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Guan YuThe Religious Afterlife of a Failed Hero$
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Barend J. ter Haar

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198803645

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198803645.001.0001

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Demon and Monastic Protector

Demon and Monastic Protector

(p.21) 2 Demon and Monastic Protector
Guan Yu

Barend J. ter Haar

Oxford University Press

The worship of Guan Yu started where he had been executed in late 219 or early 220, in the Jing region just north of the Yangzi River in modern Hubei. Sometime during the Tang dynasty, the cult of Lord Guan was appropriated by the increasingly well-known Buddhist Jade Spring Monastery in the nearby hills. Throughout this period, Lord Guan continued to be seen as a violent demonic figure, awe- and fear-inspiring, but also potentially helpful. Most of the extant sources used in this chapter reflect collective memories as they have crystallized after long periods of oral transmission. This chapter also shows that the Buddhist origin of the cult was certainly significant in the early centuries, but actually does not explain many foundations of the cult outside of the Jing region.

Keywords:   Lord Guan, Buddhism, demon, hungry ghost, Zhiyi

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