The Encyclopedia of Taoism, vol. Kristofer Schipper and Franciscus Verellen, eds.. Fukui Kojun Tokyo: Hirakawa Shuppansha, , Other Tang-era works, in particular fictional or semi-historical accounts of relevant figures such as Yixing, are also consulted, such as collections of short tales, which include the Tang xinyu jftfirfn New Tales of the Tang by Liu Su fljjjf fl.
The history of Chinese calendrical science and astronomy in the Tang period is largely only explained in the dynastic histories of the Tang. I have used the printed edition edited by Ren Jiyu As many relevant materials were imported from Iran, reference also has to be made to extant works from the Near East. To understand the technical details of foreign astrology in China we must consult Hellenistic sources. The foremost figure in this regard is Dorotheus of Sidon c. Although fragments of this work are preserved in Latin, Greek and Chinese, the only fully extant recension of the text is an Arabic translation.
Pingree translated the Arabic recension.
Gli antichi Greci (Atlanti del sapere junior
Pingree was unaware of the fragments in Chinese. The astral magic of the Iranian type that we find in Chinese drew upon material from Hellenistic Egypt and other Near Eastern cultures. In order to prove this point and better understand the features of this magic, we can identify parallels in ancient and medieval sources from the Near East and even Europe, thereby demonstrating that Chinese Buddhists and Daoists during the late-Tang were, in fact, part of an effectively global interest in this type of astral magic. In the case of Greco-Egyptian sources, the relevant papyri that share features with what we find in Chinese are translated from the Greek by Hans Dieter Betz Many more parallels are found when comparing the Chinese materials with the Picatrix, which is the Latin version of the Ghayat al-Hakim.
This medieval Arabic manual of astral magic, compiled in the eleventh century, draws on a number of earlier sources from the ninth and tenth centuries. Methodology This study establishes a critical historical chronology for the introduction and development of Buddhist astrology in China. The chapters are therefore ordered chronologically. The texts and visual icons as they appear in the historical record, or with dating as best can be determined, are individually analyzed with due reference to contemporary historical developments that affected their production.
The traditional attributions of certain works, especially those of Yixing, are subjected to a philological analysis, and demonstrated to be spurious; approximate dates are determined based on content and when they first appear in catalogs of texts by Japanese monks. Having established such a chronology, we are then able to track developments and innovations over the course of time, answering the question of how a unique type of Buddhist astrology was produced from disparate sources.
This also enables us to seek the first texts and the events that would have encouraged Buddhist interest in the practice of astrology. Explaining the challenges that the Chinese faced in translating and implementing foreign astrology over time, especially as non-specialists in astronomy, requires reference to various technical adaptations. Reference is therefore also made to the contemporary developments in Chinese calendrical science and how this field simultaneously evolved.
Translated by Ellen Bradshaw Aitken and Jennifer K. Berenson Maclean
From this we will attempt to discern an adaptive strategy underlying the implementation of foreign astronomy in China. Textual reuse is presently a topic of interest in computer science, in which vast quantities of texts are automatically scanned for examples of reuse of earlier materials. Scholars have recently taken an interest in textual reuse and intertexuality within Buddhist literature.
This was a special recent topic in the Buddhist Studies Review The reuse, evocation, quotation, recycling, and appropriation of texts and Buddhist ideas have been a common strategy in all Buddhist literary traditions. We must first understand the original material that later Chinese Buddhist literature reuses. Having explained these earlier sources of astrology, we can then examine how they were reused in a new, specifically esoteric Buddhist, context.
This process of comparing the original materials with the new forms enables us to examine what Buddhists changed, retained and omitted, which is highly instructive with respect to the motivations and beliefs of the authors, especially when the original materials were non-Buddhist. The way in which the relevant visual icons are represented in China also informs us about how these figures were imagined in the new environment. It is anticipated that most readers from the field of Buddhist Studies will be unfamiliar with astrology, so the relevant concepts are explained and defined.
The history of astrology as it relates to Buddhist precepts and monastic conventions is also discussed.
The major instances of astrology being prohibited or refuted in Indian Buddhist literature are surveyed, before discussing the increasing Buddhist interest in astrology throughout the first millennium, especially in Mahayana and later Mantrayana, a development that parallels similar trends among astrologers in Hindu history. This establishes the Indian background behind the astrology that was introduced into China through Buddhism.
I also discuss the existence of astrological determinism in Indian Buddhist sources, which, I argue, was a major belief among Buddhists in India that was carried over into China. I observe that examples of astrology in Indian Buddhist literature seem to largely originate from texts that come from Magadha. Finally, the Chinese perspective on astrology and the legal prohibitions against the private study of astronomy are discussed. These prohibitions are relevant in that they seem to have prevented the popularization of astrology until after the mid-Tang, when they were no longer enforced.
It is asked why Indian astrology was not observed in China in this period.
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I point out that the texts make little attempt at defining the system of Indian astrology in a way that could be feasibly implemented by Chinese readers. In addition, a large text, which I propose was likely the Garglya-jyotisa not extant in Chinese , was translated in the Sui period Although modern scholars recognize the value of the extant texts as datable examples of Indian or Central Asian texts dealing with astrology, the reality is that they had little impact on the development of Chinese astrology. There is no evidence that Buddhists in China felt any pressing need to practice Indian astrology in these centuries.
The Mahdvairocana-sutra 0 M. T , translated in by Subhakarasimha and Yixing, introduces the need to determine auspicious times for the creation of a mandala. This is important in establishing the chronological development of foreign astrology in China. This commentary does not provide sufficient details so as to be able to properly determine an auspicious time, which I argue was an impetus for Amoghavajra to compile his own astrological manual.
His manual provides everything required for a Chinese reader to determine auspicious dates, in addition to explaining the basics of Indian astrology such as predictions about individuals based on their date of birth. The manual, however, while alluding to much more complex systems of astrology, fails to provide any details. This, in addition to Mantrayana related works affirming astrological determinism, prompted growing interest in astrology among the Chinese, first among elites and then commoners.
The translation of Hellenistic astrology into Chinese around , although not carried out by Buddhists, was, I argue, in large part motivated by a wave of interest in astrology that was originally motivated by Buddhist concerns. I argue that the emergence of the Tejaprabha and Sudrsti cults in the late-Tang was prompted by popular interest in astrology. The key astrological Buddhist text from this period reveals the extent to which Buddhists incorporated non-Buddhist elements into their astrology, in addition to displaying innovative new approaches to apotropaic magic that they developed as a response to growing concerns about the influences of the planets in human 19 life.
The worship of planetary deities as gods within a Buddhist context, based largely on the Zoroastrian model, and likely transmitted via Syriac Nestorian Christians into China, was furthermore supplemented with an array of navagraha mantras and native Chinese lore. This magic highlights the extent to which Buddhists in China could and, in fact, did believe in astrological determinism, rather than in strict theories of karma. Several of the texts attributed to Yixing are actually from this period, yet several modern scholars have uncritically accepted their attribution to Yixing, thus anachronistically projecting ninth century developments back into the s.
This misunderstanding is corrected here. The parallel Daoist developments will also be surveyed, such as their practice of astral magic, which has many parallels with the Buddhist system. The astrological iconography and how artists sinicized it will be studied, demonstrating that Iranian, rather than Indian, planetary icons became dominant in East Asia. Specific attention is given to the Japanese traditions of astrology, for which we have numerous sources.
This chapter discusses the hitherto unrecognized significance of Tang Buddhist astrology, and how it impacted other cultures and time periods. Finally, I have produced a timeline that provides an overview of relevant developments related to astrology and astral magic see appendix 1. Astrology is a practice of divination in which an observer primarily tracks the movements of celestial bodies the Sun, the Moon and the planets through the celestial sphere in an attempt to foretell the future, identify auspicious times, or discern the fortune or fate of an individual, community or nation.
It is divided into several fields. The simplest type is the discernment of omens in the sky, such as comets, that are interpreted as either favorable or unfavorable. People in the modem age, however, are most familiar with horoscopes. These are normally circular charts, displaying the positions of the planets, the Sun and the Moon at a specific time, such as when someone was bom. The significance of the arrangement is explained and predictions are made. This art is called horoscopy Skt. This is natal or genethliacal astrology Skt. Additionally, there is electional astrology, also called katarchic astrology Skt.
Related to this is hemerology, in which the success of activities is coordinated with days understood as auspicious on the calendar. Hemerology is effectively a branch of electional astrology. These branches of astrology are not defined in this manner in the Chinese tradition, but nevertheless in Chinese Buddhist astrology we still see these same categories in practice, in particular horoscopy and hemerology. Astronomy here will refer to scientifically falsifiable observations and calculations.
Astrology will refer to largely unfalsifiable truth claims concerning the significance or influences of the stars and planets. As will become clear from this study, astrology is better understood as religion, rather than science. Additionally, when referring to planets, this will include the Sun and the Moon, unless otherwise specified, following the understanding of the term prior to the s in Europe. In Europe, the planets until recent centuries only referred to bodies visible to the naked eye. The Ecliptic in Three Civilizations Astrology has historically been geocentric, rather than heliocentric.
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This means that the point of reference for observations and measurements is from the perspective of the observer on the ground of the Earth. Astrologers are chiefly concerned with the movement of planets through the ecliptic, the band of space representing the apparent annual path of the Sun as seen from the Earth.
It is within this space that the planets, including the Moon, move.
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This perspective is produced as a result of the bodies of the solar system orbiting on a relative plane. The occidental systems of astronomy divide the ecliptic radially into degrees. This is further divided into twelve sectors. These sectors are each comprised of 30 degrees and collectively make up the zodiac. Their respective names are derived from constellations. It must be understood that the zodiac signs are only nominally connected to these constellations.
The zodiac signs were finali z ed in Mesopotamia around the year BCE, being an amalgamation of an earlier model of eighteen signs. This is called a sidereal zodiac.
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