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A Historical Interpretation on a Patriarch of Buddhist Exorcism-Pu'an

Wai Lun TAM (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)

The discovery of the Buddho-Taoist ritual tradition known as the Pu'anjiao in northwest Fujian by John Lagerwey and Ye Ming Sheng has changed the previous view that all exorcism rituals belong to Taoism. Pu'an, the patriarch for a regional ritual tradition, was at the same time an enlightened Chan master belonging to the Linji school of Buddhism. How did Pu' an become a patriarch of a ritual tradition with the title of 'master of ten thousand methods from the Mt. Nanquan'? Was it merely an association with a person of high social status by the ritual masters from the grassroots level? Using the recently published collection of texts from the Cihua Monastery ( Nanquan Cihua wenku) and all other related texts from the Buddhist canon, this article engages in a historical interpretation of the monk Pu'an. This article argues that there is no textual evidence to support Pu'an has ever created that ritual tradition. Both his mantra and talisman were created after his death. His mantra appeared no earlier than the Yuan, and his talisman probably appeared as late as the Qing dynasty.

Journal of History and Anthropology