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Eschatology and Messianism in Early Chinese Buddhism [11]

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the combination of eschatology and messianism in early Chinese Buddhism and deals with a particular type of what may be called "Buddho-Daoist hybridization". The basic assumption underlying the Daoist belief in cosmic crises is the cyclical conception of time: the idea that the physical universe passes through a number of longer and shorter cycles of different length that take place at the same time. One of the most interesting developments in the digestion and transformation of such themes concerns the Chinese speculations about the beginning of the mofa - the final stage of degeneration in which the way of salvation would disappear altogether. The chapter gives a more detailed analysis and summary of the Shouluo jing, focuses on the main themes of Buddho-Daoist eschatology and shows how they appear in this apocalyptic text, with some additions taken from the "Sūtra of Samantabhadra".

Keywords: Buddho-Daoist hybridization; early Chinese Buddhism; eschatology; messianism; mofa; Sūtra of Samantabhadra; Shouluo jing



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