The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Born in central India, Fatian (法天, ?–1001), or Dharmadeva, had been a Monk in the Nālandā Monastery in the kingdom of Magadha. In 973, the sixth year of the Kaibao (開寶) years of the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127), he went to China and stayed in Pujin (蒲津), in Lu County (漉州).
He translated, from Sanskrit into Chinese, the Sūtra of the Dhāraṇī of Infinite-Life Resolute Radiance King Tathāgata (T19n0937), the Stanzas in Praise of the Seven Buddhas (T32n1682), and other texts.
His translations were recorded and edited by Fajin (法進), an Indian Monk of the Kaiyuan Temple (開元寺) in Hezhongfu (河中府).
In 980, the fifth year of the Taiping-Xinguo (太平興國) years, the county official presented a written recommendation of Fatian to Emperor Taizong (宋太宗).
Very pleased with what he read in the report, the emperor summoned Fatian to the capital city and bestowed upon him the purple robe. Furthermore, he decreed the building of an institute for Sūtra translation.
In 982, at the command of the emperor, Fatian, Tianxizai (天息災), Shihu (施護), and others moved into the institute, starting to translate into Chinese the Sanskrit texts each had brought.
In the seventh month, Fatian completed his translation of the Mahāyāna Sūtra of the Holy Auspicious Upholding-the-World Dhāranī (T20n1164). Then the emperor named him Great Master of the Teachings.
Between 982 and 1000, he translated forty-six sūtras.
Fatian died in 1001, the fourth year of the Xianping (咸平) years, his age unknown. The emperor conferred upon him a posthumous title, Great Master of Profound Enlightenment.