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The Wilderness Monks of the Abhayagirivihara and the Origins of Sino-Javanese Esoteric Buddhism - Sundberg

The Wilderness Monks of the Abhayagirivihara and the Origins of Sino-Javanese Esoteric Buddhism - Sundberg

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 J. SundbergThe wilderness monks of the Abhayagirivihara and the origins of Sino-Javanese esotericBuddhism In: Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 160 (2004), no: 1, Leiden, 95-123
 This PDF-file was downloaded from http://www.kitlv-journals.nl
The wilderness monks of theAbhayagirivihara and the origins ofSino-Javanese esoteric Buddhism
Introduction to the problem
Abandoned for a millennium,
the smashed Siddhamatrka
inscription com-memorating the foundation of a Javanese branch of the famous Sinhalesemonastery named Abhayagirivihara received mention in the earliest architec-tural exploration of the ruins of Javanese antiquity. First noticed in
it wasrecovered bit by bit in the Dutch archaeological excavations of the late nine-teenth and the early twentieth century. It surfaced briefly in an examinationof the inscription of Kelurak by Bosch, and was then treated more fully by DeCasparis in an incremental series of revelations of the text which he had man-aged to decipher.
The published portions of the text, however, do not reflectthe full extent of known fragments, and the inscription has not yet divulgedall of its mysteries. This article is an effort to tease out one of them.
As a preface to this essay, I wish to offer a word of thanks to Professor Raghu Vira and hisfamily, whose ambitious Sata-Pitaka Series is the source of a scholarly Indological feast and hashelped to recover memories of a lost world. I am grateful to John Banks, the Reverend MahindaDeegalle, Nobumi Iyanaga, Roy Jordaan, Lokesh Chandra, Mark Long, Iain Sinclair, DavidSnellgrove, and the two necessarily anonymous
referees for advice and assistancewith this article.
This script is sometimes referred to as
especially in the earlier Dutch archaeo-logical literature. The proper term for this script is
as Bosch (1928:4) clarifies in hispaleographic discussion of the script.
The readings published to date are to be found in Bosch 1928:63-4 (given that Bosch accom-plished minor miracles with his painstaking work on the inscrutable Kelurak inscription, hiswork is a surprisingly sporadic transliteration of the comparatively highly legible four frag-ments then in the National Museum under the catalogue number D50, accompanied by a usablephotograph of them), De Casparis 1950:11-22 (a rather complete, annotated reading of the fiveparts now in the National Museum under the number D50), De Casparis 1961 (providing a few
who graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaignand from the University of Southern California, is an electrical engineer. He is a specialist inVLSI design and high-speed signal integrity. His address is: 2601 W. Broadway Blvd, Tucson,AZ 85745-1787, USA.
Bijdragen tot de
en Volkenkunde (BKI) 160-1 (2004):95-123
Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde
Jeffrey Roger Sundberg
De Casparis in his capacity as head of epigraphy for the NetherlandsArchaeological Service has provided the primary readings of the inscription,and his transcription has been published in three partial recensions. His 1961article, based on fragments found during the 1954 excavation season on theRatu Baka, gets to the heart of the matter of why this Sailendra inscriptionwas issued: the inscription commemorates the founding of a branch of theAbhayagirivihara of the Sinhalese, documenting their existence on line 11of the twelfth strophe with the words
jinavaravinayoktaih Siksitanam
... <ya>
tlnam abhayagirivihahrah karitah
translated by De Casparis
245) as 'This Abhayagirivihara here of the Sinhalese ascetics, trained in thesayings of discipline of the Best of the Jinas, was established'. De Casparisalso helpfully determined that this inscription was written in AD 792.As I intend to substantiate, there is epigraphical, historiographical, as wellas paleographical evidence to connect the Sinhalese, and particularly the 'wil-derness' monks associated with the Abhayagirivihara, with the diffusion of theYoga Tantras to recipient kingdoms and cultures in Java, China, and Japan.The evidence to be evaluated forms circular and interconnecting associa-tions. It is difficult to determine where to begin, but as the focus of this articleis Java, let us begin with the chronological end, with the discovery of theinscription on the Ratu Baka plateau.
Identification of
Abhayagirivihara on the Ratu
Both the location of the finding of the Abhayagirivihara inscription as wellas the architectural details of a feature on the southeastern portion of theRatu Baka plateau suggest that the buildings of the Abhayagirivihara are tobe found there.The find-spot of the inscription is something of a mystery as the frag-ments of the inscription have been found piece by piece at various times,but the preponderance of the clear archaeological evidence suggests that itsprovenance is the area around the feature described as a 'pendopo' on thesoutheast of the plateau. For orientation see Figure 1.
fragmentary readings of the key finds from the then newly-found 1954 pieces) and De Casparis1981:73-4 (a complete but slightly faulty transliteration and translation of the first three stanzas,the only complete stanzas allowed by the presently known fragments). The attentive studentwill note that some of
Casparis's published transliterations vary from recension to recension.Sarkar (1971:48i-48vii) has republished De Casparis's 1950-1961 transliterations, but has mislo-cated many of the newer De Casparis readings (his transcription is thus wrong in many details)and his translation should be treated with substantial wariness, especially the last ten lines of theinscription. Lokesh Chandra (1995:10-8) has provided a more cogent translation of the first threestanzas as given by De Casparis's 1981 transcriptions and added a substantial explication of theimagery. I intend to publish a more complete transcription and study on a later occasion.

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