Shandao

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Shandao
善導
Two Patriarchs - Shandao (Otani University Museum).jpg
Religion Buddhism
School Pure Land Buddhism
Lineage 2nd generation
Temple Wuzhen Temple
Xuanzhong Temple
Wenguo Temple
Fengxian Temple
Dharma names Shandao
Personal
Nationality Chinese
Born 613
Zibo, Shandong, China
Died 681 (aged 67–68)
Chang'an, Shaanxi, China
Religious career
Teacher Mingsheng (明勝)
Daochuo
Students Huaigan (懷感)
Shaokang
Works Commentaries on the Amitāyurdhyāna Sūtra


Shandao (simplified Chinese: 善导大师; traditional Chinese: 善導大師; pinyin: shàndǎo dàshī; Japanese: Zendō; 613-681) was an influential writer for the Pure Land Buddhism, prominent in China, Korea, Vietnam and Japan. His writings had a strong influence on later Pure Land masters including Hōnen and Shinran in Japan. The Samguk yusa records him among the 3 monks who first brought Buddhist teaching, or Dharma, to Korea: Malananta (late 4th century) Indian Buddhist monk who brought Buddhism to Baekje in the southern Korean peninsula, Shandao (also spelled Sundo) monk who brought Buddhism to Goguryeo in northern Korea and Ado monk who brought Buddhism to Silla in central Korea.[1] Buddhism, a religion originating in what is now India, was transmitted to Korea via China in the late 4th century.[2] In Jōdo Shinshū, he is considered the Fifth Patriarch.

Biography

Shandao was born in what is now present Zhucheng. When he was young, he entered the priesthood and devoted himself to the study of the Infinite Life and Vimalakirti Sutras. One day, in the year 641, he visited the temple of the famous Pure Land master Daochao, who happened to be giving a lecture on the Amitāyurdhyāna Sūtra. This lecture ultimately inspired him to follow and then spread Pure Land Buddhism.[3]

Shandao dwelt at Xiangji Temple (Chinese: 香积寺; pinyin: xiāngjī sì) in Shaanxi, which continues to honor his memory and contributions. In his lifetime, Shandao wrote five major works on Pure Land Buddhism, with his commentaries on the Amitāyurdhyāna Sūtra being among the most influential.

Teachings

Shandao was recorded as having taught various Pure Land practices, including nianfo, as well as written several commentaries on extant Mahayana scriptures. For instance, Shandao was noted to be a practitioner who engaged in the austere practices of never lying down to sleep and constantly practicing samādhi and ritual activity, and he is said to have advised other people to do the same.[4]

In Japanese Pure Land traditions, such as Jōdo-shū and Jōdo Shinshū, Shandao is traditionally seen as having advocated for the exclusivity of the nianfo/nembutsu as a practice in order to seek salvation through Amitābha, meaning that reciting the name of Amitābha Buddha was all that was needed. However, academic historiography has re-evaluated and challenged these traditional narratives surrounding Shandao. Research on Shandao's extant writings have shown that he wrote extensive commentaries to scriptures regarding complex samādhi practices such as visualization and meditation, showing that he promoted different practices and methods.[5][6][7] One example is Shandao's tract, "The Meritorious Dharma Gate of the Samādhi Involving Contemplation of the Ocean-like Marks of the Buddha Amitābha" (Chinese: 阿彌陀佛相海三昧功德法門; Pinyin: Ēmítuófó xiāng hǎi sānmèi gōngdé fǎmén) which emphasizes emphasis on samādhi and ritual practice. Tracts such as this is often dismissed or ignored in the Japanese scholarly literature due to their incongruence with the traditional beliefs of Jōdo-shū and Jōdo Shinshū regarding Honen's later teachings on the emphasis on faith and devotion as the sole requirements to attain salvation. Also, Shandao's direct disciples, such as Huaigan, were recorded as having emphasized meditation practices just as Shandao did.[8] In addition, Shandao's expositions on the Pure Land are also rooted in Madhyamika and Yogacara principles.[9]

Shandao is also believed by Japanese Pure Land traditions (following Honen's interpretations) to have advocated the notion that rebirth in Amitābha's Pure Land was accessible to everyone, as long as the person has faith in Amitābha's vows. However, this has also been challenged. For instance, his tract, the "Correct Mindfulness for Rebirth at the Moment of Death" (Chinese: 臨終往生正念文; Pinyin: Línzhōng wǎngshēng zhèngniàn wén), presents a nuanced understanding of the rebirth process and details many dangers that he believed could hinder the dying aspirant’s rebirth in the Pure Land.[9] In another tract, "The Meritorious Dharma Gate of the Samādhi Involving Contemplation of the Ocean-like Marks of the Buddha Amitābha" (Chinese: 阿彌陀佛相海三昧功德法門; Pinyin: Ēmítuófó xiāng hǎi sānmèi gōngdé fǎmén) Shandao himself describes a specific set of ritual protocols and practices for helping dying Buddhist devotees achieve successful deliverance from “evil destinies” and procure successful rebirth in the Pure Land, which contradicts the notion of faith as being a guarantee of unconditional salvation.[9] Other similar hagiographical records from Shandao also reflect concerns regarding more complicated requirements for rebirth in the Pure Land, including but not limited to recitation of Amitābha’s name on one's deathbed specifically, which has more nuances and goes beyond the belief in unconditional salvation as claimed by traditional Japanese commentaries.[7][9]

The Three Minds and Four Modes of Practice

Among Shandao's teachings are the Three Minds and Four Modes of Practice for Pure Land Buddhism. In the Commentaries, sincere devotion to Amitābha over the long-term leads to three minds, or states of mind:

  1. The Utterly Sincere Mind
  2. The Profound, or Deeply Believing, Mind
  3. The Mind which dedicates one's merit (or good works) toward rebirth in the Pure Land.

In Hymns in Praise of Birth (Wang-sheng-li-tsan), Shandao taught the Four Modes of Practice that develop through devotion to Amitābha:

  1. Reverence shown to Amitābha and bodhisattvas in Sukhavati: Avalokiteśvara and Mahasthamaprapta.
  2. Wholehearted and exclusive practice of reciting Amitābha's name.
  3. Uninterrupted, as in routine, practice.
  4. Long-term practice.

See also

References

  1. "Malananta bring Buddhism to Baekje" in Samguk Yusa III, Ha & Mintz translation, pp. 178-179.
  2. Arts of Korea | Explore & Learn | The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  3. "About Pure Land Buddhism". Archived from the original on August 2, 2013. Retrieved 2008-12-11.  Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  4. The Wiley Blackwell companion to East and inner Asian Buddhism. Mario Poceski. Chichester, West Sussex, UK. 2014. ISBN 978-1-118-61035-0. OCLC 881387072. 
  5. Pas, Julian F. (1995). Visions of Sukhāvatī : Shan-tao's commentary on the Kuan Wu-liang shou-fo ching. Albany: State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-585-04595-X. OCLC 42854968. 
  6. The Pure Land tradition : history and development. James Harlan Foard, Michael Solomon, Richard Karl Payne. Berkeley, Calif.: Regents of the University of California. 1996. ISBN 0-89581-092-1. OCLC 35319329. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 The Wiley Blackwell companion to East and inner Asian Buddhism. Mario Poceski. Chichester, West Sussex, UK. 2014. ISBN 978-1-118-61035-0. OCLC 881387072. 
  8. Sharf, Robert H. (2002). "On Pure Land Buddhism and Ch'an/Pure Land Syncretism in Medieval China". T'oung Pao. 88 (4/5): 282–331. doi:10.1163/156853202100368398. ISSN 0082-5433. JSTOR 4528903. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Sharf, Robert H. (2002). "On Pure Land Buddhism and Ch'an/Pure Land Syncretism in Medieval China". T'oung Pao. 88 (4/5): 282–331. doi:10.1163/156853202100368398. ISSN 0082-5433. JSTOR 4528903. 

Bibliography

External links

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