For decades, architectural historical scholarship on China's early Buddhist monasteries has been dominated by two sacred monument types: the pagoda that enshrined the Buddha's relics and the image hall that venerated iconic images of the Buddha.1 This narrow scope of inquiry may be attributed to the fact that, apart from a handful of masonry pagodas, almost nothing remains of these monasteries. Accordingly, scholars are forced to rely on textual sources, primarily from Buddhist and secular literature, and in most cases, these discuss only the buildings containing cultic objects—the monasteries' centers of devotional worship, referred to here as the principal buildings. The most valuable findings from these texts concern the process of architectural development, which started with monastery plans positioning the pagoda at the center of a courtyard enclosure, before the pagoda was replaced by the image hall (Figure 1). This process, indicating changes in the type of principal building, enables historians to connect the history of architecture to the history of Chinese Buddhist religious practice before the eighth century. Specifically, it resonates with what we know of Buddhism's acculturation during the second half of the Northern and Southern dynasties (420–589 CE), wherein the primary mode of worship shifted from venerating the Buddha's relics through acts of circumambulation to venerating his images through acts of prostration accompanied by offerings of incense and flowers; the latter practice aligned more easily than the former with indigenous Chinese ritual traditions.

Figure 1

Typological transformation of the principal buildings in early Chinese Buddhist monasteries, first through seventh centuries (author's drawing).

Figure 1

Typological transformation of the principal buildings in early Chinese Buddhist monasteries, first through seventh centuries (author's drawing).

However, focusing solely on principal buildings prevents scholars from forming a complete understanding of this transformation process. In recent years, archaeological findings have introduced new forms of previously unavailable material, yet the focus on principal buildings continues to dominate the field. When excavated monastic sites are analyzed, only the information about the types and locations of principal buildings is considered crucial for classifying monastery plans, despite the presence of other remains, including gate halls and structures enclosing the central courtyards. These last, which I call enclosing structures, are noteworthy as particular building types, prevalent and evolving over several centuries. As I will show in the following sections, most Chinese monastery courtyards before the fourth century were enclosed by freestanding walls (yuanqiang)—tall, boundary-marking structures separating the sacred and the profane. Another form used in this period was the encircling hall (zhouge)—a long, elevated structure that created enclosed ambulatory space around the principal building. During the fourth and fifth centuries, monastic dormitory cells (sengfang) made up the predominant form of enclosing structure, characterized by a number of small rectangular rooms arranged in rows for the residents. Corridors (huilang) appeared by the early sixth century as covered galleries with colonnades opening to courtyards, and this form quickly prevailed, becoming the standard monastic enclosure type throughout the Tang dynasty (618–907 CE) (Figure 2).

Figure 2

The four types of enclosing structures in early Chinese Buddhist monasteries (author's drawing).

Figure 2

The four types of enclosing structures in early Chinese Buddhist monasteries (author's drawing).

Yet changes in enclosing structures and their underlying significance remain unexplored. No comprehensive study regarding the transformation of monasteries has examined this topic, and it has been mentioned only twice in the literature, in papers published in the 1950s by the Japanese historian Murata Jirō.2 His argument was flawed, as it was based in his misconception that Chinese Buddhist monasteries began as corridor-enclosed compounds.

Overemphasis on the central roles of the pagoda and the image hall reduces monastic transformation to a simple and undifferentiated process of adaptation to changes in devotional worship, and thereby neglects other fundamental developments of Buddhism during the Northern and Southern dynasties: those associated with lay–monastic relations, ritual traditions, and the monastic order. The paucity of textual records providing information on how monastic space was conceived and how ritual activities were carried out in these spaces creates a problem, one compounded by our modern disciplinary separation of architecture and religion. This has left gaps in our understanding of the early sixth century, when a boom in the construction and expansion of Buddhist monasteries resulted in the rise of distinctive architectural features in both northern and southern China. Northern development followed earlier traditions with unprecedentedly large-scale buildings. Monastic space in the south was marked by the rise of diverse new architectural forms.3 Observations on southern developments appear in writings of both architectural history and ritual history, yet these accounts remain separate, obscuring the complexity of the relationship between ritual program and spatial organization.

Such methodological separation forms the starting point for this study of certain overlooked aspects of early Chinese Buddhist monasteries and ritual interactions. I will consider the spatial and ritual significance of enclosing structures as a defining component of monastic spatial organization, and I will argue that the political and religious reforms of the early sixth century in southern China, particularly the development of Buddhist imperial rituals, helped to create what we might call “state monasteries.” In these reforms, central courtyards were adapted for ceremonial use, resulting in spatial divisions between the ritual center and its surroundings; this in turn led to a new monastery plan in which the ceremonial needs of both religious and secular spheres could be accommodated.

Enclosing Structures in the Fourth through Seventh Centuries

In modern scholarship, the enclosing structure of a monastery is generally considered an unimportant subsidiary element, subject to the principal building. Most scholars recognize enclosing structures before the seventh century as corridors, but this is problematic. Indeed, even a cursory examination of textual records reveals that Baimasi, China's earliest Buddhist monastery built in the first century CE, used freestanding walls rather than corridors for its enclosing structure.4 The early use of corridors is best exemplified—and often mentioned as physical evidence for the introduction of Chinese Buddhist architecture to Japan during the sixth and seventh centuries—by the western monastery compound in Hōryūji.5 This is a corridor-enclosed cloister with an image hall and pagoda standing at the center of an open courtyard, providing the most accurate information on the appearance of no-longer-extant Chinese prototypes (Figure 3).

Figure 3

Hōryūji, Ikaruga, after 670, western cloister and its enclosing corridors (left, author's photo; right, Ōta Hirotarō, ed., Hōryūji 1 Nara rokudaiji taikan kankōkai [Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 2001]).

Figure 3

Hōryūji, Ikaruga, after 670, western cloister and its enclosing corridors (left, author's photo; right, Ōta Hirotarō, ed., Hōryūji 1 Nara rokudaiji taikan kankōkai [Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 2001]).

Compared to the walls of first-century Chinese monasteries, Hōryūji's corridors marked a different functional and spatial relationship between enclosing structure and principal building. Walls delimited a sacred sphere around the central structure and produced an ambulatory path for worshippers; this bore a close resemblance to the early Indian stupa complex (such as that of the Great Stupa at Sanchi), which used embellished balustrades in a similar way from the first century BCE. Corridors were a more sophisticated form of boundary for a sacred site. At Hōryūji, the long, narrow corridor structure was not likely used for circumambulation because indoor ambulatories already existed in the pagoda and image hall. Rather, it provided an open ground between principal buildings and the compound's boundaries, transforming the first-century compact layout into a courtyard composition spaciously extended by covered, colonnaded space. This composition gives a sense of Chinese precedents in its articulation of the colonnade-framed courtyard, and, as such, it marks a significant break from earlier Indian traditions.

Yet this raises questions. How and why did the enclosing structure take the form of corridors? Can we understand this transformation in a broader theoretical or ritual context to enrich our knowledge of early Chinese Buddhist monasteries? If so, what is the historical significance of this transformation as related to cultural and religious transmission during a three-hundred-year period of political disunity between the north and south, lasting from the fall of the Western Jin dynasty in 316 to the reunification by the Sui dynasty (581–618) in 589?

Examination of six pre-Tang monastery sites (the only ones excavated so far), most of which reveal the building foundations of principal and enclosing structures, hints at answers to these questions (Figure 4). These monasteries, bearing many common architectural characteristics, were commissioned by rulers in northern China. The first three—the Yungang monastery (462–81), the Siyuan monastery (479), and the Siyan stupa-shrine (485–90)—were built when rulers of the Northern Wei empire established their capital at Pingcheng. Yungang and Siyuan featured monks' dormitory cells on all sides of rectangular courtyards.6 The Siyan stupa-shrine encircled the pagoda courtyard differently, with four L-shaped halls and a centrally placed entrance on each side of the courtyard (Figure 5).7

Figure 4

Locations of pre-Tang Buddhist sites, fifth through sixth centuries (author's drawing).

Figure 4

Locations of pre-Tang Buddhist sites, fifth through sixth centuries (author's drawing).

Figure 5

Plans of the three earliest Northern Wei monastery sites. Left to right: Yungang monastery, near Datong, 462–81 (author's drawing based on Zhang Qingjie and Zhang Zhuo, “Yungang shiku kuding xiqu Beiwei fojiao siyuan yizhi,” Kaogu xuebao 4 [2016], 534–51); Siyuan monastery, near Datong, 491 (author's drawing based on Hu Ping, “Datong Beiwei Fangshan Siyuan fosi yizhi fajue baogao,” Wenwu 4 [2007], 7); Siyan stupa-shrine, Chaoyang, 485–90 (author's drawing based on Wang Jincheng, Chaoyang beita [Beijing: Wenwu Chubanshe, 2007], 26–29).

Figure 5

Plans of the three earliest Northern Wei monastery sites. Left to right: Yungang monastery, near Datong, 462–81 (author's drawing based on Zhang Qingjie and Zhang Zhuo, “Yungang shiku kuding xiqu Beiwei fojiao siyuan yizhi,” Kaogu xuebao 4 [2016], 534–51); Siyuan monastery, near Datong, 491 (author's drawing based on Hu Ping, “Datong Beiwei Fangshan Siyuan fosi yizhi fajue baogao,” Wenwu 4 [2007], 7); Siyan stupa-shrine, Chaoyang, 485–90 (author's drawing based on Wang Jincheng, Chaoyang beita [Beijing: Wenwu Chubanshe, 2007], 26–29).

After Emperor Xiaowen relocated the capital to Luoyang in 494, Northern Wei Buddhism enjoyed unprecedented popularity, with more than one thousand chapels built in and around the new capital. The Yongning monastery (519) was the largest of these, and it is the only one that has been studied extensively to date. Excavations have revealed a large courtyard bordered by freestanding walls, corner towers, and cardinal gate halls, with a pagoda and an image hall as principal buildings along the north–south axis (Figure 6).8 Yang Xuanzhi's sixth-century Records of Buddhist Monasteries in Luoyang (Luoyang qielan ji) describes the monastery's walls as functioning analogously to those of a Chinese palace—probably as a boundary fence separating the sacred precinct from its surroundings, enclosing the principal cloister.9

Figure 6

Yongning monastery, Luoyang, 519–34, plan (author's drawing based on Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beiwei Luoyang Yongningsi [Beijing: Zhongguo Dabaike Quanshu Chubanshe, 1996]).

Figure 6

Yongning monastery, Luoyang, 519–34, plan (author's drawing based on Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beiwei Luoyang Yongningsi [Beijing: Zhongguo Dabaike Quanshu Chubanshe, 1996]).

Textual information about other buildings in the Yongning monastery challenges this conclusion. Luoyang qielan ji informs us that it included “over 1,000 monastic residences,” all still unidentified. The monastery's plan was based on two underlying principles. The first was symmetry, with all major buildings (four gate halls, pagoda, and image hall) placed on the cardinal axes. The pagoda, standing at the crossing of the north–south and west–east axes, was the focal point. The second principle involved preserving ample open ground around the two principal buildings, an action aimed at producing a sense of grandeur. If the monastic cells also followed these two principles, they were most likely arranged into long rows running along the monastery's outer walls, resulting in an enclosure of concentric rings.10 The pagoda and image hall of the Yongning monastery were thus situated in a courtyard enclosed by monastic cells, not walls.

While monastic cells and long halls were used to enclose the Northern Wei monastery courtyards, notable changes took place during the following decades, as seen at the Great Zongchi monastery (562) in the Northern Qi capital of Yecheng.11 Surrounded by ditches rather than aboveground structures, the perimeter of this large, square site measured more than 1,700 meters. Unlike Northern Wei monasteries, the Great Zongchi monastery featured multiple cloisters, with two identical quadrangles flanking the central cloister at the site's front corners, providing a strong sense of spatial-functional division (Figure 7). The central cloister included a pagoda, which remained the principal place of worship, while each of the subsidiary quadrangles was centered by a lecture hall and was surrounded by residential cells.12 Corridors were used here to connect the lecture hall and monastic cells. Architectural foundations for the enclosing structure of the central cloister were found only on the eastern and western sides; they were divided into northern and southern halves. The outer wall of residential cells of the subsidiary quadrangles served the southern half, while the northern half was a row of long structures whose functions remain unknown.13 Based on the foundation remains, the width of these long structures suggests that they were most likely corridors, not monastic cells.14

Figure 7

Great Zongchi monastery, Yecheng, 562, plan (author's drawing based on Zhu Yanshi, “Hebei Linzhangxian Yecheng Zhaopengcheng fosi yizhi de kantan yu fajue,” Kaogu 7 [2010]; and Zhu Yanshi, “Hebei Linzhangxian yecheng yizhi Zhaopengcheng beichao fosi 2010-2011 nian de fajue,” Kaogu 12 [2013]).

Figure 7

Great Zongchi monastery, Yecheng, 562, plan (author's drawing based on Zhu Yanshi, “Hebei Linzhangxian Yecheng Zhaopengcheng fosi yizhi de kantan yu fajue,” Kaogu 7 [2010]; and Zhu Yanshi, “Hebei Linzhangxian yecheng yizhi Zhaopengcheng beichao fosi 2010-2011 nian de fajue,” Kaogu 12 [2013]).

The unusual coexistence of monastic cells and corridors in the Northern Qi monasteries reflects a period of transition, when new approaches to design emerged and became increasingly prevalent. Evidence of this can also be found in the last pre-Tang site, the Linggan monastery, an official Buddhist institution built in 582, during the Sui dynasty, and later known by its Tang dynasty name: Qinglong monastery. This included a group of cloisters, two of which were unearthed during archaeological excavations. Particularly interesting is the pagoda cloister, where architectural remains belonging to two historical periods were uncovered. The earlier remains date to the monastery's late sixth-century origins, and the later ones to a late ninth-century renovation (Figure 8).15 In the sixth century, the cloister was a courtyard compound with a gate hall, pagoda, and image hall aligned along a central north–south axis. The buildings enclosing the courtyard were identified as monastic dormitories, and corridors were used to link these to the image hall, similar to what we see at the Great Zongchi monastery. The cloister's destruction during the anti-Buddhist persecution of 845 resulted in an almost complete reconstruction, with significant modifications to the arrangement of both the principal buildings and the enclosing structure. While the image hall was reconstructed on a smaller scale, the pagoda was left unbuilt; thus, the courtyard became a fully open ground. Covered corridors, standing where monastic cells had been, now enclosed the compound. The renovation transformed the cloister into a typical Tang-style monastery. The inclusion of corridors and exclusion of monastic quarters created a clear division between residential and ceremonial functions, indicating not only an intention to develop a purely devotional space but also concerns about maintaining monastic independence.

Figure 8

Western compound of the Linggan monastery, Daxing, 582, and the Qinglong monastery, Chang'an, 845–907, plans (author's drawing based on Ma Dezhi, “Tang Changan Qinglongsi yizhi,” Kaogu xuebao 2 [1989], 231–61).

Figure 8

Western compound of the Linggan monastery, Daxing, 582, and the Qinglong monastery, Chang'an, 845–907, plans (author's drawing based on Ma Dezhi, “Tang Changan Qinglongsi yizhi,” Kaogu xuebao 2 [1989], 231–61).

Monastic Seclusion in the Fourth and Fifth Centuries

An examination of northern sites enriches our knowledge of enclosing structures by revealing important transformations of their forms from the fifth through seventh centuries. One such change involved residential cells being used as enclosing structures in Northern Wei monasteries, a fact made explicit in Luoyang qielan ji and epigraphic sources. The Songyang monastery (484–535), for example, featured “monastic cells and meditation halls.”16 Similarly, central cloisters at three Luoyang monasteries—the Qin Taishangjun monastery, the Hutong convent, and the Jingle convent—were enclosed with “chanting chambers and meditation halls,” “cavern chambers,” and “long halls and inner chambers.”17 Additionally, the records of six other monasteries consistently follow mentions of main monuments—pagodas or image halls—with lists of subsidiary structures.18 Monastic cells for residential or meditation purposes are always included on these lists, and in most cases they are the only buildings listed; the set phrase “image hall and monastic cell” (fodian sengfang) is used repeatedly. This fixed textual order appears to have been a way for Northern Wei writers to abbreviate full descriptions of a monastery layout by simply enumerating the principal buildings and enclosing structure in sequence. In other words, these monasteries, dating from the fourth to the early sixth century, likely had courtyards enclosed by monastic cells.

Another key transformation involved the use of corridors in northern monasteries from the mid-sixth century onward. Before turning to a detailed investigation of these northern developments, it is useful to consider what was happening elsewhere in China during the fourth and fifth centuries. After the overthrow of the Western Jin dynasty in 316, China entered a long period of unrest that lasted until 589. These centuries saw political disunity between the north and south and the rise and fall of many short-lived kingdoms and dynasties. Buddhism developed considerably during this period, along with particular forms of material culture. Among southern monasteries before the sixth century, at least two indicate the continued use of monastic cells: the Tanxi monastery in Xiangyang and the Eastern Qingyuan convent in Jiankang.19 Like many other monasteries of the time, these were converted from mansions donated by faithful aristocrats or wealthy merchants. The Tanxi monastery was built around 377 for the famous monk Daoan. During the construction, a five-story pagoda with four hundred cells for dwelling and meditation were added to the former residence, giving the monastery a plan comparable to those of its northern counterparts. The Eastern Qingyuan convent, the only example from the capital of the Southern dynasties, received a similar treatment: when Abbess Baoying decided to develop a new institution east of the existing convent in 467, she built meditation cells around a five-story pagoda.

Despite its rising popularity during the fourth and fifth centuries, the practice of enclosing central courtyards with monastic cells was hardly a conventional approach in the global history of Buddhist architecture. In fact, it was only during these centuries that this custom prevailed. A more typical arrangement, widely found in India and later in China, separated the monks' residential quarters from the pagoda and image hall, thus differentiating functional zones for particular groups of users. This separation happened when lay worship practices began to take place increasingly in monasteries. The central courtyard then became a communal space to be shared by laymen and monks, while monastic residences were segregated, reserved exclusively for the monks' use.

In reality, before the sixth century, such shared monastic space went largely unrealized in China, as members of monastic communities generally maintained independent ritual areas. For Buddhist laymen, most of whom were members of the upper classes, donating residences and constructing monasteries were means of obtaining religious merit; they were not intended to foster direct ritual interactions between lay and monastic communities.20 In other words, monasteries did not anticipate lay ritual presence or practice, and placing the pagoda near the monks' residences did not lead to a lay–monastic mix. Chinese monasteries of the fourth and fifth centuries were intended for monastic seclusion, and their architectural plans reflected this intention.

Monastery as Imperial Ceremonial Center in the Sixth Century

The beginning of the sixth century marked a key moment in the history of Chinese Buddhist architecture, when monasteries featuring corridor-enclosed central courtyards with subsidiary cloisters first emerged. The first encircling corridors, according to textual sources, occurred in the Liang monasteries. Xiao Yan, an official and general of the Southern Qi, assumed the imperial title in 502 and became the Liang dynasty's founding emperor. To commemorate his political success, the new emperor, Liang Wudi, better known by his posthumous title Wu, commissioned three Buddhist projects in his capital, Jiankang—the Fawang, Tianguang, and Guangzhai monasteries—shortly after his accession to the throne. In memorial inscriptions dedicated to the establishment of these monasteries, the use of corridors is described by a variety of terms: encircling corridors (huilang) at the Fawang monastery, lofty corridors (gaolang) at Tianguang, and long corridors (changlang) at Guangzhai.21 It is unclear whether these various corridors were originally destined for Buddhist ritual use, since the monasteries were converted from Emperor Wu's former residence and from palaces and gardens of the preceding dynasty. Nevertheless, corridors offered new architectural opportunities for Buddhism during the Liang dynasty, particularly in the case of the Guangzhai monastery (discussed below). They inspired widespread use of corridor-enclosed compounds for the emperor's new monasteries.

Beginning in the second decade of his reign, Emperor Wu embraced Buddhism and became a benefactor, scholar, and innovator of the religion. He sponsored the renovation of existing monuments and funded the construction of new temples. Among the many monasteries he built, three projects—the Great Aijing and Tongtai monasteries and the Great Zhidu convent—used corridors to encircle their central courtyards and included subsidiary cloisters. Both the Great Aijing monastery and the Great Zhidu convent were built in 520 for the posthumous blessings of the emperor's parents. Monastic sources of the sixth and seventh centuries describe the Great Aijing monastery as a multicloister compound whose central cloister, enclosed by corridors extending from the main gate, is flanked by thirty-six subsidiary cloisters. Regarding the Great Zhidu convent, a brief account indicates that its principal cloister had the same arrangement as the Great Aijing monastery.22 Given their other formal similarities, as well as their similar ritual functions and construction dates, it is safe to assume that the Great Zhidu convent also had subsidiary cloisters surrounding its principal cloister.

The Tongtai monastery, where Emperor Wu held his great dharma assemblies and his performances of worldly renunciation, had an unusual arrangement (Figure 9).23 The entire compound, encircled by a moat, contained a nine-story pagoda, six grand halls, and a dozen smaller halls and lecture theaters. The pagoda and three of the six grand halls stood in the central courtyard, enclosed by lofty corridors. Other sacred monuments—such as the twin prajñā terraces on the east and west sides, the three-bay hall venerating an auspicious image of the Buddha in the northeast corner, and the hall housing an armillary sphere in the southeast—were likely the main structures of the subsidiary cloisters. These architectural elements were impressively mixed with a rich landscape of hills, streams, trees, and rocks scattered throughout the monastery. An artificial mountain in the northwest corner accommodated a cypress hall and several meditation groves and cells. Despite these unique features, the Tongtai monastery, like the Great Aijing monastery and the Great Zhidu convent, still employed a corridor-enclosed central courtyard and subsidiary compounds.

Figure 9

Tongtai monastery, Jiankang, 527, plan (author's drawing).

Figure 9

Tongtai monastery, Jiankang, 527, plan (author's drawing).

This early sixth-century development played a key role in distinguishing Liang dynasty monastic space from that of previous dynasties and foreshadowed the subsequent development of the corridor-enclosed form across East Asia by the eighth century. Architectural historians have noted the increased number of subsidiary cloisters in this era and the resulting sophistication of spatial organization, yet without attending to the enclosing structures, they overlook the fundamental change in the central courtyard.24 Unlike walls or cells, which simply marked spatial boundaries, corridors produced an open colonnaded backdrop for the principal buildings along with semiopen halls for public religious activities. The use of corridors thus involved a profound reconception of the courtyard. No longer was it mere residual space between the principal buildings and the enclosing structure; rather, the courtyard became a space of ceremonial and ritual significance extending back into the open corridors. Corridors were also instrumental in the development of the multicloister plan, since they required moving monastic residences out of the central courtyard to separate areas.

This ceremonialization of courtyard space was one significant result of Emperor Wu's engagement with Buddhism. The emperor's interventions challenged the independence of monastic communities and gave rise to new types of public events expressing his authority over the Buddhist sphere.25 With large numbers of laymen and monks now gathering to participate in ceremonial activities and sacrifices, these spectacular events became central to the life of metropolitan monasteries. In this context, the conversion of former residences and the construction of new monasteries may be understood as differing approaches to meeting the changing spatial needs of imperial Buddhist ritual programs, reflecting an increasingly diverse use of monastic space. Analyzing these corridor-enclosed monasteries in relation to their ritual functions enriches our understanding of Emperor Wu's role in imposing imperial authority on Buddhist traditions and institutions.

Beginning in 507, when Emperor Wu inaugurated the principal pagoda of the Guangzhai monastery with one of his first great assemblies, corridor-enclosed monasteries became directly related to the development of imperial ritual programs.26 Central to these assemblies was the maigre feast, a communal, ceremonial sharing of food between laymen and monks, the performance of which became increasingly institutionalized in the south by the late fifth century, mainly at monasteries converted from residences by Buddhist elites. Under Emperor Wu, these events became elaborate imperial rituals open to the public; they might include donations, the worship of relics, dharma lectures, and lay and bodhisattva ordinations, among other activities. A comparison of the Guangzhai assembly of 507 and the imperial maigre feast of 460 at the Zhongxing monastery reveals architectural transformations corresponding to these ritual developments. The relatively simple Zhongxing feast brought together just two hundred monks who were served their meals in the monastery's meditation cells.27 The Guangzhai assembly, as mentioned in Shen Yue's (411–513) memorial text for its pagoda construction, was attended by far greater numbers of lay and monastic community members, who were served in the site's corridor-enclosed spaces.28

As sites for imperial ceremonies, monastic cells lacked certain advantages and associations offered by the corridor-enclosed form. Corridors in China were traditionally associated with imperial ritual architecture. Ancestral shrines and palaces dating from the second millennium BCE wrapped corridors around large open courtyards.29 The idiom lang-miao, translated as “corridor-enclosed temple,” had been used in reference to the royal court as early as the Spring and Autumn period (771–476 BCE).30 The use of corridors at the Guangzhai monastery thus transformed it into an imperial ritual center. The architect-monk Sengyou (445–518 CE), who supervised the casting of a colossal statue for the monastery's main hall, was perhaps the central figure in the imperial adaptation of Buddhist architecture. A skillful builder of monasteries and an innovative thinker who contributed significantly to the development of the public ritual assemblies during the first twenty-five years of Emperor Wu's reign, Sengyou inserted imperial imagery—corridors included—into Buddhist space.31

The Great Aijing monastery and the Great Zhidu convent also demonstrate how corridor-enclosed compounds could powerfully align monastic space with the diverse ceremonial needs and concerns of the imperial court. As purpose-built institutions where the emperor granted blessings to his late parents, these two monasteries provided ritual arenas in which the performance of the imperial ancestral cult was carried out by members of the monastic community throughout the year. In the imperial adaptation of monastic spaces, not only were the Buddhist rituals of sutra recitations and maigre feasts borrowed for ancestral worship, but it is also evident that these monastic compounds derived their corridor-enclosed form, as suggested by a seventh-century source, from imperial ancestral shrines (Figure 10).32 Adapting elements of ancestral temples then became an important strategy for the Liang imperial family, which sought to expand Buddhist rituals for dynastic and political purposes. The Shanjue convent, commissioned by the heir apparent Xiao Gang in commemoration of his late mother, is another example of the corridor-enclosed form used for Buddhist ancestral worship.33

Figure 10

Memorial shrine of Gao Huan, Yecheng, 547, reconstruction drawing (Fu Xinian, Sanguo Liangjin Nanbeichao Sui Tang Wudai jianzhu, ed. Liu Xujie, vol. 2, Zhongguo gudai jianzhushi [Beijing: Zhongguo Jianzhu Gongye Chubanshe, 2009], 137).

Figure 10

Memorial shrine of Gao Huan, Yecheng, 547, reconstruction drawing (Fu Xinian, Sanguo Liangjin Nanbeichao Sui Tang Wudai jianzhu, ed. Liu Xujie, vol. 2, Zhongguo gudai jianzhushi [Beijing: Zhongguo Jianzhu Gongye Chubanshe, 2009], 137).

Emperor Wu's attempts to create and animate spectacular ritual spaces culminated in the performance of pañcavārṣika, or Wuzhe fahui (great dharma assemblies without discrimination), at the Tongtai monastery.34 During these great assemblies, the emperor dressed in bodhisattva attire and lectured on selected Buddhist sutras to large numbers of monks and laymen. These events could last for several days or even weeks, with the lectures complemented by maigre feasts, relic veneration, public confessions, lavish donations, and the emperor's worldly renunciation. Much in these ritual programs resonated with the pañcavārṣika assemblies of the Indian Buddhist king Aśoka, a sacred antecedent from whom Emperor Wu drew the ideal of wheel-turning monarch (cakravartin), recasting himself as a universal king entitled to rule the secular world.35

Emperor Wu's ambition was not simply to emulate a historical model in which secular rulers served as benefactors and defenders of Buddhist religion. Rather, he claimed a privileged role over the monastic order as a whole. After his ordination as a bodhisattva in 519, the emperor acquired a dual identity, which made him an absolute Buddhist authority. The great assemblies thus provided him with an elaborate platform from which to display his new persona as emperor-bodhisattva and affirm his power over the mundane and sacred realms. Still, while the emperor played the main role on these occasions, monastic communities were essential to the rituals, serving as agents of his imperial authority. Monastery architecture illustrated the monastic order in spatial terms, while offering a privileged ritual arena where the emperor could claim universal rulership.

Construction of the Tongtai monastery began shortly after the emperor's ordination as bodhisattva in 519; the site was inaugurated at the first great assembly in 527, when the emperor performed his first act of self-renunciation. The Tongtai monastery's distinctive architectural composition, as the Buddhist historian Yamada Keiji has written, represented a cosmic model that the emperor created to harmonize Chinese cosmography with Buddhist ideas of the universe; the monastery was thus conceived as a sacred counterpart to the imperial palace, embodying the emperor's status as a bodhisattva.36 Yet a close examination of how the pañcavārṣika assemblies were spatially arranged reveals that the monastery's ritual significance was more than just symbolic.

The ceremonial program and spatial organization of a great assembly held in 533 are documented in Xiao Zixian's (489–537) “Preface to a Series of Imperial Buddhist Lectures.”37 The assembly was initiated at the request of the heir apparent, who entreated the emperor to explain the Mahāprajñāpāramitā sūtra for the benefit of all sentient beings. Emperor Wu granted this request and left the imperial palace on 5 April 533 to begin a series of lectures at the Tongtai monastery. Envisioned as a pañcavārṣika assembly, these dharma lectures attracted participants of varied social status and religious affiliation from across the capital (Figure 11). Inside the lecture hall, an audience of 698 aristocrats, imperial relatives, and court officials received the emperor's doctrinal instruction. Huiling, the great chief of the Saṃgha (da sengzheng), led 1,000 prominent scholar-monks in discussing these teachings in the subsidiary halls and lofty corridors that flanked the lecture hall. In addition to monastic and political elites, the assembly brought together between 20,000 and 30,000 participants each day. Attendees included lay and ordained Buddhists, Daoist priests, foreign envoys, refugees from contending northern states, and large numbers of local residents as well as people from the surrounding region.38 The crowds gathered in the monastery's central courtyard, where tutorials and vegetarian feasts were offered in tents. During the assembly, the Tongtai monastery was guarded by thousands of imperial troops, who stood with the participants and also received the emperor's teachings. The lectures lasted twenty-one days, the participants' religious fervor mounting for the culminating event, when Emperor Wu performed the closing ceremony of repentance in the main hall, with bright lights radiating from statues of the Buddha and the bodhisattva. This miraculous light was interpreted as divine approval of the proceedings and attracted waves of donations from royal family members and other aristocrats, court officials, and commoners.

Figure 11

Tongtai monastery, Jiankang, seating arrangement of the great assembly of 533 (author's drawing).

Figure 11

Tongtai monastery, Jiankang, seating arrangement of the great assembly of 533 (author's drawing).

Written records of the 533 assembly at Tongtai monastery focus less on the cosmological plan and more on the arrangement of the central courtyard as a spectacular ritual arena. Departing from monasteries of the fifth century, Tongtai retained their pagoda-centered layout but developed a variety of open spaces for imperial ceremonial use. This spatial configuration—a large courtyard, lofty corridors, and grand halls—articulated a hierarchical order, granting the participants specific places according to their religious and political status. This arrangement was not the emperor's invention, but it did share important features with the Taijidian compound—the main audience hall of the imperial palace at Jiankang—where he enacted state rites. The connection between Tongtai and Taijidian is suggested in Xiao Zixian's preface and in a seventh-century monastic text, but one must study the emperor's grand audience to comprehend fully the architectural and ceremonial similarities between these spaces.39

The walled enclosure of Jiankang's Taijidian compound, known as the outer court of the palace city, was designated for the performance of state rituals.40 It was surrounded by corridors with gate halls opening at the front and on two sides. The main audience hall and the east and west halls, like their counterparts at the Tongtai monastery, were aligned at the northern end of the enclosure, facing a spacious courtyard to the south (Figure 12). Emperor Wu organized grand audiences there on three occasions each year, the most spectacular of which took place on New Year's Day. As witnessed by an Eastern Wei envoy, this event's organizers paid particular attention to the arrangement of ranks and status in the courtyard.41 Before the ceremony commenced, participants were guided to the main audience compound, where they were placed according to a strict order. In the courtyard's north, close to the main audience hall, stood the Eastern Wei envoys and high-ranking nobles and court officials of Liang, while to the south stood guests from distant regions, such as Kunlun (in present-day Southeast Asia), Koguryŏ, and Paekche. Low-ranking court officials sat in the eastern and western corridors to play court music. Once everyone was in position, Emperor Wu ascended to his throne in the main audience hall and formally inaugurated the new year. This was followed by the kneeling and prostration of all present. Low-ranking participants and envoys performed this act of obeisance at the north end of the courtyard, while high-ranking participants proceeded to the main audience hall to present jade offerings to the emperor.

Figure 12

Taijidian compound in the Jiankang palace city, Southern Liang, 502–52, plan (author's drawing based on Fu Xinian, Sanguo Liangjin Nanbeichao Sui Tang Wudai jianzhu, ed. Liu Xujie, vol. 2, Zhongguo gudai jianzhushi [Beijing: Zhongguo Jianzhu Gongye Chubanshe, 2009], 120).

Figure 12

Taijidian compound in the Jiankang palace city, Southern Liang, 502–52, plan (author's drawing based on Fu Xinian, Sanguo Liangjin Nanbeichao Sui Tang Wudai jianzhu, ed. Liu Xujie, vol. 2, Zhongguo gudai jianzhushi [Beijing: Zhongguo Jianzhu Gongye Chubanshe, 2009], 120).

The Eastern Wei envoy's account of the New Year's Day audience describes spatial arrangements that were almost identical to those used for the great assembly at Tongtai monastery: the main hall accommodated the emperor and dignitaries, the corridors held the various agents of imperial authority, and the courtyard was occupied by foreign envoys and low-ranking participants who gathered to receive imperial instruction. A further similarity was evident in the convocation of pañcavārṣika assemblies at the Taijidian compound after the destruction of the Tongtai monastery.42

By imitating the architecture and arrangements of the royal palace, the emperor visually imbued the Tongtai monastery with imagery of imperial authority, thereby merging his secular and religious identities and announcing his support for the reunification of China. This represented the last step in the imposition of the imperial palace model on monastic compounds. From the Guangzhai monastery to the Tongtai monastery, Emperor Wu developed various ceremonial spaces for his Buddhist ritual programs, but he consistently used the corridor-enclosed courtyard to project imperial spatial order. Thus did the emperor expand the repertory of architectural forms available for Chinese monasteries and foster the development of a new relationship between monastic space, communal ritual programs, and potential users.

The Effect of Emperor Wu's Imperial Buddhist Program: A New Architectural Paradigm in the Seventh Century

Emperor Wu's corridor-enclosed monasteries offered a model imitated and adapted by many later Chinese rulers. Early on, however, this model was not applied at the contemporary Northern Wei monasteries, where locating the monks' residences around the pagoda was favored and corridors were rarely used. The Jianzhong and Hejian monasteries are the only Northern Wei sites for which we have textual evidence pointing to the use of corridors. However, as both of these monasteries were conversions of former aristocratic mansions, it is difficult to determine whether their corridors were originally associated with Buddhist practice.43 The paucity of corridor-enclosed monasteries in Northern Wei may represent a lack of awareness of southern developments or limited interaction between the two rival regimes. More likely, this persistence of the older architectural tradition (i.e., the monastic courtyard enclosed by residential cells) was due to some important ideas and practices that characterized Northern Wei Buddhism.44

Unlike in the south, lay demands for monastic space were not initially a prominent consideration in Northern Wei. Most Northern Wei monarchs, although Buddhists, rarely lectured on Buddhist doctrines as Emperor Wu had done. They were more interested in devotional practices—making offerings, performing rites of repentance, and constructing monasteries and cave temples.45 The annual celebration of the Buddha's birthday, the primary religious event of the city of Luoyang, for example, was a public ritual of image procession involving the royal family and the general population.46 Each year, thousands of Buddhist images from urban monasteries were sent to the Jingming monastery for this event. When the celebration started, they were placed in richly adorned chariots and paraded through the city's streets, drawing crowds of spectators. The image procession ultimately arrived at the main gate of the imperial palace and culminated in the emperor's floral offerings. The choice of urban spaces for such celebrations suggests that Northern Wei monasteries were considered off-limits for major religious events, that they were reserved for monastic life.

Another factor shedding light on the continuation of the pagoda-and-cell arrangement pertains to the practice of meditation. Many religious historians have discussed the importance of meditation in Buddhist ritual life of the Northern Wei.47 For example, in sixth-century Luoyang, meditation was seen to be more beneficial for generating karmic merit than lecturing or copying scriptures. An anecdote of the monk Huining's miraculous journey to the underworld exemplifies how this idea was promoted among monastics and the ruling class.48 Monastic residential cells are typically understood as sites where the practice of seated meditation also took place.49 Indeed, textual and architectural sources related to the study of Buddhist cave sites confirm this functional overlap. The vihāra plan, found in dozens of cave temples between India and China, involved a monastery-like complex of small cells arranged along the perimeter of a larger rectilinear hall; scholars have linked these caves to meditation manuals translated into Chinese between the fourth and sixth centuries, arguing that the practices the texts prescribe were performed in caves. Kumārajīva's (344–413) translation of A Manual on the Samādhi of Seated Meditation (Zuochan sanmei jing), for example, mentions that the practitioner, after contemplating the Buddha image, should return to his dwelling place for seated meditation until he sees the image in his mind; other sources echo this instruction.50 In recent years, scholars have expanded the list of activities that might have been conducted in the vihāra caves, but meditation was undoubtedly central.51 In Northern Wei as well as in pre-Liang Southern dynasties, rows of cells for both residential and meditative purposes were used to enclose monasteries, and there seems to have been little distinction made between these cell types. Texts such as the southern poet Xie Lingyun's (385–433) Rhapsody on Dwelling in the Mountains (Shanju fu), discussing a mountain monastery flanked by meditation and monastic cells, support this view.52

Because of such ritual significance, monastic cells were able to maintain prominence as architectural elements in sixth-century Northern Wei monastery design, even though monastery courtyards had become remarkably larger than their fourth- and fifth-century predecessors. The Yongning monastery, for example, differed from the Yungang and Siyuan monasteries in having more open ground between the central building and the peripheral dwelling cells. These open spaces conveyed a sense of grandness, sacredness, and monumentality that might be seen as overpowering the modest monastic cells and unconducive to the ascetic practice of meditation. Yet these grand courtyards and simple cells bore a close connection: ritually and spiritually, meditative practices aligned monastic cells with the sacred ambience of the larger monastery.

In Northern Wei Buddhism, monks who mastered meditation enjoyed a high degree of respect, not simply as ritual specialists but also as semidivine individuals of advanced spiritual achievement and thaumaturgic power, such as the ability to prevent epidemics and protect people and the state.53 Reverence for master meditators and their abilities anticipated the symbolic significance of monastic cells. Caves built by Emperor Xianwen of Northern Wei (r. 466–71) for monks practicing seated meditation, for example, were described as “immortal” by court literati.54 Some caves in the vihāra plan were used as shrines to venerate icons of meditative scenes. Mogao Cave 285, a typical vihāra from the 530s, contained eight rectilinear cells featuring sculpted images of meditating monks.55 Never used to house monks, the decorated cells were probably used for pilgrimage and worship. Like these caves, monastic cells in the aboveground monasteries were eventually sacralized, made to serve as numinous places where miraculous powers might be accessed. Their attainment of ritual and symbolic significance marked a subtle shift wherein the sixth-century Northern Wei pagoda-and-cell compounds, representing the spiritual powers of meditative practice, were capable of accommodating lay–monastic interactions during the last years of the Northern Wei dynasties.

The fall of the Northern Wei and the subsequent rise of the Eastern Wei (534–50) and the Northern Qi (550–77) ended an era of political confrontation and ushered in a golden age of fruitful cultural contact. The rulers of the Eastern Wei and the Northern Qi maintained close ties with Buddhism; they were lavish sponsors of Buddhist projects and devout conveners of dharma lectures.56 Their dedication to Buddhism encouraged them to seek friendly and stable relationships with the Liang court. Direct access to Liang sources significantly contributed to the development of Buddhist thought and material culture among the Northern Qi, who in many aspects departed significantly from Northern Wei practices.57 The large-scale lecture assemblies of Northern Qi Buddhism were clearly influenced by Liang dynasty practices, and they revealed a new desire to establish doctrinal preaching centers comparable to Emperor Wu's pañcavārṣika assemblies, which deeply impressed northern scholar-monks who visited Jiankang. Encircling corridors and multicloistered compounds were used in the construction of temples in Yecheng, the Eastern Wei–Northern Qi capital city. The Great Zongchi monastery of Emperor Wucheng (see Figure 7), where lecture assemblies with a thousand or more participants were regularly held, is one example testifying to the shift of monastic architectural design.58

The Western Wei (535–57) and the Northern Zhou (557–81), who dominated the other half of Northern Wei territory in Chang'an, were less receptive to new ideas from neighboring states.59 The ruling house tried to control the extent of Buddhist propagation, an effort that degenerated into fierce suppression. Undoubtedly, religious policies determined the conservative nature of Northern Zhou Buddhist practice and the rejection of new sources from the conquered districts of Liang and Northern Qi. Suppression and conservatism had an enduring effect on temple construction in and around Chang'an. Even after the official end of the persecution in 578, older planning traditions were still preferred at the early Sui monasteries (see Figure 8).

Soon after the overthrow of the Northern Zhou regime and the Sui reunification of China in 589, Buddhism began to see a full revival across the nation. The northwest finally embraced the Liang approach to monastery design.60 Eminent monks played active roles in the introduction and adaptation of design and construction processes. In 591, Lingyu (518–605), a Northern Qi monk known for his writings and practical experience in temple construction, was summoned to Chang'an, where he became an influential adviser to Emperor Wen of Sui (r. 581–604). Lingyu's personal guidance and literary works served as key sources for new Buddhist projects in Chang'an. Most of his writings have been lost, but those on monastery planning are cited extensively in the early Tang monastic text Illustrated Scripture of Jetavana Vihāra of Śrāvastī in Central India (Zhong tianzhu sheweiguo qihuansi tujing). Composed by vinaya master Daoxuan (596–677), the text describes a grand monastery compound consisting of a central corridor-enclosed cloister surrounded by several subsidiary cloisters (Figure 13).61 This layout recalls the large monasteries that Lingyu saw during his long stay in Yecheng. Southern sources were also introduced at this time and directly affected the construction of the Sui monasteries. For example, the Prince of Jin—the Sui administrator of the south from 590 to 599—maintained close ties with southern Buddhist institutions and served as an imperial agent for cultural transmission between north and south.62 Having learned from his master Zhiyi (538–97) how southern monasteries were laid out, the prince commissioned building projects for monasteries in Yangzhou city, the southern capital after the fall of Jiankang in 589.63 After returning to the north in 601, he presumably adopted the corridor-enclosed style for the monasteries he established at Chang'an and Luoyang. In all likelihood, Emperor Wen's renovation and construction of monasteries across China inspired widespread use of the Liang approach to monastery design, from metropolitan centers to smaller cities throughout the empire.

Figure 13

Jetavana vihāra, illustration, twelfth century (Daoxuan, Guanzhong chuangli jietan tujing, T. 45, 812–13).

Figure 13

Jetavana vihāra, illustration, twelfth century (Daoxuan, Guanzhong chuangli jietan tujing, T. 45, 812–13).

Buddhism reached its peak during the Tang dynasty, infiltrating all classes of society. Devotional activities—vegetarian feasts, votive offerings, and image worship—were frequently organized at monasteries. Moving the central pagoda away from the principal cloister created a completely open space in front of the image hall, offering a more comfortable layout for public activities.64 For Tang rulers, Buddhist rituals constituted an integral part of the state ceremonial system, and official monasteries were the venues for the annual festival commemorating deceased emperors. The diary of a ninth-century pilgrim describes the festival at the Kaiyuan monastery in Yangzhou, where major events were held in the courtyard, while walking processions and dining took place in the corridors, which operated, in effect, as extensions of the courtyard's space (Figure 14).65 Similar events are described in textual and pictorial representations of the Buddha's paradise, which depict corridor-enclosed compounds with bodhisattva attendants residing in the corridors (Figure 15).66 The last major architectural change to monasteries of this period involved the addition of open porticoes at the front of the image halls; this can be seen at the Qinglong, Foguang, and Tōsh̄daiji monasteries (see Figure 8). By connecting the portico to the flanking corridors, this arrangement effected a complete corridor quadrangle for ceremonial performances.67

Figure 14

Kaiyuan monastery, Yangzhou, 838, plan showing locations for grand maigre feast and incense procession ceremony (author's drawing).

Figure 14

Kaiyuan monastery, Yangzhou, 838, plan showing locations for grand maigre feast and incense procession ceremony (author's drawing).

Figure 15

Tuṣita Heaven, Cave 338, Mogao Grottoes, 618–704 (Sun Ruxian and Sun Yihua, Jianzhu huajuan, ed. Duan Wenjie, vol. 21, Dunhuang shiku quanji [Hong Kong: Commercial Press, 2001], 75).

Figure 15

Tuṣita Heaven, Cave 338, Mogao Grottoes, 618–704 (Sun Ruxian and Sun Yihua, Jianzhu huajuan, ed. Duan Wenjie, vol. 21, Dunhuang shiku quanji [Hong Kong: Commercial Press, 2001], 75).

Satisfying the spatial needs of Buddhist ceremonial programs, Liang-style corridor-enclosed monastery plans attracted early Tang monastic reformers because of the multicloister layout's provision of spatial division between lay public and monastic ritual spheres. In his Commentaries on the Vinaya, Daoxuan, a key protagonist in the reform movement, underlines the distinction between “the Buddha's land” and “monks' land.”68 Behind this stipulation of land use lies his concern for the monastic pursuit of solitude, which should not be interrupted by public devotions or crowded by pilgrims, spectators, or other visitors. Daoxuan legitimates this spatial division by invoking the sacred paradigm of the Buddha's Jetavana vihāra, which, in his visionary construct, presents a separation between monastic quarters and the Buddha's dwelling place—that is, the principal cloister. Daoxuan's selection of the Liang imperial monasteries as the architectural source for Jetavana seems to be attributable to their offering a solution to securing monastic interests. The Liang multicloister plan, favorable to the reformist agenda, proliferated rapidly during the seventh-century monastic movement.69

Conclusions

Scholars of early Chinese Buddhist monasteries have generally focused on the gradual replacement of the pagoda by the image hall, portraying this as part of a process of acculturation as Buddhism made its way from India. By examining the enclosing structure and its relation to the principal buildings, I have endeavored in this essay to widen the scope of inquiry and provide insight into this architectural transformation, offering new understandings of how the first-century type of single, compact stupa enclosure eventually evolved into the seventh-century multicloister compound (Figure 16). During the fourth and fifth centuries, the courtyards of Chinese monasteries were reserved for monks, providing places for dwelling and ritual practices. By the first half of the sixth century, as Emperor Wu of Liang built monasteries featuring corridor-enclosed courtyards and multiple cloisters to stage his grand dharma assemblies, they had become communal ritual spaces open to the broader public.

Figure 16

Typological transformation of the enclosing structures in early Chinese Buddhist monasteries, first through seventh centuries (author's drawing).

Figure 16

Typological transformation of the enclosing structures in early Chinese Buddhist monasteries, first through seventh centuries (author's drawing).

Considering the pagoda, image hall, monastic cells, corridors, and courtyards in the context of medieval Buddhist ritual development reveals how Chinese architectural space was shaped to serve changing monastic and political agendas. The combination of the pagoda and residential court in the fourth and fifth centuries emerged from concerns about preserving monastic control, along with negligible interest in lay participation. Emperor Wu's ambition to inject Chinese ceremonial imagery into Buddhist religious spaces challenged the monastic control. The adaptation of elements from palace architecture for religious purposes enabled vast public assemblies that embodied the Buddhist vision of an imperial audience and demonstrated the emperor's sacred and secular authority to reunify China.

As monasteries in the south became increasingly oriented toward the public, Northern Wei monasteries, understood as meditation centers, initially retained the older pagoda-and-cell arrangements, turning rows of cells into ritually and spiritually significant spaces. By the second half of the sixth century, as cultural interaction between north and south intensified and reunification proceeded, the southern, Liang-style approach to monastery design spread nationwide. It was not until the seventh century, when imperial demands for state ritual arenas and monastic efforts toward disciplinary reform accelerated, that the fully developed multicloister composition became the ideal layout of Chinese monasteries. Thus does a seemingly peripheral element—the courtyard boundary—provide a clearer picture of Buddhist architectural development during a tumultuous era in medieval China.

Glossary
RomanizationDefinitionChinese characters
Baimasi Monastery of White Horse 白馬寺 
Baoying a fifth-century Buddhist nun 寶嬰 
Chang'an a city in northern China 長安 
changlang a long corridor 長廊 
Da Aijing (si) Great Monastery of Loving Respect 大愛敬寺 
da sengzheng great chief of the Saṃgha 大僧正 
Da Zhidu (si) Great Convent of Perfection of Wisdom 大智度寺 
Da Zongchi (si) Great Monastery of Encompassing Grasp 大總持寺 
Daoan a fourth-century Buddhist monk 道安 
Daoxuan a seventh-century Buddhist monk 道宣 
Dong Qingyuan (si) Eastern Convent of Blue Garden 東青園寺 
Fawang (si) Monastery of Dharma-King 法王寺 
fodian sengfang image hall and monastic cell 佛殿僧房 
Foguang (si) Monastery of Buddha's Radiance 佛光寺 
gaolang a lofty corridor 高廊 
Guangzhai (si) Monastery of Splendid Residence 光宅寺 
Hejian (si) Monastery of the Prince of Hejian 河間寺 
Hōryūji Monastery of Flouring Dharma 法隆寺 
huilang an encircling corridor 迴廊 
Hutong (si) Convent of the Chief of Tuoba Monks 胡統寺 
Jiankang a city in southern China 建康 
Jianzhong (si) Monastery of Establishing the Mean 建中寺 
Jingle (si) Convent of Happy View 景樂寺 
Jingming (si) Monastery of Bright Prospect 景明寺 
Kaiyuan (si) Monastery of Opening Up an Era 開元寺 
Kumārajīva a fourth-century Buddhist monk 鳩摩羅什 
Kunlun insular Southeast Asia 昆侖 
lang-miao a corridor-enclosed shrine 廊廟 
Liang Wudi Emperor Wu of Liang 梁武帝 
Linggan (si) Monastery of Miraculous Stimulus 靈感寺 
Lingyu a sixth-century Buddhist monk 靈裕 
Luoyang a city in northern China 洛陽 
Luoyang qielan ji Records of Buddhist Monasteries in Luoyang 洛陽伽藍記 
Pingcheng a city in northern China 平城 
Qin Taishangjun (si) Monastery of the Grand Duchess of Qin 秦太上君寺 
Qinglong (si) Monastery of Blue Dragon 青龍寺 
sengfang a monastic cell 僧房 
Sengyou a fifth- and sixth-century Buddhist monk 僧祐 
Shanju fu Rhapsody on Dwelling in the Mountains 山居賦 
Shanjue (si) Convent of the Well-Awakened 善覺寺 
Shen Yue a fifth- and sixth-century poet 沈約 
Siyan (fotu) Stupa-Shrine of Lamenting the Yan State 思燕佛圖 
Siyuan (fosi) Monastery of Honoring Ancestors 思遠佛寺 
Songyang (si) Monastery of Mt. Song's Southern Side 嵩陽寺 
Taijidian Hall of the Great Ultimate 太極殿 
Tanxi (si) Monastery of Sandalwood Creek 檀溪寺 
Tianguang (si) Monastery of Heavenly Radiance 天光寺 
Tongtai (si) Monastery of Universal Tranquility 同泰寺 
Tōshōdaiji Monastery of the One Invited from China 唐招提寺 
Weishu Book of Wei 魏書 
Wuzhe fahui Dharma Assemblies without Discrimination 無遮法會 
Xiangyang a city in southern China 襄陽 
Xiao Gang a sixth-century crown prince 蕭綱 
Xiao Yan a sixth-century emperor 蕭衍 
Xiao Zixian a sixth-century writer 蕭子顯 
Xie Lingyun a fifth-century poet 謝靈運 
Yang Xuanzhi a sixth-century writer 楊衒之 
Yangzhou a city in southern China 揚州 
Yecheng a city in northern China 鄴城 
Yongning (si) Monastery of Eternal Peace 永寧寺 
yuanqiang an enclosure wall 垣墻 
Yungang (fosi) Monastery of Cloud Ridge 雲岡佛寺 
Zhiyi a sixth-century Buddhist monk 智顗 
Zhong tianzhu sheweiguo qihuansi tujing Illustrated Scripture of Jetavana Vihāra of Śrāvastī in Central India 中天竺舍衛國祇洹寺圖經 
Zhongxing (si) Monastery of Dynastic Revival 中興寺 
zhouge an encircling pavilion 周閣 
Zuochan sanmei jing A Manual on the Samādhi of Seated Meditation 坐禪三昧經 
RomanizationDefinitionChinese characters
Baimasi Monastery of White Horse 白馬寺 
Baoying a fifth-century Buddhist nun 寶嬰 
Chang'an a city in northern China 長安 
changlang a long corridor 長廊 
Da Aijing (si) Great Monastery of Loving Respect 大愛敬寺 
da sengzheng great chief of the Saṃgha 大僧正 
Da Zhidu (si) Great Convent of Perfection of Wisdom 大智度寺 
Da Zongchi (si) Great Monastery of Encompassing Grasp 大總持寺 
Daoan a fourth-century Buddhist monk 道安 
Daoxuan a seventh-century Buddhist monk 道宣 
Dong Qingyuan (si) Eastern Convent of Blue Garden 東青園寺 
Fawang (si) Monastery of Dharma-King 法王寺 
fodian sengfang image hall and monastic cell 佛殿僧房 
Foguang (si) Monastery of Buddha's Radiance 佛光寺 
gaolang a lofty corridor 高廊 
Guangzhai (si) Monastery of Splendid Residence 光宅寺 
Hejian (si) Monastery of the Prince of Hejian 河間寺 
Hōryūji Monastery of Flouring Dharma 法隆寺 
huilang an encircling corridor 迴廊 
Hutong (si) Convent of the Chief of Tuoba Monks 胡統寺 
Jiankang a city in southern China 建康 
Jianzhong (si) Monastery of Establishing the Mean 建中寺 
Jingle (si) Convent of Happy View 景樂寺 
Jingming (si) Monastery of Bright Prospect 景明寺 
Kaiyuan (si) Monastery of Opening Up an Era 開元寺 
Kumārajīva a fourth-century Buddhist monk 鳩摩羅什 
Kunlun insular Southeast Asia 昆侖 
lang-miao a corridor-enclosed shrine 廊廟 
Liang Wudi Emperor Wu of Liang 梁武帝 
Linggan (si) Monastery of Miraculous Stimulus 靈感寺 
Lingyu a sixth-century Buddhist monk 靈裕 
Luoyang a city in northern China 洛陽 
Luoyang qielan ji Records of Buddhist Monasteries in Luoyang 洛陽伽藍記 
Pingcheng a city in northern China 平城 
Qin Taishangjun (si) Monastery of the Grand Duchess of Qin 秦太上君寺 
Qinglong (si) Monastery of Blue Dragon 青龍寺 
sengfang a monastic cell 僧房 
Sengyou a fifth- and sixth-century Buddhist monk 僧祐 
Shanju fu Rhapsody on Dwelling in the Mountains 山居賦 
Shanjue (si) Convent of the Well-Awakened 善覺寺 
Shen Yue a fifth- and sixth-century poet 沈約 
Siyan (fotu) Stupa-Shrine of Lamenting the Yan State 思燕佛圖 
Siyuan (fosi) Monastery of Honoring Ancestors 思遠佛寺 
Songyang (si) Monastery of Mt. Song's Southern Side 嵩陽寺 
Taijidian Hall of the Great Ultimate 太極殿 
Tanxi (si) Monastery of Sandalwood Creek 檀溪寺 
Tianguang (si) Monastery of Heavenly Radiance 天光寺 
Tongtai (si) Monastery of Universal Tranquility 同泰寺 
Tōshōdaiji Monastery of the One Invited from China 唐招提寺 
Weishu Book of Wei 魏書 
Wuzhe fahui Dharma Assemblies without Discrimination 無遮法會 
Xiangyang a city in southern China 襄陽 
Xiao Gang a sixth-century crown prince 蕭綱 
Xiao Yan a sixth-century emperor 蕭衍 
Xiao Zixian a sixth-century writer 蕭子顯 
Xie Lingyun a fifth-century poet 謝靈運 
Yang Xuanzhi a sixth-century writer 楊衒之 
Yangzhou a city in southern China 揚州 
Yecheng a city in northern China 鄴城 
Yongning (si) Monastery of Eternal Peace 永寧寺 
yuanqiang an enclosure wall 垣墻 
Yungang (fosi) Monastery of Cloud Ridge 雲岡佛寺 
Zhiyi a sixth-century Buddhist monk 智顗 
Zhong tianzhu sheweiguo qihuansi tujing Illustrated Scripture of Jetavana Vihāra of Śrāvastī in Central India 中天竺舍衛國祇洹寺圖經 
Zhongxing (si) Monastery of Dynastic Revival 中興寺 
zhouge an encircling pavilion 周閣 
Zuochan sanmei jing A Manual on the Samādhi of Seated Meditation 坐禪三昧經 

Notes

1.

I wish to thank Dr. Tracy Miller for reading an earlier version of this work, and Keith Eggener and the anonymous reviewer for their suggestions, which greatly improved the article. My gratitude, as well, goes to the HKU Department of Architecture for its Design Publishing Fund's support of this research project. On the transformation of early Chinese Buddhist monasteries, see Tanaka Toyoz̄, “Shina butsuji no genshi keishiki,” Bijutsu Kenkyū 16 (1933), 1–12; Su Bai, “Dong Han Wei Jin Nanbeichao fosi buju chutan,” in Qingzhu Deng Guangming jiaoshou jiushi huadan lunwengi, ed. Tian Yuqing (Shijiazhuang: Hebei Jiaoyu Chubanshe, 1997), 31–49; Wang Weijen and Xu Zhu, “Zhongguo zaoqi siyuan peizhi de xingtai yanbian chutan,” Nanfang jianzhu 4 (2011), 38–49.

2.

Murata Jirō, “Chūgoku garan haichi no sakugen,” Bukkyō geijutsu 16 (1952), 60–70; Murata Jirō, Chūgoku kenchikushi sōkō. butsujibu (Tokyo: Chūō Kōron Bijutsu Shuppan, 1988), 3–42.

3.

Su, “Dong Han Wei Jin Nanbeichao fosi buju chutan,” 31–49.

4.

Baimasi, commissioned by Emperor Ming of Han (r. 57–79), was recorded as a stupa compound enclosed by painted walls. See Mouzi, “Lihuolun,” in Sengyou (445–518), Hongming ji, ed. Junjirō Takakusu, 100 vols., Taishō shinshū daizōkyō (hereafter T.) (Tokyo: Taishō Shinshū Daizōkyō Kankōkai, 1924–32), 52, 4c26.

5.

On Hōryūji, see Dorothy Wong and Eric Field, eds., Hōryūji Reconsidered (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2008), 49–97.

6.

Standing on the western clifftop of the Yungang Grottoes, the Yungang monastery is an aboveground compound of the imperial cave–monastery complex of the Northern Wei. It has a square pagoda in the center of a square courtyard. Monastic cells with front porticoes have been excavated on the northern, eastern, and western sides of the court; the southern half of the site remains unexplored because of the proximity of the caves; see Zhang Qingjie and Zhang Zhuo, “Yungang shiku kuding xiqu Beiwei fojiao siyuan yizhi,” Kaogu xuebao 4 (2016), 533–62. The Siyuan monastery's principal buildings are a pagoda and an image hall. Architectural remains of the enclosing structure are in the northwest corner of the courtyard, identified as monastic cells; see Hu Ping, “Datong Beiwei Fangshan Siyuan fosi yizhi fajue baogao,” Wenwu 4 (2007), 4–26.

7.

Wang Jingchen, Chaoyang beita (Beijing: Wenwu Chubanshe, 2007), 26–29.

8.

Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beiwei Luoyang Yongningsi (Beijing: Zhongguo Dabaike Quanshu Chubanshe, 1996), 6–19.

9.

Yang Xuanzhi, Luoyang qielan ji, vol. 1.

10.

The claim of a thousand bays is probably an overstatement, because the common breadth of one bay for monastic residential use—based on the Yungang, Siyuan, and Great Zongchi monasteries of the mid-sixth century— was no less than 4 meters. The total length of a thousand bays would thus correspond to approximately 4,000 meters, enough to wrap around the walled compound of the Yongning monastery four times.

11.

This site was recently identified as the Great Zongchi monastery, one of the two Northern Qi state monasteries built by Emperor Wucheng in 562. For more details on the architectural remains, see Zhu Yanshi, “Hebei Linzhangxian Yecheng Zhaopengcheng fosi yizhi de kantan yu fajue,” Kaogu 7 (2010), 31–42.

12.

The excavation team identified the seven-bay hall as an image hall. However, its location in the monastic quarter and the column arrangement suggests that it was more likely a lecture hall. See He Liqun, Buddhist State Monasteries in Early Medieval China and Their Impact on East Asia (Heidelberg: Heidelberg University, 2013), 47–48.

13.

The leader of the excavation team speculated that the long structures could be traces of monastic dormitories, because dormitories arranged in a similar position were found at Mirŭksa, the state monastery of seven-century Paekche. See He, Buddhist State Monasteries in Early Medieval China, 49. Evidence for this connection is lacking, not only because a direct cultural exchange between Paekche and China's Northern dynasties was almost unknown but also because the dormitories of Mirŭksa were not part of the pagoda enclosure. See Richard R. Hollenweger, The Buddhist Architecture of the Three Kingdoms Period in Korea (Écublens, Vaud: École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, 1999), 468–69.

14.

For the measurements of the long structures, the monastic cells, and the corridors in the subsidiary quadrangle, see He, Buddhist State Monasteries in Early Medieval China, 48.

15.

Ma Dezhi, “Tang Changan Qinglongsi yizhi,” Kaogu xuebao 2 (1989), 231–62.

16.

This record comes from Zhongyue Songyangsi bei (stela for Songyang monastery on Mount Song), an Eastern Wei Buddhist stela dated 535. See Yen Juan-ying, ed., Beichao fojiao shike zhipian bai pin [Selections of Buddhist stone rubbings from the Northern dynasties] (Taipei: Zhongyang Yanjiuyuan Lishi Yuyan Yanjiu, 2008), 86.

17.

The three Luoyang monasteries are mentioned in Yang, Luoyang qielan ji, vols. 1 and 2.

18.

In order of construction, the six monasteries are the Wuji monastery (398) in Pingcheng (Weishu, vol. 114); the Qiji monastery (early fifth century) in Qingzhou (Shuijingzhu, vol. 26); the Huifu monastery (488) in Chengcheng (Dadai Dangchanggong Huifusi bei; the inscription texts are found in Yen, Beichao fojiao shike zhipian bai pin, 3); and the three sixth-century monasteries in Luoyang—the Yaoguang convent, the Rongjue monastery, and the Fayun monastery (Yang, Luoyang qielan ji, vols. 1, 4, and 5, respectively).

19.

Huijiao (497–554), Gaosengzhuan, T. 50, 351c03; Baochang (462–after 514), Mingsengzhuan, ed. Giyū Nishi, 90 vols., Manji Shinsan Dainihon Zokuzōkyō (Tokyo: Kokusho Kankōkai, 1975–89), 77, 352a11.

20.

Erik Zürcher, The Buddhist Conquest of China (Leiden: Brill, 2007), 180–239.

21.

Fawangsi bei, a stela inscription for the construction of the Fawang monastery, mentions encircling corridors. Tianguangsi bei provides evidence that at Tianguang monastery “the main hall [was] surrounded by lofty corridors”; see Ouyang Xun (557–641), Yiwen leiju, vol. 76, 39–40. The Liang dynasty poet Liu Lingxian describes the Guangzhai monastery as possessing long corridors and spacious halls. Xu Ling (507–83), Yutai xinyong, vol. 10.

22.

On the Great Aijing monastery and the Great Zhidu convent, see Daoxuan, Xu Gaoseng zhuan, T. 50, 426b13.

23.

On the Tongtai monastery, see Daoxuan, Xu Gaoseng zhuan, T. 50, 426b13; Xu, Jiankang shilu, vol. 17. On its central courtyard, see Xiao Gang, “Dafa song bing xu” [Preface to eulogy on the great dharma], in Guang Hongmingji, T. 52, 240a21–c11.

24.

On the Liang monasteries, see He, Buddhist State Monasteries in Early Medieval China, 211–18; Li Yuqun, “Suitang yiqian Zhongguo Fojiao siyuan de kongjian buju jiqi yanbian,” in Bianjiang minzu kaogu yu minzu kaoguxue jikan (Beijing: Wenwu Chubanshe, 2009), 287–311.

25.

Emperor Wu's Buddhist activities are discussed in Andreas Janousch, “The Aśoka of China,” Frühmittelalterliche Studien 50 (2017), 255–96. See also Chen Jinhua, “Pañcavārṣika Assemblies in Liang Wudi's Buddhist Palace Chapel,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 66, no. 1 (2006), 43–103.

26.

Sengyou gives the title of the record of the Guangzhai assembly in Chu sanzangji ji, T. 55, 93b03.

27.

On the maigre feast at the Zhongxing monastery, see Gaosengzhuan, T. 50, 372b28.

28.

Shen Yue, “Guangzhaisi cha xia ming” [Inscription to the construction of pagoda in Guangzhai monastery], in Guang Hongming ji, T. 52, 212c04.

29.

Most palaces and ritual sites of the Shang dynasty were organized with corridor enclosures. See Guo Ming, “Shang Zhou shiqi daxing yuanluoshi jianzhu bijiao yanjiu,” Kaogu yu wenwu 5 (2014), 49–59. See also Nancy Shatzman Steinhardt, Chinese Architecture in an Age of Turmoil, 200–600 (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2014), 57–58.

30.

This idiom first appeared in Discourses of the States (Guoyu), a collection of political anecdotes that was compiled in the fifth to fourth century BCE.

31.

On Sengyou's contribution to temple construction and ritual innovation, see his biography in Gaosengzhuan, T. 50, 402c04.

32.

On the Great Aijing monastery and the Great Zhidu convent, see Daoxuan, Xu Gaoseng zhuan, T. 50, 426b13. Weishu (a classical text of 551–54, detailing the history of Northern and Eastern Wei dynasties) discusses a comparable example: Gao Huan's (496–547) memorial shrine in the capital of the Eastern Wei state. Though from the Northern dynasties, this bears close resemblance to a southern counterpart—the Liang imperial ancestral shrine. See Steinhardt, Chinese Architecture in an Age of Turmoil, 191.

33.

Xiao Gang, “Shanjuesi beiming” [Inscriptions of Shanjue convent], quoted in Ouyang Xun, Yiwen leiju, vol. 76, 37.

34.

A complete list of Emperor Wu's great assemblies is provided in Suwa Gijun, Chūgoku NanchōBukkyō shi no kenkyū (Kyoto: Hōzōkan, 1997), 11–78.

35.

On the development of the pañcavārṣika, see Max Deeg, “Origins and Development of the Buddhist Pañcavārṣika, Part I: India and Central Asia,” Nagoya Studies in Indian Culture and Buddhism: Saṃbhāṣā 16 (1995), 67–90; Max Deeg, “Origins and Development of the Buddhist Pañcavārṣika, Part II: China,” Nagoya Studies in Indian Culture and Buddhism: Saṃbhāṣā 18 (1997), 63–96.

36.

Yamada Keiji, “Ryōbu no gaiten-setsu” [The Kai-t'ien theory of the Emperor Wu of Liang], Tōhō gakuhō 48 (1975), 99–134.

37.

Xiao Zixian, “Yujiang Jinzi Mohe boreboluomi jing xu” [Preface to the imperial lecture of the golden-character Mahāprajñāpāramitā sūtra], in Guang Hongming ji, T. 52, 236b23–37b22.

38.

Daily attendance figures are provided in Xiao Gang, “Da Xianggongwang shu” [A letter to Prince Xiangdong], Guang Hongming ji, T. 52, 211a06. Xiao Zixian's preface offers a precise number—319,642—which probably refers to the total participation during the twenty-one days of the assembly.

39.

Daoxuan, Xu Gaoseng zhuan, T. 50, 426b13.

40.

Architectural features of the Jiankang palace city in the third through sixth centuries are discussed in Steinhardt, Chinese Architecture in an Age of Turmoil, 132–36.

41.

The Eastern Wei envoy's record of a New Year's Day audience is given in Duan Chengshi (803–63), Youyang zazu, vol. 1.

42.

According to the dynastic histories Nanshi and Chenshu, pañcavārṣika assemblies were held at least three times in the main audience hall after the fall of the Tongtai monastery in 548.

43.

The Jianzhong monastery was converted from the mansion of a powerful eunuch, while the Hejian monastery was originally the royal residence of Prince Hejian. See Yang, Luoyang qielan ji, vols. 1 and 4.

44.

On the north–south cultural exchange during this period, see Alexander Coburn Soper, “South Chinese Influence on the Buddhist Art of the Six Dynasties Period,” Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities 32 (1960), 47–111.

45.

Kenneth Ch'en, Buddhism in China (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1964), 177–83.

46.

Yang, Luoyang qielan ji, vol. 3.

47.

It is generally accepted that between the third and sixth centuries Buddhism under dhyāna masters in the north focused more on meditation, while Buddhism promoted by cultured monks and intellectual elites in the south concentrated on doctrinal teachings. See Ch'en, Buddhism in China, 57–183; Tang Yongtong, Han Wei Liangjin Nanbeichao fojiaoshi (Beijing: Beijing Daxue Chubanshe, 2011), 430–31; Chen Jinhua, “Meditation Traditions in Fifth-Century Northern China,” in Buddhism across Asia: Networks of Material, Intellectual and Cultural Exchange, ed. Tansen Sen (Singapore: ISEAS, 2014), 101–29.

48.

Yang, Luoyang qielan ji, vol. 2.

49.

On the relationship between monastic cells and meditation, see Eric M. Greene, “Death in a Cave: Meditation, Deathbed Ritual, and Skeletal Imagery at Tape Shotor,” Artibus Asiae 73, no. 2 (2013), 265–94.

50.

Zuochan sanmei jing, T. 15, 276a9–12. Madhyama āgama (Zhongahan jing), an early Indian Buddhist scripture translated in 498, also contains a passage explaining how a monk should practice seated meditation before and after sleeping in his cell. Zhongahan jing, T. 01, 473c20.

51.

Greene, “Death in a Cave.”

52.

Xie Lingyun (385–433), “Shanju fu,” Songshu, vol. 67.

53.

Medieval hagiographic texts typically associate meditation masters with supernatural feats as a manifestation of advanced spiritual achievement; see Ch'en, Buddhism in China, 77–93.

54.

Gao Yun (390–487), Luyuan fu [Rhapsody of Deer Park], Guang Hongming ji, T. 52, 339b–c.

55.

On the ritual function of Cave 285, see Robert H. Sharf, “Art in the Dark: The Ritual Context of Buddhist Caves in Western China,” in Art of Merit: Studies in Buddhist Art and Its Conservation, ed. David Park, Kuenga Wangmo, and Sharon Cather (London: Archetype, 2013), 38–65.

56.

On Buddhism in the Eastern Wei and Northern Qi dynasties, see Chen Jinhua, “Buddhism under the Northern Qi,” in Echoes of the Past: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan, ed. Katherine R. Tsiang (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010), 94–103; He Liqun, “Dongwei Beiqi shiqi de yecheng fojiao yanjiu,” in Yecheng kaogu faxian yu yanjiu, ed. Zhu Yanshi (Beijing: Wenwu Chubanshe, 2014), 377–91.

57.

The effect of the southern artistic style on northern practices is discussed in Soper, “South Chinese Influence on the Buddhist Art.” For the architectural aspect, see Zhong Xiaoqing, “Beichao houqi jianzhu fengge yanbian tedian chutan,” in Zhongguo jianzhu wenhua yichan, ed. Jin Lei (Tianjin: Tianjin Daxue Chubanshe, 2011), 321–49.

58.

Daoxuan, Xu Gaoseng zhuan, T. 50, 484b03.

59.

Buddhist art during the Northern Zhou is discussed in Soper, “South Chinese Influence on the Buddhist Art.”

60.

On the planning of Sui monasteries, see Su Bai, “Suidai Fosi buju,” Kaogu yu wenwu 2 (1997), 29–33.

61.

Ho Puay-peng, “The Ideal Monastery: Daoxuan's Description of the Central Indian Jetavana Vihara,” East Asian History 10 (1995), 1–18.

62.

The prince was later enthroned as Emperor Yang of the Sui and reigned over China from 604 to 618. On his engagement of southern Buddhism, see Victor Cunrui Xiong, Emperor Yang of the Sui Dynasty: His Life, Times, and Legacy (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2006), 158–62.

63.

On Zhiyi's guidance of monastery design, see Xie Hongquan, “Tiantaizong fosi suyuan,” Zhongguo jianzhu shilun huikan 7 (2013), 174–82.

64.

The corridors and courtyard spaces of Tang Buddhist monasteries are discussed in Gong Guoqiang, Sui Tang Changan cheng fosi yanjiu (Beijing: Chinese Academy of Social Science, 2002), 77–79.

65.

Ennin (794–864), Nittō guhō junrei gyōki [The record of a pilgrimage to China in search of the law], vol. 1.

66.

The Abhidharma Mahāvibhāṣā Śāstra describes Maitreya's heavenly abode as a complex composed of nine corridor cloisters, where his countless bodhisattva disciples resided. See Apidamo da piposha lun, T. 27, 892a26.

67.

The open portico is discussed in Inoue Mitsuo, Space in Japanese Architecture (New York: Weatherhill, 1985), 61.

68.

Daoxuan, Sifenlü shanfan buque xingshi chao, T. 40, 131b28.

69.

Although modern scholarship considers the impact of Daoxuan's Illustrated Scripture on Chinese Buddhist society to have been limited, his effort to revive the monastic order was undoubtedly influential. See Chen Huaiyu, The Revival of Buddhist Monasticism in Medieval China (New York: Peter Lang, 2007).