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Full Access Esoteric Buddhism and the Cross-cultural Transfiguration of Śūraṃgama-sūtra Faith in Goryeo

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Esoteric Buddhism and the Cross-cultural Transfiguration of Śūraṃgama-sūtra Faith in Goryeo

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This paper presents an investigation into cross-cultural transfiguration of Buddhist faith in Goryeo Dynasty, with a focus on Śūraṃgama-sūtra that used to be in vogue in East Asia. There are three major types of Śūraṃgamasūtra faith in Goryeo: the first one was concerned about the scripture itself including its citation and publication and the compilation of its annotation books; the second one involved establishing Buddhist rituals related to the scripture; and the final one was to create Dhāranī stone poles with Dafoding Dhāranī in Volume 7 of the scripture engraved in stone. While it was the common practice to engrave Zunsheng Dhāranī in China, the number of stone poles on which Dafoding Dhāranī was engraved was overwhelmingly large. There are a couple of reasons behind the difference: first, there was a tendency of Zunsheng Dhāranī being worshiped at the national level in Goryeo, which probably explains why the percentage of Zunsheng Dhāranī stone poles designed to pray for a personal mass for the dead by engraving Dhāranī on a stone pole was considerably low. In addition, there were esoteric sects in Goryeo, and it is estimated that they must have got involved in the establishment of Dafoding Dhāranī stone poles in the former half of Goryeo. Furthermore, the Zen sects had a deep non-Zen understanding of Esoteric Buddhism and tended to practice Dhāranī in Goryeo. It is estimated that Dafoding Dhāranī stone poles were set up in large numbers in Goryeo as the prevalence of Śūraṃgama-sūtra faith that continued on since the former half of Goryeo was combined with the Zen sects' active position about Dhāranī.

Affiliations: 1: University of Southern California


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