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Zen and Material Culture$
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Pamela Winfield and Steven Heine

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190469290

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190469290.001.0001

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Golden Robe or Rubbish Robe? Interpretations of the Transmitted Robe in Tokugawa Period Zen Buddhist Thought

Golden Robe or Rubbish Robe? Interpretations of the Transmitted Robe in Tokugawa Period Zen Buddhist Thought

Chapter:
(p.197) 7 Golden Robe or Rubbish Robe? Interpretations of the Transmitted Robe in Tokugawa Period Zen Buddhist Thought
Source:
Zen and Material Culture
Author(s):

Diane E. Riggs

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190469290.003.0007

This chapter investigates the long scriptural tradition and heated Edo period debates about the legendary Buddhist robe made of golden thread. It considers fourth-century CE Chinese Buddhist texts that describe Mahāprajāpatī donating a golden robe to the sangha, and medieval Chan texts that describe Buddha transmitting a golden robe to his disciple Mahākā śyapa to then transmit to the future Buddha Maitreya. It finally considers the Japanese textual tradition and argues that Tainin Myōryū’s (1705–1786) pioneering study of robes as they appear in the ancient vinaya texts needs to be weighed against Kazen Sosan’s (active c. 1760) apologist rationale for promoting institutional prominence through lavish textiles.

Keywords:   robes, rag robe, golden thread, vinaya, Mahāprajāpatī, Mahākāśyapa

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