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Sinitic Buddhism in the Tangut State

Kirill J. Solonin
Central Asiatic Journal
Vol. 57, Special Tangut Edition (2014), pp. 157-183
Published by: Harrassowitz Verlag
DOI: 10.13173/centasiaj.57.2014.0157
Stable URL:
Page Count: 27
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Sinitic Buddhism in the Tangut State
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One can observe that Sinitic Buddhism was the first to penetrate into Tangut society, and first as the ideology of the ruling elite. The growth of the Buddhist intercourse further resulted in the Tangut appropriation of the contemporaneous form of the Buddhist teaching current in the Northern China. This teaching might be provisionally defined as “Perfect Teaching”, an open system which was capable of accommodating various teachings and practices on the basis of Huayan thought. This variety included the traditions of both Sinitic and Tibetan origins. The “Perfect Teaching” had been originally imported from the Liao, but later developed into a paradigm on the basis of which the “whole” of the Tangut Buddhism emerged sometime closer to the end of 12th century. As the few available dates of publication or “distribution” of the texts suggest, the processes of appropriation of both Sinitic and Tibetan forms of Buddhism were almost simultaneous. The openness of the “Perfect Teaching” had probably been responsible for the flexibility of Xixia Buddhism and its further continuity even after the fall of Xixia. By the same token, one probably ought to partially reconsider the commonplace understanding of Tangut Buddhist history as a struggle between Sinitic and Tibetan forms of Buddhism, but rather think of them a complementary parts of a uniform system.

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