In early medieval China hundreds of Buddhist miracle texts were circulated, inaugurating atrend that would continue for centuries. Each tale recounted extraordinary events involvingChinese persons and places-events seen as verifyingclaims made in Buddhist scriptures, demonstratingthe reality of karmic retribution, or confirming the efficacy of Buddhist devotional practices. Robert Ford Campany, one of North America's preeminent scholars of Chinese religion, presents in this volume the first complete, annotated translation, with in-depth commentary, of the largest extant collection of miracle tales from the early medieval period, Wang Yan's Records of Signs from the Unseen Realm, compiledaround 490 C.E. In addition to the translation, Campany provides a substantial study of the text and itsauthor in their historical and religious settings. He shows how these lively tales helped integrateBuddhism into Chinese society at the same time that they served as platforms for religious contestation and persuasion. Campany offers a nuanced, clear methodological discussion of how such narratives, being products of social memory, may be read as valuable evidence for the history of religion and culture.Readers interested in Buddhism; historians of Chinese religions, culture, society, and literature;scholars of comparative religion: All will find Signs from the Unseen Realm a stimulatingand rich contribution to scholarship.
Signs from the Unseen Realm
University of Hawaii Press
Buddhist Miracle Tales from Early Medieval China
Mind, Body & Spirit