Baochang: Sixth-Century Biographer of Buddhist Monks... and Nuns?

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  • Baochang: Sixth-Century Biographer of Buddhist Monks... and Nuns?Author(s): Tom De RauwSource: Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 125, No. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 2005), pp. 203-218Published by: American Oriental SocietyStable URL: .Accessed: 17/06/2014 15:20

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  • Baochang:

    Sixth-Century Biographer of Buddhist Monks . . . and Nuns?

    Tom De Rauw

    Ghent University

    Not much attention has been given to the Liang dynasty (502-557) monk Baochang H &i, other than a few stray lines about his authorship of the Mingseng zhuan ^#HI? (Biographies of Famous Monks)1 and the Biqiuni zhuan ibfx/?f? (Biographies of Nuns, T.2063). He is

    credited with being the first to systematically create an organized body of biographies of

    Buddhist monks, but beyond that, little is said about him. However, a reading of Bao

    chang's biography contained in the Xu Gaoseng zhuan fijtHttfil (Further Biographies of

    Eminent Monks)2 reveals that there is more to Baochang than meets the eye. He appears to

    have been an important figure in the monastic community of Jiankang J?Jjf? the capital city of the Liang, and a man very much favored by Emperor Wu 3? (r. 502-549). He participated in several translation and cataloguing projects under imperial patronage, and for a while he

    served as abbot of the Xin'an %f\^ monastery and head of the imperial Buddhist library. Yet,

    Baochang was plagued by controversy, in life as well as in death. As a member of the clerical

    elite of the capital, he became the object of verbal attacks by Huijiao mt$k (497-554), who in

    the preface to his Gaoseng zhuan ?f??eifil (Biographies of Eminent Monks, T.2059)3 criti

    cized the worldly and sycophantic metropolitan clergy who surrounded the pious emperor Wu in general, and the emphasis Baochang placed on "fame (rning )" over "eminence (gao

    ?&?)" in his selection of biographies in particular.4 Even among the people in the capital there were rumors that Baochang's true intentions did not lay in the practice of Buddhism, but in

    the pursuit of worldly goals.5

    Journal of the American Oriental Society 125.2 (2005) 203

    1. Although this biographical collection is no longer extant, fragments of it are preserved in the Meis?den sh?

    ^fl^lff?^, which is a selective summary of a Mingseng zhuan manuscript then in the possession of the T?daiji at

    Nara, made by the Japanese monk Sh?sh? ^ft in 1235. He copied out the table of contents, portions of thirty-six

    biographies and a topical finding list of items that interested him (mainly evidence for the working of the grace of

    the bodhisattvas). The Meis?den sh? is included in the Dai-nippon Zokuz?ky? A 0 ^MMM, ed. Nakano Tatsue

    4^1?3?H (Kyoto: Z?ky? shoin, 1905-12). The edition used for this paper is the Taiwanese reprint (Wan) xu

    zangjing (?B)I?I^M in 150 vols. (Taibei: Xinwenfeng chubangongsi, 1968-70). References to this edition will be

    abbreviated as XZJ, followed by the volume, page, register (a or b) and line number(s). The Meis?den sh? can be

    found in volume 134, pp. 1-34.

    Two quotations from Baochang's preface to the Mingseng zhuan are contained in Baochang's biography: Taish?

    shinsh? daiz?ky? y^iEffflf AHM, 100 vols., ed. Takakusu Junijir? ?#??fl?^E?, Watanabe Kaigyoku "MWMI?, et al. (Tokyo: Taish? issaiky? kank?tai, 1924-32; hereafter abbreviated T), no. 2060, vol. 50, p. 427b29-c9 and

    p. 427c 18.

    2. T.2060.50: 426b-427c. The Xu Gaoseng zhuan was compiled by Daoxuan jgjt; (596-667). The final version

    of this work was probably compiled by Daoxuan's disciples shortly after his death. See Koichi Shinohara, "Two

    Sources of Chinese Buddhist Biographies: Stupa Inscriptions and Miracle Stories," in Monks and Magicians: Re

    ligious Biographies in Asia, ed. P. Granoff and K. Shinohara (Oakville, Cal.: Mosaic Press, 1988), 195 n. 6; see also

    Robin B. Wagner, "Buddhism, Biography, and Power: A Study of Daoxuan's 'Continued Lives of Eminent Monks' "

    (Ph.D. diss., Harvard University, 1995), 78-79.

    3. Compiled ca. A.D. 530. See Arthur F. Wright, "Biography and Hagiography: Hui-chiao's Lives of Eminent

    Monks," in Silver Jubilee Volume of the Jimbun Kagaku Kenkyusho (Kyoto: Kyoto University, 1954), 400.

    4. Ibid., 392-95.

    5. T.2060.50: 426b22-23.

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  • 204 Journal of the American Oriental Society 125.2 (2005)

    Here we shall first examine Baochang's career, taking as a starting point his biography, contained in the Further Biographies of Eminent Monks. An attempt will be made to re

    construct the chronology of events in Baochang's life, focusing on his relationship with

    Emperor Wu. In the second part of this article I will address two issues concerning the

    Mingseng zhuan and Biqiuni zhuan. First, even though important clues about the Mingseng zhuan's date of completion are embedded in the biography, there seems to be no consensus

    in the existing literature on when this collection of monks' biographies was completed. Many different dates are given, but very rarely is the preference for any date substantiated. Second,

    authorship of the Biographies of Nuns is traditionally ascribed to Baochang, yet this important collection is not mentioned anywhere in his biography. Even worse: there is no mention of

    it in the catalogues (Buddhist or non-Buddhist) at all until the early eighth century.


    According to his biography, Baochang (ca. 466-?)6 came from a poor family and worked

    hard in the fields to provide for himself and his parents. Because the plot of land they owned was too small to provide a sufficient living, he looked around for additional jobs. Thus he found work as a copyist and was able to earn extra money.7 Although this passage identifies

    Baochang as a peasant, was this really the case? As Z?rcher has pointed out, many of those

    whose biographies are included in the Biographies of Eminent Monks are said to have lived

    in poor and difficult circumstances before entering the monastic order. Poverty is one of the

    virtues of the Buddhist monk, and from that perspective, the Buddhist biographical col

    lections show a tendency to standardize the lives of their heroes according to a set of fixed

    patterns.8 A clue to Baochang's origins can perhaps be found in the wording of his biog

    rapher. Daoxuan writes:

    Looking for something extra, he took up a job as a copyist to obtain a little financial help.

    [While] checking for inaccuracies [in the texts], he could thus strengthen (qiang ?Ja his knowl

    edge [at the same time].9

    Baochang must have been able to read and write. The use of the word "strengthen" pre

    supposes a prior education. This suggests that Baochang was not the son of peasants, but

    more likely a descendant of a relatively cultured family that had lately fallen on hard times.

    As a member of such a family, he would have enjoyed a more or less standard classical lit

    erary education, comprising the study of the Confucian classics, with the intention of pre

    paring him for a possible career as a government official. However, at this time the higher ranks of magistracy were monopolized by the so-called "Great Families" (menfa f"3K?- These

    families, which formed the highest nobility, maintained a strict exclusivity, which meant that

    members of less influential families could not reach the higher rungs of the bureaucratic

    ladder. Many of these individuals, thus excluded from the higher circles of political, eco

    6. In the biography there is mention of the death of Baochang's father "close to his thirtieth birthday"

    (T.2060.50: 426b24). In order to observe the proper rites of mourning, he then temporarily "puts aside his constant

    practice, leaves the capital, and restricts himself exclusively to listening [to others lecturing]." This happened in the

    second year of the Jianwu H^ era (495), so (keeping in mind the traditional Chinese way of counting age, where

    one is considered to be one year old at the time of birth) we can place Baochang's date of birth around 466.

    7. T.2060.50: 426M4-16.

    8. Erik Z?rcher, The Buddhist Conquest of China: The Spread and Adaption of Buddhism in Early Medieval

    China, 2nd ed. (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1972), 6-9.

    9. T.2060.50: 426M5-16.

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  • De Rauw: Baochang 205

    nomic, and intellectual life, chose instead to adopt the life of a Buddhist monk as a means to

    gain access to these higher social strata.10 When in 483 the famous vinaya master Sengyou fit$3 (445-518)n was ordered to go to Wu, the region where Baochang was born and raised, the latter immediately left the family life to become his disciple. At the time Baochang was

    already eighteen years old, rather late in comparison to the age of other novice monks

    mentioned in the biographical literature.12

    Daoxuan now tells us that after studying under Sengyou for an undetermined number of


    Baochang became aware of the importance of non-Buddhist scholarship, and made it his priority to become knowledgeable about it. To that end, he began studying non-Buddhist writings under

    the guidance of several "retired gentlemen" (chushi jH?).14

    To a Buddhist monk moving in the circles of the literate upper class, being knowledgeable about non-Buddhist scholarship (most notably xuanxue 2;|l) was not merely a tool for prop

    agating Buddhism in terms that the target audience could understand. Knowledge of Chinese

    history, poetry, and philosophical writings was admired in and of itself, and could help propel a monk to great fame.15 Many Buddhist scholar-monks studied the Chinese classics, so in this

    respect Baochang's interest in them is nothing out of the ordinary. It is striking, however, that

    the biography describes how, as a consequence of his frequent interactions with these "retired

    gentlemen," people began to suspect that Baochang had worldly ambitions. When he went to

    visit his family, people even suspected he would probably not return to the monastery to live as a Buddhist monk, but rather choose to pursue a civil career.16

    Although one can certainly not exclude a certain level of Buddhist piety from the part of Baochang, it is likely that his motives for becoming a Buddhist monk were not all of a

    spiritual nature. If indeed it was his intention to use Buddhism as a means to enhance his

    position in society, then his plans were far from fruitless. After fleeing east from the chaos that accompanied the fall of the Southern Qi dynasty (479-502), he was summoned to the

    capital by Emperor Wu of the Liang dynasty to take up the position as abbot of the Xin'an

    10. Z?rcher, Buddhist Conquest of China, 9.

    11. Besides being a famous vinaya master, Sengyou is arguably one of the most important figures in early Chinese Buddhist historiography. For a detailed biography of Sengyou, see Helwig Schmidt-Glintzer, Das Hung

    ming Chi und die Aufnahme des Buddhismus in China (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1976), 14-20; also Arthur

    Link, "Shih Seng-yu and His Writings," JAOS 80 (1960): 17-43.

    12. The age at which an individual becomes a novice is not always given. However, many biographies contained

    in the biographical collections say that the monk in question "left family life at an early age" (shao chujia ^NtbiQ. In the Xu gaoseng zhuan nearly a hundred biographies specify the age at which an individual entered the monastic

    order. Of these, almost eighty percent were (considerably) younger than Baochang was. Most (sixty-nine percent) were between 7 and 15 years old.

    13. John Kieschnick gives a brief description of what the education of a novice must have looked like in

    The Eminent Monk: Buddhist Ideals in Medieval Chinese Hagiography (Honolulu: Univ. of Hawai'i Press, 1997), 118-23. A promising novice was usually placed under the guidance of a single Buddhist master. After completing the study of a certain number of basic texts, the disciple was given permission to pursue his own interests and to

    study with other masters.

    14. T.2060.50: 426b20-21. These "retired gentlemen" were literati who, by their own choice, kept clear of an

    official career to devote themselves to a life of private study and self-cultivation modelled on the ideal of the hermit, untroubled by the rigid framework of Confucian scholarship and safe from the dangers of politics. For more on the

    eremitic ideal, see Alan J. Berkowitz, Patterns of Disengagement: The Practice and Portrayal of Reclusi?n in Early Medieval China (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 2000).

    15. Kieschnick, The Eminent Monk, 112-18.

    16. T.2060.50: 426b23.

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  • 206 Journal of the American Oriental Society 125.2 (2005)

    monastery in a.D. 505.17 This monastery is occasionally mentioned in the Buddhist chron

    icles, but appears to have been of rather modest importance during the Liang. However, to

    become an abbot by imperial appointment was no small feat.

    After this, Baochang was ordered to oversee the compilation of a whole series of books

    that were to contain a listing of all the buddhas, bodhisattvas, and important deities mentioned

    in the Buddhist scriptures, and the proper rituals associated with these deities to implore their

    protection and benefaction. The command issued by Emperor Wu, ordering the compilation of these books, is partly preserved in the biography of Baochang:

    The seasonal storms have abated far and near, and the weather [is now so favorable that] it causes

    the harvest of the hundred grains to increase. How could it be that [for this] we do not firstly rely on the [protection of the] Three Jewels,18 secondly rely on the Four Devas,19 and thirdly rely on

    the spirits of the water! When the supernatural beings provide us with assistance, only then can

    prosperity cover the people and can they rejoice in their generosity. However, since the writings

    [about these issues] are scattered over a host of books, it is difficult to research it to the fullest


    From this it is clear that Emperor Wu considered these texts as manuals for wielding the

    enormous powers of Buddhism, which he might use in the ruling of his empire. Emperor Wu was convinced that, without the protection of Buddhism, the rule of his house would

    come to an untimely end.21 The fact that Baochang was entrusted with the task of compiling these books is a clear sign of his close relationship with the emperor, for the latter would not

    have given this vital task to someone he could not trust.

    The compilation project did not come off without a hitch, however. In 510, Baochang became ill. He vowed that, should he recover, he would search everywhere for Buddhist

    scriptures to make sure that nothing should be lost, and that he would also search out

    records of past monks to honor and perpetuate their memories. The chronology of subse

    quent events is not all clear, but it was probably around this time that Baochang abandoned

    his post as abbot of the Xin'an monastery, with the intention of going east to recuperate and

    begin to fulfill his vows. The emperor, displeased, sent someone after Baochang. As punish ment for his offense, Baochang was banished to Yuezhou in the far south (in present-day

    Guangdong). Emperor Wu's reaction is understandable, considering that Baochang not only left his duties as abbot, but, more importantly, his departure would mean a delay in compiling the texts necessary for the protection of the empire. Baochang requested that the sengzheng

    is IE ("Rectifier of Monks"),22 Huichao J?in (?-526), adjudicate the case according to the

    17. The fact that Baochang was appointed as abbot by imperial edict suggests that during the reign of Emperor

    Wu, the Xin'an monastery was a state-sponsored monastery. On the various functions and designations of these

    state-sponsored monasteries (the so-called "Great Monasteries," dasi JK^f), see Antonio Forte, "Daji" ^=^ in

    H?b?girin: Dictionnaire encyclop?dique du bouddhisme d'apr?s les sources chinoises et japonaises, Sixi?me

    fascicule: Da?Daijizaiten (Paris: Adrien-Maisonneuve, 1983), 679-704.

    18. The "Three Jewels (Ch. sanbao H?f, Skt. triratna)" of Buddhism are the Buddha, the Dharma, and the

    Samgha. 19. These are the Four Deva-kings who guard the compass points of the Buddhist continent Jambudvipa. In

    the east is Dhrtar?stra (Zhiguo tian ?#H1^); in the south is Vimdhaka (Zengchang tian i^M^.)', in the west is

    Vir?p?ksa (Guangmu tian Ifl?l^:); and in the north, is Vaisravana (Duowen tian ^^^).

    20. T.2060.50: 426b28-c2.

    21. T.2060.50: 426c28-427a3.

    22. This title was given to the chief of the Buddhist hierarchy, appointed by the emperor. This term first appears

    during the Liang dynasty, and Huichao was the first to carry the title. See Antonino Forte, "Dais?j? ^cf^IE," in

    H?b?girin: Dictionnaire encyclop?dique du bouddhisme d'apr?s les sources chinoises et japonaises, v. 8: Daish?

    Kongo?Den'e (Paris: Adrien-Maisonneuve, 2003), 1043-70.

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  • De Rauw: Baochang 207

    "codex based on the vinaya."23 As demonstrated in the discussion between Emperor Wu and

    the monk Zhizang ^? (458-522), recorded in that monk's biography in the Xu Gaoseng

    zhuan,24 the emperor was trying to assert state control over the community of Buddhist

    monks and nuns by developing a form of state law, based on the vinaya rules (attaching

    punishments from secular law to the transgressions described in the vinaya) and by pro

    nouncing himself the "Great White-Clad Rectifier of Monks" (Baiyi sengzheng ?^filIE).25

    Zhizang, when asked for his opinion, severely criticized the monarch for these plans, after

    which the emperor abandoned them. The fact that Baochang actually requested to be sen

    tenced according to Emperor Wu's proposed laws, is perhaps another indication that he was

    more concerned with his relationship with the ruler than with the interests of the Buddhist

    monastic community as a whole. In spite of Baochang's display of submission to the em

    peror, Huichao confirmed the sentence of banishment, changing the location to Guangzhou

    (present-day Canton).26 Guangzhou was at the time a center of Buddhist activity in the south

    owing to its importance as a port of entry for foreign monks and merchants. So even though Huichao sent Baochang farther away than his previously decreed place of banishment, it is

    not certain whether Huichao wanted to make the punishment worse or not.

    Whatever Huichao's intention was, Baochang remained in Guangzhou for about four

    years, during which time he kept working on his collection of biographies. All the while,

    pressure was being placed on him officially to finish the project.27 Perhaps the reason he

    abandoned his post in the capital, namely the fulfilling of his two vows to search for texts

    and monks' biographies, was also his ticket to redemption. Was he told that since he departed in search of those works, he could only return upon completion of his collection? This is of

    course mere speculation. What is certain is that a request for pardon was addressed to the

    throne upon completion of his rough draft, and the emperor lifted the order of exile in 514.

    Soon after, Baochang's Mingseng zhuan was revised and prepared for publication in its

    definitive form.28

    From this moment onward Baochang would be back on the road to glory. When Sengshao {! ??, an otherwise unknown monk from the Anle ^^ monastery, was ordered to make a

    catalogue of Buddhist scriptures in 515, it did not meet the high standard expected of it;

    Baochang was ordered to step in and make it anew. This catalogue was well received and, as a result, Baochang was ordered to take charge of the Hualinyuan baoyun jingzang !p?^

    H?SMiil29 This was the private library where Emperor Wu stored his collection of

    23. T.2060.50: 427c 11. The phrase yi lu yifa W&??t? as it appears in the biography is difficult to interpret. In

    the biography of the monk Zhizang we read of a discussion that took place between Emperor Wu and Zhizang about

    whether to implement a set of laws for monks and nuns, based on the vinaya rules. There the expression yi Hi Ufa

    ifcWtLi^z "the codex that was established on the basis of the vinaya rules" is used (T.2060.50: 466b21). I therefore

    emend \)X to \L in this phrase in Baochang's biography. 24. T.2060.50: 466bl3-c22.

    25. The term baiyi ("white-clad," Skt. avad?tavasana) in general refers to a Buddhist lay believer. In China, the

    habit of wearing white clothes as a characteristic of Buddhist lay devotees was rather unusual. The symbolism of

    white clothes was sometimes related to prophecies about a future ruler. It is not clear whether Emperor Wu intended

    to use this symbolism for propaganda reasons, as later the Sui emperors would. On the symbolism of white clothing, see Hubert Seiwert, Popular Religious Movements and Heterodox Sects in Chinese History (Leiden: Brill, 2003), 153-57.

    26. The fact that Baochang was banished by Huichao in his appeal, a form of punishment that does not occur

    anywhere in the vinaya literature, but was a common punishment in secular law, shows us that at least for a little

    while (or perhaps just for this one particular case) Emperor Wu's "codex based on the vinaya" was in effect.

    27. T.2060.50: 427cl4-15.

    28. I will discuss the date of the Mingseng zhuan in greater detail below.

    29. T.2060.50: 426c21-25.

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  • 208 Journal of the American Oriental Society 125.2 (2005)

    Buddhist scriptures.30 Baochang thus became the emperor's personal librarian for Buddhist

    matters. This position included the responsibility to collect, catalogue, and safeguard the

    scriptures which were considered so crucial by the emperor. In the years following,

    Baochang also completed the other projects he had begun while he was abbot of the Xin'an


    Baochang's date of death is now known. However, certain facts help us to venture an

    educated guess. The great literary activity of Baochang after his return to the capital suddenly

    stops around 518.31 There are repeated references in his biography to serious illness.32 We

    may surmise that Baochang died not too long after a.D. 518.

    The fact that Baochang's biography is not included in Huijiao's Biographies of Eminent

    Monks does not mean, as Wright thought, that he must have died after the completion of this

    work, ca. a.D. 530.33 Rather this absence is to be seen in the light of Huijiao's feelings towards

    Baochang. Huijiao did not approve of Baochang's collection of biographies, because in his

    opinion it placed more emphasis on the fame of a monk than on one's moral virtues. He also

    deemed the structure of the work and the writing style sub-standard. Moreover, Huijiao had

    a thorough dislike of the metropolitan clergy, thinking them too involved in worldly matters

    and court politics. As we have seen above, Baochang was a prime example of such a monk.

    That might have been reason enough for Huijiao to exclude this "famous" figure from his

    collection of "eminent" monks. A century later, Daoxuan came to a different conclusion, and

    made a place for Baochang in his Further Biographies. In fact, he placed Baochang's biog

    raphy second in his collection.34 This suggests that Daoxuan considered Baochang's role in

    history to have been short-changed by Huijiao. A further indication of this is found in the

    biography of Baochang itself; after quoting from Baochang's preface to the Mingseng zhuan, Daoxuan notes the criticism of language and form?namely that the work is too verbose?

    but towards the end he stresses the merit of Baochang's work, saying:

    With regard to Baochang's compilation, it can be said that his literary composition exceeds his

    modest disposition. Proof of this is given by the fact that later authors examine and use it. That's

    why it is counted among the praiseworthy and important books of the time and is often listed [as

    a source].35

    If Baochang was considered to be a fame-chasing nobody by Huijiao, Daoxuan acknowl

    edged his literary achievements as sufficient to merit the distinction of "eminent" after all.

    Baochang thus remains the most (in)famous of eminent monks.

    30. The Hualin yuan, where Emperor Wu's Buddhist library was located, was situated in the northern outskirts

    of the capital, in what had originally been a hunting-park of the rulers of Wu. This park was also the site where

    Emperor Wu established the Tongtai |fJ3? monastery in 527, which thereafter became the focus of his Buddhist


    31. For an overview of Baochang's literary achievements, see below.

    32. In his biography, two periods of prolonged illness are recorded. Near the end of the Qi dynasty, he suffered

    from a "wind-disease" for a period of five years (T.2060.50: 426b25; on "wind-disease" see Liu Yanchi, The Essen

    tial Book of Traditional Chinese Medicine, volume I: Theory [New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1988], 144-46).

    Later, he suffered greatly from beriberi and had to leave his post as abbot to seek a remedy for his illness (T.2060.50:

    427cl0). 33. Wright, "Biography and Hagiography," 400.

    34. Baochang's biography is second in the category "translators" (yijing If II), which is the first of the ten cate

    gories into which Daoxuan's collection is divided, and which, along together with the second category ("exegetes,"

    yijie MM), is considered to be the most important. 35. T.2060.50: 427cl9.

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  • De Rauw: Baochang 209


    Since Baochang's biography is included in the category "translators," it is not surprising that Daoxuan emphasized Baochang's literary achievements when compiling his biography.

    The following are mentioned by title in this biography as writings of Baochang's own hand:

    (1) Xu Falun lun H?i?jtf? (Further Treatise on the Dharma Wheel, not extant)36 (2) Fa ji ffiH (Dharma Collection; not extant).37 (3) (Liangdai) Zhongjing mulu (W??X)W& B?t ([Liang dynasty] Catalogue of [Buddhist]

    Scriptures; not extant).38

    (4) Jingl? yixiang S?HIfi? (Different Forms of S?tra and Vinaya; extant, T.2121).39 (5) Zhongjing fangong shengseng fa M&?&?^W?Eli (Manual for Offering Food to

    Sagacious Monks [according to] the Scriptures; not extant).

    (6) Mingseng zhuan ^{^?i$- (Biographies of Famous Monks; not extant).40

    Five other works are described but are not mentioned by title in Baochang's biography. By

    comparing these descriptions41 with the titles attributed to Baochang in later Buddhist cata

    logues, it is possible to supply the likely titles:

    (7) Zhongjing yonghu guotu zhu longwang ming lu MMMW?Hilf flzE^?iS (Catalogue of Names of all the Water Spirits who Protect the Empire [as identified in] the Scriptures; not extant).

    (8) Zhongjing hu guo guishen ming lu MtSHA???r?t (Catalogue of Names of Demons and Spirits who Protect the Empire [as identified in] the Scriptures; not extant).

    (9) Zhongjing zhu faming tKMS? ?#?? (Names of the Several Buddhas [as they appear] in the

    Scriptures; not extant).

    (10) Zhongjing chanhui miezuifa ^MtlHSSfiife (Manual for Confession and Eradication

    of Sin; not extant).42

    (11) Chuyao l?yi t?JiK?MIi (Essentials of the Vinaya Rules; not extant).43

    36. There is no mention of this work in any Buddhist or non-Buddhist catalogue. According to the biography,

    Baochang departed on a short missionary journey through the eastern regions of the Liang empire in order to discuss

    Buddhist principles with Daoists and laymen. He is said to have recorded the broad outlines of these debates in this

    book (T.2060.50: 426cl6-18). 37. The Faji is not mentioned in any Buddhist catalogue as the work of Baochang. However, the early Tang

    bibliographic monograph included in Suishu ?ffHf (Beijing: Zhonghua, 1973), 35.1089 mentions a Faji in 107

    scrolls as the work of Baochang. 38. This is Baochang's remake of Sengshao's Hualinfodian zhongjing mulu Ip^^A^M gf^ (not extant).

    It listed 1433 titles with a total of 3741 scrolls (T.2149.55: 337M4-16). The Lidai sanbaoji MftH?lB (Record

    of the Three Treasures throughout History, compiled by Fei Changfang ff^H in 597) describes the structure of

    Baochang's catalogue (T.2034.49: 126b6-26). 39. This work is an anthology drawn from the scriptures. This and the Biqiuni zhuan are the only two complete

    works of Baochang that are extant.

    40. Only fragments of the Mingseng zhuan are preserved (see n. 1 above). 41. T.2060.50: 426b20 and 426c3-4.

    42. These four books might first have been part of a much larger compilation. In Baochang's biography we read:

    "[the emperor] ordered [Bao]chang to summarily compile a collection of records in order to determine the priorities of the time, [namely,] establishing good fortune and warding off disaster, [fulfilling] Buddhist rituals of confession

    and removal of obstacles [in the path to enlightenment], [executing] sacrificial offerings to spirits and demons, and

    [making] sacrificial offerings to longwang, the gods of rain and water. The book was divided into sections and

    counted close to one hundred scrolls" (T.2060.50: 426c3-4). This compilation probably did not survive as a whole

    in Daoxuan's time, but certain chapters from it seem to have been preserved as separate books. Titles 7 to 9 in our

    list are catalogues of the names of water spirits, demons and ghosts, and buddhas, respectively, as they are mentioned

    in the scriptures. These catalogues probably also contained directions for sacrifices, magical spells, and prayers

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  • 210 Journal of the American Oriental Society 125.2 (2005)

    If we compare these eleven titles with the more extensive listings attributed to Baochang in the Da Tang neidian lu g^Ail (Great Tang Dynasty Catalogue of Buddhist Scrip tures, compiled by Daoxuan in 664),44 the Fayuan zhulin T???^# (Forest of Gems in the

    Garden of the Law, compiled by Daoshi Hit? in 668),45 and the Lidai sanbaoji, we find that

    all titles noted or described in the biography are listed in these three catalogues, with the ex

    ception of the Faji and the Xufalun lun.46 It seems safe to credit these works as written by

    Baochang. However, it is difficult to determine for individual works the exact date of com

    pletion, for on this the sources often disagree.

    Chuyao l?yi is almost certainly the earliest of the works listed. No date is given in the Da

    Tang neidian lu, but according to the biography, it was written during Baochang's stay in the

    Zhuangyan $?flfc monastery, when he was a student of Sengyou. Therefore it probably dates no earlier than 483 (the year he left family life to become Sengyou's disciple) and no later

    than 495 (the year his father died and he left the capital). All the other eight works attributed

    in Da Tang neidian lu to Baochang (with the exception of the Mingseng zhuan, which will

    be examined in more detail below) are dated in that catalogue to the period 516 to 518.47 It

    seems strange that Baochang would have written nearly all of his books in a span of less than

    three years; looking deeper into the matter, we find that these dates are in conflict with those

    in the biography. If we take, for instance, Baochang's catalogue of Buddhist scriptures? the (Liangdai) Zhongjing mulu (also called Baochang lu)?we see from the biography that

    Sengshao was ordered to compile his Hualin fodian jingmu lp#{|?if?i;fg[Ej m 515. When

    this catalogue proved to be substandard, Baochang was ordered to make it anew. According to

    all our sources, this happened in the year 518.48 This date is further corroborated by an entry in the Lidai sanbaoji, stating that: "the Zhongjing chanhui miezuifa [was written] in 517, see Baochang lu"49 In other words, if the Zhongjing chanhui miezuifa is mentioned in the

    Baochang lu, the latter must be of a later date than the former. However, there is a problem. In the biography it is said that Baochang was ordered to take charge of the imperial Buddhist

    library upon completion of his catalogue and "following this, he was ordered to compile the

    Jingl? yixiang and the Fan shengshenfa"50 The chronology in the biography seems to dictate

    associated with each divinity, used to implore their protection. Title no. 10 is a manual of Buddhist rites of con

    fession and contrition. It seems that Emperor Wu had great interest in this subject, for he also commissioned the com

    pilation of other confessional manuals. See especially Kuo Li-ying, Confessions et contrition dans le bouddhisme

    chinois du Ve au Xe si?cle (Paris: ?cole fran?aise d'Extr?me-Orient, 1994).

    43. Judging from the title of this work and from comments in the biography, one can speculate that this con

    tained extracts of the sayings of Baochang's master Sengyou concerning vinaya matters.

    44. T.2149.55: 266b29-cl7.

    45. T.2122.53: 1021b26-c7.

    46. Lidai sanbao ji lists only eight of the nine works mentioned in Da Tang neidian lu and Fayuan zhulin as

    writings of Baochang; it does not mention the Chuyao liiyi (T.2034.49: 99b5-21).

    47. The Da Tang neidian lu says of five works (nos. 3, 4, 5, 8, 9) that they were compiled in 516, and of one

    work (no. 7) that it was compiled in 517. The Fayuan zhulin offers only one date: no. 9 was supposedly published in

    517. The Lidai sanbao ji says of three works (nos. 4, 5, 8) that they were compiled in 516, of three others (nos. 7,

    9, 10) that they were compiled in 517, and of one (no. 3) that it was written in 518.

    48. Lidai sanbaoji (T.2034.49: 45a9, 99b8, 126b); Da Tang neidian lu (T.2149.55: 266c3 gives the year 516,

    but changes this date to 518 on 33lcl and 337bl); Kaiyuan shijiao lu jcW^?M (compiled by Zhisheng @# in

    730; T.2154.55: 573c-574a); and Zhenyuan xinding shijiao mulu ?t7G?T/?^PI& @? (compiled by Yuanzhao [UPS

    in800);T.2157.55: 898al0).

    49. T.2034.49: 99bl2.

    50. T.2060.50: 426c26.

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  • De Rauw: Baochang 211

    that these two texts were written after Baochang completed his catalogue. However, the Da

    Tang neidian lu51 and Lidai sanbaoji51 claim that these books were compiled in 516, which

    would place them before the completion of the catalogue. Here we may remark that the Lidai sanbao ji is notoriously unreliable as to dates, but

    many later catalogues often took over its faulty data.53 The fact that Daoxuan changed quite a few of the dates given in the Lidai sanbao ji (though he must have consulted this cata

    logue to aid him in the compilation of his) is an indication that even he did not completely trust the dates provided by its author, Fei Changfang. Unfortunately, Daoxuan himself also

    gives us two conflicting dates for the completion of Baochang's catalogue within his own

    catalogue.54 It is now almost impossible to prove conclusively which chronology of events

    is the correct one.

    The preface to the Jinglii yixiang explicitly says that in 516 Baochang was ordered to

    render assistance to the project that had been started in 508 by Sengmin #1 JI (467-527).55 The biography says that this order came after Baochang had made his catalogue,56 hence the

    catalogue would have been compiled around the end of 515 or the beginning of 516. This

    is not unlikely, since Baochang already had the source material from Sengshao and merely had to rearrange and expand it in places, something which he could have done in about a

    year, rather than taking three years to do so, as would be the case if he had finished it in 518 as the Lidai sanbao ji claims.57

    Of the literary works discussed in the biography, most attention is given to the Mingseng zhuan, no doubt considered by Daoxuan to be Baochang's masterpiece. It is not within the

    scope of this article to provide a detailed discussion of the Biographies of Famous Monks

    and its relationship with Huijiao's Biographies of Eminent Monks. Several studies on this

    theme already exist.58 However, based on the information provided by the Baochang biog

    raphy, I shall make some remarks about the dating of the Mingseng zhuan and its relation to the Chu sanzang jiji [i?EliifB?fl (Collection of Records Concerning the Translation of the Tripitaka, compiled by Sengyou ca. 515). I will then shift the focus to the Biqiuni zhuan. Authorship of these Biographies of Nuns is, in the literature, invariably attributed to

    Baochang with no question mark. Yet, this biographical collection is not mentioned in Bao

    chang's biography. Looking farther, the problems only increase: the Biographies of Nuns is not mentioned in any catalogue (Buddhist or non-Buddhist) until the eighth century, and when we compare it to the Biographies of Famous Monks, it shows some striking differ ences. Using Baochang's biography and the entries in Buddhist catalogues, and official his torical writings as a starting point, I shall try to formulate a possible explanation for these


    51. T.2149.55: 266b29-c2 and 331b25-b28.

    52. T. 2034.49: 45a7 and 99b 5-67.

    53. K?gen Mizuno, Buddhist Sutras: Origin, Development, Transmission (Tokyo: K?sei Publishing Co., 1982), 104-6.

    54. On page 266c3 he says that the Baochang catalogue was compiled in 516 (which would fit better with the

    chronology given in the Baochang biography), but on page 337b 15 he gives the date of 518.

    55. T.2121.53: la5-26.

    56. T.2060.50: 426c22-26.

    57. Subsequent catalogues such as the Da Tang neidian lu, Kaiyuan shijiao lu (T.2154.55: 573c8), and Zhenyuan

    xinding shijiao mulu (T.2157.55: 898al0) merely perpetuate this mistake.

    58. See Wright, "Biography and Hagiography"; Makita Tair?, "Kosoden no seiritsu (jo)," T?h?gakuh? 44

    (1973): 101-25 and "Kosoden no seiritsu (ge)," T?h?gakuh? 48 (1975): 229-59; Shinohara, "Two Sources of

    Chinese Buddhist biographies," 119-228, and "Biographies of Eminent Monks in a Comparative Perspective: The

    Function of the Holy in Medieval Chinese Buddhism," Zhonghua foxue xuebao (4=J^f$Jpl|l$g 7 (1994): 479-98.

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  • 212 Journal of the American Oriental Society 125.2 (2005)


    In attempting to shed light on the possible date of compilation of the Mingseng zhuan, we

    may begin by examining the data provided by bibliographical and historical works:

    The Zhongjing mulu 3?M gift (compiled by Fajing 1?M. in 594)59 is the earliest extant cata

    logue to mention the Mingseng zhuan, in 30 scrolls, compiled by Baochang.60 No date is given for the text.

    The Lidai sanbaoji (compiled by Fei Changfang in 597) lists the Mingseng zhuan in 31 scrolls,

    compiled by Baochang in 519.61

    The Kaiyuan shijiao lu (compiled by Zhisheng in 730) mentions in passing the Mingseng zhuan of Baochang, but provides no details, since it "has not been included in the canon."62

    The Shishi jigul?e SftftS"B? (compiled in the Yuan dynasty by Jue'an ji#) says that Bao

    chang was ordered to compile the Mingseng zhuan in 81 scrolls in 510.63

    The Mingseng zhuan is also mentioned three times in the official histories, but no year of

    compilation is given.64 Only two dates are given with regard to the Mingseng zhuan, and these do not con

    cur.65 We have no choice but to turn to the Baochang biography for further clues.

    Arthur Wright, in his study of Huijiao's Lives of Eminent Monks, reconstructed the timeline

    of the compilation of the Mingseng zhuan as follows: "The Mingseng chuan was begun on

    59. For the dates of compilation of the catalogues, see Mizuno, Buddhist Sutras, 187-206; also Jean-Pierre

    Dr?ge, Les biblioth?ques en Chine au temps des manuscrits (jusqu'au Xe si?cle) (Paris: ?cole fran?aise d'Extr?me

    Orient, 1991), 181.

    60. T.2146:55; 146b7.

    61. T.2034.49: 45al0: gives the number of scrolls as 31 and the year of completion as 519. On p. 99b6 no date

    is given. As noted earlier, the Lidai sanbaoji is often unreliable as to dates. Although Fei Changfang would have had

    little reason to falsify the date of the Mingseng zhuan, it is curious that only he gives a date of compilation for it,

    while later catalogues do not repeat the date he assigned to it. For a detailed discussion of the criticism on Lidai

    sanbaoji, see Kyoko Tokuno, "The Evaluation of Indigenous Scriptures in Chinese Buddhist Bibliographical Cata

    logues," in Chinese Buddhist Apocrypha, ed. Robert E. Buswell (Honolulu: Univ. of Hawai'i Press, 1990, pp. 31

    74), 43-47.

    62. T.2154.55: 537c27-538a8. Only the Jingl? yixiang and Biqiuni zhuan are given official entries in this cata

    logue. A note adds that "The catalogue of Fang (i.e., the Lidai sanbao ji) also has the Mingseng zhuan and other

    books, seven in total. Since they were not included into the canon, these are not discussed here." The Kaiyuan shijao lu is generally regarded as the most important bibliographical catalogue, since it served as the basis for the forma

    tion of the Tang canon. The register of canonical texts (ru zang lu A?E? "Register [of scriptures] entered into the

    canon"), contained in the last two scrolls of this catalogue, became the standard list of what was considered to be the

    only true canon of Buddhist scriptures in China. Texts proscribed from the canon dropped from circulation and often

    were lost over time. See Tokuno, "The Evaluation of Indigenous Scriptures in Chinese Buddhist Bibliographical

    Catalogues," 32, 52-53.

    63. T.2037.49: 795a27. The "81" scrolls is probably an error for "31." Later in this catalogue (796c3), it is

    mentioned that Pei Ziye H^lp (467-528) wrote a Mingseng zhuan in 20 scrolls in 519; but this is an error.

    Daoxuan made a similar error in Huijao's biography in his Xu Gaoseng zhuan (T.2060.50: 471b28) and in his Ji

    shenzhou sanbao gantong lu fWIHJf^iO?i (T.2106.52: 431a22), saying that Pei Ziye wrote a Gaoseng zhuan.

    Wright, "Biography and Hagiography," 414, already pointed out that Pei's work was the Zhongseng zhuan j?j^fifil

    (Biographies of monks), in 20 scrolls.

    64. Suishu 33.978; Jiu Tangshu Wlflf (Beijing: Zhonghua, 1974), 46.2005; Xin Tangshu frJflt (Beijing:

    Zhonghua, 1974), 59.1525.

    65. In fact, the Shishi jiguliie gives only the year in which Baochang was supposedly ordered to start working on the Mingseng zhuan, without providing a date of completion. The biography of Baochang does not say that he

    was "ordered" to make his biographical collection.

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  • De Rauw: Baochang 213

    the basis of a vow taken in 510, its material was first organized in 514, and it was completed in 519."66 The first two dates can be found in the biography; the last date is adopted from the

    Lidai sanbaoji. As we have seen, no later catalogue accepts the completion date given by Fei


    Based on a further reading of the biography, I suggest that the Mingseng zhuan was

    written between 510 and 514, and published in 515. In Baochang's biography Daoxuan de

    scribes how

    On the day [the Mingseng zhuan] was due, the emperor gave the order to end Baochang's

    banishment, following a memorandum presented to the throne. . . . After this, his history of

    monks was soon emended and [published in its] definitive edition.67

    It seems improbable that Baochang would take four years to write his biographical collection, but five years to emend it, as would be the case if it was published in 519, as Wright states.

    In an excerpt from the preface to the Mingseng zhuan, which is preserved in Baochang's

    biography, we read:

    [Sengyou's] writing of the Collected Records6* exerted a great influence on me. However, I,

    Baochang, am not [as] diligent [as he is] and when preparing the categories [for the Mingseng

    zhuan], two had to be dropped out. On the days that I'm not attending to ritual or reciting [from

    the scriptures] I will complete what has been omitted.69

    From this statement we can draw two interesting conclusions: (1) the Chu sanzangjiji, which

    Baochang calls "Collected Records," had already been published by the time Baochang wrote his preface; and (2) Baochang intended to revise and expand his collection in his spare time.

    What does this tell us about the Mingseng zhuan's date of completion? From the first

    quote, we know that it was published shortly after the lifting of Baochang's ban in 514. The second quote tells us that the Chu sanzangjiji had already been published when Baochang

    wrote his preface, or that Baochang at least knew that Sengyou had finished it and planned to publish it at about the same time as his own Mingseng zhuan was due to appear. Since we

    know that the Chu sanzangjiji was published for the first time in 515,70 and the Mingseng zhuan was said to have been published shortly after the end of Baochang's banishment in

    514, the latter most likely can be dated to 515. The sentence in which Baochang claims to have been greatly inspired by the Chu sanzang

    jiji must be taken with a grain of salt. It is to be seen mainly as homage to Sengyou. That

    66. See Wright, "Biography and Hagiography," 409.

    67. T.2060.50: 427cl6-17.

    68. I believe this jiji Mt? to be the inverted expression of jiji iB?H, short for Chusanzang jiji Hj^?rB?I Daoxuan also makes this inversion in his Da Tang neidian lu, rendering the title as HjHlBc?lB (T.2149.55: 221a4,

    235c22, 243a20, 265a7, 265b25, 331b4, 337a21). 69. T.2060.50: 427c7-9.

    70. Some prudently say that it was compiled between 510 and 518 (Wright, "Biography and Hagiography," 421; and Mizuno, Buddhist Sutras, 190). Others point out that it was first published in 515, and later revised

    (perhaps several times) by Sengyou up until his death in 518 (Z?rcher, Buddhist Conquest of China, 10; and

    Tokuno, "The Evaluation of Indigenous Scriptures," 35, 64 n. 20). In the Da Tang neidian lu we read that when

    Sengshao was ordered to make his Hualin fodian zhongjing mulu in 515 he merely rehashed Sengyou's Chu san

    zangjiji (T.2149.55: 266b25). All of this suggests that in 515 a first edition of the Chu sanzangjiji was already in


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  • 214 Journal of the American Oriental Society 125.2 (2005)

    is not to say that Baochang wasn't impressed by his master's accomplishment,71 but he did not take the Chu sanzang jiji (which contains thirty-two biographies of monks towards the

    end) as a model or basis for his own collection. If we compare the biographies of monks in

    cluded in both Chu sanzang jiji and Mingseng zhuan, we see that these are at places quite different.72 Moreover, only twenty-seven of the thirty-two monks whose biographies were

    included in the Chu sanzang jiji are given a biography in the Mingseng zhuan. Although

    Wright finds this surprising, his reasoning is based on the wrongful assumption that Baochang wanted to continue and expand Sengyou's work.73 However, the fact that Baochang included

    only twenty-seven of these monks in his collection, together with the differences that are

    evident between these two works, shows that Baochang did not use the Chu sanzang jiji as a reference, but simply had access to and used some of the same sources for his biogra

    phies as Sengyou. In other words, Baochang and Sengyou worked on their collections at

    the same time, but independently of each other.

    One more thing needs to be addressed in relation to the date of the Mingseng zhuan. This is the inclusion of Sengyou's biography in it. In order to substantiate his claim that the

    Mingseng zhuan was completed in 519, Arthur Wright pointed to the fact that a biography of Sengyou is included in the Mingseng zhuan,14 and that since Sengyou died in 518, the

    Mingseng zhuan must have been completed after this date.75 However, as we have seen from

    the extract from the preface to the Mingseng zhuan, Baochang intended to revise and expand

    71. Huijiao was apparently less impressed by Sengyou's degree of involvement in the production of the Chu

    sanzangjiji, for he did not regard him as its "author" in the full sense of the word. In Sengyou's biography in the

    Gaoseng zhuan we read that "[Sengyou] had the important items copied and then made it into the sanzang ji"

    (T.2059.50: 402c). See Wright, "Biography and Hagiography," 421 n. 7. In Ming times Sengyou's authorship of the

    Chu sanzangjiji was questioned by some who saw in it the work of Liu Xie HJ? (ca. 465-522), famous author of

    the Wenxin diaolong ^C^L^?fl. Modern scholars such as Rao Zongyi ?^^kI?Ji ("Lun Sengyou I??hI?? "

    Zhongguo wenhua yanjiusuo xuebao ^S^lb?f?^^/fllfll 37 (1997): 405-16) and Su Jinren HH{H (in his annotated edition

    of the Chusanzang jiji [Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1995]) have since reaffirmed Sengyou as the genuine author.

    72. We need to be careful when comparing biographies from these two collections, because the Meis?den sh?

    is only a selective and fragmentary copy of the Mingseng zhuan. However, the biography of Gunabhadra (Qiu nabatuoluo ^ i? lie?t: li, lived 394-468), which is the very first biography in the Meis?den sh? appears to be quite

    complete. His biography is also included in the Chu sanzangjiji (T.2145.55: 105bl7-106b21). Both versions count

    a little over 1500 characters. However, it is clear at the beginning that the versions differ in wording and also in the

    details provided. Thus, the Mingseng zhuan version omits the entire passage ^A^^?^t?^liSf^Iftl ? ^HHP1!fit

    (T.2145.55: 105M8-19) and rephrases the sentence ?frf?B^tf ft (b.19) to 4M? SH^ (XZJ.134.10b5). The Ming

    seng zhuan version also often provides more details with regard to the monasteries where Gunabhadra resided, the

    precise time at which an event in his life occurred, and the number of scrolls to a given translation. For example, the Mingseng zhuan version says that "in the [beginning of spring of the] twelfth year of Yuanjia (435) Gunabhadra

    arrived in Guangzhou [where he stayed for a while and founded a monastery on Mount Yunfeng, which he named

    after the mountain]" 7cK+i:^[#i&]S??'N ? ]MU^]i\tL^X]\\^^\ (XZJ.134.10bl3). The bracketed details are not included in the Chu sanzangjiji version (T.2145.55: 105c6). Although other biographies, like those

    of Dao'an M% (XZJ.134.12bl0-13b5; T.2145.55: 108al-109b9) and Dharmamitra (Tanmomiduo U0|t#, lived

    356-442: XZJ.134.19a6-16; T.2145.55: 105al-bl6) appear to have been copied only in part in the Mingseng zhuan,

    similar differences are evident. The differences between three versions of the biography of Dharmamitra in the Chu

    sanzangjiji, Mingseng zhuan, and Gaoseng zhuan (T.2059.50: 342c-343a) have been analyzed by Yamabe Nobu

    yoshi [ll^litbJL "The S?tra on the Ocean-like Sam?dhi of the Vizualisation of the Buddha: The Interfusion of the

    Chinese and Indian Cultures in Central Asia as Reflected in a Fifth Century Apocryphal Sutra" (Ph.D. diss., Yale

    University, 1999), 48-49.

    73. Wright, "Biography and Hagiography," 421-22.

    74. The table of contents, preserved in the Meis?den sh?, has the following entry under the category of "vinaya

    masters": WP^L^f??? (XZJ.134.6a3).

    75. Wright, "Biography and Hagiography," 409 n. 2.

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  • De Rauw: Baochang 215

    his biographical collection after it was first published around 515.76 In that light, it is entirely

    possible that Baochang included a biography of his revered master Sengyou in a later, revised

    edition of the Mingseng zhuan, which would have been published sometime after 518.77 It is

    tempting to link this possible revised edition to the date given in the Lidai sanbaoji and claim

    that it came out in 519, but there is no other evidence to support this.


    Let us now turn to the Biqiuni zhuan.7S In the literature, Baochang is always credited with

    authorship of this collection of nuns' biographies, though the date of completion attached to

    it may differ.79 It is odd, however, that the Biqiuni zhuan is not mentioned in the biography of Baochang, which focuses quite strongly on his literary achievements. Did Daoxuan simply

    forget to include mention of this work in Baochang's biography? No, because also in his cata

    logue of 664 Daoxuan does not list the Biqiuni zhuan. It would appear that Daoxuan simply was unaware of this work's existence, which raises some questions about the authorship and

    date of the Biographies of Nuns.

    The first catalogue to mention the Biqiuni zhuan is Zhisheng's Kaiyuan shijiao lu (com

    piled in 730), which means that more than two centuries had passed since the time the Biqiuni zhuan was supposedly written and the time it was first listed in a catalogue of Buddhist scrip tures. Zhisheng identifies Baochang as the author of the Biqiuni zhuan and in two places

    makes the remark that it was "a new entry into the catalogues and the canon" (|ff|f A?/

    IS).80 He also lists the Biqiuni zhuan in his register of works that were included in the canon (A??X at tne end of his catalogue.81 From these entries it is clear that Zhisheng assumed he was the first to enter the Biqiuni zhuan into the catalogues, and he forthwith awarded it canonical status. By the time the Kaiyuan shijiao lu was compiled, a shift had

    already taken place from private initiative in translating Buddhist scriptures and compiling catalogues to imperial court sponsorship. Sengyou's Chu sanzangjiji appears to have been the last bibliography compiled on a private basis. The subsequent catalogues (those of Sheng shao and Baochang) were imperially ordered and even contain descriptions of the palace col lection of Buddhist scriptures.82 This shift was completed in the Sui, after which almost all translators or cataloguers worked under direct court sponsorship and, inevitably, supervision.

    76. See n. 69 above.

    77. Another possibility is that there is simply a confusion of names here, and that the Sengyou included in

    the Mingseng zhuan is not Baochang's master, who wrote the Chu sanzangjiji and Hongming ji f^H^JH, but some

    other monk who carried the same name. This is suggested by the fact that Sengyou's biography in the Gaoseng zhuan identifies him as a (Liang-dynasty) monk of the Jianchu H$J monastery (T.2059.50: 421c3), while the table

    of contents of the Mingseng zhuan identifies Sengyou as a (Qi-dynasty) monk from the Xianxin |^j;j> monastery.

    Although Baochang's master may be identified as either a Qi or Liang-dynasty monk, I have not found any reference to his stay at the Xianxin monastery in other sources.

    78. Among studies on the Biographies of Nuns in which its historical context and sources are discussed, see

    Kathryn Ann Tsai, Lives of the Nuns: Biographies of Chinese Buddhist Nuns from the Fourth to Sixth Centuries

    (Honolulu: Univ. of Hawai'i Press, 1994), and Wu Jifei ?^p, "Biqiuni zhuan yanjiu (> $f%"

    Faguang xuetan &3fe?:? 4 (2000): 105-23.

    79. Tsai places the date of completion "between 516 and 519," while Wu Jifei places it around 520.

    80. T.2154.55: 538al and 625a25 respectively. The Biqiuni zhuan is listed four times in the Kaiyuan shijiao lu, which has to do with the specific structure of the catalogue (see Dr?ge, Les biblioth?ques en Chine au temps des

    manuscrits, 185-86). 81. T.2154.55: 697c23 and 722c26.

    82. Erik Z?rcher, "Perspectives in the Study of Chinese Buddhism," Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 1982.2: 163.

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  • 216 Journal of the American Oriental Society 125.2 (2005)

    This shift was largely the result of the growing number of Buddhist apocrypha during the

    Northern and Southern Dynasties.83 "Official" collections of canonical works were produced to counter the rise of spurious texts, and any text was thoroughly scrutinized before it was

    "entered into the canon" (ruzang). In such a context the fate of both the Mingseng zhuan and Biqiuni zhuan becomes clearer. In the Kaiyuan shijiao lu we see that at the same time

    when the Biqiuni zhuan is first entered into the Buddhist catalogues, the Mingseng zhuan ceases to be listed officially and is only mentioned in the margins as one of Baochang's seven other writings. At first the Mingseng zhuan was a widespread and much used biograph ical collection,84 but when the Kaiyuan shijiao lu was compiled in 730, Baochang's com

    pilations were subjected to the scrutiny of Zhisheng and, for whatever reason, the

    Mingseng zhuan did not make the cut.85 Since this catalogue was essentially the basis for

    later printings of the canon, the Mingseng zhuan (which was excluded from the canon and

    thus not printed) was doomed to become nothing more than a footnote of history. On the

    other hand, the Biqiuni zhuan, though not listed in any catalogue until the early eighth cen

    tury, was more fortunate, as it survives to this day.

    The Biqiuni zhuan is mentioned in other Buddhist and non-Buddhist works,86 but of those

    only the Shishi jigulue mentions a year of completion for the Biographies of Nuns, namely 517.87 However, the Shishi jigul?e was compiled in the fourteenth century, and it is not clear

    where the author derived his information, eight centuries after the fact. The only thing we can

    say for certain with relation to the date of the Biqiuni zhuan is that the last event mentioned

    in it took place in 516.88 The completed version probably dates from shortly after that time.89

    Although we can determine a terminus post quern for the Biqiuni zhuan, its authorship remains a matter of doubt. Comparison of the Mingseng zhuan and Biqiuni zhuan may shed some light on this question. We are a bit handicapped in making this comparison because

    only fragments of the Mingseng zhuan have survived in the Meis?den sh?, but some differ

    ences between the two collections are apparent nonetheless. First, the scope of the Mingseng

    83. For more on apocrypha and the function of catalogues with regards to canonization, see Tokuno, "The

    Evaluation of Indigenous Scriptures," and Mizuno, Buddhist Sutras, 111-28. For the relationship between Buddhist

    apocrypha and political issues, see Z?rcher, "Perspectives in the Study of Chinese Buddhism," and Mark E. Lewis, "The Suppression of the Three Stages Sect: Apocrypha as a Political Issue," in Chinese Buddhist Apocrypha, 207-38.

    84. Despite Huijiao's claims that the Mingseng zhuan was not up to standard, it was widely used as a source for

    monks' biographies (as Daoxuan himself says at the end of his biography of Baochang) and was therefore included

    in Fajing's Zhongjing mulu, the earliest catalogue published after the Sui reunification of the country. 85. Perhaps at this point Zhisheng took Huijiao's criticism to heart and, pressed to weed out unnecessary works,

    opted to include the Gaoseng zhuan but not the Mingseng zhuan. However, he still deemed it worthy of mention in

    his entry on the Biqiuni zhuan. Not all of Baochang's compilations were so lucky. None of his other writings, with the

    exception of the Jinglii yixiang, were included or mentioned in Zhisheng's catalogue. This might have been owing to the composite nature of Baochang's writings. Most were collections of passages taken from a range of scriptures.

    86. T.2155.55: 746b6; T.2157.55: 836a7, 959b2, 1015M1, and 1046a24; T.2128.54: 925cl7, 931al8-c24; Jiu

    Tangshu 46.2005; Xin Tangshu 59.1525; Songshi 205.5185. Suishu 33.979 mentions a Ni zhuan /Effli in 2 scrolls,

    compiled by Huijiao. If the ni in this title is short for biqiuni, this might be seen as the earliest such entry in any

    catalogue. One might even imagine that Huijiao wrote a Ni zhuan in 2 scrolls, and Baochang later expanded it and

    called it his. However, I have found no reference to a M zhuan in 2 scrolls elsewhere in the catalogues, nor is there

    any hint of it in Huijiao's biography in the Xu Gaoseng zhuan.

    87. T.2037.49: 796b3. We are also told here that "Huichang translated the Biqiuni zhuan in 6 scrolls" ^p*|^

    If ?fcJxJbfl?/\# (782a26), but this is a mistake. Huichang was a monk from the north of China who lived during the fourth century. Together with Dharmajit (Tanmoshi) fiHSfS and Zhu Fonian ^ifj^ he translated the Biqiuni

    jie j:f:?i:/b#% (Rules for Nuns) in Chang'an around 368.

    88. Namely, the death of Shi Faxuan f#??1?, the last nun included in the collection.

    89. If not, we would expect it to contain at least some material from a later date.

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  • De Rauw: Baochang 217

    zhuan is much larger than that of the Biqiuni zhuan. The Mingseng zhuan counts 425 biog raphies, while the Biqiuni zhuan has only sixty-five. Of course this owes something to the fact that nuns were generally not as active publicly as monks. Not only is the number of monks'

    biographies greater, but the time-frame is also greater: Mingseng zhuan includes individuals from the Han, Wu, Jin, Northern Qin, Northern Zhao, Northern Wei, Liu Song, and Southern

    Qi dynasties.90 The contemporary Liang dynasty is not represented, or to be more precise, no monk is attached to it. Biqiuni zhuan covers only the four dynasties of Eastern Jin, Song, Southern Qi, and (contrary to the Mingseng zhuan) Liang. It is notable that the Mingseng zhuan includes biographies of monks from three northern dynasties, while the Biqiuni zhuan

    only includes biographies of nuns from the southern dynasties. Second, if we take a closer look at the structure of both compilations, we see that in the

    Mingseng zhuan the biographies are organized in eighteen categories according to the main

    activity of the monk,91 while in Biqiuni zhuan the biographies are divided according to the

    dynasty in which the nuns in question were most active. In the preface to the Biqiuni zhuan,

    examples are given of specific qualities or activities of certain nuns, which seems to divide them into categories like the Mingseng zhuan does with monks.92 If indeed Baochang is the author of the Biqiuni zhuan, why then did he not continue in this line when organizing his collection of nuns' biographies? And why does the preface not refer to the Mingseng zhuan?

    A third and final difference between the collections is the presence of the "comment" or

    lun m at the end of chapters. In the Meis?den sh? one such lun is preserved,93 which

    suggests that the lun was an integrated element of this collection, in imitation of Chinese

    historiographical tradition. In the Biqiuni zhuan we find no lun dit all. What we can say about the Biqiuni zhuan so far is the following. (1) It is not mentioned in

    Baochang's biography. (2) It was not entered into catalogues until the beginning of the eighth century, about two centuries after it was supposed to have been written. (3) Its structure and

    scope appear to be quite different from those of the Mingseng zhuan. In light of this, it seems no longer tenable to ascribe authorship of the Biqiuni zhuan to Baochang. It is more likely that someone else (perhaps an inspired disciple of Baochang?) wrote the Biqiuni zhuan, but interest in it was at first rather marginal and it had only a very limited diffusion, eventually almost disappearing from sight.94 That is, until an anonymous copy (or perhaps fragments)

    90. Monks from the Han, Wu, Northern Qin, Northern Zhao, and Northern Wei are a comparatively small group, with four, one, eighteen, two, and nine biographies respectively. But still, they are represented in the collection, which means that Baochang did want to commemorate them.

    91. These eighteen categories, which Huijiao would later condense into ten, identify the monks according to

    their principal activity and origin. For example, there are (foreign or Chinese) dharma masters, vinaya masters, meditation masters, etc. There is some question, however, if the table of contents as copied by ShOsh? is fully re

    liable. To Wright the eighteen categories seemed a bit overlapping and unwieldy ("Biography and Hagiography," 410). Yamanouchi Shinky? (liF*9#$!P thought that the headings in the Meis?den sh? might represent six major categories and twelve subcategories; Yamanouchi, "K?s?den no kenky? MimM^ffi^," in Shina Bukky?shi no

    kenky? u$ftifc?F5b (Kyoto: Bukky? daigaku shuppanbu, 1921), 37.

    92. For a translation of this preface, see Tsai, Lives of the Nuns, 15-16.

    93. Meis?den sh? 13 (XZJ.134.16a6-17al2). 94. We can only speculate about the reasons for it being overlooked for so long. Perhaps this was simply because

    the subject itself did not interest potential readers of the time. Perhaps it did not stand out because of its limited

    scope. Or perhaps there were no particularly "female" qualities that distinguished renowned nuns (compared with, for example, the secular, womanly virtues codified in the Lienii zhuan 3\^\M-, compiled by Liu Xiang |PJ[o] towards the end of the Former Han), so that a compilation of this sort seemed superfluous.

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  • 218 Journal of the American Oriental Society 125.2 (2005)

    of this collection found its way into Zhisheng's hands some two hundred years later,95 and he

    wrongfully ascribed it to Baochang.96 This hypothesis cannot stretch so far as to encompass the view that it was Huijiao who wrote the Biqiuni zhuan (as the Suishu claims), that the

    book was lost, and later pieced back together and credited to Baochang. For if this were the

    case, why would the cataloguers have attributed it to Baochang, whose Mingseng zhuan was barred from the canon, instead of to Huijiao, whose Gaoseng zhuan was included? Per

    haps the Biqiuni zhuan was attributed to Baochang because he was credited with being the

    first to systematically create an organized body of monks' biographies, hence it was natural

    to assume that he was also the first to make a biographical collection of nuns.

    In her translation of the Biqiuni zhuan, Kathryn Ann Tsai harbors no doubt that Bao

    chang wrote the Biqiuni zhuan,91 because, she argues, the story of the monk Fahui ?fe ft, contained in the biography of the nun Feng #?/?,98 is almost word-for-word the same as

    this monk's biography in the Meis?den sh?." Actually, however, the Meis?den sh? version

    is much more elaborate than the Biqiuni zhuan version, and in every instance where the two

    versions overlap the Meis?den sh? version is more prolix. This might be an indication that

    the Biqiuni zhuan version is based on the Mingseng zhuan, but it is certainly not proof that

    both works were written by the same author. Tsai is so convinced that Baochang wrote the

    Biqiuni zhuan, that in the biography of the nun Huixu ft^f she translates the general remark

    ???JIW+^MS'J^^^100 as "I, Bao-ch'ang, the compiler, note here that there were ten

    more words in this poem of farewell, but they have been lost,"101 even though the name

    Baochang is not mentioned here at all. Tsai's view is that the Biqiuni zhuan was not quoted in other compilations or catalogues until the Kaiyuan shijiao lu because, due to the instability characteristic of the period of the Northern and Southern dynasties, it could circulate only in a limited area of the south. It would have become more widely available during the Tang,

    when the country had been reunited and stabilized.102 This is not an unreasonable suggestion. However, it ignores the fact that the Mingseng zhuan, which would have been bound by the

    same geographical limitations as the Biqiuni zhuan, already appeared in catalogues during the Sui dynasty, a hundred and thirty years before Zhisheng's catalogue.103 Unless some

    new evidence appears, it seems prudent to exclude the Biqiuni zhuan from the list of works

    attributed to Baochang.

    95. This assumption is strengthened by the fact that the Biqiuni zhuan is listed in the Kaiyuan shijiao lu under

    the bibliographical category that is dedicated to scriptures which had been presumed lost and had subsequently been

    found again (T.2154.55: 671b6).

    96. It is still conceivable that Baochang is the author after all, though the evidence against this hypothesis is

    considerable. We might imagine that after the compilation of his Biographies of Famous Monks Baochang had the

    idea of doing something similar for nuns. While expanding and revising the Mingseng zhuan after its publication in

    515 he would then have begun collecting nuns' biographies alongside his work in the imperial library. Following this

    line of speculation, we might surmise that he also made a rough draft of the preface to this collection, but died before

    he could complete the whole collection. Someone else must then have completed this work (and also the revised

    edition of the Mingseng zhuant) as it was, in his name and to his honor. This, however, requires much supposition.

    97. Tsai, Lives of the Nuns, 107.

    98. Biqiuni zhuan, T.2063.50: 946bl2-cl.

    99. Meis?den sh? 25 (XZJ.134.24b-25a).

    100. T.2063.50: 944a27.

    101. Tsai, Lives of the Nuns, 83.

    102. Ibid., 108.

    103. As noted above, the Mingseng zhuan was first mentioned in the Zhongjing mulu of Fajing (594), while the

    Biqiuni zhuan only first appeared in the Kaiyuan shijiao lu (730).

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