The concept of practice in San-lun thought: Chi-Tsang and the "concurrent insight" of the two truths

Koseki, Aaron K.
Philosophy East and West
Volume 31 no.4
The University of Hawaii Press
(C)by the University Press of Hawaii

. p.449 This inquiry takes as its point of departure a commonly held view of San-lun thought,namely, this lack or neglect of the practical. Richard Robinson spells this characterization out more fully: Three Treatises doctrine is quite simply a restatement of Naagaarjuna's teaching in a new vocabulary, with few additional theses on matters such as the Two Truths where Naagaarjuna was too brief and vague. The Three Treatises lineage died out after Chi-tsang. He was not a meditation master, and the Chinese were not prepared by their type of education to pursue enlightenment through the therapeutic exercise of dialectic.(1) While we share the observation of "new vocabulary" and the view that the two truths theory was subjected to exhaustive analysis in Chi-tsang's(549- 623) writings, we need to suspend judgment on the meaning of "restatement" and the matter of pursuing illumination through reasoning alone. The basic underlying assumption of this study is that, despite the fact that a San-lun Buddhist such as Chi-tsang was committed to the scholarly exposition of the two truths theory, which necessarily implies a concern with the use of dialectic, the aim of his writings was not simply the theoretical analysis of doctrine, but also the clarification of various points concerning the meaning of the religious goal of enlightenment. While Chi-tsang's writings seem to favor the theoretical at the expense of the practical, it was to the conclusion of practice with which he was concerned. Proper understanding of san-lun thought, therefore, requires an orientation toward this aspect as well. In describing the dimension of practice in San-lun thought, it is neither the aim of this study to demonstrate the Maadhyamika system, nor is it my pupose to analyze again the transmission of this dctrine to China. Rather, our task is to isolate an historical and theoretical framework for practice in Chi-tsang's thought and to examine how the two truths theory provided both the foundation for systematic doctrine and the substance of the practical life. Specifically, we will explore a theory of practice called "concurrent insight" (erh- ti ping-kuan(a) ) described in one of Chi-tsang's earliest works, the Erh-ti-i (Essay on the two truths) .(2) This practice is significant and deserves explication for two reasons. First, it raises the question of whether Chi-tsang's religious insight was a variation of an old Maadhyamika theme, or was in fact an innovative theme determined by a very practical concern for wisdom. This question, however, will only be considered on points where it is specifically related to the pivotal issue of the relationship between the theory and practice of the two truths. Second, it is also important to consider the relationship between the San-lun interpretation of the two truths and several practical elements present in the Buddhist world between the end of the North-Sound p.450 period (circa 420-589) and the beginning of the Sui-T'ang period: the need to clarify Mahaayaana contemplaltive methods of practice, the definition of the contemplative object (vi.saya), and the description of the content of practice itself. The emergence of a San-lun tradition of meditation masters can also be understood within this historical context. Because Chi-tsang's theory of practice and the emergence of San-lun practioners are historically and doctrinally related, this period of early San-lun development deserves examination. The presentation, therefore, will move from a discussion of the history of the early San-lun sa^ngha to a discussion of the relationship between theory and practice in San-lun thought, and, from that point, to an examination of "concurrent insight." MEDITATION MASTERS OF THE SHE-LING(b) TRADITION In the period following Kumaarajiiva (350-409) and Seng-chao (373-414), two ellements characterize the San-lun Buddhist group centered on Mt.she near the ancient city of Chin-ling (Nanking)(3):the exculsive study of the primary San-lun texts and the Praj~naapaaramitaa literature, and the increasing emphasis on contemplative practice which was missing (or at least dormant) in the "old theories of Kuan-chung." (4) There was some irony in the manner in which these developments occurred. It was occasioned by the fact that the San-lun or "She-ling" sa^ngha was split by internal dissension during the tenure of the second San-lun patriarch, Chih-kuan Seng-ch'uan.(5) Debates and discussions within this group were concerned explicitly with clarifying distinctions between San-lun doctrine and the theories of the Liang (502-557) Ch'eng-shih tradition.(6) Moreover, there was also a split among San-lun advocates concerning the actual practice of praj~naapaaramitaa and the limits of praj~naa scholarship. During this period increasing efforts were made to maintain a "pure" study of the San-lun texts and the praj~naapaaramitaa canon. Evidence for this may be seen in Chi-tsang's Ta-p'in ching i-su ( Commentary on the Mahaapraj~naapaaramitaa-suutra ) which records the following: The master of Chih-kuan [Seng-ch'uan] resided six years on the mountain[that is, Mt.She.] He did not lecture on other sutras, but only lectured on the Praj~naapaaramitaa-suutras. In his later years stu- dents asked him to lecture on the, but the master said: "Since you understand the praj~naapaaramitaa-suutras, why do you again want me to lecture on the [-suutra?] It is merely sufficient to read the Three Treatises and the Praj~naapaaramitaa-suutras; it is not necessary to lecture on other texts.(7) During Seng-ch'uan's tenure as head monk, it appears that students' interests in Ekayaana texts were severely curtailed, and this passage may reflect his desire to establish an independent tradition of San-lun study in the south. Beginning with Seng-ch'uan, we also see the development of a tradition of contemplative practice within the She-ling group. The biography of Chi-tsang's master, Fa-lang (507-581), records that Seng-ch'uan would frequently and abruptly stop P.451 lecturing and leave for the forests to continue meditation. At one tiem, upon his return,Seng-ch'uan is reported to have told his students: If this doctrine is profoundly understood, one can practice it. There is no reason for leaving the room and disclosing it. Therefore, a suutra says: "One who holds to the view of self should not explain this suutra, and one who enjoys the Dharma should not speak about it too much." (8) To certain members of the group it seemed that debate and argumentation on the meaning of doctrine was rather sterile, and sensitivity ot this problem, if we may rely on the biographical material, seems to have led Seng-ch'uan to place a stronger emphasis on the cultivation of meditation practice. This became a divisive element among Seng-ch'uan's four eminent students:Fa-lang, Ch'i-hsia Hui-pu,Chang-kan Chih-pien, and Ch'an-chung Hui-yung.(9) While Seng-ch'uan was alive there may not have been a balance between study and practice because, as Fa-lang's biography again notes, "Lang and the others obeyed Seng-ch'uan's wishes and dared not say anything."(10) Given a choice between scholarship practice, Seng-ch'uan, who was styled "`samatha- vipa`syanaa" (that is, Chik-kuan), clearly preferred the latter and apparently insisted that his students emulate him. Among the four men who studied under him, the most remarkable fact is that, with the exception of Fa-lang, the lifestyles of the other three individuals more strongly reflects the practical side of early San-lun Buddhists: Hui-pu: He was always happy sitting in meditation far from the clatter and confusion; he vowed that he would not lecture and maintained this as his duty....He solely cultivated mental wisdom and was happy staying alone in the pine forests [away from] annoying worldly matters.(11) Chih-pien: Therefore, Master Pien was equally proficient in meditation and wisdom. He lectured equally among the group of practioners, and this may have been due to the encouragement of Master Ch'uan. Hence, at that time, the essence of his theories differed from Master [ FA-] Lang's, and this caused Hsing-huang [ that is, Fa-lang], sitting in the middle, to criticize him as a "follower of the middle and provisional."(12) Hui-yung: He practiced emptiness and cultivated wisdom. He sought the winds of the broad forests. Hence, he stayed at the Chih-kuan temple, and from morning to night was in peace and harmony.(13) The importance of this period in the history of Praj~naapaaramitaa in China is that the introduction of contemplative practice determined the course of the development of the San-lun tradition. It is signaled the emergence of a new generation of San-lun practioners who appeared from the She-ling sa^ngha following Seng-ch'uan. Based on biographical data, it is also clear that from this period there was a close interchange of ideas and historical figures between San-lun scholars and the early practioners of Ch'an Buddhism.(14) In contrast ot his fellow students, after Seng- ch'uan's death, Fa-lang continued the tradition of scholarship and passed this on to his disciple Chi-tsang. While both mnonks lived in a sa^ngha of practioners and scholars, the P.452 continuing presence of Ch'eng-shih advocates, whose theories were judged to be misrepresentations of Praj~naapaaramitaa thought, forced them to take up the task of clarifying and systematizing San-lun doctrine. In light of the enormous amount of material written by Chi-tsang, it is clear that he carried on the tradition of San-lun scholarship. There were other San-lun disciples, however, who specifically emphasized the meditative life. For example, among the thirteen disciples of Fa-lang listd in the Hsu Kao-seng-chuan, (15) one individual who sharply contrasts the scholarly life of Chi-tsang is a meditation master known as Ta-ming ("Great Ming"). Biographical references to Ta-ming indicate that he entered Fa-lang's sa^ngha at a late age, spent a few years studying at the Hsing-huang temple, and then left with a group of practioners for a Taoist hermitage on Mao-shan. The biographical material also shows that there were several individuals closely associated with the early development of Ch'an Buddhism who appeared from his tradition of San-lun practioners centered on Mt. Mao.(16) One of Ta-ming's immediate disciples, for examples, was Fa-jung (594-657), the founder of the Niu-tou (Ox-Head) tradition of Ch,an.Another "grand disciple" was a somewhat obscure practioner named Fa-ch'ung(587-665?) who was closely tied to the La^nkaavataara tradition of Ch'an. His biography records that he was a student of the "One vehicle tradition of India" and that his doctrinal standpoint was "beyond conceptualization and verbalization, true insight into non-acquisition (anup-alambha)." (17) This is a remarkable statement in view of the fact that the San-lun doctrinal standpoint was also based on similar insights.(18) As far as Ta-ming's status in the She-ling tra- dition is concerned, the biography of Fa-min (597-645), Ta-ming's disciple, records that Ming was the "real" successor of the "Hsing-huang temple" and the "She-shan" (that is, She-ling) traditions. (19) That is to say, a San-lun practioner and his group on Mt.Mao were, in the eyes of Tao-hsuan (the compiler of the biographies) , the legitimate transmitters of San-lun thought in the period following the death of Seng-ch'an and Fa-lang. In light of the absence of any work written by Ta-ming or other San-lun practioners, it is difficult to determine the reasons for Tao-hsuan's reference to Ta-ming as the legitimate heir of the San-lun tradition. There simply may have been several "branch" lines of San-lun thought. However, the biographical reference to Ta-ming has important implications with regard to the breakup of a "scholarly" San-lun sa^ngha and the continuation of a tradition of San-lun practioners which survived well into the T'ang period. That is to say, apart from the question of an "orthodox" San-lun line, to conclude that the San-lun tradition ends with Chi-tsang is to consider him as the only line of San-lun thought following Fa-lang. Again, as the biographical data indicates,scholars and practioners equally appeared from Fa-lang's center of activity at the Hsing-huang temple in Chin-ling. Because it is evident that the study of praj~naa and the practice of praj~naapaaramitaa continued in one form or another in succeeding generations of San-lun P.453 disciples, it is necessary that we examine Chi-tsang's thought in this context. Although Chi-tsang was not a meditation master, one should not overlook the historical circumstances that led to the development of a tradition of practice in the She-ling tradition or ignore the contemplative life of such San-lun meditation masters as Ta-ming. The matter under consideration here, therefore, is not to determine whether Chi-tsang was a meditator. Rather, it is important to determine if there were practical considerations in his development of doctrine. Since the San-lun meditation masters left no written works, our best and only alternative is to examine the doctrine of practice contained in Chi-tsang's writings. What is sometimes clouded by his formal explanation of the two truths theory is the fact that this theory was also referred to as "insight into the two truths" (erh-ti kuan(c)), a phrase which expresses the theoretical and practical integrity of this doctrine. THEORY AND PRACTICE: ESSENCE AND FUNCTION One major feature of Chi-tsang's thought is that it follows a basic and repeated pattern of "essence and function" (t'i-yung(d) ) . This Chinese mode of thought was also used to explain the relationship between the theory and practice of the two truths. For example, in one of his most famous works, the San-lun-hsuan-i, Chi-tsang explained the two truths theory in the following way: The true mark (shih-hsiang(e)) of dharmas is beyond conceptualization and verbalization. Because it has never been ultimate [truth] or phenomenal [truth], it is called the essence. Because it severs errors, it is called true, and hence, we speak of true essence. What is meant by true function is that, if this essence transcends verbalization there would be no reason for the comprehension of things. Though neither existent nor inexistent, we are compelled to speak of ultimate and phenomenal, and this is called function.(21) Although this passage explains the theoretical relationship between "teaching" (two truths) and the ineffable essence, it does not specifically explain how one is to comprehend this "true mark." In the following passage from the Commentary on the Middle Treatise, we are given a clear understanding of the meaning of "function": First, we explain the essence of the teaching, namely, the two truths, and next we explain the function of the two truths,viz; the "two knowledges" (erh-chif(f) ) . We seek to explain truth and knowledge as the interdependency between teaching and practice. Again, we first explain the to truths and then explain the two knowledges becaue the former primarily explains the meaning of he teaching, and the latter explains the experience of the teaching. For this reason, we speak of the two truths to cause sentient beings to give rise to the two knowledges.(22) Both passages are instructive in showing where Chi-tsang's interest lay in describing and defining the relationship between theory and practice. (23) While the general pattern of essence and function is the same in both passages, the P.454 emphasis in the second passage has, in a subtle way, shifted to more practical concerns: "practice." namely, the two knowledges, is seen as a function of the doctrine itself. The relationship between the two truths and the two knowledges. then, is a definition of the interdependency between teaching and the cultivation of a method designed to comprehend the ineffable essence. What is not explicit in the above passages. however, is the idea of a specific contemplative object. How the two knowledges are to be applied may be seen in the following passages from Chi-tsang's ta-ch'eng hsuan-lun (A compendium on Mahaayaana doctrine): The Tathaagata depends on the two truths to explain the Dharma.Therefore,the two truths are called teachings. They give rise to the two knowledges, and hence, the two truths are called the object-of-congition. The middle path of the two truths gives rise to the two knowledges of insight into the middle. In turn, the two knowledges intuit the middle path of the two truths. Dependent on these two truths, there arises two knowledges, and because of the comprehension of the true mark of dharmas, there arises praj~naa and upaaya.(24) What is significant in these passages, aside from the fact that the two truths, the middle path, and the true mark are seen as being substantially identical, is that the "middle path of the two truths" or the "true mark of the middle path" have been sigled out as the appropriate object of functional practice. Because terms associated with the theoretical explanation of the two truths are also found in the explanation of practice, it is somewhat difficult to state precisely where theory stops and practice begins. A shift from theoretical to practical concerns is implied by a change in vocabulary, but apart from this change there seems to be very little difference in Chi-tsang's understanding of the theory and practice of the two truths. While this suggests that Chi-tsang did not ultimately see a major distinction between them, in the preceding passages there is one significant difference, and that is, in its association with the two knowledges, the importance of the two truths lies more in its particular meaning as object than in its archetypal form as ultimate (para-maartha) and worldly (samv^rtti) truths. Although the development of contemplative practices in China is not our particular concern here, it should be noted that this interpretation of a theoretical concept as an object of contemplative practice is not entirely new. By the beginning of the Sui, Kumaarajiiva's translations of the Praj~naapaaramitaa canont and other canonical works dealing with meditation practice had already served to clarify certain differences between Hiinayaana and Mahaayaana methods of practice.(25) By Chi-tsang's day the Mahaayaana idea of an object-of-cognition did not refer to the stabilizing of the mind on a concrete object, but to the comprehension of such concepts and ideas as the "first principle truth," the "true mark of dharmas," "true dharma," "Buddha-nature," and so forth. In general, meditation practice was expressed in tems of the comprehension of a P.455 more abstract reality that was expressionless, inconceivable, and transcendent.(26) Taken from the context of various canonical writings, the preceding terms and phrases all represent the fundamental idea of an inexpressible and nonverbalized truth. The San-lun model of practice can also be understood within this context. By identifying the two truths as a synonym for true mark and the middle path, Chi-tsang is also suggesting that the practice of perceiving the two truths can also be considered in terms of praj~naapaaramitaa which is, of course, of major importance to any Mahaayaana theory of practice that draws its inspiration from the Praj~naapaaramitaa teachings. Because the third passage cited earlier defines the two knowledges as praj~naa and upaaya, at this point it may be useful to see how Chi-tsang uses these terms as the basis for religious and practical considerations. PRAJ~NAA, UPAAYA, AND THE TRUE MARK OF DHARMAS Traditionally, the Mahaayaana concept of j~naana is generally described as a function of the Tathaagata's enlightenment, and, for the most part, refers to an "ultimate knowledge of emptiness" (shih-chih(g) ) and a "provisional knowledge of dharmas" (chuan-chih(h)). J~naana, then, refers to the functional aspect of enlightenment that is applied to all worldly, transworldly, phenomenal, ultimate, etcetera, matters. Chi-tsang also uses these terms to describe his concept of the two knowledges, but by and large he limits his vocabulary to the transliterated Sanskrit terms of pan-jo(i) (praj~naa) and ou-ho-chu-she-lo(j) (upaaya-kau'salya). Praj~naa, of course, refers to the perfection of wisdom, and in contrast to the Tathaagata's "provisional knowledge," the knowledge of praj~naa is frequently described as a "fundamental non-discriminating knowledge, " a "knowledge of tathaata, or a "knowledge of non- arising" (anutpattika-dharmak.saanti) .(27) Again, while the meaning of the two knowledges is quite similar to these traditional terms, Chi-tsang does not use them, but confines his discussion to sarvaj~na,"praj~naa-knowledge," and sarvathaaj~naana, "upaaya-knowledge." Further, while these two categories of knowledge are traditionally associated with the Tathaagata, Chi-tsang felt that they were also part of the bodhisattva's practice leading to enlightenment (that is, "wisdom" as j~naana).(28) In this respect, Chi-tsang accepted the Ta-chih-tu-lun definition of a dual bodhisattva path and distinguish -ed between a "path of praj~naa-knowledge" and a "path of upaaya-knowledge." (29) By using the term "path," however, Chi-tsang did not mean a maarga system. Rather, what Chi-tsang was suggesting by using the terms "path of praj~na" and "path of upaaya" was that the two knowledges were to be understood within the practical framework of the da'sabhuumi and the ten paaramitaa. According to Chi-tsang, the path of praj~naa was associated with the sixth stage of bodhisattva practice and contained four functional attributes: (1) praj~naa intuits the true mark, (2) it is the perfection of non-attachment (anupalambha), (3) it dispells delusion, and (4) it serves as a guide for the path P.456 of upaaya. (30) Nowhere does Chi-tsang's explanation spell out in detail the specific procedures for the sixth stage, expect to note that, within this stage, emptiness is comprehended and the bonds of kle'sa are severed. (31) Apart from these general descrip- tions of praj`naa, Chi-tsang made no fruther attempt to define its functions. since the sixth stage represented the "praj~naa-insigh" or perspective of emptiness, Chi-tsang felt that praj~naa itself defied all expression. (32) In this respect, the path of praj~naa was not perceived as a stage of practice, but was understood as something akin to an "inherent" or "fundamental" state of things unblemished by dualistic thinking and erroneous views. (33) In contrast ot praj~naa, the following attributes of upaaya were defined as the "skill of praj~naa": (1) the skill of intuiting the object-of-cognition, (2) non-substantiation of emptiness,and (3) the function of practice. (34) According to Chi-tsang, these attributes of upaaya define the direction of Mahaayaana practice and give substantive meaning to praj!naa. Specifically, this meant that, supported by the attributes of praj~naa in the sixth stage, the seventh stage was the occasion for the demonstration of that religious insight. As far as Mahaayaana practice is concerned, the attributes of upaaya also suggest that the bodhisattva's practice avoids both the error of conceiving enlightenment as a self-essence and the error of conceptualizing emptiness as the final goal. According to Chi-tsang, however, the primary function of upaaya was practice, namely, the "practice of emptiness" (k'ung-hsing(k) ). By this expression, Chi-tsang meant that, guided and informed by praj~naa, the path of upaaya shifts the emphasis in practice away from intuiting an effable and undifferentiated whole and directs it toward the refutation of discursive thinking: Praj~naa, then, intuits the true mark of dharmas and upaaya intuits the dharmas' true mark. Hence, one does not sink into the perspective of emptiness. This is called nonsubstantiation. As the Ta-chih-tu-lun says: "Praj~naa enters the final emptiness in which there is no prapa~nca and upaaya appears from the final emptiness to teach men." "Entering the final emptiness in which there is no prapa~nca" is identical with intuiting the true mark; it refers to non-grasping as well as the skill of severing delusion. Upaaya appears from the final emptiness and is guided by praj~naa. (35) Since the refutation fo errors and discriminating views is rather meaningless in the context of the path of praj~naa, upaaya as the "practice of emptiness" can only be understood in terms of the phenomenal level. Inasmuch as the two paths are understood to be complementary in the seventh stage, the goal of practice is not associated with praj~naapaaramitaa alone. Moreover, since praj~naa is understood to guide upaaya, the seventh stage also represents the occasion for the comprehension of the middle path. Implicit in the preceding passage is the idea that, through the perfection of the two paths, one may, by a process unexplained, comprehend the mutual identity between emptiness (true mark of dharmas) and existence (dharmas' true mark). This concept of mutual identity P.457 is especially significant in terms of the perception of a single true mark, and it may be approporiate at this point, before turning to an examination of "concurrent insight," to see how this basic model of practice influenced Chi-tsang's interpretation of the true mark, a traditional synonym for emptiness. Although the term true mark can be traced to the Praj~naapaaramitaa canon, Chi-tsang's description of it as "beyond conceptualization and verbalization" indicates that his textual source is the seventh stanza from the Middle Treatise's chapter on aatman: "The true mark of dharmas is beyond conceptualization and verbalization; it is neither arising nor ceasing, and like, it is quiescent." (36) A traditional way of explaining this concept was the method of negation-the "eight neganations" are the favorite example-that is, a series of refutations designed to "reveal" the true mark. This traditional view can be seen, for example, in Chi-tsang's Commentary on the Twelve Topic Treatise. There, he presents Seng-jui's (352-463) concept of the "refutative middle of the true mark": Master Jui explained true mark in terms of ten negations: not within and not without, not men and not dharmas, not object and not subject, not true and not false, and not gained and not lost. Hence, it is called the true mark. (37) Here, and in the Middle Treatise's explanation of the term, the use of negation essentially describes the true mark by defining what it is not. The primary purpose of this negative method is to circumscribe, and hence avoid, the tendency to conceptualize and hypostatize the true mark. As a student of praj~naa, it is not surprising that Chi-tsang also relies on this traditional method, for in an absolute sense, he agrees with the Middle Treatise that the true mark is"beyond conceptualiza- tion and verbalization." However, as in the case of the two knowledges where praj~naa and upaaya are seen as complementary, to characterize the San-lun view of true mark as just a series of negations, the rejection of things, is somewhat misleading. Since the two paths are directed toward the comprehension of the middle path doctrine characteristic of the seventh stage, one finds that Chi-tsang reexamined the Middle Treatise verse from the standpoint of the original paradigm of essence and function with the motif of interdependency. This can be seen in the following passage where he discusses the relation- ship between the true mark and provisional reality: Before the Three Treatises appeared, there were Abhidharma followers, Ch'eng-shih followers, as well as meditation masters, vinaya masters, practioners of the Tao, and devotionalists. Individuals such as these all adhere to arising and ceasing or to impermanence or permanence. They obstruct the true insight of the middle path and thus obstruct the great funcction (ta-yung) of the unlimited interdependency of provisional reality. If one realizes the true mark, one then comprehends the great function of the unlimited inter-dependency of provisional reality. (38) In this passage we see an attempt to describe the true mark on a phenomenal level. This interpretation also reflects his basic model of practice. In terms of P.458 upaaya, for example, the perception of "great function" refers to the functional attribute of "intuiting the object" which, in this case, means the dharmas of pratiityasamutpaada. Accordingly, while the traditional view expressed in the Middle Treatise verse asserts the single dimension of ineffability, Chi-tsang is attempting to validate his assertion that, in the context of essence and function, functional and provisional reality equally reveals the true mark. This also means that the true mark is not limited to nonverbalization, but contains an aspect of verbalization as well: Again, it is not simply that the true mark cannot be expressed. That is, words are also the true mark. Hence, the goddess addressed 'Saariputra, saying, "You merely understand that the true mark is without words, but have yet to understand that words are identical with the true mark." Hence, words fill the ten directions and always transcend the tetralemma.(39) By stressing the integral functions of the two knowledges, there is greater emphasis in Chi-tsang's thinking of the functional and provisional qualities of the true mark. Insofar as praj~naa informs upaaya, the purpose of perceiving the true mark is not to grasp something immutable; it is not the discovery of ultimate reality yonder, but in the midstof the conventional order of things. Moreover, since the attributes of upaaya shift the emphasis in practice away from a noumenous goal, the perception of the true mark is also consistent with the general Mahaayaana spirit of bodhisattva practice described in an earlier citation as the "teaching of men." This basic structure of practice outlined in the preceding sections is also evident in Chi-tsang's explanation of the "concurrent insight of the two truths." "CONCURRENT INSIGHT" AND THE TWO KNOWLEDGES When Chi-tsang began writing his essays on the two truths, he was especially anxious to refute what he regarded as the erroneous views of the Ch'eng-shih school, a tradition of scholarship which began in the Liang period based on a text known as the Ch'eng-shih lun (Tattvasiddhi?). To a certain extent the Liang theories were used as a foil to present his own doctrinal views and to answer to the recriminations that the San-lun tradition was a variation of the earlier Ch'eng-shih lun studies. At the root of his polemic spirit was his belief that, in the intervening years of the Southern dynasties, the Liang masters had misinterpreted the two truths doctrine and, therefore, had produced unwarranted assumptions concerning the middle path doctrine. Chi-tsang, however, did not criticize the Ch'eng-shih masters only on the basis of their eroneous interpretations of doctrine.He also accused them of holding wrong views of meditation practice. Although in what follows we are more interested in an analysis of "concurrent insight"-in relationship with the two knowledges - than in details of the Ch'eng-shih theories, it is of importance to note here that the basic issue dividing the two traditions was the view of the two truths as "teachings" (erh-ti chiao(i) or as two independent "principles" (li P.459 erh-ti(M)). As an advocate of the middle path doctrine, Chi-tsang could not explain the nature of nonduality (pu-erh chung-tao(n)) by defining the two truths as two objective norms, one a conventional reality, and the other a qualitatively different, unconditioned reality. This debate on the meaning of the two truths is significant because it again provides us with an historical and theoretical context in which we might understand the San-lun practice of "concurrent insight." It is difficult to identify the exact source from which this practice derives.In the Erh-ti-t Chi-tsang simply notes that "concurrent insight" was a common theory of practice which developed after Kumaarajiiva and Seng-chao.(41) Although this term does not appear in any of their writings, Chi-tsang claims that this practice developed as part of the Kuan-chung and She-ling theory of the "two truths as teachings." We are also told tha the Ch'eng-shih masters developed two theories of meditation practice based on the two truths. In addition to "concurrent insight, " the Liang mastwes also advocated a practice known as "departing and entering insight" (ch'u-ju kuan(o)). Again,Chi-tsang made no attempt to identify the specific origin of this practice. In examining the content of this practice, however, it appears that "departing and entering insight" originally developed within the ch'eng-shih tradition. Although specific details are not provided, Chi-tsang describes "departing and entering" as "departing from one extreme and entering another." (42) This type of practice could only have developed within a theoretical context postulating two "principles" or objective norms. The San-lun and Ch'eng-shih versions of this practice, then, may have developed in conjunction with the debate between the "principle" and "teaching" of the two truths. This can be seen in the following passage where Chi-tsang criticizes the Ch'eng-shih position: Since they [that is, Ch'eng-shih masters] also speak of the principle of non-duality, the middle path, how can there be departing and entering insight? There can only be departing and entering if there are two objects. But how can there be departing and entering if the two objects do not exist? Again, how can one explain concurrent insight if the two principles do not exist? One can speak of "concurrent" only if there are two principles. (43) Chi-tsang's rejection of the Ch'eng-shih theory is used mainly to point out that the fundamental disagreement between "principle" and "teaching" equally applies to the practice of perceiving the middle path. In the preceding passage it is evident that the major flaw in the Ch'eng-shih argument is that two contradictory views are presented: first, the existence of a single, nondual middle path, and second, the existence of two separate truths. Although both traditions advocate the doctrine of nonduality, the Ch'eng-shih position is unable to resolve the paradoxical situation of a single nondual reality described in terms of two provisional truths. Chi-tsang's criticism of the Ch-eng-shih version of "concurrent insight" essentially rejects the untenable theoretical basis for such a practice. P.460 In contrast to the dual "object" theory, the doctrinal basis for the San-lun world view is that both ultimate and phenomental truths are empty of self-essence and provisional designations. (44) The inherent problem in the Ch'eng-shih position, therefore, is the interpretaion of the two truths as two independent orders which do not participate in a process of mutual identity. This problem is avoided by Chi-tsang who simply asserts the essential identity of each truth. However, by retaining the idea of a single "principle," Chi-tsang was also open to criticism for the same reason that he rejected the Ch'eng-shih theories. That is to say, how can one practice "concurrent insight" or "departing and entering insight," if one simply postulates a single essence of nonduality? As the terms themselves imply, both practices require two objects. This paradoxical situation can be understood if it is remembered that the relationship between the two truths is pratiityasamutpaada: The Ch'eng-shih tradition also explained the existence of the two truths principle. But when is this principle dual? In all the suutras and 'saastras, where is it explained that there are two principles? The Mahaayaana suutras explain that two principles do not exist. They all say that emptiness is identical with form and form is identical with emptiness; worldly truth is identical with the first principle truth. (45) From the San-lun standpoint the doctrine of the middle path automatically eliminates "departing and entering insight," because it implies a sequential and dualistic view of the two truths; that is, one "enters" the contemplation of worldly truth, and following this, one then "departs" and moves to a perception of ultimate truth. The movement from one truth to the other is possible only if one first asserts the existence of two objective categories. Similarly, if the two truths are a single essence, then, "concurrent insight" is also impossible because two objects are again necessary. According to Chi-tsang the Ch'eng-shih theories require a dual perception of the middle path in the sense of one straddling a fence. Thus, while the idea of "concurrent" is possible, the doctrine of the identity of the two truths cannot be established. The Ch'eng-shih theories essentially perceive nonduality with one eye on ultimate truth and the other eye on phenomenal truth. For Chi-tsang, however, "concurrent" did not mean the simultaneous perception of two things; it was not a theory of combination or union, but the perception of identity and interdependency: "The suutras explain the intuiting of existence which is identical with emptiness and the intuiting of existence which is identical with existence. When are there two objects-of-congition?" (46) While this type of thinking is coincident with Chi- tsang's explanation of the relationship between the two knowledges and the true mark, what remained to be discussed was the relationship between"concurrent insight" and the notion of a path leading to enlightenment.In the Ta-ch'eng hsuan-lun we are told that disagreement and debate concerning the stage in which "concurrent insight" occurred began when Buddhists of the North-South period, based on their p.461 exegesis of the Vimalakiirti-suutra, attempted to define Vimalakiirti's bodhisattva stage. While there may have been numerous methods used to determine the differences between bodhisattvas on different stages of practice, Chi-tsang believed that the direction of bodhisattva practice should be concerned specifically with the following question: "At what stage does the bodhisattva concurrently perceive ultimate and phenomenal truths? " (47) In other words, at what stage can one speak of the integral functions of praj~naa and upaaya? In response to this question, Chi-tsang presented three earlier theories: 1. Concurrent insight occurs in the first stage (=bhuumi). This is the theory of Dharma-master Ling-wei Pao-liang. Because one realizes the non-arising of dharmas (anutpattika-dharma-k.saanti) in the initial stage, concurrent insight of the two truths occurs in the first stage. (48) 2. Concurrent insight of the two truths occurs in the seventh stage. Kumaarajiiva and Seng-chao, for example, explained that the bodhisattva of the seventh stage initially realizes the concurrent insight of the two truths. 3. The three great masters of the Liang [ that is, Ch'eng-shih masters ] said that the bodhisattva realizes concurrent insight in the eighth stage. (49) Based on this information it appears that the div- ergent theories of the earlier period were, for the most part, based on the traditional view of ten bodhisattva stages. In his review of these earlier speculations, however, Chi-tsang rejected the idea of a "correct" stage. In his discussion of a path leading to the comprehension of "nonarising," he suggested that the bodhisattva of the pre-bhuumi stages was also inherently capable of "concurrent insight": Non-arising, the cultivation of concurrent insight, occurs from the initial arising of the bodhicitta. Hence, the says: "The initial arising of the bodhicitta and the final [Buddha] stage are not separate." (50) The reason Chi-tsang makes the claim that the pre-bhuumi stage and the final stage of practice are identical, here meaning the identity of cause and result,is because of the doctrine of interdependency. That "nonarising" is characteristic of all the stages between the initial activity of "faith" and the Buddha-stage means that the bodhisattva's practices are, from the outset, based on an understanding of the path as "neither cause nor result." Most often this view of identity is supported by canonical references to the Avata^msaka-suutra, but as seen in the earlier passage, it is also characteristic of the which asserted the a priori nature of Buddhahood, namely., Buddha-nature. (51) Since practice no longer has any reference to actual production in time or a result stemming from an antecedent cause, the enlightened perspective of " concurrent insight" already exists in a certain sense. Expressed in terms of essence and function, this means that enlightenment, the essence of the two truths or true mark as "neither cause nor result," is the basis for the "functional practice" of the two knowledges. The basic problem, therefore, was to understand how the dynamics of enlightenment functioned both within and P.462 apart from a causative and temporal framework. While this seems to contradict the commonsense view of cause and result, the purpose of this approach is to point out that the true mark, for example, exerts its influence both in its capacity as an inexpressible principle and in its functional aspect as practice. This means that while the two stages are not essentially different, they still retain their distinct functional differences. The removal of "concurrent insight" from a causative framework led to the following sequence of events: First stage: The pre-bhuumi stages,the stage of ignorant worldings, is still a progression toward concurrent insight, for one has yet to realize non-arising or the concurrent insight of ultimate and phenomenal truths. The first stage is called the "sagely stage," and here one initially realizes non-arising and concurrent insight.(52) In the remaining stages,the idea of progression is enlarged upon. In contrast to the view of fixed "segments" of development, differing degrees of meditational skills,that is,differing manifestations of "concurrent insight." are used to distinguish the bodhisattva on different stages. The bodhisattva on the seventh stage, for example, is associated with the "equality of meditation and wisdom" (teng-ting- hui(p) ), and progress in the eights stage is distinguished by the "absence of effort" (wu-kung-yung(q)). But of the practice in the final stage, Chi-tsang has little to say: Seventh stage: Since non-arising is shallow in the initial stage, it is still a progression toward concurrent insight. The seventh stage is called the stage of the equality of meditation and wisdom, and it is here that one initially realizes non-arising and concurrent insight. Meditation is the still mirroring of praj~naa and wisdom is the moving illumination of upaaya. In the sixth stage, the still insight is profound, but movement is unskilled. Hence, meditation and wisdom are not equal. In the seventh stage, the two functions are both equal. Eighth stage: Although non-arising and concurrent insight are realized in the seventh stage, effort is still ncecssary. In the eighth stage the mind of effort no longer arises, and this is called non-arising. Buddha stage: Although the eighth stage is effort- less, it is still not the end, and the final [comprehension of] non-arising occurs in the Buddha stage. (53) While it is regrettable that Chi-tsang does not specifically describe the practice of "concurrent insight" beyond the eighth stage, since these stages represent a single continuous reality, a maturation of the bodhisattva condition, more practice and greater skill are probably called for in the remaining stages. Although "concurrent insight" is present throughout this practice, it is reasonably certain that the seventh stage is the key to this practice. To understand the relevance of this duuramgama stage, it is important to recall the correspondence between the da'sabhuumi and the ten paaramitaa. While the specific terminology of the ten stages is not used, the bodhisattva's progression from the first stage to the seventh stage is couched in terms of the perfection of praj~naa and upaaya. The concurrent perception of the truths, then, goes hand in hand with the concurrent application of the two knowledges: P.463 In the seventh stage there is no obstruction between movement and stillness, and one wanders through the two wisdoms (erh-hui(r)). This is what is meant by concurrent. (54) The language used here to describe the seventh stage is taken from the Ta-chih-tu-lun. In this text we are told that, in the first three stages of the da'sabhuumi, wisdom is stronger than meditation (samaadhi); in the next three stages the opposite is true. (55) While it is difficult to see an exact correspondence between Chi-tsang's definition of praj~naa and upaaya and the Ta-chih-tu-lun's description of bodhisattva practice in the first six stages, Chi-tsang adapted the language of his canonical source in the following way: meditation is stillness (praj~naa) and wisdom is movement (upaaya). This was understood to mean that the skilled function of praj~naa, namely, the path of upaaya, was identical with the stage of the "equality of meditation and wisdom." Moreover, since the Ta-chih-tu-lun refers to this stage of equality as the "bodhisattva's stage," Chi-tsang saw in this work a view similar to his own. Thus, when Chi-tsang speaks of "wandering Through the two wisdoms," or when he says that the bodhisattva's samaadhi "mirrors" praj~naa and that his wisdom is the "movement" of upaaya, he is again asserting that praj~naa and upaaya complement each other in the seventh stage. In retrospect, such practices as "concurrent insight" and the attributes of bodhisattva practice described earlier are still highly theoretical, and yet, by including them in his system, it is clear that his understanding of the two truths was not merely along intellectual lines. There is evidence to conclude that religious practice was an indispensable part of his thinking despite the fact that his writings give the impression that he was a higly competent theoretician. As a San-lun scholar Chi-tsang was, of course, committed to the task of a reasoned exposition of the two truths. Reasoning alone, however, was not sufficient, and by discussing the two truths in terms of bodhisattva practice, it is evident that the middle path was not static principle, that is, something merely to reason out. (56) Further, while Chi-tsang owes some of his basic insights to the primary San-lun texts, his interpretation of the true mark, for example, indicates a more balanced view between what is inconceivable and inexpressible and those aspects of the true mark limited to verbalization and provisional existence. While this is not a radical departure from the middle path doctrine established by the Middle Treatise, it is a conceptual shift in perspective influenced by the practical manner in which such concepts are interpreted. As part of the bodhisattva's perspective developed in the seventh stage, the two knowledges are not concerned with a noumenal goal but with an active and thorough-going experience in the phenomenal order. In this respect the practice of "concurrent insight" is used as an integral part of a larger system to explain the relationship between the theory and practice of the two truths. Thus, while Chi-tsang was not a meditation master, the inclusion of this practice in the two truths theory should be seen as a San-lun P.464 development of Praj~naapaaramitaa thought which cannot be regarded simply as an orthodox version of Maadhyamika's therapeutic dialectic. NOTES 1.Richard Robinson.The Buddhist Religion (Belmont, California: Dickenson, 1970), p.84. 2.Taishoo shinshu Daizookyoo (hereafter cited as T ), 45, 109b-111a. 3.Chi-tsang does not refer to his school as San-lun, but calls it the "She-ling" tradition because the first patriarch of this tradition. Seng-lang, settled on this mountain and began teaching the Praj~naapaaramitaa doctrine. Chi-tsang frequently refers to this monk as the "Great Master of She-ling" or as the "Master of Mt. She." For biographical data on this man, see the Kao-seng-chuan (hereafter cited as KSC), T50, 380c. Although the dates of this monk are not known, he was apparently active in the Nanking area from 476. For further discussion of Seng-lang, see Hirai Shun'ei, Chuugoku Hannya Shishoo-shi Kenkyuu (Tokyo: Shunjuu-sha, 1976),PP.244-275. 4." Kuan-chung " refers to the first tradition of Chinese Praj~naapaaramitaa scholarship centered in Ch'ang-an, that is, Kumaarajiiva and his immediate disciples.The term serves to contrast his own She-ling tradition of Praj~naapaaramitaa study in the south. 5.Seng-ch'uan's dates are not known. A T'ang work by the T'ien-t'ai master Chan-jan (711-782), the Fa-hua hsuan-i shih-ch'ien, records that during the rule of Liang Wu-ti(502-549), Seng-ch'uan-and nine other monks were ordered by the emperor to study under Seng-lang on Mt.She. In contrast to Seng-lang, Chi-tsang refers to Seng-ch, uan as "Master of Shan-chung," "Master of Chih-kuan" (because of this residence at the Chih-kuan temple on Mt. She), or as " Shan-chung" His biography is found in KSC, T50, 369c. 6.During this period the foremost exponents of the two truths doctrine were three monk-scholars associated with the Ch'eng-shih lun (Tattvasiddhi-saastra? ) : K'ai-shan Chin-tsang (458-522; KSC, T50, 465c) , Chuang-yen Seng-min (467-527; KSC, T50, 461c) , and Kunang-chai Fa-yun(467-529; KSC, T50, 463). For a discussion of the Liang Ch'eng-shih lineage, see Hirai, Chuugoku Hannya, p.172. For an overview of Ch'eng-shih doctrine, see Whalen Lai, "Further Developments of the Two Truths Theory in China: Toward a Reconstruction of Chou Yung's San-tsung-lun," in Philosophy East and West 30, no.2(April, 1980) and "Sinitic Understanding of the Two Truths Theory in the Liang Dynasty," in Philosophy EAst and West 28, no.3(July,1978). 7.Ta-p'in ching i-su, Dainihon Zokuzookyoo ( here- after cited as ZZK), 1, 1, 38, recto a9. A similar historical note may be seen in the Chung-kuan lun-su, T42, 17c. 8.KSC, T50, 477c. 9.For an extensive discussion of the She-ling trad- ition following Seng-lang, see Hirai, Chuugoku Hannya, pp. 269-281. Also see his article on Seng-ch'uan's disciples, "Shikan-ji Sosen to monryuu," Indogaku Bukkyoogaku Kenkyuu (hereafter cited as IBK) 16 (Tokyo, 1968), pp.770-779. 10.KSC, T50, 477c. 11.Ibid.,50, 480c.Hui-pu's biography notes that he was friendly with Hui-k'o (487-593), the second patriarch of the Ch'an tradition, from whom he received the Ch'an Dharma. After his study with Ch'an Buddhists in the north, he returned to Mt. She during the early years of the Ch'en (CHih-te, 583-86), and together with his disciple, Pao-kung (542-621), established a medoation hall on that mountain. After his death, Hui-pu's disciples were turned over to an obscure meditation master simply known as Kung (T50, 512c). Based on biographical date, it appears that an independent Ch'an tradition (the Bodhidharma line) was active on Mt. She at the Hsi-hsia temple. This tradition continued until 645, the time when Tao-hsuan compiled his Hsu kao-seng-chuan.Sekiguchi Shindai also sees a close interchange of ideas and historical figures between She-ling practioners and T'ien-t'ai practioners. Hui-pu is also reported to have met with Nan-yueh Hui-ssu (515-577) , the second patriarch of T'ien-t'ai and Chih-i's teacher. See his work. Tendai Shikan no Kenkyuu (Tokyo: Iwanami, 1969), pp.131-132,215-216. 12.Ibid., 50, 477c. " Follower of the middle and provisional" is an expression which refers to San-lun meditation masters. These individuals were apparently criticized for their rigid adherence P.465 to, and conceptualization of, doctrines like the middle path and the two truths. Although individuals like Chih-pien abandoned scholarship, as practioners they still held to a few doctrinal ideas. Their dogmatic assertion of the reality of these concepts, however, prompted Fa-lang to part from them. The doctrinal basis for attacking these practioners is found in the Ta-chih-tu-lun where "adherence to neither arising nor ceasing" is defined as prapa~nca (T25, 170c). 13.KSC, T50,478a. 14.Several Japanese scholars have documented the relationship between San-lun doctrine and the development of Ch'an thought. See, for example, Yanagida Seizan, Shoki Zenshuu Shishoo no Kenkyuu (kyoto: Hoozookan, 1967), PP.25-26,119, 444; Kamata Shigeo, "Sanronshuu--Gozuzen---Dookyoo o musubu shisooteki keifu," Komazawa daigaku Bukkyoogakubu Kenkyuukiyoo 26(Tokyo, 1968). pp.79-89, and "Shotoo ni okeru Sanronshuu to Dookyoo, " Tooyoo Bunka Kenkyujo Kiyoo 46(Tokyo, 1968), pp.49-108. 15.T50,701c. 16.For a discussion of this development, see Hirai, Chuugoku Hannya, pp.324, 344, Kamata, "Shotoo ni okeru Sanronshuu to Dookyoo, " pp.60-79, and Yanagida, Shoki Zenshuu, pp.126-135. 17.T50,666b. 18.The phrase, " beyond conceptualization and ver- balization." is from the Middle Treatise (T30,24a). The perspective of nonacquisition is defined in texts such as the San-lun hsuan-i as the central doctrine of the San-lun school which, at one time, was also called the "School of Nonacquisition" (cf. T45,10c). 19.T50,538b-c. 20.See Hirai,Chuugoku Hannya,pp.130-139,who traces this aspect of Chi-tsang's thought back to Seng-chao. 21.T45,7b. 22.Ibid,. 42,9b. 23.For the sake of clarity, the two passages may be diagramed as follows: True Mark of Dharmas ┌────────────────┐ true function true essence ┌─┴─┐ │ ultimate phenomental neither ultimate nor phenomenal └───┘ │ teaching principle │ ┌──┴──┐ (function) (essence) │ │ knowledge trutn (practice) (object) 24.T45.55b,55c. 25.For a discussion of the development of contem- plative practices in China, see Hirai Shun'ei,"Kichizoo ni okeru ni-chi no koozoo." IBK 15, pp. 541-547. See, also, Chuugoku Hannya, pp.653-666. 26.This general view of practice is reflected in the following passage from the Ta-chih-tu-lun: When one has yet to draw near to, there are still several paths, but when one is close to, there is only one path: emptiness, the markless, and the unconditioned. The other samaadhi al enter these three gates of liberation. [T25,373c] 27.How these terms are adapted are used by Chi-tsang is discussed by Hirai, Chuugoku Hannya, p.596. 28.This is explained in the Ching-ming hsuan-lun (Commentary on the Vimalakiirti-suutra) in the following way: "Although the object-to-known (j~neya) is the mother of knowledge, it is the common perspective of the Two Vehicles; the two knowledges, however, are the sole Dharma of the bodhisattva (T38, 876a). 29.T25, 867a. 30.Ta-ch'eng hsuan-lun, T45,54a. P.466 31.Ibid., 45,54b. 32.Ibid., 45,50b. 33.In this case Chi-tsang again follows the Ta-chih- tu-lun teaching:"Although the term wisdom can be expressed, praj~naa cannot be expressed because it corresponds to the true mark" (T25,552a). 34.ta-ch'eng hsuan-lun, T45,54b. 35.Ibid., 45, 54b. 36.T30,24a. 37.Ibid., 42, 171a-b. 38.Chung-kuan lun-su, T42,31b. 39.Ibid., 42,126b. 40.For further discussion of this distinction, see Aaron K. Koseki, Chi-tsang's ta-ch'eng hsuuan-lun: The Two Truths and the Buddha-nature (Ph.D.disserta- tion, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1977) , pp.15-26.See also, Whalen Lai, "Further Developments of the Two Truths Theory." 41.T45,110b. 42.Ibid., 45, 110b. 43.Ibid., 109b. 44. This perspective is described in the following passage from the Chung-kwan lun-su: The provisional designations of emptiness and exis- tence express the middle path. We explain that provisional existence does not abide in existence, and hence, existence is not-existent: provisional emptiness does not abide in emptiness, and hence, emptiness is not-empty (a'suunya). Neither empty nor existent is identical with the middle path. [T42, 142b] 45.T45, 110a-b. 46.Ibid., 45, 110b. 47.Ta-ch'eng hsuan-lun, T45,66c. 48.Pao-liang(444-509) is a scholar of the North-South period who also commented on a whole range of texts (for example, the Lotus Suutra, the Vimalakiirti-sutra, the Sriimaalaadevii-suutra, and so forth) . The compilation of the Liang collection of commentaries (Ta-pan nieh-p'an ching chi-chueh) is also attributed to him. See his biography in KSC, T50, 318b-382a. 49.T45, 66c. The discussion of the stages of "con- current insight" that follows is taken from the Ta-ch'eng hsuan-lun. A similar discussion of these stages is found in the Erh-ti-i, T45, 109b-c, 110a. 50.T45, 66c. 51.Avata^msaka-suutra, T9,452c, passim. suutra, T12, 838a. 52.T45, 66c. 53.Ibid., 45,66c. 54.Ibid., 45,54c. 55.T24, 417c. 56.While this perspective was influenced by his understanding of the integral functions of the two knowledges, Chi-tsang's middle path doctrine was also strongly influenced by the and its theme of universal salvation, namely, Buddha-nature. While this aspect of his thought is beyond the scope of the present study, it can be noted here that the Buddha-nature theory gave his middle path doctrine a religious significance, namely, comprehending the universality of Buddha-nature in both sentient and non-sentient existence. The integrity of the two doctrines is also discussed in the Erh-ti-i as follows:'If one understands the two truths, he is apart from the views of impermanence and permanence; one practices the middle path and sees the Buddha-nature. Thus, the nature of the Buddha exists' (T45, 86a). a 二諦並觀 f 二智 k 空行 o 出入觀 b 攝嶺 g 實智 l 二諦教 p 等定慧 c 二諦觀 h 權智 m 理三諦 q 無功用 d 體用 i 般若 n 不二中道 r 二慧 e 實相 j 漚和拘舍羅