『仏性論』に於ける仏性の定義

真諦訳の『仏性論』は言うでもなく漢字圏仏教の経論に於けるかなり有名な書物であるとは言え、あらゆる書籍と同様に批判的に読む必要がある。しかも客観的な視点から批判する義務もある。『仏性論』の基本的な概念は一切衆生には悉く仏性があるということである。こちらで考えなければならぬ問題がある。「仏性」とは如何なるものであろうか。この「仏性」の定義を明らかにするのが本研究の目標である。

まず、「縁起分」に於ける「仏性」の定義を考えたい。「仏性」とは、人法二空によって顕される真如であると定義される。以下のようである。

《佛性論》卷1:「佛性者。即是人法二空所顯真如。」


この文脈から判断して、「一切衆生には悉く仏性がある」という発言を「あらゆる衆生には悉く真如がある」と言い換えることができるのであろう。つまり、真如と仏性は取り換え可能な用語である。人法二空を会得すればするほどその真如が顕れるという。

「破小乗執品」に無仏性説の提唱者を批判して否定するために同様な論理が使用されるが、この場合、仏性は真如ではなく空性であるという。以下のようである。

《佛性論》卷1〈1 破小乘執品〉:「二者不及過失。若汝謂有眾生無佛性者。既無空性。則無無明。若無無明。則無業報。既無業報。眾生豈有。故成不及。而汝謂有眾生無佛性者。是義不然。何以故。汝既不信有無根眾生。那忽信有無性眾生。」


「若汝謂有眾生無仏性者、既無空性」すなわち無仏性の衆生があるとすれば、その衆生には空性がない。こちらで「仏性」と「空性」は同一と主張される。上記の論理を考え合わせると、「仏性」とは「真如」と「空性」と同じものであると言える。このポイントには問題がない。大乗仏教のコンテクストならば、真如が空性であると言っても良い。『仏性論』のこちらに「空性」が無ければ、無明と業報などの十二縁起に於ける因子は不可能になると主張される。したがって、これらの因子が無ければ、衆生が存在する原因もないので、仏性すなわち空性が無いという見解は誤謬である。

空と縁起は同一であるという見解は新たな思想ではない。周知のように龍樹は因果律たる縁起は空であると主張した。以下のようである。

《中論》卷4〈24 觀四諦品〉:「 眾因緣生法、我說即是無3、亦為是假名、亦是中道義」
yaḥ pratītyasamutpādaḥ śūnyatāṁ tāṁ pracakṣmahe|
sā prajñaptirupādāya pratipatsaiva madhyamā||18||


しかし、『仏性論』の場合、空と真如は縁起のみならず仏性でもある。換言すれば、『仏性論』の作家は龍樹の思想を直接的に借用して仏性の概念に結び付く。単に言えば、仏性は真如と縁起と空である。前者を否定すれば、後者も拒否して邪見になる。このような論理によって成仏できぬ衆生があるすなわち無仏性説の提唱者の論拠を否定する。その点で、「仏性」には論争的な意味があると言える。

ところで、仏性が真如であると主張するだけで反論者の見解を否定できるかどうかは疑問である。反論者の視点から見れば、真如は必ずしも仏性というわけではない。有仏性説の論者が定義した「仏性」の意味は単なる論者の見解に過ぎない。

さて、次の巻の「三因品」に進むと、「仏性」の意味が変わる。「仏性体」を法身に成るための原因過程の三種類に分ける。

《佛性論》卷2〈1 三因品〉:「復次佛性體有三種。三性所攝義應知。三種者。所謂三因三種佛性。三因者。一應得因。二加行因。三圓滿因。」


「仏性体」を仏性の真髄と呼んでも良いであろう。こちらで仏性の真髄を三種類の原因に分類する。それらは「応得因」と「加行因」と「円満因」である。既述したように仏性が人法二空によって顕される真如ならば、この真如の体すなわち真如の真髄を三種類の原因に分けるのは拡大解釈である。中観の視点から見て、実際には真如の真髄をこのように解釈するかどうかは疑問であるかもしれない。何故ならば、真如の真髄に達すると同時に言語道断のポイントに到るのではないであろうか。いずれにしてもその疑問を暫く横に置いて本書の仏性の定義に集中しよう。

まず 「応得因」を考えよう。

《佛性論》卷2〈1 三因品〉:「應得因者。二空所現真如。由此空故。應得菩提心。及加行等。乃至道後法身。故稱應得。」


これはもともとの仏性の定義を拡張する。原文の「仏性者即是人法二空所顕真如」を考え合わせると、仏性体は仏性の定義の意味を超越しているのである。真如が何たるかを解明した上で更に結果も説いて仏性に意味を加える。その点で、仏性の一部は「二空所現真如」のみならず「乃至道後法身」でもあると言える。

次に「加行因」を考えよう。

《佛性論》卷2〈1 三因品〉:「加行因者。謂菩提心。由此心故。能得三十七品。十地十波羅蜜。助道之法。乃至道後法身。是名加行因。」


「加行因」とは菩提心を意味する。上記の応得因も空による菩提心を説く。この菩提心に駆られて多数の行を究めて法身に至る。これも「縁起分」に於ける仏性の定義の意味を超えるのである。また、仏性体すなわち仏性の真髄は原因のみならず結果でもある。

次に円満因を考えよう。

《佛性論》卷2〈1 三因品〉:「圓滿因者。即是加行。由加行故。得因圓滿。及果圓滿。因圓滿者。謂福慧行。果圓滿者。謂智斷恩德。」


円満因とは、「加行」すなわち仏法の実践と応用である。この加行により因果の円満を得る。因の円満は福(puṇya)と智慧(prajñā)の行である。果の円満は智徳と断徳と恩徳(tri-guṇa)。また、こちらで原因と結果が特に強調されている。

仏性体は縁起に基づいた因果過程を全体的に包含するものである。一切衆生に悉く仏性があることを考え合わせると、その因果過程の開始はどの生き物にも可能性であると言える。なぜこの過程が可能性であるかというと、仏性は真如もしくは空性すなわち因果律自体だからである。成仏する原因があるならば、成仏する結果もある。仏性体は二空によって顕される仏性・真如による法身への過程の全体だと言わねばならぬ。その点で、一切衆生には悉く仏性があるという概念は、あらゆる物事には実体が無く空であるため、あらゆる生き物は法身への過程の道を歩んで成仏できるという意味である。このような論理は無仏性説を否定するのである。既述したように「仏性」すなわち因果律による成仏の過程の可能性のない衆生が存在すると主張すれば、同時に因果律も拒否して邪見になる。その点で、有仏性の論者は『仏性論』の「仏性」の定義に論争的な意味を加えた。

Tang Dynasty Buddhist Art

The following is a painting from the Tang Dynasty:



Scenes from the Life of the Buddha: the Four Encounters; Old Age and Sickness
佛傳圖斷片:四門出游:老年和疾病
Tang dynasty, 8th or early 9th century A.D.
Whitfield_1982: Vol. 1 Plate 35


If you did not know this was an image of Prince Gautama, you might think it was painting of a Chinese prince. The top half shows the prince leaving the east gate of the city and encountering an elderly person whom he asks about. The lower half shows him exiting the south gate of the city and encountering an ill person whom again he asks about.

This painting is particularly interesting to me because it shows how someone in the Tang Dynasty envisioned the content of the texts that he or she would have been reading. It goes without saying that what they imagined was something a lot closer to home. The prince looks like a Tang prince and both the scenery and characters likewise reflect the time period when the work was painted.

Again in this other painting we see a clearly Chinese depiction of the Indian prince.



Scenes from the Life of the Buddha: the Farewell; the Cutting of the Locks; the Life of Austerities
佛傳圖:離別;剃髮;苦行
Tang dynasty, 8th- early 9th century A.D.
Whitfield_1982: Vol. 1 Plate 38


It is interesting in the middle scene that we can see one Indian looking character distinguished from the others who are dressed in Chinese garb. The artist surely was exposed to statues of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, but interestingly they don't portray all the characters in such a style.

Arhats and Longevity

As of late I have been reading part of Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakośa-bhāṣya in detail utilizing the original Sanskrit as well as the Classical Chinese translations by Paramārtha 真諦 and Xuanzang 玄奘. In addition, I have made great use of Leo M. Pruden's English translation of Louis De La Vallee Poussin's French translation and study of the Abhidharmakośa-bhāṣya. There is also a Classical Tibetan version, but unfortunately I cannot read Tibetan.


In the following section I will outline a process elaborated on in the text under the chapter on indriya which details how an Arhat increases or decreases his or her lifespan. The key thing to note here is the process first requires entry into the fourth dhyāna or meditative absorption which indeed entails that only those already quite advanced in samadhi have this ability. Furthermore, the process is one where a voluntary decline in enjoyment is exchanged for an extension in lifespan and a decline in lifespan is exchanged for an increase of enjoyment. The former is undertaken when an Arhat feels they would be of further benefit to sentient beings or to preserve the Dharma. The latter is undertaken when one sees oneself as being of little benefit to others and desires cessation.


I will provide here the Sanskrit followed by the two Classical Chinese translations penned by Paramārtha and Xuangzang respectively and finally the English translation by Poussin / Pruden.


The first paragraph explains how an Arhat transforms unripen karma, which was originally to become resultant joy, into an extension of his lifespan.



śāstre uktam ——“kathamāyuḥsaṃskārān sthāpayati ? arhan bhikṣuḥ ṛddhimāṃścetovaśitvaṃ prāptaḥ saṅghāya vā pudgalāya vā pātraṃ vā cīvaraṃ vā anyatamānyatamaṃ vā śrāmaṇakaṃ jīvitapariṣkāraṃ vā dattvā tat praṇidhāya prāntakoṭikaṃ caturthaṃ dhyānaṃ samāpadyate|sa tasmāt vyutthāya cittamutpādayati vācaṃ ca bhāṣate ——‘yanme bhogavipākaṃ karma tadāyurvipākaṃ bhavatu ’ iti tasya yad bhogavipākaṃ tadāyurvipākaṃ bhavati| yeṣāṃ punarayamabhiprāyaḥ ——vipākoccheṣa vipacyata iti|



【真】《阿毘達磨俱舍釋論》卷2〈2 分別根品〉:「於阿毘達磨藏中說。云何引命行。令住阿羅漢比丘。有聖如意成通慧。至得心自在位。或於大眾。或於一人。捨施若鉢若袈裟。或隨一沙門命資糧。因此發願。入第四定遠際三摩提觀。從此定起。作如是心。說如是言。凡是我業應熟感。富樂願此業熟生我壽命。是時此阿羅漢業。應感富樂。轉生壽命。」(CBETA, T29, no. 1559, p. 174, c16-22)



【玄】《阿毘達磨俱舍論》卷3〈2 分別根品〉:「云何苾芻留多壽行。謂阿羅漢成就神通得心自在。若於僧眾若於別人以諸命緣衣鉢等物隨分布施。施已發願。即入第四邊際靜慮。從定起已心念口言。諸我能感富異熟業。願皆轉招壽異熟果。時彼能感富異熟業。則皆轉招壽異熟果。」(CBETA, T29, no. 1558, p. 15, b11-16)


The Mūlaśāstra says: “How does a Bhikṣu stabilize the vital energies? An Arhat in possession of supernormal power (ŗddhimān-prāptābhijñāḥ), in possession of mastery of mind, i.e., one who is asamayavimukta, gives, either to the Sangha or to a person, things useful to life, clothing, pots, etc.: after having given these things, he applies this thought to his life; he then enters into the Fourth or prāntakoṭika Dhyāna; coming out of the absorption, he produces the thought and pronounces the words: 'May this action which should produce a retribution-in-joy [bhogavipāka] be transformed and produce a retribution-in-life [āyurvipāka]!' Then the action (the gift and the absorption) which should produce a retribution-in-joy produces a retribution-in-life.”(1)



The term “retribution-in-joy” or bhogavipāka is a combination of the terms bhoga and vipāka. The former is derived from the root verb √bhuj which has a number of meanings not limited to but including to enjoy food or carnal pleasures, to use, to possess and so on. The term bhoga itself can also mean experiencing, feeling or perception of pleasure or pain.(2) Paramārtha translated the term as fùlè 富樂. Xuanzang only uses the character fù 富. The term vipāka is perhaps better known in the expression karmavipāka where karma is volitional action and vipāka is the retribution or result of it. Hence the term bhogavipāka is interpreted as retribution as joy or pleasure. Incidentally, in the Mahāyāna the word sambhogakāya, otherwise known as the “enjoyment body” of the Buddha, also includes the term bhoga.

The other term “retribution-in-life” or āyurvipāka is derived from the terms āyus and vipāka. The word āyus is defined as life, vital power, vigour, health, duration of life or long life.(3) Thus it is clear how āyurvipāka is understood as a retribution or result of life or an extension in one's lifespan. Paramārtha appropriately rendered the term as shòumìng 壽命 and Xuanzang likewise used the character shòu 壽, which is normally rendered into English as longevity.

Having provided the opinion of the Mūlaśāstra, Vasubandhu then presents the opinion of another school.



ta āhuḥ ——“pūrvajātikṛtasya karmaṇo vipākoccheṣam| sa bhāvanābalenākṛṣya pratisaṃvedayate ” iti|


【真】《阿毘達磨俱舍釋論》卷2〈2 分別根品〉:「復有餘師執。殘業果報轉熟。彼說宿生所作業。有殘果報。由修習力。引取受用。」(CBETA, T29, no. 1559, p. 174, c22-24)

【玄】《阿毘達磨俱舍論》卷3〈2 分別根品〉:「復有欲令引取宿業殘異熟果。彼說前生曾所受業有殘異熟。由今所修邊際定力引取受用。」(CBETA, T29, no. 1558, p. 15, b16-19)


According to other masters, the prolonged life of an Arhat is the result of the retribution of a previous action. According to them, there is a remnant of the result of retribution-in-life which should have ripened in a previous life, but which was interrupted by death before its time. And it is the force of the absorption of the Fourth Dhyāna that attracts this remnant and makes this remnant ripen now.



It seems here the alternate opinion is that it is not the willed thought coupled with the fourth dhyāna that enables prolonged life, but simply the dhyāna itself mechanically producing that result. Poussin and Pruden state “Arhat” here, but the term does not appear in the Sanskrit or Chinese. It is perhaps that the implied reference is to an Arhat. Nevertheless, one problem that arises from such argument is that it would mean anyone, or perhaps more specifically any Arhat, attaining the fourth dhyāna or deepest of meditative absorptions, would, whether willingly or unwillingly, prolong their lifespan as a rather mechanical resultant process. The Mūlaśāstra actually is more reasonable as it specifically states the Arhat must attain the fourth dhyāna and then will the transformation of vipāka for the desired result to occur.


Vasubandhu then continues his quotation of the Mūlaśāstra.



kathamāyuḥsaṃskārānutsṛjati ? tathaiva dānaṃ dattvā praṇidhāya prāntakoṭikaṃ caturthaṃ dhyānaṃ samāpadyate ——‘yanme āyurvipākaṃ tad bhogavipākaṃ bhavatu ’ iti|tasya tathā bhavati|


【真】《阿毘達磨俱舍釋論》卷2〈2 分別根品〉:「云何棄捨命行。如此捨施發願。入第四定遠際三摩提觀。從此定起。作如是心。說如是言。凡是我業應熟感壽命。願此業熟生我富樂。如彼欲樂。如此轉熟。」(CBETA, T29, no. 1559, p. 174, c24-28)



【玄】《阿毘達磨俱舍論》卷3〈2 分別根品〉:「云何苾芻捨多壽行。謂阿羅漢成就神通得心自在。於僧眾等如前布施。施已發願。即入第四邊際靜慮。從定起已心念口言。諸我能感壽異熟業。願皆轉招富異熟果。時彼能感壽異熟業。則皆轉招富異熟果。」(CBETA, T29, no. 1558, p. 15, b19-23)


[The Mūlaśāstra continues] “How does a Bhikṣu cast off the vital energies? An Arhat in possession of supernormal powers ... enters into the Fourth Dhyāna ... ; coming out of this absorption, he produces the thought and pronounces these words: 'May the actions that should produce a retribution-in-life be transformed and produce a retribution-in-joy!' Then the action that should produce a retribution-in-life produces a retribution-in-joy.”



The term here “vital energies” is āyuḥsaṃskāra. The word saṃskāra itself is usually translated as karmic formation and is the fourth of the five skandhas or aggregates (the others being form, sensations, perceptions and consciousnesses) which conventionally make up a person. The term āyuḥsaṃskāra, like āyurvipāka, contains the word āyus which as stated above means life or longevity. Hence the term means the karmic formation of longevity, or as Poussin has translated “vital energies”.


Just as outlined above but here abbreviated, the Arhat commits a chartiable act and upon returning from a the fourth dhyāna, wills in his mind and verbally announces that whatever previous actions that would produce an extension in his life (āyurvipāka) be transformed and produce additional joy (bhogavipāka). Essentially what this entails is a sacrifice of longevity in exchange for additional enjoyment. However, this does not mean the Arhat is addicted to sensory pleasures and would rather have those than live longer. This is merely a mechanical process whereby one's life is shortened by willingly transforming and diverting one's unripe karma from longevity into enjoyment.


From here the question arises how this process works. Vasubandhu presents two opinions on the matter.



bhadantaghoṣakastvāha——“tasminneva āśraye rūpāvacarāṇi mahābhūtāni dhyānabalena sammukhīkarotyāyuṣo ’nukūlāni vairodhikāni ca|evamāyuḥsaṃskārān sthāpayati, evamutsṛjati ”iti|


【真】《阿毘達磨俱舍釋論》卷2〈2 分別根品〉:「大德瞿沙說。於自依止中。由定力。引色界四大令現前。能隨順壽命。或相違四大。由如此方便。引命行令住。及以棄捨。」(CBETA, T29, no. 1559, p. 174, c28-p. 175, a1)


【玄】《阿毘達磨俱舍論》卷3〈2 分別根品〉:「尊者妙音作如是說。彼起第四邊際定力引色界大種令身中現前。而彼大種或順壽行或違壽行。由此因緣或留壽行或捨壽行。」(CBETA, T29, no. 1558, p. 15, b23-27)


The Bhadantaghoṣaka said: By the force of the prāntakoṭika Dhyāna that this Arhat has produced, the primary elements of Rūpadhātu are attracted and introduced into his body. These primary elements are favorable to, or contrary to, the vital energies [āyuḥsaṃskāra]. It is in this manner that the Arhat prolongs or casts off his life.




The opinion of the Sauntrāntika is then presented:



evaṃ tu bhavitavyam——samādhiprabhāva eva sa teṣāṃ tādṛśo yena pūrvakarmajaṃ sthitikālāvedhamindriyamahābhūtānāṃ vyāvarttayanti, apūrvaṃ ca samādhijamāvedhamākṣipanti|tasmānna tajjīvitendriyaṃ vipākam, tato ’nyat tu vipākaḥ|


《阿毘達磨俱舍釋論》卷2〈2 分別根品〉:「應如此成。諸阿羅漢。有如此定自在力。由此力宿業所生。諸根四大。引住時量。皆悉迴轉。先未曾有三摩提引住時量。今則引接。是故如此壽命非果報。異此名果報。」(CBETA, T29, no. 1559, p. 175, a2-5)


《阿毘達磨俱舍論》卷3〈2 分別根品〉:「應如是說。彼阿羅漢由此自在三摩地力轉去曾得宿業所生諸根大種住時勢分。引取未曾定力所起諸根大種住時勢分。故此命根非是異熟。所餘一切皆是異熟。」(CBETA, T29, no. 1558, p. 15, b27-c1)


Along with the Sauntrāntikas, we say that the Arhats, through their mastery in absorption, cause the projection of the constitutive primary elements of the organs for a certain period of duration, a projection due to previous actions, to cease; inversely, they produce a new projection, born of absorption. Thus the vital organ, in the case of the prolonged life of an Arhat, is not retribution. But in other cases, it is retribution.




Finally, it begs to ask why would an Arhat shorten or extend their lifespan?



Kimarthamāyuḥsaṃskārānadhitiṣṭhanti? parahitārtham, śāsanasthityarthaṃ ca|te hyātmanaḥ kṣīṇamāyuḥ paśyanti, na ca tatrānyaṃ śaktaṃ paśyanti| atha kimarthamutsṛjanti? alpaṃ ca parahitaṃ jīvite paśyanti rogādibhūtaṃ cātmabhavam|


【真】《阿毘達磨俱舍釋論》卷2〈2 分別根品〉:「阿羅漢人。何因發願引命行令住。或為利益他。或為令正法久住。是諸阿羅漢。已見自身壽命將盡。於此二中不見他有此能復以何因棄捨壽命。於有命時。見利益他事少。自身疾苦所逼如偈言。修梵行已竟 聖道已善修 由捨命歡喜 如人病得差」(CBETA, T29, no. 1559, p. 175, a6-12)


【玄】《阿毘達磨俱舍論》卷3〈2 分別根品〉:「彼阿羅漢有何因緣留多壽行。謂為利益安樂他故。或為聖教久住世故。觀知自身壽行將盡。觀他無此二種堪能。復何因緣捨多壽行。彼阿羅漢自觀住世於他利益安樂事少。或為病等苦逼自身。如有頌言。梵行妙成立 聖道已善修 壽盡時歡喜 猶如捨眾病」(CBETA, T29, no. 1558, p. 15, c2-9)


Why does the Arhat prolong his vital energies? For two reasons: with a view to the good of others, and with a view to the longer duration of the Dharma. He sees that his life is going to end; he sees that others are incapable of assuring these two ends. Why does the Arhat cast off his vital energies? For two reasons: he sees that his dwelling in the world has only a small utility for the good of others, and so sees himself tormented by sickness, etc. As the stanza says: “If the religious life has been well practiced, and the Way well cultivated, at the end of his life, he is happy, as at the disappearance of sickness.”



We should be mindful that the Abhidharmakośa-bhāṣya is a Śrāvakayāna and not Mahāyāna text. That being said, this particular section in a sense helps to explain the causal process behind mantras. In the aforementioned case, the Arhat, with fine and well developed mental stamina, summons a thought directed towards a certain effect and verbally states it. Likewise with a mantra one cultivates single pointed concentration, summons a thought directed towards a certain effect and verbally recites a short verse which represents it. The process seems to be identical. One thing to be stressed here is the emphasis placed on mental stamina or fitness. In the case of the Arhat, he must have mastery of the fourth dhyāna to successfully manipulate his lifespan. Likewise, it is my understanding of mantras that concentration of the practitioner affects their efficacy. Again, both processes work on the same principle.


I imagine some readers might ask what bearing all this has in reality. What is the practical aspect of all this? I suppose the only appropriate answer is that one must attain mastery of the fourth dhyāna and only then is one in an actual position to verify the worth of such claims. Failing that, deferring to the testimony of a valid authority is possible, but will probably be unsatisfactory to most. We must keep in mind that this is not science, but by definition religion. The only way to verify whether it is really possible to extend or shorten one's lifespan through meditative absorption and willed thought is by attaining the state of an Arhat. In simpler terms we might see some hint of validity in such claims when we consider how the mental state of an individual can affect quite visibly their ageing process. Those who are weary and full of stress quickly turn grey and rapidly suffer the degeneration of mind and body. In contrast we see that those individuals who are calm, without stress and maintain good mental hygiene age slower and on the surface appear healthier. In any case, the effects of long and hard meditation are slowly being documented in the scientific community. If you are interested in the seemingly supernormal effects of meditation, I recommend the following article in the Harvard Gazette which outlines the documented effects of Tum Mo meditation (04.08.2002):


Meditation changes temperatures: Mind controls body in extreme experiments

By William J. Cromie




Foot Notes:


1Abhidharma-kośa-bhāṣya. Trans. Louis De La Vallee Poussin. English trans. Leo M. Pruden. Berkeley: Asian Humanities Press, 1991. See v. 1, p. 165.

2See Monier-Williams p.767.

3Ibid., p. 149.

Working with primary sources.

Some months ago I was introduced to working with original handwritten manuscripts as primary sources. Needless to say despite having some skill in reading Classical Chinese, when it comes to reading the handwriting of anonymous scribes from the Tang Dynasty, I lack self-confidence. Nevertheless, it is quite a fascinating pursuit that brings the scholar to an almost intimate relationship with their work. We are no longer dealing with neat yet faceless typeset editions of texts, but the original texts written out by hand. The handwriting of an individual can reveal their age and social circumstances. Some texts are obviously copied out by adolescents while others display fine calligraphy which probably reflects a well educated scribe.

Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about. Below is part of a Dunhuang manuscript with digital version below:

Photobucket

如是我聞。一時佛在室羅筏城祇桓精舍。與大比丘眾千二百五十人俱。皆是無漏大阿羅漢。佛子住持善超諸有。能於國土成就威儀。從佛轉輪妙堪遺囑。嚴淨毘尼弘範三界。應身無量度脫眾生。拔濟未來越諸塵累。其名曰大智舍利弗。摩訶目乾連。摩訶拘絺羅。富樓那彌多羅尼子。須菩提。優波尼沙陀等而為上首。復有無量辟支無學并其初心。同來佛所。屬諸比丘休夏自恣。十方菩薩諮決心疑。欽奉慈嚴將求密義。即時如來敷座宴安。為諸會中宣示深奧。法筵清眾得未曾有。迦陵仙音遍十方界。恒沙菩薩來聚道場。文殊師利而為上首。

Indeed reading the original can be difficult. One problem I've encountered is that scribes in medieval China were free to use many variants of common characters. At times their messy handwriting amplifies the problem several fold making characters quite unreadable. I often find myself wondering if their peers could really read all their writing or not. In any case when I look at the original manuscripts it feels less like a faceless study of texts and the human side of the text appears in the handwriting, mistakes and various brush marks.

I invite you to visit the International Dunhuang Project which has a searchable database of digitized texts including manuscripts in Chinese, Tibetan, Sanskrit and other languages.

http://idp.bl.uk/

Buddhism and the Tale of Genji 源氏物語

Considering the culture and times that Murasaki Shikibu lived in, one might ask to what degree did Buddhist thought influence her writing of fiction? Kato makes the following claim: “Buddhism provides the philosophical background to The Tale of Genji”.(1) This is by no means axiomatic and the modern reader might be initially perplexed when they consider the myriad interpretations and literary dissections the tale has been subjected to over the course of ten centuries by numerous schools of thought. Akiyama notes that at the end of the Heian period there were various interpretations of the Genji from a Buddhist perspective, but from the end of the Kamakura period a Confucian view was propagated which ultimately was to be dismissed along with the Buddhist view by Kokugaku scholars such as Moto’ori Norinaga in the Edo period who focused on mono no aware as a kind of literary and moral value liberated from both Confucian and Buddhist models.(2)

This reveals to us that the Genji was by no means universally interpreted in the same light, much less did everyone ever agree that it was based on Buddhist philosophy. Some Buddhists even rejected the tale. Hence, for someone to outright declare that the work is based on Buddhist philosophy requires not only justification, but also evidence to make such an argument. Upon examination of such evidence the truth of the original claim will be validated, but before that one should examine the alternative views which challenge the claim. I assert that Kato’s claim is accurate and that a Buddhist reading of the Genji is not only suitable, but that Murasaki Shikibu wrote it from a Buddhist perspective.

There were indeed readings that did not see the tale in a Buddhist light. Some Neo-Confucians for example saw the tale as something entirely else. Kumazawa Banzan (1619-1691), a neo-Confucian scholar, in his work Genji Gaiden (ca. 1673) painted the tale as a kind of storehouse of Confucian virtue not unlike the classical Chinese texts which idealized and glorified China’s ancient past. He objected to annotation which touched on immoral acts found within the tale seeing these as deviations from what he perceived to be Murasaki Shikibu’s original intention. Caddeau notes it “provides us with a clear picture of Banzan’s understanding of Confucianism at the time,” but justifiably describes it as “a highly subjective view of Genji.”(3) Banzan’s work does in a sense reflect the Confucian elements, scarce as they are that are present within the text. Kato does indeed acknowledge the Confucian elements. He notes, “Naturally, the influence of Confucian morality can also be detected but it is by no means as noticeable as in the case of the Tale of Ochikubo and very sparse indeed compared with The Tale of the Hollow Tree.”(4) While the Confucian elements are there, it would hardly warrant declaring the tale a storehouse of Confucian virtue and thus Caddeau’s assertion of it being a highly subjective view is most appropriate. If one merely acknowledges the scarcity of Confucian ideas and elements within the Tale of Genji, it is clear that any attempt to label it as a source or representation of Confucianism is really untenable and just simple idealization. If anything, the tale is a depository of thoughts and ideas on Buddhist ideas that survive in the form of fiction. This will be discussed later.

As noted above it was not only Confucians who saw the Genji in a different light, but also the Kokugaku scholars of which Moto’ori Norinaga was most notable as he insisted that the Genji not be read as any kind of moral parable, but rather to be read as mono no aware or a kind of “native aesthetic that transcends the notion of good and evil” and going so far as to dismiss Confucian and Buddhist readings as foreign values.(5) This brings into question how he is able to make such a claim when such an enormous amount of Buddhist ideas and practices are described throughout the tale. Shirane notes that

“his extreme reaction to ‘foreign’ elements led him to distort the text, particularly those sections with Buddhistic overtones. Norinaga ignores critical passages – such as the one in which Genji reacts to the birth of Kaoru – where characters reflect on their sukuse, or Buddhistic sense of fate.”(6)


Norinaga’s dismissal of Buddhist readings leads one to conclude his analysis was a bit too distorted to really be taken seriously. His reading might be useful in understanding how certain members of Edo Period Japan viewed the tale, but he ignores too much obvious proof that would refute his dismissal of Buddhist readings of the tale and thus one can conclude he was reading too much into the tale for his own purposes.

After examining some claims and ideas of Confucianists and Kokugaku scholars regarding the tale we are left with one last major school of thought: the Buddhists. At this point the potential validity of Kato’s claim should start to become evident. How could one really know if Murasaki Shikibu was writing the tale from a Buddhist perspective or not? Is there ample evidence to suggest that the Tale of Genji was based on Buddhist philosophy?

Before we proceed into the details of Buddhist elements within the text we should address the fact that not all Buddhists viewed the tale in a positive light and many viewed it as a worthless piece of fiction that earned Murasaki Shikibu as place in the hell realms for writing such a work which then sparked Genji Kuyō (源氏供養) or popular prayers for the salvation of Murasaki Shikibu.(7) It is clear that some Buddhists initially saw the tale in a very negative light. The readership initially was primarily women and not men, and given the length of the entire work it makes one wonder: did those who wrote the tale off as a sinful piece of literature, which were men and not women, actually read all the chapters, or did they merely hear about the amorous elements women readers were enjoying at the time and instantly declare such a work as evil? Regardless of the assertions claiming Murasaki Shikibu fell into the hell realms for composing a work with somewhat amorous elements, it is clear that while the tale itself is far from being a Buddhist narrative or hōbensetsu (方便説) there is an enormous Buddhist influence on the Tale of Genji on the whole which likely reflects the author’s own spiritual inclinations. This will now be demonstrated.

Shirane asserts that Murasaki Shikibu did not attempt to demonstrate the Four Noble Truths (四諦).(8) This point is debateable. For example, according to orthodox Buddhist thought the first noble truth (苦諦) is that conditioned existence, that is to say imperfect habitual existence arising from ignorance, is suffering and that there are three types of suffering(三苦) which include the suffering of suffering (苦苦), suffering of change (壊苦) and all pervasive suffering (行苦). (9) Genji’s life especially typifies the second. For example, Genji suffers the loss of his mother, but eventually obtains the object of his desire through Fujitsubō only to be temporarily satisfied until the desired object is made unavailable. Dissatisfied and suffering, he seeks a new substitute which becomes Murasaki.

Later, Genji rises from exile in Suma to be one of the most powerful men in the capital owning the massive Rokujō-in and complimented by a harem of beautiful noblewomen. However, his cherished Murasaki falls ill and eventually when that which was the object of sensual and psychological pleasures ceases to exist Genji suffers immensely. In The Wizard chapter Genji is portrayed as utterly lost and constantly reflecting on his lost beloved who once brought him great joy and happiness. His attachment to impermanent objects has given rise to his long depression that lasts past the first annual memorial following Murasaki’s death. Indeed, this clearly illustrates the suffering of change and perhaps Murasaki Shikibu had this in mind. At the very least one has enough evidence to make the case that these events reflect, whether intentional or not, Buddhist ideas and that considering the author’s background and education it may have been no coincidence.

Another point worth mentioning is the numerous references and allusions to rebirth that one finds within the tale. It is on the first page of the first chapter we have reference to past lives: “It may have been because of a bond in a former life that she bore the emperor a beautiful son, a jewel beyond compare.”(10) This is especially striking as it illustrates the Buddhist ideas present within the text are not subtle, but superficially apparent from the very beginning of the text. If Murasaki Shikibu did write the chapters in sequence chronologically then it would be relevant to point out that in the earliest parts of the tale she is making references to past lives or reincarnation, which is most certainly a Buddhist belief and not an indigenous one.

Although a number of Buddhas make appearances throughout the tale, the most common is Amida (阿弥陀) with twelve examples in total, which may as Sasakawa asserts be a result of the rising prominence of Pureland beliefs in this period which correspond to various popular works such as Nihon Ōjō Kyokuraku Ki (日本往生極楽記) and Genshin’s Ōjōyōshū (往生要集).(11) We also see twenty examples of the nenbutsu (念仏) being practiced throughout the tale.(12) This definitely indicates that both faith in Amida and the practice of nenbutsu was at the very least on the mind of Murasaki Shikibu. It might be inappropriate to declare the author to have been a devout practitioner of Pureland Buddhism, striking though the religious elements become as the tale progresses, but at the very least we need to recognize that from the earliest chapters up until the very end of the tale – this likely spanning a good part of the author’s adult life – we see plenty of examples of characters expressing their faith in salvation through Amida and practicing the nenbutsu not only for themselves, but also for their departed loved ones.

From the mid-Heian period onward the trend was from Mikkyō to Pureland teachings.(13) There exists references within the tale to both esoteric Tendai and Shingon practices. For example, there are two references in total to Vairocana or Dainichi (毘盧遮那・大日如来) compared to the twenty two references to Amida, which according to Sasakawa may indicate the decay of the esoteric and the rise of Pureland teachings.(14) One other possible explanation is simply that Murasaki Shikibu did not have ready access to esoteric teachings because it was almost exclusively the realm of ordained male monastics and that Pureland teachings were simply more accessible. Nevertheless, throughout the tale various characters practice kaji (加持) to cure their ailments (除病) a total of twenty five times.(15) This perhaps indicates just how popular such a practice was in Murasaki Shikibu’s time and perhaps even says something about her own personal inclinations toward such a practice. What is kaji? Yamasaki defines it as such: “When the three secrects (body, speech and mind) of the esoteric practitioner unite with the Universal Three Secrets, both are said to be energized in a process, called mutual empowerment (kaji), that makes their union real.”(16) Essentially this is a merging of an individual practitioner with the dharmakaya which is personified by Dainichi Nyorai. One might suggest that Murasaki Shikibu saw this practice as having curative efficacy and as a result we see this practice mentioned twenty five times. Again, the certain and abundant Buddhist influence is clear.

Besides Amida and Vairocana, there are three other prominent Buddhist figures that appear in the tale. The first of which is the Bodhisattva Maitreya (弥勒菩薩), who is said to be the future Buddha who will descend from Tuṣita Heaven (兜率天) 5,670,000,000 years after Buddha Shakyamuni’s death.(17) There is reference made to him in a devotional prayer that young Genji overhears at dawn from a devotee beyond the estate’s wall:

"Dawn approached. No cocks were crowing. There was only the voice of an old man making deep obeisance to a Buddha, in preparation, it would seem, for a pilgrimage to Mitake. He seemed to be prostrating himself repeatedly and with much difficulty. All very sad. In a life itself like the morning dew, what could he desire so earnestly?"

"Praise to the Messiah to come," intoned the voice.

"Listen," said Genji. "He is thinking of another world." (18)


Later on in the chapter following Yūgao’s funeral, Koremitsu makes supplication to Kannon of Kiyomizu (清水の観音):

"Koremitsu was in a panic. He should not have permitted this expedition, however strong Genji's wishes. Dipping his hands in the river, he turned and made supplication to Kiyomizu. Genji somehow pulled himself together. Silently invoking the holy name, he was seen back to Nijo."(19)


We should note here that Seidensticker translates Kannon (観音) as “the holy name”. The original line in Japanese being: “いと心あわたゝしければ、川の水に手を洗ひて、清水の観音を念じ.”(20) We can see in the original that the Bodhisattva Kannon is mentioned by name rather than pseudonym.

Finally, the Medicine Buddha practice is also referred to in the “New Herbs” chapter (薬師仏供養), which Sasakawa notes as a significant practice aimed at worldly benefits that was quite strong alongside faith in Kannon in Murasaki Shikibu’s time.(21)

At this point we should again review the dichotomy Katō draws concerning Buddhist practices in the tale:

"There are two aspects of the role played by Buddhism – a this-wordly expectation of magical efficacy of Buddhist ceremonies and a desire for salvation in the next work. The first of these stems from traditional, conventionalized and institutionalized practices from earlier court society, the second from the influence of Pure Land Buddhism."(22)


The first aspect as noted above would certainly reflect the Medicine Buddha practice as we see in the New Herbs and elsewhere – in particular the esoteric rituals described above that were thought to be able to cure ailments. On the reverse, the other-worldly aspects would best be represented by the numerous examples of nenbutsu and faith in Amida, which were generally aimed at securing good fortune post-mortem either for oneself or for a departed loved one, or ideally to be reborn in the Pureland.

We might suggest, almost like Kumazawa Banzan, that the tale is a storehouse of Buddhist ideas and practices from the Heian period. Indeed the tale may be fiction, but it does reflect the common ideas, practices and views of the time. The Heian period aristocracy was generally quite familiar with and a certain segment evidently was quite devoted to Buddhism of one form or another. It was essentially a part of everyday life. The reader is able through Murasaki Shikibu’s work to gain an idea of how Buddhism was perceived and practiced by the upper echelons of Heian society. This is not to say that the Tale of Genji is a hōbensetsu (方便説) or Buddhist parable written by a manifest Bodhisattva – but rather the tale is so heavily drenched in Buddhist ideas and imagery as to make it justified, if not appropriate, to assert as Katō does that the tale is based on Buddhist philosophy. The evidence is overwhelming enough to bring into serious question alternative claims like those of the Neo-Confucianists and especially the later Kokugaku scholars.

Notes

1 Shuichi Kato, A History of Japanese Literature From the Man’Yōshū to Modern Times,

Translated by Don Sanderson (Surrey: Japan Library, 1997), 74.

2 Ken Akiyama 秋山虔, “Genjimonogatari no Sekai 源氏物語の世界,” in Nihon Bungaku Shinshi Kodai II 日本文学新史〈古代Ⅱ〉, ed. Kazuo Suzuki (Tōkyō: Shibundō 至文堂, 1990), 182-183.

3 Patrick Caddeau, Appraising Genji: literary criticism and cultural anxiety in the age of the last samurai (Albany, NY: State University of NewYork Press, 2006), 22.

4 Shuichi Kato, A History of Japanese Literature From the Man’Yōshū to Modern Times,

Translated by Don Sanderson (Surrey: Japan Library, 1997), 74.

5 Haruo Shirane, The Bridge of Dreams A Poetics of ‘The Tale of Genji’ (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1987), 175.

6 Ibid., 177.

7 Haruo Shirane, “The Tale of Genji and the Dynamics of Cultural Production.” In Envisioning the Tale of Genji: media, gender, and cultural production, ed. Haruo Shirane (New York: Columbia University Press: 2008), 18.

8 Haruo Shirane, The Bridge of Dreams A Poetics of ‘The Tale of Genji’ (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1987), 178.

9 佛學小辭典, 陳義孝居士編 (台北市: 方廣文化, 1999) 118.

10 Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji, trans. Edward G. Seidensticker (New York: Alfred A. Knope, 1976), 3-4.

11 Hiroshi Sasakawa 笹川博司. “Bukkyō no Shisō 仏教思想.” In Kōza Genji Monogatari Kenkyū Dainiken Genjimonogatari to Sono Jidai 講座源氏物語研究第二巻 源氏物語とその時代, ed. Ī Haruki伊井春樹 and Kanō Shigefumi加納重文 (Tōkyō: Ōfū おうふう, 2006), 144

12 Ibid., 146-147.

13 Ibid., 143.

14 Ibid., 151.

15 Ibid., 155.

16 Taikō Yamasaki, Shingon Japanese Esoteric Buddhism, trans. Richard and Cynthia Peterson (Boston: Shambala, 1988), 70.

17 Hiroshi Sasakawa 笹川博司. “Bukkyō no Shisō 仏教思想.” In Kōza Genji Monogatari Kenkyū Dainiken Genjimonogatari to Sono Jidai 講座源氏物語研究第二巻 源氏物語とその時代, ed. Ī Haruki伊井春樹 and Kanō Shigefumi加納重文 (Tōkyō: Ōfū おうふう, 2006), 160.

18 Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji, trans. Edward G. Seidensticker (New York: Alfred A. Knope, 1976), 68.

19 Ibid., 77.

20 Quoted in Hiroshi Sasakawa 笹川博司. “Bukkyō no Shisō 仏教思想.” In Kōza Genji Monogatari Kenkyū Dainiken Genjimonogatari to Sono Jidai 講座源氏物語研究第二巻 源氏物語とその時代, ed. Ī Haruki伊井春樹 and Kanō Shigefumi加納重文 (Tōkyō: Ōfū おうふう, 2006), 161.

21 Ibid., 164.

22 Shuichi Kato, A History of Japanese Literature From the Man’Yōshū to Modern Times,
Translated by Don Sanderson (Surrey: Japan Library, 1997), 75

Daoxuan's division of edifying and practical teachings.

Daoxuan 道宣 (596-667) is hailed as a great vinaya master of the Tang Dynasty. He wrote an extensive commentary on the vinaya that consolidated various interpretations as well as accommodating Śrāvaka precepts in an entirely Bodhisattva-based system of ethics. He made a distinction between edifying teachings and practical teachings. The former concern the internal mind, the later two concern body and speech or external activities. He was quite firm in his teaching that discipline is indeed the foundation of Buddhist practise.


謂內心違順、託理為宗、則準化教。外用施為、必護身口、便依行教。然犯化教者、但受業道一報。違行教者、重增聖制之罪。
It said that internally the mind has adversity and favourable circumstances -- relying on the princple as the model one then learns the edifying teaching. Externally actions are undertaken – one must guard the body and speech and so then one depends on the practical teaching. Thus, one who violates the edifying teachings only receives a single retribution on the path of karma. The one who violates the practical teachings doubly increases the crime of [violating] the sacred discipline.

『祖堂集』の汾州和尚の伝記

『祖堂集』の汾州和尚の伝記

『祖堂集』に記される記述が当時の僧侶達の生涯をそのまま反映しているかどう
かは不明だが、そこに描かれた禅僧達の様々なイメージは当時の状況を反映している
のではないかと考えられる。『祖堂集』には、多くの古代の宗教歴史書と同様に、あ
たかもフィクションのような奇跡と非現実的な話がたくさんあるため、完全に客観的
な歴史的史実の記録ではないことが知られいる。とはいえ、唐代に実際に生きた僧侶
と当時の出来事を記したものであり、ある程度は禅僧達の思想と生涯を知ることがで
きると言えよう。したがって、『祖堂集』は当時の禅宗の傑僧の生涯だけではなく唐
代の仏教のおかれた環境も記す書であり、分析研究する価値があると言える。
このエッセーでは汾州(760-821)の伝記とその背景に焦点をあてる。しかし、

『祖堂集』の汾州の伝記を考察する前に当時の状況を考えてみたい。まず、汾州の生
きた時代と彼の関係を紹介する必要がある。汾州は伝記が以下に示すように、821年
の穆宗の即位の頃にこの世を去ったが、長慶三(823年)になるまで火葬されなかっ
た。以下のようである。

「至穆宗即位、重降旨、使曰:「此度聖恩不並常時。」師笑
云:「貧道有何徳、累煩聖主?行則行矣、道途恐殊。」乃作
行次、剃髪沐浴、至中夜、告徒弟等云:「汝等見聞覺知之性
与虚空同壽 、猶如金剛、不可破壞。一切諸法如影如響、無
有實者。是故經云:『唯此一事實、餘二則非真。』」言已跏
趺、奄然而化。長慶1三年癸丑歳十二月二十一日茶毗、塔于城
西。」2

821年に亡くなった彼がなぜ、823年に火葬されたかに関しては、この二年間で
の塔の建設が理由であったのであろう。彼のために塔が築かれたことは高僧の名誉の
反映であった。そして塔の建設と共に穆宗の即位式への招待も汾州と皇族との絆の証
拠である。

ところで、ここに記述された「汝等見聞覺知之性与虚空同壽 、猶如金剛、不可
破壞。一切諸法如影如響、無有實者」とは、以下の文章が示すように、 『正法眼
藏』にもあるが、そこでは末期の言葉ではなく、ただ弟子慧愔に話したものであった。
『正法眼蔵』には以下のようにある。

「無業國師謂弟子慧愔等曰。汝等見聞覺知之性。與太虗同壽。
不生不滅。一切境界本自空寂。無一法可得。迷者不了即為境
惑。一為境惑流轉無窮。汝等當知心性本自有之。非因造作。
猶如金剛不可破壞。一切諸法如影如響。無有實者。」3

これが末期の言葉なのか、それともただの平時の説法中の名言であったのかど
うかは不明である。

さて、上記の文章が示すように汾州は病気のため穆宗の即位式への招待を拒否
したが、以下の『旧唐書』に記された穆宗の下で僧侶の死刑の事件を考えると、汾州
の勇敢な性格が見られるのではないかと考えられる。

「僧大通醫方不精,藥術皆妄。既延禍釁,俱是姦邪。邦國固
有常刑,人神所宜共棄,付京兆府決杖處死。」4

つまり医術の能力のない大通という僧侶は皇帝を怒らせたため、杖で打ち殺さ
れた。この死刑は穆宗が即位した一年間以内に実行されたとされる。ここには、当時
の皇帝の怒りと無慈悲さが例証されている。当時、僧侶が皇帝の招待を拒否すること、
いわんや命令を嘲笑することは言うでもなく非常に危険であった。『祖堂集』による
と、汾州が招待を拒否した後に示寂したと言われるが、大通と同じような運命を迎え
る危険性があっても気にしなかったのは、恐れを知らない典型的な禅師の画像を描く
のである。他の経典にも『祖堂集』と同様に汾州が穆宗のみならず先帝の憲宗皇帝の
命令を拒否する逸話が含まれている。

「無業。住汾州。唐憲宗屢遣使徵召。皆辭疾不赴。暨穆宗即
位。思一瞻禮。長慶二年。命兩街僧錄靈阜。齎詔迎業赴闕。
阜至。宣詔畢。作禮而言曰。皇上此度恩旨不同。願師起赴。
無以他詞固却也。」5

仏典には上記の話の複数のバージョンが入っているので、実際に皇帝の招待を
拒否した可能性もおおいにあろう。また聖人伝には、編纂の過程でフィクションが入
りがちであるから、内容を分析する際には、必ず懐疑的な態度をとらなければならな
い。本章の場合、塔の建設を考え合わせると、逸話の複数のバージョンが現存してい
るので、実際の出来事であったと言ってよいであろう。残念ながら彼は国師という立
場の高僧であったのにも関わらず、『旧唐書』や『新唐書』といった政府の歴史書に
は、「汾州」という州名が出ても、汾州の人名がない。6もし今後、当代の政府が記し
た歴史書に汾州和尚の名が発見されれば、上記の出来事の存在を明確に証明できるで
あろう。今後の発見を期したい。

汾州の思想を調べるためには、しばらく『祖堂集』以外の経典に頼る必要があ
るが、汾州の背景を説明するために、まず『祖堂集』に記された彼の教育とその影響
を考察したい。

『祖堂集』によると、汾州の誕生譚として、「誕生之夕、異光滿室」7と記され
る。そのような奇跡的な誕生は聖人伝によく見られる特徴である。教育に関しては、
「九歲啟父母、依商州開元寺志本禪師。禪師授以金剛、法華、
維摩、涅槃等經、一覧無遺。」8

すなわち汾州は九歳の頃に父母の許可を受け、開元寺の志本禅師の弟子になり、
いくつかのお経を一読しても何も忘れなかった天才であったと言われる。彼の得度の
話は以下の通りである。

「年十二剃落。具足戒於襄州幽律師、稟四分律疏、一夏肄習、
便能敷演;長講花嚴、涅槃等經。」9

12歳の頃に襄州10の幽律師の下で落髪し、四分律疏を受けた上で、夏に四分律
の勉強をし、よく説明できるようになった。また、このような才能が真実であったか
どうかはさて置き、少なくとも汾州が戒律と大乗仏教の思想に精通している博識な僧
侶であったことが想定される。

さて、汾州はどのような思想家であったのであろうか。彼の思想的立場を明ら
かにするために以下の『宗門拈古彙集』の問答を考えたい。

「無業因僧問如何是佛。業曰莫妄想。又僧問如何是佛。業曰
即心是佛。」11

「即心是佛」とは中国禅宗の頓教という基礎的な教義に他ならない。『祖堂
集』の汾州と馬祖との問答には、頓教の思想が見られる。この伝記によれば、汾州に
とって、馬祖との対話の結果は頓悟の体験であったと言われる。

「師礼而問曰:『三乘至教、粗亦研窮、常聞禪門即心是佛、
實未能了。伏願指示。』馬大師曰:『即汝所不了心即是、更
無別物。不了時即是迷、了時即是悟;迷即是衆生、悟即是佛
道。不離眾生別更有佛也。亦如手作拳、拳作手也。』師言下
豁然大悟、涕淚悲泣12、白馬大師言:『本将謂佛道長遠、懃
苦曠劫、方始得成。今日始知法身實相本自具足、一切万法從
心化生、但有名字、無有實者。』」13


汾州が一生懸命に学び実践したにも関わらず、いまだ禅門の「即心是佛」を理
解できなかったため、師の馬祖に教えを請うた。汾州は豁然と大悟し、「一切万法從
心化生、但有名字、無有實者」と言い放った。多言を要しないが、汾州は頓教の実践
者であったと断言できる。そして上記の文章の「一切万法從心化生」から判断すると、
唯心の提唱者であったのであろう。頓教と唯心などは中国禅宗の標準的な思想であっ
た。なお、管見によれば、現存の経典に関する限り、汾州は師の馬祖の思考様式を反
映しており、オリジナルの印象を与えず、同世代の禅僧とあまり異ならない。とはい
え、汾州が後代の禅僧達に、全く影響を与えなかったというわけではないと考えられ
る。以下の公案には、汾州(無業)の行状が記される。

「無業國師云。若一毫頭凡聖情念未盡。不免入驢胎馬腹裏去。
白雲端和尚云。設使一毫頭凡聖情念淨盡。亦未免入驢胎馬腹
裏去。」14

CBETAでこの公案を検索すれば、この公案に対して多数の後人の解
釈が見出せる。汾州の行状はある程度、後世に影響を与えていると言え
る。そして「国師」の接尾辞から判断すると、当時に仏教のリーダーで
あったことが分かる。

『祖堂集』における汾州の聖人伝にはフィクションの要素が入って
いるが、学術的な検討を経れば、フィクションの中から事実を見出すこ
とができる。伝記から取り出された事実を伝えるであろう部分を抜き出
せば、汾州の生涯は、ある程度まで明らかになる。青年だった頃に才能
のある賢い僧侶であったと同時に、成長した後には皇族との関係も持っ
た高僧であることは確実であろう。また馬祖との対話の内容を検討して
みると、汾州が中国禅宗でのスタンダードであった頓教と唯心の態度を
とったことがよく分かる。上のように、汾州の研究が重要なのは、国師
という立場を得た彼が当時の唐代禅宗界の代表者であったというだけで
はなく、彼の師匠もまた、汾州よりもさらに後代に影響を与えた馬祖で
あったからである。今後の研究の進展が期待されよう。

1『諸橋大漢和辞典』〔第11巻670頁〕:「【長慶】穆宗の年号(821-824)。」
2『祖堂集』巻十五 六九一頁
3『正法眼藏』巻三 (卍続蔵67.615頁)
4『舊唐書』〔卷十六〕
5『佛祖綱目』卷32「汾州無業禪師入寂」(卍続蔵85.536頁)
6『諸橋大漢和辞典』〔第6巻957頁〕:「【汾州】州名。山西省隰縣の東北。」
7『祖堂集』巻十五 六九一頁
8 同上
9 同上
10『諸橋大漢和辞典』〔第10巻263頁〕:「【襄州】湖北省襄陽縣。」
11『宗門拈古彙集』巻12「汾州無業大達禪師 」(卍続蔵66.69頁)
12「涕淚悲泣」とは『金剛般若波羅蜜経』からの常套語である。『金剛般若波羅蜜經』卷1「爾時,須菩提聞說是經,深解義趣,涕淚悲泣」(大正蔵08・750頁)
13『祖堂集』巻十五 六九一頁
14『禪宗頌古聯珠通集』卷第十三 〔卍続蔵47.853頁〕