Reverential Bowing as Contemplative Practice

Rev. Bhikshu Heng Sure
I. Bowing as Gesture and as Contemplation

he greets them and also as he takes leave of them, he bows to the ground "countless times:' Sudhana's bowing as ritual gesture of reverence-both knees, both elbows and forehead touching the ground-became an icon in Buddhist Asia.' Images of the humble youth with back bent in prostration have inspired generations of Buddhist pilgrims and penitents, both clergy and laity. Reverential bowing is to this day a popular practice, and within the Buddhist community its profound spiritual benefits are well known. By placing the body in a posture expressive of humility and vulner­ ability, the practice of reverential bowing combats pride and arrogance and replaces attachment to self with an understanding of the emptiness of self and of all phenomena. Further, an intensely focused bowing practice will keep the mind from running away into discursive thought or scattering into random wandering, thus leading the practitioner toward states of full mental concentration. Contemplations that accompany each step of the bowing gesture allow devotees to repent of offenses, to visualize Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and to reflect deeply on sacred texts. For Buddhists, then, bowing is not merely a gesture of courtesy or respect, nor is it primarily a demonstration of reverence toward an object of worship. It is a fully developed inward path that leads the practitioner to the ultimate spiritual goals of compassion and wisdom. T he effectiveness of reverential bowing as a physical, mental and spiritual yoga has ensured its place to this day as an important feature of Mahayana liturgy. In China, since the Sui-Tang period, the specific gesture is the one based on the Indian sirasabhivandate, which in Indian bowing courtesy indicates the highest respect. Proper form requires both knees,


he Gandhavyuha, the penultimate chapter of the Avatamsaka Sutra, recounts the pilgrimage of the youth Sudhana, who seeks instruction in the path to enlightenment. He meets ffty-three teachers, and as




Bhikshu Heng Sure

both elbows and the forehead to touch the ground before the feet of the person who is the object of reverence. In China this gesture became known as wu lun to di (the five limbs touch the ground). Ty pically, each participant in a bowing liturgy begins the bow while standing in front of a bowing cushion or a tatami square. With the palms placed together at chest level, the participant bows slowly in a controlled descent from the waist. When the torso reaches approximately sixty degrees of incline, the left hand is extended toward the cushion. The hands are open with palms down. The left hand touches the bowing cushion, followed by the right hand; then the knees also come to rest on the cushion. The balls of the feet remain in contact with the floor as the cushion takes the body's weight, while the forehead, the last of the "five limbs;' touches the cushion. Finally, the hands turn over and the fingers unroll, with the palms facing upwards. The opening of the hands suggests that one is holding the Buddha's feet-a gesture of reverence based on Indian tradition. After a certain interval, depending upon the liturgy, the participant reverses the sequence of the previous gestures. The hands turn over and push away from the cushion, transferring the weight to the feet. The head rises and the knees leave the cushion last. The participant slowly returns to standing position and places his or her palms together as before. The deliberateness of this physical sequence encourages and supports an equal deliberateness in carrying out a sequence of mental contempla­ tions. These may include visualizations and the repetition of repentance for­ mulas or vows. One specific series of contemplations has become standard in Mahayana repentance liturgies. 2 The earliest appearance of this standard text can be traced back at least to the eighth century, when it appears in Zhanran's ''Appended Reflections on Logistics of the Dharma Flower Sama­ dhi Liturgy."3 The text of this contemplation reappears in many repentance liturgies as a standard visualization exercise. The six-line verse presents a set of images which serve as a guided and sequential process meant to hold the devotee's mind to a single focus while the body makes prostrations. The discriminating consciousness moves from ordinary awareness to a sublime, inconceivable state. The verse is as follows:

The natures of the worshiper and of the one worshiped are empty and still. The Way and its response intertwine inconceivably. This Bodhimanda of mine is like a pearl in Indra's Net. [The one worshiped] manifests within it; My body appears before [the one worshiped}; Bowing at his feet, I return my life in worship.



Reverential Bowing as Contemplative Practice

The person bowing is "the worshiper;' and the Sage or divinity bowed to is "the one worshiped." The "nature" referred to is the Buddha nature present in all beings. These first two lines articulate the existential condition of the conscious mind of the person bowing. "Empty and still" defines the Buddha nature's salient quality. Empty and still, there is nothing to hold on to or develop an attachment to. "The Way" or "Path" (dao) is a translation of the Sanskrit marga, road. In Buddhist literature the dao is the road to Buddhahood. "The response" refers to transformations of mind that take place when one enters the deep mental concentration of samadhi; words and thoughts are transformed, along with all conscious discrimination. The samadhi-state is not accessible to conceptual thought; thus the expression "inconceivable." "Bodhimanda" is the Sanskrit original of the Chinese dao chang, field of enlightenment. The term has a wider application, but here it refers to the venue where the repentance is practiced. The contemplator visualizes his or her body as a bodhimanda and then likens the bodhimanda to a pearl in Indra's Net, which adorns the celestial palace of Shakra Devanam Indra. The contemplator sees his or her own body as a pearl strung in the endless, inter-reflecting net of pearls. The next visualization is of the Buddha, Bodhisattva or other sage whom the contemplator is bowing to. The devotee says the name of the sage and visualizes the sage appearing right within Shakra's Pearl, inside the devotee's body. The next step requires an interactive visualization. The contemplator sees his or her body appear before the Buddha, bowing in respect and taking refuge. Finally, "I return my life in worship;' in Chinese

guei ming li, renders namah, the Sanskrit term used to praise a Buddhist
sage. One of namah's multiple meanings is "to return my life back to its sacred source:' At the end of the visualization the practitioner lets go of the contemplation, making no attempt to retain or grasp the vision. II. Indian Precedents and Daoxuan's Codification of Bowing Practice Reverential bowing is mentioned frequently throughout the Mahayana scriptures. The occasion for bowing arises whenever someone comes into the presence of or takes leave of a sage, or else rises from his or her place in the assembly in order to pose or answer a question. For example, in a ty pical scene from the Mahaprajfiaparamita Sutra, the assembly bows at the feet ofJewel-like-Nature Buddha:

Having received the flowers and the Buddha's instructions, Universal Light Bodhisattva, together with limitless hundreds of thousands of kotis of nayutas of Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas, both laity and moISSUE 5, OCTOBER 2005


Rev. Bhikshu Heng Sure nastics together, and with numberless hundreds of thousands of pure lads and maidens, bowed at the Buddha's feet, circled him to the right, and departed.4
As in the case of Sudhana's pilgrimage in the Gandhavyuha, bowing sometimes plays a central part in a narrative. Chapter 20 of the

Sad­ dharma-pundarika (Lotus) Sutra, for example, speaks of Never-Slighting

Bodhisattva, who bows to everyone he meets in order to discipline pride and nurture humility. As he bows he reflects, "I dare not slight you; in the future you will become a Buddha." Bowing is also a topic in the commentarial literature. In his Maha­ prajfiaparamita Shastra (Dazhidulun) Nagarjuna says that there are three forms of worship. T hey are, in ascending degrees of respect, to bend the waist, to kneel and finally, to make a prostration. To place the head and face at the feet of the worshiped is to make a supreme offering.5 Later in the same work we find:

There are three more forms of worship: the first is verbal worship; the second is to genuflect but not to touch the ground with the head; the third is to place the head on the ground. This is called supreme worship. The highest part of the human body is the head and the lowest part is the feet. To reverence someone with the highest part of the body by placing at the lowest part of the worshiped indicates high respect.6
In his "Extensive Discussion of the Customs of India," Chapter 2 of his

Record of the Western Regions in the Great Tang, the great Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang (596-664) lists nine forms of respect that he had witnessed
among the Indian Sangha:

The first form is upon meeting, to inquire after another's well-being. The second, when passing on the path, is to nod the head to show respect. The third is to raise the hands and bend the waist, followed by placing the palms together at chest height. These are the standard courtesy for greeting peers or one's juniors. If a senior monastic appears, or the situation requires it, one observes the fifth level of courtesy and genuflects, or the sixth, kneels, or seventh, places the hands and knees on the ground. If full gestures of respect are called for, then one practices the eighth form by bending the four limbs and touching the head to the ground. Finally, ultimate respect is shown by bowing the entire body to the ground.7
It is to Buddhist historian and "Chinese St. Benedict" Daoxuan (596667), however, that we owe the codification of bowing into a practice that



Reverential Bowing as Contemplative Practice
became def nitive for North Asian Buddhism. A portion of Daoxuan's

Shimen guijing yi (Buddhist Rule and Breviary)8 deals specifically with be­
havior in liturgical observances. By codifying precedents from both India and China, Daoxuan established the monastic standard for bowing that is still observed today.

Buddhist Rule and Breviary, Daoxuan reported the traditional Indian practices transmitted in the vinaya texts; compared them to China's
In his ancient systems of ritual courtesy; defined the terms using both Sanskrit and Chinese, and added commentary on scriptural references on the topic of bowing, among other aspects of proper monastic deportment. While his intent was to establish Buddhist bowing practice firmly on Indian precedent, he wanted to tailor it to Chinese sensibilities. As a literary scholar, he knew the Chinese classics and histories and so was able to draw upon texts that concern ritual procedure. In the case of ritual bowing, he referred to the

Zhouli (The Rites of Chou). He explained: In the mundane world the Zhouli gives us the Nine Kinds of Bows. . . . They are not an internal [not a Buddhist] teaching. [Buddhist] ritual practice however, begins with the ordinary customs. For this reason I refer to the Zhouli.9
The "Nine Kinds of Bows" include "three gestures and six contexts:' The three gestures show how to bow, the six contexts when to bow. The three gestures take the head progressively lower to the ground. The first is merely to lower the head. The second, "deferential bowing;' includes kneeling and also lowering the head, but not as far as the ground. For the third, the head is brought all the way to the ground. The six contexts refer to specific social situations which call for one or more of the three gestures. They are as follows:

Trembling bows. While bowing, one shakes with intense emotion or
agitation. For example, according to protocol, one need not bow and yet one does, out of prudent caution, perhaps, or because one's aims may be furthered by humbling oneself.

Auspicious bows were the standard form required by social etiquette.
One lowered the head precisely when the situation demanded it and knelt when it was right to do so. Specific bows were required, for example, when paying respects to family members on holidays and birthdays, when making social courtesy calls, and when it was necessary to show political deference in a variety of situations. For instance, marquises and dukes saluted the emperor by kneeling and bowing the head-the second of the "three gestures." Knights and ministers bowed similarly to the noble marquises and dukes. Ministers and knights would do the same to their



Rev. Bhikshu Heng Sure

counterparts from neighboring states. Ministers inside the court would not make this second bowing gesture to fellow ministers, in order to preserve that privilege for their rulers. As for the ruler, he merely bowed his head in order to pay respects to his ministers. To do more was to make a gesture of extraordinary honor.

Bows in inauspicious situations, such as funerals, were full bows to the
ground-the third of the "three gestures" -and sometimes double bows, first lowering the head while kneeling, then bringing the forehead to the ground.

Unique bows were bows of any type performed only once; that is, the
gesture of respect was abbreviated.

Multiple bows were those made beyond the required number. Restrained bows were made by women; even the head was not lowered.
The reference may have been to some equivalent of a curtsy. Daoxuan notes that in the Zhoults forms of bowing, there is no men­ tion of internal contemplations. Rather, Chinese society's millennium-old predisposition for bowing focused on external protocol. Here, Daoxuan stresses, the Chinese tradition differs from the Buddhist tradition that was imported from India.

According to the internal [Buddhist] teaching, bowing is where it begins. You can divide the focus of Buddhist practice roughly into two areas, body and mind. Buddha-Dharma takes the mind as the root and body as the branch.
Daoxuan's comments highlight how Buddhism skillfully appropriated Chinese cultural observances and then adapted them to accord with the principles of Buddhist contemplation. Daoxuan contrasts the social etiquette of the Zhoults "Nine Kinds of Bowing" to the spiritual progression of the "Seven Styles of Bowing" de­ scribed by the sixth-century Buddhist Patriarch Ratnamati. According to the Supplement to the Lives of Eminent Sanghans,10 Ratnamati ("Precious Mind") was a native of India and came to Loyang in



during the

Northern Wei dynasty.11 Daoxuan's inclusion ofRatnamati's list, along with his commentary on it, in the Buddhist Rule and Breviary ensured that the list would become standard. Its importance only increased when the great Avatamsaka interpreter Chengguan (738-840) commented on it and added to it in his celebrated Huayan Suchao (Explanatory Preface to the Avatam­

saka).12 T he Buddhist Patriarch Zongmi (780-841 ), who was a student and
later colleague of Chengguan, wrote a commentary to his teacher's Explana­

tory Preface, and in it Zongmi too commented on Ratnamati's list.



Reverential Bowing as Contemplative Practice

Ratnamati's seven styles of bowing are given below, together with se­ lected remarks by Daoxuan, Chengguan and Zongmi. The list of bowing styles moves from the least to the most profound and spiritually potent.

Style One: Arrogant Bowing.
Paraphrasing Ratnamati's discussion of the flaws in Arrogant Bowing,Dao­ xuan depicts a figure familiar to anyone who attends monastic liturgies, a sangha member or layperson who stands confused in a ceremony and who bows without understanding the reason for it. Such a person lacks insight and merely follows the crowd. Focused on externals, he lacks respect and is prevented by his arrogance from learning from others. Daoxuan cites the Confucian Analects to illustrate the wrong attitude, i.e., somebody who fears that he will lose face and so holds himself aloof from the bowing. One who has no foundation in Dharma to rely on can entirely miss the point of the spiritual exercise and bow mechanically, like a pestle pounding rice. Chengguan borrows this line in his paraphrase ofDaoxuan. Daoxuan, in turn, is quoting Ratnamati. Daoxuan says that this style is futile, sterile and paradoxi­ cal in that, although the person is bowing, his wrong attitude only increases his delusions. He gets a result that opposes the purpose of bowing; that is to say, he increases his attachments to the wrong view of self. Thus, the commentators make the point that bowing's benefits depend on attitude and intent. When Zongmi takes a turn in discussing Chengguan's commentary on this bowing style, he picks up the thread of bowing as an antidote to ar­ rogance. He defines arrogance as a view of self that exists in the mind. The wrong way of seeing, the mistaken idea that a self exists, creates an attitude that interferes in relationships and causes trouble. He lists three mistakes that combine to obstruct the practitioner: first, one perceives a self; second, one compares one's self to other selves that one perceives existing separate from oneself; and third, one feels superior as a result of the comparison. Zongmi quotes Xuanzang's Shastra on the Doctrine of Consciousness­

Bowing's benefits depend on attitude and intent.

Only3 as it describes the psychology of arrogance. Suffering that arises from
repeated deaths and rebirths among the various destinies results from the mental process of perceiving a self and all mistakes that begin with that view. Using the mind wrongly in this way obstructs spiritual cultivation. Bowing counteracts the wrong view and creates its opposite, an attitude of respect, reverence and faith in one's innate goodness.



Rev. Bhikshu Heng Sure Style Two: Sing-along Bowing
This style of bowing, like the first, is defined by the commentators as evi­ dence of a faulty mental attitude. Daoxuan explains that here the problem is not pride but lack of focus. The sing-along bower also looks outside his or her mind to find meaning in spiritual practice, so the benefits are few and shallow. Daoxuan shows us the hypothetical participant chanting mindlessly amid the crowd, so oblivious to the deeper religious values of the ritual that he or she holds the text upside-down, unaware of the error.

Style Three: Respectful Bowing
This third style evokes lengthy discussion among the commentators. Dao­ xuan provides a detailed instruction on how the devotee may visualize interaction with the Buddha. Daoxuan's comments, here quoted in full, demonstrate the contemplative aspects of bowing.

When you hear the sound of the Buddha's name, you bring to mind the contemplation of his body. You visualize him as if he were right before you with all his thirty-two hallmarks and eighty special char­ acteristics, complete and adorned, dazzling and resplendent. Once you envision all the hallmarks in your mind, then in fact you find yourself face-to-face with the threefold bodies. The Buddha extends his hand to rub the crown of your head and he purges all the offense­ karma created by the view of a self Then you are truly respectful in both body and mind with no further extraneous thoughts. You make offerings and show respect and you never grow weary of it. This is the state of mind of bowing to the Buddha. When he appears in front of you, you pay attention without any unclarity of mind. You will then be able to lead and to benefit both humans and gods in the highest, most sublime manner. Although such a person has vast merit and virtue, still it is not his own wisdom, and many people who attain this state later retreat from it.
Chengguan begins his comments here by saying,

Because one's mind feels respect, that feeling courses through the body and mouth and inspires one to bow universally to all the Buddhas. Bowing rids the heart of the obstacle of arrogance and fosters thoughts of respect, faith and good karma.
He also mentions the "five limbs touch the ground" contemplation from the Sutra on the Questions Asked by the Bodhisattva Wisdom-Free-from­

Defilement about Methods for Bowing to the Buddha, 14 and Zongmi quotes
the relevant passage. The sutra says that every gesture of the bowing ritual



Reverential Bowing as Contemplative Practice

can assume a deeply reverential meaning. The movement of each limb gen­ erates a vow from the heart and has a higher significance than the mundane gesture of bowing to the Earth. Thus, already in the third bowing style, the physical gesture is thoroughly integrated with mental contemplations.

Style Four: Bowing That Goes Beyond Appearances
Daoxuan interprets the fourth bowing style in terms of"emptiness" (Chi­ nese kong, Sanskrit sunyata). Here we meet for the first time the concept of interpenetration, a principle that is typical of the Avatamsaka, and one that will return throughout the rest of the bowing scheme. Interpenetration here appears in terms of subject and object. The contemplations prescribed for the person bowing include an interactive visualization that penetrates the boundaries of time and space. For example, the person bowing makes his or her mind pure and then envisions multiple Buddhas appearing. As the practice develops, the visualizations grow clearer, and the time and the place begin to expand and shift. Daoxuan explains in this way:

Now I understand that my own mind is empty and connected without obstructions, and I practice bowing to the Buddhas. I accord with the mind's ability to bow to a single Buddha and thereby bow to all Bud­ dhas whatsoever. All Buddhas are merely a single Buddha. Because the Buddha's Dharma-body pervades all places identically, bowing to a single Buddha makes the connection through to all Buddhas.
Chengguan's explanation is terse: "One deeply enters the Dharma Nature; there is no doer and nothing done:'

Style Five: Bowing That Takes Effect
Daoxuan explains:

In this way we study and practice the Dharma-door of the Dharma Realm. It proves to be greatly beneficial and ultimately arrives at this understanding. Those who fail to study do not know. Therefore cultivators must undertake these contemplationsfrequently. The merit and virtue one accrues is incomparable. Since I know that my body is contained within the Buddha's body, how could I continue to commit karma based on inverted views and false-thoughts?
Using metaphorical language, Daoxuan goes on to say that mirrors pervasively reflect back and forth inside the bower's Dharma-body, so that the function of mutual reflection is limitless. He says that some people can perceive this dimension of bowing, while others do not, adding that some people have eyes to see while others are blind.



Rev. Bhikshu Heng Sure Style Six: Inward Reflection Bowing
Bowing at this point, according to the commentators, has taken on a pro­ found level of spiritual accomplishment. Daoxuan remarks that people already have a pure nature; why then do they need to look outside for another nature? He exhorts students to not seek anything external to the pure mind that dwells within the Buddha nature.

Style Seven: Ultimate Reality Bowing
Ultimate Reality Bowing is the last of Ratnamati's seven styles. It differs from the others, Daoxuan says, in that no dualities remain:

The sense of this style of bowing is similar to the above styles. The difference is that the prior styles preserve the dualities of worshiper, contemplation, self and other. Now in this case distinctions of selfand other no longer remain. Mortal and Buddha become a unified "thus­ ness"; past and present are not different. When one sees the Buddha, one doesn't distinguish between bowing to him or to a person who holds seriously incorrect views.
In Ultimate Reality Bowing there are no further distinctions. Here bow­ ing can bring one to ultimate reality, a state of mind beyond thought.

Chengguan's Three Additions
In his Huayan Suchao, Chengguan applied to bowing a methodology par­ ticular to the Avatamsaka Sutra's doctrines, that of presenting everything in decanates, or lists of ten, a number which symbolizes the perfection of the circle. Accordingly, Chengguan added three bowing styles to Ratnamati's seven styles. His three additions are Great Compassion Bowing, Generally Inclusive Bowing and Inf nite Bowing. The first of these suggests "great compassion for all those who share the identical essence." Zongmi's commentary adds,

That is to say, living beings and I are not two separate entities; for example, since I bow, living beings also bow. When I leave arrogance behind, living beings also leave arrogance behind. That is the source of the name "Great Compassion Bowing."
According to Zongmi, Generally Inclusive Bowing, the ninth style, includes the prior six styles (three through eight) in their various levels of superficiality and profundity, and merges them into a single contemplation. Finally, Chengguan says of Infinite Bowing, the tenth style: "The bower enters the state of Indra's Net. Both Buddhas and bows are multi-layered and inexhaustible."



Reverential Bowing as Contemplative Practice

Zongmi adds this verse from the Avatamsaka: In a single particle I see every Buddha Surrounded by multitudes of Bodhisattvas Every particle in the universe is the same: Wherever these Tathagatas are I bow to them infinitely.

III. Concluding Reflections

One of the reasons for current rapid growth in the West of Buddhist meditation practice may be that meditation appears egalitarian and free of dogma; it makes no demands of faith or adherence to a creed. Bowing, on the other hand, appears inherently unequal, undemocratic, humiliating and submissive. Judith Lief suggests that the reasons why Westerners find bowing difficult are complex: As Westerners we tend to think of prostrating as a gesture of defeat or abasement.We think that to show someone else respect is to make ourselves less. Prostrating irritates our sense of democracy, that ev­ eryone is equal ....On the one hand we want to receive the teach­ ings, but on the other we don't really want to bow down to anyone or anything.15 Eric Reinders suggests another reason for a Western distaste for bow­ ing. In his "The Iconoclasm of Obeisance: Protestant Images of Chinese Religion and the Catholic Church;'16 Reinders laments the lack of research by Western scholars on Buddhist bowing, and he traces this to the European Protestant iconoclasts' aversion for physical gestures of deference, a hatred of religious hierarchy that led to the split with Rome. Reinders suggests that the Protestant struggle with Roman Catholicism in Europe has been projected onto Asian religions. The sight of Buddhists, particularly Chinese Buddhists, bowing to Buddhas, to their teachers and to each other, stirred up the Protestant distaste for idolatry and for the inequality of institution­ alized religious hierarchies. Nevertheless, the world's religious traditions, with few exceptions, value bowing as an effective spiritual practice. Judaism, Islam, and Eastern and Roman Catholicism, as well as Eastern devotional traditions such as Hindu­ ism and Brahmanism, include bowing in texts and liturgies. In these other religions, the practice of making prostrations has a largely exterior focus, consistent with the supporting theology. In Buddhism we see the practice of bowing applied in ways that parallel and overlap with the other traditions,


Rev. Bhikshu Heng Sure

yet a significant difference also emerges. In Buddhism, the focus of bowing turns back to the mind of the bower instead of moving outwards towards a transcendent other. Buddhadharma's approach to bowing invites the practitioner to con­ template the nature of his or her heart/mind. The myriad practices relate back to a central theme, the mind and its nature, which are fundamentally Buddha. The "goal" reached at the end of the spiritual path is to gradually remove all aspects of the view of self, until one rediscovers one's nondual nature. As a road to the nondual, bowing helps empty out and purify false concepts within. The false, illusory self can be erased as one bows.

This article is based on the author's doctoral dissertation, "Sacred Literature into Liturgy: Jingyuan (1011-1088) and the Development ofthe Avatamsaska Liturgy in Song China," Graduate Theological Union, Notes
1. Especially notable are the images of the Gandhavyuha pilgrimage carved in stone in the friezes of the Borobudur Stupa in Indonesia. See Jan Fontein, The Pilgrimage of Sudhana: A Study of Gandhavyuha fllustrations in China, Japan, and Java (The Hague: Molton, 1967), and Bedrich Forman, Borobudur: The Buddhist Legend in Stone (New York: Dorset Press, 1992). 2. For example, the Great Compassion Repentance, the Repentance before Ten T housand Buddhas, the Compassionate Emperor Liang's Repentance, the Samadhi­ Water of Great Compassion Repentance, and others. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Fahua sanmei xingshi yunxiang buzhuyi. T 46.4942.955c. T 5.220.3b. Kntis and nayutas are numbers; mahasattva or great being is an honorific often applied in the sutras to Bodhisattvas. T 25.1509.130c. T 25.1509.751a. DatangXuyuji, T 51.2087.877c. T 45.1896.862c. Daoxuan also compiled the Four-Part Vinaya, (T 40.1804 and 40.1806) and wrote voluminous commentaries, supplying detailed descriptions of the various aspects of practice. 9. Shimen guijing yi, T 45.1896.862b. 10. Xu Gaosheng Zhuan (Shanghai: Shanghai Guji chubanshe, 1991), 191. 11. Ratnamati is said to have lived at Eternal Peace Monastery and to have been accomplished in the Fivefold Curriculum. He was proficient in the Daoist arts and regularly lectured on the Avatamsaka Sutra. 12. Available as Huayanjing Shuchao (Taibei: Huayan Lianshe Publications, 1942) and Flower Adornment Sutra Preface (Talmage, CA: Buddhist Text Translation Society, 1979). 13. Cheng weishi lun, T 31.1585.31b. 14. Ligouhui pusa suowei lifofajing, translated by Nadi around 655 (T 14.487.698c). 15. "On Practice: Bowing," in Tricycle: The Buddhist Review IX, 1 (Fall 1994), 33. 16. In Numen: The International Review for the History of Religions 44 (1997), 296-322.




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