Ennin, Susiddhi, and the Tendai/Taimitsu tradition

Ennin, Susiddhi, and the Tendai/Taimitsu tradition

Postby LionelChen » Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:11 pm

So I've been ploughing through much of Paul Groner's work on Tendai school (Saicho, Ryogen, et al) and the development of the Tendai tradition throughout the years and one little tidbit always interested me - namely Ennin's role in the development/fusion of the Lotus Sutra teachings and mikkyo into the Tendai school.

Its said that Ennin received 13 empowerments, including a few not received by Kukai, which shaped his understanding of Taimitsu in the Tendai context.

From what I've gathered from other readings, this mainly has to do with his reception of the SuSiddhi which Kukai did not receive.

My question is simply: How did this extra learning if you will, effect the understanding of mikkyo in the Tendai context that differs from the Shingon one?
LionelChen
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:42 pm

Re: Ennin, Susiddhi, and the Tendai/Taimitsu tradition

Postby Jikan » Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:29 pm

Excellent question. I look forward to learning more about it myself.

I can tell you that every practice I have encountered in the little bit of experience I have had in Tendai-shu has emerged from the Lotus Sutra teachings, every practice without exception. The rationale for practice, the understanding behind the practice, all of it comes from that.

I have heard from more than one source that Tendai regards itself as a Madhyamika school, and also regards Shingon-shu as a Yogacara school. I think this statement should be qualified in that the TienTai teachings present a very particular kind of Madhyamika. Of course, Shingon-shu has its own way of understanding itself and its doctrinal differences from Tendai.

That's all I got on this.
Jikan
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4285
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

Re: Ennin, Susiddhi, and the Tendai/Taimitsu tradition

Postby LionelChen » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:11 pm

Jikan wrote:Excellent question. I look forward to learning more about it myself.

I can tell you that every practice I have encountered in the little bit of experience I have had in Tendai-shu has emerged from the Lotus Sutra teachings, every practice without exception. The rationale for practice, the understanding behind the practice, all of it comes from that.

I have heard from more than one source that Tendai regards itself as a Madhyamika school, and also regards Shingon-shu as a Yogacara school. I think this statement should be qualified in that the TienTai teachings present a very particular kind of Madhyamika. Of course, Shingon-shu has its own way of understanding itself and its doctrinal differences from Tendai.

That's all I got on this.


Thank you for the kind response Jikan.

The way it has been described to me from the Shingon-shu end of things has been that Shingon doesn't really have much of an elaborate theoretical intellectual base being more "action" oriented. However, many lay practitioners interested in the same type of philosophical/theory questions always point me back to the Avatamsaka Sutra as being the "closest thing" to a type of Shingon philosophy, aside from Kukai's works of course.

Referring back to the topic though, I vaguely recall reading somewhere that Ennin emphasized the Susiddhi and the Heart Sutras in his interpretation of the rituals, although again the "how" part in that analysis was lacking.
LionelChen
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:42 pm

Re: Ennin, Susiddhi, and the Tendai/Taimitsu tradition

Postby Jikan » Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:09 am

Hi Lionel,

Yes, that corresponds to my understanding as well: Tendai is a school defined by its teachings (in particular the Lotus Sutra); Shingon is a school that is oriented around a set of practices. I know the Awakening of Faith is canonical in Shingon-shu, among other texts.

I don't know of any publicly-available English-language sources available on the rest of your question. They may exist; I just don't know of them. I can say that contemporary Tendai practice is the way it is, and that this approach is attributed primarily to Jikaku Daishi with regard to esoteric practice, but I do not know if this is legitimate history or if it's apocryphal.

Ennin is such a compelling figure. His diary is an underappreciated document in the English-speaking world, in my opinion.
Jikan
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4285
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

Re: Ennin, Susiddhi, and the Tendai/Taimitsu tradition

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:59 am

LionelChen wrote:Its said that Ennin received 13 empowerments, including a few not received by Kukai, which shaped his understanding of Taimitsu in the Tendai context.


One thing to keep in mind is that in the early days of Tendai things were not so doctrinally coherent and shaped. The narrative about Ennin specifically going to get empowerments and knowledge to make up for what his master was lacking is maybe a product of later times.

Let me point you in the direction of a PhD dissertation that you might appreciate:

Searching for the law: Ennin's journal as a key to the Heian appropriation of Tang culture

http://gradworks.umi.com/33/80/3380358.html



From what I've gathered from other readings, this mainly has to do with his reception of the SuSiddhi which Kukai did not receive.


I don't know for certain, but the emphasis on the Su-siddhi empowerment again might have been a later development in the lineage narrative.

Ennin's original intention was to go to Tiantai, but ended up at Mt. Wutai and then Chang'an. If he had been able to visit Tiantai, he might not have received so many empowerments including the Su-siddhi.

Let me quote the above paper:

    Esoteric Instruction and Ordinations
    Although the search for esoteric Buddhist credentials and materials were
    ostensibly Ennin’s primary purpose for traveling to China, they take up surprisingly little
    space in his journal. Ennin kept many notes about his copying and acquisition of texts,
    but these say nothing of his perspective on these texts and on esoteric ritual. Likewise,
    when Ennin notes in his journal the esoteric instruction and ordination he received these
    notes are brief and sometimes cryptic. Overall, the time Ennin spent in Changan studying
    esoteric Buddhism and receiving initiations is among the least well documented in the
    entire journal. There are several possible explanations for this paradox. The most likely
    is that the information was recorded in other places, such as the sutras and commentary
    he was copying and so he saw no need to be redundant. Perhaps the journal functioned as
    a place for information that was important but not recorded elsewhere.

    Although Ennin was very motivated to study, receive initiations, and bring back
    texts and ritual implements—enough to attempt to abandon the ship under uncertain
    circumstances—there is nothing in the journal that indicates that he views esoteric
    Buddhism as fundamentally different from any other form of ritual practice. In fact, as
    far as we can tell from the journal, he pays much closer attention to various non-esoteric
    rituals. It is only after he has received esoteric instruction in Changan, escaped the
    Huichang persecution, and returned to Japan, in short, after his journal is written, that he
    begins to formulate his own theory of how esoteric ritual fits into the more fundamental
    Tendai doctrinal scheme.

    In fact, the consensus view is that this process is fully
    completed only by Ennin’s disciple, Annen (­‘ 843-915?).26 Thus in most of the
    journal, although Ennin is collecting esoteric texts, his view of Buddhism and of ritual is
    unaffected by the esoteric Buddhist worldview.

    The traditional account is that Ennin traveled to China to remedy Saicho's lack
    of esoteric knowledge and credentials and thus fully esotericize the Tendai sect.27
    Although esoteric ritual eventually became a central component of the Tendai sect’s
    identity, we should not necessarily view the entire process as teleologically
    predetermined, inevitably leading to this point. Later Tendai monks have that tendency
    when they depict Ennin’s somewhat random wanderings as a carefully planned itinerary
    centered on the study of esoteric Buddhism.28 They also project later doctrinal
    formulations back onto this earlier, less doctrinally coherent time. The journal provides
    the main antidote to these readings, since it provides little support for them and much
    contradictory evidence.

    On the one hand, it is clear that Ennin is seeking after esoteric Buddhism, both
    from the anecdotes explaining why Ennin wanted to go to the Tang, and his own dreams
    recorded in his journal.29 On the other hand, Ennin seems primarily motivated by a
    desire to finish his master’s incomplete business, rather than an intrinsic interest in
    esoteric Buddhism, since Ennin was not a student of esoteric Buddhism prior to traveling
    to the Tang.

    (122-124)


Also...

    Ironically, had Ennin’s travels proceeded according to his initial plans, he may
    never have received the esoteric training and initiations that he did in Changan. His
    original plan was to travel to Mt. Tientai and on to Changan, as time permitted, and then
    return with the embassy. Had he been able to travel to Mt. Tientai, he may have felt his
    mission complete and returned with the embassy to Japan, without ever traveling to
    Changan or Mt. Wutai.

(125)


How did this extra learning if you will, effect the understanding of mikkyo in the Tendai context that differs from the Shingon one?


Let me see if I can find a paper that deals with this.

Do you read Japanese?


Incidentally, I also wrote a brief article on Ennin which might be of interest (mostly about his journal which I enjoy reading and studying):

https://sites.google.com/site/dharmadep ... nd-journey
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5563
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Ennin, Susiddhi, and the Tendai/Taimitsu tradition

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 25, 2013 5:03 am

Let's look at DDB:

The Suxidi jieluo jing; Skt. Susiddhi-kara-mahā-tantra-sādhanôpāyika-paṭala; Tib. legs par grub par byed pai rgyud chen po las sgrub pai thabs rim par phye ba [To.807, P.431]; 34 chapters in 3 fasc. [T 893.18.603-692]; 37 chapters in 3 fasc. [K 432]; 38 chapters in 4 fasc. [other canons]; abbr. Susiddhi-tantra 蘇悉地經; trans. Śubhakarasiṃha 善無畏 in 726 CE. A manual for ensuring the successful completion of esoteric rituals, often grouped with a number of other early treatises on ritual theory and practice (Susiddhi-tantra [T 893], Subāhuparipṛcchā [T 894], Guhya-tantra [T 897], Dhyānottara [To.808, P.430]).

The esotericism of Japanese Tendai 台密 inherited the texts practical tradition from China in the late Tang, and regards the Susiddhi as an expression of the nonduality of the two principal (兩部不二) Vairocana-abhisaṃbodhi and the Tattvasaṃgraha. Important documents of this tradition include Ennins 圓仁 Condensed Commentary 蘇悉地羯羅經略疏 [T 2227] and an iconographic work, Mudrās of the Susiddhi Ritual Procedure 蘇悉地儀軌契印圖, brought to Japan by Enchin 圓珍 and Shūei 衆叡. [TZ.3164]. KI (mb) 5; [msj151]. Also written 蘇悉地羯囉經 and abbreviated as 蘇悉地經. [Iain Sinclair]
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5563
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Ennin, Susiddhi, and the Tendai/Taimitsu tradition

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 25, 2013 5:12 am

Here's some entries in Chinese about the "non-duality of the two" 兩部不二:

http://cbs.ntu.edu.tw/dict/index.php?ke ... 5%E8%A9%A2
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5563
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Ennin, Susiddhi, and the Tendai/Taimitsu tradition

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 25, 2013 5:37 am

Here is a paper from 1991 in Japanese on the question points between Tai-mitsu and To-mitsu:

http://ci.nii.ac.jp/naid/110007019276
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5563
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Ennin, Susiddhi, and the Tendai/Taimitsu tradition

Postby BuddhaSoup » Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:17 pm

Ven. Indrajala:

Thank you for this:

Incidentally, I also wrote a brief article on Ennin which might be of interest (mostly about his journal which I enjoy reading and studying):

https://sites.google.com/site/dharmadep ... nd-journey


I very much enjoyed reading this morning your article on Ven. Ennin's journey through China. I am always grateful and quite dependent (for my own growth on this path) on the freely offered scholarship of others, and feel glad that you are such an energetic and gracious contributor here on DW.
BuddhaSoup
 
Posts: 165
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 6:06 pm

Re: Ennin, Susiddhi, and the Tendai/Taimitsu tradition

Postby LionelChen » Sun Apr 28, 2013 5:47 am

Hmm.. my reply post didn't seem to take the first time..

Just wanted to thank you Indrajala for your analysis and the resources provided. Unfortunately I do not read Japanese, but I have a friend who does!

If anything else comes to mind please let us know!
LionelChen
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:42 pm


Return to East Asian Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests

>