Chung-Hwa Buddhist Journal第13.2期 (p277-297): (民國89年),臺北:中華佛學研究所,
Chung-Hwa Buddhist Journal, No. 13, (2000)
Taipei: The Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies
ISSN: 1071-7132

The Taoist Influence on Hua-yen Buddhism:

A Case of the Sinicization of Buddhism in China

Kang-nam Oh
Professor of Religious Studies, University of Regina

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The religio-philosophical system presented by the Hua-yen Buddhist school of China was characteristically “Chinese” in the sense that it was not merely extensions of Indian Buddhist ideas but the reinterpretations and restatements of Buddhist thought within distinctively Chinese modes of thought and expression. Hua-yen, in this sense, was a “sinicized” Buddhism.

This paper examines the philosophical background of this “sinicization process.” The paper argues that the Taoist philosophy was one, possibly the most important, influence on this process. The paper tries to prove this by exploring specifically four major Hua-yen concepts derived from the Taoist tradition: hsüan (mystery), “returning to the source,” t’i-yung (essence and function), and li-shih (noumenon and phenomenon).

關鍵詞:1.Hua-yen Buddhism 2.Taoist Philosophy 3.Dharmadhātu 4.Sinicization

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I. Introduction

Buddhism, which was first introduced into China around the first century C.E., developed through various stages of interaction with traditional Chinese culture before it finally emerged as an integral part of the Chinese religious tradition. After the periods of preparation (ca. 65~317 C.E.) and of domestication (ca. 317~589), Buddhism came to the stage of “independent growth” in the Sui-T’ang period (589~900).[1] In this period there flourished such schools as the T’ien-t’ai (Lotus or Saddharmapuṇḍarika), the Hua-yen (Flower Garland or Avataṁsaka), the Fa-hsiang (Dharma-Character or Dharmalakṣana), the Ching-t’u (Pure Land or Sukhavatī), and the Ch’an (Meditation or Dhyāna).[2] The systems of thought of most of these schools were characteristically “Chinese” in the sense that they were not mere extensions of Indian ideas but the reinterpretations and restatements of Buddhist doctrines within distinctively Chinese modes of thought and expression to meet the intellectual and spiritual needs of the particular times and space.[3] Among these schools, however, the Hua-yen is generally considered not only as the apex of Buddhism,[4] but also as “the greatest

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adaptation of Mahāyāna Buddhism among the various philosophical systems organized by the Chinese.”[5]

The purpose of this paper is, therefore, to examine some of the salient features of Hua-yen Buddhism as an example of the Sinicization of Buddhism in sixth and seventh century China. Needless to say, there must have been various religious, intellectual, and socio-political elements which conduced to the Sinicization process of Hua-yen Buddhist philosophy.[6] In this paper, however, attention will be focused exclusively on Taoist philosophy as a possible indigenous spiritual influence on the formation of Hua-yen thought.[7]

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II. The Basic Doctrine of Hua-yen

To have a general background for the discussion of the Taoist influence on Hua-yen, it would seem appropriate to give a brief sketch of Hua-yen philosophy.[8] The central teaching of the Hua-yen school is the dharmadhātu (fa-chieh) doctrine, or more specifically, the dharmadhātu-pratītyasamutpāda (fa-chieh yuan-ch’i). The Sanskrit term dharmadhātu, which is a compound consisting of dharma and dhātu, has been variously translated as “the Element of the Elements,” “The Realm of All Elements,” “the Dharma-Element,” the “Reality or Essence of Dharmas,” “the Noumenal Ground of Phenomena,” “the Essence of Reality,” “the Ultimate Reality,” “Supreme Reality,” “Totality,” and so on.[9] It is, in short, a designation of the “Ground of all Being.” The term pratītyasamutpāda means “dependent co-origination.”

This idea of dharmadhātu-pratītyasamutpāda which was

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originally found in the Avataṁsaka-sūtra or Hua-yen ching,[10] was fully developed by the Hua-yen school into a systematic doctrine palatable to the Chinese intellectual taste. The dharmadhātu doctrine[11] can be said to have been, by and large, set forth by Tu-shun (557~640 C.E.), formulated by Chih-yen (602~668), systematized by Fa-tsang (643~712), and elucidated by Ch’eng-kuan (ca. 737~838) and Tsung-mi (780~841).

The foundation of the dharmadhātu doctrine was definitely laid in a short treatise, Fa-chieh-kuan-men (The Gate of Insight into the Dharmadhātu),[12] which has been ascribed to Tu-shun, the first patriarch of the school.[13] In this “fundamental text” it is recommended to have “threefold insight” into the dharmadhātu, i.e.,

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the insight into 1) the “true Emptiness,” 2) the “non-obstruction of li and shih” or noumenon and phenomena, and 3) “all-pervading and all-embracing [nature of phenomena] . This means that in our meditative insight we have to intuit not only the two aspects of dharmadhātu, form (rūpa) and emptiness (śūnyatā), in their non-obstructive interrelationship but we have also to see the dharmadhātu in terms of li and shih or the noumenal and the phenomenal in their “interfusion and dissolution, coexistence and annihilation, adversity and harmony”[14] and their mutual identification. Even further, we are advised to realize ultimately that “shih, being identified with li, are interfusing, interpervading, mutually including, and interpermeating without obstruction.”[15] It is said here that all the phenomenal things, having been endowed with the quality of the noumenal, are now complete in themselves, and thus they are now interrelating with each other. In this relationship, it is further said, the universal and the particular, the broad and the narrow, and the like, have no impeding boundaries but are freely interpenetrating each other without obstruction or hindrance whatsoever.

This last insight into the universal and inexhaustible interrelatedness of all the dharmas in the dharmadhātu was formulated as the “ten mysteries”[16] by the second patriarch Chih-yen in his Hua-yen I-ch’eng shih-hsüan-men (The Ten Mysteries of the One Vehicle of the Hua-yen).[17] These ten mysteries or principles, according to Chih-yen, point to the Hua-yen truth that the myriad things in the universe freely interrelate with each other without losing their own identities. Each and every manifested object of the dharmadhātu includes simultaneously all the qualities of the other objects within itself. Consequently all the qualities

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such as hidden and manifest, pure and mixed, one and many, subtle and minute, cause and effect, big and small, time and eternity, and the rest are all simultaneously and completely compatible in any given dharma.

Fa-tsang, the third patriarch and greatest systematizer of the school, having inherited this basic teaching of Chih-yen, organized it within his finely refined theoretical system.[18] Whereas Chih-yen’s “ten mysteries” had been simply set forth without elaboration, Fa-tsang incorporated the truth of the ten mysteries in the web of his grand system. It is now no longer an isolated set of meditational items, but becomes part of an organic structure substantiated in terms of “emptiness and existence,” “having power and lacking power,” and so on. It is also by him that the cardinal twin principle of Hua-yen philosophy “mutual identification” and “interpenetration” is first clearly systematized in connection with ideas of “essence and function” (t’i-yung).

It was the fourth patriarch of the school, Ch’eng-kuan, who built up the so-called theory of “four-fold dharmadhātu” upon the basis of the teachings handed down by his predecessors, which subsequently became known as the standard formula of the Hua-yen Dharmadhātu doctrine. In his Fa-chieh-hsüan-ching (The Mirror of the Mystery of dharmadhātu), the commentary on Tu-shun’s Fa-chieh-kuan-men, Ch’eng-kuan suggests that the dharmadhātu can be seen either as 1) shih dharmadhātu, 2) li dharmadhātu, 3)

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dharmadhātu of non-obstruction of li and shih, or 4) dharmadhātu of non-obstruction of shih and shih.[19] According to his explanation, the first one is the dharmadhātu particularized or phenomenalized into innumerable concrete things. The second one, li dharmadhātu, is the “essential” aspect of the dharmadhātu which is the foundation of all the manifested phenomena. The third one is the aspect of the dharmadhātu in which phenomena and noumenon interfuse each other. The fourth dimension of the dharmadhātu, according to Ch’eng-kuan, points to the truth of the “ten mysteries,” which teaches basically the twin principle of interrelationship of all phenomena: mutual identification and interpenetration. The dharmadhātu doctrine of Tsung-mi is more or less similar to that of Ch’eng-kuan.

These patriarchs have emphasized throughout their writings that everything in the universe is related to each other. Apart from this relatedness, or what is technically called pratītyasamutpāda, nothing has an existence of its own. Everything should be viewed with regard to all possible relationships with all possible things. Every possible level and every available dimension should be applied to a certain thing. In other words, any given object in the world is subject to infinitely numerous and different frames of reference. Nothing can have a fixed, intrinsic, or static value nor be judged by a determined standard. Everything in the phenomenal order is fluid, flexible, and relative.

The same step is too high for a child and at the same time too low for an adult. The same step is also too wide for a child and too narrow for an adult. The same step has, therefore, according to Hua-yen, the qualities of being high and low, wide and narrow, and so on, all simultaneously. The truth of the “ten mysteries” lies in its pointing out these relativistic or relationalistic qualities of all dharmas. All dharmas are free from being either narrow or broad;

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they are both narrow and broad, and many more without obstruction. This is the so-called mystery of “the sovereignty and non-obstruction of the broad and the narrow.” The truth of “the perfect and brilliant compatibility of the qualities of being both the primary and the secondary” conclusively affirms this relativistic outlook of Hua-yen philosophy.

In such a transcendental insight, there can be no room for dogmatic assertions concerning any particular thing. A theoretical polarity of good and bad, right and wrong, happy and unhappy, profane and sacred, and the like is completely removed.[20] Static views (dṛṣṭi) or dogmas have no place in such a flexible and comprehensive attitude toward dharmas.

Those things which have been seen by common-sense knowledge as essentially distinctive, categorically different, and spatiotemporally separate from each other are, here in this Hua-yen meditative intuition of a higher level, completely dissolved into the totalistic harmony of the dharmadhātu of non-obstruction and non-hindrance. There is only “the one unique reality” in which every fixed distinction, discrimination or particularization has no room.

Hua-yen philosophy is in this sense a philosophy of liberation which sets a person free from all rigid and stubborn dogmatism, prejudice, and preconception. The restraint and bondage of localization, categorization, artificial restriction, conceptual construction, sentimental bias, provincialism, intolerant self-centeredness, and worldly attachment, are all broken down and there remains only absolute spiritual freedom which keeps one from partial judgement but leads to a perfect and round perspective of things.

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III. Some of the Taoist Influence on Hua-yen

It is a well-known fact that since its introduction into China, Buddhism has had a close relationship with Taoism, more specifically with Neo-Taoism. As a result of this there developed the method of “matching the concepts” of Buddhism and Taoism, which was known as ko-i.[21] By this method of analogy Buddhists adopted many Taoist terms and ideas to explain their concepts. Although this somewhat superficial and arbitrary method of matching was discarded as useless and misleading after the great translator and scholar Kumārajiiva arrived in 401 C.E., Taoist influence on Buddhism in general was not, and could not be, totally eliminated.

As a good example of the influence of Taoism on Buddhism during its early stage in China, one may take the development of the so-called “Six Houses and Seven Schools.” Even though they were dealing with the Buddhist concept of Emptiness (śūnyatā), most of their vocabularies were based on Neo-Taoist terms. Just as the fundamental problem of the Neo-Taoists was the question of being and non-being, these schools, attuned to this line of thought, called themselves “School of Original Non-being,” “Variant School of Original Non-being,” “School of Non-being of Mind,” and so on.[22] Consequently they were aptly known as the “Buddho-Taoists.”

However, this is not the place to trace such examples of Taoist influence throughout Buddhist history. For, although the close

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contact between the Taoist and Buddhist, which had an important impact on the development of Chinese Buddhist thought in general, can be an interesting topic to investigate,[23] our task here is only to see the concrete and most discernible Taoist influence specifically on the Hua-yen thought in order to clarify a particular case of Sinicization of Buddhism.

A) The Idea of Hsüan

The first Taoist element that can easily be pointed to in the Hua-yen system is the idea of hsüan. For Hua-yen the hsüan or mystery, profundity, deep truth, darkness, subtleness and the like, is the key word used to represent the whole truth of the dharmadhātu. Chih-yen uses the word hsüan in the title of his magnum opus, Hua-yen ching Sou-hsüan-chi (The Record of Probing the Hsüan of the Avataṁsaka -sūtra).[24] This implies that the aim of his probing into the Avataṁsaka -sūtra was to get into the hsüan mystery. Fa-tsang’s monumental commentary on the Avataṁsaka also has the title T’an-hsüan-chi. And Ch’eng-kuan also calls his commentary on the Fa-chieh-kuan-men “Fa-chieh-hsüan-ching.” Above all, the cardinal doctrine in connection with the dharmadhātu has been throughout these patriarchs of the Hua-yen school, the “ten mysteries” or ten hsüans.

As is well-known, the idea of hsüan is found in the first chapter of Lao Tzu’s Tao-te-ching in connection with Tao and its two aspects of being and non-being.At the end of the chapter it is said:

They both may be called the mystery [hsüan] ;

It is the mystery of mysteries,

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The door of all the wonderful subtleties.[25]

The phrase “mystery of mysteries,” sometimes rephrased as the “manifold mystery,” was especially cherished as the central term characterizing the inexpressible Tao.[26] This phrase was so important that around the fifth century C.E. there existed a school named “manifold mystery” in the Lao-Chuang branch of Taoism.[27] Moreover, the Neo-Taoist philosophy itself was called the “Learning of Mystery” (hsüan-hsuah) in classical times.[28]

This important idea was adopted to designate the Buddhist truth of the Ultimate by many Buddhists, such as Seng-chao (C.E. 384~414), Chih-tsang (549~623), Yuan-hsiao (617~686) and Li T’ung-hsüan (635~730).[29] In view of these facts, it is unlikely that the Hua-yen philosophers could have escaped such a prevailing influence.

The most illuminating example of the relation of Hua-yen to Lao-Chuang philosophy in this respect can be found in Ch’eng-kuan.At the beginning of his encyclopaedic commentary on the Avataṁsaka -sūtra, he explains the dharmadhātu in Taoist terms,

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“wonderful subtleties”:

Going and coming have no limit; moving and stillness are from one source. It contains all the wonderful subtleties and still more, and is beyond words and thoughts and transcends them. Such is nothing but the dharmadhātu![30]

A few passages later he again adopts the Taoist phrase “manifold mystery” or “mystery of mysteries.” As to the source of these phrases, Ch’eng-kuan admits that they are from Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu, and in his own sub-commentary he quotes the whole of the first chapter of the Tao-te-ching to show the original meaning of the phrases.

One very interesting thing to note here is that Ch’eng-kuan, while acknowledging his debt to Taoist philosophy,[31] still argues that it is only in terminology, not in meaning as such. He says, “Although we borrow their terms, we do not accept their meanings.”[32] As an example, he takes the concept of mystery or hsüan-miao.[33] In Taoism, he argues, it refers to “vacuity and naturalness” while in Hua-yen it means “the one true dharmadhātu.”

B) The Idea of “Returning”

As a second element of Taoist influence on Hua-yen we can consider the idea of “returning to the source.”Throughout the Hua-yen writings it is found that the dharmadhātu or the Ultimate is designated as the “source,” “origin,” “original source,” “true

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source,” “unique source” and the like.[34] As the proper relationship to this source, the Hua-yen thinkers suggest “returning.” Therefore, very frequently we come across terms such as “returning to the dharmadhātu,” “returning to the one true dharmadhātu,” “returning to the origin and returning to the source,” “giving up the derivative and returning to the original,” and so on.[35] In the case of Fa-tsang, one of his essays is titled “The Insight into the Returning to the Source by Exhausting the False.”[36] Returning to the source is likewise a spiritual goal and in itself enlightenment for Hua-yen Buddhists.

It is of course true that the idea of “source” is traceable even to Indian Buddhism. The reality expressed in such terms as alāyavijñāna or tathagatāgarbha, for example, could be understood as the “source” in the sense that from it all phenomenal things come into existence. But the idea that the myriad things “return” to the source is hardly found in Indian Buddhism, and particularly the fact that the spiritual goal is spoken of in terms of “returning to the source” has no direct counterpart in India. In Indian Buddhism, the way of enlightenment is primarily purifying or getting rid of discriminative mental fabrications superimposed upon Reality, rather than returning to it.[37]

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On the other hand, the idea of returning or reversion (fan, huan, kuei, or fu) to the source or root is the most important leitmotiv of Taoist philosophy, especially in Lao Tzu.[38] “All things flourish,” it is said in the Tao-te-ching, “but each one returns to its root. This returning to its root means tranquillity.”[39] It might not be too much, therefore, to say that this line of thinking in Hua-yen is, at least in inspiration, largely Taoist, and further that when Hua-yen was talking about “returning to the source” or to the dharmadhātu as its spiritual ideal, it was actually speaking of a Buddhist message within an indigenous Taoist pattern of thinking.

C) T’i -yung or Essence and Function

A third, and probably the most fundamental element of Taoist influence on the Hua-yen system can be found in their use of the traditional Taoist dichotomy of t’i (essence) and yung (function). The idea of t’i-yung occurs repeatedly in the writings of the Hua-yen patriarchs, especially those of Fa-tsang and his followers, as one of the basic categories in elaborating their theories.[40] This dichotomy of t’i and yung, according to W. Liebenthal, is the pattern which is “fundamental in all Chinese thinking.”[41] Strictly speaking, however, this t’i-yung is originally derived from Taoist philosophy.

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It was the Neo-Taoist Wang Pi (C.E. 226~249) who used the term in the metaphysical sense for the first time in the history of Chinese thought.[42] Ever since he interpreted the thirty-eighth chapter of the Tao-te-ching in terms of t’i-yung, this has become the basic principle for explaining the relation between reality and its manifestations. On this point, Wing-tsit Chan aptly says:

The concept of substance [t’i] and function [yung] first mentioned here, were to play a very great role in Neo-Taoism, Buddhism, and Neo-Confucianism.... In fact, the Chinese have conceived everything to be in the relationship of substance (the nature of a thing), and function (its various applications).[43]

Needless to say, the Hua-yen usage of t’i-yung is not identical with that of Taoists. For examples, whereas for Wang Pi, t’i-yung was used basically to refer to “non-being,”[44] for Fa-tsang t’i-yung was adopted not only to show the dual aspect of essence and its various functions or manifestations, but primarily to explain the cardinal Hua-yen idea of mutual identification and interpenetration.[45]

But regardless of whether the content might be different from the traditional Chinese understanding, the fact is that the “pattern of t’i-yung,” which Liebenthal describes as “dynamic,” became an integral part of the Hua-yen philosophy. This becomes especially evident when it is taken into consideration that the general Buddhist pattern in this respect is the famous triad of t’i-hsiang-

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yung or essence-characteristic-function. Although this is mentioned from time to time,[46] the t’i-yung pattern is predominant. It should, however, be remembered that in Hua-yen philosophy the dynamic aspect of t’i-yung was so intensified that not only the relationship between essence and its manifestations but also those between one manifestation and the other manifestation were equally, if not more, emphasized.

D) Li-shih or Noumenon and Phenomenon

In addition to the idea of t’i-yung, the question of li-shih should be mentioned in this connection. As was stated previously, li-shih was one of the key terms in the Hua-yen system. The interrelationship of the li and shih aspects of the dharmadhātu was the whole point of Hua-yen philosophy from the beginning to the end. Even with a first glance, it is easily discernible that the attempt to grasp the dharmadhātu in terms of li and shih is an unmistakable reminder of the thought pattern of the Tao-te-ching which tries to see the Tao in terms of the two aspects of non-being (wu) and being (yu).[47] And if one traces this concept in the history of Chinese thought, one can see even more clearly that it is essentially Taoist in origin and inspiration.

As a matter of fact, the concept of li-shih, especially the concept of li, has been one of the most important ideas in Chinese thought in general.[48] The term li in the sense of principle or noumenon does not occur in the ancient Confucian classics. According to Wing-tsit Chan, li was used in the sense of principle for the first time in the Mo-tzu (c. 4th c. B.C.).[49] But because the Moist

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movement soon declined in the fourth century B.C., there was no significant advance in the Moist philosophy. The early development of the concept, therefore, was mostly due to Taoist philosophy.

In the Tao-te-ching, the term li itself does not appear, but in the Chuang-tzu it appears thirty-eight times. Here in the Chuang-tzu, for the first time in Chinese history li was connected with the Tao. Moreover, the Principle of Heaven is contrasted with human affairs which is “anticipating the sharp contrast of principle [li] and facts in Chinese Buddhism.”[50]

Although there were some developments in Hsün-tzu (c. 313~238 B.C.), a Confucian who is said to have lived immediately after Chuang-tzu, and in some others,[51] the idea of li as the universal principle was most fully discussed by the Neo-Taoists Wang Pi and Kuo Hsiang (d. 312). Both of them interpreted the Tao in terms of li, and for them li was “universal principle,” “necessary principle,” “principle by which things are as they are,” “ultimate principle” etc.[52] However, while Kuo Hsiang advocated the immanent and plural li, Wang Pi upheld the transcendental, absolute li, and it was through Wang Pi that the development of the concept of li took place in Buddhism during the next several centuries.

Such a Taoist understanding of li and shih was introduced into Chinese Buddhist philosophy by Chih-tun (314~366) and developed by Hui-yuan (334~416), Seng-chao (384~414) and Tao-sheng (c. 360~434).[53] It is apparent, therefore, that the Hua-yen concept of li and shih stems basically from this line of tradition.

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IV. Conclusion

Although we may, of course, continue to enumerate more parallels between Hua-yen and Taoist philosophy,[54] we have discussed only some of the most concrete and discernible Taoist elements which might have been a source from which the Hua-yen school could derive the directions and patterns for its reshaping process of Indian Buddhist ideas in China. In conclusion, it may be appropriate to make some observations.

First, when we say, “A was influenced by B,” this does not necessarily mean that “similarities” between A and B are the only issue. Naturally, such similarities may come about in the process of interaction and influence, but they are not the whole point. The more relevant point here is to see how one stream of thought can serve as a “stimulus” in the development of the other stream of thought. Stimulating is far from imprinting or reproducing the likeness of another thing. Although stimulated or influenced by something or somebody, the development may still be carried out within one’s own intrinsic logic and structure. This seems to be the

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case with the interaction of Hua-yen Buddhism and Taoist philosophy. Hua-yen was influenced by Taoist philosophy, but obviously Hua-yen is not identical with Taoism in every respect.

Second, in Ch’eng-kuan’s statement that although he borrowed Taoist terms, he did not accept their meanings, we actually find the basic attitude of the Hua-yen school toward the indigenous Chinese religio-philosophical traditions. We do not know to what extent his statement corresponds to actual fact, but it is clearly seen here how they understood their position in the history of Chinese thought. This is to say that the two-fold effort of preserving the peculiarity of Buddhist Hua-yen thought and yet at the same time adopting a Chinese way of expression was inevitable if they were to gain a footing on Chinese soil.

Finally, when one deals with the history of a certain idea, it is often impossible to know the exact source of it, because an idea enriched by various systems of thought cannot be traced to one single source. One may, therefore, rather ask for one of several possible stimuli which could have given birth to such an idea. With such a qualification, it may be safe to say that the Taoist philosophy was one, and possibly the most significant, stimulus which helped Hua-yen, during the Sui-T’ang period, to develop into a Buddhist school which was characteristically Chinese.

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關鍵詞:1.華嚴宗 2.道家 3.法界 4.漢化

[1] See Arthur F. Wright, Buddhism in Chinese History (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1959). A similar division of Chinese Buddhist history is found in Daijo Tokiwa, Shina Bukkyo no Kenkyu (A Study of Chinese Buddhism) (Tokyo: Shunjusha, 1942), vol. III. For an extensive study on the early stage of Chinese Buddhist history, see E. Zürcher, The Buddhist Conquest of China (Leiden: E.J. Brill, rev. ed., 1972).

[2] For a brief survey of these Chinese Buddhist schools, see Kenneth K. Ch’en, Buddhism in China (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1964), pp.297-364; J. Takakusu, The Essentials of Buddhist Philosophy (Honolulu: University of Hawaii, 3rd ed., 1956), pp.57-191.

[3] Cf. Wright, op. cit., p.77.

[4] See, for example, D. T.Suzuki, The Essence of Buddhism (Kyoto: Hozokan, 1968), p.54, where he says that Hua-yen is “the climax of Buddhist thought which has been developing in the Far East for the last two thousand years.” His somewhat exaggerated statement is found in Studies in Zen, ed. Christmas Humphreys (New York: Dell Publishing Co., Inc., 1955), p.139, where he says, “Fa-tsang’s systematization of [Hua-yen] ideas . . . is one of the wonderful achievements performed by the Chinese mind and is of the highest importance to the history of world thought.” Cf. also Garma C. C. Chang, The Buddhist Teaching of Totality (University Park: the Pennsylvania State University, 1971), p.ix, in which he says that “of all Buddhist Schools──Hinayana, Mahayana and Tantra alike” the one which “truly holds the highest teaching of Buddhism” is the Hua-yen school of China.

[5] H. Nakamura, Ways of Thinking of Eastern Peoples (Honolulu: East-West Center, 1964), p.245.

[6] Concerning the new situations of this time which might have helped the reshaping process of Buddhism in general, see Reimon Yuki, “Zuito jidai ni okeru Chugoku-teki Bukkyo Seiritsu no Jijo ni tsuite no Kosatsu” (Consideration of the Historical Situations for the Rise of Chinese Buddhism in the Sui-T’ang Period), Nihon Bukkyogakkai Nempo, XIX (1954), pp.79-96. See also my A Study of Chinese Hua-yen Buddhism (unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, McMaster University, 1976), pp.53-69.

[7] The question of the Buddhist influence on Chinese culture in general is dealt with in such studies as Hu Shih, “The Indianization of China: A Case Study of Cultural Borrowing,” in Independence, Convergence and Borrowing in Institutions, Thought and Art, Harvard Tercenteniary Publications (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1937), pp.219-246; P.C. Bagchi, India and China: A Thousand Years of Cultural Relations, the second revised and enlarged edition (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1971) and his “Indian Influence on Chinese Thought” in Raddhakrishnan ed., History of Philosophy, Eastern and Western, vol. 1, pp.573-589; A. F. Wright, Buddhism in Chinese History, op. cit., especially chapter six “The Legacy Buddhism in China,” and his article “Buddhism and Chinese Culture: Phases of Interaction,” Journal of Asian Studies, XVII (19S7), pp.22 ff.; and E. Zürcher, Buddhist Conquest of China, op. cit. For the question of the Hua-yen influence on the history of Chinese thought, see my thesis, pp.239-260 and references therein.

[8] For a good study of Hua-yen see Francis H. Cook, Fa-Tsang’s Treatise on the Five Doctrine──An Annotated Translation (Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, The University of Wisconsin, 1970). See also his Hua-yen Buddhism: The Jewel Net of Indra (University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1977). Steve Odin, Process Metaphysics and Hua-yen Buddhism: A Critical Study of Cumulative Penetration vs. Interpenetration (Albany: SUNY Press, 1982). Garma C.C. Chang’s above-cited book is also on Hua-yen. See also my article “Dharmadhātu: An Introduction of Hua-yen Buddhism,” The Eastern Buddhist, New Series vol. XII, no.2 (October 1979). For a study of the development of Hua-yen thought, see my thesis.

[9] For these and some other English translations of the term dharmadhātu see Takakusu, op.cit., p.39 et passim; E. Conze, Buddhist Thought in India (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1967), p.95; T.R. V. Murti, The Central Philosophy of Buddhism (London: George Allen Unwin Ltd., 2nd ed., 1960), p.345; Th. Stcherbatsky, The Conception of Buddhist Nirvana (rep. The Hague: Mouton & Co., 1965), p.33, etc.

[10] There are three Chinese translations in the name of Ta-fang-kuang-fo hua-yen-ching. 1) T.9, no. 278, tr. by Buddhabhadra in sixty fascicles during 418-420; 2) T.10, no. 279 , by Śiksānanda in eighty fascicles during 695-699; and 3) T.10, no. 293, by Prajñā in forty fascicles during 795-798. The last one is basically equivalent to the last chapter of the previous versions, i.e., the Chapter on Entering into Dharmadhātu. This chapter is available in Sanskrit as an independent sutra called Gaṇdavyuha-sūtra, one ed. by D. T.Suzuki and H. Idzumi (Kyoto: The Sanskrit Buddhist Texts Publishing Society, 1934-36), and the other ed. by P. L. Vaidya, Buddhist Sanskrit Texts, no. 5 (Darbhanga: The Mithila Institute of Post Graduate Studies and Research in Sanskrit Learning, 1960).

[11] To be exact, it should be called the “dharmadhātu-pratītyasamutpāda” doctrine. But for the sake of convenience, it will be referred to as dharmadhātu doctrine hereafter.

[12] The text is not found separately in the Taisho Shinshu Daizokyo. (hereafter referred to as T.) but contained in the commentaries of Ch’eng-kuan and Tsung-mi (T. 45, pp.672a-684b; 684b-692b), and it also constitutes a part of Fa-tsang’s work Hua-yen Fa-p’u-ti-hsin-chang (T. 45, pp.652a-654a).

[13] For the discussion on the controversial question of the authorship, see K. Kimura, “Who was the Author of the Fa-chieh-kuan-men” (in Japanese), Shukyo Kenkyu, 41-195 (1968), pp.47-74, R. Yuki, “Kegon no Shoso Tojin to Hokkai Kanmon no Chosha tono Mondai” (The Question of the Founder of the Hua-yen school, Tu-shun and the Author of the Fa-chieh-kuan-men), Indogaku Bukkyogaku Kenkyu, XVIII, 2 (1969), pp.32-38, and references therein.

[14] T. 45, p.652c, line 28.

[15] Ibid., p.653c, lines 16f.

[16] Cf. T.45, p.683a, ll. 11f., and T.45, p.692b, 1. 4. See also T.35, p.515a.

[17] T. 45, no. 1868, pp.514a-518b.

[18] The most important and well-known works of Fa-tsang are T’an-hsuan-chi (T. 35, no. 1733), Wu-chiao-chang (T. 45, no. 1866). (English translation is found in F.H. Cook, op.cit.), and Essay of the Golden Lion (T. 45, no. 1780). For English translations of this essay, see Fung, A History of Chinese Philosophy, tr. Derk Bodde (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1953), vol. II., pp.341-359; de Bary et al. ed., Source of Chinese Tradition (New York: Columbia University Press, 1960), pp.329-333; Wing-tsit Chan, A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy (Princeton: Princeton University Press,1963), pp.409-414; and Garma C.C. Chang, op. cit., pp.222-230.

[19] T.45, p.672c.

[20] This is not to assert an advocating of a-morality or immorality on the level of everyday life. It is simply to indicate that Hua-yen insight is beyond the common-sense moral value. It is, as it were, supra-moral but not contra-moral.

[21] For this interesting topic, see T’ang, Yung-t’ung, “On ‘Ko-I’,” in Inge, et al., ed., Radhakrishnan, Comparative Studies in Philosophy (London: Allen and Unwin, 1951), pp.276-286, K. Ch’en, op.cit., pp.68 f.

[22] For these schools, see Fung, A History of Chinese Philosophy, vol. II, tr. by Derk Bodde, op. cit., pp.243-258, Wing-tsit Chan, op. cit., pp.336-342, W. Liebenthal, Chao Lun (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1968), pp.133-l50, K. Ch’en, “Neo-Taoism and the Prajñā School during the Wei and Chin Dynasties,” Chinese Culture, 1, no. 2 (1957), pp.33-46, Arthur E. Link, “The Taoist Antecedents of Tao-an’s Prajñā Ontology,” History of Religions, vol.9, nos. 2-3 (1969-70), pp.181-215.

[23] As a standard study on this topic, see Daijo Tokiwa, Shina ni okeru Bukkyo to Jukyo Dokyo (Buddhism in China in its Relation to Confucianism and Taoism) (Tokyo: Toyo Bunko, 1930, 1966).

[24] The term “sou-hsuan” appears in Seng-chao’s work. Cf. T.45, p.159b, 1. 12.

[25] Tao-te-ching, ch. 1. The phrase “the mystery of mysteries” found in Fung, op. cit., vol. I, p.178, seems to fit to our context. Cf. Wing-tsit Chan, The Way of Lao Tzu (Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Co., Inc., 1963), p.97. Chan translated the phrase as “deeper and more profound.” He intentionally avoided the word “mystery” because he believed that the word is associated with “irrationality.” See op. cit., p.9. But “mystery” in the true sense of the word is not something irrational or occult, but “non-rational” or “supra-rational” and beyond logical or empirical conceptualization. Cf. Rudolf Otto, Mysticism, East and West (New York, 1932, 1962), p.159 and W. James, The Varieties of Religious Experience (London, 1912) pp.379ff.

[26] For the same idea of hsuan, see also Tao-te-ching, chs. 6, 10, 15 et passim.

[27] Shigeo Kamata, Chugoku Kegon Shiso Shi no Kenkyu (Tokyo: The University of Tokyo Press, 1965), p.276.

[28] Fung, op. cit., vol. II, pp.168 ff.

[29] Cf. T.45, p.153a-c; T.38, p.856b; T.44, p.202a; T.36, p.742a, respectively.

[30] T.35, p.503a.

[31] For examples of Ch’eng-kuan’s quotations from Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu, see Kamata, op. cit., p.287f.

[32] T.36 p.2b.

[33] Hsüan and miao are similar in meaning. Both of these have the meaning of being profound, subtle, deep, dark, wonderful, etc. Therefore, these two characters here may denote one single concept of mystery.

[34] Cf. for example, T.45, p.499a, p.594a, p.631a, p.637c, p.632a, p.710c. T.35, p.503a.

[35] Cf. T.35, p.503c, 1. 21. T.45, p.710c et passim.

[36] The text is found in T.45, pp.637a-641a.

[37] For similar arguments on this point,. see Arthur E. Link, op. cit., p.206, Cook, Fa-tsang’s Treatise, op. cit., pp.48ff., Kamata, Chugoku Bukkyo Shisoshi Kenkyu (Tokyo: Shunjusha, 1968), pp.220f., etc. Cf. E. Conze’s statement: “The Madhyamikas believe that salvation is attained when everything has been dropped, and absolute Emptiness alone remains. For the Yogacarins salvation means to have ‘an act of cognition which no longer apprehends an object,’ an act of thought which is ‘Thought only,’ pure consciousness, and altogether transcends the division between object and subject.” Thirty Years of Buddhist Studies (Oxford: Bruno Cassirer Ltd., 1967), pp.78f. A similar idea of “returning” is found in a highly controversial work, Ta-chih-tu-lun (Mahāprajñā pāramitā -sāstra), T.25, p.298bc. See also K. Venkata Ramanan, op. cit., p.264.

[38] For example, see the Tao-te-ching, chs. 14, 16, 25, 28, 30, 40, 52, 65 et passim and the Chuang-tzu, ch. 6, in Herbert A. Giles, tr. Chuang Tzu: Mystic, Moralist, and Social Reformer (Shanghai: Kelly and Walsh, 2nd ed., 1926), pp.75, 82, Burton Watson, tr. The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu (New York: Columbia University Press, 1968), pp.77, 81, 235 et passim, and Victor H. Mair, Wandering on the Way (New York: Bantam Books, 1994), pp.51ff. et passim. Cf. also Fung, op. cit., vol. I, pp.182f. and 225f. and vol.II, p.288.

[39] Chapter 16, Chan’s trans., p.128.

[40] For example, Chih-yen: T.35, p.15b, 1. 5, p.15c, 1. 15, p.46a, 1. 13, p.48a, ll. 26, 28, etc. Fa-tsang: T.45, p.502b, p.635a, 1. 3, p.637ab, etc. Ch’eng-kuan: T.45, p.672b, 1. 16, etc. Tsung-mi: T.45, p.684c, 1. 16, etc.

[41] W. Liebenthal, Chao Lun (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1968), p.17.

[42] For the historical development of the t’i-yung idea, see Kenji Shimada, ‘Taiyo no rekishi ni yosete” (A Contribution to the History of the Concept of T’i-yung) in Essays on the History of Buddhism presented to Professor Zenryu Tsukamoto (Kyoto: Naigai Printing Co., 1961), pp.416-430. Here he mentions Hsun Tzu as the first user of the term itself. Liebenthal and Chan, however, agree that Wang Pi is the first who used the term in a metaphysical sense.

[43] The Way of Lao Tzu, op. cit., p.168.

[44] Cf. ibid.

[45] Cf. T.45, p.503b, 635a, et passim.

[46] Cf. T.45, p.672a, 1. 26, b, 1. 9, p.684b, 1. 21, etc.

[47] Cf. Cook, Fa-tsang’s Treatise, op. cit., p.50.

[48] For an extensive study on this topic, use Ch’un-i T’ang, Chung-kuo che-hsüeh yüan-lun. vol. I, on Yüan-hsing (Taiwan: 1968).

[49] Neo-Confucianism etc.: Essays by Wing-tsit Chan (Hanover, N.H.: the Oriental Society, 1969), p.48.

[50] Ibid., p.49. Chan further says, “the book mentions more than once the great li (ta-li) and that li is common to all things (t’ung li). Thus li is not only a principle but a universal one. It ‘cannot be seen,’ ‘cannot be named,’ and ‘infinite and without limit.’ In other words, it is absolute.”

[51] For example, see Han Fei Tzu (d. 233 B.C.) in Fung, op. cit., vol.I, p.177.

[52] Cf. ibid., pp.57ff. and Fung, op. cit., pp.179ff. and 205ff.

[53] For more detail, see my thesis, pp.117ff.

[54] See, for example, Chuang Tzu’s idea of “the equality of things and opinions” (chi-wu-lun), i.e., the transcendence of all the duality and distinctions, which has a strikingly similar counterpart in Hua-yen. See also such parallels as Chuang Tzu’s description of Tao in terms of chou, pien, and han or hsien and Tu-shun’s approach to dharmadhāatu in terms of chou, pien, han and yung; Chuang Tzu’s understanding of “change” and Hua-yen emphasis on “function” or “process”; Lao Tzu’s invitation to the experience of the Non-being or the Unnameable and Hua-yen stress on the insight into the dharmadhātu; Taoist attitude that “there is nothing in the world which is not good” and Hua-yen understanding of the phenomenal world as one through which the deeper dimension of spiritual insight in the Real can be attained; and the like. Cf. Fung, op. cit., pp.223, 230ff., and 236; Chan, A Source Book, op. cit., pp.179ff.; Burton Watson, tr., op. cit., pp.240ff., Mair, tr. P.217, etc. Although these are surprisingly similar to each other, there is no way, to my present knowledge, to verify whether or not, or to what extent, these are the results of the Taoist influence on Hua-yen thought.