Divining Monks according to the Shenseng Zhuan , T .2064

Dr. Wei Li, PD Dr. Esther-Maria Guggenmos

This project intends to provide an overview of monks‘ performance of divinatory practices in the Shenseng Zhuan, T. 2064. Although the practice of divination has been regarded with caution throughout the history of Chinese Buddhism, not only lay Buddhists, but also eminent monks like Dao’an or Vajrabodhi established themselves as diviners. To trace the divinatory role of members of the monastic order more systematically, out of the large corpus of biographical writings within the Buddhist canon the Shenseng Zhuan - The Biographies of Thaumaturge Monks- has been chosen. The Shenseng Zhuan with its 208 biographies presents a compilation of miraculous narrations mainly taken from Buddhist biographical collections. It was assembled on the initiative of the third emperor of the Ming dynasty in 1417. The project delivers a translation of 22 biographies of this corsus and reflects on the practice of mantic arts of Chinese Buddhist monks on the basis of the translations.

See Esther-Maria Guggenmos and LI Wei: Wahrsagende Mönche im chinesischen Buddhismus: Biographien aus dem Shenseng zhuan, http://ikgf.fau.de/publications/featured-books.shtml

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