“Equivalent” of sādhana in Chinese Buddhism?

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KiwiNFLFan
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“Equivalent” of sādhana in Chinese Buddhism?

Post by KiwiNFLFan »

Does Chinese Buddhism have devotional texts to particular Buddhas or Bodhisattvas, like the Tibetan sādhanas? Some prayers, mantra recitation, etc to that Buddha/Bodhisattva?

I know Japanese Jōdo Shū has a service called “otsutome” in praise of Amitābha Buddha. But are there similar services for say, Avalokiteśvara or Kshitigarbha?
humble.student
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Re: “Equivalent” of sādhana in Chinese Buddhism?

Post by humble.student »

KiwiNFLFan wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 2:42 pm Does Chinese Buddhism have devotional texts to particular Buddhas or Bodhisattvas, like the Tibetan sādhanas? Some prayers, mantra recitation, etc to that Buddha/Bodhisattva?

I know Japanese Jōdo Shū has a service called “otsutome” in praise of Amitābha Buddha. But are there similar services for say, Avalokiteśvara or Kshitigarbha?
Yes, there are many indeed.
KiwiNFLFan
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Re: “Equivalent” of sādhana in Chinese Buddhism?

Post by KiwiNFLFan »

Any links?
humble.student
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Re: “Equivalent” of sādhana in Chinese Buddhism?

Post by humble.student »

KiwiNFLFan wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:51 pm Any links?
Well what did you want to know exactly? I mean, when I said there were loads, I meant just that. In English though, not so much, although you'll find a good few Guanyin practices translated. Offhand, the main ones would be Guanyin, Amitabha, Kshitigarbha, Akashagarbha, Cundi, Medicine Buddha and so on. Many of the dharani sutras list sadhanas of one type or another, and there are many repentance ceremonies based on a particular bodhisattva and their vows as well. Being sutra, they don't require some sort of transmission, and so are popular. I'll see if I can find a few for you.
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Zhen Li
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Re: “Equivalent” of sādhana in Chinese Buddhism?

Post by Zhen Li »

There are plenty of tantric sādhana in the Chinese canons. Some examples can be found in the Chinese translations of the Māyājālamahātantra or Vairocanābhisambodhi.

As for general exoteric Dharma services with emphasis on one or another buddha or bodhisattva, generally I think what you would find is a text associated with that figure being recited in between framing rituals, such as 1. Incense praise, 2. sutra opening verse, 3. Universal Door Chapter (in relation to Avalokiteśvara), 4. continual recitation of Avalokiteśvara's name, 5. refuge, 6. dedication of merit.

As humble.student stated, there are hundreds of such things, so if you are looking for something in particular it would be best to be more specific.
KiwiNFLFan
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Re: “Equivalent” of sādhana in Chinese Buddhism?

Post by KiwiNFLFan »

humble.student wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 7:35 am
KiwiNFLFan wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:51 pm Any links?
Well what did you want to know exactly? I mean, when I said there were loads, I meant just that. In English though, not so much, although you'll find a good few Guanyin practices translated. Offhand, the main ones would be Guanyin, Amitabha, Kshitigarbha, Akashagarbha, Cundi, Medicine Buddha and so on. Many of the dharani sutras list sadhanas of one type or another, and there are many repentance ceremonies based on a particular bodhisattva and their vows as well. Being sutra, they don't require some sort of transmission, and so are popular. I'll see if I can find a few for you.
I’m looking for Guanyin and Ksitigarbha practices. Doesn’t matter if they are in Chinese - I studied it at university.
humble.student
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Re: “Equivalent” of sādhana in Chinese Buddhism?

Post by humble.student »

KiwiNFLFan wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:01 am
humble.student wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 7:35 am
KiwiNFLFan wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:51 pm Any links?
Well what did you want to know exactly? I mean, when I said there were loads, I meant just that. In English though, not so much, although you'll find a good few Guanyin practices translated. Offhand, the main ones would be Guanyin, Amitabha, Kshitigarbha, Akashagarbha, Cundi, Medicine Buddha and so on. Many of the dharani sutras list sadhanas of one type or another, and there are many repentance ceremonies based on a particular bodhisattva and their vows as well. Being sutra, they don't require some sort of transmission, and so are popular. I'll see if I can find a few for you.
I’m looking for Guanyin and Ksitigarbha practices. Doesn’t matter if they are in Chinese - I studied it at university.
Here's one: https://www.ifreesite.com/scriptures/dabeichan.pdf
and here's another: http://buddhism.lib.ntu.edu.tw/BDLM/sut ... 0n1158.pdf

If you search for [name of Bodhisattva in Chinese] + [something like 法門 or 儀軌] you'll find the kind of results you're after.
karmanyingpo
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Re: “Equivalent” of sādhana in Chinese Buddhism?

Post by karmanyingpo »

humble.student wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 7:35 am
KiwiNFLFan wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:51 pm Any links?
Well what did you want to know exactly? I mean, when I said there were loads, I meant just that. In English though, not so much, although you'll find a good few Guanyin practices translated. Offhand, the main ones would be Guanyin, Amitabha, Kshitigarbha, Akashagarbha, Cundi, Medicine Buddha and so on. Many of the dharani sutras list sadhanas of one type or another, and there are many repentance ceremonies based on a particular bodhisattva and their vows as well. Being sutra, they don't require some sort of transmission, and so are popular. I'll see if I can find a few for you.
Do any of these sadhanas have visualization like Tibetan ones?

KN
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FiveSkandhas
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Re: “Equivalent” of sādhana in Chinese Buddhism?

Post by FiveSkandhas »

I know it's a wiki link but it's a pretty good article on the Visualization Sutras (觀經)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visualization_sutras

This is a good resource too:
https://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/vi ... 1-0137.xml

I'm personally fond of Sutra on the Contemplation of the Bodhisattva Ākāśagarbha, which can be read here: (PDF file)

https://read.84000.co/data/toh260_84000 ... -sutra.pdf

I couldn't find much specifically on visualization/contemplation of Ksitigarbha, but you might be interested in these Sutras anyway:

https://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/jizo-texts.html

The Pure Land cannonical Contemplation Sutra has a nice section on Guanyin visualization.

And I know you aren't so much looking for Pure Land texts but the imagery in the Jodo-ron is just so beautiful:
http://web.mit.edu/stclair/www/Vasubandhu.html
"One should cultivate contemplation in one’s foibles. The foibles are like fish, and contemplation is like fishing hooks. If there are no fish, then the fishing hooks have no use. The bigger the fish is, the better the result we will get. As long as the fishing hooks keep at it, all foibles will eventually be contained and controlled at will." -Zhiyi
karmanyingpo
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Re: “Equivalent” of sādhana in Chinese Buddhism?

Post by karmanyingpo »

FiveSkandhas wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 5:19 am I know it's a wiki link but it's a pretty good article on the Visualization Sutras (觀經)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visualization_sutras

This is a good resource too:
https://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/vi ... 1-0137.xml

I'm personally fond of Sutra on the Contemplation of the Bodhisattva Ākāśagarbha, which can be read here: (PDF file)

https://read.84000.co/data/toh260_84000 ... -sutra.pdf

I couldn't find much specifically on visualization/contemplation of Ksitigarbha, but you might be interested in these Sutras anyway:

https://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/jizo-texts.html

The Pure Land cannonical Contemplation Sutra has a nice section on Guanyin visualization.

And I know you aren't so much looking for Pure Land texts but the imagery in the Jodo-ron is just so beautiful:
http://web.mit.edu/stclair/www/Vasubandhu.html
Hello I am not OP but am just curious to see practice texts like Tibetan sadhanas that are from Chinese Buddhism.
Typically in Tibetan sadhanas we see a refuge prayer at the beginning, then a text you read aloud that describes the visualization and then you visualize in your minds eye while chanting the mantra and then you follow the directions in the text, and finally at the end you dedicate the merit. Are there sutric sadhanas that are like this in Chinese Buddhism?

KN
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FiveSkandhas
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Re: “Equivalent” of sādhana in Chinese Buddhism?

Post by FiveSkandhas »

karmanyingpo wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 5:44 am
Hello I am not OP but am just curious to see practice texts like Tibetan sadhanas that are from Chinese Buddhism.
Typically in Tibetan sadhanas we see a refuge prayer at the beginning, then a text you read aloud that describes the visualization and then you visualize in your minds eye while chanting the mantra and then you follow the directions in the text, and finally at the end you dedicate the merit. Are there sutric sadhanas that are like this in Chinese Buddhism?

KN
My impression is that there is a kind of "gray area" between sutra and Tantra in East Asian history. There are many visualization Sutras, Dharani Sutras, Sutras devoted to to specific beings, different pure lands and extravagant realms, etc., that kind of "trickled in" from India to China with little to no context.

Perhaps they were part of a "proto-esoteric" layer of practice; perhaps they were auxiliary texts or parts of larger texts. You don't see the systematic "cycles" of texts organized tightly as in Tibet and Nepal. There was also the problem of translation into Chinese which involved the adoption of terms with native, Taoistic connotations, and probably the layering of Buddhism over Taoist assumptions about how to visualize things and use the mind.

In this millieu there was no firm sense of "esoteric vs exoteric" yet and the idea of strict transmission, secret practice, and so on either had not yet developed even in India, or was not yet properly understood in China, Korea, Japan, SE Asia, and so on.

In Japan the "esotericism" of this period is known as ko-mikkyo (古密教) or "incipient esotericism." In medieval doxology, it was often called zo-mitsu (雑密) or "miscellaneous/impure/mixed esotericism" as opposed to the later jun-mitsu (純密) or "pure esotericism". The "pure esotericism" was imported and developed in the 800s by the monks Kukai and Saicho as complete systems of Vajrayana involving mantra, mudra, mandala, and body/speech/mind praxis, oral secrets, empowements, and organized texts. These became the orthodox Shingon and Tendai schools.

But in the 600s and 700s, a vast number of unorganized, contextless ko-mikkyo texts and artworks made their way into Japan where they were swapped around without transmission per se, practiced with elaborate visualizations and contemplations, and even used for purposes like healing and "good fortune" among members of the laiety. The Madhyamaka and Yogacara schools in Japan had large libraries of such texts, although they are considered exoteric sects.

In China the earliest esoteric and pre-esoteric texts and rituals were also understood in a rather "disorganized" way before systematization. Early Chan practioners saw little problem with mixing in mudras, mantras, and visualization exercises drawn from this layer of pre-Vajrayana. Even later when more organized Tangmi esotericism had taken root in China, the "toothpaste was already out of the tube" and it was hard to stop the proliferation of proto-esoteric practices and ideas that melded with other forms of Buddhism, Taoism, and folk religion.

Even today both China and Japan have a rather "looser" conception of how to use mantras (anyone can, without empowement as in Tibet), and detailed books on esoteric "secrets" are freely available to the public without a peep of protest from the Shingon or Tendai orthodoxy. I once asked a Shingon priest, "well, what exactly can't I practice, if I can use mandala visualization guides and mantra freely?" Interestingly, he told me that the mudras should not be practiced without authorization, but that I was free to use mantras and to visualize based on mandalas. Practices such as "the Buddha entering me, me entering the Buddha" require no initiation in Japan and are described in popular literature, presumably practiced by a small number of lay enthusiasts.

So I think these texts are relics of an era at or immediately before the dawn of "organized" and officially transmitted "lower tantras." As such, they were creatively practiced in many miscellaneous ways by Chinese and Japanese monks and laiety alike, with a liberal helping of Taoist, Shinto, and folk-religious influence.
"One should cultivate contemplation in one’s foibles. The foibles are like fish, and contemplation is like fishing hooks. If there are no fish, then the fishing hooks have no use. The bigger the fish is, the better the result we will get. As long as the fishing hooks keep at it, all foibles will eventually be contained and controlled at will." -Zhiyi
karmanyingpo
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Re: “Equivalent” of sādhana in Chinese Buddhism?

Post by karmanyingpo »

FiveSkandhas wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 7:00 am
karmanyingpo wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 5:44 am
Hello I am not OP but am just curious to see practice texts like Tibetan sadhanas that are from Chinese Buddhism.
Typically in Tibetan sadhanas we see a refuge prayer at the beginning, then a text you read aloud that describes the visualization and then you visualize in your minds eye while chanting the mantra and then you follow the directions in the text, and finally at the end you dedicate the merit. Are there sutric sadhanas that are like this in Chinese Buddhism?

KN
My impression is that there is a kind of "gray area" between sutra and Tantra in East Asian history. There are many visualization Sutras, Dharani Sutras, Sutras devoted to to specific beings, different pure lands and extravagant realms, etc., that kind of "trickled in" from India to China with little to no context.

Perhaps they were part of a "proto-esoteric" layer of practice; perhaps they were auxiliary texts or parts of larger texts. You don't see the systematic "cycles" of texts organized tightly as in Tibet and Nepal. There was also the problem of translation into Chinese which involved the adoption of terms with native, Taoistic connotations, and probably the layering of Buddhism over Taoist assumptions about how to visualize things and use the mind.

In this millieu there was no firm sense of "esoteric vs exoteric" yet and the idea of strict transmission, secret practice, and so on either had not yet developed even in India, or was not yet properly understood in China, Korea, Japan, SE Asia, and so on.

In Japan the "esotericism" of this period is known as ko-mikkyo (古密教) or "incipient esotericism." In medieval doxology, it was often called zo-mitsu (雑密) or "miscellaneous/impure/mixed esotericism" as opposed to the later jun-mitsu (純密) or "pure esotericism". The "pure esotericism" was imported and developed in the 800s by the monks Kukai and Saicho as complete systems of Vajrayana involving mantra, mudra, mandala, and body/speech/mind praxis, oral secrets, empowements, and organized texts. These became the orthodox Shingon and Tendai schools.

But in the 600s and 700s, a vast number of unorganized, contextless ko-mikkyo texts and artworks made their way into Japan where they were swapped around without transmission per se, practiced with elaborate visualizations and contemplations, and even used for purposes like healing and "good fortune" among members of the laiety. The Madhyamaka and Yogacara schools in Japan had large libraries of such texts, although they are considered exoteric sects.

In China the earliest esoteric and pre-esoteric texts and rituals were also understood in a rather "disorganized" way before systematization. Early Chan practioners saw little problem with mixing in mudras, mantras, and visualization exercises drawn from this layer of pre-Vajrayana. Even later when more organized Tangmi esotericism had taken root in China, the "toothpaste was already out of the tube" and it was hard to stop the proliferation of proto-esoteric practices and ideas that melded with other forms of Buddhism, Taoism, and folk religion.

Even today both China and Japan have a rather "looser" conception of how to use mantras (anyone can, without empowement as in Tibet), and detailed books on esoteric "secrets" are freely available to the public without a peep of protest from the Shingon or Tendai orthodoxy. I once asked a Shingon priest, "well, what exactly can't I practice, if I can use mandala visualization guides and mantra freely?" Interestingly, he told me that the mudras should not be practiced without authorization, but that I was free to use mantras and to visualize based on mandalas. Practices such as "the Buddha entering me, me entering the Buddha" require no initiation in Japan and are described in popular literature, presumably practiced by a small number of lay enthusiasts.

So I think these texts are relics of an era at or immediately before the dawn of "organized" and officially transmitted "lower tantras." As such, they were creatively practiced in many miscellaneous ways by Chinese and Japanese monks and laiety alike, with a liberal helping of Taoist, Shinto, and folk-religious influence.
Fascinating I am grateful for you're explanation. It is interesting to learn about how different exoteric Buddhist schools differ in their secrecy. I wish there was more information on Shingon out there. Definitely from what I have seen in Tibetan buddhism it is usually not okay to do certain visualizations unless you have permission at least a transmission in some cases and in others you need empowerment (also called WANG). However on the other hand Bon (some consider Buddhist) in TIbet seems to be more open on tantric visualizations and mantras so that is interesting and can be helpful for new practitioners. Fun to compare & contrast.

Would you be able to share with me any practice texts that are commonly used by Chinese buddhists that are similar to a Tibetan sadana text in format? Or is this not really a thing and most of them prefer to just chant sutras and mantras?

KN
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FiveSkandhas
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Re: “Equivalent” of sādhana in Chinese Buddhism?

Post by FiveSkandhas »

karmanyingpo wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 1:34 pm
FiveSkandhas wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 7:00 am
karmanyingpo wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 5:44 am
Hello I am not OP but am just curious to see practice texts like Tibetan sadhanas that are from Chinese Buddhism.
Typically in Tibetan sadhanas we see a refuge prayer at the beginning, then a text you read aloud that describes the visualization and then you visualize in your minds eye while chanting the mantra and then you follow the directions in the text, and finally at the end you dedicate the merit. Are there sutric sadhanas that are like this in Chinese Buddhism?

KN
My impression is that there is a kind of "gray area" between sutra and Tantra in East Asian history. There are many visualization Sutras, Dharani Sutras, Sutras devoted to to specific beings, different pure lands and extravagant realms, etc., that kind of "trickled in" from India to China with little to no context.

Perhaps they were part of a "proto-esoteric" layer of practice; perhaps they were auxiliary texts or parts of larger texts. You don't see the systematic "cycles" of texts organized tightly as in Tibet and Nepal. There was also the problem of translation into Chinese which involved the adoption of terms with native, Taoistic connotations, and probably the layering of Buddhism over Taoist assumptions about how to visualize things and use the mind.

In this millieu there was no firm sense of "esoteric vs exoteric" yet and the idea of strict transmission, secret practice, and so on either had not yet developed even in India, or was not yet properly understood in China, Korea, Japan, SE Asia, and so on.

In Japan the "esotericism" of this period is known as ko-mikkyo (古密教) or "incipient esotericism." In medieval doxology, it was often called zo-mitsu (雑密) or "miscellaneous/impure/mixed esotericism" as opposed to the later jun-mitsu (純密) or "pure esotericism". The "pure esotericism" was imported and developed in the 800s by the monks Kukai and Saicho as complete systems of Vajrayana involving mantra, mudra, mandala, and body/speech/mind praxis, oral secrets, empowements, and organized texts. These became the orthodox Shingon and Tendai schools.

But in the 600s and 700s, a vast number of unorganized, contextless ko-mikkyo texts and artworks made their way into Japan where they were swapped around without transmission per se, practiced with elaborate visualizations and contemplations, and even used for purposes like healing and "good fortune" among members of the laiety. The Madhyamaka and Yogacara schools in Japan had large libraries of such texts, although they are considered exoteric sects.

In China the earliest esoteric and pre-esoteric texts and rituals were also understood in a rather "disorganized" way before systematization. Early Chan practioners saw little problem with mixing in mudras, mantras, and visualization exercises drawn from this layer of pre-Vajrayana. Even later when more organized Tangmi esotericism had taken root in China, the "toothpaste was already out of the tube" and it was hard to stop the proliferation of proto-esoteric practices and ideas that melded with other forms of Buddhism, Taoism, and folk religion.

Even today both China and Japan have a rather "looser" conception of how to use mantras (anyone can, without empowement as in Tibet), and detailed books on esoteric "secrets" are freely available to the public without a peep of protest from the Shingon or Tendai orthodoxy. I once asked a Shingon priest, "well, what exactly can't I practice, if I can use mandala visualization guides and mantra freely?" Interestingly, he told me that the mudras should not be practiced without authorization, but that I was free to use mantras and to visualize based on mandalas. Practices such as "the Buddha entering me, me entering the Buddha" require no initiation in Japan and are described in popular literature, presumably practiced by a small number of lay enthusiasts.

So I think these texts are relics of an era at or immediately before the dawn of "organized" and officially transmitted "lower tantras." As such, they were creatively practiced in many miscellaneous ways by Chinese and Japanese monks and laiety alike, with a liberal helping of Taoist, Shinto, and folk-religious influence.
Fascinating I am grateful for you're explanation. It is interesting to learn about how different exoteric Buddhist schools differ in their secrecy. I wish there was more information on Shingon out there. Definitely from what I have seen in Tibetan buddhism it is usually not okay to do certain visualizations unless you have permission at least a transmission in some cases and in others you need empowerment (also called WANG). However on the other hand Bon (some consider Buddhist) in TIbet seems to be more open on tantric visualizations and mantras so that is interesting and can be helpful for new practitioners. Fun to compare & contrast.

Would you be able to share with me any practice texts that are commonly used by Chinese buddhists that are similar to a Tibetan sadana text in format? Or is this not really a thing and most of them prefer to just chant sutras and mantras?

KN
For info on some specific texts in this area as well as practices and history, etc. I recommend the book "The Weaving of the Mantra" by Ryuichi Abe.
"One should cultivate contemplation in one’s foibles. The foibles are like fish, and contemplation is like fishing hooks. If there are no fish, then the fishing hooks have no use. The bigger the fish is, the better the result we will get. As long as the fishing hooks keep at it, all foibles will eventually be contained and controlled at will." -Zhiyi
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: “Equivalent” of sādhana in Chinese Buddhism?

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

At this link:
http://ftp.budaedu.org/ebooks/pdf/CE002.pdf
You can download a free PDF copy of
“The Buddhist Liturgy”
It contains daily prayers and occasional ritual recitations in English and Chinese.

Published by:
The Corporate Body of the Buddha Educational Foundation
11F., 55 Hang Chow South Road Sec 1,
Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.
Tel: 886-2-23951198 , Fax: 886-2-23913415
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: http: //www.budaedu.org
...at this website you can find tons of free Buddhist books, Mahayana, Theravada, some Tibetan stuff.

All their material is printed strictly for free distribution, but this particular paperback book (I have a copy), someone is trying to sell on Amazon for US$125.00!!
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook develops outward insight.
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