Dating a buddhist
Thus, the woodblocks for this printing must have been carved sometime in the mid-thirteenth century. Chen had donated - 片 is a measure word that refers generally to items that are long and flat.When initially translating the inscription I thought that it could refer to "sheets" of paper, but four sheets of paper seemed like a rather meager donation.The second note is a little less obvious and can be found in the accordion fold between two pages in the middle of the text.It reads: 福建路安撫趙大卿俸賓捨刊換, which I tentatively translate as "Zhao Daqing 趙大卿, Military Commissioner 安撫 of the Fujian circuit, has respectfully made offerings for printing expenses." Despite holding what would seem to be a fairly high-level position as a military commissioner, I could not find any specific biographical information on Zhao Daqing (also known as Zhao Songhe 趙松壑), although he is mentioned in passing in several Song sources.The marginalia were acknowledgments of donor contributions, and they contained information that allows us to more accurately date this book.
The item was accompanied by a brief description that had been provided by the seller, and it became evident that this description was the basis for the eleventh-century attribution.At the end, all those who hear her speak are moved to convert to Buddhism, and the Buddha describes the great merit that will come from studying, copying, and disseminating these teachings.Because this is one of the few Buddhist scriptures in which a woman plays a central role, not only demonstrating a high degree of understanding of the particularly complex Buddhist doctrines presented in these teachings but also teaching these doctrines on behalf of the Buddha and receiving a prediction of her own future enlightenment, it seems particularly fitting and poignant that Chen Jinjie should have chosen this text to dedicate to the memory of his late wife, who we might surmise was herself a devout Buddhist laywomen.In particular, he appears within two Chan Buddhist "discourse records" ( 西巖和尚語錄), associated with the monks Xishou Shaotan 希叟紹曇 (fl.
1254) and Xiyan Liaohui 西巖了慧 (1198-1262), both of whom were active in Southern China during the mid-13th century.
The notes appear to have been carved into the original blocks and my first thought was that they might contain donor information.