uses an ancient apocalyptic tradition not covered in class to critically examine any modern depiction of the apocalypse.

ancient apocalyptic tradition: buddhism hell

modern depiction of the apocalypse: the movie SAW I

compare and contrast the modern depiction of hell with the ancient apocalypse



* Buddhish depiction of hell

* The movie SAW

* Purpose of the paper

The Buddhist hell

* The idea of the Buddhist hell

* The depition of hell in Buddhism

* Religion back ground

The movie SAW I

* Introduce the movie (no more than one page)

* Analysis the key hellish elements in the movie

– play a game

– punishment

– measure for measure

– choice makin


* The similarities in SAW and Buddhism

* Differences

* Why

* Thoughts


10 resources

10 pages

© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2009 DOI: 10.1163/156852709X405008 Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 Th e Buddhist Hell: An Early Instance of the Idea? Jens Braarvig Department of Cultural Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1010 Blindern, 0315 Oslo, Norway [email protected] Abstract In spite of the modern idea that Buddhism is too rational a religion to have a concep- tion of hell, the case is just the opposite. Th e Buddhists promoted this idea very early. Th is is not really surprising, since the idea of hell is closely connected with the concept of kamma, action, and its fruit or result. Every living being is what it is by the force of its actions in this or earlier lives: good actions entail rebirth in heaven or as a human, while bad actions have as their result rebirth as an animal, a ghost, or worst of all, in hell. In the Buddhist hell one is thus punished by the evil actions themselves, not by some sort of divine justice. Although life in hell is not eternal in Buddhism, it can still last for an enormous time span until the bad actions have been atoned for and one is reborn to a happier state of existence. Th us hell plays a great part in the Buddhist system of teachings, and it is a favourite topic in the monastic rules as well as in the narrative literature of the Jātakas, the subject of which is the Buddha’s earlier lives. Hell is discussed as a topic already in the Kathāvatthu, the fi rst scholarly treatise of Bud- dhism with a named author, datable between 250 and 100 bc. Th e discussion in the Kathāvatthu represents what may be seen as a fully developed conception of hell, and thus the Buddhist hell as described by its earliest canonical literature predates the appearance of the idea in most, if not all other religious traditions. Keywords Buddhist hell, Buddhist ethics, Buddhist monastic rules, the early Buddhist canon, Jātaka literature, Buddhist cosmology According to Max Weber, the Buddhist theodicy contained the most rational formulation of why men suff er, or are what they are. He called it “the formally most perfect solution of the theodicy problem.” 1 Th e 1) “Die formal vollkommenste Lösung des Problems der Th eodizee ist die spezifi sche J. Braarvig / Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 255 doctrine of kamma — that every living being has to reap the fruits of his own actions, whether in this life or in one of the innumerable lives that all beings have lived through successive reincarnations since time immemorial — says that every human being is what he is because of his past actions: “A living being is what he is by the force of his own deeds, my brahman friend, beings are heirs to their deeds. Th us deeds are their womb, deeds are kin, deeds are the only thing they can rest upon. Deeds divide being into lowness and excellence.” 2 Every god (deva), human being (manussa), animal (tiracchāna), restless ghost ( peta) or habitant of hell (niraya, naraka) has been born in exactly that state because of his or her earlier actions, and not because they are punished or rewarded by a god or divine being. Any living being is totally responsible for his own fate, or rather state, since we are all the result of what we ourselves have done, and these worlds continue to exist because the beings in them continue to act. 3 Leistung der indischen ‘Karma’-Lehre, des sog. Seelenwanderungsglaubens. . . . Der Einzelne schaff t sich seinen eigenes Schicksal im strengsten Sinne ausschließlich selbst. Der Seelenwanderungsglaube knüpft an sehr geläufi ge animistische Vorstellungen von dem Übergang der Totengeister in Naturobjekte an. Er rationalisiert sie und damit den Kosmos unter rein ethischen Prinzipien. Die naturalistische ‘Kausalität’ unser Denk- gewohnheiten wird also ersetzt durch einen universellen Vergeltungsmechanismus, bei dem kein ethische relevante Tat jemals verloren geht. . . . Diese Konsequenz der Seelen- wanderungslehre hat in vollem Sinne nur der Buddhismus gezogen . . .” (Weber 2001:299–301 [“Das Problem der Th eodizee”]; cf. also ibid. 438: “Auch diese Ethik ist ‘rational’ im Sinn einer stetigen wachen Beherrschung aller natürlichen Triebhaftig- keit, aber mit gänzlich anderem Ziel,” where Weber is writing on Tibetan, Chinese and Japanese Volksreligiosität. 2) Th is is the classical formulation of the Buddhist theodicy: kammasakkā māṇava, sattā kammadāyādā kammayoni kammabandhu kammapaṭ isaraṇā. kammā satte vibha- jati yadidā hīnappaṇītatāyāti, is found in MN III.4.5, Cūḷ akammavibhaṅ ga, p. 204; cf. also AN IV.2.1.7: kammassakombhi kammadāyādo kammayoni kammabandhu kammapaṭ isaraṇo yā kammā karissāmi kalyāṇā vā pāpakā vā tassa dāyādo bhavissāmī’ti abhiṇhā paccacekkhitabbā itthiyā vā purisena vā gahaṭ ṭ hena vā pabbajitena vā, “ . . . what- ever deed I do, whether good or bad, I shall become heir of it! Th is ought to be contemplated by woman or man, layman or monk.” See further references in AN tr. III.59, note 3 and passim. On the endlessness of the cycle of birth and death, cf. SN III.2.4–10 and passim: anamataggoyā bhikkhave, saṃsāro, pubbā koṭ i na paññāyati, “Saṃsāra is impossible to imagine, it is not possible to form a concept of its begin- ning.” Cf. also Nidd II.10 where the numbers are even much higher. 3) yathā yathāyaṃ puriso kammaṃ karoti tathā tathā taṃ paṭ isaṃvedissati, A.1.249, “In 256 J. Braarvig / Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 Th us, the above list of states of existence ( gati) corresponds to fi ve worlds, where beings are reborn as the result of what they did during their innumerable earlier lives: bad deeds make you an animal or a hun- gry ghost, but a really bad deed brings you to hell — these three states are called bad states (duggati). Good actions, on the other hand, lead to rebirth as a human or a god, which are good states (sugati). Birth as a god, though, does not preclude a later birth in hell, since when the good deeds are consumed in the pleasurable existence in heaven, one may easily fall into hell, or be reborn as an animal or a ghost, because earlier karma by its latent force creates rebirth in these states, condi- tioned as they are by past deeds of evil, or lust (rāga, lobha), ill-will (dosa) and bewilderment (moha). Being reborn as human, though, is in general seen as a very good rebirth, 4 because in this state the Bodhisatta is born, to be fully awakened as a Buddha, who can teach the end of all the suff ering entailed by the unending cycle of rebirth, the end of which is nibbāna, cessation of action, kammanirodha or kammakkhaya. In the human state one is able — that is, if one hears the teachings of the Buddha — to realize, through insight and meditation, that every- thing is impermanent and selfl ess, empty and brings only suff ering; then, one does not seek rebirth again neither as humans, gods, or for that sake as animals or in hell, because having given up attachment to a self, and thus any attachment to life in the fi ve states of existence, in saṃsāra, one will reach fi nal extinction in nibbāna. Th us, in Buddhist rationality, hells of many types, or, for that matter, heavens of various sorts, are an integral part of, and organically con- nected to, the doctrine of karma and reincarnation. Th e ideas and images of hell are also recurrent parts of Buddhism as it unfolds his- torically and geographically throughout the whole of East Asia in its more than two thousand years of history. It is thus interesting to note that Buddhism has at times in modern Western societies been preferred over Christianity as a particularly rational religion because, among whichever way this man does a deed, in the same way he will experience it.” kammanā vattati loko kammanā vattati pajā, kammanibandhanā sattā rathassāṇiva yāyato, Sn 625, “By actions the world goes round, by actions all created beings go around [in the round of rebirth], beings are fastened to their actions as the wheel is to its axle as it revolves.” 4) And hard to attain, see below, p. 270 and n.26, and p. 272. J. Braarvig / Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 257 other things, it is perceived as not believing in such Christian irration- alities as an eternal hell. But our sources for the idea of hell in Bud- dhism are very rich, and they also seem to be anterior to the development of this idea in Christianity. One of the main diff erences between the Christian and the Buddhist hell is that the fi rst is eternal, while the second is not — Buddhism teaches that everything is impermanent. Even so, rebirth in a Buddhist hell may last for prolonged periods. 5 It is likely that this is why many of the early translators of the Buddhist Canon have preferred using the term “Purgatory” rather than “hell.” What is similar in the two traditions, however, is that stories about hell are very popular and in diff erent ways illustrate the doctrines of the two traditions with very powerful images. Hell is, therefore, an ever-recurrent motif in the Buddhist tradition, as in the Christian, and forms part of edifying story-telling for the sake of the religious education of the lay community. 6 5) “By the ripening of that deed, for many years, for many a hundred, for many a thousand, many a hundred thousand years he suff ered [or: is cooked] in Purgatory [or: hell] . . .,” stock phrase passim in KN, MN, SN and Vin: so tassa kammassa vipākena bahūni vassāni bahūni vassasatani bahūni vassasahassāni bahūni vassasatasahassāni niraye paccittha, etc. Th e numbers are not consistent or accurate, but only express a very long duration: Kokālika (see below) is born in the Lotus Hell, indeed for long: “‘Long, monk, is the term of life in the Lotus hell. It is not easy to reckon it by so many years, so many thousands of years, and by so many hundreds of thousands of years.’ ‘Is it possible to give a simile, sir?’ ‘It is possible, monk,’ he replied. ‘Suppose there were twenty Kosalan cartloads of sesamum seed and at the end of every hundred years a man were to take out a seed, just one; well, sooner, monk, would those Kosalan cart- loads of sesamum seed be used up and exhausted in that way — and that’s not one Abbuda hell! Monk, as twenty Abbuda hells are one Nirabbuda hell, as twenty Nirab- buda hells one Ababa hell, as twenty Ababa hells one Ahaha hell, as twenty Ahaha hells one Aṭ aṭ a hell, as twenty Aṭ aṭ a hells one Kumuda hell, as twenty Kumuda hells one Sogandhika hell, as twenty Sogandhika hells one Uppalaka hell, as twenty Uppalaka hells one Puṇ ḍarīka hell, as twenty Puṇ ḍarīka hells one Paduma (Lotus) hell. Verily, monk, the monk Kokālika was born in that hell because of the illwill he bore towards Sāriputta and Moggallāna.’” In contrast to the eight hells mentioned below, which are warm, these are the cold hells, as implied by the sounds of freezing contained in the names of the fi rst fi ve. On the cold hells in general see Feer 1892:211 ff . It is not attested explicitly in the earliest texts that they are cold, this is said only in later com- mentaries, cf. ibid. 220 ff . Th e rest of the names are related to variants of lotus fl owers. SN I.6.1.1 ff .: Kokālivagga, quotation from SN I.152, also in AN 174. 6) On Indian and Buddhist cosmology in general, including the systems of kalpas, 258 J. Braarvig / Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 And indeed story-telling has been crucial to the propagation of Bud- dhist doctrines. Th e tipiṭ aka, “the three baskets,” as the canonical scrip- tures of the Buddhists are called, consist traditionally of the sutta section, viz., the speeches of the Buddha, the vinaya, the rules regarding monastic life, and the abhidhamma section, which is a systematic exposé of Buddhist psychology and the philosophy of the dhamma, the teach- ings of the Buddha. Th e written versions of these scriptures, many of which are extant today, underwent constant transformation through- out history with diff erent sects reinterpreting the “true words of the teacher.” Now, ideas on the infernal regions of the universe were of course found in India before Buddhism, and the king of the netherworld, Yama, ruled over the deceased, who could enjoy their afterlife if they were off ered enough sacrifi ce from their living descendants — indeed the ideas of karma and retribution originated from this sacrifi cial cult. Originally karma denoted mainly the sacrifi ce, and its result was not computed so much in terms of abstract ethics as in terms of material compensation — the dead would have resources to live on after death only to the extent that their progeny and kin could perform sacrifi ces on their behalf. As Buddhist and Jaina ascetics brought in with them the idea of ethical conduct, the infernal regions, or, for that matter, other regions of the cosmos, changed into places of reward or retribu- tion for those engaged in moral or immoral conduct. In the same proc- ess, Yama underwent a transformation from being the king of the forefathers to become the ruler of hell. Th is off ers us an example of the transformed netherworld with a richness of imagery to describe the various punitive states of hell. 7 Th e process of transformation from the world of deceased forefathers to a “fully developed hell” — as a cosmic yugas and hells, see the still authoritative work of Kirfel 1920, further McGovern 1923 and Kloetzli 1983. For later Buddhist views on hell see Lamotte 1949:955 ff . with notes. It should be pointed out that the numbers used to describe distance and time in the Buddhist sūtras and commentaries are fanciful numbers used only to describe rhetorically very long duration, and not to be taken as accurate numbers. On the motives of Buddhist narrative motifs in general, see Grey 2000, with updated bibliography. 7) On Yama as the king of hell in general Indian tradition see Kirfel 1920:147–73, and 198–206 for list of the names and duration of punishments also from later sources in Buddhism. For Jaina hells see ibid. 315–29. J. Braarvig / Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 259 region which has as its purpose the punishment of sinners — has its parallels in the Mediterranean regions, and even in Iran. Th e word for hell in early Buddhism is niraya. Th e etymology is not quite clear; nir-i- means to “go out,” or to “go asunder” — the last ety- mology is usually preferred to explain hell as a place where beings are destroyed, or their bad actions are destroyed. 8 A nerayika is an inhabit- ant of hell. Less used in early tradition is naraka, another name for hell frequent in later literature. If we address the question of hells in Buddhism from the perspective of origins, and ask when the idea of hell took root in Buddhism, we encounter some diffi culties of dating, since the dates of Buddhist texts are very often uncertain, and scholarly opinions on the question to some extent diverge. Th e question is further complicated because Bud- dhist teachings, not yet written texts, were transmitted orally probably up to about 100 bc, at which time they were written down in Ceylon. 9 Th ere is, however, scholarly agreement on the whole that the Pāli canon is fairly formalized from this time, and thus a reliable source for early Buddhism. Th us, it would be fairly safe, from the perspective of dating the ideas of the Buddhist hell, to start our investigation with the Kathāvatthu, which is the earliest Buddhist scripture with a named author, and which also is the fi rst scripture to be dated by the Buddhist tradition itself. 10 8) Th ere are also indigenous etymologies from the Buddhist commentaries, for the ones in the Pāli tradition, see PTSD s.v. 9) On the earliest date of the written codifi cation of the Buddhist canon, see von Hinüber 1996:88 with references; Norman 1983:10–11. By very recent discoveries of Buddhist manuscripts in Afghanistan and Pakistan edited in projects led by Harry Falk and Richard Salomon, Buddhist literature, even Mahāyāna, written in Kharoṣ ṭ hī char- acters, has been dated well before the Common Era. 10) Th us, the Pāli tradition (Atthasālinī 4.25) asserts that the Kv was composed by the Elder Mogalliputtatissa 218 years after Nirvạ̄ na, which places it during the reign of emperor Aśoka (273–232 bc.). Th ere is considerable disagreement on the date of the Buddha in the last two decades of research on Buddhism, but most scholars now believe the date of the Buddha to be later than was earlier thought. Th us, while the number 18 of the “218 years” may be correct, and indicate that the council, on which Kv is a “report,” was held some years after the beginning of Aśoka’s reign, “200 years” may seem to indicate only “a long period.” On the problem of dating early Buddhist history, see Bechert 1991–97. Later Pāli commentaries ascribe the various viewpoints discussed in the council also to the traditional sects of Buddhism, which must be later 260 J. Braarvig / Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 Th e Kathāvatthu discusses various points of disagreement within the clergy, and, in this context, it depicts a council in the middle of the 3rd century bc, where one the topics discussed is hell. Going by this date, we can, with some caution, date the earliest conceptions of hell in this period too. However, since the concept of hell was part of a fairly com- plex discussion, there is good reason to believe that the basic ideas on this issue were somewhat older than the discussion that took place at that date. At any rate, these ideas are an integral part of the doctrines discussed by the Kathāvatthu. Th e fi rst and second discussions in the Kathāvatthu of hell (I.1.161, 210–11), or Purgatory, as the translator wants it, refer, fi rst, to the ques- tion of karma and, then, to the personality, puggala, the questions being whether it is the same personality or a diff erent one that is reborn. Th e orthodox view seems to be that it is a diff erent personality, since the stream of conscious states is constantly changing — into a yakkha, a semi-divine being, a peta, hungry ghost, an animal, or an inhabitant of hell, nerayika. At any rate, karma, actions, clearly is the force that drives a sentient being from state to state in the system of worlds. Later, there is a discussion as to whether the action itself is hell, or whether rebirth in hell is the result of a particular bad action, like murder. Th is is of course a theme much developed upon in later Buddhist philosophical traditions, which tend to see the world as a projection of the collective mental states of living beings. Th e position of the orthodox in the fol- lowing quotation from Kathāvatthu (VII.10.4) seems to be that hell is indeed a state to be experienced in another life as the result of action: than the Kathāvatthu. According to the northern sources of Mahāyāna Buddhism (Tibetan, Chinese), the fi rst schism between the Mahāsāṃghika and the Th eravāda (Pāli, Sanskrit: Sthāviravāda) took place during Aśoka’s reign, and many of the disagre- ments described in the Kv are in accordance with the disagreements leading to this schism as described in the northern sources. Th e main topics of the Kv are the status of the self, and how perfect is the arhat, the Buddhist Saint, though many other points of controversy are referred to as well. Th e Kv refers to canonical statements, and if these are not to be considered later interpolations, they show that a Buddhist canon was in existence at that time, though most probably only in oral form. So with some scepticism we should have a source on Buddhist hells, thought of as places of retribution for bad deeds, dating from the middle of the 3rd century bc. On the Kathāvatthu, see Norman 1983:103–5, and passim, index s.v.; and von Hinüber 1996:70–73, and passim. J. Braarvig / Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 261 “Again, do you mean that a given bad mental state is its own result, a given good state its own result? Th at the consciousness with which we take life is the very consciousness with which we burn in Purgatory? Th at the consciousness with which we give a gift of merit is the very consciousness with which we rejoice in Heaven?” Th is heretical view was that of the sect of the Andhakas, according to the commentaries. We see that speculation on both Heaven and hell is clearly connected with the retribution for bad and compensation for good actions. Th e next chapter of the Kathāvatthu starts out with a discussion as to whether there are fi ve or six worlds. Th e commentaries state that the sects of the Andhakas and the Uttarāpathakas held that the Asuras also had a world of their own — the Asuras being the Vedic Asuras, warlike gods, something like the Titans or Giants of Greek mythology — in addition to the fi ve subscribed to by the orthodox Th eravādins, as men- tioned above, hell being one of them. 11 An essential part of the discus- sions of the Kathāvatthu concerned the ideals of sainthood and religious perfection, and, thus, there was a discussion about whether a person with correct views on selfl essness, etc., could commit bad deeds, even the fi ve deadly sins — sins “having no intermediate” (ānantarika), that is, no intermediate state between the deed and rebirth in hell. Th ese are: 1) matricide, 2) patricide, 3) killing a perfected saint (arahant), 4) wounding the Tathāgata, the Buddha, with evil intent, and 5) creat- ing schism in the sangha, the Buddhist order of monks. Th ese sins, according to the orthodox view, could not be committed by a person with a fi rm understanding of the true doctrine. Others, however, held the opposite view. 12 Th e prolonged periods of suff ering, such as for an “aeon,” kappa, were also addressed, with reference to the canon: “One 11) Kv VIII.1.1: Controversial point. — Th at there are six spheres of destiny. Did not the Exalted One name fi ve destinies — purgatory, the animal kingdom, the Peta- realm, mankind, the devas? cha gatiyo ti? āmantā. nanu pañca gatiyo vuttā bhagavatā, nirayo, tiracchānayoni, pettivisayo, manussā, devā, no vata re vattabe “cha gatiyo ti.” Th e argument goes on, pro et contra, though in later tradition, at least, the Asuras were usually counted as a sixth world, even though somewhat contiguous with the Devas. Th e question was not controversial in later tradition. 12) Kv VII.7; Vinaya iii.303 is quoted as support for the orthodox view; thus those “inside” the faith were safe to reach salvation, a view, of course, which may have served to protect orthodoxy. 262 J. Braarvig / Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 who breaks up the concord of the order is tormented in purgatory for a kappa.” 13 Even unintentionally committing any of the ānantarika incurs the most terrible suff ering in hell. Th e last is a controversial point in the Kathāvatthu, and though opposed by several sects, it is still believed by the orthodox, notwithstanding the principle stated in many places in Buddhist philosophy, that action is mainly intention (Kv XX.1). Two further problems concerning hell are discussed in the Kathā- vatthu, problems also intimately connected with other Buddhist doc- trines: namely, whether hell has guards that torture the inmates of hell (XX.3), and whether the Bodhisatta, or the Buddha to be, can be reborn in the bad and lower states of existence (apāya, duggati or vinipāta), that is, undergo hell, or being born as a ghost or an animal (XXIII.3). Th e fi rst problem is connected to the one mentioned above, whether one, as it were, is in hell when committing the evil deed, that the con- sciousness of the act is the same as the suff ering. Th is is a view, the commentaries say, held e.g. by the Andhakas (again!), who suppose that there are no guards in hell charged with torturing and punishing; rather, these torturers are nothing but the bad actions themselves, committed in the “shape of hell-keepers who purge the suff erers.” Th e orthodox protested, and did so with canonical quotations: 14 Him, bhikkhus, Hell’s guards torture with fi vefold punishment; they trust a hot iron stake through one hand, then another through the other hand, then one through the foot, then another through the other foot; they thrust a hot iron stake through the middle of the chest. And he thereupon feels painful, piercing, intoler- able suff ering, nor does he die till that evil deed of his is cancelled. Him, bhikkhus, Hell’s guards make to lie down and fl ay him with hatchets . . . they place him head downwards and fl ay him with knives . . . they bind him to a chariot and drive him to and fro over burning, blazing glowing ground . . . they lift him up on to a great hill of burning, blazing, white hot coals and roll him down a fi ery slope . . . they double him up and cast him into a hot brazen jar, burn- ing glowing where he boils, coming up like a bubble of foam, then sinking, going now to this side, now to that. Th ere he suff ers fi erce and bitter pain, nor does he die till that evil karma is cancelled. Him Bhikkhus, they cast into the Great Purgatory. In districts measured out four-square four-doored, Iron the ramparts bounding it, with iron roofed, 13) Itivutaka, §§13 and 18: Saṅ ghā samaggā bhetvāna kappā nirayamhi paccatī’ti.14) Majjhima iii.166–67, 182–83; Anguttaranikaya 1.41, translation from Kv tr. p. 346–47. J. Braarvig / Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 263 Iron its soil welded by fi ery heat, Spreading a hundred leagues it stands for aye. With this display of canonical and orthodox rhetoric the article ends, leaving no doubt that the orthodox view is that hell is real. Moreover, it is a hell of the type we may call fully developed, where moral frailty and bad deeds are punished: “Hence there surely are guards in purgatory.” Th e views of the Andhakas, however, who were heirs to the Mahāsāṃghika, point in the direction of the relativist and mentalist views of later Mahāyāna literature. Th is is also the case with another Andhaka view, this time about the Bodhisatta: though he is a perfected being, he can still, by his own will, seek rebirth in the vinipāta, a lower state of existence. Th e idea of Mahāyāna Buddhism is that the Bodhisatta (or Bodhisatva in Buddhist Sanskrit — in modern works often Bodhi- sattva), should by expedient means (upāya) seek rebirth where there is most suff ering, so that he can consume more quickly his bad karma from earlier lives, and thus speed up his development of good action and wisdom in order to attain complete awakening as a Buddha. Th e ortho- dox view in the Kathāvatthu objects to that kind of rebirth for the Bod- hisatta, as he is seen as a superior moral being who cannot, by the force of his own good action, be reborn in such low states of existence as hell, as a spirit or as an animal. In the Mahāyāna, however, the Bodhisatva is reborn in the lower states not because of his attachment to these states, but because of his compassion and his promise to save all living beings. Th is cosmic mobility of the Bodhisatta is a key point in the later discus- sions between the Mahāyāna and the Th era/Sthāvira positions, discus- sions, though, that have mostly been initiated by the Mahāyāna side. But we fi nd disagreement on this issue already in the Kathāvatthu: [Controversial Point:] Th at a Bodhisatta goes to an evil doom, enters a womb, performs hard tasks, works penance under alien teachers of his own accord and free will. [Question from the orthodox position, implying that the opponent is wrong:] Do you mean that he so went and endured purgatory, Th e Sañjīva, Kālasutta, Tāpana, Patāpana, Sanghātaka, Roruva, and Avīci hells? Can you quote me a Sutta to support this? . . . . (Kv XXIII.3) 15 15) Th e paragraph goes on to discuss the other related questions. Th e Mahāyāna view is found in a number of sūtras and commentaries, and is summarized e.g. by the 264 J. Braarvig / Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 In this paragraph we also note that the eight departments of hell are already in place at the early date of the Kathāvatthu, a fact that under- scores that a very developed and systematic view of hell existed in this period. Th e names of the hells, however, vary to some extent in the literature, but the eight hells constitute a basic list. 16 Generally, the names of the various hells denote suff ering and torture, expressive of the torture going on there when kamma is “matured” or, literally, “boiled” (Pāli: paccati) — implying on the one hand that the suff erer is purifi ed of his bad deeds, but also playing on the word to indicate that boiling is part of the torture. From what we, with some argumentative force, may call a very early source of Hell in Buddhism, we will go on to treat other sources. Th ere is no doubt that Buddhist literature has developed through repeated processes of canonization, but, as mentioned above, there is some schol- arly agreement that the Pāli canon was fi xed about 100 bc. However, the suttas and the vinaya fi xed in writing defi nitely build on earlier oral tradition, and, as we have seen, the Kathāvatthu also quotes earlier Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra (XIII.14–15): “Indeed, great pain suff ered during a sojourn in Hell is never an obstacle to the sons of the Victorious, as it is suff ered for the sake of [all] beings. But all kinds of thought-constructions in the inferior way (hīnayāna) concerned with purity — arising from [refl ections on] the good qualities of peace and the bad qualities of existence — are an obstacle to the intelligent. Indeed a sojourn in hell is never a hindrance to the intelligent in attaining the undefi led and extensive awakening. But the thought-constructions consisting in the absolute coldness of one’s own good only, which are found in the other way, make hindrances to staying in the absolute joy.” Th e Mahāyāna criticized the śrāvakayāna, or hīnayāna — which our Pāli literature on the whole may be said to represent, being the literature of the Th eravāda — for their selfi sh seeking of their own salvation. Th e Bodhisatta’s rebirth in hell is, however, still found in the Pāli Jātakas. In Ja no. 538 the Bodhisatta is described as a king in Benares, then he stays eighty thousand years in the Ussada hell, after which he is reborn as a god in Indra’s heaven, where Indra asks him to take rebirth again as a human. Th e Ussada hell is “twice eight times more in number, a kind of minor hell” ( Ja V.137). In general there is also talk of the Great Hell, and the sixteen lesser hells (e.g. Ja no. 142); other numbers in Cowell 1895–1913:index, s.v. Hell. 16) Seven of them are mentioned in Kv: sañjīva: “reviving,” implying that suff ering has no end because one does not “die” in hell; kālasutta: “thread of time,” probably also to express how suff ering goes on continuously; tāpana: “suff ering”; patāpana: “exces- sive suff ering”; sanghātaka: “crushing”, “beating”; roruva: “roaring”, and avīci: (suff er- ing with) “no intermission,” evidently hot hells. Th e mahāroruvaniraya “hell of great roaring” is not mentioned in the Kv list, but is usually included to make up a list of eight hells. J. Braarvig / Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 265 canonical works, which may thus be surmised to be older than the Kathāvatthu. If we use the argument of the written canon as a terminus a quo, this would bring the Buddhist ideas of a developed hell back more than a century bc, and the concept of hell also suff uses the canon- ical scriptures of Buddhism. Our next area of investigation would then, naturally, be the monastic ordo, the vinaya, and the speeches of the Buddha, the suttas. Now, the vinaya is naturally most concerned with punishing people, or rather the monks and nuns, in this life rather than the afterlife. Th e reactions of the Buddhist monastic order to wrongdoings were of eight sorts. Th e most serious was expulsion from the order, the pārājika off ences. Second are those wrongdoings punished by suspension (saṅ ghādiśeṣ a), and then there are six types of off ences atoned for by expiation and confession, and no further punishment. However, the pārājika off ences may also entail rebirth in hell, and the fi rst off ence mentioned is sexual conduct of any sort — for this, if it is intentional, the monk or nun is expelled from the saṅ gha. Not having sexual rela- tions is closely connected with the very identity of monastic life, not only in Buddhism, and is thus punished very hard, through exclusion or excommunication; it is the pārājika off ence fi rst mentioned in the Pāli Vinaya. All the rules are illustrated by long narratives throughout the Vinaya. Th e main story illustrating what is considered to be a sexual off ence is the story of the monk Sudinna, who was seduced by his for- mer wife, because her family wanted an heir to their properties. In the end Sudinna gave in, and he was scolded by the Buddha: It is not fi t, foolish man, it is not becoming, it is not proper, it is unworthy of a recluse, it is not lawful, it ought not to be done. . . . It were better for you, foolish man, that your male organ should enter the mouth of a black snake than it should enter a woman. It were better for you, foolish man, that your male organ should enter the mouth of a charcoal pit, ablaze afi re, than it should enter a woman. For that reason, foolish man, you would go to death, or to suff ering like unto death, but not on that account would you pass at the breaking up of the body after death to the waste, the bad bourn, abyss, hell. But for this reason, foolish man, at the breaking up of the body after death you would pass to the waste, the bad bourn, abyss, hell. (Vin. Su. P. I.5.11) 17 17) . . . na tv eva tappaccayā kāyassa bhedā parammaraṇā apāyā duggatiṃ vinipātā nirayā upapajjeyya. ito nidānañ ca kho moghapurisa kāyassa bhedā parammaraṇā apāyā duggatiṃ vinipātā nirayā uppajjeyya. (We write Vinaya with a capital when referring to 266 J. Braarvig / Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 Sexual off ences were evidently not forgiven, even if they were uncon- scious or unwilling, as some of the other stories illustrate. Real sexual off ences would lead not only to exclusion from the order, however, but at death to lower existences and hell. Th ere is no lack of creativity, though, in the description of the various sorts of sexual off ences in the Vinaya. Th e fi rst of the four pārājikas, then, is sexual off ence (methuna- dhamma), which is also punished in hell. Th e other three pārājikas of stealing, or, “appropriating what is not given” (adinnādāna), killing of human beings ( jīvitā voropana), and the claiming of magical abilities (uttarimanussadhamma), be they true or not, were not as such con- nected to additional punishment in hell by their interpretative narra- tives in the Vinaya. Th ere is, however, a story (Vin. Su. P. IV.1.2) that those claiming supernatural powers for the sake of extracting alms from the laity end up in hell. And in general all the sins subsumed under the category of parājika would lead to hell. Th e fi fth ānantarika sin, causing schism in the monastic order (saṅ ghabheda), is not mentioned as a break of a pārājika rule, entailing automatic expulsion, but as entailing suspension for a period to be decided by the saṅ gha (saṅ ghādiśeṣ a). 18 Th is is illustrated by the narra- tive about the Buddha’s cousin, Devadatta, who tried to usurp the lead- ership of the saṅ gha from the Buddha. Devadatta wished to split the monastic community by proposing a more strict discipline, by which he aimed at attracting more disciples, e.g. the prohibition of fi sh and meat, which were allowed by the Buddha if the meat given to the monk came from animals killed without the monk’s knowledge, and some other measures stricter than those taught by the Buddha. 19 Th is was the texts of the vinaya rules.) Th e monks and nuns were expected to know all these rules, and every fortnight they were recited during the uposatha ceremony. If anybody had committed a sin, they should show it with a sign, and receive the allotted punish- ment. Th e vinaya of the nuns included eight pārājika rules, the additional ones not surprisingly connected with sexual misconduct; see Bikkhunivibhaṅ ga I.1–IV.2. 18) See von Hinüber 1996:10. Norman (1983:18) uses the older translation “formal meeting” for saṅ ghādiśeṣ a. 19) Five rules: “Th e brethren shall live all their life long in the forest, subsist solely on doles collected out of doors, dress solely in rags picked out of dust-heaps, dwell under trees and never under a roof, never eat fi sh or fl esh.” Cullavagga VII.3.14. J. Braarvig / Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 267 reported to the Buddha, who asked whether it was true, and when it was confi rmed, he made the rule that splitting the saṅ gha with such views was an off ence entailing suspension if the monk, after being admonished three times, did not give up his views. Th is would also, by the next rule, be the reaction against monks supporting the schismatic view (Vin. Su. S. X–XI). However, Devadatta went further than only sowing disagreement in the monastic community, and his personality became emblematic of trea- son against the Lord, against Truth and Awakening itself (Vin. Culla- vagga VII.2.1–4.8.): To usurp the leadership of the community — his motive is stated to be gain and honour — he even tried to kill the Lord with an aggressive elephant named Nālāgiri. But the Lord “suff used the elephant Nālāgiri with loving kindness of mind. . . . Th en the Lord, stroking the elephant Nālāgiri’s forehead with his right hand. . . . Th en the elephant Nālāgiri, having taken the dust off the Lord’s feet with his trunk, having scattered it over his head, moved back bowing while he gazed upon the Lord. . . . ‘Some are tamed by stick, by goads and whips. Th e elephant was tamed by the great seer without a stick, without a weapon.’” But the end for Devadatta was incumbent on him. Two of the Lord’s main disciples, Sāriputta and Moggallāna, came to see Devadatta, who asked Sāriputta to entertain the defecting monks with a talk on the dhamma, since he himself was tired and his back was ach- ing. Sāriputta convinced the 500 monks lead astray by Devadatta to return to the Lord, and when Kokālika, Devadatta’s main follower, woke him up, “at that very place hot blood issued from Devadatta’s mouth,” and he was reborn “in a bad state of existence, as an inhabitant of hell for an aeon, incurable” (āpāyiko nerayiko kappaṭ ṭ ho atekīccho). Th e Devadatta story in the Vinaya ends with a verse: Never let anyone of evil desire arise in the world; And know it by this: as the bourn of those evil desires. Known as “sage,” held as “one who made the self become,” Devadatta stood shining as with fame — I heard tell. He, falling into recklessness, assailing the Truth-fi nder Attained Avīci Hell, four-doored, frightful. Th us we learn in the Vinaya that the sin of splitting the community of monks ended up in hell in Devadatta’s case, but, as we saw above, the 268 J. Braarvig / Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 sin is one of expulsion decided by a formal meeting, and the Vinaya discusses in this perspective the diff erence between dissension (saṅ gharāji) and schism (saṅ ghabheda), the second of course being the most heinous sin in that it attacks the very identity of the monastic order — and, therefore, the only appropriate punishment would be in hell, and the narrative on Devadatta illustrates this. Kokālika, the main follower of Devadatta, died of ulcers all over his body and was reborn in the Lotus hell because he spoke ill about the Buddha’s disciples Sāriputta and Moggallāna. His punishment is in accordance with his evil slandering: In sooth to every person born An axe is born within his mouth, Wherewith the fool doth cut himself Whereas he speaks evilly. (SN I,149) 20 Devadatta is described as the main culprit also in the Suttas, the speeches of the Buddha, as deserving the worst of punishment in the deepest of the hells, Avīci, for his saṅ ghabheda, but most of all for his thirst for gain, honour and praise (lābhasakkārasiloko) — the topic of the Devadat- tasutta in the Aṅ guttaranikāya. 21 But it is not the Buddha, of course, who punishes — one is punished by the force of one own actions — the Bud- dha is only forgiving and friendly, even when the elephant attacks him. Niraya and the duggati are frequent themes in the suttas as places for gruesome punishments: we have already seen quotations in the Kathāvatthu above, and Th e Stupid and the Wise, and the following Th e Messengers of the Gods, 22 are suttas in particular devoted to the subject. Th e Stupid is of course the sinner who is stupid enough to incur only suff ering by sins in body, speech and mind — as the sins are ordered in Buddhism, similar to the Christian formula “thoughts, words and deeds.” Th e fi ve basic sins out of which the whole morality of Buddhism is generated are all committed by the Stupid, the fool, who is “one who 20) purisassa hi jātassa kuṭ hārī jāyate mukhe, yāya chindati attānaṃ bālo dubbhāsitaṃ bhaṇaṃ . Cf. above, note 5, same verse in AN V.174. 21) IV.2.2.8, but cf. Purisindriyañānasutta (VI.2.1.8), and Devadattavipattisutta (VIII.1.1.7) mentioning also his hellish career, similar in SN V.4.2; VI.2.2; etc. 22) Bālapaṇḍitasutta and Devadhūtasutta, MN. III.3.9–10. J. Braarvig / Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 269 made onslaught on creatures” ( pāṇātipātī ), “a taker of what had not been given” (adinnādāyī ), “behaving wrongly in regard to sense-pleasures” (kāmesu micchācārī ) — i.e. sexual misconduct, mainly — “a liar” (musāvādī ), and “one given up to occasions for sloth consequent upon drinking arrack, toddy and strong liquor” (surāmerayamajjapamādaṭ ṭ hāyī ) — fairly close to what are regarded as sins by most cultures, religious or not, universally. 23 Such thieves and evildoers are punished in this world by kings ordering for them tortures, as our sutta says, citing the stand- ard catalogue in Pāli literature of such punishments, excelling in the (un)aesthetics of gruesomeness: “fl ogging him with whips, with canes, with cudgels, cutting of his hand, his foot hand and foot, his ear, nose, ear and nose, torturing him with the gruel-pot, with the chank-shave,” and so on. 24 But, indeed, he also ends up in hell: “He, monks, who is a fool, having fared wrongly in thought, at the breaking up of the body after dying arises in the sorrowful ways, the bad bourn, the Downfall, Niraya hell.” 25 Th ese sins are, of course, punished much harder in hell 23) Sometimes the arrack and toddy is left out and there are only the four sins, as in the Lesser and Greater Analysis of Deeds, the Cūḷ akammavibhaṅ gasutta and the Mahākammavibhaṅ gasutta, MN III.4.5–6. Th e fi ve are mentioned passim. Th e com- mitter of the third sin is often called abrahmacārī. 24) Th e commentaries explain: gruel pot: they took off the top of the skull and, taking a red hot iron ball with pincers, dropped it into it so that the brains boiled over; chank- shave: sandpapering the scalp with gravel until it became smooth as a sea-shell; Rāhu’s moth: Rāhu the Asura swallowed the moon and caused its eclipse; they opened his mouth with a skewer, inserted oil and a wick and lit it; fi re-garland: the body was smeared with oil and set alight; fl aming hand: the hand was made into a torch with oil-rags and set alight; hay-twist: the skin was fl ayed from the neck downwards and twisted below the ankles into a band by which he was hung up; bark-dress: the skin was cut into strips and tied up into a sort of garment; the antelope: the victim was trussed up, spitted to the ground with an iron pin and roasted alive; fl esh-hooking: he was fl ayed with double fi sh-hooks; disc-slice: little discs of fl esh the size of a copper coin were cut off him; pickling process: the body was beaten all over with cudgels and the wounds rubbed with caustic solution by combs; circling the pin: the body was pinned to the ground through the ears and twirled round by the feet; straw mattress: the body was beaten till every bone was broken and it became limp as a mattress. See AN tr. p. 42–43 with notes and references. One is struck by the imaginary power of cruelty and the highly developed ancient science of torture. 25) Standard phrase with few variations passim in the Pāli canon: Sa kho so bhikkhave bālo kāyena duccaritā caritvā vācāya duccaritā caritvā manasā duccaritā caritvā kāyassa bhedā parammaraṇā apāyā duggatiṃ vinipātā nirayā upapajjati. 270 J. Braarvig / Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 than here in the human world, and the Lord can only describe them with similes: a thief is stabbed with a hundred spears in the morning, midday and in the evening by the king’s orders, but if one compares the suff ering of this man with a small stone, the suff erings of hell would be comparable to a Himalaya mountain of such stones. Th en follows a vivid description of hell as quoted above from the Kathāvatthu, and also a depiction of the various animal existences the sinner may incur because of his bad deeds — the deeds themselves attract him to these states of existences, horses and cattle being among the better states, followed by dogs and jackals, etc., and in the end he may be born among beetles, maggots and insects, or, worst of all among the animals, rotting fi sh. Th ere is every reason to avoid the duggattis, as they are extremely hard to get out of: it is very diffi cult to again attain human birth — which of course is a great privilege, because you then may receive the teaching of the Buddha and be liberated from the horrors of saṃsāra. Th e simile given to illustrate this concept is that of a man who throws a yoke with a hole in it into the sea and it fl oats everywhere: it is more diffi cult for a being born in the lower states of existence to attain human birth than it is for a blind turtle coming to the surface of the ocean every hundred years to put its neck through the hole of the yoke. 26 Th e reason is that “there is no dhamma-faring there, no even-faring, no doing of what is skilled, no doing of what is good. Monks, there is devouring of one another there and feeding on the weak.” It is also diffi cult to practice good kamma there, which is necessary if the unfortunate being is to move upwards into better states of existence. Even if born as a human again, he would be born among the low, where it is also diffi cult to perform good deeds to improve one’s karmic lot (MN III.169). So the advice is to act well with regard to our fellow beings and keep our morality clean. Th e wise man, of course, is the opposite of everything appertaining to the stupid: he will be born in the divine world, where the pleasures are as indescribable as the suff erings of hell. Th e king of Niraya, hell, is Yama. In the sutta Th e Messengers of the Gods 27 the sinner is questioned by the king, being brought before him 26) For the simile, cf. also SN I.5.7–8.27) MN III.3.10, abridged version in AN III.1.4.6. J. Braarvig / Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 271 by the guardians of hell: “Th is man, sire, had no respect for his mother, no respect for his father, he does not honour recluses, he does not hon- our brahmans, he does no pay due respect to the elders of the family. Let your majesty decree a punishment for him.” 28 King Yama then interviews him on whether he has not seen the messengers of the gods, the Devadhūtas, who are personifi cations, depicted in a very sombre way, of the fi ve situations of suff ering of existence: birth, old age, ill- ness, a thief punished by whipping, then a rotting corpse. We recognize the concluding elements of the chain of dependent origin. 29 Th e situa- tions are depicted in the sutta as divine messengers of the qualities of saṃsāra, nothing but impermanence and suff ering. But the man before the king had not taken heed of these reminders, he still acted badly, and “King Yama, monks, having cross-questioned him, questioned him closely and having spoken to him concerning the fi fth divine messen- ger, was silent.” An ominous silence, evidently, because then the guards drag the poor man off to his punishments. Th e favourite piece quoted in the Kathāvatthu concerning punishments (see above) is given. But the Devadhūtasutta has more details. Th e unfortunate is hurled around the Great Hell against the four gates, burned and tortured. And then: Monks, there comes a time once in a very long while when the eastern gateway of this Great Niraya Hell is opened. He rushes there swiftly and speedily; while he is rushing swiftly and speedily his skin burns and his hide burns and his fl esh burns and his tendons burn and his eyes are fi lled with smoke — such is his plight. And though he has attained much, the gateway is nevertheless closed against him. Th ereat he feels feelings that are painful, sharp, severe. But he does not do his time until he makes an end of that evil deed. 30 28) MN III.180: nirayapālā nānābāhāsu gahetvā yamassa rañño dassenti ’ayā deva, puriso amatteyyo apetteyyo asāmañño abrahmañño na kulejeṭ ṭ hāpacāyī, imassa devo daṇḍā paṇetuti. 29) Th e fi nal elements of the paṭ iccasamuppāda, the result of ignorance, avijjā, are birth, old age, death, sorrow, lamentation suff ering, depression and despair: jarāmaraṇasokaparidevadukkhadomanassa’ ūpayāsa. Th e devadhūtas also correspond to the objects of meditation, as meditation on the impure creates disgust for existence and makes one seek the good, and ultimately nibbāna. 30) Th e commentary on the sutta: “After saying that ‘he has attained much,’ that is, having attained many hundred thousand years in Avīci, [it says] that it takes him all this time to work off the ripening of his evil deed” (abbreviation of MA 4.235 as in MN III, tr. p. 227 n.5). Th e Buddhist “Judas” occupies, expectedly, the lowest and most terrible hell. 272 J. Braarvig / Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 Not unexpectedly, he experiences the same at the other gates, but, in the end, the eastern gate is open for him, but only for him to be reborn in another hell: the Great Filth Hell, where his skin, fl esh and bones are cut off . Th en he is reborn the in Ember Hell, the Forest of Silk-Cotton Trees, which he has to climb — they are of course burning — and then the Hell of burning water. He is hungry, asking for food, and the guards haul him out with a fi shhook and fi ll his mouth with glowing copper pellets that burn his chest and stomach before they pass out with his bowels and intestines. When daring to say he is thirsty, he gets a similar treatment. Th e end of this text, though, shows that there is after all a way out of hell, and that even its ruler Yama is reborn in inferno because of his own actions: even he would like to be born as a human to hear the teachings of the Lord Buddha and thus be liberated from suff ering. So Yama is not an eternal ruler of the Netherworld, he is in principle a liv- ing being transmigrating like any other, who, because of his actions, has become what he is, in accordance with the kamma principle, which is universal: Once upon a time, monks, it occurred to King Yama: “Th ose that do evil deeds in the world are subjected to a variety of punishments like these. O that I might acquire human status and that a Tathāgata might arise in the world, a perfected one, a fully Self-Awakened One, and that I might wait on that Lord, and that that Lord might teach me dhamma, and that I might understand that Lord’s dhamma.” (MN III.187) Th us, there is indeed mobility in the Buddhist universe, but at a fairly slow rate, given the particular understanding of time in classical India, where the age of the universe was not counted in millennia, as in ancient western traditions, but in kappas, aeons, time periods of enormous length 31 — which length, however, varied according to 31) Cf. SN III.1.6: Dīgho kho bhikkhu kappo. So na sukaro sākhātuṃ ettakāni vassānīti vā, ettakāni vassasatāni iti vā, ettakāni vassasahassāni iti vā, ettakāni vassasatasahassāni iti vāti. “A kappa is long. It is not easy to calculate how many years it is, how many hundreds of years it is, how many thousand of years it is, how many hundred thousands of years it is.” Later, and particularly in the Mahāyāna, the num- bers of years in a kalpa tended to reach unthinkable and immeasurable fi gures. Se also notes 2, 5 and 6. J. Braarvig / Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 273 various traditions. Th e kappas would also be eternally recurring. Th e Buddha would remember these kappas, because of his divine vision, and his advanced students would also remember some. But only the Buddha could recount all his previous births, and also all the births of others, and that is the rationale given in the Jātakas. Remembering one’s former lives, and being able to relate to all the sins one has committed during the innumerable previous births, is the clue to get rid of their results and be freed from being reborn again in the duggati, and in the end to be liberated from saṃsāra. In the Dhammapada, it seems, it is still mainly the monks, who are exhorted to perform good deeds and are threatened with hell, who are targets of the preaching, and the theme of monastic hypocrisy and cor- ruption is emphasized — a frequent theme both in Buddhism and in other monastic traditions: “Who speaks untruth to purgatory goes; he too who says ‘I do not’; both these, in passing on, equal become, men of base actions in another world. Many about whose neck is a yellow robe, of evil qualities and uncontrolled, wicked by wicked deeds, in hell they’re born.” 32 In the Jātakas, though, the layperson is more often part of the story, and it is in the Jātrakas that the exuberance of early Buddhist narratives unfolds fully — also concerning the subject of hell. Th e Jātakas are a vehicle of Buddhist preaching. Th ey narrate how bad actions entail bad results, and the good the opposite, and that across the borders of death, as the fruits of kamma appear in many lives after the act was commit- ted. Th us the Jātaka stories illustrate how the Buddha, being fi rst a Bodhisatta, incarnated in all kinds of existences throughout his devel- opment before becoming a complete Buddha, cultivated his wisdom and compassion and his good actions. Th ey also show how incidents in the Buddha’s “present” life are connected to all the people he related to in his former lives, and thus the workings of kamma from life to life, and the connections between the dramatis personae throughout the chains of reincarnation, are brought into focus. Th us the Jātakas have a common formal structure: (1) story of the present ( paccupannavatthu, 32) Dhp XXII, 306 ff ., Th e Hell Chapter, nirayavaggo 1–2: abhūtavādī nirayaṃ upeti yo cāpi katvā na karomīti cāha, ubho’pi te pecca samā bhavanti nihīnakammā manujā parattha. kāsāvakaṇṭ hā bahavo pāpadhammā asaññatā, pāpā pāpehi kammehi nirayaṃ te upapajjare. 274 J. Braarvig / Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 an incident from the life of the Buddha); (2) a past event (atītavatthu, giving the reason for the incident, by way of the kamma that would be the cause of it in lives past); (3) the connections (samodhāna) between the dramatis personae in the present with those in the past lives, their “identifi cations,” so to say (von Hinüber 1996:56). A mnemonic verse contains fi rst the title, then the present, and then the past, and then the connections and the verse are expanded on through a commentary on each of the words in the verse, and we have a full story. As the Buddha in the stories most often was reborn as a layman, the Jātakas were always important in lay Buddhism; thus, they are close to the Mahāyāna literature, which also underlines the lay ideals at the expense of monasticism, often described as corrupt and decadent. Th ere are, however, few, if any, explicit Mahāyāna dogmas in the Pāli Jātaka collection that we are employing here to describe early Buddhist views on hell. Th us the Jātakas describe not only the Buddha’s previous lives, but also the moral ideals and ethical self-sacrifi ce he practiced in these earlier lives, as models for the Buddhists, and how he developed, by his behaviour, into the perfected man and laid down the path to be fol- lowed by others. Th us the ethics of the Buddha and his former incarna- tions are described, but also the other personalities he meets, and how they acted in former lives — good actions causing good rebirths, and bad ones causing rebirth as animals, spirits and not the least in hell, all according to the law of kamma. Th us the Jātakas became a source of entertainment as narratives, and were always an important instrument in the hands of the monks in their eff ort to educate the lay people with edifying storytelling. On the whole, the descriptions on hell in the Jātakas are the same as those given in the earlier Vinaya and Sutta lit- erature. Th e earliest Jātakas are a formalized part of the Tipiṭ aka, and were written down in verse for memorizing. Th e Jātaka collection of the Khuddakanikāya consists of such verses, which are the nuclei of the developed stories as we have them. Th e total number of Jātakas was originally 550 (von Hinüber 1996:54–58, Norman 1983:77–84). Th e verses are, as often in Buddhist literature, mnemonic, containing only a reference to the story, while the stories themselves were probably orally transmitted and written down at a later stage. 33 33) Other (and later) Vinayas often integrated more of the Jātakas into the Vinaya J. Braarvig / Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 275 Our topic is of course important in the Jātakas, since many of the persons the Buddha meets throughout his career of rebirths are described as having had a stay in hell — as well as in the other states of existence — the cycle of rebirth being unending without the teachings of a Buddha. For our survey of hell in the Jātakas we may start again with Devadatta, the main villain of the Buddhist drama and the foremost candidate for punishments in hell. He goes to the deepest hell, and his mode of dying is expanded upon compared to the earlier sources. He falls ill, and blood issues from his mouth, but he somehow repents and wishes to be rec- onciled with the Lord. But the Lord does not wish to see him, and Devadatta, lying on a litter, wishes to ease his pains with drink and a bath. He gets up, but before he can drink, fi res fl are up from the deep- est hell, Avīci. Th e earth opens, and even though he takes refuge in the Buddha in that moment, he is swallowed by the earth, and with fi ve hundred families of his followers he is reborn in the deepest hell. 34 Evi- dently, in early Buddhism, contrary, e.g., to Christianity, to express your faith in the last moment before death has no eff ect on your fate in the afterlife — the principle of kamma is merciless and impossible to change. 35 However, it still seems possible to avoid hell, if the Way of Truth is followed. King Ajātasattu, who had killed his father, king itself, like that of the Sarvāstivāda, which is completly extant in Tibetan and partly in Sanskrit. A number of indices exist for the Jātakas e.g. Cowell 1895–1913, with its ample indices in vol. VI, as well as electronic editions. We are using Cowell’s transla- tions and references to them. 34) Th e idea connected with it is that the earth is not able to carry the weight of such misdeeds — even though it can carry the weight of Mt. Sumeru. Devadatta also died in that way in former births (e.g. Ja no. 72, 358), and this is the mode of dying for very great sinners. A woman who tried to lie about a sexual relation with the Lord, to harm him so that rival ascetics would get more alms, dies in the same way: the earth opens, fl ames encompass her and she falls into Avīci. Th ere was a background to the story, though: in a previous incarnation the evil woman had made sexual advances on her son, the Bodhisatta, who of course rejected her ( Ja no. 472). 35) Ja no. 467: Samuddavāṇijajātaka, which illustrates a present event, as usual, with a previous birth, a story however fairly unrelated to the present apart from the ever-recurrent dichotomies of stupid and wise, bad and good, as in several other stories on Devadatta in previous lives, like that of “Luckie and Blackie” — as Cowell translates — in Ja no. 11. Further references to Devadatta’s death and repeated con- demnation to hell is found in Cowell 1895–1913: index, s.v. Devadatta. 276 J. Braarvig / Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 Biṃbisāra, on Devadatta’s advice, has unbearable visions of hell in his dreams, and fears the consequences of his ill deed. Humbly he approaches the Tathāgata, and, “listening to his sweet discourse on the Law and consorting with a virtuous friend, his fears abated and his feel- ing of horror disappeared, and he recovered his peace of mind and hap- pily cultivated the four ways of Deportment.” Th e story is underlined with an atītavatthu, where, in another life, the Bodhisatta tells another king who also committed patricide, of the horrors of hell: Bright jets of fi re on every side shoot from his tortured frame, His very limbs, hair, nails and all, serve but to feed the fl ame. And his body burns apace, racked through and through with pain, Like a goad-stricken elephant, poor wretch, he roars again. Whoso from greed or hatred shall, vile creature, slay his sire, In Kālasutta Hell long time shall agonize in fi re. Consolation is evidently possible, especially through being scared away from bad ways by hellish visions and stories, but the story remains silent on the afterlife of king Ajātasattu. Th ere is evidently hope, however, if one follows the right path, and thus the Bodhisatta ends his versifi ed sermon with a heavenly vision: Th rough virtue stored on earth of old the good to Heaven attain, Here Brahmas, Devas, Indra, lo! ripe fruit of Virtue gain. Th is then I say, bear righteous sway throughout thy realm, my king, For justice done is merit won, nor e’er regret will bring. 36 But, of course, attaining heaven by good acts is not the aim of Buddhist practice, which is nibbāna, attained by kamma neither moral nor non- moral, the complete freedom from rebirth in the whole system of fi ve worlds. Another Jātaka that describes a fully developed hell with all its qualities and paraphernalia is the Mahānāradakassapajātaka, where Devadatta again is one of the persons in the paccupannavatthu (vol. VI, no. 544). Th e Jātaka also puts its description of hell into the context of Indian philosophy of the day, which very often discussed actions and 36) Further in Cowell 1895–1913:iv, 137–40; Ja no. 530, where the eight classical hot hells are mentioned, and others are referred to. J. Braarvig / Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 277 their fruits. As we have seen, the Buddhists took a fi rm stance on the principle that kamma never disappeared, that actions always had conse- quences, and in this Jātaka that principle is contrasted with the view that destiny, or necessity, niyati, always decides our lives, and even though we might reincarnate, our actions mean nothing: we are not purifi ed or defi led by our actions, only time will purify us, and in the end, at the world confl agration, our actions will be purifi ed anyway. 37 In the present story king Aṅ gati is a recent convert of the Buddha, and identical to the famous Uruvela-Kassapa, whom the Buddha wishes to show as his convert — and not the other way around, since Uruvela- Kassapa was a great teacher and magician. One evening king Aṅ gati considers what to do for entertainment and counsels with his ministers. One of them, Alāta, who was a former incarnation of Devadatta, wishes to make war with the neighbouring state to entertain the king, but another minister suggests it would be a better idea to listen to a sage. Th e sage they choose, though, teaches the doctrine of no retribution and of universal necessity, contrary to the teachings of the Buddha. Alāta agrees, since in his former life, which he remembers, he was a butcher, killing a lot of living beings, but now he is a great general — thus his former bad actions have meant nothing for his status in this life. Another poor man there, an ascetic keeping all his vows and fasts, gains nothing, even though he practiced the same virtuous life also in his former reincarnation — thus he also decides to give up that hard ascetic life for pleasures. Th e story ends with the king being convinced by the doctrine of no retribution, and orders his retinue and palace to produce for him only pleasure and entertainment, so that he can give up his administrative duties, which provide him with no fun. It took his delightful daughter, named Rujā, to get him onto better ways: she was born from his main queen — all his other sixteen thou- sand other wives were barren. “She had off ered prayers for a hundred thousand ages,” she kept the fasting days and gave away all her riches to the poor. Useless, said the king, because good actions have no eff ect. Th e kamma, however, is accumulated gradually, and eventually, like when the load of a ship is too heavy, it sinks, just as one gradually 37) Such views are in Buddhism usually called ucchedavāda, “school of discontinuity,” but in general also kālavāda, “school of time.” 278 J. Braarvig / Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 accumulating bad kamma in the end will sink into hell. Likewise, a pair of scales, when fi lled on one side, will gradually rise like a good person to heaven. It took, however, a tale of her former incarnations, and a sermon of the Bodhisatta on hell, to persuade the king to give up his wrong views and destructive ways. To illustrate her point she recalled her seven last incarnations. First, she was the son of a smith who committed much evil with his friend — corrupting other men’s wives as if he were an immortal. Th e next incar- nation was not that bad, as the son of a rich merchant family, fostered and honoured, learned and devoted to good works. In the next rebirth, though, came the full force of kamma: she was reborn in the Rorava Hell for an extended period, and after that as a monkey whose father bit off his testicles, as a result of touching other people’s wives. 38 Th en, before being born as a human again, she was successively a castrated ox, a human neither man nor woman, then a goddess at the court of the king of the gods, and in the end she was born as Rujā, as the bad results waned. She would be born as a woman, though, for seven more rebirths, since to be born as a man is more diffi cult. She tried to persuade her father with her sermon on kamma, but it did not work, and it took the Bodhisatta to depict the punishments of hell and scare him before the king was put on the right track again. Th e Bodhisatta was then named Nārada and incarnated in none less than the creator god Brahma. Th us the story illustrates the mobility of the cosmos: the creator god is also a particular being in a particular incarnation, not some kind of eternal divine entity. Th e god took pity on the worshipping girl who wanted to save her father from hell, he assumed the looks of an ascetic in this world and then convinced the king that there indeed are other worlds, like heaven and hell, contrary to the ucchedavāda of the teacher Guṇ a Kassapa, the materialist, nihilist and believer in necessity, fate. Th e ser- mon on hell given by the Bodhisatta spares nothing by way of depicting the worst punishments ( Ja IV.124–25). In this sermon on hell we notice the dogs of hell, reminding us to some extent of Cerberus: “Two dogs Sabala and Sāma of giant size, mighty and strong, devour with their iron teeth him who is driven hence and goes to another world.” Also 38) More detailed punishment for such sinners in hell, and the diffi culty of escaping it, in Ja no. 314. J. Braarvig / Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 279 the river of hell has similarities with Lethe, etc., though in the Buddhist version the river of hell is a poetic image rather than a cosmologically signifi cant entity: “On fl ows the river Vetaraṇ ī, cruel with boiling water and covered with iron lotuses and sharp leaves as he is hurried along covered with blood and with his limbs all cut, in the stream of Vetaraṇ ī where there is nothing to rest upon — who would ask him for his debt?” Th us the king was saved. Another widespread motif in the narratives of hell is the visit to the infernal regions. It is found in Buddhism in the Nimijātaka (Ja no. 541). King Nimi, again a former incarnation of the Buddha, is the Buddhist Dante, and Mātali, the charioteer of the god Indra — Ānanda, the Buddha’s main disciple, in the present life — plays the part of Vergil. Th e gods in Indra’s heaven are so impressed by king Nimi, his generos- ity and his pure behaviour, that they wish to see him in heaven. He is sent for with Indra’s chariot, and on the way to heaven he is shown fi rst the infernal and then the celestial regions by his guide and driver Mātali, who explains the tortures of the sinners in hell. Th e catalogue is long: misers and those with bad language are eaten by dogs and other ani- mals; those hurting and tormenting people without sins lie on the ground pounded with red-hot irons; those bribing witnesses and deny- ing debts are burned in coal-pits; those hurting ascetics or brahmins are fi red in an iron cauldron; those killing birds are boiled in hot water; those cheating by mixing chaff in the grain try, thirsty, to drink from a river, but the water turns into chaff ; thieves are pierced by arrowheads and spikes; hunters are fastened by the neck and their bodies are torn to pieces; those harming their friends must lie in a stinking lake; matri- cides and patricides are punished in a lake of blood; dishonest traders have their tongues pierced with hooks and must live like fi sh on land; women who leave their husbands to satisfy their lust are buried down to their waists, and men seducing other people’s wives are taken by their legs and thrown headlong into hell; and, the worst of all punishments, which is not specifi ed, though, is for heretics. Indra in his heaven is worried that Nimi would consume all his life in his cosmic travel, so he instructs Mātali to show him the whole universe in a fl ash, since a small moment in other worlds, like heaven, is like a month for humans, even though at the time the story unfolds, humans lived four times eighty four thousand years — again an example of the enormous time-spans 280 J. Braarvig / Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 imagined in Indian mythology. However, Nimi arrives safely in heaven after visiting a number of heavenly abodes and being explained how the extreme happiness experienced by the inmates there is the fruit of good actions. Nimi gives a sermon in heaven on the balance between good deeds and ascetic penance, and then goes back to his kingdom to make his son the new king. He would himself spend his last eighty-four thou- sand years as an ascetic, as had his eighty-four thousand predecessors. Th e Buddhist Jātaka literature may, with a certain right, be regarded as the fi rst fi ction literature. Th e stories usually seem to have an enter- taining character, and may not be intended to be taken as absolutely serious — indeed this tendency develops from the more realistic story- telling in the speeches of the Buddha, via the Jātakas, to the Mahāyāna sūtras, which defi nitely were not intended to be read as anything but fi ctitious literature into which the dogmas of Buddhism were woven. Th e transformation of the Netherworld from an often sad place for the deceased forefathers into a place of retribution and punishment for bad behaviour constitutes a problem in the study of religions. And it is not easy to explain how the idea of hell was propagated. If our under- standing of the dates is correct, the Buddhist idea of hell is historically prior to the same idea in the Mediterranean cultures. Th us the follow- ing question may be posed: did the idea of hell originate in India with Buddhism and then spread to the West, or did the idea originate inde- pendently in the Mediterranean world? Clearly, there was ample com- munication between India and the West over sea and land during the centuries before and after Christ. Th us the diff usion of the idea of hell from the East to the West is historically and geographically possible. One cannot but notice that the “fully developed hell” originates in the West much at the same time as monastic institutions and practices, and one can argue, even with simple Freudian arguments, that monks and nuns are psychologically inclined to condemn to eternal punishments the sinners practising what they are themselves denied. Th e monastic institutions and lifestyle “need” hell, one might say. And Buddhism was indeed the earliest and most important tradition to institutionalize monastic life. Th us it is quite possible that both hell and monastic dis- cipline were, if not necessarily “imported,” at least infl uenced from India when they suddenly became popular in fourth century Egypt and elsewhere around the Mediterranean. In the present paper we have J. Braarvig / Numen 56 (2009) 254–281 281 limited ourselves to the description of the Buddhist hells as they appear in the Pāli sources. Since, however, the original function of hell in Buddhism was to illustrate the workings of kamma, the later Buddhist tradition, with all its variants on the theme, largely built on the same principles as the ideas about hell in early Buddhism. References Bechert, Heinz. 1991–97. Th e Date of the Historical Buddha and the Importance of its Determination for Indian Historiography and World History. 3 vols. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Cowell, E. B. 1895–1913. Th e Jātaka, or Stories from the Buddha’s Former Births. 6 vols. London: Pali Text Society. Feer, M. Léon. 1892. “L’Enfer Indien.” Journal Asiatique, Sér. 8, vol. 20:185–232. Grey, Leslie. 2000. A Concordance of Buddhist Birth Stories. Oxford: Pali Text Society. Kirfel, Willibald. 1920. Die Kosmographie der Inder nach den Quellen dargestellt. Bonn and Leipzig: K. Schroeder. Kloetzli, Randy. 1983. Buddhist Cosmology. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. Lamotte, Étienne. 1949. Le traité de la Grande vertu de la Sagesse de Nāgārjuna. Tome II. Louvain: Université de Louvain. McGovern, William M. 1923. A Manual of Buddhist Philosophy. Vol. 1: Cosmology. London. Norman, K. R. 1983. Pāli Literature, including the canonical literature in Prakrit and Sanskrit of all the Hinayana schools of Buddhism. (= A History of Indian Literature, ed. J. Gonda, vol. 7, fasc 2.) Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. von Hinüber, Oskar. 1996. A Handbook of Pāli Literature. (Indian Philology and South Asian Studies 2.) Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter. Weber, Max. 2001. Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft. Teilband 2: Religiöse Gemeinschaften. (= Max Weber Gesamtausgabe, Abteilung I: Schriften und Reden, vol. 22:2, ed. H. G. Kippenberg, Tübingen: Mohr.) Th e abbreviations of the Pāli texts are as von Hinüber 1996:250–53. Terms from the literature are in Pāli, not Sanskrit, given our sources.
doi:10.18399/acta.2016.19.2.007 © Academia Koreana, Keimyung University, 2016 A COMMENTARY O N A B U D D H IS T TALE: “SO NYUL COMES BACK TO L IF E ” (SONYUL HW ANSAENG I N M E M O R A B I L I A O F T H E T H R E E K I N G D O M S ( S A M G U K Y U S A By Na He e La Buddhism introduced the concept o f hell to East Asia, and many tales o f hell were circulated. The narrative “Sonyul comes back to life” accompanied the dissemination of the concept o f hell in the Unified Silla period. This story describes suffering in hell as retribution for the unwholesome act o f stealing monastery possessions. However, the punishment in hell is not eternal in this story, and one can be saved through performing a memorial sendee for the dead. Memorial services for the dead are done by making offerings to the Three Jewels— the Buddha, Dharma, and Samgha— by giving one’s possessions to monasteries. The story “Sonyul comes back to life” seems to have been written by monks and been circulated as a karma tale o f a Buddhist ceremony for the production o f sutras and for appreciating the teachings o f the sutras. Buddhist ceremonies were constructed and performed for the purpose o f amassing meritorious virtues and expelling calamities through such things as reading sutras and understanding their content. Among these, dramatic preaching o f the dharma was performed to communicate to ordinary people in a more lively and interesting manner than the teaching o f the sutras. Animated stories of hell about actual people who could have been the listeners’ own neighbors were performed, and the story o f “Sonyul comes back to life” seems to have been told at such a ceremony. In a story performed in a lifelike manner, sympathetic people willingly contributed their hearts and possessions to the Buddha, monks, and monasteries for the sake of their own futures. Keywords: “Sonyul comes back to life” (Sonyul hwansaeng Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms (Samgnkyusa H glitflr), Buddhist hell, Tales o f Hell, Buddhist Ceremony This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korean Government. (NRF-2013S1A2A1A01065971) In conceiving o f hell, people believe that after death they will be judged according to the works they have performed in life and will go to hell and be punished for their evil actions. The concept o f hell developed from the notions o f the “ soul” and “the other world” and includes systems o f judgment and punishment. It appeared with the provision that reflection and introspection on the ethics o f hum an behavior had progressed to a certain level. In human history, the concept o f a judgment after death first appeared in Egypt, developed in ancient Persia, entered India in the later period o f Vedic literature, and evolved into the idea o f judgment after death in Buddhism. 1 In E ast Asia, the standard conception o f hell formed with the introduction o f Buddhism. Although the idea that the dead went to a dark, subterranean realm already existed throughout Asia, the concept o f hell with its core ideas o f judgment and punishm ent after death only blossomed after the accommodation o f Buddhism.2 3 The Korean people also accepted the concept o f hell through Buddhism. Before the adoption o f Buddhism, ancient K orean people had no idea that after death people would be judged on deeds perform ed during their lives and that based on those deeds they would receive either reward or punishment. Although they thought that when a person died his spirit would go to the realm where people go after they die and that life would continue, they did n o t think that one’s ethical actions in this life influenced the mode or style o f life after death. According to ancient Korean people, social status, the nature o f death, and the conducting o f proper mourning and funerals influenced the manner o f life after death.’ With the transmission o f Buddhism, however, the view o f life and death 1 For research on the history and development o f the idea o f hell, see the following: S. G. Brandon, The Judgment of the Dead: The Jdea of N fe A fte r Death in the Major Religions (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1967); Alice K. Turner, The History of Hell (Jarcourt Brace, 1993); T u rn er’s b o o k was translated into Korean as Chiok ui jo k sa Vol. I, II, trans. Yi C h’ansu (Seoul: Tongyon, 1998); Iwam oto Yutaka, “Jigoku shiso no denkai: kodai Indo ni okeru jigoku shiso tosono kigen” [The developm ent o f the concept o f hell: T he co n cept o f hell in ancient India and its origin], in Jigoku no sekai [The world o f hell], ed. Sakamoto K anam e (Tokyo: Keisusha, 1990); Chang Mijin, “Pulgyo munhwagwon e issoso ‘chiok’ ui wonsinhwajok yoso wa ku uimi” [The original mythological elements o f hell in the Buddhist cultural sphere and their meaning], Misul sahak 1 (1995):189—242. 2 Yu Weigang, “Zhongguo diyuguande xingcheng yu yanbian” [The form ation and evolution o f the concept o f hell in China], Shehuike sfanxian [Social science front], Issue 4 (1988): 102; Yamaguchi Masao, “Jigoku izen: Shamonizumo no N ihonteki denkai,” [Before Hell: The Japanese developm ent o f Shamanism], in Jigoku no sekai [The world o f hell], ed. Sakamoto Kaname (Tokyo: Keisusha, 1990), 7. 3 For research on the view o f the world after death held by Koreans prior to the introduction o f Buddhism, see N a Huira (Na Hee La), Kodae H an’gugin ui saengsagwan [Ancient K orean Hews o f life flavored with the Buddhist theory o f retribution newly influenced Korean ways o f thinking and atdtudes toward life. The Buddhist concept o f hell teaches that after death one receives judgment on the actions o f this life and that people w ho have perform ed evil deeds fall into hell where they receive awful punishment. This teaching regulated life in the present world through fear about the next life. Therefore, the concept o f hell molded, shaped, and regulated moralistic ideals for actual society and social values. H ow was this concept o f hell accommodated and how was it disseminated in ancient Korea? The Buddhist concept o f hell was initially made known through scriptures that mentioned ideas about hell. However, when ordinary people encountered scriptures directly, they would n o t have been able to understand the concept o f hell. To the com m on illiterate people, the teachings o f Buddhism were conveyed through such things as paintings, images formed into carved sculptures, and stories embellished so that doctrines could be understood easily and in an interesting manner. Many narrative portrayals (C. bianxiangtu o f hell were painted in the Tang H dynasty (618-907), in which Buddhism flourished along with their explanatory “transformation texts” (C. bianwen §!X). These were used widely as educational materials by missionary monks (C. jiaohuaseng fHHb’fH).* 4 5 Even in Japan, after the N ara period (710-794), pictorial portrayals o f hell were visible, and in the Heian period (794-1185), many wall paintings o f hell were found in temples and monasteries.’1 Furthermore, because stories about hell were curious and interesting enough to attract people’s attention, many tales were created after the introduction o f Buddhism. In ancient Korea as well, paintings, sculptures, and stories were probably made and circulated that propagated concepts o f hell. However, unfortunately, n o t many o f these materials have been preserved. Paintings and images are completely non-extant, and only a few stories o f hell have been preserved. A typical narrative endowed with the structural elements o f the concept o f hell, in which someone is judged after death on w hether their deeds in this life have been good or evil and, as a result, receives punishment in hell is “Sonyul comes back to life” (Sonyul hwansaeng # # 1 S 4 ) , which is the only such story recorded in Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms {Samguk yusa H g l f i # ) . 6 Accordingly, to and death] (Seoul: Chisik sanopsa, 2008). 4 Michihata Ryoshu, Chiigoku Bukkyd shisoshi no kenkyu: Chugoku minshii no Bukkydjuyd [Research on the history o f Chinese B uddhist thought: T he reception o f Buddhism by the Chinese masses] (Kyoto: Heirakuji Shoten, 1979), 95. 5 Ienaga Saburo, “Jigokuhen to Rokudoe,” [Narrative portrayals o f hell and paintings o f the six paths o f rebirth], in Jigoku no sekai [The world o f hell], ed. Sakamoto Kaname, (Tokyo: Keisusha, 1990), 423. 6 Although a hell story associated with the Silla m o n k Sun’gyong IIBtf is preserved in the Song understand how the concept o f hell was formed in ancient Korea after the introduction o f Buddhism and how it circulated, I think it is meaningful to evaluate this narrative at length. In this article, I analyze the story “Sonyul comes back to life” on the basis o f the structural elements at the core o f the concept o f hell, examine the significance o f the form and structure o f the story, and consider how it conveyed the concept o f hell to ordinary people. I. T H E D A T IN G OF T H E “S O N Y U L COM ES BACK T O L IF E ” NARRATIVE I N MEMORABILIA OF TH E THREE KINGDOMS The complete narrative o f “Sonyul comes back to life” may be presented as follows: Sonyul, a m o n k o f M angdok M o n astery ( S I HtF), received a d o n a tio n and in te n d e d to pay fo r th e c o m p le tio n o f a c o p y o f th e Sutra on the Perfection o f Wisdom in 600 Rolls (Yukpaekpanya kyong b u t h e was suddenly b ro u g h t b efo re the un d erw o rld trib u n al (myongbu K Jff) b efo re he finished it. T h e u n d erw o rld official asked, “W h a t was y o u r o cc u p atio n du rin g your life in the h u m a n w orld?” Sonyul replied, “ I s o u g h t to co m p lete a copy o f the Larger Perfection o f Wisdom (Taep’um kyong dCppfi) in my declining years, b u t I came here b e fo re it was fin ish ed .” T h e r e u p o n , the n etherw orld official said, “A lth o u g h your allotted life is n o w o v er i f we follow the register o f h u m a n lives, because y o u r excellent w ish has n o t yet been com pleted, you should re tu rn again to th e h u m a n w orld to fully com plete yo u r precious b o o k s.” So he se n t th e m o n k back. O n the ro a d back, Sonyul m e t a w o m a n . She was crying and b ow ed b efo re Sonyul and said, “I was also a native o f Silla in th e so u th e rn c o n tin e n t o f Jam budvipa. My p a re n ts co v e rtiy stole a p lo t o f w et paddy land fro m K u m g an g M o nastery (^MIItF); I was im plicated in the crime, was taken by the n eth erw o rld au th o rities, a n d have u n d e rg o n e extrem e suffering fo r a lo n g time. N o w , m o n k , w h e n you re tu rn to o u r h om eland, please tell m y p aren ts to re tu rn th e field im m ediately. F u rth e rm o re , w h e n I lived in the w orld, I hid a b o td e o f sesam e oil u n d e r m y bed and also a roll o f beautifully w oven clo th b etw e en th e sheets o f m y bed. I f you take the oil gaoseng rfman [Lives of Eminent Monks compiled in the Song], it is not a hell story made to spread the concept of hell to ordinary people because it is a narrative associated with reciprocal criticism within the Buddhist learning o f this monk. Aside from this, there are some episodes about hell in Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms, but they are not endowed with the components of the concept o f hell like “Sonyul comes back to life.” O n this issue, see Na Huira, “T ’ongil Silla wa Namal Ryoch’o ki chiok kwallyom ui chon’gae,” Han’guk munhwa [Korean Culture] 43 (September 2008): 245-265. and light a lantern for the Buddha and sell the cloth and use the money for the expenses to finish the sutra, it will be a benefit to me in the netherworld, and I hope I will be freed from my sufferings.” T o this, Sonyul asked, “Where is your house?” T h e wom an replied, “It is a village to the southwest o f Kuw on M onastery in the Saryang Region Q’PWh dB).” After hearing her response, Sonyul continued on the road and was immediately brought back to life. At this time, Sonyul had already been dead for ten days, and because he had been interred at the foot o f the eastern side o f South Mountain (Namsan S i l l ) , he shouted from his grave for three days. A passing herd boy heard his cries, came and reported to the monastery, and the monks o f the monastery went and dug up the grave and drew Sonyul out. Sonyul gave a full account o f his personal experience, and he went to the home o f the woman he had met. Although she had been dead for fifteen years, the oil and cloth were just as she had said. Sonyul supplicated for blessings to come to the woman in the netherw orld as she had instructed, and the wom an’s spirit came and said that, owing to the m onk’s favor, she had been freed from her suffering. The people o f the time were amazed at the m o n k ’s story; there was no one w ho was n o t struck with wonder, and they assisted him in completing the precious books. T hat sutra is preserved in the library in the Office o f Monastic Affairs in Kyongju. Every year in spring and autum n, a ceremony is held in which the sutra is read selectively to supplicate for the expulsion o f calamities. A eulogy says, Enviable! O u r monk, following the wholesome karmic connections, His soul returned and came to his old homeland! W hen parents ask about my wellbeing, Please tell them to return that paddy field for me quickly. * * * 7 B e fo re I e n te r in to th e m a in s u b je c t o f th is article, I n e e d to m e n tio n th e b a c k g ro u n d to th e d a tin g o f “ S o n y u l c o m e s b a c k to life” in Memorabilia o f the Three Kingdoms. Memorabilia o f the Three Kingdoms is a b o o k b e g u n by th e m o n k I ry o n — gk (1 2 0 6 -1 2 8 9 ) in th e late t h ir te e n th c e n tu r y a n d c o m p le te d by o th e r a u th o rs a fte r th a t. A cco rd in g ly , a fu n d a m e n ta l q u e s tio n a d v a n c e d by scholars regards th e h isto ric a l “ reliability” o f Memorabilia o f the Three Kingdoms, 8 I n a d d itio n , b e c au se th e Samguk yusa – H i t # 5, in Taisho shinshii daisytkyo TIHifrfiAS’SS [Taisho edition o f the Buddhist canon], eds. Takakasu Junjiro, et a l, 100 vols. (Tokyo: Taisho Issaikyo Kankokai, 1924— 1932[—1935]) (hereafter T no., vol. page, register, and line), T 2039, 49.1013c24-1014al6 (Sonyul hwansaeng &’I’T| 8 Regarding this, see Henrik Sorensen, “Problem s with using the Samguk Yusa as a source for the History o f Korean Buddhism,” Cahiers d ’etudes coreennes 7 (2000). In this article, Sorensen cautions against materials in the Samguk yusa uncritically as sources for the history o f Buddhism in the materials preserved in Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms are mosdy narrative in form, if we connect their narrative format with the problem o f textual transmission, it is only natural that the dating o f the narratives in Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms presents a problem. N o t only do I think that the materials in Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms do not speak o f historical facts as they are recorded, b u t I also think that records possessing narrative form should n o t be believed to date to the time period that is claimed in the text. However, that being said, we cannot disavow or reject the dating o f all records in Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms. Some materials in Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms are epigraphy, primary sources o f the time period, which were translated into the text, and others were rendered from oral traditions, legends, and folklore {kubi chonsung P regarding which it is impossible to clearly know the date o f formation. Thus, the dating o f materials in Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms must be assessed and evaluated on an individual basis. Moreover, Iryon, the primary compiler o f Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms, did not change or alter his original source materials wantonly or arbitrarily. He merely seems to have edited by selection materials that appealed to him.* * * * 9 T hat being the case, how can we view the dating o f “ Sonyul comes back to life”? This narrative is presented as having occurred in the Unified Silla period (668-935). It is not, however, an actual historical fact from the Silla period. It is a narrative constructed with Silla as the temporal and spatial background based upon tales with similar patterns that had been formed previously in China. Accordingly, the temporal and spatial phenom enon called “ Silla,” which is asserted in this narrative, is not reality, but constructed. Therefore, it is necessary for us to question w hether the tale indeed reflects the Silla people’s concept o f hell. This narrative was crafted blending the concrete sense o f temporal and spatial reality found in tales o f pilgrimages to hell (chiok suljye tarn and stories o f restoration to life after visits to the underworld tribunal (myongbu sosaeng tarn which were widely prevalent after the N o rth ern and Southern Dynasties period (ca. 386—589) in China. Many themes linked to Buddhism can be Unified Silla period. I think that this is an appropriate admonition. Nevertheless, for several reasons that I state in this article, I intend to use the narrative “Sonyul comes back to life” with caution as a primary source for understanding the circumstances surrounding the accommodation and dissemination o f the concept o f hell in Silla. 9 Richard D. McBride II, “Is the Samguk Yusa Reliable? Case Studies from Chinese and Korean Sources,” The journal of Korean Studies 11, no.l (Fall 2006), 182; Nam Tongsin, “Samguk yusa ui saso roso ui t’ukching” [The distinctive characteristics o f the Samguk yusa as a historical book], in Iryon kwa Samguk yusa (Iryon and the Samguk yusa), ed. Iryonhak Yon’guwon (Seoul: Sinsowon, 2007), 110. seen in collections o f narratives: the actions o f sutra-copying (sagyong H H ), sutra- reading (tokkydng HIS), and image-making (chosang j§lH) are judged as wholesome karma. The stealing or appropriation o f monastery property is cause for punishment. W hen one who will be restored to life receives the decision o f the court in the netherworld and returns to this life, he meets a person suffering in hell, accepts a request from that person, and resolves the suffering in hell o f the person who made the request. Stories o f this type can be seen in collections o f tales o f cause-and-effect retribution, such as Records of Signs from the Unseen Realm (-Mingxiangji Record of Reports from the Netherworld (Mingbao j i l?$R§B), and Record of Collected Marvels on the Diamond Sutra (Jingang bore jing jiyan j i ^fflfK T rlS ^lasB ), which were compiled from the N orthern and Southern Dynasties period through the Tang period. W hen Buddhism was transmitted from China to Korea and Japan, Chinese stories o f hell were also spread throughout these countries. The temporal and spatial character o f the Chinese narratives was crafted into Korean and Japanese stories o f the “here and now.” “Sonyul comes back to life” is considerably similar to tale no. 23 in roll 3 o f Miraculous Stories from Japan (Nihon rydiki 0 ^ R f l l E ) , which was compiled from the late eighth to the early ninth century. A certain m onk sought to copy the Perfection of Wisdom in 600 Rolls, but was murdered and w ent to the netherworld. The judge in the netherworld said that he was killed by someone else’s hand for the sin o f having used monastery goods carelessly in this life, and issued the verdict that he would be brought back to life to complete his vow to copy the sutra, as well as being ordered to pay back in full the goods he had used carelessly.10 In “Sonyul comes back to life,” the m onk Sonyul receives the reward o f being brought back to life for the wholesome cause o f making a copy o f the Refection of Wisdom in 600 Rolls. The parents o f the women from the Saryang Region o f the Silla capital misappropriated property o f the monastery, and their daughter was punished in hell vicariously. Although the structure o f the narrative o f Silla is slightly more complicated than that o f Japan, the two narratives are similar with respect to cause-and-effect retribution. In this way, stories similar to “Sonyul comes back to life” were formed and circulated not only in Silla and con­ temporary China, but also in Japan. 10 Nihon rydiki [Miraculous stories from Japan], three rolls, by Kyokai in 787; edited and annotated by E n do Y oshim oto and Kasuga K azuo, N ih o n K oten Bungaku Taikei H T ik A i 70 (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1967), roll 3, no. 23; SSJUffi 318-319. For an English translation see K yoto M otom uchi Nakamura, trans. and ed., Miraculous Stories from the Japanese Buddhist Tradition: The N ih o n rydiki of the Monk Yydkai (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1973; reprint, Surry, England: Curzon, 1997), 252-253. The narrative “Sonyul comes back to life” is a story connected not only to the concept o f hell, but also to faith and the ceremonies o f the Larger Perfection of Wisdom Sutra. After this sutra in 600 rolls was translated by Xuanzang (ca. 602—664) in Tang China, this sutra was copied and published frequendy in China and Japan. The sutra was also believed to be able to ward against disasters if the sutra was either read or lectured,11 and ceremonies linked to this were performed frequendy. In Japan, ceremonies for copying and reading the Larger Pefection of Wisdom Sutra were held regularly after the eighth century.12 Faith and rituals associated with Buddhist sutras were in vogue in Silla as well.1′ Seen from the viewpoint o f commentaries on the Pefection of Wisdom sutras that were executed by Silla monks, there was a cult o f the Larger Pefection of Wisdom Sutra in Silla, and ceremonies related to it were probably held. Similar to Silla, Japan adopted and adapted Chinese stories on hell; further, a narrative that was similar in structure and content to the story “ Sonyul comes back to life” had already been crafted in Japan at the same time as the Silla period. In addition, Buddhist ceremonies providing an opportunity to craft and transmit this tale were probably being held from the Silla period. Furthermore, if we consider that the narrative preserves specific place names and monastery names, it is n o t unreasonable to infer that the form o f “Sonyul comes back to life” originated in the Silla period. The selection and recording o f this narrative in Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms, however, also clearly reflects the opinions o f a Buddhist m onk o f the late Koryo BiK period (918—1392). This is because it would be impossible for an orally transmitted narrative to be recorded in prose and mentioned in documentary literature w ithout the vested interest o f the compiler. Iryon, w ho is considered to be the compiler o f this story, probably felt the need to record this narrative from the standpoint o f maintaining and disseminating Buddhist faith and rituals as a 11 Because large sutra texts could not be read and lectured on in their entirety during a ceremony, they were read and lectured on selectively. This kind o f ceremony involving the selective reading o f and lecturing on a sutra was called ‘chondok ’ 12 Kim C hongmyong, Han’guk chungse ui Pulgyo uirye: Sasangjok paegyong kwa yoksajok uimi [Medieval Korean Buddhist rituals: Their theoretical background and historical significance] (Seoul: Munhak kwa chisongsa, 2001), 74. 13 T h e Japanese m onk E nnin I B t (794-864) w ho spent time am ong Silla emigre communities in Tang, m entioned ceremonies associated with lecturing on sutras (kanggyong uisik s S I S H I A ) in the diary he kept o f his travels in Tang China. See Nittoguho junreiko k i A f l t S ‘ f f i i l i i l f I B 2, “The Mt. Chi cloister [held a] ceremony for lecturing on the sutras. [The p e o p le /m o n k s of] Silla held the lecture ceremony all day, and [the p eop le/m on ks] o f Silla [held] a sutra-chanting ceremony” (#oiKna«A, mm -e m m # ., m m m m m ft). leader o f the Buddhist world and a spokesman tasked with promulgating an understanding o f the Buddhist world. F o r these many reasons, we can say that the narrative “ Sonyul comes back to life” is a Buddhist tale o f cause-and-effect retribution, which was formed and circulated along with the dissemination o f the concept o f hell in the Silla period. M angdok Monastery, the spatial setting o f this tale, was completed in the fifth year o f Silla king Sinmun I f SC (685) according to the H is to r y o f the Three Kingdoms (S a m g u k sagi Eiilfi).14 Even Kumgang Monastery is said to have been a monastic complex founded by the monk Myongnang who was active in the second half o f the seventh century.15 I f these facts are reliable, the term inus p o s t quern for the formation o f this story would be the second half o f the seventh century. The understanding o f Buddhism and the perform ance o f faith-based practices proliferated among the common people during the Unified Silla period. Diverse stories o f cause-and-effect retribution related to hell were crafted in Silla, just like in contemporary Tang China and Japan. We can infer these kinds o f circumstances due to the compilation o f narrative collections, such as the Tales o f the B iz a r r e f r o m S illa (S illa s u i chon and Record o f Collected M a rvels on the L o t u s S u tr a (Pophw a kyo n g chiphom k i The Silla m onk Uijok S ® returned from Tang at the end o f the seventh century and composed the Record o f Collected M a rv e ls on the L o tu s S u tr a in the early eighth century.17 Being a collection o f tales o f efficacious response like accounts from such Chinese works as Record o f R eports f r o m the N eth erw o rld and Record o f Collected M a rv e ls on the D ia m o n d S u tra , the contents cannot be said to be composed o f narratives o f hell in Silla. However, in one tale o f retribution contained in the W idely P raised Tales o f the L o t u s S u tr a (H o n g ^ a n F a h u a tfouan which was compiled in China in the eighth century, the main character is a native o f Silla. The story is as follows. The son o f Kim Kwaui o f Silla leaves home to become a m onk at a young age. He reads the L o t u s S u tra , and then stops at the second roll and burns one logograph. H e then dies and is reborn in the family o f another person named Kim Kwaui. Every time he recites the second roll o f the L o t u s S u tra , he forgets that one logograph from the scripture.18 Narratives o f rebirth and cause-and-effect iyunhoe i n ’giva f n 5 ! 0 S ) like this, which are related to the L o t u s S u tr a , already appear in the 14 Samguk sagi 8:97 (Sinmun 5). 15 Samgukyusa 4, T 2039, 4 9 .1 0 0 4 b l0 -c4 (I Hye tongjin nKIWlH). 16 Regarding this, see In Kwonhwan, H a n ’guk Pulgyo munhakyon’gu [Research on Korean Buddhist literature] (Seoul: Koryo Taehakkyo Ch’ulp’anbu, 1999), 1 9 6 -1 9 7 . There are no stories o f hell in the few remaining fragments o f the Silla sui chon. 1 Kim Kyonghui, “Uijok ui Pophwa kyong chiphon ki e taehan koch’al,” [A study o f Uijok’s Record of Collected Marvels on the Lotus Sutra], llhon munhwa hakpo 19 (N ovem b er 2003): 2 2 1 -2 3 3 . 18 Hongsym Fahua sfuan 9, T 2067, 5 1 .4 1 c9 -2 0 (Tang X inluoguo shami JgfrSHIhTiS). which was compiled by Tang Lin HE! in the mid-seventh century, and in Widely Praised Tales of the Lotus Sutra, which was compiled by Huixiang Hj# in the eighth century.19 These kinds o f stories were transmitted to Silla, were adapted into stories such as the one o f the Silla native called Kim Kwaui, and were then transmitted to Japan, where they were further modified into tales o f Japanese natives, such as one called “O n recollecting and reciting the Lotus Sutra and gaining an immediate reward to show an extraordinary sign” in Miraculous Stories of Japan.20 We can infer the conditions for the adaptation and dissemination o f narratives crafted in China at that time into Silla and Japan from the individual situations o f each story. That being the case, we can satisfactorily infer that the circumstances by which Chinese stories o f hell were transmitted to Silla in the Unified Silla period were adapted to the Silla people and were disseminated throughout the country. Seen from this perspective, although the exact dating o f the narrative “ Sonyul comes back to life” cannot be known, there is sufficient possibility that it was constructed as a story o f hell o f the Silla people in the Unified Silla period. II. THE KARMIC RETRIBUTION OF FALLING INTO HELL AND THE BURDEN OF RETRIBUTION In that case, let us now analyze this story systematically to ascertain how the concept o f hell is reflected. A t the core o f the concept o f hell is judgment and punishment for the deeds o f one’s life. In this narrative two cases o f judgment for the actions o f one’s life are presented. First, let us look at the judgment regarding the deeds o f the m onk Sonyul, the hero o f the story. Sonyul sought to make a copy o f the Sutra on the Perfection of Wisdom in his lifetime, but he died before completing it, and w ent to the underworld tribunal. He was ordered to return to this life and complete the Buddhist sutra, and then returned to the netherworld; and had the opportunity to be restored to life. Because copying a Buddhist sutra is a good deed, it is a karmic cause, and being brought back to life is a form o f retribution or recompense. Copying, reading, or carrying a sutra is one o f the im portant wholesome causes for obtaining good retribution in the Buddhist theory o f karmic retribution.21 19 Mingbaoji KfRIH 3:398b (Cui Yanwu in X u xiu Siku quanshu vol. 1264 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1995); H ongzan Fahua zhuan 6, T 2067, 51.28c20—29a4 (Qinjun dongsi shami l&SSiUAYMi). 20 Nihon rjoiki 1, no. 18; for an English translation see Nakamura, Miraculous Stones, 129—130. 21 Yuchi Zhiping and Xi Jia, Yin guo jie du [An interpretation o f cause and effect] (Nanning Shi: Guangxi minzu chubanshe, 1999), 8. T here are many narratives about hell related to this one in T he judgment o f Sonyul was not a decision about unwholesome behavior. The judgment and punishm ent o f misdeeds, which is at the core o f tales o f hell, comes out in the narrative o f the woman Sonyul meets on the road to return to this w orld upon receiving the order to be restored to life. This w oman said that she was involved in the crime o f her parents’ appropriating land belonging to a monastery and that she had suffered torm ent in hell. More precisely, the appropriation o f monastery land is an unwholesome action,22 and its retribution is suffering in hell. The stealing or spoiling o f monastery property is an evil deed emphasized repeatedly in Buddhist sutras.2’ Therefore, many narratives were crafted about people who misappropriate the possessions o f monasteries falling into the unwholesome paths o f rebirth beginning with hell and enduring suffering. Beginning with the story o f the monk Daozhi i t ; £ o f the Liu-Song dynasty (420-479) during the N orthern and Southern Dynasties period, w ho stole the objects o f a Buddhist pagoda, died, and suffered brutal torm ent,24 many such narratives were crafted in China. In addition, Miraculous Stones from Japan, which was compiled at the end o f the eighth century and the beginning o f the ninth century in Japan, preserves several narratives in which those w ho steal or use the possessions o f the samgha or monasteries are reborn as cattle, suffering many difficulties, and repaying the sins o f their former lives. Kyokai jtsJc (fl. 787-822), the compiler o f this book, cites several sutras when saying, “ those w ho steal the possessions o f the samgha commit a sin greater than that o f the five heinous crimes {oyok E i £ ) [(1) patricide, (2) matricide, (3) killing an arhat, (4) shedding the blood o f a Buddha, and (5) destroying the harmony o f the samgha],” and he emphasizes that the unwholesome retribution o f people who commit this kind of China and Japan. To to p all this, there is a narrative that during the Chinese Sui dynasty (581-618) a m onk nam ed Fazang T M committed the sin o f carelessly using the possessions o f the Three Jewels (the Buddhist church), was dragged before the netherworld tribunal, and was judged. He received a decision that he had to extinguish all o f the sins o f his life by copying a sutra. So he was restored to life to copy a sutra. The act o f showing reverence to the sutras is said to be the m ost wholesom e action to destroy the unwholesome karma o f o n e ’s lifetime. See Fayuan fjulin ‘tk fiiT A 18, T 2122, 53.420b2-19 (Sui shamen Shi Fazang |!f W l S ‘/ i S i ) . 22 In particular, m onastery land was the m ost im portant land which served as the basis for the m onastery’s econom y in prem odern Korea. See Yi Pyonghui, “Sawon kyongje,” [Monastery economy] in H a n ’guk Pulgyosaydn’gu immune [An introduction to K orean Buddhist history research] (Seoul: Chisik Sanopsa, 2014). 23 In Fayuan sfulin 74, T 2122, 53.842c-847a (Taodaobu f$S(5nfS), several Buddhist sutras are cited explaining th at appropriating the possessions o f the Buddha, the D harm a, and the Samgha, in o ther worlds the possessions o f the Three Jewels (the Buddhist church), is a severe sin causing one to fall into hell. 24 Fayuan foulin 79, T 2122, 53.874c5-27 (Song Shi Daozhi T U tiS T ). sin is inevitable.25 The appropriation o f temple possessions is n o t only a great sin in Buddhism causing one to fall into hell, but is emphasized in Christianity as well. In Christian visionary literature, there are narratives o f kings and subjects who go to hell for carelessly using the possessions o f the church. 26 There is a strange configuration here, however. It is that this w oman w ho has been long suffering torm ent in hell is not receiving retribution for her own unwholesome action. The people who have perpetrated the evil deed o f appropriating the monastery land are the parents o f the woman. Nevertheless, the daughter was dragged to the netherworld tribunal and is suffering torm ent in hell as retribution for this unwholesome act instead o f her parents. This is a really strange and cruel matter. The daughter compensates vicariously for the sins committed by the parents in a painful manner; and this narrative makes absolutely no m ention o f the parents having feelings o f sorrow or perform ing actions demonstrating a sense o f distress. Karmic retribution in Buddhism is something that arises in accordance with one’s personal behavior. According to the Dtrghagama sutra (Chang ahan jing {IN'”a IS), King Yama (K. Yomna, C. Yanluo H P ) , the ruler o f hell, gave the following admonition to sinners: T h e sin you are receiving n o w is n eith er th e fault o f your p a re n ts n o r th e fault o f y o u r siblings. F u rth e rm o re , it is n eith er the fault o f L o rd Sakra n o r the fault o f y o u r ancestors. I n addition, it is n o t because o f a m e n to r, a servant, o r social inferior. Also, it is n o t the fault o f either a sramana o r a brahmana. B ecause you y o u rse lf m ade this m istake, you y o u rse lf are receiving this n o w .27 Receiving individual retribution because o f one’s personal karma was the guiding principle o f karmic retribution in Buddhism. When this theory o f karmic retribution was transmitted to China, it became the focus o f intense interest in Chinese thought. Chinese people o f the time traditionally possessed a conception 25 Nihon ryoiki, roll 1, nos. 20 and 27, roll 2 nos. 9 and 32, roll 3 nos. 3, 5, 23, and 26. For an English translation see Nakamura, Miraculous Stories, 131-132, 139—140, 173—174, 203—204, 226— 227, 229, 252-253, 257-259. 26 In the Vision of Eucherius, which was written by Hincmar o f Reims who was bishop o f Orleans in 858, the author described seeing Charles Martel and his retainers having fallen into hell for using the possessions o f the church without permission. See Alan E. Bernstein, “Named Others and Named Places: Stigmatization in the Early Medieval Afterlife,” in Hell and Its Afterlife: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, ed. Isabel Moreira and Margaret Merrill Toscano (Surrey and Burlington: Ashgate, 2010), 58. 27 Chang ahan jing H R ‘a l ! [Dirghdgamasutra 19, T I,1.121b29-127a26 (Shiji jing diyu pin mmwzmsh). 77 o f karmic retribution. This may be spoken o f as the idea that n o t a person himself, but that p e rso n ’s whole family, bears and passes on retribution and that responsibility over generations o f a family reaches later generations.28 This was different than the Buddhist theory that the self is the cause and the self bears the fruit o f actions. Proponents o f Buddhism criticized the traditional Chinese theory o f karmic retribution that spread responsibility over successive generations. In his Essentials of Severing the Dharma (Fengfayao $ i £ K ) , Chi Chao (336-377) o f the Eastern Jin iJHf dynasty (265—420) clarified and criticized the hereditary Chinese theory o f karmic retribution: “Although a father commits evil deeds, his son does n o t receive [punishment] in his place. Although a son commits evil deeds, his father also does n o t receive [punishment] in his place.”29 Even in narratives affecting to be true stories o f Buddhist karmic retribution, the theory that the self is the cause and the self bears the fruit o f actions was the guiding principle. F or instance, there is a story about a man w ho sought to have his nephew w ho had embraced the Buddha dharma since his youth receive his own punishm ent in hell as a substitute but instead was called before the netherworld tribunal and received punishment from its judges.30 This narrative presents a message that clearly rejects the traditional Chinese position that responsibility is borne by the family over successive generations. In Japanese tales o f hell, as well, the general principle that the self is the cause and the self bears the fruit o f actions is maintained. As we have seen above, according to tale no. 23 in roll 3 o f Miraculous Stories of Japan, the m onk who is the main character o f the story was restored to life, but he had died due to the unwholesome cause o f his having carelessly used monastery possessions. He was brought back to life because o f the wholesome cause o f having vowed to copy a sutra. All these things were set down as being the natural consequences o f his actions.31 In this way, the Buddhist theory o f karmic retribution was based on the guiding principle that the self is the cause and the self bears the fruit o f actions, and rejected the position that causes and effects continued within a family. 28 A passage in the Book of Changes, a Confucian classic, says, “In a household that perform s many wholesome deeds, auspicious events will be a matter o f course to its descendants. In a household that does n o t p e rfo rm many wholesome works, many calamities will certainly befall its descendants.” See Yijing J l H , “K un gua pian” i f i m . 29 See Fang Litian, Zhongguo fojiao tfoexue yaoyi [The essence o f Chinese B uddhist philosophy] (Beijing: Z h o n g g u o renm in daxue chubanshe, 2002). For a K orean translation, see Kim Ponghui, Yi Pongsun, and H w ang Songgyu, trans. Chungguk Pu/gyo ch’drhak: insaengnon [Chinese Buddhist philosophy: T h eo ry o f hum an life] (Seoul: Soul Pulgyo Taehagwon Taehakkyo C h’u lp ’anbu, 2006) 170. 30 Fayuan efulin 91, T 2122, 53.958a27-b24 (Jin Sunzhi g j i f t ) . 31 Nihon rydiki 3, no. 23. 1Vol 19, No. 2, 2016 Nevertheless, it was n o t easy for people in E ast Asia, where the family was the primary unit o f society, to accept an Indian religion in its original form and the thought that the salvation or liberation o f an individual is his or her goal in life.32 Therefore, the Buddhist guiding principle that the self is the cause and the self bears the fruit o f actions sometimes broke down within the conceptual hedge or fence o f “the family.” In fifth-century China, Buddhist nun Zhitong § 1 1 (d.u.) o f the Liu-Song, after violating the precepts, made clothes for her son from silk on which sutras had been written. His whole body disintegrated, and he died.3’ This is a story in which a son immediately received an evil retribution in the present life because his m other committed the unwholesome act o f handling the sutras carelessly. In Japan, there is a story (said to have taken place in the eighth century) that a certain person w ent hunting and speared a young fox to death. The m other fox took the form o f an old w om an and likewise speared the hunter’s suckling son to death.34 In the Silla narrative “Sonyul comes back to life,” the woman Sonyul meets is suffering punishm ent in hell in the place o f her parents who have misappropriated monastery land. This kind o f story reflects the thought that the cause and effect o f crime and punishm ent is borne within the family and, in particular, that there is a close relationship between parents and children. These kinds o f narratives seem to reflect the feature o f compromise while colliding with the traditional way o f life and thought in a society suffused with fundamental Buddhist teachings. III. SALVATION FROM H E L L A N D B U D D H IS T M EM ORIAL SERVICES F O R T H E D E A D It was not that disregard for the general principle that the self is the cause and the self bears the fruit o f actions could have only arisen in a social milieu that placed importance on the family. T hat kind o f logic had already begun to develop in Buddhism itself. A case in point is the issue o f Buddhist masses for the dead (ch’uson j i H , lit. “to pursue wholesomeness”). Sonyul received the request o f the woman he met in hell to pray for her so that she could be saved from the torm ent o f hell. H er suffering in hell was eradicated w hen she received assistance from another person. 32 Osumi Kazuo, “Soron: Inga to rinne wa megufu N ihonjin no shukyo ishiki,” [General remarks: T he religious sense o f Japanese people regarding cause and effect and reincarnation], in Inga to rinne: kodo kihan to takaikan no genre [Cause and effect and reincarnation: Principles o f codes o f behavior and views o f the o ther world] (Tokyo: Shunjusha, 1986), 50. 33 Fayuan %hulin 18, T 2122, 53.418cl5-22 (Songni Shi Z h itong T/ElfU’ii). 34 Nihon ryoiki 2, no. 23; for an English translation see Nakamura, Miraculous Stories, 191—192. The more people com prehend that anyone can fall into hell and the extent o f the torments there, the more people will seek methods o f escaping that fate. This kind o f endeavor can be found in ancient Egypt, where the concept o f hell originated. The Coffin Texts o f the Middle Kingdom (2160-1580 B.C.E.) show that, irrespective o f the moral quality o f a person’s life, he sought to guarantee the quality o f life after death through prepared incantation when he was buried.35 In fact, efforts to secure a better quality o f life after death have existed from the early stages o f human culture w ithout reference to the concept o f hell. In many societies, the perform ance o f an appropriate funeral is considered an im portant procedure in ensuring a comfortable life after death. Such people thought that offerings o f the living that continue even after death likewise preserve the life o f the deceased after death. Therefore, in many instances, it is thought that people who die in foreign lands, by drowning, or by being eaten by wild beasts, or in such a manner that a proper burial is impossible because no corpse remains, or w ithout descendants to make offerings to them after death cannot secure peaceful repose after death.36 People who accept the notion o f hell have always considered the provision o f an appropriate funeral ceremony and abundant votive offerings relying on traditions o f long-standing formal practice an important means o f alleviating the suffering o f hell. G reco-Rom an and Jewish traditions, which considered forgiveness for the deceased to be realized according to how many votive offerings were provided to the temple or whether money was given to the ferryman or w hether appropriate grave goods were prepared for the living to improve the situation o f the deceased, were im portant influences on the concept o f hell in Christianity.3 In Christianity, vicarious prayers, including litanies, masses, and almsgiving on behalf o f the deceased, are carried out through the church, and these were im portant tools promoting the authority o f the church in the Middle Ages.38 The Ullambana ceremony (K. Uranbun S i l l ‘S , commonly referred to as the “ G host Festival” in A nglophone scholarship) is a representative memorial service 35 S. G. F. Brandon, T h e J u d g m en t o f the D ead: T h e Id e a o f L i f e A f t e r D e a th in the M a j o r Religions (New York: Charles Scriber’s Sons, 1967), 21-22. 36 For the case o f ancient M esopotamia and ancient Greece, see Brandon, T h e J u d g m en t o f the D ea d , 52, 79—81. For the case o f Korea, see N a Huira, Kodae H a n ‘g u g in u i saengsagwan, 91—92. 37 Jeffrey A. Trum bower, “Early Visions o f Hell as a Place o f Education and Conversion,” in H e l l a n d I t s A fte r life : H is to r ic a l a n d C ontem porary Perspectives, eds. Isabel Moreira and Margaret Toscano (Surrey U.K.: Ashgate, 2010), 29. 38 Jacques Le G off, L a naissance d u Purgatoire (Paris: Gallimard, 1981). For a K orean translation see Jacques Le G off, Y o n o k u i t ’ansaeng [The birth o f purgatory], trans. Ch’oe Aeri (Seoul: M unhak kwa chisongsa, 1995), 40-42. for the dead in the B u d d h ist trad id o n . T h e Ullam bana cerem ony, w hich has its origin in India, entered C hina and, while com bining w ith custom s th a t gave serious consideration to th o u g h t o n filial piety and m o urning and funeral rites there, flourished as a m eans o f praying fo r a com fortable p o sth u m o u s life for o n e ’s ancestors from the N o r th e r n a n d S o u th ern Dynasties forw ard. 39 A ccording to the Ullambana Sutra (Yulanben jing SeU S I S ) , the foundational scripture for the Ullambana cerem ony, th e B u d d h a ’s disciple Maudgalyayana is anxiously w orrying how to save his m o th e r w h o has b e e n re b o rn as a hungry g h o st and is the recipient o f suffering. H e begs th e B u d d h a for assistance, and the B uddha makes the following statement: Because your mother’s sin is so deep-rooted, although you are filially obedient to your parents and your cries shake heaven and earth, it is beyond your own individual power to alleviate it. Even the gods o f heaven and earth, evil spirits, brahmans, bodhisattvas, and the spirits o f the Four Heavenly Kings can do nothing about it. But she can be delivered by drawing upon the divine power o f the monks__ When the monks end the summer retreat on the fifteenth day o f the seventh lunar month, you should fill a tray with the finest delicacies, along with foods o f rich variety and taste, and offer it to the monks.40 In the B u d d h a’s w ords, salvation fro m the suffering o f hell is n o t evoked by relying on p en iten t confession and an individual covenant w ith a deity, b u t is possible th ro u g h a ritual p e rfo rm e d in a m onastery w ith the m ediation o f the m onks. Aside from the U llam bana cerem ony, the weekly abstinence cerem onies fo r the dead held seven times o n every seventh day (ch’ilch’ilchae h h f ) and the assembly for freeing creatures o f w a te r and land (suryukhoe A S # ) are p e rfo rm e d as B uddhist masses for the dead. T h ese w ere rituals for the sake o f the deceased. H ow ever, the advance funeral cere m o n y {yesujae fjt HF), w hich is held befo reh an d in this life to isolate b ad rebirths in the future, appeared and was perform ed with great fervor in p re m o d e rn E a s t A sia. 41 Such cerem onies served to co n n ec t believers w ith the p o s tm o rte m w orld, while m onks and m onasteries played the role o f interm ediaries. Similar to ho w the R om an Catholic C h u rch controlled Christians in m edieval E u ro p e , the B uddhist orders in m edieval E a s t 39 Ogawa K an’ichi, “M okuren kum o h enbun no genru,” [The source o f the transform ation tale “Mulian saves his m other”] in Jigoku no sekai [The world o f hell], ed. Sakamoto Kaname (Tokyo: Keisusha, 1990), 312-313. 40 Yulanben jing IE illS:fit, T 6 8 5 ,16.779a—c. 41 Michihata Ryoshu, Chugoku Bukkyo shisdshi no kenkfii, 99. Asia disseminated the concept o f hell and controlled the imagination o f people regarding life after death and their life in this world through ceremonies memorializing the deceased. O f course, extravagant ritual procedures were not the only things that guaranteed a peaceful life after death. The possession o f a sincere heart and the observance o f individual precepts were more im portant than anything else. The copying, verbal recitadon, and acceptance and maintenance o f sutras were im portant actions displaying one’s personal belief. People who kept these well did n o t fall into the unwholesome paths o f rebirth (animal, hungry ghost, denizen o f hell) and were able to go on to rebirth in the Pure Land (chongt’o j f ± ) . Furthermore, verbal recitation o f the Buddha’s name and the making and possession o f Buddhist images were just the same. However, these were completely individual as well, and were not only issues o f faith in which o ne’s inner self was n o t exposed. O n the whole, monks and monasteries intervened even in individual belief. IV. BUDDHIST CEREMONIES AND NARRATIVE PERFORMANCE Let us now return to the narrative “Sonyul comes back to life.” The Silla woman who was suffering in hell entreated Sonyul, who received an order to be restored to life and was returning to this world, to save her from her afflictions and had him tell the w om an’s parents to return the monastery land they had stolen. She had Sonyul sell the oil and cloth she had laid up during her mortal life to pay to create the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra that Sonyul had to complete in this life. She said that if he lit a lantern to the Buddha for her it would benefit her in the netherworld and that she would be freed from her suffering. Sonyul returned to this life and did as she had requested. The w oman’s spirit came and said that, “owing to Sonyul’s favor,” she had been freed from torment. The Silla woman who was suffering afflictions in hell informed Sonyul how her own personal suffering could be extinguished. Sonyul put into practice those things and obtained the results she sought. A narrative in which a person dies, is hauled before the netherworld tribunal, receives recognition for good works done in this life, receives a decision that he should be restored to life, and when he returns to this world meets a person who is suffering in hell and receives a request for a memorial service to be perform ed for that person is a m o tif that appears commonly in Chinese and Japanese stories o f hell. In one such narrative, E m peror Wu o f the N orthern Z hou dynasty JS| 3 ;-if (r. 560-578), who persecuted Buddhism (574-578), fell into hell and received torm ent there due to that unwholesome action. There was a person returning to this world, and he requested that this person extend a request to E m peror Wen o f the Sui dynasty (r.581—604), the august ruler in this world, to supplicate for meritorious virtue on his behalf. This person came back to life and informed E m p ero r Wen. Em peror Wen issued an order to several monasteries in the country to hold an abstinence ceremony for three days and read the Diamond Sutra (Jingang bore jing on behalf o f E m peror Wu o f the N orthern Zhou dynasty.42 The following narrative is set in Japan in the second half o f the eighth century. A certain person went before the netherworld tribunal and was allowed to return to life. A nother person who was suffering in hell for the bad karma o f excessive tax collection in life implored him to seek blessings for the deceased by copying the Lotus Sutra (Fahua jing f t l i l S ) . The person w ho was restored to life reported these circumstances to the imperial court, and the Japanese emperor ordered a copy o f the Lotus Sutra to be made, and as soon as it was completed, a dharma assembly was held to expound the sutra (kanggyong pophoe and supplicate for the deceased person’s happiness in the netherworld.43 Narratives regarding hell during the time when Buddhism played a social role as an official religion that received patronage from the state were n o t handled as issues or problems from the dimension o f a simple individual. Unwholesome actions causing one to fall into hell had to be handled from a social dimension, and their resolution was an official problem. Institutions that mediated the concept o f hell were connected to the state and exercised authority that joined this world and the netherworld. Sonyul made a pilgrimage to hell and met a w om an from his homeland undergoing torm ent there, and the circumstances were communicated to him. He returned to this world and conveyed these things to the people. Because he was a Buddhist m onk with exclusive possession o f the imagination o f hell at the time, the verbal evidence he presented concerning the specific time, place, and person were probably considered to be genuine. The m onk testified that the woman he m et in hell said that the way for her to be saved from suffering in hell was to make an offering to the monastery, to light a lamp to the Buddha, and complete the copying o f the sutra. The method o f salvation from hell was presented through the m outh o f an ordinary and pitiable woman. The people who heard this tale piteously considered the ordinary woman to be like themselves and made offerings for the production o f sutras just as the w oman guided them while 42 Jingang b o r e j in g j i y a n j i [Record o f collected marvels on the Diamond Sutra], vol. 2, in X u ^ a n g jin g SliidS [Hong Kong reprint o f T h e Kyoto S u p p lem en t to the C anon (D a i N ih o n ^ o k u ^ o k y o ~k 0 T H ic ll) ] (Hong Kong: Hong Kong Buddhist Association, 1967) (hereafter X, vol., page, register, and lines), X 87.461b7-464cl5 (Gongde pian di wu jM H E). 43 N i h o n r y d ik i 3, no. 35; see Nakamura, M iraculous Stories, 271-273. imagining their own fates. As a monk, by bearing witness to what he experienced personally as a hell narrative, Sonyul exercised control over the imagination o f hell and, by so doing, played a role that in reality connected people to Buddhism and 44 monasteries. In conclusion, the narrative “Sonyul comes back to life” says that misappropriating monastery property is a sin and that one will be punished for such crimes; however, one should revere and believe in the Three Jewels o f the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Samgha and make offerings o f such things as possessions to Buddhist memorial services in order to receive salvation from the retribution deriving from these actions. The organizational elements like those listed above for the tale “Sonyul comes back to life” appear repeatedly in narratives o f hell in contem porary China and Japan. In the period w hen Buddhism was disseminated and put down its roots in East Asia, it is w orth understanding that sin, judgment, and discipline were converging regarding Buddhism in Buddhist stories o f hell. Concentrating on the imagination o f hell as it was related to Buddhism, which itself brought with it a concept o f hell, was something that seized the pow er o f influence in this world. In particular, in the expansion o f Buddhist influence, the economic power o f monasteries was important. Monasteries, through the concept o f hell, were able to draw in the offerings o f ordinary people, n o t only the patronage o f the royalty and nobility. A monk called Huikuan M.% o f the Tang period became extremely popular as an edifying preacher o f stories o f hell in his time and monasteries competed to invite him to their precincts. It is said that wherever he went, the offerings were piled high as a mountain.43 When Sonyul was restored to life and told the experience o f his pilgrimage to hell, the people o f the time heard him and were amazed. There was no one who did not marvel, and they assisted him in completing his copying o f the sutra. The narrative “Sonyul comes back to life” drew in the offerings o f people for the production o f sutras in monasteries. T hat being the case, how and w hen was the story “Sonyul comes back to life” transmitted to people and moved the hearts o f people? The tale is verbal evidence o f w hat Sonyul experienced. The protection o f monastery property and the giving o f donations to make offerings to the Buddha or for the production o f sutras are emphasized in the narrative. Accordingly, this story was probably created by monks from the standpoint o f Buddhism. I f Sonyul was an actual person, it would be fine to call him Sonyul. 44 Concerning how the testimonies o f people w ho have experienced the next life are regulated or controlled by the reality o f narratives, see Le G off, Yonok ui t ’ansaeng, 192. 45 X u gaoseng %buan I® S i t fig [Further lives o f em inent monks] 25, T 2060, 50. 600b29-601b29 (Shi Huikuan PPJSU). T h e narrative form ed in this way was n o t tran sm itted from the m o u th o f one p e rso n to an o th er person as everyday idle chatter. A ccording to the last p a rt o f th e story, the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra th a t Sonyul com p lete d was preserved in the library o f the Office o f M onastic Affairs in K yongju, the old capital o f Silla, at the end o f the th irteen th century in the K oryo dynasty w h e n Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms, w hich contains this narrative, was com piled. I t also says th a t the sutra had been read every year in spring and autum n, and a cerem ony for driving away calamities had been perform ed until th a t time. T his narrative also describes an original legend o f a B uddhist cerem ony for co u rsin g in a sutra th a t spanned from the Silla to the K oryo period. This indicates th a t th e story “ Sonyul com es back to life” was transm itted th ro u g h a B uddhist cere m o n y o f coursing in the Pefection of Wisdom Sutra. D h a rm a assemblies for ex pounding sutras (also called “ sutra-chanting” [tokkjong f i l l ] and “ coursing in a sutra” [chon’gyong KM]) were frequendy p e rfo rm e d during the Silla and K oryo periods as som e o f the principal B uddhist cerem onies. In dharm a assemblies for ex p o u n d in g sutras, m onks w ould n o t only solem nly lecture on a sutra reading aloud a n d analyze difficult passages o f the sutra, they w ould also give a secularly o rien ted lecture (sokkang iP-M) th a t conveyed the contents and m eaning o f the sutra in a simple and interesting m a n n e r to the general masses. In the secular lecture service, the interest o f the p eo p le was aroused and b ro u g h t to a climax th ro u g h am using and entertaining preac h in g o f the dharm a garnished by stories, songs, and d a n c e .46 In the N o r th e r n and S outhern Dynasties, preaching th e d h arm a in this form was called “ preaching [to people] to lead them [to co n v ersio n ]” (K. ch’angdo, C. changdao PH3( ). T h e perfo rm a n ce o f this preaching to lead p e o p le to conversion is expressed well in the following passage depicting w h a t kinds o f intense feelings were stirred u p in th o se participating in the dharm a assembly. The person preaching to lead people to conversion … made the bodies and hearts of the people who heard him shake with fear when he spoke o f the transience [of mortal life], and he made them shake with fear and cry when he told them o f hell. He made it seem just as if they saw direcdy with their own eyes their past deeds when he elucidated the causes and conditions of their former lives, and it was just as if he already showed them the events of the future when he laid bare the retribution they will receive hereafter. He made them overflow with feelings o f love and break out in joy when he 46 Kim Chinyong, “Pulgyogye kangch’ang m unhak ui yonhaeng yangsang,” [The aspects o f the perform ance o f literature for use in lectures and preaching/chanting in the Buddhist world] H an’guk ono munhak 43 (1999): 23—44, esp. 26. spoke of pleasures, and he made them shed tears when he related sorrows.47 Monks who specialized in preaching and leading people to conversion introduced the fundamental Buddhist doctrines o f the karma and the cycle o f rebirth and death, and induced and aroused the interest o f the masses by using appropriate karma tales and parables.48 In this time, it seems that tales o f karmic retribution, like tales o f hell, were employed frequendy. W hen seen this way, we can infer that the narrative “ Sonyul comes back to life” was perform ed as a karma tale in a secular lecture held for common people participating in a dharma assembly for coursing in the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra held at a monastery in the Silla period.49 The people attending this meeting, while n o t only making gestures and vocal sounds, b u t sometimes singing and dancing, and while looking at the perform er telling the story, probably felt as if hell was right before them at that very m om ent and that the suffering o f the pitiful woman was their own personal suffering. W hen she was saved from hell, they were probably happy just as if they were receiving future salvation. Through this kind o f process, people understood that they would receive retribution and fall into hell if they used the possessions o f the monastery w ithout permission. However, even if they did fall into hell, they knew that they could be saved. The monks communicated to the people politely and plainly that making offerings to the Three Jewels and making donations o f their possessions to the monastery could save them from the frightful torm ent o f hell. People thoroughly caught up in the lively tale o f hell contributed their personal possessions and riches to the monastery for the sake o f their own futures. V. CONCLUSION Many stories o f hell were told in China, Korea, and Japan since the transmission o f Buddhism, and played an im portant role in the dissemination o f Buddhism to ordinary people. In narratives about hell, the Buddhist teaching that if one 47 Gaoseng %huan [Lives o f eminent monks] if tf f f f 13, T 2059,50. 4 1 7 c7 -4 1 8 a 7 (Changdao dishi lun niLira). 48 Cho Myonghwa, Bulgyo n>a Tonhwang ui ch’angdo munhak [Buddhism and the literature for lecturing and preaching at Dunhuang] (Seoul: Ihoe, 2003), 1 1 9 -1 3 0 . 49 Scholars conjecture that monks created a considerable number o f narratives on the basis o f stories and teachings from Buddhist sutras to use in dharma assemblies for lecturing on surras (kanggyongpophoe i i f S ‘S # ) , which were in v ogu e from the Silla through the Koryo period. See Sa Chaedong, Pulgyogye sosa munhak u iyd n ’gu [Research o n narrative literature o f the Buddhist lineage] (Seoul: Chung’ang munhwasa, 1996), 1 0 2 -1 0 5 . performs unwholesome actions, one will go to hell and receive agonizing punishment was communicated by bringing on the scene actual people in real space and time and was just like a true story to the people who heard or read it. The narrative “ Sonyul comes back to life” departs from being a tale o f hell o f the Silla people, w ho adopted the Buddhist concept o f hell in the Unified Silla period. This story is, for the most part, endowed with elements that constitute the concept o f hell, such as the subject matter o f wholesome and unwholesome actions, judgment in the underworld tribunal where the fate o f people after death is decided, punishm ent for unwholesome actions in hell, opportunities for being restored to life for wholesome actions, and salvation from hell. This narrative, however, shows the offspring o f the perpetrators o f the unwholesome actions, n o t the evil-doing parents themselves, receiving punishment in hell vicariously. I think that the solidarity o f the family community, which was a powerful social principle in E ast Asia, and the concept o f filial piety that bolstered it speak to circumstances o f continual negotiation and mediation, while it collided with the Buddhist principle that “ the self is the cause and the self bears the fruit o f actions (chain chagwa Ie! 0 S H:).” 50 N o t only are there narratives emphasizing the principle that one bears the fruits o f one’s actions in Chinese and Japanese tales o f hell, but there are also diverse stories o f offspring receiving punishm ent due to the evil actions o f their parents just like the case from Silla Korea. Furthermore, this narrative expresses the view that punishm ent in hell is not eternal and that one can be saved through the performance o f memorial services for the dead. Memorial services for the dead are done by making offerings to the Three Jewels by giving one’s possessions to monasteries. The story “Sonyul comes back to life” seems to have been created by monks and circulated among the ordinary people as a karma tale o f a Buddhist ceremony for the production o f sutras and appreciating the teachings o f the sutra, which was the initiative in the monastery. People sympathetic to this lively story, which was perform ed along with songs and gestures in the course o f the Buddhist ceremony were able to contribute their hearts and their wealth willingly to the Buddha, the monks, and the monastery for their own futures. 50 A t the height o f the wars between the Three Kingdoms in the seventh century, som e generals o f Silla counseled their own sons who had followed them to the battlefield to fulfill the demands o f loyalty (ch’ung S&) and filial piety {hyo # ) and to make a name for themselves by perform ing a glorious deed (kongmyong 9 )V ) by penetrating the enemy line, fighting, and dying. Young sons did n ot disobey their father’s words, rushed the enemy position, and died. T h e people o f Silla’s attitude o f setting high value o n a son’s act o f dying instead o f (or for) his parents can also be seen here. See Samguk s a g il 450 (Kim Yongyun ifeMil) and 451 (Kwanch’ang I I ) . T he m onk Iryon, who was at the center o f the Buddhist world at the end o f the thirteenth century, took notice o f the Buddhist ceremony that was performed in Kyongju, the old capital o f Silla, and its karma tale,51 recorded it in prose, and put it as an item in Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms, which he himself compiled.52 Furtherm ore, he expressed his own impressions at the end o f the story. Here he had no worries about the measuring stick o f the original guiding principle or universal ethics o f the Buddhist concept o f hell in which a person who commits sins m ust receive punishment, and he made reference to karmic cause and effect from an institutional standpoint related to the production o f sutras and monastery possessions. Even from the perspective o f an eminent monk o f the late Koryo period, the instructions the Silla tale o f hell gives were probably thought to encourage the making o f offerings and donations to the Three Jewels and the protection o f monastery possessions. Sutra-copying, one form o f Buddhist faith at the time, was practiced widely, and ceremonies related to it were held frequently. Iryon, w ho wanted to maintain the power and influence o f the religious order through the proliferation o f Buddhist cult practices and ceremonies, found in this story from the past a basis for vindicating the perform ance o f sutra-copying and dharm a assemblies, which required abundant finances. From this standpoint, the narrative “Sonyul comes back to life” was a “chosen” story that reflected the position o f the Buddhist world o f the late Koryo period.53 Because o f that, we can say that it remained as a narrative representation o f stories o f hell in Silla. Probably, this perception o f the Buddhist world was one reason why Buddhism 51 Iryon was interested in conversion o f the lay masses through the preaching o f the dharma. While he travelled far and wide between monasteries and the world in the center and provinces, he probably observed direcdy both named and nameless dharm a masters preaching approaches to the dharm a to the masses in several Buddhist services (popsok & Jf) and indirecdy heard, read, and recorded such activities. These endeavors were probably the basis o f his compilation o f the Samgukyusa. Much o f the material related to Buddhism in the Samgukyusa comprises narratives that are interesting and easy for the masses to understand, and constructed as songs to evoke em otion, which are related with this. See Sa Chaedong, Pulgyogye sosa munhak uiyon’gu, 100. 52 Since m ost o f the eulogies (ch’an i t ) in the Samgukyusa are believed to have been composed by Iryon, it is n o t w rong to see the narrative “Sonyul comes back to life” as having been selected and recorded by Iryon. With respect to m ost o f the eulogies in the Samgukyusa being com posed by Iryon, see Richard D. McBride II, “Preserving the Lore o f K orean Antiquity: An Introduction to Native and Local Sources in Iryon’s Samguk Yusa,” A cta Koreana 10 (2007): 36. 53 T h ere are many narratives on the Silla m onk C hinp’yo’s transmission o f the divination sticks {kanja 1ST) and the divination dharm a assembly [chomch’al pop A”Hi£) in the Samgukyusa. This is material selected reflecting the interest o f the Koryo Buddhist world in this popular divination d harm a assembly. See Nam Tongsin, “Samgukyusa ui saso roso ui t ’ukching.” Ultimately, we can say th at these aspects are evidence o f how Iryon reproduced earlier materials according to the circumstances o f the time. O n this issue, see McBride, “ Is the Samguk Yusa Reliable?” was criticized by Confucian intellectuals, who sought to define ethical issues based on realistic and social dimensions. Submitted: August 31, 2016 Sent for revision: October 17, 2016 Accepted: November 9, 2016 HEE LA NA ([email protected]) is a professor in the D e p a r tm e n t o f L i b e r a l A r t s , G yeongnam N a t i o n a l U niversity o f Science a n d Technology, Korea. REFERENCES Primary Sources Chang ahan jing Dirghagamasutrd. In Taisho shinshu daiyokyo M [Taisho edition o f the Buddhist canon], 100 vols. Edited by Takakasu Junjiro et al. Tokyo: Taisho Issaikyo Kankokai, 1924—1932[—1935]). 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Sorensen, Henrik. “Problems with using the Samguk Yusa as a source for the History o f Korean Buddhism.” Cahiers d’etudes coreennes 7 (2000): 271-288. Trumbower, Jeffrey A. “ Early Visions o f Hell as a Place o f Education and Conversion.” In Hell and Its Afterlife: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. Edited by Isabel Moreira and Margaret Toscano. Surrey U.K.: Ashgate, 2010. Turner, Alice K. The History of Hell. New York: H arcourt Brace, 1993. For a Korean translation see Chiok uiyoksa I • II. Translated by Yi Ch’ansu. Seoul: Tongyon, 1998. Yamaguchi Masao. “Jigoku izen: Shamonizumo no Nihonteki denkai.” [Before Hell: The Japanese development o f Shamanism]. In Jigoku no sekai. E dited by Sakamoto Kaname. Tokyo: Keisusha, 1990. Yi Pyonghui. “Sawon kyongje” [Monastery economy]. In H an’guk Pulgyosayon’gu immun [An Introduction to Korean Buddhist History Research]. Seoul: Chisik Sanopsa, 2014. 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Buddhist Tradition at the Worldly Level Heaven, Hell and Accumulating Merit Translated from Japanese by Trevor Leggett The Gap Between the tlite and the Mass of Believers T he life of the generality of Buddhists consisted of more than just ideas and ceremonies of the transcendent level together with moral living based on them. For the general mass of believers, it was no easy matter to see that passing objects really are transient, to see that what is not-I really is not-I, to control desire and live in accordance with the real aspect of self which only then manifests. Realization, the experience of a life immortal and eternal, was possible only for an 61ite. So it is that in the same Buddhist scriptures as the teaching for the 61ite ‘Do not lament over a life that does not return’ and the proclama- tion ‘See through to the truth of the transience of all things’, there are episodes in the Jataka stories such as the following. A virtuous youth died and was reborn in heaven. In his joy at the good result brought about by his previous Karma, a vision appeared of his father on earth, clinging to his dead body. He descended to earth, and assuming the appearance of a Brahmin he approached him and explained the princi- ple that all things are passing. He urged his father to give up the useless grieving, but the latter could not reconcile himself to what had hap- pened. Then he showed himself in his aspect as a heavenly being with a crown on his head and consoled him with the words ‘Thus your son is now living in blessedness in heaven’, and the father was then finally able to accept it. In this story, religious ideas of the mass level, based on Karma and reincarnation, and with birth in heaven as a goal of salvation, appear very clearly. As we shall see, the heavenly world is only one of the worlds of the cycle of birth and death, whereas spiritual realization is release from the whole cycle. Heaven is certainly not realization, though Buddhists allow some value to the concept of merit and birth in heaven. This was one reason for the popularity of stupa worship: as we have seen, it was a means of creating merit. More was involved than just the question of merit and heaven. The idea of any real soul in some material sense as the subject which reincarnates goes against the doctrine of Buddhism, but it was in point of fact accepted among Buddhists as a reality. Funerals, rites of ancestor worship, rites of passage, prayers, magical ceremonies and so on were 159 THE MIDDLE WAY never lacking in the Buddhism of China, Korea and Japan, nor among the Buddhists of South-East Asia. Such ideas and rites and customs were all established as a means of direct gratification of human desires. As such, they were not any real solution but in a sense only temporary palliatives. They were frankly directed towards relieving the crisis of human life. They were for world- ly advantage, empirical and on the level of the ‘world’. Realization, and the ethical life based on it, form a religious complex of ideas, rites and way of life on the transcendental level. They are the essence of Buddhism, and without them there is ultimately no Buddhism at all. There can be Buddhism even without any religious ideas and rites on the worldly level. So such ideas and rites can hardly be called the essence of Buddhism. But as they are essential to the daily life of ordinary people, they should perhaps be called the essence of humanity. The ideas and rites of the worldly and transcendental levels are not necessarily in conflict; they are compatible, rather complementary, inas- much as they stand on different levels. A bhikshu who leaves home and enters into spiritual practice in quest of realization may have no need for the rites of passage relating to transitions of human life such as puberty and marriage. But still his parents or friends have to have funerals; and if he himself reverences his ancestors, it is no obstacle to his training. The Buddha forbids bhikshus from engaging in magical ceremonies; but with the historical development of Buddhism, they were inevitably drawn into various forms of them. To attain birth in heaven after death is not realization, and can never be the final goal, but already in ancient times in India, heaven had become one of the great goals not only for lay believers but even for bhikshus themselves. Other worldly ideas were held and ceremonies performed, in various ways ensconcing the Buddhists in the social order. It was just because of its connection with society that the Buddhist Order, including both renunciates and householders, has been able to continue for so long. The life culture of Buddhists thus embraced ideas, ceremonies and customs of both transcendental and worldly levels. The Gap Between ‘Buddhism’ and ‘Not-Buddhism’ ‘Buddhism’ is what the Buddha and his leading disciples taught as the doctrine of the Buddha. On the other hand, the ideas and rites of the worldly level are folk beliefs practised from ancient times. The Buddha did not teach lay believers anything like Buddhist rites of passage or any specifically Buddhist way of conducting funerals or worship of ances- tors. Nor were there Buddhist prayers. At the same time, he did not tell the lay folk not to do these things. But they could not do without them. 160 I Traditions of the Buddhist Laity of Si Lanka Poya Days at Kelaniya temple, Columnbo. 4 x> K<' I A tx, >K< / V S A IS 5 S . . - -- Purifyin th Ser by pasn a Poya da wihi th tepl afte tain the Prcets woshp Ithe ...... Tee.a....up.... Som *eople unerak to ditiueuhtinsa h 'z" Donation of food to the Sangha. A man practises charity and right action (sila), accumulates merit and prays to go to heaven after he dies. This is not spiritual realization but a folk belief. However, from the time of the early Buddhist scriptures up to the present day in southern Buddhism, it has been one of the most important values of Buddhism. The third month after death, a gift of three robes to -9- the Sanghal t 0 N 4.1 >1′ .~.,j 1N – i¸¸ U04. ‘I /7 ‘A 7 I ‘N / I /i I A visit to the temple a week after birth. AA L 6 alg @MM bmG MN &MW @ bmotF f OB am d& b m a WMA kQ , BUDDHIST TRADITION AT THE WORLDLY LEVEL These ideas and ceremonies of folklore were neglected from the official standpoint of the basic principle of Buddhism as being irrelevant and immaterial in one way or another. On the other hand, they could be performed in the sphere of daily life where there was no connection with the transcendental level, and the people took up as something natural the ideas and rites handed down from antiquity in Hindu society. A life of daily spiritual exertion towards realization of the principles of tran- sience and non-self could co-exist with ceremonies of the worldly life because they were on different levels. As time went on, some of these concepts and ceremonies became ‘Buddhaicized’, and we shall see something of that process in what follows. But basically, they arose and developed mostly without any connection with Buddhism. Still, inasmuch as they were in fact practised among people who were regarded by others as well as by themselves as being Buddhists, these things became part of Buddhist culture. From the original standpoint of Buddhism, the standpoint of the doctrine, it could be said ‘This is not Buddhism.’ But that which was called ‘not-Buddhism’ was being practised by Buddhists. Inevitably there was some tension between the principle of ‘Buddhism’ and this ‘not-Buddhism’, which called forth various reactions. In ancient India the situation was the same, but let us first try to see the position in Sri Lanka today. Professor M M Ames made an investigation of a Buddhist village in Sri Lanka, and the outline of his published analysis runs on the follow- ing lines. There is the religious complex of which the people vaguely speak as ‘Buddhism’ or ‘religion’ or ‘sasana’ (teaching). Nirvana, the Three Treasures, meditation and many other ideas and practices are reverenced as the ultimate values, and the ceremonies centred round spiritual training are included with them. But the lay believer is not on such a high level, and confines himself to keeping the disciplines and accumulating merit, in the hope of being reborn in heaven. Funeral ceremonies and rites of ancestor worship are also thought of as ‘Buddhist’. Reading the (magical) sutras called pirit (paritta) or having them chanted by bhikshus, actions and rites which in their various ways create merit, are included here. As we have seen, none of this is on the level of spiritual realization; it is entirely on a worldly level. Still, it is intimately bound up with the Three Treasures of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, particularly because without the bhikshus the people could not receive the Five Precepts and so could not accumulate merit. Because these rites are initiated by bhikshus, they should be called ideas and rites openly recognized in the Buddhist community. Nevertheless, the life of the Sri Lankan Buddhists does not consist of this alone. There is a complementary complex of ideas and rites which 161 THE MIDDLE WAY are taken to be ‘not Buddhism’, ‘not the teaching’ and which Professor Ames called magical animism. This analyzed into three classes. In the first and highest class, pure offerings are made to relatively superior spirits and gods, from whom grace and favour for sick persons are hoped. The second class is worship of astral beings with offerings of food and dances both pure and impure, and the hostile astral influences are subdued by the power of the magician’s invocations. For the third and lowest class there is a special kind of sorcerer. Offerings of impure food are made to the devils called yakkha and the goblins called preta, and the sorcerer by devil dances drives them out from the sick person. These dances and rites are very commonly seen among the Buddhists of Sri Lanka. The religious complex which they understand as Buddhism and the other complex which can be called this magical animism have different functions and structures but are complementary to each other. The ‘Buddhist’ complex rests on the idea of Karma, with release from Karma in the shape of Nirvana as a ‘further shore’ beyond endless reincarna- tion, but this cannot actualized in this present life. It is therefore of no help in directly overcoming the calamities and sufferings of ordinary life, which are only disposed of on the level of magical animism. Take the case of illness. The family first of all call in a doctor, and if the patient is cured, it is thought to have been a case of defect in the physical organism. Medicine is the ‘science of the body’. But where the doctor does not effect a cure, the cause of the illness is sought in some spiritual, demonic or astral influence, and a magical rite is performed. In this sense the magical rites are a ‘science of spirits’, and both bhikshus and laymen accept that they have a value. If the illness is still not cured, then it is something Karmic, and there is no salvation except through the actual spiritual realization which is the original basis of Buddhism. A similar functional analysis is made by Professor M Spiro of a village in Burma. There too is, on the one hand, a Buddhism with its spiritual practice looking towards the ideal of Nirvana, for which the means prescribed is to leave home and adopt the life of a bhikshu. But, on the other hand, there is a world of ideas of the supernatural, making up a system of animistic beliefs and rites and customs which is centred on the worship of spirits called Nats. The attempt to remove sufferings by this means is here on an entirely empirical basis. These reports are analyses of single villages, and not applicable as to southern Buddhism as a whole. The situation will differ according to the area, and the methods of analysis and interpretation and the conclusions also differ. But the existence of complementary complexes of religion -one of them understood by Buddhists as ‘Buddhism’ with its ideas and rites and customs connected in various ways with 162 BUDDHIST TRADITION AT THE WORLDLY LEVEL bhikshus and the other spoken of as ‘not Buddhism’ -this is a common factor. The former is recognized among Buddhists as ‘Buddhism’, being directly concerned with the bhikshus and being ideas and ceremonies recognized by the Buddhist Sangha. It may be called a veneer. The latter, which actually underpins the life and culture of Buddhists, may be called the basic stratum. The important point is that this basic stratum, generally recognized by Buddhists as being ‘not Buddhism’, is what is in fact practised by them. Thus the official doctrinal position is different from what goes on in practice. The value of the practices of the basic stratum is accepted by both Buddhist bhikshus and laymen, and there is no question that this is the culture firmly rooted in Buddhist society. Thus both professors think in terms of two contrasting comple- mentary religious complexes, Buddhist and not-Buddhist. And it might be seen as showing what Buddhist culture fundamentally is. Merit and Heaven Where and how in ancient Indian Buddhism were the ideas and ceremonies of the transcendent level and the worldly level allocated their position as between the veneer stratum and the basic stratum? Let us examine first the ideas of merit and rebirth in heaven. Something has already been said about merit in connection with stupa worship and about its close relation with notions of Karma and reincarnation. The hope of being reborn after death in some favourable world takes the concrete form of trying to do good works in this present life; the repetition of good becomes quantified as the idea of merit, its opposite being sin. The favourable or blessed world into which birth can be attained by the accumulation of merit is understood to be a world favourable for hearing the teaching of the Buddha; and although this human world ought strictly speaking to be included, in fact the aspiration was for a heavenly world. Heaven -the World of Gratification of Human Desires and the Buddhists For Buddhism as for Hinduism, the Indian heaven is a world where its divine inhabitants fully gratify human desires. There they have divine life, strength, happiness and power. Their servants and their own aspect, their voice, scent, touch, clothes, ornaments, sense enjoyments and pleasures are all those proper to gods. Endowed with a brilliant splendour of their own, they travel in the skies and happily go where they will. Their food is 163 THE MIDDLE WAY rich, abounding in meat and wine. They reside in palaces glitter- ing with jewels, each with eight wooded parks. In other halls shining with special gems, the pleasures of the five senses are dis- played, and they enjoy them. Shakra, who is chief of the gods, is attended by 8,000 heavenly nymphs, and with them he enjoys the pleasures of the five senses. Mahavastu Still, even this heaven is only one division of the worlds of reincarna- tion. The dwellers in heaven, when the stock of merit which supported their stay there has been exhausted, have to go to other worlds. The world of heaven is therefore something quite different from the Buddhist Nirvana, which is a state outside the cycle of reincarnation altogether. Therefore the Buddha at first told the bhikshus not to aspire to heaven. But the idea of heaven was deeply grounded in contemporary Indian thinking. The sense of ‘heaven’ came sometimes to be super- imposed on Nirvana, and so the Buddha himself teaches to ascend to heaven, that is to seek Nirvana. Here the Buddha makes use of the popularly held idea as a convenient means of teaching. But the result was that things took a turn probably unexpected by him. Buddhists took this ‘heaven’ literally and in the usual sense of a place of gratification of desire. In view of the Hindu world and the cultural foundation on which Buddhism with its teaching of Nirvana and high consequent morality had been erected, this was perhaps a rather natural course of events. The heaven of folklore and the hope of rebirth there were commonplaces in the Hindu world and were unhesit- atingly believed in by ordinary Buddhists. The Teaching of Graduation and Adoption of the Idea of Birth in Heaven into Buddhism Buddhist leaders could not deny heaven, nor was there any need to do so. For birth in heaven, it was necessary to accumulate merit by giving in charity and by other good works. There was no reason why the 6lite should oppose good works by Buddhists, whatever the purpose behind them. In fact, from the point of view of the economics of the Buddhist order, such works, which were mainly charitable, had an important meaning. The bhikshu is a renunciate who has given up his home and engages in no productive activity, so for the support and maintenance of the livelihood of the bhikshus and the order, the significance of giving had to be stressed. Indeed, it was a very popular practice in ancient Indian society. The Buddhist 6lite, then, gave sanction to the ideas of birth in heaven 164 BUDDHIST TRADITION AT THE WORLDLY LEVEL which were accepted as a fact by the society of the time, and then they sought to give them meaning within the Buddhist system. A doctrine of graduation came to be formulated as a provisional teaching, the path to true Buddhism being divided into three stages. First was charity and observance of the precepts, which led to the second stage, birth in heaven. As a basis of these stages, a belief in the doctrine of Karma is inculcated -that good causes lead to good results and bad to bad. But afterwards, it was taught that desire is something evil, and abandon- ment of desire was urged. In this way, when the preconceptions in the minds of the people had been cleared away, the doctrines of the Four Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path were taught. They were to be wholly embraced, as a white cloth embraces the colour with which it is dyed. Then the eye is opened to the truth (the Dharma); one attains the Dharma eye. This is a typical example of the taking up by the elite, with their standpoint of Nirvana as the essential teaching of Buddhism, of elements of folklore and their sanctioning of them by skilfully finding a place for them in the doctrine. But of course by no means all Buddhists of the time thought of being born in heaven as merely a means to final realization. The teaching of the law of Karma and the final opening of the Dharma eye, the attain- ment of realization, was to them no more than a doctrinal interpretation. For their part, the Hindus in general believed simply in birth in heaven, for which merit was accumulated by doing good works. The point of living a good life was to go to a happy world after death, namely to heaven. At the end of life, an unquestioning conviction, ‘Having done good Karma, I shall go to heaven’ does in fact overcome the fear of death. There was no reason why the Buddhists should not think on the same lines, as is shown by the example of the Jataka story mentioned already. And more than that, there are countless instances, particularly in the didactic literature of Buddhism, showing that for the generality of Buddhists, this idea of heaven was the highest ideal. The bhikshus themselves aspired to heaven. This too is frequently recorded in the lit- erature; and as we have seen in the previous part, it is confirmed also from the fact that so many names of bhikshus and bhikshunis are on the lists of dedication of Buddhist remains all over India ‘in the hope of accumulation of merit’ for themselves and also for their relatives. The Hierarchy of the Heavenly World In time, the heavenly world was systematized into graded states. Many Hindu gods were adopted as protective deities of Buddhism, and they did not live together in one divine abode but were ranked in a vertical scale as states experienced in accordance with the depth of meditation. 165 THE MIDDLE WAY Ideas developed of a cycle of reincarnation with five worlds or six worlds, and in the fourth century CE Abhidharmakosha, a vast cosmolo- gy is set out. At the centre of the world is Mount Sumeru, and above it there is an elaborately constructed hierarchy of worlds, including heav- enly worlds. In the worlds of reincarnation, the opposite of heaven is hell. In the development of the ideas of reincarnation and Karma, the first worlds to appear had to be heaven, to which go the doers of good, and hell, where go the doers of evil. Gradually hells began to be distinguished accord- ing to the various types of sin. There were what are called the eight burning hells and the eight cold hells. Hells in the early Buddhist texts In the Buddhist texts of the earliest period, a niraya, or hell is depicted as having iron plates above and below and on all four sides and having four doors. ‘The iron plates of the ground are heated till they glow’ (Majjhima Nikaya). Again, those who maliciously revile the holy ones go to hell for a vast duration of years, described as ‘thirty-six times one hundred thousand nirabbudas and five abuddas’. In the same, oldest, layer of the scriptures are given the names of ten hells: 1) Abbuda, 2) Nirabbuda, 3) Ababa, 4) Ahaha, 5) Atata, 6) Kumude, (7) Sogandhika, 8) Uppala, 9) Pundarika and 10) Padma, In each of them the stay is progressively longer than in the one before. 1 and 2 are numeral units, as we have seen, which have been turned into proper nouns; 3, 4 and 5 are onomatopoeics of cries of pain; and 6 to 10 are various kinds of lotuses. It is not clear just what is the significance of these ten hells. The abbuda of the first two names was connected later with the Sanskrit form arbuda, interpreted as meaning a sore or a swelling. As we shall see, these classified as among the eight cold hells, and it was explained, perhaps first in China, that with the intense cold the body erupted into chilblains. The word was transliterated into Chinese as anbuda, and appears in Japanese as abata, meaning a pockmark. Nirabbuda has the prefix nir-, which has the sense of negation, and it is said to refer to the agony when the swellings on the body have burst, although when it occurs in the Sutta-Nipata there is no reference to any connection with cold. Numbers 3, 4 and 5 are cries of pain, and mean the hells from which they come. It is not known what lay behind the names of lotuses for the hells. In a later commentary to the Abhidharmakosha, it is said that as a result of the cold, the flesh peels away from the bones to look like lotuses, but this is clearly a later invention. The Sutta-nipata goes into some detail as to the piling up of the 166 BUDDHIST TRADITION AT THE WORLDLY LEVEL torments of hell: iron skewers, lances, hammers, red-hot iron balls to eat, cauldrons seething with boiling water or pus, being boiled in a cauldron with maggots, a forest of sword blades, the river Vetarani with razors in it and so on. Once in such hells there is no salvation, and therefore let us set right our conduct -this is the warning with which the account ends. In this way, the Buddhist hells seem to have been thought of as corresponding to a kind of sin. Apart from the ten whose names have been given already, there are other names of a niraya or hell in the oldest texts, but these are described not as independent places but as named after the torments themselves. For instance, a man who fathers a child by adultery is born in Khura-dhara-niraya, where his body is tortured by sword-blades (khura); and in Koti-sinbali-niraya, one being swept along in the Vetarani river tries to climb on to the bank by catching hold of the branches of the ten million (= koti) sinbali trees there, which then blaze up and bum him (Jataka). A hell named Avichi is often mentioned, and it came to have a strong independent existence in popular belief. Evil-doers who revile or wound bodhisattvas or saints fall into it (Jataka). Its pains are ‘unceas- ing’ (a-vichi), from which comes its name ‘the unceasing hell’. In the case of Devadatta, who in the scriptures plays an evil role and tries to injure the Buddha, the earth opened up and a fiery lotus carried him down into this hell. The Eight Burning Hells and the Eight Cold Hells As Buddhism developed, these hells were gradually systematized. According to the Abhidharmakosha, underneath the earth are first the eight burning hells. In order downwards they are Living Together (Samjiva), Black Rope (Kalasutra), Assembly (Samghata), Crying (Raurava), Great Crying (Maharaurava), Burning (Tapana), Great Burning (Pratapana) and Ceaseless (Avichi). Here the Ceaseless is incorporated into the system. In each of the four walls of each hell there is a gate, and at each gate there are four subsidiary hells, making a total of 128. Then there are the eight cold hells: Arbuda, Nirarbuda, Ababa, Atata, Hahava, Utpala, Padma and Mahapadma. They are in the main the same as the ten hells previously mentioned. Outside Buddhism, there is scarcely any mention of these cold hells, but most of the names of the eight burn- ing hells are common to the Hindu and Jaina hells also. The lines of development are not fully known, but it was under the influence of Hinduism that the eight burning hells took shape. It is very plausible that the hell already familiar to the Buddhists was then worked up into the eight cold hells. 167 THE MIDDLE WAY Preta -Hungry Ghost It had also to be taken into account that the psychological principle in man might be reborn not only in heaven or hell but also once more into the human world. Naturally also, there might be rebirth as an animal. There were four worlds of reincarnation that came to be considered: the worlds of heaven, of men, of animals, and of hell. In Buddhism, an additional world, of ‘hungry ghosts’, came to be supposed as part of the reincarnation cycle. The original word is preta (Pali: peta), which means simply the deceased. But in Hinduism from before the time of the Buddha, the spirit of the deceased was thought of as a preta or spirit in an intermediate state before becoming an ancestral spirit; and as we have already said, it was thus tied up with the rite of the ancestors. Naturally this meaning was known in Buddhism, but in the earliest literature, examples of its use in this sense are relatively rare. The first sense, of a deceased or his spirit, is predominant, as we can see from the Pali word peta-kiccha (funeral) and the compounds pfurva-preta or pubba- peta, meaning the spirit of the deceased. In the texts of the original Buddhism, there is a discussion of whether the spirit goes on existing or not after death, and this is called the discussion of the spirit of the deceased or pubbapeta-katha. The discussion is put aside by the Buddha, on the ground that it is useless for the spiritual training of a bhikshu. But the word has a second meaning: a world of hungry ghosts (preta- loka) is spoken of in Buddhist texts in fairly definite terms, and it is placed between hell and the animal world. Here come those who in their former life were mean and did no charity or who acted to prevent charity done by others. The hungry ghosts are depicted as naked and thin as skeletons, tormented by heat, with their mouths tiny as a needle but their bellies swollen like a mountain and as always tortured by thirst and hunger. There is often a blurring of the distinction between the preta as the spirit of the deceased and the preta who is an inhabitant of the world of that name. For instance, it is said that a mean woman when she dies has come to hell (naraka) and is then a preti, a female hungry ghost (Ratna- mazla-avadana), or that hungry ghosts being inhabitants of hell (Ratna- mala-avadana) and so on. It is said too that to do evil takes one from this world to the world of peta, there to dwell in the world of Yama (Peta- vatthu). Here the peta is certainly not an inhabitant of the world of that name, which is above hell (as has been mentioned), whereas Yama is the lord of hell itself. Yama was said to be the first progenitor of humanity, and thus the first to die, so becoming lord of the dead and then lord of hell, known in Japan as Emma. 168 BUDDHIST TRADITION AT THE WORLDLY LEVEL The idea here is of Yama the lord of pretas, taken in the general Hindu sense of the dead. For instance in the eighth-century Dasha-kumara- charita, a young man loses his life and goes to the city of the dead (preta), where he has an interview with King Samana (= Yama) on his throne set with jewels. The king says, ‘It is not time for this man to die … when he has looked at the torments (of hell) … he must return to life.’ This is the same lord of the shades. Thus in Buddhism, the preta was believed to have a character varying from preta taken as the spirit of a dead man, to one who is a dweller in the world of the hungry ghosts. Sometimes, as pointed out by a passage from the Therigatha, ‘Staying in this world, then going, he comes again, taking on another form. The peta reincarnates, assuming a human form ….’ It is also thought of as a spiritual entity in the sense of the subject who reincarnates. Or it can be a vengeful ghost, and in the vinaya, a preta is referred to thus: ‘A wrongful act done when possessed by a peta is not a sin against the discipline.’ Among the Buddhists of ancient India, the preta was something living but involved with folk beliefs as to the afterlife, and with the idea of ghosts. The preta also assumed various other aspects: in Sri Lanka, for instance, it changed into the petava, which appears in magical prayer cer- emonies; and in China and Japan, it figures in the popular rite of ‘feed- ing the hungry ghosts’. Both of these were an important element of one aspect of Buddhist life. Karma, Reincarnation and the Buddhists So it was that five worlds (or five paths) of reincarnation became defined -from heaven in descending order through men, animals, hungry ghosts and finally to hell. In another tradition, between men and animals were the fighting asuras, making six paths. When asked whether man survives after death, the Buddha refrained from replying. This is called the Buddha’s ‘no-statement’ or ‘refusal to make a statement’. It implies the impossibility of making a definite reply to such metaphysical questions, but his refusal also carries the meaning that rather than waste time on such things, what is necessary is to devote the mind to living fully the living now. It expresses the practi- cal and existential character of Buddhism, and it also relates to the true level of transcendence. On the other hand, Karma and reincarnation, already commonly accepted as self-evident in the time of the Buddha, were of the nature of folk beliefs. They were on the ‘worldly’ level and the Buddha, treating them as real, sublimated them to the level of transcendence. He said, for example in the Sutta-Nipata, ‘Through Karma the world originates, through Karma human beings come into being. These which have come 169 THE MIDDLE WAY into being are in bondage through Karma’, and also ‘Thus the wise man perceives human conduct just as it is, sees that it (is something which) arises from a cause and sees that it leads to its own result.’ Thus what the Buddha meant by Karma was not a mechanical reincarnation in which through a particular Karma done in a particular situation in a previous life there is a particular birth now. When one looks at the self as a reality here and now, he is overcome by ignorance and whirled about by passion, and he inevitably feels that he is a suffering self. This has to be taken as a problem entirely for oneself, without relying on any god or devil or anything else. It must be accepted as the result of actions done in a previous life, and it is here that a man comes to see himself as an inheritor of Karma. This realization must naturally be accompanied by living rightly today and endeavouring to do good action, good Karma. This was acceptance of the doctrine of Karma as laying stress on action, and with its existential content sublimated. The question of a physical reincarnation was immaterial. But with the development of the Order, the idea of reincarnation, believed by society in general perforce, made its appearance among Buddhists on the mass level. The establish- ment of the system of the five worlds or six worlds of the cycle of life was one manifestation of it. The Buddhist scriptures of later times are supposed to have permit- ted the teaching of the five worlds (panca-gandha-cakra) as attributed to the Buddha to be posted at the entrance to monasteries. The ordinary Buddhist follower, seeing this and hearing the explanation of the pictures, longing for life in the happiness of heaven and trembling with dread of the terrors of hell, reformed himself in his daily life. The idea of Karmic rebirth of course teaches a good result from a good cause and a bad result from a bad cause. This is correct when taken in general terms, but in practice, perhaps to strengthen the psychological effect, it inevitably came to be thought of in the form of a particular action in a previous life causing a particular condition in a subsequent one. For example, here is a man who in his former life did not repay a debt: he will be reborn as a donkey in the household of his creditor and so work off the debt which he failed to settle in his former life. Or there is a hungry ghost whose food, when presented to him, changes to a white-hot iron lump as he tries to eat. This is because in a previous life he did not give when an ascetic came to him for alms but said with a sneer, ‘You people should have lumps of iron to eat’. This is now the Karmic result. This kind of concrete relation of cause and effect is taken as a matter of course in the stories of the Jatakas and the Avadanas and in works such as the Manimeharai. 170 BUDDHIST TRADITION AT THE WORLDLY LEVEL The truth that like causes like is not a principle which can justify arbitrary causal linkage of an action and a subsequent state. In a general sense, good action brings a good result, and the whole stress is thus on the importance of action. But the question is for oneself alone, and it is not dependent on assertions by third parties that a particular result is from a particular cause in a past life. The teaching is to accept one’s present situation as the Karma of past lives and then live looking to the future to go beyond that Karma. In Buddhism, while the folk beliefs about Karmic reincarnation were adopted, they were reinterpreted as true on the existential level of transcendence. But with the development of Buddhism, ideas of Karmic reincarnation derived from folklore also became established. This was a natural consequence of the fact that Buddhism had its existence on top of a cultural substratum of Hinduism. So it was that concrete causal connections were arbitrarily assumed, contrary to the doctrine and thus abandoning the original thinking. How could anyone ever prove that a man who had died leaving a debt unpaid had now been born as a donkey in the household of his creditor? Although never more than an idea based on human feeling, still this sort of direct linking of a particular cause with a particular effect was fairly widely subscribed to at the time. It was natural when people had fallen into a difficult situation and were thinking about how to get out of it that they should find a Karmic cause for it. It was natural as well that they should hope to discover some means by which that cause could be cleared away for the future. In one of the scriptures, it is recorded that there was a drought and consequent famine in the realm of a certain king, so that both the king and his subjects were in dire straits. The cause was sought for, and it was found that in his former life the king had acted as an unbeliever. He invited bhikshus and gave them food, performed charity, washed the Buddha images and made offerings. Thereupon the king’s sin was extinguished and rain fell at once (Suvarnavarna-avadana). This is certainly a useful natural idea. In an actual crisis, it is general- ly not known just what the causes of the situation may have been. When it is felt to be understood -even though by what is no more than an arbi- trarily constructed chain of cause and effect -at any rate some cause has been identified; and the mechanism by which it can be overcome, name- ly by performing good Karma, has its uses in everyday life. It is a natur- al response to the religious demands of the people. These attitudes are seen today among Buddhists in Japan and similarly in southern Buddhism. Anthropologists often mention them in their reports. The idea that when confronted with a difficulty one should perform a good action and so acquire the merit to escape is termed by Professor Nash 171 THE MIDDLE WAY ‘instant Karma’. This concept existed in ancient India. When there is this belief in the relation between specific causes and effects, the sin of a particular evil action in the past can be instantly cancelled. It should further be possible to acquire also the ‘instant merit’ to actualize some desired result in the future. There are in the Buddhist scriptures a number of cases where actions can be analyzed on these lines. For instance, we are told of a couple who want a child, convert to Buddhism for that purpose and worship the Three Treasures. Their desire is fulfilled. This shows just how easily the course of Buddhist faith on the tran- scendental level becomes replaced by prayers and rites for worldly advantages. It is also an instance of how religious ideas and practices of both transcendental and worldly levels have taken root among the mass of Buddhists and mutually affected each other. Part Sixteen from The World of Buddha, copyright Gakken Co. Ltd, 1979 172 Tibetan Buddhism Classes on Tuesdays at the Buddhist Society Buddhist Practice in the Nyingma Tradition Lop6n Ogyen Ten’dzin Rinpoche teaches on the Nyingma Vajrayana practices and offers insights into the history and development of the Nyingma gT6rma Cycles ‘Heart Advice from a Lama’ A Public Talk Wednesday 10 November at 6.30 p.m. Lop6n Ogyen Ten’dzin Rinpoche draws upon his own experience, and of the masters of enlightenment who have given him instruction, to offer a very personal teaching for those who are setting out on the path. This is followed by a six-week course on Tuesdays starting 16 November 2004 at 6.30 p.m. Lop6n Ogyen Ten’dzin Rinpoche is a Nyingma Vajrayana master who teaches in English with effortless good humour. He was born into the family lineage of Pema Lingpa and has studied with many of the greatest Lamas of his gener- ation. His heart teacher was Kyabj6 Did’jom Rinpoche (until his passing in 1987). He lives in the remote Pemak6 region of the Himalayas and as this is his first visit to the UK, it is a wonderful and rare opportunity to receive teachings from a realized master. All are welcome COPYRIGHT INFORMATIONTITLE: Buddhist Tradition at the Worldly Level: Heaven, Hell and Accumulating Merit SOURCE: Middle Way 79 no3 N 2004 WN: 0431504992005 Copyright (c) The Buddhist Society London (2001) Copyright 1982-2005 The H.W. Wilson Company. All rights reserved.
Hoping for Heaven, Landing in Hell: Lessons Learned at a Medieval Chinese Grotto Karil Kucera Abstract The Buddhist site of Baodingshan dates to 1179 CE and sits upon a hillside in Sichuan province. A series of narrative works are found at Baodingshan, the most widely reproduced being the hell scenes. A combination of inscribed texts and life-size carved reliefs, the hell scenes at Baodingshan offer an unusual glimpse into Buddhist understandings of wickedness and its repercussions. These carvings create a vision of the heavens above while the worshipper stands in the very lowest realms of hell. Coupled with the adjacent tableau of the heavenly Buddhist Pure Land, the purpose of the two was to reinforce concerns for the deceased in the afterlife while also offering hope for avoiding the pains of hell. The worshipper is literally moved into the lowest realms of hell after having enco untered the glories of the Pure Land; the placement of the individual hell scenes within the work was designed to create a sense of panic and confusion on the part of the worshipper. The result was a more empathetic viewer, an individual more willing to learn the lessons imparted by the sculpted scenes of pain and suffering. Keywords: Baodingshan, Buddhism, China, hell, Pure Land, sculpture, Song dynasty. Introduction The mention of Buddhist hells inevitably elicits surprise. Modern Western understandings of Buddhism rarely incorporate what is thought to be a more Christian concept, a punitive approach to keeping people on the appropriate path. Yet belief in Buddhist hells and the retribution they rained down upon the sinner was strong in the Chinese medieval period. So strong, in fact, that numerous illustrated works were produced to aid in the dissemination of this idea. A series of monumental sculptural works related to hell from this period can still be seen today at the Buddhist site of Baodingshan. Baodingshan consists of a monastic complex and two grotto areas, Little Buddha Bend ( Xiaofowan) and Great Buddha Bend ( Dafowan)[fig. 1]. Located on a remote, rocky outcropping at an elevation of approximately 500 meters, fifteen kilometres north of Dazu City in Sichuan Province, Baodingshan was an active religious site into at least the late Ming dynasty (1368-1644 CE) with primary construction at the site dating from the Southern Song period (1127-1270 CE). 1 40Hoping for Heaven, Landing in Hell ______________________________________________________________ Fig. 1 Overview of Baodingshan complex, Dazu, Sichuan, ChinaThis paper focuses on two of the large tableaux located on the far end of the north side of Great Buddha Bend, the relief depicting the Pure Land or “heaven” and the relief depicting Dizang Bodhisattva, the ten kings of hell, and the eighteen hells that they oversee [figs. 2 and 3]. There is an inherent logic to considering these two works as a pair – the most obvious being the ritual context surrounding attempts to alleviate the suffering of the deceased by appeasing the Ten Kings of Hell, thereby speeding them onto rebirth in the heavens of the Pure Land. Fig. 2 The Pure Land at Baodingshan Karil Kucera41 ______________________________________________________________ Fig. 3 Dizang Bodhisattva, the Ten Kings, and the 18 Hells at Baodingshan 1. Hoping for Heaven The images that confront the worshipper in the tableau depicting the heavens of the Pure Land cover an area of approximately 160 square meters and are for the most part iconic. 2Three large sculptures of the Buddha Amitayus flanked by two bodhisattva figures loom over the faithful, all three equally awe-inspiring in scale. 3To Amitayus’ right is Avalokitesvara, her bejewelled crown bearing the identifying small Amitabha figure. Guanyin, as Avalokitesvara is known in China, carries here a flywhisk in her right hand, a bowl cradled in her left palm. This is in keeping with the iconography of the bowl as representative of the Buddhist Law with the flywhisk highlighting Guanyin’s compassion toward all living creatures. To Amitayus’ left is Mahastamaprapta, who is also depicted resplendently, left hand extended palm up. Rising above them and scattered throughout the tableau are the palaces of the Pure Land paradise peopled with heavenly beings. Although the central icons are meant to focus the worshipper, what draws the eye are the multiple small figures in various states of rebirth: some popping out of lotuses, others holding up their hands in reverence, still others crawling along the balustrade, all young at heart in their new life in the Pure Land [fig. 4]. These newborn souls demonstrate how the layperson can be reborn into paradise. 42Hoping for Heaven, Landing in Hell ______________________________________________________________ Fig. 4 Newborn Soul emerging from lotus blossom in the Pure Land 2. Landing in Hell If the heavens appear pleasant, palatial and welcoming then the nearby hells were clearly intended to frighten and overwhelm the viewer [fig. 5]. From the images of rebirth in the Pure Land, one proceeds physically downward to view the hell tableau. The disoriented viewer is thus himself or herself placed in the very bowels of hell, face to face with the eternally damned. There are 18 hells described and represented at Baodingshan as well as four admonitions. All are discrete units linked by a common theme – bad deeds lead to bad places! Hell is repl ete with gendered anonymous people, thereby making it all-inclusive. Karil Kucera43 ______________________________________________________________ Fig. 5 Hell at Baodingshan from a worshipper’s point of viewDi yu or “earth-prison” is the Chinese term for hell. Prison is an interesting metaphor for hell, and one fi rst used by the Chinese. Links to the real world were fundamental to hell imagery. The penal ideology of the day reflected a combination of rewards and punishments that served as effective means for changing behavior. Such was the case within Buddhist ideology as well; an individual was not damned for all eternity, but upon repaying his karmic mistakes, would automatically be freed into a new existence, capable of starting anew. Like the Song dynasty penal codes, however, one did not pass from a state of guilt to one of innocence without paying a price. Payment involving rituals being performed to release the dead from the various hells easily correlate with real-life bribes paid to jailers at regular intervals in order to ensure the jailed individual’s wellbeing and hoped-for eventual release. The jailers at Great Buddha Bend can be seen as an example of art imitating life [fig. 6]. During the Song dynasty, the military became increasingly involved in executions and punishment, with many soldiers making their living by forcing inmates to pay them for leniency or freedom. It is not then surprising that at Baodingshan these purveyors of punishment 44Hoping for Heaven, Landing in Hell ______________________________________________________________ should wear cuirasses, boots, and helmets. The fact that many of the soldiers were also themselves convicts, forced into conscription in order to serve out their sentence, is another aspect to be considered with regard to the pleasure these individuals seem to derive from causing pain as shown in the Baodingshan imagery. Furthermore, many of the jailers depicted within the hell scenes are grotesque, reflecting Chinese penal policy of scarring or mutilating interred criminals, many of which in turn would become jailers. It is important to note the difference in scale that becomes apparent within the hells. The jailers in these scenes clearly dominate the damned within the hell regions. They are tall and brawny, helping to emphasize the shirking, insignificant souls at their feet. Fig. 6 Jailer and condemned soul at Baodingshan In yet another instance of art pa ralleling life, the torturous cangue appears on four different individuals scattered throughout the two levels of hell in the tableau, and were perhaps the most visible form of punishment in Song China [fig. 7]. Cangues were used to transport criminals, to torture innocent individuals in order to gain information, and to publicly humiliate the incarcerated. 4 Karil Kucera45 ______________________________________________________________ Fig. 7 Damned soul wearing a cangue in the Tongue Extraction Hell In China, visual images of hell far exceeded literary descriptions of hell in both their variety and their detail; the hells at Baodingshan number eighteen in all, and they do not appear to follow any one specific Buddhist text. Since space is limited, I will not show you all of the 18 hells, but rather a selection from the various levels of the hells. The first hell to greet the worshipper at Baodingshan is not a hell at all. It is simply an admonition to better behaviour. Seated squarely in front of the worshipper is a figure that arguably could be seen as one of hell’s most- suffering inhabitants. One of only two female figures depicted at Great Buddha Bend with her breasts uncovered, this mournful creature sits at ground level, her mouth open, feet planted, hands clutched into tight fists placed in her lap [fig. 8]. This image represents a soul utterly humiliated, and one is left to wonder what wickedness she must have committed to suffer such a fate. As Chinese custom at the time called for entire coverage of the body with the exception of hands and face, in the real world, only individuals who were being punished would be subjected to forced public nakedness. Thus the nakedness of the damned added an extra dimension of horror for the worshipper. 46Hoping for Heaven, Landing in Hell ______________________________________________________________ Fig. 8 Figure suffering from the evils of alcohol at Baodingshan The likely source for this image’s suffering is found in the inscription accompanying the Admonition against Alcohol: A person such as the girl who buys and sells alcohol, will die and fall into hell. When receipt of her punishment is concluded, she will be (reborn with) a body three feet high, two ears blocked shut, a face without two eyes, likewise without nostrils, underneath the lips, a gaping mouth, hands without ten fingers, legs without two feet. 5 A close examination of the carved image shows that her mouth is not open per sebut lipless, a gaping hole. Her hands are not clenched into fists, but altogether lacking in finger s, and her legs end in stubs, entirely without feet. The physical impairments suffered in this hell mirror in many ways the deadening effects of alcohol in real life. The horrific implication of such an image was intended to aid the members of the monastic community in their efforts to remain faithful to the precepts, which stridently enforced a “zero-tolerance” policy toward alcoho l consumption. Such imagery also provided a stiff rejoinder to the laity not to entice people with drink. From this sad soul, the worshipper’s eye can bounce from one horrifying image to another within the tableau. All of the hells and admonitions that surround this husk of a human are not only depicted in sculptural form, but also lovingly detailed in narrative texts that accompany Karil Kucera47 ______________________________________________________________ each work. Some of the most gripping are those to her left – the Boiling Cauldron Hell and the Hell of Feces and Filth. The damned in Boiling Cauldron Hell are there for one reason only – they were the ones who cooked the meat [fig. 9]. Run by one of the horse- headed jailers in hell, considered a descendant of an earlier Indian god of the underworld, the worshipper is confronted by a suffering soul actually in the process of being tossed to his fate. Although many today view this as a somewhat comical image, given the preponderance of imagery akin to horse- head and his fellow jailer ox-head in contemporary comics and cartoons, it is unlikely that medieval worshippers would have felt inclined to laugh. Fig. 9 Horsehead jailer and the Boiling Cauldron Hell at Baodingshan The Hell of Feces and Filth is presid ed over by a grotesque, fanged jailer who, with a mace in each hand, proceeds to beat back down the damned bobbing up out of the square vat of boiling feces [fig. 10]. The vat itself juts down and out so as to allow the worshiper the opportunity to see the struggling souls, two with faces up, as they gasp for air. One soul floats face down, an arm raised in supplication. The carved flames that encircle the sides of the vat increase the aura of noxious fumes suffocating the damned within. The inscription reads: The scripture states that Kasyapa asked the Buddha, “Those who eat meat fall into which hell?” The Buddha informed Kasyapa, “Those who eat meat fall into the Hell of Feces and Filth. Therein one finds feces and filth 10,000 ‘feet’ deep, the meat eater is thrown into this hell, and repeatedly he goes 48Hoping for Heaven, Landing in Hell ______________________________________________________________ through the cycle of immersion and exit. When he goes through the first cycle, myriads of spikes situated all around him stab and rupture this body, and serrate his limbs. This is the great torment (of this hell). For five million lifetimes, he knows no release .” Fig. 10 Hell of Feces an d Filth at Baodingshan The accompanying inscription is not found near to the Hell of Feces and Filth, but rather carved on the front of a table depicting two men seated with plates in front of them, clearly meant to be a reference to a feast at which meat was consumed [fig. 11]. As if to confirm this fact, beside the two seated guests, a butcher can be seen straddling his block, upon which is placed an animal head already severed from the carcass. Karil Kucera49 ______________________________________________________________ Fig. 11. Images of diners and butcher found in hell at BaodingshanThe imagery accompanying the Admonition against Raising Animals is often reproduced, with many a commentator unaware of the grimness of the vignette [fig. 12]. Rhapsodizing on the lovely pastoral quality of the young woman who tends her hen and chicks, many scholars fail to realize that the fate that awaits her for just such an innocent act is not a pleasant one. Largely effaced, the gist of the inscrip tion reads, “The Buddha told Kasyapa, “All sentient beings who raise chickens, enter into hell….” Fig. 12 Admonition Against Raising Animals at Baodingshan 50Hoping for Heaven, Landing in Hell ______________________________________________________________ One might expect to find these hells related to the punishments for raising and slaughtering animals to be placed directly below the king in charge of condemning a soul there, but in fact these hells are almost diametrically opposite the king. This disjuncture forces the worshipper to search the tableau for the appropriate image, no doubt creating a moment of confusion and panic similar to what one would expect a soul to experience in its journey through hell. As one’s eye moves up the tableau, perhaps in the hope of finding help for one’s suffering, the next tier of hell does not provide much visual relief. The Hell of Cutting and Grinding is prominently placed at the very centre of the next level [figs. 13 and 14] . The grinding aspect of this hell is vividly portrayed with a very prominent pestle, the crosspiece of which is being clutched by a particularly happy and hideous jailer, who applies his weight to the mechanism by a now-shattere d left leg. He is also aided in his endeavours by a small, monkey-faced creature, while behind the pestle a figure cowers and covers her eyes with one hand rather than watch the torture occurring before her. The wickedness that produces such torture is also related to Buddhist prohibitions against taking life. Those who cut and chop up meat are doomed to suffer the same fate! Figs. 13 and 14 The Hells of Cutting and Grinding at Baodingshan Karil Kucera51 ______________________________________________________________ Neither does the Freezing Hell offer much respite [fig. 15]. A reminder of karmic retribution is reflected in the inscribed verse, which refers quite pointedly to those who kill animals: Breaking the fast and violating the precepts, you slaughter chickens and pigs. Illumined clearly in the mirror of actions, retribution will come without fail. If one commissions this scripture together with the painting of images, King Yama will issue a judgment that you be released and that your sins be eliminated. This is the one of the few inscriptions at Baodingshan to cite a specific method to avoiding the tortures of hell. By commissioning scriptures and having images painted, a soul can be given absolution for his or her various sins associated with breaking th e fast and killing animals. Within this level of hell, however, the vast majority of wicked behaviour that has brought one there is related to sins against the sangha, or Buddhist community. Not keeping feast days, not doing good deeds, or simply not following the Buddhist way are common explanations for the various types of tortures on display. As one’s eye moves further up the tableau, it comes at last to an ordered world – that of the Ten Kings [fig. 16]. The Ten Kings and their attendants stretch across the cliff face in an orderly fashion, mirroring the symmetry of the meditating Buddhas above them. Although the second level is devoted mainly to the Ten Kings and their assistants, the image of Dizang Bodhisattva dominates [fig. 17]. His pos ition, seated on a lotus throne and central among the Ten Kings, yet linked to the heavens above and hells Fig. 15 Hell of Freezing at Baodingshan 52Hoping for Heaven, Landing in Hell ______________________________________________________________ below, reminds the devotee of Dizang’s vow to save the damned. He is capable of releasing loved ones from their torments if their descendants perform the necessary rituals. These include having masses said for the dead, making images of Dizang, or but for one moment taking refuge in Dizang. 6 Fig. 16 The Ten Kings of Hell at Baodingshan Fig. 17 Dizang Bodhisattva at Baodingshan Unlike Dizang, the Ten Kings are not depicted so much as sacred entities, but as men of justice. The Kings are accompanied by attendant clerks who carry the ledgers of merit and demerit by which the Ten Kings will pass judgment on the deceased [fig. 18]. The ritual practice related to the Ten Kings revolves around the premise that every soul passes in front of each of the kings at ten predetermined points over a three-year duration. These ten Karil Kucera53 ______________________________________________________________ dates correspond to the “seven-sevens” – 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, and 49 – designating the days after one is deceased, plus the 100th day, one year and three year anniversaries. On these days, offerings need to be made to each of the Ten Kings. Fig. 18 One of the Ten Kings of Hell with his attendant at Baodingshan Introduced by the Officer of Immediate Retribution, the Ten Kings follow a standardized order of placement as given in the apocryphal Scripture on the Ten Kings , beginning with King Guang of Qin at the far right [fig. 19] The inscription accompanying this first attendant to one of the Ten Kings begins by decrying the most wicked of behaviours that will get a soul fast into hell, the evil of taking mone y from the church! The verse reads: If one desires peace and happiness and to reside amongst men and gods, one must immediately stop taking money belonging to the Three Jewels. Once you fall into the hells within the dark regions of the underworld, there, amongst the clamour, you will receive punishment for untold years. 54Hoping for Heaven, Landing in Hell ______________________________________________________________ Fig. 19 King Guang of Qin at Baodingshan with his attendant Lest one think that anyone is immune from the horrors of hell, it is important to consider the fate of the kings themselves. King Yama provides the best example. The fifth of th e Ten Kings, King Yama, crosses both continental and ideological boundaries [fig . 20]. He is the original father of the afterlife in the In dian tradition. In China, King Yama came to be ruler of the underworld in both Buddhist and Daoist cosmologies. Originally king of the first hell and head of the underworld, King Yama was demoted due to his compassionate nature, and like all the beings in hell, must undergo tortures until his eventual rebirth. Karil Kucera55 ______________________________________________________________ Fig. 20 King Yama at Baodingshan Bringing together the entire hell ta bleau is the life-size figure of a monk carved directly beneath a pagoda almost central within the lowest level of hell and at eye-level with the worshi pper [fig. 21]. His left hand is raised as if pointing to the images that surround him while his right hand clutches a bound sutra. Flanking him are the following carved inscriptions: Heaven’s halls are vast and broad, yet hell is also vast; not believing in the Buddha’s word, then how the heart suffers! My Way is to seek pleasure in the midst of suffering, but all sentient beings (being confused) seek pain in the midst of pleasure. While Dizang Bodhisattva may have enormous clout in the netherworld, they are intangibles when compared to a very real and present “this-worldly” monk, such as is here portrayed in the very bowels of hell. As such, worshippers may have felt their salvation more readily at hand, more easily obtainable with just such a monk’s aid. 56Hoping for Heaven, Landing in Hell ______________________________________________________________ Fig. 21 Monk preaching in lowest level of Hell at Baodingshan Integral to understanding the r itual relationship between the two tableaux is the small work, entitled Lock ing up the Six Vices [fig. 22]. The uppermost portion of the work is “captioned” in characters considerably larger than those seen elsewhere in the carving, and reads “Binding Tight the Monkey of the Mind and Locking Up the Vices of the Six Senses”. On each side of the figure are two symmetrical series of inscriptions. Immediately to the right of the figure’s head is the caption “Heaven’s halls and hell”, which is completed on the left side, “with one stroke are by the mind created”. In order to elaborate on this point, two rays emanate outward to the left and right from the central figure’s heart, like ribbons draped over the monkey image. Each ray leads out to a seed character of sorts, which will form the basis of a series of inscriptions flanking the central figure. These are larger characters set off in circles; on the right one reads “good ( shan)” which flows upward to the character “good fortune ( fu)”, which in turn leads to “happiness ( le )”. To the left the seed character is “evil ( e)”, which flows into “misfortune ( huo)”, which eventually leads to “suffering (ku )”. Karil Kucera57 ______________________________________________________________ Fig. 22 Locking Up the Six Senses tableau at Baodingshan Directly below the central meditative figure cradling the monkey is a short inscription known as a “hell-breaking” verse: “If a person would wish to know all the Buddhas of the three periods, just discern that the Dharmadhatu[material world] is by nature generated entirely from the mind.” This short verse is in effect placed directly between good and evil, and their ultimate rewards. Moreover, this verse can be seen to link the hell tableau to the worshipper’s left with the Pure Land work on his or her right, a sensation which is reinforced by the two emanations of ‘good’ and ‘evil’, which flank their respective recompense. ‘Good’ leads the worshipper’s eye to the glories of the Pure Land; ‘evil’ connects the individual with the sufferings of the damned. Used within a ritual context, the hell-breaking verse represents a way to pass from one existence to the next. At Baodingshan, the worshipper was first shown the beauties and wonders of the Pure Land heavens only to then be presented with the horrors of hell. Such a powerful contrast would most likely have had an edifying effect. A worshipper might easily have imagined not only themselves, but also their loved ones as being among those suffering the torments of hell. 58Hoping for Heaven, Landing in Hell ______________________________________________________________ This incurred a certain amount of doubt among the faithful, thereby prompting them to insure the more pleasant fate by performing the necessary rituals. It is an interesting point to ponder how the theme of pain and torture kept the Buddhist congregation busy and prosperous! Fig. 23 Modern version of Horsehead found in Sichuan, 1994 Lest one think that Buddhist hell fell out of fashion after the medieval era, this was not the case. Images of hell continue to be produced to this day, mainly in portable format, and are still part of funerary rites. Modern sculptural renditions are rare, an d those that exist tend to elicit more laughter than fear [fig. 23]. Notes 1It is in large part due to the lateness of its construction that the Baodingshan complex has received limited attention from modern-day art historians. Buddhist sculpture produced after the Tang dynasty has only recently been considered as a subject of study because most earlier art historical scholarship perceived the Tang as the high point of the Chinese sculptural tradition, with all later works viewed as derivative or inferior. My work, Cliff Notes: Text Karil Kucera59 ______________________________________________________________ and Image at Baodingshan (PhD dissertation, University of Kansas, 2002), is the only one that treats the interplay between text and image at the site. 2The images come from the apocryphal Chinese Scripture on the Visualization of the Buddha of Infinite Life (Guan wu liang shou fo jing ). All text translations presented in this article are by the author, and are based upon transcriptions found in Chongqing Research Institute, Dazu shike ming wen lu – The Collected Inscriptions from th e Dazu Stone Carvings (Chongqing: Chongqing chu ban she, 1999), and photos taken of the inscriptions on site by the author. 3Amitayus is a variation on Amitabha, meaning “of immeasurable life span” versus Amitabha’s “of immeasurable radiance”. 4Although size, weight, and construction were explicit in the penal code, officials often were accused of using injurious cangues, such as the “four- layer cangue” in which wrought iron and uncured rawhide were attached to raw wood, the resulting effect being one of shrinking and squeezing as the rawhide dried. 5All photographs are by this author unless otherwise noted.6These can be found in chapter seven of the eighth century Sutra on the Origins of Dizang Bodhisattva . Bibliography Chongqing Research Institute . Dazu shi ke ming wen lu- The Collected Inscriptions from the Dazu Stone Carvings. Chongqing: Chongqing chu ban she, 1999. Cohen, M., “Soul and Salvation: Conflicting Themes in Chinese Popular Religion.” In Death Ritual in Late Imperial and Modern China , edited by, James L. Watson and Evelyn S. Rawski, 180-202. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1988. Deng, Z., “Dazu Baodingshan Dafowan liu hao tu kan diao cha” – “An examination of the liuhaotuniche at the Great Buddha Grotto, Baodingshan, Dazu”. Sichuan wen wu 1, 1996, pp. 23-32. Goodrich, A. S., Chinese Hells: The Peking Temple of Eighteen Hells and Chinese Conceptions of Hell . Monumenta Serica, St. Augustine,1981. 60Hoping for Heaven, Landing in Hell ______________________________________________________________ Guo, L., Shitien yanw ang: Weiboru juanzeng – Ten Kings of Hades: The Vidor Collection. Guoli lishi bowuguan, Taibei, 1984. Hu, W., “A Comparative Study of the Paradise Bianxiang in the Sichuan and Dunhuang Grottoes.” China Art and Archaeology vol. 1 no. 2, 1996, pp. 7- 16. Matsunaga, D. and A., The Buddhist Concept of Hell . Philosophical Library, New York, 1972. McKnight, B. E., Law and Order in Sung China. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England and New York, 1992. Copyright of At the Interface / Probing the Boundaries is the property of Editions Rodopi BV and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use.
mcguire university of north Carolina, Wilmington Religious games have inspired some of the most popular board games of the modern era, but they have only recently garnered the attention of scholars of religion. This article examines a seventeenth-century Buddhist board game called Selection o f Buddhas that was originally designed in response to the popular Chinese board game Promotion o f Officials. The Buddhist game oriented its players towards becoming a Buddha instead of a government official, and it was meant to appeal to a broad range of players, providing beginners a means of learning religious practices in a low-stakes environment and advanced practitioners an alternative form of entertainment to secular games focused on gambling, status, and fame. Because it embedded religious practices within a game, blurring the boundaries between ritual and play, Selection o f Buddhas garnered both praise and criticism. The article focuses especially on the complex understanding of karma reflected in the Buddhist game: while the board suggests a mechanistic operation of karmic cause and effect as players progress from the first square to the ultimate attainment of Buddhahood, the roll of the dice inscribed with the name of Amitabha Buddha implies that karma can be miraculously transformed if one appeals to Buddhas and bodhisattvas with sincere devotion. Keywords: Ouyi Zhixu, Buddhism, China, karma, games, play, ritual, seventeenth century Bevertey McGuire is an assistant profe ssor o f East Asian religions in th e D epartment o f Philosophy and Religion at the University o f North Carolina Wilmington. She received her Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University in 2009. Her academic areas o f interest include Chinese religions, Buddhism, and com parative religious ethics.Material Religion volume 10, issue 1, pp. 4 – 2 9 DOI: 10.2 752/1 75183414X13909887177466 © Bloomsbury Publishing Pic 2 014 Chutes and Ladders and The Game o f Life—yet they remain understudied by scholars of religion. With the exception of studies of the Tibetan game of rebirth (Tatz and Kent 1977) and the Indian game of//7a (Johari 1980), there have only been a handful of articles on Asian religious games such as the Indian game Snakes and Ladders (Finkel 2004a; Topsfield 1985), which depicts the rewarding of good and punishing of evil with ladders drawing players up towards heaven and snakes pulling them down towards hell (Finkel 2004a: 59). Snakes and Ladders stimulated the production of a variety of Western moral games in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including Milton Bradley’s Checkered Game o f Life,’1 designed in 1860, which centered on vice, virtue, and the pursuit of happiness and was reinvented a century later into what Jill Lepore calls “a lesson in Cold War consumerist conformity” in which “you count your cash, not your good deeds” (Lepore 2007). Although later versions of Chutes and Ladders (1943)2 and The Game o f Life (1960) lost the moral valence of their predecessors, a variety of religious games emerged in their place including Jewish board games Chutzpah (1967)3 and Kosherland (1985),4 a Catholic Catechism game called Divinity,5 a Christian game Solomon’s Temple, e and Mormon games with catchy titles like Celestial Pursuit,7 Missionary Impossible, B and Who Wants to be a Celestial Heir.9 The board game Monopoly’0—first published in 1936 by Parker Brothers—has inspired various religious spin-offs such as Jewish-opoly,11 Catholic-opoly, 12 and Mormon-opoly, 13 In this way secular games focused on wealth and worldly knowledge have prompted the design of religious games meant to inculcate religious values and visions. As Nikki Bado-Fralick and Rebecca Sachs Norris have noted, religious games not only materially represent culture but also mediate between potentially conflicting cultural and religious values (2010:12). 6 This article considers the ways in which a Buddhist board game entitled Selection o f Buddhas ftuanfo tu) or The Ten Realms (shi fajie tu)14 mediated between cultural and religious values in seventeenth-century China. Originally designed in response to a secular board game called Promotion o f Officials (Shengguan tu), in which players vied to attain higher rank in the imperial administration that was reproduced in monumental proportions on the game board, players in Selection o f Buddhas sought to achieve Buddhahood by ascending an equally staggering number of cosmological realms and levels of spiritual attainment. Flowever, the games differedMaterial Religion Volume 10 Playing with Karma: Beverley Pou’ks McGuire Issue 1 A Buddhist Board Game Beverley Foulks McGuire Promotion o f Officials, religious practices were embedded within Selection o f Buddhas. Promotion of Officials Selection o f Buddhas was produced by a monk named Ouyi Zhixu (1599-1655) in his forties and fifties, although he says he first encountered prototypes of the game in his twenties.15 Unfortunately, none of these earlier versions are extant. In the preface to his six-fascicle instruction manual for the game entitled Manual for Selection o f Buddhas ftuanfo pu), written in 1653, Ouyi says that the game was originally fashioned after Promotion o f Officials board games (Shengguan tu), and he speculates that the original designer must have been an eminent Buddhist monk. He reasons that just as scholars and officials had the requisite knowledge to design a game modeled after the imperial bureaucracy, only someone well-versed in the Buddhist teachings could have produced it, and he laments the fact that such ingenious creations have not circulated more widely (Ouyi 1989: Vol. 19,11863). In the Promotion o f Officials game, players tried to ascend to various civil and military ranks in the governmental bureaucracy. Alongside a broad spectrum of games including backgammon, dominoes, cards, and drinking games, Promotion o f Officials was quite popular in late imperial China (Lo 2000: 400). Although scholars consider the attribution of the game to a Tang dynasty figure named Li He to be dubious, they agree that the game was known and played by 838 ce (Morgan 2004: 520-21 ).16 The game was originally called Selecting a Bureau (caixuan ge), Selecting a Bureau by Dice (shaizi xuan ge), or The Game o f Leaves iyezi) (Lo 2000: 394). Although it is mentioned frequently in texts from the tenth through the early twentieth century, the earliest extant version of the game dates to the eleventh century: Liu Bin’s (1022-88) Official Bureaucracy o f the Han Period {Han guan yi) (Lo 2007: 125-9; Seng 2005: 28-9). This version of the board game consists of 152 sections, including various bonuses and penalties for each of the sections; the winner of the game is the player with the highest rank after twenty-five rounds of throwing the dice. A version based on the Ming hierarchy was supposedly invented by Ni Yuanlu (1594-1644) called Selecting and Purchasing a Hundred Offices (caixuan baiguan duo), in which the number of dice in the game increased from tw o to four, but because the board is no longer extant, it is difficult to determine how players were promoted or demoted.17 Much more information is available on ce). From Qing dynasty versions of the game, one can determine the rules of play, although the ranking of dice throws remains unclear. Players take turns rolling one, two, or three pairs of dice to determine where they begin on the bureaucratic ladder, and they then follow annotations under the title for each bureau to determine how to proceed based on their next roll (Morgan 2004: 524). The game consists of a board (or sheet of paper),18 four to six dice, a bowl placed in the center of the board into which dice were thrown,19 tokens representing 120 cash, and finally counters representing the players. Confusion surrounds the actual throwing of the dice: some accounts suggest that it descends from pairs of fours representing virtue to pairs of six signaling genius [cai) and thereafter from five, three, two, to one symbolizing stupidity (zang). Mixed throws—throws without any pairs—do not lead to any advancement (Morgan 2004: 530). An unusual, if not unique, feature of some Qing versions of the game is that they not only reproduce a complex administrative framework but also include corruption and malpractice inherent in the system itself, reflected in the frequent “donations” (juan) scattered throughout the board (Morgan 2004: 532). Some people viewed the game as a means of educating officials: a Qing figure named Cai Ce argued that Promotion o f Officials should not be considered a hobby but instead “a graphic learning tool that clearly depicts the workings of the Qing government” (Morgan 2004: 517). While officials may have played Promotion o f Officials, we cannot assume it was limited to such players. Just as the game Monopoly is not played solely by businessmen and millionaires, the Promotion o f Officials board game could be played by anyone literate enough to recognize the characters on the board. That being said, the popularity of the game in the late imperial period in particular may derive from the fact that it replicated the 8 uncertainty that many officials felt throughout their career due to anxiety over examinations and later concerns over possible slander and intrigue (Morgan 2004: 531). Such concerns became increasingly pronounced during the economic boom of the sixteenth century, when the expansion of the school system led to increased numbers of examination candidates competing for degrees, and competition and increasing pedanticism in the examination itself caused frustration for candidates (Berling 1985: 213; Skinner 1976: 336-43), who frequently turned to religion to channel these anxieties (Elman 2000).M ateria l Religion Volume 10 Playing with Karma: A Buddhist Board Game Beverley Foulks McGuire was not the only religious offshoot of Promotion o f Officials. References to a Daoist game called Selection o f Immortals fruanxian tu) appear in the work of several Song dynasty poets: in this game players ultimately hope to enter the highest Daoist heaven—the Daluo (Lo 2007: 129; Morgan 2004: 521). Although scholars of Chinese games have overlooked Selection o f Buddhas board games in their research, we can consider them to be another offshoot to the Promotion o f Officials board game. However, while the games share certain features in their rules of play, they diverge markedly when it comes to their underlying emphases. It is not simply a matter of different goals— Buddhahood versus officialdom—but instead an issue of the process by which one becomes a Buddha versus an official. Whereas Promotion o f Officials allows players to bribe their way up the ladder or advance based on rolls of genius or knowledge, Selection o f Buddhas enjoins players to engage in religious practices. Selection of Buddhas Ouyi Zhixu, the designer of the game, is considered one of the four great masters of the Ming dynasty by later Chinese Buddhists, alongside Yunqi Zhuhong (1535-1615), Hanshan Deqing (1546-1623), and Zibo Zhenke (1543-1604).20 While some esteem him as a patriarch in the Pure Land tradition (Peng 2001: 202-6) and others regard him as an advocate for Tiantai Buddhism,21 in fact Ouyi had no official lineage and drew from variety Chinese Buddhist traditions during his life, including Chan, Vinaya, Tiantai, and Pure Land. In his autobiography, Ouyi relates how a sectarian understanding of the Confucian tradition prompted him at the age of 11 to write essays against Buddhism that he destroyed after reading Zhuhong’s Record o f Self-Knowledge. He describes how he discovered a more inclusive religiosity centered on ritual practice while writing a commentary on Confucius’s Analects at the age of 19.and realized that his body was the result of karmic causes and conditions while meditating at the age of 24. He engaged in a variety of religious practices in his lifetime—such as divination, repentance rituals, and asceticism—and continually grappled with what he perceived to be unfortunate karma. His concerns about karma and ritual are reflected in his design of the board game. If one examines the image of his board in Figure 1, one can see that players move in a clockwise direction around the board, beginning at the lower right stage and ultimately ending at the final stage of Buddhahood (fo) in the center. Ouyi’s board. (Reproduced with permission o f Harvard-Yenching Library.) 10Ouyi says he was inspired to create his own rendition of the game after seeing some friends indulge in gambling and chess (boy/) in 1629 at Linggu Mountain.22 He writes: I sa w several dharma frien ds fo n d o f gam bling and chess and th o u g h t o f repla cing the se w ith Youxi C h u a n d e n g ’s board game, b u t unfortuna tely it w a s no w here t o be fo u n d … I im itated Youxi’s idea a nd created a bo a rd gam e myself. I d o u b le d the p ra ctice s causin g [enlightenment] fo r ordin ary a nd w ise p e o p le a nd th e different predisposition s [for B ud dh ah ood ] t o d e m o n s tra te th e diversity o f spiritual capacities. I set u p a squ are f o r “faith w ith o u t ro o ts ” and po w e rfu l dharma-p ro te c to rs to reveal th e path o f perfect transfo rm a tion . [For th o s e w h o are] violent, evil, and violate [the precepts], I follo w e d the Contemplation Sutra and allow ed th e m to ta k e refuge in th e Pure Land. [For those] bo u n d to suffer in A v ic i Hell, [I allow ed th e m to] rely on the Huayan Sutra and asce n d to Tu$ita Heaven. The Heavens con tain th e suffering [of those] fallen from virtue and d e m o te d ; th e Formless Realm has the disasters [of th o s e w h o are] p o verty-stricken and w a n d e r aimlessly throu gh rebirth. (Ouyi 1989; Vol. 1 9 ,1 1 8 6 4 ) Ouyi claims to have designed the game for Buddhist friends—fellow monks or advanced lay practitioners—to give them a substitute for gambling: a game that is fun but spiritually beneficial. In this way Ouyi sought to challenge a game culture that emphasized wealth and status, which incited desires and attachments that cause suffering, by focusing his players’ attentions on religious aspirations. Secondly, Ouyi says that he added squares for religious practices that might appeal to a broad range of players. While we cannot compare his game with earlier versions since they are no longer extant, Ouyi’s board allows players who are seemingly damned to hells to seek relief inM a te r ia l R e lig io n V o lu m e 10 Playing w ith Karma: B e v e r le y Foulfcs M c G u ire Is s u e 1 A Buddhist Board G a m e Beverle y Foulk s M cG uire ! ” ! ! ! # $ % $ & ! ‘ ( Sutra on the Divination o f Good and Bad Karmic Retribution (Zhancha shan’e yebao jing T. 839.17.901 c-910c). Just as the latter text plays on the notion of a “wheel” (lun) that can turn people towards the right.path, Ouyi writes, “The throwing of the dice represents moving from the ordinary to the sagely, turning i^huan) evil into good, so that all dharma realms eventually return” (Ouyi 1989: Vol. 19, 11867). On the six sides of the dice Ouyi writes the six Chinese characters “Na-mo-a-mi- tuo-fo” (“ Homage to Amitabha Buddha”), which together form the phrase that Chinese Pure Land devotees use to praise Amitabha Buddha who rules over his western Pure Land. Ouyi emphasizes the significance of using these characters instead of numbers: while numbers are morally indeterminate (wuji fa) and are thus unable to give rise to good and eliminate evil, the name of Amitabha represents the ten thousand virtues that enable one to progress on the path of enlightenment. Ouyi writes, “One recitation of the Buddha’s name can eliminate 80 million kalpas of samsara and heavy sins” (Ouyi 1989: Vol. 19, 11868). By embedding the name of Amitabha in the implements of the game, Ouyi lays the groundwork for players to engage in the devotional practice of reciting the name of the Buddha Amitabha (nianfo). Each time one throws the dice and deciphers one’s roll, one recalls the Buddha’s name. Moreover, Ouyi imbues each character with symbolic meaning: “na” represents afflictions of perception IJian fannao) or delusion of discrimination [fenbie huo), “m o” signals afflictions of attachment (a/ fannao) or giving rise to delusion (jusheng huo), “a ” stands for the virtue of generosity (shishan), “mi” connotes the virtue of morality (jieshan), “tuo” represents the virtue of meditation (dingshan), and “fo” signals virtuous wisdom (shanhui) (Ouyi 1989: Vol. 19, 11867-8). Recalling the two primary obstacles to enlightenment and the three stages of the Buddhist path—morality, meditation, and w isdom —Ouyi portrays the progression from the first to the last characters as signaling a movement from delusion to enlightenment. Ouyi not only analyzes the symbolism of the individual characters in Amitabha’s name, he also deciphers religious and ethical import into the various possible combinations of those characters. If one separates “Amituo” (Amitabha) from “fo” (Buddha), he states that the former displays virtue that is tainted (youtou), the latter virtue that is untainted (wulou). If one divides “namo” (Homage) from “Amituofo” (Amitabha), the former represents the person who takes refuge, moving from evil to good, whereas the latter signifies that in which one takes refuge, which is entirely good. When one recites the successive characters of the name, one moves from grave sins to those that are less serious, and finally to Buddhahood itself (fo). Ouyi explains that “na” represents the graver sins of wrong view, while “m o ” represents the lighter sins of attachment, and that the four characters “Amituofo” represent the four aspects held in common by both Theravada and Mahayana Vehicles: namely generosity, morality, meditation, and wisdom (shijie chan hui). We see an ethical concern implicit throughout Ouyi’s discussion, for example the act of taking refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha being described as a movement from evil to good. This ethical emphasis is also reflected in the way that Ouyi structures his board. After explaining the various character combinations that we have explored above, Ouyi lists fifteen large divisions of squares illustrated on the board (Ouyi 1989: Vol. 19,11871): 1. Beginning the causal stage of practice 2. Corrupt practices of the path 3. The four kinds of evil rebirths 4. Humans and devas in the desire realm 5. Heavens in the form and formless realms 6. Eliminating evil and giving rise to good 7. Increasing the practice of morality 8. Increasing the practice of meditation 9. Increasing the practice of wisdom 10. Advancing to the position of the Tripifaka teachings 11. Advancing to the position of the common teachings 12. Advancing to the position of the separate teachings 13. Advancing to the position of the perfect teachings 14. Ascending to the Pure Land 15. The stage of perfect realization As one can see, the board begins with stages of rebirth, continues to stages in the Buddhist path, enters the division of Buddhist teachings according to Tiantai doctrinal classification schemes (panjiao), proceeds to rebirth in the Pure Land, and finally ends at the stage of Buddhahood or perfect realization. In fact, the board mirrors the stages that Ouyi considered fundamental in hisM a te ria l Religion Volu me 10 Playing w ith Karma: A Buddhist Board Gam e B everley Foulk s M cGuire ! ” # $ % & $ ‘ ( )* & ‘ ” + , , sangha hall. By using a term associated with such bureaucratic settings, Ouyi’s game recalls the Promotion o f Officials; however it does not simply recreate bureaucracy in Buddhist terms. The total 234 squares also include the ten good and bad actions, different types of contemplation, different realms of rebirth from hells to heavens, three types of repentance—those of performing actions (zuofe), seeking marks (quxiang), and meditation on non-arising (wusheng)—different types of precepts {jie), and various kinds of mental states. Instead of moving up a bureaucratic ladder, players progress through different circumstances, beginning with stages of rebirth but proceeding to situations in which they can generate good karma to propel them towards the state of Buddhahood. The Rules of Play Although Kuo Liying suggests that Ouyi’s game must have been popular since he does not explain the way one plays in the manual (Kuo 1994: 160), the game may have followed the same general protocol as the Promotion o f Officials board game. Since the latter game was quite popular, there would have been no need to explain the rules of play. Not only can one determine the rules of play, but one can also decipher the throws of the dice, which remains a point of controversy in the case of Promotion o f Officials. One can figure out the various throws by examining the twenty-one stages in the first division of “ Beginning the Causal Stage of Practice.” If one looks closely at these twenty-one squares (Figure 2), one sees that the titles of each square are preceded by a two- character combination referring to the throws of the dice. The first tw enty-one squares on Ouyi’s board. (Reproduced with permission of Harvard-Yenching Library.) Although there are thirty-six possible combinations that can be thrown on tw o six-sided dice, Ouyi omits fourteen combinations.23 While Ouyi does not explain why, one can surmise that, since he viewed the characters as ascending in virtue from “na” to “fo,” and since players threw one die at a time (na-mo is distinguished from mo-na), he did not allow certain higher throws (such as “fo”) to be followed by lower throws (such as “na”). In other words, if one receives a “na” or “m o” on the first throw, then any character on the second throw would be acceptable as a combination as both “na” and “m o ” represent states of affliction or defilement. However, if one throws any of the characters of “A-mi-tuo-fo” on one’s first throw, one cannot then throw a lower character, for this would imply a mixture of affliction and enlightenment, of evil and good. For example, if one throws “tuo, ” one cannot have the second character less advanced than the first; thus one who receives “ tuo” on the first throw has to receive an acceptable character {“tuo” or “fo”) on the second throw. In Ouyi’s Selection o f Buddhas board game, a mixed pair means one does not advance (the player essentially loses his or her turn), a logic derived from Promotion o f Officials. Thus certain throws result in stasis rather than advancement. One can imagine that such throws could cause consternation (such as an unfortunate player relegated to AvTcT Hell who repeatedly rolls “na-na”); likewise, one can imagine the pleasure felt by the player who rolls “fo-fo” (Buddha- Buddha) and swiftly advances along the path. Because the character “fo” can only be combined with another “fo,” we see how it is especially difficult to receive that combination, which also reflects the idea that it is an advanced stage on the religious path. 14 The remaining rules of play for Ouyi’s Selection o f Buddhas game follow those of the Promotion o f Officials game. The player begins on the first square “ Beginning the Causal Stage of Practice” and throws the dice to determine which of the twenty-one squares he will advance to first. From there, the manual explains where one should advance according to the combination of that throw. For example, if players throw “na-na” on their first throw, they are sent to the second square signaling “The Most [Heinous of] the Ten Evil Actions.” From there, if they throw “na-na” again, they are sent to Avici Hell, and if they throw “na-mo” or “mo-mo” they are relegated toM a te ria l Religion Volu me 10 Playing w ith Karma: A Buddhist Board G am e Beverley Foulk s M cGuire “na-a,” “mo-a,” and “a-a” send one to “ Interrupted Hell.” Thus we see that characters signaling evil or vice (na, mo) can relegate one to hell immediately. However, it is interesting to note that even those who roll these unfortunate combinations can still advance along the path as they continue to play. Implicit in Ouyi’s board game is the notion that even those who commit the most heinous sins need not lose hope. He allows for them to advance, but he does not obviate karmic retribution entirely. Detailing the severe consequences for those who throw “na-na,” “na-m o,” and “mo-mo,” he says that those who receive “na-mo” or “m o-m o” have done many evil actions and thus polluted themselves, and they will be in Avici Hell for one great kalpa, and those who throw “na-na,” “have had extensive heterodox views, denied cause-and-effect, and must enter into Avici Hell, and it will be difficult to escape for innumerable kalpas” (Ouyi 1989: Vol. 19, 11872). It is important to note that even though Ouyi admits the difficulty of escaping, he does not consider it entirely impossible. As for those who receive “na-a,” “m o-a,” or “a-a,” they have substantial evil karma but also have the slightest amount of virtue (signaled by the first character “a” of Amitabha’s name); thus while they are in hell they will occasionally encounter a cool breeze, and for short periods of time they will have small pleasures. For this reason they go to “ Interrupted Hell,” and their time here is shorter than those in Avici Hell (Ouyi 1989: Vol. 19, 11873). Although these combinations seem bleak, in future turns the players can throw combinations that extricate them from such squares. For instance, those who have the fortune of receiving a “fo” on their second turn can advance to the stages of “Worldly Benefit” [shijian fu), “Hearing the Dharma,” “ Repentance Seeking Marks,” or even the lowest stage of rebirth in the Pure Land (Ouyi 1989: Vol. 19, 11871). Thus we see that even those squares that seem most fixed (e.g. Avici Hell) offer the player another chance and allow for change as quick as a roll of the dice.24 In his manual of the game, Ouyi especially highlights the importance of Buddhist repentance rituals. Those who are resistant to repentance easily fall into hells, while those who are penitent can advance to stages otherwise impossible. As we have seen, his board not only includes levels of rebirth, cosmological realms, and stages in the Buddhist path, but it also reserves certain squares for repentance purposes. For example, in first section of the manual on the various hells Ouyi not only enumerates the ten evil actions but specifies that it is the continual engagement in such activities, “day and night, not once ! ” # $%&” ‘ ( ) * ” ** # * # * * * ” ‘ + ( , shiluo), which “destroys the means of escape the world” (Ouyi 1989: Vol. 1 9 ,119 17)—do not necessarily face the same retribution: those who roll “na-na” and “na-mo” are sent to Avici Hell, while those with more promising combinations have better future prospects.25 Not only does Ouyi embed devotional practices into the roll of the dice and include religious practices in the squares on the board, but throughout his Manual for “Selection o f Buddhas,” he emphasizes the importance of continuous religious practice. At every square except that of ultimate realization, players can always reform themselves or strive for further cultivation. In the earliest squares, Ouyi states that those born in higher realms— devas, asuras, and humans—still have attachments to views or harbor arrogant thoughts, even when they practice virtuous acts such as generosity. In such instances, Ouyi urges them to consider past sins (guozui) or rebuke themselves (heze) for their spiritual deficiencies (Ouyi 1989, Vol. 19, 11900-1). One can easily imagine that players might reflect on their own faults when they find themselves in such squares. Insofar as the game has the potential to trigger such awareness, it can serve an analogous function as confession rituals, which Ouyi esteems for their ability to bring past faults to light and to become the first stage in cultivating remorse. By including opportunities for self-reflection in the structure of the game, Ouyi allows for his game to serve a similar function as confession rituals.26 Playing with Karma Selection o f Buddhas reflects Ouyi’s complex understanding of karma. While the board establishes a progression from the beginning stage of the religious path to the ultimate attainment of Buddhahood, players are by no means assured they will successfully reach the final square. Each square provides an occasion to concentrate on good or virtuous stages of religious development; however, the game also reflects the uncertainty of karma by incorporating a degree of chance with the roll of the dice. His game thereby displays tw o understandingsM a te ria l Religion Volu m e 10 Playing w ith Karma: ic G .i A Buddhist Board Gam e B everley F o ulk s M cGuire ! ” ! ! ! # $ % & ! ‘ ( ! )*+* & )* ))+,-. ! ! ! # / ! ! $ ! ( . ! ! 0 ! ! 1 ! ! ! # ! ! ! ! ! ! ” ‘ ( ! )*+* & )* ))*2,. ! ! ! 3 ! ! ! ” 4 ! kalpas burns Mount Sumeru and causes it to melt, greed and desire can also bind the heart in this way, rendering one unable to recite the name of the Buddha (nianfo)” (Ouyi 1989: Vol. 19,11955). Greed and desire—which undergird the Promotion o f Officials game—can render even the most advanced practitioners unable to engage in basic religious practices such as reciting the name of the Buddha Amitabha. For this reason, Ouyi urges them to engage in repentance rituals to purify themselves. During his discussion of bodhisattvas at “the Abode of Bodhicitta, ” Ouyi admits that they may have eliminated discriminating views and karmic afflictions, but he suggests that they perform repentance meditating on non-arising in order to prevent the discriminating mind from arising again (Ouyi 1989: Vol. 19, 12131-2). Although Ouyi acknowledges that every player has the potential to reach the final stage of Buddhahood, he stresses that the players are responsible for their own cultivation. Ouyi recalls that all sentient beings have the direct cause of Buddha nature (zhengyin foxing): “ it neither arises nor ceases, but instead originally and eternally abides. Although it is covered by adventitious defilements and afflictions, its origin neither increases nor diminishes; it is also without purity or defilement” (Ouyi 1989: Vol. 19, 12085). All sentient beings possess this original nature, but cultivation activates this innate potential by removing adventitious defilements and afflictions. For example, in the stages of wisdom and the final stage of “Seeking Rebirth in the Pure Land” (Ouyi 1989: Vol. 9,12091), Ouyi suggests that direct or secondary (yi zheng) causes of hearing the Buddha’s name, recollecting the Buddha, or making vow s—all of which are religious practices—enable rebirth in the Pure Land. Only in these later entries such as the final stage of “Absolute Fruit of Perfection” —which he calls “the end of cultivation” (Ouyi 1989, Vol. 19, 12187)—does Ouyi draw attention to this innate potential for Buddhahood. Whereas the Tripitaka, Shared, and Separate Teachings were arranged according to the fruition of effects, the Perfect Teaching need not follow this order because of its superior understanding. Instead, one should view it in terms of the cause of inherent Buddhahood. Ouyi then constructs a question-and-answer dialogue in which he responds to the inevitable question of why the Perfect Teaching should differ: “ Each of the previous three positions was expediently named ‘result’ according to their teachings, but if one looks from the perfect position, then they all belong to cause” (Ouyi 1989: Vol. 19, 12158-9). Looking back on the progression of the game, he describes it as a process of transforming both oneself and one’s environment by virtuous activities. Ouyi writes, “ From these three—delusion, karma, and suffering—which arise from deluded perceptions of sentient beings, one must recollect, transform, and realize the three virtues of liberation, wisdom, and the dharmakaya, and then make the three virtues one’s body and one’s land. The subject and object of reliance everywhere mix, layer upon layer without limit” (Ouyi 1989: Vol. 19,12186). At each stage players are able to shed a further layer of delusion and discover their innate potential for Buddhahood.0) E .. w = ra 03 a. < a i Ritual and Play: A Slippery Slope By embedding religious practices into the dice and board of the game, Ouyi blurs the boundaries between ritual and play. Theorists have long posited a relationship between ritual and play, pointing out that play involves well-defined activities that differ from ordinary life, occur in demarcated spaces, are often repeated, are performative, and establish a temporary order or subjunctive “as if” world3 a 9 52 ■S3 4) © cc *• O a | § 5 aBeverley Foulks McGuire ! "# $ %& ' ( )% % * + + # ( , # & #- # # % + %& % . -- % #%## - %# ## , /# 0& - # ( #/ -% $ # . -- 1% 2#( 2 ++ +# # %& ,# * - %,# * +# #, - + -% # $ * - $( %+ ( + + - - * - % 2 ++ +# 3!& $ + + # # # % - #, # # % # 4% 5 % + % 6 #++# ( ,# % + + # $ % ( % %# ( % , % / 7 * # - % 4+ - - % - $( + ( %7( ( #/ % 0 % * # / + ( % - # # # + # % * /+# # , 0 % 0 % * # % # % 6 % 8 % % ' ( % , % / % ++ # + #+ #, * # % - %+ + %& %# + #+ * / - % #++# / ( # - / + #+ # . -- % 9 #% / # %0 - ' ( # / % # ,# / # : ( % * # % # # $ # # # # ( - % - #, . -- )% % ; %0 (# %# / # - # ( 4+ 9 #% / # % + # % /# - $( - % - % /# -( - # /# -( + + %& - #% / # / % /# - - # % 0 ( - ,## % ( , % %% # % ' ( <# & ! 9 ( + % ,# % $ ( # % * % ( ,# % + - - + #+ # . -- % % - # + #+ )% / %% #, 0 - $ 1% / * % & ' ( % , - # * - % - ,# $# # - ( + #+ - -* - + # % 0 '* # % #, / ( ( %& ' ( # % - - * # % - % % ,# & 4+ - $ #, - shai) from one (that of Youxi’s game) to four, to six, and finally settling on tw o —for the sake of convenience—and emphasizing that the squares for practices (x/ng) underwent the greatest changes of all (Ouyi 1989, Vol. 19, 11865). These choices are not incidental: they instead reflect Ouyi's commitment to make the game one that is relatively easy to play and appeals to a broad constituency of players. While some people considered the game’s wide- ranging appeal and comprehensive scope to be an advantage, it caused consternation for others. One of his later disciples, Jianmi Chengshi, wrote on the side of a reprint of the board: ! " #$ youxixiang]l One must have a respectful mind, first worshipping the Buddha and then throwing [the dice]. Those with ordinary capacities are not worth the trouble that the elder master of Lingfeng took to create the board! (Ouyi 1989: Vol. 19,11862) Jianmi acknow ledged th a t the game w as designed fo r various types of people b ut insisted they have the proper state of mind while playing, and he expressed frustration over w ha t he considered a disrespectful use of the game. He urged players to a d o p t a devotional stance tow ards the game, characterizing the throw ing o f dice as a religious ritual that should be perform ed w ith a proper attitude of reverence and worship. His exasperation reflects the am biguity of the game, w hich one is clearly m eant to play, b ut w hich also serves to train players in religious practices. While their designers may envision their aims and create rules constraining the w ay th ey should be played, gam es circulate beyond their sites of production and be used in ways th a t differ from their c reator’s intentions. For this reason, David Morgan urges scholars “to s tu dy the response to o bjects as they are displayed, exchanged, destroyed, and circulated in order to determ ine w hat they mean to people, that is to say, h ow they build and maintain life-w orlds” (Morgan 2008: 228). Ouyi’s board gam e has circulated from its inception to the present day: not only w as Ouyi’s game reprinted in 1891, his manual translated into English in 1907, his manual printed in a collection o f Buddhist m onographs entitled B u d d h is t M onograph Series (,Foxue Congkan) in 1936,27 and a colored print o f the game produced in 1943,28 b ut a Taiwanese B uddhist organization called Taizhong Lotus Society (Taizhong nianshe) reprinted th e game and made a digitized version of the game th a t one can freely d ow nload today.29 The colored print added a Buddha image in its center square 20 and included details from Ouyi’s manual concerning the dice rolls and subsequent advances w ithin each square, but the game rules and order of squares have never changed. A s Mary-Ying Ngai recently docum ented, O uyi’s game w as also transm itted to Korea, Japan, India, and Southeast Asia (Ngai 2011: 2 39 -3 5 0 ). While it is beyond the sco p e of this article to explore in depth th e meaning later players attributed to the game, w e can appreciate the range o f responses by considering several examples from the early tw entieth century to the present day. Rev. Tim othy Richard, the Protestant missionary w ho translated Ouyi’s manual into EnglishM ate ria l Religio n Volume 10 Playing with Karma: Foisikf, McQu*?s 1 A Buddhist Board Game Beverley Foulks McGuire Guide to Buddhahood: Being a Standard Manual o f Chinese Buddhism, he notes in the preface how “the book is full of repetitions meant for thoroughly grounding beginners,” and he pairs it with the Mahayana Buddhist text The Awakening o f Faith as “a sort of Alpha and Omega of Chinese Buddhism.” (Richard 1907: v) He presents Ouyi’s instruction manual as a primer for Chinese Buddhists, excising almost all of the discussion about the game in Ouyi’s preface, except for a brief explanation of the characters on the dice. Displaying a distinct Protestant bias, Richard sought to obscure all dimensions of the game under a veil of doctrine.Others acknowledged Selection o f Buddhas as a game but argued that one could no longer access its deeper meaning. In a Buddhist periodical entitled Tongyuan published on January 25, 1943, Ke An describes Ouyi’s Selection o f Buddhas as a popular game meant to inculcate virtue and played at temples during the New Year.30 At the end of his article, Ke expresses doubts over whether any of his contemporaries could truly play it on the same level as their predecessors, calling upon the Buddhist trope of the “decline of the dharma" to lament how he lives in an age in which the Buddha’s teachings are corrupt. He writes: “ It is difficult for a single instrument of a trivial game to penetrate (or communicate) the painstaking efforts and virtue of those before [us], and those who are able to use this board as a game today would already belong to such a refined class. Since the teachings have become so withered and corrupted, can there be any such person?” (Ke 1943) Like Jianmi, Ke lamented the fact that his contemporaries could not appreciate the depth of the game—that they lacked the superior capacities to play the game properly.31 Yet there is another example of Buddhist nuns who acknowledge both the playful and religious aspects of Ouyi’s game. Ven. Guo Guang, Provost of Dharma Drum Sangha University (Fagushan sengqie daxue), recounted playing the game with her female monastic students and urging those who landed in lower realms of hell to “recite harder” as they rolled the dice. She also noted a difference between students who played the board game versus those that played the online version mentioned above. The former students had a better appreciation for the connection between the roils of the dice and the squares they were sent to, since her colored version of Ouyi’s board game included excerpts from Ouyi’s manual within the individual squares. By contrast, those who clicked on the button of the online game were simply sent to the next square without any explanation. Whereas the board game Religious and Secular Games Selection o f Buddhas serves as an outlier in many respects to the religious games discussed by Nikki Bado- Fralick and Rebecca Sachs Norris in Toying with God. They argue that religious games tend to reduce complex religious narratives to short phrases, frequently lack moral complexity, and serve an educational or utilitarian purpose that often robs the games of fun (Bado-Fralick and Norris 2010: 12, 56). They note that Buddhist games—such as Karma Chakra and Buddha Wheel—have the additional shortcoming of being structured as race games but lacking a competitive spirit, since players that reach Buddhahood are then expected to help other players do the same (Bado-Fralick and Norris 2010:16). As we have seen, Selection o f Buddhas does not reduce complex cosmologies and soteriologies but instead reproduces them on its board, it presents karma in morally complex ways and, despite its educational purpose, players still appreciate its playful dimension—to the dismay of those like Jianmi Chengshi and Ke An. While Selection o f Buddhas may not appear competitive, it can certainly be played In a spirited way. A Korean version of Selection o f Buddhas is played today in Zen monasteries on New Year’s Day, and the documentary Zen Buddhism: In Search o f Self depicts a group of nuns having quite a bit of fun playing the game, even celebrating the top three players by having them sit in lotus position while the remaining nuns prostrate three times to worship them as they would the Buddha.32 This shows how players can spontaneously improvise and add elements to games, in this case exalting the winners as Buddhas. It is this goal of Buddhahood that distinguishes the competitive spirit of Selection o f Buddhas from other games. In the case of Promotion o f Officials, players 22 compete for fame, which Ouyi views as hazardous. In a dharma-talk he states: Fame only increases one’s sense of self and one’s evil karma [mo ye). An upright person must examine [this] carefully. The nature of the mind in the present moment of thought does not decrease among ordinary people or increase among sages; if one loses [the present moment of thought], one becomes an ordinary person, and if one awakens to it, one becomes a sage. (Ouyi 1989: Vol. 16,1 0473) For Ouyi, fame is anathema: it only gives rise to a sense of self-importance and ego. Promotion o f Officials fuelsMaterial Religion Volume 10 Playing with Karma: Bov: :;v f oulks McGuire issue 1 A Buddhist Board Game Beverley Foulks McGuire mani-jewel for a piece of clothing or a bit of food is pitiful. We have the same nature of the mind as all Buddhas, and similarly we have the same six sense faculties. How can there be the slightest deficiency?” (Ouyi 1989: Vol. 16, 10471) Herein lies the difference between Selection o f Buddhas and Promotion o f Officials: whereas positions within the official bureaucracy were limited resources and therefore engendered competition, everyone has the potential for Buddhahood. Ouyi explicitly structures the game to enjoin practices that cultivate good karma and realize one’s inherent potential for Buddhahood. In another dharma-talk, Ouyi states: “All dharmas are without nature, they all transform according to the mind. If one’s mind is on fame and profit, all hastens towards fame and profit; if one’s mind is on enlightenment, all hastens towards enlightenment. Thus it is said that hell is the dharma-dhatu, and even the Buddha is the dharma-dhatu" (Ouyi 1989: Vol. 16,104 73-4). Ouyi’s game directs the mind’s attention towards enlightenment rather than fame: each and every square is fixed on that goal. What initially appears to be an overwhelming array of levels of rebirth, states of meditation, and stages of cultivation can be appreciated as an attempt to encompass all of the various circumstances that can uncover and reveal one’s innate Buddhahood. In the same dharma-talk, Ouyi later states, “Therefore, when those with true bodhicitta encounter objects, circumstances, people, and things and generate thoughts of the form, voice, smell, taste, touch, and teachings of the Buddha, each moment of thought will correspond with everything like the ocean, and they need not discuss skill or proof of cultivation. Instead they will [see] the wonder therein” (Ouyi 1989: Vol. 16,104 7 3 -4 ). In each and every moment of the game, players direct their attention towards becoming a Buddha and therefore they constantly have the thought of enlightenment (bodhicitta) in their minds. Ouyi’s Selection o f Buddhas is one of an entire genre of religious games that to date has been relatively understudied. Just as Ouyi’s game sought to challenge a secular game culture focused on fame, money, and status, religious board games have emerged in the past few decades in response to a similar game culture in the West. Ouyi saw his game playing a role in the religious development of both beginning and advanced practitioners: preparing future ritualizers by having them Monopoly and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Whether they also maintain a creative tension between devotion and play remains to be seen. Appendix: Glossary of Chinese Text aifannao ifliS'lHquxiang boyi ftf shai 15 cai p shaizi m a n ge fSASI# C a i Ce shanhui # # ca im a n baiguan duo MSWllr^P Shengguan t u IS'B’Kl ca im a n ge M S I# shi fajie t u “H 4 I f 0 C h e n B a i c h e n i f f 0 M shi/ian/uthFajifS D a lu o A H sh ijie chan hui Mj&W# D a n x i a T i a n r a n THU shishan MU dingshan Sishierzhangjing IZ3AH$|S Fagushan sengqie daxue A H S o n g l i n g |£ [S g fenbie huo Taizhong nianshe * A S Itt fof#Tongyuan (a] Iff Fojiao zonghui Binjiang sheng zhibu fojing liutong chu we i p . mcmGMxn&cmtmMM wuji fa M s P H Foxue Congkan ffilpil-RJ W u l i n S h a n jBAlLLl guozui JSH wulou Han g u a n y i M W M wusheng H a n s h a n D e q i n g S ? L l | $ g } f xiangqi hezewm xing f j jia n fa n n a o xuanfo g # j i e l k Xuanfo pu g f ^ l f jieshan UK# Xuanfo tu g-f^B Jingde chuandeng lu xuanguan gl=| p a n xuanxian tu gfillH ju s h en g huo yezi K e A n p J ^ y i zheng #c IE L i n g g u S h a n S @lU youlou L iu B in jjfljjijj Y o u x i C h u a n d e n g lun$m youxi xiang mie zui S H Y u n q i Z h u h o n g Minguo fojiao qikan wertxianjicheng bubian zang M Zhancha sh a n ’eyebaojing mo y e M M zhengyin foxing IE 1 3 '1 4 Na-mo-a-mi-tuo-fo IPHlSJijfiP'S'W z h u a nW nianfo Z ib o Z h e n k e J ( d j O u y i Z h i x u j f i zthui g 'f g f panjiao Pf$fL zuofa po s h i l u o M P B .Material Religion Volume 10 Playing with Karma: A Buddhist Board Game Beverley Foulks McGuire 1 Checkered Game o f Life. 1860. Springfield, MA: Milton Bradley. The game was descended from Snakes a n d Ladders as well as the earlier English game, the N ew Game o f Human Life. 1790. London: John Wallis. 2 Chutes a n d Ladders. 1943. Springfield, MA: Milton Bradley. 3 Chutzpah Yiddish—The Game o f the G ood Life. 1967. Chicago: Cadaco. 4 Kosherland. 1985. Designed by Miram Mendelson. Chicago: Jewish Educational Toys. 5 Divinity: The New Catholic Catechism Learning System. Carlsbad, CA: Divinity Religious Products. 6 Solomon's Temple. 2001. Hayesville, NC: Cactus Game Design, 2001. Designed by Doug Gray 7 Celestial Pursuit. 1984. Randall Book Co. 8 Missionary Impossible. 1996. Designed by Curtis Taylor and Todd Hester. Aspen Brooks. 9 Who Wants to be a Celestial Heir. 2000. Springville, UT: Cedar Fort. 10 Monopoly. 1936. Salem, MA: Parker Brothers. 11 Jewish-opoly. 2004. Designed by Jason Feinman. Opoly Enterprises. 12 Catholic-opoly. 2006. Luke Enterprises. 13 Morm on-opoly. 2006. Sandy, UT: Sounds o f Zion. 14 These ten realms refer to those o f hell-beings, hungry ghosts, animals, asuras, humans, gods, gravakas, pratyekabuddhas, bodhisattvas, and Buddhas. The first three realms result from evil karma, the second three from good karma, the next tw o are attributed to Theravada and the final tw o are Mahayana.15 The original image of the board is contained in the Harvard-Yenching Library, and it has been reprinted with their permission. The Manual fo r “Selection o f Buddhas" is included in Ouyi’s Collected Works (Ouyi 1989: Vol. 19, 11861-2), and I have used their page numbers for citation purposes. Ouyi said that the phrase “being selected as a Buddha” (xuanfo) originally derived from the awakening of Danxia Tianran (739-824) (1989: Vol. 19, 11863), an episode recounted in th e fifteenth fascicle of the Record o f the Transmission o f the Lamp Published in the Jingde Era (Jingde chuandeng lu). There a Chan interlocutor asks Danxia where he is going, and when Danxia responds he is going to sit fo r the official exams—to “ be selected as an official” (xuanguan)—the interlocutor encourages him instead to “ be selected as a Buddha” (T. 2076.51.310b23). The phrase “to be selected as a Buddha” (puanfo) was also used to describe Chan meditation halls. 16 In traditional sources Li He, a prefect o f Hezhou, is said to have designed the game as a criticism o f how officials in the Tang period were appointed out o f turn. He equated the numbers on dice with ranks and titles, called it dice selection, and purportedly said th a t there was no substance to the selection—th a t winning only depended on the colors o f the dice (Lo 20 0 7:1 2 9 ). 17 Given the fact that this would have been a contemporary game at the tim e o f Ouyi Zhixu, one wonders whether Ouyi may have considered increasing the number o f dice in his own game to imitate such secular game models. 18 Andrew Lo remarks that unlike games such as Chinese chess (xiangqi ) that had boards made o f wood or stone, the playing surfaces for these games were made o f paper and not considered !" #$ % & ' ( ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ' ( "* ' ) + , ) - #$.!"* # / + ) ) 0 ) / ) * ' ) 1 #$$ "* + ) Selection o f Buddhas game when he was 20 years old in what is now Nanjing, playing another version o f the game designed by Youxi Chuandeng (1554—1629) while at the “ Lotus Hermitage” on Wulin Mountain in 1623, and seeing another version o f the game while at Songling in 1625 (Ouyi 1989: Vol. 1 9 ,1 1 8 6 3 -4 ). Ouyi first published his own version of the game in 1643. 23 These are a-na, a-m o, a-na, mi- mo, mi-a, tuo-na, tuo-m o, tuo-a, tuo-mi, fo-na, fo-mo, fo-a, fo-mi, and fo-tuo. 24 If such people roll any combination with the character fo r Buddha (fo), they have the opportunity to advance t o the realms o f animals and hungry ghosts, and if they throw a “fo- fo," they can even become a bodhisattva emitting great light. Whether this signals the spiritual potential of sentient beings to advance from hell to the highest stages of the bodhisattva path, or whether this means that someone was originally a bodhisattva dwelling in hells for compassionate reasons is n ot clear. Nevertheless, it is evident th a t Ouyi gives players many chances to improve themselves and advance on the path. 26 Those who receive “m o-m o" are those “w hose minds are covered by ignorance and attachment, w ho do not know ho w to reform or repent, and therefore theyfall among the middle class of animals.” From there they ascend to those who have kept some of the precepts or those who have been able to attain a degree of meditative attainment, to “na -fo” and “m o -fo,” both of whom “although they are entangled by views and attachment do not turn their back on the Tathagata and therefore are able to hear his teachings,” to “a - f othose who have “forever cut off the continuance of marks, and in order to eliminate sins, have engaged in repentance seeking marks,” to “mi-fo" who have observed the emptiness o f sin, and in order to renew the precepts, have performed repentance [meditating on] non-arising,” to “tu o -fo ” who “ by reciting the name of the Buddha (nianfo) with an undisturbed, single mind focus on bringing [good] karma to th e next rebirth,” and finally “fo-fo" which signals th a t “the transformation Buddha has responded to one’s recollection and has come to welcome one to transcend into th e Pure Land.” Ouyi explains that repentance by performing rituals entails relying on the Vinaya to express one’s regret to enable the eliminate sins (mie zui), repentance seeking marks can remedy a small offense, and finally repentance by meditating on non-arising should be performed by those wh o seek escape and abandon the origin of transgression (Ouyi 1989: Vol. 19, 11918). 26 We find an emphasis placed on cultivating remorse fo r mistakes in the earliest Chinese Buddhist texts such as the Scripture in Forty-Two Sections (Sishierzhang jing). After detailing the ten good and bad activities (784.17.722b6- b10), the Buddha says: “People have many mistakes, and they do not themselves regret (z/ta) o r contemplate their mind. Their sins return to themselves like water returning to the sea, becoming deep and widespread” (784.17 .7 22b11-12). 27 This is included in the Minguo fojiao qikan wenxian jicheng bubian (Supplement to the Complete Collection o f Republican-Era Buddhist Periodical Literature),o E to to O JS 2 1 s “ J)T3 C T3 *11 TO EQ Q. < o T— O 3 © 0 cc ^ TO O © 5 TO sBeverley Foulks McGuire ! " # $ % & ' ( # ) * + " , -, -, + ./ 01 , 2 ,+ " 1 + , + 3 + 4 5, 6 + 7Fojiao zonghui Binjiang sheng zhibu fojing liutong chu). The squares were identical with Ouyi’s board, but they included images as well as details from his Manual for Selection o f Buddhas (Ngai 2 0 1 1:1 2 9 ). 29 Website o f Ouyi Zhixu’s Xuanfo tu (Ouyi Zhixu xuanfo tu gangzhan), http://fom . Accessed on May 25, 2011. 30 While Ouyi’s Manual does not refer to special occasions for playing Selection o f Buddhas, these twentieth and twenty-first century examples all refer to monks and nuns playing the game during the New Year. This association may have developed during the Qing dynasty, when Chinese literati began playing Promotion o f Officials as a form o f entertainment in New Year celebrations (Ngai 2 0 1 1:7 2 ). 3' It is interesting to note th a t it is during this same period in 1945 th a t Chen Baichen (1908-94) staged his play entitled The Game o f Promoting Officials (Shengguan tu), satirizing corruption in the government (Chen 1981). It makes one wonder whether the playwright—and those who reprinted Ouyi’s board g a m e - found resonance in these earlier games because they to o felt frustrated by social and institutional changes and perceived tension between material success and religious pursuits. 32 For a discussion o f the game that is used, see Buswell (1992: 48). Bado-Fralick, Nikki and Norris, Rebecca Sachs. 2010. Toying With God: The World o f Religious Games a n d Dolls. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press. Berling, Judith. 1985. Religion and Popular Culture: The Managementof Moral Capital in The Romance o f the Three Teachings. In Popular Culture in Late Imperial China, ed. David Johnson, Andrew J. Nathan, and Evelyn S. Rawski. Taipei: SMC Publishing, Inc., 118-218. Buswell, Robert. 1992. The Zen M onastic Experience: Buddhist Practice in Contemporary Korea. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Chen Baichen. 1981. Shengguan tu [The Chart o f Official Promotion). Beijing: Zhongguo xiju chubanshe. Chen Ying-shan. 1996. Ouyi Zhixu sixiang de tezhi ji qi dingwei wenti [The Characteristics o f Ouyi Zhixu's Thought and an Appraisal o f his Status). Zhongguo wenzhe yanjiu jikan [Bulletin o f the Institute of Chinese Uterature and Philosophy] 8 (March): 2 27-56. Eiman, Benjamin A. 2000. A Cultural History o f Civil Examinations in Late Imperial China. Berkeley: University of California Press. Finkel, Irving. 2004a. The Ups and Downs of Life: The Indian Game o f Snakes and Ladders. In Asian Games: The A r t o f Contest, ed. Colin Mackenzie and Irving Finkel. New York: Asia Society, 5 8 -6 3 . Finkel, Irving. 2004b. On Dice in Asia. Orientations 35: 5 6 -6 0 . Huizinga, Johan. 1955. Homo Ludens: A Study o f the Play Element in Culture. Boston: The Beacon Press. Johari, Harish. 1980. Leela: The Game o f Knowledge. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Ke An. 1943. Xuanfo tu zhi qiyuan [The Origin o f the Selection of Buddhas Board). Tongyuan 4(1): 12. Kuo, Liying. 1994. Divination, jeux de hazard et purification dans le bouddhisme chinois: Autour d ’un sutra apocryhe chinois, le Zhanchajing. In Bouddhisme et cultures locales: Quelques case de reciproques adaptations, ed. Fukui Fumimasa and Gerard Fussman. Paris: fe o le frangaise d'ExtrSme- Orient, 145-67. The New Yorker, May 21, Lo, Andrew. 2000. The Game of Leaves: An Inquiry into the Origin o f Chinese Playing Cards. Bulletin o f the School o f Oriental a n d African Studies, University o f London 63(3): 389-406. Lo, Andrew. 2004. Official Aspirations: Chinese Promotion Games. In Asian Games: The A rt o f Contest, ed. Colin Mackenzie and Irving Finkel. New York: Asia Society, 6 4 -7 5 . Lo, Andrew. 2007. An Introduction to Board Games in Late Imperial China. In A ncie nt Board Games in Perspective, ed. Irvin Finkel. London: British Museum Press, 125-32. Morgan, Carole. 2004. The Chinese Game o f Shengguan tu. Journal o f the American Oriental Society 124(3): 5 1 7-32. Morgan, David. 2008. The Materiality of Cultural Construction. Material Religion 4(2): 2 2 8 -9 . Ngai, May-Ying Mary. From Entertainment to Enlightenment: A Study on a Cross-Cultural Religious Board Game With an Emphasis on th e Table of Buddha Selection Designed by Ouyi Zhixu of the Late Ming Dynasty. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of British Columbia, January 2011. Ouyi Zhixu. 1989. Ouyi Dashi Quanji [The Collected Works of Great Master Ouyi], 21 volumes. Taipei: Fojiao chubanshe. Peng Jiqing. 2001. Jingtu shengxian lu [Record of Pure Land Sages]. Tainan: Heyu Chubanshe.Rappaport, Roy A. 1999. Ritual a n d Religion in the Making o f Humanity. New York: Cambridge University Press. Richard, Timothy. 1907. Guide to Buddhahood: Being a Standard Manual o f Chinese Buddhism. Shanghai: Christian Literature Society. Schechner, Richard. 1993. The Future o f Ritual: Writings on Culture a n d Performance. New York: Routledge. Seligman, Adam B., Weller, Robert P., Puett, Michael J., and Simon, Bennett. 2008. Ritual an d Its Consequences: An Essay on the Limits o f Sincerity. New York: Oxford University Press. Seng Ping-jen. 2005. The Evolution of the Chinese Promotion Game [Shengguan tu youxi she gaikao], Taiwan Shida lishi xuebao 33 (June): 2 7 -7 8 . Shengyan. 1975. Minmatsu Chugoku Bukkyd no kenkyu: toku n i Chigyoku o chushin to shite [A Study o f late Ming Buddhism: focusing especially on [Ouyi] Zhixu], Tokyo: Sankibo busshorin. Skinner, G. William. 1976. Social Mobility Strategies in Late Imperial China: A Regional Systems Analysis. In Regional Analysis, ed. Carol A. Smith. New York: Academic Press, 3 2 7-64. Tatz, Mark and Kent, Jody. 1977. Rebirth: The Tibetan Game o f Liberation. New York: Anchor Books. Topsfield, Andrew. 1985. The Indian Game o f Snakes and Ladders. Artibus Asiae 46(3): 2 0 3-15. 28Material Religion Volume 10 Playing with Karma: B a vi ey Fc,ulies M cG uire issue 1 A Buddhist Board Game Beverley Foulks McGuire Copyright ofMaterial Religion isthe property ofRoutledge anditscontent maynotbecopied or emailed tomultiple sitesorposted toalistserv without thecopyright holder'sexpress written permission. However,usersmayprint, download, oremail articles forindividual use.