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Buddhism’s Maritime Route to China

2009年03月29日 15:14:00 佛教在线 点击:0

 

Charles Willemen

Belgium Royal Academy of Sciences

Abstract: Important cultural roads for Buddhism and its Mathurā art were the Ganges (sarvāstivāda, mahāsāmghika, pudgalavāda) and the Godāvarī (overwhelmingly mahāsāmghika, but also mahī?āsaka).  Amarāvatī’s art (second century) and also Nāgārjunakonda’s art (third century), inspired not only Anurādhapura, but southeastern Asia as a whole.  The maritime route went from southeastern India to the Malay Peninsula.  After a circumpeninsular navigation the route went to Funan, Bnam, in southern Cambodia and Vietnam, extending along the Gulf of Thailand to Tenasserim, the northern part of the Isthmus of Kra.  The historical period of this area was the third century till 627-649, when Zhenla took over.  Buddhism on this route was mahāsāmghika.  Important was Avalokite?vara, Nanhai Guanyin, who may have merged with Mazu along the southern Chinese coast. 

Key words: Andhra   Funan  Nanhai Guanyin  Mahāsāmghika

Charles Willemen: Lifelong member Belgian Royal Academy of Sciences.  Full Professor in Belgium since 1977.  Presently Vice Rector (Academic Research) International Buddhist College, Thailand.

Buddhism entered China mainly through Central Asia, coming from the Gandhāran cultural area.  The Prakrit (s) of that area explain(s) the ancient Chinese terminology.  The ancient translations from the middle of the second century A.D. until about 400 A.D., are mainly based on Prakrit(s).  During that period a Mahāyāna movement was developing in India.  This is the period of the Lotus Sūtra, of developing praj?āpāramitā literature, of Amitābha, of the Avatamsakasūtra, etc..  Bactria, an area of multiple cultural influences, an area from where there was easy access to China, is central in the development of these new kinds of Buddhism.  Bactria, for some time located in the Kusānā empire, was an area of sthaviras, i.e. of sarvāstivādins, of dharmaguptakas, and of pudgalavādins, but also of their rivals, the mahāsāmghikas.  The heterogeneous groups of  sarvāstivādins in the Gandhāran area, in the Bactrian area and in Central India are known as sautrāntikas from the time of  the sarvāstivāda synod in Ka?mīra on (end of the second century A.D.). 

From India

From India’s eastern coast ships left for southeastern Asia and ultimately for southeastern china.  The delta of the Ganges and the port of  Tāmraliptī were important, but Andhra, at the end of the Godāvarī River, was no less important during the first centuries A.D.. 

During the first centuries A.D. Andhra was ruled by ?ātavāhanas.  The first inscriptions mentioning them come from the caves of Nānāghā? and Nāsik in northern Mahārāstra, and from Sā?cī in eastern Mālwā.  The ?ātavāhanas were patrons of Prakrit.  Prakrit was used in Amarāvatī inscriptions (second century), and also in Nāgārjunakonda, which may be understood to be an extension of Amarāvatī in the third century.  A capital, Pratisthāna, on the upper Godāvarī, was one of the ?ātavāhana centers for a long time, certainly till the second century A.D., the reign of Vāsisthīputra Pulumāvi (ca. 130-159 A.D.).  The mahācaitya of Amarāvatī was probably built under his rule.  In 78 A.D., the first year of the ?āka era, an incursion led to the creation of two new ?aka kingdoms, i.e. that of the western satraps, Kùaharātas, destroyed in 125 A.D., and that of the great satraps of Ujjayinī, Kārdamakas, which disappeared between 388 and 409 A.D., conquered by Candragupta II.  In Chinese the ?aka rulers were called Sai Wang, which literally means ?aka ruler.  In Andhra the Iksvākus continued the ?ātavāhana rule in the third century, in Nāgārjunako?óa.  They ruled from ca. 225 till ca. 325.  The great stūpa of Nāgārjunakonda, their capital, was completed ca. 246-256.

The Pallavas followed as rulers in southeastern India.  Skandhavarman (early fourth century) was the first great ruler.  The capital was Kā?cīpura.  They initially continued Prakrit tradition, but they changed to Sanskrit.  The Pallavas were the dominant power on the eastern coast from ca. 400 to about 750 A.D..  From the estuary of the Godāvarī traders and scholars set sail for southeastern Asia and China.  The ?āka era (of 78 A.D.), which was used in the Pallava region, was introduced to southeastern Asia.  From the estuary of the Krsnā River trade and culture were exchanged with ?rī Lańkā.

Mahāsāmghikas were on India’s western coast, but they were the dominant nikāya, school, in Andhra.  There Nāgārjuna organised a madhyamaka group within the mahāsāmghika nikāya.  He used Sanskrit in a mainly Prakrit area.  Madhyamaka reached China mainly via Central Asia and Kumārajīva.  It was propagated with limited success by Kumārajīva (344-413?), who arrived in Chang’an on February 8, 403.  His work, based on Sanskrit, is the beginning of the old translations, jiuyi.  In Andhra the mahāsāmghikas were by far the main nikāya for centuries.  They had bodhisattvas, but bodhisattvas who also played a role in sthāvirīya circles in northwestern India.  Sautrāntikas, i.e. non-vaibhāsika sarvāstivādins, and dharmaguptakas also had bodhisattvas.  Dharmagptakas were not present on India’s southeastern coast.  Sautrāntikas were strong in Central India, along the Ganges up to its delta.  If  mūlasarvāstivādins (end seventh century) really are a continuation of sautrāntika-dārstantikas (end second century), one can understand their presence in southeastern Asia, coming from the delta of the Ganges, from today’s Bihar and Bengal, Orissa.  The schools in Andhra were mahāsāmghika, known as caitika or ?aila, but also bahu?rutīya.  Caitikas are often mentioned in inscriptions in Amarāvatī.  Their finest shrines were known as mahācaityas.  There was a mahācaitya in Dhānyaka?aka, identified with the famous stūpa at Amarāvatī (second century).  There was a mahācaitya at Nāgārjunakonda, etc..  ?aila was a term used for mahāsāmghikas living in the mountains near Dhānyaka?aka.  The term mahāvana?aila is used too.  Inscriptions distinguish pūrva?ailas (on the eastern mountain) of Dhānyaka?aka, and apara?ailas (on the western mountain).  The latter ones were known in Nāgārjunakonda as aparamahāvinaseliya.  The great stūpa there was dedicated to them.  ?ailas were on the western coast, in Kānheri.  All this makes it clear that Andhra was in close contact with the western coast.  Culture travelled along the Godāvarī River too, not only along the Ganges.  In Nāgārjunakonda there were mahī?āsakas too.  Mahī?āsakas were known for their meditational practices, dhyāna, a characteristic of all northwestern schools.  The mahī?āsakas in Andhra had continuous contact with ?rī Lańkā (abhayagiri?).

?rī Lańkān theravādins (mahāvihāra) were in Nāgārjunakonda.  The art of Amarāvatī and of Nāgārjunakonda is also found Anurādhapura.  From the second century Mathurā’s art was sending down images to the gangetic plains, but the Godāvarī  carried the art of  Mathurā to Andhra.  From there trade and culture went to ?rī Lańkā. 

Apara?ailas certainly knew image worship.  The major donatrix for the great stūpa at Nāgārjunakonda was the lady Cāmtisiri, a relative of the ruler Cāütamūla.  She is compared to queen ?rīmālā of the famous scriptural text about tathāgatagarbha, the Shengman (?rīmālā), Jing, T.XII 353, The Lion’s Roar of Queen ?rīmālā.  This text, clearly mahāyāna, was written in a mahāsāmghika environment.  The Chinese translation was made in 436 in Jiankang (Nanjing) by Gunabhadra (394-468), nicknames Mahāyāna.  He arrived in Guangzhou in 435 via the maritime route, during the Liu Song (420-479).  Gunabhadra also translated the Lańkāvatārasūtra, T.XVI 670, in 443.  This text combines tathāgatagarbha and ālayavij?āna, storehouse-consciousness, and was basic for the early chan school in China.  India’s southeastern coast is very important as the place of origin of chan practices, maybe ultimately originating in India’s northwestern area.  While in Andhra the rulers were tolerant ?aivites, the royal ladies were Buddhists.  This habit seems to have continued in e.g. Funan.

To Funan.

The maritime route from India’s eastern coast led to Funan during the period up to the Sui dynasty, 581 A.D..  Paramārtha (499-569) went to China via Funan.  It is generally accepted that Funan is a phonetic rendering of Bnam, Old Khmer for “Mountain”.  Chinese phonetic renderings very often have some meaning too.  The choice of the characters was not only decided by administrative usage.  Certainly from the fifth century on Sanskrit played an ever increasing role for Funan’s elite, but before that time the language seems to have been Old Khmer, the local vernacular language.  While the place of origin of the imported Indian culture was using Prakrit(s), there was no objection to the use of the local language in Funan.  It seems that initially Old Khmer was rendered in a southern Chinese language (Cantonese?).  however, steady sanskritization took place, no doubt influenced by the situation in (Pallava) India itself.

Yijing (635-716), during the Tang dynasty, gives the new phonetic rendering Banan, i.e. Bnam.  He took the maritime route to India in 671 and returned to Luoyang in 695, a time when Funan was just a vague memory in China.  Funan is believed to have been in southern Cambodia and Vietnam, extending along the Gulf of Thailand to the Malay Peninsula, to Dunxun, also written Dianxun.  The Funan ruler Fan Man extended Funan’s influence to that area, which is believed to be Tenasserim, the northern part of the Isthmus of Kra.  Based on archaeology, the or a center of Funan should be placed in Uthong, west central Thailand.  The best known, best researched port city of Funan was Oc-eo.  Both the Menam and the Mekong basins seem to have been part of Funan.  Our present knowledge rather sees the capital in the region of Angkor Borei, in southern Cambodia.  Only as late as the Tang (618-907) Temu is mentioned as the capital of Funan.  We do not know what these characters really mean.  Is this a phonetic rendering?  At that moment in time Sanskrit was widely used there.  It is not excluded that Temu is meant to be an interpretation of Vyādha(pura), but the first syllable was the Mon-Khmer word for water, a term often seen in Cambodian place names.  The term Vyādhapura is found only once in a pre-Angkor inscription, dated 655 A.D., located in Kompong Chan province.  There are many tenth century inscriptions mentioning Vyādhapura, apparently associating it with i.a. Angkor Borei.

Based on Chinese sources, the history of Funan may be divided in three periods:

1.Prehistory of rulers with the surname Hun.  2.  Rulers with the surname Fan, third century A.D..  3.  Three centuries during which Funan was increasingly indianized, to the point of using Sanskrit.  The end came early in the period Zhengguan 627-649, when power in Funan shifted to Zhenla.

 The first period is that of a founding legend, of which four versions are mentioned.  They all mention Hun Tian, the founder who served spirits, shi shen.  This Chinese expression often refers to what brāhmanas do.  ?iva may be such a spirit.  Hun Tian may ultimately have come from eastern India, or just “from overseas”.  He married a local lady, Liu Ye (willow-leaf), as she is called in Chinese.  After Hun Tian more rulers of the same family followed: Hun Pankuang, and Hun Panpan.  It is not possible to say how long this period has lasted.  The historical period may begin with Fan (shi)man, early third century.  He was a general of Hun Panpan, but he was made ruler of Funan, called Funan Dawang (Mahārāja).  He started a new dynasty of rulers called Fan.  He expanded the influence of Funan along the Gulf of Thailand, as far as Dunxun.  Fan Man was succeeded by the son of his eldest sister, Fan Zhan.  After more than ten years, Fan Man’s younger son, Fan Chang, killed Fan Zhan, but very soon Fan Xun, initially a general of Fan Zhan, killed Chang and became the new ruler.  Fan Zhan still ruled in 243 when he sent musicians and local produce to China.  The Chinese emperor Sun Quan (222-252) sent Kang Tai, who had the title Zhonglang, Gentleman of the Household, and also Zhu Ying called Xuanhua Congshi, Attendant propagating moral Culture, to Funan.  They reached Funan between 245-251 A.D., during the reign of Fan Xun.  Because of the surname Kang, Kang Tai probably was of the Sogdian origin.  In the first centuries in China, there were many Sogdians.  Best known is Kang Senghui, who was in China between 247 and 280.  It is possible that Kang Tai was appointed because Jiaozhou, where Kang Senghui came from, and the area beyond had many Sogdian traders involved in the trade between China and, ultimately, India.  Upon his return Kang Tai wrote the Funan Zhuan, now lost but often quoted.  Earlier Lü Dai who had pacified Jiaozhou in 226, and who was called back in 231, had sent envoys to Funan, Linyi, and Tangming.  Funan sent a first delegation to Wu in 225.  During the reign of Fan Zhan, a man from Tanyang, called Jiaxiang Li, who had gone to India and who then came to Funan, praised India and its riches.  Fan Zhan then sent a relative, Su Wu, to India.  He left from Tougouli, probably Takkola, i.e. Takua Pa in Thailand.  Sailing along the coast he reached the Ganges.  He travelled upstream and reached the land of a ?aka Murunda ruler.  The Indian ruler gave Su Wu four Yuezhi horses as a gift for the Funan ruler, and he also sent some people back with Su Wu.  The Indians were in Funan when Kang Tai was there, and they exchanged information.  This happened during the reign of Fan Xun.  Su Wu’s route along the Myanmar coast to India, to the Ganges, must have been quite common in the third century.  This route also allows for an overland road to Yunnan and Sichuan, to Shu. 

Later the ruler of Funan was called Kaundinya, Qiao Chenru.  He is said to have formerly been an Indian brāhmana.  The story goes that he had gone South to Panpan, i.e. the Bay of Bandon in Thailand, and from there to Funan.  This story shows that the rulers of Funan were now indianized, to the point of adopting the legend of the brāhmana Kaundinya and his marriage to the nāgī Somā, as their own.  A Kaundinya called Chilituobamo was ruling duringn the reign of the emperor Wen of the Liu Song, i.e. 424-453.  While the last part of the name certainly means – varman, the first part is not clear.  We are certain of a Kaundinya Jayavarman.  During his reign the monk Naqiexian returned from China and was robbed in Linyi.  Jayavarman sent him back to China in 484 to ask the Qi emperor for his support against Linyi.  In 503 Jayavarman sent a coral Buddhist image and local produce to emperor Wu of the Liang (502-557).  The history of the Liang mentions that in Funan they made bronze images of their celestial spirit, probably ?iva, Mahe?vara.  In 504 emperor Wu gave the title of “King of Funan, General, Pacifier of the South” to Jayavarman.  During the reign of Jayavarman, the Funanese monk Samghavarman, Sengqiepoluo, went to Jiankang (Nanjing), where he translated Buddhist texts from 506 till 520.  He was joined by another monk from Funan, Mandrasvana, Mantuoluoxian, who arrived in Jiankang in 503.  

Samghavarman translated the Vimuktimārga (T.XXXII 1648) in 515.  This text probably is of mahī?āsaka affiliation, but most of his translations are known as mahāyāna.  His A?okarājasūtra (T.L 2043) of 512 clearly fits in with the popularity of A?oka as a builder of stūpas in southern China.  The ancient king was used to propagate Buddhism in southern China.  Chinese tradition has it that a fourth daughter of A?oka made a Buddhist image.  It seems that the Indian situation in Andhra, where the rulers were ?aivites and the royal ladies

Buddhists, were transmitted to Funan.  This cultural phenomenon may have echos in China too.  Saüghavarman’s text about A?oka makes perfect sense in this context, even though it is not mahāyāna.  Mandrasvana’s translations were mahāsāmghika, mahāyāna too.  Emperor Wu established a Funan office, Funan Guan, in his capital, were the two monks worked. An important task of this office seems to have been translation work.  During the Qi, in 488, Saüghabhadra translated the Shanjian (Lü) Piposha, Samantapāsādikā (Vinaya) Vibhāùā, T.XXIV 1462.  Samghabhadra arrived in China via the maritime route.  This T.XXIV 1462 may be of mahī?āka affiliation.  Another Samghavarman, who was working in the southern Chinese capital and who came from the South (Funan?), is the translator of the Mi?rakābhidharmah?daya?āstra, T.XXVIII 1552.  He disappeared on his way back to the South.  It should always be remembered that some translations were made from texts which already were in China.  A translator did not necessarily bring the Indian original himself. 

Anyway, in the fifth and in the sixth centuries, Buddhism was prospering in Funan, and Sanskrit (and Prakrit) were widely used there.  Upon the death of Jayavarman in 514, he was succeeded by Rudravarman.  Relations with the Liang remained excellent.  In 539 he informed emperor Wu about a relic, Buddha’s hair twelve feet long, and the emperor sent the monk Yunbao to fetch it.  This is the last exchange we know about.  Funan ends when it is taken over by Zhenla.  Chinese sources do not mention a Funanese ruler after Rudravarman. 

They say that Zhenla originally was a vassal of Funan, and that its ruler was of a ksatriya family.  Its ruler ī?ānavarman, whose capital was ī?ānapura, i.e. Sambor Prei Kuk, sent an embassy to China in 616-617.  From this moment on Zhenla appears in Chinese sources. 

ī?ānavarman represented dynastic continuity from Rudravarman.  The Chinese may have recognised envoys from Zhenla as Funanese until the 630s.  There was an administrative continuity from Funan to Zhenla in the seventh century.  Funan gradually declined as the coastal route was replaced by direct sailing from Indonesia to China, bypassing Funan.  Funan apparently never was much more than a relay point, a stop on the way fom India to China.  Its Buddhism comes from southeastern India.  Funan did not develop its own typical Funan Buddhism.  This is also true for its Buddhist art.  There was no assimilation in depth, just borrowing.  The art was ultimately inspired by Mathurā and Amarāvatī.  The Malay Peninsula was seldom crossed.  Circumpeninsular navigation was the usual way.  We know of no Chinese pilgrim who crossed the Malay Peninsula.  Faxian (ca. 340-420) went to ?rī Lańka, and from there to the Andamans and on to Guangzhou.  He had obtained the mahī?āsaka vinaya in ?rī Lańka, but upon his return in China he first translated the mahāsāmghika vinaya, T.XXII 1425 in 416-418.  his experience in Central India, and especially on India’s eastern coast seem to have convinced him that this vinaya was most important.  It is furthermore said

that this vinaya is very old.  Yijing also circumnavigated the Malay Peninsula.  The oldest archaeological remains on the Malay Peninsula are the Visnu from Chaiya, in Panpan, ca. 400 A.D., and the Buddhist inscription on stone from southern Kedah, fifth century. 

Many votive stūpas were found in Langkasuka, i.e. the region of Pattani, especially the vicinity of Yarang.  A link with the caitika mahāsāmghikas may be suspected.  A bronze statue of Buddha was found in Narathiwat in Thailand, of Amarāvatī style, maybe sixth century.  A comparable image was found in Songkhla (seventh century),  artistically linked with Langkasuka, reminding one of Anurādhapura art.  Of all bodhisattvas Avalokite?vara is most represented.  In northwestern India, in Mathurā, he is a princely figure. Because he helps people cross the sea of samsāra, he is present on the maritime route.  His association with ?iva also explains his presence in southeastern Asia.  His association with Amitābha contrinuted to Amitābha’s popularity.  It is known that he developed female characteristics in China.  Nanhai (South Sea) Guanyin seems to be linked with Mazu, the Daoist deity. Is this an (the?) explanation of Avalokite?vara’s female traits?  Finally, the influence of ?rī Lańkā should not be exaggerated.  It is quite possible that no Pali text  was translated to Chinese.  It is mentioned that the first embassy from ?rī Lańkā to China arrived during the Yixi era (405-418) of the Jin, bringing a jade image and sūtras.  The voyage may have taken about ten years.

To Southern China

Even though there had been contacts between China and southeastern Asia ever since the first emperor of China, the Han dynasty’s contacts with India, and even with the Roman emperor, e.g. in 166 A.D., are better known.  Cultural influences really begin during the Eastern Han (25-220 A.D.), when Buddhism enters China, but not yet via the maritime route. In Luoyang there was a thriving Buddhist community, of which An Shigao was the central figure.  Many texts were translated and we see Chinese converts. Yan Fotiao was the first Chinese ?ramana. He was one of the organisers of the thriving monastic community in Luoyang in the second century.  This community was inspired by Buddhism from Central Asia, from Bactria and the Gandhāran area. It is not impossible that the dharmaguptaka vinaya was already present. But it is during the Wu (222-280), and especially during Sun Quan (222-252), that Buddhism entered southern China, both from the North and from the South.  The capital was Wuchang, i.e. Echeng in Hubei, until 229 and after that it was Jianye (Nanjing). Coming from the North was Zhi Qian, disciple of Zhi Liang. From the South came Kang Senghui in 247, of Sogdian descent, coming from Jiaozhou. He died in 280. His work belongs to the mahāsāmghika nikāya, and he can be called mahāyāna.  The Buddhism which came from Luoyang was not only mahāsāmghika, but also sarvāstivāda (sautrāntika), and possibly dharmaguptaka. Amitābha’s paradise entered China through central Asia, possibly from Bactria, not via the maritime route.  Sun Quan builds the first Buddhist temple, the Jianchu Si for Kang Senghui. Budhism during Han had been seen as an addition to existing cultural life, and as an addition to Daoism and to Confucian beliefs. Wu Hung has convincingly explained that the sites of Kongwang Shan in northern Jiangsu province, and the cave-tomb at Mahao in Sichuan province show that during the Eastern Han Buddha was seen as a foreign god who had obtained immortality, just as any Chinese immortal.  He was linked with the images of Dong Wanggong and Xi Wangmu.  The powers of an arhat were very similar to those of a Daoist immortal.  This coincides with the popularity of the Daoist school of immortality, shenxian jia during the Han. This way of incorporating Buddhism was popular in Sichuan, with its strong Daoist culture, and also in southern China. When we see that in the North Amitābha is Emituo, in the South he becomes known as Wuliangshou, Amitāyus. His paradise and the paradise of immortals are linked.  Wu Hung has clearly shown this in his explanation of hunping (soul-jars) of the Wu.  Hunping is a dwelling place for the soul of the dead. On top is a pavilion representing the paradise of the departed soul.  It is believed that a prototype of the hunping is the wuhuping (five-spouted jar), used in the Wu-Yue area during the late Han and early Wu.  So, the presence of Amitābha in the South can be explained as coming from the North, but adapted to local Daoist belief.  Amitābha did not enter via a maritime route.  As for vinaya, one now agrees that the tradition attributing translations of dharmaguptaka karmavācanā to the third century, is inaccurate.  But for every inaccuracy there is an explanation.  Later popularity of this vinaya may be one explanation.  One may also consider the fact that the color of the kāsāya in China is dark red (lohita), already in Han times.  This color is associated with the dharmaguptaka’s.  Mouzi’s Li Huo Lun, as preserved Sengyou’s Hongming Ji (between 515-518), T.LII 2102, describes such outward appearance of monks.  Mouzi was a Chinese convert from Jiaozhi, Tonking.  His text may date from the middle of the third century, certainly not later than the fourth century.  The vinaya in southern China did not come via the maritime route either, but from the northern Luoyang “church”.  In the field of art, Buddhist images, we do not see influence of Buddhist iconometry, tālamāna.  Buddha is represented as any Chinese sage, but with some foreign characteristics, such as the halo (prabhā), the usnīsa and mudrā, especially the abhaya (fearlessness) mudrā.  His Han representation reflects random borrowing of Buddhist elements.  The oldest documented representation of Buddha is mentioned in Wu Zhi, Liu You Zhuan, compiled by Chen Shou (233-297).  It is recorded that in 193-194 a shrine was built an an figure of bronze was made.  The first reference of an image of Amitāyus is found in Huijiao’s Gaoseng Zhuan of the sixth century, in the biography of Zhu Fakuang (327-402), of Indian descent.  The image was made by Zhu Daolin, and Zhu Fakuang had a temple built for it.  The first ?rī Lańkan image, a jade Buddha, arrived during the years 405-418, and was placed in the Waguan temple.  This important temple outside the southern capital was founded on the advice of Huili in the 360’s.  It housed many pieces of art, such as a portrait of Vimalakīrti by Gu Kaizhi (346-407).  Sources often mention an image of sixteen feet, or of eighteen feet, during Jin-Liu Song.  The first canonical source for a Buddha of this size is the Chinese Dīrghāgama, the work of Buddhaya?as and Zhu Fonian in 413 in Chang’an, i.e. T.I 1 Chang Ehan Jing Mahāpadāna.  There it is mentioned that Buddha’s height is double that of a person.  So, both sixteen and eighteen feet are possible.  Around the same time, the height of the Tathāgata is mentioned in T.XII 365 Guan Wuliangshou Fo Jing, translated by Kālaya?as early during the Liu Song (420-479) in the South.  There it is mentioned that Amitābha (both Amitābha and Amitāyus are used in the text) is sixteen or eighteen feet high when small, but that he fills the sky when tall.  Amitāyus seems to have been quite popular in the South during the Liu Song-Qi (420-502).  Dai Kui, the most distinguished sculptor of his time (fourth century) made a wooden image of Amitāyus of sixteen feet.  Also Avalokite?vara was popular in the South.  He probably originated in the Gandhāran cultural area, in Bactria.  He was also present along the maritime route, as a “Buddhist” ?iva.  He develops female characteristics in southern China, from the fifth century on.  His paradise, Potalaka, became located on Putuo Shan in Zhejiang province.  Maitreya did not go South in the early centuries A.D..  He was popular in the North.  He inspired sautrāntika yogācāra, coming from the Gandhāran cultural area.

Bibliography

Acker, William R.B..  1974.  Some T’ang and Pre-T’ang Texts on Chinese Painting.  Vol. 2.  Sinica Leidensia 12.  Leiden: Brill.

Chen, Jiarong.  2003.  Southeast Asia before the Seventh Century: Studies on the Chinese Sources.  Hong Kong: Centre of Asian Studies of the University of Hong Kong.

Huang, Chanhua.  1980.  In Zhongguo Fojiao.  Vol. 1.  Compiled by Chinese Buddhist Association.  Beijing: Zhishi Chubanshe.

Jacq-Hergoualc’h, Michel.  2002.  The Malay Peninsula.  Crossroads of the Maritime Silk Road (100 BC-1300 AD) (Transl. V. Hobson).  Handbook of Oriental Studies, Section 3 South-East Asia, Vol. 13.  Leiden: Brill.

Soper, Alexander Coburn.  1959.  Literary Evidence for Early Buddhist Art in China.  Ascona (Switzerland): Artibus Asiae Publishers.

Vickery, Michael.  2003-2004.  “Funan Reviewed: Deconstructing the Ancients”.  Bulletin de l’école Fran?aise d’éxtrême-Orient 90-91: 101-143.

Wu, Hung.  1986.  “Buddhist Elements in Early Chinese Art.  (2nd and 3rd Centuries A.D.)”.  Artibus Asiae 47: 263-316.

 

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