I am taking a class on Buddhist art. The second half of the class has dealt primarily with Japanese Buddhism (Tendai, Shingon, Zen, etc.). We just recently read a story written during the 14th century called Tsukumogami ki
(付喪神記, Record of Tool Specters). It tells of how the Japanese believe any inanimate object can come to life and gain sentience. This serves as the reason for why the Japanese discard their old tools, furniture, weapons, musical instruments, etc. into alleyways during the New Year "soot-sweeping" ritual. Some of these discarded objects become angry and decide to exact their revenge on mankind. They pray to the Shinto shape-shifting creation god and are granted physical bodies resembling terrible demons. They begin to take vengeance for their ill treatment by eating people. They are later forced to accept Buddhism by weapon-wielding “divine boys” (kind of like Prince Nezha). They study Buddhism under a set of Buddhist rosary beads that had also gained sentience and a (human) body of his own. Through his guidance, the tools-turned-demons are able to gain Buddhahood. Just in case anyone is interested to read the full story, here is a translation by one of my instructors:http://nirc.nanzan-u...rs/pdf/819a.pdf
Needless to say, this story greatly intrigued me. I started to wonder if the Chinese had anything like the Tool Specter. The closest thing I can think of is the Chinese notion that a sword can become a dragon. In fact, most other Asian cultures associate some type of blade with a powerful or mischievous spirit. The Tibetans have the Phurba
and the Southeast Asians have the Kris
. But I don’t think this is the same as the Japanese Tool Specters since ANYTHING is capable of gaining sentience. Does anyone know of any other examples in Chinese mythology?
Edited by ghostexorcist, 12 April 2011 - 04:36 PM.