Dream as the Mirror of Mind: Reading Ideology from the Dreaming Plots of Illustrated Legends of Kegon (Hua-yen) Patriarchs

By:
Ms Yuk Yue Chan
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In Japan's Kamakura period (1185-1336), the new Buddhist sects flourished and competed with the old ones. Many Buddhist sects created narrative picture scrolls illustrating the story of their patriarchs as didactic tools. Kegon (Hua-yen) sect as one of the old Buddhist sects, like most of her revivalists, created a narrative picture scrolls illustrating the lives of two Silla (Korea) Patriarchs, Gangyō and Gishō. The scrolls consist of Ganyō Scrolls and Gishō Scrolls. Both of them start by narrating the plot of Gangyō's dreaming. "The three world exist only in the mind, the myriad dharmas are only in consciousness", Gangyo enlightened the "mind-only" doctrine and exclaimed this verse after having a nightmare. The frequency of this scene reflects its importance to the whole narrative. Why is the dreaming plot so important? Why does a dream relate to the state of mind? Is the dream-to-enlighten plot persuasive enough? Take a look at the tale literature and legends from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, it is interesting to see that "dream" is one of the popular themes, not only in Japan, but also in China and the West. This paper tries to examine how dreams were described in arts and literature in the medieval Japan, China and the West and to unveil the ideology lies behind the Kamakura Japanese society.


Keywords: Narrative, Buddhism, Priest, Monk, Ideology, Dream, Kamakura, Japan, Gisho, Gangyo, legend, Kegon, Hua yen, Plot, Mind, Picture scroll, Scroll, Emaki, Setsuwa, Patriarch, Consciousness, Nightmare, Enlighten, Silla, Story
Stream: Literature, Literary Studies, Philosophy, Ethics, Consciousness, History, Historiography, Religion, Spirituality
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Dream as the Mirror of Mind


Ms Yuk Yue Chan

MPhil Candidate, Department of Fine Arts, University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong


Ref: H05P0847