Ennin and the Hokke Senbo service (法華懺法)

Ennin and the Hokke Senbo service (法華懺法)

Postby jikai » Tue Feb 04, 2014 1:56 am

In the 'Jikaku Daishi Den' it states that:

"Ennin then edited a new Hokke Senbo. An outline of this Hokke Senbo (法華懺法) was introduced by his master Saicho, and now Ennin further popularized the essense of it."

I am aware that the Hokke Senbo or Lotus Repentance Method is essentially an abridged version of the text 'Hokkezanmaisengi' (法華三昧懺儀). I have also been informed that the current Hokke Senbo text we use in Tendai today is essentially the version Ennin edited.

My question therefore is: Does anyone, perhaps some of the resident scholars here, know what the original version instituted by Saicho looked like? What might distinguish it from the version Ennin settled upon? or the differences between the 'Ennin version' and the modern Tendai version?

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Re: Ennin and the Hokke Senbo service (法華懺法)

Postby rory » Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:45 am

Go on over to Google books and type in "Lotus repentance ritual" you'll see "Readings in the Lotus Sutra" eds. S. Teiser,J.Stone and there is a nice discussion of Zhiyi's Fahua Chanhua aka Hokke Senbo, it already existed in various forms lasting from 21 days to 3 years in Zhiyi's time and he codified it into 10 parts and made a manual.It became a bit of a classic in China. Hmm if you then look up 'Ennin and Lotus repentance' you'll find it, according to Paul Groner "Ryogen and Mt. Hiei" sources suggested that the ceremony Saicho introduced was not performed completely correctly. Ennin went to China came back with the proper transmission
According to Ennin's biography, "Saicho transmitted the basic elements of the meditation, but Ennin propagated the details."
p, 173

Interesting as Ennin observed the ceremony at an emigre Korean monastery. Anyway there you are & you'll be able to read all the details for yourself:) That was certainly interesting. Are you going to put on the Lotus Repentance?
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Re: Ennin and the Hokke Senbo service (法華懺法)

Postby Seishin » Tue Feb 04, 2014 2:45 pm

Hmmm, I really should learn Japanese :thinking:

Very interesting thread though :)

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Re: Ennin and the Hokke Senbo service (法華懺法)

Postby Indrajala » Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:27 pm

jikai wrote:I am aware that the Hokke Senbo or Lotus Repentance Method is essentially an abridged version of the text 'Hokkezanmaisengi' (法華三昧懺儀).


I believe this was originally written by Zhiyi based on ideas from Huisi, and revised heavily by later generations, though the original was lost.
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Re: Ennin and the Hokke Senbo service (法華懺法)

Postby PorkChop » Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:17 pm

Seishin wrote:Hmmm, I really should learn Japanese :thinking:

Very interesting thread though :)

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I think you'd get more mileage out of being able to read classical Chinese. The amount that's written in modern, vernacular Japanese is rather small by comparison. This is the 法華懺法 in classical Chinese; this is the same thing in "newer" Chinese characters, but still a far cry from modern vernacular Japanese. Wasn't able to find the original biography (慈覺大師紜 - Jikaku Daishi Den), except a site selling what i think is an English translation and a couple page review of the biography in English. Here is the 法華三昧懺儀 in the Chinese CBETA canon. This may come in handy for the OP, as it's got links for a lot of Tendai writings, including a 3 cd collection of Tendai Sutras - be careful though, it's using some non-Unicode encoding and you may need to manually set the page encoding to Shift_JIS to be able to read it (the links above had the same problem, which is why I included the Google cached versions). Here is a list of related articles about the 法華懺法.
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Re: Ennin and the Hokke Senbo service (法華懺法)

Postby Jikan » Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:19 pm

This sort of thread is exactly why I keep reading DharmaWheel.
Need help getting on retreat? Want to support others in practice? Pay the Dana for Dharma forum a visit...

viewtopic.php?f=114&t=13727
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Re: Ennin and the Hokke Senbo service (法華懺法)

Postby Seishin » Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:27 pm

Thanks Porkchop. :) Yeah I know classical Chinese is also a must. I personally find languages difficult being dyslexic, so I don't think I'll ever be good enough to read these texts. Doesn't stop me trying though :twothumbsup:

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Re: Ennin and the Hokke Senbo service (法華懺法)

Postby PorkChop » Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:42 pm

Seishin wrote:Thanks Porkchop. :) Yeah I know classical Chinese is also a must. I personally find languages difficult being dyslexic, so I don't think I'll ever be good enough to read these texts. Doesn't stop me trying though :twothumbsup:

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If you tackle classical Chinese first, you can really knock out some of the harder stuff for Japanese - or at least tackle it piecemeal by worrying about the crazy grammar later. It's easier to go from the more complex symbols of classical Chinese to the simplified versions used in Japanese than the other way around (I believe). Personally, I learn Chinese characters very slowly - I don't have the time or patience to write them out hundreds of times and I haven't even been putting in enough time just doing simple character recognition to be able to read with any quickness - my free time is extremely limited lately.

PS - classical Chinese may not be so bad with dyslexia, or it could be a total nightmare... For example, signs in Chinese can be written right to left, left to right, or top to bottom. Image "The top line runs left-to-right, the middle line runs right-to-left, and the bottom line runs left-to-right"
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Re: Ennin and the Hokke Senbo service (法華懺法)

Postby Seishin » Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:50 pm

Thanks for the encouragement :) I'm also really busy with other things for the time being, but it's on my bucket list :tongue:

Thought this might be of interest; Hokke senbo service with some beautiful Shomyo

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Re: Ennin and the Hokke Senbo service (法華懺法)

Postby Indrajala » Wed Feb 05, 2014 3:12 am

I get the impression Anglo-Tendai is critically lacking translations and secondary academic material.

It would be worth pooling resources together and commissioning translations. The secondary academic material is important, but translating encyclopedia articles and digested essays would also provide a lot of resources.

I mean in Chinese and Japanese I can look up almost anything related to Tiantai/Tendai through keywords.
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Re: Ennin and the Hokke Senbo service (法華懺法)

Postby rory » Wed Feb 05, 2014 5:31 am

There really is a paucity of material, I so wish that Tendai would translate the vast materials they have It's so very frustrating. Mt HIei could really spread Tendai if they had more of their material translated they have such a rich tradition! There is something for everybody: esoteric ritual, Lotus Sutra studies, Pure Land rituals, all kinds of meditations, shomyo as posted above and such rich ritual like the Lotus Repentence, the great convent Hokkeji was devoted to this. I regard the time I spent in gyo as very powerful and miss it.
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Re: Ennin and the Hokke Senbo service (法華懺法)

Postby Indrajala » Wed Feb 05, 2014 5:38 am

rory wrote:There really is a paucity of material, I so wish that Tendai would translate the vast materials they have It's so very frustrating.


The Tibetan traditions are quick to commission translations for everything from scriptures to practice manuals.

It wouldn't be that difficult for Tendai given that a lot of annotated modern versions of classical texts are available, and the Japanese academic community understands them very well. Finding consultants would be relatively easy, but translators of Classical Buddhist Chinese (into European languages) are often academics who have little incentive to translate texts, even if you pay them.

On the other hand if you made a concentrated effort you could probably manage. Also training capable translators is important.
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Re: Ennin and the Hokke Senbo service (法華懺法)

Postby Indrajala » Wed Feb 05, 2014 6:09 am

Concerning training translators, I would say it isn't that unrealistic. In Japan at my graduate school the foreign students from the west started with minimal knowledge of either Chinese or Japanese and within a few years could slowly go through difficult Chan texts. More traditional Buddhist Chinese is actually easier to read once you know the sentence patterns and vocabulary. With a knowledgeable teacher it is actually quite easy to learn the basics. At that point you just need to read a lot of material to familiarize yourself with the literary culture and vocabulary.

I'd say it basically requires dedicated study at a graduate school.

Japan is a good place to study, but the problem is the cost of tuition and living. Japanese Buddhist universities also offer minimal scholarships as they assume, at least in Buddhist Studies, you come from a wealthy temple family and will make money from your qualifications in the future. Foreign students often get a government scholarship before going to Japan, but these are in limited supply.

Basically if the Tendai folks could get the Japanese side enthusiastic about some kind of training program, it'd be workable. There's plenty of Tibetan training going on in India and Nepal, though admittedly they operate on relatively low budgets.

East Asian traditions in the west need at least a number of capable individuals reading the original texts and acting as scholars.
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Re: Ennin and the Hokke Senbo service (法華懺法)

Postby jikai » Wed Feb 05, 2014 8:16 am

Hi guys,

Thanks to everyone for contributing!

@Rory, I haven't yet read the "Readings in The Lotus Sutra" but it is on the list. Maybe this will push me to get on it! As a Tendai Priest, my morning service is the Hokke Senbo. However, I have been curious about its development, as its influence is by no means small (of which I'm sure you are already aware).

@Indrajala, "I believe this was originally written by Zhiyi based on ideas from Huisi, and revised heavily by later generations, though the original was lost."
Interesting, I was under the same impression re Zhiyi compiling ideas traceable to Huisi, but I was not aware that much of the original is thought lost.

@ PorkChop, Thanks for the links, I am familiar with the original text of the 法華三昧懺儀, however some of those links you posted have some great material which I shall have to peruse at my leisure :). I also agree with your advice regarding Seishin's linguistic aspirations. Classical Chinese is the best place to start! While Japanese grammar as you rightly say can be excessively complex in comparison to Chinese grammatical patterns, knowing classical structures does indeed facilitate a greater understanding of classical Japanese, modern Japanese, and modern Chinese texts. Something I learnt unfortunately through the reverse process (I started with Japanese, then went to Chinese). In regards to the Jikaku Daishi Den(慈覺大師伝), you are right, it is difficult to come across copies these days. The copy I have is quite useful- It contains an English translation along with the original text for comparison. The translation was done by Eshin Saitou.

@Seishin, Great links Seishin! :applause:

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Re: Ennin and the Hokke Senbo service (法華懺法)

Postby jikai » Wed Feb 05, 2014 8:31 am

@Indrajala, "I get the impression Anglo-Tendai is critically lacking translations and secondary academic material.

It would be worth pooling resources together and commissioning translations. The secondary academic material is important, but translating encyclopedia articles and digested essays would also provide a lot of resources.

I mean in Chinese and Japanese I can look up almost anything related to Tiantai/Tendai through keywords...The Tibetan traditions are quick to commission translations for everything from scriptures to practice manuals.

It wouldn't be that difficult for Tendai given that a lot of annotated modern versions of classical texts are available, and the Japanese academic community understands them very well. Finding consultants would be relatively easy, but translators of Classical Buddhist Chinese (into European languages) are often academics who have little incentive to translate texts, even if you pay them.

On the other hand if you made a concentrated effort you could probably manage. Also training capable translators is important....Concerning training translators, I would say it isn't that unrealistic. In Japan at my graduate school the foreign students from the west started with minimal knowledge of either Chinese or Japanese and within a few years could slowly go through difficult Chan texts. More traditional Buddhist Chinese is actually easier to read once you know the sentence patterns and vocabulary. With a knowledgeable teacher it is actually quite easy to learn the basics. At that point you just need to read a lot of material to familiarize yourself with the literary culture and vocabulary.

I'd say it basically requires dedicated study at a graduate school.

Japan is a good place to study, but the problem is the cost of tuition and living. Japanese Buddhist universities also offer minimal scholarships as they assume, at least in Buddhist Studies, you come from a wealthy temple family and will make money from your qualifications in the future. Foreign students often get a government scholarship before going to Japan, but these are in limited supply.

Basically if the Tendai folks could get the Japanese side enthusiastic about some kind of training program, it'd be workable. There's plenty of Tibetan training going on in India and Nepal, though admittedly they operate on relatively low budgets.

East Asian traditions in the west need at least a number of capable individuals reading the original texts and acting as scholars."


I would have to agree with your assessment. You are right- for those of us who can use them, Japanese and Chinese sources on the subject are numerous. Tendai is lacking in translated primary material (as well as secondary materials). Much more has been translated than many realise or have access to however. I have come across a lot of translated materials in Japan, which are simply collecting dust at the back of certain temples collections. These are not publicly available. At present this is a real problem, and things are in motion to remedy the situation. Nevertheless, as many of us are familiar with, Japanese systems tend to move and change very slowly. One of the main problems thus far has been that translation efforts have been sporadic, and that everyone works separately. Therefore a lot of unnecessary translation work has been done (i.e different groups have translated material that has already been done).

As I have mentioned to you before, I am looking into doing my postgrad. work in Japan, and perhaps might be able to make some small contributions to the current situation. I agree that an organised and consistent effort is needed. I am not sure in all honesty, whether or not Hieizan is willing to make such an effort just yet. But things are happening...slowly :) :buddha1:

gassho,
Jikai.
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"Whoever wishes to benefit beings ought to establish teachings that fit their capacities, expound the dharma in accordance with their capacities, and match the doctrines to them"
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