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Bodhiruci


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(6th c. ce).

A north Indian monk andesoteric master who came to China in 508 and became very active as a teacher and translator, producing translations of 39 works in 127 fascicles. Among these, the most important were the Sūtra on the Ten Grounds and commentary (Skt., Daśabhūmika Sūtra; Chin., Shih ti ching lun), and the Shorter Sukhāvatī-vyūha Sūtra and commentary. The former text became the object of study by the Ti-lun school, of which Bodhiruci is regarded as the patriarch. This school was the forerunner of the Hua-yen school. The latter text commented on one of the three foundational scriptures of the Pure Land school.

Bodhiruci figures prominently in the story of Pure Land master T'an-luan's conversion to this form of Buddhism around 530. According to the story, T'an-luan, disturbed by an illness that presented him with the spectre of his own mortality, had travelled to south China to get a Taoist work on immortality practice. Upon returning north, he encountered Bodhiruci. The latter expressed disdain for Taoist teachings and recommended that T'an-luan concentrate his efforts on attaining the Pure Land instead, handing him copies of Pure Land scriptures. T'an-luan accepted this advice, threw away his Taoist works, and spent the rest of his life in the exclusive practice of Pure Land.

Subjects: Buddhism.


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