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The seventh austerity in Liu Benzun tableau (Liu Benzun shilian ku 柳本尊十煉窟), Pilu dong 毗廬洞 Anderl, Christoph


The cluster of statues and inscriptions depicting Liu Benzun's seventh austerity in the Liu Benzun tableau (Liu Benzun shilian ku 柳本尊十煉窟) in Pilu cave (Pilu dong 毗盧洞), Anyue xian 安岳縣, Sichuan sheng 四川省. The seventh austerity is refining the crown of the head by fire (Ch. diqi lianding 第七煉頂). Photo [3] shows Liu Benzun sitting in meditation while a flame is burning on the top of his head. The man holding a knife towards his neck is the Wisdom King. Standing next to the right shoulder of Liu Benzun is the bodhisattva Mañjuśrī (Ch. Wenshu pusa 文殊菩薩), who appeared as a witness. However, the figure standing on the far left in photo [4] is difficult to identify. Photo [2] shows another inscription carved next to bodhisattva Mañjuśrī. According to the inscription, the god of trees (Ch. shusheng 樹神), Aṣṭasenā (Ch. tianlong babu 天龍八部) and other gods not specifically belonging to Buddhist traditions have been summonned to protect the site. Similar discriptions can be found throughout the Dazu 大足 area. (Personal communication with Dr. Yang Xiaodong 杨晓东, 30 May, 2022). Photo [1] contains the inscriptions of the first and seventh austerity. The inscription of the seventh austerity reads as follows: 本尊賢聖於天福五年七月十五日,以五香桿就一條臘燭,端坐煉頂,效釋迦佛雀巢頂相,大光明王捨頭佈施,感文殊菩薩頂上現身,為作證明 Transcription based on Liu Changjiu 刘长久, 1995: "Yelun Anyue Piludong shiku: jianyu Cao Dan, Zhao Ling erjun shangque 也论安岳毗卢洞石窟——兼与曹丹、赵昤二君商榷" [Research on grottos in Pilu cave in Anyue county: discussion with Cao Dan and Zhao Ling] in Sichuan wenwu 四川文物 [Sichuan Cultural Relics] 5, pp. 37-43. Metadata created by Longyu Zhang (May 31, 2022).

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