White-robed, Humanities

"White-robed [lay persons] will assume high seats [hitherto reserved for monks], while monks will stand on the ground. [Their position] will be no different from that [stipulated] in the regulations for soldiers and slaves. [You] should know that at that time the extinction of the teaching will not be long [off]." ("The Scripture for Humane Kings")

Speaker: Hui Yuan, gentry Buddhist

Subject: On issues that reflect the greatest anxieties of the people that produce greatest contention.

Occasion: As Buddhism first introduced into China, monks need not follow Chinese etiquette. As more Buddhist monks increased, became problem. Emperor did not/could not decide what to do.

Purpose: An example of finding a middle ground between Buddhism and Chinese culture. To Buddhist monks, they already led a life far removed from ordinary men. So it was decided that they could not expected to go through the outward signs of obeisance. Thus, monks need not bow before the king/emperor.

General Time: 4th century C.E. Speaker: Buddha

Subject: Addresses the gradual disappearance of dharma. Outward signs no longer referred to inward characteristics.

Occasion: Buddhism needs to be open to radical change. So fit Buddhism to the doctrine of the state= kings must play pivotal role as source of salvation.

Purpose: Monks insist on autonomy of their temples. But rulers gained greater authority and significance in this age of Mo Fa. This is another way to get monks to pull back from worldly values, keep them in isolation, and cut back the growing power of the monasteries.

General Time: 5th century C.E.

Posted Date: 2/28/2013 2:05:58 AM | Location : United States

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