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Chinese Esoteric Buddhism (Tang Tantrism) Wang, Xing Nov 16, 2018

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Poll: Religious Group (v6) Published on: 16 November 2018Date Range: 716 CE - 900 CERegion: Western ShanxiRegion tags: Asia, East AsiaWestern ShanxiChinese Esoteric Buddhism (Tang Tantrism)By Xing Wang, Fudan University/University of OxfordEntry tags: Religion, Buddhist Traditions, Chinese Buddhist Traditions, Tantric school (mi zong 密宗 or mijiao 密教)Tantra/Esoteric Buddhism that has spread in Tang China and was transmitted to Japan during the sameperiod. Three Indian Tantric masters Śubhakarasiṃha (善無畏), Vajrabodhi (金剛智) and Amoghavajra (不空),brought the Esoteric Buddhist (later known in Japan as Zhenyan 真言, "true word", "mantra") tradition from716 to 720 during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong of Tang. This tradition highly depended on mandalas,mantras, mudras, abhiṣekas, and deity yoga, containing magical rituals, spells, and other elements alsoseen in other early Indian religions. Gradually this tradition died out in China after the destruction ofBuddhism during the Wuzong period (846).Status of Participants:✓ Elite ✓ Religious SpecialistsSourcesPrint sources for understanding this subject:Notes: Payne, Richard K. (2006). Tantric Buddhism in East Asia. Wisdom Publications.Relevant online primary textual corpora (original languages and/or translations):General VariablesSource 1: Robert Sharf. "Lun Hanchuan mijiao 论汉传密教" [On Chinese Esoteric Buddhism], trans. ZhangLinghui 张凌晖, in Hewei mijiao? Guanyu mijiao de dingyi, xiuxi, fuhao he lishi de quanshi yu zhenglun 何谓密教?关于密教的定义、修习、符号和历史的诠释与争论 [What is Esoterism? On the Interpretation andControversy over the Definition, Practice, Semiology, and Historiography of Esoterism], edited by ShenWeirong 沈卫荣 (Beijing: Zhongguo zang xue, 2013), pp. 114-142.—Source 2: Yael Bentor and Meir Shahar. Chinese and Tibetan Esoteric Buddhism. Leiden: Brill. 2017.—Source 3: Orzech, Charles D. (general editor) (2011). Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia. Brill.—Source 1 URL: http://tripitaka.cbeta.org/mobile/index.php?index=T—Source 1 Description: Chinese Tripitaka collection which contain major scriptures and sources on Tangtantrism.—DOI: URL: https://religiondatabase.org/browse/639This work is licensed under the Creative CommonsAttribution 4.0 International license.Please see our Terms of Use here:https://religiondatabase.org/about/creditsPage 1 of 24© 2018 Database of Religious History.The University of British Columbia.For any questions contactproject.manager@religiondatabase.orgMembership/Group InteractionsAre other religious groups in cultural contact with target religion:Does the religious group have a general process/system for assigning religious affiliation:Does the religious group actively proselytize and recruit new members:Does the religion have official political supportAnswer 'yes' also in cases where the religious and political spheres are not distinguished from oneanother, but the religious group's activities are tied up with, and supported by, the functioning of thesociety at large.Yes—Yes—Assigned at birth (membership is default for this society):No—Assigned by personal choice:Yes—Assigned by class:No—Assigned at a specific age:No—Assigned by gender:Yes—Assigned by participation in a particular ritual:Yes—Assigned by some other factor:Yes [specify]: Level of cultivation verified by the masters.—Yes—Yes—Wang, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 2 of 24Is there a conception of apostasy in the religious group:Size and StructureNumber of adherents of religious group within sample region (estimated population,numerical):Number of adherents of religious group within sample region (% of sample regionpopulation, numerical):ScriptureDoes the religious group have scriptures:Scripture is a generic term used to designate revered texts that are considered particularly authoritativeand sacred relative to other texts. Strictly speaking, it refers to written texts, but there are also “oralscriptures” (e.g. the Vedas of India).Yes—Are apostates prosecuted or punished:No—Field doesn't know—Field doesn't know—Yes—Are they written:Yes—Are they oral:Yes—Is there a story (or a set of stories) associated with the origin of scripture:Yes—Revealed by a high god:Yes—Revealed by other supernatural being:Yes—Wang, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 3 of 24Architecture, GeographyIs monumental religious architecture present:Are there different types of religious monumental architecture:Inspired by high god:Yes—Inspired by other supernatural being:Yes—Originated from divine or semi-divine human beings:Yes—Originated from non-divine human being:Yes—Are the scriptures alterable:Field doesn't know—Are there formal institutions (i.e. institutions that are authorized by the religiouscommunity or political leaders) for interpreting the scriptures:Yes—Can interpretation also take place outside these institutions:Yes—Is there a select group of people trained in transmitting the scriptures:Yes—Is there a codified canon of scriptures:Yes—Yes—Yes—Cemeteries:Wang, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 4 of 24Is iconography present:BeliefsBurial and AfterlifeIs a spirit-body distinction present:Answer “no” only if personhood (or consciousness) is extinguished with death of the physical body.Answering yes does not necessarily imply the existence of Cartesian mind/body dualism, merely thatsome element of personhood (or consciousness) survives the death of the body.Belief in afterlife:Reincarnation in this world:Are there special treatments for adherents' corpses:Yes—Temples:Yes—Altars:Yes—Yes—Where is iconography present [select all that apply]:At home—Only religious public space—All public spaces—Yes—Spirit-mind is conceived of as having qualitatively different powers or properties thanother body parts:I don't know—Yes—Yes—Yes—Wang, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 5 of 24Are co-sacrifices present in tomb/burial:Are grave goods present:Are formal burials present:Supernatural BeingsAre supernatural beings present:No—Yes—Personal effects:Yes—Valuable items:Yes—Significant wealth (e.g. gold, jade, intensely worked objects):Yes—Some wealth (some valuable or useful objects interred):Yes—Other valuable/precious items interred:Yes [specify]: Buddhist treasures and ornaments.—Other grave goods:Yes—Yes—Yes—A supreme high god is present:Yes—Previously human spirits are present:Wang, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 6 of 24Supernatural MonitoringIs supernatural monitoring present:This refers to surveillance by supernatural beings of humans’ behaviour and/or thought particularly as itrelates to social norms or potential norm violations.Yes—Non-human supernatural beings are present:Yes—Does the religious group possess a variety of supernatural beings:Yes—Yes—There is supernatural monitoring of prosocial norm adherence in particular:Prosocial norms are norms that enhance cooperation among members of the group, includingobviously “moral” or “ethical” norms, but also extending to norms concerning honouring contractsand oaths, providing hospitality, coming to mutual aid in emergencies, etc.Yes—Supernatural beings care about taboos:Yes—Food:Yes—Sacred space(s):Yes—Sacred object(s):Yes—Supernatural beings care about other:Yes [specify]: Morality of the adherents—Supernatural beings care about murder of coreligionists:Wang, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 7 of 24Yes—Supernatural beings care about murder of members of other religions:Yes—Supernatural beings care about murder of members of other polities:Yes—Supernatural beings care about sex:Yes—Adultery:Yes—Incest:Yes—Other sexual practices:Yes [specify]: Homosexualitys and impure sexual misconduct of monks.—Supernatural beings care about lying:Yes—Supernatural beings care about honouring oaths:Yes—Supernatural beings care about laziness:Yes—Supernatural beings care about sorcery:Yes—Supernatural beings care about non-lethal fighting:Field doesn't know—Supernatural beings care about shirking risk:Wang, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 8 of 24Do supernatural beings mete out punishment:Field doesn't know—Supernatural beings care about disrespecting elders:Field doesn't know—Supernatural beings care about gossiping:Field doesn't know—Supernatural beings care about property crimes:Yes—Supernatural beings care about proper ritual observance:Yes—Supernatural beings care about performance of rituals:Yes—Supernatural beings care about conversion of non-religionists:Yes—Supernatural beings care about economic fairness:Yes—Supernatural beings care about personal hygiene:Yes—Supernatural beings care about other:Field doesn't know—Yes—Is the cause or agent of supernatural punishment known:Yes—Done only by high god:Wang, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 9 of 24No—Done by many supernatural beings:Yes—Done through impersonal cause-effect principle:Yes—Done by other entities or through other means [specify]Yes—Is the reason for supernatural punishment known:Yes—Done to enforce religious ritual-devotional adherence:Yes—Done to enforce group norms:Yes—Done to inhibit selfishness:Yes—Done randomly:No—Other [specify]No—Supernatural punishments are meted out in the afterlife:Yes—Supernatural punishments in the afterlife are highly emphasized by thereligious group:Yes—Wang, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 10 of 24Punishment in the afterlife consists of mild sensory displeasure:Yes—Punishment in the afterlife consists of extreme sensory displeasure:Yes—Punishment in the afterlife consists of reincarnation as an inferior life form:Yes—Punishment in the afterlife consists of reincarnation in an inferior realm:Yes—Other [specify]Yes—Supernatural punishments are meted out in this lifetime:Yes—Supernatural punishments in this life are highly emphasized by the religiousgroup:Yes—Punishment in this life consists of bad luck:Yes—Punishment in this life consists of political failure:Yes—Punishment in this life consists of defeat in battle:Field doesn't know—Punishment in this life consists of crop failure or bad weather:Yes—Punishment in this life consists of disaster on journeys.Yes—Wang, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 11 of 24Do supernatural beings bestow rewards:Punishment in this life consists of mild sensory displeasure:Yes—Punishment in this life consists of extreme sensory displeasure:Yes—Punishment in this life consists of sickness or illness:Yes—Punishment in this life consists of impaired reproduction:Yes—Punishment in this life consists of bad luck visited on descendants:Yes—Other [specify]Yes—Yes—Is the cause/purpose of supernatural rewards known:Yes—Done only by high god:No—Done by many supernatural beings:Yes—Done through impersonal cause-effect principle:Yes—Done to enforce religious ritual-devotional adherence:Yes—Wang, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 12 of 24Done to enforce group norms:Yes—Done to inhibit selfishness:Yes—Done randomly:No—Supernatural rewards are bestowed out in the afterlife:Yes—Supernatural rewards in the afterlife are highly emphasized by the religiousgroup:Yes—Reward in the afterlife consists of mild sensory pleasure:Yes—Reward in the afterlife consists of extreme sensory pleasure:Yes—Reward in the afterlife consists of eternal happiness:No—Reward in the afterlife consists of reincarnation as a superior life form:Yes—Reward in the afterlife consists of reincarnation in a superior realm:Yes—Other [specify]Yes—Supernatural rewards are bestowed out in this lifetime:Yes—Wang, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 13 of 24Supernatural rewards in this life are highly emphasized by the religious group:Yes—Reward in this life consists of good luck:Yes—Reward in this life consists of political success or power:Yes—Reward in this life consists of success in battle:Yes—Reward in this life consists of peace or social stability:Yes—Reward in this life consists of healthy crops or good weather:Yes—Reward in this life consists of success on journeys:Yes—Reward in this life consists of mild sensory pleasure:Yes—Reward in this life consists of extreme sensory pleasure:Yes—Reward in this life consists of enhanced health:Yes—Reward in this life consists of enhanced reproductive success:Yes—Reward in this life consists of fortune visited on descendants:Yes—Wang, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 14 of 24Messianism/EschatologyAre messianic beliefs present:Norms and Moral RealismAre general social norms prescribed by the religious group:Is there a conventional vs. moral distinction in the religious group:Other [specify]Yes—Yes—Yes—Yes—What is the nature of this distinction:Present (but not emphasized)—Are specifically moral norms prescribed by the religious group:Yes—Specifically moral norms are implicitly linked to vague metaphysical concepts:No—Specifically moral norms are explicitly linked to vague metaphysical entities:Yes—Specifically moral norms are linked to impersonal cosmic order (e.g. karma):Yes—Specifically moral norms are linked in some way to an anthropomorphicbeing:Yes—Specifically moral norms are linked explicitly to commands ofanthropomorphic being:Wang, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 15 of 24Are there centrally important virtues advocated by the religious group:Virtues here are normatively-desirable, internalized habits, dispositions or behavioral ideals.PracticesMembership Costs and PracticesDoes membership in this religious group require celibacy (full sexual abstinence):Notes: Only for the monks.Does membership in this religious group require constraints on sexual activity (partial sexualabstinence):Does membership in this religious group require castration:Does membership in this religious group require fasting:Notes: In specific cases, not as a strict dorctrine.Does membership in this religious group require forgone food opportunities (taboos ondesired foods):Notes: Vagetarianism is prefered ans highly praised.Does membership in this religious group require permanent scarring or painful bodilyYes—Specifically moral norms are have no special connection to metaphysical:No—Moral norms apply to:Only specialized religious class—Only one gender—Yes—Yes—Yes—No—Yes—Yes—Wang, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 16 of 24alterations:Does membership in this religious group require painful physical positions or transitorypainful wounds:Does membership in this religious group require sacrifice of adults:"Adults" here referring to an emic or indigenous category; if that category is different from the popularWestern definition of a human who is 18-years-old or older and who is legally responsible for his/heractions, then please specify that difference in the Comments/Sources: box below.Does membership in this religious group require sacrifice of children:"Children" here referring to an emic or indigenous category; if that category is different from the popularWestern definition, please specify that different in the Comments/Sources: box below.Does membership in this religious group require self-sacrifice (suicide):Notes: Not required but happened to devout masters and practitioners.Does membership in this religious group require sacrifice of property/valuable items:Does membership in this religious group require sacrifice of time (e.g., attendance atmeetings or services, regular prayer, etc.):Does membership in this religious group require physical risk taking:Does membership in this religious group require accepting ethical precepts:Does membership in this religious group require marginalization by out-group members:No—No—No—No—Yes—Yes—Yes—No—Yes—No—Wang, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 17 of 24Does membership in this religious group require participation in small-scale rituals (private,household):Does membership in this religious group require participation in large-scale rituals:I.e. involving two or more households; includes large-scale “ceremonies” and “festivals.”Are extra-ritual in-group markers present:E.g. special changes to appearance such as circumcision, tattoos, scarification, etc.Yes—Yes—On average, for large-scale rituals how many participants gather in one location:Field doesn't know—Are there orthodoxy checks:Orthodoxy checks are mechanisms used to ensure that rituals are interpreted in a standardizedway, e.g. through the supervisory prominence of a professionalized priesthood or other system ofgovernance, appeal to texts detailing the proper interpretation, etc.Yes—Are there orthopraxy checks:Orthopraxy checks are mechanisms used to ensure that rituals are performed in a standardizedway, e.g. through the supervisory prominence of a professionalized priesthood or other system ofgovernance, appeal to texts detailing the proper procedure, etc.Yes—Does participation entail synchronic practices:Yes—Is there use of intoxicants:No—Yes—Tattoos/scarification:No—Circumcision:No—Wang, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 18 of 24Does the group employ fictive kinship terminology:Society and InstitutionsLevels of Social ComplexityThe society to which the religious group belongs is best characterized as (please chooseone):This question refers to the wider society in which the religious group is located.WelfareDoes the religious group in question provide institutionalized famine relief:Is famine relief available to the group's adherents through an institution(s) other than thereligious group in question:Does the religious group in question provide institutionalized poverty relief:Food taboos:Yes—Hair:Yes—Dress:Yes—Ornaments:Yes—Archaic ritual language:Yes—Field doesn't know—A state—No—Field doesn't know—No—Wang, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 19 of 24Is poverty relief available to the group's adherents through an institution(s) other than thereligious group in question:Does the religious group in question provide institutionalized care for the elderly and infirm:Is institutionalized care for the elderly and infirm available to the group's adherents throughan institution(s) other than the religious group in question:EducationDoes the religious group provide formal education to its adherents:Is formal education available to the group’s adherents through an institution(s) other thanthe religious group:BureaucracyDo the group’s adherents interact with a formal bureaucracy within their group:Do the group’s adherents interact with other institutional bureaucracies:Public WorksDoes the religious group in question provide public food storage:Is public food storage provided to the group’s adherents by an institution(s) other than thereligious group in question:Does the religious group in question provide water management (irrigation, flood control):Yes—No—No—Yes—Yes—Yes—Yes—Yes—Yes—Wang, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 20 of 24Is water management provided to the group’s adherents by an institution(s) other than thereligious group in question:Does the religious group in question provide transportation infrastructure:Is transportation infrastructure provided for the group’s adherents by an institution(s) otherthan the religious group in question:TaxationDoes the religious group in question levy taxes or tithes:Are taxes levied on the group’s adherents by an institution(s) other than the religious group inquestion:EnforcementDoes the religious group in question provide an institutionalized police force:Do the group’s adherents interact with an institutionalized police force provided by aninstitution(s) other than the religious group in question:Does the religious group in question provide institutionalized judges:Do the group’s adherents interact with an institutionalized judicial system provided by an aninstitution(s) other than the religious group in question:No—No—No—No—Yes—No—No—No—Yes—Yes—Wang, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 21 of 24Does the religious group in question enforce institutionalized punishment:Are the group’s adherents subject to institutionalized punishment enforced by aninstitution(s) other than the religious group in question:Yes—Do the institutionalized punishments include execution:No—Do the institutionalized punishments include exile:Yes—Do the institutionalized punishments include corporal punishments:No—Do the institutionalized punishments include ostracism:No—Do the institutionalized punishments include seizure of property:Yes—Yes—Do the institutionalized punishments include execution:No—Do the institutionalized punishments include exile:Yes—Do the institutionalized punishments include corporal punishments:No—Do the institutionalized punishments include ostracism:No—Do the institutionalized punishments include seizure of property:Yes—Wang, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 22 of 24Does the religious group in question have a formal legal code:Are the group’s adherents subject to a formal legal code provided by institution(s) other thanthe religious group in question:WarfareDoes religious group in question possess an institutionalized military:Do the group’s adherents participate in an institutionalized military provided byinstitution(s) other than the religious group in question:Are the group’s adherents protected by or subject to an institutionalized military providedby an institution(s) other than the religious group in question:Written LanguageDoes the religious group in question possess its own distinct written language:Is a non-religion-specific written language available to the group’s adherents through aninstitution(s) other than the religious group in question:Is a non-religion-specific written language used by the group’s adherents through aninstitution(s) other than the religious group in question:CalendarYes—Yes—No—No—No—Yes—Is use of this distinct written language confined to religious professionals:Yes—Yes—Field doesn't know—Wang, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 23 of 24Does the religious group in question possess a formal calendar:Is a formal calendar provided for the group’s adherents by an institution(s) other than thereligious group in question:Food ProductionDoes the religious group in question provide food for themselves:Is food provided to the group’s adherents by an institution(s) other than the religious groupin question:Yes—Yes—Yes—Please characterize the forms/level of food production [choose all that apply]:Large-scale agriculture (e.g., monocropping, organized irrigation systems)—Yes—Please characterize the forms/levels of food production [choose all that apply]:Large-scale agriculture (e.g., monocropping, organized irrigation systems)—Wang, Database of Religious History, 2018 Page 24 of 24

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