Open Collections

UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Popular sectarianism in the Ming : Lo Chʻing and his "religion of non-action" Nadeau, Randall Laird 1990

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
831-UBC_1990_A1 N32.pdf [ 19.08MB ]
Metadata
JSON: 831-1.0100407.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0100407-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0100407-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0100407-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0100407-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0100407-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0100407-source.json
Full Text
831-1.0100407-fulltext.txt
Citation
831-1.0100407.ris

Full Text

Popular Sectarianism i n the Ming: Lo Ch'ing and h i s "Religion of Non-Action" By Randall L a i r d Nadeau B.A., Oberlin College, 1978 M.A., Princeton University, 1980 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Asian Studies) We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA May 1990 © Randall L a i r d Nadeau, 1990 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 of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) Abstract "Popular Sectarianism in the Minq: Lo Ch'ing and his 'Religion of Non-Action'" is a study of Lo Ch'ing (1442-1527), a lay religious reformer of Ming Dynasty China, the scriptures he composed and the Lo chiao t r a d i t i o n . Chapter I u t i l i z e s h i s t o r i c a l materials ( o f f i c i a l records, accounts of observors, and memorials to the throne) and sectarian documents (sectarian hagiographies and Lo's own autobiography) to formulate a biography of Lo Ch'ing. Chapter II analyzes Lo's rel i g i o u s thought, based on translated passages from his scriptures, e n t i t l e d Wu-pu liu-ts 'e (Five Books i n Six Volumes) , in the context of the history of Chinese re l i g i o n s and the canonical scriptures of Buddhism, Taoism and the L i t e r a t i (Confucian) t r a d i t i o n . Chapter III traces the history of Lo sects from the Ming Dynasty to the present, from h i s t o r i c a l documents, sectarian accounts, and interviews with contemporary Lo sectarians conducted in Taiwan. Chapter IV examines Lo's sources and his use of Chinese written and oral traditions, with comparisons to popular religious l i t e r a t u r e of early modern Europe. Chapter V evaluates Lo Ch'ing's so c i a l role as a "cu l t u r a l mediator" of conceptions and values between e l i t e and popular levels of Chinese society, incorporating recent studies of similar figures in both Chinese and European history. The Appendices include summaries of the one hundred three chapters constituting the Wu- pu liu-ts'e, an annotated catalogue of Lo's sources, and a bibliography of reference works, primary sources, and secondary studies in Chinese, Japanese, and Western languages. - i i -The thesis i s presented as a contribution to the f i e l d s o f Chinese popular r e l i g i o n , sectarianism, and s o c i a l history. It addresses methodological issues concerninc the interaction o f y e l i t e and popular culture, the study and interpretation of popular r e l i g i o u s texts, the analysis of charismatic r e l i g i o u s personalities, and the transmission of r e l i g i o u s conceptions and values. The p r i n c i p l e methodological conclusion of the thesis i s that r e l i g i o u s figures at a lower and middle l e v e l of society can be both creative thinkers and active agents of the transmission of values and conceptions throughout society and history. Much of the translated material in the d i s s e r t a t i o n i s made available to Western-language readers for the f i r s t time, and the analysis of the material i s based upon secondary studies in Chinese, Japanese, and English. It i s hoped that this study w i l l inspire further scholarship on Chinese popular r e l i g i o n as well as Lo Ch'ing and his Religion of Non-Action. - i i i -Contents Abstract . . . i i Acknowledgement . . . .v Preface .... 1 The Saint becomes a Savior: The Transformation of Lo Ch'ing from Religious Exemplar to Sect Patriarch 13 1. Lo Ch'ing in History and Legend 2. The Autobiography of Lo Ch'ing 3. Lo Ch'ing in Sectarian Hagiography 4. The Significance of Lo's Li f e . Lo Ch'ing's Religious Thought: The Wu-pu liu-ts ' e ...88 1. Overview 2. On The "Development" of Lo Ch'ing's Thought 3. Lo's Analysis of the Human Condition 4. Cosmology: The Origins of Existence 5. Soteriology: The Way of Non-Action 6. Lo's Critique of "Manipulative Methods" of Religious Cultivation I. Lo's Place i n the History of Chinese Religions 144 1. Lo as "Sect Patriarch" 2. Lo Ch'ing and Contemporary Sectarian Movements 3. "Wu-sheng lao-mu" 4. Early Lo Sectarians 5. Lo Sects in the Ch'ing 6. Lo Sects in Taiwan 7. Ritual and Sect Organization 8. Conclusion . Lo's Educational and Social Background: Popular Uses and Interpretations of the Scriptures and Class i c s 211 1. Culture and the "Elite-Popular D i s t i n c t i o n " 2. Structures of Autonomy and Education i n Mid-Ming China 3. Lo's Interpretation of the Three Teachings 4. Lo Ch'ing's Sources 5. How Lo Read: The Manipulation of Texts 6. Lo's Appeal to Oral Tradition i v 7. Conclusion V. Lo Ch'ing as Cultural Mediator: Segmentation, Continuity, and the History of Ideas 275 VI . Appendices 296 I. The Wu-pu liu-ts'e II. Lo*s Sources I I I . Popular Narratives from the Chenq-hsin ch'u-i chiian VII . Bibliography 327 1. Reference Works i 2. Primary Sources 3. Secondary Studies To my parents The author wishes to thank Daniel Overmyer for his guidance, c r i t i c i s m , and high standards of scholarship. I am also indebted to Chang Tsui-chun, Leon Hurvitz, Chen Jo-shui, Keith Knapp, Yen Shih-te, Patrick Dunn, Christian Jochim, Cheng Chih-ming, Russell Kirkland, and P.J. Ivanhoe as well as s t a f f members of the East Asian l i b r a r i e s of the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, the Hoover Institute (Stanford University), and the University of C a l i -fornia, Berkeley, for their scholarly assistance and en-couragement. For the errors and oversights of this d i s s e r t a t i o n , I bear sole r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . _ v _ Popular Sectarianism i n the Ming: Lo Ch'ing and his "Religion of Non-Action" Preface — -ar * * 0 -pa # • t t ft A- « X SI it % 3 8 . i t ft it •£ w 4 ft *a 4 ft _t ± ti — * <f t *. # * ii. & tt it * * — '« * # T * * T i t * •* SI A * 4fr & & * ± ft *. * 1? a *. A* it ii JL Ode to Dragon-Flower Patriarch Lo (for a SQfcra-recitation and Preaching Assembly-held at Conversion-by-Virtue Hall, Tainan) After thirteen years [ l i t . "springs") of b i t t e r e f f o r t , Patriarch Lo awakened to the Way, perceived his Nature, and enlightened his Mind,1 r a i s i n g high the Path of the Dragon-Flower Bodhisattva.2 1. Wu-tao chien-hsing ming-hsin ($|}g three phrases describing Buddhist enlightenment, especially as described in the Ch'an t r a d i t i o n . In a Buddhist context, Tao i s translated as "Way" or "Path". The hsing (Nature, Sanskrit prakrti) and hsin (Mind) refer in Ch'an thought to the o r i g i n a l , unchanging "Buddha-nature" possessed by a l l persons at b i r t h . Nakamura Hajime, Bukkyo-go daijiten [Comprehensive Dictionary of Buddhist Terms], 321c, 1263d, 1307d. Morohashi Te t s u j i , Daikanwa j i t e n [Comprehensive Dictionary of Chinese Characters], 5:,773 (13805.322). 2. Lung-hua p'u-sa (1|| 1$ # j£§ ) : SQtras of the Buddha Maitreya (58 $ J ) predict that 56 i ({?,), a number corresponding here to 5.6 b i l l i o n , plus 70 m i l l i o n years (i.e. , 5,670,000,000 years) after the complete extinction, or pari-nirvaria, of the Buddha £akyamuni, the Bodhisattva Maitreya (35 Hj # £§ ) w i l l descend from the Tusita Heaven (^ 3? 7: ) and appear beneath the - 1 -He composed f i v e books [ o f s c r i p t u r e ] , and t r a n s m i t t e d them t h r o u g h o u t the emp i re , d e s t r o y i n g h e t e r o d o x y , m a n i f e s t i n g o r t h o d o x y , and e n l i g h t e n i n g human l i f e . The T h i r d Assembly 3 i s e s t a b l i s h e d ; the N i n t h Stage [ o f the P a t h ] 4 has been r e a c h e d ; the Teach ing o f the Two T r u t h s , Real and P r o v i s i o n a l , 3 i s p e r f e c t and c o m p l e t e ! Dragon-F lower t r e e ( f | l£ $ , pumniga) t o p reach t h e Dharma. A t t h a t p l a c e , a l l b e l i e v e r s w i l l be g a t h e r e d t o g e t h e r and e n l i g h t e n e d , i n t he course o f t h r e e p r e a c h i n g assemb l ies (see n o t e 3 ) . I n t he f i n a l assembly , M a i t r e y a h i m s e l f w i l l become a Buddha. See e s p e c i a l l y t h e Fo-shuo mi-le hsia-sheng ching (0& 18 3i ifr T £ S ) [The S u t r a o f M a i t r e y a ' s I n c a r n a t i o n i n t he W o r l d , as Spoken by t he Buddha] , Taisho Tripitaka v o l . 14 , n o . 453, p p . 421-423 ; the Fo-shuo mi-le hsia-sheng ch 'eng-fo ching (# i f t>$#jT£$&;@) [The S u t r a o f M a i t r e y a ' s I n c a r n a t i o n i n the Wor ld and R e a l i z a t i o n o f Buddhahood, as Spoken by t he Buddha] , T14 .454 .423-425 and T 1 4 . 4 5 5 . 4 2 6 - 4 2 8 ; t he Fo-shuo mi- le ta ch'eng-fo ching ($283&1$j:*:Jj$0&&) [The S u t r a o f M a i t r e y a ' s Complete R e a l i z a t i o n o f Buddhahood, as Spoken by t he Buddha] , T 1 4 . 4 5 6 . 4 2 8 - 4 3 4 ; and the Fo-shuo mi-le lai-shih  ching (& t% & Ifr $ £g ) [The S u t r a o f M a i t r e y a ' s A r r i v a l i n t he W o r l d , as Spoken by the Buddha ] , T 1 4 . 4 5 7 . 4 3 4 - 4 3 5 . Nakamura, Bukky6-go daijiten, 1422b. The "Ode" i m p l i e s t h a t P a t r i a r c h Lo i s an i n c a r n a t i o n o f M a i t r e y a Buddha. 3. San hui ( = H ) (See no te 2) I n the f i r s t assembly , 96 i (4E — o n e i i s v a r i o u s l y c a l c u l a t e d as t e n t h o u s a n d , one hundred t h o u s a n d , one m i l l i o n , t e n m i l l i o n , o r one hundred m i l l i o n , most commonly t he l a s t , c o r r e s p o n d i n g t o wan-wan [ g S ] i n Chinese) persons w i l l be saved ; i n the second assembly , 94 i p e r s o n s ; i n t he t h i r d assembly , 92 i p e r s o n s . See the Fo-shuo mi-le hsia-sheng ching ( T 1 4 . 4 5 4 ) , p. 425b, l i n e s 1-3. 4 . Chiu-p'in (Tim)'- V a r i o u s Pure Land s c r i p t u r e s d e s c r i b e n i n e s tages o r g rades o f i n c a r n a t i o n , the h i g h e s t b e i n g r e b i r t h i n the Pure Land. I n g e n e r a l t e r m s , i t i s t he h i g h e s t l e v e l o f s p i r i t u a l c u l t i v a t i o n . Nakamura, Bukkyd-go daijiten, 256c; M o c h i z u k i S h i n k o , Bukkyo daijiten [Comprehensive D i c t i o n a r y o f Buddh ism] , I : 7 0 7 a - 7 0 8 a . 5. Chen-su erh-t'i ( H zi afc , S k t . paramirtha-samvrti-satya) : A b s o l u t e T r u t h , f rom the p e r s p e c t i v e o f e n l i g h t e n m e n t o r Nirvina, and r e l a t i v e or p r o v i s i o n a l t r u t h , f rom the p e r s p e c t i v e o f SamsSra: a te rm o f B u d d h i s t e p i s t e m o l o g y a s s o c i a t e d w i t h t he Madhyamika and Hua-yen S c h o o l s . See C h i -t s a n g ' s ( $ ) San-lun hsuan-i ( £ ^ J | , T45 .1852 .1 -15 ) f o r the c l a s s i c MSdhyamika s t a t e m e n t . For a g e n e r a l d i s c u s s i o n , c f . M o c h i z u k i , Bukkyd daijiten, I I I : 2072a-2075b. - 2 -He made the teaching complete and conversion universal, and call e d the myriad beings to awaken, to take refuge i n the Three Treasures. 6 Numberless beings he converted by teaching! On the earth he has established [the Land of] Perfect B l i s s , 7 a beautiful Transformation-world, [like] a lotus emerging from the mud. The Bodhisattva of Home-based [Cult i v a t i o n ] , 8 [Lo] in his great wisdom illumines his Nature above and saves the l i v i n g below. Together l e t us take refuge in the Ship of the Great Vehicle [Mahiyina] , to save the myriad l i v i n g beings that they may depart from the sea of suffering [samsara]. Glory to the Bodhisattva-Mahisattva ["great being"] of the Dragon-Flower Assembly! Glory to the Bodhisattva-Mahisattva Patriarch-Master Lo! Glory to the Bodhisattva-Mahisattva of the Sect of the Great Vehicle! This "Ode to Dragon-Flower Patriarch Lo" was printed by the Conversion-by-Virtue Hall ($g -ft H£ ) , Tainan, Taiwan, i n 1982, on the occasion of the five-hundredth anniversary of the Patriarch's enlightenment. The anniversary was marked by sermons on Dragon-Flower Assembly teachings and chanting of scriptures, including Lo's own Five Books i n Six Volumes (S fltT ) • The Dragon-Flower Assembly (ft i£ 1^  ) has active branch h a l l s throughout Taiwan and Fukien, with an elaborate organizational base and a li n e of 6. San-pao ( £ f , Skt. triratna) : Buddha (enlightened one), Dharma (the Law or Teaching), and Sahgha (the assembly of monks and nuns). 7. Chi-le (f§ §)| ) : the Pure Land, or Western Paradise. The Pure Land school teaches that rebirth there guarantees ultimate l i b e r a t i o n ; the Ch'an interpretation of Pure Land soteriology makes the Pure Land, and f i n a l enlightenment, immanent within the world and one's own mind. The "Ode" implies that Lo i s a founding Ch'an patriarch. 8. Tsai-chia p'u-sa (ft % ^ j g ) : Lo never renounced household l i f e (ttl % ) to become a monk. His teachings, and the sect founded i n his name, represent an alternative to monastic s e l f - c u l t i v a t i o n . - 3 -transmission stretching uninterrupted to i t s founder. This and other sects claiming Lo as their f i r s t patriarch represent the oldest continuing lay-based, sectarian t r a d i t i o n i n the history of Chinese r e l i g i o n s . 9 9. "Lo sects" have been known by a variety of names. The e a r l i e s t recorded i n h i s t o r i c a l documents was the "Non-Action Sect" or "Sect of Non-Manipulative Religious C u l t i v a t i o n " ($& & & )> appearing i n the sixteenth century (the 14th and 15th years of the Wan-li reign period, 1586 and 1587, of the Veritable Records of the Ming (HQ "ff ^  ) (Nanking: 1940), chuan 176, p. 7a; chuan 183, p. 2b). In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, sects claiming Lo Ch'ing as their founding patriarch and employing his texts included the "MahSyana Sect" (;*:51 & ), the "Sect of the Way of Lo" the "Sect of Patriarch Lo" (& fi f& ) , the "Sect of Great Completion" (± $ & ), the "Sect of the Origin-in-Chaos" the "Sect of the Three Vehicles" ( H ^ tfc ), the "Vegetarian Sect of the Venerable O f f i c e r s " ( ^ I T 3§ %. ) i the "Dragon-Flower Assembly of the Lo Sect" ( S It ~a ) — f i r s t appearing i n government records i n the eighteenth year of Ch'ien-lung (1753), the "Long L i f e Sect" (-£ £ & ) , the "Sect of F r u i t [Offerings]" and the "Sect of the Prior Heaven" ( f e ^ f f r ) . These are names recorded i n the Veritable Records of the  Ming (Nanking: 1940) (Wan-li 12*p,12/=J [1584]; Wan-li 13^ ,IE % [1585]; Wan-li 144p ,7J§ [1586]; Wan-li 15^ ,2% [1587]; Wan-li 344p , 12 £ [1618]; Wan-li 43^ ,6/1 [1615]; Wan-li 46^ ,9£ ; T'ien-ch'i 3^ ,3£ [1623]); the Veritable Records of  the Ch'ing (jf % & ) (Taipei: 1963) (Shun-chih 3i£ ,6% [1646]; Ch'ien-lung 404£ ,4£ [1775]; Tao-kuang 54p ,5£ [1825]); the H i s t o r i c a l Records Published Every Ten Days (St m £j f{J ) (Peking: 1930-1931) (Yung-cheng 7^,10/1 [1729]; Yung-cheng 1%. ,12/1 [1729]; Ch'ien-lung 13^ ,3/1 to 7/1 [1748]; Ch'ien-lung 18*£ ,7/3 to 8/1 [1753] ; Ch'ien-lung 33£fi ,9/1 to 11/1 [1768] ; Ch'ien-lung 34^,3^ [1769]); and the Palace Archives (g cf3 tt ) (Taipei: 1976) (Yung-cheng 5^,9^ to 11^ [1727]; Yung-cheng 1%. ,10/1 [1729]; Yung-cheng 10^ ,5/1 [1732]; Ch'ien-lung 34^ ,6/1 [1769]; Ch'ien-lung 46dc£ ,8/1 [1781]). For s p e c i f i c references, see Chapter III below. The e a r l i e s t descriptions of Lo sects i n English were by Joseph Edkins, Chinese Buddhism (London: 1893), 371-379; and J.J.M. de Groot, Sectarianism and Religious Persecution i n  China (Amsterdam: 1903), v o l . I, 176-241. De Groot observed the Dragon-Flower Assembly i n 1887 i n Amoy (Hsia-men) and collected r e c i t a t i o n texts of the Lung-hua and Hsien-t'ien Sects (cited s p e c i f i c a l l y below). Many of the r i t e s , membership ranks and t i t l e s , texts, and f e s t i v a l observances recorded by de Groot are descriptive of the Lung-hua Assembly in Taiwan today. - 4 -Lo Ch'ing (Si ft , 1442-1527) was a popular re l i g i o u s leader of the Ming Dynasty. He was a man of humble origins, whose Autobiography i n the f i r s t of his Five Books describes the course of his s p i r i t u a l search, self-education and r e l i g i o u s awakening. The "Ode" c a l l s him the "Bodhisattva of Home-based Religious Cultivation": though familiar with Buddhist scriptures and meditative practices, Lo never took the tonsure to become a monk. He inherited the t r a d i t i o n of the founding of lay associations by monks such as Hui-yuan (|| §1 , 334-416), who established the White Lotus Society ( 6 H tt ) - and Mao Tzu-yuan =f ^  , 1086-1166), founder of the White Lotus Sect )f but dissociated himself completely from the i n s t i t u t i o n s of the Chinese sahgha and s t a t e . 1 0 His teachings, set out i n his Five Books of scripture, became the basis of a "Lo Sect" (H ifa ), or "Sect of Non-Manipulative Religious Cultivation" (ft&j&ffc)11 that was to attract a wide following i n the late Ming and early Ch'ing 10. For Hui-yuan, his "Amitabha vow" and the "White Lotus Fellowship", see Emil Zurcher, The Buddhist Conquest of China (Leiden: 1959), 219-233; Tsukamoto ZenryO, A History of Early  Chinese Buddhism, trans. Leon Hurvitz (Tokyo: 1985), vol. II, ch. 8. On the White Lotus Sect of Mao Tzu-yuan, see Daniel Overmyer, Folk Buddhist Religion: Dissenting Sects i n Late  Traditional China (Cambridge, MA: 1976), 90-94, 130-132; and "Alternatives: Popular Religious Sects in Chinese Society," Modern China 7 (1981), 169-172. 11. Wu-wei chiao (Jpj & ) : translated as the "Religion of Non-Action" i n the t i t l e of this study to e l i c i t the c l a s s i c a l Taoist basis and conventional translation of the phrase, wu-wei i s employed more narrowly by Lo Ch'ing to describe his "method of non-manipulative religious c u l t i v a t i o n " {f& j& ) — simple f a i t h in the inner capacity for s e l f - i l l u m i n a t i o n developed through congregational worship, vegetarianism, and r e c i t a t i o n of scripture — i n contrast to the "manipulative methods of religious c u l t i v a t i o n " (^ f ) that characterize conventional r e l i g i o s i t y . I explore this theme i n d e t a i l in Chapter I I . - 5 -Dynasties. Branching into several divisions i n the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Lo sects s t i l l survive today i n southern China and Taiwan. Lo advocated home-based worship and r i t u a l , s t r i c t vegetarianism, and mutual aid among believers. He was a conscious innovator within the Buddhist t r a d i t i o n , which, by Ming times, survived primarily in i t s Ch'an and Pure Land forms: his Five Books of scripture provide a window into popular interpretation of Buddhist teachings and practices. Though within the realm of discourse of these doctrines, however, Lo was an outspoken c r i t i c of Ch'an and Pure Land, modifying their conceptions and incorporating Taoist, Neo-Confucian, and popular elements i n his teachings. His s o t e r i o l o g i c a l v i s i o n was one establishing the goal of s e l f - r e a l i z a t i o n as a union with a compassionate "Holy Ancestor of the Limitless" ) or "Eternal Mother" £ £ & ) , c a l l i n g her children to their "true home". The cult of the Eternal Mother became a defining ch a r a c t e r i s t i c of the Lo sects, though Lo's scriptures describe her primarily i n metaphorical terms, as a representation of one's "true s e l f " # ) or "inner l i g h t " ( g % ) • The ultimate goal of the re l i g i o u s seeker, Lo said, i s to "return" to his or her "ancestral home" {% % ) by recovering the " o r i g i n a l mind" (:£ ) . As i n s p i r a t i o n a l as he was to religious sectarians of late imperial China, the e x p l i c i t focus of Lo's writings i s the salvation of individual believers, not sectarian organization. Lo was disdainful of unreflective r e l i g i o u s followers, including those who attached themselves to Lo Ch'ing himself. His - 6 -teachings were aimed to instruct, and his Autobiography was meant to serve as an exemplary model for others to follow, not to enthrone himself as a l o f t y savior. While i t i s true that the very form of his scriptures implies c o l l e c t i v e worship, Lo had no interest i n seeing himself d e i f i e d by his followers, except to the extent that a l l men and women are already divine and possessed of an eternal s p i r i t — Lo himself no more than others. Nevertheless, biographies of Lo appearing in l a t e r sectarian scriptures emphasize his supernormal powers and messianic sanctity. Religious hagiographies of Lo, l i k e his "Ode", describe him not merely as a moral and religious model, but as a universal savior. In Chapter I, on the l i f e of Lo Ch'ing, we w i l l explore several of these hagiographies and their portrayal of the Patriarch; our primary source for Lo's biography, however, w i l l be the autobiographical Awakening to the Way through B i t t e r E f f o r t pj 1= jt $ ) , the f i r s t of Lo's Five Books. Chapter II describes Lo's religious thought, through a presentation and analysis of his Five Books i n Six Volumes. In Chapter III, we w i l l attempt to trace the history and development of Lo sects, beginning with Lo Ch'ing's self-understanding as a "sect patriarch" and culminating i n the "vegetarian h a l l s " If? ) of contemporary Taiwan and their r i t u a l a c t i v i t i e s . Chapter IV examines the s o c i a l and economic context of Lo's l i f e , returning to the form of his writings as an early example of "precious volume" (^ g %g ) l i t e r a t u r e ; Lo's use of religious and philosophical texts to support his own teachings reveals much - 7 -about his educational and so c i a l background. Chapter V evaluates Lo's place i n Chinese religious and i n t e l l e c t u a l history, as a mediator of " e l i t e " and "popular" culture. Lo Ch'ing and his sects provide us a window into an area of Chinese history and society long neglected or ignored. They also encourage us to think about the nature of popular sectarian r e l i g i o n , i t s role i n culture, and the extent of i t s impact and appeal i n the Chinese case. The Wu-pu liu-ts'e Between 1482 and 1507, Lo Ch'ing composed his Five Books in  Six Volumes (2 y\ flft ) . There are extant editions of the fourth and f i f t h books dated 1509. 1 2 The edition cited i n this study was f i r s t published in 1652, based on an e a r l i e r edition of 1595-1597, and reprinted i n 1802, 1842, 1869, and, i n a photolithographic reprint, in 1980 by the Taichung Hall of People's Virtue (•£ ff» £g 1f£ ) of the Dragon-Flower Assembly of Patriarch Lo (jg£ £ || 3$ £ ) . a This text, also e n t i t l e d Essential  Methods for Opening the Mind ($] £\ fg ) , was annotated by Wang Yuan-ching ), preface 1596, and edited by a Lo sectarian known by his Charjna-name, P'u-shen (|f ) , preface 1652. 12. In Sawada Mizuho's possession. See his Zdho hdkan no kenkyti [Studies i n Pao-chuan, revised edition] (Tokyo: 1975), 310. a. One copy of the reprint edition i s held at the Gest Library, Princeton University. - 8 -Lo refers to his works as "scriptures" §^ ) or "precious volumes" (§F^§). 1 3 The texts are i n alternating prose-verse form, the prose sections presenting the basic r e l i g i o u s message in simple, c o l l o q u i a l Chinese. The verses a r t i c u l a t e the key points of Lo's teachings, and are l i k e l y to have been recited and chanted aloud, i n a congregational setting, as they are s t i l l today among Lo sectarians in Taiwan and other Chinese commmunities. The commentary of Wang Yuan-ching i s inserted within the body of the text, with laudatory verses by his "Ch'an master" Lan Feng (Bfl S )< composed between 1550 and 1580. In my view, Lan Feng and Wang Yuan-ching exaggerate Lo's Buddhist tendencies and i n t e l l e c t u a l i z e his teachings. For the most part, I have chosen not to rely upon their commentaries. In Chapter III, I discuss their role i n the development of the early Lo sects. The Wu-pu liu-ts 'e i s divided into f i v e books and one hundred three sections (fi ). The 1652 edition i s i n sixteen bound volumes ), with a to t a l of 1,792 pages. The fi v e books are e n t i t l e d : I. K'u-kung wu-tao chuan ^] M M ^  ) > "Awakening to the Way through B i t t e r E f f o r t , " i n one volume (ffi- ), chuan i -2. I I . T' an-shih wu-wei chuan (g| t i t& & f > - "[The Way of] Non-Action in Lamentation for the World," in one volume, chuan 3-4. III . P'o-hsieh hsien-chencj yao-shih chuan (f& ffl 83 !§ IK Sfc % ) . "The Key to the Refutation of Heresy and the Manifestation of the Real," i n two volumes, chuan 5-8. 13. In Chapter IV, I look at the form and structure of the Wu-pu  liu-ts'e, i t s place i n the development of "precious volume" l i t e r a t u r e , and i t s debt to other textual genres. - 9 -IV. Cheng-hsin ch 'u-i wu hsiu-chencj tzu-tsai pao-chuan ( i E f e l l f c S f c f c f f i a f t f c f c ) , "The Precious Volume of Self-Determination [isvara], Neither Cultivated nor Confirmed, which Rectifies Belief and Eliminates Doubt," i n one volume, chuan 9-12. V. Wei-wei pu-tung T'ai-shan shen-ken chieh-kuo pao- chuan {\%\%^1h±\knWL&$kyi% ) , "The Precious Volume of Deep-Rooted Karmic Frui t s , Majestic and Unmoved l i k e Mount T'ai," in one volume, chuan 13-16. 1 4 I discuss Book 1, containing Lo Ch'ing's Autobiography, i n Chapter I below, and Books 2 to 5 i n Chapters II, III, and IV. For a summary of each of the 103 p'in making up the Wu-pu Hu- ts 'e, see Appendix I. The Wu-pu liu-ts ' e i s a seminal work: i t is not only the oldest extant sectarian pao-chuan, but also perhaps the most interesting and sophisticated of the genre. It should be viewed as a primary source for the history of Chinese rel i g i o n s and for the i n t e l l e c t u a l thought and c u l t i c l i f e of men and women at a middle and lower level of society. The Study of Popular Religious Texts A word or two should be said about the methodological basis of this study. The ways that scholars dichotomize cultures — distinguishing between " r e l i g i o n " and "history", "hagiography" and "biography", "popular" and " e l i t e " c u l t u r a l products and 14. Hereafter, the Five Books w i l l be cited by abbreviated t i t l e , p'in and page numbers; e.g., "K'u-kung 18:139" for p'in 18, page 139 of the K'u-kung wu-tao chuan (chuan and volume numbers are not ci t e d ) . The abbreviated t i t l e s for the 1980 edition are as follows: I. K'u-kung II. T'an-shih III. P 'o-hsieh IV. Cheng-hsin V. Chieh-kuo - 10 -forms — shape their approaches to the object of scholarship, the range of i t s d e f i n i t i o n , and the materials and resources deemed legitimate for i t s study. The canons of scholarship have long articulated the principled exclusion of the " h i s t o r i c a l l y valueless": "spurious" a r t i f a c t s , "apocryphal" texts, marginal movements, and powerless men and women. It i s only i n recent years that the obelisks of conventional historiography have begun to come down. This i s a study of an unusual man and the rel i g i o u s associations that formed i n his name. Lo Ch'ing was a commoner from a m i l i t a r y family who never attended a school, earned a degree, or impressed an o f f i c i a l . He travelled as a seeker, gathered ideas from a scattered assembly of rel i g i o u s conceptions and practices, and described a s o t e r i o l o g i c a l v i s i o n that i s often derivative, self-contradictory, and under-articulated. Monks and o f f i c i a l s found his works both repe t i t i v e and misguided, and branded them as the s i n i s t e r "Tao of the l e f t " (2E HI ) • His followers either misunderstood or altered many of his teachings, and yet, i n the eyes of the state and i n the testimony of i t s representatives, they defined his legacy. Because the i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d orthodoxy of the Ch'ing viewed his sects only i n p o l i t i c a l and economic terms, i t rejected the reli g i o u s alternatives they provided. The conventional resources for h i s t o r i c a l study, therefore, are inadequate for an understanding of the man, his experience, and his impact i n his culture. - 11 -As m u c h a s p o s s i b l e , I a t t e m p t h e r e t o d e s c r i b e L o C h ' i n g a n d t h e L o s e c t s i n t h e i r o w n t e r m s — r e l y i n g o n s e c t a r i a n h a g i o g r a p h i e s t o d e s c r i b e h i s l i f e , a n d o n t h e t e r m s , i l l u s t r a t i o n s , a n d a l l u s i o n s o f t h e Wu-pu liu-ts 'e t o u n c o v e r h i s t h o u g h t . T h i s m e a n s a v o i d i n g t h e t e m p t a t i o n t o d e s c r i b e L o a n d h i s t e x t s s o l e l y i n t h e c o n t e x t o f t h e " g e n e r a l t r e n d s " o f C h i n e s e r e l i g i o u s h i s t o r y , o r t o e q u a t e h i s m y t h o l o g i c a l , m e d i t a t i v e , a n d s o t e r i o l o g i c a l c o n c e p t i o n s w i t h t h e " a n t e c e d e n t s " o f c o n v e n t i o n a l r e l i g i o n — some o f w h i c h h e e x p l i c i t l y e s c h e w s . I t m e a n s a l s o l o o k i n g t o n o n - l i t e r a r y s o u r c e s f o r t h e r e f e r e n t s o f h i s m o d e l s a n d m e t a p h o r s — i n o r a l t r a d i t i o n s , p o p u l a r d r a m a s , a n d l o c a l c u s t o m s a n d p r a c t i c e s . I n t h i s w a y , t h e b o u n d a r i e s o f L o ' s w o r l d c a n b e d r a w n f r o m w i t h i n , a n d t h e t e r m s h e u s e d c a n b e d e f i n e d a s h e u n d e r s t o o d t h e m , i n l i g h t o f h i s e d u c a t i o n a n d e x p e r i e n c e . I n a s m u c h a s L o i s a m a n o f t h e p e o p l e a t a l o w e r l e v e l o f s o c i e t y , h i s l i f e a n d w r i t t e n r e c o r d p r o v i d e a r a r e g l i m p s e i n t o t h e c o n c e r n s a n d c o n c e p t i o n s o f o t h e r w i s e u n k n o w n m e n a n d w o m e n . - 12 -Chapter I: The Saint becomes a Savior: The Transformation of Lo Ch'ing from Religious Examplar to Sect Patriarch 1. Lo Ch'ing i n History and Legend Our best source for a biography of Lo Ch'ing i s the Wu-pu  liu-ts' e i t s e l f . Book 1, the K'u-kuncr wu-tao chuan, contains an autobiography i n thirteen sections recounting the course of Lo's reli g i o u s career. It i s an intense, personal work, anticipating a style of confessional writing that was to become characteristic of Neo-Confucian l e t t e r s of the la t e r Ming. It describes a man of humble origins, who, through a process of self-education and personal r e l i g i o u s seeking outside the i n s t i t u t i o n a l boundaries of conventional learning and s p i r i t u a l c u l t i v a t i o n , articulated a comprehensive vis i o n of the Self and ultimate salvation, and inspired a sectarian following that has played a si g n i f i c a n t role i n Chinese s o c i a l history from the Ming Dynasty to the present day. The Autobiography begins with the premature deaths of Lo Ch'ing's parents when he was s t i l l a young c h i l d , and traces the steps of his physical and s p i r i t u a l journey i n search of complete and f i n a l l i b e r a t i o n from the suffering of conditioned existence. Describing his "thirteen years of b i t t e r e f f o r t i n search of the Way," Lo enumerates the various forms of reli g i o u s c u l t i v a t i o n which he alternately embraced and rejected. One after the other, he r e c a l l s his efforts i n Taoist reclusion and meditation, Pure Land r e c i t a t i o n of the Buddha's name, Ch'an s i t t i n g i n meditation, s c r i p t u r a l studies, contemplation of the origins of the universe, and i n t e l l e c t u a l analysis of the doctrine of - 13 -E m p t i n e s s . A s p a s s i o n a t e l y a s h e a t t e m p t s t o i n t e g r a t e t h e s e p r a c t i c e s i n t o h i s o w n l i f e , h o w e v e r , L o c o m e s a w a y d i s a p p o i n t e d . N o n e i s a b l e t o s a t i s f y h i s s p i r i t u a l y e a r n i n g o r r e s o l v e t h e u l t i m a t e r e l i g i o u s p r o b l e m o f samsira. E a c h a c c o u n t e n d s w i t h t h e same r e f r a i n : " D r e a d i n g t h e p a i n o f samsira, I d a r e d n o t a b a n d o n my s e a r c h , a n d p r o g r e s s e d a n o t h e r s t e p a l o n g t h e p a t h " T h e a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l n a r r a t i v e l e a d s u p t o a s p i r i t u a l i l l u m i n a t i o n t h a t c o m e s i n a " f l a s h o f i n s i g h t " a n d l a u n c h e s L o C h ' i n g o n h i s c a r e e r o f t e a c h i n g a n d l a y l e a d e r s h i p . H a v i n g r e j e c t e d a l l c o n v e n t i o n a l f o r m s o f r e l i g i o u s p i e t y — m o n a s t i c i s m , m e d i t a t i o n , d e v o t i o n a l i s m , m o r a l c u l t i v a t i o n , c o n t e m p l a t i o n , a n d s t u d y — L o a f f i r m s a n i m m e d i a t e , i n t u i t i v e a w a r e n e s s b a s e d u p o n f a i t h a n d u n m e d i a t e d u n d e r s t a n d i n g . He r e c o g n i z e s t h e i n h e r e n t B u d d h a - n a t u r e o f a l l b e i n g s , a n d t h e i d e n t i t y o f t h e S e l f w i t h t h e " C r e a t o r - M o t h e r " o f t h e u n i v e r s e . O n e ' s N a t u r e o r I n n e r L i g h t — l i k e t h e M o t h e r — i s e t e r n a l a n d u n c h a n g i n g , b y v i r t u e o f i t s E m p t i n e s s o r l a c k o f l i m i t i n g c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . T h e r e l i g i o u s s e e k e r , L o a s s e r t s , n e e d o n l y a c k n o w l e d g e t h e E m p t i n e s s o f a l l b e i n g s a n d c o n c e p t i o n s , a n d a f f i r m t h e i d e n t i t y o f t h e S e l f w i t h t h e C r e a t o r - M o t h e r , a n d h e o r s h e w i l l i n s t a n t l y " r e t u r n h o m e " o r " r e c o v e r t h e a n c e s t r a l h o m e " w i t h i n t h e m i n d . B o o k s 2 t o 5 o f t h e Wu-pu liu-ts 'e a r e e l a b o r a t i o n s o n t h i s s o t e r i o l o g i c a l t h e m e . L o ' s p e r s o n a l e x p e r i e n c e s o f s p i r i t u a l f r u s t r a t i o n a n d f u l f i l l m e n t s h a p e h i s r e l i g i o u s t e a c h i n g s . I n t h e s e c o n d a n d t h i r d b o o k s o f t h e Wu-pu liu-ts'e, h e a t t a c k s a s " i n a d e q u a t e i n - 14 -the face of death" ( f f i ^ t t f f i ^ f ^ ) 1 the methods of religious c u l t i v a t i o n which he himself had attempted and rejected as a seeker, and, i n the fourth and f i f t h books, he articulates the religious principles that he had discovered i n his enlightenment experience. Thus, a l l of his writings provide insight into his own l i f e , and e x p l i c i t s e l f - r e f e r e n t i a l statements appear throughout the Five Books. In Chapter II below, we w i l l explore the content of his religious teachings i n d e t a i l , with reference to their i n s p i r a t i o n in the Autobiography. Outside of his own writings, there are few resources for a biography of Lo Ch'ing that can meet rigorous standards of h i s t o r i c a l scholarship. Diaries and travelogues of Buddhist contemporaries, publication records for the Wu-pu l i u - t s ' e , and brief references to Lo Ch'ing i n h i s t o r i c a l documents of the state confirm the fact of his existence and widespread fame.2 These sources make Lo's h i s t o r i c i t y unassailable. They corroborate sectarian records of the dates of Lo Ch'ing's b i r t h and death; the sit e s of his ancestral home, mi l i t a r y service, and reli g i o u s enlightenment; his composition of a Scripture i n Five  Books; and the extent of his influence i n north China and along the Grand Canal. 1. passim; alternately, " . . . i n the face of danger" 2. Independent sources for Lo's biography, cited below, include the chronological biography of Han-shan Te-ch'ing (1546-1623), a brief essay by Mi-tsang Tao-k'ai ( f l . 1595), the Veritable  Records of the Ming and Ch'ing, and depositions of practicing Lo sectarians reported by l o c a l o f f i c i a l s of the early Ch'ing. - 15 -O n l y a f e w d e t a i l s o f L o C h ' i n g ' s l i f e c a n b e k n o w n f r o m h i s t o r i c a l s o u r c e s a n d L o ' s o w n w r i t i n g s . O t h e r w i s e , we m u s t d e p e n d u p o n s e c t a r i a n s c r i p t u r e s t o " c o l o r i z e " t h e l i f e o f t h e P a t r i a r c h . T h e r e l i g i o u s b i o g r a p h i e s c o n t a i n e d i n p o p u l a r s c r i p t u r e s s t a n d w i t h i n a r i c h t r a d i t i o n o f h a g i o g r a p h i c a l l e g e n d i z i n g i n t h e h i s t o r y o f C h i n e s e r e l i g i o n s . 3 H a g i o g r a p h i e s d e v e l o p i n t h e c o n t e x t o f s p e c i f i c s o c i a l g r o u p s , a n d t h e h a g i o g r a p h i c a l t r a d i t i o n s u r r o u n d i n g t h e P a t r i a r c h c o n f i r m s t h e e x i s t e n c e o f a v i t a l , c o n t i n u o u s b o d y o f r e l i g i o u s s e c t a r i a n s d e d i c a t e d t o c o m m u n a l w o r s h i p a n d p r a c t i c e i n s p i r e d b y h i s e x a m p l e a n d h i s t e a c h i n g s . I n h i s o w n l i f e t i m e , L o C h ' i n g g a t h e r e d a g r o u p o f d i s c i p l e s a n d e s t a b l i s h e d a " s c h o o l " o f l a y - b a s e d r e l i g i o u s p r a c t i c e n o r t h a n d e a s t o f t h e c a p i t a l . H i s s e c t q u i c k l y s p r e a d t h r o u g h o u t n o r t h C h i n a , a n d e v e n t u a l l y e x t e n d e d a s f a r s o u t h a s t h e Y a n g t z e D e l t a a n d F u k i e n P r o v i n c e . I t w a s k n o w n a s t h e " L o S e c t " (H Ifo ) o r " S e c t o f N o n - M a n i p u l a t i v e R e l i g i o u s C u l t i v a t i o n " & Ut ) , a n d b r a n c h e d i n t o a n u m b e r o f i n d e p e n d e n t s e c t a r i a n t r a d i t i o n s w i t h i n t w o g e n e r a t i o n s o f t h e P a t r i a r c h ' s d e a t h . O u t o f t h e s e s e c t s a n d t h e i r " p r e c i o u s v o l u m e s " (5f & ) of r e l i g i o u s s c r i p t u r e , a l i f e o f L o C h ' i n g e m e r g e d t h a t c h a r a c t e r i z e s h i m a s a s a i n t i n p o s s e s s i o n o f s u p e r n o r m a l p o w e r s a n d i n s i g h t . I n m a n y c a s e s u n d a t e a b l e , 3 . S e e , f o r e x a m p l e , t h e b i o g r a p h i e s o f m o n k s a n d n u n s i n t h e B u d d h i s t T r i p i t a k a {Taishd shinshQ daiz6ky6, v o l u m e s 4 9 - 5 2 ) , n u m e r o u s b i o g r a p h i e s o f r e c l u s e s a n d i m m o r t a l s i n t h e Tao- tsang, a n d t h e r i c h b i o g r a p h i c a l t r a d i t i o n o f t h e s t a n d a r d h i s t o r i e s , l o c a l g a z e t t e e r s , a n d o t h e r s t a t e - s p o n s o r e d p u b l i c a t i o n s . M a n y o f t h e s e B u d d h i s t , T a o i s t , a n d " C o n f u c i a n " h a g i o g r a p h i e s b o r d e r o n f a n t a s y a n d m y t h , a n d t h e d i s t i n c t i o n b e t w e e n h i s t o r y a n d m y t h i s n e v e r c l e a r - c u t i n C h i n e s e h a g i o g r a p h i c l i t e r a t u r e . - 16 -these accounts complete and enliven the sparse h i s t o r i c a l record. Lo Ch'ing's followers exaggerated his accomplishments and transformed a s p i r i t u a l leader into a religious savior. Setting their accounts next to those of contemporary Buddhist monks and lo c a l o f f i c i a l s , we can discover the creative elaborations of rel i g i o u s hagiography. My primary sources for a religious l i f e of the Patriarch are sectarian publications of late imperial and modern-day Lo assemblies. In the Ming and Ch'ing Dynasties, Lo sects produced scriptures inspired i n form and content by Lo's own example. Many contain por t r a i t s of the Patriarch. The e a r l i e s t were composed within a hundred years of Lo's death. "The Marvelous Gatha i n Ten-Character Verse of Master Lo's Travels [in Search of Enlightenment]" (£1 fSMj IB + ^  # ® ) , written by Lan Feng between 1550 and 1580, comprises the prologue to Wang Yuan-ching's K'ai - hsin fa-yao.* Lan's verse biography already portrays Lo Ch'ing as a transformation-body (it M ) of the Buddha, come to earth for the salvation of humanity. Another early edition of the Wu-pu liu-ts 'e, e n t i t l e d the Commentary of Layman Wang of Hua-yang County, Chin-ling  Prefecture (£|&a*pg/g±aEiSJ8#Je). edited by Wang Hai-ch' ao (BE #i #8 ) (preface 1629), includes imaginative d e t a i l s of Lo's enlightenment and teaching career. 8 Other sectarian scriptures 4. Wu-pu liu-ts 'e, K'u-kung wu-tao chuan 1:13-15. This passage i s translated i n f u l l below. 5. Wang H a i - C h ' a o ' s e d i t i o n , i n Sawada M i z u h o ' s p o s s e s s i o n , i n c o r -p o r a t e s t h e f o u r t h and f i f t h books o f t he Wu-pu l i u - t s ' e . D a n i e l Overmyer has a m i c r o f i l m copy o f t h i s e d i t i o n . I n t h e f o l l o w i n g d i s c u s s i o n , I make use of q u o t a t i o n s f r o m the t e x t - 17 -which elaborate upon Lo Ch'ing's l i f e include the Precious Volume  spoken by the Buddha in Lamentation for the World for the  Division of Heaven and Earth by the Three Emperors (ftS£H.£Tv!J:fr^ifcflt1iSiTf ) , preface 1639;6 the Precious Volume of  Causal Origins [Based on] the Traces of the Three Patriarchs (H & 'n 88P S & Sf € ) • preface 1682,•7 the Precious Volume of  Universal Joy (f£ U R ^ ) , composed in the Tao-kuang reign period of the Ch'ing (1821-1851);8 the Precious Volume of Patriarch Lo's  Engagement with the World, Repelling the Foreign Army ( H f S f t t f t J i S & S f ^ ) of the Ch'ing; 9 the "Biography of Patriarch Lo" (fit £14?.$ ) from Green Gang ( f $ ) materials of the Republican Period; 1 0 and the "Brief History of Patriarch Lo" ( g £ ffi £ ) , contained in a re l i g i o u s handbook, i n current use by the Dragon Flower Assembly i n Taiwan. 1 1 by Yoshioka Yoshitoyo i n his "J?aso no shQkyo" [The Religion of Patriarch Lo] , Taish6 daigaku gakuho 37 (1950): 88-96. 6. For a description of the text, see Sawada Mizuho, Zdho hdkan  no kenkyQ [Studies i n Pao-chuan, Revised Edition] (Tokyo: 1975), 302; and Yoshioka Yoshitoyo, "Kindai chdgoku ni okeru h6kan ryQ shQkyS no tenkai" [The Development of Pao-chuan Sects in Modern China], ShQkyS bunka 3 (1950): 28. 7. I am indebted to Daniel Overmyer for making a copy of this text available to me. 8. See Sawada Mizuho, Zdho hSkan no kenkyQ, 148. 9. Quoted by Tsukamoto Zenryu i n his "Rakyo no s e i r i t s u to ryQden ni tsuite" [On the Founding and Development of the Lo Sect] , T6h6 crakuhd 17 (1949): 27 . 10. Ch'en Kuo-ping, ,ed., Ch 'ing-men k'ao-yuan [Sources of the Green Gang] (Hong Kong: 1965), 41-45. 11. P'u-k'ung, "Lo-tsu chien-shih," Lung-hua k'o-i [Ritual Instruction Book of the Dragon-Flower Sect] (Taichung: 1978), 1-12. - 18 -These sectarian materials contain many elements of the fantastic, as we s h a l l see. They are hagiographies of a rel i g i o u s visionary and charismatic sectarian leader, complete with d e t a i l s of his supernormal powers, accounts of his a b i l i t y to bring skeptics to conversion, and s i g n i f i c a n t a r t i c u l a t i o n of his principles and religious practices — at least as interpreted by his followers. From the point of view of conventional historiography, they are not worthy of our attention. Indeed, few can make a claim to h i s t o r i c a l authenticity. Nevertheless, I employ these materials to compose Lo's chronological biography. For Lo sectarians, the fantastic powers and accomplishments of the Patriarch are testimony to the force of his so t e r i o l o g i c a l message, and carry a r e a l i t y more binding and personally transformative than the dry scraps of information provided by unsympathetic observers. They bear an "aura of r e a l i t y " that "history" alone cannot support, drawing on archetypal elements that define Lo Ch'ing as one i n a great t r a d i t i o n of religious saints and visionaries i n the history of Chinese r e l i g i o n s . Indeed, as confessional documents of the religious community that produced them, they t e s t i f y to the religious r e a l i t y of mythic allusions and the f r u i t s of s p i r i t u a l c u l t i v a t i o n . From the perspective of the history of re l i g i o n s , the Lo Ch'ing portrayed in sectarian hagiography i s more important than the Lo Ch'ing of history for an understanding of religious alternatives i n China. 1 2 12. For a recent c o l l e c t i o n of a r t i c l e s on religious hagiography in Asian r e l i g i o n s , see P h y l l i s Granoff and Koichi Shinohara, - 19 -In this chapter, I examine h i s t o r i c a l evidence for the existence and influence of Lo Ch'ing, draw upon his Autobiography as my primary source for his l i f e and a c t i v i t i e s , and then turn to sectarian hagiographies for the narrative d e t a i l s that define him as a r e l i g i o u s patriarch. In Chapter II I present Lo's teachings i n the Wu-pu liu-ts'e without the use of the interpretive f i l t e r of later sectarian interpretations, and in Chapter IV, on Lo's education and textual allusions, I attempt to uncover the actual s o c i a l , h i s t o r i c a l , and l i t e r a r y raw materials of his own creative work, based as much as possible on internal evidence within his writings. Lo as a H i s t o r i c a l Personage The bare bones of Lo Ch'ing's l i f e appear i n prologues to the e a r l i e s t extant edition of the fourth and f i f t h books of his Five Works in Six Volumes, published i n Lo's sixty-seventh year, the fourth year of the Cheng-te reign period of the Ming Dynasty (1509). At the end of the fourth book, the Precious Volume of  Self-Determination, Neither Cultivated nor Confirmed, which  Rectifies Belief and Eliminates Doubt (T£-@ ® g f& & £ g £ £ ^ ) . we read, Your master's fl| ) home i s i n the Lao Mountains ill ) , Chi-mo County (HP gj» jj$ ) , Lai-chou Prefecture (^ jr\ ffi ) , Shantung. At Mi-yun Garrison (fg g $j ) i n the Wu-ling Mountains (£3S 8 til ) , I awakened to the Way and enlightened the mind. I have explicated the Dharma to save others, and [composed] the [precious] volumes of "Bitter E f f o r t " "Lamentation for the World" the "Refutation of Heresy" ($£ffl % ), and the " R e c t i f i c a t i o n of eds., Monks and Magicians; Religious Biographies in Asia (New York: 1988). - 20 -Belief and the Elimination of Doubt" (T£ is Bfc H # ) < which some have named the Scripture i n Four Books (ES §j5 3 1 ) • I c a l l upon you to escape from the b i t t e r sea of b i r t h and death! 1 3 Here we learn not only of Lo's hometown and s i t e of enlightenment, but also that the f i r s t four of his five scriptures were composed at some time before the f i f t h , and enjoyed a degree of notoriety. Indeed, in his f i f t h book, the Precious Volume of Deep-Rooted Karmic Fruits, Majestic and Unmoved l i k e Mount T'ai (& & ^ W] ± lU U IB. & % % % ) . Lo refers to d i s c i p l e s and followers, who, we may assume, were drawn to Lo as a result of his e a r l i e r w r i t i n g s . 1 4 The prologue to this scripture reads, My temporal home i s i n the Lao Mountains, Ch'eng-yang Village (jSfc Wi tt ) / Chu-mao City (f| ^  ijsg ) , Chi-mo County, Lai-chou Prefecture, Shantung. My family has served i n the mi l i t a r y for many generations, 1 5 and I stayed for a time i n the Chiang-mao Valley (01 3* ) of the Wu-ling Mountains (f§ & ill ) • Ssu-ma Terrace (Wj J§ £ ) , Ku-pei Pass (c5* P ) , Mi-yun Garrison. 1 6 13. Wu-pu liu-ts' e (1509 edition). Sawada Mizuho, Zdho hdkan no  kenkyd, 303. Yoshioka Yoshitoyo, "Kindai chQgoku ni okeru hdkan ryd shukyd no tenkai," 33. 14. See Chapter III below for Lo's comments on his sarly d i s c i p l e s . 15. I am following Wang Hai-ch'ao's commentary i n reading % t W for a ft g f . Sawada, Zdho hdkan no kenkvu, 303. 16. ibid. The Five Books are as close as we can get to Lo himself, and we can assume that he composed them. But these prologues may very well have been altered by his followers: no where else does Lo refer to himself as a "master" (p. 20 above), and the change i n the place of his enlightenment from "Cloud-Spirit" ( U S ) to "Enlightened Soul" (f§ f£ ) Mountain may be the work of a pious redactor. (Cf. Sawada, Zdho hdkan  no kenkyd, 304.) There i s in fact a f£ 3g LU 90 km. north-west of Mi-yun County. - 21 -Ch'eng-yang i s at the foot of the Lao Mountains, thirty km. southeast of Chi-mo, one of e i g h t county seats i n Lai-chou P r e f e c t u r e i n the Ming. When he v i s i t e d Lao-shan i n 1585, about s i x t y years a f t e r Lo's death, the Buddhist monk Han-shan Te-ch'ing UJ & HI - 1546-1623) was d i s t r e s s e d to f i n d that a "non-Buddhist by the name of Lo Ch'ing, from Ch'eng-yang at the base of the [Lao] Mountains" ( ^ r J t M t i ^ T i U J T ^ M r l A ) had founded a r e l i g i o n which subsequently "spread throughout the e a s t " 7^ i|J Tj ) — to such an extent, i t appears, that the people of the area "had never seen a monk" (fj£ ?fc ft] fg ) and "knew a b s o l u t e l y nothing about the existence of the Three Treasures" $fl ^ H Sf )• Only a f t e r some time i n the area, with the patronage of an i n f l u e n t i a l c l a n , was Te-ch'ing " g r a d u a l l y able to a t t r a c t them to conversion" . (H£ $| g| it )• 1 7 From t h i s h o s t i l e witness, then, we have the c o n f i r m a t i o n that Lo Ch'ing was a h i s t o r i c a l personage of Shantung Province, with a s i g n i f i c a n t r e l i g i o u s f o l l o w i n g there. Lao-shan i n the Ming was known locally as a fabulous and s p i r i t u a l l y potent area, shrouded i n the daemonic atmosphere of shamanism and the immortality c u l t . The Ming county g a z e t t e e r of 1579 d e s c r i b e s mythical f i g u r e s and strange events a s s o c i a t e d with Lao-shan, and the r i c h h s i e n - l o r e of i t s peaks and g r o t t o e s . Even Chang San-feng (jji H ^ ) was s a i d to have appeared there, 17. Han-shan Te-ch'ing, Meng-yu chi [A C o l l e c t i o n of Dream T r a v e l s ] , chuan 53, "Tzu-hsu nien-p'u Wan-li 13&£ ," i n Han- shan ta-shih nien-p'u shu-chu ( T a i p e i : 1967), ed. by Fu-cheng (1651), 1:52-53. For a complete t r a n s l a t i o n of the passage, see D a n i e l Overmyer, "Boatmen and Buddhas: The Lo Chiao i n Ming Dynasty China," H i s t o r y of R e l i g i o n s 17 (1978): 289. - 22 -a f t e r the unsolved mystery of h i s disappearance from the world of men. 1 8 Though these are aspects of r e l i g i o u s charisma that Lo e x p l i c i t l y eschews i n his w r i t i n g s , the aura of h i s b i r t h p l a c e would not have been l o s t on h i s f o l l o w e r s and biographers. The prologues to the f o u r t h and f i f t h books of Lo's Wu-pu  liu-ts 'e a l s o s t a t e that the P a t r i a r c h came from a m i l i t a r y f a m i l y , and that he served at Mi-yun G a r r i s o n , and was e n l i g h t e n e d i n a mountain v a l l e y there. Mi-yvin G a r r i s i o n , about 65 km. northwest of Peking on the Great Wall, was a s t r a t e g i c m i l i t a r y s t a t i o n under the d i r e c t command of the M i l i t a r y Commissioner e] ) 1 9 of the c a p i t a l . 2 0 Elaboration upon Lo's m i l i t a r y c l a s s i f i c a t i o n and p e r i o d of residence i n Mi-yun comes from the Lo sect s themselves. A verse autobiography i n the Precious. Volume of Causal O r i g i n s [based on] the Traces of the  Three P a t r i a r c h s (= TS ft 89 S f& S i % ) (1682) , a b a s i c s c r i p t u r e f o r s e v e r a l Lo s e c t s i n the Ch'ing, says, "My ancestors from f i r s t to l a s t were a f a m i l y of s o l d i e r s " ( S f i i i g f S T - ) 5 ) . 2 1 suggesting that Lo Ch'ing came from a h e r e d i t a r y m i l i t a r y 18. Wan-li Chi-mo hsien chin [Wan-li Period Gazetteer of Chi-mo County] (1579 e d i t i o n ) , I I : 4b-7a; IX: 6a. 19. Names of t i t l e s f o l l o w Charles 0. Hucker, A D i c t i o n a r y of  O f f i c i a l T i t l e s i n Imperial China (Stanford: 1985). 20. Sakai Tadao, "Minmatsu ni okeru hdkan to muikyS" [Pao-chuan and the Non-Action Sect i n the Late Ming] , i n h i s ChQgoku  zensho no kenkyQ [Studies i n Chinese Shan-shu] (Tokyo 1960): 470. 21. San-tsu hsing-chiao yin-yu pao-chuan (Peking L i b r a r y e d i t i o n of 1682), I: 6a. - 23 -household. 2 2 In depositions of sectarian "heretics" taken by Yung-te (jj< $g ) , Governor (j^K fife ) of Chekiang Province, in 1768, the founders of one branch sect, named Ch'ien (H ) and Weng ), were said to have come from Mi-yun "many years" before, and migrated with grain transport workers to Hangchow. There they had established the "Sect of the Great Vehicle" (:*: ) , i d e n t i f i e d by Yung-te as a Lo sect (|£ ffc ) and i n possession of scriptures whose t i t l e s resemble those of the Wu-pu l i u - t s 'e.23 22. From the beginning of the Ming Dynasty, every household was required to provide one male for mi l i t a r y service. He was registered in a mi l i t a r y population register (chun-chi, SE H ) of the Commissioner's Office (Tu-tu fu, U Jft ). He was bound to m i l i t a r y service for l i f e , and his obligation was hereditary for his descendents. For a brief description of the r e g i s t r a t i o n of households i n the Ming, and the "guard-battalion" (wei-so, ftjffi ) system of f r o n t i e r and c a p i t a l defense, see Albert Chan, The Glory and F a l l of the Ming  Dynasty (Norman, OK: 1982), 40-44; and Edward Dreyer, Early  Ming China: A P o l i t i c a l History (Stanford: 1982), 76-87. 23. Shih-liao hsun-k'an [Historical Records Published Every Ten Days] (Peking: 1930-31), f i e r i 404-407: Ch'ien-lung 33 [1768], 9/10, 9/28. Though Yung-te reports that scores of sect scriptures had been confiscated, i t appears from his errors i n l i s t i n g their t i t l e s that the memorialist himself had not l a i d eyes on them. They appear i n the memorial as the Cheng-hsin china (7£ 4s ) , i n six chuan, the K'u-kung  ching ( g i g , properly i§ 5b @ ) , the P'o-hsieh china (ft ffl & ) • and the Chin-kana china F$ g or Diamond Sutra, quoted extensively by Lo and thus undoubtedly a basic scripture of his sects). "On the basis of their t i t l e s , " he writes, "they do not seem the least b i t objectionable (3£ M 3f» & ) " (t'ien 405a). Cf. Tsukamoto Zenryti, " Rakyo no seiritsu to ryQden ni tsuite," 20; Sakai Tadao, "Minmatsu ni okeru hdkan to muikyd," 471; Yeh Wen-hsin, "Jen-shen chih chien: Ch'ien-lun shih-pa shih-chi te Lo-chiao" [Between Men and Gods: A Brief Discussion of the Eighteenth-century Lo Sect], Shih-hsueh p'ing-lun 2 (1980): 69, 71; Sung Kuang-yii, "Shih-lun 'Wu-sheng-lao-mu' tsung-chiao hsin-yang te i-hsieh t'e-chih" [A Preliminary Discussion of the Religious Cult of the Eternal Venerable Mother], Chung-yang yen-chiu yuan l i - shih yu-yen yen-chiu-so chi-k'an 52.3 (1981): 565; David Kelley, "Temples and Tribute Fleets: The Luo Sect and Boatmen's Associations i n the Eighteenth Century," Modern  China 8 (1982): 373-385 passim. - 24 -Though this memorial i s separated from Lo by nearly two hundred years of history, i t i s perhaps not unreasonable to assume that Lo had indeed enjoyed some fame as a religious leader while stationed at Mi-yun Garrison. Moreover, Yung-te goes on to relate that one of his sectarian informants ...served as a s a i l o r on a grain-transport boat (Jffi ) , and sailed to T'ung-chou ( I f f l ) [a prefecture situated east o f Pekinp, at the terminus o f the Grand Canal] in the eighteenth year of Ch'ien-lung [1753]. [One day] in a small eatery he chanced upon a man by the name of Lo Ming-chung {§| cb ) of Mi-yun County. He was more than seventy years of age. People there said he was a descendant [of the founder] of the Lo s e c t s . 2 4 Other memorials of the mid-eighteenth century refer to Lo Ch'ing's descendants in the Chiang-nan area, 2 5 indicating a direct h i s t o r i c a l connection between the Lo Ch'ing of Mi-yun Garrison and the Lo sects of Ch'ing Dynasty Chekiang and Nanking. Was Lo Ch'ing himself a canal boatman? As we sh a l l see in Chapter III, i t was among grain-transport workers that Lo sects pro l i f e r a t e d i n the Ch'ing Dynasty, and the Grand Canal was undoubtedly the route of transmission from Lo's pr i n c i p l e area of a c t i v i t y i n and around Peking to the boatmen's winter quarters i n Hangchow and Soochow.26 The e a r l i e s t reference I have found to the part i c i p a t i o n of boatmen i n Lo sects i s i n the Veritable 24. Shih-liao hsun-k 'an. t'ien 405a-b: Ch'ien-lung 33 (1768), 9/28. 25. ibid., t'ien 50a-51a: undated. 26. This i s the conclusion drawn as well by Sawada Mizuho, Zdho  hdkan no kenkyQ, 305. Cf. David Kelley, "Sect and Society: The Evolution of the Lo Sect among Grain Tribute Fleet Boatmen, 1700-1850" (Ph.D. thesis, Harvard University, 1981). See map i i i . - 25 -Records of the Ming Dynasty ($ IS £8 ) for the th i r d year of T'ien-chi (1623), 2 7 about a hundred years after Lo Ch'ing's death. Indeed, twenty-five years e a r l i e r the Buddhist monk Mi-tsang Tao-k'ai (fg jg j i gfl ) wrote, In the Cheng-te reign period [1506-1522] i n Chi-mo County, Shantung, there was a grain-transport soldier (]H H j|E A ) by the name of Lo Ching (j£ 9? ) . As a youth, he maintained a vegetarian diet (j$ IS ) • 0 n e day n e happened upon a heret i c a l teacher, from whom he received oral formulas of access to the Dharma ($£ |"j p ffc ) . He practiced q u i e t - s i t t i n g for thirteen years, and suddenly saw a l i g h t i n the southeast, which he interpreted as meaning that he had become enlightened. He narrated a scripture i n fi v e parts, drawing wildly upon canonical language for confirmation [of his teachings], e n t i t l e d Awakening to the Way through B i t t e r  E f f o r t (i§ 5>j t§ ) , [The Way of] Non-Action i n Lamentation  for the World (Ig ift & & ), The Key to the Refutation of  Heresy and the Manifestation of the Real (ig 5RS §g |g im I£ ) . Majestic and Unmoved l i k e Mount T'ai (;& uj $jf f| $fj ) • and one other — I've forgotten the name. The P'o-hsieh chuan i s i n two volumes (flfr ), which i s why I say [there are] six volumes.2 8 This i s an interesting statement for a number of reasons. It i s the only direct evidence that Lo Ch'ing was a canal boatman, but otherwise corroborates deta i l s recorded i n Lo's Autobiography (discussed below), including his studies with Buddhist masters, his thirteen years of seeking prior to his 27. Ming Hsi-tsung shih-lu, chuan 32: T'ien-ch'i 3 (1623). Cf. Yu Sung-ch'ing, Ming-Ch'ing pai-lien chiao yen-chiu [Studies of the White Lotus Sect i n the Ming and Ch'ing] (Ch'engtu: 1987), 29. 28. Mi-tsang Tao-k'ai, Tsaiio'-i ching shu [Scriptures and Classics Outside the Storehouse of the Tripitaka], "Wu-pu l i u - t s 'e". Quoted by Sakai Tadao, Zdho hokan no kenkyQ, 476; and Cheng Chih-ming, Wu-sheng-lao-mu hsin-yang su-yuan [Sources of the Belief i n the Eternal Venerable Mother] (Taipei: 1985), 20. For a complete translation of relevant passages, see Overmyer, "Boatmen and Buddhas," 287-288. Mi-tsang was, with his Ch'an master Chen-k'o, pr i n c i p l e editor of the Ming Tripitaka. - 26 -sudden enlightenment, and the correct t i t l e s of at least four of his Five Books i n Six Volumes, which do indeed draw upon canonical scriptures and c l a s s i c s . The errors i n Lo's name (recorded as Lo Ching ) and direction of illumination (recorded as originating in the southeast by Mi-tsang, but the southwest i n Lo's Autobiography), barring errors i n transcription, suggest that Mi-tsang knew of Lo Ch'ing by means of oral transmission and exposure to his sects. Mi-yun Garrison was a long way from the Grand Canal, and soldiers stationed there would have been assigned to border defense, but i t i s not unimaginable that Lo or his followers among the Mi-yun conscripts would have been re-assigned to the grain-transport corps during a period of shortage or i n a peak season for shipping along the Canal. 2 9 We need not engage i n speculation to conclude that some h i s t o r i c a l facts about Lo Ch'ing and his early l i f e can be known from the writings of non-sectarians: that his home was i n the Lao Mountains of Shantung, and that he was stationed — as his ancestors had been before him — at Mi-yun Garrision as a border guard, and there experienced a religious awakening which led to the composition of his f i v e scriptures and the enrollment of a group of d i s c i p l e s . 29. Sakai believes this would have been unusual, since border troops and grain-transport troops were under d i s t i n c t p o l i t i c a l j u r i s d i c t i o n s in the Ming, but there were times that additional labor was required for the important work of transport along the Grand Canal, and soldiers were assigned to the task (Zdho hokan no kenkyQ, 470-471). See also Hoshi Ayao, Mindai s6~un no kenkyQ (Tokyo: 1963), edited and translated by Mark El v i n as The Ming Tribute Grain System (Ann Arbor: 1969), passim. - 27 -That so l i t t l e can be said of this man on the basis of non-sectarian records demonstrates the paucity of conventional sources that can be drawn upon to formulate an account of his l i f e and work. By "conventional sources" I mean the h i s t o r i c a l writings of the state and i t s o f f i c i a l s , the "saints' l i v e s " genre of i n s t i t u t i o n a l Buddhism, and the essays of scholars and Confucianized Buddhists, a l l of whom found Lo and his writings inherently unworthy of attention. But, of course, i t i s the purpose of studies such as this to expand our standards of evidence, and, as a corollary, to question the o b j e c t i v i t y of conventional historiography in favor of a more nuanced characterization of Ming Buddhism, and of Chinese r e l i g i o n generally, as i t was l i v e d and practiced by ordinary people. About Lo Ch'ing i n particular, we can learn so much more when we explore sectarian scripture and hagiography — no less "objective" as a source for our understanding of Chinese b e l i e f s and practices than the staid condemnations of the upholders of orthodoxy who enjoyed the leg i t i m i z i n g power of state recognition. Let us turn to those sources then, including the autobiographical writings of Lo Ch'ing himself, for a richer p o r t r a i t of the P a t r i a r c h . 3 0 30. My sources for the biography of Lo Ch'ing are from these works (for complete references, see the bibliography and s p e c i f i c c i tations below): Lo Ch'ing, K'u-kung wu-tao pao-chuan [The Precious Volume of Awakening to the Way through B i t t e r Effort] (1509). Lan Feng, "Tsu-shih hsing-chiao shih-tzu miao-sung" [The Marvelous Githi i n Ten-Character Verse of Master Lo's Travels (in Search of Enlightenment)] (mid-16th century). Chin-ling hua-yang chu-shih Wang Hai-ch 'ao hui-chieh [The Commentary of Layman Wang Hai-ch'ao of Hua-yang County, - 28 -2. The Autobiography of Lo Ch'ing Lo's autobiography, the K'u-kung wu-tao chuan, recounts his "thirteen years of b i t t e r e f f o r t i n search of the Way," culminating i n his sudden enlightenment. It begins with meditations on the pains of samsira and the impermanence of l i f e , occasioned by Lo Ch'ing's distress over the premature deaths of his parents. Lo's orphan status dominates his thinking, and is a recurring motif of his re l i g i o u s writing. Dreading the pain of the impermanence of l i f e and death, [I undertook] the f i r s t step of my i n i t i a l investigation. I observed that a l l the myriad things are impermanent, and that a l l things which have the signs of existence are empty and insubstantial (H,r9fWt§|jSJ£^)- The l i g h t cast i n a hundred years las t s but one ksana;31 wealth, position, Chin-ling Prefecture (on the Five Books i n Six Volumes)] (1629). Fo-shuo san-huanct ch'u-fen t'ien-ti t' an-shih pao-chuan [The Precious Volume Spoken by the Buddha i n Lamentation for the World for the Division of Heaven and Earth by the Three Emperors] (1639). P'u Sung-ling, Liao-chai chih-i [A Collection of Strange Stories from the Conversation Hut] (1679). San-tsu hsing-chiao yin-yu pao-chuan [The Precious Volume of Causal Origins based on the Traces of the Three Patriarchs] (1682). Chung-hsi pao-chuan [The Precious Volume of Universal Joy] (1840). Ts'ai Heng-tzu, Ch 'ung-ming man-lu [Casual Records of the Cries of Insects] (1877). Joseph Edkins, Chinese Buddhism (1893). Lo-tsu ch'u-shih t'ui fan-ping pao-chuan [The Precious Volume of Patriarch Lo's Engagement with the World, Repelling the Foreign Army] (Ch'ing). Ch'en Kuo-ping, ed., "Lo-tsu ch'uan-lu" [The Biography of Patriarch Lo] (Republican period). J.J.M. de Groot, Sectarianism and Religious Persecution in China (1903). P'u-k'ung, "Lo-tsu chien-shih" [The Brief History of Patriarch Lo] (1978). 31. Ch'a-na ( f f l ) : the shortest unit of time, a moment, "the time of one thought," "the time of one wink [or glance (8 ]". - 29 -honor, and glory are l i k e a dream. Thought i t s e l f i s no more than an insubstantial, ornate dream. Looking at i t closely, I found that there was not one thing [flg— $J — i . e . not one thing existed in a substantial sense]. (K'u- kuncr 1:17-18) . For Lo Ch'ing, the image which t y p i f i e s the suffering of samsira i s the subterranean h e l l where the soul must submit to punishment. The spark of the soul (H T& ) goes to suffer i n an unknown place, the Terranean Prefecture of the Officer of H e l l , 3 2 where there i s no sun, moon, or constellations, and the sky i s shrouded and the earth i s black. (K'u-kung 1:19). Having been born, one dies; having died, one i s born [again] . [But] one does not attain eternal l i f e (-g £ ) . After death, the four elements [of the body] 3 3 are consumed by f i r e and turn to ashes and dust. The soul i n h e l l has no place to take refuge. In the yang^-world, your parents watch over you when you are i l l , but i n the yixi-world, there i s no one to care for you — you are a lonely orphan soul. {K'u- kung 2:26). Alas, I was vexed and troubled i n my heart. 3 4 Suddenly the [cycle of] impermanent samsira [ i . e . , death] came to me l& $ M S £ 5E SI Jfc ) ' and I did not know where I would go to Nakamura Hajime, Bukky6-go daijiten [Comprehensive Dictionary of Buddhist Terms] (Tokyo: 1975), 827b. 32. Yin-ssu ti-fu (ft ej fljj Jft ) : Ssu and fu are both names of bureaucratic o f f i c e s in imperial China. A ssu i s a "court" or "court o f f i c e r " , a fu i s a "prefecture" (between a province % and a county |$ ) or "prefectural bureau". Yin-ssu i s the "court o f f i c e r of h e l l , " r e f e r r i n g to King Yama (HD I S B E ) i ti-fu the "prefecture of the earth [ i . e . the underground]". Morohashi Te t s u j i , Daikanwa j i t e n [Comprehensive Dictionary of Chinese Characters], 11:845 (41691.132), 2:777 (3257), 4:558 (9283, def. 11). 33. Ssu-ta (E jz ): the four constituent elements (mahibhQta) of a l l material things: earth, water, f i r e , and wind. Nakamura, Bukkyd-go daijiten, 526c. 34. Fan-nao (jfg fig ) : a common Buddhist expression for the anxiety, "rage", passion, and confusion a r i s i n g from mental attachment; freedom from this state of mind i s the principle psychological reward of l i b e r a t i o n or non-attachment. Nakamura, Bukkyd-go daijiten, 1273c. - 30 -suffer. After death, I w i l l be unable to see the l i g h t of Heaven and Earth. Dreading the pain of the cycle of samsira, I dared not abandon my search, and progressed another step ( « t f i £ 5 E t & ) i ; £ S ^ i e & # F I & - - ^ ) . (K'u-kung 3:32) . At this point, Lo begins a period of reclusion and the cu l t i v a t i o n of immortality techniques, i n hopes of defeating death and phenomenal impermanence: "what people say has no benefit, and I took no pleasure i n l i s t e n i n g to them" ( A I & a S f c & m l ^ l l K l l l S ) - Based on reports of "men of antiquity" (l& A ) » he enters into the mountains and maintains a diet of f i r and cypress seeds, seeking "no death and long l i f e " (^f fr\ -g £ ) . Yet this environment i s no more comforting than the world of society: "In seclusion I wept, vexed and unsettled. Among men I was r i d i c u l e d , my s p i r i t s assaulted" (K'u-kung 3:33-34). One day, a friend c a l l s on him, and Lo i s overjoyed to have human company. He i s told of a Pure Land master i n a distant v i l l a g e . Lo travels with his friend to study with the teacher. The Pure Land monk t e l l s him about Amitabha, whom he c a l l s the "Eternal Progenitor" (fc ± # & ) . "Your soul [ l i t . "this spark of l i g h t " ] , " he says, " i s the infant offspring of the Buddha" < S » 3feft*-S S » ) (K'u-kung 3:35) . 3 ° Lo devotes eight years 35. This i s the f i r s t instance of the phrase wu-sheng fu-mu i n the Wu-pu liu-ts' e, and, as far as we know, i n the history of Chinese r e l i g i o n s . Wu-sheng, l i t e r a l l y "not born", means "eternal" and "immortal", and s p e c i f i c a l l y i n a Buddhist context, free of the constraints of samsira (as i n wu-sheng wu-mieh fc £ fc, "subject to neither b i r t h nor extinction"); Nakamura, Bukkyd-go daijiten, 1330b, 1331b; Morohashi, ' Daikanwa jiten, 7:442 (19113.517); William S o o t h i l l and Lewis Hodous, A Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms (1937; Taipei: 1962) , 381b-382a. The phrase wu-sheng fu-mu cannot be found in texts of the Pure Land tr a d i t i o n , before or after Lo Ch'ing, though AmitSbha i s cl e a r l y associated with - 31 -to Pure Land practice, but he i s both uncertain that his recitations are heard and skeptical that the Western Paradise of the Pure Land School is not characterized by the same impermanence and insubstantiality as the phenomenal world. I t i s , he concludes, "an i l l u s o r y , non-existent realm" (*S * g f? ) (K'u-kung 5:45). He begs to take leave of the Pure Land master. That night, Lo overhears the chanting of monks performing funerary r i t e s for an elderly woman of the neighborhood. They are r e c i t i n g the Ritual Code of the Diamond Sutra Q £| ) , a ..Sung "amplification text" {Q & ) of the Chin-kang ching used for public r e c i t a t i o n and i n s t r u c t i o n . 3 6 The monks chant, "One must immortality i n the e a r l i e s t Chinese translations of Pure Land scriptures. See the AmitSbha and SukhSvativyuha Sutras S M S ) (T12.360-366.265-348), and Raoul Birnbaum's discussion of AmitSbha and the early immortality cult, "Seeking Longevity i n Chinese Buddhism: Long L i f e Deities and Their Symbolism," Journal of Chinese Religions 13/14 (1985/1986), 145-147. As we s h a l l see below, Lo eventually rejects the id e n t i t y of the "Eternal Progenitor" with AmitSbha in the context of his general c r i t i c i s m of Pure Land religious c u l t i v a t i o n , and describes wu-sheng fu-mu in favorable terms as the "Holy Ancestor of the Limitless" a creator deity at once i d e n t i f i e d with the self and at the same time projected as an object of reverence and adoration. Lo sectarians founded a cult to a deity called the "Eternal Venerable Mother" (& £ £ © ) within f i f t y years of Lo's death. Indeed, wu-sheng fu-mu i s described in feminine terms throughout the Wu-pu liu-ts 'e, and imagery of a holy mother dominates Lo's soteriology. It should be noted that wu-sheng lao- mu cult s developed independent of the Lo sects i n the Ming and Ch'ing. 36. Chin-kang k'o-i (HTC 129: 29-44 — edition of the Tao-kuang reign period of the Ch'ing [1821-1851]). For a discussion of the authorship and basic contents of the Chin-kang k'o-i, see Yoshioka Yoshitoyo, "Shoshaku kongd kagi no seiritsu ni tsuite" [On the Authorship of the Chin-kang k'o-i] , RyQkoku  shidan 56-57 (1966), 154-170; Cheng Chih-ming, "Sung-tai Hsiao-shih Chin-kang k'o-i te tsung-chiao ssu-hsiang" [The Religious Thought of the Chin-kang k'o-i of the Sung], in his Chung-kuo she-hui yu tsung-chiao [Chinese Society and Religion] (Taipei: 1986), 213-224; and Daniel Overmyer, "Values i n Ming and Ch'ing Pao-chuan," i n David Johnson, - 32 -accept i n f a i t h , then take [faith] and examine oneself!" (W A l a g & £ g &* ) (JT'u-^ung 5:46) .37 "When I heard these words," Lo reports, "my heart was f i l l e d with joy. Requesting a copy of the Chin-kana k'o-i, I studied i t in i t s entirety for three years" ( i b i d . ) . Important as the Chin-kana k'o-i was to become i n Lo's mature thought — i t i s cited more often than any other text i n his Wu-pu l i u - t s 'e — i t did not slake his s p i r i t u a l t h i r s t . I examined the [Chin-kana'] k 'o-i for three years, [but] my investigation was not penetrating, and I could not attain awakening. Tears flowed from my eyes. Rice I did not eat, tea I did not drink, anxious and unsettled. Fearing samsira i n every breath my stomach [ l i t . "gall"] trembled and my heart was alarmed. In this l i f e [ l i t . "revolution (of the wheel of samsira)"], I am unable to escape the b i t t e r sea of samsira. The space of one ksana, once l o s t , i s never to be re-encountered. This l i f e , I have become incarnate [as a man], [but] human form i s d i f f i c u l t to attain, and i t i s [as i n s i g n i f i c a n t as] a seed r o l l e d or needle tossed on Mt. Sumeru. I determined to read no longer, and again to advance a step [in my search]. Sweeping away the step I had progressed, I had no where to take refuge. (K'u-kung 5:51). Lo Ch'ing then attempts various methods of Buddhist and Taoist meditation and several forms of popular divination (K'u- kung 6:53-66). He concludes that they are "motley methods" (H & ) which are useless i n the face of human mortality (K'u-kung 6:62), and abandons them. 3 8 Andrew Nathan, and Evelyn Rawski, eds., Popular Culture in  Late Imperial China (Berkeley: 1985), 225-227. See Chapter IV for further discussion of this and other texts of the k'o-i genre. 37. The phrase does not appear i n the Hsu tsang china edition of the Chin-kana k'o-i (ibid.). 38. We w i l l examine these practices more closely below. - 33 -From these p r a c t i c a l aids to religious understanding, Lo turns to more metaphysical questions about the origins of the universe and the substance of r e a l i t y . He asks, what was the nature of existence " . . . i n the beginning, when there was no Heaven and Earth tH M Ji M it ) ? " In these meditations, Lo has his f i r s t insight into Emptiness ( j g ^ E ) . 3 9 Before there was a Heaven and Earth, f i r s t there was an Unmoved Emptiness: unbounded, unlimited, unmoving, unshaken. It i s the Dharma-body ifeM) of the Buddhas. While ch'ien (?£ ) and k'un (i$ ) [Heaven and Earth] are subject to decay, Emptiness i s not... My heart was overjoyed! (K'u-kung 7:67-69). Lo had discovered, personally and experientially, one of the fundamental teachings of the Buddhist t r a d i t i o n . Emptiness was to become a key conception of his emerging religious system. Yet, i n the course of his s p i r i t u a l progress, Lo i s unable to see the relevance of this i n t e l l e c t u a l discovery to the ex i s t e n t i a l problems of his l i f e . Though Emptiness i s a l l -inclusive, "penetrating the mountains and seas" (f£ UJ )S M ) and "universally sheltering humankind" ( f S | | ) (K'u-kung 9:77), how, he asks, does this bear upon one's own existence and well-being? Having understood that Emptiness i s the Dharma-L?dy of a l l the Buddhas, s t i l l I did not know [how] to se t t l e tu? body 39. Lo Ch'ing c l e a r l y attaches metaphysical importance to his conception of hsu-k'ung, and I translate the phrase as "Emptiness" (Sanskrit, $Qnya or tdnyati, Chinese equivalents f$3a$> < S i & ) » "the immaterial universe behind a l l phenomena" (Soothill and Hodous, Dictionary of Chinese  Buddhist Terms, 389b), and not i t s more l i t e r a l meaning of "empty space" (Skt., ikisa). Cf. Nakamura, Bukkyd-go daijiten, 349d. - 34 -and establish my des t i n y 4 0 or [how] to become free and autonomous.41 (K'u-kung 8:73). The problem, Lo concludes, i s that a metaphysical conception of Emptiness, as an idea that can be grasped i n t e l l e c t u a l l y , i s merely another form of mental attachment. Any attempt to conceptualize Emptiness w i l l prove false, perpetuating the problem that i t i s seen to resolve. It i s not an i n t e l l e c t u a l attachment, but rather an experiental i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with Emptiness that resolves his s p i r i t u a l search. I progressed another step [in my search]. Do not be attached to Being; do not be attached to Non-Being (^ $1 W ^  ^  M ) • Simply i n being human i s the DJiarjna-nature of True Emptiness ( ^ A * E J l ! l £ a t £ ) . (K'u-kung 11:47) , 4 240. An-shen li-ming ($ tL & ) : Morohashi cites the Ch'uan teng  lu (T51.2076) i n his d e f i n i t i o n : "to se t t l e the body, knowing how to follow one's Heaven-bestowed destiny, the mind without worries and anxieties" ( ^ ^ r o t i t 5 I: Z *> & ftl-^T M £ 3LT , S ^  t8 fii ifi t£ l> Z t ) • Daikanwa jiten, 3:917 (7072.245). 41. Tsung-heng tzu-tsai tit fi! £ ) : Lo Ch'ing frequently uses this phrase to describe the autonomy or self-determination of the enlightened i n d i v i d u a l . I t suggests an expansiveness, ease, composure, and freedom of mind, not the attainment of physical, supernormal powers. To be tsung-heng i s "to behave as one pleases" (translating Morohashi: J J H ^ ^ i l C J i t f ? ^ : Morohashi cites the Hou Han shu, describing the guest who "makes himself at home" (Daikanwa jiten, 8:9293 [27819.103, def. 5]). Cf. Chang Ch'i-yun, Chung-wen ta tz'u tien [Comprehensive Dictionary of Chinese Characters], 26:130 (28475.92, def. 4). To be tzu-tsai i n a Buddhist context i s "a state i n which one i s freed from the constraints of mental attachment and anxiety" (& # <1 fiS <D & h M ti Z Z t ) ; "to be unconstrained and unobstructed" (^ & X W 8? °~> fl v» ^  t ) (Morohashi, Daikanwa jiten, 9:408 [30095.215]). I treat tsung-heng tzu-tsai as a single l e x i c a l term, and translate i t as "free and autonomous," "self-composed," " s e l f -possessed," "self-determining," and so on. 42. We may be presupposing too much to credit Lo Ch'ing with a sophisticated understanding of Buddhist epistemology. Clearly, he was struggling with one of the fundamental conceptions of Buddhism — i n the concept of Emptiness — and - 35 -In a flash of insight, I progressed another step i n my investigation. My heart was overjoyed! Do not take refuge in Being; do not take refuge i n Non-Being (^ if ^ SS M ) • The Self i s True Emptiness ( i S f t ^ ). The Mother i s the Self. The Self i s the Mother. In o r i g i n they are one in the same. . . (K'u-kuncr 11:48) . Rather than i n abstract conceptualizations of the nature of existence, the resolution of the religious quest can be found immediately and d i r e c t l y , i n the s e l f , i d e n t i f i e d with Emptiness, the "Mother" of creation. In the d i a l e c t i c a l fashion i n which his meditations proceed, even this insight, however, i s to be questioned. Was Lo merely replacing his attachment to i n t e l l e c t u a l formulations of the nature of r e a l i t y with another form of attachment, to the "True Emptiness" of the Self? Attached to s e l f , I was not self-composed, and my heart was troubled. Having progressed a step, I had regressed a step, and not achieved self-determination. (K'u-kung 11:49). As Wang Yuan-ching comments, Although he understood that the nature of the True Self [is characterized by] Emptiness, s t i l l he was attached to the word " I " (fjt ) . And, l i k e ice that has not melted completely, with a s o l i d mass s t i l l contained within [the surrounding water], there was yet something l i k e a substantial thing (— $ j ) within his mind, vague and misleading. That i s why he said that he was "mentally attached" [to the s e l f ] . No wonder he was troubled! (K'u- kuncr 11:50). the use of paradox i n Buddhist sQtras and distras to define i t . His association of Emptiness with "Being" and "Non-Being" suggests some exposure to c l a s s i c a l Chinese Buddhism. For the background of these issues i n early Chinese Buddhism, see Kenneth Chen, "Neo-Taoism and the PrajnS School during the Wei and Chin Dynasties," Chinese Culture 1 (1957), 33-46; and Arthur Link, "The Taoist Antecedents of Tao-an's Prajna' Ontology," History of Religions 9 (1969), 181-215. - 36 -Every stage of his progress thus far — Taoistic reclusion, Pure Land r e c i t a t i o n , Ch'an meditation, the study of texts, and the i n t e l l e c t u a l grasping of True Emptiness and of i t s identity with the Self — had l e f t the Patriarch i n doubt and confusion. At l a s t , his f i n a l enlightenment comes, quite l i t e r a l l y , i n a flash of illumination. It appears f i r s t i n a dream, and then i s re-experienced i n a waking state: Day and night, i n the midst of my passions and dreams, I cried out i n pain. Startled, I nudged the Emptiness (5R ®J till £ ) r [and I found i t to be] the Venerable True Emptiness (% M?E ) • I evinced great goodwill and compassion. From the Southwest came forth the bright glow of the Way, enveloping and illuminating my body. [But] i n my dream the enveloping [light] dispersed, and [the light] having dispersed, my suffering did not cease. When I awoke, I was s t i l l l e f t with a troubled fee l i n g . Facing the Southwest, I sat erect and composed. Suddenly, the mind-flower blossomed and the mind-foundation was penetrated, making transparent the evanescent l i g h t of the orig i n < ^ ^ ^ % I % ) . Only then was I free and s e l f -possessed; only then was I autonomous and at peace. (K'u- kung 12:53-55). The agent of Lo's enlightenment i s the "Venerable True Emptiness" (3* H z£ ) . Elsewhere, Lo describes Emptiness as a creator deity call e d the "Holy Ancestor of the Limitless" (fc f§ i i & ) • The "transparent," "evanescent l i g h t of the or i g i n " i s the perception of the o r i g i n a l state of the universe, before any discrete, individual objects came into existence. Moreover, i t i s that "place" where confusion i s dispelled, worries and troubles eliminated, and ignorance d i s s o l v e d . 4 3 43. On the "Holy Ancestor of the Limitless," see Cheng-hsin 5:32-47 and Chapter III below. On the o r i g i n a l , "transparent" universe, see Chieh-kuo 24:107. For a discussion of this passage from Lo's Autobiography, see Cheng Chih-ming, Wu-sheng lao-mu hsin-yang su-yuan, 77-81. - 37 -Lo concludes his enlightenment account by describing the f r u i t s of his insights. Having come, then, to this point i n my search, at la s t I had attained ease and self-determination, and thorough penetration of the internal and the external, forming a single continuum. No inside or outside, no east or west, no south or north, no above or below: free and autonomous. In motion and at rest, s i t t i n g or lying down, [I f e l t ] open and clear, l i k e a shaft of l i g h t ! When death [ l i t . "danger"] i s imminent, the four elements of the body scatter and spread [to other things]. It cannot be described or depicted. Self-determining and autonomous — mountains, r i v e r s , rocks and c l i f f s could not obstruct [my progress]. East, west, south, and north, the four intermediate directions, above and below: I looked on them a l l the same, as one body (— jj | fa] gg ) . After thirteen years of b i t t e r e f f o r t , I had attained c l a r i t y and insight, I had attained awakening through r e f l e c t i o n . (K'u-kung 13:61-62). The implication of these passages i s that Lo has realized a measure of immortality, with ultimate control over his own destiny, transcending the "danger" and mortality of phenomenal existence, his soul free of physical constraints. He has become a "Perfected Man" (MA) (K'u-kung 13:64), i d e n t i c a l with the "Great Emptiness" ): "He i s I, and I am He. [I am] one body with Emptiness" (K'u-kung 14:72). He i s now the "True Body" (jg ) , "the root of men and women" (fB&;ffl ), "the body of the Buddhas" (|£ f§ ) , and i d e n t i c a l to the progenitor of Heaven and Earth, yin and yang, the fi v e grains and fi v e elements — indeed, a l l of creation (K'u-kung 15-16:74-87). Lo's enlightenment i s one of identity with the universe, the creator, and a l l beings past and present. Lo's discoveries in his s p i r i t u a l search become the basis for his re l i g i o u s teachings i n his career as a sect leader. The Autobiography i s not only our best source for a l i f e of Lo - 38 -Ch'ing, but also for a general outline of his thought. We explore Lo's religious philosophy in more d e t a i l in Chapter II, based upon a l l of his Five Books. y 3. Lo Ch'ing in Sectarian Hagiography For a richer portrait of the Patriarch, we must turn to sectarian accounts of his l i f e . Typical of Chinese hagiographic writing -- other examples are readily available in the Taoist, Buddhist, and Confucian canons, as well as in popular sectarian pao-chuan — these biographies place Lo Ch'ing in a cosmic context, and portray him as a savior and saint endowed With supernormal powers and complete understanding, in regard to their use-fulness to historians , these materials evidence the growth of his cult and the charismatic attraction of his persona as a sectarian leader 5 though they are of li t t l e value in establishing the facts of Lo's life The e a r l i e s t biography of Patriarch Lo appears i n verse form in the f i r s t pages of his Five Books i n Six Volumes. It was composed by Lan Feng (H S) whose githSs ornament the commentary edition of Wang Yuan-ching (3£ fft ), preface dated 1596. Lan Feng's verse biography, "The Marvelous Githa in Ten-Character Verse of Master Lo's Travels [in Search of Enlightenment]," appears below i n prose t r a n s l a t i o n . 4 4 44. A l l translations of verse i n this dissertation are i n prose form. This for two reasons: f i r s t , the verse portions of the Wu-pu liu-ts 'e have a r i t u a l function — they are meant to be learned and chanted. The cadence of these chants was derived from popular entertainment, which cannot be reproduced in English translation. Second, what i s remarkable about these verses, for my purposes, i s not their form, but their narrative and pedagogical content. - 39 -The venerable Buddha of antiquity •£ $ ) became incarnate (ft 4t ) » adopting the surname Lo. For the benefit of a l l l i v i n g beings, he descended to Shantung to carry out their universal salvation. Thanks to the generous compassion and virtue of his parents, who maintained the precepts during pregnancy, he entered into the world in human form, i n the seventh year of the Cheng-te reign period. Appearing at midnight on the f i r s t day of the twelfth month [corresponding to January 1, 1443 of the Western calendar], he l e f t his mother's womb and ate no meat or strong vegetables — a bodhisattva i n the world of men! At the age of three, he l o s t his father; at the age of seven, his mother — an orphan cast away. How p i t i f u l ! Without a father or mother, he was forced to depend on his uncle and aunt. Out of the goodness of their hearts, they raised him to adulthood. Every day he l i v e d i n fear of b i r t h and death. Vexed and grieved, he knew no respite — thinking of samsira and the bitterness of rebirths among the six levels of reincarnation [as a deva, human, beast, hungry ghost, being-in-hell, or airura-demon] , his stomach ["gall"] trembled and his heart palpitated with anxiety. In the sixth year of the Ch'eng-hua reign period [1470; age 28], he set out in search of masters and companions in study. Day and night, he did not sleep, courageous i n his pursuit of future merit. Tea he did not drink, r i c e he did not eat for thirteen years, u n t i l , in the eighteenth year of Ch'eng-hua [1482; age 40], he awakened at l a s t to the enlightened mind. On the eighteenth day of the tenth month, the Patriarch completed the ripening of the Way. Precisely at midnight, his mind was opened to enlightenment: an experiential penetration, sparkling and clear! In the sixth year of Chia-ch'ing [1527], with no heart to remain i n this world, he abandoned the mind and body just after the New Year, aged 85... (K'u-kuncr 1:13-15). Poetic indeed this glorious l i f e of a Buddha incarnate, who overcame the worldly pain of orphanhood and s p i r i t u a l struggles in his youth to experience a sudden enlightenment after thirteen years of b i t t e r austerity. "Versifying" the translations would conceal their c l a r i t y and appeal to the people who actually read and use the texts. - 40 -In texts discovered by J.J.M. de Groot i n his investigations of Lo sects i n nineteenth-century Fukien, 4 3 Lo i s portrayed as a divine being who yearns to establish the Third Dragon-Flower Assembly of Maitreya, and bring salvation to a l l l i v i n g beings. He petitions the heavenly "Old Grandfather" ), the "Limitless" (fc ) , to f u l f i l l this cosmic destiny: The Most High Venerable Patriarch of the Limitless (7\ ± fc 3£ & ) later ascended to the palace again, and spoke to the assembled Buddhas: "Ninety-six m i l l i o n ({g ) embryonic sons and daughters (fg| Bft % £ ) came into being ($H Ji ) 4 6 and were dispersed throughout the world. [From that time] u n t i l the present, they are crazed with longing for the earth [§£ ^  — Skt. sahi], and their true nature i s sunken and lost [within the material world]. No one has been enlightened [ l i t . "converted by a spark"] as to where to return to their ancestral home. "In the Age of the Prior Heaven ($fc Ji ) I ordered Dipamkara Buddha to save two m i l l i o n adepts of immortality ({[Ii % ) . In the Age of the Middle Heaven (t£ Ji ) I ordered Sikyamuni Buddha to save two m i l l i o n monks (fg % ). There are s t i l l ninety-two m i l l i o n l e f t . Now, the Posterior Heaven ($t Ji ) reigns over the world. Who w i l l descend to the earth, to c a l l my sons and daughters to return home?" The assembled Buddhas dared not answer. Only Patriarch Lo, expressing compassion and commiseration, distinguished himself from the rest, and respectfully replied, "I wish to become incarnate i n the world, to transform and save 4 7 the sons and daughters, that they may return to their ancestral home. What i s your holy w i l l ? " 45. He observed the Lung-hua (f| i$ ) and Hsien-t'ien (% Ji ) sects in the 1880's. Sectarianism and Religious Persecution i n  China (Amsterdam: 1903), 176-259. 46. K'ai-t'ien (^ j J= ) : this would appear to be a peculiar use of the phrase. Morohashi, c i t i n g the Chuang-tzu (see the Harvard-Yenching Index, Supplement 20, Concordance to  Chuang-tzu [Peking: 1947], 48/19/16), defines k ' a i - t ' i e n as "moving i n accordance with the basic nature of one's natural endowment" (JiW,<D%:&lzV£.~3XW)< Z £ )• Daikanwa j i t e n , 11:718 [41233.284]. 47. Or, "save by conversion". Hua-tu (it S ): "guide the myriad beings to salvation" ( & £ £ i S f o Z t ) • Nakamura, Bukkyo-go daijiten, 292d. The Old Grandfather j o y f u l l y commissioned Patriarch Lo, and he descended to the earth to make a new start [ l i t . "clear the wasteland"] and reveal the teaching... 4 8 Thus, in the f u l l y developed sectarian t r a d i t i o n , Lo's followers describe the Patriarch i n cosmic terms, as the divinely-appointed champion and savior of the common people. He i s no less than Maitreya incarnate, appointed to his role i n a transcendent, pre-existent realm. 4 9 The latest biography of Patriarch Lo available to us i s the "Brief History of Patriarch Lo, Unsurpassed Ancestral Master" (±±81l&lJllifif8f5t)r an u n c r i t i c a l c o l l e c t i o n of Lo Ch'ing hagiographies compiled i n 1978 by the branch head of Taichung's Hall of People's Virtue ( K ^ ^ ) of the Dragon-Flower Sect. 9 0 The "Brief History" i s written i n a vernacular form of c l a s s i c a l Chinese, and borrows freely from a number of sectarian 48. DeGroot, ibid., 180-181 (note 1): my translation of the Chinese text. 49. On messianic expectations of Maitreya's salvation of humanity in a th i r d , "Dragon Flower" assembly, see the Preface above, pp. 1-2 (notes 2-3) , and the a r t i c l e s collected i n Alan Sponberg and Helen Hardacre, eds., Maitreya: The Future  Buddha (Cambridge: 1988) . On messianic expectations i n Chinese popular sectarianism, and the three-stage kalpic time-scheme suggested i n de Groot's text, see Daniel Overmyer's a r t i c l e i n the Sponberg-Hardacre volume, "Maitreya in Chinese Popular Religion" (pp. 110-134), and his Folk  Buddhist Religion: Dissenting Sects in Late Traditional  China (Cambridge: 1976), 83, 134-161; and Susan Naquin, Millenarian Rebellion i n China: The Eight Trigrams Uprising  of 1813 (New Haven: 1976), 7-24. 50. P'u-k'ung, "Lo-tsu chien-shih," i n Luncj-hua k'o-i [Ritual Instruction Book of the Dragon-flower Assembly] (Taichung: 1985): 1-12. - 42 -scriptures, without a t t r i b u t i o n . 3 1 It i s a r i c h compendium of Lo Ch'ing lore, and the text which shapes the imagination of Lo sectarians i n contemporary Taiwan. Though of l i t t l e value in uncovering the h i s t o r i c a l d e t a i l s of Lo Ch'ing's l i f e , the "Brief History" i s a primary source for sectarian hagiography and re l i g i o u s practice among present-day Lung-hua followers. The "Brief History" also places Lo i n a cosmic context, with an introductory section on the origins of the universe, based on Neo-Confucian cosmology, and a basic chronology of the history of Buddhism i n China. 3 2 However Lo may have understood himself, his followers saw him as a divine savior, indistinguishable from Maitreya and the Eternal Venerable Mother (fa £ 3£ S ) > their patron goddess and ultimate savior. For Lo sectarians, Lo's biography i s infused with mythic significance. Birth and Childhood The "Brief History of Patriarch Lo, Unsurpassed Ancestral Master" begins by recording Lo's parents, native place, and early propensity for religious c u l t i v a t i o n : Patriarch-master Lo, founding patriarch of the Buddhist Dragon-Flower Sect of the unsurpassed Dharma-gate of At-home Cultivation, had the surname Lo, the taboo name (|§ ) Yin (@ ) , the style (^ ) Ch'ing (j# ) , the Z7harroa-appellation (Ss Sfe ) Wu-k'ung $ ) , and the Carina-name £ ) P'u-jen 51. The e a r l i e s t i s probably the San-tsu yin-yu pao-chuan [Precious Volume of Causal Origins based on the Traces of the Three Patriarchs] (1682), the pr i n c i p l e source for the "Chien-shih" account of Lo's debate with foreign monks, translated below. 52. i j b i d . , 1. - 43 -( f C ). He became incarnate (R$ £ ) in Chu-wei c i t y (?&£1 fc£ )- Chi-mo county, Lai-chou prefecture, Shantung province, at midnight of the f i r s t day of the twelfth month of the seventh year of the reign of Emperor Ying-tsung of the Ming, 535 years ago, 1443. His father was Lo Ch'uan (3t ) / styled Teng-lung (f£ H ) , a farmer who took delight i n the good and made a practice of charitable giving. When he was three years old, his mother l e f t the world, and when he was seven, his father. He was forced to depend on his uncle Lo K'uei ), styled Teng-ssu ( t S ), and aunt, nee She (S& ) , to raise him to adulthood. Lo's Heaven-bestowed nature (5^ £fc ) was acute and i n t e l l i g e n t , warm and approachable. He was p r o f i c i e n t in reading r e l i g i o u s books. At twelve years of age, his Buddha-destiny (#5^ ) had matured, and he took refuge in the Three Treasures and applied himself to c u l t i v a t i n g the Buddhist Path. 3 3 Here we have the f u l l d e t a i l s of Lo's parentage, including his ages when they passed away,3'1 and the names of the uncle and aunt who raised him to adulthood. Despite their possession of styles ), suggesting gentry standing, Lo's father and uncle were anonymous folk, absent from the biographical sections of the Chi-mo County gazetteers, extant geneologies, or the o f f i c i a l h i s t o r i e s of the Ming, our f i r s t clue that the hagiography of the "Brief History" cannot make a claim to h i s t o r i c a l authenticity. 53 . ibid. , 2. 54. The r e l a t i v e ages of their deaths are the opposite of those given by Lan Feng in his verse biography, which states that his father died when he was three and his mother when he was seven (p. 40 above). In the Cheng-hsin chuan of the Wu-pu  l i u - t s 'e edited by Wang Hai-ch'ao (preface 1629), the r e l a t i v e order corresponds to Lan Feng's. The Chung-hsi  pao-chuan [Precious Volume of Universal Joy], composed in the Tao-kuang reign period of the Ch'ing (1821-1851), also agrees with Lan's chronology. Yoshioka Yoshitoyo, "Kindai chdgoku ni okeru hdkan ryQ shQkyd no tenkai," 28; Sawada Mizuho, Zdho  hdkan no kenkyQ, 148. DeGroot's sources have Lo losing his father at seven and his mother at thirteen (op. c i t . ) . In any case, Lo's orphan status i s recorded i n each source. - 44 -M i l i t a r y Service The "Brief History of Patriarch Lo" t e l l s us that Lo Ch'ing was assigned to Mi-yun Garrison at the age of fourteen ( 1 4 5 6 ) . His m i l i t a r y career lasted from that time u n t i l 1470, when he i n i t i a t e d his "thirteen years of b i t t e r e f f o r t i n search of the Way." During his service, he studied both m i l i t a r y (2$ ) and c i v i l (3£ ) arts, and started a family. By day, he studied the martial arts; d i l i g e n t l y from religious c l a s s i c s , years, he took a wife, nee Yen (Uj ), Miao-jung ($p §| ) , and she gave b i r t h (ft IE ) and a daughter named Fo-kuang by night, he read After a number of Dharma-name (j£ £ ) to a son named Fo-cheng ( f t ft > - s s As a soldier, Lo demonstrated both heroic bravery and religious resolve. At some point, he was re-assigned to Chiang-mao Valley (ll%>1@) in the Wu-ling Mountains (fH 8! ill ) •9 6 ...There, by chance, he met with a shaman (Z£ A ) rebellion, and, accompanying a unit sent to put down the revolt, he courageously pressed forward with a fearless s p i r i t . When the enemy had been defeated, the Commissioner-in-chief (89 U ) closely observed that Patriarch Lo's courage far exceeded a l l others', with no fear of b i r t h and death [ s i c ] , and that he could summon the s p i r i t s of soldiers in a great battalion and s t i r up the a b i l i t y to gain victory i n ba t t l e . He called Lo before him and inquired closely of his experiences and background. The Patriarch replied: "I am just an ordinary foot soldier, with no aspirations of fortune or prestige. My mind i s set on cul t i v a t i o n , awaiting the fu l f i l l m e n t of my Buddha-destiny, so I have always read Buddhist scriptures and studied Buddhist teachings. But, "A dragon must l i v e i n a thousand [mile] r i v e r ; he disrupts a small stream such that i t cannot flow.'" 55. "Lo-tsu chien-shih," 2. 56. Identified as f£ 3$ ill i n the postface of the 1509 edition of the Cheno—hsin ch 'u-i pao-chuan (see note 13 above), the Wu-li n g Mountains are 90 km. northwest of Mi-yun County, in modern-day Hopei Province. - 45 -When the Commissioner-in-chief heard his situation, he immediatedly allowed him to resign his post i n order to pursue his studies. Patriarch Lo kow-towed i n thanks to the Commissioner's great kindness. It could be said that when a person has virtuous ambitions, Heaven must bring them to f r u i t i o n . This saying i s not amiss! 8 7 Accounts of Lo's heroism and leadership appear far and wide. Green Gang (f|f 33 ) materials of the Republican period describe Lo Ch'ing as one of three founding patriarchs, and portray his m i l i t a r y exploits i n f a n c i f u l d e t a i l . 8 8 Though their Lo Ch'ing was from Kansu province and l i v e d a hundred years later than the Lo Ch'ing of the Ta-sheng, Lung-hua, and Vegetarian Sects, Green Gang records do provide a link in the chain of Lo hagiographies from the Ming to the present — to which we w i l l return in Chapter I I I . Their accounts of Lo's military career do not, however, deserve our attention. Nor does the remarkable tale recorded by P'u Sung-ling (ft ft 81 . 1640-1715) in his Liao-chai chih-i W £ •£ £ ) : 8 9 Patriarch Lo of Chi-mo county, while serving as a northern border guard, married and had a son. When he was reassigned to a post in Shensi province, he entrusted his wife to a friend by the name 57. ibid. 58. "Lo-tsu ch'uan-lu" [Received Accounts of Patriarch Lo], i n Ch'en Kuo-ping, ed., Ch 'ing-men k ' ao-yuan [Sources of the Green Gang] (Hong Kong: 1965): 41-45. Cf. Hsieh Jung-chih, "Lo-chiao yu Ch'ing-pang kuan-hsi chih yen-chiu" [Studies of the Relationship between the Lo Sect and the Green Gang], Shih-yiin 132 (1968): 3-11. 59. P'u Sung-ling, Liao-chai chih-i [A Collection of Strange Stories from the Conversation Hut] (Taipei: 1967), IX: 479-480. - 46 -of L i . L i and Lo's wife entered into an adulterous a f f a i r , and his discovery of their betrayal upon his return three years l a t e r drove Lo Ch'ing into seclusion. He died, a Taoist recluse, in the mountains near Shih-hsia camp (5 E f I , thirty km.northeast of Mi-yun. 6 0 We do not know how P'u Sung-ling, the great col l e c t o r of tales, came upon this story. It glosses over the course of Lo's religious career, and i s thus of l i t t l e value to us. In any case, later sectarians asserted that i t was his wife, Miao-jung, who perpetuated Lo's c u l t . 6 1 Thirteen Years of Bitter Effort Lo Ch'ing's Autobiography describes the course of his religious career. Later sectarian hagiographers mythologize the story of Lo's travels in search of the Way, and provide d e t a i l s — which we must regard as f i c t i o n a l — not found i n the Autobiography. They name the monks and recluses v i s i t e d by Lo, and the way-stations of his physical and s p i r i t u a l journey. After Patriarch Lo had been discharged, he sought out famous masters of great virtue, beginning with the monk Pao-yueh (5f^ ) of the Lin-chi school. [Pao-yueh] taught him to maintain [the precepts], but he could not bring him to an understanding of the great matters of bi r t h and death. [Lo] reconsidered [his situation and decided] to c a l l on other famous masters. [One day] he happened to come across a group of people i n v i t i n g a temple-monk (^F f& ) to chant the Diamond Sutra (3r Bl & ) • When he heard the teachings of this sQtra, Patriarch Lo realized that seeking [the truth] from others i s not as good as seeking [the truth] within oneself, 60. For a discussion of this story, see Sawada Mizuho, Zdho hdkan  no kenkyQ. 305-306; Yoshioka Yoshitoyo, "Kindai ChQgoku ni okeru hdkan ryQ shQkyd no tenkai," 29-30. 61. "Lo-tsu chien-shih," 10. - 47 -and that "seeking salvation i n the Way" i s merely a beautiful phrase for seeking salvation within the mind. Consequently, [Lo] exclusively set to the Ritual  Instructions of the Diamond Sutra ft] £f #i ) • But again he found that he could not enlighten his mind, see into his nature, or commit himself f u l l y [to the Path]. [Once more] he l e f t his home to pursue his education, and sought out the Ch'an master Wu-cheng [Finding] his eth i c a l principles high, he begged him to serve as his teacher. Based upon this master's instructions, he set his mind on studying the Avatamsaka Sutra (3£ g ) . Abandoning sleep and neglecting to eat, he studied the canonical scriptures for six years. Though industrious i n the a f f a i r s of this world, however, Patriarch Lo had l i t t l e to show for his e f f o r t s . 6 2 His travels take him f i n a l l y , according to these sources, to White Cloud Grotto (63?$) i n the Nine-Flower Mountains (71 2$ ill ), i n present-day Anhwei Province, one of the four sacred mountain ranges of Chinese Buddhism. There he meets a Lin-chi monk named Wu-chi Chen-k'ung, "Ch'an Master of Limitless True Emptiness" (& j§ ^ £ ?f £5 ) . 6 3 He i s given the Dharma-name Wu-k'ung (@ £ ) f "Awaken to Emptiness", and dedicates himself to Ch'an meditation. As the "Brief History" relates, One night, i n the midst of samidhi, Patriarch Lo saw a white l i g h t shining i n the southwest, and, the flower of his mind opening to the l i g h t (& H gfj ) , he perceived c l e a r l y the evanescence of the or i g i n and penetrated the true teaching of the o r i g i n a l substance of the universe. 6 4 Consequently, Lo Ch'ing i s requested by Chen-k'ung to become his teacher. 62. "Lo-tsu chien-shih," 2. 63. Flourished 1507. Mochizuki Shink6, Bukkyo daijiten [Comprehensive Dictionary of Buddhism] (Tokyo: 1955-1963), 4811. 64. "Lo-tsu chien-shih," 2. - 48 -Though the "Chien-shih" account of Lo's sudden enlightenment appears to be based upon Lo's Autobiography (Ku-kung 12:53-55), i t should be pointed out that the "Brief History" exaggerates Lo's Ch'an leanings, as do the commentaries of Wang Yuan-ching and the verses of Lan Feng — both of whom describe themselves as Lin-chi "patriarchs". In fact, Lo was never tonsured and i s c r i t i c a l of Ch'an meditation and Buddhist monasticism i n his writings. As we have seen i n his autobiographical account of his rel i g i o u s quest, the practice of Ch'an meditation i s but one of the r e l i g i o u s techniques that he attempts and abandons. According to Lan Feng, Lo's "thirteen years of austerity" were from 1470 to 1482, ages 28 to 40. The number thirteen i s mentioned repeatedly by Lo i n his Wu-pu l i u - t s 'e; Yoshioka Yoshitoyo comments that thirteen i s regarded as sacred in Chinese rel i g i o u s numerology. 6 5 The age of Lo's enlightenment i s also seen by his commentators to have been s i g n i f i c a n t : Wang Hai-ch 'ao reminds his readers of the legends that Confucius became "unmuddled" C f ) and Mencius "mentally s t i l l " ft & ) when they were f o r t y . 6 6 Imprisonment i n the Capital There are a number of versions of the story of Lo's imprisonment, imperial audiences, and composition of the Wu-pu  l i u - t s 'e. Let us examine f i r s t the longest, that of the "Brief History of Patriarch Lo." It relates that he composed his 65. Yoshioka Yoshitoyo, "Raso no shQkyd," 90. 66. ibid. - 49 -scriptures immediately after his enlightenment, then set to the task of their dissemination. 6 7 Patriarch Lo travelled to Peking, stopping en route to c a l l upon a "venerable master" T'ai-ning (;£^). 6 8 In Peking, he stayed with a benefactor named T" ang Liao-jan (j?§ "J* ) on Chessboard Street 38 IS ) • Outside the v i l l a gate, he preached to passers-by on ethics and emptiness. Monks and nuns, laymen and laywomen, the wealthy and honored, and the poor and humble came to hear him, and, the "Brief History" reports, "the multitudes were enlightened, increasing i n number by a thousand per day. They acclaimed him the Great Teacher!" 6 9 Lo hoped that his scriptures would come to the attention of the emperor, and be endorsed with an imperial t a b l e t . 7 0 67. This chronology for the composition of his scriptures i s also attested by Wang Hai-ch'ao i n his commentary (1629) on the Cheng-hsin chuan (Yoshioka Yoshitoyo, "Raso no shQkyd," 90). This would date their composition to the 1480's. Most sources, however, recount that Lo recited his scriptures while i n prison, and that they were f i r s t published in the fourth year of Cheng-te (1509), when Lo Ch'ing was 67 years of age. Indeed, this i s the date which appears on the e a r l i e s t extant editions of the f i r s t two books, i n Sawada Mizuho's possession. The San-tsu yin-yu pao-chuan (1682), p. 27a, says that they were f i r s t printed with imperial imprimatur i n the thirteenth year of Cheng-te (1518). Cf. Sawada Mizuho, Zdho hokan no kenkyll 301; Yoshioka Yoshitoyo, "Kindai chQgoku ni okeru hdkan ryQ shQkyd no tenkai," 25; Cheng Chih-ming, Wu-sheng lao-mu hsin-yang su-yuan, 21. 68. T'ai-ning i s one of the victims of Mi-tsang's condemnation of Lo and his followers: Mi-tsang Tao-k'ai, op. c i t . (see note 2 8 above). 69. "Lo-tsu chien-shih," 3. 70. Lung-p'ai (ft jft ) : "dragon placard". Apparently an anachronism, since the term does not appear u n t i l the Ch'ing Dynasty ( i t i s absent from the P'ei-wen yun-fu). In the Ch'ing, lung-p'ai praising the emperor were placed i n yamens and schools. Morohashi, Daikanwa jiten. 12:1136 (48818.519). - 50 -One day, Lo received a v i s i t a t i o n from the deva Wei-t'o |fc ), who instructed him, Great troubles l i e ahead in the coming days. At such times, grasp i n your mind homage to the holy name of the Bodhisattva Kuan-shih-yin ( H ttt # ), and I w i l l personally come to aid and protect you. Later, o f f i c e r s and min/^ters w i l l guard the teaching and greatly turn the wheel of the Dharmal7 1 As Wei-t'o predicted, Lo was apprehended by Chou Sheng ( MW one of the c i r c u i t inspectors fc£ 5& ) o f the c i t y . He charged Lo with spreading rumors and false teachings, and had him beaten. The blows i n f l i c t e d on Patriarch Lo were inef f e c t u a l , however, thanks to the protection of the deva Wei-t'o. Lb was then brought before a mili t a r y warden ,H 5j ) , who himself had been v i s i t e d by the deva Wei-t'o i n a dream and foretold of the Patriarch. He observed that the prisoner had been subjected to countless blows, but showed no signs of disformity. His body was whole and complete. There was not the sligh t e s t [indication of] harm. His o r i g i n a l s p i r i t ( 7 c £ 1 ) was as good as new. Moreover, he showed no fear, and was ut t e r l y self-possessed and unabashed. It was truly unbelievable. 7 2 Inspecting an o f f i c i a l transcript of Lo's Scripture i n Five  Books, the mi l i t a r y warden found "nothing but orthodox teachings" i n them, and ordered him released to a eunuch by the name of Chang Yung (jjg j§< ) , who had e a r l i e r been converted to Lo's teachings. 7 3 71. ibid. 12. ibid., 4. 73. Chang Yung i s the only player i n Lo's biography who appears in the o f f i c i a l h i s t o r i e s . During the Cheng-te reign period (1506-1522), he formed a party with the t r a i t o r Liu Chin - 51 -Chang agreed to support Lo's efforts in gaining access to the emperor (Wu-tsung, reigned 1506-1522), and approached the court with his testimony: "In recent days, the c i r c u i t inspector, in a t e r r i t o r i a l investigation through the fiv e wards of the c i t y , detained a man named Lo Ch'ing, who cultivates virtue. Intending to execute him, he subjected him to punishments without j u s t i f i c a t i o n . I, your minister, have inspected the Scripture i n Five Books, and every sentence i s the orthodox transmission; i t could even be calle d a National Treasure (IS % ~2L 4$ ) • 1 request His Majesty to c a l l this man to the palace, to inspect for Himself whether he i s genuine or f a l s e . " 7 4 The emperor granted this p e t i t i o n , and ordered Lo Ch'ing to the palace for an imperial audience. Lo Ch'ing bowed before the golden steps to the throne. The emperor asked, "What does this scripture have to recommend i t ? " The Patriarch replied respectfully, "I, this g u i l t y servant, have studied Buddhism and cultivated virtue since childhood. I have investigated the foundations, and been awakened to the truth. Relying on my own determination to establish my destiny, I completed a scripture in fiv e books to benefit widely the myriad l i v i n g beings, a true transmission which w i l l enable them to avoid suffering and obtain happiness. This scripture, i n accordance with the canonical teachings of our Buddha, instructs people who practice Buddhism within their homes. It i s a scripture which states that anyone, whether clergy or layman, can enlighten the mind, perceive the nature, return to his ancestral home, and recover the o r i g i n . "I beseech His Majesty to write a Dragon Placard to guard and protect [my scripture] and widely bring salvation to the common people, that they may as soon as possible cultivate (81 31 )' but later accused him to the court, and was rewarded with a promotion by Emperor Shih-tsung (1522-1567). There i s no reference i n these sources to Chang's sectarian a c t i v i t i e s . For the Ming-shih account, cf. L i Ku-min, ed., Ming-shih jen-ming so-yin [Index of Names in the Ming History] (Peking: 1985), 187. 74. "Lo-tsu chien-shih," 4. - 52 -virtuous behavior and together ascend the Other Shore. Thanks be to the Emperor's unlimited kindness!" The Emperor said, "Insofar as you have learned the true teachings of the Buddha, why have you not shaved your head to become a monk?" Patriarch Lo respectfully replied, "Our Buddha, the Light of Compassion (|£ % ), explained that as long as the four classes of men [monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen] can cultivate themselves well, every one together w i l l return to [the Land of] Perfect B l i s s . True c u l t i v a t i o n takes place solely within the mind, and the outward form or manner i s unimportant. People who study Buddhism within their own homes need not shave their heads, nor w i l l this obstruct [their understanding of] the true teaching as spoken by the Buddha."7 3 Lo's refusal to take the tonsure infuriated the emperor, who ordered a soldier of the Bureau of Punishments (fflj i$ ) to f i r e up an iron furnace, and heat iron shoes and shackles to be placed on the offender. Lo was unafraid, but ministers of the court pled for mercy. They entreated the emperor to send Lo Ch'ing to the Southern Prison gfc ), where he would have the opportunity to repent. "[The Emperor], showing His great mercy, so decreed." Another version of Lo's imprisonment i s recorded i n sectarian scriptures of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The San-tsu yin-yu t>ao-chuan (1682) reports that Patriarch Lo, while s t i l l an ordinary soldier, was seen to be "enveloped i n a purple vapor, manifesting a great l i g h t . " The Chief M i l i t a r y Commissioner (SSIP ) entreated Lo to aid him i n overthrowing a crowd of "108,000 red-haired Mongols": The Venerable Patriarch of Emptiness (jg ^ ) , true to his word, led the troops forward to repel the foreign soldiers. When they saw him, their hearts jumped and stomachs ["galls"] trembled with fear. Seen from afar, this man 75. ibid. - 53 -radiated a great l i g h t , and his body was enveloped i n a purple vapor. Was he not an extraordinary man? The Patriarch, going forward, took up three arrows, and shot them one after the other i n a display before them. The foreign soldiers saw three lotus blossoms i n the sky f a l l i n g to the earth. They turned around their troops and horses and returned to their native country, and the court was kept stable and secure. 7 6 When the emperor heard of this victory, he was "greatly pleased." But when Lo performed the same lotus-arrow feat at court, some ministers were offended, and Lo was sent to prison. There, according to this text, he composed his Scripture i n Five Books, with the assistance of two d i s c i p l e s from the Wu-t'ai Mountains ( £ a UJ ) who set down the scriptures as Lo r e c i t e d . 7 7 F i n a l l y , one other text, a c o l l e c t i o n of essays called Ch 'ung-ming man-lu (J| •! g ^ ) (1877) , by Ts'ai Heng-tzu & ? ) , states that Lo was imprisoned for spreading false teachings, and released when, during a drought, he brought rain by directing an oral formula over the sea. 7 8 The "Brief History of Patriarch Lo" t e l l s that while i n prison, Lo was v i s i t e d frequently by the eunuch Chang Yung and 76. San-tsu yin-yu pao-chuan, 8a-9b. 77. ibid., 9b-10a, llb-12b, 13a-16a. The same story i s told in the Lo-tsu ch 'u-shih t'ui fan-ping pao-chuan [Precious Volume of Patriarch Lo's Engagement with the World, Repelling the Foreign Army] (mid-19th century), according to Tsukamoto Zenryu, "Rakyd no seiritsu to rydden ni tsuite," 27; and J.J.M. de Groot, Sectarianism and Religious Persecution in  China, 193-194. 78. Ts'ai Heng-tzu, Ch' ung-ming man-lu [Casual Records of the Cries of Insects], i n Pi-chi hsiao-shuo ta-kuan [Great Compendium of Essays and Tales] (Taipei: 1962), IV: 3704a. - 54 -two ministers, named Tang ( 3 | ) and Ting ( 5 £ ) . 7 9 Even the c i r c u i t inspector, Chou Sheng, had become convinced of the profound insight of Lo's teachings, after witnessing the miraculous protection of the deva Wei-t'o. One night, during the th i r d watch, [Chou] received a report from a messenger (HE & ) that the southern prison was on f i r e , flames f i l l i n g the sky, i n a l l probability a conflagration! Inspector Chou rushed out, but when he looked toward the southern prison, he saw that there was a five-colored l i g h t i n the sky, unlike the l i g h t of a f i r e . Thereupon, he sent a messenger to go and see, and before long, the messenger returned with his report: "The f i r e at the southern prison i s not a blazing f i r e ; i t ' s what Master Patriarch Lo has made manifest from his seat." Inspector Chou faced the sky and bowed, and as the assembly of messengers followed his lead, the immense l i g h t shone a l l over the world. Inspector Chou and his messengers went to report to Master Yung and Minister Tang, that they would know about this miracle. By the f i f t h watch, that great five-colored l i g h t had diminished. Those who had seen i t close up a l l praised the height and depth of the Way of Patriarch Lo, and their f a i t h i n the Patriarch was another degree more strong and firm. 8 0 When Lo's wife and son v i s i t e d him i n prison, he comforted them: 79. He i s Ting, the "duke of state" (H & ), and, l i k e Chang Yung, a eunuch. This Ting Kuo-kung reappears over a century l a t e r , as a patron of the Hun-yuan Patriarch (ft| 5n ffl ) in the Hun- yuan hung-yang lin-fan p ' iao-kao chincr (jgTn&PgHlftKiiag ) [Scripture of (Patriarch) Piao-kao on the Descent of the Red Yang Era of Chaotic Origins] (early Ch'ing). Huang Yu-pien, in the P'o-hsieh hsiang-pien [Detailed Refutation of Heresies], i d e n t i f i e s him with a rebellious minister of the Hsi-tsung reign period (1621-1628). Sawada Mizuho, Kdchd  haja shdben [Annotated Edition of the P'o-hsieh hsiang-pien] (Tokyo: 1970), 122; Cheng Chih-ming, Wu-sheng lao-mu hsin- yang su-yuan, 23; Sawada Mizuho, Zdho hdkan no kenkyQ, 307. On the parti c i p a t i o n of eunuchs in the Lo sects, cf. Yeh Wen-hsin, "Jen-shen chih chien," 58. 80. "Lo-tsu chien-shih," 5. - 55 -One cannot control the fortunes and misfortunes of human l i f e . They are due to the awards and punishments accrued i n previous bir t h s . My own karmic recompense I am w i l l i n g to suffer. There i s no need for my family to worry and f r e t . He ordered them: Return home and rest easy. Wait for the day when this karmic consequence i s exhausted, and naturally there w i l l be good news for you to hear. 8 1 In prison, Lo preached to the eunuch Chang Yung, Minister Tang, Duke Ting, and C i r c u i t Inspector Chou Sheng about the virtues of s i m p l i c i t y and the vanities of high o f f i c e . Faith in the teaching and dedication to fundamental virtues are greater than worldly fame and fortune. In the course of history, there have been many kings, generals, and high-ranking ministers who have s a c r i f i c e d their status i n order to keep the precepts, observe vegetarianism, and worship the Buddha. Patriarch Lo remained i n prison for many years, conversing on and explicating the true teaching, and converting prison o f f i c i a l s and yamen runners without number. Ranking o f f i c i a l s such as Duke Ting, Minister Tang, C i r c u i t Inspector Chou, and the eunuch Sir Chang Yung acclaimed the sublimity of the Patriarch's way of great virtue, bowed to him as their master, and took refuge i n the Three Treasures. [Al l t o l d ] , i t i s impossible to estimate the number of believers [brought to] the Buddhist f a i t h [by Lo Ch'ing]. 8 2 The Debate with Foreign Monks The "Brief History" indicates that Lo spent some twenty-five years i n prison, from 1482 to 1507. We have no confirmation, 8 3 81. ibid. 82. "Lo-tsu chien-shih," 6. 83. Nor am I certain of the standard prison term i n the Ch'eng-hua, Hung-chih, and Chia-ch'ing reign periods of the Ming. - 56 -but this chronology i s i n keeping with the date (1509) of an imperial placard "reproduced" i n the frontispiece of the e a r l i e s t editions of the Wu-pu liu-ts 'e, reprinted i n the Lung-hua k'o-i. There i s no h i s t o r i c a l evidence that the emperor ever composed a placard i n the Patriarch's honor, but sectarian hagiographies portray him as Lo's greatest convert to his sect. The "Brief History of Patriarch Lo" relates that in the second year of the Cheng-te reign period of Emperor Wu-tsung (1507), a foreign monk by the name of Nai-shan ( ^ f § ) had received orders from the king of his country to "raise troops and cavalry to invade China and raise his nation's f l a g [on Chinese s o i l ] . " He proposed to Wu-tsung a debate with a Chinese monk, the winning nation to be declared the superior state, the losing nation the tributary s t a t e . 8 4 In short order, continues the "Brief History", Nai-shan defeated a Dharma-master of Heavenly Repose Monastery (^ ^ # ) i n a debate, employing a s p e l l (& #r ) that e f f e c t i v e l y silenced the Chinese monk. Minister Tang came forward with this recommendation to the emperor: "I, your minister, wish to recommend a prisoner confined to the southern prison named Lo Ch'ing. That man i s profoundly well-versed i n the sublime truth, and there i s nothing he has not examined i n fine d e t a i l . Though the Buddhist principles [he espouses] are outside the transmission, [purveyors of] heterodox ways nevertheless find i t d i f f i c u l t 84. ibid. The San-tsu yin-yu pao-chuan says that i t was seven foreign monks, and that they challenged the emperor with a ri d d l e . "If you cannot penetrate this r i d d l e , " they said, "we w i l l take the c i t y of Peking to our country. Our country w i l l be the superior state, yours the submissive state" (19b). - 57 -to approach him. Perhaps he can overcome the foreign lackey." 8 3 Patriarch Lo complied with the emperor's c a l l for assistance, and requested three a r t i c l e s for the debate: "a nine-ridged cap" (71 £f? rfJ ) , "clothing of chaotic origins" (HI 7C ^  ) » and "an abbot's staff with nine rings" ij\ St tg ) • "Even i f he twists his tongue with ten thousand t r i c k s , " he said, "I am confident that I w i l l beat him." ...In the morning, Patriarch Lo donned the clothing of chaotic origins as bestowed by the emperor, put on the nine-ridged cap, and grasped the nine-ringed abbot's s t a f f , and ascended the imperial palace. The assembled ministers said, "On this day, for [the benefit of] the Dharma, we place a l l of our trust i n the Buddha-power of [this] revered master [Lo] to overcome the foreign slave." At that moment, they prayed to the Buddha-dharma of our master and to his unbounded kindness and mercy. The Cheng-te Emperor said, "We see that the clothes of chaotic origins that you are wearing, s i r , [ f i t s you so well that] i t appears you fashioned them yourself." Patriarch Lo replied respectfully, "I, your humble minister, have worn them i n a previous l i f e . " The Emperor then said, "Our ten thousand miles of rivers and mountains depends en t i r e l y upon you, venerable master. With one word, you can make i t secure. Today i t i s incumbent upon us to make the Buddha-dharma most revered." 8 6 Three platforms were erected. Nai-shan took his place on the l e f t , the Emperor i n the center, and Patriarch Lo on the right . Lo Ch'ing intoned, "Homage to AmitSbha Buddha, homage to the holy name of the Bodhisattva Kuan-shih-yin!" and Wei-t'o 85. "Lo-tsu chien-shih," 6. 86. ibid., 6-7. - 58 -stood guard, not v i s i b l e to the assembled audience, on his l e f t -hand side. The debate commenced. The actual content of the debate appears i n a number of versions. The "Brief History" account i s taken from the San-tsu  yin-yu pao-chuan (1682). 8 7 The br i e f e s t i s recorded by De Groot (based on his observations of the Dragon-Flower Sect i n 1887). 8 8 In each account, i t i s not so much a "debate" which takes place as a catechism for Lo to expound his sectarian views. His reponses to the foreign monk's queries suggest the existence of a f u l l y developed sect organization. In the following translation, "de Groot" indicates Lo's response i n de Groot's text, "San-tsu" the extended response from the San-tsu yin-yu pao-chuan.89 87. San-tsu yin-yu pao-chuan, 20a-26b. This text appears to have been a basic scripture of the early Lo sects of the seventeenth century. It records biographies of the f i r s t three "patriarchs" and i s a primary source for my discussion of early Lo sect history i n Chapter III below. 88. My translation of the Chinese text: J.J.M. de Groot, Sectarianism and Religious Persecution in China, 184. The text i s not named. 89. The order of passages i n the San-tsu yin-yu pao-chuan has been re-arranged to conform to de Groot's text. - 59 -de Groot: S f l JWJfHB . f iSUkJfJKSatA.fff l -fctt . The foreign monk began by asking, "If you, master, are indeed the man of Non-Action and the Way, do you also possess the Great Dharma? Please instruct us!" The Patriarch replied, "The flower-garden teaching assembly i s unbounded i n breadth." « xm fltt *F Lift* « A San-tsu (20b): The foreign monk90 asked, "Are you ° 0 % r e a l l y the Man of the Way, Non-Action Lo?" o ?/l ^ (0*-ffifflw The Patriarch replied, "The people of the empire o o SK do not understand the truth, [but associate with] j§ heterodox schools and non-Buddhist pursuits. My | | -?B in Non-Action enlightens one's true s e l f , Heaven-"(i *i- m bestowed. " o o i l l ff H 90. The "Lo-tsu chien-shih" i d e n t i f i e s him as Nai-shan (^ If ) (P-7), as indicated i n the text provided; otherwise, the "Chien-shih" account follows the San-tsu yin-yu pao-chuan verbatim. - 60 -de Groot: ft M B . ftt in ft g S « A IS. The monk asked, "How can you boast so?" The Patriarch replied, " A l l of Heaven and Earth speak true words." |[ a flf San-tsu (21a): The foreign monk said, "You boast tt 4ft H so ! » * fr-« « a ^ L o^ r e P l i e d ' "This true scripture b a s i c a l l y i s ° o «? not d i f f i c u l t . Before Heaven and Earth were as divided, i t o r i g i n a l l y existed. Its revolving, ^ || ^ . moving, going, and coming are uninterupted. The *» ^ H flower-garland teaching assembly9 1 i s unbounded i n m m " breadth." » ft 91. Compare Hua-yen hai-hui (i£ it #| 1 ? ) with Hua-yen hui-hui (# H S$ # ) i n de Groot' s text. - 61 -de Groot: J M B . f t t i W J ^ I I H l H . The monk asked, "And why do you not make offerings to Buddha images?" The Patriarch replied, "Heaven, Earth, mountains, and rivers are Buddha images." San-tsu (21b): Again he asked, "Why do you not *o * make offerings to Buddhas?" I l l o 15 ° ?~ l»I 05 sfl K !."•! ± ftt n (* hi The Patriarch replied, "Tsk! Tsk! A bronze Buddha « B fiE : i ; cannot pass through (g ) a furnace. A wooden « ±« * ffl Buddha cannot pass through fire'. A clay Buddha ° ° B| ft ffl cannot pass through water. If they cannot save »* a n (JEg; ) themselves, how can they save you? If you Si ?'! ? mi IM: want to be saved, you must save yourself. The % n *l '* "o true Buddha i s manifest at a l l times. It i s right m in ir. !L w i n front of you, but you do not know i t . « + * S « * £ I * o o o f|B 19: ri "Every speck of du s t 9 2 i s a Buddha land. Every land i s [ruled by] the Dharma k i n g . 9 3 Mountains, ri v e r s , and the great earth are Buddha images. m fie Why i s i t necessary to mold a false carved ornament?" 92. Ch'en-ch'en ...ch'a-ch'a (M M ffl ffl ) ' ch ' en-ch 'en means "dust of dust" or "every p a r t i c l e of dust"; ch'en-ch'a (normally ch'a-ch'en) refers to "lands [Skt. ksetra] as numerous as dust". S o o t h i l l and Hodous, Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms, 250b. 93. Fa-chung trang ($£ tk 3£ ) : an appelation used frequently by Lo Ch'ing i n his Wu-pu l i u - t s 'e. I have been unable to ide n t i f y this "Dharma king" in any of the standard Buddhological and Sinological d i c t i o n a r i e s . - 6 2 -de Groot: i t « B . B t x i * f i « « . B 4 » B A * « a - f f R ^ # . The monk asked, "If Heaven and Earth are Buddha images, who can come forth with so much incense to burn?" The Patriarch re p l i e d , "Wind, clouds, fog, and dew are the smoke of incense." o r * ,. ni TV its ••if ff ta A o & ft di A ft; ifc im •Vr ff o til -f hf IV tt o * H «* * JR as A * iP fl M 5i ** m ff 0 ti ff o o o 0 « 1 rr a Ti. ffl * a tr. ff ft T. 0 Vi * x JH w ff a « (11 l'R » A TS ff m ff •ft ^ * o « J-. » lit O 0 ff 55 * * o o o b ft n it f'ij w i\ « * ff o IB o m ff H ; i o Ik San-tsu (21b-22a): Again he asked, "Why do you not burn incense?" The Patriarch said, "Confused people do not understand that grasping the false incense, made of grass and wood, i s merely an [expedient] means for drawing them [into worship]. Every person has his own f i v e s t i c k s of true incense." "And where are they now?" The Patriarch replied, "The incense of the precepts, the incense of samadhi, the incense of wisdom, the incense of compatible views, the incense of l i b e r a t i o n : these are the f i v e s t i c k s of true incense. "Everyone has a s t i c k of true, subtle incense. There i s no need to burn i t , no need to fashion i t . Clean and pure: the Way of Non-Action. A l l of Heaven and Earth i s true incense. Incense i s contained i n ch'ien and k'un, the o r i g i n a l Self-so. False incense of grass and wood does not ascend to Heaven. Manifest at every moment i n spring, summer, f a l l , and winter, winds, clouds, and purple mist are the true incense." - 6 3 -The monk asked, "If indeed you have such an immense sacred space, why have we never heard you beat the drum?" The Patriarch replied, "Thunder shaking Heaven and Earth i s our Dharjna-drum. " a ; j, a & u j£ * San-tsu (23a-b): Again he asked, "Why do you tt "i J« tt if! m !Si not s t r i k e musical instruments?" *t i.u :u ti ai * H ft' ft J* ^  •£ ^  * i£ III >n f. a tt The Patriarch said, "The True Dharma, when o o 0 o o a m set forth, contains the Immovable and the IJI Venerable. The c l a t t e r i n g of thunder A. M. * ?i X S; F:I surpasses human hearing. The Eternal chants iF. a i& iii % °a the melody of the King of Emptiness. 9 4 [If] w u K li S « o n e does not attain thorough penetration of £ Si w f£ K wi t n e t e a c h i n g , [then] one reverts to calumny o o o o o o and rage. "In understanding the true scriptures, i t i s not necessary that they be numerous. When the enlightened master points d i r e c t l y , one sees Amitabha, naturally revealing the signless Dharma. Water flows and wind blows, declaring the Greater Vehicle [Mahiyina]1. Thunder shakes the great void as his L\har;na-drum. Wind, clouds, snow, and r a i n manifest supernormal powers. The ten thousand things once born, the i r sprouts mature as f r u i t . When men meet with the True Dharma, they attain True Emptiness." 94. Tentative: fc £ ni tii $ 3£ . 1 have been unable to i d e n t i f y this "melody". - 6 4 -ae Groot: « M H . B t * feK . * X * * » * . The monk asked, "If there i s indeed a Dharma-drum, why then have you never l i t a lamp?" The Patriarch replied, "The sun and moon are the lamps, burning day and night." San-tsu (23b-24a): Again he asked, "Why do you n - a its x not l i g h t lamps?" n im « «! (ni A § is * * T h e Patriarch said, "The earth i s the lamp stand, * ^ SS water i s i t s o i l . The azure Heaven momentarily o o o o (a becomes a round paper lantern. The sun and moon, m called the bright flame of a lamp, thoroughly * j £ M * H illuminate Jambudvipa and the [other] four in <a 01 4* continents. 9 3 One bright lantern concealed « % sa» within, permeating Heaven and Earth, i s bright i n ** a « » i t s majesty. The inner l i g h t shines outward, but o o o o men do not recognize t h i s . With every step, and wherever [one] moves, one emits l i g h t everywhere.' 95. Yen-fu ssu-pu chou (|§1 eg gfl jftf ) : the ssu-chou are "the four inhabited continents of every universe," surrounding Mt. Sumeru. Jambudvipa (yen-fu) i s one; Purva-videha, Apara-godiniya, and Uttara-kuru are the others. S o o t h i l l and Hodous, Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms, 178a. de Groot: fiBB.R WW. I f f • The monk asked, "If there are indeed bright lamps, what do you use for offerings?" ifi IF B . EH B t ^ R - S f f i ? * . The Patriarch re p l i e d , "The flowers and f r u i t s of the four seasons offer [themselves] continuously." not make offerings of flowers?" , - .. v «K T(i 57' rt; ti; » ° i"i San-tsu (22a-b) : Again he asked, "Why do you tt iii * DI it I* hi m in 't1 ffi si ("i af Tf- " * «J (S 5". ^ « is B* TJ- « + t?t s ft 5! s » °_ The Patriarch said, "Year after year there i s « s i the revolution of the four seasons. Before p i p ; , | : i j ] j f the buds and sprouts blossom i n flower and tt M n"; rt; » « s swell with f r u i t , the Buddhas and Patriarchs 7 * * ? R IB 1 * send down sweet dew from the sky. Receiving '1 ^ S i »rt § i ^-t' t n e various kinds of l i v i n g thing are w o" If 1? 0 - harvested and stored i n our homes. Every V yj p a r t i c l e of dust i n every land f i r s t i s new, * |i then mature, developing i n accordance with * °, nature. C?n [one] possibly take [ a l l of thi s » W- in] ? m in "Incense i n the burner, candles on the a l t a r [ l i t . "platform"]. Flowers i n the s i l v e r bowl, blossoming four seasons of the year. Tea leaves i n the shallow dish, always present there. F r u i t s i n the basin, offered to the Tathagatal "Manifest i n Emptiness, the fragrance [of incense] c o l l e c t s among the part i c i p a n t s . The lustre of pearls and hundred flavors [of food offerings] display the hearts of men. [The flowers of] the four seasons, always i n blossom, can serve as offerings [to the Buddhas]. Has there ever been even one night i n which they have not been present i n abundance [ l i t . " f i l l e d the b e l l y " ] ? " - 6 6 -de Groot: » B B . t t * « ) l « * . * f X - T C S . The monk asked, "If there are indeed flowers and f r u i t s for offerings, why then do you not present tea?" The Patriarch replied, "The Five Lakes and Four Seas 9 6 are tea offerings." de Groot: « H B £ ft A » The monk asked, "[How can] tiny and i n s i g n i f i c a n t persons such as ourselves perform such great L\harjna-rites?" £ B . & % S3 m = * # • The Patriarch said, "The L\harjna-body [of every man] f i l l s the three thousand worlds." de Groot: « a e . * * i ^ l f T i . The monk asked, "And why do you not s t r i k e b e l l s ? " £¥B .&<S&1£J»££ . The Patriarch replied, "The Dharjna-drum of peals of thunder surpasses the sound of b e l l s . " de Groot: flr IH B.. to* * S*«#_t. The monk asked, "Why do you not write petitionary prayers?" fi« B . ^ W 3 ? . S The Patriarch re p l i e d , "The language of bodhi [enlightenment] i s our petitionary prayer." 96. Wu-hu ssu-hai ( S J W E S i S ) * d i f f e r e n t Chinese sources l i s t the Five Lakes variously; the Four Seas refer to the East Sea, the West Sea, the South Sea, and the North Sea surrounding the c i v i l i z e d (Chinese) world. Morohashi, Daikanwa jiten, 1:478 (257.335), 3.6 (4682.84). - 6 7 -de Groot: M B ^ f l A ^ B H . The monk asked, "And why do you not raise banners?" ft & a > is «:« ft a ^  ». The Patriarch replied, "The swaying tree-tops are [our] raised banners." San-tsu (22b): Again [Nai-shan] asked, "Why do iii you not raise banners or hang placards?" ie * * tu tt x i t The Patriarch said, "You ask about ra i s i n g flags »r. 4= it <sj Wl 11 * ;p tt m B in & w a it and hanging placards. The red of every flower and a in ° green of every willow i s also a transformation of th  ancestral home. Those who have gone stray, n [subject to] attachment, are unable to revert to tu <»I tt o . . . w a i f l the o r i g i n . IS (I'J ° II!) SS IV 7> 11 jj? "4 |a ? "The Self-so borne of Heaven i s everywhere present tk m in « i n the True Dharma. What need i s there to fabricate a hundred thousand means [of wisdom]? The red of flowers and green of willows burst »t forth i n the ancestral home. The swaying tree-w tops are [our] raised banners v ae ^root. ff? W B .te * X T« The monk asked, "And why do you not perform Buddhist r i t e s ? " ta % a . * sn so rt * * . The Patriarch replied, "In every instant Buddhist r i t e s are performed." — A x San-tsu (23a): Again he asked, "Why do you not m w 1* perform Buddhist r i t e s ? " * in n * -as * i* JJ; The Patriarch said, "The sages and worthies of the <> o '» Great Way constantly perform the Buddhist r i t e s . 0 XII. & *. H "Men and devas are L\harjna-kings. The True -4; « * Emptiness of the i r Original Nature i s their sacred w l « platform. 9 7 Four seasons of the year, they by the Buddha] i s contained within them. %. % ^  perform the Buddhist r i t e s . Those who have gone . 0 o is astray do not recognize that [every r i t e performed nr. 97. Tao-ch'ang (jH ^  ): the raised seat of enlightenment, or p'u- t ' i tao-ch'ang (# iS M ^ - Skt. Bodhimanda) ; "every bodhisattva s i t s down on such a seat before becoming a Buddha." S o o t h i l l and Hodous, Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist  Terms, 389a. - 6 9 -de Groot: f i?imB,tof X 7 £ 8 i ± g f . The monk asked, "And why have we not seen you, master, erect stftra-recitation h a l l s ? " The Patriarch replied, "Unbounded Emptiness i s [our] sQtra h a l l . 11 If.?. r t'ft Nil m K on » *a H fffi *». -<r Ki LI «•£ o o San-tsu (23a): Again he asked, "Why do you not have sQtra-recitation h a l l s ? " The Patriarch said, "Your sQtra-halls are [characterized by] false, phenomenal signs. Our stftra-halls leave no v i s i b l e traces. o Ik ii gj ft « 11 HI m o fir. "The Holy Ancestor of the Limitless i s unfathomable i n His mystery. He embraces the Dharma-realm and emits a universal l i g h t . Auspicious clouds, vast and boundless, [cover] the road to the ancestral home. Emptiness Unbounded i s [our] sOtra-hall." - 70 -San-tsu (21a): The foreign monk said, "Why do you not r e c i te scriptures?" [Lo] replied, "The Great Way of Prior Heaven i s fundamentally the Self-so. From antiquity to the present, the Nature i s id e n t i c a l to Heaven. We regularly r e c i t e the true scripture without words. A l l of Heaven and Earth pronounce mantras. The true scriptures have never departed from the good. Foolish men i n their ignorance r e c i t e sQtras. The Self-so i s manifest i n the Way of Non-Action. The flow of water and movement of wind perform [the hymn of] Mahil" de Groot: i£r R V.ttBip tRI* B'. * $ , * The monk concluded his questioning. Bowing low to kow-tow in thanks to the master, he cried, "Marvelous! Marvelous!" The foreign monks i n attendance, reports the San-tsu yin-yu pao-chuan, bowed their heads i n thanks to the Patriarch for his instruction. "Truly," they confessed, "the subtle meaning of the great Way of Non-Action i s inexhaustible" (p. 24a). Patriarch Lo declared his victory: "Seven foreign monks have come to the imperial court of our [nation]. As confirmed by the great c i v i l and mili t a r y ministers, [I] instructed the foreign monks and they have returned to their kingdom. Our king has attained great peace throughout the empire. The great Way of Non-Action penetrates Heaven and Earth. Who can thoroughly recognize the f a c u l t i e s of meditation ($$ ) [that I have accomplished]? The ancestral home makes manifest the protection of supernormal powers: pure and clear, revealing [the Way of] Non-Action!" (p. 25a). As close as the San-tsu yin-yu pao-chuan was to the time of Lo Ch'ing (the edition quoted was published one hundred f i f t y -f i v e years after his death), a l l of this i s too fantastic to be true. Moreover, since Lo Ch'ing would not have been i n a position to have "erected r e c i t a t i o n h a l l s " or established an active sect while i n prison, this "debate" must be a later - 71 -n n % iii ni *>; M '}•• k IH yi w n -k u ft SS CS ill ° % * ft -1- In n m n n M a & *s * o o o o «! o TK « tt P. TF i t A k i'i H Bl :i> Hi o i d vn. uu / r a & ts n * <%, ft iii) IB! «f: 3 k interpolation. S t i l l , the legend offers a few insights into Lo-sectarian r i t u a l and Lo's "Way of Non-Action". Heaven and Earth are his r i t u a l space, f r u i t s and flowers are his c l e r i c a l implements, and natural events possess religious significance. Since a l l things are sanctified, there i s no need for the construction of altars or the investiture of prie s t s ; each individual has the capacity for salvation in a direct and spontaneous identity with the universe. These points of doctrine are f u l l y consistent with Lo's writings i n the Wu-pu liu-ts 'e, and with later sectarian b e l i e f and practice, as we sh a l l see i n Chapters II and III. The Dragon Placard For his victory, t e l l s the "Brief History", Patriarch Lo won his freedom, as well as a t i t l e from the emperor: "Nation-Defender Dharma-King" ( f $ | g| J ) , and "Twenty-fourth Patriarch of the Lin-chi School" ( g % ~ + eg ft ft ffi tfrj ) • Lo requested an imperial placard to guard his teaching. "Then i t can be disseminated throughout the empire, and widely save the myriad l i v i n g beings!" Thereupon the emperor ordered that they proceed to the records room ("% g§ ) , [where he took up] the four treasures [brush, paper, ink, and ink-stone], [and wrote these words]: "The Emperor decrees that the great plan ( H M ) s h a l l be eternally secure; the Emperor commands that the Way s h a l l be made enduring and prosperous. May the Buddha be dail y more luminous and the Charjna-wheel ever t u r n ! " 9 9 98. "Lo-tsu chien-shih," 9, 2. 99. ibid., 9. The placard i s reproduced in the Lung-hua k'o-i, 16; and tVu-pu liu-ts'e, frontispiece to chuan 1. - 72 -The emperor also granted the Patriarch funds and personnel to cast bronze printing plates for the Scripture i n Five Books. After giving f i n a l instructions to his prestigious d i s c i p l e s , the Patriarch took his leave. The o f f i c i a l s reluctantly said their good-byes, asking, "Our master, vehicle of the Dharma, when w i l l you descend again?" Lo replied: "It i s not necessary to concern yourselves with my comings and goings. Whether I leave or stay, s t r i v e to strengthen your resolve. In the end i t i s a l l the same. D i l i g e n t l y carry out Buddhist worship! Though the f r u i t of the Way i s whole and complete, practice charity and reward virtue, and exert utmost ef f o r t i n saving a l l beings universally. Do not be s l o t h f u l . Do not forget to recompense the four benefactors [parents, master, king, almsgiver]. Returning together to the Western Land can be determined completely within your own minds!" 1 0 0 The "Brief History" reports that Lo established Dragon-Flower assemblies — l i t e r a l l y , " r i t u a l areas" or "sacred platforms" ( j t ^ ) 1 0 1 and "vegetarian h a l l s " ^ ) — for communal c u l t i v a t i o n of the Way of Non-Action. "Today, thanks to the Cheng-te Emperor's bestowal of a dragon placard to guard and protect the Scripture i n Five  Books, the empire now knows that for the sake of my lay-Buddhist Dharma-gate, r i t u a l areas have been established for the Buddhist Dragon Flower S e c t . . . " 1 0 2 The biography concludes: We regard Patriarch Lo as the founding patriarch of the Buddhist Dragon-Flower Sect. Spread throughout the nation, everywhere vegetarian h a l l s have been b u i l t . Buddhist believers who have taken refuge i n the Three Treasures 100. "Lo-tsu chien-shih," 10. 101. See note 97 above. 102. "Lo-tsu chien-shih," 10. - 73 -increase day by day. By means of the Scripture in Five  Books, the Dharma-wheel i s given a great t u r n ! 1 0 3 Sectarian scriptures agree that Lo Ch'ing died i n the sixth year of the Chia-ch'ing reign period, on the twenty-ninth day of the f i r s t month (corresponding to March 1, 1527 of the Western calendar), at the age of 85 y e a r s . 1 0 4 The "Brief History" reports that he was buried beneath Wu-feng pagoda (fc 4$ i§ ) in Peking, "[a b r i l l i a n t light] dazzling Heaven and Earth " 103. ijbid. 104. The commentary to the Cheng-hsin chuan by Wang Hai-ch'ao (1629) says that Lo died "one hundred two years and six emperors before the f i r s t year of Ch'ung-chen [1628], and nineteen years after the composition of the Cheng-hsin chuan [1509]," corresponding to 1527. Yoshioka Yoshitoyo, "Kindai chQgoku ni okeru hdkan ryQ shQkyd no tenkai," 27. 105. "Lo-tsu chien-shih," 10. - 74 -4. The Significance of Lo's L i f e Before we dismiss as too fa n t a s t i c a l these hagiographical accounts of the Patriarch — pre-existent deity, heroic soldier, miracle-worker, and favorite of gods and emperors — we must admit the importance of these images to sectarian believers. In Vegetarian Halls of contemporary Taiwan, Lo Ch'ing i s known primarily as a narrative figure, whose l i f e "incarnates" the teachings he sought to communicate through his writings. It i s my informal observation that these tales are better known among ordinary believers than the abstract arguments of Lo's Scripture  in Five Books, despite i t s being a primary recitation-text of the Vegetarian Halls. S t i l l , there i s a problem here, insofar as the hagiographies frequently misrepresent history and i n some areas misrepresent Lo's own teachings. I have been unable to ide n t i f y the court o f f i c i a l s and eminent cit i z e n s who played such an important role as Lo's patrons and d i s c i p l e s . 1 0 6 Even those who are recorded i n the o f f i c i a l h i s t o r i e s had no known association with sectarians, or l i v e d i n times and places far removed from the Patriarch. 106. The "Brief History" l i s t s a number of others not mentioned above, including Censors, Ministers and Vice Ministers, Grand Secretaries and Chancellors of the Han-lin Academy, Bachelors, and Prefectural and County O f f i c i a l s ("Lo-tsu chien-shih," 11). None appear i n the o f f i c i a l h i s t o r i e s or in standard biographical d i c t i o n a r i e s . I suspect that i t i s nearly impossible to reconstruct the true h i s t o r i e s of the actors on Lo Ch'ing's stage. Confusion of events, persons, times and places i s characteristic of sectarian historiography. For a discussion of this problem, see Sawada Mizuho, Zdho hdkan no kenkyQ, 307; Yeh Wen-hsin, "Jen-shen chih chien," 58; and Cheng Chih-ming, Wu-sheng  lao-mu hsin-yang su-yuan, 23. - 75 -Other events i n this l i f e are narrative trompe l ' o e i l , having the appearance of r e a l i t y based on p a r a l l e l s to actual events, and yet as unlikely as they are v i v i d in the t e l l i n g . Foreign monks at court, for example, were indeed common during the reign of the Cheng-te Emperor, 1 0 7 but there i s no record of a lay sectarian defeating one in debate. Though the emperor's recorded words have an aura of narrative authenticity, and the "Dragon Placard" he commissioned i s "reproduced" i n r e a l i s t i c d e t a i l , no o f f i c i a l history r e c o l l e c t s these events. Clearly, they cannot be regarded as h i s t o r i c a l l y accurate, and are presented here for what they reveal about the hagiographical imagination of sectarian believers. Another form of misrepresentation i n these texts i s i n the religious teachings they g l o r i f y . In some cases, they are f a i t h f u l to Lo's pedagogical intent, albeit while simplifying his arguments or exaggerating certain features to prominence. In the imperially-sponsored debate we have an effective presentation of Lo's "Way of Non-Action", which may reveal some of the r i t u a l p rinciples and practices of the Lo sects. Overall, however, there i s an over-emphasis on Lo as a lay Buddhist leader, when in fact he rejects many of the central tenets of Buddhism i n his writings. In the case of the "Brief History of Patriarch Lo", this i s a r e f l e c t i o n of the Buddhist orientation of i t s contemporary sectarian compilers. 107. See the section on "Gods and Religion" for the Cheng-te reign period, Ku-chin t'u-shu chi-ch'ena [ I l l u s t r a t i o n s and Texts, Old and New] (Shanghai: 1934), chuan 64, ts'e 494: 58a-b. - 76 -If texts have motivations, then we can see a number at work in these hagiographies: the attempt to legitimize the existence of the Lo sects in the eyes of state authorities, to Buddhicize Lo's teachings for contemporary lay believers, and to transform a seeker into a saint with a charisma and supernaturalism worthy of co l l e c t i v e worship. The Lo Ch'ing of these works does for lay-based sectarianism what Hui-neng and the legends surrounding him did for Ch'an Buddhism — providing a model to their followers with the sanction and authority afforded by their own charismatic presence. Indeed, de t a i l s of Lo's sectarian biography are reminiscent of two figures i n Chinese i n t e l l e c t u a l history who share many of his convictions: Hui-neng and Wang Yang-ming. As I w i l l argue in Chapters II and IV below, Lo carried Hui-neng's teachings to their l o g i c a l conclusion and anticipated many of the philosophical convictions of the Yang-ming School. He did so, of course, i n an a l l - i n c l u s i v e s p i r i t , and became a popular spokesman for the principles of Ch'an and later Neo-Confucian thought. Sectarian portrayals of his l i f e are i l l u s t r a t i v e of the principles shared by a l l three. Lo Ch'ing and Hui-neng, Sixth Patriarch Based on P h i l i p Yampolsky's translation of the Platform Sutra and his study of hagiographical traditions surrounding the l i f e of Hui-neng, we can outline a number of p a r a l l e l s between Lo - 77 -Ch'ing and the Ch'an P a t r i a r c h . 1 0 8 Though these legends cannot be regarded as h i s t o r i c a l l y factual, they created archetypes of religious authority and charisma that established standards of legitimacy for religious l e a d e r s h i p . 1 0 9 (1.) Lo and Hui-neng were orphans. In the Platform Sutra, we read: My father was o r i g i n a l l y an o f f i c i a l at Fan-yang. He was [later] dismissed from his post and banished as a commoner to Hsin-chou i n Ling-nan. While I was s t i l l a c h i l d , my father died and my old mother and I, a s o l i t a r y c h i l d , moved to Nan-hai. We suffered extreme poverty and here I sold firewood i n the market p l a c e . 1 1 0 Lo Ch'ing's father had never served as an o f f i c i a l , but he was a farmer and thus, of course, a commoner. Neither Lo Ch'ing nor Hui-neng was born i n comfortable circumstances. Both l o s t their fathers at the age of three, and there i s a t r a d i t i o n , though not recorded i n the Platform Sutra, which maintains that Hui-neng, l i k e Lo Ch'ing, lost his mother as well as his father: so states the Ts'ao-ch'i ta-shih pieh-chuan (W ?H A ISfi S'J 4? ) - composed i n 782.1 1 1 (2.) Much i s made in the Ch'an t r a d i t i o n of the fact that Hui-neng was untutored and i l l i t e r a t e : 108. P h i l i p Yampolsky, The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch (New York: 1967) . 109. The power of the model or archetype cannot be overemphasized in the Chinese case, where sanctity i s recognized as the a b i l i t y to imitate and reconstitute the personal character of sages and saints, and rarely the capacity for innovation. 110. ibid., 126; Chinese text, p. 1 from back. 111. HTC 146:483b, column 1, l i n e 12. Cf. Yampolsky, ibid., 71, 126. [I was taken] to the south corridor and I made obeisance before the verse [of Shen-hsiu]. Because I was uneducated I asked someone to read i t to me. As soon as I had heard i t I understood the cardinal meaning. 1 1 2 Sectarian biographies of Lo Ch'ing do not say e x p l i c i t l y that their patriarch was i l l i t e r a t e , but the implication i s strong that he did not base his re l i g i o u s insights on study or conventional learning. Lo's own autobiography indicates that he was self-taught; he certainly did not benefit from a formal education. Like Hui-neng, Lo rejects the efficacy of language to express the "wordless teaching" of the true Dharma. (3.) The conditions of Hui-neng's f i r s t enlightenment anticipate those of Lo Ch'ing d i r e c t l y : I happened to see [a] man who was r e c i t i n g the Diamond  Sutra. Upon hearing i t my mind became clear and I was awakened. 1 1 3 Lo Ch'ing experiences his f i r s t enlightenment when he hears an assembly of monks r e c i t i n g an "amplified" version of the Diamond  Sutra. (4.) The F i f t h Patriarch, who transmitted the robe of the Dharma to Hui-neng, warns him that he w i l l be "harmed" i f he remains at the monastery. He travels widely, followed by "several hundred men...wishing to try to k i l l me and to steal my 112. Yampolsky, ibid., 132; Chinese text on p. 4 from back. Biographies of the Ch'an patriarch appearing i n the Ts'ao- ch'i ta-shih pieh-chuan and the Ching-te ch'uan-teng lu recount that Hui-neng was able to explain the meaning of sQtras though he "[didn't] know written words... 'The mysterious pr i n c i p l e of a l l the Buddhas has nothing to do with words,' [he said]" (ijbid. , 79). In his lectures on the Dharma, this i s one of Hui-neng's pr i n c i p l e themes. 113. ibid., 127; Chinese text on p. 1 from back. - 79 -robe and Dharma." A former general, whom Hui-neng suspects of murderous intent, i n fact seeks religious instruction from him. 1 1 4 Similarly, sectarian accounts of Lo Ch'ing's l i f e describe his travels throughout the country, his persecution at the hands of skeptical o f f i c i a l s , and his successful conversion of eunuchs, generals, and o f f i c i a l s to his sect. (5.) At least one account of Hui-neng's l i f e states that he was; invited to court by the Emperor Kao-tsung (though he declined, claiming i l l health), answered queries put forward by a hostile interlocutor, and was rewarded for his i n s i g h t f u l replies with an imperial proclamation of p r a i s e . 1 1 3 This sequence of events p a r a l l e l s exactly the course of Lo Ch'ing's interview at court, debate with a foreign monk or monks, and victory s i g n i f i e d by the bestowal of a "Dragon Placard" by the emperor. It can also be noted that Lo Ch'ing paraphrases the Platform  Sutra at least four times i n the Wu-pu l i u - t s ' e and makes repeated reference to the ideal of the "wordless teaching" so characteristic of the Ch'an School. The tales of Hui-neng I have referred to are hagiographic legends and cannot be regarded as h i s t o r i c a l l y factual, as Yampolsky notes at length i n his discussion. S t i l l , l i k e the hagiographies of Lo Ch'ing recorded i n the "Brief History of Patriarch Lo," they shaped the consciousness of religious followers. Both i n the details of his biography and the content of his thought, Lo Ch'ing f u l f i l l s the model set forth i n the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch. 114. ibid., 133-134; Chinese text on p. 5 from back. 115. ibid., 74. - 80 -Indeed, the name of the patriarch of the Dragon-Flower Sect discovered by Joseph Edkins in nineteenth-century Chekiang was "Lo Hui-neng". 1 1 6 Lo Ch'ing i s truly the "populist" Ch'an paftriarch i n the image of his followers. Lo Ch'ing and the Yang-ming School Other details of Lo's legendary biography closely p a r a l l e l the early experience of Wang Yang-ming (jE $1 < 1472-1529). For both figures, meditation on the ideal of family shapes their careers and their philosophical insights. The relationship between personal biography and re l i g i o u s philosophy i s clear in Lo's case, and this i s a pattern familiar to students of Ming i n t e l l e c t u a l history in particular. As we have seen, the deaths of Lo's parents in 1446 and 1450 s i g n i f i c a n t l y shaped his mendicant career between 1470 and 1482 (ages twenty-eight to f o r t y ) . Similarly, a profound experience of attachment to family when he was thirty-one years of age (in 1504) determined the course of Wang Yang-ming's career as an o f f i c i a l and a committed Confucian moralist, as Tu Wei-ming's study of Wang Yang-ming's youth has shown. 1 1 7 After f l i r t i n g with Taoist longevity practices and Buddhist meditation, Wang was "enlightened" to an affirmation of his basic humanity and his natural attachment to family. This led him ultimately to embrace Confucianism — Mencius' idea of "natural feelings" i n particular 116. Joseph Edkins, Chinese Buddhism (London: 1893), 377. 117. Tu Wei-ming, Neo-Confucian Thought i n Action: Wang Yang- ming ' s Youth (1472-1509) (Berkeley: 1976), 55-71. - 81 -— and to c r i t i c i z e Buddhism for contradicting the in-born, positive attachments of a young person to his or her parents. Wang f e l t that Buddhist monasticism actually i n t e n s i f i e s the burden of attachment in the mind by driving a physical wedge between the seeker and his f a m i l y . 1 1 8 Wang, unlike Lo, had a physical family to return to, and one could speculate that this i n i t s e l f re-channelled Wang's c r e a t i v i t y in the direction of an all-embracing Confucianism. Lo's separation from his parents was occasioned by the fact of human mortality — their premature deaths — and the resolution of this c r i s i s was naturally expressed in religious terms. For both Wang and Lo, separation from family i n i t i a t e d a career, and the ideal of family unity became the basic symbol of human f u l f i l l m e n t . The motivation for Lo Ch'ing's religious quest was grounded i n an emotional c r i s i s . But the personal intimacy of Lo's testimonial goes beyond his meditations on the deaths of his parents. Throughout his Autobiography, there i s an emotional angst that drives him to "push on another step...and another step" i n his physical and s p i r i t u a l journey. The motif i s a common one i n Ming dynasty biographies: religious or philosophical insight rises from the ashes of s p i r i t u a l anxiety and emotional trauma. For Ming Buddhists and Neo-Confucians of the Yang-ming School, intense seeking borne out of personal 118. Tu's analysis of Wang Yang-ming's celebration of family ties i s based on the chronological biography (^P sS ) by Ch'ien Te-hung, reprinted in Lu Fei-k'uei, ed., Yang-mina ch'uan- shu (Taipei: 1970), 32-36. - 82 -c r i s i s grounds one's ultimate commitment to a new-found religious or philosophical understanding. 1 1 9 So, autobiography was a genre chara c t e r i s t i c of the Ming, 1 2 0 and Lo's i s our e a r l i e s t example. Note, too, that the ideal of the untutored commoner blessed with philosophical insight i s a characteristic of the "left-wing" Ming Neo-Confucians. Lo Ch'ing anticipates this model by at least a hundred y e a r s . 1 2 1 119. In addition to Tu Wei-ming's study cited above, see Judith Berling, The Syncretic Religion of Lin Chao-en (New York: 1980), ch. 4; Cynthia Brokaw, "Yuan Huang and the Ledgers of Merit and Demerit," Harvard Journal of A s i a t i c Studies 47 (1987): 137-195; Hsu Sung-peng, A Buddhist Leader in Ming  China: The L i f e and Thought of Han-shan Te-ch'ing (State College: 1979), ch. 2; Wu P e i - i , "The S p i r i t u a l Autobiography of Te-ch'ing," i n William Theodore de Bary, ed., The Unfolding of Neo-Confucianism (New York: 1975): 67-92; Johanna F. Handlin, Action i n Late Ming Thought: The  Reorientation of Lu K'un and Other Scholar O f f i c a l s (Berkeley: 1983); Rodney Taylor, "Neo-Confucianism, Sagehood and the Religious Dimension," Journal of Chinese Philosophy 2 (1975): 389-415; Taylor, The Cultivation of Sagehood as a  Religious Goal i n Neo-Confucianism: A Study of Selected  Writings of Kao P'an-lung (Missoula: 1978); Willard J. Peterson, B i t t e r Gourd: Fang I-chih and the Impetus for  In t e l l e c t u a l Change (New Haven: 1979); the biographical portions of The Records of Ming Scholars (Ming-ju hsueh-an) by Huang Tsung-hsi, English translation edited by J u l i a Ching (Honolulu: 1987); and William Theodore de Bary's introductions to de Bary, ed., Self and Society in Ming  Thought (New York: 1970), and The Unfolding of Neo- Conf ucianism (New York: 1975). These are among a number of recent studies which explore the relationship between the personal biographies and mature thought of Ming i n t e l l e c t u a l s and re l i g i o u s leaders. 120. See Rodney Taylor, "The Centered Self: Religious Autobiography in the Neo-Confucian Tradition," History of  Religions 17 (1978), 266-283. 121. We can c i t e , for example, Wang Pi (1511-1587) and the artisans Chu Shu and Han Chen. Cf. J u l i a Ching, ed., The  Records of Ming Scholars by Huang Tsung-hsi (Honolulu: 1987), 179-183. For further discussion of these p a r a l l e l s , see Richard Shek, " E l i t e and Popular Reformism i n Late Ming," Rekishi no okeru minshQ to bunka: Sakai Tadao sensei - 83 -Towards a "Psycho-Biography" of the Patriarch Let us look at Lo Ch'ing's reflections on his orphanhood i n greater d e t a i l ; i t receives more emphasis than any other event in his Autobiography, and sheds l i g h t on his re l i g i o u s thought as presented i n the other four books of the Wu-pu l i u - t s 'e. The loss of his parents had a profound effect on Lo Ch'ing. It i s , i n fact, an idSe fixe of his religious meditations. The temptation to engage in psycho-biography may be forgiven when we observe to what a degree his orphan status obsessed him, and i n l i g h t of the dominant metaphors of his religious v i s i o n : of "returning home" and iden t i f y i n g the s e l f with the "eternal father and mother" (see Chapter II for further discussion of these goals). Indeed, Lo's very d e f i n i t i o n of suffering and salvation i s expressed as the loss and recovery of family. The f i r s t verse section of Lo's Autobiography i s a meditation on his parents' deaths and the significance of this loss for his r e l i g i o u s quest: Alas, human l i f e i s b r i e f ; my heart was f u l l of trouble and worry. My parents died, and I was l e f t alone, abandoned to orphanhood. In my youth I grew to maturity without a father and mother. With no one to rely upon, I suffered pain and confusion. In my internal delusion, I yearned for my parents to l i v e long i n this world. How suddenly they had passed away! How b i t t e r were my tears for my injured feelings! A l l I wished for was the reunion of father and son, and a long l i f e together. My parents died, and I was l e f t alone, never to see them again. When a father sees his son, and a son sees his father, they are j o y f u l , and [the father's] love i s great. Left alone koki shukuga kinen ronso (Tokyo: 1982), 1-21, and Chapter V below. - 84 -was I, and I had no where to take r e f u g e . 1 2 2 Thanks to the protection of the gods and Buddhas, I grew to maturity. I maintained a continuous vegetarian diet; fearing samsira, I wished to plan for my future. Thinking of my parents but unable to see them — how vexing! how troubling! Contemplating the pains of bi r t h , death, and transmigration, I k i l l e d my heart with g r i e f ! Suddenly I had lost the parents who had given me l i f e . Nor did I know where I would be reborn after my death. (K'u-kung 1:21-22). For Lo Ch'ing, the premature deaths of a loving mother and father are deeply f e l t manifestations of the impermanence of samsira. The love and security of family, one of the few blessings of l i f e in this world, has been denied to him, and his emotional loss becomes the root of a s p i r i t u a l anxiety. Every ox, horse, pig, and sheep, every bird that f l i e s and beast that walks, a l l have a father and mother which bore them. People who travel afar as strangers, too, w i l l return home one day. And soldiers ten thousand miles [from home] also have an ancestral home where they reside. How i s i t p o s s i b l e 1 2 3 that this spark of my soul has no home? (K'u- kung 3:31). Lo's emotional c r i s i s precipitates his re l i g i o u s quest, and the "recovery of family" becomes the primary metaphor of his 122. Wang Yuan-ching comments: "Our Patriarch lost his father at the age of three, his mother at the age of seven. Having lo s t both of his parents, he was cut off and alone, l i k e grass f l o a t i n g on water, blown by the wind. He had no one to rely upon, and could but entreat strangers to take him back to his ancestral home [suggesting that Lo had been born elsewere — perhaps at Mi-yun Garrison]. He threw himself upon the graces of an aunt and uncle, and depended on them through the years. "How can one who has lo s t both parents understand the love between a father and a son? Whenever he saw his aunt and uncle, the Patriarch [observed] the blessings and joy of blood r e l a t i v e s . 'My own parents, alas, are dead,' [he thought], 'I am l e f t alone, with no refuge. I can but pass the days with r e l a t i v e s , with no where else to turn.'" (K'u-kung 1:21-22). 123. Reading £ £ f or £ . - 85 -s o t e r i o l o g i c a l v i s i o n . At the beginning of his thirteen-year career as a mendicant and seeker, he meets a Pure Land monk who urges him to recite the Buddha's name. Si g n i f i c a n t l y , the Buddha who reigns over the Pure Land, Amitabha, i s equated with the "Eternal Father and Mother" (fc 3=3£& )• In Lo's Autobiography, we read: The [Pure Land] master instructed me to re c i t e the four-character phrase, [O-mi-t'o] Fo (pffj $j P£ $ ) . [He said that] at the moment of my death, [by rai s i n g this thought to mind] I would transcend the Tr i p l e Sphere [Skt. Triloka], where, on [Mount] T'ien-t'ai in that realm, I would see the Eternal Father and Mother. (K'u-kung 5:45). The Pure Land master urges him, "Every day, rec i t e the name of AmitSbha. Do not abandon this practice! Walking, r e c i t e his name! S i t t i n g , r e c i t e his name! Ardently press forward on the path of merit! At the moment of death, raise this thought to mind, and you w i l l transcend the Tr i p l e Sphere. Arriving at the Buddha's Land of Tranquility and Nurture [SukhSvati], there w i l l be the reunion of father and son." (K'u-kung 3:37). Lo's e f f o r t s , however, merely cause him further suffering: Alone I recited the four-character name, O-jni-t'o Fo — but I recited i t c a r e l e s s l y . 1 2 4 Moreover, I feared that the Eternal Father and Mother i n that Other World above the heavens would not hear my voice. Day and night, I raised my chant. But after a period of eight years, my mind was [ s t i l l ] vexed and I had not attained c l a r i t y of perception. (K'u-kung 4:40). Lo's emotional and s p i r i t u a l separation from his parents, both worldly and eternal, defined and shaped him, and his eventual enlightenment i s expressed i n terms of family re-124. Nien-te man-le: f# 1§ T • The adverbial man-le indicates a number of meanings that suggest a lack of conviction: neglectfully, arrogantly, contemptuously, haphazardly, slowly, l e i s u r e l y , s u p e r f i c i a l l y , carelessly, insecurely. Morohashi, Daikanwa j i t e n , 4:1159 (11110). - 86 -u n i f i c a t i o n . Eventually, Lo comes to the r e a l i z a t i o n that the object of one's quest i s within oneself. One's parents are not distant and hidden; they are i n fact i d e n t i c a l with the s e l f . The Mother i s I. I am the Mother. Basically we are one in the same. ( K' u-kuncj 11:48). The religious path, therefore, does not take one on a journey to another realm, but rather requires a "return" to one's native place or ancestral home: Those of wisdom seek the Great Path: they return to their homes (If ^  £ j* ) . Arriving at their ancestral home (.% 8$ ) , they never scatter, and never [again] turn the wheel of samsira. Arriving at their ancestral home, their l i v e s are immeasurable i n duration. Long w i l l they l i v e . They w i l l not die. Forever united [as a family: SJ HI ] , they are subject to neither b i r t h nor death and their joy i s unbounded! ( T' an-shih 3:51). The Mother i s thus a root metaphor of Lo's religious system, and "returning home" the ultimate goal of religious c u l t i v a t i o n . Lo's s p i r i t u a l insights are firmly grounded i n the biographical deta i l s of his l i f e . His experiences of loss and seeking provide him with the central images of his s o t e r i o l o g i c a l v i s i o n . - 87 -Chapter II Lo Ch'ing's Religious Thought: The Wu-pu liu-ts'e 1. Overview Books 2 to 5 of the Wu-pu liu-ts'e elaborate upon Lo Ch'ing's experiential understanding of the human condition and the nature of religious salvation. At times derivative and uninspired, at times creative and i n s i g h t f u l , Lo employs terminology borrowed from Buddhism, Taoism, and Neo-Confucianism i n a creative synthesis shaped by his own interpretation of the Three Teachings. In this sense, Lo i s ty p i c a l of the "three-in-one" thinkers of the Ming, but he incorporates c l a s s i c a l r e l i g i o u s conceptions i n a way that i s unique and d i s t i n c t i v e . To the extent that l a t e r sectarians based their b e l i e f s and r i t u a l s on Lo's Five Books, his influence has been far-reaching. More s i g n i f i c a n t l y , Lo's writings are representative of popular innovation and sectarian interpretations of c l a s s i c a l thought. Here we w i l l examine the teachings of the Wu-pu liu-ts'e i n d e t a i l ; i n a la t e r chapter, we w i l l turn to the influence of Lo's soc i a l and h i s t o r i c a l setting on his thought and a c t i v i t i e s . The Wu-pu liu-ts'e hints at a developmental tendency, and i s loosely arranged thematically. There i s considerable overlap and repetition within the Five Books, but generally Book 1 (the K'u- kung: wu-tao chuan) i s devoted to verse expressions of lay-Buddhist piety and the Autobiography of Lo Ch'ing; Book 2 (the T'an-shih wu-wei chuan) i s concerned with an analysis of the - 88 -human condition, again expressed for the most part i n t r a d i t i o n a l Buddhist terms; Book 3 (the P'o-hsieh hsien-cheng yao-shih chuan) i s a series of attacks on false or "heterodox" forms of religious practice; and Books 4 (the Cheng-hsin ch'u-i wu hsiu-cheng tzu- tsai pao-chuan) and 5 (the Wei-wei pu-tung T'ai-shan shen-ken  chieh-kuo pao-chuan) present Lo's mature rel i g i o u s thought, self-consciously innovative vis-a-vis the t r a d i t i o n a l teachings of Buddhism. Viewed as a whole, Lo's writings ar t i c u l a t e a creative, deeply personal interpretation of re l i g i o u s f a i t h and practice made accessible to popular sectarian believers. Lo Ch'ing directs his teachings to a wide audience, and his goal i s c l e a r l y that the Wu-pu l i u - t s ' e may be employed as an aid to universal salvation. A l l beings, trapped as they are i n a cycle of suffering and impermanence, yearn for deliverance from samsira, and Lo's f i r s t task i s to describe the nature of samsira and the reasons for i t s perpetuation. This he does in terms familiar to students of Chinese Buddhism: the wheel of samsira i s turned by the engine of karma, and l i f e in every form i s characterized by pain and uncertainty. In c o l o r f u l i l l u s t r a t i o n s of the anxieties and suffering experienced by o f f i c i a l s , emperors, merchants, thieves and brigands, monks, nuns, fathers and sons, gods, animals, and demons, Lo points out that no being i s exempt from karmic punishment and personal insecurity. L i f e i s fundamentally painful, and the ultimate re l i g i o u s goal i s escape from samsira. Lo's remarks on the human condition are conventional from the standpoint of popular Buddhism i n the Ming. His many - 89 -references to samsira and the doctrine of karma show how commonly accepted these views were, and broadly i l l u s t r a t e the economic and s o c i a l l i f e of the time. We have seen in Lo Ch'ing's Autobiography that these concerns were deeply f e l t . His religious writings r e f l e c t his own s p i r i t u a l anxieties and the solutions that he himself discovered i n the course of his s p i r i t u a l career. Samsira i s not a metaphysical abstraction, but a symbol of personal insecurity and psychological unease. Lo's s o t e r i o l o g i c a l message, moreover, i s an expression of his own salvation experience. It i s r e f l e c t i o n on the cosmological origins of the universe that leads to Lo's ultimate enlightenment, and this i s the theme which dominates the Five Books. The solution to the problem of samsira, Lo announces, i s personal re-union with the Creator-Mother of the universe. The Mother gives b i r t h to and nourishes a l l beings and things, and r e l i g i o u s salvation consists i n "returning", personally and experientially, to one's "ancestral home". In his cosmological speculations, Lo r e l i e s on terminology from the Buddhist, Taoist, and Neo-Confucian tradit i o n s : the root and source of a l l things he describes alternately as Emptiness ) or the Buddha ($} ); Non-Being (fc ) or the Way (Jg ) ; and the Limitless (fc f§ ) or Supreme Ultimate g ) — c i t i n g a variety of c l a s s i c a l sources for confirmation of his teachings.. Ultimately, these are a l l terms denoting the same r e a l i t y , and i t i s f r u i t l e s s to follow one t r a d i t i o n to the exclusion of the same truths revealed i n the others. The Three - 90 -Teachings, despite their variations i n nomenclature and h i s t o r i c a l transmission, are fundamentally one. In these pronouncements, Lo anticipates a trend i n religious thought that was to be shared by rel i g i o u s leaders such as Lin Chao-en (# & Jg , 1517-1598), Yun-ch'i Chu-hung g {£ £ , 1532-1612), Tzu-po Chen-k'o ft M °S , 1544-1604), and Han-shan Te-ch'ing (!& UJ ^  t# » 1546-1623), and speculative philosophers of the Yang-ming School, including L i Chih (^ , 1527-1602) and Yuan Huang ($[ f£ , 1533-1606) among others, of the later Ming. 1 This i s not to say that Lo Ch'ing was a "founder" of a "school" of "three-in-one" thought; the trend can be traced to Taoist and Buddhist canonical works i n the Sung, and was v i r t u a l l y the "state policy" of the f i r s t emperor of the Ming.2 What i s notable i s that this orientation should be articulated by a popular r e l i g i o u s leader two to three generations before the same views were expressed by s o c i o l o g i c a l l y e l i t e , c l a s s i c a l l y educated r e l i g i o u s reformers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Lo's t r u l y unique and creative contribution to this mode of discourse i s his be l i e f that the Three Teachings originate i n a fundamental, prior source: the Creator-Mother of the cosmos. 1. For a discussion of this tendency i n late Ming thought, see Judith A. Berling, The Syncretic Religion of Lin Chao-en (New York: 1980); Cynthia Brokaw, "Yuan Huang (1533-1606) and the Ledgers of Merit and Demerit," Harvard Journal of A s i a t i c  Studies 47 (1987), 137-195; and Chun-fang Yu, The Renewal of  Buddhism i n China: Chu-hung and the Late Ming Synthesis (New York: 1981). 2. Berling, ibid., 34-61; Sakai Tadao, ChQgoku zensho no kenkyQ [Studies of Chinese Shan-shu] (Tokyo: 1960), 227-233. - 91 -"Mother" ({J ), Lo says, i s "the word from which a l l words flow" and the single term uniting a l l descriptions of the creation. She i s the "Ancestor" (ffl ) and the "root" (fll ) of a l l beings and things. Salvation consists in recognizing the Mother and "returning to one's ancestral home". There, believers w i l l be united as a family, sharing in a b l i s s f u l existence far from the pain of the world of samsira. Here we have the or i g i n of a cult of the "Eternal Venerable Mother" (fc £ %f5 ) that was to dominate Ming and Ch'ing sectarianism: the Mother yearns for her lo s t children i n the "red-dust" world of samsira, and sect p a r t i c i p a t i o n becomes the only avenue to salvation at her side. 3 But i t i s s i g n i f i c a n t that Lo does not make membership i n his sect a precondition for reunion with the Mother. Lo's focus, as we s h a l l see below, i s not the creation of a sect, but the salvation of individual believers. This becomes evident when we observe the f i n a l step of Lo's s o t e r i o l o g i c a l argument: the ultimate unity of Self and Mother. The most profound teaching of the Wu-pu l i u - t s ' e i s that the creative p r i n c i p l e of the universe — whether that be expressed by the term "Emptiness", "Buddha", "Non-Being", "Limitless", or "Mother" — i s indistinguishable from the Nature (ft ) or Sp i r i t u a l Light (f| % ) within the individual. Salvation, therefore, described as a reunion with the Creator, i s nothing more than a process of S e l f - r e a l i z a t i o n . By recognizing the unity of Self and Mother, the seeker i s liberated from the cycle 3. See Chapter III below. - 92 -of samsira and attains a psychological state of autonomy and composure that i s i n f i n i t e l y joyful and calming. To "return to one's ancestral home" i s to recognize and affirm the eternal, free, and unobstructed Self or Mother within. This i s Lo Ch'ing's central message, made e x p l i c i t only in the l a s t of his Five Books. Though the Mother i s the ultimate term for c r e a t i v i t y and l i b e r a t i o n , i t s identity with the Self shapes the appropriate religious a c t i v i t y of the believer as insight rather than devotion. Later sectarians were overly l i t e r a l i s t i c i n their interpretation of Lo's teachings, and founded a devotional Eternal Mother cult i n his name. This was surely not the Patriarch's intention, as the Mother i s depicted i n the Chieh-kuo pao-chuan as the immediate, accessible "True Self" of every individual. Historians may trace the Eternal Mother cult to Lo Ch'ing, but he was not i t s conscious founder. The influence of the Ch'an school on Lo's conclusions i s unmistakable, and much of the terminology used to describe the Self and i t s ultimacy i s Ch'an-inspired. Lo Ch'ing could be portrayed as a Ch'an popularizer, making Ch'an teachings on the Original Face (;£ *R 1} @ ) , the "wordless teaching" , and sudden enlightenment accessible to a popular lay audience. However, as we sh a l l observe i n his cr i t i q u e of "manipulative forms of reli g i o u s c u l t i v a t i o n " (^ f j& j£ ) , any outward or active expression of religious practice i s rejected by Lo as i n h i b i t i n g the fundamental insight into one's true Nature. This i s the basis for his repudiation of monasticism, deity cults, and a variety of "heterodox" r e l i g i o u s a f f i l i a t i o n s , and extends to a c r i t i c i s m of - 93 -the Ch'an School as well. Lo goes to the heart of Ch'an by rejecting sitting-meditation as an avenue to self-understanding. If anything, true insight i s a product of f a i t h , not meditation, devotion, or moral action. The Wu-pu liu-ts'e encourages the religious seeker to have f a i t h i n i t s own teachings, and Lo admits this Dharma as the only true and correct path to l i b e r a t i o n . Faith, or "right b e l i e f " (JE \s ) > i s fundamental to r e a l i z i n g the enlightened mind. In this sense, the Wu-pu liu-ts'e could become the basis for the development of a sect, and Lo Ch'ing i t s founder and F i r s t Patriarch. This i s substantially the religious message of the Wu-pu liu-ts 'e. The texts are not straightforward i n their presentation, however, and include much material that i s superfluous or even opposed to these teachings, primarily i n the form of conventional Buddhist language which dominates the verse portions of the text. Lo c l e a r l y saw his Dharma as growing out of a t r a d i t i o n that he respected and emulated. As we s h a l l discuss further i n Chapter IV, he quotes and paraphrases canonical scriptures and other r e l i g i o u s and philosophical works to buttress his religious claims. Yet he was also an innovator and a reformer, and his rejection of monasticism and other "outward forms" of religious practice, as well as his affirmation of f a i t h i n the Eternal Mother and a new understanding of the inner Nature, are e x p l i c i t and self-conscious. Lo was by no means merely a popularizer of an existing body of teachings, but - 94 -the founder of a new, lay-based sectarian r e l i g i o n . 4 In this chapter, I explore the peculiar language of Lo's teachings in d e t a i l , with attention to the internal development of his thought, his analysis of the human condition, his understanding of r e l i g i o u s salvation, and his d i s t i n c t i o n between "proper" and "improper" modes of religious c u l t i v a t i o n . The aim here i s not only to digest and summarize a long and often repetitive corpus of "precious volumes" — the oldest extant — but also to uncover the religious thought and social world of a popular sectarian leader. 4. I d i s c u s s c o n g r e g a t i o n a l and r i t u a l a s p e c t s of t h i s r e l i g i o n i n Chapter III. His role as the insp i r a t i o n for — i f not the actual founder of — a sectarian t r a d i t i o n , as much as Lo Ch'ing's religious thought, i s the Patriarch's most last i n g contribution to the history of Chinese religions. My emphasis throughout the following discussion i s on Lo's self-understanding as a creative rel i g i o u s tiiinker, an innovator and reformer within the religious traditions known to him. Viewed c r i t i c a l l y , however, i t must be admitted that many of his teachings predated Lo Ch'ing. His attacks on Buddhism, for example — including his repudiation of s i t t i n g meditation — were articulated by Hui-neng centuries before ( P h i l i p Yampolsky, The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch TNewYork: 1967], pp. 82, TI5, 117, 1367~WfT.^o~wnat extent Lo Ch'ing can be said to have been "indebted" to Hui-neng, however, i s d i f f i c u l t to say: anyone reading the Wu-pu l i u - t s ' e i s struck by the sense of Lo's self-perception as a creative thinker and reli g i o u s prophet. - 9 5 -2. On the "Development" of Lo China's Thought Lo's works are not always i n t e r n a l l y consistent. There are discrepancies i n his pronouncements on a creator diety, the Holy Patriarch of the Limitless ) ; on charity and moral virtue; and on some of the basic teachings of Buddhism. As can be seen i n a quick overview of the 103 p'in that make up the Wu-pu liu-ts 'e,3 Lo's writing i s highly r e p e t i t i v e . Pedagogically, the cumulative effect of this repetition i s to f i x certain phrases and ideas i n the mind of the d i s c i p l e r e c i t i n g or hearing the text. Surely this i s the function of the verse form which dominates the work. For the purposes of interpretation, however, the repetition of themes makes the task of analysis more d i f f i c u l t , as i t v e i l s any clear development of thought. It i s not possible to d i f f e r e n t i a t e sharply between books on the basis of inconsistencies i n Lo's treatment of his major themes, or to observe a s i g n i f i c a n t phased development of ideas from the f i r s t of his Five Books to the l a s t . 5. For summaries of each chapter, see Appendix I. - 96 -We can, however, observe developmental tendencies or variations of emphasis i n the Wu-pu liu-ts' e: (1.) The karma doctrine: E a r l i e r and l a t e r books of the Wu-pu liu-ts 'e appear on the whole to d i f f e r i n their treatment of morality and the doctrine of karma. Generally, Lo adopts a straightforward view of karma i n the f i r s t two books, u t i l i z i n g i t to describe the human condition and urge his followers to avoid e v i l . In the later books, however, the doctrine i s treated more as an expedient means (upiya), which a "person of superior capacity" recognizes as true only i n a conditional sense, and ultimately discards. 6 It i s primarily in books 4 and 5 that Lo employs the r e l a t i v i s t i c language of prajnS-pSramiti, denying the d i s t i n c t i o n between good and e v i l and repudiating the efficacy of "good works" for re l i g i o u s c u l t i v a t i o n . We cannot help but observe, however, that this more sophisticated view also appears, in i s o l a t i o n , i n the e a r l i e r books, and that straightforward injunctions to virtue are not absent from books 3, 4, and 5. (2.) The Original Face and Ancestral Home: Though the phrases "Original Face" (;£ % ® @ ) and "Ancestral Home" (% 8? ) appear in the e a r l i e r books, they are the predominant themes of books 4 and 5, and are employed far more frequently in Lo's later pao-chuan. Moreover, i n Lo's Autobiography i n book 1, there i s a narrative focus on the imagery of "returning home" — playing on 6. See, for example, the Chieh-kuo pao-chuan, p'in 14, "On Fools who do not Believe i n their Own True Body": "Karma [applies only to] the realm of vain ornamentation (jft H ij| |ft ) . It i s nonsense that takes i n and deceives those who have gone astray. Those who have awakened to the Way b a s i c a l l y have no karma." (Chieh-kuo 14:64-65). - 97 -the psychological power of the phrase — whereas in later books i t i s described p r i n c i p a l l y in i t s metaphorical sense, as an expression for enlightenment. 7 (3.) Other Buddhist formulations: Generally, Lo i s more thorough in his repudiation of Buddhist conventions and i n s t i t u t i o n s i n the later books. Here we find his e x p l i c i t rejection of monasticism and physical austerity, Ch'an meditation, and the r e c i t a t i o n of scripture. Once again, however, we must point out that this c r i t i c a l attitude i s not absent from books 1 and 2, and does i n fact play i t s part in Lo's autobiographical narrative. On the other hand, there i s a great deal of conventional Buddhist language throughout the Five Books, sometimes i n dir e c t opposition to Lo's for c e f u l message of reform, lay-based r e l i g i o u s piety, and "three-in-one" synthesis. Analysis of Lo's religious thought r e l a t i v e to the conventional teachings of the t r a d i t i o n i s one of the more d i f f i c u l t tasks of interpretation i n a study of the Wu-pu liu-ts 'e. (4.) The Holy Ancestor of the Limitless < i i l £ ) : This phrase does not appear at a l l u n t i l book 4, where i t i s defined as a creator deity capable of self-transformation and multiple incarnations. A similar phrase, the Eternal Progenitor 7. This i s not to say that the evocative character of the image i s lost (as we can see i n book 5, the Chieh-kuo pao-chuan, p'in 23, "The Pain of Weeping for Home"), but i t s religious significance i s spelled out by Lo Ch'ing, i n a series of e x p l i c i t d e f i n i t i o n s or equivalences, only i n the later books (book 4, the Cheng-hsin chuan, p'in 8, "On the Monk Long Ago who Mistakenly Identified the One Word of Liberation," and the Chieh-kuo pao-chuan, p'in 4, "Mother, the One Word from which A l l Things Flow," for example). I discuss this theme in more d e t a i l below. - 98 -(M *E 1£ fit ) , i s equated with Amitibha and portrayed negatively i n book 1. Moreover, Lo refers to the "Mother", which he i d e n t i f i e s with both the Ancestor and the Self, far more frequently in books 4 and 5. As we s h a l l see in Chapter III, we have here the origins of an Eternal Mother (&.*fe ) cult that was to dominate sectarian r e l i g i o n from the late sixteenth century on. Lo's Autobiography in the f i r s t book describes the progress of his r e l i g i o u s quest through "thirteen years of b i t t e r e f f o r t in search of the Way," and i s narrated as a d i a l e c t i c a l process of alternately embracing and rejecting conventional methods of r e l i g i o u s c u l t i v a t i o n . In part, the discrepancies of the other four books can be explained in l i g h t of general developmental tendencies r e f l e c t i n g r e l i g i o u s and psychological growth, with l a t e r books corresponding to more mature stages of his thought. We have textual evidence, i n a postface to an early edition of the Cheng-hsin ch'u-i pao-chuan, that the f i f t h book was composed at some time after the other four, and Lo i s most e x p l i c i t in his la t e r pao-chuan on the identity of Self and Mother, the imagery of the "ancestral home", the rejection of moral and s o c i a l d i s t i n c t i o n s , and the establishment of a lay-based sectarian community of religious seekers. However, on the p r i n c i p l e themes of the texts, outlined above, the "developmental" theory cannot withstand close scrutiny. Though inconsistencies and variations of emphasis appear i n the Wu-pu l i u - t s 'e, we should be careful not to import conceptions of a "narrative process" into the texts. The Wu-pu l i u - t s ' e i s roughly organized t o p i c a l l y , and Lo appears to direct - 99 -his teachings to d i s t i n c t audiences according to their needs and expectations. The inconsistencies i n the texts can thus be viewed as a means consciously employed by Lo Ch'ing to appeal to the various propensities of his audience, not as evidence of the author's personal i n t e l l e c t u a l development. His use of conventional Buddhist language, which compromises many of his more ra d i c a l antinomian statements, may have been an attempt to draw di s c i p l e s to his sect or to anchor his own teachings in the accepted, "orthodox" foundation of the tr a d i t i o n ; i t i s not the case that Lo abandons this language i n the later texts. Overall, we do not fin d a clear and unambiguous contrast between the e a r l i e r and la t e r books i n the presentation of major teachings. To the extent that i t i s possible, therefore, I view the Five Books as a single work, with an i m p l i c i t order and coherence. This i s simply to accord the written record of a popular r e l i g i o u s figure the same assumption of s e l f -consciousness and in t e g r i t y that we regularly give to the writings of s o c i a l e l i t e s . As a guiding p r i n c i p l e of hermeneutics, i t i s a r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of the contemporary scholar to treat popular religious l i t e r a t u r e presupposing the conscious i n t e n t i o n a l i t y of i t s authors. - 100 -3. Lo's Analysis of the Human Condition The narrative det a i l s of Lo Ch'ing's l i f e give his religious quest an urgency and u t i l i t y not found i n the philosophical texts of Buddhist scholasticism. Born into a humble family of farmers, serving as a mi l i t a r y conscript, suffering through the premature deaths of his parents, Lo was faced with the contingency and changeability of l i f e as re a l , e x i s t e n t i a l problems. The c l a s s i c a l Buddhist teachings of impermanence (anity a) and suffering (duhka ) are, for Lo, p r a c t i c a l , u t i l i t a r i a n concerns that motivate him to pursue his "thirteen years of b i t t e r e f f o r t " and serve as the starting point of his religious philosophy. Lo maintains the popular Buddhist conception of samsara: the physical body i s subject to i l l n e s s , decay, and death; after death, the soul (3§ i& ) i s judged by Yen-lo wang (gj £1 3i ) » King Yama, and punished in a purgatorial h e l l with physical tortures based metaphorically on sins performed on earth; and after a period of suffering i n h e l l that may la s t for "innumerable eons", the soul transmigrates, to be reborn among the four types of l i v i n g being (H £ ) — womb-born, egg-born, water-born, or "transformation"-born — or the six gati i7\ !fi ) — deva, human, beast, asura, hungry ghost, or hell-being — as determined by the karmic law of just consequences. The starting point of Lo Ch'ing's re l i g i o u s teachings, coming out of his own experience of loss as a c h i l d , i s the observed fact that human l i f e i s short and inherently painful. This, of course, i s a corollary of the conventional Buddhist teaching that the basis of duhka suffering, i s the transcience - 101 -of existence — a l l evident things are by nature impermanent and cannot be r e l i e d upon; they are "empty".8 Lo maintains the c l a s s i c a l Buddhist doctrine of impermanence: In the midst of samsira, there i s only impermanence (fa ^  ), bitterness ) , emptiness (<£ ) , no-self (fa%t), impurity (Tf ) , and vain i l l u s i o n (fifi £| ) — l i k e foam on the surface of a stream, now appearing, now disappearing. Coming, going, and spinning, i t i s just l i k e the wheels of a cart. Birth, old age, sickness, death, and a l l of the eight a f f l i c t i o n s of l i f e 9 follow one after the other. There i s never a moment's rest. ( T' an-shih 3:36). The body i s unclean: From the nine apertures, there i s a continuous flow [of bodily f l u i d s ] . That i s why the scriptures say that this body i s a c o l l e c t i o n of a myriad a f f l i c t i o n s . A l l of i t i s impure. ( T'an-shih 3:38). Fools do not understand that theirs i s a body of blood, pus, and skin, which turns to dust after death. They do not know that after death, they w i l l turn into a corpse, gnashing i t s teeth [reading |f£ for ] , unbearably putrid and stinking. (Cheng-hsin 2:61). And l i f e i s short: Alas! L i f e i s a fl o a t i n g world, insecure and short. The heart i s f u l l of pain. Fathers and sons are together for only a moment's duration [ l i t . "one ks.ana"] . The unity of the sons of one household cannot be preserved for long. The four elements [earth, water, f i r e , air] of fathers and sons turn to ashes and dust before one's very eyes. [The father] 8. Lo uses dif f e r e n t terms for this "emptiness" (jg ) and the "Emptiness" of l i b e r a t i o n (jg a£ ) . I w i l l continue to distinguish the two terms with upper- and lower-case l e t t e r s . Lo's use of diff e r e n t expressions resolves one of the c l a s s i c paradoxes of prajni-piramiti l i t e r a t u r e — a characteristic of popular re l i g i o u s texts which we w i l l see further i l l u s t r a t e d below. 9. Pa-k'u (A 1§ ): b i r t h , age, sickness, death, parting with what we love, meeting with what we hate, unattained aims, and a l l the i l l s of the fi v e skandhas. S o o t h i l l and Hodous, Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms (Taipei: 1962), 39. - 102 -cannot hold his gaze for long on his sons and daughters. When the great l i m i t 1 0 arrives, unable to see one another face to face, they grieve to death. A good home and shelter, [though made with] walls and partitions of stone, cannot l a s t . When the great l i m i t arrives, i t i s impossible to extend [one's l i f e ] or to free oneself [from death]; alas, one grieves to death! Those of wisdom walk the Great Path, and w i l l return to their ancestral home. Those without wisdom consume a diet of meat, and w i l l never exchange [one] body [for another]. 1 1 Foolish men, gazing upon their sons and daughters, take delight i n what they see before them. The past and the future are completely absent from their thoughts: they are utter fools. When they are cold, they lay out q u i l t s and brocade, and cover their bodies. They do not consider that after the br i e f e s t time they w i l l be carried to the suburban graveyard. A p i t w i l l be dug i n the earth, three feet by f i v e . Covered with f i v e feet of d i r t , they w i l l not see the liyh* -. of Heaven. Deserting their sons and daughters to suffer the approbrium of men, fathers cannot see their children. The one re a l s p i r i t ) i n the Eight Hells also suffers the calamities of ret r i b u t i o n . They think that they w i l l remain forever i n the yang world of the l i v i n g , c u l t i v a t i n g family relationships. But i n the moment i t takes to curl a finger, their l i v e s come to an end, and they arrive at the Bureau of Death. (T'an-sh ih 3:52-53). In this world, nothing i s permanent. Wealth and honor are insecure even when possessed, and cannot endure beyond the grave: A money-lender takes no rest, counting his p r o f i t s . He calculates interest without sleeping u n t i l dawn. If he loans out money and i t i s not returned, [his anger] i s l i k e the s l i c e of a knife. It's hard to give up on [a loan of] a eleven hundred catties Cft ); i t pierces his heart l i k e f i r e . Prone to grasping [for p r o f i t : reading #$5 for % $F ] , a money-lender exhausts himself with anxiety [ l i t . "constraint of the mind"]. Every day his family cannot be at peace, for the sake of an ounce (ffi ) [of s i l v e r ] . 10. Ta hsien ( :^ PR ) : death. Morohashi Tetsuji, Daikanwa jiten, 3:396 (5831.719). 11. Fan-shen (£} ) : to change bodies, or attain a higher level of r e b i r t h through transmigration. Nakamura Hajime, Bukkyd- go daijiten, 1268a; Oda Tokun6, Oda Bukky6 daijiten [Oda's Comprehensive Buddhist Dictionary] (Tokyo: 1965), 1621; Morohashi, Daikanwa jiten, 9:136 (28814.49). - 103 -Lending one ounce, recovering two: his heart i s j o y f u l ! But i f he makes a loan without interest, i t ' s hard to take! If he lends out money and [must even] deduct the pri n c i p l e , i t i s l i k e the s l i c e of a knife. If he takes out a suit [on the offender], [he must] also fear him and [the threat of] cutting short his l i f e . His own money he i s loathe to give up; day after day he i s anxious and angry: anxious to the point that he cannot sleep straight u n t i l dawn. During the day, worries arise; there i s never a moment's rest. When night comes, he i s afra i d [a thief] w i l l s t r i k e him. His stomach [ l i t . "gall"] trembles and his heart i s alarmed. The whole family, for the sake of an ounce [of s i l v e r ] , f r e t s in vain and cannot sleep. They are unequal to a family which has no money at a l l and can sleep u n t i l dawn. Everyone i s troubled by a money-lender who cannot lend his money. He grants [a loan] to one, he does not grant [a loan] to another, gathering hatred as he goes. If someone cannot pay him back, he s t i l l wants to i n i t i a t e [more loans]. If he isn ' t attacked, he i s robbed, or [his house is] set a f i r e aimed at burning him to death, or the grain of his f i e l d s i s chopped down, harming the tender shoots; what can he do about i t ? Prone to grasping [for p r o f i t ] , [the l i f e of] a money-lender i s truly d i f f i c u l t to practice... [Those who] rely on wealth and honor use strength and intimidation to cheat virtuous men. Moreover, they butcher l i v i n g things and harm l i f e : their s i n f u l karma i s unbounded. People with money buy pigs and sheep, scrape their hides and butcher the meat. Their sons lay out the table for the feast, happy and delighted. They in v i t e their r e l a t i v e s to share the food. Blowing [flutes] and plucking [strings], they sing and dance. But what i s sweet when eaten becomes b i t t e r : r e t r i b u t i o n attends the body. What is sweet when eaten becomes b i t t e r : karmic re t r i b u t i o n f a l l s upon them [as a result of their actions]. The record book of the ten Kings of Hell i n the Office of Destiny records the d i s t r i b u t i o n [of good and e v i l ] . (T'an-shih 6:81-87). For ministers and o f f i c i a l s , the material rewards of government service are l i k e f l o a t i n g clouds: I admire those of you who are i n o f f i c i a l positions. In fact, your l i v e s are d i f f i c u l t . Every day your thoughts are exhausted managing the households, and you are unable [to conduct yourselves] as you would l i k e . If you are lazy, you fear that other o f f i c i a l business w i l l not be attended to; i f you are pressing, you fear that [the people] w i l l plan revenge. Wishing to do good, you fear that your own - 104 -household w i l l manage only with d i f f i c u l t y ; wishing to do e v i l , you fear that s i n f u l karma w i l l follow close upon you. Unable to do otherwise, you deceive your conscience, and perform e v i l a l l the day. You butcher l i v i n g things and harm l i f e : punishment for your s i n f u l karma i s close upon you! You build beautiful palaces with flowered beams and ornamental p i l l a r s . You wear delicate clothes and ride fine horses; you are heroes f u l l measure. [But] who knows that the record book of the ten Kings of Hell records every item? When your clothes and o f f i c i a l emoluments are exhausted, i l l n e s s w i l l a f f l i c t you, and you w i l l be bound up i n s i n f u l karma. What son [could be so] f i l i a l that he w i l l take your place in death? What son or daughter would replace you i n an audience with Lord Yama? You are completely covered with diseases and a f f l i c t i o n s ; you experience pains that penetrate your body. Lying on your bed, you cannot get up; your cries of pain sound out continuously. When the pain comes upon you, you cannot endure i t , l i k e a knife scraping [your skin]. When a fever approaches, there i s no place to hide from i t ; i t i s l i k e a f i r e burning your body. [At death, you have these thoughts]: "I think to myself about r i d i n g sleek horses and t r a v e l l i n g great distances [ l i t . "roaming on long s t r e e t s " ] . In the time i t takes to curl a finger, death comes to me, a myriad pains a f f l i c t my body. No longer can I abide in fine dwellings. How d i f f i c u l t i t i s to give them up! I must cast aside my sons and daughters, and travel the road [to Hell] alone. Arriving at the Bureau of Death, I am not released. How d i f f i c u l t i t i s to be freed! E v i l s p i r i t s and oxhead demons follow me closely. In H e l l , I suffer from head [to foot ] . Illuminated by the mirror of karma, my pain and suffering are boundless. For my heavy sins, I am sent to the Avfci H e l l . 1 2 For my li g h t e r sins, I am sent to samsaric transmigration among the four types of reb i r t h ..." (T'an- shih 7:3-8). Lo's condemnation of the l i f e s t y l e s of the r i c h and famous i s pronounced i n these passages, and this i s one of many contexts 12. Wu-chien ti-yu (fc jfe & ) : "l a s t of the eight hot h e l l s , in which punishment, pain, form, b i r t h , death continue without intermission" — the h e l l of "uninterupted", "unintermitted" suffering. Soothill-Hodous, Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms, 35a, 383a. Stephen Teiser c a l l s i t "The Hell of No-Interval"; The Ghost Fes t i v a l i n Medieval China (Princeton: 1988), 181. Cf. Morohashi, Daikanwa jiten, 7:431 (19113.133). - 105 -i n which he exhorts his followers to f r u g a l i t y and vegetarianism, but the underlying message of these remarks i s the uncertainty and transiency of worldly accomplishments. Lo never admits that wealth and status may be rewards for virtue i n past l i v e s ; his point i s that affluence i s f l e e t i n g and ephemeral. However, the other side of the karmic equation — that e v i l behavior i s inevitably punished — receives f u l l play i n Lo's Five Books. In his chapter, "Lamentations for Brigands and Thieves," he writes: I urge you "great heroes" not to wish to s t e a l . Desist from releasing the bow and i n loosing the arrow, by which you bring harm to others. If you harm another, i t i s impossible to attain salvation; the book [of merits and demerits] records each case. Though impossible to determine when, sooner or l a t e r you have to run somewhere for your l i f e . Your wife [must] return to her family; your sons have no master. Parting i s a b i t t e r sorrow! I urge you good gentlemen, swiftly repent! In a moment's inattention, you are captured. Ropes are tightened around you, cords bind you, and iron cudgels strike your body. A metal vest i s fastened upon you; your flesh and bones are smashed to pieces. I urge you good gentlemen, swi f t l y repent! You abandon your father and mother, and there i s no one to care for them. Parting i s a b i t t e r sorrow! I urge you good gentlemen, swiftly repent! You leave your wife and children, and she must return to her family. Parting i s a b i t t e r sorrow! I urge you good gentlemen, swiftly repent! Abandoning your sons and daughters, they suffer the approbrium of strangers. Parting i s a b i t t e r sorrow! I urge you good gentlemen, swiftly repent! Locked i n prison, you w i l l never be l e t out. How woeful and b i t t e r ! I urge you good gentlemen, swi f t l y repent! Entering your tiny bed, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to move and stretch, and you are bitten to death by mosquitoes and gnats. I urge you good gentlemen, swiftly repent! You long for your parents but can never see them; a l l day, you think of them. I urge you good gentlemen, swiftly repent! You long for - 106 -your wife and son, and your sons and daughters; a l l day, you weep. I urge you good gentlemen, swiftly repent! Never again w i l l you see the pleasant scenes of the market-place i n the c i t y . I urge you good gentlemen, swiftly repent! Never again w i l l you see the azure mountains and green waters. I urge you good gentlemen, swiftly repent! The walls are high; you cannot escape. You suffer a l l day. I urge you good gentlemen, swiftly repent! Far from your home v i l l a g e , you think of your native place. Your eyes are f i l l e d with tears. I urge you good gentlemen, swiftly repent! In prison there i s a putrid smell; there i s no where to escape i t . I urge you good gentlemen, swiftly repent! Under the cold earth, trembling with fear, you suffer a l l day. I urge you good gentlemen, swiftly repent! (T'an-shih 9:37-39). Worse s t i l l , a l i f e of crime produces a myriad transmigrations i n which re b i r t h as a human i s impossible: after a l l , "To attain human form i s as d i f f i c u l t as fi s h i n g a needle out of water" (T'an-shih 9:36). Just as an immoral l i f e leads to karmic re t r i b u t i o n i n the form of unfavorable rebirths i n future l i v e s , an unfavorable situation i n this l i f e i s the just consequence of e v i l performed in past l i v e s . In his "Lamentations for the Poor," Lo states that the hunger, cold, and i l l - h e a l t h suffered by the poor are the karmic f r u i t s of their own past, and urges them to repent (T'an-shih 5:68-79). Lo refers repeatedly to the nature of the punishments e v i l persons are subjected to i n h e l l , and he "laments" for the souls transmigrated among the "four types of l i v i n g creature" (H £ ) and the abuses they are destined to suffer i n the perpetual wheel of samsira. - 107 -The Chin kang lun13 says: 'The Bodhisattva Manju^ri asked the Buddha: "What are the painful conditions of the four types of l i v i n g creatures? Please explain them to your d i s c i p l e . " The World-Honored replied: "The one whose eyes c l i n g to v i s i b l e forms sinks after death into the pain of [rebirth as] an egg-born creature ( 9 f l ) , and becomes a hell-dweller in the form of any bird or beast. "The one whose ear covets sound sinks after death into the pain of [rebirth as] a womb-born creature (JJfc ) , and becomes a hell-dweller in the form of any ox, horse, pig, sheep, or domestic animal with hooves and horns. "The one whose nose covets odors sinks after death into the punishment of [rebirth as] a water-born creature (jH £ )• and becomes a hell-dweller in the form of any f i s h or crustacean in a r i v e r or lake. "The one whose tongue covets tastes sinks after death into [rebirth in] the category of transformation-born creatures lit £ )/ and becomes a hell-dweller i n the form of any mosquito, gnat, f l e a , louse, or worm." If you do not seek the way of transcendence, i t i s impossible to escape rebirth as one of the four l i v i n g creatures among the six gati.' (P 'o-hsieh 2:59-62). Lo remarks how unpleasant i t i s to be reborn i n these forms. Creatures born from the womb eat water-reeds and wallow in mud; they are plowed, whipped, tied, skinned, and butchered. Creatures born from eggs eat worms, l i v e i n fear of other ^-animals, and die young; they are s l i c e d and boiled for soup. Water-born creatures are wet and muddy; when they are caught, chopped up, and cooked i n o i l , they smell good to humans. Creatures born by "transformation" — a spontaneous form of gestation i n bogs and swamps — l i v e i n f i l t h and lack heads, 13. T25.1510.757-781. This i s one of three quotations attributed by Lo Ch'ing to the Vajracchediki-sQtra-sistra. I am unable to locate this passage i n the Taishd text, though mention i s made throughout of the four types of animal rebirth. - 108 -t a i l s , and legs; they are born i n the morning and die i n the evening (P'o-hs ieh 2:64-67; T'an-shih 5:74-75). The p e r i l s of samsira are even more heinous i f one i s reborn as a ghost or demon (P 'o-hsieh 2:67-68), and the lik e l i h o o d of rebirth i n one of the four lower gati, as a beast £ ), h e l l -being (ife£Jt ) , hungry ghost (fft & ) , or aiura-demon ({§ jg£ ) , i s far greater than that of rebirth i n the higher two, as a deva (Ji K ) or human (A ffe ) • Lo's focus in a l l of these many passages — the theme of death, punishment, and transmigration i s recalled in v i r t u a l l y every chapter of the Five Books — i s the i n e v i t a b i l i t y of suffering. What concerns him i s less the moral problem of karma — encouraging good and discouraging e v i l — than the religious problem of samsira. There are no statements to the effect that good behavior w i l l be rewarded with a favorable r e b i r t h (whether in this world or the Pure Land), or that the suffering of existence can have a moral solution. Material blessings are ephemeral and thus i l l u s o r y , and Lo's rel i g i o u s goal i s not a better rebi r t h , but escape from samsira. 4. Cosmology: The Origins of Existence We have seen that Lo's analysis of the human condition follows d i r e c t l y from his autobiographical meditations. In his thirteen years of travels i n search of the Way, Lo seeks f i n a l release from the inevitable pain of existence. L i f e i s tenuous and short, and the immutable laws of karma power the wheel of samsira. - 109 -He finds at least a preliminary solution to the problem of impermanence and mortality i n speculations about the origins of the universe: In the beginning, when there was no Heaven and no Earth, what sort of scene was this? Suddenly I had an insight into Emptiness (j£ ) : before there could be a Heaven and Earth, f i r s t there was a motionless Emptiness. Unbounded, unlimited, unmoving, unshaken, i t was the Dharma-body (fe ) of the Buddhas. Ch'ien and k'un [Heaven and Earth] are subject to decay, but Emptiness i s indestructible. It i s the essence of the Dharma (fe H ) of the Buddhas. Dreading the pain of the wheel of samsira, I dared not abandon my investigations, and advanced another step i n my search. Suddenly, [as I progressed] a step i n my search, my heart was f i l l e d with great joy. I thought about the beginning, when there was no Heaven and Earth: what sort of scene was this? Emptiness was prior, Heaven posterior; True Emptiness i s unmoving. Heaven has boundaries, [but] Emptiness has none. [From Emptiness], the Buddhas attained the Dharma-kSya. This True Emptiness: go upwards, and there i s no place where i t i s exhausted. This True Emptiness: go downwards, and i t i s bottomless, unlimited. This True Emptiness: go east, and there i s no border or boundary. This True Emptiness: go west, and there i s no end-point or point of exhaustion. This True Emptiness: go i n the four directions, and there i s no border or boundary. This True Emptiness i s the body of the Buddhas; [they are] at one with Emptiness! (K'u-kung 7:67-71). Emptiness, then, i s both pre-existent and all-encompassing. It exists prior to Heaven and Earth, and i s present everywhere and in a l l things. As we saw in Lo's account of his ultimate enlightenment, he describes this eternal Emptiness as a creator deity: I thought of the beginning: there was no Heaven and Earth, there were no names. Ori g i n a l l y there was no genesis, nor was there destruction; no decrease or increase. The Great Emptiness <S ) has no name, [but] i t s supernormal powers are vast. It gives b i r t h to men and women; i t can rule ch'ien and k'un [Heaven and Earth]. It does not move or - 110 -shake; i t envelopes Heaven and Earth. It transforms i t s e l f into spring and f a l l , and the five grains can grow. It penetrates the mountains and seas, and the spring waters flow continuously. (K'u-kung 14:70-71). This process of the "self-transformation" of Emptiness i s the means by which a l l things come into existence. Lo employs terminology with Buddhist, Taoist, and Neo-Confucian associations to describe the origins and metaphysical foundations of the universe. Buddha (#£ ) , Tao (Jg ) , and the Limitless (fc fg ) are a l l depicted as pre-existent creators who give b i r t h to and nourish the cosmos; they are i d e n t i c a l to the Great Emptiness. As i t does most of the Wu-pu l i u - t s 'e, Buddhist language informs Lo Ch'ing's re l i g i o u s cosmology. The Buddha controls and maintains (}£ ) a l l things in the universe: Heaven and Earth; mountains and waters; heavenly bodies; King Yama and the ten he l l s ; the thirty-three Heavens and three thousand worlds; f r u i t s , meats, and vegetables; wild and domesticated animals; men and women; the five organs and the five senses; b i r t h , old age, sickness, and death. A l l are arranged and determined by the eternal Buddha (T'an-shih 2:21-26). This l i t a n y of creation, as well as the passages quoted above on the creative power of Emptiness, c l e a r l y draw on the vocabulary of Buddhism, but Lo also employs a metaphysical understanding of the Tao. The Tao i s the "venerable host" ( £ A & ) o f creation: Before [Heaven and Earth] were f i r s t divided, f i r s t there was the Way (}f ). The Great Tao fundamentally i s the venerable host. Before the Three Teachings, f i r s t there was the Tao. The Great Tao fundamentally i s the venerable host. - I l l -Before the Buddhas, f i r s t there was the Tao. The Great Tao fundamentally i s the venerable host. Before the scriptures and c l a s s i c s , f i r s t there was the Tao. The Great Tao fundamentally i s the venerable host. Before monks and laymen, f i r s t there was the Tao. The Great Tao fundamentally i s the venerable host. (Chieh-kuo 11:28-29). Though the Wu-pu liu-ts'e quotes sparingly from Taoist works, they are employed as primary sources to bolster Lo's cosmological theories. Purporting to borrow from the Lao-tzu book, Lo describes the creative power of the Tao: The T' ai-shang Lao-tzu Tao-te ching says: "The Tao i s the Principle (If ) to which things and a f f a i r s should conform. From antiquity to the present, i t penetrates Heaven and Earth, as the Original Breath (jc M ) circulates the four seasons. Have they ever ceased, even for a moment?"14 It also says: "Non-Being i s the name of the beginning of Heaven and Earth; Being i s the name of the mother of the ten thousand t h i n g s . 1 5 The Tao was born and developed o r i g i n a l l y , before Heaven and Earth existed. It was not established after things had come into being." 1 6 It also says: "The Great Tao i s without form (fc ): i t engendered and nurtured Heaven and Earth. The Great Tao i s without feelings (fc ff ): i t moves the sun and the moon. The Great Tao i s without a name (fc £ ): i t reared and nourished the ten thousand things. I do not know i t s name. Forced to, I c a l l i t 'Tao'..." 1 7 14. Source unknown. 15. Tao-te ching, Chapter I. Lo Ch'ing's own emphasis on Being (^ ) and Non-Being (fc ) forces me to choose this translation, as opposed to "The Nameless (fc £ ) i s the beginning of Heaven and Earth; the Named (^ f £ ) i s the mother of the ten thousand things." For translations of the Tao-te ching supporting my translation, see Max Kaltenmark, Lao-tzu and Taoism, trans. Roger Greaves (Stanford: 1969), 33; Chad Hansen, Language and  Logic i n Ancient China (Ann Arbor: 1983), 65. 16. Source unknown. 17. Elsewhere (Cheng-hsin 12:37), Wang Yuan-ching attributes this quotation to the Ch'ing-ching ching. Indeed, i t appears to be from that Sung work: see the T'ai-shang lao-chun shuo-ch 'ang ch 'ing-ching miao ching, Tao-tsang (Taipei: 1962), case 40/number 341/£| _b/chuan 1/page l a . - 112 -(P'o-hsieh 15:65-67). Elsewhere, Lo refers to the Tao as the "Old One" (T& # ), the "master of Heaven and Earth" who nurtures a l l things " l i k e a hen incubating i t s eggs" (P 'o-hsieh 15:72-73). With an admixture of r e l i g i o u s terminology from Buddhist, Taoist, and Neo-Confucian sources, Lo's speculations on the creative p r i n c i p l e of the universe are founded on his conception of the "Limitless" (fa fg ) . The Great Chiliocosm, Heaven and Earth are in the grip of the Limitless. The source of the "Limitless" of our recitations i s at one with the True Body (fa f i W. — {H M M ) • The five lakes and oceans, the great seas and rivers are transformations of the Limitless. The source of the "Limitless" of our recitations i s at one with the True Body. Heaven and Earth and the myriad things [are subject to] the supernormal power of the Limitless. The source of the "Limitless" of our recitations i s at one with the True Body. The revolutions of the sun and moon, and of the Milky Way, [are subject to] the supernormal power of the Limitless. The source of the "Limitless" of our recitations i s at one with the True Body. The three thousand Buddhas i n charge of the Teaching [are subject to] the supernormal power of the Limitless. The source of the "Limitless" of our recitations i s at one with the True Body. The production of spring and autumn and harmony of the four seasons i s a transformation of the Limitless. The source of the "Limitless" of our recitations i s at one with the True Body. The five grains, and the f i e l d s of the four seasons are manifestations of the Limitless. The source of the "Limitless" of our recitations i s at one with the True Body. The grasses, trees, and f r u i t s Limitless. The source of the i s at one with the True Body. are manifestations of the "Limitless" of our recitations Men and women and their stinking sacks of skin are transformations of the Limitless. The source of the - 113 -"Limitless" of our recitations i s at one with the True Body. (Cheng-hsin 9:100-101). It i s clear from these statements that the Limitless i s the most fundamental cosmological conception of the Wu-pu liu-ts'e. In p'in 17 of book 5 (Shen-ken chieh-kuo chuan), "Before the Division [of Heaven and Earth], There was F i r s t the Egg of the Limitless and Supreme Ultimate," Lo paraphrases a Neo-Confucian c l a s s i c : The Explication of the Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate (j£ H M Ift ) serves as confirmation: When Heaven and Earth were not yet in existence, there was chaos (j§| $j ) l i k e a chicken egg, something vast and watery, i n i t i a t i n g sprouts, and nebulous and misty, producing shoots... 1 8 The Primal Breath (j^ *j| ) of the Supreme Ultimate envelopes the myriad things and makes them one. The Primal Breath produced the two principles [yin and yang]. The two principles produced the four diagrams Ij^Wi ,4>Pt -±Pt The four diagrams produced the eight trigrams... (Chieh-kuo 17:11-16). 1 9 Lo goes on to state a number of equivalences — between the Limitless, Principle (g| ) , the Way (jg ) , Virtue (f§ ) , and the Supreme Ultimate ) — grounding his mythology of creation i n Taoist and Neo-Confucian terminology. We w i l l return to the question of how Lo Ch'ing understood the c l a s s i c s i n a later chapter, but we might observe that his cosmology owes more to the early speculative Neo-Confucian philosophers, as well as to Taoist and Buddhist c l a s s i c s , than to the more mature and cosmologically restrained Chu Hsi. The 18. The passage i s interupted by a verse quotation of the "virtuous [patriarchs] of old" by Lan Feng. 19. This i s Lo Ch'ing's wording of Chou Tun-i's creation account. Cf. Wing-tsit Chan, Sourcebook in Chinese Philosophy (Princeton: 1963), 463-464. - 114 -phrase wu-chi appears f i r s t in the Tao-te ching: "If you are a model to the empire, then Eternal Power <jg ) w i l l not be lacking and you w i l l return to the Limitless ( H 3* Mfii ) - " 2 0 Shao Yung and Chou Tun-i posit the Limitless and the Supreme Ultimate out of their concern for the origins of the universe, and borrow from the Lao-tzu and the I-ching to describe the process of creation. For both, the Limitless i s that from which and by which a l l things come into being. It i s the pre-existent, cosmic source of the universe. For Chu Hsi, on the other hand, the Supreme Ultimate (% $1 ) takes precedence not as a pre-existent creative force but as the focal point of the Principle or universal pattern (Sf ) of existing things. To Chou Tun-i's exclamation at the beginning of the T'ai-chi t'u-shuo, "Limitless and also Supreme Ultimate!", Chu commented, "It i s not the case that beyond the Supreme Ultimate there i s additionally the Limitless ( ^ ' ^ f f i ^ ^ f 8[ M M @ tt ) • " Wu-chi cannot be separated from T'ai-chi, and neither should be viewed as a pre-existent, pro-creative Emptiness somehow independent of things. 2 1 Lo Ch'ing's emphasis i s c l e a r l y on the cosmological, creative capacity of the 20. Tao-te ching (SPPY edition), ch. XXVIII. For another early appearance of the phrase, see the "Questions of King T'ang" (j§ ffl ) of the Lieh-tzu (y\ =f ) (SPPY, chuan 5, pp. lb-2a) , trans. Wing-tsit Chan, A Source Book i n Chinese Philosophy (Princeton: 1963), 312. 21. Chinssu lu Hf Jgt $| , 1:1. Chu Hsi's favorite interlocutor Lu Hsiang-shan rev i l e d wu-chi as too "Taoistic" and urged Chu to abandon i t en t i r e l y . See Wing-tsit Chan, ed., Chu Hsi and  Neo-Confucianism (Honolulu: 1986), "Introduction", 8-9; and Chu Hsi: New Studies (Honolulu: 1989), 141. - 115 -Limitless, not only sustaining the universe, but bringing i t into existence. Lo's contribution to "three-in-one" thought i s to describe Emptiness as the single source of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. As terms designating one and the same r e a l i t y , they are ultimately indistinguishable: "True Emptiness" (H £ ) i s equated with the Buddha (® ) , the "Way" (}g. ) and the "Limitless" (fc <£ ) . The Emptiness of the ten directions i s not empty. It i s the fundamental essence of the Buddhas. The Emptiness of the ten directions i s not empty. It i s the Dharma-body of the Limitless. (Cheng-hsin 9:103). Emptiness (tfj ) is the Limitless (fc f§ ) . The Limitless i s Emptiness. The Great Tao i s the Limitless. (Cheng-hsin 11:30-31). 2 2 And so on. Those who cultivate the Three Teachings share a common goal: The bond connecting a [Buddhist] monk, a Taoist practitioner, and a [Confucian] scholar i s that a l l alike enter into the emptiness of thought (& ) and into graduated concentration [dhyina] («g?f ) , 2 3 just as water from i t s springs flows into the vastness of the sea, and as the sun, moon, stars, and planets are together i n the same heaven. Fundamentally, the Great Tao i s non-dual. For what reason, with one-sided attachment, should one separate the pronouncements [of the Three Teachings]? If one understands thought, one i s permitted a discussion of "what" and "who". The Three Teachings are fundamentally one category [of understanding]. (P'o-hsieh 1:43-45). 22. This i s part of a quotation attributed by Lo Ch'ing to the Yuan chueh ching (Mahivaipulya- purnabuddha-sQtra; T17.842.913-922). I have been unable to locate the reference. 23 . T'ung ju hsin k 'ung chi di ch 'an (fsj \ & 3? £. % $ ) : but see Wang Yuan-ching's interpretation below, which supports a translation, " . . . a l l alike enter into emptiness of thought (£> ^  ), success [in the examinations] ($. H ), and meditative concentration ( f t t J H M ) . " - 116 -As Wang Yiian-ching explains: Though the patriarchs of the Three Teachings never met face to face, their principles (If ) were the same despite differences i n language... Taoists talk about "emptiness of thought" (/£>?£); Confucians talk about success in the examinations (& fg ); Buddhists talk about meditative concentration (tf ffi ) . Generally speaking, those who talk about success in the examinations are encouraging people to cultivate moral behavior (|£ H ); those who talk about emptiness of thought are encouraging peop]a to become detached from their emotions (Ss fft ) ; and those who talk about meditative concentration are encouraging people to see into their Natures (jf, & ) . If a person's body, mind, feelings, and Nature are together pure and unobstructed — a single, non-dual sign of existence — i t i s l i k e ten thousand streams having a single source: the waters are by nature no different from one another. (P'o-hsieh 1:43-44). Lo concludes: Unenlightened people f a l s e l y distinguish among the Three Teachings. Those of understanding are together enlightened to the One Mind. (Chencj-hsin 4:9). Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism, then, are united in a single source and a common destiny. That source i s Emptiness. What i s the relationship between this creative Emptiness and humankind? Our greatest f a i l i n g , Lo asserts, i s i n ignoring the d i s t i n c t i o n between the "root" of a l l things — Emptiness, Buddha, Non-Being, Tao, Limitless, Supreme Ultimate — and i t s "sprouts", and i t i s in this context that Lo emphasizes the anthropomorphic character of Emptiness, as the Patriarch or Ancestor (}§. ). The "sprouts" are Heaven and Earth, the sun and moon, the myriad stars and constellations, the five grains, the four seasons, a l l l i v i n g things, the Three Teachings, oxen and horses, Heaven and Hell, sQtras and cl a s s i c s , savory foods, s i l k and satin, the eight trigrams, ch'ien and k'un, yin and yang, men and women, monks and laymen (Chieh-kuo 17:4-8, 30-41). Foolish - 117 -people become fixed on these phenomenal things and forget their common o r i g i n . The GStha of Wu-chi, Foundation of the Great Chiliocosm 2 4 says: "Those who do not know who maintains Heaven and Earth have forgotten the mercy of the Ancestor and turned their backs on Him (Js S 1$ ) • Those who do not know who controls the r i v e r s and seas have forgotten the mercy of the Ancestor and turned their backs on Him. Those who do not know who holds Heaven and Earth i n the palm of His hand have forgotten the mercy of the Ancestor and turned their backs on Him. Those who do not know who produced spring and autumn have forgotten the mercy of the Ancestor and turned their backs on Him. Those who do not know who controls the five grains have forgotten the mercy of the Ancestor and turned their backs on Him. Those who do not know who moves the sun and the moon have forgotten the mercy of the Ancestor and turned their backs on Him. Those who do not know who holds the great chiliocosm in the palm of His hand have forgotten the mercy of the Ancestor and turned their backs on Him. Those who do not know who controls the ten thousand things have forgotten the mercy of the Ancestor and turned their backs on Him. (CherxQ-hsin 10:10-11). Anyone who does not know the root has forgotten the mercy of the Ancestor and turned his back on Him. (Chieh-kuo 17:8). The Limitless produced Heaven and Earth. [He] orders the world and nurtures the myriad l i v i n g beings. The myriad beings of the earth are His poor children. I urge you to return home your unbelieving hearts. The Limitless o r i g i n a l l y i s your blood-relative [ l i t . "fused-bone ki n " ] . The Limitless Elder (fc f§ -g 31 ) longs for His children and grandchildren. The myriad beings of the earth are His poor children, but over many kalpas they have become lo s t i n confusion and do not recognize their kin. (P'o-hs ieh 24:98). "Returning home" means recognizing the common or i g i n of a l l things, including oneself, i n the F i r s t Ancestor: Great Emptiness, Limitless. F i n a l l y , and most importantly, the Wu-pu liu-ts'e asserts that the F i r s t Ancestor i s nothing other than the Self within 24. Wu-chi chia-chu ta-ch ' ien chieh chieh (fcfS^ft^C^fHli): an unknown source. - 118 -every individual. In the course of Lo Ch'ing's religious quest, the discovery of Emptiness as the creative force of the universe i s preliminary to his ultimate enlightenment to the identity of this Emptiness with the Self, which Lo refers to alternately as the Nature ) or Original Nature (;&&), the Original Face ffi @ )> the Original Essence (:£ f§ ) , myself ( i f £ ) , the True Self (M M ) , and the S p i r i t u a l Light (.£ % ) • He i s I and I am He. I am One Body with Emptiness. (K'u- kung 14:72). The Original Face (;£ rjj @ ) of every man i s tru l y the Perfect Body of the Limitless ( ^ g § f ) . Inner and outer are continuous with the Great Emptiness. Emptiness i s fundamentally the body of the Limitless. The Original Face, [properly] recognized, cannot be calculated [in terms of] east, west, south or north. (T'an-shih 1:4-5). The Original Face i s the Limitless: o r i g i n a l l y there i s but One Breath. (Cheng-hsin 9:103). The Yuan chueh ching*3 says: "The s p i r i t u a l l i g h t of the ten thousand things was produced by the Limitless. [The Limitless] established Heaven, Earth, and the root of humanity. Emptiness i s the Limitless. The Limitless i s Emptiness. The Great Way i s the Limitless. The Limitless i s Emptiness. The Original Nature £fc ) i s continuous with the Great Emptiness. The Original Nature i s precisely the body of the Limitless ( ^ g l t l i i t ) . ( Cheng-hsin 11: 31) . In i t s i d e n t i t y with Emptiness, the Self i s co-existent with the creation, and thus e x i s t e n t i a l l y prior to the or i g i n of diff e r e n t i a t e d things. Never was there a time when the ten thousand things did not exist; o r i g i n a l l y they were a Single Breath (— ) . It i s clear that the Original Face (:£ ^  ® @ ) i s that Single Breath. (Chieh-kuo 12:37). 25. The Mahivaipulya-pQrnabuddha- sdtra (T17.842.913-922). Again I am unable to locate the passage i n Lo's attributed source. Nor would we expect to fi n d a reference to wu-chi i n a central Buddhist text. For a discussion of Lo's use of sources, see Chapter IV below. - 119 -r Before [Heaven and Earth] were divided, f i r s t there was the Nature g # % W tt ) • Why do the people of today not recognize this [ l i t . "take r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for i t " : • ^ I S ^ P ^ ' F ^ I B ] ? Before Heaven and Earth, f i r s t there was the Nature % Ji jfe % % tt > • Why do the people of today not recognize this? Before good and e v i l , f i r s t there was the Nature ^ # M % W tt )• Why do the people of today not recognize this? Before b i r t h and death, f i r s t there was the Nature (pfc £ fc % W tt ) • Why do the people of today not recognize this? Before h e l l , f i r s t there was the Nature (pfc W & W % M tt )• Why do the people of today not recognize this? Before Lord Yama, f i r s t there was the Nature W UJ 5fc W tt ) • Why do the people of today not recognize this? Before c u l t i v a t i o n and confirmation, f i r s t there was the Nature ^ g % ^  tt ) • Why do the people of today not recognize this? Before yin and yang, f i r s t there was the Nature ^ fg % ^  tt ) • Why do the people of today not recognize this? Before the thousand Buddhas, f i r s t there was the Nature ijfr ^ $ % W tt )• Why do the people of today not recognize this? Before a l l the Buddhas, f i r s t there was the Nature (5fc *g & % ^ tt ) • Why do the people of today not recognize this? Before the Bodhisattvas, f i r s t there was the Nature ^ |f M % ^  tt )• Why do the people of today not recognize this? Before monks and laymen, f i r s t there was the Nature (5fc W fg B % W tt ) • Why do the people of today not recognize this? Before dhyana and samSdhi, f i r s t there was the Nature (jfc ^ ft £ % W tt )• Why do the people of today not recognize this? Before the laws and precepts, f i r s t there was the Nature ^ # %. W tt ) • Why do the people of today not recognize this? Before the scriptures and cl a s s i c s , f i r s t there was the Nature ( j ^ f >• Why do the people of today not recognize this? Before the Three Teachings, f i r s t there was the Nature ( ^ f tt ) • Why do the people of today not recognize this? Before causes and effects [karma], f i r s t there was the Nature ( ^ f E S ^ t S )• Why do the people of today not recognize this? Before the ancient Buddha, f i r s t there was the Nature W £ $ % W tt ) • Why do the people of today not recognize this? Before the present and past, f i r s t there was the Nature ( ^ t 4 tt )• Why do the people of today not recognize this? Before the gods and immortals, f i r s t there was the Nature W fa fill %. W tt ) • Why do the people of today not recognize this? Before the yang-spirits, f i r s t there was the Nature (5fe W i§§ fa % W tt ) • Why do the people of today not recognize this? Before impermanent [things], f i r s t there was the Nature fc H % ^ tt )• Why do the people of today not recognize this? (C h i e h - k u o 6:29-46). Think of i t : i n the beginning, when there were no Three Teachings, f i r s t there was the Original Essence H ). When there were no scriptures and cl a s s i c s , f i r s t there was myself (= £ ). (P'o-hsieh 23:77). - 120 -For Lo Ch'ing, enlightenment consists i n recognizing the true nature of this Creator-Self. It i s not among the "sprouts" of existence, but i s in fact the "root" i t s e l f . So, the basic s p i r i t u a l c r i s i s of humankind — i t s separation from the creator -- i s resolved i n t e r n a l l y : "returning home" consists i n recovering the Self. The image which tie s Lo's cosmological speculations together i s the "Mother" (fij ). The Mother i s root, creator, o r i g i n a l Emptiness, Limitless, Supreme Ultimate. Ultimately, she i s also the Self, within the inner Nature of every i n d i v i d u a l . The names of the Buddhas, of the canonical scriptures, of humans and of the ten thousand things a l l flow from one word. Recognize that this one word i s Mother. The Mother i s the Ancestor (fi ); the Ancestor i s the Mother. Let me explain with a simple analogy: A child's name i s also a name transformed from the Original Face. And the names of a l l the people of the world are also names transformed out of the Original Face. Regardless of the name, the names of the Buddhas, the names of the Three Teachings, the names of the bodhisattvas, the names of every word ), the names of a l l of the ten thousand things, a l l are names transformed out of (@ ® ) the Original Face. The Original Face i s the Mother; i t i s the Ancestor ( ^ i i , & <®L ) • (Chieh-kuo 4:88-90). The Mother i s the Self. The Self i s the Mother. In o r i g i n they are one i n the same... (K'u-kung 11:48). In an extended verse passage, Lo sets out forty-four terms for the "Mother", "Original Face", or "Ancestral Home", a l l equivalent to the Self (Chieh-kuo 4:91-125): ^ Pl ) The [Pure] Land of Tranquil Nourishment (& ffl ± ) The Land of the Buddha ) The Road to Heaven (IS 7} ^  ) The Western [Pure] Realm - 121 -The Pure Land Heaven (* Wff ) Old Avalokitesvara (^mm> Old Amitabha (S % % ) The Old Ancestral home ) The Dragon-Flower Assembly (fc + i ) The XWiarma-king ( t t $ B ) The Land of Eternal Peace <* » £ > The Buddhist Canon (£ »J a ) The Diamond SQtra (& ) The SQtra Without Words ( i s m s ) The Patriarch of a l l Buddhas (HAS > The Mother of a l l Buddhas ( R 8 § ) The Mother of the Canonical Scriptures ) The Mother of the Three Teachings (tttttt > The Body of a l l Buddhas (it > The S p i r i t u a l Realm of the Buddhas (» * S ) The Mother of a l l Words (a&ge) The Mother of Non-Obstruction (Sicfi ) The Root of Men and Women ) The Root of Heaven and Earth ) The Root of the Five Grains (s n n> The Root of the Sun and Moon The Root of Yin and Yang (S $J fi! ) The Root of the Ten Thousand Things (H > The Root of the Three Realms (*=F* ) The Root of the Great Chiliocosm The Root of the World - 122 -(«^ m) Vision that Penetrates Heaven (* « #) The Incorruptible Body £ a ) Settled Personal Destiny (fc S SF ) The Priceless Treasure (* K 13 ) The Great, Mahi («/£«> The Precious Jewel, Mani • (« « g ) Piramiti (» m ft) The True Sahgha (ft £ ) True Dhyina (?£ 3 B > The Living Bodhisattva (S fa to ) The Living God and Immortal (^Hili ) The Great Saint Lo ( f 4 8 ) The Road to Long L i f e Wang Yuan-ching describes these forty-four terms as the " t r a d i t i o n which points d i r e c t l y to the Mind" (j| $| ^ ) . To have f a i t h in the identity of these terms with the Self i s the "right road" to salvation and s e l f - i l l u m i n a t i o n . 5. Soteriology: The Way of Non-Action Lo Ch'ing describes the proper means of enlightenment as the "Way of Non-Action" or the "method of non-interference" (fc 3*$ ) . The end result of this correct method (J£ ^  ) i s to awaken the o r i g i n a l mind by "returning home" (S§ ) and recovering the "ancestral home of true emptiness" (ft?£3£8$ ) . The "ancestral home" i s a place without pain and worry, exceedingly j o y f u l , free from the cycle of samsira and unbounded in time and space. It i s the "land" of self-transformation - 123 -(§ it ) and autonomy (g i?E ) , completely contained within and id e n t i c a l to the Self, and also that "place" where a l l persons are reunited as one. Those of wisdom walk the Great Path: they return home. Arriving at their ancestral home, they w i l l never disperse, never [again] turn the wheel [of samsira]. Arriving at their ancestral home, their l i v e s are immeasurable i n duration; long they l i v e , they do not die. Forever united as a family, samsira-free, their happiness i s unbounded. (T'an-shih 3:51) . People say that they do not know where those who have 'returned home' have gone. Now I w i l l explain i t in d e t a i l , and everyone w i l l understand, and they w i l l a l l come together. If I use this analogy, everyone w i l l have f a i t h : the rivers of the world return to the sea; they mix together to form one body of water. (Chieh-kuo 12:33-35). Those who have attained the Way ({If Jg ) have gone home; they are mixed in one body i'M. W. — H ) • (Chieh-kuo 12:45) . In his r e l i g i o u s quest, Lo i s able to "set t l e the body and establish [his] destiny" ($ $r tL & ) only after he recognizes the identity of the Self with the ".Dhar.ma-nature of True Emptiness" (H£?£tt) (K 'u-kung 12:51). His subsequent writings attest to his conviction that his own experience can be universalized: Over innumerable kalpas, we have in our confusion l o s t the One Breath that precedes Heaven. Among the four forms of rebirth, we suffer pain and anguish right to the present day. Think of i t : we are far from home for tens of thousands of births and deaths. Reflection raises up the pain of b i r t h and death; the stomach ["gall"] trembles and the heart i s alarmed. Only in this cycle [of samsira] have I come to understand the One Breath prior to Heaven. Coming from where I have come, going to where I sh a l l go: a leaf f a l l s and returns to the root. (K'u-kung 17:92). Far from home i n the sea of suffering for thousands and thousands of births and deaths, today I have arrived home, and I s h a l l never again spin the wheel of samsira. I have arrived home: the Land of Perfect B l i s s (f£j |$£ US ) , of long l i f e without aging (-fg £ Tf % ) . It i s not at a l l l i k e nine deaths and ten births in the sea of suffering. I have arrived home: the Land of Perfect B l i s s , of freedom and autonomy. It i s not at a l l l i k e entering samsira and - 124 -meeting [repeatedly] with death and re b i r t h . I have arrived in the Land of Perfect B l i s s , of security and sustenance, where Perfected Men assemble ( I A f t )• It i s not at a l l l i k e accompanying the dead as a skeleton i n the sea of suffering. I have arrived in the Land of Perfect B l i s s , of security and sustenance, where Perfected Men assemble. It is not at a l l l i k e revolving through the four forms of rebirth i n the sea of suffering. (K'u-kung 17:98-99). As a condition for illuminating the "ancestral home" within, Lo exhorts his followers to undertake a non-aggressive l i f e s t y l e , r efraining from meat and wine, from harming l i v i n g things, and from desecrating the Teachings (presumably as interpreted by Lo, though stated throughout i n conventional Buddhist terms). Who i s capable of this form of deliverance from samsira? A secondary theme i n the Wu-pu l i u - t s ' e i s a d i s t i n c t i o n between "men of superior capacity" (± ^  A ) or "gentlemen" (ff ^  ) and "men of i n f e r i o r capacity" (T 3£ A ) - "small men" (/J\ ), or "men who have gone astray" (££ A )• Superior persons are unshaking i n their commitment to the Way of Non-Action, not subject to back-sliding, having f u l l y repented their prior lack of b e l i e f and e v i l ways. The superior man repents sooner, the small man l a t e r . The superior man thinks about the innumerable great kalpas i n the future of unending suffering through [transmigration among] the four types of l i v i n g things and the six gati. He quickly repents and walks the Path, and [thereby attains] deliverance from the b i t t e r sea of samsira: he i s the superior man. The small man does not deign to repent. Once he has lo s t this human body, troubles ensue for a myriad of kalpas. Eternally spinning about i n the four types of rebirth, he i s unable to exchange [one] body [for another]. (Chieh-kuo 2:59). Superior men receive [ l i t . "take r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for"] [the Dharma] and return home; small men suffer torment in h e l l . (Chieh-kuo 3:86). - 125 -Lo asserts that "persons of superior capacity" come from every so c i a l class, from farmers to merchants and monarchs. Nor are they confined to men, monks, and do-gooders: repeatedly Lo eschews any d i s t i n c t i o n between men and women, c l e r i c s and laypersons, or lawful and criminal ci t i z e n s with regard to their potential for enlightenment. He appears to attribute this potential — and the d i s t i n c t i o n between persons of "superior" and " i n f e r i o r " capacity — to destiny. If you do not meet with the marvelous teaching, you w i l l not attain the immeasurable blessing. As far as meeting with this teaching i s concerned, i f you are destined to do so ) you w i l l meet with i t even i f you must travel a distance of a thousand I i . If you are not (fa ^ ), you w i l l not meet with i t even i f i t i s right i n front of you. Small men of s l i g h t merit ?§ /> A ) , though they may chance upon [the teaching], w i l l not walk the Path. (Chieh-kuo 3:71-73). The difference between the two types of person described by Lo Ch'ing i s expressed as a capacity or potential for salvation, the evidence for which i s f a i t h . The "true" f a i t h or b e l i e f (JE is ) Lo praises repeatedly i s not devotional; i t i s a f a i t h i n the "marvelous teaching" (#?fe ) as Lo defines i t . This i s the method by which I was enlightened to the Way, after thirteen years [of b i t t e r e f f o r t ] . One needs a believing heart to transcend b i r t h and death, that, one's joy may be boundless. If you have complete f a i t h in the Way to which I awakened, you w i l l be no different from me. (Chieh-kuo 9:85). Only believing hearts return to their [true] homes. (T'an-shih 4:63). This means believing, even prior to an experiential awakening, that although one's soul (Jg ^ ) i s trapped i n samsira, there i s a deeper, eternal Self; that although the physical body i s subject - 126 -to decay and death, there i s a "True Body" that i s not. The person of f a i t h "dares" to "return home" and to recognize the "ancestral home" within. Generally, Lo favors the vocabulary of the Ch'an School to describe the personal, experiential r e a l i z a t i o n of the Emptiness of the Self: the positive use of Ch'an terms to ide n t i f y the Self, such as the Mind (£•> ), the Nature (tt )• and the Original Face (:& l j @ ); the rejection of mental a c t i v i t y and language, which should be "turned upside down and put on i t s head" (J{| $J ) (Cheng-hsin 21:33); descriptions of a sudden insight that i s subject to "neither c u l t i v a t i o n nor confirmation" (fc ^  fc H ) . Despite his prevalent use of Ch'an formulas, however, his books are intended to inspire f a i t h , not to produce a sudden awakening. As we s h a l l examine in Chapter III, the Five Books are teaching manuals intended to be recited aloud i n a r i t u a l setting, the effect of which i s to educate d i s c i p l e s about their "True Selves". This allows the participant to arrive at the same insights as the Ch'an masters without the di s t r a c t i o n of the means they employ (kdan studies, meditation, and s t r i c t obedience to a teacher), which, as we s h a l l see below, can become false attachments i n h i b i t i n g one's s p i r i t u a l advancement. - 127 -6. Lo's Critique of "Manipulative Methods"  of Religious Cultivation Lo's supreme didactic e f f o r t i n the Wu-pu l i u - t s 'e i s to define and distinguish two forms of religious c u l t i v a t i o n : the Way of Non-Action, or "non-manipulative" methods of s e l f -c u l t i v a t i o n (fa ^  fe ), and the "active" or "manipulative" methods of conventional r e l i g i o s i t y 2| ) . The Way of Non-Action, as we have seen, describes the inner r e a l i z a t i o n of the Self's identity with Emptiness, understood by Lo to be the creative power of existence, in a moment of insight, predicated upon commitment and f a i t h . Conventional forms of re l i g i o u s c u l t i v a t i o n — Lo refers to them d i s d a i n f u l l y as "sundry" or "motley means" ($£ fe ) — on the other hand, are inef f e c t i v e and ultimately f r u s t r a t i n g . Before examining the various means of re l i g i o u s practice rejected by the Patriarch, we might observe that the d i s t i n c t i o n between proper and improper modes of s p i r i t u a l i t y i s a common theme i n the history of Chinese r e l i g i o n s . The operative terms are "orthodox" (JE ) and "heterodox" (!$ ) , and Lo himself does not hesitate to use them. These are r e l a t i v e designations, labels employed to legitimize those who apply them. The Chinese state has always distinguished between religious forms and practices i t recognizes and those\it does not, and the charge of "heterodoxy" i s paramount to treason. 2 6 After a l l , r e l i gions that do not 26. Sects subjected to government persecution i n the Ch'ing, including the Lo sects, were regularly described as heterodox. See s p e c i f i c references to the Ch'ing shih-lu [Veritable Records of the Ch'ing] and the Shih-liao hsun-k'an - 128 -enjoy state recognition represent not only a p o l i t i c a l challenge to the imperial establishment but also a cosmic challenge to the court's heavenly mandate, which includes the power to judge between truth and f a l s i t y i n matters of r e l i g i o n . Despite how frequently these terms are applied to Chinese re l i g i o n s , however, i t i s misleading to see them as anything more than value judgments r e l a t i v e to the contexts in which they are applied — and mistaken to employ them as fixed terms of s i g n i f i c a t i o n . F i r s t , the Chinese state i t s e l f never was s u f f i c i e n t l y monolithic i n regards to r e l i g i o n to define, once and for a l l , "true" and "fa l s e " forms of rel i g i o u s practice. Even within the period of a single reign, i t was not uncommon for the state to s h i f t i t s r e l i g i o u s allegiances. Second, the Chinese state did not have a monopoly on the use of the terms "orthodox" and "heterodox". Nor did the Buddhist sangha, which showed no hesitation i n branding "unorthodox" many of i t s own schools and sects. In fact, the charge of "heterodoxy" appears quite frequently i n religious texts of sectarian religious movements, from Six Dynasties Taoism to contemporary s p i r i t -writing cults, with Lo sects proving no exception. Every Chinese r e l i g i o n has attempted to establish i t s legitimacy in the eyes of i t s followers, i f not the state, and the d i s t i n c t i o n between cheng and hsieh i s a common device. [Historical Records Published every Ten Days] i n Chapter III below. - 129 -A "proper" study of Chinese "heterodoxy", then, would have to be concerned with the application of a term, not with a certain body of Chinese religious groups. 2 7 This much said, l e t us return to Lo Ch'ing's characterization of improper means of religious c u l t i v a t i o n . His condemnations are valuable not only i n fine-tuning his own views, but also i n f i l l i n g out our picture of popular religious practice in late imperial China. Lo i s c r i t i c a l of both conventional r e l i g i o n and the new sectarian movements of the Ming. In the course of his own religious career, Lo Ch'ing attempted and rejected a number of s p i r i t u a l alternatives available to a seeker of his era. Chapters 3 to 6 of his Autobiography catalogue his e f f o r t s . Though sincere i n his i n i t i a l commitment to each method, Lo i s ultimately frustrated, and driven to "press on yet another step" in his search. He attempts Taoist reclusion i n a mountain retreat, on a diet of cypress nuts and pine cones, only to find himself starved for ordinary food and intercourse with the society of men. He devotes eight years to Pure Land r e c i t a t i o n of Amitabha's name, only to determine that his meditations are misdirected. Three 27. The point of this digression i s , of course, to discourage the use of the label of "heterodox teachings" i n referring to Lo Ch'ing and the Lo sects. In the past, Chinese and Japanese historians in particular have described sects as hsieh-chiao (?fl %. ) i with l i t t l e s e n s i t i v i t y to their r e l i g i o u s conceptions and self-understanding. This arises undoubtedly from too much reliance upon o f f i c i a l records of the state — which often viewed the sects as rebellious threats to c i v i l authority — i n formulating a h i s t o r i c a l representation of the sects. Cf. Daniel Overmyer, Folk Buddhist Religion:  Dissenting Sects in Late Traditional China (Cambridge: 1976), 1-52. - 130 -years of scripture studies convince him that s p i r i t u a l insight can arise only from the "wordless teaching" of immediate, personal experience. In addition, the Autobiography rejects Ch'an concentration and koan studies, Taoist alchemical v i s u a l i z a t i o n ('inner alchemy'), and various forms of popular shamanism and precognition. " A l l of these sundry methods," he concludes, "are useless in the face of death [ l i t . "danger"]" < £ * « f c U B f e * f f i * * ) (K'u-kung 6:62) . Each of these disappointments in his own rel i g i o u s career i s discussed e x p l i c i t l y in the context of Lo's teachings. From his attacks on conventional forms of r e l i g i o s i t y , we can arrive at a more nuanced understanding of Lo's religious thought. (1.) Pure Land r e c i t a t i o n of the Buddha's name. In his Autobiography, Lo Ch'ing repudiates Pure Land r e c i t a t i o n because i t i s i n e f f e c t i v e . This r e f l e c t s the pragmatic, u t i l i t a r i a n concerns of his s p i r i t u a l career: to discover a method that w i l l carry him immediately and unconditionally from the wheel of samsira. In la t e r books of the Wu-pu l i u - t s ' e , however, his approach shows a greater sophistication, outlining why Pure Land practice f a i l s the believer. The r e c i t a t i o n of scripture and the r e c i t a t i o n of the Buddha's name are paths of samsira, and attachment to thought constitutes a heterodox teaching. Seeking the Buddha i n sound and i n form i s wrong and misguided; you w i l l never see the tathigata by r e c i t i n g the Buddha's name. [Though] the Buddha i s on the s p i r i t u a l Mount [Sumeru] (3S UJ ), there i s no need to seek him afar. The tathigata i s in fact within my own mind, and by illuminating myself I perceive the Buddhas and Patriarchs. Recognizing this in myself, I need not seek far. (P'o-hsieh 13:21-22). - 131 -Lo points out repeatedly that the Buddha i s within the mind (or i s , indeed, i d e n t i c a l with the mind), and that the Pure Land i s no further than one's own "ancestral home" (see, for example, Chena—hsin 3:95-97). In his conceptualization of the "ancestral home", Lo i s c l e a r l y influenced by Pure Land depictions of the Western Paradise. "Returning home", one i s free of suffering, delivered from a l l calamities, and destined to an eternity of autonomy and b l i s s (Cheng-hsin 14:70-71). 2 8 But the Ch'an interpretation of Pure Land meditation i s even more apparent here: the Ch'an School maintains that the Pure Land i s within the mind, and v i s u a l i z a t i o n and other Pure Land meditative practices are simply means towards the unobstructed and unconditional samadhi of complete concentration. This leads to the insight that there i s no "Pure Land" except the mind i t s e l f . Lo "quotes" approvingly from the Platform Sutra: The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch provides v e r i f i c a t i o n of [this teaching]: "If people of the East produce karma [and] St«ik to be reborn in the Western Land, where do the people of the Western I.and seek to be reborn in the performance of evil? Deluded people ye<»rn for [rebirth in] the East or the West, but for the enlightened person this very place i s the Western Land. Everyone possesses the Pure Land of the West. Ultimately there i s no need to be steadfast i n maintaining [pious practices], [because the Pure Land] i s already right before you! Deluded persons do not understand that the Self i s the Western Land. Seeking to be reborn there, their efforts are in vain, and they sink deeper into the b i t t e r sea of samsira, unable to exchange 28. Pure Land Buddhism describes the Western Paradise in similar terms. See, for example, the SukhivativyQha SQtra (T12.364.326-340), F. Max Muller, ed. and trans., Sacred  Books of the East, vol. 49, part 2, The Land of B l i s s (Oxford: 1894): 1-85. - 132 -their bodies [for others] through innumerable kalpas." (Cheng-hsin 20:24-25). 2 9 Perhaps Lo r e f l e c t s here the contemporary trend towards the integration of Ch'an and Pure Land meditation, articulated in more e x p l i c i t terms by the four renowned Ming monks Chu-hung % , 1535-1615), Chen-k'o (ft nf , 1544-1604), Te-ch'ing ($ ft , 1546-1623), and Chih-hsii (^ fa , 1599-1655). These monks turned to a creative use of Pure Land meditation practices out of disappointment with Ch'an, which, they f e l t , had degenerated into a mechanical "dead technique" (5E J£ ) of rote memorization, authoritarian interpretation, and s e l f - g l o r i f i c a t i o n . Their pr i n c i p l e c r i t i c i s m was of the use of koans, the interpretations of which, rather than products of s e l f - r e f l e c t i v e contemplation, had become fixed tenets of doctrine. The "correct" interpretations of the koans were now set down in books, to be memorized and recited by Ch'an novitiates who were discouraged from struggling for their own understanding and thus denied, from 29. I have not been able to find this exact wording i n the Platform Sutra, but compare chapter 35 of Yampolsky's translation: "People of the East [China], just by making the mind pure, are without crime; people of the West [the Pure Land of the West], i f their minds are not pure, are g u i l t y of a crime. The deluded person wishes to be born i n the East or West, [for the enlightened person] any land i s just the same. If only the mind has no impurity, the Western Land i s not far. If the mind gives r i s e to impurities, even though you invoke the Buddha and seek to be reborn [in the West], i t w i l l be d i f f i c u l t to reach... Since Buddha i s made by your own nature, do not look for him outside your body" (Yampolsky, The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch [New York: 1967], 157-158; Chinese text on p. 16-17 from the end). On Lo Ch'ing's s i m p l i f i c a t i o n of the sQtras and c l a s s i c s , see Chapter IV below. - 133 -the o r i g i n a l Ch'an point of view, the opportunity for sudden enlightenment. 3 0 (2.) Ch'an meditation. Ch'an reformers in the Ming sought to preserve the kernal of Ch'an -- meditation in the form of q u i e t - s i t t i n g -- while eliminating the "dead techniques" of i n s t i t u t i o n a l Ch'an. One of their strategies was the Pure Land-On' an synthesis described above. Lo Ch'ing's rejection of Ch'an goes further, however, to include a repudiation of the "method of dhyana and samadhi" (ff ^  fe ) i t s e l f . Unlike the four great monks of the Ming ( a l l of whom were born after Lo's l i f e t i m e ) , Lo Ch'ing was not a Ch'an reformer engaged in a r e v i t a l i z a t i o n of the " s p i r i t " of Ch'an or a reinterpretation of the koan method. He rejects the meditative practices of the Ch'an School as well as the employment of koans, as forms of mental attachment that i n h i b i t the quest for insight. S i t t i n g in meditation without a clear understanding of the Path i s a manipulative method of cultivation (^ & tL fe ) • At the point of death, having no way out, one sinks down eternally. (P 'o-hsieh 19:6). Attachment to religious c u l t i v a t i o n , to dhyina and samidhi, to sitting-in-quietude, and to the cu l t i v a t i o n of virtue means that you w i l l not attain self-determination [aisvarya3: these are routes to samsira, and you w i l l not achieve l i b e r a t i o n from suffering. (Chieh-kuo 10:2). 30. Chun-fang Yii, The Renewal of Buddhism in China: Chu-hung and  the Late Ming Synthesis (New York: 1981), 29-63, 172-177; Leon Hurvitz, "Chu-hung's One Mind of Pure Land and Ch'an Buddhism," i n William Theodore de Bary, ed., Self and Society  i n Ming Thought (New York: 1970), 451-481; Sung-peng Hsu, A Buddhist Leader in Ming China: The Life and Thought of Han- shan Te-ch'ing (State College, PA: 1979), 44-45 & ch. 4; Kuo P'eng, Ming-Ch 'ing fo-chiao (Fuchou: 1982), 176-292; Shih Sheng-yen, Ming-mo fo-chiao yen-chiu (Taipei: 1987), 150-167. - 134 -One cannot deny the extent to which Lo's rel i g i o u s philosophy was shaped by Ch'an formulations. His understanding of the Nature, the Buddha or Pure Land within the mind, and the experience of enlightenment are a l l derived from Ch'an; he invokes the Ch'an ideal of the "wordless teaching"; and he cites Ch'an scriptures and sayings as much as any other group of texts. His c r i t i c i s m i s of the method, not the meaning: Ch'an's "attachment" to i t s methods of s i t t i n g meditation, which Lo encapsulates i n the characters ch 'an-ting (|f ^  ), i s the object of his attack. Ch'an practitioners are encumbered by their own terms of rel i g i o u s practice, their rules of monastic participation, and their focus on the means rather than the ends of their e f f o r t s . For Lo Ch'ing, salvation l i e s i n the f r u i t s of meditative insight, not i n meditation i t s e l f . (3.) Karma. Lo i s also c r i t i c a l of other forms of Buddhist doctrine and practice. We have seen his i m p l i c i t attack on the karma doctrine i n his analysis of the human condition. Karma, he i n s i s t s , i s a religious problem of the perpetuation of suffering, and does not have a moral solution. Tied to the unreal and inauthentic state of samsira, i t i s ultimately groundless: the doctrine of karma, Lo states, i s "f o o l i s h talk (=2 i i ) ... one part truth and ten parts falsehood (— ft "§ -f* ft J £ ) " (Chieh-kuo 14:66). Thus, while encouraging his followers to do good by maintaining a vegetarian diet and giving aid to other l i v i n g beings, Lo does not suggest that this i n i t s e l f w i l l lead to salvation. - 135 -(4.) DSna. Similarly, Lo i s c r i t i c a l of good works or material g i f t s of charity (j# £fe ) , which are characterized by the phenomenal signs of existence {-fe ) and are thus incommensurate with the Way of Non-Action. Manipulative acts of charity ^ Sfe ) [ i . e . , mundane g i f t s subject to cause and condition] [have] a merit [leading to rebirth as] a man or god, [but this blessing la s t s only] a hundred years, the flash of an eye ["one ksana"]. To cultivate merit i s l i k e crossing a high mountain; i t s rewards are l i k e [the images of] flowers before one's eyes. Pile-of-Jewels [RatnakOta], the king of mountains, [has wealth] incalculable, yet i t i s l i k e an arrow shot into space: when i t s power i s exhausted, i t f a l l s to earth. [In the same way], one i s due to f a l l into the Avici h e l l . The merit of Non-Action (fa ^ ) [by contrast] i s vast and unbounded. Though mountains and rivers are subject to decay, this merit i s long-lasting. The merit of Non-Action i s superior and inexhaustible. In i t , there i s unbounded joy. (P'o-hsieh 8:108-109). (5.) The Buddhist Precepts. F i n a l l y , i n the context of his general c r i t i q u e of Buddhist monasticism, Lo condemns the e f f o r t to maintain the precepts ) or to perform virtuous acts as defined by conventional Buddhist piety (P'o-hsieh 9:129-139). This i s partly a r e f l e c t i o n of his rejection of good works as a means to salvation, and partly an expression of his lay-based religious program. As we s h a l l see i n Chapter III below, Lo repudiates any d i s t i n c t i o n between monastic and lay s e l f -c u l t i v a t i o n . Adherence to the rules of monastic l i f e , in fact, merely distracts the committed seeker from the real object of his re l i g i o u s quest. (6.) Taoist Inner Alchemy. By the Ming dynasty, "Taoism" was p r i n c i p a l l y an individualized regimen of meditative practices aimed at long l i f e , the confirmation of which could be seen in strong health, psychological calm, and the demonstration of - 136 -supernormal powers associated with the "earthly immortals" of Taoist legend. These practices were commonly referred^to by the term "inner alchemy" (p*3 ) . 3 1 In the Wu-pu l i u - t s 'e, Lo describes adepts "nourishing the treasures" 5f ) -- "essence" (f| ) , "breath" (£g ) , and " s p i r i t " ) — through meditation upon the "three gates" ( H P ) of the body (P' o-hsieh 7:68-92). Practitioners fled the world to focus their embryonic s p i r i t s in mountain retreats, where they attained immortality and the a b i l i t y to f l y and to transform themselves. Of this, Lo Ch'ing expresses no doubt; he even praises immortals by name, such as Lu Tung-pin, and to this day Lu Tung-pin i s associated with the Lo sects of Fukien Province. 3 2 For the most part, however, Lo adopts a proper Buddhist attitude towards immortals: regardless of their accomplishments, they are s t i l l trapped in the cycle of samsira. "[Even] in becoming an immortal, i t i s impossible to avoid the wheel of suffering" (P'o-hsieh 14:56). So, the cu l t i v a t i o n of immortality i s a false method, with no benefit for ultimate release. There i s one kind of heterodox practitioner (ffl A. ) w n o talks about "swallowing eye-secretions", "eating pus", and "embryonic breathing". 3 3 These are useless, at the point of 31. For a general description, see Joseph Needham, Science and  C i v i l i z a t i o n in China, v o l . 5, part V, Spagyrical Discovery  and Invention: Physiological Alchemy (Cambridge: 1983). 32. So Kenneth Dean observed i n 1988. Personal communication, A p r i l 1989. 33. Ch'ih-ch'ih ch'ih-nung t'ai-hsi (f| §£ ^ §g fe .& ) : psycho-physiological practices described in the Huang-t'ing nei- ching ching (g )g ptj f£ @ ) and other early Taoist works on longevity c u l t i v a t i o n . By consuming one's own sa l i v a and bodily secretions, and breathing in t e r n a l l y "without the use of the nose or mouth", the adept avoids contact with external - 137 -death. [They also] talk of the "cinnabar f i e l d " and the "nirvana palace", 3 4 and say that before the Three Gates there i s no protuberance and behind them no c a v i t y , 3 3 and talk about Nature (ft ) and Destiny ) and yin (|^  ) and yang ( P i ). Fundamentally [one is] a sack of bloody pus and rotting flesh — talk about i t as much as you wish, how can i t not be useless at the point of death! (Cheng-hsin 23:57). Having discovered the f u t i l i t y of a diet of cypress nuts and pine cones during his own search, Lo repudiates the peculiar dietary practices of immortality adepts, who avoid cereals, eat uncooked foods, or consume only liquids (P'o-hsieh 19:8-10). material agents which pose a threat to the Original Breath < 7 t *H ) within the body. Henri Maspero, Taoism and Chinese  Religion, trans. Frank Kierman (Amherst: 1981), 459-505; Morohashi, Daikanwa j i t e n , 8:212 (23308), 9:374 (29938), 9:275 (29369.29). 34. Tan-t'ien ni-wan kung (ft J= jjg % °g ) : the Huang-t'ing nei- ching ching describes three "cinnabar f i e l d s " within the body: the "nirvSna palace", between the eyebrows; the "red palace" (ffc H ) , three inches (^f ) below the heart; and the "lower cinnabar f i e l d " , three inches below the navel. L i Shu-huan, Tao-chiao ta tz'u tien [Great Dictionary of Taoism] (Shanghai: 1987), 17, 410; Maspero, Taoism and Chinese  Religion, 325-329; Morohashi, Daikanwa j i t e n , 1:327 (99.227), 6:1066 (17311.21). 35. Tentative: H i S s u ^ P J ^ ^ A ' - 1 am unable to make much sense of this phrase. The "Three Gates" ( H P ) are the Heavenly Gate (^ Ri ) , i n the mouth; the Earthly Gate (jfe PJ ) , the two feet; and the Human Gate (A IS )f the two hands. Maspero, Taoism and Chinese Religion, 494 n. 109. Hsiung (J}6} ) , normally a noun meaning "thorax", and hsueh (7^ ), "cave", are made into verbs with the modifier pu (Tf ); I have interpreted this as meaning that "[what is] before the Three Gates does not protrude [like the breastbone; thus, "there i s no protuberance"] and [what is] behind the Three Gates does not concave [thus, "there i s no c a v i t y " ] . I am unable to find more s p e c i f i c references to hsiung and hsueh r e l a t i v e to the Three Gates. Lo himself does not appear to have benefited from extensive Taoist training, though he did engage in Taoist physiological practices for a period during his years of seeking. - 138 -(7.) Contacts with the S p i r i t World. Lo also decries a number of shamanistic practices popular i n his age: s p i r i t -t ravel, divination, and the c u l t i v a t i o n of supernormal powers. One kind of shaman receives ghosts and s p i r i t s into his own body, giving him the power to submerge himself in water and f i r e ; this practice, warns the Patriarch, does not protect the adept from suffering in h e l l (Cheng-hsin 23:57). Lo refers to a method of s p i r i t - t r a v e l called "sending forth the yang-spirit" (it! PR fa )• As Wang Yuan-ching describes i t , this consists i n focussing the mind to the point that the adept can "emit the yang from his forehead for thousands of I i , returning in the flash of an eye." The yang-spirit can see but i t cannot be seen; i t gathers information from afar and the adept becomes all-knowing (K'u-kung 6:57-58; P 'o-hsieh 14:37-38). Lo warns that the manipulation of the yin and yang breaths exhausts these energies i n the body, culminating i n death. This leads to suffering i n h e l l and the perpetuation of samsira (P 'o-hsieh 14:40-41). In another context, Lo describes shamanistic practices as a form of prescience or divination: There i s a kind of fool who receives and holds on to s p i r i t s , ghosts, and demons. With a depraved s p i r i t (5$ *R ) he orders [them] to follow and report to him ($& M M W. ) . 3 6 [In this way] he knows the good and bad fortunes of others. If others have good fortune, [the s p i r i t s ] l e t him know by reporting to him. If others have bad fortune, again they l e t him know by reporting to him. If someone approaches him with an aim to cause trouble or with duplicitous intentions, again they l e t him know by reporting to him. This method of 36. Probably by whispering in his ear: cf. erh-yen (If ]j§ ) , Morohashi, Daikanwa j i t e n , 9:183 (28999.30), and er-h-yu (Msg ) , ibid. (28999.32) . - 139 -having depraved s p i r i t s {ffl ) report to the ear, and l e t one know [about others] by reporting to him, i s called the "method of reporting to the ear" (If $g 2. j£ ) . ( Chieh-kuo 24:100) . "Do not put any store in this v i l e s p i r i t " (ft If ffl *g ) , admonishes the Patriarch. "Take refuge i n the correct Way (g§ J£ H )" (Chieh-kuo 24:101) . Lo is equally c r i t i c a l of other forms of divination, making repeated reference to the practice of "fixing the time of death" l l £ S^F M )• Wang Yuan-ching explains the r i t u a l in d e t a i l : On the night marking the end of the year i n the la [twelfth lunar] month, they bow before the li g h t of a lamp in order to understand the cycle of b i r t h and death and determine the time [of death]. In the coming year, there are twelve months, so they bow down (^ ) twelve times, and on that pai when there i s no shadow cast by the lamp, they know in which month they w i l l die. (K'u-frung 6:61). The procedure i s repeated for the1 t h i r t y days of the month, the twelve two-hour periods of the day, and the eight divisions of the two-hour period. It i s unclear from this description exactly how the r i t u a l was performed, but i t has the flavor of a popular divinatory practice carried out by common folk i n their homes or loc a l temples. Elsewhere Wang mentions that i t was taught by "heterodox teachers of the Sect of the Hanging Drum (1* f$ $ )" (P'o-hsieh 14:36), so i t may have been associated with one of the sectarian groups of the Ming — i have been unable to identify i t specifically— which often employed magic and divination in re c r u i t i n g new members.37 37. Cf. Daniel L. Overmyer, "Alternatives: Popular Religious Sects in Chinese Society," Modern China 7 (1981): 153-190. - 140 -Lo adopts a f a t a l i s t i c attitude towards these practices: there i s l i t t l e use in knowing the workings of Destiny over which one has no control. Divination and shamanism certainly have no bearing on the problem of samsira: "As long as you follow this method, you cannot achieve self-determination; as long as you follow this method, you w i l l f a l l eternally into the suffering of samsira" (Chieh-kuo 19:60). Ritual p r o p i t i a t i o n of ghosts and s p i r i t s i s also rejected by Lo Ch'ing. Offerings of paper money, incense, or "bloody s a c r i f i c e s " serve only to strengthen King Yama and the s p i r i t s of the dead. Moreover, this kind of r i t u a l a c t i v i t y i s completely unnecessary: ghosts are frightened away by the f a i t h f u l d i s c i p l e who "returns home". True b e l i e f "transforms Hell into Heaven" and saves the hungry ghosts; worshiping them i s a false, "manipulative" method (P'o-hsieh 13:28-35). Brief mention i s made of a variety of other contemporary religious practices: s e l f - m o r t i f i c a t i o n (P'o-hsieh 19:8), the worship of images (Chencj-hsin 9:97-98), vows of silence (Chieh- kuo 24:124), and doomsday prognostications (Chieh-kuo 24:128). A l l are "manipulative" methods producing attachments and f u t i l i t y . Lo does not deny the efficacy of these practices within the world. However, whatever they may accomplish lasts only the duration of a flash of lightening, the blink of an eye, or the space of one breath; their benefits disappear at the moment of death " l i k e a snowflake i n a furnace". Ultimately, a l l r i t u a l practices and conceptual formulations other than those of the Way - 141 -of Non-Action are stained by the phenomenal marks of existence and d i r e c t l y i n h i b i t salvation. This i s no less true of the conventional teachings of Buddhism than i t i s of the immortality cult, popular devotion, or the b e l i e f s and practices of contemporary sectarian groups (to which we w i l l turn in Chapter I I I ) . Even while employing the language of Buddhism, the cosmological speculations of the Confucian c l a s s i c s , and some of the meditative practices of Taoism, Lo c r i t i c i z e s any "active" method that might become an object of i n t e l l e c t u a l or psychological attachment. Lo Ch'ing's soteriology i s direct, simple, and immediate: there i s no need for a textual, r i t u a l , or ideological intermediary i n the illumination of the "ancestral home" within. We should pause to appreciate the rad i c a l antinomianism of Lo's position, especially in l i g h t of the fact that a sect organization formed around him that has survived to the present day, with i t s own forms of worship and r i t u a l , basic texts, and hierarchies of leaders and followers. Lo pushed Ch'an to i t s own extreme, extending i t s attacks on convention, on language, and on thought, and r a d i c a l l y affirming i t s founding principles of direct and i n t u i t i v e insight. With his conviction that a l l teachings illuminate the same truth (his variation on the "three-in-one thought" of his age), Lo grasped the opportunity to borrow from the language of a l l and to discard what would not serve his needs. "Derivative" as he was i n many respects — and we must admit that most of the Wu-pu l i u - t s 'e reads as a simplified, r e p e t i t i v e paraphrase of conventional Buddhism and - 142 -Neo-Confucian cosmology — Lo was a "creator" and not merely a "transmitter" of religious Dharma. This i s not syncretism, i f by "syncretism" i s meant the u n c r i t i c a l superimposing of independent traditions within a "unifying" context. Lo i s extremely selective and purposeful in his choice of texts, models, and religious formulations from the history of Chinese r e l i g i o n s , and he reserves "orthodoxy" for his own Way of Non-Action alone. His "Dharma of Wu-wei" employs a language that would have been familiar to his audience, but places i t in a new so c i a l and religious context: that of the ordinary layperson. It must have attracted a s i g n i f i c a n t following, for Lo Ch'ing's Five Books became the foundation of a long and v i t a l lay movement in late imperial and modern Chinese history. In Chapter III, we turn to the sectarian interpretation of Lo Ch'ing's message of universal salvation. - 1 4 3 -Chapter I I I : Lo's Place i n the History of Chinese Religions 1. Lo as "Sect Patriarch" In Lo Ch'ing i s both the medium and the message for a v i t a l t r a d i t i o n of religious sectarianism s t i l l active i n Chinese communities today. Voluntary, lay-based, congregational r e l i g i o n -- with i t s d i s t i n c t i v e texts, r i t u a l s , and internal organization — provides an alternative form of religious b e l i e f and expression to the conventional practices of the Chinese sahgha and state. The Lo sects of the Ming and Ch'ing were prototypes for a broad range of sectarian movements that have made a s i g n i f i c a n t mark upon the s o c i a l history of recent times. It i s my purpose here to focus upon Lo Ch'ing as a self-conscious sect patriarch, and upon his sects as a d i s t i n c t and coherent t r a d i t i o n . To what extent did Lo Ch'ing see himself as a r e l i g i o u s leader and as the founder of an independent sect? What principles of sectarian organization and practice can be derived from Lo's pao-chuan? What are "Lo sects", and how should they be distinguished from other Chinese sects with similar forms of expression and organization? What i s the nature of contemporary Lo sects (I have done fieldwork i n Taiwan, but there are active branches i n Fukien, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, and the United States), and how "true" are they to the teachings of the Patriarch? How are Lo sects organized, and what are their p r i n c i p l e r i t u a l s of i n i t i a t i o n , worship, and religious or moral cultivation? Lo's Five Books in Six Volumes, sectarian - 144 -pao-chuan, o f f i c i a l records of the state, and contemporary sectarian h i s t o r i e s can provide answers to these questions. We have already observed that Lo Ch'ing enjoyed a si g n i f i c a n t following i n his own li f e t i m e . This i s evident from a postface to his fourth book, the Cheng-hsin pao-chuan, in an edition of 1509, when Lo was sixty-seven years of age, and from the popularity of his teachings both in Mi-yiin County and near Lao-shan within f i f t y years of his death. From these areas in northern China, his sect spread rapidly to the Chiang-nan region, flourishing i n the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries i n Chekiang, Kiangsu, Fukien, Anhwei, and Kiangsi. 1 Sectarian pao-chuan as early as 1652 imply that Lo established "vegetarian h a l l s " 1{£ ) with images, r i t u a l s , and forms of worship derived from his d i s t i n c t i v e teachings. As we have seen, the San-tsu hsing chiao yin-yu pao-chuan (Precious Volume of Causal Origins based on the Traces of the Three Patriarchs) recounts a debate between Lo Ch'ing and a group of foreign monks i n which Patriarch Lo articulates principles of congregational r i t u a l called the "Way of Non-Action" (fc ^  fe ). Though unacceptable for substantiating the h i s t o r i c i t y of his leadership, the text i s f a i t h f u l to the method of "non-manipulative" re l i g i o u s c u l t i v a t i o n described i n his writings. In the Wu-pu l i u - t s ' e i t s e l f , there i s a strong implication that Lo was a self-conscious r e l i g i o u s leader. He addresses the 1. Memorials originating i n a l l of these provinces appear in the Shih-liao hsiln-k'an [Historical Records Published Every Ten Days] (Peking: 1930-1931): s p e c i f i c references below. - 145 -"people of the assembly" ( f cfi A ) in terms that suggest the existence of a f u l l y developed sectarian organization. I earnestly entreat you, members of the assembly, to protect yourselves from b i r t h and death... [and] to dedicate yourselves to the Way with determination. (K'u-kung 17:93,94). Lo's s o t e r i o l o g i c a l v i s i o n describes a "union of the Perfected" in the Mother's home, where those destined as "superior persons" are reunited as a family. This state of b l i s s i s perfectly realizable within the mind, and i s open to anyone who w i l l take the teachings of the Wu-pu l i u - t s ' e seriously and put them into practice. We have already remarked upon the didactic tone of Lo Ch'ing's writings, his emphasis on "right b e l i e f " (JE \M ) or the "true Dharma" fe ), his very clear use of his own biography as a moral and religious model, and his confidence i n his "precious scriptures" as a medium for salvation. The s c r o l l s of my five scriptures (2 gfl §^ ) [contain] a marvelous teaching fe ) comprising myriads of myriads of sentences, [but] from [only] two or four sentences [one can] return home (f§ % )• The s c r o l l s of my five scriptures contain myriads of myriads of sentences [by which one can] return home. It i s not d i f f i c u l t to manifest [the Way] and bring [ i t ] to completion. One exerts no e f f o r t ! One spends no time! The worthy man i n just one hearing experiences a great enlightenment within his mind, from which he w i l l never s l i p . [But] to a fo o l i s h man, [though] he may l i s t e n for a myriad of myriad of times, yet to him i t w i l l be l i k e foreign talk. (Chieh-kuo 1:45-46). E x p l i c i t statements l i k e t h i s , and the very form and tone of his writings, suggest the self-understanding of a master addressing his students. Even Lo's choice of genre — repet i t i v e verse interspersed with his own prose explications — i s a variation on the r i t u a l - 146 -instruction books or amplifications of sQtras (£| ) , morality plays, songs, and didactic f i c t i o n popular in his time; a l l were mediums of religious instruction and moral suasion. Despite his self-understanding as a religious teacher, however, Lo sometimes doubts the capacities of his students. In a number of revealing passages -- and the only s e l f - r e f e r e n t i a l statements outside the Autobiography -- Lo appears to c r i t i c i z e his followers d i r e c t l y . Commenting on religious disciples in a pointed, reproving tone, Lo attacks students who f a i l to attach importance to what they have learned ( ^ H j i — more accurately, f a i l to "put store i n " the true meaning of the teaching; literally, f a i l to "apply heavy thought"). There i s a class of fools who do not think about transformations into the four classes of beings and six gati through innumerable great kalpas, and the immeasurable suffering they receive. Nor are they afraid of being transformed after death into the four classes of beings and six gati, and the e v i l paths [as animals, pretas, asuras, and hell-beings] from which they cannot attain conversion. In the presence of their master (ffl |£ ) , they do not attach importance to the meaning [of what they have learned]. Walking the Path, in what they should have and what they should lack, their investigations are few to the east and i n s u f f i c i e n t to the west. They do not attain c l a r i t y for themselves; nor do they attain enlightenment. [Rather], t