The Jataka Stories in Mogao Caves

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THE JATAKA TALES OF THE MOGAO CAVES, CHINA IN ANTHROPOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE

By MING-KUO WU

A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology

WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY Department of Anthropology May 2008 Copyright by MING-KUO WU, 2008 All Rights Reserved

UMI Number: 3370426 Copyright 2009 by Wu, Ming-Kuo All rights reserved

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To the Faculty of Washington State University: The members of the Committee appointed to examine the dissertation of MING-KUO WU find it satisfactory and recommend that it be accepted.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I am especially, and profoundly, indebted to the following publishers and their series of volumes on the Mogao caves of Dunhuang that fueled my research: Dunhuang wenwu yanjiusuo (Research Institute of Dunhuang Relics), Dunhuang yishu baoku (The Treasure of Dunhuang Art) in five volumes; Commercial Press, Ltd, Dunhuangshiku quanji (the Complete works of the Dunhuang Caves) in twenty-six volumes; Jiangsu meshu chubanshe (Jiangsu Art Press), Dunhuangshiku yishu (the Arts of the Dunhuang Caves) in twenty-two volumes; and Institute of History and Philology Academia Sinica, Section and Plan Measurements of the Mogao Grottoes by Mr. Shih Changju, in three volumes; and other books which are mentioned in reference and footnotes. Without the careful and scholarly series of publications from these presses, it would have been virtually impossible to write this dissertation. The present work was aided immeasurably by the deep spiritual support and financial help of the sponsors of my research, and is dedicated to all the people of my temple, Yuan Heng Temple, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan. I thank them for supporting me in every way to complete my education at Washington State University. I thank, particularly, my Grandmaster, Ven. Pumiao and my Master, Ven. Huikuan. They gave me encouragement and inspired me spiritually on the many occasions when I most needed it. I am grateful to those individuals and members of the staff of the Yang Heng Temple who provided me with information through e-mail and snail mail. Shih Huizhi, a monk colleague, assisted me in compilation of the questionnaire data and the collection

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of other data in three Taiwan citiesKaohsiung, Taichung, and Taipei. I am also greatly indebted to all the responders, monks and nuns, at several temples in all three cities. The Ci-Ren Cultural and Educational Foundation in Taiwan generously supported me financially enabling me to study in pleasant surroundings at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. I am grateful to the Anthropology Department for Teaching Assistantships and for an International Research Award which provided traveling funds. Finally, I owe a special debt to Charles and Shirley Cross for helpful comments and corrections on an early draft of this dissertation. Also, I am grateful to Professor Jeff Sellen, a Professor in the General Education Program at Washington State University, for helping me correct my final dissertation. I am particularly indebted to my doctoral committee members: Professor John Bodley, who supervised my dissertation, has given me unstinting encouragement, support, and inspiration at every stage and has offered instructive comments along with his enthusiasm. Professor Goodman has provided much encouragement and criticism. Professor Ivory has discussed artistic terms, discussing the idea of the murals of the Jataka tales, and improving my presentation. Before suffering from ill health, Professor Linda Kimball, a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Western Washington University, constantly influenced my thinking during this research project. I am grateful to her for all her help, as well as that of all of my committee members.

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THE JATAKA TALES OF THE MOGAO CAVES, CHINA IN ANTHROPLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE Abstract

by Ming-kuo Wu, Ph.D. Washington State University May 2008

Chair: John H. Bodley

The Mogao caves of Dunhuang, Gansu Province, China were constructed and decorated from the 4th to the 14th century and contain several genres of art, colored clay sculptures, and narrative. One of these genres is the murals of the Jataka tales stories of the Buddhas previous lives as Bodhisattvas, those who represent specific goal-directed behavior and perform the acts of a bodhisattva in order to reach the status of buddhahood. The present research addresses the gap in scholarly knowledge about the murals of the Jataka tales at the Mogao caves of Dunhuang in six domains. First, through publicly available pictorial art data research, it presents the first-ever comprehensive, complete, and accurate catalogue of where in the caves the Jataka tale motifs appear, and which tales are depicted. Second, it formulates and uses a new conceptual-analytical paradigm, the Jataka tale-scape. Third, a new analytical perspective is developed, that of cascade altruism, which encompasses deeds done through many lifetimes in the Mahayana Buddhist quest of bodhisattvas. Fourth, the power and scale analytical approach used here compares the number and volume, in both absolute and annual rate of construction,v

of Jataka tale-containing caves and non-Jataka tale-containing caves made at Mogao in each dynasty. Fifth, it shows that when there was dynastic unrest the artists produced Jataka murals on the cave walls with greater frequency. During more peaceful dynasties, particularly the Tang, the artists produced fewer or no Jataka scenes and usually relegated them to insignificant locales in the caves. There exists a distinctive correlation between the number and placement of the Jataka tale murals in the Dunhuang caves and the sociopolitical situation of contemporary times. And sixth, it conducts the results of an openended questionnaire with Taiwanese monks and nuns who preached and taught in several temples in three cities in Taiwan. The survey results show that the Jataka tales that transmitted Buddhist beliefs in medieval times are still important today.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ............................................................................................... iii ABSTRACT .........................................................................................................................v LIST OF TABLES ........................................................................................................... xiv LIST OF FIGURES ........................................................................................................ xvii CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................1 A. The cultural-geographic setting of the Dunhuang region ..........................4 B. The Mogao Jataka tale-scape as a conceptual paradigm ...........................9 1. Cascade altruism ...............................................................................11 2. Power and scale theory .....................................................................13 3. Emic and etic perspectives ...............................................................15 4. Two hypotheses ................................................................................17 2. HISTORICAL CHANGES IN THE PHYSICAL AND CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY OF DUNHUANG FROM ANCIENT TO MODERN TIMES ..24 A. Dunhuang as a place for banished people ...............................................30 1. Early civilizations before the Xia Dynasty .......................................34 2. Archaeological evidence ..................................................................37 B. The riddle of Dunhuang ...........................................................................40 1. The first mention of Dunhuang ........................................................42 2. The interpretation of Dunhuang .......................................................45vii

3. The heartbreak of Dunhuang ............................................................54 3. JATAKA TALES AS POPULAR BUDDHIST SERMONS ON NIKAYAS AND VINAYAS...................................................................................................65 A. The uniqueness of the Buddhas teachings..............................................66 1. The doctrine of karma ......................................................................66 2. The concept of the bodhisattva in Jataka tales .................................67 3. The idea of rebirth ............................................................................68 4. The concept of merit .........................................................................69 5. The concept of miracle .....................................................................70 B. The origin and function of the Jataka tales ..............................................71 1. The decorated and dignified monasteries .........................................72 2. A memory of the Buddha recalled....................................................75 C. Favorite subjects in the Buddhist world ..................................................78 D. Transliterations of Jataka into Chinese characters ..................................81 E. The Meanings of Jataka ...........................................................................83 F. Jataka forms appearing in Nikaya Sutras and Vinayas ............................85 1. The forms and characters of Jataka in Nikaya Sutras.......................85 2. The forms and characters of Jataka in Vinayas ..............................101 a. The Jataka tales in the Great Canon of Monastic Rules .........103 b. The Jataka tales in the Ten Divisions of Monastic Rules .......108 c. The Jataka tales in the Fivefold Rules of Discipline ..............110 d. The Jataka tales in the Fourfold Rules of Discipline ..............112

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G. Comparative collections of Jataka tales between the structures of Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism ...................................................115 4. ARCHITECTURAL FORMS OF THE JATAKA TALE CAVES ...................123 A. The cultural origin and the initial pilgrimage at the Mogao caves ........124 1. The dedication of the Mogao caves by two wandering monks ......124 2. A description of the existing Mogao caves ....................................126 B. The chronology of Jataka tales in time sequences .................................129 1. An idealized cave model ................................................................133 2. Chronology of constructions ..........................................................134 3. Four architectural features ..............................................................140 5. BUDDHISM AND IMPERIAL PATRONAGE AND PERSECUTION ..........159 A. The initial period of the Northern Liang Dynasty .................................161 B. The initial period of the Northern Wei Dynasty ....................................162 C. The initial period of the Western Wei Dynasty .....................................165 D. The initial period of the Northern Zhou Dynasty ..................................166 E. The developed period of the Sui Dynasty ..............................................169 F. The mature period ..................................................................................171 1. The Early and High Tang Dynasties ..............................................171 2. The Mid Tang Dynasty...................................................................174 3. The Later Tang Dynasties ..............................................................177 G. The declining period of the Five Dynasties ...........................................180 H. The declining period of the Song Dynasty ............................................182 6. THE FIVE FAVORITE JATAKA TALES AT THE MOGAO CAVES ..........187

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A. King Sibi Jataka .....................................................................................189 B. Prince Mahasattva Jataka .......................................................................190 C. Syama Jataka..........................................................................................198 D. Prince Shanyou or Shanshi Jataka (Chapter Eyou) ...............................212 E. Prince Sujata Jataka ...............................................................................215 7. JATAKA TALES ALTRUISTIC ACTS AS DEPICTED IN THE MOGAO CAVES OF DUNHUANG .................................................................................230 A. Modeling of altruism in Western literature ...........................................231 1. A definition of altruism ..................................................................231 2. Biological study of altruism ...........................................................234 3. Psychological study of altruism......................................................237 B. Jataka tales as altruistic actions .............................................................239 1. Introduction to cascade altruism .....................................................241 2. The Bodhisattva doctrine ................................................................246 C. Cascade altruism in the Jataka tale murals ............................................247 1. Reciprocal altruism .........................................................................249 2. Fearless self-sacrifice altruism .......................................................251 3. Boundless giving altruism ..............................................................253 4. Kin directed altruism ......................................................................255 5. Courageous altruism .......................................................................256 8. SOCIAL POWER AND CAVE CONSTRUCTION.........................................261 A. The ch...