation.13 This pattern involves much more than just showing re-
spectful demeanor to the ruling house. It also needed to be shown that Buddhism
was actually not a barbarian teaching that did not belong into the Chinese high
culture, but rather an authentic religion having played an integral role in Chinese
society since antiquity. Secondly it was essential to demonstrate that Daoism, as
the major competitor, could not parallel Buddhism. These patterns of argumenta-
tion are shared by the texts in the Shamen bu ying bai su. It seems that the best
way to win tolerance for the position that monks should not bow to the emperor
was to employ the same arguments, emphasizing that Buddhism had its valid
place in Chinese society. Subsequently I will provide two examples for arguments
that play a major role in the corpus of treatises “summed up” by Falin and re-
appear in the Shamen bu ying bai su.
(1) In Buddhist apologetic literature it was held that King Mu of Zhou 周穆王
traveled to the West, since he recognized the Buddha appearing in India as a sage
ruler (i.e., shengren 聖人), who might jeopardize the rule of the Zhou dynasty.
This re-interpretation of the ancient legendary tradition of the Mu tianzi zhuan 穆
天子傳 was employed to demonstrate two different things: First, through this sto-
ry the Buddha was given the status of a shengren, which shew that Buddhism
could hardly be considered as barbarian. Secondly, it provided evidence that
Buddhism had influenced China already during antiquity.14 This story, which was
so important to Falin and his predecessors, is also found in the Shamen bu ying
bai su (T 2108, p. 456, b4-6).
(2) Beginning with the Erjiao lun 二教論 (Treatise of the two teachings), it
was argued that Buddhism and Confucianism were both jiao 教, whereas Daoism
was a jia 家. Hereby Buddhism and Confucianism were presented as standing on
one level, whereas Daoism was depicted as something inferior.15 This argument is
also found in the Shamen bu ying bai su (T 2108, p. 457, a5-8).
A more careful analysis, for which I do not have the space here, would show
that in fact many of the arguments presented in apologias courting imperial favor

Regarding the definition of this corpus see: Jülch, Die apologetischen Schriften, pp. 28-35.
Ibid., pp. 47, 77, 92ff.; Thomas Jülch, “The Buddhist Re-interpretation of the Legends Sur-
rounding King Mu of Zhou,” JAOS 130 (2010) 4, pp. 625-627.
Jülch, Die apologetischen Schriften. pp. 57, 89; Catherine Despeux, “La culture lettrée au ser-
vice d’un plaidoyer pour le Bouddhisme. Le ‘Traité des deux doctrines’ (‘Erjiao Lun’) de
Dao’an,” in: Bouddhisme et lettrés dans la Chine médiévale, ed. Catherine Despeux (Paris –
Louvain: Peters, 2002), pp. 145-227.

re-appear in the texts of the Shamen bu ying bai su. In this sense it can be said
that the treatises arguing that monks should not bow to the emperor are also rooted
in Buddhist apologetic literature, but dissociate themselves by upholding an ideal
which would have made it difficult to ensure the survival of Buddhism in China.

2. Stylistic Observations
After the previous discussion of ideological implications, I will now turn to an
analysis of stylistic features. For this I need to narrow the discussion down to a
comparison of Falin’s apologetic treatises and Yancong’s “Futian lun.” In the
above I have been able to argue referring to bigger textual traditions, since these
traditions could be defined by certain ideological positions. There is, however, no
consistence in these traditions as far as stylistic features are concerned. These fea-
tures, it seems, do not primarily depend on the ideological positions supported in
a text, but rather on the fashion of the time the text was composed in.
While the “Futian lun,” in its ideological positions, stands in a certain contrast
to the apologetic treatises of Falin, it totally conforms to them in its stylistic con-
ception. Most of the main text of the “Futian lun” is written in parallel style. I
include the Chinese original text into the subsequent translation, in order to make
the parallel patterns also graphically visible. Hence it becomes clear that in the
“Futian lun” parallel style plays a much more prominent role than in classical,
pre-Buddhist Chinese literature. The mode of expression employed in the “Futian
lun” is a result of the emergence of the narrative style of bianwen 變文, which in
the Six dynasties (220–589) became popular as a means of entertainment in Chi-
nese Buddhism.16 Bianwen-texts were exclusively composed in parallel style, and
each text consistently maintains the same parallel pattern from the beginning to
the end. Thus bianwen-texts differentiate themselves from the previous narrative
tradition, which used guwen 古文 only. In guwen, parallelism occurs much more
occasionally. The new bianwen-style became an identification factor for Buddhist
texts, and thus also Buddhist apologetic texts playfully employed it. The “Futian
lun” is not actually written in bianwen, as it does not exclusively consist of sen-
tences in parallel style, and since it uses different parallel patterns. However, the
high content of parallelisms shows the influence of the bianwen-tradition.
Early texts of Chinese Buddhist apologetic literature do not show this
bianwen-influence yet. Texts like the “Zhengwu lun” 正誣論, the “Mouzi lihuo
lun” 牟子理惑論 (both preserved in Hongming ji, juan 1) or also the “Shamen
bu jing wangzhe lun” were still written in guwen. However, in the course of
time, bianwen gained more and more public popularity. The pro-Buddhist Sui
dynasty could be seen as the climax of this development.17 This might be the rea-

Substantial research has been carried out in this field. In particular, the following monograph
has been recognized as an excellent study: Victor H. Mair, T’ang Transformation Texts. A
Study of the Buddhist Contribution to the Rise of Vernacular Fiction and Drama in China
(Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989).
Werner Eichhorn, Kulturgeschichte Chinas (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1964), pp. 178f.

son why in the Sui dynasty the influence of bianwen could also be felt in non-
narrative Buddhist literature. Yancong’s works are one example, but also in the
famous Lidai sanbao ji 歷代三寶紀 (T 2034) one could make similar observa-
tions. In early Tang-dynasty the apologetic scriptures by Falin were written in
this style as well. My monograph on Falin provides a translation of substantial
parts of Falin’s apologetic scriptures. There I also included the Chinese text to
make the parallel structures graphically visible. 18 We see the same style as in
Yancong: different patterns of parallelisms follow upon each other, sometimes in-
terrupted by prose passages.

3. Dialogue Structure
After this discussion of stylistic features I will now come to the textual organiza-
tion and contents of the “Futian lun.” The preface describes the circumstances
which led Yancong to write the treatise. It is explained how the Sui emperor
Yangdi ordered the monks to bow, how they refused, and eventually succeeded in
their resistance. In the main text, the discussion of whether or not monks should
bow to the emperor is presented as a dialogue between two fictional characters,
one being the “host” (zhu 主) and one the “guest” (ke 客). The host, being a sup-
porter of Buddhism, argues that monks should not bow to the emperor. The guest,
supporting the Confucian position, insists that bowing to the emperor should be an
inevitable obligation for monks. Finally the host enforces the guest’s surrender.19
Major parts of Falin’s apologetic treatises are written in dialogue form as
well.20 In those parts, the discussion is usually opened by an anti-Buddhist agita-
tor, while a Buddhist apologist replies in defense of the dharma.21 In case of the
“Futian lun,” the discussion is – rather untypically – opened by the host. Both
host and guest speak three times. One statement by the host together with the
counterstatement by the guest form what I call a sequence (abbreviated as “S”).
The dialogue between host and guest presented in the “Futian lun” consists of
three sequences (S1-S3). Below I will briefly summarize the contents and show
the argumentative relevance of each sequence.

Jülch, Die apologetischen Schriften, pp. 144-676.
Interestingly, in “Shamen bu jing wangzhe lun,” section 5, we find a similar (yet shorter) dia-
logue between a “host” (zhuren 主人) and “guests” (zhongbin 眾賓). Here, too, the host sup-
ports the Buddhist position, whereas the guest stands corrected in the end (Hurvitz, “‘Render
unto Caesar’,” pp. 112f.).
The Bianzheng lun (T 2110) consists of twelve scriptures, nine of which are written in dialogue
form. In case of the shorter Poxie lun (T 2109), the situation is slightly different. The main part
of the work does, however, at least come close to dialogue form, as it quotes eleven proposi-
tions ascribed to the anti-Buddhist agitator Fu Yi 傅奕 (555–639) and renders Falin’s reply to
each of them (Jülch, Die apologetischen Schriften, pp. 60-66).
The only exception to this rule is the first scripture in Falin’s Bianzheng lun, which is opened
by a “Venerable of the Academy” (shang xiang gongzi 上庠公子), speaking in favor of Confu-
cianism (Jülch, Die apologetischen Schriften, pp. 293-310).

S1: The host opens the discussion describing the value of Buddha, dharma,
and saṃgha in guiding people, and the auspiciousness of the Buddha’s enlighten-
ment. He closes his introductory statement by saying that taking all this into ac-
count, it is inexcusable to ask those who represent the teachings of the Buddha to
bow to the emperor.
In his reply, the guest first displays that in Chinese tradition the emperor is
understood as the supreme and unparalleled authority. He then goes on to criti-
cize Buddhism for falling short of its own principles, as becoming a monk in-
volves “leaving the family” (chujia 出家), which would have to be seen as an act
of neglect rather than an act of compassion. The guest concludes by saying that
those who are guilty of such inappropriate conduct, do in no way compare to the
emperor and should not challenge his authority.
S2: The reaction presented by the host at this point is by far the most elaborate
statement in the entire dialogue. He explains that the irreconcilable differences
between Buddhism and Confucianism result from the fact that Buddhism repre-
sents the inner teachings, i.e., the principles of the dharma, whereas Confucian-
ism represents the outer teachings, which are confined to human affairs only. On
this background the host asks the guest to learn about Buddhism without judging
it from a Confucian point of view. Hence the host presents seven points, which
he wants the guest to understand about Buddhism.
Replying to the host’s lengthy lecture, the guest objects that, in his under-
standing, spirituality, being what the guest sees represented in the “inner teach-
ings,” would in fact be separated from the world of humans, and should therefore
be practiced under the guidance of ritual conductors only. Such practices, he ex-
plains, are present in Confucianism in the form of ancestor worship, which –
contrary to Buddhism – would be in full agreement with the authority of the em-
peror. He goes on to argue that the Buddha, as well as all the other saints of
Buddhism, had passed away ages ago, which, in his view, would diminish the
relevance of Buddhism for the present age. On this basis, the guest recommends
that the Buddhists should rather convert to the religious tradition of Confucian-
ism, which sees the emperor as the highest authority.
S3: The host reacts by saying that in fact ancestor worship does not count as
spirituality, since ancestor worship merely seeks to comfort ancestors having en-
tered an afterlife as demons, whereas spirituality is the quest for enlightenment by
means of revealing one’s numen. The host goes on to argue that Confucianism,
lacking spiritual insight, exclusively relies on sensory perception, which does not
catch the true nature of things. He also points out that to the guest anything mi-
raculous would qualify as spiritual, whereas in fact spirituality would refer to
one’s own mental work, through which one would have to achieve the realization
of a deeper truth. The host concludes that monks being on this path of spiritual en-
deavor should be held in great esteem, and should not be asked to bow to the em-
After this, the guest cannot maintan his position any more, and declares his
agreement with the host.

Through their dialogue structures, both the “Futian lun” and the aforemen-
tioned parts of Falin’s apologetic treatises stand in the tradition of philosophical
argumentation in ancient China. Ancient Authors frequently invented dialogues
between a person displaying a position they sought to disprove, and another per-
son replying with the counter-argumentation. As a random example, one might
name the dialogue between Yao 堯 and the border warden of Hua 華 (Zhuangzi
莊子, chapter 12), arguing against the Confucian concept of sagehood. Yao, be-
ing one of the main sages in Confucian thought, presents his definition of sagely
disposition, which the border warden fundamentally invalidates in his reply. 22
Both Yancong and Falin take up this dialogical shape of argumentation to dis-
prove the positions they are arguing against. However, whereas in ancient philoso-
phy dialogues are kept comparatively brief, Yancong and Falin bring in a greater
wealth of arguments and intertextual references, as well as an extensive usage of
parallel style, so that the dialogical argumentation style is presented in what
might be called an enhanced medieval fashion.

4. Life and Works of Yancong

Before I subsequently offer a translation of the “Futian lun,” I will provide a brief
introduction to the vita of Yancong. He has a biography in Xu Gaoseng zhuan 續高
僧傳, juan 2. 23 There is no mention of him in official Chinese historiography.
Hence, in reconstructing Yancong’s life, we mainly have to rely on the account in
the Xu Gaoseng zhuan. I subsequently summarize the main facts known from there.
We learn that his secular surname was Li 李, and that he was a native of Zhao
prefecture 趙郡, a place in present-day Hebei.24 It is emphasized that since his
early youth he was known as a person of distinguished talents, as he was able to
recite even lengthy sūtras by heart after short periods of preparation. At the age
of ten he became a monk, and chose the dharma name “Daojiang” 道江 (River of
the Way) for himself. Under the Northern Qi 北齊 (550–577), he was frequently
summoned to court to give spiritual guidance to the rulers. After the Northern
Zhou 北周 (557–581) had conquered the Northern Qi, Daojiang was forced to
take off his monk’s robe. It is said that he became a layman outwardly, but re-
mained a monk inwardly. Under these circumstances, he changed his name from
Daojiang to Yancong. By the new rulers he was appointed as a scholar of the
Tongdao guan 通道觀 (Monastery of Penetrating the Dao), where he gave lec-
tures on Zhouyi 周易, Laozi 老子, and Zhuangzi 莊子. When the Sui emperor
Wendi restored Chinese Buddhism, Yancong returned into the saṃgha and estab-
lished close ties to the pro-Buddhist court. He gave teachings at the Daxing guo si

Victor H. Mair, Wandering on the Way: Early Taoist Tales and Parables of Chuang Tzu (Hono-
lulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1994), pp. 106f.
T 2060, p. 436, b15-p. 439, c15.
See Zhongguo lishi diming da cidian 中國歷史地名大辭典, ed. Wei Songshan 魏嵩山 (Guang-
zhou: Guangdong jiaoyu chubanshe, 1995), p. 784.

大興國寺 and on imperial orders became translator of Buddhist sūtras. In fact

Yancong’s translation activities are what he is mainly known for.25 Other than the
“Futian lun” only three of Yancong’s many works are extant:
(1) The “Bianzheng lun” 辯正論 (i.e., Treatise on the discussion of what is right), pre-
served within Yancong’s biography in Xu Gaoseng zhuan, juan 2,26 praises the innova-
tions in the translation of Buddhist texts introduced by Shi Dao’an 釋道安 in the 4th c.
(2) The “Tongji lun” 通極論 (i.e., Treatise on the penetration of the absolute), pre-
served in Guang hongming ji, juan 4,27 mainly refutes Confucian criticism of the Bud-
dhist doctrine of karmic retribution.
(3) The “Shamen bu ying bai su zong lun” 沙門不應拜俗總論 (i.e., General treatise
[arguing that] śramaṇas should not bow to secular authorities), preserved in Guang
hongming ji, juan 25,28 continues the discussion started in the “Futian lun.”

5. “Futian lun”
(Treatise on the Fields of Blessedness)


隋煬帝大業三年新下 In the third year of the Daye-period, emperor Yangdi of

律令格式.令云.諸僧道 Sui decreed a new legal order. The order said: “All Bud-
士等有所啟請者.並先 dhist monks and Daoist priests that have been installed
須致敬然後陳理.雖有 have to show utmost respect [to the emperor] first, and
此令僧竟不行.時沙門 demonstrate their understanding thereafter.” Even though
there was this order, none of the monks followed it. [In
particular] to the śramaṇa Yancong this matter was unac-
ceptable. Therefore, in order to attack it, he wrote the
刺.言之者無罪.聞之者 Treatise on the Fields of Blessedness. His intention was
以自誡也. to criticize the order. He who preached [the treatise]
(i.e., Yancong) was free of fault. He who heard [the trea-
tise] (i.e., Yangdi) took it self-critically.
帝後朝見諸沙門並無 At an audience with the emperor, all the śramaṇas still
致敬者.大業五年至西 did not show utmost respect. In the fifth year of the
京郊南大張文物.兩宗 Daye-period, [the emperor] went to the Southern part
朝見.僧等依舊不拜.下 of the capital’s Western green, where he assembled a
勅曰.條令久行.僧等何 great number of scholars. Two abbots were given an
audience, however, the monks, as before, did not bow.

Yan Zhiqiang 顔治強, “Cong ‘Bianzheng lun’ kan Yancong de fanyi sixiang” 從《辯正論》
看彥琮的翻譯思想, Fanyi shihua 翻譯史話 1994, pp. 55-56.
T 2060, p. 438, a18-p. 439, c15.
T 2103, p. 113, b17-p. 117, c5.
T 2103, p. 291, b17-c28.

為不致敬. [Thereupon the emperor] decreed: “The order has been

in force for long. How can it be that the monks do not
respect it?”
時明贍法師對曰.陛下 At that time, the dharma-master Mingshan replied:
弘護三寶.當順佛言.經 “Your Majesty greatly protects the three Jewels29 and
中不令拜俗.所以不敢 has to follow the words of the Buddha. In the sūtras,
違教. monks are not asked to bow to laypeople, and we do
not dare to disobey the teachings here.”
又勅曰.若不拜敬.宋武 Again it was decreed: “If monks do not bow to show re-
時何以致敬.對曰.宋武 spect, why did they show utmost respect in the days of
虐君偏政.不敬交有誅 [Emperor] Wu of Song (420–423)?” The answer was:
戮.陛下異此無得下拜. “[Emperor] Wu of Song was a tyrannic ruler, and fol-
lowed a one-sided policy. Those who did not show re-
spect [to him] were executed. Your Majesty is different
from this and would not require [monks] to bow.”
勅曰.但拜. [Thereupon] it was decreed: “They must bow!”
僧等峙然.如是數四令 But yet, the monks kept standing in an upright fash-
拜. ion. In that way, they were ordered to bow four
僧曰.陛下必令僧拜.當 The monks said: “If your Majesty insists that we
脫法服著俗衣.此拜不 monks bow, we will have to take off our dharma
晚. robes and wear layman’s clothes. In this case, we
would not reject bowing.”
帝夷然.無何而止. The emperor took it calmly and remained silent with-
out hindering them.30
明日設大齋法祀.都不 The next day a great ritualistic dharma offering was
述之. organized. [The emperor still] did not comment on the
後語群公曰.朕謂僧中 Later on, [the emperor] said to all of the dukes: “We
無人.咋南郊對答亦有 thought there was no man [with good abilities] among
the monks. However, yesterday31 in the Southern green

The term of the “three jewels” (sanbao 三寶) refers to Buddha, dharma, and saṃgha (A.C.
Muller, Digital Dictionary of Buddhism 電子佛教辭典, URL: http://www.buddhism-dict.net/
ddb/, accessed 24 September 2012).
This means that the emperor agreed that monks should take off their dharma robes, if this was
what it took to make them bow to him.
The character 咋 has to be read as 昨 here.

人矣.爾後至終必無拜 there was one!”32 Since then, [Buddhist] monks never

者. bowed again.
其黃巾士女.初聞令拜 However, men and women [wearing] yellow turbans
合一李.衆連拜不已.帝 early received the order to bow according to the rules.33
亦不齒問之. They all bowed unceasingly. But still the emperor de-
spised asking anything of them.34

Main text

論曰.昔在東晉太尉桓 Discussing [this, I] say: Earlier on, during the Eastern

玄議令沙門敬於王者. Jin, the Taiwei, Huan Xuan, suggested [for the mon-
arch] to order the śramaṇas to show respect to the

廬山遠法師高名碩德. The dharma-master Hui[yuan] from Mount Lu was of

great reputation and accomplished virtue.

傷智幢之欲折 He was saddened by the banner of wisdom being about

悼戒寶之將沈 to break. He was distressed by the jewel of discipline
being about to sink.

乃作沙門不敬王者論. Thus he wrote the “Treatise arguing that śramaṇas

設敬之儀當時遂寢.然 should not bow to kings.” The ritual of bowing [to
以緝詞.援列杳深. kings] was set aside then. He used shining examples,
and the terms he employed were very profound.

後學披覽.難見文意.聊 If one goes through [this text] studying it in later days,

因暇日.輒復申敘. it is difficult to get hold of the message. Just because I
am having leisure days, I can discuss it in further detail.

更號福田論云 Under the title of Treatise on the Fields of Blessedness

it is said:

This means that in the Southern green the emperor found a monk who spoke to him in such a
way that he was finally willing to agree that Buddhist monks would not have to bow.
The character li 李 is lexically defined as a homophone replacement for li 理 and has to be read
as such here.
Here it is shown that the emperor preferred Buddhist monks to Yellow turbans (i.e., Daoist
monks and priests), although the latter observed the imperial decree.

忽有嘉客來自遠方.遙 Suddenly there was an honored guest coming from a

附桓氏.重述前議.主人 distant place. For a long time he had been in agreement
正念久之.抗聲應曰. with Mr. Huan [Xuan] and recapitulated his afore men-
tioned position. The host read it in an exacting manner.
After a long time, he said with a loud voice:


客似未聞福田之要.吾 It seems that you have never heard about the essen-
今相為論之. tials of the fields of blessedness. Today I will explain
them to you:

夫云.福田者何耶. 三 Generally I would like to say the following: What are

寶之謂也. the fields of blessedness? The term refers to the three

功成妙智 He who through merit attained wonderful wisdom and

道登圓覺 者 who following the way reached complete enlighten-
佛也 ment, is called the Buddha.

玄理幽寂 The principles of the mysterious and the tranquility of

正教精誠 者 the dark, the correct teaching and the pure uprightness
法也 are called the dharma.

禁戒守真 The prohibitive vows and the preserving of truthful-

威儀出俗 者 ness, the respectful gestures and the departure from
僧也 laity are called the saṃgha.

皆是 They all are guides for [the beings of] the four kinds
四生導首 of birth35 and ships for [the beings on] the six paths.36

高拔天人 They are superior to beings of heavenly realms.

重踰金石 They are more valuable than gold and jade.

譬乎珍寶劣相擬議 Even when comparing them to precious jewels, these

would still be no match.

The term “four kinds of birth” (si sheng 四生; skr.: catur-yoni) refers to (1) birth out of a
mother’s womb, (2) birth out of an egg, (3) birth out of spawn, (4) birth out of metamorphosis.
See William Edward Soothill, A Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms. With Sanskrit and Eng-
lish Equivalents and a Sanskrit-Pali Index (Taipei: Ch’eng Wen, 1975), p. 178.
The term of the “six paths” (liu qu 六趣) refers to the six spheres of rebirth, being those of
(1) gods, (2) demigods, (3) humans, (4) animals, (5) hungry ghosts, (6) hell beings. See Soothill,
Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms, p. 138.

佛以法主標宗 The Buddha, as lord of the dharma, established the

法以佛師居本 teachings. The dharma, as the master of the Buddha,
僧為弟子崇斯佛法 forms their basis. The saṃgha is the [collective of]
students, adoring both the Buddha and the dharma.

可謂 It can be said that precious and inferior occupy the

尊卑同位 same place, that beginning and end are in the same
本末共門 gate.37

語事三種 Speaking about matters, these are three different kinds.

論體一致 Discussing substance, they are united in their purpose.38

處五十之載 [The Buddha] taught for fifty years.

弘八萬之典 [His teachings] are spread in eighty thousand scriptures.

所說指歸唯此至極 The idea being expounded is only here of such ulti-

mate depth.

寢聲滅影 When [the Buddha] made his voice fall asleep and his
盡雙林之運 shadow disappear, the cycle underneath the twin trees
刻檀書葉 was exhausted. 39 Carved in sandal wood and written
留一化之軌 on [palm] leaves, the path of the one teaching is pre-

聖賢間起 Sages and geniuses appeared one after the other.

門學相承 Among [Buddhist] schools one followed upon the other.

和合為群 It is a harmonious unity and therefore forming a group.

住持是寄 It is holding [the dharma] and therefore seen as reliable.

This is an explanation of the principle of śūnyatā (kongxing 空性), according to which things
are not separate from each other.
Arguing out of the view of śūnyatā, this is an explanation saying that the “three jewels” of
Buddha, dharma and saṃgha may be three different matters, but are on a deeper level just dif-
ferent manifestations of one and the same force striving to save all sentient beings.
Underneath the twin trees in the Śāla-wood, the Buddha preached the Parinirvāṇa-sūtra and
died afterwards. The terms of the voice falling asleep and the shadow being hidden are meta-
phors referring to the death of the Buddha.
The “one teaching” is the teaching of the Buddha. See Soothill, Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist
Terms, p. 4. In ancient India texts could be carved in sandal wood or written on palm leaves.

金人照於漢殿 The golden man41 enlightens the Chinese temple halls.

像法通於洛浦 The semblance of the dharma42 penetrates to the shores
of the Luo river.43

並宗先覺 Everybody takes [the Buddha’s] previous enlighten-

俱襲舊章 ment as teaching. Everyone repeats [the Buddha’s]
ancient sermons.

圖方外而發心 He pictured what is outside the saṃsāric world and

棄世間而立德 sets up his heart. He cast off the common world and
erects virtue.

官榮無以動其志 The officials’ splendor could not move his mind. 44

親屬莫能累其情 None of the relatives could weary his feelings.45

衣則截於壞色 His clothes were worn out and had dirty colors. His
髮則落於毀容 hair was cut off and [lying on the ground] disorderly
in its shape.46

不戴冠而作儀 He performed ceremonies without wearing [ceremoni-

豈束帶而為飾 al] hats. How should he have worn things just to
adorn himself?

上天之帝猶恒設禮 The emperor of the highest heaven endlessly performs

下土之王固常致敬 rites. The king of low ranking noblemen eternally
shows respect.47

The expression “golden man” ( jinren 金人) refers to the Buddha. The term originates from the
legend according to which the Han emperor Mingdi 漢明帝 (r. 58–76) had a dream of a golden
man, which turned out to be a vision of the Buddha. See Tsukamoto Zenryū, A History of Early
Chinese Buddhism. From Its Introduction to the Death of Hui-yüan (Tōkyō: Kodansha, 1985),
vol. 1, pp. 41-50.
The expression “semblance of the dharma” (xiangfa 像法), refers to the second phase of the
decay of the dharma. The first 500 years after the Parinirvāṇa of the Buddha were defined as
the phase of the “correct dharma” (zhengfa 正法), the next 1,000 years as the “semblance of
the dharma.” See Soothill, Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms, p. 193 – entry on 正法). In
the Chinese context, Buddhism is frequently referred to as “semblance of the dharma,” since
this second phase had already begun when Buddhism first reached China.
Both lines of this parallelism refer to the installment of Buddhism in China.
This means that the splendor of the court and his position as a crown prince could not deter him
from leaving all this in favor of a life as spiritual practitioner.
This means that none of the Buddha’s relatives, like especially his father, Śuddhodana, succeeded in
persuading him to dispense with his spiritual commitment in favor of his duties as a heir apparent.
These are references to clothing and shaved head which the Buddha chose for himself during his
time as an ascetic.
Here it is shown that both heavenly and worldly authorities are bound to pay homage to the Buddha.

有經有律斯法未殊 As long as the sūtras and the vinaya exist, this law
若古若今其道無滯 will never subside. Whether ancient or current, this
path is without impediments.

推帝王之輕重 [You, however,] value the weight of emperors and

亞神祇之大小 kings and despise the greatness of gods and ghosts.

八荒欽德 [You hope that] virtue will be respected in the eight

四海歸仁 remote places and that benevolence will be re-installed
僧尼朝拜非所聞也 in the four seas. But that monks and nuns should bow
to them is not something that I have heard.

如懷異旨.請陳雅見. If you should have different attitudes in your heart,

please list them as noble views.

客曰 The guest says:

周易云 The Zhouyi says: “The great virtue of heaven and

天地之大德曰生 earth is called ‘generation’. The great treasure of the
聖人之大寶曰位 sage is called his ‘position’.”48

老子云.域中有四大.王 The Laozi says: “Within the realm there are four
居一焉. things that are great, and the king counts as one.”49

竊以 I think that nothing that is not a king’s land could be

莫非王土.建之以國 established as a state, that nobody who is not a king’s
莫非王臣.繫之以主 servant could be called a lord.

則天法地.覆載兆民. [The emperor] models himself upon heaven and takes

方春比夏.生長萬物. earth as his law.50 [Hence he is like] what covers and
carries the people.51 [The emperor] compares to spring
and competes with summer. [Hence he is like] what
procreates and raises the ten thousand things.

This is a quotation from Xici zhuan 繫辭傳, part 2. See Jin Jingfang 金景芳 – Lü Shaogang 呂
紹鋼, Zhouyi quanjie. 周易全解 (Jilin: Jilin daxue chubanshe, 1989), p. 502; Richard John
Lynn, The Classic of Changes: A New Translation of the I Ching as Interpreted by Wang Bi
(New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), p. 77.
This is a quotation from Laozi, chapter 25. See Tao Te Ching. Trans. D.C. Lau (Hong Kong:
The Chinese University Press, 1989), pp. 36-39.
The expression “to model oneself upon heaven” (zetian 則天) goes back to Lunyu 8.19. There
we read: “Great indeed was Yao as a ruler! How lofty! It is heaven that is great and it was Yao
who modelled himself upon it” 大哉堯之為君也!巍巍乎!唯天為大,唯堯則之. See Confu-
cius, The Analects, pp. 72f. The expression “to take earth as one’s law” ( fa di 法地) goes back
to Laozi, chapter 25 (Tao Te Ching, pp. 36f.). Even though the latter expression appears in a

照之以日月之光 [The king] is like the splendor of sun and moon shin-
潤之以雲雨之氣 ing on people. [The king] is like the force of clouds
and rain moistening people.

六合則咸宗如海 The six harmonies respect him like the sea.

百姓則共仰如辰 The people look up to him like to the stars.

戎夷革面 He makes Rong- and Yi-barbarians change their atti-

馬牛迴首 tudes. He makes horses and cows sink their heads.

蛇尚荷於隋侯 Even the snake knew it owed the Duke of Sui a fa-
魚猶感於漢帝 vor.52 Even the fish felt the support of the Han em-

豈有 How can there still be people leaving their house-

免其編戶 hold,54 using the dharma as an excuse?

忘度脫之寬仁 They forget the broad humaneness of overcoming

遺供養之弘造 saṃsāra. They fail the broad commitment of provid-
ing maintenance.55

高大自許 They think of themselves as being sublime and great.

卑恭頓廢 They give up their modest obedience.

譬諸禽獸.將何別乎. They compare to birds and beasts! How would they

differ from them?

必能 They should necessarily be able to employ their spir-

駕御神通.得成聖果. itual powers, to attain the fruit of becoming a sage,
道被天下.理在言外. and to cover the world with the way, to order it be-
yond words.

different context in the Laozi, both expressions are here used to describe the omnipotence and
the mission of the emperor.
Heaven covers the people. Earth carries the people.
This is a reference to a story preserved in Quan Tangwen 全唐文, juan 132. The story title is:
“Eulogy on a snake carrying a jewel in the mouth to repay the Duke of Sui” She xian zhu bao
Sui hou zan 蛇銜珠報隋侯賛, see Dong Gao 董誥, Quan Tangwen (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju,
2001), vol. 2, p. 1326.
I have not been able to identify the story the text is referring to here.
I.e., how can there still be people who evade taxation?
Here it is stated that monks violate their own principle of compassion, since by leaving their
families they deprive their dear ones of their basis of existence.

然今 However, today they hollowly practice shaving [their

空事剃除.尚增三毒. heads], but actually augment the three poisons; they
虛改服飾.猶染六塵. stupidly modify their clothing, but are still infected
with the six senses.

戒忍弗修 They do not practice śīlas and forbearance and never

定智無取 attain meditation and wisdom.

有乖明誨 They disrespect the clear teachings and are not differ-
不異凡俗 ent from secular people.

詎應 How dare they compete with the ten thousand chari-

恃宣讀之勞 ots56 based on the labor of reading aloud;57 or deny re-
而抗禮萬乘. spect to the one person (i.e., the king) because of dif-
藉形容之別 ferences in his outside appearance.58

比丘接足於居士 Bhikṣus do embrace the feet59 of laypeople. Bodhisatt-

菩薩稽首於慢眾 vas do offer prostrations60 to the arrogant saṃgha.

斯文復彰.厥趣安在. In the texts this is repeatedly made clear. But where is

this practiced today?

如以權道. 難沿佛性可 Tentatively speaking I would have to say: If even

尊. 況是君臨罔非神降. Buddha-nature is to be respected, how much more
would sovereigns have to be, as none of them are not
divine emanations?

The term of “ten thousand chariots” (wan sheng 萬乘) refers to the military force of the emper-
or. In Mengzi, “Liang Hui wang” 梁惠王, part 1, the term “state of ten thousand chariots”
(wan sheng zhi guo 萬乘之國) is used to refer to the king’s state. Cf. Zhu Xi 朱熹, Sishu
zhangju jizhu 四書章句集注 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1983), p. 201.
In this context “reading aloud” refers to the recitation practices performed by Buddhist monks
and nuns. The message is that such practices do not suffice to bring the Buddhist saṃgha on
eye level with the king.
Here the message is that Buddhists should not deny respect to the king, just because he does not
wear a monk’s robe.
The term jiezu 接足 originally refers to embracing the Buddha’s feet as a means of showing re-
spect and devotion (Muller, Digital Dictionary of Buddhism). Here it just means “to show re-
spect” without reference to the Buddha.
Similarly to jiezu, the term of jishou 稽首 (meaning “to make prostration”) also refers to a ritu-
al normally performed to worship the Buddha (Muller, Digital Dictionary of Buddhism), whereas
here it just means “to show respect” without referring to the Buddha.

伯陽開萬齡之範 Boyang61 is an example for ten thousand years.62

仲尼敷百王之則 Zhongni63 is the ideal of hundred kings.64

至於謁拜必遵朝典.獨 When talking about a royal audience, people have to

有沙門敢為陵慢.此而 respect the court statutes. Only the śramaṇas dare to
可忍.孰可容乎.弊風難 disobey them. Can this be tolerated? Can this be ac-
革.惡流易久.不遇明 cepted? Bad manners are hard to be mended. Evil tra-
皇.誰能刊正. ditions can easily last for a long time. [If people
would] not have a splendid ruler, who would be able
to correct things?

忽起非常之變 Suddenly arising abnormal changes [of court statutes]

易招無信之譏 would easily invite untruthful mockery.65

至言有憑.幸垂詳覽. My correct words have their basis. Please read them



主曰 The host says:

吾所立者內也 What I establish, is the inner. What you suffer from,

子所難者外也 is the outer.66

內則通於法理 The inner penetrates the principles of the dharma.

外則局於人事 The outer is confined to human affairs.

相望懸絕.詎可同年. The inner and the outer are very far from each other.
How could they be brought together?

As seen in the Zhengyi commentary to the biography on Laozi in Shiji, juan 63, Boyang 伯陽 is
the zi of Laozi. See Sima Qian 司馬遷, Shiji 史記 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 2008), vol. 7, p.
This might be a reference to the Daode jing being written as a text offering advice to the mon-
Zhongni 仲尼 is the zi of Confucius.
Respecting the monarch is a central theme in Confucianism which in essence is a political ideol-
ogy designed to consolidate the imperial rulership.
I.e., if the Buddhist understanding of monks not having to bow to the emperor became com-
monly accepted, the court would lose authority also among the common people.
Buddhism is hereby referred to as the “inner” teaching, while Confucianism is referred to as the
“outer” teaching.

斯謂 This means that you study but do not embrace, that

學而未該 you hear but do not understand.

子之所惑吾當為辯.試 What you are misled about, I must subject to clarifica-

舉其要總有七條. tion. Attempting to address the main points of this, I
will have seven statements to make.

無德不報一也 The first is that what is without virtue should not be


無善不攝二也 The second is that who is not brilliant will not be in-
cluded [into the saṃgha].

方便無礙三也 The third is that skillful means [upāya] are free of im-

寂滅無榮四也 The fourth is that tranquil extinction is free of splen-


儀不可越五也 The fifth is that the authority should not be overruled.

服不可亂六也 The sixth is that demeanor should not allow for confu-

因不可忘七也 The seventh is that the causes may not be forgotten.

初之四條.對酬難意. The first four statements respond to your position.

後之三條.引出成式. The following three statements lead to the forms that
should be followed.

吾聞 I have heard that heaven does not speak, but yet the
天不言而四時行焉 four seasons are going round;67 that the king does not
王不言而萬國治焉 speak, but the ten thousand countries are still in or-

This is a reference to Lunyu 17.19. There it says: “The Master said: ‘I am thinking of giving up
speech.’ Zigong said: ‘If you do not speak, what would there be for us, your juniors, to transmit?’
The Master said: ‘What does heaven ever say? Yet there are the four seasons going round, and
there are the hundred things coming into being.’” 子曰:「予欲無言。」子貢 曰:「子如不言, 則
小子何述焉?」子曰:「天何言哉? 四時行焉, 百物生焉。」See Confucius, The Analects, pp.
This is probably a reference to Lunyu 15.5. There it says: “If there was a ruler who achieved
order without taking any action, it was, perhaps, Shun” 子曰:「無為而治者,其舜也與?」
See Confucius, The Analects, pp. 148f.

帝有何力民無能名 Which power the emperor has, the people cannot

成而不居 name. 69 He shapes but does not rest. He creates but
為而不恃 does not depend.

斯乃先王之盡善大人 This is the absolute brilliance of previous kings and

之至德 the ultimate virtue of great men.70

同霑庶類齊預率賓 [The power of the emperor] equally moistens the di-

verse kinds and evenly spreads among the assembled

幸殊草木 [Hence] felicity is shared by grasses and trees. And

差非蟲鳥 also insects and birds are not discriminated.

戴圓履方 On top of one’s head is the round (i.e., heaven), be-

俯仰懷惠 low one’s feet is the square (i.e., earth). No matter
whether looking up or down, one will always have
kindness in the heart.72

食粟、飲水. Eating the grain and drinking the water, the beings
飽滿、銜澤. reach satiety and preserve the favors.

既能 Since [the emperor] can allow people to become

矜許出家 monks and exercise compassionate virtue by entering
慈德入道 the path; give up the crude things from the past and
斷麁業於已往 pray for wonderful results in the future –

既蒙重惠 he already carries heavy sagacity and remotely re-

還思厚答 flects towards manifold replies.

This is a reference to Lunyu 8.19. There it says with regard to Yao 堯: “He was so boundless
that the people were not able to put a name to his virtues” 蕩蕩乎!民無能名焉. See Confu-
cius, The Analects. pp. 72f.
Both expressions describe features that qualify the emperor. The expression “brilliance of pre-
vious kings” refers to the sage rulers of Chinese antiquity. The expression “ultimate virtue of
great men” refers to sages manifesting themselves in their ideals (such as, e.g., Boyi 伯夷 and
Shuqi 叔齊). For a general discussion of the ideal of sagehood in Chinese thought see: Julia
Ching, “The Ancient Sages (sheng): Their Identity and Their Place in Chinese Intellectual His-
tory,” OE 30 (1983–1986), pp. 1-18.
The expressions “diverse kinds” and “assembled guests” both refer to the common people.
Both lines of this parallelism say that the blessings of a sage ruler reach all of his subjects.
This is another description of what is achieved by the power of the emperor.

方憑萬善之益 If [the emperor] relies on the benefit of the ten thou-

豈在一身之敬 sand marvels, how could he depend on bowing to his

追以善答攝報乃深 The collected results he attained through the marvel-

徵以身敬收利益淺 ous replies are very profound. But if he requested
them just to make [monks] bow to his body, the bene-
fits received would be rather shallow.74

良由 Therefore [when bowing to the emperor] monks

僧失正儀 would lose their correct appearance, and secular [au-
俗減餘慶 thorities] would reduce the spread of felicity.

僧不拜俗.佛已明言.若 The Buddha did emphasize that monks do not bow to

知可信.理當遵立.知謂 secular [authorities]. If the teachings can be trusted,
難依事應除廢. their principles will have to be followed. If [the em-
peror] has difficulties in following the teachings, he
should discard [Buddhist] activities all together.

何容 How can it be that [the emperor] appreciates monks in

崇之欲求其福 wanting to take the felicity they bring about, but dis-
卑之復責其禮 dains them in expecting them to perform the rites [of
bowing to him]?

即令從禮便同其俗 If they are ordered to follow these rites, they will be

猶云請福未見其潤 on the level of the secular world. In this case, when
asking them to bring about felicity, one would never
see any blessings resulting from this.

此則 This would mean to preserve [Buddhism] in a way

存而似棄 which is close to rejection, to shape monkhood in a
僧而類民 way resembling laymanship.

非白非黑無所名也 If something is neither white nor black, you cannot

tell what it is.75

The “one body” ( yi shen 一身) is the emperor’s body. The argument is that, since the emperor
is qualified by the tremendous powers described above, he should not need to demonstrate his
authority by making monks bow to him.
This means that the supernatural powers ascribed to the emperor will lose their merit if misused
as a justification for asking monks to bow to the emperor.
This means that monks bowing to the emperor would be neither true monks nor true laypeople.

竊見郊禋總祭.惟存仰 I see that whenever the jiaoyin76 is being performed, it

福為尊.僧尚鄙斯不恭. exclusively consists of respectfully looking for merit.
如何令僧拜俗. Yet monks still despise it as insufficiently reverential.
So how could one expect monks to [follow the Confu-
cian rites of] bowing to secular authorities?

天地可反斯儀罕乖.後 Even if heaven and earth are reversed, the rules [of
更為敘. respecting monks] should be followed. I will explain
more later.

是謂第一.無德不報者 This is the first thing: What is without virtue should

也. not be rewarded.

法既漸衰.人亦稍末.罕 Now the dharma gradually disappears, mankind is

有其聖.誠如所言. about to be decimated, and sages are rare. It is as you

雖處凡流.仍持忍鎧. However, despite living in the secular world,78 [monks]

縱虧戒學.尚談智典. will still wear monastic robes.79 Although lacking dis-
cipline and knowledge, [monks] will still speak about
the scriptures of wisdom.

如塔之貴 They are appreciated like pagodas. They are respected

似佛之尊 like the Buddha.

歸之則善生 If one takes refuge to them, one generates merit. If

毀之則罪積 one counteracts them, one accumulates fault.

The ritual of jiaoyin 郊禋 was performed by emperors in ancient and medieval China. Request-
ing the manifestation of positive circumstances, smoke was sent up to heaven. The ritual is
mentioned in Liangshu 梁書, juan 5. There we read: “The chariot of the Luan and the shape of
the dragon should be worshiped through jiaoyin” (Luan lu long zhang, gai yi jiaoyin er gui 鸞
輅龍章,蓋以郊禋而貴). See Yao Silian 姚思廉, Liangshu 梁書 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju,
1973), vol. 1, p. 118.
In his previous statement the guest had explained that in the current age monks do not practise
authentic spirituality any more.
That they are “still in the secular world” means that they are not enlightened yet, as a true rep-
resentative of the dharma should be. The host is saying this as a concession to the previous
statement of the guest.
The term renkai 忍鎧 literally means “armor of patience,” i.e., patience is used like an armor
to avoid all anger. Since this is the attitude employed by monks, the term can also refer to the
monk’s robe in a figurative sense. See Soothill, Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms, p. 237.

猛以始發 In setting out [to become a monk] they are so deter-

割愛難而能捨 mined that even about the difficulty of departing from
引凡終期 their loved ones, they feel indifferent. Coming from
成覺逈而能趣 the common world, [they have] eschatological pur-
poses, and even though enlightenment may be far,
they still can achieve it.

斯故 Therefore, at the time of shaving one’s head, Deva

剔髮之辰. 天魔遙懾. Māra, in his remote abode, feels fear; and at the day
染衣之日. 帝釋遙歡. of putting on the dyed robe, Śakra, in his remote
abode, rejoices.80

妓女聊披.無漏遂滿. If prostitutes just throw on [the dharma robe] for a short

醉人暫剪.有緣即結. time, they can evade the passion-stream and attain
nirvāṇa. If drunkards just shave [their heads] tempo-
rarily, auspicious conditions will manifest themselves.

龍子賴而息驚 Nāgārjuna81 relied [upon the monks’ robe] and paused

象王見而止怖 anxiety. Gajapati82 saw [the monks’ robe] and stopped

威靈斯在. The deities accompanied these events. The ceremonial

儀服是同 robes were chosen accordingly.

幼未受具.對揚佛旨. Youngsters not yet having taken the vows 83 convert

小不可輕.光揚僧力. themselves to the will of the Buddha. The small ones
that cannot be treated lightly 84 are subdued by the
power of the saṃgha.

Both “shaving one’s head” and “putting on the dyed robe” are metaphoric expressions for be-
coming a monk.
Nāgārjuna (Longshu 龍 樹 ), was the founder of Mādhyamika philosophy. See David J.
Kalupahana, Nāgārjuna: The Philosophy of the Middle Way. SUNY series in Buddhist Studies
(New York: State University of New York Press, 1986).
Gajapati (xiangwang 象王), “king of the elephants,” is one of the many epithets of Śākyamuni.
See Soothill, Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms, p. 391.
This is a reference to “a monk who has not yet formally pledged himself to all the command-
ments” (wei shou ju ren 未受具人). See Soothill, Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms. p. 188.
This is a reference to “the four that may not be treated lightly” (si bu ke qing 四不可輕): (1) a
prince though young, (2) a snake though small, (3) a fire though tiny, (4) a novice though a be-
ginner. See Soothill, Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms, p. 169.

波離既度.釋子服心. When Upāli transmitted [the vinaya], the disciples of

尼陀亦歸.匿王屈意. Śākyamuni accepted it with all their heart. 85 When
Jeta turned [to the pure faith], King Prasenajit also ad-
justed himself.86

乃至 This shows that no matter whether old or young, one

若老若少可師者法 can take the dharma as one’s teacher; that no matter
無賤無豪所存者道 whether without money and without talents, one can
preserve the way.

然後 After that, between wisdom and stupidity, between

賢愚之際 remaining silent and speaking

生熟相似 newer and older [students] are similar to each other;

去取非易 rejecting and accepting is not an easy question.87

肉眼分別.恐不逢寶. If you use the eyes of flesh88 to separate, I am afraid

信心平等.或有值真. you will miss out the treasures. If the faith of your
mind is indifferent, you might find the real saints.89

Upāli is known as the monk who at the council of Rājagṛha proclaimed the vinaya, which be-
came the basis for proper conduct in the monastic order.
The characters nituo 尼陀 would seem to be an alternative writing standing for shituo 祇陀, be-
ing the Chinese transliteration of “Jeta.” Jeta, a son of King Prasenajit, donated a park to the
Buddha which became known as the Jetavana. Hence Jeta was a devout lay follower of the
Buddha. The sentence here suggests that due to his son’s influence Prasenajit was also convert-
ed to the Buddha’s teachings.
This means that all members of the saṃgha – whether wise or stupid, whether remaining silent
or speaking – will sooner or later find their way to enlightenment. So within the saṃgha newer
and older students could not necessarily be differentiated from each other, and whom one
should accept (i.e., respect) or reject (i.e., disrespect) is not an easy question (meaning one
should respect all members of the saṃgha).
The “eyes of flesh” (rouyan 肉眼) are the eyes being part of the saṃsāric body, as opposed to
eyes which come as attainments in wisdom cultivation on the path to enlightenment. All togeth-
er there are ten different eyes (shiyan 十眼) representing ten different levels of insight. The
eyes of flesh represent the first level, the “omniscient eyes” ( yiqie zhiyan 一切智眼) the tenth.
See Soothill, Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms, p. 52.
This means that since it is hard to tell who in the saṃgha possesses which level of realization,
one would miss out realized people when judging based on the basis of a saṃsāric understand-
ing, but one might find the realized ones when employing a mind of equanimity towards all
members of the saṃgha.

纔滿四人.即成一眾. It is only when having four monks together that one

僧既弘納.佛亦通在. could speak of a group.90 If monks let offerings flour-
ish, it is as if the Buddha himself was present.

食看沸水之異. If at the meal the miracle of boiling water was seen,

方遣施僧. offerings were made to the monks. If in clothing the
衣見織金之奇. wondrousness of gold weaving was seen, offerings
乃令奉眾. were made to the saṃgha.

僧之威德不亦大矣 Are reputation and virtue of the monks not great?

足可以號 Certainly they can be called the utmost of the fields of

良福田之最 blessedness and the school of the holy teachings.

是謂第二.無善不攝者 This is the second thing: Who is not brilliant will not
也. be adopted [into the saṃgha].

若論 If discussing Vimalakīrti’s merit, it rose above the

淨名之功. 早昇雲地. cloud-bhūmi 91 long ago; [and if discussing] what he
臥疾之意. 本超世境. expressed lying sick in bed, it originally surpasses the
worldly area.

久行神足 For long he had practised “deva-foot ubiquity.”92 Every-

咸嘆辯才 one sighed in awe of his rhetoric talent.

新學頂禮 [Those who just] began their study [of the way, prac-
誠謝法施 tise] the bowing of their heads. [Those who feel]
wholehearted gratitude [to the Buddha, practise] the
spreading of the dharma.

事是權宜.式非常准.謂 [Contrary to this,] matters that are just temporary,

時暫變.其例乃多. styles that are not permanent 93 will change as time
passes by. There are many examples for this.

According to the vinaya, at least four monks have to practice together to accumulate positive karma
(T 1425, p. 422, b3-4).
This is a reference to the “dharma-cloud bhūmi” 法雲地 being the final stage in the sequence of
the ten bhūmis 十地, within which buddhahood is attained. See Soothill, Dictionary of Chinese
Buddhist Terms, pp. 47, 274.
The term of “deva-foot ubiquity” (shenzu 神足) refers to the supernatural power of being able to
appear at will in any place. This ability is important to Buddhas and bodhisattvas, as they aim at
being of help to all sentient beings. See Soothill, Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms, p. 335.
The terms “matters that are just temporary” and “styles that are not permanent” here refer to
state ceremonial (on the basis of which Buddhist monks are expected to bow to the emperor).

則有 Therefore Akāśagarbha94 did not respect these things,

空藏弗恭. 如來無責. and the tathāgata did not blame him; 95 the śrāma-
沙彌大願. 和尚推先. ṇeras96 [are superior through] their great vow, and the
monks [are superior in] being respected.97

一往直觀.悉可驚怪. When for the first time noticing this through direct
再詳典釋.莫匪通塗. perception, everybody would be startled. However,
when receiving explanations of the scriptures, nobody
would not penetrate the path.

不輕大士 One should not take the mahāsattvas easily; they ex-
獨興高跡 clusively spread the high traces.

警彼上慢之流 One has to warn about the current of high arrogance,98

設茲下心之拜 [making people] establish this bowing of the degener-
ated heart.99

偏行一道 [That way people would] practise the one way100 in a

直用至誠 tendentious way, [even though they are attempting to]
take a direct approach to perfect sincerity.101

既非三惠 Since [the bowing of the degenerated heart] does not

詎是恒式 follow the threefold wisdom, 102 how could that be a
permanent style [to follow]?

Akāśagarbha (Xukongzang 虛 空 藏 ) is the central bodhisattva in the court of space in the
garbhadhātu maṇḍala. See Soothill, Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms, p. 390.
This means that even such a great bodhisattva as Akāśagarbha, too, disrespected “matters that are
just temporary” and “styles that are not permanent” (here possibly referring to vinaya protocols),
but was in no way admonished by the Buddha.
The term śrāmaṇera (shami 沙彌) refers to novices of the Buddhist order. See Soothill, Diction-
ary of Chinese Buddhist Terms, p. 242.
This means that even novices and monks do not need to respect “matters that are just temporary”
and “styles that are not permanent,” since their spiritual qualification comes through more essen-
tial matters.
That is, the emperor expecting monks to bow to him.
The term “bowing of the degenerated heart” designates the inappropriateness of this bowing.
The term “one way” ( yi dao 一道) is an expression referring to the Mahāyāna. See Soothill,
Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms, p. 9.
The terms “tendentious” ( pian 偏) and “direct” (zhi 直) are opposed to each other here: even
though monks would want to take a direct approach to perfect sincerity (i.e., immaculate spiritu-
ality), they would be practising the Mahāyāna in a tendentious way, if they bowed to the emperor.
The term “threefold wisdom” (san hui 三慧, skt.: trividhā prajñā) refers to (1) the wisdom
gained by listening to expositions of the dharma, (2) the wisdom gained by contemplating the
truth, (3) The wisdom gained by the cultivation of meditation. See Muller, Digital Dictionary of

因機作法.足為希有. That the dharma would be based on the world mecha-

假弘教化.難著律儀. nism can certainly be called rare. [In fact] it was re-
vealed to establish the teachings and should not be
impeded by rules or ceremonies.

大聖 The great sage (i.e., the Buddha) emits the splendor

發二智之明 of the two wisdoms and creates the subjugation of the
制五篇之約 five delusions.

廢其爵齒 He lets go of ranks and age difference and preserves

存其戒夏 the dharmic age.103

始終通訓.利鈍齊仰. He taught from the beginning to the end, so that both

耆幼有序.先後無雜. astute and dull people respected him. Elders and
youngsters have their sequence, so that older and
newer students are not intermingled.

未以一出別業 He does not use any alternative rules outside the sys-
而令七眾普行 tem, but just asks all of the seven groups104 to abide
by one common practice.

自然之理.分明可見. This is a natural principle, which can be seen clearly.

昔 In former times, when the wife died, [Zhuangzi] sang

妻死歌而鼓盆 and beat a basin;105 [and] when the body was buried at
身葬嬴而襯土 the river of Ying, [Jizi’s son] was turned into earth.106

The term jie xia 戒夏 literally means “summers since [one has taken] the vows.” With the vows
(i.e., the ordination as a monk) one enters dharmic life. So here the term just stands for
dharmic life. The statement made in this parallelism is that the Buddha is not interested in a
person’s worldly rank or biological age. His concern would be for how long a person has been
in the dharma.
The “seven groups” (normally written qiyou 七有 or qisheng 七生) are the seven stages of ex-
istence in a human world. See Soothill, Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms, p. 13.
This is a reference to a story in Zhuangzi, chapter 18: “Master Zhuang’s wife died. When Master
Hui went to offer his condolences, he found Master Zhuang lolling on the floor with his legs
sprawled out, beating a basin and singing. ‘She lived together with you,’ said Master Hui, ‘raised
your children, grew old and died. It’s enough that you do not wail for her, but isn’t it a bit much for
you to be beating on a basin and singing?’” 莊子妻死,惠子吊之,莊子則方箕踞鼓盆而歌. 惠
子曰:「與人居,長子老身死,不哭亦足矣,又鼓盆而歌,不亦甚乎!」. For the Chinese
text see Chen Guying 陳鼓應, Zhuangzi jinzhu jinyi 莊子今注今譯 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju,
2001), p. 450; the English translation was taken from Mair (trs.), Wandering on the Way, p. 168.
This is a reference to Liji, “Tangong” 檀弓, part 2. There it says: Jizi of Yanling had gone to
Qi; and his eldest son having died, on the way back [to Wu], he buried him between Ying and
Bo. Confucius [afterwards] said: “Jizi was the one man in Wu most versed in the rules of pro-
priety, so I went and saw his manner of internment. The grave was not so deep as to reach the
water-springs. The grave-clothes were such as [the deceased] had ordinarily worn. After the in-

此亦匹夫之節 How could the ambitions of these common people

豈概明王之制 乎 have the shape of the laws of the luminous kings?107

況 How much more must then the enlightened statutes be

覺典冲邃 deep and broad and the holy words be hidden and se-
聖言幽密 cret?108

局執一邊 Confining oneself to holding just one aspect would be

殊乖四辯 different from riding the four rhetoric powers.

是謂第三.方便無礙者 This is the third thing: “Skillful means” are free of

也. impediments.

且復 Apart from that, the zhushi of Zhou 109 was in royal

周之柱史久掌王役 service for a long time, and the sikou of Lu 110 has
魯之司寇已居國宰 served as the state’s chancellor.

ternment, he raised a mound over the grave of dimensions sufficient to cover it, and high
enough for the hand to be easily placed on it. When the mound was completed, he bared his left
arm; and, moving to the right, he went round it thrice, crying out, ‘That the bones and flesh
should return again to the earth is what is appointed. But the soul in its energy can go every-
where; it can go everywhere’. And with this he went on his way.” Confucius [also] said, “Was
not Jizi of Yanling’s observance of the rules of ceremony in accordance with [the idea of
them]?” [Translation by the author of this article] 延陵季子適齊.於其反也.其長子死.葬
也.其合矣乎.See Wang Wenjin 王文錦, Liji yijie 禮記譯解 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju,
2001), p. 148.
The “luminous kings” (mingwang 明王), being a class of deities in esoteric Buddhism, are the
messengers and manifestation of Vairocana’s wrath against evil spirits. See Muller, Digital Dic-
tionary of Buddhism.
This means that, while the wisdom of Zhuangzi beating a basin upon his wife’s death does not
even compare to the laws of a luminous king, the true enlightened essence of the Buddha’s
teachings would even be much deeper than this.
I.e., Laozi. Zhushi 柱史 is an official title translated as “archivist.” See Charles O. Hucker, A
Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China (Taibei: SMC Publishing, 1985), no. 1423.
I.e., Confucius. Sikou 司寇 is an official title translated as “minister of justice.” See Hucker,
Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China, no. 5671.

宗歸道德.始曰無名. When relying on dao and de, the beginning is the

訓在詩書.終云不作. “nameless.”111 When delving into the [Book of ] Songs
and the [Book of ] Documents, one finally has to re-
main inactive.112

祖述堯舜 One would take Yao and Shun as examples.

憲章文武 One would take [the emperors] Wen [of Zhou] and
Wu [of Zhou] as idols.

鞠躬恭敬.非此而誰. Bowing and respecting? If not in front of them, in

front of whom [should it be done]?

巢許之風.望古仍邁. Looking into antiquity, the manners of Chao[fu] and

夷齊之操.擬今尚逈. Xu[you]113 are far away. Compared to today, the expla-
nations of Bo[yi] and Shu[qi]114 are somewhat distant.

焉似 [But] how can [all of them] compare to those highly

高攀十力 acquainted with the ten powers, 115 remotely ferrying
遠度四流 across the four currents.116

The term “nameless” (wu ming 無名) is an expression taken from Laozi, chapter 1. There it
says: “The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth” Wu ming tiandi zhi shi 無名天地之
始. See Lau, Tao Te Ching, pp. 2f.
The term “remaining inactive” (bu zuo 不作) is an expression taken from Liji, “Yueji” 樂記.
There it says: “The people remain inactive (i.e., they refrain from uprisings). The dukes obey
(i.e., they follow the emperor)” Bao min bu zuo. Zhuhou bin fu 暴民不作.諸侯賓服. See
Wang Wenjin, Liji yijie, p. 531.
Chaofu 巢 父 and Xuyou 許 由 were hermits living during the days of Yao 堯 . See Aat
Vervoorn, Men of the Cliffs and Caves: The Development of the Chinese Eremitic Tradition to
the End of the Han Dynasty (Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 1990), pp. 161f.,
Boyi 伯夷 and his brother Shuqi 叔齊 were sons of the duke of Guzhu 孤竹 and belonged to the
nobility of the state of Shang 商. Just before the invasion of the Shang state by the Zhou 周,
Boyi unsuccessfully attempted to persuade King Wen of Zhou not to invade Shang. After the
invasion was carried out Boyi and Shuqi hid on Mount Shouyang 首陽(山). Since they did not
want to nourish themselves from the agricultural products of the Zhou empire, they died of
starvation. See Zhongguo lidai renming da cidian 中國曆代人名大辭典, ed. Zhang Huizhi 張
撝之 (Shanghai 1999), vol. 1. p. 1097; Kongzi da cidian 孔子大辭典, ed. Zhang Dainian 張岱
年 (Shanghai 1993), p. 117.
The “ten powers” (shi li 十力) are the supernatural powers of the Buddha. See Soothill, Dic-
tionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms, p. 46.
The “four currents” (si liu 四流) are (1) wrong views ( jian 見), (2) desire ( yu 欲), (3) exist-
ence ( you 有), (4) ignorance (wu ming 無明). See Soothill, Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist
Terms, p. 178.

厭斯有為之苦 [Monks] despise this suffering of having activity.117

欣彼無伴之滅 [Monks] rejoice about that extinction of being without

不繫慮於公庭 Their thoughts are not bound to the duke’s court.

未流情於王事 Their feelings do not stream to the royal affairs.

自然解脫.固異儒者之 Naturally they will reach liberation. This is certainly

儔矣. different from Confucian fellows.

是謂第四.寂滅無榮者 This is the fourth thing: Tranquil extinction is free of

也. glory.

至如 As far as sacrifices to demons and gods or ceremonies

祭祀鬼神. 望秩川岳. for river and mountain [deities], the numerous statutes
國容盛典. 書契美談. on the state’s ceremonies or the elegant discourse in
written sources are concerned,

神輩為王所敬 gods are worshiped by kings, whereas there is no ritu-

僧猶莫致於禮 al that monks would bow to gods.

僧眾為神所禮 The monks are venerated by the gods, so kings should

王寧反受其敬 refrain from asking them to bow.

上下參差翻違正法.衣 Through the reversal of the difference between high

裳顛倒何足相方.令神 and low [kings] turn against the correct dharma. If
擁護.今來在僧.祈請之 [for example] clothing is turned upside down, how
至.會開呪力.竟無拜 could it ever be the same? You ask gods to protect
理. you. But today monks are here. You should pray to
them intensively. They can bless you with the power
of their mantras. There is no reason for them to bow
to you.

是謂第五.儀不可越者 This is the fifth thing: Authority should not be over-

也. ruled.

本皇王之奮起 In the origin, the powerful rise of the venerable mon-

必真人之託生 arch must be the accouchement of a perfected one –

This means one despises the secular way of life which does not recognize the concept of
This means that one rejoices in the understanding of śūnyatā, in which there is no attachment to
anything or anybody any more.

上德雖祕於淨心 although the supreme virtue is hidden in a calm mind,

外像仍標於俗相 the outside appearance still shows common features.119

是以 Therefore, since the way manifests itself in the black

道彰緇服則情勤宜猛 robes, 120 [the monks’] will and ambitions should be
業隱玄門則形恭應絕 strong; since for their work they retire beyond the
dark gates,121 [the monks’] bowing to others should be

求之故實備有前聞 If you seek the reasons for this, they have accurately
been presented in what one hears from previous ages:

國主頻婆父王淨飯 Bimbisāra, the ruler of the state [of Magadha], and

昔之斯等咸已克聖 Śuddhodana, the king being father [of the Buddha]
both attained the sage status in the past.

專修信順每事歸依 But still they focused on cultivating faith and obedi-

縱見凡僧還想崇佛 ence, and took refuge in all matters. Upon seeing just
common monks, they respected them as devoted to
the Buddha.

不以跪親為孝 [Monks] should not [be seen] as guilty of a lack of pi-

計非不孝之罪. ety, if they do not kneel in front of their parents to
不以拜君為敬 show piety. [Monks] should not [be seen] as guilty of
豈是不敬之愆. a lack of respect, if they do not bow to their monarchs
to show respect.

所法自殊 Since the methods [of monks and commoners] are dif-
所法已別 ferent, what they follow must also be different.

體無混雜.制從於此. So their bodily [demeanor] should not allow for con-

fusion, but bring clarity with regard to this.122

是謂第六.服不可亂者 This is the sixth thing: Demeanor should not allow for
也. confusion.

This means that even though the emperor may be of sublime nature, he is after all still a human
The term “black robes” refers to the monks’ robes.
The term “dark gates” refers to the gates of the monastery.
This means that the bodily demeanor should make clear whether a person is a monk or a com-
moner. A commoner should be recognizable in his bowing to the emperor. A monk should be
recognizable in his not bowing to the emperor.

謹案 According to the marvelous scriptures of sūtra123 and

多羅妙典 the true teachings of Śākyamuni

乃云 it is said that he who lived among the kṣatriyas was to

居剎利而稱尊 be seen as the venerable and that he who relies on
藉般若而為護 prajñā is to be seen as the protector.

四信不壞 So if the [emperor’s] four kinds of faith 124 are inex-

十善無虧 haustible and if the [emperor’s] ten kinds of good-
ness125 are unceasing;

奉佛事僧 then by offering to the Buddha and by serving the

積功累德 saṃgha, he will collect merit and accumulate virtue.

然後 By doing so he will achieve the descent of the essence

日精月像之降 of the sun and the semblance of the moon, as well as the
赤光白氣之感 sensation of the red splendor and the white life force;126

金輪既轉 the golden wheel will already be turned, 127 and the
珠寶復懸 jewel treasury will again be sent down.128

應天順民 [As the emperor is endowed with all these blessings]

御圖握鏡 observing the needs of the people he follows heaven;
holding a mirror he guides the pictures.

The term duoluo 多羅 functions as an abbreviation for xiuduoluo 修多羅 being a Chinese trans-
literation for Skt. sūtra.
The four “kinds of faith” (si xin 四信) are: (1) the faith in the bhūtatathatā (zhenru 眞如), (2)
the faith in the Buddha, (3) the faith in the dharma, (4) the faith in the saṃgha. See Soothill,
Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms, p. 179, entry 四種信心).
The “ten kinds of goodness” (shi shan 十善) are the avoidance of the ten evils (shi e 十惡): (1)
avoidance of killing (bu shasheng 不殺生), (2) avoidance of stealing (bu toudao 不偷盜), (3)
avoidance of adultery (bu xieyin 不邪淫), (4) avoidance of lying (bu wangyu 不妄語), (5)
avoidance of harsh words (bu ekou 不惡口), (6) avoidance of speaking with double tongue (bu
liang she 不兩舌), (7) avoidance of worthless chatter (bu qiyu 不綺語), (8) avoidance of greed
(bu tanyu 不貪欲), (9) avoidance of anger (bu zhenwen 不瞋恚), (10) avoidance of perverted
views (bu xiejian 不邪見). See Muller, Digital Dictionary of Buddhism.
These are descriptions of the blessings that will appear to those who have offered to the Buddha
and served the saṃgha.
This means that one will be born into a world where the dharma has already been expounded by
a Buddha.
This means that one will be able to come into contact with Buddha, dharma, and saṃgha.

始開五常之術 The art of the five constants will start to open up, and
終弘八正之道 the path of the eight correctnesses will be popularized
till completion.129

亦宜 [At this time, the emperor] should also broadly reflect

覆觀宿命 on previous lives and think back to previous causes.

敬佛教而崇僧寶 [If the emperor] respects the teachings of the Buddha

益戒香而增慧力 and appreciates the jewel of the saṃgha, contributes
to the fragrance of the śīlas and increases the power
of the wisdom,

自可 this will naturally lead to the increase of the heavenly

天基轉高 [ruling] foundation even beyond the height and size of
比梵宮之遠大 Brahma’s palace, and to the consolidation of the holy
聖壽恒固 [emperor’s] longevity to the extent of the life span of
同劫石之長久 age-old stones.

然則 That way, the strength of the thunder will become ex-

雷霆勢極 treme, and the strength of dragon and tiger will be in-
龍虎威隆 creased.130

慶必賴兼 Felicity necessarily depends on both [emperor and

共使怒及 monks]. Together they should feel urged to strife for
it ambitiously.

出言布令.風行草偃. [To achieve this,] statements should be made and or-

既抑僧體.誰敢鱗張. ders should be given. As the wind goes, the grass will
bend.131 But when suppressing the monks’ status like
this, who will dare to unfold the scales?132

These, too, are results the emperor can attain by offering to the Buddha and by serving the saṃgha.
The “strength of the thunder” and the “strength of dragon and tiger” are metaphors repre-
senting the power of the emperor.
This is a reference to Lunyu, 12.19. There it says: “By nature the gentleman is like wind, and the
small man is like grass. Let the wind sweep over the grass and it is sure to bend” ( junzi zhi de feng,
xiaoren zhi de cao, cao shang zhi feng bi yan 君子之德風,小人之德草,草上之風,必偃). See
Confucius, The Analects, pp. 114f.
To “unfold the scales” (lin zhang 鱗張) is a threatening gesture shown by animals when they
are about to attack. Here the term is used as a metaphor referring to monks insisting that the
teachings of the Buddha would have to be respected. The statement is that, if intimidated by the
emperor, monks would not dare to defend the teachings in such a firm way any more.

但恐 I am just worried that this would affect the hidden

有損冥功 merit [of the emperor] and would not benefit [the em-
無資盛業 peror’s] flourishing work.

竭誠盡命.如斯而已. [Saying this,] I just do my duty with utmost loyalty.

This is how it is.

是謂第七.因不可忘者 This is the seventh thing: The causes may not be for-
也. gotten.

上已略引吾意.粗除子 Through the elaborations above I just briefly state my

惑.欲得博聞.宜尋大部. opinion, in order to drive away your misunderstand-
ing. If you wish to receive broader explanations, you
should look for more extensive scriptures.

客曰 The guest says:

主人向之所引理例頻 What you elaborate here, is of exemplary simplicity.

繁.僕雖庸闇.頗亦承覽. Even though I am a simpleminded person, I still have
some basic understanding.

文總幽明 Your text includes obvious and hidden meanings.

辯包內外 Your eloquence comprises the inner and the outer.

所論祭典尚有迷惑 With regard to the sacrificial statutes you are discuss-

ing, I still cannot follow.

周易云 In the Zhouyi it is said: “The reciprocal process of yin

一陰一陽之謂道 and yang is called the Dao”;133 “What the yin and the
陰陽不測之謂神 yang do not allow us to plumb we call ‘the spiritual’.”134

竊以昧隱神路隔絕人 I think that the dark and hidden way of the spiritual is
境 separated from the world of humans.

欲行祠法 [If humans] desire to practise the means of the ances-

要藉禮官 tral temples, they need the assistance of the ritual

This is a quotation from Xici zhuan, part 1. See Jin Jingfang, Zhouyi quanjie, p. 462; Lynn,
The Classic of Changes, p. 53.
This is also a quotation from Xici zhuan, part 1. See Jin Jingfang, Zhouyi quanjie, p. 464;
Lynn, The Classic of Changes, p. 54.

本置太常 [Thus the state] originally established the taichang135

專司太祝 and specially installed the taizhu.136

縱知鬼事 So even if one has knowledge of demonic matters,137

終入臣伍 one should still serve the sovereign.

真佛已潛 The real Buddha has already disappeared. Holy monks

聖僧又滅 have also died out.

仰信冥道 [So nowadays] the religion of the deep path (i.e., Bud-
全涉幽神 dhism) exclusively deals with divine beings that are
not around any more.

季葉凡夫.薄言迴向. Common people of this late age easily talk about dedi-
共規閒逸.相學剔剪. cation. They share the rule of evading [civil service],
and learn from each other to shave [their heads].

職掌檀會 They organize alms-giving meetings, so that they can

所以加其法衣 show off their dharma robes. They administer pago-
主守塔坊 das and locations, so that they can avoid civil service.

纔觸王網.即墜民貫. When they just came in touch with the royal regula-
既同典祀.詎合稱寶. tions, they immediately pervert the customs of the
people. If they were in agreement with the sacrifices
described in the statutes, how could they, taken to-
gether, be referred to as a jewel?138

朝敬天子固是恒儀 Respecting the son of heaven definitely is the eternal


苦執強梁定非通識 [However, in their anti-royalist ideology,] they go to

great pains erecting strong dykes, and they strengthen
their unpenetrating views.

Taichang 太常 is an official title translated as “Chamberlain for Ceremonials.” See Hucker,
Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China, no. 6137.
Taizhu 太祝 is an official title translated as “Great Supplicator.” See Hucker, Dictionary of Of-
ficial Titles in Imperial China, no. 6152.
The term of “demonic matters” here refers to the practices of ancestral worship.
The third of the “three jewels” (sanbao) is the saṃgha, being the collective of all monks. The
issue addressed here is that the monks challenge the authority of the emperor by referring to
their own community as a “jewel.”

宋氏舊制其風不遠.惟 Their manners [should] not deviate from the old sys-
應相襲.更欲何辭. tem of the Song emperor.139 They [should] just leave
things as they were. Which excuses do they still want
to present?


主人曰 The host says:

客知其一 You may know the first thing, but you have no idea
未曉其二 about the second thing.

請聽嘉言 Please listen to the good words, and diminish your

少除異想 strange thoughts.

吾聞 I have heard that “demonic” has the meaning of “going

鬼者歸也.死之所入. back” – it leads where one goes after death;140 and that
神者靈也.形之所宗. the “spiritual” refers to the “numen” – it is the shape
that will follow.141

鬼劣於人.唯止惡道. Demons are inferior to humans, as they belong to the

神勝於色.普該情趣. bad spheres of existence.142 Spirituality is superior to
form, as it generally broadens the intentions.143

The term “the old system of the Song emperor” (Song shi jiu zhi 宋氏舊制) refers to an order
decreed by Song emperor Wudi 武帝 in year six, month nine, of the reign period of Daming 大
明, according to which monks and nuns had to bow to the emperor. See Liang Shenyue 梁沈約,
Songshu 宋書 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 2008), vol. 1, p. 130.
In the guest’s previous statement, the term “demonic” (gui 鬼) refers to practices held in “an-
cestral temples” (cifa 祠法). The Confucian practice of ancestor worship refers to the afterlife
of the ancestors.
This means that, according to the Buddhist teachings, after death the numen (i.e., the soul) will
leave the body, and will either become enlightened or reborn.
Here the term “demon” gui is re-interpreted in a Buddhist way. In Confucianism, the ancestors
are referred to as demons who can benefit their family members if satisfied, but also harm them
if not soothed by offerings. In Buddhism, however, the term refers to the pretas, also known as
hungry ghosts (egui 餓鬼), being one of the three bad spheres of existence. See Soothill, Dic-
tionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms, p. 454. So while for the guest demons deserve to be wor-
shiped, for the host they are just very low creatures.
Spirituality here refers to the realization of śūnyatā, which is the ultimate truth beyond form.
See Soothill, Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms, p. 277.

心有靈智.稱之曰神. If the mind has got numinous wisdom, this is called

隱而難知.謂之不測. spirituality. If one retires [into states] that can hardly
be known, this is called unfathomable.144

銓其體用.或動或靜. If one chooses the usage of one’s body, it can either

品其性欲.有陰有陽. be in motion or still. If one classifies the inclination of
one’s nature, it can either be yin or yang.

周易之旨蓋此之故 The elaborations of the Zhouyi cover the reasons for


殊塗顯於一氣 The different paths all arise out of a singular life

誠言闕於六識 force. But they cannot adequately be judged by the six

設教之漸.斷可知焉. From this it can be known that when gradually estab-

lishing the teachings [in your mind], you need to cut
off sensory perception.

鬼報冥通潛來密去.標 The secret coming and the unnoticeable going of demon-

以神號.特用茲耳. ic rewards and hidden responses are what you call “spir-
itual.” You exclusively [apply the term] to this usage.146

嘗試言之 Let me sound out on it using the following words:

受父母之遺 Inheriting from father and mother and bearing the
稟乾坤之分 parts of qian and kun, one is able to preserve life
可以存乎氣 force and is able to manifest oneself in form.147

至若已之神道 When talking about one’s own spiritual way, it will

必是我之心業 necessarily be the self’s mental work.

For the guest the spiritual sphere is “separated from the world of humans,” meaning he does
not believe that humans could access it through their personal efforts. The host here develops
his counterargument saying that the spiritual sphere can in fact be accessed by means of Bud-
dhist spirituality.
This means that different characteristics of personality – like motion and stillness, yin and yang
– can all be traced back to one singular life force (i.e., qi 氣), which can, however, not be per-
ceived by means of the six senses. The argument is that the Confucian approach as based on the
Zhouyi would be too shallow to grasp this deeper truth; the only way to get hold of it would be
the spiritual practice of Buddhism.
Hereby it is pointed out that Confucianism, as represented by the guest, misunderstands the
term of the spiritual by applying it to demonic matters. The host subsequently sets out to explain
what the term really refers to.
This is a reference to the fact that each living being comes into life through his father and moth-
er and through the hexagrams of qian 乾 and kun 坤.

未曾 This has never been felt in qian and kun and has never
感之於乾坤 been received from father and mother.148

識含胎藏 Sensation originates from the garbhakośa. 149 Univer-

彌亘虛空 sality is exhausted in śūnyatā.150

意帶熏種 The mind carries the habit of seeds. Boundlessly it

漫盈世界 fills the world.151

去而復生 Dying and being reborn is like one flame bringing

如火焰之連出 forth another. Entering [the world] and leaving [the
來而更逝 world] is like one wave continuing another.

根之莫見其始 At its root one cannot see its beginning.152 At its ex-
究之豈覿其終 haustion one cannot see its end.153

濁之則為凡 If one messes [life] up, one will become a common

澄之則為聖 person. If one purifies [life], one will become a saint.

神道細幽 The spiritual path is subtle and dark.

理固難詳 矣 Its principles and definitions are hard to explain!

神之最高 The highest goal of spirituality is the great enlighten-

謂之大覺 ment.

This means that one is brought into the world by father and mother, by qian and kun, while the
spiritual and mental development one takes from there depends upon oneself.
The sentence must be read as shi han yu taizang 識含於胎藏. The term garbhakośa (taizang 胎
藏, i.e., “womb treasury”), also garbhakośadhātu (taizang jie 胎藏界), refers to a universal
source from which all things are produced. See Soothill, Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms,
p. 312. The argument is that sensation (i.e., the six senses addressed above), having its root in
the garbhakośa, is unable to penetrate and fully recognize it.
The sentence must be read as mi gen yu xukong 彌亘於虛空. Here it is argued that universality,
which Confucian materialism would regard as all-comprising, still does not grasp the ultimate
truth of śūnyatā.
This means that thoughts erupting from seeds in the human mind are applied to reality and thus
shape the world.
This means that birth is just the beginning of one lifetime, not the beginning of one’s
beginningless way through the cycle of rebirths.
This means that death is just the end of one lifetime, not the end of one’s endless way through
the cycle of rebirths.

思議所不得 How could names and features exhaust what reasoning

名相孰能窮 cannot grasp?

真身本無遷謝 Originally the true body154 is without decay.

生盲自不瞻睹 Naturally those who are born blind155 have no sense of

託想追於舊蹤 One hopes for wandering in the old footprints.156

傾心翫於遺法 One longs for acquaintance with the lost dharma.157

若欲 If one wants to carry the load of holding the transmis-

荷傳持之任 sion158 and open the gate of the essential miracle,159

賴此僧徒 one should rely on the monks and disciples and accept
膺茲佛付 [how the teachings of] the Buddha are handed down;

假慈雲為內影 rely on the cloud of compassion as the inner image and

憑帝威為外力 draw upon the emperor’s power as the outer force.

玄風遠及至於是乎 The mysterious manners, having arrived from afar,160

can lead there.

教通三世 The teaching penetrates the three times.161

眾別四部 The saṃgha departs from the four classes.162

The term of “true body” (zhenshen 真身) is a combined reference to the dharma-kāya and the
saṃbhoga-kāya being the true manifestations of the Buddha, as opposed to the nirmāṇa-kāya.
See Muller, Digital Dictionary of Buddhism.
The term of “those who are born blind” (sheng mang 生盲) is a reference to people being de-
luded in saṃsāra, as opposed to the true body of the Buddha as a representation of the highest
truth. See Muller, Digital Dictionary of Buddhism.
I.e., to wander in the footprints of the Buddha.
This means that one longs to be acquainted with the dharma that had been taught by the Buddha.
The term of “holding the transmission” refers to holders of the lineage, which are referred to as
vidyādharas in the Indian tradition.
The essential miracle is the teaching of the Buddha.
The term of the “mysterious manners” (xuanfeng 玄風) here refers to Buddhism which came to
China from India.
The “three times” (san shi 三世) are past, present, and future. See Soothill, Dictionary of Chi-
nese Buddhist Terms, p. 57.
The “four classes” (si bu 四部) are four different stages of development in hīnayāna-spiritu-
ality. They are: srota-āpanna, sakṛdāgāmin, anāgāmin, and arhat. See Soothill, Dictionary of
Chinese Buddhist Terms, p. 183. The text here suggests that practitioners should aim at the ul-
timate goal of buddhahood, instead of aiming at the inferior hīnayāna-attainments.

二從於道 Both [are present] in following the path.

二守於俗 Both [are present] in living a secular life.

從道則服像尊儀 In following the path, the appearance of the robes re-

守俗則務典供事 spects the rites. In living a secular life, one serves in
matters of honoring scriptures.

像尊謂比丘、比丘尼 Those respected for their appearance are called bhikṣus

也.典供謂優婆塞、優 and bhikṣuṇīs. Those who honor scriptures are called
婆夷也. upāsakas and upāsikās.

所像者尊則未參神位 [Even though] those respected for their appearance may

所典者供則下預臣頒 not have reached a divine position yet, [only] those
honoring the scriptures should serve the emperor.163

原典供之人 Reflecting on people who practise honoring the scrip-

同主祭之役 tures, they seem similar to workmen who conduct sac-
吾非當職.子何錯引. rificial rites. [As monks] we do not act in such a ca-
pacity. Why do you falsely link us [to that kind of

由子切言.發吾深趣.理 Because of all these words of yours, [I] expressed my

既明矣.勿復惑諸.在宋 deepest opinions. The principles are now clear, [so that
之初.暫行此抑.彼亦乖 you should] not be misled any more. At the beginning
真.不煩涉論.邊鄙風 of Song dynasty, these impediments had been in force
俗.未見其美.忽遣同 for a short while and did then pervert the truth. We do
not need to discuss this. These are barbarian cus-
toms!164 I cannot see what would be good about them.
And still you want me to agree with them? [Your
thoughts] are extremely strange!

客曰 The guest says:

有旨哉斯論也.蒙告善 Your elaborations have a point! The explanations I re-

道.請從退歸. ceived [show] the right path. Please allow me to leave.

The argument here is that even though monks may not always possess complete enlightenment,
they do represent the dharma through their robes. Hence they deserve respect, and only laypeo-
ple should be asked to serve the emperor.
This is a reference to the sacrificial rites of Confucianism the guest had spoken about.

僧人是否應該下跪 論彥琮 (557–610) 的《福田論》

對皇帝僧人是否應該下跪: 福田論》

彥琮是隋朝的一位和尚。他的《福田論》, 像之前慧遠 (334–416) 的《沙門不

敬王者論》一樣, 表示僧人對皇帝不應該下跪。在印度佛教中和尚們對國王