Notes on the "Vajrasamādhi"

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Notes on the "Vajrasamādhi"

Citation: Liebenthal, Walter. "Notes on the 'Vajrasamādhi'." T'oung Pao 44, no. 4/5 (1956): 347–86.

Article Summary

Interest in the Vajrasamādhi has been roused by a paper of Lin Tai-yün published in 1932[1]. In the Vajrasamādhi Lin had found a quotation from what is generally supposed to be a Bodhidharma text[2], and thus the problem was set of the relation between these bits of material and the bearing which an investigation into this matter might have on the riddle of Bodhidharma. Suzuki Daisetsu has dealt with this problem in 1936[3], Paul Demiéville in 1952[4] and Dr. Mizuno in I955[5]. I shall in this note confine myself to the text itself.
       The texts in question are:

1. Chin-kang san-mei ching (Vajrasamādhi) T. 273 vol. 9. (Quoted in the following as Samādhi.) It has three commentaries:
      a. The Chin-kang san-mei ching lun, T. 1730 vol. 37 composed by Yüan-hsiao, a Korean, in the second half of the seventh century. This is the only commentary which I have used for this paper in order to correct the original. A very good modern edition has been published by Chou Shu-chia in Peking 1936.
      b. Zokuzōkyō A 55/2-3. Ming.
      c. Zokuzōkyō A 55/3. Ch'ing.
2. Chin-kang shang-wei t'o-lo-ni ching, T. 1344 vol. 21. Transl. Buddhaśānta (?). Yüan Wei.
3. Chin-kang ch'ang t'o-lo-ni ching, T. 1345 vol. 21. Transl. Jinagupta (?) (527-604). A second translation of the preceding. These two texts have no relation to the Samādhi.
4. Chin-kang san-nei pen-hsing ch'ing-ching pu-huai pu-mieh ching, T. 644 vol. 15. A probably genuine text, containing 100 samādhis . . . (Liebenthal, opening remarks, 347–48)

[ . . . ]

      It seems to me established that
      The Samādhi is an agglomeration of several texts, of which we have distinguished:
      1. A frame (Text A), probably derived from a sūtra translated in the fifth century or earlier in the North, perhaps in Liang-chou. This seems to have been a Hīnayāna text.
      2. A text (B), which contains the verses and part of the prose, composed between 565 and 590 by a teacher of the North, Yeh or P'eng-ch'eng. The author might have been Ching-sung.
      It is difficult to say how Text B originally looked. Was it a pamphlet or a collection of gleanings from other texts? Was it written to counteract the propaganda of Hui-ssu?
      In order to further clarify these points I propose for study: (1) a careful investigation of the northern tradition from Bodhiruci and Buddhaśānta on to about 590 A.D., (2) searching the Tun-huang fragments for parts of the original Text B, (3) further search for quotations in the texts studied by the teachers of the Northern Ch'i. (Liebenthal, conclusion, 383–86).

(*Chinese characters in the original text and notes unavailable)

  1. Hayashi Taiun: "Bodaidaruma-den no kenkyū", Shūkyō kenkyū IX.iii, Tokyo, May 1932, pp. 62-76.
  2. (Chinese text unavailable) A number of versions exist. See below.
  3. Daruma no zen-bo to shisō oyobi sono ta, Tokyo 1936 (Suzuki II), a complement to the same author's Shōshitsu isho, Osaka 1935 (Suzuki I).
  4. Le Concile de Lhasa (Bibl. de l'Institut des Hautes Études Chinoises vol. VII), Paris 1952, p. 54 n. 2 (Demiéville).
  5. Mizuno Kōgen: "On the Relation between Bodhidharma's Two Entrances and Four Practices and the Vairasamādhi Sūtra" (Bodaidaruma no ninyū shigyō setsu to Kongōzanmai-kyō, Indogaku Bukkyōgaku kenkyū, III.2, Tokyo, March 1955, pp. 621-626 (Mizuno I). Same: same title, Komazawa daigaku kenkyū kiyō No. I3, Tokyo 1955 (Mizuno II). Cf. also Ono Hōdō: Daijō kaikyō no kenkyū, Tokyo 1954, p. I25/6.