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Yuqie Yankou In The Ming-Qing

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Chapter Summary

Writing in the late Ming, the revivalist monk Yunqi Zhuhong simultaneously lamented and acclaimed the Yuqie yankou as the only vestige of the Tang esoteric masters to survive the vicissitudes of time. That practice of the Yankou ritual was widespread and common by the beginning of the Ming dynasty is clear from a 1382 edict of the Hongwu emperor, which revised a tripartite classification of Buddhist monastics that was already in place in the Song. Available evidence suggests that in the Ming-Qing period monks from different traditions were redacting and editing Yankou liturgies. Since the Yankou is considered the main esoteric ritual in Chinese Buddhism from the late imperial period on, this chapter concludes with a few observations regarding the content and structure of the Yankou, thus providing a window into what Ming-Qing Buddhists saw as a paradigmatic esoteric ritual.

Keywords: Chinese Buddhism; Ming-Qing period; Yuqie yankou

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