Edward W. Profile picture
20 Nov, 28 tweets, 5 min read
In this thread I will display a bilingual edition of the rather notorious "Blood Basin Sutra" 血盆經. This work has been studied by many scholars of Buddhism, in particular its relation to women.
The text of the sutra for this edition has been taken from the Baidu page baike.baidu.com/item/%E8%A1%80…, but you can find a substantially identical text here.
The English translation featured here comes mostly from Beata Grant and Wilt. J. Idema’s "Escape from Blood Pond Hell" (University of Washington press, 2011). Their translate most of the relatively short sutra (~400 chars), but one or two passages they leave untranslated...
I have hence supplied translations of my own. These are marked with a "E" in what follows. Grant and Idema's translations are marked with "GI"
However, I must confess, as these parts contain some technical terms, my translations may not be entirely accurate; I thus beg the reader's forgiveness.
The Blood Basin Sutra
GI: ‘Once some time ago, Venerable Mulian was travelling in the Zhuiyang district of Yuzhou province when he saw a Blood Bowl Pond Hell that was eighty-four thousand leagues wide.
2a/ 池中有一百二十件事。铁梁铁柱铁枷铁索。见南阎浮提许多女人。披头散发。长枷杻手。在地狱中受罪。
GI: In the pool there were 120 implements of iron beams, iron pillars, iron yokes and iron chains. He saw many women of Jambudvipa – their hair in disarray, their necks in cangues and their hands in fetters—suffering for their sins in this hell
3a/ 狱卒鬼王一日三度。将血勒叫罪人吃。此时罪人不敢服吃。遂被狱主。将铁棒打作叫声。
GI: The demon in charge of the punishments three times a day takes the blood and makes the sinners drink it. If the sinners are not willing to submit to him & drink ,[...]
3b/ GI: [...] then he takes his iron rood and beats them as they scream.
4/ 目连悲哀问狱主。不见南阎浮提丈夫之人受此苦报。只见许多女人受此苦痛。
GI: When Mulian saw this, he sadly asked the hell warden “ I do not see any men from Jambudvipa here suffering these torments. [why] do I only see women here suffering this cruel retribution?”
5a/ 狱主答师言。不关丈夫之事。只是女人产下血露。污触地神。若秽污衣裳。将去溪河洗濯。流水污漫。
GI: The warden answered him “Master, it is not something that involves men. It only has to do with women, who every month leak menses or in childbirth release blood [...]
5b/GI: "which seeps down and pollutes the earth gods, And what is more, they take their filthy garments to the river to wash, thereby polluting the river water."
6a/ 误诸善男女。取水煎茶供奉诸圣。致令不净。天大将军刻下名字。附在善恶簿中。候百年命终之后。受此苦报。
GI: Later an unsuspecting good man or woman draws some water from the river, boils it for tea, and then offers it to the holy ones, causing them to be impure. [...]
6b/ The great general of heaven takes note of this and marks it in his ledger of merits and sins, After a hundred years, when their lives are over, [these sinful women] undergo this retribution of suffering [that you see before you].
7/ 遂问狱主。将何报答产生阿娘之恩。出离血盆池地狱
[Mulian] then asked the Guardian “How can I repay my mother for giving birth to me, [and] let her escape the Blood Bowl Hell?”
8a/ 将何报答产生阿娘之恩。出离血盆池地狱。狱主答师言。惟有小心。孝顺男女。敬重三宝。更为阿娘。持血盆斋三年。仍结血盆胜会。请僧转诵此经一藏。满日忏散。
GI: Master, you only need to take care to be a filial son or daughter, respect the three jewels, & for the sake of your mother,

GI: hold Blood Bowl feasts for three years, including organizing Blood Bowl gatherings to which you invite monks to recite this sutra for a full day, as well as ceremonies of repentance.
9a. 便有般若船。载过奈河江岸。看见血盆池中。有五色莲花出现。罪人欢喜。心生惭愧。便得超生佛地。
GI: Then there were will be a prajnana ( enlightened wisdom) boat to carry the mothers across the River Alas奈河 , & they will see 5-coloured lotuses appear in the blood pond...
9b/ GI: , and the sinners will come out happy and contrite and they will be able to take birth in a Buddha Land.
10a/ 诸大菩萨。及目连尊者。启吿奉劝。南阎浮提善男信女。早觉修取大办前程。莫敎失手万劫难复。
E: All Great bodhisattvas, along with Mulian received this teaching. The Good men and Believing women of Jambudvipa, soon attained the prospect of enlightenment 早觉修取大办前程 , [...]
10b/ E: and they did not lose their way again in the myriads of Kapalas of suffering.
11a/ 佛说女人血盆经。若有信心书写受持。令得三世母亲。尽得生天受诸快乐。衣食自然长命富贵。
GI: The Buddha again told women, saying: “As for the Blood Bowl Sutra, if you copy and keep this sutra with a believing mind, then you will be causing, as far as possible, [...]
11b/ the mothers of the three worlds to gain rebirth in heaven, where they will receive pleasures, clothes and food naturally; their lives will be long, and they will be rich aristocrats.
12/ 尔时天龙八部。人非人等。皆大欢喜。信受奉行。作礼而去
E: At that moment, the Nagas , Eight Divisions, Humans, non-humans and others all rejoiced, at receiving this teaching and practised it; they paid their respects and left.
*** *** ***
The western study of this text is fairly substantial- doubtless because of its obvious interest to feminists.

One early article is TAKEMI Momoko's "Menstruation Sutra" Belief In Japan (Japanese Journal of Religious studies, 10/2-3, p. 229). [...]
The article has a fairly comprehensive account of the sutra as it was recieved in Japan. There are apparently several such sutras of varying lengths. The author notes that the sutraplayed a particularly prominent role in the funerals of women who died in childbirth...
... as for example, being placed inside their coffins, and recited at their funerals. The sutra is likewise used as an amulet, in particular for pregnant women.

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More from @edwardW2

21 Nov
I like these Chinese descriptions of deep time.

Another nice eg of immense eons is the story behind the idiom 滄海桑田- “The emerald sea becoming a mulberry field"
The story is recorded in Ge Hong's famous "Biographies of the Immortals" 《神仙传》, in which one of the immortals remarks that she has seen the Bohai turn from sea to land and back again, thrice
i recall another story-- whose source I forget-- in which an immortal who lived in the same area put a stone in a basket every time the change was complete (which took ~800 years); across the time of his life he filled 3 rooms with such baskets
Read 8 tweets
21 Nov
The Classic of Pure tranquility.
The present text is taken from here:
Some texts (eg the one here zh.m.wikisource.org/zh/%E5%A4%AA%E…) omit the last three sections, which are comments on the scripture by other immortals
English translations are accessible here
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21 Nov
I am presently translating some Daoist texts; and at times I am nervously veering towards using Buddhist-influenced English translations for the some Chinese terms...
This is not to say that Daoism and Buddhism are not closely interlinked-- of course they are. Just take a look at the first line of this "Precious notice of the Jade Purity" 玉清宝诰, a hymn in praise of the Daoist deity the Jade Purity:
This line is a description of the Jade Purity, which goes:
"Atop the three worlds, With a Brahma梵 Qi in the highest heaven.", a meaning supported by the commentary sohu.com/a/211948317_63…
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21 Nov
For a lunar mansion talisman at least 3 things must be fulfilled:
1 The moon must be in the mansion
2 she must not be combust
3 she must not be in a hard aspect with Saturn or Mars.

Given these parameters, it is interesting to work out how quickly you can make a complete set.
Condition 1 sets a lower bound to the number of days this can be done. As the moon takes ~28 days to travel round the zodiac- and hence the mansions, a complete set cannot be made in less time than 1 lunar month.
Now, a Lunar mansion is about 12 degrees; approximately how far the moon travels in 24 hours. <This fact is vital for what follows>
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Interesting to note that the verb for creating an astrological chart is shifting from "Cast" to "Pull up"
iirc this verb was also used on the most recent episode of the astrology podcast. Image
William Lilly's autobiography uses the word "Set a figure"
archive.org/details/livest… Image
Lilly's Christian astrology uses "Erect a figure of heaven"
books.google.com/books?id=WZwEa… Image
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20 Nov
One of the more interesting resources of Daoism is the FYSK Daoist Culture Centre Database
It is available in Chinese zh.daoinfo.org/wiki/%E9%A6%96…
And English en.daoinfo.org/wiki/Main_Page versions
The Chinese version is far more complete than the English one, but then again, considering how vanishingly little there is on Daoism in English, this project is one of the better compilations-- and it seems to be growing, like a wiki.
Particulary useful pages are this one which contains short articles on major Daoist scriptures
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