A form of naming taboo practice is observed in Kai Mu Miao Shi Que Ming. This stone inscription is a shi que ming (decorative stone gateway pillar) dedicated to a stone that was believed to be the transformed body of the mother of Xia Hou Qi, the second emperor of the Xia dynasty. It should therefore have been named “Qi Mu” (mother of Qi), but the name was altered to “Kai Mu” to avoid the character “qi”, which is one of the characters in the real name of Qian Han Jing Di.
The naming taboo practice, which avoids using names out of reverence, helps reinforce the authority of the imperial family. It is thus believed that the name was altered to “Kai Mu” with the aim of aggrandizing the emperor associated with the stele.
In the present study, I first examine the regulations of the naming taboo in the Han period to confirm the practice in such things as rituals associated with the imperial authority as well as in documents to be submitted for the emperor to read.
Next, based on the time consistency in “She gu er hui xin (abandon the old and avoid the new)” written by Tan Gong in Liji and the emergence of the worship of the Qi Mu stone observed in historical materials, I suggest that Wu Di altered the name of the inscription according to the naming taboo to support the Qi Mu stone worship and reinforce the imperial authority. I further suggest that this worship, which the emperor supported, involved magical arts.
The Qi Mu stone worship had been maintained since it was supported by Wu Di until it was temporarily abolished as a result of the li reforms carried out by Cheng Di. I consider the significance of these reforms by examining the outline of the Qi Mu stone worship and the then-national policy of religious service convergence, and I argue that the reforms were mainly aimed at abolishing magical rituals and that the Qi Mu stone worship had been maintained as a ritual to call for rain.
By studying the naming taboo practice in the inscription, I argue that the ritual for the Qi Mu stone was maintained in relation to imperial authority during the period from the alteration of the name of the inscription by Wu Di to the erection of the current stele.
The Tiwei poli jing 提謂波利経 is an apocryphal scripture compiled by the monk Tanjin 曇靖 under the reign of Emperor Wencheng 文成 of the Northern Wei dynasty. Earlier studies argued that the text had be written in order to fill in a gap in the sacred corpus depleted during the persecution of Buddhism under Emperor Taiwu 太武. Alternatively, it has been suggested that Tanjin’s motive was to educate the common people in the basics of the Buddhist faith. My paper calls these scenarios into question and puts forward a new hypothesis.
I start from the premise that the main motivation in compiling apocryphal scriptures lies in the absence in the existing sacred corpus of doctrinal and spiritual point(s) which the respective author(s) want/s to make, no doubt from a putatively Buddhist stance. Such points will stand out as the unique trait(s) of the apocryphal scripture in question. Based on this presupposition, I look at the unique characteristics of the Tiwei poli jing, also taking into account the historical background of the persecution of Buddhism under Emperor Taiwu and its restoration under Emperor Wencheng. This allows me to pinpoint Tanjin’s main motivations and intentions behind the compilation of this scripture.