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On the Xiapu Ritual Manual Mani the Buddha of Light

Harvard-Yenching Library, 2 Dvinity Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Department of Applied Chinese, Ming Chuan University, 5 De Ming Rd., Gui Shan District, Taoyuan City 333, Taiwan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Religions 2018, 9(7), 212;
Received: 30 May 2018 / Revised: 17 June 2018 / Accepted: 29 June 2018 / Published: 9 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Ritual and Ritualistic Objects)


This paper first introduces Mani the Buddha of Light—a collection of ritual manuals of the Religion of Light from Xiapu county, Fujian Province, China and Diagram of the Universe—a Manichaean painting produced in South China in the late 14th to early 15th century. It then gives a detailed description of Mani the Buddha of Light with some illustrations of Diagram of the Universe. This paper further compares Mani the Buddha of Light and Buddhist worship and repentance ritual to demonstrate that the former utilized the form of the latter. It also analyzes the similarities and differences between the pantheons of Mani the Buddha of Light and other Manichaean materials. Ultimately it discusses the hypothesis that many pieces of the original texts in Mani the Buddha of Light should have come into being during the 9th–11th centuries and have been handed down generation after generation because of the strong vitality of its rituals.

Mani the Buddha of Light, a manuscript from Xiapu County, Fujian Province, China, is undoubtedly the most important collection of ritual manuals of the Religion of Light (i.e., Manichaeism in China). First, we considered that the painting Diagram of the Universe in a private collection in Japan is perhaps the important ritual object of the Religion of Light. Then we realized that we do not have enough evidence. Many texts in Mani the Buddha of Light can be compared with the upper half of the Diagram of the Universe. But almost no texts mention the lower half of the painting. So, we decided that the main ritual object of our research should be the manuscript Mani the Buddha of Light and the Diagram of the Universe is some kind of “illustration” to help us to understand the manuscript. When we bring artistic and literary artefacts into dialogue with one another, we gradually realize that both pictorial and written forms of evidence—especially the Diagram of the Universe—can be apprehended as texts. The manual also can help us to understand the painting. This article will provide a detailed analysis of the text of Mani the Buddha of Light in comparison to earlier Chinese Manichaean texts, some of their Middle Iranian antecedents, external Chinese sources about the Manicheans and Chinese Manichaean art, especially the Diagram of the Universe painting discovered a decade ago and fully reconstructed and understood only recently (i.e., 2015). It demonstrates the strong continuity between Tang-period Manichaeism and later forms of the Religion of Light, the latter’s continued assimilation of Buddhist terminology and themes and the lasting vitality of Manichaean practice in later Chinese history. It introduces Buddhist worship and repentance rituals (Kuo 1994) and shows how the authors and compilers of Mani the Buddha of Light fit the Manichaean content into the Buddhist rituals.

1. Introduction of Xiapu Ritual Manual Mani the Buddha of Light

Ma Xiaohe did not know Mani the Buddha of Light when he reported the discovery of the Chinese Manichaean materials from Xiapu in 2009 (Ma 2015a). In 2011, Yang Fuxue and Fan Lisha introduced Mani the Buddha of Light and pointed out that some excerpts are from Dunhuang Chinese Manichaean texts (Fan and Yang 2011). Yuan Wenqi revealed some important pieces of Mani the Buddha of Light and carried out preliminary research (Yuan 2011). Gábor Kósa gave a list of important names of Manichaean pantheon in Xiapu texts and translated some texts about Mani and his forerunners in Mani the Buddha of Light into English (Kósa 2013, 2014a, 2014b). Ma Xiaohe collected his articles of research on the texts of Mani the Buddha of Light revealed by Yuan Wenqi in a book (Ma 2014a).
Lin Wushu published the entire Mani the Buddha of Light in traditional Chinese with a postscript in his books published in 2014 (Lin 2014, pp. 457–92). Yang Fuxue and Bao Lang published the entire Mani the Buddha of Light in simplified Chinese with emendations and annotation in 2015 (Yang and Bao 2015). The number of column of Mani the Buddha of Light in this article follows the simplifed Chinese version. We published an edited text of Mani the Buddha of Light in 2016 (Wang and Ma 2016).
83 pages (the 83rd page is blank, 673 columns (abbr. c. or cc.), about 10,000 characters) of Mani the Buddha of Light are extant and the last part is missing. Mani the Buddha of Light with clear Buddhist color is different from later Xiapu documents both in style and content and it should be considered an early Xiapu document under the strong influence of the Manichaean documents of the Tang dynasty (618–907) (Yang and Bao 2014). The content of the whole manuscript comprises ritual acts like invoking the presence of Manichaean deities at the ritual service, praising these deities and confession of hearers (lay followers). Its format is similar to the Buddhist worship and repentance rituals. Sometimes there are specific instructions related to the rituals themselves, however, its main content is Manichaean. This is a collection of ritual manuals for congregational cults and the basic goal of collective worship is cooperative advancement in piety by means of the ritual. Such congregational cults followed the established practice of group worship in Manichaeism in Central Asia.
The original front cover of this Xiapu manuscript is missing and a new cover page with the title Moni guangfo 摩尼光佛 Mani the Buddha of Light was written by the owner—master Chen Peisheng 陳培生 (Figure 1) (Yang and Bao 2015, pp. 74–75).
In 2016, Ma Xiaohe published an article comparing the text of Mani the Buddha of Light with the painting entitled Diagram of the Universe, kept in a private collection in Japan (Ma 2016a). Before we give a thick description of Mani the Buddha of Light with the illustrations of the Diagram of the Universe, we shall briefly introduce this painting in Japan.

2. Introduction of the Diagram of the Universe in Japan

The Diagram of the Universe, kept in an anonymous private collection of Japan, should, in our view, be considered the most important, extant painting of the Religion of Light.
Yutaka Yoshida published a Japanese article with photographs of five Manichaean color paintings on silk in 2010. These paintings contain no inscription. Yoshida names the five as (a) Cosmogony Painting (Japanese 宇宙図, 137.1 × 56.6 cm); (b) Realm of Light Painting (天界図) (A) (17.0 × 37.4 cm); (c) Realm of Light Painting (B) (17.2 × 22.5 cm); (d) Hagiography Painting (1) and (e) Hagiography Painting (2). Among them (a) Cosmogony Painting is the most intriguing in that it obviously depicts the Manichaean cosmos as described in the Manichaean texts and as well as recorded by non-Manichaean authors. Scholars of Manichaeism can recognize the ten firmaments supported by forty angels, the Sun and the Moon and the eighth earth with Mr. Sumeru (須彌山). In his article, Yoshida argued that the painting should be identified as the South Chinese version of Mani’s ārdhang. The Realm of Light Paintings (A) and (B) are two fragments dismembered from a larger painting and depict the Father of Greatness and his five attendant worlds or dwellings (Yoshida 2010).
Shōichi Furukawa also published a Japanese article in the same issue of Yamato bunka that explored these Manichaean paintings. He compared the five Manichaean paintings with dated Buddhist paintings and hypothesized that they had been painted during the late Yuan to early Ming Dynasty, that is, late 14th to early 15th century by painters belonging to ateliers based in the area around Ningbo 寧波, China (Furukawa 2010).
Gábor Kósa published several English articles: he gave a general overview of the Cosmology Painting (Kósa 2011), explored the figures of Atlas and the Keeper of Splendor in it (Kósa 2012) (offering a new identification of the latter one), analyzed its upper section (Kósa 2015a), its judgment scene (Kósa 2014b), as well as devoting an article to the motif of ships in the Cosmology Painting (Kósa 2015b). He reconsidered the relation of the Cosmology Painting to Mani’s Eikōn (Kósa 2014a).
Yoshida and Furukawa published a Japanese volume entitled Studies of the Chinese Manichaean paintings of South Chinese origin preserved in Japan in 2015 and did comprehensive research on the Cosmology Painting and the Realm of Light Paintings. This book also includes Japanese translations of Kósa’s research on the figures of Atlas, the Keeper of Splendor and the judgment scene in the Cosmology Painting (Yoshida and Furukawa 2015, Plates 4–13, pp. 99–127, 261–302).
In 2015, Zsuzsanna Gulácsi, partly with Jason BeDuhn, published English articles in which she matched what turned out to be three fragments—the Cosmology Painting and the two Realm of Light Paintings together as the Diagram of the Universe and did more research on it (Gulácsi 2015; Gulácsi and BeDuhn 2015). This reconstruction permitted Gulacsi & BeDuhn to correctly identify the New Paradise/New Aeon in the painting for the first time, which before had been mistakenly identified as the Realm of Light. In the following year, she published an English book about Mani’s Picture-book, which includes the Diagram of the Universe (Gulácsi 2016).
Based on this reconstruction, in 2016 Gábor Kósa published an article to research the upper part of the Diagram of Universe and to analyze the Manichaean “New Paradise” in text and image (Kósa 2016a).
The Diagram of Universe is about 158 × 60 cm (Figure 2) and can be divided into seven major registers:
  • The uppermost part depicts the Realm of Light (49 figures).
  • The New Aeon (38 figures).
  • Liberation of light, that is, triad of the Sun, Moon and a third divine figure between them (93 figures).
  • Ten Firmaments (ca. 195 figures).
  • Atmosphere: the “snake-cage” in the middle, the scene of the Virgin of Light on the left and the judgment scene on the right (85 figures).
  • The Sumeru mountain surrounded by the four continents (59 figures).
  • The eight earths (ca. 70 figures).
There are totally more than 500 figures in the Diagram of Universe. The figures include divine figures, monsters and animals but not the objects (Kósa 2011, pp.21–22; Gulácsi 2016, Figures 6/36–39, 41–45 [pp. 439, 446, 448, 453, 460–61, 465, 470–71]).
The Diagram of Universe has so many figures and gives us vivid visual materials that help us understand the manuscript Mani the Buddha of Light.

3. The Ritual Manual Mani the Buddha of Light with the Illustrations from the Diagram of the Universe

This extant manuscript Mani the Buddha of Light is divided into two parts. The title of the first part (cc. 1–292) is “qing fu ke 請福科 (rituals for good fortune)”. The second part (cc. 292–695) is without title and perhaps is a collection of rituals for the deceased.

3.1. [Rituals for Good Fortune] (cc. 1–292)

This part is divided into four shi 時 (periods) and an independent section.

3.1.1. [First Period] (cc. 1–148)

The content for the first period can be divided into six sections.

[Inviting Buddhas (qingfo 請佛) (Five Buddhas and Triratna)] (cc. 1–48)

First the priest recites the gatha (verse) of worship [for gods] and the hearers join in the chanting. Then the priest invites Five Buddhas–Nārāyaṇa, Zoroaster, Śākyamuni, Jesus and Mani and the hearers sing. Then the priest recites two mantras (incantations) of Chinese transcription of Middle Iranian (the second one is for Jingkou 淨口 “Purification of Speech”) and gatha of confession.
Inviting Triratna (sanbao 三寶) means inviting the Buddha, the Dharma and the Saṅgha. The Buddha should be Mani because he is described as “eight forms of fearlessness and displaying supernatural power” and “auspices nine-fold and surpassing the secular matters”1 which are similar with the descriptions of Mani in the Compendium of the Doctrines and Styles of the Teaching of Mani, the Buddha of Light (abb. Compendium) (Haloun and Henning 1952, p. 191).
The Dharma should be the Manichaean Living Gospel, because the priest invites “yinglun 應輪 [Pth./MP. ’wnglywn]) treasure—secret wonderful mysterious text which is the substitute of Mani”.2
“Pure Saṅgha Jewel—the saintly Masses in the light”3 should be Manichaean community of the elect (i.e., monks).

[Venerating the Triratna (san guiyi 三皈依)] (cc. 49–66)

“Venerating buddhas, [the buddhas of] the past, present and future. [They are with] Unequalled marks and busy with [human] souls. The one who smiles and sits on the lotus seat enters the realm of Mani [and enjoys] ultimate bliss”.4
“Venerating the Dharma—yinglun 應輪 treasure excellent truth. The merits are inconceivable. Indic writings as golden flowers are given extensively and write down all the two great principles—the idea of the founder [of Manichaeism]”.5
“Venerating Saṅgha, clearly distinguishing two principles as usual. [They] think to save all sentient beings from suffering. [Great] sages are willing to teach trillion students whose number is as the number of grains [of sand] in the Ganges river and you can’t imagine”.6 The two principles (of light and darkness) are the core doctrine of Manichaeism.

[Incense Offering Praise (xiangzan 香讚)] (cc. 67–85)

First the priest recites a gatha: “Fragrance, spreading as vapor, pervades the whole world, being the pure, unalloyed sea of life; developing and fully extending without hindrance; and the wonder of perfume gains perfection when the saintly Masses walk about”. (H. 301).7 Then the priest burns incense and recites gathas to make offerings to the gods and the hearers join in the chanting. Then the priest recites another gatha: “In those realms mountains of treasures amount to a billion and a thousand varieties and scented vapors gush out in a million shapes: Bright within and without, clean and pure are the substances, filled with the sweet dew overflowing with no limit”. (H. 303).8
This section ends with huixiang 回向 “to transfer one’s merit to another” including three fayuan 發願—making a vow to save all beings.

[Inviting Buddhas (Buddhas of Five Directions)] (cc. 86–97)

The priest first uses H. 140 to invite gods: “I also petition all the persons in the complete Vacuity, the herculean, respectful and trusted venerable Spirits and the sons of Heaven in many celestial realms, The protectors and upholders of the clean and pure Right Teaching”.9
Then the priest recites a mantra with six names of Buddhas of Five Directions. Then the priest invites the Buddhas of Five Directions and the hearers to join in the chanting. In Buddhism, the Five Wisdom Buddhas are as follows: Vairocana in the center, Amoghasiddhi related to north, Amitābha—west, Ratnasambhava—south and Akshobhya—east. Here the Buddhas of Five Directions are Manichaean angels and related to four entities of calmness (Ma 2012, 2013a):
Four entities of calmnessDirectionChinese Angel name10Middle Iranian Angel nameEnglish angel name
PurityNorth嚧縛逸 (*luo-b‘i̭wak-i̭ět)天王 (heavenly king)rwp’ylRaphael
LightEast彌訶逸 (mjiḙ-xâ-i̭ět)天王 (heavenly king)mys’ylMichael
PowerSouth業囉逸 (ngi̭ɐp-lâ-i̭ět)天王 (heavenly king)gbr’ylGabriel
WisdomWest娑囉逸 (sâ-lâ-i̭ět)天王 (heavenly king)sr’ylSəra’el
Majestic virtueCenter耶具孚 (jia-g‘i̭u-fjyə̌)大將 (Great General)y’kwbJacob
末秦皎 (muɑt dz‘i̭ěn kieu) 明使 (envoy of light)??

Praising the King of [Ten] Heavens (Zan Tianwang 讃天王) (cc. 98–116)

As for the King of the Ten Heavens, his foreign (Iranian) name is 阿薩漫沙 (ʔa-sat-muɑn ʂa < Pth *’sm’n š’h = King of Heaven). This is why the Taoists call him the Jade August Great Emperor of the Bright Heavens. He dwells in the seventh firmament, resides in a great palace and controls the good and bad events of the ten firmaments. In this firmament, there is a jeweled mirror with twelve faces: the upper face observes the nirvāṇa[-land], the lower face reflects the netherworld and the ten (remaining) faces inspect the rebellions of the various demons and similar events of change in the ten firmaments. The four heavenly kings control the four worlds (continents): the heavenly king Raphael governs the northern Uttarakuru, the heavenly king Michael rules [the eastern Pūrvavideha, the heavenly king Gabriel rules] the southern Jambudvīpa, the heavenly king Sariel controls the western Aparagodānīya. If the four heavenly, great, luminous spirits notice that the evil demons of the various firmaments launch(ed) evil plans to stir the saints of the celestial and earthly spheres, they immediately exhibit(ed) their great majestic powers to restrain them (the demons) and make them surrender; they quickly pacify them, swiftly make them surrender.11
Here, Manichaean King of the Ten Heavens—second son of the Living Spirit—is identified with the Taoist Jade Emperor and the Buddhist four continents are ruled by four Manichaean angels.

Praise to Land’s Gods (Tudi zan 土地讃) (cc. 117–148)

This section is divided into six pieces. The first, third and fifth are mantras in a transcription of Middle Iranian, the sixth is a transcription of Middle Iranian mixed with Chinese and the second and fourth are in Chinese. From the Chinese text, we know that these hymns are used to praise land’s gods. From the transcription of Middle Iranian, we can recognized the names of Buddhas of Five Directions: 嚧縛逸囉 (*luo-b’i̭wak-i̭ět-lâ = Raphael), 彌阿(訶)逸囉 (mjiḙ-xâ-i̭ět-lâ = Michael), 業縛囉逸囉(ngi̭ɐp-b’i̭wak-lâ-i̭ět-lâ = Gabriel), 娑囉逸囉(sâ-lâ-i̭ět-lâ = Sariel), 耶具孚 (jia-g‘i̭u-fjyə̌ = Jacob), 𠰌秦皎(*muɑt dz‘i̭ěn kieu)明使(envoy of light) and two angles: Narses 能遏蘇思 (*nəŋ-ʔɑt- suo-si <MP nrsws [narsus]) and Nastikus 能𠱽 Religions 09 00212 i001呴<蘇>思 (*nəŋ-si̭ět-ȶi-kə̭u-<suo> si<MP nstykws [nastikūs]) (Durkin-Meisterernst 2004, pp. 244–45).

3.1.2. Second Period (dier shi 第二時) (cc. 148–238)

The contents for the second period can be divided into three sections.

[Inviting Buddhas] (cc. 149–207)

The priest first invites all gods with fragrant flowers. Then he “invites with wholehearted reverence (一心奉請)” Manichaean and Buddhist gods with fragrant flowers one by one and the hearers join the chanting.

[Inviting Moluo 默羅] (cc. 159–163)

The priest invites “Moluo Purple Emperor Peerless Venerable Buddha whose Five Greatnesses show immense benevolence”.12 Moluo 默羅 (mək lâ) should be an abbreviation of Sahuanmoluo 薩緩默羅 (sat ɣuan mək lâ) (c. 427). We cannot decipher the Middle Iranian name of this god but we are sure that this is the highest god of Manichaeism—the Father of Greatness. When he reviewed this paper, Yoshida pointed out that 薩緩 representing such pronunciation as [sarwan] must be the transcription of zurwan.
The uppermost unit of the Diagram of the Universe is the Realm of Light (Figure 3). The central motif of the Realm of Light is the Father of Greatness and his assembly that includes the Twelve Aeons and two additional attendants (Yoshida and Furukawa 2015, Plates 11–13, pp. 120–21). Gulácsi thinks that most likely, the two figures flanking God represent the Mother of Life and Living Spirit (Gulácsi 2016, Figure 6/37, pp. 444–47). The Five Greatnesses are (1) the Father of Greatness himself; (2) The Twelve Aeons are called shi’er guangwang13 (Twelve Light Kings) (c. 641); (3) The Aeons of the Aeons are called weichen zhu guotu14 (Various lands as fine dust) (c. 393); (4) The Living Air; (5) the Land of Light (the diamond floor).
After the priest invites the highest god, he continues to invite the holy triad: Jesus, Virgin of Light and Mani.

[Inviting Yishu 夷數] (cc. 164–168)

The priest invites “great mercy true wisdom Yishu the Buddha of Harmony and wishes that the white dove descends”.15 Yishu 夷數 (i-ʂi̭u) < Pth./MP. yyšw‘, yyšw, yšw [jišō] “Jesus”. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.16
The New Aeon is depicted beneath the Realm of Light in the Diagram of the Universe (Figure 4). The highest-ranking deity is shown enclosed in a mandorla (not only a halo) and accompanied by a retinue of twelve attendants. The central seated figure is possibly Jesus and the twelve standing figures are the twelve wisdoms which are Jesus’ light hours (Kósa 2016a, pp. 87–90).17

[Inviting Jinni lushen 謹你嚧詵] (cc. 168–173)

The priest invites “Jinni lushen…great heaven true dominator Lightning Royal Buddha”.18 Jinni lushen 謹你嚧詵 ki̯ənː-ni *luo-ʂi̯æn is Chinese transcription of Pth./MP. qnygrwšn, which is not seen in Dunhuang Chinese Manichaean texts and it means “Virgin of Light”.
The Virgin of Light is depicted in the atmosphere between the surface of the earth and the firmaments as the Goddess of Lightning in the Diagram of the Universe. She is standing on and has six arms. Her lower pair arms points toward the dark cloud. Her middle pair of arms grasps symbols of light (souls of deceased Manichaean priests). Her upper pair of arms holds a red ribbon (Figure 5).19

[Inviting Moni 摩尼] (cc. 174–177)

The priest invites “true calm wonderful body Moni the Buddha of Light”.20 Moni摩尼 (muɑ-ni) <Pth./MP. m’ny [mānī] “Mani”.
Mani, clad in a white robe with a red stripe21, appears a total of 17 times in the Diagram of the Universe. He is depicted at least four times in the Paradise, ten times in the New Aeon and Ten Heavens part of the painting and three times in the middle register (i.e., Atmosphere). In the New Aeon, the five beings on the left side of the central assembly include Mani, who is shown receiving a book from the Father of Greatness delivered by the middle of the three angels (Figure 6)22.

[Inviting Sun and Moon Buddhas of Light] (cc. 178–181)

The priest invites “wonderful wisdom Sun and Moon Buddhas of Light which are great light-ships”.23
The white and red discs between the New Aeon and the Ten Heavens (i.e., the Liberation of Light) represent the Moon on the left with a white background and the Sun on the right with a red background (Figure 4) (Yoshida and Furukawa 2015, Plates 5, pp. 104–6; Gulácsi 2016, Figure 6/39, pp. 450–57).

[Inviting Lushena 盧舍那] (cc. 182–186)

The priest invites the “Diamond Column of Glory Lushena Buddha whose body is beyond Eight Earths and Ten Heavens”.24 Lushena 盧舍那 (luo-ɕi̭a-na) is Chinese transcription of Sanskrit (abb. Sk.) Vairocana in Buddhist text and means Column of Glory in Manichaean text.
Between the Sun and the Moon, there is a gigantic, mustached and bearded head with a huge green halo and a crown (damaged). Below this head, there is a kind of upper body consisting of red, blue and green streams of light. This is the Column of Glory (Figure 7) (Kósa 2015a, pp. 186–87; Yoshida and Furukawa 2015, Plates 5, pp. 121–23; Gulácsi 2016, Figure 6/40, pp. 454–56).

[Inviting Venerable Buddha Who Upholds the World] (cc. 187–190)

The priest invites “the Venerable Buddha Who Upholds the World and carries the universe. His body lives beyond the sahā world of the six conjunctions (the zenith, nadir and the four directions—in other words, the whole world)”.25 The Venerable Buddha Who Upholds the World (持世尊佛) should be identified with the Envoy of Light who upholds the world (持世明使)/Lord who upholds the world (持世主) in Dunhuang documents, that is, the first son of the Living Spirit—Keeper of Splendor (Lat. splenditenens).
Below Lushena, the Keeper of Splendor embraces the light-beams with his right arm (Figure 8) (Kósa 2012, pp. 53–57; Gulácsi 2016, Figure 6/40, pp. 450–57).

[Inviting Four Great Venerable Buddhas] (cc. 191–194)

The priest invites “the Four Great Venerable Buddhas who establish religions and liberate people”.26 The Four Great Venerable Buddhas should be Mani’s four forerunners: Nārāyaṇa, Zoroaster, Shakyamuni and Jesus according to the other parts of Mani the Buddha of Light.
In the New Aeon, the four on the right side of the central assembly represent the four Prophets: Nārāyaṇa, Zoroaster, Shakyamuni and Jesus (Figure 4).27

[Inviting the Jade Emperor] (cc. 195–198)

The priest invites “the precious radiant heavenly lord–Jade Emperor Venerable Buddha. His jeweled mirror with twelve faces is bright and the Jade Emperor in hiddenness lives in the seventh firmament”.28
This Jade Emperor can be definitively identified with King of the Ten Heavens—second son of the Living Spirit, that is, the King of Honor (Lat. Rex honoris) as in “In Praise of the King of [Ten] Heavens” (cc. 98–116).
In the seventh firmament, to the left, the King of Honor sits on a throne and flanked by his eight soldiers, all facing toward the center, while Mani and his attendants face the deity. The right side contains the King of Honor seated cross-legged on a lotus throne and his magic mirror with twelve lenses, observed by Mani, who once again faces the deity (Figure 8) (Yoshida and Furukawa 2015, Plates 6–8, pp. 101–4; Gulácsi 2016, Figure 6/41, pp. 457–64; Kósa 2017).
Then the priest invits various great Bodhisattvas (cc. 199–202) and all past and future Buddhas (cc. 203–206). At last the priest recites a gatha to finish the invitation of the Buddhas.

[Worshipping Buddhas (lifo 禮佛) (Three Great Saints)] (cc. 209–229)

First, the priest worships the Lightning King and the hearers join the chanting. The Lightning King (電光王) should be an abbreviation of the Lightning Royal Buddha (電光王佛)—Virgin of Light.
Then the priest worships “true wisdom Yishu [the Buddha of] Harmony who from Brahma’s realm wipes out demons and descends from the heaves as a dove”.29 Then the priest worships Moshihe by bowing his head to his feet and the hearers join the chanting. Moshihe 末尸訶 (muɑt-ɕi-xa) is the Chinese transcription of Pth./MP. mšyh’ [mašīhā], mšyh’h, mšyh” [mšīhā], mšyh [mšīh], which is not seen in Dunhuang Chinese Manichaean texts and means “Messiah, Christ”, the title of Jesus.
At last the priest worships “Long Life Nectar King who from the region of truth descended to Badi’s Sulin country in the West and showed the spiritual verifications nine-fold. [He was born] from the chest of Moyan and was unmatched in the world. [He] achieved perfect enlightenment at the age of thirteen”.30 Badi 跋帝 (b‘uɑt-tiei) is the Chinese transcription of Pth./MP. ptyg [*pattēg], “Pattēg, Pattīg”—the name of Mani’s father. Sulin 蘇隣 (suo-li̭ěn) means “Suristān”—a region of Seleucid and Ctesiphon. Moyan 末艷 (muɑt-i̭ɛm) is Chinese transcription of Pth./MP. mrym [maryam], which is written as 滿艷 (muɑn-i̭ɛm) in Dunhuang texts and means “Maryam”—the name of Mani’s mother. So, this “Long Life Nectar King” definitely is Mani.
Then the priest recites a gatha from H. 42: “The Great Saint is no other than the auspicious hour, Shining universally upon our many envoys of light, thy wonderful color finds no compare in the world, thy divine power of transfiguration is just the same”.31

Reading the Scriptures (kangjing 看經) and Reading Goddess Incantation (nian tiannü zhou 念《天女咒》) (cc. 230–238)

We cannot decipher the whole incantation, only individual words: Nalisuohe yizai 那哩娑和夷𠱽 nɑ-lji-sɑ-ɣuɑ i-*dz‘ɑ̌i < MP. nrysh yzd [narisah yazad], Narisah-yazd, borrowed from Zoroastrianism (Aw. Nairyōsaŋha-); Yishu jinghe 夷數精和 i-ʂi̯u tsi̯̯ɛŋ-ɣuɑ <Pa. yyšwʽ zyw’ [yišōʽ zīwā] “Jesus the Splendor”; Jinni lushen 謹你嚧詵 Virgin of Light; Humin huse 護冺護瑟 ɣwo-mi̯ĕn ɣwo-ʂi̯æt < MP. whmn wzrg [wahman wuzurg] “great Wahman”, name of the Light-Nous; Mile pusa 彌勒菩薩 Maitreya Bodhisattva; qiedushi 伽度師 g‘ĭɑ-d‘ɑk-ʂi which was written as qielushi 伽路師 g‘ĭɑ-luo-ʂi in Dunhuang texts and means “holy” (Lin 2017; Ma 2016b).

3.1.3. Third and Fourth Periods (disan shi 第三時, disi shi 第四時) (cc. 238–247)

Both third and fourth periods include Purification of Speech, Reading the Scripture of Light (kan Guangming jing 看《光明經》) and Praise of the Four Entities of Calmness (Siji zan 四寂讚) (cc. 239–247)
After reconstructing the original of this Chinese hymn Shiji zan, Yoshida found the fragments M 1367 and M 361 that only has few words that are different from the phonetically transcribed version in the Mani the Buddha of Light (Yoshida 2014). We make emendations of the Chinese text according to M 1367. The first line is Chinese text, second line is Middle Chinese according to Karlgren, the third line is the transliteration of the Middle Iranian and the fourth line is the transcription of Middle Iranian. The fifth line is the English translation.
奥和匐賀 盧詵 嗟(嵯)鶻囉㖇哩咈哆
ō-w-ābaγ-ārōšn-āzāwar-ā žīrīft-ā
ToGod, Light, Power, (and) Wisdom,
(dz‘ɑ)-ljinəŋ-ɣɑ-d‘ɑmγuən-d‘ɑm-muɑγuɑi-ʂi̯u (ki̯ənː)-ni
z’ry *ng’y’m’wynd’m’’w’yyšw knyg
zārī niγāyām-āwendām-āō-w-ā yišō kanī (g)
We pray humbly.We give praise toJesusMaiden, (and)
mnwhmyd mr’ m’ny ’wdfrystg’n
manōhmēd mār-āmānī udfrēstagān
Light-Nous,MarMani andthe apostles.
代醯渾(潭)麻 阿呼特伽稽囉縛居
dahēdum-āāγādag-ā kirbag
Grant me (my)piouswish.
陣那南波[耶特] [羅]緩 步㖇
ȡ‘i̯ĕn-nɑ-nămpuɑ[-i̭a-d‘ək][lɑ-]γuɑn b‘uo-*ȵʑi
*tnwm’p’yd rw’n bwjyd
tanum-ā pāyēd ruwān bōžēd
Guard my body (and)save (my) soul.
ʔɑ-pi̯uət-lji-d‘ək b‘uo-γuɑ*muɑt-lɑ muɑ-nini-i̭a-ni-i̭a-*dz‘ɑ̌i
’’frydg bw’ mr’ m’ny?
āfrīdag bawā mār-ā mānī?
Blessed be Mar Mani, ?
阿弗哩特[菩和]𠰌啰 摩尼 你曳你曳𠱽
ʔɑ-pi̯uət-lji-d‘ək [b‘uo-γuɑ]*muɑt-lɑ muɑ-nini-i̭ɛi-ni-i̭ɛi-*dz‘ɑ̌i
’’frydg [bw’]mr’ m’ny?
āfrīdag [bawā]mār-ā mānī?
Blessed [be]MarMani, ?
[mn’]rw’n’*bw’ š’d(yḥ) (?)
[man-ā]ruwān-ā*bawā šād(īḥ)
May my soulbejoyful!
遮伊但 伽度師
tɕi̭a-ʔji-d‘an g’i̯a-d‘ɑk-ʂi
j’yd’n k’dwš
ǰāydān kādūš
(Be) holy eternally!

3.1.4. [Worship and Repentance]

The last part is an independent one.

First Purification of the Altar (shou jingtan 首浄壇) (cc. 248–255)

The priest recites three times a mantra mixed with Chinese and Chinese transcriptions of Middle Persian:
Purity (God)LightPowerWisdom
Then the priest recites, “North Purity, East Light, South Power, West Wisdom and Center Immeasurable” and recites three times “yizai, lushen, sulu, hexi”. At last the priest circumambulates the altar and recites H. 30: “Pray give me the fragrant water of emancipation, the twelve precious crowns, the clothes, the fringes. Cleanse the altar from dust and dirt, strictly purify my speech and make it graceful”.32

[Inviting Buddhas (North Heavenly King)] (cc. 256–264)

The priest invites North Purity, the heavenly king Raphael. The hearers join to chant a short mantra.

Penitential Mysterious Prayer (Chanhui xuanwen 懺悔玄文) (cc. 265–271)

I now repent whatever were my physical, verbal and mental activities; my craving, aversion and ignorance; and had I encouraged the ‘robbers’ to poison my heart, or not restrained my sense organs; or had I doubted the eternal-living three Treasures and the Two Great Lights; or had I injured the body of Lushena and well as the five Light-sons; had I begot a feeling of slight and neglect against the Priest-teachers, our fathers and mothers and against the wise intimates and had I accused and blamed them; or had I imperfectly observed the seven kinds of almsgivings, the ten Commandments and the three Seals: Gates of Teaching—I wish my sins may disappear! (H. 410–414).33

Reading Prayer, Praise to the Envoys of Light (xuanshu, mingshi zan 宣疏、明使讚) (cc. 271–282)

The priest recites a mantra of Chinese transcription of Middle Iranian.

Farewell Ritual for the Buddhas (songfo 送佛) (cc. 282–292)

This is the dismissal part of the Rituals for Good Fortune. The priest bids farewell to the Buddhas with fragrant flowers and bows down to the Buddhas again. After huixiang “transfer”, the priest recites a short mantra.
“The end of the Rituals for Good Fortune (qingfu ke zhong 請福科終)”.

3.2. [Rituals for Funeral (Jianwang ke 薦亡科)] (cc. 292–659)

The main content of the second part can be divided into ninteen sections.

3.2.1. Praise of the Descent (Xiasheng zan 下生讚) (cc. 292–312)

When Mani Buddha descended, he was incarnated in Sulin (Suristān). Pomegranates’ branches brought auspiciousness. The garden manager ascended the vermilion steps leading up to the palace hall and reported the unusual phenomenon to the throne. A-shi-jian ordered the garden manager to pick them, put them on a plate and politely offer them up. Moyan 末艷 (Maryam) liked to eat and her lovely face expressed great pleasure. The sage admonished her to rest in another palace. By the time ten full months had transpired, the flower was born; the lovely *baby emerged from her chest. Golden lotus flowers sprang up from the earth and nectar fell from the sky. Buddhas of the ten directions were all pleased. The demon king of three poisons was grieving from afflictions. The lofty precious manifestation was incomparable with this mortal world and looked up to by the court ladies. All entreated the Crown Prince to come back the palace. He [the Crown Prince] renounced the secular life at the age of four and entered enlightenment at the age of thirteen, then inflicted a defeat on the [doctrine of the] Water-washing [Baptists]. The holy yanmo (<Pth. ymg [yamag] twin) subsequently guided [him] to observe Three Epochs—past, present and future. All things were understood and various phenomena were unobstructed. [He] gradually advanced to Bosi (Persia), Bolu and other countries. Nāgas and the eight groups all respected his virtue. Everyone praised: “This is a unique moment!” [His] prestige influenced Persia and [he] persuaded the *Persian King to comprehend the *principles. The whole world followed him. The new monks and teachers followed [Mani] Buddha’s travels and first transformed to long eyebrows. My Buddha (Mani) preached and completely retained the teachings in the assembly of all human beings and celestials. [People] retained the Buddha’s teaching about the fundamentals of the Two Principles and erased old sins through the Three Epochs. Of years, five [times] nine (i.e., 450 years) had passed, the Teaching spread to the eastern land. Long live the present emperor. Peaceful kingdoms of the earth were all converted. Everyone looks for and obtains good fortune and everyone maintains safety and security. May almsgivers of the ten directions live long and prosper!34
The Compendium written in 731 only tells us that Mani was born in the country of Sulin at the royal palace of Emperor Badi by his wife Manyan 滿艷 (Maryam). Having sprung into existence from His mother’s chest, He surpassed His age and excelled everyone (Haloun and Henning 1952, p. 190–91). Based on this core scene, “Praise of the Descent” added a dozen scenes to the story of Mani’s birth under the influence of the story of Sākyamuni’s birth. At the same time, Manichaeans composed the Painting of the Birth of Mani which now is in Kyūshū National Museum, Japan (Yoshida and Furukawa 2015, Plates 14, pp. 128–37; Gulácsi 2016, Figure 6/13, 6/20, pp. 386–93). It depicts approximately nine scenes described in “Praise of the Descent” (Ma 2016c, 2016d).

3.2.2. Incantation of St. George (Jisi zhou 吉思咒) (cc. 312–331)

[We] wholeheartedly and respectfully praise Great Saint George (Yihuojisi 移活吉思). Because Roman Empire (Folin 佛林 b‘i̭uət-li̭əm< Sogdian (Sogd.) βr’wm) Caesar (Jisa計薩 kiei-sat < Sogd. kysr) issued an imperial edict to destroy Christianity (Yishu fo jiao 夷數佛教), [George] faced the Two Great Lights, made vows to practice the orthodox religion and exterminate false gods. A ladder of knives and iron matte, iron boots, caltrops and so forth, a wheel of swords, [all] the instruments of torture, [he] endured willingly and was ready for any suffering. [He] recited [the name of] Jesus Buddha and although he had died, he revived again. [He] recited Jesus Buddha and let dead wood luxuriate. [He] recited Jesus Buddha and let all the fallen ones be liberated; recited Jesus Buddha and let the decaying bones be resurrected. This body was imprisoned and [he] let the pillar in the house become a big tree. The sick child prayed: “Please relieve my various pains”. [He] recited Jesus Buddha again and the dumb and blind, deaf [child] could speak and hear, see. [He] broke that false god temple, by shouting, [he] detained various demons, overthrew the clay idol in the niche; and the evil spirits and ghosts were all exterminated. The Caesar angered again, as four poisons [snakes] wanted to torture and execute [him]. What [he] did was all done and as soon as the fight against the army of demons was finished, [he] wanted to return to calmness and extinction (nirvāṇa). [He] supplicated Jesus Buddha to make infinite vows together: “Whoever shall have a nightmare, or be jailed in a lawsuit, or have severe drought all over the land, or live in misery and recite [the name of] St. George, [I] shall search [their] voice and never fail to answer any call”. [George] finished arousing vows and returned to true quiescence. Many people all confessed and begged to correct their mistakes: sought after to eliminate various evils and all attained the supreme way.35
Yihuojisi 移活吉思 (iḙ-kuat-kĭět-si) is the Chinese transcription of Sogdian yw’rks “George”. Jisi is an abbreviation of Yihuojisi. The Incantation of Jisi (George) may be a Chinese summary of the Nestorian Sogdian The Martyrdom of St. George (Ma 2017).

3.2.3. [Worshipping Buddhas] (cc. 331–365)

The priest recites “The Praise to heavenly king”, which is the Chinese transcription of a Middle Iranian original. Yoshida found that it is the Chinese transcription of a Middle Persian text found in M 19 when he reviewed this paper. It is our honor to get his permission to publish his research as Appendix A of this paper.
Then the priest recites gathas in which there are several lines from the Hymnscroll (abbr. H.) with a few different characters, for example: “I also petition the universal Light of Lord Mani, yanmo (twin), Light-Nous and Sun of enlightenment, who came from that great Light-realm into this world, distributed and exalted the correct teaching, rescuing the good Sons”. (H. 135)36. “I also petition the Sun and Moon buddhas of light, the safely-settled place of all the Buddhas of the three Generations, the seven (and) the twelve great (Ship)-masters and all the Masses of Light”. (H. 127)37 “May all of the souls go on to the right road and quickly gain Nirvāṇa, the land of the Pure Kingdom. There seven distresses and four hardships are naturally absent and it is therefore called the lace of eternal happiness”. (H. 119)38 “I therefore, purifying my heart, worship, laud and praise, and, removing all confused thoughts, speak truly: in the immediate past, I had unknowingly committed may iniquities, tonight I repent beseechingly so that my sins shall disappear”. (H. 11)39 “I only wish now that they will listen to my petitions, grant great invincible might and protect us, letting us have skillful means to cover and defend ourselves, so that we shall gain peace and security and be away from the hateful enemy”. (H. 206)40.
The priest recites a gatha of huixiang “transfer” as the end of this section.

3.2.4. [Inviting Buddhas (Five Buddhas)] (cc. 366–373)

The priest invites Five Buddhas—Nārāyaṇn, Zoroaster, Śākyamuni, Jesus and Mani and the hearers join the chanting.

3.2.5. [Worshipping Buddhas] (cc. 374–388)

The priest worships the Five Buddhas: Nārāyaṇa, Zoroaster, Śākyamuni, Jesus and Mani and the hearers join the chanting.
Then the priest recites: “The first one, the unsurpassed Buddha of Light, the second, wisdom—Good Mother Buddha, the third, constant victory—First Thought Buddha, the fourth, happiness—Five Light (i.e., Ether, Wind, Light, Water and Fire) Buddhas, the fifth, zeal—Enjoyer of the Lights Buddha, the sixth, truth—Creator of forms Buddha, the seventh, faith—Pure Wind Buddha, the eighth, patience—Sun-radiance Buddha, the ninth, honest thought—She’na (Vairocana) Buddha, the tenth, gratitude—Jesus Buddha, the eleventh, unanimous mind—Lightning Buddha, the twelfth, splendid—Wise-Light Buddha. Who is the King of Teaching of the three Generations, who opens and exalts all the secret things; of the Two Principles, the Three Periods and the meaning of the natures and forms, he can reveal all clearly without doubt or hesitation” (H. 169–72).41

3.2.6. [Purification of Speech] (cc. 388–394)

The priest recites a mantra transcribed from a Middle Iranian original as a small purification of speech and a gatha as a great purification of speech.

3.2.7. [Inviting Buddhas (Heavenly Kings and Envoys of Light)] (cc. 394–403)

The priest invites the Four Heavenly Kings--Raphael, Michael, Gabriel, Sariel and other envoys of light.
Mt. Sumeru is the center of the surface of the eighth earth of the Diagram of Universe. There is a plateau on the top of Mt. Sumeru. The plateau contains an unidentified central figure, with four supplicants kneeling before him, amid thirty-two gates that symbolize the thirty-two cities (Figure 9).
In Buddhism, Śakra (Dishitian 帝釋天) is located on the top of Mt. Sumeru. In China, Śakra is sometimes identified with the Taoist Jade Emperor. The Four Heavenly Kings serve Śakra and dwell each on a side of Mt. Sumeru and who ward off the attacks of malicious spirits from the world.
According to Mani the Buddha of Light, the unidentified central figure on the top of Mt. Sumeru of the Diagram of Universe can be understood as the Jade Emperor—King of the Ten Heavens and the four supplicants kneeling before him perhaps should be understood as Raphael, Michael, Gabriel and Sariel.

3.2.8. Praise of Preparing the Altar (kaitan zan 開壇讃) (cc. 403–419)

The priest worships and praises the Light-Nous with several different names: Great Nous (Guangda zhi 廣大智), Good King of the Mind (Shanxin wang 善心王), Great Wise Light (Da huiming 大惠明) (Ma 2015b).

3.2.9. Honoring Universal Permanent Triratna (gongjing shifang changzhu sanbao 恭敬十方常住三寶) (cc. 420–425)

The priest worships two Bodhisattvas: Guanyin 觀音 (i.e., Call, deity of the second emanation; Avalokiteśvara) and Shizhi 勢至 (i.e., Answer, deity of the second emanation, Mahāsthāmaprāpta); yanmo 閻默 (i.e., twin)—Light Treasure; Jesus—Sacred Treasure; Lightning (i.e., Virgin of Light)—Pure Treasure; two Bodhisattvas: huiming 惠明 Wise Light and faxiang 法相 Glory of the Teaching (i.e., the Light-Nous).

3.2.10. Venerating the Triratna (cc. 425–444)

“Venerating Buddha: Sahuanmoluo Holy Lord (i.e., the Father of Greatness). [He] lives out of this world and is always secure. [His] Lofty spiritual marks are like precious jewels. The true essence of all phenomena always exists and lacks any marks of arising or cessation. Trillion sages always look up at [him]. Looking up at [him], wishing [him] to send down authoritative power to give divine protection. The light is with a single determinable nature and with nothing to do with sunrise and sunset. This is the place of peace and happiness for the true essence. Universally whishing that the light-souls of the three realms (earth, atmosphere and heaven) become enlightened quickly and come back to the great light together”.42 Its content is similar to that of “A Gāthā in Praise of the Unsurpassed Venerable Lord of Light” in Hymnscroll (H. 222–34).
“Venerating the Teaching: Jesus first established the natural wonderful Truth which is most valuable and a ferry (i.e., religion) for myriad worlds as numerous as the sands of Ganges. Two principles and three times—subtle connotation is extensively and publicly stated. The enlightened light-soul escape from the mundane world. Escaping from the mundane world, [the light-souls] come back to the holy body of the absolute reality which continue in the future to turn the wheel of the Dharma. Ten kinds of extraordinary are always refreshing…”.43
“Venerating Saṅgha: arhats, true men, sages. The returned light-souls descended from the Ten Firmaments. [They] drive light-ship to wander extensively in the sea of tortures, seek priceless treasures to the Dharma assembly, save countless true good persons who are responsive to the Light. Good persons who are responsive to the Light perfectly observe the five commandments and three Seals. Marvelous teaching is most profound and extensively preached among the multitude of light. Seven prayers daily are performed with most zealous inclination. The true teaching transmits and continues in ten thousand years”.44

3.2.11. [Incense Offering Praise] (cc. 445–459)

The priest burns incenses of Love (lianmin 憐憫 lit. compassion), Faith (chengxin 誠信), Wisdom (zhihui 智慧), Perfection (juzu 具足) and Patience (renru 忍辱) (five gifts of New Man, or five cardinal virtues) and make offerings to Nārāyaṇa, Zoroaster, Śākyamuni, Jesus and Mani respectively.

3.2.12. Great Praising Incense Offering (da zangxiang 大讃香) (cc. 460–481)

The priest burns various incenses and makes offerings to Buddha of Light, Wonderful Dharma, Pure Saṅgha and an ocean-assembly of venerable saints.
Then the priest praises to Land’s Gods, reads the Scripture of Chaste Light (kan Zhenming jing 看《貞明經》) and does the transfer (huixiang) (c. 482).

3.2.13. [Inviting Five Buddhas] (cc. 483–515)

The priest invites the five prophets: Nārāyaṇa, Zoroaster, Śākyamuni, Jesus and Mani and hearers join the chanting.
Then the priest sings “The Five Sons of Thunder” and hearers join the chanting “We wish…”:
The first buddha was Nārāyaṇa (Naluoyan 那羅延 nɑ-la-i̭ɛn), who descended into the country of the brahmins in the sahā world (=this world), made generations of people pure and honest; saved the light-nature and liberated it from the sufferings of the birth and death (saṃsāra). We wish that the deceased spirit would ride the buddhas’ majestic brilliance and bear witness to the community of bodhisattvas!
The second buddha was Zoroaster (Suluzhi 蘇路支 suo-luo-tɕiḙ < Pth. zrhwšt [zarhušt]), due to the great chain of causation, he preached the teachings (dharma) in Persia, liberated innumerable people. On all the six ways (of rebirths) he stopped the torments and on all the three unfortunate forms of rebirth he ceased the sufferings. We wish….
The third buddha was Śākyamuni (Shijiawen 釋迦文 ɕi̭ɛk-ki̭a-mi̭uən < Pth. š’qmn [šāqman]), the great merciful father of the four kinds of beings, who attained enlightenment in the Lumbinī park [of Kapilavastu], liberated people from the sufferings of birth and death, he preached holy words from the golden mouth, all the beings became enlightened. We wish….
The fourth buddha was Jesus [the buddha of] Harmony, the son of the Highest Light Worthy (the Father of Greatness), [he] descended to Fulin 拂林 (p‘i̭uət-li̭əm < frwm, Roman Empire), became a loving father, revealed his true self for an instant in order to show the way to the heaven. We wish….
The fifth buddha was Mani [the buddha of] Light, the last envoy of light. After his incarnation in a palace, [he] appeared as a crown prince. Preaching the teaching (dharma), he turned the gold wheel and those who were responsive were rescued. We wish….
[Let us] make obeisance towards our World-Honored Ones, who, due to the great chain of causation by responsive manifestation, were born among us, who became the fathers of the four kinds of beings and who, with merciful hearts, saved the sentient beings, so they would forever be free from the sufferings of birth and death. We would like them to welcome and lead the deceased souls with mercy, so that the souls would be reborn in the Pure Land.45
The priest recites a mantra with the name of the five prophets.
Gulácsi demonstrates that the four gods on the right side of the central assembly in the New Aeon of the Diagram of Universe represent the Primary Prophets. Zoroaster can be identified by holding a green barsom branch at the upper left and Śākyamuni can be identified by his ushnisha at the upper right (Figure 4 and Figure 10). She believes that Jesus at the lower right and Mani at the lower left (Gulácsi 2016, Figure 6/17, pp. 367–68, Figure 6/38, p. 450; Kósa 2013, pp. 90–94). According to Xiapu manuscripts, the god at the lower left can be identified as Nārāyaṇa and the god at the lower right can be identified as Jesus.

3.2.14. Rest (xieshi 歇時), Performing Worshipping (zuo xinli 做信禮) (cc. 516–540)

The priest worships the four prophets: Nārāyaṇa, Zoroaster, Śākyamuni and Jesus. He praises that the second [buddha], that is, Zoroaster, descended to Persia to save the Pure Wind nature, edified idolaters (Yuduoxi 鬱多習 ʔi̭uət-ta-zi̭əp < Sogd. yzt’ys “idol”). Because there were images of celestials, demons went to Babylon (Bopi 波毘 puɑ-b‘ji < Pth./MP b’byl) and ruined under the irradiation of divine light.46

3.2.15. Singing “Lotus Stand” (chang liantai 唱蓮臺) (cc. 540–565)

The priest worships the first great Tathagata of good aeon (bhadra-kalpa) (i.e., Nārāyaṇa), the second Tathagata of good aeon (i.e., Zoroaster), the third Tathagata of good aeon (i.e., Śākyamuni) and the fourth Tathagata of good aeon (i.e., Jesus).47 The hearers join the chanting.
The priest praises the five buddhas who saved Ether, Wind, Light, Water and Fire.48
In the Liberation of Light, flanking the Column of Glory’s “neck” are two divine figures who can be identified as the Call and the Answer. They hold five elements—Ether, Wind, Light, Water and Fire on a scarf (Figure 7 and Figure 8) (Yoshida and Furukawa 2015, Plates 5, pp. 121–23; Gulácsi 2016, pp. 450–57).

3.2.16. [Leading the Deceased Souls to the Right Path (deng zhenglu 登正路)] (cc. 565–596)

The priest prays that the deceased souls should ascend through four palaces to the New Aeon and World of Eternal Light. The hearers join the chanting.

[Ascending the Precious Palace] (cc. 566–572)

The deceased souls first “ascend to the Precious Palace, the path to refuge, First Thought meet with Yama (Yanluo 閻羅) in the atmosphere”.49
A judgment after death appears on the right side of the Atmosphere of the Diagram of Universe (Figure 2 and Figure 11). The motif of the judge and his office occupies the upper half of this composition. The judge seated behind his desk. He can be identified as Yama in Buddhism. In Manichaeism, this judge can be identified as Impartial King (Pingdeng wang 平等王, Pth. d’dbr r’štygr “Just Judge”). A motif of the judgment scene is a small, seated figure traveling on a white-red cloud on the Judge’s right side. The cloud seems to leave the Judge. This small figure possibly represents the soul of a deceased hearer. In the sixth king’s court of Ten Kings sūtra P.2003 of Buddhism, the King of Transformations (Biancheng wang 變成王) has two small figures on two clouds leaving him, which represents the deceased soul ascending to the paradise (Ma 2016a, p. 390).50

[Ascending the Glory Palace] (cc. 573–577)

The deceased souls then “ascend to the Glory Palace, are exposed to Shena and go through all the twenty-eight halls”.51 Shena is abbreviation for Lushena—Column of Glory (Figure 8).

[Ascending the Moon Palace] (cc. 578–582)

The deceased souls then “ascend to the Moon Palace, [meet with three treasures]: First Thought, Lightning and Jesus [the Buddha of] Harmony”.52
Inside the moon of the Liberation of Light there are three deities. According to textual references, they should be the First Man (i.e., First Thought), the Virgin of Light (i.e., Lightning) and Jesus. There are seven pilots in it (Figure 12).

[Ascending the Sun Palace] (cc. 583–587)

The deceased souls then “ascend to the Sun Palace, [are exposed to Compassionate Mother,] Sun-radiance and Pure Wind on their marvelous seats”.53
Inside the sun of the Liberation of Light, there are three deities too. According to textual references, they should be the Mother of Life (i.e., Compassionate Mouther), the Third Messenger (i.e., Sun-radiance) and the Living Spirit (i.e., Pure Wind) (Yoshida and Furukawa 2015, Plates 5, pp. 104–6; Gulácsi 2016, Figure 6/39, p. 454). There are twelve pilots in it (Figure 13). Seven pilots in the Moon and twelve pilots in the Sun are called “seven and twelve great Ship-masters” (c. 341).

[Ascending the Three Constancies] (cc. 590–592)

The deceased souls then “ascend to the Three Constancies, meet with nine treasures, in New Light[-world] on lotus seats of nine levels”.54 The Three Constancies are Trinity: the Father—the Father of Greatness, the Son—Jesus and the Holy Spirit—the Light-Nous. The deceased souls should ascend to the New Aeon (Figure 4) first and then ascend to the Realm of Light.

[Ascending Eternal Light] (cc. 588–589)

The deceased souls then “ascend to [world of] Eternal Light (the Realm of Light) and present themselves before Moluo (Father of Greatness). They are collected by the Venerable One and get a lot of blessings”55 (Figure 3).

3.2.17. [Worshipping the Five Buddhas] (cc. 597–630)

The priest worships the five prophets: Mani, Nārāyaṇa, Zoroaster, Śākyamuni and Jesus.56

3.2.18. [Praise to Five Pleasures] (cc. 631–645)

The priest praises five kinds of pleasure:
“Pleasure of wisdom: Ah, homeward bound we go, ah, homeward bound we go! Who can avoid the transmigration through the six kinds of rebirth? To ask where is the home? The stūpa of hundred flowers in the precious world of light”.57
“Pleasure of light: [On] The bridge of seven treasures in the lake of seven treasures, all the noble sons in the fragrant Air are invited. The noble sons held flowers and praise together and sing together in the lake for miraculously-born”.58 Qibao chi 七寶池 (the lake of seven treasures) reminds us of qibao xiangchi 七寶香池 (the perfumed lake of seven Treasures) in H.391 and xiangkong 香空 (fragrant Air) reminds us miao xiangkong 妙香空 (wonderful and fragrant Air) in H.123 (=miao shengkong 妙生空 “wonderful, animating Air” in H.389, one of the five kinds of greatness).
“Pleasure of power: The paradise cloud towers, villages of seven treasures, golden towers and silvery watchtower, their number reaches three thousands. The palaces and stūpas of beryl reflect each other, auspicious color is bright which is the light of sun and moon”.59
“Pleasure of purity (divinity): the twelve Kings of Light always assist and follow; endless noble sons compete to come forward. Holy crowd in fragrant Air always circumambulate, flower garlands and bejeweled crowns rain down”.60
“Pleasure of obeying the Buddha’s teaching: The vast sky is brimming over with the tinkling of celestial music, the enchanting notes with the wind can be heard west and east. This should be that the descended soul is saved recently and introduced to the Venerable Lord of Light when the music is over”.61

3.2.19. [Gatha of the New Light[-World]] (cc. 648–658)

The priest praises the New Light-world (Figure 4):
“The New Light-world is near finished, [light-souls] should call each and come back. [You] should not be fond of the human world which is not the place to live in peace. The light-souls should be saved from the suffering and quickly leap over sea of eternal happiness. […] In the realm of treasure of the New Light-world there are jade palaces and golden gardens. Should not be fond of the human world….The *councilor on the throne of seven treasures bestows sons who defeats the host of demons to you. The New Light[-world] already commenced and bestows buddhas of one country to you. Should not be fond of the human world….One country is equal to thousand cities and one city is equal to a myriad of villages. In the palaces of treasures of the New Light[-world] immeasurable lives are born miraculously. Should not be fond of the human world….Singing and chanting does not stop all day long. The New Light[-world] is the best place to roam, enlightenment is attained forever on the [lotus-]flower dais. Should not be fond of the human world….When long life with less pleasure, life is limitless”.62
The end of manuscript is missing and only left two titles: “Praise of the Four Entities of Calmness” and “The Ceremony Held on the Last Day of the Month of Precept (Jieyue Jie 戒月結)” (cc. 659).

4. Mani the Buddha of Light and Buddhist Worship and Repentance Rituals

4.1. From Bema Festival to A Book of Prayer and Confession

Mani the Buddha of Light is a collection of ritual manuals for congregational cults. We may trace Manichaean congregational cult back to the Bema festival. The Greek word bēma meant “platform”. The bēma festival was dedicated both to the commemoration of the death of Mani and to the glorification of his personality. During the bēma festival, Mani’s coming from the world of light was symbolized by the adornment of the bēma (throne). So bēma became the name of the festival itself.
During the Bema festival, the community of all the elect and the laymen gathered together and the main ceremonies included the confession of the hearers and the elect and a quasi-sacramental meal in which the elect partook. Between or before these rites, the elect and the laymen usually recited canonical texts, sang hymns and kept vigil; moreover, there were also sermons, catechism classes and telling of parables.
A Book of Prayer and Confession written in Middle Persian, Parthian and Sogdian was used in divine services in Central Asia. The extant manuscript can be divided into two parts. The first part is Bema liturgy which includes: Mani’s Letter of the Seal as canonical text, hymns for the beginning of the Bema, praises of Narisah-yazd (the Third Messenger), Srōsh-Ahrāy (the Column of Glory), Jesus the Savior, the Messengers, the Bema and hymns of the joyful. The second part is Confessional text for the elect which includes: discussion of the five commandments (Truthfulness, Nonviolence, Behavior in accordance with religion, Purity of the mouth and Blessed poverty), the five gifts (nous, thought, mind, intelligence and understanding), the “closing of the five gates (eye, ear, nose, hand and feeling)”, prayers and hymns, the four Monday prayers and “the divine table” for the quasi-sacramental meal (Henning 1937; Klimkeit 1993, pp. 133–44). A Book of Prayer and Confession might be one of the sources for the Chinese Mani the Buddha of Light.
But it is obvious that Mani the Buddha of Light is not a translation of a book in Middle Iranian. It is under the cloak of Buddhist worship and repentance ritual.

4.2. Buddhist Worship and Repentance Ritual

Since Buddhism came to China, especially with the spread of the Mahayana tradition, the popularity of virtue thought and the promotion of eminent monks, various ritual activities of worship and repentance flourished. Many “Buddha-name” sutras (foming jing 佛名經) were popular and widespread since the Jin dynasty (265–420) and established good foundation for the development of worship and repentance ritual. The more extensive Foming jing are confessional texts: they consist of an endless invocation of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and even sacred scriptures, after each name or group of names there is a confession of sins. For example, Foming jing “translated” by Bodhiruci contains 11,093 names (T 440).
From the sixth to tenth centuries, Buddhis rules for confession and pardon (chanyi 懺儀) can be divided into four kinds: (1) sutra recitation and penitential offering (jingchan 經懺); (2) worship and repentance rituals (lichan wen 禮懺文); (3) document of penitence (chanhui wen 懺悔文); (4) compilation of rituals (zongji 總集), for example, Compilation of Worship and Repentance Rituals (Contained in) Various Sutras (ji zhujing lichan yi 集諸經禮懺儀) compiled by Zhisheng 智昇 in 730 (T 1982).
The prominent example of jingchan is Confessional for realizing the Lotus Samâdhi (Fahua sanmei chanyi 法華三昧懺儀, T 1941) compiled by Zhiyi 智顗 (538–598). We can find five stages of the confession ritual in it: (1) chahui 懺悔 “repentance”; (2) quanqing 勸請 “invocation of the Buddha(s)”; (3) suixi 隨喜 “responding with joy” (in observing the good behavior of others); (4) huixiang 回向 “transfer” (one’s merit to another); (5) fayuan 發願 “arousing the vow” (to save all sentient beings).
The worship and repentance rituals were used by both monks and the laity for six periods of worship daily and focused on worship. We only know the authors of a few of them. Most of them are Dunhuang manuscripts without names of the authors. Some are mainly for worshipping Buddha(s), such as Ceremony of Dharma-body [of Buddha] (fashen li 法身禮), Ceremony of Descending [of Buddha] (jiangsheng li 降生禮), Laudatory gāthās for Going to be Reborn in the Śukhāvati (wangsheng lizan ji 往生禮讚偈) by Shan Dao 善導 in 662, Ceremony of Twelve [Buddhas of] Light (shier guang[fo] li 十二光[佛]禮). Some are mainly for worshipping Buddhist teachings, such as Five Ceremonies of Diamond (Prajñāpāramitā) (jinggang wuli 金剛五禮) and Seven Ceremonies of Lotus [Sutra] (fahua qi liwen 法華七禮文). Some are mainly for worshipping saṃgha (community of monks and nuns), such as Ceremony of [Maitreyaʼs] Ascent ([Mile] Shangsheng li [彌勒] 上生禮) and Ceremony of Avalokiteśvara (Guanyin li 觀音禮) (Wang 1998, pp. 33, 75–114, 201–88; 2008, pp. 6, 21–60, 139–224, 259–304; Giles 1957, pp. 195–96; Kuo 1994, pp. 229–32; Zürcher 1997).
Ennin (793–864), one of the famous Japanese monks visiting Imperial China, gave us a description of the activities of worship and repentance. Ennin’s Diary: The Record of a Pilgrimage to China in Search of the Dharma records the rituals of Koreans in Dengzhou, Shandong, in 839: “Men and women, monks and laymen, are gathered together in the cloister listening to lectures in the daytime and worshiping and repenting and listening to scriptures and the order [of worship] at night. The monks and others number about forty. The lecturing, worshiping and repentances are all done in accordance with the customs of Korea. The worship and repentance at dusk and before dawn are in the Chinese manner but all the rest are in the Korean language” (Ennin 1955, p. 151; 1992, p. 190).

4.3. Manichaeism under the Cloak of Buddhism

As early as the 8th century, Manichaean congregational cult might already be in the garb of Buddhist worship and repentance ritual. The Compendium written in 731 informs us that one of the five halls of Manichaean monastery buildings is a hall for worship and repentance (lichen tang 礼懺堂) (Chavannes and Pelliot 1913, pp. 106, 109). This means that Manichaeans already used Buddhist “worship and repentance” to name the hall for their congregational cult.
The original title of Xiapu manuscript Mani the Buddha of Light may have been [Ceremony of] Mani the Buddha of Light (Moni guangfo [li] 摩尼光佛[禮]). We may take Mani the Buddha of Light as a compilation of worship and repentance rituals of Manichaeism because homogeneous ritual stages appear again and again.
We can find some traces of the relationship between Manichaeism and Buddhist repentance rituals in a memorial submitted to the throne on 26 November 1120 which was called the “Wenzhou Memorial” by Western scholars. The scriptures and the pictures and images of the followers of the Religion of Light have titles recorded in this memorial includes The Grand Confessional (Guangda chan 廣大懺) (Xu 2014, v.14, p. 8325; Mou 1938, p. 134; Forte 1973, pp. 238, 243–44; Lieu 1992, pp. 276–77). This may be a Manichaean ritual manual under the cloak of Buddhis confessional ritual.

4.4. Comparison between Mani the Buddha of Light and Buddhist Worship and Repentance Ritual

Most Buddhis worship and repentance rituals are made up of some of the twelve stages. Three stages have nothing to do with Mani the Buddha of Light: remembrance of the Buddha[’s name] (nianfo 念佛), purity while abiding in the world (chu shijie fan 處世界梵) and verse of impermanence (wuchang ji 無常偈. Therefore, we will not discuss them in detail. We will discuss the other nine stages (Wang 1998, pp. 313–53).

4.4.1. qingfo 請佛 Inviting Buddha(s)

A ritual can become of significance only when the Buddhas accept the invitation and descend to the altar. So, inviting Buddhas appears in all rituals. The priest and the laity should kneel and worship, hold flowers in hand and sing gathas.
In a few cases Mani the Buddha of Light just follows the Buddhist ritual to invite “various great bodhisattvas” and “all past and future buddhas”, and so forth (cc. 199–206). Almost all the “Buddhas” invited in it are Manichaean deities.

4.4.2. zanfo 讚佛Praising Buddha(s)

Praising Buddha(s) (also tanfo 嘆佛) means the priest and the laity recite gathas/proses to praise the various merits of the Tathāgata.
In Mani the Buddha of Light, there is a long prose part to praise the birth of Mani (“Praise of the Descent” cc. 292–312). Praise to five pleasures (cc. 631–645) actually admires the four Entities of Calmness: wisdom, light, power and purity (divinity).

4.4.3. lifo 禮佛 Worshipping Buddha(s)

Worshipping Buddha(s) is the most important part of the ritual. It usually takes three steps: first, the priest bows to Buddhas and invokes their names. Before the names, there are usually such words as “namaḥ (nanmo 南無)”, “to pay homage to (jingli 敬禮)”, and “whole-hearted taking of refuge in the Buddha (zhixin guiming li 至心歸命禮)”. Then the priest recites gatha to praise Buddhas. At last the laity join in the singing or chanting.
Worshipping Buddhas in Mani the Buddha of Light follows the same procedure. Of course, most of “Buddhas” are Manichaean deities, prophets, saints and so forth. “Ascending [of the deceased soul] through the Right Path” (cc. 565–596) are special. The text describes that the souls ascend through Precious, Glory, Sun and Moon Palaces to the New Aeon and World of Eternal Light where many deities reside.

4.4.4. wuhui 五悔 Five Kinds of Repentance

Buddhist five kinds of repentance are five steps in a penitential service: (1) confession of past sins and forbidding them for the future (chanhui 懺悔); (2) appeal to the universal buddhas to keep the law-wheel rolling (quanqing 勸請); (3) rejoicing over the good in self and others (suixi 隨喜); (4) offering all one’s goodness to all the living and to the Buddha-way (huixiang 迴向, Sk. parīṇāma); (5) resolve or vows (fayuan 發願).
In Mani the Buddha of Light, the confession is much simpler. In lieu of the hearers, the priest pronounces a confession text which does not mention any specific misdeed but includes every “sin” committed by human beings in the past, the present and the future. This confession text (cc. 265–271) actually is a copy of “This Gāthā is a Penitential Prayer of Niyusha 你逾沙 (i.e., MP. niyōšāg: hearers)” in Hymnscroll (H. 410–414). Such sins as doubting the two great Lights (Sun and Moon); injuring the body of Lushena (Column of Glory) and as well as the five Light-sons (Ether, Wind, Light, Water and Fire); imperfectly observing the seven kinds of almsgivings, the ten Commandments (the moral code of hearers) and the three Seals (Seals of the mouth, hands and bosom) only can be understood from a Manichaean point view.
In Mani the Buddha of Light, huixiang is similar to the Buddhist one. Some sections end with huixiang. In huixiang, only few words betray the Manichaean content, such as new light(-world) (xin ming(jie) 新明(界)) (cc. 648, 651, 653, 655, 657).

4.4.5. san guiyi 三皈依 Venerating the Triratna

Buddhist venerating the Triratna (also sangui 三歸) means the three surrenders to the three treasures (sanbao 三寶), that is, to the Buddha (fo 佛), to the Dharma (fa 法) and to the Saṅgha (seng 僧). The obeisance (henan 和南) usually follows venerating the Triratna.
Mani the Buddha of Light sometimes takes the Father of Greatness (Sahuanmoluo c. 427) as the Buddha, sometimes takes the one who enters the realm of Mani (c. 50) as the Buddha; sometimes takes The Living Gospel (yinglun c. 55) as Dharma, sometimes takes Jesus (c. 433) as the maker of the Dharma.

4.4.6. shuoji fayuan 說偈發願 Explaining in Verse and Making a Vow to Save All Beings

Buddhist shuoji fayuan actually has the double functions as fayuan and huixiang. fayuan is giving rise to the intention to save all sentient beings.
In Mani the Buddha of Light, fayuan is similar to the Buddhist one. Only a few words have Manichaean color, such as “sainthood of great light and eternal happiness” (daming changle shengguo 大明常樂聖果) (cc. 83–84).

4.4.7. liushi jisong 六時偈頌 Six Periods of Gāthās

Liushi jisong is established to act in concert with the six periods of worshipping and repentance (liushi lichan 六時禮懺). The full day is divided into the three daytime periods of dawn (yinchao 寅朝), noon (wushi 午時), and dusk (huanghun 黃昏), along with the three nighttime periods of the first watch of the night (chuye 初夜), midnight (zhongye 中夜) and latter part of the evening (houye 後夜).
Manichaean elect performed four or seven prayers daily (qishi lichan 七時禮懺). Mani the Buddha of Light also praises the monks who perform seven periods of worshipping and repentance. (c. 443) There are second period (dier shi 第二時) and third and fourth periods (disan shi 第三時, disi shi 第四時) in Mani the Buddha of Light. There should be a first period (diyi shi 第一時) before the second period. The relationship between these four periods and the Buddhist six periods or Manichaean seven prayers daily should be studied in the future.

4.4.8. fanzhou 梵咒 Mantra

The mantra, recited, muttered or sung in a ritual as a general name for the verses, formulas or sequence of words in prose, is believed to have religious, magical or spiritual efficiency. In Chinese Buddhism, Sanskrit mantras were transcribed in Chinese characters. Usually the mantra was not translated because the Sanskrit words themselves were thought to incorporate the essence of Buddhism.
There are many transcriptions in Mani the Buddha of Light. Besides names, terms and phrases scattered through the manuscript, there are thirteen whole blocks of transcriptions (77 cc. = 936 characters) (Lin 2014, p. 491). While similar to transcriptions from Sanskrit in indigenous Buddhist ritual and penance texts, they are in fact transcriptions from Middle Iranian according to what has already been deciphered. There is more than one Chinese transcription for some Middle Iranian words in the Xiapu documents, even in one hymn of a single manuscript. This phenomenon shows that Middle Iranian prayer and confession texts were recited by foreign Manichaean elect such as master Hulu (Uighur: ulug) fashi 呼祿法師 (great priest, active around middle of 9th century) in congregational cults in South China and recorded in transcriptions by Chinese disciples who were not good at Middle Iranian languages. Or foreign elect brought various Chinese transcriptions of mantra to South China. These Chinese transcriptions of mantra were put into Mani the Buddha of Light without emendations made by the elect who were good at both Middle Iranian and Chinese. More and more mistakes were added in the procedure of copying such transcriptions again and again by transcribers who were wholly unfamiliar with Middle Iranian and it becomes extremely difficult for modern scholars to decipher the extant transcriptions.

4.4.9. (zhong)he (眾) 和 (Hearers) Joining in the Singing or Chanting

In Buddhist rituals, most verses (poetry) and proses were recited by priests. But the laity joined in singing or chanting some simple but important verses. For example, “(We) wish that we with all sentient beings will come back to the ocean of thusness”.63 (Ceremony of Dharma-body) “(We) wish that we with all sentient beings will be born in paradise”.64 (Ceremony of Twelve [Buddhas of] Light)
In Mani the Buddha of Light, the hearers also join in singing simple verses. For example, they join in singing again and again: “We wish that the deceased spirit would ride the buddhas’ majestic brilliance and bear witness to the community of bodhisattvas!” (cc. 497, 500, 503, 505, 509)
Mani the Buddha of Light also has some rituals which are not formal stages of ritual.

4.4.10. jingtan 浄壇 Purification of the Altar and kaitan 開壇 Preparing the Altar (cc. 248–255, 403–419)

Chinese Manichaeans should called bēma as 齋壇 “altar” before Manichaeism spread from Louyang to Mongolia around 762. So, in Turkish Manichean texts the equivalent of bēma appears to be čaidan (Henning 1937, p. 9). This word may be derived from Chinese zhāitán 齋壇 (tʂăi-d‘an) (Müller 1910, p. 93; Asmussen 1965, pp. 226f.). In Sogdian texts, it appears to be c’yδ’n and j’yd’ny which means “of the Bema” (Henning 1945, p. 155; Sims-Williams 1981, pp. 236–37). But we have no evidence that tan 壇 “altar” still related to bēma in Mani the Buddha of Light.

4.4.11. da zangxiang 大讃香 Great Praising Incense Offering (cc. 460–481)

There are also other incense offering praises in this collection (cc. 67–85, 445–459). The Manichaeans attached importance to incense offering. The prominent poet and scholar-official Lu You informs us about some details of the Religion of Light of Fujian in his memorial in 1162: “Since they burn frankincense (ruxiang 乳香), frankincense has risen in price” (Lu 2011, v.9, p. 125; Chavannes and Pelliot 1913, pp. 351–52).
Other rituals include: Jingkou 淨口 “Purification of Speech”, kanjing 看經 “reading the scriptures”, and songfo 送佛 “farewell ritual for the Buddhas”.
Mani the Buddha of Light shares most of the ritual stages with Buddhist worship and repentance rituals but its content is almost totally different from Buddhist one. Even within Manichaeism, some of its content is also different from that of other Manichaean materials. Here we only take the pantheon as example.

5. Comparison between the Pantheons of Mani the Buddha of Light and Other Manichaean Materials

Mani the Buddha of Light not only adopted Buddhist worship and repentance rituals as its form and also changed a lot of Manichaean contents. Its pantheon on the one side is a heritage of the pantheon of Dunhuang version, on the other side is different from Dunhuang version. (see the Table 1) (Sundermann 1979; Bryder 1985, pp. 63–123; Van Lindt 1992; Ma 2013b).
It is no doubt that the pantheon of Mani the Buddha of Light inherited that of Dunhuang Chinese Manichaean documents. For example, twelve great gods in “A Gāthā, being a list for the ‘Collection of Offerings’” of Hymnscroll, Twelve Light-Kings, Various lands as fine dust, Ether, Wind, Light, Water, Fire, Avalokiteśvara, Mahāsthāmaprāpta, The Venerable Buddha Who Upholds the World, King of the ten heavens, Sun and Moon Buddhas of Light and Jacob and so forth. Sometimes one or two Chinese character(s) of the names of same gods in Xiapu and Dunhuang versions are different but it is not hard to see the similarity between the two versions.
It is more valuable that Mani the Buddha of Light preserved quite a few important names of gods, prophets and saints which are not found in Dunhuang documents. For example, the transcriptions of Zurwān, the Four Entities of Calmness, names of King of Heaven, Narisah-yazd, Jesus the Splendor, Virgin of Light, Great Wahman, Yama, Zoroaster, St. George, four heavenly kings (archangels), angels Narses and Nastikus and so forth. These terms all can be confirmed by Middle Iranian materials and there is no doubt for their authenticity. We should not deny the fact that the pantheon of Mani the Buddha of Light inherited that of Dunhuang documents based on non-Manichaean literature. In contrast, we should judge the authenticity of non-Manichaean literature based on Mani the Buddha of Light and other Xiapu documents.
W. Sundermann pointed out: “Manichean hymns and psalms, which are preserved in large numbers in both the Coptic and the Iranian traditions, are mainly directed towards the deities and thus constitute a rich source for the understanding of the role of the gods in the religious practice of the community. In general, one can conclude that those deities to whom complete hymns are dedicated are also the principal ones, while gods of minor rank, receive, at the very most, a mere mention in invocative lists” (Sundermann 2002).
The compiler of Mani the Buddha of Light obviously knew the Hymnscroll and cited a lot of its verses. He copied “A Gāthā, being a list for the ‘Collection of Offerings’” (cc. 380–387) but he changed the status of the twelve gods in other places. Among the twelve great gods, the first one is the highest god and other gods are arranged by three Evocations: First Evocation—Good Mother, First Thought and Five Light Buddhas; Second Evocation—Enjoyer of the Lights, Creator of forms and Pure Wind; and Third Evocation—Sun-radiance, Vairocana, Jesus, Lightning and Wise Light. The highest god is still number one in the list of gods “invited with wholehearted reverence (一心奉請)” (cc. 159–163) but the gods of First and Second Evocations faded. They, with Sun-radiance and Wise Light of Third Evocation, are not in the list of gods “invited with wholehearted reverence”. No complete hymns are dedicated to the Enjoyer of the Lights and the Creator of forms. On the other side, the status of Vairocana, Jesus and Lightning of Third Evocation were obviously promoted. The status of Sun and Moon Buddhas of Light, the Venerable Buddha Who Upholds the World and King of the Ten Heavens which were not among the twelve great gods in the Hymnscroll were promoted too. They are all in the list of gods “invited with wholehearted reverence” (cc. 159–198).
The most distinct change of the pantheon of Mani the Buddha of Light is that prophet Mani was carried to the altar. The well-known triad in Manichaeism was composed of Jesus the Splendor, the Virgin of Light and the Light Nous (Blois 2003, p. 11). Mani replaced the Light Nous and became one member of the triad of the Religion of Light (Mani, Jesus and Lightning). At the same time, Nārāyaṇa, Zoroaster, Śākyamuni and Jesus were collectively called “Four Great Venerable Buddhas” in the list of gods “invited with wholehearted reverence” (cc. 191–194).
Prophet Mani and four of his forerunners—Nārāyaṇa, Zoroaster, Śākyamuni and Jesus were collectively called five buddhas and occupy an important position in Mani the Buddha of Light (especially in the second part).

6. The Vitality of Ritual

The extant manuscript of Mani the Buddha of Light was copied no earlier than the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911) but it as a collection perhaps was compiled during the same period of the painting of the Diagram of the Universe—the late Yuan to early Ming Dynasty, that is, late 14th to early 15th century. Just as the Diagram of the Universe was copied Mani’s ārdhang with some modification, many pieces of the original texts in Mani the Buddha of Light should have come into being from Later Tang to early North Song Dynasties (840–1100). Because the original was copied repeatedly and each transcriber might have added something to the text, we cannot deny its antiquity according to some content of later times.
Some scholars believe that the original was compiled during the Qing Dynasty. It is almost impossible, because the local priests already knew little about Manichaeism during the 17–20th centuries. Mani the Buddha of Light and Dunhuang Manichaean Chinese texts share a lot in common as well as being very different. Mani the Buddha of Light is not a copy of some Manichaean document of the Tang Dynasty (618–907). Its complier used some Manichaean documents and at least two of them (Hymnscroll and Compendium) are extant as Dunhuang documents, as materials and Buddhist worship and repentance rituals as a form to compile a new collection of rituals of the Religion of Light. We doubt that the local priests still had such materials and such ability to do so during the 17–20th centuries. It is almost impossible for the local priests to have inherited Manichaean Middle Iranian verses and proses orally for about one thousand years and transcribed them into Chinese during the 17–20th centuries.
If we recognize the hypothesis that many pieces of the texts in Mani the Buddha of Light were written about the 9th–11th centuries, why was it handed down generation after generation? The answer is the strong vitality of the ritual. Most of the followers of the Religion of Light were illiterate people but they could attend the rituals, look at and watch the paintings, listen to various ritual texts recited by the priests and join in singing and chanting. Various rituals were held annually, monthly, weekly, during some festivals, or even daily.
We have some historical records about the rituals of the Religion of Light. “Wenzhou Memorial” in 1120 describes the followers of the Religion of Light:
Each year, in the first (lunar) month and on the day of mi (密 mi̭ə̆t < Pth. myhr ‘Sunday’) in their calendar, they assemble together the Attendants (shizhe 侍者 = male elect), the Hearers (tingzhe 聽者 = male auditors), the Paternal Aunts (gupo姑婆 = female elect), the Sisters who donate monastic food (zhaijie 齋姐 = female auditors) and others who erect the sacred space (Daochang 道場) and incite the common folk, both male and female. They assemble at night and disperse at dawn.
Lu You described in his memorial:
There are even official-scholars and the sons of educated families among their ranks and they will openly say, “Today I am attending the vegetarian feast of the Religion of Light (Mingjiao zhai 明教齋)”. I have chided them by saying, “These are ‘demon [worshippers]’; why should [someone of your standing] keep such company?” They replied: “This is not the case. The ‘demon [worshippers]’ do not segregate men and women but the followers of the Religion of Light do not permit men and women to come into contact with each other. If a [male] follower of the Religion of Light is presented with food prepared by a woman, he will not eat it”. I sometimes manage to procure the scriptures of the Religion of Light for perusal. Their contents are boastful and have nothing of value, precisely what one would expect to find in the works of common and vulgar people who practice magic and sorcery.
The scriptures of the Religion of Light possibly included ritual manuals, which were used in the vegetarian feast. Congregational cults continued to be held and ritual manuals of the Religion of Light were handed down generation after generation until the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368–1911). So today we fortunately have the chance to do research on a copy of one of the collections of ancient ritual manuals of the Religion of Light—Mani the Buddha of Light.
Mani the Buddha of Light is a ritual manual and the physical object of this research. We do not take the Diagram of Universe as a physical object of the ritual. But from the very beginning Mani used both scriptures and drawings to preach his doctrines. The Manichaeans of Tang Dynasty (618–907) knew the seven great scriptures and the drawing of the two great principles (Chinese version of Ārdhang) of Mani. “Wenzhou Memorial” mentions not only various scriptures but also several drawings, such as The Sūtra (or Book) of Illustrations (Tu jing 圖經), The Portrait of the Buddha the Wonderful Water (Miaoshui fo zhen 妙水佛幀), The Portrait of the Buddha the First Thought (Xianyi fo zhen 先意佛幀), The Portrait of the Buddha Jesus (Yishu fo zhen 夷數佛幀), The Portrait of Good and Evil (Shan’e zhen 善惡幀), The Portrait of the Prince Royal (Taizi zhen 太子幀) and The Portrait of the Four Heavenly Kings (Si tianwang zhen 四天王幀). The followers of the Religion of Light might use both artistic and literary artefacts in their rituals. The Diagram of Universe is to be identified as the South Chinese version of the Mani’s Picture Book or Ārdhang. Future research may prove that the Diagram of Universe is also a physical object of the rituals of the Religion of Light.

Author Contributions

X.M.’s contributions are about Manichaeism and C.W.’s contributions are about Buddhism.


Ministry of Science and Technology Project Research Grants: “From the Dunhuang Manuscripts to the Xiapu Documents: A study of the Connections between Manichaeism and Buddhism”, MOST 105-2410-H-130-045, MOST 106-2410-H-130-045.


We are grateful to Yutaka Yoshida, Gábor Kósa and Joanna Wang for comments that helped us to rethink some points. We are satisfied to simply cite Yoshida’s comments in this paper and will write another article to introduce and discuss Yoshida’s research on Middle Iranian texts and words in Chinese transcription, including these comments.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Appendix A. By Y. Yoshida

A hymn called Tianwangzan “Praise of the Heavenly Lords” (l. 334–39) is to be identified with a Middle Persian text found in M 19. It was published by E. Morano, “Manichaean Middle Iranian incantation texts from Turfan”, in: D. Durkin-Meisterernst et al. (eds.), Turfan revisited: The first century of research into the arts and cultures of the Silk Road. Berlin, 2003, pp. 221–27, in particular p. 222. The text as edited by Morano’s reads as follows:
M 19
1 ’w frystg’n oo wyn(d)[’m ’w]
2 rwf’yl oo m(y)h’yl o wzr(g)
3 (g)br’yl sr’yl ’wd (wy)[sp’n]
4 frystg’n oo kwm’n ’rd’[w’n]
5 nywš’g’n h’m’g dyn qwny[nd]
6 r’myš[n] ’wm’n xwd p’ynd (p)[d]
7 š’dyḥ ’w j’yd’n (q)’myš[n]
ˑâu γuâpi̯uət lji si̯ĕt tək g’i̯ɐn nâ
To the Angels.
渾湛 <*奥>嚧縛逸  彌訶逸罰悉勒去
γuən tậm luo b’i̯wak i̯ĕt mjie xâ i̯ĕt b’i̯wɐt si̯ĕt lək k’i̯wo
wynd’m ’w rwf’yl myh’yl wzrg
wendām ō rufaēl mīhaēl wuzurg
We praise Rufael, Michael the Great
ngi̯ɐp [b’i̯wak] lâ i̯ĕtsâ lâ i̯ĕt
嗢特 唯悉伴那弗哩悉徳健那
ˑut d’əki̯wi si̯ĕt b’uân nâpi̯uət lji si̯ĕt tək g’i̯ɐn nâ
and all the Angels.
俱滿 阿囉馱緩 你喩沙健那
ki̯u muân ˑâ lâ d’â γuân ńi i̭u ṣa g’i̯ɐn nâ
kwm’n ’rd’w’n nywš’g’n
kumān ardāwān niyōšāgān
May they give us, Electi and Hearers,
訶降𢇝 俱滿特 囉彌詵 
xâ kång muâ d̑’i̯ĕn ki̯u muân d’ək lâ mjie ṣi̭εn
h’m’g dyn qwnynd r’myšn
hāmāg dēn kunēnd rāmišn
the whole Church, peace
烏{思}滿那 {哩} 忽特 波引 吥特 沙地
ˑuo si muân nâ xuət d’ək puâ i̯ĕn pi̯ǝ̯u d’ək ṣa d’i
’wm’n xwd p’ynd pd š’dyḥ
umān xwad pāyēnd pad šādīh
and protect ourselves with joy
阿和 遮伊但
ˑâ γuâ tśiaˑi d’ân
for ever.
Corruptions of the Chinese text:
(a) Loss of *奥 in verse (ii); (b) In verse (vi) 降 and 𢇝 (=麼) are misplaced. Possibly 降 is an error for some such character as , cf. 罰悉勒去 for wzrg; (c) In verse (vi) 滿 is an error for a character like 難 (*nân) or 年 (*nien) influenced by俱滿 of verse (v); (d) In verse (vii) neither 思 nor哩 is wanted. The reason for this miscopying is hard to see; (e) The last word of M19, q’myšn, is not wanted either.


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八無畏而表威神 and 九靈祥而超世俗.
The different characters of Hymnscroll are in parentheses: 香氣氤氳周世界,純一無雜性命海,迷(彌)綸充遍無障礙,圣眾游中香最妙。Cf. (Tsui 1943, p. 203).
彼界寶山億萬眾(種),香煙湧出百萬般。內外光明體清淨,甘露充盈無邊畔。(Tsui 1943, p. 203).
復告冥(窴)空一切眾,大力敬信尊神輩,及諸天界諸天子,護持清淨正法者。(Tsui 1943, p. 188).
In this article Middle Chinese forms are cited from Karlgren’s reconstruction, Cf. Hanzi ziyin da zidian 漢字字音演變大字典 Dictionary of Phonetic Evolution of Chinese Characters, Jiangxi jiaoyu chubanshe, 2012.
十天王者,梵名阿薩漫沙也。是故道教稱為昊天玉皇大帝,住在第七天中,處在大殿,管於十天善惡之事。此天內有十二面寶鏡,上面觀於涅槃[國土],下面照於陰司地府,十面鑒於十天諸𢇝(=魔)背叛等事化。四天王管四天下:嚧縛逸天王管北鬱壇界,彌訶逸天王[統御東弗婆提,業縛囉逸天王管]南閻浮提,娑囉逸天王掌握西瞿耶尼。四天大神明,若見諸天惡𢇝起奸計,搔擾天空地界諸聖,應時展大威神,折挫調伏,速令安定,急使調伏。(Ma 2010) I first put forward that 阿薩漫沙 < Sogdian sm’n xšyδ, Yoshida Yutaka suggested that it should be a Chinese transcription of the hitherto unattested Parthian form ’sm’n š’h. English translation is based on (Kósa 2016b, pp. 151–52).
大慈正智夷數和佛。惟願現乘白鴿下騰空。It maybe 夷數和 belongs to the transcribed name (according to Yutaka Yoshida and S. N. C. Lieu) and should not be translated.
Matthew, 3:16; Mark, 1:10; Luke, 3:22.
Gulácsi thinks that the central seated god is Third Messenger who is surrounded by 12 Virgins of Light. (Gulácsi 2016, Figure 6/38, pp. 447–50).
Yoshida and Furukawa, Studies of the Chinese Manichaean paintings of South Chinese origin preserved in Japan, Plates 9, p. 114. Gulácsi, Mani’s Pictures, Figure 6/43, p. 468. Gábor Kósa, “The Virgin of Light in the New Chinese Manichaean Xiapu Material and the Female Figure beside Mount Sumeru in the Cosmology Painting” (Les femmes dans le manichéisme occidental et oriental, 27–28 June 2014, organized by Madeleine Scopello).
The red stripe is similar to the Roman clavus, a reddish-purple stripe on garments that distinguished members of the senatorial and equestrian orders.
Gulácsi, Mani’s Pictures, Figure 6/38, p. 450.
运大明船於彼岸; 妙智妙惠日月光佛.
金剛相柱盧舍那佛. 唯願身超八地及十天.
Gulácsi believes that they should be Zoroaster, historical Buddha, Jesus and Mani. (Gulácsi 2016, Figure 6/38, p. 450; Figure 6/17, pp. 367–68). Kósa believes that they should be Viṣṇu (Naluoyan), Zarathuštra, Śākyamuni and Jesus. (Kósa 2016a, pp. 90–94). Yoshida once proposed that they are the four kinds of calmness of the Great Father: God (Divinity), Light, Power and Wisdom. (Yoshida and Furukawa 2015, Figures 2–23, p. 119–120).
寶光天主玉皇尊佛. 唯願寶鏡明明十二面, 玉皇隱隱七重天.
願施戒香解脫水,十二寶冠衣瓔珞。洒除壇界(洗我妙性)離塵埃,嚴潔(餝)浄口(躰)令端正. Cf. (Tsui 1943, p. 178).
我今懺悔所,是身口意業,及貪嗔痴[行],或乃至從(縱)賊毒心,諸根放逸;或宜(疑)常住三宝并二大光明;或損盧舍那身及(兼)五明子;於僧師(師僧)父母、諸善知識起輕慢心,更相毀謗;於七世(施)十戒、三印法門,若不具修,願罪消滅。Cf. (Tsui 1943, p. 215).
《下生讚》:摩尼佛,下生时,托蔭於蘇隣。石榴樹,枝呈瑞,園官詣丹墀,表奏希奇。阿师健氏,命宫官,摘捧盘,殷懃奉献。末艶氏喜食,花顏喜歡,神人誡责“别宫安”。 十月满,将花誕出;詣嬌培,湧化胷間。地湧金蓮,{捧}天洒甘露。十方諸佛盡歡忻,三毒𢇝(魔)王悲煩惱。巍巍宝相,凢間难比。嬪妃仰止,咸迎太子歸宫裏。年四歲出家,十三成道,便破水洗。於今閻默聖,引觀三際初、中、後,事皆通知,般般无凝(礙)。漸次前行,薄(波)斯、波魯諸國,龍天八部咸仰徳,人人讃:“难曹(遭)想”。威感波斯,說勃(波)王悟里(理),四維上中下,皆從皈依。沙密(彌)、闍黎随佛遊,先化长眉。我佛說法,人天會裏總持。持佛說二宗大義,三際消舊罪。五九数满,法流東土。上祝當今皇帝千秋萬萬歲,海清萬國盡皈依。各求福利,各保平安。惟願十方施主,增崇福壽永綿綿!Yoshida’s comment: “波斯説勃:While I cannot explain 説, this is likely to transcribe Shabuhr. 説 is to be emended to 沙?” Kósa believes that “長眉 Long Eyebrowed” refers to one of the Arhats—Pindola.
又啟普遍摩尼光(尊),閻默惠明警覺日,從彼大明至此界,敷揚正教(法)救善子。Cf. (Tsui 1943, p. 186).
又啟日月光明佛(宮),三世諸佛安置處。七級(及)十二大般(船)主,并諸(餘)一切光明眾。Cf. (Tsui 1943, p. 187).
普願靈魂(齊心)登正路,速脫(獲)涅槃浄國土。七厄四苦彼元無,是故名為常樂處。Cf. (Tsui 1943, p. 186).
是故澄心礼称讃,除諸乱意真实言。承前不覺造諸愆,今夜(時)懇懺罪消(銷)滅。Cf. (Tsui 1943, p. 176).
惟願今時听我啟,降大神威(慈悲)護我等。任巧方便自遮防,務得安寧離冤(怨)敵。Cf. (Tsui 1943, p. 193).
一者無上光明佛(王),二者智惠善母佛,三者常勝先意佛,四者懽(歡)喜五明佛,五者勤修樂明佛,六者真實造相佛,七者信心凈風佛,八者忍辱日光佛,九者直意舍那佛(盧舍那),十者知恩夷数佛,十一者齊心電光佛,十二者莊嚴惠明佛(惠明莊嚴佛)。自是三世法中王,開揚(楊)一切秘密事。二宗三際性相儀(義),悉能顯現無疑滯。Cf. (Tsui 1943, p. 191).
皈依僧:羅漢真人上佺。回光性,降十天。廣遊苦海駕明船。澇(撈)漉無價珍寶至法筵。救拔無數真善明緣。善明緣,五戒三印俱全。微妙義,最幽玄。光明眾廣宣傳。七時禮懺,志意倍精專。流傳正法,相繼萬年。(Ma 2014b, pp. 254–67).
隨案唱五雷子:一佛那羅延,降神娑婆界;國應波羅門,當淳人代。開度諸明性,出離生死苦。願亡靈、乘佛威光,證菩薩會。二佛蘇路支,以大因緣故;說法在波斯,度人無數。六道悉停酸,三途皆息苦。願亡靈、⋯⋯三佛釋迦文,四生大慈父;得道毘藍苑,度生死苦。金口演真言,咸生皆覺悟。願亡靈⋯⋯四佛夷數和,無上明尊子;降神下拂林,作慈悲父。剎剎露真身,為指通宵路。願亡靈⋯⋯五佛摩尼光,最後光明使;托化在王宮,示為太子。說法轉金輪,有緣蒙濟度。願亡靈⋯⋯稽首我世尊,以大因緣故,應化下生來,作四生父;悲心度眾生,永離生死苦。願慈悲、接引亡靈,往生淨土。(Ma 2014a, pp. 196–319; Kósa 2013, pp. 20–21). “The Five Sons of Thunder” is the title of a Buddhist music melody.
第二蘇路支,救凈風性下波斯,開化鬱多習,⋯⋯為有天神像,妖幻往波毘,放神光照盡崩隳。Xiaohe, Ma. 2016. “Tracing the sources of Suluzhi ‘kaihua Yuduoxi’—Xiapu wenshu Moni guangfo kece yanjiu 蘇路支‘開化鬱多習’溯源 The Roots of ‘Converting Idolaters’ by Zoroaster: Study on Xiapu manuscript Mani the Buddha of Light”, Tianlu luncong 天祿論叢 Journal of Society for Chinese Studies Librarians 6: 1–15. Yoshida’s comment: “鬱多習 may be compared with 烏瑟多習 of the 酉陽雑俎, which stands for (king) Wishtasp, the first supporter of Zoroaster”.
賢劫一座大如來⋯⋯賢劫二座大如來⋯⋯賢劫三座大如來⋯⋯賢劫四座大如來。“Lotus Stand” is the title of a Buddhist music melody.
Gábor Kósa believes that the cloud might represent the verdict of the judge as the cloud leaving the mouth of Wudao zhuanlun wang 五道轉輪王 “the King Who Turns the Wheel of Rebirth in the Five Paths” in P. 2003. (Kósa 2014b, pp. 102–3). Gulácsi believes that the judge is shown issuing the verdict (personified as a small figure on a cloud issuing from his mouth). (Gulácsi 2016, Figure 6/43, p. 466).
登日宮,(會三寶) [見慈母]、日光、凈風神妙座.
Its content is similar to “The Five Sons of Thunder” (cc. 494–515). I will translate it completely into English and publish it in the near future.
Figure 1. The front cover of Mani the Buddha of Light (Yang and Bao 2015, p. 74).
Figure 1. The front cover of Mani the Buddha of Light (Yang and Bao 2015, p. 74).
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Figure 2. The Diagram of Universe. (Gulácsi 2016, Figure 5/14 [p. 248]).
Figure 2. The Diagram of Universe. (Gulácsi 2016, Figure 5/14 [p. 248]).
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Figure 3. The Realm of Light (Gulácsi 2016, Figure 6/37 [p. 446]).
Figure 3. The Realm of Light (Gulácsi 2016, Figure 6/37 [p. 446]).
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Figure 4. The New Aeon and Liberation of light, that is, triad of the Sun, Moon and a third divine figure between them (Yoshida and Furukawa 2015, Plate 5).
Figure 4. The New Aeon and Liberation of light, that is, triad of the Sun, Moon and a third divine figure between them (Yoshida and Furukawa 2015, Plate 5).
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Figure 5. Virgin of Light and Mani (Yoshida and Furukawa 2015, Plate 9).
Figure 5. Virgin of Light and Mani (Yoshida and Furukawa 2015, Plate 9).
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Figure 6. Mani the Buddha of Light (Yoshida and Furukawa 2015, Plate 5).
Figure 6. Mani the Buddha of Light (Yoshida and Furukawa 2015, Plate 5).
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Figure 7. The Keeper of Splendor embraces light streams that merge with the Column of Glory (Gulácsi 2016, Figure 6/40 [p. 455]).
Figure 7. The Keeper of Splendor embraces light streams that merge with the Column of Glory (Gulácsi 2016, Figure 6/40 [p. 455]).
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Figure 8. Ten Firmaments of the Sky (Yoshida and Furukawa 2015, Plate 6).
Figure 8. Ten Firmaments of the Sky (Yoshida and Furukawa 2015, Plate 6).
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Figure 9. The Top of Sumeru mountain (Kósa 2016b, plate 2 [p. 182]).
Figure 9. The Top of Sumeru mountain (Kósa 2016b, plate 2 [p. 182]).
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Figure 10. Four Great Venerable Buddhas (Gulácsi 2016, Figure 6/17 [p. 368]).
Figure 10. Four Great Venerable Buddhas (Gulácsi 2016, Figure 6/17 [p. 368]).
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Figure 11. The judgment scene (Yoshida and Furukawa 2015, Plate 6).
Figure 11. The judgment scene (Yoshida and Furukawa 2015, Plate 6).
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Figure 12. The Moon in the Liberation Light (Yoshida and Furukawa 2015, Plate 5).
Figure 12. The Moon in the Liberation Light (Yoshida and Furukawa 2015, Plate 5).
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Figure 13. The Sun in the Liberation Light (Yoshida and Furukawa 2015, Plate 5).
Figure 13. The Sun in the Liberation Light (Yoshida and Furukawa 2015, Plate 5).
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Table 1. Table of Simplified Manichaean Pantheon.
Table 1. Table of Simplified Manichaean Pantheon.
Iranian and other Language VersionsDunhuang VersionMani the Buddha of Light
1. Father of Greatness (Pth. pydr wzrgyfṭ)
Zurwān (MP. by zrw’n)
Unsurpassed King of Light (無上光明王)
Unsurpassed Venerable of Light (無上明尊)
Unsurpassed Buddha of Light (無上光明佛)
Unsurpassed Venerable of Light (無上明尊) (c. 125)
Sahuan 薩緩
1.1. the Four-faced Father of Greatness (ὁ τετραπρόσωπος πατήρ τοῦ μεγέθους) The Four Entities of Calmness (四寂)The Four Entities of Calmness (四寂)
1.1.1. Divinity (Pth. bg’, MP. yzd)Purity (夷薩, 清淨)Purity (匐賀, 咦𠱽, 清淨)
1.1.2. Light (Pth./MP. rwšn,)Light (烏盧詵, 光明)Light (嚧詵, 光明)
1.1.3. Power (Pth. z’wr’, MP. zwr) Power (祚路, 大力)Power (嵯鶻囉,蘇路, 大力)
1.1.4. Wisdom (Pth. jyryft’, MP. whyh)Wisdom (于呬, 智慧)Wisdom (㖇哩咈哆, 和醯,智慧)
1.2.1–5. The Five Dwellings of the Father of Greatness: nous, thought, mind, intelligence and understandingFive limbs (五體): nous (相), thought (心), mind (念), intelligence (思) and understanding (意)
(1) Twelve Aeons (Greek αἱ δυοκαίδεκα αἱῶναι)Twelve Light-Kings (十二光王)Twelve Light-Kings (十二光王)
A. The Aeons of the Aeons (Greek αἱ αἱῶναι αἱώνων)Lands as fine dust (微塵國土)Various lands as fine dust (微塵諸國土)
2.2. Mother of the Living (MP. mʾdr ʿy zyndgʾn)Good Mother Buddha (善母佛), Compassionate Mother (慈悲母)Good Mother Buddha (善母佛), Compassionate Mother (慈母)
3.First Man (Pth. mrd hsyng), First Enthymesis (MP. hndyšyšn nxwysṯyn)First Thought Buddha (先意佛), First Thought (先意)First Thought Buddha (先意佛), First Thought (先意)
4.1.1. the Five Light Gods (Pth. pnj rwšn)five light buddhas (五明佛), Five light-sons (五明子)Five Light Buddhas (五明佛), Five light-sons (五明子)
4.1.2. Living Soul (Pth. gryw jywndg)Light-nature (明性)Light-nature (明性)
4.2.1. Ether (MP. pr’whr)Ether (氣)Ether (氣)
4.2.2. Wind (Pth./MP. w’d)Wind (風)Wind (風)
4.2.3. Light (Pth. rwšn)Light (明)Light (明)
4.2.4. Water (Pth./MP. ’b)Water (水)Water (水)
4.2.5. Fire (Pth./MP. ’dwr)Fire (火)Fire (火)
5. The god of the Answer (Pth. pdwʾxtg)Mahāsthāmaprāpta (勢至)Mahāsthāmaprāpta (勢至)
6. Friend of Lights (Pth. fryhrwšn)Enjoyer of the Lights Buddha (樂明佛)Enjoyer of the Lights Buddha (樂明佛)
7. Great Architect (MP. rʾz ʿy wzrg)Creator of forms Buddha (造相佛)Creator of forms Buddha (造相佛)
8. The Living Spirit (Pth. wʾd jywndg)Pure Wind Buddha (凈風佛), Pure Wind (凈風)Pure Wind Buddha (凈風佛), Pure Wind (凈風)
9. Five sons of the Living SpiritFive valiant sons (五等驍健子)
9.1. the Keeper of Splendor (Sogd. xšyšpt βγw)the Envoy of Light who upholds the world (持世明使), Lord who upholds the world (持世主)The Venerable Buddha Who Upholds the World (持世尊佛)
9.2.1. King of Honor, King of Heaven (Sogd. sm’nšyδ, Pth./MP. *’sm’n š’h)Great King of the Ten Heavens (十天大王), King of the Ten Heavens (十天王)King of the Ten Heavens (十天王)
King of Heaven (阿薩漫沙)
9.2.2. Jade August Great Emperor (玉皇大帝), Jade Emperor Venerable Buddha (玉皇尊佛)
9.3. Adamant of Light, Verethragna (Sogd. wšγnyy βγyy)Victorious envoy who conquers the demons (降魔勝使)
9.4. King of Glory, the Earth Spenta Armaiti (Sogd. z’y spnd’rmt)Kṣitigarbha Envoy of Light (地藏明使)
9.5. Atlas (Sogd. pδf’ry βγyy)Envoy of light who urges enlightenment (催光明使)
10. The god of the Call (Pth. xrwštg)Avalokiteśvara (觀音)Avalokiteśvara (觀音)
11.1. The Third Messenger (Pth. hrdyg fryštg), Narisah-yazd (MP. nryshyzd)Third Man (三丈夫), Third Envoy of Light (三明使)Narisah-yazd (那哩娑和夷𠱽)
11.2. Sun (Pth. myhr (yzd))Sun-radiance Buddha (日光佛), Sun-radiance (日光)Sun-radiance Buddha (日光佛), Sun-radiance (日光)
12. The Twelve Virgins (Sogd. XII βγpwryšt)The Twelve Hours (十二時), Twelve Maidens of Transformation (十二化女)
13.1. The Column of Glory (Pth. bʾmystwn)
The Perfect Man (Pth. mrd ʿspwryg)
The righteous Sraoša (MP. srwš’hr’y)
Diamond Column of Glory (金剛相柱)Perfect Man (具足丈夫)
The righteous Sraoša (蘇露沙羅夷, 窣路沙羅夷)
Vairocana (盧舍那)
Diamond Column of Glory (金剛相柱)
Vairocana (舍那佛, 盧舍那佛, 舍那)
13.2. Final Statue (Pth. ʿsṯwmynyzd)
D. The Sun and the Moon the Luminaries (MP. rwšn rhy dw)Sun and Moon Buddhas of Light (日月光明佛)Sun and Moon Buddhas of Light (日月光佛, 日月光明佛)
14.1. Jesus the Splendor (Pth. yyšwʿ zywʾ)Jesus of Light (光明夷數), Jesus Buddha (夷數佛)Jesus the Splendor (夷數精和), Jesus Buddha (夷數佛)
14.2. Moon (Pth./MP. mʾẖ (yzd))
14.3. Jesus the Buddha of Harmony (夷數和佛)
E. Jesus the ChildNew Jesus (新夷數)
15. Virgin of Light (Pth./MP. qnygrwšn)
Sadwēs (Pth. sdwys)
Lightning Buddha (電光佛), Lightning (電光)Virgin of Light (謹你嚧詵)
Lightning Buddha (電光佛), Lightning (電光)
Lightning Royal Buddha (電光王佛)
16.1. The Light Nous (Parth. mnwhmyd rwšn)
Great Wahman (MP. whmn wzrg)
Great Mind (廣大心), Wise Light (惠明), the Light-Nous (who is) the Glory of the Teaching (惠明法相)Wise Light Buddha (惠明佛), Great Nous (廣大智), Good King of the Mind (Shanxin wang 善心王)
Great Wahman (護冺護瑟)
16.2. The Holy Spirit (Pth. w’d jywndg ’wd wjydg)The Living and Chosen Spirit (活時雲𠹌鬱于而勒)
17. Just Judge (Pth. d’dbr r’štygr)Impartial King (平等王)Yama (閻羅)
(3.1) Five Buddhas (伍佛)
(3.2.1) Nārāyaṇa (那羅延佛), the first great Tathagatas of good aeon (賢劫一座大如來)
(3.2.2) Zoroaster (蘇路支佛), the second great Tathagatas of good aeon (賢劫二座大如來)
(3.2.3) Śākyamuni (釋迦文佛), the third great Tathagatas of good aeon (賢劫三座大如來)
(3.2.4) Jesus (夷數和佛), the fourth great Tathagatas of good aeon (賢劫四座大如來), Christ (末尸訶)
(3.2.5) Mani (摩尼光佛), Long Life Nectar King (長生甘露王)
(4) George (移活吉思,吉思)
(5) Jacob (耶具孚)
(6.1) four heavenly kings (四天王)
(6.2.1–4) Raphael (嚧縛逸囉), Michael (彌訶逸啰), Gabriel (業縛囉逸囉), Səra’el (娑囉逸囉)
(7) Narses (能遏蘇思)
(8) Nastikus (能𠱽 Religions 09 00212 i001呴<蘇>思)

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Ma, X.; Wang, C. On the Xiapu Ritual Manual Mani the Buddha of Light. Religions 2018, 9, 212.

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