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Yinshun and his Exposition of Madhyamaka

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The monk Yinshun (1906-2005) became well known in the Chinese region, as well as among Western scholars of East Asian Buddhism, for his role of theorizer of the so-called “Buddhism for the Human Realm” (renjian fojiao), the legacy with the reformist monk Taixu (1989-1947), the link to the nun Zhengyan (b.1937, founder of the Tzu Chi Foundation), and his remarkable corpus of writings. Some scholars have discussed Yinshun’s work on Madhyamaka but there is no thorough investigation of the topic. This book fill that gap by providing an unprecedented and comprehensive study of ‘the Madhyamaka dimension’ of Yinshun on the basis of the renewed intellectual movements and the twisted social-historical conditions of the twentieth-century. It includes the analysis of Yinshun’s reconstruction of the relationship between the Chinese San-lun and the Indo-Tibetan Madhyamaka, and his revaluation of the figure of Nāgārjuna. This book focuses especially on Yinshun’s study of Da zhidu lun, a scripture that for its dubious authorship and translation became fundamental, as much as controversial, in the traditional Chinese Buddhism and therefore was subject of scholarly debates in East Asia and in the West. Yinshun’s research on Da zhidu lun, which has never been analysed or translated in English, signed a further contribution to the debate on authorship and translation of the scripture, provided new arguments on the doctrinal identity of the text, and intervened in an international debate that involved a confrontation with Western and Japanese scholarship.

Published: Oct 1, 2026