Events Zhiyuan’s 智圓 (976–1022) Soteriological Framework in the Xianxinglu 顯性錄: The Systematization of the Heretical Qiantang Tiantai Vision in the Early Song (960–1279)

May 22nd, 2024. 15:30~17:00 JST

NIRC, Room 217

Speakers Patrick Magoffin

A talk by Patrick Magoffin, PhD Candidate, Brown University and Project Researcher Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture
The Tiantai debates of the early Song (960–1279) were a crucial series of events in the tradition’s developmental history. Later referred to as the “Home Mountain-Off Mountain” (or Shanjia-Shanwai 山家山外) controversy, these doctrinal disputes occurred after lost texts were reintroduced from abroad and helped precipitate a period of institutional and intellectual flourishing. In particular, they centered around diverging interpretations of a fundamental ambiguity inherent in the writings of the Tang master Zhanran 湛然 (711–782). One side, according to the mainstream historical narrative, emerged victorious and claimed the orthodoxy, while the other was deemed heretical. 
My presentation will focus on Zhiyuan’s 智圓 (976–1022) systematization of the supposedly heretical Qiantang community’s soteriological vision. Zhiyuan was a key member of the group, and his efforts to develop the Qiantang position in many ways culminated in his Xianxinglu 顯性錄, a sub-commentary on Zhanran’s Jingangpi 金剛錍. I will discuss how in addition to further demonstrating Tiantai was capacious and flexible enough to accommodate tathāgatagarbha (C. rulaizang 如來藏) ideas, Zhiyuan aimed to thoroughly integrate Tiantai doctrinal classification and zhiguan 止觀 meditative praxis into the Qiantang framework. And from a broader perspective, I seek to shed light on the wider early Song embrace of tathāgatagarbha thought and its representative texts, which marked a critical shift towards buddha-nature (C. foxing 佛性) in the history of Chinese Buddhism.