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Esoteric Buddhism In Sichuan During The Tang And Five Dynasties Period

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Chapter Summary

In reconstructing the history of esoteric Buddhism in Sichuan from the pre-Song period, it is forced to rely on archaeological evidence, in particular Buddhist art and data gleaned from the surviving epigraphical material carved on stone or metal. The esoteric Buddhist art that developed in Yunnan under the Nanzhao was essentially derived from Chinese Buddhism. A survey of old temple sites and locations with Buddhist sculptures reveals that since the early eighth century cults devoted to esoteric Buddhist forms of Avalokiteśvara were both widespread and popular in the eastern part of Sichuan. During the second half of the ninth century the thaumaturge and adept of esoteric Buddhist practices Liu Benzun made his advent in the area of Guanghan just to the north of Yizhou. Towards the end of the Tang a local esoteric Buddhist tradition sprang up around the thaumaturge Liu Benzun in the area around the provincial capital.

Keywords: esoteric Buddhism in Sichuan; esoteric buddhist cults; Liu Benzun; Tang China; thaumaturge

10.1163/ej.9789004184916.i-1200.151
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