Home » Eminent Monk: Buddhist Ideals in Medieval Chinese Hagiography by John Kieschnick
Eminent Monk: Buddhist Ideals in Medieval Chinese Hagiography John Kieschnick

Eminent Monk: Buddhist Ideals in Medieval Chinese Hagiography

John Kieschnick

Published October 1st 1997
ISBN : 9780824818418
Paperback
218 pages
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 About the Book 

In an attempt to reconstruct an elusive aspect of the medieval Chinese imagination, The Eminent Monk examines biographies of Chinese Buddhist monks, from the uncompromising ascetic to the unfathomable wonder-worker. The book treats representations ofMoreIn an attempt to reconstruct an elusive aspect of the medieval Chinese imagination, The Eminent Monk examines biographies of Chinese Buddhist monks, from the uncompromising ascetic to the unfathomable wonder-worker. The book treats representations of asceticism in biographies of Chinese monks, focusing particularly on attitudes toward sex, food, and clothing. It analyzes the image of the Buddhist thaumaturge in these biographies, including the monks relationship to supernormal powers, spells, and miracles. Finally, it mines the hagiography for clues to monastic attitudes toward scholarship, including a discussion of education in the monasteries, debate, and the constraints on intellectual exchange within the monastic community. While analyzing images of the monk in medieval China, the author addresses some questions encountered along the way: What are we to make of accounts in eminent monk collections of deviant monks who violate monastic precepts? Who wrote biographies of monks and who read them? How did different segments of Chinese society contend for the image of the monk and which image prevailed? By placing biographies of monks in the context of Chinese political and religious rhetoric, The Eminent Monk explores both the role of Buddhist literature in Chinese history and the monastic imagination that inspired this literature.