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Author

Wai Lun Tam

Date of Award

4-1996

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Religious Studies

Supervisor

Dr. K. Shinohara

Abstract

This dissertation is a study of a Buddhist monk, Zhiyuan, in the Song dynasty who was generally known as a leader of the Off-mountain (Shanwai) faction of the Tiantai school. The aim of the study is threefold: first, to investigate critically the nature and development of the Home-mountain/ Off-mountain (Shanjia/ Shanwai) debate of the Tiantai school in the Song dynasty; and second, to reconstruct the views of Zhiyuan on some of the issues involved in the Home-mountain/ Off-mountain debate; and third, to examine the life of Zhiyuan and what lies behind his label of a leader of the Off-mountain faction.

This dissertation consists of four chapters. Chapter one challenges the traditional rigid division of the Tiantai school into the Home-mountain and Off-mountain factions and suggests that this division was closely related to the formation of an orthodox lineage of the school among different competing lineages.

Chapter two reconstructs the views of Zhiyuan on various issues involved in the Home-mountain/ Off-mountain debate. Our study shows that many of the issues debated by Zhiyuan and his opponents have to do with a 'mind-only' persuasion which can be traced back to Zhanran's teaching. This provides a more sympathetic understanding of the Off-mountain faction of the Tiantai school.

Chapter three studies the image of Zhiyuan in his different surviving biographies written by both Buddhists and non-Buddhists. The study shows that Zhiyuan was understood by his biographers, not as a leader of the Off-mountain faction, but as a learned monk with remarkable literary skills.

Chapter four examines Zhiyuan's self-portrait as found in his autobiographical essays which reveal other aspects of his life that lie behind his label of being a Off-mountain leader especially his involvement in the literary movement known as the Ancient Style (Guwen) of Writing which is Confucian in orientation, and his struggle with his ill-health.

A translation of Zhiyuan's own prefaces to his ten commentaries on Buddhist canon written for his disciples is also provided at the end of this dissertation which provides a summary of his Buddhist thoughts.

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