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The nature and origin of the Taoist underworld of the Han and Six dynasties periods Johnson, John D. 1999

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T H E N A T U R E A N D ORIGIN OF T H E TAOIST U N D E R W O R L D  OF T H E H A N A N D SIX D Y N A S T I E S PERIODS by JOHN D. JOHNSON B . A . , The University o f Saskatchewan, 1989 A THESIS S U B M I T T E D IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE D E G R E E OF M A S T E R OF A R T S in T H E F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES (Department o f Asian Studies) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  T H E UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A July 1999 © J o h n D . Johnson 1999  In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment  of the  requirements for an advanced  degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department  or by  his  or  her  representatives.  It is  understood  that  copying or  publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  Department The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  DE-6 (2/88)  1!  Abstract Throughout the history o f Taoism the underworld remained central to its beliefs and practices. In its earliest manifestations, even those predating the emergence o f the Taoist tradition itself, it was intrinsically linked to practices related to exorcisms and the Chinese ancestral cult. In this context, it functioned as an abode for the dead and a place to segregate the spirits o f the dead from the living, traits later adopted by Taoism. The arrival o f Buddhism, however, brought about changes in the Chinese and Taoist underworld. Whereas previously the underworld functioned primarily as a place for segregation, it took on broader connotations, becoming a place also concerned with postmortem punishment. Scholars, at least until recently, have maintained that the Chinese underworld bore similarities with the Western notions o f the underworld, meaning "Hades," "Sheol," " H e l l , " and "Purgatory," and consistently interpreted the Chinese underworld according to these paradigms. It is held here that these terms are often misleading, and they thereby distorted the function and nature o f the Taoist infernal regions. This thesis, instead o f using these Western models, interprets the underworld according to the presence and emphasis o f postmortem punishment. This w i l l thereby establish the nature o f the Taoist infernal regions as manifest during the periods between the Han and Six Dynasties Periods, a period between the second century B C E and the sixth century C E . This exploration is based on the translation o f relevant texts dating from these periods. In addition, the antecedents o f the Taoist underworld, meaning those o f China's indigenous religious matrix and o f Buddhism, are examined and interpreted.  Table of Contents Abstract  if  Chapter One: Introduction  1  I. Introduction and Intent o f Thesis II. Methodology: "Neutral Death" and " M o r a l Death" and the Underworld i n the Western Tradition- "Hades," "Tartarus," "Sheol," " H e l l , " and "Purgatory"  1 10  Chapter T w o : Indigenous Beliefs from the Neolithic to the End o f the Han  32  I. Introduction II. The Beliefs o f Neolithic China (ca. 4,000-1,800) and the Y i n or Shang (15007-1050?) a. ) The Religion o f the Neolithic Period b. ) The State-Sponsored "Ancestral C u l t " o f the Y i n or Shang III. The Beliefs o f the Zhou (10507-256), the "Spring and A u t u m n " (721-481) and the "Warring States" Periods (403-221) a. ) "Ancestor Worship" o f the Zhou b. ) The " Y e l l o w Springs" c. ) Developments Regarding the Nature o f the "Spirits o f the Dead" d. ) The Emergence o f "Demonology" I V . Beliefs o f the Q i n and Han-Towards a " M o r a l Death" a. ) The Cosmos-Its Structure and Its Responsibilities and the Idea o f Paradise b. ) The Bureaucracy o f the Underworld c. ) The Condition o f the Dead i n the Underworld and the Concept o f G u i l t . . . .  Chapter Three: " M o r a l Death" i n Buddhism I. Introduction II. The Early History o f Buddhism in India and China a. ) The Inception o f Buddhism in India and Early Core Beliefs b. ) The Introduction o f Buddhism to China III. Buddhist Cosmology a. ) The Structure o f the Buddhist Cosmos b. ) The Buddhist Underworld c. ) The Condition o f the " W i c k e d Dead" i n the Buddhist Underworld I V . The Buddhist Underworld i n China-The "Solidarity o f the L i v i n g and the D e a d " a. ) The "Ghost Festival," the Guijie or Yulanpen and the Sangha b. ) The Buddhist Bureaucracy o f the Afterlife in Han and S i x Dynasties China Chapter Four: The Taoist Underworld  32 33 34 37 42 42 47 52 57 63 65 71 80  92 92 94 95 98 102 103 106 113 125 127 133 141  I. Introduction 141 II. The Emergence o f Taoism 143 a. ) From Antiquity to the H a n 145 b. ) Developments i n the Q i n and Former H a n 147 c. ) Taoism i n the Eastern Han and Six Dynasties Periods 151 III. Taoist Cosmology from the Early H a n to the Six Dynasties-The Influence o f Huang-Lao Taoism and the General Structure o f the Underworld 158 a. ) The Operation o f the Early Taoist Cosmos-"Correlative Thinking" and "Resonance" 160 b. ) A Typology o f Taoist Infernal Regions from the H a n to Six Dynasties . . . . 164 I V . The Taoist Bureaucracy o f the Afterlife-The Taiping Jing, the "Scripture o f Great Peace" 170 a. ) The Importance o f Communication and the Structure o f the Cosmos i n the Taiping Jing 173 b. ) Morality and "Inherited Guilt" i n the Taiping Jing 176 c. ) Rewards and Punishments-The Responsibilities o f the Underworld 182 V . Appeals and Litigation i n the Afterlife-The Shangqing Tradition and the Underworld 189 a. ) The Six Palaces o f Fengdu-Attaining Immortality and Processing the Dead 192 b. ) The "Water Bureau"-Human Suffering and the Underworld i n Shangqing Taoism 202 V I . The Taoist Underworld as a "Purgatory" 208 a. ) " M o r a l Death" and the Condition o f the Dead i n the Lingbao Underworld 210 b. ) The "Fast o f the Y e l l o w Talisman" 222 Chapter Five: Conclusion  234  Bibliography  242  1 Chapter One: Introduction I. Introduction and Intent of Thesis: Perhaps the most neglected area o f Western Taoist studies is research into the Taoist notion o f the underworld and the idea o f postmortem punishment. The Taoist underworld, Diyu 1  itjj Wt, literally "Earth-Prisons," has been the subject o f only a few studies in the West. If mentioned at all, it is mentioned i n passing and not i n any detailed or comprehensive study, and often the only research on the topic o f the Chinese underworld focused on Buddhist inspired models, leaving Taoist versions relatively untouched. Obviously more research has to be done on this topic. In general, scholars agree on several traits about the Chinese underworld. For example, many agree that the most influential and commonly accepted vision o f the underworld was established during a period between the seventh and ninth centuries o f the C o m m o n Era, with some even stating that this development occurred as late as the Song Dynasty 5rc (960-1127) (Dore 1911:258ff; Thompson 1989:27; Teiser 1994:1). They also agree that the most prevalent vision o f the Chinese underworld is represented by two texts that date to a period after the ninth century. These are the Shiwangjing-{-^^,  "The Scripture on the Ten Kings, " and the Yuli  chaozhuan 3 i jfjf ^ i M I l , often translated as the "Jade Records." Scholars also agree that these 2  portrayals o f the underworld share enough commonalties with the Medieval Western worldview  I will maintain the standard Pinyin Romanization system throughout this paper as it is becoming more common in use. There are only a few exceptions. The terms Tao, Taoism, and Taoist, originating from the Wade-Giles system, will be used to denote these three concepts instead of the Pinyin. They have been absorbed into the English vocabulary and are more readily recognized. 1  A translation of "The Scripture on the Ten Kings" is found in Teiser (1994). The Yuli is translated in G.W. Clarke's "The Y u - l i or Precious Records," Journal of the Asiatic Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society for the Years 1893-94. (1898; rpt. New Series 28, Shanghai: Kraus Reprint Society Ltd. Nendeln/Liechtenstein, 1967). 2  2 to warrant the title "Purgatory" and not necessarily " H e l l " (Teiser 1994:1). While " H e l l " generally implies punishment for eternity, "Purgatory" is a postmortem place or condition where one is purged o f their evil-doings through punishment. In the end, this punishment prepares the soul for another state o f existence. Not only is this condition similar to the Chinese view, these two texts also concern themselves with the moral betterment o f the living, to such an extent that these texts, especially the "Jade Records " are likened to the "hellfire and brimstone" tracts o f the West. This means that, i n essence, they are concerned with motivating the living to a moral life by inspiring them with the examples o f the punishment o f the wicked in the afterlife. In sum, scholars believe that these ideas emerged i n China based on a combination o f Chinese and foreign ideas, specifically Indian Buddhist ones, that slowly entered into China during the first centuries o f the C o m m o n Era. These ideas, i n turn, crystallized sometime during the seventh and ninth centuries and are reflected in the above texts (Teiser 1994:1). This apparent agreement is somewhat misleading. For example, scholars along with "Purgatory" frequently use the terms "Hades," " H e l l " and others to describe this same vision o f the underworld. They use these terms to describe the Chinese underworld often interchangeably and apparently without considering their real implications: Dore (1911) and Werner (1932) used the terms "Purgatory," " H e l l " and "Hades"; Werner also used the term "Tartarus";  3  Maspero  (1981), used "Purgatory"; Eberhard (1967) " H e l l " ; Goodrich (1981) "Purgatory" and " H e l l " ; 4  Thompson (1987) "Purgatory," but frequently referred to the underworld as " H e l l " ; and lastly,  Dore's (1911) section on the Chinese underworld is found on pages 250-302. Werner's section appears under the headings Hades pages 151-154, MengP'o 312-313, and 77 Yu 499-500. For Werner's reference to Tartarus see Werner (1932:313). For Henri Maspero's work (1883-1945), this thesis uses the following edition: H. Maspero, Taoism and Chinese Religion, trans F.A. Kierman Jr. (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1981). 3  4  Teiser (1994) identified the Chinese specifically Buddhist infernal regions as "Purgatory." It should be noted that Teiser's interpretation o f the underworld o f the period between the seventh and ninth centuries and after is by far the most accepted characterization to date. B y contrast, scholars have largely ignored the Chinese underworld as it existed before the advent o f this idea o f Purgatory. The only exceptions to this rule concern the work o f a handful of scholars. Henri Maspero (1981), for example, called the underworld o f the H a n Dynasty /J| (0 i l X i Han or Western or Former Han 202 B C E - 9 C E and  M Dong Han or Eastern or  Later Han 25-220) and earlier as a type o f "Sheol" (or She'ol). Joseph Needham (1974) echoed this opinion by describing the underworld o f this stage as "Sheol" and even as "Hades." These 5  studies, it should be noted, are dated and based mostly on textual evidence. Recent archeological discoveries, such as those mentioned by Loewe (1979, 1982), Seidel (1987a), Harper (1994), Hansen (1995), Poo (1995, 1998) and others provide us with a more detailed picture o f the structure and function o f the underworld. Specifically, Seidel, Harper, Hansen, and Poo use new archaeological finds, such as "grave quelling texts," or "funeral contracts" o f the Han period to attest to a "bureaucratic" structure o f the otherworld that reflects ideas substantially different to the Purgatory o f the Song and after. Namely, they are not concerned with urging the living to attain a state o f moral betterment, and are, as far as can be established, concerned more with the fate o f the deceased in the great hereafter than with motivating the living to a state o f moral betterment. A s w i l l be established, this bureaucracy is more concerned with protecting the living from possible harm from the dead, a trait that exists to such an extent that these contracts mention nothing o f postmortem punishment or even that one is held morally accountable i n the  5  See Needham (1974: 5.2:77ff).  4 afterlife. This leads us to value these texts more as evidence attesting to the complex relationships between the living, the dead, and the infernal magistrates who lord over the dead than with punishment in the great hereafter. In this aspect, the early conceptions of the underworld are substantially different from that of the Song and after.  6  As impressive and revealing as the above investigations are, to date, no comprehensive study on the Taoist infernal regions exists, and only relevant bits of information are scattered about in different studies. By contrast, studies of the Buddhist underworld are more numerous, organized, and systematic, leading most readers to the conclusion that postmortem punishment and the Chinese underworld are an Indian-Buddhist invention. In the wake of all this, Taoist or 7  Chinese contributions were subsequently pushed to the side. This brings us to the purpose of this thesis. This thesis intends to address the Taoist perception of the infernal regions. Particular emphasis will be placed on the period before the formation of this concept of Purgatory, meaning the period between the seventh and ninth centuries, and thus will focus specifically on the periods between the Han and the Liu Chao 7^  6  Definitions o f " H a d e s , " " T a r t a r u s , " " S h e o l , " " H e l l , " and "Purgatory are discussed in section two o f this chapter.  F o r now, I will use the term " P u r g a t o r y " to refer to the underworld as it appears after the seventh and ninth centuries i n C h i n a . Conversely, I w i l l use the terms " N e t h e r w o r l d " and the "Infernal R e g i o n s " to refer to the  inferus meaning underground, subterranean, lower, or Oxford Latin Dictionary, p. 896). " N e t h e r w o r l d , " derived from the low, lower etc. ( K u h n , S . M . et al eds. Middle English Dictionary, V o l .  underworld in general. " I n f e r n a l " is derived from the Latin situated further down (Hornblower, S. et al eds. O l d E n g l i s h , has the same meaning implying  N - O , p. 940ff). A s such, they are neutral terms referring to their location only. T h e y do not refer to the nature o f existence in the underworld. 7  T h e two most guilty o f this are D o r e a n d W e r n e r . In their studies, they i m p l y that the C h i n e s e u n d e r w o r l d ,  Purgatory specifically, is a product o f B u d d h i s m and that it was merely m o v e d f r o m India to C h i n a . A n example o f this v i e w is as follows. D o r e states that " . . . H i n d u hell was too far f r o m C h i n a , so it was resolved to place it i n some o f the provinces o f the country. T h e Taoist Treatise o n the Infernal R e g i o n s ,  Records) J11  Yuh-li-chao-chwan  (The Jade  solved the p r o b l e m and fixed the site o f these sombre realms is the province o f Sze-ch'wan (Sichuan  |Z3  )" ( D o r e 1911:254). W e r n e r reiterates this idea (Werner 1932:151-152). Furthermore, they do not mention  the u n d e r w o r l d as it existed before the arrival o f B u d d h i s m , and so give little mention o f Chinese contributions to the topic. Because these two studies are dated, the recent work o f Seidel and H a r p e r will remain m o r e central to this thesis, as they are based o n m o r e recent data.  5 the Six Dynasties (222-589). These periods are chosen for a variety of reasons: first, they witnessed the arrival of Buddhism in China, an event dated to the last centuries of the Han, and its slow and subsequent rise in influence; second, because during this period Taoism emerged as a recognizable religious tradition complete with the genesis of an organized clergy, rituals, and a set of commonly recognized scriptures; and third, because scholars generally regard these developments from these periods as seminal, in that these various ideas eventually coalesced to form the Purgatory of the later centuries. In general, the function of the underworld during the Han and Six Dynasties period can be characterized in two ways. First, it functioned as a place to manage the spirits of the dead, locking them up to prevent them from bothering the living. In this function, the underworld operated as a subterranean prison staffed by a variety of officials, including Judges, Magistrates, Bailiffs, and Guards to process the dead and manage their interment. In other words, it was a vast "storehouse of the dead" managed by a bureaucracy. In nature, this is a trait indigenous to China, and it predates the arrival of the foreign Buddhist religion by several centuries. Second, the underworld functioned not only for the confinement of the souls of the dead, it also served as a place for post-mortem justice, specifically a subterranean realm for the punishment of the wicked. In this context, it is more of a "Hell" or a "Purgatory" than a simple "storehouse of the dead." This later trait is most probably due to the introduction of Buddhist ideas such as karma, rebirth, Buddhist morality, and the Buddhist model of the cosmos complete with "Heavens" and "Hells." Regardless of its function as a "storehouse of the dead," or as a place of punishment for the wicked dead, the Chinese underworld was always concerned with "retributive punishment."  6 A s a "storehouse o f the dead," the underworld doled out retributive punishment i n this life and not the next, and, i n turn, this punishment was frequently carried out by the sundry "ghosts and spirits" attached to the underworld and under the command o f the subterranean offices. Some ghosts, on the other hand, tormented the living without the sanction o f these offices. A s a place for the post-mortem punishment o f the wicked dead, its connection with retributive punishment is obvious: it occurs in the afterlife. This thesis contends that these relatively newer idea o f punishing the wicked dead, however, never entirely replaced the former indigenous beliefs o f the Chinese. Rather, the two sets o f ideas entwined to complement each other, existing side-by-side throughout the centuries. To express the development o f these two functions, I w i l l divide the thesis into three sections, corresponding to three modes o f thought prevalent in China before the formation o f the idea o f a Purgatorial subterranean realm. The first mode o f thought deals with ideas predating the arrival o f Buddhism and the evolution o f a more organized or formal Taoist religion. The second concerns concepts that were introduced along with Buddhism after the first centuries C E . The third and last mode o f thought concerns Taoist concepts that developed during the same period. It should be noted that these three divisions are not independent monoliths which function i n isolation o f each other. Rather, the opposite is i n fact true. Specifically during the C o m m o n Era, these three complement each other, and as a result, their borders overlap to a great extent. The only real distinctions that should concern us fall between the types o f sources used to address the topic: there w i l l be a section on indigenous Chinese beliefs before the arrival o f Buddhism, a section on early Buddhist beliefs prevalent i n the Chinese Buddhist Canon, and lastly a section on relevant concepts as expressed in the Taoist Canon.  7 The beliefs o f the first mode o f thought begin in China's remote past, specifically i n the legendary X i a J  (22057-1500?), the historical Y i n J§£ or Shang j§f (15007-1050?), and Zhou  Dynasties Jif| (10507-256). In short, beliefs prevalent during these periods centered on the practices o f the ruling households o f early China, beliefs that point to a fundamental belief i n deities, ancestors and ghosts, all combined within a close interaction between them and the living maintained by an elaborate ritual process similar to what scholars have labeled "ancestor religion" or "ancestor worship." It should be noted that these beliefs exist, albeit in an altered form, through the following modes o f thought, thereby providing a common thread linking them together. To elaborate, developments during the Q i n H (221-207) and Han dynasties enriched this belief in the close interaction between the living and the dead. A s a result o f political and historical developments during the Zhanguo  HU (403-221) or "Warring States" Period, China  emerged as an empire under a centralized, some have identified as a "bureaucratized" government, standing i n contrast to the previous "feudal" organization o f the previous Shang and Zhou. Changes i n the structure o f the government i n the mundane world coincided with changes in the way the cosmos functioned as well, resulting in a more refined vision o f the underworld, complete with L a w Bureaus, Courts, Magistrates, Bailiffs, Jailers, and others, as reflected in the "grave quelling texts." In other words, the underworld, too, became a bureaucracy. However, this occurred not only i n structure, but also i n the way the living dealt with this otherworldly government. This existed to such an extent that rulers, officials, priests, and even the common people petitioned or appealed to these deities much in the same manner one would approach a court. It is at this point i n time, this thesis contends, that the real origin o f the Taoist underworld  8 can be found. The second section concerns the beliefs and influence of Buddhism. Although initially a foreign religion, Buddhism contributed greatly to the development of the idea of Purgatory and the idea of post-mortem punishment. Buddhist elements such as the doctrine of karma, rebirth, and a cosmos full of "Paradises" and " H e l l s " added new life into Chinese perceptions of the afterlife. Thus, the main focus of this section w i l l concern an analysis of the Buddhist concepts absorbed by the Chinese world-view. This w i l l be accomplished by looking at the early history of Chinese Buddhism, its introduction to China and its later influence expressed through Buddhist texts relevant to the topic. The third section concerns the Taoist view of the infernal regions specifically as found in texts dating to a period between the early Han and Six Dynasties. The sources reveal that the earliest Taoist interpretations of the cosmos possessed a relatively sophisticated view full of fantastic realms often constructed along the lines of the previous bureaucratic model established during the Q i n and Han. In this early context, the underworld was not entirely associated with punishment i n the afterlife. Instead, the underworld focused more on the management of the dead and the problems associated with them. In contrast though, the idea of a realm for post-mortem retribution became increasingly ingrained in the Taoist world-view as the centuries went on, partially inspired by contributions from Buddhism. Thus, this chapter w i l l look at different versions of the underworld found during this critical point in time to establish the Taoist view of the underworld. To prove the above points, this thesis w i l l rely extensively on translations of relevant texts, meaning Taoist, Buddhist and others, to portray the development of these concepts. This,  9 however, creates certain problems. That is, the size and number o f sources available complicate the matter. For example, the entire Taoist Canon i n its present form contains approximately 1,500 texts. Obviously, an M . A . thesis o f 150 or more pages could not adequately deal with all texts related to this topic. T o limit the scope o f research and translation, this thesis is more o f a survey i n that it w i l l deal with the topic thematically. Thus, only the most relevant and detailed texts w i l l be chosen. One work, however, deserves specific attention: this is X i a o Dengfu's Hf |£ Han Wei Liuchao Fo Dao liangjiao zhi Tiantang Diyu shuo  f\ ^ \% M W  ^ H! tlfe  > "The Concepts o f Heaven and H e l l i n Buddhism and Taoism from the Eastern Han, W e i and Six Dynasties." It w i l l be utilized extensively i n this thesis as it is an excellent piece o f scholarly research. In it, the author catalogues Buddhist and Taoist scripture that focus on the above topic, and for this reason his book w i l l function as a guidebook for locating texts and evaluating their worth. O f particular interest are the tables o f Buddhist and Taoist scriptures that refer to the topic o f the netherworld. In his section on relevant Taoist Scripture, he lists 80 texts that mention the underworld, and 24 o f these date to the period between the Eastern H a n and Six Dynasties (Xiao 1989:560-586). Obviously, a piece o f scholarly work such as this cannot be overlooked. I cannot give it enough credit. There are several texts that are central to this thesis. For the period before arrival and entrenchment o f Buddhism, this thesis w i l l look at relevant passages from a collection o f poetry centered around the work o f Quyuan  (3rd c. B C E ) , the Chuci  , the "Songs o f the  South" or the "Songs o f Chu," and the critical, yet excellent, Lunheng Hj f£f, the "Doctrines Evaluated" by the rationalist Wang Chong 3i5i5 (27-100?). For the Buddhist case, it w i l l examine several early texts that are influential to the development o f the Taoist underworld,  10  including the Zhengfa nianchu jing IE &  $M >  m  e  "Sutra of Remembrance of the True  Law," (T. 7 2 1 ; Yuan Wei j c i t ) attributed, and the Foshuo guan Fo sanmeihaijing\%  f^Hf^i  H S^fUM , the "Sutra of the Buddha's Discourse of Meditation of the Buddhist Sea of Samadhi" (T. 643;  Dong Jin or E. Jin). For the Taoist case, specifically those texts  representing the period after the beginning of the Common Era, this thesis will examine the early Taiping jingi^-  $g, the "Scripture of Great Peace" or "Great Equanimity" (Han and Six  Dynasties), the Zhengao  JJtfnl, the "Proclamations of the Perfected" by Tao Hongjing p!§  (456-536). Other translations include several texts from the Ling Bao 11 Hf or "Numinous Jewels" Taoist tradition. These texts will be mentioned in greater detail later.  II. Methodology- "Neutral Death" and "Moral Death" and the Underworld in the Western Tradition- "Hades," "Tartarus," "Sheol," "Hell," and "Purgatory": This section discusses the various subterranean realms found in the Western tradition. Thus, it will examine the Western ideas of "Hades," "Tartarus," "Sheol," "Hell," "Purgatory." These terms or ideas are significant as they are used by scholars such as Dore, Maspero, Needham and others to describe the Chinese underworld. It intends to demonstrate that these terms are inadequate as a means to describe the Chinese or Taoist versions. They are, in fact, misleading. In addition, this section proposes that the framework or methodology proposed by Alan Bernstein (1993) is far more appropriate for placing the Chinese underworld into a functional and convenient framework. His criteria then supersedes "Hades," "Sheol," etc. as descriptive terms. To start, we will place the Western models of the underworld into his framework. Undoubtedly, one of the most impressive books on the infernal regions of the Western  11 tradition is the recently published The Formation of Hell: Death and Retribution in the Ancient and Early Christian Worlds by A l l a n E . Bernstein (1993). H i s study traces the development o f the Christian H e l l and the development o f post-mortem punishment within the ancient world, including the ancient Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and early Christian world. In essence, it is more o f a cross-cultural or comparative study, and, as a result, more emphasis is placed on theme and approach than on excessive detail. To accomplish his analysis, Bernstein established simple and functional definitions to place the formation o f the Christian H e l l into a conceptual framework. The following sections refer to his work. To track the development o f the ideas o f H e l l and post-mortem punishment, Bernstein frames the different versions o f the underworld within four types, or four types o f "deaths," with each characterized by their emphasis or lack o f punishment and how rigorously the souls o f the dead are segregated i n the afterlife. The four types o f death are as follows: 1. ) "Neutral death" is simply defined as a state o f existence in which the dead, both good and evil alike, exist en masse. There, all are neither punished nor rewarded, and morality is somewhat inconsequential. W i t h so little effort spent on judging the dead, the main focus o f existence i n this state converges on distancing the dead from the living. In this function, it is more o f a "storehouse" for the souls o f the dead than anything else (Bernstein 1993:3; 107).  2. ) "Porous death" implies that the borders between the land o f the living and the land o f the dead are not rigid, instead porous. In this view, the dead cross over into the realm o f the living as ghosts or as spirits o f ancestors, while the living, too, cross over, making forays into the Netherworld (Bernstein 1993:84; 8 8).  3. ) "Useful death" not only implies that the dead cross over into the land o f the  12 living, it also implies that death must serve a purpose. Generally, the death or memory o f a culture figure or ancestor must serve a purpose for the community at large, that is, their example could morally improve the community and achieve a more tightly bound society. This can manifest itself in the following: obey the gods, honor the parents, serve the state, among other factors (Bernstein 1993:1078). A s w i l l be seen from an examination o f Chinese beliefs, "useful death" could also function as an effective means to explain human suffering, meaning that the dead, ancestors, ghosts or others, could return from the afterlife and haunt the living, thereby causing suffering. Sometimes these afflictions were retributive in nature, in that these various spirits punished the wicked with sickness and other trauma.  4.) "Moral death," unlike "neutral death," moves morality to the forefront. It alludes to a belief in a condition where the dead are judged by a standard o f known criteria (Bernstein 1993:3). They are then rewarded or punished i n the afterlife and are placed in an appropriate realm. This type o f belief system operates on two general levels. First, the example o f this system o f rewards and punishments motivates the living to improve themselves, very much like the Western "hellfire and brimstone" tracts. Suffering in this state o f "moral death" thus serves as a glowing or stark reminder o f the fruits o f one's deeds: the virtuous dead receive a bounty o f rewards i n paradise, while the wicked languish in an exaggerated state o f torment. Secondly, rewards and punishment in the afterlife explain why the innocent may suffer in this life, and why at the same time the wicked go unpunished, for they w i l l be receive their recompense i n the end.  To continue, Bernstein places the "Hades" o f ancient Greek mythology i n the category o f  13 "neutral death." According to Greek mythology, "Hades" functioned as the destination for the 8  collective dead in the early Greek world. Homer's Odyssey (composed ca. mid-eighth century 9  B C E ) provides the most detail about "the house o f Hades." According to Homer and early Greek mythology, the Earth was conceived as a disk surrounded by a vast body o f water, identified as "Oceanus," and across this and to the West, is the gate to Hades where the shades o f the dead dwell. In the Odyssey, Odysseus, the story's hero, was required to cross Oceanus to consult the dead regarding his fate. After crossing Oceanus, he was required to dig a votive pit, named Erebos/Erebus, and offer sacrifice to the dead. Once done, the shades o f the dead emerged and assailed the hero, and what follows is perhaps the most detailed description o f the shades: ...But when with vows and prayers I (Odysseus) had made supplication to the tribes o f the dead, I took the sheep and cut their throats over the pit, and the dark blood flowed. Then there gathered from out o f Erebus the ghosts o f those that are dead, brides, and unwed youths, and toil-worn old men, and frisking girls with hearts still new to sorrow, and many, too, that had been wounded with bronzetipped spears, men slain i n battle wearing their blood-stained armour. These came thronging i n crowds about the pit from everyside, with an astounding cry; and pale fear seized me. Then I called to my comrades and told them to skin and burn the sheep that lay there killed with pitiless bronze, and to make prayer to the gods, mighty Hades and dread Persephone (the wife o f Hades)" (Ody 11:32-44).  8  10  T h e word " H a d e s " originates from the Greek meaning the " u n s e e n " or the " i n v i s i b l e o n e " and is actually the  proper name o f a G r e e k deity: the L o r d o f the underworld in the O l y m p i a n pantheon  (The Oxford Classical  Dictionary, 1970:484). In short, " H a d e s " is the name o f a deity and not a place, and the proper title for this region and all contained in it is thus the " h o u s e o f H a d e s . " T w o editions o f the  Oxford Classical Dictionary are  thesis. T h e first is dated 1970 and the second 1996. T h e y are abbreviated as the OCD  used in this  and accompanied by the  appropriate date. See Bibliography for complete information. 9  Other places, such as the "Island o f the B l e s s e d " or the " E l y s i u m F i e l d s , " did exist, but these places were reserved  specifically for the privileged few, or precisely paragons o f virtue (OCD, the E l y s i u m Fields can be found in the Odyssey (Ody 10  Translation from Homer,  4.563ff; OCD  1996:521). A l s o , a short description o f  1996:521).  The Odyssey: Books 1-12 and 13-24. Loeb Classical Library (104  M u r r a y trans.; revised by George E. D i m o c k . ( C a m b r i d g e : Harvard University Press, 1995).  and 105). A . T .  14 Odysseus then restored order with threats and his sword, and went on to interview the dead. In these interviews, Homer describes the "tribes o f the dead" as a pitiful crowd and as being without intelligence, often "gibbering" like bats (Ody 25:6) and possessing "strengthless heads" (Ody 11:48-49). This condition o f stupidity and listlessness is only lost after consuming the blood o f sacrifice, and once cognizant, it is revealed that their only concern is the manner in which they died, or how they are remembered by the l i v i n g . " Throughout these interviews, the shades o f the dead do not mention punishment in the afterlife leading us to surmise that the dead in the "house o f Hades" simply exist i n a sad and mindless state, in which they are more tragic than fearsome or tormented. This condition is not entirely typical o f the "house o f Hades." Once Odysseus left this area, he journeyed to an area identified only as a place governed by M i n o s , son o f Zeus (Ody 11:568-71). Unlike the chaos near Erebos, Minos lords over the torment o f specific mythological or semi-divine figures. In this aspect it is markedly different from the shade collective. Homer mentions only four specific figures who are punished in this area, Orion, Tityos, Tantalus and Sisyphus. The condition o f these four is substantially different from that o f the collective dead near Erebus, because they personally insulted the Olympian gods and hence received special punishments. A s they did not commit crimes against their fellow mortals, they are not entirely  The first point is explained by the description of the soldiers, still wearing their "blood-stained armour," and of the young girls, described as "frisking girls with hearts still new to sorrow." Furthermore, the idea of how they are remembered by the living is later reinforced by an interview with Elpenor, a companion of the hero, who, while drunk, fell off a roof and snapped his neck. His body, however, laid unmourned and unburied. In the interview he demanded only to receive a proper burial when Odysseus was able. To Elpenor's only request, the hero agreed (Ody 11:52-80). 11  15 "morally w i c k e d . "  12  The Pit "Tartarus" is yet another aspect o f the Greek underworld o f this time. Tartarus, as established in the Theogony/Theogany o f Hesiod (composed ca. 700-665), served as a place for the treatment o f specific figures i n Greek mythology much like the realm under the jurisdiction o f Minos. A m o n g other things, the Theogony establishes the foundation o f the ancient Greek universe and the lineage o f the Olympian gods. In it is also a description o f Tartarus and its function. In short, it is simply a prison located i n the depths o f the Earth, a dark and moldering place and There is a bronze wall beaten around it, and Night (the deity); In triple rows flows around its neck, while above it grows; the roots o f earth and unharvested sea. There the Titans are concealed i n the misty gloom; B y the w i l l o f Zeus who gathers the clouds; In a mouldering place, the vast earth's limits. There is no way out for them. Poseidon (the god o f the Ocean) set doors o f bronze i n a wall that surrounds it. There Gyges and Kottos and stouthearted Briareos have their homes, the trusted guards o f the Storm K i n g Zeus. (Theogony 731-740)  13  In short, the sole function o f Tartarus is to imprison the personal enemies o f the Olympian gods,  1 2  O r i o n is punished for attempting to k i l l all the animals o f Crete. F o r this, he was sentenced to gather all the  animals o f the A s p h o d e l Plain for the rest o f eternity (Ody  11:572-575). Tityos, punished for his rape o f Leto,  consort o f Z e u s , was stretched over 900 feet "where two vultures sat, one o n each side, and tore his liver, plunging their beaks into his bowels..." (Ody  11:577-581). Next, Tantalus, as one o f the first mortals, was allowed to  accompany the gods at dinner. D u r i n g these occasions, though, he either blabbed about divine policy, or stole the divine nectar and ambrosia to give to the mortals. In another myth, he even killed his son and fed h i m to the gods to see i f they w o u l d notice (OCD  1996:1473). F o r these insults, Tantalus was placed in a river with succulent fruits  and olives dangling over his head. But when he bent to drink the water, the river dried up, and when he reached for the fruits, they withered to be carried by the w i n d (Ody  11:582-592). Sisyphus, o n the other hand, was punished for  cheating Hades. In one myth, he asked his wife not to give h i m proper burial after death. W h e n in the underworld, he complained about his uncared for state and petitioned Hades to let h i m return to the land o f the living to set things right. O n c e there, he refused to return and lived to an o l d age (OCD  1996:1414). F o r recompense, Sisyphus  was forced to roll a stone up to the top o f a hill, and once at the top, the stone rolled downwards requiring a repetition o f the task for the rest o f eternity (Ody  1 3  Translation f r o m H e s i o d ,  11:593-600).  Works and Days and Theogony.  Trans. S. L o m b a r d o (Indianapolis: Haskett, 1993).  16 specifically rebellious demigods, the Titans. The latter are best known as a group o f semi-divine figures who opposed Zeus when he overthrew his father Kronos. A t this stage, Tartarus is simply a realm to segregate and punish the personal enemies o f the Olympian gods; there is no mention o f the punishment o f the collective throng o f the dead. However, this portrayal o f Tartarus as a place solely dedicated to the punishment o f the personal enemies o f the Olympian gods did not remain unchanged. For example, Plato (ca. 429347) placed great emphasis on the idea o f the punishing the soul i n the afterlife, specifically in the Greek underworld. For Plato and the rest o f the Greek world o f the time, the ultimate destination o f the wicked dead in this world-view was the underworld, and according to Plato's view, the Earth was pictured as a sphere, riddled by hollow regions through which flowed subterranean rivers o f hot or cold water, and streams o f fire, mud or lava (Phaedo 11 l.d-e).  14  All  of these rivers circled the Earth and eventually fell into Tartarus, which functioned as the axis for the Earth {Phaedo 112.a-b; 112e-l 13d). It was believed that after death, the psyche, or soul o f the dead, proceeds to a meadow to be judged. From there it continues on to either the "Island o f the Blessed" for the good, or the underworld for those that require further processing. Those judged as living a "neutral" life are sent to the River Acheron to be purified, absolved o f their sins and rewarded for their good deeds. Those judged "incurable," on account o f the greatness o f their sins, are "hurled by their appropriate destiny into Tartarus, from hence they emerge no more" (Phaedo 113d-e). O n the other hand, people judged as "curable" are also cast into Tartarus, but only for a year. Every year an underground surge swept through Tartarus, carrying the "curable"  1 4  Translations o f Plato's works are from Hamilton, E d i t h and Huntington Cairns eds.  Plato Including the Letters  The Collected Dialogues of  (Bollington Series, no. 71. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982).  17  past the Acherusian Lake and past the souls o f those they offended. There, they begged for their forgiveness: i f forgiven, they are released to be reincarnated; i f not, they are swept back into Tartarus for further punishment (Phaedo 113e-l 14b). Plato's Republic records one particular example o f the fate o f the dead. The so-called " M y t h o f E r " tells the story o f Er, a soldier wounded i n battle and left for dead, who while in this state journeyed to the underworld eventually to return to the land o f the living. H i s account reveals that the fate o f the "incurable" was entirely miserable. Every 1,000 years or so, the "incurable" o f Tartarus were given an opportunity to have their condition re-evaluated. In the land o f the dead E r was charged with the duty o f recording everything he saw, including the judgments made o f the dead, and their subsequent rewards or punishments. W i t h such a responsibility, he was thus "the messenger to mankind to tell that o f the other world..." (Republic 10.614d). H i s account states that is proper for everyone who suffers a punishment rightly inflicted by another that he should either be improved and benefitted thereby or become a warning to the rest, i n order that they may be afraid when they see h i m suffering what he does and may become better men. N o w , those who are benefitted through suffering punishment by gods and men are beings whose evil deeds are curable; nevertheless it is from pain and agony that they derive their benefit both here and in the other world, for it is impossible to be rid o f evil otherwise. But those who have been guilty o f the most heinous crimes and whose misdeeds are past cure-of these warnings are made, and they are no longer capable themselves o f receiving benefit, because they are incurable-but others are benefitted who behold them suffering throughout eternity the greatest and most excruciating and terrifying tortures because o f their misdeeds, literally suspended as examples there in the prison house i n Hades, a spectacle and a warning to any  18 evildoers who from time to time arrive (Gorgias 525a-d).  In short, these punishments are meant to motivate the living, and the dead i n this case, to improve themselves. In substance, Tartarus and the Greek underworld o f this time differ substantially from the previous view o f the afterlife as expressed i n the Odyssey, i n that it is more "moral" in emphasis than "neutral." Similar to changes i n the Greek view, the early Judaic concept o f the underworld was subject to a similar shift in emphasis. The most relevant example o f this tradition is the Judaic idea o f "Sheol" or " S h e ' o l . " A s described by modern scholars, Sheol was initially "a sad, disturbing place, but one devoid o f punishment" (Le G o f f 1984:7).  15  The most substantial illustration o f conditions i n Sheol is found in the Book of Job, a text most likely composed i n the sixth or fifth centuries B C E based on an earlier oral tradition.  16  The  Book of Job records the fate o f Job, a virtuous and faithful man, whose faith is tested by Jehovah. So rigorous and thorough were the tests that Job desired to enter Sheol to escape the wrath o f Jehovah. A l l the while he lamented and mourned that the evil are unpunished and the innocent and faithful suffer in this life. He lamented to such an extent that anything other than life on Earth would be better, even existence in Sheol, for D o w n there (in Sheol), the wicked bustle no more, there the weary rest. Prisoners,  1 5  " S h e o l " literally means the " g r a v e , " and is sometimes associated with the Hebrew w o r d for " p i t " (bor  shacath),  or even " d e p t h s "  (tachtyoth).  or  In other instances, it is a simple metaphor for death (Bernstein 1993:141-  143). In some accounts it is located under the Earth  (Numbers  16:30), or under mountains  (Jonah 2:7)  or even under  the sea (Job 26:5). It is only described as a " l a n d o f forgetfulness" with only " d a r k n e s s , " and " d u s t , " and a place o f  (Psalm 7.16;30.9: Job The New Jerusalem Bible ( N e w Y o r k : D o u b l e d a y :  no return "where dimness and disorder h o l d sway, and light itself is like dead o f n i g h t " 10.22). Translations o f the B i b l e from H . Wansbrough ed., 1990). 1 6  Dates from Freeman, D a v i d N o e l et al eds.  1992):863-4.  The Anchor Bible Dictionary.  V o l . 3 ( N e w Y o r k : Doubleday,  19 all left i n peace, hear no more the shouts o f the oppressor. H i g h and l o w are there together, and the slave is free o f his master. W h y give light to those bitter o f heart, who longs for death that never comes, and hunt for it more than for buried treasure? They should be glad to see the grave-mound and shout for j o y when they reached the tomb (Job 3:17-23).  In later examples o f the Bible, Sheol takes on a more ominous aspect i n that it became a place to accommodate the enemies o f Jehovah and o f the people o f Israel. The Book  ofEzekiel,  composed most likely after the Jewish exile o f the 596 B C E , points out that Sheol, much like the Tartarus o f the Theogany, served as a pit or prison for the enemies o f the Jewish people and Jehovah. In the next passage, Jehovah curses the Phoenician city o f Tyre for their offenses against H i m and the Jewish people. For these offenses, it w i l l be destroyed by flood and cast into the depths o f the underworld: For the Lord Yahweh says this: When I make y o u a ruined city (Tyre) like other deserted cities, when I raise the deep against you and the ocean covers you, when I fling you down into the abyss (the "Pit"), with the people o f long ago, and put you deep i n the underworld (or "Netherworld"), i n the ruins o f long ago with those who sink into oblivion (the "Pit"), so that you can never come back (or "not be inhabited") or be restored to the land o f the living, I w i l l make you an object o f terror; you w i l l not exist. People w i l l look for you but never find you again-declares the L o r d Yahweh! (Ezekiel  26:l9-2iy  In other passages, the wicked dead do not lie down beside the virtuous, implying that in the beyond there is more for the good than simply dwelling together with the wicked. Bernstein notes  A d d i t i o n a l notes regarding this passage found in Bernstein (1993:146).  that passages i n Ezekiel hint at special areas in the "Pit," namely areas for the uncircumcised, that is the non-Jewish, and other areas specifically for the different enemies o f Israel including Assyria, Elam, Mesech, and Tubal (Ezekiel 32:17-24; Bernstein 1993:163ff). This new division, positioned " i n the deepest parts of the abyss," presumably away from the faithful, it could be argued, is a form o f punishment for the wicked i n the afterlife. The wicked are determined only in terms o f their relationship with the Jewish G o d , in that only the enemies o f Jehovah and Israel are placed i n these special areas to receive punishment for defying the Jewish god. Next, we w i l l briefly examine the Christian concept " H e l l . " T o start, we must assume that any discussion o f the Christian H e l l is an intensely difficult topic to address. E v e n to establish the origin o f the term itself is a difficult and lengthy undertaking. According to the etymology o f the word, " H e l l " implies something hidden under the earth, possibly derived from the O l d Icelandic Hel, the name o f the Icelandic goddess of death and the underworld. Other linguistic cognates point that it is related to the Germanic or O l d Frisian helle, or hille, the O l d Saxon hellja, the Middle Dutch helle, and the O l d H i g h German hella and the Gothic halja. A l l o f these terms are derived from the proto-Germanic Halja, meaning "one who covers up or hides something." B y extension, this is applied to mean the underworld and all that is concealed i n it. In short, " H e l l " implies location, the underworld specifically, and not a condition o f existence.  18  In the following, we w i l l divide the Christian view o f H e l l into two general sections. The  1 8  E t y m o l o g y f r o m R.K. Barnhart et al eds.  The Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology ( H . W .  W i l s o n , 1988):474. In  function, the Christian H e l l is diverse and subject to different interpretations. A s used in the N e w Testament, the word encompasses a variety o f different synonyms and images that rely heavily on previously established motifs from the Greek, Latin, and Judaic world. " H a d e s , " "Infernus," " S h e o l , " " T a r t a r u s , " " G e h e n a / G e h e n n a , " and the term " A b y s s " frequently appear in various texts often within the same text. T h e i r use is conditioned only by the language a text is written in: " H a d e s , " "Tartarus," " A b y s s " appear in Greek texts, while "Infernus," " H a d e s " and others appear in Latin translations. T h e word " S h e o l " too appears in various texts. See Bernstein (1993:281ft).  first concerns a H e l l as a realm o f punishment for the wicked dead, punishment that occurs after what is called the "General Resurrection" and the "Last Judgment." In this view, the dead wait for this event i n an inert state. W i t h the arrival o f Christ, the dead are resurrected and subsequently judged.  19  The second view is different from the previous i n that it concerns H e l l as  a temporary place o f punishment and refinement. In this function, it is a place o f purification than a place for eternal damnation, i n that instead o f waiting for the "Last Judgment," the dead are immediately judged, punished, and i f they fulfill their terms i n the afterlife, are released to proceed to Paradise. In this view, the ultimate goal is a return to G o d . The first function or view o f H e l l assumes that the souls o f all the dead, after existing i n an inert state, are resurrected and judged specifically during the "Last Judgment." After this, the faithful and good are rewarded and the wicked cast into the underworld. The Christian N e w Testament, however, does not record substantial and uniform descriptions o f H e l l . Most descriptions are left spread throughout this corpus. So only i n the Christian Apocrypha are there numerous texts that portray H e l l i n greater and more v i v i d detail. One such text is the Apocalypse of Peter, a text dated to the early second century C E or even as late as the third century (Bernstein 1993:282; L e G o f f 1984:35).  20  The Apocalypse of Peter records a conversation between Jesus, Peter and the other disciples. In this conversation, Peter questions Jesus about the coming apocalypse, to which Jesus  T h e general idea o f the " G e n e r a l Resurrection" and the " L a s t Judgment" is borrowed from early Judaism. See Bernstein (1993:173). 1 9  2 0  It is viewed by some as perhaps the first major account o f post-mortem punishment outside the N e w Testament  (Bernstein 1993:282). A f t e r its inception, though, the text remained popular up to the ninth century, even hovering on the edges o f canonical scripture (Elliot 1993:593-594). There are two versions o f the text used in this section: the  Ethiopic and the Akhim,  abbreviated  Eth.  and  Akh.  Passages not identified by these two terms are shared by both  versions. Translations o f these versions can be found in Elliot (1993:593ff).  22 reveals the fate o f all during the "General Resurrection" and "Last Judgment." The first descriptions o f the dead concern their resurrection, in which the souls are reunited with their bodies. Once done, "Cataracts o f fire shall be let loose; and darkness and obscurity shall come up and clothe and veil the whole world; and the waters shall be changed and turned into coals o f fire, and all that is in them shall burn, and the sea shall become fire" (Peter 5). Then comes the Judgment: Then he (Jesus) shall command them to enter into the river o f fire while the works of every one o f them shall stand before them. (Rewards shall be given) to every man according to his deeds. A s for the elect who have done good, they shall come to see me and not see death by the devouring fire. But the unrighteous, the sinners, and the hypocrites shall stand i n the darkness that shall pass away, and their chastisement is fire, and the angels bring forward their sins and prepare for them a place wherein they shall be punished for ever, every one according to his transgressions (Peter 6).  The damned are then separated and sent to specific areas designed for the different categories o f sinners: there are regions for blasphemers, deniers o f righteousness, idolaters, adulterers, and others. Specific examples include the following: regions where "women, hanged by their hair over a mire that boiled up; and these were the ones who adorned themselves for adultery" (Peter, Akh. 24); likewise, there is a region for "the men who were joined with them i n the defilement o f adultery and were hanging by their feet, and their head hidden i n the mire and said ' W e did not believe that we would come to this place'" (Peter, Akh. 24); regions for murderers, who were cast into a "gorge full o f evil, creeping things and smitten by those beasts, writhing in torment" (Peter, Akh. 25); regions where "other men and women cast themselves down from a high place and return there and again and again and run and devils drive them. These are the worshipers o f  23 idols, and they drive them up to the top o f the height and cast themselves down. A n d this they do continually" (Peter, Eth. 10); and a place for "women and men gnawing their lips and in torment having heated iron in their eyes. A n d these were the ones who did blaspheme and speak evil o f the way o f righteousness." (Peter, Akh. 28). W e could continue, but I think the point is made. The next view o f H e l l is substantially different from the above in that it concerns the idea o f "ultimate reconciliation" with God. In this view more emphasis is placed on the more compassionate side o f G o d , proposing that instead o f suffering for a l l o f eternity, H e l l functions as a temporary prison and once the souls o f the wicked dead finished their term i n this prison, they are deemed purified and worthy to enter into the K i n g d o m o f G o d . St. Augustine, Bishop o f Hippo (354-430), i n his City of God, refined and expounded similar and more elaborate views o f the afterlife that became influential i n Christian doctrine. He proposed that, due to God's mercy, existence i n the underworld was not entirely eternal, and there persons could be potentially purified by fire in this condition. During the interval between the physical death o f the body and the " F i n a l " or "Last Judgment," the souls o f the dead suffer a "fire o f transitory tribulation, that tests and refines the souls" (City of God, B k 21.26). In the end the "purified souls" ascend to 21  Heaven, while those that are unredeemable, are damned, cast into an "everlasting fire" after the Last Judgment (Bernstein 1993:317-318). This view o f a temporary existence in H e l l led to further elaborations on the topic o f the afterlife in Christianity. One example o f this is Augustine's discussion o f the role o f "suffrages," in which he proposed that the living can influence existence in this state. "Suffrages" here in the  2 1  Passages o f the City of God from Augustine, City of God,  in The Fathers of the Church, vols. 6-8 ( R o y Joseph  Deferrai et al eds. N e w Y o r k : Fathers o f the C h u r c h Inc.), 1950.  context o f Augustine's teachings imply prayers, masses and alms rendered for the benefit o f the dead (Le G o f f 1984:79ff). This idea o f "suffrages" for the dead lent a lot to a later interpretation of the afterlife, that o f "Purgatory," a concept substantially different from the " H e l l " o f the Apocalypse  of Peter.  To start, a study o f the origin o f the word "Purgatory" reveals a lot about existence i n this realm. The Latin root for the term "Purgatory" or "Purgatorium" is purgatio, purgo or purgare, which means "the action o f freeing from impurities," and "to purge," "to make clean" or "to purify" (Oxford Latin Dictionary  1982:1522).  22  In short, as its etymology implies, "Purgatory"  implies condition and not location, which is unlike the origin o f the word " H e l l . " A l s o , it distinctly implies a condition that is temporary and not eternal. According to Jacques Le G o f f in his The Birth of Purgatory, the existence o f a Purgatory or a Purgatorial-like state relies on, first, the idea that the soul is immortal and is judged after death. Second, it depends also on the ideas o f individual responsibility and free w i l l , meaning that one is held accountable for their actions. Lastly, it depends on the concept o f receiving aid from the living i n the form o f suffrage. L e G o f f identified this world-view as one that maintained a "solidarity between the living and the dead" (Le G o f f 1984:5; 11), such as the idea o f "suffrages" expressed by Augustine. The idea o f suffrages and the conditions i n Purgatory vary tremendously according to interpretation. Most accounts consist o f either the living visiting the Purgatorial realm or the  A s an element o f Christian doctrine, this concept appears, that is formally, relatively late in the history o f Christianity. Furthermore, Purgatory is not mentioned in the B i b l e , and the formation o f this idea is based solely on R o m a n Catholic doctrine developed on ideas established by the C h u r c h Fathers, such as Augustine. In addition, it did not exist as an official doctrine until after period 1150-1200 C E , despite the existence o f earlier seminal ideas (Le G o f f 1984:4;362).  25 ghosts o f the dead visiting the living. The following passage, however, best sums up "Purgatory " and its relationship with the living. Dated to the eleventh century, the following passage was written by the monk Jotsuald writing on the life o f St. Odilo (d. 1049) o f the Order o f Cluny. It records, among other things, a story o f a monk who was returning from Jerusalem by sea. Between Greece and Sicily, his ship was destroyed i n a storm. Washed ashore, the monk encountered a hermit who told h i m the following tale: I am going to tell you, and I beg you to remember what you are about to hear. Not far from where we are there are places, where by the manifest w i l l o f God, a fire spits with the outmost o f violence. For a fixed length o f time the souls o f sinners are purged there in various tortures. A host o f demons are responsible for renewing these torments constantly; each day they inflict new pain and make the sufferings more and more intolerable. I have often heard the lamentations o f these men, who complain violently (Le G o f f 1984:126).  To alleviate this torture the monk was told that upon his return to his monastery he was to alert his fellow monks to say prayers and give alms for the benefit o f these souls. He returns, alerts them, and ...the brothers, their hearts running over with joy, gave thanks to G o d i n prayer after prayer, heaping alms upon alms, working tirelessly that the dead might rest in peace. The holy father abbot proposed to all the monasteries that the day after A l l Saint's Day, the first day o f November, the memory o f the faithful should be celebrated everywhere i n order to secure the repose o f their souls, and that masses, with psalms and alms be celebrated i n public and in private (Le G o f f 1984:126).  23  T h i s passage concerns the inhabitants o f " G e h e n n a . " " G e h e n n a " is another s y n o n y m for H e l l originating f r o m the O l d Testament. T h i s passage does not specifically refer to Purgatory, but adheres to its spirit.  26 In short, the above quote points out three relevant characteristics: first, individual souls are held "morally" accountable for their actions; second, punishment in this state is temporary and not entirely eternal; and third, it depends on an active relationship between the living and the dead, through which the dead receive suffrages. This latter trait exists to such an extent that one's condition i n this realm can be influenced by proper ritual performance. There is no mention o f aiding the dead i n The Apocalypse of Peter. Having established examples o f the various representations o f the underworld, now comes the task o f putting "the house o f Hades," "Tartarus," "Sheol," " H e l l , " and "Purgatory" into a workable framework. A s illustrated by the examples above, defining the Chinese underworld according to these terms is entirely problematic, because each term varies i n representation in different traditions and during different times. For these reasons, their use is woefully inadequate. T o remedy this situation, Bernstein's typology o f the different types o f death is more convenient and functional, in that his characterizations o f a "neutral" and "moral" deaths address this problem more succinctly. A s illustrated above, "the house o f Hades" and the Tartarus o f the Theogony are not places o f post-mortem punishment, and death there is more "neutral" than "moral." In the Odyssey, the dead are shades, seemingly unintelligent and unaware o f their surroundings. Only the condition o f their death in the physical world seems to bother them. O n the other hand, in the realm o f Minos, Tantalus, Sisyphus and others, receive special punishments for their transgressions. It must be noted that these transgressions were not committed against fellow human beings. They instead personally offended the Olympian gods, and for this reason, they are, as Bernstein wrote, "superhuman rebels guilty o f insubordination against the divine order," and  27 are not at all representative o f the collective dead (Bernstein 1993:22). In a similar vein, the Tartarus o f the Theogony functions as a prison for the enemies o f the Greek gods o f Olympus. In this view, Tartarus is a prison, deep under the Earth, fashioned to contain the enemies o f the supreme deity i n Greek mythology, Zeus. For these reasons, the condition o f existence in the underworld o f ancient Greece is generally morally "neutral" in that the actions o f the collective dead do not condition existence in this realm. According to Bernstein, one other facet is typical o f this type o f "neutral death." He proposes that more effort is placed i n segregating or banishing the dead from the living than in punishing the wicked dead. Homer records that "the house o f Hades" is located far to the West, across Oceanus, so far that Odysseus was possibly the first o f the living to visit this place: even the shade o f Achilles commented that he was impressed by this endeavor (Ody 11.474). In the case o f the Tartarus o f the Theogony, it is a place " A s far under earth as the sky is above," where " A bronze anvil falling down from earth would fall nine days and nights and on the tenth hit Tartarus" (Theogony 724;726-730). In such a manner, the lack o f proximity lends itself to segregate these spirits or personalities from the living. This picture o f segregation o f the dead is somewhat misleading. It is certainly a facet to consider, but is not entirely typical o f these visions o f the afterlife. One point overlooked above concerns the Greek religious practice o f soliciting the dead for aid. So, here we begin to see how "neutral death" can involve the concepts o f "porous" and "useful" death. O f particular importance is the Greek religious practice o f the "hero cult" and the "ancestor cult," types o f religious beliefs characterized by the ritual maintenance o f a relationship with the dead, in which  28 the living solicit the aid o f the dead for propitiation or for a i d . In short, it is a reciprocal 24  relationship which is ideally maintained on the terms o f the living: one can't have the dead roaming around unsupervised. Hence, there exists this emphasis on segregation and confinement, supplication and receiving aid from the spirits. The picture o f Tartarus painted by Plato is substantially different from the earlier representations o f the Greek underworld. Instead o f the previous ritual emphasis o f the idea o f "neutral death" and the implications o f "porous" and "useful death," more weight is put on the merit o f one's individual actions than on the needs o f the community. It is true that the "house o f Hades" and the belief in a "hero cult" point to a belief in individual actions and merit, but these points are not considered with all the dead. In the case o f Plato's Tartarus, the actions o f the individual dead are judged and rewards and punishments are dispensed accordingly, and there is little mention o f the efficacy o f rituals and the collective good o f the community. Rather, individual action and moral betterment are subsequently pushed to the forefront. Furthermore, punishments in Tartarus are also tools to motivate individuals, in that their often gruesome punishments are meant to motivate the living and dead to improve themselves. Likewise, early representations o f the Jewish notion o f Sheol point to a similar development o f thought. In the initial descriptions o f Sheol, the underworld is described as a dreary place, where the collective dead exist without personality and i n a sleep-like state. In any event, the wicked dead i n this early view are not punished. A l s o , like the "house o f Hades," emphasis is placed on segregating the dead from the living. N o t only is Sheol located far from the  4  A description o f the G r e e k " h e r o cults" and "ancestor cults" is found in Dietrich (1967:33ff). A discussion o f  "ancestor c u l t " or "ancestor w o r s h i p " is found in Chapter T w o o f this thesis.  29 realm o f the living, the Jewish Bible lists numerous proscriptions against contacting the dead facilitating banishment from the living: Leviticus 19.31 and 20.6 forbids consulting mediums, while Deuteronomy  18.11 prohibits divination and necromancy. There are also other numerous  similar descriptions (Bernstein 1993:137). Later interpretations o f Sheol do begin to hint at punishment in the afterlife as expressed in newer divisions i n the " P i t " o f Sheol. According to Bernstein, this new dimension o f life after death marks the beginning o f a new trait i n the treatment o f the dead i n the Jewish world-view. He writes that the segregation o f the pit "signifies denial o f a honourable burial" and that it "inflicts no punishment but confines those buried there in a place o f shame." There, they are excluded and held up as an example by the rest o f the dead (Bernstein 1993:165). This shame is not punishment proper as seen i n the later Christian H e l l or Purgatory, but i n this context segregation in the underworld is the beginning o f punishment or " H e l l " (Bernstein 1993:167). The "wicked" i n the early Jewish view are not determined by individual action, rather by a community's collective faith or loyalty. Early Jewish religion is based on adherence to a series o f covenants between a people and a deity. In simple terms, it is a contractual relationship, meaning that i f the laws o f G o d are obeyed, then the community prospered. If, on the other hand, the community did not obey the laws, it was punished by the direct actions o f the Jewish God. The Bible, for example, includes numerous examples o f sheer destruction, sometimes by fire, water, plagues, famine, captivity, among others, all instigated by Jehovah. In the end, these views reflect the idea o f collective responsibility or "collective discipline" (Bernstein 1993:147). Thus, the morality o f the individual dead are not as relevant as that o f the community at large. A s a result individuals do not necessarily receive special treatment. O n the other hand, communities or  30 nations suffer or are rewarded in this life. Wicked communities, for recompense, are isolated from the faithful and function as an example to others. The Christian H e l l and Purgatory are profoundly "moral" by contrast. In these versions o f the underworld, each individual is held responsible for his or her actions. In the end, these individual souls are judged and either rewarded or punished in the afterlife. Similarly, this idea o f individual accountability influences different types o f punishment, in that the punishment must fit the crime. Thus, women who "adorned themselves for adultery" were "hanged by their hair over a mire that boiled up." For the men who engaged in adultery with them, they "were hanging by their feet, and their head hidden i n the mire." Furthermore, the examples o f the wicked dead i n their exaggerated state o f torment, like that o f the Tartarus o f Plato, serve to motivate the living to live a better life. Together, H e l l and Purgatory differ only slightly in function. H e l l implies a place i n the underworld. In function it generally implies a place o f punishment for the morally wicked as does Purgatory. However, early interpretations o f H e l l do not precisely tell the readers that it is a place of eternal punishment. In fact, it can function with both the eternal and temporary aspects, as illustrated by Augustine. In contrast, "Purgatory" or "Purgatorium" does precisely imply a temporary place o f punishment. There, one suffers only until they have paid for their sins. So, i n this aspect it differs from Hell because its function is more precisely spelled out. This temporary aspect o f punishment, one could argue, is a result o f different types o f death. Namely, the ideas reflected i n the concepts o f a "porous" or "useful death" lent themselves more to the idea o f Purgatory, i n that the living could actively influence the fate o f the dead in the afterlife. In the H e l l o f the  31  Apocalypse of Peter there is little emphasis or mention o f the dead receiving any benefits from the living, and only the example o f interaction between the living and dead exists in the punishments given to the wicked: it is assumed that their example w i l l improve the morality o f the living. In Purgatory the opposite is true, i n that ritual communication between the living and dead is not only present, it is also encouraged. Here i n these last points one can find one the most prominent differences between the two. In conclusion, this thesis w i l l not try to define the Chinese underworld i n terms o f "Hades," "Sheol," " H e l l , " or "Purgatory." A s revealed above, the use o f these terms is limiting and often misleading. Instead, this thesis w i l l adopt the typology established by Bernstein, with specific emphasis placed on the aspects o f "neutral" and "moral death." In addition, it w i l l examine the different concerns o f "collective" and "individual morality" and how they influenced representations o f the underworld. In the end, the following chapters reveal that the Chinese underworld, specifically the Taoist version, is much more complex and distinct than the previous Western interpretations led us to believe and Bernstein's models and approach w i l l provide us with the framework for the following chapters.  32 Chapter Two: Indigenous Beliefs from the Neolithic to the E n d of the Han I. Introduction: This chapter w i l l discuss the general patterns o f belief regarding the underworld and the afterlife as established previous to the introduction o f Buddhism. To accomplish this task, the chapter is divided into three sections. The first w i l l deal with beliefs common to the Shang or Y i n Dynasty, the second with the Z h o u dynasties, including the Chun Q i u or "Spring and Autumn" and the Zhanguo or "Warring States" periods. The third examines the beliefs o f the Q i n and Han. There are several general traits relevant to this chapter. First, this chapter w i l l examine certain foundational beliefs that manifest themselves i n China's prehistory and appear later i n subsequent historical periods. These traits are animism, shamanism, and "ancestor religion" or "ancestor worship." Second, we w i l l examine the relationship between the mundane and spirit world and how this relationship functioned. Namely, as existence o f "Sheol," " H e l l " and other subterranean realms i n the Western tradition depend on a specific relationship with a "divine order," it is only logical that the same holds true for China. A s w i l l be revealed, the Chinese consistently viewed human suffering as a result o f a direct relationship with the spirit world. In the case o f the Shang, Zhou, Q i n and Han periods, one did not receive punishment in the afterlife, rather, punishment for wrongdoing was dispensed solely i n the mundane world by spirits. Thus idea o f the spirits, often the spirits o f the dead, punishing the living evokes an element o f "useful death," as these spirits act as agents o f retribution. To prevent these misfortunes, the living brokered bargains either directly with the spirits through ritual or through intermediaries such as shamans or mediums. In the end, the examination o f the above traits w i l l  33 reveal that beliefs established during these early periods center more on a mechanistic ritual process than on anything else. Morality is not a determinant factor i n the afterlife, and death is hence "neutral."  II. The Beliefs of Neolithic China (ca. 4,000-ca. 1,500) and the Yin or Shang Dynasty (15007-1050?): Our knowledge o f Neolithic China is determined purely by archeological finds. Currently, there are about 7,000 sites recognized as originating from this period, and it is generally accepted that from the fertile area around the Huanghe j l r }RJ , or Y e l l o w River, numerous cultures flourished with each contributing to the character o f Neolithic China. The period itself witnessed a gradual movement from simple hunter-gathering societies to larger, more organized settlements whose sustenance depended more on agriculture. Like the other "hydraulic" cultures o f this time, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus River Valley for example, increased food production aided by a proximity to fertile lands led to a greater population, which in turn created the need for greater resource management. Hence, a more stratified society with greater cultural sophistication and more refined traits came into existence. According to Chinese legend, the X i a dynasty came into existence by the late twenty-third century, but its existence has not been conclusively verified by archeology. B y 1,500 B C E , however, the Shang dynasty emerged and it possessed all the trappings o f what scholars have identified as a "civilization." This means that the Shang possessed an organized population living within a designated political area. In addition, this culture possessed a highly stratified society complete with slaves, laborers, artisans, warriors, priests and rulers. Writing, too, emerged i n China at this time thereby leaving us a broader, but not complete, picture o f beliefs o f this time.  34 Given that new archeological discoveries, Shang divinatory devices and bronzes, for example, constantly appear, we must conclude that any study o f these periods is "tentative" at best.  a.) The Religion of the Neolithic Period: A s related in the latest studies on the topic, it is generally agreed that animism, shamanism and "ancestor worship" or "ancestor religion" characterize the religious beliefs and practices during the periods o f the Neolithic and the Shang. The first, animism, is defined as a 1  religious system characterized in the belief that the world is populated by numerous supernatural beings. In this system, plants, animals and natural phenomena, such as the sun, the moon, rivers, and mountains, among others, are viewed as numinous, and possessing almost human-like qualities and responding in human-like ways. In contrast, shamanism is defined not entirely by a perspective or world-view, rather by a practitioner: the shaman. There are numerous definitions o f a shaman. In general though, a shaman is defined as a religious practitioner, who, through an ecstatic trance, is able to cross over into other realms o f existence and communicate with these numinous spirits to receive supernatural aid in the form o f divine information or help. According to other broader interpretations, the shaman can take on the role o f an exorcist or healer, that is a practitioner who banishes or placates spirits that cause illness or misfortune. A shaman can even function as a medium, meaning that he or she is possessed by a spirit instead o f actively traveling to the other realms. In any event, the spirits contacted by the shaman are generally the spirits o f the natural world, such as those prevalent i n animism. In addition, spirits o f the ancestors or the  1  F o r a detailed s u m m a r y o f research o n this topic, see D . N . Keightley " N e o l i t h i c and Shang P e r i o d s , "  (1995:128-145). In D . O . O v e r m y e r e d . , " T h e C h i n e s e Religions-The State o f the F i e l d (Part I),"  of Asian Studies,  54.1 (Feb. 1995): 124-160.  i n the  Journal  35 collective dead i n general are also contacted. For China o f the Neolithic, "spirit-mediums" or "shamans," often identified as wu A]X, were the dominate religious practitioners. A m o n g other things, they summoned rain, purified ritual areas by driving away harmful influences, and called down the gods to receive sacrifices; possibly they, too, could predict the future and heal illness (Overmyer 1995:127). O f the three general patterns prevalent during these periods, perhaps "ancestor worship" deserves the most attention in this thesis, as it is intimately connected with the destination o f the spirits o f the dead and the interaction o f the living with the dead. B y definition, an ancestor is a deified or elevated deceased family member who is ritually re-incorporated into family life. Although personal and familial relationships are prerequisites for the creation o f an ancestor, familial relationships alone do not make an ancestor. Rituals are also necessary, as they operate as social conduits and a means to maintain relations with the dead. Given this aspect, it is not surprising that these relationships i n many ways mirror relations as they exist i n the mundane world to such an extent that, in most instances, the interaction even involved a shared meal as part o f the ritual process, as the rationalist Wang Chong o f the first century C E writes: The world believes i n sacrifices, imagining that he who sacrifices becomes happy, and he who does not, becomes unhappy. Therefore, when people are taken i l l , they first try to learn by divination, what influence is the cause. Having found out this, they prepare sacrifices, and, after these have been performed, their mind feels at ease, and the sickness ceases. With great obstinacy they believe this to be the effect o f the sacrifices. They never desist from urging the necessity o f making offerings, maintaining that the departed are conscious, and that ghosts and spirits eat and drink like so many guests invited to dinner. When these guests are pleased, they thank the host for his kindness (Forke I: 509).  36  In addition, the above quote points out other significant aspects o f "ancestor worship." Namely, i f the living properly carries out their ritual obligations to the ancestor, i f they dutifully perform sacrifice, whether it be in the form o f prayer, sacrifice, supplication, or even propitiation, blessings from the deceased are believed secured. If, on the other hand, the descendants fail to properly carry out these rituals, the danger o f an ancestor causing misfortune becomes a reality. Meyer Fortes in Ancestors, a collection o f studies on ancestor worship, describes this relationship in the following manner: ...failure to perform these duties is believed to anger the ancestors, so that they inflict trouble and misfortune on their delinquent descendants and thus bring them to heel again. T o put it the other way round, i n ancestor-worshiping societies the troubles and misfortunes that inevitably occur i n the course o f human life-be they economic loss, career failure, or above all the ultimate and inescapable afflictions o f sickness and death-are often attributed to the ancestor. Conscientious ritual service may thus be thought o f as a way o f keeping the ancestors happy and thus preventing or mitigating their anger (Fortes 1976:11).  Thus on one level, the relationship between the living and the dead is an extension o f previous relations: the living care for the dead, while the dead, i n exchange for this maintenance, help the living, or at least leave them alone. O n this level, it can be strongly argued that this ritual procedure evokes an element o f reciprocity resulting from a continuation o f respect that survives the death o f a loved one. Ancestor worship may even result from a strong desire for control over supernatural or extra-human forces originating from a definite fear o f the dead, because, after death, ancestors cannot be left to their own devices. Instead, their energies are routed to attain  37 positive results through rituals. Without this respect, supplication, and maintenance, they may afflict the living causing harm. In this view ancestors are thus objects o f both terror and admiration and the root o f all things good and bad.  b.) The State-Sponsored "Ancestral Cult" of the Yin or Shang Dynasty: In general, the Shang is held up as the first readily identifiable Chinese dynasty. The state of Shang itself was composed o f its capital, Y i n , near modern-day Anyang T £  o f Henan  province }nj $j , and numerous subordinate tribes or lineages located along the Y e l l o w River. Shang beliefs have been traditionally interpreted according the "Shang oracle bones." Dated to a period between the mid-second millennium and eleventh century B C E , the "oracle bones" are sonamed because the are inscribed divinatory devices fashioned by the means o f scapulomancy or plastromancy, meaning the use o f the shoulder-blades o f oxen or sheep and the use o f the breast bone o f a turtle or tortoise, respectively. During elaborate ceremonies, questions were carved onto the surface o f these bones. The bones were then heated and the resulting cracks interpreted. These divination ceremonies were held daily, and were lavish, in that a good portion o f the state's resources were dedicated to feeding the ancestors. Rituals often involved the sacrifice o f numerous oxen, pigs, horses and even humans, not only demonstrating the centrality o f the Y i n ancestral cults, but also that the dead, like their counterparts in the mundane world, also needed food and slaves to exist i n the afterlife. Our picture o f Shang beliefs is, however, conditioned by one overriding factor: our evidence is confined to the practices o f the Shang aristocracy only, as our only finds, to date, originate from the tombs o f Shang kings or aristocrats, and, as a result, the beliefs o f the common people are missing.  38 The questions and answers on the bones reveal that the Shang aristocracy believed in an extensive pantheon with some deities directly linked to the ancestral lineage o f the Y i n court, others originating from animistic beliefs, and some from pantheons o f vassal states incorporated into the Shang world. According to the most recent research on the topic o f Y i n beliefs, there are three general types o f spirits: the first, Shangdi _ L ^ ? , the " L o r d on H i g h , " the so-called "high god" o f the Shang; second, the X i a n Wang ^ f e l , the "Former Kings"; and the supernatural beings called the X i a n Gong  Jtfe,  the "Former Lords" (Ito and Takashima 1996:4ff).  2  In the  world o f the Shang, these deities were responsible for every aspect o f the daily life, even control o f the wind and rain, granting an abundant harvest, conferring the favor o f Heaven, approval o f human affairs, and sending down disaster or curses, among other things (Ito and Takashima 1996:5ff). In addition, Shang royal ancestors directly influenced the health o f the ruler to such an extent that toothaches, headaches, bloated abdomens, and leg pains were frequently viewed as a result from the same cause, or symptoms, the "curse o f the ancestor" (Unschuld 1985:19). The Shang response to this dilemma is through what Unschuld describes as "ancestral medicine," or more specifically "placating the dead," through the same Shang ritual mechanism used to secure a good harvest. To reiterate, this is a relationship typical o f the definition o f "ancestor worship" as established by Fortes and mentioned by Wang Chong. In sum, the deities or spirits o f the  2  Keightley breaks the pantheon d o w n into five types o f deities: 1.) D i ; 2.) Nature Powers; 3.) the F o r m e r  L o r d s ; 4.) pre-dynastic ancestors; and 5.) dynastic ancestors (Keightley 1 9 9 5 : 1 3 2 ) . A summary o f the various types o f deities is as follows. T h e nature o f the first, Shangdi, is entirely problematic. Shangdi m a y refer to one particular ancestor, perhaps the possible progenitor o f the Y i n lineage, or it m a y refer to a collective b o d y o f the ancestors. It m a y refer to a single force o f nature, perhaps even Nature itself ( E n o 1995:45). T h e " F o r m e r K i n g s , " o n the other h a n d , are most likely ancestors o f the Y i n lineage, and once actual persons. T h e " F o r m e r L o r d s , " Ito proposes, are numerous divine beings that do not specifically belong to the Y i n lineage, and are closer to nature divinities than to "flesh-and-blood ancestors." T h e y m a y even be the tutelary deities o f subordinate states incorporated into the Shang pantheon (Ito and T a k a s h i m a 1996:9,74).  39 ancestors are held responsible for or are consulted about the minutiae o f the day-to-day affairs o f the court, no matter how big or small. To solve these dilemmas, the living responded by trying to secure their good favor by maintaining their existence i n the afterlife. Next, the topic o f Shang cosmology and the abodes for the dead, meaning the function and structure o f the Heavenly and Earthly Realms, is a very difficult topic to approach and is subject to different interpretations. To start, the Shang belief o f the close interaction between the living and the dead may have eliminated the need for dividing the cosmos into different realms. Poo Mu-chou writes that the Shang may have perceived the sacred and human realms as "conterminous with the human realm" or even a "continuous extension o f it" (Poo 1998:27). In turn, this tendency may have contributed to perhaps our biggest liability i n understanding the Shang cosmos. In short, there is not one specific text that spells out precisely what the Shang believed and how they perceived the cosmos. In other words, there is no Chinese equivalent to the Egyptian Book of the Dead (New Kingdom 1580-1090) to provide us with a map o f the cosmos. W e have only ritual implements, the oracle bones, and grave goods, to reconstruct the Shang cosmos. O f these reconstructions though, there are two predominate theories, one i n which the spirits, specifically those o f the Y i n household, ascend to a Heavenly Realm, and the second that states that the spirits o f the dead may also exist near the grave. First, Ito proposes that the Y i n identified the spirits o f the ruling elite with the sun and were not thought o f inhabiting an "underworld," but a "world o f light" in a realm above the Earth (Ito and Takashima 1996:41-42). They may have even lived in Heaven perhaps in central constellations and i n the vicinity Shangdi; from there they "sent down curses" (Pas 1997:300). According to another  40 interpretation, the dead may have also existed in an incorporeal state, like disembodied ghosts, near the grave or ancestral hall, and there they depended on grave goods for sustenance. Several scholars record that mortuary remains, such as ritual bronzes, bronze chariots, cowry shells (the precursor to money), and ample supplies o f food, wealth, personal possessions and the remains o f sacrificed servants point to the "assurance o f a comfortable afterlife" and one patterned after life in the mundane world (Pas 1997:300-301; Chang 1985:110). Some scholars have proposed that the inclusion o f grave goods may imply that the Shang may have believed i n an early bi-partite notion o f the spirit, meaning one that ascended to Heaven and one that lingered near the grave after death (Pas 1997: 301). But, given the paucity o f the sources, this view is tentative only. Even though the inclusion o f grave goods may imply a post-mortem existence near the grave, it does not provide definite proof for a post-mortem subterranean realm. The sources reveal that the Earth was not directly linked to the idea o f an early "storehouse o f the dead." Scholars propose that worship o f "Earth," precisely the nature divinity Tu ±_ denotes territory and the fertility o f the soil. According to Ito, i f the character Tu appears by itself i n the oracle bones, it denotes the territory i n and around the Y i n capital. If used i n conjunction with other graphs, such as those o f the cardinal directions, it denotes other localities, and is most likely a deity o f an alien tribe incorporated into the Shang realm (Ito and Takashima 1996:74,86). In this role, it functioned as a "protector god" o f the Y i n capital or o f a princely domain and its inhabitants (Maspero 1981:5). O n the other hand, Ito mentions that, as a nature divinity, T u has been identified with the later "Divinity o f the S o i l , " or She  , which implies soil, land, or the  "deified earth that produces crops" (Ito and Takashima 1996:70,73; Maspero 1981:5). In other words, Tu, " S o i l " or "Earth," at this time did not function as nor did it imply a subterranean  41 realm for the dead. This occurs later as Tu appears later as an important concept linked to the underworld and figures prominently i n later elaborations o f the topic. Missing throughout these sources is mention o f the fate o f the common or collective dead of the non-elite. Poo writes that the common people o f this time may have believed in an afterlife, but one that relied on the practices o f the royal cults (Poo 1998:63). In more specific terms, i f the common people desired a place i n the Shang afterlife, then they would have to follow their masters through the medium o f human sacrifice i n the Shang funerary cults, serving as servants and slaves, accompanying and serving their masters i n death. Given that the Shang society was a hierarchical one, rigidly divided between " L o r d , " the "patrician families" o f the aristocracy, the "plebeian families," and "slaves" (Maspero 1981:4), the various levels o f society assumed the same positions in death as i n life, meaning that the "ruled" followed the "ruler" i n death and served h i m much as they did i n this life. In sum though, existence in the afterlife for the Shang was solely influenced by mechanistic ritual performance and not one's morality or immorality. Poo writes that ritual performance typified the relationship between the living and the dead and can be summed up by the phrase do ut des or "I give so that you give" (Poo 1995:47; Poo 1998:28). This means that, on the one hand, the relationship between these two realms is organized according to reciprocal response, or an action o f sacrifice requiring the granting o f blessings from the divine. Do ut des is hence the only moral criteria for the Shang. This left only rituals, for example the provision o f food and other sacrificial goods, and the sacrifice o f servants and slaves, to determine the condition o f the dead in the afterlife.  42  III. Beliefs of the Zhou (10507-256), "Spring and Autumn" (722-481), and "Warring States" Periods (403-221): The period between the fall o f the Shang and the establishment o f the Q i n Empire in 221 B C E witnessed immense political changes. For instance, the fall o f the Y i n marked the beginning of the increased decentralization o f the political and religious monopoly o f the rulers o f China, a decentralization that was given more momentum i n 771 B C E when the Zhou had to move their capital after barbarians, i n alliance with Chinese principalities, destroyed the capital. A s a result, numerous states and newer aristocratic lineages arose and consequently competed for power, hence the "Warring States Period," a particularly fertile period that witnessed numerous developments i n religious thought and practice. For example, the sources record for the first time a specific subterranean realm for the dead, the Huang Quan flf ^ or " Y e l l o w Springs," an even more refined model o f the spirit, and the emergence o f "demonology" as a means to explain and to deal with disaster and human suffering in general. In simple terms, "demonology" implies that human suffering is caused by random forces or personalities, or "demons" and not just ancestors. A s noted, ancestors are deified deceased family members and so demons are distinguished from ancestors in that they do not possess any familial links to whom they afflict. They are hence impersonal forces, but like ancestors, demons shared a relationship with human suffering and the structure o f the cosmos, as later they were governed by the gods o f the Heavens and underworld and functioned sometimes with sanctioned violence against the living.  a.) "Ancestor Worship" of the Zhou: To start, existence in the afterlife mirrored that o f Zhou society, in that during the Zhou a hierarchy existed in the afterlife based on a segregation according to one's rank. The early study  43 o f H . Maspero hinted at this aspect by stating the following: after death the K i n g s and Princes ascended to dwell with Shangdi; the spirits o f the Great Lords managed an existence for themselves i n the funerary temple or near the grave; and the commonalty o f men went to the Earth (Maspero 1981:26). Modern day scholars generally reiterate these ideas: Poo for example states that it was believed that the ruling household after death followed the "former kings," and ascended to dwell on the "left and right o f Shangdi" (Poo 1995:92). Poo however cites recent archaeological finds that portray a different picture. Using an Eastern Zhou Bronze vessel dated to 560 B C E as evidence, nobles after death entered dixia iff} ~F" or "Under-the-Earth" to serve their masters (Poo 1995:92; Poo 1998:65). This passage illuminates several points about the afterlife at this time. First, it shows that status influenced one's responsibilities not only in this life but in the next as well. Second, shows that the beliefs regarding the ultimate destination o f the dead was almost as undefined as those o f the Shang, unless, o f course, this last passage implies a belief in a bipartite division o f the spirit, an aspect not mentioned above. In short, due to the poverty o f precise sources and the presence o f conflicting evidence, we w i l l never fully understand the nature o f the afterlife at this time. Regardless, we are certain that the condition o f spirits o f the ruling elite was substantially better than that o f the lower aristocracy and the common people. This arises from the fact that they could better maintain their ancestors i n the afterlife due to their privileged position i n society and their access to more extravagant forms o f sacrifice i n this world. The literary sources and archeological finds dating to the Zhou finds point to a society rigidly divided along class lines and one maintained by rituals. In this system it is evident that every level o f society, the ruler, the lower aristocracy, and the common people, played specific  44 delineated roles, and this division of labor extended into the religious ritual arena as well, in that each level had precise ritual obligations to perform. Similarly, this ritually maintained worldorder influenced the practices of the ancestral cults as well. For example, the Chunqiu jing  ^fyk  IS, the "Classic of the Spring and Autumn Period" records similar restrictions placed on the social-political hierarchy of the Zhou regarding ritual practice and the worship of ancestors.  3  According to this text, each level of the ruling elite was restricted to the number of ancestral temples they could maintain: the "Son of Heaven," or King possessed seven ancestral temples; the "feudal lords" had five; the "Grand Masters" three; and the "servicemen" had two.  4  According to the practice of the day, ancestral temples contained the zhu j£, the inscribed ancestral tablets of specific ancestors, and it was believed that the spirit of the ancestors dwelled in these tablets to be sustained by the offerings of their descendants. Each temple though was solely dedicated to only one ancestor and its tablet. The other ancestral tablets, although remaining in the temple, were moved to the background. As each rank was allowed to focus on only a specific number of temples, those nobles of lower ranks were restricted in the number of ancestors they could maintain and how they could maintain them. A similar tendency is also present in recent archeological finds. During the early Zhou, in particular, burial practices indicate a continuation of Shang trends. For the aristocratic elements of Zhou society, actual chariots, weapons, and ritual utensils, meaning the personal possessions  3  T h e dating o f these texts is problematic. A l t h o u g h attributed to C o n f u c i u s , the Chunqiu came together in its  present form b y as late as the H a n . However, they perhaps are based on an earlier oral tradition and record events from as late as the eighth century. 4  H a r v a r d Y e n c h i n g Institute.  chuan  The Combined Concordances to the Ch'un-Ch'iu, Kung-yang, Ku-liang and Ts  ( T a i w a n rpt. T a i b e i : Chinese Materials and Research A i d s Service Center, 1966), 108.  45 and the tools appropriate to their position, made up the bulk o f grave-goods (Falkenstein 1994:4). For the aristocracy, human sacrifice to accompany the dead continued i n practice at least on limited level until the fourth century B C E . In general, grave goods and burial practices were 5  defined according to the status o f the deceased, meaning that one's rank dictated the number o f coffins and caskets and the numbers and sets o f bronze vessels included in the tombs (Poo 1998:166). So, while the aristocrats included valuable possessions with the deceased, the tombs belonging to nobles o f lesser rank, on the other hand, frequently included grave goods o f lesser quality. Hence, their ability to maintain the dead was restricted by sumptuary rules, similar i n essence to the limits on the number o f ancestral temples the various levels o f the aristocracy could maintain. T o counter these limits, the feudal lords included less expensive surrogate items, the mingqi Rft  or "spirit utensils," meaning grave goods, weapons, ritual utensils, made o f  inferior materials and i n miniature (Falkenstein 1994:5). The inclusion o f the mingqi may point to the economic concerns o f the lower elite: given that the lower aristocracy's access to resources was limited in comparison to their superiors, to include these grave-goods o f lesser quality more or less fulfilled the same requirements for looking after the dead, but i n a more economical manner. Throughout this, what is truly conspicuous by its absence is mention o f the beliefs and practices o f the common people. Poo, however, proposes that while the religion o f the court focused on practices to benefit the state, meaning effecting authority and maintaining orderliness for the state and its subjects, the religion o f the people concentrated on the personal welfare o f its  5  H u m a n sacrifice in connection with burial practices continued in the Z h o u period, especially in the Western state  o f Q i n . It was officially forbidden in 384 B C E  (Cambridge History of China,  vol. 1:32).  46 worshiper (Poo 1998:13). In other words, the religion o f the common people centered on agricultural and life cycles, daily decision making, and birth, marriages, sickness, death, and ideas concerning the dead and the afterlife. A l s o , it is probable that the commoners practiced ancestor worship, but in a way different from the practices o f the elite, and it was up to the elite to instruct proper religious practices to the common people and to check for religious practices that may run contrary to the established practice of the state cult. For example, the Liji 6  fjjtfg ,  the "Book o f Rites" a text composed in the Former Han (206 B C E - 6 C E ) , but most likely on ideas that existed earlier, records that "ordinary officers and ordinary people have no ancestral temples, [and] their dead were left in a ghostly state." This passage thus outlines two general 7  traits about beliefs during this period. It demonstrates that the practices o f the commoners lacked proper ritual discourse in dealing with the dead, and that the dead o f the commoners existed as disembodied spirits near the grave where they were propitiated by sacrifice. The beliefs o f the Zhou and Warring States regarding the afterlife reflect a need to maintain identity and status i n the afterlife, pointing to a desire to maintain segregation i n the afterlife. Being a class conscious and aristocratic society, it is conceivable that these restrictions were a means for the elite to maintain their own status i n this life and the next. In other words, these restrictions, meaning the sumptuary rules for the various levels o f society, reflected a need to establish order i n the chaos o f the Warring States period and resulted from "sound sociopolitical reasons" (Falkenstein 1994:5). Despite the fact that we do not know the precise structure  6  7  F o r a discussion o f these tendencies, see O v e r m y e r (1989-90). L e g g e (28:206) f r o m The Sacred Books of the East, e d . M a x M i i l l e r ( L o n d o n : T h e C l a r e n d o n Press, 1885) v o l  x x v i i , The Li Ki, trans. James L e g g e ; O v e r m y e r (1989-90:199-201). T h e last passage "...[and] their dead were left i n their ghostly state," si yue gui 1989-90:201).  0^  .  c  a  nD  e  read " w h e n they are dead, call them ghosts" (Overmyer  47 o f the afterlife, we are certain that the condition o f the spirits o f the ruling elite was considerably better than that o f the lesser aristocracy and the collective throng o f the dead o f the common people. Similar to the perception the condition o f death mirroring that o f the living, the dead had to eat and drink as well. But given the position and their monopoly o f power and ritual, the Kings and Princes received all the prerequisites for a truly comfortable existence i n the afterlife: food, wine, chariots, weapons and servants were sent to maintain their existence i n the great hereafter. Conversely, the lesser nobles and the commoners, with limited access to ritual procedure, possessed fewer options. Presumably lacking the economic resources to compete with the rulers in the afterlife, they resorted to the mingqi or "spirit utensils" because they were required to do so, and because these devices were less expensive and served the same function anyway. The common people, on the other hand, could not or did not properly practice "ancestor worship." Hence, we can surmise that the spirits o f the lower classes perhaps lived i n a disembodied state like ghosts or shades as mentioned in the Liji.  b.) T h e " Y e l l o w S p r i n g s " : In addition to developments i n the ancestral cults, the Spring and Autumn Period witnessed the development o f a newer and more substantial element o f the afterlife, that o f the Huang Quan or the " Y e l l o w Springs." To start, the earliest literary reference to the Y e l l o w Springs occurs in the Zuo Zhuan 1±\ W-  m  the story "Duke Yinzhuang Digs a Tunnel i n the Earth  to see his Mother." Although the story records events from the year 722 B C E , scholars are not entirely certain i f the notion o f the Y e l l o w Springs dates to the eighth century B C E , as it is generally assumed that the text itself was compiled in the late Zhou perhaps by as late as the third  century B C E .  8  One dateable source, X u n z i  (ca. 340-245 B C E ) , makes reference to the  Y e l l o w Springs, thereby dating it to the fourth century B C E . The first non-literary or datable 9  archeological reference to the Y e l l o w Springs dates to the Late Warring States Period ( L i 1985:10). The text, unnamed, is a C h u silk manuscript from Changsha ^  o f Hunan province  j^J . The text concerns itself with the cosmological and mythological matrix o f the Southern State o f C h u f £ . It does not however directly speak o f the Y e l l o w Springs as an abode for the dead, nor do any o f researchers provide a precise date for this text. Again, dating the 10  appearance o f this concept is entirely problematic, as is the origin o f its name: it may refer to the mythical origin o f random springs that appeared on the surface, or it may be connected to the water found at the bottom o f tombs when preparing the grave. A l l a n , however, suggests that the Y e l l o w Springs is related to two trees attached to Chinese cosmology, that is the F u Sang J £ f | in the East and the Ruo Tree, the Ruo M u  ?f> , trees associated with the rising and setting o f  the Sun. These two trees are, in turn, connected with the Ruo River or Ruo Shui ^ 7 K , a possible synonym for the Y e l l o w Springs, which, in her own words, "ran everywhere beneath the earth." (Allan 1981:29). The story from the Zuo Zhuan is summarized i n the f o l l o w i n g .  11  Due to his mother's  8  Dates f r o m W a t s o n (1989:xiv).  9  A l t h o u g h he refers to the Y e l l o w Springs, he does not substantially describe it, and so his information is o f little  value. X u n z i states " T h o u g h the earthworm has neither the advantage o f claws and teeth nor the strength o f muscles and bones, it can eat dust and dirt above the ground and drink from the Y e l l o w Springs below because its m i n d is fixed on a constant e n d " (Xunzi 1:1.6; K n o b l o c k trans. (1988:139)). 1 0  F o r discussions on this manuscript, see Barnard (1973), and L i (1985). Barnard though translates the characters  as H u a n g Y u a n Jif 11  ^  , while L i translates these two characters as H u a n g Q u a n .  W h e n researching this topic, M a s p e r o , N e e d h a m , L o e w e , and others either summarize the story or mentioned  it in passing o n l y . T h e y never included a translation. Inclusion o f the above translation, I hope, will alleviate the same frustration I experienced when trying to understand the Y e l l o w Springs in this context.  49 betrayal o f plotting to open the capital gates to a rival force, Duke Yinzhuang confined his mother to the capital and took a vow, "Not until we reach the Y e l l o w Springs shall we meet again! " ^ 2& f t ^ ^ t@ JIL t i l • Later, he regretted this v o w and when receiving a visit from a border guard, the guard put aside part o f his meal. When the Duke asked h i m the meaning o f this, the guard replied: " Y o u r servant has a mother who shares whatever food he eats, but she has never tasted your lordship's broth. I beg permission to take her some." " Y o u have a mother to take things to. Alas, I alone have none!" said the duke. " M a y I venture to ask the meaning o f that?" said Y i n g K'ao-shu. The duke explained why he had made the remark and confessed he regretted the vow. " W h y should your lordship worry?" said the other. " I f you dig into the earth until you reach the springs and fashion a tunnel where the two o f you can meet, then who can say that you have not kept your v o w ? " The duke then did as he suggested. A s he entered the tunnel he intoned this verse: ' W i t h i n this great tunnel, genial, genial is my joy!' When lady Chiang emerged from the tunnel she intoned this verse: 'Outside the great tunnel far-flung, far-flung is my j o y ! ' So i n the end mother and son became as they had been before. (Watson 1989:3-4).  Though the above text is-sparse i n detail, later sources, particularly those from the Han, tell us more about the condition o f the dead i n the underworld, in particular the Y e l l o w Springs. In particular, the Honshu ? J | | | or "History o f the Han Dynasty" by B a n G u g£ g | (32-92 C E ) makes two references to the underworld and existence there. One passage refers to Dixia or  50 "Under-the-Earth," a synonym for the underworld. The story is as follows. While discussing the problems o f succession after the death o f Emperor Huidi (ca. 187 B C E ) one lord chides another that i f he did not carry out certain tasks " H o w could you face Gaodi (a previous Emperor) in D i x i a ? " f q J u f g M r l j ^ ^ i ' f e T (Hanshu 40.2047). Another passage also uses similar language to describe one lord meeting his master in the underworld. A l s o , Han poetry makes 12  specific reference to existence in this realm. A poem from the Gushi shijiu shouji " A Collection o f Nineteen Ancient Poems," describes existence there i n the following manner: I guide my carriage from the Upper East Gate, and look i n the distance to the tombs in the far North. H o w the white poplars rustle! Pines and Cypresses line the broad road. B e l o w holds the ancient dead, W h o silently endure the "Long Evening," and are concealed sleeping below i n the Y e l l o w Springs, for a thousand years, never to awake.  Yin and yang move infinitely, (yet) one's destined years (last as long) as morning dew. One's life is brief, like a temporary lodging, and our lifespan is not as firm as that o f gold or stone. Tens o f thousands o f years come and go, (yet) the Sagely and the Worthy cannot surpass this. (Some) ingest concoctions in the search o f holy immortality,  1 2  T h e second reference is found in  Honshu 68.2938.  B o t h references supplied by L o e w e (1982:34;193).  51 but often it is this medicine that causes harm. W h y not drink fair wine and wear soft light s i l k ?  13  In this context it seems that, like the passage in the Zuo Zhuan, the Y e l l o w Springs resembles the early "Sheol" o f Job. In short, the Y e l l o w Springs is a vaguely defined subterranean region and a storehouse for the dead. If we consider the passages from the Honshu, existence there implies that rank and station still applied as it did i n life and perhaps the dead still maintained the same responsibilities there as when alive. In contrast, the poem implies that the dead maintain a "corporate existence" without distinct identity. There in the Y e l l o w Springs, the dead "silently endure the "Long Evening,' (the Changmu ^ H , a metaphor for death), and are concealed sleeping below i n the Y e l l o w Springs, for a thousand years, never to awake," implying that the dead do not maintain an independent existence. They are rather a "collective throng o f the dead" without thought and personality, standing i n contrast to the previous quotes from the Honshu. It is interesting to note that the Y e l l o w Springs o f Han poetry is closer i n function to the early "Sheol." Namely, according to Bernstein, Sheol has no physical attributes, except that it is represented as being part o f the innards o f the earth, downward beneath the Earth, and functioning at times as a synonym for death (Bernstein 1993:140). If the H a n references represent a line o f continuity with beliefs i n the later Warring States period, then, i n these aspects, the Y e l l o w Springs appears indeed closer to "Sheol" in that early accounts merely locate it under the Earth, and there the dead also sleep as i f i n a grave. In any event, both places are  1 3  A n o n . Quche shangdongmen  shijiushou jijie  f l Jjl _h W. H  " G u i d i n g M y Carriage from the U p p e r East G a t e , "  N o . 13, " C o l l e c t i o n and Exegesis o f Nineteen A n c i e n t P o e m s , " (Sui Shusen |§t  1985). M y translation, based on Watson (1971:29).  Gushi , ed.  52 predominately "neutral": they do not mention punishment i n the afterlife at all and therefore are mere "storehouses for the dead."  c.) Developments Regarding the Nature of the "Spirits of the Dead": It is interesting to note that the above passages about the underworld mention little about the nature o f the spirits o f the dead. This may result from the date o f composition o f the texts, for later in the period the Chinese perception o f the "spirits o f the dead" underwent changes. A s recorded i n texts dated to the later Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods, the Chinese perception o f the spirit became increasingly formulated. A s established above, the spirits o f the dead could dwell in several possible abodes: the Heavens; near the ancestral tablet in the ancestral temple; near the grave or tomb; i n the Y e l l o w Springs; or they could even manage an existence as an disembodied spirit. They could even theoretically exist in these three states simultaneously. Instead o f settling on one thing or the other, the Chinese o f antiquity apparently accommodated all aspects. This trait might be explained as a result from the need to accommodate all the various destinations o f the dead, specifically those well-grounded i n tradition, and those originating from different geographical regions and different time periods. Fused together with practices found at different levels o f society, the resulting explanations hardly seem uniform or systematic. In recent years, scholars have attempted to track the development o f these new ideas by defining the nature o f the spirit as it appeared during these periods. In general, Y u Yingshi and other scholars agree that by the sixth century B C E new developments occurred that supplemented the previous views o f the spirit. In particular, the mid-Zhou witnessed the refinement o f the  53 potential bi-partite notion o f the spirit as seen in the Shang and the establishment o f one in line with the later portrayals o f the hurt ft  and po  division o f the spirit. A s a graph, the term po  means "white," "bright," or "bright light" and it appeared on oracle bones as early as the eleventh century B C E , but by the sixth century though the term appeared again but with broader connotations. Using the Zuo Zhuan as evidence, Y i i believes that po was possibly perceived as a separate entity that joined the body from the outside and without it, a person lost intelligence ( Y i i 1987:371). Conversely, toward the end o f the sixth century, the concept o f hun appeared, which according to Y i i , very little is known about the origin: he states merely that the idea may have originated in the Southern reaches o f the Zhou world and slowly spread to the North by the sixth century ( Y i i 1987:372). B y the fourth and third centuries B C E , however, these two ideas became the operative words to describe the spirits o f the dead, brought about by the later growing popularity of yin-yang cosmology, i n which po is allied with yang and hun withj/w ( Y i i 1987:374-375). A s Heaven is characterized as the ultimate embodiment oiyang, and Earth, as the ultimate embodiment of yin, both spiritual elements journeyed to these realms after death and were eventually reincorporated into the cycles of yin and yang. After death, the hun embarked on fantastic and often frightening journeys through the world until it was summoned back to the ancestral tablet or temple where it was nourished by sacrifice. O n the other hand, the po remained near the corpse, i n the Earth, where it was ideally nourished by the surviving relatives. If it were to leave the corpse and roam restlessly, it then became a gui $L , a "ghost," or a "revenant," a returning noxious spirit that haunts the living until propitiated (Loewe 1982:27). The true weight o f these aspects, however, is not revealed in the Zuo Zhuan and other early texts. Rather, when  54 combined with other elements, particularly C h u cosmology o f the South, these elaborations added new depth to the Chinese cosmology i n general. In particular, sections from the Chuci or "Songs o f the South" composed by Q u Yuan presents the afterlife in terms substantially different from the passages from the Zuo Zhuan and Honshu. The Zhaohun^^,  or "Summons o f the Hun Spirit" reflects the most substantial  description o f C h u cosmology and it is this portrayal that influenced later interpretations o f the afterlife. A t the time the kingdom o f C h u was located on the Yangzi River i n the then Southern reaches o f the Chinese world, and the beliefs o f C h u are generally associated with shamanistic beliefs, including fantastic soul journeys o f shamans and the spirits o f the people themselves. These beliefs survived in C h u elite culture, perhaps due to location and distance from the more "Confucian" states o f the North, who held the less rational shamanism i n disdain. In general, the poem reflects the desire o f the living to bring the hun spirit back to the corpse, and, as a result, is viewed as being intimately tied to the Fu '\% or "Summoning" ritual.  14  The Fu ritual began when one was on the verge o f death, and after the final breath, the "Summoning" occurred. A t this point in time relatives rolled-up the deceased's clothing and carried them to the top o f the house by way o f the East eaves. The summoner faced North and called out " O h , so-and-so, Come Back!" He did this three times and then threw the clothing in the air, presumably to catch the spirit. O n the ground an assistant received the clothes and placed them on the body o f the deceased, reuniting the hun with the body and completing the ritual. Without the ritual and the hun spirit, for that matter, one could strongly argue, the body could not  1 4  F o r a reconstruction o f the Fu ritual, see Y u (1989).  55 be buried properly, and the spirit could potentially return as a gui or "revenant." Hence, it is logical to surmise that the often terrifying descriptions o f the various regions o f the world are methods to scare the spirit back to the body, thus securing proper burial. In the following passages, the hun spirit is warned about the dangers o f wandering away from the corpse and throughout the world. One by-product o f these admonitions is the description o f the perceived world, including that o f the fate o f the dead and that o f the underworld. In all, the poem presents a stark and terrifying world populated by terrible mythical beings:  15  i n the East "There are giants there a thousand fathoms tall, who seek only for souls to  catch, A n d ten suns that come out together, melting metal, dissolving stone. The folk that live there can bear it, but you soul, would be consumed" (19-21); in the South "There the people have tattooed faces and blackened teeth; They sacrifice flesh o f men and pound their bones for meat paste. There the venomous cobra abounds, and the great fox that can run a hundred leagues, A n d the nine-headed serpent, who darts swiftly this way and that, A n d swallows men as a sweet relish" (24-28); i n the West "The M o v i n g Sands stretch for a hundred leagues. Y o u w i l l be swept into the Thunder's Chasm and dashed i n pieces, unable to defend yourself; A n d even should you chance to escape from that, beyond is the empty desert, A n d red ants as huge as elephants and wasps as big as gourds. The five grains do not grow there; dry stalks are the only food; A n d the earth there scorches men up; there is nowhere to look for water; A n d you w i l l drift forever, with nowhere to go i n that vastness" (31-37); in the North "There the layered ice rises high, and the snowflakes fly for a hundred leagues and more" (40). In addition, the Heavenly realms are also  15  Translation f r o m H a w k e s (1985:224-5). A d d i t i o n a l information from C h e n Z i z h a n (Nanjing: Jiangsusheng X i n h u a d i a n , 1988):  Zhao Hun  18-53.  P^-f-fl ed. Chucizhijie ^®  56 described i n similar terms as its gates are guarded by fierce animals, who perhaps prohibit entrance to the common dead: O soul, come back! C l i m b not to heaven above, For tigers and leopards guard the nine gates, with jaws ever ready to rend mortal men, A n d one man with nine heads that can pull up nine thousand trees, A n d the slant-eyed jackal-wolves pad to and fro; They hang out men for sport and drop them in the abyss, A n d at G o d ' s ( D i ^  ) command may they ever rest or sleep.  O soul, come back! Lest you fall into this danger (42-48).  The Earth as well is described in a like manner: O soul, come back! G o not down to the Land o f Darkness (Youdu Where the Earth G o d (Tubo i f f i ) lies, nine-coiled, with dreadful horns on his forehead, A n d with a great humped back and bloody thumbs, pursuing men swift-footed: Three eyes he has i n his tiger's head, and his body is like a bull's. O soul, come back! Lest you bring on yourself disaster (49-53).  Based on the above passages, Maspero concluded that the underworld o f this time was described as a "sort o f Sheol i n which all, both god and bad alike, are lumped together in the darkness, jealously guarded by the Earth G o d who devours them i n the end" (Maspero 1981:28); it is this opinion that Thompson reiterates (Thompson 1989:29;31-33). It should be noted that this over reliance on this text and its subsequent interpretations is due, i n part, to the then relative poverty o f information on the topic. Archaeology during the time o f Maspero and others did not  57 possess the later more substantial descriptions o f the underworld, resulting i n a picture eschew. The text implies that the proper place o f the hun is by the corpse and near their descendants only, and that any journey to the underworld, or any other for that matter, are hence undesirable and not at all mandatory for all the dead. O n the whole, the text seems to imply that any errant spirits w i l l be destroyed, which is in line with burial practices and beliefs o f the period, meaning that ancestors had to be controlled or at least monitored. Despite the fact that Maspero's and Thompson's analysis o f the underworld as a terrible place for all the dead, which is dated, numerous elements from the Zhao Hun influenced later versions o f the underworld. The personality o f the Tubo, the "Earth God," also later known as Houtu jj=j zt for example, lingers on in later versions o f the underworld, while the Youdu or "Land o f Darkness" or "Dark R e a l m " remains important i n describing later versions o f the underworld. These traits however w i l l be examined later.  d.) T h e Emergence of "Demonology": Indirectly related to the topic o f the afterlife and the relationship between the living and the dead is the concept o f "demonology." B y definition, "demonology" stands i n contrast to "ancestor worship." According to their nature, "ancestors" are family-based and intimately tied to a specific family. The relationships are hence personal ones between the ancestors and family members. In contrast, "demons" are not necessarily attached to a specific family, but are most often random, impersonal forces o f ubiquitous and possibly animistic nature. According to Cedzich, "demons" could be one o f two types: random forces that dwelled i n the earth, mountains, rivers, lakes, stones, trees, animals and even in worn-out household items;  58 conversely, they could also be discontented spirits o f the dead, such as those who died prematurely or i n a violent fashion (Cedzich 1993:28). Demonology is significant to the topic o f the afterlife as it is related to the idea o f human suffering, as the various guishen, the various spirits o f the dead and deities, are entirely responsible for afflicting suffering on the living. In turn, these spirits directly fall under the jurisdiction o f the numerous deities linked to the later bureaucracy o f the cosmos and, in particular, the underworld. Recently, Harper has argued that the idea o f "demonology" existed as far back as the Shang (Harper 1990:210). Despite this presence at this early time, it appears as more peripheral in function compared to the central role o f the ancestors. Harper writes that first true records o f "demonology" can be found i n the Later Warring States, specifically in the Zuo Zhuan (Harper 1985:479). Another text from this period is the Shanhaijing and Seas" (mid fourth c. B C E ) .  1 6  |JL| $ | $ f the "Classic o f Mountains  The text is primarily a "bestiary," or an enumeration o f various  spiritual beings that inhabit the quadrants o f the perceived world. N o one knows the exact purpose o f this text, and scholars propose that it is a talismanic text to forewarn its possessor about taking a shamanistic-like spirit quest (Harper 1985:479).  17  Other sources from this period make reference to state-sponsored rituals to drive out demonic forces. Derk Bodde's excellent Festivals in Classical China (1975) records numerous pre-Han and H a n rituals. O f them perhaps the Da No AW  o  r  "Great Exorcism," performed on  the eve o f the Chinese N e w Year, is the most impressive. Bodde argues that versions o f it were  1 6  T h e dating o f this text is entirely problematic. Parts o f it date to the late W a r r i n g States and some to the H a n .  Dates f r o m L o e w e (1982:213-14). 1 7  F o r a discussion o f the latter point, see N e e d h a m (1954: 3.503).  59 first practiced i n the early Warring States but appeared in China earlier (Bodde 1975:77). The ritual itself centers around a shaman or exorcist called a fangxiangshi various pestilences. The Houhanshu  tH  ~}j | g -jo , who drove out  , "The Later Han History" in particular records  more substantial accounts o f similar rituals in which a huge entourage o f palace attendants and the exorcist "expel pestilences" from the palace o f the ruler. In the ritual, the exorcist is dressed as a demonic impersonator wearing "a bear skin having four eyes o f gold, and clad in black upper garment and red lower garment, (and) grasps a lance and brandishes a shield" while "Palace Attendants o f the Y e l l o w Gates act as twelve "animals," wearing fur, feathers and horns, and the Supervisor o f the Retinue leads them to expel demons from the palace."  18  They then go through  each o f the palace rooms and chase out evil spirits. Other elements o f the retinue, armed with "peach wood staffs" and "rush spears," stand at the ready presumably to beat any unwary spirits. The text also tells that the retinue at the end establishes "peach wood figurines " and sets out "rush cords" to subdue and restrain demons. In sum, the entire matrix o f the "Great Exorcism" and other similar rituals resemble a great hunt: the exorcist runs i n to the rooms to chase out demons while the various attendants, armed with numinous weapons, beat them into submission and bind them. In addition to the hunt motif, other texts suggest different methods for dealing with demons. For examples o f this trait, Harper uses the recently discovered texts dating to the third and second centuries B C E . The texts are entitled respectively as Ms A, the Rijing  BM., or the  "Day B o o k " both unearthed from a tomb in Shuihudi 111 j^itj} o f Hubei province Mit  1 8  F r o m W a n g X i a n q i a n J E T ^ I S ed.,  B o d d e (1975:81-82).  Houhanshu (Shanghai: C o m m e r c i a l  • Both  Press, 1959)15/3a-3b. Translation from  60 tombs are dated to 218 B C E . He also uses the Wushier bingfang  ZL^Jj  , "Recipes for  Fifty-two Ailments" from a tomb dated to 168 B C E . Important points from the texts are summarized i n the following paragraph. First, Ms A contains a section on demonology entitled Jie jfjjj. According to Harper's research on the topic, jie possesses legal connotations referring specifically to the investigation o f criminal accusations: it implies "accusation" or to "accuse," a process alluding to the interrogation o f parties which includes the flogging to get to the truth; to obligate oneself to the spirits by means o f a written document; the use o f written testimony as incontrovertible evidence for testing the veracity o f witnesses; and practices involving oaths and spells that magically obligated men and demons (Harper 1985:472;478-79). In the end Harper arrives at the term "spellbinding" as the most suitable translation (Harper 1985:479). Poo, on the other hand, translates the character as "Inquiry," implying a means to identify specific spirits for exorcism, and once identified the most efficacious or appropriate technique can be used (Poo 1998:79). In contrast, the "Day B o o k " is not an exorcistic manual, but a guide book on how to avoid demonic affliction. A m o n g other things, the "Day B o o k " speaks o f auspicious and inauspicious days for practically every aspect o f daily life: marriage, childbirth, auspicious days for eating and drinking, slaughtering farm animals, harvesting, making garments, and specific days o f the year when the Earth could not be violated, construction work could not be carried out, and for washing hair (Poo 1998:74; Harper 1985: 468). If one violated these taboos, then demons received license to afflict the living, revealing the perceived source o f suffering in this world and the ubiquitous influence o f demonic forces. Next, the Wushier bingfang or "Recipes for Fifty-two Ailments" as the name implies is more concerned with curing illness. The categories o f illness  61 mentioned i n the text refer to "blade wounds," treatments for stanching wounds, easing pain, preventing scars, body stiffness, spasmodic attacks, "lumping" caused by improper exposure to stars at night, poisons, wart removal, among other things (Harper 1982:16ff). O f the fifty-two ailments, 38 are magical recipes, often involving incantation and complex exorcistic rites invoking spiritual assistance from higher powers. In most cases the demonic intruders became the spiritual embodiment o f the disease. To rid the body o f the disease, the exorcist appealed to higher deities, for example, the Huangshen  or " Y e l l o w Deity," the Tianshen ^ ffi the  "Celestial Deity," and the Shennii t $ ^ C "Spirit Maidens," to bring the troublesome spirits i n line. Combined with this, the exorcist threatened the spirits and chased them out. L i k e the use o f the term jie, exorcism at this juncture involved judicial process and appeals to a higher authority, in this case more powerful deities, to drive out pestilence. Together the above examples paint a picture o f a world populated by demons and one where people suffer from their afflictions. So ubiquitous were these beliefs that the dominated practically every dimension o f life during these periods. A s Wang Chong wrote i n the first century C E It is a common belief that evil influences cause our diseases and our deaths, and that in case o f continual calamities, penalties, ignominious execution, and derision there has been some offense. When i n commencing a building, i n moving our residence, i n sacrificing, mourning, burying, and other rites, in taking up office or marrying, no lucky day has been chosen, or an unpropitious year or month have not been avoided, one falls i n with demons and meets spirits, which at that time work disaster. Thus sickness, misfortunes, the implication i n criminal cases, punishments and even deaths, the destruction o f a family, and the annihilation o f a whole house are brought about by carelessness and disregard o f an unfortunate  62 period o f time (Forke 1:525). Obviously, this stands in contrast to the previous views o f human suffering, in that the bulk o f the early sources represents the views o f the elite o f the time, hence, the focus on ancestors. O n the other hand, the Rijing and the Wushier bingfang represent the views o f different levels o f Chinese society, specifically those o f the middle and lower segments o f society. Poo, for example, argues that texts such as the "Day B o o k " reflect beliefs falling outside o f the context o f court ritual (Poo 1998:69-70). In general though these texts are important because they provide us with a more comprehensive view o f the perceived relationship between the human and spirit world and the resultive sense o f retributive supernatural justice meted out in this world. Here, "morality" implies not violating established laws o f social conduct, rather breaking specific taboos and hence personally offending the sundry ghosts and spirits. To counter these harmful forces, though, religious practitioners could draw on a variety o f different means to affect their expulsion: the "hunt" motif, legalistic mechanisms, and a system o f incantations and appeals to higher powers. Some, especially the legalistic motifs and the system o f appeals, evoke images o f government affairs i n the mundane realm, which indeed is their influence. The "hunt" motif and the threats o f calling on higher deities to drive out our punish the smaller spirits evokes images o f violence, and given that the demons are particularly noxious, it is logical to fight fire with fire by using threats o f violence. In sum the above traits, legalistic terminology, the appeals, and the threats o f violence characterize the relationships between the mundane and spirit realm in general, and these influences last even to this day as evident i n popular religious practice in China, Taiwan, and Chinese communities abroad. It is a relationship important to this thesis because the various ghosts and demons fall under the control  63  o f particular deities, specifically those linked to the afterlife and the underworld, a trait that continued to develop i n the Han and after. Mention o f these aspects above also points to seminal ideas that later formed the backbone o f how Taoists dealt with potentially problematic spirits, a topic that w i l l be discussed in the following chapters.  IV. Beliefs of the Qin and Han-Towards a "Moral Death": The ruthless competition o f the Warring States Period came to an end i n 221 B C E when the Western State o f Q i n conquered its rivals. Under the harsh leadership o f the despotic Q i n ruler, Q i n Shihuangdi § $ p l f , China became an Empire for the first time in its history. In replacing the older feudal institutions o f the Zhou, the Q i n established an Empire under the control o f a more centralized government. To organize its state and to eliminate the possibility o f the older aristocratic lineages rising up against the government, the Q i n utilized the so-called "Legalist" philosophy which served them well during the Warring States period. According to this school o f thought, birth and lineage did not determine one's place in society or the government. Instead, the central government appointed its officials. The system o f government established by the Q i n has been often described as "bureaucratic," which in this context implies a system o f offices and officers, not only appointed by the central government, but also one governed by procedure and standardization. To this end, i n addition to standardizing the lawcode, the written language, the coinage, weights and measures, and even the gauge o f cart axles, the Q i n established an extensive system o f offices, standardized judicial procedures, record-keeping, codified laws recording a system o f equal and impersonal laws. Due to the tyranny o f the Qin, revolt and dissent eventually brought the downfall o f the  64 Qin. In 206 B C E it was replaced by the Han Dynasty. The Han, however, did not entirely abandon the Q i n policy o f centralizing the government under a bureaucracy and later struck a balance between the aristocratic inclinations o f the Zhou and the bureaucratic methods o f the Q i n by appointing aristocrats to important positions in the government. The Han lasted until 221 C E , but for decades previous China was in turmoil. Financial problems, corruption in the government, a resurgence o f the aristocracy, barbarian invasions and internal rebellion contributed to its eventual downfall. During the preceding centuries, peasant rebellions, often organized along religious lines occurred. For the Han, the problem o f human suffering was not dissimilar from the previous Dynasties. Still, suffering was explained as a direct result o f a relationship with the spirit world. It differed from the previous views o f human suffering perhaps only i n the way these problems were dealt with. In addition to the ritual pacification and propitiation o f the ancestors and the sundry ghosts and demons, the people o f the H a n appealed to higher deities to solve dilemmas caused by the spirit world. Some o f these deities, it should be noted, lorded over the spirits o f the dead and are hence intimately linked to the underworld. To serve this end, the people increasingly relied on paradigms established in the mundane realm, particularly those established by government procedure. Hence, changes in this world imparted changes in the spirit world as well, as the cosmos became increasingly viewed being staffed by bureaucrats and most affairs were handled by judicial process, and the spirits o f the dead were "administered" like the living. Thus at this point we begin to see the first inklings o f a "moral death." To place changes i n the perception o f the underworld at this juncture, this section w i l l analyze the following topics: the cosmology o f the Q i n and H a n Dynasties; the bureaucracy o f the underworld; and the condition  65 o f the dead i n the underworld and the related Q i n and H a n view o f guilt.  a.) The Cosmos-Its Structure and Its Responsibilities and the Idea of Paradise: A s a whole, the cosmology o f the Q i n and especially the Han reflect a continuation o f ideas established previously in the Zhou and Warring States periods. Needless to say, this reflects ideas that existed before the advent o f the naturalistic yin-yang philosophy, which by the later Han became the most dominant model o f the cosmos. Still, the ideas o f ancestral worship, the hun and po division, and a potential existence as a disembodied ghost remained central. The view in general differs from the former i n the ideas surrounding the idea o f a post-mortem Paradise and an underworld became more fully developed, or at least more evident, due to an increased amount o f sources. In general, during the Q i n and Han the cosmos was increasingly described in governmental terms, in many ways matching the function o f its mundane counterpart. In this view, Heaven is viewed as possessing certain administrative and judicial responsibilities, and it was structured along the lines o f contemporary offices i n the mundane realm. Harper argues that the first evidence o f this "bureaucratization" is found i n the same C h u Silk Manuscript that lists the Y e l l o w Springs, thereby dating the emergence o f this trend to about the fourth century B C E . The text itself list that four mensual spirits who each "direct" or si W] one o f the four seasons (Harper 1994:19). Harper writes that later practices i n the administrations o f the cosmos followed, coinciding with administrative documents or registers o f the local populace which appeared i n C h u i n the last quarter o f the fourth century B C E , an idea implemented by Shang Yang  |fc (mid-fourth century B C E ) in Qin, who proposed that the state register mature men  66 and women, and, upon death, their names are removedfromthe state registers (Harper 1994:19). The first century CE accounts of Wang Chong provide us with the best descriptions of the bureaucratic structure of the cosmos and its responsibilities. In his philippics against popular beliefs, Wang Chong states that the cosmos was patterned directly after the government of the day, in that Tianshen, or "Celestial Spirit," the same deity mentioned in the Wushier bingfang, dwelled in a Palace much like a human sovereign, and possessed certain administrative and judicial responsibilities (Forke 1:313). Not only did the Celestial Spirit keep records of the living and the dead, this deity and the Heaven Realms endowed two fates, or Ming p%, to each individual at birth: one that determines those events "that he must encounter in life," and another that determines the fate "of strength and weakness of the length and shortness life" (Forke 1:313). In addition to lording over the initial fate of one's life, the Celestial Spirit also presided over the interim, meaning that it judged the actions of the living. It then punished or rewarded the wicked and good accordingly: It is commonly believed that those who practice goodness meet with good fortune, that those who perform misdeeds meet with calamity, and that this response of both good fortune and calamity (stems)fromHeaven. Heaven responds to what humans do. The Lords of the People reward obvious mercy, while Heaven and Earth repay the virtue of secret kindness (Fuxu fg | J ; Errors Regarding Good Fortune; My translation based on Forke 1:156).  Wang Chong states above that elements of these beliefs are false. Like kings in the human realm the Celestial Spirit is remote and uninterested in human affairs and that it is most likely the same sundry ghosts and spirits of the aforementioned Day Book and the Recipes for the Fifty-two  67 Ailments, the guishen, who punish the wicked: Rulers and the people are distant from one another and (Rulers) do not know of their secret misdeeds, and as the Celestial Spirit is within his Four Palaces, how would he know the secret faults of his people? Rulers hear of people's transgressions by means of the people; Heaven most certainly learns of people's misdeeds by relying on ghosts. If Heaven hears of misdeeds by means of the guishen, then punishment for these affairs, are certainly caused by guishen. If this is caused by guishen, then the so-called "Anger of Heaven" (really results) from the guishen, and not from Heaven (Leixu ft  ; Errors Regarding Lightning and  Thunder, 32 p. 1369ff; My translation based on Forke 1:290-91).  It is significant to note that the idea of punishing the dead does not appear in Wang Chong's writings. This lead us to surmise that regardless of punishment by Tianshen or by the sundry ghosts and spirits, the realm of the living is more "moral" than the realm of the dead. Here, "useful death," meaning the retributive qualities of the vindictive guishen, apparently functioned as the sole means to punish the wicked. In short, like the previous views of the Shang and the Zhou, life is the arena where one is punished. Within this cosmological framework of the Qin and Han is found another aspect revealed from Han sources: the idea of paradises for the dead. The recent work of Michael Loewe (1979, 1982), Yii Yingshi (1987), Xiao Dengfu (1987a, 1987b), and Poo Moo-chou (1994; 1998), supply us with substantial detail of elaborate paradises that came into view in the Han, ideas based on seminal ideas existing in the Shang and Warring States Periods. The source of this new research stems from recent archeological discoveries, which paint a picture of the cosmos far richer than textual sources previously revealed. Such Paradises are as follows: the "Blessed Islands of the  68 East," a magical realm of the West under the X i Wang Mu  3E M >the Queen Mother of the  West, a vague notion of an ordered and possibly pleasant existence for the po spirit in the Yellow Springs, and a type of existence placed in terms of underlining the fabric of the cosmos itself (Loewe 1982:27-28). Undoubtedly, the most famous of these realms are the "Blessed Isles of the East" and the mystical island of Penglai H ^ i . The Liezi,  ^p, a Taoist text dating to a period  between 300 B C E and the third or fourth century C E , records the following account of the Eastern Paradises: There are five mountains there, called Tai-yu, Yuan-chiao, Fang-hu, Ying-chou and P'eng-lai. These mountains are thirty thousand leagues in height and girth, and there is a flat plane at the summit which stretches for nine thousand leagues. They lie at a distance of seventy thousand leagues from one another, but they are thought to be like neighbors. The terraces and the towers at the top are made of gold and jade; the animals are all pure white. Trees of pearl and precious gems flourish there, with flowers and fruit of a delicious taste. None of those that eat of them grow old or die, and the persons who live there are all of a breed of immortal beings or holy men.  19  Entrance to these realms could be obtained either when alive or after death. If alive, one could enter these realms through alchemical means, meaning the ingestion of elixirs or the consumption of magical plants from these areas, or even by practicing bodily exercises. In doing so, one could attain a type of physical immortality, longevity, or a deathless state of existence or of the status of a Xian filj or Immortal. Otherwise, one could attain these realms through the proper performance of funeral ritual in which the spirits of the dead journeyed to and, thereby  A . C . Graham, 29).  The Book ofLieh-tzu: A New Translation,  ( L o n d o n : J o h n M u r r a y , 1967:97); L o e w e ( 1 9 8 2 2 8 -  69 transformed themselves and obtained a deathless state in the post-mortem realm. Recent research has pointed out that there are numerous variations to this complex theme. As a result, only a few aspects of these beliefs will be mentioned below. For example, tomb-finds such as the so-called Feiyi  tentatively dated to 168 BCE, the TLV Mirrors, defined below,  collected from various Han tombs, and numerous other artifacts, illustrate facets of the hun's journey after death. They primarily illustrate that after death the spirit embarked on an often dangerous journey through the afterlife, most often guided by the preparations of the living. First is the so-called Feiyi of Lady Xin Zhui  the Countess of Tai. Loewe, Yii, Xiao and others  argue that the Feiyi portrays the journey of one part of the spirit and based on motifs expressed in the Chuci, the Shanhai jing, the Liji and other texts. It has been argued that the banner is most 20  likely a means to guide the spirit first to Penglai, where the spirit ingests elixirs or plants of immortality. If successful in consuming the plants there, the hun then continues to the ultimate destination on the "left and right of Shangdi" in the Heavens. In a similar vein, the so-called TLV mirrors also served to guide the hun through the perils of the afterlife. The TLV mirrors, aptly named as they portray corresponding designs embossed on its outer surface indicating the structure of the cosmos, may have served as a map to guide the spirit. Combined with the allusion that the polished side of the mirror supplies light, these mirrors, not only guided the hun spirit through the afterlife in search of a Paradise, they also lit the way through the dangerous realms of the cosmos.  21  2 0  N o one k n o w the true function o f the F e i y i . L o e w e proposes that this is a banner used i n conjunction with  burial rites and carried i n a procession ( L o e w e 1979:30). Y i i proposes that the F e i y i is i n fact a burial shroud and is linked to the F u ritual mentioned above. H e argues that is reflects the cosmos as related i n the and 2 1  Dazhao p o e m s  f r o m the  Chuci  (1987).  F o r a discussion o f the T L V M i r r o r s , see L o e w e (1979).  Zhaohun  70  The po spirit, too, received attention in burial practice. Again, like in the Shang and Zhou dynasties, the inclusion of grave goods served as a means to pacify the po spirit. Miniatures of grave attendants, musicians, acrobats, and miniatures of houses and wells, among other useful . utensils for the afterlife, supplied its needs in the grave or in Dixia. There it was hoped the po remained happy, entertained by and provided with all the trappings of a comfortable existence. The living, too, took precautions to ensure that the po could not leave the tomb. This was accomplished by the use of extra chambers or coffins in the tomb, thereby, prohibiting the po from coming back as a revenant. In addition, tokens, recording the station of the deceased, his rank, implies that in the afterlife, the spirit would receive a comfortable existence according to rank, implying that like the Han poetry, a hierarchy existed in the underworld and afterlife in general. Attempts to pacify the po spirit and catering to its every needs, it could be strongly argued, imply a type of separation between the living and the dead. It was hoped, as revealed by this evidence and others, that the dead, would not desire to, or could not for that matter, return as a revenant to wreak disaster on the living descendants and others, in accord with "ancestor worship" and even demonology. On the other hand, the hun spirit, even though ideally in the Qin and Han paradises, still descended on specific days or festivals to the ancestral temples and ancestral tablets to receive sacrifice, and sustenance to bestow their blessings on the living. As elaborate and comprehensive as these procedures seem, they were not practiced by all of Chinese society. Specifically, these beliefs were adhered to only by the elite of Chinese society, meaning the rulers, the officialdom, and specific religious practitioners, the fangshyfa zt, "ritual specialists," who practiced the secrets of immortality. The common people, the middle  71  and lower classes o f society, apparently lacking these options due to financial reasons, a high degree o f illiteracy and other factors, apparently had no access to these techniques and, hence, to the various paradises. According to Poo, the only avenue for immortality the non-elite possessed centered on worship o f the Queen Mother o f the West, the X i Wang M u and the inclusion o f T L V mirrors i n tombs (Poo 1998:162-3). Still, it is conceivable that the lowest levels o f society not only did not practice these techniques, they probably didn't even understand them at all. A s the next section demonstrates, by the beginning o f the Q i n and Han, it seems that the common people still adhered to the idea o f a post-mortem existence as a ghost or even an existence in the underworld, an existence that mirrored their life i n this world.  b.) The Bureaucracy of the Underworld: A s mentioned above, the Celestial Realms, including the Paradises associated with it, were most likely reserved primarily for the elite o f the Han society or even specific religious practitioners. O n the other hand, the people o f the middle and lowest rungs o f society, which in fact made up the largest proportion o f society, with a few exceptions, were fated to an existence in the underworld or dixia, as a disembodied ghost, or perhaps both. Like the situation regarding the recent portrayals o f the afterlife regarding Paradises and access to these realms, recent archeological finds have made our view o f the Q i n and Han afterlife more complete. Grave finds, specifically written documents included i n tombs o f members o f society falling outside o f the elite class, have thereby filled i n the gaps regarding our understanding o f religious practices o f the common people during the Q i n and Han. Scholars  72 such as Terry Kleeman (1984), A n n a Seidel (1987a), Angelica Cedzich (1993), Donald Harper (1994), Valerie Hansen (1995), and Poo Mu-chou (1994;1998) have used these new finds to paint a picture more heretofore unknown. The first example is found i n Donald Harper's "Resurrection i n Warring States Popular Culture" (1994), a study o f a bamboo-slip manuscript dated to the late Warring States. It deserves attention because this is one o f earliest concrete examples o f the "bureaucratization" o f the cosmos (Harper 1994:18), and is significant because it offers one o f the most complete records o f popular beliefs regarding the afterlife. To continue, the history and subject matter o f the bamboo slips are as follows. The slips were excavated i n 1986 i n Tomb 1 at Fangmatan  JH $ i | i n Gansu province " t j " ^ , then part o f  the Q i n state. The text itself records the death and subsequent resurrection o f a man named Dan f$ in 297 B C E . The process involved i n Dan's resurrection recounts bureaucratic record-keeping and procedure based on Q i n judicial process, for even a copy was submitted to the Royal Scribe, Yushi  j £ , o f the state o f Qin, matching the copy placed in the grave (Harper 1994:15).This  suggests that similar record keeping occurred i n the Celestial Bureaucracy as w e l l with all the potential mistakes that could be made. It stands to reason, that i f the government o f this world made clerical errors, so could the offices o f the afterlife. Thus, an anxiety regarding the accuracy o f the record-keeping in the afterlife exists as well. Appeals, just like those in the mundane realm could potentially restore one back to life i f one died unjustly or prematurely. Harper has divided the text into three sections. The first section is an example o f Q i n record-keeping. It records the date o f the document, the location o f the event, and who submitted  73 the document to the Q i n court. In this case it is the Administrator o f D i  fj;|$,  named C h i ^  • The  second section, however, records the events surrounding the death o f Dan. It lists the following: In the seventh year o f the current reign (300 B C E ) , Dan injured a man by stabbing h i m i n Yuanyong Village; and because o f it he killed himself with his sword. They exposed h i m i n the market. Three days later they buried h i m outside the south gate o f Yuanyong. Three years later D a n was able to be restored to life. The reason why Dan could be restored to life was because I was X i W u ' s Caretaker. The reason why X i W u H jj£ disputed his Caretaker's life-mandate was because he thought that Dan was not yet fated to die. Therefore he made a declaration to the Scribe o f the Director o f the Life-mandate W] pp j £ , Gongsun Qiang  ^ ,  who then had a white dog dig up the pit to let Dan out. He stood on the tomb for three days. Then he departed northwards to Zhao i n company with the Scribe o f the Director o f Life-mandate, Gongsun Qiang, and went to B o q i u i n the North Territory. Fully four years later he then heard dogs barking and roosters crowing, and he ate human food. H i s body had a scar on the throat and sparse eyebrow hair; it was inky; and his four limbs were useless (Harper 1994:14).  The above section states that Dan injured a man, and, perhaps out o f grief or even fear o f punishment, took his own life. H i s body was then exposed in the market for retribution. H i s patron, X i W u , a general o f W e i (d. 293 B C E ) disputed Dan's death, believing the death to be "not fated" or "not warranted."  22  He then appealed to the deities o f the afterlife, i n this case  Gongsun Qiang, identified as the Scribe o f the Director o f the Life-Mandate.  23  The appeal is  2 2  H a r p e r translates wei dang si  2 3  H a r p e r argues that this figure is a historical one, one infamous for his part i n the destruction o f the state o f  C a o i n 487 B C E (Harper 1994:16).  as "(the person) does not warrant death" (Harper 1994:22).  74 obviously successful, and Dan is resurrected, albeit in state not resembling his former self: for four years after his return, he could not hear and he could not eat, and his appearance was marked by a scar on his throat, with sparse, inky eyebrow hair and useless limbs. The third section is more concerned with a description o f the condition o f the spirits than bureaucratic process. It continues: Dan says: "The dead do not want many clothes. People i n the market think that white woolly-grass is fortunate; when the ghosts receive (offerings) i n something else they still think it is fortunate." Dan says: "Let those who offer sacrifices at tombs not to dare to spit. If they spit, the ghosts depart and file in fright. After the sacrificial food has been collected, empty (the vessels). In this way (?) eat (?)." Dan says: "Those who offer sacrifices must carefully sweep and purify. D o not wash the place o f sacrifice with (?). D o not pour the boiled dish over the sacrificial food, for the ghosts w i l l not eat it." (Harper 1994:14)  To reiterate, the above passage demonstrates the condition o f ghosts. Harper believes this section does not describe aspects o f life o f the dead i n the underworld (Harper 1994:16). Poo, however, states that from this passage the dead live continually in tombs, suggesting location itself for the world o f the dead (Poo 1998:66). This means that the realm o f the dead was near the tomb or perhaps in the tomb itself. In fact, there seems to be little to support these positions, as there is real mention o f the underworld at all and only a passing mention o f the tomb. In short, the text seems to focus on how the dead exist i n a disembodied state, and one dependent on the sacrifices supplied by the living, including clothes and offerings o f food and how they are to be sacrificed: the sacrificial area is to be the cleaned and spitting is to be avoided as it frightens  75 away the spirits. In short, Dan's description tells us little o f the underworld and most likely reflects beliefs more common to the middle and lower levels o f Chinese society. In any event, the text remains important because it demonstrates ritual relationship between the realm o f the living and the cosmos, as revealed by the appeals to the higher deities to restore life. Other types o f grave texts illustrate the function and structure o f the H a n underworld. O f particular interest are the so-called "tomb contracts," "grave-quelling texts," also known as the "celestial ordinances" w h i c h first appeared during the second century B C E . In short, these texts are included with the deceased, and, as they would provide no other function for the living, were meant exclusively for the perusal o f the deities o f the cosmos. In particular, the subject matter o f these texts illustrate how this bureaucracy functioned, and how the living communicated with these offices. These ordinances usually took the form o f an imperial edict, a chi  or "proclamation,"  to be delivered to a large cast o f deities related to the cosmos and the underworld i n general. Often these texts were delivered by an emissary of the Tiandi ^  the "Celestial Thearch" the  highest deity mentioned in these ordinances. These orders were then relayed through an envoy, such as the Tiandi Shizhe ^C'nfjfe ^ "Deputy o f the Grave M o u n d " , M u b o  to lower officials, such as the Qiucheng fr xT<, the , the "Earl o f the T o m b " and the D i x i a Erqiandan  i & T ~ " f ^ B , the "2,000 Bushel Officials" (Seidel 1987a: 28; Hansen 1994:153). In addition there are numerous other deities involved in this chain, such as the Huangshen H ffi , the " Y e l l o w Spirit" or " Y e l l o w Deity," the Wuyue £ H£ > the "Five Marchmounts" and Taishan ^  76 ULl or ^1 i l j , "Mount T a i . "  24  A s w i l l be seen, all o f these deities hold fairly specific  responsibilities over the living and the dead. A m o n g other things, the next set o f texts reveal that the various offices o f the cosmos presided over the registration o f the spirits. Dan's resurrection, however, shows that, for the most part, the common people viewed the afterlife differently from the elite, in that in the afterlife the dead existed as ghosts. In short, for the common people death is not perceived as a journey to a paradise. In a similar vein, other grave texts show that the common people believed that both the hun and po proceeded together to the area "Under-theEarth" and under the jurisdiction o f the Five Marchmounts, who i n turn were under the control o f the " Y e l l o w G o d . " Both apparently controlled the registers o f the living and summoned the spirits o f the dead (Seidel 1987a:30-31). According to Seidel, these "registers," or Lu ^ , indicate the exact time and date when one is due to die and be summoned to the underworld. She also states that is not clear i f Five Marchmounts also kept these registers or i f duplicate copies also existed for each set o f deities (Seidel 1987a:32). The subject matter o f these texts qualify beliefs o f the day. Seidel argues that there are four categories o f funeral texts. The first and most famous are the land contracts or diquan f^ ^ , documents attesting to the deceased's ownership o f the grave plot. Modeled after secular sales contracts, they often record the purchase o f the land, the buyer and seller, location, dimension o f the plot, the price and the witnesses to the sale. The earliest example o f this type is dated to 82  2 4  T h e F i v e M a r c h m o u n t s are T a i s h a n , the Eastern Peak ^  |JL|  , H u a s h a n , the W e s t e r n Peak  Central Peak ^  ^  ^  |±|.  |f£ ^  |Jj,  H e n g s h a n , the Southern Peak J5Jg |f£  f|j  |J_|, H e n g s h a n , the N o r t h e r n Peak ^kMtS UJ, and Songshan, the  77 C E and these contracts are often written in red or black ink on lead, stone or jade tablets or on ceramic tiles (Seidel 1987a:24). The second category is the zhenmuwen §J||§=^t or "documents to ward off evil from the tomb," also described by Seidel as the "celestial ordinances for the dead." The majority o f these ordinances are written i n red or black and unglazed pottery jars. They appear i n tombs from the end o f the first to the end o f the second century C E . L i k e official documents, they function like passports for the dead, introducing the deceased to the Netherworld administration. The third category are the Yiwuquan  "inventory o f  clothing and articles." In short, these are perhaps the earliest form o f grave texts and are proclamations to the Earthly deities stating the inventory o f gravegoods. Some o f these texts are written on wooden tablets (Seidel 1987a:25). The fourth class is composed offu  or  "talismans," "incantations" or "seals" o f Celestial Deities. These seals often accompany other texts at the end o f ordinances or combined with demon-subduing spells to ensure that demons did not attack the corpse i n the tomb (Seidel 1987a:27). In all, these texts possess three overwhelming themes. The first concerns proper procedure for purchasing land from the Earth Gods. The land contracts, i n particular, are legal and binding contracts between the living, the dead, and the terrestrial deities recording the transaction. The idea o f purchasing land from the gods was a means to avoid invoking the anger of these deities as digging i n the ground, for example, building houses and digging graves, violated the earth and taboos associated with it. In this light, elements o f these texts are meant to propitiate the anger o f the deities so they do not vent their anger on the living. This facet however w i l l be covered in the next section. The second aspect concerns wrongful or premature death,  78 aspects similar to the case o f the resurrection o f Dan. It was hoped, as revealed i n numerous examples o f these texts, that the Celestial Bureaucracy made a clerical error and summoned the wrong person, revealing that these texts are appeals to the gods o f the cosmos. The third theme presented i n these texts concerns the separation o f the dead from the living. Providing the dead with the proper documents or passports for the perusal o f the gods o f the afterlife is an attempt to speed the entrance o f the dead into the underworld and hence lessen the chances o f the dead returning to haunt the living by implying that the spirit o f the deceased was solely i n the jurisdiction o f the gods o f the afterlife. For the living and the dead, there are two distinct administrations and each possessed its own sets o f registers. Seidel for example argues that this separation o f registers for the living and the dead is most likely an attempt to maintain segregation between the living and the dead (Seidel 1987a:30-31). For example, the following grave text dated to 175 C E records that there is to be no contact between the living and the dead, implying that the administration o f the afterlife was responsible for ensuring that the dead did not return as a revenant. The following ordinance for X u Wenta 'pf JCM. dated to 175 C E records the following: Heaven above is blue, Limitless is the Underworld. The dead belong to the realm o f Y i n , The living belong to the realm o f Yang. [The living have] their village home, The dead have their hamlets. The living are under the jurisdiction o f Ch'ang-an (Changan) i n the West, The dead are under the jurisdiction o f Mount T ' a i (Taishan) in the East. In j o y they do not [remember] each other,  79 [In grief] they do not think o f one another (Seidel 1987a:31) In addition, often the subject matter o f these texts record a common anxiety, that o f premature death. From the texts it seems that, like any bureaucracy, mistakes could be made i n record keeping. They gods o f the afterlife, for example, may have summoned a person possessing a similar name or they may have summoned the person prematurely. In both case, death or wrongful death, could be appealed. In the following ordinance, o f Cheng Taotui ]j£ $k  dated to  156 C E , the living petition the gods o f the afterlife to recheck their records, and, i f any mistakes were made reconstitute the dead, possibly in the same way as Dan's life was restored: The day and hour o f his death overlap with the lifespan [of other persons] so that living family member [s] have been implicated [in the fate o f the deceased]. U p o n receipt o f the register, their lifespan is to be restituted to them; the duplicate copy [in the netherworld?] is to be eliminated and their entanglement [with the deceased] i n corvee registers (Wuzhiji 3L  f|f) is to be dissolved. The dead and  living are to be recorded in different files! (Seidel 1987a:33).  In all, the above texts reveal that the grave contracts are meant more for the living than for the dead. The idea o f the separation o f the dead form the living is most likely an attempt to limit the baleful influences o f the dead. O n the other hand, the idea o f appealing "wrongful death" is clearly a means to bring someone back to life and to make certain that the administration o f the afterlife does not call someone to death i n the future. Despite their detail o f the functioning o f the afterlife, these texts reveal little about the condition o f the dead in the Netherworld. However, the mention o f corvee ledgers and corvee labor does suggest that the dead labor i n the underworld, which some scholars have interpreted as indicating punishment in  80 the afterlife. A n analysis o f this aspect is presented i n the next section.  c.) The Condition of the Dead in the Underworld and the Concept of Guilt: According to the sources and research on the topic, the dead i n the underworld o f the Q i n and Han either existed in a placid, lonely, or "neutral" state, but one slightly similar to existence in this world, or they served under the administration o f the afterlife, laboring and toiling for the government as they did i n former lives. Some scholars have even suggested that during the Han the dead are even punished i n the afterlife possibly for their immorality. First, we should examine the idea o f a placid or "neutral" state i n the afterlife. To start, Wang Chong wrote this about the condition o f the dead in the tomb. H e wrote: Thus ordinary people, on the one side, have these very doubtful arguments, and, on the other, they hear o f Earl T u and the like, and note that the dead i n their tombs arise and have intercourse with sick people when the end is near. They, then, believe i n this, and imagine that the dead are like the living. They commiserate them that their graves are so lonely, that their souls are so solitary and without companions, that their tombs and mounds are closed and devoid o f grain and other things... Therefore, they make dummies to serve their corpses i n their coffins and fill the latter with eatables, to gratify the spirits. This custom has become so inveterate, and has gone to such lengths that very often people w i l l ruin their families and use up all o f their property for the coffins o f the dead (Forke 11:369).  In essence, the ideas expressed above are little different from those o f the H a n poems and Dan's account o f the condition o f the dead, demonstrating that the dead like the living require food for sustenance i n the tomb. So, too, they require entertainment and company i n the grave due to the  fact that existence there is lonely. To alleviate this loneliness, the living fashion "dummies" to entertain the dead and, as w i l l be demonstrated later, to work for the dead. The next view o f existence in the underworld concerns that o f one toiling for the administration o f the afterlife. A s mentioned i n the above sections, a full-blown bureaucracy existed i n the afterlife to managed the spirits o f the dead. It stands to reason then i f such a government existed i n the afterlife, then it too required service o f its minions. For example, the previously mentioned grave ordinance o f Cheng Taotui supplies use with an example o f the responsibility required o f the dead. Namely, the mention o f the corvee registers, Wuzhiji or Wuji 3£ f § , raises some interesting questions about the perceived existence i n the underworld during the late Han. Namely, scholars such as Strickmann (1979) and specifically Seidel (1987a) have used its presence as an indication o f punishment i n the underworld at this t i m e .  25  But they have  not examined this concept i n great detail and their conclusions appear a bit premature. To start, the term Wuji refers to the official records o f the mutually responsible teams o f five households suggested by the Legalist Shang Yang o f the fourth century B C E . Ideally, this unit was an official administrative unit and the smallest unit o f an hierarchical chain i n the government, falling under districts, townships, which were divided into 1,000 unit households, 100 unit households, and then smaller responsible groups o f five and 10 families. A m o n g other things, this division was an effective way to tax, monitor, and mobilize the population for corvee labor. In Q i n and H a n China, forced labor often took the form o f construction gangs, or menial  2 5  See Strickmann (1979:181). H e mentions the use o f this term i n the context o f later Taoist texts, specifically  those o f the fifth and sixth centuries C E . Seidel mentions states " C o r v e e labor was one o f the punishments meted out i n the u n d e r w o r l d " (Seidel 1987a:50, n. 44). But, its presence here does not seem to i m p l y punishment at this time.  82 labor for constructing dams, roads, canals, and tilling government land (Ch'ti 1972:144-145). For the common people, this type o f service was an expected required service o f each family. It is interesting to note that the members o f the upper class were exempt from this type o f service and was avoided by families through donations o f slaves to these ventures. Yet, at the same time, some prominent families simply ignored any requests ( C h ' i i 1972:348;232). Forced labor was also a form o f punishing convicts, who were frequently assigned to frontier areas to open up land. Thus, this type o f labor had the dual function o f exiling or punishing criminals and extracting labor for government projects. Criminals i n this context were identified by the characters tu nutX, or  convict, male slave and female slave respectively. Absence o f the use o f these 26  characters in these grave texts apparently eliminates the possibility o f the dead being treated as criminals in the afterlife and consequently punished. In a similar vein, the inclusion o f figurines o f laborers in Han tombs has been held up as possible proof o f post-mortem punishment. The grave-ordinance o f the household o f Master Jia #P  dated to 147 C E i n particular illustrates this point. In it is mention o f specific tasks the  leaden figurines are to perform i n the underworld i n the place o f the deceased. This includes threshing grain, cooking and other tasks: In the first year o f the Jianhe Emperor  Q (147 C E ) , the eleventh month, the  dingwei day, the fourteenth for release (from responsibility jpj?). Submitted to the Envoy o f the Celestial Thearch, humbly, on behalf o f the household o f Master Jia for the perusal o f the Marquise o f the Dead in the underworld. A s (the wife o f Master) Jia just died i n her twenty-fourth year, peruse your registers o f names to check i f the year and month are i n accord; again and again, investigate i f the date  F o r a discussion o f these terms and their implications see W i l b u r (1943:64ff).  83 of death is the same (in the records). (We) cry out so you w i l l , again and again, investigate the date o f death. (We) inform the Upper Director o f the Life Mandate and the Director o f the Lower Records. The sons and grandsons and other descendants inform the Imperial Envoy o f the Tomb, so these words and affairs are together passed on. This person (Jia's wife) is represented by these leaden men, so these leaden men can, at their leisure, thresh the grain, cook, drive the carriage, and hold a stylus to write. W e proclaim this to the C h i e f Earls o f the Middle and H i g h ranks who roam the frontiers (of the otherworld?). For one thousand autumns, ten thousand years, forever, may the affairs o f the living (and the dead) never coincide....  (Wenwu 1958 7:62; M y translation based on Seidel  (1987a:32)). Kleeman mentions that due to the presence o f these figures and the enumeration o f their tasks implies that the duties i n the afterlife are the same as those o f the mundane. A l s o he suggests that a bureaucratic analogy must have existed i n the afterlife to such an extent that the dead could bring cases those who wronged them. He writes "The victims o f his evil acts, i f any, were or would be citizens o f the other world, and they could bring suit seeking redress o f their wrongs. In such a case," Kleeman continues, "the deceased's living descendants suffered punishment in this world as he (the deceased) was being punished i n the other" (Kleeman 1984:5). In this case his view, I believe, is conjecture, i n that the presence o f surrogate workers i n the tomb and labor i n the afterlife does not automatically imply post-mortem punishment. To illustrate this last point an examination o f other religious systems is in order. Specifically, the well-documented and thoroughly studied beliefs and practices o f ancient Egypt tell us that laboring i n the afterlife does not necessarily imply punishment. According to prevalent burial practices before the First Intermediate Period (ca. 2,250-2,000), often servants performed menial labor i n the afterlife for the benefit o f their wealthy patrons, illustrated by the  84 practice o f landowners surrounding their tombs with the graves o f their servants (Sayce 1902:52). Moreover, tomb images, either as statutes or i n relief, served as a representation o f these helpers to serve their master i n the afterlife. After this period the beliefs imply that all, regardless o f station in the social hierarchy, had to labor i n the afterlife. To overcome this, Egyptians included small figurines o f generic servants with the deceased in the tomb to function as impersonators for the spirits o f the dead. These figures, called shawabti, original meaning uncertain, later known as ushepti, translated as "answerer" as they answered in the place o f the dead when they are called to labor, a function best described by the following passage from the Egyptian Book of the Dead: Spell to cause the shawabti to perform work for a man i n the Netherworld: O shawabti, i f So and So is called upon or i f I am listed to perform any work that is performed i n the Netherworld as a man to carry out his duties, to cultivate the fields, to water the banks (of the river), to transport the sand o f the East to the West, 'Present', so shaft thou say (Book of the Dead 6; Cerny 1957:93)  In this context, the Egyptian afterlife and the Han version share some similarities. Poo states that the role o f the H a n surrogate workers was not to serve the dead but to substitute for the deceased in the underworld o f the Han (Poo 1998:172), which is similar to the function o f the ushepti. Furthermore, he notes that not only were the dead required to labor i n the afterlife, they had to pay taxes in the underworld as well (Poo 1998:171-172), a fate similar to a l l o f the lower echelon of Han society. The use o f the Han figurines and the Egyptian ushepti does differ i n that the ushepti were found i n the graves o f the wealthy, while the Han surrogate workers are usually found in poorer tombs, and consequently their inclusion is a good indicator o f the class o f the deceased (Poo 1998:172).  85 It is important to note that according to recent interpretations the Egyptian afterlife was not "moral" i n nature. Bernstein writes that although the Egyptian afterlife portrayed in the Book of the Dead contains areas for the torment and destruction o f specific souls, the dead are segregated according to devotion to or neglect o f specific gods and the proper performance o f certain rituals. In other words polytheism blurred the issue o f the post-mortem treatment o f the dead in general, while spell-casting lessened the chance o f punishment or labor i n the afterlife (Bernstein 1993:18). The presence o f a "moral death" i n this context is consequently problematic. Another tantalizing example o f potential punishment in the afterlife is found i n other grave documents. The first example is found in a text dated to 70 B C E , the Proclaiming Document of Wang Fengshi 3i ^  tit:  The hsin-mao day o f the twelfth month, which began on a ping-tzu day, o f the forty-seventh year (of the reign o f L i u Kuang, K i n g o f Kuang-ling, i.e. January 25, 79 B C ) . The Senior Assistant to the Minister o f Works o f the Kuang-ling Palace... dares to inform the Lord o f the Earth (Tuzhu ± i ) ; Wang Fengshih, a man o f Shih-li i n Kuang-ling is before the courts ^ j " ! j § £ ^ (Wenwu 1981 11:17,18; Kleeman 1984:22).  Another grave text, dated to 161 C E , uses the term yushi W<$.  o  r  "jailers" (Seidel 1987a:44).  The mere use o f the wordjw !j§£ in this and the above text and the connotations attached to it are significant as it is the second character in the binome diyu ife ^  denoting "Earth-Prisons" which  does not appear until several centuries later. B y definition, the Chinese term yu is somewhat different from its Western counterpart, as it implies three possible meanings: first, a lawsuit  86 about criminal and not financial matters; second, a prison; and third, a hall of judgment. The later implies not only a place where the suspects are kept before their trial or in which convicted criminals are imprisoned, but it also implies a place o f torture as well (Eberhard 1967:18). Thus, the term by itself encompasses the meaning o f both court and prison, significantly different from the Western version. But at this point, the appearance o f this term does not entirely imply punishment. I suggest, the dead are not punished here, and that the court-prison complex suggested above is forjudging the spirits o f the dead, calling them as witnesses for their actions and the immorality o f their surviving relatives so the living could be punished. To illustrate this point we can refer to the another grave-text that is held up as an example of post-mortem punishment. The following is from a grave text dated to 173 C E : The chia-shen day o f the twelfth month o f the first year o f Hsi-ping (January 5, 173). O n behalf o f C h ' e n Ching and his family (?) I erect the... o f his tomb, (thus) on behalf of the dead man absolving h i m of culpability (Jieshi  jjjt ). I proclaim  to the Elder and Sire o f the Western Tumulus, the subterranean two-thousand bushel officials, the L o r d o f the Green Forest, and the K i n g o f W u - y i (Mountain): M a y the living, ascending, proceed to yang; may the dead, descending, return to yin; may the living proceed to the Lofty Tower; may the dead.... hide themselves. The living to the north! The dead to the south! M a y each follow a different path. Quickly, quickly, in accordance with the statues and ordinances! If (the departed) is good, the C h ' e n family w i l l enjoy good fortune and prosper. If (the departed) is evil, five generations w i l l suffer the malefic consequences. Quickly! (Chi Fo-t'uo, Yi-shu ts'ung-pien, vol. 5.; Kleeman 1984:23). What really stands above is the presence o f the terms jieshi § f jjj|or jiezhe j^PH implying "absolved" or "released o f culpability," leading us to ask, i f the dead are to be "absolved o f culpability" what are they guilty of? Specifically, are they guilty o f violating moral conduct and  87 are afterward punished for doing so? According to Hansen and others, these grave texts reflect a fear o f breaking specific taboos against violating the Earth by digging graves and hence offending the Earth G o d and other deities associated with the Terrestrial Realms (Hansen 1995:152). For evidence o f similar beliefs regarding taboos against violating the Earth, Wang Chong writes the following: When people build or repair a home or wall, they pierce the earth and dig up land. When the work is completed, they propitiate and ask for pardon from the earth god in a ceremony called appeasing the earth. They make an earthen figure in the shape o f a spirit and ask a wizard to invite the figure over to appease the earth god. Once the worshipping is over, they feel happy and glad and say they have propitiated and asked for forgiveness from the ghosts and gods and driven away the bad sprits and dangers (Forke 1:535; Hansen 1995:152).  If we take the above into account, it seems that the real impact o f violating these taboos, specifically when digging graves, seems to fall on the living. It stands to reason that i f the living violated certain taboos, then disaster visited them i n the form o f the afflictions o f the guishen i n accord with the beliefs o f demonology. In this case then the dead do not personally offend the earth deities, the living are more likely and they are the ones held morally responsible, not only for themselves, but for the dead as well. In addition, the last segment o f the grave ordinance dated to 173 C E suggests that the living are held accountable for the actions o f the dead. The passage " I f (the departed) is good, the C h ' e n clan w i l l enjoy good fortune and prosper; i f (the departed) is evil, five generations w i l l suffer the malefic consequences" (Kleeman 1984:23) tells us that moral or immoral actions o f the dead results i n retribution visited on the living, the living descendants i n particular, and i n the  88 case o f the C h ' e n family, this retribution reaches down five generations. The idea expressed here is one o f "collective responsibility" or "collective guilt" as described by Hulsewe and Zurcher (Hulsewe 1955:115ff; Zurcher 1980:135ff). It is not surprising that these ideas possess a mundane counterpart in Q i n and Han law. A central idea o f judicial process and law during these periods was the idea o f family unity and collective responsibility, represented in part by the corvee system, as they, to a large extent, defined culpability. According to the legal system, the Chinese family often encompassed the grandparents, parents, children, sometimes even the relations o f parents, and often slaves. In the most heinous o f crimes, such as plotting rebellion, counterfeiting, thievery and others, all o f these elements were held responsible for the actions o f the criminal, and were punished accordingly: together they were often beheaded, strangled, enslaved, and their property was confiscated.  27  Sometimes, according to the severity o f the  crime, the government punished "three sets o f relatives," a term that might imply the criminal's parents, brothers, wife, and children, or members o f his father's clan, mother's clan, and wife's clan, or it may even imply his father's sons and grandsons, or his father and father's brothers and even cousins (Wilbur 1943:74). In addition, the five household mutual responsibility teams fell into defining legal responsibility, entailing not only a responsibility to serve the government, it also served as a legal means to implicate the family o f the criminal and even four other families  2 7  The  Tanglii shuyi J^W-ffilW.  illustrates this point f o r the T a n g p e r i o d : " T h o s e plotting rebellion or major  crimes shall be beheaded. Fathers, a n d sons over sixteen years o l d , shall be strangled. [Sons] fifteen years o l d or younger, mothers, daughters, wives and concubines, grandfathers, grandsons, older and younger brothers, older and younger sisters, and such others as  pu ch 'ii (buqu pp ft  a status between that o f a slave and a freeman)  [shall be enslaved], and property, fields, and houses shall be confiscated by the government. M e n over eighty or incurably sick, w o m e n over sixty or incurably sick, shall be e x c u s e d " 1943:73, n. 1).  (Tanglii shuyi  (ca. 653-54) 17; W i l b u r  89 as well in the worst case scenarios. In short, the entire matrix o f the afterlife o f pre-Buddhist China is profoundly "neutral" i n nature. In all, the dead exist i n the afterlife without punishment for wrong-doing. During these time periods though the condition o f the dead is influenced not by one's immorality but entirely by status based on the prevailing social hierarchy o f the temporal world. This means that those o f the upper echelon o f society were most likely to ascend to the Heavens and dwell next to Shangdi. If they did not, meaning i f all the dead i n general dwelled in the Earth or i n the tomb, then their condition was determined according to the living's ability to provide for them, an ability that was indeed more available for the elite. The condition o f the common people, on the other hand, carried on i n the afterlife, i n that they were most likely required to serve their masters in the afterlife. If not, then they managed a lonely, drab existence near or i n the tomb. The developments o f the Late Warring States brought about changes i n the perception o f the cosmos, namely, a growing trend towards a bureaucratic government in the temporal world that influenced the function and structure o f the cosmos. Instead o f laboring for their own masters i n the afterlife, the dead were scrutinized by the administrative offices o f the Celestial and Terrestrial realms, and in the end the dead served these same bodies. Despite this, some o f the traits o f the Shang and Zhou continued. For example, the spirits o f the dead o f the upper class had greater opportunity to journey to the various realms o f paradise due to their access to elaborate and often expensive funerary rituals. Conversely, the spirits o f the non-elite had little recourse for a pleasant afterlife in these paradises o f the afterlife, save only for a few exceptions: the worship o f the Queen Mother o f the West, the inclusion o f T L V Mirrors, for example. For them, the concerns focused on, i n the words o f Poo Mu-chou, their daily "personal welfare," that  90 is securing benefit and avoiding disaster within their religious worldview. T o them, securing the good graces o f their ancestors and a host o f deities as well, exorcizing the dangers o f the sundry ghosts and spirits, and lessening any potential danger from the dead by segregating them from the living are the most important aspects o f these practices. B y the later Warring States Period, the bureaucratic analogy emerged as the operative norm to approach or deal with supernatural or extra-human forces. In this model, the common people became able to petition or appeal to the various offices o f the cosmos, who, among other things, weighed appeals, allotted the fate o f the living, determined the time and date o f death, lorded over the dead, and judged the actions o f the living and punished them accordingly by means o f the ghosts and spirits who often acted as agents o f retribution. In this system, the various officials judged the actions o f the individual, holding not only h i m or her responsible but also the family i n accord with the concept o f "collective guilt" or "collective responsibility." Hence, the corporate body o f the living, defined by the family unit, suffer for their own actions or those o f the dead. Conversely, i f there are any punishments i n the afterlife, its absence i n the sources is conditioned by numerous factors. First, as the grave-quelling texts more or less concern the personal needs o f the family unit and indirectly attest to their relationship with the deceased, they are not didactic in nature: even i f punishment is present in the afterlife, these texts do not attempt to warn the living about immorality and its consequences. A l s o , it stands to reason that the personal nature o f these texts further lessens the chance o f naming the deceased as " e v i l , " "wicked" or "guilty" as implicating their own relatives i n this worldview may imply implicating themselves. Second, the ubiquitous presence o f "collective guilt" so thoroughly diminishes the  91  impact o f individual retribution to a point that it is virtually inconsequential, and, hence, unmentioned i f at a l l present. In short, we may be able to hypothesize its existence, but we are hard-pressed to locate solid evidence to prove that wicked are punished i n the afterlife. Despite this trait, the beliefs o f these periods, specifically those o f the Q i n and Han, are entirely relevant as they provided the framework for later elaborations o f the afterlife. The bureaucratic analogy, for example, supplied a solid foundation for judgment, accountability, and potential post-mortem punishment. The use o f governmental procedures and terms, such as the judicial function o f the Heavens, Earth, and the use o f the terms yu or "prison," and the idea o f culpability, left a vocabulary used in later periods. In addition, this analogy provided momentum, or at least the potential, for the idea o f post-mortem punishment: toiling i n the underworld for the government is one such example. But again, the idea o f "collective guilt" and the punishment o f the wicked living has clouded the issue. If the underworld was not responsible for punishing the wicked dead, then it was responsible for managing the dead and segregating them from the living. Hence, again the idea of yu or "prison" comes to mind, which i n this context more than likely implies locking up and segregating and not punishment. A s w i l l be seen in later chapters, this bureaucratic complex or analogy lent itself fully to later ideas about the afterlife, specifically to those introduced by Buddhism.  92  Chapter Three: "Moral Death" in Buddhism I. Introduction: Buddhism, initially an Indian religion, was introduced to China i n the beginning o f the Common Era, and it did not become fully established in the Chinese psyche until the later Tang Jfj| dynasty (617-907). Chinese Buddhists often consider this dynasty as a "Golden A g e , " when Buddhism flourished under Imperial patronage and when Buddhist practices became widespread in China. This "Golden A g e , " however, stands i n contrast to the almost humble introduction o f Buddhism itself. During the H a n in particular, it received comparatively little attention from the government, while the common people, in general, often confused it with the indigenous religion of China. But, instead o f being absorbed entirely into the Chinese religious matrix, and, thereby, losing its identity, Buddhism established a relatively strong foothold in China through the actions o f a handful o f talented monks, foreigners usually, who dedicated themselves to translating the original Pali and Sanskrit Buddhist texts into Chinese. It was their actions that managed to spread the Buddhist message, and, hence, retain its identity. Suffice to say, numerous factors contributed to the Buddhist success i n China. Religion i n general thrives i n times o f strive by offering a sense o f comfort and order to the suffering. In this aspect, China and its relationship with Buddhism during the Han and Six Dynasties is no different, as this period is marked by disunity, rebellions, intermittent warfare, and foreign invasions, all which left China divided by geography and different ruling factions. In sum, 1  1  T h e early period is divided into the Sanguo H [HI or " T h r e e K i n g d o m s , " w h i c h is composed o f the W e i ^  64), the Shu H a n H) fH  (221-63), and the W u ^  (220-  (222-80). A t this time, C h i n a was also ruled by the short-lived  Western Jin £ f # ( 2 6 5 - 3 1 6 ) , and the Sixteen K i n g d o m s -j- 7^ HI (304-439). A f t e r 316, C h i n a was, in effect, divided in h a l f with the Northern W e i ^tWl  (386-534) ruling the N o r t h , while the South was ruled by five  successive dynasties, specifically the Eastern Jin ^ # ( 3 1 7 - 4 1 9 ) , the L i u S o n g glj 5(5 (420-78), the Southern Q i H  (479-501), the L i a n g ^  (502-56), and the C h e n R£ (557-88). These five dynasties c o m b i n e d with the Northern  W e i are k n o w n as the Six Dynasties, or L i u c h a o A^5  •  93 disunity and chaos remained the norm until the Sui  (589-617) managed to reunify China under  one rule. Buddhism thrived in this context as it offered to China a variety o f comparatively new dimensions to function as a complement to China's own indigenous religious worldview. In particular, the ideas o f karma, rebirth, a more systematic portrayal o f the afterlife, a cosmos fully stocked with a variety o f Paradises and a Netherworld for post-mortem rewards and punishments, among other things, offered to the Chinese a compatible supplement to beliefs held previously. In addition, Buddhism, by the time o f its entry into China, was unarguably organized on a scale far greater than any other world religion that existed at that time. It was this quality in particular that made it a worthy competitor to the established state religion o f the Chinese. A m o n g these new innovations, one i n particular stands out, that o f the idea o f "personal morality" or "personal responsibility," as manifest i n the Buddhist concept o f karma, rendered >>e in Chinese. This chapter argues that concept alone had perhaps the greatest overall influence on the Chinese religious worldview during this period. Specifically, karma offered a newer, simpler, and perhaps more appealing way to explain human suffering, which stands i n contrast to the paradigms established in the previous centuries. A s already mentioned, human suffering in the Chinese world o f the Q i n , Han, and earlier was explained as a result from the improper performance o f ritual and was doled almost exclusively within the realm o f the living by the assorted guishen, "ghosts and spirits." In addition, moral responsibility i n this earlier worldview belonged to tribes, clans, and families and was, hence, "collective." Karma, on the other, hand, differs substantially from this idea, as it, in simple terms, results directly from individual action or actions and not necessarily those o f the group. The real importance o f karma, this chapter argues, lies i n how it influences one's condition i n the afterlife. In short, it is directly linked to the Buddhist afterlife, because karmic merit, or demerit for that matter, influences one's potential  94 rebirth. This aspect, combined with Buddhist views o f the afterlife and their post-mortem retributive realms, added momentum to the changes begun i n the Q i n and Han. In other words, i f the movement away from an aristocratic government to one governed by a comparatively more impartial bureaucracy changed the view o f the afterlife o f the Han and after to one relatively more open to a broader spectrum o f society, then the Buddhist idea o f "personal morality" or "personal responsibility" would indeed have a greater, i f not equal, impact on the fate o f the dead. In short, the Chinese afterlife became more and more "moral" i n tone because o f the newer religious innovations o f Buddhism.  II. The Early History of Buddhism in India and China:  Buddhism, like other world religions, possesses a lengthy history steeped in tradition. It goes without saying, that to sum up the history and teachings o f Buddhism in the space o f a few pages does this tradition a great injustice. For these reasons, the following paragraphs are less o f a summary, and more o f a focus section. Thus, the following w i l l supply a general overview o f the core beliefs o f Buddhism, with the most emphasis being placed on elements that did not exist in the Chinese indigenous religious matrix. A s a result, points examined below are directly relevant to the Buddhist afterlife. O f the most significant includes Buddhist perceptions o f a cosmos governed almost entirely by "morality," and fairly set o f fairly complex religious practices, such as mediation and organized institutions. Once established, the next subsection w i l l examine the introduction o f Buddhism to China, meaning the problematic concept o f the transmission o f Buddhist ideas, or, i n particular, what ideas were transmitted to China, how they were transmitted, and by whom. This by any means is no easy task, as the historical records from this period are neither entirely complete, nor reliable, and because such changes were gradual,  95 they are, hence, difficult to measure.  a.) The Inception of Buddhism in India and Early Core Beliefs: Buddhism was founded by Gautama Sakyamuni, or Gautama Siddharta (ca. 563-483 B C E ) , son o f the chief o f the Sakya tribe located at the foot o f the Himalayas. Due to its heritage, Buddhism was not an entirely new or radical religion. In fact, like Christianity's relationship to Judaism, Buddhism owes a lot to the earlier Indian religious tradition, as it emerged out o f the Brahminical and Upanishadic traditions, and took with it, among other things, the ideas o f rebirth or reincarnation, asceticism, and a complex yet defined view o f the cosmos governed by a few key binding principles. One o f these binding aspects is the Buddhist idea o f Dharma, rendered fa  in Chinese.  Dharma, a fairly complex term, implies one's "duty," one's "morality," or even simply the teachings or doctrines o f Buddhism itself. A s a set o f teachings, this aspect is manifest i n the Buddha's message itself, expressed orally or i n written form. Contained within the teaching or Dharma, too, are several other binding philosophical concepts. According to Buddhism, the cosmos, or everything in existence, past, present, future, seen and unseen, exists or existed because these aspects were preconditioned to exist. A s related i n the concept o f Pratityasamutpdda, Yuanqi  , or "dependent origination," everything arises and exists dependent on  the entire fabric o f the cosmos. Everything, in turn, is ultimately conditioned by karma, and bound within Samsara, Shengsi ^J£^E or Lunhui ijiflf M> the endless cycles o f birth and rebirth. The Buddha argued in His sermon on the "Four Noble Truths," defined here as life is suffering, this suffering has a cause, suffering can be overcome, and the way to overcome suffering, that the underlying fundamental principle o f existence in the world o f Samsara is suffering. Hence, to overcome this suffering is the ultimate goal o f Buddhism, along with attaining a state o f Nirvana  96 or "extinction," transliterated into the Chinese as Niepan  For lack o f a simple concise  definition, Nirvana is desirable as it is entirely different from the former, that is, it is without suffering. The Buddha prescribed numerous ways to avoid suffering and to escape Samsara. First and foremost, he advocated the fundamental Buddhist precepts the "Eightfold Path," bazhengdao A I E JIU meaning right views, intention, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration. The Buddha argued that, in simple terms, human craving or desire holds us to the endless cycles o f birth and rebirth. For the perfect environment to maintain release, and, hence eliminate craving, early Buddhism advocated the efficacy o f meditation and a detachment from the world. A s a result, as far as early Buddhism was concerned, the only practitioners who could accomplish this were ascetics, monks and nuns, who were, in turn, bound together in the sangha, seng ff|, a mutually supporting community, assisted by the laity. Together, these communities practised stilling or calming the mind, through meditative process and attaining a state o f reflective repose inspired by religious or philosophical discourse. Added to this matrix are the Buddhist views o f the cosmos, human suffering, and karma. According to the simplest definition, karma implies "behaviour," "deed," or "act." This means that every act or intention has a reciprocal consequence. In accord with Buddhist reasoning, good actions beget good results, evil actions beget misfortune, perhaps in this life, the next, or even i n subsequent rebirths. The binding laws o f karma, hence, directly reflect elements o f "moral death," or post-mortem punishment, as actions and their responses are reflexive, leading to one being reborn i n specific realms or gati, according to previous actions. Buddhism proposed that there are five or six potential rebirths, that as a deva or god, as an Asura or Titan, as a human, as an animal, as a hungry ghost, or as a denizen o f the underworld. It should be noted that the  97  second gati, or rebirth as a Asura, is not popular in use in China and is often omitted. In all cases, though, existence i n every one o f these gati is temporary and not eternal. This holds true even for the denizens o f the infernal regions, for after being punished there for a specific period, they are ultimately reborn again according to their previous karma.  2  To spread this doctrine o f salvation the Buddhists relied on a variety o f means. Mostly, the chief vehicle o f transmission were monks and the laity, who travelled the along the trade routes and spread the Buddha's message by what is identified as "word o f mouth," that is, the verbal communication o f the Dharma. In addition, written texts complimented the verbal messages, and were often translated into the native tongue to increase the speed and accuracy o f the transmission o f ideas. In simple terms, the message o f the Buddhists occurred on two levels to appeal to two general levels o f society. O n a philosophical level, it offered relatively sophisticated messages regarding the nature o f human existence and the nature o f reality. According to this view, Buddhism considered the infernal regions and the cosmos itself as mental constructs, or i n short, a state o f mind, and a product o f the ignorance that binds the living to the endless cycles o f Samsara. In one sense, it is the ultimate reflection o f egoism, clinging, and desire, and is, hence, illusion. In this aspect then, contemplation on the infernal regions is a  The early teachings of the Buddha underwent significant changes. Beginning with the first century B C E , Buddhism eventually split in two general branches: those that adhered to the idea that only ascetics could attain salvation, and those that believed that salvation was much broader, meaning that the laity could also attain salvation. In the end, these two groups became known respectively as the Theravada school, the "Teachings of the Elders," and the Mahayana school, the "Great Vehicle," Dacheng ^ ^ , which coined the pejorative term Hinayana or "Small Vehicle," Xiaocheng /\\^k , for the Theravada. In contrast, the Mahayana school possessed a more broadbase appeal, in that it maintained that the laity could attain enlightenment or Buddhahood by a variety of means as embodied in the doctrine of the Bodhisattva. Roughly translated as "future Buddha" or "wisdom being," the Bodhisattva, a monk or layperson, would forsake Nirvana until all others could cross over. In the interim, they would disseminate the teachings of the Buddha and aid others in their quest for salvation. This aspect, combined with a variety of other means, such as devotion to numerous other divine Bodhisattvas, the use of images of the Buddha, the practice of compassion for other sentient beings, and the adherence to Buddhist precepts, forged Buddhism into a truly universal religion possessed of the salvation of all from the suffering of this world. In turn, this diversity within the tradition itself lent Buddhism great flexibility, thereby allowing it to adapt capably to foreign cultures. 2  98 tool for eventual enlightenment, perhaps a vehicle to point out the futile nature o f suffering, and little else. O n another level, Buddhism intentionally relayed its message on a more fundamental 3  or basic level to appeal to people who were not overly concerned with doctrine and philosophical discourse. In simple terms, the Buddhists used the lure of realms of Paradise and the fear of punishment in the afterlife as simple tools to convert the uninitiated, hence labelled as the "the carrot and the stick" approach. In other words, reliance on portrayals o f "hellfire and brimstone texts" are attempts to entice the uninitiated by luring them with the promise o f release from suffering or even by threats of torment in the next life. In this function, the infernal regions, in 4  addition to a retributive function, operated as a tool for conversion and a means to regulate one's morality. In sum, the predominate function o f the Buddhist underworld is i n line with Bernstein's "useful" and "moral" deaths, i n that it prods the living by the fear o f punishment i n the afterlife.  b.) The Introduction of Buddhism to China: Scholars generally believe that Buddhism entered China either through overland routes, via the famous " S i l k Road," and the less popular routes, through upper Burma and into Yunnan in Southwest China, or the Himalayas via Nepal and Tibet. In addition, the message passed through the ocean borne trading routes, by way of Java and the Malay Coast, eventually to South China. Despite the fact that scholars know how Buddhism entered China, there are numerous theories regarding the date o f its introduction. Archeological and reliable textual records place  3  F o r a discussion o f this, see D a i g a n and A l i c i a Matsunaga (1972:78-79).  4  D a i g a n and A l i c i a Matsunaga talk about this aspect. T h e y mention that the use o f the Buddhist " H e l l " is one o f the  " o n e o f the most practical methods o f teaching naive and unsophisticated individuals the need to practice virtues" (Matsunaga 1972:viii-ix). In addition, Kalupahana mentions that the Buddhist " H e a v e n s " and " H e l l s " are for the "religious edification o f the uninitiated" and as a "deterrent to immorality" (Kalupahana 1976:65).  99 the earliest possible contact to the Later H a n period. The earliest examples o f Buddhist statuary, discovered i n Sichuan province 0 J11 and i n areas outside o f the Changan  $ , and Luoyang  regions fa Hf§, then the Han capital, attest to contact that occurred i n the Latter Han and Three Kingdoms (Tsukamoto 1985:20). But in what form this manifested itself in is anyone's guess. Evidence o f this contact is also bolstered by contemporary historical accounts, o f which the most reliable is the "Biography o f Prince L i u Y i n g " glj M i n g B/§ ^  the life-story o f the half-bother o f Emperor  (r. 58-75). This account, dated to 65 C E , records, among other things, the presence  of a Buddhist Community i n China, specifically in the Eastern reaches o f the Chinese Empire i n modern-day Jiangsu 7X M- and Shandong  j|C Provinces. In its description, the text mentions  the community o f monks and pious laymen who lived in his kingdom, and in receiving compensation for an offense committed by Y i n g , used these gifts to prepare a vegetarian feast for the members o f their community. Despite its brevity, it is significant in that it records the 5  presence o f a Buddhist community outside o f the capital and away from the Silk Road, attesting that Buddhism was fairly spread out in Han China by the m i d first century C E . Still, the text relates little in way o f the attempts o f the Buddhist to convert the Chinese, or the nature o f their message, save for the Buddhist emphasis on vegetarianism. W e can assume though that their message was spread by what we can identify as "word o f mouth." Written records o f the Buddhist message in China did not come about until a century later with vigorous attempts o f translating the Pali and Sanskrit Buddhist texts into Chinese. The first to attempt this was the Parthian monk A n Shigao ^ ftf Jf|j a Hinayana monk who arrived i n the capital o f Luoyang i n 148 C E . To his credit, he translated numerous Buddhist texts, specifically those pertaining to dhyana practices o f concentration, meditation, and breath control. A t the  5  SummarizedfromCh'en 1964:32ff.  100 most, he is accredited with translating 176 texts into Chinese, but the more conservative number of approximately 30 titles is generally accepted as more accurate (Ch'en 1964:43; Zurcher 1977:202-3; Tsukamoto 1985:77). The next significant translator to follow is the Scythian Lokasema, Zhiloujiachen ^ ^ ^ D ff$ or Zhichen  who arrived i n Loyang i n 167.  Belonging to the Mahayana school, he is accredited with translating seven substantial texts (Zurcher 1977:202-3), while other sources mention 14 (Tsukamoto 1985:98ff). Unlike A n Shigao's translations, most o f these texts are related to the Mahayana study o f  prajnd-pdramitd,  that is, the "Perfection o f Wisdom," the belief that reality is transcendent and can only be known through intuitive wisdom or prajnd. Another relevant figure is the Sogdian translator and contemporary o f Lokasema, Kangju j | f [=[ (c. 187 C E ) , who translated several texts, some even related to the structure o f the underworld. He is at a disadvantage though, as most o f his texts survive as fragments only, and are mentioned i n later texts. In all cases though, there seems to be little emphasis placed on translating Buddhist "hellfire and brimstone texts" which became more prominent in the centuries after the Han. It is o f no doubt that the "word o f mouth message" o f the Buddhist missionaries and the recorded and translated Buddhist texts were successful i n relating the transmission o f Buddhist concepts, but the full extent o f the impact o f Buddhism is intensely difficult to gauge at this early period. This results from a variety o f reasons. First, texts are composed or related by the elite o f a tradition and were best understood by the educated elite o f a society and not entirely by the illiterate o f the popular level. So, this leads to the conclusion that the reading audience wasn't very extensive. In addition, the influences o f the "word o f mouth message" are arguably almost impossible to measure, a fact that corresponds to a lack o f mention i n the sources: no sources record a monk or layperson proselytizing. Second, any impact may have been lessened by the  101 view o f the Chinese themselves. It has been argued that the Chinese o f the Han and later probably viewed Buddhism as novel, or at least strange. Monks, for example, by nature, renounce the family and procreation i n general. According to the Chinese traditional view o f the family, one had to produce offspring to be filial, and for this reason the idea o f celibacy was antithetical in the Chinese worldview. Furthermore, as Buddhism was initially a foreign or even alien religion, it may have had difficulty in securing official Imperial patronage, which they certainly required to flourish on a significant level. Given the chaotic situation after the Han, this patronage may have been slow i n coming on a consistent level. Compounded with these factors, 6  it has been argued that the Chinese probably confused the Buddhist monks with the religious practitioners o f the indigenous Chinese religious practitioners, meaning the shamans, the exorcists and the Taoist practitioners o f longevity or immortality techniques (Ch'en 1964:44ff; Maspero 1981:258; Tsukamoto 1985:115). This is understandable given the nature o f popular religious beliefs. A s mentioned previously, adherents to the popular religious matrix are not overly concerned with subtle doctrinal differences. Instead, popular religion or the beliefs o f the non-elite were, more often than not, pragmatic in nature and hence concerned more with the most efficacious methods o f solving a dilemma and securing personal welfare. For the common people, any distinction between religious traditions is, for the most part, irrelevant, as they often adopted beliefs that were immediately advantageous or convenient. Given the moral nature o f the Buddhist cosmos, it is understandable that these ideas possessed a certain appeal, and were adopted by this matrix. It provided newer solutions to the fundamental questions regarding the  6  In obtaining state-sponsorship, B u d d h i s m was relatively successful in the chaotic period between the H a n and the  Sui. D u r i n g the Eastern Jin, meaning the Southern Chinese Court, as opposed to the Northern non-Chinese, the Buddhist community even asserted its o w n independence from secular authority. In the N o r t h , by contrast, B u d d h i s m , some scholars have argued, became a vehicle to serve the state. Intermittent warfare, however, made Buddhism's position vary during these centuries. F o r a discussion o f this topic refer to C h ' e n (1964:57ff).  102  afterlife, human suffering, and retributive punishment, as manifest in the ideas o f karma and a "moral death." Given these factors, it is understandable that Buddhism and its message o f a "moral death" penetrated China on a substantial level, but to what extent is not readily discernable.  III. Buddhist Cosmology: The following section is less concerned with measuring the impact o f Indian Buddhism, but more with the structure o f its cosmos as related in Buddhist texts and ideas directly imported into China. It is not, i n addition, concerned with the realm o f "praxis," that is the ritual maintenance o f the "solidarity between the living and the dead." The latter is covered i n the next section. In general terms, the Indian Buddhist view o f the cosmos is different from the previous indigenous view o f the Chinese i n several aspects. First, right from its inception, the Buddhist cosmos was populated with a variety o f different Paradises and infernal regions. In essence, the entire Buddhist view is more systematic and detailed in comparison to the previous Chinese abodes o f the dead, meaning life with Shangdi i n the Heaven, or existence in the Y e l l o w Springs, or i n a subterranean realm under the jurisdiction o f various bureaucratic deities, or even existence as a disembodied spirit. Second, the Indian Buddhist view o f the cosmos differed from the previous i n that it was driven by more moralistic concerns than by the proper performance o f ritual. According to the Buddhist view, one's immorality or morality influenced one's rebirth, which could be, i f one was wicked, as an animal, a hungry ghost, or as a denizen o f the underworld. The wicked, too, could be reborn as a human, but i n this case, lame, deaf or mute. It is important to note that regardless o f the condition, retributive punishment was not at all  103 permanent: when one finished existence i n this state, he or she was recycled through Samsara, and, hence, reborn according to the most appropriate gati. In this aspect, it functions less as a "simple storehouse for the dead" and more like the other examples o f a "moral death" supplied by Bernstein, i n that these realms punished the wicked and possessed the punitive function o f motivating the living to attain a state o f moral betterment. To illustrate these portrayals o f the Buddhist underworld, the following section w i l l examine the Indian Buddhist structure o f the cosmos as a whole. Once established, the third subsection w i l l examine the Buddhist idea o f post-mortem retribution, the implications o f the Buddhist "moral death," post-mortem retributive justice, and how the Buddhist underworld processed the dead. This w i l l be accomplished by the examination o f several texts that were translated into Chinese during the period between the Han and Six Dynasties. The nature o f these texts w i l l be discussed later. In the end, this section w i l l establish the almost overriding "moral" nature o f the Buddhist cosmos.  a.) The Structure of the Buddhist Cosmos: In general, the earliest Indian-Buddhist accounts o f the cosmos are fairly simple, as the Buddha did not elaborate on the details surrounding its structure. The Pali Canon, the first written texts o f the Buddhist Canon, recorded i n the first or second centuries B C E (Robinson 1982:39), devotes little effort to describing the underworld. The later Abhidharma tradition, first appearing centuries after the death o f the Buddha, presented more detailed accounts o f the cosmos in general. The term Abhidharma refers to the third basket o f the Pali Tripitaka, the first being the Vinaya, or "Monastic Discipline," and the second, the Sutra or "Discourses o f the Buddha." Abhidharma Buddhism marked a conscious attempt to gather various abstract terms  104 expounded by the Buddha and explain them i n a more systematic and clear manner. A s a result, while the Buddhist descriptions o f the cosmos seem sparse in detail, the later Abhidharma portrayals are rich i n detail as it supplied descriptions o f the cosmos with geographical location, width, depth and other exact specifications. In turn, the Mahayana tradition, being more flexible 7  and popular in its approach, adopted ideas expressed in Abhidharma Buddhism, expanded them, and produced a more detailed model o f the cosmos far more complicated than the earliest discourses. A t first glance, the earliest portrayals o f the Buddhist cosmos are structured according to two paradigms. First, the overall Buddhist cosmos is divided into the triloka, the "three worlds" or the Buddhist trichiliochosm, rendered Sanjie H If- i n Chinese. These realms consisted of, first, kdmadhdtu or yujie  ^ , the illusionary impermanent world or the "world o f sensual  desire," second, the rupadhdtu or sejie fj& ^ , a "realm o f form" full o f things mystical and wonderful, and, third, the arupadhdtu or wujie  J^., the "formless realm o f pure spirit," a place  beyond definition and one where the mind dwells i n contemplation (Soothill and Hodous:70). A l l three realms are still outside the realm o f Nirvana, while the latter two realms are more concerned with advanced stages o f Buddhist meditation. The last realm, the "world o f sensual desire," comprises the mundane realm which is composed o f the five or six gati or potential realms o f rebirth, rebirth as a Deva, Titan or Asura, Human, Hungry Ghost, A n i m a l , or as a Denizen o f the underworld: the Deva-gati or Tianqu ^ |!§, Asura-gati, Axiuluoqu Manusya-gati Naraka-gati  7  or Renqu j \ or Diyuqu itj}  Tiragyoni-gati  |SJJfj j | § jgg,  or Xuqu ^ ^ , Preta-gati or Eguiqu |g; %  , and  , respectively (Soothill and Hodous:138). A l l o f these potential  F r o m D a i g a n and A l i c i a Matsunaga (1972:43ff). T h i s section offers an excellent summary o f beliefs presented by  Abhidharma Buddhism.  105 destinations, it should be noted are influenced by the moral implications o f karma. Abhidharma Buddhism portrays the mundane realm or kdmadhdtu, the realm o f sensual desire, in rich detail and complexity. A t its centre is M t . M e r u or Sumeru, Sumilou  Miif'HI*  which is equated to the highest peaks o f the Himalayas. In size, the mountain is immense, and i n 8  function, it acts as the axis-mundi for this realm, connecting itself with numerous other areas on the horizontal plane, including the sun and the moon, and the four continents o f the Buddhist world. Around these aspects lay a series o f alternating rings o f mountains ranges and oceans, which, i n turn, is ultimately enclosed by the Chakravala range, the Lunweishan ^ | § i l l , a circular mountain range o f iron. Mount Sumeru also connects numerous other abodes that existed in the vertical plane. Starting at the bottom, the infernal regions, which according to various interpretations, are often placed deep below the continent o f India. In other texts, the position varies, as it may appear inside M t . M e r u or Sumeru, underneath it, on it, beside it, or even some distance from it. Furthermore, other versions position these realms under the great sea which supports the four continents, while others place it at the edge o f sunyatd, kong <5?, or "emptiness." Next, the various abodes for the Asuras, the Hindu Titans, are found beneath Sumeru and above the infernal regions. Above these abodes and situated on Sumeru are the heavenly Paradises for the various devas. O n top o f this are the chariots for the sun, the moon, and the stars, while at the peak are numerous abodes for other deities o f higher rank, some originally from the H i n d u pantheon. In all, everything contained within the Chakravala mountain range comprised the mundane realm. Those reborn as an animal, or hungry ghosts do not possess a distinct abode as exist within the realm o f humans. The denizens o f the underworld, i n contrast,  8  T h i s view o f the Buddhist cosmos is summarized from L. de la V a l l e e Poussin, " C o s m o g o n y and C o s m o l o g y  (Buddhist)," pp. 129ff.  Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics,  v o l . 4. E d . by James Hastings (Edinburgh: T & T C l a r k , 1912),  106 are locked up i n the underworld.  b.) T h e B u d d h i s t U n d e r w o r l d : The development o f the Indian Buddhist underworld followed changes i n the Buddhist tradition. That is to say, the earliest portrayals o f the underworld appear simple i n its construction, and later the Abhidharma tradition expanded these ideas, thereby, providing the Mahayana view o f the underworld with great personality. B y the time Buddhism reached China, Buddhism already possessed a detailed and elaborate model o f the underworld, which continued to be refined as the centuries progressed. In turn, Indian Buddhism exported newer elaborations of the afterlife to China. Centuries before the advent o f Buddhism, the Indian tradition already possessed a functioning underworld with realms concerned with post-mortem punishment. The oldest possible reference occurs i n the Rig Veda (mid second millennium B C E ) , which, according to modern interpretations, portrays the underworld as a dark pit or stygian abyss, and a place to destroy the wicked, perhaps the enemies o f various deities, that is, demons, sorcerers and conspirators (Matsunaga 1972:13-14). After centuries o f continuous refinement within the 9  Indian context, Buddhism adopted these paradigms regarding the underworld and post-mortem punishment as they developed. In general, early Indian Buddhist cosmology identified the subterranean realms as either Naraka, or as Niraya. The first term, Naraka, originally refers to the son o f two deities, and later the name o f a demon (Monier-Williams 1990:529). It is quite possible that, much like the Hades of the Greek pantheon, Naraka came to personify the underworld in general, which later came to  9  O n e o f the most concise summaries o f the development o f the underworld expressed in the V e d i c and U p a n i s h a d  traditions is found in the D a i g a n and A l i c i a Matsunaga (1972:13ft).  107 imply a realm for post-mortem punishment. So, Naraka's personality, like that of Hades disappeared from the stage. In contrast, the Sanskrit term Niraya is more specific, i n that it implies a condition and not location, a state "without happiness" (Monier-Williams 1990:553). Regardless o f what term was used, it is apparent that the Chinese, specifically, the literate elite o f the Chinese Buddhist tradition, were well aware of the Indian origins o f these terms. Rendering Naraka as Naluojia ^  and Niraya as N i l i y e }/g ^ J|5, or simply N i l i % %l, the  Chinese took these concepts and freely adopted them into their worldview. The words, as rendered i n Chinese, are mere transliterations o f Sanskrit terms and each character i n these Chinese terms relates nothing o f the original Sanskrit meaning.  10  Several centuries into the  Common Era, the terms themselves began to become less popular in use and were ultimately replaced by the Chinese term Diyu jfe ffioi "Earth-Prisons."  11  In any event, the earliest Buddhist interpretations of the underworld before their import to China were fairly simple, straight-forward, and not overly emphasised in the Buddha's teachings.  I U  T h e centrality o f N i r a y a in Chinese Buddhist cosmology is, however, temporary as is Naraka's. T h e latter o f the  two is rarely mentioned at all in C h i n a , while in other and later texts translated into Chinese, the number o f levels in N i r a y a differ, and even possess different names. In other versions, N i r a y a functions as a subdivision o f the infernal  |# 03 j/g 5^ $g, the "Sutra o f the Buddha's Discourse on the F o u r N i r a y a " Foshuo nili jing f$j > the "Sutra o f the Buddha's Discourse o n N i r a y a " (E. Jin; T. 186) mentions only two, the first, the Tiecheng da nili H t $ ^ }/g ^ $g, the "Iron Enclosure o f the Great N i r a y a " and, the second, the Yanluo wang suo xia ba da diyu j^j m 3E. ffii $ f A A. ife W., the regions only. T h e (E. Jin;  T.  Foshuo si nili jing  139) mentions only  four divisions, while the  " E i g h t Great Earth-Prisons where K i n g Y a m a G o v e r n s . " These two levels are also subdivided. In a similar vein, the  Daluotan jingX^J^W  the " S u t r a o f the Great Pile o f E m b e r s " (E. Jin;  levels, each subdivided into 16,  making a total o f 128  T.  123),  describes N i r a y a as having eight  levels. In addition, to these levels, N i r a y a is placed alongside  another division o f the underworld, the aforementioned " T e n Great Earth-Prisons o f K i n g Y a m a , " w h i c h contains ten levels. In all, the total o f levels in this interpretation o f the infernal regions is 218,  by far, m u c h more complex  than the earliest examples. 1 1  In contrast, it seems that the term  Diyu or  "Earth-Prisons," by far the most c o m m o n term in the Chinese  vocabulary after the introduction o f B u d d h i s m regarding the underworld, does not possess an Indian origin. It may well be, in fact, a word invented by the Chinese as it relates the position and function o f the infernal realms. T o illustrate this, the  Fayuan zhulin }  £ ^ E ^ # , the "Forest o f Pearls in the D h a r m a G a r d e n "  encyclopaedia composed by D a o s h i jit tit (d- 683),  (T.  2122), the  Sanskrit antecedents. It even directly mentions the Indian origin o f the term, but does not mention one for T h i s may imply that  Diyu is  Buddhist  records the Indian origin o f the two terms as in line with their  Diyu.  purely a Chinese elaboration based on Chinese ideas o f death, the punishment o f sins,  and underworld officials. Passages found in  Fayuan zhulin.l; Huiming bu.2  pfi$ HJZI  :322.  108  In the earliest discourses attributed to the Buddha, specifically those related in the Pali Canon, the underworld is briefly mentioned in only three collections o f texts, and not in substantial detail. These texts, among other things, record that the guilty are first interrogated by the Indian 12  or Buddhist Lord o f the Dead, Lord Yama, and following this interrogation they are sent to the appropriate post-mortem areas for punishment.  13  These are, however, the most substantial  descriptions o f the Buddhist underworld from the earliest Buddhist texts. Given the length o f this Sutra, which encompasses five substantial volumes rendered into English, the role o f the underworld at this stage does not appear significant or central to the Buddhist early teachings. Regardless o f the shape o f the earliest Buddhist versions, we do not know precisely when the Buddhist perception o f the underworld was first introduced to China or how it was portrayed. We can surmise that the early Buddhist missionaries at least mentioned the underworld during this period, but we do not know how they described it, or what emphasis they placed on it. The early translators o f the Han, however, did not devote a lot o f their efforts to translating Buddhist "hellfire and brimstone" texts. X i a o states that there are three H a n texts devoted to the underworld: the Foshuo shiba nilijing  \%  A M M M , the "Sutra on the Buddha's  Discourse on the Eighteen Niraya" (T. 731), the Foshuo zuiyebiao jiaohua diyu ing \% |$ f|  The three are the Suttd-Nipdta, the "Collection of Sutras," the Anguttara Nikdya, the "Collection of Item-More Discourses," and the Samyutta Nikdya, the "Collection of Connected Discourses." The Anguttara-Nikdya, the "Collection of Item-More Discourses," one of the first recorded Buddhist texts, dated to the second or first centuries BCE, records the following divisions: 1.) Abbuda; 2.) Nirabbuda; 3.) Ababa; 4.) Ahaha; 5.) Atata; 6.) Kumuda (Yellow Lotus); 7.) Sogandhika (White Water Lily); 8.) Uppalaka (Blue Lotus); 8.) Pundarika (White Lotus); and 10.) Paduma (Red Lotus). From Daigan and Alicia Matsunaga (1971:41 and 140, note. 33). The significance of these names is hard to recognize: some scholars state that these terms represent time-spans, or they may be the transliterations of the sounds of lamentation (Matsunaga 1972:41; Woodward 1996:116, note 1.). This may be the case for the last five, but the first set corresponds to the names of the later Buddhist Cold infernal regions, names that mimic the sound of chattering teeth. 1 1  1 3  For a translation of the interrogation by Yama and the condition of the wicked dead from this text see The Book  of Gradual Sayings Anguttara-Nikaya or More-Numbered Sutras, /, Trans. F.L. Woodward (Rpt. Oxford: Pali Text Society: 1995), p. 123 ff. Also a translation of the interrogation by Yama is found in the next section. See also Daigan and Alicia Matsunaga (1971:41-42).  109 kite  Wiffi. >  t h  e "Sutra on the Buddha's Discourse on the Retributive Aspects o f Guilty  Karma Bringing One to Diyu" (T. 724), the Wen diyu jing f$ j-fe MIS, the "Sutra o f Questions Regarding the Earth-Prisons," found in the later Jinglu yixiang  $g fljl H  , "Different Aspects o f  the Sutra and V i n a y a " o f the sixth century (T. 2121), and the Daoxing banruo jing^j  $$^r  $g, the "Sutra o f the Way and Practice o f Prajna-paramita" (T. 224) (Xiao 1989:65). A n examination o f the above texts is needed to understand what message concerning the underworld circulated i n the late Han. First, scholars such as Swann Goodrich (1981) and X i a o Dengfu (1989) maintain that A n Shigao and others did indeed focus on "hellfire and brimstone" texts, stating that the first substantial Buddhist account o f the underworld is the "Buddha's Discourse o f the Eighteen Niraya," a text traditionally believed to be translated during the Later Han by A n Shigao (Swann Goodrich 1981: 69; X i a o 1989:65;175). This date may not be accurate. Zurcher (1977) and Tsukamoto (1985), for example, do not mention this text as an authentic H a n text, leading us to surmise that it was most likely translated by another and at a later date. In short, it is most likely a forgery, most likely from a period before the Sui, and definitely not the Han. The same holds true for the "Sutra o f the Buddha's Discourse o f the Retributive Aspects o f Guilty K a r m a Bringing One to Diyu," i n that it does not date to the H a n .  14  The "Sutra o f Questions on Diyu," translated by Kangju, another text attributed to the late Han, lists two versions o f the underworld: one o f 18 levels and one o f 64. This text, however, has its own problems: it is fragmentary and is later cited in the encyclopaedia "Different Aspects o f the Sutras and Vinaya," attributed to Baochang flf P|| (c. 516). A s such, it may not be entirely reliable. It may reflect views o f Baochang, that is those views o f the sixth century and not the  1 4  Zurcher (1977, 1980) and Tsukamoto (1985) include a list o f accepted H a n texts. It includes the f o l l o w i n g : T . 13,  14, 31, 32, 3 6 , 4 8 , 57, 98, 105, 109, 112, 150, 184, 196, 2 2 4 , 2 8 0 , 322, 343, 3 5 0 , 4 1 8 , 458, 602, 603, 6 0 5 , 607, 624, 626, 792, 807, 1508 (Zurcher 1980: 97: n. 14). T h e does the  Foshuo zuiyeyingbao jiaohua jing.  Foshuo shiba nili jing does not appear in the  list and neither  110 Han.  15  In any event, it merely lists the different levels o f the underworld, and does not describe  how the wicked are punished there. This leaves us with the Daoxing banruo jing, the " W a y and Practice o f Prajna-paramita," attributed to Lokasema, which according to Zurcher and Tsukamoto is an authentic H a n text. However, his text, translated i n the year 197 C E , makes only scant reference to Niraya i n the section entitled Nilipin  }/g l£ §h, "Aspects o f Niraya." It is significant to note as it is not a "hell-  fire and brimstone" text, as it is more concerned with the doctrine o f prajna-paramita, and the presence o f Niraya is secondary. For example, the most significant passage is as follows: The Buddha said " A s for the profound prajna-paramita, there are those who have indeed disregarded it, cast it away, and are unwilling to listen to it. W h y is this? These people i n a previous existence had occasion to hear o f the profound prajnaparamita. The reason is because (at that time) they disregarded it and cast it away. Indeed, they do not have the intention (to learn it). They all do not understand the results o f sin, and so they sin. This is what sins bring about. If one hears o f the profound prajna-paramita and repeatedly tries to stop others from being able to speak o f it, then those who stop prajna-paramita, stop sarvajna.  16  Those who stop  sarvajna, stop the Buddha o f the past, (the Buddha of) what w i l l come, and (the Buddha of) the present. This is because they disrupt the Dharma and thus sin. U p o n death, they enter into the B i g Niraya for 100,000's o f years. Through 100,100,000's o f years it is as i f they had been rotated through scores o f other Niraya, and there all receive various poisons and pain which are indescribable. If in the midst o f these their lives come to an end, they are reborn into another section o f Maha-Niraya  (Great Niraya). When their lives again come to an end,  their life there is extended and they are reborn into the midst o f another area o f  T h e date o f this text has not been established with certainty. It is not included in Ziircher's list o f authentic H a n texts. Teiser, however, believes it to date to the late H a n . F o r a discussion o f this, see Teiser (1988:180). 1 6  Sarvajna, or Sayunruo  and Hodous:468).  in Chinese, is the same complete omniscient knowledge as the B u d d h a (Soothill  Ill Maha-Niraya'" (Daoxing banruo jing: Nili pin diwu: 1.441). Obviously, the primary function o f Niraya here is that as a place to punish those who do not listen to the Buddha's teachings and try to impede the dissemination o f the Mahayana ideal o f prajna-paramita. Missing in this text are the elaborate enumerations o f the various levels o f the underworld and the punishments associated with each level, an aspect which begins to appear later i n texts translated after the Han. After the Eastern Jin Dynasty, a more "orthodox" pattern o f the underworld emerged, adhering to three general paradigms. In turn, this model became perhaps the most common Buddhist representation o f the underworld before the advent o f the one present i n "The Scripture on the Ten K i n g s . " The first category consists o f the Genben D i y u f j t ^ j:-|{} J i t , the "Central or Radial Earth-Prisons." These prisons generally possess eight, usually hot, levels, and are alternately named the B a D a D i y u  J\  Wi,  the  "Eight Great Earth-Prisons." The "Eight  Great" or "Hot Earth-Prisons" usually measure 20,000 yojanas in height and width and are situated deep under the Earth. These levels are usually composed o f the following with each 17  level placed vertically, with the more horrific punishments found i n the deeper levels. They are as follows: 1.) Samjiva, Denghuo | £  , or Genghuo ffi, " M a n y L i v e s " or "Successive Lives,"  where one, after enduring numerous sufferings, is returned to life; 2.) Kalasutra, Heisheng "Black Rope," where the sufferer is bound in chains and chopped to pieces; 3.) Samghata Xianhe , Zhonghe  ^ , or Duiya i$.M, "the Crowded Earth-Prison," where one is tortured and  large mountains fall on the suffering; 4.) Raurava, Haojiao § ^ Ptf, Huhu R^p P^fS or Huhuan "Wailing"; 5.) Maharaurava, Dajiao A f 4 , Dahao A5^. Dahu A  Bj|,  , "Great Screaming"; 6.)  A c c o r d i n g to Soothill and H o d o u s , ayojana, youxun E£| t p , a H i n d u term, is defined as in ancient times as a royal /  day's march for an army, or also as 4 0 , 30, or 16 Chinese // (Soothill and Hodous:197).  112 Tapana, Yanre jfc f&, Shaozhi 'j|t ^ , "Flames and Burning"; 7.) Pratapana, Da-re ^ j?&, "Great Burning Heat"; and 8.) A v i c i , A b i psf J | , or Wujian  Dashaozhi ^ j ^ ^ , Dayanre #E  ^ , Hebizhi  fflM-m,  Aweiyuezhi  pspfgg[, A p i z h i ppjffltb3g  , and A p i pfif Hfcb  "Unintermittent Suffering." Being the deepest level, A v i c i is by far the crudest level o f all the Earth-Prisons. There, sinners die and are reborn to suffer without interval.  18  This category is also composed o f the Bahan D i y u J\ % tyfa !j§£, the "Eight C o l d EarthPrisons." Most of these correspond to the ten levels as expressed earlier i n the Pali AnguttaraNikdya. They are as follows: 1.) Arbuda, Efutuo $S # PS, where the cold causes blisters; 2.) Nirabuda, Nicibutuo / b M oft PS >  a  place colder still, where the cold causes the blisters to burst;  3.) Atata, Azhazha PnfP^P^B , named after the only sound possible from frozen lips; 4.) Hahava or Apapa, Apopo | S J $ L $ I , a condition so cold no sound can be uttered; 5.) Hahadhana or Huhuva, Huhupo ^ #jfj H , so cold only this sound can be uttered; 6.) Utpala, Youboluo  j $ m, or  Nilotpana N i l u o w u ?Jg JH J | , where the skin is frozen like blue lotus buds; 7.) Padma, Botemo ifvp j f S , where the skin is frozen and bursts open like red lotus buds; and 8.) Mahapadma, Mohebotemo ^ f n f  where the skin opens as above, but like larger lotus buds.  19  In addition to the "Central or Radial Earth-Prisons," is the second category, composed o f two additional types o f Earth-Prisons. The first o f these two are the Jinbian D i y u  Mi&i&Wt,  the "Adjacent Earth-Prisons," also known as the Shiliu Youzeng D i y u + / N ^f#i-fe "Sixteen Progressive Earth-Prisons," or the Shiliu X i a o D i y u  - J - T N / J N  the  itj} 3§£, the "Sixteen M i n o r  Earth-Prisons." To elaborate, each level o f the "Eight Great or Hot Earth-Prisons" possessed a gate on each side, which opened up to an area that included four additional gates or entrances to  1 8  The above section is a composite o f Soothill and Hodous (207-8), and D i n g Fubao (1974:1066ff).  1 9  A g a i n , this section is a summary from Soothill and Hodous (207-8) and D i n g Fubao (1974:1066ff)..  113 the "Adjacent Earth-Prisons." In all, the addition o f these areas makes the total number o f retributive realms i n this model is 136 (Soothill and Hodous:207-208). The third and last category o f Earth-Prisons is identified as the Lokantarika, the Gudu JjR , the "Isolated Earth-Prisons" or "Solitary Earth-Prisons," which are sometimes identified as synonyms for the "Adjacent Earth-Prisons" (Xiao 1989:72). If not implying the "Sixteen M i n o r Earth-Prisons," the location o f the "Solitary Earth-Prisons" is entirely problematic. Abhidharma literature translated i n the Tang states that o f these specific Earth-Prisons "there may be many, or maybe two, or maybe just one. There are many kinds (of these Earth-Prisons) and where they are located is not settled. They may be i n the Jiang Qing River, the Y e l l o w River, i n the Mountains, or i n the bordering Wilderness. Or maybe they are i n an empty space Under-the-Earth, or i n another place." In any event, the "Solitary Earth-Prisons" more or less attest to the general 20  structure o f the Buddhist underworld, in that it is vast, subject to change, and consequently hard to pin down.  c.) The Condition of the "Wicked Dead" in the Buddhist Underworld: Obviously, the sheer number o f variants prohibits examination o f all the various Buddhist Earth-Prisons. But, to establish a feel for the Buddhist underworld and the condition o f the dead there, we w i l l examine several examples o f the Buddhist underworld prevalent i n the period between the H a n and the Six Dynasties, and put them together to make a composite picture o f early Chinese Buddhist beliefs o f the underworld. The first text is the previously mentioned Jinglu yixiang, the "Different Aspects o f the Sutra and Vinaya," o f the sixth century, which  20  Apidamojushelunjuan dishiyiM%*MM\^ikWi%Wi~r*—  ;  Abhidharma-kosd-sdstra,  "Abhidharma  T r e a s u r y " ( T . 1558: 59).This text is translated to the Chinese by X u a n Z a n g £ £ £ (596-664). T h i s passage mentioned in X i a o (1989:199ft).  114 records the function o f the Indian and Buddhist Lord o f the Dead, K i n g Yama, who is responsible for the wicked dead i n the infernal regions. It is significant as it records passages attributed to the Wen diyu jing, the "Sutra o f Questions Regarding D i y u , " attributed to Kangju o f the second century C E , which is possibly one o f the earliest texts i n China that mentions the underworld and the role o f Y a m a in the afterlife. After examining this, we w i l l then turn to the Zhengfa nianchu  jinglE&itMM.,  the "Sutra of the Remembrance of the True L a w " (T. 721), translated by  Gautama Prajnaruci, Banruoliuzhi  'int^.  (early sixth c. C E ) . It is useful as it conveniently  lists the various levels and their relationships to the various transgressions committed by the inhabitants. Once established, we w i l l turn to the Foshuo guan Fo sanmeihai jing  IftfUfj^ H  B^$S M > the "Sutra o f the Buddha's Discourse on Contemplating the Buddhist Ocean o f Samadhi," (T. 643) translated by the Mahayana monk Buddhabhradra (359-429), Fotuobatuoluo f!$  PS UL o f Kapilavastu. The text is interesting to note because it portrays not only the  structure o f the underworld, but also because it dwells on the punishments inflicted on the guilty. In this aspect, it is particularly gruesome. In all, these texts w i l l provide us with possibly the most common model o f the Buddhist underworld i n circulation between the Han and Six Dynasties. In the Indian Brahminical and Upanishadic tradition, and i n Indian and Chinese Buddhism, L o r d Yama, Yanluo Wang ^ JH 3L , presides over the wicked dead. H i s career, it should be noted, began early within the early Vedic matrix (mid Second Millennium B C E ) and gradually changed over the centuries. The Vedas record that initially he was the offspring o f the Sun, and had a sister named Y a m i or Yamuna, who herself later became the judge o f female culprits. Together these two formed the first pair o f human beings (Soothill and Hodous:452). Initially, at least, he is not associated with the underworld and the punishment o f the wicked dead. For example, the Vedas refer to him as the "First Ancestor" and that he lived i n the  115 "Shining Heavens o f the Fathers," a place where the poets aspired to ascend (Matsunaga 1972:14-15). B y the time o f the Hindu Mahdbharata  (composed between ca. 500 B C E and 300  C E ) , Yama's position began to change, and in this text he received the title Dharmaraja,  the  " K i n g o f Dharma," or the " K i n g o f Justice." In this role he is portrayed as a "fearful chastiser o f the wicked, often with the grim appearance o f a dark green complexion with red eyes and dressed in black and red garments" (Matsunaga 1972:20). From his early role as the Dharmaraja,  his  position changed to one resembling that o f a grand inquisitor and enforcer o f the Dharma. The early "Sutra o f Questions on D i y u " records the accession o f Y a m a to the status o f Lord o f the Dead. The text states that Yama, once the K i n g o f Vaisali o f North Eastern India, was initially a fierce general. Perhaps out o f a lack o f challenge on the field o f battle, or even out o f boredom, Y a m a vowed to take on a new responsibility, that o f administrating the dead. Together with their K i n g , his generals took the same v o w along with his entire army: Long ago, K i n g Y a m a was the K i n g o f V a i s a l i . the first K i n g o f Weituo ($$[ p£ )  22  21  It came to pass that after he and  waged war against each other, that the strength  o f his army was without equal. This caused him to v o w that he desired to be the Lord o f Diyu. H i s Eighteen Generals led an army o f 100,000,000, who had horns for ears and were full o f fury and hate. A l l o f these people, together, took this v o w "Hereafter, we w i l l serve i n administrating the guilty." Presently, this same K i n g o f Vaisali is K i n g Yama, and these Eighteen People (his generals) became the lesser kings o f the region, while the army o f 100,000,000 became the " O x 23  Headed-Torturers" (Apang (ST^f )  2 1  2 2  24  o f this region and they serve the Celestial  V a i s a l i is formerly a k i n g d o m in N o r t h East India. T h i s place name is undefined as there is no mention o f it in Soothill and H o d o u s . A l s o , the term is not mentioned  in D i n g Fubao (1974), and M o c h i z u k i (1954). 2 3  2 4  T h e number eighteen refers to a version o f the underworld that contains eighteen regions presented in this text. Soothill and H o d o u s : 2 8 5 .  116 K i n g o f the Northern Reaches beyond the Gate o f Vaisali (Yanluo wang deng wei yusi wangyuan  \^M^^MWt^%EWi  "The Various Accounts o f H o w K i n g  Y a m a became the Officer o f ( D i ) Y u " : Jinglu yixiang 19.258). Having taken on this position, Y a m a then ruled the wicked dead from a Palace inside a large mountain positioned South o f the Indian continent. Despite the fact that he was responsible for the dead i n his realm, his power was not at all absolute, nor was his own condition pleasant by any means. Every day, three times a day, he was punished for his previous wrong-doing as a general by "large gaolers" who pried open his mouth and poured molten copper down his throat, so that "from his throat down, there is nothing untouched and nothing unscalded."  25  Given his  own punishments, it is apparent that all, including the various deities themselves, are governed by the ubiquitous moral law o f Dharma. In a similar vein, Yama's position over the dead also relies on Dharma i n that he is not entirely a judge o f the wicked dead i n this context. Rather, he is an inquisitor, and it seems his only function was to remind the dead that is was ultimately their own personal duty to maintain a virtuous life. Namely, when the dead first come to the Buddhist underworld, he greets them and then reveals the ignorance o f the wicked because they did not observe the "Three Divine Messengers," old age, sickness, and death, the same sights witnessed by Sakyamuni Buddha before he renounced the world and embarked on his own path as an ascetic. The Jinglu yixiang also records the following reception o f the dead i n the underworld, a  2 5  T h e Jinglu yixiang jing states " I n the South o f Jambudvipa (India) there is a great diamond mountain, and inside  it is the Palace o f K i n g Y a m a , w h i c h are as broad as 6,000 yojanas. Three times a day, a great cauldron ( o f molten) bronze appears o f itself in front ( o f Y a m a ) . W h e n the cauldron arrives in the Palace precincts, K i n g Y a m a sees it and is terrified, and so he tries to ignore it by going outside o f the Palace. W h e n the cauldron goes outside o f the Palace, then K i n g Y a m a goes inside. T h e n large gaolers bring the hot cauldron up to the prone K i n g Y a m a , and, using hooks to pry open his mouth, pour the molten bronze into his mouth: from his throat d o w n , there is nothing untouched and nothing unscalded. W h e n this affair is over, he returns to enjoy the pleasures o f his harem. In receiving punishment together, the various Great Ministers ( o f the underworld) indeed experience the same"  (Yanluo wang sanshi shouku Jinglu yixiang 19, p. 258).  SSlHBf^^  " K i n g Y a m a ' s R e c e i v i n g Punishments Three T i m e s (a D a y ) " :  117 tale that is also presented i n the Pali Anguttara  Nikdya:  26  There are "Three Messengers" (san shi ~ELi$i) the first is old age, the second 21  sickness, and the third death. If there are those among living creatures who have committed the three types o f bad karma (of deed, word, and thought), then these people at the end o f their lives appropriately fall into the Earth-Prisons. K i n g Y a m a then interrogates them: "Were you summoned by the Celestial Messengers?" K i n g Y a m a states: " D i d you see the First Messenger or not? While you lived as a person, you witnessed hair turning white, teeth falling out, eyesight growing dim, skin becoming loose, flesh wrinkling, backs bending so to require a cane, and all the moaning and groaning as this went on. So did you see (the work of) this messenger or not?" The culprit states "I saw h i m . " (Yama states:) " H o w could you not realize that you would be like this?" (The culprit replies) " A t that time, I was lax, and did not realize this." K i n g Y a m a states " N o w , I appropriately order you to undergo the suffering (brought about by) your sloth and the knowledge that you went against your father, mother, older brother, younger brother, the "Celestial Ruler" ( A. 'rW )  28  and the ancestors, and the knowledge that  you have wronged (the Buddha's) servants and the monks. Y o u yourself made this evil, and now it is appropriate that you receive (punishment). Again, I w i l l ask, did you see the Second Messenger or not? Y o u originally were a human. Y o u had occasion to see the difficulties o f sickness and disease, the smell o f excrement and urine that dwelled in one's body, and lay on top o f it. (Is it as) eating and drinking is required by a person, that the Hundred Joints and muscles ache, tears flow, and one moans and groans so that one is unable to speak?" The culprit replies "Yes, I saw this." K i n g Y a m a sates " H o w is it that you yourself cannot recall this? Then, I ask, have you not witnessed the Third Divine Messenger? D i d you not have  A translation o f the Pali version is found in  Numbered Sayings, 2 7  2 8  The Book of Gradual Sayings (Anguttara-Nikaya) or More-  V o l . I. Trans. F.L. W o o d w a r d (Rpt. O x f o r d : Pali Text Society, 1995), p. 121ff.  Soothill and H o d o u s : 5 8 . A c c o r d i n g to Soothill and H o d o u s , T i a n d i refers to the H i n d u deity Sakra, a g o d o f the sky, w h o fights demons  with thunderbolts (Soothill and H o d o u s : 145).  118 occasion to see that one dies and the body decays, life ends, and one's senses are permanently destroyed, and the body, once standing straight, then like a withered tree that gives up its leaves to fall on a grave mound where the birds and beasts eat it?" The culprit replies "I have seen this." When this is finished, they are consigned to the gaolers and they go to the Great Earth Prisons." (Yanluo wang wen zuiren ^ H I  fa| H A> " K i n g Y a m a Interrogates the Guilty": Jinglu  yixiang  19:258-9).  Following their reception by Lord Yama, the wicked are placed i n the appropriate region of the rather complex Buddhist underworld. According to the "Sutra o f the Remembrance o f the True L a w , " the underworld is pattern after the previously mentioned "orthodox" layout, that is based on the "Eight Central" or "Radial Earth-Prisons." In this model, each level punishes specific types o f culprits. In general, there are specific regions for those guilty o f physical crimes, vocal crimes and mental crimes. In turn, these eight levels are subdivided into an additional 16 levels. The levels i n this text are as follows, with specific types o f torments dedicated for specific types o f transgressions. It does not list the additional 16 sub-levels or Small Earth-Prisons: a.) For Physical  Crimes:  1.) Samjiva, "Repetition," for the killing o f humans and animals. In some instances, the denizens are punished by being placed in a pit o f hot excrement mixed with molten copper and insects. They are forced to eat this mixture and the insects then eat the guilty for the inside; 2.) Kala-sutra "Black-Rope," for different types o f stealing, including using bedding and drugs originally destined for the sick. There, the guilty are bound and cut up into pieces; 3.) Samghata "Crowded" for sexual indulgences. There, the guilty, among other things, have nails driven through their mouths or have molten copper poured down their throats; 4.) Raurava " o f Screaming," for the consumption o f intoxicants. The guilty consume molten copper or are pounded by a iron pestle. b.) For Vocal Crimes:  119 5. ) Maha-raurava, " o f Great Screaming" for lying. A m o n g other punishments, the tongue o f the guilty grows and is pulled out o f his or her mouth and is plowed. In addition, worms also eat the tongue. c.) For Mental  Crimes:  6. ) Tapana, " o f Burning Heat" for false views or false practices in obtaining enlightenment. Some are tormented by fire, some are blinded by insects who eat their eyes, etc.; 7.) Pratapana " o f Great Burning heat" for sexual defilement o f religion, for example, those that rape women or religious practitioners. For this, they are burned and tormented by demons; and lastly, 8.) A v i c i , "Unintermittent Suffering" or "Non-Interval Suffering."  29  O f all the various Earth-Prisons, A v i c i is by far the most cruel, and is so reserved for those who have committed the most heinous crimes. For Buddhism, these crimes are the W u n i _J£  , the "Five Deadly Sins" or "Five Abominations" o f Buddhism, meaning parricide,  matricide, killing a monk, shedding the blood o f a Buddha, and destroying the harmony o f the monastic community. In the "Sutra o f the True Remembrance o f the L a w , " i n A v i c i birds rip o f the mouths o f the guilty, or their flesh is torn away by demons, or they are boiled in a pot o f copper, and their bodies are dismembered. In the "Sutra o f the Buddha's Discourse on Contemplating the Buddhist Ocean o f Samadhi," A v i c i is portrayed as a terrible place full o f countless torments, which, more often than not, plays on the desires o f the guilty. When the wicked see their desires, their wishes turn on them and they are afflicted by numerous punishments related to their desire. The first passage from the "Sutra o f the Buddha's Discourse on Contemplating the Buddhist Ocean o f Samadhi" begins with a description o f a particular state o f samadhi as related by Gautama Buddha. In this state, the structure and function o f the underworld are described. It  Summarized from D a i g a n and A l i c i a Matsunaga (1972:78ff).  begins with a description o f the condition o f the Buddha's mind while he is i n a state o f samadhic repose and continues with an enumeration o f the different levels o f the infernal regions: There is the A v i c i Earth-Prison, A b i D i y u  H Hi+Jj W,  and the "Eighteen M i n o r  Earth-Prisons," Shiba X i a o D i y u - f - J\ / K j-fe ^ . They are as follows: 1.) the "Eighteen C o l d D i y u , " Shiba Han D i y u - h j \ g £ ; 2.) the "Eighteen EarthPrisons o f Darkness and Obscurity," Shiba Heian D i y u -f- A  H rStife W> 3.)  "Eighteen Earth-Prisons o f Lesser Heat," Shiba Xiaore D i y u -fthe "Eighteen Earth-Prisons o f the Knife Wheel," Shiba Daolun D i y u  the  ft;  4.)  -hATJfra  i & Wi; 5.) the "Eighteen Earth-Prisons o f the Sword Wheel," Shiba Jianlun D i y u  + A^Jfrat-fe fU 6.) the Huoche D i y u - h  "Eighteen Earth-Prisons of the Fire Carts," Shiba  ) \ ' X M ^ Ik  7.) the "Eighteen Earth-Prisons o f B o i l i n g  -h A^Hife ft; 8.) the "Eighteen Earth-Prisons Soup Cauldron," Shiba Huotang D i y u + AHMIife WL \ 9.) the "Eighteen  Excrement," Shiba Feishi D i y u o f the  Earth-Prisons o f the River o f Lava," Shiba Huihe D i y u - h j\J% JnJ j-fe ft;  10.) the  "Earth-Prisons o f the Forest o f Five Hundred times One Hundred M i l l i o n Swords," Wubaiyi Jianlin D i y u £ "g" ft $1] j-fe ft;  11.) the "Earth-Prisons o f the  Forest o f Five Hundred times One Hundred M i l l i o n Thorns," Wubaiyi C i l i n D i y u £13  M'JW&IK  ;  1 2  -)  t h e  "Earth-Prisons o f Five Hundred times One Hundred  M i l l i o n Bronze Pillars," Wubaiyi Tongzhu D i y u  £ H f f Slfe i&ft;  13.) the  "Earth-Prisons o f Five Hundred times One Hundred M i l l i o n Iron Machines," Wubaiyi Tieji D i y u £ 1 3  ft^^tfeft  ; 14.) the "Earth-Prisons o f Five Hundred  times One Hundred M i l l i o n Iron Nets," Wubaiyi Tiewang D i y u ft;  15.) the "Eighteen Earth-Prisons o f the Iron Pits," Shiba Tieku D i y u  lie  ilk -hAH  Hfi-fef^ ; 16.) the "Eighteen Earth-Prisons o f the Iron Pellets," Shiba Tiewan D i y u -h A l l & i & f t ; 17.) the "Eighteen Earth-Prisons o f the Sharp Rocks," Shiba Jianshi D i y u + A ^ Site ft ; 18.) the "Eighteen Earth-Prisons o f Drinking Molten Bronze," Shiba Yintong D i y u -f- AtKIf l&Wi(5.668). Then a description o f the "Enclosure"or "Citadel" o f A v i c i follows. The Buddha informed Ananda: "The height and breadth o f A v i c i Earth-Prison has  121 been calculated to exactly 8,000 yojanas. It has seven layered iron enclosures with seven other floors o f iron and bronze, and below there are the eighteen other partitions. The seven layers (around A v i c i ) are surrounded (on the outside) by the Knife Forest (Daolin TJ $0,  while the inside o f the seven layers o f the Enclosure  also includes the Sword Forest, (Jianlin  ifo) (5.668).  A n d then the text proceeds to describe the various jailers o f A v i c i , most likely the same soldiers, who, along with Yama, vowed to punish the guilty i n the underworld: The eighteen partitions below are divided into 84,000 layers. A t their corners are four large bronze dogs with bodies as broad and as long as 40 yojanas. Their eyes pulse with lightning; their molars resemble swords trees; their incisors resemble a mountain o f blades; and their tongues resemble iron thorns. A l l the hairs o f their bodies produce raging fire, and the smoke smells so malefic, that none o f the smelly things o f the world can compare with it. A s for the Eighteen Gaolers, the Raksasa (Luocha jH $lj), and the Yaksa, Yecha ( ) >  3  0  they each have 64 eyes,  and these eyes scatter iron pellets with the "force o f ten carriages." The molars 31  of the dogs extend upwards four yojana, and fire from the crown o f these molars flows outward, burning in front o f an iron chariot, causing the wheels with each and every rotation to produce 100 million flames. Bladed spears and edged swordlike halberds, together, emerge from the flames. Thus, this is the A v i c i Enclosure of Flowing and Burning Flames. ( A l l of) this causes the Enclosure o f A v i c i to turn red, like molten bronze. The gaolers have eight oxen heads on top o f their own heads, and each and every oxen-head has eighteen horns. Each and every crown o f the horn produces a fiery mass. This fiery mass then transforms into eighteen fiery halos. These fiery halos then make fiery knife-like wheels, rotating like wheels. Each and every rotation, with its roaring fire, fills up the Enclosure o f A v i c i . The bronze dogs spit out their tongues on the ground and (their tongues) resemble iron  3 0  Raksasa and the Y a k s a are defined, by Soothill and H o d o u s , as "malignant spirits" and "malignant d e m o n s "  (Soothill and Hodous:253). 31  Rushiliche, #P  -)- H . J f l , lit. " L i k e 10 mile carriages," does not translate well. Soothill and H o d o u s do not mention  this term. D i n g F u b a o (1974) and M o c h i z u k i (1954), also, do not mention this term.  122 thorns, and when they spit out their tongues, they (together) transform into a tongue o f immeasurable length that fills up the ground o f A v i c i . Within the seven layered enclosure, there are seven large curtains, and from the top o f these curtains, flames leap out, like from a bubbling spring. ( A n d from this) molten iron flows, spreading out to fill up the Enclosure o f A v i c i (5.668). Then, it continues with another description o f other awful aspects o f A v i c i : A v i c i has four gates, and above the thresholds o f the gates, there are 80 cauldrons of bubbling bronze, which overflow, flowing down from the gates, filling up the Enclosure o f A v i c i . Each and every division has 84,000 iron boa-constrictors and big snakes, which spit poison and spit fire, and their bodies fill up the Enclosure. The roars and howls o f these snakes resembles the thunder and lightening o f Heaven. (There) it rains large iron pellets that fill up the Enclosure o f A v i c i . The types o f suffering i n this Enclosure are 80,000 times 100 billion (in number), and these sufferings are accumulated within this Enclosure. There are 500 times 100 million insects which have 84,000 maws. Out o f the maws o f their heads flows fire like rain and this fills up the Enclosure o f A v i c i . When these insects descend, A v i c i , with the violent fire o f these insects, blazes with a great roar and the red light o f this fiery blaze lights up 84,000 yojanas, extending up from A v i c i , forcing its way up to the "Mountain o f Patala" (Wojiaoshan ffi ]$z |JL| )  32  o f the Great  Ocean and below. (There) the water o f the Great Ocean drips like a huge volume of water, which transforms, becoming great iron spear-points, filling up the Enclosure o f A v i c i (5.668-669). Then the Buddha continues with a description o f the guilty, and how they are treated. He mentions too that A v i c i in particular is meant as a place to punish those who are guilty o f committing the "Five Abominations" o f Buddhism. It is significant to note, that in tormenting the  Wojiao or Wojiaoshan is the Patala R o c k or M o u n t a i n . It is located on the bottom o f the O c e a n encompassing the F o u r Continents o f the Buddhist world. It sits on top o f the H o t Earth-Prisons and absorbs the water f r o m this ocean, stopping it f r o m o v e r f l o w i n g (Soothill and H o d o u s : 241).  123 culprits A v i c i is indeed clever, in that it constantly plays with their emotions and feeds on their desires. If, for example, they desire something, say relief from suffering, they receive their desires. But in every case, what they wish for turns out to be a newer and more cruel means o f punishment: The Buddha informed Ananda, " I f there are those o f the living who k i l l their fathers and harm their mothers, or revile and disgrace the six kinds o f relatives, when it is the end o f their fated lives o f these culprits, the bronze dogs with gaping maws transform into eighteen carriages, resembling golden carriages with jewel encrusted canopies on top, and all o f the flames transform into Jade Maidens. When the guilty see this from a distance, their heart produces such j o y (that they say): "I want to travel in that! I want to travel in that!" Then the " W i n d Blades," (Fengdao )K, TJ ), begin to dismember (their bodies), and the cold quickly silences their screams. It would be better for them to sit in the carriage with a good fire, but the fire, o f itself, becomes violent, and once this is done and their words are finished, they again (think they) came to the end o f their fated existence. However, i n an instant they find themselves sitting i n a golden carriage. They (then) turn to look up respectfully to the Jade Maidens, who all grasp iron axes and behead and dismember their bodies. The bodies descend into a fire that rises up like a circle o f fire. A s quickly as it takes to wave, they fall into the midst of the Great Earth-Prison o f A v i c i . From the upper sections, which are like circling wheels o f fire, down to the boundaries o f the lower sections, bodies are everywhere throughout these sections. While the bronze dogs emit a great howl, these dogs gnaw on the bones and suck out the marrow. The gaolers and the Rakasa and cause fire from the tips o f their weapons to envelope their whole bodies. A l l around their bodies are fire and flames, filling up the Enclosure o f A v i c i . Iron nets and rain-drop like knives enter their pores. (This all) transforms into Lord Yama, who accuses and taunts the foolish types o f people that inhabit this prison: " W h e n you where i n the World, you were unfilial to your parents, lazy, and without the Way. Y o u are now reborn to dwell in the famous Earth-  124 Prison o f A v i c i . Y o u did not understand love, and were without shame, and so i n receiving this suffering and vexations, you w i l l be most unhappy." When these words were finished, Y a m a vanished, not to be seen" (5.668). After this proclamation, the culprits are herded by their gaolers throughout the various levels o f A v i c i for an almost immeasurable amount o f time. Then the text continues to describe the punishments inflicted on those guilty o f committing the Five Deadly Sins: Those guilty o f committing the Five Deadly Sins were without humility, and (for this reason) committed the Five Deadly Sins. When those guilty o f committing the Five Deadly Sins die, the Eighteen W i n d Knives, like Iron Fire Carts, dismember these bodies. A s the fire torments them so, they accordingly utter these words: "We desire to see great trees, colourful, flowery, pure and cool, and sport beneath them-wouldn't that be nice?" When they say this, A v i c i Earth-Prison, which has a malefic sword forest, composed o f 84,000 blades, transforms into precious trees, with flowers and fruit, luxuriant i n growth all arranged in the front. The fire and flames o f the great heat transform themselves, becoming like lotus flowers beneath these trees. When the culprits see these (they say) "What I wish for now is to get the fruit." When these words are muttered, then quickly from these lotus flowers a violent rain comes forth. When they have been seated for an instant, many insects with irons maws emerge from the fiery flowers, penetrating their bones, entering the marrow, removing the heart and penetrating the brain. Then they clamber up the trees, and the sword branches slice off the flesh and tear out the bones (5.669). The text continues and devotes a section to each o f the various levels o f the underworld and the types crimes punished there. In an earlier section the text discusses the length o f time the guilty reside i n the underworld. The section discussing A v i c i mentions that the measure o f one day and one night i n A v i c i Earth-Prison is the same as 16 small kalpas in this world (5.669). But ultimately the term for those residing there lasts for one Mahakalpa. These time periods,  125 however, are meaningless without understanding their length. There are two methods o f measuring a kalpa. The first methods involves a forty square league cubed container filled with mustard seeds. Every one hundred years a seed is removed, and when the container is empty, one small kalpa is completed. O n the other hand, a medium kalpa uses a eighty square league container (Matsunaga 1972:45). The second method o f calculation involves a rock instead o f mustard seeds. Here, a medium kalpa is measured by how long it takes for a heavenly spirit to wear out this rock by polishing it once every hundred years (Matsunaga 1972:45). According to other measurements, a small kalpa is composed o f 16,800,000 years, a medium kalpa 336,000,000 years, a Mahakalpa 1,334,000,000 years (Soothill and Hodous:232). This leads to ask what happens to the spirit after it finishes its term in the underworld. It is assumed i n the above models that after eliminating bad karma in these realms one is reborn to another level o f existence or gati. This means that a person is reincarnated as a hungry ghost, an animal, or even a human to start again and to accumulate good karma. These conditions and time periods i n these realms are not entirely fixed, as external factors can influence one's potential rebirth. These conditions can be influenced by the transfer o f karmic merit facilitated by the actions and donations o f the living, aspects covered in the next section.  IV. The Buddhist Underworld in China-The "Solidarity of the Living and the Dead": Unlike the previous section, which was more concerned with the structure o f the Buddhist underworld, the following focuses on the interaction between the living and the dead, or the "solidarity between the living and the dead." In short, this section w i l l examine differences between the previous indigenous view o f the underworld and that o f the relatively "newer" Buddhist view imported from outside China. In particular, it w i l l ask, i f Buddhism left any  126 lasting impressions on the Chinese religious worldview, how did these "newer" impressions manifest themselves? To accomplish this task, ideas parallel to the ritually orientated worldview o f the Han, Qin, and earlier w i l l be examined. A s discussed previously, the Chinese indigenous worldview incorporated a fairly comprehensive and intimate relationship between the living and the dead as identified i n the family-based "ancestor worship." In this, ritual maintenance and appeasement o f the dead remained central. In addition, this worldview possessed a cosmos stocked with guishen, the sundry "ghosts and spirits," and numerous deities linked with the bureaucracy o f the afterlife, some specifically linked to the underworld i n general. In short, this section w i l l contrast these ideas against paradigms introduced by Buddhism to see how they functioned i n China. The most salient o f these points includes rituals orientated not only to feed the dead i n the afterlife, but also to help the dead, specifically in the lower Buddhist gatis to attain a higher rebirth. O f particular interest to this section is the Buddhist "Ghost-Festival," the Guijie % | p , studied i n depth by Stephen F. Teiser i n his excellent The Ghost Festival in Medieval China (1988). Teiser proposes that the Ghost Festival, once an import from Central A s i a or India, left lasting repercussions in the Chinese worldview by the fifth or sixth centuries C E . This, i n turn, affected the living's relationship with the underworld to such an extent that the Chinese underworld, i n particular, thereafter functioned more like the Western "Purgatory" than a simple "storehouse for the dead." The last aspect examined below are the Buddhist spells or dhdrani, and the continuing Chinese practice o f "grave-quelling" texts, the latter o f which appears relatively untouched by Buddhist influence. Examination o f these facets should supply us with a notion o f how the Buddhist underworld functioned specifically i n the Chinese context and how the living related to the underworld within the Buddhist context.  127  a.) The "Ghost Festival," the Guijie or Yulanpen and the Sangha: S.F. Teiser's excellent The Ghost Festival in Medieval China examines in depth the fUj  importance of this Buddhist festival, identified as either Guijie or Yulanpen  , and this  festival's impact on the relationship between humanity and the underworld. Teiser proposes 33  that through the medium of this Buddhist ritual the living were able to secure a more rapid release from the punishments of the infernal regions for the dead. This was accomplished by lay offerings given to the Buddhist monastic community, which then attempted to secure the salvation of the denizens of the underworld by a "transfer of karmic merit," or parindmand, huixiang \B] [RJ . The festival, held on the fifteenth day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, came to be embodied in a series of texts that possibly originated in India or Central Asia in the first few centuries C E and were subsequently introduced to China. By the sixth century though, these texts were in turn officially accepted in the Chinese Buddhist Canon, and the concept of the Ghost Festival and numerous offshoots became so well-established in the Chinese world in general that myths that formed the background to the festival became the subject of numerous plays, morality books and precious scrolls.  34  The inspiration of this festival is a series of texts portraying the journeys of Maudgalyana,  " The term Yulan Pen itself has a non-Chinese origin. There are numerous theories regarding the origin of this term. One states that is a transliteration of the Sanskrit avalambana, meaning "hanging down, depending on," or the Pali ullampana, "salvation, rescue, full of mercy," among others. The term Yulan itself is believed to mean "hanging upside down" referring to a condition of torment in the underworld. Pen in this context refers to the sacrificial bowl for the offerings to the ancestors. For additional information, see Teiser (1988:22). For proof o f its popularity, Teiser cites an eighth century compendium of similar festivals held during the seventh month: 1.) The Yulanhui j£88i#, the "Yulan Assembly"; 2.) the already mentioned "Ghost Festival"; 3.) the Zhongyuan Ri r£ % B , "Day (Honouring) the Middle Primordial"; 4.) the Fang Yenkou Jfo 'fa • , "Releasing (the Hungry Ghosts with) Burning Mouths"; 5.) the Pudu^^ , "Universal Passage (of Hungry Ghosts out of Hell)"; 6.) the Jianggu J | JI, "Gathering Orphan Souls"; 7.) Song Magu j&M%k, "Sending Grains,"; 8.) Guajie J& g0, "Melon Festival," (Teiser 1988:8). 3 4  128  rendered Mulian g H in Chinese. Originally a disciple of the Buddha, Mulian embarked on a quest to rescue his mother from the punishments of Avici Earth-Prison. In short, his resultant travels have the air of a truly epic adventure in that he first travelled through the various Buddhist Heavens to find the location of his mother, and then journeyed to the underworld and there defeated various demon armies. Having done this, he then discovered his mother Qingti yjf  in  Avici, who was nailed to a bed with 49 long spikes for punishments in her previous life. Seeing this, Mulian then petitioned the Buddha to intervene, who smashed down the prison walls and released the denizens of the underworld, allowing them to attain a higher rebirth. In the case of Mulian's mother, she was reborn as a "hungry-ghost," or one cursed with a ravenous appetite and a needle-thin throat. Not only was she unable to satisfy her hunger, when Mulian did offer her sacrifices through the rituals of the ancestral cult, the food burst into flames before it reached her mouth. To rescue her from this fate, Mulian then appealed to the Buddha to institute the Yulanpen festival. One of the earliest scriptures on the topic relates the purpose of the festival. The Yulanpen jing ]fj£ HI) ^ H , the "Sutra on the Yulanpen Festival" (T. 685), attributed to Dharmaraksa (ca. 265-313) states the following about the Buddha's statement on the establishment of this festival for the benefit of the dead: The Buddha told Mulian, "On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when the assembled monks of the ten directions release themselves (from a previous three month retreat), for the sake of seven generations of ancestors, your current parents, and those in distress, you should gather food of one hundred flavours and five kinds of fruits, basins for washing and rinsing, incense, oil lamps and candles, and mattresses and bedding; take the sweetest, prettiest things in the world and place them in a bowl and offer it to the assembled monks, those of virtue of the ten directions... When you make offerings to these kinds of monks as they release themselves, then your current parents, seven generations of ancestors, and the six  129 kinds o f relatives w i l l obtain release from suffering i n the three evil paths o f rebirth (the three gatis o f rebirth as a denizen o f the underworld, as Hungry Ghost, and as an Animal); at that moment they w i l l be liberated and clothed and fed naturally. If one's parents are living, they w i l l have one hundred years of joy and happiness. If they are deceased, then seven generations o f ancestors w i l l be reborn in the heavens; born freely through transformation, they w i l l enter into the light o f heavenly flowers and receive unlimited joy." (Trans. Teiser 1988:50-52). The above passage is significant because it reveals some interesting facets regarding the Buddhist perception o f the underworld in general. First, it alludes to the centrality o f the idea o f the "transfer o f merit" for the benefit o f the dead, and, second, the role and function o f the Buddhist monastic community regarding the "cult o f the dead." A s mentioned previously, one o f the main implications regarding karma concerns that o f one's "personal responsibility" or one's "personal guilt," and the related idea o f a Buddhist "moral cosmos." This aspect and the introduction and subsequent popularity o f Buddhism and Buddhist concepts leads to some interesting questions about how the idea o f karma reconciled itself to the Chinese worldview. Namely, was the idea o f karma compatible with the indigenous Chinese worldview that stressed "collective responsibility"? In short, it was entirely compatible, as karma, i n the context o f the Ghost Festival, addresses both the concerns o f the individual and the family in general. In function, karma resembles currency, in that it is entirely malleable and transferable. Specifically through the ritual medium, it is transferred by the Buddhist monk or the Sangha to those languishing in the afterlife so they too can attain a better rebirth as was the case of M u l i a n ' s mother. For these reasons, the living are able to fulfill their "collective responsibility." It is interesting to note that language used in the above text, that o f benefiting "current parents, seven generations o f ancestors, and six kinds o f relatives," would not sound  130 entirely out of place in the practices of the Han. To understand the Ghost Festival and the implications of karma, we must examine the role of the monk and the sangha in the Chinese context. In his study of the topic, Teiser mentions that, in addition to the monk's emphasis on attaining enlightenment and hence potential release from Samsara, the monk too possessed "shamanistic" powers (Teiser 1989:140ff). According to Buddhism, when the Buddha attained enlightenment he was endowed with the six abhijna, the liutung T ^ 3S the " s i x super-knowledges" or "six penetrations": 1.) magical powers; 2.) ability to 1  5  hear anywhere; 3.) knowledge of other's minds; 4.) memory of former lives; 5.) ability to see everywhere; and 6.) knowledge of the cessation of one's rebirth. In essence, these six qualities are the functional equivalents for the shaman's soul-flight and even other magical functions, such as healing, exorcism, and even the securing of good harvests. In addition, monks, by virtue of their renouncing the world, specifically their family, are to be, ideally, empty of karma, making the transfer of merit all the more easier. A s for the monk's relationship with the Ghost Festival itself, his function o f aiding and releasing those suffering in the infernal regions culminated during the Ghost Festival when the monk, holding a "pewter staff," reenacting the Buddha's actions o f releasing the damned, smashed earthen-ware bowls marking the opening of the gates of the underworld. Once released, the denizens were transported across the Infernal River in a boat, an action mimicked by participants who pretended to be oarsmen. Once done, then those i n the 35  underworld would obtain a higher rebirth. The role of the monk and the entire ritual process itself, calls into question the Buddhist  This summary is from Gernet (1995:202 and 365-66, n. 25). In his summary he describes a ritual that are suggestive o f a rite that may have been practised in tenth century D u n h u a n g ^ i ' ^ . l n this instance, the monk reenacts the action o f D i z a n g W a n g Pusa  j-tjj H I H H ,  the "Earth-Store Bodhisattva," Ksitigarbha, who also  functions as a saviour for the denizens o f the underworld. D i z a n g , however, is a later figure and came to prominence in the T a n g . F o r a reference to Ksitigargha, see D e Visser (1915).  131 monastic complex, that is, the role o f the sangha and its relationship with the community. J. Gernet's Buddhism in Chinese Society: An Economic History From the Fifth to Tenth Century (1985) offers valuable insight into the relationship between the sangha and Chinese society. He writes that the hold Buddhism held over Chinese practices at this time manifested itself from private family mortuary cults all the up to large public festivals for the community at large, and even to the level o f Imperial patronage on behalf o f the empire and the dynasty (Gernet 1995:207). He writes that Buddhists became intimately linked with the Chinese "cult o f the dead," in that most Buddhist monasteries, and chapels founded by members o f the upper class were erected for the benefit o f persons o f high rank, meaning emperors, members o f the imperial family and those o f great private families (Gernet 1995:283). O n a another level, Buddhists performed rituals for the community at large, including the "Lamp Festival," Randeng "Procession o f Statues," Xingxiang f j f ! ^ , great "Vegetarian Feasts," Zhai  , the  , the above  mentioned "Ghost Festival," and general recitations o f Sutras (Gernet 1995:200ff). These transactions, too, manifested themselves on even a smaller scale, particularly for private funerary rituals or commemorative practices attached to the cult o f the dead. Then, monks and the sangha recited Buddhists Sutras to hasten the spirits o f the dead to a better rebirth or even to a higher rebirth in the Paradises, such as Sukhavati, Jingtu  , the Buddhist "Pure Land." Gernet cites  numerous examples o f this trait. One example is a list o f offerings given to a monastery in Shazhou  i n the eighth century C E :  (Donated:) Seven feet o f cloth and a quantity o f copper for the casting o f the bell (for the monastery); A lump o f a-li-lo; These offerings are made in the first place on behalf o f my deceased father and mother: I do not know what fate has befallen them since their death; second on my own behalf, to save me from death (?) A n d ensure my good health. O n this day, I present myself at the monastery to request  132 the recitation o f a sutra. The believer L i Chi-tzu, on the first day o f the first month (Gernet 1995:204-205). The text continues to talk o f donations from other people to benefit the sons and daughters and other family members as well. Other texts mention similar ideas and how donations to the monasteries were to benefit individuals, for example, the i l l and those about to die, and the community i n at large. Buddhism and the Buddhist community, hence, addressed most o f the 36  religious needs o f society, from the level o f the Imperial government to an individual one. The centrality o f the Buddhist sangha i n religious practices leads us to some interesting conclusions regarding the Chinese Buddhist practices after the Han. Teiser writes that Buddhism and the Buddhist monastic community, i n general, transformed the mechanism surrounding the post-Han Chinese "cult o f the dead," in that the sangha became to be included i n the "circle o f reciprocity between descendants and ancestors," a trait that existed to such an extent that the sangha acted as "middleman" for the community by transferring merit for the benefit o f the dead (Teiser 1994:196-7). Instead o f the previous religious practices o f the state-sponsored "ancestral cults," and family or clan ancestral temples with the involvement o f exorcists, mediums or shamans, the Chinese o f the Han and after began to rely increasingly more on the organized Buddhist monastic community, which, through the doctrines o f karma and the "transfer o f merit," possessed a fairly thorough and broad based appeal in that it not only addressed "collective concerns," but individual ones as well. It is interesting to note that by comparison the lay community's transfer o f merit to benefit the dead for a speedy rebirth and the reciprocal recitation o f Sutras by the sangha resembles Jotswald's previously mentioned account o f St. Odilo o f Cluny, i n that "suffrages," i n the form o f donations and prayers, released the suffering  'Gernet (1995:195ff) offers an excellent overview o f this topic.  133 souls i n the Christian underworld to hasten them to Heaven. This leads us to the conclusion, that, in the way the living related to the underworld in the Chinese Buddhist context, the underworld is more o f a "Purgatory" than anything else.  b.) The Buddhist "Bureaucracy" of the Afterlife in Han and Six Dynasties China: A s discussed above, the underworld in the Buddhist context as imported to China functioned primarily as a place for post-mortem punishment. Due to this emphasis, the presence of the function o f a "store-house o f the dead" that administered and pacified the potentially troublesome guishen is secondary in importance. In short, Buddhist ideas regarding the management o f the "spirits o f the dead" differed only slightly from their contemporary Chinese counterparts, and, i n the end, did not replace the firmly established Chinese bureaucratic paradigm o f the cosmos. In fact, the idea o f bureaucratically administered cosmos flourished in the centuries following the introduction o f Buddhism, an aspect that is illustrated later. But, to establish a basis o f comparison for the next chapter, we have to establish how Indian Buddhist ideas expressed the relationship between the living and the potentially "troublesome spirits." To demonstrate Buddhist ideas o f the this topic, we w i l l first look at any new elaborations introduced to China. In doing so, we w i l l follow the same pattern used i n the previous chapter. The first aspect examined below are the Buddhist "spells" or "incantations," the dhdrani. This w i l l illustrate how Buddhists responded to supernatural forces. Second, it w i l l look at the Chinese "grave-quelling" texts, particularly Buddhist ones that appeared i n the centuries following the introduction o f Buddhism. B y examining these aspects, we w i l l see how Chinese Buddhism dealt with the spirits o f the dead to see i f the bureaucratic pattern still existed in this context. In all, this section intends to establish whether or not Indian Buddhism replaced, or at  134 least complemented, the previously overwhelmingly bureaucratic view o f the cosmos as established i n the Q i n and Han. According to the most succinct and commonly recognized definition, dhdrani, rendered zhou JXJ i n Chinese, are spells intended specifically for personal use (Eliot 1957:1.332). The history o f dhdrani extends far back into the early history o f Buddhism, with their first mention appearing i n the first Buddhist Council, Rajagrha, convened shortly after the death o f the Buddha in c. 483 B C E (Eliot 1957:1.258). A t first it seems that the primary function o f the dhdrani was to protect the Buddhist monks and nuns from various ailments, demonic and otherwise. However, their role i n Theravada Buddhism was not that central. The Mahayana tradition, i n contrast, placed more emphasis on this practices and compiled numerous texts composed o f or at least mentioning dhdrani, and through this effort dhdrani came to take on broader implications. One textual example o f this trend is the popular Sutra the Saddharma-Pundarika, the "Sutra o f the Lotus o f the True L a w , " a Mahayana text translated into Chinese i n the Western J i n and rendered Miaofa lianhua jing  ity&MMM.  (T. 262). Chapter  26 o f this text states the  function and origin o f the dhdrani as being imparted by the Buddha and later by another Bodhisattva. This chapter mentions that those who keep this text i n memory or i n a book and that those who preach the text w i l l receive protection: Let anyone rather climb on our heads than hurt these teachers o f Dharma, be the attacker yaksa, or raskasa, or hungry ghost, or putana, or krtya, or vetdla, or ghanta, or omdraka, or apasmdraka, or yaksakrtya [various types o f demons], or human krtya (manusyakrtrya), or fever, whether o f one day, or o f two days, or o f three days, or o f four days, or as many as seven days, or perpetual fever, or anyone in the form o f a man, or o f a woman, or o f a boy, or o f a girl, even i n a dream: let none o f these harm them! (Saddharma-Pundarika 26; trans. Hurvitz 1976:323).  135 The above passage reveals two general and important facets o f non-Chinese Buddhism. First, it reveals that the belief in baleful demons or spirits is ubiquitous in most religions, Buddhism included. It also suggests that spell-casting and exorcisms are the most efficacious way o f dealing with these spirits. In this aspect, it is not different from the indigenous Chinese view. Second, Buddhist dhdrani do not rely on a system o f appeals to a higher magistrate, or a personality, particularly a Buddhist one. Instead, the emphasis here is placed solely on the power o f the Buddhist Dharma itself and the efficacious nature o f the text, and not divine personalities, such as Yama. In this aspect then, Indian Buddhist views o f spells differ substantially from the Chinese case, as revealed in the "Recipes for Fifty-Two Ailments." In the latter case, the practitioner evokes the authority o f the bureaucrats o f the cosmos and becomes invested with the power o f this office and not the power o f the text itself. Other practices from this Chinese Buddhist matrix clarify this point, i n particular, Chinese Buddhist "grave-quelling" texts. The studies o f Kleeman (1984), Seidel (1987a), and Hansen (1995), suggest that the introduction o f Buddhism did not substantially alter the Chinese practice o f the use o f "grave-quelling" texts, as there is no substantial mention o f Buddhist equivalents from this context. The only real digression on this practice is found i n "Bei-er's Statement o f Accompany Clothing and Possessions," a grave text dated to 607 C E . The text is, i n some sense, an appeal, specifically to the deity Wudao Dashen £  A W > a Buddhist deity, so-  named in reference to the Five Gads. This text mentions that Bei-er 5$ ^  a Buddhist "bhiksu o f  great virtue," who practised the Buddhist Wujie I i i £ , the "Five Precepts" (no killing, stealing, adultery, lying, and intoxicating liquors), and the Shishan -\- H , the "Ten Virtues" (no killing, stealing, adultery, lying, double-tongue, coarse language, filthy language, covetous, anger, and perverted views), aspects which would hasten one to a speedy and convenient rebirth as a  136 human. According to the text, he practised these virtues to such an extent that he should "not be 37  detained" and he should be "permit(ted) to pass freely" (Kleeman 1985:25-26). What is revealing here is that there is no real mention o f pacifying the spirit o f the dead and isolating it from the living. Segregation here seems irrelevant. The presence o f such a text i n the grave o f a Buddhist does suggest that at least there is some presence o f bureaucratic procedure. However, as mentioned earlier, these texts belong mostly to the popular religious matrix o f China, and as i n this matrix the lines between various religious traditions are often blurred, as practicality is more relevant than doctrine. This then is a simple case o f Chinese indigenous practices influencing Buddhist ones and not the reverse. Again, it seems that the Buddhist Dharma, or at least the teachings, specifically those that govern rebirth are at work here, as well as the idea o f aiding the dead in achieving a better rebirth. A s discussed above, it seems that the Buddhist underworld is not a bureaucracy in the same vein as is the Chinese indigenous one. Instead o f a bureaucracy, that is a system o f appeals to the bureaucracy o f the cosmos, the ultimate source o f authority in Buddhism lies i n the Buddhist Dharma itself. A s mentioned in the section on Buddhist dhdrani, the ultimate authority is the text, the Sutra, and not a reliance on a power invested by an outside authority or personality. If the latter was the case, then Buddhist Bodhisattvas would be subject to appeals i n the same fashion as were the Chinese deities o f the Q i n and Han. This trait is evident in the role of Yama. In particular, the above mentioned passage from the Jinglu yixiang and the AnguttaraNikaya, Y a m a merely chides the guilty for not recognizing the same "Three Messengers" that Gautama Buddha witnessed when he began to ponder the source o f suffering. He is not a judge here, merely an overseer, and seems to possess no real authority as he is subject to his own  Soothill and H o d o u s (118 and 47/50).  137 karma. If invested with a firm control o f the dead, then, his name would appear in the dhdrani and Chinese grave-quelling texts. In these situations, his name is not mentioned. Specifically, he, too, suffers from his own guilt, like the denizens he administers, i n that he is forced three times a day to drink molten bronze. One would think that a magistrate o f great power would be exempt from this, but he is not. Later texts, specifically the "Scripture on the Ten K i n g s , " mention that Yama, guilty and punished himself, w i l l eventually leave his post i n the underworld and become the Bodhisattva Samantaraja, Puwang  HfjjE, the  "Universal K i n g , " or Samantabhadra, Puxian  H  j f , the Bodhisattva " o f Universal Sagacity," meaning dhyana, and one o f the left and right hand assistants to the Buddha, closely linked to the "Lotus Sutra" (Soothill and Hodous:374). In sum, everyone and everything is subject to the functioning o f the Dharma, not a bureaucratic imperative. This leads us to ask, did the Chinese view o f the underworld change substantially? Specifically, did the lack o f a bureaucratic emphasis in the Indian Buddhist matrix affect the previous view o f the function o f the Chinese cosmos? To answer this question, we can examine numerous mid-seventh century Buddhist tales regarding journeys to the underworld. Hansen (1995) i n her Negotiating Daily Life in Traditional China writes that popular portrayals o f the workings o f the Chinese Buddhist underworld involve Y a m a and a host o f officials, who weighed the actions o f the dead entirely according to Buddhist precepts (Hansen 1995:193).  38  Here, Hansen suggests that in the Chinese context Buddhist figures began to function more as judges and bureaucrats, which may be a result o f Chinese influences on Buddhism. Furthermore, she also mentions that the Taoists practitioners, by travelling to the underworld itself, actively  H a n s e n basis her research o n the Mingbaoji, " R e c o r d s o f M i r a c u l o u s Retribution," studied b y D o n a l d Gjertson, Miraculous Retribution: A Study and Translation of Tang Lin's Ming-pao chi, (Berkeley: Berkeley Studies University o f C a l i f o r n i a , 1989). T h e Mingbaoji (T. 2082) is a T a n g Buddhist text composed b y T a n g L i n 3 8  Iff  Eg (seventh a ) .  Series,  138 petitioned the officers o f the underworld. In these cases, the Taoists acted almost like lawyers i n cases where the living are afflicted from beyond the grave, to settled affairs that were not resolved i n the real world (Hansen 1995:190-1). This is a function Buddhist monks did not do. It seems then that the Buddhist monks and the sangha, even i n the Chinese context, apparently lacked this "bureaucratic" tendency, focussed more on releasing those trapped i n lower forms o f rebirth and the efficacy o f the Dharma. The examination o f the Buddhist underworld as imported to China in the centuries after the Han stands i n contrast to the previous views o f the Chinese underworld. First, it is apparent that the Buddhist worldview, through the vehicles o f rebirth, karma, and the "transfer o f merit," is, by comparison, a moral-cosmos. So thorough is this emphasis that other aspects, for example, the underworld functioning as a "simple storehouse o f the dead" combined with the administration o f the problematic spirits o f the dead that can afflict the living, are pushed to the side. There is no doubt that these particular aspects did exist in the Indian Buddhist worldview, but their importance is obviously secondary to the underworld's function as a place for postmortem punishment, hence, the lack o f a bureaucratic emphasis. In general terms, the Buddhist underworld at this stage in China operates i n accord with the Buddhist Dharma, and all its implications. Hence, rebirth, karma, and all the details that ran the cosmos, i n particular human suffering, functioned as the overriding principle. A s a result, the bureaucratic mechanistic view o f the cosmos as established i n the H a n lingers in the background o f Buddhism to slowly merge with imported ideas. Instead o f appealing to deities, or divine officials, the Buddhism o f the Han and Six Dynasties China began to bypass the previous system of private family ancestor cults o f early China and opted for the elaborate and organized Buddhist complex o f the Sangha, who passed on karmic merit to aid those suffering i n the afterlife.  139 However, these ideas were slow to gain popularity, as these ideas later became evident i n later texts as the "Scripture on the Ten K i n g s , " where traditionally Buddhist personalities, Lord Y a m a in particular, are placed i n this model o f the underworld alongside typically Chinese bureaucratic personalities such as a the personification o f M t . Tai. In the end, this amalgamation o f Chinese and Indian Buddhist practices and beliefs set became the most common paradigm regarding the how the Chinese perceived the underworld and how they dealt with it. This thesis maintains that Buddhism appealed to the Chinese because it offered new ideas of how the cosmos operated. In short, it explained the afterlife i n more elaborate and more moral terms. For instance, the afterlife and the related beliefs o f the Q i n and Han focussed primarily on maintaining relationships with the dead, which tried to maintain good relations with the dead. Related to this, the idea o f limiting suffering was also central, for i f the relations with the dead had soured through an improper performance o f rituals, then the potentially problematic spirits were to be driven away, and i n most cases controlled by the various offices o f the cosmos. Here, rituals are central. This belief system, however, did not, however, explain what happens to the "wicked" i n the afterlife. In other words, according to this view the " w i c k e d " i n the afterlife did not suffer for their indiscretions i n this life. Buddhism, in contrast, stated that they did indeed suffer for their crimes, so here morality is o f more importance. In fact, all beings potentially suffered i n any o f their potential rebirths, but the "wicked" suffered i n the extreme. These new aspects introduced by Buddhism were not at all disruptive to the fabric o f the Chinese worldview. G i v e n that Karma, by nature, concerns itself primarily with "individual responsibility," it appears logical that it would run contrary to the previous view o f a Chinese sense o f "collective responsibility." In fact it did not for the simple reason that, as the examples above have shown, karma is entirely malleable and transferable. In turn, it adapted itself quite  140  capably to the ancestral cult of China, it that it became an adjunct in operations of the underworld through the concept of "transfer of merit" by addressing both individual and collective concerns. The real difference between Indian Buddhist and indigenous Chinese views of the afterlife is found in how the living interacted with the dead and their perception of function of the underworld. In sum, the "storehouse of the dead" paradigm does not require ritual offerings for release, as the underworld is not a place of punishment, rather confinement. In contrast, Buddhist rituals concerned themselves with attaining release as the realm itself was driven by the overwhelming concern of punishments for wrongdoing. But, according to Buddhism, one's stay in these realms, or in every potential rebirth, is entirely temporary. But in any case, potential release remained central. As offerings and the transfer of karmic merit operated as a means to attain this release, they can be characterized as the functional equivalents for the "suffrages" and in turn the underworld itself is like the "Purgatory" of the Medieval European world. These points lead us to the next chapter, which concerns the Chinese, particularly the Taoist response to these newer aspects and how Taoism reconciled the profoundly bureaucratic emphasis on managing the various guishen and the overwhelming influence of the Buddhist "moral death."  141  Chapter Four: The Taoist Underworld I. Introduction: This chapter w i l l examine the Taoist underworld as it appeared during the periods between the late Warring States and the end o f the Six Dynasties. This w i l l be accomplished by a survey o f the history o f Taoism, first, by focussing on Taoist beliefs and practices that existed before the arrival o f Buddhism, and, second, by examining Taoism after the arrival o f Buddhism in the First century o f the C o m m o n Era. Specific emphasis w i l l be placed on the later period. Taoism first appeared during the last centuries o f the Warring States Period i n the form o f texts, products o f a handful o f independent scholars. A t this time, Taoism was not organized on a large scale and it did not possess mass-appeal. When it became more organized, it existed as a doctrine for a potential state-cult, epitomized by the Huang-Lao school o f Taoism i n the second century B C E . Only during the second century C E did it possess mass appeal. During its earliest 1  manifestations, the Taoist views o f the afterlife and the underworld largely adhered to ideas prevalent i n the Chinese indigenous religious matrix. To reiterate, this matrix viewed the spirit o f the recently dead as entering an underworld, a place o f "neutral death," a condition without any sense o f post-mortem punishment, while at the same time, these spirits became ancestors transformed through proper ritual procedure. Without proper ritual performance, the spirit could potentially return as a revenant, wreaking havoc on the living. Further, the entire cosmos by the end o f the Warring States period, became increasingly viewed as a bureaucracy, one which  The earliest manifestation of Taoism is often referred to as Daojia ^ , a term used by the first century CE historian Ban Gu, the author of the Hanshu, who classified the texts of the late Warring States Period for the Imperial library. His influential Yiwenzhi %£~$C]&, the "Treatise on Literature," categorized Confucian, Legalist, Taoist texts and others, earmarked by the suffix jia , which implies "classification" or "school." The Zhuangzi, the Daode Jing, the Liezi, texts discussed later, and other texts related to alchemy, hygiene, and ritual according to the term Daojia. This term later became translated as "Taoist Philosophy." This term refers to the earliest Taoist textual tradition, standing in contrast to the later Daijiao Hife > "Doctrine of the Tao," which refers to Taoist religious movements that arose during the second century CE. These groups are discussed later. 1  142  regulated the movements o f the stars, and the manifestations o f the seasons. In short, it functioned as a "storehouse o f the dead," which lorded over the dead and dispensed human suffering through the "ghosts and spirits." Accordingly, to alleviate ghostly or demonic attack, it was believed that ritualistic petitions to the appropriate gods would contain problematic spirits. Hence, not only did the underworld function as an abode for the dead, it operated as a governing body concerned with regulating the dead. It was not concerned with post-mortem punishment, as any retributive punishment was experienced in this life, not the next. In addition, any retributive punishment was distributed according to "collective morality" or "collective responsibility," a concept that coincides with Chinese legal practices. This latter point implies that one's family or lineage was ultimately held responsible for individual actions. In contrast, by the time Buddhism entered China, Buddhism already possessed functioning post-mortem realms concerned with the punishment o f the wicked dead, and these realms, i n turn, became more complex over the succeeding centuries. Driven by the dictates o f dharma and karma, the Buddhist cosmos created a condition for both the good and bad to receive their appropriate recompense, either in this life or the next. The most relevant manifestation o f this retributive punishment is, o f course, in the Buddhist underworld. B y comparison, death in this context is "moral," in that one is judged, and, i f need be, punished in the afterlife. Furthermore, Buddhism also possessed ritual means to attain the release o f these suffering souls, rituals which i n many ways resemble the Western concept o f "Purgatory." These ideas, i n particular, brought about changes i n Taoist beliefs and practices, as Taoism, by the H a n and after, came into competition with Buddhism, and thereby adopted Buddhist ideas, and reformed its own ideas regarding the underworld. To examine these changes i n the Taoist underworld, this Chapter w i l l examine four  143 "case-studies" regarding the structure and function o f these infernal regions. The first is the Huainanzi  j^J  ( H Y 1176), a Taoist text dated to the mid-second century B C E .  2  It is  significant because it portrays the Taoist notion o f a "neutral death," and an overwhelming sense o f a bureaucratically run cosmos. The second is the Taiping jing A ^ S ( H Y 1093), the "Scripture o f Great Peace," or "Great Equanimity," an important text not only because it adheres to ideas established i n the Huainanzi, but also because it possesses perhaps the earliest mention of a Taoist "moral death." The third case study focusses on texts from the Shangqing _t tff, or "Upper Purity" tradition o f Taoism. A m o n g other things, the Shangqing underworld primarily portrays a "neutral death," possessing ideas related to "collective responsibility." A t the same time, it hints at a "moral death," as individual spirits are punished i n the underworld for specific infractions. The fourth and final "case-study" is found in texts originating from the Lingbao ft  If  , or "Numinous Jewels" tradition. In simple terms, the underworld o f this tradition is perhaps the closest related to a "moral death," resulting from the Lingbao's reliance on Buddhist ideas for inspiration, specifically post-mortem punishment and release from the infernal regions. But at the same time, it still retained numerous other motifs from the Chinese indigenous matrix, creating a line o f continuity between early beliefs and practices regarding the Chinese underworld and those emerging after the arrival o f Buddhism in China.  II. T h e Emergence of T a o i s m : B y the end o f the Eastern or Later Han, Taoism emerged as a coalition o f numerous elements that existed in the previous centuries, and, as a whole, eventually came to encompass  2  T w o dates are accepted for the compilation o f the text. T h e first, 139 B C E , signifies the presentation o f the texts to  H a n W u d i (r. 140-86) by L i u A n (180-122).. T h e second date coincides with L i u A n ' s suicide in 122 B C E . It is possible that at this point in time, government officials confiscated his papers and placed them in the L i b r a r y (Major 1993:4). Scholarship is not certain w h i c h date is correct. T h e history o f this text is discussed later.  144 beliefs and practices from both the elite and popular strata o f Chinese society. These elements are so divergent and varied that the very nature o f "Taoism" is hard to define, and is, hence, subject to numerous debates. Despite this, the entire tradition is bound together by a few key themes. The first theme is the recognition o f the earliest texts as a source o f inspiration and authority for subsequent Taoist developments, the second, beliefs and practices linked to the attainment o f immortality or longevity, and, the third, the development o f a distinct Taoist organization and liturgy, meaning the outward expressions o f faith, a priesthood, interaction and support by the society, and even rituals. For the sake o f brevity, this thesis contends that three readily identifiable points or nodes appear i n the historical time line o f the early development o f this tradition. The first point appears during the late Warring States Period, when various schools o f thought, such as Confucianism, Legalism, and even Taoism itself emerged to propose solutions for the centuries o f continuous warfare and chaos o f this period. For Taoism, these ideas are exemplified i n the earliest texts, seminal texts which formed the framework for subsequent developments. The second relevant point for the development o f Taoism is found during the first centuries o f the Former Han, when Taoism competed with Confucianism to become the official state ideology. This period is significant as this competition added momentum to changes in the tradition. The third point occurs during the last decades o f the Later Han, yet another period o f chaos. A t this time, two relatively simultaneous trends occurred: first, the emergence o f organized Taoist popular healing cults, and, second, the introduction o f Buddhism i n China. A s a result o f these stimuli, the Taoist tradition consistently reformed itself, so that shortly after the Later Han Taoism incorporated a variety o f elements making it substantially different from the earliest Taoist textual tradition. Throughout the earliest periods, Taoism remained a product o f the elite o f Chinese society.  145 Indeed, it did sometimes look to the popular strata for inspiration, but rarely did it adopt popular practices without question, and only did so on a large scale when Taoist sects emerged i n the countryside during the Later Han. But, then it redefined or reconfigured popular practices to suit its own, bringing exorcistic practices aligned according to the bureaucratic motif into its own worldview. To examine these trends, these next subsections follow these guidelines. First, the history of Taoism w i l l be divided into three conceptual time periods: the Late Warring States, the Q i n and Early Han, and the Later Han and Six Dynasties Periods. Further, special emphasis w i l l be placed on developments related to the afterlife and the underworld.  a.) F r o m A n t i q u i t y to the H a n : To start, the first real inklings o f Taoism as an identifiable tradition can be found during the later centuries o f the Warring States Period, a fairly fertile and creative period that witnessed the proliferation o f a handful o f independent thinkers, who thereby inspired numerous and diverse schools o f thought, such as the Confucian, Legalist, Logician, Y i n - Y a n g , Mohist, and Taoist schools. A l l o f these schools sought to solve the centuries o f chaos, and the Taoist response is embodied in three seminal texts. The first is the recognition o f the earliest texts as a source o f inspiration. These texts, the Zhuangzi  - J - , named after the thinker o f the same name  (first chapters composed Fourth century B C E ) , the Daode Jing j j f t i i l l , the "Scripture o f the Tao and Its Power," (Third century B C E ) , attributed to the semi-legendary Laozi ^ ^ , and the Liezi ^lj - J - , named after the legendary thinker o f the same name (earliest portions composed late Warring States, revised 300 C E ) , became the inspiration for later Taoist schools and texts. These earliest Taoist texts mention little about the cosmos and the underworld. In general,  146 the Taoist view o f the cosmos at this time is inseparable from ideas that existed previous to the Q i n and Han, that is, the quest for immortality, the ancestral cult, and others. The only Taoist 3  elaborations on these topics are found i n the cult o f immortality, which may have been drawn from the popular strata for inspiration. K . Schipper, writes that elements represented i n the Zhuangzi originate from what he identifies as "shamanism" (Schipper 1993:6). The first chapter of the Zhuangzi makes numerous "shamanistic-like references," including soul-flights, endurance of adverse weather conditions, and control o f the weather, all stock abilities o f the shaman (Watson 1968:33). In this context, Zhuangzi uses the shamanistic model to describe one who 4  has obtained the Tao in the Taoist sense, thereby creating a set o f motifs, which influenced later developments o f Taoism. In particular, the ideal o f an "immortal," Xiamen ftlj A > a "Sage," Sheng H , and a "Perfected M a n , " Zhenren ]H A > terms mentioned i n the Zhuangzi, eventually became stock phrases i n the cult o f immortality. Combined with this, passages similar to the shamanistic soul-flights o f the earlier mentioned Shanhaijing,  the Chuzi and the Feiyi Funeral  Banner, elements discussed i n Chapter T w o o f this thesis, appear throughout the Liehzi. Later Taoism incorporated all o f these themes and motifs and infused them with the centrality o f Tao. Given the lack o f emphasis on the role o f the underworld, and even a lack o f mention o f post-mortem punishment, it is evident that the general view o f early Taoism coincides with the  3  A s mentioned earlier, the indigenous matrix o f Warring States C h i n a already possessed beliefs associated with  either preserving one's life or even securing a pleasurable existence in the afterlife, traits indicated by rituals dedicated to deities and ancestors, and the inclusion o f grave-goods or even preserving the body after death. O n e scholar, Y i i Y i n g s h i , traced the development o f these trends. H e mentions that the first references o f obtaining longlife occurs in Z h o u bronze inscriptions, w h i c h frequently include the character 1964/65:87). B y the eighth century, the terms  nanlao JH^-;,  shou ^ , meaning " l o n g - l i f e " ( Y i i wusi ffi , "no-death" and others  "retarding old-age,"  appear frequently in prayers for blessings in bronze inscriptions ( Y i i 1964/65:87-89). Further, princes o f the Warring States Period, such as K i n g W e i  fjfc  (358-320), K i n g X u a n g (319-301) o f Q i , and K i n g Z h a o B § (311-279)  o f Y e n , sponsored the aforementioned fangshi, or "ritual specialists," to pursue "drugs o f no-death," and expeditions to find these drugs and immortals ( Y i i 1964/65:90). 4  T h e most significant passage illustrating this trait is found in B. Watson's translation  Taoism  (New Y o r k : C o l u m b i a University Press, 1968), 33.  The Complete Works of  147 view o f the indigenous beliefs o f the afterlife before the arrival o f Buddhism. That is to say, that the option o f potential pleasurable existence i n the afterlife belonged to the elite, and that there is no punishment o f the "wicked dead" in the afterlife. The condition o f the dead according to the earliest Taoist tradition is "neutral."  b.) Developments in the Qin and the Former Han: The period between the establishment o f the Q i n empire in 221 B C E and the end o f the Former Han in 8 C E witnessed the refinement o f the same themes. Suffice to say, the environment o f the Q i n and Han had substantially changed from the chaos the Warring States period. This fact alone provided a different set o f stimuli and set i n motion further changes. In particular, the political vacuum caused by the disintegration o f the legalist Q i n state i n 206 B C E sparked yet another round o f competition for the position o f official state doctrine. Searching for an alternative, the courts o f China patronized various schools o f thought. Hence, once again, Taoist thought prospered, culminating with the Huang-Lao Dao Hf ^ j | | , the " W a y o f the Y e l l o w Emperor and L a o z i , " a school which came to embody the maturation o f Taoist social and political thought as a state cult. In addition to developments i n political thought, the entire religious matrix o f China refined the various beliefs and practices attached to the cult o f immortality or longevity. These i n turn became attached to Taoism. In response to the political vacuum existing at this time, Taoism put forth the " W a y o f the Y e l l o w Emperor and L a o z i " as their candidate for state orthodoxy. A product o f the Warring States period from the Academy o f Jixia  5  $Hk~f  in the state o f Q i ^ , Huang-Lao Taoism later 5  Peerenboom posits that the establishment o f the Jixia academy was an attempt by the T i a n clan to legitimize their  rule as they usurped the previous established ruling house in 481 B C E (Peerenboom 1993:224-25). T o accomplish this task, the T i a n acted as a patron to the wandering shi by granting them generous stipends, luxurious quarters, high rank, large retinues, and "lecture h a l l s " near the Jixia gate at the West wall o f the city (Schwartz 1985:238).  148 became so popular by the mid-second century B C E , it became, as some scholars have argued, the "dominant court ideology" of the Han (Peerenboom 1993:224). This popularity, however, was short-lived, for i n 136 H a n W u d i ?|| jg; ^  (r. 141-87), as part of his efforts to centralize power,  instituted Confucianism as official state doctrine, banished the Legalists from court, and removed any potential threat to his power, Taoist included. A s a result of this purge, L i u A n gl) ^ 6  (180-  122), the " K i n g o f Huainan," an active patron of Taoism and chief editor o f the Huainanzi,  was  charged with sedition. T o avoid execution, he chose to commit suicide. W u d i then confiscated his fiefdom, executed L i u An's family and retainers, and Huang-Lao Taoism was eclipsed by Confucianism, as it was instituted as the official curriculum i n the state-run academies. A t the centre o f Huang-Lao Taoism is a state-cult dedicated to Huangdi i l f ' p f , the " Y e l l o w Emperor," and a profound emphasis placed on a bureaucratically run cosmos. First, Huangdi is a semi-divine, semi-human figure of Chinese remote antiquity, who according to legend, dates to the mid-third millennium B C E . B y the Han, this figure became linked to the Taoist Laozi, thereby creating a composite deity. Second, the other hallmark o f this school is its 7  concern with "patterns." Huang-Lao Taoism stressed that the ultimate source for authority i n the cosmos rested i n Heaven, and i n turn, Heaven revealed a series o f patterns, evident i n the structure and operation o f the cosmos.  6  8  A s the various divisions o f the Heavens were divided  Peerenboom argues that the fall o f Huang-Lao T a o i s m may have resulted from the pervasive power o f the  Confucians at court, or it may have resulted from the limitations placed on the ruler on by Huang-Lao thought itself, as it required low taxes, minimal government expenditures, and frugality on the part o f the ruler. T h i s idea went against Wudi's aim o f centralizing his rule (Peerenboom 1993:253-254). 7  T h i s school presented H u a n g d i as a "sage-ruler," a moral exemplar, w h o sponsored cultural development, unified  the ancient states o f antiquity, established a centralized state by military force, and implemented laws and punishment, all in accord to the ceaseless rhythms o f nature. B y the H a n , the remnants o f the Jixia school had incorporated the earliest teachings o f T a o i s m , including the legendary founder o f T a o i s m , L a o z i himself, into its doctrine. F o r a summary o f the significance o f Huang-Lao refer to Peerenboom (1993:90ff). 8  Peerenboom characterizes this theme as "foundational naturalism." A c c o r d i n g to his definition, "foundational  naturalism implies the f o l l o w i n g : first, it assumes that humanity is a fundamental part o f the natural order and understood as a part o f an organic or holistic system; second, this natural order retains the highest values or priority,  149 into bureaus and offices, the government o f the real world was likewise divided. Everything within the government, including the ruler and the bureaucracy, and everything within society, laws for example, are subject to these patterns. A s mentioned earlier, the Chinese o f the Late Warring States and Q i n and Han periods increasingly viewed the cosmos as a bureaucracy i n form and function to explain the regularity o f the motion o f the stars, the seasons, and one's fate. Huang-Lao Taoism expanded these ideas and presented a more organized or bureaucratically oriented cosmos on a far greater scale than ever expressed, in turn, to a great extent, influencing later Taoist portrayals o f the cosmos, and, hence, the underworld. These influences w i l l be examined later. Another stream o f thought and practice affected by the conditions o f the Q i n and Han is the cult o f longevity or immortality. Again, as was the case with Taoist schools i n the early Han, Imperial patronage contributed to these newer developments, all based on previously existing themes. Slowly over the centuries, these ideas, once common to the indigenous matrix o f Chinese religious thought and practice, became further attached to Taoism and refined. A s mentioned previously, the indigenous Chinese matrix o f pre-Warring States and Warring States China already possessed beliefs associated with either preserving one's life or even securing a pleasurable or comfortable condition in the afterlife. These traits are indicated by the performance o f rituals to obtain long-life from the various deities or ancestors, and the inclusion of grave goods or even preserving the body after death.  9  Though it existed earlier, the cult o f immortality gained momentum from Imperial  especially for the human realm; and, third, the human social realm should ideally be consistent and compatible with the this natural order. At the same time, this cosmic or natural order serves as the basis or foundation for the construction of the human order (Peerenboom 1993:27ff.). 9  See Yii (1964/65) for reference.  150 patronage during the Q i n and Han. The real impetus for the development o f the cult o f immortality coincided with the reigns o f Q i n Shi Huangdi, and later H a n W u d i . Both o f these emperors sponsored expeditions to locate the abodes o f the immortals to find the secrets o f immortality: Q i n Shi Huangdi sent expeditions to locate the island o f Penglai i n the East, as did Han W u d i , but the latter also sent expeditions to find Kunlun i n the West. A l s o , both o f these rulers acted as patron to numerous fangshi Jjzt,  "ritual specialists" to concoct elixirs and to  develop other methods o f attaining longevity. Moreover, both emperors performed the  Fengshan  j i ^ j " ^ sacrifices, first to announce the establishment o f an era o f peace i n the Empire, and second, as Y i i Yingshi proposes, to appeal to M t . Tai, one o f the traditional lords o f the dead, and arbiter of one's lifespan. It is possible that these two Emperors hoped, as is the case i n the "Resurrection of D a n " that this "arbiter o f the registers o f life and death" would extend their lifespans.  10  It is generally recognized that there was little development o f Taoist liturgy at this time, and Taoism at this juncture was not an "organized religion," that is, it did not possess social institutions, its own liturgy, or its own scriptures. A n y organization it possessed lay i n the hands of the ruling elite, as the development o f the Huang-Lao school and the patronage o f L i u A n attests. A t this level, it remained as a potential state-cult, and, as far as the earliest sources reveal, Taoism o f the courts o f Han China did not seem to possess any mass appeal, nor do the sources reveal that these beliefs were disseminated to the popular level in an organized fashion.  11  1 0  T h e sacrifices o f Q i n s h i H u a n g d i and H a n W u d i are discussed in more detail by Y i i (1964/65:9Iff).  1 1  It is likely, however, that Taoist beliefs and practices trickled d o w n to the c o m m o n people, facilitated by the  fangshi. A s mentioned earlier, the fangshi functioned as exorcists or ritual specialists, and served the various religious needs o f the people. B y the Q i n and the H a n , they also became counsellors to the wealthy patrons, the ruling elite o f C h i n a , and even Emperors, such as Q i n s h i H u a n g d i and H a n W u d i . T h e fangshi were in a unique position in that they were able to cross over the various levels o f society. T h e y thereby latched o n to Taoist ideas and carried them to the popular level, or they transmitted ideas from the popular matrix to the elite. O n e o f the most detailed and interesting studies o f the fangshi is found in Doctors, Diviners, and Magicians of Ancient China: Biographies of Fang-shi by D e W o s k i n (1993). Refer to this work for a discussion o f this topic.  151 Regardless, any inkling of an appreciable Taoist liturgy i n the popular matrix of the Former Han is impossible to find: it is nonexistent in the sources. Instead, the entire popular matrix remained populated by fangshi, mediums, and the household ancestor cults run by the pater familias,  the head of the household, who functioned as family priest for rituals associated  with family cults. In other words, the beliefs of the popular matrix are one and the same as those mentioned i n Chapter Two o f this thesis, and these practices and beliefs formed the framework for later developments i n Taoism.  c.) Taoism in the Eastern Han and Six Dynasties Periods: Conditions prevalent during these periods contributed to the development o f Taoism. The Eastern or Later H a n established itself i n 25 C E , and after a period of relative stability, slowly disintegrated and China fell into another period of warfare and chaos, which lasted until the Sui unified China in 581. During the first century of the Later Han, Taoism again prospered under 12  the auspices o f the ruling elite, further promoting developments in Huang-Lao Taoism and the cult o f immortality.  13  But this patronage was cut short, this time by the overall decay o f the  dynasty. B y the late first century and mid-second century C E , conditions i n the capital and the  1 2  T h e Western and Eastern H a n are interrupted by the interregnum o f W a n g M a n g 3i#,  short-lived X i n 0f,  w h o established the  or " N e w " Dynasty, w h i c h lasted from 9 to 23 C E . A f t e r years o f uprisings and natural disasters,  the X i n was quickly replaced by the Eastern or Later H a n . 13  T h e most substantial example o f Later H a n patronage is the previously mentioned case o f Prince L i u Y i n g o f C h u ,  the same person noted for his patronage o f B u d d h i s m . T o reiterate, Y i n g according to an Imperial amnesty, in 65 C E donated financial compensation to a Buddhist community in the modern-day provinces o f Shandong and Jiangsu. In addition to sponsoring Buddhists, the  Houhanshu records that  " T o w a r d s the end o f ( L i u Ying's) life, he  loved the practices o f H u a n g - L a o " (Maspero 1981:258-9). H i s contemporary, W a n g C h o n g mentions that he was surrounded by " T a o i s t M a s t e r s " or " T e a c h e r s " (Maspero 1981:259). If we take this as an example o f what is going on in the rest o f C h i n a at this time, T a o i s m received a substantial amount o f support. C o m b i n e d with this, the cult o f immortality or longevity continued to develop. O n e prominent example o f this resides in the commentaries o f W a n g C h o n g . H e mentions that by the Later H a n numerous practices regarding attaining immortality existed, such as the performance o f the  Feng and shan  sacrifices, taking drugs o f immortality, ingesting elixirs o f gold and gems,  practising the " q u i e t i s m " and "dispassionateness" o f L a o z i , abstaining from the consumption o f cereals, regulating the breath, and even metamorphosing the human body into the shape o f a bird ( Y i i 1964/65:110).  152 countryside contributed to the emergence o f parallel Taoist governments organized along the lines o f Huang-Lao Taoism. M o v i n g outside o f the elite strata brought Taoism into direct contact with practices found i n the popular matrix. This aspect, combined with the growing influence o f Buddhism, caused Taoism to redefine itself, first, against popular practices, and, second, against the growing popularity o f Buddhism. Despite the early successes o f the Later Han, this period o f Imperial patronage was short lived, as a combination o f weak rulers and political infighting between consort families, eunuchs, and the Confucian elite weakened the authority o f the government. W i t h a backdrop o f political intrigue and uncertainty in the capital, the countryside was also rife with its own set o f problems, such as a growing dissatisfaction with the government and a series o f floods, famines and epidemics. A s a result o f this chaos, sporadic revolts broke out in China, and between 147-166 C E , approximately six rebellions occurred, most o f which hoped to establish as era o f Taiping A , or "great peace" or "great equality" (Seidel 1969/70:219). A l l o f these rebellions were crushed. A t the same time, two Taoist sects emerged to the forefront: first, the Huangjin H f rjj, the " Y e l l o w Turbans," situated in Shandong |±| }f( and Henan }qj j^f provinces, which openly rebelled in 184; and, second, the Wudoumidao £  JM, the "Five Pecks o f R i c e " movement  in Sichuan [Z3 J11 and Shanxi ^ g § provinces, which set up its own government and existed independently o f the Han. These two movements, combinations o f Taoist and popular beliefs, mark the emergence o f a truly organized Taoist religion, complete with a clergy, institutions, and later texts. The first, the " Y e l l o w Turban" sect, so named as they wore yellow scarves during their rebellion o f 184, was founded by the three Zhang brothers, Zhang Jue $1 ^ Liang ^ Jjl (d. 184), and Zhang Bao  (d. 184 C E ) , Zhang  J f (d. 184). The Y e l l o w Turban sect focussed its beliefs  153 on the worship o f Huang-Lao and the establishment o f an era o f Taiping, manifest i n a heavily moralistic Taoist Utopian state. The second sect, the "Five Pecks o f Rice," was founded by Zhang L i n g $ 1 H , later Zhang Daoling 5H jji |t , no relation to the three Zhang brothers. His grandson, Zhang L u  (fl. 185-220), later continued as leader o f this tradition. It is said that i n 142 C E ,  Zhang received a revelation from Taishang Laojun A J l ^ H , the " M o s t H i g h Lord L a o , " the deified Laozi. Both groups believed that one's sickness resulted from one's sins, an "external result o f one's wrong-doing" (Levy 1956:217). To cure sickness, the Y e l l o w Turbans advocated a combination o f the confession o f sins and the recitation o f holy scriptures, combined with the recitation o f magic formula over water, which the sinner would drink. A s a fee, the sick were required to pay five pecks o f grain, hence the name. In addition, sinners would write down his or her name, together with a confession o f sins and the wish to be absolved o f these sins. Three copies o f this contract were distributed to the Sanguan H UT, the "Three Bureaus," or "Three Officials": one contract was placed on a mountain to the Tianguan ^ ' g ' , the "Heaven Bureau"; one i n water for the Shuiguan 7K UT > the "Water Bureau"; and the third buried in the Earth for the Diguan f-tjj ' g ' , the "Earth Bureau." The Sanguan, particularly the Shuiguan, is significant as it later served as part o f the subterranean bureaucracy. Its function is explored later.  14  The fate o f these two sects is different, i n that one survived, the other did not. O n the one hand, the Y e l l o w Turban rebellion was quickly put down: two leaders o f the Y e l l o w Turbans were quickly captured and killed, and the third died o f illness. O n the other hand, the Five Pecks o f Rice sect survived i n the relatively isolated area o f Sichuan, only to surrender to the powerful Han general Cao C a o | f $ | (155-220) in 215, the same man responsible for the eventual establishment o f the W e i dynasty in 220 C E under the rule of his son. In yielding, the Five Pecks  1 4  Refer to L e v y (1956), and M i c h a u d (1958) for the history and details o f the beliefs o f these groups.  154 o f Rice sect was granted a fair degree o f autonomy, and moved to the capital. There, it renamed itself the Tianshi ^ gjjj, or "Heavenly Master" or "Celestial Master" sect, and stayed i n the capital until 311, when the city fell due to barbarian invasion. The sect moved South, following the court, and thereby disseminated their brand o f Taoism, inspiring newer Taoist movements: the Shangqing _h tff, the "Upper Clarity" or "Great Purity," and the L i n g Bao f|| f f , the "Numinous Jewels" tradition, traditions that thrived during the Six Dynasties Period. They are discussed later. Coinciding with the slow demise o f the Han, Taoism redefined itself. In general, Taoism was faced with problems on two conceptual levels. First, the eventual decentralization o f political power i n the Empire forced the Y e l l o w Turbans, the Five Pecks o f Rice, and later the Celestial Masters into direct contact, and, later, competition with the thoughts and practices o f the popular matrix. O n another level, the situation was further complicated by the arrival o f Buddhism in China during the first century C E . Faced with the growing influence o f Buddhism, Taoism responded by either borrowing some Buddhist ideas or rejecting others. O f the two points, perhaps the most daunting to interpret is the latter, as the subtle presence o f Buddhist ideas i n Taoist thought is intensely hard to gauge. First, Taoism was faced with the problem o f defining itself in relation to popular practices. In general, most popular beliefs and practices were held i n contempt by the ruling elite of China, the aristocracy and the Confucians, as these practices went against the various proscriptions o f the established state-cult.  15  When Taoist sects, the Y e l l o w Turbans and the Five  Pecks o f Rice sects, established rival governments in China, Taoism affected a similar view, in that the top echelon o f Taoism still adhered to the same attitudes o f the elite, and thereby largely  1 5  Refer to O v e r m y e r (1989/90) for a discussion o f elite altitudes o f popular practices.  155 condemned popular practices. Conversely, Taoism may have condemned popular practices and practitioners because they were a source o f competition. In the words o f Nickerson, Taoists used these proscriptions as a way to "remove the teeth" from the practices o f their rivals, that is the mediums and diviners o f the popular matrix (Nickerson 1994:46). Recently, several excellent studies o f the Taoist reaction to popular practices have emerged. Namely, the studies o f Stein (1979), Seidel (1987), Cedzich (1993), and Nickerson (1994) have shed new light on the Taoist worldview o f this period. According to these studies, Taoists largely condemned what they identified as "religions (or cults) o f demons," yaodao  ^  x i , or "excessive cults," yinsi ^ | B , cults based on the propitiation o f the spirits o f the "unlucky dead," "revenants," or even minor deities that did not belong to the official Taoist pantheon (Stein 1979:58-59). To explain i n more detail, the Taoists identified heterodox deities as "excessive (or unauthorized) demons," yinshi zhi gui  jfg  , or "blood-eating demons,"  xueshi zhi gui M.^. ~*L%., for the type o f sacrifice they often received (Cedzich 1993:28). These deities were entirely problematic to the Taoists because their worship fell out o f their jurisdiction and into the hands o f unsanctioned exorcists. To combat the bloody flesh sacrifices to problematic ghosts, the Taoists substituted ritual pledges o f gold and silver, and tried to steer the people towards Taoist deities and those Taoists deemed as orthodox (Stein 1979:57ff). The second problem facing Taoism during the Eastern Han and later S i x Dynasties periods was the growing popularity o f Buddhism and its subsequent influence on Taoism. This is an intensely difficult problem to approach, as these ideas slowly appeared in Taoism over the centuries and manifested themselves i n a variety o f different ways. The most substantial study o f this topic was initiated by E . Zurcher, i n his excellent "Buddhist Influence on Early Taoism: A Survey o f Scriptural Evidence" (1980). Based on a survey o f early Chinese Buddhist and Taoist  156 scriptures between the H a n and Six Dynasties, Ziircher proposes that there are numerous categories o f Taoist borrowing from Buddhist scriptures and thought. These borrowed themes may involve stylistic themes found i n Buddhist sutras (Ziircher 1980:86;101ff), doctrinal terms that may or may not have retained original Buddhist implications (Ziircher 1980:87), complexes or clusters o f ideas that more or less maintain the original constituent ideas, but interpreted according to a different interpretation and function (Ziircher 1980:87), and others. O f all the numerous Buddhist terms and concepts manifest i n the Taoist and Chinese vocabulary, the most relevant to this thesis concern the doctrines o f "morality," "moral death," and the structure and operation o f the Buddhist cosmos. Such borrowings include the following: 1.) the cosmological complexes, including all the Buddhist paradises and purgatorial realms, and the concepts concerning the division o f time, space and the cosmos; 2.) the Buddhist concept o f morality, implying precepts falling under the aegis o f the Buddhist eightfold path;  16  karma and retribution and resulting rebirth within the six-gati, or Liudao}  1  and 3.) the concept o f Obviously, given the  scope and breadth o f the influences o f Buddhist thought and practices absorbed by Taoism, it is impossible to address all their various manifestations. Focus, hence, w i l l be placed on the afterlife and the role o f the underworld as revealed i n the following "case-studies." In sum, the maturation o f Taoism from its first appearance during the Warring States Period to the S i x Dynasties is marked by a response to different stimuli. During its first appearance in the Later Warring States, Taoism, like the other schools at the time, responded to the centuries o f warfare and chaos by providing an alternative governing system o f beliefs.  16  T h i s is the  arya-marga, bazhengdao:  right views, intentions, speech, actions, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and  concentration. T o reiterate, they are rebirth as a deity, deva-gati; as a human, manwya-gati; as a Titan, asura-gati; as an animal, tiryagyoni-gati; as a hungry ghost, pretya-gati; and as a denizen o f the underworld, naraka-gati. T h e concept o f the gati appears as the wudao. It differs from the above in that the asura-gati is not considered. 1 7  157 Following the end o f the Q i n and the subsequent political vacuum resulting from the demise o f the Legalist school, Taoism in the form o f Huang-Lao Taoism, fostered a potential ruling doctrine for the state, which was supported in the various courts o f Han China. Although eclipsed by Confucianism i n the mid-second century B C E , developments i n Taoism continued still under the patronage o f the elite. B y the Later Han, Taoism underwent its greatest transformation. Whereas previously, Taoism remained for the most part the product o f the elite, and existed as a potential state-cult i n the form o f Huang-Lao Taoism, by the Later Han, the disintegration o f a centralized government and the general chaos in the empire afforded Taoism the opportunity to put theory into practice. In doing so, it came into direct contact with the practices o f the common people, thereby causing Taoism once again to redefined itself. A s applied by the Y e l l o w Turbans and the Five Pecks o f Rice sects, Taoism too affected the same disdain for common practices as did the Confucian and elite practices, resulting i n Taoist definitions what it considered "heterodox" and "orthodox." A t the same time, Taoism came into contact with Buddhism, and, slowly over the centuries, new ideas, some borrowed directly from Buddhism, became a part o f Taoist practices and vocabulary. Hence, the ideas o f karma, rebirth, some general notions o f the cosmos, and the idea o f "moral death" appeared in Taoist thought and practices. It is, however, too simplistic to say that Taoism merely borrowed Buddhist ideas and incorporated them indiscriminately into its doctrine. Instead, Taoism borrowed Buddhist ideas, some which were already compatible to the indigenous Chinese world-view, and imbued them with their own personality. A s argued earlier i n Chapter T w o , the idea o f the afterlife as found i n the indigenous matrix, for the most part, centred on the idea o f a "neutral death," a condition i n the afterlife with no implications o f post-mortem punishment. But, at the same time, it  158 increasingly viewed the cosmos and the underworld as a bureaucracy, replete with a host o f otherworldly officials and offices with the responsibility o f confining and managing the dead, an idea that was later easily reconciled to the Buddhist idea o f the underworld. Together, the development o f these two streams o f thought provided yet another set o f stimuli for Taoism, and the Taoist response to these factors are examined below.  III. Taoist Cosmology from the Early Han to the Six Dynasties- The Influence of HuangLao Taoism and the General Structure of the Underworld:  The purpose o f this section is twofold. First, it w i l l establish themes that, although first evident in the Former Han, manifested themselves in later developments o f the underworld, forming a thread o f continuity found in later elaborations o f the topic. Second, it w i l l establish a tentative typology for the various regions o f the Taoist underworld as evident i n Taoist texts o f the periods between the H a n and Six Dynasties. To start, even as early as the second century B C E , Taoism already possessed a fairly complex and elaborate cosmological matrix. The most salient example o f this trait is found in two texts dated to the end o f the Warring States and Former Han periods. Both are Huang-Lao texts, and the themes expressed in these texts left lasting impressions on subsequent interpretations o f the cosmos. The first is the so-called Huang-Lao  boshu  ^  H , the " S i l k  Manuscripts o f Huang-Lao," a text unearthed in 1973, and dated to the period between the late Warring States and early Q i n and Han periods.  18  The ^  Huang-Lao boshu was near C h a n g s h a ft &.  18  The second text is the Huainanzi,  a Taoist text  discovered in the M a w a n g d u i T o m b Three in 1973, in the modern province o f H u n a n  T h e text itself is a copy, written on four silk scrolls and placed in the tomb for the son  o f the prime minister o f Changsha along with other grave-goods, such as 300 pieces o f lacquerware, some 100 wooden figurines, and numerous other texts (Peerenboom 1993:1). A r c h e o l o g i c a l evidence dates the internment o f this text to as late as 168 B C E , but the date for the composition o f the original is contested. S o m e scholars date the composition to as early as the m i d to late W a r r i n g States, to the Q i n and H a n , to the early H a n . Peerenboom,  159 compiled i n either 139 or 122 B C E , under the guidance o f the previously mentioned L i u A n , the " K i n g o f Huainan." A s revealed i n these texts, the entire Taoist cosmological complex is driven by a number o f themes. First, it was, to a great extent, influenced by previously existing motifs established earlier i n the indigenous Chinese matrix. In other words, all o f the various regions both in the celestial and the infernal regions survive relatively intact i n later Taoist cosmological models. Second, these motifs are arranged according to two influential themes: first, "correlative cosmology," and second, ganying ^ IS, or "resonance." Correlative cosmology implies that each o f the various realms o f the cosmos, here Heaven, Humanity, and Earth, are similarly patterned. That is to say, any patterns i n Heaven are manifest in Humanity and Earth. This is especially evident i n the topography o f these realms. In simple terms, resonance implies that all the various realms o f the cosmos were bound tightly together, forming an integrated whole. In turn, any action performed in each o f these realms required a reciprocal response i n the other realms. Anything out o f place in this worldview violated harmony, and, accordingly, resulted i n suffering and disaster. According to Major, the view expressed in the Huang-Lao cosmology, in the Huainanzi i n particular, created a "moral universe, in which human actions resonated along the celestial axis to create-literally-good and bad vibrations both in heaven and on earth" (Major 1993:67). In essence, this view is substantially different from the Buddhist idea o f a "moral universe" dictated by dharma and implemented by karma and rebirth i n perhaps another life. In the case o f Huang-Lao Taoism, retribution is experienced primarily in this life, and not the afterlife. To establish these themes, this section is divided into the following. The first subsection  however, tentatively dates the text to the late Warring States and early H a n (Peerenboom 1993:12ff).  w i l l overview the principles of ganying, "resonance" and the related idea o f "correlative cosmology." In addition, this section w i l l survey the general structure o f the cosmos, specifically as related in the Huainanzi. This is an important task because this same model appears frequently in later Taoist texts. The second subsection w i l l examine the various infernal regions o f Taoism, specifically those found i n Taoist texts between the Han and Six Dynasties. In turn, they w i l l be categorized and organized according to a tentative typology. It should be noted that the list, however, is by no means exhaustive. Although it lists the various realms o f the underworld, it w i l l not explore the various subdivisions. A s w i l l be revealed, to list all the various levels is a daunting task. A s the later representative Taoist "case-studies" o f this thesis w i l l delve deeper into the nature o f the Taoist underworld, this subsection w i l l present only the various names and models o f the underworld, and not examine these various models i n extensive detail.  a.) The Operation of the Early Taoist Cosmos-"Correlative Thinking" and "Resonance": In recent years, scholars have defined the essence o f Huang-Lao Taoism as "correlative thinking" or "correlative cosmology." A n examination o f these concepts w i l l reveal how Han Taoism viewed the operation o f the cosmos. Huang-Lao Taoism, as revealed i n these two texts rarely discusses the underworld, and it never mentions post-mortem punishment. Instead, as is the case with pre-Buddhist or indigenous views o f the afterlife, the condition o f the dead i n this worldview focuses predominately on "neutral death." In general terms, Huang-Lao Taoism took previously existing ideas regarding the cosmos, in particular, perceptions o f topography and the general realms o f the cosmos and aligned them according to its own theories o f the cosmos. First, the terms "correlative thinking" or "correlative cosmology" implies that a series o f "patterns" exists i n the cosmos, and, in turn, the success o f the state, or lack of, and human  161 suffering are intrinsically linked to realizing and adhering to these patterns and omens revealed by Heaven. In turn, this concept is embodied i n the idea of ganying, or "resonance." In general, ganying is the overriding precept that binds morality and immorality to the patterns o f the cosmos. A l l o f this, it should be noted, is facilitated by the medium o f qi H . Qi, according to the etymology o f the word implies "air," "breath," or "vapour" or even "pneuma." But, by the Han it was recognized as the fundamental building-block o f the cosmos, a trait that is especially evident in the Huainanzi. A s the fundamental constituent o f the physical world, qi, by extension, operates as the medium through which this "resonance" operates. For example, Major writes "Resonance (ganying) between things with in a class is conveyed through qi, conceived o f as both the basic stuff o f concrete phenomena and as a tangible vibrating medium pervading empty space" (Major 1993:28). Hence, i n this view, it is everywhere, composes all things, and functions as the "vibrating medium" facilitating communication between the various parts o f the cosmos. In turn, blocking communication between the realms, ignoring omens sent down by Heaven, causing irregularities in government affairs, and lacking proper ritual performance led to human suffering in this life: The nature o f the rulers o f men penetrate to Heaven on high. Thus i f there are punishments and cruelty, there w i l l be whirlwinds; If there are wrongful ordinances, there w i l l be plagues o f devouring insects. If there are unjust executions, the land w i l l be redden with drought. If (lawful) commands are not accepted, there w i l l be great excess o f rain. The four seasons are the officers o f Heaven. The sun and moon are agents o f Heaven. The stars and planets mark the appointed times o f Heaven. Rainbows and comets are the portents o f Heaven (HNZ3A9; 1993:67).  1 9  The  19  Huainanzi is hereafter abbreviated as HNZ. BI (1992). A l l translations are found  r t l t l l-W^^M  trans. Major  A l l passages for this text are found in in M a j o r (1992).  Huainanzi Zhuzi Suoyin  162 In short, harmony with nature and the cosmos implied success, while disharmony implied disaster, which was administered primarily i n the human realm. A n y retributive punishment is carried out by the "officers" and "agents" o f Heaven. In addition, the concepts o f "correlative cosmology" and ganying lent itself to the very structure o f the cosmos itself. The clearest manifestation o f maintaining this sense o f "resonance" with the cosmos is evident i n the profound emphasis placed on numerical categories or divisions of the various components o f the cosmos. Most o f these patterns existed earlier, for example, the numbers two and five, connected to Yin and Yang and its outward manifestations, the "Five Elements," the Wuxing £ f j , wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Other elements o f the cosmos are similarly divided according to this numbering scheme and others: the numbers ten and twelve are assigned to the ten Tiangan ^  , the "Heavenly Stems," and the twelve Dizhi i+J} ^ ,  "Earthly Branches" o f the Chinese sexagenary calendar; eight corresponds to the Bafang j \  ~jj,  the "Eight Directions," North, Northeast, East, Southeast, South, Southwest, West, and Northwest, and also to the Bafeng J\ jU,, the "Eight Winds." (Major 1993:30); six corresponds to the Liufu T^jfcf, the " S i x Departments," the six "diametrical chords across the celestial circle," or the six main divisions o f the sky (Major 1993:80-82); five corresponds to the Wuxing £  , the  "Five Planets," Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, the Wuxing, the previously mentioned "Five Agents," the Wufang £  , the fivefold division o f the Earth, North, South,  East, West and Centre, and the early division o f the Heavens in the Wuguan £ Hf, the "Five Palaces"; and four corresponds to the earliest division o f the world, the Sifang |Z3 ~jj, the "Four Quadrants," North, South, East, and West. B y far, the most influential numerical categories centres around the numbers three and, by extension, nine, both which identify the very structure o f the cosmos. For example, the Huang  163 Lao Boshu, expresses this i n the term Sandao H iM , Tiandao ^ j i , Rendao A JM, Didao ife the "Tao o f Heaven," the "Tao o f Humanity," and the "Tao o f Earth." N i n e is manifest i n the division o f Heaven as the Jiu Ye ^ L i f , the "Nine Fields," referring to the central area o f the sky surrounded by eight portions, with the first portion extending to the East and placed subsequently counterclockwise in a circular pattern: East, Northeast, North, Northwest, West, Southwest, South, and Southeast (HNZ 3:19; trans. Major 1993:69). Regions o f the Earth are likewise organized by clusters o f nine, for example, the Jiuzhou fi ')> \, the "Nine Continents" or "Nine y  Provinces" o f ancient China. Unlike the Celestial "Nine Fields," which are arranged as eight portions i n a circular pattern surrounding the centre, the Huainanzi writes that the "Nine Provinces" are placed i n a 3 X 3 grid (HNZ 4:32; trans. Major 1993:145). In addition to the ninefold division o f the Earth, nine and other number correlates are also extended to other categories: the Jiushan j i [JLl, "Nine Mountains," the Jiusai  , the "Nine Passes," the Jiusou  the "Nine Marshes," and Liushui A 7 J X , the " S i x Waters" or " S i x Rivers"  (HNZ4.32:  trans. Major 1993:145). There are more categories, but they cannot all be mentioned i n this thesis. Despite the elaborate detail o f the Huainanzi, there is little mention o f the underworld. The text does mention the " Y e l l o w Springs" four times, but only in the context o f cosmology 20  and its relationship to the calendar and the movement o f the stars and planets. Chapter T w o writes this i n reference to the seasons, here winter, and various prohibitions against specific acts:  When the yin qi is at its maximum, north is at its furthest extent (from the sun). The Northern L i m i t penetrates down to the Y e l l o w Springs. Hence one must not cut into the earth or bore wells (HNZ 3:21; trans. Major 1993:84)  /#VZ 3:21; 4:38; 16.4:154; 19:205  164  In sum, there is no mention o f post-mortem punishment in these two texts, and human retributive suffering occurs not i n the afterlife, but in the present. Hence, both o f these traits place the Taoist worldview as in accord with the view o f "neutral death" prevalent before the introduction o f Buddhism. Despite this, the cosmos became increasing organized according to the bureaucratic motif, popular during the early Han to explain the movement o f the stars, one's fate, and the general patterns o f the cosmos, ideas that later mixed or competed with Buddhist concepts. These results o f these interactions are evident below.  b.) A Typology of the Taoist Infernal Regions from the Han to Six Dynasties:  This section w i l l survey the landscape o f the Taoist underworld as mentioned i n Taoist texts circulating during the periods between the Later H a n and Six Dynasties. A s w i l l be revealed, one o f the pervasive influences o f the Taoist underworld from these periods stems from Chinese origins. In this context, the Taoist underworld relies heavily on models for the structure of the underworld derived from China's animistic past. Hence, such familiar subterranean realms, such as the " Y e l l o w Springs," M t Tai, and others, figure prominently i n the Taoist cosmos. In addition, the overall view o f the cosmos as expressed in the Huainanzi, that is the idea o f "correlative cosmology," a corresponding set realms divided according to numerology, is also present i n later models o f the underworld. Further, all o f these themes are bound together by the evolving bureaucratic model o f the cosmos. In contrast, purely Buddhist models are not present in this context, save for a handful o f infernal regions. So, here the Buddhist impact on the overall geography o f the Taoist underworld is negligible.  To prove these points, this section w i l l briefly survey the landscape o f the Taoist underworld. This section is inspired by X i a o Dengfu, who catalogued various Han to Six Dynasties Taoist texts that mention the underworld.  21  In turn, the subterranean realms mentioned  in these texts are placed into fairly loose categories, loose in that they most often overlap, sometimes operating i n two categories at the same time. These categories are as follows: 1.) Infernal Realms directly inspired by the "Bureaucratic M o t i f ; 2.) Realms inspired by China's animistic past, including Springs, Rivers, Seas and Mountains; 3.) Realms inspired by Correlative Cosmology; and 4.) and lastly, a handful o f Realms inspired by Buddhist models. Below, only the names o f the major divisions o f the underworld are listed. The various subdivisions are not listed for lack o f space.  1.) Infernal Realms inspired directly by the "Bureaucratic M o t i f : There are only a handful o f regions that can trace a direct origin from the bureaucratic motif. They are as follows: Tufu ±fft Bureau."  the "Earth Courts" (561) ; and the Shuiguan 22  7J<HT, the  "Water  23  This category is entirely problematic, i n that practically all o f the other infernal regions appearing later in this list adhere to the bureaucratic motif. These models differ from the latter i n that its origin is obviously derived from the Imperial bureaucracy o f the Human Realm. A l s o , the "Earth Courts" appears only once i n Xiao's list o f texts. In an other article, X i a o mentions that this terms  2 1  See X i a o (1989:561ff).  2 2  Subsequent numbers denote source page numbers in X i a o (1989).  2 3  T h e Shuiguan is not mentioned by X i a o , but it is found in other Taoist texts. T h e Water Bureau is discussed later  in this chapter and is mentioned in the  Zhengao (HY  1010).  refers to other areas o f the underworld, most likely M t . Tai and other Mountains attached to the underworld (Xiao 1987b:91). Thus, it may be only a general term alluding to the various offices o f the underworld. In contrast, the "Water Bureau" appears frequently i n Taoist texts, and first appears in the practices o f the Celestial Masters sect. O f the Three Bureaus, the Water Bureau remains central to practices related to the underworld, a trait that may result to its relationship with the underground streams and rivers, such as the Y e l l o w Springs. These realms, the "Earth Courts" and the "Water Bureau" are mentioned later.  2.) Infernal Regions attached to Nature, including Springs, Rivers, Seas, and Mountains: This is by far the largest group. For convenience they are divided into four groups: Springs, Rivers, Seas, and Mountains, real or mythical. The first grouping, underworld Realms associated with Springs, draws on the Huangquan, the " Y e l l o w Springs," for inspiration, which, as discussed earlier, is perhaps the earliest identifiable subterranean realm in the Chinese matrix. The group o f infernal regions related to "Springs" is as follows: Huangquan  , the " Y e l l o w Springs"; Huangqu J f ft , "The Bend(s) o f the 24  (Yellow) Springs" (567); Huangqu zhi E ^ ft £ ppj, "The Banks o f the Bend(s) o f the Y e l l o w (Spring)" (567); Qiuhan zhi Quan J x ^ £ ^ , the "Spring o f Great C o l d " (575); and the H a n Ting Quanqu l^jE  ^ f t , the " C o l d Court o f the  Bend(s) o f the (Yellow) Springs (568)."  The next grouping draws on rivers for inspiration. A s mentioned earlier, rivers, like springs, heavily inspired Chinese models o f the underworld. The earliest examples o f rivers as forming the basis o f the underworld existed as early as the Zhou Dynasty. To reiterate, the Ruo  T h e Y e l l o w Springs is mentioned in the Zhengao ( H Y 1010), and is discussed later in this chapter.  167 Shui 3§f zfc, the "Ruo Waters" or "Ruo River," connects the F u Sang and the Ruo M u ^  , the tree o f the East,  7f>, the Ruo Tree o f the West. These two trees are nodes for the rising and  setting o f the sun. A l o n g the Ruo River, the various springs rise to the surface, acting as conduits to the underworld (Allan 1991:27ff). Further, X i a o writes that Han grave texts mention different rivers attached to the underworld, such as the M i n g He ^ }qj, the "Dark River," and S i Ren He A 7RJ > the "River o f the Dead" (Xiao 1987b:96ff). In addition, real rivers, such as the He JqJ, the Huang He j i f }qj, the " Y e l l o w River," also function as abodes for the dead, as does the Ocean. Taoist elaborations o f this trait are as follows: He H a i ?PJ $ g , the "Rivers and Mountains" (571); He Liang Shan H a i ?nj ^ |Jj $ g , the " Y e l l o w River, M t . Liang and the Mountains and Seas" (561); Shier Heyuan - I - Z U R J M , the "Headwaters o f the Twelve Rivers" (561); S i H a i Jiu  HemMA  }nj, "Four Seas and Nine Rivers" (576); Si D u 0 f , the "Four Rivers (of China)" (they are composed o f the Jiang £T_, also known as the Yangtze River, He }RJ , the Y e l l o w River, Huai  , the Huai River, and J i #f, the J i River) (575); and the  Y o u Y e zhi He ^ ) & 2. M , the "River o f the Dark Night (575)."  Mountains also feature prominently in Taoist cosmology. A s mentioned earlier, Mount Tai played a prominent role i n administering the dead in ancient China. A l s o , a host o f other real mountains functioned i n a similar manner. Some o f these include Liang Shan ^ Mj, M t . Liang in Shandong Province, and the other "Five Famous Mountains o f China." These are all attached to administering the dead: Mingshan ^ |_J_J, the "Famous Mountains," which includes Tai Shan ^ [1|, M t . Tai, Heng Shan f l Mj, H u a Shan  , Heng Shan fff i l l , and Song Shan % |Jj  (571); these are also identified as the W u Y u e J i Diyu £  Itfcitj} M> the  , the "Five Peaks"; the Wuyue  "Earth-Prisons o f the Five Peaks" (This includes the  following: Taishan Ershisi Y u ^ |Jj ZL -f~ H9 W( > e "Twenty-Four Prisons o f M t . m  168 T a i " (570); Huoshan y u f [ i l l W,, the "Prison o f M t . Huo"; X i y u e y u © & ifc, the "Prison o f the Western Peak"; Hengshan yu Songshan yu  |Jj WL, the "Prison o f M t . Heng";  [JLtft, the "Prison o f M t . Song").  25  In addition, mythical mountains also have a significant place in the Taoist underworld as in the traditional Chinese view o f the cosmos. The aforementioned Shanhaijing  and the  Huainanzi mention numerous mythical and semi-mythical mountains that function as gateways to the Celestial and Terrestrial Realms. In later Taoist texts, these mountains are usually placed i n the ocean to the East o f China: Fengdu  , not to be confused with the Fengdu o f modern  Sichuan, is positioned i n the ocean in the North-East. A l s o named Luofeng JH HP, this mountain is discussed i n more detail later: B e i Feng  JbfP (571); Fengdu iflffl  (567); Fengdu Han Ting  fPfP^E,  the  " C o l d Court o f Fengdu" (567); Fengdu Sanshiqi Y u fPf|5H + - b ^ , the "ThirtySeven Prisons o f Fengdu" (578); and the Fengdu Shan Ershisi Y u % ffl | i | — - j 0 1 , the "Twenty-Four Prisons o f M t . Fengdu" (573); Luofeng HEP  (571).  Most o f the above models involve the Six Palaces mentioned i n the Huainanzi.  The  appearance o f Six Palaces in the underworld corresponds with the founding o f the Way o f the Heavenly Masters. When Laozi invested Zhang Daoling with the "Teachings o f the Three Heavens," the Six Palaces were demoted to demonic realms.  26  3.) Infernal Regions attached to the system o f "Correlative Cosmology":  2 5  These mountain prisons are found in H Y 1030.54. T h e y are discussed later.  2 6  T h i s is found in the "Scripture o f the Inner Explanations o f the Three H e a v e n s , " the  MM  Santian neijie jing  H ^;  ( H Y 1196). A translation o f this is found in B o k e n k a m p (1997:204ff). T h i s corresponds to the Heavenly  Masters attempt at defining heterodox and orthodox T a o i s m . Perhaps, the Six Heavens originally belonged to popular beliefs and practices.  169 The next grouping draws on the system o f "correlative cosmology" for inspiration. Prominent in this grouping are the numbers eight and nine. Eight is in accord with the B a Fang A ~)5 > the "Eight Cardinal Directions," and the B a M e n A PI, the "Eight Gates," corresponding gates and entrances to the different realms o f Heaven and Earth. N i n e corresponds to the J i u Zhong  JIJWL,  "Ninefold Heaven," and the Jiu Y e  , the "Nine Fields." These influences are  evident below: B a Dong G u i Lao A MM^, B a Fang Dayu  AfiXWt,  Men Jiu Y o u Diyu A  the "Jails for Ghosts o f the Eight Caverns" (579); the "Great Prisons o f the Eight Directions" (579); B a  fl ffl % ffl, the "Earth Prisons o f the Nine Darknesses o f  the Eight Gates" (562); J i u Dij^ifo, the "Nine Earth (Regions)," also known as the J i u L e i fi f|,  the "Nine Ramparts," and the D i L e i  § | , the "Earth  Ramparts"; Jiu Y o u j\ $ g , the "Nine Darknesses" (563); and the J i u L e i Jiu Y o u jl> H A, M, the "Nine Ramparts o f the Nine Darknesses" (569).  4.) Miscellaneous, including elements influenced by Buddhism: This division mentions infernal regions that are derived directly from Buddhist models. In turn, they are often combined with other Chinese models. They are Jiu L e i Q i W e i Tie Shan zhi Jian Shi D a D i y u ^ H -fc H It U J 2.4" A ife Wi, the "Ten B i g Earth-Prisons o f the Region o f the Nine Ramparts o f the Seven Enclosed Iron Mountains" (567); and the Tiecheng D i y u  Wlti&i&W* > the  "Great  Prison o f the Iron Citadel" (567).  The first, the "Ten B i g Earth-Prisons o f the Regions o f the Nine Ramparts o f the Seven Enclosed Iron Mountains," possesses an obvious Buddhist origin, as W e i Shan g) |Jj, "enclosing," or "encircling mountains" is a stock term in describing Buddhist infernal regions ( T . 23; 1505; 1506, etc.). Likewise, the Tiecheng D i y u , the "Great Prison o f the Iron Citadel" is evident i n  170 Buddhist texts, for example, used in connection with the Tiecheng da nili M^AMM, "Iron Citadel o f the Great Niraya" in the Foshuo nili jing {ffiMMMM.,  the  the "Sutra o f the  Buddha's Discourse on Niraya" (T. 186). Given the elaborate and complex nature o f the structure o f the Taoist underworld, all the different variants cannot be examined i n detail. In addition, the influence o f Buddhist ideas related to the idea o f "moral death" cannot be examined in this section. In the following, the condition o f the dead i n the Taoist underworld is examined, along with the extent o f Buddhist influence.  IV. The Taoist Bureaucracy of the Afterlife-The Taiping jing, the "Scripture of Great Peace": The Taoist Taiping jing A  ^ I f (HY 1093), the "Scripture o f Great Peace" or the  "Scripture o f Great Equanimity," one o f the earliest Taoist texts, is our first "case-study" o f the Taoist underworld. In general, the overall model o f the underworld in this text incorporates themes common to the Chinese indigenous matrix, most o f which predate the arrival o f Buddhism i n China. First, the underworld functions as a "storehouse o f the dead," under the auspices o f a bureaucratic cosmos, which isolated the dead from the living, and, i n turn, dispensed human suffering i n this life by this same government and implemented by the sundry guishen. Second, the text frequently mentions the idea o f punishing the spirits o f individual "wicked dead" i n a post-mortem realm. But, here the underworld functions more like the Chinese Imperial government o f the real world than its Buddhist counterparts, in that the associated offices and bureaus are responsible for record-keeping, investigating, and even punishing the wicked, either i n this world or the next. Further, human suffering is explained as a result o f "collective responsibility," i n the form o f chengfu ^ J | , frequently defined as "inherited guilt"  171 or "inherited responsibility." In simple terms, chengfu accounts for the sins o f all o f the ancestors of an individual, a burden that is visited on the living, often by the ghosts attached to the underworld. Considering this aspect, the role o f the underworld sounds no different from its function illustrated i n the "grave-quelling" texts o f the Han. These aspects w i l l be examined below. To start an analysis o f ideas represented i n the text itself, a study o f the history o f this text is required. The Taipingjing  is often considered one o f the earliest Taoist texts, sitting at a  pivotal juncture for Taoism, that is, between the momentum o f the Taoist tradition itself, and the growing influence o f Buddhism. In general, perhaps no other Taoist text has caused as much interest, and, at the same time, as much controversy as the Taipingjing.  Since the 1930's on  numerous studies have focussed on this text. Yet by 1960, new interest was sparked by Wang 27  Ming's  , TaipingjingHejiao  ^¥11  a =&> the "Collated T a i p i n g j i n g " (1960; 1979). In  the wake o f this work, studies by M . Kaltenmark (1979), B . J . Mansvelt Beck (1980), J. Ostergard Petersen (1989;1990; and 1992), B . Hendrishke (1991 and 1992), and others have revealed substantially more about the Taoist worldview o f this early period. According to this research, the Taiping jing is a composite text, composed o f different layers dating to different time periods. Traditional history records antecedents o f the text as first appearing i n the first centuries C E , perhaps even earlier, leading to confusion o f the dating o f the present version o f the text. The traditional view dates the text, or at least antecedents o f the text, to the time previous to the Y e l l o w Turbans and Five Pecks o f Rice sects. But the reliability o f 28  this dating is debatable. Hendrishke, for example, states that there is no hard evidence to support  2 7  B.J. Mansvelt B e c k discusses some o f these early studies. See Mansvelt B e c k (1980:170ff) for reference.  2 8  A discussion o f these various antecedents is found in Kaltenmark (1979:20). See this reference for further  information.  172 a Han origin for our present text. Instead, she states that is a composite work compiled and edited by disciples o f Tao Hongjing P U ^ H  (456-536) o f the Maoshan |p |±| or Shangqing school o f  Taoism, a version o f the text that was later edited during the Tang (Hendrishke 1991: Iff). Petersen, however, proposes that there are three levels to the present version: one dating to the period between 102-105 C E , another not much later than 105 C E , and a third textual layer composed more than a century later (Petersen 1990:212; 1992:142). In sum, the question o f the date o f the Taiping jing and its relationship to the practices o f the Y e l l o w Turbans and Five Pecks o f Rice is entirely problematic. But, for the sake o f this thesis, we w i l l view this text as a repository o f Taoist beliefs present during the pivotal early period during the last century o f the Later H a n and the end o f the Six Dynasties period. According to the Taiping jing, humanity had declined into a state o f moral decay, which manifested itself in the overall chaos o f the late and post Han periods. To alleviate this condition, Heaven sent down a series o f texts, the Taiping jing included, which were relayed by a Tianshi, a "Celestial Master." In turn, these texts were to be disseminated to teach humanity the means to avoid imminent disaster and establish an era o f Taiping, "Great Peace" or "Great Equanimity." The text discusses how humanity should reorganize the government and society, so both would act responsibly by implementing a comprehensive system o f communication within the Human Realm and communication with the other realms o f the cosmos, Heaven, and Earth, in essence, ideas mirroring those expressed i n the Huainanzi. The Taiping jing differs from the former, in that moral reform o f society is a vital aspect o f reforming society, as the sheer weight o f accumulated past sins, everybody's sins and the sins o f every one's's ancestors, brought about destruction and suffering o f the period. In addition to this moral aspect, the text also discusses other diverse topics, such as music, longevity and hygienic techniques, meditation, medicine, a  173 variety o f medical techniques, including moxibustion, acupuncture and others, and even talismans, and incantations to alleviate suffering and disasters. In sum, the text is complex, detailed, and comprehensive in relating the worldview o f Taoism and its view o f the underworld during this pivotal period. To establish the overall view o f the Taipingjing  and its presentation o f the underworld,  subsequent subsections are divided into the following topics. The first subsection w i l l survey the importance o f communication within the various realms o f the cosmos, and then the overall structure o f the cosmos. The second, however, w i l l examine the Taiping jing's view o f morality and the related concept o f "inherited guilt." Once established, the last subsection w i l l turn to the function o f the underworld, with specific emphasis placed on how it punished the "wicked," both in this life and the next.  a.) The Importance of Communication and the Structure of the Cosmos in the Taiping jing: The following subsection w i l l examine the Taiping jing's view o f the operation o f the cosmos. First, the overall structure and operation o f the cosmos in the Taipingjing  are driven by  the same concerns expressed in Huang-Lao Taoism, that o f resonance and communication between the various realms o f the cosmos. Second, the overall structure o f the cosmos, like the Huang-Lao texts, is divided into three general realms, Heaven, Earth, and Humanity, divisions that form the framework for the offices and bureaus o f the cosmos. The Taipingjing,  though,  differs from the two Huang-Lao texts in that the cosmos is so thoroughly structured according to the bureaucratic motif, that qi, the medium o f resonance is, for the most part, superseded by very tangible representatives o f the bureaucracy o f the cosmos, specifically offices and officials. Like the Huainanzi and the Huang-Lao boshu, the idea o f "resonance" is the most  174 prominent theme that drives the cosmos o f the Taiping jing, particularly i n how Heaven expresses its w i l l . There are two visible aspects o f this trait. First, communications from Heaven are represented by fairly outward expressions, that is a system o f omens i n the form o f natural disasters and strange events. B y responding to these omens, that is recording them, analysing their significance, and taking appropriate action, or even simply paying notice to these affairs, would lessen human suffering in this w o r l d . The second expression o f the w i l l o f Heaven 29  appears i n the form o f actual scriptures, for example, the corpus o f the Taiping jing itself. These scriptures manifested themselves i n a variety o f different ways, such as the Tianshu ^  f|,  "Celestial Scriptures," for example, could imply the Taiping jing itself, or even talismanic texts, the "Celestial Contracts," the Tianquan ^ ^ , or "Contract Documents," Quanwen ^  , and  even "Sacred Incantations," the Shenzhu ffi | £ , for the alleviation o f demonic affliction (Kaltenmark 1979:24). To record both the good and bad actions o f individuals, these various offices presided over a series o f Writs or Ledgers. They are identified variously as the Sandao Xingshu H iH ?T It > Sandao Wenshu H iM  f t > and even the Sandao Xing Wenshu H i l l fT  ~$C i r the "Books o f Actions o f the Sandao," the "Records and Books o f the Sandao," and the 5  "Records and Books o f Actions o f the Sandao," respectively. Here, the Sandao refers to the three realms o f Heaven, Earth, and Humanity. It is apparent that each o f the offices o f the Sandao, kept their own ledgers and writs o f the actions o f individuals. U p o n death, the offices o f the Sandao  2 9  T h e text writes this on the topic: " T h a t by recording all natural disasters and strange events, whether large or  small, good or evil, outside or inside, far or near, w i l l cause the Superior L o r d s with virtue and the multitude o f Worthies  (xian | f )  (to investigate) the origin o f where these disasters and abnormalities arose. A s for these strange  events and natural disasters, all o f these things are images o f their (humanity's) affairs and patterned after their actions; in having "affinity in k i n d , "  (yuan lei  ^  ^ ) , they are produced. T h e multitude o f worthies together gather  their opinions, and in thinking about this, they extend their thoughts; taking these types o f affairs, they w i l l investigate them, and then accomplish this task. T h e n H e a v e n and Earth, day by day, w i l l become pleased, and Emperor and K i n g s w i l l , day by day, obtain great tranquillity" (1992:75)). A l l passages from the pleased to as the  TPJHJ.  Taiping jing  (TPJHJ326; also translated in Hendrischke Taiping jing Hejiao. It is hereafter  are found in W a n g M i n g ' s  175 used these records to establish appropriate rewards and punishments for the wicked. Their significance is discussed later. In general, the overall structure o f the cosmos is similar to ideas expressed i n the HuangLao texts, that is, according to "correlative cosmology." Like ideas expressed i n the Boshu and the Huainanzi, the Taipingjing  Huang-Lao  divides the cosmos into three general realms: Heaven,  Earth, and Humanity. Throughout the text, they are referred to as the Sandao, the "Three Ways," or even as the Sanhe H n " , the "Three Unities." In turn, elements o f the cosmos are similarly referred to as clusters o f three. Further, the text mentions other groups o f three that are to be i n communication: Taiyin, Taiyang, Zhonghe A M A H§ 4 f U , "Great Y i n , " meaning the realm o f 1  Earth, "Great Y a n g , " the realm o f Heaven, and "Central Harmony," the realm o f Humanity, respectively; Ri, Yue, Xing FJ B ML, Sun, M o o n , and Stars; Shan, chuan, Pingtu UJ J11 ^ "Mountains," "Rivers," and "Plains"; Fu, Mu, Zi  ± , the  ItM^f; "Father," "Mother," and "Son";  Chen, Min g g g , "Prince," "Ministers," and "People"; and Dao, De, Ren  Jun,  the "Tao,"  "Virtue," and "Humanity" (Kaltenmark 1979:26). In accord with the bureaucratic motif, this communication was facilitated by the establishment o f a detailed system o f offices i n Heaven and the underworld. When these offices are mentioned, the Celestial Realms are often described according to previous motifs and i n government terms, corresponding to the Imperial Government o f that time. The most visible example o f the use o f the bureaucratic motif is the "Four Departments" within the Celestial Government, which scrutinize the actions o f the living: the M i n g Cao p% | f , the "Department o f Fate," which calculates one's life-span (TPJHJ-.526); the Shou Cao 3 | | f , the "Department o f Longevity," i n charge o f granting long-life (77V//./: 546); Shan Cao HHf,  the "Department o f  Good Deeds," i n charge o f accounting for one's good deeds (TPJHJ-.551); and E Cao H H ,  the  176 "Department o f E v i l Deeds," for accounting one's evil deeds (TPJHJ-.552; Y u 1989:383). The underworld is likewise divided and named according to the bureaucratic motif. The central offices of the underworld are identified as the Tutu  ztfft,  the "Earth Courts" (TPJHJ-.579).  30  The  "Earth Courts," in turn, preside over other departments attached to the underworld, such as the Dayin Facao A ^ & | f , the "Communications Office o f Great Y i n (Earth)" (TPJHJ-.579).  31  In sum, the entire matrix o f cosmos here implies a sense o f "resonance" between all aspects o f the cosmos, facilitated by a bureaucratic cosmos. In it, communication to instruct and benefit humanity and to record virtuous actions and transgressions, transmitting through a system of reciprocating offices. In turn, this emphasis on communication and the bureaucracy lent itself to other aspects regarding morality, the afterlife, and specifically the underworld, aspects examined i n the following sections.  b.) Morality and "Inherited Guilt" in the Taiping jing:  A s mentioned previously, the Taiping jing is a moralistic text, i n that it proposed that present age had fallen into a state o f moral decay and this decay could be rectified by moral reform o f society. To attain the status o f Taiping and to alleviate this condition o f corruption and decadence, the text relates a fairly comprehensive moral code. What is interesting about this moral code is that violation and adherence to this code is scrutinized by the various offices o f the Three Realms. In turn, these same offices dispense appropriate rewards and punishments to both  3 0  A c c o r d i n g to its function in the Imperial bureaucracy,/!/ implies "Storehouse," "Stores O f f i c e , " " C o u r t " or  " O f f i c e s , " " F i f t h Class Administrative O f f i c i a l " and even a " G a r r i s o n " (Hucker:2034). T h e most appropriate term here is " C o u r t , " as it contrasts to 3 1  Guan^,  " o f f i c e , " o f the Shuiguan.  A g a i n , the Facao is a term from the Imperial bureaucracy: in the H a n it operated as the " C o m m u n i c a t i o n S e c t i o n "  in charge o f communication among military postal relay sections; b y the North-South D i v i s i o n to the Song, as a "Law  Section for L e g a l A f f a i r s " ; and, after the S u i , it implied the " M i n i s t r y o f Justice" (Hucker: 1857). Here, the  most appropriate translation is " C o m m u n i c a t i o n Section."  177 the living and the dead. Central to this idea o f human suffering is the idea o f chengfu, or "inherited guilt," a manifestation o f the Chinese sense o f collective guilt or collective responsibility. A s a "moralistic text," the Taiping jing presents a fairly comprehensive moral code, which is in turn linked to the ideas o f rewards, retribution, human suffering, and post-mortem punishment. Some prohibitions o f the code are as follows: 1.) to accumulate the Tao for one's self and refusing to instruct others; 2.) to accumulate "Virtue," or De ^ , and not to instruct or help others; 3.) to accumulate wealth and not to share it; 4.) to despise the Tao, and refuse to study it; 5.) to know what is good and not to practice it; and 6.) to live in idleness and to live off the wealth o f Heaven and Earth. Other elements include a lack o f filial piety; not to procreate; to eat manure and urine; to beg; to consume alcohol; to despise and to k i l l daughters; and to practice chastity. Violation o f these prohibitions, in turn, blocks communication between the 32  various realms and within the realm o f humanity itself. This, o f course, violates the entire notion of resonance, i n that the communication o f ideas is hindered. The prohibitions against chastity, begging, and eating manure and urine are, most likely, reactions against Buddhism. To Taoism, Buddhism was unfilial, as it encouraged monks to leave the family. Further, the practice o f the monk's celibacy appeared equally distasteful i n Chinese culture as procreation, too, implied filiality. A l s o , the last two, eating manure and drinking urine, and begging, apparently criticize the Buddhist practices o f making medicine from urine and begging for alms (Ch'en 1964:51-52). A l l actions, whether good or bad, are recorded by the various offices within the Three Realms. In the next example, passages from the Taipingjing  follow the fate o f the guilty, as his  or her actions are recorded and judged. This example records the fate o f persons who violate the  3 2  These ethical codes are discussed in the TPJHJ (241 ff) and Kaltenmark (1979:33ff), and TPJHJ(654ff),  Kaltenmark (1979:35), respectively.  and  178 Shiling^^,  the "Seasonal Ordinances," meaning hunting animals out o f season. Below, the  text discusses the process in which the actions o f the guilty are recorded: A t the present, the "Qi o f Excellent Goodness and Peace (or "Equanimity")" (liangshan ping qi'^^^  0,) o f Heaven-above has arrived. But often it is  possible that there are those who intentionally violate the "Seasonal Ordinances," by injuring others. A t the present time, all the various Deities o f Heaven-above together record people who enjoy to k i l l and harm. Those that stalk game, shoot arrows, fish and hunt (out o f season) do not follow the W a y o f Heaven, by not doing good actions, and by enjoying to frequently k i l l and harm. Heaven greatly condemns them, Earth greatly despises them, and the host o f Deities greatly objects to them. In this present time, it is possible that petty people are greatly stupid (jiyu ^ H )  33  and cannot be restrained again, as they are together  immersed in their own corruption and have confused the mysteries o f the "Sovereign Qi o f Peace (or "Equanimity")" (huangping qi M ! - HO 1  7  Accordingly, at the present, Heaven is in a state o f great urgency, and the various sections o f Deities gather and record these actions. Just as the sun follows its own course, (these Deities) together record and investigate every small behaviour (TPJHJ:672).  This information is gathered and investigated every three years during a " M e d i u m Investigation," zhongkao 4 % , and every fifth, a " B i g Investigation," dakao A ^ , is held, during which the 1  various officials adjust individual lifespan according to one's sins. Further, every three generations, these officials punish the wicked, and every five destroy them.  33  3 4  Jiyu can be read "are  34  accumulating stupidity."  " E v e r y three years, all this is gathered during a " M e d i u m Investigation," and o n the fifth year there is a b i g  investigation. F o r those transgression that are heavy, there is punishments (zuo ^ "reduce their allotted lifespans"  (jiannian duosuan  ^ ^  %).  ); for those that are light, they  E v e r y three generations, they greatly " p u n i s h "  (zhi  $ 3 , lit. "administer, cure, punish") them, and every five generations destroy them. A c c o r d i n g l y , in the present, all in Heaven-above collects the " R e c o r d s o f the Practices within the Sandao," and the host o f Deities together record transgressions, and decide penalties for those who enjoy killing and harming, and promote happiness. What is above  179 The text then explains why Heaven decided to send down its communications to the Realm o f Humanity. When it continues, it discusses the Sandao Xing Shu and the Sandao Wenshu, the registers to record the actions o f individuals, and how separate sets are kept in each of the Three Realms, Humanity included. In this example, it is clear that the various Deities, the shen, act as officials who record and investigate infractions. In turn, these same Deities and the sundry guishen respond to the commands o f Heaven and Earth: From now on, Heaven w i l l promote using the host o f Deities, causing them to carry out investigations and punishments o f people. Heaven-above also uses the "Records o f Actions o f the Sandao" to record transgressions. Deities also use the "Records o f Actions o f the Sandao" to record transgressions. Accordingly, Humanity also has the "Records o f Actions o f the Sandao" to record transgressions. Accordingly, Humanity has obtained this model from Heaven, and Heaven has obtained this model from Humanity. Heaven, Earth, and Humanity all have these activities, which are modelled i n the "Divine and Numinous" (shen ling  H), and done while modelled on these affairs and these  laws. Accordingly, the "Refined Qi of the Guishen" (guishen jing qi  i^fjf H,)  admonish, indeed, admonish [Humanity], and they constantly flourish i n Heaven, Earth, and Humanity at the same time. For this reason, Deities act i n response to the "Qi o f Heaven," and Spiritual Beings act i n response to the "Qi o f Earth," and the gui cause strife i n response to human administrations. In these Three Realms, "swift messengers" (jishi $ | f | l ) o f Heaven, Earth, and the Central Harmony, act in accord to divine qi; they go back and forth "ceaselessly between the utmost o f  Earth is also like this. T h e Perfected are pleased when good deeds are done, and they afterward w i s h that those o f Virtue [enter] A u g u s t Heaven. T h e y commiserate with the Emperor and the K i n g s in their sorrow and suffering. W h e n seasonal qi is not harmonious, full condemnations are visited on people who enjoy killing and harming. F o r all o f those w h o stalk game, shoot arrows, fish and hunt, punishments flourish as often as they disobey the w i l l and meaning o f H e a v e n and Earth. A c c o r d i n g l y , as for a longtime everything is perverse, confused, out o f balance, and Emperor and K i n g s , both early and later, attain sorrow and suffering by this. These are serious transgressions"  (TPJHJ: 672).  180 mysteries" (juedong wujian  $g}|5) #EE  Hf] ),  35  coming and going to places difficult  to know o f (TP'JHJ-.673).  A s revealed above, a detailed administrative system existed to record, process and judge the actions o f the living. It is apparent that the existence o f these three sets o f documents i n each of the Three Realms implies comparison between them, hence, communication. Another relevant aspect concerns the role o f the deities and the guishen. Here it is clear that they function as the agents o f retribution, carrying out the commands o f the bureaucracy, an idea prevalent in the Chinese religious matrix, and obviously still a dominant theme. Another theme that apparently carries on in this context is the idea o f "collective guilt," exemplified i n the idea o f chengfu, "inherited guilt" or "inherited e v i l . " According to the etymology o f the characters, cheng implies "to receive an object with both hands and to hold it," while fu implies the "carrying o f loads on the back" (Hendrischke 1991:8). Together, they imply the burden o f collective sins o f one's ancestors. O n a superficial level, this idea bears some resemblance with the Buddhist idea o f karma, but it differs from the concept in a number o f ways. Several scholars have attempted to define the origin o f chengfu, and in doing so have questions whether o f not it has a Buddhist origin.  36  Hendrischke (1991) and others do not mention the first appearance o f this term i n Chinese texts in general, making an explanation o f its origin difficult. Regardless, it appears as a manifestation o f the overall Chinese view o f collective guilt. The most plausible theory states that this idea, instead o f a loan from Buddhism, is rather a Taoist response to the popularity o f Buddhist  35  Juedong Wujian  implies that in their duties there is no place unvisited.  Juedong is difficult to translate, being Dong is related to " c a v e r n s " and  composed o fjue, w h i c h can mean "to sever, to cut" or "peerless, without m a t c h . " by extension "mysteries." 3 6  Dong is discussed  later in this Chapter.  A discussion o f the various interpretations o f this topic is in Hendrischke (1991:25).  181 explanations o f human suffering and retribution (Hendrischke 1991:27). A s discussed earlier, karma resulted from individual actions, and the results, for the most part, delivered to the guilty according to the dictates o f dharma, presumably i n another life. In contrast, chengfu implies that all results are due to the combined evil actions o f all o f one's ancestors, and that the immoral actions o f ancestors influences the fate o f the living descendants manifest as illness, calamity, and death. A l l o f these results, it should be noted, occur in this life, rather than in the next. In addition, this line o f accountability from ancestor to ancestor may stretch as far back as thousands o f years. The text mentions that cycles chengfu last as long as 30,000 years for Emperors and Kings, 3,000 years for Ministers, and 300 years for the C o m m o n People (TPJHJ:22).  The text proposes that final accumulation o f all chengfu, meaning the combined  tally o f everyone's "inherited guilt," created the state o f decay and extreme decadence o f the period. Here, it is obvious that "guilt" is primarily "collective." Although, the Taiping jing mentions individual guilt, the combined total influences the fate o f all, hence, the chaos o f the period. T o eradicate the effects o f "inherited guilt," the Taiping jing proposes a variety o f means. First, i n accord with the w i l l o f Heaven, the Heavenly Master descended to reveal the text and to instigate a program o f moral reform based on the distribution o f texts, the education o f disciples, and the disciples' contact with leading political figures. A l s o , it desired to secure a responsive government, insure communication between the various elements o f society, increase the birthrate, and protect life and nature. There is also mention o f Taoist meditation, shouyi T F — "guarding the one," a term mentioned in the famous Baopuzi by Ge Hong J | $ t (283-343/363 C E ) (Hendrischke 1991:18-19). In short, the entire program o f eliminating "inherited guilt," hence imminent disaster, the Taiping jing emphasised a program o f moral and social reform,  182 involving all aspects o f society, and not merely the individual. The only exception here is the presence o f "guarding the one," an element o f personal salvation through practices o f the cult o f immortality. It seems that i n this context individual concerns are slight compared to the needs o f society at large. So, regardless o f any similarities with the Buddhist concept o f karma, it seems chengfu is still in line with the concept o f "collective responsibility," i n that i f one sins this ultimately affects the condition o f the living in general.  c.) Rewards and Punishment-The Responsibilities of the Underworld:  Despite the emphasis on "collective responsibility" in the Taiping jing, individuals are still held accountable for their actions, and rewarded or punished either i n the afterlife, or i n this life. Regardless o f where these rewards and punishments occurred, the bureaucracy o f the underworld played an important role. A s mentioned earlier, the offices o f the underworld are responsible for bookkeeping, that is, recording human actions in a set o f ledgers. In addition, it is also responsible for deciding the appropriate fate for the living and the dead. In the case o f the living, they could be rewarded for their virtue by living a life free o f suffering, and in the end, rewarded by attaining long-life or even immortality. Conversely, the wicked could be punished by a shortened lifespan and affliction from the various ghosts and demons. In the end, they, too, could be punished i n the underworld for their individual actions, a point that falls into the jurisdiction o f the Taoist underworld. Indeed, punishments mean little without its opposite, rewards, and rewarding good works is a fairly common idea expressed in the Taiping jing. These rewards manifest themselves in several ways: an absence o f suffering, a long-life, or even immortality. A l l o f these results are entwined with adherence to moral precepts in the text. In some instances, the Taiping jing  183 records that the virtuous ascended to Heaven in broad day-light, because they behaved in such a way that their natures were good, their hearts full o f light, their wills never wavered, to goods and profit they paid no attention at all, and their clothes were coarse and barely enough to cover their bodies. Heaven, appreciating their virtuous deeds, therefore appointed virtuous deities to keep them company as well as for their protection, so that they might not be led astray [by demons]. W i t h love and care o f the celestial deities they thus accomplished the feat [of ascension to Heaven]. After all it is the fashion i n which they led their lives that produced this result.... (TPJHJ-.596; trans. Y i i 1964/65:112).  Similarly, Heaven rewarded the virtuous by granting them access to the various formulas and techniques for attaining immortality, techniques withheld from mankind because humanity is "so wicked that [mankind's conduct] is not in accord with the w i l l o f Heaven..." (TPJHJ: 138-9; trans Y i i 1964/65:114). Conversely, the underworld lords over dispensing punishments, both to the dead and the living. These punishments, though, are conditional in that they are i n accord to the dictates o f chengfu and the bureaucratic motif. The next example illustrates the responsibilities o f the Tufu, the "Earth Courts." First, it is responsible for deciding the length o f one's life based on chengfu or individual actions. Second, the passage illustrates that these offices are responsible for the recently dead, in that it summons the dead to investigate the records o f their deeds in the various ledgers. It is interesting to note that bureaucratic terminology and procedure appears throughout the passage. It states In the "Communications Office o f Great Y i n " (Dayin Facao A  W ) ah*  "inherited guilt" to reduce one's allotted lifespan. After one's life is complete, they summon the Spirits o f Earthly Y i n ; at the same time they summon those o f the "Earth Courts" and gather the form and skeleton (of the deceased) to  184 interrogate the hun spirit. A t this time, they always present the "Records and Documents" (Bushu f|£ ^ ), (to see if) they are i n accord or not i n accord. If the "one being examined" (zhuzhe ^ ^ )  37  is debauched and selfish, the  "punishments and the terms o f exile" (fazhe fy H )  38  are decided in accordance to  the lightness and severity o f what was investigated. If each o f the Recorded Writs is not i n agreement with what was ordered by Heaven, then the guishen and spiritual beings are not allowed to inflict illness on these people. Each time, i n accordance with and from the mutually agreed decision, the results are together issued and upheld. If one's transgressions are serious enough to cause death, then as in above and below, the spirit is "banished to work" (zhezuo f f  ) in the  "Rivers, M t . Liang, Mountains and Seas" (He Liang Shan H a i } R J ^ [1| $g) i n accord to the lightness and severity o f the transgressions o f the law, so that each [punishment] is i n accord with the action done, with nothing omitted. There are "Courts for the Province" (fuxian jft %) and "Postal Relay Stations" (youting ^  ; Hucker:8085), where the "one i n charge" (zhuzhe ^ # )  3 9  is an "Elder"  (changshi J | j £ ; or " A i d e " Hucker: 185), which investigate according to the law, "prohibiting guishen and refined (or 'spiritual') beings from [inflicting] reckless and early deaths" (wu wang yao la guishen jingwu ty] £E  M  t$ flf fy*} ) ° 4  (TPJHJ: 579).  This passage illustrates that the underworld is i n charge o f determining the allotted lifespan for  37  Zhuzhe should be read as the  " o n e who presides." However, this does not fit the context o f the text, as the dead's  morality is considered later on. 3 8  T h e term zhe implies " t o blame, to find fault, to disgrace" (Mathew's:279). Later in the text, this term implies  "banish." 3 9  Here, the translation o f  zhuzhe  is again problematic. T h e context implies that this is the person presiding over the  judgement. It can be read as " i f the one being investigated is an Elder, then..." T h i s , however, does not fit the situation.  4 0  In the text  "guishen  and spiritual b e i n g s " is placed after the verb, making it an object. In this case, the translation  w o u l d be "prohibiting reckless and early deaths to the  guishen and  spiritual beings." T h i s does not make sense.  Instead, in this translation the object is placed after the verb,"prohibiting," making it and "prohibiting spiritual beings from [inflicting] reckless and early deaths," a more appropriate translation.  guishen and  185 the living. A s mentioned earlier, the Chinese o f the Han and earlier believed strongly that one's lifespan was predetermined and recorded by the bureaucracy o f the cosmos. According to the above passage, one's life can be lengthened or shortened by morality or immorality, and the difference determined i n the Earth Courts. Further, this passage shows that the Earth Courts judge the dead, and decide their fate i n the afterlife. When a person dies, their spirit is summoned before the courts to examine his or her actions. It is interesting to note, that in doing so, the three ledgers, from Earth, Humanity and Heaven, are compared to see i f any discrepancies exist. If discrepancies do exist, then all punishment for the living is delayed, and the various Deities decide the next course o f action. Further, the passage i f these Writs and Documents are not i n agreement, then the spirits o f the underworld are denied inflicting illness on these people. This points out that the underworld bureaucracy still lords over the ghosts and spirits i n their function as agents o f inflicting suffering on the living. Lastly, the passage concerning exile or banishment to the "Rivers, M t . Liang, Mountains and Seas," illustrates that banishment and hard labour, punishments practised in traditional China, are likewise applied in the underworld. It seems here that Heaven does not play a part in this process. Nevertheless, it is assumed that Heaven is at least consulted to compare the Writs and Ledgers that record the actions o f the living. Heaven, as mentioned earlier, already presides over punishing by sending down disasters and the living, but it seems that, here at least, it is not involved in punishing the spirits o f the dead. This responsibility belongs to Earth as it is the logical abode for the corpse and yin spirits, or "ghosts." In determining the fate o f the dead, chengfu is the deciding factor. A s karma influences the condition o f the dead i n the Buddhist world, "inherited guilt" determines the treatment o f the dead. The next example, rationalizes this concept, in that one's sins return to the guilty and " Y o u r  186 good deeds beget good deeds, your evil deeds beget evil: it is like ones reflection i n a mirror. Don't you understand your situation?" (TPJHJ.598).  The text continues by commenting on the  rationale behind the use o f the Ledgers in the various realm o f the cosmos, and how they are used to determine one's lifespan. It then describes the condition o f the wicked dead in the afterlife, and states that the hun spirit exists either in the underworld, or as a ghost. In both cases, the wicked are punished: Accordingly, there are documents o f good and evil deeds, and these documents are brought together: how is it that long life and not-so-long life are differentiated? For a long time, living persons have understood that there is a limited number of years in one's life. When this allotment is exhausted, one dies, and afterwards becomes a ghost, but they still do not understand control and investigation [of the spirits o f the dead]. E v i l people die early, and the Earth below (598) flogs and punishes them (lue zhi  ^ ) , and castigates them  according to what should not have been done. They are made to suffer in a place of suffering, and they do not see a time o f happiness. These people become gui, and how is it that only for them there is no time for pardon? These are the most evil, and if, i n being a gui, they do evil again, what are they to depend on to stop [their punishments]? Their families w i l l be without food, and they w i l l beg for a living, i n accord with their diminishing qi. B y themselves, they cannot exist for long, as the realm below the Earth, indeed, desires to obtain good gui who do not commit evil. Thus, it is fitting that all are mindful o f the good, and do not neglect their order; only this is proper. For those who do not do this, what hope is there? Should people unify with these plans and policies, and share the same wishes for all? Surely Heaven w i l l be good to them and as for the contrarily treat them badly. Those people who are evil in action, cannot for long see Heaven and Earth, Sun and M o o n , the Planets and Stars. They are accordingly stored in the underworld, and not enabled to share in the happiness o f the good gui, from whom they are distinguished. (TPJHJ-.59S-9).  187 The real importance o f this text lies i n its mention o f the fate o f the wicked dead. It first mentions that the wicked deserve to die early, and that Earth-below flogs and punishes them. This, like the earlier examples, is in accord to paradigms existing i n the Imperial court system. This illustrates that the dead must suffer for their wrongdoing, and that their families likewise suffer. Even i f they exist as a ghost, the family also receives appropriate recompense in that they apparently wander the earth, begging for food. In turn, the dead w i l l not receive proper offerings as an ancestor. In sum, the entire matrix illustrated by the Taiping jing demonstrates that the cosmos operates according to the two concepts o f resonance and the bureaucratic motif, ideas emphasised in the Huainanzi.  In its function, the underworld presides over a series o f Ledgers that recorded  the good and bad actions o f the living, in turn alter the lifespan o f the living. U p o n death, all o f the spirits o f the dead are summoned before these courts for investigation, and, i f evil, punished according to the established norms o f the real world, that is, they are beaten, flogged, or even exiled to labour in the various regions o f the underworld. So thorough is this emphasis that the underworld and its responsibilities are described i n government terms, and even previously established subterranean realms are aligned according to these ideas, even the aforementioned Y e l l o w Springs. A l s o , the underworld is responsible for doling out punishment for the living, in 41  that it sanctioned ghosts and deities to afflict the wicked. A s a result, the Taiping jing straddles the functions o f both "neutral death," in that it operated as a "storehouse o f the dead," and "moral death," as it punished the wicked in the afterlife. Related to this topic, the idea o f collective  4 1  O n this topic the text states this: " S o m e o f the living share the same desires as the T a o o f H e a v e n , while the evil  themselves lessen their years: should we not be careful? T h e words o f the H o l y People all received H e a v e n ' s response, and they do not resent themselves. T h e longest period o f life is given to those w h o do good, and they use up all o f their years given to them by H e a v e n : the evil go d o w n and enter the Y e l l o w Springs; ponder this, ponder this, and don't falsely transmit (the teachings)"  (TPHJ.566).  188 morality or collective responsibility exists at the same time as does individual responsibility. A s revealed in the doctrine o f chengfu, responsibility is collective i n that all the various sins o f the individual living are pooled together to determine punishments for society at large. A n y individual concerns, hence, seem secondary to the collective, in that there is little mention o f relieving individual suffering. The lack o f mention o f attaining individual relief is surprising as sources outside o f the Taiping jing indicate that individual suffering can be alleviated by direct appeals to the various offices o f the underworld. The Sanguozhi H PH Ji>, the "Record o f the Three Kingdoms" (third c. C E . ) , mentions that the W a y o f the Celestial Masters possessed a fairly elaborate process for appealing to the Shuiguan, the "Water Bureau." According to their beliefs, sickness was a result o f one's sins, most likely afflicted by ghosts. T o alleviate this affliction, the sick person confessed his or her sins, and writing them down, submitted three copies o f this confession to the Sanguan, "Three Bureaus," or "Three Offices," o f Heaven, Earth, and Water. The text writes that the lowest levels o f the Taoist hierarchy were responsible for praying for the sick. The ritual o f prayer was that the sick person's name was written down, along with the statement o f confessions o f his or her sins. One was sent up to Heaven and was placed on a mountain; one was buried under the earth, and one was sunk in water. These were called the "handwritten documents o f the Three Offices" (the "Three Bureaus").  42  This type o f individual appeal is not mentioned in the Taiping jing. A s indicated earlier, any connection between the W a y o f the Celestial Masters and the Taiping jing is probable but not certain: scholars are not entirely certain i f the text expresses their beliefs and practices. Further,  Sanguozhi 8:265 (Beijing: Z h o n g h u a shuju, 1959); trans. N i c k e r s o n 1997:232.  189 the lack o f mention o f similar practices in the text can be explained by the Taiping jing's emphasis on the collective overall reform o f society. Individual concerns, such as those above, do not fit i n its model o f moral reform. Lastly, as one o f the earliest texts o f Taoism, the Taiping jing, represents a fairly complex view o f human suffering and post-mortem punishment, encompassing both "neutral" and "moral" aspects o f death. One the one hand, the underworld is responsible for controlling the spirits o f the dead, while, on the other, it is responsible for the punishment o f the wicked dead. In both o f these aspects, it functions i n accord to the bureaucratic motif, and ideas established early on in the history o f China. In the next case-study, concerning the underworld i n the Shangqing tradition, these same tendencies are evident, as the underworld i n this context again functions like the government. The following case-study is different in that there is more emphasis on petitioning the officials o f the underworld to alleviate ghostly affliction.  V . Appeals and Litigation in the Afterlife-The Shangqing Tradition and the Underworld: The next case study focuses on the function o f the underworld i n the Shangqing _t fjf, the "Upper Purity," or " H i g h Purity" sect, also known as the M a o Shan school o f Taoism. Throughout the Shangqing texts, the underworld is identified variously as the island mountain Fengdu HP |fl?>, or Luofeng j | l IP .  43  It is also associated with the San Guan H T=T, the "Three  Bureaus" o f the Celestial Masters school, specifically the Shui Guan 7JX Hf, the "Water Bureau." The Shangqing tradition is based on a series o f revelations received by the figure Yang X i HH  between 364-370. Little is known o f Yang X i , only that he was a client o f the Southern  aristocratic family, the X u  4 3  , a family connected with the influential Ge Hong | | $ t , the author  It is also identified as the L i u T i a n 7^ ^ , the " S i x H e a v e n s , " T a i y i n js. | | | , or " G r e a t Y i n , " and the Y e C h e n g  j ^ , the " C i t a d e l o f N i g h t " (Strickmann 1979:180).  190 of the Baopuzi  JfjJtrr"?" • According to the history of this school, the school's founder, Lady Wei  Huacun f H i j I ^ (251-334), and a number of semi-legendary immortals from China's past, including the Mao brothers of the Former Han, who gave their name to Mao Shan, a mountain near modern-day Nanjing, visited Yang X i to deliver their messages. The Shangqing tradition flourished during the time when the Celestial Master's school moved South with the Imperial Court. When the Celestial Masters attempted to consolidate its control in the South by defining Taoist orthodoxy and heterodoxy, in response, the Shangqing declared its own supremacy by declaring its tradition had access to the Shangqing Tian _L  ^ , the "Heaven of High Purity," a  Heaven higher than the Celestial Master's "Three Heavens." By the fourth century, the school gained popularity in the South, and at that time it produced possibly its greatest practitioner, thinker, and organizer, Tao Hongjing p|| ^ J i ; (456-536), a member of the X u and Ge clans. One of his most relevant contributions is the Zhengao jH g^j, the "Proclamations of the Perfected" (HY 1010). In general, the overall message of the Shangqing tradition focussed on the concerns of the Ge, X u and Yang clans and how members of these families attained the status of immortality, Further, it did not possess a broad-based appeal: even the patriarchs were reluctant to disseminate their texts.  44  In recent years, the Shangqing tradition has garnered a lot of attention, often for its meditation practices. Scholars such as Strickmann (1977; 1979), Robinet (1993), and Bokenkamp (1996a; 1996b) have written extensively on the tradition. Most of these authors focus on the alchemical and meditation techniques used to attain longevity or immortality. In  4 4  Strickmann writes " F o r in fact the central message transmitted to the Y a n g and Hsu's (Xu's) was that they and  theirs belonged to a saving remnant o f humanity, destined to survive the cataclysms already discernible as marking the approaching end o f the o l d order. Y a n g and Hsiis were among those destined to live on, or even beyond death, and to become members o f the hierarchy o f the Perfected in the new age that w o u l d soon d a w n " (Strickmann 1977:12).  191  general, these techniques frequently centre on soul-flights, involving complex and elaborate visualization techniques practised during meditation. In a meditative state, the adept visualizes his or her body as possessing cosmological correlates, indicating that an extension of correlative cosmology is at work here again. In the process of meditation, the practitioner transforms the body into the entire cosmological matrix, and thereby journeys through the various realms. Like the "Earth Courts" of the Taipingjing,  45  the Six Palaces of Fengdu are also  responsible for the maintenance of the dead spirits, and, in lording over the dead, the Six Palaces still adhered to the bureaucratic motif. In the underworld, for example, the writs and ledgers of one's fated life are held, and upon death, summon all the spirits of the recently dead to this realm for investigation, in which their cases are reviewed. The spirits then proceed to the various realms of the underworld, some for punishment, and some for reward. In a other words, this place functions also as a "storehouse of the dead," a place to confine problematic ghosts, and a place for appeal to stop their incursions into the realm of the living, a procedure that, naturally, adhered to bureaucratic procedure. This aspect exists to such an extent that the Water Bureau, in particular, functions as court for settling disputes between the living and the dead. In addition, as Fengdu is an office or court responsible for the ledgers of life and death, it is intrinsically linked to longevity and immortality practices, in that this area became the logical destination for applying for extensions to one's life.  The Shangqing tradition adhered to the belief that the "five organs," correspond with the Five Elements and the directions within the cosmos: wood with the liver and East, fire with the heart and So