Chinese Divination Traditions in Conversation: "Maheśvara’s Divination Explanations" (Moxishouluo bu) in Chinese and Transcultural Contexts

Collaborative Group

Professor Brandon Dotson




This workshop brings together Sinologists, Tibetologists, and Buddhologists to translate and properly contextualize "Maheśvara’s Divination Explanations"(Moxishouluo bu), a Chinese Buddhist divination text from Dunhuang that dates to the ninth or tenth century CE. The text, which prescribes the use of dice to arrive at one of sixty-four oracular responses, occupies a fascinating place between Chinese traditions of numerical trigram divination on the one hand, and Indian and Tibetan dice divination traditions on the other. Performing a close reading of its fascinating contents, the workshop situates the Moxishouluo bu both with respect to continuities with long-standing Chinese divinatory traditions, and in the context the Chinese assimilation of transregional divination traditions.