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Esoteric Buddhism Under The Xixia (1038–1227)

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses esoteric Buddhism under the Xia. The Indo-Tibetan innovations of the eleventh and twelfth centuries were grafted onto a bedrock formed by the Tang Buddhist legacy to North China, comprising already established modes of popular esoteric Buddhism and shared by Tanguts, Khitans, and Jurchens. Over 80 percent of the Tangut and Chinese texts recovered from Khara Khoto are Buddhist in content, among which by Shen Weirong's count are about 283 more or less whole works. The Hexi canon counted some 3,620 rolls of texts, close to the figure cited above as having been translated by the end of the eleventh century. Monks whose names and titles appear regularly in the Khara Khoto collection as translators of works from Tibetan or Sanskrit into Tangut and Chinese, or as authors of original compositions, feature prominent figures, all resident Tanguts or Chinese.

Keywords: Chinese texts; esoteric Buddhism; Hexi canon; monk translators; Tangut Buddhism; Xia

10.1163/ej.9789004184916.i-1200.197
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