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
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
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
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.
Mañjuśrī; Dhāraṇi; Dhāraṇi Pillars; Buddha-pali;