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Buddhadharma : Summer 2009
buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly summer 20 0 9 74 Kapstein writes about a Buddhist temple commemorating an early ninth-century treaty between Tibet, China, and other regional powers in the wake of fractious territorial wars. Here, Tibetans were able to employ Buddhism in bilateral diplomacy and express their peaceful coexistence with China. Rob Linrothe shows how a similar attempt at diplomacy was less successful on the east coast of China in the late thirteenth century. Outside the Chan monastery Lingyinsi, Chinese and Tibetan Buddhist deities were sculpted side by side in visual harmony. However, according to Linrothe, the Chinese criticized the Tibetan-style sculptures and spread fears that Tibetan Buddhism would supersede Confucianism, Daoism, and Chinese Buddhism. In border areas between China and Tibet, the expression of Tibetan Buddhism was often shaped by powerful patrons. Karl Debreczeny discusses the ethnic Naxi rulers of Lijiang (in present-day southwest China), who sponsored a temple that included Chinese Buddhist, Daoist, and Tibetan Buddhist figures. This “seamless incorporation” of various religious and artistic traditions reflected the rulers’ multi-ethnic interests and alliances. As for Chinese imperial support of frontier tem- ples, Elliot Sperling demonstrates that a range of motivations were at work. In one case, the Ming dynasty court wished to receive the esoteric power and authority of Tibetan Buddhism. In other cases, there was a more “mundane concern to secure the frontier” through strategic religious connections. Ordinary Han Chinese have long taken an interest in Tibetan Buddhism, as other essays make clear. Paul Nietupski surmises that the pragmatic worldview of Han Chinese pre- disposed them to the “this-worldly power” of Tibetan rituals. Ethnic Tibetan lamas were given the title “Gyanakpa” (mean- ing “Chinese”) because of their ability to teach Buddhism to Chinese and other non-Tibetans. By the early 1930s, as Car- men Meinert indicates, increased religious freedom and the presence of charismatic Tibetan lamas in ethnic Han areas attracted hundreds of Chinese to Tibetan Buddhism. The trav- els of the Karma Kagyu tulku Gangkar Rinpoche, especially his three-year teaching post in Beijing from 1953 to 1955, spawned an entire generation of Chinese disciples. Chinese students became increasingly engaged in Tibetan Buddhism in the twentieth century. Gray Tuttle draws our attention to ethnic Chinese who translated and compiled Tibetan Buddhist materials into Chinese, demonstrating the great extent to which Chinese laypeople understood and prac- ticed Tibetan Buddhism. Zhihua Yao shows how Chinese Bud- dhists were dissatisfied with their own religious heritage, and viewed Tibetan Buddhism as more authentic and complete. This resulted in translations of missing Yogacara texts from the Tibetan Tripitaka into Chinese, and informed internal cri- tiques of Chinese Buddhist schools and doctrines. The ethnic Han lama Nenghai, Ester Bianchi writes, harmonized Chinese and Tibetan elements in his teachings. For example, through- out his works he replaced the Tibetan expression “mother Reviews Study with Outstanding Leaders Angles Arrien Ram Dass Norman Fischer Charles Garfield Frank Ostaseski Rachel Naomi Remen Ange Stephens Frances Vaughan END-OF-LIFE PRACTITIONER PROGRAM Unique 9-month course offering profes- sional development, spiritual practice and innovative approaches. Six residential sessions. Next course starts January 2010. San Francisco Bay Area. CULTIVATING PRESENCE TRAINING Annual 6-day retreat on compassionate care of the dying. July 31–August 5, 2009. WORKSHOPS & RETREATS Teachings on grief, dying, compassionate care and mindfulness practice. Information and application: www.mettainstitute.org 415 331-9600