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A Man Of Many Faces: Fazang'S Life Reconstructed, I

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Chapter Summary

In framing Fazang’s life, it is convenient to devote a chapter to the pre-700 period and one to the post-700 period, not only because his life covers two centuries—the seventh and eighth, but also in view of the fact that 699 marks the completion of a new translation of the Avataṃ-saka sūtra, a text whose importance for Fazang’s career can never be exaggerated. Here we look at the first part, with the years 670 and 690 as turning points. In 670 he entered the saga, and in 690 Empress Wu founded her own dynasty, a watershed not only in Chinese history but also in the personal lives of the empress and Fazang. The second part of his life represents his influential position in China’s political and religious centers.

Keywords: China; Fazang



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