唐代《佛頂尊勝陀羅尼經》的譯傳與信仰
The Translation and Popularization of Buddhoṣṇīṣavijayadhāraṇī Sūtra in T’ang Dynasty
林韻柔 (Yun-jo Lin)
 

  Buddhoṣṇīṣavijayadhāraṇī Sūtra (Fo-ting tsun-sheng t’o-lo-ni ching《佛頂尊勝陀羅尼經》) was once a popular Buddhist scripture during the T’ang Dynasty. The most important feature of this scripture is that it claims to save and assist not only the living but also the dead. Of all the translated versions of this scripture, the Buddha-pali (佛陀波利) translation was the most popular. Based on the writer’s observation, there is no direct relationship between Buddha-pali’s translation and the official Du translation or the Divākara (地婆訶羅) version. In the preamble of this translation, written by Zhì-Jìng (志靜), it is stated that Buddha-pali went to Wutai Shan (五臺山, Mount Wutai) and was inspired by Mañjuśrī (文殊) the chief deity of Mount Wutai. He then requested that the Sanskrit version of this scripture be introduced to China so that it could be translated as well as circulated in the T’ang. Regarding the reported divine miracle that Buddha-pali entered the Jin Gang cave (金剛窟, the Vajra Cave), the writer contends that it would not show how the Buddhoṣṇīṣavijayadhāraṇī Sūtra was actually introduced to China during the T’ang. However, the reporting of the event that Buddha-pali experienced, when he received Mañjuśrī’s grace, helped to spread the Buddhoṣṇīṣavijayadhāraṇī Sūtra after the time of the T’ang emperor Tai-tsung (762-779). This popularity was made possible partly due to its function of assisting the living and the dead as well as its connection with faith and devotion related to Mount Wutai. These two factors worked together to aid the spread of this scripture.  

  The Buddhoṣṇīṣavijayadhāraṇī Sūtra has increased its influence since the reign of the T’ang emperor Hsuan-tsung (712-755), when there was a transformation in the relationship between religion and the state, and the adaptation of religiosity to the demands of the society, as well as the rise of devotional practices surrounding Mount Wutai. The development and circulation of this scripture resulted from the fact that the functions as well as devotional practices derived from its content, accorded with the society’s demand as well as changes in faith at that time.

  The writer has examined related literature and found that the Buddhoṣṇīṣavijayadhāraṇī Sūtra started to spread widely beginning in the Emperor Hsuan-tsung’s time. Transcription and chanting of the Dhāraṇi from the scripture was the primary devotional practice relating to this scripture. The erection of Buddhist Dhāraṇi pillars (ching-ch’uang 經幢), which is a type of Buddhist sculpture, had not become the most important devotional practice relating to this scripture until its wider circulation in a later period. The large number of Buddhist Dhāraṇi pillars started to appear because of the emphasis of merit gained through erecting Buddhist Dhāraṇi pillars, as reported in the scripture. The scripture began to be connected with devotional practices related to the sacred Mount Wutai after the Emperor Tai-tsung.

  The translation and popularization of the Buddhoṣṇīṣavijayadhāraṇī Sūtra, and the development of practices surrounding the scripture in T’ang Dynasty reflected the changes in the relationship between religion and the state, social structures, and the masses’ thinking in late T’ang Dynasty. Those changes in turn affected the demands that Buddhist practitioners’ made on their faith. This observation also illustrates that the development of Buddhism was connected to social changes.

Keywords:

Mañjuśrī; Dhāraṇi; Dhāraṇi Pillars; Buddha-pali;
Wutai Shan