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Hua-hu Ching

To: soc.religion.eastern
From: Hun Lye (lyeh@alleg.edu)
Subj: Hua-hu Ching (Chinese Buddhism) (0000.bdsmchn.hl)
Date: unknown

There are in fact many versions of the Hua-hu Ching.  Literally, the title  
of this book means "Classic of Transforming the Barbarians."   
Historically, the many versions of the Hua-hu Ching appeared as a reaction  
to the advent of Buddhism in China.  The Tao-te Ching was supposedly given  
by Lao-tzu to an official guarding the western borders of China when  
Lao-tzu was heading out of China proper.  Picking up from this myth, the  
Hua-hu Ching claims that after exiting China, Lao-tzu went to India to  
"transform (convert) the barbarians."  Accordingly, the Buddha is actually  
Lao-tzu in disguised and Buddhim is actually teachings that Lao-tzu gave  
to the barbarians (hence unfit for the "superior" Chinese people).  The  
Hua-hu Ching which Cris has *might* not contain this story as there are  
many versions of this classic.  But as far as historians and record can  
tell, the original Hua-hu Ching appeared as a response to the growing and  
threatening influence of Buddhism in China.  The Buddhists at that time  
responded by "translating" some sutras that supposedly claimed that  
"ACTUALLY... Lao-tzu is Mahakashyapa in disguised and that the Buddha had  
instructed him to go to China to prepare the Chinese for the coming of  
Buddhism by first teaching them the "lesser" teachings as contained in  
Taoism).  And in fact, throughout the T'ang dynasty (about 600 - 900 AD),  
Buddhists and Taoists have argued both in and out of the imperial court  
for the "authenticity" of both the Hua-hu Ching and those sutras referring  
to Mahakasyapa as the true identity of Lao-tzu.  

For further info on the Hua-hu Ching and those sutras, Kenneth Chen's  
"Buddhism in China," and most history books dealing with Buddhism in China  
(like Zurcher's "Buddhist Conquest of China," and Matsumoto's "History of  
early Chinese Buddhism" and others) are good.  Also, T. Barrett's  
forthcoming chapter on Taoism and Buddhism in the T'ang and Sui in the  
Cambridge History of China should have good stuff on these texts.  

Hun Lye
lyeh@alleg.edu  

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