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Texts and Ritual: Buddhist Scriptural Tradition of the Stūpa Cult and the Transformation of Stūpa Burial in the Chinese Buddhist Canon

by Wen Sun
East Asian Institute, Leipzig University, Schillerstr.6, 04109 Leipzig, Germany
Religions 2019, 10(12), 658; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10120658
Received: 28 October 2019 / Revised: 29 November 2019 / Accepted: 2 December 2019 / Published: 4 December 2019
Chinese translations of Buddhist sūtras and Chinese Buddhist literature demonstrate how stūpas became acknowledged in medieval China and how clerics and laypeople perceived and worshiped them. Early Buddhist sūtras mentioned stūpas, which symbolize the presence of the Buddha and the truth of the dharma. Buddhist canonical texts attach great significance to the stūpa cult, providing instructions regarding who was entitled to have them, what they should look like in connection with the occupants’ Buddhist identities, and how people should worship them. However, the canonical limitations on stūpa burial for ordinary monks and prohibitions of non-Buddhist stūpas changed progressively in medieval China. Stūpas appeared to be erected for ordinary monks and the laity in the Tang dynasty. This paper aims to outline the Buddhist scriptural tradition of the stūpa cult and its changes in the Chinese Buddhist Canon, which serves as the doctrinal basis for understanding the significance of funerary stūpas and the primordial archetype for the formation of a widely accepted Buddhist funeral ritual in Tang China. View Full-Text
Keywords: Buddhism; Chinese Buddhist Canon; stūpa cult; Buddhist funeral; stūpa burial; Tang dynasty Buddhism; Chinese Buddhist Canon; stūpa cult; Buddhist funeral; stūpa burial; Tang dynasty
MDPI and ACS Style

Sun, W. Texts and Ritual: Buddhist Scriptural Tradition of the Stūpa Cult and the Transformation of Stūpa Burial in the Chinese Buddhist Canon. Religions 2019, 10, 658.

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