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


Henry Luce Foundation/ ACLS Program in China Studies Collaborative Reading-Workshop Grants


Global Studies


Georgetown University, Washington D.C.


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.