Buddhism and Tales of the Supernatural in Early Medieval China
Zhenjun Zhang, St. Lawrence University
This book demonstrates the historical changes in early medieval China as seen in the tales of the supernatural—thematic transformation from traditional demonic retribution to Karmic retribution, from indigenous Chinese netherworld to Buddhist concepts of hell, and from the traditional Chinese savior to a new savior, Buddha. It also examines Buddhist imagery and the flourish of new motifs in the fantastic dreamworld and their relationship with Buddhism. This study relates the Youming lu to the development of popular Chinese Buddhist beliefs, attempting to single out ideas that differ from the beliefs found in Buddhist scriptures as well as miraculous tales written especially to promote Buddhism.