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Tiantai

– History: – Tiantai school originated in 6th-century China. – Developed by Zhiyi, emphasizing the One Vehicle doctrine and Mādhyamaka philosophy. – Became influential in […]

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– History:
– Tiantai school originated in 6th-century China.
– Developed by Zhiyi, emphasizing the One Vehicle doctrine and Mādhyamaka philosophy.
– Became influential in China and Japan.
– Named after Tiantai Mountain where Zhiyi lived.
– Influenced other East Asian Buddhist traditions like Zen and Pure Land.

– Early Figures:
– Nāgārjuna considered the first patriarch.
– Huiwen, Nanyue Huisi, and Zhiyi followed in the lineage.
– Huisi realized the Lotus Samādhi.
– Zhiyi authored various treatises on Buddhist texts and practices.
– Lineage proposed by later Buddhists.

– Zhiyi:
– Zhiyi founded the Tiantai school and systematized its doctrine.
– Classified Buddhist teachings into five periods and eight types.
– Held the Lotus Sutra as the supreme synthesis of Buddhist doctrine.
– Received imperial support during the Sui dynasty.
– Faced challenges due to its close relationship with the Sui dynasty.

– Zhanran:
– Zhanran revived Tiantai school after a decline.
– Defended Tiantai doctrine against rival schools like Huayan.
– Debated the notion of universal Buddhahood with Faxiang school.
– Expanded the view of Buddha nature in his Diamond Scalpel.
– Emphasized Buddha-nature in all tangible and intangible entities.

– Influence:
– Tiantai school had a significant impact on Chinese and Japanese Buddhism.
– Influenced the development of other East Asian Buddhist traditions.
– Tendai school in Japan branched off from Tiantai.
– Cheontae school in Korea established in the 12th century.
– Tiantai remains a living tradition, particularly strong in Hong Kong.

Tiantai (Wikipedia)

Tiantai or T'ien-t'ai (Chinese: 天台; pinyin: PRC Standard Mandarin: Tiāntāi, ROC Standard Mandarin: Tiāntái, Wu Taizhou dialect (Tiantai native language): Tí Taî) is an East Asian Buddhist school of Mahāyāna Buddhism that developed in 6th-century China. Tiantai Buddhism emphasizes the "One Vehicle" (Ekayāna) doctrine derived from the Lotus Sūtra as well as Mādhyamaka philosophy, particularly as articulated in the works of the 4th patriarch Zhiyi (538–597 CE). Brook Ziporyn, professor of ancient and medieval Chinese religion and philosophy, states that Tiantai Buddhism is "the earliest attempt at a thoroughgoing Sinitic reworking of the Indian Buddhist tradition." According to Paul Swanson, scholar of Buddhist studies, Tiantai Buddhism grew to become "one of the most influential Buddhist traditions in China and Japan."

Pagoda of the Guoqing Temple at Tiantai Mountain
Tiantai
Chinese name
Chinese天台
Hanyu PinyinPRC Standard Mandarin: Tiāntāi
ROC Standard Mandarin: Tiāntái
Literal meaningfrom "Tiantai [Heavenly Terrace] Mountain"
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese alphabetThiên Thai
Chữ Hán天台
Korean name
Hangul천태
Hanja天台
Japanese name
Kanji天台

The name of the school is derived from the fact that Zhiyi lived on Tiantai Mountain (Tiantai means "platform of the sky"), which then became a major center for the tradition. Zhiyi is also regarded as the first major figure to form an indigenous Chinese Buddhist system. Tiantai is sometimes also called "The Lotus School", after the central role of the Lotus Sūtra in its teachings.

During the Sui dynasty, the Tiantai school became one of the leading schools of Chinese Buddhism, with numerous large temples supported by emperors and wealthy patrons. The school's influence waned and was revived again through the Tang dynasty and also rose again during the Song dynasty. Chinese Tiantai remains a living tradition to this day, being particularly strong in Hong Kong.

The Japanese Tendai school is also an influential tradition which branched off from Tiantai during the 9th century, and played a major role in the development of Japanese Buddhism. A Korean offshoot, the Cheontae school, was also established during the 12th century. Furthermore, Tiantai (and its offshoots) were very influential in the development of other forms of East Asian Buddhism, such as Zen and Pure Land.

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